Author/architect Buzzi / SAT 6-18-11 / Franchise Affair novelist / Generative music pioneer / Athlete nicknamed O Rei / Scottish doctor/explorer John

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Constructor: Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: KNAP (2D: Chip, as flint, in Britain) —

tr.v., knapped, knap·ping, knaps.
  1. To break or chip (stone) with sharp blows, as in shaping flint or obsidian into tools.
  2. Chiefly British.
    1. To strike sharply; rap.
    2. To snap at or bite.

[Middle English knappen, probably of imitative origin.]

• • •

So here's what typically happens to me at crossword tournaments. I do the easy puzzles quickly, but so do many other people, and so I am not at all distinguished and languish somewhere in the upper-middle part of the pack. Then the puzzles get tougher and I get a little better, comparatively. Then they get brutal, and I start to pull away from the bulk of the pack (you should understand, of course, that there are always a good chunk of people who are faster than me in every way no matter what I do). I Love the hard stuff. Thrive on on it. Why? Don't know. It's not always true. Some Fridays (far more often than Saturdays), I just bomb. Maybe I'm getting good at intuiting the way Will's cluing brain works (though lots of the clues on these things are most certainly original, i.e. created by the constructor, not Will). At any rate, this is a long-winded way of saying that I Destroyed this puzzle (7:49—not a record Saturday, but getting close). I then went to the NYT site to see what people's times were ... and no one had finished. I kept hitting "refresh" and still no times. When they started coming in, I was a good five minutes faster than the fastest times (checking back now, it seems Howard Barkin has beaten me by a solid three minutes. Ha ha. Sic transit gloria). I just had one of those absurd through-the-looking-glass days where luck combines with skill and I turn into a SPEED DEMON (19A: Flooring specialist?) (this clue made me think first of a boxer ...).

I think the place I lucked out was the SE, which seems to me the hardest part of the puzzle by far—and I *knew* EAU DE VIE and EMANANT and RUMPLY. Even with those in place, I got stymied for a bit. I can usually rely on at least one of a bank of short answers falling, but not here. SEWS I eventually guessed ("jumper" didn't fool me for a second, and I know from wife that "jumper" is the British/NZ word for "sweater," which may be why I wanted "KNITS" at first) (51D: Works on one's jumper, say), but the other 4s—pfft. Hopeless. Except ROLE. Which was wrong (56D: Romeo or Juliet=>TEEN). So, back to hopeless. The "lucky" part for me down here was having some strange voice in my head whispering "EVANSVILLE" (58A: City on the Ohio). I couldn't find it on a map. I'm not even sure what state it's in. Indiana? Anyway, the -VA- opening triggered "EVANSVILLE," which I resisted for a bit (see my complete ignorance of any facts about EVANSVILLE, above), but once I tested WINTER and SENATE (having no initial idea what came after either) (TIDE and SEAT, respectively, it turns out; 60A: "Snow-Bound" setting / 51A: One in 100), I guessed EV'RY (52D: "Lift ___ Voice and Sing" (old hymn)), and EVANSVILLE became undeniable. So I eventually got SITE (hard) (53D: Group of pages), ELIS (barely known to me) (54D: Home of the ancient Olympic games), and ALDO (not RUTH?) (55D: Author/architect Buzzi). Usually, solving goes the other way round, from short answers to longer.

Anyway, the NE and SW were easy. Each one was done in a minute or so, possibly less in the case of the SW. Once I guessed PRIM, all the long Downs fell in order. I was helped in the NE by having once seen an episode of "BRIDEZILLAs" on TLC or whatever horrid relentless non-stop reality network it was on (I'm a recovering reality TV watcher) (13D: Certain control freak). In the NW, where I started, I lucked out in that, coincidentally, I had seen the word PALLIATIVE earlier in the day, in an email from a fan/reader. So I went SUPS => PALLIATIVE almost instantly (1D: Takes night courses? / 17A: Providing relief, but not a cure). Got ARID in there, which got me UNDERLINED, and I was making headway! In the end, half my time was spent in the SE, half my time everywhere else.



Not surprisingly, the NE and SW corners are stronger than the rest of the puzzle. 3x10s are easier to fill well than 4x10s are. Overall, I liked the puzzle fine. The SE was a little on the arcane side, but the rest was mostly smooth and lively.

