FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Constructor: Ian Livengood and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: themeless

Word of the Day: STANCH (30D: Stop) —
stanch 1  (stônch, stänch, stnch) also staunch (stônch, stänch)
tr.v. stanched also staunchedstanch·ing also staunch·ingstanch·es also staunch·es
1. To stop or check the flow of (blood or tears, for example).
2. To stop the flow of blood from (a wound).
3. To stop, check, or allay: "My anxiety is stanched; I am at peace" (Scott Turow). See Usage Note atstaunch1. []
• • •

Wazzah! Caleb Madison here, filling in for Rex who continues to play Dale Cooper in the Pacific Northwilderness. Hey, Rex- if you're reading this, good news! That gum you like is coming back in style! Sorry in advance, but this wont be extensive as my usual ramblings. I got places to go, people to see, excuses to make.

Ugh I just love themelesses. What beautiful testaments to the clutter of the human mind! If it were up to me, Thursday-Saturday would be themeless, and Wednesday would be a super tricky Thursday-type theme. But enough about me. On second thought, it's never enough. Mr. Livengood is my successor at the JASA Crossword class (Shoutout to all my JASA homies reading this! whut whuuuut!), and an all around talented guy/good constructor, and I've admires Mr. Wilber's themeless work since I started solving, so the bar was set high when I saw the byline.

And the puzzle didn't let me down! TBH, I kind of wished it was a little trickier (I finished ~7 minutes), but I've been feeling that's a general NYT trend lately. Maybe I'm getting better :) ;) :) :o :p

The only significant hesitation I had was in the SW corner. Unfamiliar with this MORAN (39-A: Longtime Capone rival) dude, and I've only waltzed like twice in my whole life (waltz means poop your pants, right?) and I've only ever seen BOX STEP (32-Across: Waltz component) clued as [Part of a staircase made of shipping containers] WHICH IS ITS MOST COMMON MEANING!!! Come Brian (Brad + Ian), get your $h!t together!

Fave crossing: SEX SHOP [49a: Business that may be a zoning target] and STDS [50d: The E.P.A. issues them: Abbr.]- which is such a surprising clue because you'd think the EPA would be smart enough to use protection! Anyway, Brian, I heed your encoded warning and will restrain myself from both kinky stores and federal environmental health protection agencies. HAHA omg someone should make a parody of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" called "Sex Shop". You wouldn't even have to change his first line! I'm an idiot.

  • [36a: Magician's prop] WAND — Whoa- how about "Magician's tool"? I don't like the implication here that a magicians is some sort of charlatan. The other day, a magician used his wand to defeat an EVIL UNDEAD OVERLORD in a movie. Still think it's a prop?
  • [34d: Intern's duty, maybe] XEROXING — I liked this clue because it's a perfect transition to talking about ME! I'm interning at 2 cool (literally- they both have AC) places this summer: the Oxford English Dictionary, and the American Values Club crossword. Xeroxing at neither. Ooh ooh ooh if you liked this puzzle/want more themeless meat, check out the MASSIVE 23x23 themeless that the constructors of the AV Club collaborated on here. Yummy. 
  • [46a: In the loop, with "in"] CLUED — my clue for this would have been, "Like this answer, after I finish typing"
  • [22a: Overzealous promgoer's choice, maybe] TAILS — ok THIS is awkward because:
[Me at my prom]

FYI, guys, my middle school prom was Moulin Rouge-themed, so the tails made sense, since I was also overzealous and thought I was awesome. Good think Brian added that "maybe" at the end there or we'd have beef.

Love y'all. Keep it real.

Signed, Caleb Madison, Justin Bieber of CrossWorld


jae 12:18 AM  
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jae 12:24 AM  

Easy again for me.  Had a little trouble spelling CARAY and NASSAU is another one of those words I want (@lms) to put an H in somewhere, but no major problems. 

Interesting how Rhett's line shows up after this week's discussion.

LYSED and BIS were WOES and I RAILS and ERO were cringy, but the grid was mostly pretty smooth. 

POLE AXER and BUMPS OFF are a nice pair.

Bela Fleck might have been a better Fri. clue for 48d.

And, speaking of the AV Club crosswords, I'm having a lot more trouble with this week's offering by Aimee Lucido (which is supposedly a 3/5 difficulty) than I had with this one. 

