Recurring metrical beat -SATURDAY, May 23 2009- D Tuller (Indian employed as British soldier / Antarctic dweller / Use one's zygomatic muscles)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy/Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SEPOY (42A: Indian employed as a British soldier) - n.

  1. An indigenous soldier serving in the army of a foreign conqueror, especially an Indian soldier serving under British command in India.
    1. The lowest enlisted rank in the British Indian army and its successors, equivalent to private.
    2. One holding this rank.

[Probably from Portuguese sipae, from Urdu sipāhī, from Persian, cavalryman, from sipāh, army.]

Easier and less entertaining than yesterday's puzzle - unlike in yesterday's puzzle, here, the difficulty is enhanced by a slew of obscure words rather than a pattern of clever and deceptive cluing. There were seven words I didn't know at all, most of which I'm fairly certain I've never seen or heard of before.
  • SAMOA TIME (56A: Setting in Pago Pago) - it's got its own time???
  • KHASI (32A: Language spoken in Assam, India) - no hope in hell there. Thank god for crosses.
  • SEPOY - the most made-up-looking word of the bunch.
  • IPA (24A: Pronunciation guide std.) - International Phonetic Alphabet
  • IGUANODON (37A: Dinosaur with large thumb spikes) - this word looks like a mash-up of words I *have* actually heard of - IGUANA and UDON. The picture, however, looks like drunk Fonzie-saurus.
  • ICTUS (see below)
  • NOVA (see below)

But, as in any well constructed puzzle, all obscurities could be hammered out via gettable crosses. I have no idea how I got through this puzzle seven minutes faster than yesterday's when there were far more words in this one I didn't even know - but I did. Having 1A be a gimme helped - 1A: Squidward's neighbor on Nickelodeon (Spongebob). I actually had to think for a few seconds, as I assumed the answer (on a Saturday) would be some tertiary character. But no. The titular character. Everything in the NW after that was easy - though I forgot/didn't even know NOVA (4D: Cured and smoked salmon). Subsequent quadrants got less easy, and the final one (the SW), was something of a painful mess. RACIALISM? (31D: Bunker mentality?). I knew the clue must be going for Archie Bunker, and yet still ... I don't know when I've ever heard the word RACIALISM. Is that what they used to call RACISM? I had RA--ALIS- and only because I inferred the "ISM" ending did I ever solve 57A: Its motto in Eng. is "It grows as it goes". Read "Eng." as "England," and so was thinking there was some company (abbreviated) that had a different motto overseas. Ugh. ICTUS? Uh, no. There's a RICTUS, of sorts, in the north part of the grid (5D: Use one's zygomatic muscles), but ICTUS is a word I knew and forgot, or never knew. PIPS ... is the "Trey" in question on a gaming die? (39A: Trey trio). Filling out RACIALISM was a rather anticlimactic way to end this pretty typical, reasonably tough Saturday puzzle.

Not feeling well this a.m., in part because of lack of sleep brought on by dog we are dogsitting, who had considerable trouble getting to sleep last night. Lots of fretting and panting and pacing and oddly high-pitched and loud yelling (this is a giant lab we're talking about). My other dogs were like "what the Hell is going on?" Anyway, the dog settled, eventually. I, however, am wasted this morning, and can't bear looking at a computer screen much longer. So, here are your bullets:

  • 16A: Sal Tessio's portrayer in "The Godfather" (Abe Vigoda) - great long answer. Spoiler alert: Sal dies.
  • 25A: Home of Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba) - had the "BA," so no problem.
  • 30A: Furnish with battlements, as a castle (crenelate) - oddly, a gimme for me.
  • 48A: Antarctic dweller (petrel) - a bird I likely learned of from crosswords - it flew quickly to my rescue today in the SE.
  • 9D: Classic novel with a chapter titled "My Breaking In" ("Black Beauty") - "The Story of O" fits (although it turns out there's no "The" in the title)
  • 10D: Holy Ark's location (shul) - thought this would be somewhere specific, not generic. But "UL" gave answer away.
  • 11D: 1961 #1 hit for Bobby Lewis ("Tossin' and Turnin'") - I had TOSSING 'N' TURNING at one point.

  • 26D: MacGyver's first name on "MacGyver" (Angus) - wow, who knew? And now ... 80's power keyboard theme song!

  • 45D: "The Cat's Meow" actor, 2001 (Elwes) - I have no idea what "The Cat's Meow" is, and yet I guessed this off the "E". ELWES is what I would consider very, very high-end crosswordese. Unlike PROT, which is Grade D crosswordese sold only to our enemies overseas (48D: Like Luther: Abbr.).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


JannieB 8:20 AM  

This was much harder for me than yesterday - definitely no on the same wave length. I kept thinking "bunker" was going for a golf term or some battle stategy - Archie didn't hit me at all. Likewise in the NE, Athens was never in Ohio - I kept thinking either Georgia or Greece. Doh!!!

