Feldshuh of "Yentl" / FRI 5-14-10 / Hippodrome competitor / Currency that replaced pounds in 1964 / Olajuwon of the N.B.A.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: None

Word of the Day: Scree (39A: Mountainside debris) —

Scree, also called talus, is a term given to an accumulation of broken rock fragments at the base of crags, mountain cliffs, or valley shoulders. Landforms associated with these materials are sometimes called scree slopes or talus piles. These deposits typically have a concave upwards form, while the maximum inclination of such deposits corresponds to the angle of repose of the mean debris size. The term scree comes from the Old Norse term for landslide, skriða.[1] The term talus is a French word meaning slope.[2] The terms scree and talus are often used interchangeably, though scree commonly refers to smaller material like mixed gravel and loose dirt (e.g. anything smaller than a human fist), while talus can refer to rocks larger than scree.[3] Talus is usually the preferred term in scientific writing. (Wikipedia)

• • •

NOTICE: Anybody who trots out that “smooth as Silk” line gets banned during my tenure as Emperor of the Blog.

[And if this post looks coherent, it's because PuzzleGirl came in and fixed the formatting and stuff sometime after I posted it. The Blogger formatting stuff confounds me. And if there are fewer than two spaces after any of my periods, that's another sign she's been here.]

Wade here for Rex while he’s off in Idaho trying to set the new world record for how many Mormons he can jump over on his Kawasaki before plunging into the Snake River Canyon. (You had to be there. And you had to be eight.)

25:49 on AcrossLite counts as a medium Friday in my world. I’m fine with this puzzle. The word “workmanlike” springs to mind, and that’s not a bad word to me. Things I noticed about the puzzle are (i) not much short fill, (ii) not much pop culture, and what there is is G-rated and a thousand years old (BEAVER and [speaking of Mormons] OSMONDS),



(iii) a whole mess of T’s, seems like, and (iv) not many entirely unfamiliar words. Nothing wrong with any of that. Got a few beefs, a few highlights, and several fascinating stories about my solving experience, starting with:
  • 1A: Its workers aren’t behind closed doors (CUBE FARM) – Have I heard this phrase? It smells recent and recently dead, one of those buzz phrases that was out of date by the time I heard it (and a pretty good measurement of when a phrase is out of date is, if I’ve heard it, it’s out of date.) This one I don’t think I ever heard. I had the ARM, then the FARM, and nothing until I got the downs.
  • 19A: Liberal types (SHARERS) – Ha! Yeah, they share my stuff! (Sorry, my dad snuck onto my computer while I was out buying the world a Coke.)
  • 20A: Overly optimistic (ROSEATE) – Crossword-only word as far as I’m aware. I’m sure that Shakespeare guy will pipe up with something from Pericles or something, though.
  • 21A: Feldshuh of “Yentl” (TOVAH) – I don’t know what any of that means. Just a bunch of letters to me, man. Feldshuh reminds me of Agent 99 in Get Smart. I don’t think that was her name. Sort of knowing things is more fun than knowing things most of the time.
  • 34A: It occupies 25 pages in the Oxford English Dictionary (SET) – Great clue, and I knew the answer (that is, I knew that “set” is the word with the greatest number of meanings,) yet I put THE at first. How the hell you gonna define “the” without using “the”?
  • 44A: Common hotel bathroom feature (HEAT LAMP) – Again, entirely foreign to me. Concept give me caveman frown. So is it a . . . lamp? But not for lighting things up? Will you scare the crap out of me and make me worship you as a god by successfully predicting an eclipse?
  • 49A: Hippodrome competitor (TROTTER) – I really ought to do some research and look some stuff up, help you folks out who don’t know how to Yahoo!, but that would destroy the virgin purity of my whole schtick. I kind of know what a hippodrome is, now—something about horses, maybe running inside a big rolling barrel—but before the answer got revealed the things that were swirling around in my mind were “Rollerball” and the Hindenberg.
  • 54A: Learning environments (ACADEMES) – Sounds goofy as a plural. Sounds goofy as a singular, too, as far as that goes.
  • 55A: _____ Evans, a k a Chubby Checker (ERNEST) – His name is a pun on Fats Domino. It’s kind of lazily inconsistent. “Fats” and “Chubby” are synonyms, but “Domino” and “Checkers” are just items that could be grouped in the category of “games.” Maybe I’m overthinking it. When I was a kid I was fascinated by the fact that there were singers named Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Dollar. I took it as evidence that the world made sense in some mysterious way. I still cling to that belief.


