Hoosier humorist George / FRI 10-12-12 / Cheery cashier in Progressive ads / Pulverized perfumery item / Huge snagger of salmon / Quaint worker doing hansom job / Imposing general liability legally / Frere's sibling / Part of CSA signature / 1969 Peace Prize grp

Friday, October 12, 2012

Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: AMOO 
• • •

Quadstack. Serviceable. Usual failings (weaker overall fill, some dull or odd 15s). Decent long Downs. The end. Well, not quite.

I've said all I have to say about quad stacks. Don't care how difficult they are to construct. Just not my thing. Starting to feel a bit like a shtick.

Like KODIAK BROWN BEAR (17A: Huge snagger of salmon), but PERSONAL HISTORY (57A: Caseworker's compilation) is a snoozer. Don't like ONE'S phrases in 15s. Don't like 15s (or any answers) that start with IS. Barely believe CARRIAGE PAINTER is a thing. Have seen SPIRAL STAIRCASE a jillion times (give or take). So that's one out of six 15s that I enjoyed.


LONG JOHNS good (52A: Winter warmer). ORRIS ROOT not (21A: Pulverized perfumery item). I've seen some DELIRIOUS APOLOGIAS in my time, so that pair's cool with me.

The painful stuff (AMOO, IN REM, OSES, ON ON, ILO, UNDAM, E LEE, RATA ...), well, at least it's pretty well spaced-out.


Prince - Delirious [Live 1983] by Vilosophe

Bullets:
  • 14A: O'Neill whom J. D. Salinger wanted to marry (OONA) — I guess you gotta get into the Wayback Machine any time you want to clue OONA. I wrote in ESME at first. Maybe you can understand why, maybe you can't.
  • 27A: Hoosier humorist George (ADE) — who can forget ... this guy? Am I right?
  • 43A: D-day divider? (AS IN) — not great fill, but I do like the clue.
  • 53D: Bart Simpson's middle name (JOJO) — this is slightly annoying because this "fact" is not widely known (at all), and sources for this info appear to be hearsay and books, not actual episodes of the show. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I doubt there's more than one or two episodes (in the over 500 that have been made) that refer to this alleged middle name. But I'm not certain there's even one. The fact that "Bart Simpson's Guide to Life" says JOJO is not enough for me. I need an episode number.
  • 1D: Concave kitchenware (WOKS) — took me a while to figure out a plural was called for.
  • 9D: Bird that lays a one-pound egg (KIWI) — It's true. And the birds aren't *that* big. 
  • 46A: Slangy hello ('SUP) — was able to get this after I discarded "HEY" and "YO" wouldn't fit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

73 comments:

jae 12:12 AM  

Letterman and this puzzle were both delightful.  Easy-medium for me with plenty of zip...PCP, JOJO, AMOO (instead of OMOO), WHUP, and the improbable CARRIAGEPAINTER...

Erasures:  ONEone for ONEALL and esme (maybe I do).

WOE: OSSISROOT

Liked it. Nice one MAS.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

I never saw that about ESME, though I know some do.

How is 38A not PISSESONCARPETS, the archetypical activity of puppies?

Evan 12:50 AM  

It took me two alphabet runs to get CHAOS from CHA-S -- my brain just wouldn't accept a vowel there. And I had an A at the IPSO/PORTO crossing instead of the correct O, so one mistake for me. I need to get my Latin all straightened out: ipsO jure (or facto), ipsE dixit, and res ipsA loquitur.

Rex, I'm trying as hard as I can to find an episode with a mention of Bart's middle name, but I can't. The best I can come up with has nothing to do with Bart, but rather the classic character with only one appearance on the show: Joey Jojo Junior Shabadoo.

Karl Bradley 1:18 AM  

I, too, instantly wrote ESME (with love and squalor)...

retired_chemist 1:18 AM  

So, honestly, how many of you have had puppies that were NOT eaqer to please? My hand is up..... and they often become the most interesting adults if they are not. I like the ones that are too smart for their own good and have a trace of independence. I have stories.....

A good Friday. Favorite answer: SPIRAL STAIRCASE. Surprised that my first try survived: SUP, TICS, WOKS. Surprised that it didn't: SMOKE (46D: morning ritual); EASY (37D: simple).

This is a puzzle that one pieces together slowly, with quite a few marvelous answers that you won't get without help from crosses. Just as a Friday should be.

