Some nonnative Hawaiians / SAT 7-2-11 / Don Juan's self-description / Bootlegger's bugbear / Stage name entertainer Stanley Burrell David Adkins

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: Bonne FEMME (51D: Bonne ___ (cooked simply)) —

: prepared as in home cooking —often used postpositively bonne femme> (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

Did this one sitting on the couch, during commercial breaks in "Louie" (which is soooo good, btw). Had NW and the central Down, GOD'S GIFT TO WOMEN (8D: Don Juan's self-description), completed in about 1:10. Paused to watch TV. At about 3:40 I had better than half the puzzle done, and was well on my way to a near-record time. Then I hit the SW and the difficulty pendulum swung back the other way, hard. But I still ended well under 10, which is somewhat better than average for me, I think, on Saturdays. Overall, I really liked this one. The two stage name clues at the bottom were nasty (who knows SINBAD's and MC HAMMER's real names!?!? And neither of them has been big for 15-20 years, so ... ouch) (56A: Stage name of entertainer David Adkins + 58A: Stage name of entertainer Stanley Burrell), but the answers they point to are just fine. There is very little junk in this grid, and so much to love. When you keep the ugly stuff small and spread out in late-week puzzles, then you're doing great. I can handle INE and LEK (28D: Coin whose original portrait was Alexander the Great) and ANI when they are anchoring big, solid answers. It's when you get answers like that in a grouping that I start to lose my mind a little.

The 15s came shockingly easily, and I got PARISIAN just from the clue on SES (31A: 38-Down, to a 14-Down). In general, I just flew through this. So what happened in the SE? Well, MC- could've been anyone, as far as I knew, and EH- looked wrong (61A: Chemistry Web site? => E-HARMONY). Plus the clue, with its capital "Web" separated from "site," was messed up. Is that standard spelling of "website" for the NYT? Capital-W "Web" space "site?" I thought "Chemistry Web" was a name, and, honestly, besides EHUD BARAK, nothing begins "EH-," so I ground to a halt. Without crosses, nothing inside that secluded NW was revealing itself to me. Finally noticed 45D: Young follower and got it almost instantly (MORMON). This helped get me NONSENSE, and then the corner started to come together. All of my never-heard-ofs are clustered down here. Bonne FEMME? No. BEREA? It's a college in Kentucky to me (55A: Where Paul and Silas were sent, in Acts). PREENS? I know the in-front-of-the-mirror preening, but not the bird-pokes-a-hole-in-something preening (46D: Runs a bill through). Oh, crap—"runs through" like you run a comb through something? Is that really how birds PREEN? #$*&!. I know HAN Chinese as an ethnic group, but had no idea about the "characters" (59D: ___ characters (common Chinese writing)). And I already told you I didn't know MC HAMMER's real name, so ... that was rough. But gettable. Whole puzzle probably should've been a little more like that, but I have a hard time complaining about acing a Saturday, esp. one as nice as this one.

Bullets:
  • 1A: Makeshift mask (PAPER BAG) — most familiar to me from fans of terrible sports teams. New Orleans Saints fans were famous for them, I think, back before they won a Super Bowl (when they were the "AIN'Ts").
  • 24A: "Mama's Special Garden" brand (RAGU) — isn't that the title of a book of women's sexual fantasies. Oh, sorry, that's "My Secret Garden." Nevermind.
  • 25A: Old Maltese money (LIRAS) — No idea Malta had this currency.
  • 27A: March Madness souvenir (NET) — gimme. Champs cut 'em down at the end.
  • 28A: Literature's Dolores Haze, familiarly (LOLITA) — toooo easy. I read and led discussion on this book in my senior seminar at college (coincidentally, the same college today's constructor goes to). Horrible stupid person in the class got all pretend-feminist and shut down conversation by getting all audibly offended that anyone should have to read such a horrible story. Rest of the class just sort of sat around not sure what to do. This was a memorable early teaching failure for me. Really shaped my future teaching style (encourage discussion, especially dissent, but crush idiocy in the cradle and do not lose your spine).
  • 41A: Tag for some grandchildren (III) — wanted IMP.
  • 62A: Faulkner family name (SNOPES) — I'm sure Joel is a well-read kid, but there is no way this was his clue. As someone well under a million years old, he'd surely have gone with the online myth-debunking website, which is name-checked in this epic new Weird Al song:

