THURSDAY, Jan. 29, 2009 - Barry Silk (Influential Greek physician / Products once pitched by U2 and Eminem)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "BAR" (66A: Word defined by 17-, 25-, 35-, 45- and 58-Across) - all theme answers are possible definitions of "BAR"

Word of the Day: ØRE - 1/100 of a Norwegian or Danish KRONE (or a Swedish KRONA or an Icelandic KRÓNA)

Reverse-cluing puzzles are not my favorite. Tend to produce theme answers that are clunky, unsnappy definitions rather than crisp, cool phrases. This puzzle has high theme density, and it's pitched to perfect Thursday-level difficulty, but solving it felt more like work than joy. I was surprised at how long (relatively speaking) it took me to pick up the theme. This may be because I had an error that resulted in a remarkably plausible grid - when I wrote in LEGAL PROCESSION, I remember thinking, briefly, "huh, I didn't think Beethoven's 6th was IN C" (8D: Like Beethoven's Sixth Symphony). Why LEGAL PROCESSION seemed unimpeachable, I don't know. I thought "PROCESSION" might be another word for a trial ... and then when BAR showed up as the theme, I thought maybe "PROCESSION" was formal legal language I didn't understand. You take the BAR exam ... maybe that's like PROCEEDING through a door to your new career? Whatever. Error. It's LEGAL PROFESSION, and Beethoven's 6th is IN F.



Theme answers:

  • 17A: See 66-Across (legal profession) - part of the dryness of the puzzle involved the cluing, with its workmanlike "See 66-Across" clues; nothing to be done about it, I guess, but it drains life from the puzzle
  • 25A: See 66-Across (banish by decree) - by far the hardest one for me to turn up, mainly because I had BANISH--DECREE and could Not fill those last letters in: BANISHER DECREE? That little section, where the Greek food meets the krone fraction, was the toughest one for me to unlock.
  • 45A: See 66-Across (taproom)
  • 45A: See 66-Across (unit of pressure)
  • 58A: See 66-Across (musical notation)

As I say, rounding that corner from the NE into the middle of the puzzle was a bumpy endeavor. I guessed GIZA alright (23A: City on the Nile), then threw down IDEO (24D: Logical introduction?) but couldn't get anything west of that. Wanted GOAT where GYRO was supposed to go (23D: Greek restaurant offering); couldn't think of a hole-making tool that wasn't an AWL - BORER is so literal that I missed it (27D: Hole-making tool). Then there's 32A: 1/100 of a krone (øre). I enjoy the insanity of this clue, but, look, the word is ORE. You can pretend you have a fancy Norwegian currency up there, but we all know it's the same old ORE that the crossword has been taking out of the ground for years. Further, by making it ØRE, you violate Ulrich's Law, which says diacritical marks on letters must work in the Across and the Down. OK, so it's not a real Law and the Crossword has never observed it. Still, I think it should be observed if possible, and deliberate violations should be frowned at.

Further, should one puzzle be doing so much shilling for Apple? iMean, iLove my iPODS as much as the next guy (43A: Products once pitched by U2 and Eminem), and iIntend to get an iPHONE soon (15A: Time magazine's 2007 Invention of the Year). But two Apple pitches seems a lot. And when you throw in all these other products I've never even heard of ... I mean, the iMAX (51D: Big film shower), the iCAME (51A: Start of Caesar's boast), the iPASS (21A: Bridge declaration), and the mysteriously named iOLA (1D: Seat of Allen County, Kan.), that's product placement overkill. P.S. iPASS sounds very real. I expect Apple to be competing with EZ-PASS sometime in the near future.


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Bullets:

