SATURDAY, Aug. 30, 2008 - Michael Shteyman (Florist's container / Bakery item folded in half / Brass guardian of Crete, in myth)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This puzzle smacked me around but good - probably just what a Saturday puzzle is supposed to do. On my original test-solving paper, I have a LONG list of words that I thought were tough (either in and of themselves, or because of their cluing). The deep irony of the day is that I had never, ever, before doing this puzzle, heard of a PARKER HOUSE ROLL (12D: Bakery item folded in half). If I ever have a blog-related party, we are clearly serving these. When I told Will I'd never heard of this, he said that yeah, it turned out it wasn't as common as he'd thought but ... it's Saturday, that's life. And I agree. Not that the food-types who read and comment on this blog need any encouragement, but if you've got any good ideas about how to make and what to do with a PARKER HOUSE ROLL, let me know.

OK, so here's that list of words. In addition to the roll that bears my name, there's

  • CACHE POT (7A: Florist's container) - the NE was the last part of the puzzle to fall (where CACHE POT meets PARKER HOUSE ROLL, there's bound to be trouble). Actually, I got the POT part of this answer early, but the CACHE? Let's just say that in the end, it's a good thing I know some French ... although I guess CACHE is a perfectly good English word too, now.
  • EMEER (11D: Arab commander) - just when I think I have the rules on spelling this thing down ... I don't. Figured AMEER was more common when it goes to five letters.
  • EEK (21A: Cartoon cat with an exclamation mark in his name) - this one bugged me no end because how in the world do I not know it? I saw "cartoon cat" and figured "I got it I got it!" "EEK! The Cat" ran '92-'97, and I can honestly say I've never seen a single episode. I was doing ... other things during those years.
  • REDD (26A: 2004 N.B.A. All-Star Michael) - I got this no problem, but then I watch a lot of ESPN.
  • NED(4D: Songwriter Washington) - Forget your Washingtons and Beattys and Rorems and give me Flanders(es)!
  • PENNI (50D: Old Finnish coin) - I love that this is only one letter off from a [Contemporary American coin]
  • FTLB (38D: Work unit abbr.) - original clue was [Brit. work unit], which I liked better, in that it made me think the answer would be some queer thing I'd never heard of (true).
  • ALLELE (45D: Mutated gene) - it will surprise no one that I had no clue about this
  • C-STAR (37D: Cool red giant) - ah, the [insert letter here]-STAR answer. Second in unwelcomeness only to the [insert one of three letters here]-TEST answer.
  • TALOS (25D: Brass guardian of Crete, in myth) - never even heard of it, which is embarrassing, as I'm teaching classical mythology (well, the Aeneid) right now.
  • DORP (28D: Hamlet) - one of the funniest-sounding words in the language. Got it easily, but I can see how others might not have.
  • ALEGAR (8D: Sour condiment) - a word I learned from xwords. Seen it once before. I hear it goes nicely with ELGAR (51A: Knighted English composer)
  • INCR. (5D: Elevation: Abbr.) - oh man I squawked at this: both the abbr. itself, which looks horrible, and the clue, which is technically in the ballpark, but ouch.
  • TOL (14D: "My mama done _____ me") - OK, this was a gimme. The spelling is ridiculous, but technically correct.

I can't decide if my favorite trans-grid accidental phrase is EASTER LECHER (34A: _____ Island, discovery of Sunday, April 5, 1722 + 36A: Rake) or PAINPILL HURLER (63A: Anodyne + 64A: Ace, say). The original clue for EASTER specified that "Europeans" "discovered" the island, which seems more accurate, specific, honest (as, presumably, other human beings had already been there).

There were a host of gimmes today to help me get traction is this tough puzzle. First thing in the grid: THESE (35D: "_____ Dreams," 1986 #1 hit). I [heart] Heart. BAR was pretty easy to turn up too (60D: Setting of many jokes), as was ZIT (61D: Accutane target, slangily). Oh, and the big, showy, 15-letter Down going right through the middle of the puzzle - also a gimme, though I had to hum the Beatles' song to myself in order to remember it: "CALIFORNIA GIRLS" (7D: 1965 hit parodied by the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R.").


  • 16A: Former senator with the memoir "Power, Pasta and Politics" (Al D'Amato) - Not sure how I feel about "AL" here. I guess if that's the name on the book jacket, then fine.
  • 17A: Carrier of fatty acids (good cholesterol) - is "good" its scientific name. For things fatty, see also LIPID (56A: Oil, e.g.).
  • 38A: Common restaurant offering that was Julia Child's last meal (French onion soup) - after that, she was given last rites and the warden led her away to the gallows.
  • 46A: Like "m" or "n," to linguists (nasal) - my meager amount of linguistics knowledge got me this one easily.
  • 66A: "Ratatouille" rat and namesakes (Emiles) - good to have an animated rat in the puzzle with the animated cat, though I don't gather that EEK! is much of a mouser (or ratter, I guess, in this case).
  • 1D: 1970s-'80s prime-time soap star (Hagman) - I want a tshirt with his cowboy-hatted mug on it, and a single-word caption: STUD.
  • 2D: Symphony inspired by Napoleon (Eroica) - for some reason, brain was making "symphony" into "opera" in my head, and so EROICA, which should have been a gimme, wasn't.
  • 3D: Unenthusiastic response to an offer ("I don't feel like it") - "Unenthusiastic" doesn't quite capture it. "Eh, I guess so" - that's unenthusiastic. This is more like a "no."
  • 27D: Word in many French family mottoes (Dieu) - BRIE didn't work, so DIEU was my next best guess.
  • 32D: "What Is To Be Done?" writer (Lenin) - seen it before, this clue, so the answer didn't startle me the way it did the first time.

