Cicero's servant secretary / FRI 8-5-11 / Move Your Mind sloganeer / What girl lead-in Eddie Cantor / King surnamed Tryggvason

Friday, August 5, 2011

Constructor: Barry Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TIRO (33A: Cicero's servant and secretary) —

Marcus Tullius Tiro (d. ca. 4 BC?) was first a slave, then a freedman of Cicero. [...] He is believed to have collected and published Cicero's work after his death, and, it seems, was a writer himself: several ancient writers refer to works of Tiro, now lost. Aulus Gellius says, " [he] wrote several books on the usage and theory of the Latin language and on miscellaneous questions of various kinds," and quotes him on the difference between Greek and Latin names for certain stars. Asconius Pedianus, in his commentaries on Cicero's speeches, refers to a biography of Cicero by Tiro in at least four books, and Plutarch refers to him as a source for two incidents in Cicero's life. He is credited with inventing the shorthand system of Tironian notes later used by monks among others. There is no clear evidence that he did, although Plutarch credits Cicero's clerks as the first Romans to record speeches in shorthand. (wikipedia)
• • •

Today through Sunday, write-ups will be quite a bit shorter than usual because of my trip to NYC to attend Lollapuzzoola 4: Crosswords Take Manhattan. (You can just show up and register at the door, or you can solve the puzzles at home; click through for info) As I've said many times, it's a really entertaining crossword tournament for all kinds of solvers (certainly if you are reading this write-up, you are skilled enough to participate), and you should go if you're in the area on Saturday. At any rate, I haven't even packed and I leave the house in, oh, 8 hours, which sounds like a long time, but I have to pack and sleep and eat breakfast in that window. Pretty tight. And I've already wasted several hundred words telling you this. Good thing I type quickly.

This was pretty damned hard, partly because of insane answers like TIRO and SENARY (!?), but mostly because of typical Silk clues, i.e. deliberately tricky stuff that really requires you to think through multiple possibilities. Took me about as long as a typical Saturday takes me. Worst part was in the vicinity of YARD (30D: Half a fathom), mostly because I'd committed to WAISTBAND at 38A: Hospital gown go-with, and so ended up with YAAD. Whole SW corner took me a while to get into. Trouble started right away with THE PENTAGON instead of FORT MCHENRY (1A: Historic U.S. place in the shape of a five-pointed star). Can't believe I walked into that trap so easily, though, to my credit, I could tell right away that something was wrong. Real trouble with -STAN, for some reason (39D: Persian for "place of"). Had an "oh, of course, you idiot!" moment when I got that one. "OH OH OH" sounds like Horshack from "Welcome Back, Kotter." No idea who Eddie Cantor is, let alone what "hit" he had — turns out, it's "If You Knew Susie." Alrighty, then (48D: "What a girl" lead-in, in an Eddie Cantor hit).

Best answer in the grid, by a mile, is NO-TELL MOTEL (17A: Tryst spot). Absolutely love it. Seems somehow appropriate that it crosses RAT FINK, if only because of the colloquialness (3D: Canary). The rest is quite solid, with only SENARY really making me groan.

  • 23A: Newbery Medal-winning author Lowry (LOIS) — Not familiar. My favorite LOIS is Peter's wife on "Family Guy." And Lane, I guess.
  • 36A: First #1 Billboard hit by an Australian artist (1972) ("I AM WOMAN") — really thought the answer would be something by Olivia Newton-John, but no. It's Helen Reddy's signature song. My mom certainly listened to this. A lot.

  • 56A: Eponymous Greek island (LESBOS) — "Eponymous" doesn't tell you much. This took some effort.
  • 11D: Whites' counterparts (YOLKS) — aargh. OK, yes, I guess that works. "Counterparts" is a stretch, but a valid one.
  • 24D: Frequent catch on TV's "Deadliest Catch" (SNOW CRAB) — stupidly, had the SNOW and couldn't think of any fish that fit. And now I know why.
  • 45D: Old-fashioned film editor (SPLICER) — So ... a film editor. Is film not spliced anymore. I know digital movies aren't edited that way, but film is still that stuff on reels, right?
  • 54D: King surnamed Tryggvason (OLAF I) — figured out OLA- part, then there was the F/V question, then there was the Roman numeral question.
  • 32A: Old pulp fiction hero (G-MAN) — really thought it would be a specific name, like The Shadow or The Phantom.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:10 AM  

I loved the combination of NO TELL MOTEL with ORAL HISTORY, ANECDOTE and ODOROUS RAT FINK.

I APPLAUD this puzzle, NICE ONE! In spite of the mini collection of 3 letter answers at the top and bottom which are not very helpful-- I mean, ETO, NAT, RIT. Sure... But it's a small price to pay for the stack of lovely answers. And I learned SENARY, and had an Aha moment with STAN and YOLKS.

Gill I. P. 12:14 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. It became a family effort; sitting outside and smelling the BBQ.
Newbie daughter got SNOW CRAB immediately and husband threw in ELEKTRA. Like REX, my favorite was NO TELL MOTEL along with RAT FINK.
Was a bit confused (and still am) with STAN since it doesnt sound too Persian to me. I must be missing the obvious?
Thank you senor Silk. Keep em comin...

jae 12:27 AM  

Fun solid Fri. Easy-medium for me with the South easy and North medium. I considered THEPENTAGON but the gimme RTES ruled it out. Same as Rex for OLAFI. New to me is that Natal is a region in SOUTHAFRICA. NICEONE Mr. Silk!

thursdaysd 12:33 AM  

This was a DNF thanks to WNET/TTOPS - I had WNEz - and STAN/NOHO - I had STAs, even though all those Central Asian 'stans are high on my "want to visit" list.

I quite enjoyed it anyway, and did better than I usually do on Fridays. Another fan of NOTELLMOTEL, so much better than the NOnameMOTEL I had initially. I was a bit surprised to see SKULKS, but then I like cats. Good thing we had just had PCLAB...

Anonymous 12:47 AM  

Um, Eddie Cantor--'The Jazz Singer,' first movie with sound? 'I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles, my Maaaaaam-meee!'

If you are serious, you need to watch it at least once in your life...

Anonymous 12:49 AM  

Oh, and your daughter is a good age for Lowry's _The Gift._ It's on the list of banned books, which by itself should tell you it's worth reading.

syndy 12:50 AM  

It was a little raw for Barry-ie both ELL and EFF but a little nubbliness is ok! NW was the hardest until I let myself believe in the POTATO although I started with an IRISH one! REX the YAAD is where you park at HARVARD! and I simply can't address "No idea who Eddie Cantor is" ?????

anecdote closeon michaels 1:06 AM  

Just exhausted myself writing a mini-novella about the rights of getting a byline in an Airplane the last comment on yesterday's puzzle, not realizing Rex was posting this at the same time.

So I'll just say, @foodie, pls go back and read my response to you last night...

As for this one, it took me forever, and almost word for word what Rex said (except three things:
I know from Eddie Cantor, tho I confuse him with Eddie Fisher, I do not watch "Family Guy" and tried xMAN for GMAN at first...)

(Then again I tried something else for almost every word in this puzzle at first!)

Started off by reading 1A out loud to Puzzle Girl asking why there would be such a long-winded explanation for THEPENTAGON in a Friday puzzle.
I told her I suspected a trap (in particular bec I couldn't get ONE down answer off it...
Finally got RTES.)

She then sweetly explained that THEPENTAGON may be five-sided but it was not in the shape of a STAR!!!


By the way, she may just have the cutest little girl I've ever met.

Mark Murphy 1:12 AM  

Although his popularity might be difficult to, um, fathom these days, in the first half of the 20th century Eddie Cantor was what we would now call a "megastar" -- starring on stage in the Ziegfeld Follies, in a number of big-budget films and, probably most prominently, in radio.

(Al Jolson, not Cantor, starred in "The Jazz Singer," although Cantor did sometimes appear in blackface on stage and in movies.)

Cantor also discovered and promoted the careers of several future stars, including Dinah Shore and Eddie Fisher, and at one time his show featured a dialect comedian named Parkyakarkus, whose sons later went into show business -- Albert Brooks and Bob "Super Dave" Einstein.

Although Cantor did some early TV work, his on-the-nose style didn't wear well in the slicker Bob Hope era, and his star faded. (A dismal movie dramatization of his life -- and "dismal" is putting it mildly -- didn't help.)

chefwen 1:12 AM  

Tough one for me. Didn't start out too well with darKS before YOLKS, I guess my mind was on the laundry. Also had shake ON at 14D and that sat there for far too long. Had to Google (big surprise there) to noodge my way in, but once I got in it went pretty well.

Guffawed at NO TELL MOTEL, women don't guffaw well, and my animals looked at me like I had gone all balmy. BOSCO was finally dragged up from the depths.

