SATURDAY, Jul. 28, 2007 - Manny Nosowsky

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Very simple, elegant grid shape for a reasonably simple, elegant Saturday puzzle. The strangest part about the puzzle, to me, was the quality of its short answers. The ones on the outskirts of each quadrant were astonishingly easy (about half gimmes), while the ones in the center of the puzzle, joining all the quadrants together, were the most challenging part of the puzzle. The quadrants opened up really fast once a few of those four-letter border answers were in place - but I slogged through the center of the puzzle (fitting home of the word BOG) with educated guesses, stepping over odd terms or names I'd never heard of before. I completed the grid very, very quickly (for me - somewhere in the 12 minute range), and then spent over five minutes trying to ROOT OUT (55A: Expose and destroy) my one wrong square. The square in question ... is not that surprising.

  • 35A: Red stain in a lab (eosin)
  • 35D: Young members of a convocation (eaglets)

EOSIN is a former enemy whom I should have seen hiding there in ambush. I had ROSIN and RESIN here, which gave me RAGLETS for EAGLETS. Since I had No indication that 35D was an avian answer, I figured RAGLETS was just one of those Saturday words that you don't know, but accept as a real world in someone's universe. The center of the puzzle was hard, as I've said, because after the easy NAILS (27A: Aces), and TABOR (24D: Drum accompanying a pipe), I was stuck. I wasn't even That sure of TABOR. I've taught Homer a lot, but had no idea about 28D: Island said to be the home of Homer's tomb (Ios). And BOG (30A: Common site of archaeological remains) just felt a bit unsolid (as BOGs are wont to do). Also never heard of 25D: The _____ Marbles (Elgin). They are a large collection of marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon in the early 19th century and brought to Britain, probably illegally. Nobody beats the western colonial powers for despoiling the world of its art - not to mention its natural resources, happiness, etc.

So happy to see the quick return of ONE O' CAT (15A: Sandlot game) to the grid. Today we learn that this mystery game is played on a "sandlot." What will we learn next? HAD DIBS (1A: Claimed as one's own) was one of those very tentative guesses, where I mentally filled it in and then tested the Downs in my head. And they worked. Lucky. Gimmes up in the NW include 19A: Rock guitarist born David Evans (The Edge) - guitarist of the band U2 - and semi-frequent puzzle denizen 5D: Immobile in winter (iced in).

In the NE, I took a stab with ARBORED (18A: Lined with trees) which gave me the easy SPAS (8D: Bath and others), which gave me PILSNER, which was wrong. But PALE ALE came out eventually (16A: Draft pick). Hurray for Mike Brady as a beautiful clue for STEPDAD (20A: Mike Brady of "The Brady Bunch"). Someone will tell me whether ARLENE (22A: Longtime "What's My Line?" panelist) is a first or last name. I'm guessing the latter, but that seems absurd. I got 13D: "_____ and Franklin," 1976 biopic (Eleanor) simply by thinking of all the Franklins I know. After Franklin from "Peanuts," FDR was the next one my mind went to, which made ELEANOR easy. As for TARTANS (9D: Carnegie Mellon athletes), why would you name yourself after a fabric pattern?

What HAD DIBS was to the NW and ARBORED was to the NE, ON A TEAR (41A: Running wild) was to the SW - tentative but ultimately correct guess that opened the quadrant right up. It's a very multi-wordy, colloquial quadrant, with not only ON A TEAR, but NOW WHAT? (31D: "Again?!"), IN A RUSH (32D: With no time to lose), and THE REST (54A: Others), the last of which has lodged the "Gilligan's Island" theme song in my head this morning (song used to end its list of castaways with "... and THE REST" until the phrase was later changed to "the Professor and Mary Ann").

In the SE, NON-HERO (36D: Melville's Ishmael, e.g.) is insane, and yet because of its Moby Dick-ness, I kind of like it. ARTISTE (53A: Pro performer) also feels pretty forced, but unlike NON-HERO, it has nothing to redeem it. OLOROSO (38D: Bristol Cream ingredient) is a kind of sherry and totally off my radar. I filled in CLAR (49D: Woodwind instrument: Abbr.) instantly, and then came ROOT OUT. With that "U" in place, SILENT U was a piece of cake (39D: Guide feature?). 46A: First name in electrical engineering sounds hard, but once you get a few crosses, it's clear that it's just TESLA's slightly less known first name, NIKOLA.

I'm 85% recovered from illness, and was well enough yesterday to go see "The Simpsons Movie." No spoilers, but I will say it CHEERED (49A: Made happy) me quite a bit.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

33 comments:

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Arlene Dahl was the "What's My Line?" panelist which is a blatent clue for "What's My Age?"

Whitey's mom 8:41 AM  

Arlene Francis was on that show for years.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Sorry Whitey, you are right. It was Arelene Francis...Good thing I remembered the Arlene part.

Rockonchris 8:53 AM  

I still don't get the "silent u" thing. Can someone please explain?

DONALD 9:10 AM  

Pronounced correctly, the U and, of course, the E are silent. Long I -- as in Long Island.

