SATURDAY, Mar. 22, 2008 - Byron Walden (COMPOSER OF "DAS AUGENLICHT," 1935)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I am so happy today because a. I finished this puzzle, b. correctly, and c. still got to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm so happy because success felt Impossible about 5 minutes in, when the only answers I had on the board were (ironically) NO DUH (25A: "Obviously, Einstein!"), REP (41D: One who stands for something), SINEW (43A: Brawn), and the WAR part of what ended up being TEN DAY WAR (38A: 1991 conflict between Slovenia and Yugoslavia) - and I wasn't terribly certain about Any of those. I also had LYS (36D: Flower of Paques), only I'd misspelled it as LIS. Knowing it was a Byron Walden puzzle, I felt a horrible sinking feeling in my gut. Eventually I took a good look at the SW and found many tractable answers, most notably ASSET (50D: Plus) and PEETE (48D: First African-American golfer with 12 P.G.A. Tour wins). My wallet actually has the word NAPPA pressed into it somewhere inside, so I managed to get 46A: Soft leather used in wallets, whose name derives from a place in California despite the fact that the whole name derivation thing sounds bogus / insane. Who was the genius who thought, "I know, add a 'P'?" Weird. But even after the SW went down, I was right back where I started - stuck. I think I eventually guessed OHS (30D: Quaker cereal) and then got CHANEY (37A: Star of "London After Midnight," 1927), and then with the "Y" in CHANEY, I ran into the surprisingly, mercifully easy EYELINERS (34D: Parts of makeup kits) and the SE fell.

The very last letter I filled in was the "X" in the marquee answer of the day: HAPAX (27A: _____ legomenon (word or phrase used only once in a document or corpus)). If I hadn't heard that term a few times in graduate school, I would never have gotten that "X" (though XIA sounds familiar as the 28D: Earliest recorded Chinese dynasty, I doubt I'd have guessed the "X" correctly on that). HAPAX legomenon ... I remember seeing that phrase for the first time and thinking "well, there's an upside of being in graduate school - I get to learn cool-sounding terms like HAPAX legomenon." And promptly forget them, apparently. At least it was in my vocabulary, however dormant.

If I haven't said it yet (and I haven't), I loved this puzzle. Everything a wickedly hard puzzle should be. Fun, colorful, and ultimately doable, though I had to guess in a couple places - well, one place: the crossing of ANURANS (40D: Frogs and toads) and OLEASTER (53A: Shrub also known as Russian olive). Now I was pretty sure that shrub had to end in "R," but ANURANS looked horrible to me. In the end, I went with it, which was the right call. I know about OLEANDER - we had some in our backyard growing up - but OLEASTER ... no. I like that it's made up of two very common crossword answers: OLE and ASTER.


