Saxophone great Sidney / SAT 6-15-13 / Site of 1944 British Army defeat / Ancient abstainer / Six Gallery reading participants / 1836 siege leader / Vindictive quaker of fiction / Ethiopian grazer / Buzz on Simpsons / Small house of southwest / Royale maker / Home away from home sloganeer / Whence Parmenides /

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AQUAPLANE (4D: Water board) —
A board pulled over the water by a motorboat and ridden by a person standing up.

To ride on such a board.

Read more:
• • •

I don't know. This puzzle had one fancy answer (VUVUZELA) (17A: Buzzer sounded during a match), and I'd seen it before, so overall I'd say this is just ADEQUATE (15A: C-worthy). ARNHEM (62A: Site of a 1944 British Army defeat) and BECHET (9D: Saxophone great Sidney) were just random letter strings to me. I've followed baseball for 35 years and have never heard the term "LOUD OUTS" (28A: They result when solidly hit baseballs are caught)—completely baffling. I see that it's a thing, but not a thing that googles well at all. Not sure where people have been using this term. Somewhere, surely, but nowhere near me. I had LINE OUTS, of course. Never heard of an AQUAPLANE either. Had AQUA and then ... I think I had PLANK at one point. Not much to say about the rest of it. It's fine.

DUZ does not fill me with joy, but I've seen it in crosswords before, so it didn't annoy me much (5D: Old brand that promised "white white washes without red hands"). There are some good clues here and there, like 40A: Four French quarters? (ANNÉE) and 1A: Place to pick vegetables (SALAD BAR) and 10D: White sheet insert? (AS A) (bad fill, but clever clue). Overall it felt like a very crosswordy puzzle—there's a lot of odd stuff that old hands will have seen before. Stuff like ULTIMO (45D: Last month) and ATLI (7D: Hun king, in myth) and ESSENE (16A: Ancient abstainer). That's a polite way of saying there's a good bit of crosswordese and near-crosswordese in the grid. When that's the case, you want a Lot of payoff in the longer stuff, and there wasn't quite enough for me today. I mean, I just can't get that excited about ALIMENTS, for instance (63A: Nourishing stuff).

Anyway, it's late—I spent my normal solving/blogging time watching Jacques Tourneur's "Nightfall" on TCM. It was not great film noir, but for me, even bad film noir is (almost always) worth watching. So ... to bed. SEE YA (48A: "Until next time").

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    JFC 12:27 AM  

    I think Medium is a trifle off. More like impossible....


    jae 12:35 AM  

    This seemed about right for a Sat.  Medium crunchy.

    ANTIvEnoM had me staring for quite a while.  As did MaLE for MULE, and like Rex LineOUTS.  LOUDOUTS  seems made up. 

    Yes, this had quite a few gimmes from doing crosswords: ELEA, EL AL (as clued), ATLI, ULTIMO, ANNEE, ELAND, ESSENE, REO

    WOEs:  BECHET and ARNHEM.  Apparently the latter wiped out the British 1st Airborne. 

    Not very zippy but tough enough for a Sat.  Kinda liked it.

    retired_chemist 12:58 AM  

    Liked it a lot. Always fun when there are two or more possible answers and the crosses are both fun and fair, which happened a lot today.

    Today's self-inflicted wounds included MEDIOCRE @ 15A, ZIPPO @ 20A, and PRESSED (based on ZIPPO) @ 21D. Figured I'd either find PRESSED was wrong or think later how it applied to an ego. And, of course, wrong it was.

    BAOBAB TREEs figure large in The Little Prince, one of my favorite books.

    Felt good to know ESSENE, guess CASITA from the Spanish I know, get VUVUZELA, ARNHEM, DENALI, and TORRE with minimal crosses, and to enjoy all the other fun answers (ODOR EATERS, SALAD BAR, ALIMENTS, SO SUE ME. .....)

    Gray wolves eat MULE DEER? Mine ate MaLE DEER for a while. Remarkable dietary sex preference.....

    All well worth the minimal crosswordese (ALER, EL AL, a nicely clued REO) in Mr. White's grid. Thanks,Ned.

    Questinia 1:16 AM  

    Agree with retired chemist. Good puzzle. Wanted CONSTANT to be CATALYST (It stays the same) so badly I went into denial and refused to fix it until I reckoned that it was really only true for ENZYME. My last fill was LOUDOUT. Not sure what UTE means.

    Any puzzle with BAOBAB, VUVUZELA, ZILCH and SO SUE ME gets a thumbs up.

    retired_chemist 1:26 AM  

    @ Questinia - UTE - Sports UTility Vehicle. Another way to say SUV is Sports UTE, or just UTE.

    CATALYST - good answer. Glad I didn't think of it or it would have been a monumental time-waster since I wouldn't have given up on it either.

    Benko 2:00 AM  

    ARNHEM is a major landmark on the Dutch highway system, so no trouble there,
    Did not like DUZ.
    This puzzle played like a much older one for me.