Liked it except for the too easy problem.  Nice write up Caleb!

okanaganer 12:32 AM  

Kind of a conservative feel to this a PBS drama. "Yes, let's!", e.g. But spiced up by lot of Xs, especially along the California-Vermont axis (if there is such a thing).

I've never heard the term "use tax". But knew what Earl Scruggs played, amazingly enough.

For 49A at first I had -----OP and really wanted it to be HEAD SHOP or HEMP SHOP (too many letters) or even GROW OP (too few letters). I guess a GROW OP would not really be a zoning issue, as it is already covered by the criminal code.

For a while, for 23D "Stick in a cabinet" I had STIR, which made 23A "Address add-ons" SANTA (doesn't really work...not plural, etc.), and 32A BOXSTER which makes no sense unless Porsche has come out with a new line: the Waltz series.

Too old to care 12:53 AM  

My grid matches yours letter for letter, but my app says we did something wrong. Actually, it was wrong to do this puzzle. Never had zipped through a Friday like this before

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Allllll my X's live in Texas . . .

Evan 1:38 AM  

Caleb, you had a middle school prom? Was it like fifty times more awkward than the high school prom? I didn't even know middle schools held proms. Did they force you to sit through a class about SEX and STDS before you could go to it? (damn funny observation on the crossing)

I had some trouble with this one -- CAR before HAT, KYLES before LYLES, and not knowing what on earth I-RAILS were made the northwest corner kinda tricky (I guess they're just as useful as I-BARS and I-BEAMS). That KYLES mistake nearly made me go with SNACK SHELL (?!) -- that's totally mobile, like when some guy is carrying his tacos out of Taco Bell, right? In the southwest corner, I had LETS COOL before COOLS OFF before BUMPS OFF.

I seem to recall that Will Shortz once said that "It might turn into a different story" was his favorite clue of all time, for the answer SPIRAL STAIRCASE. So I was expecting something stair-like, and got ESCALATORS. Just like the late great Mitch Hedberg once said, "An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You should never see an 'Escalator temporarily out of order' sign, just 'Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.'"

Just looked up on Xwordinfo -- 8 X's for this puzzle is the 5th-highest X count in a 15x15 grid during the Will Shortz era.

Axel Caray Moran 1:53 AM  

8 Xs!!! 7 Ys!!!! + QZJ
Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo this puzzle !

If it weren't enough, Ian! Brad! Caleb in TAILS!
( another X in TUX!)

Best advice my therapist has ever given me:
Quit Taking It Personally!!!!!!

SASHAY! PLAINJANE! As a MIDDLE entry of triple stacks (stax?) of eleven letters!!!!!

Couldn't parse O = Oprah WINFREY...
I thought it was O as in nil, zip, WIN FREE.

Infamous "Wheel of Fortune" final puzzle:

And the guy is all "Magic Hand?" " Magic Band?" " Magic Sand?"... As Tyler might say... EPIC FAIL!

BUt not this puzzle, I so loved it.

By the way, young Caleb, if you heard "Bugs" with MORAN , I'd bet it would sound slightly more familiar (tho I get him mixed up with "Bugsy Malone "...
Gotta get my guys who BUMPOFF folks straight!

(Speaking of Scrabbledygoodness to help solve, I started with Clark Gable as "MisQuotE")
That's my EXITLINE, literally...

Benko 2:42 AM  

I think it was bugs MORAN's guys that Capone whacked in the Valentine's Day Massacre. Maybe I'll look it up.
I found this 2-3 minutes slower solving than my average Friday. I blame a couple of write overs like last line for EXIT LINE, and also refusing to believe there were so many x's in the grid until it was too late.

chefwen 2:42 AM  

I guess this one should be titled X marks the spot. Thought it was going to turn out to be a "themed" Friday. Not so, just a plethora of X's.

I'm not going to go with EASY, it's a rare Friday that I can claim easy, which I've said about a million times. But, I will accept medium. USE TAX??? What the hell is that?

Felt a little uncomfortable with the write-up, but, then again, I'm probably old enough to be Caleb's Grandmother. Still, had to say Yeeeww a couple of times, and I'm no prude!

syndy 5:53 AM  

Crunchy but not juicy-kinda like a really heathy granola bar. no likee LYSED or SPEX but luved OSOLEMIO.For a livengood this was off the charts easy as he usually kicks my butt!