  • 15A: Zebralike (equine) - oddly easy, in the end. I was expecting something much more brutal.
  • 17A: Kept one's own counsel, online (lurked) - weird way to look at it, but OK.
  • 18A: Geographic feature depicted in the Armenian coat of arms (Mt. Ararat) - Once I got the MT, I guessed the rest. ARARAT is in far eastern Turkey, just near the Iranian and Aremenian borders.
  • 20A: Big numismatic news (misprint) - I wanted MINT to be in this answer, either at the beginning or end. If you look at MISPRINT, you can see how partial fill would lead me to see MINT all over the place.
  • 29A: Salt with the maximum proportion of element #53 (periodide) - total guess. Needed most of the crosses, and then threw in the -ER- part.
  • 35A: Common soccer score (one-nil) - I forgot to add that I had this answer very early as well. Just sitting there, all alone, stuck out into the bottom of the NW. I was on the verge of erasing it many times.
  • 45A: Compound with a double bond (enol) - the only times I'm happy to see tired fill like ENOL and ENERO (5D: Hot month in Chile) - in the middle of a brutal Saturday puzzle. Then, they're like old friends. "Hey, I know you guys .... help me."
  • 51A: Volkswagen Polo, for one (super-mini) - that's for our Euro-friends, I guess, as I've never heard of this make of VW. What is it, basically a go-kart with a lawnmower engine?
  • 55A: One suspended in adolescence (boy-man) - I prefer MAN-CHILD, thanks.
  • 57A: Split personality? (ex-mate) - my least favorite answer in the whole thing.
  • 58A: As time expires, in a football game (at the gun) - nicely done. Wanted WHISTLE to be in there somewhere. I've never noticed: do football games really end in gunfire?
  • 59A: Street lighting specialist? (rioter) - took me a while to figure out how this worked. RIOTERs light streets on fire sometimes, I guess. Pretty clever.
  • 60A: Roller skate features (toe stops) - my old school, 1979 roller skates most definitely had these.
  • 61A: Claim of convenience, in ads or otherwise (No Mess) - I had No Fuss for a while.
  • 1D: Jigger that jiggles? (jello shot) - one of the best answers in the puzzle. Only in a Byron puzzle are you gonna see JELLO SHOT cross HAPAX - that's the alpha and omega of the college experience right there.
  • 2D: Alternative to a water ski (aqua plane) - really? Do they perform the same function? I don't go in for water sports (!) so I wouldn't know.
  • 4D: Lance Armstrong foundation? (bike stand) - My bikes had KICK STANDS.
  • 6D: Notable distinction for the planet Krypton (red sun) - aargh, I teach a course on comics and still needed many crosses to get / remember this. Boo hoo.
  • 9D: Some DVRs (RCAS) - man it hurts when the answer is a brand, like this. Here I am, flipping through whatever technical jargon I can think of, and the answer's just plain old RCAS.
  • 10D: Legendary brothers in law (Earps) - in desperation, I had GRIMM here for a few seconds.
  • 12D: Spanish festival (Feria) - otherwise known as "Slaves Don't Have To Go To Work Day."
  • 13D: Animal in Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (Orang) - I forgot - this was also a gimme for me. The reason I forgot - it just sat there, alone, doing nothing, for a good long while.
  • 26D: Minute Maid drink brand (Hi-C) - another early get that did me little good.
  • 31D: MTV reality show ("Date My Mom") - Given the popularity of "Pimp My Ride" and "Date My Mom," can "Pimp My Mom" be far behind?
  • 44D: Composer of "Das Augenlicht," 1935 (Webern) - an educated guess. I have seen his name before in a musical context, and that's the only reason I was able to piece him together.
  • 47D: First justice alphabetically in the history of the Supreme Court (Alito) - if I were buying crossword fill futures, I would put a lot of my money into ALITO. He'll be around ... well, if he ever becomes Chief Justice, forever.
  • 16A: Like anchors (on camera) - very tricky, very good.
  • 52D: CD-burning software company that bought Napster (Roxio) - I wrote this in and winced, as it looked wrong. ROXIO next to DATE MY MOM ... this puzzle is going to make at least a few pop culture-haters very unhappy. Oh well.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PhillySolver 9:04 AM  

I am humbled...couldn't finish without help. Frogs and toads? Funny, HAPLAX was my first fill. I had about ten words and went to sleep last night. Made some progress and got SE and NE, but with my Texas gardening experience I stuck with Oleander and nodto. I did not know WEBERN either. A hard puzzle for me, but no real complaints, but I think the NODUH, is mocking me.

Crosscan 9:07 AM  

A tough but enjoyable puzzle. HAPAX/XIA waas an impossible crossing for me. Someone I don't believe either has come up in conversation before.

PhillySolver 9:20 AM  

I was not trying to create a portmanteau above for single use laxative.

Jon 9:23 AM  

This one took a looong time to finish, erasing all the warm fuzzies from last week's solving time.

The NW wasn't too bad. Got JELLOSHOT pretty much right off the bat (read into that what you will), and while the corner didn't exactly fall into place quickly, it came eventually. As a chemist I got PERIODIDE as well which paved the way into the SE.

With the one hour mark approaching I was finally forced to look something up. The SW was a mess and I could think of absolutely nothing but OLEANDER but it just didn't work except for the first half. Had nod at, nod to, diet cola, diet coke, tried animals for frogs and toads... OLEASTER, once confirmed, finally brought it into line.

And really wish I knew ORANG. Five letter animals and Poe... raven, even though I knew it wasn't right, wouldn't leave my head. And I would never have thought of orang without crosses. Wrote in commodes, took it out, wrote it back in, had ANTIFUR, and kept trying to find a definition for nurses, as in nurses a drink, that would fit. Something finally clicked I guess and I could finally go to bed.

That puzzle felt like a battle. I should have been a biologist; anurans would have helped more than periodide.

Alex 9:34 AM  

Oy, I was just glad to eventually get through it with a minimum of Google. After 20 minutes of trying on my own I think I had four answers in there (I know NODUH and REDSUN were the biggest gimmes).