Finally finished but wasn't happy about it. Some nice long downs but overall, not a fun ride. Bring back Manny!!!

chefbea 8:31 AM  

Easier for me than yesterday although I did have to google.

Did the puzzle early cuz I have to get started on my red whit and blue cake to bring to a cook out this afternoon. Not making my red, white and blue cole slaw. Did that last year. Anyone want the recipe just e-mail me.

John 8:32 AM  

Yesterday's was a WHOLE lot easier. Couldnt finish this one, only got 3/4 of it. What Planet is THIS constructor on???

Crosscan 9:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen 9:14 AM  

This one was a lot easier for me than yesterday's, I had a lot of answers on my first read, including SPONGEBOB. My only hangup was the KENO/KHOSI crossing. Here's a goose. ICTUS was a new word to me also.

My surprises were finding ANGUS living in my brain (Richard Dean Anderson is so cool!) and trying to fit in fair WAR instead of USE (as in, all's fair in war?) Also I still can't remember the final letter in ANTIPASTO.

They used to have the Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament in Athens Ohio, with the first round in the university gym.

bigredanalyst 9:20 AM  

I think today's puzzle rates tougher than Easy/Medium.

The NW fell quickly but after that nothing came easily for me.

After much work (and two Googles) I got most of it.

I never got OHIOU which made KHASI impossible since I NEVER heard or saw the word before. Since "khaki" also has an Indian origin, are these words related somehow??

All in all yesterday's puzzle was a lot more satisfying.

Sara 9:24 AM  

"The Story of O": very funny! thanks!

Leslie 9:42 AM  

Oof! I was feeling all proud of myself, because the west coast got filled in fairly quickly, but the entire eastern seaboard was rough slogging for me.

Mentally, I was INSISTING that the Athens school be either in Greece or Georgia, which held me up for the longest. Wanted Khasi to be Farsi and Keno to be Faro. Wanted "exit lanes" to be "exit ramps." Wanted "start anew" to be "start over."


Orange 9:47 AM  

Crosscan, watch for spoilers!

Completely off-topic, but I was gonna say this a few days ago and deleted it instead. It bears saying, though. On the day that there was much acrimony and Evil Doug massed forces against Rex, someone commented that this blog is broader than just Rex. Yes, it's true that there's a whole community here that has taken on a life of its own. However! It is a community that Rex has nurtured (applying the "three and out" rule to make it more welcoming to lurkers, for instance), and he shows great forbearance in not deleting every comment that attacks him personally.

Don't forget that the blog exists at Rex's pleasure. He could stop posting or delete the blog altogether. Could anyone else recreate the community without him? I doubt it. There are other crossword blogs with smaller or less involved audiences, so it's not a simple thing, building an audience this size.

Pretend this is the living room of a guy who's shown an obvious disdain for racism and sexism. If you walked into that guy's living room and started spouting off your antithetical views, you probably wouldn't be invited to his parties again. If you criticized that guy's personality, he wouldn't ask you in again. He wants his living room to be a pleasant refuge, and not the place he goes for flagellation. Does that make sense?

bookmark 9:49 AM  

Took me much longer than yesterday's puzzle. I had too many false starts, like PREJUDICE for RACIALISM.
EXITLANES was my first breakthrough.

I had read about the Sepoy Rebellion a few years ago in a book about Gandhi and Churchill. Others were gimmes, but Abe Vigoda brought back fond memories.
Anyone else watch "Barney Miller" in the 70s? Abe (Fish) was my favorite character.

Crosscan 10:01 AM  

Oops about a spoiler elsewhere. I've deleted that comment and replaced it here with increased vagueness.

I liked today's puzzle. It made a big difference that I had just completed another of today's puzzles with an identical clue that opened up the East.

Took way long to get MANITOBA, as OKLAHOMA fit nicely.

SPONGE BOB is one that needed lots of crossings, until that moment when you say "of course".

I completed a puzzle with ICTUS and KHASI. It's all in the crossings.

Orange is exactly right. Rex is King and we are here at his pleasure. Play nice.

Helene 10:03 AM  


twangster 10:16 AM  

I found this puzzle insanely challenging. Could only get about half in an hour and ultimately just gave up and looked at the answers. I did get the top left.

For 57-across I was sure it was AMEX, thinking that made sense as a slogan for an international credit card company (if you earn bonus points with each purchase or something). That left me with _ _ _ _PEDIA. The only thing that seemed to fit was WIKIPEDIA, but I couldn't see how that worked as the answer for "helped out" (I was thinking, shouldn't it be "it helps you out"?).

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

I love this blog, and am constantly impressed with the time and effort that goes into it.
I am frustrated (at times), however, with how the puzzles are rated. This was a challenging puzzle for me, even comparing it to yesterday's (I was shocked/surprised/relieved reading yesterday's comments). I know it's subjective, and what will be easy for some will be hard for others, even in the same echelon of solvers. But Man.. this one today beat me up, and to read the rating as "easy/medium" just hurts. Maybe I need to start doing the puzzles in People Magazine.