OK, I'm out of steam

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ArtLvr 8:44 AM  

After several feeble false starts, I nearly gave up but decided to try one google anyway -- and got our former NY Sen. ALDAMATO. Somehow that opened the doors to the NE, French fill and fatty fill and everything else.

Mnemonic: GOODCHOLESTEROL is Highly Desirable LIPID, thus initials HDL. The bad one(s) are Less Desirable, thus LDL. Never mind the real chemical formulations!


Crosscan 8:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 8:49 AM  

p.s. Chuckled at Rex Parker first encountering PARKERHOUSEROLLS today! Julia Child would have enjoyed that too...

Crosscan 8:51 AM  

Several things I didn't know and some "impossible" crossings but I somehow guessed right on all and completed error -free in 20 minutes.

I had ALPHONSO for AL DAMATO; is that his full first name? Not sure where I got that.

PORTERHOUSE ROLL first. Goes with steak.

Did not know REDD, RIO or DORP but I got them all through magic.

Thought Julia Child was eating FRENCH FRIED something. (Great line re last meal).

Loved the Atom panel. FTLB? Yikes.

ALLELE was all crossings.

I read 1 across as "Burn" not "Bum" [that's BURN not BUM]. Andrea, is there a name for doing that? Need-stronger-glasses-itis? Mala-font?

I would go on but I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT.

joho 9:29 AM  

This puzzle took me about an hour with one dictionary look up: ALLE_E ... which when filled in with an "L" got me PAINPILL and I was done. It was tough going but definitely doable without Google. A fair, fun Saturday effort.

@crosscan: It's Alphonse

Ulrich 9:30 AM  

When I met my future wife in Boston, she was working part-time as cocktail waitress in the original Parker House Hotel (I don't know if it still exists). She did bring home occasionally a bottle of Sherry, but never one of the those rolls.

BTW She lost the job when she refused, around Christmas time, to wear a Santa Clauss mini-skirt outfit. I was so impressed that I recommended to her to read Friedrich Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State--I can only shake my head in disbelief and retrospect. We both have mellowed since, I more than she. LENIN was a gimme on account of my past (I've morphed from pink to blue).

My biggest problem was N California, where I could have guessed the B for square 49, had I had more patience. Other than that, this was one of the more enjoyable Sat. puzzles I've done.

chefbea1 9:43 AM  

A fun puzzle for a saturday and much easier that yesterday, although I did have to google a bit. I of course knew parker house roll and have been to the Parker house back in my college days. Knew cachepot from my florist days.

Never heard of alegar but my brother has something to do with the Elgar production that is traveling around the country and also england.

Could someone please explain incr?

chefbea - addicted to this blog

SethG 9:46 AM  

I lose.

This puzzle was hard. It was impressively free of crap (though the MIN/RERIG/EEK row was close). But what it wasn't, for me, was fun.

I did have a few good moments. Guessed AL DAMATO right away having never heard of the book. I had...well, okay, maybe just one good moment.

Stuck with Sweet Dreams for way too long even though I knew ASCII/ISAAC. Tried ROMEO O first. There was lots of stuff I learned, but there was little that popped, few answers where I got it and said "Aha!" with glee. The cluing was generally straightforward, not clever, and in the end I just wasn't inspired enough to really work through my problem areas and instead just looked up what I hadn't finished.

Bah humbug, maybe I just need a nap.

Hobbyist 9:47 AM  

Julia Child's recipe for onion soup is the best and worth the long onion browning time. To me, this was way easier that yesterday. Got it all unlike Nothnagel's.

Orange 10:00 AM  

Crosscan: It's keming, "the result of improper kerning."

Chefbea, an elevation in one's cholesterol is an increase, which is abbreviated "incr."

Wade 10:06 AM  

As titles go, "What Is To Be Done?" doesn't scream NYT Best Seller List, does it? (My wife and I were laughing a couple of days ago over a headline in our neighborhood freebie newspaper, The Plaza Pulse: "All Saints Waits to See What Happens Next.")

Me neither on Parker House rolls. But Ulrich's story was very sexy in a 1930's agitprop kind of way.

This puzzle was one of those where I get a whole bunch of stuff, including some long answers, on the first pass, and then nothing happens for a long time. Those are more impressive than the ones (more typical of Saturdays for me) where on the first pass I get nothing but a few -S and -EDs, because it's like you've spotted me points and are still planning to beat me. Very satisfying puzzle.

