SATURDAY, Jan. 10, 2009 - B. Klahn (Oil-rich South American basin / Nero's homeland / Morgiana's storied master / Literally, "roof lizard")

Friday, January 9, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the day: ECOTONE - A transitional zone between two communities containing the characteristic species of each.

Early appt. tomorrow, so even though it's late, I gotta blog this thing tonight. PuzzleGirl wrote me a message before I'd done the puzzle saying "Did you see the constructor's name!?" I had this feeling of dread. Then I saw the name in question - the legendary Bob Klahn - and felt not dread but elation. So we meet again, Klahn. Many of you will remember Klahn (if you have not suppressed the memory) from the Dec. 29 puzzle of 2007, the one with ARGALI and XANTIPPE and some other stuff that absolutely krushed me (and a few others out there). His puzzles are known for being meticulous, artful, and very, very difficult. Today's was difficult, but on the easy side for a Klahn puzzle. I had much more luck early on with this one than I did with yesterday's actually, though objectively I think this puzzle is harder. Happily, I got through this puzzle in very good time (for a Klahn). Sadly, I had a letter I didn't know and just had to guess - this made me very, very sad. Having to guess a vowel, ugh! Left a bad taste in my mouth. I'd heard of MARACAIBO (54A: Oil-rich South American basin), but that second "A" ... let's just say TANKA is not a word that confirms Anything for me (50D: Poem of 31 syllables in five lines). So I stared (stared!) at T-NKA / MAR-CAIBO. But staring, in this case, did nothing. So though I had an "A" to start, I changed it to "O" on the basis that I'd heard of TONKA (maybe the trucks are named after poems!?). Bad idea. So I go down in defeat. But I have never felt so good about a defeat in my life. Klahn got in a lucky punch. In all other respects, I pwn3d this puzzle. I'm coming for you, Klahn. KLAHHHHHHHN! [shakes fist at sky]



I had the NW corner done so fast that I got a little freaked out. Have you ever been playing so far above your head at something - anything - that it starts to make you nervous and self-conscious. I had it happen during tennis once. And again while playing Donkey Kong. Anyway, that's how I felt when the NW corner was done in something like a minute or two. LENO was a guess, but a good one (22A: Dyslexic TV host with a college degree in speech therapy). Went LENO -> OCTANT -> LETS GO (actual answer = LETS BE) -> APPALL -> ADAGE -> PEE DEE (2D: River with an alphabetical-sounding name) -> PECTORAL -> APOSTATE -> STEGOSAUR (4D: Literally, "roof lizard") ... and basically every other cross in @#$#ing PETERMEN (17A: Safecrackers, slangily). What in the World? YEGGS, I know. PETERMEN!? Wow. It's apparently British. Here are a list of etymological hypotheses. I still don't know why ARM is the answer for 6D: Magazine article (don't write me - someone will tell me in the Comments section). Who cares? Just apply a little TAE BO (7D: Regimen with "cardio bursts") to Lena HORNE (23A: Cotton Club standout of the '30s) and I'm all done up there.

Spilled down to the SW, where I dropped 34D: Brilliantly colored food fish that changes hues when removed from the water (mahi mahi), 35D: Hank Williams or Nat King Cole (Alabaman), and 36D: No-names (generics) - all off their first two letters. Seriously, it was like going too high on the swing set - euphoria bordering on nausea. This is about the time I hit the MARACAIBO impasse (South America's version of KENOSHA or NATICK). Grumbled and huffed, then regrouped and promptly torched the rest of the puzzle. The NE took some prodding. I had PRESSURE where REASSURE was supposed to go (14D: Calm, say), but I knew that 16A: Person at home had to be UMPIRE. The big break for me up here was having my loopy guess of BOOT TREES (which I refused to write in forEver) be right (20A: Foot-long stretchers)! That's what was weird today - it was as if that really annoyingly hard-to-get radio station just decided to come in crystal clear for a few minutes. Klahn frequency! That's right, Klahn. I'm in your head. Get used to it.

Lists:
  • 24A: 252-gallon measures (tuns) - here's where having your own crossword blog comes in handy. I blogged nearly this exact clue eight months or so ago. Answer didn't come to me, but I knew I knew it, so I just waited it out. Other answers that constant solvers should have wrangled without too much problem include ADAM'S ALE (63A: Water) and B-STAR (32A: Rigel, for one).
  • 9A: Main engagement? (sea war) - as in "the bounding main"? OK. I nearly wrote in SEA AIR (an answer from earlier in the week).
  • 27A: Computer prefix meaning 2 to the 40th power (tera-) - had the "TE-" and guessed.
  • 29A: "_____ che penso" (Handel aria) ("Piu") - the man with the moustache and leather jacket standing in front of the tree would like to sing for you now:

  • 34A: "The Good German" actor, 2006 (Maguire) - didn't know it, but had the -UIRE. I hope that those who routinely struggle with Friday and Saturday are noting how little I actually know. Good solvers are good inferrers (if that's a word, which I'm pretty sure it's not - wait ... nope, I'm wrong. It is, in fact, a word; seriously, add "-ER" to any verb and stir).
  • 37A: Area between forest and prairie, e.g. (ecotone) - this sounds like the next step in the evolution of stereo sound. Or a brand of glove.
  • 40A: Nero's homeland (patria) - Latin! Patria means "homeland" (or, more precisely, "fatherland").
  • 57A: C relative (A minor) - even the music I guessed right - helped having the AMI- already in place.
  • 60A: Manage (hack it) - cool. Made me doubt my "C" from GENERICS because I figured the answer must be HANDLE.
  • 61A: Style of envelope for greeting cards (baronial) - W+T+F. Envelopes have styles now?
  • 8D: The United States, to some prospective immigrants (El Norte) - Love that EL NORTE points due NORTH.
  • 9D: Early South Carolina senator Thomas (Sumter) - he of the Fort, I assume.
  • 13D: Member of the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion (Armenian) - Klahn clues are long. Or else very, very short.
  • 31D: Asian language with 14+ million speakers (Nepali) - OK that number is staggering to me. Had no idea that Himalayan country had that many people.
  • 41D: Morgiana's storied master (Ali Baba) - easy to get from crosses. "Storied" helped give it away, somehow.
  • 56D: _____ Bones of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (Brom) - indelible memory of an animated version of this story from when I was a kid. "Sleepy Hollow" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" were yearly viewing for a while during my childhood. "I got a rock." Priceless.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

109 comments:

Doug 1:56 AM  

As always, I tip my hat to those of you who can knock off these Saturday puzzles.

