SATURDAY, Apr. 12, 2008 - Byron Walden (SAVANNA BOUNDERS)

Friday, April 11, 2008


Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Wow. I should have rated yesterday's puzzle Medium-Challenging, so that I had somewhere left to go today. This took a good deal more work than yesterday's did (typical for a Byron Walden puzzle). It was also a good deal more satisfying. If you are among the sports-phobic solvers out there, this one must have hurt. There are at least 10 sports-related clues, most of them (SNEAD and ILIE aside) really, really tough. But before we get to those, though, let's deal with the Bizarro Words / Phrases of the Day.

Winner: NON-U (41A: Like the hoi polloi) - I came at this one from underneath, then from above, and had the -ON- part. BONY? No. Then I got the initial "N" and stared at NON- thinking "... only one letter can go there ... and NONE makes no sense." I eventually hacked at 10D: Top Medoc classification until I got PREMIER CR-, and I knew that last letter had to be a "U," but NONU? Gibberish. Do the "hoi polloi" constitute a kind of social "NO-NO?" Are they so insignificant that they count as "NONE?" I then asked my wife, "Wife, is 'NON-U.' a thing? Could 'hoi polloi' be NON-U, as in 'NON-University type folk'?" Wife could neither confirm nor deny this, though she confessed she'd never heard of the expression "NON-U." In the end, it's the only thing that fit. And here we are. Hey, NONU is the name of a rugby player for the All Blacks, honey! (that's the NZ team). Cool coincidence. [Here's a thorough explanation of NON U - thanks to Doris for filling me in]

Runner-up: TOLUENE (53A: TNT ingredient?) - That question mark, ugh! Wanted NETWORK at first, thinking TNT would stand for Turner Network Television. By the end - and this was the Very End of the puzzle for me - I had -OLUEN-. I wanted the T in the first position, having (proudly) gotten TAT (53D: Reciprocal action) right off the bat somewhat earlier in the puzzle (it was that or TIT), but I figured that of all my Downs down there, that one was most likely to be wrong. I was reluctant to pull the trigger on the last letter, the E, because it was the second E in FEDAYEEN, and though that sounded right, I was sure I was confusing the 36D: Palestinian fighters with the MEDELL├ŹN Cartel. I could not have told you what TNT stood for, but something in the back of my brain said "TOLUENE is a real thing - put it in." Still, if TOLUENE is in fact an "ingredient" of TNT, why is there a "?" in the clue? I know that the clue's referencing the actual letters in "TNT" and not the substance itself (hence the "?"), but TOLUENE is still an ingredient, on some basic level, isn't it?

THE HONORABLE (37A: Mayor's introduction) Mentions:

  • FEDAYEEN (for Adventurous Spelling)
  • DELIRIA (for Achievement in Latin Pluralizing) - 54A: Bouts of madness
  • THREE D (for Parsing Difficulty) - 19A: Like some glasses [THREED => THREE D, i.e. 3-D]

I spent much of this puzzle quite stuck, poking around at different parts of the puzzle without getting any kind of roll going. I had a handful of correct answers here and there, but almost always there was a wrong one mixed in, keeping me from progressing. Then the weirdest answer broke open the flood gates: JAG (46A: Bender). I wasn't sure of it, so I checked the "J" cross, and thought "--J-D-? Well that's not a word." And then two seconds later I thought in terms of a specific patron, and there was ST JUDE. After that, the puzzle felt more like a Thursday than a Saturday - until the end, in the SE, where I had a hard time delivering the knockout punch.

The sheer number of sports clues is impressive, but I was even more impressed with what appeared to be a Noah's-Ark-like pattern of different sports entering the puzzle two by two:

  • Golf: GRIP (27A: Subject of a golf lesson) and SNEAD (44D: Winner of a record 82 P.G.A. Tour events)
  • Tennis: 48D: Tennis's Nastase (Ilie) and 43A: Customary start for Wimbledon singles finals (two p.m.) - I had TEN A.M. at first, but that's because I grew up on the west coast, and Wimbledon aired there in the morning.
  • Baseball: 20A: 1950s Dodgers pitcher _____ Labine (Clem) - I've seen this (obscure) guy in my puzzle before, and I still couldn't recall him - and 15A: Situation early in an inning (one away) - entertained ONE GONE and NO ONE ON before hitting on this one.
  • Football: 29D: Defend with focus, in football (key on) and 33A: Player coached by Hank Stram (Kansas City Chief)
  • Then there's the odd couple of basketball and soccer: 25D: Slovenian-born N.B.A. guard Vujacic (Sasha) and 16A: Target of some soccer kicks (far post)
  • And the gambling duo: 1A: Strip authority (pit boss) and 8D: "Too rich for my blood" ("I fold")

Had I'M OUT for I FOLD, which helped me get ONEONTA (18A: State University of New York campus site) but kept FAR POST away from me for way way too long. ONEONTA is rough. Not for me - it's just up the road. But if you don't live around here, you maybe know four SUNY campuses: Binghamton, Buffalo, Stony Brook, and Albany. There are many, many more.

