FRIDAY, Sep. 19, 2008 - Alex Boisvert (Like soldiers known as Gurkhas / Hindu drink of the gods / TV newswoman Soledad / Meyerbeer output)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: TALK LIKE A PIRATE Day (31A: _____ Day (September 19)) - crosses the grid and intersects the related Down answer, "SHIVER ME TIMBERS!" (8D: "Well, I'll be!," as it might be said on September 19)

Easy and themed! Actually, easy because it was themed - I had TALK LIKE A PIRATE and "SHIVER ME TIMBERS!" in the grid fairly early on, which gave me easy entry to every quadrant. I don't find the whole concept of TALK LIKE A PIRATE Day as funny as many people apparently do. I mean, it was funny once, but every year? I thought it was a one-time joke Day, but now we're enshrining it forever in the popular consciousness? Aaaargh. - Do pirates say that? Or just aggrieved bloggers. Speaking of aggrieved, none of my objections to clues were heeded today - I realized just now that one of those objections was kind of bogus, but I stand by at least one of the others. I balked at the clue for ON A BET (35A: How some dares are done). My response: you do something ON A DARE or you do it ON A BET, but doing a dare on a bet just sounds weird. Today, I believe that I am right that it sounds weird, but I also believe it's perfectly accurate on a literal level, so fine. I have not, however, resigned myself to the clue on GAS STATIONS - 55A: Shell locations. Shell is a gas station. Is the idea that the logo, a "shell," is located at certain GAS STATIONS (namely, uh, Shell GAS STATIONS)? Someone will explain why this is a good clue, I'm sure.

The very gettable theme coupled with a host of easy clues to make the puzzle easy (for me) to complete. Gimmes include:

  • 44A: "Super Trouper" group, 1980 (ABBA) - refuse to see "Mamma Mia," but LOVE ABBA. Warning: do not click on the following video unless you want an ABBA song stuck in your head the rest of the day.
  • 47A: Packers QB whose #15 jersey is retired (Starr) - Bart. So easy (who else? Favre?) that I wanted the clue to refer to Brenda STARR. Another request Denied!
  • 26A: Persian, e.g. (cat) - old trick.
  • 28A: W.W. II air ace who lent his name to an airport (O'Hare) - blah blah blah airport.
  • 2D: Hindu drink of the gods (amrita) - HA ha. A gimme only because it knocked me on my ass some months back, so I remember it.
  • 9D: _____ Santiago, 1987 N.L. Rookie of the Year (Benito) - his name just flows off the tongue. Bart STARR, BENITO Santiago, and ABBA pretty much limn the boundaries of my crossword sweet spot.
  • 44D: _____ 2600 (hit product of the 1970s-'80s) (Atari) - blah blah blah gaming system.
  • 40D: TV newswoman Soledad (O'Brien) - "news."
I should say that I had a massive double error in this puzzle, one that was largely a function of its easiness. I had LATENESS for 33D: Student excuser (late pass), and blew through that section so quickly that I didn't even think to check the (nonsensical) crosses. I had ETE (it's a fine word, if you're French) for 48A: LAX datum (ETA) and the not-so-much-a-word TANE for 45A: Kind of delay (tape).

Other noteworthiness:
  • 12A: _____ of God (Son) - had ACT at first, mostly because SON seemed like one of those areas the Times would tend to stay away from. If the phrase were in quotation marks, maybe ... I like the clue fine, but would not have minded [_____ of a gun], [_____ of a bitch], [_____ of Sam], or ["The Good _____" (1993 Culkin thriller)].
  • 30A: Meyerbeer output (operas) - mmm, beer.
  • 39D: Italian restaurant chain (Sbarro) - mmm, airport.
I believe this video (just now) made me laugh harder than any I've posted to date:

