National monument near Flagstaff / SAT 7-31-10 / Uninked embossed stamp / Catcher Fletcher 1990s Expos / First word Sblood

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none



Word of the Day: TUZIGOOT (37D: National monument near Flagstaff) —

Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 2 to 3 story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet (36 m) above the Verde River floodplain. The National Park Service currently owns 58 acres, within an authorized boundary of 834 acres (3.38 km2) // Tuzigoot is Apache for "crooked water", from nearby Peck's Lake, a cutoff meander of the Verde River. Historically, it was built by the Sinagua people between 1125 and 1400 CE. Tuzigoot is the largest and best-preserved of the many Sinagua pueblo ruins in the Verde Valley.

• • •

This had many different difficulty levels, depending on what section of the grid I happened to be in. Got off to a very fast start by knowing Tim RAINES (18A: 1987 All-Star Game M.V.P.). The fact that he crosses another, much more obscure Montreal Expo is some kind of giant F*^% YOU to all the non-sports-fans out there. Yeesh (9D: Catcher Fletcher of the 1990s Expos=>DARRIN). Anyway, RAINES made that corner very accessible. Dropped OLAY down and SO SORRY across and things got very open very quickly. Went back and did the NE corner, but could only drop WINDCA- down at 12D: National park in South Dakota, as I've never heard of the park *and* did not know JAPAN could be an *adjective* (34A: Like the rarest rhino). I had ASIAN there at first [Ha ha: ERROR—it's JAVAN—oh, the perils of solving late at night, ugh]. In fact, this is the part of the puzzle I finished last. Had to close in on it from the SE (which, once I finally got to it, I finished *very* quickly).



First real thorny part came in NW, where bad guess of REGO at 6D: ___ Park (B'klyn neighborhood) got me the "O" I needed for SO SORRY but screwed me up in every other way. Finally wanted ANAEROBE (15A: Septic tank resident) and figured ANAEREBE was not a real thing, so gave up REGO (real answer is BORO), which allowed me then, finally, to put that corner to bed, but only after waiting out the second part of PIZZA- ... dimensions ended up being *really* important in that clue (1A: It may measure 16" x 16" x 2"). XEROSIS, never heard of it (8D: Possible result of vitamin A deficiency). From WINDCAPE [WRONG: actually WINDCAVE] to XEROSIS to the SW, where the biggest WTF was lying in wait for me. A word that I didn't know, as well as a word that had Not A Single Inferrable Letter. None. TUZIGOOT!? Once I decided RAZE (43A: Word whose antonym is its own homophone) and FIG (53A: Whit) were right, there was nothing left to do but finish the puzzle and then google to see if that nonsense word was, in fact, a thing. And it was. SW was the only corner w/o a complete Unknown, and, not surprisingly, the easiest for me to bring down.

Wait, am I reading this right? "Septic" in the ANAEROBE clue (15A: Septic tank resident) and SEPTIC as an answer at 46D: Infected. Wow, that's a mistake someone should have caught.