  • 56A: Places to store barrels? (HOLSTERS) – Good one, Barry. I gotta remember to tell that one to my son. He’ll like it. He’s seven.
  • 5D: Often red item of apparel (FIREHAT) – There’s no such thing as a firehat. You just made that up, Barry.
  • 11D: Olajuwon of the N.B.A. (HAKEEM) – Embarrassed to say I didn’t get this one right away. I knew the name started with an H, knew he played in Houston, knew he was a great player, a great humanitarian, a beloved figure in a city whose success in professional sports is pretty much limited to the Rockets, but even all that cannot dislodge me from my apathy when it comes to freaking basketball. . . . I once worked for a week at the Jiffy Lube on 38th and Guadalupe in Austin—I was the tire ‘n vac man—and it was the worst job I ever had, but I did get to do Earl Campbell’s car, and he gave the crew a huge ice chest full of sausage. That was in 1991, the guy wasn’t even forty years old, and he could barely walk. The punishment he took in the ten years or so that he played with the Oilers is sad and legendary. I grew up a Cowboys fan—the Oilers were like those poor cousins downstate who never visit because Uncle Jimmy drinks—but I get misty-eyed thinking about the great Earl Campbell.


  • 24D: 1969 hit for the Doors (TOUCH ME) – There’s no band I hate worse than the Doors, and nobody hates the Doors more than I do. They're the most overrated band in the history of the world. That anybody takes them seriously at all just chaps my hide. Yet some people do.
  • 30D: Something you don’t get credit for (CASH SALE) – My favorite entry of the puzzle. I don’t know if it was intentional—it doesn’t matter whether it was—but the misdirection and close proximity to “Pass Fail” is brilliant. Entering PASS FAIL slowed me down considerably. [And Seth just rained on my and Barry's parade by emailing me that the clue doesn't really make any sense because it's the buyer, not the merchant, who's getting credit.]
  • 38D: Underground branch (ROOTLET) – Putting “let” randomly on the end of words . . . . I’m against that.
  • 43A: Bubblegummer (TEENER) – Another made-up word! Two actually! Put it all together and you have the makings of Cat Stevens album: Teener and the Firehat.
Tomorrow, Ben Bass and Beyond.

Signed, Wade, for Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

73 comments:

syndy 2:23 AM  

root = trunk;rootlet=branch.Perfectly valid,also didn't know cube farm and wanted chariot in the hippodrome in the worst way. Hey wade if you're emperior to rex's king does that make you caesar?? and oh yeah in the hotel the reddish light in the ceiling is supposed to warm up the room.

chefwen 3:12 AM  

@Wade - I sure wish you would comment more often, you always bring a smile to my face and a chuckle to my voice. You are one funny guy!

I loved this puzzle because #1 I was able to finish a Friday without too much angst and #2 it made me ROSEATE??? that I will be able to also finish Saturday's puzzle.

Thank you Barry and Wade.

imsdave 5:44 AM  

Great job Wade! Solid puzzle done in a fairly standard Friday time. I shuddered when my weekday home away from home became clear at one across.

edith b 7:05 AM  

I kind of share Wade's opinion of the Doors, but Touch Me did open up this puzzle for me as I started in the Midlands and kind of spiraled outward.

I knew TOVAH Felshuh is a renowned Broadway actress but my mind holds two factoids about her: Her last name means Field Boot and she plays ADA Jack McCoy's nemesis Daphne Melnick on Law and Order.

I did well on this puzzle, Found it smooth as . . . Never mind.

Oscar 7:19 AM  

Great write-up - very funny stuff.

As for the puzzle, I couldn't finish the NE without googling HAKEEM and looking up Mama-san, and having TIARAS for BIKINI didn't help much. Didn't know CUBEFARM even tho I've been plowing on one for many years.

Still, some really super clues and a fun Friday all around.

abide 7:45 AM  

Great writeup...look forward to a link for Teener and the Firehat.

Ben 8:10 AM  

Nice job, Wade.

Met the classy Barry Silk at the ACPT last year. Edith beat me to mentioning my initial reaction, that he is aptly named for a writer of such smooth puzzles.

Not sure I buy ACADEMES as a plural but in a grid this solid, who can complain.

