Friday, August 22, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none (or "Trouble at Thanksgiving")

This puzzle was supposed to be hard. Ellen Ripstein said it was hard (she deleted said comment on Friday's write-up after I indicated to her that I prefer to know NOTHING about a puzzle before I solve it). Natan Last himself said it was hard (like Kevin Der, Natan is one of my "Friends" at Facebook - I'm up to 20, I think, some of whom I've actually met in person!). Anyway, this puzzle was not hard. It packed an average Saturday wallop - maybe even a below-average wallop. Not sure how to measure that. My time was pretty average, so ... "Medium."

It was not average, however, in its delightfulness. There, it exceeded expectations. I loved this puzzle. Great pop culture stuff, a nice balance of sci/math and literary stuff and general knowledge clues. Lots of cross-grid connections among answers (i.e. consecutive [Thanksgiving dishes] clues, IN A being able to precede three different answers, AVIATE (3D: Play an ace?) + AIRWOMAN (33D: Her idea may be taking off), the existential reverse progression of WHY AM I HERE? (57A: Existential musing), IT'S LATE (35A: Lead-in to "I really should get going"), and OBITUARIES (17A: Late news?), etc.). You could even MOSEY (48D: Moves with no urgency) over to a HOOTENANNY (60A: Folkies' do) where someone (if you're lucky) might be playing "JOLENE" (46D: #1 country hit for Dolly Parton) (though probably not "THE WHO" - 43D: Preceder of Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock). Good stuff all around. And I knew or had heard of every term in the grid, and nothing struck me as horrible. I mean, LOHAN's terrible (51D: Star of "Herbie: Fully Loaded"), but in the grid, with That Clue (!), she's simply, I don't know, campy. Kitschy. Love that she intersects LOCO (51A: Bats).

Began the puzzle oddly, with two unconnected Downs just hanging there in outer space: IDIOM (8D: Translator's challenge) and SETTEES (21D: Parlor pieces). Stalled for a few seconds after that, but then I got ESTONIA (28A: Hiiumaa Island belongs to it) because I thought "hmmm, that looks Finnish," and then remembered my Finnish friend Eric telling me that ESTONIAn and Finnish were closely related (actually, I think his family is in fact ESTONIAn). Anyway, knowing Finns came in handy today.

Mess o' stuff:

  • 1A: Oil-based paste mentioned in the lyrics to "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (plasticine) - no idea where this came from, but once I had -CINE, I knew. I am not terribly familiar with the lyrics to that song. I remember the chorus, and little else.
  • 11A: Script meaning "God is great" appears on its flag (Iraq) - didn't see it until the only letter I had left as the "Q" - which I got from the super cross, QB SNEAKS (14D: Plays after some snaps, in brief)
  • 23A: "_____ say, Rise up and walk?": Luke 5:23 ("or to") - possibly my least favorite part of this puzzle. Awkward partial that you have to go deep into the Bible to get. Actually, there's a more famous "OR TO" in "Hamlet"... I think.
  • 24A: Headmaster of literature (Dumbledore) - super easy, though I had to change JOE to DOW to get it (25D: Average guy?)
  • 27A: "Tais-_____!" (French "Shut up!") ("toi") - gimme gimme gimme. Thanks, Mr. Cardella.
  • 32A: "Dick Tracy" character Catchem (Sam) - I'm teaching "Dick Tracy" in my Crime Fiction course starting next week, and I couldn't retrieve this answer. I don't think I've read far enough through the (awesome!) recent reprints yet.
  • 38A: Inits. associated with Hyde (RLS) - I seriously had DDS here for a bit, thinking "was he a dentist? But it's Dr. Jekyll..."
  • 39A: Turkey tender? (liras) - taking the Thanksgiving theme even deeper...
  • 42A: Small, narrow bays (armlets) - had the -LETS, "IN" wouldn't fit, "OUT" seemed wrong, "ARM" was the next thing I thought of.
  • 45A: 1999 best-selling memoir ("'Tis") - piece o' cake. Never read it, but I see it all over the place.
  • 49A: Underhanded change, slangily (switcheroo) - got it off the final "O" alone
  • 53A: Soldier's 1000 (ten a.m.) - this took much longer than it should have
  • 54A: Bars without other people? (solos) - wanted SOAPS
  • 12D: Human as opposed to an animal, notably (reasoner) - really really want this clue to start with the indefinite article "A". Really.
  • 32D: Cutting-edge cinema? (slashers) - you know, it was the first answer I considered, but the plural just felt wrong, so I took it out. Like that it intersects RAGE (59A: Burning state)
  • 34D: Film character who says "I promise teach karate. That my part. You promise learn" (Mr. Miyagi) - oh man, right over the plate for me. I was 14 when this came out, I think. Elisabeth Shue = instant crush.
  • 36D: They work by themselves (automata) - I don't think I've ever seen this pluralized. I had AUTOMATS for a bit
  • 37D: The Ghostbusters, e.g. (trio) - more mid-80s cinema, woo hoo. Great clue for this common answer.

