European black thrush / FRI 5-28-10 / Blocker of 1960s TV / Seminal mystery of 1887 / One of 13 religious leaders

Friday, May 28, 2010

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DAN Blocker (26A: Blocker of 1960s TV) —

Dan Blocker (December 10, 1928 – May 13, 1972) was an American actor best remembered for his role as Eric "Hoss" Cartwright in the NBC western television blockbuster Bonanza. (wikipedia)
• • •

I mostly enjoyed solving this, though looking back over the puzzle, it's hard to see why, exactly. None of the answers are particularly scintillating, but some of the cluing is fantastic. Really enjoyed the struggle involved in getting TEAR GAS (60A: Demonstrating control?), PIRATE (25D: Take the wrong way?), and NATALIE (23D: Merchant selling records). NATALIE Merchant is a singer and songwriter who was a huge pop star in the '90s — former singer of the band 10,000 Maniacs, a band I enjoyed (and saw in concert, in Edinburgh) in college. I teach Crime Fiction, so even though I'm not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, it was fun to run into "A STUDY IN SCARLET" (3D: Seminal mystery of 1887). Anna Karenina is possibly my favorite novel of all time (neck and neck with The Long Goodbye), so I was happy to see ALEXEI. But these are all pretty idiosyncratic reasons for liking a puzzle, I'll admit.

If I look at the grid somewhat more objectively, there are problems. Two answers contain the word SET, and they intersect (?) — NULL SET (39D: It has zero measure, in math) and SET SHOT (61A: Alternative to jumper). Two answer contain ONE, and they intersect ... that is, the ONEs themselves intersect (!?!) — PART ONE (38D: Succession starter) and ONE LANE (59A: Narrow, in a way) — in the same section that the SET answers intersect. How these doublings weren't noticed, and why they weren't eliminated, I have no idea. You aren't supposed to double up words at all, but especially when repeated instances of a word are right on top of each other. Mystifying. Further, the grid is not (as advertised) an OPTICAL ILLUSION (17A: Thing that may appear to be symmetrical but isn't ... like this puzzle's grid). If you're going to wink and do a little showing off, your cluing should at least be exact. The grid simply *isn't* symmetrical. Optically, I can see that it's not symmetrical. The issue here is whether you're looking for it or not. Something has to genuinely appear to be something that it's not in order to be an optical illusion. This grid doesn't cut it. THESE are optical illusions. If you part your hair on the other side of your head, and I don't notice, this does not mean that you have created an OPTICAL ILLUSION.

ONION RINGS are always FRIED, in my experience, so that answer seems redundant (12D: Burger accompaniment). That answer originates in what is, by far, the weakest quadrant in the puzzle. From (gag) INDORSE to EDUCE to CHELA down to the multiple ARLENES (33A: TV's Francis and others) and the exceedingly vowely prefix AERI-, there's a lot not to like up there. Luckily for this puzzle, that quadrant was where I started — with a random guess at KILAUEA (8D: World's most active volcano) that was immediately backed up by KEEP FIT (8A: Stay in shape) — so my clockwise trajectory took me on a journey from bad to good, leaving me feeling pretty good about the puzzle in the end, despite its problems.

  • 30A: 19th-century women's rights advocate (MOTT) — I wonder if this MOTT / MERL (30D: European black thrush) crossing will flatten anyone today. Lucretia MOTT is pretty famous, but I'm pretty sure MERL Reagle is more famous than this avian MERL (which I somehow knew — from crosswords, of course).
  • 56A: Considered financially (DOLLARS AND CENTS) — I'm sure this clue works, but my brain can't yet figure out how. Is it adjectival?

