Indian water holder — FRIDAY, Dec. 18 2009 — Outfielder Chavez / Peninsula south of Gulf of Trieste / Opera quickie

Friday, December 18, 2009



Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PIERROT (58A: Comic character in whiteface)

Pierrot is a stock character of mime and Commedia dell'Arte, a French variant of the Italian Pedrolino. His character is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who inevitably breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. He is usually depicted wearing a loose, white tunic. The noticeable feature of Pierrot's behaviour is his naïveté, he is seen as a fool, always the butt of pranks, yet nonetheless trusting. Pierrot is also portrayed as moonstruck, distant and oblivious to reality. // One may be said to be Pierroting if one is behaving like Pierrot. [...] The 20th century Russian cabaret singer Alexander Vertinsky was famous for his portrayal of Pierrot, for which he wore a black costume and powdered his face.

-----

Enjoyable, but pretty workmanlike by BEQ standards. If you aren't doing his puzzles 3x/week over at his website, "Can I Have A Word With You?," then you're missing out on a treat — some of the most inventive, experimental, and dazzling puzzles available today. No subscription fee. It's ridiculous. Today's grid structure doesn't allow for an answer over eight letters long. There's no reason this should be a drawback, but still, something about this puzzle felt ... restrained. I kept waiting to round a corner and run smack into something amazing, but mostly that didn't happen. It's all very solid, and there are some lovely moments (YOU JEST crossing AMUSE ME, for instance, or BON JOVI — 43D: First hard rock band to score a #1 country hit — sitting next to a YODELER). I'm just not used to seeing padding like AAARATED, ARIETTE (13D: Opera quickie), and RECESSES without seeing some kind of big payoff or "wow" moment.

[I've never liked Bon Jovi more ...]

My toughest areas were all along the lengths of two compound words that unfamiliar to me, but not in that wicked way that, say, ISTRIA (31A: Peninsula south of the Gulf of Trieste) was unfamiliar to me (i.e. "Whoa, what the hell?"), but more in a [shrug] kind of way. I've heard of a "skyway" (via the lovely Replacements song of the same name) but not an AIR WALK (24D: High passageway). And COAL TAR (55A: Certain pitch)? I guess that is ... a kind of TAR. Anyway, the parts where I had to struggle today felt like plodding. I like the struggle/REVELATION! model of solving. Sometimes I think I ask too much. If only BEQ (and a handful of others) hadn't set the bar so high.



I will say, however, that this puzzle has what may be my favorite clue of the year — the one on YODELER (44D: Producer of high and outside pitches?). Takes a phrase from baseball and uses it in a way that changes Every Part of it. High=in the mountains and not up in the strike zone, outside=outdoors and not wide of the strike zone, and pitches=notes and not balls hurled from the mound. Also cool — this baseball-sounding clue actually intersects two baseball answers (BLOOP and ENDY — 53A: Outfielder Chávez). Also cool — this altitude-oriented clue actually intersects two answers that involve going high in the air (FLY BYS — 42A: Means of obtaining data about planets — and BLOOP). If I stare at this puzzle long enough, I have a feeling it'll start revealing all kinds of connections and patterns to me. But I need breakfast / coffee, so I'll move on.

Bullets:

  • 65A: Gritty TV series set in Baltimore ("The Wire") — I think Brendan has or is moving toward an IRON LAW for his puzzles — they must refer to "THE WIRE." He will sneak a "WIRE" reference into his puzzle any chance he gets (do his puzzles over at his website and find out), so seeing the full name of the show in the grid today made me smile really broadly. "THE WIRE" was on several "Best TV Shows of the Decade" lists, including this one.
  • 51D: "My Fair Lady" actor Robert (Coote) — yipes. What the ...? I have probably seen this name before, but it rings zero bells. COOTE "created the role of Colonel Hugh Pickering in the long-running original Broadway production of My Fair Lady." (wikipedia)
  • 7D: Digital detritus (toe jam) — I have Not had breakfast yet. Come on!
  • 38A: Place for a collared person (squad car) — favorite answer of the day, probably.
  • 16A: "The Imaginary Invalid" playwright (Molière) — yay, 7 years of French!
  • 19A: 1984 historical novel, with "The" ("Haj") — Uris? Yep, URIS. If it's crosswords, it must be URIS.
  • 6D: Hindu soul (Atman) — learned it from xwords. Also learned ARHAT from xwords, which was the first thing I put in here. Sigh.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. for the world's awesomest crossword-related story of the year, go here.

