Sacred Buddhist mountain / FRI 4-2-10 / 1905 revolt setting / Periods added to harmonize lunar solar calendars / Teetotaler's order

Friday, April 2, 2010

Constructor: Alan Olschwang

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: OMEI (21A: Sacred Buddhist mountain) —

Mount Emei (Chinese: 峨嵋山; pinyin: Éméi Shān; Wade-Giles: O2-mei2 Shan1, literally towering Eyebrow Mountain) is a mountain in Sichuan province of Western China. Mount Emei is often written as 峨眉山 and occasionally 峩嵋山 or 峩眉山 but all three are translated as Mount Emei or Mount Emeishan. // This is the location of the first Buddhist temple built in China in the 1st century CE. The site has seventy-six Buddhist monasteries of the Ming and Qing period, most of them located near the mountain top. The monasteries demonstrate a flexible architectural style that adapts to the landscape. Some, such as the halls of Baoguosi, are built on terraces of varying levels, while others, including the structures of Leiyinsi, are on raised stilts. Here the fixed plans of Buddhist monasteries of earlier periods are modified or ignored in order to made full use of the natural scenery. // The Leshan Giant Buddha (simplified Chinese: 乐山大佛; traditional Chinese: 樂山大佛; pinyin: Lèshān Dàfó) was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and at the time of its construction was the tallest statue in the world. // The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. (wikipedia)

• • •

This started out easy and then turned. NW, piece of cake, helped along by intersecting longish crosswordese, ADAM'S ALE (15A: Teetotaler's order) and ODESSA (2D: 1905 revolt setting). The NE, however, did not want to play ball. I got HIE and then ... nothing. Came at it from underneath, but getting north of MOVES INTO proved tricky. OMEI!? Eeks. If I've seen this before, it's been a while. As you can see from the "Word of the Day" write-up, above, Mount EMEI appears to be the more accepted spelling, though I wouldn't have gotten that either. Finally came up with MIAMI as an "I"-ending city (11D: Home to Seaquarium and MetroZoo), which gave me the cleverly clued HUMANS (9A: Around-the-world race) and the OK IS IT OK? (16A: "Would you mind...?").



The SE was the real bear, though. RNASE is about the ugliest combo of letters I've ever seen in the grid. I sort of guessed it from the clue (33D: Biochemical enzyme, briefly), but only tentatively. Bigger problems with the mysterious BETTE Greene (49D: Greene who wrote "Summer of My German Soldier") and the out-of-my-knowledge-base EPACTS (43D: Periods added to harmonize the lunar and solar calendars). Scary. [Online treaties], that's how I would have clued EPACTS before today. Since I thought 49A: Cherry alternative was going for soda and not wood, BEECH was slow going. Might have put PEACH in there at some point. I had -ESTRIDE and still didn't know what to do at 59A: Spin out on wheels?. That clue is trying awfully hard to be cute. Makes me GNAR a little (34D: Growl). Speaking of GNAR ... KNORR (39D: Campbell's competitor). Don't see those together too often. Is that how you spell the possessive of "Campbell's?" Hmm (mmm, mmm), it seems that technically the name of the company is "Campbell." TV ads have been misleading me for decades.



It's hard to see what the seed answers were for this puzzle. Can't believe they were AEROPERU (35D: 1970s-'90s international carrier based in Lima) and USPOSTAGE (10D: It increased to 4 cents per oz. in 1958). Would have been nice if the difficulty level had been a little more consistent throughout the puzzle. I had very easy in the NW, easy in the SW, toughish in the NE, and quite tough in the SE. Easily half my time was spent in the region south of RNASE and east of EPACTS. I enjoyed it in parts, and I always like fighting through stuff I just don't know and ending up with a perfect grid anyway — confidence-booster. But without any real gold, the puzzle falls into the category of Just OK for me.

Bullets:
  • 32A: King-high games (ECARTES) — more longish crosswordese for you. Learned this game from crosswords.
  • 38A: One picking up a lot (NEATNIK) — this clue got me. I figured "lot" would be a parcel of land. I felt like every guy who has ever been on the other end of an Allen Iverson double crossover. I anticipate the zig but the zig was a feint and turns seamlessly into a zag. I fall on my ass. Clue hits a short jumper and laughs.
  • 42A: Where la Croix-Rouge is headquartered (GENÈVE) — French in clue = French answer. Here, the French form of GENEVA.
  • 47A: Rumble in the Jungle strategy (ROPE-A-DOPE) — a complete gimme. Also, the best thing in the grid by a mile.


