Kreplach cousin —SAT 5-8-10— Purina partner replaced by Nestle / Roadster debuted 1989 / Self-titled platinum album 1988 / Fuel derivable from biomass

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Constructor: Mark Diehl


Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: BUTANOL (24D: Fuel derivable from biomass) —

Butanol or butyl alcohol can refer to any of the four isomeric alcohols of formula C4H9OH // Butanol may be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Because its longer hydrocarbon chain causes it to be fairly non-polar, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol. Butanol has been demonstrated to work in vehicles designed for use with gasoline without modification. It can be produced from biomass (as "biobutanol") as well as fossil fuels (as "petrobutanol"); but biobutanol and petrobutanol have the same chemical properties. (wikipedia)
• • •

Pretty low word count, creating lots of open space, much of which was tough to get into. Long answers were kind of bland, but helpful, in that they were much easier to uncover than the shorter answers in the corners, and provided important access to said corners. I got stopped cold more than once in this puzzle, most profoundly in the NW, where CANNOLI for RAVIOLI (15A: Kreplach cousin) and, later, ALERO for MIATA (4D: Roadster that debuted in 1989) really held things up. Add to that my complete ignorance of LAHAINA (2D: Maui locale that was once the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii), and my complete underestimation of LITA Ford's popularity (23A: Self-titled platinum album of 1988), and I was toast. Worked way out of jam by tentatively guessing WARTY at 19A: Toadlike, and then using that to get CRAWLER (1D: Night ___). Went with AREAR OF (!?) instead of AHEAD OF at first (17A: Before), which resulted in something called BORY FAT as an answer to 5D: With 20-Across, natural energy source. I was almost willing to believe that, but then I caught LARAINA out of the corner of my eye, and *knew* that was wrong — no "R" in Hawaiian. Got to AHEAD OF shortly thereafter — giving me the BODY FAT I was looking for earlier. Though I'm talking about this section first, it was the next-to-last one I filled in.



Started this thing with SER. (50A: Words from M.L.K. Jr.), which led directly to AEROSPACE (21D: One industry above the rest?). Not sure why that was so obvious, but it was. AEROSPACE gave me LACED (46A: Like some punches), and from there I knew I was dealing with some kind of MATERIAL at 8D: Books and such. I opted for PRINTED MATERIAL, which worked OK until I started getting some nutty letter combos at 8A: Chuck Yeager, e.g., in brief. Is there any way that answer could start "PWI..." Probably not. Easy matter of changing PRINTED to the correct WRITTEN, and WWII ACE for the Yaeger clue. RALSTON (16A: Purina partner replaced by Nestlé) gave me access to the NE, which I finished off pretty quickly. ICELAND was supereasy once the "I" was in place (18A: Home of the Great Geysir).

Never heard of BUTANOL and did Not enjoy the clue on TRANSMUTE (34A: Make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, e.g.?), but I worked it out in the middle pretty easily anyway. From there I went into the SW, which was my fastest section by far. I might even have dropped all those longer Downs in with nothing more than their first letters in place. No idea who this EBB person is (53D: "Chicago" lyricist), but, weirdly, I'd heard the name, so actually wrote in EBB off just the first "B."



Went from SW to NW (see above), and then finished it off in the SE, where, despite having the letters from the 15s in the north and east parts of that section, and despite having HOYT (51D: Wilhelm of Cooperstown) and HAD IT (51A: "I've ___!") in the grid as gimmes, I struggled. Finally chose the right org. at 55D: Org. in "The Sting" (FBI) which started to open things up. The real bear down here is the deliberately vicious clue at 59A: Supply. It's an adverb, cluing LITHELY. That "Y" was, I think, the last thing I put in the grid.

Bullets:
  • 24A: Red flannel hash ingredients (BEETS) — sounds good. I kept guessing and unguessing BEETS until it became undeniable.
  • 28A: Like Miró's "The Tilled Field" (SURREAL) — wanted DADAIST, or something -IST, at any rate. Wrote in the -IST. Then wrote in TURKS at 29D: Neighbors of Belarusians (LETTS). TURKS turns out to be quite wrong — I was off by a factor of THE UKRAINE.
  • 6D: Grp. with the 1977 album "Out of the Blue" (ELO) — I assume everyone just filled this in instantly. Even if you don't know the album, come on. Three letters ... right time period. It's a very good / safe bet. I guess it could have been BTO, but that seems rather unlikely.