I was AGHAST to see BEAVER atop BIKINI, crossing GEISHAS, and near the inevitable result of all this: FATHERED.

The former Houston Rocket was born (and spent most of his career) AKEEM until he learned that in his native Nigerian dialect HAKEEM meant something like "blessed leader" whereas AKEEM didn't mean anything. He changed the spelling, not intending to affect the pronunciation, but many fans did start pronouncing an H.

On the basketball court, "Hakeem the Dream" could do it all -- at an athletic 7' he was a tenacious defender and unstoppable scorer -- and off the court, a generous and gentle soul.

He played on the University of Houston's "Phi Slamma Jamma" team with fellow future All-Star Clyde "the Glide" Drexler. They made three consecutive NCAA Final Fours but lost to Michael Jordan's UNC Tar Heels, Patrick Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas and, in a memorable upset, the NC State Wolfpack.

Olajuwon was drafted first in the 1984 NBA Draft by his hometown Houston Rockets, and Michael Jordan went third. All-time trivia question Sam Bowie was taken second. He was a leading big man at the time but injuries limited his pro career. Jordan was a talented college player but by wide consensus the dominant Olajuwon was considered the must-get player.

Eleven years after defeating Olajuwon in the Final Four, Jordan did him the huge favor of retiring and (temporarily) breaking up the Bulls dynasty. The Rockets filled the void with two league titles and Olajuwon became the first player to be named NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP in the same year.

jesser 8:12 AM  

Wade, you are the First Person Ever to allow me to come out of the closet with my hatred of The Doors. For this, and for the write-up, I thank you!

Well. I finished with no write-overs and very few mulling moments. I came to the puzzle prostrate after Tuesday's and Thursday's DNFs, but it just served itself up like some silky dessert (sorry, a little).

Thought much of the cluing was hilarious, and I wonder how many people wrote crab at 49D. I already had MAIN LINE crossing it, or I fear I would have harked back to the Great Chowder Debates and plunked down a crab.

I thought BEAVER, GYRATION and ONE NIGHT stand in the same puzzle was fresh at a number of levels. Hell, I suppose it could even be a CASH SALE after a ONCE OVER of the BIKINI. You even need ASH TRAYS for the obligatory refractory-period ciggy. I can't believe I'm writing this paragraph. I'm AGHAST.

What do you get when you cross a penis and a potato? A DICTATOR.

And with that, he DEPARTED.

Quinsus! (You should have seen Miss Thing figure out that Friday puzzle, girlfriend!) -- jesser

jesser 8:14 AM  

@Ben: Maybe we should both go to therapy? :-)

Ben 8:23 AM  

p.s. Jesser reminded me to mention that PBS is running a two-hour documentary this week about The Doors, who are apparently more widely derided than I'd realized.

The Wall Street Journal critic quoted Johnny Depp's stentorian narration calling the silly, dissolute Jim Morrison "dangerous and highly intelligent, poetic and profound," or words to that effect. The critic concluded, "If you believe all of that after watching this documentary, then YOU'RE strange."

LGW 8:26 AM  

Enjoyed your write-up very much. Any enemy of "cube farm" is my friend! After tentatively filling in "-farm" on the basis of Jean Rhys and the double speculation that "fire hat" MIGHT be a thing (or... do we mean "fireMAN's hat"?) and "agar", which to me says "Petri dish", might be in beer (gross), I spent a minute trying to think of any insects other than ants that might inhabit one of those glass "farms". "Termites" didn't fit. Could one farm, e.g., the "moth"? My memory contains surprisingly few four-letter insects... then I gave up and used the crosses. But I'm glad I'm not the only one unfamiliar with the Cube Farm!

PuzzleNut 9:15 AM  

Overall, a very enjoyable puzzle. Started slowly and had some good guesses that pulled me through. Being from Houston, HAKEEM was a gimme and the NE fell quickly. SE was next (no problem with HEATLAMP). Started the SE with CLAM, but ACADEMia changed my mind. That gave me TEENie, which I didn't like, but then I thought TEENER was even worse. The NW was my last corner and finished with CUBEFARM, after dUdeFarm and nUdEfarm didn't work. Five minutes later I finally understood the clue and had that "Duh" moment. An honest puzzle that kept me on my toes. Good job.

v. 9:20 AM  

@Wade-
Feldshuh-Yentl-Tovah-"Just a bunch of letters to me, man."
and then at 49A. you fluidly use one of Tovah Feldshuh and Yentl's favorite words:
"schtick."

joho 9:30 AM  

I didn't start out slow, I began with nothing, nada. Then I saw COG/GYRATION and moved on from there. I had genetic before FELTTIP, shore before COAST and @Jesser clam (per our chowder debate) before crab before TACO!