The Bard 6:02 AM  

Titus Andronicus , Act III, scene I

Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;
For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd;
And for these bitter tears, which now you see
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought.
For two and twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour's lofty bed.

[Lieth down; the Judges, &c., pass by him, and Exeunt]

For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write
My heart's deep languor and my soul's sad tears:
Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;
My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
In summer's drought I'll drop upon thee still;
In winter with warm tears I'll melt the snow
And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drink my dear sons' blood.

[Enter LUCIUS, with his sword drawn]

O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men!
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators.

Gill I. P. 6:17 AM  

I guess I should get my head out of the gutter because I had PET SHOP at 49A which messed me up something fierce in that western corner.
Couldn't remember MORAN, never heard USE TAX and my Stop (30D) was originally STeNCH.....
Moving right along and although I got REBA my 43 down was a BEANER which made contemporary ads WEBBANNANS
The only LORENA I know is a Bobbit. Didn't she cut off her husband's - Oh, never mind.
Anyway, this wasn't all that easy for me although I did love all the x's. Is this a pangram? I'm too tired to run the alphabet.
Thanks for the work out Ian and Brad - I wonder if I have LOWPH...

loren muse smith 6:55 AM  

This was really, really hard for me and a big dnf! Some early faux-holds:
“rent” for TENT
“man” for HAT
“cane” for WAND
“ole” for ARF
“fit” for ALI – remember that rhyme during the OJ trial? The glove?

Speaking of rhymes - nice that three of the 10’s are kind of rhymes: SNAIL SHELL, HARRY CARAY, PLAIN JANES.

“Reggie” has the same number of letters as ARCHIE.

@jae – NASSAU is not among the list for me that begs for an h somewhere. I think I have mastered the “add an h" problem. And yes, how funny to clue EXIT LINE as Rett’s, given the recent GWTW discussion.

@Tita – from Wed – missed your late post - Welcome home! I would think that Butterfly McQueen’s voice would be more interesting to hear. Hey – and you inadvertently addressed an issue I have had for years: I know you all is reduced to y’all, but I have never liked the way that contraction looks. I like ya’ll so much better because the ya is intact and feels folksier. Your ya’all is an elegant compromise!

@Sandy K – I have never seen that show, but I agree we have come a long way. Lucy and Ricky had to have separate beds in their bedroom! And they could not utter the word pregnant.And that Carol Burnett spoof is absolutely hysterical.

I can’t be the only one who keeps going back to make sure there’s no K or V? Brad, Ian, did you try to get “Xanax” and “Xerxes the Great” in there, too? Very impressive puzzle. I just couldn’t FIND my way out of the FOG I created for myself.

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

It's the foxtrot that has the BOX STEP. The waltz is more a triangle. BIS means "twice" is musical score. "Encore" means "again" but in a different context. XOXO isn't in a letter's address (though it might be on the envelope flap). Otherwise, a fun puzzle. Love X AXIS, EXIT LINE. Lots of high Scrabble tile letters.

wordie 8:23 AM  

Great Friday puzzle, hard but possible to get with perseverence. Thanks, Ian and Brian!

David in Philadelphia 8:35 AM  

I loved this grid. Not just for all the Xs, but so many great answers. Best EXIT LINE ever. POLE AXER. That adorable ALYSSA Milano. HORSE OPERA. SNAIL SHELL (@Loren -- rhyme???). I was surprised to find it wasn't a pangram, what with Z and Q and all those Xs.

My only groan was ASHIER. Yes I guess it's a word, but ugh.

The SW corner was the last to fall. I had ScotcH for STANCH and ISR for PLO. Never heard of X-Ray SPEX. But it ended up being easyish for a Friday.

Sir Hillary 8:49 AM  

The NW fell easily, but the rest of the puzzle felt like a house of mirrors. I was so disoriented and woozy I asked my wife if maybe she had spiked the coffee.

All good in the end, though -- my haze eventually cleared and the grid revealed itself. And a nifty grid it is, with a U-less Q, xtra X's and just a kilovolt short of a pangram.

Great write-up by Caleb as well. "Brian"...LOL.

I believe the constructors and today's blogger are all young, so the EXITLINE of HARRYCARAY is quite appropriate: "Cubs win! Cubs win!"

