SATURDAY, Oct. 6, 2007 - Brendan Emmett Quigley and David Quarfoot

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Wow, that's quite a team-up: BEQ and DQ. Not sure how that came about, but the result was pretty enjoyable - a huge improvement over yesterday. The fill today was wacky and wide-ranging; my love is only mildly qualified by the fact that some of the longer, good answers are ones I've seen recently:

  • NETFLIX (1A: Blockbuster alternative)
  • PVC PIPE (8A: Material for drainage lines) - to be fair, I've seen PVC a few times, but not the complete PVC PIPE
  • ESO BESO (63A: 1962 hit with the lyric "Like the samba sound, my heart begins to pound") - crosswordese! Although, again, to be fair, you normally see just ESO
  • FEVERFEW (36D: Plant used as an herbal remedy for headaches)
  • CRUE! (10D: "Red, White & _____" (2005 rock album)) - oldsters: that's Motley CRÜE ... although, I guess fans of that band are approaching oldster status themselves ... they were big in the late 80s / early 90s, before Nirvana destroyed Hair Metal

The rest of the fill was fairly original, and occasionally fantastic. I especially enjoyed the SW, where SCHWAB (44D: Brokerage giant) rubs elbows with the alien-like CLOACA (45D: Zoological cavity) and Porky's rarely seen girlfriend DARLA shows up (51D: Friend of Porky) - especially tough if you had just the DA- in place, as I did, and repeatedly wanted DAFFY [correction! Darla and Porky are from "Our Gang" - see Comments section. Porky The Pig's girlfriend is, of course, Petunia]. The NW was tricky, with serious ambiguity on 1D: Annual sports event with seven rounds (NFL Draft) and then a word for "brandy" I've never heard of: EAU DE VIE (2D: Brandy). TIME ZONE, however, was a gimme (3D: Mountain, e.g.), as were a surprising number of answers in the puzzle:

  • XTERRA (7D: Nissan model)
  • CRUE
  • LUMIERE (17A: Early filmmaking brothers Auguste and Louis _____)
  • DRACO (25A: _____ Malfoy, bully in Harry Potter books)
  • IAMB (21D: Foot type)
  • BRAUN (33A: Big name in coffee makers)
  • SFO (32D: Hub NW of LAX)
  • DELOS (51A: Apollo's birthplace)
  • KWON (56D: Tae _____ do)
  • ABE (61D: Bart Simpson's grandpa)
  • THE ONION (40D: Paper that calls itself "America's Finest News Source")
  • DUD (59D: Bomb not bursting in air?)
  • HOI (54A: Part of "the many," in Greek) - HOI POLLOI; this came to me instantly. Why?!
  • SCUSI (52D: "Pardon me," in Parma)
  • BUN (22A: Atkins diet no-no)
  • REZA (23A: "No god but God" author _____ Aslan) - he's been on "The Daily Show," thus I know his name
  • SLOOP (28D: Relative of a cutter) - maybe not a true gimme, but first word I thought of
  • VERSO (9D: Back of a leaf) - a gimme 'cause I had the "O" in place; otherwise, I'd have been thinking of tree leaves...
  • OOPS (55D: Dropping sound) - again, "O" in place...

Speaking of OOPS ... last night was not a good night for two of the best relief pitchers in baseball. The insanely scary Jaba "The Hutt" Chamberlain got attacked by Canadian Soldiers (a swarm of midges that descended on the ballfield around the 7th inning) and then couldn't find the plate, throwing wild pitch after wild pitch until the Indians tied the game 1-1. Indians would eventually win it in 11, after the Yankees' best pitchers had been used up.

In Boston, the Angels took a tie game into the 10th, riding their amazing closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. But then ... Manny! Note to Alex Rodriguez: THIS is what a future Hall-of-Famer does with runners on base in the post-season when the game is on the line:

As my good friend and fellow blogger Mr. Murphy said in an early-morning email to me: yesterday was the single greatest day of baseball since 2004. Agreed. Now if only those series end the way they're Supposed To (... famous last words).

