Gaston who wrote Phantom of the Opera / FRI 9-23-11 / He famously asked why didnt you burn tapes / Juicer detritus

Friday, September 23, 2011

Constructor: Mike Nothnagel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none


 Word of the Day: Gaston LEROUX (24A: Gaston who wrote "The Phantom of the Opera") —
Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (6 May 1868[1] – 15 April 1927) was a French journalist and author of detective fiction. // In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, 1910), which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, notably the 1925 film starring Lon Chaney; and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was slow on this one, but that's almost entirely due to the fact that I have residual head cold nonsense going on between my ears. It's a meaty puzzle, but there's nothing particularly brutal about it. I started out by crossing GEODE with "ERES TU" (5D: 1974 lyric repeated after "Como una promesa"). Sadly, only one of these was right, and cleaning up that little mess was more work for my brain than it ought to have been. Eventually sorted the AGATE business out (1A: It has rock bands), but not before putting in GURU for LAMA (24D: Asian spiritual guide). Then EXEMPT for EXCEPT (22D: Not counting). And then later: ADD ON for TAG ON (25A: Include as an extra) and GLUTES for GLUTEI (27D: Muscles strengthened by squats). Other than that, steady progress, though in a disconnected way: NW, then NE, then SW, then (finally) center, and (finally finally) SE. Note that EXCEPT and GLUTEI (both of which I initially botched) are major connectors between the center and the corners of the grid. SE was by far the easiest section. Felt like a Tuesday puzzle up in there. Strange. Anyway, the grid is lovely—fully of solid, familiar, yet lively answers that were mostly a pleasure to uncover. LOW PH was the one that tricked me the worst (44D: Vinegar quality), and THE SAUCE was the one I liked the best (58A: Something a drunkard is liable to hit). I continue to despise the word ROLF (48A: Give a good rubdown), but that's really just my personal hang-up.

Toeholds, by section:

NW: "ERES TU"
NE: EDO (9D: Old Tokyo) and TORSO (13D: Many a sculpture)
Center: RATE (30D: Put on a scale)

In the bottom part of the grid, I slid in and out of sections using crosses—OFTEN got me OFFERS got me ROLF. GLUTES (wrong, but close) got me EATS AT got me MEET. Most helpful answer of the day was ABBEY ROAD (3D: 1969 #1 album for 11 weeks) (It also happens to be one of my very very very favorite albums). With the whole GEODE debacle, with nothing falling smoothly into place, I just thought "... must be a Beatles albums. Late Beatles. LET IT BE? No ... ABBEY ROAD! Ding ding!" Nice musical subtheme up there in the NW, with "ERES TU" parallel to ABBEY ROAD and crossing LEROUX—whose novel was the basis of a famous musical, and whose name is also the name of a band I kind of like (OK, so it's LA ROUX—close enough for me).



Bullets:
  • 15A: Informal show of approval? (STANDING O) — dang, that's a good clue. I was halfway through asking myself "How is a STANDING O informal?" when I got that it wasn't the thing but the (slangy) phrase itself that was at issue. Other Os of note are KAREN O, SANDRA OH, SADAHARU OH, and WENDY O. WILLIAMS.
  • 18A: Juicer detritus (PEELS) — briefly convinced myself that PULPS was a word (and it is, in reference to cheap magazines of the early-mid 20th century).
  • 2D: Series ender, sometimes (GAME SEVEN) — cool clue. I tried to stretch ET CETERA. Didn't work.
  • 31D: Music style derived from samba and jazz (BOSSA NOVA) — this music style always reminds me the Robert Palmer album "Heavy Nova." There is absolutely no good reason for this. 



  • 49D: Object frequently painted by Degas (TUTU) — interesting phrasing, as (presumably) he's painting the dancer, who happens to be wearing said "object." Unless there's some still life with TUTU I'm unaware of. 
  • 45D: Attachments to pronator quadratus muscles (ULNAE) — it's a very muscly puzzle, with the GLUTEI and the pronator quadratus and what not. Very BUFF.
  • 43D: He famously asked "Why didn't you burn the tapes?" (FROST) — the poet to his wife, just after their sex video went viral.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

70 comments:

lit.doc 12:30 AM  

@Rex, just checked youtube. Wow. At least now we know what Frost meant by "the road less traveled".