I claim "best tries" for "Foot-long stretchers: 1. BRATWURST and 2. CLOWNSHOES. I await Ulrich's comment on the legal size of bratwurst in Germany, which renders impossible the first answer. But I was glad to be right for a few minutes.

Re: 14M NEPALIS: South Asia is deceivingly large. We all know India's population is #2 in the world at 1.1 billion. However, Pakistan is #6 in the world at 165 million (half of the US) and Bangladesh is #7 at 159 million. So the populations of Pakistan and Bangladesh equal the US.

santafefran 2:07 AM  

This puzzle Klahned me over the head!

First guess was ALINES, then tried CLOONEY before switching to Maguire which led to MAHIMAHI and HEIR. After that it was pretty much downhill. I actually wanted to put in ARM for magazine (as in armament?) but I decided that might not be right.

Even a bunch of Googles couldn't help me finish.

C'est la Saturday.
Looking forward to Sunday.

Crosscan 8:31 AM  

Well, I was all ready to use my new fast fickle staring skills as well as everything I learned from reading my hopefully-soon-to-be-autographed copy of "How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle: Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Master America's Favorite Puzzle" by Amy Reynaldo to solve Saturday when I saw the constructor's name - KLAHNNNNNN!!!!
Yikes. My previous record of Klahn Saturday's is "lots" of errors, no time recorded. Well, here goes.

Opened with UMPIRE. Then lots of staring. But slowly, progress was achieved. Rigel was randomletter-STAR, of course, which meant ECOZONE was unlikely to be right. GENERICS. APPALL, which always looks to me like it has too many P's and L's. EL NORTE.

ADAM'S ALE - learned it from crosswords.

In the end (31 minutes), I guessed right on TANKA/MARACAIBO but had 3 errors.

I knew there was a fort in the Civil War called SUMNER; oh it was SUMTER - well 5/6 right, not bad for a Canadian.

ARMEBIAN/TUBS - my fault; how big is a TUB, anyway?

BARANIAL/BRAM - BRAM is a first name I've heard of and I knew it was a vowel crossing - KENOSHA.

All in all, very successful performance for a Klahn. I'll keep staring.

imsdave 8:33 AM  

I finished a Klahn! Almost 2 hours, but I fini.. never mind. I had a one letter mistake. BRAM sounded better to me than BROM and I'm not really up on my envelope styles. Still enjoyed this a bunch.

Clooney really slowed me down, as did bootlasts and pterosaur. Took me an embarrassingly long time to get HORNE.

Re: Magazine/ARM - a magazine can be defined as a storage facility for weapons, hence ARM as in small arms fire. Seems awkward in the singular though.

Glitch 8:51 AM  

I usually complete Saturdays, but every once in a while one like this comes along.

On my second cup of coffee (my measure, rather than time --- range 1 to 4) I had only a few random answers (tuns, leno, horne, tera, bstar, bra) and a few false starts (asharp for amajor, tilt for lean, sector for octant), and since I find little satisfaction in googling pre-solving, gave it up.

Checking in, found a number of words I never heard of, several clues I take issue with, and some I should have remembered.

This one goes in my (thankfully small) pile of *you can't win them all*.

.../Glitch

Megan P 8:54 AM  

This puzzle was much much harder than yesterday's! I googled my brains out and still didn't finish. This was the hardest puzzle since the one last year that Rex called "infernal," or some word to that effect. I never never google!!

Whoever did this puzzle - you rule.

Parshutr 9:00 AM  

At 8:23 I started this puzzle. At 8:27 I closed it. I had put in RENEGADE where APOSTATE should have gone, realized my error and this puzzle was going to eat my lunch.
So now, I'll work through it with Rex's answers and maybe learn a few words, but really -- MEDIUM to challenging? If this wasn't a challenge that even RP couldn't solve completely, what is?

Eli Barrieau 9:07 AM  

Oof. This kind of spanking is not what my self-esteem needs as the tournament approaches.

Parshutr 9:08 AM  

magazine article = ARM??? wtf? Keyed ARM in on dictionary.com, no help there in 21 definitions and idioms.
HEEEELP! (Magic word on tip of finger...Please!)

Glitch 9:13 AM  

@Parshutr

See imsdave 8:33 entry above.

JC66 9:34 AM  

KLAHN!!!

Who else can give me a feeling of accomplishment for finishing in just under an hour (with two Googles)?

Lynn in VA 9:46 AM  

This was one of those puzzles that makes me feel like early Alzheimer's is setting in. I looked at those first clues and I had absolutely nothing. Eventually it got better, but man - what a workout!

bigredanalyst 10:12 AM  

I agree with Rex about the NW. But since I'm a volunteer Fossil Explainer at the American Museum of Natural History PECTORAL and STEGOSAUR were gimmes.

Of course AMENS instead of ADAGE at 19A slowed things down a bit.

The SE and SW came next. Having been to Venezuela often made MARACAIBO easy.

But the NE was a bear. I stared at a big open area for too long and finally guessed at BOOTTREES which helped.

Finally the question mark in main engagement got me thinking it must be SEA something with three letters. And WAR yielded REASSURE which led to the rest.

I think this was more medium than challenging for a Saturday since 3/4 of the puzzle came together quicker than normal for me.

But I may have lucked out with some specific knowledge that led to several 8-9 letter words.

And if you get those, the fills become a lot easier.

twangster 10:28 AM  

I thought this was the hardest puzzle I've ever encountered, almost pointlessly difficult ... could only get a few without googling and many of them turned out to be wrong. Even with google it took quite a while. This was after getting 99% of Friday's on my own, so it was weird to see the difficulty level jump so much from one day to the next.

SethG 10:36 AM  

Heh, he said LENO HORNE. And had that A- B- line near the middle. And _I_ said UMPIRE yesterday, and I hope you were all listening. I again started on the right, had to work my way back to the left.

I started the C clue with xSHARP, assumed those dudes were from ARKANSAS. And apparently SUMTER, SC lies in the PEE DEE river basin. Constructors, if you would concentrate your references on southwestern PA and the Twin Cities metropolitan area that'd be great, thanks. As an example, I used to play for a team called Hot Dish, and hot dish has been called "the AMBROSIA of the midwest". So now we're getting somewhere...

