SUNDAY, Nov. 29 2009 — Tamerlane dramatist Nicholas / TV character often seen in Metallica t-shirt / Old alpaca wool gatherer

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Constructor: Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Cued Up" — familiar phrases have "QU" added, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: Nicholas ROWE (34A: "Tamerlane" dramatist Nicholas) Nicholas Rowe (20 June 1674 – 6 December 1718), English dramatist, poet and miscellaneous writer, was appointed Poet Laureate in 1715 (he succeeded Nahum Tate as poet laureate) (wikipedia) [... whoever wrote this guy's wikipedia page (or the following part, anyway) is in love with him]: "Finally, Rowe's version of Lucan's Pharsalia is one of the greatest productions in English poetry as it captures the genius and spirit of the original. Lucan's works are distinguished by a kind of dictatorial or philosophic dignity, more declamatory than poetical; full of ambitious morality and pointed sentences, comprised in vigorous and animated lines. Rowe diligently and successfully preserved this character. His versification was seldom lacking in either melody or force. The Pharsalia of Rowe deserves more notice than it obtains, and the more it is read, the more esteemed it will be." [Now that I read this again, I believe it's plagiarized from some 19c. book of literary criticism.]

-----

CUTE puzzle. Add-a-letter puzzles live or die by the QUality of the resulting theme answers, and these are mostly wonderful. What's more, QU- theme answers mean Tons of (well, 7) "Q" crosses and only one of them is a dud (2D: OPQ). That's a damned good batting average. This one was a pleasure from beginning to end. Interesting theme answers + solid (sometimes sparkling) fill — that's entertainment.

The hardest part of the puzzle (by far) for me was the NE, hinged as it was on the most anomalous of all the theme answers: WILDE BEQUEST. None of the other answers involved both taking a word apart *and* changing the pronunciation of the word *not* adjacent to the added "QU-." I did not know the Senator from Nebraska (BEN Nelson), so I couldn't get the "B." I still have no idea why EMU is the answer to 42A: It came up from Down Under (I get that they are from Down Under, but ... "came up?" Have they arrived on our shores?). Thus even though I knew the answer involved Oscar WILDE, the phrasing of the clue (in the possessive) made me think the answer must involve WILDE'S ... something. Only I couldn't think of man's name that went S-N. Tried to get into that NW corner to no avail at first. Had SCARF for SHAWL (28A: Bit of attire for a carriage ride). Had no idea what to make of 21A: Old alpaca wool gatherer (Inca, HA ha). I think I got SEQUEL (28D: "The Dark Knight," for one) and then the "Q" made me think INQUEST. When pulling the "QU" out resulted in nothing comprehensible, I went to BEQUEST. Then VISHNU (14D: Krishna is one of his avatars). Then done.

Theme answers:

  • 22A: Delighted exclamation? (SQUEAL of approval)
  • 36A: Part of an Irish playwright's will? (Wilde BEQUEST)
  • 68A: Carsick passenger? (QUEASY Rider)
  • 94A: Causing uneasiness? (QUALMSgiving)
  • 113A: Carryin' on, in olden times? (QUAINT Misbehavin')
  • 4D: Anger at losing one's flock? (shepherd's PIQUE)
  • 50D: Subjugation? (VANQUISHING act)

If you are planning on doing the LAT puzzle today, you might want to read this first.

This puzzle was made easier than other add-a-letter (-or-two) puzzles by the oddness of the letter involved. Knowing there would be "Q"s in the theme answers made them easier to figure out than if I'd been hunting for an added, say, "AD" or the like. Having two theme answers as Downs means that very few words have to travel through two theme answers, which means the grid is easier to fill, which means more smooth, solid, entertaining answers, less forced crap. QUEASY RIDER is entirely isolated from other theme answer. Its crosses cross no other theme answer, which allows for central fill that did not, in fact, make me QUEASY. Nice construction.

Bullets:

  • 54A: Impertinent sort (snip) — Was sure it was SNIT, and wondered if there'd really been 12 (!) popes named THEO (no — PIUS).
  • 56A: TV character often seen in a Metallica T-shirt (Beavis) — heh heh. Fantastic clue.



