FRIDAY, Dec. 26, 2008 - B. E. Quigley (Pop superstar's informal name since 1997 / Sinew: Prefix / "House Call" airer / Title lady in a 1933 song)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


I love the holidays, but I am glad the pre-Christmas season is over. December represents a kind of crossword lull - it's the one month out of the year where traffic to my site slowly but surely wanes. People's attention is understandably directed toward other matters in December - shopping, vacations, final exams, etc. If this year is anything like last year, though, the New Crossword Year starts ... now. And if the constructors on tap for this long weekend are any indication, this year is going to be fabulous. First up: Brendan Emmett Quigley, whom I can't seem to stop talking about lately. He recently started his own thrice-weekly crossword site, but he saved some real gold for today's NYT.


But I'm going to start with the problems - now, I think these are problems that I and the puzzle share in equal measure. I do think that I should be smarter and know more stuff - that's a given. But how in the world was I supposed to know EADIE (51D: Title lady in a 1933 song)? I had -ADIE and did not once, not ever, doubt that that first letter was an "S," even after that "S" resulted in ST. SEQ. as the answer for 51A: Reference book abbr. (et seq.). I just figured that ST. SEQ. was some arcane bibliographical abbrev. that I didn't know. I never fixed this error, so technically, I was a failure today. I finished the puzzle and tried to figure out what ST. SEQ. stood for before I went to look it up - STANT SEQUENTIA? Ugh. Just UGH! In fact, I "ugh" at the preponderance of "old songs" in general. One or two is fine, but "EADIE Was a Lady" and "Take the A TRAIN" (45D: Title transport in a 1941 song), and "ALL OF ME" (37A: Song standard with the lyric "Can't you see I'm no good without you?")? It hurts me. Actually, I like "Take the A TRAIN." I'm indifferent toward "ALL OF ME." I feel nothing but revulsion toward "EADIE was a Lady," but that's likely situational. Never heard it. [... listening now ...] Damn, it has the lyric, "EADIE had klass ... with a captial "K!", so now I love it. Here it is (from the musical "Take a Chance" - song starts at the 3 min. mark or so):



I have tons of respect for the fact that this puzzle is NOT a pangram. Who cares about getting every letter of the alphabet in there when you've got 3 Z's, 5 X's, 2 K's, and even a terminal "Q"? I loved this puzzle from the get go. I hadn't been noodling around in the NW but 15 seconds or so when SEXPERT (17A: Dr. Ruth, e.g.) occurred to me as a possibility. Took one look at the "X" cross and knew instantly that the answer was XOXOXOXO (3D: Love letters?) I was so in love with that answer, but thought it so improbable, that I waited for another cross for confirmation before writing it in. I was not disappointed. Imagine a grid where the first things you put in are SEXPERT x/w XOXOXOXO. I wanted to stop right there.

The hardest part of the puzzle for me was the NE, where, even with TV CAMERA in place (8D: An anchor often faces it), I had trouble making a dent up there. Finally got the tauntingly appropriate ANEMIC off just the "M" (12D: Weak), and then flat-out guessed VOLANTE (16A: Lightly and quickly, in music). Done in by music yet again. To my credit, I did get SIR PAUL (20A: Pop superstar's informal name since 1997) and FREE JAZZ (38D: Bop alternative) rather easily. My very first thought for 8A: Comic book series that spawned films in 1994 and 2005, a thought I had very, very early on, was in fact the right answer: "THE MASK." I have only the vaguest, ugliest memories of the existence of a 2005 film in that series. The first "THE MASK" starred Jim Carrey and, in her debut film performance, Cameron Diaz.

There were a number of easy answers that should have helped people get toeholds throughout the puzzle. 22A: Wyo. is on it in the summer (MDT) was a gimme, as was 29A: One of the Baltimore Ravens' mascots (Poe). POE was from Baltimore, and wrote "The Raven," whence the football team's name. DAR was another easy one to infer from its clue, 59D: Women's org. with the motto "God, home and country". Notice that the gimmes are all shorties. That's pretty typical for late-week fare. Occasionally you score a lucky big hit like my SEXPERT/XOXOXOXO bonanza without working the short stuff first, but usually you (I) happen to work from shorter / gettable stuff to the longer stuff. Work the short stuff! Two more pop culture answers, INXS (23A: "Listen Like Thieves" band) and SUZIE (28D: Wong of book and film) were also gimmes for me, though I needed to get SNOOZED (35A: Had a 33-Across, say) before I knew whether SUZIE was spelled with a "Z" or an "S."

