Onetime English poet laureate Henry James / WED 8-9-17 / Flock loser of rhyme / What Rick called Ilsa / Forbidden fragrance in old ads

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (proper noun issues...)


THEME: "Where a [sounds like a poker hand] can beat a [sounds like a poker hand]" — the answers have nothing to do with poker:

Theme answers:
  • CHESS MATCH (17A: Where a queen can beat a king)
  • DOUBLES TENNIS (39A: Where an ace can beat a pair)
  • SOCK DRAWER (61A: Where two pair beats three of a kind) 
Word of the Day: Onetime English poet laureate Henry James PYE (47A) —
Henry James Pye (/p/; 10 February 1744 – 11 August 1813) was an English poet. Pye was Poet Laureate from 1790 until his death. He was the first poet laureate to receive a fixed salary of £27 instead of the historic tierce of Canary wine (though it was still a fairly nominal payment; then as now the Poet Laureate had to look to extra sales generated by the prestige of the office to make significant money from the Laureateship).
• • •

There is a cuteness and cleverness in back of this theme, but the whole shebang is pretty wobbly, for a number of reasons. The reorientation from poker to a CHESS MATCH is pretty clear, pretty straightfoward. It's a game, the "beat" make a kind of sense, even if you'd never ever say a queen "beat" a king if you were referring to actual chess. But fine. Association between clue and answer gets softer in the next themer, DOUBLES TENNIS, as "a pair" makes no sense here. You only ever serve to one human in DOUBLES TENNIS, and unless it's match point, an ace "beats" precisely no one. Also, association between "pair" and doubles team is not strong. But OK, you're playing a little word game, we'll give you Super Duper leeway. Finally there's SOCK DRAWER, which is both the funniest (if this kind of humor is your thing) and the weakest of the bunch. If I open my SOCK DRAWER and see three of a kind, I still have socks for the day. True, I will have to find that fourth sock by tomorrow, but today I'm good. It's a tie. 


The fill is where this one gets rough, and occasionally unbearable. There are too many proper nouns of dubious fame here. Yes, constant solvers will have seen LEHAR and BEHAN and BINET, but probably Only In Crosswords because they get Overused because of their odd letter patterns (esp. those first two—having LEHAR and BEHAN in the same grid should cause it to implode or otherwise collapse; they're essentially the same name to me, the "holy crap I have -EHA- in my grid how do I make it work!?" (REHAB would of course be the ideal fix, but ...). Crossing BEHAN and BINET is just cruel. LEHAR and BEHAN are both known for precisely one work apiece. You gotta be better at handling proper nouns. Crossword addiction can convince you that today's names are far, far, far more commonly known than they are. Also, I grew up in CA and have never heard of the EEL River, so that is a beast of a clue (57A: California's ___ River). Also, a word about *&$&ing PYE: Literally no one knows who Henry James PYE is. I have an English Ph.D. and have been around English Ph.D.s most of my life, I've barely if ever heard of him. He was "poet laureate" over 200 years ago. He wrote nothing anyone has heard of. I love this line from wikipedia: "As a prose writer, Pye was far from contemptible." It is both stupid and sadistic to clue PYE this way.



Other slowness came from ONE instead of YOU in the central Down answer, and CRAFT instead of CARVE at 34A: Sculpt. Very choppy grid meant lots of short stuff meant less-than-lovely answers, most of the time, though GO TO THE DOGS and LAME-BRAINED are winners, for sure.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

82 comments:

kitshef 7:30 AM  

A darn fine Wednesday. Theme was something different, and I enjoyed puzzling them out. Quite a few woes (e.g. BEHAN PYE ALB LEHAR, EEL as clued), easily gotten by crosses.

Still hate ABE used to mean $5, which I have never heard nor seen outside of puzzledom.

Larval EELs feed on marine snow, which I’ve always hoped to see in a crossword.

Two Ponies 7:32 AM  

There is no feta in my moussaka either.
I don't know this Leo informally or formally.
Pye?
Out of the corner of my eye I saw ___ Xing and thought it was going to be another proper noun but Asian.
Sock drawer gave me a bit of a chuckle.
I don't remember ever seeing Elsie's picture on a milk carton.
All-in-all agree with Rex.
What a funny sock ad. Three socks indeed.

QuasiMojo 7:32 AM  

Lehar is known for more than one work, as is Behan. Broaden your horizons a bit before making embarrassing blanket statements, Rex. Silly theme spoiled further by lousy crosswordese fill.

Lewis 7:35 AM  

I must do a lot of crosswords -- AMESIOWA, ESAI, LEHAR, NOH, and ALB just popped right in. Liked that EASE out and EDGE where it should be, and having EMU and EDU in the same puzzle. The theme was clever and the puzzle's highlight for me were the clues to the second two theme answers. @Rex, the doubles players are a team, so an ace beats them both, whether it's winning a point or a match. And, regarding the socks, I'd much rather have two complete pairs than one complete and one lacking -- the former certainly beats the latter for me.

Truly truly truly, may that WAR/INANE cross sink deeper and deeper into our national consciousness!

Seth 7:36 AM  

Three bad crossings:
BEHAN/BINET
BINET/TABU
And actually, DEED/LEO. This could be DIED/LIO, because why not? His name is Lionel Messi, and "DEED I DO" sounds weird enough that maybe "DIED I DO" is right.

Norm 7:39 AM  
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Norm 7:40 AM  
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Norm 7:40 AM  

Pretty sure Nadal or Federer (each a tennis ACE in common parlance) could beat me and my partner single-handedly.

felix fortinbras 7:45 AM  

That ridiculous BEHAN/BINET crossing DNFed me because I ended up going through the alphabet on the app. I suppose when I renew my subscription the NYT can guess the last two numbers of my cc info if they want my money.

chefbea 7:48 AM  

Fun puzzle and I agree with Rex...too many proper names I did not know. Mousaka and feta are both greek...even if you don't put cheese in it. But yummy breakfast...eggo, omelet, home fries,and pone!!! I'm hungry!!

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

What QuasiMojo said (the first part).

Hungry Mother 8:18 AM  

A bit faster than normal, but I did a lot of downs today. The names always irk me; I look for wordplay.

Cogito 8:18 AM  

How are you supposed to know Irish authors and poet laureates when your favorite literature is comic books and pulp fiction?
Oh wait, they are "graphic novels" so they're OK.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Hmm...
Easy for me.
Pleasant time doing it.
Guess I haven't been doing them long enough to be irritated. Or maybe it's because I don't have a Phd in English.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Lately I've been noticing bad fill that's easily fixed. Today's installment is BEHAN/BINET. Easily fixed as BE HAD/BIDET. So why leave that horrible crossing?

I thought this theme was fun. First one went down easy because most of the crosses (all except NOH, DOTHE..., and LEHAR) were gimmies and that was the easiest pun, and that left two little riddles for later. I genuinely laughed when they fell into place. Rex is being far too critical.

Z 8:33 AM  

Quickie PPP Analysis
27 of 78 for 34.6%. So I do expect more people than Rex to have issues with pop culture, product names, and other proper nouns.

@QuasiMojo - Rex was being nice when he said they were known for one. Hell, how many people who have heard of The Merry Widow know it is LEHÁR? I wouldn't be the least surprised if even that number is less than 50%. BINET is pretty famous in my professional world, but I still don't think anything but his letters make him as crossworthy (btw - I looked up LEHÁR to see what he is allegedly remembered for). I'm in the heard of the work, never heard the work, don't know anything else by LEHÁR" group.

@Lewis - That first sentence is exactly how I felt when PYE went in, tinged with a "this seems unfairly PPP laden for people who aren't doing 10-20 puzzles a week."

Irene 8:35 AM  

Theme was nice, but names I didn't know did me in.
Such as
Glad
Emil
Emu
Eel
Redbox
Leo
Some came clear through crosses, but it made for a choppy solve.

OTOH I remember Brendan Behan well. He was a sort of low-rent Dylan Thomas.

Irene 8:38 AM  

Whoops. I forgot, of course, Pye.








































hankster65 8:44 AM  

Rex, King of the Nitpickers! I enjoyed this one. Got a big kick out of sock drawer. Clever stuff.

semioticus (shelbyl) 8:46 AM  

That BEHAN / BINET crossing was horrible for a Wednesday. That set aside, cute puzzle. But dear Gods.

The two longer answers both contained THE, which I also didn't particularly like.

I'm surprised this got a Pow! from Jeff Chen.

Hartley70 8:51 AM  
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Hartley70 8:54 AM  

I found this unusually easy. My father gave me a copy of "Borstal Boy" to read in my early teens and BINET, well that's in the name of the test. PY made it pretty obvious to guess the E and that was the only time I had to guess.

I liked the theme and thought the long downs were well chosen. It was nice to see AMESIOWA make an appearance. It tends to be a flyover to the coastal puzzlers. I would think you could wave to @r.alphbunker as you go by.

@Gill I, best of luck tomorrow. I posted some encouragement while you were hopefully sleeping last night.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Super easy and super fast for me. Did it in under 50% of my normal Wednesday time. Since all of the proper nouns were readily familiar to me, and I immediately got the theme, I walked through it substantially faster than my average Monday.

But that is the luck of the draw, tomorrow with a different set of proper nouns, I probably won't be as lucky

Dan P 9:04 AM  

Nice to see ANTES and CARDS in the corners

Aketi 9:09 AM  

@GILL I, missed yesterday's posts so I'm wishing you good luck with your surgery. My husband was in awe with how vivid colors were after his surgery.

BINET saved me from amy mishaps with BE HAN. I didn't look at the clue so I thought it was channeling your inner HAN Solo.

RAD2626 9:12 AM  

Put in BEHAr/BIrET which seemed pretty reasonable but then switched to the N thinking you could not possibly have LEHAR and BEHAr in the same puzzle.

I liked the theme and all the long fill. Pretty nifty. My only serious gripe besides the intersecting unknowns was IES as a certain form of plural. Sort of like any random three letters clued as "Three random letters." Oh, I got it. IES.

Nancy 9:20 AM  

I thought the theme was clever, different, and it made me think. And, of course, I loved DOUBLES TENNIS. So why did this very good theme have to be embedded in a sea of boringly clued non-theme answers? Other than the three theme answers, the rest of the puzzle bored me to death. Except when I was being annoyed by the all the proper names. And I almost didn't finish. At the outset, I had confidently written in hArEBRAINED at 11D, and never thought about it again until I couldn't finish the tip of the NE. What trash can brand was -HAD? What Disney title character was -RIL? I finally changed to LAMEBRAINED, and it all came together.

I did learn something in this puzzle, but I can't remember what it was. Let me take a quick look... ... ... Oh, yes, I didn't know that the Spruce Goose only flew ONCE. What a ridiculous waste of money, Howard.

Suzy 9:21 AM  

Wow! The day has finally come! A medium-challenging for Rex was an easy, peasy for me!!
Pardon me while I go gloat in my sock drawer!!!

jberg 9:33 AM  

I put in CHESS board at first, but "ale " showed me it was wrong. Other than that, my main problem was confusing Mossad with Mosul.

Good point about ANTES & CARDS, @Dan P--part of the poker misdirect?

The5th Harp 9:35 AM  

I don't have a PhD in English but it's inane to say Behan is known for only one work. How about The Hostage or The Quare Fellow?

Tita A 9:37 AM  

I think Rex's carefully studied, clearly argued discussion on SOCKDRAWER is worthy of the Crossword Critic's Pulitzer.
I don't agree with his conclusion, and do agree with @Lewis, but I appreciate the elegance he exhibits there...

I thought this was a very different and fun theme, despite my DNF at the popular BEHAR/BIrET natick. Yes, too PPPful, but that didn't ruin it for me.

@Gill...I raise ny coffee cup to you and say "Here's looking at you, KID" and best wishes for your procedure today.

@Malsdemare...going back a few days...great news about your pup and the vestigial leg. Once again, kudos to you and all who not only rescue pets, but rescue the "unadoptable".

More Whit 9:44 AM  

I found this relatively easy as well, despite the same momentary one/you and craft/carve mishaps. Thanks for "The Gambler" insert Rex - a song that paints a dozen vivid images every time I hear it. I listened again to Barbara Cook sing "Here's to Life"...extraordinary and will always remain so.

Whirred Whacks 9:47 AM  

For your information:

How the International Olympic Committee Lists the names of 1976 Decathlon Medalists

and

How Wikipedia Lists the names of the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Medalists

puzzlehoarder 9:50 AM  

I liked this puzzle in spite of it's easiness. The theme was minimal with only three and they were simple wordplay. The fist one went in without my realizing it was a theme entry. I was all set to put BOARD in when I thought that I'd better check 18D first. Sure enough it was MATCH instead. That was typical of the lack of challenge. The constructor did put in some mid-level proper nouns to up the difficulty but the easy crosses made that ineffective. Maybe it was reading about Glen Campbell's death before printing out the puzzle but 28D made me think of Nina Simone singing "Go to the devil". The grid spanner reminded me of Chris Cornell's "Be yourself it's all that you can do." This was purely my reaction but it did add to the enjoyment of the puzzle.

