SATURDAY, Sep. 13, 2008 - Will Nediger (10-time Gold Glove winner of the 1990s and 2000s / Jazz great seen in the 1967 film "Hotel")

Friday, September 12, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

Theme: none

Today is the day I call "bull%#@!" on the puzzle. Has it ever been the case that a movie has appeared in a puzzle before its release date? I need to know. Does the fact that the movie currently exists (in the public imagination) only in PROMO form (30A: Trailer), make it fair game for a puzzle answer? I am inclined to say NO NO NO (44D: "You're doing it all wrong!"). Will did not accept my objection to this answer (or, rather, to the timing of this answer) as valid. Fine. But can this movie even be said to be a "movie"? Can you prove it? At the moment, it's an idea about a movie. [Upcoming movie...] would have been honest, and accurate. It hasn't been released. I can't say this enough. Not Released. Further, what the hell is a YEAR ZERO? It's a Nine Inch Nails album, but how is it [Beginning of time?]? Why is there a "?" in the clue? It seems that Buddhist and Hindu calendars have a YEAR ZERO, but ... then that would Literally be the [Beginning of time], or [Beginning of time, to Hindus], wouldn't it? ESTEE (40A: Girl's name that sounds like two letters of the French alphabet) crossing ESTEEM (28D: Treasure) is highly unfortunate. Lastly, as far as serious complaints go, SPLOSH? (25D: Bathtub sound) I buy SPLISH, SPLASH, and SLOSH, but SPLOSH? No. Google it. Oh, but I warn you: you do not want to click on that third result...

Lots of people in the puzzle today, including a mini-"real name" theme. How in the world was ANNE RICE born Howard Allen O'Brien???? (15A: Author born Howard Allen O'Brien.) QUEEN MUM was far easier to turn up (34D: The late Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon). I know Roberto ALOMAR very well (33A: 10-time Gold Glove winner of the 1990s and 2000s). He once spit in an ump's face, but apparently they're friends now so it's cool. Never heard of 9D: Journalist Joseph (Alsop). Seems to have been a big name in the 60s. I also did not know 42D: Italian writer Pavese (Cesare) - big deal in his home country, not so much here. I mostly like today's musical folk. AMY CAMUS upside-down returns to the puzzle today, in her full name form (usually she's just YMA, but today, the full YMA SUMAC - 13D: Singer famous for her wide vocal range). Also in unexpected full-name form is music maker IPOD NANO (56A: Little music maker). We had TWEE pop earlier in the week, and we end the week with EMO, a far more common crossword answer (45A: Genre of rock's Fall Out Boy). Fall Out Boy, it should be noted, was originally (and still is) the name of Radioactive Man's sidekick on "The Simpsons." Now it is also this band:

And if that wasn't to your liking, here's the lovely Carmen MCRAE (46A: Jazz great seen in the 1967 film "Hotel") ... with special guest!:

There's a nice prisony theme running through the puzzle, which I would not have noticed were it not for "LOOK MA" (16A: Little show-off's cry), which made me think of James Cagney's final scene in "White Heat" - "Made it, ma! Top o' the world!" [explosion!] The movie should have ended there, but they had to cut back to the G-man for his final pathetic observational musing. I think this must be the origin of the crappy pseudo-clever wise-cracking that you see on, say, "C.S.I."

Anyhoo, thinking of "White Heat" made me notice vague connections among NABS (49A: Cuffs) and CAN (42A: Cooler) and STALAG (18A: "The Great Escape" setting). Now that I think about it, there's something sort of eerie about the proximity of RED LIGHT (17A: You shouldn't go through with it), UFO (20A: Subject of some amateur videos), HUM (26A: Symptom for a car mechanic), and NASA (22A: World Wind developer), too. And about UFO ... I'm just very glad that the answer to that clue was, in fact, UFO. When I read the clue ... well, I wasn't sure where it was going (I was worried ... well, see the aforementioned third hit on the Google [SPLOSH] search, above).

Wrap it up:

  • 32A: An inset might depict one (islet) - what is the difference between an ISLET and an ISLE? Besides the "T," smartass? I'm guessing the ISLET is littler; yes, very small, and usually rocky, with little vegetation.
  • 52A: Balzac's "_____ Bette" ("Cousin") - a much-needed gimme in the SE for me.
  • 54A: Cat calls (miaows) - only ever seen it written that way here (I love this album. Contains the gorgeous "Prettiest Eyes," among other gems):
  • 58A: Loosen, as a bra (unhook) - it's a skill like any other. If you find yourself using a TIRE IRON (59A: Trunk item), you're doing it wrong.
  • 1D: Peanut butter quantity (jarful) - maybe my favorite answer of the day, for reasons even I don't understand.
  • 5D: Lake _____, home of the Bass Islands (Erie) - all that for ERIE?
  • 6D: Cowboys' home, informally (Big D) - forget BIG D. What about BIG H? Wade? Are you there? Houston? Hello...
  • 12D: Musical that won a 1944 Pulitzer ("Oklahoma") - having "musical" in the clue made this very very easy to get with just a cross or two.
  • 14D: Long Island's _____ Hill National Historic Site (Sagamore) - new to me.
  • 35D: Ship with a memorial in New York City's Central Park (U.S.S. Maine) - this is turning into a rather dull tour of mid-level New York tourist attractions...
  • 36D: Main route? (autobahn) - I didn't get this clue. Will assured me there is somewhere in Germany called "Main," and thus the play on words is a good one.
  • 52D: "The Last of the Mohicans" girl (Cora) - "I will find you!" Her?
  • 53D: Wroclaw's river (Oder) - one of your lesser-seen 4-letter European rivers.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


