Summer Triangle star / FRI 6-14-13 / Celebrated racehorse nicknamed Red Terror / 1979 film based on life of Crystal Lee Sutton / American Crisis pamphleteer / Daphne after mythical transformation / Robert Louis Stevenson bottled poetry / River mentioned in Rig Veda

Friday, June 14, 2013

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: YEGG (45D: One with a job opening?)
n. Slang
A thief, especially a burglar or safecracker.

[Origin unknown.]

Read more:
• • •

I was stunned to look at the clock once I was finished and see 5:41. It felt at least Medium as I was doing it, but that time is definitely on the low side for me. I struggled all over the place, but I guess those struggles felt longer than they really were. Had a bad misstart with HIVES at 2D: Evidence of an allergic reaction (ACHOO) and then an aborted attempt at YVES SAINT-LAURENT (!?!) at 16A: His death prompted Georges Pompidou to say "France is a widow" (CHARLES DE GAULLE). It's a noisy NW corner, and I couldn't see any of the noises at first, not the YECCH or the sneeze or the YAWN (1A: Low interest indicator). Didn't know ELLA Raines. Needed every single cross to get LIES (9A: "Debts and ___ are generally mixed together": Rabelais). Needed every single cross to get WAITS (28A: Hangs on). Had -HARL-- at 23A: Celebrated racehorse nicknamed "The Red Terror" (PHAR LAP) and could see only CHARLIE. Never figured out SLANG (35A: Bad, for good). It just ... appeared after a while. So it didn't feel like a cake walk. But most of the long stuff on the bottom did come together pretty quickly, and virtually every answer in this grid (with the slight exception of a couple proper nouns) is a common word, phrase, or expression, so I never got totally derailed. A nice, clean, decent puzzle. No fireworks, but no junkety junk, either.

  • 48A: Loaded roll (EVERYTHING BAGEL) — Nice, misleading clue. I got YOU CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL almost instantly, but I had to cross this answer many, many times before I saw the kind of "roll" it was after. 
  • 51A: Terminus of the old Virginia and Truckee Railroad (RENO) — at four letters, there are only so many options. Plus, I grew up in CA, and any time we went into the Sierra Nevadas, we would see the name "Truckee" on road signs. I always thought it was a hilarious name. Like something I might've named my truck when I was 4. 
  • 6D: Opera with the aria "Recondita armonia" (TOSCA) — I don't know the story of "TOSCA," but I got this easily. Five letters, opera ... esp. ending in "A"; not many options.
  • 9D: Daphne, after her mythical transformation (LAUREL) — this transformation saves her from getting raped by Apollo. 
  • 23D: "The American Crisis" pamphleteer (PAINE) — blah blah blah pamphleteer in five letters = PAINE.
  • 11D: "Phantom Lady" co-star Raines (ELLA) — don't know her. I own the book Phantom Lady (by Cornell Woolrich/William Irish), but I haven't seen the movie. Yet. 
  • 17D: Survivor of two 1918 assassination attempts (LENIN) — interesting that he's in a puzzle with "The Red Terror."
  • 39D: River mentioned in the Rig Veda (GANGES) — should've homed in on the word "Veda." Instead, got fixated on "Rig" and couldn't decide what the hell language I was dealing with. Thus, this answer took more effort to turn up than it should have.
  • 47D: Robert Louis Stevenson described it as "bottled poetry" (WINE) — that's one way to justify your binge drinking.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:10 AM  

OK, so yesterday's was harder than I thought.  My rating may have been the result of working on (but not finishing) the Francis Heaney AV Club puzzle just before I started David's.  That one is truly a bear.  But, today's really was easy.   My only erasure was spelling YECCH with 2 Es.  Got YAWN as it came off the printer and just kept going.

So, the puzzle.  Kinda bland for an easy Fri.  If there's no crunch there should at least be some zip.  Meh. 

Jonathan 12:12 AM  

It's late, so 41A Ultimate Problem Solver, when I had PA_A___ turned out to be PAJAMAS. My panacea.