  • 2D: One of 13 religious leaders (POPE LEO) — On the one hand, I like this variation on the crossword stalwart LEO (LEOI, LEOIX, etc). On the other hand, the use of the title feels a bit awkward without the Roman numeral following.
  • 14D: Flat population (TENANTS) — transparent, but still clever.
  • 34D: Results of "Unsolved Mysteries" airings (LEADS) — another very good clue. "America's Most Wanted" would have worked here too, I think.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


$ and ¢ 8:08 AM  

dollars-and-cents (American & Australian):
if something is discussed or thought about in a dollars-and-cents way, the exact amounts of money involved are thought about (always before noun) The dollars-and-cents details of the new budget will be presented tomorrow by the government.

dk 8:12 AM  

The M for MERL/MOTT was the great mystery for today. I guessed C educing incorrectly.

The rest was medium for me. I want to change NOAM to Norm, had Alexis, SNL for FEY and wanted some article of clothing instead of SETSHOT.

My groaner was INURNED and I thought buffaloed was when you were fooled in some way, but ATALOSS works.

I side with Rex on the OPTICALILLUSION issue.

Kinda enjoyed this one.

** (2 Stars) My alternative to a jumper is a pair of cranky pants this AM.

ArtLvr 8:19 AM  
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joho 8:23 AM  

Well, talking about a Var. how's aNDORSE? I had no idea about KILAUEA so I don't tell so bad.

No problems with the rest of the puzzle.

@Rex, maybe you can bake ONION RINGS? @Chefbea?

Loved some of the Friday level clever cluing. Have to say, though, the ONE/ONE, SET/SET crossings were really unexpected, not in a good way.

Still I enjoyed the puzzle, thank you, Joe Krozel!

ArtLvr 8:23 AM  

OPTICAL ILLUSION worked for me, though I see Rex's point. And it had some sparkle too, as in FOISTED! Lucretia MOTT and MERL were gimmes.

I ended up okay, even though I started off with "The Woman in White" at 3D! This gave me NOAM, so it wasn't totally hopeless. "Buffaloed" at 40A gave me Stumped -- I liked that one too, but it had to go...

So I entered ARNO and PISA, and then TEMA, CHELA and ALEXEI. The rest of the non-English continued to save me: ANDANTE, ESTADOS, PEUT-être, STRASSE, EN MASSE, ERAT, RIGA! It was a hoot, even the ATRA instead of Haft or Hilt! As for KILAUEA, I knew that answer but couldn't have spelled it without the crosses.

So kudos to Krozel -- very entertaining for me!


HudsonHawk 8:31 AM  

Enjoyed this one, in spite of the redundancies, though it was closer to Medium-Challenging for me.

And I love NATALIE Merchant. I've seen her with 10,000 Maniacs and as a solo act. It's amazing that someone who writes such depressing lyrics can be such an incredibly energetic performer.

Barbara 8:33 AM  

can someone explain LEMON as one might show up in a casino?

hazel 8:36 AM  

Michael and Natalie singing a John Prine. Pretty awesome start to the morning. Good find!!

I had OPTICAL ILLUSION in and out several times because it just didn't seem correct. I found other parts of the solve also irritating because they just seemed off. An occasional bow to the constructor, but overall, just don't feel the love. Maybe @dk's Cranky Pants have started to travel?

Shouldn't PEUT TEMA CHELA be the god of something snooty?

Dough 8:37 AM  

The slightly unsymmetrical diagram is kinda fun. Calling it an OPTICAL ILLUSION is not quite on target, but a close-enough shot. I noticed that the construction fell apart in the NE, where the symmetry was broken... But that's obviously the hand of God punishing the constructor for breaking one of the commandments of crossworddom. I also liked how Old World multinational it all was with Italian (andante), German (Strasse), French (peut-être), Latin (erat), Spanish (estados), Russian (Alexei), and even British (indorse) all represented.
It was a good Friday puzzle for me and I enjoyed it.

jesser 8:40 AM  

Loved it! Earlier and decidedly lengthier comment disappeared into the ether. Bah.

fikink 8:51 AM  

Joe Krozel and I are a good match. I always seem to be on his wavelength - nature or nurture? Either way, this was fairly easy for me and surprised me with its Friday publication.

Agree wholeheartedly that the SW was neutered by duplications.

