FRIDAY, Jan. 25, 2008 - David Quarfoot (ONETIME SERBIAN CAPITAL)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Woo hoo, new Quarfoot! It feels as if it's been a while. In some ways, I wish that the puzzle author's name were hidden until I completed the puzzle - I really think it affects my mindset. If I see Bob Klahn, I can feel my insides clenching. Ditto Byron Walden (both Great constructors, just ... harrowing; I like them the way I imagine people like scary movies or roller coasters). Seeing Quarfoot's name automatically raises my expectations, such that I am perhaps no longer as blown away as I used to be by his puzzles because I've seen such amazing things in the past. That said, I still found this puzzle quite impressive. It had that peppy combination of contemporary and old-fashioned, with lots of colloquial expressions and unexpected letter combinations. I have more frowny faces on my annotated puzzle than I normally do for a Friday, but these are mainly clue quibbles, I think. Let's see.

Quarfoot almost always has a splashy 1A, and today is no exception. The Iraq War has largely been an international disaster, but it has been a boon for constructors of crosswords, who have found all kinds of exotica suddenly in-the-language and therefore permissible in the grid. I've seen AL JAZEERA and AL ZARQAWI in the past year, and today I get the less Scrabbly but no less unusual SADR CITY (1A: War-torn Baghdad suburb). Had the CITY part before I ever saw the clue, so it was easy. I started the puzzle at EL NIÑO (16A: Weather Channel topic) which gave me the "L" for ELM (10D: _____ bark beetle - a guess, but what else was it going to be?). That gave me the "M" for 18A: Key that doesn't include 58-Across (E major), which I absolutely did not know, but I knew enough to write an -OR at the end and then consult 58-Across, where I found 58A: It's almost a B, scorewise - I know enough about music to know that B is the equivalent of a C-flat, but "almost"? How can a note "almost" be another note? The only reasonable response here ended up being the right one: A SHARP. Very, very nice that A-SHARP and E MAJOR are symmetrical in the grid. I also like A SHARP over ITUNES (62A: Apple application), as it's a very familiar combination to me - A SHARP who listens to his ITUNES every day (even as I write this, in fact).

My biggest problem today was in the San Francisco area of the puzzle, where I got completely spooked by a mysterious city (!): 41A: Onetime Serbian capital (nis). NIS!? Yikes. Until I looked it up (after I finished the puzzle, duh), I thought "capital" meant "currency." But no, it's an actual place - birthplace of Constantine the Great, in fact. Who knew? (please don't tell me you did). Not having spent much time in Manhattan, I also got spooked by 37A: Part of Manhattan's Alphabet City (Avenue C), which sat right atop NIS. The Downs were not helping, especially 2D: It forbids religious tests for political office (Article VI) - ARTICLE was easy enough, but that Roman numeral could have been anything as far as I was concerned. Thankfully, I convinced myself that 1936 was not in fact too early to be part of MEL OTT's career (31A: 1936 N.L. leader in slugging percentage), and that whole section subsequently opened up. Love seeing OTT (crosswordese) given the full-name treatment, btw. I was horribly flummoxed by 24D: Word in some British place names (Upon) - I had the "U" and could barely think of any English word that could fit there, let alone one that would be appropriate to the clue. Of course in retrospect the answer seems obvious.

It was a good day to know your Spanish, which provided key answers in both the Iowa and the SoCal portions of the puzzle. Both OSOS (30D: Zoo de Madrid beasts) and OESTE (49D: Dirección sailed by Columbus) have a good deal of currency in the puzzle, so despite my not knowing much Spanish, I got these easily. It was also a good day to be an English professor who enjoys comics, as NAHUM Tate (50D: British poet Tate) and E.C. SEGAR (43D: Swee' Pea's creator) both decided to show up (again) today - SEGAR shows up quite a bit, actually, and NAHUM Tate has certainly been in the puzzle in the past year. He wrote the libretto to Purcell's "Dido & Aeneas" (late 17th c.), among other things.

Funky pop culture:

  • 65A: Judge of films (Reinhold) - HA ha. Best known for a masturbation scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (great film - Sean Penn has never been better).
  • 56D: 1982 film title role for Bruce Boxleitner (Tron) - double HA ha. Common answer, but never having seen the movie, I didn't know TRON was actually the name of some dude in the movie. I thought it was just a generally electronic-sounding name. I think Bruce Boxleitner was / is married to Melissa Gilbert. Oh, yeah, here we go. Rich.

That's a pretty light dose of pop culture, considering what one usually finds in a DQ puzzle. I guess you could throw in ITUNES (62A: Apple application) and TV TRAY (7D: It might hold a couch potato's potato), but those are pretty mainstream answers, neither one requiring that you be particularly movie- or pop music- or TV-loving. So what else does this puzzle have?:

  • 17A: Fleet runner of myth (Atalanta) - total gimme if you know your Greek mythology. Speaking of Greek, when in doubt, guess some version of IONIA (today, IONIC - 6D: Corinthian alternative).
  • 25A: Biblical miracle setting (Cana) - another gimme. First miracle site that comes to mind (for me).
  • 26A: Powerful piece (queen) - Love this clue. Took me way too long to see the chessness of it.
  • 27A: Boarding spot (slope) - hmmm. I don't follow. Is this where the earth SLOPEs toward the sea, so you can pull your boat up and, I don't know, let people on? [No - "boarding" = "snowboarding," and thus SLOPE = ski SLOPE; thanks to Rick for pointing that out]
  • 33A: Brooklynese pronoun (dese) - awesome. When will we see DOSE and DEM?
  • 44A: Drops in a theater (scrims) - my brain hurt trying to figure this out. Then I though of the word "backdrops," and I got it. I was looking for ... some kind of candy.
  • 45A: Japanese model sold from 1970 to 2006 (Celica) - I had no idea this model was defunct. Now CELICA can join ALERO in the dead car hall of fame (though it will never be as common).
  • 55A: Spotter's confirmation ("I see it") - ouch. This whole pairing feels very forced.
  • 63A: Fancy haberdashery item (ascot tie) - Isn't this redundant? Are there ASCOT shoes? Hats? Cars?
  • 3D: Versatile actors may play them (dual roles) - see, I find that truly versatile actors tend to avoid these roles. I guess Eddie Murphy and Peter Sellers and Mike Myers have had some success with dual roles (multiple roles, actually), but if you've ever watched soap operas, you know how painful the DUAL ROLE can be to watch. Oh, who am I kidding? None of you watch soaps. Nevermind.
  • 12D: 11 1/2" soldier (G.I. Joe) - I have this strong feeling that DQ has used this answer before. Maybe I'm confusing DQ with Mike Nothnagel. It happens.
  • 13D: Online memo (e-note) - e-no.
  • 14D: Archaeologist David who found the lost Roman city of Kourion (Soren) - Kierkegaard too mainstream for you?
  • 34D: Enter gently (slide into) - Breakfast test!
  • 35D: Head of state known to his people as "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong Il) - His name is super-pretty in the grid.
  • 52D: Track-and-field equipment (disci) - got this easily, but ick. I demand to know if discus throwers actually use this plural. What do I know? Maybe they do. I heard a guy on the radio yesterday refer to the CELLI in a Bach piece, and I know that's the "correct" plural, but it still hurt my ears.
  • 55D: _____ dixit (ipse) - I was actually unsure about this "E," intersecting as it did the second "E" in DEMODE (64A: No longer in). Whoa, talk about pronunciation issues. This appears to be DÉMODÉ. As far as I'm concerned, this answer is missing a PECHE (only 80s/90s music fans will have any idea what I mean by that).
  • 61D: School dept. (Ath.) - final frowny face. No big deal. I just find this a really weak abbreviation.

Overall, good stuff.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

51 comments:

rick 9:05 AM  

Boarding spot/ski SLOPE

rick 9:06 AM  

Looking at my own answer turned on the light bulb, I was thinking ski lift but I believe it is snow BOARD. AHA!

Pinky 9:24 AM  

Reading your comments, Rex, gave me hope that someday puzzles like this will delight me. For now, this one had all the joy and elegance of passing a kidney stone.

Disci? Ascot Tie? Upon?

These are words you fill in after you have enough letters to guess a word. Then you look back at the clue and think - well yea - I guess so, if you insist.

But in all fairness, there were at least 8 words I had never heard of, so it's probably my fault.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Throwers on my track team in college did call their implements disci; however, I always thought it was somewhat in jest. It helped me with this puzzle though.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Loved today's puzzle. Made me feel very right-brained, as I had to work the whole thing east to west, then south to north.

Orange 10:49 AM  

My cousin calls the preemies at work feti (not the real plural).

E.C. Segar's first name ELZIE has shown up in crosswords a couple times. (You can see why he went with the initials.)

Rex, I liked your "E-no" and "Breakfast test!" remarks.

You know, before Ty Treadway landed the Merv Griffin's Crosswords hosting gig, he played DUAL ROLES on One Life to Live. Colin and Troy MacIver were twins. Colin was the evil doctor, killed by being pushed down the stairs. Troy was supposedly the good brother, but he was a wack-job too and was sent to prison. Gotta love soap opera plot summaries (see links)!

NIS is my go-to Serbian city (...to which I've never gone). I learned it from crosswords.

PhillySolver 10:58 AM  

Mr. Quarfoot gave me the quarboot today.

Struggled because I couldn't spell sadr after getting city, but the 1 2 3 downs worked it out. I was proud of the NE after that (I, too, liked seeing Mel rejoined with Ott). Then DEMODE/demodo (Its that Latin thing again...is there an ipso?) and I finally went with an E but I can tell you it was a guess. NE worked pretty much as Rex reasoned it. then SE ...ok try to recover from this string of bad guesses...yesimsure for YESINDEED, King somebody for KIMJONGIL, eng for ATH department and I had no idea about SweetPea maker at 43D and 46D still makes no sense to me.
I did guess TRON but no DISCI (does that make several rebus a rebi?) All in all a good mind workout but I just didn't have the basic info to get the SE started.

PhillySolver 11:02 AM  

oh, I just got 46D...ATEASE I was reading it as A TEASE not AT EASE...duh!

karmasartre 11:09 AM  

That was fun. Except the SW, where NAHUM messed me up good. Had a bit of trouble with the dear leader, parsing it KIM - JON - GIL until I stared at it long enough.

@Orange -- If there's only 1 life to live, 1 twin must die.

jae 11:12 AM  

Vintage Quarfoot, eclectic and fun. Maybe its just me but I'm finding the recent DQ and MN puzzles relatively easy. SADRCITY was the first thing that came to mind UPON seeing the clue and TRUELOVE quickly followed. Only the SW went slowly. OESTE and ?SHARP were gimmes but I had to stare for while to get RED, STAID, TEAR and ... (Hopefully, NAHUM will finally stick in memory).

profphil 11:29 AM  

How disrespectful to Her Majesty the Queen and all women to call her a powerful piece. And indignities of indignities to have her conDESCEND by connecting her Q with: to put out. A powerful piece that puts out. For Shame!How common.

James F 11:32 AM  

This puzzle was a satisfying use of time. I never begrudge the time spent on the NYT puzzle, and feel good when it is solved, but this one seemed especially satisfying. Maybe it was learning about Nahum Tate. At first I had ASTREET (which fit in the boxes) but I didn't, in my plodding, inky way, make any other errors, which is very good for me. Good luck to Rex when classes begin next week.

JC66 11:40 AM  

Rex, I agree that it seems like a long time between DQ puzzles. Unfortunately, this effort just isn't quite up to his usual high standards. Maybe it's because he now has a girl friend. Their gain is our loss.

Nothnagel 11:42 AM  

Ah, such a good way to start a Friday morning: a DQ puzzle and a nice cup of tea. (I must have been channeling DQ when I was solving...it took me longer to finish the cup of tea.)

REINHOLD gave me a big smile: as a HUGE fan of the show "Arrested Development", the minute I filled in that entry, "My name is Judge" started running through my head over and over again. (Anyone? Anyone?)

MN

Hugh 12:11 PM  

Struggled with this after putting in ANC instead of REL for 4 down.

How about BEAR instead of BEER for 9 down? Like E major A major doesn't include A#.

Dick Swart 12:27 PM  

While 'city' made it plain, alternative orders 'r' fun - doric or ionic, the Greeks had a 5 letter word for it!

Karen 12:29 PM  

philly, I had a hard time seeing the wordbreaks too...I though ASCOTTIE a small tie, and MELOTT just some guy I hadn't heard of before. I also had MONOS for SONYS for a long time, and just couldn't see CYRANO sitting there.

So is AVENUE C anywhere near the Brooklyn Bridge? The wikipedia entry had no map of where the Alphabet City is. I kept flashing on DUMBO, which came up in a discussion of the Marriot Brooklyn.

Hydromann 12:31 PM  

Speaking of versatile actors, dual roles, and soap operas, perhaps the best all-time example would be Dustin Hoffman, in "Tootsie"?

Kim Jonquil 12:32 PM  

Frabjus day!
Calloo callay!

Finished whole entire Friday puzzle, correctly, without resorting to reference material.

She chortled in her joy.

I am so grateful to have found this blog to share my happiness.

dk 12:44 PM  

I so wanted Doric columns.

And, one would think given my ski patrol duties I would have known slope... my lovely wife had to point that out to me.

The rest of the puzzle was just plain fun.

Leon 12:47 PM  

Avenue C is near the Brooklyn Bridge but is closer to the Williamsburg Bridge. Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Avenues A-D comprise Alphabet City.

Too bad the answer is in the West Side of the puzzle.

marcie 12:54 PM  

This one was muck up for me. I had to google to get rid of KING from the grid after I decided that KI automatically led to kingsomebody. I didn't know Bruce Boxleiner played Tron, and IMDB also has his name (Tron's, that is) listed as Alan, so having that n in there helped only a little bit. The only ips_ I have ever heard is ipsO facto, and demodo sounded as good as demode (insert appropriate accent marks)

I liked the two pilot clues, and the emajor and asharp musical clues, which I had to wait to see unfold (though I like Rex put in the OR on major right at the get go.)

Am I the only one who thought achilles fit perfectly where Atalanta belonged? my mythology is hazy but didn't he run swiftly until somebody put an arrow in his heel?

dbg 1:12 PM  

Ipse was actually my first fill-when I do not know 1 across I always scan for fill in the blanks. For future reference, dixit is always ipse (he himself said it), facto is always ipso (by that very fact), and then there is res ipsa loquitor (the thing speaks for itself). Commit these ips's to memory.

Hobbyist 1:23 PM  

Ascot tie very lame but quench and queen more than make up for it.
I get The Times only for the puzzles and would cancel my subscription owing to the editorial of today but the puzzles trump politics. Go Obama!!

Orange 1:45 PM  

@Karma: I believe Lil Kim and Lil Jon are both hip-hop artists—now just we need Lil Gil for the North Korean dictator rapper trifecta.

@Philly: Technically, I believe rebus is the Latin plural of res.

@Hobbyist: You could save a lot of trees (and money) by canceling the paper and subscribing to the NYT's online puzzle service only.

Hobbyist 2:00 PM  

I know. I know. But there are other parts of the paper w add to my life, recipes, travel destinations and the like. Plus, I like the paper format for solving puzzles. It is probable that nobody will speak to me at the tourney but I can live with being somewhat shunned.

Mo 2:09 PM  

This one was a struggle, though in the end very enjoyable...after a strong start in the SE, I needed help at various other points. I appreciate the greater emphasis on current events (KIM JONG IL, SADR CITY) relative to pop culture trivia (sorry, Rex, I'm one of those who complains about that stuff). As a news junkie I eat up those current events clues. But I had never heard of Reinhold, EC Segar, Atalanta, Nis, or Edmond Rostand, though I got a couple of those from crosses.

Here's an interesting tie-in with the Bruce Boxleitner clue. A few years back, Matt Gaffney wrote an article in Slate entitled "The Ultimate Crossword Smackdown" (adapted from his Gridiron book), in which he and Byron Walden and two computer programs each constructed a puzzle, with the theme answers already in place, and an all-star cast of solvers (Hinman, Payne, Ripstein, & Delfin--doesn't get much more elite than that) solves 'em and rates them for elegance, etc., without knowing who constructed which puzzle. The point was to see how Gaffney and Walden stacked up against the computers. Anyway, the theme was people with the initials BB, and Bruce Boxleitner was there, along with Boris Berezovsky and Benjamin Britten (all 15 letters total!). For some reason, I was just re-reading that article last night, and there today in the puzzle is Boxleitner (had really never heard of him either).

Oh, Walden won the smackdown, while Gaffney came in behind him and the two computers...but it was close.

The Slate article is at http://www.slate.com/id/2145623/

PuzzleGirl 3:17 PM  

It's embarrassing to me how often the answers remind me of Barry Manilow. Couldn't AVENUE C just remind me of NYPD Blue? No, no, no, it has to remind me of the Barry Manilow song. The only reason I'm even admitting this to you is that I feel like we've bonded.

One day I was walkin'
And finally came upon a series
of alphabet streets
A, B, C and D
But I went for C
The most of the hard-to-forget
streets
It's really and truly the dilly
of all my pet streets....

doc John 4:05 PM  

Blazed through this one (well, Friday's version of "blazed", anyway) until I got to the SW. Two names I had no connection with (NAHUM and Edmond Rostand), so I was pretty much sunk. So NAHUM is his first name, eh? Got ITUNES and A SHARP easily enough and finally TEARed up but DEMODE and SONYS just would not come. I was thinking "solos" for [Some speakers]. Even though I thought of SONYS and even own a Sony sound system I just would not let myself admit that Sonys would be the answer (Boses came to mind before SONYS until I got STAID). It really felt like a stretch (and still does- Sony is far more famous for TVs, Walkmans (Walkmen?) or even Blu-ray players). I'm not happy about it but I'll accept it and remember it the next time I see a DQ puzzle. And even though DE MODE seemed to be the only word that made sense, I wouldn't let myself fill that one in, either. Darn it- if I had, I would have at least gotten CYRANO!

So, bottom line- I had to come here to finish it off. Blecch! Not a great way to start a weekend. Next time I'll trust my instincts more.

And, more kudos to Steely Dan. There's a song on Katy Lied called "Daddy Don't Live in that New York City No More" in which Avenue D is mentioned. True, it's not AVENUE C but because of that song, I know that there are AVENUE x's in NYC.

Fergus 4:18 PM  

Seeing the 'correct' answer at the 43 square could have given me an ASOK moment. Had a T there assuming one with some spunk would sooner be darting about, rather than making a DARE. (BTW, having lived in England, it's hard to use 'spunk' in strictly the American way. (BBTW, there are a whole bunch of prepositions in those British placenames -- I dare the puzzle to start using the Welsh ones.))

Haditha, Ramadi, Baqubah, Samarra, or variants in spelling to fill eight spaces -- SADR CITY fell in as a bit of a disappointment. Then with the appearance of the Dear Leader, I was looking around for Dinner Jacket or QOM or at least a Shah to complete the Axis of Evil trifecta.

Pulling ATALANTA out of some lonely neuron reinforced the salutary effect that puzzling has on memory maintenance. I'd learned that it Ionian not IONIC, but I'm sure the latter checks out, but nowhere near as frequent in usage I would guess. Just wondering what else besides a fire suits the pairing of QUENCH and Put out?

jae 4:28 PM  

Pop culture actually helped me with DEMODE. The fashion mag Ugly Betty works for is MODE so DEMODE for "no longer in" made sense.

@mo -- thanks for the Gaffney aritcle.

@dgb -- thanks for the the ips... lesson.

mac 4:41 PM  

Nice Friday one, not too difficult. I also thought of Cana right away, just didn't spell it right, and filled in Doric before checking the crosses. Fun to see "dese" and "yer out" in one puzzle. I got GI Joe in one go, even though the toy I remember was only about 4" tall, but beloved by my son. I was getting much to complicated about "spotter", hunting or something?

Jeff 4:47 PM  

@fergus-- as relates to thirst: QUENCH>>>EXTINGUISH>>>PUT OUT. i think i've heard the phrase "extinguish one's thirst" in some soda advertisement or another. i thought about that, too, and that was all i could come up with.

somehow guessed at TRON with the T, not knowing bruce boxleitner, when some corner of my mind associated the year 1982 with that movie. i believe "1982 sci-fi hit" tends to be the clue for that more often than that. that was my WOOHOO moment of the day...

rce 5:21 PM  

@profphil: Powerful piece likely refers to the Queen in chess.

karmasartre 5:48 PM  

@PG -- Manilow / Avenue C? Never heard of it. I hope it wasn't C for Copa.

Rex Parker 5:51 PM  

Her name was Lola ...

She was a showgirl ..

[the gravitational pull of the song is irresistible]

rp

Dan 6:09 PM  

Nothnagel: yes! REINHOLD was my first fill today - but what I had in my head was William Hung singing "Mock Trial with J. Reinhold! Mock Trial with J. Reinhold!"
I miss AD. Taste the sadness.

Mo: Boxleitner also reminded me of the Gaffney experiment, having just read Gridlock...
Filled in TRON without noticing the "title role" part of the clue (thank goodness).

PuzzleGirl 6:17 PM  

@karma: The liner notes of "Barry Manilow II" (which I probably do have in a box in the basement somewhere, but which I searched for on the internet for today's purpose) say that "Avenue C" is a song popularized by the Count Basie Orchestra. Manilow's version adds lyrics that were written for the tune by Jon Hendricks (whoever that is). You can hear a sample of the Manilow version here and the County Basie version here. It's actually quite infectious. (Much like "Copa Cabana." Thanks a lot, Rex.)

Howard B 6:27 PM  

My mind kept insisting on seeing ASCOT TIE as A SCOTTIE, and wondering how in the hell that was supposed to work. Interesting visual of a small dog being worn around the neck, though. I had a nasty typo too, NES instead of NIS. Do they play old video game consoles in Serbia? Took me a while to find that sucker.

rick 7:29 PM  

"Small dog being worn around the neck" would go back to the "perishable fashion accessory"
clue of the other day.

John 7:49 PM  

I miss AD too. 65A reminded me of that episode immediately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fakin%27_It

Great puzzle today I thought, the fill came quickly and was enjoyable.

Michael 8:16 PM  

Nice puzzle -- just the right level of difficulty for a Friday. I could hardly believe disci but it had to be right.

DQ 9:37 PM  

Solvers can rest easy. I don't have a girlfriend as jc66 claimed. I did get a huge laugh from the post, though.

Oh, and I was delighted that Shortz left my original clue "Boarding spot" - it was a shout out to all us snowboarding crossworders. Well, assuming there are any besides me. Off to watch the Winter X Games.

DQ

PS IMO, the best entry I ever put in a puzzle was XGAMESX - as in X Games Ten, which was held around the same time as the 2006 Olympics. Shortz sadly disagreed and the puzzle never saw print anywhere.

ArtLvr 9:40 PM  

I enjoyed the comments more than the puzzle! Started with TV TRAY and finished it all without looking anything up -- but my guess at the Japanese car where it crossed with E ? Segar left me with one wrong letter!
Liked the ambiguity of 22A's clue "habit" which might have been ROBE if a nun's habit, rather than ROTE, but didn't care for 27A using clue "boarding" for snowboarding -- slang, maybe, but for me it's as if you could use "walk" for cakewalk.

ATALANTA (17A, fleet runner of myth) was a gimme because it was the name of the athletic club for girls in high school. Long before its time, our public HS was very supportive of athletics for young women, and even had two pools -- one for boys and one for girls! We didn't have co-ed cheerleading teams though: they were male-only!

billnutt 10:27 PM  

Great. On one hand are people referencing Barry Manilow songs. On the other hand is Rex talking about Depeche Mode, so I'm stuck with "Just Can't Get Enough" in my head. ARGH!

Well, more to my tastes, Lou Reed references a couple of the streets of Alphabet City in the poignant "Halloween Parade."

I relatively breezed through this for a Friday. In fact, I assumed that Rex would rate this one an "easy," since I didn't even have to think about googling.

PhillySolver 11:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
karmasartre 12:14 AM  

PSolver, probably best not to mention the Sat puzzle yet...

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

65 Across

JUDGE OF MOVIES

Reinhold

Have we forgotten about the character BHPD Det. Billy Rosewood
from Eddie Murphy's movie Beverly Hills Cop

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092644/

Aviatrix 3:39 PM  

It was easier than usual for a Friday wasn't it?

For boarding spot I had the O (from a not-completely right MANYROLES) and was all "dock, jetway, airstairs, gangplank, jetty," then I rethought the clue and thought "Guantanamo Bay, broken windows, vacant home, school, dorm, kennel" before I finally got to "hill, mountain, SLOPE!" I think some day I'll write a stream of consciousness piece on me solving a puzzle.

A B is not the same as a C-flat, a B-sharp is the same as a C-flat, so likewise an A-sharp is a B-flat, or almost a B.

34D fails the breakfast test only if you have a dirty mind (I do too). It could apply to getting into a swimming pool, for example.

I really wanted 62A to be a misleading clue, giving pie, turnover, struedel, temptation, anything but an actual application on the Mac.

I was so determined that the true judge of films was the number of people willing to pay to see them, that I managed to shoehorn SEATSOLD into 65A without noticing that it was short an S. I knew TRON (were there any other movies in 1982?), had GASRANGE and ASCOTTIE (but wasn't married to the latter), so eventually I had to accept that my mess wasn't working. I think I left it with DISCS and the nonsensical SESNGOLD. Can't tell, too much ink there!

I wish to retract my complaints about baseball and US politics. They still vex me, but the New York specific things in this puzzle finally whacked me upside the head with the fact that it's the New York Times crossword, so of course it's all American, baseball and apple pie. Love it or leave, sweetheart.

I laugh at how you report your times in minute and seconds. Mine for this puzzle was 1:35--after an hour and a half I guessed the few missing letters for proper name and foreign word crosses, and came to your site. That does include actually making and eating breakfast, and emptying the dishwasher.

WWPierre 5:20 PM  

To a boatman, "OAR" is NEVER a verb!

Other than that, merci, DQ.

PuzzleGirl 8:10 PM  

@Aviatrix: On a piano, there is no black key between B and C so, in fact, B# is the same as C, and Cb is the same as B. (Same for E and F.)

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