Keyboardist Saunders / SAT 9-10-11 / 2002 horror sequel / Pou vantage point / Mongolian for hero / Gridiron cues / Perfect Peace novelist

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Constructor: David Quarfoot

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ARRAN (46A: Island near Ayr) —

Arran or the Isle of Arran (Scots Gaelic: Eilean Arainn) is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and with an area of 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi) is the seventh largest Scottish island. It is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire and the 2001 census had a resident population of 5,058. Although commonly associated with the Hebrides, with which it shares many cultural and physical similarities, these latter islands are located to the north and west beyond Kintyre. Arran is mountainous and has been described as a "geologist's paradise". (wikipedia)
• • •

A very entertaining puzzle, though one that was slightly ruined at the end by the JASON X / XY PLANE crossing (48D: 2002 horror sequel + 65A: Setting of many plots). Didn't like it. I understand what an XY PLANE is, but if I've heard it, it's been 20+ years. And JASON X is obscure and odd. Arguably, the Roman numeral really limited the options at that crossing, so ... fair enough. But I still found it yucky, which, again, is a shame, because the rest of the puzzle was pretty nice. Actually, the puzzle felt relatively easy much of the time. Some slow patches, but then some very fast patches. Felt almost like cheating when I got "LA BAMBA" so quickly (1A: Only song on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list that is not sung in English). Other songs that entered my mind: "99 Luftballoons," "Eres Tu," "Der Komissar" ... I think that's it. "LA BAMBA" made the NW very tractable. Had trouble rounding the corner into the SW, with -OVER and -AN not helping me much at 38A: Transfer and 46A: Island near Ayr, respectively. Tiny crap names like MERL (5D: Keyboardist Saunders who played with the Grateful Dead) and UNU (54A: 1940s-'60s world leader) and ZAC (29A: Country music's ___ Brown Band) and ARIE (37A: First name in auto racing) and then ... whatever STO is (ugh) (59D: Pou ___ (vantage point)) were all giving me minor fits. Got every letter of every one of those from crosses. But then I'd luck into something like H.G. WELLS (got it off the "S") (26D: Writer on whose work Woody Allen's "Sleeper" is loosely based) or VERANDAS (off the "VE-") (36D: Balustraded locales, often), and that seemed to more than make-up for the nettlesome tiny name obstacles.

Ended with two blank squares—the aforementioned missing "X," and the first letter in LOST CAT. I had OSTCAT and honestly didn't have a clue for many seconds (20A: Subject on a wanted poster). Clue is bad, as the word "wanted" would never appear on such a poster, so it's only a "wanted" poster in a "?"-clue sort of way. By this def. of "wanted," virtually every poster is a "wanted" poster. Why else do you post a poster unless you "want" something. Part of me liked the "aha" moment I got when the answer dawned on me, and part of me was annoyed at the overly-clever cluing. Ambivalence!

  • 23A: "A God in Ruins" novelist (URIS) — off the "S," giving me immediate access to LACE-UPS (1D: Some boots)

  • 47A: It ended in 1947 (RAJ) — pretty sure I put "Gandhi" in my Netflix queue just today. No ... I set a reminder so TCM would email me when "Gandhi" was coming on. I'm on something of an '80s movies kick at the moment.
  • 64A: Misters abroad (SEÑORES) — this was the fattest gimme in the puzzle. I wasn't *sure* it was right, but it was certainly my first (immediate) guess, and it panned out.
  • 2D: Name on the highest award of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASA GRAY) — so, if nothing else, I learned that the American Society of Plant Taxonomists exists.
  • 3D: Diamond handler? (BAT GIRL) — very clever clue. I just finished reading BATGIRL #1 earlier in the evening. Part of D.C.'s big "The New 52" reboot of their entire line-up. BATGIRL is Barbara Gordon again. And she can walk now. I realize I'm talking to like five of you right now. So be it.
  • 9D: Wolf pack member (U-BOAT) — should've been a fat gimme. Instead, off the "U," I wrote in UTAHN (!?!?!?!?!).
  • 55D: Bergman's last role (MEIR) — a much more famous "world leader" than that UNU person.
  • 6D: Mongolian for "hero" (BATOR) — as in Ulan BATOR. "Ulan" = "red."
  • 44D: "Poetry makes nothing happen" writer (W.H. AUDEN) — it's a great, ambiguous line.
  • 56D: Response to the '08 financial crisis (TARP) — remember? When everyone got scared and hid under a TARP? Dark days...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Carlos 12:14 AM  

