Psychologist Alfred / SAT 2-9-13 / Film hero chasing motorcycle gang / Cuban-born baseball hall-of-famer Jose / Number of Planeten / Target of thrown bricks in early comics

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Jose MENDEZ (39D: Cuban-born Baseball Hall-of-Famer José) —
José de la Caridad Méndez (March 19, 1887 – October 31, 1928) was a Cuban right-handed pitcher and manager in baseball's Negro Leagues. Born inCárdenas, Matanzas, he died at age 41 in Havana. Known in Cuba as El Diamante Negro (the "Black Diamond"), he became a legend in his homeland. He was one of the first group of players elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was elected to the U.S. National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. (wikipedia)
• • •
A gorgeous puzzle. It was right in my wheelhouse, and I clocked it. One of my fastest Saturday times ever. Sometimes I get mildly annoyed when puzzles that are supposed to be hard end up too easy, but even at high speed, this one offered plenty to appreciate. I have a KRAZY KAT collection sitting on my bedside table right now (53A: Target of thrown bricks, in early comics), and stuff like Biz MARKIE (25D: Rap's Biz ___), DEF Comedy Jam, and MAD MAX (46A: Film hero chasing a motorcycle gang) is pop culture bread & butter for me. Mid-century slang? (CAT'S MEOW)—Please! 21st-century slang? (GEE, YA THINK)—Yes and thank you. I spent several minutes talking about the word "reeks" on Tuesday in my 17th century lit class (Shake. sonnet 130), so REEK OF was right there. The whole thing felt like it was written just for me. Nearly all first guesses were right. I spent 20 minutes shoveling snow right before solving, so maybe that helped in some way—blood flowing, energy high, mood up. Anyway, I have virtually nothing critical to say about this puzzle. This is how you do it.


Crossword knowledge helped in the middle with ARPEL (26D: Last name in women's skin care) and SHTETL (words I know only from crosswords), but it failed me in the SW when I could not come up with the very crosswordy DEANA (42A: Country music's Carter). That corner was the one area of the grid where things got a little dicey, however briefly. Threw down BACK TAXES, but nothing else would go for a bit. Tried EDGE and then very shortly thereafter saw MAD MAX—corner solved. Greatest AAH moment of the puzzle was piecing together GEE, YA THINK? (27D: "Pretty obvious, huh?") That one may have made me "wow" out loud. I did trip here and there. Wanted BIZET for BINET (wrong discipline) (20A: Psychologist Alfred) and JUMBO JETS for TURBO JETS (9D: Concorde features). Spelling of MAH JONGG always puzzles me a bit. I always want there to be an "H" somewhere in the second part. Really, really glad I got CAT'S MEOW before I saw the clue for 4D: "The Hippopotamus" writer (T.S. ELIOT), because I for sure would've put down IONESCO (who wrote "Rhinoceros"!). Actually, my really, really gladness goes back to the first answer I put down: BCS (1D: N.C.A.A. football ranking system), a flat-out gimme that turned CAT'S MEOW into a gimme that kept me from falling in the IONESCO trap.


Bullets:
  • 35A: Microwaveable food brand (HOT POCKETS) — always nice to have your long corner-turner be a cinch. Could've got this off just the "H"—as it was, I had the whole HOT.
  • 42D: "Baa, baa, Black Sheep" figure (DAME) — I got to "three bags full" and I was tapped out. Needed every cross.
  • 29A: Number of Planeten (ACHT) — spelling uncertainty. Thought maybe OCHT (for "October"? Which is the tenth month? Which ... makes no sense now that I think about it?). I have this same spelling confusion with the shorter ACH / OCH (never can keep straight which one the Scot says and which one the German)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

57 comments:

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

How was I supposed to know that the Germans offed Pluto, that it wasn't merely an American thing. More aptly, how was I supposed to know that the Germans didn't off all the minor planets?

jae 12:16 AM  

Easier than yesterday's for me so easy-medium for me too.  NW-easy, NE-medium (mostly because I had AtOn instead of ALOT for a while), middle-medium (ARdEn for ARPEL didn't help),  SW-easy and SE-medium. 

Lots to like here.  Plenty of zip from CATSMEOW to KRAZY KAT with some HOT POCKETS in-between. 

Interesting cross:  ROACH/ON POT

It's getting easier to get PLINTH.

Only WOE:  Rapper MARKIE

Waited for the crosses:  FIRMA or cottA

Nice Sat. Peter.  This one did not FESTER!

The Bard 12:35 AM  

CXXX.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

FearlessKim here. Loved it: fun, crunchy solve, with just one complaint. UNPILES? Oy. But with great stuff like KRAZYKAT, BACKTAXES, MAHJONGG, MADMAX and HOTPOCKETS (the word, definitely not the food!), I can live with UNPILES.

Had bride before MEADE, aton before ALOT and, like @jae, needed crosses to put down FIRMA.

Never heard of MARKIE or DEANA, but gettable through crosses. And I'm a singer! Speaking of which, fans of TSELIOT's "The Hippopotamus" should know that the very talented Virginia-based composer Robert Johnson set this to music. Well worth hearing, and singing, if you get the chance.

Anchor Cats Mahjonggs 5:20 AM  

Missed PAJAMAS...didn't get past PAseMAS, trying to spell pashminas.
Shoulda guessed a J! JETE never occurred to me despite running the alphabet. Confused by anything other than FETE.
Still my fave constructor...always Js Xs Zs to die for.


Sort of a cat motif: CATS MEOW, KRAZYKAT, TSELIOT, (cats) PAJAMAS, carPETS, and if all goes terribly wrong, ROADKILL.

Rob Morse 7:40 AM  
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Mitzie 8:06 AM  

@Rob Morse:

Reread the clue and think about it.

loren muse smith 8:24 AM  

TOO BAD that (Sandra) Boynton’s name fits for T S ELIOT. I felt so smart to write that in! Nope – she wrote But Not the Hippopotamus. I’ve never denied coming up short on all things literary.

@Acme – yes – really scrabbly – don’t forget the seven K’s and six H’s! Love your cat theme idea. I could stretch it to add that CATS are LIARs (they’re just not honest about how much they care about you), mine plays with SHOELACEs, is DEF when you call him, DESTROYS voles in our front yard, and says AAH ACHT, when depositing a hairball on the CARPET.

@jae – good catch on ROACH/ON POT.

@FearlessKim – me, too for “a ton” before A LOT.

All the languages: French, Italian, Latin, German, Yiddish. . . And we get Chinese MAHJONGG instead of “tile.”

Terrific puzzle, but on the hardish side for me. Definitely the CAT’S PAJAMAS!

Thanks, Peter, EWE Sure gave us a nice one!

Sheila 8:34 AM  

Last time I was on the Concorde they were called SSTs(supersonic transports)?

jackj 8:49 AM  

On rare occasions, a constructor’s product can prove totally synergetic for a lucky solver who is left to marvel at the brilliance of the clues while happily finding that they trigger answers that spring to mind with inexplicable ease. Such was today’s Peter Wentz puzzle.

It was quite a spread, from the BCS (the NCAA’s Bowl Championship Series) to the “Flyspeck” that is DOT, with clever clues like “One getting poked in the eye?”, that brought forth SHOELACE while TOOBAD, UNPILE and REEKOF flowed into the upper right quadrant like it was their lot to be there.

It almost seemed that the more the clues strove for “tricky” the friendlier the answers, case in point, “Chatted up” is a bit of British slang that (often) cries “pushy, pushy, pushy; not tonight, bucko”, and it evoked CAMEONTO, nothing else would do.

Perhaps the most satisfying test of Peter’s deviousness came with the “North, South, East, West” question that first filled in as “- - - JON - -“ and was driving me crazy trying to find a relationship with a compass rose, to no avail, until a vague memory of tiles used in MAHJONGG won the day (and also opened the door for the excellent GEEYATHINK).

There was A LOT to like in this puzzle from HOTPOCKETS sitting on top of ROADKILL to SHTETL that first tried to be SOWETO and the rapper Biz MARKIE whose name is a reminder of actress MARKIE Post who was famously photographed jumping up and down on the Lincoln bed during a stay at the (then) Clinton White House.

Thanks to Peter for a puzzle that felt as pleasantly RAKISH as Fred Astaire gliding through a dance routine with his boater worn at a jaunty angle!

Mohair Sam 8:49 AM  

Rex is right, easy for a Saturday but fun clues.

Mr. Parker may feel that "Gee ya think?" is very 21st century, but it's been around at least as long as I have and I'm pushing 70.

But he won't admit his mistake, he thinks he's "the cat's meow".

webwinger 9:00 AM  

After a horribly embarrassing smashup on Thursday (at least it would have been if anyone but me knew about it), finished both yesterday and today with average or better Friday/Saturday times of around 45 minutes; really enjoyed both of them. Actually wish they had taken longer, what with being stranded in New Haven 800 miles from home under 2 feet of soggy snow. ACHT (of course the Germans dissed Pluto at the same time we did!) CHO, and ANCHOR; KRAZYKAT, FIRMA and PLINTH got me started on this one; most of the fun stuff (especially liked clue for BARTENDERS) came fairly easily from crosses. RAKISH and BINET still floating in the ether from recent past puzzles. Only googles were for MARKIE and MENDEZ. Led astray briefly by Meany (legendary 20th century leader of the AFL-CIO) for Union VIP instead of Civil War general MEADE, and Arden for ARPEL in skin care. Looking like I’ll have plenty of time to do tomorrow’s Sunday too—hope it’s supertough!

Tom 9:01 AM  

October (Octobris) was the eighth month of the original Roman calendar. So September, October, November and December (7,8,9,10) make sense in that context.

evil doug 9:06 AM  

Started with 'huddLE', but the curious use of "mass" with tacklers in the clue and then 'turbojets' took care of that.

'Pas' or 'pax' for peace, but 'mir' is better.

Hoped for more flyover stuff with Terra 'Haute', but 'Krazy Kat' led to 'cotta'--->firma.

Loved the 'airdried' clue. "Put on the line" could go in so many directions. "Counterproductive" 'bartenders', too. 'Fester' is a vivid word; and I'm grateful Peter didn't go with "Uncle _______".

I object: Margaret Cho is not 'funny'.

Had cause to say "Eureka!" once in front of my then-young daughter; she replied, "I don't reek, you do!"

For the second time in a week, I came up with 'CODpiece'--"part of a cover", right? Sooner or later that sucker is gonna show up....

Evil

Glimmerglass 9:23 AM  

Great puzzle. Only medium (for a Saturday) for me (a lot was in my wheelhouse, too), but it made up for that with some delightful cluing. Loved ROADKILL. Didn't know MARKIE, so my final square was the R in CARPETS. I own a DEANA Carter CD.

Carola 9:28 AM  

A snowy morning, a cup of tea, and thou, Saturday puzzle - the CAT'S MEOW and also its PAJAMAS. Loved this one.

Didn't find it easy or medium, though. Had to go all the way down to terra FIRMA to get a start, zigzagged slowly up to the BASTILLE. Got stuck in the NE with mistakes for quite a while.

Do-overs: Union leader George MEAny before Gen. MEADE, so cute before TOO BAD, retrOJETS before TURBO.

Loved the double CAT + KAT but also the KRAZY KAT - MAD MAX pair. And the misspelled sneeze: ACHT-CHO.

MetaRex 9:47 AM  

KRAZY KAT is a crazy good bottom row answer.

Am happy for Rex and others who sailed through Peter Wentz' puzz...v. much not an easy sail for me...started by writing in CHO, ADLER for psychologist Alfred, and PLIE for maneuver performed en avant...two outta three wrong on your gimmes ain't good.