Speaking of "series" (segue!), I'd never heard of SERIES E (20A: Bond type whose first purchaser was F.D.R.) - not at all, not by a longshot. Had anyone? Anyone doing this puzzle know this answer without crosses? Just curious. If not, I hope you were a hair metal fan, because you had SERIES - crossing CRU-, and that could easily have been devastating. Other answers I had no clue about:

  • 6D: "The East _____" (1960s Chinese anthem) ("is Red")
  • 58A: Noted Art Deco building in the Big Apple, with "the" (Waldorf)
  • 64A: Shop tool with pulleys (band saw) - me and tools ... no.
  • 26A: German city where Napoleon defeated the Prussians (Jena)
  • 14D: Figure skater Sokolova and others (Elenas)

I got stymied briefly by what turned out to be EN DASH (43A: Minus sign equivalent), because I didn't know how to parse it. BALKS (30A: Pitch problems?) is interesting - many folks probably went with WALKS first. PACE CARS (8D: Track warm-up leaders) is also a bit tricky, in that the word "track" usually conjures up Track & Field, not NASCAR.

Answers I loved for no particular reason:

OARLOCK (55A: Scull part)
CLAN (50A: Reunion gatherers)
HOOEY (41A: Rot) - had DECAY at first
Y'ALL (42D: Dialectical contraction)
COOKED (48D: Like some books)

Finally, I have to congratulate BEQ and DQ for somehow getting SCREW IT (37A: Oh, I give up!") into the puzzle. This is so clearly the equivalent of FUCK IT that I'm just ... in awe that you managed to get it in.

"That's what she said."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 9:34 AM  

Porky and Darla were from "Our Gang" (a.k.a. the Little Rascals).

Rex Parker 9:37 AM  

HA ha. Yes, of course they were. Gold star for you. I was ... just testing you all. Yes, that's it.


Karen 9:56 AM  

I'm not getting the pictures for the Saturday commentary (including the crossword) (and the must-be-awesome Sox picture). The rest are loaded normally.

For me, a challenging Friday, especially the West Coast and the Arizona area.

Nothnagel 10:10 AM  

I knew this collaboration was on the way, and holy schnikies, what a puzzle.

I completely and totally second Rex's awe of SCREW IT. I actually stopped my timer right after I filled it in and stared at it for a looooong time, repeating "Really?!?" in an increasingly high-pitched voice. Way to go, David, Brendan, and Will!

Rex: I actually got SERIES E after getting a few crossings, but that's probably 'cause I grew up in Hyde Park and FDR was very much part of my formative years.


marcie 10:12 AM  

I wanted Daffy for Darla... weren't Porky and Daffy friends in the cartoons? (not boyfriend/ girlfriend) ... so I ended up liking Darla just because of the change in mental gears.

LOL at "screw it"!! My thoughts exactly, (did they REALLY let that in?) so it didn't get filled in until there was no other alternative. (and LOL again at your "thats what she said" hahahahahh!)

Thank goodness for "Red, White and Crue" or I would have gone thru the whole alphabet (or at least a,b,c,d) before hitting E. Knew it was a "series" but otherwise? nope

never heard the term en dash or end ash or whatever it is for the minus sign alternative. I wanted hyphen which is the same character we typers use for minus.

p.s. I'm new to posting here, I've been reading and very much enjoying for a while now. This blog really does enhance my NYT crossword enjoyment!


liebestraum 10:26 AM  

Well, Friday's puzzle combined with today's puzzle have just about beaten me to death. I had too much trouble. If I were boxing, this would've been a TKO both days - eyes swollen shut and me flailing at thin air.

Other than that, I enjoyed the puzzles. :)

I'm going to do something easier now, like tackling Einstein's ellusive unified field theory.


rockonchris 10:36 AM  

NETFLIX was my first fill and SERIESE was my second, just because it was the only type of bond I'm familar with. They became hugely popular during WWII as a way to support the country plus gain a safe and predictable return. After the war, it was a common gift for newborns and kids.

