SATURDAY, Dec. 8, 2007 - Barry C. Silk

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

I rated this "Easy-Medium" because it was about 75% easy / 25% semi-challenging, with the NW giving me the most problems. I should note, however, that I had an error, which would bug me on any day, but today I have to complain, for reasons I hope you understand. Here is the problem, and I've said this before. Stumpers - completely brutal answers - are totally acceptable, especially in late-week puzzles. Crossing stumpers ... should be much rarer, but they are still OK as long as a reasonably educated person could make a reasonably educated guess about the crossing. But when you cross weird / odd / unusual words at a 1-point Scrabble tile like "E" or (in today's case) "A" - that's just mean, especially when two different letters make perfectly good sense in that space. Here's the crossing that got me:

  • 46A: Engine using a stream of compressed air (ram jet)
  • 37D: Early screenwriter Bernstein (Isadore)

Now there are those who will say "of course it's RAM JET, you should know that, blah blah blah." And maybe you're right. But I've Never heard of such a thing, and believe me, when you haven't heard of such a thing, RIM JET seems entirely plausible, if not preferable. Further, "ISIDORE" is a perfectly serviceable spelling of that name. I knew her [correction, his] name and still missed it because the alternate (albeit wrong) spelling made perfectly good sense (to me) in the cross. This is a design flaw in an otherwise reasonably enjoyable, if overly easy, puzzle.

Had a lot of trouble in the NW, where I somehow completely forgot who 17A: Simon Legree was - I had TASK SETTER at one point, and the "S" in MASTER (from 7D: 60-Across [PELE]'s real first name (Edson)) was the next-to-last letter to go into the grid - the "L" in LGS (19A: Linemen next to centers: Abbr.) was last. Really really really didn't like UNAIDED EYE (15A: Some planets may be seen with it) - the expression is NAKED EYE. I had UNAIMED EYE for a while, thinking that somehow you were more likely to see the planet if you didn't look directly at it ... That whole NW section would have been easier if a. I'd spelled Kevin NEALON's name right at first (6D: Comic Kevin) and b. I'd understood the casino frame of reference on 20A: Taj Mahal attractions (slots). Had SL-TS and was wondering "What the hell goes on at the Taj Mahal that I don't know about?! I thought it was a semi-sacred site."

Started in the NE with the easy ZOOS (11A: They feature creatures) and everything fell quickly from there. Didn't know O'MALLEY (12D: Either of two father-and-son Dodgers owners), but it was easy to guess. At first I thought 21A: "My Life on Trial" autobiographer (Belli) might be the rapper NELLI, until I realized that he doesn't spell his name that way. The I remembered Melvin BELLI. Happy to guess MUSLIN (24A: Pillowcase material) without really knowing what it is. Ditto RAGLAN (25A: Loose overcoat), which I know only as a kind of sleeve. Most proud of myself for getting BUSY DAY off of just the "B" (21D: When there are lots of errands to run, say). Could not make sense of the ending "YEYES" for 32A: 1961 to 10 hit for the Everly Brothers for a long time. Was sure I had something wrong. Then I got more letters and parsed it correctly to get EBONY EYES.

Stumpers:

  • 1D: Sharp workers? (cutlers) - the last answer I got. I'm familiar with CUTLERY, but not the CUTLERS that wield it, apparently.
  • 36D: Conversation piece? (wiretap) - still puzzling over how "piece" works here ...
  • 9D: Products of wood ashes (lyes) - guessed it pretty early on, but it was dumb blind luck that it was right.
  • 33D: Book before Job: Abbr. (Esth.) - as with LYES, flat-out lucky guess.
  • 53D: Northumberland river (Tyne) - I live in a world where rivers seem to exist only to provide 4-letter means of torturing me. There are just too many of them, in too many weird letter combinations, for me to ever hope to master. I know this is a something-upon-Tyne that I've read about ... Newcastle? Ugh. I'm hopeless.
  • 57D: Annuaire listing (nom) - I know enough French to make an educated guess here, but what is an "annuaire," exactly? An annual? Something that comes out every year ... listing names ... for some reason?
  • 47D: It's worth 8 points in Scrabble (J tile) - though I often use the term "Scrabbly" with affection to describe high-end letters like "J," "X," and "K," let it be known that I never ever play Scrabble. It's like Sudoku to me (no cultural value, not worth playing). When the best players in the world are non-native speakers from Thailand, I think that says something ...
  • 60A: Achiever of many goals (Pele) - "Achiever?" Really? Hmmmm...