Thanks, Martin.

jae 1:26 AM  

That should have read: WOE: ORRISROOT, sorry about that. Too bad the recent blogger format precludes a readable preview (at least on an iPad).

chefwen 2:41 AM  

Started out on a bad note. 1A beat, 1D bowl, 2D tOO do. Got that mess sorted out and was able to finish the top third quickly. Bottom third, not so quickly, middle third was a real struggle. Still questioning CARRIAGE PAINTER???

Also had ONE one at 26D and nannie at 27D which is an acceptable alt for nanny, but, alas neither spelling was correct. Finally got the whole thing done. Phew!

@ret_chemist - Would love to hear your puppy stories.

Anonymous 3:19 AM  

CARRIAGE PAINTER was a legitimate trade in its own right, back in the day... as a google search will reveal.

chefwen 3:51 AM  

O.K. Anon. I Googled it, interesting and informative. Thanks. It's wonderful the things one learns on this Blog.

The Bard 7:16 AM  

King Henry V > Act III, scene I

KING HENRY V: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

loren muse smith 7:50 AM  

SUP, @jae – my toeholds were ORRIS ROOT, ONON, PORTO, and ELEE. Right.

OSES. I *never* know if it’s a or o. Someone gave us a rule for those, but it FLEW out of my brain.

On suffixes – we have one that’s becoming a bona fide word: ish. On several occasions I’ve heard people us it in isolation to mean “kinda.” And my daughter told me this morning that kids use it to replace the
S WORD – “Don’t show me that ish.”

@retired_chemist - I'm with chefwen - stories, please.

Question as a fledgling constructor about partials – are they to be avoided because it’s kind of cheating? For me the two answers that made me smile today were A MOO and AS IN.

Second question – it seems that it is in fact ok to repeat words; today’s has three ONEs? I seem to remember someone looking into this and deciding that that “rule” doesn’t exist? I have a grid I like, but a word is repeated.

Martin – six 15’s, two 13’s, and four 9’s. Great workout. Thanks for the earworm. E I E I O.

Empty Chair 8:14 AM  

Paddy Chayefsky did the adaptation for the Movie version of Paint Your Wagon.

The NY Times blurb whenever it was listed in their TV schedule always said: "Clint sings like a moose."

dk 8:40 AM  

OONA (Lady Chaplin) and JD Salinger is apropos as I am emersed in all things New Yorker (reading The Receptionist and just went to her reading hosted by Garrison Keller). Mr Salinger lived one town over when I was in Vermont. His quaint job title was Hog Reeve for the town of Cornish NH. Ms Groth assures us there are no secret JD manuscripts.

Installing a wood stove here in Wisconsin. I am on my third attempt to produce the correct "cut" out of the soffit to allow for a three inch stove pipe clearance. As I often say when you are JOVIAL with no APOLOGIES about not knowing what you are doing you succeed in the fullness of time.

Fine Friday puzzle except for UNDAM. Sounds like a Zombie cure.

������ (3 Stars) Martin, Rex only likes the stacks at IHOP.

Susan McConnell 8:46 AM  

I thought this was challenging and I enjoyed it, in awe of those quad stacks. Then I read Rex's comments and felt myself agreeing with him. But now I'm going back to my original position. I liked it, and if I don't over think it or go looking for trouble, I find that I got what I wanted on a Friday, a satisfying challenge.

jackj 8:47 AM  

I’ve tackled most of Martin Ashwood-Smith’s puzzles over the years and today’s seems to be the gnarliest in memory.

Not content to dazzle us with two fourteens and six fifteens, M A-S is now telling us that even remembering the basic Simpsons crowd- Abe, Apu, Moe, Lisa, Marge, Homer and Bart is not sufficient anymore and we now need to know Bart’s middle name! JOJO. JOJO? Give me a break!

And then, compounding things there is a definite paucity of three letter entries crossing the big guys, thus denying us the usual means of solving the 15’s. Martin, you Canadians are thought to be friendly, neighborly types who are above this sort of masochistic game playing.

When things finally did begin to open up, it was a pleasant surprise to find that Martin A-S. took a deserved second bow with SPIRALSTAIRCASE, this time cleverly clued as “Steps around?”. His first use of it, back in 1995 was clued as “It turns into a different story”, which some will recall was named by Will Shortz, in a long ago interview, as his all-time favorite clue. Great wordplay each time!