Is BLITZ necessarily a win? I thought it was just an attack, whether or not in a ballroom. Also not in love with a set being a "round" of tennis, with E-CARTE crossing anything, and I can't think of TAE BO without hearing Akon and Shady smacking that.

bookmark 10:40 AM  

Interesting to see two South Carolina references in this puzzle: Thomas Sumter and the Pee Dee River. When Sumter died in 1832, he was the last surviving general of the American Revolution. Charleston's Ft. Sumter, where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, was named after him.

It took me an hour to finish just half of the puzzle. Thank goodness for Rex's blog and all the comments. I've learned much today, especially ADAMSALE.

Thanks to all of you.

foodie 10:45 AM  

you know all that stuff I said last night, about belief coupled with fickleness? I lied. I don't believe a word of it today. Mother Theresa had a crisis of faith, and this is mine. I cannot do those darned Saturday things, not when BARONIAL is clued as a type of envelope! As to fickleness, the question is when there's too much. I had NEPALI very early on (off the N in ALINES, my first entry), then changed my mind. Same with ARMENIANS...

Speaking of which, is there a word for positive prejudice? Projudice may be? Anyhow, I have one about Armenians. Growing up in the Middle East, whenever we had an Armenian in a math class, we just knew she was going to totally skew the distribution and blow everyone out of the water. Smart, focused, often brilliant. When did they adopt Christianity? I know (I entered that in lieu of ADAGE, as in "I know, I know"): Let me google this for you. Well, I'm done googling for the day. I need to go lick my ego.

Pinky 10:46 AM  

Thanks for posting the last Klahn puzzle Rex.

I must have improved since then - I wasn't cursing him quite as much this time.

@Crosscan Glad someone else had ECOZONE> I couldn't figure out what I was going to do with SZALLIONS

Anyone else have SHOE TREES?

Pinky 10:46 AM  

Thanks for posting the last Klahn puzzle Rex.

I must have improved since then - I wasn't cursing him quite as much this time.

@Crosscan Glad someone else had ECOZONE> I couldn't figure out what I was going to do with SZALLIONS

Anyone else have SHOE TREES?

chefbea 10:54 AM  

Wow!! What a tough puzzle. Googled a lot and still took forever. Loved umpire=person at home.

What IS the style of a baronial envelope??? I'll have to google that.

Lots of new words today. I don't drink beer but I guess adams ale tastes like water?

nanpilla 10:55 AM  

This puzzle kicked my butt. After almost two hours, I finally had to give up and google a couple of things. I haven't had to do that in months. Very demoralizing. Held onto handle way too long. Hated HACK IT even when I got it. Could not make myself believe ECOTONE. Ecozone seemed more reasonable, but wouldn't work with crosses.
ECOTONE! Is that some kind of name for some self righteous acoustic CD?
Never heard of:
BARONIAL
TANKA
MARACAIBO
(and of course, ECOTONE)

All in all, a very unsatisfying puzzle, even when I got the answers. But Kudos to those of you who did. Doesn't make me feel good about Brooklyn though.

bigredanalyst 10:56 AM  

Pinky; where is the last Klahn puzzle posted?

bill from fl 10:59 AM  

I got to the same guesses (MARACAIBO/TANKA and BARONIAL/BROM)and lucked out. I also had never heard of PETERMEN, ECOTONE, PEEDEE, BOOTTREES, or ADAMSALE, so I had to guess those from the clues. I felt like I was just barely getting by at every turn, but it was pure fun the whole way.

evil doug 11:01 AM  

imsdave: My result was identical to yours. Bram v. Brom, baranial v. baronial. No idea, but I refuse to succumb to googling, etc.

5:30---entered Starbucks. Actually paid for the Times, presuming today's puzzle would be Saturday-worthy.

6:30---having finished reading said paper, began puzzle.

6:40---finally made an entry that I was sure of: shoetree. That would remain in place until much, much later.

6:45---second entry another sure bet: eighth for pie-piece. See "shoetree" above.

8:00---Dixie is falling in line as I attack from the (great white---unfilled) north. Interesting that (Ft.) Sumter is in blue territory instead of the deep south.

9:00---I'm getting nowhere in Canadian border states. I return home, but I retain my work even as pock-marked with pen-scratchings as it may be.

9:15---ten minute practice nap.

10:00---success, at least minus the unfortunate Bram thing. I've never been more ready to give up. Even tried the staring thing, but for me I prefer the dogged determination of escaping the work for a while and returning refreshed.

So, Megan and Parshutr: Don't google, nor bail, too soon. Take hours, even days if you must. Time is your ally. But once you cheat, or concede, the reward is gone.

Evil
Spent but satisfied

PlantieBea 11:01 AM  

I thought this was incredibly difficult. I got APOSTATE and PECTORAL, APPALL and TAEBO, then was stuck in the "easy" corner. The bottom was a disaster and I resorted to much googling. I had only MAHIMAHI and AMINOR for a while. Perhaps irreparably cracked should have been clued with a question mark? Anyway, INSANE is how I feel after not conquering this beast...

bluestater 11:05 AM  

I agree with Twangster: pointlessly difficult. Really no fun at all. I'll probably get landed on by the puzzle's many defenders, but I think 6D, "Magazine article," ARM, is a mistake. What's in a magazine is bullets (in old magazines, bullets and gunpowder), not arms, i.e. rifles, muskets, etc. And I'm dubious about 18A, "Corrupting influence," MIASMA. Seems to me that it's the corruption that creates the miasma, not the other way round. although there's some support for this answer in MWNID-3. Full disclosure: I got maybe 10 words in an hour or so before just giving up.

steve l 11:18 AM  

@Pinky, yes I had SHOE TREES originally, since that's what they're called, as far as I know, although I haven't seen one in ages. That's Saturday for you, always what you don't expect. And at least today, I'm better than Rex, since I solved it completely and correctly without having any errors. My last letter was the P in PIU and WISE UP TO. Some of these clues seemed a little off--but it was one of those puzzles where you start reeeeeeal slow and with luck, eventually everything falls into place.

JannieB 11:25 AM  

I'm exhausted! My solving experience yesterday was much like Rex's today. Today - well, it's a Klahn. (See "the wrath of Klahn" on the blog's sidebar for his other puzzle)

I should have remembered to be more fickle too. Had "shoetrees" forever, convinced it could be nothing else. Same with "abort" instead of "apart" at 11D. The NE was the last to fall, but I'm proud to say I finished it - it took over an hour - but I wish more Saturdays were like that!

imsdave 11:26 AM  

@bluestater re:magazine

It's one of those words that has a ton of meanings.

from Dictionary.com:

3. a building or place for keeping military stores, as arms, ammunition, or provisions.