Sir Hillary 8:53 AM  

Also, nice Chicago thing going on here: MORAN, HARRYCARAY, WINFREY.

Joe The Juggler 8:56 AM  

The caffeine must not have kicked in because I am just not understanding a couple of these today.

QANDA (which I assume is Q&A) for "Address add-on"?

BIS for "'Encore!' to a diva"?

I got those by the crosses, but just don't "get" them.

Kris in ABCA 9:05 AM  

Fun, crunchy puzzle and great writeup. I somehow kept wanting my medieval combatant to be a pole dancer. Minitheme with SEXSHOP and STDS?

jberg 9:11 AM  

The French yell BIS instead of encore, even though the latter is a French word. Go figure.

As for the puzzle -- it FELT hard, but I finished in medium time. It's just that time and again I couldn't get started; without SHEATH, BANJO, and STYX I might still be staring at a blank grid. But actually it came along fairly easily -- biggest delay was all the time I spent at the end looking for the K and V.

The clue for AXEL, made me think of scrabble before skating, and this puzzle certainly had a high scrabble score. Nicely done!

dk 9:28 AM  

Let me count the ways:

hAND instead of WAND, ole for ARF (although ARF was my original thought and staring at BUM_SO__F and knowing the answer had to do with murder and just not seeing it.

To add to the joy Caleb produces one of the better write-ups of the year. Caleb as a lad we did not even have middle schools and the Ventures were the hot band (no Mouseketeers were harmed in the making of their music) .

🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 Stars) All things Friday.

dk the Mr. Ed of Puzzleland (Willllbbbburrrr)

dk 9:33 AM  

I do not understand why in the writeup there is a picture of one woman goosing another while in a pool. Was it emphasis for DOASISAY? Inquiring minds want to know.

Evan 9:38 AM  

@Joe the Juggler:

At the end of a speech (an address), there is often a Q AND A session.

BIS means "twice" (I think in Latin) -- it's not the best fill, it's just something you pick up from doing crosswords.

Joe The Juggler 9:45 AM  

Thanks, Evan. For the "address" I was stuck thinking of web/internet things.

Latin "bis" for "encore" is a stretch (and has nothing to do with a diva, right? or do we think divas prefer Latin?)... especially if the audience is asking for a second encore.

Also, if an audience hollered "Bis!" to a diva, I think it would easily be misheard as,"Bitch!" :)

Mr. Benson 10:13 AM  

For those who don't know, use tax is the substitute for sales tax that you're technically supposed to pay when you buy something out of state without sales tax, then take it into another state and use, store or consume it there. Everyone here does that, right? Right?

Susan McConnell 10:16 AM  

Super fun write-up, Caleb. And super eXXy puzzle. I thought it had just the write balance of crunch and charm, and sure loved all those Scrabbly letters! Nice job, y'all.

PacWester 10:17 AM  

Not sure if any one has explained USE TAX, but here in the Wonderful World of Washington State every time a business buys something from another state (say online) and doesn't pay sales tax they then must pay USE TAX on it through their quarterly B&O Tax return.

jackj 10:21 AM  

At some point while solving this puzzle it becomes obvious that there are X’s galore in this puzzle and that likely means lots of SEX or TAXES and the smart money thinks SEX. (It doesn’t quite work out that way but at least there is only one TAX to be found, USETAX, while the preferred topic has two, SEXSHOP and the hugs and kisses of XOXO).

Ian and Brad also seemed to be developing a rather ominous theme as BUMPSOFF crossed notorious Chicago thug Bugs MORAN, (noted for popularizing the “drive-by shooting), who was competing in the killing grounds with a medieval POLEAXER, (whose brutality makes “Cage fighting” look like a pillow fight), with all of these creating a full-employment opportunity for an ambitious professional pallBEARER.

Things become friendlier when “Chihuahua cry” isn’t “more guacamole!” it’s the gentler, cleverer ARF; SNAILSHELL cutely upstages the more likely HERMITCRAB; Muhammad ALI “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee” and sassy sirens SASHAY seductively, foregoing the BOXSTEP.

The constructors need forgiveness for ASHIER, BIS, LYSED and, especially, RESNAP, but earn it through stellar cluing for LOWPH, LARYNX, STANCH and the answer to “Common number of gondoliers” that seemed to be a “How many to replace a light bulb” type joke only to learn that it was quite a different “number”, looking for OSOLEMIO.

Lastly, one can just imagine The Duke writing his own EXITLINE as the puzzle’s last entry when he upbraids Ian and Brad for their description of his Western derring-dos: “Whoa, easy there Pilgrim; they ain’t a HORSEOPERA and they ain’t OATERS, either!”

Nice puzzle.

JC66 10:36 AM  

Not knowing 31A, but thinking male because of the baseball player Alex Ochoa, I originally had LORENz until I checked out 14D and changed the z to an s. DO A SISsY worked for me until the bitter end.

Two Ponies 10:57 AM  

Perfect Friday.
I was so smug at figuring out O Sole Mio. Lucky I did or the SW might still be a blank. Very satisfying solve. Thanks Ian (who I always click with) and Brad (who I hardly ever do).
Fun write-up Caleb.

joho 11:00 AM  

What a gorgeous puzzle!

I DNF however. Even with SEXSHOP in place I couldn't crack the SW corner due to twoSTEP and takeSOut. I'd like to think if I'd just keep at it I could have finished. No matter, this was an utter pleasure.

Caleb, great write-up, too!

Lewis 11:35 AM  

LOVED the clue for 33 down - it got me, and I had to laugh when I got it.

Great writeup Caleb. Made me laugh, terrific spirit, and a good report as well.

I wanted PLANTATION for 1A, and kept it for a while, which slowed me down.

Lots o' fun, this puzzle. Bravo!

Sandy K 11:41 AM  

X-cellent puzzle! Seeing lots of Xes helped me fill in more of the X-words.


Had to do a double-take at 13D and
wanted TUPELO to be an Elvis-related clue.

Was in a FOG re: BIS? LYSED? ETHaNE before ETHENE? but got them.

@LOREN- Yes, I think they had to use the euphemism "expecting". Loved when Ricky sings "We're having a baby, my baby and me..."
then realizes that Lucy is the mother-to-be.

mac 12:11 PM  

Nice puzzle and very funny write-up!

My downfall was the NW. I got snail shell immediately, but I didn't know Harry and had shield at 1D. Several other people and things I didn't know in that corner.

Got the use tax but does it ever get called user tax?

@David in Philadelphia: wanner would have been much worse.

Mohair Sam 12:39 PM  

Great puzzle Brad Wilber. BUMPSOFF crossing Bugsy MORAN, and SEXSHOP crossing STD - great stuff, especially in an X-rated puzzle.

Nifty comments Caleb. They probably sell your soft drink in decaf btw.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

"Diva" is Italian. When Italians want an encore they yell "Bis". Gondoliers don't sing "O sole mio" because it's Neapolitan, not Venetian, but the tenors who ride in gondola armadas do sing it. Ad nauseum.

- TW in DSM & VCE

Delaware 1:35 PM  

Hilarious write-up. Thanks, Caleb. Loved this puzzle - great cluing and just hard enough to keep me occupied for a while. Alas, DNF because of upper left hand corner. Couldn't remember/spell Harry's last name, didn't know Lyle or Irail or lysed. Started smugly and confidently with "heel" at 27 A so you can see I wasn't as good as I thought(hoped) I was. Remembered "betel" from Bloody Mary, not the drink but the song in "South Pacific." Also, I see the meaning of "stanch", but doesn't "staunch" mean the same thing? I'll have to look that up.

Anoa Bob 1:37 PM  

Figured we were in for a scrabbly ride with today's constructors. And so it was.

Especially liked EXIT LINE, TUPELO & BANJO (love bluegrass in general and Flatt & Scruggs in poarticular).

Took Social Dance in college---hey! It counted as a P.E. course---and was pretty good with the waltz, but didn't associate BOX
STEP with that dance.

Not a big fan of POCs, especially when they get doubled up to make two nine-letter contiguous entries into ten-letter ones. PLAIN JANES & WEB BANNERS, dang near super POCs. Maybe they were necessary for 44D "Ancient Abyssinian goddess of fruit orchards" ALYSSA.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:47 PM  

Excellent puzzle.

One of my perennial mis-spellings is to render 33 D as O SOLO MIO, which gave me the zoning target as a SOX SHOP. Fortunately I took a second look and decided this was unlikely and changed it to SEX SHOP before declaring myself finished (said declaration made only to myself, of course.)

