Coloratura Christiane ___ Pierre - SATURDAY, Apr 18 2009- B Walden (Early advocate of bloodletting / Its symbol is globe composed of jigsaw puzzle)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Theme: None

Word of the Day: STOPGAP (3D: Improvised) — An improvised substitute for something lacking; a temporary expedient. See synonyms at makeshift. Something used temporarily or reluctantly when other means are not available. Something contrived to meet an urgent need or emergency. (answers.com)

Hi, everyone. PuzzleGirl here for one more puzzle. I'm bruised, bloodied, and beaten up. I am not, however, humiliated because I did — somehow — manage to emerge victorious in the face of this Byron Walden beast. (I believe Byron is having himself a little birthday next week, by the way, so early birthday wishes going out to the sadist fiend). What did you all think? Challenging? It took me almost an hour to get a little over half done. And the only reason I could get that much was because of IN TOO DEEP (15A: Unable to get out of a bad situation) and JEANS (22A: Wranglers, e.g.). Other than that, it was a lot of staring, a lot of wheels grinding in the old noggin — overall, just one big struggle. Two of the three 15s were particularly slow in coming:

  • 17A: Marmots and prairie dogs (GROUND SQUIRRELS). The easiest of the three. With enough crosses in place, of course.
  • 54A: Cardinal relatives (SCARLET TANAGERS). Wasn't sure at first if this was a reference to sports, religion, or birds. With enough crosses on the back end (I think it was the G that gave me my "aha!" moment), I remembered that this bird snuck its way into the grid not too long ago. Pretty sure the theme was Clue (the board game).
  • 8D: Home of la Sorbonne (LE QUARTIER LATIN). In English, "The Latin Quarter." I slowly-but-surely pieced together LE QUARTIER, but had no idea what kind of quarter it would turn out to be.
I also had plenty of missteps:
  • 33A: From the heart (GENUINELY). Did you know that genuinely and sincerely have the same number of letters? I bet Byron does.
  • 42A: Quickly (PRESTO). Would I get 2/3 credit for pronto? I didn't think so.
  • 46A/6D: "Curious..." ("IT'S ODD"). At first I had how odd, which seems reasonable.
  • 56A: Red _____ (ALGAE). I wanted "red alert," which would have paired nicely with 25A: THREAT level (which I wanted to be "street level").
  • 7D: Where M.S.T. and P.S.T. can be found (WESTERN U.S.). With the two Es in place, I guessed New Mexico, which is entirely within the Mountain Time Zone and borders the Central Time Zone. It's nowhere near the Pacific Time Zone is what I'm saying.
  • 11D: New York's Five _____ Bike Tour (BORO). My first thought was hour, but I immediately knew that was wrong. Never heard of the Five Boro Bike Tour, but it sounds cool. It will be held on May 3 this year.
  • 22D: San _____ (JUAN). Pretty sure Rex will be flying through San José tomorrow, so that was on my mind.


