Luther opponent Johann / 9-10-10 / Hayseed's greeting / Big name in retail jewelry / Much-maligned mascot / Fiji rival

Friday, September 10, 2010

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: OBSEQUY (44D: Burial rite) —

n., pl., -quies.
A funeral rite or ceremony. Often used in the plural. (
• • •

Started out lightning fast on this one (reverse of my normal puzzle pattern of late), tearing up the NW and then moving steadily, if somewhat less quickly, down the west coast. Then there was stalling, first in the NE, where REDRAW for REZONE16A: Change the boundaries of—really &%*$d me up, and unknowns OSMIC (30A: ___ acid (microscopic staining compound)) and ECK (34A: Luther opponent Johann) didn't help much either; then, especially, in the south. Let's start with BIG POPPA (41A: 1995 platinum rap hit that starts "To all the ladies in the place with style and grace"), which I assumed was BIG POPPY, clearly conflating my rap stars and my Red Sox stars. Since I knew the "Y" was wrong, I figured the whole shebang was wrong, so took it out. Then there's G'DAY (42D: Victorian's greeting)—didn't know Australia had a "Victoria"— and BARS (couldn't see it, despite briefly considering prison as a context) (53A: Structures near cell walls) and "OY VEY" (which would be cute if this were an ultra-regional puzzle, which it's not) (56A: "Leaving Brooklyn: ___!" (Williamsburg Bridge sign)), and then OBSEQUY (a word I recognize but could not have defined). That's a lot of ??? to piece together in one little place. Still managed to get through this in a pretty normal time, though once again, for probably the 6th week in a row, Fridays are trending way harder than they were (for me) in the first part of the year.

It's a pretty unambitious grid as Fridays go—maximum word count (72), and not a lot of really open space. It's a pangram, which doesn't interest me at all, but it's something. What is with the spelling on "HOW D'YE DO?" I had "HOWDY DOO!" which somehow seemed cleaner and better, if less, uh, grammatical (31A: Hayseed's greeting). Though the [Big name in retail jewelry] should be ZALE'S, since that's the store's name. ZALE is the eponym, I guess. Misspelling HAYEK (48A: Salma of the screen) as HAYAK kept EMINEM hidden from me for a bit. I completely forgot that he'd release anything lately, let alone that that anything won a Grammy (50D: 2009 Grammy winner for "Relapse"). I really wanted AMYWINEHOUSE to fit in that slot.

I gotta get back to the season-opening NFL game now, so ... let's see what's left:

  • 15A: NyQuil ingredient? (CAPITAL Q) — that "?" made the gist of this clue transparent. Note that the answer is not CAPITAL KEW (see yesterday's puzzle)
  • 40A: Havana greeting ('ALO) — I've seen 'ALLO, but not 'ALO before. Seems sketchy.
  • 9D: Roadrunner feature (CREST) — had the "ST" and still had to think a bit, mainly because I wasn't sure if the clue wanted the bird or the Time Warner ISP.
  • 10D: Code for Latin America's busiest airport (MEX) — ... ico City? Yes.
  • 11D: San Diego State team (AZTECS) — conjuring this up from my California childhood helped me fix the REDRAW issue in the NE.
  • 12D: Much-maligned mascot (JOE CAMEL) — wanted CHIEF WAHOO.
  • 32D: Boom Blox console (WII) — "console" in three letters tells you a lot.
  • 37D: Nerd-rejecting high-school group (COOL KIDS) — got this remarkably quickly—very nice, in-the-language phrase.
  • 51D: Orange dwarfs (K-STARS) — had the "K" and just wrote in STARS, despite knowing almost nothing about astronomy. I know enough to know that "dwarf" is an astronomical term. I think there was a movie or scifi novel called "Red Dwarf" that taught me this. Hmmm, it appears to be the name of a British comedy I've never seen in my life. How odd:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. there is an open house this weekend for Caleb Madison's JASA crossword construction class: Sunday, Sep. 12, noon, at the John Jay building (10th Ave. between 58th and 59th). Here's a link to JASA's fall catalog: Course goal is to construct a puzzle suitable for submission to Will Shortz at the NYT (he has published two such puzzles so far). JASA = Jewish Association for Services for the Aged—you must be 55 to enroll in the course. Caleb is smart, charismatic, and enthusiastic. I would take this course (if I lived in then NYC area and were 15 years older). Highly recommended.


Zeke 12:17 AM  

So, an obsequy is where you fawn all over the dead guy?

I had a total blank on the NW, stopped to watch Brett get picked off yet again, came back and filled it in in about 5 seconds.

If you walked in the woods with my new dog, you would not refer to it as an amble. An unlikely cross between a lab and a coon hound, she has no concept of either a) staying out of water, or b) not striving to find something to chase.

Nice puzzle, though it wupped my redneck butt.

hazel 12:36 AM  

Sad to think that obsequys has devolved into the more pejorative obsequious. Unless it hasn't, of course.

Nice Friday puzzle for the insomniac. Had to come at it sideways, and build it brick by brick. Was kind of astonished when it was finished. Never would have happened a year ago. Go RexBlog!

P.S. I think its Big Papi. Big Poppy sounds something the Taliban might be into.

r.alphbunker 2:12 AM  

RP's apostrophe made me happy with howd'ye do but "get" for confound? "You got me" makes sense as a replacement for "you confounded me" but the present tense seems unnatural to me. To get somebody is to confound them? Or am I missing something?

Thought this was on the challenging side.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

You mixed up Hayak/Hayek in your post.

joho 8:06 AM  

I don't time myself but I've never done a Friday this fast. I got SHOWOFFS right off the bat and proceeded at an unusually steady pace for a Friday.

There's a hickish minitheme with the clues and answers of hillbillies, rednecks, hayseeds and HOWDYEDO.

OYVEY tickled me.

I had one square wrong in the end. oDAY sounded more Victorian in England to me. Had I realized it was Australia GDAY would have jumped out at me. Oh well.

Thank you, Peter Wentz, for a fun Friday and a pangram to boot.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

dap = fist bump?


Leslie 8:41 AM  

Yeah, apparently DAP does equal fist bump. I've seen that elsewhere, but can't remember where.

Rex, "would have been cute?" C'mon, I'm from Michigan via West Texas and I thought OY VEY was gettable and a hoot!

Other favorites: C MAJOR, OH, IT'S YOU, COOL KIDS, DULCIMER, UNDIES, SQUISHY . . . okay, I just liked this one a lot.

"Comishly," Leslie

JayWalker 8:42 AM  

Had "juiced up" instead of "jazzed up" and didn't proof myself! Damn!!!! Other than that . . . lots of guessing went into solving today's puzzle.

The Big E 8:48 AM  

@anon 8:19 - also confused me, so had to google:
I use this form of greeting sometimes with friends in a jocular way (particularly my gym buddies), but had no idea this is what it was called.
Lots of commonalities today:
Hayek, MEX, Peseta... (spanish)
Eminem and Big Poppa... (rap)
Jacobi, Cate, Hayek, Elke... (actors)
check, Zloty, Peseta... (money)
How d'ye do, g'day, oy vey (common expression derived from other languages/dialects)

@r.alphbunker - the only thing I would say is that sometimes a person might say "get 'em" as a form of encouragement, which could be used in any number of situations. Take sports - you want to confound your opponents, and your coach might encourage you to "get" the other team... "Go get em!!!"

Probably the quickest Friday puzzle I have done in a long time, and it was made all the more pleasurable by that wonderful word:
SQUISHY!!! :-)

Have a great weekend, all!


Cletus 8:59 AM  

"Howdye do"? Is that how it's parsed? "Howdy, Edo"? (Japanese hillbillies?)

Seriously, that is awful. If it's "How'd ye do?" I guess it's a bit better. No, wait, it's worse. I'm' calling it a tie. They're all equally atrocious.

I don't get bent out of shape about much of anything in a puzzle as long as the fill comprises actual words and phrases or at least abbreviations, some of which may be questionable, of course, but I'll usually give the benefit of the doubt to the constructor on abbreviations.

31A is just outrageous, though. Can anybody justify it?

Glimmereglass 8:59 AM  

"Get" is a big stretch. Maybe in the sense of "pull a joke on" or "trick with a verbal quip." Long stretch though. Both "get" and "dap" are clear from the crosses, however. I had a lot of trouble with the NE. Didn't know MEX (though it's inferable), Cate, Aztecs, or osmic. Finally guessed "Joe Camel," which gave me "C Major," and worked it through. I thought that corner was very hard.

ArtLvr 9:04 AM  

Wow, it's Friday already! Tough puzzle, but I had a good start with Derek JACOBI, one of my favorite actors not only from the superb EPIC'S title role in "I, Claudius" but also as the lead in Ellis Peters' medieval mysteries featuing Brother Cadfael.

Some faux starts in other areas included Funeral for OBSEQUY, Goofoffs for SHOWOFFS, Tacoma for YAKIMA, even Bronx for OYVEY! Also, Pop music items like BIG POPPA will GET me every time, unless FIXable through crosses.

I got everything in the end except the K in HAYEK. which will probably occur to me next time if my memory isn't too SQUISHY. Kudos to Peter Wentz for a clever pangram!


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Got the whole left side very easily. As for the right, well.... aauggh!! I agree with Cletus (as I also had HOWDYDOO).

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

The top right was murder for me. Had CSCALE and UNEDIT and not much else. Had to google to get CATE and AZTECS, and then finished the puzzle.

David L 9:47 AM  

Definitely an easy Friday for me -- got GDAY without any crosses and a lot of the other clues just seemed to click.

I don't object to HOWDYEDO but to me it seems more like the kind of thing dapper gents say to each other in Victorian novels when they're ambling down Bond Street.

Agree that GET for confound in the present tense doesn't work somehow, even tho it's fine in the past tense. You got me there, ACE -- but 'you get me' means the opposite -- you understand me.

mitchs 9:48 AM  

Flew through the NW, then slowly but surely came to a stop with the NE and mid-south pretty much all ivory and no ebony.

Took a while, but eventually plodded through, with a medium/hard time.

Didn't like GET or OOMPH, but lots of good stuff like SQuISHY and DULCIMER more than made up for it.

Cletus 9:56 AM  

I don't object to the clue or the purported answer--it would be a good one. EXCEPT THERE IS NO SUCH SPELLING OF ANY WORD AS "HOWDYE".

JC66 10:07 AM  

I tore through the upper half (tho I did question HOWDYEDO), ambled through the SW and came to a screeching halt in the SE. Like @Rex, I misspelled Selma HAYaK and I didn't know OBSEQUY, which really messed me up.

@ ArtLvr

Maybe this will help us remember SALMA HAYEK.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  


How do ye do? = How d'ye do?

fikink 10:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
fikink 10:28 AM  

Even if one parses it "HOWD'YE DO" what "hayseed" do you know who uses, "Ye"? Or are we calling the Amish and the Quakers hayseeds? Ah so!

Agree that confounding someone places them in the passive voice and GOT is called for.

@Hazel, @Zeke, I am one of those who only knew "obsequious" with no thought to its root. Nice to learn, glad it is WOTD.

Whipped down the West Coast, but stalled in the East.
Really enjoyed the challenge, Peter Wentz. Great texture!

Cletus 10:30 AM  

If it's "How d'ye do?" I am closer to accepting the answer but further from accepting the clue. There's nothing particularly "hayseed" about that pronunciation--it's kind of how everybody on this side of the Atlantic would say it, as opposed to in an overly enunciated way, and aside from that it's not a phrase a "hayseed" would be likely to use (in our hypothetical fictional crossword world of what we think hayseeds talk like.)

Squeek the Anonymouse 10:42 AM  

See? Just yesterday I said makin' fun of white trash was fair game even though Ah So was getting the big PC discussion.
Us red necks say Howdy Do or Howdy or Hi Y'all.
We say that while we play our dulcimers and banjos.
Besides the ridge runners slammin' we have WAY too much rap crap today.

Smitty 10:42 AM  

Medium? Guess I need to solve a lot more puzzles before ZLOTY, OSMIC, BAAL, ECK and OBSEQUY roll off the tongue.
I agree ZALE should be ZALES, and take issue with the cluing that the word DULCIMER "literally" means sweet song, although there's speculation that it may *derive* from two words from different languages Dolce (L) and Melos (Gr),
I would think that if anything it "literally" means sweet sea.
Just sayin...

Rex Parker 10:52 AM  

The joys of mail: reader B. F. writes—

"Sir .. For your information , Melbourne which is Australia's 2nd largest city is in the state of Victoria a fact which seems not to have escaped Peter Wentz and Will Shortz.
Seemingly another case of some Americans ignorance of the rest of the world."

PuzzleNut 10:54 AM  

The west was definitely easier for me than the east. Like Rex and others, jumped off to a quick start in the NW. Got the C MAJOR from CREST (working with my son on music theory), but then had to fight REliNE, EXpaND, trig and kATE. Spelled HAYEK correctly and was at a loss with anything that starts with KS. My knowledge of rap music is limited to EMINEM and DRE, so I was lucky that one of them fit. I agree that OYVEY was perfectly acceptable (tho I'm a Texan from MI).
My last letter was the D in DAP and that was a complete guess. Rex's parse of HOW'D YE DO made as much sense as HOWDYE DO, but I agree with many other posters that it is just a terrible answer. I did, however, love @Cletus's parse as HOWDY EDO. Even tried HOW DYE DO and HOW DYED O and finally concluded that I better just come here and see where I messed up.

OldCarFudd 10:56 AM  

I don't have a dog in the Howdyedo fight. However, I couldn't see it and got it wrong because I thought a fist bump was a rap.

Like many of you, I did well in the NW, and then sussed the SW, and then - er- uh - nothing for a long time. Had to do the kenkens and check my e-mail and then come back to the puzz. And then it worked, all but the one error above.

Melbourne is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria.

SethG 10:58 AM  

Took me until ALO/ZLOTY to get started, was still on pace for under 10 until I blanked on AZTECS and took 5 minutes in the upper right. I've never been under 10.

Didn't notice the pangram, did notice the Scrabbleliness.

ZALE Corporation owns Zales, Gordon's, Piercing Pagoda and some others. So it's both the eponym and the company.

dk 11:01 AM  

Go Saints: can't say that at this end of the big muddy but I think it is safe here.

Never got in gear with this puzzle. I blame my neighbor who is a peeping tom. We thought we had him under control (with the help of the AG and police) but he is back at it. Big problem with serial criminals is they never abridge only EXTEND. Time to charge up the Taser.

Sorry way off track.

Thought of Fiji as film (know it is Fuji) or an island, had no clue for BIGPOPPA, confidently filled in JAZZEsUP and had fall for YULE. Thus the South Central States were drought stricken until I Googled (insert heavy sigh about here) 41A.

*** (3 Stars) a humbled dk.

Because I like to look things up 11:09 AM  


The company began in 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas, when Morris (M.B.) Zale, William Zale, and Ben Lipshy opened the first Zales Jewelers store.

Zale Corporation (NYSE: ZLC) is, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America. As of July 31, 2009, Zale operated 1,247 specialty retail jewelry stores and 684 kiosks located mainly in shopping malls throughout the United States of America, Canada and Puerto Rico.[3] The Zale Corporation was incorporated in Delaware in 1993. The principal executive offices are located in Irving, Texas.


Bob Kerfuffle 11:10 AM  

Ouch! At almost an hour, more challenging than medium for me. Finished correctly, but one write-over really had me stalled: for 65 A, Literally, "sweet song", I had BELCANTO, which fit YULE and ACE and therefore Just Couldn't Be Wrong, until I filled in enough to lead me to DULCIMER.

Good puzzle!

Sandy 11:10 AM  

Your offended Australian reader made me laugh. I used to get similarly offended when people asked me what language we spoke in New Zealand, but stopped when I realized there were lots of countries I knew nothing about. If he or she can name the second largest province/state/district/department of other countries with a population of approx 21 million, I would be genuinely impressed and would apologize for laughing. (for example: Cameroon, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Cote d'Ivoire, Syria, Taiwan)

Clark 11:15 AM  

I breezed through three quarters of this puzzle, but then I dun got got by that thar NE corner. I didn't even get CMAJOR. There I was lying on the couch next to my Steinway B trying to imagine something that has ivory but no ebony. Looking forward to saying HOWDY EDO to the Saturday puzzle.

Ulrich 11:24 AM  

@Sandy: How about having Germany referred to as a "third-world country"? True story!

My happy moment was guessing DULCIMER just from the ending ER, offset by the fact that the K in the KIT/Yakima crossing remained unresolvable for me, which made the puzzle more than hard--I'm googling now for the meaning of "kit" I apparently do not know.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Not one of my favorites, too many rap references for me. But I don't claim to be representative.

"Howdyedo", though, should have been sufficient reason to send this back for rewrite.

Jean Valjean 11:26 AM  

@Rex - I'm pretty sure that of the trio of lust, sex, hunger that landed that poor waif behind bars, it was hunger that truly did her in. Poor thing probably stole a loaf of bread or something.

Two Ponies 11:29 AM  

Like many others the east was much tougher than the west.
I thought some of the clue/answer pairings were odd and not really in my wheelhouse.
Ace was one example and, as others have noted, get. Also did not see the kit/notion connection. I guess it "got" me.
I did like fix for pickle.
Joe Camel took too long because I was thinking team mascot.
San Diego State? I'm supposed to know that?
Howdyedo should have been scrapped.
@ Sandy, Good point about geography. Living in Vegas my favorite stupid question is "People live in Las Vegas?"

Ulrich 11:41 AM  

Eureka--I finally got the KIT/NOTION connection!!!! To all who were flummoxed like me, look up "notion", not "kit"!

chaos1 11:55 AM  

I agree with everyone else. The spelling and parsing possibilities of HOWDYEDO just sucks !!! It cost me a "no help" completion, so no Thursday, Friday, Saturday trifecta for me this week. I had HOWDYERO.

Thinking along the lines of @Cletus: Japanese Hillbillies, and
@fikink: Amish Hillbillies, Hispanic Hillbillies made about as much sense to me, as the correct fill. It would have helped if I had been familiar with the tern DAP, but RAP seemed more plausible. I RAP knuckles with BUDDIES. I don't DAP knuckles with ACES. How many of you out there, refer to your buddy as your ACE?

Had to get BIGPAPPA entirely through crosses. Likewise OBSEQUY. I also liked learning the root of obsequious.

@JC66: Great link! I guarantee, that you will never, ever, forget how to spell her name, if you rent the movie Ask The Dusk, starring her and Colin Farrell. Should that occur, don't try to do any crosswords immediately afterwords. You mind will be jelly. The ladies will like this movie as well. Bring Kleenex!

shrub5 12:15 PM  

@ulrich: I took "one with notions" to be a sewing KIT.

Got about half this puzzle done before having to google my way of the log jam. Had many of the missteps RP detailed. The one that "got" me the most was OSMIC. After 35+ years in the medical lab sphere, and performing countless types of stains, I have never heard of OSMIC acid. I see in wiki that it is used in electron microscopy (not my field).

Entered KSTARS from the KS, not really knowing if the labeling of stars went that far in the alphabet.

Challenging, enjoyable puzzle. Learned a lot.

fikink 12:21 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I had BEL CANTO, too - and not only did it fit YULE and ACE, but also JAM for "pickle." Talk about running aground!

@Ulrich, a Third World country! OMG! What a strange NOTION.

@Sandy, there are those in the Midwest who get offended when someone doesn't recognize Kenosha as being in Wisconsin...oh my, why can't crosswords be looked upon as a learning opportunity rather than an objective exam?

@chaos1, I only remember ACE from "ace boon coon." - highly offensive from WASP lips.

Nick 12:25 PM  

HUSBANDS would fit for "Hillbillies' cousins." Just sayin'.

D_Blackwell 12:28 PM  

"Hey, ACE." Is that around the 50s, perhaps contemporary with "Hey, bud."? I know the reference, but don't have much to make a connection with.

Ruth 12:28 PM  

Knew Obsequies from multiple readings of Huckleberry Finn. I think the King and the Duke were fond of that word.
Nice puzzle, tough though!

Stan 12:32 PM  

Challenging but fair and fun. I can live with Howdy Edo in exchange for DULCIMER, JOE CAMEL, SHOW OFFS, COOL KIDS and (esp.) OY VEY on the Williamsburg bridge.

Wasn't Osmic a character in Hamlet? Did he deliver an OBSEQUY?

Mel Ott 12:41 PM  

A lot to like in this puzzle: SHOWOFFS, OH ITS YOU, ON NOTICE, JAZZED UP, COOL KIDS, DULCIMER. The clue for the latter even taught me something.

Don't like crossing proper names with random letter answers. JACOBs/WsI and HAYEs/sSTARS made just as much sense to me. I knew ECK, but then again I know historical names better than show biz names. At least ECK (and OSMIC and AZTECS) was pretty much gettable from the crosses.

Actually picked up the word OBSEQUY (actually its plural) from reading "Huckleberry Finn" many years ago and rereading it every decade or so. Must be in that hilarious funeral scene.

Sparky 12:51 PM  

Struggled today. Managed to start well with JACOBI, a wonderful actor. Alas, had JuicEDUP at first. Pecked away, put it down. Picked up laundry. Worked some more. Figured DULC was sweet and so on. Gave up with some voids in NE, although I had REDNECKS. There are two Kate/Cates in that movie. Object to spelling How do you do? These things pretty arbitrary IMO. I just read yesterday's comments--Oy Vey. Tomorrow is Jazz Concert in my neighborhood. I'm going to help sell the cookies and drinks for the benefit of our block association.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

not to beat the dead "HOWDYEDO" horse, but "hayseeds," if they come from appalachia, have a whole bunch of highlander in their genes and dialects. "YE" is very common in the rural south.

i'm guessing the "proper" form must be, "how do *you* do." so i'm wondering if any mutation of the YOU to YE (as in "howdy") is considered a rural colloquialism, i.e., hayseeds.

Glitch 12:58 PM  

Howdy Aces and Ace-etts,

If you aready have cell walls, why would you put BARS inside/outside?

So, unless "Structures near cell walls" are taverns where the guards chill after work, BARS are "components" of the structure that make up the walls of a cell.

Lame clue probably just to induce a biological misdirection.


Wade Williams (no, not that Wade) 1:02 PM  

@Glitch - Unless you design your jail cell as 99% of jail cells are designed, with solid walls on three sides and bars in front. Then the bars are cell structures near walls.

ArtLvr 1:03 PM  

@ulrich -- I was thinking cosmetics kit as well as sewing kit.

@JC66 -- Thanks for the link to HAYEK. I'd maintain that the name Hayes was a more plausible guess, but maybe not for a Salma!

@fikink -- I still find the GET clue is okay, active mode and present tense, repeating the fact that something unfamiliar like BIG POPPA can GET me every time in a crossword, i.e. can confound me...

@zeke -- Loved the image of your new lab/coon hound dog on a walk in the woods. My old cat has learned a new trick, communicating by phone!!! This means that she's taken to knocking the upright receiver off the charger base beside my computer whenever she wants immediate attention.


Lindsay 1:10 PM  

re: geography

I've actually been asked what state Maine is in. As in,
Q. Where are you from
A. Maine
Q. What state is that in?

I learned "dap" from the Terrorist Fist Bump incident, so no problem there, but had allees for ambles, which got the NE off to a bad start. That, and an inability to conjure up an offensive mascot aside from Chief Wahoo, or, possibly, the Hooters Girl.

r.alphbunker 1:28 PM  

I was teaching a class that contained a number of students from countries other than America. I asked the question, "Does anybody know who was the second person to fly the Atlantic solo?". A Chinese student raised his hand and commented that he didn't know who the first one was. I guess they have better things to teach in schools in China!

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

How is Havana greeting not ola? Is there another Havana of significance I don't know about, one where they not only speak English but elide hello way differently than all other English speakers?

Fidel Nixo 1:44 PM  

@Anonymous 1:32 - I don't speak Spanish, but Google translates "alo" as "Hello".

Howard B 1:45 PM  

During and after solving, the analytical part of my brain wanted to break down the puzzle, musing on the frequency of fill such as EYEEXAMS in the bottom corner, observing the letter distribution, etc.

That other, less reasonable part just kept screaming, "...wet Nerf ball! Squishysquishysquishysquishy SQUISHY!!!" Today I think I will give in to that part.

CoffeeLvr 1:45 PM  

Another puzzle that kept me up very late. Despite doubts about several answers, it amazingly ended up all correct, working ALL ALONE. That is still a rare experience for a Friday.

@Zeke, thanks for a genuine LOL this morning. (So, an obsequy is where you fawn all over the dead guy?)

The NE, well if I had been solving on newsprint instead of laser paper, I would have worn a hole or two. Despite my BA in the subject, I tried Calc, Algb, Stat, and even Trig(which I knew wasn't right) before ECON. REZONE was first in the block, until I over-thought it and erased it for REdraw. I spent as much time in this corner as the rest of the puzzle combined, which was not fast.

The COOL KIDS in my HS shunned the hayseeds and REDNECKS, too. It was a mix of new suburbs and rural areas. Having farmers in my family, I was taught that a red neck was the sign of good honest labor. It wasn't until college, when I learned the saying "Red necks, White socks, and Blue Ribbon beer", that I realized the pejorative connotation. As we drank PBR in my circle, I was most offended by the idea of wearing white socks. (This was before athletic shoes and accompanying white socks had PERVADEd the nation.) My collegiate son tells me PBR is still considered one of the best cheap beers.

G'day, y'all.

Masked and Anonymous belatedly 1:57 PM  

@Two Ponies...Sorry I was unable to answer your question yesterday. I had already used up all three of my silver bullets, before I saw your query. The verse you asked after was from Christian Bok's book of poetry called "Eunoia", which has an all U chapter in it. Wikipedia points to the work online, if you are interested in readin' the whole thing. Hats off to the "ubi roi" dude for showin' me the way to it.

syndy 2:33 PM  

found it neccessary to work in blocks rather than my usual lines because the clues worked more in the breach than the observance,still eventually doable!Since i got case before howdyedo that worked. unlike oomphs

Cathyat40 2:49 PM  

DNF - made several errors: kickEDUP instead of JAZZEDUP, because I had kAyE, instead of ZALE.

Did not know DAP, had rAP.

archaeoprof 3:01 PM  

Fun Friday. Enjoyed SQUISHY, KSTARS, and BIGPOPPA.

But HOWDYEDO just looks all wrong to this resident of SC, where we have our full share of REDNECKS and hayseeds.

Reds' lead over the Cardinals is down to 5 games...

Ubu Roi 3:05 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous -

U r vury wulcum, sur.

Ubu Roi

foodie 3:09 PM  

@Sandy, I can barely guess what the second largest province is in Syria. For the Damascene, everyone else is riff raff, hillbillies, RED NECKS...

Holy Molly are there 21 million people in Syria? My last memory is 4 million. Admittedly, the memory is from my childhood, and comes from a cartoon during the union with Egypt as the United Arab Republic (UAR). The cartoon depicted Nasser as a shepherd, with 24 sheep who were behaving nicely (representing 24 million Egyptians) and 4 monkeys climbing all over him (depicting the 4 million Syrians). I remember it being discussed shortly before the demise of the UAR.

Sorry for straying far afield. Does it count that UAR, SYR and NASSER are respectable crosswordese?

I really enjoyed this puzzle.

My Quick & Dirty Index says this puzzle is between Easy and Medium.

Evgeny 3:16 PM  

re geography

there's 82 million people living in Germany and I doubt there's many Americans, including the apparently better educated folks frequenting this blog, who can name the second largest state in Germany. Or the largest for that matter. So @Ulrich, a very believable story indeed.

However, if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Parker is a Professor of some sort outside of Crossworld? Something that has to do with English. I'd say Australia has the fourth largest English speaking population of all countries that have English as their official language (or fifth? no idea about Phillippines...) I guess, where I'm going is: It's a country not completely obscure to the Western world and not completely unrelated to American culture. And it's a continent. And it's got only a few states. That people who are familiar with the word OBSEQUY oughta know.

fikink 3:28 PM  

What I love about Rex is that he is willing to hang his butt out there and let us see what he doesn't know and how his mind works.
It is a very good mind that operates on another level of consciousness, devoid of the "shoulds" and "oughtas."

Thank you, @Rex, for the forum you have gifted us.
And thank you, @foodie, for keeping the faith.

Three and out.

"versa" - the counterpoint to vice

The Big E 3:30 PM  

@Evgeny - I have always wanted there to be an "official" change of the continent to be Oceania instead of Australia. Otherwise poor New Zealand is continent-less (incontinent?).
If evil scientists can strip Pluto of planet-dom, why can't they open their arms to New Zealand and call it all Oceania officially?

sanfranman59 3:58 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 22:32, 26:37, 0.85, 20%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:07, 12:59, 0.93, 40%, Easy-Medium

It's a red letter day for me today. My fastest Friday solve on record. With late week puzzles, that usually means the numbers will wind up in the Easy range, but it appears that today's will fall in the Easy-Medium category. Bully for me! (strange expression, that)

How many Rexians will I see at tomorrow's tournament in Alameda? I know ACME, Fergus and Crosscan will be in attendance. Who else?

The Big E 4:00 PM  

@sanfranman - my fastest solve on record as well, and happened to be tied with yours! :-)
Good look in Alameda tomorrow to you and anyone else going. I'm stuck in Brooklyn! :-p

Post 3! Happy Puzzling and have a great weekend, all!

Jim 4:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim 4:10 PM  

I wasn't thrilled with HOWDYEDO, in fact had HOWDYE for a good long while before succumbing to the last two letters. I suppose the idea is it would never be written, so phonetically it's close enough to 'how do ya do?' to be acceptable.

Remarkable how 'in tune' with this puzzle I was. I got ZLOTY with no crosses and no wrong guesses, for instance. Had a nice chuckle with UNDIES, COOLKIDS, TEENIE AND DOINGS, ZALE and JAZZED UP all in the same corner, especially since they fell in such quick succession.

Always, ALWAYS write in BaSSA and then move on, so OYVEY became aYVEY and I was like, "mmm, yeah sure".

Couple other mistakes -- unTEND for EXTEND (makes much more sense) gave me CRuST and MEn ("mmm, yeah sure") and POPPy / ByAL (seemed just as reasonable).

All in all, a VERY enjoyable Friday, though I'm assuming Saturdays return to their more regular, abstruse selves tomorrow. Not that I finished any Saturdays during the easy stretch anyway, but I'll chalk this (only 2nd ever) completed Friday, however imperfectly, as a step forward.


CoffeeLvr 4:14 PM  

@Foodie, no need to apologize to me, I enjoy the digressions and learn from them.

@Jim, past Wednesday, I don't get irritated with myself if I don't "finish" without assistance or errors. Chalk it up to a learning experience.

Glitch 4:25 PM  

@Wade W.

Well, in your example, the BARS constitute the 4th wall (ignoring the clue's plural), and if it's only "near" the others, would kindda leave a space where a skinny prisoner could wiggle out.

Also a wall "near" rather than attached, doesn't seem like very sturdy construction (but possible by a low bidder on a government project)


Anonymous 4:28 PM  

I thought those clues were TERRIBLE! I honestly had an easier time with yesterday's puzzle than I did today.

Rex Parker 4:30 PM  

Not-Wade is right.

BARS is plural, which matches the clue's plural perfectly. BARS are near the (three) walls, not attached to them (sturdiness of structure is not at issue at all). Clue is worded the way that it is, obviously, to get you to think of different kinds of "cell walls." It's deliberate trickery, but it's rock solid at the level of sense and grammar.

Evgeny 4:36 PM  

@ The Big E :-D

@ fiking I by all means did not mean to offend YE faith, for all it's worth this is a great, very entertaining blog, which i thank the author (blogger?) for writing - All geographic shortcomings of his vast knowledge base and "another level of consciousness"-nonsense aside.

Ulrich 5:05 PM  

@shrub5, Artlvr: Thx. The meaning of "notions" as "small lightweight items for household use, such as needles, buttons, and thread" is completely new to me--well, that's what xword puzzles are there for:-)

@Evgeny: Truthfully, I couldn't even tell the largest German state if asked--by area, I would guess Bavaria; by population, my homestate Northrhine-Westphalia. But I wouldn't be surprised nor embarassed if I were wrong. Numerical statistics attached to a geographical entity normally go into one of my ears and out the other. And I do not believe the memorability of a state is proportional to its size, however measured--I mean, if that were true, nobody had to know about Connecticut, where I currently live. The reason I remembered Victoria is the name itself--so, I think the whole debate about how reasonable it is to expect people to know about Victoria got off to a wrong start the moment size entered the picture.

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

@Ulrich: Refer those who say Germany is a third-world
country to Peter Watson's new THE GERMAN GENIUS.

Evgeny 5:31 PM  

@ Ulrich: agreed to the last word. All German numerical trivia correct btw :-)

and that's three comments... well, time for sleep in Northrhine-Westphalia anyway.

OldCarFudd 5:39 PM  

RE: Foodie's thought that Syrians are divided into Damascenes and rednecks reminds me there's a similar thought in Australia. Some Sydneysiders say that Oz consists of Sydney and the bush. So much for Victoria! I also once heard an American (who knew better) say: "I know all about Australia - convicts and rabbits!" Full disclosure: My first wife came from Alice Springs.

The Bard's apprentice 6:36 PM  

This somewhat predates the Huckleberry Finn references:

Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1

HAMLET and HORATIO withdraw

What ceremony else?

That is Laertes, a very noble youth, mark.

What ceremony else?

Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

I got Oy Vey because I biked across the W-Burg Bridge last Sunday!

JC66 7:19 PM  

53A BARS (Structure near cells) and 42D GDAY (Victorian's greeting) are both terrific misdirection clues/answers and I find it interesting that they've spawned so many comments.

Sky 7:40 PM  

Put me in the anti-howdyedo camp.

Looking in google books I see that George Bernard Shaw used this word in Captain Brassbound's Conversion.

Lady Cicely: … Why do people get killed by savages? Because instead of being polite to them, and saying Howdyedo? like me, people aim pistols at them. I've been among savages - cannibals and alls sorts. Everybody said they'd kill me. But when I met them, I said Howdyedo? and they were quite nice. The kings always wanted to marry me.

Though I don't believe Lady Cicely was a hayseed.

Glitch 7:59 PM  


When you "dig your heels in", discussion, lighthearted or not, is futile.

You are correct, Sir.

.../Glitch (3/3 --- 'night)

jae 9:14 PM  

Fun puzzle. Rappers and hicks. I did 3/4s of this very quickly and ended up staring at the middle for a long time. Gradually filled it all in but was sure I had errors (the much discussed HOWDYEDO, DAP). Nice surprise to come here and find I got it right.

shrub5 9:38 PM  

@Masked and Anon:
Left some "U" luv posted late yesterday. We'll see if it does any good.

@Ulrich: I used to accompany my mother when she went to the fabric stores or places like Woolworth's or Grant's (Five and dime stores). There was always a section labeled "Notions" where she bought her thread, pins, seam binding, etc. She sewed most of her own clothes as well as mine and the sibs. Today I'd say "who has time for that?" Now it seems we have more money than time; back then they (parents) had little time but even less money.

RK 9:42 PM  

"get"? I don't think so.
"dap" was what GI's in 'Nam did as greeting--mainly from the African american troops. It pre-dates the fist bump and was much more elaborate

sanfranman59 11:29 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 6:48, 6:58, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Tue 9:49, 8:53, 1.11, 80%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:55, 11:42, 0.76, 6%, Easy
Thu 18:06, 19:15, 0.94, 43%, Medium
Fri 22:59, 26:38, 0.86, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:43, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:11, 4:35, 1.13, 88%, Challenging
Wed 5:10, 5:46, 0.90, 24%, Easy-Medium
Thu 9:09, 9:15, 0.99, 57%, Medium
Fri 11:21, 12:59, 0.87, 28%, Easy-Medium

andrea oy vey michaels 11:39 PM  

OMG, this puzzle had me at ALO!!!
I don't think there is ONE entry in in I don't love!!!!!!!!
SO much/many OOMPHs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's much much much more than a pangram...
It's practically a double/triple one!
2Js, 2 Qs, 5Ks, 2 Xs, 3Zs (four if you count WentZ)

OY VEY, I'm shocked everyone doesn't love love love this!

DULCIMER was my first entry, but I was so FIX-ated on PAL for ACE that I doubted...and my initials used to be ACE.

And like yesterday's puzzle that you could SEE, this one you could REALLY HEAR...OY VEY, OH IT's YOU, EH? HA HA HA!

Peter Wentz, loved loved loved it!

And for those too far to attend darling Caleb's class, come to the one day Alameda tournament!

The Bard 11:45 PM  


LET the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.

But thou shrieking harbinger,
Foul precurrer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near!

From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, feather'd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.

fikink 1:59 AM  

Calling another's religion "nonsense" is the stuff burning the Koran is made of.

(It is "Fik ink", btw, not Fiking.)

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

MEX is the airport code for Internacional Benito Juarez in Mexico City. And adding my gripe about How d'ye do, just for the record...

runnerdan 5:53 PM  

I know this is late since I do the puzzles 6 weeks late, but How d'ye do is defined several places on the internet as "an awkward situation". See:'ye-do'ye-do'ye-do.htm

penny 2:16 AM  

Got totally confused by DAP: in my 1950's schooldays, daps were our plimsolls/tennis shoes/gym shoes. First time I heard it used for a fist bump; will have to google.Also stumped by fiji rival. I appreciate all the comments and explanations - thanks to all.

jpChris 1:41 PM  

@JC66: Thanks for the Salma Hayek link. I had my best laugh with the pic of her standing in front of the Golden Globes sign with her ample cleavage showing. :-)

Anyway, how did dipping one's bait lightly, dap, become a "Fist Bump"? Was I asleep?

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