She loved Endymion / SAT 6-19-10 / Peak on Pakistani-Chinese border / Moniker for ballplayer with bat named Wonderboy / Donkey in Dusseldorf

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: None


Word of the Day: Éleuthère IRÉNÉE du Pont (21A: The "I" of E. I. du Pont) —

Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (24 June 1771 – 31 October 1834), known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont, was a French-born Huguenot chemist and industrialist who immigrated to the United States in 1799 and founded the gunpowder manufacturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. His descendants, the Du Pont family, were one of America's richest and most prominent families in the 19th and 20th centuries.
• • •

Whew. Soooooo much easier than yesterday's puzzle. A walk in the park by comparison. 8+ minutes faster today. I feel like my old self again. For how white this puzzle is (a mere 64 words), it's exceedingly well filled. Yes, I know, there's a clunker or two in there, but that's virtually unavoidable when you go this low (one of the reasons I don't always enjoy the low word count puzzles). And if IRÉNÉE and ESEL (25D: Donkey, in Düsseldorf) and BSED and REWON are the price I have to pay for 9- and 10-stacks this luscious, then so be it. I mean, look at the long entries. They're gorgeous. This is why crap fill exists — to buttress the good stuff. If the fill's not good, weak little fill becomes irksome. If it's this good, however, it's forgiven and forgotten. Objection? Not SUSTAINED! (32A: Like many objections)

To start this puzzle, I gingerly ENTERED IN (14D: Added to the database) the first Across answer—CRAPS TABLE (1A: Place to use a rake). Several Downs confirmed this answer right away, starting with LONER (9D: One not mixing well). CHERI and ROVER followed (1D: Precious, in Poitiers + 2D: Exploration vehicle), and were especially helpful, as they gave me the front ends of the rest of the Acrosses up there in the NW. Hit a snag coming into the center, as ESEL was unknown to me, and KULIK, while known, was forgotten (26D: Ilia ___, figure skater who won Olympic gold in 1998 — his full name is really worth knowing). Didn't have much more luck sidling over to the the NE at first and so had a look at the SE. Again, as with the NW stack, the top of this stack went in right away: 51A: Moniker for a ballplayer with a bat named Wonderboy (THE NATURAL). Never read the book or saw the movie, but I know this bit of trivia anyway (I am a fan of the baseball). And as with the NW, the short Downs confirmed my initial long answer, and the whole corner fell quickly. So now I had two completed but disconnected quadrants done — two to go, plus the middle.



Start in on the short stuff in the NE. Get AN IN easily (16A: Have ___ (be connected)), try something-S for 18A: Attends, and then plunk down the gimme SAVE (20A: Closer's triumph). Notice that 14D: Added to the database *must* be ENTER-something, so take out the errant "S" and put in the correct IS AT for 18A. That -IAV- sequence at 13D: Café de Paris setting looks all kinds of wrong, but somehow ... I think I put in NOT I (36A: Words said with a look of innocence), and that "T" plus the earlier "IAV" gave me VIA VENETO, though I might have misspelled it at first—VOLERO or something. That quadrant went down fast from there. In the SW, the -SAT part of PEERS AT was obvious (43A: Examines closely), which gave me Hi-RES ... only no — 37A: What an investor builds was Obviously (right?) PORTFOLIO! So change RES to FIS. Try ENTRANCES at 31D: Spellbinds, but no—it's gotta be BONA or MALA fide, so scratch that (eventually turned out to be ENTHRALLS). OD ON is obvious (34A: Use excessively, briefly). This reveals ODOR EATER (29D: Something good for the sole?), and it's all over but the shouting. Last letters I put in were the "EN" in POP-UP MENU (28D: Result of some hovering).



Wait: I left out the part where I thought JELLS (35A: Takes form) was spelled GELLS, but then got JONATHAN (35D: Swift, e.g. — really wanted SATIRIST at first), which confirmed that JELLS (née GELLS) was in fact right. This got me down to one little annoying letter—the SLO-/K-WO cross. SLOI and KIWO? KEWO? A few seconds later I had my "D'oh" moment and entered K-TWO (41A: Peak on the Pakastani-Chinese border). And 33D: 8:00-9:00, say = SLOT.