Bullets:
  • 16A: Accidentally uninked embossed stamp (ALBINO) — I have no idea what this means. Can't even fathom a context. Oh, a *postage* stamp. This is a term from philately. Who doesn't love those?
  • 9A: It was sung in Rocky Balboa's neighborhood (DOO WOP) — back when I thought DARRIN was JARRED, I had this answer starting JOO-. I was afraid to finish it.
  • 17A: "___ to Power" (Frederick J. Sheehan's exposé of Alan Greenspan) (PANDERER) — don't like fill-in-the-blanks this long. Also, this feels an axe-to-grind clue. Dislike.
  • 30A: Traditional gathering place in old Europe (INN) — ??? "old Europe" is pretty vague and INN is pretty common. This clue is trying too hard.
  • 31A: Literary character whose first word is "'Sblood" (IAGO) — four letter, Shakespearean English, kind of a gimme.
  • 41A: New Age mecca in the Southwest (SEDONA) — didn't know it was a mecca. It looks gorgeous and I want to go to there.
  • 52A: Interior designer Aarnio (EERO) — Finnish, four letters, it's Saturday: Ta Da!
  • 54A: One of his aliases was Theo. LeSieg (DR. SEUSS) — Just yesterday I was staring at that alias on a book in Barnes & Noble. It was the first time I'd seen it. And now here it is. Hurray, coincidence! (LeSieg is, of course, GEISEL backwards)
  • 62A: Philippine port (ILOILO) — Learned this from crosswords. No IDEA what I'd have done at the TUZIGOOT crossing if I hadn't know ILOILO. Geographical cruelty. Surely someone out there got Naticked upside the head by this crossing.
  • 26D: The Plame affair, informally (C.I.A. GATE) — Uh, the Plame affair, informally, is called PLAMEGATE. You can look it up.
  • 29D: Retired runway model (SST) — not Carol ALT? Huh.
  • 35D: Coating of cheese (PARAFFIN) — by which they mean "thing that coats cheese," ugh. Trying Too Hard.
  • 42D: Jabber in a mask (EPEEIST) — not sure I like the word, but I loooove the clue.
  • 47D: Musical work whose name means "valiant" ("EROICA") — one of the most common musical work names in all of crosswords, so even if you didn't know the info in the clue, a cross or two should've been all you needed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

73 comments:

Alex 12:08 AM  

Isn't it JAVAN/WINDCAVE?

PurpleGuy 12:29 AM  

@Alex- yes you are right. I even Googled it. Acoording to Word Play also, ti is WINDCAVE, abd the rhino is JAVAN.
This was fairly easygoing for a NYT Saturday puzzle.
I was going to say "straightforward," but @Jesser will tell you why that is anathema to me, and why I just now almost wretched putting it in the comments !!!

To the puzzle, yes, Dr. Seuss was one of the authors I had my class study. Lots of fun.

Fond memories of staying inAMARILLO on one of our cross country trips. Loud noises from the washer and dryer in the laundromat. Funny how our brain remembers the ZANIER parts of a vacation.
Speaking of the brain, my brother was hit by a car while on his bicycle yesterday morning, and was knocked unconscious. He has 5 stitches in the top back of his head,with bleeding on the brain. Between taking care of my 102yr old mom, and now this, I need some prayers, and probably will not be commenting too much.

Have a great weekend all, and also the start of a new month. May it bring better things!
@TinBeni- we both toast you with our best scotch !
@Jesser_ I haven't gotten Bullitt yet, but I toast you also!

Shanti- Bob/PurpleGuy

The Bard 12:56 AM  

Othello > Act I, scene I

RODERIGO: Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

IAGO: 'Sblood, but you will not hear me:
If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RODERIGO: Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

newspaperguy 1:08 AM  

Wind Cave/Javan. Accuracy ahead of speed, Rex.

newspaperguy 1:12 AM  

17A: "___ to Power" (Frederick J. Sheehan's exposé of Alan Greenspan) (PANDERER) — don't like fill-in-the-blanks this long. Also, this feels an axe-to-grind clue. Dislike.

The book's author might have an axe to grind but the clue is just a book title.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

Ditto Newspaperguy. Wind Cave is my favorite cave to visit. Has unique and extensive boxwork. And I don't really think Japan has a rhino population.

Sonic the Hedgehog 1:26 AM  

King Richard III > Act III, scene II

STANLEY: My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.

SethG 1:39 AM  

Tuzigoot turns out to be closer to Sedona than to Flagstaff. Amarillo is farther, but Route 66 did pass through Flagstaff as well.

Between the Arizona stuff and the obscure national sites and the Expos, there was some weird mini-theme stuff going on. And Javan wasn't even clued with coffee, or patents with a mule.

chefwen 3:12 AM  

Caught the WIND CAVE/JAVAN error also and thought "that is the very first time our leader has made an error, that I know of". He is human, and I thought otherwise.

Had troubles in the southwest again, husband helped me with TUZIGOOT, according to him, I have been there, but as I recall we went to about 20 National Monuments on that trip. You would think that I would remember that name though. Mother's genes are settling in, AARRGH!

1A I put down PIZZA pie and thought "that is one big ass pizza, I wouldn't want to eat it, Oh yeah, BOX works better".

Had to Google a couple of the sports guys, but overall, a pretty easy/medium Saturday.

Saw @Clark's ship pass by on its way to Honolulu today and am expecting him and his friends to stop on Sunday for a visit on their way up to the North Shore.

chefwen 3:14 AM  

Wow! Talk about bad grammar, try HE and his friends. Color me red!

jae 3:57 AM  

Thank you all. I was really thinking I'd royally screwed up with JAVAN/WINDCAVE. Nice to know it was OK. Had the same issue in SW as Rex with the monument. Checked my atlas post solve and there it was. Easy-medium for me (PIZZABOX was my first entry) with NE being the tough part. I actually put the puzzle down, had a nitecap and then RAINES surfaced in memory. Odd how that works.

@purple guy -- Hope all is well with your brother.

syndy 4:01 AM  

yup naticked upside the head indeed had to google for it and was sorry for myself and came here to find out RP had kindly pretended to mess up so that we lesser mortals would feel better!( googled the dratted rhino too)didnt know sports figures,didnt know national parks,thought absolom rode an ass,way too many cities on route 66-had ketosis for 8 down so maybe 3 googles wasn't so bad

jae 4:34 AM  

Oh, and how about obscure national road side attractions as a theme?

Donald H. Baker 4:52 AM  

Infected? Septic tank? I'm glad I'm not solving this puzzle at breakfast.

If your father's a horse and your mother's a donkey you're a HINNY.
If your mother's a horse and your father's a donkey you're A MULE.
If you give Rex unsolicited solving advice you're an ASS.

Donald H. Baker (p. 234 "Role Models")
Septic tank resident

chefwen 5:08 AM  

@Purple guy Bob, hope all is well with your brother, my prayers are with you and your family.

Wendy

T-No-Money 6:49 AM  

I could have sworn it was SPYGATE, which both fits and has a nicer ring to it than CIAGATE. If you're going to call your -GATE "CIAGATE," with its four syllables and none-too-nice roll-off-the-tongue factor, you might as well just call it "The Plame Affair." There's trying, and there's trying too hard.

That said, I've never heard of an S-CUP, so I made the damned change, anyway. Though, for the record, I wasn't happy about it.

Noam D. Elkies 6:54 AM  

Back to the States, finally; glad I didn't start solving again with this puzzle — impressive as it is to stuff so many rare letters and only 29 black squares into a grid nearly the size of a 1A:PIZZABOX, it would have been a slog to solve between the national monument to obscurity at 37D and the sports clusterf*^%you in the NE. At least 46D:SEPTIC wasn't clued as "x⁷+7x+3, for one"...

@PG: Oh dear. Best of luck to your brother and the rest of your family; hope your next post brings better news.

@WillS: So next Saturday we'll see TUSH clued as Roderigo's first word to 31A:IAGO?

@Chefwen: no, your first instinct was right: "expecting him to stop" + "expecting his friends to stop" = "expecting him and his friends to stop". In a simple sentence "He and his friends will stop" (not "Him and his friends") is correct, but "expecting he" etc. is an overcorrection that sounds as wrong as it is.

NDE [captcha = "geyst" = old spelling of "Geist" = spirit or ghost (Ger.), as in Polter]

jmorgie 7:03 AM  

wind cave natl park. gives Javan for rhino.

r.alphbunker 7:05 AM  

Had winecave and est. There was a certain logic that should have warned me about that. South Dakota is not know for its wines (nor its capes). I know from first hand experience that that part of the country has a lot of wind. Struggled through N. Dakota on a bike trip long ago fighting the wind the whole way.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

@ chefwen : you were right the first time! I am expecting HIM, not expecting HE.

dk 8:34 AM  

Yes, being a college deejay saves the day. 1A -- I sez to mineself that sounds like a PIZZABOX (the delivery guy would slide it under the door via the 2" gap in the sound booth). I still know the words to Rte 66 as I often played the David Bromberg version.

This one stumped me on the sports figures, had an ass for AMULE and orate for RANTED.

Binged to get TUZIGOOT and verify DARRIN. Last error was erno for EERO... the architects, rubic cube guy and now designer are my Waterloos.

The overall fill is interesting and fresh with a few dare I say panes.

*** (3 Stars) Loved the homage to our little TRASHCAN

Leslie 8:40 AM  

Wow, PurpleGuy, good thoughts for your brother. How scary!!

The two trouble spots Rex pointed out were precisely my hair-tearing moments. Yes, the crossing of 18A and 9D DID feel like a big "f-you" to my non-sports-fan self. And I didn't get 62A/37D correctly, because that was the Natick-est Natick ever, for me. I finally threw in the towel and wrote "A? N? P?" in that little square, and even my guesses--all three of them!--were wrong. Whew.

Which makes me feel a tiny bit comforted at having gotten 34A right. But yeah, I didn't like putting JAVAN down. "Java? Java has rhinos?? Nah . . ."

I don't know; I must be tired. I could see the particular style of Barry Silk's misdirecting clues, but I nevertheless had to think hard about each one. My brain never switched over to his wavelength.

joho 10:03 AM  

The first thing I did was count the black squares and when I came up with just 26 I thought I was a goner.

Remarkably I got the DARRIN/RAINES crossing. The last letter to go in was the Z in RAZE. Unfortunately I, like Rex, ended up with WINDCApE. I should have seen that as a cape would be on an ocean not in South Dakota! And I recognize JAVAN now that I see it. Oh well.

I really liked a lot of the clues and original answers. Thank you, Barry Silk, for another great puzzle.

And @PurpleGuy, I hope your brother is not seriously hurt.

Martin 10:05 AM  

@Rex,

There is no rule that a entry can't appear in a clue, so SEPTIC isn't an error. It's often avoided to prevent subliminally helping with an answer, but "septic tank" and "infection" are in different enough compartments in my solving brain that it wasn't something I noted. Caught early, this situation might have warranted recluing ANAEROBE on purely esthetic grounds, but it was no "stop the presses" situation.

If you think about it, it's not possible to make this a "rule" in the general case. Entries like AND or ELSE would wreak cluing havoc. So the rule would have to be limited to "uncommon" words, and we'd then have arguments over what that means.

Roxie 10:19 AM  

I, too, thought it was SPYGATE.It was proved by the PYGMY rhino I was so sure I'd heard of, which made the obviously Shakespeare speaker Puck. This many "proofs" made the entire east coast all but undoable for me.

Rex Parker 10:37 AM  

@Martin,

That's a worthy defense, but that's an error, in that had the editor and/or constructor noticed it, there's NO WAY they would have let the Septic/SEPTIC thing go. If they say otherwise, then I think they have really bad judgment.

When I tested for Will, I pointed out dupes like that that were Far less egregious, and he changed them.

Tobias 10:40 AM  

SST as runway model: why no question mark?
As far as I know aircraft are never ever referred to as "runway models" that is nothing but a bad pun.
What am I missing??

JenCT 10:47 AM  

Had BACTERIA before ANAEROBE, WHITE for the rhino, TRASHBIN before TRASHCAN.

Thought the puzzle was trying a bit too hard to be clever.

@PurpleGuy - best of luck.

Kerry 10:49 AM  

Rex's easiest was my toughest (DARRIN/RAINES... damn sports clues). And I threw up the NW like instantly (what else could it be but PIZZA BOX?).

But end with an error on TUZIGOLT/ILLILO... total wrong guess. Terrible crossing.

Almost a good puzzle, IMHO.

JenCT 11:08 AM  

Also, never heard 2d INAPET? Who says that?

Alice in SF 11:21 AM  

Had a lot of trouble with 26A as a measure of support. C cup is a size. Should have known Tuzigoot as our son was a volunteer there. Iloilo is a Phillippine port? Never heard of it but then didn't know 18A or 9D either--my baseball knowledge faded after the Cleveland Indians lost the pennant badly in 1954. Basest for the answer to 32A doesn't ring right. Basest is lowest or most evil not least dignified. Hey I'm happy that got the SE rather quickly but had my usual DNF for a Saturday.

Two Ponies 11:30 AM  

I usually enjoy Barry Silk's puzzles but the clues in this one seemed strained. I finished it in good time but it wasn't that much fun. Some clues were clever but others tried too hard.
Oyer? WTF is that?
Sedona is in a beautiful area but the town itself is boring. Over-priced art galleries and crystal shops.

chefbea 11:48 AM  

Tough, tough puzzle. Googled a lot and DNF. Came here to see the answers.

Sedona is beautiful and @two ponies - you are right, the town is nothing.

@purple guy - hope your brother is doing ok

Norm 11:49 AM  

Thumbs down.

Joe 11:52 AM  

TUZIGOOT/ILOILO was totally unfair. I am wearing my cranky-pants cinched with my bitchy-belt.

I am also not a sports person at all, so while I was able to infer DARRIN/RAINES, I was none too happy about it. What with my choice of attire.

ArtLvr 11:54 AM  

Loved the DR SEUSS clue, my only fast gimme... I didn't think I was going to finish the NE without a google, but I managed it.

I wanted Absalom on an Ass before A MULE, and Pygmy Hippo would have been cute but it didn't occur to me.

Not the smoothest of Silk's puzzles somehow, but still doable even with a teaser like TUZIGOOT. LOL

∑;)

ArtLvr 11:57 AM  

p.s. Best wishes to Purple Guy Bob on his brother's full recovery.

XConstructor 12:34 PM  

@Martin, @Rex, re: SEPTIC-SEPTIC -

There's no excuse for this repetition. This is a major error - and if Shortz and team try to wiggle out of this boo-boo, shame on them. What does it take to just say, "Oops, we screwed up" and move on?

Ben 1:11 PM  

Not only was I Naticked, but TUZIGOOT is practically a Natick all by itself.

I usually cruise through Barry Silk's puzzles, and finished this one in under 11 minutes, but that's not too impressive since I had several errors. Another good one from Mr. Silk.

Tim RAINES was in the audience at Andre Dawson's Hall of Fame speech last weekend, and the Hawk singled him out for mention as deserving of enshrinement.

mac 1:26 PM  

Hm, my earlier post disappeared.

I liked the puzzle, except for the Raines/Darrin cross, and Tuzigoot/Iloilo were tough as well. Had stated for ranted, and had to piece together anaerobe. Wanted white hippo first, too.

Gorgeous day in CT!

Tinbeni 2:36 PM  

I'm a baseball fan.
A HUGH BASEBALL FAN !!!
But I couldn't tell you who was the 2010
All-Star Game MVP from 3 weeks ago, let alone from 23 years ago.
(OK, I know in 2009 it was Carl Crawford 'cause he plays for the local Tampa Bay Rays, who I hope lose today against my life-long beloved NY Yankees.)

Throw in two Nat'l Parks, a B'klyn neighborhood, a SW mecca (if you say so), uninked stamps, a port half-a-world away, something that *lives* in a Septic tank and a Vitamin deficiency (and I hope Scotch has Vitamin A or I'm screwed!) that I've never heard of and this became another Saturday DNF.

@PurpleGuy
A special Toast to your brother for a fast recovery.

jesser 2:45 PM  

I got Naticked real good at the WI_DCAVE/RAI_ES cross, and WILD looked reasonable, so I failed. Actually, I failed before that, because I had pygmy rhino for too long and finally googled "rarest rhino" to get JAVAN. Never heard of that critter. I also really wanted spyGATE at 34D. That area of the puzzle was my only trouble spot.

When I was 17, I was a Rotary Exchange Student to the Philippines, and I had Great Fun in Ilo Ilo (and in Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Baguio, among others), so that opened up the SW for me the way RAINES opened up the NE for Rex.

Never heard of TUZIGOOT, and briefly considered an R at the beginning of the word. Had I guessed wrong and had no other errors, I would have considered it as reasonable a guess as the L up in WI_D CAVE.

Friend came over to play pocket billiards last night. Many stories were told. Much bourbon and beer was consumed. I slept in today. I'm OK widdat!

Stsorsi! (He was on a strawberry roan, and running way ahead of poor Absalom on the trail) -- jesser

jesser 2:53 PM  

P.S. @ Purple Guy: Prayers are awing...

Zeke 2:54 PM  

In retrospect, I have to give Mr. Silk grudging respect for the geographical accuracy in the ways he told me to go F&^$ myself. Didn't know my Astros, but at least he had the decency to put those questions in the NE. Didn't know my (tertiary) Arizona parks, but at least he put those in the SW. Can't understand what he has against the Pacific North West with his ANAEROBIC/PANDERERs there, but that's his business. I'm guessing his Momma lives in FL and he had to be polite there.

If my Great Aunt Sophie said something that no one of my generation ever said, it was quaint. You gotta go back another 10 generations to have the last instance of "Good MORROW" having been uttered in conversation. That's not quaint, it's an archaic.

fergus 3:08 PM  

I was pretty sure that Absalom rode upon AN ASS. But when AMARILLO gradually appeared Absalom changed his ride.

Never could figure out the suffering at the effects of the haymaker. REEK seemed almost possible, though maybe it could have been WEEP if one had hay fever?

As Rex said, great variation in zones of difficulty. 2/3 breeze; 1/3 struggle.

Plus I thought it was SPYGATE, but that must have been some other affair.

R. McGeddon 3:14 PM  

Surely someone out there got Naticked upside the head by this crossing.

(Raises hand.)

Also, "old Europe" to me means really old Europe, like 6000 BCE.

RK 3:44 PM  

T-No-Money: The legendary Carol Doda I believe wore an S-cup. All's forgiven.

chefwen 3:50 PM  

@NoamD - Thanks, now I don't feel like such a HINNY.

Jenny 4:14 PM  

@jesser: Glad to hear one other person considered an R to start TUZIGOOT. I didn't think to take mine out, though. PArENTS would qualify as theft-preventers, no?

Bah. And I had been so proud of myself for finishing this - I had a really nasty time with it.

Nick 4:17 PM  

Am I the only one calling bullshit on Iago being a "literary character?" Shakespeare wrote dramas for performance, not books for reading. The fact that we mostly read them now doesn't change their original medium. If people are reading the script for The Matrix in college courses in 100 years, will that make Neo and Morpheus literary characters?

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

@Fergus: "Haymaker slang, a powerful blow with the fist"

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Drama is a branch of literature. Or plays can be read for reading, then it's dramatic literature. If you want to study Cinema Studies at, say, Washington, you'll do so in the Department of Comparative Literature.

edmcan 4:59 PM  

I always find Mr. Silk's puzzles a real challenge. This was tough as I'm clueless in sports and a Canadian who is unfamiliar with roadside attractions in the U.S. Tuzigoot just sounds so made up!!

fergus 5:53 PM  

Thanks Anon at 4:25.

Never knew that since I don't know the lingo that sort of sport. Thought that REEL might be the word for those cylindrical bales of hay, but couldn't see why one would suffer from their innocent and purposeful existence -- except for a stray marsh REED that might get caught in the thresher.

