Cousin of screwdriver / FRI 8-2-13 / Plutoid just beyond Kuiper belt / Marathoner Pippig / Weena's race in fiction / It replaced Indian rupee in 1932 / Largest city in South Pacific / Lack of authorisation / Relative d'un etudiant

Friday, August 2, 2013

Constructor: Barry Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: BRADAWL (41A: Cousin of a screwdriver) —
n.
An awl with a beveled tip, used to make holes in wood for brads or screws.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/bradawl#ixzz2am2n8IGK
• • •

This was not as interesting or entertaining to me as most recent Barry Silk puzzles have been. That's a pretty high bar. I think this one is just fine. It's just that having to work to reveal technical terms I don't know and don't care that much about (see esp. BRADAWL) isn't satisfying. Struggle + aha = awesome. Struggle + "that's a thing?" = shrug. Banks of long Acrosses in the NW and SE are nice, as you'd expect in a Silk puzzle. Not nearly as fond as some of the 3s he had to use to make the stacks come off—that IGN / DAH / ILO sequence is particularly noxious. Everything else seems just fine.

Started off easily enough, with KIDNEY BEAN as a gimme (1A: Food item resembling an organ). Easy enough to hack away at the Downs from there and thus take care of the NW. AIR FRANCE was a tough get, but I managed to get into that NE section via ULULATE. Then there was getting down from there—I wanted LEGAL TENDER, but couldn't make most of the stuff crossing TENDER work, so I backed off and went over to the west. LULU got me the "L" that I needed to get LIGHT SECOND (22D: About 186,282 miles). Getting that answer quickly significantly altered the difficulty level of the puzzle. Because I nailed it, SW was done in a heartbeat and I was able to move over to the SW from there. From there it was just a short trip up BRUSQUE (a lovely word, btw) (41D: Curt) to my last stand, the puzzle's big trouble spot—BRADAWL, a word I've never seen. That also happens to be the Ugliest part of the grid, or ugly-adjacent at any rate. NCAA / NCAR = yucky crossing, esp. right next to the LegalTENDer / ExTENDs crossing (with TEND also in the grid at 62A—nice). Thought the black mts were in NDAK. Wasn't even sure I knew what a "sports ticker" was. NCAA has about as much to do with a "sports ticker" as it does with any place one might see sports written or talked about anywhere. The abbr. is way too common to be that absurdly-tightly clued. But the issue for me really is having the climactic moment be: BRADAWL! Thud.


Bullets:
  • 16A: Plutoid just beyond the Kuiper belt (ERIS) — this was easy. Why was this easy? I guess ... four letters, dwarf planet ... yeah, easy.
  • 17A: Many a detective film cover-up (TRENCHCOAT) — one of many fine clues today. I also enjoyed [Lack of authorisation?] for ZED and ["Casablanca" carrier] for AIR FRANCE (hard!) and [Intro to Euclidean geometry?] for NON-. I had NEO-, which shows you what I know about the various geometries.
  • 56A: It replaced the Indian rupee in 1932 (IRAQI DINAR) — Indian rupee was currency in Iraq at one point. I did not know that.
  • 8D: Weena's race, in fiction (ELOI) — not sure "in fiction" is needed here. Interestingly, I would prefer seeing WEENA to seeing ELOI—if only for novelty's sake. 
  • 23D: Marathoner Pippig (UTA) — No idea, and yet somehow I *knew*. Name sort of came to me. Just felt right. I couldn't tell you a Thing about her.
  • 59D: Publisher of World of Work mag. (ILO) — Got it immediately. Why? Again, who knows? I do Not like ILO as an answer—terrible crosswordese—but when you make puzzles, you get Very Familiar with the crosswordese and what it means and how you might clue it. If you're lucky, you also arrive at "why you should avoid it whenever possible." ILO was the one blight on the best puzzle I ever made (w/ PuzzleGirl—an L.A. Times puzzle that Will rejected. Twice) (29-Across, here). 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

91 comments:

jae 12:09 AM  

Very easy for me except for SW.  PLECTRUM was another major WOE that had me thinking DNF.  The crosses were solid though so I stuck with it.  IVAN was also a guess in that corner.  The rest was Wed. easy.   Ok, I did have @Rex Ndak for NCAR briefly and BRADAWL was also a WOE (my first thought was some kind of cocktail).

The puzzle was pretty bland.  ANYONE ELSE was as about it for zip.  So, easy, meh, with PLECTRUMS as the LULU!

Naugahyde 12:16 AM  

BRER is more Old South than backwoods, I'd say.

Had Rex's reaction generally. CAYUGA LAKE isn't really aha-y. EISENHOWER sort of was, just because it doesn't look like any president's name until you have dang near all the letters, or at least to me.

Plectrum is a word no guitar player ever uses. It's a cool word, but we ought to let it mean something else.

The BRADAWL section took me half my puzzle time to get--NDAK (
Black Hills is what me and Rocky Raccoon were thinking of) among other reasons. And I thought Crow would mean an Indian tribe and couldn't think of any that started with D, and the D_W_ looked like it could be an India Indian word, which got me all turned around in my head.

Questinia 12:20 AM  

Went from NDAK to NEBR and finally to NCAR in order to find that BRAD AWL holy grail.
Liked the mirroring of LULU/ULULATE.

A fine piece of Silk

Evan 12:24 AM  

I was disappointed in this, too. I love Barry's stuff almost all of the time, but this just turned me off with all of the three-letter crap and crosswordese that normally isn't in his grids at such a high volume -- ENC, YEH (?!), INRE, ELOI, ERIS, LEM, IGN, DAH, ILO, DAWS. Does anyone use IGN as a standard abbreviation for ignition? I'm more familiar with it as a video game website, but even though I'm all about the video gaming, I'm not even sure I'd be alright with that as a clue.

I not only had BRADAWL as a big question mark, but PLECTRUMS. That's what guitar picks are called? Apparently so. I've heard my brother play the guitar for at least fifteen years, and I've never heard him call a pick a PLECTRUM. I seriously thought both that and BRADAWL had to do with drinking, i.e. PLECT RUMS and the screwdriver cocktail.

Oh well. At least it turned out to be easier than I expected it would be when I struggled for a few minutes to even get started. After I got AS A RULE and NETFLIX one right after the other, I pretty much raced through the rest of the grid. My write-overs were ESPN before NCAA (defensible) and SQUAT before SPLIT (don't know what I was thinking).

August West 12:29 AM  

Workmanlike progression with no real fun. Nothing aaah- or aha-inducing. Liked ANYONE ELSE and ZED best. SUVA isn't even the largest city in Fiji; Nasinu is. Wanted BeADAWL and USER geek, which cloaked my ability to see REB as Beauregard('s) follower. Lost 5 minutes or so right there. Medium time for me due to that one patch, and more a chore than an enjoyment throughout.

Evan 12:44 AM  

Oh, and I've reserved my spot at Lollapuzzoola, so hopefully I'll be seeing you others around there!

retired_chemist 1:36 AM  

Either this was very easy, or a lot of stuff was in my wheelhouse, or both. KIDNEY BEAN and TRENCH COAT went in directly, no crosses, and that made the NW a snap. Worked over to AIR FRANCE and ULULATE, so the NE yielded easily too.

REALLY wanted "Weena's race, in fiction," to be NY MAYOR but it wouldn't fit.

Hand up for NDAK (Black Mtns must be an extension of S DAK's Black Hills, no?) and for BRADAWL being a WTF.

KATZ's Deli - eaten there (note to self: do NOT ask for a Reuben the next time you go). CAYUGA LAKE and Ithaca - 6 years there. LIGHT SECOND - a gimme. IRAQI DINAR - cool.

Yes, a lot of ugly short crosswordese fill, but to me there was enough zing in the longer answers to make up for that shortcoming.

Thank you, Mr.Silk.

retired_chemist 1:40 AM  

Oh BTW - did ANYONE else try Johnny MIZE for 51D instead of Willie MAYS? I had a Johnny Mize first baseman's mitt when I was about 10.

Mike Rees 1:43 AM  

Okay, I give up. What does WOE stand for??

Riswanto Efendi 1:59 AM  

Very easy for me except for SW. PLECTRUM was another major WOE that had me thinking DNF. The crosses were solid though so I stuck with it. IVAN was also a guess in that corner. The rest was Wed. easy. Ok, I did have @Rex Ndak for NCAR briefly and BRADAWL was also a WOE (my first thought was some kind of cocktail).

The puzzle was pretty bland. ANYONE ELSE was as about it for zip. So, easy, meh, with PLECTRUMS as the LULU!

jae 2:39 AM  

@Riswanto Efendi -- If you are going to copy and paste my post at least have the decency to correct the typo. It should read "ANYONE ELSE was about it for zip." Some how an as(s) crept in there.

@Mike Rees -- WOE (What on Earth) is a kinder gentler way of saying WTF.

Arena Cayuga Mantras 2:48 AM  


Had to run the alphabet for Hall-of-famer MA-S...
then head slap!

LEGALTENDER in one corner TEND in the other. Means nothing, just thought I'd note it! :)

Hand up for NdAK and getting TRENCHCOAT with no crosses.

Those ten stacks are very very cool.

My Muslims had to become SHIITES and all those three letter abbrev were hard, but IGN was what cracked the puzzle for me.

Nice and crunchy with IRAQI, KATZ, NETFLIX, BRUSQUE...
Wait might this be a pangram???!!!
Nope, no J.

Tonight went down to Stanford to cheer on young David Steinberg participate in his Gifted Youth program's talent show...
While others karaoked to Rhianna and played Rachmaninoff, David solved a crossword
projected on a big screen
(My Monday puzzle by coincidence) in 3 minutes and got a standing ovation!
MUCH fun!!!!

syndy 4:11 AM  

I guess we are all agreed on Ndak. I'm a tool geek but BRADAWL was still a WOE! I liked it better than Rex; that ULULATE was a LULU!Maybe not Silks best but even a lesser silk shimmers!

Gareth Bain 4:33 AM  

When i first encountered ILO in crosswords, I loathed it as answer. Since I have been made aware of them, I began to notice that they actually appear in the news fairly frequently. So they're legit. Do a search on google news if you don't believe me... I guess I'm not the only one who tunes out when he hears "Spokesperson from Alphabet soup group Y give his opinion on issue X"?

mac 6:43 AM  

Enough beautiful words for me to love this puzzle. I too had to get bradawl from crosses, after trying to fit in mimosa, and Cayuga lake was new to me.

I laughed at that trench coat! Plectrum was a gimme, I suspect it is used more in other countries.

The return of the Samurai, and lego for that matter.

August West 6:58 AM  

@Retired Chemist: do NOT get a Reuben at Katz's? WOE NOT??? A Katz Deli Reuben is kind of like the 8th Wonder of the World.

For me, the Giants HOF'er just had to be the Say Hey Kid. Didn't consider Johnny Mize, who retired about 20 years before my appreciation of baseball developed. Unfortunately, that was right around 1973, as me and my dad watched the once fluid, graceful and speedy Mays embarrass himself in the WS v. OAK.

Sir Hillary 7:53 AM  

Not my favorite, but I breezed through it until the four-square
CA
AW
in the east just killed me.

A couple things I don't understand:
-- Six bells, SEVENAM...huh?
-- How is DAH a "code word"?

Bookdeb 8:22 AM  

@Sir Hillary: The watch bells are on the half hour, but the trick is knowing when the watch begins.morning watch begins at 04:30, not midnight.
Navy Watch Bells

Morse code. dit. DAH

Susan McConnell 8:31 AM  

Life experience made this more enjoyable for me than it otherwise might have been. KATZ's deli and CAYUGA lake are a coule of my favorite places. I gotta agree - skip the Reuben and get a plain pastrami on rye.

I amazed myself by watching my fingers fill in IRAQI DINAR as if by magic, since I don't recall ever hearing of it before. YEH, there was some cheap fill but I liked it overall.

A J short of a pangram. I'm not that into them, but if I were a puzzle constructor, I do believe that being that close would drive me crazy.

dk 8:31 AM  

I lived around the corner from Zabars. But I do recall one of the KATZ deli-men explaining that the mustard always goes on the meat side as he made my liver and onion on a deli roll.

NY state of mind for this one. Almost went to EISENHOWER college… which may be on CAYUGALAKE if it still exists. One time dream of joining the State Department… which I guess I did although I wore a TRENCHCOAT (sorta).

PLECTRUMS and ULULATE are new words for me and do not see BRADAWL as a cousin.. maybe a BRER if a flathead married a hex driver.

Punching a hole in my house today to put in a french door. My neighbors are cueing up for the best seats as the UBER dork fires up the Sawzall.

Lastly, if you are in the area Franconia Sculpture Park is hosting a hot IRON pour tomorrow. Sharing a little molten metal with friends -- priceless. You can stay at my house although it may be a bit drafty.

Five lack luster puzzles in a row. To say this one was better than the others is faint praise. Maybe I am cranky from staying up late watching Breaking Bad on NETFLIX? Cheesed off that Walter White (also name of a restaurant in Dewitt NY) is not teaching in season 4 as I liked the foreshadowing that occurred on his black board.

���� (2 Stars) Look six bells! Time for a doughnut.

dk 8:34 AM  

sir Hil, dit and DAH: Morse code. Dork points if you used to have a short wave radio

jberg 8:36 AM  

Darn, two errors! Those SHIITES and geographic proximity both had be thinking that those DINARs were IRANI. I figured BRUSnUE must be Curt's surname, and somehow never saw the possibility of the vastly superior BRUSQUE. And over in the West, not knowing my South Pacific cities all that well, I put in SUlA. I knew AlA RICE couldn't be right, but forgot to come back to it.

I was really held up by S DAK for the Black Mountains (yes, confusing them with the Hills), and Lake Cayuga before CAYUGA LAKE (whose waters Cornell is far above, or is it high above?)

So a frustrating experience, when I started out so happily with KIDNEY BEAN.

Glimmerglass 8:43 AM  

"Far above Cayuga's waters/There's an awful smell/Some say it's Cayuga's waters/Others say Cornell." Or something like that. "Bells" in Navy-speak are struck at half-hour intervals beginning with half-after 12, 4, and 8. "Eight bells" can be 8, 12, or 4 o'clock. So 7:00 am is "six bells." ERIS wasn't easy for me. Some 4-letter asteroid named after a Greek deity? C'mon, there must be a dozen 4-letter Greek deities. How about ERoS?

chefbea 8:47 AM  

Should have known where the Black Mts are but didn't. Never heard of plectrums. and what i IGN for starting device...just got it!!!!

Had kidney beans last night in a salad.







joho 8:56 AM  

I crashed and burned in the Black Mts. I knew DAWS was right but it only encouraged me to try to remember a drink called _____DAWn perhaps related to a Tequila
Sunrise? UBER mess there. I was also certain AVE would be rtE.

Loved the lovely BRUSQUE, SWUM not so much.

It struck me funny that "six bells in the morning watch" is SEVENAM, ANYONEELSE?

evil doug 8:57 AM  

I'm pretty sure 'plectrum' is a synonym for g-spot....

Who knew? The Spanish dictator has a museum in Winnipeg....

We know brad---from crosswords. We know awl---from crosswords. How difficult could bradawl be---in a crossword?

Gotta love Iraqi dinar under W....

Ign's a common abbreviation on every jet aircraft checklist I know. Surely you all were aware of that (and don't call you Shirley!)....

Terrific cluing on Air France, trench coat, war game, uber and those crazy Navy bells....

I motored along west of the continental divide, but the gulf coast and Blue Ridge Mountains gave me a workout.

"Because I nailed it, SW was done in a heartbeat and I was able to move over to the SW from there...."
****************
[Kramer--having visited his girlfriend who moved allll the way downtown from midtown, is lost....]

KRAMER: I think it's over. We had a big fight, she threw me out, I started walkin', and now I'm lost downtown! I don't have any money. I don't recognize anybody. I miss home, and I don't even know how to get there!

JERRY: Well, what street are you on?

KRAMER: Hey, I'm on First and First...how can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe!
*************

Fine Friday workout here.

Evil

Jim 9:09 AM  

I'll tell you a Thing about Uta Pippig:

She shit her shorts on her way to victory during the Boston Marathon in 1996.

Norm C. 9:13 AM  

Mr. Silk had me at the clue for ANYONEELSE at 15A.

Enjoyed this puzzle a lot. The threes didn't bother me except maybe YEH (6D) which looks strange since it is more commonly "yeah." If this were a cryptic puzzle, maybe it could be clued as "Call back?"

August West 9:14 AM  

@Susan & RC: Upon further review, Susan is absolutely right! In my mind's eye I was equating a Reuben to a simple pastrami on rye. Ixnay the Russian dressing. Still, you sure get your Leaning Tower of Meat money's worth at Katz's!

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

In Rex's rejected puzzle, what in the world would the clue have been for 49A, Golfclap?

Davidph 9:19 AM  

ERIS isn't just some random asteroid. It's the Kuiper Belt object whose discovery killed poor old Pluto. And the clue is a mistake; Eris isn't beyond the Kuiper Belt, but a member of it. The Kuiper Belt is beyond Pluto.

I knew PLECTRUM from having built a harpsichord long, long ago. It's what plucks the string.

Carola 9:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:49 AM  

ANYONE ELSE first think of "tUtU" before LULU for what really stands out? Congratulated myself on "getting" it...before I had to erase it. Also fell into the NdAk trap but got out when I remembered Black Mountain, N.C. Two other do-overs - hanD AW and WARfArE.

Despite the mistakes, this was a very fast Friday for me, with only a couple of "UH-OH, now I"m stuck" moments. Enjoyed it a lot.

Mr. Benson 10:03 AM  

I think of Johnny Mize as a Cardinal; although he did play for the Giants for one year, that would have been a tricky, tricky clue, especially when there's a far more famous Hall of Famer who played for the Giants, whose last name is four letters and starts with M. This was a very tough one for me (never having heard of a PLECTRUM or a BRADAWL), and if that had been Mize instead of MAYS it probably would have been my undoing.

Allison 10:06 AM  

ZED = lack of authorisation ....made no sense to me. But I'm Canadian, eh, and for me ZED is the end of the alphabet and "authorisation" is spelled just fine. Sheesh!!

Laurence Katz 10:07 AM  

Knew Black Mountain from Black Mountain College, which in its brief existence (early 1930s-late 1950s) was a magnet for creative types, among them Buckminster Fuller, Robert Creely, Charles Olson, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. It always sounded like a supercool school

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

At the risk of repeating myself and lots of ridicule, Shortz and Rex don't undestand tools. A brad awl and a screwdriver are not relatives. They aren't remotely for the same purpose, you can't really successfully subsitute one for the other. While it's true the shaft of each share similarities that's it. And that's not enough. Lots of things--not just hand tools---have straight shafts. Screw drivers are desinged for torquing; awls (including bradawls) are for punching holes.
Would anyone say that a manequin is a relative of a human simply because one looks vaguely like the other? Too far fetched? How about an altoid and say,meltformin?

MaryRoseG 10:11 AM  

A seven inch high pastrami on rye! (I made that one up....and with a Dr Brown's Cel-ray soda....yum!)

Send a salami to your boy in the army!

Was at Katz's last year....$20 for that sandwich but boy is it good.

Ray J 10:17 AM  

UH OH always brings this to (my feeble) mind.

Z 10:18 AM  

ZED ZED zee zee ...

Son #2 took up the banjo last year, so PLECTRUM was a gimme. BRADAWL was a WTF (ever notice how people wonder about "WOE" but never ask the meaning of "WTF?"). I was hoping for a drink, but the only screwdriver like drink I could come with was a sloe screw. Oh well.

Started with AIR lisbon, but fixed it fairly quickly.

@dk - EISENHOWER College no longer exists. A pal of mine, Joe, went there in the late sixties. Joe's brother did light shows at the Grand Ballroom in Detroit, which makes me wonder if you two ever crossed paths.

Thoracic 10:19 AM  

PLECTRUMS---- really?? BRADAWL?? These strike me as pretty esoteric stuff. They killed me. Speaking of which, I tried WARM for LATE. Probably a little to literal I guess.
Nice run of U's for U know who.
Overall, too hard for me. Had to Google to finish. I feel shame.

ZED ZED ZEE ZEE 10:27 AM  

PLECTRUM Banjo performance

quilter1 10:34 AM  

DNF due to BRADAWL. I agree with most of @Rex's comments. Tomorrow is another day.

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Naughty first thought for 1A
Bachelorette party cake?

Rob C 11:54 AM  

Very challenging for me. In fact, DNF in a few spots. Just too many unfamiliar things: ESTEE, BRAD AWL, PLECTRUM, ERIS. I guess my NYC public school education failed me today.

Despite DNF, I liked LULU/ULULATE, cluing on TRENCHCOAT, LEGAL TENDER, and a many of the ? clues.

@Ret Chem - Funny NYC Mayor comment!

@Rex - No mention of CAYUGA LAKE? Sort of from your neck of the woods.

Notsofast 12:07 PM  

First DNF in a long time. Too many clues requiring a googling for my taste. And I don't believe in googling, so... I could complain and whine about such and such clue being inaccurate or whatever, but why bother. It was a waste of time for me on a busy day.

retired_chemist 12:22 PM  

@ Susan, August West: Katz's on Houston Street in the East Village is strictly a kosher deli, so you can't mix cheese and meat. No Swiss cheese, no Reuben. Nothing to do with sandwich preference.

Everything to do with the look and the sharp comment you get from the counter man. What Katz's are y'all talking about?

@ Mr. Benson - Mize played for the Giants in 1942 and 1946-49. Check out Wikipedia - he had several good years with the Giants in the late forties. But, yes, it would have been a tough one. For me it was a a natural because he was hot just when my awareness of baseball was starting.

Hey, the number in my captcha actually IS 42. Must be some universal significance there.....

Questinia 12:24 PM  

... And yes I almost wrote KIELBASA for food that looks like an organ.
At Katz's: pastrami on rye and no Reuben. Absolutely!

Gill I. P. 12:42 PM  

@retired_c: Katz on Houston does serve Reubens. The pastrami reuben with loads of swiss is delicious....
Not a favorite BS puzzle. The short stuff gave me a headache... YEH HAHA OHOH DAH IGN to name a few.
KIDNEYBEAN and AIRFRANCE (or air chance as my dad used to call it) were my first entries. "Good bye Rick. God bless you."

retired_chemist 12:51 PM  

I guess my info re Katz's is outdated. The online menu does indeed include a Reuben. My experience was from the mid-nineties. Apparently at that time they either were strictly kosher or had a kosher section I was treated to.

LaneB 1:20 PM  

When you look at a decent sized rack of lamb, it resembles an organ-- like in church Since rackoflamb fits, I started with it.. Wrong organ!! Down hill from there. Did OK in the lower half until PLECTRUM, then DNET to finish. Hugely admire those who finished sans googling. Even those who do google on occasion. I'm just an old rookie and seek to finish without looking at Rex.

@ARena Cayuga Mantras: Lovely to see you the other evening. With luck ( at least on my part) it will not be the last time.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Regarding "NCAA" - watch ESPN or any of the other sports channels and the ticker across the bottom will have the general sport heading and then the headline. For college sports, the general sport heading if often "NCAA" such as it would be "NFL" for pro football. Very common usage.

Susan McConnell 1:41 PM  

KATZ's also have yummy hot dogs. On our trips there (which is maybe twice a year) I get one hot dog, Hubs ODs on pickled tomatoes, and we split a pastrami sandwich, then bring home a salami for salami and egg breakfasts...DROOL!

And in the interest of equal time, when visiting Cayuga Lake we always make a trip to Moosewood. It's vegetarian meals make up for my misadventures at the deli. Don't they?

Questinia 2:01 PM  

Yes on the Katz's hot dogs. Yes on Moosewood!
(aka striped maple)

syndy 2:02 PM  

I ordered a Reuben in a kosher deli-they served it but bounced it hard off the table! I said it was okay I was a shiksha anyway. Server glared at me! UH HUH says she as she slammed my egg cream down. IT was on the menu!

Anoa Bob 2:03 PM  

Anon@9:17, I believe GOLF CLAP refers to a nasty infection one can get by playing too many holes out on the links.

Bird 2:11 PM  

Too many clues with multiple possible answers (i.e. 36A) coupled with too many answers that I just did not know resulted in a DNF. Got 1A right away and a few others, but not enough for me to build anything off.

MARTINI is a much better answer for 41A.

@Anon9:17: Although Anoa Bob’s answer is funny, I would clue GOLF CLAP as quiet applause.

TGIF.

Lewis 2:47 PM  

I agree with Rex's list of good clues, and Evan's list of grid gruel.

I know PLECTRUM from guitar instruction books. Never heard of BRADAWL. Like Rex, I had NEO before NON.

Is today's NCAR yesterday's ORCA?

MetaRex 3:08 PM  

I like the old-timey North Africa/Middle East + WWII implicit theme in TRENCHCOAT, AIR FRANCE, EISENHOWER, WARGAME, IRAQI DINAR, SHIITES...all are acrosses, which is nice.

Am sorry to be missing Lollapuzzoola next weekend...have to go to a conference in Orlando.

Numinous 3:11 PM  

Sad to say, I had four googles: ERIS, IVAN, UTA and DINAR. thanks to google and wiki I learned something almost useless but interesting nonetheless.

Now, I have to wonder, If you go to the IRAQUI DINAR around the corner from KATZ's, will they ULULATE your order to the kitchen for a KIDNEY BEAN hummus and shiksa-bobs to GNAW on?

When I took guitar lessons in the 50s, it was called a PLECTRUM but I wanted something to do with sTRUM at first. BRADAWL came easily after figuring out DAWS.

Thanks, BS, in spite of the annoying 3s.

sanfranman59 3:21 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 20:03, 19:58, 1.00, 56%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:27, 11:52, 1.05, 59%, Medium

Too old to care 3:56 PM  

@jim you were not only crude re UTA, you were wrong. She started to menstruate late in the race. She was a true winner.

Amazed that BRADAWL amazed so many. You always complain about being bored by fill like BRAD and AWL, so this fill was the boring minus the space. Bad clue in my opinion. They are related to screwdrivers in form, but not in function. A little sour grapes here for me. Was looking for an alcoholic drink. Mimosa too short; Harvey Wallbanger too long. Tools, my forte, never entered my mind,


chefbea 4:07 PM  

I just remembered a song we use to sing years ago

Far above Cayuga's waters
There's an awful smell.
Some say it's Cayuga's waters
Some say it's Cornell

Barry S 4:21 PM  

@Anonymous 10:08 and @Too old to care: Agree with you that the clue for BRADAWL could have been better. FWIW, my PG-13 rated clue for BRADAWL was "It facilitates screwing" -- but Will replaced it.

Brad Johnson 5:17 PM  

Since my name is Brad I thought ending with BRADAWL was nice.

Two Ponies 5:18 PM  

@ Barry S, Thanks for stopping in.
Cute clue but not surprised at the editor. Love your work.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

Even with google, I still can't figure out LULU. Could someone please help a girl out?

Norm 7:50 PM  

^^ A "lulu" is something outstanding, wonderful, marvelous. Don't know the origin. I'm guessing slang derivation from something.

Norm 7:52 PM  

@ Susan McConnell: KATJ is a country music station in Victorville, California, and JEB could have been clued easily enough to make the pangram, but you just know Rex would have teed off on Barry something fierce.

Norm 7:55 PM  

Actually, I that that back. I was thinking JEB not JED. See, this is why I only solve puzzles; constructing them is far beyond the powers of my little mind.

Mette 9:12 PM  

In the minority here, but really enjoyed both yesterday and today. Ike also had the code name Lancer. Lancer Providence sounds like a porn film star.

sanfranman59 10:05 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:01, 6:04, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Tue 8:49, 8:13, 1.07, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:35, 9:43, 0.88, 24%, Easy-Medium
Thu 16:43, 16:29, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Fri 20:03, 19:58, 1.00, 56%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:46, 3:45, 1.00, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:29, 4:57, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:02, 5:35, 0.90, 26%, Easy-Medium
Thu 9:59, 9:30, 1.05, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 12:16, 11:52, 1.03, 57%, Medium

Tita 10:39 PM  

Any Friday I can finish, especially a SILK, makes me happy.
Just my kind of crunchy Friday...Raced through top third,
got stuck there, got stuck over there, and got stuck there too... thought I couldn't possibly finish.

Was just about to do a google or two, and VOILA!

I just love that.

Guessed lAkeseneca for a long time.

Physics bleedover from yesterday with LIGHTSECOND.

Learned lots. Finished wog. Thank you Mr. Silk

Charlene 8:01 PM  

I couldn't get IVAN. Guess where I live.

(bangs head on desk)

Darkage wars 10:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
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spacecraft 11:30 AM  

I, too, thought KIDNEYBEAN, but then, this is Friday...can it really be that simple? YEH. But up there, I had to literally run the entire alphabet to find the letter {word} for 19 {across.} Sorry, but not a native NYer, nor necessarily a deli frequenter even if I were, I had no clue about KATZ. I'm sure this was a flat gimme for many on this page.

Like OFL, I found this one more snag-filled than the usual smooth-as-Silk offering. NCAA crossing NCAR seems a bit much, as do the bottom threes. But dude, if you can pull off a mirror image of LULU on the other side of the square, that is just BRADAWL-some!

I finished this, incredibly without even a writeover, thinking I was lucky. The gimme at LIGHTSECOND undoubtedly helped, but still, lots of unknowns. No UBER-geek here. Where's SUVA??

Still scratching my head over stitch=CARD. NEVER heard "stitch" used that way. Closest I can come? There was a comedienne named Elaine Stritch, wasn't there?

rain forest 2:10 PM  

Very (silky?) smooth puzzle today, although, unlike many of you, I took awhile to get KIDNEYBEAN. I was trying to visualize something largish. I got the NE and the entire E quite quickly as I remembered BRADAWL from Grade 8 woodwork. Oddly, I got SHIITES before I got IRAQIDINAR. The entire South went down without too much effort. I tend to use the term PLECTRUM rather than 'pick', just for the sound of it.

Suva is the capital of Fiji.

Is the 'a' of 'awl', a schwa?

Solving in Seattle 2:23 PM  

Like @space, I had no clue about KATZ. My favorite NY deli was the Stage. Too bad it's gone. So there's a blank in my puzzle where the "Z" should be. BTW @spacecraft, you're going to have to let go of the "stitch" issue.

I was in NdAk before traveling to NCAR.

BRADAWL and PLECTRUMS totally on crosses. Newbys for me.

Thought we'd hear from Mr. U himself, @M&A, on LULUULULATE. He probably died and went to U heaven.

DMG 4:06 PM  

Had to dig around for a start on this one. Finally found VEGAN and worked out from there, albeit slowly. AIRFRANCE was a tentative as I didn't realize it dated to the 40's. One big help was EISENHOWER off the W. Then on to the finish at BRADAWL. At that point I came here to see what was wrong with that corner, and instead learned a new word! My NY deli choice is the 57th St. Near Carnegie Hall. Didn't have the nerve to even peek in the near by Russian Room, and now it's gone!

Waxy in Montreal 5:46 PM  

Surprised how meek and mild the usually formidable Barry C. Silk was today. KIDNEYBEAN was definitely a gimme and quickly opened up the NW. Only problem region thereafter was the BRADAWL terra incognita compounded by the NDAK misdirection. And though I've visited Ithaca, couldn't remember the name of its lake - initially had OSWEGO. Also took a while for the penny to drop on ESTEE - oh, YEH, not a compact car.

Always associate BRUSQUE with the Britcom Doc Martin where it's used perfectly by a medical inspector to sum up his less-than-friendly demeanor.

captcha = inhecke which is where I am with my wife for spending so much time on this blog today.

Dirigonzo 5:55 PM  

IO work in a hardware store and didn't know BRADAWL even after the crosses produced it, but for reasons I don't understand I knew ULULATE - maybe it means I pay too much attention to crossword puzzles and not enough to work? Favourite clue: Lack of authorization > ZED; finally seeing the Z produced a definite AHA moment.

Cary in Boulder 7:14 PM  

The Friday stacks of long words always intimidate me, so even KIDNEY BEAN was not obvious at first. My first word was UTA (more about her in a minute), then the crossing of WAKE with the detestable GWB. After that, though, I was looking at a sea of white and clues that seemed like they could lead anywhere. I thought of LAKE OSWEGO, but figured WAKE was pretty solid. Finally Googled to get CAYUGA and worked it out from there.

So, UTA Pippig used to live here when she was married to her coach, Dieter Hogan. Very popular because she was as cute as she was quick. She won the women's Bolder Boulder 10K race in 1993. Per preceding comments, she suffered from both menstrual bleeding AND diarrhea at the '96 Boston Marathon, which makes her victory all the more remarkable. I think she accepted her trophy wrapped in a flag to cover embarrassment.

The song I immediately think of to go with UH OH, is "Get Out of the Car" by the great R&B artist Richard Berry. (Look it up on YouTube; I don't know how to embed a link.) He also wrote "Louie, Louie" which the frat boy Kingsmen had a huge hit with.

I wrote in THREEAM for the bells and wouldn't let it go until the end. The IVAN/ELEVE cross was Naticky enough without that mistake. A foreign word with a probably foreign first name that could've easily been IMAN or IWAN or ... whatever?

Had semITE for SHIITE, since I figured 21D was a formation for the moon. That one hung me up for a long time. I should know that IRAQIs are Persians, not Arabs.

Around here NCAR would be clued "Scientists' perch atop Table Mesa" = National Center for Atmospheric Research. (Yeah, I know Table Mesa is a redundancy, but that's what they call it.)

And I've actually been to SUVA, which is not exactly Fiji's greatest delight. But I did enjoy getting to wear a sulu, which is like a men's skirt that the Fijians wear. Natural air conditioning.

Anyhoo, nice to finish a Friday even with a leg up from Mr. the Google.

Waxy in Montreal 7:17 PM  

@Diri, words I always confuse: ULULATE, UVULA and VUVUZELA. I know they aren't related but they all have do with making sounds.

Solving in Seattle 7:27 PM  

@Waxy, does VULVA fit in that catagory?

Dirigonzo 8:16 PM  

The last few comments really make me wish that this blog had a "like" button,

Waxy in Montreal 8:45 PM  

@SiS, it could but I'm more apt to confuse it with VOLVO (especially the back seat).

Solving in Seattle 8:52 PM  

@Waxy, I may have to worry about you if you get those two mixed up.

Z 8:58 PM  

This conversation has taken a left turn. Comment thread of the year. Every time I hear a vuvuzela from now on people will wonder why I'm smiling.

Solving in Seattle 9:19 PM  

Aha! @Z, our favorite Realtimer eavesdropping on the Syndies.

You could use your LULU of a UVULA to ULULATE in the back seat of your VOLVO to the accompaniment of a VUVUZELA without being vulgar.

Absolutely my last post.

Cary in Boulder 9:36 AM  

Don't forget to wear your SULU while you do it.

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