FRIDAY, Feb. 29, 2008 - Patrick Berry (1990 #1 RAP HIT THAT STARTS "YO, V.I.P., LET'S KICK IT")

Friday, February 29, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Happy first day of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and, coincidentally, weirdest-looking date of the year. February 29. It looks fictional, that date. Surreal, almost.

OK, I'm dashing these off today, as we are headed for the Greyhound station (only the best for me and my wife) pretty soon to catch a bus to Port Authority in Manhattan. From there, we'll take the subway to Brooklyn, where we will check in to the hotel and then immediately head out for kwality time with our friend Kathy. Then back to the hotel for shmoozing and games aplenty. I can only hope that this year's opening festivities are as entertaining last year's. They will inevitably be less Norwegian, but I'm sure they'll make up for that somehow.

Today's puzzle is gorgeous. Tough but doable, with a couple truly tricky parts. The fill is vibrant and bouncy and eye-catching throughout. In short, it's an average Patrick Berry effort. That'll teach him to set the bar so damned high.

Where did I start? Good question. I'll give you a guess. Just look over the grid ... now, if you've been reading me for a while, you know there is one answer that stands out above all others. If this puzzle were a film, playing at the Rex Parker theater, which clue would be on the marquee? There is only one answer: "ICE, ICE, BABY" (52A: 1990 #1 rap hit that starts "Yo, V.I.P. let's kick it"). The puzzle could have been solid crosswordese from that point on, I wouldn't have cared. That one answer gave me a smile that lasted the whole way through. Everything that was wrong with pop music when I was in college - that's what "ICE, ICE, BABY" is. Talented people (mostly black) making rap records for nearly a decade, and this becomes the first rap song to make #1 (some people count Blondie's "Rapture," but I don't - that song has a rap in it, but it's not a rap song). The controversy over Vanilla Ice's looping of the sample from the Queen/David Bowie song "Under Pressure" now appears silly - sampling is a standard production technique, and many artists since Vanilla Ice have abused pre-existing songs far worse than he did. Still, from the lyrics, to the attitude, to the look ... "ICE, ICE, BABY" was custom made for a 1990 Time Capsule - one that could have been opened five years later and already appeared ancient. This was the same year that brought you Milli Vanilli, who beat out Indigo Girls for Best New Artist and then had to return their Grammy when it became clear they weren't the ones singing on their album. I told you my college years sucked for music. When are you going to start believing me?

Back to the puzzle:

Thorny patch 1: North Dakota

The "LP" in ALPHA TESTS (17A: In-house debugging) was the last bit of this puzzle I filled in. It was a total guess, but one that I knew instantly was right. The two Downs meant Nothing to me: for SAL (5D: _____ volatile) I originally had EAU, and for KIPS (6D: Goes to bed, in Britspeak), I had nothing. Never heard the expression. Makes me AGGRO (which I hear is also "Britspeak").

Thorny patch 2: Oregon

Was very proud of self when, off the final "HER," I nailed IN A DITHER ... [cough] ... come on, it's a good answer! Of course, I eventually had to convince myself that DOTTER and IPHELIA were words (a tall order). So IN A DITHER became IN A DOTHER became IN A BOTHER became IN A POTHER (1D: Agitated). Is that "Britspeak?" Clever clue at 18A: Person at the wheel? (Potter) and hard-to-attribute quotation at 21A: "Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind" speaker (Ophelia), kept this are from coming together as quickly as I could have liked. I like POTTER a lot, but only because it's what my daughter says to me every night right before bedtime, only she says it in the interrogative (with a question mark on the end), and in a British accent, because she's essentially asking me if I'd like to come read Harry POTTER to her now.