Wrap-up:

  • 8A: Savanna bounders (impalas) - here's something weird. This is the very first answer I thought of (after GAZELLES) and yet I don't think I wrote it in til very late. I have No idea why. My post-10pm solving brain is kind of unreliable.
  • 17A: Lipitor and such (statins) - gimme. Not sure why. Maybe from watching too much CBS (every other ad is for some medication that older people might need).
  • 22A: Go-_____ (certain motorized scooters) (peds) - ouch. I almost want to challenge that these are real things, but I'm sure I would lose that challenge. Still, I have never heard of such a thing in all my life. MOPED, yes.
  • 23A: Ink holder (pad) - also, sadly, PEN and POT (both of which I had at some point)
  • 24A: French department that's home to the Chartreuse Mountains (Isere) - doing puzzles a lot helped here, in that ISERE is a semi-familiar place name to me.
  • 30A: Kennedyesque conquests (New Frontiers) - I could Not figure out what this clue was getting at. HOT BLONDES? ACTRESSES? It surely wasn't military "conquests," as those attempts ... never went so great for Kennedy. But it's from his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Check it out. He's one hell of an orator. NEW FRONTIERS are more a metaphor for the challenges facing the US in the 60s.
  • 38A: Wearer of a wraparound cloth called a lavalava (Samoan) - wife's immediate response when faced with this clue: "FIJIAN? SAMOAN?" She's from the South Pacific, so no big surprise there, I guess.
  • 42A: With 14-Down, part of a U.S. political map (red / states) - very nice work. Got this one pretty easily.
  • 45A: Kegger cry ("toga!") - ??? In "Animal House," yes, in general ... come on. Alternative offered by my wife (when I had -OG-): GO-GO! Alternative offered by me: YOGA!
  • 49A: Tub handle? (Parkay) - loved this.
  • 55A: Kindergarten admonition ("act nice") - did Not like this. BE NICE and PLAY NICE, OK, but ACT NICE? I'm sure people have said it, but it feels a little off.
  • 1D: Like the grunge rock movement (post-punk) - true enough. Grunge reminds me of my very first years in grad school. Its only lasting legacy, as far as I can tell, is Nirvana, who transcended that label almost immediately.
  • 2D: Where Neptune can be found (in the sea) - wrote it in very early, then took it out, deeming it too silly. I can say with near certainty that Neptune does not, in fact, live IN THE SEA.
  • 4D: "America the Beautiful" poet Katharine Lee _____ (Bates) - no idea, but I practically channeled her name. Had the -AT-, inferred the "S" from the cross, and then guessed the rest.
  • 5D: Boo-boo (owie) - me to wife: "How would you spell OWIE?" Wife: "I wouldn't." How about [Decapitated Eno collaborator?]
  • 6D: Gear impediment (sand) - another hunch that ended up being correct. Wanted WRENCH but it wouldn't fit.
  • 9D: Place for a comb (mane) - I just googled this phrase, and found this site - the stupid question and answer string made me laugh out loud. God bless the internets.
  • 20D: Underwritten? (captioned) - I was so so so proud of myself when I entered FOOTNOTED. You are a genius, I said to myself.
  • 31D: Setting numbered in multiples of the square root of 2 (f-stop) - wow, I had no idea. None. I mean, I knew F-STOP was a setting on a camera, but the square root of 2 stuff = news to me. Byron ... enjoys math.
  • 52D: "Lucky Number Slevin" actress, 2006 (Liu) - ugh, did anyone see that movie? Of all the juicy LIU flicks, you choose this one? Where's "Kill Bill," I (always) say. On the upside, no reference to "Ally McBeal."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

84 comments:

imsdave 8:26 AM  

Brutal - only googles of the week (for pitcher Labine to get me off of IMOUT, and lavalava to get me out of a horrible mess in the SW). I was so proud of myself for FEDAYKEN, sure that it was from Dune. Oops. Ditto for TUOLENE, thought that was brilliant. Oops. Oneonta was a gimme (I went to Potsdam and lived in Binghamton for years). Got THEHONORABLE easily enough, but it's a little tongue in cheek to me living in CT (look up Bridgeport and Danbury mayors currently living in federal peniteniaries). Great puzzle.

billnutt 8:36 AM  

Rex, you'll excuse me if the title KILL BILL sends shivers down my spine.

Nice use of the Darwyn Cooke's NEW FRONTIER poster!

Anyway, I actually found today's puzzle slightly easier than yesterday's. I did resort to goggling, but not as much as I did on Friday. The Wisconsin (?) area was a problem because I had IMOUT in place of IFOLD. It wasn't until I looked up CLEM Labine that that part fell into place.

NON-U gets the WTF Award for the day. And you'd think I'd have done enough puzzles to not CRU and ISERE, but I guess not.

Do people even HAVE keggers any more?

I also assumed that TNT ingredient would be something like SVU RERUN.

OWIE - ughie, is what I say.

Here's hoping that next weekend I don't have to resort to computer aid!

Doris 8:45 AM  

O.K.—"Non-U" was coined by Nancy Mitford in her book "Noblesse Oblige" (1956). It was a humorous look at which verbal expressions and practices were "U," e.g., upper class, or "non-U," which were lower class in Britain. There was a certain edge of actual snobbery, although in general we were supposed to laugh at the whole thing, especially we Yanks. Thus, "non-U" refers to the masses, or hoi polloi. One example, pretty much defunct nowadays, was that "looking-glass" was U and "mirror" was non-U. There were better examples, but they don't come readily to mind.

jannieb 8:47 AM  

This was indeed Saturday-worthy. PremierCru got me off to a good start in the NE, but didn't protect me from trying "I'm out". I knew marpost made no sense. Once I tried the "f", the correct answer came to mind. The long central crosses were all gimmes. That helped me in the SE (loved Parkay, agree that "act nice" is too forced). As for the SW, I had St. Luke for way too long (sorry Marlo!). The NW was, as ever, the last fill - owie and three-d just wouldn't come to my brain. Didn't help that I insisted Neptune lived under the sea. Can't wait for someone to explain non-u. It doesn't parse into anything vaguely recognizable.

jannieb 8:48 AM  

Thanks, Doris!!

Rex Parker 8:49 AM  

"Looking glass" seems more "Alice in Wonderland" than "Upper class."

Thanks for the lesson, Doris.

rp

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

For once, my mind went in same directions as Rex's: I struggled with "NONU" for quite a while. Eventually I googled it and found what Doris said above. In fact, I found another xword site with a link to a YouTube "Hoi Polloi" clip that's definitely worth watching.