Some of the fun stuff today included A MOO, SUP and LONG JOHNS but then there was a gripe for UNDAM and another for CARRIAGE PAINTER and finally, there was the clue that deserves a place of its own, an entry I hated when trying to end the puzzle but on reflection find to be absolutely brilliant, AS IN for “D-day divider?”. That’s a Hall of Famer, Martin!

Thanks for another unique adventure.

retired_chemist 9:18 AM  

@ chefwen - puppy stories won't fit in this blog - someday I hope we'll meet and trade some.

thursdaysd 9:41 AM  

Finished this without help from the net (even getting JOJO from crosses) so am pleased to find it scored Medium. Top and bottom went down fairly quickly but had trouble in the middle, where I wanted the CARRIAGE to be driven, not PAINTed.

Was thrown by the ONEs - had ONEALL, and then took out the ONE when I encountered ONETWO, thinking maybe it was nilALL.

Also had unnecessary trouble with PORTO. I've been planning a trip to South America (leave on Tuesday, yeah!) and in Argentina it's Puerto and in Chile sometimes it's Puerto and sometimes it's Punta.

totally unable to read the captcha...

Carola 9:42 AM  

Challenging for me, very satisfying to finish. Wanted "Alaska" for the BEAR. Had the BRI...for the beginning of "brush" and just couldn't get "BRIstle" out of my head, needed all but two letters to finally get it - and I even watched "Brief Encounter" Weds. night!

Loved the dangling PAIR OF EARRINGS (but was kind of surprised it was paired with AU PAIR), WHUP with 'SUP, and as @Rex cited, the DELIRIOUS APOLOGIAS.

Norm 9:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milford 9:46 AM  

Nice Friday, I liked it a lot. The north fell amazingly fast, I think all those Ks helped. Ironically, I DNFed due to that Latin/Portuguese crossing in the NE. Unlike@Evan, I had IPSe/PORTe, thinking my Latin words had to match.

The middle took a lot of crosses to parse out those phrases, in part because I had APOLOGIeS and ONEone for awhile. But the work to untangle that was good. I haven't seen SPIRAL STAIRCASE enough to be tired of it, so I enjoyed that answer.

I guess CARRIAGE PAINTER can be a thing.

Anyone else drop in pLO for 58D at first? Thought it was maybe plausible in 1969...

Not sure how I knew JOJO, especially if it's not part of an episode. Maybe it just sounded like a Simpson thing?

@loren - in case it helps to see it again ...the -OSE suffix means sugar, and the -ASE suffix means enzyme. Not sure how to help you remember, except maybe think of lactose and sucrose sugars. Maybe kinase to remember enzyme?

Norm 9:47 AM  

The Queen probably still has a CARRIAGE PAINTER; heck, she probably has a whole carriage painting department. Doesn't make it a very good answer. Okay puzzle. His usually play harder for me.

Kurt 10:08 AM  

I got tripped up on D-DAY DIVIDER. I jumped quickly to an en dash, and therefore decided on ANEN. I thought that this was a really cool clue/answer, and thus didn't pay any attention to the downs. Oh well. It was cool while it lasted.

joho 10:22 AM  

I enjoyed the challenge and was happy to finish a Friday with no errors. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I do.

Is JOJO the Dog-Faced Boy more well known that Bart Simpson's middle name? Probably not. Got that by the crosses, but like others have mentioned, ONETWO was suspect after already getting ONEALL.

@Loren Muse Smith, I don't know the answer but I think the repeat of ONE here is due to the extreme difficulty of creating a Friday/Saturday level puzzle. I doubt ONEALL, ONETWO would ever be allowed in a Monday puzzle.

A fine Friday, thank you, Martin!

John V 10:28 AM  

Quite challenging for me, especially the entire South. Finished with two wrong letters, having misspelled PSHAW when I wrote it in (is that a malapoop?), so ended with PERSONALAPSTORY, thinking of PLO for 58D.

I enjoy 15 stacks, as one part of a puzzle.

Liked Stone Picture, D-day divider, Combination of Rings, Kerfuffle

CARRAIGEPAINTER? Not so much.

All in, a nice Friday puzzle, one WOMPing bit harder than yesterday, for sure.

jberg 10:47 AM  

Me too for Alaska before KODIAK BROWN BEAR, until Mr. Stone set me straight. I've never heard anyone say Kodiak brown bear, though - just Kodiak bear. I also think IN REM ("in the thing") should refer to something more general than imposing a liability, but I'll wait to hear from the lawyers on that one.

CARRIAGE PAINTER is certainly a thing - what bothered me is the "quaint" bit. Sure, the occupation is quaint - but the way it's clued, "hansom" refers to the carriage, and "quaint" to the trade involved - and painters are not quaint per se (nor JURIS IPSO).

After all that, though, the puzzle was challenging enough to be fun - and BRIEF ENCOUNTER was a great answer crying out for a more risque clue.

Joe The Juggler 10:49 AM  

In addition to the three ONEs there were a pair of PAIRs in this puzzle. I was looking for something to happen with that stuff. Do constructors sometimes put in red herrings like that intentionally?

As for JoJo, the Wiki entry on Bart credits the source of the name to a book published by Bart's creator Matt Groening. Even if it never appeared in an episode, I think that is authority enough to make it legitimate.

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

DNF and DNC.
The SW corner was too wicked for this solver. I only know "tourist" French and legal terms really piss me off.
@ lms, I love that usage if ish. Never heard it and it seems very useful and cute. But I swear like a sailor so I doubt I will use it.
@ r_c, Totally agree about the puppy personality.

Joe The Juggler 10:52 AM  

And I also found "KODIAK BROWN BEAR" objectionable. Either KODIAK or BROWN BEAR, but not both. I sat on _____KBROWNBEAR for some time. (I was trying to think of some word that mean "large" somehow.)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:52 AM  

Medium (i.e., about 45 minutes) for me. By looking ahead intently, I was able to keep my write-overs down to one: the oft-cited 26 D, ONEONE before ONEALL.

But, not that anyone asked, I was slowed quite a bit by 2 D: I really wanted to spell it HOO-HAH, but, no, the dictionary agrees with HOO-HA.

Lot of things I didn't know, but gettable from crosses. Good puzzle.

Patty O'Chair 10:54 AM  

In actuality, caseworkers don't compile personal histories but rather family histories. Isn't a personal history the account of one's own life?

Sandy K 10:56 AM  

I like challenging puzzles and this one fit the bill.

Struggled with ORRIS ROOT and D-day divider, but was DELIRIOUSly relieved that I guessed right...

...UNTIL I realized I had left IPSe instead of IPSO. Was not so JOVIAL as PORTO was the obvious choice.

Still enjoyed the puzzle, Mr. Ashwood-Smith. "Here A MOO, there..." LOL

quilter1 11:06 AM  

Baking bread today so late to the party. Went away and came back several times between recipe steps and finally finished. No love here, although I liked the KODIAK BROWN BEAR.

Mel Ott 11:21 AM  

I wanted GRIZZLY BEAR'S PAW for 17A. After all it's the huge paw that actually does the snagging.

And I wanted AMBERGRIS for my perfume item, altho I have no idea whether that stuff gets pulverized. ORRRIS ROOT?

Thanks, @Bard for the stirring quote. I'm ready to strap on my sword and go into battle.

syndy 11:30 AM  

So OONA ONEALL had an AUPAIR who was EAGERTOPLEASE. I'm sorry but my favorite answer was AMOO!not a lot else to get excited about-finished in 23:02 very fast for a friday.I don't know why the word APOLOGIA always reminds me of Mary Queen of Scots

Sir Hillary 12:19 PM  

Picking up on yesterday's theme, it seems that many among us believe that Bart Simpson's middle name is NOTNOTNOTJOJO.

Lots in here I didn't know (ORRISROOT, ONON, INREM, ILO, IPSO) but the crosses got me through.

I don't see why Rex views four-stacks as "stunts". Seems to me, there is only so much you can do with a 15x15 grid, and this is as legitimate a construction as any other. To me, today's fill is no worse than we see in most puzzles.

Nice Brazilian double with PORTO and RIO.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

How ISL for Gazetteer abbr.??

Masked and Jojononymous 12:44 PM  

Jojo's background story is evidently that Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart J. Simpson) asked Matt Goening at a script reading what the J stood for. Matt asked Nancy what she thought it should stand for, and she suggested JOJO. Matt said then that's what it ought to be.
My name is M&A and I approve this message.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 1:12 PM  

P.S. Sorry. Matt Groening with an R. 47% of the M&A brain does not take responsibilty for itself.

ksquare 1:13 PM  

I suppose ISL is for ISLAND in Gazetteers.

mac 1:31 PM  

I enjoyed this one, medium for me with a write-over at one-all.

Several of the long answers came so easily that the helped me with the shorter ones.

Never heard of orrisroot, but I have a little piece of ambergris in a pretty box. Heavenly smell.

Bird 1:57 PM  

Lots of hard, obscure stuff that I didn’t know or care to know crossing lots of hard, obscure stuff that I didn’t know or care to know resulted in a DNF. Duh. I don’t mind the stacks, but only liked 2 out of the 4 (20A and 40A). Thought the 2 long downs were great. Too many write-overs to mention.

ONE ALL and ONE TWO in the same puzzle?

CARRIAGE PAINTER? Really?

Does UNDAM mean to repair the dam?

Shout out to Bob at 2D.

TGIF!

Chip Hilton 2:44 PM  

It took me awhile but I got everything except ASIN. I wonder how I'd have fared had the clue been D - dog divider, but, hey, this isn't Tuesday. Otherwise, I enjoyed the struggle, especially the gradual decoding of the 15's.

Someone who also looks at Diary of a Crossword Fiend 2:52 PM  

@Sir Hillary - Actually, this is a 15 x 16 grid.

John V 3:17 PM  

Had not noticed that this was a 15X16. Interesting.

rudiger45 3:37 PM  

OK puzzle, fairly quick solve considering the stacks (which I somehow got before the corner quadrants) but...unless I missed it: what "1969 Peace Prize grp." is ILO?

Deb 3:55 PM  

Oh, geez, I hope there will still be a few lurkers, because I'm not satisfied with ISL as an answer to... OMG, I just got how ISL(and) relates to "gazetteer." Never mind.

***@ lms, I love that usage if ish. Never heard it and it seems very useful and cute. But I swear like a sailor so I doubt I will use it.***

Ditto! And thanks to @Milford for the phonetic trick with OSE (same S sound AS IN sucrose) and ASE (same S sound AS IN enzyme). Cool! Now I need to run off and learn the names of some enzymes!

I'm glad I had a chance to read all of the comments for the first time in forever, so I can join @Toop in griping (again) about foreign words or phrases that are beyond the scope of the average solver who's had, at most, a couple of years foreign language instruction a very, very long time ago (okay, average being "me"). Even on a Friday or Saturday. Frere is fine, we all know Frere Jacques, but SOEUR? We don't know it, we have no need of knowing it, adding it to our vocabulary serves NO purpose beyond being able to solve Xword puzzles and it's just annoying! STOP IT!

Off to put another ice pack on my boob. Haven't mentioned I had a biopsy today to my family so as not to worry them, but sure wouldn't mind good thoughts from anyone who feels like sending them.

These captchas are beyond annoying...

Cheerio 4:15 PM  

Fun facts in this one. I did not know that Oona Chaplin had been Oona O'Neill. I also enjoyed orris root, which wikipedia says is a "fixer" for perfume, meaning that it helps stabilize (limit evaporation) of more volatile compounds in the perfume. It has never occurred to me to wonder why certain perfumes that I have owned for what is really a very long time (I rarely go near the stuff) still seem OK.

Bird 4:37 PM  

@Deb - Thinking good, positive pink thoughts here.

retired_chemist 4:45 PM  

@ Deb - good thoughts coming your way.

Also the S in -OSE and in -ASE is pronounced the same. As @Milford says, LACTOSE and SUCROSE are sugars, and enzymes almost all end in -ASE. Can't think of an enzyme that appears in the popular press, but there are lots (hundreds at least) that fit.

OK, here's one: CATALASE. It catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in your body (to water and oxygen) and thus protects you against those icky free radicals that age you. You can see it work: prick your finger and add a drop of blood to a little hydrogen peroxide. Watch the oxygen gas start bubbling. OK, not breakfasty, but, hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere (actually EDT at the moment). If that isn't enough to fix the name CATALASE and the suffix -ASE in your mind, I can't help. It's all I have at the moment.

bigsteve46 5:25 PM  

I know I'm missing something obvious - but how is "onetwo" a "combination of rings"?

Doc John 5:27 PM  

Managed to finish this one in the same day (not usual for Friday or Saturdays for me) so that's a plus. Rex pretty much hit the nail on the head in his critique of the puzzle.
I can think of much better JOJOs. How about Jojo Starbuck, a relatively famous figure skater and wife of Terry Bradshaw? There's also the Hydra coaster at Dorney Park that has as one of its elements a Jojo Roll (OK, maybe that's a little more esoteric than Bart's middle name but at least there are a lot of supporting references to it in trade and enthusiast publications.)
As for enzymes in the popular press, how about protease inhibitors? They're a major class of HIV drugs.
Have I mentioned my hatred of Capcha lately?

Joe Palooka 5:42 PM  

@bigsteve46 - Next time you listen to a boxing match on the radio, wait to hear the announcer note that one of the competitors in the ring has delivered a one-two punch, or as TheFreeDictionary says, "one-two punch
n.
1. A combination of two blows delivered in rapid succession in boxing, especially a left lead followed by a right cross."

mac 6:29 PM  

Lots of good wishes, Deb.

loren muse smith 6:52 PM  

@Carola – I had to fight to let go of “bristle,” too.

@Milford – thanks for reminding me! I’ll try to remember sucrose.

@Joho – makes sense about the day of the week. Thanks.

@Two Ponies and Deb – Just a couple of days ago, I asked someone who’d just come in from the outside if it was chilly. He tilted his head, rotated his hand, and said, “Ish.”

@Deb – positive vibes from WV.

I meant to say this this morning. Dad still works Mondays and Tuesdays and then plays around with the later ones. I always call him on my way to work, and we talk about the day’s puzzle. This morning he hadn’t made much headway, but we were talking, and I said, “Wait, wait, wait. Back up. Did you really just say ‘quad stack?’” Yep.

Thanks, Rex and the New York Times. I wonder if the powers that be truly understand the magnitude of how this puzzle and blog affect lots of people’s lives.

chefwen 7:52 PM  

@Deb - Positive thoughts flying your way.

notsofast 9:19 PM  

Loved this puzzle! WHUP!!! ASIN!!! Brilliant!

jackj 9:44 PM  

Deb-

Lots of good thoughts for you!

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:08, 6:47, 0.90, 14%, Easy
Tue 8:57, 8:57, 1.00, 58%, Medium
Wed 8:15, 11:49, 0.70, 1%, Easy (lowest median solve time of 169 Wednesdays)
Thu 15:08, 18:50, 0.80, 18%, Easy
Fri 25:46, 24:29, 1.05, 60%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:41, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:13, 4:40, 1.12, 84%, Challenging
Wed 4:41, 5:56, 0.79, 7%, Easy
Thu 7:53, 9:22, 0.84, 24%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:34, 12:11, 1.03, 60%, Medium

UDbmas 10:15 PM  

Apparently Bart's middle name is given in a book released in 1993 by Harper-collins called Bart Simpson's Guide to Life.

On another note, I don't much care for stacks either, but has there ever been one that was ony 15 x 15 stacks?

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

Glad everyone loved ASIN, but I still don't get it. Plus erg is a work measure not luminosity? According to Wikipedia there is an old term lumerg, but that's the only connection I could find.

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

Just got it--d as in day.

@rudiger45--ILO = International Labour Organization originally (and maybe still) part of the United Nations.

michael 11:28 PM  

I've been to Porto Velho, Brazil. I wonder if any other commenter has been there. Anyhow, it got me off to a lucky start on the puzzle,

Z 11:30 PM  

Easy top and bottom, challenging middle. Not getting TICS or ASAP didn't help. Otherwise - ditto what's been said.

@Deb - Be well.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

so delighted to have solved a medium to challenging friday. usually when i solve fri's they are "easy". even tho it's sunday i just had to chime in.

Spacecraft 12:41 PM  

The clue writer(s) toughened this one up a lot, but after a couple of years of this, I'm kinda getting to know my way around Will's brain. Some of them are fairly obvious despite attempts at cuteness ("before one's big opening" for PREOP, e.g.); others walk your brain through a labyrinth to get there. Yet nothing today is what I'd consider unfair. The grid itself? Well, you know how the bigger they come...etc.? 15's fall hard. The star today is the body of clues. Great stuff!

The name JOJO conjures up the Beatles tune "Get Back." I'm surprised that @Doc John didn't mention that one. Anyway, the name forced its way in on crosses.

In the end I had two Nedicks: the oft-cited one at PORT_/IPS_ (correctly guessed O on the strength of PORTO) and the seeming contradiction of APOLOGIeS and SPIReL etc. What to do? I finally decided that SPIRAL is SPIRAL, and that there must be some Latin term for 18d...but I still winced when I put it in.

According to my (admittedly abridged) source, UNDAM is not a word. And if it is, I'd like to cast my vote for making it an "UNword." Just sayin.'

rain forest 2:24 PM  

After several summers when the water supply was insufficient for irrigation, Bilbo decided to UNDAM the creek at the back of his property. There.

Pretty tough sledding, but the fill was nowhere near as woeful as some puzzles are with stacked 15's. Lucky to get TICS, ASAP, STET, COPA, AU PAIR, RATA and OSES which uncovered the middle 4 stacks. Found the bottom third the toughest (JOJO, ON ON), but eventually got it. Tricky but accurate cluing. Glad to know that Martin Ashwood-Smith is a fellow Canadian, and that he did a brilliant job here.

DMGrandma 4:33 PM  

Once again one corner did me in, the SW. Didn't parse the D- as in clue correctly. kept trying to put in "dash" or anything similar that would fit. Also think the ONETWO clue was pretty obscure. FIgured "frére" must mean brother, but my limited French does not include "sister" - assuming that's what SOEUR means?

Have to run. Hope the Captcha is "doable" Just peeked, it's not, so will have to start paging through them. Ho hum.

Ginger 4:59 PM  

@Deb - Five weeks late, but wishing you well! from one who's 'been there'.

@retired-chemist - from Syndiland, you wrote of puppies that are NOT eager to please. DOH You have PUGS, who are independent, irascible, sneezy, snoring and utterly loveable creatures. And I miss mine terribly.

I was done in by the middle south. ONON and JOJO were a nono in my brain. Also...WUMP was slow to show itself, Had rout, then WoMP. Lots of other write-overs, but even though I DNF, it was a good Friday challenge.

Waxy in Montreal 7:06 PM  

@DMG, oui, soeur indeed means sister, both of the sibling and religious variety. Being of my generation, you might remember The Singing Nun who sang the big hit Dominique in the early '60's. In French she was known as Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile).

Would have preferred a clew referencing ms. Starbuck or the Beatles' Get Back rather than the really obscure middle name of Bart Simpson for JOJO.

Had no idea that J.D. Salinger's PERSONAL HISTORY included seriously courting Oona O'Neil. Since Oona married Charlie Chaplin when she was barely 18, she must have been awfully young at the time she was dating Salinger. Maybe just a BRIEF ENCOUNTER.

Red Valerian 8:05 PM  

@Deb--thinking of you five weeks later. Perhaps you could stop by to let us all know how things are going.

Liked the puzzle (as I almost always do, so why do I even say that?) but DNF or FWE (finished with error). My Angel dust was PCB. DOH! That made 13D bORTO Veilho, which certainly should have given me more pause than it did.

I read all the comments, though I might have zoned out through a couple, but could somebody explain what 61A ELEE (part of a C.S.A. signature) means? I'm guessing this has nothing to do with the Canadian Standards Association or the Canadian Space Agency...

Oh, wait, I just got it. Robert E. LEE, so CSA must stand for Confederate something or other. ish.

Waxy in Montreal 8:36 PM  

@Red, funny my first thought too was how a Canadian Standards Association reference could possibly have made it into a NYT puzzle, even one crafted by a fellow Canuck. Indeed, CSA stands for the Confederate States of America.

Dirigonzo 10:05 PM  

I was way past my self-imposed two drink/two hour limit and the NW corner was still a mess, with roUt as my definition of clobber and "On the dot" being exAct. I was ready to throw in the towel when it became apparent that it was APAIR of earrings that one purchases at the jewelers and the resulting rework produced WOKS and HOOHA, and the corner was done. Fridays are supposed to be challenging, right?

@Deb - I know that you, as a former syndilander, will understand and forgive the 5 week delay, but positive thoughts are coming at you. I hope by now the news has all been good.

Spacecraft 10:10 PM  

No confusion here on PCP, thanks to the indomitable Frank Oz, who as a Philadelphia cop in "Trading Places" incredulously identified angel dust as PCP. Frank, "the man you are."

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP