It merged with Tanganyika 1964 / FRI 1-29-10 / Old Indian infantryman / Ubermensch originator / Noted Volstead Act enforcer

Friday, January 29, 2010

Constructor: Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: None

Word of the Day: John VENN (28D: A diagram bears his name) 

John Venn FRS (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923), was a British logician and philosopher. He is famous for introducing the Venn diagram, which is used in many fields, including set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science. // John Venn was brought up strictly. It was expected that he would follow the family tradition into the Christian ministry. After Highgate School, he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1853.[1] He was graduated in 1857 and shortly afterward was elected a fellow of the college. He was ordained as a deacon at Ely in 1858 and became a priest in 1859. In 1862 he returned to Cambridge as a lecturer in moral sciences. // Venn also had a rare skill in building machines. He used his skill to build a machine for bowling cricket balls, which was so good that when the Austrailian Cricket team visited Cambridge in 1909, Venn's machine clean bowled one of it top stars 4 times. // Venn's main area of interest was logic and he published three texts on the subject. He wrote The Logic of Chance which introduced the frequency interpretation or frequency theory of probability in 1866, Symbolic Logic which introduced the Venn diagrams in 1881, and The Principles of Empirical Logic in 1889.

[Jessica Hagy @ thisisindexed.com]
• • •

This was a struggle, but one that seemed just right for a Friday. Might skew toward the "Challenging" side (esp. if some of the times posted at the NYT site are correct — some v. good solvers got wiped *out*), but I came in under 10 ... maybe that's "Medium-Challenging" for a Friday. Anyway, there were likely thorny patches for everyone, but (if you're like me ... which you probably aren't, but still...) you enjoyed the challenge, mostly. Doug Peterson is one of the few people who knows how to write those damned "?" clues in a way that walks that fine line between clever and annoying. I find them frustrating, but worth my time. [Metric system output?] (POEMS) and [25D: Electronic gag reflex?] (LOL) are particularly nice. My main hold-up in the puzzle, though, was brought on not by the puzzle's inherent toughness, but my stupid Failure of a memory. We have had SEPOY at least once in recent months, possibly more (16A: Old Indian infantryman), but the only word that would come up to the surface was SEPAL — and let me tell you, when the answer is SEPOY and your brain wants SEPAL, that SEPAL sticks really, really hard. Kept getting more letters, but with no more help "S... E? Oh man ... P!? ... come on!" Wasn't til I got the "O" that the "Y" became "obvious."

Got a nice jump on the puzzle by putting IDA LUPINO into the grid first thing (15A: "The Hitch-Hiker" director, 1953). First thing! "Wait ... is this right? ... IDA LUPINO ... if fits .... NPR confirms the "P," woo hoo!" (6D: "Science Friday" airer). Had ZILCH for ZIPPO at first (1D: Diddly), and thought the clues on both IDIOM (2D: Hit the ceiling, say) and NANAS (3D: Spoilers, often) were pretty tough, but with IDA's help, the NW wasn't too bad. First real hang-up was on the descent into the middle and west — had no idea what the cocktail could be, even with the KA- starter at 23D: Vodka cocktail (Kamikaze). I've been drinking whiskey cocktails exclusively lately, and somehow I don't associate Vodka with Japan. Needed the "M" to get KAMIKAZE, but that wouldn't come because 29A: Star followers had to end in an "S," right? Like a good plural? But no — an "M"!? Pretty rare to see a plural clue yield an "M"-ending answer, but there it is: FANDOM.


Studying / teaching older literature helped a bit today, as KAY (41A: Sir ___, foster brother of King Arthur) and SAMSON (42A: Hero described as "Eyeless in Gaza"). Huxley wrote the novel "Eyeless in Gaza," but the hero referred to here is SAMSON, and the descriptive phrase comes from Milton's "Samson Agonistes":
O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last in sight
Of both my Parents all in flames ascended [ 25 ]
From off the Altar, where an Off'ring burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His Godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd [ 30 ]
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must dye
Betray'd, Captiv'd, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task [ 35 ]
With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas't
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him [ 40 ]
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke (23-42)
ELIOT NESS is the SE what IDA LUPINO was to the NW — a fat gimme that opened up the whole quadrant (62A: Noted Volstead Act enforcer). I did have some trouble down there, actually, as BUTYL was unknown to me (48D: Tear-resistant synthetic rubber), as was the location / importance of "Campania" in 46D: Campania's capital, in Campania (Napoli). But I worked it out. From there, I tore up the east coast, ending in the NE with the aforementioned last stand at SEPOY.


Bullets:
  • 24A: It's grounded on the Sabbath (El Al) — always on the lookout for interesting clues for old answers.
  • 47A: It merged with Tanganyika in 1964 (Zanzibar) — had a "Z" or two before I ever saw the clue, so it was easy. This merger formed TANZANIA (a portmanteau!), which was the country on which I did my final report in 7th grade Geography. Thanks, Mrs. Stevens!
  • 56A: It has 95 printable characters (ASCII) — The American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
  • 59A: Tubular snacks (Ho-Hos) — got it, but then got thrown by the resulting cross: USOC!? (54D: Org. with a SportsMan of the Year award) What the hell is that? Oh ... the U.S. Olympic Committee. Yeah, that makes sense.
  • 60A: What might come as a relief at night? (Tylenol PM) — great answer.
  • 4D: Like a strawberry roan's coat (flecked) — "uh ... PINK?" Needless to say, I needed crosses here.
  • 7D: Motor ship driver (diesel) — Is there something called a "motor ship" or a "ship driver"? I'm not sure I quite understand the clue. Clearly a DIESEL engine is involved in the propulsion of some kind of ship, but the phrasing doesn't mean much to me here.
  • 14D: Four for for, for one (typo) — great clue, but I don't believe it. That is, I don't believe you would intend "FOR" and write "FOUR." Vice versa, sure.
  • 31D: "Übermensch" originator (Nietzsche) — embarrassed I needed any crosses to get this, as in retrospect it seems obvious. Since it's Friday, I'm sure I just figured it was "some obscure foreign stuff I don't know" and set to working crosses.
  • 37D: Chicken tikka go-with (nan) — "go-with" is a ridiculous little word. Oh, and I definitely prefer the two-A NAAN. Much tastier.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Happy birthday, Caleb Madison, who turns the big 17 (!?) today.

87 comments:

imsdave 8:29 AM  

I could not convince myself to put in ZINFANDEL (my absolute first thought right off the bat), which caused me to abandon the NW. First word in the grid was ELAL, and off to the races. Some day, I'll learn how to spell NIETZSCHE - that's one great consanant string. Dropped in KAMAKAZE off the K(ay). Some day I'll learn how to spell. Tried CRASH for SMASH at first. Inched back into the NW and with the DEL in place, slapped my forhead, dropped in ZINFANDEL and shredded the section.

A little over 10 minutes (screaming fast for me on a Friday).

As usual, a very nice effort from DP.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

When I see Eliot Ness in a puzzle it always jumps out at me as being somehow the very essence of eliot.

Elaine 8:33 AM  

Did you know that COCHINEAL fits precisely in 1A for "Red choice?" and even when I had to take it out, I had __F_N__L, which was NO help at all.

More happily, I filled in big swaths of this puzzle. _The Once and Future King_, _The Untouchables_ (yes, children, it was a BOOK,) and even The Bible...reading pays off. Got ZANZIBAR off the crossing A from NAPOLI (I couldn't believe all my guesses were so spot on!!!) and KAMIKAZE thanks to Sir KAY.... but there was the NW, and even though I had OMSK and PINETREES, corrected Los Gatos to be LOS ALTOS (which is way closer to Palo Alto than San Jose)...I threw in the towel and googled IDA LUPINO. When I add that I had CRASH, not SMASH, you can see that I was painted into a corner. So, a fail, but I think an honorable one. Sometimes the bear gets you, just as Edith B said.

OH! That was GOOD, Your Majesty!

lit.doc 8:43 AM  

I’ll go with challenging for this one. I’m just getting to where I can sometimes finish a Friday puzzle without lots of googles, and I almost couldn’t finish this one *with* googles (only four though, amazingly).

Started in NW per habit and quickly got five downs. All wrong, as I found out much later. And it woulda been reeealy useful to have started with 1A but, being a beer and/or whiskey kinda guy, I had the vague impression that ZINFANDEL was a blush or a rosé or some such. Brick wall, so my solving efforts went south where, despite that phrase’s connotation, I started having some success.

Big breakthrough came with the lower two thirds of the puzzle filled, when I googled 15A. Ida Lupino directed too?. Well bless her heart, she left 1D SQUAT, 3D CLUES, 4D MOTTLED, and 5D PBS (had mentally flipped a coin over this and NPR) on the cutting room floor. Too bad she left 8D ANGRY in. Yes folks, that’s how much success I’d had in NW.

Grid was filled at 83:23 with 3D NANOS crossing 19A POOCH and, seriously, I sat there and stared at it for like a full minute, thinking “Who the heck hunts dogs?” Finally the “pronounce all the word forms” synapse fired, giving me POACH. I hope the morning light and Rex’s write-up both smile on plural NA-NA for “spoilers”.

Terrific puzzle, fun challenge (think “Masochism Tango”), and some marvelous clues. I look forward to finding how many others stepped in NAIV[EST] for DEWI and CR[ASH INTO] for SM.

Oh yeah—@Rex, thanks so much for the Thursday video embeds, especially the on-going Star Wars slow-motion train wreck. As usual, I don’t get to see them till evening, due to my employer’s ‘net filters. And, even more so than usual, I’m both entertained and comforted by your Friday write-up (just wish I had time to watch the videos).

joho 8:49 AM  

Fantastic puzzle even though the SW did me in. I had dappled for FLECKED. Anger for ENEMY. CrASH for SMASH. Hopeless.

Loved ZANZIBAR, NEITZSCHE, KAMIKAZE, RUSTLEDUP and TRASHTV among other fresh fill.

This was spot on for Friday, Doug Peterson you did good!

JannieB 8:56 AM  

NPR in the NW gave me Pinot Noir - which of course slowed me down for awhile up there. Finally broke through and had the northern hemisphere done in about 10 minutes.

Re-rights included Frog (great clue!!) and Smash. Kept thinking Nat Stat would be something like Pop(ulation) - wanting this to be something geographical. Really enjoyed the cluing today - as Rex said, just tricky enough without being too cute.

Swedish-sounding Doug is one my favorite late-week constructors and this is another fine entry in his portfolio.

Smutio - a sleazy hippy?

joho 9:09 AM  

Oh, I meant the NW!

Darryl 9:11 AM  

I'm waiting for solvers who had an experience similar to mine of last night:

Merged with Tanganyika? Mitsubishi - No.
Suzuki - No, doesn't fit. Hiroshima Metalworks? Get serious.

They're all probably still sleeping in.

dk 9:20 AM  

Some fun. Had busman instead of DIESEL as one of my first, boy this is going to be easy fills. Like SAMSON I was blind.

A fair amount over over thinking: "PINETREES is far to simple" thought the still blind dk.

End result did this one from the bottom up in about 30 minutes.

Knew ASCII as I once could program in Fortran, Cobol and Basic -- on cards you young whippersnappers...

And, first thought the Jimi Hendrix Exp. was trip. Sigh.

Time for a couple of bong hits and a case of HOHOS. Filling in for another patroller today, gotta keep those hills safe.

**** (4 Stars) Great work Doug (maybe from Malmo) Peterson

nancy (usually lurking) ross 9:21 AM  

I can't believe I'm not the only one who wrote COCHINEAL in 1A, since I had the N and the L. Loved this puzzle. Petajoule is a fantastic word.

Judith 9:22 AM  

My first guesses were almost all wrong! I had Los Gatos, blot for the makeup thing, Pinot Noir for Zinfandel at one point, UGH!

This was an ugly solve...

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

14D: the typo is that it should have read, "four for four" ... as a batter might do in baseball.

imsdave 9:36 AM  

@DK - believe it or not, I still program in COBOL (so I'm more EBCDIC than ASCII). I was fortunate enough to miss the punch card era.

I forgot to ask before - anyone else try RIB before PIN?

OldCarFudd 9:37 AM  

Great puzzle! My only writeover was smash for crash. Today the odd bits of knowledge got me a foothold: Zanzibar, butyl and sepoy. The -el, plus a sneaking suspicion that Doug might have another z lurking, gave me zinfandel.

@lit.doc - WHITE zinfandel is indeed a blush wine. I put it on a par with BUD Light - something barely fit to brush my teeth in. (This comment is being printed on asbestos to survive the inevitable flames.) But RED zinfandel is a wholly different critter, and can be marvelous.

Happy birthday, Caleb Madison!

Norm 9:41 AM  

PINOTNOIR and RIB here as well. Apropos of nothing in particular, Stand on ZANZIBAR by John Brunner was one of my favorite science fictions novels ever. Hard puzzle but satisfying.

tptsteve 10:22 AM  

How about communism for 1A? That gave me mottled, instead of FLECKED, and NPR fit! Lots and lots of rewrites today. But I enjoyed it.

Tanganyika reminds me of a GET SMART episode I saw as a kid where Max is on the Orient Express and supposed to deliver a briefcase to another agent;Tanganyika is the recognition codeword. Unfortunately, everyone on the train has been there.
Why I remember this, I have no idea.

@lit.doc- Masochism Tango, indeed.

ArtLvr 10:24 AM  

I blanked at SEPOY, like Rex -- knew I knew it, but still had to tease it out from ASTHMA on. Did anyone think PETROL for DIESEL, or Spoiler NONOS before NANAS? CHUG for GULP? Plus RIDER for "One thing on top of another"?

I managed to GET REAL thirsty, thinking Pink at ZINFANDEL, and discovering that KAMIKAZE was a drink. Could have used some PORT, myself. Solved it all without a google, and loved the challenge. Bravo, Doug!

∑;)

Elaine 10:33 AM  

@Nancy Lurker Ross
Well, only the really artful solvers thought of COCHINEAL...such a great word! My first puzzle entry! And so wrong! sob (Did it have to be supplanted by the swill ZINFANDEL?)

@dk, imsdave
Hey, I used to check folks' SPSS cards over, before they turned them in to be run. Doesn't seem so VERY long ago... More recently, our daughter learned Fortran to use in her dissertation research (computer modeling of barium strontium something something)-- so it's still useful out there.

fealti-- trendy loyalty?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:34 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Medium - Challenging for me, which is to say 45 minutes including breakfast and feeding the cat.

Two write-overs, CRASH before SMASH and FOR REAL? before GET REAL!

Spent time thinking about RIB before PIN and GDP or GNP before RBI.

(@dk and imsdave -- In the summer of '62, I was programming in machine language on an IBM 1620, nicknamed CADET - Can't Add, Doesn't Even Try - This machine did math by looking up the answers in a table!)

Stan 10:41 AM  

Wow, seriously tough-but-fair puzzle! I was about to give up after an hour, then started madly writing in guesses, single letters, corrections, etc. and finished in 20 minutes. It wasn't pretty but it was fun. Never could have done this a year ago. (Thanks, blog.)

lit.doc 10:42 AM  

@DK and @imsdave, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I too designed and coded software. In Fortran (CDC 6400 with punchcards in about '71), Cobol, and Basic. Those languages earned me enough money to escape to The Academy (and a vow of poverty). Language is language, eh?

Crosscan 10:45 AM  

Doug delivers again on Friday. Challenging, solveable, no yuckiness.

Four for for, for one! Awesome.

GenJoneser 10:48 AM  

1A COMMUNISM. Anyone else? My mind was off of wine...for a change!

SethG 10:55 AM  

Blazed through the bottom--needed no crosses for ZANZIBAR, ELIOT NESS, or NIETZSCHE, and the rest filled in around it. Six minutes in I had ELAL and TRASH TV and everything below it, and just OMSK and NPR above. Final time: about 30.

If you didn't know IDA LUPINO directed, that section was much harder. PINOT NOIR too, and I could neither make it work nor get rid of it easily. Either ZIPPO or ZINFANDEL should have been more obvious...

NE...also forgot SEPOY--didn't want SEPAL, or anything else. 'Four' is a misspelling, not a typo, and I need to see some more evidence before I believe the PORT clue. Finally got ASTHMA, that gave me KEY LIMES (instead of KIWI FRUIT or PNEUMONIA, which clearly didn't fit...), worked from there, but ugh.

Is there an EASY/CHALLENGING rating?

PlantieBea 10:57 AM  

Yes, Artlvr, I had NO NOs for the spoilers until I looked up IDA LUPINO. Only then would POACH and AUTH resolve. I confess to googling the spelling of NIETZSCHE to finish the SW. I had college friends who drank KAMIKAZIs while watching M*A*S*H. Fun times and definitely not TRASH TV. Favorite answers: ZINFANDEL, PINE TREES, TYLENOL PM, and of course, KEY LIMES.

This seems like a balanced and model Friday puzzle; a few answers that are just barely out of my reach bump it up to a challenging level. Thanks Doug Peterson!

retired_chemist 11:03 AM  

Nice, nice puzzle. Medium-challenging here.

Fun to see the 4D alternatives - mine was SPOTTED.

12D was ADULT WORK (results of some labor laws, and I thought of child labor laws first, don't ask me why). Also in the mid-Atlantic, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was TRIP. Didn't think about the capitalization of the E.

Did not know IDA LUPINO ever directed, so she came late in the game. Did know SEPOY (from crosswords) and ASCII (from using it). My first guess (HOHOS) @ 59A was correct even though I have never even seen a HOHO up close and personal AFAIK. FANDOM and FROG turned out to be good first guesses too.

Had NIEMOLLER @ 31D - much too late and obviously wrong when ZANZIBAR appeared.

Thanks, Mr. Peterson.

Two Ponies 11:15 AM  

I got demolished today.
Too bad but there were so many things I just could not pull together.
Volstead Act was unknown to me and sounded foreign.
I have never tried, until today, to spell Nietzsche and now I know why.
I really hated carrying around those boxes of punch cards. It seems so ridiculous now.
I tried Rim for Pin thinking of a spare tire.
Saturday tough for me. I think I killed or at least stunned a few too many brain cells last night.

Bill from NJ 11:29 AM  

Ah, all these computer memories. In 1967, I was a math major at Delaware State College and was part of the team that put the entire college on computer. IBM 360. Punch cards. What I remember most was the cards being spit back at me due to errors. What was the question?

Ruth 11:36 AM  

@Bill from NJ: ah, punch cards. Good times. Dropping the box with your program in it: priceless.

HudsonHawk 11:37 AM  

Simply awesome puzzle, DP!

KAMIKAZEs are typically served as shots--vodka, triple sec, lime juice. I think triple sec needs to appear in a grid soon. ACME?

@Elaine, ZINFANDELs are hardly swill. They're usually big, spicy red wines that go best with rich foods. White Zin is a bastardization that most would equate with swill. It used to be that you could count on the Three Rs for good ZIN (Ridge, Rosenblum and Ravenswood) but now there are numerous great producers.

John Milton 11:41 AM  

Dalila visiting the blind,chained Samson is a great scene:

Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,
Which to have merited, without excuse,
I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears [ 735 ]
May expiate (though the fact more evil drew
In the perverse event then I foresaw)
My penance hath not slack'n'd, though my pardon
No way assur'd. But conjugal affection
Prevailing over fear, and timerous doubt [ 740 ]
Hath led me on desirous to behold
Once more thy face, and know of thy estate.
If aught in my ability may serve
To light'n what thou suffer'st, and appease
Thy mind with what amends is in my power, [ 745 ]
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.

Sam. Out, out Hyæna; these are thy wonted arts,
And arts of every woman false like thee,
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, [ 750 ]
Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,
Confess, and promise wonders in her change,
Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears, [ 755 ]
His vertue or weakness which way to assail:
Then with more cautious and instructed skill
Again transgresses, and again submits;
That wisest and best men full oft beguil'd
With goodness principl'd not to reject [ 760 ]
The penitent, but ever to forgive,
Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
Entangl'd with a poysnous bosom snake,
If not quick destruction soon cut off
As I by thee, to Ages an example. [ 765 ]

Nebraska Doug 11:46 AM  

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche in the same puzzle! My Existentialist phase finally paid off, both were gimmes for me. BEQ (or another constructor) – how about an Existentialism themed puzzle? Sartre, Camus, etc., lots of possibilities. Though it’s probably been done before, I just haven’t seen it. When I started this puzzle I didn’t think I would be able to finish it, but I kept chipping away, the last bit in the NW fell after I changed “crash into” to “smash into”. Really enjoyed this one. Great satisfaction upon finishing this one.

darkman 12:03 PM  

This was a monster for me. It teased me like a high school girl and wouldn't let me go. Finally had to ask Auntie to find ZANZIBAR for me.

Did anyone else get RYEENOUGH for "What might come as a relief at night?"?

Rex Parker 12:07 PM  

She's not teasing you. She's politely saying 'no.'

Jim in Chicago 12:15 PM  

Just a question for our British friends. Since "digs" is a Britishism, I have to ask about the use of the word "rent".

I know that flats are "to let", and that when you decide to sign the deal you "let a flat". So, when you pay your monthly bill is that referred to as "paying the rent" or is there another word used.

retired_chemist 12:17 PM  

@ HudsonHawk - married in 2007, we received a bottle of Ridge 2004 Zinfandel which I have been saving for an occasion. The woman who got it for us didn't even know how much I would appreciate it - she had actually never heard of Ridge.

Any idea when it will be best?

HudsonHawk 12:29 PM  

@retired_chemist, Ridge Zins typically hold up very well, but there's not a lot to be gained by cellaring them for a long time. Most sources say 5-10 years is appropriate. "Open That Bottle Night" is Feb. 27th this year, if you need an excuse!

fergus 12:57 PM  

CABERNET, no, one letter short. SAUVIGNON, not on its own.

CRASS TV. LASTS ON? leading to SET A DATE before validation.

FANDOM was a great plural mislead.

Truly a fine puzzle -- hard to get much traction, then zipping off with many a satisfied, wry smile.

MikeM 1:20 PM  

PINOTNOIR and RIB too. I was stuck in the SE forever, convinced that __LENO___ had something to do w/ Jay Leno relieving Conan of his Tonight Show duties... TYLENOLPM just never dawned on me.
I enjoyed the puzzle nonetheless, nice Friday

mac 1:21 PM  

Tough but very good puzzle. The first words I filled in were El Al, LOL, Omsk, nan and asthma - after that it was one long struggle. Couldn't get the Gurkha out of my head, even though it wouldn't fit. USOC has an annual award? How about every 2 or 4 years?? I don't know hoho, just Joho.

Love Sir No Sir, trash tv, rustled up and get real. Almost a Saturday difficulty level for me....

Van55 1:34 PM  

Very Saturdayesque for me. Tough going and resort to Google. I hate when I do that!

hazel 2:18 PM  

Fine puzzle indeed. My solve included flashbacks of Treedweller's day at the helm. OMSK and SEPOY were today's nemeses.

Love Venn diagrams - would like to see a venn diagram on thisindex.com which includes puzzles/ers.

I'm in the just right for a Saturday camp.

Bob 2:19 PM  

(14D) "Four for for" would be as in four hits in four at-bats.

Clark 2:27 PM  

@dk -- With you on TRIp for [Jimi Hendrix Experience, e.g.]. Made SAMSON hard to see. Misspelling KAMIKAZi made RUSTLED UP hard to see. But, I did finally get myself bleeding and battered across the finish line.

NIETZSCHE was a big help down in the SW. @Ulrich, what is that Z doing in there? Even if you slow the pronunciation way down and pronounce each sound, the Z is silent, right?

Elaine 3:05 PM  

@Clark
I await Ulrich's analysis along with you, but I would have said the T was superfluous, because Z is a kind of TZ sound; however, as I told all of my students-- with names, rules do not always apply. This was a helpful gimme for me, too.

@HudsonHawk and my fellow wine-imbibers
I concede it's been a long time since I had a Zinfandel, and I should not count that pink party swill. I will hustle out and try some reds asap! Meanwhile, hubby has turned out some very nice Pinot Noir. I should have thought WINE for that clue, for sure.

fikink 3:21 PM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. I cannot choose my favorite clue; so many demanded mental headstands that had me examining each word in the clue in the manner of Cryptics.
Started out with SQUAT - literally. Thus I was blind to ZINFANDEL for too long.
And it seemed every other clue led me to a deadfall. Invigorating!
I hit a wall at RATIO, as I insisted on "rated," in Cryptic mode, and couldn't appreciate the wonderful metric output clue.

@Seth and Rex, nice subtlety re: four vs. for.
@r_c, uncork it tonight!

Doug Peterson, You the man!

sanfranman59 3:41 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 29:48, 25:58, 1.15, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 15:34, 12:30, 1.25, 93%, Challenging

chefbea 3:42 PM  

Couldn't do it. Didn't really have much time. So came here to see the finished puzzle.

Nowse I gotta go. (that's my captcha)

Doc John 3:43 PM  

I'm just happy I knew how to spell Nietzsche!

chefwen 3:44 PM  

Loved this puzzle, I did have to consult Doctor Google quite a bit, but for moi that is typical for a Friday.

TRASH TV was a gimme, every time husband walks past me watching TV he says "how can you watch that trash? and keeps walking.

@OldCarFudd - Had a friend in Wisconsin who used to sell crowns to the breweries, his favorite saying was "Drinking light beer is like making love in a canoe, f*%#ing near water."

Anyway, got it done last night, not without a struggle and the happy dance followed shortly thereafter.

nanpilla 5:04 PM  

I'm in the Keys drinking Kamikazes and eating Key Lime pie, so this wonderful Friday puzzle felt just right! Ridge Zin is one of my favorite wines, Paso Robles especially.

jae 5:05 PM  

This was easier than usual for me. In fact I had more difficulty with yesterday's. I breezed through the top half and only got briefly hung up in SW trying to spell NIETZSCHE and put two words in 53d. That said, the only thing I remembered about SEPOY was that it started with S and ended with Y. Very nice puzzle DP, loved all the Zs.

Dave in California 5:09 PM  

Yeah, hardest thing about the puzzle was spelling Nietzsche. I had Nietschke for a while, guess I was thinking of Ray Nitschke. There's probably a great puzzle to be written that involves both Nietschke and Nitschke, I'll have to work on the theme and the clues...

jesser 5:28 PM  

Hello, Rex and friends. I've been living in syndication land for many moons and have corresponded occasionally with Rex. Today I took the plunge and subscribed to the NYT daily puzzle so I can join this fray. This puzzle fell pretty quickly except for 38A and 37D. I love the zinfandel from Zanzibar, which I may have sampled years ago when I visited Zamboanga. The clue for 8D looked a little iffy to me, but I got it after I trashed CRASHinto and went with SMASH. Cool puzzle. Nice Friday workout! And nice to be here, at last! -- jesser in crosswordy Las Cruces, NM

fikink 5:43 PM  

Hi, jesser!
Glad you made it.
RUSTLE UP an avatar for a readily readable ID.
Something from the wonderful southwest would be nice.
(Wish I were in NM about now.)

edith b 5:45 PM  

I always struggle with Doug Peterson's puzzles and Rex artiulated the reason wny: too many degrees of seperation in volved in the cluing. I do take a certain pride in turning over the rock that TYLENOLPM was hiding under.

IDALUPINO was a neon for me and my initial entry. I looked her up the last time she appeared in a puzzle. She was more than just an actress and was a pioneer for women directors.

I know I'm probably wrong but I think I've seen this puzzle before with ZINFANDEL and ZANZIBAR in the same places. And I recall fighting the same battle with SEPOY the last time it showed up.

I consider this a nice warm-up for a Saturday and thank Mr Peterson for providing a good struggle.

Margaret 6:15 PM  

We served white ZINFANDEL at our wedding reception 25 years ago. Don't think I've had any in the last 24 years.

Heading for Key West in a week which made KEY LIMES easier to see. And having those airline tkts makes it easier to tolerate the ice/snow/sleet/rain that's been coming down all day today. Sledding tomorrow! I'm sure to SMASH INTO something.

Took over an hour plus 2 googles (SAMSON, NAPOLI) but a fun challenge.

Stan 6:18 PM  

"How do you spell Nietzsche?" Could this be a goyish equivalent of "How do you spell 'Chanukah'"?

@jesser: Welcome! Glad you're here. Parroting @fikink's comment, please do log onto Blogger (this does NOT apply to Andrea, for reasons already well-explained). It's easy and does not require Facebook-style revelations.

Anonymous 6:33 PM  

A million thanks for turning me on to the Phantom Menace pan. A true work of internet art.

jesser 6:43 PM  

Thanks, Fikink and Stan for the welcome. I have spent the last few minutes printing out 5 weeks of puzzles so I can get caught up. After that, I figured out how to sign on to Blogger. Now let's see if it works to show my Guilty Monks avatar. WooHoo: Life in Rexville!

mac 6:51 PM  

@jesser: welcome and that was quick work with the avatar! I would like to enlarge it even more to get a good look at those little faces.

@Stan: talking about facebook revelations: Last week I checked out my profile and noticed there was a box for marital status I hadn't filled in. So I clicked "married". I got some very surprised reactions from sisters and nephew when Facebook took it upon itself to announce, with a little red heart, that I got married!

jesser 7:03 PM  

I really want to officially do a 3 and out post. So here ya go! It's time now for ZINFANDEL in Las Cruces, but not to the point that I SMASH INTO anything. Oh, and I RUSTLED UP a new avatar already: my trusty Jeep on the end of a neat little trail up in the Robledos Mountains north of Las Cruces. The Jeep's name is Wild Hair, just in case anyone wanted to know. 3 and out! -- jesser

Stan 7:23 PM  

@mac: Very funny story re: Facebook.

@jesser: Excellent 3-and-out post.

3-and-out, Stan

chefbea 8:02 PM  

@jesser welcome to rexville. glad to have you aboard. And i will ask my usual question..... oh never mind

Doug 8:03 PM  

Got clobbered with about 25% white space. Blew my streak of about 30 straight filled grids too. This was one hell of a puzzle though.

ArtLvr 8:18 PM  

Welcome to jesser, if still reading...

I was amused by Rex's wordplay, FANDOM and Phantom...

I also had a vignette to share from early computer days -- On a visit to friend who was in change of computers at a midwestern university which shall remain nameless, I asked afterward about the card punchers, all noticeably overweight women. I got a wicked smile, and the response "I hire them on purpose -- I get them trained, and they are less likely to leave immediately to get married." She was one cynical sister!

∑;(

joho 8:19 PM  

@jesser ... I echo the welcomes to you. Man, would I love to be someplace warm right now. Perhaps in a jeep with wild hair!

3 and out.

fikink 8:28 PM  

@jesser, Nice intro and sign-off!
I LIVE ON Jeeps!
Jeeps and Labs, who could ask for anything more?

Ben 8:31 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Nice and tricky as a Friday should be, but not too tough to finish. Tip of the cap to Doug Peterson.

Don't know the first thing about wine and thought Zinfandel was white. It sounds like it should be.

Taking no sides in the raging "four for for" debate, I am fascinated that anyone would think it was a baseball typo as opposed to an ordinary typo. Not saying that wasn't the intended meaning, I just would not have thought of that.

@Jesser, I can relate. I got into the NYT puzzle 2+ years ago via syndication, inking it in the Chicago Sun-Times (our local Murdoch-owned tabloid rag) and lurking Rexville 5 weeks behind. After a year enough was enough and I subscribed online. Next thing I knew I was attending the ACPT and posting comments here every weekend. Welcome to the club (if I have even been in the club long enough to welcome others).

Ben 8:32 PM  

(or at least Murdoch-owned until recently)

Ben 8:36 PM  

p.s. Forgot to mention in re the American Southwest, I just spent a week in Scottsdale, Ariz. with family, enjoying the natural beauty, catching up with friends, playing tennis outside, eating excellent meals, visiting the Kartchner Caverns State Park (amazing cave discovered in the 1970s), reading books, and watching the Australian Open.

Last night I came back to Chicago's zero-degree weather. All I could think was: Why?!

Three and out.

Anonymous 9:46 PM  

Great puzzle. But can someone explain POEMS to me?

Clark 10:37 PM  

@Anon 9:46 -- Poetry is a 'metric system,' iambic pentameter, spondaic hexameter . . . You know. So poems are output of a metric system. Or something like that. Brilliant.

sanfranman59 12:11 AM  

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 7:18, 6:55, 1.06, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:21, 8:45, 0.84, 12%, Easy
Wed 11:24, 12:00, 0.95, 37%, Easy-Medium
Thu 22:15, 19:31, 1.14, 84%, Challenging
Fri 30:24, 25:59, 1.17, 88%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:40, 1.04, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:48, 4:28, 0.85, 15%, Easy
Wed 5:29, 5:54, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Thu 9:50, 9:23, 1.05, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 15:01, 12:29, 1.20, 90%, Challenging

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Medium? Try impossible without Google. The hardest puzzle in a year for me, and I do the puzzle every day- in the paper, actually, not on line.

There were too many specific fact answers, and the non-fact answers were so obscure, that it was impossible to get any traction.

Honestly, i have trouble believing anyone did this puzzle in 10 minutes without Google.

Who are those people? People with encyclopedic, photographic memories? People with incredibly nimble minds?

Do people actually know "ascii" or "Sir Kay", or "sepoy", not to mention that Ida Lupino directed "The Hitch-hiker", or that Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika?

Rex Parker 10:29 AM  

ASCII is common knowledge. If you do the puzzle every day, as you say, then you've seen SEPOY at least once in the past year (past couple months in fact). Zanzibar/Tanganyika is basic world history. And after all, there's no need to "know" any of those answers if you understand how crosswords work — use the *crosses* until answers become apparent. Scores of people did this in under 10 without Google. I'm one of them. This fact should be neither here nor there.

Most people still do the puzzle in the paper. You aren't special there. Nor are you at any particular advantage / disadvantage vis-a-vis people who solve online/onscreen.

rp

As if 10:40 AM  

If you really did the puzzle every day, there is no way this could have been your toughest challenge in a year. E.g., Bob Klahn wrote a Saturday puzzle in 2009 that was about 87 times tougher than this one. Every comment here was either that it was impossible or so satisfying to eke out a completion.

And like Rex said, you don't have to know all this stuff to finish the puzzle. I had only heard of Ida Lupino but knew nothing about her. I didn't know what merged with what, but I had heard of Zanzibar and it was pretty obvious after I filled in two Zs. That is how you do a crossword.

Elaine 10:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
STFU 10:58 AM  

"Take heart. You can learn many of the facts, names, places, and so on just by reading widely" — Wow. Brilliant. Surprised no one's ever thought of that. The geniuses on this blog ...

darkman 1:26 PM  

STFU; Elaine is one of the sweetest people I know on this blog. If you followed this blog daily, or even with a fair regularity, you woold know that and not have to repent.

Lurker0 4:37 PM  

Fie on Elaine ("one of the sweetest people" and all that) for revealing a couple of Saturday answers in this Friday blog -- at 10:51 AM Saturday, but that doesn't cut it.

GRRR!

Larry, the lurking Golden Bear

darkman 11:23 PM  

Lurker0: I cannot condone such an error, but that doesn't have any bearing on Elaine's being a sweetie. I rarely say this: Grow up. (You'll be glad you did.)

andrea hey! michaels 12:01 AM  

I know too late but just had to say I loved this puzzle! Doug Swedish-sounding Peterson is amazing. Total Doug FANDOM! RAHS!

And I learned a lot...I had no IDeA IDALUPINO also directed!

@chefwen
I always tell folks who catch me watching all my trashy guilty-pleasure shows that I am doing it for "research" to keep in touch with the masses! ;)

Plus the clue for 32D HEY! was so perfect, I could hear it in my head. At least ONE of the voices in my head! ;)

@anon 10:22
Simple way to remember Tanzania is not necessarily thru history, but thru word games...
(maybe you do not know what a "portmanteau" is, ie new word formed from two others... I think I only learned that word a couple of years ago, and had always thought it meant "raincoat", not a suitcase!)
Anyway as Rex mentioned it's
TANganika + ZANzibar = TANZANia

And I loved that everyone wanted to do a blow by blow account of this "battle"... Mine mirrored @imsdave's almost to a tee... or should I say a zee?

(insert New Yorker cartoon Venn diagram of the Jackson 5 and Yugoslavian dictators here! I NEVER get tired of that!)

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

Well, my hat's off to anyone who did this in 10 minutes. I am impressed.

I should correct myself. I only do the Monday through Friday- I don't get Saturday's paper anymore- which I realize is the hardest of the week.

This was the hardest Friday I remember, so I was surprised it wasn't rated as challenging.

And I do think it had an unusually large number of very specific knowledge answers (for a NY Times puzzle) to go with some very obscure clues. I don't need lectures on how crosswords work. I have gotten to the point that I can pretty much do all the Thursdays and Fridays without Google, but in this case, no way.

But I was particularly tired after this week, so I'm sure my brain wasn't up to snuff.

Larrypic 6:35 PM  

on dit is French for "one says" or more commonly "they say"

Singer 6:36 PM  

From Syndi:
Yikes - I really crashed and burned on this one. Yesterday was easy, today I just was not on the same wavelength as the constructor. I got sepoy, pine trees, omsk, tore, pin samson nine ratio idiom npr, diesel, enemy Kay, asthma. Eventually got Zinfandel, zippo nanas, auth, hey, poach. Could not see adopt, el el( had e__l and couldn't see it), trash tv, typo to save my life. I eventually solved the puzzle by googling Ida Lupino and Napoli and looking at Google Maps at the Jan Jose area to get Los Altos. Sometimes the synapses don't work, but I am glad to see sanfranman's statistics since rp said medium to medium-challenging. Sanfranman puts it in the challenging to very challenging range - right where I found it.

Maas67 1:36 AM  

NAIVEST left me with MALEOVINE for Ram and screwed up the whole north for me, even after I liked KEYLIMES enough to work other mistakes out. I didn't like lots of the clues, but still was fun.

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