Diagonal rib of vault / FRI 8-16-13 / Rich of old films / Home of NerdTV / Color also known as endive blue / Mathematician Cantor / Occasions for bulldogging / Unisex name meaning born again

Friday, August 16, 2013

Constructor: Dana Motley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: OGIVE (47D: Diagonal rib of a vault) —
n.
  1. Statistics.
    1. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative.
    2. A frequency distribution.
  2. Architecture.
    1. A diagonal rib of a Gothic vault.
    2. A pointed arch.


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/ogive#ixzz2c6GzkdLr
• • •

Found this a bit of a slog, mostly because of the overly precious cluing. Double-digit "?" clues? When the number gets that high, it starts feeling like someone got carried away, and perhaps I'm supposed to be distracted from a not-altogther-scintillating grid. It's fairly clean, but with very few highlights—lots of decent stuff, but no real marquee answers. Also, sadly, that SW corner is dire, and that's the place I finished, so the taste that was left in my mouth was a bad one. PROSES next to OGIVE ... that would've made me redo that whole section. And then you go and make it harder with a very weird ORES clue (violating my "don't call attention to your lame fill with tough clues" rule) and that odd IRIS clue (55A: Color also known as endive blue ... I'm not sure I knew IRIS even *was* a color) and that GEORG guy (45A: Mathematician Cantor who founded set theory) ... whom I can tolerate, 'cause clearly he's somebody, but he's by far the most obscure proper noun in this puzzle and you've gone and stuck him in the OGIVE section. To be fair, though, the grid has only a handful of "ouch!" answer (ITES, MIL, SSS) and lots of longer stuff intersecting rather elegantly. But the cluing felt like it was Trying Too Hard (to be tough, to be clever) without succeeding sufficiently at being entertaining. And that SW corner. Yowzers. So that's two primary problems I had with this thing. Oh, and I resent DYNASTS, since a. DYNASTY is a better word, b. DYNASTY is a more familiar word (see a.), and c. DYNASTY fits the clue perfectly (35A: Line of rulers).


Also, this may be the least Scrabbly late-week puzzle I've ever seen. You have, what, one Absurdly shoe-horned "Q", which has been forced into a PDQ/QED crossing? And one "K" at AMOK/DESK. No "Z"s or "X"s or genuine "Q"s or "J"s ... plus nothing feels very current. Again, it's all very solid, but not very 2013. There's no reason why a not-so-Scrabbly, not-so-hip puzzle can't also be a very good puzzle, but I realize that I prefer my Fridays (and Saturdays) to bounce in a way that this one doesn't (much). This is a decent construction that just wasn't quite to my taste.

I watch PBS and have never heard of "NerdTV." I thought it might be CBS since they have that horrible show with "nerds" that is not funny and is mysteriously popular. Big error on my part misreading 22D: One putting the pedal to the metal as a *plural* (?!?)—thus LEADFEET :( This made RODEOS hard to see (42A: Occasions for bulldogging). Had MHO for 57D: 254,000 angstroms (brain: science + unit + three letters + starts with "M" = MHO), so IRENE was tough (60A: Rich of old films). I mean, she'd've been tough no matter what, since I have no idea who she is, but MHO made her tougher. TED'S is bad fill, but I do love "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," so ... I'll allow it. I initially grimaced at but now like a lot the clue on EIGHTIES (8D: Reagan was seen a lot in them). I don't think I knew that the GEICO gecko's accent was Cockney, exactly, but I just had to think "vaguely English" to get it quickly (45D: American company whose mascot has a Cockney accent). Oh, and best mistake of the day—I thought it was NAPS that got taken easily. Perhaps because I woke up from one to solve this. Anyway, it was weird to have crosses confirm the answer again and again and again. But not again. Also, appropriate that that final "again" was SCREWS (10D: Things driven on construction sites).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

93 comments:

jae 12:36 AM  

Easy except for @Rex SW.  Did not know GEORG, OGIVE, PROSES (as cued), or IRIS (as cued).   So, stared and guessed and got lucky.   And, I suspect I'm not alone in trying PRates at first.  

Other than SW no erasures or WOEs. 

Liked it more than Rex did.  I enjoyed the clever/amusing cluing and the hint of zip...LEAD FOOT, BATES MOTEL, ONION RINGS ( great side)...

meta4 12:46 AM  

They've built a replica of Bates Motel just down the road (Aldergrove,BC). We pass it often on the way to our favourite dog walk park.

August West 12:53 AM  

Rex and jae have already perfectly described my solving experience. G'night everybody!!

Jeff Chen 1:14 AM  

Enjoyed it! I fell into the NAPS/SAPS trap too. Maybe that says something about zzzz

Even more enjoyable was my e-mail exchange with Dana. What a great blurb she wrote!

http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/16/2013

And how very, very confused I was for a while. =]

Steve J 1:31 AM  

Struggled with this one, even accounting for the Friday level of difficulty. The NW and SW were virtually impenetrable for me, even with some googling.

Sme of the cluing did indeed seem too clever by half, but there were a couple standouts, like "Circular side?" for ONIONRINGS and "Summer symbol?" for PLUSSIGN.