The REST (13D: Others)

  • 1A: Product once advertised with the catchphrase "There's no step 3!" (iMac) - Mac's ads have always been genius. Evil genius. Marvels of simplicity. Spare, direct, perfect. They're a cult, kinda like the one led by this Obama guy I keep hearing about.
  • 15A: One abandoned at the altar? (maiden name) - so excited at this gimme that I f-d it up and started writing in MARRIED NAME.
  • 24A: Region bordering Mount Olympus (Thessaly) - got it off the "-LY" - but I should know this stuff; all that teaching of Homer and Virgil oughta pay off somehow.
  • 34A: "Caribbean Blue" singer (Enya) - good clue, in that the last place I would look for ENYA is in the Caribbean.
  • 30A: Edward who created the Gashlycrumb Tinies (Gorey) - gimme. Someone even posted a link to an animated video of said Tinies on this site a little while back.
  • 35A: Candle holders (cakes) - hmmm. OMG, I just got this answer this instant. Damn. Birthday candles. Got it. Man, I have got to shake the cobwebs loose.
  • 37A: "Notorious" setting (Rio) - Me: "Nazis ... South America ... three letters ... RIO!"
  • 38A: Dispel a curse? (bleep) - fantastic clue. I had BLESS for a while.
  • 40A: Unit of radioactivity (Curie) - I had FARAD ... is that ... something?
  • 46A: #1 Beatles hit with the only known vocal contribution by Linda McCartney ("Let It Be") - I had "GET BACK." Whoops.
  • 54A: Mystical indicator (omen) - odd phrasing on this one, but pretty transparent.
  • 56A: Ball boy? (beau) - I had no idea there were BEAUs of the ball as well as BELLES.
  • 3D: Final Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy ("Another You") - needed most of the crosses to get this. Not ... memorable.
  • 8D: Flowers named for their scent (tea roses) - I had no idea that's where their name came from. Then again, I couldn't pick a TEA ROSE out of a floral line-up if my life depended on it.
  • 10D: "The Great God Brown" playwright (O'Neill) - I've got a few playwright names in my pocket, but I know little about them, so I just get a few crosses and wait to see what comes into view.
  • 4D: Neapolitan noblewoman (Contessa) - also the name of an anchor on MSNBC, I think (yes, CONTESSA Brewer). Oh dear god she's five years younger than I am. Shouldn't you have to be at least 40 before you "anchor" anything. Come on!
  • 36D: Home for the Ojibwa and Cree (Manitoba) - little shout-out to our North of the Border friends (big puzzlers, those Canadians, especially in the Vancouver area, for whatever reason).
  • 38D: Split right before your eyes? (bifocal) - yes, very nice "?" clue.
  • 39D: Go for a party, say (vote) - saw through this pesky clue almost instantly.
  • 41D: Wisconsin city that's home to S.C. Johnson & Son (Racine) - you could have just stopped after "Wisconsin city" - I'll get some crosses, some familiar place name will come into view, the end.
  • 49D: Pullers of the chariot of Artemis (deer) - Turns out Artemis and Santa have something in common.

I'm off. Talk to you soon - possibly live from Brooklyn. We're bringing the laptop and the digital camera, so you never know ...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of Crossworld

63 comments:

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Where's the filled out puzzle? Guess you were in a rush. LOL
Have fun in Brooklyn, my birthplace, but definitely not the garden spot of the universe.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Aha....guess they put the puzzle in later. It was there when I went back to see my comment. Thanks.

PhillySolver 9:22 AM  

The perfect antidote to ICEICEBABY.

Wierd Al

or:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-TXqDC3gsA

PhillySolver 9:26 AM  

I would like to put a face with an alias at the ACPT. I will have some stick-on dots from Staples for your name tag. If you answer "yes" to the question, "Do you Blog?", I will give you one and then you will be recognized by those looking for their fellow chatters.

My name is Michael Smith and I will see you tonight.