kevin der 1:53 AM  

loved most of the puzzle but could not do the NE without googling several answers due to the abundance of esoteric facts. never heard of YMA SUMAC or STALAG or SAGAMORE... plus ALLOYS and OKLAHOMA had pretty killer clues in my opinion.

chris 2:52 AM  

I read Last of the Mohicans in 8th grade for a book report. I'd seen the movie a couple years before and thought it was pretty sweet, especially when one of the Indians cut out the general's heart. By god what a mistake I made. I distinctly remember throwing the book across the room one day because I hated it so much. The end was pretty good though. The long term benefit of my reading it is that CORA has been clued in reference to it twice that I remember. She's the half-Indian daughter of some guy and for whatever reason she and her sister Alice are placed under the care of Hawkeye/Natty Bumppo, or something. I don't remember.

imsdave1 5:22 AM  

QUEENMUM sort of unlocked the puzzle for me off of the U from USURER. It never helps when you misread a clue, quality instead of quantity, and eating pretty much only mostly raw meat, JUICEBAR doesn't trip right off my tongue. Thinking one knows his music, I confidently entered CMINOR (I play by ear and that's the key I play it in). That of course gave me ICE instead of CAN and the SE was the last to fall. IPODNANO is a great answer nicely confusing as I had the N from MINOR and wanted it to be an instrument ending in INA. I left out the vowel in SPL-SH waiting for the cross to see if it should be A or I. Bobby Darin would never SPLOSH.

Hoping all is well with Wade and kin.

Sam. 8:12 AM  

Taking up Rex's dare, I googled Splosh and didn't go to the third reference. I did, however, go to the definition of the word in the urban dictionary.

It seems to me that the cluing for this one could have been, well, racier. Something Bond might do in his upcoming movie (with caviar).

jannieb 8:16 AM  

This was one hard puzzle. I got it done without google, but I agree, there were more than a few things that deserved a penalty flag - Miaow??? an unreleased movie title, splosh - really a stretch, and not in a good way. Is "return to reality" an expression in the language??? Come down to earth seems a better fit with the clue.

If Will is awarding prizes for teen week, this one is my vote for the bronze. Gold for Thursday, silver for Friday (but that's a really close call).

Ulrich 8:35 AM  

It took a while before I got another opportunity to complain about the clueing of German words, but this puzzle makes up for it--big time. No, I’m not complaining about ACH WAS--that was the gimmie that got me a foothold in the NW. I’m complaining about two other clues:

Wroclaw is the name of a Polish city that was called Breslau, when that part of Poland belonged to Germany before WWII. The river that flows through is called Odra in Polish--it used to be called Oder when Wroclaw was Breslau. I find it absolutely idiotic to clue a German river name with a Polish city that, as such, does not lie on it. Worse, it is not even necessary. The Oder becomes later a border river, and there are German cities on it, like Frankfurt (on the Oder) as opposed to Frankfurt (on the Main)--now wouldn’t that have been a nice Saturdayish clue? Or even better, “oder” (small caps) is German for “or” as in “oder was?” (“or what?”)--so the 7D _was (German exclamation) clue could have been mirrored by _was (German question) at 53D.

As I said before, the Main is a German river, but that does not make an Autobahn a Main route. If the Main itself is a route, it is one for ships, not cars, and no Autobahn follows the Main river--it zigs and zags too much. So, there is no Main route. To me, the clue isn’t right or wrong--it’s beyond that: It makes no sense. Or do you think that “Thames route” is a good clue for “Motorway”?

These two bummers really marred my enjoyment of an otherwise normal Saturday puzzle.

steve 8:39 AM  

The "Oklahoma" answer threw me. In my brain I knew that it was not one of the handful of musicals to win the Pulitzer, so I resisted putting it in the grid. A quick glance at the Pulitzer website tells me that the show itself did not win the Pulitzer that year (no award was given), but Rodgers and Hammerstein won a "special" Pulitzer for it. What's up with that?

Orange 8:51 AM  

Hey, I started my post complaining about the unreleased movie, too! It's not the first time I've seen that—a few years ago there was a puzzle somewhere cluing a movie that was coming out the following year, I think. Maybe one of Ben Tausig's puzzles, or a Brendan Quigley? I don't remember.

I called Main a "German place name" but didn't Google it to figure out if there's a city. Ulrich cracks the case wide open! "Frankfurt am Main" refers to the river (or Fl├╝sse) called the Main. Would [Mississippi route] make any sense for ISEVENTY, which crosses the Mississippi River? I suppose not.