I like how this puzzle has a ton of X's while also having a vaguely X-ish pattern of black squares at its heart.

Shots:

  • 1A: Where to get a good view of a hit and run (box seat) - the baseball kind of "hit" and "run," presumably.
  • 26A: Chapter 13? (XIII) - took me way, Way too long
  • 30A: Strips on a table (bacon) - more Friday vagueness. I flirted with NACHO here. I know it makes no sense.
  • 44A: Rona who wrote "Mazes and Monsters" (Jaffe) - should've been a gimme off of "Rona" alone, but I got distracted by the book title (which I didn't know)
  • 53A: Sinew: Prefix (teno-) - I guess this is better than [_____ clock scholar], but not by much.
  • 55A: New Jersey shopping mecca (Paramus) - never been there, but I knew this. Why? Why!?
  • 60A: Food similar to a bannock (oatcake) - strangely, I just did another puzzle where "oatcake" was used to clue "BANNOCK."
  • 6D: Just off the bottom, nautically (atrip) - absolutely new to me; could easily have gone to a partial, but didn't. Nice. Very Friday.
  • 7D: Sandal variety (T-strap) - annoyed that I stared Linkat TST... and thought "I must have something wrong." Rookie mistake!
  • 10D: Company whose slogan is "Home away from home" (El Al) - "Company" completely threw me. Generic. Friday!
  • 30D: "The Jungle Book" bear (Baloo) - forgot it completely.
  • 34D: Mischievous tyke (elf) - really? Wow. I (and you) wanted IMP. ELVES work for Santa.
  • 9D: Falcon-headed god (Horus) - had a lot of trouble retrieving this guy's name. His face, however, is very familiar:
  • 56D: Ancient walkway (stoa) - crosswordese; a good word to have under your belt (though, to be honest, I still confuse STOA with STELA).
  • 48D: Retires from the R.A.F. (demobs) - learned it from crosswords; have heard it several times since, including once on "The Bugle," which is my favorite "news" program of the moment.
  • 61D: "House Call" airer (CNN) - with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whose name is crying out to be in a puzzle.
  • 46D: Done, slangily (finito) - ah, "slangily," my good friend. Nice to see you again.

Today, we have to arrange matters with the house/dogsitter, eat as much of the Christmas leftovers as humanly possible, and pack. Daughter will likely be playing with new Webkinz and watching "The Princess Bride" or any number of the 30-year-old Disney films I just recorded off of TCM. I'm headed to the Bay Area this weekend to visit my family in Carmel (and a certain constructor I know in S.F.). I'll be blogging sporadically over the next week, but PuzzleGirl and Acme will be filling in for me here and there, starting tomorrow.

R.I.P. Eartha Kitt, who died yesterday. She was the very first answer I ever wrote about on this blog. I recently posted her "Santa Baby" on this site, so today, something new.




Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

48 comments:

twangster 11:27 PM  

I thought this one had a few too many obscurities to be fun, with gods and moons and mascots and children's books characters. I thought 16A had to be VIVANTE and couldn't imagine why I'd never heard of a company named EVAC. Also thought 39D would have BLANC in it somewhere so that messed up the bottom right.

PhillySolver 12:10 AM  

I like your BOXSEAT explanation better than my thought of a 'Hit' play with a long 'Run.' Trying 'next on' slowed me down becaue I thought Sozie Wong was possible, but twice through the alphabet saved me from my Net Rock fill. I entered EADIE without knowing it, but have to say its only redeeming feature is that it may help another constructor out of a jam someday...and I think I can remember it.

I am afraid there will be a Klahn puzzle tomorrow.

PuzzleGirl 12:40 AM  

Love this puzzle — it's BEQ after all! — but I got tripped up because of the CRATE UP, NEXT UP, ONE-UP and the FIT IN, ONE IN TEN, and KEPT IN. Every time I'd "get" one of those answers, I'd think, "But, no, it can't be." Well, it was. And ya know what? I'll be the first to stand up and say that BEQ can do whatever the hell he wants and the puzzle is still going to rock.