    Benko 2:04 AM  

    For one example of this puzzle's seeming age, the last CELICA was exported about 8 years ago from Japan, and production stopped the year after that.

    Questinia 2:08 AM  

    @retired_chemist - ... and I do believe I will now be referring to SUV's as UTE's. Tx!

    Anonymous 2:08 AM  

    Way back in HS, a buddy taking Spanish told me that when in doubt, just add "O" to the English word and you'll probably have the Spanish word. As a result, I had BONO for 11D for a while. :-D

    Took me almost 50 minutes, but when I filled in the last square, I was rewarded with a completion time. Always a great feeling for a Saturday puzzle!

    (I use the Crux iPad app. I highly recommend it if you have an iPad.)


    syndy 2:24 AM  

    yup ANTIvenom had to be right..otherwise just enough toeholds to be going on with. I knew my DUZ (and lux) from across the alley from the Alamo!These little things that keep you going.

    chefwen 2:47 AM  

    Must have stared at the NE corner for 15 minutes before I switched BAnyAn to BAOBAB. Was about to just give in to a DNF when I remembered OSSO and guessed at ESSENE and CASITA, bada bing, bada bang and I was finished. PHEW!

    Laugh out loud moment was at ODER EATERS, salad bar was pretty cute too.

    Good one Ned White, thanks.

    loren muse smith 6:49 AM  

    @jae and @retired_chemist – I considered “mole” and “male.” Never thought about MULE, but a Mole Deer conjures up quite a mental image.

    @Benko –“ARNHEM is a major landmark on the Dutch highway system, so no trouble there.” Come again? I’ll raise you a couple:

    ELEA was the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, so no problem there.
    ATLI- In legend Attila appears under the name Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and under the name ATLI in Icelandic sagas, so no problem there.

    Seriously, how on earth did you know ARNHEM? I’m very impressed! (Unless, of course, you’re Dutch.) And I was with you on resisting CELICAS. They haven’t been around for quite a while.

    “Of age” before ADULT. Wanted “cracked” instead of CRUSHED. ;-)

    ELAND – Sun, Feb 13, 1994. Cathy Millhauser’s NYT tour de force.

    So if you HEAD OUT screaming SEE YA, is that a LOUD OUT?

    VUVUZELA always makes me pause, think of @M&A, be unsure if words with two U’s are that unnatural or unusual, if they’re that unique. . .whatever the case, it’s useful to know how to spell it.

    I was pleased to get a lot of this - SO SUE ME, ICE STORMS, DISASTERS, ALIMENTS (had “oxidants”), VUVUZELA, ANNEE, HEAD OUT, BEAT POETS, BE IN ERROR, ANTISERUM. . .

    But I’m with @JFC – impossible for me to finish. Many times I throw in the towel and then kick myself because I see I definitely could have finished if I had been more patient. Not today. ARNHEM, AQUAPLANE, ESSENE, ULTIMO, SANTA ANNA, ELEA, ATLI, BECHET, DUZ, CASITA. . . no way.

    Ned – this one wasn’t a total DISASTER for me, but it sure BEAT me. I’ll slink off now to try to restore my cracked ego.

    Gill I. P. 7:34 AM  

    That darn Bubkes always gets me. I always want to shove a grannie in there. DUZ not ring a bell. BAntAM gave me mEAT POsTS. I wrote "how can those wolves only go after MaLE DEERS?" IM NOT HomE gave me the wrong DoNner and Amiens and well....that's how this puzzle went for me.
    I still don't get ASA for the white sheet insert.
    My favorite clue was for REALTOR and was also proud that I got EMANUEL AHAB and the never heard of LOUD OUT
    Not the most difficult SATURDAY I've done but I sure had a ton of write-overs.

    Z 7:39 AM  

    @retired_chemist - My "remarkable dietary sex preference" usually involves well placed whipped cream.

    jackj 7:44 AM  

    IMNSHO** this puzzle is so well constructed that if there were a Master’s class in Themeless Puzzle construction for aspiring Enigmatology degree seekers, this could be included in the syllabus for that advanced course.

    With DUZ as a gimme, SAVES for one down, OFAGE for 2 down and LEVEE for 3 down, VAV_____ didn’t offer much other than VA VA VOOM but an obvious switch to ADULT turned VAV into VUV and the raucous VUVUZELA blew in and then an educated guess added BAEZ that begat SALADBAR and the first quadrant was settled.

    Moving down the grid, the cluing gave some wonderful misdirections with things like the “solid baseball hits” clue indicating LINEOUTS, “I goofed…big whoop” went in as SOSORRY and the “huge trunk” clue at 9 across meant nothing until its tied clue at 25 across gave up TREE and BAOBAB was clearly the mystery trunk answer.

    Well, getting only one out of three correct spelled trouble until it was misdirection cleansing time, as I obviously needed to replace LINEOUTS and SOSORRY with LOUDOUTS and SOSUEME, to straighten out the temporarily muddled middle.