  • 75A: Bratislava's river (Danube) — something screwed me up a little down here ... oh yeah, I had KOREA for 60D: Sura source (Koran). That made DANUBE look like DEN-something.
  • 79A: "Jour de Fete" star, director and writer, 1949 (Tati) — don't know it at all, but Jacques TATI is a crossword staple.



  • 85A: New Zealand's discoverer (Tasman) — Abel was I ere I saw TASMAN. Gimme!
  • 104A: Drawers, e.g. (undies) — also a gimme, though more of a lucky first guess.
  • 123D: Poet who wrote "An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you / Ef you / Don't / Watch / Out!" (Riley) — who? Oh, thiiiiis guy. Again. Indiana's own James Whitcomb RILEY. From "Little Orphant Annie":
LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!
  • 41D: Narrator of "How I Met Your Mother" (Bob Saget) — I don't watch sitcoms with lafftraks, so haven't seen this, but BOB SAGET is plenty familiar from the days when I may or may not have watched sitcoms with lafftraks.
  • 47D: It may feature a windmill (mini-golf) — possibly my favorite answer in the puzzle. Love MINI-GOLF, and don't consider a course complete/real if it doesn't have a windmill.
  • 63D: Positive thinking proponent (Peale) — Norman Vincent.
  • 65D: Legal writ, in brief (cert) — one of my least favorite answers in the whole puzzle, and it's not so bad.
  • 69D: Clockmaker Thomas (Seth) — eluded me. I know SETH best as a comics artist.
  • 76D: German city where Beck's beer is brewed (Bremen) — mystery! If it's not EMDEN or ESSEN, I'm pretty much out of luck. BECKSVILLE?
  • 110D: Baseball G.M. Minaya (Omar) — still? Last couple of season have been colossal disappointments not so great.

Now your Puzzle Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse

  • @kaylagardner Omg. My mom and her sister stayed up doing a crossword puzzle and they're now googling vietnamese currencies.
  • @MichelleBasic My brother made me take in his paper. Looked through it, there was no xword puzzle, made me put it back outside.
  • @fleetwoodwack Jesus, I have to clue RTE again. Shoot me.
  • @GrabMoL I never felt too bad about not finishing the NY Times crossword but not finishing People's crossword?! I dumb. http://twitpic.com/rcld6
  • @crosswordcoco Manu Chao, Beethoven, Ravel, and crosswords. This night is almost perfect.
  • @fuckyeahitsizzy My mom caught me playing Tetris and doing crosswords and is claiming that I am just like my father. Great.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. I have placed links to "Star Turns" (my puzzle to benefit Christina Applegate's breast cancer foundation) and "King of the Blog" (Andrea and Doug's birthday puzzle gift to me and my blog readers) in the sidebar, near the top of this page. Please check them out if you haven't already. Thank you.

83 comments:

Crosscan 8:03 AM  
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Crosscan 8:19 AM  

This was the best add a "QU" puzzle I did today. I'll remember QUAINT MISBEHAVIN'

I first had the BEAVER wearing a Metallica shirt which is wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Er...that would be NE corner. It was my sticking point too.

Who GNU? 8:26 AM  

Who knew that WILDEBEESTs were spelled thusly, not WILDEBEaSTs?

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

MINIGOLF? Is it ever anything but Miniature Golf anywhere/anytime?

HudsonHawk 9:01 AM  

Quite the range of interesting stuff in this puzzle. There's the all-French crossing of FERMAT and TATI, but then we have SEX, UNDIES and BEAVIS in the grid and EF YOU in the clues. Come to Butthead, heh heh.

pednsg 9:20 AM  

@HudsonHawk - though it's early, funniest comment of the day award may well go to you! I don't know if Beavis and Butthead would be funny to me now, but there was a period in the early 90s when there was NOTHING funnier on the tube!

Mon une error today came at the hands of the French - had FERMET and TETI, though I now realize that TATI has been in puzzles recently.

@Anonymous 8:59 - Where I grew up (Cleveland), we called it putt-putt, less often miniature golf, and never MINI-GOLF!

Overall, this one gets my squeal of approval!

