SATURDAY, Jul. 18 2009 — Bucharest buffoon of court / Bandleader with #1 hit Blues in Night / 1960s catchphrase / Fernando Valenzuela's nickname

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SPLINE (14D: Long, thin strip) n.

    1. Any of a series of projections on a shaft that fit into slots on a corresponding shaft, enabling both to rotate together.
    2. The groove or slot for such a projection.
  1. A flexible piece of wood, hard rubber, or metal used in drawing curves.
  2. A wooden or metal strip; a slat.

[Origin unknown.]

This is a common grid shape for constructors who want to show off with a very low word count. In general, only Patrick Berry can fill these grids with any kind of panache. That said, this was not bad. I've seen worse. Kind of dull, fill-wise, but not at all terrible. A step up from the last time Mr. Krozel went to a word count this low.

My initial foray into the grid was probably like many of yours — I got squat, and had that common, early-in-a-Saturday-puzzle feeling that I was never going to make progress. But after futzing around in the NE for a while with various stabs and ERASURES (44A: Indications that things have changed?), I finally saw a clue I knew I knew: 20A: Watching Letterman or Conan, say (up late). Not sure why I was so certain, but I was. Then the gimme SOREN (probably the only real gimme for me in the whole thing, 13D: Theologian Kierkegaard) confirmed it and I was on my way to getting the NW. Next answer up there was FREE LOVE (3D: 1960s catchphrase), which I wouldn't have trusted (it's a catchphrase? I thought it was a ... practice) if I hadn't entertained DUFFS already at 1A: Rears, which gave me the "F." In a grid like this, getting a few answers can really make a section fall quickly. It's getting those initial answers that's the touch (sometimes Very tough) part.

Grid shape makes it hard to round corners into other sections of the grid. I failed coming out of the NW and had to reboot with HEELS (42D: They're tough to run in) in the SW. Without that answer, I'm toast down there. With it, I've got initial letters for almost all the Acrosses. I start with LEAD INTO, which is wrong, but 75% right, which is enough (real answer = LEAD UP TO, 48A: Precede). Then I try HAVE AT IT (42A: "Dig in!"), which turns out to be 100% right. Cool. That lone Scrabbly "V" has Very high value in a grid like this, and makes AVATAR instantly obvious (38D: Embodiment). Rest of the quadrant takes care of itself (though BARNET is a complete mystery to me — 37D: Charlie of swing) and it's back to the center again.

I manage to get GET A at 25A: _____ clue, and with just that T-L ending I then get 15D: Before coming out? And now I'm up in the quadrant where I technically started (and sputtered, and died). I've got some residue from my first attempt still up here. One of these leftover answers is PROXY, which I had at 11D: One may act for an actor. But even as I wrote that in in the beginning, I didn't trust it. I really wanted LETS IN ON at 19A: Makes privy to, which would have made PROXY impossible. Well PRENATAL gave me the "E" I needed to go with LETS IN ON and obliterate the lovely (if wrong) PROXY. Also obliterated in that move: DERIDE, which I had where CUSS AT was supposed to be (7D: Verbally run down). LIANAS was an early guess that actually ended up panning out, huzzah (9D: Rain forest flora). Knew the proper nouns up here but their clues didn't get me there easily. Wasn't aware that SCALIA had written a book of any note (6A: Jurist who wrote "A Matter of Interpretation," 1997). I had a different, non-tennis "court" in mind at 23A: The Bucharest Buffoon of the court, and only late did I realize we were talking about tennis. Clue on ATTILA seems more straightforward, but it still didn't help much (8D: King who infamously demanded half of Rome's Western Empire as a dowry).