Glorious answers:

  • 1A: Second African-American in the Baseball Hall of Fame (Campanella) - a very crossword-friendly long name. Tried for a while to make this a first/last name combo. At one point LOU PINELLA seemed plausible, except he a. is white, b. isn't in the Hall of Fame, and c. spells his name PINIELLA.
  • 8D: Option for DVD viewing (letterbox format) - tried WIDESCREEN FORMAT and FULL SCREEN FORMAT (both too long) before hitting on this lovely answer.
  • 36A: 2001 Microsoft debut (Windows XP) - Had the "X" - wanted something having to do with XBOX ... then got a few more letters and ta da.
  • 34A: 1966 album that's #2 on Rolling Stone's all-time greatest albums list ("Pet Sounds") - so miffed with myself that it took me as long as it did to get it. Very famous Beach Boys album, and one that goes great today with ZOO (11A) and FUR (56D: Creature feature).
  • 30A: Fangorn Forest dweller (ent) - how have I never read Tolkien? All 7 Harry Potters, all 7 C.S. Lewis's's's, but no Tolkien. And he's a (fellow) medievalist.
  • 39A: Web developer? (attic) - wishing ARACHNE could have fit. This answer is good too.
  • 43A: The same beginning? (iso-) - comes up a lot in my (fabulous) yoga class, where the instructor often talks about ISOmetric stretches while we're in the middle of a pose and I never have any idea what she's talking about because I'm just trying to concentrate enough not to topple over. (My instructor is great, btw, and a very accomplished xword solver in her own right)
  • 50A: Sequel title starter (Son) - not that common any more. Not sure when it was truly "common."
  • 55A: Cager Kukoc (Toni) - no idea he spelled his name like a girl.
  • 56A: It appears first in China (family name) - woo hoo! WOO hoo! Had -AME and got it from there.
  • 59A: Lexicographic enlighteners (usage notes) - dorks like me live for this stuff.
  • 61A: It's no longer working (retirement) - it sure is. Unless you're my dad, in which case, you kinda sorta still work. Or maybe he's just in semi-RETIREMENT, if that's a thing.
  • 4D: Water follower, commercially (Pik) - an out-and-out gimme.
  • 26D: Pacific force, for short (LAPD) - I admire this clue's moxie.
  • 27D: Spaces between leaf veins (areoles) - hmmm. Seems to be a completely different word from AREOLA. (if you look up AREOLA at Wikipedia you will see a sub-listing for something called "Jogger's nipple"!)
  • 32D: Caesarian being (esse) - I finally settled on Julius Caesar yesterday as the one Shakespeare play I would teach in my 17th Century Literature course next term (I know it was written in 1599 ... I have my reasons)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS please behold the gorgeous work of one of my dear readers, who has taken to doing daily drawings inspired by the puzzle. Easily the best crossword-related design work I've Ever seen. This one (which I Love) is inspired by this past Thursday's puzzle:

47 comments:

DONALD 9:01 AM  

Isadore Bernstein appears to have been a he, not a she -- unless he penned under the name Isadora at some juncture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isadore_Bernstein

Nice write-up. Looking sharp!

Jim in NYC 9:16 AM  

Good morning! Will et al. seem to have gone soft on us this weekend. Record times for me both Friday and Saturday.

An "annuaire" is ... a phonebook.

"Lief" for "willingly" (44A) is archaic, but fortunately is a word Robert Heinlein (my first Great Author) idiosyncratically used all the time ("I'd as lief write a puzzle blog as travel to Mars any time!")

Have a great weekend, all.

Ralbert 9:36 AM  

thought it would be real easy as
first NW fell and then NE and then a screaching halt.
then goggled to fill in but
still nice to get it done so
early on a 'busyday'.