  • 4A: Best in mental combat (outwit) - "best" as verb. I like.
  • 16A: Jacques Cousteau's middle name (Yves) - one of many largely successful attempt to Thursday-up this puzzle. There are more obvious ways to get to YVES.
  • 31A: Influential Greek physician (Galen) - they left out "ancient." Would that have helped?
  • 39A: Ringo's drummer son (Zak) - the only crossworthy ZAK there is, which means there's really only one way to clue him, which makes him less than ideal as fill. He does get you cool, Scrabbly letters, though.
  • 50A: Riga resident (Lett) - RIGA remains my favorite European capital (fill-wise). But I routinely hesitate at LETT, as it just sounds wrong. I always want the "A" (from LATVIA, where most LETTS live).
  • 64A: TV heroine who wielded a chakram as a weapon (Xena) - "TV heroine" in four letters - you can start writing in XENA immediately. (MAUDE is five letters, right?)
  • 10D: News Corporation acquisition of 2005 (MySpace) - a gimme. Didn't even look to see how many squares were involved. Just knew it. I thank David Quarfoot for using nearly this exact clue in one of his puzzles in the not-terribly-distant past.
  • 37D: The Swiss Guards guard him (Pope) - news to me. Aren't the Italian Guards jealous?
  • 38D: Cold northerly winds of southern France (mistrals) - great word. Also the title of a great hard-boiled short story by Raoul Whitfield, collected in the fantastic anthology Hard-Boiled (ed. Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian)
  • 48D: George who directed "Miracle on 34th Street" (Seaton) - when CAPRA wouldn't fit, I was at a loss. Needed every cross.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Byron Walden tells me there's a shout-out to me in this week's "The Onion" crossword puzzle. See if you can find it. Get it here (to solve in AcrossLite) or here (to solve directly on the Onion website).

85 comments:

evil doug 8:17 AM  

Elmore Leonard is head and shoulders above other crime novelists: Believable and subtle dialog, understated sense of irony, action that works without exclamation points. Even his old westerns---a genre I could do without---are worth the price of admission.

Evil

JannieB 8:32 AM  

When I saw all the cross references to 66A, I decided to just start there and work backwards. Made for a very good Thursday time and I avoided a lot of the traps Rex mentioned. For some reason, the NW corner was the last to fall, mainly because my German phonetics are sorely lacking and I couldn't figure out how to spell "zwei". I'd started with "ite", then "ism", then wanted "ist", etc.

I prefer this sort of theme to the the add/drop a letter stuff. You have to work much harder for it!

Megan P 8:34 AM  

I think i-Pass should be an on-line term-paper-writing service.

I liked this puzzle! My demographic, I guess. . . even silly "eeks" made me smile - imagining an Eek-a-mouse posting on your blog.

But as one who doesn't always pick up on a theme, I totally missed you in the Onion puzzle! Must go back. . .

PuzzleGirl 8:44 AM  

I had the same sort of problem as Rex with one of the theme answers. I entered MUSIC ANNOTATION instead of MUSICAL NOTATION, which took a while to sort out. I also had UNIT OF PLEASURE (!!), which stayed in because I've been doing the puzzles late at night and I'm so tired when I finish that I just don't feel like taking another minute to make sure everything is, ya know, right. Gotta stop doing that.

Barry 8:47 AM  

@PuzzleGirl - Perhaps a Hershey BAR could be considered a UNIT OF PLEASURE!

Barry Silk

nanpilla 8:57 AM  

We also have MACS at 10a, another Apple reference.

M Leddy 8:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Leddy 9:01 AM  

I first had MUSICALLOCATION for 58A -- which I just now realize reads as both "musical location" and "musical allocation."

I'm not sure that a bar is really an example of musical notation -- a bar line is, yes, but a bar? Quibble, quibble.

chefbea 9:08 AM  

A good thursday puzlzle.

I'm early today. Gotta get all those dips WITH chips ready for sunday. I know everyone is waiting with baited breath to hear about the brownies

Anne 9:08 AM  

Re the RR article from yesterday, I can see a writer approaching this subject as satire or as a serious subject but the article was too vicious to be funny and too snarky to be thoughtful.

As for the puzzle, for me it was on the essy side for Thursday but I agree it seemed more like work than play. I learned about mistrals while visiting Mont Blanc in France where they are taken quite seriously and tourists are warned about them. And Elmore and Emimem are both from my area and I don't understand the success of either (sorry Evil Doug).

And because of RR, let me say again how much I like this blog and all that I learn from the comments and all the work that Rex does. I look forward to this time in my day.

mac 9:29 AM  

I had fun doing this puzzle, maybe because I wasn't in any hurry this morning, pilates teacher cancelled!

I also noticed all the i-answers. Funny write-up, Rex! I concentrated on the theme-clue for a change, and got "bar" very quickly, which made the rest of the puzzle somewhat easier. I created some trouble for myself by confidently putting in "base coat" for 4D, and for 31d is was considering "sage" and "Alec", but the Unit of pressure saved the day. Funny about the Zaks, all other ones I know spell their name differently.

@nanpilla: Mac as a reference to Apple? Don't think so.

@PuzzleGirl: unit of pleasure? LOL. Aaaah.

Michael Leddy 9:34 AM  

Oops -- MUSICAL LOCATION, MUSIC ALLOCATION.