"Oye Como Va"

CoffeeLvr 12:45 AM  

My first thought for the song not in English was Michelle, but I think it has both French and English. Yes, of course it is actually mostly English.

I did the whole NE corner without cheating off HUMPDAY and ARIE Luyendyk, then HOT COCOA.

As for the rest, well, maybe I learned some things (ARRAN). But JASON X? Really? I tried to find it in IMDB, but no luck with only horror and 2002 and sequel as search terms.

Two authors known by initials + last name today.

PK 12:49 AM  

Thanks for the nod to the Merry Prankster gen with the Stevie Nicks/Don Henley.

Yes, La Bamba was easy *for a Saturday* but that was about it.

Liked the sort of star-burst look to the grid.

You are absolutely correct. That Jason X/XY Plane thing was ridiculously hard. Even for a Saturday.

lit.doc 12:58 AM  

DNF. Limped through this rough beast with the help of Check. That which does not kill us, yadda yadda yadda.

Came out of the gate strong with 1A LA BAMBA, which just as quickly gave me 1D “Some boots” (but with no “?”…) = LAYOFFS. To “Humor” people is to DEFER TO them. To “Transfer” something is to TURN it OVER. And in case any of you lack a literary education, AMY TAN wrote “A Perfect Peace”.

Dobby must go iron hand now.

34D spurred me to pull Yeats off the shelf and read “The Second Coming” yet again. Sometimes comforting to imagine the end of an era.

The clue for 21D just flat sucked. “Boarder”? Oh, c’mon. And I’m not even going to mention that 54A/40D crossing.

@Rex, a big pat on the back for soldiering on with the blog. Hope Sandy’s getting on all right.

Gill I. P. 1:42 AM  

For the life of me, I don't know how I managed to finish about 80% of this puzzle. I normally blank at proper names especially if their full names or initials are included. I got most of them except AMOS OZ, MERL, ZAC, LUC and UNU were crap shoots. What kind of name is UNU?
I would like to thank PurpleGuy for his HUMPDAY Wed. sign off. ACME for her wonderful stories of Woody Allen which brought me to HG WELLS and my husband for turning off DR.LAURA whenever she'd pop her MINDSET in. Also, dearest "jar head" son for making me memorize all the U.S.M.C. ranks.
Fun puzzle - learned new words like how to pronounce (I think) Charybdis and that XYPLANES is an actual word.

syndy 2:39 AM  

OOHHH! I misread the clue for 1 across -thought I was looking for a ROLLING STONES song and LA BAMBA did NOT come to mind! had TATAR for BATOR and aside from HUMPDAY -HOT COCOA and ROBOT it all went to hell from there.okay I had the NAIAD/NIECE and that gave me VERANDAS but still BIG OLE DNF oh and I googled "A PERFECT PEACE" and got Dan Black!I'm going to go sulk now!

jae 3:22 AM  

Massive local power outage made posting yesterday a no go. I'll get to the Fri. puzzle in a day or two. Missed this by one square -- the AMOSOZ/ZAC cross (I had "M") -- both were WTFs but AMOSOZ (now that I get it) seems vaguely familiar. Medium except for my error and the XYPLANE area. Those were tough! Yes for TURNSOVER plus CALE for the racing guy. Solid Quarfoot fun solve! Just sorry I DNF.

acme 3:36 AM  

anyone in the Bay Area, hope to see you on Saturday TODAY in Alameda... see details under Rex tab of upcoming tournaments.
4th annual fundraiser for CA Dictionary project. $30/door by 11am

