SATURDAY, Jul. 7, 2007 - Todd McClary

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

I was going to print this out and solve it over breakfast, but once I took a look at it and saw 11A: Three-time Gold Glove winner _____ Otis (Amos) sitting there (a gimme for me), I started typing in answers, and never stopped. In fact, I barely paused. The thing about 10-letter answers - there are 12 of them in this puzzle - is that if you can unlock one with just a few crosses, then it really opens the puzzle up. In this case, none of the long answers were very tricky. After getting AMOS and then MOLT (16A: Undergo ecdysis - an incredible guess on my part, inferred from my knowing that an "ecdysiast" is a stripper), I set down the long answers in the NE in 1-2-3 fashion, but in reverse. First STEP ASIDE (14D: Relinquishes control), then OL' MAN RIVER (13D: Show tune sung by a stevedore named Joe), then MONTESSORI (12D: Casa dei Bambini school founder). A few more little crosses, and just like that, one quadrant of the puzzle was done.

Once I changed GREW to FLEW (9D: Gained popular acceptance), the long NW answers started to fall into place, beginning with HELLO HELLO (15A: Enthusiastic welcome) - I just had the second HELLO at first, and briefly considered A FINE HELLO, but got the right answer fairly easily. There is one insane answer in the NW: 5D: Eternal (eonian) - yikes. Thankfully, all the crosses were super-common words.

I was aided by the return of some fill I'd seen recently, including EXACTA (23D: Track wager) and TO SIR (10D: Quaint note opener). Oh, and PINA COLADA (61A: Cosmopolitan alternative) - though last time, that answer was clued in a far more gettable fashion, via the Rupert Holmes song.

Check out the high-end cluing on crossword staple OLE - 39A: Outboard motor inventor Evinrude! No bullfighting clues today.

I'm wondering if 37A: Zolaesque imputation ("J'accuse") will give people trouble. It was a gimme for me, but it might seem from outer space for people who have never heard of the Dreyfus Affair.

Only a few other little answers provided any kind of obstacle. Didn't know:

  • 60A: Fröbe who played Goldfinger (Gert) - I feel as if I have not known this before...
  • 54D: Sourdough's dream (lode) - bread has dreams? (I eventually figured out that this must be a term for a prospector, and only just this second figured out the connection between the bread and S.F. and the Gold Rush).
  • 56A: St. _____ (Cornwall resort town) (Ives) - Is this the same St. IVES as in the poem "As I was going to St. IVES, I met a man with seven wives..."?
  • 29A: Sorority letters (XIs) - I thought "X" was called a "CHI," but I guessed this spelling anyway, and as with nearly all my guesses in this puzzle, it was right.
  • 51D: Pick _____ (pettifog) (a nit) - "pettifog"!?!? Now that's a new one to me. I know PETITS FOURS ... PETTICOAT ... TOM PETTY ... THE VELVET FOG ... but no, not this word.

The one square I nearly blew was at the intersection of MR. ED (41A: TV role for Bamboo Harvester) and MARSALA (41D: Zabaglione ingredient). Had _RED and _ARS__A and was seriously going to enter FRED / FARSINA (!? - I think I was thinking FARINA, like the flour...?), but then I got the _ARSALA part and that first letter became an "M." MR. ED, of course. Not sure what FRED I was thinking of. Maybe the voice of FRED Flintstone ... or FRED from "Scooby Doo"...

That's all. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


David Glasser 8:25 AM  

X is indeed called CHI; XI is this wacky thing with three horizontal lines.

Jerome 8:29 AM  


Agree this was an easy puzzle for a Saturday, but a lot of fun. Surprised you didn't comment on ADEPTS for whizzes.

kratsman 8:49 AM  

This was disappointingly easy for a Saturday, imoo. Wanted a stiffer challenge, but so it goes. My first entry also was AMOS which gave me OLMANRIVER which gave me the NE. It was similar in all the other sections, where just a word (like STAX, a gimme) would open up a whole quadrant. Hoping the Saturday Stumper or LAT is a bit more of a challenge.