Off to bed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Crosscan 12:29 AM  

Great puzzle.

I started with Tais-TOI: a gimme for anyone going to school in Montreal. The top half of the puzzle was done in Wednesday time.

Remembered PLASTICINE lyrics; just read Harry Potter [yes, I read] so along came DUMBLEDORE.

Things slowed down in SE. JOLENE came along after NINE TO FIVE wouldn't fit. Loved WHY AM I HERE.

Crashed to a halt in SW. I knew the film character clue was referring to Pat Morita in the Karate Kid, but I never actually saw the movie so it didn't help. With the HOY crossing, I was doomed.

Tried BAT Catchem and DO-I Catchem. SAM? seems too ordinary.

Great puzzle. ITS LATE. Good night

dk 12:37 AM  

Acid flashback: THEWHO was the day before.

Recent flashback: Dumbledore

Acid flashback 2: PLASTICINE porters with looking glass eyes.

Current awareness: WHYAMIHERE

Spelling challenge: an e in HOOTENANNY


I never do these things at night and now I know why. A lot of jumping around in this one. It seems the early week puzzles were smooth. Themes made sense, etc. Yesterday (technically still today) and today (tomorrow) seemed to be answers in search of a puzzle.

For turkey tender I wanted baste, but it did not fit,

Dick Tracy: Love the wrist watches and Mumbles.

Good night/morning

@berry, make your post nice and long

@joho, pleasant dreams

dk 12:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea carla michaels 1:14 AM  

MAJOR Beatles fan yet didn't know what Plasticine meant till today, thank you Natan (whom I'm sure was born WAY after John was killed) :(

Fast time for me, but many points off for mistakes at the end...
if this were the ACPT I'd perhaps be in negative bec in the end I had
(leaving SOT for SON, but maybe you deliver a drunken baby!) LINE/LOLOS (knew there was a mistake, but couldn't suss it out)

and went from (Average) JOE to DOE (as in John DOE, but never got to DOW. Hmmm, maybe Jane is STILL on my mind!)

and that double Thanksgiving thing was so cool that one was a food dish and one was a gravy dish!!!
Super neat!
And the whole INA thing was brilliant...I'm suspecting Will's hand there.

SethG 2:29 AM  

Started with 1A. And not sure why I know this, but the ties were looking-glass, not the eyes. (Actually, I do know why I know that.)

Loved the Thanksgivings/Turkey stuff.

I thought it was relatively super-easy until the SE, when ORNATENESS and JOLENE and LOCO and MET and the spelling of HOOTENANNY gave me some problems. And SIGNOR vs SENHOR always throws me.

jae 3:57 AM  

This was easier and much more enjoyable for me than yesterday’s (Ellen also had me worried ). I didn’t need the “have a conversation” option, although that’s why I prefer crosswords to sudoku. It’s difficult to have a conversation about sudoku. Only missteps were JOE for DOW, NEEDED for 9d, and AUTOMATS. REASONER seemed a bit clunky but any puzzle that has THEWHO, MRMIYAGI, and DUMBLEDORE gets my vote!

PhillySolver 6:43 AM  

A fun Saturday puzzle. It took a bit longer than Friday for me, but more enjoyable. It was an average Saturday for me as well. Lots of fun things, but HOY remains a mystery to me.

I hope I see some of you in NY today. Good luck to all. My friend in Delaware was suppose to have a law school class with Senator Biden today. Guess he won't be there. Things are changing.

dk 7:49 AM  

@sethg, ties it is not eyes. And, now that it is light I can see the difference.

@phillysolver, hoy is spanish for today, as I am sure you will learn many times this am.

