Wendy's creator / FRI 12-7-12 / Phil of poker fame / Broth left after boiling greens in South / 2004 #1 hit for Fantasia / Ion indicator / Something lame in modern slang / First last name in Baseball Hall of Fame / Sierra Nevada competitor

Friday, December 7, 2012

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: Bill HADER (47A: "S.N.L." comic Bill) —
William "Bill" Hader (born June 7, 1978) is an American actor, comedian, producer and writer. He is best known for his work as a cast member onSaturday Night Live and for his supporting roles in comedy films such as SuperbadHot RodTropic ThunderAdventurelandPaulForgetting Sarah Marshall, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. (wikipedia)
 
SNL Weekend Update - Stefon Valentine's Day from Deets Duckie on Vimeo.

• • •

Was headed toward something close to a record Friday time until I hit the SE, where JANE ROE and SARANAC'S and COO, all wrong, all tripped me up. Well, JANE ROE is sure enough *right* (see, for instance Roe v. Wad), just not right for this puzzle. And a COO could come from a "field" (as could a BOO, which I also considered). SARANAC doesn't have an "S" on the end, but it is indeed a brand of beer. Anyhow, after torching 80% of the grid, I ground to a short but painful halt there at the end before setting everything right.  What ended up saving me was running the alphabet at DA-ES for [Skirts]. Great clue (who doesn't love dated sexist lingo!?), but hard as hell. I'm actually surprised I didn't run right past "M," as that meaning of "skirts" as not on my RADARS (40D: Some highway patrol equipment)  at all. I was thinking only of a synonym for "evades." I also took out HAHA initially so I could write in comic Bill MAHER—this is why it's so important to actually read the clue (MAHER is not on "S.N.L."). HADER has a lot of crossword potential and I'm surprised it doesn't show up more often. Maybe as his tenure on the show gets longer, that'll change. Let's see, what other issues were there? Oh, I certainly have never heard of POT LIKKER (9D: Broth left after boiling greens, in the South). Never. Not ever. If I hadn't been dead certain of (and totally enamored with) WEAK SAUCE (27A: Something lame, in modern slang), I wouldn't have believed that preposterous double-K. Not knowing the POT part made the NE somewhat hard to get into. That's about the hardest clue you'll ever see for OCELOT (16A: Animal whose name comes from Nahuatl), and close to the hardest you'll see for YEW (11D: Tree that symbolizes immortality). But I took a flier on CLAY and then got YAO and somehow managed to fill those Acrosses in from the back end. Elsewhere, I had CAN I GO instead of MAY I GO, and GETS ANGRY instead of GETS UPSET (I won't be alone there). Rest was a cakewalk.


Puzzle lobbed a softball at me with 1A: Wendy's creator (J.M. BARRIE). Plunked that answer in immediately and the NW practically filled itself in from there. Turning that corner from the NW into the center of the grid was a little tricky. GETS ANGRY was wrong, and ON A ... wasn't getting me anywhere at 36A: Requiring no effort to take. But I knew ASSAD, and somehow, even with the wrong ANGRY written in, I was able to gather that 34D: Ion indicator was PLUS SIGN. This got me into the SW and the middle. Then I gingerly took care of the NE before briefly tanking in the SE (as described above). The end.

Here is something that is not WEAK SAUCE—my favorite "Gangnam Style"-inspired video by far (made by Albert Chang, a kid who goes to my alma mater, Pomona College; this makes him a classmate of crossword constructor and erstwhile Will Shortz assistant Joel Fagliano): 

[Eat your heart out, AI WEIWEI]

