"Small, deep-fried pork cube": SATURDAY, Feb. 16, 2008 - Tony Orbach

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

No time this morning for a lengthy write-up, which is just as well. This puzzle was unpleasant, not just because it was hard, but because it was hard in a deliberate and dull way. While I'm sure there is something to admire about an answer like CUCHIFRITO (8D: Small, deep-fried pork cube), having it run through short and obscure answers like DIL (22A: "Rugrats" baby) and ORFE (26A: Golden fish stocked in ornamental pools) and alongside one of a significant PASSEL (49A: Slew) of boring science words, ETHYLENE (9D: C2H4) ... it somehow manages to be both cruel and dull. The worst cross, however, was SLOP ON (44D: Apply messily) crossing EXOCET (50A: Anti-ship missile that skims waves at nearly the speed of sound), where I had SLAP ON (a far far far more in the language phrase) crossing EXACET (which looks no less wrong than EXOCET to me). So ... a random vowel intersection means the difference between done and not done. Perhaps I should just know more about missiles. And pork. Ugh. This puzzle was hard but not in an exhilarating. Unexciting. If you want to know what hard (very hard) and good (very good) feels like, do yesterday's New York Sun puzzle by Byron Walden. I almost want to do it again just to get the taste of this one out of my mouth.

ETHYLENE? ACETONE (15A: Thinner option)? ENOL (47A: Certain alkene)? Are you asleep yet? Well, here's a science-y word to wake you up: BURETTE (17A: Lab tube)! Boo! You thought PIPETTE if you thought anything. But no. BURETTE.

Unknown to me:

  • 46A: Hindu sage (rishi) - I have tea with this name. Never knew it what it meant. I of course had SWAMI here, and thankfully, my one correct letter was enough to get me the Down cross TILLERS (42D: They work on earth). Then I saw 41D: One using a crib and my first, correct instinct (CHEATER) meant that SWAMI was wrong. I pieced together RISHI cross by cross.
  • 32A: Patron of Paris (Geneviève) - looking for a French word meaning "patron" ... not finding one. Instead, I find the Patron Saint of Paris.
  • 58A: "On Your Toes" composer (Rodgers) - A RODGERS and Hart musical? As I've said before, musicals are my new opera, i.e. nemesis.
  • 25A: One of the Gandhis (Sonia) - not familiar with this particular Gandhi.

Hard stuff:

  • 43A: Some aperitifs (kirs) - only ever seen in in crosswords. "K" was the last letter I filled in. Thank goodness for UKE (35D: Island entertainer).
  • 55A: Amscray (vamoose) - OK, this wasn't hard, but these feel different in tone, in that I feel like I would tell someone else to "scram" (or "amscray," if you insist), but I might VAMOOSE. That is, the former sounds like "get lost" (my first answer) where the latter has a ring of "let's go."
  • 45A: Mother of Hyacinth, in myth (Clio) - Muse of History, Award of Advertisers.

Other stuff:

  • 9A: Post boxes? (cereals) - yay! This is good.
  • 18A: A lot of foreign intelligence intercepts (chatter) - yay! More goodness.
  • 20A: Many-sided problems (hydras) - eeks! Rough, but excitingly so. Why couldn't the rest of the puzzle have the 'zazz and energy of these answers?
  • 21A: Ready to be put to bed (edited) - one of the puzzles very few gimmes. Would have loved that it crossed the thematically-related STETTING (4D: Letting stand), but no one but its mother could ever love an abomination like STETTING.
  • 31A: One protected by a collie (ewe) - it was that or RAM. Nice clue! All hail the NE of this puzzle!
  • 52A: Touch-related (tactual) - [cough - choke - sputter] - at best, this answer is a typo of FACTUAL.
  • 53A: Part of a special delivery? (triplet) - I've seen this exact clue recently for QUINT, which helped here.
  • 56A: Hamlet, notably (avenger) - give me revenge, any time, anywhere. Delicious.
  • 33D: Big Mac request (no cheese) - not delicious. Great answer, but ... this puzzle is murder on a vegetarian.
  • 1D: "The View," essentially (gabfest) - now, I have no love for this show, but this answer feels at least vaguely sexist. Buncha broads won't shut their yaps ...
  • 2D: Home to Mount Chimborazo (Ecuador) - news to me.
  • 3D: Earthen casserole dish (terrine) - wanted to spell it TERRENE, but that's a totally different word.
  • 7D: Skittish herd (deer) - had the final "R" and it still puzzled me. Embarrassing.
  • 12D: Singer of "A Foggy Day" in "A Damsel in Distress" (Sinatra [correction - I meant ASTAIRE - what a weird mistake ... thanks for the heads-up, Wendy]) - misread the "in" in this clue as "and." Wanted MEL TORME (you know ... the Velvet FOG), but he wouldn't fit.
  • 14D: Shooter that may be digital, for short (SLR) - another blessed gimme.
  • 26D: Means of public protest (open letter) - great clue / answer. I had OPEN DEBATE for a little while.
  • 30D: Was broad on the boards (over-acted) - something Mr. Orbach's father never did. That's three stage and / or musical clues. Come on - you all know my weaknesses. Why must you exploit them?
  • 37D: Nearest, to Nero (proxima) - well, I loved this, but I can't imagine it amused many people who haven't taken Latin.
  • 49D: _____ Nurmi, nine-time track gold medalist in 1920s (Paavo) - had PARVO. Surprised that I got that close. Not sure how I know the name.
  • 22D: Caused to be scored, as a run (drove in) - really, really saved me in the middle of this puzzle.
  • 52D: Peter of Paul, but not Mary (tsar) - not sure how I feel about the [blank and blank, but not blank] variety of clue. Risky, I think. TSAR isn't a fancy / tough enough answer to merit said cluing, I think.

OK, off to get coffee and enjoy a sunny Saturday. Over the course of writing this entry, I have warmed to this puzzle ... if only slightly.

Best wishes to all,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wendy 9:26 AM  

OPEN LETTER to Tony Orbach:

OVERACTED is one of the *few* words where I could see where you were going in this agonyfest.

Rex, if you haven't read it and revenge is an area of abiding interest, I recommend "Revenge: A Story of Hope," by Laura Blumenfeld.

pinky 9:51 AM  

Well I was satisfied to guess enough of this puzzle to feel it was worth the time...
The words i gave up on turned out to be words I would never have guessed in a million years..
CUCHIFRITO for example...

i did mess myself up with some wrong answers..
BROW instead of PROW (debatable)
PARCELS for "Post Boxes"
PACK OF instead of PASSEL

Only a few head slapping "Doh"s in the SE corner but without the correct answers above, I couldn't have gotten them anyway. I'd rate it a fun puzzle nonetheless.

PhillySolver 9:52 AM  

Nope, couldn't finish with out help.

My fried pig cubes got dropped on a rug rat named Del, short for Delicious (not!).

SE was bummer. I don't hate this puzzle, but it was meant for the elite solvers or the two people in existence who have the world experience to actually know all of this stuff. I had a letter error in the NE, too I see. I am going to look at the databases, but bet new ground was plowed here. KIRS anyone?

Judgesully 9:53 AM  

Couldn't agree more with your disdain for the scientific jargon while at the same time admiring the clever clues such as "was broad on the boards" and "one using a crib." Looked at every clue on first go-around and only "paavo" was a certainty. How distressing! My four years of Latin barely helped with 'proxima" and that old moldy European history course brought back "Genevieve" to my enfeebled brain. Tough to crack but it works in toto!

pinky 9:56 AM  

ok, i just got why PROW was the correct answer. I thought they were arguing a baby's head could be called a "prow" - I was so stubborn, I even gave up on the obvious ENTRAP as the correct cross.

.... add one more BROW- slapping "doh"

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

By "Sinatra" you mean, of course, "Astaire."

Exocet has been in the newspaper (where crossword puzzles appear) so much over time that it is surely an "in the language" word. So I would not call the "o" a "random vowel intersection."

Sonia is the Gandhi of the moment, much in the news over the past few years, as her widowhood led her to leadership of the Congress Party in India.

I didn't know burette, but acetone and ethylene came to me, though the chemical formula was no help for the latter. The clue for acetone -- with the misdirection towards dieting -- was quite clever. So I don't know why you call these boring. Your reaction has the sound of an antipathy for science, though you probably don't feel one. But a soapbox has been presented and I'm going to use it for a moment. I'm fairly sensitive to the antipathy towards science in our wider society, since I think it has made possible such things as the republican dismissal of all science that is inconvenient to their base. Somehow, in our society people who would be ashamed to say they hadn't read a book in the past year are pleased to say that they know nothing about science. I am desperate for the democrats to retake the White House next year and to end the politicizing of science. But I hope that they do a bit more, that they set a tone that demands scientific literacy in their political discussions of global warming, stem cells, etc.

Good blog. Tough puzzle; yesterday's was more fun.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Waaaah, too much science! Someone call the waaahmbulance.

Bill from NJ 10:29 AM  


Which means I screwed up every corner of this puzzle and failed in the middle. I spent half the night trying before I gave up in frustration.

As a Monty Python character would say, "Me brain hurts"

Orange 10:42 AM  


Sonia was Rajiv Gandhi's widow, and I think she was India's prime minister at one point.

The [Peter or Paul, but not Mary] clue for TSAR is an old one—I've seen it before and was surprised to see it in a Saturday puzzle. (But grateful for the gimme.)

Bill from FL 10:45 AM  

Given "edited," I saw the cross of "stetting" (otherwise a silly usage) as a pretty good joke. Worth a groan. I liked "motheaten" when it finally fell in.

I also got stuck with the cross of "cuchifrito" and "orfe." I mean, wtf?

As I runner, I liked "Paavo."

Janet 10:54 AM  

All right. Had "galfest" for "gabfest" giving me "lurette" which sounded as good as the rest of my idiot guesses. Did love seeing Astaire waltzing his way through this plod of a puzzle. Exocet? However, I am planning on using cuchifrito every chance I get because it's so much fun to say.

Frances 11:00 AM  

It took an hour, but I completed the entire grid without Googling--but turned out to have muffed the center where the rug rat, the ornamental fish and the pork cubes intersect. Is there any reason why those pork cubes couldn't be CUCHARRITO?

When you Google CUCHIFRITO, you get 13,700 hits, of which the first gives a recipe (WARNING-WARNING-WARNING: if you're eating breakfast or lunch, stop reading now): ingredients include:
1 Pork stomach. (Cuajo)
2 lbs Pig ears. (Oreja de cerdo)
2 lbs Blood sausage. (Morcilla)
2 lbs Pig tongue.(Lengua de cerdo)
2 lbs Green bananas(quineos verde)

IveGotTV 11:04 AM  

"GABFEST." Haaaa! That alone was worth the trip for me.

Leon 11:11 AM  

Sinatra covered "A Foggy Day" and it fit so that screwed up the NE for a while.

I thought Chuchifritos were fried pork rinds , but....
Cuchifrito: deep fried pork foods that include ears, tails, stomach. A cuchifrito is also a name used to refer small food stands that sell cuchifritos to go.

Jim in NYC 11:13 AM  

Anonymous 10:04, please adopt a nom de mots-croisées, because your comments are worth listening to.

Rex Parker 11:29 AM  

I have to give this puzzle credit - it is making you all much funnier than you are normally. :)

I have laughed out loud multiple times at many of your wrong answers and other failings. So thanks for that.

And again, allow me to iterate - writing about the puzzle made me like it more than I did when I initially finished the puzzle. There's something here - even in the parts I dislike - that at least makes the puzzle Interesting.


arnie 12:01 PM  

I guess Sonia is one of the Gandhis like Hillary is one of the Clintons.
Had the o from ecuador and couldn't come up w/ anything. Broke down and googled it to find that sonia was not a gandhi by birth, which irritated the heck out of me given the way the clue was worded. Refusing to accept this hung me up until I filled in the rest of the corner.

rick 12:13 PM  

"Peter and Paul but not Mary" is also a clue for POPE.

Had the same problems in the middle as everyone seems to have had.

Places to get baptized: nave, apse, font, brow. I can't believe I had to get the last letter in a four letter word in a cross.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

See brief article on Byron Waldon here:

Torbach 12:22 PM  

Rex, thank you for coming around eventually to finding my puzzle to be tolerable!

Seriously, thanks to all for the entertaining comments. To try to be objective, of the dull entries cited, I was partial to ETHYLENE as all those consonants helped me get that corner together - in this, my first stab at a themeless. ASTAIRE I was happy to see the clue survived - I loved Fred Astaire as a singer, but I also knew everyone thinks of dancing first.

Well, time to VAMOOSE and fire up some CUCHIFRITO...not!


Rex Parker 12:32 PM  

And thank you, T.O., for being a good sport. Had no idea this was your first stab at themeless. It was memorable, I'll give it that.


PhillySolver 12:34 PM  

That 'christening' is really breaking champagne across the prow of the ship.

Peter and Paul but not Mary would also work for names of my Uncles...and a lot of other trivia. It is one of the things I dislike in a clue...one that you cannot really guess until you get a letter or have been doing the crossword for a year or two.

One other wrong answer that had me going when there was a lot of white space... the score for the movie On your Toes was written by Lorenz Hart (I think) so I put in Lorenz and with one space thought, is this another Heart rebus. Whew!

treedweller 12:39 PM  

I'm pretty much with Rex on this one.

I started out with the brilliant revelation of "klatsch" for "gabfest" and that's about how well the rest of the puzzle went for me. Pipette, brow, slap on, kois--every time I thought I was onto something, I was wrong.

But, I disagree with Rex on "Post boxes?"; since the cereal is inside the box, not the box itself, it seemed unfair to me. I considered an answer in this vein but rejected it instantly.

Maybe I'd have enjoyed this one more if I'd spent the rest of the week plugging away and finally solved it sans Google. Though I doubt the rest of the year would have been enough for me to succeed.

joe 12:47 PM  

A Saturday puzzle that I can finish without googling that Rex calls difficult is a good puzzle.

Chris 12:48 PM  

The first thing that came to mind when I read the christening clue was Caddyshack. "I christen thee the Flying Wasp!" Otherwise that clue could have been pretty tricky.

Rex Parker 1:03 PM  

My first response for the ["The View," essentially] clue was QUARTET (!?). I then entered QUAVERS at 1A for [Bristles]. Didn't take long before I erased all that.


Orange 1:08 PM  

Treedweller, perhaps cereals and boxes interact the way king and "the crown" do, via metonymy. Professor Rex, does that work, or am I off base?

PJ Parrish 1:40 PM  

Can't believe I got cereal and kir right away. But then, that's what I had for breakfast today.

Otherwise, quel mess! I gotta stop doing Saturday in ink. Who am I trying to kid?

I DID know that Genevieve was the patron of Paris (there's statues of her all over Paris.) But I remembered it only because I coughed up the mental hairball that Vanessa Redgrave sings a song to St. Gen's honor just before she is married off to Richard Harris in "Camelot."

Richard 2:11 PM  

The Exocet missle was all over the news coverage of the Falklands war.

hollyhmc 2:14 PM  

Made some grossly obvious mistakes - had TENSIL and just couldn't get the U - had TINSEL (that stringy silver junk we threw on the X-mas tree when I was a kid) on the brain and couldn't move beyond it.

Living in N.California - a mecca for the taqueria - I'd still never heard of a CUCHIFRITO and don't think I'm going to go looking any time soon.

Wanted Peter,Paul and Mary to be a biblical thing so TSAR was slow coming. and never did get ACETONE as I misspelled ECUADOR as EQUADOR - pulling out the Scrabble dictionary for the Q w/out U words. ARRGGHHH!

Kathy 2:27 PM  

Seems we all had similar experiences--there were so many instances of things I put in that I thought must be right, but then the weren't, so then you start doubting those you know damn well are right (I even started to doubt something I had found in Google!).

Was relieved whe I went to Orange's blog, and her first word (is it a word?) was Aaaarggghhh.

Rex doesn't think we are normally funny? So Rex, I just flew in from Joisey...and boy are my arms tired....take my husband, please!


miriam b 2:31 PM  

After a soporific lunch involving leftover noodles and turkey meatballs, I staved off food coma with some dark chocolate and the puzzle. Whoopee, some of my fortes: chemistry, music and food, among others. TACTUAL sounded wrong, but it fit, so I decided on STETTING it.

CUCHIFRITOS reminded me of a visit to a daughter in CA (I'm on Long Island) when I was shopping for ingredients for a Mexican meal I planned to prepare for her family. I was thrilled to find authentic Mexican chorizo - not the familiar sausage, but a mixture of stuff without casing. I cooked it later - it gave off volumes of grease - and used it as a sort of side dish, as there were a few other items on the menu, and I wasn't sure how the chorizo would go over. My son-in-law and I liked it, my daughter wasn't too sure, and the kids were too young to deal with the heat level. It wasn't until later that I read the ingredient list on the package. Besides pork, we had eaten lymph glands and salivary glands. No wonder the supermarket checker had looked askance at the Angla customer's purchase.

Lovely puzzle, and the source of a new word: ORFE, and a reluctant introduction to Rugrats: DIL.

PAAVO Nurmi was popularly known as the Flying Finn. From a remote synapse another name surfaced: Gunder (The Wonder) Haag. I'll have to check spelling and data; I think he was another speedy Finn.
@Orange: I agree that these expeditions are almost as much fun as the puzzles themselves. About metonymy: I recall a Thurber piece in which he mentions someone hitting another person with some tomatoes. I develops that the actual weapon was a can of tomatoes.

miriam b 2:39 PM  

OOPS. I had the right spelling, but the wrong country. Gunder Haag was Swedish.

Now I'm off to the kitchen to prepare a TERRINE of HEN, or possibly EWE.

PhillySolver 2:55 PM  

@orange et al

Would you disagree that the Post boxes answer should be considered a metalepsis rather than metonymy?

I started to argue the point, but it may be too fine a distinction or I am misremembering (ala Roger C) my rhetoric class?

wendy 2:55 PM  

Miriam B - that Thurber piece was Here Lies Miss Groby, and the schtick you remember goes like this:

A: What's your head all bandaged up for?
B: I got hit with some tomatoes.
A: How could that bruise you up so bad?
B: These tomatoes were in a can.

the whole English-teacher-themed story for anyone who wants to read it.

miriam b 3:07 PM  

Wendy, thank you so much. I was about to start leafing through all my Thurber books in hopes of finding that piece. Maybe Google would've helped, but in either case you've saved me time and effort.

wendy 3:13 PM  

Miriam, I heart Thurber. I used to work as a volunteer in his restored house/museum in Columbus, Ohio. I sold books and took people on tours.

Catherine K 3:27 PM  

Re Genevieve: Can a woman be a patron? Wouldn't she be a matron? (That tells you how much knowledge I have on this subject!)

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

My spouse came up with EXOCET because he remembered the sticky diplomatic situation during the Falkland War of these French missiles (owned by Argentina) sinking British ships.

Even though I didn't get the whole word right, let me step up to defend CUCHIFRITO. What a fantastic word!!!! I took French in school, not Spanish. But I guessed CUCH- correctly, way before I got the beginnings of CHATTER or HYDRAS. That's because the French word for pork is something like "cochon", very similar. And as for -FRITO, that's a pretty intuitive guess for "fried", isn't it.....Frito Lays cornchips, anyone?

ps I agree completely with Anon NJ 10:04AM.... some of us are lucky when there is science vocab or ornithological minutia (yahoo), but will fail miserably on sports terms or TV trivia (ugh)..... still, it all seems fair to me.

Rock Rabbit

PhillySolver 3:47 PM  

Late in the day, but fwiw:

This puzzle introduces 10 words not seen in the NYT puzzle in the database. It has a dozen words appearing for just the second time and 6 for the third time. As a percentage that has not been seen sense last year's ACCA winner? for hardest puzzle by Bob Klahn. (See the side bar)

Orange 3:55 PM  

Phillysolver: Having just looked up metalepsis to see what it is, I say no. How much Post breakfast cereal is sold in anything but a box? "A box of Kellogg's" would be commonly understood to mean cereal.

PhillySolver 3:59 PM  

Thanks for the reference...loved the Harold Bloom quotation.

hollyhmc 4:07 PM  

@caherine k 3:27
I suppose the clue could have been
Patronne de Paris but since it was in English and there is no feminine version of Patron Saints - Patron stands! Much trickier this way, too, I kept thinking of one of those crazy Hiltons

Big Lefty 4:44 PM  

This one was just too tough for me. I liked it. I'm not a masochist. I hope the Times keeps up the rough ones on Saturdays. They seem to clear the air, in a perverse kind of way.

I put in "rebounded" for the down clue about "boards" and after that, I soon fouled out of the game.

Congrats to the constructor and editor for a job extremely well done.

doc John 4:58 PM  

Uh oh, looks like spammers have found your site, Rex.

I pretty much agree with everything Rex said today (see below).

Does Charo eat CUCHIFRITOS? But seriously, this word killed me- 2 wrong answers because of it. Had "Del" and "Orbe". "Del" I'll forgive myself for but I should have gotten the F that started "frito". Oh well, live and learn.

To all the people complaining about randomness of some clues or clues that require some crosses to get: if all the answers were gimmes, how fun would the puzzle really be?

Am I the only one who had "wasted" for [40A. Slew]?

To Rex, does it really require a knowledge of theater to have figured out OVERACTED? I'll go along with your assessment of the other musical theater clues, though.

Also, I seem to recall Fred Flintstone telling Barney to VAMOOSE on more than one occasion.

And, to finish off with a quick science lesson:
Chemical prefixes:
meth- one carbon (methane, methanol)
eth- two carbons (ethylene, ethanol)
prop- three carbons (propane, propanol)
but, butyl- four carbons (butane)
after that, it's pretty much the same as other numerical prefixes e.g. pentane, hexane, heptane, octane, etc.

Hope this helps with some future puzzle.

Happy weekend, everyone!

ArtLvr 4:59 PM  

Also late in the day -- I had other stuff to do, but I'm glad I came back to this and finished with no google and only one letter wrong: wrote in CUCHIGRITO (I was thinking "grits", I guess, and forgot to look at "golden fish" again.) Ah well...

Nobody mentioned the Big Mac request at 33D, which held me back for a while because I felt "no onions" was a gimme -- never considered cheese until EXOCET and the rest of SW showed up, egads.

I enjoyed it, even if I was very slow, and also enjoyed seeing where others started: my first find was GENEVIEVE! The other word I didn't know: RISHI, short for "maharishi"? (Kept saying no,no -- it's not "rabbi".)

Overall, found it livelier than I'd first thought (like Rex), because of words like CHEATER and CHATTER, SLANDER, GETS MAD and AVENGER! Having no theme seems to allow for greater mental stretch.


Nothnagel 5:30 PM  

It looks like I'm going to be in the minority on this one when I say that I enjoyed this puzzle.

It certainly wasn't a cakewalk for me, and some of the entries are in the list that I would try to avoid at all costs, but this is a good Saturday puzzle, as far as I'm concerned.

In my book, Saturdays are allowed to have unfamiliar words, and they might even get a little leeway when it comes to strange inflected forms of words.

So, Tony, it looks like you've had your "freebie". The next time I see your name on Friday or Saturday, however...


Fergus 6:17 PM  

Pole-axed was the only word that came to mind to describe the solving experience today. Maybe because I was basking in the sun, sitting on the porch, wearing shorts for the first time in 2008? But no, this was a true killer puzzle.

miriam b 6:43 PM  

Nothnagel: I loved the puzzle too, as you can see by my 2:31 post.

I was born and raised in Bridgeport. CT, where there was a Nothnagel's furniture store next to my grandfather's Bridgeport Trunk and Bag Co. Any connection?

Fergus 6:54 PM  

... and the finer errant entries were:

DROP-OFF for Special delivery, not the TRIPLET as Clued.

This puzzle had no elegance but deserves respect. A prayer to St. Genvieve might be in order for M. Orbach for delivering such harsh abuse.

Fergus 7:08 PM  

The CLAY POT was not a bad entry for where TURREEN may have lain, but TURRINE came down as far too exotic.

mac 8:22 PM  

I have never, never erased as many correct answers as today! I was destroyed in the NW. I'm a serious cook but I have never heard of cuchifrito.
I accidentally drowned my laptop, so I have to go elsewhere to check up on you all. It's a pain, I'm so used to chop and cook, watch tv and work on my computer, all more or less at the same time. Hope Dell will show up with the replacement soon.

Michael 8:56 PM  

Even though I made four mistakes, I thought this was easy for a Saturday. I'm obviously in the minority here, though.

I had galfest which I thought was a good answer, but I should have gotten burette.

but cuchifrito/pil/orfe was too obscure, I think, and where two of my mistakes were. (I tried "cucharrito")

Jim in NYC 10:10 PM  

Artlvr wrote: RISHI, short for "maharishi"?

Good guess, you're right. Maha- means roughly "great". Atma means roughly "spirit" or "soul" and "Mahatma" was the nickname of the guy whose descendents, inlaws, etc. have led directly to 25 Across, "One of the Gandhis."

I say "roughly" above because I am by no means an expert, I just wanted to congratulate Artlvr, and I apologize in advance for any errors.

Noam D. Elkies 11:13 PM  

Yeah, much tougher than last Saturday's -- almost twice the time and still an error or two. Now that I see it CUCHIFRITO rings a bell (and the recipe is about to induce a GAGFEST), but still the crossings with DIL and ORFE are, well, ORFful. Still, one man's gimme is another's damme and vice versa. C2H4 = ETHYLENE was my first entry (we just had ethlyene as a RIPENING gas, remember?), and I guessed correctly the kind of "thinner" that 15A calls for even though ACETONE didn't come to mind until a bit later (PROW took somewhat longer, as my first thoughts were FONT or POOL); I recognized EXOCET once I had most of the other letters; KIRS was familiar (I've actually seen kir in real life, unlike the GNU which I suspect has no natural habitat outside crosswords and geekdom); ECUADOR was guessed correctly off the C of 15A:ACETONE and the E of the incorrect 1A:SEES RED; and I was actually glad to see a heaping dose of science-y words, even if I too guessed PIPETTE and SENSORY for BURETTE and the unlikely TACTUAL. Between this last error and SWAMI for RISHI, the SE was a mess (except indeed for the lucky coincidences that made TILLERS possible), until GENEVIEVE came to the rescue. Oh, and add PROXIMA to the science-y ledger, as in Proxima Centauri, the closest star to us other than the Sun. It's also guessable from "approximate", and maybe also from the business/law lingo PROXIMO for "next month", which was my initial guess -- NB "next" used to mean the same as "nearest".) On the other hand, Rex's gimme EDITED came very late; it was originally BATHED and didn't click until I had it down to ?D?TED.

No comments about NONET? It was much harder for me than it should have been, even though earlier today I entered the same word into a crossword in an inflight magazine where it was clued as "squared trio". The closest I see here is discussion of TRIPLET and Rex's initial guess of QUARTET for 1D:GABFEST; searching the window for that word turns up only the word NONETheless!


scriberpat 11:42 PM  

For 21A. Ready to be put to bed, I had cranky.

andrea carla michaels 3:09 AM  

I never finished the NW corner at all even tho I knew SLR I had PARCELS and for "piece of silver, eg" I had ONECOIN!
KLATSCH did become GABFEST and NOONIONS gave way to NOCHEESE and once I got past having TACTILE and SATISFY my initial reaction of CHEATER and TILLERS fell into place...but only bec I had a cousin who became a hippie, joined a cult and changed his name from Norman to Rishi!
What killed me in the SW for a long time as I had "HERESTO" for "Part of a special delivery". I thought that would make a great clue, but it then took an extra hour to get the rest!
I never did decide between SLAPON and SLOPON. And BROW stayed till the bitter end.
Literally my only gimme was OVERACTED!
"Camelot"'s my favorite musical, which is how I got GENEVIEVE. (And when King Arthur calls her Jenny, I had never made that conenction between those two names, but of course that must be where Jennifer comes from linguistically!)
But also wondered if there wasn't a female form for Patron (Saint).
I love Tony but it was amazing that every thing I could possibly guess wrong about, I did!

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

ACM 3:09, how 'bout 'Sainte de Paris'? RR

Marybeth 9:25 PM  

Rishi means seer or visionary, and maharishi means great visionary. I got rishi. It was one of the few clues I got. Where were you guys in the '60's?

Rex Parker 9:30 PM  

Speaking for myself: in the 60s, I was largely unborn. On Jan. 1, 1970, I was about 35 days old.


Marybeth 9:46 PM  

Well, that would explain it (being largely unborn).

Robert 12:08 PM  

One of the Saturday puzzles I wasn't able to finish. The upper right corner clues had me stymied.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

CAlady said:
Love all the words I discover doing this-never heard of metonmy or metalepais before! Will I remember them-who knows.
Only trouble was the cuchilfrito/orfe cross. Never heard of either, and orre looked like something about gold-think oro. My Mexican experience (a lot) made me want chicharonne-but it didn't fit.
What is an SLR?

cody.riggs 8:17 PM  

I've got to get the Times so I'm not always 6 weeks behind...but I just have to say this puzzle was the worst since the PERIPETEIA fiasco. I cry foul, foul, most foul! at GENEVIEVE. A patron is by definition NOT female, and this clue should never have been printed. Simply changing that initial "P" to an "M" would have fixed this inaccurate and misleading clue. The Patron saint of Paris is ST ETIENNE, which fit, and has appeared in previous puzzles, and which I inked in with utmost of confidence. My second mistake admittedly was my fault, for having -ON-- at 38A I guessed RONDO (I know the Trauermusik, forgot it was actually a NONET. Rondo form would indeed be unusual for a threnody.) If I were an AVENGER like Hamlet, I'd write my own puzzle full of chemical equations. Though I immediately filled in ETHYLENE, ACETONE and ENOL with no crossings, I only got BURETTE long after the false PIPETTE which I was loathe to cross out. And I was the top chemistry student at Lewis & Clark. And DIL (which I guessed correctly initially, but ended up changing to DEL!) crossing the infamous pork cube was simply gross and mean. The only fun answer was HYDRAS (but after the puzzle's other problems I was hesitant to write the final "S"...was sure it would be "HYDRAE" though I was fairly sure of LIES LOW.) After the wonderful POLARIS, PIANO KEY, and CLERICAL COLLARS yesterday, this puzzle was a real disappointment. And I'm absolutely sure the clue "Peter, Paul, but not Mary" has occurred in the Times in the past year already. Here's hoping for a better one tomorrow...and I'll only be a week behind since it's Sunday.

cody.riggs 8:31 PM  

I decided the annoyance of my last post did sound OVERACTED. To be more positive, I must add that "EWE" was a clever misdirection...I kept wanting TIM...you know, Timmy on "Lassie"? Also liked the "Amscray" clue, especially crossing non-pig Latin PROXIMA. Everyone is familiar with Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our sun, right?

Bob 3:22 AM  

I agree with Rex's consternation with cluing of vamoose, which is, clearly, a corruption of the Spanish, "vamos", or "we go." "Scram" has always meant to me "[you]get out of here." Why would anyone say that in pig Latin?

Otherwise, challenging is certainly accurate, but only unfair, in my opinion, at the "cuchifrito/orfe" cross.

Funny how gimmes for some are impossible for others. "Kir" was one of my first fill-ins, for instance; it had some currency in the early seventies, as I recall from my drinking days, mixed with white wine. And "cereal" fell first. But I was reduced to googling for some which were easy for others (e.g., "Astaire" and "Rodgers").

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

33D: Big Mac request (no cheese)

As an owner of a McDonalds, I can say with for certain BIG MACS don't have cheese added standard so there would be no reason to reuqest a sandwich w/o.

Only these sandwiches have cheese,

The Quarter Pounder, Double Quarter Pounder and of course the cheeseburger.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Calady, SLR is "single-lens reflex" which is a type of camera.

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