Orange 9:37 AM  

Well, there are "legal proceedings," aren't there? Weird that "proceedings" and "procession" aren't interchangeable despite their common root.

There's an I-Pass in my car. It lets me whiz through toll collection points in Illinois and pay half the amount charged to the saps who stop their car to throw coins (a lot of them) in the toll basket.

Sandy 9:38 AM  

@puzzle girl
Hey, I seriously thought about unit of pleasure, but I never got to the stage of writing it in.-

I don't have much else to say about my solving experience since I'm still at the stage where I'm just happy to finish a Thursday.

Jon 9:42 AM  

Liked this puzzle but stubbornly entered SAATON at 48D, having had a Latvian best friend growing up, spending hours/days with his Latvian family, even going to a Latvian youth convention for crissakes, and never once having heard the word LETT. Grrrrrrrrrrr.......

Great puzzle tho, I thought. The Sacramento area of the puzzle took me forever; GALEN I didn't know, GURU I wasn't seeing, and I refused to let go of PUNISHBYDEGREE. All sorts of trouble until GURU revealed itself, leading URI, and then the dominos fell.

treedweller 9:49 AM  

I wasn't really planning to post a comment today, but @Anne has prompted me to stick up for my man Elmore (couldn't care less about Eminem, though I was surprised to enjoy "8 Mile"). I know Rex and others here really like Westlake, and I'm grateful for the recommendation, but Leonard has him beat, IMO.

ObPuzzle: Like JannieB, I stuck ITE on social; I never figured it out till I submitted the error. I didn't think tWEI sounded right for two, but I know nothing about German. Well, almost nothing. I've learned a few words from crosswords--eis, eine (probably also zwei and drei, but I couldn't think of it last night), guten tag, danke, all the important stuff.

Despite the mistake, I found this one pretty enjoyable. I agree this type of theme leads to random-sounding phrases, and usually I insist my puzzle answers are very much in the language; I guess I just like these "how many ways can you define one word" exercises.

Crosscan 9:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crosscan 9:57 AM  

I'm an ITE.

Apple is also coming out with the complement to the Wheel called the ICar. Instead of a steering wheel, you use a keyboard to navigate. You can make precise movements by typing in commands such as "TURN LEFT SHARPLY TO AVOID PEDESTRIAN FOUR FEET IN FRONT OF CAR".

ICrosscan

Ulrich 10:07 AM  

I happened to start from the bottom, and then the theme was fun, with each of the theme answers higher up a welcome challenge. I, too, fell into the MUSICAL ANNOTATION/LEGAL PROCESSsomething traps along the way, but hey--it's a Thursday! To conclude: I enjoyed it.

Just bought the collected Western stories of Leonard and am slowly going through when sitting in a certain location--certainly adds to the fun. I truly admire the knack of American writers for dialogue, starting with my (and Rex's) hero, Raymond Chandler--and Leonard is right up there.

joho 10:28 AM  

Because I got LEGALPROFESSION first I wanted LAW for 66A. I did get BAR from LIMB and then had a malapop at 60D with LAW.

I plodded through this puzzle and was very happy to finish at which point I wish I could have enjoyed a Hershey BAR, Barry! I like your puzzles because they are challenging but fair. I know if I keep at them I'll be able to complete them.

My final fill-ins were BORER and TAPROOM, this section being the hardest part of the puzzle for me.

And, as always, I thank Rex "SIC 'EM BOY" Parker for his right-on write up.

des 10:41 AM  

Because I also started at the bottom, after getting BAR, and then LAW (60D), I was surprised with 17A LEGAL PROFESSION being the same definition as 60D (as opposed to UNIT OF PRESSURE, etc.).

Isn't there some kind of LAW in crossword puzzles about this?

miguel 10:42 AM  

@evil
of all the ways to measure airspped, which is recorded in a black box?
"I came, I pass, I phone" Gen x Caesar
Giza, Gaza, Goza? I thought the i word wouldn't be right since Huxley wrote it was i-less.

evil doug 11:34 AM  

Miguel,

I have no knowledge on the various parameters indicated in the flight data recorder, but if I were to guess I'd suspect at least indicated airspeed (as seen on cockpit gauges and adhered to by the pilot) and true airspeed (as a point of comparison to make sure the indicated airspeed is correct) would be registered. Any kind of blockage of pitot-static system ports (ice, paint, tape, grease) could render false indications.

Just a guess from a ground-pounding former pilot....