Bullets:
  • 15A: 2004 #1 hit for Fantasia ("I BELIEVE") — I believe many people will have forgotten completely about this song, if they ever knew it to begin with. I knew it. I think I own it. 
  • 20A: Colore ufficiale of the Italian football team (BLU) — My Spidey-sense tells me this is Italian for "blue."
  • 32A: What's generally spotted early on? (CHICKEN POX) — really wanted CHICKEN EGG. Eggs can be speckled, yes? Yes. But I had WEAK SAUCE in place and knew that nothing could possibly start UE- (at 28D: Freely contestable) so I never even wrote in EGG. 
  • 33A: Sound trademark of 20th Century Fox ("D'OH!") — I don't think I've ever seen the term "sound trademark" before. Presumably the clue refers to Dan Castellaneta, as the voice of Homer, saying "D'OH!"
  • 14D: Springfield Elementary employee (OTTO) — two "Simpsons" clues?! Mock outrage!
  • 45D: First or last name in the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOYT) — I love this clue, even though I can remember only one of the HOYTs (HOYT Wilhelm). Hmmm, other guy is Waite HOYT, whom I couldn't remember because I've never heard of him.
Lovers of challenging, clever, funny, modern puzzles should check out the reincarnated Onion A/V Club puzzle, now called the American Values Club crossword (still edited, expertly and impishly, by the great Ben Tausig). You can subscribe at the puzzle's Kickstarter page—a weekly puzzle by the best constructors in the business for just $15/yr. A must-have for crossword addicts. Sign up here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

79 comments:

jae 12:14 AM  

Medium tough for me and just about perfect for a Fri.  Mucho zip (too much to list, but ALL MINE next to BE LIKE THAT is priceless) and some great cluing...e.g. 21a.  I blocked on JMBARRIE and FRIST so I need some extra time for those to bubble up.  

Erasures: Me too for rOE and angry and mad at before  UPSET, plus LIcKER before the KK.

WOEs:  WEAKSAUCE, POTLIKKER, HADER (although I've seen several movies he is apparently in), HOKIES...  If WEAK SAUCE had been a gimme this would have come in at medium for me. 

Really liked this one, way to go Peter Wentz.

r.alphbunker 3:56 AM  

This was a tough puzzle that earned my respect.

Like @jae there is too much to list. I feel I could write a paragraph on almost every clue. If I had to choose one it would be 45D {First or last name in the Baseball Hall of Fame}. My brain latched onto ruth and would not let go even though I knew that it was extremely unlikely that there was a woman named Ruth there. I wasn't even sure if there were women in Cooperstown. (post-googling indicates there are). BTW, wasn't Geena Davis great in "A League of Their Own"?


Ne plus ultra 4:05 AM  


Love me Bill HADER...easily the most ridiculously talented person to come along to SNL in about a hundred years!!!!

Strange tho bec while I was solving this Bill MURRAY was on Letterman in the background...the original funny Bill from SNL!!!

Glad he is considered crossworthy...as I'm guessing your fabulous clip will introduce thousands more to him. Stefon is one of about 823 characters he does that are totally original, so out there...and his trying not to crack up is my favorite thing on TV.

(By best friend Maria works on the show and I cannot wait to tell her he is in the puzzle, I'll bet he'll be thrilled if this is his first appearance in a puzzle.

As a comedian it used to be you didn't make it till you were on Carson...then it was being on SNL, then being a character on the Simpsons...but really, for many, it's appearing in a NY Times crossword!)

Hand up for CHICKENegg, POTLIcKER, out/MOO
and AaH, RAbId/RARIN' ...so DANGED challenging, yet eventually gettable.

Even tho things like HOYT and HOKIES and IVEY are not remotely on my RADARs (weird plural) this was eventually gettable and so much fun getting there!

I just love Quarfoot and Wentz Scrabblyness,
CHICKENPOX, CRAPSHOOT, WEAKSAUCE, PRANKED, JOKE/COOKIE, PSYCHO, THWART, COOLIO...
Wow, almost every word in the grid.

By the way, Skirts = DAMES was the FRIST (sic) thing that occurred to me and I don't even teach noir!

Thanks for the shout out at 43Down!

r.alphbunker 4:11 AM  

In fact, this puzzle makes me wish that David Foster Wallace was alive and that he liked crossword puzzles as much as he liked tennis. What he did for Roger Federer he could do for this puzzle.

jae 5:16 AM  

I assumed the lack of comments tonight reflected the toughness of this one (Rex's and my ratings notwithstanding), so I went back over it looking for Naticks. Ne plus ultra is right, there aren't any. It's just tough! (See Amy's blog). My medium leaning assessment was based on knowing/guessing stuff like DOH, YAO, COOLIO, and BALLPEEN and assuming JMBARRIE and FRIST would be gimmes for most Fri. level solvers. So, upon further reflection, I'm changing my rating to tough. And yes, @r.alph, pretty impressive!

@ Andrea -- The FDR movie looks interesting.

OTD 7:13 AM  

Agree with all of the above. Tough for me. Did like POTLIKKER, CRAPSHOOT, etc. Too many good clues to mention. Superb puzzle for a Friday even though it left me scratching my head at many points. Thank you, Peter Wentz. Certainly got the old brain going.

Jeremy Mercer 7:20 AM  

Any other football (soccer) fans out there? If so, perhaps you winced at BLU like I did. The Italian team is ubiquitously called the Azzurri because the team's official color is 'azzurro' - sky blue or azure. I guess BLU isn't incorrect, but it is rather culturally disconnected ...

(This comes from someone who is licking his wounds this morning because his team was humiliated by a team from Cyprus in a meaningless Europa League game last night ...)

Azzurri 7:29 AM  

Jeremy--I too was bothered by BLU--it is flat out wrong. The "offical color" of the Azzurri is of course azzurro. Absolutely, positively, incorrect.

Like saying that many a school color is "red", even where a particular red is, indeed, their team name--Harvard Crimson, Chicago Maroons, Stanford Cardinal. In none of those cases is "red" the "official color".

Complelely blown clue.

Jim Walker 7:35 AM  

A great Friday puzzle from Peter. Took about an hour so I have to rate it difficult. Loved all the phrases. Only quibble is on RADARS. Hate the plural on an acronym. Prissy me had POTLIquoR for way too long.

For years I listened to the graveley voice of Waite HOYT broadcasting Reds games on WLW in Cincinnati.

Thank you sir.

Nancy 7:45 AM  

This seems really hard to me. Lots of obscure clues. Tell me again what David Foster Wallacce would have done. Maybe said "A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again"
What do the red squares and triangles mean???

jackj 7:50 AM  

With JMBARRIE being entered without pause and JIB tagging on, this seemed to be an easy solve brewing, but Mr. Wentz had other ideas and solving this puzzle was like pulling hen’s teeth.

Maybe it was just an off day for me but the phrases were made difficult by being imprecisely clued idioms like BELIKETHAT, HOTDOG, WHATSAY and ALLMINE, et al while many other entries had just enough twist to them to also be troublesome.

The clue for DOH was as strained as strained can be in an unnecessary attempt to toughen up this throwaway three-letter answer while BALLPEEN was “too, too” in its cluing as well.

And, I wouldn’t expect many people to know Bill HADER from Elmer Fudd but there he was, helping to provide part of the Damon Runyan-like answer of DAMES for “Skirts” while sitting on top of a misdirect easily gettable only by beer lovers who can equate Sierra Nevada with SAMADAMS.

YAO, now, was rather easy despite the clever clue, when the “Y” of CLAY left little to chance for the answer to “Big Chinese import?”

Some solid likes in the puzzle included ONEONE, the delightful but rarely seen THWART and the clue for COOKIE, which was a mystery until one got the AHA by remembering their “computer”.

The puzzle was much too strained in its cluing to be fun but too intelligent to be a “slog”; RIPPED when it should have just been “toned”.

Z 8:05 AM  

Challenging here. NW then SE then NE then West Coast and SW all fell one by one in typical Friday fashion. But the Mid-Atlantic states and Great Plains took a great deal of effort.

GETSmadaT and "knowing" that "Ion" was a car misdirect really hurt. Earlier I had had uNoppossed at 36A as well. tRicKED before PRANKED and POTLIcKER also hurt. --AcSAU-- gave the SAUCE end of WEAK SAUCE (and COOKIE in the mid-Atlantic) but that wrong "C" was a HOAX. Writing over that "c" to the correct "K" was the last letter in for me. Getting CRAP SHOOT is what finally opened up the middle.

During recent World Cups various broadcasters often referred to the floppers from Italy as "The Blues." "Azzurro" may be technically correct, I don't know, but it didn't cause me any problems.

Glimmerglass 8:07 AM  

Great puzzle! But "Easy-Medium"? Horsehockey. This was tough in several places, for me and for many of the above commenters. JM BARRIE was a gimme, but I BELIEVE and BALL PEEN were not. ("Worker doesn't immediately suggest "tool.") And the NW downs BE LIKE THAT and ALL MINE could have been anything. Maybe if you're from Dixie, POT LIKKER and RARIN' are easy, but not for this Bostonian (I've heard of both, but neither is on the tip of my tongue.

Nancy in PA 8:17 AM  

Hand up for POTLIquoR...one of my first entries and I was so proud of it. That and "pie fodder" are great foodie terms. Was I the only one trying to cram Dave Thomas into 1A? And what in the world are HOKIES? Loved the puzzle.

Z 8:39 AM  

@Nancy in PA - My first thought was Mr. Thomas. Couldn't think of his first name but realized it would be too long.

Unknown 9:02 AM  

got fooled by 45D when I put in Ford (Whitey and Frick) not thinking there might be another combination. Took a while to get over that

dk 9:04 AM  

Slaved away on this one. One of the twenty-somethings I work with used the comment "WEAKSAUCE" to describe a recently tried intervention. That helped with LIKKER and reminded me of a joke about holding one's.... never mind.

Did not know HADER so I had TAsAR, blah, blah, blah.

ACME in the grid will always get you:

�������� (4 MOOs) Great Puzzle

@Rex, Everyday I am amazed at what comes out of the Claremont Colleges, setting aside the gerrymandering done by the Rose Inst.

Time to do the ROBOT

chefbea 9:25 AM  

too tough for me.DNF Never heard anyone here in North Carolina use the word pot likken. Will have to ask around about that.

Carola 10:03 AM  

SCHUSSED does not describe my progress to the finish line on this one, but that meant more time to linger over the many great answers. Not sure what this says about my frame of reference, but my only entries on first pass were JM BARRIE, POTLIKKER, and RARIN. Took me a..g..e..s to see PSYCHO and THWART because of those consonant clusters.

Loved how the tasty POT LIKKER crosses its opposite, WEAK SAUCE.

Also liked the "I'm putting one over on you" group: JOKE, PRANKED, HOAX, LIE, FEINTED, HAHA.

Thanks, Peter Wentz, for a very fun Friday.

Gill I. P. 10:26 AM  

Although I didn't know half of what anything meant, I had fun saying PSYCHO POTLIKKER SCHUSSED WEAK SAUCE. ON A PLATTER ASSAD looked COOLIO and boy, if I owned a team called the HOKIES I'd really think hard about changing it.
This was hard but really fun. I'm RARIN for more senor Wentz.

wordie 10:28 AM  

I agree with @jeremy and @azzurri, 20A is just plain wrong. I have never heard the Azurri referred to on TV in either English- or Spanish-language broadcasts as the Blues. The French national team are the Bleus, and the announcers may occasionally refer to them as the Blues, but most often they attempt the French pronunciation. The Spaniards are the Furia Roja, or Red Fury. Makes Team USA seem pretty lame. 20A is particularly egregiously wrongly clued bc it says it's the official color.

John V 10:29 AM  

Horrendously difficult, Saturday+++. Soooo much that I did not know and could not cross; I would wear out my welcome here by enumerating everything.

Big Gene would be proud of this one. Did not like. Sorry. Worst DNF in a long time. Much more empty white space than filled.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

This one was just brutal for me. First full pass through and I'm looking at a couple of 3s, a couple of 4s, and a 5 letter entry. That's it. Just couldn't get in anywhere. Finally had to sleep on it.

SE cracked first, Center and SW last. But I finally did get it. Woo hoo!

I made a TON of notes for answers that fit but weren't right.

HE'S MINE or IT's MINE with "Hands off!" before getting ALL MINE.

ASK OFF, BEG OFF, OPT OUT with "Request to be excused" before MAY I GO.

GETS ANGRY, GOES CRAZY, TAKE A LOSS, GETS IRKED, GETS IRED for "Sees red, say" before GETS UPSET.
..............................