PhillySolver: A Klahn puzzle tomorrow? Hush your mouth!!

Crosscan 1:40 AM  

Lots of missteps on the road to completion.

THE HULK for THE MASK; AM I BLUE (ALL OF ME);TIA (TIO);X FACTOR (X AMOUNT); SNEERED (SNORTED); SONNETS (STANZAS);X'S AND OH'S (XOXOXOXO);AUDI/SAAB (OTIS);MARRIED (SAID I DO)

and a couple that wouldn't fit:

BOX SCORE (BOX SEAT); SIR ELTON (SIR PAUL).

Wow. How did I ever finish this?

I also got PARAMUS and thought - how did I know that?

Didn't know EADIE but it was all crosses.

BEQ rules!

andrea carla michaels 4:05 AM  

wow, loved this!

@Rex
I KNOW you don't care about pangrams, but it was freaky that the only letter not in there was a G!

This was one of your blog posts that was word for word identical to what I experienced,
re: SADIE, counting the number of J's X's and Z's, ELF/IMP...
Even the TST!
(at one point I surmised if there is XOXOXOXO, maybe there is a sandal called TSTSTSTS!)

It made me once again feel you are my absolute soulmate... tho if you were, I wouldn't be the only one feeling that! And I know you don't!
I'll settle for dinner. :)

Since no one read my later-than-late response to JoeK's Tues puzzle, I am going to take this opportunity to repeat the line I just heard last week:

Paul marries a one-legged hooker and John is still the interesting one!

Dan 4:10 AM  

I'm a musician and have never heard of the direction VOLANTE... but I have driven by the PARAMUS Park Mall many times.

Philly, you beat me to it - I was going to predict a diabolical Klahn for Saturday and a genius Berry for Sunday. Wow, PuzzleGirl is doing two guest-blogging jobs simultaneously? What can't she do?

RIP Eartha. I got to meet her a couple times and she was so sweet and supportive.

acme 4:20 AM  

PS
Loved the PINT/ QUART!
Despite that weirdly clued ELF, BEQ presciently had BOX as the first word on BOXing Day!

Speaking of ELAL, my Israeli beau was supposed to arrive today but has canceled his trip :(
so, Puzzlegirl, if you need me, I am (more than) free

(Altho if it IS a Klahn...you're on your own, chiquita!)

And what was UP with CRATEUP, NEXTUP, ONEUP??!

I loved learning the meaning of MAUNAKEA, my first guess was WEISSBERG!
Wrong in so many ways!

FINITO!

jae 4:34 AM  

I also loved this one and made exactly the same error as Rex. There is no way I could have solved this correctly.

@andrea -- I can't find a Y in this either.

Tried XESANDOS before getting the delightful XO chain.

Put an O, at first, the end of 16a because don't all those musical things end in O?

This is kind of a rhetorical question, but how many ways can you clue "ELAL?"

On my recent Holland American cruise there were three NYT Sunday puzzles on plexiglass tables in the library. The only one I booted was the BEQ. He had an area in the VA/MD region (yes I remember these things) that was crossed with stuff I couldn't even guess right. The only other guy that does this to me regularly is Henry Hook (I wonder if its something about Boston).

Again, I loved it. Any puzzle that crosses SEXPERT with an XO chain has got my vote!

Greene 7:20 AM  

My God, this was an awesome puzzle! I loved every minute of solving it (and it took me well over an hour). Early entries in the grid were ALL OF ME, BALOO, SUZIE (of Wong fame), and even the much maligned EADIE (which I was able to get on the first pass). I confess to knowing way too much useless showbiz trivia, but even I thought EADIE was a tad obscure.

I almost wrote in SEXPERT immediately, but I didn't know that it was a real word. Took a chance and got the XOXOXOXO string which made me really love this puzzle. It also cleared up my BOXSEAT debacle, where I had STADIUM.

I thought I was pretty clever to put in ALIAS for 33A, it even worked with BALOO. It wasn't until I got SNOOZED that I could bring myself to give it up.

Put me down with those who have never heard the musical term VOLANTE (and I worked as a professional pit orchestra musician in my youth). Ah, live and learn.

