1957 hit for Perry Como / SAT 3-24-12 / Oyster Bay hamlet / Melodic passages / Jerboa's home / Volstead Act opponents / NYC commuting debut of 1904

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: SYOSSET (24A: Oyster Bay hamlet) —
Syosset is a hamlet (and a census-designated place) in Nassau County, New York, in the northeastern section of Town of Oyster Bay near the North Shore of Long Island. The population was 18,829 at the 2010 census. It is served by the Syosset railroad station, the Syosset Post Office, the Syosset Central School District, the Syosset Public Library, the Syosset Fire Department, and the Jericho Water District. (wikipedia)
• • •

The corners on this one—virtually all the 10s—are nice. The SW is the worst of them all, and the only real problem there is ODER-NEISSE (26D: ___ Line (German/Polish border)), an answer I retrieved from the deepest depths of my brain (after discarding ODENSE-something) only because I'd run into it in crosswords before. An answer like that is a real drag, because if you don't know it (and why should you?) there's virtually nothing about it that's inferrable, so you can only get it through slow process of torture. Strap it to a chair and pull its teeth. Miserable. This is the big problem with the puzzle's worst answer—SYOSSET. This is NY provincialism at its worst. A "hamlet" no bigger than, oh, let's say, TRURO (gag), and its spelling is nuts, and and and. That's the sore-thumbiest answer I've seen in a long time. Everything else in this puzzle is at least plausbily familiar to all. Famous names, general vocabulary, some crosswordese (see ARIOSI, e.g. 21A: Melodic passages). And then there's SYOSSET. There's no reason anyone outside the greater NY area should know what the hell that is. Is it fair? Well, all the crosses are gettable (or, in the case of "IVY ROSE" (???) inferrable (11D: 1957 hit for Perry Como)), so, yeah, sure. But torturous tooth-pulling metaphor applies here, too. Moreso. That answer nearly WHELMed me.  And by the way: if WHELM means [Overpower], then "overWHELM" means ... [Overoverpower]???



Got started by dropping down PAS (4D: Part of une danse) and TSARS (7D: Pre-Soviet succession) and a very tentative AMA. This allowed me to see PASTRAMI. In inferred the HOT and was off and running (1A: Stage Deli staple). Had SATAYS for SAMOSA (6D: Chutney-dipped appetizer), but that's really the only write-over I had in the whole puzzle. Oh, no—I stupidly wrote in plural SARIS (instead of correct SAREE 30A: Ranee's wear) before MORAY EEL set me straight (10D: Crevice-lurking predator). Thought the clue on BASE PATH was very clever (33D: Diamond lane). Once I plunked that down, ETHEL MERMAN became obvious (off the "-TH-") (53A: 1951 Tony winner for "Call Me Madam") and then that corner was done. NE took me the longest, which was almost entirely SYOSSET's fault. Finished in 10-something on paper. No idea if that's fastish or normal. I know it's not slow (my slow Saturdays are pushing 15 or higher when I'm solving on-screen).

Bullets:
  • 15A: Writer who held 14 honorary doctorates (ISAAC ASIMOV) — ASIMOV shows up not infrequently in puzzles. Not many V-ending words out there. 
  • 29A: Singer of the 2011 #1 hit "Someone Like You" (ADELE) — Justifiably, deservedly famous now. Hurray.

  • 40A: Jerboa's home (DESERT) — forgot jerboas were animals and went looking for a country.
  • 46D: "Ev'rybody Wants to Be ___" (Disney film tune) ("A CAT") — nooo idea. This is from ... "Lady and the Tramp"??? No. Dang it. It's 1970's "The Aristocats." Never seen it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

84 comments:

foodie 12:04 AM  

Haha... Rex at his best! Sore-thumbiest SYOSET!

Puzzle was relatively easy for me, and I think my Quick & Dirty Index agrees. Not that I knew that tough stuff, but for Saturday, it was doable.

jae 12:16 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Couldn't get a foothold in NW so I did this counter clockwise from the SW.  South was pretty easy as was the NE which let me into the NW which was on the tough side.  HMO, THESHINNING briefly, and SARIS didn't help.

Soild if somewhat bland Sat.   I liked it.  Did not know WHELM could stand alone.  Needed all the crosses for ODERNEISSE. 

"Our Idiot Brother" is worth seeing.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

Everything Rex said, especially about Odense, except it took me six times longer with checks....

JFC

PS. Is there any burg on Long Island that does not end with SSET? Maybe next time Mr. Silk will work in a hamlet from Upper Michigan.

Cathelou 12:34 AM  

I must have listened to The Aristocats album over a thousand times as a child. I think Louis Armstrong is the trumpet player on Everybody Wants To Be a Cat but my memory is fuzzy. Actually made up for Syosset in my book--that, and thinking that because this is Saturday the Oyster Bay mist be the one in Tanzania, and finding via Google a nice resort there I'd like to visit one day when we have the money, which will probably be sometime in 2075.

Larry I in L.A. 1:30 AM  

Lived within 100 miles of L.A. for all of my 51 years, but for some reason was hardly bothered by SYOSSET. With the Y in second position, toyed with RYEsomething for a few seconds and then it just popped into my head. I've read a few novels set on Long Island, so maybe that's it.

Except for NW, was in tune with Mr. Silk from the get-go: ANE led to AB----TIVE and NOISEMAKER and I was off and running. Even with HOTPASTRAMI in place, however, the other 11s up there took me almost 10 minutes to suss out. 'SOK, though, it's the weekend!

Richard 2:12 AM  

"Oder-Neisse" was my second answer (after "Isaac Asimov"). I took one WWII history course in college over 45 years ago and learned this "line." In my opinion, it does not fall into the category of obscure trivia.

Karl 2:13 AM  

Is Syosset anywhere near Natick?

Acetate Carla Masterpieces 3:06 AM  

Loved the crazy spelling of SEMATARY...it's neat that a misspelled word on a sign in a novel can be "acceptable" in another context!

First learned of Adele on this blog like 3 yrs ago when @rex championed her...
crazy proud that a childhood friend from Minnesota, Dan Wilson, cowrote the song!
(he also wrote "Closing Time" when he was a semisonic, and cowrote that Dixie Chick song about not being ready to make nice, also a 1 hit....)
That's THREE 1 hits and no one knows his name! But coolest guy you'll meet.
Check put the SNL skit about it...VERY funny!

Loved NEWFANGLED and am super impresed on all those stacks of tens.
And I'm hoping to go to one ACPT where Barry doesn't come up to me and say "I'm Barry Silk and you hate my puzzles" no many how many I've liked!

I knew SYOSSET but i don't know why. It's BALD-IST I don't get (unless it's AReOSI, but if i go back and check the solution, i lose what I've already written...and I doesn't want to RETYPES)

jae 3:34 AM  

@Andrea -- you've mixed up your As and Ds.

chefwen 3:35 AM  

Pretty tasty puzzle with your HOT PASTRAMI, SALAD GREENS, SAMOSA, and a nice STEW thrown in for good measure. I will take a big pass on the MORAY EEL, that does not appeal to me.

Being from WI I threw in Badger STATE at 55A right away and felt pretty good about it, didn't take too long to figure that was not going to work.

Biggest hangup was SYOSSET, even after every thing else was in place, it still didn't look like a real place. Must Google.

Anonymous 4:59 AM  

Sematary, Cemetary, Sematary, Cemetary....

MaryRoseG 6:54 AM  

It helps to be from Long Island....today. Next time, Setauket, where i'm from. Loved Ethel Merman, a true Masterpiece who probably would have if you asked her to "show me."

Get over anxiety 6:57 AM  

the music video Someone Like You sounds great.I like the quite style!

Kathy 7:15 AM  

@MaryRoseG - I agree that "it helps to be from Long Island" to get Syosset. I'm from Port Jefferson and I would be grumbling, too, if I weren't. We caught a break today.

Z 8:45 AM  

@JFC - How about "Escanaba in da Moonlight" for a theme? U.P. and theater all wrapped up in one.

@Chefwen - I also went north at first, but I popped in cHeesESTATE thinking that those "E's" and "S's" would be useful.