Hope tomorrow will be as nice.

Shall we take bets on who will say "as smooth as silk first"? Oops, I guess I just did, O.K. second.

I skip M-W 3:34 AM  

Since I had tried Fort McHenry so recently, I instantly guessed for no particular reason that it was a five-pointed fort, a common shape for forts in that era. Definitely not a pentagon, since it has to have ten sides.

Finals came next, Then a russet burbank had to be an American potato, since obviously an invention of Luther Burbank, and Idaho fell in. Yolks came next, then just flitted through the thing, very fast for me. I once had an eelskin wallet, which helped.

NE fell fast once I saw Elecktra.

Natal place a gimme. Eponymous Greek island was vague, but needed no crosses to guess right. All in all, smooth and elegant, despite eff and ess. Old enough to have watched Eddie cantor on TV.

Stan 5:36 AM  

@Gill I. P. Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

rookie 5:43 AM  

@anonymous 12:49

Lowry's book is called "The Giver."

Great book for middle school kids especially with adult guidance

Gill I. P. 7:55 AM  

Thank you Stan for the STAN! :)

SethG 8:38 AM  

1A was my last answer. That's cute how OLE crosses OLAF.

dk 8:40 AM  

W -ELL could not fathom ELL as fill. Scores a 7 on the lame-o-meter.

Mr. Silk redeemed himself when I confidently penned in FOLKLORE at 40a and after 10 minutes of muttering CRAB does not begin with a K except at Trader Joes... the little gray cells SOARed... puzzle done.

*** (3 Stars) DECLAIMED dk

Puzzle moment: Explaining to my landlady why I get up early in the morning to start the day with NYT X-word. Are you aware that when you try to explain the joy of getting IDAHOPOTATO right out of the puzzle gate some look at you like you may score less than a CPLUS on most, nae all, life lessons.


M07S 8:59 AM  

Relatively easy for a Friday. Loved NO TELL MOTEL and YOLKS. PCLAB showing up again so soon made a quick fill. I AM WOMAN popped right into mind. Did not like ELL and EFFS. I don't get 9. Red rival, briefly : NAT

joho 9:01 AM  

NW was the last to fall for me. I was amazed I knew FORTMCHENRY. I also had ShiNY for SUNNY for too long, but the marvelous RATFINK cleared that up. I hadn't heard the term NOTELLMOTEL before and am so glad to know it now. Wonderful term!

I had two mistakes today, though. I should have seen STAN but left in sOHO and my most ridiculous error was leaving in IAMnOMAN thinking it must have been a song by Australian Peter Allen!!!

Regardless of my failure, I loved the puzzle as I do all of Barry Silk's creations. Great Friday!

I wish everybody attending the tournament lots of luck and hope that pics will be posted. @Rex?

joho 9:02 AM  

Oh, and I loved SKULK.

evil doug 9:06 AM  

George (to Mrs. Peterman, comatose): Hi. I-I really should be getting back to my fiance, you know, we, uh, we had this big fight yesterday and, uh, well she, she wants to-to know my secret code. I-I don't know, I can't tell her. The funny thing is, you know, I would really love to tell someone 'cause it's killing me. You uh, you wanna know what it is? It's Bosco. You know, the chocolate syrup? I love that
stuff, I pour it in milk, it's my favorite drink. Hoo-hoo, boy, that is a relief!

Mrs. Peterman (popping awake): Bosco. Bosco.

George: Oh, shhh.

Mrs. Peterman (sitting up): Bosco!

Peterman (from another room): Momma?

George: Quiet, quiet! It's a secret.

Mrs. Peterman: Bosco! Bosco! Bosco!

George: Shut up! Shut up!

Peterman runs in.

Peterman: Momma! What are you trying to say?

Mrs. Peterman: Bosco.

Mrs. Peterman falls back in bed and closes her eyes, dead.

Peterman: She's gone. Bosco?

jackj 9:15 AM  

For me, the highlights of the puzzle all emanate from the wonderful use of DECLAIM in the upper right corner, leading into SKULKS, IAMWOMAN and CEO, (with the brilliant clue, "Outfit's biggest suit).

Outliers which hit the spot included ANECDOTE, AOK (NASA fine?), DEN (Kickback site?) and Joho's cousin, NOHO.

The long answers were excellent, especially NOTELLMOTEL but it was a bit disconcerting to learn that both NOTELLMOTEL and ORALHISTORY were first used in a Times BEQ Saturday puzzle of April 22, 2006. A compliment to Brendan, I guess.

retired_chemist 9:22 AM  

Nice one. Hand up for SOHO, which I knew might be NOHO but never corrected. Thus, STAS was my Persian place. Would have got it had it been clued as a more eastern place. Did not connect it to Persia.

Whites' counterpart was DARKS - doing a lot of laundry these days with the puppies. (Facebook Richard A. Caldwell if you want to see them.)

Note the recently bashed PC LAB made it back....

Thanks, Mr. Silk.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:50 AM  

I must be truly besotted with crosswordese: my first entry and key to the entire South was 59 D, EFFS!

North was more difficult. Although I thought FORT MCHENRY as soon as I saw the clue, the downs were slow to come. Also slowed by two write-overs: 24 D, KING CRAB before SNOW CRAB and 28 A, Rush, had SPEED before SPATE.

See you at LP 4.

South African Oral Historian 9:53 AM  

@Mark Murphy - Had no idea that Albert Brooks and Funkhauser were brothers.

I run a PC (actually a Mac) Lab at at a RI college and 51A was one of the last to fall.

Lindsay 9:53 AM  

Started with FORT tbd crossing FINALS, skipped down to I AM WOMAN with no crosses at all and just kept rolling Tuesday-style. The absence of pop culture undoubtedly helped (songs that hit #1 when I was in the 4th grade don't count).

Howard B 9:55 AM  

I guess the film splicer clue is valid if you take the path of "Old-fashioned film" as a unit. I don't think much splicing now goes on outside of old movie archival, electrical wiring, and genetics labs.

YAAD is still a perfectly cromulent answer if you live in New England, I'd say.

See you in NYC.

GenJoneser 9:59 AM  

Very rarely is a film shot these days and then edited linearly (or from reels with a splicer). Today, whether a movie is shot on film or digitally captured most editing is accomplished via non-linear equipment such as AVID or FCP or some other advanced computer equipment. One recent exception: "Dead Man Walking." At the end of the film Tim Robbins proudly writes: "This film was edited on old fashioned machines."

Z 10:07 AM  

I, too, forgot how large the Persian Empire once was, so have never associated all those -STANs to Persia.

Big DNF for me because of the south. Had SOAR, OLAFI, PORTICO, SPLICER, and ----OFFICER, and could go no further. I've never heard of BOSCO, so I was going nowhere there. And I bit hard on natal having to do with birth, so looking for something hospitaly. Apparently, there is a great deal of African geography that I don't know.

First word in was IAMWOMAN. Mildly surprised that it was right. Grew-up listening to WLS on my transistor radio. Ms. Reddy must have been on heavy rotation. Unfortunately, this has activated the Da Do Ron Ron memory cells, so I'll be annoyed all day long, now. WLS played the thing every hour the whole summer of '77. It is what forced me to discover FM radio.

jberg 10:12 AM  

Hard for me - first answer to write in was 25A, although I did suspect DEC at 12A. But I loved it, almost everything was rewarding to figure out.

I've been in Natal a couple times, but still confidently wrote in birtH from the H in 62D.

I loved all the red and white references as a mini-theme: 9D, 11D, 34A I think there's one more, but can't find it now. Maybe it was the implied reference to Red Rover in 19A. (@M07S, the NATS, or nationalists, competed with the REDS in the Chinese Civil War of the mid-20th century.)

All the STANs I can think of are countries where they speak some Turkic language or other - but maybe Darius or Cyrus named them all long ago, for all I know!

I really wanted ACCLAIM at 40D, as it so nicely matched DECLAIM in the opposite corner. I also tried aPAcE at 28A, but YOLKS ruled that out.

I guess it helps to know New York a little in the NYT puzzle - sOHO is not very near to Union Square, so I was able to rule that one out from the start, even though I'd never really heard of NOHO. Does the HO mean something other than Houston Street? NOrth of HOuston would just be Greenwich Village, wouldn't it?

Well, always something to learn, especially TIRO!

Ockam 10:15 AM  

@M07S, @jberg - A simpler NAT vs Reds answer woud be that the Washington Nationals (NATS) are a baseball team which frequntly plays the Cinncinatti REDS

David L 10:23 AM  

Well, EFF'n'ELL, those were two lame answers. Nice puzzle otherwise, though.

Can anyone explain ARF for me? I know ARF is a crossword-and-cartoon dog noise, but how does it "send Rover right over?"

David 10:28 AM  

loved this puzzle, in part because I was on its wavelength nearly the whole way through. Got IDAHOPOTATO immediately, which gave me 1 through 5 down. Minor trouble in the SE, as I stubbornly wouldn't think out of the box on Natal.

Final clues were in the extreme SW - I was cursing the 3 3-letter puns of 61A, 66A and 68A, just not seeing them at all. Also, wanting ACCLAIM for 40D (Express approval) didn't help. Then wham, APPLAUD came to mind, and the 3 puns fell right there.

I like EELSKIN and SNOWCRAB right next to each other. Eel and crab are two of my favorite kinds of sushi.

I finagled my weekend so I can come to the NYC fest tomorrow! I'll arrive too late from PA to participate but hope to meet a few people and just to soak in the great atmosphere....

Cheerio 10:47 AM  

Really enjoyed this. I knew I had a positive association with Barry Silk's puzzles, though I couldn't exactly remember why. But I think it's because the answers are often more interesting than usual.

As I was driving along this morning, I was thinking about the narrowness of crossword fill relative to the complexity of words I was randomly driving by on street signs and the sides of commercial trucks. In particular, I was thinking that K's don't come up too much in puzzles and that alternating consonant-vowel patterns come up too much. So, then we have SKULK.

Wow - I did not know that the Francis Scott Key got his motivation at Fort McHenry in the war of 1812. I'm not humiliated so much about not knowing the name of the Fort, but I didn't know it was that war. Not only that, but I was always bothered by not understanding how he might have experienced rockets in air during the revolutionary war.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Evildoug...,the first thing I thought of when I put in Bosco was that Seinfeld episode. Too funny.

Arna D 12:05 PM  

Nice puzzle. Having grown up in Baltimore, I got off to a running start with FORT MCHENRY. Lots of good clues and fill after that, although I also blanked on STAN, kept wondering what STAS was.

treedweller 12:24 PM  

@Howard B I splice rope somewhat regularly, FWIW.

Howard B 12:30 PM  

(marks a notch on the "learn something new every day" list).
Point taken.

CoffeeLvr 12:44 PM  

LOIS Lowry is a great author for late elementary/middle school, and even older. My son and I read two of her books when we were in the chapter a night at bedtime phase. "Number the Stars" is set in Nazi occupied Denmark. "The Giver" is a haunting dystopian novel; recalling it now makes me want to re-read it.

Lots of terrific words in this puzzle, most already noted. I liked it a lot, even though I had to Google TIRO and check out pictures of FORTMCHENRY to confirm my hunch. Plus lots of Checking that I won't bore you with.

OISK 1:15 PM  

Liked it, and finished in good time for a Friday. Last letter I filled in was the "N on Noho and Stan - NOT because I caught that "Stan" is a suffix in place names, not at all. I thought of "Stas" as related to the word stasis. No, fortunately, I live in New York, and I know that Union Square is NORTH of Houston! I am pleased when Rex confesses to not knowing who Eddie Cantor was; I feel the same way about Rihanna, "Bee's charge", and virtually any rock group post 1970! But Eddie Cantor? Margie, I'm always thinkin of you, Margie, I'll tell the world I love you...

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

I normally struggle, but this one came easily for some strange reason. Remember ELEKTRA from playing Greatest Hits over and over again. Why can I remember ELEKTRA and STAX (from yesterday?) and EMI but can't remember where I left my keys?

efrex 1:32 PM  

I beg everybody's indulgence for a moment, as there is no other place, real or virtual, where I know someone will understand this:


*ahem* sorry about that...

Gosh, so many weird moments on this one: started with ELL and CEO (I'm finally catching on to "crossword tricks 101"), and threw down the whole NE in under a minute. Then came the slogs. Couldn't suss out IAMWOMAN until the very end (PLEASE somebody tell me that they too briefly considered MACHOMAN in that spot).

Nice to be rewarded for doing the puzzle each day. The PCLAB repeat got me going in the SW, after which BOSCO got me ORALHISTORY, and then it was a relatively straightforward solve through the south.

Thanks, Mr. Silk!

Chip Hilton 1:43 PM  

Was I the only person looking for FT instead of FORT in 1A. because the abbreviation U.S. was part of the clue? Actually took a run at FT Augustine for a bit even though FORTMCHENRY had already crossed my mind.

@Mark Murphy - Your comments on Eddie Cantor were spot on. Never quite understood his stardom.

YOLKS, SKULKS and SKOAL - attys. at law, Stockholm.

Nancy in PA 2:10 PM  

@Howard B: I splice yarn. But most knitters don't. And I love the word cromulent.

Jim 2:13 PM  

Barry, thanks for the shout-outs to the chewers' among us. I must correct one thing, though:

SKOAL and Red Man are rivals or substitutes in only the loosest sense. Yes, they are both nicotine delivery systems. However, Red Man is 'chew', i.e., you can chew it and it goes in your cheek--and SKOAL is 'dip' and it goes in your lip. Incidentally, I had lip for TIN (although TIN is certainly an appropriate place for 'dip'...not for 'chew', though; that goes in a pouch). All that clear?

Fun puzzle. Thanks, Barry.

Campesite 2:14 PM  

I spent about a month in KwaZulu-Natal, even had my hiking boots stolen at the top of the Drakensberg and had to hike down in socks, but I couldn't dislodge the birth definition from Natal. Damn.

JaxInL.A. 2:30 PM  

I never had a prayer with this one. Mr. Silk's brain bends differently than mine. The "typical Silk clues, i.e. deliberately tricky stuff that really requires you to think through multiple possibilities" rarely seem to yield the right answer for me no matter how many options I come up with.

For example, a Moviola is an old-fashioned editing machine, invented in 1924 and later modified to handle sound separately so an editor could see the effect of her (many prominent editors were/are women) work as she went.  And it fits nicely.  That kept the SE completely opaque for me. I actually took out PORTICO and Mr. Gardner to make room for Moviola. No slicer for me.  Has Moviola ever appeared in a puzzle?

Like @acme, I started with many different answers than I ended up with.  In the end, perhaps I had 1/2 of it filled in.  Sigh.

On a happy note, @quilter1 and met for lunch yesterday and had a vey nice time.  I saw pix of her love granddaughter and we had fun chatting about puzzles and this blog.  She's offline while she and her hubby finish this road trip, but we'll out up a photo when one of us remembers how.  

mac 2:57 PM  

Great, challenging puzzle for me! Oddly enough I seemed to have more trouble with the shorter words than the long ones. Idaho potato (lived in Boise for two years), South African (been to KwaZule Natal), I am Woman came without crosses. Fort McHenry sounded familiar. Love the No Tell Motel, but was thinking Lovers Lanes first. Rhodos instead of Lesbos and Lake for Pier made the SW the hardest. Also wanted ort for arf, doesn't Rover get the crosswordy table scraps?

@ret-chem: nice how your real initials are the same as your blog ones.

@David and everyone else coming to Lolla: see you tomorrow!

sanfranman59 3:46 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 25:09, 25:52, 0.97, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:48, 12:48, 1.00, 56%, Medium

DavidS 4:20 PM  

Had ARM for ARF, initially. As is "Red Rover, Red Rover, send [someone} right over" (, and your ARM would knock someone over. I'm with @David L, didn't get ARF. Had SPEED for SPATE, but other than that, a quick Friday time for me!

shrub5 4:50 PM  

This puzzle was tough for me especially the NE quadrant. Although now that I peruse the completed grid, it's a mess pretty much everywhere with write-overs. Hand raised for sOHO/STAs error. Had exCLAIM and SPeed as others have mentioned. And I thought fallS fit nicely where NEAPS ended up. Lots of tricky clues and aha moments made for a fun solve (with one google.) I had a hard time with C PLUS (79), even with CPL in place.

Do schools even offer HOME EC anymore? Seems that class would be lost in these difficult times. I always thought that class was/could be practical for both boys and girls.

I bought my dad an EEL SKIN wallet once. He didn't use it for awhile because "it was too nice." But he finally did when his old one fell apart.

I had a thought for an answer to 38A (Hospital gown go-with) relating to a bare behind. It didn't fit in the alloted space nor with NYT sensibilities.

Sparky 4:54 PM  

Had Ellis Island for too long. RTES seemd too straightforward for a Friday. And mark before YARD as in Mark Twain being two marks.

Started last night and finished this morning and am just delighted. Maybe, like @efrex, I am finally catching on. @DaveL, agree how would ARF bring Rover over unless you are barking commands at him? Lame clue.

Thanks Barry Silk had a goodtime working on this. See many of you tomorrow. Can't wait.

ksquare 4:55 PM  

Started with Fort Sumpter but soon changed it.
In NY City, Houston (pronounced HOUSE-TON) St. runs across the East side too, so it is only 14 blocks from Union Sq.
Because his father (Greek dialect comedian on Eddie Cantor show, Parkyakarkus) was named Harry Einstein, Albert Brooks changed his name to avoid being confused with the other Albert Einstein.
hope this clears it up.

Stan 5:07 PM  

Many, many deft touches in this puzzle, as noted in the write-up and comments. I liked the audiotapes crossing SPLICER, the Greek duo LESBOS and PORTICO, FINALS/C PLUS/HOME EC, and seeing STAN clued as something new: Central Asian Republics.

The bottom had a John LeCarre feel: a CASE OFFICER recording an ORAL HISTORY debriefing from an agent just back from Jo'burg, SOUTH AFRICA.

JaxinLA: Moviola is a great wrong answer. I wanted Steenbeck (too long), so it didn't throw me off.

NOHO, however defined, is at least six blocks from Union Square Park. 'Near'? I guess so. Depends on how fast you walk.

foodie 6:19 PM  

@Andrea, I just saw your note from earlier today and went back and read your comment. I agree with @Doug's (in his non-evil mode) sentiments. I hope you are bearing up well today. I believe your dad would have been proud of your passion and integrity.

What I have learned in the last couple of days has made me wonder whether traditions in journalism are somewhat unusual. I googled "byline", and even Wiki says that attribution is often confused and the Economist has no bylines! So, it may well be that Will is fighting an uphill battle.

Still, cultures can be changed if enough people care and speak up. If the contracts can enforce an agreement that the editor's name should appear, they can enforce one that includes the constructor's name. Without laying any blame, I still feel that it would reflect better on all concerned if credit was given where it was due.

william e emba 6:45 PM  

Hah! I found this one of the easiest Friday puzzles in a long time. Just a bit of a slow down in the NE, but every trick seemed to melt into obviousness rather quickly.

With one amusing exception, I have never seen BOSCO outside of crossword puzzles. The exception was in regards to the Internet Worm of the 80s. The UCB math department machines did not have the backdoor bug in the mailing software, but one and one account only was hacked by the password guessing part of the Worm. BOSCO was our system manager's password. The reason no other user's account was hacked was simple: a mathematician's idea of what consists of simple and memorable is nothing like what anybody else thinks is simple and memorable.

Raul 7:07 PM  

Tiro is the narrator of two novels about Cicero by Robert Harris : Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome and Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome.

retired_chemist 8:02 PM  

@ Wm E emba - Apparently they still make and sell Bosco. Something from my youth, which I suppose is a lot longer ago than yours....

syndy 11:15 PM  

@ RAUL and very good books they are ,too!(even if Cicero was a fathead!

Fred 8:13 AM  

Is PCLAB going to be one of those words or phrases that only show up in crosswords? I could do without it, frankly. I only got it here because it was such a recent repeat.

Overall, though, a good and chllenging puzzle.

Tincup2 1:25 PM  

Late post but loved this puzzle! Easy for a Friday but perhaps becasue it was refreshingly free [or almost free] of that joy-killing, soul-sucking, deal-breaking type of fill that has increasingly made The Puzzle less and less interesting to me. The bad stuff it avoided?
Proper names [ugh!]
Inane plurals & "crosswordese"
Roman numerals
cross-referenced clues
Biblical references

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

1972 is right in my musical wheelhouse, yet for some reason it always takes forever for me to get that title, and it shows up often. Today it was my very last entry. "I Am No Man"? "I Am Conan"? "I Am a G-MAN"? My first thought, actually, with just the O and the second A in place was (coming off yesterday's puzzle)...Billy Joel is Australian?

Eddie Cantor, on the other hand, is NOT in my musical wheelhouse but I "knew Susie" from an old episode of The Odd Couple or something. Who knows. One of the more persistent earworms of the 20th century, though, so it came easily.

I'm an old tape SPLICER, so that was easy too.

Ort for ARF briefly. Or maybe it was just ort for ort's sake.

My only complaint is not one but two spelled letters. One is too many. Must be a shout out to Larry Fine. Or Lou Ferrigno. Or the London Film Festival.

@jberg NATS, or Nationals, compete with the REDS in the National League.

captcha=prefor: "Spahn and Sain and prefor rain."

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

(MURRAY enters Lou's office.)

MURRAY: Tea and milk! Who is the tea for?

MRS. TUTTLE: Guilty!

MURRAY: And who is the milk for?

(TED raises his hand)

MURRAY: If I'd known it was for you, Ted, I would have put some Bosco in it.

Deb @ 6:39 PM  

I hated the clue for HOME EC; really hated it. But being reminded of BOSCO made up for it in spades. I hadn't thought of the stuff in years, and had just a vague memory that it came in a super-cool (to a kid) anthropomorphic jar. Google-imaged "Bosco Chocolate bottle" and got only the newfangled, boring ones. Tried "vintage Bosco bottle" and hit pay dirt. FUN memory! I loved that damned bottle so much that my mother would buy Hershey's syrup and transfer it to the Bosco bottle. Hope this link works....$(KGrHqEOKjcE31vVndmnBN+TF3JvB!~~0_3.JPG

Deb @ 6:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb @ 6:54 PM  

Yeesh, what a pain. I sure hope someone else gets as much of a kick out of strolling memory lane with this as I did.

Vintage Bosco jar

Marc 7:37 PM  

TIRO was the first clue I got. I read a lot of Roman mystery stories (as well as actual history) and Tiro is a popular character.

I wound up with YOUTHOFFICE instead of SOUTHAFRICA, which makes me feel a bit silly ... especially since I should know what BOSCO is (not BOYCO).

Well, you can't win 'em all. This was a nice puzzle, a good workout.

Dirigonzo 9:32 PM  

This syndisolver must have had a mind-meld with Barry Silk, because the grid practically filled itself in - I threw down IDAHOPOTATO for no reason other than it fit, and used the down crosses to fill in that entire corner. And so it went for the whole grid until I arrived in the NE where DECLAIM was unknown to me and I had to think through the short answers to fill in the last few squares.

Strike authority = NATO conjured up some really ugly images for me. Sure, it's a clever play on words but really...

Branch Rickey 2:49 AM  

I'm not really good enough to typically finish either Friday or Saturday, and on the infrequent occasions that I do, it takes a loooonnnnnnggggg time. As such, I normally wouldn't carp about the clues or answers on these two days.

That said, as someone who listened to the Dodgers beat the Giants in a 2 - 1 pitcher's duel with a late innings rally, I really have to tak exception with the answer to 9D.

As one commenter noted, perhaps Mr. Silk was referencing the Chinese civil war of the 1940's. Far more likely though was another commenter's thought that it referred to NL teams Cincinnatti Reds and Washington Nationals. I agree with the latter.

But for Mr. Silk, who perhaps isn't much of a baseball fan outside crosswords, perhaps he should examine the world "rivalry."

Dodgers-Giants? Rivalry. Red Sox-Yankees? Rivalry. Cubs-Cardinals? Rivalry. Reds-Nats? Not any kind of rivalry in any sense of the word. Just two teams in different divisions who don't play each other any more often than they play other non-divisional foes.

Judging by a lot of the pop culture discussions on this blog, it's pretty easy to guess that the crossword-solving demographic trends closer to social security age than that of your typical player of mobile phone video games.

My thought here is that just as constructors don't reference esoteric anime, Pokemon or Dark Horse characters, perhaps they could show the same respect toward solvers in regards to baseball. To start with, the Nats have no actual rivals, and won't until some other team takes pride in beating such a pathetic franchise.

In a nod to this week's U.S. Open, here's Andy Roddick when asked about his rivalry with Roger Federer post-match after losing to Fed for the second year in a row at Wimbledon: "Until I win one or two, I don't you can call this a rivalry."

Anonymous 5:50 AM  

Done (whew!) after mnay Googles. Most trouble was with the Hershey's alternative. I had BO___ and at length came up with BOYER, makers of Mallo Cup. If that's an alternative to Hershey's, then checkers is an alternative to chess. But even that wasn't right! I finally filled it in with crosses: BOSCO??? Yeah, your grandfather's alternative, maybe. BOSCO! Geez, I haven't even heard that name for more than sixty years. And I don't understand TTOPS. TT is twin turbo, so we have what...twin turbo operations? I left it there because I didn't know what to change. I guess I hoped, vaguely, that there was some sort of roof or convertible piece called "T-Top."
I am a fellow objector to the writing out of letters to make words; we have two here, ELL and EFFS. One, maybe, OK, if you got painted into a corner. But two? Yecch. And OHOHOH is so bad it's funny, plus certainly original, so I forgive that.
Just this one time, understand.
Those, plus SENARY, mean this grid gets no more than a CPLUS. But I did learn some stuff, so it's all good.

v-word was myrmed: Ariel's health plan?

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

ARF also stands for Animal Rescue Foundation, so I suppose they could send Rover over. However, this would be pretty obscure.

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