Widows allowances / SAT 11-13-10 / European neolithic monument / Kitschy stuffed toys / Red cocktail for short

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: Ehud BARAK (46D: P.M. before Sharon) —

Ehud Barak (Hebrew:About this sound, born Ehud Brog on 12 February 1942) is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He is currently leader of the Labor Party and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's not a single answer in this grid that I haven't heard of (including, I think, IAN53A: Actor Somerhalder of "Lost"), and yet it was still pretty damned hard. That NW corner should've been easier than it was, what with COSMO (1D: Red cocktail, for short), ODES, and ATONE going straight in. But STONEHENGE wouldn't stretch far enough at 17A: European neolithic monument (STONE CIRCLE), and then I really screwed myself by seeing straight through the clue at 6D: Supermarket lines, for short but entering not UPC but ... CPU! Ugh. Had to abandon the NW and reboot in the NE via STERE and ENSUE. Had trouble over there as well, where I wanted HOSTELIER (a word I apparently made up) or HOSTESSES instead of HOSTELERS for 14D: They may take you in at night, and FIRESTONE instead of WIRESPOKE for 12D: Kind of wheel. Would've gone with JUMP ROPE at 32A: Play at recess (SKIP ROPE) were it not for the resulting terminal "J" it created at 8D: Five Norwegian kings (HARALDS). Even after I got the NE corner, I couldn't follow it down to the SE and had to reboot yet again. Somehow sussed out DEMOS at 44D: Shows at an expo — probably by just inferring the past tense suffixes on ERRED and YARDED — and then threw OPINIONATED across off just the "O" (my only real coup of the night) (57A: Like critics). Managed to fight my way through the underbrush down there, and then moved into the SW (via HIBACHI, which was obvious from its terminal "I" — 34A: Coal holder). At this point, things sped up considerably, and I (finally) blew into the NW, discovered my CPU-for-UPC error, and finished things up. Last letter was the "L" in LUTED (2D: Played some dulcet tones).

Liked the puzzle, in case that wasn't clear. SOCK MONKEYS (59A: Kitschy stuffed toys) and CLAP PUSH-UPS (1A: Calisthenics for show-offs) are (symmetrical!) winners, and everything else is very smooth. Biggest surprise—how Didi CONN spells her last name (52D: Didi of "Grease" and "Grease 2"). I wanted KAHN. Or CAHN. EYE WINK feels slightly redundant (I mean, really, what other kind of WINK am I going to give you? HAND WINK? EAR WINK?) (38D: Sign meaning "Let this be our little secret"). YARDED is probably the iffiest looking thing in the grid, and it's not so bad (31D: Penned in). Crossing an "ERR" word (ABERRANCY) with an "ERR" word (ERRED) at the "ERR" ... well, that's not great, but otherwise, a very nicely constructed puzzle.

Bullets:
  • 25A: Bit of centurion gear (SANDAL) — For a while, just had the "L," and couldn't think of a thing.
  • 36A: British form of 33-Down (SNOOKER) / 33D: See 36-Across (POOL) — One of the funniest parts of the new IFC show "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" involved a back-and-forth between Todd (David Cross) and a professional SNOOKER player over the proper pronunciation of SNOOKER. Pro ends up getting angry and beating Todd severely with a SNOOKER cue.
  • 39A: Widows' allowances (DOWERS) — no idea why I knew this. Feels medieval.
  • 40A: Many a character on "The Big Bang Theory" (NERD) — really enjoyed Conan's interview with actress Charlyne Yi the other night, wherein she told a hilarious story about getting hired and fired from this sitcom before it ever aired.
  • 41A: Web site with the subheading "Merchant Services" (PAYPAL) — took me far too long, considering I'm a regular user.
  • 52A: Air traveling over snow? (CAROL) — Oh. "Air." I see.
  • 54A: Rental for many an apartment dweller (MINI-STORAGE) — good answer. Went looking for an actual object, not ... space.
  • 26D: Hamilton and Hunt (LINDAS) — Two H-actresses. Nice touch.
  • 55D: Word accompanying "Much," "Little" and "Late" in a 1978 #1 hit (TOO) — whoa, serious childhood flashback. Very memorable song ... from the summer my parents got divorced; coincidentally, that's the summer I really started listening to the radio. In earnest. Kind of obsessively. I know Top 40 songs from the late '70s very, very, scarily well.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Happy Birthday to my mom! (and, coincidentally, crossword constructor Natan Last)

76 comments:

jae 1:48 AM  

I liked this one also. Medium-challenging seem about right. I didn't have much trouble in NW (although I did try STONECASTLE) or NE (I too briefly had HOSTESSES). SW was tougher (tried INNERTUBE) but SE is where I hit the wall. I knew RODS was probably wrong but could come up with an alternative for a loooong time even with OPINIONATED, DEMOS and LIPO in place. Once I got BOBS it fell but I had to walk away and come back. Nice Sat. challenge Mr. Diehl!

andrea p. michaels 5:47 AM  

Today's ERR/rationalization:
CLAwPUSHUPS/wENDS
I thought maybe you did pushups on your fingertips, like a...claw.
And if you were unsettled, you wEND your way around...
But should have realized P as there were SO many:
ClaPPushuPs, outerPlanet, Paltriest, PayPal, aPPl (Ugliest thing in the grid), Prayer, skiProPe, Peas, oPinionated...
14 Ps!

(Did we have PASSIM before? Memories of folkie club in Cambridge in the 70s)

I did a @foodie and "checked/confirmed" IAN before proceeding...

Same reaction as @rex re: EYEWINK...
I'm ear-winking as I write this!

I liked this a lot less than @rex: felt there were a lot of redundancies besides EYEWINK...
the others that felt needlessly extended: RIVERRAFT, WIRESPOKE
and both INAROW and INAPANIC...
left me INASNIT.

YARDED: Blech.

On the other hand, I may be too OPINIONATED, bec three stacks of nines, plus three stacks of elevens
(twice!) and SOCKMONKEY are fab!!!

Matthew 6:02 AM  

Oof. My worst Saturday for a while. Thought I'd breeze through after a fast start in the northwest, then had major issues in pretty much every other quadrant, ultimately turning to Rex for a little help to break up what had become a log jam. Had "harmonics" and then "acoustics" for "study making sound judgments?" Was pretty sure that "something" a father may hear" was referring to a priest, but just couldn't come up with "prayer" somehow.

Southeast was a mess because I refused to believe that "middle management" wasn't "diet", didn't know the Latin footnote word, and still refuse to believe that "eyewink" (hideous) is a legitimate thing. Having "____craft" for "rapid transit" also kept me from moving ahead.

For me, a slower than average slog that brought me little joy and less pride.

The Bard 8:15 AM  

King Lear > Act I, scene I

KING LEAR: Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her! Call France; who stirs?
Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additions to a king;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part betwixt you.

[Giving the crown]

The Hag 8:32 AM  

Yeah. I actually hated this one. A lot. Closest I have ever come to just not bothering to finish due to dislike. I was put off at the very beginning because while I agree with Mr. Parker that CLAPPUSHUPS and SOCKMONKEYS, are both good words I didn't like the cluing. You are showing off if you do clap push ups? Sockmonkeys are kitschy? Judgmental much? For the record - I love the sock monkey that my mother made for me and display it in my front room unironically. I certainly am not strong enough to do clap push ups myself, but I think that those who are should be able to challenge themselves without being called a show-off. Lots of other words and clues seemed forced to me. Many of them have already been mentioned by @andrea sweetpea micheals, so I won't continue the rant. Cluing for 47D, 48D, 49D cluster was good. But overall - yuck.

Kia 8:32 AM  

Sock Monkeys are cool.

Ben 8:57 AM  

A long, tough slog, but I got there in the end, and isn't that what we look for in a Saturday puzzle? Yes it is.

Lindsay 9:00 AM  

Uncharacteristically decided to start in the NW. Filled in 6D UPC, and immediately concluded that 1A would be "one arm pull ups." Didn't fit. A rebus! But was the rebus word "one" or "arm"? Decided to try a different corner. Good move!

Actually, I found this on the easy side of Saturday; finished error-free without truly turning my attention fom the op-ed page &c. to focus on the xword. My litmus test.

ArtLvr 9:00 AM  

Catching up -- I liked yesterday's puzzle a lot! This one not so much, though I was close. Got stuck in the SE after I got OPINIONATED, with a wrong Rabat and Rods instead of BARAK and BOBS. Never heard of SOCK MONKEYS or CONN.

TOO bad, as I was proud to have sussed out POOL, SNOOKER, CAROL and all the other tricks except CLAP PUSHUPS and COSMO in the opening slots.

Highly challenging IMHO, because it was so hard to get good footholds... WAH! One dead-end road was the LINDAS -- I wanted School there, though I wasn't sure there is actually a Hunt College. Maybe I was thinking Hamilton and Hope? And of course I tried Diet before LIPO.

Congrats anyway to Mark Diehl for a real waker-upper!

∑;)

Leslie 9:03 AM  

Holy cow. My first DNF in a long time, and the first "Hell with it, I don't have time to keep trying" that I can remember in years. Wow. My hat's off to those who found it only medium-challenging!

ArtLvr 9:05 AM  

p.s. google says it was Hunter College on my mind, not Hunt

∑;(

Paranoid Dude 9:09 AM  

@ArtLvr - Scary, but I always assumend that Google knew what was on my mind.

Alex 9:31 AM  

I was sure that 28 across would be IM LATE.

Funny that people were having trouble with the puzzle, I'm an amateur when it comes to the late week puzzle but this was one the easier Saturday puzzles for me (which means I managed to fill about 2/3 of the grid, but hey)

Matthew G. 9:37 AM  

Took me 68 minutes, but I got through it. Thought EYE WINK was (unacceptably) redundant, and RIVER RAFT probably acceptable but also something nobody would really say.

Otherwise, this was a gem and a very enjoyable slog.

Had never heard of CLAP PUSHUPS before, but couldn't see how 1A could be anything else with the crosses, so stuck with it and was relieved when it was right. OUTER PLANET and COSMO both jumped out at me instantly, so I got off to a great start in the NW. Got slowed down a bit in the SE when I had self STORAGE at first instead of MINI STORAGE. Was really amused when my wry guess of SANDAL for "bit of centurion gear" turned out to be correct. And really loved the SNOOKER/POOL crossing. Also was amused that IAN was clued by an actor whose character died in the first season of "Lost" — that's reaching back (and in retrospect, I wish I'd stopped watching after that one good season).

All in all, a rewarding Saturday challenge.

Alex 9:39 AM  

Also STONECIRCLE bothered me a bit.. seems like clueing "BIG BELL" (BIG BEN) with "Ringer in London." Of course stonehenge was my first though, but since it didn't fit I figured it must have been one of the many other neolithic monuments in Europe whose names I don't know. Not to mention "Europe" makes me think continental. Oh well, live and learn.

joho 9:52 AM  

@andrea p. michaels ... LOL at "claw" PUSHUPS.

Written in my margin are YARDED? And EYEWINK? Enough said.

I cheated by looking up BARAK. I had dAyAn stuck in my head. Once I got the WOTD that corner was done. Absolutely love SOCKMONKEYS!

mitchs 10:06 AM  

DNF the SE. Had BOBS. Put in Begin. Never heard of: SOCKMONKEYS, BARAK, PASSIM. (The last sounds more Hebrew than Latin to my obviously ignorant ears.)

captcha: diumbell. Now that's just uncalled for.

No BS 10:13 AM  

How is "overthrew" an example of "erred?"

Got through it in under an hour but no "Happy Pencil" cuz I couldn't negotiate the "panic" "Peas" cross. Had "teas" and "inatanic". Maybe I should have checked my work--a perennial teacher criticism in my schooldays. Don't you think "inatanic" would be a nice synonym for frenzied?

Jim 10:28 AM  

BARAK was a gimme (and probably the PM who made the most effort to forge a lasting peace in Palestine), along w COSMO and...that's about it. Everything else was a slog and/or uncertain.

Wanted OUTERPLANET but couldn't get enough crosses to confirm since I quite reasonably had chord (never heard of STERE). Always hate the univ clues (PRES, PROV, PROF, BMOC always all legitimate!).

NE...not even worth talking about. Nothing! Well, except ITO, for which I had ITa (wanted lawnchair). PALTRIEST looks good in retrospect but...

SW held promise, putting in PRAYER and YARDED and PAYPAL and PEAS, but Arrythnia (for which I was quite self-satisfied) screwed it all up. BARHOP is the G rated version of what really goes on.

Hopefully,the masochism sessions I am putting myself through on FRI and SAT will eventually bear some fruit. Two steps forward, one step back! But I certainly can't fault the construction. Well done!

Sparky 10:29 AM  

DNF. My mind is all kerfuffled and have lots of errands. Had Helen for the Hunts. Rods and Rabat. On the correct side had OPIONATED, SLIPON, EYEWINK and DEMOS. Which is to say I think the blog is helping me solve. I am more attuned to twisting my brain around "Now what is he getting at here?" Also more fearless popping something in, which is why I had ATEdinner and HOtel..... But I am happy.
Thanks for your good wishes. I get such a great kick out of you all. On to Sunday.

Matthew G. 10:41 AM  

@No BS: "Overthrew" means "erred" in the baseball sense. One way for a fielder to make an error is to "overthrow," i.e., throw the ball too far or high for the receiving baseman or catcher to reach it.

My favorite overthrow moment: when Chuck Knoblauch threw from second base into the stands past first base.

Lookup Guy 10:45 AM  

@Alex

A stone circle is a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle ... The largest stone circle in Britain is at Avebury, the second largest stone circle is the Great Circle at Stanton Drew stone circles, and the Ring of Brodgar contains the third largest stone circle in Britain.[wiki]

Not to be confused with:

Henges [see wiki] are usually associated with the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age ... Sites such as Stonehenge also provide evidence of activity from the later Bronze Age Wessex culture.

David L 10:49 AM  

Took forever to get started, finished eventually, but definitely hard for me. Didn't know CONN at all, and many phrases were new to me: EYEWINK, CLAPPUSHUPS, MINISTORAGE, WIRESPOKE. And lots of wrong turns: I had GIANTPLANET for OUTERPLANET, ACOUSTICS for PHONETICS, TRADEWARS for TRADELAWS.

A Saturday puzzle, yep.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:56 AM  

To quote Rex, whose sentiments today are also mine: "Pretty damned hard" and "liked the puzzle."

Finished correctly, but what a list of write-overs:

16 A, Ino before ITO
25 A, Handax/SANDAL
9 D, Unclothe/UNCLOAKS
14 D, Hostesses/HOSTELERS
26 D, Helens/LINDAS
40 A, Geek/NERD
46 A, Rods/BOBS
46 D, Rabin/BARAK
50 A, Tradedeal/TRADELAWS,
51 D, Diet LIPO!

P.S. - @Alex, 9:31 - Bravo on your efforts, and keep working at it and you will be as good as anyone else here, but in evaluating the difficulty of a puzzle, it's that last 1/3 that counts!

PuzzleNut 11:21 AM  

Definitely a challenge, but just what a Saturday should be. Finished with one mistake, HARoLDS/PoLTRIEST. I thought that 20A should be spelled PAULTRIEST, which obviously didn't fit, so I figured that POLTRIEST was a reasonable variant. Once I saw it in Rex's wriote-up, I feel kind of foolish.
Some of my write-overs included rOdS/rAbAt, dIet, and OVERTurE.
I can understand the EYEWINK comments, but RIVERRAFT seems perfectly acceptable.
Wanted ONE HAND PUSHUPS, but not to be.

fikink 11:33 AM  

Absolutely adored this puzzle and DNF ERR-free. Loved loved loved the clue for ATONE (Square things) and for ORATE (Stand and deliver).

PASSIM and ABERRANCY - what wonderful fill!

@jae, I had the same experience with BOBS.

My riff on @foodie's cheat method is to confirm proper names I have no reason to remember. Let's face it, as we age storage space in memory is dear.

Agree with the redundancy of EYEWINK, @Andrea, Rex,
and YARDED - as @APM said, "blech!"

Agree with @Ben, just what we look for on a Saturday IF we have the time!
Thank you, Mark Diehl.

D_Blackwell 11:37 AM  

". . .RIVER RAFT probably acceptable but also something nobody would really say."

But they do. Possibly regional. Possibly from 'river rafting', which is solidly in the language.


Of course, that's the way I feel about CLAP PUSHUP. WTF is that. Once I had ???? PUSHUP, I wanted ARMY, then tried USMC, desperately came up with SLAP and PUMP - before getting COSMO and deciding that somebody, somewhere, says CLAP> :))

Matthew G. 11:40 AM  

Thanks for setting me straight, D Blackwell. I would say "whitewater raft" or just "raft," but it's good to know the clue is valid.

PuzzleNut 11:47 AM  

What @D_Blackwell said. A favorite summer adventure for our family is riverrafting on the Rio Grande.

Martin 11:57 AM  

"Eye wink" would be a really stupid entry. Eyewink is one of those "it's not a word because I don't know it" words.

Look up Guy 12:04 PM  

Should the discussion of "RIVER RAFT" continue, I leave googling it (with the quotes) as an excersize for the reader.

archaeoprof 12:11 PM  

I got taken in by hostesses, too.

Otherwise a fun, slightly offbeat Saturday. Loved the clue for 52A.

Matthew G. 12:15 PM  

I have rafted on many a river, and only ever heard it called "whitewater rafting." I did say that I found it an acceptable answer, just that it's semi-redundant and I have never heard anyone in the business call it "river rafting."

It never occurred to me that EYE WINK might actually be EYEWINK. Good thought, Martin. I guess that's a word the same way airplane is still a word even though plane is too.

Martin 12:24 PM  

To be clear, "eyewink" is more like "eyesore" than "airplane." It is not a synonym of "wink."

It is a synonym of "glance."

The first citation is from The Merry Wives of Windsor (look at line 865).

Masked and Anonymous (Ret.) 12:26 PM  

Thought I was almost a "43" after breezin' thru the FriPuz while 44 had to work at it a little bit. [Shoot, he probably beat my time anyway.]

Today, I bow to Diehl, Parker and Shortz in humility. Could hardly even get started, without doing extensive "research". Felt like a Wheel of Fortune reject. Had half the letters, and still couldn't get a lot of the long ones.

This puz plum psyched me out. Began to think everything was going to turn out like "YARDED" and "ABERRANCY", even tho most of it was kinda pretty much on the up-and-up. Thumbs up, based solely on feistiness. Yikes.

Doug 12:47 PM  

Any Saturday that I finish is a great puzzle. So this was "great."

23D. Bachelor party clue: I saw BARxxP, and thought "Wouldn't it be nice if the answer was BARFUP?" On my bachelor party we barhopped around the Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, and ended up at Art's Performing Center, which of course is a strip club. After 21 years of marriage, I see it's STILL THERE and getting crap reviews.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/arts-performing-center-milwaukee

Rex Parker 12:48 PM  

@Martin,

A "wink" is a far more plausible answer to the clue than a "glance." Far far more. You have to "glance" awfully forcefully / animatedly to convey the "our little secret" thing. And I don't think of a "glance" as a "sign" (but a "wink" — hell yes that's a "sign").

Thus, at a minimum, the clue is extremely wobbly, bordering on bad. At a maximum, the cluer simply didn't know that EYEWINK was not synonymous with "wink." If clue had been [Glance] or something like it, I'd buy your explanation.

But I'm still happy to *have* your explanation.

rp

D_Blackwell 1:16 PM  

The problem with EYE WINK (for me)is that it suckity-suck-sucks as an entry. I don't know a clue that can save it. If ya gotta have it, ya gotta have it; but That SLY WINK was wrong was disappointing.

retired_chemist 1:17 PM  

Disaster. Most trouble I think I have EVER had with a NYT puzzle.

With about 2/3 of the grid filled in and no clue as to the rest, I googled. And googled. And eventually went to check word and filled in SKIP ROPE. I was so psyched I couldn't even come up with that. Had LAMARS @ 26D, never even considered LINDAS until way late. RODS for BOBS, HELMET for SANDAL, ACOUSTICS for PHONETICS, ATE DINNER for ATE SUPPER, TEEN for NERD, DIET for LIPO, EAT UP for ENSUE, HAAKONS for HARALDS, etc.

S__K MONKEYS - googled SICK MONKEYS and "do you mean SOCK MONKEYS?" appeared. Of course. Not that I have ever heard of them, but at least that makes more sense for toys. Except for really weird kids.

It was not as bad as my errors made it to be, but still I found it extremely hard.

Slow water rafter 1:17 PM  

@Mathew G. wrote: ... and I have never heard anyone in the business call it "river rafting".

Dangerously close to "I never heard it so it doesn't exist".

Probably should have quit at "semi-redundant" and/or googled it.

Might event find that not all river rafting involves "white water".

P>G>

Matthew G. 1:38 PM  

For the third time, I said it was an acceptable answer. I simply don't like it. And since the clue was "_rapid_ transit," clearly whitewater rafting is what is being referred to here.

nanpilla 1:38 PM  

For some reason, I just seemed to guess right on this puzzle more often than not, and it fell very easily for me. I couldn't believe it when Rex rated it the way he did, but when I started reading some of what people put in first, I realized how lucky I was that I didn't fall into any of those traps. I guess every once in a while I am just on the same wavelength as the constructor/cluer.

I was on the boat heading out to do some striper fishing this morning as I was finishing the puzzle, and BOBS just doesn't do it for me. BOBberS, yes, but in 50years of fishing, I've never heard anyone refer to a BOB. Maybe it's some weird piece of equipment I've never heard of, or a regional name for something else. Anyone?

Bottom line, fun puzzle, but no stripers!

Shamik 1:44 PM  

Very grateful to see Mr. Happy Pencil after a medium-challenging time of 30:14. YARDED. Really? And for some reason, I just loathed OUTERPLANET. Yes, it is apt...but any kind of Saturn...planet or car....is more interesting than OUTERPLANET.

For a Saturday, it was a slog and obscure. And that's what a Saturday is supposed to be. Too much GEEK/NERD hokey-pokey.

Although I had a successful solve and agreed with Rex on the rating, am dissatisfied for no discernible reason.

SethG 1:45 PM  

I think I've found that sounds cause me more problems than anything else. I worked my out from each corner but had trouble in the NE. For [Plaintive cry], I considered WHY, MEW, WAA, WAH, CAW, and I think more. Others that caused me problems: PHONETICS, CAROL. At least I got LUTED.

Beadola 1:47 PM  

Won't even try to figure out my time. Had to leave it and come back to finish, but I did finish without cheats or errors. So, I was SURE Rex would call it easy. Medium-challenging makes me happy. I thought cosmos were pink and tried my darnedest to make things fit with sling (as in the Singapore sling) from yesterday. Wanted something to do with a garage or parking space for the apt dweller rental. All-in-all, very satisfying.

captcha: padle - what you use with your riveraft.

Masked and Anonymous's subconcious fears 1:52 PM  

P.S. Fact that NYTPuz has sanctioned LUTED as a crosswordy verb really gave me the willies. OBOED can't be far behind. Then comes SAXED and OVERSAXED. Maybe even ARLOED. [shudder]

Methinks I'll curl up in a ball for a few weeks.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

I liked this puzzle. (Although when I do CLAP PUSH-UPS at home by my lonesome, I'm not sure to whom I'm showing off. Maybe to those kitschy SOCK MONKEYS on my bookshelf?)

stix2metunesmiffin 2:04 PM  

Wanted Acoustics for Phonetics, couldn't let it go!

Overtone was a beaut, nice crossover from music lingo, where an overtone is a an upper-pitch that is heard as a component of a root pitch (we had to learn the entire overtone series at conservatory... too much to get into here with the science of sound, sort of like explaining how there's black in the color white, but current composers of the Spectralist school are obsessed with it). I'll try this: if you play a low C on a Lute, the high C string will sympathetically vibrate without being strummed, because the high C is a naturally occurring component, or overtone, of the low C.

Obviously, Carol was my big aha! Good stuff, today!!

retired_chemist 2:08 PM  

@ stix2 -

wouldn't that be true for any stringed instrument? Or is the lute unique in having strings exactly an octave apart?

stix2metunesmiffin 2:56 PM  

@retired_chemist -

It's actually true for ALL sound, period. Even sirens, bird calls, etc. Easiest way to experience this is to hold down the "sustain" pedal of a piano and bang the lowest note hard (the low A) then, with your finger, physically stop that low A string from vibrating.. you'll hear many notes continue to vibrate on.. those are overtones. However, if I sing a note, the overtones still exist, just not as loudly. And some people are really good at manipulating this for effect.

go to minute 4:30 and listen to this Mongolian get down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wHbIWH_NGc&feature=fvw

This guy gets right to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZczbWh6hdB4

Also looking for Bobby McFerrin singing a major chord all by himself!

Lewis 2:58 PM  

Was I the only one who immediately thought of Tenacious D when I saw c___ pushups?

Doc John 3:00 PM  

Nice writeup, Rex.
I, too, wasn't thrilled about EYE WINK but, medically speaking, there are other types of winks. One in particular involves a piece of anatomy in a lower part of the body. Just ask a neurologist. 'Nuff said.
I thought Samosas were Samoas, the GS cookies so was wondering how PEAS got in there.
I'm always very happy to finish a wide-open puzzle like this one the same day that I start it!

stix2metunesmiffin 3:07 PM  

@ retired_chemist -

Go to the minute 3:00!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qOQHB_V2g0&feature=related

fikink 3:11 PM  

@PuzzleNut, perhaps we want to put a "U" in PALTRIEST because we are thinking of "paucity." Anyway, me too.

@Rex, agree on EYEWINK, if @Martin is correct (which I assume he is) that EYEWINK is synonymous with "glance." If the constructor was looking for one word, the clue is inappropriate; if looking for two, the fill is redundant. (imo)

@Seth, I had "mew" for WAH, too; probably owing to all the animals you and I surround ourselves with.

@MaskedandAnonymous, LOL! I hear you. Soon having stowed your needles, you will find you ETUIED.

@stix2metunesmiffin, you've just made a case for lutes having mirror neurons. Where's @foodie? Good question, @retired chemist.
Nice links, @s2mtm! Music of the spheres...

@DocJohn, PEAS in my Samoas tickles me.

PlantieBea 3:18 PM  

What a struggle, but I finished w/o Mr. Google. Nevermind about those resulting pesky errors in the SE: RODS for BOBS, DOGEY for BOGEY. Oh well--at least I got the SOCK MONKEY. In Animal Kingdom, one finds the rough river raft ride, sure to drench you in the rapids. I had FOOL and SNOOKER, before the SKIP ROPE corrected the P for POOL. Didn't like YARDED but otherwise this challenging puzzle seemed just right for Saturday.

nanpilla 3:58 PM  

@Doc John: Yeah, mares do that when they are in heat.

Wendy 4:23 PM  

At first I put Dayan for Israeli leader, but I finally got it. Knew Didi Conn, (too much TV in the 80s) and I think dower comes from dowery. Didnt like yarded. I had sock puppets and took a long time getting mini storage. Thanks for the Mathis. Love him. YOu can keep yer wire spoke engine. Im a girl. Even spellcheck hates it.

dk 5:23 PM  

Well I got PAYPAL! I guess a HIBACHI holds coal instead of charcoal sometimes.

Much of the fill is stretch for me (e.g., eyewink) but it could just be sour grapes.

Liked LIPO for middle management, wanted belt.

** (2 Stars) WAH WAH WAAAAAAH

Martin 5:46 PM  

@retired_chemist,

All strings on a lute except one are paired, each pair tuned in octaves. They don't vibrate sympathetically because the pairs are played together. Later (Baroque) lutes have enough pairs that one or more pairs will have octave-higher pairs, which can add harmonic richness. Baroque lutes can have 25 strings, but the classic Renaissance lute had 5 pairs plus one, each "course" being a unique note.

Do people really wink to signal a secret? Why? If it's just the two of you, you say "keep this a secret." On the other hand, if you bump into a buddy with a hot blonde hanging off him, chances are he will throw you a much subtler cue for "she doesn't know I'm married" than a wink. I, for one, never underestimate the astuteness of blondes.

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

Another night and day for grinding through a maze of catacombs (oh, that was yesterday -- they are all starting to look alike). It’s been so long since I did any clap pushups I was trying to make a rebus with one arm. Saturn is a car going out of business. Oh, yes, it’s a planet, too, and very far away. Who ever heard of Stonehenge being a stone circle? Not me. To the NE where wire spoke is so inane as to be clueless. Ate a snack or ate dinner or ate supper? How about ate me up? Then there is that European thing called a hostel, so what is a hosteler? Thank goodness for res because I know that thing. My Spanish gave me ita or is it ito like the judge? But what kind of word is paltriest? Does that explain why Paltrow is so skinny? South is still a complete blank with no easy fill and no place to go. I can’t stand Lost and don’t care who was in it. Animal Farm was a satire and I have no idea where it is. And Freon is something for my car’s ac, but what initials? Is 54A party tables or ministorage or what? 49D has to be sails but what ends with an i? What’s bad in the air: dread, drone, virus? Ugh! Export/import has to be trade, but what else: duty, wars or something else? Overthrew what? A king? No, a baseball, I guess. What’s not normal besides this stupid puzzle? What’s at expos – demos or hypes? There has to be something easy but where? I use Paypal but what good is that? Air traveling over snow? Blizzard doesn’t fit and no airline fits. WTF gives? More frustration and it’s too early for my bourbon (though it’s Saturday and with college football maybe I can make an exception). I get barhop though it should have been lap dance or something a little more exciting than booze. Never watch Big Bang but teen is a four letter word and I’m thinking of other 4 letter words for this puzzle. Like Didi is 4 letters, so it’s not Olivia Newton-John and bitch doesn’t fit. Abberance isn’t a word but that describes how I feel about this puzzle. I feel penned in or is that about writing something? I’m a father but I don’t hear anything. I see a 5 letter word for an Israeli PM. It can’t be Rabin but who was that guy before Sharon? And Kitschy? Is that kitschy, kitschy, koo or what? Must be something like animals but what? Middle management? Must be diet which is what I should be on. What is a samosa. I know mimosa. Finally I get opinionated in an epiphany. Who is that guy? Rabat or what? Sleds, Yes! Diver? No. Slowly the SW comes around with laws going with trade (of course) and then teas for a samosa and an eyewink (what other kind is there?) for between us, but so much more to go. A breakthrough comes with all the mistakes I recognize sock monkeys, which my wife’s aunt used to make. And it appears mini storage is right. On a roll now. Ehud Barak is the man. Bogey (not Humphrey but the Zero at 2 o’clock) and bobs finish the SW and lastly comes the SE. But first in a panic changes teas to peas (still don’t know samosa). What does a father hear? Can’t be mother cause a mother is not a thing. The first light bulb was hibachi. What else ends with chi? Karachi? Forget it. The next was river raft even though it should be for rapids, not a rapid. Then aberrance suddenly appears spelled correctly. Amazing, overtone appears to be right. Still some more blanks. It was never teen but always nerd. How can someone spending so much time on this puzzle not know nerd? Phonetics was next, with 2 more blanks to fill. Prayer for a father (who’s Catholic?) and at last yarded, but, alas no Mr. Happy Pencil. Where is the mistake? So close but yet so far. I want my Mr. Happy Pencil. So I am holding a contest for all who got this far. The first person to give me the letter that will make Mr. Happy Pencil show his toothy grin wins my copy of the Little Black and White Book of Holiday Crosswords that I didn’t win from last Friday’s contest. The good news is that it is now late enough for my bourbon....

sanfranman59 6:03 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 6:17, 6:55, 0.91, 15%, Easy
Tue 10:12, 8:58, 1.14, 85%, Challenging
Wed 9:16, 11:40, 0.79, 10%, Easy
Thu 21:07, 18:59, 1.11, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 24:01, 26:17, 0.91, 33%, Easy-Medium
Sat 36:09, 30:40, 1.18, 91%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:09, 3:41, 0.85, 3%, Easy
Tue 4:57, 4:36, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 4:35, 5:44, 0.80, 7%, Easy
Thu 10:31, 9:08, 1.15, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 12:51, 12:50, 1.00, 57%, Medium
Sat 19:54, 17:31, 1.14, 83%, Challenging

retired_chemist 6:14 PM  

@ Martin - thanks for the answer. I knew the physics but not the musical issue.

Used to teach standing waves in freshman chemistry, with a neat demo of harmonics. The same one everybody else did/does, I suspect, but it was still cool.

Two Ponies 6:48 PM  

I'm late to the party but hands up for enjoying a med-challenge Sat.
SW had me chewing my cereal slowly but it all fell into place.
Eye wink gave me pause but hey, it's Saturday! I love late week puzzles that Almost beat me.

chefwen 7:04 PM  

@Anon 5:49 - Let me know when I can stop laughing, my stomach hurts.

Stared at this one for about 1/2 hr. and decided to file it under "not enough time in the world".

Anon said it all for me.

I really wanted Kewpie Dolls before SOCK MONKEYS, now that's really kitschy. Have a little sock monkey on my key chain, it drives my husband crazy when he's using my car because it keeps whacking him in the knee.

michael 7:23 PM  

I must be on the constructor's wavelength because I didn't find this particularly hard for a Saturday (no errors for once). I was stuck for too long on rods/rabin but once I got sock monkeys I was done

jae 7:34 PM  

@anon 5:49 Try changing the "E" at the end of ABERRANCE to a "Y." Which gives you the STY in Animal Farm. If this doesn't work check Rex's grid?

Anonymous 7:50 PM  

@Jae, You win the prize! (I know because I cheated and asked Mr. Happy Penccil to reveal the answer). Tha was my only cheat for my day's work. Since you slogged through all my stream of consciousness and gave the right answer I eill send you a copy if you give me your email address. Thanks....

@Chefwen, I'll do the same for you simply because you laughed....

mac 8:23 PM  

A real Saturday, and challenging for me. I also started out with tradewars, rods, dogey, diet, and before barhop I was wondering if "badass" was a verb....

I knew the need when an apartment dweller, just couldn't think of the term.

Nerd was a gimme, I love the Big Bang Theory, and I was pretty proud of myself for getting "dower" without crosses.

David 8:35 PM  

Had LUTED and ATONE, so of course the "Saturn" clue should pick up the -UT- and be AUTO- something.

I wasn't sure when I was done that things were right. There turns out to be an acress named Didi Conn.

jae 11:27 PM  

@Anon -- Thanks, but I'm just glad to be sort of a help?

Anonymous 12:01 AM  

@Jae, no problem. Iwouldn't give my email address to a stranger either. I'm reminded of an old Groucho Marx joke. He wouldn't belong to a club that would have him as a member....

fikink 3:37 AM  

Woody Allen stole that? sheesh!

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

@fikink, you said the magic word. Quack. Quack.

NotalwaysrightBill 3:22 PM  

Syndicated paper puzzler (not as much a solver today, WHA).

Yesterday was a confidence builder, but today showed me how much I still need to cram into MINISTORAGE. Lots of quibbles, HIBACHI as a "Coal holder" being one. Is barhopping really a mandatory bachelor party activity? Jumping out of a cake maybe . . .

@ Masked and Anonymous's subconcious fears: I appreciate the concerns you HARPED on about regarding LUTED, but mightn't there be a few exceptions, "I FIDDLED with the PALTRIES in this puzzle way too long." for example?

@ nanpilla:
Five weeks later: sorry about the no stripers, BLNT. Fisherman to fisherman, I've never heard of BOBS as bobbers either. Found out from an extremely obscure source, though, that the term is indeed regional, as you suspected, and that it refers to a net, rather than to something used to buoy up a line and hook. Much like WINK and EYEWINK, BOB and BOBBER are not synonymous. In some of the remoter parts of England, fishermen will sometimes still say BOB to mean a net carried for retrieval of fish from the end of a successful angler's line. Apparently it stems from times when aristocrats could be counted on to disdain sullying their own hands with the fish slime of their catches; and they would often have some underling take the fish from off the line for them, a person they often called "Bob" as a generic "You, there . . ." name. Many of these "Bobs," though, with fish still in hands but not yet off the hook, would look up at their master with a sly grin and ask a simple question, the equivalent of which today might be "Who's your Daddy?," or "Who da man?," except back then it was "Who's your uncle?" If the Duke or Earl of fish Sandwich really wanted that little trophy he got all caught up in catching, he'd reply correctly, "Bob's your uncle" and the Bob du jour would duly and faithfully haul it in. Over time, of course, Bob was replaced by a net.
In other places in the world, BOBS are just bait.

Nullifidian 11:57 PM  

In from syndication-land:

Overall, I liked this puzzle, though I second your dislike of YARDED.

I was also curious to see if anything that happens at a bachelor party was safe for the breakfast table. I suppose BAR HOPping is about as safe as it gets.

I started off fairly easily in the NW. Neruda's ODES to Common Things gave me COSMO, which in turn gave me OUTER PLANET and STONE CIRCLE. From there on, though there were some thorny areas, I felt like I progressed reasonably quickly through the puzzle for Saturday. I managed to finish it before finishing the second DVD in The Shape of Life series, with two one-hour-long programs on it.

MikeinSTL 3:28 PM  

Funny to hear such disdain for the term YARDED -- Yarding is a fundamental practice of poultry keeping, thus YARDED is a perfectly viable answer (when you pen in your free range chickens, they're YARDED.)

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