Rex Parker 9:26 AM  

I assume you all are kidding about MINIGOLF. Just 'cause you knew it as something else doesn't keep MINIGOLF from being very much in-the-language. Just google it. Here's first line of Wiki entry for "miniature golf":

"MINIGOLF, or miniature golf, is a miniature version of the sport of golf."

rp

imsdave 9:30 AM  

Rex - thanks for the link to the Gaffney article.

Speaking of coincidences, whenever I get tired of staring at an unworkable corner for several hours on one of my own feeble efforts, I turn to the NYT archive for a little relief. Yesterday, I did a BEQ from 11/7/1999. If you're not too tired of this theme yet, you might want to check it out.

Excellent puzzle Mr. Nediger.

Joe 9:30 AM  

Me and my peeps call it MINIGOLF all the time.

My only error was an L instead of an R at 29A/23D. I don't do a lot of sailing and I don't do a lot of give-a-crapping about baseball. But I probably should have figured out that ALI wouldn't be in the same puzzle twice. grrrrr

Also, is it just me or does -ALMSGIVING not seem particularly phrase-worthy enough to warrant its QU-? (I just Googled it and I guess it's just me).

Alex 9:33 AM  

The paragraph on Rowe you quoted from Wikipedia appears to have originally been written by Samuel Johnson in Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1778). Hopefully this link in Google Books works.

PlantieBea 9:43 AM  

Fun Sunday. I hesitated at the CERT/TATI/FERMAT area, but chose the correct unknown letters (for a change). Really liked all of the Q's, especially QUALMSGIVING and SHEPHERD'S PIQUE, and the James Whitcomb Riley poem (man of PUNKIN fame). My youngest read of Orphant Annie a few years ago. Totally agree with Rex about the necessity of a windmill on the MINI GOLF course. Unfortunately for me, the balls I try to hit through this structure tend to hit the thing and bounce back at me.

Smitty 9:43 AM  

Word of the day for me:
QUALMSGIVING
We should make it a holiday.
Fun SUnday

Bob Kerfuffle 9:47 AM  

Good puzzle, lots of fun,QUAINTMISBEHAVIN my favorite answer.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

If you haven't gotten to the Sunday L.A.Times puzzle yet, there is an amazing coincidence. Today's theme is exactly the same in both puzzles.

retired_chemist 10:44 AM  

Enjoyed it a lot. Thanks,. Mr. Nediger. Easy - medium works for me.

Hand up for knowing how to spell WILDEBEEST, but hand back down for not knowing why I do. In any event, nice to have gnu fill.

MINIGOLF was not part of my lexicon - now it is. Somehow knew it was a name for MINIATURE GOLF but didn't think to truncate the first word.

Knew FERMAT, of Unfinished Theorem fame (no, wait, that's Schubert;s eighth) - sorry, Last Theorem fame. Like Rex, no joy on TATI from Jour de Fête. Just had to know him and some of his crosses....

Most favorite non-theme answer (thought the theme clues were all pretty nifty) was FARO, Wyatt Earp's game. Did. Not. Know. That.

INDIAN TEA was my second least favorite clue. Gettable, but it sounds contrived. 2D OPQ, already complained about by Rex, takes the dubious honor of being first.

Meg 10:53 AM  

Great puzzle, and thanks for the RAVEN link. Quite an interesting analysis.

I was so impressed that some of the QU's were inside! How hard was that??

I loved the "windmill" clue, since it led me off to the Netherlands.

I'm unlcear about ACME for "Greatest flowering". Could someone use it in a sentence for me? Is it akin to peak season for blooming? Don't get it.

On another note, if there are any computer pros out there, I use Netscape (I know; it's old) and about 3 days ago it stopped letting me post. No error message. Any help would be well, helpful.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Timely coincidence today between the NYT and the LAT after reading Mr Gaffneys article about same.Golfballman

deerfencer 10:58 AM  

Very creative, clever puzzle. We need more from this guy.

4 stars!

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Great puzzle. The LAT puzzle was great fun, too.

F.O.G. 11:09 AM  

A fun puzzle and several very clever clues (e.g., "Suit" for "EXEC", "Gambling game enjoyed by Wyatt Earp" for "FARO"). Especially loved "QUAINTMISBEHAVIN" and "WILDEBEQUEST."

Having many times seen "Spanish girl" or similar wordage as a clue, this was my first encounter with "CHICA."

