SATURDAY, Jun. 23, 2007 - Patrick Berry

Friday, June 22, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

A breezy puzzle with only a couple of snags. First answer I got was AJA (7D: 1977 double-platinum Steely Dan album) and the last answer I filled in was TOP BANANA (17A: Vaudeville bigwig), which is weird, considering they intersect. Even though AJA was first, I actually started the puzzle in earnest in the West (at 44A: Vermicide: worm :: formicide : _____ (ant)) and didn't come back to the NW until the very end: SUTRA (1D: Collection of aphorisms), AMANA (22A: _____ Colonies, started in Iowa in the 1850s), and RONDURE (8D: Circle) gave me some problems up there, but not for long.

15A: It's pictured in Van Gogh's "Starry Night Over the Rhone" (Ursa Major)

We just started watching this PBS show called something like "Simon Schama's Power of Art" and the first episode we saw was on Van Gogh. This painting was not mentioned, and at first, when I had just the "J," I was trying to think of French landmarks, like "PONT this" or "ILE DE that." Didn't realize he'd got an entire constellation in there. Impressive.

45A: City whose name means "old town" in Creek (Tulsa)

Guessed it off the "T" - glad to be right, though I'm trying to think of other five-letter "T" cities and drawing a blank. Ooh, TEMPE. There's one.

54A: _____ Henry, triple gold-medal swimmer at the 2004 Olympics (Jodie)

There was a time when I paid attention to the Olympics. I believe that time has passed. Wouldn't have guessed her (her?) name in a million years.

60A: When "anything can happen" on "The Mickey Mouse Club" (Wednesday)

All other days of the week - well, you better remember your lines and hit your marks or Walt will personally beat your ass.

10D: Easy-Bake Oven seller (Hasbro)

Got it off just the "O" - I am old enough to remember these. I feel as if my sister might have owned one. Apparently some light bulbs get hot enough to partially cook cupcakes. I can't believe there weren't burns and fires and lawsuits aplenty.

12D: "Try before you buy" products (shareware)

Best answer in the grid. Incredibly fresh and contemporary. Really impressive.

32D: Lettuce variety (cos)

COS = short for "companies," short for "Bill COSby," possibly short for "cousin" ... but lettuce? I wanted BIB, naturally.

33D: Busch of Laurel and Hardy films (Mae)

Total unknown, but by the time I read this clue I already had the -AE, so it wasn't hard to figure out.

39D: "Sliding Doors" star, 1998 (Paltrow)

Now that is how I prefer to see the highly over-rated PALTROW clued - by reference to a forgettable movie with a stupid gimmicky premise ("let's see what her life had been like if she'd caught that train..." - snore). This was a British movie and is possibly the place where PALTROW picked up her ridiculously affected speech intonations. Why does she get cast as British so often? She's barely a convincing American. Here are all the fake awards "Sliding Doors" won.

RABBIT RUN (55A: Wood-and-chicken-wire enclosure) would have been better clued as the Updike novel, as it would have then been part of a nice literary pair, sitting as it does right atop O PIONEERS (58A: First novel in Cather's "prairie trilogy").

And so to bed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


mellocat 12:00 AM  

Easy-Bake ovens are still around! My little nieces got one for Christmas (I think) last year. I was surprised, since I had one as a child and figured they were long gone. But apparently not. They did have to recall about a million of them a few month ago since little kiddie fingers could get stuck in the oven slot and possibly singed. Don't see anything about lawsuits, though.

Orange 12:16 AM  

Jack Bibb would want BIBB, naturally.

I figured the Creek town name was OMAHA, working off the A at the end. Fortunately, Gwyneth and her not-so-good movie saved the day. (I hated the half of the movie in which she stays with her cheating boyfriend rather than dumping his sorry ass.)

I wish SPIKE HEELS had been given a saucier clue. Maybe something like [Drag accessories]?

Paulo 2:02 AM  

Strange the things we get hung up on. I got 13d mainly from the crossovers and was puzzled, I think because of all the two letter clues, with what "port rayal" (with the accent on the "al") had to with acting. It wasn't until I decided to type it into google that I realized I was writing "portrayal."

Maybe it's an age thing. . .

DONALD 3:36 AM  

PORTRAYAL (13D Acting job) leads the way for art and artists as a theme for this standard Saturday crossword puzzle.

Karen 8:37 AM  

This one seemed to have a lot of entry points for a Saturday. I started with ACHOO, which led to ACME, and DILBERT just dropped in.