I, like others, got CUBEFARM through crosses. Had to look it up and now that I know what it is, wish I didn't.

Nice Friday, Mr. Silk, thank you. And, you, too, Wade for your witty write-up!

PanamaRed 9:30 AM  

Hand up for CRAB at 49d - it fit perfectly well with early CYCLIST at 49a - don't bicycle people race in hippodromes, too?

Saw the PBS Doors feature the other night - and while I don't share Wade's hatred of The Doors - that Jim Morrison was one sicko, wasn't he?

DNF on the puzzle, though - my mind was not on the same wavelength as Barry's.

Enjoyed the write-up, Wade.

Off to prepare for tomorrow;s neighborhood=wide garage sale!

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:33 AM  

Wade, I'm right there with you re: The Doors, but I gotta say The Steve Miller Band holds the coveted #1 spot on my list of "The Worst Bands, Ever."

duaneu 9:36 AM  

@PanamaRed - you're probably thinking of velodromes for bicycle races.

Van55 9:42 AM  

Struggled mightily with this one. Barry's misdirectional clues misdirected me time and again. Plus there seem to be quite a few obscure proper names.

Excellent puzzle overall.

dk 9:49 AM  

Greetings from the Big Sleazy.

Agree with the assessment on the fill. Disagree with the assessment of the Doors. Mr. Morrison was not the nicest guy in the world and his poetry rants left a lot to be desired. That said, the album Morrison Hotel is one of the best.

Much of the fill in this puzzle was not smooth as the fabric that shall not be named. But we did get STOOLIES, SCREE, BIKINI, COG and BEAVER. The theme of this puzzle should be sex (the b word... BIKINI), drugs (MAINLINE) and rock and roll (TOUCHME & ERNEST).

** (2 Stars) SHARERS -- blah.

Having a great time in the Bywater District, stumbled home this AM from Kermit night at Vaughn's.

Most of South Louisiana is in the grip of yet another man made mess brought to us by a former president best described as all hat and no cattle. Most are doing what they have always done -- rolling up their sleeves to do whatever needs doing as the only thing they can count on is themselves.

Away I go.

PanamaRed 9:51 AM  

@duaneu - thanks - I knew it was a drome of some kind.

JayWalker 9:56 AM  

I had a love-hate relationship with this puzzle. As with all Fridays I started out with nada but finished in good time. HATE "cubefarm" (one word or two? - not that I give a damn) - never heard of it. Great misdirection, yes, but why so much of it? Annoying but ultimately satisfying.
Who the heck is Wade? Is that a pseudonymn for our Leerless Feeder?

Tinbeni 9:58 AM  

CUBE FARM followed by AGHAST.
Well that sums up my feelings about these.
I remember auditing a company that had a hugh one of these and I thought or Reagan and the "take down these walls" quote.
Don't know how anybody could spend their worklife in such a demeaning surrounding.

Barry Silk is ususally my nemesis. So I had a double feeling of joy. "Got'er done!" on a Friday.

Discussing "Best or Worst" Rock Band is like comparing tomato and mushroom soup. To each his/her own.

Wade, Good job! Knew the WOD, SCREE and now I know a whole lot more about it.
Angle of repose, I usually associate with the girls on the beach in their BIKINI.

PlantieBea 10:01 AM  

I was okay with music by The Doors until I saw Oliver Stone's movie. Jim Morrison was one dirty and deranged dude.

A few false starts included MAIN DRAG, CRAB, and DECEASED. CUBE FARM? Sounds like a breeding ground for the Borg...

Thanks B. Silk and Wade.

ArtLvr 10:03 AM  

Thank you, Wade -- CUBE FARM was a new one for me too, but after two googles (RHYS and TOVAH), it had to be right. The rest was tough, amusing and gettable but not exactly a smooth solve...

Had flannel before FIRE HAT, taproot before ROOTLET, teach me before TOUCH ME, and I still haven't looked up the mysterious ROTI (is a bit of a rupee or teeny naan?)

Last night I TRIED OUT about two minutes of the PBS show featuring the Doors, then figured they were for the AVIARIES. Never heard of them before, happily.