Yes, I believe Cora is the recipient of the "No matter what occurs, I will find you!" line. (We like to make fun of that line in this house.)

Crosscan 9:23 AM  

I wil be kind to a constructor who is a second-year student attending the University of Western Ontario as I was there two years myself (go Mustangs!) but I was killed by the right hand side.

Long but successful slog in the NE; I had LA BOHEME instead of OKLAHOMA - don't ask me why.

The SE beat me; had PEN for CAN, MOULIN for COUSIN, ITYSNANO for IPOD NANO, MYRA for CORA, E MINOR for A MINOR - just a whole bunch of NO NO NO before I went belly up.

Not so happy with MIAOWS - can you just keep adding vowels to this word whenver you want? MEW, MEOW, MIAOW, MEIAOOW??


Disliked QUANTUM OF SOLACE and SPLOSH as well.

Split decision overall. Agree with bronze medal for teen week. gold to Thursday, silver Friday.

joho 9:30 AM  

Well, I thought I'd done the puzzle correctly until I came here. I had PEN for 42A. EMINOR sounded right to me and since I've never heard of CESARE Pavese, PESARE seems as good a name as any, especially because it starts with a "P." Oh well. I totally agree about the unreleased movie, that is just wrong. This puzzle is wrong in too many places to be a solid Saturday effort.

People bathing in the tub may be a splishing and a splashing but they won't be a SPLOSHing.

I think we'll all feel better if Wade would post today. Chances are, however, he's probably without power.

PhillySolver 9:31 AM  

Forget the movie, what the heck does Quantum of Solace mean? Noam, do you have any idea? Its not in the language...heck, its not even in the theater. I still liked the puzzle, but also had no idea how Main got you to the AUTOBAHN. ACH! SE fell first then SW for me (MIAOW fit but was my last fill there, but it must be a regional thing 'cause its the cat's meow here). No clue about Anne RICE, but that fell then the NE. I couldn't get SPLOSH/SOLACE cross without help as I had entered splash and couldn't parse the later.

My daughter in Houston checked in this morning sitting without power and wind and rain still going, but the worst seems over for them. Hope everyone else is OK. Gas is now $4.00 a JARFUL here.

Gary S 9:33 AM  

While it might have been an even more obscure reference, QUANTUM OF SOLACE could have been clued as "Fleming Short story found in For Your Eyes Only". This would have resolved the unreleased movie issue as well as imparted a little more information to the puzzle solver who may not have known about the Fleming original.

Rex Parker 9:35 AM  

Puzzle Girl tells me that despite being without power, Wade and family (in Houston) are just fine.


will nediger 9:46 AM  

The city is known as Wroclaw in English, and the river is known as the Oder in English. So though the clue makes no sense in either Polish or German, it does make sense in English.

Agree about the AUTOBAHN clue though. "Mainz route" would work.

will nediger 9:48 AM  

Also: Oh wow, I had no idea about that connotation of SPLOSH. Definitely wouldn't have passed the breakfast test if I'd realized.

Ulrich 9:51 AM  

@will: I take the "idiotic" back--I knew it was too strong anyway as soon as I hit "publish"--but I WAS miffed. Sorry!

Karen 10:06 AM  

I haven't even heard there was a new Bond movie coming out. Their marketing department must be classified. Completely agree with Rex about that was a stupid answer. The PROMO really didn't look like a Bond movie; however, now I can imagine Christopher Eccleston as James Bond.

And speaking of the videos, watching the EMO band I had to stop and check that yes, that is Seth Green standing there. OH, COME ON, Seth, you can do better gigs than that!

And it looks like Anne Rice was named after her father, but for some reason hated that name. Weird. While doing the puzzle I saw that her name would fit, and thought it would be a good laugh for today.

The entire puzzle I read quantity as quality of peanut butter; I came up with LOWFAT and NONFAT.

YEAR ZERO I can live with.

Overall I didn't like this puzzle because the long answer was so non-gettable.

misstrish 10:08 AM  

Rex, how could you? You know when you tell a child not to do something that makes them want to do it more? Now everybody will be googling that third splosh entry.

@sam, Well there's your "something racier"

Eli Barrieau 10:23 AM  

@ Phillysolver:

I think that Quantum of Solace is refering to the fact that in Casino Royale (two year old spoiler alert) Bond's girlfriend dies. He's going to get revenge, but it won't really be cathartic. It will only give him a small bit of peace, or a quantum of solace. I would highly recommend seeing Casino Royale. Stay away from the one with Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Orson Welles. It sounds like it's the best cast ever assembled, but it is a mess.

I, for one, love Daniel Craig as Bond, and have been geeking out over this for three months since the trailer was released (karen).

ArtLvr 10:33 AM  

Rex's commentary and the comments above are neat, but Joseph ALSOP (1910-1989) deserves more attention! His maternal grandmother was a sister of Theodore Roosevelt, whose home was SAGAMORE Hill -- that's why it's a National Historic Site.