Easy Friday with, as Rex noted quite a few very interesting clues and answers. STANDING O. The clue for AYE AYE SIR. LOW PH (finished in that corner). The clue for FLUFF. Nice.


TAG ON? Meh.

Tobias Duncan 12:31 AM  

Best puzzle I have seen in months.Just a few names, not much crosswordese.

I think one will be rated easy by the day.One of my fastest for sure.

Gill I. P. 12:42 AM  

This puzzle had so many answers I loved....ABBEY ROAD,BOSSA NOVA, AYE AYE SIR and right down the middle STOP STARING AT ME.....
I had hoped @Rex would have had a rendition of The Temptations singing "Since I Lost My Baby." I listened to them non-stop in the late '60's.
Just a fun,fun, puzzle that I did not have to Google. Yay me.
Wow, my captcha is grashor. I kinda like that word and just may use it someday.

syndy 1:14 AM  

I cannot GAINSAY the GLUTES.EXEMPT or the PULPS! better to ask what I did NOT writeover!(STOP LOOKING AT ME!}but still finished in excellent time -But who's counting?just what a friday should be! OH and...see the merino standing there with his long shaggy hair.

jae 1:24 AM  

Easy for me also. Yes for GLUTES and ADDON, plus RINDS. I owe last Sunday's Boston Globe for a gimme that would have been a WTF. But, as many of you do a delayed version of the BG, I'll leave it at that. Excellent puzzle. Lots of good stuff including my all tme favorite album. Nice one Mike!

andrea crawls michaels 2:26 AM  

Re: Movie credit...I liked CRAWLS but had to undo SCROLL which is most of the same letters tho one position drastically off...

This was another puzzle where I was listening to the voices in my head but way-overthinking:
eg " What would be a good word for those FLUFFy pieces they have at the end of the news?"

Or with ????SEVEN, I thought, "hmmm, what is the slang for the seventh GAME? What seven?

So the answers were STARING AT ME (STOP IT!) like SEDER yesterday but I was getting too specific.

I also misread "self-conscious" as "sub" conscious...so couldn't figure out what my subconscious would be saying to me.

Didn't know that GAINSAY meant to deny, I think it's one of those words like that word that I can't remember if it's the opposite of the word I want...NONPLUSSED.

But I see now it must be to SAY aGAINst.

Other big block was TipiN/idOL, so HOST was last to fall.

I liked that the 10D diamond clue was NOT baseball...

Doing the bottoms-up on 44D Vinegar clue I had --WPH and thought, "uh oh what do I have wrong there?" as I was so proud of plopping in OWNEDUPTO" but it was all ok!

Glad I didn't notice it was Mike Nothnagel till after I finished or I would have felt intimidated!
:)

One moment of synchronicity, I'm on someone else's computer (staying in their home, using their car, feeding their dog, taking care of, sort of, their kids...
Like one of those films where I have traded lives/bodies with someone else) and so I have to log in to the NYT on her password, which is...BOSSANOVA!

Oh and I liked the BUFF/FLUFF/OFFERS F-pileup!

CoffeeLvr 2:49 AM  

ABBEY ROAD is my favorite LP also, though I only play it when I can listen to it all the way through. I have a t-shirt with the silhouette of the photo of the album cover; it was a gift that really hit the mark.

This was an easy Friday, which I completed without any cheating.

The puzzle had a crime and confession kind of vibe in some of the entries and in other of the clues, with OWNS UP TO, ITS A LIE, Validate, Deny, MEA [Culpa], NARC, AGENT, DEA, CONS, EATS AT, TELLS ON. Or maybe I just watch too many police procedurals.

@Andrea, I was also taken with the cluster of F's.

jae 2:52 AM  

@andrea -- Those Fs had me briefly looking for some sort of hidden theme, alas, not to be.

JaxInL.A. 3:10 AM  

STOP lookING AT ME fits just perfectly, too. Plopped it in from just the TM at the end (I did the SE first). It wasn't too hard to fix the look to a stare.

Mostly I'm thrilled that I did a Nothnagel Friday in around 40 minutes! Lighting fast for me. Sorry about the cold, Rex. Without it I feel sure you would have rated this as easy.

I haven't been here much this week. Did someone already point out the nifty link to the Acme interview at Cruciverb? Apparently it's in Flash because I can't see it, but most of you probably can.

lit.doc 3:21 AM  

@acme, @CoffeeLvr, and @jae, do I understand y'all correctly that this puzzle was a cluster F?

I skip M-W 4:56 AM  

Hands up for stop looking at me, add on, etc.

Did finish, but I protest that a rolf is not a good rubdown, but something very different (and more painful) , and isn't a crawl the thing at the bottom of the CNN screen, not at all like the scroll of movie credits?

However, in 1969, foolishly feeling wealthy, I had a suit, blue pinstripe, made in London by the Beatle's tailor, the same cut of suit as they were wearing in various ways, on the album cover, as they're crossing Abbey Road. I gave it away twenty years later, by which time I had outgrown it.

davko 5:43 AM  

A colorful puzzle devoid of hackneyed clues and replete with fresh, satisfying answers.

Didn't know STANDING O (15A) was part of the vernacular, but okay, I get it. Is this common usage?

Love that David has now joined Jack and Robert in the pantheon of FROST clues.

@Tobias Duncan -- Hear, hear to best in months, though liked last Friday's a lot too (despite its off-putting esoterica).

shrub5 5:58 AM  

@RP: Invariably get a cold after I fly -- makes me want to wear a mask or a paper bag over my head or....something. Many a trip spoiled because of this.

Finished but had the erroneous GLUTEs which left me with GAsNSAY as a cross. Knew something was wrong but just could not see GAINSAY nor the plural GLUTEI.

Many writeovers; navy before TEAL, nUde before TUTU, teaM to SWUM and SsnS to STDS. Favorites were GAME SEVEN, AWOL and LOW PH.

@CoffeeLvr: had the same 'crime story' feeling.

An EPIC puzzle, Mike N. I'm getting off my GLUTEI to deliver a STANDING O.

MaryBR 7:32 AM  

Hands up for EXemPT and addon. Am also suffering from a head cold which also gave me sub-conscious for self-conscious as well as Dali for Degas (kept trying to squish "clock" into four letters). Nevertheless, finished with a very fast for me Friday time (22 min). Toe holds were EDO (finally remembered it from all those other crosswords!), BOSSANOVA, UPCS, and FROST. SE went down quickly, followed by NE and SW. Took a little longer to firm up NW (GAMESEVEN was a big aha moment halfway in that was a big help) and finally center, where UPTILT still strikes me as a little off somehow.

SethG 7:48 AM  

Tiger, seeds, rinds, and atop, among other things, made the NW especially really really slow. And I had LAMA initially.

Nice that it's near CRAWLS, but SWUM is a really ugly word. LOWPH would be one, too, if it were a word.

Bam.

joho 8:11 AM  

I give this puzzle a STANDINGO!

Such active, color phrases like when the captain says, "STOPSTARINGATME." "AYEAYESIR!"

Loved SNEEZEAT, too, and ZIRCON.

SE was the most difficult for me getting GAINSAY at last after fixing GLUTEI. Actually my solving progression today was eerily close to @Rex's, change by change.

This was the easiest Nothnagel puzzle I can remember but that fact certainly didn't take away from the pleasure ... in the end this made me happy.

Just like ABBEYROAD. If ever I'm down this album is sure to lift my spirits.

Feel better, Rex!

David 8:42 AM  

Marvelous puzzle, not overly difficult and flowed beautifully. The two keys for me were getting the two crossing Bs for ABBEY ROAD in the NW, and taking a guess on BOSSA NOVA with no crosses in the SE - both paid off.