Orange 10:25 AM  

Anonymous, this puzzle took me a little longer than yesterday's, and KHASI was insanely tough—that KENO clue gave me no help at all. Please: Put the People crosswords down and step away from the magazine. You don't need to do that to yourself!

PlantieBea 10:31 AM  

This puzzle was easier than yesterday's for me. The long wispy, sprawly answers came quickly for a change and out of nowhere. Although I didn't know the Lewis song, it filled in. But KHASI? ICTUS? ELWES? Never could have solved without the crosses.

Favorite words/answers were CRENELATE, ROMANO, ANTIPASTO, BLACK BEAUTY, PETREL, MANITOBA. Unfortunately, because the puzzle wasn't clued as cleverly as yesterday's, it was less satisfying to complete. Still, happy to get a Saturday done without pondering a whole day :-)

Frances 10:32 AM  

@ Karen--
Forget the $2000 price tag. That picture of a goose is priceless!

bill from fl 10:34 AM  

After the NW went quickly, and I saw ONE MOMENT PLEASE and AT AN IMPASSE, I thought the rest would be a snap. But every corner was a struggle. Putting in ATE AWAY and START OVER set me back.

I had seen RACIALISM before. I'm from New Orleans, the hometown of David Duke, ys"v. I've noticed that racists like Duke prefer to call themselves racialists, for some reason.

Chorister 10:39 AM  

I never got KHASI/KENO. Have heard of such a game, but no idea what the pieces are, so I just left it blank.

Never heard of The Cat's Meow and imdb'd it. Might have got ELWES without that if I hadn't been looking at the wrong @#%! set of squares.

I think RACIALISM is a malapropism of Archie Bunker's.

One of those Oh, lordy! puzzles where first pass leave almost all blanks except what you think you've surely got wrong on a Sat. (SPONGEBOB, PROT) but that comes together (mostly) eventually. Quite a bit of forced entries it seemed.

Oh, and dang it, now I have to drag out my music theory book and be prepared to feel dumb over ictus because I thought it was just the upstroke at the beginning of a conducting pattern, and thus not reapeated. Have I had it wrong all this time? So, to the dusty bookshelves to find out.

twangster 10:56 AM  

To add to what Orange said, the rating is extremely subjective, especially on Friday and Saturday. My dad (who's in his 70s) does these puzzles and more often than not the puzzles I can't solve he has no trouble with, and vice versa. But I know how you feel ... the trick is to learn to look at the rating more for fun than as a reflection on your solving abilities.

Pinky 11:01 AM  

the middle may as well have been written in KHASI.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

i'm shocked -- rex performs an amazing service with this blog. if you don't like it, go elsewhere, start your own, whatever. how the man does it so regularly and with such a high level of quality amazes me. (i once did provide a correction to the write up which was incorporated almost immediately, which also impressed me.)

that said, what the heck is a 'pobox'?

HudsonHawk 11:19 AM  

Fun puzzle. I cruised down the West Coast, but the East took some time. I often confuse the two lieutenants in The Godfather (Tessio and Clemenza), but ABE VIGODA came to me quickly. Richard Castellano play Clemenza, which wouldn't fit anyway--Bruno Kirby played the young Clemenza. VIGODA lives in my neighborhood and I occasionally see him at the grocery store. Very nice man. And @bookmark, I loved Barney Miller. So many great characters.

I too got hung up with START OVER, which caused me to linger in the SE. ELWES straightened me out. I like a nice cold IPA--didn't know there was one that wasn't for quaffing.

@Anon 11:18, try P.O. BOX.

HudsonHawk 11:21 AM  


treedweller 11:25 AM  

To add to what twangster said, anon 10:19 may have overlooked the explanation of difficulty ratings (in the sidebar of the main blog page). "Easy" on a Saturday is roughly equivalent to "Impossible" on a Monday. Rex's ratings scale up through the week along with the puzzles' difficulty.

Having said that, I found yesterday to be a hard Friday but got through it on my own. I found large parts of this one easy for a Saturday, but had to google for the finish (TOSSINANDTURNIN, which revealed three of four across errors, did most of it, but I also looked up IGUANODON). The SEPOY/GPO cross I left in as a guess and got lucky.

Leslie 11:25 AM  

@anonymous: Yeah, I was thinking "Po' box? Like a po' boy sub sandwich??" THEN it came into focus.

Greene 11:26 AM  

I have to agree with the "Easy/Medium" difficulty rating. When I get as many answers correct on the first pass as I did on this one, then it has got to be a bit easier than most Saturdays (when I just stare blankly at huge swaths of empty grid).