Doug

Eric 11:35 AM  

Sic em Rex

Elaine 11:41 AM  

Response to Michael Leddy on "Musical Notation"/BAR -- it's not a quibble! All the other theme answers are definitions of "BAR", but "Musical Notation" is not; BAR is something that's part of musical notation.

Otherwise -- fun puzzle.

dk 11:49 AM  

@chefbea, if your guests/friends have baited breath they may have worms in their mouths (maws). Now if they have abated breath that is another story.

Wanted isobars or some other weather related ans. for UNITOFPRESSURE and I spelled LETT latt, otherwise fine time this AM on this puzzle.

And I confess that although ZENA is no EMMAPEEL I have had thoughts... BARed thoughts, dare I say BANISHed thoughts.

Cheryl 12:00 PM  

For 17A, I had REGAL PROCESSION. I didn't really understand it (go figure) but as I didn't know the town at 1D and C was as plausible as F, and LAW was in there at 60D, I went with it.

I too decided to work from 66A and up, and enjoyed it very much.

When I saw BORER cross with TAPROOM, I was thinking BORER could be the guy at the bar going on and on and on...

And another chip clue! but at least this time the clue told me it wasn't the kind you eat. MMMMM...chips.

Leon 12:03 PM  

Nice puzzle Mr. Silk.

Thanks RP for the Beethoven to listen to while reading your comments.

The LEGALPROFESSION according to J. Cheever Loophole:
"No, no, I'd rather not. I have an agreement with the houseflies. The flies don't practice law and I don't walk on the ceiling. (At the Circus)"

easylob 12:12 PM  

I liked this puzzle, even tho I solved it late at night and for some reason fixated on the idea that all of the theme answers together had to make one definition --sort of like the quotation puzzles. Started at the top and got legal procession (?) and couldn't connect that to --nish--decree.

Galen, URI and robs gave me baron, and that B made everything fall into place. The hardest area for me was the middle, because I knew that auger (for borer) had to be right, but again the B saved the day.

Elmore Leonard is a pleasure to read also because he is very funny, in a dark sort of way.

I've been in Palm Springs for three weeks playing senior tennis tournaments and the weather has been great (sorry about that, you Minnnesota folks).

archaeoprof 12:22 PM  

Greetings, friends. just back from Rome and jetlagged, but I liked this puzzle. I saw possible references to Rome in 49A, 51A, 4D and 37D. But the highlight for me is 44D PUT IT DOWN, which has me singing the old Sesame Street song, "Put Down the Duckie."

PlantieBea 12:25 PM  

I enjoyed solving this puzzle as much as the last from B.Silk and I prefer this theme format to that of yesterday's not so funny play on words. I, like others, started from the bottom up. My one misstep, like Jon's, was SAATON and LATT. I was convinced the Latvian had to be LATT and I didn't know Seaton. Oh well. Lot's of i's, but other fun fill. A museum in Geneva, Switzerland called something like The Museum of the Amazing Accomplishments of the Wonderful Swiss has a display and history of the Swiss Guard.

George Smith 12:52 PM  

The BAR scene posted by Mr. Parker is in Japan. Scotch at 9640 USD a cask is a little out of my price range.

jeff in chicago 12:56 PM  

Liked this one a lot. Did Steve Jobs co-author? EEKS made me grin. My favorite personal evolution was 23-D. FETA begat OUZO, which begat GYRO. Now I really want some Greek food. So I'm off to lunch! (Also seeing Brian Dennehy in "Desire Under the Elms" this afternoon. Directed by the son-in-law of our own ArtLvr!)

Gnarbles 1:04 PM  

Did any engineers out there ga-humph out loud over their cornflakes by the equating of technician with engr (3 Down)?

Tom 1:15 PM  

I also liked todays NYT, and Silk offered an easy, sweet solving experience.

The Onion puz was weird. Kind of a messy, hormonal frat-boy puzzle. Older guys making puzzles and trying to be hip, I guess

mikeguida1 1:22 PM  

One of the easiest Thursday puzzles.

allan 1:25 PM  

Great writeup today, Rex. I couldn't agree more that this seemed like work. But that's what I liked most about this puzzle. I want to spend time at solving, and love those aha moments.

There were several for me today, first and foremost "myspace". Rex's gimme was my stumbling point. I just wanted a one syllable answer, and couldn't get past that. Even when I had mysp-ce!!! And then...AHA.

But my gimme was pope at 37d, just the opposite of Signore Parker.