I guess lots of us tried "I'M OUT" first. I had to Google "CLEM" to get out of that.

"F-STOP" hung me up for quite a while. I guess I should have realized it had to do with a setting for a larger or smaller circle (area varying with the square of the radius), in this case referring to the size of the aperture, but I didn't. Tough bunch of letters.

I resisted comb and "MANE" for a long time, but it seems more sensible now.

I also tried "POT" instead of "PAD," which gave me "__OPTIONED," and I tried to think of some kind of obscure financial term starting with an initial. And I wanted some kind of blonde bombshell for "NEW FRONTIERS."

I had to laugh at Rex's comment about how those of us "not from around here" might be able to come up with only, say, four S.U.N.Y. campuses. How about none? Unless by "not from around here" you mean no further away than about 100 miles.

On the other hand, I thought "TOGA" was a gimme. Goes to show my non-U orientation.

SethG 9:27 AM  

TWO PM was a gimme, and I actually erased it at one point to put the ludicrous NORMAN FELL/FINE (sir).

ONEONTA was a gimme, though I'm not sure where it is and I know no one who's ever been there. One of the tools used to remove land mines is a comb, which I'll use as my excuse for why I had so much trouble getting rid of MINE/IMOUT/POT/MIDPOST. And of course your comb link immediately brought this scene (mild oath warning) to mind.

TOLUENE was a gimme (well, the ? was confusing but I know that TNT = TriNitroToluene), while other errors for the day included VEGASPD/SOP, BINKEN (figured I'd confused 'Blinken' with Blinky, a ghost from Pac-Man), CHUG/MORE/GOGO.

Very disappointed in myself--I couldn't get past a couple of these at all, and I should have totally owned this puzzle.

Kathy 9:57 AM  

This one was another example of a really good constructor (I whimpered when I saw BW's name, like yesterday when I saw Manny's name) sucking me in, making me think I might be able to do the puzzle without googling. Then I was bitch-slapped and scurried off to Google, praying I could cheat enough there to finish the puzzle. I couldn't :(

Sounds like we were all very pleased with ourselves at one point or another, like me with dernier cru (duh!) and I'm out. Oh well, I did get Kansas City Chief....I think I'll just think of that....where did I put the tv guide puzzle....

Kathy

PhillySolver 10:19 AM  

My, oh my! I was worn out by this puzzle and went to bed last night about 50% finished (glass half full). I just finished and have one of the coolest errors I have ever had. By now you know, I can't spell or I might be a whiz at this activity. So, elegence would require a crossing for me to question it, but the cross was tub handle? Well, in my youth a good friend drove an old Nash automobile that we called the Tub. So a carkey would be a good tub handle? Well. it is a stretch, but two hours with Byron was enough. I did at least correct postpink for the grunge movement and the entured for ENSURED entries.

NONU and hoi polloi could be related in whatever language it stems from, but I am glad that Doris, Bryon and three other people knew this one. I just left it because it fit with my known wine classification, although I prefer Grand Cru Bordeaux.

PhillySolver 10:49 AM  

I wonder if the trunk reference for the ventriloquist is the same Senor Winces we saw in a puzzle last week. I recall the trunk saying "s'allright", or something like that.

I think you could add TRUNK and GRIP to your paired answers, too. The Burl Ives song we had earlier this week referred to a grip in the last verse.

Badria 10:49 AM  

That F-stop clue made my click shut.

"Act nice" is something you'd say to a kid you hate, as in, "I know you AREN'T, but couldja just pretend?"

Badria 10:51 AM  

That was my brain that clicked shut, by the way, but I suppose you could fill in the blank.

Orange 10:55 AM  

I may have learned NON-U from the time Byron used it in a 2004 Sun puzzle.

I think TNT's question mark was because the "ingredients" aren't really tri, nitro, and toluene—except that TNT really does start with toluene as an ingredient (it's nitrated three times, hence trinitrotoluene).

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Without you, I'd be dead in the water with this one.

Some call it cheating, I call it working together. Teams do more than singles. Ha-ha

JC66 11:11 AM  

Thanks to Brian's NONU and OWIE, my mistaking STLUKE for STJUDE and MOVERS for MOGULS, I went to bed having LAV (!?) for JAG and KERIRIA (!?) for JAG. Talk about bitch slapped.

imsdave1 11:14 AM  

@rex - you should rent 'Lucky Number Slevin' - fun movie, lot's of violence, irony, and humor - think you might like it.

@philly, check your blog, I've posted a few times there.

p.s. - i'm imsdave at home, and imsdave1 @work

ArtLvr 11:27 AM  

This was a downer in so many ways! Even after a google part way through to get out of a stall, for KANSAS CITY CHIEFS to complete the lower half and NE, I couldn't finish the NW.

I knew STATINS, looked up BATES, and still didn't come up with OWIE, PIT BOSS, ONE AWAY, THREE D. Just wish I'd called "time" on myself sooner, or left it for later in the day... But I wasn't feeling even close to a happy finish. Ugh.

∑;(

jls 11:45 AM  

"like the hoi polloi"... dang. couldn't fit "redundant" into them four squares...

;-)

janie

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Doris

Perhaps this will help (from Wikipedia)clarify the origins of NONU:

U and non-U English usage, with U standing for upper class, and non-U representing the aspiring middle classes, were part of the terminology of popular discourse of social dialects (sociolects) in 1950s Britain and the northeast United States. The debate did not concern itself with the speech of the working classes, which in many instances used the same words as the upper class.

The debate was set in motion in 1954 by the British linguist Professor Alan S C Ross. He coined the terms U and non-U in an article on the difference that social class makes to English language usage, which was published in a Finnish professional linguistics journal[1]. His article covered differences of pronunciation and writing style, but it was his attention to differences of vocabulary that received the most attention.