SPONGE BOB and ABE VIGODA were gimmies and the NW fell within a minute. Having ONE MO... quickly led to ONE MOMENT PLEASE and I had a good foothold in the SW. I must be the only solver for whom ICTUS was a known word. I knew ELECTRA straight off and HANG TEN came fairly easily. Like @Chorister I just assumed RACIALISM was another Archie Bunker malaprop. Couldn't help thinking of @EdithB as I typed that one in.

The East side of the puzzle was another puzzle altogether. IGUANODON? KHASI? SEPOY? Ouch cubed! I did like seeing TOSSIN' AND TURNIN' in the grid.

@Rex: Your comment on the drunk Fonzie-saurus? Priceless. I'm still giggling over the photo and the comment.

Kurt 11:30 AM  


I was the one that suggested to ED that this blog has become bigger and broader than just Rex. But I fear that you took it the wrong way. That was a real compliment to Rex ... not a dismissal. I agree that Rex is the creator. And that we are all able to enjoy this blog because Rex continues to put in an incredible amount of work - day-in & day-out. And that Rex could just decide to stop and we would all just be talking to ourselves.

My point was that with Rex's guiding hand and forbearance, the blog has developed into a place that tolerates - even encourages - many differing views and opinions. That, in my opinion, is what makes this place so special. And that is what makes Rex so special.

So therefore, when one offers an opinion - about a puzzle or about broader issues - they should be prepared for a reaction. And occasionlly that reaction will be tough, and if the issue is an emotional one, maybe even personal. But that doesn't seem like a good reason for leaving the blog. That seems like a good time to take a deep breath, move on and reengage on something else the next day.


ArtLvr 11:39 AM  

@ Karen -- many thanks for the KENO Goose!

I solved this without peeking anywhere, but would have preferrred two L's in CRENELATE. It turns out that both are correct. My first post here over a year ago mentioned the tacky crenellated garages in a posh development near here: I remember because Ulrich the architect was very tickled...

The hint of raunch through the week winds up with LUSTS over COOLS IT, through GESTATION. I didn't know TOSSIN' AND TURNIN', but maybe that fits in too. At least everything was clear with crosses.

ONE MOMENT, PLEASE was my first long fill, then BLACK BEAUTY and ANTIPASTO. Loved the SEPOY and IGUANODON, but never heard of SAMOA TIME! 88 degrees high yesterday and today is more moderate, so it's off to the gardening. TATA and thanks to Dave Tuller for a very good Saturday. I hope Rex is feeling better soon!


Denise 11:43 AM  

Help from Dr. Google on this one -- the dinosaur, McGyver, and a few others.

When I was a kid, I owned very few books. One was a gift from a favorite uncle who disappeared into mental illness. But, it was about the Sepoy Mutiny, and I read it over and over. Always proud to know that word.

I love the music in the music inserts in the blog, although I never click on heavy metal.

I left it late last night at LHASI/LENO.

Thanks, Rex.

XMAN 11:44 AM  

@chorister: Think prosody, not music.

If I hadn't had IGUANaDON instead of IGUANODON...and had thought PO BOX instead of PO' BOX.... Alas!

And KHASI seems to be too obscure to be included in the Wikipedia article on Assam.

A "bunker mentality" is a state of mind in which you rationalize the fear of th e enemy out there by exaggerating all their supposed evils. So RACIALISM applies perfectly.

Ale Man 11:45 AM  

Flamers, Trolls and the like are part of the internet. People are rude when you are not face to face.

My misspent youth involved many social events. The most memorable, upon reflection, were ones that ended in brawls.

The free exchange of ideas and opinions allow for a more balanced discussion. If we all agreed, it would be boring.

poc 11:46 AM  

I think the Easy/Medium rating applies to those who got the SPONGEBOB answer right away. For the rest of us, this was more Challenging. In fact I finally got SPONGEBOB via an inspired guess as I'd heard of the show but never seen it and Squidward meant nothing to me.

I did manage the whole thing without Googling, but it took a while. I confess to having seen The Cat's Meow on TV a few years ago, but that didn't make it any easier.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:50 AM  

I'm in the "easier than yesterday" camp. The only part that threw me was OHIOU which I couldn't parse despite the fact its my father's and my grandfather's alma mater. I thought it was a lots-of-initials universities like IUPUI, only one that I never heard of in Athens, Georgia. I also had to guess the O in SEPOY/GPO, which I did correctly.

Two Ponies 11:52 AM  

After getting badly bruised and finally defeated by Manny yesterday I feel better today... but not much. There are some very odd words here and, as someone else pointed out, a possible violation that kept me from getting GPO and Sepoy. Two post offices in one puzzle?
The only kind of Keno I ever see is electronic without a sack anywhere.
Most of the oddities are already forgotten but considering the subtheme of the week my word of the day is concupiscent. Could that be related to concubine?
@ Orange and Kurt, I usually chime in on a topic like that but this one has been beaten into the ground. Let's leave it buried and move on.

