FRIDAY, Apr. 13, 2007 - Patrick Berry

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Evad here, the last in a string of excellent guests to sit in for Rex Parker while he's soaking up the rays in Cancun.

Let me first say I'm a big fan of Patrick Berry, both as a constructor and as an author of the handbook (IMOO, as Rex would say) for aspiring constructors, Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies. Not only does he lead you by the hand through the puzzle construction process, he includes 70 of his own creations to see the master in action.

So let's see what editor Will Shortz and constructor Patrick Berry have up their sleeves to scare us on this day of paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Overall Impressions

Difficulty: Creamy with a scrabbly finish

Patrick's grids are always a very smooth solve for me--very little in the way of schlock and great long intersecting entries. My only complaint (and it's a small one), is that he seems to shy away from those "high-value Scrabble letters" (Z, J, Q, X)...but I'm getting ahead of myself mentioning Scrabble.

I've gone ahead and posted my solution (in pen, so you can see where I initially went astray). As you can see, I went for ROSEY instead of ROSIE...probably thinking of:



instead of:



or, for that matter:



And then some deeper trouble in the Northwest of the grid....


The Good

You gotta love those long 15's: IT TAKES ALL KINDS (ain't that the truth?) and TRIPLE WORD SCORE. I got the lower one pretty quickly, but with the CORE of the upper 15, I was thinking of some type of candy that might have a red square in the center. Little did I realize that what lurked was:



(trust me, there's a [Red square] under that "X"!)

Then, given it's Friday the 13th, Patrick tries to scare us off with PERIL, CUR, MAD, and MAN O' WAR. But we've seen worse, haven't we solvers? "Bring it on!" we boldly reply.


The Bad

Well, I fell for the "If-there's-a-six-letter-person-you-are-
looking-for,-and-the-clue-mentions-something-vaguely-Asian, -go-for-LAO TSE" trap. Of course, as you can see, I finally came around to BUDDHA, getting USERIDS and ALDER to help out.

Oh, and here's the DREIDEL, [Top of the holiday season]:

This appropriately crossed ISRAEL at the R in common.

Another great clue was [Impressionists exaggerate them] for TICS--I was thinking of someone who might paint this:

instead of:

Rich Little.

The Huh?

Gently move your hand up and down if you've heard of DANDLES...I hadn't. Nor AERONAUT (the ASTRO- and JUGGER- versions, sure, but AERO-? Uh uh.). TANTARA I've learned only from other puzzles.

Patrick has a "double header" today with the "Weekend Warrior" over at the New York Sun. Check it out, and then go visit fellow Rex-wannabe norrin2's blog for some excellent commentary (and spoilers, if you need 'em!).

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled programming... Welcome home, Rex!

29 comments:

Linda G 12:14 AM  

Way to go, evad! Great commentary, and I loved the visuals.

BUDDHA was a gimme, as was ISRAEL. It was pretty easy to put that corner together after that, so I actually had TRIPL to steer me in the right direction.

Didn't think I'd ever heard of DANDLES, but the more I say it, the more familiar it sounds. Like it would be used to describe the way someone would gently bounce a toddler on a knee.

A few other gimmes, including ROSIE and ESPOSAS. This was a fun puzzle.

Orange 12:22 AM  

That, sir, is a hot Scrabble board! SEX on a TRIPLE WORD SCORE, and crossing QUEENS to boot? Speaking of QUEENS, my husband has come to the sad realization that because he has bad feet, he can never be a drag queen. They always wear high heels, which are contraindicated for our conjugal foot condition.

jls 12:33 AM  

bravo, dave! and yes -- 'twas that nw corner that nearly did me in, too -- tho it all seemed so clear -- *after* the fact... (funny about that...)

dandle. it was either earlier this week or sometime last week when the word "seesaw" was in a clue (or was it the fill?). anyway, that clue (or fill...) led me to look up the word in my (american heritage) dictionary and what did i learn? a seesaw is also called "dandle, dandle board, teedle board, teeter, teeterboard, teeter-totter, tilt, and tilting board." who knew?! but there it is, folks. dandle.

have a dandy weekend, all!

janie

Ophelia Chong 1:22 AM  

i was sent over to your blog by alberto forero, a fan. now i am too. i have doing crossword puzzles for almost 10 years. i do them at night, once i get into bed. that way i stare at it for about an hour, solve it and pass out.

Evad 7:04 AM  

Thanks Linda G and Janie! And to Ophelia, "you ain't seen nothin' yet"...you'll be in very good hands when Rex takes up his post as King of CrossWorld tomorrow.

Orange, I've been to my share of drag shows in my day, and, Francis Heaney's Onion puzzle notwithstanding (with the entry SIZE 11 SHOES, but no mention of HEELS as I remember), I think it quite appropriate for one to perform in tasteful flats. So, tell Rene to have courage. His dream may still come true.

Wendy 8:22 AM  

Thanks for the final installment of Rex Parker and his Surrogate Blogmeisters, Dave! And again to all who sat in; as someone said yesterday it would have been a very looong week if Rex hadn't hatched this idea. I had the same impression about the Impressionists that you did. I also was buffaloed by EGGTIMER; I wanted to put it in, but held back because I felt that the word "wind" was a clue for an actual sort of clock vs. a sand thingy.

This has never happened before; the first thing I could fill in was a long clue (ITTAKESALLKINDS). Also did you notice that SLOE turned up in one answer and that "gin fizz" was another clue? I originally wanted to put SLOE where SODA ended up. I still haven't looked up SLOE; I have no idea what it is never having had one of these to drink. I'm more a bourbon girl.

I did know dandles (in the context of baby dandling) possibly owing to my current excessive reading of British literature, where such terminology is rampant.

Howard B 8:40 AM  

Great job, Dave! I felt the same way about this puzzle, pretty smooth going - and I was similarly caught by BUDDHA, except in Across Lite instead of pen. Tricky, but not too scary for Friday the 13th.

Squash's mom 8:48 AM  

I was stuck on another area. I had BUM instead of CUR and hence had Barium as the element. I knew it had to be TAKES, but had a nasty R in there. I almost didn't get this one finished. And that crazy DANDLES! I couldn't get DANGLES out of my head.

I've only recently (the past few months) started doing the NY Times puzzles. I think I'm starting to get a hang of them finally! Gosh, they are addictive aren't they?

I've enjoyed all the guest bloggers this week, what fun you must have had!

Ultra Vi 10:28 AM  

Dang those DANDLES. I, too, was trying to make "dangles" work for a while, turning the long phrase into IT TAKES ALL KINGS, which could have been some sort of pun but just obviously wasn't.

Good way to get the brain going on a Friday morning when it would have been nicer to stay in bed. (No sign here that spring will ever come, with snow showers yesterday and a very harsh forecast for Marathon Monday.)

This week, I loved meeting Robert "norrin2" and screenwriter Colman, getting to know Linda G's wacky brand of humor, and relishing every word of hopefully-forever crossword pals Howard B and Dave Sullivan.

But there's no other way to say it: I shall be delighted to have Rex back tomorrow.

mmpo 11:12 AM  

Great entry Evad. Thanks.
Dandle and tantara were new to me (though the French equivalent of the latter, taratata, helped to put me on the right track).
Once again, Wendy, we seem to be on a similar wavelength. IT TAKES ALL KINDS was the first thing to pop into my mind, though by the time I reached that clue, I did have a smattering of words filled in above it. For some reason, when I pencilled it in, however (on paper), I thought I came up with leftover blank squares. Hmm.
I had similar doubts about EGG TIMER, but wrote in TIMER anyway and soon had RETYPED (Entered anew) and EMIRATE, along with BOOMED (Went up and up and up). The kind of mistakes that can help you to get some crosses on your way to realizing something's wrong.
I originally had GARLAND as a star of Jumbo. Was I thinking of Meet me in Saint Louis? This gave me CAD (Blackguard), which was still there (along with DARANTE instead of GARLAND and PEDIL for Gathering storm!) when the puzzle was "completely filled!" Well, PEDIL was obviously wrong, so PERIL came quickly, but I tried to change the C in CESIUM before realizing that DARANTE should be an all-time favorite of impressionists...dink-a-dink-a-dink-a-dink-a-doo J-J-J-Jimmy Durante!
As for thinking of French impressionists first, I think that's the trick of this clue. I'm sure most of us did. Couldn't quite think of what three-letter thing Monet or Manet might exaggerate, though, and once I had PEACENIK (which was briefly PEACENIT -- remember I had RETYPED), it was a matter of finding one vowel.
One more wrong-track-right-track thing. When I still thought this puzzle might have some multiple-letter squares, I thought "no time for playing games" might be OFFICE HOURS. This gave me OPT FOR and PRITHEE and confirmed SLOE (which I also thought of as part of a SLOE Gin Fizz--yes, someone else noticed!) and SLOSHES.
Ta-ta!

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

The subs have been tasty indeed. Thanks to all of you. Wonder what picaresque tales the King of the CrossWorld will have for us?

Kitt 11:39 AM  

Good puzzle! Challenging, for me, but doable --

Wendy, sloe and soda mix-up here too. I know Patrick/Will did that on purpose!!

Also, had some trouble with NW -- Buddha...stuck me for awhile.

And believe me when I tell you...if you put "senoras" in for 7D instead of "esposas" (and refused to get rid of it --even when you were pretty sure about "Rosie 22A) it made for VERY rough going in the NE. Grrrrr!

Thanks Dave! Great job. I laughed out loud at:

"Well, I fell for the "If-there's-a-six-letter-person-you-are-
looking-for,-and-the-clue-mentions-something-vaguely-Asian, -go-for-LAO TSE" trap."

I so get you on that.

Thanks again to all of the guest hosts!!! It's been a great week.

Should we throw a welcome home party for Rex? I'll bake a cake if someone else wants to bring balloons and streamers....

Howard B 12:17 PM  

I temporarily got caught in the uper-left as well; except I went even more wildly off-track and dropped in GANDHI, having the DH in place (a perfect setup). Luckily, that resolved itself fairly smoothly.

Ultra Vi 12:31 PM  

mmpo,

OFFICE HOURS! I like that. Definitely no place to fool around. Would have been a very probable answer, had it fit!

BlueStater 1:16 PM  

I'm not a big fan of Patrick Berry's puzzles, so I knew I was in for a rough morning (and, as it turned out, early afternoon) with this one. As usual, even after having completed it by dint of copious Googling, I'm left with the following:

1. Do 2D, "Unix system numbers," and its answer, USERIDS, have anything to do with one another save common membership in the broad area of computer technology?

2. 45D, "Midsize," SEDAN. Some midsize cars are sedans, and some sedans are midsize cars. But again I'm left with the feeling that there's little if any necessary connection between the two.

All aid appreciated.

Norrin2 1:41 PM  

Thanks, Evad. Great stuff. I always enjoy seeing someone else's hand-done puzzle, and I am jealous of your penmanship -- or were you a little neater than usual knowing we were going to be peering over your shoulder?
I too am looking forward to regal Rex's return; hopefully he will regale us with tales of his conquering the Cancun Chronicle crossword.

Howard B 1:47 PM  

Blue,
I believe both of these are examples of legitimate later-week puzzle clue/answer pairings. If they were given tighter, more 'dictionary definition-like' clues, the puzzle would skew a bit easier. For example, while userIDs are not limited to Unix systems, they are used to indentify users, match them to their processes, and several other behind-the-scenes uses. So while it's not an exclusive definition, the clue is an example of the answer, and can therefore be figured out. Similar explanation for SEDAN.

It seems clues can be descriptive without an exact definition, as long as the answer is inferable(eventually). So cluing CAT simply as 'Animal' is not fair, but 'Persian, say' might be. These can crank up a puzzle's difficulty without having to use as many obscure words.

That's my 3 cents.
Disclaimer: I am not an authority or constructor.

Evad 2:13 PM  

Kitt--thanks for affirming my "LAO TSE reflex"! I also considered SENORAS, but since that was so close to SENORES (the clue), I knew it had to be something else.

And to BlueStater/FiftiesPuzzler...thanks for stopping by. I actually work with Unix systems. I log on using a userid which is not a number, but I believe older Unix systems just assigned numbers to users as their ids. (This article gives some background on Unix UIDs.) Given I was already having trouble with 1A, it made for a difficult crossing.

Evad 2:14 PM  

Sorry here's that UID link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_identifier_%28Unix%29

profphil 3:22 PM  

Until recently, I only did the puzzle Mon-Thurs and Sunday's. Rex and all you bloggers inspired me to try Friday's which I find more difficult than Sunday's. Today expecting a scary puzzle I was shocked to find that I had almost the entire top half completed within 5 minutes. However, the bottom half made up for it and scared the bejeezes out of me. I only was able to fill it in cheating from this blog. It was the best of the Times it was the worst of the Times.

As to egg-timers there are those that are wound up and ring as opposed to the hour-glass variety. Did anybody else get "triple word scare" instead of score at first because of Friday the 13th?

Thanks to all you ersatz Rexes. I look forward to his return -- long live the king.

Profphil

Wendy 4:40 PM  

Now that I think about it, it's kind of odd that there wasn't some sort of trap or lurking disaster in the puzzle today ...

Thx for the info on the wind-up egg timers; never heard of such a thing.

BlueStater 5:26 PM  

Evad, thanks for the enlightenment on numbers as Unix USERIDS. Howard b, I think this is a matter of taste. My 3 cents worth is that it sure makes it easier for the constructor if the clue-answer relationship is vague; what's tougher (I think; I hasten to add that I'm not a constructor either) is coming up with innovative, clever, but close equivalents. The latter was a hallmark of the much-admired, by me anyway, Maleska era. For me this kind of (what I see as) sloppiness diminishes the value and enjoyment of the puzzles.

Orange 5:55 PM  

Long live the Shortz/Gordon/Cox/Rathvon/Shenk/Reagle/Hook/Tausig/Norris (etc.) era!

xwd_fiend 6:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
xwd_fiend 6:18 PM  

Enjoyed this, getting TRIPLE WORD SCORE and IT TAKES ALL quickly, though initially it was "ALL SORTS", the Brit version. Dreidel was a mystery, and I forgot about wind-up egg-timers too. Just under 17 mins, which was only a few mins longer than my daily diet, the (London) Times cryptic puzzle. So I guess this was easy for a Friday...

Scott 5:36 AM  

Given that the First Noble Truth is Suffering -- and this on Friday the 13th -- I thought I was being warned of coming torment, but this was the easiest Friday puzzle for me in a long time. Even got DANDLES -- nobody ever heard of dandling a child upon your knee?

joecab 3:46 PM  

Very nice commentary Dave!

I was hoping that we'd get a Friday the 13th puzzle (well, it's a Friday, so maybe just a mildly themed one) one of these days. Someday ... someday ...

My first entry was EGGTIMER (can't fool me anymore with that one, BerryShortz!) but most of my fill went SW-NE-NW-SE. As a comic book fan, the MAD clue was an immediate gimme. Woulda been fun if they had ROSEY in there too -- has the Jetsons' maid ever appeared in a NYT puzzle? Aero-- I mean Astro gets most of the attention (with an occasional appearance by his boy Elroy).

I never heard of DANDLES either. That was the last corner to fall for me and I spent way too much time down there being stoopid. I also had SERENE instead of ATREST for "still" for a while which was my only write-over.

I loved how "Gin fizz ingredient" wasn't SLOE, but another answer actually was. Your natural inclination is to always go for the word that isn't being used in the clue after all. Whoops!

I've been pretty lax when it comes to checking out the crossword blogs, but luckily I ran into Dave during our morning commute this week and he pointed me over here.

Waxy in Montreal 10:13 PM  

From 6 weeks on...
Intersting puzzle. Having 3 toddler grandchildren, I've often managed to move them gently up and down without ever being aware I was dandling them (39D).
Also, for someone of my age, the easiest clue was 31D, 1940's-'50's pitcher Maglie. Sal Maglie was a real character, nicknamed "The Barber" because he pitched most batters inside, thus nearly "shaving" them. One of the few players to have been on the roster of all 3 NYC teams (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants), he was also banned from MLB rfor a number of years in the 1940's for having jumped to the "outlaw" Mexican League. One of the most vivid childhood memories I have is seeing (on B&W TV, 17" screen), Don Larsen pitch his perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the Yankees vs. the Dodgers - even most baseball fans have forgotten Sal Maglie was the Dodger starter and loser that afternoon 51 years ago.

WWPierre 7:21 PM  

Six weeks and two days later. Not proud of myself for my performance on this one. Got EGG TIMER and ROSIE right away, then fairly quickly down to the S/W, but the north eluded me for hours over the last two days. Had to google for MAN O WAR and GUERIN.

The big red herring that held me up was that I had spelled ECSTASY EXSTASY (It looks a lot wronger here than it does written vertically) DANDLES was a familiar word, for some reason.

TRIPLE WORD SCORE was the last clue filled in.

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