  • 49A: One end of the Welland Canal (Lake Ontario) - got it from -AKEO... otherwise, no idea.
  • 3D: Play with the line "Hell is other people" ("No Exit") - "L'enfer, c'est les autres" / "Huis Clos," if you're playing in French. One of the first works I ever read in French. LOVED it (it appeals to sardonic, booky, nerdish kids with angst to spare, believe me).
  • 4D: Guys (dudes) - HA ha. I guess "guys" is gender-specific....
  • 5D: Revolutionary patriot James (Otis) - despite having a wife who is an American historian, I suck at all pre-Civil War American history clues. I see "Revolutionary" and my eyes glaze over. Thankfully, most of those guys (and gals?) have pretty basic names. This guy, for instance, was named after an elevator.
  • 16A: What the 1939 50,000-word novel "Gadsby" completely lacks (an "E") - my favorite clue of the day, and possibly the month. If you are going to give us crap like ANE, at least make it entertaining and/or edifying. Someone should have told Ernest Vincent Wright that his name on the cover kind of screws up the premise.
  • 14D: Like soldiers known as Gurkhas (Nepalese) - Today's Out of Left Field / Out of the HimalayaS answer.
  • 34D: Live folk album of 1968 ("Arlo") - the only thing I can think of right now is the fact that I just typed out this clue beginning with the awesome typo "34DD..." - which would have prompted me to want to write: "It was a big album ... very big."
  • 51D: Org. with the annual Eddie Gottlieb Trophy (NBA) - didn't know it. Just waited for the crosses to fall into place.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


imsdave1 9:13 AM  

Got the theme from IMB and remembering that I read something about this 'day' earlier in the week. ACT was my only erasure. Maybe I'm the only one who hasn't seen it before, but I really liked the clue for CAROLS. Overall opinion is, as Rex says 'meh'. Finishing a Friday in under 10 minutes was the major highlight for me.

jannieb 9:14 AM  

I didn't find this especially easy. Never have heard of "Talk Like a Pirate" day but with "timbers" filled in, the down answer seemed easy enough and I still stared at the crossing clue. D'oh! James Otis??? Otis James??? Could be either - new one for me. If it's not Etta, I'm lost. Meyerbeer? I'm thinking Odouls???

A few odd gimmes - I knew the Nepalese and the Welland Canal since I used to live in Buffalo and that was the way to Toronto. Crossed that bridge once in a blizzard only to learn what Boxing Day was all about. Oh well, that gave me good footing in the SE corner.

The SW was held up for a long time because I couldn't get over "hall pass". Also part of why the Talk Like didn't occur to me. Do attorneys really "tend" the bar??? That doesn't sound like a phrase in the language. Also wanted "I'm outta here" at 15A, but okay with the fill as is.

So aside from a few quibbles, not a bad Friday.

ArtLvr 9:21 AM  

Very much like yesterday, this puzzle wasn't exactly "easy" for me but I did get it all in the end, filling in the bottom half first, then the middle and top right. For some reason, the NW stalled me a bit, but I guessed BENITO and then PANDORASBOX leapt to mind. Aha. My cat had turned to Persian rug for a while, but came back with PICNIC!

OHARE was a gimme, and I also associated the SBARRO restaurants with Chicago because of having eaten in two of the three there -- but I looked it up and see it's NY-based. Great food...

Chuckled when I saw [guys] DUDES, as First Dude was in the headlines again yesterday, not TALKINGLIKEAPIRATE or on any other TOPICS. Like jannieb, I never heard of this kind of day anyway. OKBYME.

Loved the clue Gurkhas and hope it's an answer one day... Is it something to eat too?


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Or maybe DUDES is not gender specific?

dk 9:30 AM  

Humero will always be numero uno.

COCA leaf was my down fall in this puzzle and in the sixties. I wanted gold leaf and any other kind of leaf, just could not think of COCA or COHERE.

On the Shell clue. The logo is a shell and they are at GASSTATIONS... a stretch but it is a puzzle.

In my single days when I did the @acme reverse (dated women half my age for whom English was a second or third language) I was always amazed at the attraction to ABBA and the TV show Friends. My alien friends took direction from them, thus really blurring the lines between reality and media despite in every case having more degrees than a thermometer. I tried to look at and discuss it from a Marshall McLuhan perspective but...

Easy day for a Friday and those from the Treasure Coast of Florida appreciate pirates as they get a holiday for Jose Gaspar, the last of the buccaneers.