Then tried to work out all the sufferers that might fall victim to one "making hay while the sun shines" and even then a slim REED who gets blown over in a whirlwind of ambition was just too much of a stretch. So, I'm glad to learn that it was just a bit of slang I never learned.

--

Considered PARENTS also, as theft-preventers, though was such an outlier, too

Sparky 6:07 PM  

Managed SE fairly easily, then almost a dead stop. Had anass for AMULE and something really repulisve for 15A. Had to break for an appointment. Never got with it when I came home. @Purpleguy. Hope your brother is coming along. Good weekend, what's left of it. I'm going to start on Sunday after supper.

hazel 6:26 PM  

@Tinbeni - Brian McCann was the 2010 MVP of the All Star game!! Go Braves! They didn't show it in Croatia - well, they may have, but we weren't watching - but I was very excited to read about after the fact on the most awesome piece of electronics I have ever owned (my iPad).

Puzzle - hated it - agree w/ @Two Ponies on the strained quality - plus I'm likely slightly bitter because I wasn't able to finish. Too much "who cares" for me to keep at it.

And for those wondering about @EdithB - I checked in on her yesterday - and she is recovering slowly but surely from her surgery - and hopes to put her puzzling cap back on within the next month or so.

Tinbeni 7:24 PM  

@Hazel
Thanks for the info, I knew it was an Atlanta Brave, just couldn't remember the player's name.
Which was my point in the first place.

In sports:
Who was the: MVP, Cy Young winner, Rookie-of-the-Year, Super Bowl Champ (pick the Roman Numeral), etc. unless they played for a team or sport you follow (closely) these types of clues become an exercise in "Boy, I hope my crosses are right!"

For the non-sport fan, crossword solver, they are pure poison.

(Which may be fair, since when I get an Opera, English Lit., etc. type of question I'm often in the weeds myself.)

hazel 7:42 PM  

@Tinbeni - I'm with you. The only reason I knew it was McCann is because he is a Brave (and my favorite player) and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Also, he helped break the NL All Star game drought - which will hopefully work to the Braves' advantage, come the post-season! But, I'm getting ahead of myself...

Glitch 9:19 PM  

@hazel

Thanx for the update on EdithB.

.../Glitch

Ulrich 9:30 PM  

After finally conquering this, for me, Natick-ridden monster (despite getting such a good start with PIZZABOX), I have no energy left to say anything worthwhile. So, let me thank, retroactively, Zach, mitchs, and Rex for setting me straight yesterday w.r.t. SPEARS, which I had overthought.

fergus 9:54 PM  

I always like the crescendo of getting to the Friday and Saturay puzzles -- and the past two were workably good, by two seasoned constructors, yet I got neither a flash nor a spark from their presentation. Summer vacation?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:31 PM  

Worked on this at the beach today, had a good beach time but not a good puzzle experience.

Usually I don't have a lot of sympathy for solvers who hate a puzzle because "I never heard of . . . ", but I think TUZIGOOT goes over the line even for me. I had the impression in some previous puzzles that Rex suggested a major reworking of a section was in order to remove a particularly ugly answer. I think that was called for here.

I did work my way through the crossing sports figures, the rhino in the cave, etc., but came to a total mess in the concatenation of TUZIGOOT, AMULE (I am one of those who had always heard it was AN ASS), the Whit (BIT, JOT, etc?), ILO ILO (on its own, with reasonable crosses, would be OK, but not in this corner), Used (putting ED at the end sealed my fate), PARAFFIN (what cheese does that go on?), and "Good MORROW".

Smooth as cactus in the SW!

Some guy who's pretending he's a patent lawer 11:07 PM  

Oh - forgot. PATENTS don't prevent theft, they create theft by making use of the patented technology theft. If I have an idea, create a product but don't patent it, and you create a copycat product it's not theft.

andrea onesugar michaels 11:38 PM  

it's always funny to me that so many folks say "I usually like Barry Silk's but not this one" bec I never like them, but I like that I never like them, there is something oddly satisfying about that.