Most amusing error: nIGHTIES instead of EIGHTIES. I figured "Bedtime for Bonzo" may have had Reagan running around in a nightgown a lot.

Questinia 1:42 AM  

Also had nAPS for something taken easily, what's more I had tAP for "aid in getting back on track" making my problem area the SE.

The entire puzzle went down sequentially and rapidly until the SE had me circling the drain in that familiar eddy of "I'm-nearly-done-let's-just-get-it-over-with" stall. Concrete thinking ensues and clues like "broken into on TV" become literally translated and I think of ways to actually break into a TV. Like getting TV for free, TV being abetted by the aforementioned tAP; the possibility of an fBS station (hosting a similarly unfamiliar program) forming the teratogenic fREEtvTED.

Whenever that happens I abort by looking away from the grid, thinking palate cleansing thoughts like "endive blue is just soooo IRIS" and hoping for PREEMPTED cognition. And it worked.

Good ganglia-twitchin' fun!

Evan 2:07 AM  

Tough stuff today. Never heard of PROSES -- such a short, Scrabble-friendly entry that the NYT has never used, save for that one time back in the Maleska days. Also never heard of OGIVE, IRIS as a color, or SEATMATE (outdated??). I have heard of EWELL, but only through crosswords.

Fortunately I guessed right on all of those iffy spots in the end, but had several wrong guesses before that -- ONION ROLLS before RINGS, DNA before BIO (right idea, wrong letters), IRS before SSS, and like @jae, PRATES before PROSES. I also had BALLADIERS before BALLERINAS, which is not only the wrong idea but spelled wrong (it's BALLADEERS). And after looking at it again and again, I still don't understand the clue for PREEMPTED. Is it like a program interrupting another one?

That southwest corner was not pretty, for all the reasons Rex stated. I took a shot at refilling it, and here's what I came up with.

I did enjoy the clues for PUGET, TUNES, ERROR, and SAFARIS, as well as Dana's notes on Xwordinfo (Jeff's the friggin' man for doing this...and especially so is Jim for letting him do it).

Evan 2:14 AM  

Oh yes, I also had IVY before AGA. Wouldn't be surprised if that's a common mistake.

Anoa Bob 2:30 AM  

For 8 Down, "Reagan was seen a lot in them", my first thought was B MOVIES.

EIGHTIES = ONE TEN?

Aleve Claw Map 2:31 AM  

@steveJ
Alert @ Tita of your nIGHTIES mistake! That's a good hall of fame ERROR.
Had trouble parsing clue, thought it was supposed to be "Reagan was seen (in) a lot of them" or "Reagan Has seen a lot of them ".

@Evan
Rent "Seven Year Itch" with Marilyn Monroe with famous skirt blowing up scene. That is Tom EWELL.

OGIVE is common in Scrabble as a front hook for GIVE, but I didn't know what it meant.

Despite wanting to start with 1A ATWAR (bleedo'er from yesterday's 1D) WAR.
i had GONE APE instead of RAN AMOK. I can never figure out with those "with" clues what order the answers are to be in...
And if it's hard for me, it must be doubly confusing for those who don't make puzzles.

I also spent a long time trying to figure out the theme and what ONIONRINGS, BALLERINA, PIEALAMODE, and BATESMOTEL had in common, before realizing it was a themeless Friday.

I'm happy to hear DANA is a woman because Fridays are very rarely written by women.
(I'll go read the new notes, an amazing and wonderful new edition to blogworld, but the most interesting thing about the puzzle should prob be the puzzle.)

chefwen 2:51 AM  

I am shocked at Rex's rating. I thought that this one was easy for a Friday, one of my most dreaded days. Started off slowly but after slapping down a couple of long ones it all seemed to come together beautifully. Had a little trouble in the SW where I had originally put in IRIS at 55A and took it out bec. I thought 43D had to be dROnES, never heard of a color DRIn, so scrapped that and reentered IRIS. It all worked out in the end when PIE ALA MODE set me on the right track.

Getting a little more confidant with my Friday and Saturday puzzles. I'm hopeful that tomorrow doesn't debunk that.

I skip M-W 3:10 AM  

Also thought it easy. SW was corner I filled in first. Georg was a gimme, though I tend to think of GC as the inventor of transfinite numbers, who later went mad, which makes him both important and fascinating.

Ogive a gimme as well. Don't people know their Gothic architecture any more?

I think Tom Ewell was on the old (Steve Allen era) Tonight show.

Had gps before map, just the reverse of ?yesterday?

Quibble: isn't the girl's name Renee? Slowed me down a bit.

Gareth Bain 5:47 AM  

Amazed at the "medium" part of the rating. Time-wise my second-hardest themeless (Friday and Saturday) puzzle of 2013 (Disclaimer: my records include puzzles that I finished with a wrong square). As I said at DOACF, the puzzle felt very Newsday Stumper-like both in design and clueing...

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

How is "nemesis of some dodgers" "SSS" ? What is that? Also how is "one getting cuts" an "agent"?

Finally I object to the question mark after "going without saying?" as a clue for "tacit". That's what "tacit" means.