Struggled with the SW corner because I was convinced the theme answer for "Causing uneasiness" was "SQUIRMGIVING" and that 94D was "STOUTS." Took me awhile to accept the fact that those answers wouldn't work.

Leslie 11:20 AM  

Great puzzle!

On 43A, I had the Y-D-E and wondered if Tom Hayden had somehow gotten a talk show gig, before remembering SNYDER. Anyone remember Dan Aykroyd doing Tom Snyder in the early days of SNL?

For FARO, I had nothing down there but the four empty letters and speculated on the existence of "keno" back in the day. Then realized I was being an idiot. (But I am enjoying a mental picture of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and their companions eagerly watching each numbered ball being pulled out of the bubble.)

Someone please educate me: Is there a site which lists previously-done themes for NY Times crossword puzzles? Someday I may try my hand at one, and wouldn't want egg on my face for proudly completing one that 3,279 people have already done, and done better.

chefbea 11:25 AM  

fun puzzle although it took me a while to discover the theme

Loved sheperd's pie and of course our friend Andrea is very flowery!!

On to the LAT puzzle

Ruth 11:32 AM  

@Leslie: Ha! I had Tom Hayden in there for a bit, too, till he could no longer remain.
@Meg: something like "Michaelangelo's work represented the acme (greatest flowering) of the Renaissance"? (I don't mean the sentence literally, just the construction)

submariner_ss 11:35 AM  

@MEG... Acme, as in "at the peak of" . The flowering of the baroque...

You successfully poste. Someone else's computer?

Raul 11:38 AM  

Tom Petty on CBS Sunday Morning on how to know an A side: You put it next to a B side and it becomes clear.

Some tough choices besides 48 down:
The Beatles - Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out
The Beatles - Hey Jude/Revolution
The Beatles - Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus
The Beatles - Something/Come Together
The Beatles - Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son
Queen - We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You
Richie Valens - Donna/La Bamba

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

MEG:

"The greatest flowering of Greek culture was the Classical period." Or: The acme of Greek culture was the Classical period."

profphil

jae 11:40 AM  

Yes, fun/amusing puzzle. I screwed up the SE corner mostly due to lack of attention. I also found out I didn't know how to spell SHEPHERD. Not a good week for me after last week's error free one.

Meg 11:41 AM  
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Meg 11:45 AM  

Thanks for all the "flowering" explanations. My brain was stuck on flowers, instead of "like a flower".

Netscape seems to have healed itself today. Must have been the tryptophan.

Martin 11:50 AM  

@retired chemist,

Your ear is correct in telling you that the INDIAN TEA clue is odd.

Since Darjeeling is a kind of Indian tea this is clue-by-example, which is discouraged. [Darjeeling, e.g.] would have been better from that perpective and probably sounded less clunky to you. Perhaps that would have made it too easy, and therefore a candidate for a cluing exception.

darkman 12:04 PM  

I had WILEY for the poet. I wondered that Eleanor would have wriiten anything like that clue, but, hey, you know, what the hell, all in a good cause, pip pip, tally ho. OMAW didn't make much sense either, but, hey, you know, those foreigners.

Really fine puzzle. I enjoyed it a lot.

Noam D. Elkies 12:08 PM  

Thanks for a fun Sunday puzzle!

Having Down as well as Across theme entries cuts both ways: it can be hard to find suitably intersecting theme entries, and one can end up with corners that are constrained on two sides, explaining 2D:OPQ. (That could still be done differently, e.g.

ACCS.
NOAH.
SQUEAL
..

but at the cost of degrading the other entries.)

@Meg: it's not too hard to find in a computer wordlist all words into which one can insert QU to form another word on the list. In one wordlist I find appli(qu)es, (qu)ark, bar(qu)e, bas(qu)e, cas(qu)e, che(qu)er, e(qu)ating, la(qu)er, man(qu)é, mar(qu)e, mas(qu)er, ris(qu)é, s(qu)aw, s(qu)ally, se(qu)ined, s(qu)inter, s(qu)ire, tor(qu)e, and various words derived from them, plus more obscure examples and those already in the puzzle. Of course you still have to find suitable phrases, and make the wonderful leap to WILDEBE(QU)EST.

Welcome to 58D:FERMAT, appearing in the puzzle for the first time in xwordinfo.com's memory. I didn't remember that Fermat, author of the most famous mathematical marginalis of all time, is also credited with pioneering probability, so went with Pascal for a while. Did better with 67A:LOCI though even that took too long...

NDE

Ulrich 12:11 PM  

If it's to be an add-letters theme, it should be as well-executed as this one, and involve odd letters like QU. I admired in particular the cases where the Q had to work also for the crosses.

Ah, Bremen, home of Becks (vastly superior to that watered-down import from Holland that some here seem to like). To me, though, it's the town of Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (The Town Musicians of Bremen), one of my favorite fairy tales by the Grimm brothers--I don't know howe often I have called one of our cats alter Bartputzer ("old beard cleaner"), quoting the donkey in the tale (or was it the dog?).

Jon88 12:21 PM  

I guess nobody besides me still has a turntable. A SKIP is not a "needle problem," as the problem is with the vinyl.

PIX 12:28 PM  

Fun puzzle.

@60D: Koran...i think that is part of the theme, in a strange, inverse way. It seems that the politically correct way to spell "the central religious text of Islam" these days is QUR'AN and instead the puzzle answer was KORAN. In a puzzle where the theme was adding QU to words, the writer dropped the QU for this answer...

Clark 12:30 PM  

Nice to have a puzzle I can do. 'WIldebeest' comes from the Dutch. They are fans of the double 'e'.

"Ik ben de Lorax! Ik spreek voor de bomen.
Ik spreek voor de bomen, die hebben geen tongen,
en ik vraag u, meneer, uit het diepst van mijn longen..."
-Hij was van streek en zeer ontdaan.-
"Wat heeft u met mijn boom gedaan?"
(from De Lorax by Dr. Seuss)

and the double 'a'.

mccoll 12:41 PM  

Good puzzle Mr.Nediger. I would rate it easy-medium as well. No boo-boos. For someone with five courses in statistics, Fermat should have been a gimme but I had to resort to Uncle Google. Rats! (Mind you those courses were 50 years ago when the science was young.)
Otherwise, this one was so smooooth. The only hesitation was the TATI FERMAT cross.
Great informative comments to-day people. Thanks.

HudsonHawk 12:51 PM  

@Ulrich, I like them both, but given a choice, Becks wins. Heineken is just more broadly distributed (and has some great ads--the his/her walk-in closets comes to mind).

retired_chemist 12:55 PM  

@ Meg - isn't ACME as our greatest flowering kinda obvious on this list? :-) I thought it was a spillover from Rex's birthday puzzle.....

Also @ Meg - Update your netscape to Sea Monkey. It is the successor to Mozilla/Netscape, comes in Windows and Mac builds, automatically imports Netscape: files, addressbook, all mail folders, (maybe not if you have a really old netscape), and is FREE! Life should be much smoother. Or, use Thunderbird for a mail client and Forefox as a browser. Same folks, same Netscape backward compatibility, same price.

retired_chemist 12:58 PM  

@ Ulrich & HH - I still wish Königs-Pils could be imported to the US....

jeff in chicago 1:28 PM  

I liked this a lot. Very smooth. Any puzzle that references Oscar Wilde and Beavis gets a big thumbs up from me!

I only wish I could get as much enjoyment from the LA Times puzzle since SO MANY OF YOU HAVE ALREADY TOLD ME WHAT THE THEME IS!

Sheesh...

ArtLvr 1:44 PM  

I loved this too, had no googles but some hesitations where I thought I knew the right answer but took it out temporarily: COD, BELLY, UNDIES... I also considered a museum Guide before the GUARD muscled in on the CAUSEWAY and gave me ROWE.

Some of my favorite fill: IMAGO, FLANGE, QUAFF, VERILY... Music in my head today is "Gaudeamus Igitur", APROPOS of Quaff and QUAINT, I suppose. It was amusing to have PEALE clued for Norman V rather than the great family of American artists!

How I remembered FERMAT and TASMAN, I'm not sure, but it all fit very smoothly. Many thanks to Will Nediger.

∑;)

ArtLvr 1:47 PM  

p.s. -- I agree with Jeff in Chicago, T.M.I. re LAT.