The south went in fairly smoothly, with SHO 'nuff fixing 55A for me. The triple 10 stack in the NW, on the other hand, just killed me. Sat there with nothing but PAS, hMo, and MORAY EEL for the longest time. I read a great deal of Asimov's stuff, but it wasn't until I tried HIPS that I saw his name.

"Having nothing to part with," is my favorite clue of the day. I have to admit to taking perverse pleasure in saying, "Can you thin out the top a little," as I sit next to younger men with no real need to be visiting a barber. Wrong, I know, but....

Sue McC 8:48 AM  

I love this kind of puzzle. The answers are easy enough, but some of the clues were challenging, for me anyway. Most of all, I love seeing those 4 groups of three 11-letter words...it just must be so tough to put something like that together. It's very satisfying to complete.

evil doug 8:52 AM  

Since Kenny Powers plays for the Myrtle Beach Mermen, that makes him a Merman.

Not to be confused with "The Aristocats" is "The Aristocrats"---a documentary from 2005 that features the same unbelievably filthy/obscene/graphic joke repeatedly told by and commented upon by a slew of comedians including Bob Saget, George Carlin, Sarah Silverman, the Smothers Brothers, Penn&Teller, Don Rickles, Chris Rock, and dozens of others. Somebody even mentions that the trickiest part of the joke is not goofing up the punchline---simply, "The Aristocrats"---by instead saying "The Aristocats" and totally blowing the whole deal. Fully gross, ridiculously hilarious flick.

Couldn't find Syosset on a map, but it's fun to say.

Can't imagine saying 'salad green' without the 's'. Legal but illegitimate.

Evil

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

"Tes" is not a pronoun. It is a possessive adjective. The clue is wrong.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

I wasn't overwhelmed by this one, nor was I underwhelmed. I was -- whelmed.
I like that.

Matthew G. 9:14 AM  

This took me almost thirty minutes solving on paper, which is as awful a NYT Saturday performance as I've had in a long time. I found the southern half of the grid very easy, the north quite tough. I got very lucky blindly guessing NEWFANGLED in the SW, which opened up a lot.

Almost all of my slowness today was my own idiocy. II resisted SAREE longer than I should have, not willing to accept that it was a valid alternate spelling. Struggled to remember exactly how Stephen King had deliberately misspelled SEMATARY. Had GATE instead of RITE for a long time, which was a big slowdown. Took stupidly long to see the MORAY EEL sticking its head out. And worst of all, having convinced myself that the writer at 15A had the surname SIMON, I couldn't see ISAAC ASIMOV—and I'm a huge sci-fi fan.

But I thought this was great. I can't even complain about SYOSSET, since I live less than an hour's drive from it. I agree with Rex that it's an absurd entry, of course.

Anne 9:15 AM  

Easiest Saturday ever! Of course, I graduated from Syosset High School in 1976!!

imsdave 9:16 AM  

Wow - a Saturday miracle. Finished the NYT, LAT, CS, and Stumper in under an hour.

If memory serves, the NYT is a NYC based newspaper, parts of which are on Long Island. I think a reference to SYOSSET (which I got off of the SY), is perfectly legit.

I'm not optimistic about my chances on the golf course today - something must be done to restore balance to the universe.

Sir Hillary 9:25 AM  

Nice Saturday workout. BCS usually intimidates me, but the SE was a welcoming place to start. From there, went to the NE, then back down to the SW and up the center diagonal before finishing in the NW. Surprised myself by finishing with relatively little pain.

I live in Westchester County, NY, and have friends from SYOSSET, so that wasn't a toughie for me, but as I filled it in, I said to my wife, "Rex is going to shred this answer for being too provincial." Thanks Rex, for not making a liar out of me!

Can someone explain the 36A clue? I don't get how a RACER is "active in the heat".

jackj 9:31 AM  

Barry Silk, “having nothing to part with”, has a little fun with his own situation and delights his solvers in the process. (The “situation” being what is commonly referred to as BALD(ness), of course).

This is one fantastic, fun themeless puzzle, exemplified by the likes of NOISEMAKER, SHOWMESTATE, NEWFANGLED, HOTPASTRAMI and PETSEMATARY and even extending to the short answers like NED, IRT and cartoon character Snuffy Smith’s trademark “SHO nuff”.

PETSEMATARY was a shudder inducing entry as it reminded me that in days of yore I read everything I could get my hands on written by Stephen King. And, then, along came PETSEMATARY, which was so distasteful in its horrific excess that after finishing the book it was so long for good, for me, to Stephen King.

No doubt here, today’s puzzle is one of your best, Barry!

Bravo!!

mac 9:37 AM  

Everything I hope for in a Saturday puzzle. Solid medium for me, because of needing most of the crosses for several answers: petsematary, syosset, Show-me State, where I expected an island. On the other hand, I was greatly helped my gimmes at moray eel, samosa, masterpiece. Never heard of a base path, but it makes sense.

Oder-Neisse doesn't seem obscure to me, just a little European history would suffice.

Nancy in PA 10:01 AM  

I had a great time with this, but then I grew up in Garden City, LI so SYOSSET came easily. My sticking point was the middle; it was very satisfying to write the Z, my last entry, in the dead center.

@evil doug, I still laugh out loud when I remember watching The Aristocrats. Best line: Phyllis Diller saying, "and I knew his dog."

Cathyat40 10:07 AM  

In defense of SYOSSET, there are a whole lot of us who once lived in the greater NYC area who have moved away and still remember SYOSSET. I left Port Washington when I was 4 years old, but I can remember my parents mentioning SYOSSET. However, Perry Como lived nearby in Sands Point, but I didn't remember IVYROSE.

Tobias Duncan 10:20 AM  

Like @Matthew G it took me way to long to see ISAAC ASIMOV who I believe was one of the best humans ever to grace this planet.I was such a huge fan that I actually grew my facial hair to look like his for years until that damn Xmen movie came out and people started to think I had fashioned my look after the Wolverine.


I must second @evil doug's recommendation of The Aristocrats.To tell the punchline correctly you must also maneuver your forearms into the shape of a capitol L and snap your fingers.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@Sir Hillary in track & field a racer has to run in a qualifying heat.

Joey Ramone 10:36 AM  

I don't want to be buried in a Pet Sematary,
I don't want to live my life again,
I don't want to be buried in a Pet Sematary,
I don't want to live my life again.

Each buries his own.

orangeblossomspecial 10:43 AM  

A couple of musical intersections today. Here's 1A: HOT PASTRAMI, which intersects 11D: IVY ROSE.

ETHEL MERMAN sang You're just in love with Dick Haymes in Irving Berlin's "Call me madam", which intersects 46D: A CAT.

quilter1 10:43 AM  

I like Silk's puzzles and can usually finish but not today. I got the lower two-thirds and stopped pretty dead. The few answers I had, PAS, SAMOSA, RITE, AMA were not revealing of the long acrosses for me. Add to that I had BASe at 23A and it seemed exactly right. Also had fAZES so DOESTIME was invisible despite having NOISEMAKER. SYOSSET and Oyster Bay meaningless.

But I enjoyed what I was able to get.

MSJP 10:52 AM  

So is OVER-WHELM akin to RE - ITERATE?

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Might have been a MASTERPIECE
Tho' BASEPATH, SAREE and WHELM
were a leap
ADELE added some EXCITEMENT
Had me "Rolling in the Deep"...

Sir Hillary 11:10 AM  

@Anonymous 10:25AM - Thanks for that. A sports nut like me should be ashamed. I got fixated on racecars and heat as a measure of temperature. Great job by Barry Silk.

joho 11:14 AM  

I'm with @imsdave in that this is the NYT crossword puzzle printed in a NYC paper making SYOSSET totally legit. In fact, SYOSSET was one of my favorite answers.

It took a while for me to get going with BALD being my first word in (great clue!). After that it was slow and steady and I savored every moment.

I love Barry Silk's puzzles (@Acetate Carla Masterpieces: funny story!) and thought this was a fantastic Saturday offering.

Snags were drAY before SHAY, Road before RITE, fled before TORE.

Loved it!

Joe The Juggler 11:14 AM  

I got stuck for ever on BASEPATH (and especially on the RACER cross). Kicking myself in the head that I just didn't get the baseball angle.

chefbea 11:16 AM  

Started the puzzle. Got most of the bottom. Now too much to do today to finish. Off to a garden show!!!

Gill I. P. 11:16 AM  

This was a real fine Sat. puzzle. I told myself I would try not to Google and I didn't. Instead I used my old Rand McNally World Atlas to find 26D. I knew it was ODER something. Rand forgot good ole SYOSSET but I actually called a friend in NY and he gave me SYOSSET. I've read every Stephen King book but I couldn't remember the sequences. So, I went into the bathroom and dug out Wolves of the Calla (I'm trying to get my husband to read it) and sure enough there was PET SEMETARY just waiting to be plunked in the crossword.
Only, only, only New York has the best HOT PASTRAMI in the world. It's the water that makes the bread that makes it so good.
And then, @Rex posts my favorite singer these days. I love Adele; that girl can sing anything.
So, although it took my a long time to finish I really enjoyed the puzzle.

JaxInL.A. 11:20 AM  

@quilter1, your optimism is inspirational. "I enjoyed what I was able to get."

After the BALD clue, my favorite was DNA TESTS for "who's your daddy."

It took me ages to fix BEvEL to BEZEL. doh.

I started out strong with this and then got stuck in the mid-Atlantic. HTG for IVY ROSE (?) and SYOSSET, though it sounded familiar once I got it. Fun puzzle.

Our new Expo Line train opens today. Even small additions to light rail are exciting here in the land where cars rule, so an inaugural ride will be my EXCITEMENT for the day.

JaxInL.A. 11:24 AM  

@anon 10:55, your poems each day are fun. You really should consider identifying yourself.

Norm 11:24 AM  

SYOSSET didn't bother this Californian, although I tried NYASSET first (doesn't that sound like a legit NY hamlet?), since I always feel sorry for folks from other parts of the country when the constructor expects you to pick between our various SAN this and that. Nor do I see a valid objection to ODERNEISSE. If you do crosswords, you need to know operas and singers and all sorts of stuff. Why not some world history? I liked this puzzle a lot. Had very little in the grid on my first pass, but WETS and SHAY gave me WHELM and RETYPES, and I gradually worked my way north. The initial letter of BEZEL and BASEPATH was actually my last entry; took me a long time to take out FASTPATH for the latter. Thanks for a fun Saturday, Mr. Silk.

archaeoprof 11:40 AM  

Only slept four hours last night, yet still finished this one, so @Foodie must be right.

Maybe I'll create a "Quick and Sleepy Index" (QSI) for puzzles.

FWIW, was out so late last night listening to a group called Roxie Watson. Innovative and fun.

dk 11:44 AM  

Well, well. Fine puzzle.

Andrea I prefer the Tom Waites version of Closing Time.
Evil, merman is the masculine of nymph also known as Rhinemaidens (chortle).

Misspelled Asimov so that was a problem. Otherwise smooth sailing for a Saturday.

*** (3 Stars) off to look up the aristocrats joke

Mel Ott 11:54 AM  

What makes SYOSSET legit is not whether you've heard of it, but the fact that it is gettable from the crosses. Which by Rex's definition makes it a non-Natick. (Talk about making up words!)

Setting new boundaries was an important post-WWII issue, and the ODER-NEISSE line was pretty prominent in those debates.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

ISAAC ASIMOV wrote a book, The Foundation, which I didn't care for.
PET SEMATARY I book I think is a MASTERPIECE
HOT PASTRAMI and SALAD GREEN made me hungry.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

@JaxInL.A

Thanx for the compliment,
I'll consider your suggestion-
To be or not to be
That is the question...

Tobias Duncan 12:23 PM  

@dk WARNING WARING WARNING!
The documentary about the joke, sort of eases you into it as I recall.Just finding it on the internet and reading it could be a bad idea. It is a truly vile joke that in and of itself is not at all funny, its the imaginative telling by seasoned professionals that is so amusing.

evil doug 12:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Arrrg. Misdirection got me. Was so distracted, worrying about SYOSSET (which was sitting there, all filled in, looking totally like 195-points-off worth of wrong, staring mockingly back at me) -- that I plum forgot to misspell cEMATARY. Didn't know French word for 4-Down, so PA? was pretty worthless, help-wise. Snort.

Won't tell y'all what happened, after I tried the "remove the color cartridge" tip. Too painful to talk about. Snort 2.

Fave answer: SAREE - (Var.)mint. Clued with a (Var.)mint (RANEE). I suppose you think that just makes everything OK, huh, Mr. Shortmeister? Snort 3.

Rex Parker 12:55 PM  

You are not defending SYOSSET by saying that a whole lot of you lived in the greater NY area at some point—you are simply reinforcing my point that it's phenomenally provincial, as answers in a National Newspaper go. A little NY flavor is fine. But the puzzle already has that. Every single day. In a million different ways. SYOSSET is an outlying bridge too far.

And yet, again, I got it, so there's no flagrant foul. Just foul.

WESISLAND 1:07 PM  

What about knowing the initials for the old name of a 1904 NYC subway line 'IRT' at 51 down?

Acme 1:17 PM  

I second JaxinLA for the poet to come forth, they are wonderful!!
Rolling in the deep!!!
(then again I'm still wondering who the Bard is, who takes the time to post those marvelous citations)

So many folks came up at the ACPT To say they read but don't post, or they post but anonymously...

@dk
I will check out the Tom Waits version, i imagine very bluesy, bar-ry...a lot of folks think it's about picking someone up at the end f the night at a bar, but it's really, poignantly, about his daughter who was delivered at one and a half pounds and had to spend her first YEAR in the hospital....just as they were breaking out as a band.

(i will see his bandmate John Munson next Friday night in St Paul at the Fitzgerald theater, following the minitournament at the St Paul library! It's a fundraiser and we only get to solve one or two puzzles which is silly...and they are actually serving beer, which is ridiculous at a library...but you should come to both!!!
Tom Pepper and Andrew Reisman will both be there! I'll send you and sethg more details off blog)

John V 1:27 PM  

Just popping in quickly. Tennis plus an easy Saturday puzzle make for a nice start to the weekend. Re: SYOSSET, as it is right across the Long Island Sound from Rowayton (inland, a bit), that was easy for me.

Big news this week was completing my 20th segment on USAir since the first of the year. Okay, John, and what was FIRST prize?

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Rex, I love you. Before I could make a similar comment on SYOSSET, counting the number of NYers defending it (versus the one or two non-NYers), you chime in. You made the point, as you might say, more elegantly. It's only noteworthy for its obscurity, Long Islanders notwithstanding.

JFC

PS. Never heard of SHOW ME STATE. I have heard of The Show Me State.

JenCT 1:51 PM  

Ah, hubby's from SYOSSET, so a gimme for me.

Not so much for the rest of the puzzle.

@Cathelou: I also listened to the Aristocats over & over! I think we wore out that record.

I remember PET SEMATARY being very scary - I, too, went through a big Stephen King phase.

First thought for "In the can" was ...oh, forget it.

Lewis 1:52 PM  

@evil -- loved that movie
@karl -- made me laugh

Barry, you were smooth as... usual.

So, I want to be sure this is right. If it's in NYC, it's fair game, like Stage Deli, and IRT, no complaints about that. But if it's outside the city, like SYOSSET, it's not. Is that correct?

ksquare 2:22 PM  

Heard at the beach: 'I love your new bikini!'
'SHO NUFF?'

Had a friend who was badly bitten by an eel so I sang to him:
If an eel bites your knee
When it's under the sea,
That's A MORAY!

To those who comment that an answer is some thing or person they never heard of, why complain about it? No one (not even Rex) knows everything, so you're not unique. Don't bother admitting it.

Bird 2:45 PM  

Even though I did not finish, I still enjoyed the puzzle as it made me think a little extra hard today which made me smile when I got an answer. I needed IMDB and Google a lot, but still left a couple blanks. Maybe someday I'll complete a Saturday puzzle.

Even if my sister didn't teach in Syosset, I would have gotten it from the crosses so I think it's fair game.

First answer was HOT PASTRAMI. I mean c'mon, what else is a NY deli famous for? Next to go was PET CEMETERY forgetting that it was misspelled. Damn.

Love the original clues for BALD and DNATESTS.

And DOES TIME doesn't sound right to me. DOING TIME matches the clue better.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

Thanx so much @acme!
But isn't it more fun to guess?
We've got THE BARD on the blog
Me?--I'm just sort of a poetess...

nmetro 3:40 PM  

The worse part, in regards to the Syosset answer is that it is not even on Oyster Bay. It is in Oyster Bay Township, Nassau County, LI, NY.

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a&q=syosset+ny&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x89c2823048424f79:0xd664337ce3794078,Syosset,+NY&gl=us&ei=TiJuT4CGO4PksQLar5HrBQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=2&ved=0CDoQ8gEwAQ

I only got it, because I grew up on LI and "Y" was the second letter for a town near Oyster Bay.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

I recalled Syosset from some story or novel... Oder-Neisse was a gimme for me... I guess I paid attention in history class long long ago...I got stuck in the upper left and asked my dear spouse to google Perry Como in wiki... He got bored reading and looked up Rex instead, which is a last ditch only option around here...grrrrr... So I was able to finish in no time flat after filling in Isaac Asimov off the v in Ivy Rose.... Nice puzzle... I always get tickled reading Rex: what he considers gimmes I usually don't know, and he gets bent out of shape over the ones I think are gimmes.

Lewis 4:05 PM  

I'm thinking Loren is the poetess...

Masked and Anonymous 4:33 PM  

@John V: Just got back from "playing" 2 hours of singles tennis, in the early PM sun (85 deg.) As bright ideas go, I'd rate that one about a 10-watt-er.

Noticed I left the "z" out of Shortzmeister in my earlier comment. Didn't mean at all to create an extra (Var.)mint. Just didn't hit the key hard enough, I guess.

Got a big Romney rally comin' to town soon. Gotta go out and buy our Etcha-Sketch, so we can show our support.

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

@Lewis

I take that as quite a compliment
But Loren's not to blame
Tho' in times gone by, I used to sign
You will not recall my name..

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

@Lewis

I take that as quite a compliment
But Loren's not to blame
Tho' in times gone by, I used to sign
You will not recall my name..

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

First time here, interesting analysis by blogger and good comments from posters. The comments regarding the difficulty of Oder Neisse are interesting in that it was one of the easier ones for me due to how I make living--professor with an interest in the area--but some of the others I found to be difficult. Different people bring different knowledge; good arguement for teamwork.

chefbea 6:27 PM  

I grew up in St. Louis
In the show me state
I may not be a poet
But with Loren I might rate.

bayonne 6:58 PM  

Agree w the comment about "tes" not being a pronoun (zut alors). Never heard "Ivy Rose" but recall earworm of Perry's "there's a wheel and it goes round, round, round" while standing on the Fulton St. platform of the IRT in about '57.

Dirigonzo 7:16 PM  

I'm no poet, so I'll just say I thought the Perry Como hit might be "o mY papa" so that hid the deli staple and writer from me for a long time. It's a good thing the Y was coincidentally correct or I would still be sitting and staring at that corner. The rest of the puzzle was, well you know...

NancyKav 7:31 PM  

Syosset should be famous for being Natalie Portman's hometown but it isn't.

I confess to being the one who used TRURO in a puzzle - Rex will you ever get over your disgust?

sanfranman59 7:42 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 6:15, 6:49, 0.92, 17%, Easy
Tue 10:29, 8:51, 1.18, 90%, Challenging
Wed 14:31, 11:51, 1.23, 91%, Challenging
Thu 17:04, 18:55, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 17:07, 25:04, 0.68, 5%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 144 Fridays)
Sat 24:26, 29:39, 0.82, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:30, 3:40, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:12, 4:35, 1.14, 88%, Challenging
Wed 7:14, 5:53, 1.23, 92%, Challenging
Thu 7:57, 9:16, 0.86, 27%, Easy-Medium
Fri 8:22, 12:24, 0.67, 6%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 143 Fridays)
Sat 12:24, 16:51, 0.74, 8%, Easy

loren muse smith 8:54 PM  

@chefbea and anon 5:39pm - if you're talking about about me - a pedestrian limerick does not a poet make.

mac 11:00 PM  

Just listened to Adele again. What a voice.

Tita 1:17 AM  

WHELM?
Stands to reason if one can be over- and under-WHELMed, that one should be WHELMable too.

Clueing for SYOSSET was evil...I mighta stood a chance had it not been clued as a hamlet of some other place. Didn't help that I had just read something about an Oyster Bay in Australia, so was expecting it to be a down-under place.
Plus, being ABnegaTIVE from the start meant that my hamlet ended in -gET.

Drove past Natick on the way to Cohasset today. I say we all meet at the I90 Natick Plaza one of these days...

Just had a SAMOSA for lunch - yum!

@Rex - before the Times is a national paper, it's a NY paper...know how I know that? I'm not tellin'...

Thanks Barry - liked it lots, in spute of ARIOSI.

Tita 2:03 AM  

...in *spite* of...

jberg 7:34 AM  

Couldn't get the paper till midnight Sat, so just coming here now. I think SYOSSET is gettable - as someone said, it's either RYE or NY-- or SY--- if you know NY placename styles. Really enjoyed the puzzle.

Andree Carlee Michaux 2:10 PM  

@bayonne
I was bothered by TES too, i wanted Toi, but i looked it up and it's considered a possessive pronoun. I would have just said it's a possessive, but technically it is a possessive...pronoun.

Tita 2:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lola505 1:41 PM  

Not so easy for me, but I did finish with no errors, Mr. Silk. I had several wrong assumptions which made things more difficult: wREST for wHELM, REELS for DAZES, and abnegaTIVE for abPOSItive. Loved that my pure guess NEWFANGLED turned out to be correct!

Have only lived on the East coast, Piedmont region, for a few years, decades ago, yet Syosset was not unfamiliar to me. Don't know why.

Agree with other posters, WHELM is never used alone; rather with under- or over- as a prefix.

Spacecraft 2:54 PM  

@jackj: You threw the baby out with the bathwater if you forswore Mr. King on the strength of one "distasteful" novel. There's LOTS since then you would like. I'm guessing stories of decay, one of his major themes, distress you, so I'd skip Desperation and The Dark Half (Bachman pseudonym). But have you ever tried any of the Dark Tower series? The Stand? Come on back, you'll be glad you did.

King and Asimov: two of my mostest FAVORITEST authors: there together in a Times crossword! Oh joy! Plus: A really tough-looking Saturday that I thought for SURE I'd have to use Google to finish--but didn't! Made a couple of guesses that turned out to be right, but finished with no help and no errors. Just one question: how is ACETATE a "collectible record?" That one totally mystifies me.

Great puzzle; almost WHELMed me. (Actually, to WHELM means to inundate with water.) Thanks, Barry!

Dirigonzo 9:10 PM  

@Spacecraft - re: ACETATE as a collectible record, see if this helps: http://www.madonnacatalog.com/guides/acetate.htm (you'll have to copy and paste - I don't do links), especially the last paragraph. Obscure for sure, but it is Saturday after all.

Happy weekend.

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

First time poster here from Syndiland. I have been reading this blog for about 2 years now and never felt the need to post before. I absolutely loved this puzzle. Finished relatively easy for a Saturday without google. Started in the north and plopped down excitement, noisemaker and abpositive with no crosses. Was off and running from there.

Regarding Syosset, never heard of it before today being that I'm a born and raised Cali girl that has only been to New York once. I was able to get Syosset from the crosses with no problem so I agree with Rex whole heartedly.

marymoto 2:17 PM  

Missed this in a 7th grade spelling bee, never will again: some people say EEEK in a cEmEtEry, cemetery!!!

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