Singer/songwriter MacColl / FRI 4-22-11 / 1930 tariff act co-sponsor / 1989 one-man show / Blini go-with / Plant once considered source courage

Friday, April 22, 2011

Constructor: Ashton Anderson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: Sylvia SYMS (68A: "I Could Have Danced All Night" singer, 1956) —

Sylvia Syms (December 2, 1917 - May 10, 1992) was an American jazz singer. // She was born Sylvia Blagman in Brooklyn, New York. As a child, she had polio. As a teenager, she went to jazz-oriented nightclubs on New York's 52nd Street, and received informal training from Billie Holiday. In 1941 she made her debut at a club called 'Billy's Stable'. // In 1948, performing at the Cinderella Club in Greenwich Village, she was seen by Mae West, who gave her a part in a show she was doing. Among others who observed her in nightclubs was Frank Sinatra who considered her the "world's greatest saloon singer." Sinatra subsequently conducted her 1982 album, Syms by Sinatra. // She was signed to a recording contract by Decca Records, having her major success with a recording of "I Could Have Danced All Night" in 1956. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Syms made regular appearances at the Carlyle in Manhattan. At times, impromptu, while enjoying a cocktail in the bar of the Carlyle, she would walk on stage and perform with the cabaret's other regular, Bobby Short. // She died on stage at the Algonquin Hotel in New York from a heart attack, aged 74. (wikipedia)

• • •

In short: liked it. Long stuff is wonderful, and short stuff is solid enough to keep me from squawking. Much. INTERNEE made me wince (42A: John McCain, e.g., for over five years), and shoving two not-terribly-famous singers (SYMS and EWAN somebody ... 62A: Singer/songwriter MacColl) into one little corner seemed kind of cruel, but that was all more than offset by the SUPEREGO TIRADES (35A: Id checker + 41A: Nail-spitting sessions) and the poetic trinary: "MISTRESS ON THE WAY ... STAY CALM!" (37D: Many a tryst participant + 38D: Not yet born + "Nobody panic") Nice to see another muse besides CLIO and ERATO in the puzzle (43D: Sister of Clio => EUTERPE, muse of music).



For some reason the IN in "IN REAL TIME" seemed superfluous to me, as "REAL-TIME" is a perfectly good (and common) adjectival phrase that fits the clue just fine (63A: Like instant messaging).

I could think only of QUINCY at 28A: Jazzy Jones. Then, when I got NORAH, I thought, "Oh, right, she's his daughter." Only she isn't. Her father is indeed a famous musician—but it's (crossword stalwart) RAVI Shankar. But then, I thought, who's the pretty, talented, not-clearly-African-American woman whose father is Quincy Jones? And then I remembered that that's RASHIDA Jones, whom I had just watched (only one hour earlier) in an episode of "Parks & Recreation" (my favorite show on all of television at the moment). So that is the story of my brain's escapade through the magical world of JONESES. I hope you enjoyed it.

Started this one in the NW and got Nowhere Fast. Considered WORLD ATLAS and WASHER at 1A: Setting for many legends (HALL OF FAME) and 1D: One erasing marks (HIT MAN), but then MME (19A: M.'s counterpart) threw a wrench in those (perfectly good) plans. Fumbled around until I saw the Bee Gees clue, and though I don't know the song, the clue seemed to demand the phrase "HE'S A" (11A: The Bee Gees' "___ Liar") — that, or LIAR, which seemed highly unlikely, though I actually saw that clue / answer combo in a (terrrrrible) puzzle just last week. Confirmed that answer right away with HASPS (11D: Features of some diaries), and then took off, tearing that corner down like it was a Tuesday. Ended up backing into the NW via ANONYMS (which I did not know was a word) (8D: Unidentified people) and ETNA (10D: Blower of giant smoke rings). This was enough to trigger (the great) "I KID YOU NOT" (15A: "Seriously!"), and then I figured out what the deal was with Superman's arms (2D: Like Superman's arms, often => AKIMBO) and sailed smoothly from there.