  • 30D: Protection: Var. (EGIS). At first I had ESPERANTO (29A: The 1965 William Shatner film "Incubus" is in it) misspelled, because I didn't have SARIS (35A: They may be thrown over the shoulder) yet, so I thought ages was an acceptable variable spelling of aegis. Never mind that ages wouldn't have been clued that way — I mean, why clue a variable spelling when I'm sure Byron/Will could think of 100 other tortuous ways to clue ages?
  • 41D: Tries to loosen (PULLS AT). I wanted pries at for a while.
  • 48D: When four bells ring on the middle watch (AT TWO). Couldn't remember if it was 1:00 or 2:00, but either way, I thought the answer would end with AM.
  • 51D: Memorable 1996 hurricane along the Eastern Seaboard (FRAN). When was Hugo? Ack! 1989 — not even close!
What else?
  • 57A: Its symbol is a globe composed of jigsaw puzzle pieces (WIKIPEDIA). I struggled mightily with this one and felt like a complete idiot once I got it.
  • 10A: Part of a capital's name meaning "flower" (ABABA). Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia.
  • 16A: Is far from a homebody (ROVES). For some reason I kept reading a homebody as homely and thought the answer would have something to do with physical beauty/hotness. Yes, I actually considered rocks.
  • 24A: Coloratura Christiane _____-Pierre (EDA). Opera!
  • 25A: A Scot has one (BURR). I have no idea what this means.
  • 45A: Terre Haute sch. (ISU). This would be Indiana State University. I'm sure it would have been clued in relation to Iowa State University if anyone had predicted the huge news that came out of Iowa State's wrestling program today. What? You didn't hear? Oh, Cael Sanderson is leaving Ames for the head coaching position at Penn State. This is seismic. To, ya know, college wrestling fans.
  • 47A: Early advocate of bloodletting (GALEN). Galen of Pergamum. Arguably, the most accomplished medical researcher of the Roman period.
  • 49A: "The Far Shore of Time" author Frederik (POHL). Science fiction!
  • 50A: Mechanical trade (TIT FOR TAT). Very tricky! Not looking for a job that has something to do with mechanics. Mechanical here means the manner in which a trade might be made. Nice. Plus ... he said tit. Heh heh.
  • 53A: Source of Caravane cheese (CAMEL). Ewwww.
  • 59A: Like some families (ONE-PARENT). Raise your hand if your first thought was dysfunctional. (Please tell me it wasn't just me.)
  • 27D: Oregon and Idaho's _____ Canyon (HELLS). North America's deepest river gorge.
  • 28D: Country singer Collin _____ (RAYE). Gimme.
  • 34D: "A Yank at _____" (1942 Mickey Rooney film) (ETON). Sequel to "A Yank at Oxford." Really.
  • 35D: Shows contempt for (SPITS AT). This has actually happened to me. Yes, someone spit at me. With contempt. It was gross.
  • 40D: Herald (USHER IN).


  • 49D: It may give you a buzz (PAGER). I believe we recently established in the comments that certain people do, in fact, still carry pagers. I was in the haircut neighborhood for too long on this one.
It's been a blast hanging out with you this week. I originally thought Rex was scheduled to be back blogging on Monday, but when he popped in yesterday he said Sunday, so who knows? You'll have to come on back tomorrow to find out who's here. I'm sure the suspense is killing you.

Love, PuzzleGirl

66 comments:

gberg 9:05 AM  

Puzzle Girl, let me be the first to say that every single thing you struggled with, I did too! Esp. 'dysfunctional' and 'sincerely'.

Crosscan 9:12 AM  

I got WIKIPEDIA straight away. Downhill from there. Byron Walden puzzles always kill me and today was no exception.

My mother always said that the creator of ESPERANTO, Ludwik Zamenhof, was a cousin, but I've never been able to confirm this. Still took a while to get that answer.

Never heard of POHL, and see no need to remember him.

nanpilla 9:14 AM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who put in New Mexico, and how about Eliza for Topsy? I looked at a mostly blank grid for what seemed like hours, and just couldn't get anywhere. The few things I had in there turned out to be wrong anyway! I'm amazed that I finally did finish the puzzle in 45 minutes with no errors, and looking at it, I honestly don't know how I did it.
In addition to those mentioned above:
HOW for ITS
IVAN for FRAN
ROAMS for ROVES
There are so many eraser marks it was getting hard to read the numbers. Before I started reading this blog, I would have just given up - but you all have taught me to just keep plugging away, and it works almost every time. I'll never be a speed solver, but I am a more confident solver.

Joni 9:15 AM  

Since I didn't know the author Frederick, my only question was whether I would get a bigger buzz from a pager or from lager! Since "Lohl" didn't sound like a name, I went with pager.

VaBeach puzzler 9:24 AM  

I spent a few minutes on the puzzle last night and filled in about 3 words. Impossible! I thought. This morning, I filled in the rest in about 20 minutes. (OK, maybe 30.) Just kept remembering Rex saying that those longggg answers surrender pretty quickly. and they did!

Kurt 9:49 AM  

Definitely on the Puzzle Girl wave length again. Step-for-step. Clue-for-clue. Answer-for-answer. And comment-for-comment. A grand slam write-up PG. Thanks.