Marcie, an EN DASH is a term of measurement used in printing. Dashes are either en or em.

I'm not getting TEESOFF. Is Ruffles a golf term?

Right on for SCREW IT!

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Aha! So stopping one's timer is not cheating?! What else!

rick 10:54 AM  

To TEE(S) someone OFF is to make someone angry.

I solved today's in about a tenth of the time it took me to do yesterdays. This was one of the puzzles that hit a lot of my areas of knowledge. I stared at the place I knew SCREWIT should go and couldn't believe it after reading up on the big SCUMBAG scandal of last year involving Lynn Lempel.

I knew SERIESE and whatever came in for 10D had to rhyme with blue.

I did hold myself up for awhile because I wanted 26D to be MADAMEX.


ERPS was perfect for yesterday, glad I didn't think of it because I probably would have used and stuck with it.

marcie 10:55 AM  

rockonchris... if you ruffle someone's feathers, you might tee them off? That's the sense I got. It might have been more appropriate given the very next clue/answer, to have some fit for "pisses off"... LOL!!

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Tees off and ruffles mean to anger someone (i.e., ruffle one's feathers).

I found this puzzle extremely difficult and only got about half.

rick 11:01 AM  

A quibble: Is THEONION a newspaper or eZine?

mike 11:06 AM  

I couldn't believe they RAN with SCREWIT either!

I think they also recently used SNAFU but it may have been a different puzzle.

An en dash is as wide as the letter n and and em dash is as wide as the letter m.

I wanted HELOS for apollo as he is the sun's charioteer. I had no chance to get DARLA for the cross.

Alex 11:07 AM  

Rex didn't like yesterday, I did. He likes today, I didn't.

Even though it was a reasonably easy puzzle (each corner had at least a couple long gimme) it just didn't appeal to me to me at all. Surprised by SCREW IT.

I really didn't like the LEES, SERIES E, CRUE combination. I assume LEES is a reference to wine sediment (since I can't figure out how protected from wind could possibly apply), but if so I consider "refuse" a horrible clue.

Oh well, at least I've improved so much over the last year that I can no complete a Saturday to even complain about it.

barrywep 11:11 AM  

I agree with Rex that todays double Q puzzle rocks. The best of the week.
When I finally got DARLA I thought Our Gang but didn't remember Porky. Wasn't she Spanky's girl?

barrywep 11:13 AM  

I think I meant Alfalfa's girl.

Alex 11:17 AM  

I started to type out my own history of it, but as always someone has already done it for Wikipedia.

Everything you ever wanted to know about dashes.

marcie 11:29 AM  

barrywep... you did get me curious. Porky was Spanky's little brother, whose trademark was "Otay", according to one website. So Darla could be his friend, not his girlfriend. I agree, Darla was Alfalfa's girl.. no?

marcie 11:45 AM  

thanks everyone for the enlightenment on "en dash". I'd never heard that. I've seen ens and ems forever, in crosswords, and didn't really know what they signified other than constant xword filler having to do with printing like stet and dele.

jim in nyc 12:22 PM  

Just medium--and a really good puzzle--until the final square.

The crossing of feverfew and vac took forever.


angloliberal 12:26 PM  

Rick 11:01:

The Onion is an actual newspaper. I don't subscribe to it anymore, but I used to get a printed copy in my mailbox every week.

And, Rex, thank you for spelling y'all correctly. So many people, especially down South where I grew up, want to make it ya'll...

Jerome 12:29 PM  


New York vs Boston has been such an intense rivalry over the years, as a Yankee fan, I've been rooting all year for a Yankee/Red Sox ALCS face off and just don't understand why you, as a die hard Bosox fan, wouldn't want the same. Yes, I know you hate the Yankees and want them to LOSE, LOSE, LOSE, but wouldn't it be much sweeter for you to have Boston beat them? It can't be that your afraid of the match up, is it? As far as Manny vs Arod, you've got to be kidding. Hopefully, the Yanks can recover from the bug fest and we'll have more to talk about next week.