Isabella di Pesto 9:49 AM  

The "Zolaesque" clue gave me trouble because "esque" as a suffix means:

"In the manner of; resembling"

"J'accuse!" is EXACTLY what Emile Zola declaimed in the newspaper "L'Aurore" during the L'affaire Dreyfus.

My first answer was "I accuse," which would be Zolaesque--an English version of his "J'accuse."

So I dispute that clue.

I didn't like the "junta" clue either.

"untack?" Tacky.

Overall, a fun puzzle...or so.

Wendy 10:02 AM  

I can't believe I grew up in the age of Barbie's SIS (had Barbie but I think I skipped Skipper), was a ZEALOT for all STAX recording artists and watched MR ED religiously, yet never once in my life have I heard the real name of that horse. If Bamboo Harvester appears on my radar screen again I will be ready for it.

And I must pettifog, as I have in the past, to wit: ESK(imo)is not an appropriate term for natives of NWT. Will et al., go to Statistics Canada at this site and see the ethnic breakdowns for NWT residents as they are recognized in the census. Eskimos are nowhere to be found.


Wendy 10:04 AM  

P.S. Do I have to have a Blogger account to embed a link in the comments? If I don't, how do I do that?

Orange 10:04 AM  

Of course, when my husband and I go around the house, pointing fingers and letting loose with a dramatic "J'accuse!" (doesn't everyone do this? no?), our imputations are Zolaesque. It's as if Todd and Will have a spycam set up here, I tell you.

Wikipedia doesn't seem to know which of several St. Ives towns is referenced in "As I was going..."

Orange 10:10 AM  

Wendy, the html coding goes like this:

A less-than angle bracket followed by a href="" followed by a greater-than angle bracket, followed by the text you want to link, followed by /a inside the same brackets.

It comes out like this.

Howard B 10:21 AM  

'J'accuse' was the killer for me in this one. Vaguely heard of it but didn't have a background of its history, so that plus the cluing of "imputation" did not help me at all, and pretty much stopped up the whole middle for me for a bit.

At least I know I'm not the first person to get crossed up in some way by "Zolaesque". Had fun with the struggle though. The rest of it was pretty breezy for a Saturday.

Oh, and I also knew Amos Otis as well from my childhood baseball-card collection. Why, I don't know.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

OK, well I'm glad this was easy for most of you. It was not for me - except for the NE.

No problem with J'accuse, however.

For Magellan, I'd put Space PROBE, which (in my mind) is more accurate. At any rate, it just messed up the NW - I even tossed out Hellohello because I was so convinced that "probe" was correct.


Oh well.

jlsnyc 11:13 AM  

wendy -- this may also help:

making html links

good luck!


p.s. thx, orange!!

p.p.s. i used to think of "html" as "hate mail"...

Wendy 11:38 AM  

Thanks Amy and Janie, here goes with a link to a site that actually has a trailer for the new Let's Play Crosswords show, with androids playing the host and contestants ;)

I really learned something today! I, the quintessential techophobe (I love technology but am afraid of learning how to use it; there's probably a different word for that) can write code! Woo hoo!

Paulo 12:53 PM  

X does = Chi in Greek but I = iota and the two together are probably some sororities letters. The clue is plural.

Blue Stater 12:55 PM  

Yes, for me, too, this was the hardest in weeks. There wasn't too much popcult, but there were clusters of very difficult words crossing very marginal clues, e.g. SE and NW.

Michael 1:31 PM  


I struggled with this one, too. Got EXACTA and ESK (there's debates about the terms Eskimo and Inuit in the NW Territories, but for crossword puzzle purposes, I knew the answer). Then with just the A and E, I thought that "Many an Degas portrait" must be DANCER, before realizing it was PASTEL. I nearly ROLLED OVER on this one.


crossnerd 3:28 PM  

Zolaesque imputation gave me some problems, yup. I got the J fairly early, then kept looking back at the spot and trying to make JALOUSIE fit.

Boy, do I have a touch of JALOUSIE after seeing how many of you clever people had a breeze with today's puzzle. Still, my zippy Saturday'll come eventually, I'm sure.

