Kudlow Report airer / SAT 4-20-13 / Naturalist who coined term invertebrate / Its highest rank is Wonsu / Battle with Slum writer / Small meat-stuffed pastries / Thief star 1981

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PIROZHKI (35D: Small meat-stuffed pastries) —
Pirozhki (plural form of pirozhok, Russian: пирожок, пирожки, which means a little pirog), sometimes transliterated as pyrizhky from Ukrainian: пиріжки, is a generic word for individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings. The stress in pirozhki is properly placed on the last syllable: [pʲiroʂˈkʲi]. Pirozhok (Russian: пирожок, singular) is the diminutive form of the Russian cognate pirog (Russian: пирог), which refers to a full-sized pie. The Russian plural of this word, pirogi (Russian: пироги, with the stress on the last syllable [pʲiroˈɡʲi][dubious ]), is not to be confused with pierogi (stress on "o" in English and Polish) in Polish cuisine, which are similar to the Russian pelmeni or Ukrainian vareniki. (wikipedia)
• • •

An enjoyable struggle. I felt guilty, though, that I was using my vast store of crosswordese to unlock the puzzle. Kind of feels like cheating when stuff like SARD (48D: Reddish-brown quartz) and AH ME (34A: Wistful plaint) and BARI (50D: Adriatic seaport) and RIIS (29D: "The Battle With the Slum" writer) and RETE gets me so much leverage. GOIN' and RETE were enough to get me NEEDLENOSE (19A: Like some pliers), which started me rolling in the NW. I  have "Thief" in my Netflix  queue, so CAAN was a sweet gift from the gods today (24D: "Thief" star, 1981). CAAN got me CAJUNS, which instantly got me JAMBA JUICE (26D: California-based smoothie chain). Once the NW and SW were polished off—grinding halt. Total guess at CNBC (11A: "The Kudlow Report" airer). Tried XENO at 18A: Prefix with phobia before semi-stumbling onto RIAL (16A: Currency whose name can become its counry's name by changing its last letter to an N and scrambling). Then realized that 12D: Singer with the platinum album "Pink Friday" (NICKI MINAJ) was a gimme—a big, fat gimme. But I still couldn't get into the SE. Not from the west (I had no idea about LAMARCK (40A: Naturalist who coined the term "invertebrate") and I couldn't spell PIROZHKI to save my life) and not from the north (RANTAN is not in my vocabulary, and ... well I have no excuse for not getting CALZONE; I had the CA- and the -E. Should've been enough [39D: Trattoria selection]). ETAS and BARI, and then eventually RIMA, were *huge* in my being able to finish this thing off. Finished with the awkward HEAD TO TAIL (the gamut I know goes to the TOE, not the TAIL). I think the kids' book would be more likely to have the phrasing Z IS FOR ZEBRA. Z AS IN ZEBRA (46A: Children's book ending) doesn't make much sense in a children's book context—you're not trying to spell something else, you're showing a zebra. But anyway, that's a minor issue. I mostly really liked this. Perfect Saturday difficulty, lots of interesting longer answers, fine work.


Perhaps the biggest gimme in the whole puzzle was INDONESIAN (58A: Like Barack Obama's early schoolmates). Many of you were surely able to throw that down without any crosses, as I was. Still took me a lot of work to put that SE corner together, but INDONESIAN definitely helped. Much tougher to uncover KOREAN ARMY (56A: Its highest rank is Wonsu), which I wanted to be some kind of martial art. When BARNEY started to come into view at 13D: Five-time Emmy-winning role, my only thought was MILLER. Which didn't fit. Which puzzled me. I don't think I think of the Emmys as existing back during "The Andy Griffith Show." Odd. NICKI MINAJ and BARNEY FIFE make *awesome* grid companions. That's a couple I'd like to see on the red carpet.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

70 comments:

jackj 12:35 AM  

David Steinberg was the driving force behind the gathering of PreShortz (mainly Maleska) answers and clues and after today’s puzzle, methinks he will one day have a clever young person cataloguing his own oddities and obscurities.