Rex Parker 12:30 PM  

Look up ARod's postseason numbers. Compare them to Manny's. Then get back to me.


akakii 12:58 PM  

Here's another huzzah for SCREWIT. It offset the ewww factor from CLOACA. I'm generally not the least bit squeamish, but that one comes awfully close to failing the breakfast table test.

wendy 1:01 PM  

You tell 'em, Rex!

ARod looked positively apoplectic last night. God only knows what Sunday'll have in store.

drano malfoy 1:22 PM  

Tons of touble in the NW. LUMIERE wasn't happpening in spite of many visits to the Lumiere Theater in San Francisco. No idea on REZA. Was in the "playoffs" box, couldn't open a window to get the DRAFT.

Had it been clued to reflect recent happenings in Louisiana, JENA would have been a gimme, but I had never heard of the German town. Clever.

SERIESE was a gimme. FEVERFEW was new to me. What makes SCRIP fractional? I'm missing that one.

Note to self re. ELENAS: learn names of ice skaters. Also, learn names of female tennis players, especially those with lots of vowels that make handy fill.

Hobbyist 1:36 PM  

It is obvious that the constructors are geniuses in their field. Very hard for me. Very tricky, esp. SW corner.
In what way are lees and refuse connected? Went over my head.

campesite 1:49 PM  

Count me in as one who had to do a triple take upon seeing SCREWIT in the grid. I actually got in some degree of trouble in the Eighth Grade for uttering that exact phrase. The SW was brutal, mainly because of the completely unknown CLOACA, which is apparently very gross, and my forcing of DAFFY into the grid.
If you haven't found the weekly puzzles in THE ONION, you should, they're quite good.

Orange 2:23 PM  

The Onion is distributed as a free newspaper in selected Midwestern cities, and has been for a decade or so. Those poor benighted souls who live elsewhere call it a website, as if the paper doesn't exist... (Terrific crosswords, as campesite says—I blog 'em each Tuesday.)

Me, I'm not drinking any LEES from the bottom of the wine bottle. I'll just pour it down the drain or toss it in the trash with all the other refuse (as a noun: "Items or material discarded or rejected as useless or worthless; trash or rubbish" in American Heritage).

Anonymous 10:42 may be on crack. Stopping the Across Lite timer is what people do when they finish the puzzle. In the applet, there's no such thing as stopping the timer. (Applet cheaters solve offline and then type in their answers online. Totally different ball game.)

Speaking of ball games, if the Cubs win today, they play again tomorrow at noon—but tomorrow morning, part of Addison Street will be closed to cars so the marathoners can run through the neighborhood. That would make for a perfect storm of Cubs-fan traffic.

Jerome 2:34 PM  


All I can say is there are VERY FEW teams who will go after Manny as a free agent. Watch what happens with Arod this off season, regardless of how his post season performance turns out.

And I still don't understand why your not rooting for a Bosox/Yankees rematch.

SNAFU, an acronym from WWII (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) has become part of the everyday lexicon and lost its real meaning along the way.

Martin 2:40 PM  


The crud at the bottom of a wine vat (mostly dead yeast) is lees. The crud at the bottom of a wine bottle (mostly precipitated tannins) is sediment.

They're both dregs, which is the bridge to refuse, but shouldn't be confused. Lees have good uses, unlike many dregs. They add character to wine when the winemaker purposely delays their removal (muscadet is made this way, called sur lie). The lees of Chinese rice wine and Japanese sake are used in the respective cuisines. Kasu is the Japanese word for sake lees, and if you ever see a fish prepared kasu-zuke in a Japanese restaurant, grab it. The fish is flavored with a paste of lees, miso, sugar and sake, which give it a divine taste as well as a silken texture.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

The Onion is not just midwestern. I routinely get it in San Francisco and have seen it in L.A. and N.Y.

And nothing else to add about SCREWIT. Sweet.


jae 3:09 PM  

I had fewer gimmies than Rex, so this one was challenging. SW was the toughest as I've never heard of FEVERFEW and didn't know a BANDSAW invovled pulleys. It took a while to dredge CLOACA from the bowels of memory. I thought using Apple in the Waldorf clue was very clever. SE, again, was the easiest as ESOBESO, THEONION, and SCUSI were gimmies. My unlucky guess of the day was at the DELOS/DARLA crossing. I put in a C vs. D thinking Porky Pig not Our Gang and hoping he had a friend named CARLA (must study Greek islands). Nothing to quibble with on this one, fair, tough, and enjoyable. Never had to say SCREWIT.

Wendy -- I grew up in Medina, OH in the 50s so its great to see Cleveland kicking some keister!

Rex Parker 3:11 PM  

No one said Manny was the better player. Just that he's miles better than A-Rod when it matters. Manny is second in postseason homers All Time to only ... Bernie Williams (and you know you'd trade 2007 A-Rod for 1996 Bernie Williams in a heartbeat right about now).

Def. 2.b. of LEES at OED:

b. fig. Basest part, ‘dregs’, ‘refuse’.

1593 NASHE Christs T. 30a, Twenty thousand of these dreggy lees of Libertines. 1621 S. WARD Life of Faith xiii. 116 In these Lees and Dregges of time. 1651 HOBBES Leviath. (1839) 321 Pretenders to political prudence..bred for the most part in the lees of the people. 1677 W. HUBBARD Narrative 119 This company of Treacherous Villains, the Dregs and Lees of the Earth. 1706 ESTCOURT Fair Examp. I. i. 11 A Man that will always smell of the Lees of the People. 1726-46 THOMSON Winter 480 He, too, with whom Athenian honour sunk, And left a mass of sordid lees behind. 1838 HALLAM Hist. Lit. (1841) I. ii. 216 Slowly purging off the lees of this extreme corruption. 1851 H. MELVILLE Whale vii. 40 My body is but the lees of my better being. 1859 KINGSLEY Misc. I. 166 The angler..has left for his day's work only the lees of his nervous energy. 1868 MILMAN St. Paul's ix. 220 It is impossible to work a revolution, especially a religious revolution, without stirring up the lees of human nature.

Ron 3:34 PM  

Trying to understand why LEES is the answer for REFUSE .... any help ? thanks, Ron

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

Feverfew? Oy vey. I had most of the letters, but couldn't get the V. I was looking for a some kind of dupe for sap and it took about five minutes to figure out it meant vaccuum even after getting feverfew via dictionary consultation. Nertz!

JAE: Nice catch on the apple vis-a-vis Waldorf . . . I didn't pick up on the subtle hint.

Eileen the Puzzle Queen (sometimes)

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Ron said...
Trying to understand why LEES is the answer for REFUSE .... any help ? thanks, Ron

3:34 PM

Are ya kidding? Read the bloody comments, particularly the one right before yours.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Did any of you home subscribers tackle the 2nd Sunday puzzle today? I thought it was a bit lame.

Eileen the Puzzle Queen (sometimes)

rick 4:22 PM  

Thanks for the info on The Onion. I thought it was web only pub.

MacMouse 4:47 PM  

Just discovered this blog. I came back to the puzzle after watching "Word Play." I appreciate the reference from the OED, one of my bibles when I was working on my PhD in English.

Beth 5:32 PM  

Since it looks like my beloved Yankees have one game left to the season, I think I should start posting here instead of on the Yankee websites. Darn bugs.

Anyway, I thought this puzzle was plenty hard--much more difficult than yesterday's. Only gimme was NETFLIX. Was amused by SCREWIT and embarrassed it took me so long to remember DRACO.

wendy 5:52 PM  

Speaking of DRACO, wasn't it odd for a Saturday to give an extended clue for that instead of just the blank with Malfoy? Seemed more a Monday-style thing to do. The only other answer it could have been would have been LUCIUS.

wendy 5:53 PM  

And I amend that ... strictly speaking Lucius was far more than a bully so there was only one answer.

Michael 6:07 PM  

I thought this was one of the most difficult puzzles I've encountered in the NYT. Even with google, I couldn't finish it. Much harder than Friday's puzzle (which I thought was relatively easy).

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

One of my fav Onion articles:

jae 7:16 PM  

Okay, one minor quibble. How come two guys named Quarfoot and Quigley didn't work a "Q" into the puzzle?

Anonymous 8:44 PM  


Fun as always reading the goodies on your blog. To give readers more insight as to how this took shape: BEQ proposed the idea and offered the approach of throwing each other words to build off of. I tossed him NHLDRAFT ("Sporting event canceled in 200?"), but he liked NFLDRAFT more, so he began with that and built the upper-left corner. Then he tossed the puzzle to me and suggested using THEONION. It proceeded like that until completion. Hope people enjoyed it.


PuzzleGirl 9:23 PM  

Fun puzzle. Laughed out loud in disbelief at SCREW IT. Only gimmes were DRACO and KWON so I spent a lot of time on Google. Even had to look up "Red, White & Crue." Please don't tell me friend Rachel. She'd be so disappointed in me.

Speaking of disappointment, I didn't love 43A, ENDASH. I think the minus sign equivalent is a HYPHEN and, as anyone obsessed with punctuation knows (you're all obsessed with punctuation, right? it's not just me?) an en dash and a hyphen are SO not the same thing.

Didn't take away from the fun at all though. Now I'm off to tackle Sunday's....

Kitt 11:20 PM  

DQ: I just knew you would stop by today. Great puzzle!! Thanks for adding to the pleasure with your comments.

And, as always, thanks for calling "Rex" "Rexy" : ) I love that for some reason. Anyway....

Bring 'em on.

Want more DQ puzzles. WANT THEM! WANT THEM!

OK -- and now to sleep~ Thanks though and to BEQ too!

Rikki 12:40 AM  


found this reference:

Eau-de-vie ("water of life") is the default term in French for spirits in general, and specifically for colorless fruit brandy, particularly from the Alsace region of France and from California.

Fun puzzle, but tough for me. I agree about the minus sign being a hyphen. There are three sizes: hyphen, en dash, em dash.

LOVE The Onion!

Nothnagel 7:03 PM  

OK, so it's a day after the fact, and I may not even be the impetus behind Anonymous 10:42's comment, but let me explain "I stopped my timer":

I do the NYT puzzle on paper, and time myself with a stopwatch. (Actually, it's the stopwatch feature on my phone, but anyway.) As a rule, I certainly DO NOT stop my timer as I am solving, but SCREW IT caught me off guard so much that once I knew it was right and I wrote it in the grid, I had to stop and revel in its glory.


Anonymous 2:54 PM  

I believe that Porky's last name was Lee. Was the puzzle constructor embedding a vague reference in 5 down?

Six Weeks Later

lorettalockhorn 6:55 PM  

It was Porky's friend who brought me here. I wanted so badly for Helos to be the answer to the across clue and could have sworn that Porky Pig had a gal pal named Pansy. Almost said screw it! I *knew* that was the answer to 37A but didn't *believe* it.
I had decay too.
(Hope you don't mind the extremely tardy comments; the ARDemGaz is six weeks behind y'all NYawkers.)
RE: the comments about a timer. I tried timing myself each day last week and discovered that I don't enjoy the puzzles much knowing that the minutes marks are in progress.
Thanks for the blog.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

PVC is for fresh water lines. ABS is for drains.
Usual crossword distortion of the facts to make something work.

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