Thanks BEQ for an excellent start to the weekend. Love your blog too.

evil doug 9:12 AM  

I still forget to check the puzzle-maker's name, so I don't know one from another---except Quigley, now that I've found his site. I had a good time today (not "good time" as in stopwatch---as you know, homey don't play that game---but as in pleasurable experience), and didn't realize I owed it to BEQ until you mentioned him. The key: I stuck with etseq even though ordinarily I get sucked in by things like the familiar Sadie vs. unknown Eadie...

Last summer my wife and I returned to Carmel for the first time in 15 years. Stayed at the Pine Inn, and serendipitously stumbled into the Sunday brunch at Mission Ranch. I suspect most people go there because of Clint Eastwood, but---much like not realizing I was doing a Quigley puzzle---we had no idea of the connection until our third mimosa was aiding the digestion of wonderful omelets. Inexpensive also, and a lovely view to boot.

Evil

imsdave 10:14 AM  

Words I never thought I'd say:

Thank you Dr. Ruth

That X gave me the whole puzzle. "All of Me" was a drop kick. I vaguely remembered a song "Sadie Was a Lady" (1945 as it turns out), and almost left it in, but I couldn't buy STSEQ and changed it.

I printed off the puzzle before bed last night. Picked it up this morning, and had an "oh crap" moment - I printed the wrong puzzle. Not exactly. Two days ago, someone sent me an email wishing me a merry Xmas. I hate that. I wrote a puzzle based on the X and the grid is very similar to BEQ's. The differences are:

A. His is good
B. His is legal

I've posted it on Amy's blog if you're interested.

Enjoy.

Greene 10:47 AM  

@imsdave: I did a double take when I first opened today's puzzle because the grid looked so much like your X puzzle which I had just finished the night before. Your puzzle was terrific and a very enjoyable solve, so don't beat yourself up and please keep 'em coming! Everybody head over to Orange's blog and work this fun Xmas puzzle (ooooh, that word!).

Michael 10:58 AM  

I saw the name BEQ and thought I'd be in for a long, enjoyable solve. I was only half-right. Enjoyable, but (for me) surprisingly easy for a BEQ for whatever reason.

David 11:53 AM  

Definitely a fun puzzle. It feels like this is the first late-week puzzle in a while where I haven't discovered that I made a mistake (or several) in the morning.

After testing out PINT/QUART, I filled in ET SEQ. right away. I got lucky, having just last week used it in a citation, and it saved me from some heartache with EADIE. BALOO was a gimme also, one of my few today.

Thankfully, since even as a native of NJ I took way too long to come up with Paramus. As a myth and comic book buff, though, I'm much more embarrassed at how many letters I needed to figuring out TITANIA and THE MASK. Getting HORUS off of the H was

Aside from those, it sounds like I had a similar experience to everyone else. VOLANTE didn't come easy, JAFFE sounded right once I ignored the title, and ANEMIC jumped out at me from the timezone M---even if I've never bothered to remember which is daylight time and which is standard...

Anyway, definitely an enjoyable puzzle. Took a lot out of me, but worth it. Hope everyone's had/having a happy holiday.

Shamik 12:11 PM  

I knew it was too good to be true that I should finish a BEQ puzzle in an "easy for Friday" time. Two wrong letters. Also got tripped up on the SADIE for EADIE song. And the reference book abbreviation was a total stumper along with the Pioneers' organization. Just thought the Pioneers were yet another sports team, I didn't know. So, had STAEQ and NAAA. Oh well.

Other misstarts:
THEHULK for THEMASK
ALLEGRO for VOLANTE
AXLES for PALMS
NUBIS for HORUS
SLOG for PLOD

A lot of great "words" today, though: BASTIONS, XOXOXOXO, DIRTROAD, FREEJAZZ, all of MAUNAKEA, KEPTIN, XAMOUNT. Enjoyable even though my solving was short of 100%.

joho 12:36 PM  

XOXOXOXO's to Brendan Emmett Quigley who is a Konstructor with Klass with a capital "K."

