Old Russian co-op / THU 12-2-10 / Odin to Germans / Lake bordered by Malawi Mozambique / Fuji rival

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Doubled clues — on nine different Across lines, two seven-letter answers share same clue


Word of the Day: GOLGI body (52D: ___ body (cell part)) —

The Golgi apparatus (also Golgi body or the Golgi complex) is an organelle found in most eukaryotic cells. It was identified in 1897 by the Italian physician Camillo Golgi, whom the Golgi apparatus is named after. // The Golgi apparatus processes and packages macromolecules, such as proteins and lipids, after their synthesis and before they make their way to their destination; it is particularly important in the processing of proteins for secretion. The Golgi apparatus forms a part of the cellular endomembrane system. (wikipedia)

• • •

Really feels like I've seen this theme before, but I guess not. Not much to enjoy here. The construction is interesting, in a way, but the whole thing was kind of tedious to solve. Also very uneven, in that the SE corner was (for me) a billion times harder than the rest of the thing, which was pretty easy to piece together even when the vocab got odd (e.g. WOTAN, ARTEL) (28D: Odin, to the Germans, 31D: Old Russian co-op). I didn't know NYASA (50D: Lake bordered by Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania) or GOLGI and forgot AGFA (58D: Fuji rival) completely (a phenomenally unmemorable name, for me, for some reason), and so ARISTAS was tough to uncover. In fact, I was so stuck, and so didn't care about the puzzle, that I just stopped and watched basketball for a while. Later, figured out that HEES (!?!) must be HEYS (59D: Startled cries), and that "Y" got me SIGNIFY and then the rest of the puzzle.

Theme answers:
  • 1A / 8A: Orient (FAR EAST / SITUATE)
  • 15A / 16A: Ace (AVIATOR / ONE SPOT)
  • 17A / 18A: Lower in stature (DEGRADE / BENEATH)
  • 34A / 38A: I, for one (PRONOUN / NUMERAL)
  • 40A / 41A: Understanding (ENTENTE / EMPATHY)
  • 42A / 43A: Tire (WEAR OUT / RETREAD)
  • 60A / 61A: Loose (LIBERAL / AT LARGE)
  • 65A / 66A: Mean (AVERAGE / SIGNIFY)

  • 67A / 68A: Bristles (GETS MAD / ARISTAS)
Look, I get that it probably took a lot of thought and ingenuity and careful planning to get this grid to work out. But as a solver, I don't care about that. I care about solving enjoyment. And there just wasn't much here.

Bullets:
  • 22A: Runnin' ___, 1944 N.C.A.A. basketball champs (UTES) — that's a long way to go to get an original clue for UTES, but enjoyed the journey. Grew up watching the Runnin' Rebs of UNLV play my hometown Fresno State Bulldogs on a regular basis.
  • 32D: Religion with an apostrophe in its name (BAHAI) — where does it go? BA'HAI. That's my guess. Dang! It's BAHA'I. BAH.
  • 57D: Person under the Union Jack (BRIT) — got it off the "R," though initially wanted something like REB.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

122 comments:

D_Blackwell 12:22 AM  

Another themeless, but today with themelike clues. (I tried for themeish or themish, but they looks too strange.) The closed grid makes this six mini-crosswords for the price of one.

Slow but steady progress through to the SE, which stopped me cold for a long time. AGFA cracked it, and the dart with ARISTA (which I only know from ARISTA Records) finished it off.

ONE SHOT for ONE SPOT doomed me to a -1

Wanted BAKE for FADE.

i skip M-W 1:02 AM  

I couldn't believe how fast I did this, which almost made it fun. Kept thinking it must be a Wed. puzzle. Knew Nyasa and Golgi, came up with Baha'i pretty fast, vague idea about artel and aristas. Concept not bad, but too easy.

retired_chemist 1:04 AM  

My -1 was DIGNIFY @ 66A. Not that that fits the clue - it doesn't. But I took 4 minutes to check and still couldn't see it. BAH.

Agree it was medium. Also agree it was tedious to solve.

Needed to solve many of the downs before I could get the theme answers, i.e. all the 7 letter acrosses. The downs, mostly, were easy, so that made up for the difficulties with the acrosses. The latter were not particularly hard, except that there were generally other potential answers besides the two that the constructor used. Thus "lower in stature" could be SHORTER, SMALLER, (at a strech) DEBASED, .....; "ace" could be LOW CARD, "I" could be ONESELF, "loose" could be UNLACED, SET FREE,..... I could see that without a few letters I could get derailed very easily by a wrong stab at a theme answer.

Clark 3:13 AM  

I enjoyed this a bit more than the average bear -- trying to think of one answer and then, avoiding the region of the one, finding another. But I died in the SE. NYASA, GOLGI and ARISTAS were all new to me. SAYSO and ASTIR were not, but they hid themselves from me. BAH!

formento - the soul state you can work yourself up into when a word remains just beyond recall and you just can't quite reach it. Cf. SPUME.

r.alphbunker 3:40 AM  

Joe Krozel never disappoints. I really am in awe of how he gets his ideas to manifest into a crossword puzzle. I love solving under the influence of awe! Guessed the "A" of NYASA. Otherwise it was a smooth solve.

Falconer 4:02 AM  

For once I agree w/ Rex. Must have been hard to create, but it was not much fun to solve.

Much better puzzle last night was the new Fireball crossword from Peter Gordon, which you have to get from his website on subscription. Had some dazzling words and great cluing, including a 14-letter German noun that I did not know but managed to piece together from logic and crosses. That was neat.

One thing that was cool about the NYT puzzle was the six three-row stacks of seven letters. That's a nice-looking grid and must be difficult to build so artfully.

andrea at large michaels 4:54 AM  

word for word what @clark wrote.

Plus I used to think JoeK was all construction achievement, less fun to solve, but my respect for him just grows and grows. I loved trying to think of two different things and to avoid malapopping...

But not knowing NYASA and GOLGI did me in, esp bec even after I had AGFA
(I still use film!) I changed it so NOTNICE would fit where SIGNIFY is apparently the answer. SO DNF. :(

Highlight for me: PIT + 4 letter word. BOSS? STOP? BULL? I love playing Match Game while solving, makes me feel like I'm alive and kickin'!

Oh! LOVED 23A Party Favorites? = ALIST!at

Ben 5:16 AM  

Found it harder than the average Thursday. The SE was brutal.

Evgeny 6:05 AM  

had to google today, so dnf as well... liked the theme implementation for the same reason Andrea did - it's almost cryptic, isn't it?