PhillySolver 7:56 AM  

dk. Gracias

Gary S 8:12 AM  

Where's the love for Ernie Hudson? 24 years later and he still gets no respect.

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Just the right amount of pop culture references to get entries into every corner. Finished it a lot faster than Friday.

I do have to question the Ghostbusters clue. I resisted putting trio in until all other options were gone. Clearly there were four ghostbusters. They were only a trio for a brief time between their founding and the hiring of Winston Zeddemore (okay I had to look that name up).

jannieb 8:20 AM  

Had many of the same missteps as mentioned (Joe/Doe/Dow - interesting word ladder). I looked at Hyde and thought "Henry" - so was working at political abbreviations for a long long time. Finished the southern hemisphere first - loved the SE quadrant - nice stuff there.

Is there really an "air woman"? Never heard that phrase before. And "play an ace" = aviate? Is this referring to a flight simulator game or something? I kept trying for a bridge term but got nothing.

The NW was the last to fall. "Set to" is so often clued as an argument I just didn't think it could be correct here. And must learn the names of the other moons. (How come "ours" doesn't have a name? ACME????)

Good Saturday puzzle - just hard enough!

Karen 8:36 AM  

I put this in the easy Saturday category. Actually, I would have swapped today's for yesterday's if I were editor. After puttering around in the NE with IRA*, I found SAM Ketchem and MRMIYAGI, and the whole SE fell, bam! and the SW fell, bam! Then in the NW, I got PHOBOS off the O. My few mistakes, RATIONAL, AUTOMATS, and DOE were quickly visible. I think I must live on Natan's brainwave. Although it took me too long to get DUMBLEDORE.

Sethg, thanks for posting that link. Unfortunately, that's the version I hear in my head too.

kjones 9:08 AM  

For me, this officially rates as an easy Saturday puzzle, due to the fact that I beat my previous best saturday by about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and even that had allowed two mistaken squares. So not only is this my fastest finish by a longshot, but it's the only perfect saturday I've done. Yay me!

In fact, I had 3/4 finished after 15 minutes, and only that damned southeast to go, when a SENIOR/SENHOR mix-up really JAMmed the works; and only when I'd gotten _YA_IHERE, and knowing I'd like THE WHO and RAYON, did I realize my I/H mixup. Once I made that TWEAK, the rest was gravy.

For me, this puzzle was The Immaculate Construction.

joho 9:51 AM  

This puzzle was piece of cake compared to yesterday. Finished on my own which always brings me a great feeling of satisfaction. I agree with whomever said this should have been a SWITCHEROO with yesterday. I think NEEDBE should have been NEEDED but got it easily due to DUMBLEDORE. Lots of fun, fresh words here: QBSNEAKS, OBITUARIES, PLASTICINE (@ACM: did you attend John's funeral in Central Park?), HOOTENANNY, MRMIYAGI, TWEAK, YAMS ... and the above mentioned SWITCHEROO and DUMBLEDORE.
@Sethg: OMG that is horrible! Beyond campy, just awful!
@jannieb: To "play an ace" is like in a movie role, to act as an aviator.

Thanks Natan for a great Saturday puzzle!

ArtLvr 10:10 AM  

All came through without help, except the Y in the Spanish HOY crossing unknown MR MIYAGI. (next time I'll recall the Latin "Hodie" for "today").

It took a while, but I agree with Rex and others that it was more fun than yesterday's tour de force, impressive as that was... Lots of great twists, especially LIRAS [Turkey tender], even though I'd seen DOW [Average guy] clued that way before.


hereinfranklin 10:11 AM  

So much better than yesterday...but one clue I don't get (which I'll blame on the early hour). SAT/MET -- someone please clue me in. Had beets for BOATS for way too long.

Have a great day!

Ulrich 10:30 AM  

I asked my cat what he thought about the clue for reasoner--he was appalled, and rightfully so. He said when he sees a piece of chicken on the counter while sitting on the table some 4 feet away, he has to look back and forth several times to figure out all the parameters of the jump he is going to take, which, he claims, is a sophisticated form of reasoning. And then he said, as a parting shot, "this anthropocentric shit has to stop!" He has not problem with anthropomorphism (love to spell this word!), though

I agree that this puzzle was more fun than yesterday's, but can't really pin down the reason.

Count me among those who do not understand sat/MET--it was a major hold-up for me in the SE.

steve l 10:39 AM  

Re: sat/met: Congress sat...The jurors sat... = met in this context. Common crossword cluing.

jannieb 10:42 AM  

@joho - I see your point, but if you are playing an ace, aren't you "acting", not "flying"? Seems a bit of a stretch. I reconciled it in my mind by thinking of the flight simulator.

Shamik 10:54 AM  

Agreed that this one was easy for a Saturday. A lot of gimmes. Only a few missteps.

Gimmes: too many to mention.

Also had JOE for DOW. Had TWEAK in and TEASE out and TWEAK back in.

My second fastest correct solving of a Saturday. Wooohoooo!!!!! And lots of unusual stuff, too instead of blah fill. Bravo!

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

to each his own, 'cutting edge cinema' is way too affected for me.

Twangster 11:00 AM  

Almost had it without cheating but got tripped up by having OUTLETS instead of ARMLETS and not knowing Dick Tracy characters. Also had NEEDED instead of NEEDBE and didn't know DUMBLEDORE or SETTEES.

Alex 11:06 AM  

I too strongly resisted TRIO for the Ghostbusters because of Ernie Hudson. "The Ghostbusters, initially" would have been more correct and still given me pause while I tried to think of some acronym associated with them.

Came up with WHY AM I HERE with no crosses but wasn't able to commit to it.

Like Rex I was resistent to the plural SLASHERS. Got SLASHER quickly enough but though maybe I was dealing with a rare Saturday rebus using MOVIE or FILM or PIC or something.

But despite those minor issues overall a mighty fine puzzle.

foodie 11:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 11:11 AM  

I have to disagree with I think all of you: I had a lot more trouble with this puzzle than yesterday's. Have to admit that I did it surrounded by 3 weeks worth of mail and bills, check book at the ready..... I had trouble with the spelling of Hootenanny as well, and thought some of the clues were a little forced, like 4D begin, 3A Play an ace? and 9D required, but I loved 16A do or die, 19A Thanksgiving dishes, 40D space neighbor and 41A always effective. Got armlet because just 2 weeks ago I was in the Tracy arm....

Got to get my G.P.S. set up for a trip to Harrison, NY - never been there before.

foodie 11:15 AM  

Great puzzle with a wonderful mix of topics, subthemes, and fresh fill. The center was easy for me and it served to anchor the more difficult surrounds.

Ulrich, I too balked at REASONER as being the unique domain of humans. It used to be that cognition was seen as only human, but it includes learning, memory and clearly animals do that or they would never survive.

Philly, your statement "things are changing" brought to mind my favorite Bob Dylan song, "The times they are a changin". I think the Obama campaign should adopt it as their theme song. The lyrics are apt in many ways. Check it out: A Changin!

JOHN in NC 11:22 AM  

Definitely easier than yesterdays for me too. Gimmes were nicely spread out in each quadrant: PLASTICINE, MRMIYAGI, HOOTENANNY, DUMBLEDORE. Excellent excellent puzzle.

Wade 11:30 AM  

I did this one on paper and didn't time it, but I think it would have been among my fastest Saturdays. Lots of gimmes on the first pass, including 1A. Only six squares in Northern CA slowed me down: the air woman (a roommate in college had one of those), the Karate Kid thing, the Dick Tracy thing.

Nice link to yesterday's Morley Unsafer with today's Reasoner.

I love Dolly Parton. I love Dolly Parton.

'Tis is a stupid book. "Angela's Ashes" was pretty effective, even though it was phony. (If you're writing a "memoir" and you're quoting dialogue from when you were seven years old, I'm not really going to believe much of what you tell me.) In 'Tis, McCourt used the very same eight-year-old kid's voice to continue the Angela's Ashes story into the kid's twenties. It's all in baby talk. Ridiculous.

HudsonHawk 11:41 AM  

@jannieb and joho, a crack fighter pilot is also called an Ace. If you're playing the ace, you're flying (but hopefully not like Lucy in 1A).

This was the fastest Saturday that I can recall. I don't time myself, but this one was right around 15 minutes for me. On a typical Saturday, I end up putting the puzzle down for a rest and coming back to it.

Typically I start with a clue that catches my eye and work around it, but today I started with PLASTICINE and cruised from the north to the south. Agree with Rex, it was fun, even if it wasn't as challenging for me as usual.

Cheryl 11:45 AM  

This puzzle was the highlight of my Friday night. Finished in about a pint and a half of dark German beer. What more could a person ask for?
Got PLASTICINE and CIRCUITS right off the bat but had NEEDed for NEEDBE for a long time. Didn't know where the island was or very much about football so that area was the last to fall, but fall it did, started by IVY, IRAQ and YAMS. My other trip-up in that area was having REAction at 12d and cOd as delivery option.
Loved every minute of it.

Jeff 11:47 AM  

I liked this puzzle waaaaaaay more than last Saturday's, which I abandoned midway through out of irritation. After my first pass through, I had only the S at 21 and thought, "Uh oh.". But ITSLATE came to me and other answers started crystalizing from there. PLASTICINE made me smile-- Sgt. Pepper was one of my favorite albums in high school (20 years after it's release). I also circled the clues for SON ("Delivery possibility" eluded me for a while since I only have daughters), LOCO ("Bats"-- nice), DOW ("Average guy", I stuck with Joe for a while because I've not read or seen any Harry Potter so that cross was no help) and ALT ("Space neighbor", I just loved this cluing).

The NE took a while to crack because I held onto PASSFAKE too long (I have heard OF Harry Potter and thought it was DumbledorF). Realizing 14D was plural and remembering that IRAQ's flag has Allah Akbar on it and seeing that my initial suspicion that "Do or die" are both VERBs cleared this up.

Whenever I see the phrases "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" I immediately think of H. Ross Perot's running mate (Stockdale?) in the 1992 vice presidential debate. His opening remarks led off with those 2 questions.

Schwann 11:52 AM  

Yesterday's puzzle was much harder.

Norm 12:10 PM  

Agree yesterday's puzzle was harder, but this one was both challenging and a lot more fun. I think Rex hit it on the nose when he said there was a nice balance of stuff. Exactly. What I didn't know, I at least had a fighting chance of figuring out -- get a few crosses and pull something out of deep, deep memory. Thanks, Natan

ArtLvr 12:44 PM  

re: 58D, "Sat" clue for MET -- refers to a legislative or other conference which sits in a meeting to do the business of the group. The Latin verb "sedere" (to sit) has loads of English derivatives from seat to session, sessile and sediment. Seriousness is implied if it's a sit-down meeting with someone as opposed to a quick verbal exchange on the run... i.e.settling down to get to the Bottom of things.


Harleypeyton 12:53 PM  

Ernie! This is a mistake, btw. When the Ghostbusters faced the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, they stood FOUR across.

marnie 1:19 PM  

Friday and Saturday puzzles are beyond me but Rex, I tried to find you on FACEBOOK, to no avail.I want us
to be friends! Did you put it under your real name, which I can't remember -- Michael something. I tried to find Kevin too and could not.
So -- please let us in. You will have lots more friends, i bet!

Orange 1:37 PM  

Marnie, explore the links in Rex's sidebar and you'll find articles that reveal his Clark Kent name.

I'm surprised by the number of people saying this was their easiest Saturday outing ever. I've definitely done other Saturday puzzles in considerably less time than this one, which was markedly easier than yesterday's but not that easy.

alanrichard 1:50 PM  

Great puzzle - BUTTTTTT- the ghostbusters were not a trio. The was Dr. Peter Venkman, Egon Statz, ray and....Winston Skiddmore. I count four 4, four!!!!

chefbea1 2:30 PM  

A little easier than yesterday but not by much. Still had to google a lot. Of course loved yams and boats and wanted turkey tenders to be baster also.

Had Joe-Doe-Dow also

Just made gazpacho with everything from the garden yummmm

miriam b 2:31 PM  

Being pop-culture deficient, I struggled through this one (I refuse to GOOGLE.) and finished it, learning a thing or two in the process which, for all I know, may stand me in good stead in the future.

@wade, I couldn't agree more about 'Tis. The man's literary (?) style drove me up the wall. I read the book on the recommendation of a friend, and I had to finish it willy-nilly, because this friend always expects reviews. I told her what I thought, and she was not happy. I did concede that it evoked a New York we both remember.

andrea carla michaels 2:41 PM  

Yes, I'm on the whole "why doesn't our Moon have a name?", right after I cure halitosis...
Who has time to name while doing crosswords?

I will ask Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
(voted sexiest Astrophysicist by People Magazine and frequent guest on the Colbert Report).
I suspect our moon has a name: Moon.
And the fact we call other moons "moons" is somehow due to the xerox/google principle.