P.P.S. in case you missed it yesterday, you can catch the "Simpsons" 20th anniversary tribute puzzle (by Patrick Blindauer and me) here.

75 comments:

nanpilla 8:03 AM  

This was more challenging for me. I had ITsY instead of ITTY, and I've never heard of COOTE, only knowing the movie version. With all of the scrabbly letters, I expected this one to be a pangram, but it's missing G and Z.
THE WIRE was my first fill, I've done enough of BEQ's puzzles for that to be a gimme, even though I've never seen the show. I've never heard the phrase IRON LAW. Iron Clad, maybe. YODELER made me laugh out loud. I just got an email from my daughter asking if she should get my hubby BON JOVI tickets for Christmas. WELL, YEAH, and one for me, too! (Actually I had hELL YEAH first, but had to change it in the grid)
Nice one, Brendan, looking forward to your Friday puzzle on your website.

HudsonHawk 8:09 AM  

ITSY before ITTY and LASER before LASIK slowed me down a bit, but otherwise an unusually smooth solve for a BEQ Friday.

I finished with the O crossing COOTE and COAL TAR, but wasn't confident about filling it in. Here's the best explanation I could find for pitch:

"Coal tar pitch is a black or dark-brown amorphous residue produced by the distillation or heat treatment of coal tar."

Paul 8:18 AM  

What little I know about musicals is that Robert MORSE is the default go-to-guy from about 30 years ago. Stuck with that way too long, its being confirmed by COALTAR and DESEXED. High and outside pitches had to be billboard related, just had to be!

I have absolutely no knowledge about ATMAN, either as a word or as a concept that pertains to me. Probably why I just spent 10 minutes composing this post.

ArtLvr 8:28 AM  

Wake-up call -- high and outside pitches meant dog WHISTLE at first, rather than YODELER, so I was off to a slow start! Not one of those letters fit.

I decided to go a more logical route, eventually solving all except the K ending LASIK and starting KINDS... The trouble there was thinking Striped pedestrian X-INGS on the streets.. and Lasix. I did see SQUAD CAR, yet still was stuck.

COOTE was in another puzzle recently, but I had to confirm it with crosses, with Shellac as RESIN instead of CREAM slowing my progress there.

Also, I admit to a google to get THE WIRE and BON JOVI, so the SE was definitely the hardest to work out for me.

Not only was TOE JAM an icky surprise, but I saw the "Indian" water holder as rather un-PC -- OLLA might have called for cluing with Spanish or Hopi or even American Indian, IMHO.

I mostly enjoyed it, with SWAHILI and QUININE and MOLIERE's Le Médecin Malgré Lui, but ended with a feeling similar to Rex's of a slight let-down! Not one of BEQ's best...

∑;)

joho 8:37 AM  

Unfortunately I ended up with ARIosTE instead of ARIETTE.

I had probes before FLYBYS and oilman before FATCAT.

I guessed the "A" on ISTRIA which finally got me ABC that led to AAARATED.

Lots of great words (NOT TOE JAM!!! Bleccch) and clues.

Tougher than medium for me, not a perfect solve, but a solid Friday.

treedweller 8:37 AM  

Last night, I got the NW and the SE and a small crack into the SW, then gave up. This morning, I started again at work; while catching up to where I left off, I finished the SW. I half expected a problem at COOTE/PIERROT, but didn't see a better choice there.

Then I stalled. I stared. I came within seconds of googling for MOLIERE, when ROLLS came to me and the rest fell in short order. I always enjoy a solve when I feel like I earned it.