Krazy Kat

evil doug 9:49 AM  

Carola: Those 'retrojets' really come in handy when you need to back up. I wonder if the Concorde went 'beep-beep-beep' when you put 'er in reverse....

Evil

dk 10:19 AM  

Loren, sadly cats only care about food and they simply tolerate your touch (see aforementioned food desire).

I am laughing so hard at REEKOF, ONPOT along with KRAZYKAT. Let us just say that in the old days I sometimes helped with lighting for bands. When I got everyone else 24A I would slip in Mr. Wizard and KRAZYKAT cartoons in-between the psychedelic images. AAH the wonder of VHS.

The puzzle was so much fun I will over look UNPILE. A better clue would have been: What happens when you mow a rug: IMHO.

������ (3 Cat faces not fecies)

Sandy K 10:35 AM  

Two in a row! Loved this one too- altho found this a bit easier than yesterday's.

Loved all the CAT/KAT references and jaunty expressions- GEE, YA THINK, I'M GAME, and great fill- BASTILLE, HOT POCKETS, MAD MAX, et al.

Agree with all who called this the CAT'S PAJAMAS!

Joma 10:37 AM  

Amazing what staring at the puzzle for two hours can do. This has to be one of my most satisfying puzzles solved.
I started with no sure word, but slowly started to fill the squares.
Remembered BINET from a recent puzzle, somehow REEKOF came to mind, and from there guessed ONEIRONS. Managed to fill in the NE corner, then made the SW work. Lucky guesses and crosses, made up the rest. Very satisfying indeed.

Robso 10:55 AM  
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Robso 10:56 AM  

@Mitzi
Thanks . . . I did.
Rob Morse

Lindsay 11:14 AM  

44A Architectural base PLINTH would have been a no-crosses throw-down, except I didn't dare fill in any letters after what they did to poor little QUOIN yesterday.

Then in the NE I had "pile on" for what a mass of footballers do after a tackle. Even as I wrote it in, I was thinking "That's really stupid; they're just gonna throw the flag." But I couldn't give it up, especially since the O would work with either "tons" or "lots" for 13D Loads.

That corner alone took 6:39+ for me.

Lindsay 11:20 AM  

Just rereading my comment --- shouldn't the verb in the clue for 16A agree with Mass instead of Footballers? e.g. "does" instead of "do"?

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

I did have "Ionesco" for "TSEliot" and was so sure it was right that it took me forever to get the NE corner. Only after I erased it could I come up with "Bastille," and then everything else fell into place. Wouldn't have thought I knew who "Krazy Kats" were, but somehow they popped out of my brain.

Carola 11:41 AM  

@evil doug - LOL! Aviation technology...not one of my strong suits.

Z 11:42 AM  

@LMS- The youngest is getting his drivers license, but I can still recite The Going to Bed Book.

My counterproductive ones were cARpENtERS. Just right enough to give me serious problems in Fly-Over country. If I had trusted BACK TAXES more I'd have been happier and done sooner.

Otherwise, I shared ED's errors with huddLE and CODpiece. Also put in grant before MEADE. Right war, wrong general.

Susan McConnell 11:47 AM  

Easier than yesterday, but still plenty challenging for me. Weird thing is, I could have written evil doug's comment word for word, down to the cod piece. Hmm. Not sure how I feel about that!

evil doug 11:49 AM  

Carola,

Maybe the Concorde flight attendants wore poodle skirts and the pilots sported felt fedoras! "Welcome to Air France RetroJet service to Paris!"

And I'm pretty sure they outfitted the DeLorean in "Back to the Future" with retrojets so Marty McFly could time-travel to the '50's.

I got a million of 'em! [You're a good sport, Carola, and retrojets deserves to be in the crossword hall of fame....]

Doug

evil doug 11:58 AM  

Susan,

Fortunate? Blessed? Mensa-worthy?

Infected? Condemned? On pot?

Evil

Evan 12:00 PM  

Man, this was definitely not easy for me. I enjoyed solving it, and the grid is pretty impressive -- my only quibble is LOCK crossing CLOCKS, though everything else looks great. I was just not on Peter Wentz's wavelength today.

* AHA before AAH -- and I really wanted CHOSEN FEW instead of CAT'S MEOW, though it wouldn't fit.

* ON-PILE before UNPILE -- yes, I know that doesn't make much sense, but I thought it might be a tortured way of saying PILE ON, which many football players do long after the tackle.

* ON HOT before ON POT -- I wanted something like ON PCP for a while, but when that didn't look reasonable, I figured they were going for a high setting on a stove.

* CONTENDERS before BARTENDERS -- thought they wanted something about boxers (who counter-attack punches, or something).

* ---MAN before MAD MAX. That N may not seem like the biggest mistake to make, but combine that with CONTENDERS, and it made BACK TAXES really hard to see.

* SAID HI TO before CAME ON TO.

* PAZ before MIR.

* Wild guess at DEANA/DAME -- I've heard of "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" but couldn't recite it at all, didn't know the country singer DEANA Carter. Glad I guessed right because MAME/MEANA looked tempting for some reason.

mac 12:01 PM  

Tough for me, I'll blame it on fried brain in the Aruba sun. Left NY on one of the last planes yesterday.

Loved the clues, especially for bartenders and air dried. I had Arden before Arpel, I still think of fashion more than skincare with that name. The NE was tough because I put in "so cute" at 9A. Took a while to unpile.

Have the leave the AC to meet up on the beach for lunch.... So long.

syndy 12:21 PM  

My first entry was BASTILLE and the nw went doen like a monday.Unfortunately I had a PILEON of "Footballers?"but then I don't follow soccer. Finally time was easy wednesdayish!But KrazyKat good all the same!@Dk you have obviously never met a cat that wanted to be petted. NOW!!!(and don't stop til I tell you to!)

Gill I. P. 12:40 PM  

OOOOH, I loved this puzzle. Some of these answers are KRAZY kool.
@Carola how about EAT+DYNE.
I had Dr. Seuss instead of TS EIOT. I was high on LSD instead of POT and my Puffs are cheese not REEESES I also didn't want to give up my Hulk for any LIAR.
Had to Google MARKIE DEANA and ACHT. Loved some silk threads clue for 36D. My husband gave me some chocolate silk PJ's when I was about 6 months pregnant. He said they made me look sexy. I said GEE YA THINK??? they make me look more like a hippopotamus....
HOT POCKETS are quite possibly the vilest microwaveble food on this planet and I was so surprised I got it with just the HO in place.
I'll take a month of these senor Wentz. Thanks for the fun.
@mac - ARUBA ARUBA!!!

Masked and AnonymoUs 12:47 PM  

@31...
Yes! U have primo taste in cartoonery. George Herriman is my cofave-- along with Gary Larson. Both their strips retired, when they stopped doin' 'em. That Kat luuuved them brick concussions. When the Offisa Bull Pup put Ignatz mouse (the brick perp) in the hoosegow, old Kraz was "B-L-oo-oo-oo!". har.

Speakin' of bloo-oo-oo, this puz has a heavy preponderance of no-u-u-u. Thank heavens for TURBOJETS, so that I can still give it the themelessthUmbsUp. One U. Lil' darlink.

Sir Hillary 1:50 PM  

My solving experience was just like Rex's, right down to the snow-shoveling beforehand. Easiest Saturday in ages for me, but a blast to solve. I mean, come on -- TURBOJETS, ONEIRONS, GEEYATHINK, HOTPOCKETS, ROADKILL, AIRDRIED, KRAZYKAT, CATSMEOW, MAHJONGG, MADMAX and BACKTAXES all in the same puzzle? Seriously? Seriously awesome.

What a glorious Friday/Saturday combo this week -- and perfectly linked by having yesterday's constructor's initials right there as today's 1D.

Too perfect.

M and A also 2:03 PM  

p.s.
Since I evidently left everyone speechless, I'll just add that it'd be a hoot to see old 31 do the snow shovelin', right *After* solvin' a pangram with the circles and with a healthy shot of RRNs and Nat-ticks. Sorta like a Roamin Candle plow effect.

Y'all NE dudes take 'er easy, tho, on all that shovelin'. Good to do it in baby hunks, like 31 does. Per WC Fields, "Work fascinates me. I could watch it for hours.". No snow in these parts yet. Hallelujah. I'm&a bum.

DigitalDan 2:32 PM  

Rex,

Cat's Meow is only mid-century to someone born after the midpoint. More like 1st quarter century?

It is astounding how many rap stars I've never once heard of.

Lewis 2:51 PM  

I wanted PILEON at 16A, fell in love with it, wouldn't let it go, and it held me up badly. Kinda funny because it's the opposite of UNPILED, and yet the two opposites work.

Puzzle was top notch. I felt confident all the way through that the crosses would give me what I didn't know -- and they did.

Carola 3:36 PM  

@evil doug -
RetroJet Service sounds pretty nice after some of my recent airline travel experiences!

@Gill I.P.-
Yes! :)!

Anonymous 3:45 PM  
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JenCT 4:04 PM  

Tough one for me...

@mac: I'm jealous!!!

Love the cat theme.

We got 2 feet of snow here in Northern CT, but we didn't lose power.

I love Jim Gaffigan, who does a hilarious HOT POCKET routine: Jim Gaffigan

Doc John 4:30 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, too. Much easier than yesterday's (which I'm still trying to finish).
At first I was trying to figure out what "nine" was in German when I remembered that there are officially only eight planets. "Eight" in German is ACHT- easily remembered (for me) because the German word for "roller coaster" is "achterbahn" (or, literally, "figure-eight road"). I've probably made this point before.
Laugh all you will at that quaint description but early coasters really only did figure-8s. And, really, is "roller coaster" that much more descriptive? Somehow, "freewheeling gravity powered train ride" just doesn't cut it, though, so you've gotta call it something!
Have I mentioned my dislike for Capcha? Feh!

Tita 4:32 PM  

ACHt! And here I thought Planeten was a rapper or comicbook hero.

I should not have l
@acme & @loren - KRAZY KAT stories...

@Carola - gesundheit!

@ED - lol to the Concorde backing up.

Yes - clue for AIRDRIED was great. All my laundry is.

Among many many errors, hEyYATHINK, which made nag yAT. That was the least of my DNF problems.

I worked SW from the bottom up, so had fakENAME. CODpiece is a much better wrong answer.
@ED, are you nominating @Carola to the wrong answer Hall of Fame?
Methinks retroJETS AND CODpiece belong there. Will add those along with photos of Westport.

I shoulda held out before googling, cause this is a chockfull of raelly great words.

Shoveling this fine powdery stuff with gusty winds made me SORE. Priority was getting a path to the hot tub. Once the wind dies down, it'll be red wine and snow angels tonight!

Merle 5:12 PM  

MetaRex is closer to my wavelength than Rex today. Found this an impossible puzzle. All my gimmes were wrong. Knew Ionescu's "Rhinoceros", but not Eliot's "The Hippopotamus". Absurd. Like Ionesco's Theater of the Absurd. Puzzle might as well have been a "Wasteland". So much out of my wheelhouse -- Mad Max "who cares", Biz Markie "so what", Margaret Cho "I don't know -- is she funny?", Jose Mendez "whatevuh", one irons "golf tees me off", grande "ain't grand, I don't drink coffee", hotpockets, "that's something to eat, or something a teenage boy has riding the bus?". Gee ya think? Ya think "gee ya think" is worthwhile crosswordese?

What I liked, I liked because I guess I know this stuff: Krazy Kat; acht meaning eight for planeten minus Pluto. Didn't get shtetl at first, but once I got it, I thought, oh wow, kewl, kewl clue kewl answer.

chefwen 5:23 PM  

Had to overnight this one and I'm glad that I did instead of caving in. Too many write-overs to list, but we finished which I don't get to say with many Saturday puzzle, so yeah, I loved it! Got a real chuckle with ON POT, I sometimes think that this whole island is on it.

@mac - have a great vacation, aren't you glad that you didn't choose a staycation?

sanfranman59 6:04 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 5:58, 6:08, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:03, 8:30, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:23, 11:33, 0.73, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 16:41, 17:05, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Fri 23:18, 21:07, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 26:25, 24:55, 1.06, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:48, 4:57, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:11, 6:29, 0.80, 6%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 9:43, 9:43, 1.00, 48%, Medium
Fri 13:44, 12:14, 1.12, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 13:51, 14:36, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

You can censor my comments all you want, but you cannot censor the fact that 32A, 33A, and 34A are, taken together, way over the top.

Achtme 8:42 PM  

@jenct
Thanks for the HOTPOCKET video! Between that and @rex's Flight of the Conchord video, my life is complete! Tho now I'm paranoid what I've missed allthe days that i forgot to click on the videos that are posted!!!
Even the Biz MARKIE one sort of made me laugh...

Dirigonzo 8:47 PM  

The hardware store has to be open during a blizzard (the plow guys break a lot of stuff) so this morning I busted through the drifts and made it to work. Later in the day I called the convenience store where I usually stop for the paper to see if the NYT had come in, and would they save one for me. The young man I spoke with delivered the paper to me when his shift ended - this is why I love living in Maine.

As to the puzzle, I had some serious missteps early in the solving process, among them having waitresses being productive at the counter where the BARTENDERS work - I like my answer better since a counter and a bar are distinctly different things. But eventually the crosses set me straight and GEEYATHINK seemed appropriate to finish the grid.

I was sure SHTETL was wrong and expected to learn where my error was when I came here, but it was right - I love it when that happens!

The snow has stopped falling but the wind continues unabated so drifting will ensue. Tomorrow the snow-clearing begins in earnest, and Spring is only 39 days away!

chefwen 9:43 PM  

@JenCT - I just watched the Hot Pocket clip. That was hilarious, laughing to the point of tears. Thanks!

Tita 10:28 PM  

Westport pics posted - from JenCT and yours truly. A few puzzle spouses, and the winner of the tournament. A good time was had by all!

Tita's Westport pics

JenCT's Westport pics

I also updated the Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame with today's gems.

Robert A. Simon 12:54 PM  

The problem with Ellsworth is that there are so many solvers in South Dakota that it makes the puzzle too easy for too many. A better clue for "Ellsworth" is:
"_____ Bunker, Vietnam Hawk." Everyone will want the answer to be "Archie," and wonder why there aren't enough spaces..

OISK 2:57 PM  

Next day, but had to add my hatred anyway. Since I never saw Mad Max, and never heard of Deana Carter nor Hot pockets, I had no chance at all. I had several incorrect but logical answers that held me back as well. The clue for shoelace was clever enough, but I had too many wrong answers in that section, TS Eliot never crossing my mind, the clue for I'm lost a poor one for me. (And I finished Friday smoothly. Different strokes!)

jberg 9:42 AM  

I'm writing this on Monday, so I won't say much - just that instead of either TS ELIOT or Ionesco, I had Thurber -- thinking maybe the "What have you done with Dr. Milmoss?" cartoon had been turned into a book. Then I wrote that last 'r' sloppily, and crossed it with neun. Finally came right, but it took some doing.

AdlEr before BINET, too.

DMGrandma 3:34 PM  

Clearly not my puzzle. Starting at the bottom with KRAZYKAT, I worked my way through the SE and then.... A word here and there. Either my brain was more unplugged than usual, or there was just too much out of my ballpark. So out of it I couldn't even recall BINET, let alone MADMAX who I can't recall ever hearing about.
Ah well, it will keep me from feeling smug about yesterday's single letter mishap.

Thanks to all for the word on the shingles vaccine. Didn't know there is one. I certainly had chicken pox, in fact, tho it's supposed to be impossible, I feel sure I had it twice. Neighbor had shingles, and made quite clear it's more awful than one can imagine. And, on that cheery note, adios.

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