All that was left after the NE was the SE, but rounding that corner ... not easy. Forgot / couldn't get AYESHA (28A: Muhammad's favorite wife), and without those delicious initial letters in the Downs, I struggled. Guessed SENORAS (36D: Serape sporters), which felt good, but didn't get me much. Then wrote in SECTS (51A: They branch off), and that "C" ends up being the tipping point. It tells me there's an "-IC" ending on 31D: Consonant, and HARMONIC is the first thing that pops to mind. That lets me guess CHAPS (35A: Western wear), which gives me "P" in APPARENT (32D: Ostensible), which gives me back end of THORPE (a guess) (41A: Breaker of the 400-meter freestyle world record at the 2000 Olympics), and everything falls from there. That I was able to hash out a quadrant with FOUR PROPER NOUN ACROSSES that I Didn't Know ... feels good. AYESHA, THORPE, HERMAN (43A: Bandleader with the #1 hit "Blues in the Night") and EL TORO (45A: Baseballer Fernando Valenzuela's nickname) ... yipes. I loved Valenzuela when I was a kid. I thought maybe he was EL GATO or EL GORDO. Didn't remember the bull.

Oh, I should say that I got complacent at the end, or was just too tired to care, and finished with an odd double-error — one that resulted in mostly plausible answers all around. Because I had SENORAS initially at 36D, I had a final "A" at 49A: It turns over before it runs. Filled that answer in by feel as I went along, and apparently that answer "felt" like ANGINA. And, yes, a THEMA is a thing (41D: Writer's development — real answer = THEME).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefbea 7:54 AM  

Much easier than yesterday although I did have to google quite a bit.

Was nice to hear about Andrea's and Mac's solving experience yesterday

retired_chemist 7:54 AM  

Liked it. Well done, Mr. Krozel.

The NE fell quickly, but nothing else. A bit of a slog in the rest of the puzzle though.

25A was NOT A clue which slowed me down only a little. Got SPLINE (14D), which corrected 25A, which got GRADIENT, which did not break the SW wide open. DENSER (26A) and EGO TRIPS (27A – nice clue there) helped bridge both into the SW and NW, but the SE was going to be solved on its own. AYESHA (28A) would remain a mystery until the crosses were all in. Wanted it BADLY for the reason Rex said.

Got to ___ CODE for 37A, tried UPC and ZIP with obvious lack of success, and then BAR CODE broke the SW open.

Had IN ROWS @ 12A with little confidence. SOREN was a gimme @ 13D, so I had some traction in the NW but little inspiration. That was my last section to fill.

bill from fl 8:11 AM  

Maybe it's because I OD'd on a collection of tough NYT crosswords on a transatlantic flight this week, but this one seemed really easy. My footholds were CAESAR, SOREN, SCALIA, BARCODE, and SHORTAGE.

Hobbyist 8:29 AM  

I thought this to be way easier than yesterday's but missed spline as had gOt a clue w left me with splino.
Groan. Always something.
I still think the I Love Lucy gang lived in a many-storied brownstone with a window ledge that towered over the city below. I was a kid then and I stick by my childish impressions. No factual evidence needed, thanks.

Crosscan 8:59 AM  

I found this very solvable until the SE, where I didn't know AYESHA and came to a very long crashing halt.

Got SECTS which gave me IN EFFECT for 32D and SENORES. Decided SENORES was the wrong one. Long time sorting that out.

Excellent puzzle; despite no 3 letter and few 4 letter words, only SPLINE is weak. Nice job.

ArtLvr 9:34 AM  

I was lucky, starting in the NE with AGENT and adjacent downs, so that SCALIA and SOOTHSAY confirmed NASTASE and the rest. Ditto in the SE, SENORES and APPARENT confirmed CHAPS, not spurs, and Writer's development wasn't cramp but it gave me an M for MOANER and THEME.

In the SW I started with STRESS, AVATAR, RESIDE -- enjoyed EGO TRIPS! And the NW went easily with SOREN, CAESAR and FORSAKEN leading to DUFFS and the rest of the downs...

The musical clues were the most fun, from INTONE and HARMONIC to HERMAN and BARNET, plus STEREO and even the bar in BAR CODE for an over- stretch? Kudos to Krozel for a copasetic cruise!


joho 9:35 AM  

I wrote down SPLINE as my word of the day as was happy to see it was Rex's as well. As Ricky always said, "Lucy, you gotta a lotta SPLINE to do."