I don't understand the "mechanical" part of the TIT FOR TAT clue. I kept wanting things like carpentry or machining. If TFT is a mechanical trade, then what is an example of a non-mechanical trade?

Great knuckle-busting puzzle Byron.

twangster 9:52 AM  

Apparently there are people who can solve a puzzle of this level of difficulty but I'm not one of them. SINCERELY being wrong really killed me.

I was able to get the top right on my own, but that was about it. I googled a few, thinking that might open it up a bit. Then I googled a few more, but that still didn't help. Then I sat there at my computer until I finished it.

Before I got BONY, I tried TINY and PUNY, which is how this puzzle made me feel!

janie 10:07 AM  

that scottish burr refers to the sound of their rolled "r." (def. 2)

tough puzzle!! tough but fair, though -- once i got it all SETTLEDUP!

;-)

bigredanalyst 10:12 AM  

Solid Saturday puzzle, IMO.

The NE was straight-forward and I remembered SCARLETTANAGER from this blog and that opened up the entire bottom of the puzzle.

The last to fall was the NW, particularly the upper-left. I stared at - - - - BOWLS for too long before getting the opening part.

In general I'd rate this puzzle as "challenging."

imsdave 10:15 AM  

Strangely, I found this one to be fairly easy (for a Byron Walden effort). The NW was the only sticky part, as I kept trying to fit in some kind of DOLL instead of BOWL, even though that didn't really have a NYT feel to it.

I knew POHL, so tried PHONE instead of PAGER with nothing to go on except the 'P'.

Enjoyable 20 minutes for me.

Special thanks to PG for all of hosting work this week. It was excellent.

Chorister 10:15 AM  

Umm, I'm usually the dumb bunny cousin here, but I didn't think it was all that hard. I don't time myself but sometimes don't turn the timer off. When I read PG's "over an hour" comment I pulled my puzzle to the top and the timer, still running, said 38something. So woohoo! today I'm GENUINELY genius.

I thought the Sorbonne thing was going to be something-something-something PARIS, so I already had the A&I which helped there. Scarlet Tanager WAS in a recent puzzle, so I said gotcha!

Of course, I didn't actually finish the puzzle correctly, because I met Natick at POHL/DIOMEDE, guessed A and guessed wrong it seems. Are you sure it's an O? Yes? Dang.

mccoll 10:21 AM  

Good write-up puzzle girl. You must be on a different wave length anticipating Rex's return, though. This one took about forty-five minutes. Pretty good for me on Saturday. No help and no errors. I would have had a bad time with the NW if I hadn't remembered the Fig tree. The Latin Quarter and ground squirrels crossing were gimmes and the rest just required grinding out. Thanks for your substitute write-ups and everyone else's by the way. You filled some big shoes admirably!
Cheers!

Glitch 10:40 AM  

@Kurt

Think of mechanical "trade" (as in response) as not thinking, thus Tit for Tat or Eye for an Eye.

Non-mechanical would be more like revenge.

As to the puzzle, once again I seem to be in the minority, a satisfying two cupper.

Pretty much opposite PG's gimmes and problems, second day in a row. (Guess were not destined to be soul mates, but would probably make a good team).

Last to fall was correction of having placed Terre Haute in Ohio which I noticed while trying to figure out the POHL crossing.

I pays to "check your work".

.../Glitch

ArtLvr 11:00 AM  

What a great puzzle! I scanned for items I was fairly sure of like WESTERN US crossing JEANS, and worked outward in all directions. Thought maybe San Jose, but JUAN fit better with BURR of the Scot... EGIS and BREST then gave me GENUINELY, which led to LE QUARTIER LATIN.

I enjoyed the continued Continental flavor with CAPA and OLES, Mideast and Asian references with CAMEL, ABABA and SARIS -- but for a while I misplaced the Bering Strait, thinking Baltic Sea, and tried Little Denmark (M there gave CAMEL tho) -- it was POHL that led to DIOMEDE!

Nice touch to have SCARLET atop Red ALGAE, plus TIT (the bird) over TANAGER. I ended in the NW, having only IN TOO DEEP and INROADS, then the GROUND in front of SQUIRRELS, HOUSE instead of Lodge, FIG TREE and finally those super FISH BOWLS. Too bad TOPSY eluded me for so long!

Thanks again, PG!

XMAN 11:02 AM  

This is the first Saturday in a long while I had to use THE TOOL, so I guess this is more Saturdayish than usual.

John 11:03 AM  

Puzzle Girl, I feel your
pain!!!!!

I could have gone my entire life without knowing about the camel/cheese. Goats are bad enough!

Tried to fit RENONEVADA in and thought "Oh, a Rebus?"

The SW was pure HELL!! And no canyons were involved.

Denise 11:09 AM  

I got Topsy first. But, this was a HARD puzzle for me. I spent nearly forty minutes, Googled the island, the author, and the singer. And, still I left it at STREET LEVEL.

Thanks so much for all the help in thinking this through.

When I went to the tournament, I really worried about not having access to Google, but it does actually work to keep at it. I just didn't follow my own insight last night.

Danny 11:11 AM  

24 minutes for me, but not enjoyable.

Pohl/Diomede is a flagrant violation of the "Natick Principle" and "ATTWO" is just awkward. TWO, yes. TWO AM, yes. Not "ATTWO".

Even with Wikipedia as a gimme for me, and somehow guessing "WESTERNUS", this was brutal.

Norm 11:27 AM  

not even fun

joho 11:35 AM  

@PuzzleGirl ... another great write-up ... you should be proud of yourself!

I struggled through this one but ultimately succeeded. The most difficult section for me was the SE. I guessed AT TEN which didn't help at all. When I finally got PEDIA I knew it has to be AT TWO which allowed me to finish correctly.

I really enjoyed this because as hard as it was, it was also fair and doable. Great job Byron!

jilmac 11:41 AM  

Got about halfway then had to cheat a little by Googling a few clues!! Enjoyable though, as I did finish - with the above mentioned help - in about 30 minutes - but fell into ALL the same traps as PG!!

Wasn't 'scarlet tanagers' in a very recent puzzle clued in almost the same way?

Doug 11:57 AM  

PG, right back at you and it's been a blast. Same to Wade and ACM. I like RP's writeups but some spice is nice!

I got about 50%, which is more than my usual Saturday, so it relatively easy. The 60s just won't be repeated will they? When else would a full length film in ESPERANTO get made? I just looked up some Esperanto, and will now regularly use "mojosa" which is "cool". And I am evidently a "bonantagulo" or a peson who learned only a few words.

Stay mojosa all.

Greene 12:08 PM  

Good Lord PG! Who could spit at you?

I struggled with this one for several hours this morning. Good grief, not a single arcane theatre clue to help me along. My first entry in the grid was WIKIPEDIA which plobably says way too much about my referencing skills. SCARLET TANAGERS went in next, but only as a guess based on another recent puzzle. This pretty much opened the southern half of the puzzle.

I ran aground in the north for a long time. Forgot all about old TOPSY and stubbornly stuck with ELIZA for 19A. When I finally remembered FIG TREE, I had an Aha moment and TOPSY went in. Things moved along after that, but I could not get ESPERANTO for the longest time. Even after I had ESP**ANTO I just stared at it.

And so it went. Ultimately a very satisfying solve, but slow as molasses. Oh yeah, I really liked the close positioning of GRR and BURR.

Another excellent challenge from Mr. Walden.

Orange 12:30 PM  

I always like Byron's puzzles, and not least because I can kick butt on them. The Walden/Klahn wavelength that vexes so many happens to be my wavelength. I'm not sure what this says about me.

PG only knows Byron's birthday because it's her birthday too—and Evad, and my son Ben. Also Chicago's Mayor Daley. Damn, I have a lot of cards to buy! Or e-cards to send. Does hallmark.com have "Happy Birthday to the World's Best Chicago Politician Who Manages To Avoid Indictment on Much-Warranted Corruption Charges"?

hazel 12:34 PM  

Ouch. I'm with @Norm. Not fun.

I'm curious - in other words to me ITSODD - that this puzzle is described as fair. What does that mean? And what sort of puzzle is unfair?

On a happier note, awesome job with the writeups this week, PG! I'm also curious about the spitting episode.