I did not care for this, mostly for the reasons Rex already mentioned, but would still appreciate some help on the above two clue/answer pairs. Thanks.

loren muse smith 7:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
loren muse smith 7:33 AM  

@Rex, Jeff, Questinia, et al- I had “naps” first, too, grumbling to myself that maybe they’re easy for *her* to take, but surely not for me. I’m too nervous and high-strung.

I’m firmly with @Gareth on this – really hard for me.

@Evan – same here for IRS first.

In my cocktail waitressing days, I served many a “dry” Manhattan but never a RYE one. That mucked up that section for a while.

@Andrea – your trying to figure out the theme with the long ones is almost as funny as @Steve J’s Reagan prancing around in a nightie. I agree – that’s one for @Tita’s Hall of Fame.

I couldn’t let go of “white” BAND for a ridiculous amount of time. Sheesh. That even after I had kept going back to try to fit “ID bracelet.”

The clue for FLEE threw me because I think of “amscray” as only an order to some bozo. For me, people don’t amscray until they’re ordered to. “Hey buddy – yeah you with that FRINGEd WRISTBAND. FLEE!” That just doesn’t work for me.

And speaking of revisiting places to see if my choice now in fact fits – “Paris” and “Bodega Bay” are both one letter short. Sheesh again. And I hitchhiked to PRAGUE back in the cold WAR EIGHTIES of my college days. (When ELSE would you hitchhike around Europe?) Well, ok, we hitched up to the border and took a train into Czechoslovakia and then to PRAGUE, but it just sounds cooler to say I hitched to PRAGUE. I remember being at the border for a couple of hours while Russian soldiers crawled around on all fours looking for people hiding under SEATs. Why they were so concerned with who was coming *in* to the country I never understood. They crawled around again on the way out, and that made more sense. Majestic city.

I love the word TACIT and try to use it as often as possible without being creepy. Seriously – great word.

PUGET sounds funny. Always has to me.

SAFARIS – at this beach house where we’re staying there is a photo album on the coffee table with pictures of big game this family has killed on SAFARI. Amid the pictures of them posing over various dead, magnificent animals (including a huge zebra and giraffe – and a Christmas card photo over an enormous Okapi or Eland or some antlered beast), are pictures of the children posing with cute animals at a petting zoo. Huh.

I’m going to try to take a nap.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

I thought the Geico lizard was from Australia, not London

MetaRex 7:53 AM  

Having taken up the cudgels for ONE TEN the other day, guess I gotta defend the the-less EIGHTIES today.

Two lines--

1) The "Reagan was often seen in them" clue is fine and in fact more than fine...the v. nice misdirection on movies and NIGHTIES makes up for the the-lessness...

2) Ya gotta avoid "them" in the clue...but EIGHTIES is fine clued as, say--

a) "Bs, mostly"...
b) "Summer high range"...
c) "Hip-hop competitor"...

joho 8:21 AM  

Since I finished late last night before turning the light out, I have to rate this as an easy Friday. I usually have to pick up a Friday again in the morning in order to finish.


@Aleve Claw Map, you couldn't parse the clue at "Reagan was seen a lot in them" and I couldn't parse the answer. I had TIES and was searching for what kind ... bola? @Steve J, niGHTIES is hilarious!

I wondered while solving if Norman served ONIONRINGS and PIEALAMODE to his victims at the BATESMOTEL.

Liked PLUSSSIGN together with ADD.

I have to agree with @Rex about the unfortunate OGIVE corner. But I did learn PROSES!

Milford 8:21 AM  

I'll go stand over on the "not easy" side of the room for this puzzle. Both bottom corners were tough for me.

I've taken lots of math and science and I am completely confused by what a MIL is.

Like @Steve J, I thoroughly enjoyed the ONION RINGS and PLUS SIGN entries as clued so cleverly.

I have a 13-year old BALLERINA in my house, begging to go up on her toes in pointe this year. Such shoes are very pricey, but everything in dance is pricey.

I didn't go as far as putting Reagan in his jammies, but I did spend much time trying to figure out what type of _ _ _ _TIES he wore - blue? bolo?

Like @lms, been to PRAGUE, and it is lovely. Or at least it was in 1990.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

This old lady found this smooth and easy - more like a Wednesday. S(elective) S(service) S(system) was the nemesis of draft dodgers. (Am old - remember those times vividly.) An AGENT takes a cut of a client's compensation.

Glimmerglass 8:32 AM  

PREEMPTED: "Regular programming has been preempted by the President's speech to the nation." SSS is the nemesis of draft dodgers. "Goes without saying" works without the question mark.

joho 8:34 AM  

@Milford ... bolo! Thanks for the correct spelling.

Susan McConnell 8:37 AM  

@Anon 7:03 Draft dodgers... And AGENTS typically take a percentage (cut) for arranging a deal.

This was tough for me. Hated the IRIS clue. Have played the O on GIVE a thousand times in Scrabble without knowing what it meant, so am glad to learn that,

Carola 9:02 AM  

Wow, I loved this one. Terrifically fun to unravel. But discovered upon coming here that I DNF, with MoL crossing the non-existent actor Rich oRENE.