Wanted guru and baron right from the get go, but kept thinking they were way too obvious for a Thursday. My biggest aha came when I finally realized that Providence was not in CT (and I love the Showtime program Brotherhood), which led to uri and then the whole section fell into place.

Like some others, I had a hard time getting past auger at 27d, and when I finally got the by in 25a, the middle fell into place.

In a puzzle such as this with a lot of see ... clues, it seems psycho, gyneco, astro and ultra logical to start at the defining clue, which I did.

I do agree that 58 across is a stretch, and my one real goof that went uncorrected until reading the blog. I had position there.

That leads me to stating to all of us who had unnoticed errors today that the 3 rules of solving are PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD.

@ evil doug: Leonard may be number two, but Chandler is number one.

@ Michael Leddy: That's no quibble in IMO. It's dead on.

@ mac: re your @nanpilla, please say you were joking.

@ joho: if your malapop was intentional, that's one of the cleverest and funniest comments ever. If it wasn't then it was a true malapropism.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:27 PM  

Mmmm . . . . Barry Silk . . . Thursday puzzle, . . . very nice. I started slowly with scattered entries, began to fear I would run up a Saturday time, but then it all fell into place, finished in good medium time.

OK, quibble, quibble - Only thought we would see a bit of Rexian disapproval at the very end, 57 D, ONER, surely among the least attractive of crosswordeses.

@dk - An isobar is not a unit of pressure. It is a line composed of points having the same pressure (in bars). (of the weather kind.)

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

MUSICAL/VOCATION = BAR(ITONE)

OH,,,,,,, never mind .....

No wonder I din't get the chip, thought it was some stupid variation on a V-CHIP AVTE????

BAH! :-))

Bob Kerfuffle 1:34 PM  

BTW, isn't it strange (though correct) that 25D, CAPTAIN of industry, is a BARON? (like an oil baron.) Seems to be a serious inequality in the ranks!

rafaelthatmf 1:47 PM  

Struggle struggle struggle. Never felt good on a number of answers - in fact had ISM/MNGR for 1A/3D until I came here. PUNISHBYDECREE held me up for ever 'til BARON came to the rescue. Also for some dyslexic reason I kept reading the clue for 53D and wanting to put the answer in 54D's spot. Even when I got the answer I couldn't figure out how ANTE was an answer for Q_queen. Weird how after a few moments of head scratching something just snaps loose. Weird.
@Orange - in a pinch then your iPass could act as an Alibi.

chefwen 1:51 PM  

Was all set for a smooth walk down the Silk Road until a stumbled and almost fell by putting in seer for guru and auger for borer. My gimme of the day was gyro as I crave them constantly; can't get them here on the rock, Jeff, I hope you had a fine lunch, I think some of the best gyros around are in Chicago, my fovorite American City when it's not 20 below.

mac 1:58 PM  

@allan: you don't think Barry was thinking of moi?

@Bob Kerfuffle: just heard a British person on TV use the word "kerfuffle"!

Jim in Chicago 1:59 PM  

For me, a very easy Thursday, but this is the day that I always stand or fall based on when I know.

I have a quibble with Basilica:Apse

An apse is a rounded part of an ecclesiastic building.

A basilica is essentially any major church designated as a Basilica by the pope.

While a large percentage of Basilicas probably have apses, it is certainly not a requirement, and I can think of two in Chicago alone that do NOT have an apse.

fikink 1:59 PM  

@Gnarbles re: engineer=technician
Your post brought to mind the John Belushi skit of Samurai Optometrist who committed harakiri when someone referred to him as an optician.

chefbea 2:07 PM  

@crosscan lol!!! love the i-car

@dk I knew I had spelled bated/baited wrong. Thanks for cluing me in

allan 2:09 PM  

@ mac: It crossed my mind, which is OK. But for toi to think it is awfully egocentric. lol

HudsonHawk 2:20 PM  

Nice Thursday, Mr. Silk. It took me a second glance to get the theme, so probably a little longer than my typical Thursday. One reason was that I kept thinking of the West Texas panhandle rather than North Texas.

Oh, and if you're driving south into IOLA, KS, watch out for the speed trap on US 169. The limit drops from 55 to 35 long before you hit town...

fergus 2:24 PM  

Finally I knew the key of a work of music! And it did come in extra handy.

This was an excellent puzzle, though a little plain for a Thursday.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:54 PM  

OK, no need for everyone to pile on, in case you were planning to . . . A bit if Google research shows that many persons having the hereditary rank of Baron were at one time or another holders of the military rank of Captain, like the Red Baron. Still, the two sound unequal to me.