Much appreciating all you fellow commenters for the extra laughs, like dude-farm!

∑;)

mitchs 10:05 AM  

I liked the Doors when I was about 16 and discovering pot and girls and how insufferably stupid everyone was who didn't share my enlightened point of view. Now, and especially after watching that insipid documentary (on American MASTERS for God's sake) - not so much.

@BEQ: agree on Steve Miller Band with the one exception of their version of Boz Scaggs' "Savin' Grace". You might give it a listen.

Oh yeah, the puzzle. Really liked it and would rate it medium hard everywhere but the NW, which took me about forever.

Smitty 10:23 AM  

Anyone else have LEARY for Acid head?
(I guess I leaned closer to the Jim Morrison section of the grid and further from the Osmonds;)

@Ben thanks - I wondered why I had AKEEM before I had to look up the spelling.
Nice Friday puzzle - and thanks for the write up Wade.
!RIP Evel-love you, man)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:28 AM  

Rough time for me today. I guess sometimes you get the Silk and sometimes you get the worm. Did manage to struggle through it and finish correctly.

Wade's write-up brought forth many smiles. I think I have gotten the idea behind CUBEFARM from the write-up and comments, but I still feel the need to Google to understand Hippodrome/TROTTER.

Big day for write-overs: ACETO before AMINO, NAAN before ROTI, FINETIP before FELTTIP, SOU before ECU, and ACADEMIA before ACADEMES!

Beatnik Turtle 10:37 AM  

Hey, Kids, let's have a sing-along!

Here's my song about the Cube Farm.

foodie 10:39 AM  

Y'all smiled when you read this commentary? Really? I was hooting with laughter. Something about the way Wade's mind works is truly amazing to me. A calculated looseness like none I've ever seen. Genius.

The puzzle- I started with GYRATION, as I used to belly dance in my youth (there's a tape somewhere...). That opened up the SW which flowed like, ahem, silk. The rest was tweedier.

Tinbeni 10:50 AM  

@Beatnik Turtle
That was great! LOL !!!

CUBE FARMS are a wonderful place.
So was being a slave rower on a Roman Galley.
Liked how you worked that in ...

Though we probably should have a meeting about it.

CaseAceFos 10:54 AM  

Heyyy, ABBOT! I MOPED like a slug until I heard the STOOLIES sing and from there I AVIATED like the Red Baron!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:56 AM  

D'oh! Had to look up Hippodrome to understand the clue for the first time! The "Hippodrome competitor" is a competitor IN a Hippodrome, not VS. a Hippodrome!

Zeke 11:00 AM  

Man, now I know why I get crappy service at my car wash - I don't carry a huge chest of sausage around with me with which to tip. Foolish me, I thought good old cash was appropriate. I'm thinking of going with corizo in the future.

HudsonHawk 11:04 AM  

I actually knew TOVAH Feldshuh as Judy Stein, the mother in the fabulous Kissing Jessica Stein. Do you suppose she's been typecast?

The Doors had a few songs I could tolerate (TOUCH ME is one of them), but I am also not a fan. (Steve Miller is easier on my ears, though I do share BEQ's disdain for some of their stuff.) One of my favorite exchanges from Almost Famous:

Lester Bangs: The Doors? Jim Morrison? He's a drunken buffoon posing as a poet.
Alice Wisdom: I like the Doors.
Lester Bangs: Give me the Guess Who. They've got the courage to be drunken buffoons, which makes them poetic.

HudsonHawk 11:11 AM  

Oh, and I'm familiar with CUBE FARM, but I've usually heard it as Cubicle Farm. Like Tinbeni, I did my time as an auditor (back when it was the Big Eight) and have seen more of them than I care to remember.

ed-words 11:23 AM  

Anyone who likes the Doors must, must, must seek out Terry Gross' interview with Ray Manzarek, which describes in gory detail what it was like to be in a band with JM (Manzarek loved it). I think it's hard to call an ambition-free band like SMB the worst of all time. I think that has to be reserved for a band with pretensions of profundity, which is why I would nominate Pink Floyd for the Worst Band, Ever.

poc 11:53 AM  

I've (just about) heard of "cubicle farm", never CUBEFARM. And I'm not at all happy with ACADEMES. "The groves of Acadame" refers to a specific place, now used as a metaphor. Academia is the collective noun for institutions of learning and their denizens, and an Academy is one such institution, giving Acadamies as its plural. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Most of the rest was quite good. TOVAH was a misdirection for me as she's not in the Streisand movie.