HudsonHawk 11:53 AM  

I actually saw the picture before I read RP's comment, and thought, Fonzie! Well done, Rex!

fikink 12:06 PM  

Things I really liked about this puzzle and things I really PROTest:
I like the new (to me) clue for NOVA; I thought RACIALISM with the ? resulted in an Archie-ism, so I went with it.

Rex, you laugh, but I did enter The Story of O, initially!

@bookmark, Barney Miller is the reason I remember ABE VIGODA; loved him and the comedian whose first name is Steve who used to have the name "Hoffnagle" in his act all the time.

Now, as to PROT - is this suppose to stand for Protestant? If it is, I strenuously object and would like to hear the constructor's argument for it. On a lighter note, it did bring back memories of being sent to the corner for telling my Missouri-Synod Lutheran teacher a joke about Martin Luther's new book called "I Was a Teenage Catholic."

chris 12:12 PM  

I once saw Abe Vigoda in an elevator. Cool story, I know.

edith b 12:16 PM  

Putting the NW corner together based on SPONGEBOB allowed me to race down the WestCoast in pretty short order.

I chipped away at the NE corner long enough to uncover TOSSINANDTURNIN and ended up with some portions of the MidAtlantic states blank and most of the coastal South unsolved.

OHIOU was my big breakthrough as other puzzles in the past have used Athens as a clue to misdirect one away from Ohio but I was on to that trick. I had to guess K at 32A to complete the section and pecked. pecked , pecked away at the damnable SE corner for what seemed like forever.

I was drawing blanks everywhere but I was determined to finish. Cary ELWES helped me to complete my partials at 52 & 56A.

SEEME was my last entry as I had such a difficult time with a puzzle that was essentially a Medium with a few thorny patches. I did enjoy this one and, yes, Bunker mentality did draw a smile from me, Dr Greene.

Martin 12:45 PM  

Editor Martin here. I don't mean to be cheeky but t's "zygomatic." Not "sygomatic" (as in the post body) nor "zygmatic" (as in a new tag/label today).

retired_chemist 12:49 PM  

Overall enjoyable but tougher than yesterday - 7 min slower and an error. Definitely medium/challenging for me. Lots of stuff to learn, some fun multiple possibilities, but yesterday was a hard act to follow. Got the NW in a (relative) heartbeat, 9D BLACK BEAUTY, and then..... and then......

KENO/KHASI was a personal Natick - started off with LHASA (hey, it's nearby...) and went to LHASI after eliminating PROBOSCIS @ 13D in favor of GESTATION. Left the L - figured LENO was just another game I have never played or heard of.... a goose in KENO? Who knew?

Incidentally, I am SURE some others had PROBOSCIS for a long time too, although nobody has 'fessed up. Thought it was a brilliant bit of construction, I suspect intentional, to have TWO 9 letter words fit the clue perfectly. That played hob with the Atlantic coast.

Non-puzzle wife has, among her many virtues, an amazing command of 50s through 90s movies, music, and TV. She gave me 11D TOSSIN' AND TURNIN', even sayin' NOT to use the G's, and ANGUS MAcGyver. I think I would have got the latter on my own eventually, but without the former I would have probably had to google for the Atlantic. 45D had LEWIS (who?) and TEWES (who?) before ELWES, and 58A EXIT____ had signs and ramps before lanes. 52A was START OVER first.

Two Ponies 1:05 PM  

@ retired_chemist - I tried proboscis as well and toyed with the idea of migration before gestation showed itself.
Good Sat. clue for the old stand-by Stye.
Reading everyone's comments and mistakes I am impressed with how many possible answers there were to numerous clues. Asagio has the same # of letters as romano and even ends in an O.

Leon 1:19 PM  

Thanks Mr. Tuller.

Tessio was always smarter but now he sleeps with the fishes.

1853 New Year's Eve banquet inside the Iguanodon.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Well, I must say that as a husband and wife team, where the husband is the scholar and the wife just a doodler, today's puzzle was easy for the wife and hard for the husband. He usually supplies the historical and arcane info, she, the inane. So this family says today's puzzle is easy/medium-hard.
Rex rocs

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

@Greene wrote: "I must be the only solver for whom ICTUS was a known word."

You don't say!

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

The Cat's Meow was on cable this past week. It's about the murder of a movie producer named Ince aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht during the 20's. Cary Elwes played Ince, Edward Hermann played WR Hearst and Kirsten Dunst played Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Eddie Izzard is in there too as Charlie Chaplin. I like the movie and I've loved Cary Elwes since his portrayal of the farmboy in The Princess Bride.

JannieB 2:08 PM  

@Poc - I guessed SpongeBob immediately, but still had a tough time with this puzzle.

Was I the only one who first thought ACME at 49D??? (Be honest!!!)

joho 2:20 PM  

This was definitely more difficult for me than yesterday's and, with no disrepect for Mr. Tuller, Manny made me much happier in the end.