Three and out.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

RP- Delightful write-up. Many thanks for brightening my day yet again.

My one error, unnoticed till I came here, was "Amarilla", which is more or less how it's pronounced, at least in Arkansas. I had been wondering what an "aner" was.

As far as "basilica" goes (@Jim in Chicago), 49A is just what it should be. The word has two meanings. Yes, it can be used as an honorific, in which case the building so honored can have any architectural form. But originally, and architecturally, a basilica is a church with a nave, an aisle to either side, and an apse. It also has a clerestory, but clerestories don't seem to show up too often in puzzles.

- Abu Owlfish

Doc John 4:05 PM  

A good Thursday puzzle. Most clues were pretty gettable but there were some that needed all the crosses. ANTE was one of those for me.

Just a tiny nitpick: did anyone else have a bit of a problem that LAW and LEGAL PROFESSION, both referenced by the theme clue, were of the same type? (Could have been easily fixed- change the A to an E and you get "Kareem's original first name" crossed with "British gas".)

@ Rex- the Swiss Guard are the, um, colorfully attired guys you see at the Vatican.

Never knew MISTRAL was a type of wind. I know it as a brand of sailboard (or a font based on that brand's logo).

URI- medicalese for a cold. Or sinusitis. (=Upper Respiratory Infection)

Yves 4:12 PM  

The first 4 notes of Beethoven's 6th : (A Bb D C) sound like "A Whole New World" from Aladdin

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

For 31 across , ancient would have been misleading as one thinks of hippocrates right away

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

For 31 across , ancient would have been misleading as one thinks of hippocrates right away

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

wow I didn't even realize how many "i..." answers there were until reading the blog.

You seriously never heard of IMAX, Rex?

Shin Kokin Wakashu 4:29 PM  

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned CUKE yet; or am I the only one who doesn't enjoy cuke on his salad every night?

edith b 4:37 PM  

I like this kind of theme where the entries are disconnected from each other and no advantage is gained during the solve.

It always amazes me how a cross section of solvers seem to have the same wrong answer - in this case LEGALPROCESSION. Maybe we should ask Andrea for a name for this phenomenon of lots of people falling into the same trap.

As usual, I take exception to ONER. Even though it is a neon for me, it still grates as I have never run across it outside of a puzzle.

Add me to the list of people unable to find the shout-out to Rex in the Onion puzzle. If nobody wishes to spoil the surprise for others, my email is edithb1@live.com.

treedweller 4:39 PM  

@Yves
don't you mean Aladdin sounds like Beethoven?

Orange 4:47 PM  

@anonymous 4:25: Rex was joking, pretending that the iMax and iCame and iOla are Apple gadgets. They are not. He has most certainly heard of big-I, little-m Imax.

@rafael, actually, my lawyer friend Barry told me that things like the I-Pass and EZ-Pass are used as non-alibis in divorce cases. Husband claimed he was at work but the I-Pass records show he exited the tollway in Arlington Heights three days a week in the middle of the day and the woman he's suspected of having an affair with lives in Arlington Heights? Busted!

@edith b, the dog's name "Rex" is in one clue. Woof!

retired_chemist 4:54 PM  

Well, if you are going to make TWO mistakes it is nice to have experts make them too. I had 17A LEGAL PROCESSION as did Rex and I was satisfied it was right because C was a legit. musical key for 8D. If 8D had been "IN T" for example I would have KNOWN I had to change it.

I had LATT for 50A, as did Jon, and my distress at the error is somewhat assuaged by the fact that that a person with a serious awareness of Latvia could make the same mistake.

I was going to say that this was a very easy Thursday from my 13 min time (fast for me). Now I will say that it was an enjoyable Thursday with some twists from Mr. Silk that dinged me fair and square. He is rapidly becoming one of my favorite constructors.

Shin Kokin Wakashu 5:19 PM  

I'm a little surprised at everyone's error with LETT; perhaps I remember that crosswordese so well because I always use to make mistakes and write LAPP in instead, and my father would always correct it to LETT when he took over the puzzle.

SethG 5:21 PM  

Yeah, I'm not sure how "ancient" would have meant Hippocrates rather than Galen, at least more than the existing clue does. I know that Galen was 2nd century from a list of pick-up lines I once wrote.

Yves/eave. Akin/asin. Oars/ore, ore/borer, ore/roe. Hardy Boys fans remember Iola as Chet Morton's sister and Joe's girlfriend.