    From there to the finish it meant more pleasures galore, from DELILAH to TORRE, CELICAS to CONSTANT and AHAB to BAHN, all the way to SATURDAY.

    As so often happens, the best clue in the puzzle asked only for a simple three-letter answer as “White sheet insert?” which proved to be ASA and if that is still confusing to anyone, think “White AS A sheet” and praise Ned for a brilliant bit of constructing.

    From this solver’s vantage point, anything else that needs to be said about today’s puzzle can be found in the entry for “superb” in Roget’s Thesaurus; just take your pick of words.

    **-In My Not So Humble Opinion

    Z 7:53 AM  

    I'm with @JFC and @LMS. Impossible. I failed my BAOBAB spelling test. Fifteen minutes in I was staring at a white grid except for CRUSHED. I slowly built out to the NW then the SW to the SE. I was stopped for a long time by AQUAPLANk and the absolute belief that SANTA ANNA couldn't be right because ANNA with two Ns is one too many.

    Lots of baseball didn't help me much. LOUD OUT was the easiest for me as it is a fairly common term on broadcasts. I.e. "That sounded good off the bat but it's nothing more than a LOUD OUT." I briefly wanted uSurper for the heir restoration, so wondered how to spell Uecker. And I've never liked ALER and NLER so seeing the Angel in the clue as a reference to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim wasn't easy.

    A good SATURDAY challenge, even with the ELEA here and ELAL there.

    Danp 8:05 AM  

    Femur, por ejemplo? First time I ever saw Portuguese in a crossword, and I don't know three words in the language.

    Anonymous 8:15 AM  

    I'd swear Bechet is playing a clarinet, not a sax

    Sir Hillary 8:42 AM  

    Not my favorite, but at least I finished. I kept waiting for an interesting entry to make the slog worth it, and finally got a payoff near the end with VUVUZELA.

    Regarding the absurd baseball entry, I got out the Ouija Board and asked Mr. Costello what he thought of it. I mean, who better to comment than one half of the "Who's On First" duo? I can report that LOU DOUbTS that the term in the puzzle has any validity at all. Sorry.

    Doris 8:52 AM  

    Had always seen BUBKES spelled BUPKES or BUPKISS, but got it anyway. Reminds me of the recent kerfuffle regarding the Indian-American kid from Queens who spelled KNAIDEL (apparently some sources say it's correct), when Leo Rosten and others have KNAYDL or KNEDEL. Who(m) ya gonna believe?

    P.S.: for New Yorkers or visitors thereto, do not miss "Old Jews Telling Jokes" at the Westside Theater.

    Michael Hanko 8:54 AM  

    VUVUZELA was long in coming, because I consider that they honk, not buzz.

    wordie 9:05 AM  

    Loren, I love your posts! It's nice to have a chuckle, especially on days when the puzzle has me beat.

    I had tons of write-overs and in the end was defeated in the SW and NE. I was sure 53D was either weig or wieg, thinking of weg, for the original name of the Steinways, Steinweg. So that messed up that section, along with never having heard of the battle site or the park. In the NE I thought to myself, so a rap sheet is also called a white sheet, how interesting, and filled in AkA for 10D. Had to change roasted to crushed, you know, a roast of a celebrity, e.g. I got a lot but DNF in the end. Really liked the clue for 40A and the answer, but I'm a sucker for French. It's a beautiful day here in South Jersey, so I'm headed to the park with the dog soon. More rain tomorrow : b

    Jonathan 9:25 AM  

    ARNHEM was famous to me from A Bridge Too Far. Sidney BECHET is more famous as a clarinetist, better as a soprano saxaphonist. I AQUAPLANEd as a child. LOUDOUTS are a constant on radio broadcasts of baseball games.

    DUZ was last produced in 1978. I was born in 1980.

    I can't differentiate between when a puzzle is clunky and when my thinking is clunky. One of us was clunky last night.

    Nancy in PA 9:45 AM  

    Hand up for "mediocre" at 15A. It seemed so perfect...I also wanted to cram a granny into 20A until I remembered she would be Bubbe NOT Bubke. My Brooklyn-born but Episcopalian dad taught me all my Yiddish, and he said Bupkiss. Almost had to Google, but this one fell with slow steady pressure. Great Saturday puzzle.

    Z 9:51 AM  

    Non-Puzzle News - Off to Kalamazoo to watch Son #1 graduate from college tomorrow. Woo Hoo. Immediate Plans of Son #1? Move all his junk home, eat a few meals, collect some money from various relatives, then hop on his bicycle and head for Burlington, VT. (there's a woman there, but who knows?). Ah, to be 22 where a month long 800 mile bike ride sounds like fun rather than insanity.

    Nancy 9:51 AM  

    What the bleep is VUVUZELA? I've heard of lineouts and long outs, but never LOUD OUTS. Agree with those who found this puzzle impossible.

    joho 10:10 AM  

    Printed this out last night and going through the grid once ended up with bubkes, ZILCH.

    As often happens it all started to make sense to me this morning.

    @LMS, I didn't notice the two OUTS, good catch!

    I also thought LOUDOUTS sounded made up so am happy to learn here they are real. (One son is taking us to the Reds game tomorrow!)

    Total unknowns were BECHET and ARNHEM which was particulary difficult because I thought it was SANTANANA, not SANTAANNA.

    Loved the clue for ADULT.

    This was a struggle for me but well worth it. Thank you, Ned White!

    DBlock 10:18 AM  

    I knew Arnhem from Band of Brothers but Torre held me up forever. Knew somewhere between Berra and Bench there was a great catcher whose name began with a T but couldn't see it. All of the WEST and SE went fine and loved the clue for Delilah. I do however, fly EL AL once a year and have never heard that slogan. Found NE tough and would someone please explain how AS A is a white sheet insert????????

    A Vuvuzela is that loud horn like thing that kept blaring during the world cup soccer games.

    Laurence Katz 10:26 AM  

    I had "adusters" (as in insurance) for preceding the storm clean up. That didn't work out too well.
    As a jazz lover, "Bechet" was a gimmee and how I got into the puzzle. Only jazz Sidney I can think of (Big Sid Catlett was never a Sidney). Bechet did play clarinet as well as sax, but probably stands out as the first famous saxist, mostly on soprano, which looks like a clarinet.

    GLR 10:33 AM  

    @DBlock - insert "as a" in "white sheet" and you get the phrase "white as a sheet."

    Anonymous 10:33 AM  

    Oh man, this was tough to break into but then it became more a steady slog.

    Gill I.P.: "white as a sheet."

    Bechet as a saxaphonist seemed odd to me. I always think of him as a clarinet player although he did play soprano sax.

    I really liked this puzzle. It took me the perfect amount of time and energy for my Saturday morning, around 50 minutes of head-scratching and coffee-drinking.

    Sandy K 10:44 AM  

    Mostly medium for me, except hand up for the SANTA ANNA/ARNHEM cross-I also thought it was spelled SANTA ANA- or maybe I'm thinking of SANTANA the "Smooth" singer. And had I'M NOT HomE before I'M NOT HERE.

    Agree that CELICAS and DUZ seem outdated. Luckily, remembered VUVUZELA from another puzzle, fave clues were 'Gossip girl' and "Lock remover of old?"

    Never heard of BECHET, and took awhile to 'get' AS A, but no ERRORs in the end, so a more than ADEQUATE SATURDAY solve for me.

    The Sidney Bechet Society 10:51 AM  

    Sidney Bechet played both but is most famous for playing the soprano saxophone.

    DBlock 10:59 AM  

    Color me DUH--thanks for explanation DB

    Ulrich 11:02 AM  

    You don't have to be Dutch to know Arnhem--being from West Germany suffices. Which is another way of saying that except for the crossing of Ute and loUd out, this played amazingly easily for a Saturday, for me--got through it in one sitting, which almost never happens.

    and @anon at 8:15: The great Sidney Bechet, who contributed mightily to establishing the jazz solo, played the soprano sax when he did not play the clarinet. He may be less known in this country because he spent his later years in France.

    retired_chemist 11:04 AM  

    @ Anon 2:08 LOL re BONO. But another hint is to use the prefix you know is derived from Latin for some English word and work with that Thus, OSTEOpath, OSSify, etc. Or if you have eaten osso buco, well, there you are.

    @ LMS - LOL re MoLE DEER.

    @ Syndy - also wanted ANTIvEnoM, and then ANTIvEnin, for a while.

    retired_chemist 11:10 AM  

    Turns out I didn't really deserve ARNHEM since my memory of the word came from Arnhem Land, which is a part of Australia. Since it is an eponym of the Dutch city anyway I suppose I shouldn't be picky.

    mac 11:13 AM  

    Hand up for mediocre before adequate. Osso was the only word in the NE for a very long time, until I made up "casita" and things started rolling.

    No footholds at all after ossa at the first run-through, then it slowly started coming in from the bottom up.

    Arnhem is not a major city in Holland, but the bridge was pretty important in WWII.

    What a bad name for a detergent, DUZ. @Andrea?

    Arnhem Casita Muledeer 11:27 AM  

    DUZ is kinda fun...or just dredging it up from memory, it's so 40's! And I guessed it bec of the Z.

    Too basebally for me, to the point of obnoxious... ALER (had to ask 14 yr old I was with last night if they were National or American... had to ask about catcher (his guess of BeRRa at least got me the two Rs needed...)
    (Someone was asking about wrong letters accidentally leading to the right answer and wanting to name that, did someone step in?)

    LOUOUT obviously was a ???!! I thought about LOUDyay LOUDboo depending on whose team you were rooting for.

