Sea grass grazer / FRI 9-17-10 / Colorful stage performers since 1987 / Literally different lizards / Five-time NBA All-Star Chris

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constructor: Jonah Kagan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: BLOOD MOON (6D: Autumnal event so called because it helps hunters kill their prey) —

The hunter's moon—also known as blood moon or sanguine moon—is the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. // The Hunter's Moon is so named because plenty of moonlight is ideal for hunters shooting migrating birds in Northern Europe. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not much to say about this one. Seems fine. Nothing offensive, nothing too memorable. It's pretty funny that he's got BELLA (7D: "Twilight" protagonist) up there next to a full moon (i.e. the BLOOD MOON), since the "Twilight" series involves werewolves. It's less funny that NUVA (17A: ___Ring (birth control brand)) is somehow being accepted as a standalone answer, when it's not a word, real or commercial or whatever. The brand is NuvaRing, one word. I don't know if I've ever seen one part of a camel-capped word allowed to fly solo like this. Feels really wrong. The short Acrosses in that NE section are pretty weak in general — all in the name of JIU JITSU, I guess (it is a pretty sweet word; 10D: Practice with locks and pins?). I like DAWG (41A: "Wassup, ___?") over BARK (46A: Where you might see some initials — carved into trees, I guess). Some of the question mark clues were cute, or tough to see through, but there's just not a lot here to make you sit up and take notice.

I had trouble getting started in the NW—a lot of trouble. First pass rendered virtually nothing — LOSS (21A: Perfect-record breaker) and ROC-A (9D: Jay-Z's ___-Fella Records), I think. After flailing a bit, I somehow guessed NO PROBLEMO off of just that final "O" (13A: "Easy peasy!"), and it all opened up from there. BELLA/EMILY (8D: "Bones" actress Deschanel) /ROC-A/WEBBER (4A: Five-time N.B.A. All-Star Chris) seems a pretty massive cluster of contemporary names / pop culture clues. NO PROBLEMO for me, but for others, maybe more of a PROBLEMO. Had some trouble in the SW, trying OUTDATED before OUT OF USE (33D: Defunct) and trying and failing many times to come up with a company that started "CLIN..." (it's CLINIQUE—32D: Company that gets a lot of its money from foundations?). Once I got past DUGONG (26D: Sea grass grazer) and into the SE, things got easy again and I was home free. At first I thought DUGONG was DUGOUT ... as in, a DUGOUT canoe ... that "grazes" sea grass ... as it glides along ... in the sea? I guess. Had HEAD for HOPE (43A: One might lose it in a crisis), but otherwise, cake down there.

Bullets:
  • 1A: Japan's Prince Hirobmi ___ (ITO) — bah. I'm sure I've seen this ITO before, but couldn't remember him. I'll take the judge or the skater.
  • 29A: Literally, "different lizards" (ALLOSAURUSES) — not hard, but somehow annoying. Did not like the plural. Don't quite understand my own strong distaste here, but there it is.
  • 32A: Descartes found this truth to be self-evident (COGITO ERGO SUM) — love this clue, which spins the word "self-evident" in an unexpected direction.
  • 34A: Colorful stage performers since 1987 (BLUE MAN GROUP) — don't think I've seen them in the puzzle before. Cool (I mean, as an answer — as a group they just creep me out).
  • 35A: There are 50 in a keg of Newcastle (LITRES) — pretty easy to infer this answer. British liquid measurement—not many places to go from there.
  • 36A: Home of Polar Bear Prov. Park (ONT.) — my first guess, but I balked because of my DUGOUT-for-DUGONG issues.
  • 52A: Put off retirement? (STAY UP LATE) — phrase that reminds me of only one thing:


  • 11D: Troubadour's creation (LOVE POEM) — had the POEM part and thought "TONE POEM? That's pretty modern for a troubadour..."