My alternative to jumping today will be a Fat Tire at noon on the tractor.

Shout out to NDE! Nice.

Parker Cross 9:06 AM  

I haven't been to this blog for a while--nice to see it's going strong. I think onion rings are onion rings even if they aren't cooked at all, for example, red onion rings in a salad or on a sandwich. At any rate, Thursday is my sweet spot so any Friday I can complete is a puzzle I like. And, @Barbara, the lemon would show up in a slot machine.

greatape 9:14 AM  

Isn't the world's most active volcano in Iceland, not Hawaii, these days?

PuzzleNut 9:16 AM  

Everything just seemed to fall in place with this one. Blazing speed (15 min) for me on a Friday. Started NE and moved clockwise. Didn't know how to spell KILAUEA, but was pretty sure of the crosses. Not a fan of SPASMED (ssems a stretch to make that into a verb). The ERAT TEMA cross was my last fill, but both words seemed vaguely familiar.
Favorite clue was NATALIE.

Tinbeni 9:19 AM  

Ahhh, so there's those FRIED ONION RINGS to go with my Cheese Burger!

And here's the OPTICAL ILLUSION to help everyone read BETWEEN THE LINES.
That part must have been DELETED from yesterdays grid.

Seems like everything is coming together just fine.

Was thinking the World's most active volcano was that one in Iceland which I can't spell or pronounce and if I remember it is about 15 or 17 letters long, so KILAUEA it is.

DAN was the Gimmie of the Day, hardly WOD material.

Glitch 9:24 AM  

The most active volcano on Earth?
From time to time, we [USGS]get calls from people who are writing about Kilauea, hoping to confirm the idea that Kilauea is the most active volcano on Earth. We have to tell them that, no, it's only one of the most active volcanoes. At least one other volcano on the planet erupts more frequently than Kilauea - Stromboli. Stromboli Volcano, off the west coast of southern Italy, has been erupting nearly continuously for over 2,000 years.


JF 9:25 AM  

Fun puzzle, a couple of challenges, but easy overall. I actually own a Natalie Merchant album, but as a merchant myself, I couldn't get past the whole 'net sales' approach to her answer. Nice, deceptive cluing, or at least it seemed so at 1am.

The alternate spelling for Tolstoi's character is 'Alexey', so I really wanted PYRITE. It works, obliquely. That was my final sticking point.

Oh, and 8 down is factually incorrect: According to the USGS, while Kilauea is commonly believed to be the most active volcano, it's actually Stromboli. But there weren't enough spaces for Stromboli, so I guessed the constructor was thinking of Hawaii.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Maybe 2D should have been clued "I of XIII religious leaders." Too easy for Friday?

Masked and Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Everything pretty much got covered in the blog, for me. Didn't know TEMA/ERAT or MOTT/MERL, but guessed right on both crosses. Clever notion, sneakin' in an asymmetrical bunch of blocks; probably appeals to the part-time constructors in the crowd? Think easy-medium is right on -- I sure don't usually finish a FriPuz this quick. Let'see...U...U...U...U...yup, ok.

Joni 9:41 AM  

I'd have been happier if I hadn't insisted on NOAH instead of NOAM — but then LEHONs certainly don't show up in any casino I've been to. A nice puzzle, just nice.

chefbea 9:43 AM  

Tough puzzle but I enjoyed it.

@Parker Cross I agree - You can have onion rings raw in a salad or raw on a burger. Or better still on a juicy loosey.

Nice shout out to Mac.

Elisa 9:52 AM  

Lucretia Mott, Carrie Chapman Catt...

I pick the wrong 19th-century suffragists every time.

And with the double T at the end of both, I never notice until it's too late.

David L 9:58 AM  

This was easy-medium for me, helped by the fact that I filled in OPTICALILLUSION without any crosses and got ASTUDYINSCARLET from that. North was easy, South I struggled with (DOLLARSANDCENTS doesn't really work for me...)