  • 7D: What food courts aim to satisfy (DIFFERING TASTES) — Usually not "differing" enough for my tastes. If all food courts had a Chipotle, I would be happy. Usually, I'm just hungry. I wanted some kind of APPETITE here.
  • 38D: Colts' former home (RCA DOME) — jeez louise, when BALTIMORE wouldn't fit I had no idea what to do. I don't think I knew the RCA DOME was "former." Where the hell do they play now? Aha, Lucas Oil Stadium. As of Aug. 2008.
  • 47D: Dame of whodunits (MARSH) — Wanted CHRISTIE. Then MARPLE (!?). Ngaio MARSH was a prolific and popular mystery writer of the mid-20th century. Kiwi by birth.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


[Look how ridiculously happy I am to be judging crossword tournament entries using those giant HP touchscreens. Tyler is tweeting / checking Braves score. Folks behind us are behaving like grown-ups.]

61 comments:

GK 1:06 AM  

I was about to protest that I've never heard of Lita, but there she was back on March 10th at 58 across, even ignoring the fact that she has a platinum worth of metal fans. OK, it's time to put her into the memory bank!

PurpleGuy 1:13 AM  

I am probably not the best commentator.
This was a good puzzle. I agree 100% with Rex's write up. What a great picture of him as a judge.

Any puzzle that has WWII ACE is in my BEST book. My dad was a pilot then, and applied to be a trainer. His age and being married with children prevented that.
I still cant't believe I'm first.
Jesser, where are you ? You have all the great quips.

OK, it would be ABYSMAL to be LACED and in a HOLDINGPATTERN over ICELAND as the RADIATION LEVELS cabin meant we could only share the BEETS !!!!!!!
IFORONE an glad to have some RAVIOLI for dinner.

Peace/Shanti my friends.

OK- Name droppind ala ACME and JESSER-

I literally bumped into Joe Namath, met Elizabeth Taylor and Tony Randall at the MET,Judith Crist at La Guardia Airport, and I went to high school with Stephen Schwartz. He directed me in several school shows.

Thank you,Mark Diehl for a solid Saturday puzzle !

andrea i've had it michaels 3:17 AM  

@Purpleguy
Love you, but before @Rex bans us from commenting altogether, may I explain why I wanted to livedown the whole name-dropping thing? It's supposed to be an actual anecdote triggered by the actual puzzle!!! Like running into HOYT Wilhelm who admitted to sleeping with your sister. Or scoring front row seats to a LITA Ford performance back in the day and having her throw up on you.

I finished with a big mistake: LaTTS
(Sorry, I know it's been discussed ad nauseum LaTTS vs LETTS, still hasn't sunk in for me) giving me RADIATION LabELS.
I didn't get the Notch clue anyway.

Insult to injury, after a screeching halt at one point, I had to google ILES, learn what Islinglass was AND this Wilhelm character who apparently slept with PurpleGuy's sister.

I feel bad that I aspersed (see Young Tyler, that word makes no sense!) Trenchtown by guessing it was a SLUM, knowing nothing about it but it's name. Is that where Trenchmouth comes from?

I'm going to have to retire my Idon'tknowfromsports kvetching as ONEIRON was my first entry!
Well, maybe not just yet, as RCADOME was my last...Apres googling, as I tried the more sporty 51A "I've got IT!"

I'm also fascinated by how many things fit into 1A Night ___. Boy, did I feel like I was on a bad version of the Match Game!
Night Sweats? Night Vision? Night of the Living Dead? Night Gowns?
Night -y night.

jae 4:13 AM  

This was more easy-medium for me with the SE being the toughest part (RFKDOME ????).

I had DIFFERENTTASTES for a while until HOLDING... corrected me.

Nice to see ANO not needing a tilde.

Got CLAMBED off the M in MIATA which opened up the NW, so CRAWLER was kinda of gimme (@Andrea), but you are right, lots of choices.

Loved the 59a Supply misdirection.

I have xwords via BEQ to thank for knowing LITA Ford.

Bottom line, I really liked this one!

Ben 4:35 AM  

I liked it too. Nice and difficult, the kind of puzzle that keeps me subscribing to the NYT (and Fireball - if you like this kind of puzzle, check out Peter Gordon's Fireball Crosswords). Any puzzle that reminds me of Bob Klahn is a good puzzle.

This one took me 22:10, which was a punch in the face after feeling pretty good about banging out the Friday puzzle in around 11, but more importantly it was fun the whole time. All the weekend puzzles and Rex reading over the past year or two are paying off: a puzzle this hard used to take me closer to an hour.

For the self-titled platinum album of 1988, went from ASIA to ENYA to, grudgingly, LITA.

Platinum? Lita Ford? Really, America? Really?

Ben 4:44 AM  

p.s. In the NW, where MIATA and ELO were gimmes, had ___I_L_ for [Kreplach cousin]. Instantly wrote in KNAIDLE, as these are both things that go in traditional Jewish chicken soup.

This puzzle required some HANDDYE coordination.

foodie 6:13 AM  

I really enjoyed it, because it's wide open and plain well done.

Still, I had to cheat once. I got totally stuck in the SE corner. So, looked at the very bottom of Rex's grid and got LITHELY. A killer of a clue! That was enough to do the South. Went to sleep and woke up in the middle of the night and tore through the NE which had proven intractable.

I cannot believe how long it took me to get ISLAM out of the straight path. It's because ISLAM does not literally mean that. It means "Peaceful Surrender" (to God). But yes it is considered the "straight path", the path of the faithful whom God has sent guidance to, not the path of the lost.

There was a scientific vibe to the puzzle that I liked-- BUTANOL, RADIATION LEVELS, BODY FAT (and the way it is clued), and the AEROSPACE industry.

And LAHAINA was a gimme that brought back wonderful memories. What a gorgeous place! I want to go back there! Something to plot for next February.

I've just discovered how to post privately on YOUTUBE, so I can share some of my Turkey videos that are too large to e-mail, without having the world listening to my inane commentary.

OMG! My captcha: DEARREX!!
I guess my reminder to tell you, Rex, that I was happy to see your picture looking ridiculously happy!

DataGeek 6:17 AM  

Fun puzzle! @Andrea - being a woman of a certain age, I couldn't let go of "night sweats" and wanted to make it fit *somehow*. Did anybody try REBA for LITA? I wrote it in and then Googled to confirm. Can you believe she also had a debut self-titled album in 1988?! Not sure it went platinum, but seriously - ends in A and came out in 1988?! Hard to let that one go, but AVERBED just didn't look right. TRANSFORM for TRANSMUTE took a while to let go of as well. And it wasn't until I came here that I could make sense of SUPPLY. Thanks for helping me out with that one. Any time I can finish a Saturday with only one Google - wanted BLINI with an alternate spelling for RAVIOLI - is a great day. That probably puts it in the "easy" category for most of you.

raidodaze 6:48 AM  

There's more than one RCADOME about. Indiana had one for a while.

Didnt know the album title or the Ballplayer which is quite normal.

Overall a really staisfying puzzle!

edith b 6:59 AM  

Serendipity played a large part in my solving this one, particularly in the NW and SW. Knowing LAHAINA gave me a leg up in the NW, but guessing AVERTED and MIATA gave me the entire corner, where a wrong guess would have brought me to a grinding halt but instead allowed me to get RAVIOLI and AHEADOF and entry into the Midlands and the SW through DIFFERINGTASTES.

I had **I**CE and knew Chuck Yeager was a World War II ace, and again serendipity bailed me out.

Rex has already done a step-by-step rendition of his solve and the world doesn't need another one but this puzzle was a series of good guesses that allowed me to avoid messes that wrong quesses would have created.

I had to pull out all the stops at my command to solve this one. I don't think as a new solver I would have had the wherewithall to do this puzzle and see it as a veteran solver's effort all the way.

Leslie 7:36 AM  

Northwest was the last to fall for me. I've never heard of LITA Ford--will have to go Google her now!

I groaned when "supply" finally explained itself to me. Had "transform" for TRANSMUTE, "printed material" for WRITTEN MATERIAL, and "ethanol" for BUTANOL. Ben, how in the world do you do a puzzle like this in only 22 minutes?? Sheesh. I'm impressed.

PanamaRed 7:44 AM  

@radiodaze - the RCADOME in Indianapolis is the same one the puzzle clue referred to - (Indianapolis Colts).

I, too tried to fit Baltimore in there some how, and agree that the clue for LITHELY was very cool.

Must admit that although I had heard of Ngaio MARSH, never knew until this puzzle that she was a she.

Fun for me anytime I finish a Saturday puzzle, especially when I do so on Friday night before retiring (having had no Martinis last evening helped a lot).

retired_chemist 8:33 AM  

For some reason, right in my wheelhouse. One of my easiest Saturdays ever. As @foodie noted, there is a scientific flavor, mwhich helped. Once the E in ETHANOL was obviously wrong, for example, BUTANOL was clear. But it wouldn't be to everyone.

RAVIOLI and RALSTON needed no crosses, nor did MICA or HOYT Wilhelm (is anyone ever going to use a Seinfeld clue for him - or has that been done?).

A lot of other false starts which were fixable. I FOR ONE enjoyed it a lot. Mr. Diehl, thank you.

play wisti for me (captcha).

dk 8:34 AM  

Indiana: Was not that the original home of the Colts: Asks themorethanAndreasportsimpaireddk?

Ethanol for BUTANOL had me reaching for the PEPTO.

His Rexness is right on with TRANSMUTE which along with WWIIACE, elicited I've HADIT as my RADIATIONLEVELS began to MAR my CONICAL brow.

Glad to see the return of BEETS as the #1 grid root vegetable. And, very happy 23A was not ABBA.

In sum just the way to start a Saturday.

*** (3 Stars) I had 3 googles (Lita, RCA Dome and Iceland).

Ben 8:39 AM  

Thanks, Leslie. What's funny is that it really was a struggle almost the whole time. After 12 or 15 minutes I still had so much white space to fill. It was a slower start than I've had in months, because it was the hardest puzzle in that time. It all came together quickly in the last 5-10 minutes.

In complete disclosure, I solve using Across Lite. You can type a 15-letter answer in a second or two and erase/correct far more quickly than on paper. Also, the clue is always hovering over the word that's highlighted, so there's none of that looking back and forth like there is on paper. I recently did a couple Mondays in under 4 minutes on the computer. I would need to seriously improve my paper skills to do that with a pencil.

Of course, "fast" is all a matter of comparison. At the Brooklyn tournament, people are finishing the race while I'm still tying my shoes. Or take yesterday's puzzle, a straightforward Friday that I finished in 11-12 min. I went over to Amy Reynaldo's blog, where she posts her times, and she did it in 6 min. and change. Um, yes, I'll just go back to the beginner class now.

dk 8:40 AM  

Never mind -- It looks like Indiana is the current home of the Colts.

My problem is that in addition to not thinking before I write I also never look anything up. The two traits may be related but I'll never know.

secret word: potaggeo-couch movements

imsdave 9:02 AM  

What Leslie said. Challenging for me, but well worth the effort - a solid hour here. I thought SARIN was SERIN and had the ABYSMAL thought with TASTES in place and the starting D (before counting of course) that it might be DISCERNING - note to self - never, ever do a Saturday at 4:30 in the morning.

Chefbea is on a roll!

curli - nyuk, nyuk, nyuk

Cathyat40 9:13 AM  

No googling, but two incorrect squares: had LaTA for LITA and IrELAND for ICELAND. The first one I really didn't know; the second was a careless error of not checking the down, WAC.

My boyfriend gave me MAMA and RCADOME (he's an ex-NFL player - I'll let that serve as my name-dropping, sans name).

I tried hard to enter DIversEappetiTES, then DIFFERENTappetitTES, and even thought this might be a rebus puzzle with rent as the word to enter in a single square.

When I had _ITHELY and saw that an L belonged at the beginning, my response was "No way, supply means supple-ly?"

I had fun with this puzzle; finished at 12:06 AM; read Rex's blog, then went to sleep. I had some nightmares, but I don't think they were puzzle- or Rex-related.

SethG 9:17 AM  

I had more fun looking at the gorgeous grid pattern than filling it in.

My MATERIAL was READING and PRINTED before it was WRITTEN. The TASTES WANDERed before they DIFFERed. Some of the stuff that was trickiest for me to figure out, like AT A TIME, ended up with no pop, zest, or zing.

And...I ended by changing LIZA to LENA instead of LITA. At least I didn't have NENA, whose sorta self-titled release was in '83.

joho 9:19 AM  

The SE was the last to fall. I got HOYT from my husband and still didn't get anywhere until, out the blue, NOMINAL popped into my brain. That confirmed COT and with HADIT I gave up RCArena for RCADOME. FBI got me ABYSMAL. The last to go in was LITHELY which I love! Supply is the best misdirection I've seen in a while!

Thank you Mark Diehl for a most difficult, satisfying Saturday.

Andy 9:25 AM  

OK, maybe I'm an idiot, but can someone please explain how "lithely" is the answer for "supply?" I feel like I'm missing some inside joke here. Thanks.

Greene 9:25 AM  

This was one of those puzzles where I got just one answer on the first pass ("Chicago" lyricist Fred EBB), thought the puzzle was hopeless, and then slowly built the entire grid from that one tiny answer. EBB leading to YOU TUBE leading to PEPTO leading to NEAP and so on. I couldn't agree more with @EdithB who points out that this solving process involves "a series of good guesses."

Fred EBB was a witty and erudite writer whose 42 year partnership with John Kander produced a seemingly endless stream of Broadway shows and memorable songs. I was a bit too young to have caught the original production of their first blockbuster Cabaret, but I saw most everything they wrote from Zorba in 1968 on until Mr. Ebb's death in 2004. Whether the show was a hit or a flop, the writing was always intelligent, insightful, and often amusing.

And the shows still keep coming even six years after Mr. Ebb's death. The team apparently had a number of works in progress when he passed and one by one they are being produced. Curtains proved to be a negligable effort (which might have been better left unproduced) in 2007, but The Scottsboro Boys, which I just saw off-Broadway last month, was stunning and will hopefully transfer to Broadway next season. Here's a little taste of EBB's poetry from that posthumous work, the lovely Go Back Home.

@IMSDave: Is there any other time to do a puzzle other than 4:30 AM? :)

Bob Kerfuffle 9:29 AM  

Excellent Saturday puzzle.

My very first fill was RALSTON, which caused me to immediately put in (as did Rex et al) PRINTEDMATERIAL. So many letters in common with WRITTENMATERIAL that it didn't slow me down much. Later I managed to mess up another of the 15s with my only other write-over, where I had LANDINGPATTERNS before HOLDINGPATTERNS.

Last section to fall for me was the NW, where the crossing of LITA and LAHAINA was just a guess, and also where I thought immediately that 4 D was MIATA but hesitated to put it in because I kept thinking, "The Miata has to be older than 1989!"

retired_chemist 9:30 AM  

@ Andy- think adverbs, not nouns. Rex said.....

Smitty 9:32 AM  

@Andy supply as in supple - ly
I agree with those who found this easy-medium, but I'm the same one who give up on "cakewalks" so my rating doesn't mean a thing.

I loved this puzzle

ArtLvr 10:03 AM  

Lots of stray thoughts here, like Peat Bog for that natural energy source BODY FAT! However, with a dumbell trio in the center from ITD and VEE at the ends of TRANSMUTE, I was able to get enough of the center area to see the long crossings. Gimmes WAC, MARSH, MICA helped unravel the east half.

No troubles in the SW working from HAND-DYE, bur the NW was slower. 2D had to have L to start and A at the end, but I toyed with NIGHT creepers before CRAWLERS, even though I'd had WARTY at one point and then taken it out. What else is a toad? Squat?

@foodie, thanks for the translation of ISLAM, pure guess there since the clue didn't ring a bell.

@greene, wonderful commentary on EBB -- I won't forget him from now on!

Ready for some LACED punch to celebrate today's relatively smooth completion...

∑;)

gih 10:04 AM  

A vintage sports car. Love it.

HudsonHawk 10:18 AM  

I wanted Night CLASSES, but believing 23A would be ENYA kept me from making either mistake. WARTY cleared things up.

I finally entered HOLDING PATTERNS for 35A when BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS wouldn't fit.

On to the big Sunday grid, which is a Liz Gorski.

Adam 10:37 AM  

@HudsonHawk: We were both wanting ENYA for LITA (seriously? platinum?) for very good reason. Enya was released in 1987 and went platinum.

Who thinks of Lita Ford? Ever? People in MIATAs, maybe?

HudsonHawk 11:13 AM  

@Adam: thanks, the timing seemed about right. I actually remember the LITA Ford debut, given that she and Joan Jett were both in the Runaways (I didn't purchase it, but I remember it). But yeah, total afterthought, and I didn't think it went platinum.

chefbea 11:41 AM  

@IMSDave..I sure am on a roll. Two days in a row!!! Wow!!! Bring on the red flannel hash which btw.. I have made.

Had to google a lot but was a still fun. Hand up for Reba.

Two Ponies 11:57 AM  

I came THIS close to finishing but not knowing the writer or the baseball player kept me from it.
I also had Latts which gave me Radiation Labels. Our food now needs those???
I did try bat dung for a bit before body fat showed up. Guano is a fuel source I think but dung didn't seem to pass the breakfast test.

Ulrich 12:05 PM  

As SethG said, beautiful grid.

@foodie: You are very generous in accepting the clue for ISLAM. If it means "peaceful surrender", which I've heard also from others (not that your testimony wouldn't be sufficient!), "straight path" is more than a stretch--it sounds wrong to me. For example, we know that "between the second and third rib" is the straight path to a man's heart, but that doesn't mean it's an advice for wives--or do we?

archaeoprof 12:19 PM  

@Foodie & Ulrich: the opening verses of the Qur'an speak of "the straight path."

Had to guess at LITA. If she had been a country singer, I would have known her at sight.

CaseAceFos 12:41 PM  

Mark "I'm the real Diehl" has weighed in with a telling blow that had me reeling from the get-go and the ref stopped the bout in the early going on a T.K.O!

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

i belatedly got that aha moment with lithely. clever and so misleading.

@chefbea thanks! saturday is far beyond me so i'm delighted that some others admit to a google or several. i was able to fill the s.w. so i'm happy about that and then needed help from rex to keep me going, a google or two wouldn't help.

i'm in awe of the great solvers i see on this site.

i hope that some crosswordese sticks with me as i work thru the week and that i learn to be less literal on clues such as 31a.[yes, i saw there was the ? but still....]i did complete sunday's with very minimal googling so i guess i'm improving. at my age, i gotta learn fast before popular [and techie] culture elude me and i forget my parents' culture.

Cathyat40 1:01 PM  

@ArtLvr, my first guess for toad was HORNY.

I first entered METRO, instead of MIATA. The Metro was introduced in the U.S. in 1989, but it's doubtful that it qualifies as a "roadster."

JaneW 1:15 PM  

Is "supply" for "in a supple manner" really legit? Isn't it "supplely"?

Tinbeni 1:17 PM  

I FOR ONE today had a big FAT DNF.

Liked that on the day before Mother's Day,
MAMA showed up.

SALUTED our WWII ACE and the crossing WAC.

Fave was 21D, One Industry above the rest? AEROSPACE.
@Andrea & @Jesser: Would like to drop names but at a
reception back in 2001, within 10 minutes, I met, one
AT A TIME, shook hands and talked with, three of the men who walked on the moon.

Sparky 1:31 PM  

Couldn't get anyplace Friday but managed to muddle through all but the southeast today. I try not to Google but think it's fair to use my almanac which I did for Hoyt Wilhelm. Completely struck out on the Dame because I thought you call Dames and Sirs by their first names. Stuck with Agatha or P D. Oh, what the heck. The blog saved my with supple-ly -- humph. I will supply bow out now. Ta Ta and Cheerio.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

the clue for "i for one" was absolutely wrong -- but i basically no longer expect proper clues anymore -- last saturday "empty suit" was clued as "good-for-nothing" -- utterly completely wrong. actually i think it's good they're getting so bad, it makes it harder.

foodie 1:53 PM  

@Ulrich & @Archaeoprof I really cannot decide whether or not the clue for Islam was perfect, i.e. somewhat misleading but in a Saturday sort of way.

I'm not a religious expert-- having grown up in a non-observant moslem family and then attending a French catholic school-- but every kid in the Middle East knows the opening verse of the Koran. It says (my translation):

"In the Name of God the Merciful,
Praise be to the Lord of the World,
The Ruler of Judgment Day,
You, Whom we Worship and Whose Help we Seek
Guide us to the Straight Path
The Path of those You have Gifted with Your Blessings
Not the Path of those who Have Earned your Wrath
Or those who are Lost"

So, to my mind, the Straight Path is not the same as Islam but it is something you can find if you undertake the right spiritual journey and God helps you, and it presumably leads you to Heaven. While I know that Islam has given the idea a place of honor, I never think of it as exclusively moslem-- possibly because I know that the religion was highly influenced by earlier monotheistic religions, and because of expressions like the "Straight and Narrow"which derives from the Bible e.g. "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life" (Matthew 7:14).

And finally, not everyone who embraces Islam automatically finds the Straight Path-- it is a quest.

So, should one define the other?

lit.doc 2:08 PM  

1 Across.

Sign of progress: I had the great good sense to give up and go to bed after half an hour with what turns out to be 17 correct answers.

Close: 36D ONEWOOD (hey, I don't know from golf), with ONE verified by ANO and NEAP, but nothing crossing WOOD.

Rest of the story: 9D YIN, 43A BED, and 7D scrabble spill ending in CRAVING.

Ulrich 2:20 PM  

@foodie and archaeoprof: If the line
"guide us to the straight path" uses, in the original, the word "islam" where the translator says "the straight path", I accept, happily, that one means the other. If, on the other hand, the Arabic word is NOT "islam", I remain even more unconvinced, to put it mildly...

archaeoprof 2:26 PM  

@Foodie & Ulrich: right. Even though the clue surely came from the Qur'an, I think it is a little off.

First, because it made me think of Buddhism (the noble eight-fold path), not ISLAM.

Second, because submission is at the heart of Islam, both etymologically and otherwise. Islam teaches that there is a god, and it's not you: so learn how to live with that.

lit.doc 2:33 PM  

@edith b, well and wisely put:

"I had to pull out all the stops at my command to solve this one. I don't think as a new solver I would have had the wherewithall to do this puzzle and see it as a veteran solver's effort all the way."

Comforting words. Thanks.

Clark 2:37 PM  

@JaneW -- 'Supply' is indeed a legitimate form. I find the website 'Onelook Dictionary Search' [http://onelook.com/] very helpful when I want to look up such a question. You enter your word once and it gives you links to the appropriate entries in a number of different dictionaries. Very convenient.

Shamik 2:42 PM  

Put me with a CANNOLI and never got that SUPply wasn't supPLY even though that's not where my wrong letters were.

The unnamed red vegetable: BEETS BEETS BEETS BEETS BEETS...was my only gimme.

Good puzzle. Felt like I was ridden hard and put away wet.

Ben 2:46 PM  

IFORONE is how Roman numerals work.

Martin 2:49 PM  

Why does The Straight Path have to be the literal meaning of "Islam" for the clue to be correct? It's clearly used metaphorically by Moslems. That's like arguing that "priest" cannot clue SHEPHERD because, unlike "pastor," the etymology is wrong.

Frances 3:32 PM  

I'm with Sparky (1:31 PM): the honorifics Sir and Dame take first names, or first-plus-last, but not surname alone. I did everything I could to enter NGAIO at 47D, but without success.

Wikipedia says: In the British honours system the knightly style of Sir is accompanied by the given name, and optionally the surname. So, Elton John may be called Sir Elton or Sir Elton John, but never Sir John. Similarly, actress Judi Dench DBE may be addressed as Dame Judi or Dame Judi Dench, but never Dame Dench.

Rosetta Maranos 4:08 PM  

That "Supply" clue really got me...even after getting Stately, Hoyt etc. Boo. I finally had to google lithely to be abel to see the answer...Ahhh supple-like not the noun. Other than that the puzzle kinda solved itself for me.

Martin 4:21 PM  

Dame (unlike Sir) is also a generic description of rank. Sir Michael Caine is a Knight. Dame Ngaio Marsh was a Dame. That's why the clue is cool.

Also, Lady is used with surname. Because I'm on the mailing list of the Peter Michael winery (best chardonnays in the state, btw) I'm always getting notices of events hosted by "Sir Peter and Lady Michael." I know it sounds like the Jackson family, but you can google the phrase and see it's on the up-and-up.

David L 4:48 PM  

Liked the puzzle, appreciated the ingenious clues, finished in a (for me) reasonable time, but -- bummer! -- had LATA/LAHAANA in the NW. Total guess, figured it had to be A or I, decided it must be one of those cute Hawai'ian words with an apostrophe in the middle... Oh well, weekend ruined, misery descends, and now I have to go out and play bridge... Maybe I'll get some lucky cards, at least.

David 5:56 PM  

One of the few occasions when I think I may have dispatched a puzzle quicker than Rex, and I thought for sure he'd rate this one "Easy." Deft misdirection on "supply," (to echo Jae's comment) hung me up the longest; everything else fell quickly. Early on, I did have HOUSTON for the Colts' former home -- as in Colt 45's (later renamed the Astros). Anyone remember them?

sanfranman59 6:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:57, 6:55, 1.01, 57%, Medium
Tue 8:45, 8:51, 0.99, 51%, Medium
Wed 13:13, 11:52, 1.11, 80%, Challenging
Thu 14:23, 19:20, 0.74, 6%, Easy
Fri 24:46, 26:26, 0.94, 36%, Easy-Medium
Sat 33:32, 30:50, 1.09, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:40, 1.05, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:15, 4:31, 0.94, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:35, 5:50, 1.13, 82%, Challenging
Thu 6:45, 9:15, 0.73, 5%, Easy
Fri 11:39, 12:46, 0.91, 29%, Easy-Medium
Sat 19:12, 17:39, 1.09, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Puzzle Nut 6:04 PM  

Actually thought it was a fairly easy puzzle for a Saturday. Finished in 30 minutes, which is good for me. Often miss a corner and have to resort to googling.
Solved it NE, SW, center, NW and a tough SE. Loved LITHELY, but guessed wrong on LITA. Never heard of her or LAHAINA. 50/50chance of I or A. RCADOME was the other answer that feally gave me fits.

Mustang Bobby 9:09 PM  

This was a relatively easy Saturday one for me. I don't know why HOLDINGPATTERN fell into place, but it was great to get.

I got EBB immediately, but that's because I'm a theatre nerd.

andrea ifortwo michaels 4:30 AM  

@Hudson Hawk
"WARTY cleared things up."
Weird. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

@Ben
IFORONE as roman numeral! Brilliant!
There has to be a puzzle in there somewhere...let's tawk!

Jim Sweeney and Peta Poole 12:22 PM  

Had LAPPS then LATTS and RADIATION LABELS with the 33D circled because I couldn't understand BEE? Duh, that's because it's wrong. Inexcusable sloth.

My one complaint is LITA. I seem to recall putting in TINA for LITA a few Saturdays ago and did the same thing yesterday. She cannot dance, her attempt at sexy dancing are risable, the lyrics are shite and that keyboard fill is an earworm of the lowest order. Dreadful stuff. Lita Ford has managed to debase platinum.

Sudsy in Chicago 10:01 AM  

In all, a very satisfying challenge with a delightful gotcha when I finally figured out "supply." Very clever! That plus "token," which also took me forever to get, made the SE a real bear.

Liked that ICELAND was crossed by a volcano clue -- coincidence? Liked YOUTUBE as well. First time I've seen it in a puzzle.

Wanted GRITS instead of BEETS for 24A and GASOHOL instead of BUTANOL for 24D, so that held me up for awhile.

And last, LAHAINA -- what do I know from places in Hawaii? When I had everything else in the NE except the "i" in LAHAINA/LITA, I purposely wrote in a "u." I once knew a kind of pathetically ditzy chick named Luta, and it really made me feel good to award her a platinum selling album. You go, Luta!

Great puzzle with a happy ending.

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