Gary 12:34 PM  

SCARLET TANAGERS again, in a themeless. Is this computer-generated material? The same answer was in a Saturday puzzle a few weeks ago. It's Saturday, how about some new 15-letter phrases that haven't been used in the last month?

Nadir, I mean, Badir 12:42 PM  

Curse you, vowels!! I figured that ESPERANTO was "ESPARANTO", starting off like "espanol". I see that it's named after Dr. Esperanto, but I'm guessing he was waiting for something. And then I had "DIAMEDE" for a while, since I figured you could get a buzz from drinking "LAGER". I went back and looked at that and didn't really like it. "WAGER"? I guess for a gambling fiend. Aha, PAGER! Then I thought "PAHL"? Wait, wasn't there someone I knew thirty years ago who was reading a book by Frederik POHL. Sho 'nuff!!

I really enjoyed this one. WIKIPEDIA was a gimme, since I use it all the time. Sorry, PG! I had "JEEPS" for JEANS for a while, wondering whether you could "SLURP" someone to jilt them.

poc 12:51 PM  

Tough but fair. POHL is one of the greats (his collaborations with C.M. Kornbluth are among the best s.f. novels ever written) and not at all a Natick.

GENUINELY not only shares letter-count with SINCERELY but also with FEELINGLY, which put me off for a while.

SethG 12:58 PM  

Calmad + SethG = Wade?

When SCARLET TANAGERS was in there last month I remembered it from when SCARLET TANAGER appeared (in a Tuesday puzzle) in December. And ADDIS ABABA was in the upper right of a puzzle early this year, the day after GALEN appeared. Coincidences happen.

This was much quicker for me than my average Saturday, but I went with LAHR instead of Pohl. Don't know the writer, don't know the island, didn't think of the other buzz. I don't know RAYE either. Or the bike race, though BORO was still my first answer.

It'd have been an even quicker "solve" if I hadn't entered SQIRRELS before giving it up when the QR made no sense in 9D and GROUND wouldn't fit. I...grew up in Squirrel Hill.

joho 1:46 PM  

@hazel: you ask what's fair and unfair in a puzzle? I'd say a puzzle full of Natick's is definitely not fair. A puzzle full of hard clues with no Natick's is fair. That's what describes today's puzzle IMO. If you just keep at it, little by little it will fall. And if, for some reason, it doesn't, it's your fault, not the constructor's.

joho 1:47 PM  

@that should have been Naticks, no apostrophe ... sorry.

obertb 2:08 PM  

I know I'm not a speed solver: the ACPT this year taught me that. But I did this puzzle in about 35 minutes, googling a couple of times to CONFIRM answers, but not to FIND them. (Maybe the same difference, though.) A lot of stuff here I didn't know, but guessed correctly--like CAMEL cheese and POHL/DIOMEDE. The Shatner film "Incubus" was in ESPERANTO? Who knew? But I got it with a few crosses. Got 10A ABABA from the initial and final A's, but BELTRAN came entirely from crosses--I don't know jack about baseball. Based on my own solving time, I guess I'd rate this puzzle medium/challenging.

George NYC 2:25 PM  

Very nice job, puzzlegirl. Thanks!

I got BORO and WIKIPEDIA quickly last night then stared and stared and the next thing I knew it was way past AT TWO and I was fast asleep in my chair.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:28 PM  

As a savoring solver rather than a speed solver, I found this to be an excellent Saturday puzzle, taking about 45 minutes to do correctly, as several others found. Only two write-overs, 11D, had HOUR before BORO, and 16 A, had ROAMS before ROVES.

Frederik POHL was a gimme. (When I was in elementary school, I read every science fiction book in our town library - Small town, small library.)

I wondered why Christ would curse a FIGTREE, and the learned explanation doesn't help me much, as usual.

Also, as many did, I expected 1 A to have something to do with a Kewpie doll.