Alsop went into journalism after graduating from Harvard in 1932, got himself sent to Washington DC where he grew to know kinsman FDR well and later wrote an acclaimed insider biography of FDR. He also volunteered for the Flying Tigers pre-WW2, was interned by the Japanese, and became a major foreign correspondent after his release.

Although nominally a Republican, Alsop became a close advisor to JFK too. His longtime newspaper column was called Matter of Fact -- and actually focused on facts rather than personal opinions. We could benefit from more hewing to truth in the media these days!


Rafael 10:44 AM  

I felt an extra need to finish this puzzle (I rarely can finish Saturdays) because of the petty thought that I couldn't be stumped by a teenager. That said, I was able to do it! Maybe I should always try to find out things about the constructors to motivate me.

bill from fl 10:50 AM  

According to the Anne Rice herself:

"Well, my birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do. She was a bit of a Bohemian, a bit of mad woman, a bit of a genius, and a great deal of a great teacher. And she had the idea that naming a woman Howard was going to give that woman an unusual advantage in the world."

Sorta like naming a boy Sue, I guess.

I wound up with QUANTUM OF SALACE. I couldn't see how that could be right, but none of the other possibilities made any more sense. SOLACE was at least a word, but the phrase was gibberish. I still don't get it.

Twangster 11:08 AM  

I know nothing about this movie but ... "ounce of solace" is a fairly common phrase. Quantum means quantity or "the smallest quantity of radiant energy," so "quantum of solace" is a play on that, i.e., even less solace than an ounce.

Had a hard time with this puzzle and had to google a bunch of things and come here to find the answer. Disappointed to find out that IPAZNANO wasn't an ancient Italian music maker.

Rex Parker 11:17 AM  

Don't forget ALSOP's vocal support for American involvement in Vietnam...


Norm 11:35 AM  

Agree about the movie. Loved seeing IPOD(NANO) pop up after my miscue earlier this week. Always enjoy seeing CORA (Last of the Mohicans), DORA (Great Expectations), or NORA (she of Nick & Asta) make an appearance.

chefbea1 11:53 AM  

Thought today's puzzle was easier than yesterday. I knew alsop and I have been to sagamore hill.

Read inset as insect and couldnt figure out anything in that area.

Hope everyone in Texas is ok

Time for a smoothie

Joon 12:06 PM  

i didn't know QUANTUMOFSOLACE, but i couldn't get that excited about it one way or the other. i am looking forward to it (now that i know what it is), because casino royale was pretty much the best bond movie ever despite a ridiculous poker scene and more sappy romance than i was prepared for in a bond flick. and yes, a quantum does mean the smallest possible amount of something.

YEARZERO seems all right, too. not in reference to the julian calendar (or the gregorian one), but in general. for instance, this is year zero of my son's life.

decent puzzle, and i liked solving it.

miriam b 12:09 PM  

ANNERICE! Who woulda thunk it? I've never had any interest in reading her books, but now I have respect for her as a person. I don't know how I'd cope with being named Howard.

I even sympathize with girls who are named after their mothers, which has sometimes, though thankfully rarely, happened. Anyone here old enough to remember Cobina Wright, Jr.? I thought not.

Sometimes my name gets mangled by whoever makes up those endless sucker lists. For instance, I'll get a bunch of glossy little address labels reading "Miriam W. Brown, Jr." The "W" and the "Jr." were the property of my late husband. Somehow our names became conflated by some incompetent. At work, I regularly got mail addressed to Mr. Miriam Brown.

I too was perplexed by QUANTUMOFSOLACE; even tried reading it backwards to see whether that made any sense.

Good news about Wade and family. I guess they'll all be wading for a while (sorry, not a funny fix to be in).

The Fevered Brain 12:12 PM  

This puzzle seemed to me to demonstrate Will's smarty pants skill, not his puzzle design skill.

Shamik 12:24 PM  

Back to comment having left Colorado and where did we end up? TEXAS! But we're in Dallas-Ft. Worth and it's only rainy and a little windy. Glad to hear Wade et al are doing fine.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! My only error was IMASUMAC. Must have thought Electrum was some sort of French rock band: ALLOIS.

Have to go back and do this week's puzzle now that i have internet again.

Shamik 12:25 PM  

Er...this week's puzzleS.

Noam D. Elkies 1:03 PM  

Tough Saturday workout, as expected. Sorry I can't help with "Quantum of Solace", but as I thought it's the ordinary meaning of "quantum" that's needed here, not one from quantum physics (for which you should ask physicist Joon, not me). Of course I didn't know enough about that not-yet-movie to call bull%#@! on it (though for a moment I wondered whether "%#@!", or its West Side Story euphemism "spit", could really be the answer to 33D:"____ happens..."). But that was not my favorite wrong turn: an 8-letter "Little music maker" that ends with -ANO must be a TOYPIANO, right? 44D:NONONO... I guess it's easier to 26A:HUM along with 12D:OKLAHOMA (or 13D:YMASUMAC if you must) on an 56A:IPODNANO than it would be on a toy piano.

Rex remarx that to 58A:UNHOOK a bra is "a skill like any other", bringing to mind this recent XKCD cartoon -- which might tempt some to reach for that 59A:TIREIRON...


P.S. Thanks to Ulrich for explaining the intended (if not quite kosher) reading of "Main" in the 35D:AUTOBAHN clue -- and to Rex for putting up a funny doggie image for once (the MIAOW cover) rather than YAPPP (Yet Another Pet Puppy Pic).

mrbreen 1:07 PM  

Whoa! Very funny post today Rex. Someone's been drinking their Haterade.

evil doug 1:08 PM  

Ignore all their whining, kid. These so-called adults tend to get all apoplectic when---even with digital or human assistance---they can't solve a puzzle by the half-life of their egg-timers. Let 'em miaow all they want.

Any puzzle that keeps us serious, pen-wielding, Starbucks-sipping, help-refusing posers busy for an hour before celebrating is okay by me.

Been a while since I had to unhook a bra, but it was fun to think about that again, too....

Keep up the good work, Will.

From Ohio, With Love

Ashish 1:27 PM  

Very hard puzzle for me - and many ungettable sections, made easy by my friend Google. But hey, it IS Saturday and that's one day of the week, I accept and actually welcome some tough fill!

Overall, Thursday through Saturday crowned a great teen week.


Z.J. Mugildny 2:20 PM  

I was going to complain about the cluing of COUSIN, since it crosses with two semi-obscure answers (CORA and CESARE), but Rex claims COUSIN is a gimme, so I'll concede the possibility that the clue was perfectly fair, and literature is just not my strong point. Not knowing it required me to take complete guesses on two squares (both wrong), which was the only part of the puzzle I really did not like. Also, I had FAN for "Cooler" -- makes perfect sense.

"___ happens..." -- four letters. Did anybody else have a different though on this one? Something you know would never be in a puzzle? I guess the ellipsis wouldn't be there in that case, though.

jae 2:40 PM  

I've been error free for a couple of weeks but missed PES yesterday and completely screwed up SE today. I too had PEN, didn't know Balzac and couldn't remember the Mohican girl (nor could anyone I normally talk to). So, I guessed wrong only to be set straight by a post-puzzle Google.

On the plus side I did know ALSOP and had read about the upcoming QUANTUM OF SOLACE. The NW went very quickly for me leading me to think the puzzle would be on the easy side for a Sat. Not so! I agree that Thurs.=gold, Fri.=silver, and this one gets the bronze.

chefbea1 2:47 PM  

Just came home from the vitamin shoppe and low and behold - guess what I found

Bill from NJ 3:04 PM  

The irony is my wife is a big James Bond fan and she enjoys shows like ET ( which she watchs every night) so we saw the one about the new Bond girl being chosen but the title of the movie was such a string of random words that I couldn't dredge it up and still had to piece together the answer from the QUEENMUM and the USSMAINE which were both gimmes but several crosses were needed to produce the title. I still had an error - which never got corrected - at SPLASH. I never noticed I had QUANTOMOFSALACE

I pieced together the NE from the SAGAMORE/ALLOYS cross which I knew, being a Teddy Roosevelt buff. The Y in ALLOYS allowed me to guess YMASUMAC and I got LOOKMA from that.

I cut diagonally across the puzzle into the SW and realized we had MIAOWS a couple of months ago, and along with MENTOS, helped me break open the whole section.

MUNIZ in the SE was a gimme and I got ****ZERO from that.

I know that this post is disjointed but the cluing - paticularly for the 3 and 4 letter answers - seemed simple to me or I was on this constructors' wave length in a big way but across the Midlands and in the SW I never seemed to raise the cursor as I filled in answer after answer. I got the long answer RETURNTOREALITY to fall from this and the puzzle fell not long after.

Aside from the James Bond clue, I found this one to be a quick solve for me.

Michael 3:34 PM  

Seeing that the constructor is Canadian made me certain that "as it" happens was right (from the radio). I kept running my brain over Bond films and even in desperation turned to a film guide without luck. Eventually got Quantum of Solace (and the rest of the puzzle) on my own. Then I googled "Quantum of Solace" (could there be a Bond film I had never heard of?) and then saw what was going on. But in my view this should violate crossword constructors' rules.

But overall a good puzzle, a bit easier than Friday's for me.

demit 4:18 PM  

You mean nobody was contemplating Quantum of Salami (or of Salads), at least for a frustrated few minutes?

Scott 4:19 PM  

I object to QUANTUMOFSOLACE not because it hasn't come out yet, but because it is clued in the present tense. Olga Kurylenko has not yet played a bond girl, in my opinion. If it was "film in which OK will play a bond girl" then fine, it is Saturday after all; but as it stands I feel the clue is just wrong.

I also didn't like the clue for REDLIGHT. I get that it is trying to be clever but how can you interpret the "with" in the clue so that it make sense? "To go through with" is a different concept than "to go through" and I don't like that the clue treats them as the same.