Will gave the whole week's puzzles!
Sorry I should have been plugging this all week.
We are going to rename the tourney The BAC Fill. AND we will be forming a BAC Society.
(Bay Area Crossword Society)

I skip M-W 5:35 AM  

took me forever, but finished with happy Pencil, and I never Google, so feel happy. Had IKE for U NU for quite a while. but U Nu was sort of a hero mine as a kid, the last democratic leader of Burma. U just means something like Mr. in Burmese. so I suppose misters overseas could be US. btw, @Rex, Burma is much bigger and more populous than Israel, and U Nu was about the first third-world leader to befriend Israel, so why should he be less famous than Meir? Aung Sang Suu Kyi is certainly more famous than Meir by now.

Never heard of that Arie, and isn't it redundant with mr. Shapiro? NE gave me endless trouble. NW not much better, since la Bamba didn't spring to mind. My mindset was different. Without La Bamba, tried Burbank and had to wait to get Asa Grey when nearly done with the area.

X-y plane and Jason X weren't so hard, though tried Jason V first. Jason was a gimme from the j in Raj, the only three-letter thing that ended in '47. I avoid all horror films like the plague, but you have to have some idea of their names to be sure to stay away.

Back in NW, also tried Amis before Uris, and in SE had Whitman before WH Auden, even though the quote didn't seem like Walt. It surely does fit Auden. Is there really an h in oo la la, btw? I liked O Canada as Northern air, and no rules as anarchy. Roe v Wade was skillfully clued too. Interesting that the kind of eggs that Shad have are called roe, and when you eat eggs, I suppose, you abort them. Without the shad answer would never have guessed egg as an ingredient in bread pudding.

sorry @ACME, I'm a Bay Area Silver (haired) solver, but have too much on my plate to attend your tourney. Otherwise I might win the last-to-finish-correctly prize.

Z 8:18 AM  

Looking for my mojo. Has anyone seen it? Maybe it will be back tomorrow.

@Acme - BAC Fill? Love it. SanFran is a little far, though.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Ack, I was hoping this would be rated Challenging since I wasn't able to finish it.

Also, the clue on Merl Saunders is bad or at least very misleading. Although he performed and recorded with Jerry Garcia many times in Jerry's side projects, and he overdubbed some organ parts for a live Grateful Dead album, I'm pretty sure he never actually performed on stage with the Grateful Dead.

Tobias Duncan 8:53 AM  

DNEFCCTF,this one was out of my league and was orders of magnitude harder than yesterday's. Actually I think the only reason I did so well on Friday was the mini pep talk Rex gave us last week on stacked 15s.
How about a pep talk on what to do with people you have never heard of?

Campesite 9:30 AM  

David Quarfoot's byline is always a welcome, and intimidating, sight, particularly on a Saturday. He tends to put loads of original entries in the grid, and a half-hearted perusal of XWord info shows more than a few first-time words today:


ROE V WADE has only shown up once before, also in a Quarfoot puzzle.
I'm done looking them up, but I'm certain there are probably more first-time answers in this grid.

Campesite 9:31 AM  

PS: If I had a quibble, it'd be ARI and ARIE in the same grid.

jackj 9:39 AM  

David Quarfoot has done 32 Times puzzles and all but three are Fridays or Saturdays. Imagine!

This one had a curious mix of gimmes (ROBOT, ALOHA, OCANADA) and proper nouns (good ones, ARIE, LUC, UNU; bad ones, MERL, ZAC, MEIR, the difference being for which ones I needed the crosses to complete the answer).

The puzzle had a toughly clued Saturday Stumper feel, with little flow, rather than the tough but elegant Saturday crossword we expect from the Times. Not a complaint, just an observation.

MINDSET and SYLVAN were nice bits and the brilliantly clued ROEVWADE was the star of the show.

Thanks, DQ.

Golfballman 9:47 AM  

Rex hope Sandy is feeling better today. She needs to carry a can of wasp and hornet spray. It sprays long distance and is easy to aim good for dogs and muggers. you could even find one of those jogging water bottle holsters to carry it. Golfballman

nanpilla 9:55 AM  

Very challenging here, but managed to finish it. Kept trying to jam some spelling of Linneaus where ASA GRAY went. Hand up for turNOVER before SIGNOVER. Never heard of ARIE, that was my WTFill.

Love shad roe. Hubby makes is every spring. Sautes the set, and serves it over toast points with vermouth cream sauce. Yum!

chefbea 10:05 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF

Of course knew bread pudding ingredient.

Went to camp with the niece of Leon Uris many moons ago. We were best friends.

PuzzleNut 10:14 AM  

Loved this puzzle, partly because I finished it (a major coup on Saturday), but also because I was pretty certain that I wouldn't.
So many wonderful clues/answers, SYLVAN, ROEVWADE, EROTICA, HUMPDAY to name just a few from my notes. Had BATOR in place with a modicum of confidence and got LETITBE stuck in my brain, which was certainly not correct. The ?YPLANE was a real stumper until I ran the alphabet and had a nice aha moment (disclaimer - former math nerd). The Z in ZAC was my last letter and I never parsed AMOS OZ until I came here. I kept on thinking ASIMOV, but obviously that didn't work at all. I liked the ASAGRAY/ASATEAM cross. Very clever twist.

joho 10:23 AM  

I've been DQ'd!

This was beyond challenging to me. I even had answers I thought we right, wrong: LOSTCAr for instance. Don't we all put up posters when our car gets lost?

Enough said. David Quarfoot you slay me. Literally.

merlbaby 10:25 AM  

Quoth Rex:

"Tiny crap names like MERL ..."

I beg your pardon!

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

U NU? Who knew?

Lindsay 10:31 AM  

Like the puzzle in retrospect, but my assessment would likely be different if I hadn't lucked into completing it correctly. Very slow going.

The AMOSOZ (AMOS OZ?) ZAC crossing could have been fatal had the NYT not recently splashed Zac Brown & his band across the front of the Arts section. Or maybe it was the Food section. At any rate, I tripped over the article on my way to the puzzle.

Have a good weekend everyone.

GenJoneser 11:00 AM  

"Der Komissar" was sung in English. Appropriate to list though because after this puzzle I feel beaten up by Der Komissar. @joho well put. "DQ'd" indeed. Good weekend all...

Tobias Duncan 11:09 AM  


Mel Ott 11:14 AM  

Definitely challenging for me. AMOSOZ & JASONX killed me.

Took along time to get a toehold in the NE until I remembered a clue similar to 6D for Ulan. Tried BATOR and that gave me LA BAMBA, except I started out with LA MAMBA. Sorry, Richie V.

I wanted HOT TODDY in my mug for a long time. The AMOSOZ/ZAC Natick didn't help.

I wondered if Britain changed the name their air force (RAF) in 1947. Oh, RAJ! Doh. Because of this I never had a chance at JASONX, altho I somehow figgered out XY PLANE without it.

DNF, but still enjoyed it despite the Naticks.

Jim in Chicago 11:20 AM  

Shouldn't the clue be Rolling Stones'...?

Noam D. Elkies 11:35 AM  

How might The Onion have clued a grid with 8A:HUMP_DAY, 33A:ROE_V_WADE, and 62A:EROTICA? There are 63A:NO_RULES against bluish clues there...

@Campesite: xwordinfo lets you find all new words, dis legomena, etc. in the puzzle all at once by providing an "analyze this puzzle" button, which will also show you various other statistics like block and word count, consonant/vowel pattern, etc.