(the man-in-the-Moon is probably suing to get folks to stop using Moon as a lowercase noun).

That said, I originally put in PHOEBE.

As always, I completely agree with you...BlackJack even helped me reason out why it was NEEDBE instead of NEEDED.
Sadly, neither he nor Koko were any help with QBSNEAKS, as they are not allowed to watch sports in this household.

funny funny funny
I second your nomination of REASONER as the bleedthru from yesterday's UNSAFER!

Now I will return to worrying if Joe-Plagiarist-Biden is going to blow it all for Obama :(

Rex Parker 2:50 PM  

I'm going to make a (perhaps futile) plea for No Politics!! No contemporary politics, anyway. You wanna argue the relative merits of the Compromise of 1850, be my guest.


Doc John 2:54 PM  

I agree with what everyone has had to say so far about today's puzzle. Challenging, yet very fun. Nice cluing but not as extremely obtuse or obscure like yesterday's (which totally pwn3d me and I'm still working on- only have the SE left).

Lots of fun fill, too: PLASTICINE (I always thought it was like cellophane), MR MIYAGI (wax on, wax off), SLASHERS.

For [Hyde inits.] I was trying to think if Dr. Jekyll had a middle name although that notion was dispelled by the notion of 14D ending with a J.

Missteps: boy for SON, Doe for DOW

Saw Dolly in concert a couple weeks ago and she, of course, did JOLENE. She's still got it- big time!

Michael 3:05 PM  

I thought this was about equally difficult to yesterday's -- perhaps a bit easy for a Saturday (though Saturdays are never all that easy for me). Although I am certainly old enough, I don't remember "plasticine" at all and had to work it out letter by letter. Good thing that I used to read science fiction and knew Phobos. A lot of good clues, I thought, -- all in all an enjoyable puzzle.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

@foodie: Bob Dylan is one of my all time heros, not because one of his greatest songs is "Visions of Johanna," my name, but because he was brilliantly ahead of his time, a true visionary. The thing about Bob Dylan, though, is he doesn't give a rat's ass about anybody. He doesn't bend to help. I saw him live last year and was troubled by his aloofness. Still, in the end, it doesn't matter to me, he's a genius.

@rex: I left out my political statement here.

joho 3:08 PM  

joho said about statement.

joho 3:09 PM  

above ... jeeesh ...

Soul Solver 3:09 PM  

This puzzle was a sweet Saturday for me too. Completed it in one sitting with one cup of coffee and before the fog lifted in the Bay Area. That's the case for only a handful of Saturdays all year. We had a family singalong of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds to try to remember the lyric with PLASTICINE. Thank you John Lennon and Natan Last!

Finally, Rex, your critique of Lohan is kind of harsh. Watch The Parent Trap re-make with your daughter some evening and I bet you retract some of that harshness. She is tragic, perhaps, but 100% a natural born star.

Veritas 3:14 PM  

I liked this puzzle too. Loved the plasticine clue.
Did you know that when the famous 3000000 year old female austrilopithicaus (spelling?) named Lucey was found that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was playing on the radio and thats why they named the skeleton Lucy? I think that's and interesting piece of archeology trivia.
I also liked the tie in with Jefferson Airplane - The Who. Lots of double up clues, ie the air... clues and thanksgiving dishes. Its well done
Well if tomorrow's puzzle has Shinn Dig (again spelling?) I think that would be a great tie in.
Did anyone elso also love the 0 for 180degrees clue, I'm a math teacher so I thought that was great.
Well gotto go to the beach

Rex Parker 3:14 PM  

Loved that version of Parent Trap. That was ... a long time ago.

There's nothing "tragic" about a star doing a downward spiral. If anything, it's cliché.

Mean Girls was OK.


Frances 3:39 PM  

Had to resort three times to Google today, and even then had several errors in the SE corner (not familiar with Dolly Parton's repertoire, or with the mathematics behind SINE) but finished yesterday's--correctly--with no Googling at all. Actually, Google was no help on 42A; I finally capitulated and allowed Rex to give me the answer.

Wade 3:49 PM  

I love Bob Dylan. I love Bob Dylan. For all the same reasons I love Dolly Parton.

When I saw that Woodstock clue my first thought was that the answer would be SHA NA NA. Every time I'm reminded that Sha Na Na was at Woodstock I want to go sneer at a hippie. Or when I'm not reminded that Sha Na Na was at Woodstock.

The best thing about the Compromise of 1850 was that it saved Texas from being shaped like a lamb shank. And that it excised the Oklahoma panhandle.

calpoet 3:59 PM  

I liked this puzzle but found it much more difficult than Rex did because of a number of 3 letter answers that could have many Doe, Joe, Dow mentioned above and GPS abbreviation which could be lots of different directions. One thing that puzzles me is the use of "virtual" to indicate anything having to do with the Internet, as in 55 A : It's read virtually, briefly for EMAG. Am I wrong or don't you still actually read something when you read it on a screen? You certainly don't virtually read it. And Rex (now that we're Facebook friends) can I point out that the "OR TO" you refer to in Hamlet should be "OR NOT TO" and thus wouldn't work as a more likely source for 23A.


Rex Parker 4:06 PM  

Aw jeez, look before you leap, people.

"_____ take arms against a sea of troubles..."

I'm teaching Shakespeare in prison this fall. Give me a Little credit.


Ulrich 4:30 PM  

Thx to all who helped out with the MET clue.

@Rex: Since my cat obviously looks before he leaps, can we assume that he is a better reasoner than some people?

HudsonHawk 4:47 PM  

@veritas, no shindig for tomorrow's puzzle. It's another Kevin Der creation and I'll be interested to read the comments...

Doc John 4:56 PM  

Sorry for the interruption...

I just had to say this- Woo Hoo, I finally finished yesterday's puzzle! I'm literally jumping up and down. Unfortunately, it wasn't a clean dismount as I had resorted to "google check" whether Menta Berger was a possibility and right at the top of the results page, "Do you mean Senta Berger?" stared me right in the face. Not that it helped me ONE IOTA. I finally got VENERABLE, which made me change "writer" to INSURANCE BROKER and that was it.

I agree with everything Rex had to say. The only reason ALICANTE wasn't a Natick for me is that I actually have a friend who lives there.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

andrea carla michaels 5:07 PM  

ooops, mea culpa about the whole political thing...I don't even vote!

(I'm kidding...D'Oh! Pls don't jump on me!)

Did you notice Natan did a QBSNEAK of ITSLATE into the puzzle to do a subliminal comment on the SLATE diatribe?

Norm 5:30 PM  

@veritas, I loved the 0 for 180 clue (one-time math major) although only after the fact. Totally baffled me until I ran through almost the entire alphabet in my mind (should have concentrated on the cross instead) but then thought it was great. Natan's in high school, right? No more math, dude, please ....

kevin der 5:36 PM  

enjoyed the saturday - natan and i are typically on the same wavelength so things like DUMBLEDORE, QB SNEAKS, etc, came fairly easily. the south east was incredibly hard though. i've only vaguely heard of HOOTENANNY. "0, for 180" was a brutal clue for SINE. finally i got the JOLENE / JAM crossing wrong. i had DAM there. can someone explain "Fix" for JAM?

green mantis 6:42 PM  

The most elusive thing in this puzzle for me was IVY. The rest of it fell fast as a warmonger's approval rating, but that little New England swath wouldn't give. So I decided that Biden my time would be my best bet, and that's what I did. I just waited for things to come together in a strong, unified way until the final choice emerged--something tenacious and dynamic, an organism known for its perseverance and refusal to be tamed. Ivy also has a lot of foreign policy experience, which helps boost the cred of any exciting horticultural candidates around it. So when Ivy came into view, I could only think: "That's the ticket!"

jannieb 6:46 PM  

@Kevin - it's a colloquial expression - In a fix or in jam means you're in trouble!

kevin der 6:50 PM  

oh, of course. ack.

kjones 6:53 PM  

lol @ green mantis. Well, not "@" but with.

markus 6:58 PM  

Just to clarify...
Ray Stantz
Egon Spengler
Peter Venkman
Winston Zeddmore
Granted Winston joined after that guy from Die Hard (which came out later, I KNOW!) unleashed all the captured demons and spirits, but, meh... I'm a pop culture stickler.

marnie 7:34 PM  

thanks, orange but i went through all
of the michael sharp listings in facebook, again to no avail. Frustrating! There are lots with just names but i would think rex would have a photo or even where he is from. So -- any clues? I want to be friends with him :)

Well -- thanks to anyone who can help -- Rex? Don't you want more friends on FACEBOOK?