Evan 12:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 12:20 AM  

Good, nice 'n easy Friday. The only crossing that really scared me was PHAR LAP/PAINE. I was 99% sure the pamphleteer had to be PAINE (it was the first answer in my grid), but I was worried the NYT was going to be really cruel by dredging up some lesser known Revolutionary pamphleteer like CAINE, and I'd have believed you if you told me that the horse was named CHAR LAP.

The only other problem spot was that when I had -AE ending 4-Down, I figured the movie had to do with Mae West. Her real name could have been Crystal Lee Sutton for all I knew. Then I made the mistake of thinking NORMA RAE was about Marilyn Monroe. That's Norma Jeane. One of those answers that completely befuddled me yet I got it right anyway.

Did anyone else get held up by ANTE because he or she misread the clue as "Pot addiction?"

Ante Cala Mari 1:21 AM  

I think @Rex had a minimalapop for cHARLie for CHARLESDEGAULLE.

I could see CHARLESDEGAULLE in my mind, but had to get the same -HARL that was in PHARLAP to have it click.
(I also thought the school might have been tENN)

I'd say easy and flowy but fun and I learned a ton.

EVERYTHINGBAGEL was easy as Michale Blake and I used that as a 15 in our SCHMEAR puzzle...

Actually my only writeovers were imSAved for HOSANNA and DElta/DENEB.

Little mess up top with WHILEAWAY the hours (Consultin' with the flowers...) Little Tin Man ref...

And I must confess my first thought was ReagaN not LENIN till I reread the date.

What's weirder is that I've just landed in Minneapolis (tho my baggage didn't make it out of Denver :( ) and was helping my hostess with today's (Thurs) syndicated puzzle in the Mpls Trib and it has both CLIENT and ALLOY in it. Bleedovers thru time and space.

Fave corner that I didn't notice how "noisy" it was till @Rex pointed it out: YECCH, ACHOO, YAWN, WHAMS. Nice!

acme 1:23 AM  

wow, typoed my own name! Sorry, Michael!

Benko 2:23 AM  

Easy Friday for me. Confidently entered CHARLES DEGAULLE with no crosses as my first bit of fill, which helped.
two things I didn't know: PHARLAP and DAYNE Taylor.

chefwen 2:23 AM  

Like @jae got YAWN as it was coming off the printer, YECCH was a little slower to appear as I was unsure of the spelling.

Loved 47D Bottled poetry WINE my drug of choice.

Got a few of the long ones pretty early on 16A, 19A and 48A, rendering this one on the easy side for me. Not something I can usually say on a Friday, so color me happy.

Thanks Mr. Berry, love your puzzles.

John Child 2:59 AM  

Faster than a typical Friday for me too. Lots of long answers went down at once - CHARLESDEGAULLE, VENEZUELA, CALAMARI, and YOUCANTWIN_____ were easy. But the short answers were not, and I spent half of my time filling in short stuff NW and center. Patrick Berry does that to me. I can have three crosses to a fiveor six letter answer and still have a hard time seeing it. His brain works differently (and far better) than mine.

syndy 4:13 AM  

YVESSTLAURENT? Thats just hilarious!I usually have trouble with a PB but not today.

Anonymous 6:20 AM  

Was doing this puzzle at the Rio during the dinner break of a World Series of Poker tournament when I got to 22a. I was fairly confident I had the right answer.

Milford 7:29 AM  

Finished a Friday, which for me is still a great thing, but had an error or two. The problem was that when my crosses for the racehorse showed PHAR_A_ , I stupidly decided it was PHARoAh (which is spelled wrong anyway). Should have noticed that hENN is not a school, but I was tired.

Otherwise, not a ton of problems. Write overs included oh mY before I SAY (must be reading too many George Takai FB posts) but delicious CALAMARI cleared that area up.

Took forever to get EVERYTHING BAGEL - good clue.

But DENEB was a gimme today!

I'd still like to get an AUDI someday - love the TTs.

@Jen CT - good luck meeting your potential pup today!

Tita 7:58 AM  

@mILFORD - WHEN LIVING IN Germany, an AUDI TT Quattro ragtop was going to be the car I would bring back to the states! I wound up with a MINI Cooper S convertible instead.

I grew up in Thomas PAINE's apple orchard - he lived in New Rochelle. Our backyard had 2 of his trees, which bore very wormy apples.