Quite turbulent and contentious at the top with AT WAR, RAN AMOK, FLEE, RAIL, CLAW. Loved the ONION RINGS and PIE ALA MODE guilty-pleasure combo; SAFARIS over RODEOS; and PRAGUE over DYNASTY - reminded me of Holy Roman Empire days.

@Evan - On an airplane, I refer to the person next to me as my SEATMATE. That doesn't mean it's not outdated, though :)

August West 9:06 AM  

Just reread Rex, and I'm howling. Well, not actually, but grinningly empathic to his frustrations and reactions to same. No, I'm not up on my Gothic architecture, either (OGIVE me a break!), and PROSES just sucks Donkey Kong. Favorite bits: the rants against DYNASTS and NerdTV, especially this: "I thought it might be CBS since they have that horrible show with "nerds" that is not funny and is mysteriously popular." My wife loves that show and I can't stand to be in the same room when it's on. I forgive her poor taste on remembering she's a Dukie.

Milford 9:10 AM  

Is it? I'm not even sure, you may be correct yourself. I'm just amused someone else struggled the same way with TIES!

John V 9:17 AM  

This makes no sense, but this was my easiest Friday in a very long time.

Loved the indirection, vid. summer sign, circular side, etc. Wanted BODEGABAY for 56a, as non-puz spouse and I have been there, had the fried oysters.

Easy and I'm happy. Thanks, Dana and thanks for sharing in your constructor notes.

davidph 9:23 AM  

I can't download the puzzle using the Magmic app on either of my devices. Anyone else having trouble?

jackj 9:23 AM  

A perfectly acceptable puzzle for its time, but it must have been misplaced by Will after it was submitted to him, lo those many years ago.

Too much obvious cluing like, “Ones keeping on their toes?” which, even to one who has no place at the barre or even no seats for the Kirov, it still points directly at BALLERINAS.

And, speaking of extremities, does the rather tired “pedal to the metal” clue indicate anything but LEADFOOT with its overtones of early rock and roll, a hard driving Beach Boys, B-side offering maybe.

It wasn’t a “bad” puzzle, just one whose great expectations became gimmes in the clear light of day, so that WRISTBAND, NEARMISS, PIEALAMODE, PLUSSIGN, ONIONRINGS, even LANTERN and AGENT came too easily.

“OGIVE” may be the “rib of a vault” to someone but in keeping with the tenor of this puzzle it might have played better as a partial for, “___________me a home”.

And finally, in what is becoming a plague on too many of our puzzles lately, we have a continuation of the dreaded ONETEN virus with the too casual, omnibus type cluing of EIGHTIES. (He might have been seen in JODHPURS, pilgrim, but that cluing of EIGHTIES takes the definition of vacuity to a new level)

I have to admit that while the puzzle was too, too, (easy and dated), it was still an interesting exercise and those who normally shy away from tangling with Friday level puzzles should give it a try.

John V 9:32 AM  

Alternative clue for OGIVE: Work by Erik Satire. Obscure enough? Yes I'd say so.

John V 9:32 AM  

Um, that would be Satie.

dk 9:34 AM  

In CA Reagan was seen in oaters and as Govener nightmares.

SSS held the draft but dodgers were pursued by others. As i recall. Lottery number was 15.

Happy to learn OGIVE.

Alas not my cuppa.

**(2 Stars)

Carola 9:35 AM  

DYNASTS, that is.

chefbea 9:36 AM  

I too found it easier than most Fridays..but did google. Loved onion rings, pie ala mode and the clue for plus sign!!!

Didn't we have Tom Ewell recently??

Kris in ABCA 10:07 AM  

I ran through blueTIES to boloTIES to nIGHTIES before EIGHTIES. I thought the puzzle was easy/medium with the exception of the awful OGIVE/PROSES corner.

I got ERGONOMICS right away, which helped with that area. My company has an ergonomics group that comes to my workspace to make sure my desk, chair, and computer equipment are at appropriate heights to avoid repetetive strain injuries. No carpal tunnel here!

I liked Rex's choice of "Home on the Range" to complement OGIVE.

Matthew G. 10:08 AM  

Came here sure to be apprised that OGIVE and PROSES (!?) were wrong, but no, I was right to erase DRONES. Sigh. And I've never seen IRIS used as the name of a color before. That corner was murder.

@loren muse smith: Manhattans are supposed to be made with RYE by default. The recent trend of using bourbon by default is a tragedy of our times.

Lindsay 10:20 AM  

I try to bear in mind that puzzles are entertainment and not let them annoy me, but this one annoyed me. Something about being stuck in the SW with the GEICO lizard prosing in my ear. Except I had dROnES. dIE A LA MODE didn't look good, so I shifted to pRaTES (getting colder) then threw in the towel. Didn't want to save 15%, didn't care either.

Writeovers not previously mentioned: 58A hOlE >>> COVE, 4D Away >>>AMOK, 34D mpS >>> SSS, 41D braided >>> PLAITED, 53D Outs >>> OBIT.

Think I need some xwords PEDs.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

@jackj-

Glad to see you back! Missed reading your clever commentaries!

Wade 10:28 AM  

Irene Cara was Irene Rich's non-union Mexican equivalent.

Get it? Because "cara" is Spanish for "rich"?