I also thought the CORA, ODER, MUNIZ, CESARE foursome was a lot of proper names in a row ... but that may be that only one of the four was gettable for me and COUSIN was also a mystery.

Alan 4:21 PM  

Great puzzle for People magazine readers.Muniz,34d,34a,come on! Who watches teen movies?

mac 4:27 PM  

Got this one without googles and in a decent time, and enjoyed it overall. I stumbled over the solace/splosh bit, even tried to pronounce "salace" differently, accent on the second syllable and pronounced a la the Italians..... I think it is wrong to have a film in the puzzle that hasn't premiered yet without giving us that clue.

I same to a halt at the Western midlands, wanted burn for 29d, and filled in and erased several of the neighboring words... Finally decided in re had to be good and everything else fell into place.
I would have preferred Mounds with dark chocolate instead of the Belgian Mentos, like to chew too much to like smoothies, but I like the (Amy Weinhouse?) no no no. Talking about music, I would enjoy that Fall Out Boy in my car!
I had a problem with Balzac's "Bette" being cousin instead of cousine. Had a d'oh moment when I figured out it was the English translation.

@artlvr: thank you for the info on Alsop, very interesting.

Hope our friends are doing well at the Western tournament, and that they will check in to give us the details. I also need to hear where Fergus finally rested his wary bones last night..... (see last night's comment!).

Orange 4:40 PM  

Alan, Frankie Muniz was the charming young star of a popular and well-reviewed sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle.

The Wikipedia writeup of the Bond movie says: "The official synopsis shows that after his capture Mr. White reveals to Bond and M that his organisation, Quantum,[5] has agents in Her Majesty's Government and the Central Intelligence Agency." It doesn't explain the "of Solace" part, which is the part that makes it a truly terrible movie title.

Bryan 5:40 PM  

Agree totally on Quantum of Solace. I looked at it for awhile and thought that it would fit (if "Splash" was somehow "Splosh") but that it couldn't, in any way, be right. Then I figured out "Queen Mum" -- or, to be accurate, just "Queen" -- and penciled it in. Really? REALLY? Will Shortz, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

(I take it back Will! REALLY!)

fikink 5:46 PM  

Well, started out with ALE for cooler and CHIC for _____ happens and decided my narcissism was obviously ruling this day, so I put the puzzle aside. Enjoyed the write-up, Rex, and the graphics.
Thanks for the XKCD reference, naom d.

jeff in chicago 6:33 PM  

Thought I was going to make it through a Saturday, as the NW and SE came fairly quickly. But the rest of the puzzle was brutal. Even after guessing RETURNTOREALITY, almost nothing else came.

I was born during the Eisenhower administratio, but I bought and enjoy the Fall Out Boy album "Infinity on High." Is that wrong?

@noam: very funny cartoon

I did click on the third Google item, and all I can say is VA-VA-Vomit. (sorry)

MIAOWS? Really? Looked it up, so I guess yes, but...Really? (The album cover is great, though.)

green mantis 8:51 PM  

I am the 16th greatest crossword puzzle solver in Alameda!

So there were about 50 entrants. I was (and still am) running on about 3 hours sleep, so after my initial rally I faded abruptly and began whining. Fergus was very patient with me.

Speaking of Fergus, he is exactly Fergus, and Andrea is exactly Andrea. If I may toot my own horn, my mental image of Fergus was so accurate that when he passed me on the sidewalk in front of the high school, I stopped in my tracks and pointed absurdly at him. Yeah, just stared with my finger sticking out. He eventually helped me transition into an actual human greeting.

Karmasartre is perhaps the nicest person ever. And so was everybody else. The nerd quotient was dizzying, as high things go, and I felt that I had found my people. Except for that lady who took my seat. She needs to go.

Anyway, so fun. I had no errors on my puzzles, which normally wouldn't be a brag-worthy Monday through Thursday feat, but the competition atmosphere had me all freaked out, so I was pleased with that accomplishment.

Okay, longest post ever, so I'll leave it there. Thanks everybody for being so great.

chefbea1 9:00 PM  

congrats green mantis!!! Guess we will hear more about the tournament tomorrow.

AuntHattie 9:22 PM  

Just want to say to all of you that I am finding that the most fun in doing the puzzle, whatever day it is, is finishing it up and then reading Rex and all of your comments. One of these days I will write one of my own (like, I have been to Sagamore Hill dozens of times, and used to read Joseph Alsop, and have given up on James Bond)

mac 9:46 PM  

@green mantis: congratulations! We are all proud of you, and want to hear all the tips for participating in a contest. How many puzzles did you have to do on this one day? That's one thing I'm worried about, aren't we supposed to do 5 on the Saturday in NY?

You say you immediately recognized Fergus, but what does he look like?(I will ask him the same question).

Did Andrea participate or was she a judge or something?

I can't wait for the Brooklyn tournament, and not just for the puzzles.

@aunthattie: welcome, and next time tell us about your experiences!

