Canal-clearing tube; Friday, August 3, 2012; Lid for a laddie; At maximal maturity

Friday, August 3, 2012

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: Nyala (Antelope with lyre-shaped horns) —
The nyala (Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii), also called inyala,[2] is a South African spiral-horned antelope. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Nyala. It is also considered to be in the subgenus Tragelaphus. It was first described in 1849 by George French Angas. The body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (120–310 lb). It is the most sexually dimorphic among the spiral-horned antelopes.[3]
[from wiki]
• • •
Hello, Rexworld. Rex is away a little longer. This is treedweller, relieved to finish today's puzzle so I can get the completed grid up for all you cheaters. I finished, which means it can't be that hard (for a Friday), but I had some slow going for awhile, so I think it tends toward medium difficulty. I will be back tomorrow, so the chances are good you will get a grid that I had to steal from someone else. Two complete weekend puzzles in a row is a rarity for me.

And now, a musical interlude from the great 40A Anita of song (O'Day):



False starts in several areas made early progress slow and sporadic, I had "dresses" for (38A Prepares) GETS SET. I had "earnED" for (7D Brought home) NETTED. I had lAtESHOW for (37D One may follow the news) GAMESHOW. I had "Dem" for (32A Letters after Sen. Charles Schumer's name) D-NY. This last was particularly vexing to me because I knew I needed to get AS YET in there for 25D Hitherto but could not figure out how to get that 'Y' to work (despite having seen this type of clue many times before). I also assumed the 9D [Like much] flatware was going to be ____ed, thus the dresses. Eventually, a few old standbys (SNERD, TATE, AESOP, TERESA) and a few lucky guesses on long answers got me each corner in succession.
I ended up staring a long time at 34A What a horse kicks with, for which I had HIND_EL. Having been burned many times by obscure (to me) horse-racing jargon, I was almost ready to believe there was a hindsel back there somewhere, but couldn't figure out how "RES" would satisfy 27D Kind of denom. (REL). Finally, I gave up on my invention, "bipase," in favor of another standby, LIPASE, which got me LIMES instead of BITES, put me on the early evening newscast instead of the late one, and HINDLEG was my last entry --- leaving me to wonder how REL would satisfy 27D Kind of denom. I'm guessing maybe "religion", though I would think that should be the other way round. I also considered "relativistic," "relational," and "relocated."

And now, intermission. Please enjoy this CARTOON (12D They often include balloons) by the great Chuck Jones:

I liked the snappy fill in this one, such as:

Bullets:
  • 1A Tomfoolery / HIGHJINKS — I dismissed HIJINKS and HIJINX early on, but this more erudite spelling eluded me until I was almost done.
  • 34D Barely-there bottoms / HOT PANTS  — we're deep in shorts season here in Texas.
  • Acouterment for Fred of "Scooby-Doo" / ASCOT — Always a good choice with HOT PANTS. I never saw it spelled any way other than "accoutrement," though google tells me both are acceptable. To me, this spelling looks like dialect from a "Mayberry RFD" script.
  • 65A Special elevator? /  WONDERBRA— completing my outfit for 19A Mardi Gras, for one: Abbr. (TUE). 
Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

Jeff Chen 2:54 AM  

As I told Jim Horne earlier tonight, all good things start with a Wonderbra, hot pants, and an ascot.

My wife begs to differ, claiming that that troika doesn't flatter me.

Huh.

jeffchen1972 (at) gmail (dot) com

jae 3:30 AM  

Ok, back on track.  This one was medium-tough for me as a Fri. should be.  NW and SE tough, NE and SW medium.  Lots of erasures but the ones that gave me the most trouble overlapped a bit with treedweller's (nice write-up by the way). 

HARsh for HARDY,  earnED for NETTED, Cad for CUR,  paddEd for WONDER, and latESHOW for GAMESHOW (you can infer which news I watch.) 

Pretty zippy...HIGHJINKS, WONDERBRA, HOTPANTS, TOKES...but the NOTER,  KNEELED, TELLASTORY (Yarn as a verb?) area was cringe inducing.  So, like it overall but...

syndy 4:28 AM  

I had most of the same writeovers as @JAE except the lateshow but I threw in a G string!Can't you just see Mother Teresa throwing a HISSYFIT? I finally got D NY on crosses and never revisited it so OH AHA whatever, thanks treedweller for some pretty spiffy infilling!

The Bard 6:39 AM  

King Henry VI, part I > Act V, scene V

KING HENRY VI: Whether it be through force of your report,
My noble Lord of Suffolk, or for that
My tender youth was never yet attaint
With any passion of inflaming love,
I cannot tell; but this I am assured,
I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,
Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
As I am sick with working of my thoughts.
Take, therefore, shipping; post, my lord, to France;
Agree to any covenants, and procure
That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come
To cross the seas to England and be crown'd
King Henry's faithful and anointed queen:
For your expenses and sufficient charge,
Among the people gather up a tenth.
Be gone, I say; for, till you do return,
I rest perplexed with a thousand cares.
And you, good uncle, banish all offence:
If you do censure me by what you were,
Not what you are, I know it will excuse
This sudden execution of my will.
And so, conduct me where, from company,
I may revolve and ruminate my grief.

Mary Rose Goldberg 7:05 AM  

Thanks, Tree,....loved the cartoon. Had never seen that one but spent many a Sat morn with Bugs, Daffy and the wonderful voice of Mel Blanc. Has that been done as a theme...Mel and his many great voices? And let's not forget June Foray who I know has graced the crossword a few times. Wonderful memories.

loren muse smith 7:21 AM  

Mother TERESA sharing a grid with HOT PANTS and WONDER BRA – fun Friday HIGH JINKS!

Count me in among the thousands who used the ERASER to change “cad” to CUR and “earned” to NETTED.

My toe hold was the shout out to Sue McC at 62A!

I didn’t know “yarn” was a verb. I guess it’s intransitive?

All the “h” entries stare out at me: The HIGH JINKS led the horse to throw a HISSY FIT on its HIND LEGs.

Excellent, excellent puzzle with no drek. (Well, NOTER didn’t sparkle, but if that’s my only complaint, it’s not too bad.)
Well done, Jeff. Thanks.

r.alphbunker 7:43 AM  

Good puzzle with lively fill and cluing.

The NW was the last to go because in order to make progress there I had to get rid of the very plausible aNydaynow {real soon}/paIr {couple} crossing. Also had earnED instead of NETTED.

The NYALA/LIPASE crossing has got to be a potential Natick. I had NYALo/LIPoSE but changed the o to A at the last minute because NYALo didn't look right. There is an impala but not an impalo. But then again there is a buffalo. Good thing I didn't think of that when I was solving the puzzle especially since I preferred oSE to ASE because of ribose.

Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

Instead of WONDERBRA. I started with push-up BRA, which fits and is a much better answer to the clue. I don't think I've ever seen "yarn" as a verb. Never read Henry VI (any part). I wonder if the Wonderbard has?

Sue McC 8:20 AM  

I think this one was easier than it looked. I am always a bit intimidated by the big white space puzzles, but this just seemed pretty straightforward. I slowed up a bit in the SE corner, but nothing major. I will admit another word popped into my mind first when I saw the clue for 50D (Mother ______)...

Lindsay 8:21 AM  

I finished with NYALo (colleague of Schumer-DNY?) and LIPoSE. Like @r.alph, thinking of ribose.

Also, the popular earnED >> nettED writeover. And 45A rIndS >> LIMES and 43A Tug >> TIC.

Nothing here really caught my fancy, but that's OK.

evil doug 8:25 AM  

Wonderbra->ripest->limes.

Gape at->hind leg->hot pants.

Rubber soled->tire.

Have a case->perps->tell a story.

D-NY->presidents->appointee.

Bicarb->HMO->stent.

Deist->rel->Utah.

In a moment->gets set.

Tin->sterling.

I guess Wednesday wins the week, challenging-wise, what with the OK names. Thursday and Friday have been too easy, especially in light of the build-up Michael gave us for this week's murderer's row of constructors.

Evil

Gill I. P. 8:44 AM  

First word in HIGH JINKS last word out WONDER BRA. Hmmm....
@Sue McC...Like minds but the F didn't make sense - NOBEF?
Fun easy pyzzle but it was over too soon.
Can't wait till tomorrow Treedweller. I remember a Sat. you filled in for Rex and you had me in stitches with your write-up.

Sparky 8:58 AM  

Completed last night so it had to be not so hard. Had rIndS then rIMES so missed LIMES. Drat, therefore, DNF.

OldEST before RIPEST, earned/NETTED, Cad/CUR, Goggle/GAzeAT/GAPEAT. The ASE came as thought of Lactase. Satanic rubber duckie came to mind, ED. Don't get jazz=UTAH.??

This was a good week for me. I'm not so choicey. Nice write up treedweller.

evil doug 9:02 AM  

Utah Jazz is their NBA team, Sparky. Originally from New Orleans. Another case of a team name not matching its new city---as when the Minneapolis Lakers moved to LA. Soooo many lakes there in LaLaLand....

Evil

quilter1 9:03 AM  

Great puzzle and fun to do. I got my first foothold in the SW then solved across and up, finishing in the NW. Lots of fun fill, not a slog.

So proud of our Iowa transplant Gabby Douglas and the rest of the women gymnasts. Yay team.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:10 AM  

First thought at looking at clue for 34 D, Barely there bottoms, before looking at length of answer, was THONGS.

Not familiar with RIBOSE, but I believe that as a general rule, all enzymes end in ASE.

See everyone at Lollapuzzoola tomorrow!

Andi Cartoon Moments 9:12 AM  

@Jeff Chen
Good puzzle! As @r.alphbunker so aptly put it, Lively fill and cluing!

@Mary Rose Goldberg
Get on it! I can help you!
The reveal cold be FILLINTHEBLANC!

@SueMcC
I had NOBid, so "Mother ___ " eluded me to the end...
Something tells me the misdirection was, um, intentional. That way the constructor/NY Times can be risque but claim it's in the minds of the solver/beholder and get away with it!
but it's amazing how many mother phrases DO go there...mostly 5s tho: JONES, GOOSE, EARTH...

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I didn't get the TIN/TIC reference. How does TIN "take the cake"?

Nice puzzle otherwise, and excellent commentary!

Tita 9:29 AM  

Finished in one sitting, and before midnight!!
Liked learning about SUEDE, though calling it a "material" ensured that I needed SUE__ before guessing it. peelS for ZESTS gave me pIPSYS at 46D (thinkning Pepcid AC from a recent puzzle, I guess...)

Liked IDAREYOU, ONPARADE, HISSYFIT,

CENTAVO is a coin in lots of places.
Wanted something to do with TIREs for the worn thing, but CAR TIRE seems a tad awkward.

I always used "STERLING" to mean silverware, "stainless" for flatware. I now know that flatware covers all utensils.

NW last to fall, due to my back & forth with INAMinute/INAMOMENT indecision, kSTAR for random star type, and NEsTED for Brought home...(!) Liked HIATUS crossing HIGHJINKS.

Overall, this was just crunchy enough to make me feel smart the day before Lollapuzzola, but not keep me up all night.

Thanks Little Jeff!

jackj 9:33 AM  

Jeff Chen had such a good time collaborating on the Friday puzzle of three weeks ago with Jim Horne, he’s back on his own account to give us another Friday, this one a Goldilocks wanna-be puzzle, “Not too hard, Not too easy, Just right”.

From the opening clue it was clear there were HIGHJINKS afoot, (hey, this is a Jeff Chen puzzle, of course there were) but it wasn’t all HOTPANTS and WONDERBRA(s), there was some serious stuff to deal with too.

Like trying to dazzle us with NYALA, which didn’t pan out when he gave us the gimme of LIPASE to provide NYALA’s last “A”. Apparently, the devilish Mr. Chen wasn’t aware that this crowd of solvers is well aware that we need our glycerides hydrolyzed and that’s where old friend LIPASE comes in, yuck, yuck, yuck.

There were a few weak links today, ANDI, IMNOT, the two part CAR TIRE and NOTER being the most blatant, but those were forgiven when the resident diva threw her wild, if predictable, HISSYFIT. Perhaps the DEIST, Mother TERESA and AESOP will JOIN forces to turn the diva’s X-rated ravings into a run at high C.

Another first-rate puzzle from the ever clever Jeff Chen.

santafefran 9:36 AM  

You can take your cake to the potluck in a tin container.

Must have been an easium Fri since I was able to finish.

Like @Bob Kerfuffle I wanted thongs to fit as well and pretty much the same writeovers as @jae

Highjinks in Taos today when I meet up with Tobias and Jesser for lunch. Can't wait!

Visitor 9:48 AM  

@Treedweller
There are denominations for money (ones, fives, tens) and RELigious denominations might be Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, or you could think of Prot. denoms. like Bapt., Meth., Presby.

Z 9:55 AM  

Mother TERESA running around in HOT PANTS and a WONDERBRA? It is no wonder she threw a HISSY FIT. And then we have the UTAH APPOINTEE who TOKES now on HIATUS.

@Bob Kerfuffle - enzymes mean -ASE - this is something I need to remember.

Definitely easium here. KNEELED slow me down because it sounds so wrong to my ears that it took most of the crosses to convince me that it was right. I also fell for most of the misdirections everyone else did, cur, earned, late show, dem. I also explored HIpshake for my immodest diva in HOTPANTS.

John V 10:02 AM  

Well, as usual, Jeff Chen's puzzles are a lot of fun. Easy/medium here, SW last to fall. BTW Jeff, your choice of raiment does not pass the breakfast test, as your wife pointed out.

Stats over at xwordinfo say this looks most like a Saturday puzzle, but the super clean fill and crossings made for an easier solve.

Wanted PADDEDBRA, wanted TUG for TIC, liked TUES for Mardi Gras, which I got right away (go figure).

Two of the last four Fridays: good going, Mr. Chen!

Carola 10:12 AM  

Jeff Chen, you are a riot, with that WONDER BRA and HOT PANTS outfit ON PARADE for folks to GAPE AT (is the HIATUS the bare midriff in between?) but with Mother TERESA and BICARB there to calm things down.

@Evil Doug, also LIMES--->WONDER BRA--->OVERTURES

More on the cake TIN - gingerbread and parkin, for example, taste better if they "age" a few days in a tin.

orangeblossomspecial 10:17 AM  

Here is 53D Mortimer SNERD on What's my line".

My Fair Lady featured the 33D ASCOT Gavotte.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I've been glued to the Olympics Soccer Channel for about a week now, so haven't got a comment about the puzzle.

I do, however, have a question. Who thought it a good idea to dress the US Women's Soccer team as Pippy Longstocking?

retired_chemist 10:23 AM  

Easy. Under 10 minutes for a Friday is almost unprecedented here.

My Shakespeare quote answer was "I RISE" which led to PIMPS originally @ 18A. Adds a new dimension to HOT PANTS and WONDER BRA.

Bob K is right- the ASE at the end of LIPASE is a gimme for any enzyme. RIBOSE is indeed a sugar, not an enzyme. But NYALA is a toughie anyway. Tougher because my 36A junior was SEMESTER off the MES.

Thanks, Jeff. And thanks for stopping by.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Fun and easy. Thanks Jeff.
Did not know nyala but it is somewhat ironic since my supper last night was pronghorn antelope.
Delicious.
I wish Vegas was closer to Taos.
I'll be there in spirit.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

"ase" = enzyme
"ose" = sugar

Tita 11:27 AM  

@11:13 - fabulous - I can remember that!

Rex Parker 11:39 AM  

Not easy for me. Many massive wrong-answer fails, including the successive wrongness of ITEM, NOT IT, and EARNED at 5-, 6-, and 7-D. Also, PADDED BRA. Also, other stuff.

Oh, and LIPOSE/NYALO fail.

Still, decent puzzle.

rp

r.alphbunker 12:22 PM  

"ise" = British verb ending, etc.
"ese" = X to Y direction
"use" = Milk, etc.
"tse" =Literary monogram, etc.
"sse" = X to Y direction

jae 12:54 PM  

@r.alph

tse = half a fly

Evan 1:28 PM  

A nice, fun Friday with some real lively stuff. I'm nominating the clue for TOKES ("Doesn't keep off the grass?") as one of my favorite clues of the year.

I'm surprised I didn't have more write-overs, given my recent track record. I did have LATE SHOW like others did, but I had TALK SHOW before that. I also had CApTiONS before CARTOONS, and HARsh before HARDY.

One question for the horse experts out there: Does a horse ever kick with just one HIND LEG? Doesn't it kick with both? I'm sure the clue is technically right -- if it kicks with two HIND LEGS, of course it kicks with each one of them -- but the image of a horse kicking with only one leg seems weird to me.

Also, can I get a roll call for people who will be at Lollapuzzoola? Don't want to miss anyone, even though I'll have to leave half-way through. @Tita I know, @Doug P is another, @Bob Kerfuffle I'm yet to meet you....anyone else?

Horsey Guy 1:36 PM  

@Evan - A full-on two-legged horse kick is much rarer that a one-legged kick.

Bird 1:59 PM  

Thanks for the pleasant write-up treedweller and thanks for another great puzzle Jeff.

I was excited when I filled in the last letters for CAR TIRE only to discover I had a mistake at the intersection of 59A and 45D. I can’t recall ever hearing of NYALA and thought LIPOSE makes sense to me as I know liposuction. I suppose if I had done this electronically I would have switched the O to an A and get the happy pencil. Do e-solvers consider it a DNF if they fill in the grid, but do not get the happy pencil?

I liked the varied spelling of HIGHJINKS and the trio of 34D, 35D and 36D. As 65A started to get filled I briefly saw WONDERAMA as the answer – that 3 hour kid’s show on Sunday mornings.

Correcting as I went – EARNED for NETTED, DEM for DNY, READIES for GETSSET and CHINA for SUEDE.

I don’t like YARNS as a verb and NOTER is not that pretty, but IM NOT going to throw a HISSY FIT.

@LMS – love your observation about Mother Teresa

@Tita – I wrote TERESA, EARTH and NATURE next to the grid when I didn’t have anything to go on

TGIF!

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

The puzzle was okay. I object to yarn as a clue for tell a story. Yarn ain't a verb. ("There we were sitting around the campfire yarning.")

jae 2:17 PM  

@Bird -- The short answer is yes. The long answer is it's not a DNF if it's an obvious typo caused by keyboard navigation malfunction, e.g. I recently failed to get the "happy pencil" equivalent on my iPad only to find that SLEEVES had somehow been spelled (spelt?) with an N instead of an L.

Evan 2:32 PM  

@Horsey Guy:

I'll take your word for it, as I know very little about horses. I guess my mental image is of a bronco kicking up both of its back legs when it gets angry.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

I object to "it takes the cake" c/w "'check' in cards." I guessed "tin" and "no bet," but give me a break! I don't play cards (often), and really, aren't there better clues for "tin"?

ranman 3:06 PM  

I had a personal Natick with TEN/TEC. Olympics on my mind pushed me to a perfect 10 "taking the cake" (although it's actually a medal not a cake and they don't seem to use 10s anymore) while hoping that a little jerk was somehow a gumshoe or a TEC--lame I know.

I'm just guessing here, but 3:13 PM  

I don't think you're expected to like YARN as a verb as much as you're expected to say "damn, I didn't know that", and be amused by that.

Not Amused 3:45 PM  

@3:13 - I didn't say, "Damn, I didn't know that" because I disagree that yarn can be used as a verb. I was not amused.

Tita 3:49 PM  

@Bird...
The Crucimetrics app waits for you to "Submit" - akin to raising your hand at ACPT to say "I've finished!"

If it's wrong, a scowling Rex Parker appears and points you to the incorrect fill, but your score reflects finishing with errors. (If you care about your score.)
If you're right when you hit Submit, then smiling Will rewards you!

And I remember Wonderama and Sonny Fox! You muist be from NY...

And as to your scribbles- a messy grid (and margins) have a very direct relation to puzzle difficulty! That's why we track writeovers and display a heat grid.

See y'all on the morrow!

r.alphbunker 3:56 PM  

@jae

It goes without saying that the software should not check the correctness of the puzzle until the user specifically asks it to do so.

The default setting for Across Lite appears to be to check the solution once there are no more blank squares and if it finds no errors then Mr Happy Pencil appears.

If there are errors then there is no Mr. Happy Pencil and the solver searches for the error(s) knowing that they exist. This definitely makes it easier to find the errors!

I do not know how to turn this feature off. I do not use Across Lite for this reason.

Since I am planning to go to the 2013 ACPT I am disciplining myself to carefully check the puzzle before asking the software to check the solution which in the ACPT is equivalent to handing the puzzle in.

Bird 4:10 PM  

@jae, @Tita & @r.alphbunker - Thanks for all the insight. I myself would prefer the option of hitting submit before I get a response. Right now I solve on paper, but wonder how long that will last.

@Tita - I am from Brooklyn, NY. However, I remember Bob McAllister as the host.

Evan 4:17 PM  

@r.alphbunker:

In Across Lite, you can lock the solution to the puzzle simply by clicking on Solution/Lock solution. That way, when you've filled in the grid, it will just give you the message that it's completely filled in. Mr. Happy Pencil won't show up until you then click "Unlock solution" in the same menu. It's what I do whenever solving online so I can check over my work before "handing it in."

It sounds like your app incorporated "lock solution" as the default. Well done!

r.alphbunker 4:32 PM  

@Evan

The program I am working on is evolving into a training tool for the ACPT. I want more that just a Happy Pencil. I want to program heuristics that will analyze your solution and critique it. For example, if you miss a Natick it will display the Birnholz Natick Resolution Heuristic. If you don't visit partial clues first it will suggest that you do so (ala Gaffney).

The program will have two modes. In Rex Parker mode and Will Shortz mode. I am still figuring out the behavior of these modes. All I know now is that the program will be nicer to the solver in Will Shortz mode.

sanfranman59 4:34 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 18:47, 24:40, 0.76, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:09, 12:14, 0.83, 25%, Easy-Medium

Lewis 4:37 PM  

Hardest for me was the northwest, but I loved the puzzle, nothing stale about it. Thank you, Jeff.

Milford 4:45 PM  

Most of the puzzle came to me fairly quick, but the whole NW quad was a mess of erasures - INAsecoNd, INAMinute, INAMOMENT is just one example.

Only complaint was 27D as REL. I think the opposite, that denomination is a type of religion. No biggie, though.

Yes, -ose denotes a sugar, and -ase denotes an enzyme. This is one of the few times my biochemistry background helps me in crosswords.

This was my first Friday I completed sans-google - yay me! Thank you, Jeff. And thank you treedweller, love the Chuck Jones clip.

Evan 5:45 PM  

@r.alphbunker:

I see. I'd be honored to have my so-called Natick Heuristic in your app, even if you don't call it by my name!

Sparky 6:38 PM  

Thanks @Ed, appreciate the answer. @Evan. I'll be at Lollapuzzloola too. Hope to meet you.

Tita 8:07 PM  

@Evan - I'll be wearing a long red dress - oh - but we've met before...
anyhow, see you there!

retired_chemist 10:19 PM  

Did any of the complainers about yarn not being a verb actually look in a dictionary? My el cheapo dictionary built into the Mac OS 10 dashboard lists yarn as an informal verb as well as a noun.

Clueless in Texas 12:00 AM  

Found the puzzle to be easy and fun for a Friday. Awesome since that means more time to read about our Olympic wins before watching them.

Loved the SSTAR clue as we learning about astronomy in our house. (BTW, I didn't have a chance to comment yesterday, but the clue for DAY did not seem correct.... A revolution is a YEAR while a rotation is a DAY--at least that's what all the astronomy books we have say. Looking forward to Curiosity landing on Mars.)

GO TEAM USA!!!

Yarn not a verb 12:06 AM  

@retired_chemist - It may be a valid verb, but is it in use? No.

retired_chemist 12:14 AM  

@ Yarn - it's a Friday puzzle. S**t happens.

Yarn not a verb 12:22 AM  

@retired_chemist - Yeah, I know. I still don't like it.

andrea haig michaels 12:53 AM  

maybe think of it like "target" or "impact"...now it's used more as a verb than not...
so spin a yarn perhaps evolved into yarning...? You don't gotta like it :)

sanfranman59 3:04 AM  

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 6:28, 6:49, 0.95, 28%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:12, 8:57, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 11:43, 11:47, 0.99, 53%, Medium
Thu 15:56, 18:55, 0.84, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 19:07, 24:41, 0.77, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:41, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Tue 4:59, 4:38, 1.08, 75%, Challenging
Wed 6:16, 5:54, 1.06, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:34, 9:22, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 9:55, 12:14, 0.81, 22%, Easy-Medium

Spacecraft 1:46 PM  

I do use a dictionary, but only after completing the puzzle, to "check." [NOBET.] The one I use is Scrabble-dedicated--which means it will list the verb form of any word so that the participles can be included. Thus, though I was about ready to take an ERASER to ASYET because it left me with ____ASTORY, I left it and worked on the last area (for me), the NW. I'm familiar with the HIJINKS spelling, so was stalled there for a while. But INAMOMENT I saw that the JINKS part was right, so put in HIGH with a shrug. This filled in TELL for the rest of ASTORY; again I shrugged. Check that. Sure enough, after I was done, there it was: "YARN (-ED, -ING) to tell a long story." Who knew?

But the queasiness leader for me was KNEELED. Uh-uh. That might be a legitimate word, but the last time I did it I KNELT--and so did you.

When I filled in IREST, I had to wonder. I mean, dude, if you "rest perplexed with a thousand cares," well, you ain't restin' too good.

The other thing that was a bit bothersome was GAMESHOW. I don't know where our esteemed constructor (kudos on the great Jeopardy! run) lives, but here those don't follow the news. Late shows do, in disgusting abundance, but not game shows.

HISSYFIT having been thrown, Congrats for a pretty smooth--and solvable!--Friday.

Hans von Kaltenborn 2:23 PM  

@Spacecraft - I do believe the clue refers to the 6:30 - 7:00 PM network news broadcasts, not the 11:00 - 11:35 PM local news.

DMGrandma 3:16 PM  

Lots of, to me, odd usages in this grid, but eventually they all worked out. Got slowed down by Tug, but, eventually ASCOT cleared that up, even tho I've never seen Scooby Doo. When I finally decided 8D had to be the little used KNEELED, that gave me HIGHJINKS. And the rest fell from there. Don't know NYALA, but it couldn't be anything else.

I don't understand INPUTS as places for jacks. I wanted trunks or some such, but I'm guessing it has something to do with computers, maybe those little doohickeys you can use to transfer information? When I was programming computers we used punched cards and magnetic tape! I guess at this stage, I have as much computer savvy as Jethro Leroy Gibbs!

Thanks @Diri for your comments yesterday.

Finally, a Captcha I think I can get even tho the IPad translates it as "irksome".

Ginger 7:26 PM  

I had a tough time getting started, just could not seem to get a toehold anywhere, when, PRESIDENTial stamps got me going. Slowly the HOT PANTS fell, and the WONDERBRA (also known as miricle worker) pulled things back up. Continued the circle until I finished, which I rarely do on a Friday. Yipee!

@Evan horses can most definitely kick with one leg, in fact they can kick sideways and really nail you good. Ouch.

Once had a little pug named Tissy, because she loved to throw tHISSY FITS. She ruled the house for another 12 years after we rescued her at 2.

Thanks, @Jeff, I really enjoyed this, and not just because I was able to finish it, but because it was lively and entertaining.

Dirigonzo 8:21 PM  

I loved this puzzle! My Diva's conspicuous display was a HIghnote at first but the crosses fixed that. "Check", in cards could have been ipass, but NOBET is even better. And 52d Rubber-___ could have been Stamp, except stamps appeared in the clue for 51a. Don't get me started about Super PAC(s).

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