Wednesday, 7/11/12

NYT 3:46 
LAT 4:07 (Gareth) 
CS 6:50 (Sam) 
Onion untimed 

Allan Parrish’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 11 12 0711

The main thing that holds a Wednesday puzzle together is the theme, so the key to solving is making sense out of the principal entries. Right, Chief?

  • 17a. SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, [Joe Clark in "Lean on Me," e.g.].
  • 29a. SKELETON KEY, [Item on a superintendent's chain]. Hey! Don’t go putting that word in here right after the school principal. Now we’re thinking the superintendent is the principal’s boss rather than New Yorkese for “building manager/custodian/caretaker.” (It may be more than New Yorkese, but I can tell you that it’s not Chicago lingo.)
  • 48a. SPANISH MAIN, [Ripe territory for pirates, once]. Checking dictionary … holy cow! Did you know this isn’t the Atlantic? No, ma’am. Caribbean coastline, mainly. (Coast, not sea? For real?)
  • 63a. KANSAS CITY CHIEF, [Losing player in the first Super Bowl]. Not generally a fan of “city + singular of team name” answers (and this puzzle also has L.A. RAM, which is singular as well as defunct). Although “Chicago Cub/Bull/Bear” sounds okay to me. Maybe K.C. folks are more familiar with 63a’s form?

Tough crossings in this puzzle, no? Never heard of the 12d: ["Moonraker" villain] DRAX, who crosses AMARE Stoudemire and AXL Rose. Three entirely non-inferrable names if you don’t happen to know them. And then there’s 31d: KOA, [Org. for R.V. owners], butting into 41a: PAPP, ["Hair" producer Joseph]. If you don’t know your Broadway producer names or your RVer infrastructure, PIPP is nearly as plausible. At least 20a: CROSBY, [Hockey's Sid the Kid], has four regular words and more familiar ENO(S) and HOL(Y)OKE crossing him. 34a: GEENA [Davis who portrayed a president] is broadly famous enough to make up for 25d: ["99 Luftballons" singer] NENA, an early-’80s one-hit wonder in America.

The broader issue here is that the puzzle as a whole has way too many proper nouns, brand names, and three-letter abbreviations. My cutoff is 14; less than that and the puzzle feels fine, 14 or more and the puzzle feels overloaded with names and solvers will have trouble. Besides the names already mentioned, we have J AND J, VENICE, IBM, NRA, RHETT, ENZO, WKRP, OAHU, ONE-L, ESPYS, K-CAR, ENIAC, and NAPA. What is that, 23, 24 capitalized entries outside of the theme? Yeow. The theme could play on Monday or Tuesday, I think, but not this fill.

Did I know that [The Plame affair, informally] was called CIAGATE? No, sir.

2.75 stars. The theme didn’t excite me, and the fill was problematic. I appreciated seeing this, 65d: THO.

P.S.! The first clue, FACE and [Body part first transplanted in 2010], put me in mind of Billy Idol’s ’80s hit, “Eyes Without a Face.” With pretty cheekbones like his, he really didn’t need the patented sneer and nostril flare. He worked the sneer/flare so frequently, I suspect he practiced it in front of a mirror. Oh, I greatly enjoyed this video tonight. Butt clap, everyone! *clap clap clap clap*

Aimee Lucido’s Onion A.V. Club crossword

Onion AV Club crossword, 7 11 12 Lucido

Do we know why -ET is added to the end of five phrases/words to generate the theme answers? Is this about E.T. the Extraterrestrial, or the Latin et = “and”? Or is it just “let’s add -ET”? Here’s the thematic quintet:

  • 17a. [Weapon of mass destruction?], PAPAL BULLET. Double meaning of “mass,” har. Can you picture an action movie in which the Pope pulls out an automatic weapon at St. Peter’s Basilica and mows down the flock? No?
  • 28a. [Porn actor's penis?], HARD ASSET. PuzzleSocial solvers will note that this is not the clue seen on the Facebook app (and 1-Across is different). Coincidentally, though, I recently read a GQ article (NSFW, very NSFW words; the pineapple makes the photo safe for work) about a porn actor. Interesting read.
  • 36a. [Secretly diluting the saffron, say?], SPICE RACKET. What, the racket isn’t coming from the curry powder raising a loud ruckus?
  • 43a. [Where "1, 2, 3, 4, we all want our water warm!" may be heard?], ICE PICKET. I had no idea “picket” could stand alone as a noun like that (as opposed to being partnered in “picket line”) until seeing that in a dictionary just now.
  • 59a. [Part of a groom's wedding outfit?], UNION JACKET.

where i put ur zip codez?