I had no clue who Irene Rich might be (well, except for 60 Across) but that was one of the few answers I put in the grid on the first pass and it was based entirely on not knowing what the hell I was thinking about.

At least I think cara is Spanish for rich. My Spanish is kind of approximate these days, which is probably why I get quizzical looks from the taco truck ladies who then serve me something like a breakfast taco drenched with Thousand Island dressing, which I didn't. It's kind of fun, being eternally misunderstood. You never know what you're going to get.

Hey, Chefbea! Good to see you. Who are all these other jokers?

Elle54 10:31 AM  

DNFcuzI had TUNER. He fixes flats , right? But ERT makes no sense.. Should have checked

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

Good crunchy fun except for the SW.
Hi Wade!

Mike Rees 11:12 AM  

I, for one, am on top of the world. I found it medium/challenging too, but it's the first Friday puzzle in a long time that didn't require me to dive into Wikipedia for any answer research. 23 minutes is a decent Friday time for me too. The more crosswords I do, the more guesses I get right (IRENE, OGIVE, etc.).

Fun for me. Loved the clueing for PLUSSIGN, ERGONOMICS, ERROR, EIGHTIES. I like the warped clues though, it makes the puzzle more challenging and more fun and I feel like a genius when I pull the right answer out of my ... hat.

retired_chemist 11:25 AM  

All good. I had an easy time of it, with a lot in my wheelhouse, but the NYT times suggest it was more in line with Rex's rating.

Hand up for really, really wanting nIGHTIES but wasn't able to come up with a good __n_ answer for 6A.

last letter was the S in DYNASTS - could not figure out what to do with yEATMATE, tried the change to DYNASTS, and was amazed when Mr. Happy Pencil appeared. D'oh......

Incidentally, there ought to be a Carlos Danger joke in Mr. Happy Pencil appearing.

Thanks, Ms. Motley.

Z 11:34 AM  

Loved 80% - DNF in the SW. Finished thinking YEAT MATE probably made sense to somebody somewhere. Added issue was teal being "confirmed" by pEtCO down San Diego way. Yikes. Trying to picture the color of endive as some hue of blue just wasn't working for me.

PLAITED BALLERINAS eating ONION RINGS and PIE A LA MODE at the BATES MOTEL sounds like some sort of wonderful sequel to Black Swan. I know I'd pay to see it just for the SAFARIS scenes.

@Anon B and others who have complained about people bragging about their "gimmes" - I never take it as bragging or intend it as bragging. It is what it is, nothing more. If you know GEORG Cantor, that SW becomes a whole lot more doable. Congrats.

Michael Collins 11:35 AM  

Lots to dislike. Also, wanted MTRUSHMORE not BATESMOTEL.

Z 11:41 AM  

Just googled "endive blue -cheese" (because just endive blue gave me all kinds of endive/blue cheese recipes - isn't it bleu cheese?) and Rex came up third. I'm crying foul.

Mohair Sam 11:46 AM  

DNF city here thanks to the SW. Was dead positive on stave at 47D and prates at 43D (proses? puhleeez), and had never heard of this particular Cantor. Sure I loved ERGONOMICS but went with ERTA in hopes that there was another "nomics" I hadn't heard of.

Did enjoy the puzzle however, lots of very clever clues.

Did anyone else have Reagan in boloTIES before the EIGHTIES filled?

Very 20th Century 11:50 AM  

I think the Geico Gecko lizard mascot has an Australian accent, not a Cockney accent.

SSS and dodgers? Draft dodgers. Selective Service System. No Dickensian Artful Dodgers nor the perfidious Brooklyn Dodgers, dem bums, who dared to leave Brooklyn and soured me on professional baseball forever. Root for what? Frankly, I rooted for the Viet Nam era draft dodgers.

Renee or Rene? Yes, Renee is the feminine version of Rene -- in French -- and it seems some American parents opted for Rene being unisex and gender-neutral.

Weird -- the prove I'm not a robot word was oGives -- and ogives was one of my gimmes.

Very 20th Century 11:59 AM  

"NerdTV". PBS. I suspected "NerdTV" was a calumny, a put down, a slur, not a show. A scurrilous attack on intellectuals. I began to write this comment, and then thought I should double check, and Googled "NerdTV", and, you know what, it is a PBS show! A technology show.

Well, since I am a technology know-nothing, I didn't realize tech-nerds use the term for themselves. I guess they neutralized the word by taking it on, the way feminists took back the word "girl", and call each other "girl friend", or say, "Hey girl", instead of leaving the word "girl" on the dung heap along with all the sexist bosses who called the women they worked with "girls". Girls and Nerds of the World, Unite! You have nothing to lose except nothing!

mac 12:11 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, and it was a Medium Friday for me. No googles, but a couple of write-overs: sweet for swell at 13D, drones for proses, mho for mil.

Looking back over the puzzle I see a lot of good words and expressions.

Good one, Dana! Nice to be able to go to Xword info.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Not to say this puzzle wasn't just SWELL, but it felt like something out of the EIGHTIES.

Clue for GEORG could've been- Capt. Von Trapp.

Best: clue for PRE-EMPTED.
Worst: PROSES, OGIVE, PDQ/QED.