Still, I first had GAMES OVER over GAME SEVEN in that NW, which gave me ORD for "It makes a lot of connections". Shoulda known there would have to be a ? or "in a way" for that to work. Figured it out eventually, knowing LAMA just had to be right. SW and NE pretty easy, love THE SAUCE, STANDING O and AYE AYE SIR. In fact each of the 4 quadrants had terrific 9 letter answers.

acme 8:44 AM  

lit.doc
fffffffunny!

jberg 8:49 AM  

I had some of Rex's writeovers, plus I started with ThrOw (as in throw in) for TAG ON - a phrase I've never encountered before, by the way. Still, an excellent puzzle.

Now I'm off to figure out who Acme's friend is, so I can hack her computer now that I know the password.

jackj 9:06 AM  

I have seen blog commenters in the past complain that they had been "Nothnageled" when they couldn't finish a tough themeless by today's constructor.

If they were to employ that "word" today it would be reordered to mean that they had been treated to one of the most intelligent, clever, accessible and enjoyable Times Friday puzzles of recent memory.

There is only one entry that prompts a chiding "tsk tsk", UPTILT, but that mini-beef vaporizes when SNEEZEAT, STOPSTARINGATME, THESAUCE, et al show themselves and we are finally treated to a very deserved, show-stopping, STANDING O.

Great, great puzzle, Mike!

Lindsay 9:15 AM  

Flew through this which quite surprised, as Mike Nothnagel usually humiliates me. Actually, I didn't fly through the NW as I couldn't figure out how to make GAME SEVEN cross with geode.

Especially like the zippy ZIRCON corner.

evil doug 9:26 AM  

Irish rocker wannabe Yoko O'No.

"Ransom of Chief,Red" author Henry, O.

O in "The Story of O". O, baby....!

Evil

hazel 9:30 AM  

For some reason STOPSTARINGATME reminded me of this fantastic John Prine song, Quit Hollerin at Me, with lyrics that are pure gold:

You don’t have to tell the neighbors
A little silence ain’t no sin
They already think my name is
Where in the hell you been?
Louder, louder, louder, louder, louder
Constantly
Quit hollerin’ at me
Quit hollerin’ at me

to the extent that that one association took me back to a JP concert from maybe a decade ago - ahh the smell of stale beer, my madeleine.....

Not to discount the actual puzzle, which was practically a pitch-perfect Friday.

GAINSAY is kind of a cool word to see, but I don't think I have heard it used (nor, for that matter, would want to). Similar to YACHTIE in that regard. According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, its the sole survivor "of a once common prefix" [Weekley], which was used to form such now-obsolete compounds as gain-taking "taking back again," gainclap "a counterstroke," gainbuy "redeem," and gainstand "to oppose." I would not bet on its continued survival.....

PuzzleNut 9:40 AM  

Had a few wrong answers that kept things interesting, but overall my first instinct was usually right. Goes to show how a few good guesses can tip a puzzle from Difficult to Easy.
My drunk hit THESkids and addON hinted at deltas for muscles.
Last letter was changing GLUTtI to GLUTEI. STANDING O was probably my favorite answer, although LOW PH was a smiler as well.

John V 9:43 AM  

Well, as an older friend said to me many years ago, "Johnny, some days you just can't do nuttin'" This was one of them. I see the answers here and all I can offer is a minor kvetch that they could not have been mine.

I know; I'll blame it on a) first day of autumn and b)fog/barometer. Yeah. That's it.

Can't even blame it on my pencil.

On to Saturday.

Badir 10:26 AM  

I thought this was really easy--in fact, it was my Friday PR! Part of that, though, was avoiding all the traps Rex fell into. I waited on LAMA/guru for crosses. I figured the anatomy would have the Latin plurals. The only real missteps I had were sEEdS for PEELS and trying to put some abbreviation for T-bill or such for STDS.

@Rex, I guess I don't mind ROLF, since long before I was doing crosswords, I had a friend with a shoulder injury (from skiing with me :( ) who would go get ROLFed every week. I'd say, "How's Rolf this week?" to him.

captcha: culkedis: what an Italian says about his leaky bathtub

quilter1 10:40 AM  

Rinds to seeds to PEELS. I also added On and worked the GLUTEs. But I finished and enjoyed it. A really good puzzle with many fun answers. Thanks, Mike.

It took me awhile to see LOW PH instead of "loaf" as I kept thinking of the mother (starter) of vinegar, and that it had to be some derivation of that. Over thinking, indeed.

Erik 10:49 AM  

How about a little...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyVu4aUvfBE

Two Ponies 11:01 AM  

Mike N.'s puzzles usually defeat me but not today. It was lots of fun. Only minor nit is Tag On.
I have only heard &/or used
Tack On.
Most fun aha was low Ph. Clever.

Lindsay 11:04 AM  

@PuzzleNut ---- a "smiler"?

Coming soon to a puzzle near you.

Mel Ott 11:13 AM  

Very, very nice Friday puzzle. Just challenging enough to give the brain cells a bit of a workout.

Minimum of proper names. Some really interesting clues that others have pointed out. Minimum of annoying crappy fill - one exception, two foreign language song answers, both easily gettable.

ERES TU is becoming a throwdown for 6-letter foreign language song answers. Can we retire this thing?

My drunk hit THE SKIDS before he hit THE SAUCE. It's usually the other way around.

Evan 11:14 AM  

STANDINGO was probably my biggest hang-up while solving. It took me every single crossing before I could solve it, and I couldn't even see how it was supposed to be phrased when I filled it in. What's a STAN DINGO? Is that the dingo that Stan Laurel used to approve of Oliver Hardy's choices? How do you STAND IN GO? Is that Monopoly terminology? Eventually I saw it when I just took it as the word STANDING with O following it.

GEODE was my first thought as well, but because I was only 50% confident in it, and because I saw the SABER right beneath it, that made me like GEODE even less, so I avoided that trouble spot. My best toehold was ZIRCON, which I got right off the C with CONS, and that helped everything fly along in the northeast corner.

Well played, Mike Nothangel. A very enjoyable puzzle, and one of my faster Friday times to boot.

Evan 11:34 AM  

Whoops, correction: Well played, Mike Nothnagel.

chefbea 11:50 AM  

Hand up for seed, glutes and add on. Never heard the word rolf!!!

GenJoneser 12:20 PM  

A manageable Friday leaves me feeling good. Thanks Mike Nothnagel. Hand up for LOOKING AT ME and GLUTES.
Oh, and my drunk hit THE FLOOR! Happy Autumn all.

retired_chemist 12:23 PM  

HTG, especially in the SF area. LEROUX and the Oxford motto were unfamiliar. STOP LOOKING AT ME SNAFUed the middle - could not see the correct alternative. The SLAM version was les mots du jour in our back seat when my daughters were young. It gave me CLOSER for CRAWLS @ 29A.

A nice puzzle in any case. Thanks, Mr. Nothnagel.

Lewis 12:24 PM  

Getting rolfed is my conception of hell. It is no fun.

This puzzle just seemed to open piece by piece to me like yesterday. Both days to me felt easier than usual. Does this bode ill for tomorrow?

Nick 1:02 PM  

I thought I was SUCH a genius for getting "THREEQUEL" for series ender. Then I realized I was totally off.

treedweller 1:04 PM  

I really wanted BUFF to be a good rubdown, but was already sure it was an aficionado. I still looked hard at that area trying to figure out which was wrong.

Like others, I was thrown by --WPH and the ---AE plural for a while. The L was my last letter and it still took a second to parse the vinegary answer.



For no good reason I can see, I was much faster on this than most Fridays (those few I even finish), both timewise and based on percentile compared to other applet solvers.
good times.

that mullen guy 1:09 PM  

Looks like I'm in the minority regarding STANDING O. Where other see cleverness, I still see a force fit.

Teresa in Detroit 1:55 PM  

I agree rolfing is much more than a "rub down", but a good rolfer knows how to "massage" without pain.

I hit all of the snags that Rex did. We must have the same cold. Enjoyed the puzzle through the haze.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

A prescient puzzle, considering the recent nytimes article in which the U.S OWNEDUPTO issuing STDS in Guatemala after GAINSAYing for many years. Not quite worthy of a STANDINGO, however.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/health/14syphilis.html?ref=policy

Campesite 3:13 PM  

Another Standing O from me for this puzzle. Dude is good.

Sarah 3:38 PM  

It was a tough go at the beginning, with a couple of Googles to get me started, but then smooth solving from there on in. STANDINGO wasn't as cool as yesterday's ESPERANTO, but all the clues felt like they had a reason to be there, rather than just being fill. I love BOSSANOVA as an answer (all those vowels!) and as a musical style, especially as rocked by the lovely Ella Fitzgerald. All in all a nice, chewy Friday puzzle.

archaeoprof 4:17 PM  

Stumped by this one for a long time. The puzzle could have said, "STOPSTARINGATME"!

then, BAM, it all fell quickly.

Liked GAMESEVEN.

sanfranman59 4:20 PM  

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

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

Fri 23:05, 25:47, 0.90, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 11:44, 12:45, 0.92, 39%, Easy-Medium

jp 4:31 PM  

Solid puzzle. Not much progress initially but with a bit of googling the solution took shape quickly thereafter. Had ULNAS instead of ULNAE and could not figure out LOW PH. But otherwise solved everything.
I rarely get to complete a Friday puzzle even with google. Therefore I must grade this one as easy.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

I'm just happy to finish a Friday; even if I did have to sleep on it.

Plus, what's up with some solvers using Google? Don't you do that only when you cop to a DNF? Doesn't that just invalidate the solve?

Maybe it's generational.

Matt 5:14 PM  

I can't say enough good things about this puzzle. I usually do my Fridays and Saturdays at work during the following week when I have down time, but I started today's this afternoon and stayed to finish it because I was enjoying it so much. After having only SABER (which I originally spelled like the Buffalo NHL team) and OYE on the first go-round, I poked my way into the SW with FLUFF and FROST and got through that fairly easily, and then I was off. Originally thought that BOSSANOVA was correct but didn't want to commit to it at first. Love SNEEZEAT and the hopefully soon-to-be timely GAMESEVEN, what with the baseball playoffs starting soon. Most of all I appreciate the fairness of everything: a minimum of names and abbreviations, and only one foreign language answer. Bravo, Mr. Nothnagel.

william e emba 5:46 PM  

I had allOW before ENDOW for 11D "Grant" and SsnS before STDS for 52D "Some govt. issuances". Worse, I had addiN before TAGON, like others, but then I just filled in the muscles with DELTAS, not bothering to doublecheck the clue. So the center took much longer than it should have.

The oddest challenge for me was that I read 24D as "Asian spirit guide", not spiritual. I was looking at -A-A, thinking of some crosswordese spook, and when that wasn't working, forced myself to figure out the Latin word -EA (genitive? The Lord is light of ??, no, adjective, The Lord is ?? light, ah, MEA!) and then forced myself to recall Gaston's name (off of -EROU-, so it wasn't that hard). Then I stared at LAMA, thinking it looked a lot more familiar than any Asian spook was allowed to look, then one-ell lama dawned on me. I hate it when that happens.

michael 8:11 PM  

Wonderful puzzle -- one of the most enjoyable I've done in quite a while, I was stuck briefly at the end because for some reason I remembered Abbey Lane rather than Abbey Road. I am sure that there's a famous Beatles song ___ Lane and will google this immediately after writing this.

michael 8:12 PM  

Penny Lane...Doh

Mike Nothnagel 8:24 PM  

Hi everyone,

Thanks (as always) for the kind comments about the puzzle today. Good to know folks enjoyed it!

MN

JenCT 9:47 PM  

Worked at this off & on all day, but finally finished.

I thought STANDING O meant something...different...

skua76 9:49 PM  

Much more fun than yesterday! And I finished it too. I started to throw down GAMESEVEN and GAINSAY with very few crosses, but decided to wait a bit. The NE was the last to fall, couldn't see STANDINGO for awhile. STOP STARING AT ME!

Thanks Mike, and thanks for stopping by.

@JaxInLA, that video of acme is great, thanks for sharing!

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/working-in-black-and-white-literally-with-penguins-pianos-and-crosswords/245449/

JenCT 9:50 PM  

Oh, and I liked BUFF, ZIRCON, AYEAYESIR, and LOWPH.

sanfranman59 10:31 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 7:26, 6:51, 1.08, 81%, Challenging
Tue 8:03, 8:54, 0.91, 23%, Easy-Medium
Wed 13:27, 11:51, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Thu 12:03, 19:13, 0.63, 2%, Easy (2rd lowest median solve time of 119 Thursday puzzles)
Fri 23:35, 25:48, 0.91, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:40, 1.05, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:11, 4:35, 0.91, 21%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:30, 5:51, 1.11, 81%, Challenging
Thu 6:13, 9:22, 0.66, 3%, Easy (3rd lowest median solve time of 119 Thursday puzzles)
Fri 11:28, 12:45, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium

oldbizmark 11:29 PM  

best puzzle i have had the pleasure of working on in quite some time. tough - especially the northeast -which led to a DNF but I am okay with that. standing O was the nail in the coffin for me. had "user" instead of "narc" but was trying to make "word order" fit when i gave up. oh well. good times.

mac 1:55 AM  

Fabulous puzzle, and one of the best Fridays this year.
I love MN puzzles usually, and this was no exception.

Anonymous 6:27 PM  

There is no such informal show of approval called a "standing O"! Does "O" stand for "ovation"? Or is it the "O" you make with your thumb and forefinger to indicate you like something? Nothnagel made it up and Shortz went along with it.

william e emba 7:10 PM  

Dear Anonymous: Google before saying something that stupid. You would have learned that "Standing O" has an entry in the on-line Merriam-Webster dictionary. They date the expression to 1975.

Another Google hit has the lyrics to a Mariah Carey song "Standing O". The lyrics, by the way, including the phrase "standing O" and the full phrase "standing ovation".

And frankly, I have never heard the phrase myself until this puzzle, and I resisted putting it in forever. But it's clearly legit.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

2d was a gimme here in Syndication Land, where GAME SEVEN will be played tonight. This following what had to be the greatest World Series game ever played.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Loved AMBLE across ABBEY ROAD, which is not only what the Beatles did on the cover, but what every tourist does in that crosswalk. Some day it'll be me.

The Zappa fan in me would like to see an alternate version of this grid with TWEEZERS at 6a crossing ZIRCON.

@Matt 5:14 PM - Timely? As timely as it gets, thanks to one day of rain. And yes, game six was truly EPIC.

@acme - remind me never to tell you my password!

GAS-N-SAY: rejected alpha version of the SEE-N-SAY

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Noname
@Anonymous 9:56 a.m.
Gimme for me too after last night's nail biter!Then my son, who lives in St. Louis, called this a.m. and, offhand, said "I've just been dilly-dallying around." Couldn't believe he said that after yesterday's puzzle!
Also in syndication land

Waxy in Montreal 5:52 PM  

Wow, kudos to Mike Nothnagel for his Syndicate Synchonicity - even if unintentional - concerning tonight's WS GAME SEVEN. Spooky, especially this close to Halloween.

captcha = honshet (new portmanteau word for honest sh*t?)

Dirigonzo 9:14 PM  

It's almost 9:00PM Eastern, (8:00 Central, 6:00 Pacific -why do they never list Mountain?) and I'm still staring at balnk squares in the NW corner because having skinS at 18a kept me from seeing ABBEYROAD, which I should have know without the crosses - my bad, and a very good Friday puzzle.

From RPDTNYTCP on this date 5 years ago:
- "Solving time: about 40 minutes, 20 of which were spent staring at an empty SE corner"
- "And the Cardinals won the World Series, thereby redefining the word BATHOS. So good for them." GAMESEVEN has yet to be played in 2011, so we'll see. (@Waxy, that's even spookier, don't you think?)
- "To understand the high on which I started this puzzle, consider that UXORIAL was the First word I thought of when I saw "wifely," and that when I crosschecked it, its correctness was immediately borne out by the manifest rightness of EXHIBIT A. If I can pull 7- and 8-letter answers out of thin air, really, what can't I do? [I'd like to take this moment to thank my wife for being UXORIAL, and apologize if I have been insufficiently UXORIOUS]"
- "What happens when you a. know almost nothing about opera, b. have recently been reading Watership Down, and c. try to do a David Quarfoot puzzle? Answer: nothing. Nothing happens, and it keeps happening."
- "Ultimately got this right, but had to Google it" (Even Early-Rex had trouble with Saturday puzzles.)
- There were 3 comments including the first (I think) appearance of @DQ.

Red Valerian 11:29 PM  

@ JenCT: LOL.

@Dirigonzo: nice to hear that Rex was googling on that Saturday five years ago!

Thought this puzzle quite easy, except for the south east, as I got bogged down not seeing GAINSAY (on account of having GLUTEs). A bit puzzled that 1D was not clued as an abbreviation, but, hey, it's Friday. Though it didn't seem like one. Still, nice to finish!

Anonymous 3:10 AM  

Hey, Cardinals again, game seven! Congrats, finally, to Pujols. Way to go, again, LaRussa. What a great series by both teams. I hope Texas can say, 'third time's a charm'.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

I do not like UPTILT. If something is tilted one side "will" be "up". What about downtilt? UPTILT is redundant. It's like betterer.

OK, I feel better.

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

Spacecraft here. I have one lone major quibble, so let's get it out of the way. ROLF was filled in entirely on crosses, but I didn't recognize the word. After completion (a Friday, with no mistakes and no Googles!!) I Googled it. Nothing but a list of proper names. Then I saw "rolfing" in one of the blogs here, so I looked that up. Wikipedia says: "Rolfing is a registered service mark of a school of soft tissue manipulation founded by Ida Pauline Rolf in the 1950's." Now I suppose that one can infer the root verb "ROLF" from the trademark "Rolfing," but nowhere can I find that as a stand-alone word. It is not listed in the Scrabble dictionary. I think the clue needed to be for the person, such as "Massage innovator."
Now, to the puzzle. I was without access to research that day, but did have lots of waiting time. Filled in my gimmes at OYE and EDO, then dared to guess HOST for "multitude" (just couldn't think of any other four-letter entry for that). Then I stared.
Then I put away that sick-looking grid with three measly little words in it and took a nap.
Picked it up later. Wanted THESKIDS, since 40d seemed plural--but then so did 45d, so I held off. Went back to the SE, and finally hit on the meaning of "mate" in the clue for 32d, and the SE fell in, leaving me with ___NSAY. I knew GAINSAY, from 19th century English Lit--one of those oldies that nobody uses any more--and from just that G I thought about ????????INGATME. Wasn't sure if it was going to be quit or stop, looking or staring, but I went ahead and inked in the last seven letters. That revealed the south, and from there I knew the skids was wrong--it had to be THESAUCE. Personally, I like my first answer better--but the damn thing won't fit. FROST was an aha! moment, but I struggled with 44d. Had L_WPH, and thought it was some kind of onomatopoeia: I guess vinegar would have the "quality" of making you ralph, or "LAWPH?" "LEWPH?" etc. Only much later, when I revisited the SW and found a blank square there, did I hit on LOW PH. *groan*
It went on like this, section by section. In the NE, hand up for not spacing STANDINGO correctly in my mind. Was this some dance, like the fandango (ah Procol Harum, how quickly they forget!)?
On to the NW. Even after mentally placing two B's in 3d, I still thought it was some album from ABBA (yeah, I know, the timeline's off, but I gotta tell ya, I'm TERRIBLE with timelines). Then the AVON lady finally rang a doorbell in my stupid brain, which threw out the GURU and installed LAMA--and also yielded the incredibly timely GAMESEVEN. So then 18a wasn't either SKINS or RINDS, but PEELS (may I just take a moment in honor of the fabulous Diana Rigg? Thank you.)!
And at last, the piece de resistance: ABBEY ROAD--of course, you incredibly dense dolt! I could not believe that answer didn't lay itself down right away! Such are the mysterious workings--and sometime NON-workings--of the human brain. But I did it--in ink, with no cheats and no writeovers! Please turn your heads while I beat my chest; you really don't wanna see that.

toterefs: Well, Zebra, the next time Troy Polamalu is coming full steam at you...duck!

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