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

I liked this puzzle too. I smiled with The Who crossing with Hootenanny-what a thought to have them in one place!

alanrichard 7:44 PM  

There are several things I think should be edited out of puzzles: Obscure foreign phrases, (not et tu but the obscure ones), a plethera of entertainment names and misnumbering in groups. There are 3 blind mice, the kingston Trio - but there are four Ghostbusters. And I had the names sort of wrong but Winston was there.
I got Jolene and worked my way from there. Usually on Saturday, I find something I know and just build of of it. My daugheter Lisa, who loves the Beatles, (but not as much as Green Day), said 1 across is Plasticene and 1 down is Phobos. Which made the NW easy. I always tell her she should do the Times puzzles because she's smart and she remembers EVERYTHING.
I majored in English for my BA and the best thing about all the Shakespeare was the value it gave me in solving crossword puzzles.
My dog is standing next to me as I type. I feel like saying "Out damned Spot but his name is Willie and he probably wouldn't listen to me anyway!!!

Wade 7:55 PM  

And speaking of obituaries, I wonder how the NYTimes decides which headline style to go with. It's always either, "Joe Blow, Who Did This, Dies" or "Joe Blow, Who Did This, Is Dead." Sometimes they put the age in there (". . . Is Dead at 82"), but that's about as much as they spice it up.

Ulrich 7:57 PM  

@kevin der: You probably know that Frederic the Great is "Friedrich der Grosse" in German; i.e. the English [name of some sovereign] the [personal attribute] is the same in German, with "the" replaced by "der". So, whenever I see "Kevin der" I ask myself "Kevin the Who?" So, it may please you that in my private book, you are "Kevin der Kluge" (Kevin the Smart) FWITW

kathy d. 8:41 PM  

Don't know why but I had many more problems with today's puzzle than yesterday's. Only had to google a few clues on Friday; had to google a lot today and it took me twice as long as Friday's.

Love Dylan; his early songs are brilliant, especially. A reggae version of some of his major songs is quite good musically, with his great lyrics.

Tried to get to Woodstock but got stuck miles outside in traffic backed up far-and-wide for
thousands who couldn't get there.
We spent the night in a mosquito-ridden motel listening to the radio.

On "reasoner," I agree about animals--cats and dogs. Saw my neighbor's dachshund look for birds outside of one of my windows, then run to two other windows in other rooms racing the same airshaft, to find them, but not run to other rooms' windows to find them.

Kathy D.

Palindromic Chronic 9:20 PM  

Thanks for all the comments. Appreciate knowing what you guys like. "Or to" was originally clued via the Hamlet soliloquy, but Will's clue is better because it's new. Also gotta give him mad props on the INA hook-up -- did not notice that myself -- as well as for teaching me how to say "Shut Up" in French. Peace.

- Natan Last

chefbea1 9:39 PM  

I tried to find rex to ask him to be my friend on face book... but to no avail. I have 3 friends - my daughters and thought it would be nice to have another friend,

foodie 9:45 PM  

@Wade, I hate to have to explain this to you, but there's a difference between dying and being dead. Sometimes it does not stick... Hence the famous SNL breaking news in the 70's: "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead." If the obituary says "dies" you need to watch for follow-ups.

Peace (not a political statement- rather an association from obituary readings).

fikink 11:49 PM  

Dylan cannot be touched.
And I guess I do not need to say what was the looper for me in this puzzle:ELS
Much easier than yesteday...whew!

Anonymous 10:58 PM  

Re: GATT. I'm the same generation. We know the General Agreement on Tariff's and Trade less well than the organization that succeeded it - the World Trade Organization (WTO)... FYI

Paul 5:53 AM  

Yeah. This was one of my favorite Saturdays in a while, all except for the Ghostbusters clue. I realized quickly that it was TRIO, and angrily wrote "Winston!" Next to the clue. How many Ghostbusters fighting the Stay Puf marshmallow man, I ask you?

"Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES!"

Waxy in Montreal 10:09 PM  

From syndicate land...

Plasticine may technically be an "oil-based paste" but the reason it's in "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is that it's the modelling clay familiar to generations of British kids, including the Fab Four. Think "claymation" when it comes to the lyric "Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties".

Also, how is Bats Loco (51A)? I could see Batty but not Bats...

Otherwise, a great Saturday puzzle IMHO, way more fun and easier than Friday's.

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