∑;(

Rex Parker 1:49 PM  

It would have taken you about 2 seconds to realize the theme of the LAT, so don't overwhine. If people revealed whole answers (above), well that's not cool. Sorry.

RP

joho 1:52 PM  

Fun, well done Sunday, thanks Will! And thanks, Will!

Loved the Q's.

I grew up saying miniature golf, around here it's putt-putt, but MINIGOLF sounds just fine to me. And my hand is up for the windmill. The windmill is worse than a water trap on a real course!

Oh, for all you cat lovers, you must do the Merl Reagle puzzle today, "The Furry Thought of You."

No man is an Island 2:13 PM  

Ned Land: [singing] Got a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads, a whale of a tale or two, 'bout the floppin' fish and the girls I've loved on nights like this with the moon above. A whale of a tale and it's all true, I swear by my tattoo. There was Mermaid Minnie; met her down in Madagascar. She would kiss me anytime that I would ask her. Then one evening, her flame of love blew out. Blow me down and pick me up, she swapped me for a trout!

Greene 2:13 PM  

Any puzzle that has DOCS as 1A is bound to find favor with me. I think it is rather telling about myself that I initially placed VICE at 14A instead of VISE.

The first theme answer I got was SQUEAL OF APPROVAL and I thought "I don't get it. That seems like a perfectly legitimate phrase." Perhaps it was because my daughter was in BYE BYE BIRDIE last year and I became used to the incessant shrieking that characterizes the girls in that show every time Birdie appears. I actually started to refer to it as the "Conrad Birdie squeal of approval." So, great example of how a made up phrase becomes part of one's own private language. Not very useful in solving a crossword puzzle though.

The theme declared itself soon enough, however. I suppose QUAINT MISBEHAVIN is the most fun answer, but I confess a certain fondness for QUEASY RIDER as it brings up a more humorous mental picture -- especially if you've seen the Marlon Brando film (love that it crosses RISQUE). I like WILDE BEQUEST quite a bit, but recognize it is perhaps a bit too clever for its own good.

All told, a very enjoyable and entertaining Sunday puzzle. Now, on to the LAT. Can't wait to see what theme they've got cooked up over there. Anybody done it yet?

Steve 3:08 PM  

Now that I know where the clue for 123D came from, I feel even more silly for briefly wanting to put RILKE there when I had the RIL. Can't imagine him writing in such stupid American English vernacular.

This was fun. I normally find the insert-letter themes tedious, but the use of QU (and great answers like QUEASYRIDER and QUALMSGIVING) put this well above the norm.

Only downside (other than the aforementioned OPQ) was the clue for 1A: narrowing it to government publications seemed odd, especially since "doc" has become a pretty common generic for any document, at least in the technology world.

chefbea 3:14 PM  

@artlvr had forgotten about Gaudiamus Igitur. Had to memorize and sing it in Latin class way back when. Now it will be in my head all day

foodie 3:17 PM  

@ Greene, I agree re QUEASY RIDER, I too liked it a lot.

@ PIX, I had the same thought re QUR'AN vs. KORAN. It felt like a missed opportunity in an otherwise QUte puzzle.

I also would rather see the use of "Surah" as the spelling of the components, or chapters, of the Qur'an, as this is closer to the Arabic pronunciation.

I've always wondered about this word's etymology and use to indicate chapter. The closest Arabic word I can think of is Sur (Soor), which means a wall or a rampart. May be it indicates the delimitation of information within a book? If anyone knows the Arabic etymology, I'd love to hear it.

Wiktionary 3:41 PM  

@foodie -
From Arabic سورة (sú:ra, chapter of the Qur‘an) < سور (sáwwara, to enclose, to wall in).

Does that help?

Noam D. Elkies 3:44 PM  

@Steve: m-w.com/dictionary/sura says the word literally means "row", which suggests that the Hebrew SHURA(H) is cognate. In either language the final H is written but not pronounced, and becomes T in construct form, e.g. the 12th is "Surat Yusuf", literally "the Surah of Joseph".

NDE

Ulrich 3:45 PM  

@ret._ch.: It may as well...to me, the problem with Pilsener in bottles (as opposed to on tap) is that you cannot go through the 7-minute pouring ritual to make the head (I think that's what it's called in English--don't blame me--it's "flower" (Blume) in German) so stiff that you can bite into it...the better the Pilsener, the more important this becomes IMHO.

