Massachusetts city called Tool Town / FRI 8-27-10 / Actress Chandler / Deep-sea exploration pioneer / Site of Vulcan's smithy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Constructor: Corey Rubin

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: not really


Word of the Day: ATHOL (2D: Massachusetts city called Tool Town) —

Athol (pronounced /ˈæθɒl/) is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 11,299 at the 2000 census. (wikipedia)
• • •
I think we have a new record low population for a puzzle city ("city," really? At under 12K?), edging out ELMA, NY by 5 whole people. I had no hope with that "L," as I've never heard of ATHOL (though it sounds like something I might have mocked as unworthy years ago, and then forgotten), and DOSE sounded like a great answer to 21A: Get blitzed. I'm fairly sure "DOSE" is drug slang for taking a hit, shooting up, whatever ... though "official" dictionaries are returning only transitive verb defs. of DOSE. Whatever. Hard to care about this puzzle after that one. I mean, I get that you have to toughen it up, since the 2 sets of double-15 answers (nice, by the way), are Soooo easy to get, but make it tough by making it tough, not by making a horrible cross. Maybe ATHOL is super well known to all y'all, but Bah. It took me many, many seconds to understand how LOSE could be the answer to [Get blitzed]. TONUS? NO-nus (18A: Normal muscle tension). Come on. Boo to that corner. And INFUSE WITH (4D: Give the flavor of). Awkward. But again, the sets of 15s are gold—the only reason for this puzzle to exist.

  • 14A: With 17-Across, encouragement for a trailing team ("IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL / THE FAT LADY SINGS")
  • 57A: With 60-Across, risky "Jeopardy!" declaration ("LET'S MAKE IT A TRUE / DAILY DOUBLE, ALEX")

Never heard of: BEEBE (9A: Deep-sea exploration pioneer) or ESTEES (24A: Actress Chandler and others — she was in, uh, "Teen Wolf Too" and ... a single episode of "Who's the Boss?"; sure, that's puzzleworthy) or TONI (25D: Lydman of the N.H.L.) or EARLE (48D: 1960s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Wheeler), so despite the ease with which I brought down the big stuff, this one actually took me slightly longer than my average Friday. Doesn't seem possible, as I don't recall having serious trouble anywhere, but the time is what the time is. Maybe I was slow out of the box, trying to decide between OAHU and MAUI at 1A: Lanai's county and FINS and ABES at 5A: Five-spots and OVEN and MITT at 1D: A baker might have a hand in it). I know the ATHOL / LOSE / TONUS miasma gave me fits. Ditto ESTEES (who?) / TONI (who?). But crosswordese came to the rescue with ENID (a guess—never liked "Scrubs": 1D: Often-referenced but never-seen wife on "Scrubs") and ETNA (11D: Site of Vulcan's smithy) and BIGD and ELSA (13D: The bride in Wagner's "Bridal Chorus") (it's like a crosswordese museum up there), and DRAY (first guess!) (23D: Transporter of heavy loads) and ODEA and TBAR and SST (another wing in the museum).

Wanted MUTT for IAMS (31D: Pedigree alternative) and IRON for LEAD (46D: With 34-Across, slag furnace input). Else, very doable, with the above-noted exceptions.

Bullets:
  • 20A: It originated at Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire in the 1910s (DADA) — so that's where the 80s group Cabaret Voltaire got their name!

  • 40A: Golfer who turned pro at age 15 (WIE) — as in Michelle. With that name, I'd expect to see her in the grid more often—though she really should win more if she wants to cement her crossword immortality.
  • 42A: Newswoman Lesley (STAHL) — Gimme. One of my favorite big-name newspeople.
  • 16D: Slugger Sandberg (RYNE) — would not have thought of him as a big crossword name, but that's twice in the past couple weeks for this former Cub and Hall-of-Fame 2nd baseman.
  • 27D: Like many laid-up Brits (IN HOSPITAL) — They like to leave out definite article over there, apparently.
  • 56D: Send explicit come-ons by cell phone (SEXT) — I love that this is a word, and that the NYT puzzle is cool with it. SPAM fits here, (in)conveniently.

[59D: R&B group with the hit "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" (TLC)]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

PS Thanks to Andrea Michaels (via Michael Blake) for pointing out that I was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal blog ("Deal Journal") on Wednesday — re: the word POTASH (!?). Click here to read.

79 comments:

nanpilla 12:22 AM  

@rex. Love the write-up. What a boring museum that would be!

Easy medium here - those double long acrosses really speed things up.

Had OAHU first, which held up the top half - took twice as long as the bottom half.

ATHOL sounds like something Daffy Duck would say if it were allowed.

Zeke 12:28 AM  

This puzzle lost me at TONI. Seriously, Toni (you must envision the i with a little heart instead of a dot) is a frivolous girl's name, not some hockey goon. You ask me, quite seriously, to accept Toni as a hockey player's name, well either you're just screwing with me or there's something so seriously wrong with the world that I better quit doing this stupid puzzle and worry about saving my ass.

PurpleGuy 1:04 AM  

@Zeke - couldn't agree more !! You almost made me spew my scotch. That would have been seriously wrong ! Really enjoyed the rant.
Mom and I are toasting with Johhny Walker Green.

@Rex - your writeup was much better than the puzzle.
Agree with @nanpilla that the museum would be a bore.

Happy Friday all !!!!!

Bob/PurpleGuy

Robin 1:21 AM  

The "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" clip Rex posted was the most fun thing about this whole deal.

A Googly-Moogly puzzle that I came within 10 squares of finishing, thanks to the aforesaid Google.

I thought I had watched lots of Jeopardy, but I don't understand 57 and 60A. What's a "true" daily double?

*sessess* a softer form of sext

Clark 1:25 AM  

DNF here. Had 'Oahu' crossing 'oven', and I could not see 14A and 17A. ATHOL/LOSE and BEEBE/BIGD didn't help any. I think I have a tougher time seeing the long ones than all y'all. Tomorrow's another day.

Aaron Riccio 1:27 AM  

@Robin -- that's when you bet everything you have, hence actually DOUBLING your total if you get it right . . . and of course losing it all if you're wrong (which would make it quite the risky move).

As for the puzzle . . . had to Google my way through three or four nasty proper names to get a foothold here and there, but I did finish, thanks to those not-as-tricky-as-they-look 15-stacks.

CaseAce 1:29 AM  

Zeke, Toni is a European male spelling of Tony, unless one is from here in the U.S. or from Italy. Take Toni Kukoc, for instance, who played in the N.B.A for the Chicago Bulls, along with Jordan and Pippen.

Robin 1:56 AM  

@Aaron Riccio: Thanks for clearing that up! I googled 11 proper names, including 59D.

Bix 2:10 AM  

26a. (Occasions to use pepper?) RIOTS
43d. (Types a little to the left) PINKOS
Was this clued by Richard Nixon and Pat Buchanan?

BEEBE ESTEES ATHOL ENID TONI EARLE were all unknowns, but I finished with a faster than average Friday time.

iams andrea 2:33 AM  

Spent an hour trying to decide between veni, vidi or vici...

I came, ISAW, I failed :(

Didn't hear no fat lady, but one must have sung somewhere, bec it was over for me...at least till I googled the sports (RYNE, TONI and even misspelled WII!) and geography (ATHOL, MAUI).
I felt like such a girl! :(


On the other hand, as a second place finisher (which Nanette says to call myself instead of LOSEr...see what 20 years of therpay can do!), I got the whole Jeopardy! thing with no crosses.

Actually liked the whole top and bottom double quotes. If only they had tied together, could have made a nice early week theme.

Don't get BANDBS answer. I wrote the B in practically see-thru pen. Someone?

One of my favorite naming projects was for an online Diabetes newsletter for young folks: "DIATRIBE"...so was happy to see that in a puzzle.

Hey! Did anyone else see @Rex in the WSJ yesterday about POTASH?!!! Hilarious. Can someone pls embed?

SCOTUS Addict 2:41 AM  

Only person missing from this puzzle is Dr. Lyle Evans.

chefwen 2:47 AM  

I told myself that I was NOT going to Google this week, but broke down on ATHOL, wasn't sure of TONUS, but it sounds right, now that I am looking at it.

When I left the steel industry, my position was filled by a girl who introduced herself by saying "Hi, my name is Toni, with an I, (and she did indeed dot the I with heart) Let me see those big shoes I have to fill" I almost gagged.

Loved the mini Hawaiian theme with MAUI, MAI TAI, AND ISLE, hell, I almost feel at home.

Never heard of ESTEE Chandler, will have to check her out.

Rube 2:52 AM  

Starting with Oven, Oahu, & Fins like our fearless leader, I eventually had to Google some of the proper names. Should have known better about MAUI. However, I was most impressed with the two double 15s... a truly impressive construction.

Personally, I think that much of the clueing and many of the answers are of a Saturday level. So, Beebe Rebozo made his fortune in deep sea exploration! Is it PC to "Out with the junk" ATSEA? Better not let GreenPeace hear about this. TONUS! GMAB.

Being a 49er fan, I object to any reference to the Cowboys, and the clue for BIGD is worthy of the London Times in it's double reference. Wanted Something like Hollywood or LA.

Certainly don't care about ENID, but was interested to know that Vulcan, (Patron God of engineers), ran his operation out of Mt ETNA.

ELSA of Brabant and MAITAIs lightened my solve, but only a little.

Rube 2:57 AM  

@Andrea, that's Bed and Breakfasts.

andrea b(and)bs michaels 4:10 AM  

@rube!
Ohmygod...I'M the rube now! It's NOT Band Bs!!! thank you!
(And I'm even wearing a diamond necklace right now that I won on Bed And breakfast's.com worst date ever contest, like ten years ago!!!
Remember when sites would have contests and give away porsches and stuff just to sign up for them! Ahhh, those were the days!)

imsdave 6:05 AM  

Easy accept for the NW corner. Zipped throught the rest in record time, then froze up when I could not get rid of ITAINTOVER.

Ben 7:09 AM  

Bottom half, a breeze. Top half, a mess.

SethG 7:40 AM  

Found the bottom super-easy, was utterly stuck up top 'til I changed FINS to ABES. Then I was just not utterly stuck. Who pronounces all of UNTIL? There's no "un" in that saying. In summary, what Ben said.

Lotsa names I didn't know. At least ELSA is from Wagner and EARLE was just the wrong generation for me. But ESTEE Chandler is to acting what ELKE Clijsters is to tennis, just without the famous sister. And ATHOL sounds...dirty. There are ATHOLs in 9 states, including 2 in Missouri. None of them are large.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Too bad you didn't know the joke about a governor of Massachusetts in the 1960's, Endicott Peabody. They said he was the only governor with four cities names after him: Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.

r.alphbunker 8:01 AM  

Athol is not that far from Amherst Mass where I spent a lot of time, but I didn't know it was called the Tool City. Gardner, the Chair City, is not that far from Athol. Just saying.

Has anybody ever done a 60 letter phrase that spanned two sets of double 15s?

David L 8:08 AM  

Bottom half easy, top half slowed me down -- unknown names, FINS vs ABES, MAUI vs OAHU, and then I struggled for a while with ITAINT/ITISNT/ITSNOT before getting the right combo. (And yes, UNTIL seems oddly formal in that phrase).

But no real complaints since this was my fastest Fri ever -- 13:39. Even better, I only have a little work to do today, so it's an early start to the weekend for me. Whoo!

The Big E 8:35 AM  

Got MAUI right away (my honeymoon location coming up in 31 days!) and as my fiancee and I watch Jeopardy every night over dinner (or when we get home), the bottom was a cinch. (And let's not make any wisecracks about the fact that, like my grandparents, we watch Jeopardy every day over dinner)

Didn't get why "prawns" was a "?" clue?
Only place I lost it was, like others, Toni/Estees. Wanted Esmees/Moni. Moni doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I figured "hey, foreign name, and some variation of Esme/Esmay, etc seemed feasible!

@Rex - as for cities with low populations, I had heard once that an old definition of a "city" (middle ages, perhaps?) was a town/village/local population wherein lied a Cathedral. No Cathedral? Not a city.
Anyone ever hear something similar?

Happy Friday, all, and have a great weekend!

Greg

joho 8:50 AM  

@SethG, I'll bet there are a lot of ATHOLs in all of the states.

I loved seeing OTIS in the puzzle today as I wanted it a few days ago. Do malapops travel from puzzle to puzzle?

I loved ITSNOTOVERUNTILTHEFATLADYSINGS! At first with ITSNOT in place I thought it might be ITSNOT whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

The bottom was pretty easy but the top almost did me in. I got RYNE from my husband and had to Google ESTEES. I totally guessed at the "O" in ATHOL/TONUS.

I ended up with no errors but since I Googled, no cigar for me.

dk 8:51 AM  

Way to go anon at 8AM!

A friend of mine and I once did a tour of all the odd museums located in the Connecticut River Valley (Silicon Valley of the tool and die era). Frequently drove through ATHOL or by the signs pointing to it from Route 2. Thus 2D a gimme and William BEEBE was in my spelling book at some young age, gimme number 2.

All and all an easy Friday. Write for WROTE and vile for VIAL (hand up for the short bus) were my blunders d'jour. That coupled with not thoroughly drying my hands after coffee clean-up with the resultant puzzle smearing were my big challenges (short bus).

PRAWNS = District 9 for me these days.

** (2 Stars)

Leslie 9:39 AM  

Okay, I was really impressed with the long phrases in this one!

Nobody else is going to say "yay" about AT SIGNS? I was kind of proud of myself for figuring that one out early on . . .

Yeah, I hear everybody on the oddly spelled sports names, but I never give that stuff a second thought, knowing barely any sports names in the first place. "Slatsmoo Veedlehoffer? Okey dokey!" I mean, it's all going to look plausible to me.

jesser 9:45 AM  

I finished, but with errors that I don't care about. I had to guess -- and guessed wrong -- twice: at the ATH_L/T_NUS and ES_EES/_ONI crossings. I went with e and m, respectively. And I don't give a rat's ass. Perhaps because I'm a commie PINKO ___?

Like Rex, loved the double 15s, but they and the MAITAI and the SEXT were all I found to love.

It's hot in southern NM today, but it's a DRY HEAT, as we like to remind furrnurs.

I'm outta here.

Bionfar! (Well, technically, he has better odds of getting a date on a Saturday night, but he first needs to recover from the burns) -- jesser

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Knew the jeopardy answer right away with no crosses also, which made the bottom half easy. Had to google a bit for the top.

As for dry heat used in baking...you need moist heat for baking bagels.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

@The Big E - very interesting about cathedrals. Your memory appears to be spot on. From wikipedia:

City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions for the status are hard fought. The status does not apply automatically on the basis of any particular criteria, although in England and Wales it was traditionally given to towns with diocesan cathedrals. This association between having a cathedral and being called a city was established in the early 1540s when King Henry VIII founded dioceses (each having a cathedral in the see city) in six English towns and also granted them city status by issuing letters patent.

Zeke 9:59 AM  

I am now less worried about the state of the world, or saving my sorry ass, than I am about my inability to write without using "seriously" once per sentence, on average.
Seriously.
Oh, those WSJ folk are, wait, don't do it, without humor. Not one follow up comment on poor white trash, but three embedded graphs of the stock price of POT? Way, way too serious.

twangster 10:08 AM  

This took a while but I somehow managed to get it without googling. Had OAHU, OAST and ACTON for a while. What broke it open on top was realizing RESCUEES needed to be EVACUEES, which gave me OVER and immediately the whole quote.

Tinbeni 10:12 AM  

Don't have a problem with the spelling of TONI Lydman's name. Just question whether he is well known enough for Non-Hockey fans.
A solver can be a Non-Baseball fan and know Derek Jeter, heard of A-Rod. This guy is too obscure to be in a puzzle.

ATHOL, learning moment (with ESTEES). I'm waiting for OZONA, the 'town' north of mine to make it into the grid.

The four 15's were slam dunks.

@jesser, C'mon, with that heat, wouldn't ya love a BREWski also?

Rex that WSJ take on POTASH was funny.
I laughed "all-the-way-to-the-bank" when I sold my shares recently. (Yeah, stocks that go up $40 in one day are a funny topic).

Nancy in PA 10:24 AM  

Zeke, your comments always make me laugh out loud.

30 minutes, no Googles, no errors. I'm happy.

We used to call it Athol, Math.

hazel 10:45 AM  

Where's the outrage with ATSEA and ATSIGN? They're only 6 rows apart! Just kidding, of course. I don't give a rat's ass about that sort of thing. Just a small (but friendly!) tut. Maybe 2 ATs are not worthy of outrage - still learning the fine lines of puzzle excellence.

Because of a rather disparaging story she did on academics about 15 years ago, my husband despises Lesley Stahl - every time and I mean every time she has a story on 60 Min. he lets fly with a bunch of lets say epithets. Fortunately, he's not a puzzler so he won't see her name today.

This was a super speedy solve for me, even with all those crazy names I'd never heard of. Corey and I must have been soulmates in previous lives. Like just about everyone else, thought those 30s rocked. No fine line there.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Athol was a gimme. Yes, being married to that man whose family was from there and most of whom worked for the tool company pays off in Xwords yet again. He was born in Keene. They say everything happens for a reason...

I thought the quote was "It ain't over til the fat lady sings."

Dang, I forgot my password again,
Chorister

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Bottom was fairly easy, but I was totally stuck on the top (and some incorrect answers didn't help). I live a half an hour from Athol and have never heard it called Tool Town!!

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

As a native Minnesotan, the clue for 12D made me really, really sad... more than fifteen years after the fact. I knew exactly what the answer was (even with the crosswordese version), but refused to put it in for a good two minutes out of protest.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:04 AM  

Seriously (:-)), my very first fill was BEEBE, no crosses needed. Must be that age thing.

But, as seems to be the general trend, finished the bottom sector of the puzzle before the top, hesitated at TONI. But finished with no Googles, no write-overs, no errors, so must rate as an easy Friday -- but impressive in its way.

Two Ponies 11:16 AM  

The long answers were noteworthy (even if it's supposed to be It Ain't Over) but the fill was insane or inane or both.
Maybe I was just riding the short bus with @ dk.
If it's not Estee Lauder I don't know her.
Toni looks like the plural of tonus.
@ The Big E, We have supper and Jeopardy together too.
So many Athol jokes, so little time.
Nice to see a new clue for Etna.
@ signs was a new answer, yes?

is it over? 11:39 AM  

Put me down for an easy / medium Friday.

Was 180 degrees out of sync with Rex --- knew most of the names he never heard of, guessed / accepted most of his knowns.

@Tinbeni

TONI was obvious from the crosses, didn't need to know anything about hockey.

P>G>

CoffeeLvr 11:55 AM  

Well, this puzzle is OVER, but I am not SINGing. Four googles, BEEBE, MAUI, ATHOL, and DADA. Notice, they are all in the top.

@Andrea, I stared at BAND_S for a long while. Put in TBAR, and still could not parse it.

@ChefWen, cool that you were in the steel industry. I was in automotive. Saw the steel before stamping, etc.

Well, I have to get out of the house. The roofers are here, and the dog is so stressed. So we will go for a ride.

wooffdod, her reaction to the roofers.

archaeoprof 12:01 PM  

Alas, another puzzle with no references to country music...

Writeovers not yet mentioned: seasonwith/INFUSEWITH, rescuee/EVACUEE, and sand/SPEC.

Favorite clue: "its products go up and down."

Benny 12:12 PM  

no coin collecting clues either :(

dls 12:35 PM  

Grr. Would it've killed 'em to clue ATHOL as "Playwright Fugard"?

OldCarFudd 12:58 PM  

After all the easy puzzles earlier in the week I tip my hat to anyone who could solve this one. I don't Google, but Today. I. Googled. A lot. I knew Beebe and sussed Athol, at sea, and pinkos. But I've never seen so many names of which I had no clue whatever. And I don't watch Jeopardy, so the big bottom double-15 did very little for me. Epic Fail.

deerfencer 1:01 PM  

DRYHEAVES would have been a much better fill than the ridiculous DRYHEAT, though that throws off the whole TONUS of the puzzle, which I found excruciating in parts. The clue for EARLE is absurdly
obscure, e.g.; why not clue contemporary country folk singer Justin Townes Earle instead of some long-forgotten politicrat from the 60's? I think it's called willful obfuscation/fogeyism; nothing creative about it.

Glad this one's over.

SethG 1:30 PM  

Who's JT Earle, and if he sings country why doesn't he go by JT?

Earle Wheeler, by the way, was called "Bus".

mitchs 1:38 PM  

I managed to guess right on the various crappy crossings already mentioned. No sense of accomplishment, though. Just feel lucky. So, were the juicy 15's worth the price?

I dunno.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

In the '50's, the Athol town sign was removed many time to appear in many a dorm room.

Soarky 2:17 PM  

Managed bottom half just fine. Am a Jeopardy! fan. 31A annoyed me. Completely stumpped by top half. Had Oahu, oven, fins. Threw in the towel. My grandfather was a drayman, That was early 20 Century. Kind of an old timey word. Enjoyed write up and comments today. Laughed out loud (well, snickered). Enjoy the weekend.

Sparky 2:18 PM  

Managed bottom half just fine. Am a Jeopardy! fan. 31A annoyed me. Completely stumpped by top half. Had Oahu, oven, fins. Threw in the towel. My grandfather was a drayman, That was early 20 Century. Kind of an old timey word. Enjoyed write up and comments today. Laughed out loud (well, snickered). Enjoy the weekend.

hazel 2:23 PM  

Was out hiking with my dogs, and realized that I may have dangled a participle. Sorry!

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Let's play Jeopardy
Answer: 62.38 miles
Question: How far is it from NATICK to ATHOL?

JenCT 3:05 PM  

Was kind of proud of myself for getting 31a (ISAW) and 36a (ATSIGNS). DNF, though, and did it on paper, so no Google available.

I cracked up at all the ATHOL jokes! Actually had a friend from there...

See you tomorrow.

harryhassell 3:09 PM  

I'm sure that anyone up on their Sondheim lyrics squealed a little bit at 9A. The song is "I'm Still Here" from Follies:

"I got through Abie's Irish Rose,
Five Dionne babies, Major Bowes,
Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe's Bathysphere.
I got through Brenda Frazier and I'm here!"

Come to think of it, there's a treasure trove of crossword-worthy names in that song. Well worth a listen on YouTube.

Of course knowing every Sondheim song ever written wouldn't have helped me out of the black hole that was the NW of this puzzle. Loved the long entries, though.

CoolPapaD 3:33 PM  

I'm visiting family in Cleveland and am not used to waiting for the paper version. I thought today was Thursday(jet lag), and therefore didn't psych myself - finished error-free, and was SO overjoyed to discover it was Fri after coming here! Loved the long asnwers, and guessed correctly on all the proper names I'd never heard of (Beebe included).

The comments about Athol reminded me of a joke from youth, the punchline of which is something like, "You're Thor? I'm tho thor I can't even pith!"

Glitch 3:40 PM  

@deerfencer

As a politically active college student in the '60s who is not up on contemporary folk singers, EARLE was no problem. Perhaps the clue was written for me and not you?

-----

Also,given the number of folk here that, for various reasons, knew ATHOL, maybe it too wasn't that "sucky".

IMO, one doesn't need to "know" all the answers if one can get them from the crosses, that's whay it's called a Crossword puzzle.

And if you can't, that's what "Natick" is all about. ;-)


.../Glitch

sanfranman59 3:44 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Fri 27:46, 26:40, 1.04, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:56, 13:00, 1.07, 70%, Medium-Challenging

sanfranman59 4:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc John 5:19 PM  

Well, it couldn't have been too hard because I finished it before mid-afternoon (and on a busy day, at that). When I finished, I wondered how I knew ATHOL and then it hit me. Athol is also the name of a city in Idaho that is home to Silverwood Theme Park. Silverwood has the distinction of being the owner of the first inverting coaster in modern times- the corkscrew coaster that formerly resided at Knott's Berry Farm before heading north to Idaho. The coaster preceded Magic Mountain's straight-looping Revolution by about a year. Silverwood is also home to two top-rated wooden coasters (which I have yet to ride).

Tina 5:21 PM  

but really - isn't there some kind of limit to how many obscure proper names should be in one puzzle? I have never googled so much, or with so little joy.

andrea toni (with a heart) michaels 5:25 PM  

@Lesley
"Slatsmoo Veedlehoffer? Okey dokey!"
hahahahaha...we should go to "the game" some time. Sit in whatever bleachers and keep asking the boys around us what that thingie there does, and if it's football, what "out" we're at...whaddya say?!!

And for those of you who missed Rex's added-later ps, check him out in the WSJ! It's killer!
Amazing that the illustrious WSJ quotes crossword blogs from 2 years ago!!!!! Be careful what you write!

PuzzleNut 6:18 PM  

It's tough to add much when you're a late day solver. Finished without any errors, but got lucky in a few spots. I really thought 14A should be ITAINT..., but finally had to capitulate and enter ITSNOT... (but not after nixing ITISNT..)
Fridays seem to be just my speed and this one was right in the middle of the road.

skua76 7:03 PM  

My only screwup was in putting in "writeup" for 40D. And assumed that Eliit was a Scandinavian author. As for the WSJ link about potash, they didn't use Rex's blog name, rather his real one. And since it was a blog, they didn't use the WSJ print style of prefacing the last name with a "Mr." or a "Michael." Hmmm.

The Bard 7:45 PM  

LORD POLONIUS: This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

QUEEN GERTRUDE: More matter, with less art.

LORD POLONIUS: Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.

jae 7:58 PM  

Great 15s! Three quarters of this was easy-medium for me but NW was an over-nighter with much more staring this morning. I really wanted MAUI and INFUSE... but couldn't (like some of you) let go of ITAINT/ITISNT. I finally just put in INFUSE... and had the aha moment. ATHOL was a good guess. The 15s redeemed the drawbacks for me on this one.

Stephen 9:01 PM  

I usually don't finish (or even start) Fridays.
Today I was astonished at the construction of 2 double 15s. And further astonished that the FAT LADY phrase popped into place with only 3 or 4 crosses. Whoooey!

But, having never seen an episode of Jeopardy, the bottom phrase was a slog from start to finish. What is a "daily double"? Is there such a thing as a false daily double? Who is Alex?? gad. Totally random words.

Anyway, I was pleased to almost finish. The I of ISAW and IAMS was blank until I looked. The ISAW was a good gag, but the IAMS annoys me. I believe IAMS is a brand of dogfood. How is food an alternative for a pedigree? WTF?

And who ever says that Indonesia is part of Asia?
No one I know ever uses that approximation.

BANDBS flummoxed me, but after I saw someone's explanation here, I do remember seeing that in a crossword puzzle before. How can I sink into the same befuddlement twice?

Overall, fun puzz.

Toto 9:16 PM  

@Stephen - IAMS is an alternative to Pedigree when Pedigree is a brand of Dog Food, which it is! :>)

Greene 9:35 PM  

@HarryHassell: Can't say I squealed when I saw BEEBE in the grid. More like a little stab of pleasure to be reminded of Sondheim's reference to Beebe's Bathysphere. I once spent a few hours looking up all the Americana references in "I'm Still Here." Quite an amazing list which pithily encapsulates American pop culture from the 20s right through to the 50s.

I recently came across a Life magazine that featured socialite Brenda Frazier on the cover. Now that produced a delighted squeal of recognition! Unfortunately, Ms. Frazier is currently considered such an obscure reference that in modern productions of Follies her mention in the song has been dropped and replaced by "I'm almost through my memoirs and I'm here." Ah, time marches on.

Stan 9:44 PM  

This was (for me) a challenging puzzle that turned out to be a lot of fun. Good clues for DADA, RIOT, SPEC, OARS.

More constructors should try their hands at the double line answers.

Sfingi 9:55 PM  

@Robin@Tina@Lealie@Deerfencer@Rube - so agree.

I also don't usually mess with Fridays. Why did I buy the paper? So innocent a deed, indeed, though I swore I wouldn't. Then, after Googly-Elmoing, to see Mr. Rubin's private w-t dream.

He will now be subjected to my own private annoying idea - a conspiracy theory no less - because he opened a WIE door. William BEEBE, a true student of the scientific method and one of the few to actually go deep sea bathyscaphing.
Beware Mr. Piccard,, so caught in your Oedipal struggle as to feel the need to trick the whole world.
Lt. Walsh is 80. Some day he'll pass and the truth will float up from somewhere far short of the Marianas trench.
Ha! Figure that one out!

Someone beat me to the ATHOL stuff.
@Anon142 - That's 60 mi. as the flying ATHOL flies.

And to throw a spanner in the works, my captcha is - no captcha! - just "visual verification," and no word to verify? WTF?

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:50, 6:58, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Tue 10:16, 8:54, 1.15, 87%, Challenging
Wed 11:27, 11:44, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Thu 13:43, 19:11, 0.71, 8%, Easy
Fri 27:43, 26:40, 1.04, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:43, 0.98, 43%, Medium
Tue 5:01, 4:35, 1.10, 81%, Challenging
Wed 5:38, 5:46, 0.98, 52%, Medium
Thu 7:09, 9:12, 0.78, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:41, 12:59, 0.98, 52%, Medium

sanfranman59 10:18 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 6:50, 6:58, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Tue 10:16, 8:54, 1.15, 87%, Challenging
Wed 11:27, 11:44, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Thu 13:43, 19:11, 0.71, 8%, Easy
Fri 27:43, 26:40, 1.04, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:43, 0.98, 43%, Medium
Tue 5:01, 4:35, 1.10, 81%, Challenging
Wed 5:38, 5:46, 0.98, 52%, Medium
Thu 7:09, 9:12, 0.78, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:41, 12:59, 0.98, 52%, Medium

Let's try this again and this time without the embedded hyperlink. My post disappeared as did my midday post, which then magically reappeared when I posted it a second time. Strange goings-on in the blogosphere.

Rex Parker 10:20 PM  

@sfman, it's not that strange. Blogger thinks you are spam, and so it's putting your comments in a spam folder. Something about the way you are formatting is triggering the spam alarm. I wish I knew. I have told "it" that you are not spam, but "it" seems to have a mind of its own. Maybe I can change settings. I *do* like not having to deal with (much) spam...

deerfencer 2:58 AM  

@ Glitch--Amen, which I guess was my (poorly expressed) point--namely that if you want these puzzles to seem timely and at least somewhat contemporary you need to stretch a bit beyond an obscure 50-year-old politico reference.

Different strokes and all that.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

I know I'm way too late for Tinbeni to read this (way worse than being an afternoon solver, I'm a next day solver), but I'd know Ozona--and I'm from Michigan! I'd clue it as "home of the most unique Mexican restaurant/rock and roll museum/art gallery in America"

Yeah, Ozona!

shrub5 1:59 PM  

Instantly knew 57 and 60 Across were about a TRUE DAILY DOUBLE but wasn't sure of the preceding words (I'd like to make it a, or some such phrase without the ALEX) so I started at the end of the second line and backed in DAILY DOUBLE which left four letters for TRUE. Yay. Well that made a massive amount of wrong entry. Fortunately, I knew SEXT which put me on the right track to include ALEX. Didn't have such an easy time with the top 2 15's. Can't imagine saying the FAT LADY line to a bunch of Little Leaguers!! "Who's going to sing to us?" The ATHOL/TONUS crossing O was a guess. Had to google BEEBE, but otherwise completed this challenging (for me) puzzle correctly.

DouglasStaffort 8:04 AM  

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Lenny 12:23 PM  

Toni Lydman is Finnish. So all bets are off on the spelling...

Waxy in Montreal 9:05 PM  

Even though I'm an avid NHL fan, can't say TONI Lydman is well known at all. Now if the clue had referenced the late, great (male) Austrian skier Toni Sailer, I'd have been homefree.

Interesting that during the entire time that pro wrestler Lord ATHOL Layton dominated the "sport" in Toronto during the 1950's, I never heard anyone making fun of his name. (Of course, the fact he was 6 ft, 7 inches and weighed over 265 pounds may just have had something to do with that.)

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