R. Kane

Blue Stater 11:46 AM  

I remain unpersuaded, I'm afraid, by Orange's chemically sophisticated attempt to justify the question mark in 53A, "TNT ingredient?" TOLUENE. Struck me as a wholly artificial attempt to deceive and mislead. If that sort of thing is OK in puzzles, then it's child's play to make them harder by just dropping in question marks randomly.

I got this mess (in about 30 minutes) with one Google (of BATES), but didn't like it much. 5D "Boo-boo" OWIE is wayyy over the top, seems to me (never heard it, never read it, can't imagine it).

The contrast with yesterday's ELEGANT Manny is stark.

PhillySolver 11:57 AM  

This is not an Urban Legend...it is an ABC News story.

When Erika Miller collapsed in her home Tuesday, her toddler Alana picked the phone and dialed 911.

And she knew just enough words to get her mom some help. The tape of Alana's 911 call reveals the resourceful little girl's plea for help:

Operator: 911, where is your emergency?
Alana: Momma owie.
Operator: Momma owie?
Alana: Momma owie.
Operator: Is momma there?
Alana: Momma owie.

The operator quickly traced the call to the Millers' home.


Now, the word only appears in the Urban Dictionary, so it is a bit removed from common usage. My three year old granddaughter has advanced beyond it, so I can see why others struggle with it.


Still, this puzzle was a big owie for me.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Agreed...no question mark should come after TNT. That was just wrong.

And NON-U just s--ks!!!! So I'm no wine maven and didn't know the "cru" to get that dumb-ss NON-U.

Didn't google anything, however!

0:-) !!!!

Coop 12:09 PM  

This puzzle initially seemed like a piece of cake compared to yesterday's. Then about halfway into it I hit a wall...but I still think Friday's was more difficult. How about the rest of you?

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

The ? in "TNT ingredient?" was bush league. Toluene IS the starting material for TNT synthesis, so is the reason for the ? that chemists don't refer to reactants as "ingredients"? It seems to me that its purpose was to throw off people who knew what TNT stood for and make us follow various wrong trains of thought.

bill from fl 12:26 PM  

I had the hardest time with the SW, because I entered ST LUKE, and nothing seemed to work. Finally, I used brute force to come up with JAG, which gave me ST JUDE and the rest. DELIRIA still looks wrong to me.

By the way, I think "the hoi polloi" is redundant, since hoi just means "the." I love NON-U, though; it was news to me.

Orange 12:41 PM  

Blue stater, maybe my intent didn't come through. It seemed to me (though I haven't asked Byron or Will) that the clue's writer may have been unaware that toluene is, quite literally, an ingredient of TNT. (I was unaware of it myself until I looked at the Wikipedia write-up.) The question mark would work much better if toluene weren't an actual ingredient.

Google tells me that there's a mixed drink called TNT, with Tequila and Tabasco sauce. Two 7-letter ingredients starting with a T? Hmm, maybe the clue was supposed to bring the drink to mind (though I wasn't familiar with the drink recipe or name).

PuzzleGirl 12:49 PM  

Nine googles for me today. Ugh. Really liked the puzzle though.

I tried to insert early-week answers in several spots: PEN and POT for PAD, SUM for SEW, DEAR for KIND, AFRO for MANE, POB for APO, DEMOLISH for TEAR DOWN, and DUMMY for TRUNK. I wanted something along the lines of CURTSY for the Wimbledon clue. Like most, it seems, I had I'M OUT for I FOLD.

Thank god for GRAHAM KERR, Sam SNEAD and ILIE Nastase. They got me going and I had pretty much the whole bottom half done before I had to give up last night. (I really need to just start the puzzle in the morning instead of forcing myself to work at it when I can't keep my eyes open.)

I also had TRIBECA for the SUNY campus for a while. It seemed possible.

I guess I have no idea what "hoi polloi" means. I thought it was the exact opposite, so had TONY at first.

I, too, had MEDAYEEN and now realize I was confusing it with MEDALLIN.

Brutal but fun. About what I expect from Byron Walden (especially on a Saturday).

Oh, and OWIE was a total gimme for me. Maybe you have to spend a lot of time around young children to be familiar with it.

dk 12:51 PM  

ok ok my lovely wife and I had many "doh" moments such as staring at THREED and wondering wtf.

The SE killed us. We new it was ACTNICE but the rest.... We had to revert to Rex to get TOLUENE as we were stuck in the network rut and TOOKTEN (grrrrr).

Welcome to Saturday :):)

dk 12:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 1:02 PM  

As an aside, I'm a
CRUCIVERB.COM subscriber. I used to be able to access the New York Sun and The Chronicle of Higher Education puzzles there, but recently, I'm linked directly to each publications Web site that doesn't allow access to the puzzle. I still get the LA Times, WSJ and CrosSynergy puzzles. Can anyone offer suggestions?

jae 1:09 PM  

This was tougher for me than yesterday's but made it with no errors and no google. Its the first time in a long while I've had to go overnight to finish. (Thanks Doris for the NON-U explanation I was afraid that might be an error). SE was the last to fall as the ? in TNT threw me off a bit (was looking for TURNER something). Didn't make the IMOUT error but had HIVE initially for the comb clue and tried PEN and POT. I felt TOGA was a stretch for the reason Rex mentioned. I also made several lucky guesses (e.g SASHA, CLEM, POCO, PEDS). Indicative of my struggle with this one is that I immediatly thought Vegas for 1a but then thought no, they're looking for DEPOSE or USURP or something like that. It took getting POSTPUNK to set me right. Glad Rex rated this fine puzzle challenging because it was very much so for me.

wade 1:11 PM  

This one was quite a bit easier for me than yesterday's--I'd call it medium for a Saturday. Having said that, I did finish with one wrong letter--I had POD instead of PAD, which gave me COPTIONED, and I never did go back and puzzle it out. The last letter I filled in was the Y in PARKAY. I looked at PARKA_ for a long time, thinking it must be PORKIE (as in a "tubby" person).

Getting the long answer KANSASCITYCHIEFS on the first pass helped immensely (the Chiefs started out as the Dallas Texans and were owned by Lamar Hunt, one of the founders of the AFL, so I've always felt a kinship with the team. Plus, Kansas City is just such a weird place for a pro football team. Weird place for a town, too.)

Count me in on the IMOUT initial mistake. Also, I had IMACLUTZ and ITRIPPED before IBROKEIT.

treedweller 1:14 PM  

Add to possible kegger cries: CHUG

I thought that was one of very few answers I had right after the first pass through the puzzle. Took a long time and a lot of googling to sort it out.

I still never got FSTOP till I checked Rex's answer--I tried TWOAM--not as a time, but as some sort of variant on Pro-Am (obviously wrong if I had thought through what Pro-Am means, but I was desperate). FSTOA? well, what do I know about advanced math? (A: not much). I actually found a Web site that used that odd assortment of letters in the context of algorithms, so I left it.

All to prove I still have a long way to go before Saturdays are doable more than once in a blue moon.

PS "How would you spell 'owie'?" "I wouldn't." Ha! Good one, Mrs. Rex.

Orange 1:25 PM  

jc66: See the links in "The Country's Other Puzzles" in the side bar, not too far down. Will Johnston and Ephraim Vishnic's Puzzle Pointers pages offer a couple ways to access the crosswords you want. As a Mac user, I get the Sun from Will's .zip calendar pages. I got the Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle from Cruciverb just fine on Friday, but you should also be able to access it via the Puzzle Pointers sites.

Bill from NJ 1:52 PM  

When I was a scholarship stduent at Arizona State University in the mid 60s, my ilk was referred to as NONU by the landed gentry. Regardless of how the term started life, in practical terms it was used to distinguish the "hoi polloi" from their betters. I am as insulted now as I was then. I guess I feel the same way about NONU as the feminists felt about LIBBERS yesterday.

On to the puzzle . . .

I got all the sports clues and 30A which opened up the Midlands for me and my rudimentary French helped me get the NE.

I found myself at the 1 hour mark with all but the NW solved. I could no parse 1A or 19A and called the puzzle complete at 1:45.

@anonymous 8:55 - I think TOGA marks you of an age rather than NONU!

Pete M 1:54 PM  

NONU is what Mork says in the upper-class British version of Mork and Mindy, I think. :)

dquarfoot 1:56 PM  

If Byron's out there in cyberspace today reading this blog, I'd love to know if this puzzle actually underwent a revision. My guess would be that PREMIERCRU actually began as the entry DERNIERCRI (creating NONI instead of NONU and a different NE corner). My feeling is that NONI ("Tahitian juice/fruit") didn't fly with Shortz and led to a rewrite replacing DERNIERCRI with PREMIERCRU. Not sure I think NON-U is any better (I've actually heard of Noni juice), but it has a semi-long history in the Cruciverb database - 7 previous uses).

I also wanted to say that this was one of the best puzzles of the year for me. So many interesting phrases that haven't been used before. So many great clues. So much fresh new hotness all around.

DQ

chefbea 2:09 PM  

toughest puzzle ever. finally gave up and just looked at the finnished puzzle. Of course i knew the galloping gourmet and parkay although I doubt if Graham Kerr uses marjoram.

chefbea 2:11 PM  

don't know what happened?? I lost my blue and orange. can someone tell me again how to do it?
Thanks
chef bea

Pete M 2:12 PM  

@Rex: I liked Lucky Number Slevin quite a bit. No Oscar-winning plots or anything, but a good fun check-your-brain-at-the-door flick with a great cast to boot.

Watch Amelie first, though. :)

imsdave1 2:25 PM  

@chefbea - I always have to log into Google and then go to my blog, after that I have no problems.

Dick Swart 2:29 PM  

A further note on the English U and Non-U and its counterpart ‘High Brow-Middle Brow-Low Brow’ in the US in the 50’s.

Although in use for years before, notably by Virginia Woolf, The U/Non-U was formally put forth as an English taxonomy by the linguist Alan S C Ross in 1954 and taken up by Nancy Mitford, Stephen Spender and others. Though it seems ‘quaint’ now, it was a serious subject in a very poor and rationed post-war Britain coming to grips again with it’s class distinctions as it had after WWI.

And so too in the post-war US, the question of social class was a topic of great interest. The US had expanded prosperity and disposable income to many who had never had it before. What distinctions could be made between people in a nominally classless society?

In 1949, Russell Lynes the editor of Harpers put forth a formal US taxonomy based on terms that had been in use for years: Highbrow, Middlebrow and Lowbrow and the appurtanances in art, literature, furniture, and food that applied to each.

The article was a sensation! LIFE Magazine commisioned an article for an early 1949 edition complete with illustrations. And remember, LIFE was the TV/Internet of the day.

Here is Lynes’1991 obit in the NYT. It appears he was Highbrow.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5DC103EF935A2575AC0A967958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

LIFE Magazine, then considering itself (and not without reason) the great definer of taste and social acceptability in the 1950’s, also ran articles on Deerfield Academy and Williams College, reflecting the academic predilections of management if not true journalistic values.

Again, more than you wanted to know! But really interesting!

Leon 2:29 PM  

Real nice puzzle.

NONU :In 2004 the export of nonu was Samoa’s equal second largest export earner (tying with Vailima beer). The country’s biggest export is fish.

It is the Samoan term for the NONI fruit. Take that U.

NONU JUICE.

JC66 2:31 PM  

@chefbea, try logging back in to google.

