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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Soprano Nixon / WED 6-1-11 / Warren Buffet's sobriquet / 1981 Chrysler debut / Undergrads Greek leadership society / Target many New Yorker cartoon

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: OOO (32D: Tic-tac-toe line ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme) — three-word phrases where all three words start with "O" (and middle word in every case is "OF")


Word of the Day: MARNI Nixon (1A: Soprano Nixon) —
Marni Nixon (born February 22, 1930) is an American soprano renowned for being a playback singer for featured actresses in well known movie musicals. This has earned her the sobriquet "The Ghostess with the Mostess", and "The Voice of Hollywood". She has also spent much of her career performing in concerts with major symphony orchestras around the world and in operas and musicals throughout the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one was nowhere near my sweet spot, and on top of that it was teeming with less-than-wonderful fill, so not much joy for me today. ORACLE OF OMAHA is a nice answer to build a puzzle around, but "ONE OF OURS" is not exactly marquee Cather (Pulitzer notwithstanding), and I've simply never heard of ORDER OF OMEGA. I've also never (or barely) heard of MARNI Nixon or "The Makropulos Affair" or OKEMO (except in some forgotten crossword, I'm sure) (37D: Vermont ski resort), and I didn't know W.A.S.P. was still a thing or that "The New Yorker" still cared (49A: Target of many a New Yorker cartoon). In short, my response was mainly "what year is it?" and "maybe if I were a patrician W.A.S.P. opera-goer from the northeast, this puzzle would be more likeable."

Junk: IOS, OLIOS, CCIX, ABO, POTRO (DEL POTRO would've been just fine), SEG, ORIEL, DFCS, as well as the clues on FEY and FEST. Not junk: the FLIP and FLOP answers (FLIP A COIN and MEGAFLOP) (18A: Make heads or tails of something? and 38D: Big bust). Putting sportsy SHAUN White next to sportsy Juan Martin del POTRO seems slightly cruel to the notoriously sportsphobic, but with all the damn "New Yorker" / opera / FARRAR, Straus and Giroux snootiness everywhere else in the puzzle, I guess it's only fair.


Theme answers:
  • 14A: "Love the skin you're in" sloganeer, once (OIL OF OLAY)
  • 19A: Undergrads' Greek leadership society (ORDER OF OMEGA)
  • 35A: Warren Buffet's sobriquet (ORACLE OF OMAHA)
  • 54A: You need to raise your hand to receive this (OATH OF OFFICE)
  • 60A: Pulitzer-winning novel by Willa Cather ("ONE OF OURS")
IN ARABIC seemed like cheating to me (5D: How a fatwa might be issued). I guess any "IN [insert language here]" phrase will do now. MADOFF is pretty close to a universal gimme as clued (1D: Financial scammer Bernie). BACH was also a gimme, if only because he's a composer in 4 letters (ARNE and ORFF be damned) (23D: Composer with 20 children). Never driven a K-CAR (30D: 1981 Chrysler debut), but I can tell you that BOCA Burgers are pretty tasty (9D: ___ Burger (veggie patty)). We like to use the ground stuff in pasta sauces, though tonight we had wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon that was so gorgeously unimaginably pink that it put the pathetic, wan, farm-raised stuff to shame. Probably cost an arm and a leg, but I didn't really look 'cause when it comes to that kind of stuff I don't want to know. I just want to eat.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Late marathoner Waitz / TUE 5-31-11 / Paparazzo's target briefly / Holy Roman emperor dubbed Great / Potter pal Weasley

Constructor: Nina Rulon-Miller

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: TWENTY-ONE (65A: Number associated with 17-, 25-, 41- and 51-Across) — four definitions of TWENTY-ONE
  • BLACKJACK (17A: Something to play at a casino)
  • SPOTS ON A DIE (25A: Pips)
  • FIFTIES GAME SHOW (41A: Jack Barry once hosted a rigged one)
  • NEW YORK CLUB (51A: Place for Manhattanites to drink and dance)
Word of the Day: GRETE Waitz (58D: Late marathoner Waitz) —
Grete Waitz (1 October 1953 – 19 April 2011) was a Norwegian marathon runner, who won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988, more than any other runner in history. She also won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a gold medal at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not a fan of this one at all. Never have liked definition-answers, which is essentially what these are, and this set felt both wobbly and awkwardly clued. Pointlessly vague clue on BLACKJACK (17A: Something to play at a casino). Oddly general FIFTIES GAME SHOW (only sensible answer to that clue—41A: Jack Barry once hosted a rigged one—is GAME SHOW; "Hey," said Jack Barry, "I host a FIFTIES GAME SHOW." Uh, no). Depressingly anticlimactic (and also oddly general) NEW YORK CLUB ("Hey, Manhattanites, let's go out to that NEW YORK CLUB everyone is talking about!" Uh, no). The reason I say that NEW YORK CLUB is "depressingly anticlimactic" is because I really Really wanted the answer to be THE STORK CLUB, both because it's a perfect answer for the clue—51A: Place for Manhattanites to drink and dance (*much* better than the baloney we end up with)—and because it's just a great answer, period, one that would make any grid proud. But alas, not today. Non-theme fill was fair to middling—a nice answer here and there, but mostly ordinary or gunky stuff (ODIST, OTTOI, NACHT, etc.) (27D: Keats or Wordsworth; 20A: Holy Roman emperor dubbed "the Great"; 7D: After-dark time in Germany).