Bullets:
  • 20A: Poetic work with an account of Ragnarok (EDDA) — Old Norse legends written down in 13th-century Iceland. As a medievalist, I have some familiarity with this stuff; however, today, I never saw the clue.
  • 22A: "The Franchise Affair" novelist (TEY) — Josephine TEY. If she were still well known today, we'd see her name in the grid a lot more often, I think.
  • 32A: ESPN reporter Andrews (ERIN) — I used her in a clue once a while back, I think. She's late-week material, beating Ireland and Moran for general difficulty level.
  • 39A: Scottish doctor/explorer John (RAE) — essential crosswordese, just like AVILA (41A: Teresa's home) and ENO (27D: Generative music pioneer).


  • 4D: Athlete nicknamed "O Rei" (PELE) — I should've guessed Portuguese, but somehow I was stuck on Spanish and considered SOSA and AROD first :(
  • 10D: Its entrance was barred with a flaming sword (EDEN) — pretty easy, even if you have to guess. Four letters, "you can't come (back) in" ... not hard to get to EDEN.
  • 23D: 1811 battle site (TIPPECANOE) — I got this more because I had -IPPE- in place than because I know much about history.
  • 30D: Sch. whose alumni constitute the Long Gray Line (USMA) — figured it was military; just a question of "M" or "N" for me.
  • 44D: Largely green kingdom (PLANTS) — figured it wasn't a kingdom like NEPAL is a kingdom, but definitely expected something more technical-/Latin-sounding than PLANTS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

71 comments:

Matthew G. 12:17 AM  

This played like two different puzzles to me.

The NW, NE, and SW were jaw droppingly easy. I had that three-fourths of the grid full in almost Wednesday-like time. First entry was SUPS, that P gave me PALLIATIVE, and from there I just had the wavelength. Had I maintained that pace into the SE, I'd have annihilated my previous Saturday best.

But then I got to the SE ... And I couldn't get _anything_. Actually, I got SEWS and TEEN, but despite having the beginnings and ends of those long a crosses, I couldn't see them. It didn't help that I don't know RAE or DALE and would tend to use the word RUMPLED, not RUMPLY. I took, no joke, 150% as much time to do the SE as the entire rest of the grid combined. So sure enough -- Medium-Challenging when always said and done.

Beautiful grid, Joon -- and also, at the end, incredibly humbling.

syndy 12:22 AM  

Yeah! except not so much! tore though most of it then came to a dead stop in the sw. put in ROLE then SEWS then UPMY then took out SEWS for TATS. Had the GRR and thae FAY but R----Y stumped me.wanted RUTH but googled and got ALDO took out ROLE for TEEN and eventually worked out the rest but a google and not crowing like peter pan

syndy 12:24 AM  

I am directional challenged meant south East (my right hand)

retired_chemist 12:41 AM  

Slowish solving time, but fast enough that I feel I am improving.

Got a toehold in the NE, fought my way through DOLT, DOPE, and DODO to get to BOZO @ 28A, and got a feeling from filling in the NE downs how Joon was doing the 10s.

That helped me get PALLIATIVE and SPEED DEMON after a few crosses, killing SERE @ 5D but leaving (for the nonce) VILE @ 3D.

Didn't help when I wrote in PERCENTAGE for 51A with no crosses. Ditto, sort of, LOUISVILLE for 58A. HUGE number of 10 letter Ohio River cities - PITTSBURGH, GALLIPOLIS, HUNTINGTON (WV, my home town), CINCINNATI, LOUUISVILLE, as well as EVANSVILLE. Maybe more further downriver - don't know them though.

Knew EV'RY @ 52D so that nixed PERCENTAGE. Got SEWS in and that corrected LOUISVILLE. With EAU DE VIE and TEEN in place, 51A SENATE SEAT became clear. However, EMANANT didn't thrill me.

The NW and SW solved similarly, but more slowly. Some short answers led to enough pieces of the 10s that they fell, though TIPPECANOE was a gimme.

last fill was the D to fix WINTERTIME/ALMO. The latter had started as ELMO. Took me a couple of minutes to find that.

Congratulations to Joon for a splendid puzzle. I found it challenging throughout, but with places to get a toehold everywhere. I felt I was making continual progress and wasn't going to find dead ends where I could go no farther. Just the kind of puzzle I like.

foodie 12:41 AM  

Well, my hat's off to you Rex and to anyone who thought this was easy. I put PALLIATIVE right off the bat, then nothing for a long time. Then clawed my way in the NE with ORBS and OGLE and LAIR. But EDDA on top of TEY with ERIN nearby? Did me in. Some cheating was required to finish.

