Glassware ovens / SAT 11-5-11 / 19th dynasty's founder / Sister of Nephthys / 2004-06 Haitian PM / Ulysses star 1967

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Constructor: Kurt Mueller

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: LEHRS (46D: Glassware ovens) —
(engineering) A long oven in which glass is cooled and annealed after being formed. Also spelled lear; leer.
• • •

Wow, that was unpleasant. I was nowhere near this puzzle's wavelength, and almost nothing made me go "wow" or "cool" or clever. Just not for me. At all. I have to say that the construction seems really shoddy right around the SW corner. If you are going to stack one 15 on top of another, maybe don't choose words that give you --HR- in one of the crosses. LEHRS is very obscure, and then there's a crud fill domino effect with ATHOL (ugh, terrible fill—a little town that only northeasterners are going to have heard of) (45A: Massachusetts town near the New Hampshire border) and then some Haitian P.M. who was in power for a whole two years (36D: 2004-06 Haitian P.M. = LATORTUE). Does his name mean "torture," because ... that seems apt (I think it means "turtle," actually). Oh, and LECT (41A: Symposium offering: Abbr.)—also not so good, also located in that cluster*$@# of a corner. RAMSESI is ugly (37A: 19th dynasty's founder). You would never say that a ROADSIDE "holds" a "shoulder" (37D: Shoulder holder). MIR went around an ORB? Really? Really? You're calling Earth an ORB now, Shakespeare? (15D: It was last inhabited in 2000). And LMN and ALI are such awesome fill that you want to call attention to them with this KO nonsense? I'm guessing there are lots of people who don't see WARLORDs as particularly "minor" (18A: Minor despot). Wahoo is an ELM? Do the bobolinks live there? A torpedo is a sandwich? AN E? (52D: The 4th of November?) I'm supposed to accept that indefinite article? ANE is a suffix and that's all it is. That's All It Is. Dear lord. I've heard of NEO-conservative, but not a NEO-liberal (56D: Liberal leader?). A county in Maryland? (9A: Queen ___ (Maryland county) = ANNE'S) See, the ridiculous clues are on the crappy fill. This is always a bad combo.

I liked GOLD CARD and ALFRED HITCHCOCK and, to a lesser extent, GRILLED / CORN (Street fair fare). Otherwise, this was tough and unpleasant, my least favorite puzzle combo.

Bullets:

  • 1A: First name in eroticism (ANAIS) —also, half of a perfume name.


  • 14A: Relative of a bobolink (BALTIMORE ORIOLE) — I guess if you can't make your clues clever, you just look up some ridiculous name in a bird book.
  • 21A: Title role for Omar Sharif or Benicio Del Toro (CHE) — one of a handful of little gimmes strewn about the puzzle. I think Sharif has been used to clue "CHE!" (1969) in late-week puzzles before.
  • 44A: Popular tech news site (CNET) — seems puzzleworthy to me, but I realize that I very rarely see it. Maybe it's seen as too off-the-radar for most NYT solvers to be commonplace. 
  • 59A: Gives a "Yoo-hoo!" on Facebook (POKES) — another gimme. I never understood the POKE function. If I want to get someone's attention, I just write on that person's wall or use Direct Message. I think the "POKE" function was invented and became popular only because it sounds funny / sexual. Seems useless.
  • 26D: Tony's boss on "Who's the Boss?" (ANGELA) — one of the very few times today where I thought "Now you're speaking my language!" 



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

100 comments:

Tobias Duncan 12:16 AM  

Wow did this puzzle ever kick living s#*% out of me.DNEFCCTF.
But you know who didnt get there arse handed to them? Our buddy Joon!And hes giving half the money to disaster relief? Rarely have I felt so proud of someone I dont even know.

There is stuff I still do not get even though I cheated my ass off on this puzzle.To tired to list them so I will go to bed and hope someone esle is feeling dense and asks the questions for me.

Michaela 12:47 AM  

ATHOL is one of the towns in the Dr. Demento mainstay "Entering Marion," but I had to get half the crosses before I got that one.

I feel no compunctions about googling stuff for a puzzle like this. I figure I'll never do these competitively so all's fair.

MaharajaMack 12:56 AM  

Hard is usually good. They make you grin. This was not hard. This was bad. This was a puzzle constructed by database query. I'm glad I wasn't the only one pi$$ed off by it.

Clark 1:04 AM  

I got Naticked by ATHOL. But the cool thing is, I just happened to be watching—for the first time since, oh, about 1935—an episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK Presents.

jae 1:09 AM  

Definitely not as smooth as yesterday's PB. Med over all for me with the top half tough and the bottom easier, except, of course, for the cluster $&@! Rex alluded to in SW. The only reason I finished this was that I vaguely remembered ATHOL from a previous puzzle after running the alphabet to jog my memory.

Dead FAINT seems iffy.

19a Oh, Egyptian not Chinese.

I'm with Rex on NEO liberal and the ANE clue is really odd. Typically the answer is some pronounceable version of the letter not a wheel of fortune choice.

The relatively easy 15s (especially 3 and 11d) helped open this one up.

r.alphbunker 1:24 AM  

Googled ANNES, LATORTUE, ANOTHERFINEMESS, ABOW, OSHEA, RAMSESI

As the Stranger told the Dude, "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you"

Don Byas 1:40 AM  

A Neoliberal is a Democrat who is too much like a Republican i.e. every Democrat since McGovern got his ass handed to him in 1972.