Orange 9:12 AM  

The Arlenes Francis and Dahl are old-school Crossword Pantheon. You have the current generation of puzzle editors and constructors to thank (and I mean "thank," not "blame") for your ignorance on famous Arlenes of yore, Rex.

Rockonchris, the vowel sound in guide is that of a long I. You might say the U is silent. (Although from a phonetic standpoint, I'm guessing the lingo doesn't work.) "Gide" wouldn't be necessarily be pronounced like "guide" with a hard G, so that U isn't just sitting there uselessly. It's doing some work.

Rex Parker 9:19 AM  

Silent letters often do work. "Silent 'e' makes the first vowel say its name," as a particularly annoying early reading video Sahra once watched instructed us Over and Over, possibly in song form. HAT / HATE. RID / RIDE. etc.

So I'm guessing ARLENE is OK as an answer here bec. on that show her name appeared on a placard in front of her as ARLENE. 'Cause otherwise, there's no clue that the answer is a first name.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Tartans? Surely because Andrew Carnegie was a Scot.

Jerome 11:40 AM  

I found today's puzzle a bear.

Never heard of OLOROSO (Googled it).

Will & Manny missed the chance to clue NILS (31A) "First name in physics."

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Despite Rex's kneejerk response to what he's just learned about the Elgin Marbles, a coherent case can be made that by purchasing these Parthenon sculptures from the Ottoman Turks, who controlled Greece at the time of the purchase, Lord Elgin actually saved them from destruction. (The Turks used the Parthenon for ammo storage, and it was blown up one night.) Whether the Marbles should now be returned to Greece is another case entirely, and I agree they should.

barrywep 12:02 PM  

I thought you would like Mike Brady given the recent "faux pa" brouhaha. I know I'm doing too many puzzles when NIKOLA becomes a near gimmee.

I loved HADDIBS. Manny must have grown up in NY.

I resisted ARLENE. A first name didn't seem right. But I couldn't fit CARLYLE.

Deschanel 12:25 PM  

Oof, today was a bit tough for me.

NONHERO was a stinker for me- awkward and clumsy and subjective- maybe I think he was a hero. not
antihero, protag, narrator..

WAGING for "carrying on" stunk as well. The only thing you "wage" is a battle or war. But there are so many ways to carry on, from "toting" to "acting up" to "facing adversity bravely"...

WRANGLE I usually think of as a verb not noun.

"Sanctions" clue was interesting. Thought of it as parliamentary punishment, censure, etc. ASSENTS is unexpected but correct- when we have "sanctions" against a country say, it's referring to the ASSENT to punish. Hmm.

Isabella di Pesto 12:32 PM  

anon is correct about the Elgin Marbles. (The Brits pronounce his name with the hard "g" as in "gun.")

Actually saw them in the British Museum.

Put in "feline" instead of "engine" for the purrer clue, knowing it could go either way.

Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Jerome - "First name in physics" would have been "Niels" (Bohr). "Nils" would have been "First name in rock musicians" (Lofgren).

Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, and (the most recent to pass) Dorothy Kilgallen held down the panel seats on What's My Line for what seemed like 20 yrs starting in the late 40's or early 50s. A Challenger who stumped the panel got a munificent $50. The Mystery Challenger was so recognizable that the panelists wore eyemasks and the Challengers disguised their voices, leading to general hilarity. Also, Bennett Cerf (who was a founder and head of Random House) proved he was one of the worst punsters of all time.

Tyrone 2:25 PM  

The SE corner rocked me. I had NICOLA (d'oh), SILENT E (double d'oh, and I hate answers like this), TIES TO, and PLEASED (also d'oh), which really screwed me up, so I erased all of them. Given that I started the puzzle around 11PM with a few beers in me, I finally got so fed up with the corner that I Googled some stuff to fill it in.

I contend that moshing is not a form of dance and is closer related to rioting than dancing. Just because it's set to music doesn't make it a dance.

There are white blood cells called eosinophils. They stain red in eosin. They're major players in the defense against parasitic worms. You should never forget about eosin now that you know this little bit of immunology.

Wendy 2:28 PM  

Barrywep, Carlyle, had it fit, would have been wrong. Kitty Carlisle is the spelling, and she was on To Tell the Truth, not What's My Line. In case it ever comes up again ;)

I'm wondering how many different clues will have to appear before I recognize when the answer to all of them is TMEN. Never heard of it before doing the puzzle, and it gets me every time. I'm hoping I get wise to ONE O'CAT sooner.

I'm totally blanking on ENTERON for the beginning of an ENTERprise. Isn't this supposed to be taboo, having a word in the answer appear in the clue? And what does it mean, regardless of whether it's wrong? I'm 'entering on' an enterprise? No comprende.

Jerome 2:55 PM  

anonymous - 1:44,

Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I was blinded by the juxtapositioning of 2 famous scientists connected by lab dye, if that's an excuse.

Wade 3:01 PM  

I didn't set any speed records on this one--had to break away to take my five year old to a birthday party (at a bowling alley), and came back to complete the southeast. The bottom half generally came slowly to me. Still, it felt good to finally get back on track in actually completing puzzles correctly after nearly a week of one-squaritis.