That reminds of a joke about the cost of corn where the roadside stand operator is a pirate....nah forget it.

jlsnyc228 9:31 AM  

relative to fridays, this one *was* on the easy side for me -- but that still means it took me something more than a quarter of an hour to complete...

back in the day... shell logos were everywhere part of the gas station "culture." yes, i had to think about the fill vis a vis the clue (ditto the dare/bet pairing...) -- and/but it still feels OKBYME. fwiw...



joho 9:40 AM  

I was surprised how easy this was for a Friday. Even never hearing of TALK LIKE A PIRATE day, I zipped right through this puzzle. I, too, didn't fill in GAS STATIONS at first because Shell is a gas station. But once the GAS was there, what else could it be?
I did not care for this clue. One slight glitch was RAIN for delay, but that was quickly changed to TAPE.

It's nice to complete a Friday puzzle so quickly with no mistakes, but then again this doesn't seem difficult enough to be a Friday puzzle. IMO.

imsdave1 9:43 AM  

@DK - you really do know all the old ones.

km.edgerton 9:51 AM  

This was a very easy Friday for me. Having a mother born in Welland, Ontario made the LAKEONTARIO answer a gimme. As to the Shell clue, I also thought it was clumsy but my explanation was a little different. I thought it was more along the lines of Safeway locations being grocery stores. Of course Safeway is a grocery store, but their locations are also stores. Not good, but I'll stretch to justify a clue when I can figure out the answer. A better clue might have been "Shell, for example."

Joon 10:04 AM  

easy for a friday, but what an enjoyable solve? SHIVERMETIMBERS! BENITO santiago cracked this puzzle wide open for me. as soon as i filled him in, i basically didn't stop typing until i was done.

i blew through it so fast i didn't notice some of these things, but yes, [How some really stupid stuff is done] might have been a better clue. i liked the shell station clue. km.edgerton, your clue doesn't work because it clues GASSTATION. [Shell and others] would be okay but then you're losing almost any chance at deception. [Shells, say] is a fiendish clue possibility. it could be a noun or a verb, with plenty of different possible meanings.

STARR and OHARE certainly could have had harder clues. how about [MVP of Super Bowl II]? or [Scorer of the winning touchdown in the "Ice Bowl"]? [Namesake WWII flying ace Butch]?

SethG 10:14 AM  

Morning, mateys!

E. There, I said it. Three, no five, no six times now.
The wikipedia entry on Gadsby is also a lipogram. AN E was my first answer.

Went sailing last night--she was not very yare, but I was thinking about it anyway as I knew what today would be. Dagg fell in.

I made a big mistake and started this puzzle when I was tired last night. I worked for about fifteen minutes, drifting off a bit and losing my place, and finished about a third of it. Went back to it this morning and finished it up, including correcting my errors from yesterday (the NRA, for example, has no Eddie Gottlieb trophy...), in about five minutes. Clues like "Apparently is", which seemed impossible at about midnight, were obvious.

This would almost surely have been my fastest Friday ever if I'd only had patience...

Dude, did you just say SBARRO has great food? I think it's a theme entry.

Off to create an ABBA station on Pandora,
Privateer Mad Tongue

Crosscan 10:15 AM  

Arrrr mateys, go Willie Stargell, yada yada yada. [take a chance, take a chance...]

Personal best time for a Friday despite having never heard of Talk like A Pirate Day.

Some nice mini themes as well:


A Niagara Falls SE with Welland Canal/LAKE ONTARIO over OVER A BARREL.

This one is OK BY ME. [take a chance, take a chance...]


John in NC 10:15 AM  

I couldn't get anything in this puzzle until I got to the ABBA clue, and then, shockingly, and is often the case on Fridays, things just started falling into place. It's funny how you can read through clues the first time and think, "no idea what that could be..." And then come back after having only one or two crosses and immediately fill in the answer.

My only stumble was thinking the theme day was TALK LIKE A POPEYE day. Which, admittedly, makes no sense. But if fit, and after I got SHIVER ME TIMBERS, all I could think of was Popeye... It made the NE a bear, but I eventually got back on track.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Funny to see the No Exit entry and the Shell clue in the same puzzle. Brought to mind one evening as a 12-year-old, driving with my family along a freeway and seeing in the distance a brightly lit sign - red and yellow block letters easily 50 feet off the ground for maximum visibility, advertising HELL.
It was, of course, a Shell station in need of a new lightbulb, but even then I could almost feel ol' Jean Paul sitting right there in the car with us.
- Tom from Pittsburgh

Pete M 10:33 AM  

GAS STATIONS worked fine for me. Shell is an oil company with a customer presence at many locations, which are gas stations.

humorlesstwit 10:41 AM  

Flew through this one like never before, after a long week with slogging through everything.