James Vincent Monaco 12:43 PM  

GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME
What I cry for
You know you got the brand o' kisses
That I'd die for,
You know you made me love you!

Joe The Juggler 12:44 PM  

I felt like I hit a brick wall early on. Then I had to leave it for a couple of hours. When I came back, everything fell into place PDQ, and several of the ? clues gave me a smile when the lightbulb finally lit.

DigitalDan 12:49 PM  

Us nerds who think "The Big Bang Theory" hilarious (except for the cheesy laugh track) have no trouble knowing that an angstrom is a unit of distance measurement (usually wavelengths of light) and thus not related to electrical conductance (MHO). I even know the theorem whereby Cantor became a household name (among mathematicians and logicians anyway.) But rock bands and pop singers? Not usually gimmes. Different Strokes, not to cite a distinctly less hilarious sitcom of old.

Notsofast 12:51 PM  

In 68 years ( 63 of them literate ) of reading, published writing and crossword solving, I don't recall ever seeing the words PROSES and OGIVE. So I'm calling bullshit on this one.

DigitalDan 12:52 PM  

By the way, the first known use of the word "nerd" was in Dr. Theodore Geisel's classic "If I Ran the Zoo", circa 1950:

I'd bring back an it-kutch, a preep and a proo,
A nerkle, a nerd, and a seersucker too.

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

as a kind of lapsed solver i was right proud to almost ace this friday puzzle(left out q and o on pdq and ogive respectively should have sat on it longer.)i was thrilled rex declared it a toughie. but i ask you, why is plus sign a summer symbol...never mind, just got the pun. groan!

Ray J 1:08 PM  

This took forever. Finally got going in the SE corner with MAP and LPGA, which led to PREEMPTED - my favorite today. Resisted BALLERINAS way too long thinking it can’t be that easy. Tried drones and prates like others. Had Dolby for the sound name, probably a result of spending so much time with the stereo lately – turntable sounds great with the new preamp BTW.

Overall I’d say the puz was okay but it didn’t really sing for me.

Evan 1:27 PM  

@August West:

You and me both. Thankfully, my wife also hates "The Big Bang Theory." We've been watching a couple episodes of "The IT Crowd" -- again, only a couple of episodes thus far, but it seems like the British, actually-funny version of that American show that we all despise.

retired_chemist 1:55 PM  


From Wikipedia:

"Its mascot is a Gold dust day gecko with a Cockney accent, voiced by English comedian and actor, Jake Wood. GEICO is well known in popular culture for its advertising, having made a large number of commercials intended to amuse viewers."

Doesn't sound Aussie to me and apparently isn't.

Lewis 2:19 PM  

JackJ -- welcome back! And insightful comments.

I had very little on my first pass, then things started showing in the south, and I built my way up, but it felt like a brain strain. I did like the clever clues that others have mentioned. As Rex said, very little grid gruel.

I don't see EIGHTIES as a ONETEN type answer. The latter, I see, as an answer among a possible hundreds. Here, the former, as clued, isn't near as wide.

Anoa Bob 2:54 PM  

Hmmmm, SIXTIES, SEVENTIES, EIGHTIES, NINETIES, HUNDREDS, ONE TENS, ONE TWENTIES, et seq.---look like peas in a pod to me. Just saying. (Meaning I feel this way but see how others' might differ, and since it's no biggie to begin with, I ain't gonna try to make a Federal case out of it. Just saying.)

Bird 3:07 PM  

A decent puzzle with a single (SW corner). Hand up for liking the clever and amusing clues. The long answers are good, too. Not too fond of the answer for 6A though, as scram is more akin to shoo, imo. DYNASTY a much, much betterer answer.

Paused at entering AT WAR because well, today is Friday and I thought that answer was just too easy.

Struggled a bit figuring out what kind of TIES start with *IGH @ 8D (FLEE took a long time to get). Duh.

TLC before PBS and TEAL before IRIS (who knew it was a color?).

LaneB 3:20 PM  

Do agree that the cluing was trying too hard without being humorous or otherwise entertaining. Despite some irritation, I diid manage to struggle through at a snail' s pace and was pleased enough to complete a FRiday which was deemed medium- challenging. Bothersome answers: SCREWS ( did not know one driveS a screw) ,AGA (eastern or NEAR eastern elite?) , IRENE ( maybe a little more recent and a little better known?)

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Like @Steve J, the only thing I could come up with for a long time for 8-D was NIGHTIES. What saved me from staying with the plausible error was the realization that FLNE for 6-A made no sense at all.

PROSES is a verb???? Seems made-up to me.

gifcan 3:59 PM  

@Wade - I had a textbook entitled "Cara a Cara", in english, Face to Face. Cara can also mean dear as in precious. I think rico is usually used for rich. Irene Rico. Whatever, right?

Yeah, I thought Geico was Austrailian, too. But, evidently, the rain in Spain lies mainly on the plain. Thanks for the correction @ret-chem.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

Funny, I found this to be one of the easiest Friday puzzles in weeks.

sanfranman59 4:23 PM  

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

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

Fri 21:23, 18:52, 1.13, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:37, 11:04, 1.14, 74%, Medium-Challenging

ahimsa-NYT 4:27 PM  

One error for me. I thought it was BATES hOTEL and did not see/realize that hIL was wrong until I checked the solution. Well, that'll teach me to re-check the downs! :-) I knew (vaguely) that an angstrom is a unit of length.

Speaking of MIL, I had no idea it was considered bad fill. I'm sure it's used in other places but I recognize the word from plastic bag packages. I use thickness measure comparing cheap generic brands to name brands. So, MIL is a recognizable word for me, not dreck. (And speaking of dreak, I just noticed that the spell check software flags that word as questionable but *not* MIL! Funny.)

@Acme, I also have trouble with putting those "with" clues in the right order! (and I thought I was the only one...)

I was thinking of "spun out" or "went off" for "lost control" until I realized that I had 4 and 5 Down in the wrong order. :-) I finally got ONION RINGS and then realized I was doing it backwards.

Unlike Rex, that top left part was my very last corner so I finished on more of a high note. There is research that shows that the end of an experience is a huge influence in how you feel about it so it makes sense that I enjoyed this puzzle a lot more than he did.

Z 5:04 PM  

@ACME & @ahimsa-NYT - the clue with the clue is the first word, the clue that references the other clue is the second word. Today we had 4D say "See 5-Down" so that had to be the second word of the answer. 5D says, "With 4-Down, lost control." It has the clue so it is the first word.

Tim The Tool Man 5:44 PM  

@LaneB -- Hence the tool named Screwdriver.

jburgs 5:48 PM  

Halleluja. After only being able to enter Ewell on first go around I figured that this was going to be another disaster like last Friday when even with lots of googling I struggled mightily.
Today took me hours but I did it all correct and fair and square. The SW was definitely the hardest but I did catch on to the ORES/ITES fairly early which helped. Like others figured that 43D had to be PRATED for some time.
I figured that the Reagan clue was probably a trick that referred to someone other than Ron. I had GHTIES
and in trying to think of other Reagans the only thing that came to mind was that I think the little girl's name in the exorcist was Reagan so I put in NIGHTIES at first but got it figured properly after a bit.
I loved this puzzle for all the aha moments I had in slogging through. Restores my confidence in being able to rise to the challenge on Fridays. Good thing I'm retired tho and have the time. My wife is pissed that I didn't get to the lawn today tho.

ahimsa-NYT 6:13 PM  

@Z - thanks so much for your comment, that was very thoughtful of you to follow up and explain the rule.

Believe it or not, I do know what order the words should be in. And yet, even though there's a part of my brain that knows the right order, I still manage to mix up the order now and then while I'm solving.

I'm not dyslexic or anything like that. So, it's either due to my "brain fog" (side effect of my illness, one reason I'm doing puzzles) or perhaps I'm just not very smart at this sort of thing.

Hmm, I just re-read "I'm not very smart" and it sounds sarcastic, maybe even snippy. Yet I'm being perfectly serious because I am *not* in the same league as the really good puzzle solvers out there. I'm slow and easily confused when it comes to puzzles. :-)

Jean Gogolin 8:17 PM  

I think the gecko's accent is Australian, not cockney, yes?

JenCT 8:55 PM  

@Joe the Juggler: that happens to me a LOT - I walk away; then when I come back refreshed, I fill in the rest of the puzzle.

Too bad you can't do that at the ACPTs!

@ahimsaNYT: you'll get better. I'm also doing the puzzles to help with my brain fog. Slow is just fine; we can't all be speed solvers.:

Mette 8:56 PM  

How does ORES relate to ledge?

retired_chemist 9:44 PM  

According to my dictionary, a ledge is a stratum of ore-bearing rock. It's definition 3 and I never heard of it before either.

Rob C 11:25 PM  

Medium-Challenging Fri for me. Clues, as opposed to zippy, scrabbly fill made this one shine for me. 10 ? clues. Wonder what the record is?

I don't think EIGHTIES is nearly as bad as ONE TEN.

Welcome back jackj

sanfranman59 1:41 AM  

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 7:35, 6:09, 1.23, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 9:26, 8:16, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 10:26, 9:43, 1.07, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 15:07, 16:30, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:15, 18:52, 1.13, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:52, 3:47, 1.29, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 5:41, 5:00, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 6:12, 5:35, 1.11, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:07, 9:30, 0.85, 21%, Easy-Medium
Fri 11:35, 11:02, 1.05, 59%, Medium

Debby Weinstein 9:44 AM  

Rene is also a boyboy's name. Depends how "e"a you use in spelling.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

I love, loved, loved this puzzle, though I ended up with five squares wrong. Puzzling extended until this morning, so about four hours of time on it is a good estimate.

Tried, tried, oh how I tried to come up with a city ending in "ague," but could only come up with The Hague. Adding to that, I'd never heard of the expression PDQ, so I was in trouble. Liked NYU for "Manhattan choice" over "QED," and there went my hopes for a successful solve. Also, had "mol" instead of "mil," but if I hadn't been so focused on the "ague" city I probably would have caught this error.

What I loved about this puzzle most is the badass "pie a la mode" answer. On a similar level (or ledge, if you prefer) I found "ergonomics" and "preempted." Other stuff was very, very good: "rodeos" for bulldogging, "nearmiss" for flight safety stat, and "ran amok" for lost control.