I forgot to check on the constructor before I began, but guessed BEQ at TOEJAM. I imagine there was a temptation to tie it in with The Beatles clue that was nearby, but I definitely think "Digital detritus" was the better choice (anyone else have to get over thinking about ones and zeroes?).

I agree with Rex that BEQ's site has some great stuff, but I like it when WS reins him in a little, since I can actually do well on them. Like @nanpilla, I got THE WIRE quickly just because I knew BEQ was wont to use it, having never seen an episode.

Thanks for a fun Friday!

Phil 8:56 AM  

I'm now officially a culturally out of touch Luddite. I've watched a complete episode of only one of the 30 shows on the top 30 of the decade list, and #30 at that.

Guy who Defended Himself about Arabs 8:58 AM  

@Nanpilla - Was your Avatar shot at Freedom Farm?

Elaine 9:16 AM  

ISTRIA? Really? AIRWALK? These two alone make me think a re-work should have been mandated--and I got that part of the puzzle filled in during my 1:30 AM Club meeting.

I lost in the NE...I knew the *Spanish* OLLA, and that was all. Didn't know the playwright, didn't know the Beatles song, have never heard an ARIETTE...and Had a TWO LB barbell. Googled for MOLIERE and the Beatles song, but still at a standstill. Out of time and not that interested, so I give myself a FAIL.

Apparently I got most of the challenging (and clever) answers, if that is any consolation (snivel). Our revenge: BEQ's Hindu soul will have him reincarnated as TOE JAM! Take that, Mr. Constructor!

OldCarFudd 9:29 AM  

I'd never heard of toe jam, and wish I still hadn't. Like nanpilla, I wanted hell yes! Otherwise, a pretty good puzzle. Quite a bit I didn't know, but guessed correctly using crosses.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

I um huh, wtf toe jam? Olla? BEQ D-

retired_chemist 9:43 AM  

Medium BAH! Challenging for me.

All was fair, everything reasonable, but the puzzle just didn't come together for me except in bits and pieces. Actually I see that as a sign of a well constructed puzzle. As a former colleague said, it's mental floss.

Started with LASER for LASIK, ORRERY for FLY-BYS, CATWALK for AIRWALK, WHAT SAY for SAY WHAT (fixed by WTS né WGT @ 4D), POPUP for BLOOP, PITH then CORE for CRUX, and more!

Thanks, Mr. Quigley. I enjoyed it. But then I nod off during root canals.

Parshutr 9:47 AM  

Starting, as I usually do, with gimmes, I had put in SEMINARY as a place for a collared person (as well as MOLIERE, JEW, SWAHILI, HAJ, BLOOP, CRAYOLA, and LAJOLLA (Torrey is only slightly less beautiful than Pebble, and used to be inexpensive (and more challenging) to play).
I have to agree with Rex about TOEJAM, and I had my breakfast hours ago. But still...
Also a cultural Luddite for knowing COOTE of the Robert and C---- and having seen zero episodes of The Wire (I was thinking Life on the Street for that answer) and The Simpsons.

Parshutr 9:49 AM  

That was "Homicide: Life on the Street" in Balmer.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

Approved.

Which is to say, I was happy to finish a BEQ in Medium time (for me), with only one write-over (the final E on ARIETTE; had ARIETTA), even if it wasn't as edgy as his private stock.

Worked my way from the BEQish gimme at 1 A roughly counterclockwise around the grid, finishing with NANOS (those darn iPods are taking over every word in the language!)

@retired_chemist - Did you mean it's Mental Floss? :)

Crosscan 10:09 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Solid work, without going over the top into too-obscure-at-least-to-me territory like some of BEQ's own site puzzles. This guy has a future.

retired_chemist 10:16 AM  

@ Bob Kerfluffle - Thanks for the link. I had thought my colleague coined the term "mental floss." He has always been punctilious about citations....

edith b 10:22 AM  

I broke the North open at SWAHILI/SAYWHAT and thought I was on my way to an easy solve but I came a cropper in the South because, like Paul, MORSE is my go-to old Broadway guy and I held on to him for far too long.