Gary S 9:57 AM  

I'm pretty sure "Conversation piece" is a reference to the Francis Ford Coppola film The Conversation in which Gene Hackman plays a surveillance expert who specializes in planting wiretaps (Interesting trivia: he sort of reprised the role in the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State).

I think it's a really good clue. I only figured it out after filling in the answer though. I had initially wanted Conversation piece to be "What's up" (having already got the W and the P).

wendy 10:12 AM  

Today's theme: I don't know so stop asking me!

I believe I am rarely on Barry Silk's wavelength, and today was no exception. I had four answers to start with - NEALON, MANN, ONE and The Letter C. What, you say, is that last answer the answer to?

Nothing! I popped it right into the 'it appears first in China' row, though. And the rest is history.

I also wanted OK OK for I'M UP, but didn't put it in because it seemed like it could possibly backfire.

Anyway, TASKMASTER for Simon Legree? Please! He was a brutal overseer, not a difficult boss. But that was the kind of day this was going to be. BRUIT? After I found that answer here, I had to go to m-w.com to use the embedded phony voice function just to learn how it was pronounced. Never heard of it, except in the French.

MUSLIN pillowcases? OK, if thread count is of no concern to you. Just don't come crying to me when your face is all abraded from the lack of softness.

LETTERBOX FORMAT was indeed spectacular, though.

And Gary S, your theory on The Conversation, which is one of the few movies I actually own, is a compelling one, except without the word 'The' it would be taking too many liberties, wouldn't it?

Alex 10:14 AM  

I know it is just a typo, but if you want to fix it, Lou Piniella is white.

As I say to my wife when she complains about none of the contestants knowing and answer she does while watching Jeopardy: They're all easy if you know it. For me, RAM JET was a gimme, but I wouldn't be willing to say it is something any educated person should know.

My personal hellish crossing was the B in BRUIT/BASE. BRUIT is simply a word I did not know and it doesn't look like a real word so any of almost a dozen letters looked reasonable. Obviously I know the word BASE but can't think of any usage but only in hindsight and with much thought can I twist MEAN into a synonym for it.

AREOLES/LIEF is another crossing where I knew neither word and several letters seemed possible for the L (and even after deciding L was the most reasonable I was still 90% certain that LIEF must be wrong somehow).

Spencer 10:16 AM  

I did not get RAGLAN right off, although maybe I should have. Yesterday, I read a fascinating, if rambling, account of the analysis of a pair of photographs of "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" in the Crimean war. This war gave us 3 clothing eponyms, as noted by Morris, this "is how we remember the Crimean War. A war defined by innovations in wardrobe – a sleeve, a sweater and a hat." (The other two eponyms, mentioned in part 3, are Balaclava and Cardigan.)

In an aside, he also points out the importance of correct punctuation, repeating a claim that "the charge [of the Light Brigade] occurred because of a missing comma in Lord Raglan’s orders to Lord Lucan."

Did nobody else have AFTERMATH for 34A? I was so sure it was correct, even when the "obvious" crosses didn't fit. I finally had to reparse the clue (does that make me the odd job "one who interprets differently", e.g., a "reparser"?) to see the light.

On WIRETAP, I think the appropriate interpretation here is that the recording itself can also be referred to as a WIRETAP. Thus, a piece of recorded telephone conversation is a WIRETAP.

I got FAMILYNAME right off with no crosses. Well, actually I first saw that LASTNAME wouldn't fit. :-) I keep a bookmark to this blog entry about the various forms which names take around the world. I am a cog in the wheel of an online archive of academic publications, and the issue of how to store and represent names arises repeatedly. I use this entry to beat about the head and shoulders those in the organization who wish to fit the world into a first name/last name mold.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

(Spencer, I read that too, The Valley of Death photos- fascinating indeed.)

Thanks Jim in NYC, but LIEF for willingly is just awful. A bookworm my whole life and never came across it.

Rex Parker 11:38 AM  

Alex- for future reference, if you see a typo like that, *please* send me a private email asap. That goes for all of y'all, actually. Thanks,

RP

pinky 11:39 AM  

Gee I'm glad you all thought it was easy, I was totally flummoxed and had to give up with lots of white boxes staring nakedly from the page.

Hydromann 11:57 AM  

The NW didn’t see so difficult, once I got 1A’s CAMPANELLA. That came to me after I got the "LL" from 8D (LETTERBOXFORMAT...sadly, I’m an HDTV junkie) and 9D (LYES) right early on. I should have known Campy right off, but I first wanted to put in LARRYDOBY. But not only was he one letter short, and although he is in the Hall, he was the second black in the major leagues (after Jackie R.), not the Hall. Campy beat him to the latter distinction.

WIRETAP can be verb, referring to the act; it can be a noun, referring to the recording device system; or it can be a noun, referring to the recorded conversation. In this last context, it can be a "piece."

Does anyone else not like answers such a BRUIT? If an answer is going to be in a foreign language, then it, at least, ought to be a term that a "reasonably educated" English-speaking person might have had a chance of hearing. I submit that "BRUIT" is not such a word.

joe 12:26 PM  

I got stuck in the SE, had to look up Boccherini, then it all fell into place.

Badir 12:27 PM  

Of course it's RAM JET, you should know that, blah blah blah. Okay, I read about it in _Scientific_American_. It's called that because the air gets RAMmed into the front before getting ejected from the back. They're working on the SCRAMJET, which is a "supersonic compression ramjet".

On the other hand, I don't know names, so I went with "Campabella", which sounded reasonable. And I figured Kevin Bealon was some random guy I'd never heard of.

Also, I had "cutters" for 1D, which seemed reasonable, thinging that "TGs" was "tight guards" or something. Alas, I'd thought of LGS earlier, but rejected that L as part of 1D.

unaided ebony eye 12:31 PM  

Re. Taj Mahal's SLOTS, I thought there was some (at least tacit) understanding that there would be no further references to The Duck.

As an ex-Rolling Stone writer (ok, one measly record review in 1968 (for $15!)), I figured the #2 all-time album would be a cinch for me -- something by the Beatles or the Stones or the Dylans. Aaarrgghhh. Perhaps if I'd been "lying in bed like Brian Wilson did"....

Melvin BELLI was an overthetop figure in SF back in the day. His office on Jackson near North Beach opened onto the street, and was a wonderland of nostalgia, geegaws, and uncollectibles.

So, the NW took a long time, LIEF was only achieved via crosses, and BRUIT still has a blank where the B goes. The rest was pretty readily doable, and answers like USAGENOTES kept the whole thing interesting.

jim in nyc 12:32 PM  

Does anyone else not like answers such a BRUIT? If an answer is going to be in a foreign language, then it, at least, ought to be a term that a "reasonably educated" English-speaking person might have had a chance of hearing. I submit that "BRUIT" is not such a word.

"Bruit" is an English word. http://www.answers.com/topic/bruit

Brian 1:00 PM  

From being somewhat of an astronomy buff in middle school, I thought "unaided eye" was pretty acceptable, possibly even a technical term. One quick trip to the Google store tells me it is a technical term, what with a definition for "unaided eye observing", experiments on "visual acuity and the unaided eye", "notes on Unaided-Eye Limiting Magnitude Observations", "Unaided Eye Beginner Observer's Books", and many more.

Rex, your thought process on RAGLAN and MUSLIN was exactly as I processed them, which gave me a chuckle.

Nice write-up!

Leon 1:18 PM  

This one was tough but elegant.
You have to love 1 2 and 3 downs.

I did not understand the wiretap - conversation piece connection and appreciated the movie reference and that it can be a noun or verb. Yet, the tap itself is of wires or transmission points.

I did find the following Radio program which is broadcast on Public Radio and seems to fit the bill.

billnutt 1:35 PM  

Had a number of false starts in this one. I wanted "Sharp workers?" to be COPIERS, initially had MINIMAL for NOMINAL, and GENS for ADMS. I also initially thought of SLAVEOWNER for "Simon Legree," but TASKMASTER makes sense. UNAIDEDEYE is fine - what do you want on Saturday?

Wasn't Roger Ramjet a character on the Jetsons?

I got a kick out of the clue for EDITS. And add my name to the people who enjoyed LETTERBOXFORMAT (which is always my preferred format).

LEIGE & LIEF is the title of a wonderful album by Fairport Convention. And speaking of albums, it's interesting to note how PET SOUNDS's stock has risen over the years. I don't really didn't remember much serious discussion about it until it was first reissued (for the first time) on CD in the early 1990s. (In DOONESBURY, Andy Lippincott died of AIDS while listening to that CD reissue.)

I was sure I'd have to google quite a bit for this puzzle. I ended up not needing the computer, but I'll admit that I pulled out an album of baroque music to double-check Boccherini's first name when the South wasn't happening for me.

For me, the BRUITAL - er, brutal - cross was the intersection of BRUIT (never heard of it) and TYNE (I thought there was a river called LYNE or lYME).

On to the Sunday puzzle!

Jerry20020 2:05 PM  

Pet Sounds -- I misread the clue and thought the album in question was BY the Rolling Stones. Likely what the constructor intended!

Jerry20020 2:07 PM  

Wendy -- I see your point about 'taskmaster' but dont people sometimes refer to a supervisor who hands out too many tasks to do as a "Simon Lagree"?

Jerry20020 2:10 PM  

Brian -- I eventually came to "unaided eye" -- after trying my best to fit in 'naked eye' - too short - or 'the naked eye' - too long.

Fergus 2:13 PM  

"Roger RAMJET, he's our man,
hero of our nation ... "

I thought he was from Underdog or Astroboy, or maybe even one of the Rocky & Bullwinkle sideshows? Can't recall whether he had a sweetie who would coo, "MY HERO" after one of his great feats.

Continuing a week of interesting but not vary challenging puzzles, I had much the same reactions as Rex, but I was surprised by his Stumper. LIEF was a complete mystery, and its cross with the Leaf veins was too much. The two EYES looked suspicious. BRUIT was a standard in those high school vocabulary books that were leading to the SATs. The ARAL Sea must be Pantheonic by now.

English geography recollection found TYNE & WEAR, so I just went with the former. Briefly had Simon Legree as a CASK LENDER, wondering if he had some moonshine business on the side. Also, thought about ATARI for the Web developer? wondering whether it could be a real stretch on the cluing for this regular puzzle guest.

Doris 2:20 PM  

"Bruit" or "bruited" occurs mostly in the phrase "bruited about." It is a fairly well-known English word, although not used so much nowadays. I have known it since grade school (admittedly a Long Time Ago).

The problem lies with the current deplorable state of elementary and high school education. No one knows anything anymore. And they can't read, either.

wendy 2:31 PM  

Hi jerry20020 - do they? I've never heard anyone so characterized, but maybe more people have read The Confessions of Nat Turner than I thought. ;) Perhaps I'll conduct a poll at work next week to see if the name means anything to anyone. I'm always amazed at how many of my cultural references result in arched eyebrows from the low recognition factor.

In any case, sure, LEGREE was technically a taskmaster, but it's the cruelty factor that I associate with him, so it seems as off kilter to me as Hendrix's Afro did yesterday. I'm still chortling about that one.

George 2:41 PM  

I never heard of CUTLER either. Minutes after finishing the puzzle, I was walking down West Broadway in SoHo and passed a fancy knife store named . . . CUTLER.

Hobbyist 2:45 PM  

I'm with Pinky. Very HARD today. Even with Rex's help. I seem to remember having been undone by one of Mr. Silk's oeuvres on Sat. the 13th of October. I must stop bruiting about the extent of my ineptitude.

Hydromann 2:51 PM  

To jim in nyc regarding BRUIT as an English word...I stand corrected! Thanks!

You hero who just got his a** kicked 3:23 PM  

Anyone else have problem with unaidedEYE and ebonyEYEs being in the same grid?

klochner 3:48 PM  

re: isadore - when the first google hit gives the rex parker website, there's something wrong with the cluing:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=screenwriter+bernstein+-walter+-woodward&btnG=Search

And to actually get isadore bernstein, i had to exclude
{walter, woodward, samuel, armyan, crossword} from the search.

Michael 4:07 PM  

My initial reactions were (1) I was pleased to have gotten a Saturday completely right; (2) I was not pleased to have taken a long time to finish. But now I see that I didn't get the puzzle completely right -- I made the same mistake as Rex.