Did anybody else have "stepped in" for CHIPPED IN? What a mess. And while I know a lot of words CRENELATE isn't one of them. So that section, which included RACIALISM .. which I refuse to accept as a word unless it's a malaprop ... really did me in.

I look forward to STARTANEW tomorrow.

Oh, @Two Ponies ... I thought the same thing about concubine.

mac 2:39 PM  

I did two-thirds of the puzzle fast, thought it was an easy one today, left to run some errands and then hit the impossible areas.
That tossin' and turnin' just wouldn't come. Does "hang ten" have something to do with toes?

@twangster: had to love about your Amex comment. What would be growing? Probably your debt....

What does IPA mean in connection with beer? A few days ago I had invitited a niece and nephew over, and asked what they liked to drink, and was told: "all kinds of beer, no IPA". No clue what she meant.

What a great face, Abe Vigoda!

Was Tessio really the one who "swam with the fishes"?

mac 2:40 PM  

love = laugh

kevin der 2:41 PM  

@mac: pretty sure it was luca brasi who swam with the fishes.

this thing was much harder than "easy/medium" for me. at least 11 answers i've never heard of, let alone in the clues.

Leon 2:51 PM  

Of course it was Luca who slept with the fishes, but I could not resist punning the star of FISH.

From IMDB:
[TESSIO brings in Luca Brasi's bulletproof vest, delivered with a fish inside]
Sonny: What the hell is this?
Clemenza: It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

bill from fl 3:04 PM  

About the expression "sleeps with the fishes": Someone once asked Steve Schirripa (Bobby Bacala on the Sopranos) whether fish really sleep. He said, "it's not the fish that are sleeping."

Shamik 3:21 PM  

Yikes. I had family obligations yesterday, so haven't seen Friday's puzzle yet. This one kicked my a** big time. The northwest fell like an easy avalanche and its fall presaged a whole lot of nothing. 60 seconds of woosh followed by 42 more minutes of angst. Finally I love the language of BHASI which is where you'll find the game of BENO in which there's a game played with a sacl called a goose. At least that's how it fell in Shamikland.

Lots I could say, but it was good to see such a challenge even if my grid wasn't 100%.

Best thing to say, is thank you to Rex for keeping this going. When I get a job, your website is one i tend to donate to.

joho 3:24 PM  

@mac ... "hang ten" is a surfing term ... hanging ten toes off the board, dude.

hazel 3:24 PM  

@Orange - I don't understand why you continue to defend Rex who really needs no defenders. He's no shrinking violet, by any means, and seems to say whatever he wants whenever he wants to.

Here here (hear hear?) for the community he's created, and I'm pretty sure everyone here appreciates the amount of effort he puts into this site - but in my own opinion he gets does go off the deep end occasionally - I for one think he went way over the line in the Evil Doug example, plus he's yelled at me for no good reason on more than one occasion. I could give a rat's a** however as I like this site and the people who frequent it.

Didn't like the puzzle today.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Are you supposed to flash to an image of receiving a test paper back from a teacher who has written on it the words "see me"? If so, this is the weirdest thing ever. If not, what does this mean?

Lisa in Kingston 3:29 PM  

@R_C and @Two Ponies, I thought proboscis, but it did not fit in with 29A "on at". I also had asiago at first, but Abe Vigoda took care of that.

Ulrich 3:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 3:36 PM  

@joho: I, too, had STEPPED IN, after erasing CRENELATE b/c I thought it was misspelled (one l only)--duh!. Needless to say, it held me up for hours of intermittend head-banging. But i finally put CRENELATE back in b/c the bunker clue suddenly fell into place.

On a positive note: This has been the first week in a while when I did solve all puzzles w/o googling, if glacially, at times. Which brings me to the topic of subjective difficulties:

It's striking how different the views from different solvers are, and the pattern that I see, for the tough late-week puzzles, is that those with fewer difficulties tend to start with a couple of gimmies--that's where background and specialization come in, of course. If you don't have any gimmies (as it happens to me a lot) you're in for the long haul.

All of this is to be expected. What I find truly amazing is that the top solvers, those that win the prizes at the ACPT, seem to be uneffected by these subjective factors: THEY SOLVE ANYTHING THROWN AT THEM IN RECORD TIME. Which leads me to believe that at that level, certain cognitive abilities/dispositions come into play that are not at work for a mere mortal like me.

Charles Bogle 3:39 PM  

I'm w @bigredanalyst and way this was "Easy-Medium"!