Bird 1:52 PM  

Some terrible (as in stretching the meaning of) cluing and absurd (IMO made up) answers led to a DNF. Half the stuff cannot be real (I RAILS, XEROXING, POLE AXER (OK, maybe that’s real), does a nanny really say that?). Sorry Brian, but I did not like. I did like the clues for 33D and 49A. I did like 49A crossing 50D.

SPEX or SPECS, which is it?


Bob Kerfuffle 1:53 PM  

BTW, it wasn't even a write-over, just a think-over, but even a non-sports person as I am, I briefly considered 9 D, Pitch producer, working off the LAR___, might be Don Larsen.

Benko 2:00 PM  

"Stanch" means to stop the flow of something, "staunch" means adamant or hardcore, as in, "He's been a staunch Republican throughout his life."

Wikipedia 2:00 PM  

X-Ray Spex

loren muse smith 2:17 PM  

@Sandy - that was a great episode!

@David in Philadelphia and @Mac - I wanner play here, too - how about "ashener?"

I became even ashener when I realized it was ASHIER.

ŁaneB 2:43 PM  

Did fine in the SW, but never recovered from Lamb instead of ELIA and lastLINE at d13. Discouraged, I just blanked out on most of the rest, getting only HARRYCeRY, STYX, AYN ,MORAN and PLO.. A well-deserved DNF to usher me into the weekend. It may be time to hang it up and move on.

retired_chemist 2:53 PM  

Hand up for PET SHOP. And for a fun solve of a solid puzzle, even though it took about 50% longer than my usual Friday. I had been nailing the rest of the week, so a comeuppance was due.

HARRY CARAY was a gimme. Ditto LYSED. Other than that, REBA, and immediately following, all the SW downs, were almost all I could do without crosses. Even STYX - I had HEEL until I got the cross for the Y and a D'oh moment immediately thereafter.

Refused STANCH for a long time since I knew it as STAUNCH.

Guessed GOTTI @ 39A - nope.

Perseverance paid off in a correct finish of a puzzle I found hard. Thanks, Ian and Brad.

Sheila Ryan 3:03 PM  

Having gone all Chicago-centric in a comment I posted on yesterday's puzzle (a friendly dig at the non-standard plural ELS for El trains), I was happy to encounter both HARRYCARAY and Capone's rival MORAN today.

My first guess for 49A may have been Chicagoesque as well: GUNSHOP. (A category of business zoned outside the Chicago city limits. May be located in such Cook County municipalities as Elmwood Park.)

I tried SURTAX for 37A. And though I can both waltz and BOXSTEP, I don't BOXSTEP when I waltz. So the SW territory wound up a mess. Kind of like that garage on Clark Street where the MORAN gang got BUMPEDOFF.

Sheila Ryan 3:19 PM  

Also, Caleb: "Moulin Rouge-themed middle-school prom" amuses me no end.

You know the one about the train track parts (4D) on the French railroad line, right? About how they were laid down improperly and the trains derailed? All on account of the laborers who made too loose le track.

Mr. Date - a 3:35 PM  

Kinda late in the day, and maybe it won't mislead anyone in the future, but I just noticed that above the big bold letters at the top of the blog where it says Friday, June 28, 2013, the little letters giving the title of the write-up say FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2013. We must come to s decision!

Dansah 4:32 PM  

Nope, waltz has left, right, open and closed boxes. Clue and answer are correct

sanfranman59 4:50 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 21:17, 20:54, 1.02, 60%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:18, 11:56, 1.11, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Carola 5:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 5:18 PM  

Dreamboat of a puzzle, but we just couldn't get together. Where the puzzle wanted to BOX STEP, all I could do was SASHAY. In other words, DNF. Loved what I was able to do, though. Maybe if I hadn't erased APED so that lasT LINE would fit or clung to Frank nitti to the death....

@Caleb - Thanks for the funny write-up! It eased my pain.

Unknown 5:37 PM  

< rant >

Sorry to be contrary, but I gotta step in and express (what is clearly) the minority opinion. So *not* a fan of this puzzle today...

I'm not the world's best crossworder, so I expect to sometimes end up with a DNF on a Friday. And I'm totally okay with that, so long as it's because of hard and/or fiendishly clever cluing. Wicked obscure cluing/answers, not so much. Seriously, this reminded me of the bad old days 20 years ago when every clue seemed to be about a B-list movie star from before I was born.

Not being from Chicago, I had no idea there'd once been a sportscaster named after ritual samurai suicide (HARRY CAREY) nor whom Capone liked or didn't (MORAN). Was similarly perplexed by BETEL, POLEAXER (?? did they put you on a pole and then axe you? or put the axe on a pole for better angular momentum? or maybe axe you then display your head on a pole?), LORENA, ARCHIE, ELIA, LYLES, ALI. Overall, one of the more frustrating experiences I've had in a while.

Am I totally alone here?

< /rant >


Paul Keller 5:55 PM  

Perfect puzzle for me. Had to put it down and pick it up again several times. None of it came easy. All of it came eventually.

retired_chemist 7:12 PM  

Wondering what a YESLET might be (20A) - a little bit of agreement? Example: I asked my wife if she wanted to go to the Apple store with me and she gave me a YESLET.

michael 8:18 PM  

ashier=more ashen?

acme 8:38 PM  

All right you... I just spent the last twenty minutes reading the later postings, all the while trying to figure out how SNAIL and SHELL could ever possibly come close to you Southerners say SNELL for snail? Or SHAIL for Shell??? What the HAIL?!!!

@lk 5:37pm
You're prob not alone, which is what this whole blog is for! The other DNF-ers prob just didn't weigh in.

Don't feel bad, It's probably an age thing... If you are over 50 you are more likely to know ARCHIE went to Riverdale high (my first entry into the puzzle) or have heard of
HARRY CARAY (Tho I learned of his spelling thru crosswords) and in the 70's, Muhammed ALI was always rhyming, like a precursor to Jesse Jackson and rap. "Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee", etc.

As for ELIA Lamb, that's either an education thing, or a seeing it in puzzles when it's not a Kazan clue!

By the way, it doesn't have to be a pangram to make something great...this is a perfect example of that.
But it's not about that, it's just when it IS a pangram, it's even THAT much more fun, if that's possible!
Will has told me point blank no one notices or cares about them...but he is kinda wrong, just for the fact that at least I do, as does Jim Horne and apparently some discerning, lovely folks on this blog do, too!
If only Ian's name were Livenkood!
Ian and Brad...BIS!

@Mr Benson 10:13
Thanks for the explanation (I had USaTAX anyway...not to be confused with USoTAX that Bob Hope paid.)

Now, back to SNAIL SHELL being a rhyme...

sanfranman59 10:10 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 5:42, 6:12, 0.92, 13%, Easy
Tue 9:21, 8:19, 1.13, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 10:54, 9:44, 1.12, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:25, 16:47, 0.80, 15%, Easy
Fri 21:08, 20:54, 1.01, 57%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:27, 3:49, 0.91, 6%, Easy
Tue 5:39, 4:57, 1.14, 83%, Challenging
Wed 6:22, 5:38, 1.13, 81%, Challenging
Thu 8:25, 9:37, 0.87, 23%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:45, 11:56, 1.07, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Ellen S 3:33 AM  

I looked up the LYLES early on...that is, Thursday night. Finally finished with no more googling just now which is 12:29am PDT, Saturday morning. But I claim a dispensation cuz I was on drugs. Now that my head is clear I'm sure I will not be able to do the Saturday one.

Fun, tough puzzle, Messrs Livingood and Wilber, and refreshing writeup from His Justin Biebership.

Morgan Doocy 6:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 10:15 AM  

This was neither "easy" nor "medium" for me -- ordinarily I get Fridays and Saturdays much, much more readily. Different knowledge bases, I guess. Should've *clued* earlier into the fact that there were gonna be a lot of X's. QTIP and QANDA took me quite a while as well.

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

Surprise, surprise! I know you're expecting a rant about QANDA, but I'm so happy the spellers are gone (!!!) you can't spoil my mood. That entry did, however cause me pause. The downs gave me _AND_, so I steeled myself, but couldn't come up with that one, for "Address add-on." STYX and SPIN were gimmes, so I began running the alphabet for "Stick in a cabinet." This is not easy to do when you're doing both the first and last letters! After much of this, I hit on QTIP. But what does QANDA have to do with addresses? I then glommed that "address" must mean "speech," and that a period for questioning sometimes follows. I gotta tell ya though, that clue is a stretch Patrick "Eel" O'Brien would envy. The entry? My usual thumbs down. The clue? Double thumbs way down!

Also in that section: SPEX? I'm assuming this is some sort of plural for SPEC. I guess. To me it looked like another gratuitous X. I certainly never heard the phrase "X-ray SPEX."

The NW fell so fast that I had to double-check my calendar. Of course, being at this for a while now, the "story" clue immediately had me thinking about changing floors. BTW, @Evan, they can't allow broken ESCALATORS to become stairs because of legal liability. They will be roped off 100% of the time, I guarantee it.

A hiccup in the NE, lasTLINE before EXITLINE, held me up for a bit. Little did I realize the eXtent to which these fellows would use the 24th letter. After the aha! of LOWPH, I SASHAYed right through the SE. The SW took me longer, because I STILL did not grasp their love of X! Overall, though, I wasn't all day at this, by any means. The writeover at 11d, plus STn for STA (and both these abbrs. for "station" are getting tiresome, IMO), were my only blemishes. Medium. FOR A FRIDAY, easy-medium. Certainly all the crunch you could want; Will must have been delighted. Nice job, fellas, and a fun writeup, Caleb.

Waxy in Montreal 2:37 PM  

@space, according to Wiki, "X-Ray Spex" were aa English punk band. Never heard of them either.

Found this relatively easy other than the extreme SW & NE or, as someone termed it earlier, the California-Vermont axis (though in deference to @Diri, maybe Maine would be more appropriate). Was looking for ESPN or HILO for the fan letters (16A) and LAMB rather than ELIA (18A) in the NE and ignorance of USETAX and BOXSTEP was my downfall in the SW.

Loved the shoutout to Harry Caray: much of my misspent youth was occupied listening to him broadcast Cardinal games on KMOX, St. Louis, whose nighttime signal boomed all over the NE.

DMGrandma 2:44 PM  

It took a bit of doing, but eventually, I got there. The NW was my last bit. Actually got hung up there looking for somewhere to put an X, figuring they had to be everywhere. And, of course, i was stuck, as always, with a half filled sports name, But somehow HARRYCARAY surfaced, and I finished a Friday. Also have to comment on the strangeness of XEROXING. With all but the central O in place, I could not parse it until I wrote it out longhand.

@chefwen: maybe it is an age thing, but I also found the write-up somewhat disconcerting. I like the Dailey Show, but not at breakfast!

It was nice to come here and not find junk mail. If that's because someone at Blog Central somehow eliminated it, my sincere thanks!

rain forest 3:32 PM  

As is usually the case for a late-to-the-party sindi-cat, not much to add here. It's nice to complete a Friday, and this was tough in places, especially in the SW, where all those x's made progress difficult. However, getting PLAINJANES off the J, ESCALATORS off the E, and HORSEOPERA off a couple of letters certainly helped.

RESNAP is weak. Does anybody say that? "She unsnapped and resnapped her change purse" vs "She opened and closed her change purse". ASHIER, ditto.

Otherwise, I liked it, but I can't say after going over my answers that I RELIKED it.

Dirigonzo 4:45 PM  

The lower two-thirds of the grid fell (relatively) easily but I got hung up in the north due to a couple of early mistakes, only of which is worth sharing.
My "overzealous prom-goer's choice was TwInS and I hated to give it up as it's a better answer than TAILS.

I did not know before today whence the brand name Lysol.

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

From Syndicated Land: @Joe the Juggler's comment on 55D that if a diva heard "bis, bis" instead of "encore," it could sound like "bitch, bitch," elicited an unusually loud chuckle from me.

Solving in Seattle 5:27 PM  

I struggled with this one. ogeR before SCAR, EpicLINE before EXITLINE, tOwSTEP, then BOwSTEP (I know, makes no sense) before BOXSTEP.

I like the social media intern in the Jack-in-the-box tv ads who thinks the XEROX machine is a tanning bed.

Agree with @rain forest that ASHIER and RESNAP are weak. Me, too @Diri on LYSED.

Wish I could spell LARYNX - would have saved a struggle in the NE.

Really liked a lot of the cluing, especially "Common number of gondoliers."

capcha: antisaf. A reckless speller?

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