Dinah 1958 hit / SAT 10-27-12 / Talking car on Knight Rider / Iconic Broadway role for Cobb / British sci-fi author Reynolds / She outwitted Sherlock / Ephemeral decorative structure / Spinner's spot

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Constructor: Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: "DEDE Dinah" (10D: "___ Dinah" (1958 hit)) —

• • •

Another not-up-to-speed day for me, and my residual root canal pain is much diminished, so I don't know what my deal is. Looking back over the puzzle, I don't see anything particularly vexing—except the DE DE / D FLAT cross, which was my very least favorite part of the whole grid. Thank god there were only seven possible letters that could go in that slot, and only the consonants really made sense. DE DE won out only because DECE and DEBE and DEFE and DEGE all looked somewhat less plausible. I feel like most other parts of the puzzle came together reasonably easily, but he clock says I was poky. Ah well.

I put DJ BOOTH in a puzzle once (35A: Spinner's spot), in virtually the same place, but I think that puzzle got rejected. I can't remember what I did with it. Good memories. Anyway, intersecting DJ- answers = impressive. What the hell are OPERA HATS (53A: Some magicians' gear)? That answer was the main reason I had trouble getting into the SW corner. Are they different from TOP HATS? The only other thing that looked weird to me was ICE CASTLE (17A: Ephemeral decorative structure), but only because my only frame of reference for that answer is the 1980 movie "ICE CASTLEs," about the ice skater who has an accident and goes blind and then trains and skates again and there's a big finale where she skates great and no one knows she's blind and they throw roses on the ice and maybe she trips or something and then the crowd realizes what's up and then maybe Robbie Benson is there to help her up and then cue the theme from "ICE CASTLEs" (which charted, and which we had to play in band) and ... triumphant ending??? Speaking of ice skating, Midori ITO (24A: First female skater to land a triple/triple jump combination in competition).


Overall, this is a very impressive 70-word grid. Whatever UGH there is gets dwarfed by larger, eye-catching fill. The two answers that really struck me as fresh were, coincidentally, symmetrical: "LET'S ROCK!" (14D: "It's showtime") and DJOKOVIC (35D: 2011 Wimbledon champion). I made some mistakes here and there, most notably with SLUGS for CHUGS (31A: Gets down quickly) and DEFERENCE for REVERENCE (15A: It may be shown to a superior). But that's a pretty low number of missteps, especially for a Saturday. Maybe I was more methodical, less rash in filling in the grid (and maybe this has something to do with solving it on paper instead of on-screen).

Bullets:
  • 20A: "Out of Sync" autobiographer (LANCE BASS) — assuming you know who he is, this is a nice clue. I had no idea until LANCE came into view; then, all of a sudden, the "Sync" part made sense (he was a member of the boy band N*SYNC). 
  • 33A: ___ Diggory, rival of Harry Potter (CEDRIC) — big fat gimme to start off my solving experience. Other gimmes included ITO and KITT (47A: Talking car on "Knight Rider") (acronym of "Knight Industries Two Thousand"). I'll be showing the movie "Knightriders" to my Arthurian Lit students later this term. No talking cars. Just jousters on motorcycles.
  • 13D: British sci-fi author Reynolds (ALASTAIR) — now that I see the covers of his books, I've definitely heard of him, but the clue didn't ring any bells while I was solving.
  • 52D: Iconic Broadway role for Cobb (LOMAN) — as in Willy. From "Death of a Salesman." Cobb is LEE J. (a 4-letter piece of ancient crosswordese that, thank god, you rarely see any more).
  • 38A: When repeated, a Las Vegas casino (NEW YORK) — baffled, mainly because I never would've expected a solid answer with infinite cluing possibilities to be wasted on a [When doubled] clue. Evil genius cluing.
Tomorrow's puzzle is by me and Caleb Madison, so if you normally skip Sundays, well, don't. Just don't. Please don't. Thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

61 comments:

jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium and delightful all the way from FRENEMIES to what can happen if tensions mount -- ESTRANGED.   Unlike Rex, all but the SW was on the easy side.  Did not know the tennis champ and would have been in real trouble if JUNIPERO had not been a gimme.  I live a couple of miles from JUNIPERO Serra Mission in San Diego.  Lots of zip and only a couple of cringes--INTR and INTL.  I tried to abbreviate imported (Impt ?) for the latter.

Very nice Joon!

Warning: Boring Stat Stuff 12:09 AM  

@sanfrandude…

Maybe look at it this way: Suppose you’ve got 1000 solvers. 100 of them are real fast. Your “Top 100” solvers can do a SatPuz in 6 minutes on average, say.

Now say your sample size suddenly shrinks to 200 solvers. 20 of them are real fast. But your “Top 100” solvers can now only do the SatPuz in an anemic 12 minutes on average, because an extra 80 perfectly nice but slow solvers like me are now included in that Top 100 group.

Moral: A “Top 100” category’s solving times are always very vulnerable to changes in overall sample size.

Now suppose, instead, that your category is “Top 10%”. Now you are "relatively" immune to changes
in sample size. 10% of 1000 is that group of 100 fast solvers. 10% of 200 is that group of 20 fast
solvers. The Top 10% group stays greasy fast, as the sample size changes. Happy days are here again, for ye olde statistic analyzers. As long as yer sample size doesn't get too incredibly small.

A different problem arises, if the entire sample of solvers suddenly becomes smarter or dumber. I’m not convinced that price changes can cause this. But a trend toward easier or harder puzs could certainly cause this.

M&A

Steve 12:48 AM  

When I, casually, put aside an answer as implausable I somehow categorize it as absolutely positively impossible answer.

Case in point: 35A: Spinner's spot. I initially thought this likely had something to do with records, but for some (or, more likely no) reason I decided against it. When the answer seemed to be DJB____, I thought the only possible answer would be DJBOOTI. Never mind how it might actually be spelled, nor that there was no reason to equate DJBOOTI with spinning. It had to be DJBOOTI because anything record related couldn't possibly be the answer. Or, just because I thought it would be cool to have Djibouti in the puzzle. See, I actually looked up how to spell it.

I suck at Saturday Puzzles.

Tobias Duncan 12:56 AM  

I ripped through the northwest like it was a monday. The southeast went quickly as well. The rest had too many names I did not know. LANCE BASS? DJ BOOTH? DJ OKOVIC?

Got through it with a few errors in the end.
Still feeling salty that I did not win a calendar. I enter just about every contest Will puts on including the Sunday NPR puzzle. So far nada.Must be all the angry anti sports rants I send him...

Acura Chutzpah Mes 12:56 AM  

FRENEMIES, EXFBI, DJOKOVIC, CHUTZPAH...nice!!!!

Wow, Joon, cool!

DOYOUMIND?!?!? Fun!

That LANCEBASS "Out of Sync" works on every level as he was the first boy band member to come out as gay...so fabulous title!!! (i say that in my namer capacity)

My DE?E experience paralleled @Rex to the letter (literally!)
I only wish I had a puzzle coming out with Caleb tomorrow! Congrats!!!!!

Anyway, NO idea what @M&A is talking about above, but if it's helpful, i found this easyish, relatively, precisely because of the wonderful Js, Z and Xs and 3 Ks.

xan 1:51 AM  

Nice puzzle, though the DEDE/DFLAT crossing got me. [Major key that uses all 5 black keys] isn't the best clue here because even if you're musically inclined, it has two equally correct answers (DFLAT and GFLAT). DEDE sounds a lot more plausible than DEGE but I just went for the first major key using all 5 black keys that I could think of.

Evan 2:29 AM  

Easy for me -- I feel like Friday and Saturday got switched around this week. I had a fair number of write-overs (nachOS before FRITOS, HeRONS before HURONS, usb before RAM, ViNyL [?] before VENAL, and heR before OUR), but I fixed each of them quickly enough.