Jim in NYC 9:30 AM  

52A "Ice, ice, baby" was the LAST answer I finished. As another poster on this blog once put it, to know pop culture you've got to immerse yourself in it, at the expense of whatever else you're doing. In 1990 I was way past having much interest in pop music. However, the answer was not hard since in in those days there was a bit of a movement to name everything ICE this and ICE that. In NYC, the Mobile Messenger Service briefly changed their name to ICE MOBILE. Can't imagine why, and I guess they thought better of it, too, since the name didn't last. I recommend them, BTW.
Have a great weekend, y'all, whatever you'll be doing with it.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Farad is capacitance.

Rikki 10:58 AM  

Another Patrick Berry beauty. More aha moments than I can remember since the last Patrick Berry beauty. I love clever clueing and PB is a master: one abandoned at the altar, candle holders, person at the wheel, dispel a curse, ball boys.

Glossed over when I should have skated, but kips set me straight, though our British buddies used it as a noun, as in: I'm knackered so I'm going for a bit of a kip.

I started this last night when I was thoroughly knackered and could not finish it to save me. Nothing like a good night's sleep. I woke up with a fresh eye and, bam, nailed it to the wall. Any non-google Friday takes me one day away from a (dare I say it aloud?) perfect puzzle week.

In a pother? New one on me, but it was apparent that it was synonymous with dither and 220 other words like it says Moby's Thesaurus.

Wish I was joining y'all in Brooklyn. Write on!!!

Pinky 11:02 AM  

Just a guess here but does KIP come from the word KEEP, as in the sleeping quarters in a castle?

i too missed the SKATE/SAL cross, so the only wild guess i had for this clue was LIE (as in Basil Fawtey telling Sibil to have a bit of a lie down)

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

I had In a Lather

Jim in Chicago 11:34 AM  

In a POTHER??? I had everything you can imagine in there, "dither" "bother" "lather", but nothing worked. Finally filled the the "p" from POTTER and moved on.

I'm surprised that no one has yet commented on the appearance of the work REBUS as an answer in the puzzle. Cool.

Just one quibble today. I'm not fond of "Ford or Lincoln" as a clue for make, unless we're not talking about cars here. Ford and Lincoln are car COMPANIES. Their "makes" are Continentals, and Taurus, etc.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Profphil

I had in a bother and instead of potter: better (as in wagerer at the roulette WHEEL). Of course monEphonic looked wrong but stuck with it anyway.

Break a pencil (euphemism for Good Luck for the superstitious cruciverbalist)!

James F 11:57 AM  

It was 3 below zero when I went out to pick up the Times this morning, so ICEICEBABY was highly appropriate. My sons were 11 and 8 when Vanilla Ice caught their imagination, and as a proper parent I thought that VI's music was trash. I turned out to be correct, for once.

A wonderful puzzle, initially opaque, but then it opened up. MONOPHONIC, BIFOCALS, and RETIRED all harken back to the days when MAIDEN NAMES were left behind, unlike today's liberated (and better) times. I also like the diversity of ENTROPY, THESSALY, OPHELIA, etc. It helped to know little BITS about everything today.

Have fun in Brooklyn this weekend, Rex. I look forward to seeing your world ranking improve.

James F 12:01 PM  

oops! I meant "universal" ranking.

miriam b 12:03 PM  

Wish I were there, but my finances at the moment barely suffice to get me to East Patchogue and back.

I LOVE Emily's Bronze Horseman. Ochen kharosho.

I can't remember the clue for HOCK. I've dutifully recycled my last 2 weeks' worth of newspapers and thus can't retrieve that puzzle. The HOCK in horses, cats, dogs, etc. is equivalent to the human heel. I have a sneaking feeling that the clue specified "ankle".

Well, no big deal.

I found the puzzle pretty easy despite its containing more pop culture than I like to encounter.

Doug 12:08 PM  

Did it (the puzzle) in the kichen of a high school friend and his wife, while visiting here in Portland, Oregon. Kept yelling "Doh! + [Answer]" to the crew as dinner was cooked. They're not puzzle people and loved the clues and answers.