Glad we didn't spend all day on "walked into a bar" jokes, even though I've got a great physics one...

edith b 5:34 PM  

@Orange-

Thank you, ma'am

Bill from NJ 6:28 PM  

@evil doug-

Elmore Leonard reminds me of Francis Ford Coppola as his opening chapters are minor masterpieces. I think Leonard's early pieces, particularly his westerns, served as his training ground for his true interest - the fringe person on the edge of something that will change his life.

I've enjoyed his work, especially in the "Killshot" and "LaBrava" days.

kathy d. 7:00 PM  

Liked the puzzle, the clues pertaining to "bar." I did get the word "bar" early on so looked for the long clues to be related to a definition of it.

Was an easy solve once I knew the key word.

But had no idea "bar" was a unit of pressure. That was surprising.

Kathy

obertb 7:18 PM  

I'm hopelessly late in posting and at this point can only add that I have little to add.

Except this: my girlfriend and I were traveling in the south of France a few years ago and we got to experience a mistral up close and personal--50 mph straight-line winds on a perfectly bright and sunny day on a drive into Marseilles. And a raging forest fire just north of the city and all the way up to Nîmes. The next day was sunny and calm.

There is also this:

Frédéric Mistral (September 8, 1830—March 25, 1914) was a French poet who led the 19th century revival of Occitan (Provençal) language and literature. He was a key figure in the literary félibrige movement.

He shared the Nobel Prize in literature in 1904 for his contributions in literature and philology. Mistral's father was a well-to-do farmer in the former French province of Provence. [Wikipedia]

ArtLvr 7:32 PM  

@ Seth G -- thanks for the link to the New Yorker online! Now I'm going to be more of a couch potato than ever...

@ Jeff in Chicago -- Hope you enjoy "Elms"! I've heard the Trib gave it a very good review!

∑;)

jae 7:35 PM  

I had the same error as rafael but it was not a Kenosha for me. I just forgot how to spell ZWEI (for some reason the S looked OK), which I've seen a number of times. Got to agree with Gnarbles on ENGR = Technician. I'm sure there are some MIT grads who would not be pleased. I parsed my wrong MNGR as maintenance engineer, which I believe is another way of saying custodian/janitor.

Like others I also had AUGER at first plus AVOID for 29d.

I liked the puzzle. Seemed to me just right for a Thurs.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

The iPass has actually existed for years here in Chicago. It's the EZ-Pass equivalent for the Chicago tollroads.

Michael 7:55 PM  

A fine puzzle, even if I had two mistakes -- latt and another too ridiculous to mention. Barry Silk is becoming one of my favorite constructors, helped out here by good clues (by the constructor and/or Will S.)

johnson 8:28 PM  

I've never done an Onion puzzle before and I've gotten all but one letter. How do I find the solution?

Congrats to Rex for the cameo in the puzzle.

Orange 8:40 PM  

@johnson, I posted my Onion solution and blogged about the puzzle yesterday. Be careful if there are some Wednesday crosswords you haven't gotten to, as you may run into those answers, too.

@edith b, dangit! I missed an opportunity for mischief. I should've said that the shout-out to Rex was in the central Across answer in that Onion puzzle.

edith b 9:00 PM  

@orange-

If you are referring to what I think you are referring to, why, I stand here frankly blushing . . .

Noam D. Elkies 9:15 PM  

Ah, finally a case where it helps to know what key something is in! Thanks for the first-movement clip.

Surprised that neither Rex nor anybody else seems to have quoted this yet:

And that's why Birds do it, Bees do it,
Even educated fleas do it,
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
In Spain, the best upper sets do it,
Lithuanians and LETTS do it,
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

Don't remember if I've ever heard or seen "Lett" elsewhere.

NDE

fergus 9:22 PM  

(from SethG)

"I know that Galen was 2nd century from a list of pick-up lines I once wrote."

This has to be the most enigmatic comment I've ever read on this blog. Yet it resonates, since I slyly used it once in 1991, and have a child to show for it.

--

PG's amusing UNIT OF PLEASURE is a sort of crucial Economics concept, though it's used more broadly than she likely meant. If anyone remembers micro-economic theory, it may be due to the mapping of Indifference Curves, which indicate a toss-up between alternative measures of pleasure, or Utility in the historic jargon.

fikink 9:34 PM  

NDE
Nice young men who sell antiques do it...

happy to hear you are a fan

fikink 9:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
foodie 10:13 PM  

It's late, even in Arizona, and y'all said it all. Almost.

