Headgear for medieval soldiers / SAT 4-16-11 / Ben Jonson title woman / 1977 cult film Where your nightmares end / 1930s film star notable facial hair

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Constructor: Robert H. Wolfe

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ARMETS (19A: Headgear for medieval soldiers) —

A medieval light helmet with a neck guard and movable visor.

[Old French, alteration (influenced by Old Italian elmetto, helmet) of arme, weapon; see arm2.]

• • •

If memory serves, Robert H. Wolfe is not a guy on whose wavelength I often find myself, but if that's generally true, today was a major exception. Lit it on fire. I measure my times against this one particular guy who solves online at the NYT site—he's an A-level solver and generally just better than I am, but today I owned him, by a full half minute. I would have rated this "Easy," but had this strange feeling that I might have been riding a Good Luck Wave today, and so modified the rating slightly. When 1-Across is a gimme (confirmed by a near-gimme at 2-Down), that tends to bode well for puzzle doability. Now, coincidentally, that NW corner was also the site of the puzzle's toughest crossing (by far)—ACTA (1D: Exitus ___ probat (the end justifies the means)) / ARMETS is pushing close to Natick (lethal, unfair cross) territory. Now, given that the subject of 19-Across is ARMo(u)r, the "A" is really the only plausible guess there, so it's fair, but barely. Crossing not terribly common Latin word with a very uncommon word for obsolete headgear?—don't try that at home, kids. Or, if you do, please don't ask me to solve your puzzles.

I really liked the majority of the grid-spanners today. Very colloquial, very snappy. My favorite was probably the least colloquial: MOBILE LIBRARIES (11D: Novel ideas for rural areas?). One of the young ladies in the "Up" series of documentaries works in a MOBILE LIBRARY (at least for a time—we're only through "28 Up") and that is the image I have when I see that phrase. She was providing service to decidedly non-rural places, but I still knew what the clue was getting at. Besides the ACTA / ARMETS cross, the other cross that gave me trouble was FARR / FAA (47A: Org. concerned with the correct approach). I had (misspelled) PARR, but knew that PAA was not ... a thing. But I was sure that the olde-timey TV clue must be looking for (misspelled) PARR, so it took some convincing (of myself) to do away with the "P"; but once I did, and began running the alphabet, FARR showed up pretty quickly (47D: "The Red Skelton Show" regular).

Enjoyed the poetry answers—Foot massager? is a stretch for POET, but I guess that's the point. Honestly, I never saw the clue. I just remarked, in passing, "Hmmm, POET. Interesting. And with CELIA already in the grid. Nice" (32A: Ben Jonson title woman). Other things I like: Michigan WOLVERINES (I was one for a few years there in the '90s) (12D: 51-Down hoops champs of 1989); BAIRNS (reminds me of studying in Edinburgh, the same year the WOLVERINES were basketball champs) (50A: Kids in Kilmarnock); "ERASERHEAD" (unforgettable, with an iconic poster that I saw a million times before I ever saw the film) (57A: 1977 cult film with the tagline "Where your nightmares end..."); and Buster Keaton (though I didn't know that what he was wearing was a PORK PIE HAT25D: Buster Keaton trademark). Don't think I've ever had a PEPPERMINT CREAM cupcake, and don't think I want to, despite liking PEPPERMINT and CREAM and cupcakes, individually (7D: Zingy cupcake filling).

After my quick start came to a quick stop, I rebooted with DVR and (misspelled) JAMIE (30A: The Bionic Woman's first name=>JAIME), the latter of which proved hard to fix given that I confirmed it with ESTEE right away (31D: Name on Intuition perfume boxes). Couldn't quite bring myself to believe that DAU. was a thing (abbrev. for "daughter," I assume) until I had no choice (26D: Family tree abbr.). Rode JOSEPH'S to HOER and the whole bottom half opened up. Today, the grid-spanners really allowed me to travel easily from one section to the next. Very chutes-and-laddersy feeling, the way I could shoot from one end of the grid straight to the other, where the long answer allowed me a toehold in a new block of short answers.

So, despite the occasional minor clunker, and the relative lack of a challenge, I really enjoyed this one.