Granted I'm fairly new to this, but given the lack of a theme, the number of obscure words, the seeming disjointedness....this was very challenging at least for me

I got about half before coming here, mostly in the upper half

I wish I could say it nonetheless was fun, clever, worth the great amt of time, a real learning experience etc. But instead I say also: what planet is the constructor on?

fikink 3:39 PM  

@anonymous 3:26, I have seen "See me," employed when a subjective test, e.g., essay format (remember those "blue books"?), is graded by a professor (remember when professors, not TAs, graded exams?) and the evaluation of the student's performance requires further explanation from the prof. The only time I can think of someone writing "See me" on a multiple choice or true/false test/quiz - or maybe a vocabulary test in a foreign language class - is when two students have the exact same incorrect answers throughout the exam.

acey michaels 4:01 PM  

Had lunch yesterday with my friend and sometimes co-constructor Michael Blake and we were discussing songs that dropped the final G:
Blowin' in the wind
Jumpin' Jack Flash
SIngin' in the Rain

and I wanted to do a puzzle before remembering that it had already been done...
yet that STILL didn't trigger TOSSINANDTURNIN... at one point I channeled TImothy Leary and tried Toss in and Turn on!

we made step for step same mistakes. My initial PO'BOY led to EYE as in a Skeletal opening...which I originaly had KEY for (Skeletal Key made sense!)

And it didn't help that I spelled it HONOR ROLE (that's what happens when you're always playing with words) so BLACKBEAUTY did not rear into view for a while.

One spelling mistake after another ANTIPASTA...and I kept deciding things wouldn't fit...
like I would think, "Oh! I bet it's Spongebob Squarepants...nope too long!"
Or AT AN IMPASS, nope, too short..."
Having M-------A I tried Minnesota, Montana, Missoura

Anon 2:04
Didn't remember seeing "Cat's Meow" till you described it. Now it rings a bell that it was supposedly based on a true story, but the film itself seemed dreadful and pretentious...and I half-remember that it was even directed by Peter Bogdanovich!

@Two ponies
Didn't know what concupiscent was, but it sounded dirty!

re: Name dropper...I never thought ACME, but I DID think, hmmm, I should know...thank god for the ET ALIA vs ET ALII discussion yesterday!
But seriously, will I never live it down???!!! I haven't namedropped in, like, a year!!!!!!
I've been keeping all my fabulous little Abe Vigoda-in-an-elevator type stories to myself, but I see it's done no good!

Bob Kerfuffle 4:03 PM  

@mac - IPA = India Pale Ale. Or better yet, ask your niece what she meant.

andrea should-be-in-shul-and-not-typing michaels nee eisenberg 4:07 PM  

ps also cop to PROBOSCIS,
EXITROAD/RAMP, STARTOVER and TADA! (As in a magician taking off a veil to reveal a dove or whatever)
also HINDI for way too long, and ELEANOR for ELECTRA!

Even Jewish mistakes:
ZION (for SHUL! Going on when-in-doubt go with a Scrabble letter, worked with POBOX)

Where is our own Edith Bunker on RACIALISM today???!!!

mac 5:23 PM  

@andrea: What et alii discussion? Never saw that, and I'm interested in the difference. Maybe Ulrich can decide for us, he's very good at Latin.

Lurker0 5:28 PM  

Hi. My second post. No longer a virgin. Sigh...

A couple of observations and a question.

No one has responded to Rex Parker's question "PIPS ... is the "Trey" in question on a gaming die? (39A: Trey trio)." Having stared at playing cards more hours than I care to admit, I'm sure that the "Trey trio" is the three suit symbols at the center of every "3" card.

@bill from fl

Your 'David Duke, ys"v' somewhat arcane tag seems to have snuck by unnoticed, so I will expound on it (at some length, forgive me): 'ys"v' is a rarely used acronym for Hebrew "yimakh shemo vezikhrono" -- may his name and memory be erased; quite appropriate for David Duke, but I thought reserved for dead people like successful suicide bombers or Adolf Hitler ys"v. For most people the addendum would be 'z"l' ("zikhrono livrakhah" -- may his memory serve as a blessing) or, for the exceptionally meritorious, 'zts"l' ("zekher tsaddik livrakhah" -- the memory of the righteous serves as a blesseng).

Next, my personal brain freeze: "ONEMOMENTplease" came up as "ONEMOMENTintime," I having confused "Old company" (AT&T) with Kodak, who used that song in their advertising ("A Kodak Moment") a while ago. It took "ELECTRA" for me eventually to resolve the goof.

Finally, a question about solving technique: I hate entering anything into the grid without at least one confirming cross, to avoid overwrites. But many here -- and apparently all the speed solvers -- seem to prefer scanning and entering the acrosses and then the downs, leading IMO to lots of blind guessing. Has this issue been discussed before, and with what conclusions?

Thanks all for your attention. This blog (the only blog I read, which I stumbled across via Google) is very lively and stimulating -- and fun!

Larry the Lurker
(aka Joe the Plumber -- NOT!)

Ulrich 6:15 PM  

@mac: She means YOU, I think, and I believe you got it right: alia are other things (neuter) and alii are other people (actually, male persons).

In any case, I'm passing the mantle of resident expert on Latin happily to Clark, who appears to be better qualified than I, who has to remember things from 50 years back.

PuzzleGirl 7:36 PM  

Finished this one with several flat-out guesses that turned out to be right. I was shocked.