All of your plans for world domination will fall apart once mine gets implemented.

Orange 10:45 AM  

Yeah, what Pete said. "Texaco locations" are also gas stations. Capital-S Shell, not "shell locations."

Otis Redding was named after James Otis, Jr., who was in turn named after the elevator. It's a proud history.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Stuck with "adhere" for way too long and coca just would not come. Got the long clues right off though. Overall, really easy for a Friday.

Wade 11:07 AM  

Chips ahoy!

Tony from Charm City 11:08 AM  

I too have never heard of Talk Like A Pirate Day, but stumbled onto the theme just like Jannieb did.

For me, today is more like "Fat Finger Friday" as I had some typing issues which lead to some interesting answers. For instance, I had SIN of God for a short while, then realized that INECARAT didn't make sense.

Never heard of Eddie Gottlieb, either, but with the B in the middle, NBA seemed the only fit. I guess I could have gone with PBA, but the only bowlers I even remember are Dick Weber and Earl Anthony.

jae 11:11 AM  

Yes, easy for me also. After some initial staring BENITO opened it up. Having ADHERE in the NE was my only major hiccup (being shaky on the spelling of SAYONARA didn't help). I did have misread clue problem in SW where I wondered for a while how TOASTERS adorned pendants.

archaeoprof 11:11 AM  

Last week I went through OHare and saw his fighter plane in one of the terminals. But "adhere" adhered itself to my grid and wouldn't let go. Does COHERE really mean "stick?" Doesn't it mean "hold together?"

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

what? no link to captain dan and the scurvy crew?
never heard of talk like a pirate day, but the pirate rap played on the radio while i was solving and that finally tipped it for me.

fikink 11:21 AM  

@Tom from Pitt: great story!

treedweller 11:35 AM  

Am I the only one who never heard of SBARRO? I remembered early that I had seen this in another puzzle once, but have no clue about the restaurant. Maybe next time I'll actually remember the name. Today, I stared at it, moved on, came back to stare at it, etc. I guess I should have been able to get the S from SOC, but that SEEMS to me like one of those abbrs. that only look plausible when designing a crossword.

jannieb 11:39 AM  

I think calling Sbarro's a "restaurant" may be a bit of a stretch. I've only ever seen them in food courts at a malls, airports and such. No bricks and mortar sort of establishments that I can recall.

william e emba 11:39 AM  

I started off in the NE with ACT on top of ANE on top of YEP, all gimmes, and when the letters were wrong for going down, realized ACT had to be too easy for a Friday. I immediately got two of the downs, ONECARAT and NEPALESE, and then had to go through the alphabet twice to finish -ON. Being Jewish, the S just did not occur to me.

Pete m is correct. More explicitly, the Shell Oil Company is located at their Houston corporate headquarters, their oil wells, their refineries, their marketing centers, and also their GAS STATIONS.

The lipogram novel Gadsby is quite readable, but rather dull. I have not seen that cover before. All those Es. I read it nearly thirty years ago, when I was contracting for NSA. I had certainly heard of the novel--every book for word freaks has to mention it--and there it was, a copy in their unclassified library, along with all their mathematics and computer and history material.

A more remarkable read is Georges Perec La disparition, a bizarre postmodern romp whose theme is the lack that cannot even be said, STARRing Anton Vowl. The novel has even been translated into several languages, twice into English, with each translation again a lipogram. (Perec also wrote a short story containing only Es for the vowels.)

miriam b 11:51 AM  

I had a spinach stromboli at SBARRO during a layover in Vegas. It was so good that it was almost obscene.

Easy enough, once the theme became apparent. Thanks to Mr. Boisvert (Greenwood?) for an enjoyable puzzle with an assortment of clues designed to please most of us. I'm the TONAL, NOEXIT, AMRITA, OPERAS, SAYONARA, ONECARAT type, and would never have known STARR, NBA, ATARI et al. but for crosses.