I did feel some solid pride for getting the southwest corner, though, I admit, proses and ogive aren't the strongest answers. I actually feel some solid pride for getting as far as I did, as the only thing close to a gimme for me was "ballerinas," and after a couple of false starts with 41 down, Like Pigtails (I tried braided and twisted), I even began to doubt "ballerinas."

In short, I really, really liked this one, though it would definitely get a CHALLENGING from me.

ZenMonkey 2:32 PM  

No the gecko is not Australian. He's not cockney either. But there've been references to him being English and that accent isn't even close to Down Under.

spacecraft 11:55 AM  

@anon; SSS stands for the Selective Service System, i.e., the draft. "Not very 2013." Gee, @Rex, you mean here's a puzzle WITHOUT a rapper in it? Oh my, what a shame.

With some points of OFL's blog, I agree. It took quite a while to ferret out the S-ending for DYNAST_ when I (and probably everybody ELSE) had written Y. And PR__ES for "Talks tediously" has to be PRATES, no?

No. After determining that there's no such color as IR{any vowel]T, I had to give up on PRatES. The end result, PROSES, was a total huh? for me. I agree: bad, BAD corner.

But I do not agree about all the clues that seem like SCREWS. This is Friday, guys, gotta expect that. I do agree that the grid rather elegantly connects a lot of longer entries, for which I must give props. Except for that shoulda-been-redone SW, I enjoyed it.

One clue doesn't make any sense to me: "Many a security point" for DESK. So, that's many a work ststion of any kind. It's like saying "many a sandwich" is a Reuben. Sucky clue, IMO.

Overall, though, Dana Motley, I'll be one of your "crue."

ecanarensis 1:47 PM  

I got ONION RINGS, WRISTBAND, & ROULETTE early, so was sure the theme was something along the lines of 'Ring-shaped objects' or 'things shaped like O-rings' or 'zeros', which had me climbing the walls when I finally got "PIE ALA MODE"....what the heck is circular about pie & ice cream?!?! (the scoop? --I was mentally screaming "Cheat!").
Finally realized there really wasn't a theme.

Have run across OGIVE while reading, I thought in Stephen Jay Gould's discussion of spandrels in various places, but can't find any support of this. Apparently I've spent too much time reading about old churches, or just obscure things in general.

"PROSES"?? Puh-leeze. (*insert loud buzzer sound here*). My vote for worst of the month.

Solving in Seattle 2:06 PM  

Last day of jury duty. Some talking in the lounge with folks more relaxed. No one, however, PROSEd.

Mainly what @Spacecraft said, so I won't repeat. Had to work through DYNASTy/S and y/SEATMATE. That was the only write over because all my SW guesses were correct.

Liked Dana crossing BALLERINA/LEADFOOT.

@LMS, PUGET is a French name, so I guess it would sound better to you without the hard T. His ancestors fled France during the persecution of the Huguenots. Peter PUGET was on the voyage of the Discovery under Captain Vancouver ('Couves' to @Ginger) and was tasked to explore what is now the Southern part of Puget Sound. Vancouver named the Sound after Puget in recognition of his work. BTW, the people who live on the Sound leave off the "the" when referring to PUGET Sound. It's either "the Sound," or "Puget Sound." Also, I can't imagine anyone shooting a giraffe. Wow.

Can someone please tell me how a PLUSSIGN is a "Summer symbol"?

Go Hawks!

ecanarensis 2:37 PM  

@Solving n Seattle; your mind is trying to protect you...it's a dreadful pun.
"sum" as in addition, one who adds being a summer, so their symbol would be a plus sign. Real groaner, huh?

DJ Stone 3:43 PM  

I thought this puzzle sucked for exactly the reason Rex cited: overly precious cluing. Yet another example of what you can do with an hour of time and access to Google and the OED. Irene Rich? Really? Don't know she is/was and will never care. Proses? Anyone ever heard or read that word? No? Didn't think so.

That said, the "nerd" TV show that Rex referenced is the "The Big Bang Theory." If you really can't laugh at that show, I feel sorry for you. Easily the best ensemble comedy since "Friends."

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Tom Poston was on the Steve Allen Show. Tom Ewell was not.

Dirigonzo 6:03 PM  

Apparently I'm the only one whose problems were in the NE where the rivEts being driven at my construction site totally obscured the whole corner - except ALEVE, I had that right anyway, thanks to ONTHELEVEL. So DNF but hey, sometimes that happens on a Friday.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Never heard of ewell? You need to watch the movie. Tom is great, and watching one of Marilyn's sexiest roles never hurts.

rain forest 12:27 AM  

Good stuff in this puzzle, which flummoxed me at first blush, but then I got into it, and finished with a flourish. Personally, I liked the cluing. I know I'm late, but I was making wine earlier--Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.

sdcheezhd 4:08 AM  

The SW was a mess; when GEORG looked plausible I thought the rest might be right but was still shocked when it was. Agree on DYNASTS and spent a lot of time wondering what YEAT____s were. PLUSSIGN was painful in a good way, but I'm a fan of precious ?? cluing.

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