@HudsonHawk: Where do you live? I used to live in Hell's Kitchen and saw Abe Vigoda around the neighborhood all the time!

Enjoyed this one.

PuzzleGirl 7:41 PM  

Oh, and Charles Bogle: I deleted your most recent comment because it included a spoiler to another puzzle. Some here may not have done that puzzle yet and wouldn't want to go into it already knowing a clue/answer.

retired_chemist 7:47 PM  

@ Lurker0 - I think the experienced solvers frequently KNOW what the most common crosswordese is for many of the clues. German city - ESSEN; Hebrew month - ADAR or ELUL; 3 letter golfer - ELS; or have a lot of stuff like ABE VIGODA, SPONGEBOB, etc., in their wheelhouse. It just takes a few of those to make major incursions into the solution.

Or getting stuff like MANITOBA (25A) from just a few key crosses, e.g. the -BA RP mentioned. I had -OBA and got it from that. Not that either RP or I knew where Riding Park was, but how many 8 letter places can you name that end in -OBA?

Keep with it - it gets easier.

chefbea 7:49 PM  

@andrea.... you are a riot!!!!

Anne 7:59 PM  

Again I am going to comment before reading the others. I don't think I'll have the energy afterwards. I managed to finish the NW and SE before I left this morning. Thank you, SpongeBob, for giving me a good beginning. That is not always the case on Saturday. And I've actually seen a petrel, not in the Antartic however. After I came back home, I did the two middle sections and it took forever. In spite of my frustration, I did note lusts crossing gestation and thought what a fine way to end this week. I googled quite a bit and finally came here to finish crenecate and ictus, neither of which I have ever seen.

Tomorrow, I start anew.

But first, I'll read the comments.

Anne 8:22 PM  

It always bothered me that Sonny asked what the fish was so that Clemenza had to explain it to him. I thought Sonny would have known that, as well as everybody else around him. I know the point was to tell the audience but the writer could have done it more smoothly.

edith b 8:31 PM  


My mind went right to the correct answer because of the coincidence of names and Greene mentioned it earlier But I thank you for including me as part of this fine community.

But as part of this community I must say that I agree with Hazel that Rex certainly is not a shrinking violet and requires no defense especially from a heavyweight such as Orange. We who have been around for a while do not need to be reminded that Rex sometimes goes off the deep end the same as some - not all, but some - of us have done in the past.

But to be reminded that he could always pick up his bats and balls at any time and go home - I, for one, find that idea a little creepy and vengeful. No doubt a true statement but it does deny that he has a responsibility TO his blog just as he has a right to expect responsible behavior FROM the members of his blog.

I will now put on a hat as I expect a storm of a certain kind of invective will ensue.

fikink 8:39 PM  

Man, Edith, I am going to the kitchen to make myself some popcorn!
Somebody cut the lights!

PhillySolver 8:50 PM  

Can I add to the comments from edithb (who is a treasure)? It seems that the smartest people I know are here in this blog and I have only met some of them face to face. This blog is like 'Cheers' for me...seems like everyone knows your name. Thanks to Rex and those that share in the spirit of this community. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all.

George NYC 8:57 PM  

Dick Cheney has gone off the deep end. Rex? I don't think so.

michael 9:10 PM  

I thought this was much harder than yesterday's (which I found relatively easy). I had to google elwes and crenelate and while I got the dinosaur, I had never heard of it.

But in some ways this was an example of a good Saturday puzzle. I got very little the first time around, but after some thinking was able to fill in a lot (though unfortunately not everything).

Orange 9:19 PM  

Oh, Edith. Rex has a responsibility to the blog? Only a self-imposed one. Does a knitter have an obligation to the yarn to finish making a scarf? No.

The social compact of a blogger is wholly voluntary. I know a handful of people who have largely given up blogging because it was sapping their other writing energies or because it was no longer fun. Did I want them to continue blogging? Sure. But that wasn't a consideration for them. This has nothing to do with Rex's personality or the commenters here—it's just how things are with blogs, particularly blogs that do not have publishers or advertisers sponsoring them.

Ulrich 9:37 PM  

@George in NYC: I agree with you--that would be a comfort. The reality is much bleaker.

Two Ponies 9:59 PM  

Wow, the thought of this blog disappearing ... I would miss it so badly. I have a wonderful life outside of puzzling but coming here enriches me and keeps me sharp. PuzzleMate endures my hobby but doesn't share my love of words. If I couldn't come here and feel the affirmation of everyone here who shares the fun of puzzle solving something I have come to love would be sorely missed.

Lisa in Kingston 10:20 PM  

@ Hazel: A friend comes to a friend's defense. How could they not?

I hope it will be a good long time before Rex's blog comes to an end. In a way, I hope it does eventually, because I would not expect our Professor to keep this thing up forever (in keeping with the theme of the puzzles this week).
Love to you all,

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