Czech martyr Jan / SAT 6-2-12 / Trouper's skill / 2009 Wimbledon semifinalist Tommy / Hodges who called baseball's shot heard round world

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none

Word of the Day: RUSS Hodges (3D: Hodges who called baseball's "shot heard 'round the world") —
Russell Pleasant Hodges (June 18, 1910 – April 19, 1971) was an American broadcaster who did play-by-play for several baseball teams, most notably the New York and San Francisco Giants. [...] On October 3, 1951, Hodges was at the microphone for Bobby Thomson's famous Shot Heard 'Round the World. It was Hodges who cried, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" // This famous moment in sports broadcasting was nearly lost. This was in an era before all game broadcasts were recorded. However, in his autobiography, Hodges related how a Brooklyn fan, excited over what appeared to be a certain Dodger victory, hooked up his home tape recorder to his radio. The fan wanted to capture Hodges "crying." Instead, he recorded history; the next day, he called Hodges and said, "You have to have this tape." (wikipedia)
• • •
Back-to-back easy themelesses. Interesting. This one was much more enjoyable, though it also has 18 more words than yesterday's—thus 18 more opportunities to be enjoyable (and an increased likelihood that the other 52 words are rock solid). I've seen a lot of these 15s before, so nothing really stood out as remarkable, though having CONCEALED WEAPON (33A: It may be pulled out while holding something up) and IMMEDIATE DANGER (39A: Cause for urgent action) in the middle section is a nice touch. Having DEEPEST RECESSES (60A: Least accessible parts) at the bottom of your grid is a bit like having REASSESSMENTS, well, anywhere in your grid, i.e. it makes your grid Much easier to fill than a somewhat less S-less (or E-less) word would. I like the long linking Downs today (i.e. "I DO INDEED" and EXAM TABLE, each of which links one triple stack to the next). There are a lot of 3s, and some ugliness comes with that, but nothing so ugly that it made me wince. I finished under my normal Saturday time and would've finished *well* under if I knew any German (ABEND and IHN were the two hardest words in the puzzle for me to get, and the only ones I can't remember ever seeing before) (28A: "Guten ___" (German greeting) + 19A: Him, in Hamburg).



Started with TOTO and SOS and SRIS, and then gently pushed my way forward, first testing out ROUNDABOUT (yes!) then using that to get EBON and NACHO (6D: Taquería tidbit) and knocking the top out from there. The IHN / ABEND issue meant I couldn't find the handle on "I DO INDEED," which means the middle part was hardest for me to get into and far slower to come together than the other two sections. I had to fight my way in through the middle, with the help of SAL and ANDREW. Soon, I had the whole middle filled in. An answer on either end and the 15s started to fall. EXAM TABLE (36D: Fixture in a doctor's office) went down nicely, and the bottom ended up being the easiest section of all. Somehow from -IMB- I was able to get DIAMOND JIM BRADY (53A: Tycoon who was the first person in New York City to own a car), and once you've got one 15, you pretty much have them all—just a matter of time. Finished up somewhere around HEW / WYES (52D: Some branched pipes).



I thought 59A: Best seller that begins "Children are not rugged individualists" ("IT TAKES A VILLAGE") would be something by Horatio Alger for some reason. I did not know RUSS Hodges but I did ... some part of my brain did. Felt like I was not guessing so much as ... scratching off the covering on a RUSS lotto ticket. It was just ... there. Never saw HUS (13D: Czech martyr Jan) or HAAS (50D: 2009 Wimbledon semifinalist Tommy), thank god, as I would've remembered neither. I would never have but DST and WWI together, but ... there it is (56D: Syst. first implemented during W.W. I). I think that's it. Oh, lastly: sometimes bad fill perversely pleases me. I consider NOE (32A: San Francisco's ___ Valley) pretty bad, or at least suboptimal, but somehow it's utterly redeemed for me by being symmetrical with its anagram, NEO (40A: Gothic leader?). Weird how my brain can be placated by strange coincidences like that.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

70 comments:

jae 12:10 AM  

Very solid Sat., but a tad on the easy side.  The three stacks, as usual, were pretty getable with just a few downs.   A fair amount of zip with DIAMONDJIM..., CONCEALED WEAPON, ITTAKES..., IDOINDEED, BOOMER (I'm a 40's arrival).  So, easy-med. for me at best as the North required a little extra effort.

Only erasures:  fra for DOM and SaNG to SUNG.

Potential tough crosses:  Don't see any.

For an excellent fictionalized account of "the shot heard 'round the world" I highly recommend the first chapter of Don Delillo's Underworld.  It might even appeal to the sports averse?

Tobias Duncan 12:12 AM  

This was not easy for me. Never heard of STRAINEDPEACHES as I am not a breeder type.Just the image of little slobberlings sucking down orange goop gives me the shivers. The short fill was really tough for me so it took forever for the 15s to fall. I am also pretty far off my game these days so who knows.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

I liked the COW/PEN, EPI/PEN grouping. I've been stung by bees, to which I am highly allergic, in a cowpen, thus having to resort to using my epipen.

The whole ITTAKESAVILLAGE thing has always bothered me. It's not that it takes a village, it's that you can't avoid the fact other than locking your kids up inside the village will raise your child. That sadistic brat down the street, you know, the one pulling the legs off frogs? Yup, he's got an influence on your kid.

Lock your kids up. Keep them away from The Village People.

pk 12:36 AM  

I'm with you, Tobias D. I wanted 1A to be baby creme brulee, not strained peaches. Yuck. My baby never ate those.

Like Rex, I chipped in at Toto, but couldn't do too much else up North.

Skipped down to the middle, but wanted clear and present before immediate, and once immediate was visible, wanted jeopardy, not danger, but of course jeopardy didn't fit.

I don't understand 15D Person going into a house? - ans SEN. I'm sure I'm blind and stupid, but?

chefwen 12:45 AM  

Got off to a semi bad start with agas at 1D, TO A LESSER degree at 38A and adoring at 22D. CONCEALED WEAPON helped me tidy up that area, and when agas wasn't going anywhere, SRIS popped in the old gray matter.

Thought this was a lot easier than Friday's puzzle, probably because I had a clear head, unlike yesterday when I had half a bottle of wine before I started, sure does make a difference. Lesson learned...

jae 1:03 AM  

@pk -- Think SENator into the House of Congress?

r.alphbunker 6:12 AM  

Solved this one middle out. The top was the last to fall because of *yesINDEED, *fra, *etas, *eyk and *rep polluted the area.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE brought to mind a clever introduction to an acknowledgement section: "It takes a village to be Don Box" following by the people he wanted to thank.

The senate is known as the upper house but I sure wanted rep because of the House of Representatives.

foodie 7:51 AM  

On the easy side for sure. Guessed STRAINED right off but went with bananas first. But I guess they're mushed not strained... There were many gimmes, e.g daughter lived at one point in NOE Valley, and my elementary German helped. But some of the short stuff was a little unfortunate ...WYES?

Still, I'm so impressed with constructors who can think of ways to stack these 15mers!

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

Solved this from the bottom up. I started with 1D agas and 8D fra. Gave up on the top, but found the bottom much easier. Then when I got up to 5D, I had xxxINDEED, so of course I wrote yes INDEED. Three completely wrong downs made it hard to get the 15s. Eventually I got TOTO ETAIL ETO, vaguely remembered HUS off the U. It eventually worked out, but I wouldn't call it easy for me. I still doubt IT'S NO COMPARISON; people say, "There's no comparison." We fed babies strained everything. Peaches are by no means the worst. Try strained prunes. . .

The Bard 8:00 AM  

Hamlet > Act III, scene IV

HAMLET: Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know;
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top.
Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

I've seen easier Saturdays. This took 4 minutes longer than my fastest Sat. I'd say easy-medium.

retired_chemist 8:21 AM  

Easy. Got a few in on the way to the bottom, where for some reason I thought of DIAMOND JIM BRADY without a cross. Turned out to be right but I swear I do not knew how I knew it. Oh wait, maybe it is because I have seen that as a 15 before and it's the only such NYC name I can remember.

Fixing YES INDEED (5D) and AGAS (1D), both of which were firmly fixed in my mind, made the N my final section. Last correction was LTS (units in the Army chain of command), for which I didn't check the cross LIMIC until I error checked .

Enjoyable solve. Hand up for liking, for now, easy end-of-week puzzles with nice fill. Thanks, Mr. Croce.

joho 8:45 AM  

This was an easy Saturday puzzle, but I actually enjoyed it.
The stacks are impressive and the phrases pretty fresh and unforced.

I like @chefwen had TOALESSERdegree and join r.alphbunker, @glimmerglass and @retired_chemist with yesINDEED. That really slowed me down up top --the only place I encountered resistance.

I learned a new meaning for MOSSY today which is always welcome.

All in all a good start to the weekend, thanks, Tim!

Z 9:08 AM  

15 years since there was an infant in this house, but STRAINED something was pretty easy. Having rEp before SEN hid the right side a little bit, but easy-peasy in the north.

I made the middle hard by putting Johnson at 22D instead of ANDREW at 23D. Oops. I also had franCE @31D. Finally realizing my 22D/23D mistake and hitting on EXAM- and ATNOS opened up the middle. Wrestled a little with IMMinent before IMMEDIATE DANGER. So the middle was easy but not peasy.

The bottom was a killer for me. DIAMOND JIM BRADY sounds like a RLS character to me, IT TAKES A VILLAGE is not a book I read (propaganda, even propaganda I agree with, doesn't make my reading list), and I was trying to think of something under the basement floor. Tried a Rockefeller for the first car owner. Discounted Carnegie because Andrew again seemed unlikely. The threes were not being much help, nor were the longer downs. My brain was fixated on Louis L'Amour even though I knew it was a name. Sigh. The bottom was challenging. Those 45 letters took me easily twice as long as the rest of the puzzle.

One nit - EPIcentral? EPIcenter I know. It seems off to me. Not wrong, just not right.

captcha picture looks like a square with spade (cards) in the middle. I'm calling it a "2"

Sir Hillary 9:28 AM  

Impressive construction, but for me that was not enough to justify IHN, ISL, AWN, NOE, MTS, EPI, DOM, HUS, ETO, SEN, ASI, ITE, DST and RLS all in the same puzzle. That's a lot of 3-letter junk for a big Sunday grid, to say nothing of a 15x15.

Great trivia about Diamond Jim Brady. Learning that was the highlight of my solving.

loren muse smith 9:43 AM  

@Rex - I printed this off last night and just looked at it briefly. The only word I wrote in was ABEND, and it was still probably the only word I had as you finished with WYES and HEW. We all take on these puzzles with such different ammo! I got a kick out of the NACHO/IHN/UNO/ABEND chain.

Thanks for pointing out the symmetry of NEO and NOE. Cool. I always look around after I finish, trying to notice some kind of neat symmetry and never see anything. Then someone else points something out, and I wonder how I could have missed it. I will note that the first and last downs begin with weird consonant clusters. Yawn.

Like @chefwen and @joho -had TO A LESSER “degree first,” Other goofs were“was” for DID, “c’est” for VIVE, and “favor” for MIMIC.

The cluing for GRR, ETAIL and NO ONE’S – that’s why the NYT is the Cadillac of puzzles. Great puzzle, Tim.

Overseeing a wedding reception this afternoon, so I have to be on my A game and look my best. Off to beat back my unruly AWNs. ;-)

joho 9:49 AM  

I forgot to mention the shout outs to @Ulrich with IHN und ABEND. German beats French for me!

Off to ride my bike down by the river ... I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!

mac 9:51 AM  

Easy but very enjoyable Saturday. I had to do it from the bottom up, but it was smooth sailing the whole way. I got Diamond Jim with just a few crosses, but had to have my husband explain who he was. Apparently he ate and drank himself to death on oysters, ale and champagne.

Hand up for degree before extent. Mossy is a great word, not too hard to put in a sentence.

Strained peaches in the little Gerber jars are about the first solid a baby gets to try. After that sweet potato and some rice cereal, I seem to remember.

Very wet day in CT.

mac 9:55 AM  

I'm not even a Mets fan but how about that Santana!

Blue Stater 9:58 AM  

Alas, DNF, as is increasingly the case for me on Saturday. I thought crossing two abbreviations both of which relied on extreme ambiguity, 11D "Terminal list" (ARRS) and 20A "Certain chain unit" (ISL), was out of bounds. The clue for 24A, "Produced some pitches," SUNG, was grammatically wrong because the answer is a past participle while the clue is past tense. "Sing" is a strong verb, "sing, sang, sung." It's possible, as the tenure of Eugene Maleska demonstrated, to create challenging puzzles without resort to this sort of thing.

quilter1 10:06 AM  

I solved the bottom first, getting DIAMOND JIM BRADY off the IA. Then solved the top, but, like Rex, tussled a bit in the middle. I wanted Austria for the Swiss border sharer as it seemed cluing with a country would indicate a country answer, not a district. But this is Saturday.

Off to bind my new quilt.

jackj 10:29 AM  

I had pegged Tim Croce as more CONCEALEDWEAPON than STRAINEDPEACHES but, clearly, ITTAKESAVILLAGE to influence a constructor and Tim proves he has a broad outlook on life with his cluing today.

While today’s puzzle was not the most challenging of themelesses, by giving us nine 15 letter entries, Tim made it one of the more entertaining ones. Yet, as often happens, my favorites weren’t the longies but two of the shortest answers as clued, COW and PEN. Good show, Tim and Will.

The hairiest bit of the puzzle came in not being able to easily fill in IDOINDEED. Troubled by the Ulrichian brace of clues looking for “Guten____” and “Him”, the “him” was impossible and the “guten” part only became clear when remembering that “good evening” is a greeting and “good night” is a farewell so, hello ABEND, good-bye NACHT.

And, in the question answered category, we now know why there were no “E’s” in Patrick Berry’s recent E-less pangram, they were all hiding in this puzzle at DEEPESTRECESSES.

Thanks, Tim, 'twas fun!

Gill I. P. 10:41 AM  

Enjoyable romp in the park. I always have fun with Tim Croce's puzzles and I just seem to be on his wave length.
@Mac: Actually, DIAMOND JIM BRADY didn't drink alcohol. He did love food though and the evil sweets might have been his undoing. I only know this because he appeared in a crossword several years back. I was in lurking mode then but I remember a long discussion of him. I guess when it involves food, I remember.
Speaking of... I STRAINED, pureed and smooshed every in season fruit imaginable for our two. I started sneaking in smashed garlic and grated onions in their favorite yams when they didn't know any better. Never every had a problem getting them to eat.
MOSSY is my new word. Never heard it used that way nor did I know COW (41A) was to push around. I thought it meant to duck in fear or some such.
Guten abend, adios, au revoir.....

JaxInL.A. 10:51 AM  

Either you got this one or you didn't. I didn't. HTG repeatedly, and felt quite resentful to come here and see Rex (and most of the early posters) rate it easy. It just took forever for the long acrosses to reveal themselves. Ah, well.

Biggest problem came in the middle section. I had SaNG, and confirmed it by writing annuls for "lets off the hook." Annuls also fit nicely with NOE Valley. Seemed reasonable at the time. My smattering of German was no help at all as I didn't know about the D at the end of ABEND, and had no idea that him = ihn.

Sometimes googling can be good. I did learn about Jan HUS, who foretold the coming of Martin Luther and apparently is responsible for getting the entire city of Prague excommunicated. I also learned that ten presidents share last names. May be useful in future.

geezerette 11:02 AM  

This BOOMER rejected STRAINED PEACHES from the grocery store shelves, instead using the Happy Baby Food Grinder to produce infant pap.

I remember reading RLS's book to my son and loving the description of Ben Gunn, who "longed for toasted cheese on Treasure Island." I could identify.

@Blue Stater, I'm with you on "SUNG," which I also had to change from "sang." I recoil in the same way from "sink, sunk, sunk."

This was the first Saturday puzzle ever where I was able to start at the top and chomp my way down to the bottom with no gaps. So, yes, easy, but still quite gratifying.

Merle 11:06 AM  

Easy but enjoyable. My frame of reference is so different from Rex's. I don't do sports, don't know contemporary pop music, don't know contemporary TV actor's names. But I did know Hus -- knew Hus since some sort of social class or other in junior high or high school. I don't know German, but somehow I know greetings in languages I don't speak -- so "guten abend" is a gimme -- as would Greek "kalinichte" -- good evening -- be a gimme for me. It takes a village was a gimme also -- never read the book, but sure know the phrase and its context. Noe Valley is new, but now will be easy to remember -- and a three versus four California change-up from Napa. Diamond Jim Brody also just fell into place. Most of the 15 letter across answers were obvious.

MountainManZach 11:06 AM  

I hear you. The problem I frequently have with stacks is not remembering enough names/crossword abbrevs. to make the stacks as easy as they should be. Once I google RUSS and ANN, things fall into place. The difficulty ratings usually ring true to me, except in these cases.

Don't Mess with Me 11:10 AM  

Tobias Duncan's post about breeders and babies was in extraordinarily bad taste. In a just universe he might have to serve time in Purgatory slurping down strained peaches until he repents. Or perhaps a stint in Purgatory solving puzzles with nothing but baby and parent clues. Hey, Tobias Duncan, here's a clue for the clueless -- there's no reason to attack parents and babies -- unless, of course, you have something to work out in therapy. But then again, Purgatory was neither a clue nor an answer in this Saturday's puzzle.

Stickler 11:15 AM  

Hey, PK, person going into a house answer, sen, means senator. Congress, senator. But it's not a good clue. House answer should be representative, rep.

JenCT 11:22 AM  

@Sir Hillary: I'm with you - I thought there was too much junky fill.

Got stuck at the HEW/HAAS/WYES crossings.

Governor Malloy of CT signed Medical Marijuana into law yesterday...

ArtO 11:53 AM  

Was hung up with GUTEN TAGEN which upon later checking out I found to be guten tag sagen (hello) but managed to overcome after a bit.

Finishing a saturday always finds me coming here to find an EASY rating but I'll take it just the same. We all have fun or struggle depending on our respective levels of proficiency but I suspect those of us who normally struggle late in the week derive extra satisfaction with late week success.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

SET would mean "Fell" referring to the sun, and TEES would be the branched pipe, and I wasn't up on HAAS or BRADY so I assumed it was DIAMONDJIMBRIDE AND SIAS.

Mel Ott 12:02 PM  

I really like these 15 stacks. All 9 of today's offerings were nice crunchy phrases.

Even tho I was a Giant fan in the early 50's I did not think RUSS Hodges was that great an announcer (especially in a town that had Red Barber & Mel Allen). RUSS did the radio call for "The Shot", but I preferred the young sidekick who did the TV call - Ernie Harwell, who went to Detroit and became a broadcasting legend.

Lindsay 12:09 PM  

I was hung up on the notion of Hetty Green as the NYC tycoon, but should have known that anyone too cheap to take her gangrenous son to a doctor ain't gonna spring for a car ...

Also slowed down by the popular yes INDEED error.

jberg 12:13 PM  

My youngest is now 35, and it took me forever to remember that those jars of PEACHES were STRAINED, not ground or creamed or mashed or pulverized. And I too had SANG before SUNG. I'm still mulling the grammar there. "Pitches produced" would work - i.e., we say "produced by" and "sung by" = but I guess it doesn't work the way it is; too much of a stretch for the parallel with 45D, nice as that was, as was 20A/46A.

I didn't know DIAMOND JIM BRADY was a tycoon - I would have guessed gambler - but I was too sure of POKE to write in John Rockefeller without his D. Everything else was fine.

15D: It's misdirection. The Senate is the Upper House. I think that's legitimate.

42A: MOSSY is a derivation of "mossback," a derogatory reference to conservatives in some past era - similar to "hidebound," i.e., unwilling to move even a little.

It wasn't as easy for me as for some, but I did get it, and I guess it wasn't too hard for a Saturday.

evil doug 12:17 PM  

JenCT,

Make up your guest room. I'm heading your way. Feel some glaucoma coming on....

Evil

archaeoprof 1:02 PM  

@jberg: me too on STRAINEDPEACHES.

Liked MOSSY for "very conservative."

Nice one, TC!

Lewis 1:04 PM  

jackj -- funny comment about the missing e's

Hand up for francE before ALSACE. I solved the top first, then the bottom, middle was the hardest. I haven't reached the point where I've ever called a Saturday puzzle easy, but hopefully getting closer.

Love this meaning of MOSSY -- holds on to its position so it isn't gathered up by rolling stones.

Michael Hanko 1:16 PM  

I wish I had produced some pitches = I wish I had sung. Now if only I, a voice teacher, could get my students to stop saying "I have sang."

hazel 1:44 PM  

NOT easy. I felt like i was filling in this puzzle in some alternate universe. None of the15s were obvious to me, and my toeholds were all crap, as it turns out. Smitten for SWEETON, eta/ds for ARRS, rehem for REMAP, agas for SRIS - prmen for PINES well, you get the picture. FINALLY freaking finished after some total section teardowns got me through the wormhole.

I echo @jae's recommendation re: first chapter of underworld. Really really awesome - as was the entire novel, for that matter.

Good luck today ANDRELTON SIMMONS!

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Had no clue about the Czech martyr Jan, so googled those exact words and found Rex's blog from 12/26/10: HUS on first? Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine.

Ditto.

syndy 1:59 PM  

I also SANG at first but my worst hang-up was when my boston came out and gave me ARN for 31A.The top FELL smoothly(only waiting to see what had been STRAINED-the the bottom dropped into place and I worked my way back into the middle.While it did not shake the MOSSY depths of my RECESSES it was fun and sassy VIVE le Croce!

Sue McC 2:14 PM  

I liked it, but then I am always impressed by those 15 stacks. Fill was solid and fun. Dreary day here in CT as has already been stated, so maybe I can catch up on my Fireball puzzles.

Martin 3:01 PM  

@Blue Stater,

I assume you saw @Michael Hanko about "I had produced some pitches."

Would Maleska's "Cathay dynasty" really have been preferable?

Stevlb1 3:03 PM  

I liked it.............. probably because I made no errors.

Two Ponies 3:53 PM  

Another fine Croce puzzle.
Dismal lack of German made "I do indeed" hard to see but good fun in the end.
@ Tobius Duncan, Don't let @ Dont Mess with Me mess with you. I avoid infants whenever possible.
@ Jen in CT and @evil doug, It's technically legal here in NV but there is nowhere to obtain it legally. Totally stupid.

michael 4:50 PM  

I had almost nothing for about 5-10 minutes, then suddenly (as often happens with 15 stacks), I got a few long entries and finished quickly.

Unknown 6:00 PM  

Pierre says:

TOO MANY abbr., too many 3-letter words.
ALSACE bordering Switzerland is misleading. The clue should have used a region of Switzerland. Would could say Vermont borders Quebec, not Canada. Maybe misleading clue is ok for Saturday.

Had learned DIAMOND JIM BRADY and his car a while back...In the NYT crossword...

That's it.

Pierre

sanfranman59 6:19 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 6:25, 6:50, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:27, 8:54, 1.17, 89%, Challenging
Wed 10:09, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy
Thu 18:20, 18:57, 0.97, 48%, Medium
Fri 13:31, 24:43, 0.55, 1%, Very Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 154 Fridays)
Sat 23:47, 29:28, 0.81, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:44, 4:36, 1.25, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 154 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:29, 5:53, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Thu 10:03, 9:21, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 6:39, 12:14, 0.54, 1%, Very Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 153 Fridays)
Sat 12:45, 16:43, 0.76, 10%, Easy

Dirigonzo 6:26 PM  

Got home from work, fed the dogs and started the puzzle about 5:30, and I was finished by 6:00; that's just insane - I don't finish Monday puzzles in half an hour. Conclude what you will.

That said, I needed all the crosses for the San Francisco valley and the Czech martyr. Also detected a mini "chain" theme with the clues at 20, 45 and 46 across.

mac 7:13 PM  

You all have got to do the LAT puzzle today - check out 33A!

Gill I. P. 8:27 PM  

@mac: Yikes...Can't imagine what would happen here if it appeared!!!

mac 8:35 PM  

@Gill I. P.: it's an expression used a lot in connection with Barry.

Ulrich 9:01 PM  

@joho and jackj: This may be too late for you to see, but anyway: I'm so busy getting everything in order here so that I can leave in a few days for Europe to watch Euro 2012 soccer with my knowledgeable brothers (soccer-wise) that I couldn't even chime in early enough for a puzzle that has not one, but TWO German words in their inflected forms, as clue or answer, AND BOTH ARE CORRECT!!! I did not think I would see the day.

Too tired to launch into explanations, which nobody would see anyway...

Gill I. P. 9:22 PM  

mac: I was thinking more in terms of the self reference. Some here might go off on a .....

mac 9:33 PM  

@Gill: I think Barry Silk can afford that for once...

@Ulrich: I'm so envious! Hope you have a wonderful time. I'll watch as much as I can, but it's so much more fun in real time.

retired_chemist 9:45 PM  

Did anyone else have MO??? for 42A and really REALLY want MORON?

Tita 10:04 PM  

7 out of the 15 downs across the top tier were wrong...
agaS>>SRIS, yesINDEED>>IDO, zoom>>EBON, fra>>DOM, et?S>>ARRS, rEp>>SEN.

Ooufff...

Dastardly German - IHm is also right - which gave me zoom for Jet.

Easy?? Nicht für mich... And I knows a bit of German...

A struggle - needed puzzle-husband to give me SRIS over agaS, and then, finally, the top tier fell.

Sold>>SaNG>>SUNG.

A few stellar clues.

Absolute favorite - Brand-new toy? PUP.
Is there an emoticon for xword bliss?

Oh - doesn't ROUNDABOUTROUTE belong in that tongue-twister puzzle last week?


(Nice catch, @Dirigonzo...)

Spent yesterday weeding my MOSSY expanse - one day I'll get around to posting to my "Gnomes in the MOSS" blog.

Thanks, Mr. Croce - had fun, in spite of finishing with IHm/EBOm. ;)

jackj 10:56 PM  

Ulrich@9:01PM-

I'm glad I read all the notes today and got to see your note telling us you saw my note (and joho hopefully will chime in also).

It occurred to me after reading your note that I should have some familiarity with the German language, having flown on Lufthansa quite often in years past. But, ironically, thinking back, all their pilots only spoke English and then with Brooklyn accents.

Enjoy your trip!

Anonymous 11:52 PM  

How has one survived without having eaten strained peaches, they are the best! I ate most all the jars I was to have fed to my younger sister!

Deborah 1:01 AM  

@Glimmerglass:
I'm with you on the comparison thing. It's prob not wrong, as Will is so thorough.

However, compare the first and second examples, below:

- "There's no comparison" (note the apostrophe)
- "It's no comparison" - needs apostrophe.

However, if the intent was, as I suspect, the use of the possessive, no apost needed, as the "its" is the possessive pronoun allied with the noun comparison.

Still, hate it hate it hate it.
Just sayin.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Pretty easy, I suppose, but had to rely on guesses too finish. I had E_O at 42a (ECO or EGO) from early on, so I was looking at TONES at 40d and T_N at 40a, and was trying to chose between COKE and GOKE for dawdle. Finally abandoned the O and ran the alphabet to get POKE. EPI/PINES was a guess that seemed to make sense,as it freed up the sensible PENS.

So now I'm at _WN/_LSAME. I'm pretty sure hair from an ear must be referring to the fibers on corn but I don't know what that stuff's called, so that's no help. So it's guess a vowel time. I decided EL SAME wouldn't be bordering swizerland, and OWN would be a stupid name for the corn hair. That left U, I, A, and maybe Y. I went with A.

Was about to go the the blog, but noticed the empty square at _EW/_AAS and threw down an H at the last minute. I gave myself a 15% chance of a perfect solve, followed by a pat on the back for guessing correctly on those last two latters.

First time I recall seeing my name in a Times crossword, so I'm glad I was able to ace it, "easy" or not.

Eastsacgirl 1:19 PM  

Knew as soon as I finished a Saturday puzzle it would be ranked easy. Still always feels like a solid accomplishment when I can make it through a whole week. Did the middle first, then top and finally bottom. Didn't know a few words but got by the crosses. Hated WYES though.

Another gorgeous day in the neighborhood. Need to get outside and do something constructive!

DMGrandma 2:10 PM  

Solved this after a slow start. Had to toss SANG for the unlovely SUNG and suffered for a bit from putting GROSS where ETAIL finally appeared. Lots of strange looking words for me, so when all the squares were filled, I came here to see where the errors were? Surprisingly there weren't any! Really, IHN is a word? Still don't understand why SAL means Paradise??? HUS has been used before, but I needed all the crosses, maybe next time...
Noe Valley was a welcome
, familiar, reprieve from all those odd locations I never know, and an added bonus was the appearance of a familiar SF street sign. Guess I please easily.
Get to watch the Wimbleton finals today. This is the only part (re)broadcast here at a reasonable time. I like tennis,but not enough to get up at 4AM!

JenCT 2:21 PM  

@DMGrandma: It's the name of a character, SAL Paradise from Kerouac's "On The Road."

DMGrandma 2:34 PM  

@JenCT: Thanks, know of Kerouac, but haven't read any of hia work.

Spacecraft 1:12 AM  

I know this is too late for anybody to answer, but I still wish I knew how "very conservative" tranmorphs into MOSSY. What, you're calling liberals the "rolling [moss-free]stones" and the conservative is the rock that just sits there? If that's it, that's pretty thin.

Hand up for degree; soon corrected.

Finished with no help or errors, so already you know I like it! One more query: Croce is a famous name--is Tim any relation to the late, great Jim?

The Dic 12:05 PM  

@Spacecraft -

Mossy
The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English
moss·y / ˈmôsē/
• adj. (moss·i·er , moss·i·est ) covered in or resembling moss: mossy tree trunks.
∎ inf. old-fashioned or extremely conservative.

Solving in Seattle 4:25 PM  

This is my first Saturday solve w/out google, as I left my phone in the car while I spent two hours in the urgent care center waiting to see the doc and get some meds. (Bad cold becomes terrible cough.)

Had yesINDEED and wouldn't let go. Last section to fall. Had TOALESSERdegree and had to work that out. The South was the first to fall (sorry Rebs), then the middle. It made me feel better solving it. Just had to brag.

@Diri, I'm not getting your chain theme.???

Solving in Seattle 4:29 PM  

@Diri, never mind. See what you mean. Chain, chain, chain, chain, you fool.

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