I came thinking, "what an amazing Friday puzzle, I can't believe I solved it with no help!" Well, I didn't. I, too, had SADIE. Still, I loved this puzzle. I so look forward to Mr. Quigley's puzzles and thank you, Rex, for the link to his site.

jeff in chicago 1:02 PM  

Four BEQs this week. Sweet. Only completely finished two of them, but I love the challenge. Great BACON and PALMS clues. Liked the SNOOZED/DREAM and QUART/PINT combos. "Jungle Book" was a childhood favorite, so fun to see BALOO show up. Now I'll be singing "Look for the Bear Necessities, the simple bear necessities..." all day.

"Now when you pick a pawpaw or a prickly pear and you prick a raw paw, next time beware.
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw. When you pick a pear, try to use the claw.
But you don't need to use the claw when you pick a pear of the big pawpaw." -- Love it!

And the back/butt scratching sequence is nearly pornographic! Disney is so subversive...

jeff in chicago 1:04 PM  

Oh...and fantastic Eartha Kitt clip!

Karen 1:06 PM  

Well, I hadn't heard of the Tale of Suzie Wong before. Hopefully the cheerful hooker will stick in my brain. I put down THE CROW for the comic book movie; I flirted with THE HULK when that didn't work. I don't think of THE MASK as a comic book, unfortunately. For the half/double clue I started out with PAIR and TETRA, which doesn't make much sense.

Mazes and Monsters was famous for promulgating the belief that D&D was played by unstable young adults who had trouble telling reality from fantasy. Unlike authors, who couldn't tell reality from a cool story. Today's kids play LARP (live action roleplaying) which is much more similar to what M&M was about; they are still very stable kids, though.

Can anyone explain ATRIP to me? Is it really AT RIP?

fikink 1:19 PM  

I loved this puzzle. What a gas!
@phillysolver, tho' I, like Rex, figured BOXSEAT referred to baseball, I like your interpretation even better.

Fell for Sadie and thought St.Seq was just something I'd not heard of, also.

@jae, your "xesandos" is very clever. High five for the effort!

@greene, your avatar sums this puzzle up nicely!
and @dave, Xmas duties waylaid me. I am now on to your puzzle with great expectation!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:20 PM  

Very, very nice puzzle!

By mostly thinking before writing I was able to keep my write-overs down to two: 50A, threw in OLDS before OTIS, and 30D, tried BABOO instead of BALOO.

Count me among those who never heard of EADIE, but ETSEQ seemed unavoidable.

I've already confessed to living in New Jersey, and PARAMUS was a gimme. (Very nice new movie theater there - saw "Australia" there Christmas Eve.)

mac 1:38 PM  

What a good day! Great puzzle, blog and comments. I cruised right along, accepting Sadie and stseq, only running into some trouble in the NE: I also had vivante, and I can't believe ELAL's slogan is "Home away from home"!
My favorite word is "sexpert", how perfect is that! Only quibble: 24d counterbalances: set-offs. Counterbalance - off-set yes, but the other sounds awkward.

I've got so many puzzles to do, between imsdave, other BEQ's and my new Sun subscription! Better get some work done first.
Happy boxingday!

fergus 1:45 PM  

Looks like I'm three times the technical failure that Rex is today, though most of the puzzle dropped in pretty nicely. Along with SADIE, my home store purchase was a COT after trying so many letters that I decided on THE CASK. Now, that seems really stupid, because I should have recognized THE MASK, though I didn't know there was a sequel.

Other little problems were reluctance to write in CRATE UP, OUTDO for ONE-UP, BEDSIT for STUDIO and for reasons related to my ineptness at Texas Hold'em I entered BLIND for the Strips on a table. Before that, I did wonder whether Strips was actually in verb form, but couldn't think of anything for that interpretation either.

--

Rex, you may find it colder than you remember on the Central Coast. Heavy frost on the windshield till ten in the morning; pleased to have my gloves on an afternoon stroll; don't forget the hat, etc. Big waves, 16-22 feet, forecast in the short-term.

chefbea 1:48 PM  

Hard but fun Friday puzzle

I always serve bacon with my bannocks.

Now to do Imsdave's puzzle

obertb 1:54 PM  

@Karen

I have usually seen ATRIP clued as "Anchor position." According to online dict. it means "just clear of the bottom. Used of an anchor."

Puzzle: I had the same problem as Rex and others with EADIE--had SADIE and then STSEQ, which made no sense, but I left it, thinking it was just something I didn't know. Really should have given this more thought though, because I'm sure that somewhere in my (long) past academic career I probably used it in a footnote or something.