Only part that gave me any trouble was THREEFOLD, again because the cluing felt clunky (38D: Like a $6 return on a $2 bet). Also took me a few passes to get IDIOT BOX, though that struggle was at least worth it (42D: Boob tube). Also enjoyed "THAT'S LIFE" (3D: "Win some, lose some").


Bullets:
  • 39D: Potter pal Weasley (RON) — This has become a favorite RON clue of late. RON Jeremy you somehow see far less often. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing RON Swanson in the grid.
  • 14A: Nobelist Niels (BOHR) — I always want to spell his name BOER. He's Danish. The Boers were Danish. It makes a kind of sense. [I was trying to tweak a Dutch person I know by pretending not to know the difference betw. Danes and Dutch; too insidery; sorry; carry on]
  • 63A: Paparazzo's target, briefly (CELEB) — I like that this answer bends 90 degrees south to make CELEB OX, since [Celebes ox] is a klassic klue for the klassic krosswordese answer ANOA. That may be the nerdiest, most insidery crossword thing I've ever said out loud.
Happy birthday to Mr. Brian Grosz, who is one of my coolest, funniest, and drinkingest readers, and almost certainly the most tattooed (see his profile in the latest "Skin & Ink" magazine, here).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Ressource à Marrakech #2


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Marrakech, c'est fini, je vous quitte en moto avec mon oncle...!


Une vidéo que j'ai envie de partager avec vous.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

1959 Spanish-language Top 40 hit / MON 5-30-11 / Pitchfork-shaped letters / Maker Rodeo Trooper / Bonding material bathroom floors

Constructor: Michael Barnhart

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: BREAK A LEG (63A: "Good luck!" .. and a hint to 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across) — word "LEG" is "broken" across two words in the theme answers


Word of the Day: AGHA (28D: Turkish title) —
Socio-political title of authority. Agha ("chief," "master") was associated with certain administrators in the Ottoman empire. It is also used in other settings, such as among Kurds. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not too thorny as Mondays go, but I never really got a good rhythm going, and so my time was slightly north of normal. I think the somewhat odd theme answers, particularly TILE GROUT (which I've always just called "GROUT") and CHARITABLE GIFTS (which I've always called "charity"), coupled with a decent amount of ambiguity in some of the clues kept this one from being a flat-out romp for me. Is the "Rat" of 1D a verb or a noun? Is 5A: Seethe BOIL or BURN? Etc. These weren't *hard* to figure out, but they required figuring out, which is what passes for "difficulty" on most Mondays. The theme seems like one that would have been done before. Several times before, in fact. And yet I find no evidence for that. I see that BREAKALEG has been used as a theme answer several times in the past, but it's never been a theme-revealer. A theme so obvious that no one ever thought of it. Kinda like the purloined letter hiding in plain sight. I call dibs on "BREAKING BAD." Let's see ... RUB-A-DUB ... GRAB A DRINK ... uh, SAMBA DANCE? Hmm, I'll get back to you. [Correction: someone has done this theme before—Patrick Blindauer, CrosSynergy puzzle, 6/26/08; it shares one theme answer with this puzzle: JUNGLE GYM]

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Bonding material for bathroom floors (TILE GROUT)
  • 25A: Playground fixture (JUNGLE GYM)
  • 39A: Donations (CHARITABLE GIFTS)
  • 51A: Upholsterer's need (STAPLE GUN)
Enjoyed JUNGLE GYM, DODGY (whose clue I never saw, actually) (59A: Not to be believed), and especially INFLUXES (41D: Streams of arrivals), which (like a few answers in the grid) I was not able to uncover quickly.

Bullets:
  • 27A: 1959 Spanish-language Top 40 hit ("LA BAMBA") — second time in the puzzle for this answer in the past week or so.
  • 43A: One of the Carpenters, in 1970s pop (KAREN) — Every time I hear her voice, I think how impossibly pure it is.

  • 7D: Maker of the Rodeo and Trooper (ISUZU) — tied to JAPAN. My first thought was that SEDANS would've made a more natural cross-reference, but then I couldn't name an Isuzu sedan...
  • 34D: Entertainer at a kid's birthday party (CLOWN) — scary. Here's a video I've played before—so weird and creepy that it's worth playing again:


  • 38D: Pitchfork-shaped letters (PSIS) — PSI/PHI (which is a homonym of "scifi," I just realized) always confuses me.
  • 55D: Bit of light that's harmful to the skin (UV RAY) — always looks good in the grid. Appropriate for what feels like the start of summer—it's finally gotten well and truly Warm here. Mint julep helped ease the discomfort. Gonna bike around the neighborhood while there's still sunlight. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

I've had enough, this is my prayer, that I'll die living just as free as my hair.

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Lady Gaga - Hair ♥.


     Color block vous avez dit ? Je ne sais même pas si j'avais déjà parlé ici de cette tendance. En gros, j'adore j'adore j'adore. Pour ceux à qui ça ne dit rien du tout, le " color blocking " consiste à associer différents vêtements à couleurs vives & unis. Pour une fois, on se lâche carrément, pas la peine de réfléchir trois plombes à si ce vert ira avec ce rouge & blablabla. Bon, il n'est pas question non plus de faire n'importe quoi, mieux vaut garder une unité quand même. Pour ma part, je dirais qu'il ne faut pas user de plus de 3 couleurs à la fois, c'est plus prudent. Donnez moi vos avis sur cette tendance, je suis intéressée de savoir ce que vous en pensez :D. 

Donc, pour cette première tenue color block, j'ai pris ma nouvelle jupe, ramenée de Barcelone, dénichée à Stradivarius (directement dans mon top de magasins préférés !). EDIT : grâce à " Math' " qui m'a laissé un petit commentaire en me disant avoir vu exactement la même jupe chez Bershka, je suis allé vérifier sur l'étiquette de ma jupe, &, heu, ouais .. Je fais mon mea-culpa, je m'étais trompée, ladite jupe ne vient donc pas de Stradivarius mais bien de Bershka, shame on me ......... Elle est d'un orange/corail superbe, & a une petite ceinture rose adorable (vous noterez le rappel du rose avec les chaussettes (qui rendent rouges sur les photos, mais je vous assure qu'elles sont du même rose que ma ceinture n_n'), de chez Stradivarius !). Initialement je pense que cette jupe doit être portée "normalement", aux hanches quoi. Mais personnellement, je n'aime pas du tout porter mes jupes comme ça, j'ai des hanches plutôt prononcées que je n'aime pas forcément, & je préfère mettre ma taille en valeur. Donc je me suis retrouvée à la caisse avec une jupe en taille 32, ahah. J'ai dû défaire l'ourlet pour qu'elle ne soit pas trop-trop courte. Le tee-shirt turquoise vous l'avez déjà vu, jenesaisplusquand. Les chaussures aussi, qui datent de l'Eté dernier. Les boucles d'oreilles plumes sont nouvelles (vous les avez peut-être remarqué dans le précédent article ?), ainsi que la capeline qui vient tout juste de rejoindre mon dressing mais que j'adore déjà ! Le collier, acheté il y a un moment mais jamais porté à ce jour, & puis mon rouge à lèvres orange dont je suis fan =').


Color block you said ? I do not even remember if I've already talked about this trend here. Basically, I love love looove it. For those who don't know anything about this trend : " color blocking " consist in making an outfit with different bright colors, no patterns. Don't need to think for ages if this red goes well with this green & so on. Well, the point isn't getting dressed like a mess, you have to keep an unity. Let's say no more than 3 colors, it's more cautious, lol. Tell me what you think about that trend, I'm curious about your opinions :D. 


So, for the first outfit color block, I took my new skirt, bought in Barcelone in Stradivarius (directly on my favourite shops !). It is a wonderful orange/corail, with an adorable pink belt (note the recall of the pink on the socks ( they look red on the photos but I swear they're the same pink than the belt n_n' ), also bought in Stradivarius 8D). Basically, I think that this skirt should be worn " normally ", like, on this hips. But personnally I do not like to wear my skirts like that at all - I have pronounced hips & I don't really like it so I prefer put my waist in value. So I found myself at the checkout with a 32 size skirt, ahah. I had to unsew the hem because the skirt would have been to short otherwise. You already saw the blue tee-shirt, can'trememberwhen. The shoes too, from last Summer. The feather earring are new ( maybe you noticed them on my last post ? ), as well as my "  floppy hat " that is my newest purchase but that I already love so much ! I bought the necklace months ago but never worn it before today, & finally I wear my orange lipstick that I love a lot =').



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Skirt, socks : Stradivarius, tee-shirt : Zeeman, shoes : ?,
hat : Leclerc, earrings : Six, necklace : New Yorker.




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I LOVE ICE CREAM.

Hebergeur d'imageMy new swimsuits, I love theeeeem ♥.
- From LaHalle ;') -


Love love love ♥.



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