Reds great Roush / SAT 4-7-12 / Frobe who played Goldfinger / Traitors Gate locale / 1930s film dog / Affliction aka blue devils / Site of first British colony in Caribbean 1624 / Cherokee deemed it good training for war

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Constructor: Robert H. Wolfe

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none

Word of the Day: GERT Frobe (44D: Frobe who played Goldfinger) —
Karl Gerhart Fröbe, better known as Gert Fröbe (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐt ˈfʁøːbə]) (25 February 1913 – 5 September 1988) was a German actor who starred in many films, including the James Bond film Goldfinger asAuric GoldfingerThe Threepenny Opera as Peachum, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as Baron Bomburst, and in Der Räuber Hotzenplotz as Hotzenplotz. (wikipedia) (my version of the puzzle did Not have the umlaut in the clue)
• • •

Easy and mostly dull. CHANCE OF SUCCESS (34A: Nonstarter's lack) doesn't quite feel like a crossworthy answer. I get the "offing" part of [Reward in the offing?], but the ONE'S part of the answer (PRICE ON ONE'S HEAD) doesn't seem adequately cued by the clue. In my offing, maybe, but then that's not a phrase (whereas "in the offing" is). Trying too hard, that clue is. The range of letters in the grid is depressing. Feels like there are maybe 10 different letters, total. Hardly a Scrabble tile over 4. Look at the east coast—it's all Es and double-Ss. Fifteens were easy to pick up once you sliced through them with a few crosses; sadly, some of those crosses were pretty yuck. IMRE (2D: Hungary's ___ Nagy) and INRI (45D: Sign letters on the cross) (goth gimmes, both ugh) and GERT (!) and a whole lot else. I'll tell you, crossing INRI with -IEST (45A: Follower of blood and guts) is not (Not) the swellest way to end one's Saturday puzzling experience. It's a solid, adequate puzzle that feels like it's from thirty+ years ago and has nothing to distinguish it, though I will say that I liked the clue on CAGER (41D: One engaged in bucket-making), which is a word I've only ever seen in crossword *clues* before; and TOWER OF LONDON (16D: Traitors' Gate locale) running down the center was pretty nifty. Everything else was meh at best.


Bullets:
  • 19A: Covent Garden area (WEST END) — nice that it crosses another London-based answer.

  • 37A: The Cherokee deemed it good training for war (LACROSSE) — got this off "LA-" and probably would've got it off of nothing.
  • 55A: Site of the first British colony in the Caribbean (ST. KITTS) — Not much else starts "STK-"
  • 1D: Leap-the-___ (world's oldest operating roller coaster) (DIPS) — well, at least I get a mildly interesting trivia answer out of this thing.
  • 4D: Huge-taloned menaces (ROCS) — put this in and then was unsure, given that ROCS are not, you know, real. Fast start on puzzle, and fast time overall, was due at least in part to throwing down IMRE, ONIT, ROCS and DIS in very quick succession. DIS was wrong, but as soon as I looked at what I had, I could see DIORAMA (1A: Many a museum dinosaur display) clearly, so I changed DIS, and off I went.
  • 8D: Heroic son of Prince Anchises (AENEAS) — honestly, [Son of Anchises] is enough for a Saturday. I have no memory of anyone's calling Anchises "Prince," however accurate (I've read this poem a Lot)
  • 14D: Reds great Roush (EDD) —Baseball! Watched entirety of Tigers' opening day game yesterday. Got invited by random reader on Twitter to come to Detroit for some games this summer. I said "yes" without doing a background check or nothin'. They have a nice park, and I have people I'd like to visit in Ann Arbor, so why not?
  • 1930s film dog (TOTO) — it's that or ASTA, as I'm sure you know.
  • 50D: Affliction a k a "blue devils" (DTS) — so Duke was founded by hardcore drunks, or ... what?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

76 comments:

retired_chemist 12:08 AM  

Humph. If you check the American Kennel Club web site or the Scottish Terrier Club of America web site you will not find the term “Aberdeen terrier” used for the Scottie. Wikipedia does, but I have never heard the name in real life. And I go to dog shows most weekends.

Other than that, a pleasant puzzle and a nice easy Saturday. I did not know AENEAS, but its second E got me to change EAST END to the correct WEST END, which gave me TOWER OF LONDON. So I kept the faith with AENEAS and was duly rewarded in the end.

Got COWRITTEN entirely from crosses and had a momentary WTF by parsing it COW RITTEN. 31A was EXPECT TO at first.

Thanks, Mr. Wolfe.

Anonymous 12:38 AM  

Okay, I get it. Rex does not love this puzzle but he loved yesterday’s. Yes, I thought this was a trifle easier than yesterday’s but that’s about it for me. I don’t remember puzzles 30 years ago so I cannot compare them (how old is Rex?). So I liked it. Maybe I liked it a trifle less than yesterday’s, but there’s more good than bad by far for me.

PS. Has anyone seen ASTA and TOTO in the same room at the same time?

JFC

jae 12:44 AM  

Pretty easy Fri.  Once I changed ATIT to ONIT the top went quickly.  The mid-west and bottom took a bit more effort but still on the easy side for me.  Nice Sat. with zippy competing 15s at 15 & 49a.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  

The Mon, Jan 28, 2002 New York Times puzzle had both ASTA and TOTO.

Anonymous 1:29 AM  

Hated it. Way harder than yesterday, due to too many proper names, arcane trivia, random sentences/phrases, and clues that misled without being fun. Pyuch.

santafefran 2:21 AM  

When I immediately saw DIORAMA, and I'M NOT INTERESTED soon after, I knew there was a CHANCE OF SUCCESS that I might actually finish a Saturday puzzle, albeit with a lot of checking. Whenever that is the rare case, I know that Rex will rate it as easy. I'll take what I can get.
Never hear of the roller coaster but it now makes sense.
I like that LEAD (fat part) crosses WEST END which crosses TOWER OF LONDON.

santafefran 2:22 AM  

That should be never hearD!

Martin 2:23 AM  

@retired_chemist,

"Aberdeen terrier" is clearly not an AKC breed name, but it's not just Wikipedia either. 37,500 hits include a number that sound authoritative. That should be okay for Saturday.

Karl 2:45 AM  

I am not too wild about ACTABLE. Nor do I care much for HAVE A GOOD MIND TO. It seems to me the perhaps grammatically questionable "I've got a good mind to..." is more common usage. I have to agree with Rex...meh...Saturdays should be stronger than this.

jae 2:56 AM  

Oh, and my take on LEAD was the phrase "get the LEAD out" as in lose the fat part. I like Rex's version better.

Aeneas Cager Mets 4:19 AM  

Half an hour which made it easier than yesterday...
And @rex seems right about nonScrabbly...
Big six S builup in the middle easssssst section.

likelyTO had to become INTENDTO but both were so what?
That said, i still don't think i could make a Saturday to save my life....but I HAVEAGOODMINDTO...
Hmmmm, on second thought IMNOTINTERESTED.

May I call foul on the HESSE/STATE link? I had STAdt, since it wsa German, no? Ach.

Hey, @tobias, if you are out there, I got MET for Strawberry with no letters! AND ASHE...and even eventually changed CAnER to CAGER! I've switched teams, sotospeak!

Favorite clue was 30D...ved going thru alphabet!

Aaaah, moment of synchronicity...1 am rerun of "Everyone Loves Raymond" on inbackground and they just said "DIORAMA"!!!!!

Acme again 4:27 AM  

Oops, LOved going thru alphabet to figure out ESSEN.

Very continental feel by the way what with:
ESSEN, HESSE, IMRE, TOWEROFLONDON, WESTEND, ABERDEEN, STKITTS, St. IVES, GERT,ASCOT, MIO, plus ancient INHOC, AENEAS,INRI, HAN.

OK, I'm embarrassed to say i didn't know ROCS which I only know from crosswords weren't real!

Deb 5:30 AM  

I had the same issue with the parsing of the clue for PRICE ON ONE'S HEAD. I read "reward in the offing" to mean a monetary reward one was expecting imminently, so had PRICE iN ONE'S HEAD for too long. That error also caused me to completely delete the first answer I had confidently entered, I'M NOT INTERESTED, purely because MII was clearly not the correct answer to "Parmesan pronoun."

And it went uphill (if we're talking in terms of effort) or downhill (if we're talking in terms of success) from there. As Saturdays usually do.

I also had the same momentary hesitation for the same reason before entering ROCS, btw. I have no idea what book(s) or legends they come from, knowing the word only from crosswords, but thus far I'm pretty sure there's always been something in the clues for them to indicate their fantastical nature - else wise it wouldn't have made me pause.

As is so often the case, I enjoyed the blog as much or more then the puzzle itself. Thanks, Rex.

Deb 5:44 AM  

Ack! There were a couple of other things I wanted to mention...

Re the "blue devils" as slang for the DTS, I found this of interest:

BLUE DEVILS AND PINK ELEPHANTS -- Regarding "the blues" as in depression or the music, the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris says it's believed this expression came from "...an abbreviation of 'blue devils' -- hallucinations, like pink elephants, popularly believe to accompany delirium tremens...the term blue in the sense of melancholy, depressed or despondent has been an element of slang, especially black slang, since midway through the past century..." (http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/28/messages/371.html)


And @JFC, No, but I did have to kick Asta out to let TOTO in today.

Geometricus 6:19 AM  

Threw in DIORAMA right away. When I got IMNOTINTERESTED with only two crosses, and the top was mostly filled in only five minutes, I knew Rex would be rating this easy.

Ended up using the "check for errors" in Crosswords on the iPad (they make way too easy to cheat without actually getting the answers) when I could not remember ROCS.

Then I Googled when I wanted to see if there was a roller coaster with the unlikely name of Leap-the-DIal. My first thought was Leap-the-Dike. Apparently Leap-the-DIPS was/is a wooden roller coaster in Altoona which was restored and reopened in the late nineties. I remember riding an old wooden roller coaster in Excelsior park here in the Twin Cities. I bet @Acme rode that roller coaster at least once. People say they could feel the cars jumping off the track at points.

foodie 8:05 AM  

I dunno... it seems obvious in retrospect but did not at the time. NOT EASY for me, but NOT too hard either. Some areas, like the ACHE ASHES neighborhood fell in no time. But that SE Corner with the way EDIT and STET were clued and IEST (?) on top... that needed some plastic surgery.

I've come to realize that a sense of placement is important in puzzles. It's not so much what's in the puzzle as a whole as the micro neighborhoods that are not esthetically pleasing: HESSE/ESSEN DICTA/INHOC and the IEST and what's beneath it...

Glimmerglass 8:11 AM  

I had IEST and was sure it couldn't be right. Shouldn't this be marked "suffix" or something? "Follower" suggests a word to me. Got burned by BIG HAND (didn't think of a clock - doh!).

dk 8:17 AM  

Geometricus, rode out to Excelsior Park with a great college gf (Hi Carol T.) in her 1949 Ford Coupe and yes the cars did feel like they left the tracks... of course it could have been the company.

Andrea (my dove), ROCs have staring roles in several badly ACTABLE movies from the late 50s early 60s featuring Argonauts, Hercules and the like. They were often the fare of the Sunday Big Movie in Syracuse. We watched moves when not watching LACROSSE games at the Res. A serious sport. I do to know about the Cherokee but the Mohawks gave competing teams blood and guts up close and personal.

I liked this puzzle. Just read a book about the creators of the first large scale DIORAMAs (Life Under Glass) so 1A was a slap down and even I knew the sports clues. Have been to STKITTS a few times, and Traitors Gate was a gimme. Took under one hour which is fine for this TOTTER.

������ (3 Stars) Thanks Robert

The Bard 8:31 AM  

Hamlet > Act IV, scene VII

LAERTES: I will do't:
And, for that purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

KING CLAUDIUS: Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance,
'Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft! let me see:
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings: I ha't.
When in your motion you are hot and dry--
As make your bouts more violent to that end--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepared him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

JeffS 8:40 AM  

Random reader - I guees that would be me. I don't feel very random though.

Sir Hillary 8:47 AM  

Pales compared to yesterday for sure, but I liked this more than Rex did. I thought the clue for 17A was excellent. All the 15s were solid, if not particularly exciting, and TOWEROFLONDON down the spine was cool (although NOTMYCUPOFTEA was far better). Had writeovers (ASTA/TOTO, HEWN/SAWN, FIATS/DICTA) but all were easily corrected. Only gripe is the INRI/IEST cross - that one was ACRID.

SethG 8:49 AM  

I also solved this puzzle.

AnnieD 8:53 AM  

I didn't find it easy for a saturday....more medium. Probably because of the sports references, as usual. I had a malapop with ESSEN as my first guess for HESSE ...when it comes to German things, it's either that or BADEN.

I struggled with the middle west as I had DYEcolors first and TEEter before totter.

Not a fan of actable...that was a stretch.

Hand up for Asta before Toto...maybe because I was watching a Wm Powell movie this a.m.

I thought it was overall a good Saturday. Thanks, Mr. Wolfe.

joho 8:55 AM  

I, too, hestitated putting in ROCS as they are mythical. LOL @Acme! And also like @Acme, 30D was my favorite clue ever for the old ESSEN. I also had STAdt before STATE.

And asTa before TOTO, TeeTER before TOTTER, STbarTS before STKITTS and RUB before IRK.

This was definitely easier than yesterday but not the easIEST (ugh!) Saturday.

I did like the mini-Brit theme in that a PRICEONONESHEAD could land you in the TOWEROFLONDON which could be somewhere near the WESTEND.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Liked the strawberry clues, but the rest was disappointing. ACTABLE is questionable.

jackj 9:24 AM  

When the name Robert Wolfe headlines a Saturday puzzle you know it will be a tussle and it will be fun, even though at first it seems impossible. Today’s is no different; a quick scan of the clues and the grid had me ready to holler “bingo”, but first it was time to pick up the glove, meet the challenge and avoid the unthinkable, the dishonor of defeat.

Right away things brightened as IMRE, ASHE, EDD, ROCS, WESTEND and DIORAMA fell into place and from thereon through completion, every area posed a nice challenge but eventually yielded the answers.

Some of them, like TOWEROFLONDON, (after re-reading the clue and with TOW filled in), became unexpected gimmes while others like the Germanic duo of HESSE and ESSEN were much gnarlier, (even though another gimme, ASCOT, sat alongside them but was no help).

Favorite entries were LEAD, LACROSSE, NOTEASY, that clever clue at 40 Down that wanted us to write EXMET when it was really SHADE and then the analog clock-watcher’s reminder of the BIGHAND, which sat smugly above the stern admonition reminiscent of Jackie Gleason, “Why, I HAVEAGOODMINDTO……

Thanks to Robert Wolfe, a true pro, whose first puzzle for Will Shortz came almost 19 years ago, on December 11, 1993 and, yes, it was a Saturday!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:37 AM  

@ACME - Somehow your comment reminded me of a time when I was playing a game of categories, and I needed to name a state beginning with "B". Naturally I said "Bavaria."

BTW, "Stadt" is the German for city or town; "staat" is the German word for state.

Bob K from Carlstadt, NJ.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Not easy for me. Googled a bit then came here.

Brrr!!! Cold here this morning. Had frost. What happened to summer?

evil doug 10:03 AM  

"Got invited by random reader on Twitter to come to Detroit for some games this summer. I said "yes" without doing a background check or nothin'." Yeah, should be fine, Michael---nothing bad ever happens in Detroit....

Will does a regular 'Brain Twister' in the Sunday NYT Magazine, and I think two-letter Essen was one of them.

STKITTS looks funny in the grid, minus its period. My mind wants to try to say it in one syllable.
'Sawn' is weird looking, too.

Thought the Cherokee war practice would be Texas Hold'em.

Wolfe, you pitched okay today, but we're going to bring in our ace. Nothnagel, get loose, you're in....

Evil

Mr. Benson 10:13 AM  

The irony here is that a more appropriate clue for COWRITTEN could easily have been *unlike* many Lennon/McCartney songs. It's pretty well-established that from about 1966 on, each wrote songs entirely alone, even though the songs were credited to both right up until the end.

Lindsay 10:18 AM  

Hmmmm. Will must be a lot nicer to telemarketers than I am. Started off with Arthur ASHE and B-TEN, so working backwards, wanted to have the shill xxxxxxxarRESTED.

Struggled in the NW as my brain was stuck on dinoasur skeletons or bones, neither of which fit.

And yeah, my TERRIER was asTa.

Tita 11:02 AM  

My favorite thing about this puzzle is learning that ASTA & TOTO were once seen in the same room - er - puzzle...thx JFC & Anon!!!

Didn't like...
STATE as answer for 25D - should be STAAT!!!!
IEST - that could follow ANYTHING! (Except for 'anything'). Is that how it's done on Saturdays?

Hand up for TeeTER before TOTTER. Think I'll go out and play on my seesaw.

Strawberry field before SHADE. Liked the 2 strawberries (the 2nd was a gimme).

@JackJ - I agree with your likes - esp BIGHAND.

@Lindsay - I am surprised that no one has commented on their responses to telemarketers...was looking forward to hearing everyone's own technique...

@Karl...ACTABLE is truly terrible...

I liked the look of HESSE & ESSEN together...and like ACME,. really liked the clue for ESSEN which was one of my first answers!

@Acme - I had the same international list as you...

Overall, a Saturday that I finished over breakfast with only 1 google I suppose is "easy". I liked the puzzle - thx, Mr. Wolfe!

AnnieD 11:11 AM  

Telemarketers are not as much fun to deal with as so many of them are bots and don't care what you say or do.

Two Ponies 11:22 AM  

As a true Anglophile I loved all of British clues/answers.
My avatar is always happy when Toto makes an appearance. He's an early relative of an Aberdeen Terrier.

archaeoprof 11:23 AM  

Some of us are a bit TESTY today, aren't we?

Two writeovers: asta/TOTO and eaSTEND/WESTEND.

SE was the most interesting part of the puzzle for me.

Gill I. P. 11:27 AM  

I loved this puzzle. I didn't notice or much care about the Es and the double Ss. HESSE ESSEN sounds just fine to me.
I did have American TERRIER before ABERDEEN and that held me up. I just put the crossword down, finished painting my eggs, came back, and plugged away. I had lots of aha and ooha moments because Sat. are so hard for me and I was able to finish this one without help.
@Deb: I knew of the ROC (before it became NYT crossworded) through the Arabian Nights stories. Roc carries Sinbad to his very high nest on top of a mountain after Sinbad's shipwreck. Sinbad's only way of escape is to tie his turban around the huge bird's leg. The bird is so big, it doesn't even notice Sinbad. After ROC flies above the earth and scares the pants off of Sinbad, he finally gets off at the nearest island (probably St Kitts). I loved the story so much, I used to draw images of the bird as a child.
I know the word TOTTER as a rag and bone collector of old.
Off to put the little gold eyes on my chocolate bunnies.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

I've always thought it a design flaw in phones that the vehemence with with one slams down the receiver (antedeluvian reference, terminates the call to people born in the last two centuries) doesn't get transmitted to other party.

Maybe I'll write an app for that - A hang up that produces a piercing tone momentarily on the other side. $.99? Takers?

JaxInL.A. 11:29 AM  

Remember that art history course you took in junior college? You learned about the Hungarian artist associated with the Bauhaus? You know, the fella who had some influential ideas about art education? Sure, he was a photographer, painter and graphic designer. Interesting, very geometrical sensibility. Wasn't his name Moly-Nagy? That fits nicely in 2D for today's puzzle. Aren't you clever?

Except that his name is really Moholy-Nagy and it screwed up the entire top of the puzzle for me and I had to google the roller coaster to see how wrong it was. A little knowledge...

@The Bard, thanks for reminding us how dastardly that plan was.

Well, I'm off to make spaceship-shaped Star Wars pancakes with molds my daughter found online. Chag Sameach (happy holiday) everyone.

chefbea 11:55 AM  

@Tita When the phone rings and it's a telemarketer I say hello, hello, at least six times and then Goodby. There is never anybody or bot there.

jberg 12:01 PM  

I kind of liked all the related groupings - many mentioned already, plus ROCS and dinosaurs. And lately I'm liking strings of short ordinary words - can't be that easy to squeeze all those essess and ees together So i liked it.

mac 12:12 PM  

I made the same mistakes @joho made, but I had Staat instead of Stadt.

I did it very quickly considering I've just arrived in a 6 hours later timezone and had maybe 2 hours of sleep on the plane.

Happy holiday to everyone.

FDR 12:30 PM  

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him - at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself - such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.

Octavian 12:45 PM  

Loved this one -- threw down DIORAMA and IM NOT INTERESTED with barely any thought --

First time ive completed the fri and sat puzzles with no checks, ever -- never thought that would happen when i started solving about three yrs ago and fri/sat used to stymie me

Re ESSEN -- my first thought for any German place name is Essen and for the UK it is Essex.

It was easy because of so many straight clues without misdirection like Traitors Gate, Strawberry, and Lacrosse.

Diorama recalled fond memories of field trips to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles in the 1960s. We had to create our own as projects. Sabertooth tiger scenes were our favorites. A friend from 6th grade parlayed her skills at dioramas into a career as a set director / prop maker in Hollywood.

Thanks Mr Wolfe, nice work.

r.alphbunker 12:46 PM  

Did not get why {Non-starter's lack} is CHANCE OF SUCCESS. What came to mind is Kirk Gibson's 9th inning home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series which was his only at bat in the Series.

Also post-googling revealed that the Leap-the-dips roller coaster had a top speed of 10mph. I guess the scary part was that it was built in 1902.

Lewis 12:56 PM  

I didn't think it was easy, had to Google three times, and yet finished in a fast Saturday time, so maybe it was easier than I thought.

Usually I just quietly hang up when I realize it's a telemarketer; sometimes I fantasize about singing a song or telling my life's story, but I never get quite frisky enough.

Acme 12:57 PM  

@FDR!!!!!
Hilarious! THAT is why I continue to read this blog!

@jaxinLA, @joho, @mac
So strange how in sync we continue to be, solving and noticing patterns-wise...

was it @trapperjohn who had ridden every rollercoaster in the world? Perhaps he'll ring in. I only remember one out in Coney Island with my grandpa circa 1969 where he screamed the whole time and sat on his glasses. He was a big tough athetic jock but a totally indulgent grandpa who only had granddaughters...and he'd make me play gin for a penny a point, nickel a game...RIP.

The only thing I'll say about IEST is it really does seem to be the only thing that follows both words... I mean guts BATH makes no sense...or guts SIMPLE....
Aha! An idea for a new blood-y puzzle!

evil doug 1:26 PM  

[phone rings]

JERRY: Hello.

TEL: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service?

JERRY: Oh, gee, I can't talk right now. Why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later.

TEL: Uh, I'm sorry we're not allowed to do that.

JERRY: Oh, I guess you don't want people calling you at home.

TEL: No.

JERRY: Well now you know how I feel. [Hangs up]

evil doug 1:39 PM  

Telemarketer: Would you be interested in a subscription to the New York Times?

Jerry: Yes! (Slams down phone)

Tita 1:41 PM  

My friend would say "Yes - sounds interesting...just a sec while I go turn off the stove." Then he would just leave the phone off hook till the guy gave up.
He figured it accomplished 2 things - annoyed the guy, and saved several others from getting a call from him that night...

Robots definitely change the dynamics.

Whatever happened to that Do Not Call List - it was such a pleasure for a coupla years there...

@r.alph...love your discovery of the real reason the Leap the Dips coaster is so thrilling!

DigitalDan 2:10 PM  

Re: Telemarketers:

I always tell them that I don't speak English. I'm willing to converse for as long as they like about the negative aspects of this malady.

Jenny 2:30 PM  

I'd bow to Ulrich, but I don't see anything wrong with the clues for 25&29D. The current Hessen (as it's called in German) is a Land, but neither a Stadt nor a Staat. The puzzle entries are in English: the place is called Hesse, and it's a "state" in the "United States" sense (a territorial subunit of a federal system).

Kristin 3:56 PM  

Is ABERDEEN the British name for a Scottie?

Sparky 3:59 PM  

Finished which is a good thing for me. Question mark at BIGHAND then about an hour later said AhHa, a clock. Started out with most of the half below the diagonal filled in. TOWEROFLONDON confirmed by putting in LACROSSE. ABERDEEN went in after CANOES.

Top half harder. Falter before TOTTER, asta before TOTO, @JaxInLa--my mind also went back to earlier Nagy but knew had to be three syllables. @Lindsay--same fixation on bones and big, big displays. Hang in there, girl. @ED--like yeah!? Gee whiz, @Rex. On that note:

I wish one and all a continuing great weekend.

Sue McC 4:08 PM  

This was rightly labelled easy, considering I did it late last night after coming home from a friend's Seder and partaking of 4 glasses of wine. No gripes.

Sue McC 4:12 PM  

Just finished tomorrow's, too, which I would also label as easy, with a clever theme. Faster than usual Sunday for me.

lawprof 5:19 PM  

I thought this puzzle was wonderful! Not because it was terribly clever or ingenious or fresh or anything else. Just because I finally -- finally!-- roared through a Saturday. Just three writeovers: erns/ROCS, asta/TOTO, teeter/TOTTER. I don't keep time, but thought I finished in about a typical (for me) Tuesday or Wednesday time. So I spent the rest of the day feeling pretty smug. Nice way to start a weekend.

loren muse smith 5:19 PM  

I just DNF this, having gotten back from a Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and egg hunt at the club where I work. It was NOT EASY, and I definitely had NO CHANCE OF SUCCESS. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

Liked both strawberries and HAVE A GOOD MIND TO and INTEND TO in the same puzzle.

@Annie D and all the others – malaplop (yes, ED and ACME have pointed out it’s “pop,” but I prefer “plop”) with ESSEN.

@Evil – SAWN does truly look weird.

Of course I delighted in seeing LACROSSE in a puzzle; I usually can’t work Saturdays until late because I’m at my daughter’s LACROSSE game, almost always far away as WV has only 6 girls’ high school teams.

@Rex – let’s assume Duke was indeed founded by a bunch of hard-core drunks and just keep it at that.

Tobias Duncan 6:28 PM  

@ACME said
"Hey, @tobias, if you are out there, I got MET for Strawberry with no letters! AND ASHE...and even eventually changed CAnER to CAGER! I've switched teams, sotospeak!"




NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

michael 6:51 PM  

I liked this puzzle. About medium for me (for a Saturday), maybe a bit on the easy side since I had no mistakes at all. Had a bit of trouble with California, but otherwise steady - if not all that fast - progress.

caller id + the no call list has taken a lot of the pain out of telemarketing. Still, a high percentage of calls on my landline (which I should doubtless give up) are from bots.

joho 8:01 PM  

@Tita ... when an actual person calls to sell something I just tell them I'm on the "no call" list and they immeditately apologize for bothering me and get off the phone as fast as they can. As far as I know I'm still on that list and by the way they react I'd say it still exists.

For the ones who just won't stop talking I hang up. Simple.

Dirigonzo 8:34 PM  

This puzzle was an uphill battle for me - literally. I first gained a (tenuous) toehold in the south and finally cracked the 15s down there, then worked back up through the grid with PRICEONONESHEAD being the last long answer to fall. Any Saturday puzzle I eventually finish is AOK in my book.

@Tita - the do not call list has been around long enough that you may have to reregister your number to stay on the list - you can list cell phones now, too. Political campaigns are exempt, I think, so it may not help much during this election season. As @Michael said, Caller ID helps a lot - I often hit the "talk" button and then immediately punch "end" to cut the call off and prevent a message on the machine. I think that pretty much translates into IMNOTINTERESTED.

As a mostly syndi-solver I am extremely glad to see the email follow-up feature back. Thank you, Blogger (or whomever).

Michael D 9:36 PM  

With -A-R---E at 37-across, I confidently wrote in MARRIAGE. Oops.

Dirigonzo 10:25 PM  

@Michael D - Well, your solution certainly seems to fit the clue...

sanfranman59 11:17 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 6:56, 6:50, 1.03, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:47, 8:52, 0.99, 55%, Medium
Wed 12:37, 11:50, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:58, 18:58, 0.89, 30%, Easy-Medium
Fri 23:15, 25:01, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 20:39, 29:34, 0.70, 4%, Easy (6th lowest median solve time of 137 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:40, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Tue 4:42, 4:35, 1.03, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:19, 5:53, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:58, 9:19, 1.07, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 11:24, 12:23, 0.92, 39%, Easy-Medium
Sat 12:14, 16:48, 0.73, 6%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 136 Saturdays)

Spacecraft 1:41 PM  

I have no idea what "ERROR 503" means, but it erased my whole blog and made me start over. Grrr! Anyhoo, a veddy British flavor to today's NOTEASY offering: from STKITTS on across the pond to ABERDEEN, St. IVES, the WESTEND and the TOWEROFLONDON--plus a pair of Beatles in the clues. That'll do for the NONCE.

This grid took some work; too much to let me agree with the "easy" rating. The cluing was its usual convoluted self come the weekend: the BIGHAND is certainly "up-to-the-minute." heh heh. However, I did finish, with no Googles and no writeovers--and that has nothing to do with my giving this puzzle two thumbs-up.

Absolutely nothing.

Honest.

Sheldon 1:41 PM  

Oh what nitpickers and negative nabobs incredibly abound on this blog. Once again my two doctorates and genius IQ have been wasted in a five minute excersise. So it's back to my string theory hypothesis.

Ginger 3:07 PM  

When I started lurking here, about a year ago, I didn't even attempt Fri or Sat puz's. So, the fact that I finished, with only one google to double check that Arthur Ashe went to UCLA, makes me love this puzzle. So what if OFL calls it easy, I'm sure it was, for him. For me it was tough, but I persevered.

'Leap the Dip' had a top speed of only 10 MPH? Interesting. There was a similar coaster at The Pike in Long Beach, CA. It rattled and creaked, and scared the s*** out of us. Ahhhh youth

As has been mentioned, reading the comments increases the puzzling pleasure exponentially. Thank you @Rex, Thank You Bloggers, and Thank You R. Wolfe.

DMGrandma 3:28 PM  

I find it interesting that so many solvers trip on same clues, e.g. Asta/Toto, teeter/totter. Must have something to do with how the brain is wired. I also puzzle that a long word that is seemingly "ungettable" just drops into place when you discover the third or sixth letter or whatever.
The densest clue for me in this puzzle was "Back forty". Really wanted to be down on the farm, and only got it from the crosses.
As for those telephone guys. Had two calls while working this puzzle, and have decided do-not-call no longer works. I don't feel rude about hanging up-feel they were rude to call me.
Robot words are "ingstys ghoduc" which IPad tells me is "ingests geoduck". For breakfast?

Solving in Seattle 4:13 PM  

Didn't read any comments other than the few Syndies. Can someone explain 51D to me? "Strawberry was one."

Weather in Pacific NW ideal. Imagine @Red, @Spacecraft, @Ginger, et.al., outdoors and on the water. Off to the golf course.

Capcha: cespa annote. Latin for "get your butt outdoors!"

Lola505 4:59 PM  

Easy? Not IMHO, but after reading Rex's bullet points, I'd have to agree it was not a stellar puzzle. Had a hard time getting a foothold, but eventually made it through.

@Retired Chemist -- a fellow Toy Group dog show person! I showed Yorkies for many years here in the southwest -- Four Star Yorkies -- (but not for many years). Had a couple of breeder-owner-handled AKC Champions.

@Solving in Seattle, get this: ME explaining a sports clue (will wonders never cease??): Darryl Strawberry played for the NY Mets.

Lola505 5:08 PM  

@Retired Chemist, in all the dog show talk, forgot to mention, ITA about the Aberdeen Terrier being an obscure / unused name for the Scottish Terrier breed.

Ginger 5:37 PM  

@Lola505 @Retired Chem toy dogs YES, but like the big ones too. Checking @RetC avatar...Goldens as well as one adorable Pug. Lola..cute Yorkies, can sure be bossy for being so tiny. I Once had Samoyeds, showed my (huge)Czar, with no success ;-). Have pugs of late.

@SIS Agree, wonderful weekend weatherwise. Just got back from a walk. Great day for golf. Sounds like you're over the elevated temp of a couple days ago.

@DMGrandma Re back 40...lashes?? Got me too. Anyone?

Solving in Seattle 5:42 PM  

@Lola, Doh! Of course, the baseball player. Brain still not on all 3 cylinders yet. Thanks.

@Ginger, half of Seattle has had this 24 hour flu. Feeling much better, thanks.

DMGRAND 5:50 PM  

@Ginger. The 40 lashes was an aha for me. Think of Blackbeard punishing a rebellious pirate.

Ginger 6:21 PM  

@DMGrandma Thanks Funny thing is that I did think of that, it just didn't ring true, so discarded it. Also thought of a phrase from long ago '40 lashes with a wet noodle'.

@SIS Much too pretty out to be sick!

Lola505 7:07 PM  

@Ginger, you are so right about Yorkies being "bossy". I've always said God passed out the same self-image to all the breeds and Yorkies have no idea they can't take on all comers. They often start things with larger dogs that they can't finish! That's why I've always owned Toy dogs -- you get everything, just in a smaller package. I also don't have to run in the show ring!

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