Quibble time: INURNED means to put in an urn, right? As with cremains (hate that word...). You don't have to bury the urn -- could put granny on your mantelpiece, for example.

Also, EPSILON for symbol of electromotive force is wrong. It's a script Latin uppercase E, what we used to call curly E in physics lectures. Upper case Greek epsilon is basically the same as Latin E; lower case epsilon is widely in physics and math, but not for emf.

Van55 10:16 AM  

I didn't care for this one much. Struggled with so much foreign language stuff and (to me) obscure literary references. Agree with Rex on the redundancies.

babslesley 10:17 AM  

Wow. I did a Friday in about 20 minutes. I will cherish this day.

BigSteve46 10:19 AM  

I think the "lemon" refers to the symbol on a slot machine. Its been a long time since I played the slots - do they still have machines which display fruits as indicators of success or failure? (Guess what a lemon does for you!)

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Love this site! Here I was puzzling how DOLLARS AND CENTS worked and there's the answer in Comment #1! Thanks much!

Howard B 10:43 AM  

Everyone has a different 'gimme' or place to break into the puzzle, which is always interesting. The very last answer I put in this puzzle, after several wrong turns, was DAN, which I still did not understand without looking it up. I did not recognize him nor did I think I had heard of him, although in retrospect he has appeared in puzzles with clearer cluing. Not my time or wavelength for that one, so the misdirection was no help to me there. But for others, it was a slam-dunk. Love when that happens :).
Didn't quite get the DOLLARS AND SENSE clue either, I couldn't make sens of it in a phrase, but worked it out from the crosses.
Fun to solve, not a favorite, but still a pretty enjoyable trip through the grid. A lot of open space to traverse.

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

When I saw Joe K's name at the top and noticed all of the international clues I was expecting a possible epic fail but I pulled it off. Yea!
These days if you want to see a slot machine with a lemon you might have to go to a museum.
Siestas was fiestas for a bit. Both worked with the clue.
Natalie was Napster briefly.
So glad the volcano was from Hawaii and not Iceland. Kilauea was hard enough to spell. That other one would have been a killer.
Great clever clues today. Very enjoyable.
Favorite answer - chela. That was clasp initially as I was thinking of a necklace fastener.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Count Vronsky is called Alexis in my translation of the novel. Alexis can become Alexei as a form of endearment in Russian and I figured it out but it threw me off off and I did not find this a fair clue.

foodie 11:04 AM  

I sailed through the top half and stalled in the bottom where I had the borders (e.g. STRASSE and EN MASSE) but not the core.

Rex, thank you for the link to OPTICAL ILLUSIONS, those are so cool. And I totally agree with your critique. This does not meet the criterion of OPTICAL ILLUSION.

Still, a good puzzle with some very interested cluing to keep us on our toes.

syndy 11:34 AM  

If on a friday, alexis-alexei-alexey crosses a volcano I can say but not spell, does googling spelling of said volcano constitute a dnf.(hypothetically?) secret word chele -more than one lobster claw

Daryll 11:39 AM  

@Sydney, that's probably personal, but throw TEMA (not in any dictionary I had access to when checking things over last night)into the mix, and you're where I was.

The Big E 11:58 AM  

Not bad for me either - about 50 minutes with all answers right, and having to go back and forth between work issues periodically (I'll give myself the extra couple of minutes and say I finished this in under 50!).
Casinos still use Lemons in some slots, though at this point there isn't much they DON'T use in slots (even so far as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy slots! Ugh!
Hardily concur about what constitutes an Optical Illusion, and thank you Rex for the link!
My only two cents for burgers is that the clue is "Burger Accompaniment." Why does/would/should this immediately imply that it is a side (like fries or potato salad or macaroni salad)? I think the clue could just as easily have implied lettuce, tomato, onion rings (which can come plain or grilled), pickles, etc., many of which come on the side of your plate as "accompaniments" when you order your burger! :-)


Stan 12:11 PM  

Starting my long answers I had 3D FREUDIAN... 17A PSEUDO... and 12D SALAD... Oh well, it all got straightened out in the end, with the onion rings providing the eureka moment. Nice to see burgers again, going into this cook-out weekend.

retired_chemist 12:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 12:17 PM  

Very nice. Easy-medium. Had many of the questions others had (OPTICAL ILLUSION? $ and ¢, EPSILON, etc.). Loved the cluing. Growing up we ate (FRENCH) FRIED ONION RINGS.