Plus xwordinfo also shows a picture of the constructor.


quilter1 11:38 AM  

DNF but when I came here I didn't feel bad as I saw I would never in a million years know what I couldn't get. Also object to two Ari/Arie names. So I am going to go and make soup. Bah.

hazel 12:03 PM  

AI-CHI-WAWA that was hard!! i usually like a good Sat. struggle with D. Quarfoot, but I thought ths one was a little too cutesy with the clues. Random wake-up times?? Diamond handler? the lost cat poster? more of an Oh Please than an AHA. DQs always have some redeeming qualities, but overall this one was just not my cuppa.

Perhaps b/c weather has finally cooled off down here and my girls are frisky and have told me in no uncertain terms that it is time to get the leashes out, get in the jeep, and drive to the park where there are lots of smells currently in need of sniffing!! and possibly eradicating!!

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Searched the world over for a leader named (titled) Unu. Cannot put a tag on it and therefore lay this puzzle to rest.

archaeoprof 12:17 PM  

Hard, hard, hard for me too. Eventually -- after 90 minutes -- it came together.

Never heard of ARRAN or UNU before.

@Syndy: you aren't the only one who tried to think of a Stones song!

I wish people like AMOS OZ had more influence in Israel these days...

Two Ponies 12:33 PM  

Boo Hoo, DNF.
I did enjoy some of the nice words like sylvan and verandas but too many people I just did not know.
The only person I could think of for 2D was the way-too-long Mendelson (sp?). Lots of tricky clues today that didn't stump me but those names...

Noam D. Elkies 12:44 PM  

Pou 59D:STO? Eureka:

δος μοι που στω και κινω την γην (Dos moi pou sto kai kino tayn gayn):
Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth. [Archimedes, on the principle of the lever]


CoffeeLvr 12:45 PM  

@Jim in Chicago, the magazine is "Rolling Stone," the band is "The Rolling Stones."

miriam b 1:04 PM  

@NDE, STO was my first entry I expected the rest of the puzzle to be on my wavelength, but what with sports and pop references, it proved otherwise.I slogged through it, finally finishing.

coatiads: a Runway competition featuring outer garments

miriam b 1:06 PM  

Sorry, period needed after "entry". I thik I'm developing OCD.

Campesite 1:21 PM  

@NDE, thanks for that, I've rarely spent time on that site, but I'm going to start. This puzzle has a Freshness Factor, according to Jim Horne's formula, in the 69th percentile.

Sandy 1:22 PM  

Thank you to people concerned about both the flood and the dog bite. I do appreciate your nice words.

We're going to be fine on both counts, but we've got lots of people around us in real need.

I am thinking I should steal the dog, have Rex train it into awesomeness, then parade it up and down in front of it's owner's house saying "nyah nyah nyah."

Here's the link (not live, sorry) to my most recent blog post which covers both events in one succinct entry:

I write my blog with my mother and aunt in mind, but you're welcome to pop in and see.

Sandy 1:23 PM  

Rats. Typos! So there goes all your sympathy for me!!

JaxInL.A. 1:34 PM  

@NDE, thanks for clearing up pou STO. It was all Greek to me (insert eye-rolling groan).

@JenCT, congrats on finishing your quilt! Any chance you will post a photo?

News seems to say that waters in Binghamton are no longer rising. Very sad to hear that folks have died from tropical storm Lee in PA and elsewhere. Because floods can be very slow-moving we can forget how devastating they are. Best of luck, Rex.

mac 1:39 PM  

Challenging and DNF for me, and I'm blaming Zac and Amos Oz.

Wonderful puzzle, though, loved O Canada, Roe v. Wade, mindset and Dr. Laura (not). Wanted mob rule at 63A, and had copy cat at 20A, as if that's a crime.

@Nanpilla: a little trick I have with shad roe: when you simply sautee it, the membrane tears and the little eggs ooze out. I poach the wings first in some salt water, then sautee it in butter.

The Raven 1:47 PM  

A toughie. HTG only URIS--I kept thinking it must be AMIS--which got me ASA GRAY and unlocked the dicey NW. Had STAGE for SALON, IRA for ARI (which would have solved the ARIE problem) but saw the error of my ways. Learned POU STO, anyway.

JimWalker 1:51 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Should've had Jason X cuz I had yplane. Yikes.

Thanks to Noam for STO. Funny thing is I studied Greek (50 years ago!) but thought pou was French or Basque or Romainian or...

Also thanks to Rex and Sandy for the wonderful entertainment during very hard times.

quilter1 2:10 PM  

@JenCT, please do post a picture of your quilt. My first one is on a guest bed--very '80's country style. I had over 100 hours in the one that is my current avatar. The one I'm cutting out now has 797 pieces. I also have a rule that before working on my current project I have to spend at least 30 minutes on homeless shelter quilts, also through church. Good work.

rowee: one being rescued in New England

quilter1 2:13 PM  

I just visited Sandy's blog. Poor girl! It sounds as if things are being taken care of.

Clay C 2:25 PM  

This one was quite a rough slog for me, but ultimately got all except for the X in XYplane. Ended up guessing 'P' just to finish, faintly hoping some forgotten detective of literature had lived on Pyp Lane. Should have realized the sequel/Roman numeral limitation, and would have enjoyed the "Aha!" of realizing I sought a plane rather than a Lane. (Also, I had thought Charybdis was an island - The one opposite Scylla.)

Finally, I had the same reaction that 'Lost cat' is not a 'Wanted' poster. Got it from '-cat,' but it felt like a stretched clue.

GillyMonster 2:50 PM  

Only song on "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list not sung in English ... anything by Bob Dylan?

Fun puzzle but DNF for me. too many obscure names. Must be a Saturday!

Sarah 3:03 PM  

My least favourite kind of puzzle: the kind that requires knowing all kinds of random information or googling or getting lucky with crosses. I ended up just looking a few clues up to give me some initial traction. I initially had "Setting of many plots" as "INAWORLD," like those cheesy movie trailers eg "in a world where llamas have taken over the world, one man dares to challenge them!" etc etc. Needless to say, that was the wrong MINDSET: I needed less trailer, more algebra. Got EROTICA and HUMPDAY immediately (perhaps one leads to another?). All in all, though, a rough Saturday after a difficult Friday. Well, I can't say I was ever a crossword TOPSEED, but I would have liked a bit more ALOHA to feel less like a SADCASE.

Lewis 3:18 PM  

I loved this puzzle; my last letter was the x, which was tough for a lot of solvers, it looks like. I wouldn't have stood a chance without Google, though. I need to do some wheelhouse building...

fergus 3:42 PM  

Couldn't get it together to go to the BAC Fill today, so contented myself with Fri and Sat this morning. Much contentment, but know that I am missing a very amusing and stimulating event. First time in the four years I've missed it. Traditionally, Tyler Hinman has created the final large puzzle and sits at the front desk with a faintly diabolical and sadistic look.

David 3:52 PM  

Fun, difficult puzzle, a Medium-Challenging for me, but I got through it unscathed.

@Twangster, I agree with you on the MERL Saunders clue. He did collaborative work with members of the Dead, but I don't believe he took the stage with the entire band. Two obsessions in my life are the Chicago Cubs and the Grateful Dead (CubFanDeadMan), and on consecutive days we've had representation, but with subpar clues.

XY Plane was also my last entry, I had VIP LANE at first (DECOI??) and then changed. Also had TURNOVER for SIGNOVER for a while, which hid almost the entire SW from me.

Jenny 4:29 PM  

@Clay C: And I thought she was a whirlpool, so there's that.

All kinds of pain today. HTG twice. Embarrassed by my failure to parse AMOS OZ. On to Sunday...

Bob Kerfuffle 5:22 PM  

Got off to a slow start when 1 A refused to accommodate BEI MIR BIST DU SCHOEN.

Another day I might have given up with the SW unfinished, but today I resumed after dozing off a bit and completed successfully, my one TURNOVER appropriately to SIGNOVER.

Cheerio 5:46 PM  

I was very happy to get half of this, but then HTG. Who is U Nu?

Z 6:12 PM  

U Nu

michael 7:47 PM  

This took me forever, but I finally got the whole thing right. I was distracted for a while by Federer-Djokovic, but this excuse won't work because I struggled with the puzzle long after the match was over.

An excellent Saturday puzzle.

I kept wanting cusp day. Once I got amos oz and h.g.wells and o canada, I was there.

Sparky 9:44 PM  

Trying to set up gmail blog account so I can have a blue name.

Sparky 9:55 PM  

DNF puzzle. Had HOTtoddy. Friend came over and helped with profile. Grandma did not use egg in bread pudding. A slppery mess made with Wonder Bread. But she made a lovely Irish Soda Bread and Plum Pudding. Good cooking does not run in my family.

@Jenny and ClayC. Hand up for whirlpool. @lit.doc. Don't iron my hand, just bang my head against edge of desk. @Sandy and Rex. Thanks for the update. Generous of you to think of us.

miriam b 11:28 PM  

@JimWalker: "Pou" IS a French word, but clearly not what you were looking for. It means "louse".

agree caterto michaels 2:12 AM  

U nu? Well, I didn't.

DNF as I never let go of turNOVER
even AFTER I got IRONORE, I left it as tIrNOVER.

Didn't really get whole bottom corner. And weirdly refused to google, just left it.

Got LABAMBA but didn't realize till I came here that The Rolling Stones hadn't recorded a version somehow!
ANd I know Rex is making a funny, but I'm too dumb to know what TARP is.

Super interesting puzzle, just too hard for me. I like DQs style tho.
So distinct, Scrabbly, and too cool for school.

Oh. Is it tomorrow already? OK, I'll post over there about the tourney.

jberg 7:34 AM  

I'm posting Sunday morning, as it took me all day to finish this one, for a variety of reasons:

1. Apparently I am the only person reading this blog who doesn't know Mongolian;

2. I spent much of the day going to a couple of birthday celebrations (not mine);

3. I wanted Ulysses for EROTICA, turn OVER for SIGN OVER, and queue for AGREE. They all just seemed so right!

I did know U Nu, but tried IKE and DDE first. I remember in college hearing in a lecture that U Nu's prison guards had to be changed every couple days, because they tended to change sides after getting to know him.

I suppose Rolling Stone's list is really the 500 greatest pop songs of the 20th century - otherwise I can think of quite a few non-English ones - Gaudeamus Igitur, I Estoit Une Fillette, etc.

treedweller 2:12 PM  

too much googling to type out here. I was looking forward to getting the song title but it took a long time, because I was stubbornly clinging to "Linnaes" instead of ASAGRAY. I also tried Linnaus. Neither is spelled correctly, if anyone is wondering (Linnaeus).

@Golfballman and Sandy

if neither of your ideas work, you can always try Rick Perry's solution.

glad to hear the Parkers are okay. Sending kind thoughts to your neighbors, as well as mine (many of whom have lost their homes to fire).

stephen 12:07 PM  

For me, this was twice as hard as last Saturday's puzzle which everyone complained about (except me--I liked it).

kc 6:49 PM  

I was thinking "Volare" for 1 across. Surprised Greek doesn't make it into puzzles more often; a language with words like poioumai and poieetai (glancing at text page more at less at random) is eminently useful to a constructor (though I doubt clues like "3rd person singular, present indicative middle/passive, "poio"" would pass muster). Asa Gray is a gimme if you happen to be an evolutionist, the doyen of American botanists and an important personage in Darwin's life.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

If anyone claims to have actually finished this puzzle with NO lookups, I flat out call them a liar. This is a study in advanced layers of obscurity. Where to start?
1. Keyboardist Saunders who played with the Grateful Dead. OK, I look up the group. There is a FULL PAGE of personnel lineups through various stages of their career; the name Saunders does NOT APPEAR. At all. Anywhere. Finally, by going to the surname and scanning down two full pages, I find "MERL Saunders, American musician." There's a page on him. Seems he "sat in with" the Dead when they were forming. How far are you going to bury this stuff?
2. BATGIRL? Are you serious? Bat GIRL?? From diamond handler? I guess there are some, but really. Come on, now. Ridiculous.
3. AVILA. Well, naturally, the WORLD-famous Basilica de San Vicente is there. Must be the Spanish Taj Mahal. Not a chance in a million anyone could get that unless they were BORN there.
4. Mongolian for "hero." Did you look at that clue after you wrote it? How many of your solvers do you think speak Mongolian, for cryin' out loud? The clue itself is absurd. Well, at least they got a gimme, both of them.
I could go on--but I couldn't. With help, I managed the NE and some of the NW, but just could not stay with it. And it's because I didn't care. Plant taxonomists? Country ___Browm Band (BTW, could not find that one, either)? I just don't care. The very first entry was the very best, LABAMBA. From there it was all way downhill.
DNF, Spacecraft

Dirigonzo 8:53 PM  

My paper doesn't publish the Saturday puzzle so I can't comment on this puzzle, but here's the latest installment of RPDTNYTCWP on this date 5 years ago:

- "Solving time: Indeterminate (but under an hour)"
- "[late addendum: just noticed that I have an error in my puzzle (twice in two days!): 22A: Start of a hole should be TEE SHOT, not THE SHOT (?!), and thus 14D: Antipoverty agcy. should be O.E.O., not O.H.O., which is more exclamation than acronym]" Oops!
- "Birthday concert last night was amazing...The music was tense, with individual instruments (especially winds) playing bent, off-pitch notes, or notes that bent from on- to- off-pitch and back. Then there was this swelling of the orchestra and then crazy driving strings playing a bass line that gave the whole thing a passionate yet Hitchcockian feel. You can see why I blog puzzles instead of criticizing classical music." And for this we are grateful.
- "By the way if you are considering poisoning a child with azalea, this site will tell you exactly how many leaves you're going to need, by weight." Early Rex combined crossword comments with helpful hints.
- "Elise Keaton was (along with Mrs. C. from Happy Days) one of a long string of TV Moms on whom I had serious crushes during my adolescence. And beyond." TMI, IMHO.
- @Orange commented to explain an answer which early Rex had failed to understand.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Medium, my ass. Started this on Saturday (at SEVEN A.M.), finished a day before HUMP DAY. Ridiculously tough cluing.

NE fell on Saturday, but only as far as 18a. Had MANAGER at 3d, and with _ _ M A M _ _ in place across the top all I could think of was MAMA MIA, which I supposed might have been an ABBA tune, but would Rolling Stone really put that ahead of Oye Como Va?

On Sunday I got LOST CAT and ROBOT, which revealed BATOR and LA BAMBA (Rolling Stone redeemed). More staring, then finally at the end of the day I nailed CATER TO, which gave me LACE UPS and BAT GIRL. Couldn't complete the quadrant, though, because I had STAGE at 28d.

on Monday I stared some more. Was being held up by ACCLAIM (38d)/MESSERS(64A), having already decided that SENORS was one letter short. I ran through all kinds of stuff in my head, including SALON, but wouldn't commit to anything for the longest time because I couldn't make anything work at 38a. Finally just started filling things in, completing NW, and once I got as far as (A) _ _ N O _ _ _, SIGN OVER/SALUTES came to view. maybe 30 seconds later I had completed SW through 41d.

Tuesday (today): SE was a bear. Ironically it was a wrong answer that helped me finish. with _ Y _ _ A _ E in place I thought of MY SPACE and went with it. Never used MySpace, I figured maybe your "space" was referred to as a plot? Whatever; it confirmed DECOY and NO RULES, and led to O CANADA (northern air?). Left me with JASON M. No, I didn't actually think there were a thousand Jason movies, but ten seemed like too many too, so I figured it may as well be JASON M. Maybe it was a remake of the Peter Lorre classic, what do I know.

In the end I finished with five errors. The four in mY spAcE, plus mAC (Brown). Four days, no help. Moral victory.

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