So here were are, doing impossible clues with only MERYL and AFAR as the gimmees, when the SC Johnson clue came up. My friend and I have been tight since we both went to Horlick H.S. in RACINE, Wisconsin. 32 years later and it comes up in the puzzle during the two days a year that we see each other--Wow!

Racine is French for "root" and when French settlers paddled up the river way back, they saw how the tree roots were laid bare by the river action. Whenever I'm in a French supermarket and see "racinette" (root beer) I always smile.

Michael Greenberg 12:15 PM  

Very fun puzzle, the fastest Friday I've done in a long time. 55A was actually my first answer, having recently read THE NATURAL, and the SW fell quickly. The NE took a while (Sal volatile, kips? I'd prefer kippers!), and I was IN A POTHER about 1D until the end, hesitantly filling in IMAC for 1A. Something about 38D and 38A makes me really happy -- the rest of the puzzle was good, but I simply loved those clues.

Enjoy the tournament!

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Hated "pother" but OK.

I believe Jim in Chicago is incorrect. Ford and Lincoln are makes; Continental and Taurus are models. That's what I always see on my parking application.

Bill D 12:46 PM  

Plodded through this one as usual - pretty much had the same original misfires as Rex (GETBACK, eg) and you all (I GLOSSed over SKATE OVER) and some new ones of my own (WAUSAU for RACINE) but it takes me so much longer to work them out. Was so proud of getting LEMONLAW outright and MONOPHONIC off the "C". Left POTHER in because everything else fit so beautifully (inspired cluing in the main, I thought), struggled mightily in the N and NE. Puzzle didn't fall completely until I finally gave up on GAS volatile - not sure why, but that sounded really good to me.

Many long answers really not that difficult in retrospect. Nearly gagged on ICE ICE BABY, though - definitely doesn't pass the breakfast test for me!

Expect all you competitors to carry the flag of this blog (or at least philly's stickers!) proudly into the breech. Break a pencil for me, too!

Bill D 1:01 PM  

Jim in nyc - remember Ice Beer? Came out about the same time too, right? Every brew make had to have an ice model!

Incidentally, some German high-speed (bullet) trains are called ICE, for Inter-City Express; French types are TGV, Train à Grande Vitesse - might come in handy sometime as an antidote to ACELA!

mac 1:14 PM  

I had a moment this morning where I felt very relieved that I didn't sign up for the tournament..... I got so stuck in the NorthEast! I thought --- volatile should be some sort of gas, since I was sure about the maiden name and gloss over, and salt in French is sel.
1 Across immediately had me try to remember a nicoderm competitor. How about the nono, half a nononono? To my surprise I got "The Natural" with only r-l. It was a beautifully difficult Friday puzzle with great clues.
Have fun this weekend, and hope to meet some of you on Sunday.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Billd,

I too did not want to let go of gas (I'm too polite). Gas volatile was the only thing that made any sense there. I still don't get sal volatile

Is it into the breech? or Breach?

Profphil

Frances 1:31 PM  

SAL VOLATILE is the high-falutin' name for smelling salts: sal=salt; volatile=flies up into the air. When Victorian damsels swooned, they would be revived with sal volatile, which has an ammonia base gentrified with an aromatic like lavender or lemon. The ammonia is the active principle--it promotes coughing, which promotes increased blood flow to the brain.

mrbreen 1:48 PM  

Had the N and the A for "Caribbean Blue" singer and instinctively wrote ANKA, which seemed fine until wasn't.

Good luck Rex!

ArtLvr 1:51 PM  

I thought it was way beyond "easy" even for Friday! Partly it was because the clues were only partly there in my computer version, so I had to guess at those before guessing at the answers...

I got the SE first, loved LEMON LAW, then NE with SAL a gimme, then NW when HORSE gave me MONOPHONIC which woud require NO-NO instead of "errs". Finally back to the SW and what was the last to appear? ICE ICE BABY. Not nice-nice, Berry!

Not wanting to be a SORE LOSER, but I didn't get the happy rush on completion because it took so long.... Still, a nosegay of TEAROSES to Patrick: it was incredibly clever all through.

∑;)

dk 1:52 PM  

I had PFDs instead of EMTs so I languished in the upper right.

Sal Volatile sounds like someone from the Sapranos, however, I like the clue now that I know what it means.

I loved BIFOCAL.

Good luck to all in NY. In skiiing we clack our poles to cheer folks on, for all of you I will click my ball point.

Greg 2:41 PM  

For some reason I cannot understand, I initially had Audio Test for "in-house debugging." Maybe I was thinking of people sampling tracks in house for a CD or something? Not sure, but eventually got Alpha Test. Major brain-fart, I guess! I also kept wanting to put "gloss over" in for 5A. While I solved this puzzle very quickly, I would rather give it a medium grade of difficulty so I feel like I am improving more! :-)
Enjoy Brooklyn guys!
Greg

Joshua 3:35 PM  

Hi -

Farad is actually quite a cool unit (of capacitance, as per Anonymous). It's named for Faraday, a very famous physicist (heard of a "Faraday Cage"? -- essentially the inner guts of a conducting shell will be shielded from electrostatic fields. Seen the lightning show at the Boston Museum of Science? Folks stand in a big metal cage and touch the walls as lightening bolts crack all around.). A farad is actually a huge amount of capacitance (a measure of the voltage you get across some geometry of stuff for a given number of positive or negative charges placed on the thingamabob.) As I recall, the entire earth has a capacitance of 1 farad (this is because the geometry of the earth (big sphere) isn't really an efficient way to make a capacitor. The caps in your computer (eg) tend to be on the order of a billion times smaller (in capacitance).

So that's neat. And you can make cool things with capacitors -- like crappy batteries!

Hope this helps cement "farad" for you...
Shuka

Rifka 3:43 PM  

Wonderful puzzle
Thanks frances for the explanation of SAL VOLATILE - I knew the word without a clue to the meaning! Can someone please explain ALPHATESTS
And I don't see how a VASE is an art medium - I thought a medium is what you use to create art - like oils or clay...?

ArtLvr 3:43 PM  

Then there was RAD, which stuck in my head but of course didn't fit. Short for "farad"? Nope! Finally looked it up:

Etymology: Radiation Absorbed Dose
Date: 1918
: a unit of absorbed dose of ionizing radiation equal to an energy of 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material

Scary! ∑;(

Eric 3:44 PM  

When you starting with the "E" from Meryl, three Beatles songs fit: "Get Back", "Hey Jude", and (the last one to come to me, "Let It Be." I recall a video somewhere where they stripped all vocals but Linda's out, and it was.... pretty bad (sorry Linda, RIP).

Loved this puzzle! Good luck in Brooklyn, everyone.

ArtLvr 3:48 PM  

p.s. i agree with Rfka -- VASE is iffy for classic art "medium", even if exquisitely painted! It went with POTTER, though...

∑;)

puzzlemensch 4:49 PM  

Rifka:

alpha test - a first test of an experimental product (such as computer software) carried out by the developer.

So, it's in-house debugging because "in-house" means in the developer's company rather than out in the public.

Anonymous 4:58 PM  

Re: Pother
I say PFUI!

SethG 5:03 PM  

Remind me not to start a puzzle, especially late in the week, when I get home late and I'm tired.

For example, just yesterday I spent a while telling someone about the time I spent in Thessaloniki last July. So when I got to Mount Olympus and had the xxxxSALY, you'd think I'd have had _some_ idea; of course I had none.

Eric, don't forget "Because" or "Yes It Is". Everyone but Eric, I obviously have too much time on my hands...

Brooklyn next year,
sg

Rex Parker 5:18 PM  

I am in my hotel room in Brooklyn! I'm connected! Woo hoo! Off for Peruvian food, then who knows. Keeping head low. Hordes of xworders in the lobby, but I spoke only to Howard Barkin, who is possibly the nicest guy in the world.

More later,
RP

jae 5:23 PM  

Great puzzle, and definitely easier for me that last Friday's. Really love Mr. Berry's cluing.

I got ICEICEBABY off an I and the A Y in BABY having never heard the rap song nor seen the lyric. It was gettable for me because even though I'm not a fan of rap I do pay attention to what's going on in pop culture. So, I'm sure I saw/heard about Vanilla Ice (and the hit song) via talk shows, magazine aritcles, newspaper critiques, etc. I'm not sure if this is what jim in nyc means by immersion, but I don't think I'm immersed in rap culture, pop culture perhaps?

@mariam b the clue for HOCK was "equine ankle"

@rifka -- alpha tests are followed by beta tests where the product is sent to potential users to play with.

Add me to those who thought VASE was a stretch and thanks to the person who posted the link to GOREY's work a while back.

Finally, something to watch for. A couple of nights back CBS news did a profile on the first African American NHL player. The reason this might be relevant is that his last name is OREE just one letter off from our favorite molding.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

Re classic art medium. I thought it referred to the classics, as in Greek and Roman, and they painted their vases or urns. Thanks, Keats.

johnson 6:02 PM  

OREE is also one letter off our favorite cookie!

johnson 6:02 PM  

OREE is also one letter off our favorite cookie!

Rifka 6:16 PM  

MEDIUM
I checked several on line dictionaries - I found various entries like the following
3): a mode of artistic expression or communication
c: a liquid with which pigment is mixed by a painter
8. any material or technique as used for expression or delineation in art
9. a liquid mixed with pigments to give smoothness
The VASE is not the medium whether in classical times or now!

Thanks for the information on alpha tests - I was thinking of removing bugs where animal or electronic that one might find in house :-)

Fergus 6:27 PM  

I think Marie CURIE died from overexposure to radioactivity so it's a true tribute, if somewhat macabre.

News to me that those roses smell of tea, but that's the give and take of trivial knowledge via the crossword puzzle.

From the SE section, I could imagine the statement from one slacker to another, "Just between us, take a break at all times."

Who among us didn't think of something OLEO-related for 47A Soft Spread?

As Rikki mentioned, A Few naps would have been a better Clue for KIPS, since I don't think I've ever heard the term used as a verb either.

Bill from NJ 7:26 PM  

From Hamlet to Vanilla Ice to SPLAT, it paid to have your A game with you today, boy.

I was cruising along until I got to Ohio then it all fell apart. I struggled for an hour and still never finished.

I am making progress, though, and for that, I am grateful.

@Orange & Rex - Thanx!!

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

I'm a relative newcomer to the NYT puzzle. I read your blog daily now. Always entertaining. Thanks. One comment on today's that I (expat Irishman that I am) couldn't let slip. Aggro is a noun; usually used along the lines of "give him aggro". Oh, and this is one Canadian reader from the Eastern side of the continent (Nova Scotia).

David

Fergus 9:14 PM  

In British slang, as in one or two other areas, the puzzle editors do seem a bit clueless about the subtleties of a term's usage. Sometimes, any rash, loose association shows up as something they could never get away with in the American vernacular, yet resides in the puzzle as if it were a foreign term. Perhaps that's the intent, though my biases point to stricter construction.

Liz 9:31 PM  

I got stuck in the SW corner until I finally changed to BITS for atoms, after which came BED COVER and then ICE ICE to add to BABY. I am deficient in the popular song culture so the rap song gave me fits. Last of all was BIFOCAL which had a sneaky clue. Good fun this puzzle.

Fergus 9:38 PM  

for BIFOCAL I thought DIFRACT,
and instead of the glorious REBUS
I had RUNES, sorrily.

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

I also got stuck with soft spread. I had bad cover, which I tried to make sense of ... bed cover, ah yes.