HudsonHawk 10:19 AM  

I enjoyed this one, mainly for the long fill and that I completed it in one sitting of 20-25 minutes.

I wanted RANT for RAIL but realized 43A had to be LIL. Stared at FTL_ for a few seconds and had the aha moment when I parsed the abbreviation for "foot pound".

DORP fell fairly easily due to a little bit of knowledge of Staten Island geography (where there's a New Dorp and a New Dorp Lane). Pretty sure it's a Dutch word. And yes, sounds funny.

Remembered the title rat as REMY but couldn't justify making the plural REMIES. EMILES came after a few crosses.

Ulrich 10:41 AM  

@wade: I should have added that the ex-cocktail waitress and I had our 34th anniversary yesterday. She's on the warpath again--this time, trying to nab pumas.

JC66 11:01 AM  


At first, I thought 1A was BURN, too.

When this happens,I call it a reado, as opposed to a typo or a writo.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

@hobbyist: Just printed out JULIA'S SOUPE A L'OIGNON -- the classic version from Mastering the Art of French Cook, Volume One. As soon as it cools down, I'm making it!

joho 11:05 AM  

anonymous 11:04 is hungry joho

Anonymous 11:05 AM  


I'm originally from Schenectady, NY, the local indian name for the village called *Old Dorp*, which settled by the Dutch in the late 1600's. In the area, *New Dorp* was considered Amsterdam, NY (just up the river). In both cases, they were labled as Hamlets on the early maps.

Also, Parker House rolls were one of the offerings by Freihoffer's Bakery, delivered door to door by horsedrawn *trucks*, before moving to the supermarket shelves in the 50's.


tintin 11:17 AM  

I did not particularly like INCR either. But FTLB is just plain evil! Particularly when it could be FTLS (sure why not) xing an unnoticable SLIP. Not that I would do that...

Never heard of EEK! May have been able to intuit if he were a mouse. Not to be confused with the excellent Reggae artist eek-a-mouse. [non-caveman would insert link here]

@Orange, Love the KEMING!

@Ulrich, just saw the aging Human League in NYC last week singing "Don't you want me baby?" which you must know since it opens with "You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you..."

Cheers to all,

Geometricus 11:30 AM  

I was sure that 38D was "FTES" which in my line of work (teaching) means "Full-Time Equivalents". But that made 43A EIL which I knew was wrong so I changed it to MIL (isn't a MIL a very tiny unit of measure?) and I had SLIP for BLIP.

Other than that (and not knowing Michael REDD -- not a sports nut) this puzzle was amazingly doable for me, a rarity for a Saturday puzzle. Hey maybe that subscription to the online puzzle for Christmas last year is starting to pay off.

Practice helps.

becky 11:34 AM  

Ah, The Eurythmics' SWEET DREAMS got me off to a bad start. Then all I could think of was Debbie Gibson's ONLY IN MY DREAMSf, whic I probably should not admit to anyone.

For some reason early on, I wanted TURNOVER to be part of the PARKERHOUSEROLLS answer. I love Parker House Rolls. You can find them at the grocery store in MA. In my family lore, my father fell out of my aunt's jalopy in front of the Parker House Hotel - the door swung open as she rounded a big curve and out he fell.

EBENEZERSCROOGE - I kept thinking the answer would be the name of a vodka company. Shows where my interests lie! Alright, I'm off to find some FRENCH ONION SOUP - that sounds SOOO good to me right now!

Joon 11:54 AM  

this puzzle wasn't what i would call easy, but the hard parts of it seemed to be right in my proverbial wheelhouse:

1. michael REDD. best shooter in the NBA, and a member of the "redeem team." not exactly famous, though.
2. TALOS! omg, i can't believe he's in a puzzle. great stuff, although i tried to spell it TALUS at first.
3. ALLELE, LIPID, APOGEE, FTLB. science words? bring it on! abbreviations of scientific units nobody uses? bring it on! but no, i didn't know which _STAR it was, despite my years masquerading as an astrophysicist.

then there was CACHEPOT, PARKERHOUSEROLL, and ALEGAR. luckily the crossings between them were guessable. PENNI was unknown, too, but all the crossings were fine. DORP got my attention the last time we had it (klaaaaahn!), so now it's pretty much a gimme.

hudsonhawk, remy is EMILE's brother. he's also a "ratatouille" rat, but he's not the protagonist.

archaeoprof 11:58 AM  

For "Hamlet" I wrote DANE and never got over it. It just looked so right. And "Bum" totally fooled me: never thought of _that_ sense of the word. INSITU made my archaeological heart skip a beat.