    Seemed sophisticated puzzle but very male d'un certain age, betw the baseball, WWII and general tenor. Hand up for not knowing ARNHEM, BECHET...but it was definitely finish-able despite guessing MULEttas.

    And still don't get ULTIMO but I'll go back and reread everyone again.

    GLR 11:29 AM  

    @mac - I was a little thrown by the clue for DUZ, because I recall it as a dishwashing product, with a tagline "Duz does dishes." "White, white washes" sounds like a laundry soap.

    Carola 11:33 AM  

    Lovely SATURDAY puzzle, I thought. Knew just enough of the names to get started - BECHET, DELILAH, ATLI, AHAB - and was able to chip away at the rest to finish.

    I was IN ERROR more often than I can remember BEing before. Besides ANTIvEnoM, LineOUTS, MEDIOCRE, IM NOT HomE that others have mentioned, I also had Fab, heure, oil spills. Lots to clean up!

    Thanks, Ned White - I really enjoyed this one.

    Mohair Sam 12:07 PM  

    @rex: LOUDOUT goes back to at least Vin Scilly. I still hear it from the horrible Chris Wheeler in Philly.
    "Utley hit a screamer to right but it was just a loud out."

    VUVUZELA: South Africa's answer to thunder sticks. And yes, they may honk individually, but make a deafening buzz as a group.

    jae 12:09 PM  

    @lms & jackj -- OFAGE was my first entry until the F and G were going nowhere.

    @andrea -- ULTIMO is latin from ultimo mense meaning in the month before the present one. Apparently it was used in business correspondence and now seems to be obsolete.

    Rob C 12:13 PM  

    Too difficult for me. Started it last night, couldn't really get anywhere, picked it back up this morning. A break usually allows me to clear my mind and finish, but I only got about half of it after an hour and I threw in the towel.

    Lots of errors that led to the DNF: LineOUT for LOUDOUT (not sure what kind of baseball Rex is watching-it's a fairly common term), Acadia for DENALI (don't ask), and my favorite, EUNICH for ESSENE (hey, they were sort of forced to abstain).

    Joe TORRE grew up one block from the house where I grew up in Brooklyn-well before my time. But his nun sister kept the house for a long time after he had left. Joe sponsored a little league in the neighborhood and I met him a few times growing up. Cool dude and sort of a local hero.

    Looking back on it, lots of good stuff here. Great cluing too. VUVUZELA made me think the puz was written several yrs ago during the S. Africa world cup, the height of its popularity. Only the second time it's been used in the NYT crossword.

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    Ellen S 1:01 PM  

    I see a robot made it here before I did. It probably finished the puzzle, too, which I didn't.

    I thought about DUZ, ALIMENTS and THICK. If I had put them in, I would have had three correct answers... As it was I put in three other words, other places, for a total of three correct letters in the lot.

    Ah, well, white AS A sheet was worth coming here for. Only thing I knew you inserted in a white sheet was a Ku Klux Klan member! A really short one, to fit within three letters.

    SEE YA!

    Wayne Resident 1:24 PM  

    yes, here in the philly suburbs we have the Anthony Wayne theatre, named for the general.

    we also have Loud Outs that can be heard over a vuvuzela.

    and we aren't that far from binghamton. come on, its saturday.

    one thing we don't have is Philly Cheese Steaks.

    Lindsay 1:31 PM  

    Liked the puzzle. First answer in was ULTIMO, which just proves I've read too many 19th century business letters. They often begin "Rec'd yr favor of the [day of month] ult. and in reply ...."

    Did a lot of AQUAPLANEing as a kid in the '70s, but even then it was old fashioned. The neighbors were into barefoot skiing.

    I hear LOUD OUT all all all the time, but I listen to Yankee radio broadcasts, so maybe it's a John Sterling New York-centric phrase cropping up in the New York Times? Loud outs lead to action in the bullpen.

    Only writeovers resulted from DUv soap (I think, in fact, Dove soap spells its name correctly) which led to reversing the Vs and Z in VUVUZELA i.e. zUzUvELA. Fixed it.

    Have a good weekend everyone. Perfect weather here (southern Maine).

    Benko 1:36 PM  

    @Loren--Ik gewoonde daarbij Amsterdam voor vijf jaaren. So don't be too impressed that I knew ARNHEM! In fact, I go back to the Netherlands every year to see my friends and brush up on my Dutch--I leave in a couple of weeks.
    Though as one poster said, A Bridge Too Far, the great WWII movie, is a good place to learn about ARNHEM.
    @Gill--Whenever I see it spelled "BUBKES", I also immediately think "Grannies"! Perhaps my Polish/Russian heritage?

    acme 1:46 PM  

    tempted to put in SANTA ANNA, SANTA ANA, SANTANA and SANTA all in the same puzzle!

    And if you got nothing from your Grandmothers for your bat mitzvah, you could say: Bubbehs? Bubkes!

    loren muse smith 1:51 PM  

    @Benko -Hah! Ik heb nog nooit naar Amsterdam geweest, maar ik begrijp het is een geweldige stad.

    @Gill I.P. – me,too with old granny Bubkes. Miss her dearly.

    @acme - does that bubkes-giving Bubbehs wear a babushka?

    Lewis 1:56 PM  

    Never having heard of ULTIMO, I was deciding between MULEDEER and MALEDEER.

    @acme -- I don't think anyone came up with the term yet, and I was wracking my brains, unsuccessfully so far.

    So, in the east we have ARTSY BEATPOETS and the ANTISERUM YENTA. We also have an address, ASA ESTATES, SMU.

    And in the west we have an entire missive:




    Which makes for a CONSTANT ALIMENTS SATURDAY, found in the south.

    I liked it!

    chefbea 2:15 PM  

    @Mac Duz duz everything. Thats what I grew up hearing.

    Too busy today with our yard sale, so DNF . Just came here to see the finished puzzle and read some comments.

    Benko 2:36 PM  

    @Loren--Spreekt u nederlands, een beetje? Af niet, dan Babelfish een goede vertaling heeft gedaan.
    Amsterdam is a great city, despite its reputation. Just stay out of the urine-soaked, decadent Red Light district and you'll have a good time. One of the most multicultural cities on the planet, all within a small area.

    loren muse smith 2:41 PM  

    @Benko - Ik geef de voorkeur Google Translate. Ik spreek geen Nederlands!

    Aw, man, those urine-soaked, decadent Red Light districts are my favorite part of any city. Oh well.

    mac 2:58 PM  

    The red light district is fantastic; I love the smaller canals and pretty bridges. A large part of it has been cleaned up beautifully.

    Google Translate does a good job, Loren!

    @Benko: ik kom uit Castricum aan Zee, ongeveer een half uur met de trein ten NW van Amsterdam, en ik ben daar vanaf 6 juli! Ik kijk er zo naar uit!

    John V 3:11 PM  

    Well, finished with one wrong letter, as could NOT see ZILCH .. as S in place of H, as BECHET is totally off my radar.

    This was very challenging for me, even for a Saturday. I think I spent more than an hour on it.

    Re: constructor kudos: Ned White made his DEBUT with a Saturday puzzle! What's up with that? Dude has 8 puzzles, 6 of which are Saturdays! Wow! World class, is what I'm sayin'. This puzzle has 68 words, 10 of which are debuts. Man oh man.

    Delaware 3:15 PM  

    DNF for me. Glad to see there were others who thought this was much harder than medium. Got about half way through, googled a bit which I personally consider cheating, and still couldn't finish. Had anti-venom for way too long, and am in awe of those of you who know Arnhem,Six Gallery,and Bechet. Just when I think I'm getting good enough to do Thursday, Friday, Saturday, someone like Ned White comes along to smack me in the face and say, "Get over yourself." Oh, well, I'll keep on truckin".

    loren muse smith 3:24 PM  

    @mac - Omdat we stiekem kunnen zijn, zal ik zeggen dat ik denk dat Ned White is echt knap!

    Anonymous 3:32 PM  

    Very nice to hear a little XTC! Thanks for that!!

    okanaganer 3:35 PM  

    @loren muse smith: "..urine-soaked, decadent districts..."
    On the Simpsons, Bart refers to his school as a "piss-soaked hell-hole", and is reprimanded: "Bart, that's not nice. We prefer the term 'urine-soaked heck hole'".

    Susan McConnell 3:44 PM  

    Harder than medium for me, but otherwise, agree with with what Rex said.

    LaneB 3:47 PM  

    When you start out (after a few other easy fills) with a BANYAN tree, a LINEout, I'm not HOME, and an ISM rather than ESE, all but the NW corner goes into the dumpster. Ergo a huge DNF--which I guess is better than a DNET (Did Not Even Try). Couldn't even Google my way through this one ! Not a unique Saturday experience.

    michael 3:55 PM  

    An average Saturday for me. Loud out is a familiar baseball term to me. Just couldn't remember vuvuleza exactly -- knew there were us and vs and zs but wasn't sure how they fit together. Had to google elea and then was able to finish.

    Ellen S 4:14 PM  

    Hey, @LaneB, I tried, I just failed mizzubly. Like, I had Tobruk instead of ARNHEM. At least there was a battle, and it was the right war, but it was the Germans who got whupped. Well, whatever.

    I learned Danish from watching "The Eagle", a series about an Icelandic cop working in an internationl police unit based in Denmark but traveling often to Sweden and sometimes Norway and to Iceland for the finale. From it I learned that "science fiction" in Danish is "science fiction" and "jammer" is "jammer." (There was a device that creates an EMP and kills all the nearby electronics, making modern cars with electronic ignition inoperable, along with phones and computers and ... everything is a computer.) Also, I think "human trafficking" is "human trafficking." Who needs Babelfish or Google Translate?

    ANON B 4:26 PM  

    Help.Why is adequate C-worthy?

    Ellen S 4:38 PM  

    Worthy of a "C" grade. As opposed to "A" or "B".

    3 and out.

    Gill I. P. 4:42 PM  

    I'm loving the comments. OK @Loren @Benko and @mac. I'm looking up all those words. The only ones I know are hurdy gurdy done with a muppet accent.
    @Z...oooh - congratulations. I so remember those days - some with tears but mostly joy. Just wait for the weddings and grandkids. The fun is just beginning....:-)
    Oh - @ACME...I send a Bentsh to you. (Not sure if I did that right) You ALWAYS make me laugh...

    Sheila Ryan 4:58 PM  

    Rex's observation re: crosswordese salved my bruised ego at least a bit.

    Maybe I was riding high from having worked my way through Friday's puzzle in a breezy fashion. In any event, though I tackle puzzles in an irregular fashion, I like to think that I'm not a hunnert per cent ignernt and that I have a fair ear for wordplay.

    So I got all cross over my defeat by today's puzzle. I jumped in with BAEZ and BECHET. Reckoned OSSO should work, though my knowledge of Portugese is ZILCH. Took a stab at DUZ (though LUX popped to mind.) Zipped ahead to ELEA. SANTA ANNA was easy; ditto AHAB and DENALI . . . and assorted fill-ins . . .

    . . . till I hit a load of road blocks and said, "Phooey!"

    Something about today's puzzle felt to me like puzzle arcana--or like a fortress made solid against attempts by the uninitiated.

    Not to diss the puzzle. Just an observation from an occasional visitor.

    sanfranman59 6:04 PM  

    This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

    Mon 6:13, 6:12, 1.00, 52%, Medium
    Tue 8:17, 8:16, 1.00, 54%, Medium
    Wed 9:26, 9:47, 0.96, 44%, Medium
    Thu 17:52, 17:11, 1.04, 62%, Medium-Challenging
    Fri 15:22, 20:54, 0.74, 10%, Easy
    Sat 27:00, 25:31, 1.06, 73%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:55, 3:49, 1.03, 65%, Medium-Challenging
    Tue 4:55, 4:54, 1.00, 53%, Medium
    Wed 5:36, 5:39, 0.99, 47%, Medium
    Thu 11:22, 9:49, 1.16, 76%, Medium-Challenging
    Fri 8:38, 11:56, 0.72, 8%, Easy
    Sat 17:01, 15:22, 1.11, 75%, Medium-Challenging

    Paul Keller 8:39 PM  

    Too hard for me to finish, even after revealing wrong answers several times. Solved enough of it to kind of appreciate what the expert solvers liked in the puzzle, but there was too much stuff that was unguessable and outside my Ken for me to enjoy the overall experience.

    Milford 8:52 PM  

    Didn't get to puzzle last night. Tried to do it in 5 min increments all day and found it crazy-hard. Had to google, and finally filled in grid. Just never hit a stride or caught on to Ned's wavelength.

    @Z - is your oldest a Bronco or a Hornet? The biking 800 miles sounds very Hornet-like, if that's the case.

    Speaking of biking, went on my first road bike ride today, felt my legs burning the entire ride, thought I was just phenomenally out of shape. Turns out my rear brake pad was off-kilter and pressing on my tire the entire time. Genius!

    Dirigonzo 9:01 PM  

    The NW corner practically filled itself in and I cruised counter-clockwise around the grid until I stalled in the NE. I was dead in the water with 4 blank squares when WPP arrived on the scene and knew BAOBAB and ESSENE and the puzzle was done. "They're likely to result in broken limbs" was my favorite clue because I've lived through more than a few ICESTORMS.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:21 PM  

    Happy to have finally finished correctly, after many of the think-overs and write-overs others have mentioned.

    With all of the Dutch flying around, I hope everyone is up to speed on the Driehonderdvijfendertigjarige Oorlog.

    retired_chemist 9:59 PM  

    @ Bob K - LOL! The S(c)illy Isles? Really?

    bhomey 10:03 PM  

    Almost embarrassed to say this, but I was having trouble with the NE, and, after willing to try anything at this point, wrote in KKK for "white sheets insert". Erased it pretty quick because a) it seemed a little risqué, and b) I was confident there's no 'K' in any 18A answer. Oh and c) it just seemed too silly.

    Eventually did figure it out.

    mac 10:07 PM  

    @Bob K: now that's a kind of war I can live with! Very funny.

    Anonymous 10:36 PM  

    Can't get Sunday's to take. Very annoyed. Why do they do nonsense like this to us?

    Mike 1:03 PM  

    I got ALIMENTS very late, and it screwed up the southeast corner for me for quite a while.

    I had _ L _ _ E N T _ in the grid and so, of course, entered PLACENTA.

    Anonymous 10:25 AM  

    re DUZ--

    I remember the radio ad from my childhood--"Duz Does Everything," so 1950s Madison Ave made the name work...or maybe made the name.

    I agree with post #1, @JFC. Impossible, and not always fun.

    DMGrandma 4:03 PM  

    Struggled through this one and came here to see what was wrong with LOUDOUTS. It turned out nothing, and I had, unexpectedly, finished a Saturday!

    Problems along the way included "ofage" for ADULT, and lUx for the soap. As I recall, DUZ was advertised for
    Its cleaning power (DUZ does everything), while Lux was gentle, kind to the hands and your "fine washables". Really wanted Bubkes to be some kind of grandmotherly thing. When ZILCH appeared it reminded me we non-Yiddish fluent have fallen into this trap before. Also, ANTISERUM turned up where I had ANTIvenom, and I labored long wanting the big trunk thing to be some kind of vehicle. TREE surprised me, but it did let me finish everything!

    Now for the Captcha. Seems the robot has better luck with them than I do!

    Solving in Seattle 4:47 PM  

    Can someone make sense of ANNEE "Four French quarters" for me?

    "Sole mate?"- had fishEATER before crosses gave me ODOR----.

    Overall, it was tough and AQUAPLANk dnf'd me.

    Loved VUVZELA, and they should be banned from the world soccer cup matches. LOUDOUTS is lame. Never heard the term before.

    After the 3rd round of the Open, M.A. Jimenez only a few strokes back. Go, you fun loving Spaniard!

    capcha: sedead. Uh, I think this whole zombie thing has gone too far.

    rain forest 5:33 PM  

    @SIS Annee is French for "year". There are four quarters in a year.

    I got this one, mainly because of a few guesses that worked out. I remember DUZ (for awhile, I thought it could have been Vel. Weird that I remember that, too.)

    I've heard of a BAOBAB TREE, and that's all it could be with -AO---, and BAEZ, ZILCH, and AQUAPLANE were basically guesses. So much just fell into place, and I don't know if that means that I was on the constructor's wavelength, or that I was lucky. Whatever, to get both Friday and Saturday is good for me.

    Anonymous 5:33 PM  

    Arnhem,A Bridge Too Far.

    Waxy in Montreal 7:23 PM  

    Idle thought - do they rattle the VUVUZELA in VENEZUELA (from yesterday's puzzle)? If not, they should.

    Having a father who was a WWII British army veteran, ARNHEM was a gimme. However, not so much BECHET and CASITA which DNF'd my NE. Also not familiar with MULEDEER nor with ALIMENTS as a word in English (it just means "food" in French).

    LOUDOUTS a very common term used by baseball play-by-play guys and probably only a few others.

    Until today SANTA ANNA was familiar to me only as the villain at the Alamo in the old Davy Crockett TV series. But from Wikipedia, I'm amazed to learn that "in 1869, 74-year-old Santa Anna was living in exile in Staten Island, New York. During his time in New York City, he is credited with bringing in the first shipments of chicle, the base of chewing gum. He failed to profit from this, since his plan was to use the chicle to replace rubber in carriage tires, which was tried without success. Thomas Adams, the American assigned to aid Santa Anna while he was in the United States, experimented with chicle in an attempt to use it as a substitute for rubber. He bought one ton of the substance from Santa Anna, but his experiments proved unsuccessful. Instead, Adams helped to found the chewing gum industry with a product that he called "Chiclets"." Who knew?

    Dirigonzo 8:32 PM  

    @Waxy - who knew, indeed. Learning stuff like that is why I love Rexville. Thanks for sharing.

    spacecraft 9:01 PM  

    DNF thanks to a misguessed natick in the NE. I could not see the phrase BE IN ERROR, parsing it as two words. I thought "BEaN ERROR," as in misfiguring by a bean counter, might be on the edge of reasonable, and CASaTA seemed equally fine.

    That this was the only place where I was to BEINERROR is remarkable. A list of never-heard-ofs includes ARNHEM, BECHET and ATLI. In addition, I had to deal with the horrid ALER (would a member of the League of Nations be called a LONER? I think not!) and the very little-used LOUDOUTS instead of the 100%-of-solvers' answer LineOUTS is just plain MEANTO us.

    Also, I guess I must be wrong in believing that the Alamo general spelled his name "Santa Ana." In fact, I was so sure of it that I rejected the name for a long while. Too many squares! That whole section was a kerfuffle, with me insisting that the answering machine would say "I'M NOT HomE," not IMNOTHERE.

    And @jackj speaks in superlatives? Well, to each his own. I didn't like it. SOSUEME.


    Bananfish 11:17 PM  

    The NE was murder for me and I ended up with PATITA instead of CASITA. I was picturing some kind of enclosed patio house, maybe with screens all around. The crosses made just as much sense as the real answers ... OSTO is just as plausible as OSSO for a foreign word related to bones, and BEPHET is just as plausible for the lad name of somebody I never heard of (and whose name I will forget all about within a week).

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