Joon 9:56 PM  

green mantis: congrats! sounds like you had a good time.

aunthattie: welcome. i daresay you have already written a comment of your own. see, it wasn't so hard, right?

liverpool 2-1 man utd, and i smoked the newsday saturday stumper for the first time ever. could this day get any better?

green mantis 10:59 PM  

Thanks all. Mac--they only had us doing 4 puzzles, Mon-Thur, so not too intimidating. You're on your own in NY--a completely different animal, I think.

This was amateur night, but that worked fine for me, as I am an amateur.

I did the "slow and steady wins the race" thing. My reasoning: ain't no way I'm winning this thing, so why bother speed-racing myself into an error. I think I was channelling Rex who, in describing this year's tourney, talked about just focusing and not trying to be a hero. If I recall quasi-correctly. Anyway, tips from this tournament have limited value as applied to NY, probably. My best advice is to ingest something more than eleven gallons of coffee beforehand so that you are not twittering around like a cracked out side show attraction and then crash like so many Hollywood starlets on the fast track to rehab. Lesson learned, ahem.

Andrea was one of us for the day. Tyler Hinman was the celebrity judge, and Byron Waldon was there as an entrant--very nice, humble person who wiled away our chatty lunch hour speed solving absurdly hard puzzles with one brain tied behind his back. There was also another very sweet constructor whose name is escaping me at the moment (sorry awesome guy). My point is that there were, proportionately, lots of heavy hitters in the crowd.

I wrote to Andrea in an email last night that in my imagination Fergus was on the skinny side, had a little salt-and-pepper going on, and had kind eyes. I batted a thousand. Seriously, I rule. And so does Fergus.

fergus 11:05 PM  

Mac, did you mean weary or deliberately type wary? That's funny for a number of reasons that Green Mantis may have inferred from a discussion about a writers Garden Party in the Haight, that I thought (wrongly, it turns out) I wasn't invited to. Anyway I just stayed at home last night, and after the tournament I wasn't up for haunting the old stomping grounds, or crashing the party that involved a bridge toll and SF parking.

So, it was quite an experience to be doing the puzzle(s) with all these other enthusiasts in a High School cafeteria, with the spectral presence (and I mean this positively) of Tyler Hinman distributing the puzzles and acting as judge. It was great to meet Andrea right off, to get into the swing of things (GM and I both confessed to nervous jitters). Then Byron Walden and Karmasartre, and so felt like this was truly a confabulation. Lee, the constructor whose last name eludes me right now, was there, as well.

It would be a bad idea to comment on the puzzles, but the first two went reasonably well, despite the jitters, and the resulting poor penmanship. I used a pen, by the way, to trade on the accuracy emphasis. Then we got lunch and sat on the lawn in front of the school, with an amiable group of fascinating people discussing construction and literature, education and art, physics and chemistry, and most of all how it all comes down to the play of language.

The puzzle after lunch went fine, but the last one threw me. Looking up to see how many others had finished and left, feeling lost at sea with at least twenty squares still, I summoned some inspired guesses and the puzzle fell. And I strutted out of the overly warm chamber with a kind of sheepish relief. And thus I became the 23rd best solver in some Zipcode.

Very nice to see some of these people I've become familiar with. Green Mantis was even more delightful and engaging than I possibly could have expected. She finished before me each time and came through flawlessly. (Memo to Easterners, follow through with the sponsorship.) Tyler was really quite a charming gentleman, which was not the impression that I got from WORD PLAY. Karma is killer funny and cool; Byron's intelligence is almost palpable; Lee was most amusing, and Andrea was as suave and entertaining as you already knew she was.

I could go on, but I won't. Took a few pictures that I could send to Rex. Please let me know in what format, if you're interested in having them sent along.

mac 11:24 PM  

@green mantis: Thank you for reporting on this affair. It may grow, you know, just like the one on the East Coast. It used to be quite modest, held in Stamford, Ct., then outgrew its venue.

Wonderful to hear that some of the top puzzle people made it out there, a sign it's taken seriously. I'm sure you had a lot of fun at lunch with Andrea and her colleagues. I probably would have described Fergus more or less the same way you did, hope to meet him in NY. I still laugh when I think of his description of his vision of you..... By the way, where did he sleep last night?

You ended up in just about the top third of this group, that seems pretty decent for a first time. I just went to watch on the final day of last February's Brooklyn tournament, and was also struck at how friendly the crowd was. I had conversations with lots of people, and all seemed helpful and out to have a good time. Lots of professorial types, teenagers with backpacks (I probably would know their names now) and septagenarians, locals and people from all over the country and beyond. I came back more excited about puzzling than I had been before.

Wow, I did go on.

mac 11:29 PM  

@fergus: Our comments crossed, I did mean weary, of course, but glad you slept in your own bed....
It all sounds like a lot of fun, thank you for giving us a description of it!

dk 11:40 PM  

Whoa late night post for me. You go green mantis.

This one was ok for me, mostly as I had to solve in fits and starts as today was a work day. Demo crew shows up on model to start the home remodel project.

I had to look up the Bond movie and Olga, I got a google warning about nudity that I thought was funny.