That said, I admire the puzzle as well as the design of the grid. Some lovely answers, wickedly clued: SMARTPHONE, SPRAY ON TAN, and the wonderful BRIDEZILLA! I got it off of BOZO. It alone was worth the suffering and humiliation.

Great puzzle Joon, but you need a new dryer. Stuff should come out not looking RUMPLY!

chefwen 2:29 AM  

@foodie is right, they only come out RUMPLY if you don't take them out straight away.

This one was strange for me, got off to an agonizing slow start. The first and third grouping went down O.K. but the second and fourth were pretty much a sea of white until BRIDEZILLA popped into my head, then that area went down with a bang, leaving the SE pretty much empty. Didn't know EAU DE VIE and had your at 52D which I never did change, soooo a big, fat DNF.

What I was able to finish was enjoyable, thank you Joon.

tippecanoe and Joon too 5:45 AM  

those 6 black squares in the SE represent me, lying there dead as i didn't have anything down there to the bitter end... and I mean bitter, as it's now 2:30 am and i had to admit defeat :(

and now those black crucifix-looking squares are taunting me as I had noVation for DEVOTION for half the time...

I guessed RAE (from R--) and had RUMPLY which I refused to believe was right...
even when the notion that there were 100 SENATORS vaguely crossed my brain, I didn't put it in, with my sews, nor when WINTER lightly passed...
I would not have gotten EVANSVILLE if I lived there...
so when I next SETEYESON Joon, he will receive a light kick to the shins from me. GRR!

foodie 7:02 AM  

Andrea, that was downright poetic!

Did my heart love til now? Forswear it, sight! For I never saw true beauty till this night 7:09 AM  

Romeo and Juliet > Act I, scene III

[Enter LADY CAPULET and Nurse]

LADY CAPULET: Nurse, where's my daughter? call her forth to me.

Nurse: Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old,
I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird!
God forbid! Where's this girl? What, Juliet!

[Enter JULIET]

JULIET: How now! who calls?

Nurse: Your mother.

JULIET: Madam, I am here.
What is your will?

LADY CAPULET: This is the matter:--Nurse, give leave awhile,
We must talk in secret:--nurse, come back again;
I have remember'd me, thou's hear our counsel.
Thou know'st my daughter's of a pretty age.

Nurse: Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.

LADY CAPULET: She's not fourteen.

Nurse: I'll lay fourteen of my teeth,--
And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four--
She is not fourteen. How long is it now
To Lammas-tide?

LADY CAPULET: A fortnight and odd days.

Nurse: Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Romeo and Juliet – Act 2, Scene 4.
Nurse
may find the young Romeo?
Romeo
I can tell you; but young Romeo will be older when
you have found him than he was when you sought him:
I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.
Nurse
You say well.

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

I thought this was pretty easy, especially the western half. For example TSP and IMOUT gave me SMARTPHONE, which gave me enough easy crosses to dredge up TIPPECANOE (no Tyler, though) and the awkwardly clued POSITIONAL. However, I can't crow because I had two errors -- the alternately spelled FAY (fey is the word I know) and -TIDE rather than -time. I should have guessed AVILA, but I was married to fey, and I never heard of ALDO the architect. Even so, I thought this was much easier than yesterday's. Second week in a row when Saturday was easier than Friday.

Wally 7:47 AM  

Larry Mondello: That was a great jungle movie, huh Beav?
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: Yeah, but there was too much kissin' and not enough apes.

Richard Mentor Johnson 8:01 AM  

"Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh."

Eric 8:45 AM  

As Rex said; jumper was recognized immediately as sweater but I resisted the "sews" for way too long. You don't sew a jumper, you knit one. I guess you do sew the sleeves maybe cuffs or neckline and ribbing. GRR

twangster 8:55 AM  

I surprised myself by finishing this without major difficulty, although I did have one letter wrong: WINTERTIME instead of WINTERTIDE.

Smitty 9:11 AM  

Another hand up for easy (NE, NW, SW) Challenging(SE)

Lots of false starts with Norman FELL (don't have a TV), SIGHT TO SEE (1 in 100) and BOOK (group of pages)

BTW, why is SITE a group of pages?

Tobias Duncan 9:20 AM  

Exactly the same experience as Matthew G only more so.
3/4 of this puzzle went down in record time(for me) and then everything ground to a halt.I did not get RUMPLY or a single clue after that.Went to bed with a perfectly empty southeast and this morning I still could not crack it.Gave up and started cheating but still could not get traction.
Just brutal.

GLR 9:25 AM  

A challenging, but entertaining solve for the first ¾ of the grid (top half and the southwest), but the southeast was a trainwreck! Went for TEEN and SEWS right away (my mother sewed many jumpers for my sister when I was a kid), though I considered “hems” later when I wasn’t coming up with any of the across answers.

Finally asked AcrossLite for help with SENATESEAT and was able to get the rest from crosses. My struggles notwithstanding, I liked just about all of the longer fill. In the end, the only one that was unfamiliar was WINTERTIDE.

@Smitty - a web SITE is a group of web pages.

Smitty 9:34 AM  

Thanks @GLR

I just got it and came here to say d'oh... I think I went totally braindead in the SE- Stared at Eaudevie a long time too....

jackj 9:35 AM  

A superb puzzle from Joon Pahk who, with this beauty, combined with his output to date, puts himself squarely in the upper ranks of today's constructors.

I don't know if there are records kept on such things but this puzzle had 6 three word answers. That seems like a remarkable feat, especially considering that this is a 15x15 puzzle, not some tricked out pimp my solve 23x23 Sunday special.

Tough to choose favorites but RITEOFPASSAGE in the three worders and PALLIATIVE in the single word group were right up there.

Biggest hold-up was in the bottom right where I stubbornly refused to insert PLANTS for 44 down, (only because it didn't seem Saturdayish), until Occam's Razor scratched my stubbornness and the rest fell into place.

Thanks, Joon!

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

@jackj:

XWordInfo keeps great stats on NYT puzzles. You can't search by # of 3-letter answers unfortunately, but I remembered this one by Karen Tracey a couple of years ago that had *zero* 3s: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=12/27/2008.

quilter1 10:05 AM  

@Eric: a jumper is also a sleeveless dress of which I have sewn many.

Lift EVRY Voice and Sing isn't that old, at least for a hymn, being written for and first performed at a children's church program in 1900. It is known as the Black National Anthem and is both beautiful and challenging to sing.

Like others I tore through the NE, SW, NW and then spent as much time on the SE as all of the rest. Hand up for role before TEEN, SEWS was a gimme as was EVRY, the T in WINTERTIDE was my last entry. I know "tide" as a synonym for "time" but thought maybe Joon was looking for a place name.

Good Saturday puzzle--I like.

mac 10:16 AM  

Wonderful puzzle, Joon! Brightened my sunny Saturday morning even more!

I also had a fast start, than had to piece together the SE little by little.

Sere for arid, (wow, toat looks weird in the grid), Tipperary/var. -ie, Padua as the home of Teresa for a moment. Had more violent thoughts with flooring specialist as well.

Loved Bridezilla (just thought of that as a good Xword yesterday), road to ruin and spray-on tan, my favorite kind.

A jumper is also a dress you can wear a blouse or turtleneck underneath.

Mel Ott 10:23 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Nice clean grid. Some good long words and phrases.

For some reason RITE OF PASSAGE jumped right out of my head with no crosses, which helped immensely.

@quilter just beat me to it. "Lift EV'RY Voice and Sing" is often referred to as the Black National Anthem. Stirring song. And yes, challenging but fun to sing.

"TIPPECANOE and Tyler too". Tippecanoe (WH Harrison) died a month after inauguration and Tyler became president. One of the worst in history. Don't know that Tippecanoe would have been any better, tho.

lgw 10:29 AM  

Good times! Started, like Rex, with "sups/palliative" and got "knap" from my youthful reading of Native American historical fiction, then ripped through the NW and SW (fortunately "Tippecanoe" has a memorable name, though I can't actually recall what happened there).

In the SE I knew "Rae" and "eau de vie", but was held up by "Evanston, IL" at 58A--never heard of "Evansville". I actually spent the most time on the NE trying to find some kind of "...lamp" that might be a sun substitute, and make "debauchery" work for boozing and dicing at 12D. Once "road to ruin" corrected that mess and I vaguely remembered that the unknown "Wally" was associated--ONLY in crosswords for my generation!--with "Beaver", I was home free.

