Coulrophobe's bugaboo / THU 6-15-12 / Curly-haired toon / O'Connor of Xena / Composer/conductor Webern / Posta stamp on una carta / Nobelist name of 1922 1975 / Rank smoke / Zesty casserole with crust

Friday, June 15, 2012

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: KEN'S (56A: Big name in salad dressing) —
Ken's Foods is privately held food manufacturing company located in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ken's primary products are salad dressings, sauces and marinades. The company's commercial food manufacturing divisions produce products both for retail sale and food service, including contract manufacturing for companies such as Newman's Own. (wikipedia)
• • •
Wow, this one played increasingly hard as I moved through the grid, with the last section (the SE) playing the hardest by far. I got stuck so bad that it took my overall time well toward "Challenging" levels. Started out with STIFF and FETE and quickly colonized the whole NW (big thumbs up to "I WANT MY MTV"; 17A: Catchphrase of the '80s). Then I moved fairly easily into the SW corner. Got slightly held up, what with not knowing AEREO (39A: Postal stamp on una carta) or IOLA (51A: Joe Hardy's girlfriend in the Hardy Boys books) or KENS, but I took a flier on WRISTLET and it proved smart. Also helped that WARWICK was a full-on gimme (36D: "Walk on By" singer) (I love Bacharach). Couldn't get into the NE on the first pass, so I followed CHARTRES (a near gimme) into the SE, thinking that would help me make short work of that corner. Oh so wrong. Couldn't get any of the Downs except REDID. Oh, and VAN, but even that felt like a total guess, since a BUS seems more suitable to an entire baseball team (53D: Transportation for many a Little League team). Didn't (and still don't) understand that clue on STOGY. I know a STOGY is a cigar, but what does "Rank" in the clue mean? Does it just mean that the "smoke" (a noun, referring to the cigar) stinks? Wow. OK. I think that's it. Well, that hurt. Also hurting: TWIXT (something in the clue should've signaled quaint/archaic, ouch), ELENA (who?), TACO PIE (eventually guessed the PIE, but to my knowledge I've never even seen one of these) (37D: Zesty casserole with a crust), LOVE APPLE (guessed the APPLE much later, after I'd gone back and conquered the NE), and GHOULS (like you, I had GHOSTS at first). PCP could've been LSD, I thought (52D D.E.A. target drug). Lucky guess on BOHR (49D: Nobelist name of 1922 and 1975).



Anyway, I'm telling this story out of order. I totally failed at the SE the first time and had to go back and trudge slowly through the NE. Just could not see WOLFGANG (31A: Puck, for one) or MOTIVE (35A: Envy, anger or greed, maybe) from the initial letters, so had to piece everything together slowly from the meagre amount of stuff I did know: LEON (18A: Rock's Kings of ___) and (less certainly) VINES (38A: Napa Valley sight) and (later, after VINES got me CALLING IN) RICCI. Changing GHOSTS to GHOULS really turned things for me. Oh, and changing LSD to PCP. Then CHILLAXING (great answer / 55A: Taking a load off) came into view and all was right with the world. So, if you're playing at home, that's Easy in the NW, Easy-Medium in the SW, Medium to Medium-Challenging in the NE, and Challenging in the SE, with the last section being the big winner in terms of determining the overall feel of the thing.


Bullets:
  • 21A: Coulrophobe's bugaboo (CLOWN) — wow, that has a name? Cool. No idea. Ailurophobes are afraid of cats. 
  • 27A: Composer/conductor Webern (ANTON) — After Chekhov, I'm pretty much out of ANTONs. 
  • 40A: Patrick of "Barry Lyndon" (MAGEE) — Got this off the "M"—no idea how. I think my brain just dipped into the "Patricks we've seen before" vat and came up with it.
  • 49A: Curly-haired toon (BOOP) — Took me forever. She does have curly hair (Betty BOOP), but somehow that's not the first thing I think of. It seems more spit-curled than curly, but maybe I'm splitting hairs (ha).
  • 4D: O'Connor of "Xena" (RENÉE) — pfft, nope. Sure I've seen her before, but still, nope.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

74 comments:

jae 12:12 AM  

This was tougher for me than the last few Fridays but it still came in at easy-medium.  My take was the same as Rex's for the west side, but the SE was easy-medium for me (I put in PCP and didn't look back) and the NE tough.  Had trouble coming up with RICCI, was only vaguely aware of LEON (tried SOUL at first), did not know ANTON or CLOWN, was looking for a Shakespeare Puck answer, and got completely fooled by the range misdirect.

Liked it a lot.  Mucho zip...CHILLAXING, IWANTMYMTV, SCARECROW, OHMSLAW (yes, science is zippy although technically it's I=E/R), WARWICK, BOOP, LOVEAPPLE (will we ever see ROADAPPLE)...

Yes Rex, I also had to erase GHOSTS plus the misspelled Patrick MCNEE.

Again, no obvious tricky crosses that I can detect.

jackj 12:13 AM  

(After a quick scan of 31*’s write-up it looks like our solving problems were pretty similar).

When my first entry was COWER, for that clever clue, “Duck and quail”, it looked like this was going to be a painless trip to puzzledom’s favorite dentist and, indeed the entire left side filled in rather easily.

SCARECROWS and COMBOMEAL were favorites in that group and WRISTLET brought a chuckling reminder of those awkward corsages whose only saving grace was that it probably meant your date was wearing a sexy, revealing strapless gown.

Things still looked good on the right side with CHARTRES and THINE’s cousin TWIXT but then the Dr.’s casual checkup began to look like it was segueing into root canal territory until “Puck” revealed himself as Spago’s WOLFGANG not the bard’s mischievous trickster.

Then, when LEMONICES magically switched to SNOWCONES and GHOSTS became GHOULS there was hope, enough even to allow me to write in CALLINGIN which was the weak product of a second-rate clue and which then left only the beginnings of VIDEO and LAXING as unknowns.

When the Nobel laureate clearly could only be Danish physicist BOHR, father and son, it showed the way to adding POPUP and CHILL as the missing bits, allowed me to collect my complimentary toothbrush, say “thank you” to Dr. D and reflect on a new word, CHILLAXING which sure looks ominous; nothing like its gentler meaning!

Another fine outing from the good Doctor!

retired_chemist 1:12 AM  

Challenging here. But DNG and felt good about my solve. Hand up for GHOSTS.

From ?LO?? my coulrophobe feared a FLOOD first (a la Grand Coulee, I suppose). From the L of OHM'S LAW 22A was GO TO JAIL. 25A was INTRO. 50A was RASH. So it took a while, but a year ago I would not have finished.

CHARTRES was in immediately, then out thrice (archaic) before becoming definite.

Cool answers: CHILLAXING (new word), ONE OCTAVE (looked for mtns), TWIXT (which did need a signal it was archaic), STOGY (looked for ACRID or something similar). Also WRISTLET (looking for some kind of flower).

Well done, Mr. Diehl.

retired_chemist 1:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 1:28 AM  

Addenda: TACO PIE is on no restaurant menu I have ever seen and I eat at a LOT of Mexican places.

KEN'S is a new one. The web site says it is available at some places here in TX. Haven't seen it AFAIK.

My punch was a TWO HOLER until I realized that had a distinctly different referent.

captcha 7 ycumen - my reponse is lhude sing cuccu.

syndy 1:55 AM  

I started slow but built to a crescendo.Fould a few entries and built on them.fun kinda challenging with a few caveats:Tamale pie yes-TACOPIE not so much.WHAMS? still loved TWIXT,CHILLAXING,,LOVEAPPLE and COULROPHOPE!!A puzzle CRAFTIER than many.

r.alphbunker 2:44 AM  

My journey through the puzzle took me through the SW, NE, SE and NW in that order. I dwelled in the NW long enough to run for public office there. Took about 10 minutes to finish it off but it seemed longer than that.

STIFF and OHMSLAW were the only answers that I was sure of in the NW. The MT of IWANTMY[MT]V made me doubt WITH. Was thinking it ended in MTo but then what was the KGB?

This was a challenging puzzle with a happy ending.

Jeremy Mercer 6:59 AM  

Briefly blocked on SNOWCONES because I'm used to SNO. According to xwordinfo:

SNOCONE = 10x
SNOWCONE = 0x
SNOCONES = 0x
SNOWCONES = 2x (including today)

Do we prefer the 'SNOW' or the 'SNO'?

SethG 8:35 AM  

Easy in the SW, Medium in the NW, Medium in the SE, and Challenging in the NE.

IOLA and HANGAR were gimmes, HAIR SALON from that, built the rest. Changing VALUE MEAL to COMBO and guessing OHMS for the LAW opened up the NW. Never heard of CHARTRES, MAGEE, or ELENA, so piecing together the SE was trickier, but VAN and REDID led to PRESENT DAY to PCP and POP-UP VIDEO, so that was possible. The NE, with just LEON and CALLING IN, much harder.

WRIST LEI and MCGEE were totally possible, so I ended staring for a long time at ICCO PIE. Yummm!!!

evil doug 8:45 AM  

Sno-cone might be a brand name, but that's the way I've always seen it.

I always spelled it 'stogie'.

Eaten Frito pie, never taco pie.

Tried 'tween' before the much mo' fun 'twixt'. That x launched me into chillaxing---wonderful new word.

Nice clue for hangar (and not 'hanger', as it's oft misspelled).

Vaguely remember Betty Boop cartoons. Loved Grampy, who'd put on his thinking cap and invent stuff.

Remember 'pop-up video' on MTV or VHS, when little balloons of interesting facts bubbled in during the songs.

'Stiff' and 'cower' next to each other make an interesting contrast.

Terrific clues on rests, Wolfgang, scarecrows, Toledo Ohio (nice double o twist in adjacent words), one octave, hair salon and clown fears.

Much fun.

evil

dk 8:51 AM  

I'm baaaaaacccccck. CHILLAXING here in the Falls, Internet running strong and the Network lads will be here at noon (CDT).

Alas the paper was late so an electronic solve for this CLOWN.

The aforementioned CHILLAXING BASHed my WRISTLET. I just put in the X and ta da MR. Happy Pencil.

The other killer was 15a as I thought Corning Glass was in... you know... Corning N.Y. or at least Steubenville.

Anyway off to the office (next room over).

������ (3 Stars) Nice one.

The old me would have made some comment about not minding a FREEROLL with Ms. RICCI but I am above that now.

Try Bragg instead of KENS.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

A beautiful puzzle that deserved more praise from @Rex. A 64-word masterpiece. Absolutely blown away by the skillful execution here. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Diehl.

The Bard 9:00 AM  

Macbeth > Act I, scene VII

LADY MACBETH: Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

King Richard III > Act I, scene I

GLOUCESTER: Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women:
'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:
My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is deliver'd?
We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.

The Dane 9:05 AM  

Hamlet > Act I, scene II

HAMLET: If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though hell itself should gape
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all,
If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue:
I will requite your loves. So, fare you well:
Upon the platform, 'twixt eleven and twelve,
I'll visit you.

PuzzleNut 9:11 AM  

Loved this one. Great clues with unexpected tiwsts at every turn.
Similar experience as Rex, but the NE was my last fill. Had both HALLE and BERRY for Monster and that really messed me up. (Oh, Monster Ball). Likie others, mu Puck wanted to be Shakespearean, so the WO really wanted to be WOODLANDFAIRY or some variation. VINES seemed to obvious for this puzzle.
shitTIER
shiFTIER
shAFTIER
CRAFTIER
My wife does make TACOPIES, and they are a LOT better than TofuPIES. Had LUCY before BOOP and, of course, GHOstS before GHOULS. Tried to stretch POPUPADS into 10 boxes, but at least it helped. STOGY was eminently fair, but I prefer ED's spelling. Last letter was the T in ANTON and I looked at the mess I had for 12D and wondered where the hell those mountains were located. Ohhh!

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Oh, so when I got WELTs from my father whipping me with his belt, it was because I had an allergic reaction to the leather of the belt? Good to know, because until now I thought it was from the violence of the act. I guess he was right all along, it was my fault.

pauer 9:20 AM  

Pretty terrific puzzle, I thought. Got the bottom half without much trouble, then created my own trouble by putting in VALUEMEAL then HAPPYMEAL, and I confess I had WRISTLEI for a little while, too. :) My coulrophobe was scared of a CLOUD, and I totally fell for the ["Home on the Range" range] clue.

CHILLAXING is the clear winner here, I think, with TACOPIE a close second. Great stuff, Mark!

quilter1 9:29 AM  

I think TACOPIE and Fritopie are similar. Probably originated in Woman's Day magazine or some such.

Fun puzzle, enjoyed the misdirection and yet, once I had a few crosses and twisted my brain, I could see it. Lots of writing in the margins today. Challenging but satisfying.

Smitty 9:32 AM  

@Puzzlenut - me too on WOOD (nymph?sprite?) Good fake out!
@Jeremy Mercer - add me to the SNO CONE column

Anyone else have SHAFT for STIFF? (shortchange)
Lots of misleading clues - but in a clever puzzley way
Great moments:
ONE OCTAVE (range of home on the range)
MOTIVE (greed, etc.)
BOOP (curly haired toon)

NE was hardest for me

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Yes, "rank" in the STOGY clue refers to foul smelling, although it isn't quite accurate and our preferred spelling is STOGIE. More exactly, a stogie is a shape of cigar--longish and narrow with cut ends and not much taper--which makes them good candidates for machine manufacturing. As such they are often made with tobacco scraps (unlike the premium handmade cigars featured in our magazine). Lesser quality raw material combined with the fact that they typically have a loose draw can result in a stench, although this is not their defining quality. (Some stogies do not stink.) The name supposedly arises as a contraction of "Conestoga" for the wagon drivers who favored them--not as pioneers on wagon trains, but as teamsters in Pennsylvania, where that type of covered wagon was invented in the village of Conestoga. If the Roger Miller lyric “I smoke old stogies I have found, SHORT, but not too big around” from “King of the Road seems to belie the above definition, consider that as a hobo the singer of the song is collecting discarded cigars, which would be short by the time he acquired them. Also, stogie is now a generic slang term for any cigar, regardless of its shape or quality.

Jack Bettridge
Senior features editor
Cigar Aficionado

Doug 9:37 AM  

Had NOTES for 42A and that messed up my SW for the longest time.

Cheerio 9:46 AM  

This was hard, but the fill was refreshing. Wow, Iola is some name. I'm surprised such an unusual name would be in the Hardy Boys.

I had Fonda at first for the Monster clue, thinking of "Monster-in-Law."

Cower clued with "Duck and quail" is awesome.

imsdave 9:56 AM  

Challenging for me. This was a treat after the run of softball Friday's we've had. Had about 8 words after my first pass (@Doug - including NOTES). Put it down several times and managed to get a corner each time I restarted. Probably took about 35 minutes over the course of 3 hours. I have a bad feeling I would not have done well on this in a tournament.

Excellent puzzle. Thank you Mr. Diehl.

@Rex - not sure if you remember spiedies, or if you're eating any meat at all these days, but if you start with Ken's Italian Dressing and add a bunch of garlic and salt, it makes a great homemade spiedie marinade.

Brian 9:56 AM  

The Dentist scares me, because he's usually an evil and sadistic Saturday ruiner. But today fell quickly for me. I smiled at ONE OCTAVE and grumbled at SNOW CONES. And thirty years ago, I read all the Hardy Boys books, but could not remember IOLA. Time to re-read?

Rex Parker 9:57 AM  

@Jack Bettridge wins the comment thread.

Joe Davola 10:01 AM  

JERRY: The hardest part about being a clown, it seems to me, would be that you're constantly referred to as a clown.
"Who was that clown?", "I'm not working with that clown, did you hire that clown?", "The guy's a clown!".
How do you even start into being a clown, how do you know that you want to be a clown, I guess you get to a point
where you're pants look so bad, it's actually easier to become a clown than having the proper alterations done.
Because if you think about it, a clown, if there isn't a circus around them, is really just a very annoying person.
You're in the back seat of this guys Volkswagen, "What, you're picking somebody else up? Oh man!"

Joe Davola 10:03 AM  

Joe: Are you still afraid of clowns?
Kramer: Uh-huh...

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

@Rex - Yes re @Jack Bettridge. It's amazing how someone can put into context and provide a clear understanding about a question about which there can be no definitive answer. And do it without the faintest hint of pedantry.

KRMunson 10:16 AM  

Great add, @Jack! Thanks for educating me.

joho 10:25 AM  

This was a pefedct Friday puzzle in my book. Seemed impossible at first but yielded little by little until a successful finish.

SUV before VAN, like @Puzzlenut with shiFTIER before CRAFTIER and like many had the sheet pulled over my eyes with GHOstS before GHOULS.

Loved the clue for ONEOCTAVE and the answer CHILLAXING.

Thank you, Mark Diehl, we've been waiting for a Friday like this for a while now!

fruitypants 10:32 AM  

Wow, I loved this one. IWANTMYMTV along with POPUPVIDEO (remember that show, VH1 I think?) brings me right back to my elementary school days.

loren muse smith 10:53 AM  

Filling in THINE, CHARTRES, THREEHOLE, LEON, and CLOP, I thought this would be an easy “long” WALK (had to erase that one) in the park. Wrong. Things slowed way down after that. I also plopped in “Leoni” for RICCI , “value”MEAL like @Seth et al, and yes with all the tens of thousands, “ghosts.”

Highlights (well, this whole puzzle is a highlight, really): FETE next to BASH, THINE and TWIXT sharing a puzzle with the PRESENT DAY southeast’s POPUPVIDEO and CHILLAXING (Dad, I’m hurting for you), WHAMS, WELT, and BOOP. Two science clues with OH! Oh, my.

THINE – Most of you probably know that English used to have both the familiar thee, thou, thy, thine along with the formal you, your, yours. I was visiting Plimoth Plantation once, where all the employees are in character a la Williamsburg. I had an exchange with an employee, and he used thee with me. Then the “mayor” walked up, and he used you with him. I asked him why the difference because I really couldn’t believe they were that well trained. He actually was visibly flustered and reddened and apologized if he had offended me by being so familiar and casual. I was truly impressed.

On COULROPHOBia. I have lived with a severe, full blown (pun intended) case of globophobia from my earliest memories. I read somewhere that I share this fear with Oprah Winfrey.

Mark Diehl – textbook Friday with a terrific, bright, scrabbly, clean fill. I applaud THINE efforts!

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

Quite a span of pop culture today.
Betty Boop to Hardy Boys to Xena and Vampire Diaries.
In other words, DNF.
Look at that NE corner.
Anna, Leon, Ricci, Anton, and Wolfgang. Not a chance.

jberg 11:04 AM  

Me too for ghosts - and once I got the VE I figured home on the range must have doubled as some kind of sToVE. And I didn't want RESTS- can't remember seeing one, and I play a lot of music. Still, it all came right in the end, for a challenging workout. I'm particularly happy to have thought of CHILLAXING, a new word for me!

Merle 11:09 AM  

I had to Google my way through this. What I did know: got the apple, which led to the love. Early American colonists, on coming upon the tomato, called it a love apple. Good fifth grade teacher! I want my MTV. Hangar. Chartres, the only gimme for me. Hair salon, almost a gimme with a cross or two. What Google gave me: Toledo, Ohio, for Owens Corning location. Elena, "Vampire Diaries" girl. (Who? Who cares!) Renee, O'Connor of "Xena". Word of the day for me was "Chillaxing". Great word. Never heard it before. Well, enough already, now I need to chillax.

r.alphbunker 11:16 AM  

@loren
Me too. There is no way that I would go up in a balloon! :-)

COIXT RECORDS 11:22 AM  

I had VALUEMEAL before COMBOMEAL because it's a slightly more familiar phrase (to me anyway) and more explicitly "money-saving."

But, like Doug, the SW took a 30 minute detour thanks to NOTES instead of RESTS, which I stubbornly clung to since it was my very first answer in the grid.

Shouldn't the clue for 28-D be "Like some paper punchers" instead of "punches?" The devices themselves are "three-hole" not the bits punched out, right?

COIXT RECORDS 11:34 AM  

Oh and adding to the SW mess was my mistake HAIRTONIC instead of HAIRSALON. Obviously, ...SALON is a much better answer for "Do business?" but I was thinking "business" in the sense of "stuff." Plus ...TONIC fit with NOTES so I was in rough shape there.

Mel Ott 11:39 AM  

Tough but doable. A great Friday morning workout for the brain cells. The NE was my toughest corner. Couldn't see any of the long downs until MOTIVE gave me ONE OCTAVE.

Notre Dame de Chartres is a wonderful cathedral with some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world. Great statuary too.

You can walk down the steps into the old town of Chartres and stand on the banks of the EURE River, which we encountered here not long ago.

Tobias Duncan 11:44 AM  

I am not afraid of clowns but I sure hate them. I do not like interacting with anyone who has a mask on. If I cannot see someones facial expression I just walk away.
Visitors to Taos should check out the LOVEAPPLE. Great locally grown food in an old church.

Pete 12:18 PM  

I think it's time to stop making up pseudo-scientific terms for common, every day items. I'm looking at you, COULROPHOBIA. "Fear of Clowns" is clear, concise and understandable to all, while COULROPHOBIA is none of these. It's a worthless bit of snobbery.

Please got to StopMakingUpBullshitWords.com and sign the appropriate petition.

loren muse smith 12:32 PM  

@Pete - you totally got me - in both ways ;-) I apologize for globophobia, fear of balloons. I promise I use the word only, um, hebdomadally.

CalebMadison 12:34 PM  

Still waiting for ANTON Chigurh or ANTON Yelchin. I also could not stop associating PUCK with Shakespeare.

hazel 1:08 PM  

Count me in the FRITO-not TACOPIE camp.  I used to have a cookbook of Native American recipes that I bought while at Great Sand Dunes Nat'l monument.  It had a great frito pie recipe. Sadly, the booklet went to my live-in boyfriend at the "divorce" Well, it was a gift.....Just found a recipe online tho so I may be putting it back in my repertoire.

@tobias - how can such a CHILLAXING-sounding guy hold on to so much hate?  You must REALLY hate rodeo clowns!! 

I have a collection of African masks, which I am fascinated by. i love all sorts of ritualistic masks. Today's Carnival celebrations seem to celebrate the mask in its proper forrm. None of this has anything to do with clowns, though! I blame the fact that I am rereading William Gaddis' The Recognitions  for the reason that (1) i am making such associations and (2) this post is sooo long.

Enough tutting for today - except for to say I (1) like many bullshit words (sorry @pete - tho I was willing to sign a petition - good one) and (2) (still flogging the horse) dislike random generalizations (sorry @tobias- DTIP!!

Thought this puzzle was terrific, virtually perfect. Just the right amount of stress for my puzzler.

Stevlb1 1:10 PM  

I finished, and I have been doing the NYT puzzles for years. How long should it take me to finish? I do them Thurs.-Sat. and sometimes on Sunday.

Tobias Duncan 1:33 PM  

@hazel I hold on to the hate so that nice people like you can be sweet and wonderful.

DTIP made me laugh audibly. I may go camping this month at the dunes,they are quite close to me.You want I should keep an eye out for that cookbook?

hazel 2:03 PM  

@tobias - you really ARE chillaxing!! Thank you also for taking this comment in the spirit it was intended!!

Re: cookbook - it was more like a booklet, with a yellow cover - and it was a WHILE ago. But, if you find, i promise to complain about sports one day!! Very cool of you to offer. I may offer up a sports complaint, regardless...

John V 2:14 PM  

Wow, this was hard. XWORDINFO stats say that this is Saturday level, by all counts. 14 debut words. Wow!

Finished with one error, FEST instead of FETE.

Pretty much what @Rex said, esp IWANTMYMTV! CHILLAXING real good, too. All measure and sort of stuff here. Lotta work, but worth the journey. Thanks, Mark.

orangeblossomspecial 2:20 PM  

I had to do this one in two time periods: the bottom during breakfast, the top after mowing the lawn. Guess it took that long for my brain to digest the clues. But I enjoyed the puzzle.

1A reminds me of a scene that was deleted from The Wizard of Oz and exists now only in home movies: "Jitterbug".

Two Ponies 2:38 PM  

@ orangeblossomspecial,
Thanks. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorites.

FearlessK 2:43 PM  

Everything that Rex and evil Doug said. Great Friday puzzle with excellent cluing and misdirection. Going to go chillax in the garden now :D

Lewis 3:02 PM  

Two great puzzles in a row. May this continue!

sanfranman59 4:48 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Fri 26:07, 24:43, 1.06, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 14:26, 12:14, 1.18, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Stephen 7:26 PM  

I'm astonished there is a thing called a TACO PIE. WhatTF?
Loved the whole puzzle, and loved the Home on the Range range, and various other things.

Has anyone really heard of WOLFGANG PUCK?? WhoTF?

Confession: DNF. ;-( There was this money-saving fast food option, see, and it had to gotta be COMBOdEAL, and that was true and right and good. No way it was going away. Malheureusely, there was also the small matter of an explanatory lead-in, which in my world was IdEAN. hmmmm. long pause. Clearly, an explanation has something to do with an IDEA, right? So what is IDEAN??? Finally googled it, and got no satisfaction. In spite of that, my head was so in love with the IDEA that I let it stand. Bah.

mac 8:59 PM  

Fantastic Friday! Enjoyed the puzzle in fits and starts, got totally stuck in the NE until I googled coulro, then it went down.

Fantastic Friday at JenCT's house with Sparky and Tita! Thanks again, Jen and Ryan.

Gill I. P. 9:05 PM  

@Stephen: WHAAAAAT? You never heard of the Austrian maestro? Maybe too many COMBO MEALS in your life? Wolfgang Puck is a walking culinary genius Try his Lobster Taco recipe because I don't think he would try to make TACO PIES - too mushy, like okra.
Loved the puzzle, can I have more?
Needed Google help but finished with a smile. I looked up the meaning of Coulrophobe and spent way too much time looking at all the other "phobia" words.
So wanted "Theron" in place of RICCI. Both such terrific actresses. My daughter rented "Monster" for us and asked me to guess who the actress was.....My husband calls her the beauty of all chameleons.
Have 8 people coming over for a typical Cuban dinner of "lechon" black beans,rice, yuca, croquetas and plantains. No KENS or TACO PIE(S) in this menu.

JenCT 9:59 PM  

Wow, this was tough - like @Rex, BOOP took forever - I kept wanting the Peanuts character with the "naturally curly hair." I can't even remember her name.

The ONE OCTAVE answer totally threw me - good one.

Had a picture-perfect day CHILLAXING with blog friends mac, Sparky & Tita at my house; such a nice time.

Tita 10:19 PM  

Very hard for me. Needed to google 2x and ask Puzzle-spouse once, so DNFWOG.
I tagged 13 clues as obscure, 9 as pop names... funny - seemed like much more pop when I was solving... Didn't like that.
Loved all the tings y'all loved.

@Loren - 19A and 20A sound like just a typical day for you... ;)

@Smitty - I had cheat before STIFF.
popsicle before SNO[W]CONE.

@Jack Bettridge - I have a theory that everyone hates the smell of cogar smoke. Men just put up with them because women will leave them alone while they partake.

Thanks Dr. Diehl.

Tita 10:24 PM  

Beautiful weather for a fabulous day at the idyllic butterfly/chicken/dog/cat/caterpillar sanctuary that is Jen's little corner of heaven.
Such a delightful luncheon straight from the garden. So nice to see you all. Thanks again, Jen & Ryan!

(Frieda was her name-o...)

Tita 10:25 PM  

Sigh... *cigar*

sanfranman59 10:34 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 6:13, 6:49, 0.91, 15%, Easy
Tue 12:03, 8:55, 1.35, 100%, Challenging (highest median solve time of 156 Tuesdays)
Wed 9:58, 11:47, 0.85, 18%, Easy
Thu 16:25, 18:56, 0.87, 23%, Easy-Medium
Fri 26:56, 24:43, 1.09, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Tue 6:25, 4:37, 1.39, 100%, Challenging (highest median solve time of 156 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:37, 5:53, 0.96, 41%, Medium
Thu 8:33, 9:21, 0.97, 40%, Medium
Fri 14:14, 12:14, 1.16, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 11:03 PM  

First entry was SuperSize for 6 down due to all the talk about the proposed ban on large sugary drinks in NYC. (Don't think we need Bloomberg to be deciding how much soda we can drink.) But quickly filled in SW and realized it was meal but then threw in JumboMeal (sticking to the supersize theme) before I got to Combo.

Z 11:53 PM  

Got to the puzzle late today. Like Rex each quadrant played at a different difficulty, but the SE was my easy corner. CHARTRES, PCP, and VAN gave me enough to fill that corner.

The SW was next, but -MEAL resulted in valueMEAL, and being stymied in the NW. I returned to the NE where I had LEON. I guessed correctly on ANNA and RICCI, got enough letters to finally shake a spear at WOLFGANG Puck and had only the NW left.

-AW meant the equation had to be a -LAW and that L meant the monopoly clue was a -ROLL and value was wrong. I suppose that knowing that Owens Corning was but an hour away might have made that corner easier for me. As is often the case for me on Fridays and Saturdays, one section took longer than the entire rest of the puzzle for me.

syndy 12:11 AM  

@ TITA the smell of a good cigar brings back the memory of my Grandfather so strongly I smile for the rest of the day! It has to be awfully bad not to.

dls 1:16 PM  

Big kudos for the symmetrically placed "I WANT MY MTV" and "POP UP VIDEO".

Ron Diego 11:32 AM  

Strange thing: Although I finished the puzzle, with a little help, I can't find the word "chillaxing" in any dictionary or Wikipedia or any other source of reference. Ergo, I declare the word invalid - even though the meaning is obvious. Not fair Mr. Diehl! Just a little too clever and devious. Overall, I sincerely liked the puzzle.

Ron Diego 11:43 AM  

OK, I stand corrected. I did find the word "chillax" in the Dictionary of Slang. I suppose one could also construe it to mean "an ice cube enema." Bah I'm an oldtimer and don't care for language bastardization. Just sayin

DMGrandma 3:36 PM  

Had the same problem as @Two Ponies, too many proper names left me with too many blanks in the NE. I also got hung up in the NW. My conviction that Corningware comes from upstate New York ( Onieda?) combined with the ubiquitous HappyMEALS led to more blanks. I did manage to finish the South, but had to take TACOPIES and CHILLAXING on faith. Everytime I think I gaining on solving these things, one like this comes along to say I've still got a ways to go.
I think my Captcha may be trying to express my reaction: Votatic.

Solving in Seattle 4:10 PM  

Late here cause I was CHILLAXING watching day two of the British Open. Looks like an exciting weekend.

Didn't notice the "ae" ending of personae so GOBLIN became GHOSTS, then turned into GHOULS.

Really good clues in this puzzle Mr. Diehl, but maybe someone can explain how "Comparatively arch" is CRAFTIER?

Have a good weekend Syndylanders.

Spacecraft 5:51 PM  

I never wanted my MTV; my catchphrase for the 80's (and 90's--and'00's, etc.) has always been "I WANT IT ALL!" which is what I tried first. I also tried GHOstS before GHOULS, especially since I was working down and had the GHO in place.

Another hardish one that looked impenetrable at first blush; I finally found my gimme with WARWICK (she did a concert at my school in the late 60's; she was falling-down drunk but still did a bitchin' "Walk On By"), and that pried open the SW. Little by little the puzzle laid itself bare until I DID "have it all." That's the most satisfying solve there is.

I don't recognize Mr. Diehl's name; if you are a seasoned contributor, sir, my apologies for my ignorance. But if this is a debut: Give up your day job, dude, and do this full time!

JenCT 7:51 PM  

@SiS: I found these alternate meanings at Dictionary.com:

arch

adjective

1. playfully roguish or mischievous: an arch smile.

2.cunning; crafty; sly.

Solving in Seattle 8:50 PM  

@JenCT, thanks for clearing up the "arch" clue for me. I'll try to use it in a sentence today. Got the CRAFTIER on crosses.

BTW, when I was a boy one of my chores was to raise chickens as our family egg source. I always had about a dozen layers for several years. Even sold some to the neighbors. When one quit laying it became dinner. No Russell Crowes, though.

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

My first pass through the clues produced nothing but REM. But for "Puck" I wanted MTV STAR...which didn't fit. If I remember correctly, Puck was a favorite cast member in the very first season of MTV's "The Real World". So I was already thinking MTV before I WANT MY MTV found its way into my grid. And I had to smile when POP UP VIDEO showed up symmetrically.

I had WARWICK from the clue but couldn't commit because I couldn't come up with a single cross until I had finished all but that SW quadrant.

This was one of those "I can't believe I finished" Fridays. I love those kind.

All the rock music references made me think of my favorite punk/new wave era pin when I was penciling in the answer to 1d. A lot of great music on that label back in the day.

Dirigonzo 10:35 PM  

Wasn't there a country song in the '60s with the kyric, "Just walk on by, wait on the corner"? Well I spent a long time trying to remember the name of the guy who sang that song (Jim Reeves, it turns out) before I remembered the Dionne WARWICK hit. And popciclES are treats to beat the heat, too, so that section took a while to sort itself out.

itinity - about how long it took to complete this puzzle.

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