  • 5A: Slave-making ants steal them (PUPAE) — no idea. Had to wait for crosses.
  • 25A: Inits. associated with the old theme park Heritage USA (PTL) — Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Good times.
  • 4D: Where Yiddish was once spoken (SHTETL) — the "once" part was throwing me, as I was trying to imagine a city or other place name that no longer existed (or no longer had Jews, I guess). Learned SHTETL from (you guessed it) crosswords.
  • 23D: 1954 A.L. batting champ (AVILA) — tend to be pretty good with the baseball clues, but not with this one. Tony OLIVA I know. Bobby ÁVILA, not so much. A Cleveland Indian, he hit .341 that year, edging out Ted Williams for the batting title.
  • 44D: "Torchwood" was spun off from in ("DR. WHO") — almost makes me wish I knew what "Torchwood" was. As it was, the "--WH-" was enough to tip the answer to me.
  • 15D: 1930s film star with notable facial hair (ASTA) — knew this would be a non-human actor, and *still* didn't get it straight off. Oof.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


GLR 12:15 AM  

Thought DRWHO was a little off - the show was Doctor Who (and Torchwood is an anagram).

And 29D? We're supposed to know Mao's 3rd wife's name?

Thought I was doing well to remember that the Bionic Woman's name was Jamie - who knew she was Hispanic?

Agree on DAU - ugh!

The Bard 12:39 AM  

Antony and Cleopatra > Act V, scene II

CLEOPATRA: Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me: now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip:
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath: husband, I come:
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So; have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.

[Kisses them. IRAS falls and dies]

Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

CHARMIAN: Dissolve, thick cloud, and rain; that I may say,
The gods themselves do weep!

CLEOPATRA: This proves me base:
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou
mortal wretch,

[To an asp, which she applies to her breast]

With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass

CHARMIAN: O eastern star!

CLEOPATRA: Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

CHARMIAN: O, break! O, break!

CLEOPATRA: As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--
O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.

[Applying another asp to her arm]

What should I stay--


PI 12:44 AM  

Yeah, I was bothered by the abbreviation of DRWHO, since the show would never write it that way, but ... I'm too chuffed at actually finishing a Saturday to quibble much.

Nemo me impune lacessit 1:15 AM  

Exitus acta probat is the motto George Washington's Coat of Arms.

lit.doc 1:17 AM  

@Rex, not meaning to becalm your Good Luck Wave, but stick with Easy. I finished. Took me 48:04, but that’s waaay faster than DNF.

Had to work up out of South. NW and NE corners were tough. 1D ACTE? ACTA? 19A EWTF? AWTF? 10A [what kind of jeans were they making when I was n elementary school?]. 13D was HORSE, obviously. Like that.

I am such a litgeek. I was expecting that 11D “Novel ideas for rural areas?” was going to be a Thomas Hardy or other English Realism answer. As Homer’s great-great-grandfather said, “DOHTH!”

And I doff my PANAMA HAT to 25D. Yeah, OK, so it wasn’t long enough, but it just had to be right, dinnit?

Terrific rightover (thank you, PG) at 34A—CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?. Didn’t even need any crosses to get that one.

Fav clues were “Foot massager?” and the 15D puppy.

@Rex, some ants keep aphids like we keep dairy cows.

SHTETL was a celebratory moment of Crosswordese 101 learning success.

@Pl, “chuffed”! Cool word, new to me. You a Brit?

armets celia mintcream 2:41 AM  

"28UP" series is my favorite doc of ALL TIME!!!!! So thrilled you are watching it, I have totally forgotten what I wanted to say about this puzzle.

The only thing I can remember is that the construction, 3 15s going down crossing the 3 15s going across is more than I could ever hope to do in my entire life!

(The only thing that would be cooler is that 4 of the 6 are things that would be said, so if all of them were, I could die a happy woman)

I'm gonna have to say "easy" on this, as I got everything, even tho I didn't know SO many of the answers without the crosses:
PONCE, AVILA, FARR, CELIA, 507s, JAIME, ARMETS, NCAA WOLVERINES, nor that FARR was old enough to have been on Red Skelton!

(AND I still don't get the BEE/Cell answer)

That is interesting about the "Torchwood" anagram, so DR is a bit of a fudge.

On the pays-to-be-Jewish front, I easily got OTTO, SHTETL and ESSENE
were my only gimmes.
(ST JOSEPHS not so much!)

D_Blackwell 3:13 AM  

"...so DR is a bit of a fudge."

I call it a complete contrivance or a complete turning of a blind eye; as is not uncommonly allowed with a crossword that's got six 15s and four tens. That's one reason that the FRI and SAT puzzles are often the least interesting for me - not just the hardest.

The 15s here are very cool (the 10s not quite so much). Not too much bad fill, considering, but what is bad is truly awful.

jae 4:54 AM  

Med. for me. I tried Vikki CARR until FAA became clear. I actually watched the show 50 years ago give or take 10 and have no memory of FARR. I liked this one. Seems about right for a Sat.

Re: Yesterday's rightover discussion. Joho 's term was reright. Check the archives.

leah712 8:28 AM  

The closest I've ever come to finishing a Saturday! Just had "DELIA" for "CELIA" then thought "STANDES" was just fancy-spelling. Embarrassed to say that despite four years at UMich in the 70's, was trying to fit Georgetown, Tarheels, etc. into 12=Down.
@armetsceliamintcream: love the "pays to be Jewish" expression. Yes. Makes up for "harms to be ignorant about sports."

monkistan 9:13 AM  

am I the only one who takes issue with Asta? Asta was a character in several films, not an actor. We generally don't refer to the "character" of a film as the star. Han solo wasn't a film star of the 1980's, Harrison Ford was.

Smitty 9:25 AM  

Foot massager?
I don't get it - does this have something to do with that groaner about "Longfellows"?

nanpilla 9:27 AM  

I have never seen OKRA in the plural as anything but OKRA.

Otherwise, a nice smooth solve.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Dogs do not have hair on their faces or anyplace else. They have fur.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:53 AM  

Good puzzle.

My contribution to the Minor Nit Pile: 49 A, One breaking new ground?, HOER -- A hoe may be fine to turn up previously cultivated ground, but for NEW ground, I believe one would need a spade or similar instrument.

(Took me quite a while to parse 27 A, Rear's rear, ENDER. Oh, yeah, like a traffic accident, a REAR-ENDER!)

Gil.I.Pollas 9:59 AM  

Oh, I just loved this one. It took me several "get up in the night" moments and two Googles for the sports clues, but, I did manage to finish.
Further, I'm a huge fan of black and white films along with anything involving comedy. I loved Buster Keaton as a youngster. I think I watched "Cops" a million times. I also loved Red Skelton. He was truly the "world's greatest clown."
Favorite answer is ARE YOU LISTENING? - mom and dad's daily phrase.

jackj 10:01 AM  

Robert Wolfe's reputation is as a constructor of hellacious Fri/Sat themeless puzzles. Today seems a bit of a stumble for him with much too much "iffy" fill.

USM, PSIS, DAU, BMI, et al seem like unhappy choices.

A quick scan of Wolfe's recent Saturday puzzles show he rarely uses 15 letter answers and never uses multiple crossing 15 letter answers, with this puzzle being the exception.

Think there's a reason for the questionable fill in there somewhere?

A highlight and a question, "He married He" for MAO is Wolfe at his best and are MOBILELIBRARIES just "Bookmobiles" with a dictionary on board?

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Thought the answer for L/Cpls org was a bit off as it is the United States Marine Corps. Could be The Marines, and yes possibly The United States Marines but it still sucks and blows. Nasty letter to follow.

PuzzleNut 10:15 AM  

Wasn't too surprised at Rex's rating as I polished this one off pretty quick (for me). Same misspelling for JAMIE as @GLR. Worked from bottom so had pRARIES for a while (which I now see is wrong in several ways). Couldn't figure how pEE had anything to do with cells.
Like @jae, had cARR. Unfortunately, I am also familiar with the CAA (Civil Aeronautics Administration), so I never questioned that square.

I also do the LAT every day and this is one of the rare occasions where I found it more difficult than the NYT. Recommend it highly today.

JenCT 10:32 AM  

Agree with @jackj: way too much iffy fill today.

I've never seen nor heard of a PEPPERMINTCREAM-filled cupcake; that's really a stretch.

JayWalker 10:36 AM  

Like Puzzle Nut above, I grabbed onto "Praries" right away and then got stuck there forever. But even worse? I was SURE the Elvis song was "If I Lost You" so could NOT see "Wolverines" for another eternity. Took me well over an hour to complete but any time I DO complete a Saturday puzzle is a red-letter day for me!!
Rex: "Easy-Medium" your heinie!!

joho 10:37 AM  

@Smitty, as in a poet who reworks the metric feet.

I knew this would be rated easy but that's OK, it always feels great to finish a Saturday, easy or not.

@armts celia mintcream, I had the same problem with BEE. I was happy that the answer wasn't cEE as in the letter "C" in the word cell. I think this refers to a BEE who lives in a cellular hive.

This created a very enjoyable Saturday morning for me ...thanks, Robert WOVERINE!

mitchs 10:48 AM  

Really didn't like the clue for ARE YOU LISTENING.

Ttown 10:54 AM  


I'm a little befuddled by the use of OKRAS, too. I spend quite a bit of time planting, picking, frying, and freezing okra each summer, and have not once heard any usage other than simply okra for the plural.

Hobbyist 11:01 AM  

I think okra cannot be pluralized. Therefore, I think that puzzle has an error.

hazel 11:02 AM  

this one didn't have much puzzazz for me either @jacj and @jenct. Except for mobile libraries, i thought the spanners were generally ho-hum. And I think i like the concept of the mobile library more than the word. Bookmobile @jackj mentions is a much better word. Remembering the Bionic Woman did make me laugh, though. the 70s.

And OKRAS sounds just as wrong as COHOS although I'm sure its in a dictionary somewhere.

Just not feeling it. Kind of a letdown after a great week of puzzles.

quilter1 11:44 AM  

Although my first entry was ESSENE I pretty much solved from the bottom up. I had diaries instead of LIBRARIES for a while, and PGA for FAA for awhile until MOBILE came into view. Until budget cuts we actually had urban mobile libraries in Des Moines. They came to the elementary school parking lots.

Liked the clue for ASTA, fresh and different for a hoary bit of crosswordese. Also liked BAIRNS, SHTETL, MOT and fresh cluing for AETNA. Why clue AVILA with a ball player from almost 60 years ago? Why not Teresa from, OK, almost 500 years ago, but I know her. I don't know Bobby.

Hand up for feeling chuffed at finishing a Saturday feeling competent. Cold, gray and windy here today, perfect for baking our daily bread, honey cracked wheat. I'll check back later.

Oldactor 11:55 AM  

Anon. Have you never brushed dog hair off the furniture or cat hair off a sweater?

Tobias Duncan 12:00 PM  

For those who have not seen it,the new "Doctor Who"is brilliant!
Torchwood is not made anymore but it was quite good as well.I cannot recommend them enough.Made my day to see them both in the grid.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

I went with Kong at first even though I've seen that movie maybe twice and The Thin Man films about 200. (I had a crush on Ms. Loy, so much that I even read her biography.)

All in all a pretty much fun Saturday puzzle. The thing did its job for me.

PanamaRed 12:10 PM  

@monkistan - I'm guessing that ASTA was the dog's real name as well as it's screen name, hence the film star reference would be correct.

Natick to me at ACTA/ARMETS cross, other wise an enjoyable Saturday that I almost finished. Had to Google that 1D thing to complete it.

Somehow knew Bobby Avila.

P.J. Carlesimo 12:15 PM  

Good thing for Mr. Wolfe that the ref's horrible call at the end of the game handed the 1989 championship to Michigan. Seton Hall Pirates wouldn't fit into 12 down.

syndy 12:15 PM  

One man's gimmee is an other woman's despair! stared at ala- and could not see it was my last letter!Even with a few nits thought this pretty good (48 and change)The s on the end of okra didn't disturb me as much as the idea of pickling them.laughed when paul revere's horse turned out to be a STEED!

jberg 12:23 PM  

Funny how people differ. I didn't get either of Rex's first two gimmes for a long time - wanted some shorter version of "I quit" for 1A, and didn't see that the big yellow cat was really a cowardly lion. On the other hand, PUPAE was a gimme for me, and 1D Acta came as soon as I had one letter from crosses (forget which).

For most of the time I thought it must be ERASE THE __, with _ART at 47D; but once I saw that 47A was FAA, I figured that couldn't be right!

I could say "I caught 3 COHOs" the same as I might say "I caught 3 rainbows," or "I caught 5 trout, 2 rainbows, 2 browns, and a brookie." But I would never say I pickled 3 OKRAS under any circumstances. For that matter, I've never seen them pickled, either!

Mel Ott 12:30 PM  

A bunch of wonderful 15's and 10's overshadow an excess of crappy short fill. Usually I need some short answers to get enough crosses to get the long ones. This puzzle was the exact opposite experience for me.

@P.J. Calesimo: You are right about the horrible call. To the real PJ's credit I never heard him whine about it.

Ross G-Whiz 12:33 PM  

LOOOVE Torchwood and Doctor Who. My partner and I actually named our company in reference to Torchwood. The clue was a fail, though because (as pointed out) it's Doctor Who not Dr. Who. Should've at least had an (abbr.) in there.

Tobias - I think that Torchwood season 4 is coming out this summer, so hold tight!

Unrelated, I didn't have a problem with ASTA as a star because I'm pretty sure they changed the dog's name to Asta after the success of the 1st Thin Man movie.

As for the puzzle, I knew that since I actually finished a Saturday it would be rated somewhat easy by Rex. I enjoyed it overall and found the grid spanners easier than the fill, which made me smile.

monkistan 12:39 PM  

@Ross g-whiz I didn't know they changed the actual dog's name after the first movie. I retract my objection then.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Bleh. Entirely off wave length for me. I wasn't even motivated to Google anything. Just looked at the answers and felt like it was a waste. Oh well. Don't like to be reminded of the PTL club.

Smitty 12:56 PM  

@Joho - thanks! That's a new one on me...

PastelLady 1:13 PM  

General support here for BOOKMOBILE (have never, ever heard 'mobile library') and OKRA withOUT the S.

Honeybees construct hexagonal cells from wax they produce (excreted on the underside of the abdomen in little flakes.) The queen lays eggs in some brood cells, while other cells are filled with pollen, honey, a mixture called 'bee bread,' and at times with 'royal jelly,' when a pupa is being groomed to develop into a new queen bee.

BAIRNS would be an Irish term, in my experience. Scots hae wee lassies and laddies.

David L 1:43 PM  

Medium to hard for me -- not on my wavelength, somehow, and too many unfamiliar names -- AVILA, PONCE, JAIME, plus ugly DAU and OKRAS.

CASHASSETS seems imprecise for 'marketable securities' -- any security is marketable, isn't it?

And I don't understand the MOBILELIBRARIES clue -- yes, I know what a mobile library is, and that it will have novels in it, but how is it a 'novel idea'?

BAIRNS is fine for wee Scots boys and girls -- I have heard actual Scottish people call them just that.

mmorgan 1:58 PM  

Lots of really nifty clues and misdirects, and I really liked the 15s... but somehow the clue for ARE YOU LISTENING doesn't really work for me (unless I'm just not getting it).

Lindsay 2:05 PM  

Yesterday I drove to the state capital to hear employees of a quasi-public agency testify under oath before a government oversight committee.

It went something like this:

The Maine Turnpike Authority spent *how* much on European travel? THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE! ARE YOU LISTENING? Spa treatments are *not* a legitimate business expense! WHAT'S THE VERDICT? Referral to the Attorney General's office.

So I saw today's grid as cohesive & enjoyable.

DAU is familiar to anyone who's done genealogical research. Learned ESSENE from reading the Dr. Bronner's bottle (deranged, I know).

quilter1 2:29 PM  

Oh, how I hope Torchwood is returning. The BBC has such imaginative programs. Thanks for the heads up for new Doctor Who--I lost track.
Solved LAT over lunch. It has some terrific words--but I won't tell. Just recommending it.

CoffeeLvr 2:30 PM  

Yesterday, an AFTER DINNER MINT, today an entire PEPPERMINT CREAM cupcake. Although I baked a mint flavored green cake (from scratch) for my own twelfth birthday, I agree with Rex that the cupcake does not sound appetizing.

What does it say about me that I knew JAIME, but not CELIA. Not a source of pride.

@Joho & PastelLady, that is all I could figure out for BEE; started with CON there, but suspected that was far too easy for Saturday.

I am happy, as I finished a Saturday with minimal assistance. I did Google FARR plus Skelton to confirm that connection, also ERASERHEAD, but only after they were entered in the grid. There are eleven little black triangles on my AcrossLite grid, but no red ones, so I feel like I accomplished a Saturday, even if Rex says it is easy. And, it does feel good!

Love the clue for POET, even if I got it from the crosses. Fittingly, last letter into the puzzle was the D in ENDER.

archaeoprof 2:33 PM  

Today I was on Mr Wolfe's wavelength too. Enjoyable!

Liked the clue for TIX: "things shown before shows."

@Armets: to your list of "pays to be Jewish" should we add AREYOULISTENING?

quilter1 2:47 PM  

If the cupcake was chocolate and the filling was peppermint with peppermint candy chunks it might be good. Catch one episode of Cupcake Wars on the Foodnetwork. They fill cupcakes with everything imaginable from jalapenos to pickled mango. Then people eat them. Bye til tomorrow.
zamchin: what I have after my PB&J sandwich.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

stomach = hack???? i don't get it - can you help here?

yum 3:41 PM  


Tobias Duncan 3:42 PM  

@anon 3:26 If you can take it (as in the heat in the kitchen) you can hack it or stomach it.

More Torchwood?? That just made my day !
Really guys, if you like sci fi even a little bit and dont mind the thick accents, you will love these shows.

mac 4:23 PM  

I was really on Mr. Wolfe's wavelength today, or may I felt braver doing the puzzle online. Finished with one mistake, Carr/CAA, what do I know....

@Bob Kerfuffle: you break new ground with a plow and oxen!

The mobile librairies took me a while, thought there was something bucolic or idyllic starting up there.

Very nice Saturday, quite a bit easier than usually.

Rex Parker 4:47 PM  

Greetings from the apple store in syracuse. Using iPad to type this. Site looks great in this format. Ok. That's all.


chefwen 4:51 PM  

I was hoping that Rex would not rate this as easy as I had to overnight it. That top bit with ARMETS/ACTA was not coming to me last night, but this A.M. with rested eyes, it all came together.

Yeah, that cupcake sounds awful!

My babysitter in Scotland always called me a "wee bairn".

jackj 5:46 PM  


As long as the folks at Cupcake Wars don't load their cupcakes with OKRA(S); pickled or plain they're equally disgusting.

michael 5:59 PM  

Started slowly, but once I started getting the long words finished quickly. Definitely easy (for a Saturday). The first answer I wrote in was "Avila" -- my guess that I'm in a small minority here.

sanfranman59 6:00 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 5:29, 6:53, 0.80, 1%, Easy (fastest median solve time of 94 Mondays)
Tue 8:37, 8:57, 0.96, 46%, Medium
Wed 14:46, 11:46, 1.25, 94%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 93 Wednesdays)
Thu 22:18, 19:07, 1.17, 82%, Challenging
Fri 16:29, 26:11, 0.63, 2%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 97 Fridays)
Sat 26:57, 30:33, 0.88, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 2:52, 3:41, 0.78, 1%, Easy (fastest median solve time of 94 Mondays)
Tue 4:17, 4:35, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Wed 7:02, 5:47, 1.22, 91%, Challenging (9th highest median solve time of 93 Wednesdays)
Thu 10:42, 9:13, 1.16, 80%, Challenging
Fri 7:58, 12:54, 0.62, 3%, Easy (3rd lowest median solve time of 96 Fridays)
Sat 15:02, 17:24, 0.86, 22%, Easy-Medium

acme 6:18 PM  

I believe Martha Stewart suggests you serve pickled OKRAS as a side dish to your Cohos, along with white Wines.

@Pastellady @joho
Thanks! i suspected but decided that couldn't be right!

Ha! I hear ya!
ALtho I'm not sure it does pay to be Jewish... just back from a bat mitzvah, sitting in the back with non-Jewish friends of the family who kept asking me what was going on (re: when to stand, pages going backwards, everything in Hebrew, jumping from page to page, touching the prayer book to the torah, etc) and I finally had to admit, I didn't know either!

Shamik 7:28 PM  

@acme....ha ha on the Martha Stewart culinary recommendationS.

Liked this puzzle that felt very difficult for me, but ended up as a medium at 21:18. After reading the write-up and comments, I agree with a lot of the negatives noted. It just didn't feel that negative during the solve. Really liked this puzzle.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Better Saturday than normal. I get a few clues on my own including a couple of the long ones. Then I need some googling to "populate" the grid a bit. But in the end I completed this one with not a single error.
Pretty satisfying despite a few too many pop culture type entries.

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Re Asta...actually played by Skippy in the movies

cody.riggs 1:35 AM  

Can't believe how easily the 15's fell. I got ASAMATTEROFFACT just off of __A___TE_______. And WHATSTHEVERDICT just off the first A. The other two were almost as quick.

Unlike Rex, I found the upper NW quite difficult, since I presumed mort SAHL may have played some cat character I don't know about.

Oh, got PEPPERMINT CREAM off just one P, somehow, and then ERASERHEAD off the A. Yup, guess this was pretty easy.

Thumbs-up for JAIME...The Bionic Woman was my favorite show as a kid!

Portland, Ore.

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