  • 41D: Il Poeta (DANTE) — Nice fat Dante gimme, two days in a row! Nice literary complement to its neighboring "Hamlet"-related answer, ARRAS (42D: Decoration for Gertrude's room in "Hamlet")
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

71 comments:

syndy 12:35 AM  

Rex your strong distaste is because it is rediculous! plural of allosaur is ALLOSAUR!! sheesh! Also Equiangular? REally? apparently scholars from Brown are cut a little slack. I think I'm MIFFed

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

Did this while watching Trump fire someone he did not want to fire, which means there were two of us struggling to find a way out….

jae 2:26 AM  
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jae 2:27 AM  

I liked it. Pretty good medium Fri., although syndy's ALLOSAUR problem rings true. BEQ has thrown JLO at me enough so 10a was a gimmie as was ITO which we've also seen before. I had ACT for PUN initially and struggled a bit with the spelling of JIUJITSU but the rest was NO real PROBLEMO except for running the alphabet on BA_K to get BARK. Lively puzzle!

ergo sum andrea 2:30 AM  

Almost a pangram, but no Z!!!
Or should I say STAYUPLATE = No Zs?

But fun to have a word with TWO J's. And there are also 2 Qs, so...there!

I liked this puzzle bec I had a misstart for almost every single word...
Home for Ken and Barbie? Why, MALIBU, right? Far cry from TOYBOX, but I hung in there.

Deschanel? ZOOEY! OK, so I spelled it wrong...I blame Ms Wheeler.

How ironic that Easy-Peasy has at least 5 answers (almost enough for a puzzle) so that made it not NOPROBLEMO for me, DAWG.

Since I initially had UlcerS for Pepto-Bismol, I spent a long time with -OLE trying to figure out what you might lose in a crisis. A Pole? a Mole? your Sole? (OK, spelled wrong)

Some nits:
Don't ask for 40A "Like some love" and then have in the grid 11D LOVEPOEM. FIE!

Small question over the EEE clue...I get the pun for shoe/flat but do men where flats? I mean, isn't EEE for a man's shoe size?

(And I guess someone should look into that NUVA thing that @Rex caught.)

Anyway, I liked the collegiality of this puzzle...A little DANTE, a little Descartes, UNREQUITED love,
STAYingUPLATE. Sorority DELTAS, INHALE.
I feel like I'm back in a dorm!

Anyway, bravo, Jonah!

protege01 2:39 AM  

Easiest Friday I've ever done! Normally I struggle all day but I actually finished before bed. Maybe I was just lucky.

I did have DINOSAURS instead of ALLOSAURS which screwed up the middle. And lots of trouble in the SE with those long acrosses but still record time for me

Probably my 2nd fav of the week so far.

johnl 3:49 AM  

Ito Hirobumi was not a prince. He was PM.

johnl 4:20 AM  
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johnl 4:23 AM  

I did a bit more research. I was thinking of a prince as a member of a royal family. In that sense he was not a prince. He was given an honorary title that is sometimes translated as 'prince.'

shrub5 5:23 AM  

This one was pretty gnarly in places. Had DIV (Divinity School) for the preordained? instead of SEM. Resulted in DLIME which I realized had to be SLIME. While I was amid this mess, I considered DITZES for 'some sorority women'. Had to google for the Descartes line COGITO etc. because I was mired in the middle and couldn't hack my way out. I had the troubadour creating a LOVE---- so had LOVESONG of course. In a crisis, I lost my HEAD, my COOL and finally HOPE.

This was my first encounter with a DUGONG --looks kinda cute in Rex's pic in a humongous sort of way. WEBBER was a big fat gimme as he was a superstar on my beloved Sacramento Kings.

Jonah, this was a difficult but ultimately satisfying exercise -- lots of fresh, meaty answers/clues -- a first-rate creation!!

Rebbie 6:49 AM  

Easy-peasy. Half my usual Friday time.

I'm seeing a J for Jonah made of black squares in the grid, too. Probably a coincidence, but still.

El Bardo 8:35 AM  

Hamlet > Act II, scene II

KING CLAUDIUS: How may we try it further?

LORD POLONIUS: You know, sometimes he walks four hours together
Here in the lobby.

QUEEN GERTRUDE: So he does indeed.

LORD POLONIUS:
At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras then;
Mark the encounter: if he love her not
And be not from his reason fall'n thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Trouble, trouble, trouble...

David L 8:48 AM  

Not quite my fastest ever Friday, but close. Some good varied stuff in here -- liked DUGONG and BLUEMANGROUP -- not so keen on ALLOSAURUSES. I was shocked, let me tell you, that a youngster at Brown today would know anything about 55A. Is there nothing left for my generation to act superior about?

In my book, opine = MUSE is just flat wrong. Opine: express an opinion, perhaps forcefully. Muse: ponder dreamily, wonder about this, that, and the other.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Trouble,trouble, trouble....

The Big E 9:02 AM  

Some good new words today I had never seen either:
Jiujitsu, which I always remember seeing spelled as Jujitsu, seems to actually be a Brazilian word/spelling... Shouldn't that be factored into the clue somehow?
All three middle clues (loved em).
Nuva - I didn't realize this was actually one word. My fiancee uses it, so that was a gimme.
Loved "inhale" for "scarf down." That's what I (unfortunately) do with my food. :-(
All in all a relatively smooth puzzle.
The SE did have me messed up a little, as while I wanted Needed for Compulsory, I also wanted losing one's "head" instead of hope.
Only think I didn't really care for was "Reasons to use Pepto Bismol."
Ulcers would have been fine, but "upsets?" An upsets stomach, perhaps, or upset tummy... but "upsets." Seems forced and not well clued...

@Rex - I have your blog in my google reader, but didn't get yesterday's or wednesday's posts until this morning when I got three posts in a row... Any idea why this happened? Not a huge deal as I can (and did) easily come here through the url, but... Just thought I would mention it.

Happy puzzling all! Last weekend of wedding preparations from hell before the big day next week...
Anyone have some scotch and a cave to hide in??? Gah!!!

Greg

Vega 9:06 AM  

One of my quickest Fridays ever! And yet another reminder to me to toss in educated guesses, because tossing in JLO at 10A allowed me to demolish the NE in mere seconds. Rex had it right, though, that the pop-culture-sports cluster in the top middle (WEBBER-BELLA-EMILY-ROCA) would be a PROBLEMO for some of us.

Looked through the grid over and over trying to find the elusive Z. I wonder how frustrating that is, to be ONE letter away from a pangram. Maybe not very.

I liked this one! COGITOERGOSUM was terrific.

Smitty 9:38 AM  

Middle was hardest for me, since I messed up the crosses with LOVESONG and BLOODFEST and (stupidly) LITERS instead of LITRES.
I even had ZOOEY Deschanel (don't watch TV) which left me wondering if there was a Czechosolvakian NBA star named __ B_ZR

Nice cluing for DIOR, DOCTOR, BARK etc.

Not so much for HAIL and UPSETS

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

MUSE: I muse to think opine was aloud?

Ulrich 9:44 AM  

An unusually quick Friday for me, too--although that doesn't mean I was really fast--it only means I did it in one sitting with very little hesitation, after the Descartes quote got me off to a flying start. Spent the longest time in the end checking alternatives for DUGONG, which I had never heard before.

I was also pondering the strange shape of the grid--it's not the pretty, multi-symmetrical pattern we often get late in the week, nor is it a scattered "fly-speck" pattern we get earlier--those cheater squares create strange hooks. It looks like something, but can't tell what--perhaps valves in a contraption that can open and close depending on some material flow.

Anyway, that's how my solving went. From the center quote, I first did the NE with JIU JITSU, leaving some squares for later; then the SW; and then flowed through the gates to fill the rest, where BLOOD MOON gave me the creeps.

Matthew G. 9:44 AM  

@ Smitty, that was exactly my problem! I breezed through the middle, south, and NE, but I was completely unaware that Zooey Deschanel (whom I've seen and liked in a few films) has an older sister named EMILY. My false confidence was bolstered by having already solved DDAY but not the rest of the NW, so I had the Y correct and didn't really entertain any doubts about my choice of zooeY. Add to this the fact that basketball is the only major sport that I don't follow, but that I _do_ know the NBA has many Balkan and Eastern European players who might plausibly have Zs in their names, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Tobias Duncan 9:45 AM  

Typing in DAWG made me wince

Van55 9:52 AM  

No mention of the use of cheater squares today?

Solid, challenging puzzle for me.

chefbea 9:52 AM  

Tough puzzle DNF

Thought dudong would be WOD

OldCarFudd 9:54 AM  

Interesting and different, with some unusual cluing. Many things I inferred that I didn't know.

Is jiu jitsu the same martial art as judo?

Somehow I thought the plural of allosaurus would be allosauri.

No problemO drives me nuts! The Spanish expression is no problemA.

I'll be away next week, touring in my Model T, so all good wishes to The BigE and his bride.

The Big E 10:02 AM  

@OldCarFudd - while the Spanish word is indeed "el problema," there is definitely a "spanglish" phrase which is relatively common of "No problemo."
Perhaps it should be modified with a "slang" notation, but "no problemo" is a fairly common euphamism these days.

joho 10:02 AM  

I had many mistarts: INgest/INHALE, ended/ABOVE, etnA/OLLA, OUTdated/OUTOFUSE, UlcErS/UPSETS and like @Rex, DUGOut/DUGONG --in fact I was so proud of being able to get DUGOut I wouldn't give it up for way too long.

Utimately I finished with no errors so I'm happy, especially on a Friday.

I liked HYPERBOLIC, JIUJITSU, COGITOERGOSUM and CLINIQUE.

Thanks, Jonah, great job!

ArtLvr 10:09 AM  
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Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Great Puzzle. Impressive. Loved it. WTG, Jonah!

ArtLvr 10:11 AM  

Quite good, congrats to Jonah with a J-form in the grid! I got the lower two-thirds first last night, even knew the DUGONG! Then I erased my wrong Devon river and changed my Ended to ABOVE for Over, so that the NW cleared up in spite of ROC-A.

I did STAY UP LATE, too late to realize Tone poem wasn't right. Should have checked at the end and probably would have seen JLO, but NUVA would have remained unfamiliar even if correctly clued.

Agreed with @David L that MUSE is more to one's self even if out loud, while Opine involves delivery of thoughts to others.

And I think @Andrea is right about the shoes -- the Flats are for women, but widths EEE for men. However, the CLINIQUE "foundation" clue is cute!

∑;)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 AM  

Good puzzle. As for others, COGITOERGOSUM opened up most of the middle for me. Just one write-over, NOVA before NUVA. (Thank you, Rex. I had never seen the CamelCapital explanation before.) Never heard of BLOODMOON either, but easy enough to guess.

PuzzleNut 10:25 AM  

Strange experience with this one. Had much more difficulty than I should have, in hindsight. Seemed like I got sucked into way too many misdirects (UlcErS, ediTOR, ScuMS, to name a few).
Started slow with a few answers here and there. Finished the NE first and then the big middle section. Even with my pitiful literature knowledge, got DANTE off the D and UNREQUITED off the N. The statistic of PUNs in Shakespeare's plays seems a little far-fetched, but it fits.
The NW was my last area. I had nothing at all other than DDAY and it looked like a big DNF coming up. Then, a wild guess at ITO based on a very vague memory, which led to TOYBOX, EXE and within 45 seconds it all fell into place. Didn't know EMILY or zooey and ROCA sounded pretty good (but unknown).
Overall, a good Friday that stretched me and taught me a few new things.

The Hag 10:27 AM  

Puns are totally my thing so I loved this one. STAYUPLATE also put me in mind of Talking Heads

Though I'm not a huge MUSE fan, oddly enough, I have both "Starlight" by them and "Still Alive", the ending song of PORTAL, by Jonathan Coulton on an ipod playlist I named "SciFi". Said list also includes, the theme from Dr. Who, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by The Flaming Lips, "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" from the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide, by Neil Hannon, "Twilight" by perennial crossword favorites ELO and "Fett's Vette" by nerd-core rapper mc chris.

Two Ponies 10:27 AM  

Impressive long stacks.
Like @Ulrich I was musing over the unusual grid but I think @ArtLvr pegged it by seeing the J's.
Good one Jonah.
I could not believe how easily this fell considering that so much was skewed pretty south of my age group.
I liked the misdirection for arrow keys. Blood moon had my mind in the sky.
Indoors or out? is a frequent question at my house.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:49 AM  

Jonah, did some serious whaling with this Friday offering...lots of Bark in this Brown Dawg...Pun intended!

dk 11:19 AM  

These kids and their drug related puzzle construction... all those js: tsk tsk (as we might fill).

Kept getting 29A and 32A confused as my little gray cells cogitated. Agree with the negative comments about ALLOSAURUSES as a plural, not in any dictionary I have. Again, must be all those Js causing words to be slurred

My nits aside another fine offering from the Brunonians. Thank you Jonah

*** (3 Stars) I do wish we cold just call the DUGONGs and Manatees seacows

Doug P. 11:19 AM  

Rex said "I don't know if I've ever seen one part of a camel-capped word allowed to fly solo like this."

We've seen it quite a few times in clues for OSH: "___Kosh B'Gosh." That still doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Mel Ott 11:23 AM  

I also had a slow start in the NW. Thought 4A had to be either WEBBER or Mullin, but couldn't reconcile that with the rebus I thought would be at 6D because that just had to be huntersMOON! Finally figgered it out despite the cluster of proper names in the right hand corner.

At first I had the ubiquious eLO at 10A and wondered if ther was more than one kind of JITSU in Japanese martial arts. After correcting to JLO I got NUVA only because there had to be a U in there somewhere.

I'm tired of all three ITOs.

As a boater I really appreciated the navigational misdirection at 31D.

KooKooKaChoo 11:27 AM  

Poor Emily. She finally makes the NYT crossword, and everyone's miffed she's not her sister. DNF for me. Lost my **it down south and couldn't work it out. Hail hail?!?! We only say that when it's coming down like ping-pong balls. Panic for parse/head for hope etc.
Liked it, but feel very, very old.

archaeoprof 11:38 AM  

What @ergo sum michaels, @ulrich, and @chefbea said.

@ergo sum: sounds like we went to college together. Did we meet back then? I might not remember...

The Hag 11:43 AM  

@KooKooKaChoo

Pick your decade:
Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here!(???)
Hail, Hail, Freedonia! (The Marx Bros., well technically Margaret Dumont)
Hail, Hail, Rock-n-Roll! (Chuck Berry)
Hail, Hail....erm, just Hail, Hail (Pearl Jam)

KooKooKaChoo 11:56 AM  

@the hag OK. Corrected. Feel very, very middle aged.

Lindsay 11:59 AM  

Two errors! Never heard of Nuva, and couldn't figure out how to spell jiu jitsu. Even worse, never heard of dugong, so I crossed it with Wassup, DAWK.

tom 12:01 PM  
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Anonymous 12:13 PM  

¡Ay, caramba!

testicles the ancient greek 12:15 PM  

Jay-Z is no longer with Roc-A-Fella. I object to the possessive in the clue.

Matthew G. 12:24 PM  

The problem with HAIL is that, to those of us who are fantasy and medieval nerds, it works perfectly well un-repeated. That's why I resisted it a bit.

BigSteve46 12:33 PM  

Rex, you hit the nail on the head re. an excessive bunch-up of pop culture, with twilight protagonist, actress Duchanel and Jay-Z record label - right in a row (7/8/9 down).

I am an admitted geezer and I realize as I try to introduce my about-to-graduate-college-age daughter to the joys of NYT x-word puzzling, how dated much of the fill is. But at least spread it out - the old and the new - so we all have a puncher's chance to get unknown answers by the cross. It is a CROSSWORD puzzle, after all ...

Just my (now seriously deflated) 2 cents -

Old Fa*t in lower Westchester

Tia Maria 12:34 PM  

No problemo is supposed to rhyme.
It's not meant to be accurate.
It's slang.

It ain't Spanish 12:36 PM  

(Here we go again.)

RE: no problemo:

Definition from Wiktionary

Originally, and largely still, Mock Spanish. A hyperforeignism, since the correct Spanish word is problema (“problem”).

1.(informal) No problem.

And Wikipedia:

The expression is sometimes used as an instance of "pseudo-Spanish" or mock Spanish. Its usage as a Spanish expression is incorrect, because a translation would be no hay problema or ningĂșn problema.

P>G>

Glitch 12:49 PM  

@P>G> beat me to it, so I'll just add NOTHING in the clue indicated "no problemo" was Spanish.

It's a fairly common American/English expression.

.../Glitch

Masked and Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Couldn't be too hard a FriPuz. Even *I* finished it up pretty fast. Barely got thru my cinnamon roll ahead of gettin' thru the puz. Cinnamon roll . . . mmmmm.

Had no idea how to spell JIUJITSU or NUVA(Ring). Just threw up a guess and wouldnta bet the house, but. . . came out OK. Don't get CLINIQUE as an answer for the clue. Word ain't even in my dictionary. Explain to the dimwits, please.

ALLOSAURUSES seems ok by me. Kinda like Rex-o-sauruses (except we know there's only one of those).

Hi-Yo, Twelve U's, away . . .

Clark 12:58 PM  

First word in, NO PROBLEMO. Lost in a crisis, cOol -> HOmE -> HOPE. I had to sleep on the whole texas to florida part (except the LSD in the Keys). But it all became clear in the light of day. Nice Friday puzzle.

@MaA -- Clinique is a brand of skin care, make-up, cosmetics . . . products.

Dashiell 1:55 PM  

Enjoyed this one! Had some trouble across the north. I had ZOOEY instead of EMILY (never seen Bones) and ON_TOP crossed with DEVOUR instead of ABOVE crossed with INHALE, all of which totally threw me for a bit. But DANTE, NUVA, A_JET, UNREQUITED, DDAY, SEM, BELLA, ROCA, LSD, LITRES, and OR_OUT all came right away giving me the confidence to keep at it and chip away. Took awhile but managed to finish with no cheating!

I liked BLUE_MAN_GROUP and COGITO_ERGO_SUM (which took me a bit but then was self-evidently the answer once I figured it out) a lot and even ALLOSAURESES, though goofy, was a pretty fun little gimme for me (knew it had to end in SAURESES and ALLO came with DELTAS. Only knew that one b/c my sister was one). Some nice cluing: Put off Retirement? for STAY_UP_LATE, flag for EBB, Christian with many robes? for DIOR all seemed pretty clever to me. BLLOD_MOON was interesting, didn't know why it was called that before, got it from a bunch of crosses.

I got a few, AGER, OLLA, DUGONG for example, only thanks to crosses but don't recall knowing those words from before. Wasn't a big fan of YESSES since it's not something ever used in real life as far as I know, especially not when referring to approval of something. Other than that I was a fan. Relatively easy for a Friday I thought since I did get through it all without a whole heap of trouble which isn't always the case.

mac 2:01 PM  

Excellent, with the biggest smile for "Cogito ergo sum"!

Forgot about the arras, so had dowg, before that dude. Never heard of Emily but wanted Zooey, and poor Chris could easily have had a Z in his name where I was concerned.

I see 2 Js in the grid, as well. Shouldn't they be Bs?

My nit: a troubadour is a singer, shouldn't it have been lovesong?

Good luck, Greg!

Joe 2:03 PM  

I have trouble believing everyone has ignored the fact that the constructor is an 18-year-old, whose skill with puns and other wordplay is quite impressive. Several of the comments have a strong sour-grapes component.

CoffeeLvr 2:39 PM  

I agree with @Joe, great job for college sophomore. Thank heavens for my son, finally got something out of reading him the same damn dinosaur book at bedtime night after night. Since he is class of '09, I have picked up some collegiate slang.

@Rex, not only is the Twilight series about werewolves, there are also vampires, making BLOOD MOON doubly fitting next to BELLA, who is torn between the werewolf Jacob and the vampire Edward. I also have a niece in HS. I know, who cares (about Twilight)?

I noticed a mini-theme with LOVE SONG, "Leaving on A JET Plane," HOPE, UNREQUITED, LOSS, NEEDED. I remember all of the summer of '70 with just three songs, the aforementioned, "Suzanne." and "Fire and Rain."

I liked seeing CUSP. Nicely related to HYPERBOLIC.

BTW, finished with no assistance, no errors, so good Friday for me.

Captcha today is another 19A vessel over heat: caldemi, a very small cauldron.

shmuel421 3:22 PM  

On the Newcastle clue, my instinct was to go with "Drafts" instead of "Litres" which threw me off a bit.

sanfranman59 3:23 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 21:32, 26:33, 0.81, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:51, 12:57, 0.84, 21%, Easy-Medium

The Big E 3:37 PM  

@mac - thanks! even the little things are piling up, and with everything that needs to be accomplished in the next few days, I am NOT looking forward to this weekend!!! :-)
Next weekend, however, is a totally different story!!! :-)

hazel 4:09 PM  

I had bloodbath for BLOODMOON for a long time, which seemed super creepy. When bloodmoon emerged, though, it reminded me of the wonderful novel by Charles Frazier (Thirteen Moons) so xword balance was restored - until OUTOFUSE became inevitable - which sounds like a nonsense phrase, something Borat might say.

Thought this was an ambitious effort by Jonah, though, just slightly marred by some iffy fill here and there. Looking forward to more puzzles by him, as I imagine they will only get better.

Rube 5:56 PM  

Had PROBLEMOs in the Dakotas, as predicted by RP, so Googled for EMILY and ROCA. When BELLA then appeared, thought Lugosi, but no, that's Bela. I'll bet that's no coincidence. Read a couple of the Anne Rice books awile back and got tired of the genre.

At my age, NUVARing is not of much interest, but CamelCaps is. Googled it. Great expression as long as you think of two humped camels. (I've only ridden the one humped version, which are actually dromedaries.) Unfortunately, us oldies think of Camel cigarettes which have a picture of a dromedary on the pack. I think I knew this a long time ago, but have forgotten it, (like so much else).

Better post this before something else interrupts me.

jae 8:22 PM  

Reading these comments in cold light of day I realized I had an error I'd overlooked last night. I had BORE for 4d and my lack of interest in BBall gave me no way to fix it. I also had a bit more trouble solving than I admitted to last night. I had CRAMPS and ULCERS before UPSETS and INGEST before INHALE. Still a fine puzzle!

mac 8:47 PM  

I miss Foodie!

Fat Lady Who Doesn't Sweat Much 8:54 PM  

I find qualifiers such as "for a sophmore", "for a first timer", "for a youngster" demeaning.

A puzzle is good enough to be published in the NYT, or it isn't --- as per Will's opinion.

I doubt Will gives bonus points, or a pass, because a constructor is a Brown student, left handed, or under 21.

P>G>

edith b 9:46 PM  

I agree with @fat lady about qualifiers. I decided long ago that if it is NYT quality, age doesn't matter and I wouldn't comment on that basis.

I struggled more than I wanted to on this one as I went down every wrong path imaginable. I knew BLOODMOON from a Chuck Logan mystery novel I read years ago, Hunters Moon. It is funny to me that it always seems to come back to literary references rather than actual experience to me.

edith b 9:47 PM  

and @mac - I miss foodie too!

The Big E 9:58 PM  

Count me in amongst those who miss Foodie! :-(

sanfranman59 9:59 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 6:04, 6:57, 0.87, 6%, Easy
Tue 8:38, 8:53, 0.97, 49%, Medium
Wed 11:15, 11:41, 0.96, 43%, Medium
Thu 17:03, 19:13, 0.89, 35%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:41, 26:33, 0.82, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:42, 0.91, 11%, Easy
Tue 4:37, 4:35, 1.01, 60%, Medium
Wed 6:06, 5:46, 1.06, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:43, 9:13, 0.84, 30%, Easy-Medium
Fri 10:03, 12:56, 0.78, 17%, Easy

TimJim 7:41 AM  

Wow. Loved this puzzle, but it was tough. Got up early and finished NW, when NOPROBLEMO suddenly came to mind. Didn't know or only vaguely knew many of the long answers but was able to figure out through crosses. That to me is the definition of a fine puzzle.

dls 1:24 PM  

Fastest Friday of the year for me (in fact, my first sub-10-min Friday ever, I believe).

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