COunt me in for the JApAN, WIlD, PArENT, ILlILO mistakes, only 3 of which were corrected.
(I've never run the alphabet so many times in my life)

But you have to love PIZZABOX, esp after Kevin Der's Scrabbless adventure the day before...
(and Scrabbless is as much a word as TUZIGOOT is)

@Two Ponies
Speaking of Scrabble, both OYER and OYEZ are good, I think it has something to do with that cry "Oyez Oyez Oyez the court is now in session"

SEPTIC discussion, editing error, and even inclusion in a puzzle to begin with are all equally suspect.

fergus 11:58 PM  

You can't fault TUZIGOOT as a Saturday Answer, yet the crossings were OK.

I just got back from playing quarterback in the park down the street, firing spirals to eager young receivers. That's my sport enthusiasm.

Jesse 2:50 AM  

@Purpleguy - best wishes for your brother's rapid recovery.

@Rex - Once in a while, I agree with you! Tuzigoot - for crying out loud. That, with its crosses, has to be the Natick of all time.

Also agree w/you on the septic clue/answer. I'd never have written septic as the answer, immediately, if I hadn't just read septic in the other clue.

OK, off to be tortured by a BEQ Sunday.

PeterAtLarge 7:05 PM  

I had a cat once called Tuziggot. That helped. The cheesy thing had me filling in "au gratin," which didn't. Being English, I hate those American sports clues. Unable to finish because of them... Damn.

william e emba 10:57 AM  

I agree with the patent lawyer manque. The clue is backwards. Wrong wrong wrong. No patent, no theft. But if a patent exists, intellectual property theft is then possible (for example, the Biro ball-point pen patent was massively ripped off). I eventually went with PATENTS since "parents" was just too off, and I assumed Will just choked. I still had to guess NOT-NEW or NON-NEW, so I ended up with Tuzigoon.

And I guessed RAILES/WILD-CAVE. While I am aware of the surname RAINES (from the movies), "WIND CAVE" sounded too insipid for a park name.

Two Naticks and one cluing error. Yucko.

On the other hand, I did think JAVAN rhinoceros was a gimme. Even if I weren't already aware of the species, they were in the news this past June, with the discovery of three dead ones, which is absolutely terrible for a species down to just dozens of individuals.

Apparently, the Plame affair is known as CIA-gate in Italian.

Lynxpoint 3:02 PM  

So happy to hear that EdithB will be back. Wish Elaine would return--have enjoyed both of their personalities over the years.

My first-ever post (I've lurked forever). Oh yeah--I did finish the puzzle correctly (but wrenchingly).

Suss 4:09 PM  

No one mentioned 2D: "inapet" for miffed. In a pet? In a snit? I've never heard of the term. My pets are insulted. And peeved.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

@Lynxpoint you may never see this because it's 5 weeks later, but I too was wondering what happened to Elaine. I searched through old blog posts and noticed an ugly exchange on May 7, 2010. The attacks got personal and we haven't heard from Elaine since. I think it's a pity that people are more interested in being right than in being kind.

Waxy in Montreal 5:34 PM  

From syncity: As can be imagined, RAINES & DARRIN were patently gifts for me so roared out of the gate. But the TUZIGOOT/ILOILO cross put me into a pet and led to another Saturday DNF.
BTW, Tim Raines was the only EXPO to play for the team in parts of 4 different decades (1970's thru 2000's), quite an accomplishment given the team's short history (1969-2004).

Lynxpoint 6:03 PM  

@ Anonymous 4:11 PM--it's 5 weeks later for me too (syndication land). I remember that exchange--made me squirm. For the most part, posters here are courteous with flashes of sass & a zinger or two, but now & then things do get nasty. If anyone knows Elaine, please coax her to come back! Loved her take on the puzzles & constructors. She & EdithB are roughly my age & bring long memories to the game. Have always enjoyed reading them both.

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