Doc John 2:52 PM  

The puzzle finally fell for me after several solving sessions but came here to find a couple errors:
I was perfectly happy getting a buzz from lager and didn't bother running the alphabet. Lahl seemed like an OK name to me, too, as I didn't know DIOMEDE, either.
Oh well, consider myself lucky to get out of a BW with only 2 errors!
P.S. Another BELTRAN is "Actor Robert" from Star Trek: Voyager
P.P.S. When I was a kid, I actually knew people that spoke ESPERANTO.

jae 3:01 PM  

Great puzzle. What a Sat. should be, tough but doable in exactly the way joho describe it. I do Wed. to Sun. on paper and don't time myself but I'm pretty sure yesterday took around 15 to 30 min. and this one took over an hour. One reason is that I had SINCERELY way toooo loooong. I also tried PRONTO, ROAM, ARF (for GRR), and ETAS briefly. I too read a lot of sci. fi. as a kid so POHL was familiar, if not quite a gimme. This one was fun and very satisfying to finish unaided.

Looked up DIOMEDE in my atlas and it turns out its right on the international date line.

Dough 3:09 PM  

Usually Byron pushes me to my limits, but for some reason, I flew today's offering, except the NW corner. I took a cig break, gathered eggs from the chickens, came back, got the fig tree and the NW corner fell. Must be springtime; or Byron is getting older; or Byron was being kind. It's a very nicely constructed puzzle, and just seemed to be clued an iota, or scintilla, easier than normal for him! Bravo.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 3:23 PM  

What the heck, here's 35 seconds of Shatner speaking Esperanto.And I meant to add that my 45 minute solving time is while listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!

Anne 3:39 PM  

Speaking of Wikipedia, I spent considerable time reading their articles about Esperanto, ground squirrels, Topsy, etc. before making it down to Wikipedia which also took considerable time. Suffice it to say that I did not finish in 45 minutes. I thought there were a lot of descriptive phrases today. I love tit for tat.

@Evil Doug - did you change your name while I was away? We're going to the Air Force Museum around the first of May. I've done some research and it really looks interesting.

Clark 3:40 PM  

@kurt, @Glitch

I was thinking that a non-mechanical trade might be one that was open to nuance, one that would consider excuses and justifications.

fergus 3:45 PM  

Here's a little morality tale:

IN TOO DEEP yet above GROUND, I went around the circuit one too many times, so I guiltily pulled out the old Bible. Quick flip to Matthew and found right away 21 which featured GENTILE, and hastily wrote over my earlier GENUINELY considered work. Naturally, I'd picked some other chapter's verse 21. But with that 'assurance' the puzzle had become completely corrupted.

Tarnished by the failure of persistence; doubly tormented by the error of cheating. I'm sure Jesus would be proud.

---

Other errors were OUTLAWS instead of AVENGER, guessing at PHNOM Penh before Addis ABABA, and the ridiculous ONE-PERSON family.

joho 4:05 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I was thinking Barbie or Ken dolls.

3 and out.

Happy weekend everybody.

fikink 4:37 PM  

SINCERELY
FEELINGLY
GENUINELY
all nine letters.
So what did I put?
IN EARNEST

sheesh!

edith b 4:58 PM  

A handful of neons got me started but old fashioned hard work got me to the finish line in classic Dream-on-it Style

I had read an article about Shatner and Esperanto and knew Frederick Pohl's books from my youth so the sc-fi part of the puzzle fell at once.

SETTLEDUP led me into the SE where the shortest answer ISU broke open the whole corner and a guess in the Midlands ONTHETAKE got me GENUINELY and WESTERNUS which led me into the NW where SPURN and HOUSE got me FISHBOWLS and FIGTREES and helped me make up my mind about ELIZA or TOPSY all of which produced GROUNDSQUIRRELS and I moved into Baja California and got the SW corner through ALGAE and TEENS as I finally decided the bird clue was a repeat from last month on a Saturday as I worked both ends against the middle.

I went to bed with most of the NE and Upper Midlands left to solve. In the morning I corrected my mistakes LOVER at 16A and DELGADO became BELTRAN (Thanks Hubby!)and the rest was simply hard work.

TURNSONTO got me the long down and that broke the back of this puzzle as it was my last entry.

Byron Walden usually takes me forever to work my way through but since speed is not my long suit, in the long run it simply does not matter to me.

chefbea 5:02 PM  

another toughie for me!! Hope tomorrow is easier and more fun.