  • 9D: Bootlegger's bugbear (T-MAN) — about to read Daniel Okrent's "Last Call," all about Prohibition. Can't wait. Might teach it in my Crime Fiction ('20s-'30s) course this fall. Important historical context.
  • 24D: Violinists' cake ingredients (ROSINS) — Mmm, cake.

  • 26D: Some nonnative Hawaiians (ISSEI) — First guess: NENES!
  • 31D: Most Prestwick patrons (SCOTS) — Glasgow.
  • 34D: Fallacious reasoners (SOPHISTS) — I really like the word SOPHISTRY. It's a very useful word to know. I use it often (mostly in my head or when I'm talking to myself about politics, but I think that counts).
  • 44D: Vaquero's charge (RANCHO) — was reading about cattle industry earlier in the day, which somehow made me remember what "vaquero" means more quickly than I might have otherwise.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

syndy 12:58 AM  

think the NENES are pretty much native! yup that se corner kicked my butt good MC who some damn scot I've never heard of? I had HELP ME! and HOMME instead of FEMME hey I was on the right track!But why does a gun have MPH??and are there bears in berea?SNOPES?? It was a very good thing that the 15's were such big fat gimmes so I had the energy to tease out (PREEN) the bottom

jae 12:58 AM  

Easy-medium for me too with SE being the medium part. I had HOMME and HORN there at first which took a while to fix. BEREA was an educated guess based on the Kentucky college and that BAREA just looked wrong.

Great stuff in this one. Had me smiling.

jae 1:01 AM  

@syndy - Think radar gun and speed trap. Nice to know I have company with HOMME.

archaeoprof 1:36 AM  

First puzzle in several weeks, so I found this one pretty hard. Somehow managed to finish without errors.

SINBAD got his start on the show "Star Search."

@Rex: agree with you about leading discussions.

Staying here in East Jerusalem for a few more days, and then back home to the USA. When I get home I'm gonna eat some pork...

artier carla michaels 2:12 AM  

BAP...what the ?? Is it BAPTIST?
BAH! (BAA?)

LOVED GODSGIFTTOWOMEN, crossing with STICKITTOTHEMAN, but then I would have tried to avoid TMAN. ESPECIALLY with Man (OWAR)
That's a lot of men running around, so thank god for une bonne FEMME.
Do you think so many put in hoMME bec they were thinking BONHOMIE?

My usual one square mistake:
Couldn't intuit the P in ?REENS.
Thought maybe gREENS.

Gotta love GETAROOM! parallel to INNUENDO. Sexy!

THEONION was also very cool... Who would have thought that an ONION would have ever had a THE before it...and I'm with you, I tried SNOPES figuring it had started out as a different clue.
Do you think that's why SNOPES is named SNOPES?

There is actually an EHARMONY type site called Chemistry.com, which is sort of bad naming...
I mean that's the last thing you would know from on-line dating...you have to be in person usually to know if you have chemistry...all the clever emails back and forth for months mean zero compared to meeting someone in person for two minutes!
(insert here MC HAMMER's "Can't Touch This")

santafefran 2:13 AM  

Yup, that SE corner was a big brick wall. Pretty much what Rex said about MCHAMMER and HAN. Like jae, I had HORN before FORE and HELP ME like syndy. Badly wanted NO WAY JOSE for NONSENSE, but I just couldn't cram it in.

As I was barreling through this puzzle I knew it must be super easy for me to do so well on a Saturday, the SE corner notwithstanding.

Tobias--was that you posting on the New Mexican live blog today?

Tobias Duncan 2:29 AM  

Blew right through this one, so much easier than yesterday.Really felt fresh.
I had the same thought as Rex about the SNOPES clue, would love to find out if thats how it happened.