By far the most annoying thing about this puzzle was the short but key word "FAY" (37D). I was positive that this is not an acceptable spelling for the adjective FEY, which means "elfin" (or, originally, near death). I checked the OED and "fay" with an "a" is only a noun (usually meaning "faith" or "fairy") or a verb meaning "to fit together or into place". However, the much less authoritative Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary does have "fay" as an adj. meaning "fairy-like", so I guess I have to let Joon have it... loath though I am to give Webster credence over the OED (word bible)!

Z 10:34 AM  

Did this last night in AcrossLite instead of my usual paper version. Had something in every section on my first pass, including SKIPAGRADE and EAUDEVIE, which is unusual for me on a Saturday. I normally need lots of the short fill to begin to suss out the long answers. Thinking 14D would end in light gave me fool for 28A, but then ORBS and EDDA gave me BRIDEZILLA and the corner completed easily.

The other major slow down came from EMANAte, which hid the SE from me for quite awhile. Initially finished with WINTERTItE/ALtO.

Easier for me than either Thursday or Friday, largely due to picking up a couple of longer answers early. Enjoyable puzzle - but I still like pen and paper better.

Lindsay 10:43 AM  

My first answer in was 57A Bar Closing = ettE, which crossed 50D YENS, which crossed 49A AHOY, so I stuck with it. For an EON. Finally lifted up my eyes from the SW, saw ROAD TO RUIN, and my fortunes improved.

Finished with WINTERTImE and ALmO, which I wanted to turn into Elmo, but I couldn't see how SENATE SEAT would be wrong.

Several years ago I transcribed the diary of a New Hampshire man traveling to Ohio during the campaign of 1840 (Tippecanoe et al.). At one point he reflects that during the journey they had suffered to stay in but one "Van Buren inn," and that it had bedbugs.

Ah, for the days of partisan hotels!

Two Ponies 10:44 AM  

Like everyone I had the toughest time in the SE. With no idea who that Buzzi guy is I was fine with Almo and wintertime. Oh well, like yesterday, I was beaten by one square but still had a challenging fun time so I won't let it bother me.
Indiana usually doesn't get this much ink in one puzzle. I think there is an Indiana tie to Tippecanoe as well.

jackj 11:01 AM  

@Anonymous 9:59AM-

Thanks for the link and the reminder. Karen's is a coup of a different stripe, with no 3's.

I remember it well as the Saturday which had PAAVONURMI as one of its terrific answers.

Lots of good constructors out there!

Norm 11:04 AM  

My nephew went to college in EVANSVILLE and still lives there -- and yet it still took me eons to solve the SE. The NW baffled me for a long time as well. Didn't have anything more than RITE OF (PASSAGE) until PALLIATIVE suddenly appeared out of the air and the rest fell in no time. Great puzzle. Off topic, to be sure, but Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin is one my favorite science fiction novels all time. Highly recommended if you're looking for a read.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

@Two Ponies. Yes. The Battle of Tippecanoe took place in the Indiana Territory slightly northwest and west of central Indiana.

quilter1 11:22 AM  

PALLIATIVE care is the hot, sexy new medical specialty. When I began in hospital work 28 years ago it was neonatology. Our nursery's first isolette was made of tinker toys, plastic wrap and the doctor's wife's hair dryer. Wonder what the next big deal will be.

I'll be gone a few days. See ya later.

syndy 11:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Excellent challenger Joon!
Come on over and take a bow!

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Seems a lot of us are in the same boat; I thought I was on my way to record time, then that SE destroyed me.

I liked the grid okay, except for the strange number of similar answers: ETTA/EDDA/EDEN/ERIN, EELS/ELIS, ENO/EON, TEY/FAY.

joho 12:04 PM  

I crashed and burned in the SE. I got most of it but was stuck on EMANAte and LETSon (which doesn't even work as it is plural.) Due to these errors SETSEYEON was lost to me forever.

Absolutley loved BRIDEZILLA/BOZO.

Brilliant puzzle, Joon, even though I now feel really stupid.

CoffeeLvr 12:41 PM  

I feel really good about this, since I did 3/4's of it by myself. Could not believe how easily I got started with ORBS crossing OGLE. Then BEAV crossing AVILA, and the whole section fell. Not my usual Saturday experience.

I then conquered the SW, on the strength of TSP and CPI, plus ?????PHONE and USMA. Was it cheating that I pulled up the computer calculator to verify my suspicion that 5 ML is the same as 5 CC and that is approximately a TSP? I did have TexasCoast before the great TIPPECANOE.