And I liked the Sliding movie, cuz I liked how there was no explanation, just a split identity.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Ok, I'm pretty new to crosswords, and here's how bad I am. I can't even FIND the Sat. NYT puzzle. Just purchased the New England Edition. It contains two sections. Within neither of those sections is a crossword puzzle.

Can I have a hint?

Scott 9:07 AM  

Since when is a SUTRA a "collection of aphorisms?" I've read plenty of them, and I can't think of a single one that could be characterized that way. The Dhammapada is a collection of aphorisms, but I've never heard it called a sutra. I believe whatever dictionary Shortz pulled this clue out of is in error.

Jo 9:34 AM  


By the time you read this you most likely will have found your own answer.

FWIW:In my Saturday NYT national edition the puzzle is found in the arts which is usually in the first of the two physical sections. Look in the table of contents on the first page for "Arts" and go from there.

Good Luck,


Anonymous 9:44 AM  

American Heritage Dictionary


1. Hinduism Any of various aphoristic doctrinal summaries produced for memorization generally between 500 and 200 B.C. and later incorporated into Hindu literature.

2. also sut·ta (sŏŏt'ə) Buddhism A scriptural narrative, especially a text traditionally regarded as a discourse of the Buddha.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Wow. Blew right passed it and overreacted. My chances for finishing today's puzzle are not looking good considering I can't even find it w/o help. Sheesh.

judgesully 10:00 AM  

By far the easiest Saturday puzzle I've ever seen. Seemed like dozens of clues just leapt off the page, e.g, Iowa colonies, Bud's comedic bud, formicide, Napoleon symphony, Mickey Mouse,L&H Busch, etc. Does this have something to do with age? I'm feeling so good I think I'll go see the White Sox play the Cubs even though there are no two more miserable excuses for baseball teams out there.

blue stater 11:03 AM  

In my New England edition of today's Times, the puzzle is on p. A22, lower left corner, in amongst the ads for movies in NYC theaters that I'd have to drive four hours to patronize, grrr.

But wait! I just discovered, after griping for years about what I thought was a lack in NYT layouts, that they tell you the location of the puzzle in a box in the News Summary on p. 2! If they do this every day, that means no more wrestling with the Friday paper, which has TWO Arts sections, in which the location of the puzzle varies wildly.

Yeah, today was an easy Saturday, which is probably why, for the first Saturday in at least a month, I got it without artificial help. It was a pleasant surprise, because I usually find Patrick Berry's puzzles exceptionally gnarly and resistant.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Hate to ask, but what is the significance of one clue answer each day being colored -- 37A LIPS is in gray with the P in blue?

Jerome 11:25 AM  

I agree it was a fairly easy puzzle for a Saturday, and especially for Patrick Berry. Two words I never heard of, though: RONDURE & HOT SPUR gave me trouble.

campesite 11:38 AM  

Anonymous 11:12: The highlighted answer has no significance, it's just where the cursor was sitting when the puzzle was submitted.
Having worked on a lot of TRAILERs, I liked the cluing there (It doesn't give you the full picture).

campesite 11:48 AM  

If anyone is interested in an excellent Patrick Berry puzzle, check out Friday's Wall St. Journal (then check out Orange's blog).

Isabella di Pesto 12:12 PM  

Thanks, blue stater for that info.

Once I got hot head for 27D in my stubborn head, I couldn't think of any other answer. Never heard of hot spur for a short-tempered sort.

Wendy 12:26 PM  

Enjoyable and not too killer.

Two wrong entries of significance - Surrogate for Replacement instead of SPARE PART, but realized it was wrong due to PRO AM, and MY ANTONIA instead of O PIONEERS. Though I've read both, I never can remember which was first in the trilogy, probably because I read MA first. Knew it was wrong since PALTROW had to be right. Also had Reputed to instead of IMPUTED TO, though it didn't seem precisely right.

As an aside I really liked Sliding Doors, for some reason the only film of hers I've had that reaction to. I felt more authenticity with her in that role than in any other but really liked John Hannah too.

Agree SHAREWARE is very impressive, and overall lots of original words and ways of cluing them.

Wendy 12:34 PM  

Apparently COS is another word for Romaine lettuce, just not on this side of the pond. Came from a Greek island of the same name, sometimes spelled Kos.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Hotspur is a character in a Shakespeare play. I assume he was hot-tempered but don't remember.

Scott 2:01 PM  

Well, thanks, anonymous, I stand corrected. Maybe it's just me, but I think the Buddhist use of the term SUTRA is more familiar in the U.S. than the Hindu term.

Michael 2:44 PM  

Aw Rex, I liked "Sliding Doors" too! John Lynch (the boyfriend) stole the movie with the scene where he's talking to himself in the mirror. And the mayonnaise line was hysterical (most people don't get it).

crossnerd 3:06 PM  

TOPBANANA was also the last thing I filled in, after doing enough crosses to know that TAPDANCER was dead wrong.

About dating yourself: AJA's more of a giveaway than HASBRO! :) As someone said, EZ Bake ovens are still kicking. Steely Dan... not so much.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

Hotspur = Henry Percy, in Henry IV, Pt. 1.
A very hotheaded character whose name is an eponym.

frances 5:52 PM  

I thought this was the easiest Saturday puzzle ever, until the NW corner remained sullenly sparse. Finally had to resort to Google for the Steely Dan clue, and the 'j' in Aja made everything fall into place. Totally new word to me was 'rondure."American Heritage defines it as "a circular or gracefully rounded object."

Eugene 10:20 PM  

This is the first time I've commented here. I agree that this was the easiest Saturday puzzle; I rarely finish it in one sitting. And I also filled in TOPBANANA as the last item, and also never heard RONDURE before. I don't think anyone's mentioned what I thought was one of the best clues; 29A.

Kitt 11:00 PM  

I had "hothead" at first too -- and still like it better than "hotspur" -- sorry : ) But with various acrosses figured it wasn't to be....Having "hothead" kept me from seeing "Tulsa."

Overall loved the puzzle~

Welcome, Eugene! 29A "voiceover" was one of my favorites as well. Lots of fun to be had in this puzzle.

Fergus 10:41 PM  

Got stuck on the many possibilities for 51A Comeback. Wanted RIPOSTE, REBOUND, REPARTE (if there's a masculine version? though I think the noun is always feminine), REPLYAL ??

michael5000 3:56 PM  

Mrs. 5000 and I blew through this one before we could finish our soup. Not only was it the easiest Saturday (for us) ever, but it took us probably less than half the time of the next easiest ever. Feels like Thursday. Oh, except without having to go to work.

We actually thought clueing "Rabbit Run" as something other than the novel was kind of clever....

Anonymous 5:39 PM  


Couldn't nail the shared "A" in SUTRA/AMANA, or the U in RONDULE. Pretty doable as Saturdays go, but extremely well constructed with many good clues/answers. I'll join in the praise for SHAREWARE. There are plenty of good Patrick Berry puzzles in the "Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies" book, as well as a easily-understood construction pointers. The key word in the title is "Challenges", not "Dummies".

Waxy in Montreal 6:00 PM  

I'll go with the consensus from 6 weeks ago that this was one of the easiest Saturday puzzles ever. Seemed to have many Monday-like gimmes such as ACHOO, DILBERT, AMANA, RULER, SCARAB, and quite a few more. I found very few clues ambiguous.

Not being familiar with the works of Willa Cather, could't figure out OPIONEERS even after I had it from the crosses until I researched her in the OED. And, not having seen "Sliding Doors", inferred PALANCE instead of PALTROW, initially throwing the SE into disarray.

Anyway, first Sat. without Googling for me. Hope it won't be the last!

Vince 6:22 PM  

I felt pretty good about today's puzzle, considering it's my first week of trying in many years. I mess ed up SHARP for SMART on 18A, WHERETO for THERETO on 26A, fiddled with RABBITHUT for a long time before getting RABBITRUN, and was mostly stumped by the NW corner.

I grudgingly put in 23A REV for the clue "gun", and didn't understand it until 20 minutes later. It's funny how you have to switch back and forth in your brain between all the different literal, physical, punny and poetic definitions of words. I hope these puzzles keep making me laugh out loud... it makes you live longer, you know!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

After inserting "villa" for 29D, "bib" (incorrectly) for 32D,and letsgo for 21D, we thought 29A might be VERBATEERS due to the Mickey Mouse Club clue...

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

I thought this one was so easy that it must be a misprint - Indeed, I came to this site mainly to see if there was mention of this accidental Monday or Tuesday puzzle running on a Saturday. Am still surprised that it was apparently a 'legit' Saturday puzzle!

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