The D-FLAT/DEDE crossing was no problem for me; all those years of piano training and music theory paid off, I guess; though point taken with @Xan's comment about G-flat major. Instead, my scary moment was at the REVERENCE/MES cross -- I was only slightly more than 50-50 confident that it was an E and not an A, but I guessed right.

Not being a tennis fan at all, I've heard of DJOKOVIC, but I could not recall his name for the longest time. I had the terminal -IC and I thought, "Oh crap, it's that guy, the guy who's not Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal but maybe just as good as both." Settling the initial DJ- brought him back to memory. It's not surprising in the slightest that, after briefly checking the men's ATP rankings, I know of the top four players and no one else (well, except for the now-retired Andy Roddick, who's strangely still on the list at #29).

Last observation: DO YOU MIND is a great entry in the puzzle, but does anyone else feel like the answer and its clue "Excuse me?" have different meanings? The fact that the clue is written as a question seems like it was intended to match the question element of the answer, but I think the clue would be more accurate with an exclamation point. I picture the phrase DO YOU MIND being said when you want someone to shut up when they're talking inappropriately, like when you're trying to watch a movie at the theater. It doesn't matter what they say, you just want them to keep quiet. But when one says "Excuse me?" as a question (emphasizing the first word), it's not that you're offended by someone talking in the first place -- you're offended by the specifics of what they said. If it's written as "Excuse me!" with an exclamation point, it has more of a shushing quality to it.

(Hopefully that all made sense.)

Campesite 2:33 AM  

As Paris HILTON might say, "Joon's Hot." Except for the DEDE/DFLAT crossing, this puzzle was superb. Fave clue: Gets to first base for NECKS (nicely crossing FRENEMIES). Got Lance Bass after a second look at the clue--thanks ACME for pointing out that double entendre.
Mark

chefwen 2:46 AM  

@Evan - It made perfect sense.

This is the most fun I've had doing a Saturday puzzle is quite a while. Thanks Joon.

Must fess up that I did Google DJOKOVIC, I wouldn't know a Wimbledon champion if he/she/it bit be on the TUSHIE. That string of letters wouldn't have ever flown with me. Once that was done, the rest was sheer pleasure. Love FRENEMIES.

chefwen 3:12 AM  

Forgot to mention to our east coast friends, stay safe and follow the advise of 37D, scary stuff coming your way. Fingers crossed.

Eejit 3:45 AM  

I think that may have been my fastest Saturday ever. Yay. Now I'm going to try to finish Thursday.

Z 5:39 AM  

@StatStuff - Doh - makes perfect sense.
@Evan - on the Polite to Rude Scale I have "Excuse Me?" "Do you mind" "Do I stutter." I really wanted the last to fit.

Tried walKS before NECKS, wrongly thinking it was a timely world series clue.

Ditto on the -FLAT question (no piano training here) and the MaS/MES question. Knew MAS meant "more" from boxing history, so went with MES.

The SW was tough tough tough with the double DJ-- answers, sUAREZ or JUAREZ, wanted KaTe before KITT, no clue on -----HATS since "top" wasn't five letters. So, even though I had ONT (tricky tricky) IRENE and BATTENED instantly the corner stymied me.

Smitty 7:37 AM  

DEDE was where it paid to be an old fart. LANCEBASS was where it didn't.
traveled around smoothly until I came to the southwest.
Never heard of OPERA HATS or DJ BOOTH or JUNIPERO and I was cornered with no help from the rest of the puzzle.

imsdave 7:53 AM  

Joon usually chews me up and spits me out, but not today. I screamed through this baby. One writeover (I had BEST for BASS) easily recovered from. As Evan said, having musical training does come in handy for those "key with x flats/sharps" clues.

Fine puzzle.

jackj 8:16 AM  

Fortunately, Joon left some low-hanging fruit in the grid to help one get started in coping with one of his ever clever, intelligent concoctions.

ONESEC, ERASE, SEENTO, SALUTE, LOMAN, and JUNIPERO all were there for the picking and, fortunately, they were spread out enough to be meaningful in the solving.

Highlights include FRENEMIES, a wonderful portmanteau of love/hate, BATTENED seems especially timely as the meteorologists tell us to pay heed to Sandy, DBA Frankenstorm and HILTONS, for “Family of Paris”, (cutely posted next to “Refusal of Paris” for NON) was clever indeed.

Two more favorite clues are in the lower right quadrant, DOYOUMIND and ESTRANGED and, too, their connecting clue, ROADIE, ain’t exactly chopped liver, either.

The clue for INSURANCE is based on a common wrong assumption, that a museum’s insurance is always a major expense. It could be but, because INSURANCE for art works is so prohibitive, a common practice of museums is to determine the appraised value of the single most expensive work in its collection and use that value for the total amount of INSURANCE covering all the works in their possession (which means the cost to insure is not a “major expense” per se).

Finally, can’t let CHUTZPAH pass uncommented on; though easy in the getting, it is so much fun to write the word it deserves a special nod whenever it appears.

Thanks, Joon!

Sir Hillary 8:29 AM  

Didn't care for all the abbrs (INTL, INTR, STD, SYST) but that's a small price to pay for the superb 8s and 9s.

My toeholds were LANCEBASS, CEDRIC, DYE and NEWYORK, which led to the NE falling first. DJOKOVIC and JUNIPERO were also gimmes (I'm a sports nut who grew up in California) so the SW went next, followed by the SE and finally the NW.

I actually said "wow" when I finally got FRENEMIES -- love that one! Had no idea that collapsible top hats were called OPERAHATS -- fun to learn. Had the same pause at the DEDE/DFLAT cross but assumed that D was the only letter that worked. Only mistake was INASEC for ONESEC, but that didn't last long.

Clue for COLON is brilliant.

TANKS for dis one, Joon! DOYOUMIND if I SALUTE?

loren muse smith 8:55 AM  

@jae – I did not know JUNIPERO or DJOKOVIC, so with all the other WOEs – KITT, OPERA HAT, IRENE, CODEX, VENAL. . .the southwest slayed me.

CEDRIC/DYE as my toe hold prevented LETS roll, which is more in my language. I SPRINTed through all but the SW.

@Evan – I *loved* the clue for DO YOU MIND! And I considered “nachos,” too, but realized that the nachos in my house have only three corners.

Loved the CHU CHU cross with UGH right there. HORSE over SPRINT. Cool. LANCE BASS crossing CONCERTS. Nice.

Nice scrabbly offering, Joon, TANKS!

chefbea 9:08 AM  

What a great puzzle!!! Had famille at first for Paris family. Northwest was a breeze and southwest indoable.

Loved the clue for sews!!! and of course love cilantro.

Rain here now...heavy winds coming later.

Carola 9:27 AM  

Such a nice puzzle! - wish I could have finished it. I CHUGged right along until I got to DJO_OVIC crossing _ITT and had no idea, so came here to find out.

LANCE is centered over ITO (judge in the O.J. Simpson trial), who used to get quite a bit of crossword press.

@jae - I also liked FRENEMIES and ESTRANGED facing off in opposite corners. When things deteriorate further, there's EXILE.

Kris in ABCA 9:35 AM  

Fresh and fast for me. I liked FRENEMIES and LETSROCK. Seems like "Excuse me" is fair cluing for DOYOUMIND if you can imagine the snarky tone that is intended. Liked it.

Ever notice how in tennis matches when the chair ref wants the crowd to quiet down he says "Thank you"? That always strikes me as an odd thing to say to noisy people.

mac 9:38 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle, but easy-medium. Faster than yesterdays for me.

@Evan: in the dead tree variety the clue for 58A has "excuse" in italics. I thought it was a fantastic clue/answer.

Nice to have those really British names Cedric and Alastair cross.

Just noticed our generator didn't do its regular Saturday morning trial run. We may be in big trouble in the storm.

enoughwiththestickers 9:42 AM  

35 and 36D were random strings of letters to me, so I went with TVBOOTH, MATT, and EXTRAHATS and called it a night.

orangeblossomspecial 10:01 AM  

One of the first 45s I bought - De De Dinah. Now you know why Frankie Avalon was the heart throb cast opposite Annette Funicello in the beach movies.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:21 AM  

Good one, Joon!

Hand up for SLUGS before CHUGS; also, 31 D, SAX before COR (made sense off the S in SLUGS); and, 44 A, ROM before RAM.

When I looked at 10 D, I was quite confused, because I had never seen the title DEDE Dinah spelled out, and had always assumed (when I heard it a zillion times on the radio) that it was something like "D, D, Dinah" as if stuttering.

Sandy K 10:29 AM  

Hey Joon!

So delighted to see you here again-so many great words to love:

FRENEMIES, LET'S ROCK, ECLAIRS, FRITOS, CILANTRO, ALASTAIR, CEDRIC, and CHUTSPAH!

A SALUTE to JUAREZ for giving me DJOKOVIC.

There wasn't an UGH among them!

joho 10:40 AM  

Lovely Saturday puzzle, thank you, Joon!

Unfortunately the SW did me in with DJOpOVIC ... I could swear his name had a "P" in it and I didn't know the name of the talking car. I also spelled it JUNIPERa for my other mistake. CaDEX or CODEX ... both looked good to me. Regardless this was so much fun along the way if someone asked me, "DOYOUMIND?" about my fail I'd say, "No!"

@Rex, can't wait to do your Sunday puzzle, very exciting!

@Carola, love your observation of LANCE over ITO!

Tita 10:53 AM  

@mac - I also liked those two oh-so-British names crossing...and was happy they were easy names to suss out with only a few letters, since I have never heard of any of them, including LANCEBASS.
I had to google TRANE and ALEX - wait a minute - lots of proper names in this grid - that is usually UGH-inducing to me.

We are BATTENing down - Sandy is urging us to do all the end of season garden cleanup.

@Joon - fun solve, in spite of all those names. (you also fooled me with dEfERENCE for REVERENCE...)

Milford 11:10 AM  

Lovely Saturday, one that affirms my ability to complete a late-week puzzle!

Had the same issues and enjoyment as many had above. Went through same procedure as @Rex et al. with D-FLAT, but I enjoy that kind of educated guessing game.

41A had me trying to fit a three-letter abbreviation for Michigan, which doesn't exist. Also tried a variant of UP, yoop, etc before I finally accepted ONT.

@Rex, your ICE CASTLES summary was spot on. Very early chick-flick for me. And I can actually hear a high school marching band playing the theme song.

Great puzzle, thanks, Joon! Looking forward to tomorrow!

Shamik 11:12 AM  

@M&A: That gave me a headache! LOL

Felt like a slog and that I was stuck too often at the DEDE/DFLAT and DJOKOVIC, only to be surprised that it was in the range of easy for me for Saturdays. Loved FRENEMIES, LETSROCK and DOYOUMIND.

Good Saturday puzzle with coffee in hand, cool breeze through open window, sunshine on the citrus trees and roses. Life is good.

jae 11:23 AM  

@Milford -- Similar thoughts on 41a.

ksquare 11:48 AM  

By me, Do You Mind? means Pardon the Interruption. Also Father Junipero set up missions about every 20 miles along the California coast in the early days of colonization.

quilter1 11:54 AM  

Joon's puzzles are always a joy to do even though I DNF today--too many names I didn't know. But I got most of it and liked what I got. I also noticed LANCE over ITO and thought that was cute. Never heard of FRENEMIES and ICE CASTLES just never occurred to me so the NW is somewhat blank. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Notsofast 12:29 PM  

FRANKENSTORM hit my middle left coast! Google would have made it easy, but I don't do that. A cluster of names/words I just didn't know spelled a perfect storm for me. But it was still fun. But FRENEMIES is a bullshit word.

OldActor 12:32 PM  

Opera hats are collapsible top hats for easy storage.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 1:07 PM  

joon! dood! Turn around! Good to see yer back!

Sorry about all that stat stuff in my first memo. It was thoughts left over from yesterday's discussion with the mighty sanfrandude. Now, about today's puz...

M&AlrightIKnowThat's: TAO, DEDE, DFLAT, DJOKOVIC, CHUTZPAH, AOL, ROADIE, SPRINT, HILTONS, NON, ITO, CONCERTS, SEWS, DYE (har). Pretty much with no other crosses. So, easy openers all around, for a SatPuz.

M&AreYouSerious's: LANCEHATS AND OPERABASS. Symmetrical WTFs. snort

Fun puz. Nice U distribution, other than maybe one more needed in the upper third. Amazin' what people will complain about, huh?
Come again, dood.

Sparky 2:10 PM  

Nice puzzle, Joon, though you caught me in spots.

Liked FRENEMIES and ESTRANGED. Missed DJOKOVIC except for Sherlock's IRENE. Don't know Vagas casino names any more than car names.

I figured the ICECASTLE on a table at a banquet.

Have a good weekend.

KarenSampsonHudson 2:23 PM  

Glad your tooth is much better, Rex!

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Gee, I wonder who's gonna critique Rex's puzzle?

I sure hope they like it!

Hope it's not a pangram.

Maybe it'll be one of those connect-the-dots pictures of a Halloween theme- or a root canal?!

syndy 2:40 PM  

I do not know my impossibly named Slavic tennis players,so I appreciate how fairly crossed Mr joke-o -vic was!How fair is it that he explains his FENEMIES by naming later Miss Paris HILTON and anybody else but especially Nicole Ritchie.I fell into the RoM/RAM chasm but even verticle OTONCE is odder than ATONCE

Bassetwrangler 2:58 PM  

Guessed chipotle before seeing cilantro. I would also show a superior deference or a reference before reverence. Michelle Bachmann raised the visibility of chutzpah (and insanity).

Z 3:56 PM  

Look for #18 if you want to seeSeth G in action

michael 4:02 PM  

Except for dede dflat, this is the easiest Saturday for me that I can remember.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Did anyone else try let's roll before let's rock?

Clark 5:04 PM  

Heh, how come nobody mentioned C Flat? There are three possibilities there. (But DEDE made the most sense.) I got naticked at DJOKOVIC/KITT. I guess I'm not watching enough tennis and or Knight Rider reruns. Fun puzzle nonetheless.

sanfranman59 6:20 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 6:45, 6:47, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Tue 9:35, 8:58, 1.07, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 12:49, 11:50, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 19:18, 18:48, 1.03, 59%, Medium
Fri 22:39, 24:25, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 18:51, 29:07, 0.65, 2%, Easy (3rd lowest median solve time of 163)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:52, 3:41, 1.05, 80%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:21, 4:40, 1.15, 87%, Challenging
Wed 6:48, 5:57, 1.14, 85%, Challenging
Thu 10:19, 9:22, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 13:20, 12:10, 1.10, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 10:59, 16:30, 0.67, 3%, Easy (5th lowest median solve time of 162 Saturdays)

@M&A ... good food for thought. My thinking behind using the Top 100 solvers as a benchmark was that this group would be a hard core group of solvers that would be relatively static across days of the week. If I go with a top 10%, that group would only be between 20 and 30 solvers on Saturdays and Sundays and about 40 on Thursdays and Fridays. But since the 10% is arbitrary, I could just as easily go with 15% or 20%, I suppose. I also still think it's best to limit the puzzles that go into calculating a "normal" median solve time to more recent puzzles in an attempt to control for variation in the composition of the sample and variation in the difficulty of the puzzles over time. At the same time, I've only got so much time to devote to this hobby of mine and that may be the hardest thing to control! ;^)

jberg 6:36 PM  

This took me a lonnnng time, partly because I wouldn't give up deference, and because the HURONS, while Iroquoian, were deadly enemies of the Iroquois also in a sec before ONE SEC, rev before STD, and (blush) the too obvious famille before HILTONS. Once it all fell into place, though it was well worth it - fresh and witty.

M and A's Last Silver BB 6:42 PM  

@sanfrandude... No matter how you do the stats, they are real interesting to watch. And sounds like you have some solid ideas in mind for improvements. Keep up the primo work.

@31: Just printed off tomorrow's puz. Welcome to the Big Times. I'll take your advice, and inspect it thoroughly.

fergus 7:38 PM  

Rather than CHUGS or SLUGS I had GLUGS for a while. And so many Spanish surnames that just weren't cutting it for a 5-time Presidente. Plus, LOTS could have been a real groaner for Plot devices? Clue.

The top left started so quickly I wondered what had come over Joon -- he doesn't give stuff away this easily???

Dirigonzo 8:43 PM  

The NW and SE corners practically filled themselves in for me, and the NE succumbed after putting up a good fight. I had BATTENED down in the SW (as I am in the NE in the real world, awaiting the arrival of "Frankenstorm")but nothing south of ONTario would come into view. Weekend puzzle partner arrived just in time to save me from total defeat because she knew the Wimbledom champion and we were able to figure out the rest from there. "I get by with a little help from my friends..."

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

Saturday - top half easy and lovely.

Bottom - maddening and difficult.

Did you two share the whole thing or divide it up? The bottom half seems to be full of everything Rex usually complains about.

Really bored guy 11:37 PM  

Ok, so sometimes life does amuse me. Take the game tonight for example

2 consecutive sliders down and away to the last batter of the game, count 1-2.

Tim McCarver - If ever there was[sic] a time to lunge out over the plate, this is it. There's absolutely no chance he'll see a pitch inside.

Next pitch: Inside fastball, belt high.

t foxe 7:11 PM  

I lived in So Cal for eight years and every where you go something is 'The Father Junipero Serra Something-or-Other' so I had that right away. On the whole a good puzzle that I finished in about an hour. I wasn't too pleased to see 'INTL' & 'INTR' in the same puzzle.

COIXT RECORDS 12:06 AM  

@ Anonymous 5:03

"Did anyone else try let's roll before let's rock?"

I had "LETSDOIT" for some time.

Charles T. Downey 8:44 PM  

Sorry for the late comment, but the music clue was not up to snuff. At the risk of sounding pedantic, there are actually three major keys with enough flats to include all the black keys on the piano. I went first for the most obscure, C♭, which is a key that only music theorists and composers for the harp care about.

Spacecraft 12:31 PM  

Wow, REfERENCE or REVERENCE, given to a superior. Tell me you didn't get that one from a Brit-style crossword, Joon! Also had inaSEC before ONESEC, and ICEmAnTLE "cause I forgot about ICECASTLE momentarily. Then I rejected FRENEMIES because I thought it was spelled with an I in the third spot. Despite all this, I got EVENED out in the NW.

I live in Vegas, and kept counting the squares for 33a. No, CIRCUS just will not stretch. You wouldn't believe how long NEWYORK eluded my brain. When it hit, it was a real DUH! moment. More spelling woes: I was sure the name was ALiSTAIR (as in Sim), but figured the only possible key of 18a had to be DFLAT--the DEDE was a "flat"-out gimme for me. Have I mentioned how many hours I was glued to the old TV during American Bandstand? I didn't know the LANCE of 20a, and had a hard time getting a handle on 11d. What, with F in the middle?? Then from somewhere deep, a synapse fired and I remembered hearing the name LANCEBASS. Couldn't have told you what he did if my life depended on it, but there he was. That X crossing was an epiphany.

The SE seemed rather tame, as I plunked down ESTRANGED with only the gimme LOMAN in place. [C'mon, FL, no love for Lee? Did you not see his tour de force in 12 Angry Men?] My favorite 58a: in The Shawshank Redemption, Brooks Hatlen sees Andy DeFrain picking a maggot out of his food. "Are...are you gonna eat that?" "Hadn't planned on it." "DOYOUMIND?" And just as we think he wants it himself, he shows the baby crow.

So to the SW. I thought this would be my Waterloo, but really tried to suss it out without resorting to REfERENCE. KITT and IRENE gimmes placed, it still was "wicked hahd," as my Bostonian friends might say. Finally recalled ALEX from one of my favorite films, and so "I viddied right away" that 62a must be CODEX. Of all the tough clues in the typical Saturday offering, none was worse than "Buyable, in a way" for VENAL. To me, that seems wrong-minded, and I'm not even Catholic. I know it's less serious than mortal, but still...

Finally filled DJOKOVIC all on crosses, after my final aha! moment with CHUGS (another DUH! when it hit) and HOES (oh, THAT kind of plot!) So, medium? Or even EASY--that's scary!--??? Nope, every bit as challenging as an endweek puzzle should be. Thank you all for putting up with my journey through it.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

To Spacecraft 12:31
First of all, don't you believe for one second that when it's said "I did this in 6 minutes" or this was "Easy" that the writer is being absolutely, certifiably accurate and true. Bullpuckey! I would demand notarized and witnessed proof before believing same.

Another thing: It is obvious to me the Constructors have the benefit of all the information obtainable through the internet, reference books, etc. Therefor, turn-about is fair play as far as I'm concerned. Occasionaly I too turn to a World Almanac or Wikipedia for a particularly difficult clue or for spelling, etc. When I come to this blog and find all my answers are correct, I am completely satisfied.
What I would like to see is this: Put your Barry Silk, Joon Pahk, Calebs, Peter Collins, and, yes, Rex Parker in separate supervised rooms, each with an identical very difficult puzzle and then rate the timing and results. Ha! It'll never happen.
My contention is this. There is hardly anyone who can profess to have all of the arcane and obscure information at his or her fingertips. I HAVE SPOKEN.
Signed, William Shortz, Great, Great Grandfather to little Willy (as we used to call him)

DMGrandma 2:45 PM  

Took me awhile to work out the kinks in this one. Not helped by the fact that I originally flavored my burritos with Chorizo-noted it didn't fit and figured I had misspelled it. And, it gave me "zen". What do I know about enlightenment? Eventually straightened everything out, helped in the SW by knowing that a CA location ending in P-RO had to be the good Father. In the end it came down to two iffy squares, the Second D in DEDE and the A in TRANE, which I felt should be an I as in TRiNi Lopez. Does he play a trumpet? Finally decided D sounded right, knew CODEX was right, and, despite the strange clue, settled on VENAL. Hey, everybody, I finished a Saturday!

Waxy in Montreal 4:55 PM  

Joon in December: what more could a syndisolver wish for?

And congrats @DMG - no mean feat completing a Saturday puzzle. My OPERAHATS off to you!

Spacecraft 5:11 PM  

Dear Mr. "Anonymous" Shortz 2:32,
Thank you for your contribution. I hope to see you here more often.

You mean people LIE?? I am aghast! Well, that is up to them. I have no trouble admitting that my IQ is not through the roof. I enjoy blogging here because I want to share some of the pleasant moments in my solving experience. Some people push themselves by stopwatching; I'd rather see if I can work it out without help. Sometimes I can, like today, others not. Either way, when I see something new to me I look it up--AFTER I've finished the puzzle. Gotta exercise the ol' brain; it's too late for the bod.

Ah, but I know only too well that many of the constructors you mentioned, plus a couple of Patricks, are smart indeed--"scary-" smart as I've often said. I've seen a Rubik's Cube solved in 14 seconds, so I tend to believe solvers' claims here. This is a pretty darn bright collection of humans, my friend. It would take considerable CHUTZPAH to assume otherwise.

Ellen S 7:46 PM  

@Spacecraft -- it's "venial" sins that are the ones less serious than "mortal".. "VENAL" is a different word that applies to politicians. Or one of Chicago's Finest, at least in the olden days. Buyable, incdeed.

Take if from a Jewish atheist -- we know these things.

Dirigonzo 8:32 PM  

"Venial" vs. "venal" - I marvel at the things one can learn on this blog. And if you doubt the credibility of the information, "Take if from a Jewish atheist -- we know these things.' Thank you @Ellen S.

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