Quaint lodging / MON 4-30-12 / Group that includes North South East West / Chesapeake Bay delicacy / Cheese popular with crackers / Bygone Italian coins

Monday, April 30, 2012

Constructor: Susan L. Stanislawski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: B AND B (28D: Quaint lodging hinted at by the outsides of 18-, 20-, 28-, 42-, 51- or 55-Across) — theme answers are two-word phrases where first word begins with "B" and second word ends with "B"

Word of the Day: BLUE CRAB (28A: Chesapeake Bay delicacy) —
Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = "beautiful", nectes = "swimmer", and Latin sapidus = "savory"), the Chesapeake or Atlantic blue crab, is a crustacean found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific coast of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. On the Pacific coast of Central America it is largely ignored as a food source as picking the meat is considered too difficult. It is the Maryland state crustacean and the subject of an extensive fishery. (wikipedia)
• • •

Neither offensive nor remarkable. Straight over the plate. Ably but not excitingly filled. It's a Monday puzzle. It happened. And though the core theme concept isn't eye-popping, the resulting theme answers (six of them!) are at least interesting. I can verify that puppies do indeed love BELLY RUBs (42A: Activity a puppy loves). As do dogs. As do some people. I flew through this, with one notable sticking point—see, I got BILLY BOB (20A: Actor Thornton of "Sling Blade"), and then got B AND B, and so (not having read the B AND B clue thoroughly) I assumed that each word in the phrase would *start* with "B." (I must've gone through BELLY RUB by that point, but somehow that didn't disabuse me of my incorrect assumption). Anyway, imagining the Bs would start both words in the phrase meant that when I got to 18A: Group that includes North, South, East and West, I had double-trouble. First, I'd made an incorrect assumption about the theme, and second, bridge??? I know nothing about bridge. I honestly don't even know what a BRIDGE CLUB is. I know a game of bridge has ESNW positions, but I don't know how "club" fits in. Is it the normal meaning of club? And if so, isn't saying a BRIDGE CLUB includes NSEW a bit like saying a book club includes words? As you can see, I'm out of my depth with bridge. Anyway, I had BRIDGE (easy) but then put in a B for the next letter and promptly got stuck. Also, imagined answer could be BRIDGE BETS. Eventually just solved the short stuff in that NE corner and everything worked itself out. Rest of the grid was a snap.




Other theme answers:
  • 51A: Service provided at Meineke and Pep Boys (BRAKE JOB)
  • 55A: Sparring injury, perhaps (BRUISED RIB)
Sales of new vinyl are actually up in recent years, so the "Old" part of 27D: Old LPs and 45s is patently unnecessary (actually, even if sales weren't up, it would be unnecessary). Everyone has some bit of tired, short fill they find particularly irksome. I have never thought about ranking said fill in terms of how much it bugs me, but I think if I could get rid of one short answer—just abolish it from all future puzzles—it would be ENNE. I do this on two counts—first, it's a suffix, and no one (least of all the constructor) actually *wants* suffixes in a grid. They are always a last resort. So, there's that. But ENNE is particularly annoying because its most common clue (today's [Feminine suffix]), can be two things: ETTE or ENNE. So you can't just write it in, move on, and *forget* about it (which is all anyone wants to do with a suffix). You have to actually work crosses. Now, I'm not opposed to work, but I am opposed to working for *that*. For no payoff. When crud adds *any* level of difficulty, it stands out more and irks more. "We're gonna make this puzzle a little more challenging by yanking one of your hairs out at the two-minute mark, OK?" That might actually be preferable to encountering ENNE again.



Please understand that I'm not faulting this puzzle for containing ENNE. *Lots* of puzzles have contained ENNE, some of them quite fine, I'm sure. I'm just saying that if I had a magic wand, ENNE would disappear. Forever.

Clue-wise, 10D: Something always sold in mint condition? (TIC TAC) is the big winner by far (despite the fact that there are non-mint TIC TACs; I like the orange).

Oh, also, [Cheese popular with crackers]? That's pretty racist.

[emoticon indicating lack of seriousness]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

85 comments:

loren muse smith 6:38 AM  

Dad called last night. “I printed out Monday’s puzzle and finished it! Well, not really because 28D, BANDB, can’t be right.” I hadn’t seen the puzzle yet, so I asked him what the clue was. When he told me, I assured him that he had indeed finished the puzzle.

So. . .I knew the theme before I started and shamelessly (this is a Monday, for heaven’s sake!) filled in beginning B’s and final B’s on the theme entries. As I got further, I even started guessing them before seeing the clue and had “braised rib” before I changed it to BRUISED RIB. Serves me right.

What a bright, smooth fill. LISTEN UP, WELL READ (I’m not), TIC TAC, BOBBIN, SNOB, BELLY RUB , and the other theme answers – loved’em.

Again with weird plurals – BEAUS looks wrong to me.

After finishing, I stared at the grid wondering if it could be reworked so that the only B’s in the puzzle were the ones at the beginnings and end of the themes, which would have been really cool. But I liked it enough anyway.

On DOUR – does it rhyme with “tour” or “sour” for you? For me, it rhymes with “tour.”

Z 6:47 AM  

What Rex said. Competent. No crossbirds, RRN, Olafs, or random directions. I understand about ENNE, but it is a toss-up between ENNE and ERNE in my list of bannable words.

@LMS - sour.

captcha seems a little druggy today - sentsina ssifte

Evan 7:25 AM  

I'm guessing if I had to put the banhammer on one word, it would be one of the following: AREOLES, AREOLAS, or AREOLAE. The first two are distinct terms but are often confused when clued like "Rings of color" or or "Iris rings" or "Colored parts" because it could be either one. And the third is just another way of pluralizing the singular word. Like Rex said, it's sometimes necessary to have a word with less than desirable fill to make the puzzle fit, but it's not one of those entries that has a great payoff when you get it, so why make it extra difficult with an ambiguous clue? At least make it a standard that AREOLA refer to one thing (say, the colored anatomical ring) and AREOLE another (the bump on a cactus from which spines grow).

(And yes, if you haven't guessed, I am ticked that I guessed it wrong in yesterday's AREOLAS/ISADORA crossing.)

orangeblossomspecial 7:32 AM  

My word of the day is 56D DAW. It's not a word in my vocabulary, nor is jackDAW.

24D is appropriate for yesterday also: "seventh heaven", a popular song by Al Jolson.

27D VINYL records are becoming popular again, despite their skips and scratches. Nick Lucas' popularity peaked in the 30s, but here is an early video from a Snader transcription.

"You're driving me crazy" seems to fit47D. This version is by Guy Lombardo.

The Bard 7:43 AM  

Othello > Act I, scene I

IAGO: O, sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
For nought but provender, and when he's old, cashier'd:
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them and when they have lined
their coats
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

fethi setio

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Alternatively, perhaps some hit movie or TV show will introduce a character with the first or last name ENNE, and it will become a set of good fill letters comprising an acceptable word.

The Palin 8:06 AM  

The southeast Alaska winters are brutal. In Skagway, icy winds tear relentlessly through town. But I don't remember the winters as well. I mostly remember sunny summer days, playing dress-up with my sisters under a wild crabapple tree. I remember community basketball games. And I remember arguing with the nun who taught catechism and tried to teach me to write the letter E. It seemed a naked letter to me, so I was determined to reinvent it. I insisted she let me improve it with at least a few more horizontal lines.

JenCT 8:07 AM  

@loren: Merriam-Webster says DOUR is pronounced like sour.

Liked the puzzle; thought it was cute.

@Rex: took me a few beats to get your cracker joke - LOL.

r.alphbunker 8:10 AM  

@oren
At some point you will also encounter AANDE, SANDL, SANDM and RANDR. I am sure there are others that are not coming to mind. When I pronounce these the AND becomes N.

EIRE/ERIN, DWI/DUI, BFA/MFA, directions(e.g. ENE/ESE) and EMO/ELO are other fraternal twin pairs.

mac 8:12 AM  

Easy and pretty good Monday. Of course I wanted "crab cake" at 28A, we never pass though Maryland without ordering some.

Cute, the belly rub, and cavern is a nice word.

@Loren: LOL your braised rib!

Sue McC 8:19 AM  

There was a lot to like in this one: BANDB, BELLYRUB, and my favorite, the crossing of IVES and YVES. Fun!

joho 8:34 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith, ever since the creative director at one of the agencies I worked at drummed it into our heads one day, it's been pronounced to rhyme with "tour" or "doer." I think he said it was of Scottish origin.

I thought this was a cute theme and perfectly easy for a Monday. Loved all the bees and especially the "beelike" APIAN. BANDB smack dab in the middle is nice, too.

BELLYRUB was my favorite and something avatar relishes on a daily basis.

Thank you, Susan Stanislawski!

joho 8:45 AM  

something "my" avatar ...

Tita 8:46 AM  

@Anon @ 8:00am... Well said!! Or maybe a rapper - "B ENNE B"?

Easy, though thought the theme was BC, since 1st 2 answers words start that way, with maybe an AD theme in the bottom half, with a revealer being Christmas day (has that been done?)

Only complaint is that I prefer my BRIE with APPLEs.

Thanks Ms. Stanislawski for BOBBIN & BELLYRUB. And thanks for cluing APPLE in a non-commercial way.

oren muse 8:46 AM  

Saturday's & Sunday's puzzles were complete washouts for me, making today's very encouraging & timely.

Though today's puzzle was easy, I sailed through it in about 40 minutes. Thanks, Susan! We beginners can always use a day in the sun.

After completing the puzzle, I kept questioning 28D BANDB..quaint lodging(?)..No way! However crosses made it right. I called Loren who immediately said "bed and breakfast" & that I hadn't parsed the word.

I still have a long way to go in working these puzzles!

jberg 8:48 AM  

ACME should be happy - a woman constructor gives us BOBBIN and BRIDGE CLUB, and only GRAND PRIX in the way of sports clues. A positive step!

On the fashion clues, though, I don't see preppies wearing TWEED - that's for us old-fogey professors. Preppies can be found in blue blazers, madras, or maybe seersucker.

Writeovers: BEAUx before BEAUS, litera-- (ry or te) before WELL-READ, and BRIDGEhand before BRIDGE CLUB. (@Rex, that's just a group of 4 or 8 people who get together, usually every week, to play bridge.)

Overall a fun puzzle.

chefbea 9:07 AM  

What's not to like??? A puzzle dedicated to me 16 Bs and all the food.Brie,stew,apples,crabs,biscotti, chicken breasts and tic-tacs...what a feast!!!

Thought 52 D would be WOD. I never heard of him.

Thanks Susan for a fun puzzle

PanamaRed 9:09 AM  

In days before Bed and Breakfast became popular, BANDB meant Brandy and Benedictine - a popular after dinner drink, especially in my home state of Wisconsin, where brandy reigns king.

jackj 9:17 AM  

When we see our little puppy rolling onto its back, paws flailing, yipping, begging for a BELLYRUB, we know we’re into the Stanislawski Monday crossword cluing system which, thankfully, is not related to the Stanislavski method acting system or else the puppy would be wondering about its motivation in asking for the belly rub.

An excellent debut from Susan Stanislawski who, hopefully will understand that her name is so close to that of old Constantin’s that I couldn’t help but have a little fun with the coincidence.

Aside from the seven clever BANDB theme entries, there are some primo non-theme entries, like the wonderfully solid, if slightly old-fashioned, academic’s compliment, WELLREAD.

Its mirrored entry in the grid, the more contemporary LISTENUP is equally pleasing to see and, surprisingly, has never before appeared in a Times puzzle.

Add in a few more beauties like TICTAC, VINYL, BOBBIN and BRUISEDRIB, subtract DAW and we can happily declare:

Good theme, good fill, good work, Susan!

Joe 9:21 AM  

My parents had a BRIDGECLUB and I seem to recall that the individuals occupying the directional positions were referred to as North, South, East, and West. As in: "Your father is North right now, honey. I'm West." So I think the clue works.

efrex 9:23 AM  

Enjoyed highly. Was more annoyed with CARIB than ENNE, but that's just because I'm more familiar with the latter, even if it is irritating fill. Theme density and a nice sprinkling of fun downs spiced this one up a treat. Brava, Ms. Stanislawski!

quilter1 9:31 AM  

Back from a week of silence and find this adorable puzzle waiting for me. Easy and fresh. Thanks, Susan

@LMS; I say rhymes with tour.

retired_chemist 9:48 AM  

Easy-medium works for me. As does the cracker joke. BRIE however is not the choice of the crackers I know. Mostly American or cheddar, and served as/in nachos.

Our (we think) pregnant pug will not go outside until she rolls over for, and gets, a BELLY RUB.

Also debated the X vs. the S for the plural of BEAUS. Nice,speaking of plurals, to see the plural specified in 58A to remove the E/A dichotomy.

No complaints - a nice Monday. Thank yopu, Ms. Stanislawski.

hazel 9:59 AM  

Thought this was a great Monday puzzle. Felt zingy and just off the farm fresh.. how can you not love a puzz with BELLYRUB?

@Rex, my guess is there are not too many constructors out there worried about providing a small speedbump at your/anyone's 2 minute mark.... Seems like there are many many common pairs you have to "wait" for the crosses on - in my case they usually just fill themselves in and i dont actually ever think about them - but I am a haphazard solver. You may count this as a tut, but it was not intended that way.

@lms - sour for me

Pete 10:22 AM  

Cracker's love of brie is an archetype of cinematic imagry. Who can't remember the scene from In the Heat of the Night where Mr. Tibbs pays a late night call on Chief Gillespie to discuss an aspect of the case, only to find him dining on his late-night snack of grapes and warmed brie, sipping on a glass of Pouilly-Fuissé? Tibb's awakening at that point that he had totally mis-judged Gillespie formed the basis of their eventual, mutual, understanding and respect was the turning point of the whole movie.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

Perhaps understandably, my themic expectations were quite high early in the solve, at the crossing of BOBBIN and BILLYBOB. Alas, my hopes were - well, not exactly dashed, just lowered a bit, when I saw the actual theme.

Still, a very nice Monday puzzle.

John V 10:25 AM  

What @jackj said.

Extraordinarily easy, well under 5minutes on paper, waiting for the plane to fill load; probably a life record for me. (It pays to board in Zone 1 and have that time; nice to have after flown 30 segments since early January.) Fav answer TICTAC, great clue, gave a great TOEhold in the NE (Sorry).

Amazing theme density -- 52!-- with no cruddy fill to make it happen; only three partials, none of them stretches; no messy corners. Doing this AND making the puzzle Monday easy is a real construction accomplishment.

Wanted to post from the plane at 6:15, but @Rex, where you? :)

Congratulations, Susan, on a stunning debut!

Flowerblogger 10:31 AM  

I still don't get TORI as the "spelling" of 90210? could someone explain that?

John V 10:35 AM  

@Flowerblogger, TORI is Tori Spelling, the actress.

Gill I. P. 10:36 AM  

A Monday puzzle that anyone who hasn't tried a NYT would be proud to finish.
I do wish the cluing had just a bit more zip to it. This was a safe, tried and true Monday with no surprises. Fun, just the same.
BRIDGE CLUB made me remember my parents who loved playing contract bridge. They were both pretty good but dad loved it when he became the dummy. "Well, time to refresh all the drinks. Whose up for a second martini?"
Liked seeing BONED because I don't think deBoned is a word.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

@loren

At the onset of the 1939 movie "Wuthering Heights", young Heathcliff is referred to as " a DOUR looking individual."
(like SOUR)

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

This is my first day back from two weeks in Belize. It's good to be home. Very nice debut and solid Monday.

loren muse smith 11:03 AM  

Thanks for answering the DOUR question. I was told it’s like “tour,” but I feel self-conscious saying it that way. (I should add that I probably use it only hebdomadally.)

@JenCT – my online Meriam Webster has the “tour” pronunciation first, as does my American Heritage from college.

The fact that English even has “four,” “tour,” and “sour” bugs me. They all should rhyme! “Here” and “there” should rhyme. I understand a lot of why our language ended up with crazy spelling, but I do feel bad for ESL students.

There’s a great poem out there with the lines

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and and sounds like bird,
And dead: it's said like bed, not bead --
For goodness sake don't call it 'deed'!
It’s a lot longer, but I can’t remember it.

mac 11:12 AM  

@loren: I would think "sour", but then it wouldn't be the first time I know a word without ever having heard it pronounced. As in Arkansas.

archaeoprof 11:20 AM  

TICTAC is one of the best clue/answer combinations in a long time.

@Two Ponies: welcome back!

Avatar today is a photo from daughter's wedding in TriBeCa this weekend.

Tita 11:21 AM  

@loren - love your poem - will have to google for the rest of it. Surely it includes the 9 ways to pronounce "ough"...

One of the very few toeholds that I grabbed onto tooth and nail while living in Germany is that pronunciation is extremely consistent (as I know you know)...
I might not have understood the phrase, but I bet I said it right!!

(btw, it's sour for me too. But wasn't it Ben Franklin who said "It's a poor man that can only think of one way to pronounce a word..." Or was it "spell a word"...)

JenCT 11:26 AM  

@loren: You got me wondering - in my (limited) online research, it seems that both pronunciations are accepted. I had never heard it pronounced like "door" - LSNEV (learn something new every day.)

I wonder if the pronunciation is a regional thing?

JenCT 11:29 AM  

@archaeoprof: Beautiful!

hazel 11:29 AM  

Welcome back @two ponies. Just read an interesting interview with that woman who lived in a tree for 2 years to keep it from being logged. She now resides in belize.

@archeo - great pic - everyone looks great!!

Z 11:39 AM  

I'm thinking that a bunch of nitpickers in a Granny Smith orchard would be a dour sour tour.

@r.alphbunker - are those fraternal twins or infernal twins?

ksquare 11:46 AM  

@jackj 9:17 Susan's Stanislawski is pronounced the same as
Constantin's. Most Europeans sound their Ws like Vs.
e.g. Do you call him Wagner or Vagner?
ZszZsa Gabor: It's Vagner!
Thank you.
ZZ: You're velcome.

Mighty Nisden 11:52 AM  

Good Monday, but had the hardest time finishing. Looked over and over at the puzzle. Finally figured out that I had PiCK instead of PECK at 63A. Since I didn't know who JAKE Gyllenhaal was, thought that JAKi might be okay.

Killed my time, even though I not fast anyway.

Think if I heard someone say DOUR using the tour pronunciation, I would think I misheard them. Never heard it spoken that way.

Maybe depends on where you live?

Rookie 12:14 PM  

@archaeoprof

What a beautiful family! I can feel the happiness from here (Mpls-st Paul). Congratulations!

Masked and Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Very, very well-constructed MonPuz. So, thUmbsUp for the Stanislawski method. Primo debut. Shows tolerable respect for yer T-V fillers, too.

Pretty fierce vocab for today, but in a steady way -- nothing even on the bridge to Nat-tick-ville. If you like to use those 3-letter words as a crutch to get into the MonPuz, this pup gives you just 5 meager little doors. And the revealer is an ampersandwich (sorry it bit yah, @Oren). Really nice stuff. Rates some bullets, @31. I guess U sorta swapped out bullets for a discussion of VINYL and ENNE. OK...

Vinyl album jackets are much more fun to look at. 45 rpm labels are a hoot: check out the funky artwork and colors. QED.

Feminine suffixes: Let's not just automatically dismiss -TRIX and -ESS(A) from the running, Professor Rex. If I was gonna pick something to "abolish" from grids (and I ain't), I'd go directly to French, and not pass Go. Also, if you ever decide to pounce on plural suffixes, I'm on board. But poor ENNE just doesn't deserve that much venom, IMO.

r.alphbunker 12:22 PM  

@Z

I like infernal better. That is how I will think of them for now.

Sparky 12:31 PM  

Nice and easy. Read 28D too fast, same as @Rex and went further astray with BILLYBOB. Quickly clarified. BRUISEDRIB somewhat arbitrary but eye, nose and throat don't fit. I am finally catching on to AND answers. Thanks Ms. Stanislawski.

Welcome back @twoponies and quilter1. Lovely photo @archaeprof. Hand up for dour = sour.

Lewis 12:33 PM  

I've always pronounced DOUR like sour, and have never heard it the other way. So I've learned something new.

Often in a puzzle, I find that that two answers will serve the same clue, and that I have to wait for crosses to see which one it will be. And that is part, of course, of the crossword experience. So, Rex, I don't see why an exception should even be considered for ENNE (which could be ETTE)...

r.alphbunker 12:42 PM  

@Lewis

And then there is the kind of clue that gives a name that you don't know whether it is a first name or a surname. For example {Author Lewis} could be C.S. Lewis or Lewis Carroll. Of course this would not work in a crossword but it gives the idea.

Sparky 12:42 PM  

@Tita. Archoepuzzling sounds like fun. I know I have an old Maleska stashed in NYC. I sent it to him with an answer circled and "No fair" written on it. He sent it back noting he couldn't figure out what I was objecting to.

Who was editor in 1953? Maleska's book "What's Gnu?" pleasant read. He mentions Will Shortz as an up and coming constructor.

Sorry to run on. Bye.

Bandreab Bellyrub Michaels 1:08 PM  

Fun! Six!
Like @rex didn't read reveal carefully enough and thought maybe it should be B TO B like business to business, because B and B made me want BILLYBOB, etc, BELLY BUB?
Suunny day in NY, lunch with Tony O now in search of a box store to ship home my VINYL! One of the few items I claimed from my dad's estate...
(that and a box of childhood games, chess trophies, and 7th thru 12th grade yearbooks i had been told 20 yrs ago were lost in a flood when a street waterpipe burst...but they magically turned up!!! My original Scrabble board, Monopoly set...to say i was surprised and thrilled is an understatement!

Moment of syncronicity, filledin BEAUs last night while watching "The Fabulous Baker Boys" where both the title and BEAU Bridges fit the theme...
(well, the theme I thought it was!)

Anyway, I liked Ms Stanislawski's method!!

miriam b 1:27 PM  

I always pronounce "dour" to rhyme with "tour", though the occasion to use the word doesn't arise very often.

I have an early Dr. Seuss book titled The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough. It comprises early pieces and cartoons. I'm trying to locate it, but ongoing work on my house has seriously disrupted just about anythng you can name.

Am I correct in recalling that answers to Maleskan clues consisted of one word only?

One of my cats, Dinah, rolls over on command to have her belly rubbed.

SF-Steve 1:54 PM  

"Tee-hee-he." he tittered.
AREOLAS and ORBS
Get your adolescent mind out of the gutter.

Reminds me of a bit I just heard on the radio:
From Arrested Development

Lucille: (about Buster's new girlfriend) He doesn't even know what she looks like.
Buster: I know she's a brownish area ... with points. And I know I love her!
Lucille: I'm calling Dr. Miller.

Buster: That's what you do when life hands you a chance to be with someone special. You just grab that brownish area by its points, and you don't let go no matter what your mom says.

Also add to AND list:
RANDB -- just in a few weeks ago (Smokey Robinson musical style)

Bird 2:01 PM  

@Rex says “Neither offensive nor remarkable.” Really? So if a puzzle contains something you don’t like you take personal offense to it?

I thought this a pleasant solve. Aside from TICTAC, nothing else really stands up says, “Look at me.” That’s fine. However, the theme is awfully similar to the OUTSIDERS puzzle from a few weeks ago.

Only mistake was FEAR for 1A and only pause was waiting for some downs to decide which wine-making valley Susan was in.

@lms – I vote that DOUR rhymes with sour

@orangeblossom – DAW is Brooklynese for DOOR. (wink)

@oren – Don’t lose faith! These can be challenging and fun at the same time

@PanamaRed – B&B still means Brandy and Benedictine. I have yet to stay at a BAND, but have enjoyed plenty of B&B. Love your tag, BTW.

jackj 2:15 PM  

Loren-

Just to complicate the "dour" question, here in Massachusetts you are most likely to hear it pronounced "dow-ah".

archaeoprof- Congrats! A handsome group.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 2:36 PM  

@Bird: Best B and B in the universe = The Wickwood Inn, Saugatuck, Michigan. Last time we stayed there, they had a free NYT copy, along with gourmet pastry goodies, in the lobby. And best breakfast, by any test. Tell 'em M&A sent yah (if you dare).

@SF-Steve: Best R and B in the universe = 502-way tie, including: "Midnight Hour" (Wicked Pickett) and "Voodoo Voodoo" (LaVerne Baker). Tell 'em they sent M&A.

@The gals with the many ponies and pretty quilts: Turn around. Good to see yer back. Run into any shoot-outs in Mexico?

Are -ELLE and -ELLA and -MAMA also feminine suffixes? Beginnin' to think one could actually build quite a list there, @31.

Friend's dog (Indy) will roll over on her back anytime I approach within ten feet and call out "Indy!" or "Indiana!" or "Bellyrub!" or just about anything else.

mac 2:43 PM  

@archeoprof: a very good looking family! Congratulations to all of you.

Bird 2:52 PM  

@M&A - The Wickwood Inn. I'll make a note and think about your dare. Maybe after a few glasses of B&B I'll have the courage. Sorry, bad joke.

The Free Dictionary 2:59 PM  

I've heard of Benedictine andf Brandy, among other things

(Acronym Definition
B&B Bed and Breakfast
B&B The Bold and the Beautiful (TV show)
B&B Beavis & Butthead
B&B Bag and Baggage (US Immigration)
B&B Barnum & Bailey (Circus)
B&B Beauty and the Beast
B&B Bread and Butter
B&B Branch and Bound
B&B Boole & Babbage
B&B Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (survey)
B&B Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Walt Disney film)
B&B Bridges & Buildings (now Bridges and Structures)
B&B Bladder and Bowel
B&B Benedictine and Brandy (liqueur)
B&B Balled & Burlapped (tree roots)
B&B Beef and Boards (restaurant)
B&B Berman and Braga (Star Trek)
B&B Brummel and Brown (Yogurt spread)), but before today I had never heard of Brandy and Benedictine!

miriam b 3:08 PM  

@M&A: The aforementioned cat Dinah will roll over ONLY if you ask her whether she wants her belly rubbed.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

I knew a laborador retriever who would approach anyone, at any time, lie down and roll over on her back for a belly rub. I called her French Girl. Her French owner, once she got the joke, wasn't amuzed.

Anon 3:11 3:12 PM  

She wasn't amused, either.

loren muse smith 3:14 PM  

@PanamaRed – B AND B is an after-dinner-drink for me, too. Straight Benedictine is too sweet and cloying.

@archaeprof – beautiful picture!

@Tita – yep,the poem begins with all the “ough” pronunciations. As to German’s consistent pronunciation, I don’t think that’s peculiar to German; most other languages seem to have reliable, consistent pronunciations, at least the ones I’ve poked around in. (But. . .the whole platypus not laying eggs deal. . .)

chefbea 3:41 PM  

@free dictionary how bout BB&B one of my favorite stores!!!

BMasked and BAnonymous 4:04 PM  

@miriam b -- Har. Sounds like Dinah has you pretty well-trained.

While I'm here:
Fave fill: VINYL, CARIB, PRIX, BRAKEJOB, BILLYBOB. Note to IMdB&B: Billy Bob's nearly first movie was a schlock flick, called "Chopper Chicks in Zombietown". thUmbsUp. Sorry @31... It's a 1989 flick.
Point of order: Is having both BONED and BONA in one puz OK?
Fave clue: 2-way tie -- BRIDGECLUB and TICTAC ones.

BanonB 4:16 PM  

@BM&BA - re point of order: yes, as long as you don't have B*N*R

John V 4:26 PM  

@BanonB: I thought BONA was how it's pronounced in Beantown.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Ol' BILLYBOB joined Angelina"s BRIDGECLUB
To OGLE ORBS and get a BELLYRUB
"ONO!" said Angelina, "You're so DOUR and NAIVE-
I'm engaged to Brad now and would not leave!"

The Free Dictionary 4:40 PM  

@chefbea - Now you raise the question, Two Bs or not two Bs?

Since you have opted for the latter, i.e., three Bs, my first thought is the website of a Rexvillian, Ben Bass and Beyond, although I have heard of the store to which you refer.

BanonB 4:43 PM  

@Anon4:28 - Don't you know that Angelina is BILLYBOB's daughter? Tsk, tsk.

sanfranman59 4:46 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:32, 6:50, 0.96, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:40, 1.00, 55%, Medium

joho 4:56 PM  

@archeoprof, thanks for posting your beautiful pic!

jae 5:16 PM  

Very smooth Mon.  Cute and easy.  Great clue for TICTAC.  

@r.ralph et. al. - Speaking of infernal twin pairs, I'm never sure about LIRA vs. LIRE.  Is one Turkish only or are they interchangeable in both Turkey and Italy or is only LIRE correct?

Wiki 6:04 PM  

The lira (plural lire) was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002 and Albanian Kingdom between 1941 and 1943. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro. However, physical payments could be made in lire only, as euro coins or notes were not yet available.

The lira was also the currency of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy between 1807 and 1814.

The term originates from the value of a pound weight (Latin: libra) of high purity silver and as such is a direct cognate of the British pound sterling; in some countries, such as Cyprus and Malta, the words lira and pound were used as equivalents, before the euro was adopted in 2008 in the two countries. "L", sometimes in a double-crossed script form ("₤"; not to be confused with the single-crossed form "£" of the aforementioned pound), was the symbol most often used. Until the Second World War, it was subdivided into 100 centesimi (singular: centesimo), which translates to "one hundredth".

Tita 6:11 PM  

@archaeoprof - congrats, and thanks for the pics - looks like a VERY happy family!

@Loren...it's said - the Portuguese are so poor, they eat half their words...

quilter1 7:24 PM  

I believe Angelina is John Voight's daughter.

chefwen 10:45 PM  

Angelina was married to Billy Bob for a while. She carried a vial of his blood around her neck. UGH!

Jake Gyllenhaal is VERY easy on the eyes!

sanfranman59 11:57 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:33, 6:50, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 48%, Medium

Mike 3:53 PM  

Bridge clubs are common and really the best way to get enough experience to advance your skill level.

Solving in Seattle 12:34 PM  

Back from the golf tournament. Finished middle of the pack. Speaking of golf, I enjoyed Tiger's victory this weekend.

Liked today's puz - thanks Susan, and loved the RT posts. @loren sure started an avalanche of comments on the pronunciation of "DOUR." Question: if one pronounces "DOUR" like "tour." then how does one pronounce "hour"?

Agree that prep schoolers probably don't wear TWEED, but not a big deal.

I take issue with cluing ONO as a singer. Big deal.

If I were given the wordbanmagicwand there would be no poetic cntrcns allowed, eer.

Capcha (and I'm not kidding): ogyHero. You fill in the definition.

rain forest 2:13 PM  

Big controversies today! "enne", and how to pronounce "dour". Re the first: it seems to me this is a crossword puzzle, and sometimes you have to suss out the crosses to determine the crossing word, or suffix. The payoff would be correct crossing words. D'oh! Now there's an expression I wouldn't mind not seeing again. I think that "dour" rhymes with "tour". I learned that in Literature 12, and my Lit teacher was always, amazingly, right.
Good Monday puzzle in my opinion.

Spacecraft 2:25 PM  

Now, If I had a magic wand, all acronyms that spell out the word "AND" while initializing everything else would go away. B&B? Fine. BANDB? UGGGGH!!!

But, I guess for a Monday, this is OK. The bridge player in me appreciates the shout-out; and, I like both long downs. LISTENUP: you better be WELLREAD! Also liked BLISS, heading a mini-row of B's in the center.

Ginger 3:31 PM  

G'morning Syndilanders - Just back from a Fam Reunion/vacation, and still slow re-connecting with reality. I normally use the puz and a cupa to kick start the brain in the morning. Today is a 3 cupper. But this was a good easy wake-up for me. Thanks Susan.

Wish you all a good week.

Dirigonzo 3:43 PM  

Since "Just beat..." could as well be past tense as present, I confidently put EkedOUT and thought it was pretty tricking cluing for a Monday; turns out I was wrong on both counts. And "Take in some sun" could be BAke almost as easily as it could be BASK. @Rain Forest is right - sometimes you have to wait for the crossing words (but where's the fun in that, I ask again?) Oh yeah, "Shenanigan" might be tRicK, or it might be PRANK. And yes, I made every one of those errors. I nailed BELLYRUB, though.

Shout-out of sorts at 15a to @Red Valerian; maybe it will prompt her to stop by and say hello.

This week is off to a much better start for me than last week.

Nullifidian 11:53 PM  

In from syndication-land. This was just plain easy-easy for me. I did the whole puzzle in order, so I had three theme answers that allowed me to fill in the theme clue without checking the crosses.

I'm not overly familiar with contract bridge, although my father is an enthusiastic player, and so I know that the players in a bridge game are referred to by the cardinal directions.

All the theme clues were a breeze and all the cultural clues were familiar, which is a bit unusual for me even for a Monday. I'm rarely that much in harmony with the constructor.

I have to say that overall I liked this. There was very little awkward fill, it all flowed nicely, and although the theme was basic, it was also enjoyable. Nice way to start the week.

bob m 8:56 AM  

Oh Crikey! Who says that?

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