Bruit strikes me as Saturday-level vocabulary -- a word I know (in "bruited about") but never use.

Rikki 4:18 PM  

As much as I loved yesterday's puzzle, I was equally undone by today's, or at least half of it. The top half fell nicely into place with little trouble, though I never heard of raglan referring to anything but a sleeve and muslin is surely archaic in these days of 600-count linen. Muslin is something little girls on the prairie made inexpensive dresses out of. Loved the anagram and busyday. Filled in windowsxp with a smug smile, then came to a crashing halt. Lief, ramjet, bruit, isadore, familyname, usagenotes...groan. Finally got aral and ironmen, but gave in and googled to finish. Wanted to cry, but didn't want ebony eyes from smearing mascara. Still after the illusive google-free week. It's down to me and Saturday.

PuzzleGirl 5:12 PM  

Like others, it seems, I couldn't finish on my own today. It's so nice to be able to come here and commiserate.

Southwest was the first to fall for me. Guessed PELE and TONI Kukoc was a gimme, so that helped. Oh, but I did have RIMJET. Whatever.

Northwest was next. I love that Rex was considering LOU PINELLA. For the longest time I kept thinkin that CAN'T be right, that CAN'T be right. I never thought Kevin Nealon was really that funny, but when I went to see SNL one time he was the one who came out to "warm up" the crowd and he was Hilarious.

For a while I had WENLI for 21A thinking that was the name of the spy caught at the Los Alamos Lab a few years back. (Nope. Wen Ho Lee. Close!)

Knew the album was the Beach Boys, knew it started with PET and all I could come up with was PET DREAMS. Ewww.

Couldn't finish the Southeast even after Googling LUIGI and determining that an annuaire is a directory.

I'm ready for tomorrow's puzzle.

jae 5:32 PM  

An enjoyable puzzle but boardering on unfair for me. Thanks to doing several Times puzzles from 1997 on this trip both RAGLAN and LIEF were gimmies (practice helps!). NE and SW went very smoothly as did NW with the exception of CUTLERS which I didn't believe was a word but had to go with anyway because of the crosses. My partial downfall was in SE with the T in the BRUIT/TYNE. I didn't google but did check my xword dictionary for a word starting with BRUI and BRUIT was magically there. The rest of SE also went slowly as I read the "It's" in the RETIREMENT clue the wrong way and I didn't know about China and last names. More medium-challenging than easy-medium for me.

Jerry20020 I also initially misread 34a as needing a Stones album.

dk 7:20 PM  

I am a member of the Aftermath and Naked Eye fan clubs.

I thought Muslin was an odd answer as I equate it with burlap.

O'Malley came to me via an NPR story on the Dodgers this AM.

Last but not least: No one spread the news of Bruit to me. Isn't that a misspelled cologne.

So medium ++ for me.

CA 7:50 PM  

And all along I thought that wiretap referred to tapping out morse code for a communication via telegraph wires! Tina

toomuchscrabble 8:53 PM  

i made several errors in the SW corner which not only seemed correct, still allowed me to do the rest of the puzzle. normally an error somewhere is crushing, but this particular set not only answered the clues reasonably, they didn't stop the rest of the puzzle from being completed. Stemming from a misspelling of Toni Kukoc as TONY. This resulted in me having STYLE for "it's worth 8 points in Scrabble," which although it is a crummy clue is technically correct (1+1+4+1+1). I then had RAMSET for the engine which kind of sounded like an engine to me...and everything else fell into place.

mac 9:30 PM  

This one was tough, but I have a great excuse: just returned from London this evening so I can't even see straight. Thought Simon Legree was an inspector, made it inspecteur to fit, had no problem with lief, but had never heard of bruit except for noise in French.
Missed Rex's run-through and all of your comments, but because of the Herald Tribune Saturday puzzle I'm already done with Sunday's!

PuzzleGirl 9:41 PM  

P.S. If the drawing based on Thursday's puzzle is, indeed, part of a series, it's just SCREAMING to be blogged! I'm sure I'm not the only one who would get a kick out of something like that every day!

jae 10:34 PM  

Ditto what puzzlegirl just said!!

I'm also with Rex on Sudoku. Tried it once and in a (very brief period of time, abbr.) nanosec realized it would add nothing to my accumulated knowledge or to my scintillating conversation. I mean doesn't everyone love talking about crosswords?

Eugene 10:40 PM  

Interesting to see how different backgrounds lead to different entries into the difficult parts of the puzzle. For me, 60A might have taken a little while, but the reference in 7D got me both, immediately (I'm a big sports nut). To me, it's surprising that someone wouldn't know RAMJET, but, as I said, different backgrounds ... Also had some trouble with CUTLERS, but it had to be either that or CUTRERS, so ...

REX mentioned ISO as in ISOMETRIC; the (Greek) prefix ISO means "equal". As in the International Organization for Standards, who's short name, ISO, is not an acronym; see http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid80_gci214046,00.html#.

I'm also a math person, and hooked on Sudoku. Different backgrounds!

Anonymous 10:50 PM  

my dictionary lists AREOLE as "a round or elongated often raised or depressed area on a cactus" and AREOLA as "a small area between things or about something" -- so, unless dictionaries are inconsistent in this regard, the former for the latter seems in error.

i was proud of myself for getting BUSYDAY from only two letters and for getting PELE immediately. i also wanted NAKEDEYE forever and stared at the space for PETSOUNDS for ages until i reread the clue and, like happened to another poster, realized i'd been misreading it as a Rolling Stones album i was looking for. oops.

Alan 12:01 AM  

Rex Parker-what universe do you inhabit? Bruit and lief are gimmes!Easy medium-HA!

muslin and cant get on a plane 3:47 AM  

yah... i couldn't finish on my own either. Had to come to His Majesty yet again. I did get lief though!

commienot 3:59 AM  

to the artist rex featured on Saturday....
You have great talent! Brilliance even! And a sense of humor to boot! What a great combo.

Doc John 1:50 PM  

Hooray! I did the whole puzzle without googling or even having to check an answer that I had written in. My only stymie was the O in EDSON. Didn't get the Taj Mahal casino link so couldn't decide between SLOTS and SLITS. Thus, in my final version of the puzzle, there's an I in dark ink which is made into an O in lighter ink. Half credit? *wink*

Other than that, my biggest problem was the SE. None of those clues seemed to dislodge anything in my brain. Finally got IRONMAN and that started the ball rolling- for one, it made me realize that ATARI couldn't be right. LOVE the ATTIC clue and fill, BTW.

MY HERO was a real "duh" moment, too. Had to do many alphabet runs to get some of the other fills but I finally did.

BRUIT is also a common word in medicine- it refers to the sound that blood makes when it's rushing thru something (especially something that's not supposed to be there, like a narrowed artery or abdominal aneurysm). Still, it took me a while to realize that it was the answer to this clue, not until I got TYNE (thanks, TYNE Daly!).

Thought of BUSY DAY right away but also thought, "Nah, that's too easy," so didn't write it in.

I also have to thank the aforementioned Doonesbury strip for alerting me to the existence of an album called PET SOUNDS. (And who says you don't learn anything from reading the comics?)

Finally, I haven't seen any comment on how OLA is a [Pay stub?]. Because it's a small attachment to the word PAY, perhaps?

Overall, just the right amount of difficulty for me (for now).

Judgesully 3:50 PM  

Surprised that no one liked the "teachers-cheaters" clue as much as I did. Devilishly clever, not? SE was a geographic quagmire with many fits and starts. Liked the feel of the puzzle, though.

cody.riggs 12:28 AM  

2-down ANAGRAM was one of the cleverest clues I've seen in a while. The first answer I got in that corner. Did anyone else go with WINDOWSME first for 36-a? I finally remembered that XP came out in 2001 already. Was sure CAPITALCEE was 56-a since I had crossings BASE, LUIGI, and CONTEST. Got BRUIT, but only because I was sure of all the crossings. Never heard it. Nor LIEF either, was sure it was wrong even when sure of the crossings. TESTATE I found invalid without adding "with 'in'" to the clue. Minor grumble. Funny, I had "Lou Pinella" at first also, though obviously very wrong.

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