Do chickensreally eat OATs? I understand that feeding purslane to chickens makes for more nutritious eggs. I dunno about the oats. I vaguely remember (from my pre-retirement days) reading a study concerning the level of arsenic in an additive to chicken feed. This additive was intended to improve the appearance of the chicken flesh, IIRC. Made me scratch my head. Also pushed me a bit closer to vegetarianism.

I've never heard of GADSBY, but despite pressing household chores, I'm off to look it up. Some Frenchman wrote a novel a few years back without the use of one specific letter. I can't remember which letter it was, nor do I recall whether this appeared in English, French or both. This will take some heavy-duty Googling, I fear.

miriam b 11:58 AM  

Eureka. From Wikipedia:

A Void (orig. French La Disparition (literally, "The Disappearance") is a 300 page French lipogrammatic novel, written in 1969 by Georges Perec, entirely without the letter e, following Oulipo constraints. Its translation into English by Gilbert Adair is entitled A Void.

I'm going to see whether this is available @ reasonable cost.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:59 AM  


I think you probably are the only person who has never heard of SBARRO. But given your handle it is understandable. They are all over the world, in airports, malls, other food courts, and on street corners, but I do not believe I have ever seen one in a tree.

fikink 11:59 AM  

Thanks for my pirate name, Seth. I am now known as Evil Hook-handed Helen. ehh...

miriam b 12:16 PM  

@william e emba: I somehow missed reading your highly informative post before going a-Googling! My thanks and apologies.

Third post and I am "auf"d.

jeff in chicago 12:16 PM  

Working the downs, I got OREM right away (if it's 4 letters in Utah, it's Orem) and XES. The OX gave me PANDORASBOX.

Crazily, I was with some friends last night, one of whom was "Aaaargh-ing" all night. When asked, he said he was getting ready for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Then it shows up in the puzzle!! Never had that happen before.

Had the incorrect IMOUTTAHERE, but with the SH got SHIVERMETIMBERS. Off to a good start, I was.

Figured 49A would start with LAKE, and ATARI, SBARRO and OBRIEN showed me it was ONTARIO, and also led quickly to OVERABARREL and GASSTATIONS.

Only complaint would be "In APET." Never heard of that phrase.

Overall, I'm very happy. A Friday I could finish even though I knew Rex would rate it easy. I'm cool with that.


Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Notes from all over...
In an episode of The Simpsons, "Burns' Heir", Burns makes Lenny explain why he shouldn't be fired without using a word with the letter E. Lenny says, "Um, I'm a good... work... guy," He is fired anyway and as Burns presses the button which opens the trapdoor under Lenny, he blurts out, "but I didn't say... eeeeee!"

"Unhooking a DD-Cup Bra without Fumbling" by Adam Adams is a lipogrammatic novella, written without the letter "E"

Lipogrammatic writing which uses only one vowel is called univocalic. Thus, "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!" is both univocalic and palindromic.

In England, the msot discussed lipograms weere written by Georges Perec: 'A Void' (no E) and 'The Exeter Text' (no A, I, O and U).


Cheryl 12:46 PM  

I'm the other person who had never heard of Sbarro. I don't fly and don't eat in food courts (extrene dairy issues) so unless they open one in my living room, that serves dairy free Italian food (Ha!), I will never have the pleasure.

I had your same reaction but have seen them interchanged in puzzles previously. I believe adhere is more "stick to" whereas cohere is "stick together" so with a clue of just "stick" I guess one could go either way.

ATARI/ABBA was my first fill and it went fairly smoothly but the NW was a problem since there were a lot of things I just didn't know: AMRITA, NOEXIT, OTIS, AFL, BENITO, OREM. Even with 1A and 17A filled in, it took a lot of slogging to fill in the blanks of 15A. I will be sure to remember them now.

archaeoprof 12:49 PM  

@cheryl: thanks for your help. It's all part of learning the language of CrossWorld...

Gypsy 1:06 PM  

I once saw NO EXIT performed on a giant teeter-totter. I kid you not.

I have no objection to GAS STATIONS. If something had been clued as "Olive Garden locations," I wouldn't have hesitated to fill in RESTAURANTS.

markus 1:10 PM  

"Dude" was coined by Oscar Wilde (and friends). It's a combination of the words "duds" and "attitude."

Pirates wore earrings in the belief that it would improve their eyesight.

If you've never heard of Talk Like a Pirate day, you're a boomer. It's a gen-x thing.

That's all I'm sharing. Enjoy.

Wade 1:29 PM  

I thought Dave Barry invented "Talk Like a Pirate Day."

I ate at Sbarro's day before yesterday for the first time in probably 20 years. I have no electricity and am back working at the mall.

chefbea1 1:33 PM  

had a hard time with the southwest. Never hard of talk like a pirate day.

Have seen Sbarro counters in malls - they are counters not restaurants. Have never eaten at one.

Saw Abba on broadway. It was great

Anonymous 1:53 PM  


Actually, for me, due to a dietary problem, *GAS STATIONS* also fits for *Olive Garden Locations* ;)

Also, the Sbarrows I've seen (quite a few in my travels) were all set up as cafeterias --- but I'm sure there are counter only models as with McD's.


Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Please subtract a W from the noun of your choice in my previous post


Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Fast, easy, fun puzzle, but why not find a nit to pick? We really should campaign to have "Pandora's Box" returned to the correct translation of the Greek: Pandora's Jar. (You could look it up.)

Bob Kerfuffle

jlsnyc228 2:27 PM  

actually, there's a brick 'n' mortar/sit-down sbarro's immediately down the street from the wintergarden theatre, home to mamma mia!.

manhattan, while becoming mall-like [sigh...] (mercifully) isn't known for its food courts (tho some *are* croppin' up).



jlsnyc228 2:45 PM  

not that food courts can't be/aren't a *great* convenience!!!



evil doug 2:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 3:04 PM  

I love O'Hare. My first airline job was washing dishes at United's flight kitchen; how cool to later return in command of a USAF C-130, and then many Delta flights.

Said to be true on "":

"Lt. Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare...was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions against the Japanese and defending the U.S.S. Lexington. According to the official citation of his Medal of Honor, he won the recognition "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat..." He was the section leader of Fighting Squadron 3 on February 20, 1942....O'Hare and his wingman spotted the enemy planes first. The wingman's guns jammed, however, and the other four planes were too far away, so O'Hare faced 9 twin-engine Japanese bombers alone. He shot down five of them and damaged a sixth before other U.S. fighters arrived. No enemy bombs made it to the Lexington. The Medal of Honor citation calls it " of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation..." O'Hare was killed in November of 1943 during the battle for the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific.

"Butch's father, Eddie O'Hare, was an attorney and business partner of the famous gangster Al Capone. He helped run Capone's horse and dog track operation in Chicago. He was described as being devoted to his son. There was a point when Eddie decided to secretly become an informant for the Internal Revenue Service and it was with his help that the government convicted and imprisoned Capone for income tax evasion. Some have said that Eddie became an informant because of a change of heart and a desire to go straight. Others have said it was merely his way of saving his neck in the face of potential prosecution."

The elder O'Hare was gunned down in 1931.

The puzzle? Absurd. Never having to put down the pen to contemplate new ways to attack the puzzle---on a Friday!---reflects a waste of my time. Just point and fill....


Ulrich 3:21 PM  

I'm learning so much reading he comments that I can't write much: My short-term memory is working overtime to push new stuff into the long-term bank--pretty soon, smoke will come out of my ears from overheating the circuits.

sillygoose 3:22 PM  

@treedweller and @cheryl I haven't seen a Sbarro either. This goose doesn't fly. At least I remembered it from a previous puzzle.

I don't usually finish Friday puzzles so I just went ahead and looked up Sept. 19 to see what it was.( I mean, it IS a school day, so what could it be?) That made this puzzle too easy. I wish I had held out. Wonder how I might have done without the whole center filled in for me. Got Pandora's Box off the X, got Gas Station off the G. The clues didn't seem too tricky.

More like sitting in the crow's nest than walking the plank.

Bill from NJ 3:27 PM  

I know my Utah cities, boy, and that came in handy today.

My first entry was 11D XES and the Utah city got me
the long 1A and I was off to the races. A combination of the Sartre novel crossing NIXES got me the NW in short order. I was looking at SHIVERM******* and guessed at it and 43A HMOS confirmed it.

I remembered an article I had read in Dave Barry's column several years ago about the Pirate day but I couldn't think of exactly what it was called and I filled in PIRATE at the end of 31A and went to work on the East Coast. I knew OHARE, guessed at OPERAS and TONAL and got SAYANORA.

Once I realized the day was TALKLIKEAPIRATE, I had very little trouble in the South. This was my quickest Friday solve in a long time and I brought this one in in just under 12 minutes.

Off to Saturday!

Carisa 3:34 PM  

Has anyone done today's New York Sun puzzle? Very weird coincidence with today's Times puzzle. 33D in the Times is LATEPASS. 34D in the Sun is also LATEPASS. Weird.

PuzzleGirl 3:42 PM  

For anyone who hasn't looked it up yet, Dave Barry's 2002 article re the origin of Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Easy puzzle, great theme.

@carisa: Nope. Haven't done the NYS yet. Sure wish I didn't know one of the answers already.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

Interesting tidbit about today's puzzle. As I was Googling Sept. 19 (never heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day), I noticed on Wikipedia's entry for Sept. 19 that today is Soledad O'Brien's birthday. Weird coincidence or not??


Doc John 4:28 PM  

Rex, if you like ABBA, go see Mamma Mia, the show or the movie. You'll love it.

Well, since I had a feeling that 31A wasn't going to be "the day after John's birthday" day, I had to wait for some (OK, most) crosses before I got it. BTW, thanks for all the nice b-day wishes, everyone. Favorite present- my hubby gave me a t-shirt that has a Guitar Hero look but reads "Tuba Hero".

I've never heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Is that like Billy Crystal's "talk like an old European" from When Harry Met Sally?

To me, SHIVER ME TIMBERS will always bring this to mind. (Check out the title at the top of the browser window.)

Since we are all interested in words and their usage, please permit me to go off on a little riff. That link is my favorite coaster name ever- very clever and applies to what it is and where it is located. My second favorite (name, not coaster) is Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce in Connecticut (much closer to you NY types). I just love the images that both of these names connote plus the fact that they're not tired old pantheonic coaster names like Cyclone (with deference to Coney Island of course.) OK, I'm done.

jae 4:38 PM  

I recall doing a Frank Longo Sunday puzzle recently that had no Es. I believe the title was "Where did E go?"

Two Ponies 4:39 PM  

@ Markus - I read that pirates wore earrings so they would not die penniless
@ Miguel - You always have something interesting to say and today is no exception.
@ Wade - Hope you get your power back soon.
@ Everyone else - great discussions today, thanks.

mexicangirl 5:19 PM  

Easy? Easy?!!
I give up. Days like this are way out of my, very limited, league (culturally speaking).
I have long way to go... gotta travel the seven seas of knowledge, now.

Leon 5:33 PM  

Great job Mr. Boisvert.

Considering the theme I really wanted
ARR !! (Var. of Aaaargh) for 48 across.

Also wanted Mr. Wright's novel to be named Th Grat Gadsby.

joho 5:35 PM  

@puzzlegirl: thanks for the Dave Barry write up ... too funny.

@docjohn: Boulder Dash is a great name for a coaster, but now I wonder which is your favorite? Mine is The Beast.

@sillygoose: This puzzle was definitely "more like sitting in the crow's nest than walking the plank."

I only have one last thing to say today: ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Joon 5:41 PM  

mexicangirl, "easy" means relative to most fridays. it was still tougher than, say, tuesday's puzzle. (i found it about the same as wednesday's and much easier than yesterday's.)

dave barry popularized TLAPD but did not invent it.

miguel 12:43, wow. wow! you are all over the place. loved your comment.

jae, the NYT has in the past published both lipogrammatic and univocalic puzzles. even, in one case, a univocalic sunday: feb 13, 1994 by cathy milhauser. (answers, if you want them. sadly, the NYT across lite archive does not go back that far.)

mac 6:24 PM  

Nah, it had a couple of tough areas, but for a Friday it wasn't too hard, needed no googling.

I also had adhere, for a bit thought 13D was -----dram, thought the Gurkhas were noseless (actually thought nationless, and the Brits were not too helpful for quite a while), and beat instead of peak (24D).

