SATURDAY, Feb. 9, 2008 - Shannon Burns (GRAIN SORGHUM WITH STOUT, LEAFY STALKS)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This puzzle was tough. Started in the NW, where I was hopeless until AQUAMAN came along to save the day (2D: Founding member of the Justice League). That "Q" allowed me to guess AQUARIA at 15A without even knowing the first part of the clued phrase (33D: With 15-Across, sites for some corals = SALTWATER AQUARIA). It's funny this morning to look at my puzzle, because the pencil darkness changes dramatically from one part of the puzzle to the next. AQUAMAN is very dark, but all around it are these lightly penciled answers - all of which turned out to be right - which I entered very tentatively, one by one, sure that one of them would end up wrong. Everything east of AQUAMAN is so faint as to be barely legible.

I wandered down into the awesome split-level combo of DUBUQUE (20A: Home of Clarke College) over PERU (25A: One of the losers in the War of the Pacific). I am especially proud of PERU, as it seemed such an absurd guess when I first made it based solely on the "P" that would have resulted from a hypothetical answer of SIT-UPS for 6D: Basic routine exercise. When I got the second letter "E" off of MAYBE (7D: Fence-sitter's answer), I knew PERU had to be correct. And there was much rejoicing. Until a few seconds later when I completely stalled out. How do you get an answer like DUBUQUE and then fail to build anything off of it!?! Well, to be fair, I built the very important URBANIZED (21D: Built up) off of it almost immediately. Then came the stall.

The two toughest parts of the puzzle, for me, ended up being ETIQUETTE canyon and the KAFIR CANADA trench. I had the magnificent letter string of QUE right smack in the middle of ETIQUETTE (8D: Post codes?) and still couldn't make it come out and play. Emily Post never occurred to me. Just mail. Maybe cereal. Very nice that ETIQUETTE is right next door to MENU (9D: Dish describer), which I also couldn't uncover despite having a big, fat, juicy terminal "U." I was thinking "dish" meant "hot chick" and so was trying to think of wolfish exclamations, like, I don't know, WUHU or LULU or something. Yes, I agree, pathetic. For KAFIR I had KASHA / KASHI, since that is the only grain-related "K" word I know (41A: Grain sorghum with stout, leafy stalks). CANADA was a gimme (47A: It covers six time zones), but TREN (51A: It's pulled by una locomotora), not so much. The wrongest-looking word in the puzzle for me (next to KAFIR). It helped when I finally substituted the correct ATOM ANT (27D: Hanna-Barbera character) for ATOM MAN.

Dashing through the grid...

  • 1A: It can really bite (sarcasm) - yes it can. Well, SATIRE is more frequently "biting" than SARCASM, I think, but the clue is still apt. Apt!
  • 19A: Former major-league pitcher _____ Seo (Jae) - wind went out of my puzzle sails early when I looked at this clue, got all excited for a sports-related gimme ... and then realized that despite the fact that I had seen this guy on SportsCenter any number of times, I could Not remember his name. All I could think of was JUNIOR, because of JUNIOR SEAU - which is not only the wrong name, but the wrong sport as well. Ugh.
  • 23A: 1847 tale of the South Seas ("Omoo") - Melville to the rescue again. I love that AQUAMAN crosses both AQUARIA and OMOO.
  • 26A: Asian bowlful (ramen) - my brain: "... RICE? ... RICE? ... is it RICE? ... how 'bout RICE?" Etc. I think of RAMEN as poor-college-student food, not Asian food.
  • 34A: Home of Waterloo: Abbr. (Ont.) - wow, not sure where this came from, but I got it off the hypothetical "N" from the Very hypothetical WIREMAN (12D: Electrician) - can't believe that one was right.
  • 38A: Pick-up and drop-off point (sta.) - common entry, semi-hidden in the dazzle camouflage of the clue.
  • 40A: French mathematician Cartan (Elie) - with just the "I" in place, I semi-confidently wrote in EMIL (it's a French name, it's gotta be right, I reasoned). The "E" in EMIL gave me the (correct) GEL (36D: Come together), so EMIL was hard to get rid of.
  • 45A: Mush (schmaltz) - [Mush]! Is it a noun? A command to sled dogs? Had the "L" and "Z," but it wasn't until I put the "T" between them (from SALTWATER) that SCHMALTZ leaped forth. So many consonants ...
  • 52A: Plasma component (ion) - ???
  • 53A: Foundation with ties (road bed) - ??? Is this a (nother) train-related clue?
  • 57A: It doesn't help much when it's cold (comfort) - clever, clever clue.
  • 59A: Where Mt. Suribachi is (Iwo Jima) - had the first "I" and the "O," ran out of Asian countries that started with "I," then hit on IWO JIMA. And thank god, because the "W" in CREWEL (47D: Yarn variety) was never ever going to come.
  • 61A: Middle third of a famous motto (égalité) - flanked by LIBERTÉ and FRATERNITÉ, this was the "motto" of the post-revolutionary French Republic. From Wikipedia:

“Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” was not the central motto at the time of the French Revolution even if it expresses its central principles. Forsaken by the Empire and the Restoration, it was only in 1848 that Pierre Leroux revived the phrase. Pache, mayor of the commune of Paris, painted the formula “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou la mort” on the walls of the commune. It was under the Second Republic that it took on its final form and only under the Third Republic was the motto made official.
  • 4D: Title robot in an Isaac Asimov short story (Cal) - so wanted HAL.
  • 10D: Some prayers (paters) - eeks. Yipe. Etc.
  • 11D: Taxonomic suffix (-ote) - ouch. Ugh. Harrumph.
  • 24D: _____ wonder (athlete known for a single great play) (one-game) - I've never heard this phrase in all my millions of hours of watching SportsCenter. At least the "ONE" part was easy to infer.
  • 29D: Agent Gold on HBO's "Entourage" (Ari) - this is the ARI of the moment. I hope he is enjoying his 15 minutes - which in crossword time means he will be with us for decades.
  • 31D: Capo _____ capi (Bologna boss) (dei) - I had a few weeks of Italian in the mid-90s, and that was enough to get this answer.
  • 37D: Kingston pop (ska) - gimme.
  • 38D: Pinchpenny (scrooge) - easyish.
  • 39D: Classic 1934 novel set in Prohibition-era New York City, with "The" ("Thin Man") - whence crossworld's favorite canine, ASTA.
  • 42D: The moon has one (far side) - It also has a dark side. Just ask Pink Floyd. I wanted to be able to use MARE again here (see ... some recent puzzle where MARE was a moon-related answer).
  • 43D: Madison Avenue types (idea men) - why wouldn't AD MEN stretch? Why!?
  • 45D: Zip providers (spices) - made molasses cookies yesterday with Sahra for taking over to her friend's / our friends' house. The SPICES of ground ginger and cloves were omitted from the recipe. Like many kids, ours is not a fan of the SPICES, or anything "spicy" (which sometimes includes such innocuous foods as tomatoes).
  • 54D: "... outrageous fortune, _____ ...": Shak. ("or to") - that was one of the most difficult-to-type clues I've ever encountered. I like this clue as it forced me to recite Hamlet's most famous soliloquy aloud - part of it, anyway.
  • 55D: "Paradise Lost" illustrator (Doré) - ah, more 17th-century goodness. I know DORÉ better for his illustrations of Dante's "Inferno."
  • 58D: State with the lowest high point (345 feet): Abbr. (Fla.) - wow, it did feel flat when I was there in 2006. I had no idea how flat.
  • 60D: "The Gift of the Magi" hero (Jim) - first of all, "hero?" Second ... of all the JIMs in the world ... I'd have preferred Lucky JIM or JIM from "The Office" or even Slim JIM. JIM Beam? As you can see, so many entertaining options.
  • 35A: Growing problem? (gigantism) - sadly, this phrase [growing problem?] makes me think of TV ads for a drug used to treat a "problem" that does not pass my breakfast test (however sympathetic I am toward the millions of men with said "problem"). And no, the problem is not that kind of growing! But it's nearby. This may be the most cryptic bulleted entry I've ever written. I'm stopping now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

64 comments:

DONALD 8:57 AM  

It's like I have a twin!

PhillySolver 9:00 AM  

I wrote Jim and he wonders too if there might be a hidden theme. One I would like to call Rah Men!...as in raMEN, MENu, atoMANant, eleMENt AQUAMAN, WIREMEN, THINMAN, and IDEAMAN. There are a few other things that make me think it is more intentional than coincidental. Any way, a fun puzzle and I agree about medium for a Saturday.

Rex Parker 9:05 AM  

Interesting. Also reMENd.

Rex Parker 9:06 AM  

PS I love the word NULLITY (17A: Nothingness).

rp

PhillySolver 9:10 AM  

NULLITY ventured NULLITY gained I say.

Doris 9:10 AM  

The expression is usually "one-HIT wonder." Never heard "one game...." However, it made sense and worked out. "Schmaltz" is actually chicken fat; somehow showbiz has transmuted it into also meaning "overly sentimental" or, slanglily, "mushy." I guess the actual schmaltz, unhealthy though it be, is supposed to improve flavor. And showbiz schmaltz is supposed to spice up a song or a line.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

52A- Plasma (ion), think physics, not biology --- in order, solid, liquid. gas, then plasma.

53A - Didn't like ROADbed, should RAILbed (still ugh) or TRACKbed.

.../Glitch

billnutt 9:24 AM  

My problem with this puzzle is based on a song by the band Moxy Fruvous called "Lowest Highest Point," in which they sing that Delaware is the state with the lowest highest point. (They even make a point of saying that it's NOT Florida.} So the SW was stalled FOREVER because of that. (I know what you're thinking - who are you going to believe: a Canadian rock band or Will Shortz?)

AQUAMAN, baby! Love it when I can justify all those comic books in my basement.

Love NULLITY, but don't like REMEND. (Isn't "remend" redundant?)

KAFIR gets my WTF award for this puzzle. And isn't it suprrising that SCHMALTZ doesn't show up more often?

jannieb 9:36 AM  

I didn't think I'd ever get out of the NE. In the NW, I quickly filled in Omoo, situps and maybe then moved on. I too made the lucky guess for Peru and that helped in the great plains. The southern hemisphere came together except for the Carolinas - was so wanting Adwomen for a change. I agree that road bed should be rail - except for all the rebar one sees in the potholes on concrete highways. Finally back to the NE - (song for the day alert) I kept trying Lineman for the electrician. Happy weekend all. A good wakeup challenge today.

Howard B 9:45 AM  

Make that a triplet - I was squished by the same words.. I didn't even understand the "Post codes" clue until long afterwards. KAFIR was cruel, DUBUQUE less so but still nasty, PATERS, OTE, WIREMAN?... jeez, that whole corner was just quicksand (with a capital Q).

I think WIREMAN was just another candidate rejected from the Justice League. Hopefully they hired him to change the lightbulbs in their headquarters.

imsdave 10:03 AM  

Thank you so much for etiquette, gave me the whole puzzle. Forgive me for cheating (this is the first time I have used your blog for help). Best blog on the web.

pinky 10:04 AM  

Foundation with ties should definitely be
BODICE or CORSET non?

Rex Parker 10:17 AM  

@imsdave - "best blog on the web"?!

Yes, where *are* all my awards? I ain't never even been nominated for nothin'. I'm going to use your "best blog on the web" quote as a blurb when I redo my site, and I'll just pretend that you are someone famous.

Thanks,
RP

rick 10:35 AM  

Ad men can be stretched and it proved to be a huge hurdle for me:

ADWOMEN

Stuck with that through hell and high water thinking it and IWOJIMA were my only two correct answers in that $&*##! corner.

This was a toughy, did not think I would finish.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Howard B,
You crack me up; "WIREMAN..."

RP,
Hal was not a robot.

jae 10:52 AM  

This one got me in the SE with a double ASOK's BEAK problem. Did not know DORE and had OAF for 56a and RANFAST for 44d. So, I had DEFILES for 62a and nonsense (the ASOK problem) for 42d which I thought might be some unknown to me astronomical term (after all KAFIR was in this puzzle). I was able to fix DEFILES but never did fix OAF. Ah well, on to Sunday.

Nice to see my nickname.

Leon 12:06 PM  

Entourage and Aquaman are linked as well as Foundation and Asimov.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

For many years, each NYC subway car had a sign saying La via del tren subterraneo es peligrosa (subway tracks are dangerous). I never fell off the train, and it came in handy with today's puzzle.

wendy 12:27 PM  

ATOM ANT - loved that superheroic insect! Precious Pup was in the same show, I think.

This made me laugh on Atom's wikipedia page: "Atom operated out of an anthill in the countryside, where he possessed such things as a mainframe computer and exercise equipment." How prescient for 1965.

One of the eps was entitled Pteraducktyl Soup.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

This puzzle was great! It's so rare for a Saturday to not be cluttered with obsure proper nouns (just JAE and ELIE) and abbreviations (only STA). Plus, not even one acronym for a federal agency or FDR program.

It turns out wireman is indeed a superhero!

Harrietlou in Philly 12:52 PM  

This puzzle was a better to me than yesterday's, but got stuck putting for while with "lineman" instead of wireman - never heard of a wireman - I get an image of little guy who is Gumby's eccentric cousin.
Also got stuck with "Atom Man" instead of Aquaman for far too long - don't know much about the Justice League - was more of an "Archie" kid myself.

Harrietlou in Philly 12:52 PM  

This puzzle was a better to me than yesterday's, but got stuck putting for while with "lineman" instead of wireman - never heard of a wireman - I get an image of little guy who is Gumby's eccentric cousin.
Also got stuck with "Atom Man" instead of Aquaman for far too long - don't know much about the Justice League - was more of an "Archie" kid myself.

wade 1:04 PM  

Finishing this puzzle may be the proudest accomplishment of my life. I disagree that it's medium--I found it dang hard. I've taken longer to do Saturday puzzles, but I can't recall a puzzle that got into my head and screwed around with it the way this one did. I'm pretty sure I must have dated Shannon Burns in college. Every square was an effort. There were no gimmes except TREN and OMOO. I kept trying to make THINMAN be THIRDMAN even though I knew the Third Man is set in Vienna (and has an extra letter, of course.) Wanted SENECAN for SENATOR though I have no idea whehter Cicero was a Senecan (or even what a Senecan is). I'm framing this one.

JimHorne 1:06 PM  

ION was one of the few easy ones for me in this otherwise killer puzzle. Plasma is a state of matter, the fourth along with solid, liquid, and gas. Unbound electrons means the atoms are ionized.

Howard B 1:22 PM  

I've been plagiarized! Where's Wireman when you need him? Or is it the other way around? Anyway, didn't know CAL either, and I've read some Asimov, just not all of his short stories. Ouch.

Bill from NJ 1:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Would someone please explain how warrant means empower? And I had a terrible time in the NE because I had naptime instead of teatime. Showing my age, I guess.

Matthew 2:01 PM  

Rex,
Could you settle a disagreement in our apartment? The drug you were talking about in 35A... was it the Viagra types or the prostate drugs?

Frances 2:08 PM  

I liked that there wasn't much pop-culture in today's offering, but I went spectacularly astray on one of the few. Not having the first idea what (or when) the Justice League might be, I had AQU _ _ A_ filled in for 2D, and hazarded AQUINAS. After all, he was big on the idea of natural justice. 23A shot that down pretty fast; OMOO may not have any intrinsic meaning as a word, but substituting N for M just won't hold up.

ATOMANT did me in also, where it crossed with the grain-starting-with-a-K. An E made as much sense as A, since neither kefir nor kafir comes to mind immediately (or even much later!) as a grain; as a single word, ATOMANT and ATOMENT make equally little sense.

jannieb 2:08 PM  

Anon 1:57 - my online thesaurus actually considers them synonymous! To warrant is to give someone the authority/power to do something.

Kim 2:11 PM  

We struggled with this one all morning mostly due to my stubborn unwillingness to erase NOSEEUM (the invisible insect that torments outdoor types) for 1A "it can really bite" after getting the M in MAYBE. It was a bad relationship and I stayed in it far too long.

We also had several answers for "Home of Waterloo", none of which were correct until the end, including "ENG" and "LON" for Waterloo Station.

Here's hoping the rest of the day is not so tortuous!

NYTAnonimo 2:17 PM  

warrant

empower

I don't see the connection between warrant and empower either.

hollyhmc 2:42 PM  

Got way hung up on the Justice League... confusing it with the Universal House of Justice (pancakes) from yesterday.

That and Wikpedia said it was Aquagirl, not Aquaman, so settled on Warhawk for ever trying to make it work...

I thought Waterloo was an ABBA song??

wade 2:59 PM  

Waterloo was definitely a Stonewall Jackson song. It was my little sister's favorite song--our mother had it on a 45. My favorite was Sonny James's "Running Bear." We was rednecks.

Noam D. Elkies 3:12 PM  

ELIE was one of the two entries I got immediately in this puzzle (the other was TREN) -- the corresponding clue for EMIL would be "Mathematician Artin". Still finished in 17-18 minutes (my first sub-20 Saturday, I think, and hardly worse than yesterday), so I suppose I must have been lucky seeing that most people are rating it medium to hard for a Saturday puzzle.

I too had to reject AQUINAS for AQUAMAN. ADWOMEN didn't tempt me for 43D since I had DE, but I did initially guess ADEXECS... 52A ION was a surprise to me too -- I noticed that "plasma" could be either the state of matter or the blood fraction but couldn't imagine a three-letter component of the former.

31D "Capo ... capi" wanted to be DITUTTI; I wasn't sure of the short form but my guess turned out to be right -- I suppose you can't clue DEI as "Agnus ..." on a Saturday, especially with PATERS already in the grid (hm, does anybody really say "Paters" for "Paternosters"?), though "Opus ..." is still available.

NDE

mac 3:20 PM  

Jae, we must have had the same breakfast, I did exactly what you did wrong.....

Teatime came immediately, as did Omoo, but I desparately tried to squeeze some undergarments into 53A, and of course I knew Waterloo is in BEL(gium). Stared at atomant for ever, thought my lack of knowledge in the sciences played up again, and of course I thought the 2D clue required a serious old legal name....

I asked for a bear and I got one.

Bill from NJ 3:20 PM  

Bogged down completely in the NE. Totally blanked on 8D and 9D. Bad day.Better luck next week, I hope

Big Lefty 3:28 PM  

Delaware has a "lowest high point" of 450 feet; Florida's is 345 feet. So, Shortz is right. (Delaware wins a consolation prize of having a mean of 60 feet above sea level, with Florida at 100 feet).

miriam b 3:32 PM  

I thought KAFIR was a variant spelling of kaffir, also known as kaffir corn. Saw some growing in a field during a long-ago trip to Kansas.

Loved this puzzle.

Catherine K 3:37 PM  

As a Canadian, I was pleased to see CANADA, as well as the province of ONTario, where I grew up. My daughter has a friend attending Waterloo University.

That's what I love about reading the comments on Rex's blog. Gimmes for some are torture for others.

I liked COLD COMFORT and BITING SARCASM. Sounds like the weather right now: cold and biting.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

Gigantism is not a good word for a crossword grid. To clue it as a pun is even more distasteful. I know a person with this problem and all the medical operations and hardships he has undergone. There's a time and place for humor...this was not one of them.

wendy 4:47 PM  

anonymous 4:30 - you raise an interesting point, one that I've brought up before. The puzzle has a penchant for cluing states of physiological being (Obese, Dwarf, to name two others I can readily think of) seemingly without regard for people's possible suffering with regard to those conditions and in some cases, I would argue, not considering more appropriate terminology. Putting these terms in the context of a pun takes it a further step beyond propriety.

Anonymous 5:42 PM  

...It was apt. Apt!

I was just thinking about that joke earlier today, and lo and behold, someone else was too. What are the odds?

marvelous!

(But no "up and Atom?")

Dave 5:44 PM  

I had "Atom Ant" right away. "Aquaman" not far behind. The rest of the puzzle, yecch. And Brooklyn's in three weeks? Geez.

jae 6:54 PM  

@mac -- nice to know I wasn't alone. I find it difficult to extricate myself from a situation where I have multiple reasonable answers coupled with one that I know isn't really correct. It's hard to just erase everything and start the section over.

Michael 7:01 PM  

This was not so difficult (for me) for a Saturday. I was lucky that my very first answer was Dubuque, which I certainly wouldn't have known before moving to Iowa many years ago. Iwo Jima was a surprise because I kept searching for places in Japan. I echo others in wondering why warrant=empower.

green mantis 7:46 PM  

I don't know how I feel about the unfortunate conditions/puzzle sensitivity issue. I mean, where do you draw the line? How many times, for instance, have we seen punny clues for acne, a problem which causes serious grief for scads of people?

Jim in NYC 8:29 PM  

Re 60A (Jim): Can't see how Jim would be called a "hero" in "The Gift of the Magi". I guess you could say that both characters were living heroically in a sense, given their poverty, but the real hero of the story was love, because it was love that brought happiness in the end.

Now talk among yourselves. I'm all verklempt.

wendy 8:44 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wendy 8:54 PM  

I hear ya, green mantis. It's not cut and dried, certainly. I guess one barometer for the constructor would be to try to imagine how your solver would feel if he or she were obese, just as an example, and had to fill in that answer for the particular clue. Or if you were a little person and you had to fill in 'dwarf'. Again, these are just two that crop up a lot.

Would your solver feel bad? Could he have a sense of humor about it? I don't know what the answer is, I just think that it should be part and parcel of determining whether something passes the breakfast table test, for lack of a better term. I mean, does Acne really need to be an answer - ever?

ArtLvr 8:55 PM  

I did yesterday's puzzle this afternoon and aced it with no problem except blank at AJA/JERI cross. So how badly frustrated was I when doing today's tonight and messing up in several places? Very...

Seems I knew the ones hard for others, but not the so-called "gimmes" like SKA, JAE, AQUAMAN AND ATOM ANT.

Worse, I got stubborn for too long over misinterprations: wanted TAXED rather than PRIED for "asked too much" (as in TAXED my patience). Was thinking RUSSIA for "covers six time zones, instead of CANADA. Silly goose... (How many does the U.S. have including Hawaii?)

It isn't a pun to define a medical condition, GIGANTISM, as a "growing problem" unless one takes it that way, because a puzzle is not a social context. Being older, I was not happy with the discussion a while ago of WATTLES, but so be it.

I do agree that making fun of an unfortunate condition in a social context is abhorrent: I'll never forget one bride's brother giving a toast for her wedding dinner in a spastic persona the entire painful way through. Definitely not entertaining!

Very good puzzle -- I'm just sorry I didn't do as well as yesterday!

∑;)

Orange 9:11 PM  

Omigod, I included more pictures in a post than Rex? That's a first!

I wanted HAL, too, computer or no. If you don't know the plot of Asimov's "Cal," check it out. Cal the robot wants to be a writer! And he's eeevil.

Rex, your GIGANTISM entry (entry!) was not cryptic at all. I await the clue's reuse for PRIAPISM.

Forget WIREMAN—I want to hear about the superpowers of the IDEAMEN. Do they wear spandex and capes?

Rex Parker 10:16 PM  

For the record, the "growing problem?" ads are about prostate enlargement. Since it's not breakfast time anymore, I felt I could say that now.

rp

Fergus 1:06 AM  

Forgot that there was another G in GIGANTISM, so had a major stall there. Oscar Wilde would surely have some fine quip for the hair-trigger sensitivities some folks have about perceived offenses. I'm much more concerned about reasonable good taste than pussyfooting around the possibility that somebody might find some discriminatory intent in some aspect of usage. Often these go hand in hand, but when they do diverge I don't take offense, I just feel sorry for the poor fool who embarrassed himself with crass language. (Not referring to anything stated here; simply a hypothetical situation concerning political correctness.)

Nothing like the flash and sizzle of Friday's puzzle but a solid test nonetheless, especially while driving and having someone else read out the Clues.

Agree on the dubiousness of WIREMAN, ROADBED and ONE-GAME wonder CLUES. ETIQUETTE was so good though; that was compensation enough. Another confusion point on DERIDES was the BERATES that I sat with for a while. Interesting to see Glut as a verb.

Anyone else remember the 60s TV commercial with the signature line, "Aw, this is a mushy show, let's watch something else."?

andrea carla michaels 3:08 AM  

yes, I wondered too if having ATOMANT , AQUAMAN, WIREMAN all in the same puzzle started off to have superheroes as a theme, the constructor realized you can't repeat a word...but you CAN if it's a "non-themed" Saturday, I guess.

Maybe I'm annoyed just bec I couldn't finish the puzzle having also felt it was a no-no to have AQUAMAN and AQUARIA (crossing no less!) again the same word/word root...but maybe that's just water under the bridge?

doc john 11:21 AM  

This puzzle was really hard for me- just couldn't wrap myself around any of the words, had to fight for each square. Lots of unusual words like KAFIR, NULLITY, BED STAND and even SCHMALTZ. Finally did finish it, though, after several hours' work- whew- but did miss the T in EGALITE (I had an S). Oh well.

@ Fergus- right on!

Fave clue: [8D. Post codes?] That clue VEXED me forever but when I got it, I chuckled.
ONE GAME wonder? I don't think so.

Oh, how does PATERS relate to PRAYERS? Is that a type of prayer? Do PATERS people who pray?

william e emba 12:40 PM  

Gustave DORE is a famous 19th century illustrator, not 17th century. (That was Milton, of course.)

I presume PATER is short for PATER NOSTER ("Our Father" in Latin).

A lineman normally works outdoors.

Rex Parker 1:30 PM  

In the Simpsons calendar I used to own, I assure you that SMARCH did not come at the end of the year, after December, but rather some time in Winting/Sprinter. It is the thirteenth month, it's just not thirteenth (out of 13) in the sequence.

rp

Doug 10:57 PM  

Proud to have finished this one without a mistake. Some good educated guesses. Now if I could only finish the NW of the Friday puzzle. But it's Monday night now, I think it's time to admit defeat and peak at Friday's blog.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

1D: Latin American capital

It should have been written like this,

1D: Latin American capital or home to the NHL team The Sharks.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

There is a theme after all!

Men!

2D: Aquaman

12D: Wireman

39D: Thinman

43D: Ideaman

Also I thought KAFIR was a derogitory South African term used by Apartheid supporters in describing an African-American.

Normally directed at black south africans, it can also be used to address blacks all over the world.

Danny Glover was called a kafir several times in Lethal Weapon Two and on one occasion was instructed not to be a 'smart' kafir.

Hank Sherrard 10:39 PM  

mush is schmultz not schmaltz

WWPierre 11:16 PM  

Anonymous 4:30 and Wendy.

I like to think of this blog as a welcome respite from political correctness.

I really enjoyed this puzzle, and was pleased to finish it after a long struggle in Oregon/Washington:(three or four cups, spread over the day)

I had confidently entered REALITY in 1A, and then crossed it with YESNO at 7D, and LEX at 4D. Eventually, I came to distrust my confidence.

I have a couple of quibbles:

Lets see....west to east; Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic, and then, half an hour earlier, (or later, depending on your point of view), Newfoundland/Labrador. That adds up to 5 to me.........oops, just counted on my fingers...... never mind.... Um ......well....ONE quibble: :)

I have built a lot of ROADBED in my life, and a tiny bit, (maybe 500 meters) of railbed. A railbed is definitely a ROADBED, but a ROADBED is not necessarily a railbed, and wouldn't have ties, as implied by the clue.

I suppose, if you really want to get pedantic, the surveyor ties the roadbed to features found about, such as the legal Right-Of-Way and such, and these ties are called......well, ties, but I would think this intent wouldn't make it over the esoterica dam, (or under the esoterica bar) for the NYT puzzle.

PERU sent me to Wikipedia to investigate it being a member of the Axis in WWII. I learned that The War of the Pacific took place at the end of the 18th Century and resulted in Peru losing a couple of provinces, (and a lot of birdshit) to Chile, and Bolivia loaing it's access to tidewater as well.

I had WWII on the brain probably because of Mt. Suribachi on IWO JIMA, a gimme for me because I have attacked it on many occasions with a virtual SBD dive bomber in the virtual world of the Combat Flight Simulator, IL-2.

Me Again 11:25 PM  

OK... I have only 4 & 1/2 fingers on my right hand, does that cut me some slack?? lmao

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