Stanley Hudson 9:51 AM  

Tuesday easy but a clever theme.

From Wikipedia: The Eel River (Cahto: Taanchow)[5] is a major river, about 196 miles (315 km) long, of northwestern California in the United States. The river and its tributaries form the third largest watershed entirely in California, draining a rugged area of 3,684 square miles (9,540 km2) in five counties. The river flows generally northward through the Coast Ranges west of the Sacramento Valley, emptying into the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles (16 km) downstream from Fortuna and just south of Humboldt Bay. The river provides groundwater recharge, recreation, and industrial, agricultural and municipal water supply.

Of course, California is a big state with lots of rivers.

@Gill I, wishing you the best today.

pmdm 9:52 AM  

I dislike proper nouns, of which there were a lot (as Z points out) but for some reason I was able to ignore them and solve the puzzle using the crosses. I guess that's to be expected for a Tuesday puzzle.

Reading into the constructor's comment found elsewhere, because he had to do some work to comply with Shortz's artificial maximum-number-of-words rule, some of the less elegant entries intruded themselves into the puzzle. Too bad. A good example of how arbitrary rules can result in sub-par puzzles (compared to what they should have been).

Mr. Sharp, every serve in tennis results in either beating your opponent(s) for the point or them beating you for the point (unless the serve is {the famous crossword puzzle word] let). So when you play double tennis you can beat your two opponents for the point if you serve an ace. Methinks you overcomplicate.

GHarris 10:10 AM  

I found Rex's diatribe on the theme absurd, especially when it came to the sock drawer. Unless he was pulling my leg. Even lacking Rex's academic credentials found getting Brendan Behan and Alfred Binet quite doable and the puzzle less than challenging and rather enjoyable.

Craig Percy 10:15 AM  

Easy and enjoyable. The names I didn't know, I solved via the crosses. And then I knew them. Just like an XW should work. Enjoyed the puns. No quibbles. Thank you, Adam.

RooMonster 10:20 AM  

Hey All !
If anyone is unfamiliar with the meaning of Natick on this blog, the perfect example is the N in the BEHAN/BINET cross. Two proper nouns (names) crossing each other, that 40% (was it 40?) of the general solving public wouldn't know.

I didn't even alphabet run on that, just took the DNF, because I still wouldn't have known it. Also had cOUpLESTENNIS as part of my DNF. The ole LAME BRAIN let me down. :-)

26 threes, and a lot of them prefixes, abbrs., and initialy things. Did like the long Downs, and the whole AMES IOWA nice to see. EEL clued as other than a slippery fish is good! I had EELS in a puz once clued as 'They're electric!'

Is PONE pronounced po-nay, or just pone? Like MEME before it was widely known. Me-me? Me-may?

DELUXE SNOB
RooMonster
DarrinV

Crane Poole 10:20 AM  

Not bad. Certainly some gooders. How about a little consistency and convention with sawbucks and fins? Nobody calls it an Alexander (do they?) but it's worth two Abes. Two Abes walk into a bar. Lehar was long-known subject matter here, but BEHAN/BINET was a strangeburger served on a hot dog bun. EEL river from Breakfast at a very different Tiffany's.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:29 AM  

California's a big state......we know the Northern part much better ... used to go camping near the Eel, so with one letter it was a given. Right, there were a lot of names...but easy .... as I am, if not a constant puzzler, at least a frequent flier.

Joseph Michael 10:30 AM  

I enjoyed this because the theme is original and the puzzle kept me guessing. Liked that it begins with an ANTE and ends with a hand of CARDS. Also liked the encouragement of DO THE BEST YOU CAN as I worked my way through the grid.

Got caught in a trap at first with "chess board" as my entry for 17A. Took a while to work my way out of that and finally see it was a CHESS MATCH where the queen was victorious.

Great word play in the clues for DOUBLES TENNIS and SOCK DRAWER.

Would have been nice if "poker" could have made its way into the grid in some form, as in a "blank expression" being a "poker face" or "one who jostles he-men" being a "stud poker" (sorry) (couldn't resist).

I could also have used a few less proper nouns, though most were familar to me. My only real hangup was in trying to remember who composed "The Merry Widow." Or did I ever really know that to begin with?

Either way, Mr. LEHAR, it's quite a good title. And this, Mr. Perl, is quite a good puzzle.

ArtO 10:48 AM  

Agree with the criticism of PYE but in general these days it seems like Rex simply goes out of his way to find something he can quarrel with in any puzzle regardless of how clever the theme...and I consider today's one of the best in a long time.

jb129 10:59 AM  

I enjoyed this a lot & didn't find it medium/challenging like Rex did - more like easy. Sock drawer was great.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

There's a great bar in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston called The Behan.

Robert A. Simon 11:04 AM  

While a lot of you point graphite-stained fingers at bad crosses like BEHAN/BINET, we, the not-as-good-as-you, do not bemoan the resultant DNF's. Instead, we celebrate MTF's (Managed To Finish), which are about as rare. Today was an MTF, solely because my sister was a professional opera/operetta singer for decades.



Tita A 11:05 AM  

@Whirred...thanks for the links. When she was Bruce, she attended nearby Newtown, ct High School. After the Olympic win, they named the stadium Bruce Jenner Stadium. Later, when it came time to refurbish it, they contacted the still-Bruce, asking for a contribution to help with the costs.
He never responded.
They renamed the renovated stadium "Blue and Gold" in 2001.

I bet the school officials are happy to have dodged the damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't decision they would have been faced with now.

As to appropriate way to historically reference such folks, how about however they want...

Two Ponies 12:00 PM  

When I lived in England my circle of friends would refer to any boys reform school as a generic Borstal. Might have been a regional West Country thing.

mathgent 12:10 PM  

Like @Nancy, I thought that it was a bore. But I also hated the theme. Queens don't beat kings in chess. No tennis player who hits an ace in doubles would feel that he or she has beaten the other team in any way. He or she has simply won a point.

I knew all the proper nouns and breezed through it on automatic pilot.

Jeff Chen has seen all of this week's puzzles and considers this one the Puzzle of the Week. I'm beginning to wonder about Jeff. He was aware of all the problems with the theme clues and yet ... This promises to be a snooze week.

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

I ain't got no PhD at all, but sure do know a funny PYE fight, when I see one.

OK. Now, even tho the puz was a dash lean on the theme-material (33 squares or so?), it **decidedly** earned its keep, with the primo-classic SOCKDRAWER themer.
I fear that @RP's socks logic has a small hole in it, tho -- darn it. What if U are packin for a big trip, and U need some extra socks…? Two pair would be slightly better than havin three matchin singles. I mean, sure U could go with the three socks, and maybe use two of em for a spell. Then turn one inside out and use it with the extra one. Then later on, turn the other first-used sock inside out, and pair it up with the odd one for some more mileage. But, shoot. Sock rationin is a tricky business, and one can lose valuable nanoseconds in the plannin stages that could be much better spent in furtherin the cause of humanity, in pye fights and such.

staff weeject pick: IES. @Anoa Bob: Could this be called a Plural of Defiance? har

Knew BINET, didn't know BEHAN or EMIL. Knew LEHAR. Also know BEHAR. Know most of them HAR words.
Overall, the solvequest was pretty short and sweet.

The fillins in that NE corner were A-1 superb. LAMEBRAINED+ASIMOV+DELUXE+REDBOX+CARVE. day-um. Constructioneer musta flat-out celebrated, after he successfully rolled outta there. M&A woulda been mighty proud of hisself, if it'd been his filled-up gorgeous corner.
Way to go, and thanx, Mr. Perl.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anti-TREME serum:
**gruntz**



[this hunk of blank space is dedicated to @Irene.]

Trombone Tom 12:36 PM  

@jberg hand up for putting in CHESSboard before CHESSMATCH.

No problem relating DOUBLES TENNIS to the clue. However @Rex and others fairly note the difficulty level of personal names for a Wednesday.



Aside from the one sidetrack noted above I thought this was a fun puzzle that went very quickly. Really enjoyed the theme.

Kenneth Wurman 12:37 PM  

Very easy Wednesday fare..

old timer 12:38 PM  

I liked the puzzle and my only hangup was I wanted "harebrained" instead of LAMEBRAINED. And therefore "Eric" instead of the (to me unknown) EMIL. It was only because a second ERIC showed up at the bottom that I was comfortable with that NE corner, Well, that, but also what brand of bags could it be but GLAD?

No problem with BINET and certainly none with BEHAN. If you hang out in Irish music circles or at some Irish bars you will hear of Brendan BEHAN, or as he was often called, "St. Brendan the Drunk."

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

p.s.
Ahar! … But, when, then, does a ten high beat a straight flush?

[13 long … "jacks" yer theme-material squares up to 46!]

M&Also

oldactor 12:53 PM  

@mathgent....If a king and his queen are playing a chess match, either one could win, perhaps the queen.

Chip Hilton 1:02 PM  

Esteemed children's author Eleanor Estes wrote a book called Ginger PYE. I think that would've been a better subject for a clue than the port laureate. Other than that, I enjoyed this one and felt both LEHAR and BEHAN were legit inclusions. And the BINET test is certainly a big deal.

Nitpicking by Rex on DOUBLESTENNIS. Very clever clue, for me.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

CHESS MATCH - ho-hum

DOUBLES TENNIS - clevvvver

SOCK DRAWER - Ding, ding, ding!

I thought this theme was great fun with the pay-off in the third themer bringing a big smile to my face which beat my frowny face at BINET/BEHAN like a Royal Flush beats two pair.

Looking at the grid, my eye continues to be caught by AMESIOWA which looks like it is trying to be AMnESIa somehow but I've forgotten why.

Thanks, AGP, a fun Wednesday. And @M&A, your sock logic is impeccable.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

p.p.s.s.
*** Spoiler Alert on "10 high beats a straight flush" quiz ***

M&A Help Desk



[yo, @Irene]




Answer: BATHROOMBREAK.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Natick caught me.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

@Z

You thought Rex was being nice? Wow! You're a bigger dick than he is.

Thanks for the fun puzzle Mr. Perl.

Joe Bleaux 1:21 PM  

I think Adam G. Perl earned @Rex's "medium." He made me play cautiously from the get-go. Held up at CHESS after seeing IPA and ONCE would rule out BOARD. Quick writeover when COLA for SODA would've required a word ending in "nnic." Overall, nice Wednesday puz, despite nearly ODing on PPPs. @RooMonster. Unless you're kidding (you *are* funny, and I'm a little slow sometimes): PONE is one syllable, as in "cornpone." (I guess next you'll be asking if it's Georgia or Jawjuh -- especially if, like BEHAN and LEHAR, you ain't from around here.)

Dick Swart 1:26 PM  

The Merry Widow. New York City Opera

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pUtRjDx2k8

Brendan Behan

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/entertainment/top-ten-wise-quotes-from-literary-legend-brendan-behan

Good God, Rex. Don't blame constructors for your lack of exposure.

clk 1:30 PM  

BINET was a gimme (it's the Stanford-Binet intelligence test after all) but I had no clue about either LEHAR or BEHAN or their works. Thank goodness for easy crosses.

Larry Gilstrap 1:55 PM  

I admired this by lamplight and still do in the harsh glare of a hot August morning. A puzzle with three solid themers crossed by a descending grid spanner is not enough for a Wednesday? Tough crowd!

I knew BEHAN/BINET from the crossworld and the real world, so no problemo. I couldn't help noticing the veteran ALB is back in the starting line-up after many months on the DL.

Weren't we just talking about Sam Cooke? He was most rhapsodic singing his soulful "You SEND Me." Honest, you do.

Back when they were a thing, I could always tell when school was out of session when I had to fight my way through the throng of kids and parents clustered around the REDBOX in the lobby of the Albertson's. At least, the kids were out of the house.

Joe Bleaux 2:21 PM  

At first, I thought it was infatuation,
but oh, it's lasted so long ... 🎶

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

The Hosta and The Quare Fellow are part of the trilogy. Sorry, but FU. The Behan Trilogy is ONE work, not three.

Z 3:03 PM  

Quick, no looking it up - which BEHAN in this list from Wikipedia wrote Borstal Boy?