CHELA is the source of the word chelate, an important concept in chemistry. If you have ever had a MRI with a contrast agent, the use of a chelate of gadolinium is what kept you from probably dying of gadolinium poisoning.

Thanks, Mr. Krozel. I always like your puzzles.

hestersu - was Su Ms. Prynne's middle name?

retired_chemist 12:19 PM  


Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Like DK, I also wanted some article of clothing for "alternative to jumper" and being an Aussie, I immediately entered SWEATER.

And I'd rather close up shop for a FIESTA than a SIESTA.

Hated the clue for DOLLARS AND CENTS, but loved the one for NATALIE!

Nancy Nurse 12:36 PM  

Chelation therapy has been touted by quacks for years as a treatment for heart disease.
The NIH is currently conducting a study to be concluded later this year.

Secret word: chinding
A party at Jay Leno's?

Martin 12:42 PM  

"Inurn" has two distinct meanings. Originally it was "place ashes in an urn," but later acquired the "transferred sense" of "bury."

chefbea 12:48 PM  

@rex thanks for the optical illusions. Reminds me of the Magic Eye books. They are amazing

Rube 12:51 PM  

Did not like this one. As others have mentioned, too many clues were overstretched, like SPASMED, FOISTED, SPITE, and INURNED. Also neither of the across 15s work, IMO. However, I will say that some of the clues were very clever. This is all probably just because I DNF and had to Google.

Looking at ARLENES and NATALIE, my guess is that either you're an oldie and got the first one, or a young'un and got the second, but not both, (unless known from previous crosswords).

It's finally stopped raining in the Bay Area and we're supposed to have some sun over the weekend... apparently just the opposite of you Upstate New Yorkers.

shrub5 1:04 PM  

Unlike some others above, I got the bottom half of the puzzle relatively easily but stalled badly in the top half. I didn't know what was IN SCARLET so that made the NW area tough. When I finally had enough letters in to see OPTICAL ILLUSION, things began to fall into place. Still, I had to google for the M in MOTT/MERL.

@Hazel: The PEUT TEMA CHELA line is indeed ugly -- how about the goddess of active volcanoes?

@retired_chemist: Thanks for the info -- I did wonder if CHELA was related to chelate.

Loved the alliterative clue for ALGAE: potential pond poisoner. Best moment was when TEAR GAS emerged for 'Demonstrating control?', LOL.

Found this puzzle to be on the difficult side but very satisfying.

william e emba 1:25 PM  

The Epsilon=EMF symbol clue appeared two years ago, Nov 21 2008. It was pointed out then also that the clue was incorrect.

There are no fixed rules for transliteration. It's simply not possible for this cluing to be in error.

The only "correct" answer is the original Russian: his name is "Алексей Кириллович Вронский" (Aleksey Kirillovich Vronskiy, to use a more careful transliteration). Note the "backwards-N"s in the Cyrillic: that's an "i" in Russian. Note that some of them have a breve short vowel mark. That means it's really a "y", commonly the second vowel in a dipthong. But when it comes to transliterating into English, the rules can be highly flexible. Since terminal -iy and -ii both look funny in English, it is usually simplified, hence Vronsky. Alexei is indeed inconsistent with Vronksy here, but as I said, there are no fixed rules.

A real person sometimes has one standard transliteration. For example, the chess player is known as Aleksej Aleksandrov. The English Wikipedia apparently cannot make up its mind whether the former Russian Premier was Alexey or Alexei Kosygin.

We had CHELA twice two years ago, March 16 2008 and May 15 2008, both times from Elizabeth Gorski.

Speaking of "Gorski", let me mention there was a famous Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Note the -ii ending. (And the -ei to boot.)

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Am I missing something here? I read the clue for 17A to mean that the grid might appear symmetrical, but was not, like might be the case with an optical illusion. Not that the puzzle grid itself was an optical illusion.

Admit to googling for 'A Study in...' to get 3D, but loved the misdirective cluing for TEARGAS, and SIESTAS, and the previously mentioned alliterative clue for ALGAE.


Martin 2:00 PM  

@william e emba,

Capital script E and lower-case epsilon are indeed different symbols, but I have seen many instances of both used as the symbol for EMF. Why are all the epsilon uses "wrong."? Here are a few:

There must be a reason that you consider these incorrect, but even if there is an official authority that insists script capital E is the only acceptable symbol, it seems the wide use of epsilon would clear the clue.

jae 2:35 PM  

Easy-medium works for me but, unlike foodie the top half was the medium part. I had MOTT but was iffy about it until I watched an episode of 30 Rock I had on my DVR late last night. In the opening sequence Liz LEMON (FEY) walks into Jack's office, hands him a piece of paper and tells him to "put your Lucretia MOTT on this." Nice confirmation, I love that show!

Oh, and I also liked the puzzle despite the flaws. Nice one JK.

archaeoprof 2:48 PM  

Started with mistakes at 8A ("workout" instead of KEEPFIT) and 15A ("surplus" instead of TOSPARE). Then OPTICALILLUSION got me back on track.

The grid sure looks symmetrical to me...

Anonymous 2:59 PM  


The 2 bottom groups of 3 single black squares are left/right symmetrical, but on top the 3 single black squares are not.

If you look at it the other way, the top left black triplet can cover the bottom left, if the puzzle were folded in the middle horizontally, but the ones on the right do not match up.


archaeoprof 3:06 PM  

@anonymous 2:59: thanks. But I should have made it clear that I was only kidding...

william e emba 3:27 PM  


Your first citation was to Wikipedia's article on "epsilon", which cited an article on emf that used a large script E, not an epsilon. Sheesh.

Seriously, the textbooks and journals all use a large script E. They do not use a small epsilon. You've found some people who did not get the memo, or used epsilon as a bad replacement. The clue remains erroneous. I'd just as strongly object if "supercede" made it into the grid, despite the fact that some dictionaries give it a nod and pedigree. (The "mispelling" theme excepted, of course.)

Just curious 4:06 PM  

@william e emba
Soooooo, as to the puzzle ...
You had a DNF?

sanfranman59 4:34 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 25:17, 26:20, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:24, 12:44, 0.97, 50%, Medium

JenCT 4:38 PM  

This was definitely Challenging for me; got OPTICALILLUSION, KEEPFIT, ENMASSE, FRIEDONIONRINGS etc. right off the bat but stumbled badly elsewhere.

One person's gimme is another's Whaaa???

Tinbeni 4:57 PM  

In my earlier comment I questioned how DAN Blocker was the Word of the Day.

It is in this section (WOD) where Rex is in his best crossword teaching mode.

Lucretia MOTT and Avian MERL, CHELA, maybe EPSILON and it's clue which has had some discussion seem to be more worthy. JMHO

Of course, DAN who played Hoss on Bonanza seemed almost trite (a gimmie for me) since I watched this show practically all my life growing up and in re-runs. Plus have seen this cluing many times before in crosswords.

hazel 5:01 PM  

@shrub 5 - I'm a geologist!!

And I actually like active volcanoes - the ones that are well-behaved, that is. I couldn't burden them with PEUTTEMACHELA!

mac 5:06 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, and found it a medium for me. Loved some of the clues, and my favorite word is "foisted".

I wonder if "dollars and cents" is the verb form, as in "The CFO dollars and cents next years budget"?

Moonchild 5:18 PM  

Another fun day in puzzle world.
I was intimidated at first but it all came together finally.
The trickiness factor seemed just right.
With all of the foreign references I was concerned that the Burger clue was going to be something German. Whew! Just good ol' onion rings.
As for the epsilon discussion, the fine details are lost on me. I just hoped it would be a Greek letter and waited for a couple of crosses. Worked for me.
I too grew up with the Cartwrights so Dan was one of my first entries.
Favorite Aha moment was teargas.
Thanks Joe.

Martin 5:26 PM  

This is my favorite optical illusion. For me, she usually spins counter-clockwise, but if I look away and look again enough times, she will be spinning clockwise. Some people have the opposite experience. Some never see a reversal. BTW, this site is addictive. You've been warned.

The broadest definition of "optical illusion" is "image intended to be deceptively perceived." There are many kinds. The spinning dancer and Rex's page of images that trick us into seeing nonexistent movement are certainly more interesting than a grid that looks to have crossword symmetry when it doesn't. But between my expectation and a clever rearrangement of black squares, I was tricked.

chefwen 5:39 PM  

Yummmm, more burgers.

Knew this one was going to be rated on the easy side as I was able to do it without too much difficulty. It sure does help when you can get the really long answers with just a few letters in place.

Thank you Mr. Krozel for an enjoyable Friday puzzle.

retired_chemist 5:49 PM  

@Martin - fascinating. I saw a couple of reversals. Translated the Japanese, which, though helpful and explanatory, wasn't as interesting as the Asian spam we were getting some months ago.

There was an illusion that was popular in the Sunday comics here a few years ago. I don't know what it is called, or where to find it now, but it produced apparent 3D images without glasses. If anyone knows, tell me.

And no discussion of optical illusions is complete without some by M. C. Escher.

Sarah 7:11 PM  

Oy. This was really, really hard for me. On the whole I can master a Friday puzzle, but this undid me completely.

michae 7:27 PM  

Easy-medium seems right for me. I liked the puzzle despite unhappiness with indorse, inurned, spasmed, and merl. But my real objection is "set shot" as an alternative to a jumper. Not in the last half century or so...

For what it is worth I got both arlene francis and natalie merchant immediately -- does that make e of indeterminate age?

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:14 PM  

Just saying, love the Streets

sanfranman59 10:28 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 7:05, 6:55, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:14, 8:50, 0.82, 10%, Easy
Wed 10:01, 11:49, 0.85, 13%, Easy
Thu 16:40, 19:20, 0.86, 17%, Easy
Fri 26:44, 26:22, 1.01, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:53, 3:41, 1.06, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:43, 4:30, 0.83, 12%, Easy
Wed 5:10, 5:48, 0.89, 22%, Easy-Medium
Thu 7:35, 9:15, 0.82, 12%, Easy
Fri 12:12, 12:43, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Nebraska Doug 8:16 AM  

medium-challenging for me. Off to a good start when I got OPTICAL ILLUSION with only one letter in place, but slowed terribly from there. Tough answers for me: PEUT, CHELA, TEMA, ANDANTE. Good sense of accomplishment when I finally got this one done.

william e emba 6:00 PM  

To Just Curious:

Yes, I finished. I won't read/post here if I'm not finished. In fact, the last time I even needed help finishing was about five years ago--although I've been Naticked a few times, usually on things everybody else knows.

But sometimes it is tricky, and I'll have to overnight a puzzle. Sometimes more than once. The worst was a Saturday that I DNF for two weeks, until I finally cracked the last quadrant.

I didn't post an answer sooner, simply because of the holiday weekend. It wasn't until late Tuesday that I got copies of the weekend puzzles from the library, and I just got caught up today. I do not read this blog if I'm not caught up with the puzzles.

Rex Parker 6:52 PM  

Just want to say: god bless everyone of you who use "Natick" like it's a real expression. You have no idea how gleeful this makes me. I esp. love the verbal ("I got Naticked...") and adjectival ("Naticky") forms. As imprecise as the "Natick Principle" is, it clearly speaks to a phenomenon ("Unfair Crossing!") that lots of folks routinely experience and understand.

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