@ Nate - continuing yesterday's discussion. Here's a thought: go to Wikipedia and read the article on "captcha". Or, if you don't like Wikipedia, google it. As you comment here i think i can safely assume that you have an internet connection.
So, my captcha yesterday was the combination of letters i can't be bothered to remember anymore and i wrote about what was my first thought on this combination. This is something some of the commenters here do sometimes. i took up this habit for the first time yesterday, or, figuratively, "jumped on that train".

hope that helps. To use your words, the real trouble with some commenters is that they assume every word or phrase they don't understand to be jargon.

@Rex, i am sorry for the lengthy puzzle-unrelated rant, won't happen again, hopefully.

Gunnar 7:31 AM  

SE def. the hardest region ... but although at first I also felt 'this is going to be uber tedious,' after a while it became enjoyable: it seemed to appeal to my brain in a particular kind of way, echoing what you do when addressing a clue in general: try it out as a noun, then a verb, then adjective, etc ... until one of them works. this was that in a much more concentrated way and as such was a nice mental calisthenic.

and please, no complaints about ARTEL, WOTAN, ARISTA, NYASA et al. All are solid crossword fill though not all that common, I would agree. But then people also complain about things appearing too often too ....!

Also esp. liked SPUME, SPEWS, AGFA, RIGA, ENTENTE rather than the more common detente ... the more I think about it, the more I admire this construction.

So there!

glimmerglass 7:42 AM  

I liked the 9 pairs of identically clued divergent answers. Finding one eliminated a field of choices for the other one in the pair. I reluctantly settled on SAYSO for "sway." No other combination fit SA*S*. That gave me the unknown NYASA and GOLGI (WTF, WTF). Turns out SAYSO was correct, but I think they're not quite synonyms. Someone who holds sway has the sayso (I guess), but sway isn't sayso, it's what gets you sayso. Small quibble, but in an important spot in the puzzle.
I too had to dredge up AGFA. How long will it be before names of film manufacturers will be in the same category as "sliderule"? (Proof: my spell checker doesn't think "sliderule" is a word!)

David L 8:30 AM  

Well, I liked this one. I thought the doubled clues were sufficiently different that the switch from one meaning to another was an engaging challenge. I breezed through most of it pretty easily, then ran aground, like others, in the SE. Eventually I managed to dredge up GOLGI from the back of my brain somewhere, and figured out the rest. Didn't know ARISTAS but everything else fit...

I was impressed by the lack of crosswordese here, given how tough it must have been to build the puzzle around the doubled answers.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

43A: RETREAD + D and scramble.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Agree with Rex and others. IMO this was not fun because there was no mystery. Part of the fun with a theme is discovering the theme, i.e., solving the mystery. This puzzle had no mystery and thus had a theme-less theme. All it really did was state the obvious – that words in the English language can have very different meanings....

Ulrich 9:03 AM  
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ArtLvr 9:07 AM  

This kind of double-meaning wordplay is tops with me! Super fantastic job from Joe Krozel...

My favorites were the ENTENTE-EMPATHY pair for Understanding, and the WEAR OUT-RETREAD answers for Tire, but they were all great. How did Joe figure out all the same-length matches and stack them so smoothly?

I had the same Civil War misstep as Rex at first sight of the Union Jack clue, but fixed it quickly enough. And after GETS MAD, I was thinking Awns for the second part of Bristles but ARISTAS came back to me. In the fill, I especially like SPUME, Lake NYASA and the River CLYDE. Wow.

Lovely Thursday, just wish that I could have pulled this off myself!

∑;)

Ulrich 9:07 AM  
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joho 9:10 AM  

Incredible construction. Plus I enjoyed the solve even though the SE also did me in. I got ARISTAS but guessed NYAlA which stopped me cold. That darn 'l' made lIoNIsh sound mean. GRRRR.

Thanks, Joe K!

Ulrich 9:11 AM  

@Rex and others: AGFA will become unforgettable once you know that it is an acronym for Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation (publicly owned company for Anilin (?) fabrication)!!!!

To us non-native speakers, same clue-different answers puzzles are intriguing b/c they test our vocabulary knowledge, and in that sense, the puzzle did not disappoint me. I must say, tho, that I'm not sure whether "orient" and "situate" are close enough in meaning, not to speak of "tire"/"retread" (@Artlvr?)--maybe I'll pursue this later...

tween (wish I still were one!--(j/k)

chefbea 9:18 AM  

Tough puzzle. Did the downs first which I don't generally do and made it much easier.

Now to start baking xmas cookies

SethG 9:30 AM  

Saw the clues, thought "Neat gimmick!", then slogged through the solve.

Had the ONE SHOT error, which I knew was off but Pit-A-PAT means nothing to me. Entered AGFA with no crosses, still didn't help much in the SE. Brutal indeed.

Glimmer, sliderule isn't a word. Until today, I didn't realize SPUME was either.

Jim 9:43 AM  

Just about half finished when I need a little R(e)x stop for a few anti-coagulants. That got it going again. Mostly SE and SW, NYASA and LIBERAL and AGFA loosened things up.

One of the few things memorable about cellular biology was GOLGI. But always learned it as 'apparatus' so clue was no help today. So onomatopaeic (sp?). Like that song 'Rock me Amadeus'...'Ooh, GOL-giapparatus'!

Anyway, a beef or two. SLAG off, if I know my Britishisms, means 'Leave me alone' or 'Geddafugouttahere' (as with most things, I get this from The Simpsons--see 'The Otto Show' from season 3 when Bart tries to learn the guitar after a Spinal Tap concert and tells Milhouse, in a dream sequence wherein he is a rock star, to 'SLAG OFF!'). Its certainly used in a demeaning fashion but, in and of itself, does not mean 'denigrate'...does it?

And RETREAD means 'Wear out'? Highly dubious.

Thanks, LookupGuy, for the stats on NONONO yesterday. Might not have been the answer I was thinking of...maybe from a rebus puzzle a couple months back...five letter answer (with a two- or three-letter rebus). Thought it was NONONONONO, but it must have been something else.

Glitch 9:57 AM  

@Jim

A RETREAD is a type of [reconditioned] vehicle tire where they take an old carcass and put a new tread on it.

Can't do it with radials, but still used to save money for certain applications.

.../Glitch

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

@Jim, no, a RETREAD is an instance of a Tire, and tire means WEAR OUT. Kind of how they were clued, no?
An uncouth BRIT could infact tell someone to SLAG off, meaning what you said, they could also SLAG someone off, which means what the clue stated.

Jim 10:07 AM  

Anonymous (sigh):

Long way to go for a joke, no? And is that even a joke? (Cough, cough). Well...if at first...etc etc.

mmorgan 10:11 AM  

I liked it at the start (before I noticed the double clues). My first reaction was that the answers for the clues in the NW were quite clever; fair but tricky since they weren't necessarily the first things to come to mind (e.g., LOSES for SHAKES, TRESS for LOCK, etc. -- my mind, anyway). And then when I got over to the NE and saw the same clues, I enjoyed it even more... for awhile.

Then -- not sure why -- it just started feeling tedious. And the SE did me in. Stared and stared but had to give up -- did not know NYASA or GOLGI and couldn't get them from crosses. (Like @Clark.)

But looking back, despite my brick wall in the SE, the puzzle makes me appreciate the way a single word can have such a variety of totally distinct meanings.


exnympre -- someone who moved away from new york and doesn't like woody allen anymore. (Why is my captcha always so perfect for the day before?)

Matthew G. 10:11 AM  

Count me among those who really enjoyed this one. This week has really exposed diverging tastes in construction, hasn't it? "Clearly tough to construct but not fun to solve" was precisely my verdict on Sunday's Christmas-tree offering, which Rex loved. On Sunday -- like Rex today -- I basically put the puzzle aside for a while because I was left so cold by it. And today, our reactions were exactly reversed.

Ultimately, what I enjoy most in a crossword puzzle is clever clue/answer pairings (and if that's lacking, a clever grid-shape at the end, like Sunday's, won't do much to save the puzzle for me). And this puzzle really delivered in that department. Like glimmerglass, I derived enjoyment from the fact that solving one version of a given clue eliminated various possibilities for its counterpart, which gave the entire puzzle a sort of "holistic" feel that few puzzles have. The clue/answer pairings would have been unremarkable left on their own but hung together really well in complementing one another.

Not that there's nothing to criticize here. I don't buy "SAY SO" as a meaning of "sway," and "RETREAD" is weak as a meaning of "tire." On the other hand, one point of difficulty was my own fault -- I always thought it was "pitterpat," but a Google search reveals that "pit-a-pat" is how you write that expression. Like some others, I was thinking of tennis for "Ace" and had "ONE ShOT" in the crossing there.

And like most everyone else, the SE corner absolutely _crushed_ me. Having savored filling the rest of the grid, I banged my head against the SE for ages before finally surrendering, accepting a DNF, and Googling camera companies to discover AGFA. I didn't like giving up on a puzzle I was enjoying so much, but I just wasn't making headway in that corner, having found only BAH, HEYS and BRIT down there (still, my crosswordese skills are progressing, as only a month ago I wouldn't have known EWERS).

I wonder how much one's taste in puzzles correlates to one's level of experience. I've only been doing the NYT puzzle on a daily basis for about five months, so constructors can still wow me with clever clues and answers. I wonder if, a few years from now, when hopefully I will be closer to Rex's skill level, there will be so much less that's new to me that things like the Christmas tree are what feel fresh and interesting. Could happen!

dk 10:17 AM  

Used the same strategy as @chefbea.

Misspelling GOLGI as gogli did not help and here in North Country we only know UPERs (upper peninsula dwellers).

Hard to get into the solving grove. Getting the downs the ticket. Questioned SPUME but what do I know.

As I practice (slog) at construction I am gaining a greater appreciation of puzzle design. Still prefer (ala Rex) the smoother solving experience. Form follows function as some may say.

*** (3 Stars) Thanks Joe, alotta new fill INMHO

I can't wait to use the full name for AGFA when I next get film. The folks at West Photo already find me pretentious and this will clinch it. Vielen Dank Ulrich.

Off to practice evacuating folks from chair lifts and then a fun evening teaching myself a new stat package -- livin large.

@jesser, spending xmas in the ABQ, SF and Taos environs.

Van55 10:19 AM  

Put me on the "liked it" side of the ledger. Not overly clever, but a solid, gritty solve.

Just 17 proper names.

Howard B 10:22 AM  
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JC66 10:22 AM  

Could someone please explain why it's OK to refer to the FAR EAST as the Orient, but unPC to refer to people of that region as Orientals.

Howard B 10:25 AM  

I actually enjoyed this one. When I looked at it afterwards, I did marvel at how this was even possible to reasonably construct. There are quite a few concessions in here, and since I enjoyed seeing the GOLGI body reference (high school science for the win!), I do suppose this is a case of one or two clues in that corner being the difference between enjoyment and frustration.

I have been on the frustration side of these puzzles before as well, so I can say that I also agree with Rex's evaluation.

Jim 10:25 AM  

Hmmm. OK. Accept that I might be ignorant of SLAG offs multiple meanings, but, on retread...nope. Didn't do it this time.

I've brought this up before, but 'tire' does not mean 'kind of tire'. 'Tire' means 'Tire', as in, synonym for 'Tire'. I made this beef about 'Starter' for PITCHER a few months back, and I think it still holds. When a clue has a synonym, answers are relegated to those within that group of synonyms. If one expects an EXAMPLE of the clue given, then either a) there must be no synonyms for the clue given or b) the clue must explicitly say it's looking for an example.

Look at some of the other examples in the grid:

Is an 'Ace' an AVIATOR? Always (in this context)
Is the 'Mean' the AVERAGE? Always
Are 'bristles' ARISTAS? Um...apparently.
Is a 'tire' a RETREAD? Not by a long shot.

RETREAD may not be 'wrong' in the sense that there might be an understanding of that term I don't know about. But if it's right for the reasons you suggest...like I said, highly dubious.

3ao

fikink 10:36 AM  

I really enjoy Joe Krozel's puzzles and, perhaps because I am not a speed solver, I felt like I got Double Bubble with this one - synonyms on top of synonyms with parts of speech thrown in for texture. @Clark expressed it well, "avoiding" that region you've already eliminated in your thinking. I cannot think that this one is amenable to speed-solving.

I, too, tanked in the SE, but ditto @r.alphbunker in my appreciation of this one. Thanks, Joe!

"punre" - extreme poverty

Arthur 10:38 AM  

@Jim - They are clues, not definitions, synonyms or any other one to one relationship. The degree which the clue is directly associated with the answer also varies as the week progresses. In the early week, the clue is more clearly and directly associated with the answer. By the time Thursday rolls around, the association is less clear, which is one of the ways difficulty is introduced into the puzzle. A RETREAD is an instance of a tire, which is standard cluing for late week puzzles. On Monday, RETREAD might be clued with Type of Tire, late week, and with the limitations of this construct, Tire suffices.
It's the way things are done.

Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

Wow! Great puzzle and fun for this solver. What a crazy language we speak. My hat really is tipped to our non-native speakers/solvers today (and every day actually.)
I always do a quick scan of the clues before I dive in and Golgi was the first to pop out at me.
I had to play eeny-meeny to get the A of aristas. The African lake was a complete unknown.
Thanks Joe for a fun Thursday.
I thought Rex would at least like his favorite crossbird Ernes!
Secret word - botomwo. Another African lake?

OldCarFudd 10:54 AM  

I must be in the right demographic for this puzzle - old enough to remember AGFA and stupid enough not to know what it's an acronym of! I found it quite easy. A few downs were always enough to suss out
which theme acrosses were intended out of the many possibilities. Never heard of Golgi, barely remembered having heard of aristas (spell checker says this ain't a word), knew Nyasa. My wife and I both had former spouses, so we tell people we're retreads. People of our vintage know (and giggle at) the word, since most of us bought retread tires in our poorer (and pre-radial) youth. Young people just look at us funny.

PlantieBea 10:56 AM  

Minus one for me in the SE as well. I ended with ARISTIS/AGFI. Here's how far off my logic was: I assumed FUJI was a bottled water and AGFI was a pet abbreviation for AGUA FINA. Film didn't even occur...BAH!!

Otherwise a medium for me.

deerfencer 11:05 AM  

Agree with Jim's point re RETREAD not equaling tire (or vice versa). IMO given that the constructor holds all the cards the clues ought to be more precise/less sloppy or intentionally vague.

This is exactly in line with my beef the other day re DAMAGE being clued "crack or split." I can crack some ice or split some wood and neither implies damage of any kind. IMO this is simply sloppy cluing and hard to excuse given the high level of the Times crosswords in general.

As far as today's puzzle, I resigned myself early on to vigorous googling after seeing how arcane some of the clues were, e.g. old Russian co-ops, Tanzanian lakes, etc. Give us a break Joe--this is Thursday, not Saturday.

The theme itself I liked and considered well done but is it really necessary to test our Superbowl memory to get a simple 3-letter word like RAM? Also agree with the poster who thought SAYSO
was crappily clued as "sway."

I'll shut up now and thank Mr. Krozel for the challenge.

Shamik 11:12 AM  

If this was on Facebook, I'd just hit "Like" for this one. So put me in that category. Opening the puzzle and seeing the grid was intriguing and the double cluing meant some mental exercise. It came in as a medium Thursday, but have to say I enjoyed it.

@Ulrich: Thank you for explaining the origin of the AGFA acronym. I still won't remember all those long words! Ha-ha!

ungly: what others thought this puzzle was

Jim 11:17 AM  
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treedweller 11:18 AM  

Like D_Blackwell, I had ShOT/AhAT. And, let me tell you, I had a rant ready for that one. Oh, well.

RE:tread/tire
"I have to buy a tire today. I think I will buy a retread." It doesn't have to work in every sense or example. It just has to work in at least one.

And now I will retire from this discussion.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:19 AM  

Cute puzzle. Interesting how, to me at least, seeing those double clues on top of each other seemed to make the solve more challenging.

That said, I still hunger for a rebus on Thursday.

PS - A SLIDER is someone who goes down a snowy hill on a piece of cardboard. A SLIDERULE is a little kid who does the same thing. (Just kidding - I started college with the biggest, fanciest K&E sliderule I could afford.)

Jim 11:20 AM  

Arthur:

I appreciate your comments...I really do. I just don't believe the correlation is as unwritten, arbitrary and fungible as all that.

Why I love the NYT puzzle is their ability to insist on cluing accurately, even in extremely difficult circumstances. Like today, with 'They're good for crying out loud'. Brilliant. But deconstructible. Neat. Law-abiding. Artistic.

What you're suggesting is that they could have 'Mean' as the clue and the answer be 4.054 (if xwords accepted numbers). What? Why not? It's the mean of SOME set of numbers.

I wouldn't have brought this up if this wasn't an EXTREMELY RARE occurrence. I assure you that, since I've been doing the puzzle every day for about six months, when words that have multiple meanings (such as 'Pitcher' or 'Tire'), and at least one of those possible meanings is a noun, they do not have examples as answers.

Or, let me correct myself, they've done it twice in six months.

And if anyone wants to refute, please disprove the points I'm making, rather than just AVER things. Thank you.

P.S. I am not making the same point as DeerFencer. I had no problem with DAMAGE. Mine is quite specific.

Rex Parker 11:22 AM  

No problem with RETREAD, but to be fair to complainers, in *any* other puzzle (i.e. w/o this theme), the clue would have been [Tire type].

rp

Margaret 11:24 AM  

It's been a long time since I couldn't finish a Thurs. (how far I've come!) but today the whole FAR EAST did me in. Picked up on the concept of Serpent Tail? but got the wrong conclusion(!) and put in TEE instead of INE. Then HAUL instead of TOTE obscured the rest of the NE. As for the SE, well, the comments have pretty well covered that. For me, a Fuji is an apple, so I confidently put in GALA as the rival and all was lost. Although not knowing NYASA, GOLGI or ARISTAS would have done me in anyway...

Zedruck -- the last semi in a convoy?

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

@Jim - You just disproved your own point. A crack or a split is an instance of damage, both nouns.

JaxInL.A. 11:28 AM  

I liked the puzzle for the reasons articulated by @Gunnar, @DavidL, @Artlvr, and I enjoyed @MatthewG's analysis.  I also agree with @glimmer's take on SAYSO for "sway".     

I had to search and search to find exactly how ARISTAS means "bristles" and even then it was hard to find a definition. Found this:  "process near the tip of the antenna of certain flies."

Did not know ARISTAS or GOLGI but had NYASA and remembered AGFA, so somehow I managed to guess right in the SE.  My Golgotha was the mid-Atlantic (okay that's over the top) where I stubbornly stuck to ETA and ONER just never makes sense, so DOPE eluded me. Didn't know ARTEL, but there's a Russian company called AnTEL and perhaps it grew out of a co-op in that got bought by oligarchs? Nope, turns out it's a Russian workers' association: a workers' or producers' cooperative in imperial Russia or the Soviet Union.  [Late 19th century. < Russian]. Is this word related to cartel?

Still in Philadelphia, I had S__ME but SPUME to me means smoke or mist, not froth, so the answer again slipped away. So I could not get NUMERAL, and DNF.

Still, had a good time.  Thanks, Mr. Krozel!

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

The retread argument is tiring.

quilter1 11:31 AM  

A slow start but finished. I always thought of ARISTAS as old time crosswordese, like setae. My husband was born in Latvia so RIGA is always a gimme, but I think his hometown would make a good crossword entry--Liepaja. Lots of vowels and a p and j. I admire the construction of this puzzle and had fun once it started falling into place.

imsdave 11:31 AM  

Substantial respect for the puzzle technically, but sadly, no love. I kind of remembered ARISTAS, so got through the triple cross OK.

Jim 11:33 AM  

Anonymous:

Not true. Crack and split are also verbs, as well as nouns...as is DAMAGE. This example falls under TreeDweller's maxim. Doesn't have to be right in all circumstances, just one.

Please...come correct, people. Rex is gonna be pissed. Five comments already!!

hazel 11:34 AM  

It's interesting to me that @Rex and @Artlover have both associated the Union Jack with the CSA and or the Confederate War? Was it just a visual connection because the flags look a bit alike? Or something else altogether? I'm not a southern history buff AT ALL but I am very curious about the connection - likely because that flag (not the Union Jack) is a very emotionally charged issue down here.

I did like this puzzle, but in the way @Howard B suggested - it did border a bit on frustration in the SE corner, which I had to resolve with a google for that freaking lake (who last appeared in NYT puzzle in 1996, so I'm not really sure I agree with @Gunnar's characterization of NYASA as "solid crossword fill." It is what it is, though, something I didn't know. I was able to puzzle out the rest, and had fun doing so.

Rex Parker 11:53 AM  

@Jim, I don't get pissed. I just delete. I will give some leeway in an interesting conversation. All I ask is that people generally respect the 3-comment limit—it keeps single voices from dominating and keeps interesting conversations from becoming tedious (usually). Thank you,

RP

obertb 12:05 PM  

I thought that Rex would surely have something to say about 34A and 38A, both clued "I, for one." I was annoyed by this because in one case it refers to the letter I and in the other to the number 1. So it's not a case of two different answers for the same clue, but two different clues. I call a foul.

Otherwise, I thought the puzzle was fine, much less difficult than some recent Thursdays, for me, at least.

Jim 12:07 PM  

Rex:

Got it. BTW, meant to say this in my last comment: as a capitulation to the overall theme, I accept; I buy it. It helps to know where and when the regular rules might be bent to serve a larger goal. Make me a better solver. Thanks a lot. 6ao (for real).

efrex 12:10 PM  

Seeing Krozel's name usually means that I'm going to give up early. This one was a DNF, but quite a roller-coaster for me, as chunks fell in quickly, followed by long fallow periods. Rememberd GOLGI for some reason, but ARTEL, NYASA, ARISTAS were all "Huh?" answers, and having ETA instead of ETD killed my chance of getting DOPE/SPUME.

Having two foreign bodies of water (NYASA & CLYDE) was perhaps a bit much, but otherwise a nice Thursday, methinks.

Mel Ott 12:17 PM  

I liked this a lot more than Rex did. Granted the theme lacks pizazz, but it does give us a bunch of nice 7-letter answers.

And a minimum of crap fill and proper names. Unfortunately the two toughest proper names are clustered in the SE with the brand name acronym, which makes that corner pretty difficult.

Rex's explanation of GOLGI makes my head hurt.

PuzzleNut 12:20 PM  

Ditto @BobK (again).
Liked this, mainly because the SE slowed me down so much. Eventually finished correctly, which is always fun. Once I got it from crosses, vaguely remembered the GOLGI cells from HS biology.
Not sure where the SLIDERULE discussion came from, but I too fondly recall my bamboo K&E sliderule from high school. Soon gave way to a $400 HP calculator that they now give away in cereal boxes.
If the ratings are determined by solve time, I'm guessing that this will be rated much harder than medium, due soley to the SE.

Julius Caesar 12:20 PM  

@obertb - I certainly is both a numeral and a letter, as in MDCLXVI.

Sparky 12:24 PM  

When I saw the double clues I said "oh dear." They worked out okay though. The whole West side came along fine. The East, not so good. Playing one side against the other fun and helpful. Found EMPATHY and RETREAD (thati's an age thing, I think). Drew blanks in NE and SE. 56A SAYSO a stretch. Fill okay--old friends ABC, STP, SSN. What would we do without you? Liked 53A SLAW.

Let's go for a good finish to the week.

obertb 12:25 PM  

@Julius Caesar

Yes. QED.

chaos1 12:32 PM  

Too lazy to write a whole new post here, so I'll cut and paste my Wordplay comment below, and perhaps add a few comments at the end:

The hairs on the back of my neck BRISTLED, upon seeing Mr. Krozel's name listed as the constructor of today's puzzle. I don't MEAN to suggest that he's MEAN, but only to SIGNIFY that one sometimes GETSMAD at the the difficulty level of his puzzles. His submissions generally have much higher MEAN solve times.

I FOR 1, think Mr. Krozel is one of the finest constructors ATLARGE. He would never DEGRADE himself by submitting a substandard entry. That would definitely be BENEATH someone of his ability.

I never TIRE of the LIBERAL use of misdirection in his cluing, although sometimes my patience will WEAROUT. Interesting to note, that Mr. Krozel stated that this submission was a RETREAD of a Matt Ginsberg theme. Veteran solvers have an UNDERSTANDING of what will follow, when seeing his name in the header. I think we all share an unwritten ENTENTE with Joe ? Even so, we have much EMPATHY for first time Krozel solvers.

I ACEd this puzzle. Flew through it like an AVIATOR. There was ONESPOT where I hit a few SNAGS, but I still finished in under 15 minutes. That's way below my AVERAGE time for Thursdays. I'm feeling smugly satisfied, even if I do SAYSO myself. Took me a second to ORIENT my first NUMERAL choice, but the FAREAST in the NorthWest allowed me to SITUATE my initial fill quickly. After that, I had almost no trouble ATALL.

Thanks Joe and Will. I'm sure many enjoyed this unusually easy puzzle from you, and SODOI .

Clark @3:13 AM: LMAO. Loved your " captcha " !

Falconer @ 4:02 AM: The Washington Post has a special Fireball puzzle every week, and the Post site is free.

Ulrich @ 9:11 AM : Thanks for the mnemonic on AGFA. Rest assured, that it's now indelibly etched in my brain. Can't wait for the whole translation to appear in a future puzzle, but I won't hold my breath. LOL !

JC66 @ 10:22 AM : I hear you. It's always difficult to fathom the mindset of a staunch PC advocate, as to what constitutes or defines the term. Case in point: If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes ? Go figure !

Kendall 12:58 PM  

WhoTF knows the Latvian capital unless they are from Latvia? I didn't finish this one completely, and am not all that upset that I didn't. Too much stuff (for the second day in a row) I just plain didn't know. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will pick up...

retired_chemist 1:32 PM  

Re AGFA and aniline (as spelled in the US)-

BASF (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik) is a giant in German industry and, with aniline in the name, another example showing the origin of German chemical preeminence internationally in much of the period 1850-1940. They made a BUNDLE off of synthetic dyestuffs.

Aniline-based dyes include azo dyes,which were the best you could get during much of that time. Very flexible,because minor modifications of the molecular structure led to very different colors, yet the simple synthesis was maintained.

archaeoprof 2:01 PM  

Fine puzzle, IMO. Got me through this morning's faculty meeting.

Stan 2:15 PM  

Did not come close to finishing (DNCCTF). Some good, twisty stuff, though...

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

My ballet instructor in NZ was from Riga - a definite gimme in any puzzle. SE did me in too as well as shot for spot.

I enjoy the blogs but people do get bent out of shape over little things. Thought Brit couldn't the answer because it was too obvious.

I enjoyed the challenge

chaos1 2:39 PM  

Very lively blog today, and some excellent comments. We might hit 100 posts? A Joe Krosel puzzle often generates these types of responses. Interesting digressions about TIRE clued as RETREAD. Being a geezer, I had no problem with it, but that horse has been beat to death.

I am usually inclined to grant more creative license to constructors, as opposed to those who like to overly parse or nitpick each clue or answer. That being said, it is sometimes valid, and adds to the whole purpose of a crossword blog. Much can be learned from divergent opinions, if they don't become overly tedious. It falls upon Rex, to decide when they do.

Kendall @ 12:58 PM : I don't mean to cast aspersions on your knowledge or crossword solving abilities, but RIGA is a very, very common puzzle clue. Likewise Kiev the Ukrainian capital and Odessa the Ukrainian seaport. Don't confuse the Odessa seaport, with the small college town of Odessa Texas. Likewise, don't confuse Odessa with Odense, Denmark's third largest seaport and city, named after Odin. I won't even get into Moscow Idaho. You get the point, right ?

Ewan 3:05 PM  

I'm throwing in with the ones who liked the puzzle. Figuring out two different answers for the same clue is something we see a little in crosswords but building a whole theme around it was a unique solve. The difficulty level was pefect for a Thursday puzzle and was evenly spreadout with no "Thursday junk" thrown in.

And I don't think I've heard the term "golgi bodies" since high school biology class.

ArtLvr 3:12 PM  

@Hazel -- I can't answer for Rex, but my fleeting thought about the Civil War at seeing the "Union Jack" clue was due to glancing at it too fast, seeing only Union and not the Jack or flag, I think. I have a grad student of American history living here part time and I'm enjoying keeping up with his reading... I'd call myself a retread in such studies too, new layers added on to the old!

∑;)

Bassetwrangler 3:17 PM  

My first thought was that John Bull would be under the Union Jack. One Shot cost me ten minutes of cogitating.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:19 PM  

@chaos1 . . . or EDESSA, "One of the Crusader states," which tripped me up 11/7/10!

Lookup Guy 3:42 PM  

@JC66

ORIENTALS:

•Orientals - Asian people or Asiatic people [United States National Library of Medicine. Medical Subject Headings. 2004. November 17, 2006].

•Orientals - (Asian Continental Ancestry Group) is used for categorical purposes. [It] is a demonym for people from Asia. [wiki]

However, "... One complaint has been its frequent use by some to denigrate Asian people and people of Asian descent, which many feel has given the word itself a bad connotation."[wiki]

I believe this is true of many "lables" applied, especially in a negative manner, to a minority group.

Ulrich 3:56 PM  

@dk: So we have now reached the point where using an analog camera is considered pretentious? Interesting!

On the "I, for one" clue: It is admittedly an outlier, but has a shifty quality that I really appreciate: If the "one" I refers to is a person, as in "I saw one taking a pic with an analog camera today", "I" is a pronoun. If the "one" I refers to is a number, the "I" is a numeral--pretty cool!

JC66 3:57 PM  

@Lookup Guy

I'm a geezer who's lived in NYC all my life and travelled extensively, but never heard the term *Oriental* used pejoratively. Therefore, my confusion.

Thanks for your post clarifying this.

retired_chemist 3:57 PM  

@ Lookup guy -

True. Here in Texas, Liberal is an epithet. As you say, it is applied in a negative manner to a minority group.

captcha: disbatis - as in "Dis bat is corked."

jesser 3:58 PM  

No time today. Just got to the puzzle after a late lunch. I echo Rex's assessment.

sanfranman59 3:59 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)

Thu 17:22, 19:01, 0.91, 40%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:33, 9:10, 0.93, 45%, Medium

This puzzle felt like a Tuesday to me until I got to the SE, where, like Rex, I was stopped dead. I was on my way to posting my fastest Thursday ever until I got to that section and finished with an average time. I'm not a fan of puzzles with such unevenness.

Joe 4:27 PM  

I'm calling shenanigans on PIT- and then expecting APAT.
To most of us--humans not crossoword puzzle creators--the term is PITTER-PATTER, as in the famous boxing episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show about Pitter-Patter Petri.

So there.

Japanese Guy 4:27 PM  

@JC66 It's because we're all different peoples, and don't like to be conflated into one huge pot of peoples one can't distinguish between. It's a residue of the "they all look alike to me".

NATE 4:28 PM  

REX: Didn't you catch the smut that Kendall slipped in at 12:58PM? It's the two capital letters
following "Who". I think you would have deleted them if you had.

andrea farwest michaels 4:29 PM  

@arthur @10:38am

"They are clues, not definitions..."

Ohmygod, I've been making puzzles for 30?+ years and your comment just suddenly clarified things for me!!!
Seriously, I feel like that is almost an epiphany...maybe it's bec I've been making Mondays for so long I feel that they must be definitions or on-the-nose synonyms...but I love this!
"They are clues, not definitions" will be my new mantra!

@jc66
Time to trot out my story again about my mailman whom I'd never seen recognizing me blocks from my new SF Nob Hill apt 26 years ago.
He: you 1237 Leavenworth.
Me: (startled): Have we met?
He: You only occidental on block

And yes, I learned to say Asian within 2 weeks.

captcha: slies. It's all slies!

PIX 4:39 PM  

There is a technical term for an area of a puzzle where Nyasa and Agfa cross Aristas. The term is "Saturday."

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

NATE, did you just tell on Kendall?

Rex Parker 4:48 PM  

@Japanese Guy,

Well, yes, except "Asian" gets used generically, all the time, in many contexts, and not just by white folks. So conflation of peoples is not exactly the issue with "oriental." I think it's both the word's implied western perspective and its association with colonialism and its myths that made the word fall out of favor.

Van55 4:51 PM  

My Korean-born wife objects to being referred to as "Oriental" but she's OK with me referring to her as "ornamental" which she surely is, in my opinion. She doesn't mind "Asian." Frankly, I don't get the distinction.

Evgeny 4:52 PM  

@ Kendall: "Who (...) knows the Latvian capital unless they are from Latvia?"

wow. i will only abstain from saying something about "confirmation of clichés about Americans", because i see so many of these clichés being disproven in this blog on a daily basis. oops, it seems i ended up saying something anyways.

i don't have any data but my guess would be that there are actually more people outside of Latvia who know its capital than inside of it.

fingew (what's always on Elmer Fudd's trigger)

Rex Parker 4:54 PM  

RIGA is not a super-well-known city (in the U.S.), but it's undoubtedly a major city, and also undoubtedly a crossword regular.

D_Blackwell 4:57 PM  

I only accept branding or rebranding of labels to a point. The reasoning behind manipulating word or phrase choice is a big factor.

I use Oriental or Asian situationally. For me, Oriental is more Japan/China specific and with 'old world' connotations, not really an everyday, modern usage.

I can remember when Negro or Brown was just fine, then Black, now African-American. I'm willing to be respectful, but settle on something please, and hold the 'tude if I can't keep up with what is okay for this person or that person. Mostly, I settle for making no reference at all if avoidable. I can't buy into the African-American tag. That would be like my referring to myself as Scottish-American, which I am, if I bend reality far enough.

When did midget become not okay? I have so far refused to give that one up (though it's not like if often finds its way into conversation). I mean no offense, there is no offense, lighten up. 'Little people'? That's the preference now? Are you serious? That's an improvement?

I can't imagine accepting the change from 'creation theory' to 'intelligent design'. The spin doctoring on this is beyond the pale.

KFC will forever be Kentucky FRIED Chicken to me - and on and on and on. Words always matter. They are on the front line of every fight.

Two Ponies 5:07 PM  

I thought the Far East clue was purely directional. Did I miss something?
All of my friends in England called blacks Colored including the blacks.
African-American seems too long and sometimes inaccurate.
I have a white friend from South Africa who is now a US citizen. He loves marking African-American on questionaires.

fikink 5:18 PM  

From Noel Coward's Darby and Joan,

",,,but something must compel
the words we spell
when we're playing Scrabble."

joho 5:36 PM  

@Two Ponies ... I keep forgetting to tell you how adorable your avatar is ... what a cutie!

I'm one who would like all of us Americans to be called just that: American, regardless of our roots. But I'm happy to respect what people want to be called, why not?

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

After posting at 8:58 thought I would check in to see what else there is to say and I am amazed how much can be said about so little. There were some obscure geographical references but RIGA is not one. One does not need to be from a country to know its capital. As for Oriental, as that was explained to me by my PC friends/family from a younger generation Oriental is reserved for rugs and other inanimate objects. People are from Asia. Of course, Lamont Cranston might disagree but my view is I refer to people however they like to be referred to, usually by their name. I recall Rex thinking he had seen this theme before. I don’t know but I recall seeing the same thing in isolated instances in other puzzles but not in a manner that came close to taking over the entire grid. I think I understand how difficult this was to construct but I still say this was only hard to solve in a small way (primarily the SE) and lacked fun. The best comment I read is that Jim is 6ao.

John the Banished....

Ruth 5:47 PM  

@Evgeny, I often think if but so far haven't said it, so I'll say: I really enjoy your comments. The non-US perspective is priceless. Thanks.
Note to Mr Shortz: Clue Riga as a town in western New York (pop 6,000or so hardy souls)since Latvia seems to be too obscure.

chaos1 5:51 PM  

Three and out :

@ Andrea (WOTD) Michaels 4:29 PM:

I think I'll change your name to Andrea (MFP) Michaels, because, as I've said before, you're My Favorite Poster here.

In regard to your story about the mailman:

I worked at San Francisco airport for almost a year in 1973. I was a bartender in the International Room. At the time, it was a very prestigious restaurant in the main terminal. Upon exiting the partially enclosed glass elevator, you arrived at the cocktail lounge where there was a piano bar. The pianist whose name was Don, used to play a lot of old standards. One of his favorites, was Million Dollar Baby. The first word at the start of the fourth verse, is Accidentally. He always changed it to Occidentally, with a big smile on his face. Since I was familiar with the song, I questioned him on it. He explained that it was an inside joke, in deference to the fact that all the tuxedo clad waiters were of Asian descent. That's when I first learned that occidental had ties to far Eastern cultures.

I've enclosed a link, so that some of the younger people here, can listen to Bing Crosby's rendition. It's scratchy, but the geezers here will appreciate it. Bing used to frequent my dining establishment in Burlingame, and was always a class act. God rest his crooning soul.

Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbPeLevi-uQ

Two Ponies 6:00 PM  

@ joho, Thanks. Dylan is as smart as he is cute.

If everyone living in America called themselves Americans, period, perhaps we could rekindle the spirit of Ellis Island. You don't have to shed your identity or change your name, just join the team!

3 & out

quilter1 6:29 PM  

The statement about more people outside Latvia knowing the capitol is Riga is probably correct since the population is less than 2.5 million and projected population for 2030 is 2 million. The economy is mostly to blame. Since the fall of the USSR my husband has been back four times, once with me, and while conditions have improved my sister-in-law still had to take her own bedding, food, meds, etc. to the hospital for her surgery. The operating room had lots of fresh air as the windows were open! : 0

Matthew G. 6:58 PM  

I think national capitals are universally fair game in crossword answers, no matter how large or small the country. There are certain categories of general knowledge that are always above reproach, and capitals are a classic part of that list. Some are easy, some are hard, all are fair.

Stan 7:05 PM  

I recommend: Orientalism, by Edward Said.

william e emba 7:17 PM  

Started this on the train ride home, had fun, and despite NYASA and GOLGI being utter gimmes, got stuck hard in the SE. I could not fill out AS--- even! I don't think I even doublechecked the clue for the utterly easy gimme ANS. Under the Union Jack, I wasn't sure whether it was BRIT or "bosn", so I hesitated there and left it blank. Then I celebrated Hanukkah, and only afterwards I finished because I still thought Fuji was a brand of water, so I was desperately guessing A---? AGUA? (I drink the H2O out of the tap, so who knows what brands are out there? Everyone but me!) But the G was enough to give me ATLARGE, and then I finished in a flash. I'm not sure if I guessed the A cross between AGFA/ARISTAS or whether I recognized it from somewhere, but I definitely decided the other vowels were wrong.

I come here and am happy to learn that Fuji and Agfa are brands of film. Somewhere, I even knew that.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

STRANGLY, I COMPLETED THE ENTIRE WESTERN HALF AND ONLY ABOUT 1/4 OF THE ORIENT. SOUTH EAST WAS THE WORST HENCE DNF.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:56 PM  

Regarding Matthew G.'s comment above (I am just musing, not taking a position one way or the other.):

Spoiler of sorts, but I think allowable - Last week's challenge given by Will Shortz on Weekend Edition Sunday on NPR was to anagram the phrase "serial number" into two world capitals. The answer (which has been broadcast worldwide, so I don't feel guilty giving it here) was Berlin (OK, sure) and Maseru (what!?! the capital of Lesotho!) So, meditation: Are Sunday challenge solvers expected to be much, much better at geography than crossword solvers? Did anybody in either category know Maseru, or did they just look up a list of world capitals? Or is it only Americans like me who don't know all the capitals?

Anonymous 7:58 PM  

Because there were so many who had fun with this puzzle and I did not, I tried to have fun by looking for a secondary theme and I think I found it: ERN and ERNES, AGA and AGFA, SEWS and SPEWS, EAR and EARPS, ONER and ONESPOTS, TEN and NETS, ASA and NYASA, and RAM and EWERS. Oh well, I tried....

John the Banished (tao)

Evgeny 8:08 PM  

@Ruth, thank you very much for the kind words. Until i read your comment, it felt like my relationship with Mr. Parker's blog is just take take take, so now i'm all kinds of proud to have made a contribution :-D

three and out. although it's already Friday over here, this still counts for thursday!

NATE 10:43 PM  

Evgeny:
Gdyeh vui? vRucya? vAnliya?

I know just a little Russian. I was wondering where you are where
it's Friday already.

NATE 10:47 PM  

@EVGENY

My typo. Meant vAnglya

mac 10:49 PM  

I think I liked this puzzle a lot because of the reason Ulrich described in his first post. Just love to be challenged by a vocabulary test!

Looking at the puzzle afterward, it seemed to be mostly about tough clues. I wanted bask for fade for a bit, and Niger for Nyasa, until the crosses kicked in. To me, aristas and artel are old crosswordese, had to dig deep to find them.

@Kendall: I'm so sorry.

@Andrea: I was also struck by the accuracy of that remark: it is about clues, and not too many definitions, please!

@Bob Kerfuffle: a slider is also a tiny hamburger. Three different toppings, hmmmmm.

My Catholic, Lebanese friend referred to herself as Oriental explaining why she would get so worked up and loud......

@Two Ponies: too funny about the African American.

@Evgeny: I second Ruth.

miriam b 11:33 PM  

I associated FUJI with Gala apples but soon saw the error of my ways. The bottled water is FIJI, nye tak li?

Mom was born in RIGA.

@Evgeny: Keep 'em coming.

Robin 2:49 AM  

I couldn't read all 109 comments and I couldn't solve the puzzle, either. But I'm commenting anyway.

Entente? Really? Is that a word? It's certainly not an American English word. I guess that doesn't matter much.

I appreciate the construction and all of that, but really, if most people can't solve it on Thursday, what have we accomplished?

I feel defeated and cheated, and I really hope no one reads this post.

mac 6:46 AM  

@Robin: too late....

Rex Parker 7:38 AM  

ENTENTE is an American English word, which you would discover if you opened an American English dictionary. There is no evidence that "most people" couldn't solve it. In fact, it came as a normal Thursday-level difficulty.

ShortShrift 9:59 AM  

Thanks to Uhlrich for pointing out the two ways that [I, for one] works for NUMERAL. One(!) was enough for me (but only after reluctantly giving up on sUbject, prompted by being *sure* that 39D was James not EARPS). Reminds me of the recent clue for ARE: [Is for you?] Love it!

David from CA 1:34 PM  

OK, it is way too late to be bothering with commenting on this one, but had to reply to:
@Anonymous 8:45AM Thurs: "All it really did was state the obvious – that words in the English language can have very different meanings...."

Isn't that the whole POINT of crosswords, bringing out the beautiful ambiguities in the English language? Or are they only best for you when they are a means to show off ones knowledge of obscure names?

OK...time to tackle Friday.

NATE 2:16 PM  

REX:

Please explain:

1)...themeless(just 70 words...

2)manifest greatness of BOLLIX UP
and THERMOPYLAE

What is a theme and what 70 words
are you taking about?

What is so great about those two words?

I am relatively new to your column and am having all kinds of trouble with the jargon and abbreviations.

EVGENY: cpacibo

TimJim 2:19 PM  

Yes, much too late but I can't help myself either. AGFA, GOLGI, ARISTAS and NYASA all in one quadrant ???? C'mon.....

kateyule 1:35 PM  

I find "ace"--> AVIATOR a jarring mismatch.

Having some trouble verbalizing what's wrong with it... But imagine having the clue "medalist" to elicit SWIMMER.

clansman9448 4:31 PM  

Nice, tough puzzle form. Solved all. On the doubles, got NW, then NE. Got W, then SW & E. As with most, SE was a bitch. Loved the puzzle overall, though.
Due to the amazing # of comments on a huge variety of quite interesting subjects, I was not going to add to those...until I started hearing about bottled water.
Out here in God's Country (Oregon) it is total blasphemy to buy bottled water because the Bull Run water in our area is not to be compared, & Crater Lake is used as the National Pure Water Standard. Most tests have shown no difference in quality (just remember, crossword fans, EVIAN spelled backward is NAIVE). I understand there are places with bad water, but if only to avoid the plastic usage, please filter your own & use refillable bottles, or like here, it's $.38/gallon using the store's bottle, & only $.13/gallon if you bring in your own.
Sorry for the rant on my own personal pet peeve.

Marc 4:40 PM  

ARISTA is a record label. What's it got to due with bristles?

Let's see: "bristlelike process near the tip of the antenna of certain flies." (from Princeton's online dictionary)

NOW you tell me...

Nice idea, but not as challenging as I'd hoped. A fun puzzle, on the easy side for a Thursday. This concept, with the doubled-clues, would be even more fun in a Friday or Saturday puzzle, with truly confounding clues.

Also, haven't heard of Lake Nyasa before.

Well, that's one reason why I do crossword puzzles: learning something new. If nothing else, it helps me ... solve crossword puzzles.

Marc 4:42 PM  

Ouch! I actually wrote "what's it got to due" ... haven't finished my coffee yet.

"What's love got to due, got to due with it..."

Brucey 9:09 PM  

Not sure if it is in the blog, but Nyasaland was Malawi's colonial name, hence lake Nyasa became Lake Malawi

Tim 6:23 PM  

Always wonder whether my comments from Syndication Land get read -- or even posted! But I felt compelled to delight publicly that GOLGI was a gimme for me. Finally!! I got some use out of my college molecular biology course! It only took 23 years.... :-)

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