Doc John 3:45 PM  

Interesting puzzle. I had to put it down and come back to get the Tennessee portion but I finally pulled FERMAT out of somewhere and that made it all fall.
There is a coaster at Canada's Wonderland called Wilde Beaste so somehow that helped me get the correct answer to WILDE BEQUEST. My mind is so strange!

Elaine 4:04 PM  

Jon88 is right-- a SKIP is not the needle's fault! \
@Jon88
No, you're not the only one, but you did the puzzle a lot earlier than I today. Not only does our house feature numerous turntables, but also various Victrolas, a Brunswick Ultona, an Edison gramophone and an Amberola, not to mention reel-to-reel and 8=track tape decks. We can play anything.

Anyway--the puzzle! Great fun, and do I ever feel silly-- I had MINIHOLF...and gosh, I was totally stumped. You can't even Google that word. Did I think of rechecking my crosses? I did NOT! D'oh! Well, it's been a long day, I'm about 12 hours late doing the puzzle, and it didn't interfere with my fun.

See you in the comments, should I live through the week!

tptsteve 4:39 PM  

A nice, well constructed puzzle that was a lot of fun to complete.

@jon88 and @ Elaine- Ditto on the skip issue, though I suppose it's a problem for the needle when it hits the skip

@pednsg- Yes, it was called putt putt, and yes, you should know other names for it.(My handicap is 10-- Too bad 'giant slide' wasn't the answer next to it.)

chefwen 4:50 PM  

Too many house guests
Too much cooking
Not enough puzzle time, making me a little cranky around the edges.
Sent them out to do errands today, so I managed to squeeze this one in, and I loved it. Crankiness dissipating a tad.
Thank you Will squared.

retired_chemist 5:22 PM  

for Chefwen per her last comment:

4X4 Diagramless

1A Puzzle Constructor
2A Free____
3A Answer at the altar: I_____
4A Puzzle Editor

1D Whose war it was in Iraq
2D Peepers
3D _______ a’poppin’
4D _______ bells

foodie 5:33 PM  

@Wiktionary, yeah it helps, thank you. It confirms my best guess...it's an interesting way to refer to a chapter, as an enclosure. But come to think of it, the etymology of the word "chapter" is also a little odd.

SueRohr 5:40 PM  

The Northeast was definitely the sticking point for me as Inca just didn't hit me but finally got it. Also struggled a bit with the Southwest - wanted Irish eyes for 121 across and Lay low for 97 down which still sounds better to me. Anyway, I agree with Easy to Medium and enjoyed the puzzle.

Wiktionary 5:51 PM  

@foodie -

Etymology - chapter

Middle English chapiter < Old French chapitre < Latin capitulum (“‘a chapter of a book, in ML. also a synod or council’”), diminutive of caput (“‘a head’”)

You mean, like, "chapter" comes from "head"? Yeah, that is a little odd.

mac 6:14 PM  

I loved this one, and I rarely feel that about a Sunday puzzle. You've all been busy detailing it, so all I will say is that my favorite was "Wilde bequest". A few missteps: route one for causeway, guide for guard and faucet for flange.

@PIX: what a coincidence. This morning someone forwarded me the speach of a crazy Dutch politician, Wilder, and I noticed he spelled Koran "Quran". That was the first time I saw it like that, your mention was the second time.

@Clark: fantastic translation, it sounds Seussian even in Dutch.

@HudsonHawk: as far as I'm concerned you still have the comment of the day!
I'm not a beer drinker, but I've been told by visiting Dutch people that Heineken tastes very different here. I haven't seen the walk-in closet ad here yet, only in Holland. You realize walk-in closets are extremely rare there.
I happen to love the Amstel commercial, especially the long version.... Makes me homesick

mac 6:17 PM  

Great to have shepherd's pie and Irish stew in the puzzle!

Bill from NJ 6:21 PM  

I had always played Miniature Golf on the Boardwalk of Rehobeth Beach DE. It was a cramped up version, to be sure, but a lot of fun. When I moved to Phoenix AZ to go to school at Arizona State, I found Miniature Golf to be a major enterprise with incredible themes like Pirates and Dinosaurs built on a large scale. They called it Goofy Golf or Gooney Golf out there so I guess Mini-Golf must be a regional variation on a theme.

And speaking of themes, this one did not reveal itself to me until I got to QUEASYRIDER even though I did notice the preponderance of Qs and Us.

And, Rex, I enjoyed your birthday puzzle as a consider ny self an "insider" and confess to being a little disappointed not to find my name therein and confess to a little "crossword envy" for mac, ims dave, plantie bea, sethG, Doc John, Dk, Puzzle Girl and fikink.

(Did I miss anybody?)

PurpleGuy 6:23 PM  

Rex- Thank you, thank you, thank you for the "Little Orphant Annie" recital. When I was still teaching first and second grade. I always read that poem around this time of year. My second graders had to memorize it for an oral report. Fond memories.

Really fun puzzle, and went through ot rather fast. One of my best times for a Sunday.

Thanks for a great write up. Always enjoy coming here, even if I don't always share a comment

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

EXTRA

WILL SHORTZ TELLS ALL ABOUT NATICK CROSSING

Crosscan 6:25 PM  

@Bill: 63 Down.

chefbea 6:31 PM  

@Bill from NJ - I wasn't in the puzzle either :-(

HudsonHawk 6:46 PM  

@mac, I also love the Amstel ads. May as well have been put out by the Amsterdam tourism bureau.

Elaine 7:35 PM  

Talk about not getting into the puzzle! What about "Elaine the fair, Elaine the beautiful, Elaine the Lily Maid of Astolat?" I mean, DAMN, can you beat the publicity? For an English professor? Both Elaine2 and I are struck to the core. Really. No, seriously. We can hardly believe it. Tiger Woods was headed out to fax corrections when his SUV went off the road because he was reaching for my autographed photo. Honest! I'm not making this up!
Well.....

chefbea 7:50 PM  

@Elaine LOL

Bill from NJ 8:07 PM  

@crosscan-

oops

mac 8:17 PM  

@Bill from NJ: 15A

retired_chemist 9:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 9:20 PM  

I found myself: check it out!

Warning: spoiler alert. Do not look unless you want to see the puzzle solution.

Clark 10:35 PM  

@mac - The translation is by Katja en Kees Stip. There's that double 'e' again.

Stan 9:22 AM  

@mac: We also like the Amstel ads (and Heineken ads in general) -- especially in contrast to the dread Coors ads that run non-stop with professional sports.

william e emba 10:07 AM  

Will Shortz commented on NATICK crossing with NCWYETH, and he got it wrong!!!! They crossed at the N, not the C. NATI-K would at least have been guessable.

william e emba 10:13 AM  

Hah, retired_chemist, I'm there too. SW, consecutive letters even, start at the E, one to the left, one down, one to the left, soon you're doing the Emba two-step.

Anonymous 9:25 PM  

No one commented on 36 down? Did everyone just get it by filling in across? "Call on a pitch?" You don't call a wide pitch in baseball a "wide." It is a "ball." But on the cricket pitch the umpire may call a "wide ball" or "wide" for short. The batting team is awarded one run for it. Funny that in America everyone got it.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

It's too bad we get these puzzles in syndication (1 week after) and all the "fun" is over.

But, I looked over all previous comments and didn't find reference to:
30D It may be declined ans: NOUN
Someone enligten me on that one, please

Wikipedia 12:19 PM  

@Anonymous, 11:42 AM -

Declension

In linguistics, declension is the occurrence of inflection in nouns, pronouns and adjectives, indicating such features as number (typically singular vs. plural), case (subject, object, and so on), gender, and possession. Declension occurs in a great many of the world's languages, and features very prominently in many European languages, but is much less prominent in English. English nouns decline only to distinguish singular from plural (e.g., book vs. books); only very few English adjectives decline (the French loan-word blond(e) being a rare exception), and only a few English pronouns show vestiges of case-triggered declension (e.g., nominative case he, dative case or accusative case him, genitive case (possessive case) his). As detailed below, English was once a highly inflected language, as befitting its Indo-European and especially its Germanic linguistic ancestry, but it became greatly simplified as it evolved.

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