SATURDAY, Sep. 27, 2008 - Karen M. Tracey (Former congresswoman nicknamed Mother Courage / Louis Armstrong's "Weather Bird" collaborator)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Yes, I said "Easy." This may be the first time I've declared a Karen Tracey puzzle "Easy" (again, "Easy" relative to your avg Saturday), but I got The O'JAYS (10A: 1970s R&B trio in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with "the") right off the bat, and then from 27A: Got a 15-Across on (aced) I inferred 15A: Driving ambition? (hole-in-one) with no crosses. Then came "SHANE" (1D: Oscar nominated western), and then I was well positioned to bring the puzzle down. Biggest struggle, fittingly, was where COINBOX (7D: Part of a pinball machine) meets DON QUIXOTE (31A: Whence the expression "mum's the word"). I say "fittingly" because CLOG UP runs right ALONGSIDE (17A: How a towpath proceeds vis-à-vis a canal) "DON QUIXOTE" and through COINBOX. I hate when the COINBOX CLOGs UP. This happened to me at the soda machine the other day. I looked in and saw quarters jammed every which way. No lecture-time root beer for Rex. But back to puzzle - had COIN--- and wanted only SLOT (no fit). "DON QUIXOTE" wasn't anywhere on my radar for that clue, and I didn't have the giveaway "X" to help me out. Still, this was a small bump in the road in an otherwise smooth puzzle. Oh, I should note that EASERS (46A: Assuaging agents) and SANIT. (49D: Municipal dept.) hurt me as much as they hurt you, but the greatness of the rest of the puzzle made them endurable.

Today is my anniversary (the real kind, not the blog kind) and (coincidentally, not as part of some odd marital tradition) I have to go watch my wife's karate test, so I am going to blow through this write-up with little regard for truth or justice or human life or the puzzle's feelings. I will, however, occasionally do the puzzle the small courtesy of Looking It In The Eye. I mean, I'm not a contempt-filled old monster. Yet.

Stuff!

  • 1A: Third Servile War leader (Spartacus) - would have got this much earlier if I hadn't been pronouncing "Servile" "Ser-VEE'-lay" in my head.
  • 18A: Indication of time passing (ticks) - nice singular clue for plural answer trick.
  • 20A: Gaming debut of 1985, briefly (NES) - so in the past few days, what have we learned? One, Cheryl TIEGS will not be denied her place in the grid. And two, gaming systems are important to know, especially WII, NES, and XBOX. I assume you are already familiar with ATARI - otherwise, I doubt you'd be attempting a Saturday puzzle.
  • 37A: Chocoholic's dessert (mud pie) - a great trap. I had the "M" and instantly put in MOUSSE.
  • 39A: Christchurch native (Kiwi) - well you know I got this one fast. I have a native NZ owl hanging upside down from my desk lamp (the MOREPORK, still waiting for his xword debut). I regularly wear a Canterbury hoodie that features a pattern of three large KIWI heads across the front of it. My wife is from NZ. I was just there two months ago. Etc etc etc. More KIWI clues!
  • 44A: 1999 film satirizing media ruthlessness ("EdTV") - a film that, sadly, will be with us forever because of its letter sequence.
  • 45A: Half-sister of King Arthur (Elaine) - there are lots of ELAINEs in the Arthurian mythology. I will spare you the break-down. Read about it here.
  • 57A: First lady of the 1980s (Raisa) - now, when I see "First Lady" - esp. in a late-week puzzle, I'm looking non-U.S. So Eva Perón and RAISA Gorbachev don't stand a chance.
  • 58A: Shower accessory (loofa) - I could barely tolerate that word before it became associated with Bill O'Reilly. Yuck. Sometimes LOOFA appears to have an "H" on the end.
  • 61A: Former congresswoman nicknamed Mother Courage (Abzug) - I think she was mentioned and/or appeared very briefly in a Woody Allen movie - that's my only experience of her, and yet I've never forgotten her.
  • 62A: Louis Armstrong's "Weather Bird" collaborator (Earl Hines) - this guy's usually in the grid for this nickname, FATHA.

  • 63A: David who played Bosley on TV's "Charlie's Angels" (Doyle) - I love pop culture clues, but had no clue here. Just waited for crosses.
  • 4D: Richards with a racket (Renée) - no idea. Just - none. Whoa! Sex Reassignment Surgery - she was ILIE Nastase's doubles partner! I think I started playing / following tennis about a decade too late to know any of this.
  • 10D: _____ disk (blind spot) (optic) - never heard of it. Or maybe I have and I didn't remember what it was called.
  • 28D: Creator of Earthquake McGoon and Moonbeam McSwine (Capp) - comics legend. Once you hear the name "Moonbeam McSwine," you aren't apt to forget it.
  • 29D: "The Silence of the Hams" director Greggio (Ezio) - see, this is pushing it, pop-culture-wise. David DOYLE is one thing, but this guy? WTF? This film was a horror film parody before horror film parodies became such a horrible cliché and before horror films themselves made the very notion of parody start to seem redundant. It should be noted that EZIO wrote, directed, and starred in the film, and that the film also featured both Dom DeLuise (!) and, from yesterday's puzzle, John ASTIN.
  • 32D: One of his lost works is "Medea" (Ovid) - my boy. I'm about to embark on a ridiculous, possibly life-long endeavor: read "Metamorphoses" in Latin. If I'm going to reacquaint myself with Latin, I figured I might as well read something awesome while doing it.
  • 34D: Supply of arrows (quiverful) - is this a word? I love it. Gutsy.
  • 41D: Soviet premier Kosygin (Aleksei) - no idea. Maybe he got in here with RAISA.
  • 42D: New Brunswick's river (Raritan) - I know this as a journal of some kind.
  • 47D: Sometime sampler stitching (adage) - Not a lot of stitching going on in my family. Quilting, yes. Stitching, no. I guess you have to stitch quilt tops, so they must be related activities. I'm really out of my depth here.
  • 50D: Touristy Tuscany town (Siena) - The clue is poem. Dactyls!
  • 54D: Great Depression figure (hobo) - HA ha. Did not see that coming. I was thinking HOOVER or ... some other "figure" of note. Maybe with the New Depression upon us, we'll start seeing HOBOs again. I don't like the idea of homelessness and poverty, but HOBOs amuse me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS I posted my interview with crossword artist Emily Jo Cureton last night. I'll keep a link to it in the sidebar for the next month or so.

57 comments:

chefbea1 9:26 AM  

heavens... I am the first. that has never happened before especially for a saturday. The puzzle was easy for a saturday. Although I did have to google a bit. So happy birthday Google and happy anniversary Rex and Mrs Rex.

mac 9:27 AM  

I don't even have today's newspaper yet, but I just read yesterdays comments and want to add my best wishes for Bill.

I will expect him to be here, "lurking" and enjoying Rex's words and the comments of his puzzle friends, every time I go to this blog.

Feel better and try to get back, Bill. We enoy your insights and fun prose.

Hobbyist 9:30 AM  

Finished easily. What to do with the rest of the day? I too fell into the mousse trap.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Had a problem with *quiverful* = *quiver full* until looking up the definition and finding it's not only a full load of arrows, but also the full number of children in a large family! If it's ever clued the latterway, Im ready!

Also, wondering if Renee Richards now plays *mixed singles*? ;-)

.../Glitch

jannieb 9:46 AM  

I agree - yesterday was more difficult. I had a few early gimmes (Shane, Hole in One, Capp) and never slowed down. I missed the "mousse" trap) because I had that "P_E" in the grid already. So I first tried to make "frappe" a dessert but that just seemed wrong.

Solved this in an odd, figure-8 sort of fashion - NW then SE then SW and finally the NE. Some nice fill - a very nice puzzle - very little clunky stuff.

BillinNJ - my best to you We'll miss your insight and thoughtful commentary. Please say hi once in awhile so we know you're still lurking!

joho 9:50 AM  

Count me in with the MOUSSE trap.

When Fatha wouldn't fit I searched my brain for his real name, not too difficult. The whole puzzle was not too difficult. In fact, I was amazed at how fast it fell. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I guess I'll just take it and feel, for a few fleeting moments, a little smarter this particular Saturday because I'm sure to feel stupid on the next.

evil doug 9:52 AM  

"The puzzle was easy for a saturday. Although I did have to google a bit."

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. If it's easy, you don't have to google. If you have to google, it's not easy.

Moreover: Instead of googling, why not just take your best shot and guess? If you get it right, congratulations! You won! If you make mistakes, congratulations! You're human, you were courageous, and you're not claiming victory for cheating.

Evil

Karen 10:11 AM  

Easy here too. I had trouble trying to figure out O'Jays. Oh, they did that Money Money Money song. Not helped because I had tocks instead of TICKS.

My last area was RARITAN next to ALEKSEI. But the crosses were eventually gettable.

I remember hearing about Renee Richards when I was about ten years old. I wish Mom wasn't off on a cruise so she could clear up if she actually met Renee.

JoefromMtVernon 10:18 AM  

Rex:

I have been reading your blog for a while. Thanks for the outlet.

Since watching Wordplay, I began timing myself, since I felt I wasn't getting any younger. Today was my best Saturday by 5 minutes.

The real reason I am writing is over the clue ester, that has appeared in the last 2 puzzles (vegetable oil Friday; fatty acid today).

An ester is an aromatic hydrocarbon primarily used in artificial flavoring (see ingredients on a pack of life-savers); organic acids include fats, oils and waxes. A fatty acid is part of an organic acid. They are 2 different things with 2 different structures.

I realize your distain for scientific terms (decoct, and septum), but these clues do not match their answers.

Joe

steve l 10:20 AM  

Did anyone get a little thrown by the New Brunswick clue, thinking the river was going to be in Canada, not New Jersey? After getting the answer, I said to myself, they've got a RARITAN River in Canada, too? Then, Doh! New Brunswick, New Jersey! That must be a NATICK-like answer for anyone who is not from the NYC area. (I am.)

Twangster 10:46 AM  

I thought I had this done but it turns out I had a few letters wrong ... I had CLOTSUP and couldn't figure out what UNDERTO was supposed to mean, as well as CAT instead of KIT. ALECSEI and RARATAN seemed plausible.

Also had NANCY instead of RAISA for a long time.

UltraViolet 10:48 AM  

Thanks Anonymous for the QUIVERFUL clarification--I was sure that was the answer but it seemed wrong grammatically.

My first Saturday with no googling, yay!

archaeoprof 10:49 AM  

@BillinNJ: I'll miss you. Come back to us as soon as you can.

What a difference a day makes. Got skunked yesterday, cruised today. Tonight at dinner I think I'm going to have mousse for dessert.

@Rex: happy anniversary!

Orange 11:22 AM  

I was going to suggest to Bill in NJ that he write his comments in textspeak, with abbreviations and shortcuts galore. Then I looked at Bill's comment and realized that textspeak couldn't possibly be used to communicate Bill's thoughtful comments! There's too much meat to them.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I am mourning for Paul Newman but cheered by my memory of Moonbeam McSwine (28D) from a camp production of "Li'l Abner" decades ago. The lyrics went something like:

Howdy boys, I'm Moonbeam McSwine
Feedin' hogs and pigs is my line.
The fellers admire me
But they won't hire me
Unless the weather is fine.
But I does all right when the wind blows the other way...
Which leads us to say
It's a typical day.
In Dogpatch USA.

Yes, this was a way too easy Saturday puzzle. Will will get his revenge another Saturday.

Norm 11:40 AM  

Easy puzzle -- once I stopped wasting my time and worked off KIWI, the only true gimme for me. Could probably have had a better time if I hadn't been watching the Chelsea game (go Blues!) at the same time. A fun puzzle too, and even RARITAN wasn't a Natick for this Californian since the crosses were relatively simple.

Rex Parker 11:41 AM  

@Joe,

To be clear: I am *ignorant* of scientific terms (many of them, anyway). I don't have "disdain" for them, per se. My dislke of DECOCT and SEPTUM has only to do with how they look/sound, not the fact that they are somehow from the realm of science.

Paul Newman was a total badass. Everything a movie star should be. A man's man without being a total dick about it. Generous, smart. Talented as all hell. In love with his wife. Funny. Ridiculously handsome. I wish every young actor would take him for his model (in work and in life). I'm not sure you could do better.

RP

chris 11:43 AM  

Fatty acids are most definitely NOT esters. They're esterified when part of triglycerides or phosphoglycerides or waxes, but a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:55 AM  

I definitely think that today's and yesterday's puzzles should have been swapped. I don't understand how the clue for ADAGE matches the answer. Maybe somebody can help me with this.

@evil doug
Your guessing proposal works fine for one or two squares, but googling can give you a much-needed nudge to fill in a large piece of the puzzle. For instance, maybe you have the entire NW blank, so you use google to fill in RENEE and suddenly with those letters in place the rest it falls into place for you. You aren't going to guess the entire section, and if you just give up you might be depriving yourself of some good puzzling.

Personally, I never use any outside sources until I officially concede the puzzle (in my own head). But if they make the puzzle more enjoyable, I say have at it.

imsdave1 12:00 PM  

@Z.J. Samplers very often use adages, i.e. "there's no place like home", "home is where the heart is".

Very sad to hear of Mr. Newman's death. Definitely one of the really good guys.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

wasn't mums the word from shakespeare? King Henry IV Part I?

Z.J. Mugildny 12:12 PM  

@imsdave1

Oh, I see, thanks. I didn't know that a sampler is a piece of needlework until just now.

chefbea1 12:34 PM  

Paul newman was the greatest. He will be sorely missed. I would imagine we will be seeing a lot of The Sting -my favorite

fikink 12:52 PM  

Oddly enough, my first fill was QUIVERFUL, and I have no idea why. Then threw in ELLINGTON for the good fatha and slowed down. Did anyone discover FORTITUDE and STOUTNESS have the same number of letters?

Mostly, having just read yesterday's posts, dropped in to tell Bill that I always enjoyed his posts and am happy he is still lurking because I never got a chance to thank him for sending me off to read about "back-formations" some weeks ago, which led me to "lexemes" and on and on. (And my FIL wonders why I don't clean the house as often as my recently departed MIL did!)
Here's lookin' at you, Bill!

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

agree w/prev posters re ease for a Saturday. Got NES but couldn't get
corresponding clue (gotta take Rex's advice & learn these new games).
Query: is a Poboy really a hero?
Rhea

ArtLvr 12:56 PM  

Happy anniversary, Sandy and Sovereign... Ach! I'm feeling better, no more CLOGUP in the head, and I managed to finish with no googles so I'd say easy/medium for me.

I started with QUIVERFUL and the RARITAN, having lived in Princeton NJ for several years -- enjoyed seeing the towpath ALONGSIDE the canal too, as well as the Mousse/MUDPIE, UNEARTHS and OOZY!

It was great to see Bella ABZUG back, civil rights lawyer and US Congresswoman from NY, known for her hats and straight talk, ("This woman's place is in the House -- the House of Representatives"). A brilliant leader who certainly Looked One in the Eye, unlike the Brag Queen from AK. Also happy to see RENEE Richards, well known for courage too!

@ chris and joefrommtvernon: Many thanks for the above corrections on the ESTER definitions -- I didn't want to BROACH the topic myself, but they did smell wrong! And oh dear, Paul Newman gone? -- very sad news, R.I.P.

∑;)

evil doug 12:58 PM  

@z.j.: On my basic point---that it's absurd to call a puzzle "easy" even though the "solver" had to consult google or other external resources---I remain immovable.

On googling in general: Some of my best work comes hours---even a day or two---after I'm about ready to concede. I put the puzzle down, watch some TV, take a drive, nap, whatever; then I come back reinvigorated, and creative new paths start to present themselves. I become more disposed to give up on answers with which I've---incorrectly, as it turns out---fallen in love, reluctantly strike them out (yes, in ink---no pencils/erasers for me) and try some new headwork.

Nothing is more satisfying than thinking defeat is inevitable only to rally and beat the damn thing without google, spouses or kibitzers. I fear that those whose impatience leads them to turn too easily to artificial intelligence or other resources deny themselves that supreme pleasure.

Doug

Ulrich 1:07 PM  

I was stuck in the NE until my wife helped me out with mud pie--I could not get this with the MU and IE in place--sometimes my denseness really shocks me. Speaking of wife: Happy anniversary, Rex!

I loved Paul Newman--the actor and the man for all the reasons already stated. Bella Abzug was on the side of the angles, too--her hats were her halo.

Doug 1:07 PM  

Did not know about Paul Newman. I happened to watch The Hustler for the first time a week ago, and was blown away that a pool hall setting can create dramatics like that.

Finished with just a few googles, so was pleased. Learned more about New Brunswick geography than I have since grade school, and then had a V8/Doh! moment when NJ came to mind.

Also, spent enjoyable time looking through the R&R HOF site while looking for THE __A_S. I had no idea they were so important, but I guess so. RENEE and DOYLE came right out of the Grade 6 section of the brain, firmly anchored by Farrah's poster.

Anyone have MORGAN (LeFay) and not ELAINE for the Arthur clue? And E.J. Cureton apparently has a future as yet another Sarah Palin impersonator! Nice article, RP and good luck with the sale, EJ.

becky from hatch 1:14 PM  

evil doug, I'm with you. I have to put it away so that my brain can come back fresh and think in different directions, like with answers like INTESTATE. Today I did this by watching "True Blood" on HBO for the first time. A so-so show; kind of interesting to someone who used to love "Dark Shadows" as a kid!

On my first pass, I felt lucky to grab OJAYS and HOLEINONE in the first pass without crosses. I got overconfident and put in NZER instead of KIWI, and while I knew NANCY would be too easy for a Saturday, I wrote it in lightly. The Qs, Zs, and Xs were an extra help in making this a relatively easy Saturday! I fell into MOUSSE on the first pass as well. And for some stupid reason, even thought I have a Masters in Landscape Architecture, I had BARRENSPOT instead of GARDENSPOT! Shame on me!

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Rex!

I am so sad about Paul Newman. Is there anyone left as good as he is? Even late in his career I just adored him, especially with his involvement of turning my beloved Richard Russo books into features. He was the perfect Sully in "Nobody's Fool," and he was hilarious in "Empire Falls". He was key in making sure great books were made into equally great movies.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

@evil...I completely understand the sentence in question and say to each his own...having a Congress with your approach to problems would be a disaster...oh, wait a second...

/deep in debt in denver

Shamik 1:19 PM  

@ Rex: Again, Happy Anniversary...hope the wife kicks some karate *ss today! Also gotta agree with you on Paul Newman. On top of everything else, as a celebrity living in Connecticut, he was a very accessible person. From what I hear, he was most gracious. Back in the day, I felt like I was the only CT resident who hadn't met him.

@evildoug: I agree 100% with you about easy vs. googling, etc. If you don't get it and you go for outside resources...you just can't call it an easy puzzle.

Easy puzzle to me is one that one gets correctly in a zippy amount of time in comparison to one's OWN time for that day of the week and that constructor. IMHO

That said, today was easy.

@steve: Ditto on thinking Canada.

@Rhea: Visit New Orleans. A Po Boy is a hero here.

My Bad Starts Today:

MOUSSE for MUDPIE
PEKOE for ASSAM

Short list today!

Twangster 1:26 PM  

@rhea -- use google images for oyster poboy and shrimp poboy and you'll see what it's all about.

Shamik 1:29 PM  

Just reread yesterday 'cause I didn't know what had happened to Bill. Best wishes on recovery from this relapse. MS sucks....it's after lunch so that passes the b'fast test. Come back soon and lurk often.

Orange 1:36 PM  

I can't believe Paul Newman is upstaging Bill from NJ!

Leon 1:38 PM  

@BillinNJ : Your comments will be sorely missed.

re Mum:

HUME: Hume must make merry with the duchess' gold;
Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume!
Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum
Act I, scene II

The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth, or Henry VI, Part 2, by William Shakespeare believed written in approximately 1590-91

Mum's the word.
Part II, Book IV, ch. 44
Don Quixote de la Mancha written 1605-1615.

mac 1:41 PM  

I didn't find this one easy, but it may have a lot to do with a very short night, watching msnbc until 2.30. I also put in mousse, and had to wait to see how loofa was spelled. Lots of clues and answers I liked very much, though.
To me this was a real Saturday slog, although it might have been better if I were all there...


Happy anniversary, Rex, hope you are doing something fun this evening. Have some mousse for dessert, but no moose stew!

Got to get ready for a wedding at 3.30 - hope I can keep my eyes open.

jeff in chicago 1:43 PM  

Well I'll be dipped in ... MUDPIE. After the disasterous Friday, I have a great Saturday. The mantra is true ... just keep doing them!

ALONGSIDE, and SHANE came right away. A guess at NOFEE brought POLOS and HOLEINONE. Off to the races. Had an X in ALEXSIE for a while, and the non-capped "lady" in First lady steered me away from the US.

"Blind spot" seemed obviously visual, and lead to OJAYS, POBOY and TICKS. Yes, there were a couple Googles (sorry, I'm apparently not as smart as E.D.) but I got through it.

I was working as a news editor at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland when the R&R HOF opened. I was a charter member. In museums people tend to gravitate to certain objects and pass over others. But being the music fan that I was, I made a vow that I was going to read every word on every exhibit and look at every artifact they had. I was going to the museum 3 and 4 times a week (charter membership has its benefits!) and I accomplished my goal. It was interesting to note people streaming by me as a slowly made my way past each glass case.

As all museums do, they began changing exhibits, and I eventually let go of my obsession. In my opinion, it's a must-see if you ever visit Cleveland.

I also went to the opening concert for the HOF. Amazing. Almost 7 hours. Al Green, Aretha Franklin, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne, Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders and many others. What a night.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

@ leon

Another problem with the second citation (proving it wasn't first 'Mum' in literature) is that Cervantes wrote in Spanish and the translation you quote is from a now discredited translator (c. 1700). No other translator uses mum in the sentence and it is clearly made up.
TR

andrew 2:06 PM  

Rex--

Bella ABZUG makes a cameo in (what I believe is your favorite film) Manhattan.

JC66 2:16 PM  

I finished reading yesterday's comments before you posted and just now went back to read yours and learned of your situation.

We are about the same age and I always looked to see what you had to say about the puzzle since, more often than not, your comments/opinions would usually reflect my own.

I admire your tenacity and bravery and hope that your doctor's prognosis of a relapse/recovery is accurate and that you'll be back solving and commenting soon.

In the meantime, welcome to the world of lurking.

Jerry

fergus 2:58 PM  

My TV stations are based in Salinas or Monterey so we get a lot of amateurish commercials, even during prime hours, for nostalgic collections featuring "the fabulous OJAYS."

I thought this was a really superb puzzle since it kept me thoroughly switched on for however long it took. I really have no idea how long because the Xword trance was so complete.

Only little flaws were CAPP and EZIO right next to each other and the whatever confusion I had over MASSE. The adeptness with which all the Scrabbly letters came together was astoundingly impressive, way more than making up for any minor blemish.

STOUTNESS showing up, or being unearthed when it was hardly buried, was yet another example of the puzzle echo and continuity effect that may now have an established coinage, only I can't think what it was.

Though I remembered Kosygin, I called him ANATOLI. Bella ABZUG showed up as well, but not through Mother Courage. My OKIE then became a HOBO.

miriam b 3:07 PM  

Agreed, easy. STOUTNESS recalls the recent discussion of STOUT = heroic. Now I'll be humming Stouthearted Men (Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein, from The New Moon) all day.

miriam b 3:13 PM  

http://lollu-sabha.tagtile.com/video/Ih6cbrAsK4A/552-Stout-Hearted-Men-Romberg-and-Hammerstein.html

Get a load of this.