I wanted to thank Mr. Silk for using "data" correctly, to indicate a plural. So many people don't.

I also love his suggestion of a bar of chocolate as a UNIT OF PLEASURE.

@fergus, in the newly minted field of "neuroeconomics", this chocolate bar unit of pleasure concept would be king.

and i love my iphone. Rex,let us know what you think of it.

fergus 11:25 PM  

Foodie, at some point these academic topics will find their deserving standard. It might as well find its currency in a Hershey bar, though I prefer it to be one with almonds.

acme 1:55 AM  

@Greene
Even tho you haven't written in today, I wanted to share with you that at one point I had UNITOF-MEASURE so the George who directed "Miracle on 34th St" was AAATON
and I honestly couldn't figure out which of the A's was/were wrong!

@Rex
Yes, thanks for the symphony INF while I read thru the comments, it soothed any potential rants from me

@allan
you're new so I guess I should explain what a malapop is...
It's a term I coined when you write in an answer that turns out to be wrong but then it appears in a totally different context later on in the puzzle...
So if it's just the same definition two times and you put it in wrong the first time, that's not really one...
It's when it's out of nowhere, totally wrong when you put it in, but the right answer in a totally different context later on.
Does that make sense?

A while back I was trying to name stuff left and right for different phenomena...but today I defer to Rex and his "Ulrich's Law" which I love!

@edith
Thanks for the shout out, but I don't know what to name that...except to say I also did the PROCESSION/LETT thing

4A OUTWIT was begging for a "Survivor" clue... which is my unit of (guilty) pleasure.

@Bob Kerfuffle
Baron = Captain of industry = Donald Trump's latest baby's name.
Poor kid. (And of course, I mean "poor" metaphorically)

@Orange
All the I-business in this crossword reminds me of formerly getting stuck with the Q in Scrabble.
QI has become a godsend bec you are no longer stuck with the Q (or an extra I)...so now it's like some constructors can now throw an I in front of almost any word so s/he doesn't get stuck in a corner and it's bound to be an Apple product.

Fascinating to me how many folks comment not on IZE, ONER, EEKS, ENGR, SSNS, IOLA, LOMA and all the stuff I feel I would never get away with!
Talk about work...I think the OPEC clue was the only one I actually liked in the whole puzzle!

(oops, see what happens when the music ends!)

Southern Ma'am 2:19 AM  

This Catholic had a blast with this puzzle; we know who has the Pope's back, front and red shoes. 36-down!! Fie!! Wanted "aahs" but came back in from left field. Any "Greek physician" is usually ancient along with philosophers and sorcerers.
I'm off to Jekyll Island where I can find the NYTimes in a rack at the only convenience store on the island. Sweet for such a tiny island.

william e emba 10:56 AM  

Wow, this was 90% medium and then 10% challenging, trying to fill in that GYRO and BANISH--DECREE area. It did not help that I also completely blanked on IPHONE, and read "Best in mental combat" as an adjective of the ---EST variety, not as a verb. I knew it was wrong because of the Beethoven IN- cross, but it gave me TEE, and maybe, just maybe, there's an Italian word S-- used in music? And I blanked for the longest time on the BAR of the -EGA-----ESSION variety. Since I already had LAW, I turned off all LEGAL thinking here. And since I wanted IONA for the county, I kept thinking nEGAtive thoughts. My eventual breakthrough was realizing "separate the wheat from the chaff" was meant literally, not as the usual metaphor. Sneaky.

Regarding Elmore Leonard. He's 100% perfect in plotting, dialogue, inventiveness, and sheer genius. Absolutely topnotch, amazing. Unfortunately, he's 0% lousy in actual writing ability, with lifeless sentences barely above the Dick and Jane level. I find reading him extremely frustrating as a result, with all the excitement that should be happening dissipating away. Aaargh!

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Thanks for filling me in on 50-down. I was working on this with some friends (we're nerdy college students) and, having lived in Latvia, I was embarassed not to have come up with that. I was trying to answer the question with the Latvian equivalent of 'Rīga Resident', a word which has nine letters. (In latvian they're not 'Letts' speaking of Rīga in particular as I assumed, they're 'Rīdznieki' and don't people just say 'Latvians' anyway?)
I've been thinking about that one all day. Thanks!

The Cunctator 3:35 PM  

You missed one more plug for Apple in the puzzle: 10A: Macs.

It's just me, but I would have enjoyed

10A: Apple offerings
15A: Apple offering
43A: Apple offerings

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