I started in the NW, but put ANES (5D) for ENES and didn't see SEXPERT, so moved on to other areas and came back to NW only at the end. But once I got INXS and NEXTUP the XOXO thing became obvious and the corner went down like an anchor, clear to the bottom, not atrip.

I've never heard of VOLANTE, either, despite many years of playing music. Sounds like a Dean Martin song--no, no, that was Volare [insert YouTube clip].

joho 2:23 PM  

@imsdave I agree with @Greene: your puzzle is great!

I am so happy you published it for all of us to solve.

I was going to comment on some of your answers that I really liked, but just realized I'd be spilling the beans for those who haven't had the chance to get to it.

So, shut my mouth! And thanks!

Doc John 2:37 PM  

I'm with Rex on the Sadie thing but I guess it's squares like that that serve as the eliminators. And I was so confident about Sadie, too- it's such a 30s kind of name! I just figured st. seq. was some weird abbreviation (I've not heard of et. seq., either. Looking at it now it does make more sense but I'm still not sure if I'd have given up Sadie for it.

I also flirted with "xesandos" but knew that INXS absolutely was correct so didn't put it in.

It was interesting that the top half was full of Xs but none below the equator. That half was reserved for the rest of the alphabet soup. With that big black X in the middle of the grid, I was expecting more Xs at the bottom so that did throw me for a little bit.

Not thrilled about the ELF cluing but otherwise a solid puzzle and a fairly quick Friday solve for me (except Sadie, of course).

Hope Santa fulfilled everyone's wishes yesterday!

Ladel 2:40 PM  

I was in the USAF during the early 60s, the airlines always referred to themselves as companies, never understood why, and El Al's slogan sounds like a bad translation or what it might become during a protracted delay.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:12 PM  

@ obertb -

Thanks for the opening. I wanted to experiment with posting links. If this works properly, you should find Dean Martin singing Volare here.

fergus 3:24 PM  

Anyone else got "Sexy Sadie" from the White Album spinning in their head?

Also, anyone know how to get rid of the mustiness in an old paperback? The mold seemed to grow as the plot thickened. Neither the library nor bookstores have a copy. Could I freeze it, cook it in the oven? Chefbea?

Doug 3:29 PM  

@karen: SUZIE Wong. I'm biased because I lived in HK for many years and have an interest in the environment, but The World Of Suzie Wong is still a wonderful read. The western world parallel is Breakfast At Tiffanys. In the book, there is a major typhoon which causes panic, and interestingly even though today's HK is bulletproof and typhoons do little damage, people still load up on rice, oil and canned food whenever a typhoon is on the way. I worked for a supermarket chain and we loved near misses because sales would go up by a couple million bucks and the stores didn't have to close.

Great puzzle, didn't finish it because of the NE and SE, but was pleased to get 80% of what I think is a hard Friday.
Started with PALMS and PLOD then worked out from there.

Happy Boxing Day to you all!

edith b 3:43 PM  

I read "Mazes and Monsters" twenty years or so ago which was a cautionary tale about what was then the new craze of "Dungeons and Dragons", a Role Playing Game that scared the bejeesus out of a reading club I was a part of in those days. JAFFE was my first entry, crossing ATRAIN FINITO JOUSTS which got me the whole SW and a foothold in this puzzle.

I moved diagonally into West Virginia, crossing BACON/BALOO which produced ANEMIC. This got me away from the incorrect answer I had at at 8Across which was diabolic for me because the correct answer THEMASK) started the same way as what I had (THEXMEN). This saved me a lot of time and grief in the long run.

The U in HORUS helped me with SIRPAUL and a guess of TSTRAP at 7Down helped produce the POE/PLOD cross in Fly-over country that gained me a toehold in the NW. I began chipping away at the NW with SIP TI* OTOES (guess) and, finally, like Rex, tried out SEXPERT which got me XOXOXOXO and broke this section wide open.

This left me with southern Fly0ver country and all of the SE left to do and it turned out to be a real slog. I finally entered EMPOWERS and tried out STOA and. 45 minutes late, saw BRONZER crossing DEMOBS and the puzzle fell.