MIAOW nope
UNHOOK nah more like take off than adjust

nighty nite,

dk 11:41 PM  

monday not model

green mantis 12:26 AM  


Orange 12:27 AM  

Must be Lee Glickstein, since he lives in the Bay Area. Damn—Lee, Andrea, Byron, and Tyler? Plus assorted blog denizens I haven't met? I missed a good party.

fergus 1:36 AM  

The Yeats poem I mentioned
(and check the line breaks)


WHO will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood's woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.
And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.

Richard Mason 1:56 AM  

I just had to come by and brag that I did this in under 17 minutes, which is unusually fast for me. I got QUANTUMOFSOLACE off one letter (the second A) and it is a totally legitimate answer. Totally legitimate I say.

andrea carla michaels 3:10 AM  

wow, if I had known there would be full reporting I would have tried to dress better and be nicer!

Lots of fun, very lowkey and twice the pre-registered 25 folks, which was lucky bec it was for such a sweet cause...A Dictionary for every 3rd grader in California (and maybe one for the governor?)

Green Mantis is gorgeous and ups the hipness factor of any gathering by at least 68%...
and she is obviously more psychic than I, as I inexplicably thought Green Mantis was a man and that Fergus would be over 70!
(and no, Mac, he didn't spend the night with me that I know of)

Yes, yes, they are all referring to the lovely and talented, affable, Lee Glickstein.

It's amazing how much readin gthis blog helped with solving these puzzles, which onbviously I can't discuss yet, but suffice to say that a million entries had appeared and have been discussed in this column...some even from today's puzzle will reappear this week.

I had to run off to a Bat Mitzvah so didn't get to say proper goodbyes (esp to the delightful karmasartre), nor even see where I placed.
I made a one-letter error on the last puzzle that I will complain about at length on Thurs!

Byron made one too and didn't end up in first (tho his was totally accidental, mine was pure lack of knowledge).

It is BRUTAL if you get ONE letter wrong as you don't get the 150 pt bonus, you get minus 25 for a wrong letter AND by def two words wrong, further penalty, so you are out @ 200 pts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For one missed letter! (like imagine you had put SplIsh or SplAsh instead of splOsh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

So I was too afraid to see where I had dropped to, plus my eye was sort of bleeding or some mystery weirdness going on with my lid
(I swear Tyler hadn't punched me and everyone indeed is sweeter, gentler, nicer, more erudite, funnier, than they appear on line.
Why is that 'xactly?)

green mantis 5:38 AM  

That's a lovely poem; I don't think I've read it before.
Goodnight everybody.

william e emba 11:03 AM  

I have to agree with Richard Mason. QUANTUMOFSOLACE was clued legitimately. The movie does exist, and it does star whatsername as the Bond girl. What's exactly the problem? Only three people can see it for the time being? It's not in its final release form?

I'd say a clue of London Olympiad with answer XXX (ie, 2012) is legitimate.

I know all my Bond films through Roger Moore, and sort of know the next bunch before Daniel Craig. I know pretty much all the authorized Bond fiction (I won't touch the young James Bond at Eton books, for example, and I haven't looked at the secret Moneypenny diaries yet.)

Meanwhile, my friends have convinced me to never see the Casino Royale remake, so of course I won't be seeing the sequel. In doing this puzzle, I wasn't even sure if QofS had come out yet!

In fact, I only got this one after getting the initial QUA, and started racing through Fleming titles. At one friend's request, I had reread the relevant short story and summarized it for him, in the off-chance a bit of it makes it into the film. Of all Fleming's short stories, this was the only one I had absolutely no memory of. The reason is it's not really a Bond story.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

Late comment, but I was stuck with WAKEUPTOREALITY for quite a while.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

All I can say for now is THANKS, REX!

Matt 2:53 PM  

And for once us syndicated puzzle doers get an advantage - "Quantum of Solace" is currently in theaters now!

DocRuth 8:24 PM  

5 weeks later: I remember reading a cute book called "The Silent Miaow" spelled exactly as it is in this puzzle. It would only appeal to cat lovers (or cat appreciators--I think those are separate categories, no pun intended). But there is a "literary" foundation for that spelling. Peace.

rudiger 3:00 PM  

Rex - You did good to call "BS" but you did go far enough, IMHO. I'd include the cluing for:

- IPODNANO (wouldn't it be a music "player" rather than "maker?")
- MENTOS (I think of these as mints rather than candy)
- INRE (more of a law-related phrase; memos I get at work begin only with "Re:")
- POEM (maybe I missed it, but how is "Rhapsody" considered a poem?)

Otherwise, always surprised to see that YMASUMAC and ALSOP are deemed obscure; both names are known to solvers of a certain age and/or experience & ALSOP is a gimme more often clued to Stewart than Joseph.

paul 9:29 PM  

I'm just getting in on this in syndication land. I can't agree more that QUANTUMOFSOLACE and SPLOSH are ridiculous and, I believe, out of character for Mr. Shortz. But I haven't seen anyone mention FAN for CAN, which had me messed up for some time. I still think FAN is the better answer.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP