FRIDAY, Dec. 28, 2007 - John Farmer

Friday, December 28, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This felt far more Saturday than Friday to me. The cluing was ratcheted up to Hard / Obscure in many places, and some of the fill was esoteric, to put it mildly. If it weren't for a good half-dozen gimmes, I'd have been in real trouble. The puzzle has its merits: the grid is pretty, as my wife pointed out last night, and there are some answers that sparkle in their originality. My favorite part of this puzzle, though, is that the highest value Scrabble letters can be found perfectly positioned in each of the puzzles corners: starting in the NW and moving clockwise - J, Z, X, Q. Amazing.

Favorite answers:

  • 14A: Sci-fi character whose name is an anagram of CAROLINA ISLANDS (Lando Calrissian) - this is the gaudiest clue / answer combo I've seen in a Loooong time. LANDO was played by Billy Dee Williams in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."
  • 57A: Hopscotch (potsy) - OK, I don't like the answer so much as I LOVE the fact that I remembered the answer from another late-week puzzle earlier in the year. POTSY = a gimme = woo hoo!
  • 34D: 1968 hit whose title is repeated three times with "Oh" and then again after "Baby I love you" ("Susie Q") - Again with the insane, detailed cluing. I had to read the clue several times just to figure out what the instructions were. Eventually I got the "Q" from the cross and the answer was instantly apparent.
  • 47D: When a football may be hiked (on two) - arbitrary, but accurate enough. I love it.

Rough stuff / Easy stuff:

  • 1A: Algonquian Indian tribe (Miami)
  • 22D: Northwest tribe (Spokane) - did you know that these are also reasonably well-known American cities? It's true. Perhaps cluers would like to take that route next time...
  • 6A: Went sniggling (eeled) - gimme gimme gimme; do a lot of puzzles and you learn about EELS. Also about EFTs (55D: Red _____ (young amphibian)).
  • 11A: Singer with the #1 hit "All I Have" (Jennifer Lopez) - gross. She's a way better actress than she is a singer. I like her better (in the grid) when she's JLO. I'd rather not have to think about her singing career at all.
  • 22A: "The Da Vinci Code" priory (Sion) - speaking of things I'd rather not have to think about. This book has been in more damned clues than "Canterbury Tales" and "Moby Dick" combined lately. Come on! I'm never going to read it and Tom Hanks's hair looked idiotic in the movie trailers I saw so stop shoving this piece of crap down my throat. Thank you.
  • 16A: Otoscope user, for short (ENT) - piece of cake. These are the little answers you have to get if you want any shot at getting the multiple mystery answers you're bound to encounter on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • 18A: MedWatch agcy. (FDA) - ditto
  • 21A: Chalon-sur-_____, France (Saone) - one of the many 5-letter European rivers ending in -NE.
  • 27A: Climber's support (tendril) - the climber is not human.
  • 31A: _____ Herbert, TV's Mr. Wizard (Don) - Not my TV. I'll take your word for it.
  • 32A: 100 qintars (lek) - weirdly, saw my first snippet of "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" a couple days ago, and a woman guessed LEK for one of the clues (actual answer was LEU). The fact that the woman even dared to guess, and knew LEK, showed that she was a true crossworder. She won, though she botched the final round in ways that seemed inexplicable from where I was standing.
  • 37A: Constellation between Cygnus and Pisces (Pegasus) - nearly entered SAGITAR at one point. That is so many kinds of wrong I don't even want to start counting.
  • 45A: "_____ of Six" (Joseph Conrad story collection) ("A Set") - Unknown to me. Joseph Conrad's first language: Polish. That's what I know about Conrad. That, and "Heart of Darkness."
  • 46A: "A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor": Bierce (piano) - my favorite quipster of all time. You know what makes this definition? "Utensil." Genius.
  • 53A: Some licensed practitioners (members of the bar) - boring ... not sure why.
  • 30D: It can fill a yard (ale) - nice clue. A "yard" is a very tall glass for drinking beer.
  • 56A: Exercise animal? (quick brown fox) - OK I just now got this. I mean, I know it was a typing thing, but I thought the "exercise" part referred to fact that said fox jumped over a a lazy grey dog. But no, it's a typing "exercise," duh.
  • 58A: Tough to dig into, as soil (rooty) - icky word. Next time you need it, try this clue: [_____ Tooty Fresh 'N' Fruity: IHOP specialty].
  • 3D: A long time in Lisbon (anos) - weird to go to a Portuguese-speaking country when the word is Spanish too (isn't it?).
  • 4D: Fuchsite and alurgite (micas) - insane mineral-sounding clue = MICA
  • 9D: 7-in. platters (EPs) - I thought EP was just mini in terms of song content, not in terms of physical size.
  • 12D: Mr. Rosewater in Kurt Vonnegut's "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" (Eliot) - there's also a poet named T.S. ELIOT ... in case you didn't know. I sure missed T.S. today.
  • 13D: "Butterfly" actress, 1981 (Zadora) - she appears in the grid way Way more than anyone that ... dated should. I guess her first name is grid-friendly (PIA) and her last name does have that delicious "Z".... still....
  • 24D: 2004 Sondheim musical, with "The" ("Frogs") - based on Aristophanes's play of the same name, I'm sure.
  • 26D: Corinthian conclusion (omega) - I wanted "leather." Some of you will know why.
  • 48A: 1950s British P.M. (Eden) - before my time.
  • 38D: Seaman in a ceremonial honor guard (side boy) - to my mind, the most obscure thing in the puzzle. The SIDE BOY / EDEN crossing was super-tentative for me. Isn't a SIDE BOY a piece of furniture? And should you really be calling a grown man (any grown man) "BOY?" It seems ... wrong.
Done and done.

A final announcement: one week from today (January 4, 2008), the American Crossword Critics Association (ACCA) - which is really just me and Orange - will be handing out our Best of 2007 Crossword Puzzle Awards. There are several categories, including:

  • Best Early-week puzzle (M or T: themed)
  • Best Puzzle Gimmick
  • Best Themeless Puzzle
  • Best Sunday-sized Puzzle
  • and Best Overall Constructor

Plus a few Honorable Mentions and special recognition for certain phenomena that didn't fit well in any category. All major daily and weekly puzzles are eligible (not just NYT). So come back here Jan. 4 and help us congratulate the winners.

Happy Friday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[drawing by Emily Cureton]

58 comments:

Phineas 9:20 AM  

Rex,

Thank you for this blog. You have energized the crossword community - and little did I previously know that there WAS a crossword community.

Parroting another commenter from a few days ago, your blog has helped we Mon-Thu puzzlers to reach into Fri-Sat land. I just nailed my third Fri puzzle in a row - in great part due the training and analysis we get from you.

Thanks - keep up the great work.

marcie 9:33 AM  

This one completely flummoxed me. I was ok up North (with a lot of work and stumbling), but when I hit southern central, a clue that I will go to the grave declaring WRONG brought everything to a halt.

I did want Ont for the algonquin home. Aren't there some algonquins in Canada?

to the WRONG clue... Relleno means stuffed. Queso means cheese. Relleno does NOT mean stuffed with cheese, it means stuffed with anything. Quesada fit the grid, and gave me the obvious quad for the geom. fig. and alas for 'this is disastrous'. There they stayed.

whine whine whine. My first "I give up, no way jose, 'uncle'".

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

wanted "ont" too but there's no "t" in carolina islands.

potsy's sister susieq 9:50 AM  

DON Herbert was an over 50 gimme.

I forgot that JLo ever sang. Tried to stretch Trini into eight letters.

Spent four years in the Navy and never heard the word SIDEBOY, but I was on a submarine and we did not do much formally.

ArtLvr 10:12 AM  

Well, I agree with everybody and I got everything, some by guess and some by cross, and it wasn't all that exciting.. I did like "tendril", thinking trellis for a moment (I work from bottom up). Please explain 30D?

Hobbyist 10:24 AM  

Ditto re puzzle being hard and re faulty relleno cluing. I had keepers instead of members of the bar.
Thank you, Rex, for proving a most literate and non vituperative place for us to learn, ventilate, chuckle, slap foreheads etc.
I almost can predict reactions of the regulars.
Fun, I say.

bougeotte 10:34 AM  

3D Anos is both Spanish and Portuguese for years.

Hammy 10:43 AM  

Artlvr a yard is a type of beer glass. Funny, it's one of the few things in this puzzle I know and I missed it until hitting the comments. It is now my favorite cross in the puzzle. Mmm, samosa and ale.........