I saw OATCAKE before and I didn't get it then either.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

I fell for Sadie as well. And I really thought that I had nailed this one.

Aargh!

But if I didn't make any mistakes, I wouldn't have anything to work toward, and I wouldn't be SO happy when I get a whole Friday or Saturday crossword right!

chefbea 4:01 PM  

@bobkerfuffle - thanks for Dean Martin and Volare

@Fergus I remember years ago when the newspaper was delivered and it was wet (they didn't have plastic sleeves back then) my mother would unfold the paper and put one section at a time in a very low oven , probably 200 til it dried out. Try it with your book. If it cooks and gets too well done I have a great red sauce you can put on it....

mac 5:19 PM  

@fergus: I just read that you should fan the pages while spraying with a dry anti-perspirant/deodorant spray. May have to be repeated. I actually like that old-book smell.

PlantieBea 5:46 PM  

Loved the puzzle, and love this blog. Raising hand here as another puzzler who plugged in an S to make SADIE and STSEQ.

@Fergus--Yep, Sexy Sadie spinning through my head, along with a vision of Sadie in "Across the Universe."

Off to reheat our Christmas leftovers...

fergus 6:07 PM  

Hey, thanks for the suggestions. Splayed this 1950 printing out in a bowl and microwaved it for a bit, then left it out in the sun. After a couple more chapters, instead of the dark corner of a locker room, it just smells like someone's doing some steam ironing, which is altogether tolerable.

Blanche 7:14 PM  

Professor of music here. VOLANTE translates literally as "flying." It's used primarily for violins to produce that skittering, bow-scarcely-touches-the-strings effect. Pretty obscure, I'd say!

Anders Weinstein 7:32 PM  

After seeing all the X's around this impressive puzzle, I was sure the comic series must be "The X-Men", though I managed to clear that up. But I do have to go down as another one who left SADIE in the grid -- with all the jazz standards being referenced, I wondered if Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie" might have come from a 1933 tune.

jae 7:33 PM  

@imsdave -- Cute puzzle!

chefbea 8:14 PM  

@imsdave ance io - thats italian for me too. Loved the x-word puzzle

Kathy D. 8:59 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle. Got most of it except mid-south. Thought pint was finn and twice that was an obscure term for ten-dollar bill.

Thanks for putting up the "Eadie was a lady" video. Where was that and wonder who was singing and the year.
And the Eartha Kitt video was great.

On to a new year of puzzles.

Kathy D.

yudan taiteki 10:08 PM  

Count me in as another person who had SADIE and STSEQ. An early miss I had was ANDANTE instead of VOLANTE; I knew that wasn't quite right but it was a while before I got rid of it.

acme 3:44 AM  

hey! Rex, you sneaky devil...
Just what is Dr. Ruth doing in that picture?!

bill from fl 9:59 AM  

I'm late posting for this one, but I wanted to add my thanks to BEQ for an extremely entertaining flight from Atlanta to Detroit yesterday. This puzzle took me the whole time.

Daryl 10:00 PM  

Late posting as am just catching up with the holiday crosswords... surprised that this was rated near challenging, as I found it one of the easier Fridays I've done lately. Started with INXS, SUZIE, MDT, and FOUR AM as my gimmes. Loved XOXOXOXO as an answer, one of those "no, it couldn't be, could it?"

Just a point as a baseball fan about Rex's explanation of BOX SEAT: it's not just about the baseball kind of "hit" and "run", the "hit and run" is a specific baseball play, which is why the clue doesn't need to say "a hit and a run".

boardbtr 1:53 PM  

Five weeks later. This certainly didn't strike me as it did most of the commenters. It was so full of obscurities (to me) that I totally lost any interest in attempting to complete it. I got the NE and a couple of words in the SW, but that was it. I just ended up here and was still unimpresed with this one. No oohs or aahs for me -- just ugh!

DocRuth 6:02 PM  

Aw now, boardbtr--I thought it was fun. The kind of puzzle where your first pass is "I'll never get any of this" and then it works out. Funny how it often occurs that different folks can have such a different experience doing the same thing. Oh well. I had the same problem others did with SADIE but the Across Lite thing didn't say "correct" so I punched in the E because I knew "et seq" to be real and then I got the desired message. Doctor Ruth (not that one)

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