Knowing KNAP crossing PALLIATIVE eventually gave me the NW, with the RITEOF from PASSAGE in the SW.

Ground to a halt where everyone else did, starting using Check, which eliminated a lot of wrong answers (Cincinnati, percentile, percentage). I had seen John RAE in puzzles before, but mis-remembered him as (Stephen) REA. I did remember E'VRY, which gave me ?????VILLE. At that point Romeo and Juliet were dEad. Finally decided that maybe SEWS and PLANTS were not too easy for Saturday. Still had an error at WINTERTImE. The only Buzzi I know (knew) is Ruth, too. Still, this went so much better for me than Friday, that I finish the week happy.

Masked and Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Don't know if it's just me, but seems like there's been a lot of joon this june. Can see why. This guy is good. Thumbs up to joon in jeneral.

Tho I enjoy puz's with themes more, I doo enjoy saturday joon clooing. When I saw both 1-A and 1-D cloos ending the dreaded ?, knew we were in for a fight. Loved the grid layout. Got to start over at least 4 times.

@31: 7:49?!? That's sick. Would take me longer than that, just to count the nuts in a handful of GORP. Thumbs up to SPEEDDEMONs.

Stan 12:45 PM  

Three-quarters of this puzzle was absolute fun for me, with great, contemporary answers in all the long stacks.

In the Southeast, my brain started spinning faster and faster (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, percentile/age, Evanston, IL?) until smoke came out of my ears and I gave up. Knowing the name of every NH town where Snow-Bound might have taken place did not help. An example of too much information. As it turns out, the Whittier Homestead is in Haverhill, MA.

Good one, Joon! I'm impressed with anyone who finished it.

PuzzleNut 1:25 PM  

Hands way up for the crash in the SE (and it looks like I had lots of company). role for TEEN, EAUDEVIn, EMotive, EMANAte, and probably a few other stabs for EMANANT. Did get SEWS and RUMPLY, but it wasn't enough to crack that quadrant.
Other than that, absolutely loved the rest of the puzzle. Fresh, clever and tough, in a good way.

Gill I. P. 1:49 PM  

We just got back from a week in the mountains of Grass Valley which I call God's Little Corner.
We shared our dear friends home with a errant mountain lion, wild turkeys and a three-legged frog that would not leave the pool. The little sod tried in vain (every night) to croak his way into wooing a spouse - to no avail.
No wi-fi, so no puzzles. Talk about withdrawal! Despite our wonderful commune with nature, I missed reading your site REX. It's really such a fun and addictive part of my ritual. OK, I said it...
I enjoy Joon's crosswords although I find them somewhat hard. I finished this one but had my Google help.
Love Bozo crossing Bridezilla. If memory serves me, it was a Karen Tracy crossword who first made me look up Bridezilla and I believe REX posted a clipping that made me go GORP.

august carla michaels 1:53 PM  

@foodie
How did you know that was me?
Yes, that Reality corner with BRIDEZILLA and SPRAYONTAN (shout out to the whole Jersey Shore crowd!) was something else to love!

My earlier 2:30am comment was too focused on what I didn't get not the loveliness of what was there in the other quadrants.
Glad to see I was very much not alone.

@Masked and Anonymous
Funny about Joon owning Joon!
I think I'll change my name to August and see what happens!

jae 3:39 PM  

Same as pretty much everyone else. Like Z & joho I got hung up on EMANATE and had to cheat to fix it. So, this was Tues./Wed easy-DNF challenging for me. Excellent puzzle joon, a real bi-polar solving experience.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

I slowly plodded through 6/18: hard but ultimately doable. This is the first time I ever saw "fey" spelled "fay." Fortunately, I know Avila.

Two Ponies 4:35 PM  

I'm disappointed that Joon hasn't dropped by yet.
Wanted to say earlier that had I not gotten "plants" I never would have cracked that corner. The plural surprised me though. I thought it was simply the plant kingdom.
@ quilter1, I have never associated palliative care with neonates. I think more along the hospice or chronic pain areas.

michael 4:50 PM  

Easy for me for a Saturday. Hesitated quite a bit on plants (thinking it should be "plant") and more or less guessed wintertide/aldo. My only mistake was
f-y/-vila . I thought that this should be fey/avila, but that was impossible. Was surer (incorrectly) of fey and did fey/evila (though evila really seemed wrong).

Chip Hilton 6:12 PM  

Yup, yup, all about the SE. Finished without error due to some fortunate half-guesses down there on ALDO, SITE, and ELIS (Go, Yale!).

Evansville was a longtime small college basketball power. The Aces, like Providence College, played in short-sleeved jerseys for the longest time.

sanfranman59 6:43 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 7:23, 6:52, 1.07, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:32, 8:55, 0.96, 45%, Medium
Wed 12:20, 11:48, 1.05, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 19:57, 19:07, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 26:03, 25:51, 1.01, 54%, Medium
Sat 29:09, 30:24, 0.96, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:08, 3:40, 1.13, 90%, Challenging
Tue 4:26, 4:35, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Wed 6:18, 5:49, 1.08, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 10:24, 9:14, 1.13, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 13:15, 12:42, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 16:23, 17:18, 0.95, 43%, Medium

Summing up my solving experience with this one: Everything other than the SE gettable at about an easy Friday/medium Thursday level ... SE DNF ... and that's even with coming up with SEWS, EVANSVILLE and EAU DE VIE. Those 4s in the extreme SE were either completely out of my sphere of knowledge (ELIS & ALDO) or too opaque for my brain to process today (EVRY, SITE & TEEN). All that comes to mind about a 7:49 solve time is "I am not worthy".

Rex Parker 6:46 PM  

Today is a day when I'm dubious of @sanfranman's ratings, if only because there seems to be a Large number of DNFs out there (which by def. aren't acctd. for in the ratings). I wonder, was the total number of solvers larger, smaller, or roughly equivalent to the Saturday norm?

rp

retired_chemist 7:30 PM  

Did anyone else notice that EVANSVILLE is only 2 hours from NEW ALBANY, home of Bernard Hock, premiere maker of table tennis paddles in the 1950s, and the host city for the annual Bernard Hock Open of the Southern Indiana Table Tennis Association? Has Will ever played there, I wonder?

JenCT 7:49 PM  

Thought this would be the first Saturday I finished correctly....and then, the SE. I see I'm in good company.

Put PLANTS in but took it out, thinking that was too easy for Saturday.

Had the R and the Y but just couldn't see RUMPLY - was thinking of "fresh from the dryer" too literally, meaning not sitting there getting rumply??? (as @foodie & @chefwen observed)

On to Sunday!

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

I have asked this question previously and I don't believe I ever got an answer. When a post has been removed by the author, does that mean that Rex(as author of the blog) removed it or does it mean that the author of the post removed it after having second thoughts?

Thank you.

Anonymous 8:09 PM  

@Anon - It's when the author of the comment removed it.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

Authors can't remove their comments.

mac 9:53 PM  

Yes, they can. I have.

mac 9:55 PM  

@retired_chemist: I'm afraid we didn't....

disgruntled 9:58 PM  

No matter how late --

I can't let this one go by without a gripe about the uglier-than-sin 21A TOAT, which spoils the taste of the rest of this fine crunchy puzzle.

still disgruntled 10:28 PM  

@jackj's 6 three-word answers:

SKIP A GRADE
SETS EYES ON
RITE OF ... PASSAGE
ROAD TO RUIN
SPRAY-ON TAN
EAU DE VIE

and...

TO A T

Ugh!

David 10:29 PM  

add me to the looong list of SE problem children, which led to a nice juicy DNF, my first since the wonderful April Fool's Day puzzle.

I zipped thru the NE and SW, had a lot of problems in the NW but methodically found my way through it. Emboldened, I hoped the same would happen in the SE, but it wasn't meant to be, and I needed some big Google help in the end. It didn't help that I had consumed a few Stella Artois this afternoon before beginning the puzzle, but this one had me licked no matter what....

Anonymous 10:39 PM  

I;m signing in as anonymous to see if tht prevents my removing my comment. You may need to be known to blogger to get the little trash can in your post.

R_C

retired_chemist 10:41 PM  

Aha! I can't remove it. But I bet I can delete this one, since I am going back to my blogger-recognized sign-in.

davko 11:31 PM  

I join the chorus of praise for this one. Fresh, virtuosic cluing lead to very satisfying, if not painstakingly earned answers. The SE certainly put a damper on my pace; that is, until the words SENATE SEAT became EMANANT enough to set the whole corner ablaze, resulting in a highly gratifying finish... Nice job, Joon!

sanfranman59 11:43 PM  

@Rex ... I too was a bit surprised at the online solve times today. The number of solvers was a tad below average (296 vs. 317 avg. on Saturday). I've thought about starting to keep track of DNFs.

jberg 7:27 AM  

I was so happy to see my birthplace, Louisville, in the puzzle that I popped it right in, confirmed by EVRY at 52D. Only when it started to cause problems did I realize how very many 10-letter cities there are spotted along the Ohio River - Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Youngstown (not sure - that might be on the Mononghahela, but that's still a tributary). Puzzles are so educational!. But EAU DE VIE forced me to remember EVANSVILLE at last.

Like @TwoPonies, though, I finished with ALmO/WINTERTImE. Who knew?

Got it from the crosses, but I'm still puzzled by 54D. Were the Olympians mostly Yale men?

p.s. I've been immersed in the Boston Early Music Festival the last few days - solving, but with no time to come here. Things should be back to normal soon.

Joon 9:56 AM  

hey, sorry to disappoint the 2 (?) of you who were expecting me to drop by yesterday; i've been busy with house guests. but i was pleased at the general reaction to this puzzle despite the plethora of DNFs due to that lower-right corner.

i have a brief confession to make: when i was filling the grid and EVANSVILLE popped up, i didn't give it much thought because i was thinking in my head it was EVANSTON (illinois). only when going to clue it did i realize that it was an entirely different city, one that i personally had never heard of. but by then the grid was already done and i was loath to tear it out, especially because EVANSVILLE is a city name whose various letters are inferrable if you have enough crosses. but i'm sure that it contributed to the toughness of that corner.

acme, your comments made me laugh. i've never tried to "draw" anything with the black squares of a grid, but i admit a dead solver would not be my first thought.

crlarsen35 4:31 PM  

Must object to "rumply" as misleading. Plants, a plural, should have been plant, a kingdom.Otherwise, a good puzzle.

Pippin 5:54 PM  

Still thrilled to get ANYTHING in a Saturday puzzle and managed to get the NE and SW. Had to Google some answers and DNF but have to respect the cleverness of Joon's clues when they finally revealed themselves. Even though I found it MEGA challenging, I have to respect that it was a GOOD puzzle. I have so much to learn about interpreting these clues, but am thoroughly enjoying the journey!

Captcha: Aerscari - What happens outside when pollution levels rise.

Pippin 5:56 PM  

Why does this trashcan appear beside my comments? Is this what you think of them?(!)

Pippin 6:21 PM  

PPS Rex, you will probably never see this very late comment but I had to laugh out loud at your "horrid relentless non-stop reality network" comment. I could not agree more, but you said it better than I ever could!

Rex Parker 6:23 PM  

@Pippin, Thx. Nice to get praise for something I now barely remember writing!

rp

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

Almost gave up on this puppy with a huge hole in SE. But I said to myself "no...put it down for a while and pick it up later."

Later was about fifteen minutes, and when I picked it up I was sure I was going to see the same jumbled mess I had walked away form. i.e. SEWS which was probably hEmS. PLANTS and LETS SEE (off RUMPLY), both of which were probably wrong. I mean it's the PLANT kingdom, not the PLANTS kingdom, right? And S_g_SE__s__N across the bottom. The g coming off an iNg that wasn't, and the s coming of aids (group of pages).

Yet I picked up the paper and somehow suddenly saw SETS EYES ON. and suddenly remembered that there are 100 SENATE SEATs. And suddenly remembered EV'RY (instead of your or this) which left EVANSVILLE and WINTERTIME for the taking. WOO HOO!

NE was the first to fall, partly because I had been listening to my 1978 Ramones offering just before tackling this.

@Wally 7:47 AM
Larry Mondello may have been the greatest TV character ever.

Smelt Fisher 9:06 PM  

The paper that I receive gets these NYT puzzles a little later than everyone, hence, the late comment.

I DNF this one today, and after seeing the answers, wasn't pleasantly surprised. To me the SE felt patched together and as noted above, a few of the clues were just clumsy, even possibly incorrect.

I didn't feel the spark that one normally feels while doing the puzzle, and not just in the SE. 3-word answers always feel a little forced to me, and they were overused here without the associated whimsy or thematic tie-in.

Sure I'm feeling a bit of sour grapes (!), but in this case, I'm gonna blame it on the architect.

Sorry to be a grump, but after spending way too much time on this one, I'd hoped to be
rewarded with answers that made me feel sheepish instead of indifferent.

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