What a great community this is - cheering on our team in Brooklyn. Bring home the flag, indeed!
Teresa (Michigan Dreamer)

wendy 10:25 PM  

Aargh! I had hoped for a lot better when the gimme of GOREY loomed large, since I have all 26 of the Tinies framed on my living room wall. In the end I could only glean two other words without googling. (That was me who submitted the animated Gashlycrumb video I found on youtube.)

Ditto from me on breaking a pencil, Rex and all contenders! I had hoped to be there this year, but in the end I think I would have been seriously over-reaching. Maybe next year.

mac 10:34 PM  

I hope you are comfortable, Rex! I'm wondering about the Peruvian food, though. A Peruvian friend of mine drooled over my P cookbook because her husband adored a dish of cow's heart.... I still think it can't be any worse than IHOP. Be brave, there are lots of good restaurants in Brooklyn, and you can also cross the bridge!

Fergus 10:56 PM  

Take heart, in the the Peruvian way.

I would very much like to mix it up with you all, and I'm sorry to miss this convention of like minds ...

doc John 11:17 PM  

Having never heard of GOREY, guessing on a final E in THESSALY, and thinking that "cases" were just fine as candle holders gave me "easel" for YOKEL. I knew it probably wasn't right but had had enough after spending all day on it (on and off- I did step out to see "Vantage Point", a great movie and Forest Whitaker (sp?) gives a great performance).

I'll never forget now that a clodhopper is a YOKEL! I was actually thinking it was some kind of shoe.

Who could forget the RACINE Peaches in "A League of Their Own"?

And just to finish the movie references, MERYL was my first fill. She's so great I'd go watch her sit there and knit for an hour!

Give 'em hell at the ACPT!!!

Rikki 11:40 PM  

@Fergus. I went from runes to rebus also. Hey, wanna get into mischief while Rex is away? We could talk about something taboo and he'll be too distracted to tell us to start our own blog. ;-)

Just kidding, T-Rex. You're the ruler by which all my puzzling is measured. You go!!!

@Doc J, I loved A League of Their Own. My hubby and I were just wondering if Geena Davis is still in the business. She was great! If you're reading this Geena, we miss you. And remember,
there's no crying in baseball. But my favorite baseball movie is Major League.

I think I'm going to register to do the competition puzzles at home. If I can keep my eyes open this weekend. Long week. And the Saturday puzzle, my nemesis, looms like the Jabberwock with eyes aflame, ready to blow me out of the tulgey wood.

scriberpt 11:51 PM  

@mac 10:34 pm re: cow's heart

Heart is a delicacy.

@eric 3:44 and @sethg 5:03 re: Beatles

I had "Red Rose" at 46A because I had "Red River" at 36D for the home of the Ojibwa and Cree. Now that I've typed it here, I see that having two "red"s would indicate wrong.

@the Brooklyn crossworders re: Good Luck

Looking forward to hearing about the weekend.

scriberpat 11:52 PM  

whoops it's late i wrote scriberpt instead of scriberpat

Fergus 3:20 AM  

Rikki, sounds like fun. Our preferences seem similar, and predilections familiar even when our tastes diverge. Let's hook up after the Saturday puzzle ...

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

Hello:

Agree that a VASE isn't really a medium -- and yet if a vase is a sculpture, and scupture IS a medium, then wha -- oh, never mind.

Anyway, such a small blemish does not detract from the beauty of this puzzle...unlike that big ugly wart at 1-down.

PG


PS: Have fun in Brooklyn!

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Doug, thanks for the fun French factoid on the origins of the city name "Racine".... a vivid mental image. Magnifique!

Rex, thanks for the updates on the tourney! Woohoo! He's in his room! Seriously. I wish badly I could be there meeting all you fellow word nerds at last, but its pretty exciting just being there vicariously through you, Rex. So ditto from me (break a favorite lucky pencil) to all of you blog buddies there!