Bullets:
  • 15A: Shrine dedicatee (HOLY PERSON) — HOLY was easy, PERSON less so. Seems a bit generic, but it flies. Love the contrast of HOLY over EVIL, and Loooooove HOLY under CRAP!
  • 27A: She loved Endymion (SELENE) — didn't know this. Barely know who SELENE is, but it's a familiar name, gettable from crosses. Here's her story, in case you're interested.
  • 3D: Dennis the Menace's mom (ALICE) — considered ADELE, since it's a nice, old-fashioned name, but EVIL INTENT gave me the "I" and so I settled on ALICE. She's very, very thin. And blond. Always wears an apron. At least in my mind. Little known fact: she was named after a lesbian murderer of the late 19th century.
  • 23D: With 40-Across, meal for a wolf eel (SEA / URCHIN) — my reaction: "There's something called a 'wolf eel?' Cool." Though a werewolf eel would be cooler.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

55 comments:

Jonathan O. 12:17 AM  

I was completely in tune with the puzzle today, until the NE quadrant, where I fell into Every Conceivable Trap: Attends ending with S, Innocent expression ending in ME, Added to the database ending in ED, along with Took back ending in ED, for a completely wrong but completely justified 2x2 square, plus I had A TIE for Have ___ (be connected) ... I spent twice the time in that corner as the rest of the puzzle, and STILL got it wrong because I was not familiar with VIA VENUTO, and changed Closer's triumph from SAVE to SALE at the last second.

syndy 1:10 AM  

Finished with Mt.WO ! Oh K-TWO! oh well at one point i had "THE BAT UNIT" as my ballplayer -wonderbat boy wonder-made sense to me!A little easier than yesterday but only a little.Now i need a needlenose to take the Sea Urchin spines from my smelly soles!

andrea asseenontv michaels 4:49 AM  

Took me more than an hour, but I did it, damn it!

One malapop: Closer's triumph was SALE before it became SAVE, which actually crossed ONSALENOW.

It was the kind of puzzle where it took me a long time to figure out that the "I" in E.I. du Pont probably started with an "I"!
(and was a girl!)
Plus a cafe with a French name is not on un grand boulevard, but a street in Rome!
(I almost felt like what I imagine Sethg occasionally feels!)

A little too sporty for me:
Ilia KULIK, NEIL O'DOnnell, THENATURAL, HOLESINONE, Amer East Conf team ORONO, but it must have been doable bec I did it.
But it didn't trigger any feeling or anecdotes :(

DataGeek 7:15 AM  

Almost got it - 2 googles for KULIK and IRENEE. Sat and looked at ...STABLE. Read it as CRAP STABLE and couldn't believe that would be NYT-kosher. Fun puzzle. Liked ODOR EATER. I need an explanation for RUSTLER though. Heads of cattle??

DataGeek 7:19 AM  

Oh, sorry - Also had RAT RACE for humdrum for the longest time. That slowed me down significantly in the SE.

Have a great Saturday! I'm off to a neighborhood flea market with my daughter, where everything will be ON SALE NOW.

Leslie 8:02 AM  

My personal Natick was at the crossing of KULIK and KTWO. Put in "Kulia" and "Atwo" because that just seemed more likely. Had "enchants" instead of ENTHRALLS for a while. Other than that, I managed to do just-fine-for-a-Saturday on this one. ODOR EATER--now there's a term I never thought I'd see in a crossword! Very funny.

ArtLvr 8:12 AM  

Super Saturday! No problems other than the misstarts like Rex's -- Hi Res to Hi-FIS, etc. But i did know ESEL right away, as my mother hung a sketch of a donkey with that label in my room when I was very young, and explained it to me. She played a record of Ferde Grofe's at the same time...

Her pre-school "home-schooling" was always the sideways kind, through art and music and so on. Another bit I'll always remember was a posted note later on saying "Carpe Diem" which I took to mean "Do the Carpet" until she said yes, but more generally in Latin "Seize the Day"! The BAOBAB was from a children's book too. Thanks, Mom -- never a dull moment!

∑;)

Glimmerglss 8:17 AM  

As an effective but very slow solver, I like hard puzzles with stuff I don't know. It's amazing how much bubbles up into consciousness when you work at puzzles long enough. I'm surprised that Rex didn't like yesterday's (Friday's) puzzle. It took me an hour and a half, but it was very satisfying (got it all but the ROYKO/OLETA cross (I guessed A). If Rex is all about speed, then perhaps that explains it, but I don't care for puzzles I can do quickly (Monday, Tuesday, sometimes Sunday), but I love Friday and Saturday. A typical Sunday puzzle takes me 45 minutes, but Saturday's can last all day.

Nebraska Doug 8:30 AM  

It's rare that I can finish a Saturday puzzle in one sitting, I usually have to come back to the puzzle again and again before finishing one. Today was a breeze. One of my fastest ever.

Complete opposite of Friday, which has me flummoxed. Only able to fill in about 15-20% of the puzzle, don't see much hope of getting more than that, but I haven't given up hope yet.

dk 8:36 AM  

Like Andrea (yes I do) I had sale for SAVE and this took me about 60 minutes.

Balked at KTWO as I always see it as K2 and I was unwilling to RECONSIDER. Same problem with POPES as See people until I read HOLYPERSON for the millionth time.

Sometimes nothing JELLS swiftly. LOL time was trying to fit reliever into 22A. I blame that on the first half of the 1A fill.

Thank you Mr. Donaldson.

*** (3 Stars) Off to the farmers market to PEERSAT THENATURAL food.

twangster 9:27 AM  

If you like baseball, or even if you don't, you'll probably enjoy reading "The Natural."

retired_chemist 9:34 AM  

Challenging here. Many opportUNIties for misdirection. The UNI is capitalized because it is the Japanese term for SEA URCHIN roe, my favorite sushi. Had an order Tuesday. Yummm....

Two mistakes I stuck with killed me. EZEL kept me from seeing SUSTAINED for a long time, and BONA fide was hard to get rid of. Bet I am not alone there.....

NEEDLENOSE was first ADJUSTABLE, but four letter words (other than HADJ) ending in J are unlikely. K-TWO was K-TEN, probably because K-TWELVE didn't fit.

Amusing misparsing:

SPINETS (5D) was in place early, and ere long led me to ____STABLE. OK, mucking a stable, though usually done with a shovel, could I suppose be done with a rake. Imagine my surprise when my stable turned out to be a CRAP STABLE. Wondered how the gray lady let THAT one through...

Very nice puzzle, which I didn't do justice to. Thanks, Mr. Donaldson.

gliatist - one who fancies neuronal connective tissue.

JayWalker 9:37 AM  

Damn Rex, but your "journey" was so similar to mine that I couldn't believe it! One small difference: I couldn't finish it. Died in the SW. Took forever but I got everything (with only very minimal Google help on the sports names) but could NOT see Popes (great clue) or Mala and had NO IDEA about Urns, so obviously didn't get Pop-up-menu, Odor Eaters and Porcelain. For me tho, this wasn't a bad Saturday. Often I end up with my tail between my legs and whimpering like a little girl. Doncha jes hate that?!?

chefbea 9:51 AM  

Started the puzzle and had to google a bit. Then off to a yard sale. Came back and things fell into place.
Saw the set-it-and-forget-it rotisserie at the yard sale.... you know the one as seen on TV.

otali= where the Vio veneto is

Van55 10:03 AM  

This really is an elegant puzzle. Funny though that I struggled with it more than I did yesterday's.

mac 10:05 AM  

Great puzzle, did it without googles during the Holland-Japan match (thank you!). Ended up with one mistake, though, Mt. Wo and Kulim. Had similar first thoughts to Rex, and this one was also much easier to me than yesterday's.

The NE and SW quadrants were completely filled in before I could start plugging away at the rest. A spinet is an organ? I thought it had strings, not pipes. I use my needle nose pliers, extremely fine ones, almost every day.

So odd that the man's name Irenee has double e at the end.

Great puzzle, thanks Mr. Donovan.

joho 10:11 AM  

Like @andrea assseenontv and @dk, I had SAlE before SAVE. I changed it when I got ONSALENOW because SALE crossing SALE would have been a big nono.

It took me forever to see POPES. I wanted POPsin.

I thought SPINETS were pianos.

Swift is JONATHAN? Dylan is BOB?
Satirist would have been a better answer.

I finished but with two really stupid mistakes. CHERe instead of CHERI. And like @syndy, mTWO instead of the now obvious KTWO. I convinced myself they named the mountain WO for all the terrible things that happened there.

Oh, well. Still an enjoyable Saturday.

Now I'm off to study the elusive werewolf eel.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

Great puzzle, Sam!

Write-overs mostly shared with Rex et al.: SALE/SAVE, SATIRIST/JONATHAN, BENE/MALA. Also (anyone else?) somehow convinced myself that the end of 37 A was VALUE (probably working off ESEL -- a shoutout to me?), which also fit with SATIRIST and slowed me down in getting PORTFOLIO.

David L 10:27 AM  

Definitely an easier Saturday for me. I was all set to complain about the Natick in the middle, but then I remembered K2 and was able to feel smug instead.

And I was ready to snipe at SPINET, because it generally means a small harpsichord-like instrument, but our friends at Wikepedia claim that the spinet organ was a mid 20th C electronic organ.

GenJoneser 10:30 AM  

A Saturday with no Googles and I finished with one mere error (Kulia for Kulik)!?! I am amazed at myself. It should be a good day...wishing you the same...Thanks Mr. Donaldson.

OldCarFudd 10:32 AM  

Just a beauty! Entreats before entrusts, sale before save, reconceive before reconsider. But got it all in due course. A fine ending to the week.

Glimmerglass 10:34 AM  

Googling is cheating.

CaseAceFos 10:34 AM  

"HOLY CRAP!" A relatively mild expletive that Peter Boyle, in the role of Ray Romano's father on the long running TV sitcom "Everybody loves Raymond" was in the habit of uttering! Good eye, Rex, baby!

Jeff 10:36 AM  

Great, entertaining puzzle! Two Saturdays in a row now that I've been able to "finish", with "finish" defined as allowing UNSTAINED objections riding atop a EUEL. Ilia KNLIK was so much more impressive than ROUTINE ol' KULIK, anyway.

Thanks for the fantastic puzzle Sam, and the excellent commentary, Rex!

Jeff

foodie 10:42 AM  

Oddly enough, in French, IRENEE (EE-REH-NEH) is a male name while IRENE (EE-REN) is a female name. There was a St. IRENEE somewhere in early history of France, which I remember from my days in French school. This is of course unusual because in French adding an E at the end usually feminizes words. The du Pont family seems enamored of IRENEE as a first or middle name, going back into the 1700's- My favorite: Eleuthère Irénée du Pont! Note to constructors: Eleuthère Irénée is a 15mer.

The puzzle: I admired it but did not love it.

@Retired- Chemist, I like your take on your captcha- Glia deserve more respect... (and why don't they show up in puzzles?)

Hey everybody,be nice to your glia today!

PuzzleNut 10:48 AM  

One of the easier Saturday puzzles for me. My starters were TREK, ESEL, ANIN and ENTEREDIN.
Unlike most Friday or Saturday puzzles, it seemed like I completed this one in easy waves. My NW was empty (other than the I in IRENEE) when I wrote in LONER. That got me CRAPSTABLE and the rest fell in place with no trouble at all. Same with the SE. I had KT?? and assumed it was KTEN or KTWO. Tried the W and got WEASEL, EUROPE and bam - everything fell.
Wrote in bonA, but suspected it might be MALA. PORTFOLIIO seemed right, but messed up RES. Tried to enter ENcHants, but that obviously didn't work. But it gave me ODON and URCHIN and everything else fell in place.
After last weeks Saturday fiasco, I was really bummed out. Feeling better today.