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yard_(beer)

Marcie, I'm with you and say uncle already!

Orange 11:24 AM  

You know, Rex did explain ALE/yard in his post...

I love Corinthian leather, too.

Jennifer Lopez + George Clooney in Out of Sight = smoldering heat. Best sex scene I've ever seen, making smart conversation utterly steamy.

Pete M 11:28 AM  

Couple of wrong turns on this one slowed things down: ROCKY instead of ROOTY; SEINE instead of SAONE; LOBBY instead of ALARM. And damn, I need to remember my "bygone" 3-letter cars instead of guessing randomly...
Ford: LTD
Pontiac/GM: GTO
Old/Olds: REO

Kumar 11:38 AM  

Ugh! Did miserably on this one.

Thought I would nail Indian Pastries, having grown up eating them. Isn't a pastry always sweet? Samosas are anything but. More like empanadas.

Orange 11:43 AM  

Kumar, pastry also refers to the dough portion—here's a page that calls samosas (yum!) "potato stuffed pastry."

PhillySolver 12:00 PM  

I recall drinking a few yards of ale when living in London...well, more like a football field in length.

A few small errors made this one harder that it otherwise might have been. I misspelled CALRISSIAN as I heard it as Clarissiam. I had 'Nanny' for NANAS and 'Deified' for DEIFIES. The real trouble was I tried 'Usefee" (didn't we have that recently?) for USETAX. Added to things I didn't know and not sure I will remember (SIDEBOY, LEK, POTSY and EPS) and I was there a long time. I had better luck with things coming from my past (do they still teach typing in high school? "the quick brown fox thing'), but this was hard. Glad to finish a puzzle after yesterday's debacle.

BTW, love all references to Vonnegut and hope they write more about his death in the coming yearend reviews.

Kumar 12:00 PM  

Orange:

Re Samosas, I suppose anthing made with pastry dough is a pastry.... Thanks.

leon 12:16 PM  

Lots of missteps: GTO for LTD and Tamales for Relleno.

I knew the Sci-fi character had to be from Star Wars but Jabba the Hut on two did not fit.

The Plus sign in the middle was in a puzzle from 12/24/2007.

As pointed out in other sites, this puzzles uses all letters of the alphabet.

Karen 12:23 PM  

I had a really great time on this puzzle...under Orange*2! Thanks for the link to 'Corinthian leather', O, that made me laugh. I had PAKORAS for SAMOSAS at one point...we have a nice Indian restaurant here finally. I also had SUFFICE for SATIATE for a long time. Phillysolver, be sure to pay attention to verb tenses and plurals in the clues! Pia ZADORA always reminds me of 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians', which I have yet to see.

Dick Swart 12:25 PM  

A 'yard of ale' was a sixties fad drink in fake pub-type bars. The glass was approx a 36" long with no handle, maybe 4" wide at the top and a small globe at the bottom. It was served in a wooden support to hold it when you weren't lifting it and sloshing the ale down your shirt.

Good Riddance to that quasi-elizabethan volume- feeding frenzy!

karmasartre 12:29 PM  

Yes, the corinthian leather in the Cordoba with great affordability. Sort of sounds like the Clue game.

I was thinking way outside the rectangle on 50d and entered DECA(hedron) giving me dELLONO for "Stuffed with cheese" which led to wondering if Leno was considered cheesy is some quarters.

Nevada area was a complete mess for me: no idea on Senor Wizard, so FAD DIET just wasn't happening. Entered Florida at one point, thinking (?) South Beach is part of it. Way dumb.

Had SUzIEQ at first, I've seen it both with a Z and and S, and since I didn't know the JConrad thing, kept the Z in way too long. Trouble synching a misspelling of CALRISSIAN (a la Phillysolver) with ELIOT, never heard of POTSY, agree w/ Rex on SIDEBOY, struggled with LETAT, never heard the FROGS croak,and I could go on.

John Farmer is way up on my favorites list. This was a great combo of challenging, clever, interesting, and barely-doable.

Orange, you can have your Clooney/Lopez/Steam. Each to their own, but that combo reminds me of the Jefferson Airplane song "Plastic, Fantastic Lover". Check out Brando/Schneider in "Last Tango in Paris". It's like buttah!

Rex Parker 12:35 PM  

"Last Tango" has always left me cold, but the scene of which Orange speaks is indeed hot. In no other context have I ever found J-Lo even remotely appealing. But there... in that movie in general ... it just works.

Plus, no matter how many times People beats me over the head with it, there will never be any denying that George Clooney is empirically handsome.


rp

jae 12:37 PM  

This was actually easier for me than yesterday's. My two years in the Navy (65-67) aboard a cruiser made SIDEBOYS a gimmie as was RELLENO. My wife, however, confirms marcie's criticism, a RELLENO can be stuffed with cheese and/or meat. Speaking of my wife, I did need her help with SAMOSAS which she pointed out I have eaten frequently at our favorite Indian restaurant. I liked the TENDRIL misdirection the Bierce quote which I dragged from memory. A fine puzzle that seemed to me about right for a Friday, unlike yesterday's Sat in a Thur disguise.

wendy 12:57 PM  

If I'd been more off the wavelength of this puzzle today, I'd have been in another hemisphere! Not a good feeling.

profphil 12:59 PM  

I too found this one easier to complete than Thursdays, albeit it was still of Friday complexity and more difficult than this Thursday's. Not knowing the Star Wars character really did not help, however the anagram saved me. It's odd how on Fridays (and I'm new to them) if I am successful at them it is in halfs first. For example today I quickly completed the entire bottom half even though I was working on both top and bottom ( and only a smattering of top clues) and then slowly completed the top half. It's almost as if they are seperate puzzles. Does anybody else have this experience?

I also toyed with jangle instead of jingle as I was clueless re the StarWars character.

Today's last letter for me was the "o" in "Eliot"/ "saone." Frustrating because I had to Google for 1 final letter which had I run through the alphabet I might have gotten--although I was not expecting a name and a double vowel(rather a title) for Mr. Rosewater. Almost perfect will have to do.

Rob G. 1:25 PM  

There's something very, very wrong about seeing JENNIFERLOPEZ atop LANDOCALRISSIAN (get your head out of the gutter!) I think the latter is one of the better long-answer clues I've seen in recent memory (and one that, Star Wars fanboy that I am, took me about three seconds to solve, which was sort of creepy.) But why would you go out of your way to put Jennifer Lopez in the puzzle? Is she really deserving of such an honor? I totally agree that, beyond Out of Sight, she's pretty uninspiring.

Back to 14A for a second, I definitely had a "Lisa's Rival" moment for two ticks.

Alison: We take proper names and rearrange the letters to form a description of that person.

Taylor: Like, er...oh, I don't know, uh...Alec Guinness.

Alison: [thinks] Genuine class.

Taylor: Ho ho, very good. All right, Rob, um...Carolina Islands.

Rob G.: [looks with consternation] Carolina's...Island.

Taylor: Mm hmm, well that's...very good...for a first try. You know what? I have a ball. [pulls one from his pocket] Perhaps you'd like to bounce it?

dk in NOLA 1:37 PM  

Today my sister became a memberofthebar in Lousiana (were it is a gentle 70 degrees).

Now for the boring details. I had somosas that led to ore (not ale) and rek (not lek). I knew I could make a yard of ore work but forgot my qintar conversions so I was happy with rek (although I knew in my heart it was wrong).

Perhaps a Hurricane in a big plastic tube will help: TGIF.

Tonight: Dr. John

dk redux 1:40 PM  

the were for where provides a clue to my puzzling skills (sigh)

Orange 1:43 PM  

I love butter. I sincerely wish that Last Tango in Paris had specified oleo for the Scene of Horror so my butter could remain unsullied. Hey, Karma, do yourself a favor and rent Out of Sight. Don't believe me and Rex? Fine. Roger Ebert loved it, too.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Had JINGLE instead of JANGLE which led to LINDO for LANDO. The latter was corrected by the anagram part of the clue: LINDO gave too many I's.

Loved Susie Q, and the after-dicovered JZYQ corners mentioned by Rex.

Wanted SALTS for MICAS.

Pia ZADORA, perhaps the most untalented actress/singer on the scene during her era, and therefore memorable.

IF AT ALL: very clever.

billnutt 2:42 PM  

This one beat me up. I didn't have to google, but dang, I came close.

It took me WAY TOO LONG to remember SUSIEQ (partly because the CCR version from 1968 is a cover; the original by Dale Hawkins is from at least three years previous). Ditto for LANDOCALRISSIAN.

Considering how much Sondheim I've been humming since seeing SWEENEY TODD, THEFROGS was another embarrassing one. (Yes, Rex, it's based on Aristophanes. Nathan Lane starred in the NYC production.)

A non-Tolkien way to clue ENT - cool.

I actually enjoyed MEMBERSOFTHEBAR, and the clueing for QUICKBROWNFOX was quite clever.

Forgive my density, but - Star Anise? I don't understand.

After the past two days, I shudder to think what tomorrow holds...

phillysolver 3:01 PM  

billnutt

I only have this come to my head from an unknown synapse but try...

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/staranis.html

lislepammysue 3:13 PM  

Star anise is a spice used in Chinese cooking --- basically the 5 powder spice. It has the flavor of anise and looks like a star---there are a number of pods joined at the center.

Howard B 3:23 PM  

Jennifer Lopez merits being in the puzzle due to her amazing ability to have a name which begins with a J and ends with a Z.

Años are actually 'years' in Spanish (as many others have noted in the past), but as most puzzles don't worry about diacritical marks, it becomes ANOS in the grid. Unfortunately, that word as written has a wholly different Spanish meaning. Woe to the student who left out the tilde in that word back in my sophomore-year Spanish class, many años ago...

Doc John 4:01 PM  

Now this one is more like it! Still difficult but not evilly so. Overall great cluing.

Rex, I'm surprised at you, though- after your wonderful reference to Mrs. C yesterday, you had an opportunity to follow it up with a pic of POTTSIE.

@ Profphil- I, too, solve in sections, although in my case today I had the top done first and then picked my way thru the lower.

ROOTY also reminds me of Cliff, the longtime spokesperson for IHOP.

The Girl Scouts sell cookies called SAMOSAS, so that's how I got that one. (They're yummy but Thin Mints are still my fave.)

Unfortunately, I chose DAN instead of DON, which led me to have DRAGS instead of FROGS. (Half A LOAF and half A LOAD technically both fit their clue. As in "half a load of sh*t ", which is one word I was considering for [51D. "This is disastrous!"].)

Cheers: QUICK BROWN FOX
Boos: VALOR (Is "pluck" really a good substitute for that word? I don't see someone with pluck throwing him/herself on top of a grenade.)

johnson 4:02 PM  

I always delight in the fact that gimmes for some (i.e. POTSY for me) are impossible for others. I guess growing up a city kid in the Bronx in the 60's has its PERKS.

Maybe I should watch Star Wars so I can have a clue fall into my lap instead of having to laboriously cross out all of the letters in the anagram!

Thanks for the info on loess yesterday, Orange: I know how to Google of course, but my tool bar doesn't feature the dictionary link that you mentioned. Thanks anyway!

Ellen 4:06 PM  

Occasionally Jennifer Lopez is clued as a "singer" which just seems wrong, given her minimal singing ability. She's not a bad actress, though.

And as long as people are talking about George Clooney, I'm still upset that we were in the same theater breathing the same air and I never actually saw him (see blog 9/18/07).

jae 4:07 PM  

Profphil -- I also had the south completely filled in with just EELED, ELITE, FDA, and NANAS staring at me in the north.

Alan 4:48 PM  

Very tough puzzle.Had to google 6 clues.This puzzle played on my weakness -Star Wars,pop culture especially pop music,and Broadway musicals.FEH,FEH,FEH.

Frances 5:07 PM  

Are we to assume that it requires valor to play lutes?

Doc John 5:09 PM  

@ Johnson, et. al.- I posted this comment late last night so I guess not too many people saw it. I'll repeat it here:

Another way to google word definitions is to type into the google search box (without the quotes):

"define: the word you want"

There are other secret google shortcuts such as:

for currency exchange type "150 dollars in pounds"
for metric conversion type in "150 inches in meters"
or calculator "5*5+3"

Click this for more google info

Hope this helps.

Michael 5:26 PM  

A tough Friday for me. I've seen Lando Calrissian in another puzzle, I think, but I didn't remember it...Still, I got all but four letters.

PuzzleGirl 6:23 PM  
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PuzzleGirl 6:26 PM  
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PuzzleGirl 6:26 PM  

Tough puzzle. I had to Google to get the bottom half. As others have mentioned, lots to love.

@doc john: The Girl Scout cookies are actually called Samoas. (Or, they used to be anyway -- now they're called Caramel deLites.) They're my favorite. Yum!

Orange 6:38 PM  

Doc John, I hope you do realize that "half a load" isn't an in-the-language phrase (despite being grammatically correct, it's not a stand-alone semantic entity, the half a load) and thus A LOAD wouldn't fly as a crossword entry with a "half ___" clue. "___ off my mind," sure. "Take ___ off," sure.

I see a fair number of blog comments from folks who'd talked themselves into something that's just plain wrong—it never hurts to remember that a crossword editor expects a phrase to be more than just a string of words that obey grammatical rules. For example, RED TAPE and RED INK are OK, but RED PANTS are not. BIG DEAL, fine; BIG TREE, not.

The tricky part comes when there's an in-the-language phrase that's rather quaint and you just haven't heard of it, even though it's got solid reference support. A friend just asked me today if I knew the term Darby and Joan, which is in the dictionary but was completely unfamiliar to both of us.

Rex Parker 7:02 PM  

Chief Big Tree begs to differ.

rp

Doc John 7:05 PM  

@ Puzzlegirl: hmm, wonder where I got the idea the cookies were called Samosas? Oh well, a mistake worked in my favor today!

@ Orange: I agree with you 100%. However, in my case, I had DAN instead of DON and DRAGS made more sense to me than FRAGS, so I talked myself into the "half a load" part. Now where would I get the idea that a musical could be called Drags? *wink*

I guess I should have gone back and revisited DAN to see what words would have worked better with the O in place of the A. Wish I knew why I was so darn committed to DAN in the first place!

ArtLvr 7:52 PM  

Thanks Rex, and Hammy and Orange -- yard-long glass for ale is now something I won't forget! Do you know there are yard-long paintings too? They are generally Victorian-era floral still-llfe works painted by farmers' wives over printed feed-sack designs. Roses and pansies were the favorites, and similar half-yard paintings can also still be found. Anyway, I was in a rush this a.m., and my plane back to Albany from Chicago's O'Hare was probably the only one which was boarded on time! TGIF, thank you again, and Happy New Year to all.

ArtLvr 7:54 PM  

And thanks to Dick Swart too, for the excellent description of the yard-long glass!

Dan 8:28 PM  

(Aw, Doc, you're sweet, but I'm really not worth any kind of commitment.)

Only pointing this out because nobody else has: Sondheim's THE FROGS premiered back in 1974 at the Yale swimming pool (!), with an ensemble that famously included students Chris Durang, Sigourney Weaver, and Meryl Streep. (Plus other future stage vets and my favorite college professor.)

But the 2004 Lincoln Center production was its Broadway debut, so the clue is legit enough.

Since PIANO is my livelihood, I greatly enjoyed the Bierce quip... not as much as the QUICK BROWN FOX clue, though.

Fergus 9:32 PM  

Trying to remember the inane phrases for the other exercises in typing class -- It is right for a man to know when he goes ...

I was wondering about FRANKIE AVALON instead of JLO, having no clue about either's songs. Spent quite a while filtering the Anagram. Star Wars, eh? Also was displeased with the SATIATE Clue. The 'have' and 'for' clanged off the rim for me. Too cold, though, to launch into any reason for this apparently clumsy clue. (Did the puzzle in the waning sunlight at the beach, and my fingers are still not so keen on typing -- maybe I should do some QBF exercises?) Chilly enough to be obtuse about the STEAM UP Clue.

Had VERVE, then VIGOR (?) before finding VALOR. I had a little amused grimace at the OPERA clue, thinking it was a more appropriate place to Lose, rather that Find, a C-note.

Jim in NYC 11:02 PM  

Another inane typing phrase: "This is the kind of drill that you can type fast." You really can type it fast.

Rikki 12:09 AM  

Another fun, but challenging one for me today, thanks to John Farmer, but it didn't feel as brutal as yesterday. I did this essentially in two halves, one this morning and one tonight. The bottom fell more quickly, built around my first answer south of the Mason Dixon... relleno. Loved quickbrownfox. The top half was slowed by the fact that with the j from jangle and the z from Zadora, I very cleverly filled in Julio Iglesiez, then suffice for satiate, causing a bit of grid lock. Saved in the end by eeled and micas, both learned from doing puzzles. Yeah!

I'm embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of American Indian tribes, other than the usual crosswordesque ones. The fact that these two were also major cities is the only reason I eventually got them.

Mmmm... samosas.

I can't wait for the awards! Thanks to Rex and Orange for that. Also looking forward to the 2008 Pantheon!

And Emily... Emily... just awesome.

Teeny nit... I don't really think of my errands as giving me the run-around. Causing a run-around maybe. And I'm not crazy about the have quite enough for clue, either, Fergus. The have and for bug me, too. So, to employ Orange's use-it-in-a-sentence test: The 20-pound turkey will satiate the crowd. The 20-pound turkey will have quite enough for the crowd. Doesn't quite work.

Fridays and Saturdays often seem about the same to me, both days usually pushing me to the limits of my ability. After yesterday and today, I feel like the weekend should be over. But bring on Saturday!

billnutt 12:27 AM  

phillysolver and lislepammysue, thank you both for clarifying about star anise.

Dan, thank YOU for bringing up the background on Sondheim's version of THE FROGS. (Sadly, when I hear "frog," the first thought that comes to mind is not Aristophanes, but Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse...)

paul in mn 12:34 AM  

Sadly i had PERSEUS instead of PEGASUS and so the East never quite came together.

Doug 8:27 AM  

Rex, as a hard core record collector with over 7,000 pieces of vinyl, I can confirm that an "EP" has nothing to do with the size of the record, an EP can be 7" or 12", it merely stands for "extended play". When the term was originally created it was used to describe a 7" record that was not a single, that had more than two songs, hence "extended play". Later they started making 12" singles, so EPs also became available in the 12" variety. In short EP = more songs than a single but less songs than an album.

Liked the puzzle, did bottom half quickly, struggled on top half. A good Friday puzzle for me. (and I must add again - the Thursday puzzle was BRUTAL.)

WWPierre 3:54 PM  

Rex, you said:

46A: "A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor": Bierce (piano) - my favorite quipster of all time. You know what makes this definition? "Utensil." Genius.

I figured some of the regulars would pick up on this, but couldn't find a reference in the comments. Would you mind elaborating, svp?

Had "poker" for a while.

I was defeated by LANDO. JiNGLE and ANa gave me LiNDa. and DEcrIES and rDA at the other end.

Me Again 3:56 PM  

I am still lurking, though I do not post so often these days.

Aviatrix 4:19 PM  

six weeks later ...
Glad you said it was hard, Rex. I bounced answers off someone who has a talent for sounding certain about his wild guesses, made a big mess, and to Google to finish.

For example, he asserted that there was a fable about a country ANT, and was so confident about there being a musical "the CLASS" that I had ASSISTS for 33A. I was all primed for a rant about the poor clue, before I figured it out.

I was definitely puzzled by the non-human nature of the climber. I
I knew that a C-note was a US $100 bill, but the clue was too self-conscious to be monetary so I put PIANO, and that held me up.

My ignorance of Mexican food helped me here, because RELLENO is just a menu word to me, so I was happy to believe that not all Spanish cheese words started with ques.

And obviously I don't do enough crosswords, because I figured sniggling was like snogging.

Plus the dog was not grey when I learned to type, just lazy.

eugenic maleska 1:09 AM  

This was the 1st puzzle in ages that I didn't finish & I didn't even bother to Google answers because I was soooo disgusted with what I felt were breaches of crossword etiquette. Maybe I'm not worldly enough (doubt it) but I didn't know SAMOSAS, LEK, or [Star] ANISE, and when they were vital to getting SPOKANE (not too vague a clue for that one, eh?) I decided to pack it in, feeling Mr. Farmer had broken the unwritten rule about multiple obscurities crossing a somewhat esoteric (i.e., non-gimme) answer.

Though I did solve all but that eastern portion, I still would like to complain, 6+ weeks later, that:

ENT, to me, is an area of practice, not someone who practices that speciality;
POTSY (for Hopscotch) will never compute (is it another name for the game?);
SIDEBOY is quite arcane; and ROOTY is forced & weak.

Not being a sci-fi geek, I had no idea who LANDOCALRISSIAN was until Rex explained it. Got it purely form anagramming & thought the character in question was LANDOCAL RISSIAN).

You say "challenging," I say worthless.

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