fergus 3:39 PM  

There is a fresh, relatively new translation of DON QUIXOTE, by Edith Grossman. Even if you loved this book before, this rendition reprises and embellishes all the fun and adventure. I'm not as ambitious as Rex in trying to read OVID in Latin, but I would like to get my Spanish up to a level where I could read a few pages from Cervantes. Both he and Ovid seem like the sort of cool guy that Paul Newman was. When 'Butch Cassidy' came out, I was twelve or thirteen and we all thought Robert Redford was the more appealing one. A little more maturity shows me that I was wrong. The crush I had on Katherine Ross took a bit longer to overcome.

wade 3:50 PM  

Jersey Bill, I'm thinking of you, buddy.

joho 4:35 PM  

I didn't know of Paul Newman's passing when I posted this morning. Very sad news. Men like him don't come along very often and actors, with his gifts, hardly ever. He was so talented you could see past his ungodly good looks into whatever character he portrayed. He was one class act.

Godspeed Mr. Newman.

bill from fl (for the moment in the Charlotte, NC airport) 5:30 PM  

I got stuck at the crossing of ASSAM and MASSE, neither of which I'd heard of. Otherwise, it was easier than I'd hoped for a two-leg flight today.

Michael 5:39 PM  

A bit easy for a Saturday, but not at all easy. My only real problem was not knowing how to spell Aleksei; I wanted Alexei which didn't fit. I also fell for mousse, but know mud pie well.

I went to high school near New Brunswick, N.J. so found Raritan easy but imagine it was impossible for many.

Does "Nazi" show up much in puzzles? I see that Jim (?) Horne (who keeps track of such things) is (temporarily) gone from the sidebar-- is he blogging for the NY Times yet?

physsciteacher 5:47 PM  

I started doing the NYT puzzles a little over a year ago. I googled quite a bit at first. As I got more practice the number of googles went down until now I steadfastly refuse to ever google any puzzle but Friday.

But today was the first time I attempted to finish a Saturday. I normally would take one look at it and declare "No way! I don't have the time for this!" Today I did it! I googled 6 of the clues. I now believe that googling is a way to finish tricky puzzles when you are a newbie and as you improve you can wean yourself away from your "googling dependence." I am hoping by next year I can finish a Saturday without googling.

Reading all your posts has inspired me. I know my Sat. w/o googling goal is not the olympics or solving the global financial crisis but all in all a worthwile intellectual milestone to reach.

fergus 6:29 PM  

From one Physics teacher to another, though I only do this on occasion.

Despite being a grizzled old veteran I do recall the blank distaste and annoyance of the Saturday puzzle, and yet I also vividly remember the time I first worked through it.

In the grand scheme of things, this is merely an example of diversion and distraction, and yet I do think of crossword puzzles as an art form, and even a fraternal twin to poetry. When it's well done, you have all sorts of harmonious ideas running through your mind, along with the quiet satisfaction of having answered a coy question.

foodie 8:36 PM  

Happy Anniversary Rex! In honor of the fact that you are a U of M grad, the Wolverines have staged an amazing upset, more like a return from the dead, to celebrate your day. Even yours truly, who knows nada about sports, is psyched.

foodie 8:50 PM  

@rhea, I agree with you, Hero is no Po'boy! You have to have that amazing New Orleans bread, crusty, lovely, inimitable, and then what's on the inside is usually unmatched anywhere else. It's like saying that coffee from a gas station is the same as fine Italian espresso (with all due respect to lovers of hero sandwiches and gas station coffee). It made me a little sad to concede that it was the correct answer in the puzzle.

Bob 9:34 PM  

Rex: What edition of the Metamorphoses are you going to use?

fergus 10:31 PM  

Foodie,

I have nothing to say because you are such a good writer that there is seldom anything to add after you post.

Your finer thoughts drifting around Damascus and other parts of Syria would be wonderful to hear, but that may be more appropriate off line.

Doc John 2:09 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex!

Heartfelt best wishes to Bill.

No googles but did have kat instead of KIT as I'd never heard of that river (or, apparently, the word for a young vixen).

fergus 3:32 AM  

Ape Man by the Kinks is a great song.

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