I am not a drinker and have spent the bare minimum of my life in bars so the alcohol definition of jigger passed me by. I knew meanings involving people doing a jig, a sail on a boat, a mining machine, and the bridge cue sometimes used in pool. Needless to say when I had ----SHOT my mind locked on to pool.

With EX---E, I put in the much more real phrase EX WIFE completely screwing up my chances of seeing those long crossing downs. It really didn't help that there are two MTV reality shows I've actually heard of that fit (ROAD RULES and REAL WORLD).

BOY MAN is a phrase I know but I've only ever heard it as MAN BOY.

Quaker OAT instead of Quaker OHS also contributed to the massive failure in the SE. Only after Googling to get Roxio and the final four letters of SUPERMINI did it finally straighten itself out.

Jon 9:42 AM  

I looked up supermini after the puzzle was done because I had never heard the term. It is the size class LARGER than a city car? What qualifies as a city car I wonder? A Segway? Or George Jetson's car that folds up into a briefcase when you park it seen in the intro to the show?

Seems to me that a name like supermini should apply to the smallest of whatever being described.

John Reid 9:52 AM  

Sounds like Rex finished the bottom of the puzzle first, whereas that was the part that put me through the wringer - in particular the SE where I just plain struggled. Not knowing the composer WEBERN or the software company ROXIO ended up being my downfall on this puzzle.

Ultimately I came away with only 2 letters wrong. I stuck with 'shy man' instead of BOYMAN at 55A... and is boy-man really a word? Have any of you ever used it or heard it used? I'm sure it's legit, but it just sounds so *weird* to me! Not that I was super-happy with 'shy man' either... but 'Wesern' sounded ok for the composer, and 'RHXIO' sounded just as reasonable for a software company as any other acronymic jibberish ending in -I/O, too, I thought. So, I kept 'shy man.'

[At one point I even thought of trying 'Truman', thinking that maybe he got kicked out of school at some point as a kid!]

It took me aaaaages to get RIOTER, which is a true shame because I had --OTER for a long time. I also took the aforementioned aaaaages to hit upon EXMATE, which I also didn't really like but it fit in the spaces. (Again - does anyone ever really use this word, ever, in any context?)

About my only saving grace is that I can say that I guessed the X in HAPAX/XIA correctly! I went through the alphabet and convinced myself that it had to be either K, S or X and went with my gut on X. Good guess, but not enough to quite get me out of trouble today. I started off so well in the NW too! But ultimately this puzzle beat me up. In fact, if the NYT website had a 'Top Ten Slowest,' I'd currently be in first place! [Of course going to sleep for the night before finishing the puzzle sure helps to augment your solving time.]

Having said all of that, I thought that it was a good, challenging Saturday and I'm a huge fan of Byron Walden's puzzles. He's definitely one of my favorite constructors and I'm always happy to see his name up there in the byline.

Janet 10:16 AM  

What a great and glorious puzzle. I loved the elegance of it, despite its toughness. I struggled in the northeast, where I ended, but couldn't have been more delighted with "jelloshot" as the first fill. Rex, you do amaze me by solving this one so handily. And I didn't have that crushing feeling I sometimes have when I struggle with a puzzle and then see your rating of "Easy-medium". The "challenging" rating I saw today felt affirming.

Leon 10:36 AM  

Hapax Legomenon has been clued before according to the Jim H database.

Supermini, oleaster and periodide are first-timers. Those who have access to cruciverb can check other papers.

I loved lurked because I think that is what most visitors to this blog do, including myself. It sounds almost Peeping-Tomish/Beckyish but it isn't.

Wonderful Saturday mindbender.

Bill from NJ 10:54 AM  

Sometimes when you reach the 1 hour mark you keep on plugging, knowing it you stay at it, the puzzle will fall.

Unfortunately, not in this case.

I was hopelessly blocked in the NW and called this puzzle finished at the 90 minute mark.

I had so little traction in that corner . . .

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

I think I got all the way through the across clues the first time through without writing down a single letter. Finally a few things started to click.

Once again I had to Google half a dozen items to get to the end: ANURANS, OLEASTER, HAPAX, TOGO, WEBERN, atomic number 53 to get "iodine," not to mention PEETE, in my sports-world blank area of the brain. But once the obscure foreign terms were out of the way I finally got the rest, and really enjoyed their clues. Good old ARARAT, dressed up this time with a MT.

Is there really a show called "DATE MY MOM"? It fit, but I'd never heard of it.

wade 11:09 AM  

Top half went very quickly for me, then got traction in the SE and completed it, but the SW was a struggle, and finally I gave up on it when it came time to take my son to the barbershop. I didn't have the last letter of HAPAX/XIA crossing but I'm not grimacing about that--in three years of grad school (English) and three years of law school and 35 years of reading I have never come across the phrase or either word in it. A weird blind spot for me.

Joaneee 11:11 AM  

I found this puzzle brutal (several degrees harder than challenging). HAPAX is totally new to me. So is JELLOSHOT. Did not believe it could possibly be right,but I find 531,000 Jelloshot hits on Google so it's certainly not new to everybody. Had to google like crazy to finish. This one certainly separates the 55th-best and their like from the people like me!

jae 11:16 AM  

Parts of this seemed easy for me. I got JABBER/JELLOSHOT as the puzzle left the printer and had a similar experience for 32d, 33d, & 34d. I knew ROXIO, PEETE, EARPS, ENERO and ENOL, and guessed right on MTARARRAT, ALITTO, and SUPERMINI. That said, all it takes for me to not get it done correctly is to cross an unknown (my grad school latin involved psychology jargon) latin phrase with an unknown chinese dynasty. I guessed S and had to change to X when I did a google check. I also went with OLEANDER and OAT initially. In all, a fun/interesting/challenging and almost doable Sat.

JC66 11:28 AM  

Today, Byron Walden won. Thank god for Google or I never would have finished (it still took me over an hour):


Completely unknown to me. Not that many of the other solutions didn't stay hidden for EVER.

Happy to see Rex rated this one as challenging.

Kim 11:30 AM  


Badir 11:33 AM  

My first entry was EQUINE, then ENERO and RED SUN were easy, and I put in the AQUA-----, and the most of the northwest went reasonably quickly. I congratulated myself on having studied the periodic table recently so I could get ---IODIDE to work into the southeast. I got COMMODE and ANTIFUR and DETONATE and EYELINER, and I thought it was all going really well. Over half the puzzle filled at 18 minutes. And then... nothing.

I sat there and stared and slowly put in a few more answers, half of which were wrong, like "CLUB SODA" for DIET SODA" and "MINT COIN" for MISPRINT. And it never occurred to me that "anchor" might refer not to either something you use on a ship or someone who keeps you grounded.
I finally called it at an hour.
With some help from my wife, especially ORANG, TOESTOP, and ALITO, and three googles, I finally finished it, but it was brutal!

So BOY MAN crossing DATE MY MOM? That's just asking for trouble!

Ellen 11:42 AM  

Constructor David Levinson Wilk wrote about then-nominee ALITO's potential usefulness in crosswords in an LA Times article on 11/3/05 (I can't find a free link).

This puzzle killed me in 15:19 (proofreading on paper, but still...) AND I got that square wrong that should have been an X.

jls 11:44 AM  

*loved* this puzzle. even though i was somewhat undone by "oleaster"... always nice to learn something new, however. like "anurans" -- meaning that they are tailless creatures.

had no idea about the "salt" either, but entered "ide" in the last three squares -- which proved to be enormously helpful. see orange's book for a more elegant explanation, but her point about knowing word roots is well-made and well-taken.

the pop culture references were somewhere below my radar, but gettable -- which added to the fun of this one.

"where to go"/"commode"... my dear! ;-)

btw -- webern was referenced in pancho harrison's sun puzzle this past thursday.



Karen 11:57 AM  

We had a Hydroslide (just beats out AQUAPLANE on Google) growing up. You would kneel on it while holding the ski tow rope attached to the motor boat. You have a lower center of gravity, some interesting tricks to do, and easier to get up than on the slalom ski.

I gave up on this puzzle last night and went to sleep, too tired to google out the answers. I have to disagree with Rex on the 'ultimately doable' nature of this one. This morning I realized I had to give up my OLEANDER and DIET COKE (there's a poisonous cocktail for you) and I made some headway, but between legomenon and TOP SHOT/SLOT/SPOT I still was stuck.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Please tell me the ! after water sports is there for the reason I'm thinking of.

johnson 12:59 PM  


chefbea 1:31 PM  

I'm obviously no einstein. Will someone explain noduh?


miriam b 1:44 PM  

Yep, NODUH bothered ne. No, duh still doesn't seem right. Wonderful puzzled otherwise.

Rex Parker 1:53 PM  

NO DUH is something I would / did say as a pre-teen/teenager. I think that today you would just say DUH. My hypothetical unscientific etymology:

NO KIDDING (said sarcastically in response to an obvious comment)

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

The Volkswagen Polo is a Mexican make that is most like the Golf.

kate 2:04 PM  

Between yesterday's COAXER and today's HAPAX, XIA and EXMATE, I have learned a valuable lesson. When stuck, put "X".

I also spent a fair amount of time feeling testy over the fact that brothers-in-law wouldn't have the same last name, until it hit me the Earps were brothers in law of the non-hyphenated variety. NODUH.

Ulrich 2:19 PM  

Guessed Mt.Ararat off the bat b/c I've driven by it (in a Volkswagen, but not a polo) some 45 years ago on the Turkish side and still remember it rising in the distance. After that the NE fell relatively easily, but then I absolutely hit the wall, even though I guessed the soccer score, lys (the only French flower with 3 letters known to me), Webern and, like Rex, the "war" part of the 10-day-war. Had to google repeatedly to get more traction in all the other corners--all in all, the toughest puzzle I faced in a while.

BTW "Augenlicht" means literally "eye light" and is used like English "eyesight".

Question: Since when are guns used in football at the end of a game?

SethG 2:24 PM  

My brain hurts.

My first answer was STATE, then CAMPERVAN. Uh, wrong VW.

DIET COKE opened the SW for me.
ENERO and guesses at the ends of the crosses gave me EQUINE and RED SUN to open the NW.
MISPRINT for the NE, which led to the PER for PERIODIDE for the SE.

Of course, I had PERIODINE for a long time, which led to much floundering down there, wondering what NETOxAxES could possibly be.

Other things I wanted, some mentioned by others as well:
JELLY FISH (in PittsburgESE, the stinger would be a jagger)
MALI (close by, but no border)
ABE FORTAS (and maybe more times than that)

Just under an hour in the end, plus whatever time you lose for settling on HAPAS/SIA.

Thanks BW!

wendy 2:37 PM  

sethg - what did Abe Fortas do to so distinguish himself in your psyche?
His various wheelings and dealings while on the bench must really have made an impression upon you! ;)

bossche 2:37 PM  

4D bikestand has to refer to a stand-alone stand like the kind you see outside of buildings, not a kick stand. As I'm an avid cyclist it drove me crazy that I couldn't get this for a long time. I really wanted something like aerobic base.

bill from fl 2:38 PM  

Like others, I missed the hapax/xia crossing. Otherwise, I would rate this the hardest puzzle I ever filled.

Do _soccer_ games end with a gunshot? That would echo the one-nil answer.

Are coins misprinted? I would have thought a misprint was big _philatelic_ news.

I asked my wife about russian olive and she said eleagnus, which didn't fit, but is actually the scientific name for oleaster. So we both learned something.

Periodide, supermini, exmate, were all just evil for me.

ArtLvr 2:46 PM  

My head is still spinning.... Wanted Edison for street lighting specialist, and so many other wrong answers! Hard to know which to take out and which to leave in a while... When RED SUN and MISPRINT finally showed up, I still was too stuck to spend more time on it. Downer!


Jim in Chicago 3:01 PM  

Brutal, just brutal, but still fun.

I got most of the NW right off the bat, but put it redSKY instead of SUN, which gave me trouble. Also went with topSPOT instead of SLOT, which left we with AQUA_PANE.

I don't like ORANG, which is a shortened form of a work, with no abbreviation in the clue.

I misread the supreme court clue, and after a bit of googling, decided that the answer was Blair, since he was the alphabetic first in the "First" Supreme Court, but the answer was looking for alltime.

I've never heard the term "supermini" and drew a complete blank there.

jae 3:21 PM  

@bossche -- Took me a while to get BIKESTAND for the same reason.

I also found NODUH a bit strange. I wanted UHDUH.

As a former coin collector MISPRINT also seemed off. MISCAST or MISDYED or MISSTAMP or ...??

Joon 3:24 PM  

awesome puzzle today. didn't time myself, but probably spent well over an hour--but filled it all in, with no lookups, and ended up with every letter, without any real guessing either.

XIA was kind of a gimme for me, actually... though i'm always a little thrown by "earliest chinese dynasty"/"earliest recorded chinese dynasty"/"earliest historical chinese dynasty." i'm sure there are some subtle distinctions there that are beyond my ken. HAPAX, not so much of a gimme.

i started with WOODS for 48D (though i *knew* that was too easy for a walden) and REALWORLD for 31D (though i suspected that was too easy for a walden). after that start, it's amazing that the puzzle finally fell, but ... yeah. ORANG was the first thing that i put in that actually stuck, even though, much like rex's, my grid had a very lonely ORANG for a long time.

i think i'm most proud of WEBERN. the thought process was something like, "who would be a german writing music in the 1930s? schoenberg? alban berg? anton WEBERN? bingo!" i also wanted it to end with N for NOFUSS (the answer that, even though the F was actually wrong too, convinced me to take out REALWORLD).

failing the breakfast test: COMMODE. fortunately, i did this one after lunch. clever clue, though. i thought that one and PATHS was a cute matched set. the PATH to the COMMODE is paved with the word "go."

i was totally taken in by the inconspicuously absent hyphens in "legendary brothers in law" (10D). even after i finished the puzzle, i thought, "hmm, the earps were brothers-in-law?"

can't remember how many times i erased TOGO for MALI and vice versa. the SW was the last quadrant to go down.

Frances 3:37 PM  

I'm glad someone put 26d into print as Hi-C. All I could see in it was the comic-strip rendition of a drunk, going "hic." I just couldn't fathom a family-friendly company like Minute Maid referencing drunks.

What I learned from this exercise (done on paper, with an eraser-topped pencil) is to PROOFREAD. After googling to fill in a number of answers, I didn't change a lot of crossings that should have followed. Many points lost!!

Jon 3:58 PM  

@jim in chicago - I don't think ORANG needs to be abbreviated; it is an acceptable stand-alone word.

Noam D. Elkies 4:03 PM  

Ouch. I guessed 15A:EQUINE and knew 27A:HAPAX (though the latter knowledge long postdates my school days), and then came to 29A...

Element 53? Um, the magic numbers go 2,10,18,36,54 so we're somewhere under chlorine -- right, iodine. So, what's the salt with the maximal proportion of iodine? Find the lightest metal it can go with -- OK, lithium, makig LiI. Neat: I never saw Roman numeral 52 clued this way. Clever...

But way too short. Oh, right, there's an I3- ion that contains three times as much Element 53: TRIIODIDE! Great Saturday entry with that IIO sequence. Hm, that I at the bottom of 8D looks funny but the southeast all works...

Eventually get back to the NW and realize that 29A must be PERIODIDE, and resolve to call Foul because periodic acid (HIO4, not to be confused with the periodic table) yields salts with a considerably smaller proportion of iodine than plain iodides, never mind triiodides. Turns out "periodide" is correct (an IO4 salts is a "periodiate") -- evidently there are polyiodide anions beyond I3 whose salts have even greater iodine concentrations than triiodides.

So for once it was the science clue (no, the 25A clue "Obviously, Einstein!" doesn't count) that led me astray.

Even without this wrong turn, yes, very challenging even for a Saturday puzzle. I did eventually fill in 31D:DATEMYMOM and 52D:ROXIO (and yes, at least ROXIO does absolutely nothing for me), but it was the SW the proved irreparably mysterious :-(


archaeoprof 4:23 PM  

Both my ncaa brackets and my saturday crossword are in tatters.

Michael 5:18 PM  

I needed google for the SE and hapax. I know that it's Saturday, but this one seemed awfully hard anyhow -- oleaster, hapax, nappa, anuran, periodide (I tried perioxide -- when in doubt try an x didn't work here), the famous film "London at Midnight (1927)", roxio, the well-known ten-day war between slovenia and yugoslavia in 1991, supermini, date my mom (I was pleased with coming up with "road rules" which of course was wrong)

Given the above, I'm surprised that I did as well as I did (which was really not at all good)

Karen 5:45 PM  

Bill, we get gunshots during the soccer game for Revolution goals here in Massachusetts. Not usually at the end of the games. (Gunshots provided by amateur re-enactors, do not try this at home.)

doc John 5:48 PM  

I was kind of surprised to see Rex rate it as challenging. Other than HAPAX/XIA (yes, I missed the X, too, and when I saw it here I said, "Duh") the rest of the fill, while on the oblique side, was ascertainable; for example, two long SE down clues were direct synonyms of the clues. Don't get me wrong: I thought it was hard, Saturday hard, but not Challenging. Heck, I was able to finish it in only two tries (over three hours) but with no Googles. Challenging was that darn one with "golconda" in it!
Speaking of HAPAX legomenon, I was sure I'd come here and see some sort of Lego picture featured!

I had "mispress" for MISPRINT but ORANG set me straight.

Also, I do think that at the end of a football game the ref fires a pistol.

Thanks for mentioning Hi-C. I also wondered why I hadn't seen a drink called HIC. I also entertained "kix" for the cereal but the X just didn't seem to fit (even though the grid at that point was empty except for ENOL).

Fave answers: JELLO SHOT, COMMODE (Which is "where you go" after too many of the former!)

ds 7:04 PM  

I am in total agreement with challenging but fun; by definition for me, if I have to Google for some answers but can still finish the puzzle correctly, that is a very nice Saturday.

I was a little surprised that you didn't discuss how 7D doesn't really pass the breakfast test.

Overall, a great puzzle.

SteveB 7:17 PM  

It used to be that the referee would fire a blank pistol to signal the end of a football game, but they use whistles now. I did a quick Google search on that topic and came up with this reference to the 1947 Northwestern-Ohio State game:,9171,887700,00.html


SteveB 7:19 PM  

OK, so that didn't work very well. Try putting these pieces together.

Doug 8:10 PM  

Well, like Rex I had the same number of fills after the first pass and ended up with ... the same number. I was just in Sydney and of course knew West Aus is a STATE, guessed CARESFOR, got NILNIL, TOGO, EYELINERS, ANTIFUR, EARPS, and XIA.

I speak Chinese and XIA comes up in advanced tutorials as he is sort of a George Washington, Columbus, J.A. Macdonald (first PM of Canada, had to throw that in) type. If you're confused about all the Xs, Qs and Zs in Chinese here's a primer in advance of the Olympics. The poor media reporters will be struggling I think.

- X is pronounced like SH in SHE (not exactly but close enough, and if you really want perfection just stick your tongue to the bottom of your mouth, touch your bottom and top incisors together and say SHE. This is why Chinese people often are portrayed as being toothy, I think.) XIA is pronounced the same as muslim SHI'A, but the emphasis is on the aspirated A, so xi-A.

- Q is pronounced in a similar way (the tongue bit) but is CH as in CHEESE. Say "cheese" with the tongue...and incisors...portrayed as toothy. QI is like CHEE, QU is like CHOO.

- Z is is like the vibrated S in IS. Notice how we never pronounce IS like HISS? Interesting! It's more a ... "Z" sound. So pronounce Chinese Z in that way, and aspirate it by starting with your tongue on the roof of your mouth before aspirating. ZI is not like ZEE, but is more like ZIH.

Tomorrow, we will discuss verb conjugation and gender. A short discussion because there ISN'T ANY and after studying Russian, French and German I am VERY HAPPY.

Fergus 8:24 PM  

A lot of spring break preparation, so never really got a chance to meditate on this stemwinder of a puzzle. If I were the resentful type I would highlight the STAGY Clue, Forced, in a way, as Byron Walden's mea culpa for this puzzle. But I'm not. I was beaten fair and square, because it's patently wrong to complain about any stretch in a Saturday puzzle. Not up to the task, but there is some grace in humility, as I've heard some Christians say.

I only got the western hemisphere in the spell I had to work on it this morning. Letting it percolate for a bit while running around yielded nothing so I googled WEBERN and CHANEY and bumbled through eventually, though MT ARARAT bothered me because I knew it's not in Armenia. That's one tough clue.

For a while I had MATE MY MOM, which shows some insight into reality TV; and JELLYROLL, figuring he was some kind of Jigger.

In early 2000, my Web bubble company did the site for ROXIO, including the branding and the company name (which I didn't like). The amount we charged was obscene, even by the standards of the day.

Doug E 9:11 PM  

Oh. My brain hurts. Tried "one-one," and "one-zip" before deciding the score was"one-all." Nil did occur to me, but I gave it zip credence. And, even living in Silicon Valley, never thought of "nappa." Couldn't remember ROXIO and thought Napster might have been bought by a WAREZ company, which conveniently gave me the "no-mess/no-muss" miss EZ-OPEN, until I Googled the VW Polo, which is not a "Bio-Diesel" or a "EuroWagon," but a SuperMini, which seems like it should actually be a BMW brand. Argh. On the PGA record, I knew enough to get out of the Woods, but had to cheat to find Peete. And hapax legomenon still sounds like a Harry Potter spell to me. So, yeah, not a proud day, but, still a fun puzzle, if by that you mean it feels good now that I can stop hammering my skull to shake something loose.

Ulrich 9:22 PM  

@doug e at 9:11PM: Hapax Legomenon as a Potter spell is just inspired! Coming across these flights of fancy is one of the pleasures that come with this blog... Hope to hear from you again!

John Reid 9:24 PM  

Once again I'm going to go off topic here:

I just got totally crushed by today's Saturday Stumper Newsday puzzle. It's a Merle Baker puzzle. Don't try it because it's too hard. If you do try it, don't bother trying the bottom right hand corner because (I'm telling you) *IT'S TOO HARD*. And if you bravely decide to venture into that SE corner... well just don't say I didn't warn you.

[Of course this is just my opinion - results may vary.]

If Byron Walden's puzzle last night/this morning was a blow to the body, this was the uppercut that put me on the canvas.

Alright, enough of this punishment for one week; I'm ready for a Monday puzzle. :)

Noam D. Elkies 10:13 PM  

Forgot to mention (re 15A): "When you hear hoofbeats, don't think zebras" -- unless it's a Saturday puzzle... (The answer could also have been STRIPY.)

Was the 36D clue "flower of Pâques" (which on Saturday could also have been cluing a river) intentionally seasonal? I thought Pâques might have been chosen to rhyme with 27A:HAPAX, but no, the s of Pâques must be silent en français.

OK, off to Sunday...

P.S. Yes, "periodic acid" can also be H5I06.

Orange 1:14 AM  

The ungainly ORANG would look so much better with an E on the end.

I can't believe my mom made sure I knew various kinds of oak and maple trees and that their genera were Quercus and Acer, but never taught me that the Russian olive tree in our backyard was also called OLEASTER. The olea- part ties right into olives and everything.

Orange 1:15 AM  

P.S. Rex: Yeah, Manchild in the Promised Land, right? Never read it, but have always loved the title for its manchild.

Fergus 2:02 AM  

So negligent your mom was when it came to teaching the young chick about pecking around for information,

karmasartre 2:07 AM  

@fergus -- the fact that you have started speaking like Yoda has completely thrown off my image of you.....

Fergus 2:35 AM  

only trying for a cross between Kung Fu and Then Came Bronson, after realizing that I could never come up with something original.

Bill from NJ 8:33 AM  


In the early days of Football (American-style), the clock on the scoreboard was unofficial so, at the end of the game, it was customary to fire a gun in the air to signal the official end of the game.

When the clock became official on the field, that practice ended.

Ulrich 9:14 AM  

@bill from nj: Thanks--much appreciated

Alan 12:47 AM  

Bike stand? I had bike steak. Ask any Tour de France rider what they sit on. Yucky but useful on the seat.

Mike the Wino 3:05 PM  

For you guys that had difficulty with "Hi-C", it reminded me of an answer from a couple-three years ago for a clue that escapes me now, but turned out to be "PASYSTEM". Tried looking that up but came up blank. Thought it must be an acronym for whatever, like P.O.S.S.L.Q. (a US census term). Only after a 13th look at it did we see "P.A. SYSTEM"!! So now, every answer that puts two words together that don't look quite right are now known as PASYSTEMS...

tinwhistler 12:17 AM  

Make music a job and its music you rob
Make music a sport and its magic falls short
Make music a chore and it soothes us no more

This puzzle was a fucking chore.

Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

Marty71 4:24 AM  

I loved this puzzle! Mainly because I must be one of the few to count HAPAX as a gimme. I'm a minister with training in ancient Greek and Hebrew, and Hebrew has quite a few words that are hapax legomenon, so that term came up in classes quite a bit. Therefore finished the NW first, then the NE, then the SW and got really stuck on the SE. Had ROAD RULES for 31D and that really threw a wrench into the works, and even though I have heard of a VW Polo, I had not heard of the classification before. I have family in Germany and I was stuck trying to think of German words that would fit the clue. If all the Saturday ones were like this, I would be happy indeed.

kidmaestro2010 9:13 AM  

Imagine my surprise to discover MTV reality show was neither REALWORLD nor ROADRULES after having written in the only two letters they had in common, and the African-American golfer I thought had to be TIGER or WOODS. No wonder nothing fit across them.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP