Eddie's partner in musical comedy / SAT 3-2-13 / Cannery Row brothel owner / 1958 spy novel set in Jamaica / Jellyfish krill / Texting counterpart of TY / Clarkson College locale / Toxicodendron diversilobum

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: FLO and Eddie (23A: Eddie's partner in musical comedy) —

Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman, "Flo" aka "Phlorescent Leech", and Howard Kaylan, "Eddie") are a comedic musical duo.
The two were the original founding members of the Top 40 rock group The Turtles. After the Turtles dissolved, Volman and Kaylan first joined The Mothers of Invention as "Phlorescent Leech & Eddie". Due to contractual restrictions made early in their career, Mark and Howard were prevented from using the name "The Turtles", as well as their own names in a musical context.[1] "The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie" were originally nicknames of two of the Mothers of Invention road crew that the pair appropriated. (wikipedia)
• • •

Lovely stuff all over, with just one pocket of ickiness there in the east. I started out very fast in the NW and even threw down FDR MEMORIAL very early (off just the "D"!) (23D: It features a statue of a Scottie next to his master), but shortly thereafter I came to a terrible halt. And then another. Felt like there was a lot of free-falling once I hit the middle of the grid. In retrospect, if I had *any* clue at all who FLO and Eddie were, I would've probably shaved several minutes off my time. With that route into the NW completely blocked (doubly blocked, as I also had WRY for SLY at 21D: Arch), I had only one other path in to that section, and that path started at the icky place, so ... I had to save the NE for last. Clues were slightly ruthless today—22A: People pick pockets in it was genius, but I had -OOL and still had no idea what was going on. [Blast alternative?] for DRAT!? Again, brilliant and virtually impossible. Lots of little names I'd never heard of, like DORA (48D: "Cannery Row" brothel owner) and GIL (4D: Drug czar Kerlikowske) and ALEC (11D: "I'll Be Around" songwriter Wilder). Love the answer ZOOPLANKTON, though I've never heard of it (7D: Jellyfish and krill). Thought it would be an "S"-plural, which of course made CAN impossible to see. Don't think I know this CESAR dog food (43D: Alpo alternative). Don't know how the Ducks are or what the Atlantic League is, but I had LONG so the ISLAND add-on wasn't too hard to figure out (27D: Home of the Ducks of baseball's Atlantic League). In general, I went NW, SE, SW, NE, with the difficulty being Easy, Medium, Easy, Hard, respectively. Last letter in was the "P" in PLS, which was, again, virtually impossible to get. I know that PLS means "please," but the only "thank you" I've ever seen in text-speak is "thx." "TY" looks bleeping ridiculous. More typo than abbreviation (33D: Texting counterpart of "TY").  That whole eastern area was by far the roughest of the grid. Did not get PETIT for a long time (33A: Minor, legally), thought 34D: Sno-___ (winter blower brand) was TORO (that's a snow blower brand, Right!?), and [Mr. T's real last name]???? Uh, no. No hope in hell. Only way I got the THRO / TERO cross was by imagining a snow blower THROwing snow.


I did some good guessing today. No idea what 10A: Symbol of Einstein's gravitational constant was, but I figured it had to end in "A," and that got me ADORN, and the traction I needed to finally get going up there in the NE. No idea what 58A: Grocery product with green leaves in its logo was, but but had "S-L-" and so just wrote in SALAD, with no idea what could come next. Just that little headway helped me confirm EAST ASIA (36D: Orwellian superstate). There were a decent number of gimmes for a Saturday. First answer in the grid was LAHR (2D: Player of a big scaredy-cat?). I'm not sure I knew OTIS dealt in escalators, but still [44A: Escalator pioneer] in four letters fairly shouted his name. Another answer whose four-letterness helped matters along was "DR. NO" (47D: 1958 spy novel set in Jamaica). First thought was Fleming, and then when I saw that the answer was a four, I knew what it was. I thought Clarkson was in NY (42D: Clarkson College locale => OMAHA), but that must be a different Clarkson (yes; a university in Potsdam, NY). Former ACPT champion Tyler Hinman went to RPI and likes to talk hockey smack about Clarkson on Twitter. A lot. Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah—this:



    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. Just got the most recent update for my Puzzazz app (iPhone) and damned if "American Red Crosswords" isn't up and running!! Go here http://www.puzzazz.com/ and download the free app for iPhone or iPad (or just search "Puzzazz" in the App store). Then get the book. There's a "Donate" button right in the app, so you can give to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund before getting down to solving business. I'm solving the puzzles on my phone right now and the whole thing just looks great. Kindly spread the word that "American Red Crosswords" has gone digital. Thank you.

    75 comments:

    jae 12:05 AM  

    Easier than yesterday's for me and not quite as zippy, although there is some here and there...BROWN SUGAR ( I still have the vinyl with the zipper on the front, so this was a gimme), OLD GEEZER, ZEPPO, POP CULTURE (ever try to do a TV Guide puzzle--they are heavy on Naticks)...

    Erasures: raZOr for KAZOO when rho didn't work and POEtS for POEMS.

    WOEs: PETIT and TERO.  TERO is odd because wiki has his last name as Tureaud, but the family members suing him over his book are TEROs.

    Which leads me to a possible problem area:  PETIT/THRO/TERO

    This one seemed to skew a tad old...FLO, ZEPPO, LAHR, a Stones album from the early 70s, FDR, 1984, X-Files ended over a decade ago and so did HANNA...

    Like it, although it seems like Sat. and Fri. got switched again.

    Pete 12:15 AM  

    I never thought I'd be embarrased to not know the name of a brothel owner.

    Rob M 12:57 AM  

    I know nothing of physics but plenty about buzz cuts so I refused to question the rightness of razor which made it impossible to finish by one square. I liked my version better, but great puzzle I thought.

    Anonymous 1:15 AM  

    Teru - Tero
    Thru - Thro
    WTF!

    Anonymous 1:31 AM  

    Mr. T's real last name is Tureaud, according to both IMDB and Wikipedia. Neither site mentions it being spelled "Tero." I agree with Anonymous the First: WTF?

    Evan 1:42 AM  

    I usually do really well with Barry C. Silk's puzzles, but I struggled on this one. Lots of write-overs, some the same as @jae's:

    * POETS before POEMS -- that made FDR MEMORIAL much harder to spot than it would have been otherwise.

    * RAZOR before KAZOO -- because electric razors buzz.

    * DEA before DWI -- thought the clue meant drug trafficking

    * DRAG before DRAT -- as in, something that's not a blast is obviously a real drag.

    * While I didn't write either in, I wrestled for a long time over ETSY and DKNY before IKEA, even though DKNY wouldn't make sense as a Pottery Barn rival.

    And there was plenty I just straight-up didn't know. Never heard of this new DORA, PENTEL, or SALADA TEA, and I'm a tea drinker by trade (I'm one of maybe 16 people in the country who doesn't drink coffee). I didn't know if the youngest Marx brother was ZEPPO, HARPO, or GUMMO. And wow, who knew Julia Child was in the OSS?

    Like @jae said, that TERO/THRO crossing is pretty unkind. I nearly went with THRU, but figured that the brand name would be a homophone of "snow throw."

    But, a good solve either way. Some spectacular clues for CHILDHOOD, TIPS, POOL, MULDER, and SOCCER -- too bad that the latter didn't have anything to do with the Zombie Apocalypse.

    chefwen 2:25 AM  

    Wow! A Saturday Silkie I was able to finish, they are few and far between.

    Got off to a roaring start with hot to trot at 15A and scads at 16A, how far do you think that got me? Not too!

    Had to laugh at 10D, my old buddy KAZOO that landed me into @Tita's hall of fame

    Did have to Google a couple of things like Toxicodendron diversilobum and magnetite both WHAT THE??? I still count it as a finish (hey it's Saturday, it's allowed in by book)

    Shout out to my special Kitty Boy at 28A PADDY.

    jae 4:00 AM  

    @Evan -- Haven't had a cup of coffee (or a coke) in over 25 years. Guess I'm afraid it will keep me up at night.

    MaryRoseG 4:31 AM  

    The Long Island Ducks are a great little team.They play in Islip...small park, cheap tickets, free parking but a hot dog and beer are Yankee Stadium prices.

    Aida Cesar Mulders 6:15 AM  

    Minimalapop! SALADdays for CHILDHOOD, then SALAD appeared later (where I had LIPTON, which I blame PuzzleGirls BRISK Monday puzzle for!

    So bizarre, this took me more than an hour, no Googles, but at least 20 writeovers!

    Only gimmes LAHR, BLT (which I was too scared to put iN) HANNA, OTIS and ENDTO.

    As with all rough Silk puzzles, we are NOT on the same wavelength to a perversely extreme level... But damnit, stuck with it!

    DON'T,AKEMELAUGH was terrific...
    OLD GEEZER is a touch redundant and ZEPPO is not Michael Jackson, nor a Baldwin Brother!

    "Close but no cigar but I prefer my original answer" goes to "ITSSO you!" Instead of the correct "I TOLD you".

    Speaking of awards, check out Orange's Fiend blog ORCA awards to bestuzzles of the year! None from the NYT, which is telling, but not sure of what!

    By the way, I made TV Guide puzzles for five years (17 million subscribers, no bylines, $75) and I had no clue for 12 Down till the end.

    Good use of Ps:
    POPCULTURE, PAPERTIGER, POOL/PENTEL, POISONOAK, PADDY, PETIT, ZEPPO/KAPPA, ZOOPLANKTON, ARP/DRIP.
    I count at least 11 which gives this a lot of "POP"!

    Acme 6:19 AM  

    Best Puzzles, not bestuzzles:
    http://www.crosswordfiend.com/blog/2013/02/24/the-2012-orca-awards-2/

    Jeremy Mercer 7:12 AM  
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    Jeremy Mercer 7:14 AM  
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    Jeremy Mercer 7:15 AM  

    Great puzzle, but two things rang a little false to me, perhaps because I live outside the US.

    I follow quite a lot of football - to give you an idea, I listened to three hours of Guardian Football Weekly podcasts this morning while sorting out a plumbing issue - and I have never heard the term 'head shot', always 'header'. Perhaps 'head shot' is used in MLS circles?

    Also, I always thought 'Don't make me laugh' was a snide expression, as in when I tell my friends I am going to train to run a marathon and they knowingly answer, 'Don't make me laugh.'

    Otherwise, I will be checking the blog all day long in hopes of finding a resolution to the curious TERO/TUREAUD question ...

    Milford 7:19 AM  

    Nice Saturday, challenging for me, needed to google to finish. Thought gravitational constant would be a more obvious gAmmA before KAPPA, but also really wanted rAZOr before KAZOO, so that made the NE tough.

    Hand up for utter confusion with TERO.

    Also didn't help that I missed the sarcastic angle to 35A, so I was looking for a more sincerely funny type of phrase.

    Loved the clues for MULDER, AGARS, and DEERE.

    @Rex. - yay on the Red Cross puzzles being available for iPhone! I was patiently waiting for this option, can't wait to donate to a good cause. Thank you!

    Rob C 7:25 AM  

    I couldn't get any traction in the NW b/c I confidently placed IDOL for 1D (400 lb. calf) - thought it was a Biblical reference. Same thing in the SE where I placed lipton TEA instead of its inferior competitor. So it was on the difficult side for me. Once I saw the error of my ways, the rest was smooth as Silk.

    Some very good clues for PAPER TIGER, CHILDHOOD, TREASURER, MULDER, SOCCER...

    @Evan - I've never had a sip of coffee. When I started my career, I saw all my coworkers who downed coffee after coffee and decided it was a habit I didn't want to pick up. But I do have a cup of tea every day. Sounds like you're a Walking Dead fan too with the head shot comment.

    webwinger 7:29 AM  

    Woohoo, I am ready for ACPT! Finished a BCS Saturday without googling, time under RX4 (Rex times four, my pretty consistent benchmark). LAHR, EGOS, and ROD got me going in the NW. Briefly led astray by Khartoum, then Victoria before seeing ETHIOPIA. OSS (easy if you’ve seen “Julie and Julia”) and HANNA (no doubt, age discriminatory) cracked the SW, EASTASIA and IKEA the SE. After that, one answer after another lined right up. Last fill was the O in TERO and THRO, definitely a potential Natick, but like @Evan I couldn’t imagine a product name that began with Sno would end with any other letter. Lots of satisfaction along the way, but DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH was a triumph.

    Glimmerglass 8:13 AM  

    Good, hard, fair Saturday puzzle. My last squares were in the CAN, PAR, CESAR triad. Never heard of the dog food (and I've bought a lot of dog food). My problem was the clue for PAR. It's one of nine if it's a nine-hole course, which I don't think of, and for each hole, PAR is one of two (sometimes three) numbers. I finally settled on CAN (rather than joN), and then saw that PAR was remotely possible.

    Anonymous 8:19 AM  

    Can someone explain PAR for "One of nine numbers on a card"? I'm a golfer, so I immediately associate the answer with that game. You do see par printed on a golf score card, but you see it eighteen times. What am I missing?

    evil doug 8:45 AM  

    The ads I've seen for 'Cesar' have been for ritzy cat food---overly pampered white puffball feline sitting majestically on its satin pillow throne, its owner well-trained in providing haute cuisine.

    In contrast to what somebody said above, 'old geezer' isn't redundant. Can't remember ever hearing 'geezer' without the modifier contributing rhythm and emphasis.

    Speaking of which: Nice generational stack in the NW---from 'childhood', to 'rarin' to go', to 'old geezer'.

    Evil

    Michael Hanko 8:48 AM  

    What a fun puzzle. I had a new solving experience today: trying the same incorrect word in two separate places in the grid. I wanted "drag" as both 3-Down (No Mr. Personality) and 48-Across (Blast alternative?). Perhaps Acme can name this phenomenon....for now I shall call it a double-drag.

    A tiny quibble: as much as I fell for and admired the misdirection of 52-Across—Facilitators of cultural growth—I would have saved that yummy clue for a puzzle that did not have POPCULTURE in the grid. (God knows we'll encounter AGAR(S) again soon enough!)

    Thank you, Mr. Silk.

    jackj 8:49 AM  

    The more Barry Silk puzzles I do, the more I appreciate his intelligence, his sense of humor, his ability to frame solvable puzzles that avoid Maleskan-like monstrosities and his seeming inherent constitutional insistence that anyone who tackles one of his creations have the opportunity to complete it using only their knowledge and wits.

    Today’s puzzle wasn’t especially difficult but what a treasure chest of pleasurable clues and answers, from OLDGEEZER and ORCA in Alaska to SALADATEA and IKEA in Florida; Julia Child’s stint with the OSS during WWII and the image of FDR’s beloved Fala next to his master at the FDRMEMORIAL in D.C.

    Continuing the governmental cluing, the one looking for TREASURER (“Word below a signature on a bill”) conjures up an image of the Cy Twombly-like scrawl of curlicues that are the signature of new Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew but then we are also reminded that while his signature will soon be on our currency, the TREASURER of the United States, whose signature will also continue to be on our bills, is actually one ABLE lady who goes by the name of Rosa Rios.

    The puzzle is chock-a-block full with too many treats to list but, the likes of NIL tied to SOCCER, the playfulness of AWGEE and RARINTOGO, of ZEPPO tied to a buzzing KAZOO and the crossings related to the itchy POISONOAK, that infer ITOLD you to scratch, just DOIT, all offer pleasant lighter moments as we roam the grid.

    One hundred percent pleasure; thanks, Barry!

    Evgeny 9:19 AM  

    Read the Mr. T wiki just a couple of weeks ago and remembered his last name being longish and French, so the four letter answer was a stumper.

    Some google results suggest that he (legally) changed his name to TERO sometime in the '70s

    Anonymous 9:19 AM  

    "Otherwise, I will be checking the blog all day long in hopes of finding a resolution to the curious TERO/TUREAUD question ..."

    The excuse for TERO is weak (links below). As a practical matter it is one of the totally contrived 'words' or 'names' that we are often asked to accept in exchange for the rest of the crossword. SNO-THRO was easily inferrable, so I figured it had to be correct.
    ..........................


    http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question3159.html

    "Mr. T (born Laurence Tureaud on May 21, 1952) is an American actor and former wrestler known for his roles as Sgt. Bosco "B.A." Baracus in the 1980s television series The A-Team and as boxer "Clubber Lang" in the 1982 film, Rocky III. He is also well-known for his distinctive Mohawk hairstyle and for wearing an extreme amount of gold jewelry.

    In 1970, he changed his name by deed poll from "Laurence Tureaud" to "Laurence Tero" and then in 1980 to "Mr. T" so that people would have to address him as "Mr.""
    ..........................


    http://totalrocky.com/cast/mrt

    "He changed his name in 1970 by deed poll to Laurence Tero, and later to Mr. T in order that people would HAVE to address him as “Mr.”"
    ..........................


    "Laurence Tero Tureaud was on May 21, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois"

    Merle 9:22 AM  

    I found the puzzle challenging -- got stuck early, zipped a bit later, got stuck again, Googled -- heavens! Got unstuck. I'm with those who got stuck on Tero-thro versus Teru-thru. Why thru? Because the gizmo might cut through the snow. Or throw the snow. Tereaud is pronounced Tero, not Teru, so that should be the gimme. Who knew Tereaud to begin with anyway? Hello, Wikipedia. Thought the 38A clue and answer was fun, a bit of a gimme, but a fun gimme. Had Harpo before Zeppo -- who knows the ages of the Marx Brothers -- both work with the paper tiger cross -- but when I got the culture part of pop culture, I figured out the pop part, and hello, Zeppo, and hello kappa, and with kappa, hello kazoo. Tea or coffee or water drinker, whatever. I had been a tea drinker, now only a water drinker by preference, started drinking an organic fresh-pressed green juice every day, and lost my taste for caffeine, but even I drank tea, I wouldn't have considered Salada drinkable. But I did know the brand, anyway. My favorite clue and answer was the 53A -- poison oak. I liked it because once I had the oak and tried to figure out the word oak was embedded in, I kept trying something to go with cloak, thinking it might be related to a botanical, like lady's mantle -- and then, aha! -- suddenly! -- the toxico of toxicodendron diversilobum lept out -- toxico! Poison! Oh! Poison oak. That's the real real fun of a good crossword puzzle. You can indeed "get there from here", if you have somewhere to start to begin with.

    chefbea 9:36 AM  

    Had to google a bit but finally finished which is uncommon for me on a saturday.

    A yummy puzzle cuz Julia Child decided to make BLTs and serve them with some rice she got from the paddy. To drink - salada tea, garnished with brown sugar.

    Gill I. P. 9:41 AM  

    I was ABLE to get so many of the long answers with just one or two letters - a rarity for me on a Sat.
    Plopped FDR MEMORIAL right after my first PADDY entry. Fala...! cutest little Scottie around next to the picture of the Westie on the CESAR cans... @Glimmerglass I bet you'd recognize the CESAR picture. Lots of TV ads..
    SALADA TEA was my last entry which I got off the SA. I think there was a long discussion about SALADA on this blog.
    Like @Rex didn't know FLO but I did get KAZOO. Almost had wAZOO.
    A BEAUT of a puzzle....

    Z 9:55 AM  

    After two days in a row of early morning meetings, the cat decided being fed was more important than me getting to sleep in. I struggled mightily with this, even gimmes like BROWN SUGAR weren't gimmes. And then a couple of things were just off to me.

    @Jeremy Mercer - Head Shots for photos, Head Shots for brawls and whatever that travesty we have that's replaced boxing, maybe even some cutesy reference to a ship's loo, but never ever have I heard anything other than "header" in soccer. My boy's youth soccer league banned headers until middle school, MLS announcers discuss headers. The EPL game I'm about to watch will make references to headers. I got it but I didn't like it.

    Agree with @Evil Doug re: OLD GEEZER not being redundant. I have heard GEEZER by itself, but seems more pejorative to me when the OLD is missing.

    @Pete - Biting my tongue right now, given the reports suggesting some of the possible reasons behind a recent resignation may be related to similarities between said city-state and a brothel. I wouldn't want to offend any anonymice, though.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:13 AM  

    Very nice puzzle.

    Two write-overs: Working off the T from ETHIOPIA, had 15 A, as did @chefwen, as HOT TO TROT; and 53 A as POISON IVY, which worked fine as long as 50 D, "Boat trailer?", could be RVER (which of course it wasn't.)

    I'm ready to join @Evan, @jae, and @RobC for a cup of tea or cocoa or jagatee . . . anything but coffee.

    joho 10:14 AM  

    This took me forever but I loved every minute of it!

    My last letter in was the "D" in DRAT and was very happy to finally figure that out. Unfortunately I didn't find out until coming here that my choice of THRu/TERu was wrong. I've never heard the term "throwing snow" so my logic was that the blower makes a path through (THRu) the snow. In my book Mr. T's last name is just that, "T." TERO is terrible!

    Regardless of my DNF, I really enjoyed this Barry Silk puzzle as I just about always do.

    Norm 10:15 AM  

    Jeremer Mercer & Z: A header is a shot with the head, so that seemed a fair clue. That it's not "called" that does not make it a flawed crossword clue.

    Anonymous@8.19: You usually fold the card to put it in your pocket, right? So it there are only nine on each face of the card. That was my take, although I'll grant it's rather weak.

    Liked this puzzle a lot. Threw down OLDGEEZER (which I'm working on becoming) and was off the races. Much fun.

    quilter1 10:35 AM  

    As usual enjoyed a Barry Silk puzzle. Wandered around putting in easy stuff then applied myself to the tougher stuff. Looking for a Jackson brother, tried to remember the TEA as it is not sold in my store, loo before CAN, and in Iowa we say DuI when caught driving drunk so I was thinking outside my personal box. Fun Saturday, just tough enough.

    Carola 10:36 AM  

    Terrific Saturday. Started out strong in the NW and was RARIN' TO GO at the rest but then got stymied again and again. Had coY for "arch," could make no sense of _DRM_..., could only remember thetA and deltA, had no idea about MULDER, CESAR or TERO. Much erasing, dark thoughts of DNF interspersed with moments of delight. Not a PAPER TIGER for me by any means, but I evenutally tamed it.

    Cheerio 10:36 AM  

    I thought this was smooth and Silky. Great puzzle. Thanks!

    Shamik 10:41 AM  

    Easy for me for a Saturday at 12:12....gimmes included OLD GEEZER, OSS, PADDY, BLT, AGARS, HANNA, LAHR, AIDA, EGOS, ROD, DEERE, SLY and ADORN. Ok, except for OLDGEEZER, they're all fill. Fill is what helps you either remember or get from crosses the rest of the story. I read a lot of people here saying, "I had to get it from the crosses" like that diminishes not having a gimme. Don't understand that thinking. Embrace the crosses!

    mac 10:44 AM  

    Wonderful Barry Silk puzzle, which took me scary long to get a foothold in, but as usually happens it suddenly but smoothly came together.

    That Tero/Thro O was a guess, SnoThro just sounded more commercial. Lots of great clues, the burial one made me laugh....

    The peleton is passing my house! It must be getting close to spring with all these cyclist on the road.

    Off to Staples for some Pentels for the ACPT next week.

    Anonymous 10:58 AM  

    FearlessKim here: A BEAUT of a puzzle, with no googles but a long (Rx4, indeed!) siege followed by triumph at the end. Narrowly avoided an ignominious DNF by noticing that I had drag in place of DRAT (like many others) and thus the nonsensical expression "I gold you!" (another James Bond reference, maybe?). Gamma before KAPPA (doesn't gamma make more sense, in English at least, as a G-ravitational constant?), which made 12D the "obvious" moviestars, which of course was completely wrong and held me up in the NE for ALOAD of time. Luckily, though, I am an OLDGEEZER and could throw down LAHR, BROWNSUGAR, AIDA, and DRNO, which opened up the west in pretty short order. Thanks, Mr. Silk, for a great start to the weekend!

    Close but no cigar? 11:03 AM  

    Laurence Tero Tureaud was on May 21, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois. In the mid 70s, he took a job as a Chicago bouncer and bodyguard. He wore gold chains, a mohawk and answered to the name "Mr. T." Sylvester Stallone cast him as a bodyguard in Rocky III. [bio.com]

    Sandy K 11:06 AM  

    I was RARIN' TO GO and filled in the left-hand side of the puzzle fairly quickly. But then had A LOAD of write-overs on the right.

    Same problem with rAZOr and KAZOO, and TERO/THRO- didN'T MAKE ME LAUGH til I came here and saw I guessed right.

    AW, GEE- an ULULATE-free Saturday!

    jberg 11:06 AM  

    My first (and almost my last) experiences of golf were on a 9-hole course, which made that one a little easier - not that we used scorecards, or even used all 9 holes - we'd sneak onto the course at hole 2 or 3, not visible from the clubhouse, and play through 7, still not visible, to avoid paying. Ah, youth! Now that I'm an OLD GEEZER I would never do that.

    Lots of biology today. POISON OAK is an example of where knowing Latin helps. Probably everyone can translate 'toxico' into toxic, though, so it doesn't help much. More helpful was knowing that the genus of oak is 'quercus,' so once I had the K it had to be something toxic with oak in its name, but not an oak.

    ZOOPLANKTON, though - since when are jellyfish any kind of plankton? I thought plankton had to be tiny little things.

    Many writeovers: gAmmA before KAPPA (never really studied general relativity), coY before SLY, oBit before ABLE (you know, you have to cut out before they'll publish yours), and, horribly, lulUeS before BEAUTS - didn't like the e, but I was desperate.

    Like @Rex, thought of TorO, that brand doesn't have a modifier, so THRO seemed logical.

    @Jeremy Mercer - you have to read the clue for 35A as snide, as well - think of it as another reply to your announcement that you're running a marathon.

    SALADA TEA is well known in Boston, if only for the bronze doors depicting the history of tea on what used to be their headquarters building, which is still referred to as the "Salada Tea Building" as a result. I still don't know how to embed, but go to:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/6286388076/

    to see what they look like.

    jberg 11:16 AM  

    Ah, that's how you do it! Here ...

    Salada Tea Doors

    MetaRex 11:19 AM  

    CrossWorld buzz: Very good. All really nice. The grid to me is a tiny bit less pretty than yesterday's was, but I could be fluffing that. Could be that the 15 DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH in the middle that the SW and NE corners and the nice central long ones ZOOPLANKTON and FDR MEMORIAL all run through makes today's puzz even buzzier than yesterday's.

    CrossOver buzz: Very good. Allowing for its hardness, this puzz I believe works well for real people as well as puzzle people, with sparkly long answers all over. Rated lower than yesterday only b/c today's has more of the word SALADA feeling that's typical of CWPs, while yesterday's stood out for the edgy implicit mini-theme in the long answers.

    Anonymous 11:21 AM  

    Both IMBD and Wikipedia list Mr. T's last name as Turead, so where the hell does Tero come from. When an answer is flat-out wrong, it makes the solve, well, impossible. A turd in the midst of an otherwise fine grid.

    MetaRex 11:23 AM  

    How Bad are MetaRex's Ethics?: A Poll

    Pete 11:29 AM  

    FLO was a fat-out gimme for me. For FLO to be a fat-out gimme, you had to be between 16 & 18 in 1972, be a Zappa fan, and ingest only particular types of psychotropics. For anyone outside that demographic, I can't imagine knowing it.

    Mohair Sam 11:33 AM  

    Fun Saturday. Great clues.

    Thank you Fala! Last night on Jeopardy there was a category for "Presidential Dogs". I told my wife that Fala would be one of the answers. But no, Fala was forgotten. The dog saved our Saturday however, making 23d easy fill for us as soon as the gimme PADDY was penned.

    41a (TERO) was blind fill for us, so it did not spoi the puzzle here.

    Evan 11:41 AM  

    @Rob C:

    I am indeed a fan of "The Walking Dead." My wife and I are almost finished with season 2.

    This doesn't give anything away, but one thing I'll never understand about the show -- and in fact a lot of zombie movies -- is why the characters never say the word "zombie." They live in a world where zombie movies don't exist and thus no one even knows what the word means. I forget which movie made fun of that trope -- either "Shaun of the Dead" or "Zombieland" -- where someone uttered it and another character responded, "Hey, we don't say the Z word here."

    retired_chemist 12:46 PM  

    Fantastically good. MANY opportunities to go wrong and much fun in fixing them. Hand up for: gAmmA(KAPPA); asap (DOIT); (Treasury)secretary (TREASURER); eriC(ALEC); some kind of atv @ 56A; some kind of pEA @ 58A; I (lOve/hate) You for I TOLD you (45D); DuI for DWI; and for doubting the LAUGH @ 35A and BLT @ 30A. There are more, but you get the idea. Much hard work, but a delightful 24 minutes.

    POOL, OTIS, DEERE, and HANNA were about my only gimmes. AIDA gave me IRON for 31A and it fell soon after.

    FDR MEMORIAL needed several crosses (was trying to work Greyfriars Bobby in, but he was a Skye Terrier and there is no man in his statue). Needed crosses for pretty much all other answers too.

    Nice to see such a smooth puzzle and not much snarkiness on the blog today.

    Thanks, Mr. Silk. Yours are always enjoyable but this one is possibly my favorite.

    Bird 12:54 PM  

    This was probably constructed with Friday in mind, because this is the first "Saturday" I completed in a loooong time without any help. I liked it. A LOAD. Great cluing and answers. Got the long downs easy and that was a tremendous help. Only real hang-up was putting in INVERTABRAE (looks like a legit word) at 7D. Other write-overs include LOADS before ALOAD, OH GEE before AW GEE (woulda been correct if I saw 26D first), LOO before CAN and DMV before DWI (these are tried in traffic court?).

    45D could've been MISS or LOVE or HATE.

    Been to many a Ducks game with the family. A much less expensive outing than going to Yankee Stadium.

    My first thought on 42D was that they got the clue wrong. The institution in Potsdam, NY was Clarkson College of Technology, but when I was a sophomore it became Clarkson University. Yes, hockey is THE sport at that school with rivalries against RPI, St. Lawrence, BC and BU.

    The clue for 40D is good if you're a retired OLD GEEZER and only play 9-hole courses.

    Susan McConnell 1:27 PM  

    An easier than usual Saturday for me, considering I did it last night just before climbing into bed. I'm a big Julia Child fan, so the OSS answer was a gimme..but it pops up in crosswords pretty regularly. Favorite Julia recipe: Chicken (in the shape of a) Melon. Fun to make, spectacular presentation, and delicious.

    Just finished tomorrow's puzzle but I will be a good girl and keep quiet.

    C. Ross Word 1:41 PM  

    I wasn't on the same wavelength as Mr. Silk resulting in many write-overs, making this a fun puzzle to solve with many aha moments.

    Some of the popular write-overs:

    gAmmA before KAPPA
    liptonTEA before SALADATEA
    loo before CAN

    I also had several unique (so far) write-overs:

    22A: People pick pockets in it - wOOL before POOL
    19A: Ernst associate - cpa before ARP
    30A: Short order? - uLT (ultimatum) before BLT
    31A: IRONMIkER before IRONMINER
    36D: amerASIA before EASTASIA

    ALOAD of confusion that all worked out in the end! A nice Saturday puzzle. Thanks Mr. Silk!


    Lewis 1:49 PM  

    Always smooth and intelligent, with some winks of the eye. It always makes me smile to see Barry's name as the constructor, knowing a high quality solving experience will follow. And today, once again, he didn't disappoint.

    I've heard GEEZER without OLD often (as well as OLD without GEEZER). So my opinion there is that it is redundant, yes. But the fact that it's so common overrides the redundancy, I believe.

    syndy 2:02 PM  

    Jellyfish run a gamut from Gigantic to microscopic-so they do count in ZOOPLANKTON.Actually now I see in Wiki even the large ones are Zooplankton (DRIFTING ANIMALS). Coy/SLY Razor/KAZOO Dui/DWI As many gotmes as gimees!I was sure for a long time that *DRME***** was wrong. thanx Mr Silk another fine mess you got us into!

    OISK 2:35 PM  

    Wonderful puzzle, as usual. Guessed right on "THRO," but it made sense it should rhyme with "Sno". Never heard of a song called "Brown Sugar;" I managed to remain "unstoned" through that era. But with a Barry Silk puzzle, it doesn't matter that the pop culture is beyond this old geezer; I see his name and I am rarintogo. Did someone explain the "ARP" (19 A) clue? All I could think of for "Ernst" was "Young." Got it right anyway.
    Took more time than yesterday's, but that is just about right for a Saturday. Lots of fun. Thanks, Barry!

    Campesite 2:36 PM  

    @ JackJ: 38A was fun for me: Rosie Rios as she was a high school classmate of mine--quite proud of her!

    chefbea 2:38 PM  

    @oisk Ernst is an artist. Arp is an artist from the same era

    OISK 4:09 PM  

    @ chefbea Only knew of of Paul Klee, from that genre. Thanks very much for taking the time to respond!

    Airymom 4:49 PM  

    Regarding "texting counterpart of 'TY'"...according to my 14 year old daughter who would spend 24 hours a day texting if she could...."Yeah, some kids might use 'pls' for 'please', but that's only the weird kids. Everyone uses 'plz'"

    Other than that, I just couldn't get anywhere when I began, so I "cheated" and pulled "Sticky Fingers" off the shelf. I had forgotten how many great songs are on that record.

    Thanks, Barry for another great one.

    Anonymous 5:18 PM  

    How is East Asia Orwellian? It's a geographic area.

    George Orwell 5:41 PM  

    @Anonymous 5:18 - Because in my novel Nineteen Eighty-Four ". . . after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, EASTASIA, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient. " (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

    jackj 5:45 PM  

    Campesite@2:36P.M.-

    Deservedly proud; she has a very impressive record of achievements!

    fergus 6:00 PM  

    It was LIPTON TEA that messed me up for a little while. Then recalling SALADA, and the commercial with the judge who insisted that the TEA be plural.

    sanfranman59 6:03 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 6:16, 6:10, 1.02, 60%, Medium
    Tue 7:55, 8:23, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium
    Wed 8:21, 11:28, 0.72, 2%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)
    Thu 15:43, 17:02, 0.92, 34%, Easy-Medium
    Fri 22:11, 22:14, 1.00, 50%, Medium
    Sat 26:49, 24:59, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.02, 55%, Medium
    Tue 4:28, 4:52, 0.92, 15%, Easy
    Wed 5:03, 6:28, 0.78, 5%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)
    Thu 10:05, 9:57, 1.01, 52%, Medium
    Fri 11:38, 12:33, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
    Sat 16:25, 14:38, 1.12, 78%, Medium-Challenging

    Elle54 8:06 PM  

    This is serendipity! Just got back from a tour of Washington DC with my daughter's class. We saw the FDR memorial so I wrote it in as my first answer! Never heard of it before.
    I googled Mr T s name but that didn't help cause it said Turaud. Then I googled Wilder and got the rest of the puzzle

    LaneB 8:10 PM  

    Did well enough except for the NE corner. Had to look up KAPPA but when that was filled in the rest fell into place quickly. The cross of AGARS and CESAR slowed things down, but all in all, a DNF was avoided, and on a Saturday, too!

    Dirigonzo 8:35 PM  

    With a few crosses in place I briefly entertained the possibility that 1a might be OLDbEavER - I have no idea why, and happily the crosses ("Embrace the crosses!" Thank you, @shamik) disabused me of the idea quickly. The only serious issue after that was whether the traffic court letters at 49a were DuI (common in my state) or DWI, and again the cross worked it out. Mr. T(ERO) works for me as well as anything because I've never seen (or cared about) any reference to his real last name. Alpo is dog food, CESAR is food for tiny dogs that think they're cats - but the crosses prevailed once again. I had ARP at 19a without knowing why it was right - thanks to the commenters who explained the reference (I love learning stuff from this blog).

    Anonymous 8:51 PM  

    I agree with Jeremy Mercer that "Don't make me laugh" is misclued. Better would be "nonsense" or "Is that your best offer".

    Michael Good 11:21 AM  

    Did I miss something? I thought this Sunday's puzzle was by far the easiest I have seen in a decade! I mean, the theme and theme answers were had with zero fill! I couldn't believe Rex's rating. I suspect measuring it strictly against the clock doesn't always define the difficulty.

    Neil 1:30 PM  

    "Razor/Kazoo" was my downfall. Totally blocked out "Flo." Still don't quite get the "Arch" "Sly" connection.

    "Sticky Fingers" One of the best ever.

    DMGrandma 2:25 PM  

    Love "Silken" challenges, tho I think I've never successfully completed one. Today was no exception. Missed the P in ARP, because I didnt make the connection, and couldn't believe someone was named DRIP. But I didn't get that close without a struggle. Had the rAZOr and DuI hold-ups. No idea what TY meant, so PETIT was slow in coming. But my biggest duh was trying to think of the subject of the _DRMEMORIAL. Remembered that famous statue in Scotland and racked my brain trying to remember a Scotsman (poet?) with the initials _ DR. But the "should have been obvious" finally fell. Thanks to @retired_chemist for reminding me I was remembering Greyfriars Bobby, where there is just the faithful dog. Again, so close....but someday?

    Spacecraft 4:41 PM  

    Hard, hard, hard. I spent, off and on, all day on this. (Yeah, I know, I need a life.) Ah, but a Silk Saturday...I had to try.

    Helping was my favorite Stones number, BROWNSUGAR: they're coming here! I'm AMPED!! The other gimme there, HANNA, made me think Clarkson was someplace in IdAHo. That took a while to fix.

    Then from KAPPA to: did he? KAZOO? Yep, he did, so: ZEPPO. Another slip, POPpicTURE--because don't those puzzles always have some celeb's photo in the center?--had to yield to CULTURE to make any sense. And so it went. No mediumness about it; this was all but ungettable. Whew!

    Waxy in Montreal 5:55 PM  

    Like others, had GAMMA ere KAPPA leading to GABOR at 10D (hey, ZSA ZSA was a buzz generator in her time, at least for an OLDGEEZER like me). Natticked at the AGARS/BROWNSUGARS juncture - had BROWNSODAS for some strange reason. But, other than the same misgivings as many about 35A, a very (TY @DMGrandma) "Silken challenge".

    BTW, the Long Island Ducks were also a minor league hockey team which played in the Eastern Hockey League from 1959 until 1973.

    Waxy in Montreal 6:02 PM  

    @Neil, think ARCH as in cunning or SLY - the best example is probably arch-enemy.

    Red Valerian 12:00 PM  

    @Waxy--what does that make Michael, the archangel! ?!? I think the sense of "arch" there and in arch-enemy comes from the Greek for chief or principal.
    Loved the puzzle. And, as always, the blog!

    Waxy in Montreal 1:03 PM  

    @Red, perhaps but then the answer (SLY) in the puzzle becomes a problem...

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