JC66 2:36 PM  

@orange, thanks for the tips. I'l give them a shot. For some reason, CRUCIVERB.COM treats me as a non-subscriber on some puzzles.

foodie 2:37 PM  

Rex

I was so pleased to read that I made the same guess as you: "Footnoted" and also felt smug and may be brilliant! Pad could be Pot, and not knowing from Clem, I thought may be Fran! So, it kept me going for quite a while, until Graham Kerr made it impossible to sustain (Golf lesson: Grio?).

I had one story in the back of my head that I think triggered that ill-fated, "footnoted" guess. A friend of mine, a research psychologist, told me he was conducting a word association test with a schizophrenic patient. The word he gave the patient was "foot"; the quick response from the patient was "under-standing"! It took my friend a while to figure it out. But I bet Will could find a good use for this interesting association.

The word Fedayeen in Arabic comes from Feda', which means sacrifice (including one's life) for a higher cause, like one's country. The singular for the person who does it is: Feda'i, and the plural is Fedayeen-- "the sacrificers".

VERY interesting explanation about Non-U. Reminded me of the Dr. Seuss book about the Star-Bellied Sneetches versus those with no "Star upon thar"!

While challenging, this puzzle was more doable than yesterday's because there were many more places to find a hook, in spite of my total ignorance about sports.

johnson 2:42 PM  

My soon-to-be 20 year old daughter is a bit clumsy and frequently uses the term OWIE. That said, I was extremely reluctant to enter it into the puzzle, figuring it's not possible that it's a commonly used term.

The question mark in TNT tortured me, but I still finished the southeast first.

I'm a sportsphobe so this was a killer...I managed to finish correctly, no google, except had Non-I instead of Non-U. I need to study up on wine I guess!

Can someone explain the FSTOP mathematics in layman's terms?

Dave 2:42 PM  

NONU was not a winner. Sorry. Took 15 minutes, and I was still wrong. Feh.

Mike 2:46 PM  

For the last several weeks I have found the saturdays easier than the fridays even though rex usually rates them the other way. On the relative difficulty scale do fridays=saturdays?

I totally agree with orange on the TOLUENE debate. As a chemist it was a total gimmie for me but I was uncomfortable with it being clued as an and ingredient. I didn't notice the question mark, but the question mark does make the clue ok.

Did anyone else use IN THE SKY for neptunes location?

bill 2:50 PM  

One other quibble with the cluing, even though it didn't really mislead me: I think it's not quite accurate to call grunge post-punk. I think post-punk refers to bands that have a punk attitude, but are musically more complex (and not as loud), like The Cure, Joy Division, and Mission of Burma. To me, grunge IS punk. And I mean that as a compliment.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

Hi all,
Thanks for the feedback.
A couple of points. On TOLUENE, the ? was intended to soften the clue, since there are so many such clues for abbreviations. I wasn't even considering toluene as an actual ingredient. Without the ?, the clue is a little problematic, since we don't normally allow the
clue to duplicate the entry. The perfectly correct clue [Trinitrotoluene ingredient] for TOLUENE would never be allowed. In abbreviated form it's still a bit dodgy, so the ? buys the clue a little latitude. I hope on balance it made it easier for more people than those it tripped up.

DQ, good eye on NONI. That part wasn't a revision, but I did weigh for a while whether to use PREMIERCRU/NONU or DERNIERCRI/NONI.
(I would have used Tony winner Anika NONI Rose for the clue.) In the end I guess I preferred to put NONU, which at least has been in some puzzles and is in a lot of dictionaries, to a newbie like NONI. And I liked having a little shoutout to the Cru at the NYT Forum.

Byron

imsdave1 3:16 PM  

Byron, thanks for the clarification on the ? for TNT (I still disagree, however). One of the treats on this blog is the feedback from the constructors. If I were to be stupid enough to want to try constructing, does anyone know where I might find some web-based help?

Janet 3:31 PM  

Had a friend whose mother used to whisper to him, "NOCD" which he explained was "Not our class, darling". Really thought it was that, not the NONU. Great puzzle.

Bill from NJ 3:45 PM  

@janet-

I heard NOKD ("Not our kind, dear") as an adjunct to NONU.

Funny, haven't heard that since my college days.

chefbea1 4:13 PM  

this is a test

chefbea1 4:15 PM  

thanks IMSDave and jc66. got back to blue and orange

imsdave1 4:24 PM  

Not that anyone would be interested, but IMS refers to information management system, the first (and still fastest) data base designed for IBM mainframe computers. As always, a treat to be connected with this wonderful internet community.

Nothnagel 4:25 PM  

I always cheer when I see Byron's byline on a puzzle, I always have a good time solving...and I always curse his name after I'm done for constructing such a crackerjack of a grid! I mean, really. Makes me jealous.

What's not to like about today's puzzle? Oh, right: NON-U. :) It's interesting that DQ asked about DERNIERCRI versus PREMIERCRU, because I entered an I instead of a U, figuring that PREMIERCRI was something related to DERNIERCRI. It's kind of embarrassing that I didn't make the connection between Medoc and CRU, but oh well.

MN

p.s. The clue for F-STOP is my new Favorite Clue.

Michael 4:26 PM  

A good Saturday puzzle. I went through slowly but steadily, finishing up with the (to me) mysterious "took ten." I've heard of "take five" but didn't know that this could be doubled.

But I did make a foolish mistake -- writing "none" instead of "non-u." This was irritating, because I know about "non-u." On the other hand. "premier cru" could just as easily be "premier cre" as far as I was concerned. I know Spanish, not French.

chefbea1 4:28 PM  

another test

Kathy 4:44 PM  

imsdave1, (correct me if I am wrong anyone), do a google search for crossword compiler--you can download a demo. And I got Patrick Berry's Crosswords for Dummies (boy, do I feel silly when I travel when I whip out the dummies book on the plane), which has a section on constructing.

Glad that Byron weighed in on the TNT, people were pretty stressed about it! I work for an engineering firm TNT, PCB, BTEX, etc., are old hat, despite my complete inability to decipher anything related to chemistry.

Cheers all!
Kathy

dk 4:50 PM  

Chefbea1, Does puzzling make you younger?

chefbea1 5:08 PM  

@dk I guess so

Joon 5:18 PM  

loved today's puzzle, but then again, i like sports. i could see how it would have been really tough for non-sports folks. ONEAWAY is a particularly idiomatic baseball expression. i think the others could have been guessed from crosses for the most part, except for ILIE nastase, who has an A+ crossword name even if you don't care about tennis in the least. only one i'd never heard of was CLEM labine.

sports or not, i must be getting better at this because i think this was a hard puzzle but it didn't give me a whole lot of trouble.

clues/answers i loved: PITBOSS, IBROKEIT, TOOKTEN, KEARNS, RED/STATES, PARKAY, STJUDE. oh, and pretty much all the sports.

my wife (who lived in micronesia for two years) saw the lavalava clue and said, "that must be YAPESE." she was quite disgruntled when it turned out to be SAMOAN, but i already had the -OAN so i wasn't ever going to put in anything else.

my last crossing was NON_/PREMIERCR_ and i just sort of guessed U without having any idea what NONU might mean. thanks to all for the explanations. what with NON-U, F-STOP, and THREE-D, it was quite a puzzle for dangling letters.

imsdave, check out cruciverb.com if you want to try your hand at constructing. lots of good stuff there, including advice, the basic rules, software recommendations, and publisher specification sheets. there is also an associated mailing list you can sign up for if you want. anyway, not that i'm any kind of experienced constructor, but i got into the habit a few months ago and found cruciverb to be a very valuable resource.

John Reid 5:40 PM  

What a brilliant puzzle! Hats off to Byron Walden.

VERY tough going for me. Slow slow slow, but steady. The only 2 letters I couldn't come up with were the crosses of PREMIERCRU/NONU (a common problem apparently), and BATES/STATINS. I'd been at it for an hour at that point. I tried an I (nonI) and a Y (baYes) I think. The applet said 'no no no'. So I went back and tried some other vowels and eventually got it without googling.

What a killer ending to the week! Yesterday's puzzle took me 33 min, and today's about 70... much longer than usual. Maybe I should start going to bed and trying them in the morning with a clear head...

The NW corner was a nightmare! I just stared and stared at it. I wanted ONEball or ONEwalk or ONEdown... finally I thought of trying OWIE, and then ONEAWAY materialized in my mind. Then SAND and PITBOSS looked ok - but I couldn't come up with STATINS. Don't think I've heard that word before.

F-STOP! So clever. ONEONTA was hard for me and I work for SUNY - all I could think of was Onondaga. It seemed liked a disproportionate amount of this grid was made up of proper nouns, which are always my downfall. I was so proud to finally get the applet to accept my puzzle!

Thanks Byron. I FOLD. (Oops; meant to say 'I'm out!')

miriam b 5:42 PM  

Very stimulating puzzle for this nearly complete sportsphobic. I like tennis, but that's about the extent of it.

I took this puzzle as a personal challenge and slogged through until I finished it. OWIE was the real stumbling block until I remembered recently hearing one of my youngest grandchildren using that term.

What Mork said was "nanu nanu" as I recall, though I don't think I've ever seen it in print.

THE hoi polloi - groan.

I thought of TOLUENE as an ingredient of the word for which TNT stands, not as an in=gredient of the compound itself. That wouldn't make any sense to this retired chemist.

miriam b 6:24 PM  

NONU just provided me with a flashback. A college boyfriend who was a native of Vienna and who, like me, was a pretty insufferable intellectual snob back in those days, frequently referred to those he considered hoi polloi with the phrase "nicht unsereiner" = "not one of us; not of our kind/type/class".

fergus 7:22 PM  

Fun day of puzzling since I didn't get around to Friday's till this morning. Top center there required the most work of either of the puzzles. Other than vacillating over ONE or TWO PM, the Saturday puzzle fell more easily. I did have one standing error since I left in my spelling of FEDAHEEN which put PARKAH in for the Tub handle? Completely forgetting about the Tub tip-off for margarine, I had a picture of some fat Bostonian truck-driver blocking many precious parking spaces. Seemed reasonable enough to consider the grid finished, though I ought to have realized that that was just too unpolished for this puzzle.

mac 7:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 8:06 PM  

After spending most of the day at a gem show and coming home exhausted late this afternoon, I was so looking forward to this Saturday puzzle!

I had one major hindrance. My wonderful husband, a big baseball fan (and watching the Yankees/Red Sox game), fed me the name Carl for Labine, which really messed me up in the NE. I was already in trouble for having dernier cri instead of premier cru, and not ever having heard of Oneonta. Of course I wanted a dummy, thought the tub handle should have a porky bent, and the admonition should have been "Not nice!". I'm guilty of visualizing blondes as an answer to the Kennedy clue, and even had "Hot Babes" for 1A for a few moments.

I was introduced to Graham Kerr a long time ago, but lost interest in him when I saw him deepfry strawberries.... Now he's not frying anything anymore.
To our great surprise, I came up with "one away" at 15A. I guess the lingo must seep into my brain while I'm doing puzzles with my back to the tv.... I have to admit I thought at a certain point that this puzzle should have been sold to Sports Illustrated!

Boo-boos and owies are not part of my vocabulary, and my son never heard them at home. The poor guy also never tasted a Twinky....

It was great to read the blog and the comments and I'm so impressed that the constructors visit Rex's site!

wade 8:23 PM  

Yeah, it's very cool to hear from the puzzle authors, and also from the day's puzzle author's colleagues. Before coming to this blog, I confess I never paid much attention to the the name on the puzzle, though I've been doing the crossword pretty regularly for about 12 years. Quarfoot, Walden, Nosowsky, Nothnagel, et. al. are becoming close friends. I guess you gotta have a weird name to be a first class puzzle writer.

Judgesully 8:26 PM  

The sports-themed answers were a piece of cake for me, but "nonu?" Please forgive me, but that is the most blatantly obtuse answer I have ever seen in any puzzle--bar none.

Margaret 11:53 PM  

Really late to post but it took me all day off and on to finish it. I can't go to bed w/out ranting a little about the cluing for 42a/14d: Part of a U.S. political map. U.S. = United States and the answer is ... states??? And that answer crosses Oneonta for which the clue ALSO includes the word "state." And such an easy fix: make it an "American" political map.

I can't believe there's all this brouhaha about the TNT and no one else was bothered by that one. Okay. I'm done. G'night. I'll tackle Sunday's in the morning.

Joon 12:37 AM  

very brief explanation of f-stops:

the f-number is the ratio of the diameter of the lens aperture to its focal length. the larger the aperture, the more light gets through. f-stops are typically set in powers of sqrt(2) because a factor of sqrt(2) in aperture diameter corresponds to a factor of 2 in area, and area is proportional to the amount of light exposure. so typical f-stop settings are f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, etc., corresponding to 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 etc. of the light exposure.

Jim in NYC 12:42 AM  

jc66, don't know if anyone else answered this, but the Sun and CHE puzzles are freely available via the links in Rex's sidebar. I've gotten the Sun often and the CHE a couple of times without any subscription or prior arrangement.

andreacarlamichaels 3:15 AM  

I never solved the whole NW having PIMPLAW for 1A for the duration...trying to figure out if Will would let Byron get away with that!
Also TINTED glasses, so never solved it completely, despite getting, eventually, most of the sports references...
So, Wade thinks you have to have a tough last name to be a premier constructor...oy, yet another reason to stick to Monday/Tuesday!

andrea carla michaels 3:25 AM  

ps Why shouldn't constructors come to this site? My puzzle creation never meant as much to me as when my friend Asami sent me to this site, as Rex had commented on one of my puzzles...
since then, my life has changed, I want to make puzzles even more and have learned so much and can't wait to read this blog every day!
This "us/them mentality" between constructors and bloggers needs to stop... Who are we making them for if not the solvers? Each other? Our mothers?
Love Rex and if we would actually be paid properly for our work (are people aware there are no reprint fees, for example? And most of the syndicated puzzles in addition to not paying anything to the constructors even remove our names!!!???) I'd happily be able to donate more to his website, I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to crosswords!

Rex Parker 6:28 AM  

Andrea is absolutely right - constructors are Ridiculously underpaid and undercredited for their work. I've long been surprised that they don't just call a general strike and see what happens. For the record, I support (with money) Peter Gordon, who edits and makes available (for free) the fabulous NY Sun puzzles, and cruciverb.com (see sidebar). I encourage anyone (not living close to the bone) with a passion for puzzles to do the same.

rp

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

It like you are putting your answers in too fast. In this puzzle, you had to really work in the letters... to me, entering them too fast would throw me way off in the other direction, Mr. P.

CAlady 3:24 PM  

Decided yesterday that saying "I can" would help me solve the puzzle-today was my downfall! Except for a little tennis, I'm basically sportsaphobic. Try this puzzle if you have no idea what the sports clues, or most of the answers mean. Does oneaway mean one or base, or what? Who are all those players? How can "Player coached by Hank Stram" be a team-or is Kansas City Chief someone nickname?! Or was that clue supposed to read "PlayerS"?. Throw in an obscure town and a few nonu answers to make it worse. Why did the Mayor clue have a ?-that's what people say when they address our City Council. Guess I've ranted on, put please, more puzzles that are language bases-or at least not skewed to one field of trivia.

Jack Norris 6:22 PM  

It's funny, I had just been reading a book about the "official" postpunk movement, which really only refers, as a previous commenter noted, to those bands, who came *immediately* after the first punk explosion and opened up the resulting possibilities such as Joy Division, the early industrial bands and a host of others. Thus, I was actually blocked from coming up with this answer as grunge was so many years later and not really very strongly linked with the postpunk genre per se, it was just "post" in the sense that it came (much) later.

embien 7:55 PM  

6 weeks later:
I want to say first that it is solely due to this blog that I have even started attempting the Friday and Saturday puzzles. I usually just ignored them, thinking them to be "too tough for me."

Well, they're still largely "too tough", but I've surprised myself by how far I can get with no Googles and before I come to this blog.

On to the puzzle (in case anyone is still interested after a six week delay). Being a wine buff, I thought immediately of PREMIER CRU, but thought somehow that it was spelled "PREMIERE" and hence wouldn't fit.

Poker players hardly ever say something like "I'M OUT". The correct poker term is (always) I FOLD (or silently toss your cards into the muck).

The NW was first to fall for me, with the exception of TEAR DOWN. My mind just wouldn't wrap itself around that term until I finally sussed KANSAS CITY CHIEF (I was looking for an actual player's name--I certainly knew that Hank Stram was the K.C. coach for many years.)

Thanks to GRAHAM KERR and THE HONORABLE, the SW fell next, but I was largely lost at sea in the NE and SE. I had ALTO, TRUNK, I BROKE IT and even FEDAYEEN and still couldn't finish the SE. And, shouldn't it really be TIT instead of TAT for a reciprocal action? (TIT for TAT)

At least NONU is something I'll never forget. :)

ANTI-WAR DEMOCRAT 5:03 PM  

"Lucky Number Slevin"

Yes I saw and I own the DVD. It stars

Stanley Tucci, Josh Hartnet, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Sir Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman & Beau Starr (from Due South)

Bruce Willis introduced the Kansas City Shuffle.
Watch the movie Mr. Parker you will like it.

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