[Explanation around the 7 min. mark]

  • 52A: Important Indian (RANEE) — I had CHIEF :(
  • 3D: Virgin Blue rival (QANTAS) — just what the grid needs: another airline.
  • 7D: Big Italian daily (IL TEMPO) — confused it with the big French daily and wrote in IL MUNDO.
  • 18D: Spillover stopper (LEVEE) — ideally, yes.
  • 55D: MP3 player maker (RCA) — uh ... what? Really? What's it called? Aha, the LYRA. Well, there's a crossword answer for you. I guess someone had to compete with the ZUNE for distant second place in the MP3 player market.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

62 comments:

newspaperguy 1:44 AM  

Yep, this one was a bear. Don't think we have Adams Ale in Canada and US Postage took forever to fall. Pretty Friday-ish crossword, but not particularly satisfying. Of the 26 possibilities to end Avenue, Q was way down the list.

Doug 1:51 AM  

A tough outing. Saw the coast line, crashed on the reef and crawled ashore. I think I started with TENGALLON and the crossing at GENEVE, then slugged it out. I like it when challenging puzzles allow penetration from other parts of the grid.

Just flew QANTAS: "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services."

Jimmy Knepper 2:16 AM  

ADAM'S ALE = water

RNASE was SANER before it started hanging around pirates and the SLA.
US POSTAGE and REGULAR CUSTOMER.....zzzzzz!

chefwen 2:34 AM  

Never heard of ADAMS ALE, never want to try it.

First fill was 28A with aboard, how much more wrong could that have been? Fortunately, easily fixed.

We owned (he owned us, more likely)a cat named Duke, he used to walk with us and the dogs on a leash, even took him to the vets office on his leash which evoked many a smile and laughter from waiting customers and staff. Husband liked to call him DOPE ON A ROPE. Mellow guy lived to be 21, still miss him.

Great puzzle, but then, any Friday that I can finish without anguish is a great puzzle. Last fill was the R in RNASE which was a totally random guess which turned out to be correct. Lucky me!

chefwen 2:35 AM  

Never heard of ADAMS ALE, never want to try it.

First fill was 28A with aboard, how much more wrong could that have been? Fortunately, easily fixed.

We owned (he owned us, more likely)a cat named Duke, he used to walk with us and the dogs on a leash, even took him to the vets office on his leash which evoked many a smile and laughter from waiting customers and staff. Husband liked to call him DOPE ON A ROPE. Mellow guy lived to be 21, still miss him.

Great puzzle, but then, any Friday that I can finish without anguish is a great puzzle. Last fill was the R in RNASE which was a totally random guess which turned out to be correct. Lucky me!

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Sorry about that, don't know how that happens.

edith b 3:13 AM  

I taught Summer of My German Soldier by BETTE Greene in the late 70s when the made-for-TV movie was showing (with Kristy McNichol). As you may be able to tell from the title, it was more popular with the girls than the boys and was an award winning piece of juvenile fiction.

As a teacher, I was not fond of literature lite which was how I saw this project but, as it dealt with racial prejudice, the school was behind it 100%, regardless of how I felt. I never thought I would see it referenced in the NYT puzzle, though.

I got MENTALTELEPATHY with minimal crosses and built the North down to the ASL/UPNEXT/DTS line.

At that point I bogged down but I got restarted in the SW with W H AUDEN and began working northward. I was a Muhamamed Ali fan in the 70s also and ROPEADOPE was a neon for me. I got REGULARCUSTOMER in the same way I got the long across in the North and was left with bits and pieces of the Midlands to put together. I had GLITZ as 23D for far too long but once I sussed out TENGALLON I was able to repair that section and go on to a solve.

I liked the fact that I had two mutually exclusive images from the late 70s that helped me build this puzzle. I had a good time. And hello to Elaine and other members of the 1:30 AM Club or Insomniacs Anonymous as I like to call us.

Elaine 4:46 AM  

@Edith B, you got me! (We gotta stop meeting this way...)

My first run-through of the clues made my heart sink. Long-ago musical/movie; writer's first name (though I knew the book and movie); airlines. My first word into the grid was CHIEF at 52A (which was wrong) followed by the two blank fill-ins. Then I started chipping away....IL __ for the paper, VALE and CAMEO in the NW....and I can't believe it! Solved! Well, actually had an error at ECARTES-- I had ECARTET, which for all I knew was correct, given the E at the end of OSSE (where I normally would have tried OSSO.) Still, an enjoyable puzzle, two new words, no--make that three: OMEI, EPACTS, ECARTES. The first T in TEST RIDE was the last thing into the grid. (I went through the alphabet. Git er done!)

For those in suspense re the April Fool's trick: I had rigged the kitchen sink sprayer, but stopped my husband from 'shooting himself' in a fit of remorse. (He had helped me with yard work, which he loathes.) But then I reconsidered and rerigged the spray handle, and when it came time to start supper, I briskly handed Hubby Dearest a pot to fill up for the pasta....and WOW. It took a few minutes to wipe up the kitchen--he always turns the water on full blast at once-- and I was laughing so hard I was crying, but I can report complete surprise plus one wet tummy and a "Good one, dear." (I'll be warily checking the spray handle daily for a while.) Thanks for the idea!

SethG 6:08 AM  

Fine puzzle. Relatively easy/fast finish for me, but I was lucky and guessed MIAMI with no crosses and I'm sure that made the difference.

But, dear G-d, what in the name of all that is holy is going on in the Northern SE? OMEI was fine from the crosses, but right next to it the brand-new-to-me RNASE, ECARTES, and the variant form of OSSE? I feel a little bit better after looking it up and finding that RNASE is related to RNA and that I have seen ECARTE in the singular before. OSSE- is bad only because it used to be my default answer for OSTE- and I was always wrong, and now for once I remembered to finally put OSTE- and was wrong. OSTE- wins the head-to-head hands down, but by writing this I'll finally remember to put OS-E(O) and wait for the cross. Anyway, that's a lot of unfamiliar stuff in a very small area.

With the soup, the company is Campbell Soup Company, the brand is Campbell's. I entered Unilever's KNORR with no crosses, too, though Nestle's MAGGI is possible.

Wasn't a big fan of the musicals, but I just bought my AVENUE Q tickets so hopefully I'll be a big fan of the musical.

andrea squeezed michaels 6:20 AM  

"Funeral Blues" was my gimme...love that poem, first heard it in "4 Weddings and a Funeral" and then at a dear friend's funeral a few months later...I look forward to WH checking in and reprinting it...i would but it's not my bane and it's 3 am.

My puzzle (pen on paper) is such a mess, I don't think I had one right answer, just, like one letter off continually that had to be painfully corrected
(AVENUE A, DALE, SDS etc. ALASKA had to morph into ODESSA...ok, yes, I'm even boring me.)

Mi puzzle es su puzzle.

Interesting (to me) tho that ROADRAGE evolved eventually into the more calm TESTRIDE.

Had it not been for the Hitchcock CAMEOROLE clue earlier in the week, I don't think I'd have gotten CAMEO so quickly tonight.

Loved all the Qs, X. Z, and a couple of K's. Are we still describing puzzles as Scrabbly/crunchy?

Had to relearn yet again that ADAMSALE is water... (Thanks, @Jimmy Knepper)

My teetotaling ways led to my usual one letter mistake:
QANTAo/AoL... I convinced my self that QANTAO was like QINTAO some sort of Chinese beer to rival Virgin Blue which I decided was some sort of liquor...
SOOOO dumb in retrospect, I think I need to take up drinking!

gih 8:10 AM  

Too many crossword puzzles I solved evry newspapers I read.

jesser 8:25 AM  

I did fine with this one, despite never having heard of EPACTS, BETTE Green, and AUDENS. The crosses all came galloping to the rescue in their TEN GALLON hats.

But I came here to figure out what the hell was going on with ECA_TES and _NASE. I figured it had to be a vowel, but it couldn't be, so it had to be a consonant, but it also couldn't be, so WTF?

RNASE sounds like a captcha. Bah.

I'm embarrassed by how long it took for AVENUE Q to appear in my brain, and also for how long I hung onto mARoon at 34A, despite the fact that GARNET is my birthstone, and I have lots of those rocks in various rings that mostly sit in the safe. Men and jewelry = rant.

Cute cluing for GEESE and SQUEEZED, but I still don't get 'Spin out on wheels' as a TEST RIDE. Whatev.

And COQUAVIN? That sounds like a venereal problem. Jeez.

UP NEXT? Work, tragically. I keep not winning the damn Powerball.

Happy Friday, Rex and fellow minions!

Bokier! (when you have a cold and the puzzle is slow going, you're 'bokier' than usual) -- jesser

joho 8:27 AM  

Finished with no errors = happy Friday.

I had GrrR before GNAR and StrappED before SQUEEZED.

I sort of remembered ECARTES and thought it had to be RNASE because of RNA. That "R" was the last to go in.

Well, I think I'll put on my TENGALLON hat and go for a TESTRIDE.

W H Auden 8:29 AM  

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

For Andrea Funeral Blues

dk 8:47 AM  

Outside of the much loved RNASE this one was a complex set of the familiar. ADAMSALE has been served earlier this year and QANTAS (where I always want a Q) has been our airline of choice.

ROPEADOPE, REGULARCUSTOMER and MOVESINTO came easy as did MENYALTELEPAATHY once I got the right vowels.

Had trainee for NEATNIK and forgot about KNORR. Darn CO-OPS you forget about the salt rich foods of yore.

Off to try to get some KFC containers to make special Easter Baskets involving those lovable PEEPS.

** (2 Stars) TENGALLON almost took it to 3

secret word: unnexpen - the one french writing tool that you no longer have

dk 8:48 AM  

err, and consentants MENTALTELEPATHY

Elaine 8:51 AM  

@Jesser
You are looking at buying some new wheels. "Want to take 'er out for a spin?" asks the sleazy salesman.

If [Coq au Vin] is unfamiliar, it's not too late to redeem your misspent life. Improves if made a day in advance. (My captcha below is 'supper.' Too bad--we smoked the chickens Wednesday, none left for coq au vin.)

@chefwen, Andrea Squeezed
I appreciate the note on ADAMS ALE. I thought the Sam Adams company had come up with an alcohol-free bottled product. How had I never heard this term for 'water?'

@SethG
I see we had similar OSSO/OSTE issues.

dk 8:52 AM  

double err, I ACCEDE to the god typo and EXCISE myself

tptsteve 8:53 AM  

Started last night, and finished in the paper this am. Slow going, and lots of write-overs; started with rajah for 52A, which messed up the south for me, as did trying to force repeat customer into 55A. Hint: if you're short letters, it isn't the right answer. NO HITTER was a huge help in the east, but it took me a long time to move Peru to the bottom of 35D, even though I couldn't think of anything starting with the O in ropeadope that made sense.

@Edith b I remember the girls in jr high in the mid-70s reading Summer of my German Soldier; I never ahd to read it though.

Meg 9:13 AM  

I noticed the symmetry of "It's not exact" and "It may be exact". Nice

People learning English have a bit of trouble with "Would you mind...?" because it doesn't mean "Is it OK?" You have to say "No" if you want to say "Yes".

"Would you mind if I sat here?"

"No, I wouldn't mind. Go right ahead."

Nice Friday puzzle.

Van55 9:15 AM  

Much better than just OK for my taste. There were several answers that I never knew or barely remembered, so it was a learning experience: AVENUE Q, ADAMSALE, ECARTES, EPACTS.

ROPEADOPE was fantastic. TESTRIDE's clue was a bit too clever, in my opinion. Loved the near symmetry of inexact EST and exact SCI.

A good, fair challenge.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:38 AM  

Meh. Workmanlike puzzle, but not what I was hoping for on a Friday, and a holiday to boot. Although if anyone could come up with a really good, themed Good Friday puzzle, that would be a hoot. (I must be under some strange influence. Reading Auden's Funeral Blues (thank you for posting, WHA), I was struck by how over-the-top it seemed, almost as if it were meant to be humorous.) (Yes, I have been bereaved before and will no doubt be bereaved again, and there is nothing funny about it - sorry, Andrea, not making light of your feelings - certainly death and mourning have been the subject of jokes in popular culture. I suppose we can laugh at anyone's funeral but our own. As ?Yogi Berra? said, "If you don't go to other people's funerals, they won't come to yours.")

Just two boring write-overs, PALE before PALL and PEACH before BEECH.

fikink 9:44 AM  

Good work out! Thanks, Alan Olschwang.

Rex, I can't believe you have me googling Allen Iverson and reading about double crossovers before noon! Informative write-up as usual.

@dk, Come back, Shane!

JaneW 10:21 AM  

For me, the NW was my Waterloo. I've eaten COQ AU VIN, and I've heard of fricassee, but never knew the first was a type of the second. Also didn't know the term ADAM'S ALE.

What really stopped me is that I stubbornly refused to put a "QU" at the beginning of 3 Down, even though I already had _ _ NTAS! I already had the "U" of USAGE, figured there had to be a "U" after a "Q" , which would give me "QUU" .... IS IT OK? No!

edith b 10:45 AM  

@Bob K-

I saw 4 Weddings and a Funeral and I agree the poem was a trifle, well, maudlin but it was the presentation that made it powerful.

Anyone can read the words "To be or not to be . . ." but it takes Olivier to make it Shakespeare.

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

Was this one a shout-out to our friend Greene or what? There he is right in the clue for 49D plus three Broadway clues. I hope he drops by today.
I guess beech is a cherry alternative if you're making furniture?
If not for a few gimmes I would have never punched my way out of this one. I have to agree with Rex that this one was just OK.
Two years ago I would never have gotten Adam's Ale and probably been fooled by the humans clue. This blog has made all the difference.

Captcha: dredies - what you have if you don't change your underwear.

raidodaze 10:59 AM  

@tptsteve,

It works if you put AREPEATCUSTOMER in the grid. Thank Heavens customer was right! That mistake snarled up the SW forever!

Peep 11:13 AM  

@DK - Where did you get the Peep sized singles? (are singles appropriate there?).

Stan 11:28 AM  

61A did not come easily to me, partly because I always spell Les Miz wrong. Began with A or S; second letter A, B, C, or S; fourth letter E or Y, etc. Finally (while shaving) I went "Wait, it has to be 'Squeezed'."

Good workout, Alan!

archaeoprof 11:34 AM  

Wow, so far the whole week has been
Medium-Challenging!

Lon 11:40 AM  

Rex -- That's just the coolest video I ever saw! Thanks.

The Cunctator 12:01 PM  

Kind of surprising that Rex doesn't highlight the "musicals ending in 10-point letters" theme: AVENUE Q, LES MIZ (starring Liam NEESON).

Also three words with a Q not followed by a U: AVENUE Q, QANTAS, COQ AU VIN.

The bottom half of the puzzle is miles better than the top half, which has the ugly USAGE-OSAGE cross and MOVES INTO - ATTEND TO cross.

Tinbeni 12:14 PM  

After I got COQ AU VIN I checked, re-checked and checked one more time just to be sure 6D (Vale) was not going to be VIET.

Then I proceded at my snails pace with the rest.

ADAMS ALE, never heard of it, will never try it. Why do they make this stuff?
If you don't want alcohol have a soda or tea.

Noticed the airline mini-themes were all going DOWN.
But US POSTAGE was going UP.

Baseball season is UP NEXT. I never IGNORE a NO HITTER.

OMEI and AVENUEQ were a learning plus.

J. C. 12:33 PM  

@Kerfumple

OK, heres the start of your Good Friday puz:

Centerpiece (clue) Eli Eli Lama sabachthani, (answer) CROSSWORDS

(clue) Procurator of Judaea, AD 26 - 36 (answer) PONTIUSPILATE

(clue) Broccoli, cauliflower, etc, briefly (answer) CRUCIFEROUSVEGS

(clue) 1961 movie starring Anthony Quinn (answer) BARABBAS

You take it from there

lit.doc 1:00 PM  

I actually had 21 answers before I started checking Rex’s grid for fixes. Hey, it’s Friday. The puzzle was nicely constructed, and it was excellent solving practice.

In NW, I was hung up on 15A __AMS _LE, which had started as NEAR BEER (never heard of the Edenic equivalent). The fix still left the now extremely suspect 17A CONTACT EL_I_… I had crosses for ___NTA_TEL… and finally saw MENTAL TEL which fixed NW but killed my already suspect 10D MAIL STAMP.

Then I checked 41A, where I had LIT before ARM (ah, verb tense). That second fix enabled me to work out most of the rest of the puzzle. But SE was still a brick wall.

Finally checked 59A, where I had achieved _ET__IDE, and I wasn’t buying GET A RIDE. Oh, TEST RIDE? Really? Can someone please make sense of that clue for me, especially the question mark?

Other progress-killers along the way included 16A CAN YOU before IS IT OK, 10D USPS STAMP before US POSTAGE, and 55A REPEAT before REGULAR CUSTOMER.

treedweller 1:06 PM  

I got off to a good start and was pleased to find the top half clicked consistently till I was sure I had this licked, but then I barely managed anything below the equator till I stole some answers here. AUDEN[S],BETTE, AVENUEQ and EPACTS all ELUDEd me, obscuring some of the more gettable fill down there. Didn't help that I had "wear" instead of PALL (though, looking back at the clue, I see it's a pretty unlikely answer, since "wearisome" contains it).

@Rex, I would say Sansa is a close second in the MP3 world (in fact, I'd put ipod second, but that's largely because of personal preferences), with Zune and whatever RCA makes competing for a distant third.

Susan 1:09 PM  

ADAM's ALE was new to me too.

@Rex, is ECARTES really referring to a specific game. It's just Fr. for "cards." It stumped me, of course.

Also, a quibble. ASL is not a "special communication syst." Linguists agree that it is a language.

dk 1:16 PM  

@Peep, Hmm, two ways to make the dollars. First is to scan a real one and use photoshop to make it small. Second is find a high quality printer and reduce by what ever % needed. My little picture Peeps are from an old series. At the risk of not being pc I will try to find the homeless Peeps around the burn barrel.


Note Kinkos will not let you copy money: Swine!

Red Blooded Yellow Peep 1:20 PM  

@DK - You left out the most important part - the going rate for a Pink Easter Bunny lap dance.

JayWalker 1:22 PM  

Actually, I liked this puzzle a lot. But - I also ended this puzzle with an error. Could NOT see "Cherry" alternative as "Beech." "Wood" never once croxxed by tiny mind. KNEW it had to be Bette or Lette. Guess which one I went with? Refused, REFUSED I SAY, to Google. It's Friday. I have my standards! Clearly, I also have my Achilles Heel. Bah Humbug!!

Ben 1:35 PM  

Nice and tough, just the way I like 'em.

I like USAGE and OSAGE meeting at the same letter. Elegant!

We read Summer Of My German Soldier in 7th grade at North Shore Country Day School. Hell if I could tell you who wrote it though. We also read Across Five Aprils that year (by Howard someone-or-other?).

A college friend of mine co-wrote AVENUE Q, which I wrote about here.

Ben 1:38 PM  

Oops, I was thinking of April Morning by Howard Fast, which we ALSO read that year. Amazing with all these books I read in 7th grade that I remain such a philistine.

Tinbeni 1:52 PM  

@JayWalker
How can you say: Bah, Humbug!"

The puzzle did not have:

VIET

From here on out, if he grid doesn't have VIET ...
then I say it's OK.
I'll accept the butt-kickings but

VIET

is banned for ALL TIME, plus one day.

Rube 2:05 PM  

If you spend much time in Utah, as I do, you'll soon learn the expression ADAMSALE, it's synonymous with water.

OMEI and ECARTES were new to me. Had heard ROPEADOPE before, but didn't know what it meant. After looking it up, realized that, as in the case of Ali, you may win the battle, but lose the war.

Living in Calilfornia, wanted EQS before DTS. (That stands for earthquakes for you East coasters.)

We had EPACTS and ASL here a few weeks ago. New to me then, but went right in today. Thanks Rex, et al. Hand up for ILmundo. LESMIZ was a gimme, which for me deserves an exclamation mark!

The Big E 2:12 PM  

@SETHG: While I don't know you or your taste, I hope you love Avenue Q as much as I did - I thought it was a spectactularly irreverent show! Solid A for me!

Rex, the French newspaper is Le Monde, not Il Mundo (or were you making a joke I didn't pick up on?).

Overall, loved the puzzle - had to come here and figure out a couple of them at the end, but a nice way to spend lunch on the deck!

ArtLvr 2:13 PM  

I liked the puzzle immensely, found it on the easy side -- thanks to a mental slip of my own! Greene, the author, vaguely brought to mind the fabled songwriting team of of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the longest running creative partnership in theatre.

Thus I popped in Betty and then BETTE, which revealed the really obscure Cherry alternative as BEECH while I'd been expecting another "dark red" like GARNET. From there all else fell as well. Sometimes it's lucky to be half-asleep!

GENÈVE brought back the fantastic peacocks parading freely on the high lawn of one of the major buildings there, but I can't recall if it was the HQ of the Croix-Rouge or which.

I enjoyed being reminded about the ancient OMEI too, and AUDEN'S work. Have a good weekend, all.

∑;)

PlantieBea 2:39 PM  

I liked this one and solved it like a non-aero glider--kind of the way a woodpecker or duck flies. Had to look up ROPE A DOPE after I filled it in to see what it meant. Wrote over PEACH with BEECH and REALTOR with NEATNIK before I was able to build up enough steam to finish . My favorite area was up in COQ territory; ended with an error of ECARTET/OSTE. Thanks for the Friday, Alan Olschwang.

Clark 3:05 PM  

I have been offered the opportunity to view that “OK Go” video many times during the last few weeks but have declined it every time until now. It's worth a look. Maybe we should put these guys in charge of health care.

@Timbeni -- “Why do they make this stuff?” The questions is Could you make the world go without water?

Guessed right on all the hard stuff except the T of TEST RIDE. Rats.

Jamie 3:27 PM  

Darn. Thought I had it, but count me in the crowd who had oste instead of osse (I don't think I've seen osse before).

andrea Q michaels 3:55 PM  

@artlvr
I made the same slip about Comden and Greene, ending up with BETTE, right for the wrong reasons...we still haven't named that yet!

@The Cunctator
Q no U! Didn't fully appreciate that. Thank Q!

@WHAuden
Thanks...and yes, it was in the delivery! RIP CC mon cher (In case you have a laptop down there)

chefbea 4:07 PM  

Found the puzzle a bit difficult.

Love Andy Warhol and Knorr products are ok.

Use to make coq-au-vin all the time

ArtLvr 4:31 PM  

@Andrea Q -- The name must be coqaudumbluck!

∑;(

sanfranman59 4:57 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 24:55, 26:16, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:40, 12:42, 1.00, 55%, Medium

DrGaellon 5:35 PM  

Never seen RANEE before, only ever RANI. Tying NEESON to LESMIZ isn't very fair; the Neeson remake wasn't a musical. As a physician, I've *never* seen OSSE as a prefix for "bone" - it's OSTEO.

ArtLvr 6:06 PM  

@Andrea Squeeze -- I can shorten the felicitous error to a "dimsum"... that's a tasty little foreign morsel which isn't too bright, but adds up anyway.

∑;)

nulstru -- a wrong'un coming out right? (ESP from a machine!)

mac 6:35 PM  

My favorite kind of puzzle, slightly easy this Friday. Although 3 qs without u seem like a theme.

The hardest part was perfectly described by SethG - I did all that word for word.

@Doug: thanks for the Qantas explanation!

Had a few write-overs, such a garnet for claret and cas(s)oulet for coq au vin. Knorr is pronounced with k around Unilever.

I can't figure out that rubber band/faucet spayer trick. Anyone? I have a husband who likes to run the faucet, I call him an ecological criminal.

ategamin? ate gamin?

mac 6:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael 7:05 PM  

well, the nw may have been easy for Rex, but I had to do two googles to get it. The rest was more-or-less average Friday. rope-a-dope and uspostage really helped.

eco-cure 8:00 PM  

@mac
check your email

jae 8:13 PM  

For me, North half easy, SW-Medium, and SE-challenging. Knew ADAMSALE from past xword encounters and ROPEADOPE was a nice opening into the more difficult south. Only hiccups were SDS for SLA (should have paid attention, 70s not 60s) and LIT for ARM. I liked this one and thought it was about right for a Fri. (unlike last week's killer).

JenCT 9:35 PM  

Hand up for having never heard of ADAMSALE - I thought "That's Sam Adams, how can that be?"

Also had AREPEATCUSTOMER.

Had Stressed before SQUEEZED.

Loved the Ok Go video - wonder how long that took to set up?

The sink sprayer joke is a classic in my house - I always check for a rubber band before using the sink!

sanfranman59 11:19 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 7:38, 6:54, 1.11, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:11, 8:53, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 11:33, 11:50, 0.98, 49%, Medium
Thu 24:49, 19:35, 1.27, 95%, Challenging
Fri 25:12, 26:16, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:02, 3:40, 1.10, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:47, 4:32, 1.06, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:37, 5:47, 0.97, 47%, Medium
Thu 12:33, 9:24, 1.33, 95%, Challenging
Fri 12:11, 12:41, 0.96, 44%, Medium

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