Everyone wins 10:48 AM  

Definitions of SPINETS on the Web:

A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a piano or organ.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinets

P>G>

Hobbyist 10:54 AM  

I found yesterday's to be a cinch but my self puffery evaporated today as never did get the NE corner. Today, to me, was much harder than yesterday's breeze.

mitchs 11:22 AM  

Loved the cluing and answer for RUSTLER. Hand up on what I would call a definite Natick - KULIA/ATWO.

redhed 11:25 AM  

Great puzzle, but I DNF. I too was done in by the SW corner ("bona" instead of "mala," "dates" instead of "popes.") What I did get, I got fairly easily, as I felt I was able to "get into the puzzle writer's head." I did indeed google, and while it is cheating to some (I realize I am not getting the answers on my own), I learn so many new things that way, it has its positive aspect for me. My favorite one was "rustler" -- indeed someone raiding your head of cattle. Watched alot of westerns as a little person, they were ubiquitous in those days!

mitchs 11:27 AM  

Doh! K - TWO! Scratch that Natick call above.

shrub5 11:59 AM  

Tough puzzle today, googled for IRENEE, ORONO, SELENE and the "Grease" song. I put in OVERRULED (Like many objections) at first and when it became obvious it was wrong, do you think I possibly could have considered SUSTAINED? Well, I didn't so just got it the hard way, bit by bit. Had the worst time with POPUPMENU and its surroundings -- that was the last answer finished. KTWO was one of my first entries!

LOL at fly holders (PANTS) and pop maker (WEASEL).

Alternate clue for 8D: Spoke deceptively, briefly.

Clark 12:01 PM  

I had a nice peaceful 'rock garden' going at 1A for the longest time, which kept me from getting anything in the NW. Tried to make 'riche' work at 1D. I actually spent some time trying to think of a way to make 'The "I" of E. I. du Pont' start with an E. CHERI saved me (thanks to semi-puzzle partner).

Katherine Palmer 1:56 PM  

I was flummoxed at the answer to one across - Place to use a rake. I asked my husband if he had ever heard of a "crap stable." He had a good laugh at my expense. Okay, craps table is a MUCH better answer. LOL

jae 2:27 PM  

Tougher than yesterday's for me. Easy-challenging with NW and SE pretty easy and NE and SW hard (the clue for 28d was tough).

My objections were OVERRULED before they were SUSTAINED and, I also fell into the MTWO/ATWO trap before checking KULI? on google. In all a fine Sat. puzzle!

RadioMan 2:47 PM  

@Glimmerglass- heard a radio interview with Will Shortz some time ago, and he said googling is not cheating. It's all up to the solver.

fergus 3:10 PM  

Found this to be a very elegant grid. Too bad the Cluing was merely decent since this could have been a great puzzle. Seemed like there were very few plausible alternative entries, which can make a Saturday puzzle properly diabolical.

Dilbert 3:16 PM  

@redhed -- I find your interpretation of RUSTLER as a cattle thief interesting, but as someone who works in Cubicle Hell (previously discussed on this blog), I was convinced that the schlub in the next cube who is constantly rustling papers, loudly, would be the "Person getting into one's head?"

Perhaps if Sam drops in he could let us know what he intended.

Glimmerglass 3:30 PM  

RadioMan. Nothing is cheating if you decide it isn't. If it's only you playing the game, you make your own rules. My mother used to cut out the answer grid to the Boston Globe puzzle and peek at it when she got stumped (but then, she used to read the last page of a mystery novel first). I know people who cheat themselves at solitaire, though what the satisfaction is in that I don't know. But for me, any outside help on crosswords is cheating.

PuzzleNut 3:38 PM  

Seems like a rather silly argument about cheating. If you claim to have completed the puzzle by yourself, then it is clearly cheating to Google an answer (or ask your spouse, or look it up in the dictionary, etc).
If you want to have fun working a crossword puzzle and learning new things, there is no such thing as cheating!

fergus 3:39 PM  

It's gotta be head of cattle they were after, no?

Dilbert 3:47 PM  

@fergus -- Granted that "head" can be used as plural ("fifty head of cattle"), it just seems to me to strain the language beyond the breaking point to say "get into one's head" and mean exactly the same as "get into one's herd". Or maybe the rustler stops to use your latrine?

Old Timer 4:21 PM  

@Glimmerglass

The day constructors consider using tools (cruciform, google, computer assists) to create, will be the day I will consider using tools to solve, as cheating.

I do make a distinction, however, between a solo solve and an assisted one, the latter going in as a DNF --- even if I did.

Hopefully, every DNF is a learning experience.

Rex Parker 4:43 PM  

Google/cheating argument has been done. And done. And done. In this very comments section. Over and over. Believe what you will. Moving on ...

lit.doc 4:47 PM  

Oh yeah, hand up for the perdurable BONA fide.

@Glimmerglass, gotta pile on here. RadioMan, PuzzleNut and Old Timer (and, by reference, Will Shortz) put it very well. It’s only cheating if you lie about it. Otherwise, not looking stuff up would be to cheat yourself of many learning opportunities.

@retired_chemist and @chefbea, LOL re your def’s of “gliatist”and “otali”! Best captcha humor in ages.

lit.doc 4:49 PM  

Naturally, you posted while I was still typing. That kind of day.

lit.doc 4:53 PM  

[here are the comments that I thought I had posted prior to my 4:47 follow-up]

NW came together in less than three minutes. And then Saturday happened. Came to a dead standstill with maybe six pretty good longish guesses and some tentative fill.

Even with google, DNF. Could. Not. Break. SW. In an hour. Came here still staring at 28D P_PUP_EN_ and 29D O_ORE_TE_.

Favorite false starts (partial credit, as I fixed these before coming here): 32A OVERRULED to SUSTAINED, and 35D SATIRIST to JONATHAN.

@Rex, can you remind us of that trick someone showed you a while back re computing word count? Something about adding to the number of Across clues the number of downs starting a certain way, I think.

Rex Parker 4:56 PM  

Last Across number + number of squares that begin both an Across and a Down answer. So, today,

59+

the 1, 11, 28, 35, 39 squares (5 total)= 64

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

For me, this was tremendously more difficult than yesterday. It's all about having a similar style of thinking as the constructor.

lit.doc 5:22 PM  

Thanks. Wrote it down this time.

retired_chemist 5:48 PM  

@ Rex - quelle algorithm!

@ lit.doc - perdurable - nice!

mac 6:34 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for the math tip.

Tinbeni 6:40 PM  

Glib people who live in Glimmerglass houses
(shouldn't throw stones).

Always love the HOLY PERSON.

SW did me in for the same reason as Lit.doc mentioned above. Soooo, a Saturday DNF, no biggie.

Did like the mini-sports theme.

Did not know that K2 (K-TWO) was on the Pakastani-Chinese border. Thought it was in Nepal. A learning plus.

sanfranman59 9:10 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 7:09, 6:55, 1.03, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:22, 8:49, 0.95, 44%, Medium
Wed 12:55, 11:50, 1.10, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 17:10, 19:06, 0.90, 40%, Easy-Medium
Fri 28:10, 26:21, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 28:57, 30:42, 0.94, 36%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 0.99, 50%, Medium
Tue 4:33, 4:31, 1.01, 60%, Medium
Wed 6:37, 5:48, 1.14, 84%, Challenging
Thu 8:22, 9:09, 0.91, 43%, Medium
Fri 15:08, 12:45, 1.19, 85%, Challenging
Sat 15:58, 17:27, 0.92, 35%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

I started dealing craps in 1975 and a craps stick was never ever referred to as a rake. Slang words like the whip, the pole, were used.
Retrieving the dice can be considered raking so the clue should be place to rake, not USE a rake. Rakes are used in European Roulette. That is what a rake looks like.

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