PS: To Michael above: you're not alone, I had DANCER until the bitter end. :P

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

On June 15th I took the puzzle with me on a six hour flight in the hopes that would keep me diverted but no. It was as easy as many of you think todays' is!! I spent ages today. Had the doctor as a consultant, the handshake leading to trust. A pinacolada was a wine cooler eonianly. Few deal sweeteners for me in today's offering.
Adios amigos.

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

Gee I'm the dumbest one here....Had HOMECAM for WIRETAP, DO IN instead of DOWN, MAMOISELLE for PINACOLADA, GOLD for LODE. CONGO for ZAIRE, GET UP ON for CLIMB ON, as well as the other mistakes everyone else here mentioned.. No wonder it seemed harder for me than it did for you!

Wade 6:01 PM  

I found it difficult also--couldn't crack the last couple of clues to complete the southwest, all because I guessed the last letter if EONIA__ was an L instead of an N. If I'd had the N, I think ARSON would have jumped out at me, but I was looking at AR_OL, and I had DOIN instead of DOWN, so SWEETENERS never made it into my grid today. I got ADEPTS but still think it's a stretch. Haven't checked yet whether ADEPT can be used as a noun but I'm assuming so.

Wendy 6:52 PM  

Anonymous 5:13 p.m.: No one who does the puzzle is "dumb;" we all just possess varying degrees of ADEPTness.

This puzzle was a killer. I didn't say this earlier, but I could only glean *three* words today before resorting to mr. google - STAX, SIS and the offending ESK. So I could be said to be the dumbest one here!

anne 6:55 PM  

I'm so clever that I had "testaments" for "words for leaving". I couldn't give it up, so the southwest never fell. Oh well...

Fergus 11:52 PM  

I had SUFI Muslims, PILED Bricks and took forever on SWEETENERS, even with most of the letters, and persisted with the idea that Magellan had to be on the surface of the Earth. Finally had too come here to get the insinuations in the NW. First time in many weeks to taste defeat ... .

Dave 11:09 AM  

I loved this puzzle. HELLOHELLO coupled with ADIOSAMIGO was great.

JACCUSE was the last thing to fall for me in this puzzle and what a wonderful satisfying feeling to see it, finally, after wondering.

OLMANRIVER might be my favorite long answer of the month!

I had to look up "ecdysis" and "pettifog", so I learned 2 new words.

I like puzzles that have long answers and oblique clues, but enough gettable ones that I can fill in the harder ones. This puzzle fit the bill!

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

I don't know much about pop culture, sports, and TV, so I look up those clues on Google. If that's cheating, so be it---I'd never know them, otherwise. But I've accumulated enough knowledge in my 88 years to breeze through some of the things you youngsters find hard, like 33A. We should collaborate!

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

6WL :::

I thought he NE, SE and SW were enjoyable, challenging and possible after some lengthy ruminations. But I fell flat on the NW, even after nailing HELLOHELLO. Like Fergus above, my Magellan was earthbound. Looking at the NW answers now, it all looks so easy.

JACCUSE came easily, as did EXACTA, so the middle was a breeze.

kb 3:05 PM  

Did anyone else notice in the SW corner after getting the easy IVES, GERT and ORSO, for 26D 'Words to leave by' left the unpopular "I GO" at the bottom? I was stuck on that one trying to come up with anything meaning to leave. GOODBYE I GO?? Or is that still something you say when its your turn?

Waxy in Montreal 10:07 PM  

Certainly I'm no expert but Eskimo is now considered a pejorative term here in Canada. The answer to 34D, Northwest Terr. native, should probably be INU for INUIT.

But we still have the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (our version of the Washington Redskins, I guess) so who knows?

rudiger 10:37 PM  

Everything was as easy as described here but I got severely hung up in the center portion. I hashed out JUNTA, DISCARD & ESK but, er, discarded EXACTA because it didn't work with UPDATE (release a bulletin) which I was sure was correct because nothing else made sense.

Sorry, but UNTACK is very weak & a stretch: ask anyone about bulletins &and $$ to donuts (ummm, doughhh-nutssss) they'll think of interruptions to their TV viewing.

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