Billy Behan (1911–1991),
Brian Behan (1926–2002)brother of Brendan and Dominic Behan
Brendan Behan (1923–1964) brother of Brian and Dominic Behan
Denis Behan (born 1984)
Dominic Behan (1928–1989) brother of Brendan and Brian Behan
Janet Behan (born 1954), daughter of Brian Behan
Jodi Behan,
Joe Behan (born 1959)
John Behan (born 1938)
John Clifford Valentine Behan (1881–1957)
Johnny Behan (1844–1912)
Margaret Behan (born 1948)
Paudge Behan (born 1965) son of Brendan Behan's widow
Petie Behan (1887–1957)
Simon Behan (died 2009)
Stephen Behan, father of Brendan, Brian and Dominic Behan
William J. Behan



@Tita A - I agree. And if we don't know what they want the status quo.

Carola 3:29 PM  

I thought the theme was cute, and I esspecially loved the SCOK DRAWER. After every laundry load, it's life on the EDGE, pair-wise.
Had no trouble with the names, with Brendan BEHAN, Franz LEHAR, BINET, EEL, TABU all known to me in my non-crossword life; ESAI is the name I know only from puzzles (he belongs in a coterie with Omar Epps, Yma Sumac, and Ceelo Green).

@Gill I - I add my good wishes for tomorrow!

jae 3:47 PM  

Easy-medium for me and add me to the "clever - liked it" contingent. I do a fair amount of crosswords so PYE, BEHAN, LEHAR and the CA river EEL were all familiar. BINET I knew from being a psych major although some version of the Ravens test is now used in many schools.

ESAI is currently featured in the Netflix series Ozark. I you liked "Breaking Bad" and "Justified" you may want to give Ozark a look.

The5th Harp 3:54 PM  

How sweetly put. Of course, two were written and produced as plays; the third was a novel. But perhaps you got you PhD from the same place as the critic. Not a trio at all.

Anonymous 4:18 PM  

@z,
Nope. Wikipedia's not your favorite, no you, no siree. LOL. Douchebag.

TCProf 4:21 PM  

Knew Binet, Behan, Lehar, and even Pys (English undergraduate major).

One cavil: Binet had nothing to do with the number known as the intelligence quotient or IQ. He developed his test in 1905. Lewis Terman developed the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scale, published in 1916. That's where the IQ came from.Binet didn't even think he was measuring intelligence.

Pedantry reigns!

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

@Z,

You do realize The Borstal Boy is autobiographical, right?
Is it because you're so deluded that you think men can magically becoming women by donning a wig and wearing makeup that you included two Behan women on your list? Or are you just ill-read?
I'm guessing anyone with Z as a name isn't Irish and doesn't have the first bit of understanding of things from The Island. Gread leat.

The Personality and Individual Differences journal 5:01 PM  

" ...trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling. Thus, cyber trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."

Norm 6:29 PM  

Thank you, @5:01 pm

Shoeless Jim Johnson 7:07 PM  

Billy BEHAN invented Moneyball back in the '20s with nothing more than cheap cigars and empty whisky bottles.

Brendan Behan 7:24 PM  

Hey! Leave Z alone ok.

“I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”
― Brendan Behan

Cassieopia 8:28 PM  

^ Nice quote to end the day's blog.

Pizza came in below average time but not without a fight, esp for a Wed.

Sitting on a back deck in NC on a soft summer evening with those wonderful summer insects screaming. On a second glass of wine. Kindness to animals including humans, indeed.

Was Elsie really ever on milk cartons? I remember her on canned milk but not cartons.

Happy evening all.


Adam Frank 9:29 PM  

And if you're going to call your $5 bill an "Abe", you should cal your $10 an "Alex", or at least a "Hamilton". Half a sawbuck is a FIN.

sena nabila 11:36 PM  

nice
Walatra G Sea Jelly

Peter Puzzler 12:19 AM  

@aketi: I used to be notorious for not being able to distinguish between shades of red in my wife's side of the closet. Then I had my first cataract surgery/lens implantation. When I got home and went into the closet for the first time afterwards, I said, "Wow, sweetheart, where did you get all these beautiful clothes?"
Wonderful moment.

@The5th Harp: yes indeed. I had the pleasure of playing in The Hostage at Berkeley Rep 1969 or 1970. Fine play. Name drop: Laurie Walters, later of Eight is Enough, was in that production.

Quo Vadis 12:55 AM  

Emil and the Detectives is a 1929 German language novel for children, set mainly in Berlin, by the German writer Erich Kästner. A much loved classic, translated into at least 59 languages. Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse. Watch out for the lazy cultural parochialism, please, dear old NYT.

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