JAMBAJUICE, GARAGEBAND, LAMARCK, PIROZHKI, RAN-TAN, even NICKIMINAJ are surefire candidates for inclusion in this list (and if he continues to construct end-of-the-week puzzles, Mamma Mia, will it ever be lengthy).

Things started nicely with the pliers clue and having been stumped by it in the past, I knew it was a certainty for NEEDLENOSE, which then had me vacillating on 1 down among BEEN, DOIN and finally, GOIN.

From that point down to the bottom right quadrant, it was clear sailing with fair winds and following seas, although there were some interesting challenges along the way like the clever IRAN/RIAL answer, which, when combined with CNBC, DKNY, FRENEMY and RAMJET, turned BARNEYFIFE and NICKIMINAJ into an unlikely duo of gimmes.

Ah, but that lower right section. Ironically, memories of Maleska clues saved the day as SARD, BARI and RIMA all came floating to the surface and a lunch favorite, CALZONE, provided the final need, the rogue Z that made my PIROSHKI into PIROZHKI, then gave me the Sue Grafton-ish ZASINZEBRA and it was a wrap, (the puzzle not the PIROZHKI).

A nice effort from David Steinberg though in the future, more ALANs, fewer ALYNs, please.

Pete 12:38 AM  

Wtf,Wtf,Wtf,Wtf and, I believe, another 3 or 4 Wtfs. Five of which were your gimmes.

It mostly came together eventually, but WTF!

retired_chemist 12:48 AM  

Big fat DNF. All fine except the SE, which I blew big time.

I am probably the only Gentile doing this puzzle that immediately put in KREPLACH instead of PIROZHKI. Couldn't spell the latter to save my soul anyway.

Knew SARD, ETAS, BARI, and eventually CALZONE. Like Rex, got INDONESIAN quickly but wanted a martial art for 56A. KARATE ARMY? Googled Kirk ALYN and the spelling of PIROZHKI, and finally it all fell in place. But RANTAN?

A good puzzle and a stiff workout for me. Ignoring my calamitous SE, things went like a typical Saturday.

Thanks, Mr. Steinberg.

syndy 12:50 AM  

mostly what @Pete said.NICKI who?is it a boy or a girl? At least I knew LAMARK! The clue for 16 across gave me fits before I thought it through but I crashed and burned in the south east where my PIROggiis went to die and the KOREANARts finished me off!Really RANTAN and HEADTOTAIL are enough to disqualify that section.

jae 1:05 AM  

 3/4s of this was like yesterday's -- easy.   OK, I started off with angry birds with no crosses which I had to immediately erase but GARAGE BAND came fairly easily as did the rest of the puzzle, except of course SE. 
So, easy-very tough for me.   PIROgies killed me (I know my spelling is a little off but there are so many variations...).  Put that error together with RANTAN, ALYN, VAL, the AEON variation, and RIMA and it took about three times as long to do SE as the rest of it.  Fortunately, I knew BARI and SARD from puzzles or I probably would have had a DNF.  Only other erasure was Alas for AHME.

Gotta like it though...some high end zip NICKI MINAJ, BARNEY FIFE, FRENEMY, JAMBA JUICE...and almost zero dreck (ARG, SKED,AEON, and LAN maybe) makes for a fun Fri. 

This week's Jonesin' was also a killer if you are looking for a challenge.

JFC 1:15 AM  

I think Rex likes the constructor...big time....

JFC

Charlene 1:27 AM  

Did not get "piroshki"; where I live they're called and spelled "perogies". Have no clue what a Nicki Minaj is even now.

Benito 2:20 AM  

Pierogi and PIROZHKI aren't the same thing--one is Polish (I am Polish and love them) and the other is Russian.
That SE corner was rough! Took me a few minutes of staring to come through. INDONESIAN helped,as did SARD, thanks to Crosswordese. CALZONE was easy with the "e". But I also thought martial arts for Wonsu and didn't know RANTAN. Took a while to piece it together.
NICKY MINAJ is basically MIA without the politics, replaced with Katy Perry style costumes and vapid lyrics. Not good. However, as with other puzzles by this young constructor, I was pleased with the amount of relatively contemporary references.

Benko 2:22 AM  

stupid text correct changed my name to Benito!

Jeremy Mercer 4:18 AM  

Loved the puzzle despite finishing with a cross of TEJANI/PIRIZHKI.

MINAJ is accessible to three spheres : music fans, TV watchers, and people whose children are obsessed with Ice Age 4.(I'm in the last group.)

Ahme Cradle Matted 5:22 AM  


NICKIMINAJ is an American Idol judge who dresses like a cartoon character, superobnoxious diva with songs with lyrics about what she tastes like which would make a sailor blush.

That said, how cool is that to have a long down ending with a J!!!!?!?!!
And JAMBAJUICE to boot with a little PIROZHKI and CALZONE to go with?!? Delicious puzzle.

(@jae with you on PIROgies but it eventually was straightened out)

Was also thrown thinking it should be Z is for ZEBRA.
Z AS IN ZEBRA is when you are spelling over the phone, not in an alphabet book...so right there with @rex on that. Tho clever way to get two Zs in one phrase.

Loved NEEDLENOSE and BOING.
The opening four stacks of ten were beautiful. Puzzle was a challenge but smooooooth.

Liked sussing out what a Wonsu was. It helped that I just got back from a Giants game where I sat next to a group of Korean businessmen who work for a telecom who own teams in Korea.
I didn't know they had baseball in Korea. Knew it was big in Japan, but Korea? They said they started two years ago and have ten teams.
Learn something new every day.
And YES I WAS AT A BASEBALL GAME, YES I ENGAGED IN SPORTS TALK WITH MY ROW MATES AND YES I HAD A GOOD TIME!!!!
(altho I mostly sat there playing wordgames in my head,
Eg PADRES= SPARED, SPADER, SPREAD, DRAPES, PARSED
Busty Poser, Angel/Pagan, Sablo Pandaval)

By the way, This has been the month for doppelnommers!
We've had PETE WENTZ, not the singer; SAM DONALDSON, not the newsman; now DAVID STEINBERG, not the comedian!
Love,
Andrea Michaels, not the pornstar.
See you at Marbles!

Gill I. P. 6:41 AM  

@Ahme CM. doppelnomers! Still laughing at your post which was a welcome considering I did a lot of crying trying to solve this puzzle.
NICKIMINAJ was the first of several Googles for me. She needs her adenoids removed. Didn't know LAMARCK and my BARNEY ends his name Rofe. RANTAN was originally ruckus and I won't even bother to tell you how I spelled pierogis. FRENEMY was grandma and so on.
My only gimme was JAMBA JUICE....
CAJUNS, TEJANO and BOING are great words and I really have no NITS to pick about any of the short words.
Don't know what ECCE means but if it's a colosseum cry I will say ECCE, ECCE....












loren muse smith 7:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
loren muse smith 7:10 AM  

Aw, c’mon. So many of you immediately got INDONESIAN?? “Piroghis” finally made me erase “Polynesian.”

ANNE, NEEDLE NOSE and “from a to zee” off the “t” in “gelatos” were my first entries. Oh, and “Hawn” for CAAN because I figured the “wistful plaint” could possibly, mysteriously, be “when?” I just set the world on fire today, didn’t I? AH ME.

My husband’s name is Gardiner, and for the first week I knew him, I kept wanting to call him GARLAND.

After a glass of wine, LAMARCK looks like and Irish RIMA pattern.

RETE, BARI, RIMA, LAN, RIIS, SKED, PIROZHKI, VAL, ECCE, ALYN, SARD, RANTAN, LAMARCK, and ARCO (but I knew its anagram ACRO) were all beyond my ken.

FRANK, BACK, BRICK, INK, LAMARCK. . .and then BLOC. Nice.

Most of the time on Saturdays after I give up and see the solution, I slap my head and think I could definitely have finished if I had been more patient. Not today. I could have sat with this one for AEONs and not finished.

@Benko, “Benito”- Hah! just as I was thinking, “Oh, here’s a new-comer. . .”

@retired_chemist – I was certain that was a martial art, too.

@Acme – I keep revisiting your Padres anagrams. You’re going to make me an anagram fan yet! Cool!

@Gill I. P.- love your comments! I always do.

I cry "Uncle," David! You wiped the floor with me today! Like Andrea said, though – beautiful 10 stacks!

MetaRex 7:48 AM  

Way to go, David S!...you laid MetaRex low. After a long hiatus, I resorted to googling this morning. The sordid story is at Z as in PiroZhki

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

I don't know why, but, this puzzle annoyed me..I guess I like themes or something!! I wanted pierogi..must be my polish heritage..just meh

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Not sure how FLANK could be clued "Open".

Glimmerglass 8:38 AM  

The top 2/3 was very doable (medium for me). Struck out on the lower 10-stack. Threw down INDONESIAN (a gimme) and SARD (xwordese), but then was so sure unAbridged was 54A that the rest was nonsense. I tried KOREAN ARts, and I had thought of ETASand AEON (more xwordese, but ruled out by unabridged), but the rest was a loss. There is a verse form called terza RIMA, but I've never seen RIMA alone. So DNF today -- not the end of the world, particularly on a Saturday.

retired_chemist 8:59 AM  

@ Anon 8:34 - it's FRANK.

Z 9:08 AM  

ELDERS. NITS. BOING? Who you talking to kid?

Kenyans? Hawaiians? Tea Partiers? No, INDONESIAN was not a gimme.

One MUST love Z AS IN ZEBRA.

JAMBA JUICE? WTF? Now, zAMBA JUICE would be a great name for a smoothie chain.

IMHO - of the two, FIFE is the one with musical talent.

MetaRex 9:27 AM  

CW ethics, part CVII...Is It Acceptable to use Google for Timed NYT Online Solving? A Shout-Out to Horace S. Patoot

JenCT 10:01 AM  

DNF for me, too...

NICKI MINAJ is just....weird : Wikipedia

LOL Andrea

JayWalker 10:07 AM  

Like Syndy, I too must quote @Pete. SE Corner: WTF??!!?? Rex? "Medium"?? Your butt!! MUCH GOOGLING TODAY. But ONLY in the SE bloody corner. Not hard - EVIL!! Curse you David Steinberg. It wasn't just the 10's across that got me - it was the Pirozhkis, the Alyn's and Rima's, and Ran-tans that killed me. BUT - thanks to Google, I got them all. You know what I blew? DKNY. After much head-scratching, finally got "clots" or "clogs". Cloys??? Never occurred to me.

quilter1 10:15 AM  

Nope, DNF as there was too much I didn't know and couldn't get enough crosses to guess at. So I didn't even enjoy the slog, which I usually do with a toughie. Oh, well, on to Saturday chores.

chefbea 10:18 AM  

Hand up for peroigis!! Did a lot of googling but still DNF.

When I saw shade of red..I was sure of the answer..but then saw it was a 5 letter word, not 4

Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

Sort of expected Rex to rate this Easy-Medium.

Agree with Rex et al, lot of really good answers, but would have been much, much harder without a good store of crosswordese (or is there a higher order of the form - say crosswordian - for entries like RETE, STET, BARI?)

Only actual write-over was TEJANA before TEJANO.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Kirk Alyn played Lois Lane's father as I recall...anybody remember?

joho 10:56 AM  

The SE did me in. I had movie for VIDEO, HEADTOToes, PIROghie ... even SARD and CALZONE could not save me. Enough of my tale of WOEs!

INDONESIAN never popped into my head!

Still a wonderful Saturday puzzle, thank you, David!



Carola 11:10 AM  

Very satisfying and fun Saturday, agree with @acme on "delicious."

Tough start at 1A with GooGle mAps and then Guitar hero before GARAGE BAND - didn't help that I had aLDERS instead of ELDERS.
Also tough finish in the SE, with PIROgies, RAtTat and CAnnOli messing me up for quite A WHILE. While clutching at straws, allso tried "giant pEach" for the book ending, as in "James and the...." Finally erased all, put in INDONESIAN, and was able to finish.

On crosswordese - my inventory included BARI and RIIS, need to remember SARD and RETE. In the "not exactly crosswordese but learned from experience" category, I'd include ABUT, IFS, AEON, RIAL, ON IT, STET, OHM, SKED and even FRENEMY that has showed up a few times recently - it helped me a lot that I was able to write those right in.

jberg 11:25 AM  

DNF, but it was the SW, not the SE that did me in. Once I sussed KOREAN ARMY - which required first changing PIROgies -- it kind of fell into place -- except that I changed it to PIROsHKI, thought dARD was as good as SARD, still have to idea what RANTAN is - so I guessed there must be a bunch of kids' books about sAdIe ZEBRA. But still, I at least managed to fill in the squares!

Not so in the SW, where I was set on lAtiNS for the Southerners, giving me ing for URE, and convincing me that "Thief" meant "Thief of Baghdad" and that maybe Alan Ladd had been in it. That left me with "dang!" for a wistful complaint, and trying to figure out what to replace the correct and obvious NIB with. Further South, I wanted first face and then meeT forat 45A- the less confrontational meaning (ABUT) just never occurred to me.

At least I can go outside today; maybe that will clear my head. Bostonians are starting to wonder why a million people had to stay inside in order to catch a guy who was a few hundred yards, at most, from where they started looking for him -- but we're too happy today to raise much of a stink. That may come later.

Sparky 11:42 AM  

Fuggeddaboudit!

Nice puzzle Loren. Congrats.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Was anyone else nearly undone by putting "braid" for PLAIT?
Nancy

syndy 12:07 PM  

No,but I had Tress. also Face before ABUT?

Mohair Sam 12:37 PM  

Usually younger constructors beat me with pop culture and electronic stuff. This time got a DNF for one square - i instead of O for the pirozhki/tejano cross, beaten by Russian food and Italian music.

Had to fill every blasted letter of NICKIMINAJ, btw. Never heard of JAMBAJUICE but it filled nicely.

Loved the clue for CLOYS at 14d as much as I hated the repeat use of the blasted word FRENEMY (altough it has become easy fill).

RANTAN? I was sure of that with the fill, but jeez.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I spelled it PIROsHKI, had no idea what the first letter of
48D was, and no idea about the missing letter in RA_TAN. As a result, I came up with these options for 46A:

SAM IS ZEBRA (little boy named Sam thinks he's a zebra)

SAM IN ZEBRA (little boy named Sam is swallowed by a zebra)

SANIT-ZEBRA (zebra has a day job as a garbageman)

Acme 12:56 PM  

PS
@DavidS
It did help to be Californian today with JAMBAJUICE and ARCO (a bleedover from earlier this week when it was defined as a musical term)

I liked the double vowel names too with CAAN/RIIS.
And the ARCO/ACRO echo.
And yes, triied Hawaiians first, which woulda been a cool vowel string, on the bottom, yet!

@anon 12:49
:)
(If you're gonna be that honest and amusing, leave your name!) SAINT ZEBRA! Ha!

Just wanted to pop back in to remind folks that this genius constructor is young enough that he's studying for his SATs still!!!

mac 1:02 PM  

DNF because of the SE as well. Polynesian, South-Asian, Indonesian....

Thought Ile might be a possibility at 44A, so why not I-tune aat 44D.

@Benko: and just when I thought Benito was an unusual name for a Polish person you corrected yourself...

jae 1:08 PM  

@Mohair Sam -- Actually that was Latino music that did you in. La Mafia or la eme is the Mexican Mafia. Tejano is Spanish for Texan.

Masked and Anonymo2Us 1:32 PM  

SOMI: -57 (highly un-snarky)

LAMARCK/TEJANO/PIROZHKI? Too rich for ignorant M&A's blood. thUmbsbrokeUp.

Liked Kirk ALYN corner, tho. He played Superman in the cliffhanger serials. Pretty arid flickfare, tho. Whenever the dude took off flyin, they switched to a cartoony animated Superman. Even us little kids knew that sucked the big pirozhki.

Symmetrically speakin, also approved of GOIN. Gave me hope that we can teach these young uns our kind of talkin. Now if we can just teach David to talk U...

Better RANTAN clue: [Tended to be more lightish brown].

Fun puz. Felt like a trip to the Fight Club.

miriam b 1:44 PM  

PIROZHKI are baked or fried, and do not always contain meat. My favorite filling consists of potatoes, onions and mushrooms with a lot of dill. My Russian grandmother usually baked them. Yum.

I also love pierogi, especially with sauerkraut filling.

My local pizzeria makes great CALZONES.

DSSinDC 2:00 PM  

DNF as well. Didn't even put in the effort, it was so obvious that I wouldn't get the last clues. Flew through the first three quadrants (NE, NW, SW) and dropped dead at the SE. Put in PIROGIES down, and SOUTHASIAN across from the S, and sat there, and sat there. That much crosswordese made this ungettable for me. But, I've only been solving for 20 years, maybe in another twenty I'll be up to speed.

I skip M- W 2:14 PM  

My worst Saturday in decades. Since when does a trattoria serve calzones? Got the east, pretty much, dropped in Indonesian sans crosses, never thought of garage band, don't see why anyone would cry ecce in the Colosseum, should have gotten Lamarck , but it didn't fit with erroneous downs. Almost googled, but instead gave up.

Lewis 2:42 PM  

@acme -- your first post was very funny; I'm still smiling.

I did have to Google some of the terms Rex mentioned to finish. Even with the crosswordese, this puzzle felt fresh. David, your cluing continues to progress. You are adding to the quality of this solver's life!

Learned ANADEM, but it's nothing I'll ever say...

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Lots of ways to spell pierogi.

Sadly, Barney Fife (aka Don Knotts) is no longer with us, so Barney and Nicky will not be appearing together.

Elle54 3:32 PM  

Hawaiians did not fit, so INDONESIANS was a gimme.
Messed up with HEADTOTOES , the meat filled thingies, Mexican mafia music, computer thingy.
Figured out NICKI and BARNEY ( miss him!)

LaneB 4:17 PM  

Plenty of googling but still struggled and erred. Spelled PIROZHKI with an S, had cRANK rather than FRANK, never got the Z in a46 (duh!), and had TEJArO making d38 LAr. Probably a DNF but I was happy to fill all the boxes eith at least plausible answers (Well, not all that plausible perhaps.)

chefwen 5:25 PM  

@Gil I.P. - "She needs her adenoids removed" sent me into a fit of laughter. I love American Idol, but every time that woman opens her mouth I hit the mute button.

Like others, SE did me in. DNF!

sanfranman59 6:05 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 6:12, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium
Tue 9:31, 8:15, 1.15, 82%, Challenging
Wed 9:44, 10:13, 0.95, 40%, Easy-Medium
Thu 25:05, 17:17, 1.45, 94%, Challenging
Fri 20:49, 22:14, 0.94, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 28:27, 25:19, 1.12, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:43, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:28, 4:49, 1.13, 81%, Challenging
Wed 5:58, 6:02, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Thu 14:47, 10:01, 1.48, 92%, Challenging
Fri 12:25, 12:52, 0.96, 43%, Medium
Sat 19:21, 15:08, 1.28, 90%, Challenging

Lawprof 6:22 PM  

Tried to do this one on a plane to Houston with a bad cold (me, not the plane). Got body slammed. Weren't the president's classmates Hawaii kids? Had pirogues (as in "me gotta pole de pirogue down de bayou") before pirogies, still wrong. Maybe if I hadn't been on a plane. Maybe if I hadn't had a cold. Maybe if I'da just stood in bed.

michael 6:31 PM  

I admire anyone who got the se without googling. Yes, indonesian was easy, but how many people know that wonsu is a rank in the Korean army (not me for sure). sard, rima, alyn, rattan, and pirozhki (the spelling, not the word)!

michael 6:32 PM  

oh, rantan [equally obscure]

Mitzie 7:38 PM  

David is awesome, and Rex praised the puzzle, but...

Come on, seriously, Rex? I can't remember the last time you referenced so much crosswordese in your writeup and ended up writing that the puzzle was "fine work."

And of course, the minions follow suit.

Part of what makes David awesome is that he's beyond his years. He can handle the truth. This puzzle was kind of stale -- just say it, ya dinguses.

Mostly Will's fault, anyway.

David Steinberg 8:11 PM  

Thanks for the nice writeup, Rex--and for all the comments, everybody! It's always interesting to see what people like and don't like. Reading all this is actually making me a bit hungry--maybe I'll have a calzone or some pirozhki for dinner (topped off by a Jamba Juice!)!

ANON B 8:18 PM  

Not only is rantan not in Rex's
vocabulary, it isn't in my
dictionary or in Google.
What am I missing?

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

@Nate - You're missing the hyphen. ran-tan

Matthew G. 9:04 PM  

I had the malapop of all malapops when, after getting AEON, SARD and BARI, I tried NORTH KOREA where KOREAN ARMY belonged. Then I had Kirk ALAN, which even now seems more likely than ALYN, and it just got worse from there. I eventually recovered, but what a ____ show! Never had a malapop that fit so perfectly with one of the words exactly right but showed up in the wrong end of the entry!!

Got Naticked by VAL/RANTAN. I had VIL/RINTIN. Alas.

Excellent puzzle, David. Just wish I'd known RANTAN.

Matthew G. 9:07 PM  

VIL/RINTAN, that is.

Robso 9:43 PM  

This was fun (and took me a long time to get as far as I did, though did not finish SE). However . . .
I have never heard of a "ramjet;" never heard of "H's" for "ETAs;" and was bothered by the cross of "pirozhki" with "Lamarck."
Even so, thank you David Steinberg. And RIP, Don Knotts.

Mohair Sam 10:53 PM  

@jae - Thanks - cripes, I even had the wrong continent! Well, any doubt that I strike out on pop culture is erased.

Ebenezer 3:33 AM  

I've been inspired by PuzzleGirl's guest post last Saturday, so saw it through even though I had to do substantial Googling.

Roger RAMJET popped into my head - old cartoon, so I was able to get that one. (Actually, remembered it as Rodney RAMJET until I googled after it was over.)

I didn't know GARAGE BAND was a "best-selling Apple app," but it fit, as did INDONESIAN (and not Hawaiian).

ANNE Rice on the shelf was a great clue.

In Seattle, there's a place called PIROsHKI PIROsHKI - eventually got the Z, but the S caused a long delay - s AS IN ZEBRA doesn't work. We used to have JAMBA JUICEs up here - unsure if they still are.

Dirigonzo 6:32 PM  

I started the puzzle Saturday evening after work as usual and twenty-four hours later I am ready to throw in the towel, with 2 blank squares and 3 wrong squares. There is no way on god's little greeen earth that I would ever have gotten PIxxZHKI, and HEADTOToes seemed fine to me. Clearly, none of the crosses were any help. In an interesting case of synchronicity, BOING reappears in today's syndicated puzzle by Liz Gorski clued as "Jumping-on-a-matress sound".

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

AACK! Great puzzle, destroyed me completely. Just finished. Medium? Hah! Multiple Googles, several wild guesses that happened to pan out. What @Gill I. P. and @lms said. Argh. On to Sunday, while it's still Sunday :O

-- FearlessKim

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

.........very MALESKIAN indeed

if you do these for speed OR if you must finish the entire grid then you most likely wont enjoy

but if you like to re-discover SARD, BARI, PIRoZHKI, RIMA, ARCO and RIAL, as i do, then even an unfinished puzzle can be satisfying

i realize that among competative solvers TIME is the main focus as the definitive differentiator among contestants = but i'm in no hurry

DMGrandma 3:13 PM  

Got about half of this one. Done in by not knowing the singer and Emmy winner in the NE, and drawing a complete blank in the SE. Knew none of the Downs except ETAS, and thought the schoolmates were polynesIAN, which confirmed my vague memory that there is a seaport that ends in '"I". But the rest, nothing. It's been a long time since I have been so thoroughly stumped by a puzzle. I hope this isn't an indication of the future, but it seems to be a trend to fill grids with (Google) trivia rather than wordplay. Still don't understand RANTAN. Is it from a cartoon or what?

Merriam Webster Online 3:30 PM  

ran–tan
noun \ˈran‧ˌtan\
-s
Definition of RAN-TAN
1
: a knocking, banging, or pounding noise
2
: riotous conduct : spree

Origin of RAN-TAN
imitative

Spacecraft 5:53 PM  

Also DNF, but differently. Got the NE, W and SW just fine, thank you (all except the second vowel of JAMB?JUICE--the rest of which went in on crosses, one of the many thinga and people I never heard of). But NW, center and SE? Nothing except GOIN, GARLAND and NITS. That wasn't enough. The "Rice on shelves" clue, totally fair and brilliant, just threw me. One look at the solution made me groan aloud; I really should've gotten that one, but still am not sure it would have been enough. I know nothing about apps, RETE or the nonsensical word DESELECT. Yeah, it's a word. If you've ever uttered it in your lifetime, raise your hand.

Didn't think so. The rest of it was just as unknown; couldn't get a foothold. Either impossibly obscure, or "that could be anything." ZASINZEBRA: the end.

DNGrandma 6:55 PM  

Dear Mr. Webster:
Thanks for the heads-up on ran-tan. I probably should have looked it up myself, but it sounded so strange to me that I assumed it must be a catch word of some sort.
I note that it is considered to be "imitative", which I find hard to believe, because it is such a soft sounding word. I associate "banging" with harsh sounds. Think of the sound of a judge's gavel or someone banging on your door to alert you to a fire. We even say guns "go bang", and that is surely not a soft sound.
At any rate, thanks again for your effort. I learned something new today.
Sincerely, DMG

Anonymous 10:16 PM  

A big DNFWOG for me due to the crosswordese in the SE. I was really thrilled to discover a couple of clues geared toward the west coast. A lot of puzzles are geared toward the east coast (yes I am aware it is the NYT). Jamba Juice and ARCO were big gimmes for me. Also loved the clues for Nicki Minaj and Barney Fife. I only knew pirogies, never heard of the Russian pastry, pirozhki, until today. Ran-tan, Bari, Rima, Alyn who? 3/4 easy medium - 1/4 impossible.

Overall a good work out. Keep at it young Mr. Steinberg.

Murray in Syndyland, CA

Ginger 12:42 AM  

Late to the party, as usual it seems. Crosswordese and google helped me, but not enough. Big Fat DNF, but lotsa fun anyway! Too many blank spots to mention.

By the way, five weeks from today, we syndilanders will have another David Steinberg to challenge us. The kid is amazing.

Thank You to all our veterans, who have given so much to a country that continues to ignore and marginalize them.

Waxy in Montreal 1:39 PM  

Even later, DNFing on Sunday due to all of the above reasons, especially in the SE and the JAMBAJUICE/LAMARCK cross.

Syndisyncronicity of a type in that I stumbled on an excellent TV bio of the other David Steinberg, the astute comedian/director of another generation, whilst attempting vainly to solve this diabolical wunderkind David Steinberg's creation.

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