For some reason I had two re-rights with HEELS even though I know from experience that the clue is correct.

I wanted in utero before PRENATAL and considered closeted before I got the correct answer.

This type of puzzle is like solving four separate puzzles and my last quandrant to fall was the SE. I had Phelps for THORPE way too long which really messed me up. I wanted hombres for SENORES. I finally figured out CHAPS and after that the whole quarter fell.

Fun puzzle, Joe Krozel!

ArtLvr 9:55 AM  

p.s. I enjoyed going back and reading the rest of yesterday's comments from Mac and Andrea et al. Also, the calico cat in the treadmill clip looks just like my own Minou, bushy tail and all....


PlantieBea 9:59 AM  

Got it all, in time, but had to look up Fernando Valenzuela to get a foothold in the most difficult SE corner. Wanted WHINER for a while but fixed that after I got EL TORO in place. ENGINE was my first guess for 49A.

I learned about spline after the hurricane season that ripped panels of screening out of our screened enclosure. Spline, forced down into a groove in the aluminum frame, holds the screen tightly in place.

Favorite answers were CAUCUS, CUSS AT, EGO TRIPS, and SWEATERS (which we leave packed away for most of the year).

@ACM, Mac--thanks for the interesting etymology of yesterday's OUI JA. I will not forget it now :-) I also enjoyed hearing of the ACM/Mac joint solving adventure.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

That SCALIA crossed ATILLA gave me a little glow.

Ulrich 10:12 AM  

I solved this with friends at the Cape, which produced one of my fastest Saturdays ever--35 min, and we complemented each other beautifully like Andrea and mac yesterday. All in all, one of my better-liked Krozel puzzles.

I can still recite the opening sentences of Caesar's Commentarii, which makes the resp. answer a gimme, together with our friend Soren. having gimmies like this is really the ticket of getting ahead in a puzzle like this.

@Clark (as per last night): I'm disappointed that the constructors did not chime in to clarify things: Even if I accept Jesu as a nominative, I can't see how it is literarily pietà--it can't be the sculpture b/c a part cannot be the whole thing, and what's the connection with Italian pietà (pity)?

fikink 10:13 AM  

First missteps were "shies" for DUFFS, 'Parker" for BARNET and focusing on the internal EAT in HAVEATIT.

Stuck with SENORaS for too long and only by finishing the puzzle did I confirm the alternate spelling of SENORS.
Dynamite puzzle, Joe Krozel!

@Clark, didn't you say you had something to tell us about SOREN a while back?

Anne 10:15 AM  

I also thought this was easier than yesterday - much easier really - even though I read through it the first time and the only answer I saw was engine which led me through the SE. I knew Scalia had to be the answer in the top NW and guessed Attila even though I never really think of him as a king, just some wild man rampaging through Europe and Asia. Then I guessed gall and saw ego trip (star treks is a great clue). My only real problem was in the NW where I could not let orphaned go because it fit with uplate/soren. I finally googled Caesar and finished. Good puzzle.

Eric 10:26 AM  

The NW killed me even though I knew Sweaters was probably correct. Found this tougher than yesterday and rated it challenging (for me). Ayesha had to come from downs although I recognized it when complete.

foodie 10:29 AM  

Tore through the northeast in a couple of minutes, an experience that gave me a high along with some insight into the speed solvers'experience. Slowed down in the South and stumbled in the NW (I had TIERED instead of INROWS for quite a while till I remembered our friend SOREN), but still finished in amazing time for me on a Saturday. So, needless to say, I really liked the puzzle and loved seeing Rex's Medium rating.

FORSAKEN is such a sad word, especially where a child is concerned : <

Bob Kerfuffle 10:50 AM  

Enjoyed the hour it took me to do this puzzle. By thinking before writing, had no write-overs; really hesitated before putting in some of my guesses.

On 50 A, Job woe = STRESS, could just as easily be a woe of the jobless!

HudsonHawk 11:01 AM  

I found this one challenging, with each quadrant falling slowly. It's strange to me that chefbea and Anne found it "much easier", yet each had to resort to googling.

I really wanted BALLs for 33A, and I parsed 42A as HAVE A TIT. My inner fifth grader APPARENTly surfaced in the SW.

Pinky 11:05 AM  

@Rex - I had the same SENORAS mistake and also thought of AGENA - the rocket stage used as a landing dock when the astronauts were practicing rendezvous in earth orbit.

Speaking of which - how ironic Walter died just a few days before the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing.

Now if only the media could honor him with a return to intelligent journalism.

Vercingetorix 11:17 AM  

Putting 18a in this puzzle took a lot of GALL.

fikink 11:48 AM  

@Vercingetorix, yes a lovely little internal resonance!
How about "cantillate" and "consonant"?

Really a lovely puzzle, Joe.

archaeoprof 11:49 AM  

@Joho: four separate puzzles; well said. For me, NW was easiest, NE hardest.

@Vercingetorix: too bad the way things worked out between you and Julius.

XMAN 11:57 AM  

This was a MOANER for me.

Neat puzzle.

obie 11:57 AM  

In Saturday terms, I breezed through this in maybe 25 minutes of thinking time - and I usually can't finish a Saturday puzzle. In each of the four quadrants...

First answer in was GETA.
NW: started with UPLATE, then SOREN, then STEREO, then SWEATERS.
NE: NASTASE first, then ATTILA, then SCALIA and PRENATAL. I originally had INHALERS but fixed that quickly.
SE: guessed right on SHORTAGE, then an educated guess on HERMAN, then ELTORO.

Maybe I was just lucky in my educated guesses, but I was sure I'd see this one graded as "easy".

mac 12:24 PM  

Yes, this was one of my faster Saturdays, and I enjoyed it, although doing yesterday's puzzle with Andrea was even more fun. The SW quadrant was the last to fall, but not necessarily because it was harder than the others. It was a steady solve all around for me.

For 6A I thought of Thomas for a moment (Peter LOL), and I had Titiac in my head for 23A, but that didn't last long. Cantillate I got confused with cantilever, but that too got cleared up quickly.

I started out with heels for 42D, erased it and had it appear by itself when I did the crosses. In the last week I have seen 2 races in heels on TV, 100 M in Germany and 50 M in Israel. In both cases the winner got a shopping spree paid for, one of them in Paris.

Do we call the clue for Atilla an Olaf, or is that only the case when a cross is impossible to get?

What a strange word, "sweaters", when you think about......

alanrichard 12:28 PM  

NE, took a break; SE, took another break; NW, took another break; and finished in the SW. Fun puzzle, everytime i walked away thinking and then came up with an answer to open up and fill in a section.
I was pretty distracted this morning watching the Tour De France and hoping that George Hincapie would accumulate enough time in the break away to assume the overall lead and the yellow jersey. He is now in 2nd place by 5 seconds.
I think its time for a TDF theme puzzle.

mac 12:34 PM

still_learnin 1:23 PM  

Definitely easier than yesterday... meaning I finished it. I ended up with two mistakes. I had AYESHA for AYESSA and HERRAN for HERMAN (maybe I was thinking Gil Scott?). Anyway, that left me with SARRONIC for 31D which I was certain would be the word of the day.

PuzzleGirl 1:26 PM  

Kind of a slog today. Had to resort to Google to crack the NE corner and still ended up with one wrong letter. I wish my answer had been correct for 1A. I had BUTTS.

Two Ponies 1:29 PM  

This was another puzzle that was four mini-puzzles with such small points of connection that unless you had a gimmee in a quadrant there was little to help you move about the grid.
The SW was too tough for me. Is senores from Portuguese?
Stacking a Muslim woman over a swimmer I only know as a football player over a bandleader before my time over a baseball nickname?
Trying to crack that corner was also difficult because of all of the 4-letter pieces of western wear, spurs, bolos, and chaps.
Also wanted whiner and was depressed by forsaken infants.
Yesterday was so much more fun for me.