Really good Saturday puzzle, and another delightful write-up, Rex.

foodie 12:06 PM  

This one felt just right for a Saturday, which means I by no means aced it, but I was not left feeling like a Class A Ignoramus, either. How can you not like a puzzle with Julia Child and FRENCH ONION SOUP right in the middle of it? Of course it needs a baguette rather than a PARKER HOUSE ROLL (too buttery considering the richness of the soup). Rex, your idea of a get together for the blog sounds fun--a potluck with X-worthy dishes like "Himmel und Erde", the Rex Roll, etc..

My absolute favorite is EBENEEZER SCROOGE, which was nicely misdirected-- I kept wanting to conjure up the name of rich Italians who make some sort of fancy drink, which also can magically INCR. your GOOD CHOLESTEROL.

It's weird how much I hesitated to put down ALLELE, a term I must use 20 times a day. I think it's because an allele has a meaning that's much broader than a mutated gene, but I know that this is typical of crossword cluing. It just felt less intentional- an "e.g." would have helped.

PS. Fiknik and Mac , thanks for your comments Thursday night. I had exceeded my limit so controlled my urge to answer. The French nuns taught me (more or less successfully) to respect the rules.

fikink 12:27 PM  

@joho, I haven't seen DORP since ETUI
@ulrich, congrats on your morph and tell your love to bag a puma for me
@Rex, thanks for gettin' back to me, Dude! NOT!
@foodie I, too, wanted to keep on going - thanks for noticing
I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, tho I stared at it for quite some time. Then Mr. Fikink gave me CALIFORNIAGIRLS and I was "on a roll."

Judgesully 12:32 PM  

For a Saturday a relatively easy (not excruciating) trek. May have had something to do with the fact that I waited until after I had spent 1 1/2 hours at bond call figuring out the bail to set for various defendants. Much easier that way. No wonder so many of our great works of literature are written in jail!

Rex Parker 12:37 PM  

Sadly, actual PUMA are majestic. Just beautiful. I hate the idea of killing them. And yet...

And fkink - I had no idea your question from yesterday was so serious / urgent. The answer is 'no.'


chefbea1 12:44 PM  

is this Michael shteyman's first puzzle? I don't recall seeing his name before. And how do you pronounce his last name?

fikink 12:54 PM  

A clarification to my last post, pumas in this context refer to the Hillary women who are going to support McCain. Stands for Party Unity My Ass...they think they've gotten a bad deal from the media and Obama's people.
I, along with Jane Doh and probably many others here, am a treehugger and would never think of slaying a puma.
Thanks, Rex. I am trying to construct one of these things and am always serious about legit clues "in the biz."

Rex Parker 12:57 PM  

I understood very well what was meant by PUMAs. Hence my "and yet ..." It was simply the language of "bagging pumas" that was (not really) troubling me.


sharkbyt 1:01 PM  

From a foodie, a Parker House roll is a buttery, rich, yeasted dinner roll. It was originally created by the Parker House Hotel (which also brought us the Boston Cream Pie--for a future crossword answer, perhaps) in Boston, Mass.

Oh, and to Ulrich, yes the Parker House still exists as the Omni Parker House.

PuzzleGirl 1:10 PM  

Fun puzzle. Super-hard in places and super-easy in other. I made a couple good guesses and a couple bad guesses. Like others, misread BURN for BUM at 1A, wanted FTES for FTLB, and JOHNNY WALKER or JACK DANIELS for EBENEZER SCROOGE.

Never been a big Heart fan, but when they did that Crossroads show, Wynonna Judd Rocked The House on "Magic Man." Dang. Can't find it on YouTube, but here's "Barracuda" with Heart, Wynonna, Sheryl Crow, and Melissa Etheridge.

jeff in chicago 1:51 PM  

Not much to say about today's puzzle as it, like most Saturday's ... Kicked. My. Butt. Still, I liked HEINIE, ZIT and OROMEO. Got a French lesson with RICHE, ARTISTES and DIEU. Frowned at LIL for "Teeny 'tiny'" (Tiny Abner???)

@Crosscan: The senator's first name is Alfonse

@Rex: The illustration for FTLB is HI-larious.

I (heart) Heart as well. I saw them in Cleveland (1974? 75?) before they had broken nationally (and when they were still nicknamed "Little Led Zepellin" for the covers they did of that band's songs). My favorite song - and the one I think best shows off Ann's fantastic singing voice - is "Mistral Wind," which I believe is only available on the "Greatest Hits/Live" album. There is a 2002 YouTube video, but it's not the same. The original was recorded in 1980. 22 years later it's just not as good.

Frances 1:58 PM  

Great week! I made it all the way from Sunday through Saturday without googling even once....and also managed to finish the Sunday NYT Cryptic. What I don't understand is how the aforementioned Cryptic relates to Will's choice of whom to vote for.

joho 2:03 PM  

fikink: Ahh, yes ETUI (God bless you!) I wanted BURG first then DORF for DORP until the "P" in SOUP solved it.

I had never heard the term Puma until coming here ... only Cougar which are older woman who go after younger men. Nothing wrong with that!

joho 2:05 PM  

PS: @puzzlegirl: thanks for Barracuda ... great song.

jae 2:12 PM  

This went quicker than yesterday's for me. Got CALIF.. with no crosses. Tried ACROBATS for 57a but erased it immediately upon seeing BAR. Needed my bride for CACHEPOT and DIEU (never heard of REDD but am not a basketball fan). Got TALOS because the cruiser I was on in '66-'67 carried surface-to-air TALOS missles. I'm with PG, this was mix of easy and difficult clues making for an interesting and fun Sat.

@fikink -- thanks for clarifying pumas. I heard the phrase "party unity, my ass" on the Daily Show for the first time this week but didn't realize it being used as an acronym.

alanrichard 2:33 PM  

After yesterday's initial misses of puttong coMESclean for naMESnames, and STOnehedge for STOckyard, todays puzzle, although challenging was not error filled for me.
When I saw the picture of the Parker House Roll, I thought of the imagery of a novelty song by Bob and Tom.
I got California Girls and French Onion Soup quickly but I, too, was looking for some alcoholic beverage before I realized it was Enenezer Scrooge - bah humbug!
I never heard of a Cache Pot but i got pot quickly and cache just fit into place.
I got Al D'Amato but it had me thinking of the Honeymooners routine of POLOPONY as I was looking for a one word answer.
This probably took me about 30-40 minutes. There was noththat I couldn't figure out - but it was challenging and a real good Saturday puzzle.
Also, I'm a little fuzzy on Julia Chlld's last meal. Was this her last televised meal or the last meal she had before the GRIM REAPER came for her as he did for Ebenezer Scrooge????

imsdave1 2:41 PM  

@geometricus - I solved the puzzle exactly like you did.

FTLB doesn't exactly jump out at me, though FTES had a nice ring.

Know TALOS from a horrible Ray Harryhausen version of Jason and the Argonauts.

Save FTLB, a really nice solve. I was much more upset by it at 5 a.m. when I (almost) solved this, but shooting 82 made up for it.

Good day all.

alanrichard 2:45 PM  

There is a main street in Staten Island called New Dorp Lane. For years i thought it was named for some politician named Dorp,(although there are many that could be named DORK). Now I understand why its called New DORP Lane. I always think its funny how I never watch TV, (Except for old movies & some sports) and haven't read a book since I read Invisible Man in college and I always finish the puzzle.
I always tease my friend that just doing the Times puzzle gives you a wealth of knowlege and information!

fergus 2:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
fergus 2:47 PM  

Flashback to hurling that pill in high school baseball. (I'm still an ace pitcher in my daydreams.) Haven't heard that usage for a long time, so thanks, Rex, for the memory.

Had great puzzle gratification until the very end where I was flummoxed by the Kia model and, what the hell, MARKET HOUSE ROLLS. The flower pot could have been CACHE MOT, thinking of hidden words representing floral offerings.

I often went to a restaurant called Ebenezer's with my grandfather, and we would always have a few spirits, as in gin or whiskey to start with, and a couple of Cognacs to finish, so I took quite a while to disassociate strong drink from the Clue's actual reference to the SCROOGE character and his Xmas spirits.

HEINIE (which I notice gets spell-checked) got pieced together letter by letter. It's a term I learned from Ronald Reagan, but since this is an apolitical blog, I'm constrained from any further elaboration.

On construction aesthetics, I liked the near symmetry of the double OOs.

acme 2:59 PM  

How does someone cross 6 fifteens????????????????
So Byron-esque!
I remained a humbled forever-Monday constructor.
Very cool Mr. Shteyman.

Count me in as a cougar who just learned PUMA
(When I was starting a local Cougar Club, don't ask, I learned that cougars and pumas and panthers (oh my!) were all the same thing, or something)

Great Saturday for me as the entire thing remained blank the first pass thru of the Acrosses...(except a guess at EASTER) but literally not one thing filled in for the first five minutes!

If Ulrich is my gleichgesinnter, you are my opposite of that! Every single word that was a gimme for you are the exact ones I didn't know! I never even got TA_OS as I didn't know what letter before _STAR so never got LECHER.
(and like Rex, felt some embarrassment bec I was the Greek mythology go-to person on both my highschool and college bowl teams!)

I swear to god I had a malapop, and I'm not just saying that, nor do I go looking for them!

Had -I-U for 27D French motto. Briefly considered SITU as the only word I could think of with that letter combo, only to have it turn up as 42A INSITU minutes later.
(yes, even tho I had seen the
42A "undisturbed" clue, I had no idea what it meant and only got the INSITU in crossings)

Disliked (only bec I didn't understand) FTL_, INC_, _IO, _STAR

(Odd that there was a car REO and now RIO... by KIA no less!)

One Woody Allen aside that helped with this puzzle:
ANNIE HALL was originally titled ANHEDONIA*, "one who can feel no pleasure", as it originally was all about him (isn't it always!?!)
So when I saw ANODYNE I understood sort of what it meant.

*(The studio changed it bec no one understood the title and Diane Keaton's real last name is Hall,
and the dreaded testmarketers approved the title and a shift in the focus to being on specifically his relationship with her)

It was his first across the board hit, and I quote directly from him "it was the most middle class film I've ever made".

(and to a certain extent, PENNI!)I'm actually surprised the foodie crowd has been as restrained as they have been today! Dig in!

mac 3:22 PM  

I had a fine time plodding away at this puzzle early this morning until I drew a complete blank at the SW - I had about 10 empty squares - and left it to go run errands (5 pounds of ripe tomatoes at the farm!), and as usual, when I came back, I filled the rest in in about 3 minutes. I don't understand why it works this way so often.

Most of the puzzle I did using crosses, hopping from area to area, with sometimes an answer just jumping out, like Al d'Amato, cachepot, talkie, nasal and artistes. I also had a keming, or pulled a keming, what is the prober use? Dorp is indeed a Dutch and South African word, nothing old about it, it just means village. Lofat seems a little casual for a health claim, and by hurler I have a completely different visual, alas! Isn't a lecher more lewd than a rake?
I like the cluing for acts, in situ, Ebenezer Scrooge, where I also wanted a potent potable.

@fergus, I'm intrigued about the Reagan - heinie connection.

@ulrich: congratulations on the anniversary! Go help your wife in her hunt!

miriam b 3:29 PM  

My NYT carrier has impeccable aim, and when it's raining, as it was this AM, he flings the paper into the deepest part of the puddle which always forms at the foot of my driveway. Never mind that he has the option of throwing it onto the lawn, where there's plenty of room.

The papers were sopping wet despite having been double-wrapped. I spread them (Sat. + Sun. features) out on the porch floor to dry. Anxious to get on with my day, I plunked my HEINIE (which I'd spell "hiney" if challenged) onto a chair and solved a still-dampish puzzle. I really enjoyed it despite the adverse working conditions.

A CACHEPOT, properly speaking, is an ornamental pot into which one places the less-glamorous pot (think plain terra cotta) in which the plant is growing. CACHE = hide, POT = well, pot. This is not the place where one keeps one's weed, as in a half-remembered SNL sketch.

The constructor's name sounds like that of a Russian emigré. Either he's a recent arrival who has successfully immersed himself in several areas of Amrerican culture, or he's been here since early childhood, or he's American-born. In any case, I did love this puzzle, rainwater and all. Molodyets!

Ellen 3:36 PM  

Michael Shteyman is not a new constructor. xwordinfo lists 37 NYT puzzles.

Yes, he's Russian, from St. Petersburg.

He's now in medical school, so I assume that's why he hasn't been as prolific lately.

mac 3:39 PM  

Just this minute a baker on CPTV mentioned a cake originating at the Parker House Hotel in Boston!
What do we call this phenomenon, Andrea?

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

"Either he's a recent arrival who has successfully immersed himself in several areas of Amrerican culture, or he's been here since early childhood, or he's American-born."

That's some serious Encyclopedia Brown shit.

miriam b 3:46 PM  

@mac: Synchronicity?

miriam b 3:49 PM  

@Anonymous 3:45 PM: That's so funny; my last name happens to be Brown.

Third post; over & out.

fergus 3:54 PM  


I just had a good laugh about your take on CACHE POT. It made me think of STASH, which works so well as both a noun and a verb in that context.

acme 4:02 PM  

et voila! You have a new nickname,
Encyclopedia Brown!

@crosscan, mac
I guess I can't name everything! I see that Orange took care of Keming
(tho I couldn't get to the link)

and Jung (WHOM I HAVE ACTUALLY READ!) has covered Synchronicity quite nicely...
but thanks for asking!!!!!!
I can always use the work!

fergus 4:06 PM  

Mac, I'm quite impassioned about politics, but all I really care to say here is that Reagan, using the term HEINIE, brought a surprisingly folksy colloquialism to what would typically be a vacuous press conference. This was maybe in 1985?

chefbea1 4:08 PM  

thanks Ellen - Michael Shteyman has done many puzzles!!

My third post.. off to my daughter's for bb-q. I'm bringing my famous cole slaw

Bill from NJ 4:39 PM  

I had roughly a third of this puzzle completed because I couldn't get a foot hold anywhere. Then I saw PARKERHOUSEROLL, which was a mitzvah, and I always thought it was some kind of a brand name with no other meaning beyond that.

From that point forward, I completed this one in chunks as one thing begat several others. I got most of the East Coast from that one answer and then most of the Midlands from FRENCH ONION SOUP and then all the South from EBENEEZERSCROOGE, another mitzvah.

Thanks, Orange, for reminding me of kerning. When it finally occurred to me what was happening in the NW, with the "Ms" and "RNs", I remembered my vow not to fall into the trap again (which I did) but thanks to you, NEVER AGAIN!!

There were several words, while not technically crosswordese but words-I-never-see-outside-of-puzzles, that helped me out DORP ALLELE INSITU.

Once I sorted out my kerning problem, I saw the giant cross that ended up felling this puzzle (IDONTFEELLIKEIT/GOODCHOLESTEROL).

A couple of lucky breaks, and the fact that names played no small part in this puzzle, helped me solve this in just under 45 minutes.

fergus 4:40 PM  

Lest I become too voluble, I wanted to point out the carry-over of LEWD and LECHER, though perhaps this has already intrinsically been acknowledged?

As a fifth-grader I trolled through the dictionary for vocabulary words to pretend to my teacher that I had read "The Swiss Family Robinson" but she questioned these lurid findings. I still feel slightly abashed at being caught out.

jae 4:49 PM  

In fact, Will commissioned Mr. Shteyman to do the intro puzzle (also around a Fri/Sat in difficulty) for "Crosswords to Keep Your Brain Young: The 6-Step Age-Defying Program," and writes about his background in the foreword.

Orange 5:18 PM  

Hey! Remy was the lead rat, the one who could cook, in "Ratatouille." Emile, the one who makes it into the crossword, is only about the fifth or sixth most important character, not a lead. The dead chef in the story is named Auguste Gusteau—move the first two letters of the first name to the end to make his last name.

Michael Shteyman managed to absorb enough American idiom within about five years of moving here and learning English to construct smooth NYT crosswords with crazy phrases in them. The kid's got a gift. (And is no longer a kid.)

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

Pristine Arizona quarter just found. Will send to Ulrich or Orange, should they ask. (FF @ gmail)

I'm feeling guilty for posting too much this afternoon, while watching the game at Wrigley Field, where I had so many essential baseball moments in my youth.

Alan 6:04 PM  

Very easy Saturday puzzle. How could Rex call this medium challenging? I know-no pop(expect one) music or comic book references references.

rsl 6:27 PM  

As one with a biology background and a keen interest in music (both pop and classical) I found this puzzle to be particularly easy for a Saturday (meaning not impossible). But I have to say some of the clues for the science-related entries were pretty lame...

"Carrier of fatty acids"? that would be triglycerides or at least chylomicrons or lipoproteins. But "good cholesterol"? Technically it's true also for bad cholesterol (LDL - low density lipoproteins). Howabout just "HDL" or "Opposite of LDL" as the clue next time?

and "Mutated gene"? Well, that's just wrong. Sorry Will. Remember we get two copies of each of our genes - one from mom and the other from dad. An allele is just one of these copies (and yes it can be the same as the other copy and still be an allele). It can also be mutated but it doesn't have to be. It just means it's a version of the gene found in a population. So it could be the most common form of a gene found in a population (known as the wild type allele) and thus not considered to be mutated. A better clue could have been simply "A form of a gene" or "One of a gene pair" or something more neutral like that.

Finally on a non-science clue...having grown up in S Florida I never heard of Parker House rolls either until my wife stayed at the Parker House Hotel a few years back and told me all about them. I've tried them since and I have to say they are wicked good - if you can find them, try 'em - you'll love 'em.

Orange 6:49 PM  

Alan, most of the top solvers' finishing times on the NYT Java applet bear out "medium-challenging." Four and a half to seven minutes isn't an "easy for Saturday" range. It's medium.

Leon 6:52 PM  

The cry of O Romeo is also made by Benvolio and Juliet's nurse:

JULIET: O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

NURSE: Romeo can,
Though heaven cannot: O Romeo, Romeo!
Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!

BENVOLIO: O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

Racewalking sux! LOL!

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

There was young lady named Kroll, who did something exceedingly droll,
for a costume ball,
she wore nothing at all
and backed in as a parker house roll.
-Ogden Nash

alanrichard 7:22 PM  

Synchronicity is a song by Sting & The Police.

foodie 8:06 PM  

@rsl, as indicated in my earlier post, my reaction to the cluing of ALLELE agrees with yours. To bring myself to write it, I had to remind myself that in crosswords, the clue-answer relationship can be "asymetrical". By that I mean it often works in one direction and not in the other--a mutated gene is a type of allele, but an allele is not necessarily a mutated gene. May be the experts can tell us whether it's considered acceptable to clue a broad concept by one of its examples.

fergus 8:07 PM  

Orange, do you not wish there were a measure for quality as precise as there is for time? (I would give this puzzle a 94% rating.)

The physicists and mathematicians may call into doubt my supposed standard with respect to accounting for time, but it might be fun to judge aesthetic qualities numerically, even if we know it's only a subjective game?

I actually hope somebody responds; to wit, whether it's a constant, linear, or higher degree mapping.

Joon 8:21 PM  

orange, i'll take your word for it, but i could have sworn that emile was the chef and remy was the non-chef brother. thinking it over, though, i could be convinced that i've got them switched. my 9-month old son has "seen" three movies and two of them are ratatouille.

while we're asking acme to name stuff, does anybody want to take a crack at this: i put ISAAC into [Singer of sewing machine fame] because i was thinking of the yiddish writer isaac bashevis singer. i was wrong, of course, but the answer was actually correct. what the hell? it's like a malapop except i didn't have to wait for elsewhere in the puzzle for my mistake to be a correct answer. so... a benapop? (this etymology is officially so tortured as to defy rational explanation. "you see, it's a back-formation from malapop, which is from malaprop, which is from a character from a sheridan play who mixed up her words...")

jeff in chicago 8:45 PM  

Emile is Remy's brother, the rat who will eat any old slop.

Ulrich 8:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris 9:01 PM  

I'm also going to join the "allele clue was crap" crew for the same reasons articulated above. I read the clue, had the A, and thought, "Please, don't be allele." Then it was allele. Blurgh. I don't really care about crossword conventions here because it's a word in my field and, well, it bothers me. Another thing about it is that it's actually an important concept for people to understand, and if someone sees it in an article and says, "Oh, that's a mutated gene!" then that's not good. "Mutated gene" has a bad connotation, and allele is a completely neutral word. I frequently complain about people's scientific literacy, and this does nothing to help that.

Also I thought the clue for good cholesterol was bad. I had phosphoglycerol at first, and thought that was a kickass get by me (off the final o!) and really obscure for crossword science fare, but alas.

Ulrich 9:02 PM  

@all who congratulated or encouraged: Thx.
I have also been asked to report that the lady in question was not a cocktail waitress--she was an official Parker House Hostess, handing out flowers or other seasonal items to guests (who were often drunk, she recollects).

chefbea1 9:59 PM  

@anonymous 7:06 thanx for the ogden nash poem!!! Very funny

oops - my 4th post... sorry

Gil Fitzhugh 10:12 PM  

I thought I remembered Reagan's comment being that someone gave him a pain in the KIESTER. Did he alsouse heinie?

Gil Fitzhugh

acme 1:39 AM  

that IS weird about Isaac Singer (Sewing) and Isaac Bashevis Singer having the same first and last names and getting it right for the wrong reasons...
Sort of like the Charlie (Hustle) Rose thing in Nancy's puzzle...a lot of folks put in Charlie when they saw Rose and that part was right for the wrong reasons...

I think I'm getting to the point where I'm less interested in naming any of these phenomena then just realizing that that is part of the collective reason I'm so crazy about crosswords...

ALL of these things we discuss on the blog...the Kemings, the malapops, the synchronicity, the knowing things we haven't read and being reminded of the things we have...the taking a break and then coming back and have things fall into place...
then to top it off to have someone like Rex hilariously write about it, in addition to being so erudite mixed in with being a little touchy about stuff he doesn't know or like, it's suddenly clear to me why it's ok for me to think, speak, read, write, dream about puzzles!

I'm sure there IS a word for this!

Doc John 1:57 AM  

This puzzle just kicked my ass! Was not able to finish it- the first in a long time. It was the New Jersey shoreline area of the puzzle that got me. I got RIO easily enough but the rest of the words would not come. Even after googling REDD, that didn't help at all. What would have helped would have been knowing that a rake was a LECHER. Never would have gotten that in a million years. Add to that (name a letter) STAR, (weird synonym for town) and (random French word- well, at the time it seemed that way), and you have a bunch of empty squares. Finally, driving around, I thought that gather would fit the rake clue so I came here only to be reminded that the a was really an e (although the ER did give me DORP and DIEU). Oh well, everyone has a bad day, I guess!

I loved all the long answers but I am in total agreement with rls, et al, on ALLELE and other science clue. Oh well, I got them easily enough.

Loved the Julia Child comment, Rex!

kevin der 2:01 AM  

i really liked the 6 interlocking 15s. they're all fantastic entries.

this was a toughie though. never heard of AL D'AMATO, REDD, DORP, IN SITU, FT LB, PENNI, or CACHE POT. also, put PORTERHOUSE for PARKER HOUSE... guess I was thinking it was bread that went with steak.

DDS 5:33 PM  

Sorry I'm a day behind, but "Back in the USSR" is a parody of Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA". I don't see any resemblance to "California Girls".

Whydah 4:02 PM  

Never heard of Talos?
Watch more Star Trek, my friend!

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

I love reading the comments about the Saturday Puzzle, but hate it that I get the thing in my local newspaper so late. This one did not appear until October 4th so I do not know if my comments will even appear--here goes anyway--Mirium B, I had the same problem with my carrier, but after threating to withold her tip, I now get it nicely thrown on my lawn. Emiles had me stumped good, as I kept want to put Remies (for Remy) but once I got hurler, apogee and lowers I was able to remember the secondary rat's name from the movie.

Marty71 3:47 AM  

This was a rare Saturday one that I got within a few letters of solving before turning to Google. PAINPILL seemed to fit, although I had no idea what "anodyne" meant. Then REDD, TALOS and DORP were my other difficulties. I wanted to put "Dorf" instead, even though I knew the last letter was a "p". I think that is the influence of a German mother coming through (Dorf is the German word for village, and is part of the wonderful word Dorfnarr, which means village idiot).

I was puzzled by the parody reference a little too, but a quick lyric check and remember these lines?

"Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout"

They are definitely a take-off on "California Girls".

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP