Captor of Wendy Darling / WED 6-2-10 / Metaphorical target of attacks / Rawhide singer Frankie / Quebec's main drag / Forte's opposite

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Constructor: Adam Cohen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Fishing — theme answers end with ROD, HOOK, LINE, and REEL


Word of the Day: Grande ALLÉE (65A: Grande ___ (Québec's main drag)) —

La Grande Allée est une importante voie de Québec. Elle est située sur la colline de Québec, parallèle au fleuve Saint-Laurent, dans les arrondissements La Cité–Limoilou et Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge. Elle est réputée pour ses restaurants et ses beaux édifices. (wikipédia)

[The Great Walk is an important route of Quebec. It is located on the hill of Quebec, parallel to the St. Lawrence River , in the boroughs City-Limoilou and Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge. It is renowned for its restaurants and beautiful buildings.]


• • •

Not much to this one. Theme feels overly simple and *very* old-fashioned. Theme answers, ho-hum (though LIGHTNING ROD and VIRGINIA REEL have a kinetic quality that's kind of appealing). Rest of the grid is solid and unremarkable, except for STRIKE PAY (6D: Compensation during a work stoppage), which shines, and ALIMONIES (37D: Severeance package payments?), which doesn't. Long answers aren't the place for forced plurals. Anyhow, I'm grateful for the almost complete lack of dreck. I stumbled in several places, but still came up with a time under 4, which says "Easy" on a Wednesday. Went with KENTS instead of KOOLS (1D: Mentholated smokes) — love the clue on that one; poetic — and DIRGE instead of ELEGY (8D: Poem of lament). Later, I took HOPI over ZUNI (59A: New Mexico native) and ARI over URI (60D: Altdorf's canton) — a perennial mistake of mine.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Metaphorical target of attacks (LIGHTNING ROD)
  • 35A: Captor of Wendy Darling (CAPTAIN HOOK)
  • 42A: Game show originally titled "Occupation Unknown" ("WHAT'S MY LINE")
  • 56A: Dance with fiddlers and a caller (VIRGINIA REEL)
Couldn't remember DEL RAY at first (46A: ___ Beach, Fla.), had to fumble around to get ALLÉE, and found the clue on BALMY tough for some reason (30D: Like Indian summer days). Wanted some word for "unseasonably warm." Or "long," which is weird, as Indian summer days aren't particularly long. They suggest a "long" summer. Hardest clue of all, for me, strangely, was 59D: ___ + 4 (ZIP), especially considering I didn't have the "Z" at first. "Where's the 'equals' sign?" I'd forgotten that the ZIP code system is called "ZIP + 4" ("4" being the four digits that come after a hyphen, after your regular ZIP — I don't know my "4").


Bullets:
  • 1A: Japanese beef center (KOBE) — also, a phenomenally talented Laker who will begin playing for the NBA championship tomorrow night.
  • 49A: Oslo Accords partner of Yitzhak and Bill (YASIR) — I like when first names are clued this way (via parallelism) more than when they're clued via last name. Usually.
  • 66A: Diary fastener (HASP) — Me, while solving: "What's a dairy fastener?" Me, a few seconds ago, when looking at this clue again: "What's a dairy fastener?"
  • 69A: Sawbuck halves (ABES) — like this clue as much as [Mentholated smokes]. Three cheers for the colloquial.
  • 7D: "Rawhide" singer Frankie (LAINE) — If I had a "Crosswordese 101" segment to this blog, the way PuzzleGirl does over at her (now) very own LAT crossword blog, this would have been my entry for the day. An important name to know, and one I know only from crosswords. There's also a (doubly crosswordy) CLEO LAINE.
  • 22D: Eclipse, to the impressionable (OMEN) — I have trouble with the word "impressionable." I think you wanted to convey "ignorant," but thought that too mean, so hedged, and got a word associated mainly with children. Not good.
  • 28D: Sporting tattoos, slangily (INKED) — good clue. I'd have gone the comic book route in this clue, but tattoos work fine here.
  • 31A: Forte's opposite (PIANO) — so "pianoforte" is an oxymoron?
  • 44D: Sicilian spewer (ETNA) — "spew" is up there on the Ugly Words list with "MOIST" and "PUS" and "MULCT" and some others.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

61 comments:

dk 8:05 AM  

Any puzzle with ACME as fill is fine in my book.

I guessed better than Rex, but end KOBE and RABE with an I... just to make the puzzle a little harder.

These days it takes an ABE plus a few to buy some KOOLS. I still remember them at 25 cents in the vending machine. Parents smoked Larks, we called them bird cigarettes.

This one crossed the Wednesday bar by a hair. WHATSMYLINE did it for me. Just a standard puzzle with no PINGs.

** (2 Stars) Thanks Adam

Leslie 8:33 AM  

Me, while solving: "What's a dairy fastener?" Me, a few seconds ago, when looking at this clue again: "What's a dairy fastener?"

Oh, lord, so glad someone else does this too.

"Maori" got stuck in my mind so insistently at 25A, even though I knew perfectly well it was wrong, that MASAI could not get a toehold. Had to get it from crosses all the way. Ditto with "Hopi" rather than ZUNI at 59A. I knew it wasn't Hopi, but that answer just wouldn't step down. In fact, that whole SW corner was harder for me than it should have been.

SEISM as a noun bugs me, just because I only ever see the adjective "seismic." Seems almost as nonsensical as "ruth," from "ruthless." Yep, "ruth" is an actual word, but still . . . and ditto SEISM.

Ooh, I'm a waroid today. That's like a BattleBot, right?

John 8:35 AM  

Not easy for me at all. I was on a completely different wavelength. I struggled more than normal for a Wednesday. Meh, maybe I'm just off today...

I have a passion for fishing, and did not pick up the theme for a long while...

Greene 8:50 AM  

My solving experience was very much like Rex's (well, except for my significantly longer solve time). But I fell into every trap he mentions except the ARI/URI Swiss Canton business. Not quite sure how I knew that.

I got totally snagged in the SW where I clung to HOPI for a long time, then tried ZUMI (plural of ZUMA?). I think I even talked myself into believing that the musical phrase "ma non troppo" could be shortened to "mon troppo" just so I could keep the friggin M. Hmmm. Even with the Z in place, I still didn't see ZIP for quite some time.

Agree that the theme was not exactly elegant, but there was enough thorniness in the cluing to make the puzzle moderately satisfying.

Sparky 8:54 AM  

Yeah, I finished before 8:30 a.m. Found it easy. Think it helped to be of a certain age. Frankie Laine, What's My Line? and Cisco Kid shoo ins. I had Maori, Hopi and Spasm for a while. Didn't get Zip code till reading Rex. All I could think of was plus fours which are old timey golf pants. I am a bit surprised there are no other fishey clues or answers. All in all, I'm happy.

hazel 9:03 AM  

I couldn't get in the groove, even with that pack of KOOLS.

ROD, HOOK, LINE, and REEL just sounds like a checklist for an idiot who's never been fishing before - in which case it should have included worm, or bait, or lure or something else. Hook, line, and sinker would have been a lot jazzier!

Maybe I'm just being a Battlebot too, @Leslie or else @DK's cranky pants really did travel south. I need to send them on their way.

PIX 9:06 AM  

A harpsicord makes it's sound by plucking a string...the volume of the sound cannot be varied...a piano works by having a small hammer strike steel strings...it can be played loudly or softly [ hence "pianoforte" (softly/loudly)] which we shorten to piano. I am sure the music people out there will object to this oversimplification, but that's the main idea.

Aunt Hattie 9:16 AM  

I thought of Kents, and not Kools, which stuck me good. And yes, I also tried to think of those things they fasten cows with in a dairy. Maybe it is too early for me--

foodie 9:25 AM  

Exactly what @Greene said. No need to repeat.

But Rex, your statement about a doubly crosswordy name made me think about my incipient grandchild, due in late July/early August. Are the parents thinking about that baby's name in terms of crosswordiness? It sure is one way to achieve longer fame. Should I be saying anything?

Cheers from hazy LA.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:27 AM  

To paraphrase Click and Clack, whose Puzzler gets the summer off, it would seem this week that the Times puzzler has gone fishin', suggested by the easy Monday and Tuesday and confirmed today.

joho 9:31 AM  

For a fairly easy Wednesday this puzzle was oddly unsmooth to solve. I got stuck where @Rex and others did, not for long, it just didn't flow. Just like the theme didn't have any pizzazz. @hazel, you took the words right out of my mouth. I so wanted HOOK, LINE and sinker! As well as for other fishiness to show up in the grid. It seems like somebody missed the boat here in making this a much more interesting puzzle.

chefbea 9:39 AM  

I found this puzzle difficult. Had hopi and the downs made no sense. Couldn't think of Laila. Should have known +4 cuz puzzle husband worked for the post office before retiring.

Of course I knew aioli and pectin. yummm jellied garlic!!!!!

JMorgie 9:44 AM  

enjoyed all the throwback clues. kools, frankie laine etc. have just started to reread Len Deightons trilogy: Hook, Line and Sinker. missed sinker in this puzzle.

SethG 9:56 AM  

First name parallelism is good, first-name variant transliteration not so much. YASIR, though, is certainly more defendable than OASIR, which you get if you see "Cowboy" and "HOWDx" and automatically enter HOWDO. (See also: MASAI.)

Add in the ZUMI/ZUNI confusion, for which the cross didn't help, and this was a plodgy solve.

PuzzleNut 10:00 AM  

So-so puzzle.
I usually do M,T,W diagramless and this one didn't create any real problems. Thought about HAJj for a minute with jCE as I seem to recall from Scrabble that that is one variation of spelling. Saw that 13D probably shouldn't be an abbreviation, and ICE made plenty of sense. Had MAori first, but knew AIOLI, so had to change that. Put hopI in first, but should have known ZUNI. The URI cross helped fix that. Liked the ZIP clue, once I finally got it. Never heard of the movie GIGLI (must have been a real bust), but ALLEE seemed like the logical answer for a French word.

JayWalker 10:06 AM  

Maybe this puzzle is trickier than we all think. I am fascinated by all the different places where so many had problems. I too had several missteps: ISBN tripped me but the crosses made it easy; zip/Zuni (I had Hopi and God knows what); couldn't remember how to spell Laila but again, the crosses saved me. But I almost tripped OVER Pectin/Aioli. Pectin seemed correct but Aioli "looked" wrong. Not an everyday word for me, unlike ChefBea. But all in all, an easIER but fun puzzle for the day. Let's give credit where due.

CaseAceFos 10:16 AM  

KENYA believe, delivered in the voice of the late Don Adams, that thanks to 59A&D, I didn't know ZIP about the ZUNI?

dk 10:22 AM  

@hazel, a battlebot in cranky pants = NYT puzzle solver or... puzzlebot.

CaseAceFos 10:30 AM  

Who recalls the short lived menthol cigarette that tried to challenge Kools for the menthol smoking market back in the day?
The brand was called "Spud" and you have to agree it had a snappy little jingle that went like so, "Listen to me Lady, listen to me Bud, if you want to be mouth happy, then you want to smoke Spud...Spud cigarette's are cooler than Kools, smoke Spud cigarette's...that's a mouth happy rule!"

tptsteve 10:45 AM  

Any puzzle with a fishing theme is ok in my book. This was one of the easier Wednesdays that I can recall until I got to the SW corner. ___+ 4?? Huh?

Couldn't decide between URI and ARI, ZUNI wasn't on my radar screen, and I wanted to shred the puzzle into little pieces, I was so frustrated.

After a short intermission, I threw in the Z, but sadly, kept the A.

Now I wish I could go dip a line

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

I guess I'm a puzzlebot too. (Thanks @ dk. I like it.)
I do have fishing on my mind right now because I'm going to try my hand at some rod and reel this weekend. Despite that I failed to see the theme.
I was looking for a Western theme. We had Rawhide, steer, howdy, square dancing, the border patrol, and Mexican bears.
Brier doesn't look right to me. I wanted to spell it briar.
I nearly gave up in the SE. I felt like I really didn't care.

Howard B 10:49 AM  

Dear Dairy, ...

Although I don't usually misread clue letters, I also constantly transpose dairy/diary. This makes for some interesting clue reading at times.

archaeoprof 11:02 AM  

So-so Wednesday, but what do you expect from a puzzle with no country music in it?

Had most of the overwrites mentioned so far, plus trite/STALE.

But MASAI/AIOLI was a Natick for me.

On Friday I leave for this summer's dig. Maybe we'll find an ancient crossword puzzle...

Two Ponies 11:03 AM  

Of course, I meant the SW tripped me up. Directionally challenged.

JC66 11:05 AM  

Agree with @Hazel, et al. This puzzle needed SINKER to rise to an above average level.

retired_chemist 11:16 AM  

As usual, I ignored the theme and just solved. Easy. Knew to be flexible on the spelling of HAJI, and got it because the crosses did not disappoint. Did need to write over HOPI @ 59A - ZIP fixed that.

Van55 11:18 AM  

Almost no crap fill plus a solid, but not sparkling, theme makes for a decent enough puzzle for me.

___ + 4 is perhaps the lamest clue ever! Fortunately ZUNI was little worse than an educated guess for me, so I got it right even though I ZIP made no sense to me until I read RP's explanation.

I immediately thought "KENTS" for 1D until I thought that Kent cigarettes were not (always) mentholated. It just had to be KOOLS.

Tinbeni 11:22 AM  

I like it when the puzzle tells me I'm done, CEASE.

___+ 4, popped in ZIP and then the URI for the canton.
I know my 9 DIGITs and Swiss heritage.

STRIKE PAY was cute and a gimmie.
ALIMONIES, as a Severance package payments (and plural), I thought that was clever.

NARCS crossing REHAB & SLIPS, there is a message in there somewhere.

Liked the fishing theme. The Tarpon are calling.

@archaeoprof: Luke O'SHEA & Medicine Wheel.

mac 11:26 AM  

@SethG: thank you, that word plodgy describes the puzzle very well. I kept thinking Andrea would have inserted all kinds of related words in the fill.

I also went the Kents, Hopi and diary route, and had the hardest time in the SW. I wouldn't be so worried about a ping, I've heard much worse.

Just read about a Virginia Reel last night in Deb Amlen's brandnew book "It's not P.M.S., it's you!".

@archeoprof: good luck and lots of fun on the dig!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

I'm old enough to remember that half of a sawbuck was a "fin" and not an "Abe."

DCE 11:51 AM  

Glad I'm not the only one thrown by "zip". I had the Z from ZUNI, but really wanted UDON for the steam clue. Hot udon noodles are certainly steamy...

And now I know what I'll be having for lunch today!

con 12:17 PM  

To the Impressionable: Yesterday on Palin's Facebook page, she wrote, before it was changed, then scrubbed, "the ravished Gulf."
She then revised it to "ravaged." Then the scrub.

Solvers, that must be a clue to something more than ignorance...A RAVISHING sight to Republicans?
...'dancing on the grave...' comes to mind.

ArtLvr 12:32 PM  

I enjoyed the old-timey flavor, from the Captor of Wendy Darling and the Dance of the VIRGINIA REEL, to the TV show WHAT'S MY LINE? Lovely...

Linking with 23A STEER, and possibly also a 64A branding IRON, "Rawhide" singer Frankie LAINE was a great favorite, though I'd have cited his haunting recording of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" (Lyrics by Stan Jones, 1948):

An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day,
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way,
When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw,
A-plowin' through the ragged skies and up a cloudy draw.
Yippee-yi-ay, yippee-yi-o; the ghost herd in the sky.
Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel,
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel,
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky,
For he saw the riders comin' hard and he heard their mournful cry.
Yippee-yi-ay, yippee-yi-o, ghost riders in the sky.
Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, and shirts all soaked with sweat.
They're riding hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet,
'Cause they've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky,
On horses snortin' fire as they ride on, hear their cry.
Yippee-yi-o, yippee-yi-o, ghost riders in the sky.
They're ridding hard forever on that range up in the sky,
For they've got to catch the devil's herd as they ride on hill and cry.
Yippee-yi-yo, yippee-yi, ghost riders in the sky.
As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name.
If you want to save your soul from hell a-riding on a range,
Then cowboy change your ways today, or with us you will ride,
A-trying to catch the devil's herd across these endless skies.
Yippee-yi-ay, yippee-yi-o, the ghost riders in the sky

CaseAceFos 12:36 PM  

Con, You must remember that both the Elephants and the Donkey's, of both their respective party's, have to share the same environment...bear that in mind.

Nancy in PA 12:37 PM  

@CaseAceFos--thought you were kidding about Spud cigs but heard the jingle on Youtube. Lyrics sound like a bad translation from the Japanese to me. "Mouth happy rule"? What were those madmen smoking?

Anyone else remember Zuni handwarmers that worked with lighter fluid?

roqui: that French boxer

Leslie 1:00 PM  

Brier doesn't look right to me. I wanted to spell it briar.

Me too!!

epins--what you use when your anaphylactic shock isn't that bad.

Shamik 1:07 PM  

Meh.

Captcha is more interesting: UNITICKL....I'll let you decide the definition.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Sawbuck halves are "fins" where I come from.

Briar Tuck 1:51 PM  

Brier:

-tangled mass of prickly plants

-A thorny Mediterranean shrub; A pipe made from the roots of that shrub

Briar:

-The root of the Mediterranean heath tree. Discovered about the middle of the last century by French pipe makers...

Hence the confusion ... and might even call for a var.?

acme 2:12 PM  

@mac, JC66, Hazel and all,

Thanks for the shout out...you may have been thinking of a puzzle Ashish Vengsarkar and I DID with a fishing theme just 9 months ago in Sept '09.

(I don't know how to embed/place to emsleep)

It was a Monday and I had tried to do HOOK, LINE and SINKER but there was no phrase that ended with SINKER so we made that the last word of the puzzle as a Fill-in-the-blank.
(Our other phrases were TAKE THE BAIT, GET REELED IN, etc.)

Ours was fishing metaphors, that could be defined differently from the actual (starting with GOFISH as a card game...and ending with the abovementioned SINKER)

In someways, it surprises me that ours was a Monday and this was a Wednesday!
But just to give credit where credit is due, it was ASHISH and his grid brilliance that framed our theme with two long ten downs MARINEGREEN and UNDERTHESEA and sprinkled in things like CARPS...
I had actually fought him on that bec I thought it detracted from the solidity of the themes being metaphors, etc. MANY long discussions on this and I was proved wrong bec folks seemed to like the whole ambiance of it in the end...
I just don't like long downs that are sort of themes, sort of not. I felt it would "water down" the tightness of the theme...but that's what collaboration is all about.

Plus I think the original impetus for our puzzle was my friend Michael Blake having a GONEFISHIN' idea...love that phrase which in the end wasn't used bec of GOFISH.

In any case, thought this one was missing SINKER too, but I can attest that that would have been impossible. Instead he did get HOOK and LINE framed by ROD and REEL, so that's good.

And sign me up for HOPI, DIRGE and many creative spellings for YASIR and HAJI.

Depending on how rough it gets with scabs and all, I had combatPAY.

If HOOK hadn't been already in the grid, I'd have left it in where HASP eventually occurred to me.
and my bad car noise was originally CHUG!

OSOS is crazy-looking but fun!

But yes, Adam Cohen had ACME, so all in all, what's not to love?

Two Ponies 2:13 PM  

Thank you Briar Tuck,
Brier *still* looks wrong.
More bry?
Briar at our house is a synonym
for a yokel or hillbilly.
Puzzle-mate should know since
he am one!

Secret word (the best so far)
gasms!
Reminds me of seism.

retired_chemist 2:14 PM  

@ ArtLvr - Wasn't "Ghost Riders in the Sky" the flip side of "Mule Train?"

Are we revealing our ages?

syndy 2:15 PM  

Thought the grid better than the clues.while dancing a virginia reel where does one place the fiddle when do-si-do-ing?zip+4??never caught the fish.but fell into all the holes (zuni-ari-briar)Seism the day!!! HERSES-somethings you should not beat!

shrub5 2:27 PM  

@anons 11:29 and 1:26: I also thought of "fin" for half a sawbuck. They seem to go together -- ABES goes with Benjamins in the dead presidents subset of money slang.

@Leslie: Did the same with Maori at first instead of MASAI. The Maori are the aboriginal people of New Zealand. Oops.

GIGLI is right up there with "Heaven's Gate" on the list of big box-office bombs.

I thought of the Olympic freestyle swimmer Ian Thorpe (Australia) at first but had _IM so it had to be JIM. Briefly, from wiki -- Jim Thorpe was a Native American athlete who won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon events. He lost his titles after it was found that he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateur status rules. In 1983, thirty years after his death, the IOC restored the Olympic medals to his name. In 1986, the rules were changed eliminating the ban on professionals.

Ringo 3:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ringo 3:09 PM  

My favorite ugly word: PHLEGM.

Sfingi 3:17 PM  

Did not Google, but gave up on the Middle North. Turns out I had "dirGe" rather than ELEGY and just couldn't think of anything else. So I missed both "Specks in the ocean." Whenever I see "speck" I think of the late, creepy mass murderer.

Had "zeroS" before DIGITS.

Never heard of this KOBE or ABES, or Grande ALLEE (though I've certainly been on it).

Had to ask an aide at the Home for OSOS. Luckily, there's a Spaniard in the works.

KOOLS are what the inmates smoke. Soon smoking is to be eliminated, and KOOLS will be contraband. Ha! Many heads will roll on both sides of the bars.

@Pix - all true.

@Greene - Everything isn't Italian, but this puzzle was a double Sicilian play, since it had ETNA and Frankie LAINE (Francesco Paulo LoVecchio, 1913-2007). He had >20 Gold Records and many #1 hits. It's hard for yungins to realize how popular he was before Rock 'n Roll. I miss the deeper voices we occasionally heard.
BTW, the Lo article used in an name preceding a word not beginning with S+ another consonant, is a good clue it's Sicilian. In "The Good" Italian, it would be Il Vecchio - old man. May he rest in peace.

@Leslie - I feel the same about SEISM.
As for Dairy fastener - ever see those 4-teat bras? Utterly uncomfortable.

Joe 3:19 PM  

A five dollar bill is a FIN not an ABE.

Don't like SEISM.

Didn't like the music clues or the SW corner.

"+ 4" could be anything.
ZUNI/HOPI/etc.....bleh.

Not a hard puzzle, so to speak, but annoying in parts.

chefwen 3:53 PM  

I thought it was a rather tasty puzzle, a little KOBE beef with AIOLI sauce and a side of Broccoli RABE. Then you have you THAI cuisine, which is right up there in my book. Now I'm hungry!

Super easy for me, although I had a major slowdown with HAJI, and of course had hopi in first before ZUNI. Didn't even pause to look for a theme, but now that it's been explained to me, it is kind of MEH.

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)

Wed 10:12, 11:47, 0.87, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:20, 5:48, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium

Stan 4:59 PM  

@acme:

Who tattooed Jolie? ANGELINASINKER

DL 5:25 PM  

I always wonder why Orange never makes much reference to her cows, milk, etc. over on her blog Dairy of a Crossword Fiend.

@RP: MULCT ?

joho 5:36 PM  

@Stan ... good one!

william e emba 5:42 PM  

If you didn't know Frankie LAINE from his classic Westerns, then gosh darn you just have to know him from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles! In fact, Brooks advertized in the trade magazines for a "Frankie Laine-like" singer for the theme song, and in walked the Man himself. No one had the heart to tell Laine the song was for a comedy spoof, and somehow that made the song even more perfect.

I admit to being a little biased, this being one of the ten or so songs of which I actually know the lyrics. (And I'm counting "Row row row your boat" and "Frere Jacques" and the theme song from "Batman".)

Elaine2 7:46 PM  

@PIX -- I am a "music person," and thought your explanation of "pianoforte" was perfect. Thanks.

@ArtLVR: thanks for posting the lyrics of one of my FAVORITE songs!

Sundance 7:49 PM  

I knew I was in trouble when "what a shut-out team may lack". GOATS.

Stan 8:29 PM  

@joho: Thnx! :-D

And (parroting @Elaine2), thnx to @PIX for the pianoforte explanation and to @ArtLvr and @william e emba for the interesting stuff on Frankie Laine.

sanfranman59 10:19 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:33, 6:55, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:31, 8:49, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Wed 10:16, 11:47, 0.87, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:01, 3:41, 1.09, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:42, 4:31, 1.04, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:07, 5:47, 0.88, 18%, Easy

Quim 10:57 PM  

I am new at solving puzzles in English, my adoptive language of 20 years. It usually takes me 40 minutes to do a Wednesday but did this one in about 30. Still, I found it challenging (old TV programs and pop culture of the 50's 60's 70's and 80's are all lost on me)and didn't get the fishing theme until AFTER I had solved it and read it in this blog. Couldn't get rabe until i had all the crosses; and initially thought Laila was Aisha. I got zip from the crosses but didn't understand it until i read the meaning here. Also, shame, I thought Errata must be singular, and had no clue about the Abes clue. What's a sawbuck anyway?

Citizen Dain 11:25 PM  

There were a lot of answers that I got but didn't like. SEISM, MOTE, HASP, TRAC were al annoying.

Still, I only got six boxes wrong, all in the SW and all in 59a and 64a. I was frustrated that I couldn't put any combination of letters in that corner that made any sense. I'm glad most of the other, more experienced solvers had trouble in the same place, so it's not just me.

moneyman 11:25 PM  

@Quim: a sawbuck is a $10 bill.

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