"The puzzle was much too strained in its cluing to be fun but too intelligent to be a “slog”"

Yeah, I had a bunch of Xs for clues that seemed arbitrarily har - no AHA after getting the answer, just a confirmation that the clue was supposed to be minimally helpful or gettable.

Two Ponies 10:58 AM  

Like yesterday I liked this one even though it was a DNF.
Knew pot likker but wasn't sure how it would be spelled.
So many "conversational" answers that could go any old way but were fun to suss out.
On the other hand I have never heard of Fantasia (only the movie) nor the rap song (big surprise).
I did like the Southern accent of pot likker, rarin', and danged.

r.alphbunker 11:07 AM  

@Nancy My guess is that Wallace would have done something like this http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I too wanted Dave Thomas for 1A but all that came to mind was Dave. And then I started wondering if Wendy was a signal for a first name? So it couldn't be Dave. And once there was overwhelming evidence that it wasn't Dave I thought of Peter Pan but could not think of the author but still was harboring that it had to be a first name so that was no help in getting J.M.

And don't get me started on 43A "You got the spot". Which was commentary on the puzzle for me.

sanfranman59 12:03 PM  

The solve times posted for this one so far place it well into the Challenging category for both groups of solvers. I was surprised at Rex's Easy-Medium rating. His rating is usually pretty consistent with the numbers. But not this time.

Julie 12:28 PM  

Did anyone else have feigned instead of feinted?

Lois 12:39 PM  

Julie -- Yes, since you ask. I had feigned for a while - the two words are only two letters apart. It didn't work and I had to move on. Having some letters work for a while was a problem.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

How can it not be jane roe. Once you get sam adams yourealize wentz error but until then the puzzle is unsolvable. Here's afield call for mr wentz...BOO !!!!!

Sandy K 12:45 PM  

I like a challenging Friday, but this one really THWARTed me.

Tried not to GET UPSET by POT LIKKER and WEAK SAUCE, but that KK was a CRAPSHOOT.

The JOKE was on me for having JANE ROE, not DOE and bOO not MOO...and I BELIEVEd Sierra Nevada was a car, so never got SAM ADAMS. A SAMARABS is a car? Not COOLIO!
MAY I GO?

OISK 1:24 PM  

First DNF in months for me. ( When I miss a square or two I do not call it DNF) Could not get southeast at all. Never heard of of a beer called Sierra Nevada, nor "Dancing Machine" nor Bill Hader, ( I don't watch SNL) don't like "Rarin" with out "to go" after it, never heard of "weak sauce" and had chicken egg instead of pox, where the "early on" part of the clue was misleading, and the bumps or welts are much more than spots. It could have been worse. I expected, with the Rolling Stones performing in NY now, that there would be a Jimi Hendrix style puzzle, with the names of Stones songs. Since I have been long hoping that the Rolling Stones would gather no has, I would have gotten no satisfaction from that. Easy-medium??? Worst puzzle for me in a decade!!!!

OISK 1:27 PM  

Darn, I mistyped my pun. It should have said that the Rolling Stones would gather no mas.

Cheerio 1:39 PM  

Wow - I agree this was very tough. Interesting though. I had good luck on some of the puzzly clues, but was really stumped by others. The clue for Chicken pox felt really hard, and I couldnt' get weak sauce even from " weak s__c_". I have heard the phrase, but it seems sort of stodgy. I don't think of slang as stodgy, but I suppose there is old slang and middle-age slang and young slang.

Cheerio 1:51 PM  

I just looked up Coolio and learned that his given name is Artis Ivey. So, two IVEY's are in today's puzzle. Subtle!

mac 2:00 PM  

Tough to impossible for me, I guess slang is my weakest spot.
I got Yao, though!

Milford 2:06 PM  

Challenging for me, but a lot of fun trying to solve. Many have already echoed my same likes and difficulties, but I will go ahead and say I've never heard of WEAK SAUCE. Ever. So that was a slow up.

Noticed we had the two Simpson clues, but I put in Edna before OTTO as the school employee, so that also gummed up my puzzle for a while.

Lewis 2:08 PM  

GETSangry and itsMINE put me back, but things kept falling in dribs and drabs. Like JackJ said, hard work but not a slog. Did not feel like a waste of time. I especially liked the long answers.

syndy 2:21 PM  

Hard hard hard! I knew JMBARRIE but pretty much had to rack my brains til they were BLU for everything else. Borderline not too fair for some of the cluing. RADARS was wrong on so many levels. then there was all the WOE stuff!.I took two cheats SCHUSSED and PLUSSIGN so DNF!

jberg 2:54 PM  

JM BARRIE was easy for me, and my wife (from Delaware, but w/ southern roots) knew POT LIKKER, but that was about it - the rest of the puzzle is a mass of writeovers, ending with total disaster in the SW, where MAY I GO was my only correct answer. It's too painful to dwell on. I missed JANE DOE, too, as I had rOlE for JOKE, so figured there must be a squash player named something Ranedoe. This is all just too painful, I'm going to go sulk until tomorrow.

frerAll 2035

David Quarfoot 3:08 PM  

This is one my favorite NYT puzzles of all time. I enjoyed every section, it had tons of fresh stuff, and no phony nonsense. This is the type of puzzle I would like to see Will Shortz run on themeless days. PW is my favorite new constructor on the scene.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Please. AZZURRO. http://italian.about.com/od/italianculture/a/italy-national-color.htm

Thoughtful in London

OISK 3:41 PM  

Interesting divergence of opinions, and I wonder whether they are age related. Coolio, The Robot, Hader, DOH, (as a 20th Century Fox link) Weaksauce, Fantasia?? I also don't agree (sour grapes perhaps) that there was "no phony nonsense."  Radars is a very contrived plural, and while "fop" crossed my mind, it is a pejorative, which "Stylish" is not. And a Hora is a bad answer for Bar Mitzvah highlight. Sure, I got it, but it is a highlight only of the party that follows, not of the Bar MItzvah, which is a religious rite, which is about Torah, not Hora. But it was The Robot, Samadams and Hader that Thwarted me. (Yesterday was rated medium-challenging and I sailed through it!)

John V 4:05 PM  

@OISK and others. My issue with this puzzle is principally that it seemed unreasonably difficult in it crosses. This one struck me as you either knew or you did not, with little room to chisel away at it. I'd have a hard time making a case in defense of the SE corner, for instance.

Nothing personal, but I just don't see that this one should have seen the light of day. I certainly have it happen that a puzzle is just not on my wavelength; it happens. But this one was flawed, IMHO.

jackj 4:40 PM  

OISKwrote"

"Darn, I mistyped my pun. It should have said that the Rolling Stones would gather no mas."

A fun pun, thanks for the rerun.

Gill I. P. 5:04 PM  

@OISK How is "FOP" pejorative???
In my world it's an English dandy and by jove I think it's a spiffy word...

chefwen 5:14 PM  

Had to put JM BARRIE in because Hans&Doris didn't fit.

Through me in with the DNF crowd. Will try again tonight.

Chip Hilton 5:19 PM  

HOYT gave me a foothold (after a few minutes of running through Hall of Famers) and things went well from SW on up. I struggled with DANGED, wanting DANGit. And add me to the soccer(calcio) fans who wanted Azzurro instead of BLU.

Overall, I found this to be a lively, modern Friday puzzle.

Z 5:26 PM  

Never heard the Italian team called "The Blues"? You better edit the Wikipedia sidebar on the team, then. It lists the nickname as "Gli Azzurri (The Blues)."

Both Sierra Nevada and SAM ADAMS are nationally distributed craft beers. One or the other is likely to be on tap as an alternative to Bud and Lite in a restaurant near you. SAM ADAMS was my anchor.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

"spiffy". Now there's a fine word that you don't see nearly often enough.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:38 PM  

Super hard for me, but I did work through it to a correct finish by spending way too much time on it!

Stevlb1 6:39 PM  

I got it, but for me it was "challenging".

Anonymous 7:04 PM  

worst ... puzzle ... ever

(that' related to the two Simpson's clues)

joho 8:10 PM  

Work got in the way of my puzzling today so I just finished this gem.

This was difficult for me for me but totally gettable ... just slow. But that's what made it so fun ... all those aha moments.

ONAPLATTER, BELIKETHAT, UPFORGRABS, WHATSAY, RIPPED and CRAPSHOOT were some of my faves.

Lovely puzzle, Mr. Wentz!

OISK 8:52 PM  

@ GIll I P - Fop may not be pejorative in your world, but it is in my dictionary. "Fop ' 1. foolish or silly person 2. a man who is devoted to or vain about his appearance. Wikipedia has "a pejorative term for a foolish man overly concerned with his appearance." "Stylish sort" is a bad clue that could have been saved with one more word, "Overly stylish sort". Typical of the overly cute, deceptive cluing that ruined this puzzle for some of us.

Gill I. P. 9:19 PM  

@OISK. Can I wink now and blow you a kiss? ;-)

OISK 9:50 PM  

Ya got me, Gill.

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

I thought the term was "pot liquor." That left me in the soup!

Uncle Jesse 10:22 PM  

DANG IT! Who stole my POT LIQUOR and left behind this POT LIKKER crap?!

Anonymous 10:28 PM  

You got the spot is the wrong clue. It should be, "That's the spot".

Terrible puzzle.

mac 10:47 PM  

I also thought the color was azzurro, and instead of "fop" I had "mod" for a while. Clue for fop didn't feel completely right.

acme 11:26 PM  

@Quarfoot
Ha! No surprise you'd like him! You guys are two peas in a PQKXJD!
It's only a matter of time (maybe has already happened!) before Peter Wentz "Ya mean the crossword guy?" supersedes any mention of Peter Wentz the druggie music mess that is on and off with Kate Moss!

@Z
Even if Wikipedia mentions "The Blues" doesn't make BLU right, you know? That was one of those clues that ignorance was bliss bec the less you knew the more likely you'd get it. :)

acme plus ultra 11:29 PM  

@Azzurri
You have a whole puzzle there if only STANDFORDCARDINAL weren't 16!!! The other two are matching 14s!!!!


@Cheerio
Super interesting about IVEY synchronicity! Thanks for pointing that out!

Z 12:10 AM  

@acme - I know. My first comment was "During recent World Cups various broadcasters often referred to the floppers from Italy as 'The Blues.' 'Azzurro' may be technically correct, I don't know, but it didn't cause me any problems."

I really don't know what the Italian Federation has adopted as an official color, but I've not seen one link to an official site contradicting "BLU." @wordie piped in with "never" hearing the Italians referred to that way while @Azurri called it "flat out wrong." I have a sneaking suspicion that "BLU" might actually be the official color and azzurri the popular appellation. And I have, indeed, heard them referred to as "the Blues" on American World Cup coverage, probably by guys who don't work primarily as soccer analysts.

But I readily acknowledge that I have just enough knowledge to get the answer without being troubled by it.

sanfranman59 1:56 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 6:27, 6:46, 0.95, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:25, 8:57, 0.83, 7%, Easy
Wed 10:10, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy-Medium
Thu 16:54, 18:43, 0.90, 33%, Easy-Medium
Fri 29:34, 24:18, 1.22, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:52, 3:41, 1.05, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:21, 4:41, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:05, 5:57, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Thu 10:10, 9:23, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 15:58, 12:09, 1.31, 91%, Challenging

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Surprised the wordsmith hadn't heard of the headline in the Daily News which announced Waite Hoyt's injury: HOYT HURT! Real New Yawkers would of course pronounce it---- HURT HOIT.







n

Jim Finder 12:15 PM  

@Rex, Loved the Pomona "Gangnam Style" video. I've passed it on to other fans.

Jim Finder 12:54 PM  

So what is a "bleedover"? You guys have gone and changed the secret handshake again.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:36 PM  

@Jim Finder - a "bleedover" is when the same answer appears in two crosswords of close dates, usually the next day.

sanfranman59 6:01 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 6:27, 6:46, 0.95, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:25, 8:57, 0.83, 7%, Easy
Wed 10:10, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy-Medium
Thu 16:54, 18:43, 0.90, 33%, Easy-Medium
Fri 29:34, 24:18, 1.22, 85%, Challenging
Sat 25:19, 28:57, 0.87, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:52, 3:41, 1.05, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:21, 4:41, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:05, 5:57, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Thu 10:10, 9:23, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 15:58, 12:09, 1.31, 91%, Challenging
Sat 13:30, 16:27, 0.82, 18%, Easy

Kyle in Brooklyn 4:14 PM  

On potlikker...please enjoy.

http://www.nytimes.com/1982/02/23/us/pot-liquor-or-potlikker.html

The Cranky Avenger 9:13 AM  

BLU? Forza Azzuri! Sheeesh.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

I am solidly and irrevocably with those whom have rated this puzzle, "STINKY AND ROTTEN and totally uncalled for. Please take offense, Mr. Wentz. The only things missing were his mother's middle name and ego size.
Ron Diego 1/10/13 9:20 PST

Spacecraft 1:05 PM  

DNF. This was way, WAY out of my wheelhouse. Off the top, anything to do with rap or hiphop will come in on crosses for me, or not at all. I do not follow any judged talent shows, so ditto Fantasia et al. I would not get near any "broth left after boiling greens" (yecch!) to save my soul, and I don't speak Nahuatl. I must be one of the last 6.999 billion people on the planet who still doesn't. And NASCAR? Yeah, go to a track and watch people turn left for four hours, wasting all that precious fuel and ending up within yards of where they started--all the while hoping to see a fiery crash. Injury or death is an added bonus. I'll pass.

Even after Binging these items, I still could not break into the SE. WEAKSA___was a total mystery to me; add "modern slang" to my growing list of ignorances.

The SW was even worse. The Binged COOLIO gave O as the second letter of the hall-of-famers, who of course had to be FORD (Frick and Whitey). But nothing else there worked out, so I just threw in the pen. HOYT?? Waite Hoyt?? WHO???? Yougottabekiddingme.

DMGrandma 3:33 PM  

Talk about not in my ballpark!!! Briefly thought about the hamburger maven but dropped in JMBARRIE and then POTLIKKER and then..... I don't watch the Simpsons or SNL or rappers, and am woefully out of touch with modern slang. Oddly, Did get BLU because the answer clearly had to be some color in a foreign language, and that answer seemed to fit. At any rate, this was a grid I didn't care to struggle to finish. Glad to learn some others had much e same reaction, though, as always, it seems Rex rates my stumpers as easy. Maybe it's generational?

What is a YAO?

Dirigonzo 8:55 PM  

I pulled out the white towel several times during this bout but declined to toss it into the ring until the twelfth round, when I was being soundly trounced in the NW corner. I finally googled "Peter Pan" to get Wendy's creator (when Dave Thomas just wouldn't fit) and I was able to finish the grid, but the bell had already rung to end the match.

@DMG - YAO Ming is a Chinese basketball player who plays in the NBA - I know him only from his appearance in a puzzle a short while ago.

Waxy in Montreal 10:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waxy in Montreal 10:43 PM  

Whew! Glad to see that @sanfranman59's rating was Challenging rather than @Rex's Easy-Medium because this was a real humdinger (that's probably considered a WEAKSAUCE expression). Let's see - JMBARRIE/JIB was a gimme as were YAO, FRIST, TETE, ASSAD, HADER, PSA, REELS, CLAY & HAHA. But SCHUSSED from there and didn't come close to finishing.

However, in retrospect, IBELIEVE it was actually a great puzzle but just out of my wheelhouse. RARIN' for Saturday's puzzle - can't be tougher than this...

Anonyrat 6:39 AM  

For me this was by far the toughest Friday in at least a couple of months, thanks to the upper NW corner. JMBARRIE was the last to go in. He(?) and IBELIEVE were total Naticks for me, as was IVEY. Having itsMINE before ALLMINE didn't help either. I'm still shocked I managed to finish this one.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

From Syndiland, great puzzle, toughest Friday in weeks. Kudos to Mr. Wentz.

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