New Mexico is unbearably smokey and hot this week. Please send us rain and or and extra helicopters you may have.It feels like our whole state is on fire.

@santafefran , was not me.

Michaela 3:15 AM  

I initially filled in "GETOFFME" for "cry to the overly amorous," though I figured the real answer wouldn't actually be that naughty. Heh.

I skip M-W 4:11 AM  

very smooth and easy on the whole. I guess I know MC Hammer from other xwords. A radar gun shows mph, I think. @Rex, please, you don't have to be quite a million years old to know a little about Faulkner...hmmmpf. But runs a bill through = preeens is a bit of a stretch.

I thought The Gap plus The Onion was one too many definite articles. And then there's "the man" also. Want to hide in a paper bag.

I think this should have been Friday's and vice versa.

dk 7:43 AM  

Other than PREENS and NOWAYMAN for 63a this was a rewarding Saturday.

The fill was all familiar to me. Thought of a certain constructor and often early poster as I inked in 12D.

Many interesting dinners on USONE -- FYI.

I second Rex's instruction advice. I was chided in my early days for giving license to fools.

**** (Four Stars) Nice work Joel.
Off for some breakfasts treats.

Vladimir 8:11 AM  

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Strother Martin 8:33 AM  

Dolores was 12 down on June 2, 2011.

Stick it to the Man was 35 across on December 31, 2010.

Paul Newman sticking it to the man.

Doris 8:39 AM  

Regrettably, the NYT Manual of Style still insists on "Web site" as two words with the capital W. I've tried to stick to that (as an editor), but find myself capitulating to "website." Guess I'll have to accept it, as it's really taken over the world.

( Also, The New Yorker has some quirky, old-fashioned spellings and usages that they refuse to give up, even though I heard that their octogenarian copy editor either retired or died.)

GLR 8:44 AM  

Similar experience to Rex, except I went for MC HAMMER as soon as I convinced myself the MC had to be correct.

Liked the longer fill a lot.

One nit to pick in the NE, at 9A: Gap, Inc. owns Old Navy, not THE GAP. In fact, I don't think "The" Gap officially exists - the brand is just "Gap."

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

BAP = Baptist???

joho 9:08 AM  

I had 3/4 done very fast for a Saturday late last night in bed. The SE was blank except for BARS and NONSENSE.

This morning it didn't take long to get the rest, the last letter entered being the "E" in BEREA/FEMME.

I had a real aha moment with PREENS. I could actually see a bird sitting on a roost poking its beak through a wing.

Loved the long 15's especially STICKITTOTHEMAN as well as INNUENDO and GETAROOM!

Thanks, Joel!

twangster 9:18 AM  

I thought this was almost too easy for a Saturday.

Except for that SNOPES/BAP, which eluded me. I thought it couldn't be SNOPES because otherwise it would have been clued with the website, so I went with SNOWES and BAW, hoping that was some strange honor I hadn't heard of.

Rex -- Your description of 56A and 58A repeated David Adkins and omits Stanley Burrell.

Lindsay 9:20 AM  

Speed writing until I got to the SE where I just died. RANCHO would have helped, but I was trying to think of an animal, a cow, perhaps. Meanwhile, framing the outer edge of the block I had 45A rpm (as in gunning an engine) crossing 47D me me me. Thus pretty much every unknown answer began or ended with a wrong letter. Not helpful.

Worked it out in the end.

Thumbs up to STICK IT TO THE MAN crossing GOD'S GIFT TO WOMEN.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Could have been my fastest saturday by far. Blew through most of it. Knew Portland and MC Hammer. For some reason I wrote in HOMME instead of FEMME which gave me HORN insted of FORE. Without that mistake I would have finished in about 5 minutes. Instead it took a little less than 10.

jackj 9:25 AM  

A solver's Saturday conundrum; wonderful fill, easy puzzle.

It was simply a case of filling in answers, including the two 15's, (which qualify as gimmes), until hitting a temporary barrier in the lower right.

Even with EHARMONY and NONSENSE filled in, the MC entry shifted among McCallum, McKellen and McGoohan until FEMME seemed vaguely familiar enough to try and the rest of that corner fell into place.

Lots and lots of good stuff, most already noted by Rex and others but another piece of fun fill comes about with 42 and 48 across combining to give us a touch of Guccione's stag mag, PENT HOUSE.

All in all, a holiday treat.

chefbea 9:49 AM  

Easier than most Saturday's but still had to google.

Never heard of Bonne Femme

Liked violinists cake ingredients.

Meant to say this yesterday @Andrea you should do a puzzle with Supercalafragilisticexpealidocious running through the center as a rebus!!

Jim in Chicago 10:07 AM  

What's a BAP? BAPtist?

Wasn't Clinton a Methodist? I remember pictures of him teaching Sunday School...

Paul and Silas also went to Syria, which also gave me no end of trouble in the SE.

Humbert Humbert 10:13 AM  

"Take a cold shower" is a good fifteen letter answer to 12d.

fiddleneck 10:21 AM  

Snopes is a marvelous name for that family.

Orange 10:26 AM  

@Jim in Chgo, I think Hillary was a Methodist, maybe?

Yes, a number of leading style guides call for "Web site," which is ridiculous because "website" is so incredibly familiar and also faster to type. The AP recently dropped the hyphen from "email," but I think they're still clinging to "Web site."

BAP was also in the 6/12 CrosSynergy puzzle. I liked Sam Donaldson's explanation at my website: "If that makes no sense, let me break it down: there are certain protesters known for their sudden tendencies toward violence. Some are heard to say, 'If you don’t shut yer yap, I’ll bap ya.' They came to be known simply as 'The Bap.'"

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Yep, BAP = Baptist ... at least according to Random House 2nd.

If you're from the UK, it's also a small bread roll.


-MAS

mitchs 10:30 AM  

Like most others...Tuesday time until the SE, then took a few minutes on PREEN, FEMME, BEREA. Still probably my fastest Saturday.

Anyone who hasn't read Faulkner since, perhaps, being force-fed The Sound and the Fury at WAY too young an age owes it to themselves to revisit. And The Hamlet, starring Flem Snopes, ain't a bad start.

thursdaysd 10:43 AM  

I was having a lovely time with this until I hit the bottom. I guessed SINBAD of SIN, and assumed BAP must be an unfortunate and previously unknown abbreviation for Baptist, but the SE was hopeless. After staring at FEMME and HEARYE and a lot of white space I had to google MCHAMMER and BEREA to finish.

Enjoyed a lot of this - SOPHISTS, THE ONION, INNUENDO! - but was puzzled by HAN - have never heard Chinese characters called that (and yes, I know the Chinese are ethnic Han).

quilter1 10:50 AM  

Yes, Hillary is Methodist, Bill is Baptist and Jimmy teaches Sunday School.

I enjoyed this puzzle, liked the 8D 34A crossing. Also had an aha moment with PREENS, the P being my last letter. Agree with Rex about the stage names--kind of not fair, but ultimately gettable.

Heat index today of 100+. Thank goodness for AC.

Jim 11:02 AM  

Easy puzzle, it's true. But Mr Fagliano, an evident Francophone, needs to go back to French 101.

SES would rarely be accurate in this context, And PARISIAN never would be.

SES means HIS only when there are multiple objects being monogrammed (such as a pair of hand towels). However, the other one would likely be HER. The correct answer here is SON. Should've not linked the answers and come up with a different clue for SES.

PARISIAN is wrong once you put the accent acute on metro. This calls for a French spelling, which is either -ien or -ienne, but never -ian. Should've just left metro Americanized and all would have been fine.

SE was toughest for me; had MC- for a long time, and was interpreting it as the Irish Mc. Could only think of McLovin, but it didn't fit.

Dewey Finn 11:06 AM  

Give up, just quit, because in this life, you can't win. Yeah, you can try, but in the end you're just gonna lose, big time, because the world is run by the Man. The Man, oh, you don't know the Man. He's everywhere. In the White House... down the hall... Ms. Mullins, she's the Man. And the Man ruined the ozone, he's burning down the Amazon, and he kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! And there used to be a way to stick it to the Man. It was called rock 'n roll, but guess what, oh no, the Man ruined that, too, with a little thing called MTV! So don't waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome 'cause the Man is just gonna call you a fat washed up loser and crush your soul. So do yourselves a favor and just GIVE UP!

Joel 11:11 AM  

Hey everybody. Thanks for the nice feedback on the puzzle! This was actually my second puzzle accepted by Will, but it's been sitting around for a year and a half. In hindsight, I'd like to clean up some of the shorter stuff (EDA, BAP, etc.), but it looks like people enjoyed it anyway!

@Rex: Yep, SNOPES was originally a reference to the website. Only Faulkner I've ever read is The Sound and The Fury for AP English. But with EHARMONY as the previous answer, maybe two website clues in a row would be stretching it.

Looks like everyone thought the bottom-right was killer. Coincidentally, that was my favorite corner! Besides that corner, the clues for the puzzle slanted pretty easy for a Saturday, I thought. But hey, when people complete the Saturday they tend to like it more, so I'm not complaining!

PuzzleNut 11:31 AM  

Top half - really easy. Bottom half - guessed right at everything and thought Rex would rate the overall puzzle super-easy.
No idea on SINBAD and MCHAMMER, but somehow guessed correct at SOPHISTS, was well acquainted with THEONION and loved INNUENDO. EHARMONY just popped up based on the EH and MC was either McMahon, which didn't fit, or MCHAMMER. BAP probably should be BAPT, but I didn't hesitate to accept it. Never heard of SNOPES, and had to check to see if 36D might be INNUENDI, but spell-check now confirms that isn't a word.
Overall, this took about 1/4 the time as yesterday's.

foodie 11:34 AM  

"encourage discussion, especially dissent, but crush idiocy in the cradle and do not lose your spine"-- words to live by, in all walks of life.

And, Rex, I agree, using words in your head definitely counts. I learned and fell in love with many big English words from reading, and I'd use them in my head but mispronounce them. When I finally heard them in real life, it was very startling... It's like finding out something weird about a close friend.

I think Andrea captured all the fun juxtapositions... Lots of men (including some Parisians) doing mischief, and one good woman cooking a basic dish. Doesn't seem fair, but so it goes.

Thank you, JF for the lovely puzzle and the comment!

Lewis 12:13 PM  

Must have been an easy puzzle. I had to Google a couple of times (haven't been at these puzzles for all that long), but it's the first time ever that I've completed a Saturday puzzle with no errors...

@deweyfinn -- your descriptions are terrific, there's music in your words, and your conclusion is probably not serious, but anyway, rather than give up, I prefer to accept The Man as a flawed individual in a position of power, and everyone else as flawed individuals not in positions of power.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

had to google burrell and made one dumb letter error but all else was smooth so i contend this was an easy puzzle as i usually can't get a foothold on saturdays. captcha was sailin which is what i was doing!

600 12:44 PM  

Heretofore silent reader commenting. Did message from Rex on Facebook give me courage? Could be . . .

Even though I held on to "STAND UP TO THE MAN" way, way too long, I still finished three quarters of the puzzle in half the time it took me to do the SE alone. It was brutal! Had HELP ME for HEAR YE and NO CHANCE for NONSENSE. I knew the Chemistry Web site would be match.com or something like it, but could not come up with EHarmony. Couldn't see MC as initials instead of Mc. Didn't know BEREA, FEMME, or HAN. It was the seventh circle of hell, but I finished with no Google. Finally.

Taught English for 33 years and loved reading about Rex and the pretend-feminist. Had a few "horribly stupid" people in my classes over the years--it's good to learn about crushing idiocy and having a spine early.

As for words in one's head--I'm still embarrassed by my first attempt to say "echinacea" out loud. My, my, my.

Oldactor 12:52 PM  

Did anyone think BANDANNA for makeshift mask? It fit. Maybe just here in TX.

Old joke: innuendo=an italian supository.

JD 12:57 PM  

I assume I'm not the only person who finished the puzzle and said "McHammer? Who's that?" Felt a little sheepish after wondering that for about 10 seconds...

imsdave 1:00 PM  

Portland - yep, they play the Rock Cats, and my sister-in-law lives there.

The Gap - yep, son works there part time as he wends his way through college.

Alan Alda - yep, "The Four Seasons" is one of my wife's favorite movies. Just rewatched it for the umpteenth time.

My personal contribution was IN E. (see above) - very bright concert music tends to be in E or A (as a favor to the violins). First time I can remember actually writing one of those in without the crosses.

Great stuff, though sadly over too soon. Enjoyed Mr. Silks Scrabble-fest at the LAT today, also.

COIXT RECORDS 1:07 PM  

I actually DID know MCHAMMER's real name! Too much time on WikiPedia, I suspect!

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Pretty smooth sailing, except for finishing the puz off at the bottom. Same sore spots as many others:

SNO?ES/BA? - Woulda thought ?=R would've avoided the Nat-tick potential, but sure didn't work with those clues. Eventually guessed ?=P, so survived that one.

F?MME/B?REA - No earthly idea. Guessed ?=O. Wrong. Better luck next time, M&A -- thanks fer playin' What's My French Line.

Otherwise, lekked the puz just fine.

WESISLAND 1:10 PM  

@lewis -- loved your comment; seems like a lot of wisdom there.

Sparky 1:33 PM  

So much better for me than yesterday. Did 3/4 but not the dreaded SE. Googled Mr. Burrell; didn't help. The jam I buy is Bonne Maman so that seemed okay to me rather than FEMME. Got SINBAD and SNOPES as first couple of letters tickled memory. Missed T-HOE/N-T. What meaneth NAT? I have taken off my cranky pants and am going to the street fair that ate my bus route. Summer in the City.

jesser 1:48 PM  

I got Naticked at the 28D/31A intersection, as well as the 51D/55A intersection, and guessed wrong in both spots. Harumph.

I also had STandupTOTHEMAN for a while, before ROSINS made the real phrase pop into my bourbon-poisoned brain.

Other than that, it went OK.

Amen to what Tobias said: SEND RAIN! New Mexico is a tinderbox, and there are fires everywhere. So sad to think of the people and wildlife being displaced and charred.

KarenSampsonHudson 1:57 PM  

Back from vacation---catching up on puzzles. Why is "young follower" Mormon? I live in the west, have many LDS friends, never heard it the word used that way?

Stan 2:03 PM  

Loved this one! The southeast was almost impossible (how many times did I run the alphabet?) but not quite. MC HAMMER and PREENS made a great final 'aha'.

Joel: The small but significant Maine contingent thanks you for the Sea Dogs and Route 1.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

@Karen... Bringham Young, leader of the Mormons

Alan 2:20 PM  

@Jim Un peu dur? This francophile found the clues for 14D and 31A good enough. In Paris that's the way they spell the M word, but "area" anglicized the clue. And "SES" is always "HIS" if the objects (not just the monogrammed objects) are plural, and the personal possessive is male. Why not pick on our fellow silvers who tried to make "bonne" agree with homme?

@anon 10.27. This anglophile who knows more about southern lit than southern relig got SNOPES easily and assumed that an English caff had named a couple of sandwiches in honor of Clinton and Carter.

Dave 2:41 PM  

It is a themeless for sure...but the "man"/"woman" in the long 15s can't be coincidence...

mac 4:21 PM  

Didn't get the Saturday in the IHT, just the Sunday and I'm saving it until tomorrow.

I've missed all of you and haven't even finished yesterday's puzzle! I did have a very nice breakfast in London with Tony Orbach, that one was great.

@Foodie: I've had the same experience several times. I'm thinking of Arkansas, for instance.

OK, I'm back online, in Holland, and I'll be doing the puzzle every day again!

Sparky 4:33 PM  

@Rex. Thanks for the Weird Al. I really need to forward that to someone I know.

Norm 5:22 PM  

Yay Joel! I like it when the constructor chimes in. Yes, the SE was a b**** but kind of fun once FORE replaced HONK and BEEP. Nice puzzle.

quilter1 5:49 PM  

I thought of bandanna first, too, dang.

skua76 5:58 PM  

AARGH, my worst DNF in a long time! The SE got me too. Although I got the 15s, I had other problems like like BAP and SES/LEK. Perhaps the most frustrating, my hotel this morning wanted to charge me to print out the puzzle so I had to wait until I got home. Oh well, I enjoyed the struggle anyway, thanks Joel!

sanfranman59 6:27 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 7:18, 6:52, 1.06, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:40, 8:55, 0.97, 49%, Medium
Wed 13:34, 11:53, 1.14, 84%, Challenging
Thu 17:35, 19:04, 0.92, 40%, Medium
Fri 32:20, 25:52, 1.25, 87%, Challenging
Sat 20:37, 30:16, 0.68, 1%, Easy (lowest median solve time of 99 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:48, 3:40, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:28, 4:35, 0.97, 48%, Medium
Wed 6:27, 5:52, 1.10, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:29, 9:13, 0.92, 42%, Medium
Fri 20:30, 12:46, 1.61, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest median solve time of 107 Fridays)
Sat 11:12, 17:13, 0.65, 1%, Easy (lowest median solve time of 99 Saturdays)

It seems as though Will got his Friday and Saturday puzzles mixed up this week. Perhaps he didn't want to use the rebus on a Saturday? Today's online solve times wouldn't be out of character for a Thursday puzzle. And yesterday's would have fallen in the Challenging category even on a Saturday. For me, it wasn't a personal best, but it did wind up well within my Easy Saturday range. I found the SE to be the most challenging, although the BAP/SNOPES crossing was my last fill and I crossed my fingers when I hit the Submit button.

jberg 6:29 PM  

@KarenSampsonHudson, that's Brigham Young the MORMONs are following. It took me a long time to see it; first wanted something like "apprentice" or "acolyte," then maybe a business name, like Young and Rubicam" which actually fits, but wrong letters. Finally it dawned on me - well, actually, it was becoming clear that it ended with ORMON, so I googled "young Mormon" in case that was the name of a book, or maybe a character in a Tony Kushner play, and up popped old Brigham.

As someone suggested, bonne homme is impossible grammatically; and if you put his and hers on towels in French, it would be SA and SA, which wouldn't be worth the trouble - but the clue doesn't call for that, just a translation of HIS, which is fine. (I got SES first, and so put in HER for 38D, which slowed things up.)

PREEN had a great clue- tought to see, but a nice "aha!" when you did. Of course birds preen with their bills - what else do they have?

I guess the World Wide Web, like the Internet, is a proper noun - there's only one and that is it's name. But it's becoming like Eversharp (or Xerox, to use an only slightly obsolete example), turning into a common noun. Only a matter of time until 'google' means to search for something by any method at all.

@Rex, I guess you learned how to manage this blog from that discussion of Lolita.

David 7:54 PM  

fun puzzle, I was on my way to a possible all-time quick Saturday solve until I hit the SE. Even with getting MCHAMMER with no crosses, I was stuck, mostly due to confidently putting in HEARME for HEARYE. The Chemistry Web site clued almost did my in until I had the wonderful aha moment and changed the M to Y. Hello, EHARMONY!

Definitely easier than a usual Saturday....

No BS 8:51 PM  

I don't know Rex, seems a little harsh as a working philosophy for a college professor--crush idiocy??? Seems to me your student was giving you a wonderful topic for discussion: Why do we read about people who do bad things, even about bad people? What distingushes "Lolita" from straight-ahead kiddy porn? Seems to me this is just the kind of question I'd like to hear from an inquiring, critical young mind, perhaps someone who had some actual experience with abuse of power by an elder. How can you be so sure that the politics indicated were "pretend" as opposed to tentative, or nascent. What about all the other students? Didn't anyone else experience some revulsion at HH's behavior and lack of self-understanding? I held off on this comment because I expected someone with better academic creds to chime in, but I think it needed to be said. And I know it's kind of heavy, but you brought it up.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 PM  

Did this at the beach today; seemed easy, except that in my first attempt at 36 D I spelled INNUENDO as INUENDO, easily fixed.

My turn to say thanks to @jae, since even post-solve I was puzzled by 45 A, was hung up on "guns" as "gunning an engine"!

cody.riggs 10:06 PM  

Wow, that was, like, WEDNESDAY-easy. I was really hoping for something harder than yesterday's totally enjoyable killer.

I mean, I slapped down the crossing 15's straightaway, no other crossings...although I have to say GODSGIFTTOWOMEN and STICKITTOTHEMAN are two of the best things I've ever seen in the grid.

Great puzzle, it was just too fast.

Didn't finish yesterday's until this morning...since I got [AN]GLEIRON and ARK[AN]SAS right away, I was searching fruitlessly for more AN's all over the puzzle. After getting the 2nd square, TI, I instantly knew what was up.

Sorry to discuss Friday today, but it should have been published today, and today's yesterday (except today's was Too Easy for a Friday!)

Portland, Ore.

cody.riggs 10:08 PM  

...and yes, I was fooled for a long time by BONNE FEMME, thinking it would be HOMME...confused it with BONHOMMIE, I think, because of The Decemberists' lyric:

"Heddy Green,
Queen of Supply-Side bonhommie bone-drab,
You know what I mean?"

KarenSampsonHudson 12:27 AM  

anonymous: Thanks.

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

Not the best puzzle ever, but anything with The ARSENAL in it can't be all bad. Didn't like OKRAS though, I refused to put it in until I had to.

Mot 1:02 PM  

6 down, isn't "...a sheep before its shearers dumb..."?

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

Did 7/1 and 7/2 in succession. After struggling through Friday in a couple of hours this Saturday felt like a Tuesday. Whipped right through it, though I slowed a bit at in the center.

Themeless? I think your theme is 36d. You've got MAN, WOMEN, the symetrical GET A ROOM and INNUENDO, plus E-HARMONY (site for people who want TO DATE).

I too thought of GET OFF ME at 12d.

Loved the three bottom lines:

SINBAD/MC HAMMER. Both have Bay area ties: SINBAD won the SF Comedy Competition in 1985, and MC HAMMER, who was also beginning his entertanment career right round then, used to be an Oakland A's bat boy (this was very recently comemorated with an MC Hammer Bobblehead Day).

TO DATE/EHARMONY (connection noted above)

SNOPES/NONSENSE Snopes.com is where I frequently send people who insist on forwarding NONSENSE to me.

@dewey finn
Can we just call you Mr. S?

Anonymous 5:11 AM  

The overall theme, as touched on by several here, seems simplistically chauvinistic: keep the woman in the kitchen where she "belongs" and the men will take care of the rest. Agreed about the SE; in fact Google had to help me out here. Some of the cluing here ranged from nasty to downright unfair ("driver's alert" for FORE instead of HORN, "runs a bill through" for PREENS). BEREA has to contend strongly for some sort of obscurity prize; 0.0001% chance that John Q. Solver will know that one. MC starts a host of names of SCOTS, so without knowing MCHAMMER's real name (a knowledge GAP, incidentally, of which I am extremely proud; I have no use for the entire rap/hiphop genre) I was left struggling there. The MPH/gun thing, too, I thought malicious misdirection. Not actually wrong, just a sphere packed in a square box.
The fifteens, I agree, fell like a ton of bricks. That this did not immediately cave in the rest of the grid testifies to some mighty constructing talent. I especially like SOPHISTS, THEONION and INNUENDO appearing side by side by side. (Actually, now that I look at it, the mirror 8's--GETA ROOM, ALANALDA and PARISIAN fit well too, if you remember Hawkeye's infamous reputation with the nurses.) Now if only MCHAMMER had been directly above NONSENSE it would've been perfect.

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