Freshest fill/clues:

  • 3d. [Numbers after HI and OH, e.g.], ZIP CODES. Love this clue.
  • 25d. [One may be written / Just like this clue is written / But a lot better], HAIKU. In crossword blogging / you always need some LolCats / to distract readers.
  • 27d. [In theory], ON PAPER. I like this entry.
  • 38d. [Vegetarian holiday dish], TOFURKEY. Now, the brand name product is Tofurky, but the generic word is spelled better, with the E. The brand name is one of the ugliest words ever.
  • 41d. [Machine that can be set to talk like a British butler], GPS. Great clue.
  • 43d. [Morissette song that, by failing to give examples of things that are its title, becomes said title], IRONIC.Quelle ironie!
  • 46d. [Ridiculous Starbucks size], TRENTA. Although, is it really so ridiculous if it’s hotter than hell outside and you order a trenta iced tea?

3.5 stars.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Ure Outta Here!” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, July 11

Five common terms get a URE-ectomy, resulting in wacky (but slimmed down) new phrases:

  • 17-Across: “Holy scripture” trims down to HOLY SCRIPT, the [Screenplay for "The Greatest Story Ever Told"?].
  • 24-Across: “Popular culture” becomes a POPULAR CULT, a [Favorite of fanatic followers]. Two words about the alliterative clue: freakin’ fabulous.
  • 34-Across” The television show “Northern Exposure” becomes NORTHERN EXPOS, or [Arctic fairs?]. A quarter says Jeffrey is sad the clue didn’t reference to Montreal Expos.
  • 47-Across: The [Fruit found at Fenway?] is a BALLPARK FIG, a curtailing of “ballpark figure.” I would guess that any fruit served at Fenway Park would be either deep-fried or a garnish to a beer.
  • 57-Across: A “lady of leisure” becomes a LADY OF LEIS, or a [Welcoming wahine?]. More alliteration? Wahoo!

All of the theme entries were terrific, and the fact that the -URE is cut off the very end of each theme entry is an added touch of elegance.

This is a great grid, with the paired 8s in two corners offset with triple-stacked 6s in the other corners. ISE, ORO, and TPK are the relatively small price we have to pay for such craftsmanship. It was odd to see SCRIP, the [Makeshift money], intersecting SCRIPT, but those are technically duplicates. There’s a nice history lesson in here too with STANTON, MUBARAK, Richie VALENS (intersecting his hit, DONNA, no less), and ELIHU Yale.

Favorite entry = L’CHAIM, the toast clued as ["To life!"]. Favorite clue = [Company that used to do a lot of development?] for KODAK.

Doug Peterson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review

LA Times crossword solution, 7 11 12

Gareth here again. It looks like I am to be semi-permanently blogging the LA Times, Wednesday and Friday…

Today’s puzzle is by another familiar name, Doug Peterson. The theme is simple, but subtle. I had to look up at the theme answers after solving to grok it. The last words of the four longest answers are synonyms meaning, more-or-less “brutish person”. The upshot of this is it’s a way to tie together the set of fun answers in Doug’s grid…

  • 17a. ["The Wonder Years" star], FREDSAVAGE. I wish I knew how his named popped into my head with a few crossers. Lord knows I couldn’t name another actor from the show, although I have watched it.
  • 25a. [Muppet with a voracious appetite], COOKIEMONSTER. Who is a monster. Nevertheless, who doesn’t love Cookie Monster in their grid.
  • 45a. [Online news site that merged with Newsweek in 2010], THEDAILYBEAST. They had a crossword once; also, it’s another zesty answer.
  • 59a. [Onetime shelfmate of Count Chocula and Franken Berry], FRUITBRUTE. These were never sold outside of the States as far as I can tell. This one had a brutish werewolf as a mascot.
  • I think I’m right in saying many of Doug’s puzzles have a lot of baseball answers. The clue at 1A [As a shortstop, he won the A.L. Gold Glove in 2002 and 2003], had me flustered, but it turned out to just be crossword favourite, AROD. I still tried ALOU first! AROD is crossed by [Baseballer Herchiser] OREL only it’s clued as the [Russian city east of Kiev] of around 300, 000 souls. Its river, the OKA, also shows up in quite a few puzzles…

    There were quite a few answers that made me smile among the long and medium-length answers. We get two Z’s worked in with the fun answers ONEDOZEN and TOPAZ. As a November baby a plonked the latter answer in straight away, but I’d be a bit more iffy on matching months and birthstones for the other eleven. We get to wonder how many CHEETAHS are called FLUFFY? ONBUTTON is an innovative answer and I found both DADDYO and MALDEMER to be charmingly quaint. Finally we have [Chemicals giant] DUPONT to whom all crossword constructors are eternally grateful for their choice of product names, all the -ONS, TEFLON, NYLON and not forgetting everyone’s favourite: ORLON!

    I thought I’d end by pointing out that, though there’s not a whole lot of scope for devious cluing in an early-in-the-week LA Times puzzle, I thought [Highest sudoku digit] was a creative way to clue NINE!

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53 Responses to Wednesday, 7/11/12

  1. pannonica says:

    Waitasec. That GQ article about James Deen is by Wells Tower. Tell me who has the better porn name.

  2. Martin says:

    Regarding the AV: as a “the theme is everything” kind of a guy (one who can forgive a lot of the fill compromises that drive some folks here to distraction), I found HARDASSET an almost fatal flaw. The reason: it’s a real thing. Four entries that only have wacky interpretations and one that is a real thing but can also be intrepreted wackily is much more jarring to me than AMYS or KCAR. Just sayin’.

  3. Jared says:

    I haven’t done the Onion just yet but I’m really looking forward to it – for my money, Aimee Lucido is the best newish constructor out there.

  4. Erik says:

    et too, ms. lucido?

    clearly this KANSAS CITY CHIEF puzzle ran today as some sort of appeasement for the robbie cano home run derby incident.

  5. pannonica says:

    Martin: I had that sense about HARD ASSET, but wasn’t sure (and didn’t check). I agree that it’s an inconsistency, a distraction, and a big flaw.

  6. anna says:

    1-across in the onion was a nice surprise, too. i had ??ZZ and kept thinking “no, it can’t be!!”

  7. Onion: the PuzzleSocial people bowdlerize clues? I’m not entirely miffed, but I thought that’s kind of the Onion’s cachet. And I agree that HARDASSET is a flaw, but like Amy I’m more searching for the raison d’puz…felt it could have used a theme revealer of some sort.

  8. Anoa Bob says:

    Hmmmm, “The theme didn’t excite me, and the fill was problematic. I appreciated seeing this, 65d: THO.” Sounds vaguely familiar to me Amy. Where have I seen this before?

    It didn’t exactly hit the JACK POT, but all those 6′s and 7′s down did put it into the enjoyable-solve category for me. I especially liked the FRIEZE-BREEZE double-up.

  9. Tuning Spork says:

    JAN?? and AMA?? crossing ??AX and ??LL in the northeast corner. What on the Higgs boson’s green Earth is that?

  10. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Sheesh. Again bafflement. I thought the NYT was an elegant, smooth as silk or peterson, completely enjoyable puzzle with a broad panoply of words, references and letters. Never heard of Cream or Nena, but they were easily gettable. I’m not writing a blog or brief for the puzzle, so I won’t mention all the things I liked (almost everything) and what I didn’t (very little.) Even for someone not into producers, I think of having heard of Joseph Papp as being like my having heard of Eminem. Aside from producing Shakespeare in the Park for years he did an amazing range of other stuff. I’m not particularly an NHL fan, but if one has heard of only 3 current NHL players, Sidney Crosby would probably be one of them especially with his concussion issues so obsessively reported on of late. I regard an entry beginning and ending with a J as a creative plus, not a minus.

    {Dirty little secret} — I like a fair amount of Guns and Roses, and Axl Rose. I consider the Bond films especially the first four, as part of iconic Americana (someone here recently used an analogous expression), and Dr. Hugo Drax is one of the iconic villains, like Dr. No and Goldfinger. My understanding is that Ian Fleming named him for a real life friend of his.

    It’s hard for me to imagine an easy mid-week themeless I would like better.

  11. John Haber says:

    For me, the theme was a big nothing, and yes the fill pretty awful, especially the NE and KOA. (Can’t say I know who OMAR the Tentmaker or Sid CROSBY is either. I can’t imagine not having heard of Cream, though.)

    Joseph Papp’s primary outpost was the Public Theater, which he founded and did a lot to enable the burst of off-Broadway theater. I went a lot in high school (when they’d student “rush tickets,” or last-minute bargains, little more than the cost of a movie), although I didn’t see “Hair” (years earlier) until it was on Broadway. (My mother took me.)

  12. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Bruce: !! Never pegged you for a GNR fan. Sidney Crosby is a current player? I assumed he was from the 1950s.

    @Andrew: “PuzzleSocial people” = me, in this case. I absolutely keep the bowdlerization to a minimum. I kinda wonder if the A.V. Club editorial are psyched to have JIZZ and JAP in the puzzle, actually. Those feel, to me, to be a bit beyond the usual pale.

  13. Howard B says:

    Nope, Sidney Crosby is surprisingly young. “Sid the Kid”, as he’s called. Cool to see unexpected and sometimes forgotten first names pop up as famous people (Consider the source of this post, as to why I appreciate this).

    Nice subtle word theme in the NY Times, though. I liked the way that the phrases cloaked the commmon meanings of the theme words.
    As I’m not active in the theater community (especially NY theater), I only know PAPP from crosswords, although I recognize his fame in that area. The names in the NY Times were definitely a stumbling block today and made the puzzle a much more challenging experience (less available paths to follow through the solve – hit a rough name, then detour around). Such is the nature of Wednesdays, sometimes. Never know what you’re going to get.

  14. Daniel Myers says:

    @Amy–”OMAR the tentmaker” was an early silent film about I know not what. It’s also, if my chaotic memory serves, a typically snide nickname General Patton had for General Omar Bradley during WWII. But the fun stuff is in the Urban Dictionary. A entirely new meaning for camping out [blushes].

  15. ArtLvr says:

    Maybe that HARD ASSET started as HAUL ASSET but couldn’t be made to fit?

  16. Jeffrey says:

    Sam wins a Canadian quarter.

  17. Martin says:

    JIZZ, from Yiddish “gism” (strength) is another word that took on a slang meeting in this country but was used (until recently, at least) both in sexual and non-sexual contexts.

    My father certainly knew that gism also meant semen (Barbra Streisand’s Fanny Brice admonishes a theater owner to “clean the gism” off the seats in “Funny Girl”) but he also used it without embarrassment in other contexts, such as “Sandy Koufax doesn’t have his regular gism today.” I was probably 15 when I learned that gism wasn’t just a synonym for “strength.”

    “Jizz” is apparently an American appropriation of “gism,” with both meanings, from the nineteenth century. One theory of the etymology of “jazz” has it coming from “jizz.” The word “gism” has a lot of gism and it would be a shame for it and it’s Americanizations to be lost to porn.

  18. pannonica says:

    Just want to say, “I knew that but failed to mention it because I was tired last night” about Joseph PAPP’s Public Theater (including the renowned Shakespeare in the Park series) and DRAX, to whom I defer on DR– “Bond villain” clues which are insufficiently unambiguous.

    I’d like to have more to say, but am just responding to the responses at the moment.

  19. Gareth says:

    I battled more with NAPA/AMARE than the crosses you specifically cited. Find it amusing that although crosswords love all things Hawaii, KOA is never clued as the acacia.

  20. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Amy–I love to keepem guesssing in a contrarian sort of way, but there is a fair amount of 80′s 90′s and beyond rock music that I like a lot, including some pretty heavy metal, anti-social, in your face, f*** you stuff. Nor do I dislike all rap, contrary to what may be popular opinion (which I have no doubt fostered.) Certainly I recognize the verbal fluency and virtuosity some of it demonstrates, and respond to the rhythmic intensity and drive. I was blown away, awed, by the Eminem movie *8 Mile Road*. (I lived off 8 Mile Road for a time, but on the far *East* side, not the West side, which is a different planet.) I just don’t bother memorizing the names of bands and rappers.

    I have broader more catholic tastes when it comes to music and organized sound (a distinction which I have been know to theorize about in writing), than I have probably let on. I have been involved in some fairly avant-garde stuff, both as performer and composer. The former involved 100 (mechanical metronomes of various sizes, makes and shapes, on 10 tables on the stage of Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weill Hall.) The latter involved a meticulous catalogue I made of automobile horns–the pitches and intervals they produce. At one point I had a file of about 200 automobiles of various years, makes and models, from the 40′s 50′s and 60′s. (Some produce a single tone, some an interval.) So I did a little composing for an orchestra of automobile horns. Unfortunately I was never able to actually assemble the cars, and do it live, so I had to content myself with writing pitches and intervals. I had even devised some clever notation for the car horns. (At least I thought it was clever.) Maybe I should have tried to get some sort of grant or funding. Now there’s something even a left – progressive could recognize as wasteful governmental spending. :-) But I’ve seen worse.

    “Omar the Tentmaker” was, if I recall correctly, VERY loosely based on Omar Khayyam, 11th – 12th (?) century Persian poet, mathematician, astronomer, mystic, all round cool dude. As I recall the plot involved some preposterous drivel about the Shah trying to steal Omar’s babe, ordering them both thrown off a cliff, etc. etc.

  21. Jenni Levy says:

    I found today’s puzzle easier than yesterday’s. I guess I knew all the proper names – the only one that gave me pause was AMARE, because I wasn’t sure how it’s spelled. I listen to sports radio during baseball season, which overlaps with basketball season, so I’ve heard his name a lot but I don’t read anything about basketball.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEF didn’t bother me at all. I’ve heard that construction a lot on the aforementioned sports-talk radio. The only reference that was completely off my radar was 3D, the Fox News COHOSTs, and that was easily gettable by crossings.

    Nice, smooth, Wednesday, for me – somewhat Tuesday-ish, but not distressingly so.

  22. Martin says:

    Bruce,

    That’s your moitié français peeking through.

  23. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Martin,

    I found your etymological comments interesting. As I recall, E.L. Doctorow uses another variant’ — “jism” in *Ragtime* and elsewhere

  24. pannonica says:

    Bruce N. Morton: I suspect you and I have more than a little aural eccentricities in common, including some of the stuff that some people might not recognize as “music.” Specific to one of the things you wrote, are you familiar with Wendy Mae Chambers’ car horn organ? (I pointed to her website recently apropos of the Reagle 76 trombone puzzle.)

    But, really, never heard of Cream? Wow. Also, Eminem’s film is 8 Mile (sans “Road”). I haven’t seen it.

  25. AV says:

    Amy: Did you really have to rub it in?

    [The theme didn’t excite me ... I appreciated seeing this, 65d: THO.]

  26. Bananarchy says:

    @Bruce: I assume you’re referring to Ligeti’s Poème symphonique? Wonderful weird stuff, that Ligeti music.

  27. marion says:

    @Gareth: If you had done the LAT puzzle, might you have included a Wildebeest? (I know, I know, it should be beast).

  28. mitchs says:

    I had FUZZ, a perfect answer, filled in at 1A. Couldn’t get past it – and was surprised when I clicked reveal! I still have problems remembering the looser editorial standards when doing a BEQ or Onion.

    Not sure if this is a local usage or widespread, but when a golf ball is properly struck it has backspin – which we refer to as “jizz”.

  29. Lois says:

    Martin, could you expand a little on the possibly Yiddish origin of “gism”? The first consonant seems not to be a Yiddish one, so I’m puzzled. I couldn’t find anything about that when I Googled, though I admit I didn’t spend a long time at it.

    Allan, thanks for using the “j” in “jell.” Unfortunately, this was a tough corner for me, and I never got “J and J,” but I thought that was a good clue-and-answer when I found out what it was.

  30. pannonica says:

    There’s also this sense of “jizz.”

  31. Gareth says:

    Weird, Pannonica, as a bird-watcher, I’ve always spelled it GISS. Possibly this is a US/Commonwealth difference…

  32. Martin says:

    Lois,

    Here’s one citation.. I just know this matches how the word was used by the Yiddish speakers in my family.

  33. mitchs says:

    Lois, the third-grader in me finds the first sentence in your post to Martin pretty hysterical. (sorry)

  34. *David* says:

    More JIZZ talk then I ever needed to know. It irritated me that I was spelling TOFURKY without the E and got stuck in that section, I thought I had lost my mind, now I feel better.

  35. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Bananarchy–YES !!!!!!!!

    I’m thrilled, delighted, impressed that you recognize the piece. I was one of the ten who wound and set my ten metronomes randomly (This was while I was a Juilliard student. They recruited us frequently for such projects. Most of us were delighted at the opportunity to say that we had appeared on a NY stage.) I can tell you that the audience was entranced, as the more rapid metronomes died, and gradually you began hearing rhythmic cross rhythms. Then there were three, then two, tapping out a syncopated beat, then one lone survivor, slowly clicking. Then silence. Then someone (I don’t *think* he was a plant), yelled “BRAVO”, and the hall erupted in applause.

    Ligeti is a phenomenal composer. Like most serious pianists I have worked at some of his piano Etudes, but have never gotten them to what I consider prime time ready.

    I also was a member of the piano team in not the first performance organized by John Cage, but a subsequent performance of Satie’s *Vexations*, which is a page of piano music with the heading “To be repeated 840 times.” It takes something like 20 hours to complete. The amusing deal at the first performance (which featured many well-known composers as members of the piano relay team), was that you payed a ticket price, and then got a small rebate for each repetition you sat through. If you made it the whole way, you broke even. I’m not sure whether anyone did or not. I didn’t. But it was a fun event where a young music student could feel that he was a member of the cutting edge, happening musical world.

    Pan,

    I know Wendy Mae Chambers as the toy piano pianist, but I didn’t know about her car organ involvement. For the record, my compilation of horn sounds, (complete with little tape snippets), was during HS and my Juilliard years, i.e. the 60′s.

  36. pannonica says:

    Bruce NM: Obviously you were There First (or at least Before She Was). Tapes? Any phase stuff, such as what S Reich was doing early on? Or Phil Kline with “Unsilent Night”?

    Any Musique Concrète?

    Also, poor, poor Satie is one of my heroes.

  37. pannonica says:

    Stockhausen? Serocki?

  38. Bruce N. Morton says:

    WOW–As I sometimes say (appreciatively) to my law students “You’re pushing me in a direction I want to go,” but I’m afraid I’ll get flagged for being out of bounds.

    I attended very early performances, possibly world premiere’s of both Music for 18 Musicians and Drumming, by Steve Reich. As to phase music — A professional pianist friend of mine and I actually managed to get through “Clapping” cleanly after a bottle of wine–no small feat. And we worked on “Piano Phase, but that was even tougher, with the ever shifting rhythmic displacements.

    As to musique concrete, it turns out in retrospect that I was living in Paris (actually Versailles) as a child during the 50′s when Pierre Schaeffer was doing some of his seminal work with new sounds and sound producing methods. I became and remain fascinated with some of the composers who evolved out of his pioneering work–Xenakis, Verese (Arcana is his masterpiece, I think), Stockhausen, et al. In fact the Stockhausen *Gesang der Junglinge* and the Carter Quartet (then it *was* “the” Carter Quartet) were two of the pieces which we self-styled revolutionary young turks were waving the banner for. I still love both those pieces (now the Carter Quartet # 1). I’ve never worked on the Stockhausen Klavierstucke, but interesting pieces.

    I play John Adams’ *China Gates*–a small masterpiece. *Harmonielehre* is a large masterpiece–one of the great orchestral works of the 20th century. (I also play the Copland Piano Variations which aren’t what you would expect, if you’ve never heard them. Also a piano masterpiece.) In fact I played them for Copland, at Columbia University in the 60′s.

    Kazimierz Serocki–I’ve heard a couple of his trombone pieces but that’s about it.

    If you like Reich’s phase music, listen to Conlon Nancarrow’s pieces for player piano. Astounding rhythmic complexity, yielding a very listenable, enjoyable, jazzy sound. My friend Cheryl Seltzer of the contemporary group Continuum can actually play some of those pieces on a real piano, but I’m not sure how many other people can. I’ll stop rambling.

  39. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Strike the damn apostrophe, but you know that.

  40. Dan says:

    I laughed out loud when I saw Amy’s “appreciated seeing this tho” comment. So I’m not the only constructor that’s seen this depressing phrase in an email?

  41. Jeffrey says:

    With the nice tie-in to the LAT, I am sure Amy wants to see the Cookie Monster’s version of Call Me Maybe.

  42. Bruce — I performed a Gyorgy Ligeti choral piece in college…and I have some vague recollection of a tenor soloist imitating the sound of a rooster crowing therein. ‘Twas much fun to perform. Did he get out of Hungary after the 1956 revolution was suppressed?

  43. Bananarchy says:

    Wow, Bruce, quite an illustrious career. Being a part of a Ligeti performance would have been fascinating. I once had the chance to be a part of a performance of Cage’s Imaginary Landscapes #4 (for 12 radios), and it was the experience of a lifetime.

    You’re the only person I’ve heard say that Arcana is Varese’s masterpiece, and I couldn’t agree more. May not have been as groundbreaking as Poème électronique or Ionisation, but it’s drop-dead gorgeous. Also, FWIW I was thrilled to be able to fit XENAKIS in a recent themeless puzzle – one of my faves.

    And, yeah, I second the Nancarrow recommendation. Speaking of live performances, Ensemble Modern released a whole album of his work. Mostly chamber arrangements of his player piano pieces if I recall correctly – not to be missed.

  44. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Dan, it’s boilerplate. Will’s the only person I know who uses the short “tho.”

    @Jeffrey: Yes! This is the sort of music I understand.

  45. Lois says:

    Martin, the fragment of footnote 9 I could see from that book you linked here doesn’t show the connection of the word to Yiddish. It just discusses two related meanings of the word. I see that earlier in footnote 9 Yiddish is discussed, but we don’t see enough to know whether the two points are directly related, or why this particular word is being used in the discussion.

    mitchs, I’m not sure whether I’m glad or sorry I provided you with some merriment. I saw what I wrote, but it wasn’t exactly intentional. I was too lazy to fix it and I hoped it would not be noticed or would just be considered a little joke.

  46. Daniel Myers says:

    Bruce,

    Sorry for the belatedness of this reply. I didn’t realise that the movie was about Omar Khayyam, whose Rubáiyát, as translated by Edward Fitzgerald, has long been one of my favourite poems.

  47. Martin says:

    Lois,

    I admit there’s not much that’s definitive. Here’s another hint.

    Of course, Philip Roth used it in Portnoy’s Complaint, but this citation is not a smoking gun either.

    But between Fanny Brice, Portnoy and my father, I never much thought about it before.

  48. pannonica says:

    …ahem… smoking gun. I suppose the appropriate response is “oy”?

    And I’m not even going to touch the logistics of the other thing.

  49. Lois says:

    Martin, thanks for that more definitive vague reference to Yiddish, haha, in the Shorter Slang Dictionary. Roth is no help; that seems to be English. Still think it should be yizzem, then, if it’s from Yiddish, unless it’s a hard g, uh-oh.

    pannonica, thanks for your humor, and sorry, David.

  50. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I don’t even know what happened to this blog today. “Diary of a Crossword Fiend: Your Home for Avant Garde Rooster, Car Horn, and Metronome Sounds, Now With Extra Gism.”

  51. Tuning Spork says:

    As for the etymological discussion, there’s got to be a neologism joke in there somewhere.

  52. daniel says:

    when JIZZ was in the onion xword this week….

    I jizzed in my pants!

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