I finally got PIERROT - the correct spelling came to me through the CRUX/DESEXED crossing and COALTAR broke the back of this one at last.

BEQ's obsesseion with THEWIRE got me most of the South and once I solved my MORSE/COOTE problem, I got my easy solve. Doing his puzzles 3 times a week really helped me with this one.

H. L. Mencken 10:26 AM  

Man, do I miss Omar.

twangster 10:38 AM  

Toejam is referenced in the Beatles' Come Together: "He wear no shoeshine / he got toe jam football"

Misunderstood THE 10:54 AM  

And now I'm even missing in Beatles '65? WTF!!??

imsdave 10:56 AM  

Excellent stuff. I'm with Mr. Kerfuffle on NANOS (I'm a technophobe), and the starting N was my last letter in the grid.

Unusual result today (I'd say medium is about right), as I didn't get pop-cultured to death by Mr. Quigley. Typically he crushes me.

Very nice Friday.

An, an Idefinite Article 11:05 AM  

@Misuderstood THE -

Apparently THE Beatles, whom we thought were such a ground-breaking group, were just going along with the crowd. According to Wikipedia:



"Beatles '65 includes most of the songs from Beatles for Sale, but deleting . . . . [several tracks.]

In the US the album was a blockbuster hit, and jumped from #98 straight to #1, making the biggest jump to the pole position in the history of the Billboard Album Charts up to that time. In what may be testament to the overwhelming market appeal of the Beatles, several albums were released and promoted in America during 1965 sporting a similar title. These included Sinatra '65 by Frank Sinatra and Ellington '65 by Duke Ellington on Reprise Records, Trio '65 by jazz pianist Bill Evans on Verve Records, and Brasil '65 by Sergio Mendes on the Beatles' own Capitol label."

Or was the crowd going along with them?

An, an Indefinite Article 11:07 AM  

So indefinite I can't even spell my own name.

Denise Ann 11:11 AM  

I do the 3x/wk BEQ puzzles -- they are a joy. They just show up in your email in-box. So, why could I not finish this puzzle?

I got completely stuck at the lasiK/Kind crossing -- and perhaps had another error at the peninsula. I could not make it work!

I loved the clever cuing!

Stan 11:13 AM  

Big thumbs-up.

Reference points well-balanced between contemporary (NANOS, SPYWARE, THE WIRE) and traditional (PIERROT, MOLIERE).

Easy/hard enough for me to just barely finish (had to put it down for a while). For FLYBYS (great answer), I considered HUBBLE and GLOBES.

nanpilla 11:17 AM  

@guy who..... NO, that's not Freedom Farm. I don't even board my horse at the farm where that was taken any more. The picture is almost two years old.

Guy Who Is Not the Guy Who 11:37 AM  

"What do we have here . . . Moliere?"
"(I love his work.)"

Was the Westerberg for me? I'm going to pretend it is. Thanks.

Although I am The Guy Who on occasion, today I am not The Guy Who.

You kids with all your Google shenanigans can go do your Google stuff, but I dispute that Bon Jovi is hard rock (rock, yes, but not hard rock. Led Zep is hard rock, and Bon Jovi is well south of that.) Also, IRON LAW doesn't really ring the bell for me. Ironclad or black-letter law does. But go ahead and Google to prove me wrong, if you must.

I liked the puzzle. Agree that squad car is awesomest answer and that the really top-drawer stuff is on the Quig-site, but this one is quite good as well. Had a wrong letter at the Pierrot/Coote crossing.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Bob Kerfuffle said he initially had arietta rather than ariette; there's a reason for that: Wikidictionary informs me that ariette is the PLURAL form of arietta. But the clue was singular! BEQ missed that one, IMHO.

Rex Parker 11:46 AM  

Correction:

Judd Nelson: (sarcastically): "You're right, it's wrong to destroy literature, and [looks at book he's picked up randomly] ... Moe-Lay really pumps my nads."
Molly Ringwald: ""Molière""

[Ringwald and Nelson have a little eye-locking moment]

Anthony Michael Hall: "I love his work."
[Nelson throws book at Hall]

Thanks for recalling the teen movie of my teen life.

Two Ponies 11:49 AM  

Didn't care for this one even an itty bit.
Amuse me? No.
Up until now it has been a very fun week. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
BTW Patrick Blindauer showed up yesterday in a late posting. Always nice when that happens.

Rex Parker 11:50 AM  

ARIETTE is a valid singular form, w/ dictionary attestations aplenty. Clue is completely valid.

Janet 12:22 PM  

Very pleased to see my beautiful hometown of La Jolla clued in the crossword this morning - not pleased to see it crossed with toejam. Yeetch! I hope this does not sully the name La Jolla forever with my fellow crosswordians! Come and visit and see for yourself - it's lovely and warm and sunny this time of the year, and we're fastidious about cleaning our feet!

Squeek 12:33 PM  

Mmmm, nothing like some nice
joe jam on my toast.
Who wrote this, Bart Simpson?
Air walk sounds like a Nike product. It's a sky walk to me.
Iron law? That just sounds made up.
Had the L of laser or lasik or maybe ... loupe?
I liked some of the misdirection
but seven phrases, if you count the song title, and junk fill like nel and AEF kept me waiting for the punch line that never came.
I could have sworn Torrey Pines was in Georgia but probably a short putt for the golfers in the crowd.

mccoll 12:50 PM  

What a struggle. I rate it challenging. BEQ has much to answer for with all the misdirection. Thank heavens for French (MOLIERE), golf (LAJOLLA), primary teaching(CRAYOLA), and theatre(PIERROT)
I liked the squad car clue the best although yodeler is a close second.
Thanks for the link to BEQ's blog, Rex.

PlantieBea 1:06 PM  

Solved this one in several sessions. Still ended with a few single letter errors in the COate/PIERRaT and ATMAm/mAxOS crossings. My favorite answers were COAL TAR and SQUAD CAR. Least...TOE JAM...blech. I had to write over HELL YES with WELL YES before IRON LAW would work. I like the former more committed affirmation better, though.

Thanks BEQ--glad I got as far as I did while learning a few things in the process.

archaeoprof 2:02 PM  

Loved SQUADCAR and YODELER.

48A took me back to 1975, when Joe Morgan's BLOOP single in the 9th inning of game 7 ended the greatest World Series ever.

archaeoprof 2:03 PM  

That would be 49A...

Elaine 2:35 PM  

At least, @archaeoprof, you had the right hit in the right game in the most righteous win EVER! (I lived in Cincinnati during the awesome years of The Big Red Machine. I saw Joe Morgan FLY sideways, field and THROW the ball while flying, and then land on his feet. Totally awesome player AND person. )

And for all his faults, Petey Rose stole HOME one day , right in front of God and everybody.

sigh
Thanks for recalling that BLOOP!

SethG 3:07 PM  

@H. L. Mencken, the full scene's much longer, but the beginning is quite appropriate for this forum. More Omar.

I just listened to a friend of @andrea Who Is Not the Guy Who Is Not the Guy Who michaels on the radio; Paul Westerberg's sister comes on at 2.

Add me to the Bobby MORSE group. The E at ARIxTTE/NxL was a complete guess, as was the E at RxEL/AxF...oh, _Line_, I get it now. Without QUININE none of the SW would have been possible, but with it I finished in probably medium time as well.

dk 3:15 PM  

I, err, well, how do I explain this-- you see I had saladbar cause I thought they were collard greens, ya see. But I was so certain about Quinine I took a side trip (residual effect from yesterday's LSD, OTTERPOPs and listening to Beatles' records backwards) down some Bar-B-Que back road, got lost. Sigh... never finished the Southwest.

Felt like I was hopping around on this one, never got into BEQ's groove and some of the fill made no sense to me, DESEXED for one. Again, I chalk it up to me missing aforementioned groove.

*** (3 Stars)

jae 3:39 PM  

Medium for me too but I blew the NE. Never heard of ARIETTE (nor had my music prof. friend) so I kept ITSY and guessed wrong on NEL. The rest was solid BEQ and an enjoyable solve.

imsdave 3:52 PM  

Sorry to go off topic, but I just got an email from Whohub.net referencing my blog name with the referal being: another user. This seems a bit fishy to me, and I wondered if any of you can shed any light on it. I only use imsdave for crossword blogging.

Thanks in advance, and apologies for interupting this program.

sanfranman59 4:03 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 29:14, 25:59, 1.13, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:41, 12:23, 1.11, 81%, Challenging

This one fell firmly in the challenging category for me. I was surprised and humbled when I saw that Rex rated it as Medium. I feel a little better now that I see the online solve times. "No clue" answers for me included NEL, MES, AIRWALK, ISTRIA, PIERROT and COOTE (particularly the last 3), making this puzzle unsolvable for me without the aid of Uncle Google and Aunt Wikipedia. Even then, it took me 36:09 to finish.

andrea amuseme michaels 4:22 PM  

there were so many compound words/phrases that at first I thought that the whole puzzle was going to have every entry be two words
SAYWHAT, WELLYES,YOUJEST, AMUSEME, ALLHAIL to name but a few of the more than dozen...
Is that a BEQ trademark?

Since I had no idea how END_ ended, nor JE_ I had to do the whole alphabet...Imagine my surprise that the answer was JEW!
On the somethingth night of CHanukah no less!
(I've gotten the candle count wrong almost every night this week, pulling in various neighbors to light them with me and then I make them play dreidel!)
Nice balance between HAJ and JEW.

I agree with whoever said IRONLAW seems made up and AIRWALK sounds totally bogus...and that TOEJAM, despite being in my beloved Beatles repertoire is gross anyway you look at it!

Had DONAT for that old COOTE...

Was hoping for IMALOSER video, but that Paul Westerberg song IS lovely... and I think the first time I've ever heard him, despite being his age from Mpls, having friends in common, and always asked if I know him.
Sethg, can you imagine???!!! THe one person I don't know in Mpls!

archaeoprof 4:27 PM  

@Elaine: I lived in Cincinnati back then too (still have family there). Who could forget that team?

In my office is my old baseball glove autographed by Joe Morgan. A student recently noticed it and said, "Isn't that the guy on Sunday night baseball?"

Crosscan 4:32 PM  

The greatest World Series hit ever occurred in game 7 of the 1994 series, when Larry Walker hit a grand slam homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Expos a 5-4 victory over the Yankees.

[This occurred on Earth-2, similar to our Earth except there was no baseball strike.]

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

Hey - Can I stop staring at that Kitty yet?

miriam b 4:50 PM  

@ArtLvr: Um, wouldn't that be Le malade imaginaire?

Way back in high school, the French teachers arranged a trip into Manhattan to see a Molière play and have lunch at a French restaurant. The play was Le bourgeois gentilhomme, and it was presented in English with the title The Would-Be Gentleman. The lead was a comedian named Bobby Clark. There were some pretty ribald moments which I hoped went over the heads of the two proper old-maid teachers. I'm sure they were disappointed to find that the play had been not only translated but also rather recklessly adapted.

The lunch was good. Best French onion soup I've ever had. I seem to remember that the waiter had a problem understanding the accents of the two teachers, one of whom was from Maine and the other, IIRC, from upstate New York.

Liked the puzzle a lot.

Lidia Bastianich is from ISTRIA. Also, one of my genealogy-crazy relatives found some evidence that one of our forebears lived there. So it was a sort of gimme.

Stan 5:00 PM  

@andrea (and others):

Happy dreidels and candles!!

chefwen 5:07 PM  

Really need to do BEQ weekly puzzles, just can't seem to get on his wavelength. Had to Google just to get a toe hole, without jam, thank you very much, but still crashed in the south with debris strewn across several states. Oh well, 3/4 done is still better than nothing.

PIX 5:37 PM  

@27A...myopia = nearsighted...never heard it called shortsighted, but Professor Google insists that is correct.Live and learn.

Never heard of toe jam either, except as someone pointed out I have indeed heard it a million times (Beatles; Come Together), without having a clue what was being said. Live and learn.

SethG 6:01 PM  

If I understand correctly what it is, the most famous AIR WALK is probably at the Petronas Towers. Except...they call it a skybridge.

Knowing BEQ, as I do not, I'm guessing the original clue referenced the company.

Meg 6:02 PM  

Hand up for HELL YES, which I really liked. I thought maybe Will was loosening up his standards a bit.

BEQ's puzzles are just crazy! I love them! I especially like finding words you would NEVER see in a "standard" puzzle. Resistance is not futile.

Had to Google. Well, sometimes you just have to.

Endy Chavez has a brother named "Ender". Wonder what the parents were thinking about....the apocalypse?

sanfranman59 6:38 PM  

@Crosscan ... wait, as I recall, the Expos played the Indians in that 1994 World Series and the Tribe won their first championship in 46 years when Albert "Don't Call me Joey" Belle hit a Game 7 walk-off homer (with a corked bat, of course). Now, we Indians die-hards are waiting for 2040 to come around for our next title.

michael 7:06 PM  

I liked the puzzle, but like others had "arioste" and started out with laser and only fixed it at the very end.

I know Endy Chavez, but this strikes me as an arcane answer. Not exactly "Ott" or "Alou".

Greene 7:47 PM  

Definitely challenging for me, but I freely confess that BEQ and I are rarely on the same page. What can I say other that I"M A LOSER (love that entry!). At least I've done enough BEQ to get THE WIRE immediately. Hand up for ARIETTA initially, but RECESSES took care of that error. On the whole I would say this was an extremely fair puzzle, appropriately pitched to Friday level difficulty, and quite fun to boot. As BEQ would say: "Approved."

I was very surprised to find Robert COOTE in the puzzle. Given my background, he was an obvious gimmie and one of my first entries in the grid, but I certainly didn't expect anybody else to know his name. "Cooter" made a career of playing stuffy English aristocrats and infusing those performances with an element of knowing mockery. He appeared in many films, but is most famous for originating the role of Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady (1956) on Broadway, a role he reprised in the original London production as well as the 1976 Broadway revival (which is where I finally caught up with him). I was delighted to find him an expert comedienne and the possessor of a fine character singing voice, although he didn't have much to sing in Fair Lady, just a bit of "The Rain in Spain" and the Act 2 opener "You Did It." He also played King Pellinore in the original Broadway production of Camelot (1960) which was just slightly before my theatre going days began.

You can still catch him in the the Orson Welles movie production of Othello where he plays Roderigo. The best video clip I can find on You Tube is from his last film, Theatre of Blood where he plays a critic who gets murdered by Vincent Price. It's not how I like to remember him, so I'm going to pass on posting a link.

H. L. Mencken 8:13 PM  

@SethG: True dat

darkman 8:16 PM  

Despite a crash-and-burn in the SW, I finished this without the loving, capacious arms of Auntie Google.

Despite some undeniably clever clues/answers, I found today's puzzle unpleasant--even though I, too, enjoy a bit of TOEJAM on my toast.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

Robert Coote was my first entry as my penfriend in the US sent me an original cast album of My Fair Lady when it was first produced on Broadway. I got stuck in the northeast corner. Got The Wire not because of BEQ's predilection for it but because it was the only thing that fitted after getting "The".

I too saw the Big Red MAchine and my son has one of those pennants with the signatures of the '75 Reds players.