Hardest part for me (aside from just getting started) was the TAE / HAIR GEL / GENUS section. Man doing light work? is a great clue for EDISON, but (with "abbr.") I don't like it so much for his monogram, which is always an unwelcome bit of fill, the cruddiness is highlighted by the difficult clue. ENNE could've been ENNA, and was, for a bit. The distance from [Do glue?] to HAIR GEL is enormous (though clue is cute — in case you're wondering, you have to understand "Do" as a noun). And GENUS ... well, that was easy enough (46A: Begonia, Geranium or Magnolia), but confusion over other stuff kept it hidden for a bit. But I worked it all out. Hey, aren't GENE (40D: Family hand-me-down?) and GENUS related, etymologically? Through Latin back to Greek? [interlude: Whoa, I just opened my Webster's 3rd Int'l dictionary open to find "Gen-" and the first page I came to had "HORNY CORAL" bold in the upper left corner. The secret lives of coral ... who knew?] Dictionary lists GENE as G. and GENUS as L., but I gotta believe that it's not a coincidence that both end up in words about biological classification. Anyway, I don't think crossing them was a great idea. Just make GENE Hackman.

Mistakes: LUMET for LUCAS (48A: "THX 1138" director, 1971), despite knowing *perfectly well* that "THX 1138" involved "that 'Star Wars' guy" ... brain somehow forgot 'Star Wars' guy's name, and then convinced me that 'Star Wars' guy merely wrote it, while LUMET directed. Wanted RECOIL for RECALL (57A: Defect effect). Made sense at the time, i.e. if your face or personality or smell is defective, it will make me RECOIL. No other serious trips. Oh, wanted EBON for ONYX (25A: Black), but thought that clue for EBON would've been too easy for a Friday. I was right.

Bullets:
  • 30A: 1930 tariff act co-sponsor (SMOOT) — weird (to me) that this name, and the name of the tariff act's other co-sponsor, live in my brain. Sadly, they live there as SWOOT-HARTLEY instead of the correct SMOOT-HAWLEY, but ... whatever. Minor details.
  • 52A: Plant once considered a source of courage (THYME) — then that general fed it to his troops and they still ran screaming from the battlefield, so scientists were like "Hmm, maybe not."
  • 4D: Its HQ are in Temple Square (LDS) — Latter Day Saints. I was thinking maybe KAOS or SMERSH, but no.
  • 49D: Blini go-with (CAVIAR) — so *that's* what blini go with? I keep seeing BLINI in the puzzle and thinking "pancakes? like with syrup? what do Russians put on their pancakes?" And now I know. Fancy.
  • 51D: First African-American Republican National Committee chairman (STEELE) — yeah, that didn't last. They put a white guy in there earlier in the year, and despite his ridiculous name (REINCE PRIEBUS!), he hasn't been heard from since (unlike STEELE, who was deemed "controversial" from the get-go, despite overseeing the Great Republican Resurgence of 2010). Mainly I just miss STEELE's appearances on "The Daily Show".


  • 65D: 1989 one-man show ("TRU") — shows in three letters are pretty hard to hide. This clue has three give-aways: 1989, one-man, and the fact that it's three letters. "TRU" is like the "R.U.R." of the '80s.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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58 comments:

David L 8:18 AM  

No comments yet? Everyone stunned?

I liked it too. Struggled to begin, then got started with the proper names -- LUCAS, STEELE, SMOOT, EWAN. Didn't understand TAE until I came here -- recognized it only as the first name of that guy BO. It's a bit dismissive of Edison to call him the light guy, he did so much else.

HAIRGEL was cute -- thought of HUFFING at first. Not that I know anything about that.

Gil.I.Pollas 8:27 AM  

I wonder if this happens to others...I immediately put in HALL OF FAME at 1A then just stared at the rest of the puzzle for what seemed like hours.
Had dinner, watched American Idol; loved Lady Gaga - oh wait, that wasn't Lady Gaga; went back to puzzle, added I KID YOU NOT, then went to bed.
Got up again and managed to finish with a bunch of Google help.
I still don't know for the life of me what 29D HAIRGEL [do glue] means. I thought some kids sniffed that or something.
What happened to Erato and why did she get usurped by EUTERPE?

imsdave 8:29 AM  

Medium leaning towards challenging here. I tried the brilliantly mispelled CALIOPE, took it out when McCain had to be a PRISONER, which I replaced with DETAINEE after being unable to come up with a muse starting with 'R' and finally seeing EUTERPE.

Great fun sorting it all out though.

Four stars.

nanpilla 8:32 AM  

Found most of the puzzle to be smooth sailing, until I got to the NW. Just couldn't seem to get any traction there. Wanting dAysOFyorE instead of HALLOFFAME certainly didn't help.

Of course, I loved the clue for MANES. My flaxen-maned chestnut isn't doing very well - I hate to see my brave little pony suffer. Haven't felt much like commenting, but this is still the first place I go every morning. Thanks, @Rex, for doing this every day.

mitchs 8:50 AM  

Great clues: MANES, SUPEREGO...

Tobias Duncan 9:02 AM  

Easiest Friday of the year for me (well did have two errors but it sure went down fast).Mistress on the way stay calm is my favorite part of the puzzle and I am assuming it is a personal message to me.
INREALTIME is very much in the language in nerdland or at least in 1990s nerdland.
Just loved this one.

jackj 9:49 AM  

Easy but not disappointing. Who could not love a puzzle that asks for "Man doing light work?: Abbr." as the clue for TAE?

If that isn't enough, don't think of show-off for the "hot dog" clue, just listen to the canine PANT.

Still need more convincing? Well, "Bee's charge" isn't apiarian at all, it's OPIE.

Saving the best for last, "They flow along bays" for MANES??

Even though you know it is the answer, based on the crosses, it's still a head scratcher until the light comes on and one remembers that not all "bays" are in the ocean, some are on chestnut colored horses.

This was an entry which will make Henry Hook drool!

A perfectly delightful puzzle from Ashton Anderson.

Matthew G. 9:51 AM  

Set a personal Friday record today.  This was a wavelength puzzle for me from start to finish -- first entry was MME, and I then got HITMAN and AKIMBO off just those Ms, I KID YOU NOT!.  And then off to the races. 

The only thing that kept me from blowing away my previous Friday best, as opposed to merely beating it comfortably, was the SE, where IN REAL TIME bugged me for the same reason it bugged Rex -- the "IN" is extraneous, so I resisted it for a while despite thinking of it quickly.  I also hadn't heard of SATEEN before and took a while to remember how to spell EUTERPE.  But once I figured out LIPO, that section fell too.

Great work, Ashton!

(To those commenting on how few comments there are so far, it has nothing to do with the puzzle -- Rex just put today's post up much later than he usually does).

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

parks & rec is also a goto for me and wifey, though last night's episode lacked some spark...

i really dug the puzzle too, but was left with 2 errors: 30A-SMOAT/31D-APIE and 42A-INTERNED/43D-DUTERPE. i understand Smoot-Hawley and that i do not know my muses, but what's with Bee's Charge and OPIE? I thought an apiary has something to do with bees?

- deion

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

@Anonymous at 9:52 - think Aunt Bee and nephew Opie

mmorgan 10:09 AM  

Much of this was so in my wheelhouse (things like HALL OF FAME and the rest of the NW just popped out), and I really enjoyed *many* of the clues -- very clever misdirects. But I had a few holes in the SW that just left me hanging (mostly caused by having MOSHpit at 37A and INTERNEd at 42A). What a DIPSTICK.

DNF, but this is a terrific puzzle.

Carisa 10:12 AM  

80s pop culture saved me on the "1930 tariff..." clue...from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

r.alphbunker 10:13 AM  

Quintessential Friday puzzle. northeast corner went down easy and then southwest corner reminded me what day of the week it was.

False friends:
29D HAIRGoo-->HAIRGEL
50D feEble-->ANEMIC
56A rANT-->PANT
2D folded-->AKIMBO
15A noImeantiT-->IKIDYOUNOT
35A altEREGO-->SUPEREGO
20A edeN-->ZION
45A hub-->lga-->STA
39D STAYCool-->STAYCALM
62A EvAN-->EWAN
37A puSHING-->MOSHING

1  **************
2  **
3  ***
4  ************
5  ***********
6  *****
7  *
8  *****
9  **********
10 *********

Gil.I.Pollas 10:14 AM  

Sheesh. Meant to say "didn't know" for the [do glue]. Hard to focus when you have sand in your eyes at five in the AM.
Rex wanted to add that your write-up was damn funny today.

quilter1 10:36 AM  

Yes, great writeup. I laughed out loud. Also liked the puzzle. Somehow came up with I KID YOU NOT with no crosses. Didn't Maynard G. Krebs say that? The hot dog clue brought a giggle when PANT came to light. I knew Sylvia SYMS but did not know about her '56 record. Is My Fair Lady really that old?

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

I thought PANT was a genius clue. I was thinking, "How can I imitate a food?" for a while.

Easy Fridays are fun. Off to WSJ.

Mel Ott 10:37 AM  

Very nice puzzle - kind of on the easy side of medium for me (for a Friday). Loved all the wonderful 8's and 10's.

Some clever cluing, too. My favorite was the hot dog clue. Also liked the dipstick clue.

So Opie's aunt spells her name Bee rather than Bea. How about that.

syndy 10:37 AM  

First full entry for me was ASBESTOS(I"M CERTIFIED) off of the two ESSES!Fabulous chunky,contorsionist of a puzzle!AKIMBO! CAVIAR! My last Letter was the O in OPIE!9I can't believe I fell for THAT Again! Capcha;catscied-the big bang theory through slitted eyes

joho 10:49 AM  

Loved the ONYX/XOUT crossing plus IKIDYOUNOT and STAYCALM.

I had MOSHpit before MOSHING and encountered the most trouble at EUTERPE/GENUS.

@Tobias Duncan, I too, always attach the IN before REALTIME, sounds right to me

Just a J and a Q short of a pangram.

Thank you, Ashton!

(@nanpilla, so sorry to hear about your pony.)

JenCT 10:50 AM  

Glad that AKIMBO was in a recent puzzle; that helped.

@nanpilla: sorry your pony isn't doing well. :-(

Lots & lots of misdirection today - also thought Bee was a honeybee reference; didn't know THYME was considered source of courage; no idea was TAE or LDS stood for.

You know the phrase "Don't count your chickens before they hatch?" Out of 7 eggs, we have just 2 surviving chicks. :-(

Bob Kerfuffle 10:57 AM  

Ouch! All these "easy" ratings, and it was a total fail for me!

For some reason I could not see MISTRESSES, thinking that participants in trysts were adulterers or something, on both sides. MISTRESSES sounds very dated to me, for unknown reasons.

And for ONTHEWAY, I could not get around IN UTERO (which doesn't fit) or the like.

And as for "I Could Have Danced All Night," how do you fit Julie Andrews in four letters? Or Marnie Nixon or Audrey Hepburn for that matter.

Never heard of EWAN MacColl, either, had LGA for STA, and brain would not give me the THYME of day!

I suspected MANES but gave up before I put it in; doubt it would have helped much.

Along the way, stupidly put LUKAS instead of LUCAS (mis-led by Lukas Haas?), which made KAV___, some blini go-with I would have been surprised by.

And finally, failing eyesight, for the longest time read 7 D, Versatile furniture, as VERSAILLES furniture, which also slowed me down!

mmorgan 11:01 AM  

@quilter1: I think it was Jack Paar (not Maynard).

Evgeny 11:23 AM  

despite being Russian, never had kaviar with my blini - allergic. i usually go with sour cream mixed with some sugar (before you go eeeww, try it - thank me later).

I'm too young to know TRU, but, interestingly, "one man show" made me think "TRUman Show".

Finished a friday! go me

Arundel 11:24 AM  

Wow! Loved it, absolutely. Great work, Ashton Anderson! So many of the clues were fine misdirections, even in the fill. Good stuff all around.

That unknown singer/songwriter MacColl 62a was Kirsty's father. He also wrote "Dirty Old Town" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Both now better known than him.

I loved seeing EUTERPE in the puzzle. One of my mother's friends was from a big Greek family in Haverhill MA, and had many aunts, including Clio, Thalia, Calliope, Euterpe, and even Terpsichore. They skipped a few of them, though...

I would have preferred the clue for 30a to have been "MIT non-standard unit of measure." That has to be at least as well known as the SMOOT-Hawley Act of 1930, or definitely should be!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

For over 80 years I've wondered why they always called that Awley guy SMOOTH, because he was such a db.

Two Ponies 11:30 AM  

Just right for a Friday.
@ Rex, Too funny today.
I tried noir for black so that intersection was the last to fall.
Enjoyed the puzzle but now I'm seriously bummed about the pony and the chicks.

lit.doc 11:48 AM  

Either this one was (Friday) easy or I’m making progress. DNF, but got maybe two-thirds of it—stopped by NW and California—before I hit Check All. Once was enough to get me through it, so, for me, a good Friday.

Before checking, had 42A PRISONER crossing 38D PRENATAL. Anyone else hoist themselves on that P’tard? Ironic, in that I had 37A MOSHING on my first pass, but gave it up for the that too-credible crossing.

Sooooo wanted 68A to be HEPBURN. Been madly in love with her since I was thirteen.

Initial reaction to 33A TAE, gotten from crosses, was “WTF!?” Hmmmm. OK, Edison. Google talks me down once again. Same basic reaction to ANONYMS, but even my dead-tree American Heritage informs me that I’m ill-informed.

72 words, 27 black squares. Scary. Impressive. Also digitally chiasmic.

a.m. addendum: @Rex, laughed so hard I nearly egested coffee through my nose at the historical factoid about the general feeding THYME to his troops.

GLR 12:01 PM  

The east fell pretty easily, northwest came next. Had (and liked) PRISONER for 42A, which worked with PRENATAL for 38D, so the southwest took forever.

Liked AKIMBO, HAIRGEL, PANT, and MANES. Don't care for XOUT or VEE (for Elvis's heart?).

Gil.I.Pollas 12:09 PM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle...Me too re Versailles furniture! and then when FUTON fit I thought Dang - it comes from France.
If I could afford it, I would eat caviar every day - and NOT on a blini. Our now grown-up children were eating it as young-uns and expect it at every holiday... Sigh.
Sad face for nanpilla's pony and JenCT's little chicks.

JaxInL.A. 12:59 PM  

So much to like about this puzzle. Great fill, terrific clues.

@BobK, I had all the same thoughts down through the fair ladies and who is that MacColl guy? Had prisoner for ages before INTERNEE came to light. But amazingly, every time I got stuck I just regrouped, resisted looking anything up, and finished in under 40 mins, one of my fastest Fridays ever. Yesterday I finished in under 30. Like @lit.doc says, either this was easy or I'm getting better.

So sorry about the livestock.

I used to go to concerts in Woolsey Hall on the Yale campus and try to memorize the muses that are depicted in the frescoes on the ceiling. Lovely memories.

@Evgeny, nice to see you again. I highly recommend your blend of sour cream and sugar, with a bit of lemon zest, as a fruit dip. Unbeatable. Do our chefs have advice about this?

Not so fast, Wiki 1:01 PM  

From Wiki:

* Beatrice "Aunt Bea" Taylor (Frances Bavier) - Andy's paternal aunt. Bea is - apparently - a spinster somewhere in her mid-50s who spent most of her years raising kids (though it is never revealed whose kids she raised).

From IMDB:

Widower Sheriff Andy and his son Opie live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry NC. With virtually no crimes to solve...

jae 1:02 PM  

A fine Fri. puzzle. Had almost the same experience as Rex with LUMET/LUCAS and briefly tried COMO for SYMS. In all Easy-Med. for me too with the Med. part being SW. Loved the clue for ASSES.

jae 1:13 PM  

Oh and, @quilter1 mmorgan -- Jack Paar rings a bell with me also.

I skip M-W 1:25 PM  

Back from helping my father 'celebrate' his hundredth birthday; he's not feeling very well, and I've caught something too, so my time was slow on this, but in NW got AKIMBO right away, and from that Paar's' "I KID YOU NOT", but rest of NW eluded me then. NE went medium fast, but was allover the pace before finishing correctly.
put in MOSHING, had DETAINEE, so took out moshing, then saw internee (not same as POW, incidentally) put moshing back -- my own angry dance :-) --.
Interesting that old-fashioned PAPER TRAIL was stuck between two Internet era answers. Too bad it couldn't have been email trail.

Can someone explain why 41A TAT is a bit of ink? Is that as in "tattoo"? Admit I didn't even see that until looking over finished puz.

Isn't mistress a bit un PC?

lit.doc 1:33 PM  

@GLR, 61A is a "letteral" clue. VEE is the letter at the center/heart of the word "Elvis".

Masked and Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@lit.doc re: "digitally chiasmic" . . . Nice

@I skip M-W re: "as in tattoo?" . . . Yep. But M-W are mighty fun to speed solve!

Everyone's about covered the rest.

chefbea 1:42 PM  

Tough puzzle but finally finished with a bit of googling. Love Blini with sour cream and cavier. The fruit dip with sour cream, sugar and lemon sounds yummy.

@Quilter1 It is Jack Paar - met him once at a grocery store in Greenwich Ct.

What is moshing - never heard of it

Guess you could call me Aunt Bea - I have lots of nieces and nephews

GLR 2:04 PM  

@Not so fast...

Looks like you found an errant entry in Wikipedia (it happens). There are others, like the "Frances Bavier" entry and the "Aunt Bee" entry that have the correct spelling.

@lit.doc:

I understood the cluing for VEE - for some reason, I just really don't like that kind of clue/answer. But now I have a name for what I don't like - "letterals." Thanks!

Chip Hilton 2:05 PM  

I agree with @Anonymous at 9:52 that last night's Parks & Recreation lacked verve, but I thought The Office bounced back big time in Will's second episode (excepting the line about 9/11. I don't think we'll ever be ready to hear it mentioned in a comedic setting.).

Fun puzzle. Last letter was a decision between Interned and INTERNEE, since I'm light on my muses. Happily, I chose correctly.

I imagine Ms. Syms left the world just as she would have wished.

Aardvark 2:15 PM  

Ewan MacColl is a hero to us folkies. He wrote "The First Time..." for his true love, Peggy Seeger.

anemic caviar mistress 2:18 PM  

Wonderful cluing, easy-ish puzzle, very visual (AKIMBO, LATERAL, OYEZ, nail-spitting)

@Rex on fire today!!!

I would like to add that beautiful Rashida Jones is also the daughter of Peggy Lipton from "Mod Squad" and actually looks exactly like her in a less-blonde way.

It's odd to see her on "Parks and Recreation" so thinking of her as Karen from the "Office"...it throws me off the same way as having to deal with a second Darrin!
(Even tho this is same actress different role and the other was different actor same role, but it still feels altered-universish.)

I can only remember Michael STEELE's name bec I was once an almost-MISTRESS to a man by that same name who was also in politics (but on the English/Welsh Labour party side). I was 21 and he must have been about 25 yrs older, so I shied away... I tried to find him 25 years later to no avail.
He was an Aussie journalist who ran for MP in Wales (I wonder if I'm making this up, I'm so confused these days...)

Did the MOSHING clue strike anyone as a bit school-marmish tut-tutting?

Since I always rail about boy fill (HALLOFFAME to start the puzzle, anybody?) I would like to applaud the HASPS clue, as it's so young-girl-diary!!!


@nanpilla
My heartbleeds for you and your pony...best case scenario that she'll be fine!
We are mind-melded today, as we have shared a cross-country malapop, as I wanted "Days of Yore" for STONEAGE instead of your HALLOFFAME!

I don't know if it's just me but hearing STAYCALM or "Calm down" always has the exact opposite effect.

Didn't know from SMOOT, but had that been MY name, I would have changed it as soon as I came of age.

In other unfortunate naming choices, OPENSOURCE continues to look/sound like OPEN SORES to me.
Could have been in our little homophone puzzle yesterday!

Look Up Guy 3:16 PM  

I KID YOU NOT - Catchphrase used by Jack Paar. Paar, host of the Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962, "invented the talk-show format as we know it: the ability to sit down and make small talk big," said Merv Griffin. Paar died on January 27, 2004, at age 85. "Even youngsters sent to bed before Mr. Paar came on parroted his jaunty catchphrase, 'I kid you not.'" From "He invented late-night talk, then walked away," and article in the Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., January 28, 2004.

"Mr. Paar took over the flagging NBC slot some months after Steve Allen left with his variety show... Despite his continued popularity, Mr. Paar grew tired of the grind and quit his late-night show in March 1962. That October, after a succession of interim hosts, Johnny Carson began his 30-year run as host." From Obituary: Original King of Late Night

sanfranman59 3:30 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 23:57, 26:10, 0.92, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 11:13, 12:53, 0.87, 26%, Easy-Medium

quilter1 3:56 PM  

Jack Paar it is! I knew it was black and white TV.
THYME makes me impatient to plant my herbs.

Not So Fast ... 4:04 PM  

@GLR

As you noted, there are often [my take] misleading or flat out wrong, wiki entries. It's the nature of the beast.

I was trying to make that point to those who blindly accept a wiki entry as "authorative", without further corroboration, are being misled.

Same with Google. Number of hits, or most popular return should be similarly suspect.

Google has been running a series of ads in the dead tree NYT, and I assume elsewhere, showing the number of querries (and technique) for obtaining a credible "answer".

As for the "I've never heard it used that way", and those that agree in support --- I've abandonded all hope ;)

P>G>

OldMovieBuff 4:13 PM  

@quilter1, mmorgan, jae - Bogart as Capt Queeg in The Caine Mutiny said "I kid you not" before Jack Paar made it his.

jberg 4:24 PM  

Hand up for ebon and Lumet - figured the latter was a tribute, since he just died, and when I wrote in the former said to myself, "Ha, I'm finally getting the hand of this easy crosswordese."

Otherwise, I was really stuck until I got to MOSHING, after which the whole SW fell into place quickly, then worked my way around the puzzle counterclockwise.

I knew 23A had to be either ABAB or ABBA, so 2D had to be AKIMBO, but I still don'e like it - arms are akimbo if they are extended to your sides and bent at the elbows, aren't they? Merriam-Webster says it's "having the hand on the hip and the elbow turned outward." Superman extends them over his head, more or less straign, for the streamlining. I didn't like TAT either; never thought of the tattoo connection. Is that actual usage? The little dictionary in my phone only mentions making lace.

Last month we were in New Orleans staying in a BANDB (oh wait, that was a few days ago) in the Garden District, and had to drive down Euterpe Street to get there - so I got that one easily; otherwise I would never have thought of it.

@nanpilla, I hope your pony gets better!

Shamik 4:34 PM  

@jberg: TAT is, indeed, frequently used as in "Wanna see my new tat?" And no. I have no tats.

Can't think of a puzzle in which I agreed more with Rex. Uncanny.

I may be too young, but Sylvia Syms isn't doing it for me.

chefwen 6:01 PM  

I am really loving these kinder, gentler Fridays.

Was a little slow getting out of the gate and had to Google SYMS and EWAN. Had locks before HASPS, ebon before ONYX, FUTONS in and out a couple of times and MOSHpit first. Managed to finish in fine form.

Andrea is right @Rex is sizzling.

@nanpilla - Hope your pony gets well soon.

Octavian Akimbo 6:34 PM  

Another in a series of awesome Friday puzzles. By which I mean I can complete them, which was way beyond me a year ago.

When a horse is the first thing that comes to mind w/ "bay" and answers like TAT and I KID YOU NOT and HALL OF FAME emerge in seconds from a skeleton of a couple of letters, you know that you are doing too many crossword puzzles.

Lot of mildly interesting new people to add to our general knowledge, like SYMS and EWAN McCOLL.

Being a finance guy I was already very familiar w/ SMOOT, so that was the first one in the grid. Many historians point to the Smoot-Hawley Act as one of the key mistakes that U.S. lawmakers made at the start of the Great Depression.

Loved the hot dog and Superman's stance and nail-spitting. Nice visuals.

A great puzzle for a Good Friday.

acme 9:06 PM  

jberg
I thought that too at first about Superman's hands stretched out, but when he is standing there with his cape flapping in the wind, they are indeed AKIMBO. He apparently has many iconic arm stances!

And yes, it's scary that most people get their info from Wikipedia now...
And try arguing with crossword collaborators that number of Google hits doesn't make something more popular/correct/in the language!

mac 10:52 PM  

Great Friday puzzle, Rex and Andrea sizzling, and the rest of the comments pretty funny too!

Am I the only one who wanted "gown" for "gene" at 40D? As in bridal or baptismal??

@Evgeni: when the buckwheat blini are home-made, they taste good with anything on them, or nothing at all!


@nanpilla and JenCT: so sorry about the animals, can't stop thinking about them.

"The first time..." is such a beautiful song. I think I know it best by Roberta Flack.

Jimwalker 11:27 PM  

Liked the puzzle a lot. Don't get "defect effect" = recall.

Help?

mac 11:29 PM  

@Jimwalker: when a defect is found in a product, it often results in a recall.

wfs 1:53 AM  

I wonder legends of the music still searched by most people who love music.

acme 2:04 AM  

Sylvia Syms performed at the Carlyle with regular Bobby Short...guess who Bobby Short replaced?
George Feyer! ACPT champ Dan Feyer's grandpa! I'll bet he performed with Sylvia Syms too!

Lurking, Just Behind You 12:54 PM  

I must be of a certain age since MOSHING was my first answer.

Todays puzzle was just brilliant. MISTRESS ONTHEWAY STAYCALM has to be the funniest triad in the NYT in ages.

Since I am in syndi-land, I am hoping that the pony of @Nanpilla has recovered.


difutt - de opposite of dehaid

Joann 1:19 PM  

I did not get the second "Jazzy Jones" because "Etta" is the one and only Etta James.

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