Rock Rabbit

Anders 1:57 PM  

Confidently filled in "in a bother", saw I needed "potter" across, and really agonized at the end over whether "pother" down or "botter" across (one at the wheel?) was the word I never heard of. Happily, wound up sticking with "pother" (with no confidence) just because "potter" seemed unassailable. Headed straight to Rex for confirmation.

I work in software and know the term "alpha test", but never recognized it even after I finished the puzzle because I was so certain "in-house debugging" must be misdirection for some exterminator-related answer! No question mark, I know, but tricky clues don't always have them.

Jet City Gambler 4:13 PM  

Six weeks later ...
And Vanilla Ice (aka Robert Van Winkle) was just arrested last night for slapping his wife around.

Great puzzle, but POTHER killed me.

boardbtr 5:03 PM  

Six weeks later. I had to chuckle at the "Gorey gimme" for so many. I got it only from crosses. I have never heard of Gashlycrumb, Tinies or Gorey so the clue was of zero benefit for me. Likewise, the ICEICEBABY and LETITBE came only as a result of crosses and lucky guesses. I was, however very happy to get this one with no Googles or other aids.

Ben Hassenger 8:15 PM  

Six weeks later... ICEICEBABY and ENYA were my two "Without one moment of hesitation" gimmes. I had to look up a few of these but I'm finally getting through these Friday/Saturday puzzles a little easier than in the fall (aka not at all).

P.S. @PhillySolver, that is not Weird Al performing "Rice Rice Baby", it's one of the many tracks on the internet mis attributed to him. However, he did include the song in "Polka Your Eyes Out!" in 1992, from the Off The Deep End album. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hdxt_wNpHo

cody.riggs 1:17 PM  

Rex is right. I was in college then too and the music was terrible. We listened to music from the 70's mostly as a result, and I wrote my senior music thesis on Pink Floyd's The Wall.

Funny thing about the ENYA clue, the Caribbean does seem odd connected with her, until one considers her first hit, "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)"! (whose refrain I misheard as "Save the Whales.")

Anyway, when I saw the ICE ICE BABY clue, I knew Rex would love the clue when I read the blog. Agreed, this was a wonderful puzzle too.

I share also the confusion on "IN A POTHER". The first answer I wrote in was OPHELIA, and seriously almost changed her to IPHELIA (thinking I forgot about a relative of hers...) and wondered WTF a DOTTER would do with a wheel. Same thing with KIPS...wanted GAS volatile somehow, or EAU, so this was a mess. Source of the confusion was, really, SKATE OVER...I had SLIDE OVER and GLOSS OVER first.

At first I thought this puzzle would take me 10 minutes...I have to crow about the following answers I filled in with no hesiation or crossings: OPHELIA, ENTROPY (loved that clue), LEMON LAW (that too), GOREY, RACINE, CLEAVE TO ("Cleave": another Antagonym!)

The Beatles/Linda McCartney clue was devious. I had _ET____, and first wrote in GET BACK. Then realized it could be HEY JUDE (_E_ ___E) And that one uses so many backup singers...

After solving, had "LET IT BE" stuck in my head all day, but as the Capitol Steps parody, "Huckabee" from their recent April Fools special.

The other devious ones were YOKEL (I had LOCAL, thinking a clodhopper was same as a puddlejumper,) and REPEL (I wrote in REBEL at first, not thinking, as I thought I was on a roll.)

Again, loved this puzzle. One where I made a couple mistakes and had lots of fun untangling them, unsure exactly which squares were in error. Fine line between fun and frustration there, this one passed the test.

cody.riggs 1:20 PM  

Sorry, forgot the ultimate in devious clues... "Ball Boy." Wrote in DESI with utmost confidence. Very difficult to change. Not sure I like the real answer, BEAU, but get that it's BELLE's counterpart. I like my answer much more, but Canada is not about to rechristen its province MANITODA.

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