Personally liked culls and got La Jolla simply from the first letter. Sort of pleased I got as far as I did. Considered it challenging.

gg12345 9:00 PM  

I do BEQ's fabulous puzzles every M/W/F. He got me last week with "heat that's high and outside" (sun) after slogging through every baseball term I could think of. Hah! Didn't get me today with 44D. Non-spoiler alert - BEQ's puzzles are better than the NYT and they're free. Check them out!

Bill from NJ 9:08 PM  

I like @Elaine's 1:30AM Club as that it is when I am usually doing the puzzle, particularly the Friday and Saturday variety. Is there a fee to join?

I like the way there was a cross section of cultures represented here. Shall we refer to this one as a multi-cultural affair? I find Mr. Quigley to be truly quirky and I like his penchant for multiple word answers. In the olden days they used to identify thoses clues as "2 word" or "3 word" and I liked that. Was that Will Wang?

mac 11:14 PM  

This was a medium-challenging for me, but I felt good about finishing it almost. I certainly need to do three BEQs a week from now on to prep for the tournament.

I loved this puzzle. I'm sure Will toned it down a bit, and I had to do the same! Had spit for rant, for instance. 59D roe: I started out with blank o(ver) e(asy). What do I know?

Loved toejam, so unexpected, and hate "fat cat". Nasty thing to say. May feel strongly because a former friend (ha) called my husband that.

Think Brendan put the Beatles in the clue without the The on purpose??

@HudsonHawk: have you been away?
@SethG: Quinine saved that corner for me as well.
@Greene: thank you once again for all the great theater info you give us almost daily. I love it.

Sorry about the late entry. Too much going on. Can't wait for January....

sanfranman59 11:16 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:38, 6:56, 0.96, 40%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:39, 8:39, 1.12, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:21, 11:53, 1.12, 80%, Challenging
Thu 18:59, 19:01, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Fri 29:37, 26:00, 1.14, 86%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:28, 3:41, 0.94, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:51, 4:26, 1.09, 80%, Challenging
Wed 6:01, 5:50, 1.03, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:33, 9:08, 1.05, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 13:39, 12:23, 1.10, 81%, Challenging

HudsonHawk 12:43 AM  

@mac, I've been traveling a bit, so while I've kept up reasonably well with the puzzles and RP's commentary, I haven't been as diligent on the comments. I've been trying to catch up, but generally too late to add much to the discussion (which is usually the case anyway...).

andrea jew michaels 1:32 AM  

@darkman
don't you mean toejam on your toest?

Anonymous 2:44 AM  

I have a serious dislike for this puzzle.

Toe___, which is in the Beatles ouvre (and I hate hate hate the Beatles) is a sickening word. Unless you're talking about kicking a rock- this word has no reason to exist. Why do we have to look at it, front and center, in the daily crossword which we love?

Plus, it's wrongly clued. Detritus is fall-away material a toe-nail clipping , for example... where toe___ is an accumulating, putrifying excrescence- something else entirely.

And what is it doing in the puzzle?

Sorry, but this really bugs me.


From the cover of darkness so say I

An, an Indefinite Article 7:37 AM  

@mac, 11:14 PM -

If you read my comment directed to Misunderstood THE, you will see that Brendan put The Beatles in the clue without the The because the name of the album was "Beatles '65" (sic, no "the").

darkman 8:39 AM  

andrea jew michaels: Indeed I did!!!!

Ben 7:10 PM  

@Crosscan - That was the year Tony Gwynn hit .402.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Didn't get the Beatles 65 reference. But thanks for the Westerberg plug!

John 11:08 AM  

What's an oner??

MSN encarta 11:33 AM  

oner


on·er [ wúnnər ] (plural on·ers)


noun
Definition:

somebody or something extraordinary: a unique or extraordinary person or thing ( informal )

impjb 10:18 PM  

Bon Jovi = Hard Rock???

Mike in STL 1:44 PM  

This was actually easy for a Friday for me. Although I would have liked to have seen DESEXED clued as "Like some husbands"... :) Well, okay, maybe "Like an R-Rated movie on ABC" would be more appropriate.

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