@Jen - best of luck with the pooch!

Nice puzzle.

Glimmerglass 8:00 AM  

Not easy for me (and apparently not for Rex, despite the rating). This had some typical Friday clues (ground water, bar rooms, YECCH) and some obscure (to me) proper nouns (PHARLAP, DAYNE, the real NORMA RAE). I needed every cross for PHARLAP and still doubted myself. I went with SPLAYS, but still can't parse it as "Flares." To me splay means "to spread awkwardly (as one's legs)." I note that SPLAYS is Rex's last entry.

Tita 8:01 AM  

Oops - CapsLock key-challenged today...

And meant to say that YECCH is my general reaction to the POMPIDOU Center...

Mohair Sam 8:13 AM  

Hit us right in the sweet spot.

CHARLESDEGUALLE, PAINE, VENEZUELA, PENN all gimmees. Got PHARLAP off the P in PAINE and PENN, and my wife took one look at 45D and said YEGG. With that kind of head start this puzzle filled like a Tuesday.

Maybe Will was making up for last Friday's whopper.

DENEB again? Becoming my favorite star.

joho 8:15 AM  

@Rex, LOL at your mention of "noisy" as I had written "noisy" in the margin at that corner ... which I loved! YAWN, ECHO, YECCH, ACHOO, WHAMS and the whole congregation shouting HOSANNA! All so AUDIble!


This truly was a fun Friday, not a brain teaser but a real pleaser.

Thanks, again, Patrick Berry!

loren muse smith 8:20 AM  

I have an intern at work, so once I get there, I can’t do anything here; she sits at the computer and I don’t know how to surreptitiously post blogs from my phone. So I’m forced to do an honest day’s work. By the time I get home, I’m too tired and have too much laundry/cooking/straightening up to do.
So. . .from yesterday
@Sheila Ryan – Hey! Welcome aboard. This is a fun place.
@John V and Mary – Congrats!
@LaneB – my windows are all dirty, too!
@Evil – I nail that harmony every time; it’s, hands down, the best harmony in any song. Ever.
@YetAnotherDietLady – I’m jealous. Enjoy your TOUR!

Today – Ok, so no one has yet waxed poetic about PB. Happily admitting to being the resident, shameless, waxer-poeticker, I’ll COO here. Somehow, at least for me, his puzzles have that way of seeming right outside my grasp. I think, “Man, this is just too hard.” Then I see BAGEL or CAGES. And smile. I usually persevere and finish Patrick’s puzzles because I trust that they’re totally fair and gettable. Today I didn’t because I had the misspelled “wiled AWAY” in the NE. My bad. But look at the grid. Smooth, clean, expert. Zero YECCH. Well, ok, EPEE is there to remind us all he’s still mortal. Maybe.

Patrick – GLAD to see you’re still around. Now that you’ve left the CHE, I can’t pester you with theme ideas. I know I was a PAINE.

A couple of GLOATS – got VENEZUELA off of only that final A. Got SLANG off of only the final G.

My guiltiest pleasure – an EVERYTHING BAGEL toasted in the broiler first with a ton of butter, slathered with cream cheese and then topped with smoked salmon. I’m too impatient to place capers everywhere, so I gave them up a while back.

My CHIN is slowly becoming CHINS. See above.

I keep seeing YOU CAN’T WINE MALL. @chefwen – I bet we could figure out how!

PHARLAP looks like some unfortunate growth you would go to a doctor to have removed. “WHAT’S THAT? Oh, I had a GANGES PHARLAP removed because it was starting to SPLAY all over my STERNum. They first thought it was a DEWLAP, but since it wasn’t under my CHINS. . .”

Thanks, PB! I’m still ALLOYal fan!

Susan McConnell 8:40 AM  

Just ok for me. I think it takes some guts to start a puzzle off with YECCH. That's pretty much what I said to myself once I figured out the spelling he wanted. I generally enjoy filling in those long 15s, one on top of the other, and this was no exception, but it just wasn't as zippy or challenging as I have come to anticipate on Fridays.

Jack Lee 8:49 AM  

It's an easy Friday puzzle if I can finish (most of) it without Googling. Was only held up by STERNO/RIO, neither of which I've heard of. Overall, a fun puzzle.

MetaRex 8:51 AM  

Nice puzz. Subliminal sparkle even in the four corners...YAWN YECCH, SEEK LIES, GLAD YEGG, and ALLO(Y) I SAY are all kinda appealin.

The non-grumpy side of MR is at peace w/ my 14:52 time and my dumbness for not getting Flare = SPLAY not SPRAY, and tips my hat to OFL's 5:40 and the fine times by my pace cars tushnet (way to go...less than half MR's time) and sanfranman59...

The resentful robot villain side of MR is annoyed at messing around from 11:18 to 14:52 before realizing my mistake was ZA(R)ES/SP(R)AY not somethin to do w/ PHARLAP...if yer gonna use junk like ZALES, SKIL, STUF, etc., okay, okay...but then pls tilt toward makin the cross clue less elliptical than it would otherwise be!

John V 8:53 AM  

Easy here, too. I uniformly have good luck and fun with PB's puzzles. Only real pause today was 8D. Why I knew PHARLAP is beyond me, but there it is. The 15s were especially easy. Good clue for RIO which even I, who knows not one thing of Vegas, got from the crosses.

Loved "Pink fuel" but hoped it would be COSMO, for narcissistic reasons.

Good one from the master.

Cruxlogger 8:56 AM  

Like canoeing Class II whitewater -- not thrilling but a pleasant cruise

Sir Hillary 8:57 AM  

Another master class in construction from...well, the master. I confess to guessing at the GALES/YEGG cross as my last entry, but other than that it was smooth as can be. All entries of 8 letters or more are uniformly excellent, and there is no junk in the shorter fill. Amazing quality.

And yet, the whole experience felt a little bland, like I was doing the puzzle on anesthesia. Hard to explain.

Maybe if the cluing had included more misdirection or just plain difficulty...?

chefbea 9:37 AM  

What a great party puzzle Let me get out the sterno so I can keep the calamari warm. Get out the ladle, uncork the wine, brew the tea, put out the bagels. Come on over everyone to Bee's Buffet.

Found this fairly easy for a Friday.

PS - any left overs from the party I will put in a glad ziplock bag

Robso 9:41 AM  

Did not appreciate the "weneb" and "wayne" cross, but you can't win em all.

jberg 9:43 AM  

Darn, finished with an error again -- I got ZALES confused witn a men's clothing retailer and ended up with ZArES/SPrAYS - the latter a perfectly good answer.

Held up for a long time by thinking that to stick was to STAy, and that Truckee, like Maumee, must be in Ohio. And that every buffet has tongs.

On the other hand, I saw YAWN right away -- but hesitated to put it in because the obvious 1D, YuCky, didn't work. Once I read the clue for 16A, though, I was all set - no one but CDG would have drawn a remark like that.

Oh yeah, oh mY before I SAY, too. So all a bit of a struggle.

I like the WINE heading both ways from 47.

OK, who can think of an even more obscure way to clue RENO? Heading on a memo of denial?

retired_chemist 10:06 AM  

Easy. Got CHARLES DE GAULLE without a cross and VENEZUELA off the V. Would have had it without a cross but the V was there.

Ch. Rush Hill's PHAR-LAP, a big red dog, won the Golden Retriever National Specialty in 2005. That dog show was the one at which I met my wife. Still took a few crosses even though I knew where the dog's name came from.

YUCKY for YECCH slowed me down a bit.

A good example of Patrick Berry's work. Lively, little (maybe no) crosswordese, clever cluing.

Thanks, Mr. Berry.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

[@loren muse smith kinda beat me too it, but since I have nothing else to say I'll post what I had thought while finishing the puzzle.]

Fun story about 45 A, 48 A: There's this great little shopping center, but they couldn't get a liquor license: The You Can Dine But You Can't Wine Mall, where my favorite little shop, oh so precious, is called Everything Bagel - they have bagel slicers, bagel toasters, bagel spreaders, all kinds of jellies, etc.

Good puzzle.

jerry k 11:01 AM  

Wiled away when I should have idled away. Actually, 'lies' got that corner for me, for the finish.

Sandy K 11:09 AM  

Must admit I COOED out loud when I saw Patrick Berry's name today.

Loved all his AUDIbles- 'the noisy corner' of YAWN, ECHO, ACHOO, HOSANNA, ACHOO, WHAMS, and YECCH. Along with GLOATS, COOED, WHAT'S THAT? I SAY, and words after "OH well"...

Had Solomon before PANACEA, and didn't know PHAR LAP, but PB
puzzles are gettable and enjoyable!

mac 11:21 AM  

Yes, I wiled away as well for a bit, but I was having a good time

Getting Charles de Gaulle and You can't win 'em all immediately helped a lot. Good thing I remembered Deneb, because I don't know Dayne. Same with Phar-lap/Paine. No, I didn't know Phar-lap.

@Loren: my son taught me a good trick: put the cream cheese on the toasted bagel, sprinkle on the capers, then add the salmon. This way the capers stay put.

Unfortunately that Isley Brothers song makes me think of Swiffers.

retired_chemist 11:35 AM  

@ Bob K - in Texas restaurants without a liquor license still let you brown-bag it. Some places even have racks of wine glasses on the wall for your use.

R. Duke 11:43 AM  

Fun puzzle today. The 15s came to me pretty easily.

As a relative newbie to this blog, can someone explain the significance of the gray and red shaded squares in Rex's solved puzzle? Thanks!

Mr. Benson 11:47 AM  

What's the term for when you get a wrong answer but one of the letters is fortuitously correct, and helps you get a cross? Happened to me when I put in "wiled away"; the L helped De Gaulle come into view. Of course, that's a mixed blessing because it made me stubbornly not want to give up on "wiled." I had to put it down and come back to that corner later to finish.

retired_chemist 11:48 AM  

@ R Duke - that has to do with the program Across Lite that a lot of us use to solve. The red square is the current highlighted letter which can be changed with a keystroke. The gray tells you which direction the cursor (red square) will move if you do change the letter. Thus if you redid the red P in today's example the L in ZALES would become the next red one.

Mr. Benson 11:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 11:52 AM  

Patrick Berry on a Friday and no NYT today of all days! Boo hiss.

R. Duke 11:54 AM  

@retired_chemist - thank you. I usually print these out and use the old pencil but have encountered this when playing online.

Lewis 12:02 PM  

I love PB's cluing, which adds sparkle, like "Show stopper" for COMMERCIAL BREAK, or "bar rooms" for CAGES. It seems obvious to me that Patrick's puzzles are LABORS of love. And they are always smooth as silk.

I loved all the long answers, especially YOUCANTWINEMALL.

I also like DAYNE, CANE, and PAINE in the same grid. Unfortunately U-shy for M&A, but then again, no EELS.

It wasn't easy for me, but is was a joy.

Z 12:32 PM  

Finished this before heading out this morning. Easy Peasy all around, although PHARLAP was new.

@R.Duke - check out the FAQ's. Lots of interesting stuff there.

JanetM 12:50 PM  

Was feeling quite smug this morning after finishing in about 20 minutes with no Googling and no hubby collaboration, until I read that yooze guys all thought it was easy. Harrumph.

Paul Keller 12:54 PM  

Definetly easier than a normal Friday, especially the 15s. The high point for me was figuring out how to spell DeGaulle leading to correcting 9D to LAUREL (accompanied by the ring of a silent bell), leading to erasing the wrong parts of PHAROAH and putting PENN in for something unintelligable.

After all these wonderful corrections, and a correct guess on YEGG, I ended up with a mistake: HOSANNI-TOSCI, which I interpret as divine punishment for never going to church!

Carola 1:00 PM  

Not easy for me at all - had to TOUR the grid multiple times in order to finish. But I enjoyed it all the way. At the start was grateful to know the random facts LAUREL and VENEZUELA and to see DENEB reappear - enough to get me started.

I'm on the West Coast at the moment and enjoying lazy mornings, so I get the treat of so many great comments along with the puzzle Thanks to those who pointed out all of the AUDIbles and other felicities. @loren - I DEW BEElieve that is one of your funniest. @jberg - Re: RENO - LOL!

okanaganer 2:03 PM  

Read the clue for 16A and confidently typed in GEORGES DE GAULLE. As Rex often says: stupid brain!

I also did not appreciate square 36, as knowing neither name made it a crap shoot. (Actually I've heard of DENEB, but thought the clue referred to a TV show named Summer Triangle!) But it was a fun puzzle and I finished only 6x slower than Rex.

Delaware 2:04 PM  

Been lurking forever and finally decide to add my two cents worth. Thought this was pretty easy once I got started, but the Taylor clue killed me. Started with Swift, switched to James, and finally settled on the right one. Also, I avoided Charles DeGaulle forever because it seemed too easy. Wanted "sparks" for 35 down and am not sure how "splays" fits the clue. Otherwise, a fun puzzle.

jackj 2:09 PM  

As a Friday Times puzzle it’s a gentle, unremarkable solve, with only a tinge of trouble, discourtesy of PHARLAP.

As a Wednesday level puzzle it is as smooth as velvet and as elegant as a perfectly marked Monarch butterfly; a Patrick Berry puzzle that is the word-lover’s equivalent of an EVERYTHINGBAGEL (with a schmear of Garden Vegetable (lite) Cream Cheese).

Right puzzle, wrong day.

chefbea 2:34 PM  

@Delaware welcome!!! glad you joined us

LaneB 2:38 PM  

Early fills that held up the show: James Taylor for DAYNE; pEAS for TEAS; nET for WET. Then there were plenty of things I didn't know which had to be beaten into submission: A trailing arbutus? the Rig Veda ?[though once I found out, GANGES came easily]; the Beaufort Scale? the Daphne legend? Dementieva's first name? What caravels are? So off to Google to find out. Of course that helped a great deal in finishing and it still took me much of the morning. Still, it's nice to finish without having to look at Rex's final solution. Especially on Friday.

Merri Ol' Webster 2:41 PM  

To whom it may concern:

Flare - : to open or spread outward

Splay - to cause to spread outward

nebraska doug 3:54 PM  

It's not very often that I finish the Friday puzzle faster than the Thursday puzzle. This week was one of those weeks. Very easy Friday. Fine with me. Feels good to race through a Friday puzzle.

sanfranman59 4:18 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 15:30, 20:54, 0.74, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 8:52, 11:56, 0.74, 10%, Easy

Ellen S 4:34 PM  

I was scared when I saw it was a Patrick Berry, but turned out easy for me too, except for the DNF.

I had no idea about 36A, had DAY_E. But that wasn't the real problem. Problem was, I had BREACkING at 8D... (huh? If I could spell I wouldn't have fallen into that trap). So the celebrated horse was PKARLA_. WtF? A "celebrated" racehorse I haven't heard of? I don't know their lineages (once knew Man O'War's), or how many wins or what kind of stud fees they brought but I do recognize their names, and this was not familiar looking at all. Finally checked my answers and saw the problem with BREACHING. (Breacks my heart to make a bonehead spelling error like that...) As soon as I had the H instead of K I knew it was PHAR LAP, the terminal P gave me PENN and I didn't have to worry about whoever this Taylor person is, if it's DAYNE Taylor or Taylor DAYNE. Good times. And as @Lewis pointed out, no EELS.

Oh, welcome, @Deleware.

Ellen S 4:36 PM  

I mean @Delaware. Crikey! I used to be able to spell AND type but nobody will believe me.

michael 9:10 PM  

As I sped through this< i thought I was going to write a comment about what an easy Friday this is. But then I had to google Phar-a-

sanfranman59 10:04 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

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

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Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Not easy for me. At my skill level, my puzzle week ends at Friday, but this was definitely harder for me than usual, and I still didn't get everything (stuck with wiled away instead of IDLED AWAY, which, honestly, I feel is not used with the same frequency).

I also would have preferred blech to YECCH, though Google doesn't necessarily back me up on this one. Yucky would have also been better, for me anyway.

So, for anybody who thought it was really hard, you're not alone.

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

@Benko (any relation to Pal, of chess fame?): Not PHARLAP but PHAR LAP. And not DAYNE Taylor but Taylor DAYNE. I remember seeing a poster with her picture (H-O-T-T!) and wondering why her career never really took off. But that section tripped me up, too. I misrecalled the horse's name as PHAR LoP, and so was having a tough time with IDLEDO__. Idle down? When you're idle you're already "down," right? Then finally parsed Taylor as a first name and it all fell.

I'm not familiar with the phrase EVERYTHINGBAGEL; did not know that was a thing. A bagel with everything is what I'd say. But how is a bagel a "roll," anyway? Good thing that fifteener went in on crosses.

Fridays are never easy, but this one comes closer than most. I could give it an "Easy relative to Friday" rating, I guess.

Mr. Berry takes greater care with his fill than most. I don't remember a single groan the whole way through--and for me, that's saying a lot. I liked this one. Lots of cool stuff. How can you not like VENEZUELA crossing ZALES?

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

This was NOT easy!!!

Syndi Solver 2:00 PM  

I left one square blank today at YE-G/-ALES. I'm pretty sure I've seen YEGG in crosswords before but I completely forgot it. I hope from now on I'll remember it. And now I know there's a Beaufort scale for GALES. So, two new things learned today!

But I got all the rest. I loved YOU CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL and EVERYTHING BAGEL. I got the BAGEL quickly but it took a while to see the first part.

But in spite of doing so well (for me!) for a Friday, I had some bagged golf TEeS for 53 A, believe it or not, before I changed it to TEAS. And I've never even played golf. It's funny how the brain works (or doesn't).

@Jonathan, I loved your comment about pajamas at 41 A as your ultimate problem solver. Too funny!

@spacecraft, thanks for name hint on Taylor DAYNE. I didn't know her until I looked her up.

How do all these spambots get past captchas when actual humans have so much trouble with them? I usually have to reload a couple times to get one that I can decipher.

molele - Saucy Mexican oo-la-la?

NM Robin 2:33 PM  

This was the first Friday puzzle that I finished in the five-years I have been trying to complete the puzzles. So I would rate this one as easy.

@Syndi Solver: I had TEeS also but the cross with PINTA definitely let me know it was TEAS.

I usually cringe when I see Patrick Berry's name. This one was so smooth though. Loved it.

Great puzzle. Thank you Mr. Berry.

Dirigonzo 3:52 PM  

I'm always glad to see PB's name on a puzzle because I can often get on his wavelength, especially on the long answers. My first run through the clues revealed much I don't know, including the racehorse, the singer and how to spell YECCH, but the 15s filled in fairly quickly and the crosses let me put the puzzle to bed. Not sure CHARLESDEGAULLE would appreciate LENIN sharing a letter. On to Saturday in prime time then back here on Sunday.

rain forest 4:38 PM  

Missed the previous three puzzles as I was away for a beautiful sojourn to Saltspring Island, but delighted to return to a smooth Patrick Berry offering. Taylor Dayne or Dayne Taylor, only the crosses knew.

Sharp cluing, fine fill, nice 15's.

DMGrandma 5:11 PM  

When I solve a Friday, I just know that it will be rated Easy. My worse hang-up was thinking generalDEGAULLE-it fits. But crosses solved that and later gave me PHARLAP, which I recognized only after all seven letters were in place! Also temporarily got my scales confused, but YEGG let me correct tALcS to GALES. Learning STERNO is pink was my fact for the day.

@rain forest: I'm jealous of your Saltspring trip. Spent many happy days visiting family in and around Ganges.

Captcha: hatmodi. Seems appropriate after the wild hat extravaganzas at yesterday's race season opening.

Waxy in Montreal 7:37 PM  

Mostly Easy but thought the jewelry chain might be Zares so ended up with SPRAYS at 35D. Also, would never have deigned to have entered DAYNE at 36A but for DENEB's fortuitous reappearance in the grid. Didn't know YEGG either but its relatively simple 15-acrosses made it the only real contender at 45D.

From the clue, originally thought the celebrated racehorse might be related to the old Peter, Paul & MARY folk song but that turned out to be STEWBALL and didn't even fit at 23A. So PHARLAP it was, again from its crosses.

Captcha of the day = therdio which just now is probably featuring a COMMERCIALBREAK.

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