Clark 1:43 PM  

@Fikink -- Good recall! Kierkegaard is one of my favorites. I missed the last discussion about him 'cause I was travelling and getting to the blog a day or two late. He is one of that small group of philosopher who are also great writers. And the humor! I love his story about the man who is struggling with the question of what it would take to become a Christian. (This, and many other things SK has to say about Christianity, can be understood more generally as points about spiritual commitment.) The man's wife says to him:

"Dear husband of mine, how can you get such notions into your head? How can you doubt that you are a Christian? Are you not a Dane, and does not the geography say that the Lutheran form of the Christan religion is the ruling religion in Denmark? For you are surely not a Jew, nor are you a Mohammedan; what then can you be if not a Christian? It is a thousand years since paganism was driven out of Denmark, so I know you are not a pagan."

Karen 1:55 PM  

I was in the zone with Joe today, I had more of a Wednesday time than Saturday. I started with TIERED at 12A which was wrong but pointed out the SOREN gimme. And filling in the ING ending at 14A opened up LIANAS. LETS GO and HEELS were correct first guesses. I put in SENORAS at first and thought 'stupid crossword makers always put the women in the shawls' and defiantly blanked out the A in protest, just to see in fact the men were shawled today. I believe Reza Aslan talked about AYESHA in his book about the roots of Islam, at least the name was somewhere in my brain. One of the BARNET crosses was last to fall for me.

Frances 2:25 PM  

Today makes two whole weeks of completions without consulting Professor Google. Reading this blog regularly has certainly improved my solving skills.

As a resident of Chapel Hill, NC, I found inspiration in the parallel downs in the SW quadrant: "Let's go...Heels!"

Mike 2:33 PM  

Thank God for Google on this one. Only got three fills in my first pass through; two of those proved to be wrong later on. UP LATE was my only gimme, but I would have gone with Fallon, Kimmel, or Ferguson. Dave and Conan aren't that late...

jae 3:08 PM  

Yes, four separate puzzles. Three of them I found easy (NW, NE, SW) and the fourth, SE, medium to challenging for the reasons Rex and others have given. Like joho I tried HOMBRES before SENORES as well as DORSEY briefly. Read 50a as the biblical Job and was trying to recall exactly what God did to him. I needed all the crosses to get STRESS and the accompanying head slap. I liked this one, an interesting Sat.

poc 3:25 PM  

I hated the multiple proper names piled on one another in the SE, all Naticks to me. Proper names are IMHO indicative of a constructor copping out (admit it, who wouldn't prefer a real dictionary word to a proper name in almost every case?), and a whole bunch of them together like this really mars the puzzle.

The other 3 quadrants were much better, though I found it more Medium-Challenging than Medium. I did manage to finish it w/o Google though.

Stan 4:08 PM  

The separateness of the corners was a problem, but the toughest for me (SW, despite guessing AVATAR right away) was unpacked by one letter: the G in GETA clue. Which gave me GRADIENT and then everything.

At first I said "Barnet and Herman in the same puzzle? Seems kinda vanilla." (How about Basie or Ellington?) But looking up Charlie Barnet, I find him pretty cool: Early to integrate his band (mid-30s, right after Goodman) and first white bandleader to play the Apollo. Plus he played sax as opposed to clarinet.

@Anonymous of a day or two ago: as of last year, I'd never completed a Friday or Saturday in my life. Now it's not the norm, but pretty common. Just saying that attempting the puzzles and reading the blog really does make things easier. You'll see.

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

I had to go somewhere so really concentrated on this to try to do it quickly. And I did (for me on a Saturday) in 25 minutes or so. But then I wondered if maybe if was just a relatively easy Saturday and see that some, but not all of you, think so,

michael 4:35 PM  

I wrote the previous comment

formerly Anonymous 4:41 PM  

I don't really like these 4-in-1 puzzles. There's usually nothing that really jumps out as great fill, and I always feel like one quadrant is significantly harder than the other three. This one overall was pretty durn easy, but there are always outliers.

Re: UP LATE, I just moved to Texas from New York. Conan used to be on at 12:35 AM. Now, with his time slot change and my time zone change, he's on at 10:35 PM. That's not exactly late, and I couldn't be happier about it. It's really the best part of moving so far. Oh, and the rent being much less money for much more space is nice, too.

I used to play basketball with Ilie Nastase's son when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. I'll always remember that he used to Rick Barry/Grandmama his shots from all over the court. Not very effective, as one can imagine. That's the only reason why I've heard of the guy.

Bryan 4:47 PM  

I didn't think this was an easy one, went bottom left to upper right to top left to lower right. Figured AYESHA just because of the Another Bad Creation song "Aisha," a name which I guessed had to have some sort of etymology I wasn't familiar with, and this was a good a guess as any, and finished it up working off that.

Shamik 5:32 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: Having recently been both jobless and employed, i agree that STRESS is a part of both.

@Frances: Bravo for two weeks of solves with googles!!!

Solid medium time for me for a Saturday at 19:20. Solved in the order of SW, NE, SE and then the final to fall SW.

My theater was TIERED for the longest time. And I thought Mohammed's favorite was FATIMA. Guess not. Also wanted WHINER for of the few times I wanted a WHINER...usually would rather not be around those folks. Also wanted SKI----- or SNOW---- instead of SWEATERS. In Phoenix, we have neither skiing, nor snow...though sweaters do appear between November and February.

Quite the slog, though successful.

Anne 5:55 PM  

@HudsonHawk - I worked on Friday's puzzle off and on all day yesterday - it was really frustrating and I can't remember right now if I googled or not. I finished today's in about an hour with the one google. That, to me, was much easier. I probably could have finished without the google but I was going out for the day and didn't know when I would make it back. Are you buying any of this? I hope so.

foodie 5:58 PM  

Adventure of the day, vaguely related to the puzzle via the word STRESS...

As we were returning home this afternoon, crossing the narrow bridge near our house, I saw what looked like an overturned canoe with a couple of people and a dog bobbing near it. Sometimes kids play in the river but this seemed different. We stopped and yelled to ask if they were OK, and the woman said the man has cardiac trouble and was in bad shape. The water was probably quite cold, as it's been unseasonably cool. A couple of other cars stopped because of our emergency lights and a guy and a woman ran through the woods to find access close to the accident and swim to help them. Meanwhile, my husband called 911, and I ran to our home up the hill to get a bunch of towels and blankets. By the time I returned, half a dozen cars had stopped, and numerous people were trying to help in various ways (e.g. keeping an eye on a sleeping baby while dad was in the river rescuing the victims!). The rescue was a success and by the time the ambulance and fire truck had arrived the people and their dog were on the bridge, sopping wet but safe. Our towels and blankets were put to good use. My husband who is a physician, and one of the rescuer, a transplant surgeon, took vital signs and pronounced the guy generally safe although in need of further medical attention.

And, it turns out this elderly guy with heart trouble and diabetes who had been barely holding on to dear life, was also holding on to a fish he had caught! The fish made it to the bridge safely along with the rest of them!

Not your usual Saturday afternoon...

Rex Parker 6:19 PM  


Great story. Glad everyone's OK.

Your story of the guy who wouldn't drop the fish even while fighting for his life reminds me of a "Simpsons" episode where Homer gets his arm "stuck" in a soda vending machine (trying to reach up into it), and then while he's sitting there trying to figure out how to get his arm out, he gets hungry ... and gets his other arm stuck in the adjacent candy vending machine. Eventually someone with a rotary saw comes to try to free him from the machine. Just as the man with the saw is about to start cutting, he says "Wait a minute. Homer, are you just holding on to the can?" To which Homer replies: "Your point being ...?"


foodie 6:42 PM  

Rex: LOL!!!!

chefbea 7:29 PM  

@rex what a story!!!!

@foodie what a story also. Glad everyone is ok

HudsonHawk 7:41 PM  

Very glad everyone is OK. But now I want to know how he caught the fish. If it was with his bare hands, I'm really impressed.

@Anne, I totally understand. I admit that I have occasionally resorted to a google when I needed to be done with the puzzle and move on with other stuff. But I usually resist temptation.

Susan 9:05 PM  

I did way better than usual on a Saturday but the NE broke my spline.

mac 10:01 PM  

Amazing story, Foodie, and the Simpsons claim their little bit of real life, again!

I forgot to say, I was tempted to ask BaseballHusband about this nickname, but held out! In the end, it was a choice between il or el for me.

Two Ponies 10:27 PM  

@ foodie, What an afternoon indeed. Rivers, bridges, canoes, heart patients, dogs, and fish! The story has everything. Also as a former paramedic and transplant nurse I can relate to the medical end of the chaos and excitement.
Thanks for sharing.

edith b 10:45 PM  

Sometimes not being able to spell is helpful. I knew Mohammed's wife was some form of AYESHA so I used whatever crosses raised their heads and they turned out to be correct.

I had SHOUTING instead of SPOUTING for far too long and it kept me from seeing PRENATAL and I had to resort to total ERASURE to solve it. I also had REMAIN instead of RESIDE in the SW which kept me from seeing ENTICING. Again total ERASURE.

All in all, I spent more than an hour on this and it was very frustrating. The NW was the only quadrent that gave me little or no trouble. I do love me some odd-shaped puzzles, though.

Stan 11:33 PM  

Amazing story, @Foodie, and let me join in the general thanks for sharing it. Such a fine line, in real life, between comedy and tragedy.

My wife just loved the "holding on to the fish" part. She works at a marina and deals with fisher-folk, amateur and professional, every day. Rang true.

andrea freelove michaels 12:39 AM  

Wow! Now THAT is a fish tale (fishtail?), AND it's true!
I was waiting for the end...with the writer's embellishment, like on Letterman, eg "And the guy holding on to the fish turned out to be... Charlie Barnet!!!!"
But we got Rex's Simpsons embellishment, so just as good!

Missed my new solving partner Mac (miss you in general!) but did the puzzle with my friend Maria who normally doesn't do Saturdays, and once again, the two of us were in total sync so finished in about ten minutes!!!
It was bizarre, EVERYTHING I didn't know, she knew without blinking...
(me: Maria, did Charlie Parker ever do Swing?
Maria: No, must be Charlie Barnet.
me: Who? Wow, well in any case, the -AR-E- will be correct in either case.
Maria: what are you talking about?)

or: (@Bryan) re: Mohammed's wife
me: oh! I think it's the same name as from a Aisha (or Ashanti) like that Stevie Wonder song "Life is Aisha..."
Maria: You mean "Isn't she lovely?"
me: Yes, I think he named his baby for the prophet's wife...but it doesn't fit.
Maria: Maybe it's spelled differently.

and on and on...
44A Indications that things have changed
me: Yellow light?
Maria: what about ERASURES?

and I swear we went back and forth like that and did it in the fastest time I've ever had, while Maria's neighbor Michelle looked on in awe.

So now I have to think my solo ways...these last two days having a partner has been so fast and fun and smooth and bonding and complementary.

re: Charlie Barnet
Tony Orbach was just mentioning at lunch two days ago what it was like to be a white sax player with an otherwise all black band..and their initial skepticism
(I think he was talking about the rapper Common...THE most ill-advised shortening of a nickname (Common Sense) I have EVER heard in my life! But it did trigger an idea for a puzzle, so all is not lost.)

Stan 5:40 PM  


Your friend really knows her Swing from her Bop -- I think @ArtLvr knew too. Me, I had to spell it out...

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