Chess master Averbakh /SAT 12-18-10/ Intergenerational MTV reality show / Old Rory Calhoun TV western / Poule's counterpart / Shalom Meir Tower locale

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Constructor: Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SOILURE (5D: Stain) —

  1. Soiling or the condition of being soiled.
  2. A blot, stain, or smudge. (
• • •
[Dear syndicated solvers—It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Saturday) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of this past Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

Wow, I really wish I'd gotten SOILURE out of the way early on, because that is one horrible, ugly, anti-climactic way to end your puzzling experience, let me tell you. Truly one of the most off-putting words in the English language. It's barely sayable. My mouth does not want to make that succession of sounds. What's wrong with "soilage"? (which can also mean "green crops for feeding confined animals," which is strange, considering "silage" is also a kind of animal feed...). Seriously, say SOILURE out loud. Unless you are French (and maybe even then) you sound like a dirty idiot. OK, now that that's over, aside from REGINAL (yuck) (11D: Queenly), I thought this puzzle was a blast, and very much on the easy side. If I hadn't had a rock solid POLLUTE for SOILURE, and if I hadn't had to run the alphabet to get that "R" in SOILURE, I would've rated this "Easy." But the hold-up there was significant for me, and then I had a tiny bit of trouble in the NE, with PEI for LIN (18A: Designer of Alabama's Civil Rights Memorial) and no recollection of GELÉE (38A: French frost) and only dim crossword memories of SABU. Every other part of this puzzle, however, I flew through. Wed-Thur.-level for me, which is strange, considering how brutal Brad Wilber puzzles can be.

ECHO SOUNDER is too technical to be very interesting to me (1A: Aid in deep diving), but the other long stuff up there is great, as are the words in that section's SE counterpart. Just lovely. Helped quite a bit today by two pieces of random pop culture knowledge. First, ESME (1D: Woman in all four "Twilight" novels). Total gimme, though I don't remember that name at all from "Twilight." I just remember seeing the name clued via "Twilight" at least once before, and marveling at the non-Salingerity of it all. I also knew "DATE MY MOM" (30D: Intergenerational MTV reality show), only I thought it was "DATE MY DAD." Dropped it down without a single cross, I think, and then changed DAD to MOM after seeing the easy clue for SEM. (56A: Father's alma mater: Abbr.). Guessed "THE TEXAN" (39A: Old Rory Calhoun TV western) from "THE T..." and the resulting "X" made NIXON ERA (34D: When William Safire worked at the White House) supereasy to get. From there, swept through the whole SE right up to SECT (35D: One may be Protestant) without so much as blinking. Then inched my way through the middle of the grid, then set about squeezing both the NW and NE. Overall, not quite as exquisite as yesterday's grid, but still a very accomplished piece of work.

  • 16A: Sch. with a 60-foot "Praying Hands" sculpture (ORU) — Figured it was some "U", which was semi-helpful in picking up JUNOESQUE (14D: Queenly)
  • 25A: Marine muncher on mangrove leaves (MANATEE) — I like how the answers carries on the alliteration.
  • 28A: Heroine of Inge's "Picnic" (MADGE) — I know only one MADGE ... wasn't she the Palmolive commercial waitress played by Ida Morgenstern? Wait, no, she was the Bounty lady ... who was the "You're soaking in it" lady? Oh, man. OK, MADGE *is* the Palmolive lady ... but what's Ida Morgenstern's name in the Bounty commercials then? Man oh man, I'm really screwed up. Nancy Walker is *Rosie* in the Bounty ads. Ida Morgenstern is the *fictional* character Nancy Walker played on "Rhoda." Well, I'm glad that's cleared up now.

  • 32A: Poule's counterpart (COQ) — easy for me, but I'm not thrilled about this French word being so close to that other, less well known French word.
  • 35A: Actor awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in W.W. II (SABU) — he's just some guy who lives in crosswords, as far as I know.
  • 41A: Disney character prone to spoonerisms (DOC) — clearly haven't seen "Snow White" in a long time, as I don't remember this at all.
  • 46A: "Saving Fish from Drowning" novelist (AMY TAN) — had AMY before I ever saw the clue, so no sweat.
  • 48A: Spider, Snoopy or Intrepid: Abbr. (LEM) — without "Intrepid," I'd have been lost on this one.
  • 51A: Artwork depicted in Dali's "The Hallucinogenic Toreador" (VENUS DE MILO) — that's a great title for a painting.

  • 25D: Israel Philharmonic maestro (MEHTA) — for the first few years of his life, I called my cat "ZUBIN" a lot. For no good reason. His real name sounds nothing like "ZUBIN." I just liked the way it sounded.
  • 31A: Home to Mohammed V University (RABAT) — took a few crosses to turn up. The "B" was key.
  • 47D: Chess master Averbakh (YURI) — no way in hell. Thankfully, it didn't matter. Never saw the clue; crosses were all quite easy.
  • 44D: Rival of Yastrzemski for 1960s A.L. batting titles (OLIVA) — Got it off the "V" from IRA ROLLOVER, which I got off the "IR-" (eeeeasy clue—55A: Financial option upon leaving a job).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


aaron 12:16 AM  

I could've sworn the non-Kim-Novak female character in Vertigo was a MADGE, but Wikipedia informs me that she was MIDGE.

Loved MAN BITES DOG -- one of those clues you can drop in with no crosses and feel completely confident about. Too bad I didn't have a clue about either ESME or CHAKA, though..

andrea chaka michaels 3:57 AM  

Never realized how many words can fit into CA-E...MEATCAKE? MEATCAGE? MEATCAPE (Lady Gaga apparel?) ohhhhh!

Second thing I learned...
THEMONALISA has the same amount of letters as VENUSDEMILO.

Name haters are not gonna love this one, I suspect...
SHARONSTONE, AMYTAN, SAM Huff, YURI Averbakh (?!?), NAN not Gay Talese (They were married, right?), Maya LIN, SABU (?!?), MEHTA Zubin, CHAKA Khan, ESME, Tony OLIVA, MADGE, Bobby? RAHAL
(What happened to the Y and second L? I mean, in my mind I heard Ray-hall, but not enough space to write it in).

This may come out semi-wrong, but it was so proper name-oriented, it felt like a TV Guide/People puzzle but for slightly more educated folks.
A huge breadth of subjects: sports, literature, film, classical music, political...but people people people more than words this go-round.

Here's something I liked:
Protestant SECT, TELAVIV, Mohammed V University, ORU...very ecumenical.

JUNOESQUE is lovely, but is it a word, or just made up for a puzzle like this?

And two sets of triple 11 and 9 do people do that? Very nice.

I wouldn't say this was easy, but it was one that I got everything even tho I felt I didn't know what 50% of the answers were referring to. (DOD, anyone?)
Yay crosses, I guess.

jae 4:46 AM  

More on the hard side of medium for me compared to yesterday's and, not quite as delightful but still a fine puzzle. NW & SE easy (once I remembered SHARONSTONE), SW medium, and NE hard (took a while to dredge up LIN after PEI didn't work.)

@andrea -- tried GAY first.

Also tried MKT for EKG.

SABU = no clue, ditto yay crosses.

again @andrea DOD = Department of Defense but a Dept. is not a div. So, unless I'm missing something, this clue is a bit off.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

Sabu was an Indian actor who was discovered at age 12 and went on to appear in a number of American films including Thief of Bagdad Jungle Book and Black Narcissus in the late 30's and early 40's. He joined the American Army during WWII.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

What's "MOL" for CO, e.g? (53D)

glimmerglass 8:40 AM  

Lots easier for Rex than for me. A lot ofd stuff I didn't know and had to work out from crosses (e.g. ECHO SOUNDER). SOILURE is lame and sounds like a made-up word. JUNOESQUE is OK ("Queensized," I guess), but REGINAL is like SOILURE.
SABU was the child actor in early jungle movies, then had less success as an adult actor. Didn't know he got the DFC, but WW II is the right era.
MOL is an abbreviation for molecule.

Failed Jokester 9:18 AM  

Does anyone here know how hard it is to come up with a joke about the bastard offspring of a ZOLAESQUE and JUNOESQUE pairing? It's friggin inpossible.

Arthur 9:34 AM  

The naming of the eras, from CAMELOT to NIXONERA was but the start of a sad decline in how we, rightfully, see our presidential history. I fear the W(oeful)ERA was not the nadir.

ECHOSOUNDER sounded like the most ridiculous name, given its redundancy, until I rememebered that sounding is itself a nautical term. It then made sense but not until I lost sleep over it.

Soilure is butt ugly, but that's probably appropriate.

Barbara Lewis Hara Krishna Beauregard 9:40 AM  

Listen to this song and you'll always remember Sabu:

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Junoesque per M-W Collegiate 11th Ed.:

"marked by stately beauty"

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

MAN BITES DOG -- That's the way I feel Rex's comments are to thOse of us who are not nearly so gifted at these things. The south was close to Rex's assessment. The North was BAH....

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Easy? nope.

TIBIA, a bone in the lower leg. Pretty neat trick to attach to a DELTOID in the shoulder... (wrong LIMB)

Sparky 10:09 AM  

Can't believe I finished because yesterday couldn't get a toehold. Had scuba something for a long time, pet before LEM, hen before COQ, MArGE crossing rATE. Stopped watching MTV long time ago. Pei before LIN. MAN BITES DOG and PBJ went in first. A friendly bout of insomnia enabled me to stay up and finish.

Have to go to post office to buy stamps. Has taken me forever to get up to speed this season.

Have a good weekend.

JC66 10:09 AM  


Great video. Thx

Michael 10:10 AM  

Deltoid ligament: So named, like the muscle in the shoulder, because it's triangular. It is, indeed, in the leg.

What is LEM? I'm just not getting it?

Wiki junky 10:13 AM  

Anon 10:01am As usual, Wiki explains all, even how the deltoid ligament attaches to the TIBIA.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Lunar Excursion Module (Lunar Hot-rod)

(And thanks for clearing up the anatomy issue)

Things I Learned Today 10:21 AM  

ECHOSOUNDER is the equipment used in SONAR and other similar applications.

DELTOID ligament is not to be confused with the muscle of the same name.

Al UNSER did not win every Indy 500.


mitchs 10:28 AM  

Well, I apparently thought that Margy was on a show called Rate my Mom which soiluried my puzzle.

See Wordplay for a Reagle (kinglike) write-up.

DB Geezer 10:35 AM  

How is CAMELOT a decade before NIXONERA?

bousn the way people from down under pronounce one of the ship's officers

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

@DB Geezer - Kennedy's time in office was often referred to as CAMELOT. You're a geezer, you must have lived through that!

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

I thought I had this solved perfectly but now I see that it's not RATEMYMOM and MARGE. (I actually envisioned what this show must be like, with teenagers kids slagging their moms.)

For not the first time, this week I solved Thursday, Friday and Saturday (give or take a letter) but had a whole corner wrong on Wednesday.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

The next time I go to Hun Lo's Chinese laundry I'll point out the soilures to them, although I have a
feeling they may not be familiar with the term.

7thecow 11:10 AM  

Could not believe SOILURE was a word (spellchecker now shows spelling error and for "spellchecker" -so much for technology) and IRE seemed too mild to produce an explosion, unless you have anger management issues. Went with it and got a "puzzle completed" but no MHP. Went over puzzle twice and then did "reveal" for SABU (another spelling error)and RAHAL (guesses from crosses). Finally did entire "reveal". No errors! Does this happen often?

archaeoprof 11:26 AM  

In the past I have complained about Brad Wilber's puzzles.

Not today.


But there were traces of humor: PBJ, MANBITESDOG, VANITYPLATE, BRIDETOBE.

davko 11:39 AM  

@Sparky ("Can't believe I finished because yesterday couldn't get a toehold.") I can relate. But it's amazing what a good night's sleep will do. After which my only troubles were in the NE, where a nonexistent command of the French language proved to be... well, my bete noire.

I knew who Sabu was, but resisted writing him in for 35A, because I never would have guessed he was an American -- let alone a war hero!

Finally... PBJ? Now, c'mon, it's one thing to order a "BLT," but who in the world has ever referenced that lunchtime staple of my youth, the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, with such casual aplomb?

ArtLvr 11:43 AM  

Well, YEAH... a lot of sticky places but doable in the end and I'd GOT HELP from dozing off part way though. Admirable accomplishment from Brad, but actually rather difficult!

I tried Lethal before DEADLY, IRA Transfer before ROLLOVER, an ECHO Counter before SOUNDER, plus other odd bits mentioned above. The last entry I fixed was MaRge and Rate MY MOM to MADGE and DATE.

Favorites included NATTY along the top of NIXON and VANITY PLATE across the bottom, the end of his ERA indeed. An indelible image of that smirking salute at his departure lingers like the Cheshire Cat's grin!


Two Ponies 11:56 AM  

I hate baseball trivia.
Only after figuring out the Snoopy/Intrepid/Spider connection
I filled in the L and voila.
I groaned when I saw Brad Wilber's name up top because he and I usually don't think alike. Glad to finish.
Just read something somewhere yesterday about Sabu. Possibly the first Hollywood actor to go by one name. Cool that he was a hero.

TimJim 12:00 PM  

On the easy side for me as well. Man Bites Dog and Sharon Stone were gimmes (just saw "Casino"). Obscurities were all gettable. Loved NIXON ERA crossing with CAMELOT. I also do not understand MOL. Good puzzle!

David L 12:04 PM  

Hard side of medium for me -- so many unfamiliar names. SOILURE sounds appropriately dirty, but so, inappropriately, does REGINAL. Or maybe that's just me.

I had IRA_OLLO_ER for a ridiculously long time before figuring it out. Nothing really tricky here, just a lot of stuff that slowed me down.

@TimJim and others: CO (carbon monoxide) is a MOLecule... I would prefer to have seen Gretchen here.

Glitch 12:26 PM  

@7thecow and others

Thou shalt not confuse a spell checker with a dictionary.

BTW (For those w/o an installed dictionary app): Google has a handy accelerator (add on) for many browsers. Highlight a word and right click and you get the definition(s) from the top three sources. Another click gives you the complete [definition] search results.


Mel Ott 12:37 PM  

That sultry scene of Kim Novak advancing across the dance floor is a major hormone-induced memory of my youth. Couldn't remember her name, tho. So I too had MARGE/RATE MY MOM.

SABU films were a staple of late 40's early 50's B&W TV. Astonished to see he won a DFC. Learned something today.

So the "One" in the 12A clue refers to a sandwich, not a person? Weak cluing, I think.

davko 12:46 PM  

@ Michael, et al: It's interesting to note that the acronym LEM was dropped by NASA long before Spider, Snoopy, or Intrepid made their celebrated landings. The foreshortened LM, or Lunar Module, became the new appellation, with the designations LM-3, LM-4, LM-6 applying to the three aforementioned landers, respectively.

Arguably, this is an oft-repeated error that Will may want to look into someday (knowing his penchant for technical accuracy).

mac 1:04 PM  

I was slain by this one. See the quality and liked some clues/answers very much. Back to the kitchen.

mmorgan 1:29 PM  

Total soilure for me.

Started out by plopping down MANBITESDOG with no crosses and thought it would be easy, but HTG, HTG, HTG... Waaah.

@Andrea / @Jae -- I think the point is that they are divisions of the DOD, not that the DOD is a division. Maybe.

Had Pei (for LIN), Gay (for NAN), DELICASES (for, you know), etc.

Beautiful puzzle, but I'm just a big blotch of HTG SOILURE.

merlbaby 1:30 PM  

i wrote a review of this puzzle over on the new york times blog today (patrick merrell asked me to be a guest solver) and it looks like i'm on the same page as rex and most of the solvers here. i liked the puzzle quite a bit but also thought SOILURE was ultra yucky. and JUNOESQUE is definitely a word -- it's even in my webster's new world collegiate -- but i kept wondering how juno rated an -esque when jupiter, zeus, and hera didn't. --MR

jae 1:49 PM  

@mmorgan -- re:DOD. Yeah, I thought of that but the clue doesn't seem to be worded that way. At first I was looking for divisions in the Navy and Airforce, e.g. company, unit, squad,...

retired_chemist 1:51 PM  

What mac said (except the kitchen part). But easy-medium - no way.

Obscure to semi-obscure names (SABU, RAHAL, YURI, MADGE - knew CHAKA but debated SHAKA), weird words (REGINAL, maybe JUNOESQUE, SOILURE for sure) and stuff not in my wheelhouse - by a mile (DATE MY MOM,which I had as MEET MY MOM, translation of poule) got me good.

But the puzzle was fine. The problems were mine. At the end, COULD. NOT. SEE. the R in IRE/SOILURE. So I finished with an error.

Googled several things to check them, was right on all, except I had SUE ME for the Bill Withers song. We listen to Sirius radio all the time,and it gets a fair amount of play, so my bad.

The cluing was often devilish. ORB evokes a shape, not an astronomical body. The deltoid ligament and the (better known) deltoid muscle are not even near each other. Who remembers DOC's Spoonerisms? Div. misleads for DOD, Dept. would have been fairer. OK, it's Saturday so no holds barred,but still....

Happy to havd got NIXON ERA, RABAT, and TEL AVIV, which gave me the cross CAMELOT easily. Stared at A__TAN a LONG time before the light dawned. The G in GAY Talese made me try for some odd spelling of LA GIOCONDA (it needs another letter).

Thanks,Mr. Wilber - good one.

Shamik 2:11 PM  

Straight down the middle medium Saturday, but felt like so much more fun. Well, except for the disdained SOILURE. Thought it was going to be a true stinker, but the NW opened up fairly quickly after CHAKA and ESME. The SE was held up by the IRATRANSFER.
Thanks to all y'all for clearing up MOL.

Coffee at hand; laptop with puzzle. Lovely Saturday around 70 degrees with the window open. Life is good.

quilter1 2:43 PM  

I'm literally cooking on all burners today making ham and bean soup and three kinds of Christmas candy, so I did the puzzle in little bits of time between steps and bringing mixtures to the hard crack stage.
Loved JUNOESQUE, got NIXONERA and CAMELOT, and SABU, who knew the elephant boy was a war hero?
I've always wondered why Inge would burden his heroine with a clunker like MADGE. In the movie I kept wanting Kim Novak to whack her mother upside the head for that one.
Drake vs U of Iowa tonight. There will be no empty seats. Both teams have lots of freshmen. Go Bulldogs!

saintpeg 3:40 PM  

I'm married to a Zubin, so I get to say it every day!

Eric Halsey 5:04 PM  

10D was not that hard, once a few crosses (MANBITESDOG, LIBIDO, MANATEE) were in. But I don't like the clue. Can an airplane really be called a ship? It's not an AIRship - that would be a dirigible. To maintain the air/sea ambiguity, perhaps "craft" could have been used.

Anybody else out there agree?

And, like some above, I believe SABU is (or should be) well-known. The Thief of Bagdad is a real children's classic, and worth a trip to the video store (NetFlix?). I was also surprised about the DFC.

OldCarFudd 5:43 PM  

Pilots refer to their planes as ships, e. g. "She's a hot little ship," which could either mean fast or tricky to handle.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

This puzzle has no theme but it has Richard Nixon all over it. 34D: NIXON ERA is obvious. The crossover at 42A: CAMELOT is about Kennedy who beat Nixon in 1960. 56A: SAM is really about Sam Ervin who chaired the Senate Watergate Committee. Nixon was a big poker player and thus 43A: BETTOR. Nixon was in the Navy in WWII and, hence, 9D. Nixon was in WWII which practically ended with the ENOLA GAY dropping the first of 2 atomic bombs. Nixon either was or wanted to be an ALPHA MALE. Nixon was a Quaker, a Protestant SECT. SHARON STONE was there being STONE walling became a cliché under Nixon. And, finally, whenever Nixon joked it always came off as a PBJ – Pretty Bad Joke.

49D: MORE reminds me of my favorite scene from Key Largo:

Johnny Rocco: There's only one Johnny Rocco.
James Temple: How do you account for it?
Frank McCloud: He knows what he wants. Don't you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Sure.
James Temple: What's that?
Frank McCloud: Tell him, Rocco.
Johnny Rocco: Well, I want uh ...
Frank McCloud: He wants more, don't you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Yeah. That's it. More. That's right! I want more!
James Temple: Will you ever get enough?
Frank McCloud: Will you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Well, I never have. No, I guess I won't. You, do you know what you want?
Frank McCloud: Yes, I had hopes once, but I gave them up.
Johnny Rocco: Hopes for what?
Frank McCloud: A world in which there's no place for Johnny Rocco.

Johnny Rocco

Matthew G. 5:59 PM  

Definitely easy for a Saturday, since I finished with only two wrong squares. Even running the alphabet didn't convince me SOILURE was a word, and I've never heard of either Mr. (?) MEHTA or Mr. RAHAL. Contemporary classical music performers and car racers are two of my weak spots, to put it mildly, so the crossing of those two was a deathly Natick. Neeever would have guessed an Indian surname for a conductor in Israel!

Otherwise, I virtually sailed through this for a Saturday. Got off to a great start with MAN BITES DOG and didn't look back. A fun solve!

I skip M-W 6:06 PM  

got everything except had Marie then Marge (never saw Picnic) . Rate my Mom sounded like an interesting game. very dubious about ire, soilure, reginal,Oliva, but left in. Ire causes an explosion? I suppose "road ire" is a little less extreme than road rage, but the most it would cause would be a horn honk. Had --atcamps before meat cases, thought it was where boxers train, showing off hooks and cuts. Agree Enola Gay was not a ship. but good puzzle overall.

Two Ponies 6:17 PM  

I forgot to say that, like yesterday, knowing the rules of the game helped me. I threw Gay Talese in but when Enola Gay showed up I knew it was wrong. How things have changed since enhancing my education here at Rex's blog. It's a whole new game these days.

quilter1 6:22 PM  

I was not familiar with The Hallucinogenic Toreador so I looked at it online and it is a very interesting painting. Two of the Venus de Milos form the face, shirt and scarf of the toreador.

Everything except the caramels came out OK, so I will be making caramels again after the game.

Papero 6:44 PM  

No, Rocco, this puzzle was really about Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking tales. NATTY Bumpo, the prorotypical ALPHA MALE, is given prominence in the middle of the grid. Cooper's BRIDE-TO-BE is who challenged him to write a novel as good or BETTOR than the novels produced by the old world, represented by VENUS DE MILO. YEAH, did anybody notice how goddamn DEADLY boring this schtick of making narratives out the puzzle words is?

Look Up Guy 6:45 PM  

@Eric Halsey

What @OldCarFudd said and:

ship (noun)

°A large, water-borne vessel, in contrast to a boat.
°A vessel which travels through any medium other than across land, such as an airship or spaceship.

michael 6:49 PM  

Am I am right in assuming that almost everyone immediately wrote in Yuri for the (obscure) chess master just like I did. Surprised no one commented on this. I guess you all got it from crosses...

I had to google sabu because I kept thinking bus line for Peter Pan.

SethG 7:12 PM  

What Merl said, except for the part about Patrick Merrell asking me to be a guest solver. Easy-Medium or not, it was certainly easier for me than other Wilbers have tended to be.

joho 7:24 PM  

Mr. Wilber SOILUREd my day.

Honestly, I admired it, but I didn't like it.

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

Papero - YEAH! Just saying, but over on Wordplay today someone referred to this Blog as "snarky." Don't know why. Don't care. I am surprised today's NIXON ERA did not evoke a comment from Jim. I guess by now Nate has GOT HELP. Once knew someone, Nate, in DC who was a neighbor of Walter Mondale and did not like NIXON. He was also homophobic. NIXON ended the draft and Obama ended Section 9.

John the former Air Force JAG who unsuccessfully defended an airman from a Section 9 discharge....

NATE 9:23 PM  


I still need Rex when I can't
finish the puzzle.
I am either flattered that you occasionally refer to me or amazed
at your memory.
I scan the comments, but,except
for this message, I refuse to get involved.
I am not the guy from DC.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

What does HTG mean - anyone? Thanks

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

Where are you seeing HTG?

sanfranman59 9:43 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, 6:55, 0.88, 8%, Easy
Tue 8:03, 8:55, 0.90, 24%, Easy-Medium
Wed 12:37, 11:45, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 15:02, 18:57, 0.79, 19%, Easy
Fri 23:39, 26:16, 0.90, 33%, Easy-Medium
Sat 29:01, 30:35, 0.95, 35%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:41, 0.90, 10%, Easy
Tue 4:00, 4:35, 0.87, 9%, Easy
Wed 5:57, 5:46, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:08, 9:08, 0.78, 20%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:14, 12:52, 0.95, 48%, Medium
Sat 17:06, 17:26, 0.98, 47%, Medium

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

mmorgan at 1:29 pm wrote:

"Started out by plopping down MANBITESDOG with no crosses and thought it would be easy, but HTG, HTG, HTG... Waaah.

@Andrea / @Jae -- I think the point is that they are divisions of the DOD, not that the DOD is a division. Maybe.

Had Pei (for LIN), Gay (for NAN), DELICASES (for, you know), etc.

Beautiful puzzle, but I'm just a big blotch of HTG SOILURE."

Perhaps HTG means Hard To Get?

HTG 10:13 PM  

Had To Google

(I think it started to show up here just a few days ago!)

mmorgan 11:28 PM  

@HTG - yes, thanks! (Had To Google...)

william e emba 4:28 PM  

Well, in the reverse direction from Rex, I got THE TEXAN off of TET/TEL AVIV/NIXON ERA. And the Peter Pan I kept thinking of was the bus line, wanting COM=Commuter, but didn't believe it. (I am a 100% Skippy PB only kind of guy.)

I was slowed in the NW because I wanted ECHO-LOCATOR.

I did not like the YURI Averbach clue at all: he's a chess grandmaster. (Yes, I know, the clue is using the "informal" sense of master here. It doesn't matter. Calling a grandmaster a mere master is insulting.)

The hard part about finishing the NE (besides unable to think of anyone other than a BRIDE or GROOM for 13D) was trying to think of the French female for a Poule. I began to despair, then thought maybe "counterpart" was some food go-with, like coq-au-vin, so maybe there's a poule-au-vin non-foodie I had never heard of? Let's see, VIN, did that help any? No, no, no. Well, that was disappointing until I noticed COQ is also three letters, put it in, and finished in a flash. Haha, why did I ever think Poule was male?

oldjt 1:40 PM  

I don't get "SEM." for "Father's alma mater." Can someone please explain? Thanks.

oldjt 11:10 PM  

Got it. Seminary. "Father" as in priest.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

Home sick and catching up on puzzles. Tibia?? Connecting to the deltoid? In what species? Trying to cram Humerus in a 5 space block...

Gil.I.Pollas 2:01 PM  

I love Brad Wilber puzzles. This was so much easier than last Saturday's where I had to google constantly. Not so today.
@papero - I for one don't find it DEADLY boring by people who make narratives of the puzzles.
I'm in syndication so just about everything will have been covered when I chime in.
Someone else who comes to mind is @joho. She can be hilarious with her narratives; they are part of the Rex blog I enjoy.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

From syndication land

Comments like @Matthew G drive me crazy. If this was super easy then how come you couldn't finish it? When you can't finish a puzzle without help, then it is matter how much of it was easy!

NotalwaysrightBill 2:55 PM  

Dark side of the moon solver.

All the proper names ripped me to shreds. So now me and Lady Gaga are both MEATCASES except that you can't hold my meat purse.

Still don't know how NTSB is a wreck checker, but it might be me from now on whenever I see Brad Wilber's name at the bottom of a fresh puzzle and my first response is "Not That SOILURE Bastard again!"

And it's usually P B and J, WITH the AND. BAH!

muffled anagram for "fartspat," which is what this puzzle gets from me today.

Although I DO like the pattern that all the little black squares make: looks a little ancient Grecian maybe, almost JUNOESQUE. BAH!

Gil.I.Pollas 3:05 PM  

NTSB=National Transportation Safety Board. Every time there is an aviation accident, they are called.

Waxy in Montreal 5:37 PM  

Had PBJ from vertical crosses but no idea what it meant because have never heard that abbreviation even though my kids thrived on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for years. (Also, cuz the Peter Pan brand isn't sold up here in the geléed north.)

Thought the juxtaposition of MEAT..., ALPHA MALE and DATE MY MOM was interesting. Of course, may just be my LIBIDO speaking.

Marc 5:51 PM  

This was almost easy for a Saturday. With SHARONSTONE and MANBITESDOG, the NW fell into place almost immediately. The rest of the puzzle was a little more work, but it wasn't until the very end, when I was stuck with MARIE and had three squares left that I had to really scratch my head.

I've seen PICNIC but not for a while, so MARIE was just a guess. (Of course that meant the MTV show was RATEMYMOM, but that sounded like a likely possibility.)

Finally came up with MADGE and was all done.

I had already reconciled myself to SOILURE, which I agree is a non-word, or should be. I still have no idea what Poule is, or why COQ is the opposite of it. But overall, a fun puzzle that made me work without driving me crazy.

Waxy in Montreal 6:27 PM  

@Marc, en français la poule is the female chicken while le coq is the rooster.

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

If Sabu is only a Xword name to you, Rex, you MUST see him in "Thief of Baghdad" [1940], an incredible fantasy made before CGI

UncleRancid 2:21 PM  

@Look Up Guy,

You forgot to add "camel" to your defs (Ship Of The Desert).

alba66 5:06 PM  

Wayne Morris (who played the weakling Lt. Roget in Kubrick's WWI saga, Paths of Glory) in contrast to that role was a paragon in WWII. He shot down 7 Jap planes and earned four (4) DFC's (compared to Sabu's single measley cross).

His moniker posed a problem: his birth name Bert deWayne Morris: BDWM?

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