Vega 5:20 PM  

Brutal. That's all I have to say.

I had no idea about POHL or DIOMEDE and had Pahl/Diamede, which I thought for sure for sure was a Natick violation. Then I come here and all of you seem to have heard of not just one but both, and you're all calling this puzzle "fair." Once upon a time, many moons ago, I thought I was smart.

-Vega

hazel 6:06 PM  

@Vega - I'm not calling it fair - or unfair either.

Fair is an objective term that in my opinion is being applied subjectively to this/any puzzle. One person's Natick is another's Macon is another's Diomede.

A puzzle is what it is. Hard or not so much. Fun or not so much. To me, they're all "fair" game. For me, this puzzle was hard and not fun. I've found lots of hard puzzles to be fun - but this just didn't happen to be one of them.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

This site would be more believable if every once in a while you admitted that you didn't finish a puzzle. Even the best puzzler solvers have blanks occasionally. Come on.

Glitch 7:33 PM  

@Anon 7:18

The goal of many on this blog is to encourage solvers to "keep going" and eventually fill in every square --- it's part of the learning experience.

If you read the posts in more detail, you'll find many of us fess up in resorting to Google, this blog, and other sources to get that last square filled in (and correctly!).

We all have blanks from time to time, freely admit it, and share the whys.

Not sure how you missed that.

.../Glitch

Stan 7:46 PM  

Odd to me that people had so much trouble with Frederik Pohl -- if there's a 20th-century science-fiction pantheon, he's certainly in it.

On the other hand, that was one of the *only* words I found easy here. Managed to finish only with much staring and virtually every false start that Puzzle-Girl and others mentioned. Plus I had much help from my wife (she knew DIOMEDE, recognized TOPSY, explained why RAGE meant 'Fashion' and suggested ESPERANTO ("It's the only word that ends in RANTO"). So I guess I didn't really do this puzzle. But I would definitely weigh in on the 'Tough but Fair' side.

Great write-up, PG (plus I was hoping for an Usher video when I saw USHERIN).

George NYC 8:01 PM  

@Anon 7:18

What are you talking about? Read my first post today.

chefbea 8:27 PM  

@anon 7:18 guess you didnt read my post either. I didn't finnish and had to come here. It happens a lot!!!!!!!

Doc John 8:35 PM  

@ anon 7:18- ditto

edith b 10:06 PM  

@Hazel-

I also don't think about these puzzles in terms of fair or unfair but enjoyment level.

I do a lot of puzzles that I simply have to slog my way through - some early week and some difficult but if I rate them at all its strictly on a fun level.

@Anon 7:18-

We all of us run into puzzles we can't completely solve and are not hesitant about saying so.

I went back through the posts and saw at leat five people who had terminal problems with this one.

To quote Glitch, "not sure how you missed that," Mr Anonymous 7:18

Lisa in Kingston 10:20 PM  

To me, part of the fun of solving crossword puzzles is coming across something I do not know. It's the joy of learning--and being able to remember it for next time! The cool thing about the NYT puzzle is that thing I did not know will come back at me sometime in the future in another puzzle, and then I will have my AHA moment! Hopefully, anyway....

michael 10:26 PM  

This was the hardest puzzle of the year for me. I had to resort to google, and more than once and more than twice and more than three times -- you get the picture.

Not feeling too sharp tonight (no
Rex reference intended)

badaud 11:06 PM  

Am I the only one who was dead certain that "Is far from a homebody" was ROVER? Then I struggled to the end trying to figure out WTH is ARSORTS.

arsort -- Sort an array in reverse order and maintain index association (PHP).

Great, that doesn't help at all. . . .

Frieda 1:28 AM  

@fifink et al, : I add EARNESTLY to all those things that aren't GENUINELY.

@badoud: yes yes ROVER!

Goes with GRR, which is the sound a dog makes play-mawling a squeaky toy, or a sleeve, or a Friday or Saturday NYT, and is the sound of pleased I'm-giving-up-but-it's-been-fun-anyway response at what I would agree is a fair puzzle.

I was a day behind--did Fri. and Sat. today, since a snow storm stopped delivery yesterday. What a wollop. The puzzles, I mean. I gave up finally in the SW today, probably could have kept at it, but was so pleased with what I got on my own--TOPSY, GROUNDSQUIRRELS, WESTERNUS (I live there, thought it might be INTHE WEST, which with JEANS and GROUNDSQUIRRELS made like a western theme...) and that neighborhood in Paris (so much for the theme), I thought I was an invincible AVENGER, STOPGAPping my way through one entry after another, and ESPERANTO! PRESTO! They SETTLEDUP as SCARLETTANGERS, with no WIKIPEDIA in view. ....alas it was not to be.

Loved TITFORTAT when I saw it all here. Now, that's a good puzzle, for me--bailing and appreciating it anyway. And I *knew* ALGAE. Wrote it in, even, and then out, for SCARE. I don't mind.

mac 9:01 AM  

Just finished the Saturday puzzle this morning, since I was on a plane with the Sat Herald Tribune which gave me the Sunday one. This one was tough for me, but let's blame the jet lag.

I had jeeps for jeans far too long, pronto for presto, and "scarlett onagers", among other things.... I put in "teens" at 58A across early on, but it sounded a little silly and I erased it agait on. Had to wait for the downs to put it back in. I seem to be alone, but I love that camel cheese name Caravane! No interest in trying it, though. There where an unusual number of ats, ins, ons and ups in this puzzle, I thought.

Anyway, I can unpack my bag instead of puzzling, I'm all set!

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

unbowed, its unbowed after bruised bloodied beaten, yet unbowed

frankD

Banjo Grrl 1:08 PM  

New to the NY Times Puzzles. Never have done a Saturday puzzle before. It was way too hard for me! I couldn't even finish it using Google. So, it's good to read comments like "brutal" from you all. Makes me feel better!

william e emba 4:03 PM  

FRAN was the hurricane that flooded a third of North Carolina. If I recall correctly, the NYT had a front page picture of pigs stranded on the slanted roof of a barn, looking very unhappy.

POHL/DIOMEDE a Natick? I didn't notice.

Frederik POHL is one of the really big big names in science fiction, with an active career spanning 70 years, and he is still writing. I thought the clue was a complete gimme. I've read several of his short stories, and about five or six of his novels, including the Heechee series. I have not read the clue's novel (the third in a series) but I see it often enough when I'm looking through the science fiction section of a bookstore.

And then with WIKIPEDIA filled in (interesting that it was a Saturday, of course, a gimme for almost all of us by definition!), I was looking at --O--D-, and instantly got the Little DIOMEDE Island. It's famous for being about one mile from Big DIOMEDE Island, because LDI is US, BDI is Russian, and so it has been part of Cold War trivia (like Quemoy and Matsu) most of my life.

One of the things I like about Saturday is that is when the trivia that I know without even thinking finally shows up in the crosswords. Ant-Man, Iron Man, Wasp, or Thor? C'mon, they're all AVENGERs! That's supposed to be difficult? For difficulty, try the Falcon or Starfox.

I mean, I don't know half the Monday level TV, movie, or music clues, except for what I've slowly picked up from crosswords. But it seems any science fiction writer other than Asimov is Thursday level at best. The TV, movie, music clues, meanwhile, are just as obscure to me on Saturday as Monday.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

This puzzle didn't publish in my local newpaper until May 23 so I'm way behind everyone else. I have to admit, I used the internet to look up some of the answers but still ended up here looking for help. This was a hard one for me but the internet sure helps.

Okie Lady

Waxy in Montreal 5:49 PM  

@Okie Lady - you're OK - your local paper like most (other than the NYT itself) publishes the crossword 5 weeks later in syndication. In fact, probably the majority of hardcopy solvers worked on this puzzle today. And you are correct - 'twas a toughie.

boardbtr 11:02 PM  

Another 5 week later attempter. This is the type of puzzle that leaves me cold. There is almost nothing with which I am familiar. When that happens I feel nothing but frustration -- no ahhhs, just aw s__t. No pleasure and no feeling of learning anything.

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