1. A receptacle in which anything is stored, especially military stores, as ammunition, arms, provisions, etc.

From Roget's:

ammunition dump, armory, cache, depository, depot, munitions dump, repertory, repository, store, storehouse, warehouse.

And no one is going to land on you today. Really hard puzzles do not appeal to everyone. I love the challenge, and will sometimes keep at them for days on end before ginvg up.

Truth be told, my favorite puzzles are really clever Thursdays.

norm 11:32 AM  

@ bluestater. A magazine can be the thingie that holds bullets and goes in the gun. It can also, as imsdave said, be a place where military supplies in general are kept. Agree with imsdave that ARM feels awkward in the singular (although a "sidearm" or a "firearm" is not) but still legit. Grand puzzle all in all.

edith b 11:44 AM  

After about an hour in, I had everything in the South to the ALINES/BSTAR line and very sketchy above that.

UMPIRE helped me reason out the NE. Using instinct to approach a Klahn usually does not work. I reasoned out SUMTER from the U, my Civil War/South Carolina knowledge finally holding me in good stead. This allowed me to re-interperet Main as something to do with the ocean and entering SEA*** got me the two short downs EMIT APART and broke the whole section up or I was able to WISEUPTO to ***WAR. BOOTTREES, I needed every single cross to get.

I used the stare method on the three long acrosses in the NW. Didn't work. ADAGE let me see the alphabetical river and I finally was able to reinterpret the Deserter clue to get APOSTATE which broke this ones back.

It is funny to me that reasoning out a long answer got me the short entries that allowed me break down a whole section. It is usually the other way around.

With a Klahn, the combination of specific information (like knowing MARACAIBO and ECOTONE) and bringing reason to bear is the only way to victory.

Ulrich 11:44 AM  

Two googles were needed (I'm embarrassed to confess, they were LENO and that dinosaur) and lots of time. Got slowed down b/c I thought the misdirection via "Main" referred to the river Main in central Germany.

On the upside: TANKA was a gimmie b/c I recently bought, at a steep discount, a coffee table book with a famous collection of 100 tankas, each illustrated by one of my favorite graphic artists of all time, Hokusai, he of the "Big Wave" fame. One amazing insight: Some poems are over 1000 years old, but Japanese apparently has changed so little that Hokusai in the 19th century, even Japanese today, can still understand them.

santafefran 11:45 AM  

For some reason the link for comments on Fridays' puzzle is not showing up so I am posting this info today.

Since so many of you were stumped by the EADS entry yesterday, I thought I would give you this url to the Eads Bridge--the iconic image of the city of St.Louis until the Arch was built.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eads_Bridge"

Megan P 11:46 AM  

Evil Doug: you're absolutely right. . . I will know what to expect the next time I see the name KLAHN (is he one of those aliens on the Simpsons? They seem smart). I will confront every puzzle with patience and humility, neither panicking nor resorting to googling.

Klahn (whoever you are): your puzzle has made me a better person.

Ulrich 11:59 AM  

@Canadian Doug: Forgot to answer your bratwurst question--they can be as long as you want them. In the village on the Mosel River where I went to elementary school, you could by bratwurst at the local butcher by the foot (meter actually). For example, I once saw a large frying pan on the stove at a relative's house with a single bratwurst curled up inside, forming a tight spiral that covered the entire pan--it was cut only when put on the plates of hungry men who had returned from a day's work in the vineyards.

foodie 12:12 PM  

For those of you who did not see Phillisolver's new puzzle based on yesterday's discussion, take a look at

http://www.crosswordfiend.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2

It is called New Puzzle.

It's fun, very well done, and all the good food will help soothe your soul.

Also, I loved Andrea's suggestion from last night for "fast stare"! Take a quick glance : )

Orange 12:15 PM  

Bob Klahn tells me he had in mind the magazine/ARM combo that imsdave mentioned—and I had never, ever seen "magazine" used in that way.

I didn't know there was a specific name for greeting card envelopes. I buy #10 and #6 envelopes, which I now feel should be called Clerical and Proletarian to go along with Baronial.

BROM Bones was a total gimme. I wrote a short paper on him freshman year of college. I remember nothing about the character but the spelling of his name.

PINKY 12:19 PM  

@Bigredanalyst
Rex didn't post the actual Klahn puzzle, he just mentioned it (bad choice of words, sorry)

"Many of you will remember Klahn (if you have not suppressed the memory) from the Dec. 29 puzzle of 2007..."

Greene 12:23 PM  

I went down in flames on this one, in spades. I was all pumped up after reading Foodie's encouraging comments from last night too, but to no avail. Staring did little for me today, other than drying out my contact lenses. It's funny how the answers in the Klahn puzzle so accurately describe my solving experience.

MIASMA: my brain while solving, decay everywhere.
PIU: as in "PU" I am stinkin' up the joint with my solving skills.
ALERT: well, not any more.
ZEAL: evaporated (sorry Foodie).
ALLPRO: hah, I wish.
CLING: gave up clinging to hope after the first hour.
MARACAIBO: uh, what?
HACK IT: well, obviously I can't.
INSANE: level of difficulty of this puzzle. Also, apt description of my current mental state.
APPALL: well yeah, that too.
TORE: my hair out? Yes I did (and there's not that much to tear).
WISE UP TO: of course, after I read the blog.
REASSURE: somebody, anybody?
BLITZ: yup, plenty of that going on this morning.
ABOIL: my blood.
ON SALE: all those useless solving aids which helped me not a whit here. Please see E-Bay for a selection of dictionaries, atlases, and other reference books.

Now, off to find a copy of that Reynaldo book. Maybe there's hope yet.

bko 12:55 PM  

"Absentee" for "apostate" set me off so far it took forever to get the NW corner. "Maracaibo" was my first "for sure" answer, so I thought things would go well, but two hours later, the fun was fading from this puzzle.

FMCGMCCLLC 1:06 PM  

I am so depressed, going into today I had finished every puzzle since last Sunday without help. For me a record. I thought "I am getting better". Did not get 10% of the answers without help and with help only got two. You guys that finished are really, really good.

Crosscan 1:13 PM  

Klahn puzzles should come with an advisory label.Warning - attempting this puzzle may make you feel stupid. If this happens, please go directly to Monday.

Lurene 1:15 PM  

Chefbea: think before the fall. Water was what Adam had to drink. Or needed?

Blanche 1:15 PM  

It's a relief to know I'm not the only one to find this puzzle just a tad too challenging. I finally had to give up and get on with my life!

mac 1:18 PM  

I've said it before and I'll say it again: please keep this man away from Brooklyn....
About this fastaring: what exactly are we staring at, the clue or the empty boxes? I need help, much help.

@Pinky: yes, I had shoetrees and ecozone, as well, of course.

There were more words and terms that I had never heard of in this puzzle than any other I have attempted to solve. I also erased more good words than ever: generics, birds, cling. I thought cant needed something meaning intone, water would be "irrigate" and I rejected arm because it looked odd without the s.

What a surprise to have an aria playing while reading the write-up. My husband is always surprised when my laptop "emits" loud sounds, but this one really made him sit up.

Let's talk food. @Ulrich, I sometimes, in the summer, buy spiral sausages (different kinds, chicken as well) from an Italian butcher/deli. I put them on the barbecue, but you can cook them in a pan as well. Little wine to simmer them in after browning? Or ale?

Alex 1:24 PM  

After half an hour I had six words in the puzzle and two partials (I knew TERA would end in an A and I knew RIGEL was a -STAR of some sort).

Two of my words were wrong. I just watched The Good German three days ago but for some reason my brain thinks Tobey Maguire is Elijah Wood. So the only cast member who fit was George Clooney. With him in place in combination with HANDLE instead of HACK IT, the SW was toast.

Another 15 minutes and not a single new addition so I gave up. Didn't even bother googling. Been a long time since a puzzle made me feel so unworthy (I don't always finish but I do always get close).

PlantieBea 1:28 PM  

@Mac: I, too, tried and CLUNG to IRRIGATE for water. Regarding sausages, they can also be simmered in a wine or ale with onions and garlic,and then browned on the grill or stove. White wine for chicken sausage, beer for brats. Yum. Food talk is better than puzzle speak today.

ArtLvr 1:55 PM  

Spent far too long on this, having cracked the NE first and thus thinking "I CAN do the rest". Well, I CAN'T quite, was the result after all...

I was sure the Studs were going to be horse dads, but it took a while to get from Stablings to the obvious STALLIONS... Then, since BIRDS was in the SE, the Eagle (e.g.) in the SW had to be COIN. Etc. The same did not hold for the NW, my downfall, as there was ARM echoing the ARMENIAN in the NE, while I stuck to my Gun. New Home for ELNORTE seemed to confirm the H in Shoetrees, and so on.

Gads, I had the STEGOSAUR with LENO, but never had heard of PEEDEE, and completely forgot TAE BO. So -- I didn't google, but I did cheat by peeking at the top line of Rex's solution, and with APOSTATE I could finally WISEUPTO the rest...

LETSBE serious -- one reason the Klahn fill is difficult is that he uses very few of those partials like WISE UP TO or LET'S BE or ON SALE. Whew!

∑;(

Orange 2:00 PM  

A few years back, Byron Walden had his first ACPT puzzle, the finals themeless crossword. The next year he was back with a really wicked puzzle #5. Last year, Klahn had the finals puzzle. I, for one, would love it if his return engagement were a wicked #5 next month.

Hey! Who threw that at me?

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

I want to make sure I understand something regarding Brooklyn - I am assuming you will only see a Klahn puzzle in the finals (i.e., if you are one of nine people who are on top of your game).

Please confirm before I make my reservations.

Thank you.

JimG

p.s.: Also, please confirm that there are no other Klahn-wannabes setting puzzles for ACPT.

PhillySolver 2:35 PM  

@ foodie....thank you for your kind words
@Anon aka JimG
No guarantees, but since Bob goes to the ACPT, you can at least tell him what you think. Really, Puzzle Five is the most difficult one (Saturday level) but you do get a variety of levels. The fun thing about the Final Puzzle (Top 3 solve in three divisions) is you get a copy with three levels of clues. I was able to finish the Klahn with the Level C clues. Only one person (perhaps in the entire Universe) solved it with the A level clues in the allotted time.
I guest-blogged for Ryan and Brian Solve the NYT, so my thoughts on the puzzle are there.

andrea carla michaels 2:47 PM  

@Rex
You...complete me.
After One hour ALL I had was TANKA
and BRA :(

Could not stand to be left out of the discussion, so this morning I googled:
STEGOSAUR
BROM
PERSIA
MAGUIRE
PIU
TUNS

and I still only got the bottom half of the puzzle!

Only moments of joy:
Getting ALIBABA from the L and ALABAMAN from AL.

I ...am...not...AL-ERT.

@Foodie
thanks for the shout out for FASTARE.
(I think I'll stick to naming)

Making my reservations for the ACPT tonight. Will is letting me be an "unofficial official"
which I think means heckling the blogging panel from the back of the room, collecting papers and applying CPR after Puzzle 5.

fikink 2:48 PM  

Superb cluing. I could not solve it directly and all my first attempts were missteps:
EDGEROW, because that is what I mow;
eke out, instead of HACK IT;
Basie instead of HORNE;
shoetree instead of BOOTTREE
and on it went until I admitted defeat.
Not the most auspicious start to the day for me but I loved the challenge.
KLAHHHHHHHHHN...indeed!
Congrats, imsdave!

Shamik 2:50 PM  

Ok. Finished with one wrong letter figuring something furious could be AROIL and any -STAR could be any letter. I was feeling very done in by this puzzle until reading Rex and all the comments. Now I feel very very good.

After about 17 minutes, only had 6 words filled in. But finished in slightly under 45 minutes without googles (except for aforementioned AROIL/RSTAR). Feeling, smug, smug, smug.

Alas, won't be able to travel to Brooklyn. But wish you all to have smooth sailing until the finals. I'd expect a KLAHHHHHHHHN moment.

In this puzzle: ALINES, GENERICS, BRA and HEIR were put in and removed several times.

Early gimmes that were correct: PEEDEE, LENO, UMPIRE, and EMIT.

Mis-steps:
SHOETREES for BOOTTREES
ATTICA for PATRIA
TOPDOG for ALLPRO
BIAS for LEAN
BRAM for BROM
SPURN and SPLIT for APART
EUCHRE for ECARTE
BLAST for BLITZ
HAIKU for TANKA (only syllabic poetry I knew)

This was a real slogger and I'm proud of my almost-finish!

chefbea 2:50 PM  

@lurene thanks for the water clarification.

@plantiebea I agree - food is a much better choice today - lets talk beets or better still do Phillysolver's puzzle - now that was fun!!

jae 2:55 PM  

This is what I get for saying I think I'm getting better at this yesterday. I finished all but SW last night and had to let it marinate until this morning. Klahn's name at the top must have drained some of that positive attitude I mentioned yesterday because this morning MAGUIRE, GENERICS, and MAHIMAHI looked a lot more obvious than they did last night. Major missteps (there were lots of MINOR ones) were EIGHTH, HEADUP, and UPNORTH which caused me to re-right ALINE. No googles but lots of patience ala Evil Doug.

jae 2:56 PM  

Add ECOZONE to my misstep list.

edith b 3:28 PM  

I had maybe three hours actual solving time but left out the fact that this was an overnighter.

Until I found this blog- and downloaded Across Lite - I did all puzzles on paper and used no computer assistance ( didn't have one)

My husbands birthday gift to me was a laptop (Dell Latitude C600)and we are inseperable. I was forced to take Evil Doug's advise and never give up (cf. Jimmy V)

I find myself tempted these days when I find myself bollixed to go to the blogs but I don't. (Well, maybe once or twice in the early days.) But not anymore.

I do not Google to find answers. This is a personal decision and I don't think people should feel bad about doing it if they so choose.

I plan to go to the ACPT when my husband gets better - maybe next year - so I want to be able to compete with the big boys and girls on equal footing.

When I write about the puzzles I solve I tend to leave out the missteps and the sheer number of "puts in and takes out and puts back in" - computerese for erasures.

eb

bill from fl 3:41 PM  

One quibble: an INSANE person is cracked, in a way, but not always irreparably so. In legal usage, a defendant may be temporarily insane, and may even have sanity restored by medication in order to stand trial.

joe 3:45 PM  

Do BOOTTREES actually stretch?

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Arggh! This one kicked my butt.
Even tho I had boottrees which I hadn't heard of (only shoetrees)
& some others it was painful.

Rex: I'm in the industry and need
to order envelopes alot. Baronial
style have pointed flap and then there is Announcement style (A-2 thru A-10) depending on what size
piece we are designing. Stock houses carry them. Plus other
nomenclature for more corporate needs.
Rhea

Parshutr 3:52 PM  

@evil...I know my limits, and my ambitions, thankyouverymuch.
And I wound up learning...very little, except that Klahn's cluing is idiosyncratic at best, and idiotic at worst.
It's clear and still here in Ann Arbor, clear up to our knees and still snowing.

steve l 4:02 PM  

@joe--They don't stretch. They stretch the boot.

steve l 4:02 PM  

@joe--They don't stretch. They stretch the boot.

Noam D. Elkies 4:19 PM  

Presumably the idea is that the key of 57A:AMINOR is the relative minor of C major. Not sure it makes sense even for a Saturday, though.

Both keys are used in that aria from Serse (a.k.a. Xerxes -- thanks for the link, reX!), though the main key is F major.

NDE

Two Ponies 4:28 PM  

After such a fun week of puzzles this is my reward?...or punishment. I went down in flames feeling brain dead.
The clues were not on my wave-length and some of the answers brutal in their obscurity.
I think I'll go eat some humble pie.

joho 4:49 PM  

King Klahn. He's a great big, hairy gorilla of a constructor.

Fast stare, slow stare, no stare ... I got nowhere.

@Foodie: I tried your approach to no avail.

I did finish but with so many cheats ala Google, I don't claim any kind of victory over this beast.

Oh, speaking of beast, there's this King Klahn.

@rex: this is no where (where I've already been today) near medium.

santafefran 5:07 PM  

Ecotone--sounds like it might be the name of a new chain of "green" workout gyms where all that energy you expend at the gym helps generate a green form of fuel.

Cranky Copy Editor 5:22 PM  

Rex: Have you ever not finished an NYT puzzle? If so, what got you stuck?

chefwen 5:35 PM  

Printed out the puzzle and stared at it for about 15 minutes, set it aside and went back to drivel on T.V., picked it up again this morning and stared at it some more.
Just got done filling in Clooney and Chinooks for the fish. Liquid papered both of those when my polydactyl cat named Paddington aka Big Foot jumped up onto desk and deposited "red dirt" kitty prints over entire puzzle, calendar, and said desk, rendering the puzzle unworkable. I didn't think that this one was worthy of another piece of paper cuz it wasn't going to get done anyway.
AARGH!
I agree with imsdave a clever Thursday is a lot more fun.

Who's going to in the bar taking bets at ACPT?

I want a Brat for dinner.

PuzzleGirl 5:49 PM  

After my first run-through I had A-LINES, _ STAR, TAE BO, _ _ _ SET, and BRA. Oh and I had namesake for [Hank Williams or Nat King Cole] which, you have to admit, is a pretty good answer despite the fact that it's, ya know, wrong.

Finished the top half in about an hour with help from PuzzleHusband. (!!!) He knew PECTORAL (he and PuzzleSon swam with the dolphins last month) and BOOT TREES. (I had the BOO already or I'm sure he would have said shoe trees. Of course he grumbled about that one even though he got it right: "They don't actually stretch the shoe, they just force the shoe to keep its shape." He's kind of a shoe guy.)

Oh, and with _ _ _ GO _ _ _ _ in place for [Literally, "roof lizard"] I was so so disappointed that Blagojevich didn't fit.

Anne 5:50 PM  

Last night I was reading Heartburn by Nora Ephron (one of her old ones) and came upon this sentence, "It's a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles." Clearly she was not referring to Saturday puzzles because there is no certainty there, that's for sure.

Michael 6:05 PM  

I started out slowly and thought "even for a Saturday, this seems hard." Then I saw the dread (but respected by me) name "Klahn" and remembered the infernal one a while back. I decided to go on for another 20 minutes and then put it away for later. But after twenty minutes I had made substantial progress and thought with a little more energy I might be able to finish. I then had some soup and crackers, and finished the puzzle while eating. Entirely right -- amazing.

There is something very satisfying about a getting a hard one right reasonably quickly (for me, not for Orange!). I think I should enjoy this, because I am sure that I will be humbled by a future late-week Klahn or BEQ.

obertb 6:46 PM  

Nobody is screaming "Naticks!" about this puzzle? MARACAIBO? Come on. I even resorted to googling and couldn't find that. And BARONIAL envelopes? News to me.

But I liked the puzzle; I love a challenge and for me this was a very challenging puzzle. It didn't help that I was busy today and had to interrupt my solving several times. And it certainly didn't help that I entered PATRIA as PATIRA and almost gave up on that whole area because I just couldn't see that mistake. STALLIONS and BIRDS threw me because I wanted something much more obscure. Wanted SHOETREES instead of BOOTREES, of course. Couldn't see ADAMSALE for the longest time because I wanted ADD-something for [Water 63A]. Didn't know PETERMAN, either, but finally found it in Roget's. And dithered away a huge amount of time thinking that [C relative 57A] was asking for a computer language.

Whew, what an effort.

mac 7:00 PM  

Just met one of my brand new friends in the LA Times puzzle again! I think a slightly different meaning. Also, yet another Jag version..... I'll never remember those.

Food! Dutch pea soup this evening.

Michael 7:23 PM  

I am always intrigued by what pieces of specialized (some might say obscure) knowledge turn out to be helpful in doing puzzles. The very first word I filled in was "Maracaibo" which I knew because I've spent some time in South America. But I sure can see why this would be unknown to the great majority of solvers....

Sancho 7:25 PM  

Great puzzle, great blog, superb commentary above.

Got messed up on T-NKA and MAR-CAIBO, like somebody else, I guess. The rest was just the sort of predicament I like to find myself in once in a while.

Were that all of life's challenges were resolved in like fashion!

Retired_Chemist 7:28 PM  

Probably the toughest (to me) puzzle I ever have faced. And I was so looking forward to a smooth victory after acing the Friday in a very good (for me) time. HAD to google. I am abashed....

fikink 7:41 PM  

@retired chemist - "abashed"

A lovely use of the word. Me, too!

elitza 7:48 PM  

So, this is sort of a weird question BUT--I just got a brand spanking new laptop, and the NYT crossword page seems to crash Firefox when I open it up. Therefore, I can't exactly get to new puzzles, which gives me sadface in extremis.

any thoughts from hidden tech-gurus?

jeff in chicago 8:00 PM  

I was still riding my Friday success high when I opened this puzzle. Well...that didn't last long. I apparently live in a different universe than Mr. Klahn. Sheesh! At least the other comments reassured me I was not alone.

JoefromMtVernon 9:00 PM  

Over 60 minutes yesterday and beyond 70 today. Googled half of today's puzzle. Should have known ecotone but it never came. Heck, half of the puzzle never came. Considered Brooklyn, but, after the last 2 days, let me crawl under a rock....

Joe

fergus 9:12 PM  

I finished the puzzle with CLUBAMAN and TINKA as a form of verse, and felt none the worse when I came here to see these entries were a bit off. OK, ALABAMAN would have been better, but I kinda like the idea of a clubbah man for those guys.

Got everything else on a long trek through a beautiful summer afternoon, strolling about ten miles along the northern stretch of Monterey Bay, stopping every so often to fill in half a dozen spaces. This way, I surmised, was the best way to deal with a puzzle that gave me absolutely nothing in the first, second and maybe third pass through the Clues. I didn't even feel confident about dropping in an S in the expected places. Crummy B STAR and A-LINES got me started, then UMPIRE.

I really liked the challenge and the craftiness that I found today, but wasn't swept off my feet by the artistry.

kathy d. 9:51 PM  

Impossible puzzle. Kept trying, googled, still couldn't finish it all.

But enjoy the blog, reading to an aria, the hilarious comments.

And knowing that I'm not alone in finding this one very difficult.

Friday's I loved; this was way beyond the ballpark though.

Finally caved and read "the solution" as posted by Rex and everyone's comments.

Kathy D.

Rex Parker 9:53 PM  

All this boo-hoo talk of not going to Brooklyn because you might get a hard puzzle is ridiculous. You should go *expecting* to tank a puzzle or two. It's just part of the experience. There was a puzzle last year that most of the participants did not finish within the allotted time. Hell, I made it with only one minute to spare. Even when you crash and burn, you learn a lot and you have a ball, so suck it up and go to the damned tournament. It's for your own good.

rp

mac 10:11 PM  

@rex: yes, Rex, we signed up, Rex, but you have to understand that an experience like this has us shaking in our snowboots.
I have an other reason to go: I want to meet all these people I've been e-talking to, all these e-friends and e-acquaintances, and then the e-constructors!
That's it, I'm going, and I may fail and feel like an idiot, but I know, from visiting on the last day last year, that these are nice people, and I will have a lot of fun and I will also learn a lot.

Ulrich 10:53 PM  

I have been preaching this to everybody who expressed apprehension: Us mere mortals do not go to Brooklyn to compete with the likes of Tyler Hinman or Trip Paine (or Rex, for that matter).

I went last year for the first time, after doing only the Sunday puzzle for years, and all I can say is that I didn't finish last--big @#$%^ deal! You go to have fun, and yes, get an idea where your abilities stand in the larger scheme of things, but that should be more a point of curiosity than the sole reason for your being there. Knowing that you are not in competition for the playoffs should help you relax, not make you more nervous. And if Klahn contributes a puzzle again, my only hope is that he doesn't commit such an outrageous blooper in a clue as he did in the final version of the playoff puzzle--aside form that, I'm game!

fergus 11:14 PM  

I may have just made an appointment to hang out in Williamsburg and a perennially cool west Village spot around about the time of the tournament. How much would I love to be in New York at that time? The answer goes without saying.

Though the incisively literate preying insect may not have commented much recently, I recall a potential sponsorship for her participation among the Yankees?

fergus 11:19 PM  

... and did anyone else enter MACKEREL before MAHI MAHI?

My Piece of pie was RADIAL, so not, but Sunbeams were. Ca, c'est un malapop, non?

Jane Doh 11:32 PM  

This felt like homework for a required course. It had to be done -- due to some yet-to-be-understood internal directive -- yet it was not particularly enjoyable. Gratuitously difficult clues -- meant perhaps to disguise some less-than-scintillating fill such as ARMENIAN, REASSURE, ALABAMAN, NEPALI, OCTANT, ECARTE. I didn't know this TANKA, but did know the Tibetan religious painting meaning, so knew it was a legit word and had to assume another definition. Didn't know PETERMEN either, but now I do.

--JD

Retired_Chemist 12:49 AM  

@ Elitza - is your Firefox on a Mac? Safari is fine, although the NYT Puzzle Page crashes my Sea Monkey.

andrea carla michaels 2:35 AM  

@fergus
Yes! you malapop-ped! :)

I can't completely understand your posts from time to time, but are you implying you will pay for Green Mantis to go to the ACPT? If yes, will you pay for her to have a chaperone?!

I learned TANKA years ago by challenging it in a game of Scrabble and having the woman who played the word tut tut me for not knowing it and going into a long explanation of what it is! Never forgot.

That said, that lead me to TACKLE instead of HACK IT.

And the other stuff I plain didn't know. But I have to be a substitute host on a trivia radio show tomorrow night (Minds Over Matter on KALW.org...if anyone wants to podcast it) and now I'll maybe ask what the different dinosaur names mean! Call in, you'll have an advantage!)

@mac
you're the best!

liquid el lay 10:10 AM  

I attempted the puzzle and simply thought I was having an off day.

I had a small thread in the NW I was quite sure of- pectoral to oneset..

Had solid ground on the occasional island here and there..

but was unable to get to a critical mass of correctness.

Had I known this was a universally difficult piece I might have slogged on taking pleasure in any progress at all.. but the boxes were getting messy with false starts- either you make a puzzle easier by knocking out sections of correctness, or you obscure the solution by writing in wrong words, wrong letters... cluttering the possibility of a graceful coup into the unprettiness of a messy, dirty seige.

I gave up the ghost. But had I known it was such a special puzzle, I would have held on to it a while and given myself a week of short fresh new looks to see how far I could get with it.

That's the way I started with the NYT puzzle, by the way. The Thursday is reprinted in my local weekly... you have a polite week to poke at it.... then to your astonishment you're able to actualy complete it... but, soon, perhaps too quickly..... you're able to do it in a sitting..

so you start buying the Times for the puzzle- yeah, we get it out here on the west coast too...

but you miss holding on to a one puzzle for a week, and having a week until you see the next one..

somehow those were the most satisfying solvings for me- i like how you see things so quickly with a fresh look. so I regret looking up the solution too soon on this one! It, too, might have been a week long romance!

bobstillman 10:12 AM  

Man is it gratifying to see that other people went through the same grief I did. I finally, finally finished the grid, though I was SO sure the Maracaibo was spelled "Maricaibo" that I just assumed there was a five-line poem called a TINKA. Oh well.

bobstillman 10:12 AM  

Man is it gratifying to see that other people went through the same grief I did. I finally, finally finished the grid, though I was SO sure the Maracaibo was spelled "Maricaibo" that I just assumed there was a five-line poem called a TINKA. Oh well.

Doc John 2:30 PM  

I know that probably nobody is going to read this but I just had to say it- I got the whole thing right! Took me forever but I did it. A lot of inferrin' goin' on, that's for sure. LOTS of words I'd never seen and others used in unusual ways.
MARACAIBO was this puzzle's GOLCONDA for me, with 2 Natick-y crosses. Somehow "Mara" sounded better than "Maro" so I went with TANKA instead of the more familiar Tonka. Just a total guess on the A in ECARTE although looking back I guess that A was really the best vowel choice.

Doc John 4:40 PM  

Oops just looked again and I had Maricaibo/tinka. :(

Nebraska Doug 10:52 PM  

Just when you think you're getting somewhere along comes a puzzle like this one and puts you back in your place. I was proud of finishing the Friday puzzle in a reasonable amount of time, it pushed me to my xword limits. A very satisfying puzzle to finish. But then this puzzle killed me. I got the NE corner and virtually nothing else. OUCH!

Bob Kerfuffle 2:49 PM  

Today is Wednesday, January 14. I doubt that anyone will read this. (If you do, post an acknowledgment!) But am I the only one who thought 38D, Bit of a bluff, was BRAG instead of CRAG? (sure, that gave me EBOTONE instead of ECOTONE, but since I didn't have time to Google, who knew?)

PlantieBea 3:08 PM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle: I'm sure many others, like myself, receive and read your comments. They come automatically to your e-mailbox if you check the receive replies box when you make a post. Sometimes it feels like a blast to the past when the comment comes buried in the middle of those from the current day's puzzle, but I read them all w/o paying attention to the puzzle date.

Crosscan 3:37 PM  

@Bob - what PlantieBea said. Also remember that many people do the puzzle 5 weeks later in syndication, and they will be reading as well.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:04 AM  

@ PlantieBea and Crosscan - Thank you for your helpful replies to my very late post yesterday. I had no idea what that "Email follow-up comments box" meant. I guess I was a little shy because I am relatively new to this stuff, and I had always heard that you should hold your email address close to the vest! Thanks again.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

its 11:50 am here. If the puzzle is available to you at 9:00 pm the night before today how come there are so many comments timed from 12:01pm to 3:pm as I read this? Somebody please explain

boardbtr 3:50 PM  

From syndication land -- a pointlessly impossible puzzle. Managed to get most of it using a variety of reference tools, but no real satisfaction. Although it wasn't a make or break glitch, our paper had the clue for 27A as "computer prefix meaning 240". I might have felt better about getting TERA from the crosses if the 40 had been printed as an exponent.

Old Al 6:32 PM  

Apparently when the Times sends out the puzzle, they don't sent the exact definitions. I've run into some in which a clue refers to 'clues in italics' and there were none in italics.

Today was another example. In the San Diego Union-Tribune, the clue for 27A reads, "Computer prefix meaning 240." Had me a little confused for a while.

DocRuth 9:54 PM  

5 wks later: our paper had the "240" in the clue also--was glad to see it was a typo. I had odd "gimmes" today: the first was the Armenian thing. I went on a trip to the Soviet Union in 1980 that included a stop in Yerevan (capital of Armenia) and clearly remember the nice tour guide stating this fact about Armenia and Christianity. So that was my first entry. I've also been to Venezuela (1977)and my friends drove me all around: almost, but not quite, to Lake Maracaibo. Haven't really been to that many places all in all, but today was my day I guess.

Joaneee 1:09 PM  

A little more than 5 wks later - my paper had "240" also - and they never publish the puzzle's author except on Sunday. WOuld have felt better about my feeble efforts had I know this was Klahn!

sarah 1:54 PM  

I was humiliated, schooled, shamed and flummoxed by this thing.

And yes- the 240 thing was misleading as all get out.

KLAAAAAHN!

wilsoncpu 7:10 AM  

One more from syndication land... that "240" stumped me for a bit, and I felt quite smug when I realized it had to be 2^40 writ wrong. Then I had to count out 2^10 = 1024, etc, to get to TERA. And I also had BRAM (like Stoker) and SHOETREE at first, but eventually the puzzle fell - but it took over an hour. One more I had wrong initially: --E-OSAUR I thought was PTEROSAUR (the flying one). Foo. But at least I got it all right in the end, and no Googles. TANKA-you, Mr. Klahn.

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