Daschnel, "sanctions" is one of those peculiar words that can mean the opposite of itself--it can mean to punish or to condone (maybe you were being tongue-in-cheek, in which case I'm an idiot.)

EENSIE, however. . . . I thought it the spider that crawled up the waterspout was itsy-bitsy. Is there a verse I don't know?

hobbyist 3:20 PM  

Wade et al. I am sure you are right. The spider of rhyme was "itsy" and "bitsy" not "eensie" and "weensie" or whatever.

Fergus 4:13 PM  

EENSIE weensie is the British version, I assume, since that's the way I learned the rhyme (from British parents).

Totally on the same wavelength as Manny Nosowsky today. First seven or eight guesses were right. My grandpa started me on OLOROSO when I was pretty young. Slowed a bit in the SW because I put in NOT THAT, which seemed reasonable enough. Feline instead of ENGINE didn't help either, but then WRANGLEd with the HUSKIER STINKER and all THE REST fell in. And finally the two best clues stumped me in the NE. Even though I had a bunch of squares filled in the Paper binder and the Draft pick eluded my 'intentional random thought method' hunt. Glanced over at my desk and saw the STAPLER and now will open my fridge and be CHEERED with a PALE ALE.

I, too, was a bit leery about MOSH then figured it must also be a verb, so therefore seemed OK. Wonder which dictionaries have accepted MOSH as standard English?

And Rex, I just noticed that you're a Rooster child. So am I, though a cycle ahead of you. Do you think Xword affliction is in some way connected with Roosterdom?

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

Rex does show his callow youth quite often, doesn't he? Didn't we all grow up with What's My Line? No? Oh. To the fellow with the Silent U problem...one doesn't pronouce the U in Guide.

Rex Parker 5:27 PM  

If you "rescue" art, but then continue to hang on to it Long after it needs a safe home (as "anon" him/herself admits), you are a despoiler. DESPOILER! Thus, my response was not "kneejerk" at all, but spot on. Britain has TONS of other art / artifacts from around the world (esp. Africa / Near East) that falls under this same category, i.e. DESPOILED.

rp

green mantis 6:17 PM  

Chiming in to second "sanctions" as "officially permits" or whatever, like a sanctioned activity at a school, like a scheduled dance as opposed to an impromptu mosh pit, like, you know, like totally.

For a minute I thought the instrument was a tabla--is that an Indian instrument, or am I making that up?

Anonymous 7:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jae 7:28 PM  

Mantis -- I seem to recall tabla from a recent late week puzzle. Something about back up for a sitar? So, Indian is probably right.

This took awhile for me and I had two errors in SE where I had TANGLE for WRANGLE and RAGING for WAGING. Somehow, NORTHAT did not seem all that odd.

Rex Parker 7:41 PM  

Please please please do not EVER comment on a future puzzle. People reading SATURDAY's entry are not going to be happy to have SUNDAY's theme given away. I have deleted (and will delete) any such comments. Just so you know.

rp

Fergus 9:11 PM  

jae seems to have some East/West dyslexia too. PALE ALE is kicking in, and so it's time to go celebrate Peru's independence day by the beach in Santa Cruz.

jae 11:07 PM  

Drat, I was hoping no one would notice. Caught it after I clicked. Yes, I definately have East/West as well as right/left dyslexia. Plus, I transpose numbers. All this makes sovling a bit more interesting.

Paulo 12:29 AM  

Green Mantis, your memory is good. A tabla is a small, intricately played Indian hand drum and, unfortunately, not the answer today.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Hate to disagree with our man, but this was a chore for me today! Maybe I have a mental block concerning Saturday puzzles? KC

WWPierre 10:40 PM  

Another enjoyable slog for me. The last half of the third cup was cold when I completed the grid, rushed here, and found that I had screwed up the middle with DIG instead of BOG. A greek island called IIS? TADOR, a type of drum? Seemed reasonable.

I had red herrings in three quadrants as well:

In the S/E I had NIKITA for Tesla's first name, although I knew different;

PILSNER for PALE ALE and ALDERED for ARBOURED in the N/E;

And the S/W solution, which I finished last, was slowed down by NOT THAT (31d "Again?") and LARUSSE for LAGASSE. This gave me TRUNGLE which I looked up hopefully. :)

Like Barrywep, I was amused by the appearance of another "faux pa" and I knew of the ELGIN Marbles.

I got obsessed with Benjamin FRANKLIN for a while in New England, until ELEANOR emerged, bless her heart.

Thank you for this Manny, HOO RAH!

joest 10:07 AM  

Arlene Francis was a wonderful panelist and some of her appearances can even be found on YouTube under "What's My Line" for the curious.

Rudiger 12:07 AM  

Six weeks later...Based on the more timely comments above, guess I'm the only one who thinks/thought the phrase-cluing ("AGAIN?!" and "IT'S TRUE!") did not properly lend themselves to their respective answers (NOWWHAT and NOTALIE). The latter especially galled me: I feel a phrase in the clue requires an answer that is also something one would say, & in my mind's ear, NOT A LIE isn't anything I hear someone saying.

Damn syndicated puzzles.

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