Took over 30 min due to the tortuous corner.
I know Duvalier, Aristide and Rene Preval since he was in the news during the earthquake. Never heard of LATORTUE.
ATHOL crossing LEHRS!? Google Maps says ATHOL to Natick is an hour and half drive.

[1960's-70's foe] NORTH VIETNAMESE. Foe to whom? ALI "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong"

Louis Armstrong began his career on CORNET with King Oliver but soon switched to the trumpet to play in Fletcher Henderson's big band.

Gill I. P. 1:55 AM  

This is the first Sat. I've finished in a zillion years and nobody likes it?....:-(
There were a few answers I didn't care for though: 24D EENSEE? Can we get weensee and teensee as well?
I had arm for ALI and misspelled OASHEA as Oshey. I figure applying chrism could be ynoint. Hell, why not?
I do have an EENSEE, weensee issue with Frittata alternative(49A) being a crepe. My crepes look like a squished pancake and my fritatta looks like a yummy pan pizza.
Well, off to bed and will wonder why SIMON is a kinsman of Jesus.

Wade 1:59 AM  

Maybe the first time I've finished a puzzle and didn't realize it. I was done and kept looking at ONFAMILIARTERMS and couldn't see anything there. I got the ATHOL/LEHRS cross wrong, too. I went with S.

I thought Kinsman of Jesus might be some Spanish hijinks, then had the S and N and was tempted by SATAN. (Get it?) How was Simon a kinsman? Cousin or something? Was he the one they refer to as "Simon called Peter"? And if he was called Peter why didn't they just call him Peter? Or do they mean they used to call him Peter and don't want to confuse people with the switch so they're having a sort of slow rollout of the new nomenclature? If so, let's just call him Peter now. His Simon days are long gone.

Grilled corn? What a shitty street fair.

Still, unfair crossing at 46 aside, I didn't feel the hatred others feel for this puzzle. Many of the clues were a notch off of clever or sensible, like listening to somebody with a purported "dry sense of humor" (a euphemism for "asshole" most of the time) go on for too long, but it met the Saturday test for me.

angela clamor michaels 3:45 AM  

yay wade! "Shitty street fair"! hee hee hee hee hee :)

@Gill IP that's EENSIE...the star is TIN, not TeN.

I had a few "ahas"! SALAMIS, ANOTHERFINEMESS, DEADFAINT and I learned Louis Armstrong played the CORNET!

DIdn't Google, so I just struggled for half an hour, but had fun trying to think of a man's name that would be one thing one way and another backwards, that was genuinely fun for me
(then again, I'm doing the puzzle Friday night at midnight...so...)

Also had fun trying to imagine what role both Sharif and Del Toro played which was ironic, bec I constructed a puzzle tonight using CHE as one of my theme entries, but didn't get it till almost the end.

And ALFREDHITCHCOCK appeared slowly, almost like he used to walk into his profile... I had _COCs (But realized I had POst instead of POKE) so one I envisioned it must be _COCK emerging, the whole thing fell.
(@dk feel free to conjure all sorts of rude jokes for my envisioning _COCK, but keep them to yourself!) ;)

I wanted ANdreA for ANGELA. (OK, @Evil Doug, you may take one gentle uncalled for swipe...)
In my defense, I am called Angela at least once a week. I also respond to Adrienne and almost any A-name ('cept please don't call me an ATHOL).

The only thing I got without prompting was SECURITYDEPOSIT, which I expect to never see back from my land/war-lord/archnemesis, The Evil Mr. Fong...who, unlike the NORTHVIETNAMESE, has been my foe for the 1990s-2000s, now into our third decade.

Gareth Bain 6:47 AM  

ATHOL could've been playwright Fugard, I may be biased, but he's gotta be puzzleworthy? "Bobolink" is a perfectly reasonable bird in my book, but otherwise, yeah...

jberg 7:35 AM  

Wow, a pretty profane bunch of comments! So I'll go ahead with this Massachusetts joke. We used to a governor named Peabody, who wasn't particularly popoular; so the joke was that there were two towns in Massachusetts named after him, Peabody and Marblehead. It pretty quickly became three towns, with the third being 45A.

I did like many of the 15s - not only ALFRED HITCHCOCK, but also SECURITY DEPOSIT and ANOTHER FINE MESS. As for NORTH VIETNAMESE, even if you take it as "foes of the USA" one side of the debate would have said "VIETNAMESE people" - NORTH was strictly a right-wing position.

But enough politics. XED? SALAMIS? I would only put an S on the end if I were talking about whole sausages, and I can't imagine putting more than one of those into a sandwich.

I wanted Sds for SLA, and spent too much time at 27 D thinking about astronauts and bicycle racers before Louis popped into my consciousness.

I've never heard of an ACDC outlet - appliances, yes. And I had to read @Rex before I parsed ANE as AN E; I'd already rejected EEE, since there was no particular reason to spell the sound with three letters as opposed to 2, 4, or 5.

@Don Byas, that's one kind of neoliberal. The other kind is the economists (now dominant) who want to leave everything to the free market; the people who run the IMF.

I kept thinking I would have to look up some of the obscure names to finish, but somehow I got through it without doing so.

JimD 8:30 AM  

I managed to finish with no wrong letters but it was like driving a nail with your head. You might get it done, but it's not very satisfying and it gives you a headache.

Blue Stater 8:32 AM  

Of course I have to add to the store of Athol jokes since I lived there once. Athol, Mass., known in Roman times as Anus Mundi, is the northern terminus of the Alimentary Canal (Route 202), so named because it runs from Belchertown to Athol (202 actually runs a lot further than that at both ends, but it would ruin the gag).

I agree, though: ATHOL is Natick on steroids -- and crossed with LATORTUE? Puh-leeze.

I'm with Michaela on googling without compunction, and have done so without remorse ever since the puzzles started to go off the deep end (like today's) some years back.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

The joke about Governor Peabody usually includes four towns: Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.

Glimmerglass 8:55 AM  

Well, Rex got out of the wrong side of bed today (last night, I guess). I don't know what he means by "wow" and "cool," but any hard puzzle (and this one was hard) that I can finish is cool with me and a wow-I-did-it experience. Wrote in ATHOL with no crosses. just because of all the jokes. (Lowell and Lawrence didn't fit.) I agree that some of the fill was lame, but this was a decent puzzle. I don't get grumpy when Saturday takes me a long time; it's what I hope for (if I finish or almost finish in the end). I had trouble in the center. I had "fairy" for 28A (I was thinking of Tinkerbell), because I had "leaner" for 8D. That left me "yeary" for 29D and "gal" for 6A (quite a stretch). The definition for dead FAINT, when I finally sorted out the crosses, still seemed off, as did the one for ORB at 16D. I thought all the long answers were fair and clever.

MaryBR 8:58 AM  

Southwest corner of ugh got me too. Was stuck with LAT-RTUE, ATH--, and -EHRS when I gave up and googled. A good hard Saturday I will put aside and come back to, getting a little deeper foothold each time. Today I knew no amount of ruminating was going to get me any further!

I also quibble with CREPE as a frittata alternative? Why? Because they're both foreign dishes that can be eaten for breakfast? A frittata is an omelette alternative sure, or some other egg dish. I got the answer no problem; it was obvious after a couple crosses, but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

jackj 9:32 AM  

When the first answer I write in the grid is NOH and that’s way down the grid at 31 across, it’s clear that I’m in for a battle of wits with the constructor.

A rather strange trifecta opened it up for me with the I from PEI and the T from SSTS, (to get SECURITYDEPOSIT), and then, a good guess at the cleverly clued SALAMIS gave me an M which begat NORTHVIETNAMESE as the starboard side’s vertical fifteen.

Those answers took away the initial “pain d’Mueller” and from there on out it was pleasure all the way as the puzzle’s rating to complete dropped from “Impossible” to just “Challenging”.

For anyone who suffered with the original NATICK, ATHOL must have seemed like déjà vu all over again but, for some of us in the Massachusetts contingent, it was a most helpful gimme. (Just a statement of fact, not meant to be salt in the wound.)

It’s hard to believe that this is only Kurt’s third puzzle. He last gave us a clever puzzle a mere 10 days ago with the “ghost” rebus and now with this Saturday and a July 2011 Sunday, he shows he is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

To borrow from Oliver Twist, “Please, sir, I want some more”.

evil doug 9:35 AM  

The Kinsman? They sang "Louie, Louie".

Louie Armstrong didn't sing "Louie, Louie", but good to know he played the grilled cornet at street fairs. I heard Andrea sings "Andrea, Andrea" quite often to the tune of "Louie, Louie". Ari Gold---who surely has a Gold Card---is based on Rahm Emanuel's rich brother, which helps explain why Rahm is an Athol. Ira Glass has a glass jaw that was forged in a lehr, which is why he won't fight Ali. Ramses I got into the condom business after he got tired of his dynasty.

Poke thith thalami, Athol.

Evil

Old School Solver 9:37 AM  

Crossword protocol question: crepe as a frittata alternative? I thought an alternative would have to be in the same ethnicity,style, etc., as the other item, no?

To me, the long answers seemed easier than expected, immediately opening the grid for pretty quick solve.

JenCT 9:39 AM  

@MaryBR: I tried QUICHE as a frittata alternative.

Took me a long, long time, but finally finished.

I happen to like GRILLED CORN....

SethG 9:41 AM  

My first thought at 26D was JUDITH.

Lindsay 9:59 AM  

I'll be more charitable than others, and say this was like the girl with the curl on her forrid. The 15s were very, very good, but the rest of the puzzle was horrid. For the reasons Rex mentioned.

Got hung up where everyone else got hung up, even though I knew ATHOL. Did not know ANGELA, whom I thought might be ANdreA, or after I got ENTAIL, ANeEtA. Yes, I was desparate. Eventually figured out that the CORN must be GRILLED, and the rest clanked into place.

On to the Saturday Stumper.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

re 40AC 'composition of some stars' I prefer ten - as in a perfect 10 - more satisfying thought than tin.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:07 AM  

Did I do the same puzzle? Thought it was kinda easy-medium, fun.

Only one write-over, which slowed me down a bit: Had CORN FRITTER before GRILLED CORN.

I particularly thought 16 D, ORB, was a great Saturday answer!

Bill from FL 10:13 AM  

ATHOL, not surprisingly, is pretty close to NATICK.

31A reminded me of a favorite New Yorker cartoon. A couple is watching a Japanese play and the man asks, "What part of NOH don't you understand?"

Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 AM  

BTW, I was just looking for some info on the Jesus/SIMON connection when I came across this website, not new but new to me:

WEB's New York Times Crossword Solution @ NYTCrossword.com

No critique of style or difficulty, but a lot of info on all significant clues. I'm bookmarking it for future reference.

quilter1 10:26 AM  

Did not like this at all. So much that was too vague in cluing or just wrong. There were a couple of Simons who were disciples of Jesus, but the only kinsman's name I am aware of is James, a brother. A frittata is like an omelet, not a crepe. I won't go on.

Our first BB game of the season is today. Go Bulldogs!

JenCT 10:29 AM  

@Bob K: thanks for that link.

joho 10:34 AM  

Oh, well, I ended up with ATHam/mEHRS. I chose "ham" as in Chatham. That was one ugly crossing.

@Gareth Bain, now that ATHOL I know!

It's funny because I wrote in immediately, ANAIS/ALFREDHITCHCOCK -- loved seeing all of him in the grid -- but then stalled and struggled after that. Old-timey ANOTHERFINEMESS crossing the "creator of much suspense" was nice.

I can't be crazy about a puzzle with a real Natick, but I did like the 15's.

PuzzleNut 10:36 AM  

It looks like I'm in the minority today. Struggled hard, but ultimately finished this one and liked most of it a lot. Figured I'd get come here to find a SUPER EASY rating (normally the case when I finish a Saturday).
ATHOL was only easy because it has been discussed here in the past at great length. SIMON was Jesus's main bud in the Bible, before he changed his name to Peter. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that tried MATTY first. Other misdirects were erIS for ISIS, bankCARD for GOLDCARD, ELk for ELM and tEenIE for EENSIE. SATRAP just wouldn't stretch to 7 letters, but that is my go-to despot.
Give me more of these!!

Tita 10:38 AM  

Day 8 without POWER...

@Gill I. P....
I am totally with you!!!

I am always thrilled when I can finish a Saturday...
In only 2 sittings, with NO googling!


I used to watch reruns of Alfred HITCHCOCK Presents, and read his Mystery Magazine, so that was a gimmee, as was Anaïs

Love all the ATHOL comments. Made me laugh, which is a welcome improvement over shivering while waiting for CL&P! (Have I mentioned lately that I still have no power??)

Golfballman 10:47 AM  

Not to be outdone Michigan once had a govenor named Henry Crapo.

Z 10:51 AM  

@Gareth Bain - Fugard would have made ATHOL a gimme instead of a Natick for me.

Only know BALTIMOREORIOLE as a baseball term, did not realize that it was a breed of it's own. Is there also a St. Louis Cardinal and a Toronto Blue Jay flying around?

Tobias Duncan 10:53 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle Thanks for the link, I will definitely bookmark it but I think it could be done a little better. Here is what he says about 51A


51. Options for building torpedoes : SALAMIS
Salame (note the "e" at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for maybe as long as ten years. The name "salame" comes from "sale", the Italian word for salt, and "-ame", a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word "salami" is actually the Italian plural for "salame".

I know what salami is, what did not now is that a torpedo is a sandwich.

Matthew G. 11:07 AM  

I think you can narrow "northeasterners" to "New Englanders." This New Yorker has never heard of ATHOL.

Hate to pile on with everyone else, but I didn't like this puzzle either. ATHOL/LEHRS may be the worst Natick since the original Natick. Can we ban all Massachusetts towns that aren't Boston or Cambridge from the puzzle?

I think the biggest indication of this puzzle's weakness is that the 15s were so easy and yet almost useless in filling in the rest of the grid. My grid looked like scaffolding for the longest time, with the 15s the frame and hardly anything else filled in. Unlike Rex, I couldn't break through that tough area with ANGELA because I'm not a sitcom fan. That was just a hard, hard slog.

And though I finished, I had an error. Three guesses as to which square, and the first two don't count.

Mel Ott 11:09 AM  

Medium -challenging for me too. Got the bird early on, but had to solve in a clockwise route around the grid to complete the puzzle.

I have several AC outlets and several DC outlets on my boat. Don't think I've ever seen an AC/DC outlet. Can't think of how it would even be possible. Totally separate wiring systems.

Even if you're not a Northeasterner, how could you forget a name like ATHOL? Seems to me we encountered it (and all the jokes) not long ago.

JenCT 11:09 AM  

@Tobias: Torpedo roll

David L 11:13 AM  

Hey, I knew ATHOL because of reading this blog. I wonder if it was a deliberate tease by the constructor.

Many iffy clues, as others have pointed out. I also don't understand ENTAIL = take. As a legal term, entail seems to mean 'impose restrictions on' or something of the sort. In non-legal English, it means 'imply,' loosely speaking. I don't see how you get take out of either of those.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

I thought I was in grave danger and went into a dead FAINT. Came to when I drifted into the south and then found the puzzle easy.

Why do we persist in fighting indigenous people who poseagoug no threat to our interests?

Two Ponies 11:31 AM  

I had the same problems in the SW that most everyone had.
The long answers came easily but the fill? Iffy at best.
Athol sounds like Daffy Duck swearing.
Joon was fantastic last night. And what a kind man as well.

Lindsay 11:38 AM  

@PuzzleNut --- I'm sure you saw that Matty died this week? His obit was in yesterday's paper.

hazel 11:39 AM  

@bobk - i echo the thanks for that link. pretty cool. and @wade i double the laugh for shitty street fare.

that's about the nicest thing i can say about this puzzle and post puzzle experience! at first, i thought it was merely humdrum - a big bag of stale crossword tricks had spilled onto the puzzle. ALFREDHITCHCOCK was nice, admittedly - but then i approached that crap in the SW (insert Rex rant word for word) and it just made me mad. I'm a Fugardist too - one small change and the puzz could have remained humdrum and not memorably crappy.

i also thought HAINTS was a MUCH better answer than FAINTS. I'm sure there is some way to clue HIELD with an obscure language or nonsensical Var. Bag of tricks empty. QED

P.s. the fact that my husband has irritated the stew out of me did not help this solving experience!!!

Campesite 11:53 AM  

I finished, but felt like a total ATHOL.

Masked and Anonymous 12:01 PM  

@31: Har. Good SatMornin', sunshine.

Didn't work much of this one. PuzSpouse got ahold of it; wrung its neck relentlessly until it finally squawked. Her comment: "that [SW corner] was a real ATHOL". Har. Well, at least they got a U in, down there.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Can someone please explain--what is the NATICK reference??

JaxInL.A. 12:18 PM  

@ SanFranMan59, you killed my buzz with your summation of the past week's puzzles (final post yesterday). Here I was feeling like my puzzle skills had improved. Now you tell me that it was just an easy week. Urgh.

Okay, GRILLED CORN is a street food staple here in south L.A., sold on a stick, slathered in a Latino crema sort of like mayo and sprinkled with a Latino cheese sort of like Parmesan. Ooh la la. Not healthy, but very tasty street fair.

As for today's puzzle, I admired and enjoyed the 15s, but like @joho and many others, I can't quite figure how getting so many of them can still leave me saying WTF on so many short fill answers. Can't get up as much bile as @MatthewG, but overall not fun.

I agree with all the comments about obscure small towns in Massachusets, but I'm surprised that there is not more vitriol directed at the crossing LEHRS. Truly WTF. Who knows that kind of esoterica? Glass makers?

Sorry, Kurt, as I really liked your other puzzles, but this one was too much of a mixed bag to satisfy.

JaxInL.A. 12:21 PM  

From Rex's FAQ:
(Recommended reading for all)

NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." Go here for the answers that occasioned my coining this phrase.

how about 12:23 PM  

"What would it take to get this done?"

"What would doing this entail?"

syndy 12:30 PM  

Exactly when I threw down ALFREDHITCHCOCK I expected to open up something-NADA no help at all!A whole lot more WTF than AHA-MIR went around ORB??#$@%not sure the theme to this WASN"T NATICK MASS.

AnnieD 12:33 PM  

I struggled with this one, but finished eventually. Worked hardest on the north side despite Alfred Hitchcock falling right in place.

I agree with prior posts about the cluing being the issue more than the puzzle itself:

o I don't get elm and wahoo
o I don't get Simon as Jesus kin
o I agree about ac/dc outlets not existing though adapters do

I knew Athol though as we would often head north through Mass and when we neared the border would say, "Athol, folks!" (We were desperate to liven up those trips in those days!)

AnnieD 12:34 PM  

Oh, and I agree about the crepe frittata thing...one is a pancake, one is an omelet.

Lewis 12:36 PM  

Agree that it was fun trying to figure out 7D (couldn't do it though without crosses). I never would have finished without Google. I did have some good aha moments. I liked the clue for ELNINO.

Joon was inspiring again last night. Not only his knowledge, but his humility and lack of ego.

Lewis 12:38 PM  

Oh, and Rex, your Shakespeare comment made me laugh out loud.

mac 12:53 PM  

HAha, I thought Simon was one of the Alou boys....

Only knew "Angela" because I saw an ancient rerun in Holland last week. It was so bad. By the way, a lot of people love "Two and a half Men" there.

My favorite clue/answer was the Armstrong/cornet. Tried to figure out what Lance Armstrong could have blown other than his reputation, but a tire didn't fit.

Ari/Ira was easy because Ben Bass once asked this question on facebook (father and brother) and I figured it out.

Not the greatest Saturday puzzle.

archaeoprof 1:13 PM  

DNF and DNC (did not care).

Some puzzles are just too boring to finish.

@don byas: "neo-liberal" refers to devotees of Adam Smith.

Economists are the last people on earth who think human beings are rational.

Oldactor 1:14 PM  

@JaxinLA: Down here in South Texas we sprinkle chili powder on that creamy,cheesy grilled corn. Muy Rico!

quilter1 1:32 PM  

OK, different Jesus. I did wonder.

But as to the biblical Simon, Simon was his given name and Peter was his nickname. It means rock.

And now I can say way to go, Joon. So generous, too.

Mel Ott 1:54 PM  

Re SIMON: Mark 6:3: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon..." (NRSV)

Not Simon Peter. Probably not the other apostle named Simon.

David 1:55 PM  

Shockingly this was an easy-medium for me, as Saturdays go. I've been to ATHOL before, working in the field with one of my old Sales reps (and riding him mercilessly on the pronunciation), and I recall LEHRS from at least one other puzzle, so the SW fell quickly. HITCHCOCK also came easily, which gave me SECURITYDEPOSIT with only a couple of crosses.

Always happy when my son's name is in the puzzle (ARI), and combined with the easy GOLDCARD and BEATEN gave me BALITMOREORIOLE (there is a Bobolink St. in a neighborhood in town called Birdland, so I felt confident there).

I thought I was in big trouble not knowing even one Laurel and Hardy flick, but the one line I do have in my memory from one of them included the 3 word phrase ANOTHERFINEMESS. From there I was home free, even with having no dang idea after I finished why ANE was a correct answer for The 4th of November?.

foodie 2:09 PM  

Rex is right.

And I did not even google, although I cheated by checking if I was correct along the way.

I always think of Confab as confabulate. So, I put LIE, and from that central "I", put down IRA. Of course, the reverse was correct- ARI. Some sort of inverted malapop!

A leader called LA TORTUE is actually worth remembering!! I mean how would you like to follow a turtle?

Oh, and I'm with all of you who complained about that Fritata clue for CREPE. Although the CREPE and the street fair reminds me of this particular street vendor in Paris who sells the best freshly made crepes with butter, lemon and sugar! I really am due for a trip!

Which is probably why it took me forever to stop thinking of VISA as related to travel (ONE ENTRY came to mind before GOLD CARD!)..

foodie 2:21 PM  

Re yesterday, and people bemoaning forgetting a puzzle they had solved (including Andrea who forgot a puzzle she had critiqued)-- here's my optimistic take on it:

I think solving puzzles goes into a special temporary memory bin labeled: For rapid disposal... We need such bins otherwise our brains would be really clogged up with competing information. For example, when I travel and get a hotel room, I remember that room number very clearly for the duration of my stay, and then poof, it's gone. So, it's not ultrashort memory, but it's labeled disposable. Otherwise, it might compete with the number of the next hotel room (Sometimes that does happen and you wind up POKing your card in the wrong door... embarrassing!).

So, the trick is how to remember the useful information that might come in handy again, but forget the details of the puzzle. For me today, ATHOL, LA TORTUE, ANOTHER FINE MESS, CORNET, Bobolink, could all be labeled useful for longer term storage. Not sure how many will actually make it there.

Anyhow, this is how I use my special expertise to keep myself from panicking about my shoddy memory!

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Possible that Anais is for Anais Nin?

John V 3:06 PM  

Dnf. Not even close. Some days are like that.

quilter1 4:10 PM  

@MelOtt Thanks! I had forgotten that. And Mark is my favorite, too. Getting old.

Matthew G. 4:14 PM  

@David:

The 4th letter of November is AN E. Yes, it's terrible, and yes, the indefinite article in the entry makes it worse.

600 4:22 PM  

This puzzle chewed me up and spit me out. Googled RAMSES I (oh, Egypt!), O'SHAY, and LATORTUE. Then I used the check function somewhat more often than @foodie did. Someone here justified such behavior weeks ago by saying at least when we (the cheaters) finish, we've learned something, but I don't know about that. @MaryBR said it best, that a good hard puzzle is worth coming back to and working on; this one was unsolvable for me. Didn't someone say it was like obscure data entries? Sorry, Kurt. Like others, I liked your other puzzles (I loved the one with ghosts) but this one not so much.

I'm so glad some of you mentioned Joon on Jeopardy last night. I immediately stopped looking at the blog and went to youtube to watch the show. I'll set my DVR for the rest of the tournament, at least. Anyway, here's the thing: He was so good I actually felt sorry for his opponents. And ditto to the remarks about what a truly kind and generous man he seems to be.

600 4:27 PM  

@Anonymous, 2:53--I'm quite certain ANAIS refers to Anais Nin. How many other Anaises are there, anyway?

@Mel Ott--I add my thanks for the verse from Mark.

Sparky 4:35 PM  

Managed the top and much of the bottom but coud only think of Babes in Toyland for Laurel and Hardy movie. Complete Natick for Atho-/-ehrs. Kilns went in first. Had liKES. A friend told me hit likes when you want to say hi to someone. I find facebook very confusing. It's too bad scarlet tanager is too short. That I remember from another puzzle with a great picture supplied by JenCT in the blog. I am confabbing.

Joon great. What a guy. I'll be glued to the screen on Monday.

Sparky 4:47 PM  

A tad of advice: Read the FAQ. Read the comments before jumping in. That whole right hand side of the blog is full of good stuff too. Just sayin'.

North Beach 4:57 PM  

Thank you, @foodie, for answering my plea of yesterday so expertly! I like the cut of your jib and I wholeheartedly agree with your temporary memory bin theory, plus it makes me feel better.

Two Ponies 4:57 PM  

@ Bob K, Thanks for the site. Very straight-forward and informative.
Not nearly the fun of Rexville but I did learn the full name of crossworld's favorite architect -
Ieoh Ming Pei. There's a Saturday clue/answer!

Dmullen 6:30 PM  

There's a joke about that town in Massachusetts ... Q: what Governor had two towns named after him?
A: Peabody and the town in this puzzle. Only way I knew the answer, after I guessed the other one that is actually closer to NH.

Rte. 2 guy (actually @stan) 7:05 PM  

Athol has about 1/3 the population of Natick, but get to know it -- it's a crossword-y town. I have no objection to switching to Fugard, though (seems more appropriate to the NYTimes).

Anyway, I found no Naticks in this puzzle -- just some hard stuff. Loved the SECURITY DEPOSIT answer and clue. Ouch, I've been there.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

More on the Crapo name - founder of General Motors and Chevrolet was William Crapo Durant. Insert joke about cars here - though it does seem GM is turning out better cars than it was a few years ago.

chefwen 7:23 PM  

@archaeoprof - Ditto DNF and DNC

@foodie - Lemon, butter, and sugar, YES! The only way to eat a crepe.

Gubernatorial Facts 10:03 PM  

Texas had a governor named James Hogg. He named his daughter Ima. Yeah: Ima Hogg. She was a hardcore patron of the arts. Lots of stuff down here named after Ima Hogg.

frenchie 10:10 PM  

just one more little criticism of this puzzle, from a French speaker. 13 down should really be son, not ses, because the towel or robe or whatever it is at 22 down is singular, "his".

Clark 10:41 PM  

@frenchie -- We would say his and hers towels. Plural. So it's ok.

Tita 10:42 PM  

Guber...I always heard that Ima had a sister - Uera...
I actually thoguht both were made up!

BTW - got power back!!!! 2 hours shy of a full week.
Just in time to print the Sunday puzzle. :D

michael 11:10 PM  

Got it, but only after googling O'Shea. Baltimore oriole seems like an ok answer to me. Got Athol, but only because I spend part of each year in Massachusetts. In general, liked this puzzle better than most of you. Seemed like a typical Saturday.

Got held up for a while because I confidently write in Aristede after getting the final "e."

JaxInL.A. 11:21 PM  

Help Help Help. My iPad was stolen tonight. Idiot me left it in a bag by accident and when I rushed back 10 minutes later to get it, the bag had been turned in but the iPad had been removed.

So why am I bothering you all with this? Well, aside from the obvious distress about the theft, I also can't turn to my preferred method of consolation because I have only ever reached my puzzle subscription through the Magmic interface and I have not signed in since that first day over a year ago. The Magmic site does not recognize my email or alias, and so won't allow me in. I have filed a help request with Magmic, which I did once before (actually because I could not get the Steve Jobs puzzle and wanted to do it online) and got no response.

Does anyone here have any ideas of how I might try to get in? Advice for getting attention over at Magmic? I may just bite the bullet and pay again directly through the NYT site. I'm just very unhappy at this moment. No way I can afford a new one (it was a gift), so I will be exploring all sorts of other ways to do puzzles now that my device is gone. I could just cry.

It's late today, so this will likely not be widely read, but I will obviously look at tomorrow's blog as well. Or you can email me at jaxhamilton (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks for any help you can offer. Sigh.

mac 11:44 PM  

Sorry, Jax....

Dirigonzo 11:46 PM  

I thought I was going to be in great shape when I filled in the two 15s going down and both 15s across the bottom with very few crosses, but that's pretty much how it ended for me. Clearly, I am not quite ready for Saturday puzzles in prime time.

I will now return to syndicationland to do the Sunday -
Friday puzzles and maybe try here again next week.

Don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight!

Submariner 1:07 AM  

I'm with Bob K on this one. Easy but inane. Got ASP through the cross, but the acronym didn't ring a bell. Looked it up and found a society devoted to it. Turns out that it is paralysis that occurs only when you are asleep; disappears when you awaken.

North Beach 1:39 AM  

@JaxinL.A.: someone in here responded to one of my comments in the last two weeks or so intimating insider knowledge of the Magmic system. Oh, it was the B/W Berry Meta rebus puzzle. I think their name was opus2. I can look in the am. Maybe a call out to them. Sorry, I can only imagine...

thursdaysd 3:45 AM  

Jaxin - so sorry to hear that! Did you have Find My iPad activated? At least that will wipe your data even if it can't trace the iPad.

chefbea 7:08 AM  

@Jax If u r still reading this Sunday morning. I will e-mail you a copy of sunday puzzle which you can print out

Chris Kearin 8:52 AM  

Lots of crud n there, but as I'm sure the puzzle-maker intended, I fell for putting in ARISTIDE for the Haitian PM, though I probably wouldn't have if I had thought more carefully about the dates. I was also convinced (having confused a bobolink, whatever that is, with a bobwhite) that the bird was a WILLOW PTARMIGAN, and was very disappointed when it wasn't. ALFRED HITCHCOCK was an enormous gimme.

sanfranman59 1:01 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:23, 6:50, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:24, 8:51, 0.84, 8%, Easy (10th lowest median solve time of 124 Tuesdays)
Wed 11:18, 11:49, 0.96, 43%, Medium
Thu 13:42, 19:02, 0.72, 7%, Easy (9th lowest median solve time of 125 Thursdays)
Fri 15:16, 25:35, 0.60, 2%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 124 Fridays)
Sat 29:17, 30:02, 0.97, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:16, 3:40, 0.89, 7%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 123 Mondays)
Tue 3:50, 4:34, 0.84, 6%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 124 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:34, 5:50, 0.95, 40%, Medium
Thu 6:44, 9:17, 0.72, 10%, Easy
Fri 7:13, 12:39, 0.57, 2%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 123 Fridays)
Sat 14:42, 17:07, 0.86, 22%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

i don't think i ever got very much of a saturday. in fact i was skeptical when friends told me they completed saturdays. but this sat. i came pretty close to solving. didn't know athol and lehr and had one other error somewhere. i actually amazed myself. when i started doing crosswords a few years ago i was challenged by tuesdays. this week i was able to complete each day with little exception so i feel gratified. doing puzzles changes the way you think.

Doc John 5:18 PM  

Coming to this late, as usual, but I wanted to point out that there's also an ATHOL, ID. It's the home of Silverwood Theme Park. A gem of a park with two great wooden coasters and is the present home of the first coaster to invert riders in modern times. A corkscrew coaster, it started life at Knott's Berry Farm and was moved to Idaho several years ago.
Contrary to popular belief, that record does not belong to Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain. That coaster has the first upright loop, though.
By "modern times," I mean the era after the turn of the century where inverted coasters had upright loops that were circular, thus inducing too much stress on riders' necks.
There- more than you ever wanted to know about coaster inversions!

Brian B 8:04 AM  

Re: brothers of Jesus

Longbeachlee 12:57 PM  

I thought you'd find this easy because it fell quickly by my standards, about an hour. On the other hand I hardly knew any of it, but my subconscious, or guardian angel kept me going. Like of all the things you could put on a torpedo, salami just flashed to the foreground. And from an a and an l, Athol lit up the sky, etc., etc.

EverAfter 1:32 PM  

@frenchie...you are so right! I knew there was something wrong with that one. His and hers refers to the master and mistress of the house...usually only one, hmmm, of each.

chris 2:32 PM  

I agree with Frenchie. It should be "son" not ses based on the clue. Clark's explanation doesn't make sense. His and hers is not plural, it's possessive. They are both singular.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Spacecraft here. Finished with three Googles; for a Saturday that's OK for me. Started with MIR, which got me thinking about some kind of MEADOWLARK. Went through the alphabet doubly for the forward/backward man's name--but somehow missed ARI. Went to NOH and ANGELA, and fussed over "Armstrong blew it." Was it Neil? What did he blow? The famous landing line?? Or how about Lance? His, like, whole career? Hey, that actually fit! Except...that would make NOH...NAH, that can't be right.
Left there, went east and picked up ANOINT and the gimme (Milo) O(')SHEA. Thought the half sci-fi name might be LANDO. Little did I know I was in the right sci-fi niche!
Anyway, by Googling LATORTUE I figured 35a must be GRILLED, then the aha! of CORNET (really? Not a trumpet for ol' Satchmo?), finally pinning down the right Armstrong. And suddenly the flower of my beloved ALFREDHITCHCOCK opened its petals to me--and I instantly forgave in advance all the bad fill this puzzle contained.
There was a LOT to forgive.
I had to Google ABOW; that got me going up top. And then the last Natick, already mentioned. Never heard of a LEHR, so that'll be my WOD as well.
Forgiven items include: RAMSESI (I purely hate having to use I for a Roman numeral), XED (an old foe), the hackneyed NEO--and my personal UNfavorite: ANE (at least, clued that way).
As I said, though, all is forgiven for the great Alfred.

grantiou: a government handout--except the government's out of money, so you just get a promise.

Syndy Cinty 3:32 PM  

Our kids giggle at Athol & Rathdrum, 2 Idaho towns on the way to the lake. Idaho also has a Senator named Crapo.

Dirigonzo 8:24 PM  

I'm still healing from the wounds this puzzle inflicted on me 5 weeks ago, but I've recovered wnough to bring you the latest episode of RPDTNYTCP on this date 5years ago:

- "Solving time: 42:59 (grrrrrrr...)"
- " I should be grateful that a reasonable clue-answer pairing ("yellow ball" / YOLK) ultimately allowed me to solve the puzzle completely. Yet somehow gratitude is not what I'm feeling. What is with the horrible hedge words that have crept into the puzzle of late. Yesterday: NEWISH. Today: SLATY. Tomorrow? HUNGRYESQUE? (probably not - not really a Monday-looking word, that one)."
- "Shakespeare is all up in this puzzizzle. Here, we see a very colorful clue that ends up at a rather ordinary answer. I like this way of livening up ordinary fill. It's no substitute for great fill, but I don't mind if my common four-letter fill comes with trivia attached."
- "81D: Barrel-shaped marine mammals (eared seals)
What lazy jackass named these poor guys? Worse - their ears aren't even that prominent. Surely a drunken Australian is to blame."
- "We also got RAD, clued thusly: 13D: Far out. This clue / answer pairing cannot become (more) dated fast enough for me. No one has said RAD since 1992, and no one born after 1970 has ever said FAR OUT in anything but an ironic fashion. Andrew can help me with the mathematical language, but these two sets (people who say/said RAD, people who say/said FAR OUT) are almost, if not entirely, non-overlapping. Discrete (not discreet). Which Crete? DIS Crete! Sorry, the discrete/discreet homonyms amuse me no end now, for reasons which are too elaborate to go into."
- There were 25 comments about which Rex said: "These are by far the best comments for any single day in my blog's history, and not just because several of them single me out for praise. If you do indeed enjoy reading, then by all means write Comments more often. You all are making me laugh out loud a lot today. And I thought Orange's ant musings were out of left field - who knew what erudite discussion they'd generate? Thanks."

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

I think the people that don't like this puzzle are haters having a tantrum because it didn't fit into their world like they wanted. A tough puzzle with an Athol.

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