Sparky 12:12 PM  

Thank you Wade for a funny and informative write up. DNF--didn't even start. Had Beaver and aviaries and a few other words but just couldn't move. Didn't know cube farm. I don't think they were in as much when I retired.I still don't "get" Liberal types. I never really liked The Doors tho I saw them at the Fillmore back in the day. That PBS thing was deadly. Switched to Home Shopping--nuch more lively.

andrea sothere michaels 12:28 PM  

@jaywalker
Who is Wade??????!!!!!!!!!????????
f-u-n-n-i-e-s-t writer alive (or dead!)

Not one sentence in the writeup that would not be worth the whole write up!

OH yes, there was a puzzle...
Totally opposite solving experience, as I started with TOVAH.
AVIARIES and AVIATE in the same puzzle is borderline, but I love ONENIGHT and ONCEOVER and the definition for SENTENCE was fabulous.
(Usually, I tend to think Barry is smooth as SCREE.)

TEENER and the FIREHAT! hahahahahahahahahahahaha

mac 12:45 PM  

Excellent Friday and hilarious write-up. It's a good puzzle day for me.

Thought of the clam/crab discussion also, had main drag for -line, root set and naan first.

I had never heard of cube farm but there was no denying it up there.
Typical good words and clues from Barry Silk.

Shamik 12:47 PM  

Good write-up Wade.

CUBEFARM. Really?

Why does my car go faster when "L.A. Woman" is on the radio? And yes, I still listen to plain old free radio, usually FM...when I'm in an area that has more than two radio stations.

21:52 gives me a medium-challenging and still got one square wrong. I'm going to call it a Natick. Why? Because I can. Any monetary unit crossed with a quirky turn of phrase can be a Natick for me! So RIAD and where those barrels of used oil go: HODSTERS. It could happen.

Bill from NJ 1:12 PM  

My first job, fresh out of college, was associate to the vice president of a collection agency, learning the business from the ground up.

Our basic office layout was a CUBEFARM. This was 1969 and we did not call it that in those days but that is what it came to be called later.

It was interesting living on the cusp of history.

chefbea 1:40 PM  

tough puzzle. Never ever heard of cube farm.

Got to the puzzle late today...maybe too much lemoncello last night

Thanks wade for the great write up.

Clark 1:50 PM  

When I was a kid, the Doors were like oxygen; it would not have occurred to any of us that not liking them was a possibility. I played keyboards in a rock band (woah, that is something I don't spend much time remembering): Light My Fire was a sine qua non.

Both the NW and the SE gave me trouble. But they gave up their secrets eventually. I had no idea what a CUBE FARM was, but the crosses would not be denied.

The lawyer in me worried about the clue for CASH SALE. But it does work I think. CASH SALE can refer to the transaction generally (not just from the standpoint of the seller). That makes the 'you' ambiguous. So it's loose enough to work. I (as the buyer) don't get credit for a CASH SALE (which I am going to participate in as the buyer) because I don't need it.

Nice write-up Wade. Thanks.

SethG 2:12 PM  

There was even dirtier stuff in here than the beaver bikini (and I'm not talking about FIREHAT), but "crude" was still used to clue ETHANE.

Speaking of dirt, I've got some great scree pictures. And if this definition is used next time TALUS appears, we can avoid our standard discussion about the anklular anatomy.

SET and RUN compete in various dictionaries to see which has a longer definition/most definitions, so I waited for a cross to see which it would be. (And some dictionaries have TAKE, but I didn't know that and it wouldn't have fit anyway.)

@Clark, you as the buyer don't get credit for _any_ sale, do you? Do you get credit when you buy something on credit (or with a credit card)? You use it, but do you _get_ it? Or, if you were the seller, do you _get_ credit for any type of transaction? Maybe, but I'm not sure, and if so I think that's a pretty tortured usage. So I'm not 100% convinced, but that's why I parade rained.

In summary, Wade rulez.

mexgirl 2:42 PM  

Hilarious write-up, Wade!! And I must side with you on The Doors issue. For a while I tried to like them, since my boyfriend of a number of years back considered JM to be a high class poet, but I just could never get past the monotony of its sound...
Anyway, I really liked today's challenging puzzle and, most of all, reading the blog.

Clark 2:49 PM  

@SethG -- I was thinking of the fairly common informal usage of 'get credit' to mean 'get a loan'. Maybe you want to insist that the term be used only for getting a loan for the first time ("How do I get credit?"), but that makes the clue work too.

matt 3:20 PM  

Finished this Friday with just one mistake: TOAST/TUBEFARM instead of COAST/CUBEFARM. I'm okay with that.

I was majorly helped by the fact that I, too, have watched way too much Law & Order and somehow pulled the name TOVAH Feldshuh out of my butt.

edmcan 3:38 PM  

Cube farm-arrrgh!

Martin 3:39 PM  

"Teener" may be wussy -- I can see "OK, teeners, the bus back to the church is leaving now." -- but it's not made up. First citation is from 1894. "Teenager" was first used in 1941, according to the OED. Probably because teeners were being drafted.

Megan P 4:00 PM  

Another hater here of the ridiculous DOORS; I really liked the puzzle, loved CUBEFARM - never heard of it before, but the idea is great. I even liked seeing the icky TEENER.

And Wade is wonderful.

tptsteve 4:12 PM  

Late to the party, but glad I came-- superb write up, Wade. Couldn't care less about my DNF today.

Now I know that an overly optimistic large-beaked bird is a roseate spoonbill.

Never having worked in one, is a cube farm where you see tge inhabitants prairie dogging?

sanfranman59 4:18 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 26:02, 26:26, 0.98, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:41, 12:47, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Ulrich 4:19 PM  

@Wade: When it comes to be with it, you appear years ahead of me--if that is any consolation: I've been recently told that my knowing some pop-culture reference means it's about 5 years passé!!!

And when it comes to the Doors, I've been told by a friend with more experience in that sort of thing back then (in West Berlin): If you really want to get there with a Frau, play the Doors in the background! Couldn't try it myself b/c I had no Doors record...

...and belated thanks to all well-wishers two days ago: Didn't make it back to this blog until now

Guy who stole "Guy who.." from Wade 4:29 PM  

Thanks dude

Wade 4:52 PM  

Sorry I've been incommunicado all day--I've been defending the downtrodden and whatnot. Thanks for the kind words. To clarify, I don't really think "teener" (or "firehat", or "rootlet") is not a word. I'm pretty sure they check that stuff before they run the puzzle. They've got a guy who, like, that's all he does! Also I don't think most people who work in cubicles (which is probably most people) feel demeaned--they probably just think they have a job, and they are correct. I also assumed everybody knew about Earl Campbell's generous tendency to bestow sausage on strangers. The stuff you find out on this board!

jae 5:27 PM  

Fine write up and fine puzzle. Medium for me with only a couple of minor hiccups (e.g. FOMENTED for FATHERED). I liked the Doors back in the 60s but they didn't wear well over time (unlike The Beatles, Beach Boys or Dylan e.g.).

I just checked my Indian restaurant take out menu and found Tandoori ROTI ... traditional whole wheat bread.

Sarah 5:34 PM  

TEENER? Really? I thought that was the answer, but it was so ludicrous that I left it blank until the very end. I really liked STOOLIES for "singing group"; got there through the crosses, since I initially thought it was "Stanleys" like the Stanley Brothers, but knew it couldn't be.

I actually found this much harder than yesterday. ROTI was a swizz; I initially went with our old crossword friend "naan," until it clearly didn't work. This puzzle had lots of what my old French teacher called "false friends"(ie words that were like terms in English but meant something different eg "libraire" is bookshop, not library) -- clues that should have familiar answers but instead were more tricky. Grrr.

Mr. Mojo Risin 5:44 PM  

C'mon, maybe The Doors are overrated, but worst ever? They had plenty of fine songs.

But I'd come closer to naming them worst than Pink Floyd. Maybe PF was pretentious at points along the way (notably the last several points) but they produced some really amazing music. And Syd Barrett surely was the opposite of pretentious.

michael 6:59 PM  

I found this easy for a Friday, though I was held up a bit with cash lane instead of cash sale.

Tovah Feldshuh showed up a lot on now defunct Law Order. She changed her original name to "Tovah Feldshuh...'

michael 7:01 PM  

born Teri Sue Feldshuh

Stan 7:43 PM  

I like the Doors. Also like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbo7dUaaU2g

edith b 7:45 PM  

@michael-

Tovah Feldshuh showed up a lot on now defunct Law Order. She changed her original name to "Tovah Feldshuh...' Do you know something we don't know? I thought L&O is still on TV.

michael 7:52 PM  

@edith b

NBC canceled Law and Order today. The last episode will be shown this month or next. But they are apparently starting a Law and Order -- Los Angeles series. Not quite the same,

Neil Young 8:10 PM  

Rock and roll will never die, and neither will "Law & Order."

andrea sothere michaels 9:22 PM  

ok, I have to chime in once more, now that Wade has received his props and I can stop laughing (but not smiling)
I saw the Doors doc a few weeks ago and I really liked it and learned a ton and thought Johnny Depp's narration was great!
Ray Manzarek did a Q & A afterwords and he was there with his wife of 30+ years...and was very cool and said he had been into jazz and thought of Jim Morrison as a beat poet.
In that light, things made much more sense. He also encouraged the young folks in the audience to seek out their own era of muses and to read read read and get into poetry and find zen instead of drugs and early death...
I ended up being impressed by the whole thing...bec he parried all the "Hey man, I was there in the day, dude, and you were something and what was Morrison really like?"- type questions into something real. I walked away with new respect and humming "Come on Baby Light my Fire" for about 3 days.
Now to find my Cat Stevens...

fikink 9:27 PM  

@BEQ, how could you not embrace "really like your peaches, wanna shake your tree"?

Wade, with a Fat Tire in hand, reading your review of the puzzle made tonight's sunset that much more of a day's end treat.

I don't think TRIED OUT and HIDES OUT should be in the same puzzle, however.

@Bill from NJ - HELLO! Glad to see you back!

@Andrea, Spin a little Mona Bone Jakon!

JenCT 9:42 PM  

@Tinbeni - totally agree that comparing best/worst bands is futile, and to each his own - well said.

Tough puzzle for me, also, although scree and rootlet were gimmes for me.

Loved CASHSALE. Never heard the term CUBEFARM, although I've worked in one before.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 7:30, 6:55, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:55, 8:52, 1.12, 81%, Challenging
Wed No data
Thu 21:50, 19:23, 1.13, 82%, Challenging
Fri 26:16, 26:26, 0.99, 53%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:10, 3:41, 1.13, 82%, Challenging
Tue 5:03, 4:32, 1.12, 80%, Challenging
Wed No data
Thu 10:04, 9:16, 1.09, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 13:16, 12:46, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Cathyat40 10:54 PM  

I've only been doing the NYT crossword since February and could swear I've seen CUBEFARM once before in the puzzle. ???

Hand up for:

Hate the Doors

Love the write-up

Teener? Firehat?

PhillySolver 12:21 AM  

Hey Wade I was in a cube farm all day and then on a six hour flight from Milwaukee to Philadelphia (with an unscheduled stop in Pittsburgh) and am very late to reading this blog. I enjoyed watching Hakeem and other members of Phi Slamma Jamma in Houston, but Earl Campbell made Wade Phillips famous and the sausage connection to you and Bum seems somehow appropriate. I also enjoyed your commentary and want to remind people that your musical efforts are available on You Tube by typing in Nutcraker Buck. I should remind everyone again since it is so late.

liverlips 1:52 AM  

I read this blog everyday; yet, it's only when Wade fills in that I think to myself, "Damn, I've got me a soul-mate somewhere out there in Snarkdom." (Meanwhile, back at the two-space-post-period ranch, I'm amused that my 'word verification' turns out to be the letters of 'Ernest' conspicuously scrambled. This seems fitting on many levels, the least of which involves today's (Fri.'s) puzzle.)

Sudsy in Chicago 11:07 AM  

Having never before come across the term CUBE FARM, having no idea who wrote "Wide Sargasso Sea," and having misread the clue for 1-A to think that the answer must be a plural, I wrote in CUBE RATS, which I really kind of like. What lives on/in a cube farm? Cube rats!
Of course, this gave me RIRE HATS instead of FIRE HATS, THYS instead of RHYS, and STS instead of MTS. But I let it stand because I was sure I would like it better than whatever the actual answer was. And I did.
Hand up for SOU, MAIN DRAG, and CRAB.
But what's up with two OUTs in the same puzzle (TIRED OUT, HIDES OUT)? I thought there was a rule about that . . .
Great write-up with lots of laughs -- thanks!

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