Enjoyed the write-up and the informative comments so much that I hardly remember doing the puzzle. It was pretty fast but lots of fun. When I had the "shiver me timbers" first I also thought Popeye was going to be involved.

Thread from a couple of months ago: I went to a lecture by Steven Pinker at Fairfield University this afternoon. We had an interesting time learning all about swearing, why, how, when, and even which part of the brain needs it. Using the worst taboo words has the most (physical?) effect, guys.

Doc John 6:34 PM  

@puzzlegirl, et al- Dave Barry spoke at my med school graduation (from U of Miami). He was writing for the Miami Herald at the time. Excellent speaker and very funny!
To link to my earlier post, we tried to get Billy Crystal for some reason but he wanted an honorary degree to do it. Typical.

@joho- send me an email that I can reply to and I'll tell you my faves.

radioguy 6:45 PM  

I radio station I once worked for would get a yearly press release from Long John Silver's when Talk Like A Pirate Day was near. That's the only reason I've heard of the holiday and, while I didn't remember when it occurred, I figured it out after getting SHIVER ME TIMBERS.

The university I attended had a contract with Sbarros and I ate way too much of their pizza (and way too much of pizza, in general) as an undergrad. It was even served in the dining hall every Friday. As a result, I've rarely patronized Sbarros since.

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

I agree Rex. Shell locations is
a poor clue. A better clue would be: Shell sellers (GAS STATIONS)

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

I agree Rex. Shell locations is
a poor clue. A better clue would be: Shell sellers (GAS STATIONS)

steve l 7:22 PM  

Nothing wrong with Shell locations. Have you ever seen a Shell location that wasn't a gas station? Have you ever seen an A&P that wasn't a supermarket? Have you ever seen a Barnes & Noble that wasn't a bookstore? Hence, Shell location = gas station; A&P location = supermarket; B&N location = bookstore.

fergus 7:47 PM  

SINK LIKE A PIRATE? No ... It's TALK, said my students, mostly SRS, almost in unison, while we worked the puzzle and a pretty easy problem set simultaneously. Seemed like common knowledge to them, so I asked my next class of mostly 9th graders and none of them had ever heard of this un-holiday. So you have to conclude it's either age and/or era related.

In A PET appeared maybe six months ago, and got full discussion in these quarters. Every so often, a Friday or Saturday puzzle will drop this speedily for me, and I'll get more than that little stoked sensation that addicted puzzlers continually seek, but not today. Never even seeing a bunch of Clues is a pretty good indication that this puzzle wasn't scaled for Friday. So, no surprises with the general consensus. I wouldn't mind having to walk the plank tomorrow, after having four days off and then not much of challenge today.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

Sure Steve. It's a great clue.
Just like your clue for BOOKSTORES
--Barnes & Noble locations. Doh!

Michael 9:37 PM  

I'm sure that this was my fastest Friday ever. I just kept writing. This was a day in which all sorts of minor things have gone wrong, so I was really happy that this wasn't of typical Friday difficulty.

I thought Fridays were always themeless...

middleagedman 9:54 PM  

@ treedweller, though I seem to be sitting in a comfortable if cluttered living room, this is revealed as only a pleasant hallucination by the number of times I've been on the excluded end of a proposition beginning "unless you've been living under a rock..."

Evidently tree-dwelling can also insulate one from common memes. :-)

As for sbarro, I remembered an earlier puzzle with a strangely named Italian restaurant chain, got the 'b' and then "oh yeah, zbarro, sbbare, or something..."

An after-puzzle google shows three sbarro's near me, but not anywhere I frequent. I've definitely seen the logo, but maybe only the last time the puzzle made me google...

Margaret 11:31 PM  

Can't believe that SHIVER ME TIMBERS didn't make anyone but me think of this:

I prefer the Tom Waits version but Bette Midler's is good, too.

susan 9:11 AM  

Okay, so if you look up "Gadsby, book" in Wikipedia, you will find that the synopsis of both book and its origins and its author contains no "e". Too funny.

Anonymous 3:28 AM  

I recently read a lipogram :
Unhooking a DD Cup bra without Fumbling - Adam Adams - and even the the publisher Monsoon Books was missing an E.

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