Province of Saudi Arabia / SUN 8-18-13 / Main hood in Little Caesar 1931 / Old-fashioned street conveyance / You Gotta Be singer 1994 / Island group in Bahamas / New Guinea port from which Amelia Earhart left on her last flight / Old-time announcer Johnny / Michael Clayton director Tony

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BORDERLINES (69A: Gray areas, maybe ... or a hint to 12 incomplete answers in this puzzle) — every edge word in the grid (i.e. word that can be found AROUND THE / PERIMETER) (38D: With 56-Down, where to find this puzzle's 12 theme answers) must be followed by LINE in order to make sense.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: It may come down in a storm (TELEPHONE)
  • 10A: Divider in a musical score (BAR)
  • 13A: Hang-out locale? (CLOTHES)
  • 19D: Hobby activity (SIDE)
  • 42D: Court stripe (FREE THROW)
  • 100D: Bottom of a contract (DOTTED)
  • 123A: Supermarket time-saver (EXPRESS)
  • 124A: Draw a mark through for cancellation (RED)
  • 125A: Means of one-to-one communication (DEDICATED)
  • 1D: Movie theater sight (TICKET)
  • 50D: Quarterback protectors (OFFENSIVE)
  • 107D: Locale for finished works that haven't yet appeared (PIPE)

Word of the Day: Tony GILROY (45D: "Michael Clayton" director Tony) —
Anthony Joseph "Tony" Gilroy (born September 11, 1956) is an American screenwriter and filmmaker. He wrote the screenplays for the Bourne series starring Matt Damon, among other successful films, and directed the fourth film of the franchise. He has been nominated for Academy Awards for his direction and script for Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney. Gilroy wrote and directed Duplicity, starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. (wikipedia)
• • •

Picked up the concept fairly early, but still had a very, very hard time getting into the center of the puzzle. Also, hard time remembering every time I was supposed to put LINE after a damned edge-word.  But the most frustrating part was definite the center. Every way in felt vague, and I'd just have a terminal -ES, say, or -ER, or something equally unhelpful. GRAB BAG (44D: Mixture), very hard to see, even with both "G"s. SENATE, ditto (66D: Galactic ___ ("Star Wars" setting)). I don't know INTERBRED, only CROSSBRED (47D: Hybridized). No idea who Tony GILROY is. So, to repeat, getting in there was annoying. Disappointed to get AROUND THE / PERIMETER, which is accurate, but also obvious by the time you get in there. Not obvious exactly what the phrasing is going to be, but obvious what the phenomenon being described is. Also, not a fan of BORDERLINES as "gray areas." If something is "borderline" (adj.), then OK, but as a noun, I think of BORDERLINES as quite distinct. Often marked by things like gates and checkpoints, or, on a map, thick black lines. ASIR (75A: Province of Saudi Arabia), E LEE, and LAE (89D: New Guinea port from which Amelia Earhart left on her last flight) are always very hurty, but most of the time you're gonna have a handful of that junk on a Sunday, and this one *is* both theme-dense and wide open, so the junk doesn't really hurt much. It's a fine puzzle—though by EG standards, it's average. The "seen it" quality of the theme (versions of this "edge-answers-all-the-same"-type puzzle have been done many times before) and the unremarkable redundancy / superfluity of the AROUND THE / PERIMETER answer made it less than scintillating for me. I will say that some of the fill is fabulous and I do enjoy a bit of a challenge on a Sunday once in a while (they'd been getting quite easy, or so it seemed).

Grandmaster Flash - White Lines by hushhush112

I started with POWER LINE at 1A, which seemed so ... right, especially after several of the crosses worked just fine (ETS, NEESON, EDDY). I had MUNI for RICO (thinking "gangster actor" rather than "gangster character") (53A: Main hood in "Little Caesar," 1931). Had a weird '90s flashback at DES'REE (61A: "You Gotta Be" singer, 1994)—that song was everywhere, but shortly thereafter, DES'REE wasn't. Anywhere. That I know of. I didn't know Johnny OLSON was "old-time," so that clue threw me for a bit. I got the [Island group in the Bahamas] off the terminal "I", though if you'd asked me what BIMINI was before I started this puzzle, I'd've said "... uh ... an island ... somewhere ...?" (74A: Island group in the Bahamas) My favorite answer of the day was FOUR-COLOR, as that describes the printing of old-school comics, of which I am fond (51D: Like some printing).

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jackj 12:02 AM  

    Ah, it’s Liz, it’s summer, it’s time for a spectacular visual and maybe we’ll get the “New York Times Swimsuit Crossword Puzzle”, featuring scantily-clad stick figures in a heated beach volleyball match, Zuma Beach vs. Malibu Beach, maybe and, but, no, no, it’s LINES, just LINES.

    Not even connected LINES but BORDERLINES and LINES AROUNDTHEPERIMETER; SIDE LINES and TELEPHONE LINES and 10 more to decorate the outside of the grid.

    So it’s “One toke over the LINE, sweet Jesus” and fie on competing with Sports Illustrated; if you draw a line to connect the theme words today, all you’ll get is a bigger box than the 21X21 with which we started.

    But, the real treat from this puzzle comes via the gnarliest Gorski fill in memory, with the likes of INITIALED, GRAB BAG, AUTOPILOT and CHASTISED, (which was thought to be CHEWED OUT until LIAISE directed me otherwise).

    More trickiness also ensued before the LINE theme evolved when the puzzle asked for “Quarterback protectors”, (nine letters) and the only thing that made any bit of sense as a stand-alone entry was OFFICIALS. But, when the (LINE) theme became clear, the OFFENSIVE (LINE) took over their blocking assignments and dapper Tom went unscathed.

    Liz really pulled out all the stops in this one, delighting us with those Amish relatives, the MENNONITE crowd that were running parallel to SADDLESORE and heading for the ONIONDOME while trying to avoid BOBSLEDS, the EPA and a tricky PRECIPICE.

    There were many short entries like LAN, CAF, TEE, ELEE, ARR, ITO, etc, etc, but since they were the necessary mucilage that held this treasure together, they didn’t bother me one bit!

    With so much to choose from it would seem difficult to single out one clue and answer as today’s “best of puzzle”, until one reaches 117 across and the clue of “Last chance to strike out?” which gives us FINAL EDIT and that, I would suggest, is downright brilliant!

    Thanks, Liz; IDIDIT and it was a joy!

    Steve J 12:27 AM  

    I quite liked this. The theme-related fill was solid and without much of anything that was dodgy or IFFY (although I agree that BORDERLINE as a noun isn't terribly grey). That alone is pretty impressive, but to have the rest of the fill be mostly of good (or better) quality was remarkable. It seems like this kind of construction could easily have a puzzle go off the RAILs, but aside for the sort of clunky three-letter fill that is hard to avoid on a large grid, there wasn't much that fell off-key.

    The center was the hardest part for me, too, particularly the area from GILROY to INTERBRED and RICO to SAYST (I wanted sayest, not sayst). It didn't help that I could only think of "Frère Jacque" and needed neary all the letters for ALOUETTE to come to mind. Nor did it help when I automatically filled in "Sister of literature" with CARRIE, but even with deleting that it took a bit of effort to come get this section to fill in. Was also slowed down a bit in the SE, when I had the initial F and terminal T and decided that FULLCOUNT was the answer to "Last chance to strike out?" (which actually would have made an answer equal in excellence to the correct FINALEDIT).

    While I didn't necessarily feel like this was a bit tougher than normal during the bulk of the solve (until the empty left-center stared me in the face for a while), those sections gave me enough of a slowdown to put me above my typical Sunday time. Which was perfectly fine. The puzzle was definitely fun, and it is indeed nice to have a bit of a challenge on Sunday for a change (I've also had the impression that they've felt on the easy side of late).

    chefwen 12:50 AM  

    So, I'm like all happy that it's a Gorski puzzle and I go to print it out and it's like, YO Liz, where are my circles? Whaddaya mean, I don't like get to draw on it? Geez Liz, like wreck my Saturday night.

    All kidding aside, I did love it. I will also go with consensus that the middle part was the most difficult. It did not help that I plopped down Goulash at 44D. Why is it that food is always the "go to" answer?

    Thanks Elizabeth, I'll forgive you this time. How about a DOF glass for the next one?

    retired_chemist 12:55 AM  

    Lots of fun in this puzzle. Solid fill, good cluing, interesting ways to err.

    Re the last: FOUR pOint before FOUR COLOR (very small printing, like the warning labels on medications). My favorite was PADDLE SORE for 73D, crossed by "What PAYST thou?" (If thou PAYST a THOU, thou PAYST too much.)

    RESEE always irks me. Crossed by Robt. E. LEE, it makes the NE kinda sucko.

    Would you actually say "The picnic drinks are IN ICE?" I'd have said oN ICE, and I bet most of you would also. The cross, RoSES, would have been fine.

    The nits I picked do not override the puzzle's good qualities. Thanks, Ms. Gorski.

    retired_chemist 12:58 AM  

    @ Chefwen re 44D - didn't we have a chuckle about 44D's a year or so ago?

    Jeff Chen 1:40 AM  

    Clever commentary from Liz herself! Both here:

    and at Wordplay. Enjoy!


    chefwen 1:46 AM  

    @retired_chemist - Yes, we certainly did, @Evil Doug was the first to jump into that SNAFU on my part.

    jae 3:26 AM  

    Mostly easy for me, but, like everyone else so far, the middle was kinda crunchy...@r_c hand up for oN ICE. 

    WOE: DES'REE.  By the time the '90s rolled around I was listening to oldies radio.

    Liked it, fun Sunday.  An average Gorski is better than most. 

    Ted Cole 5:43 AM  

    Bery and Gorski are the king and queen.

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:47 AM  

    I was rather slow to catch on to the theme as I started in the NW, because many of the edge answers there did not seem to require a "line."

    For 1 A, I have often said that the TELEPHONE has gone down. For 10 A, a BAR seems sufficient to divide a musical score. At 1 D, I certainly have seen a TICKET in a movie theater. And with my ignorance of football, the quarterback protectors at 50 D could easily be referred to as the OFFENSIVE.

    The remaining edge answers did require a line to make sense obviously.

    chefbea 7:55 AM  

    Great puzzle!! Didn't get the theme tip I got around the perimeter. Then went back to see what all the words had in common...nothing. Then I got border lines and finished.

    Susan McConnell 8:04 AM  

    I liked this very much, and kept thinking that it must have been very tedious to create. I didn't have the issues with the middle that Rex did... Some of the clues were challenging but everything pretty much fell in nicely. I love all of those 9s!

    capesunset105 8:31 AM  

    Mixed up Tootsie with Mrs. Doubtfire so made a random start with WILLIAMS. Regrouped from there and the rest was not as difficult as I feared considering this was my first after many months hiatus. A satisfying, enjoyable return puzzle.

    Mohair Sam 8:41 AM  

    I guess we're the exception that proves the rule. Thought this was unusually easy. Got the theme with 1A and 1D and filled the edges first thing.

    Lots of gimme's for us DOGG, RICO, NOPAR, LIS, BEENE made the theme clues in the middle easy and we were done before I scrambled the eggs. Very unusual.

    Must have hit our sweet spots.

    Milford 9:04 AM  

    Lovely, medium Sunday. Agree that although the idea of what the theme was came early, the middle revealers were slow to appear. Like @Rex's last video implies, I was trying to cram in Blurred or Blurry LINES.

    Kind of confused what a carpet has to do with being CHASTISED. Anyone?

    Thank you, @retired chemist for showing me where my error was in the puzzle, at oN ICE/RoSES.

    Speaking of chemists :), 71A is METH lab, which reminds me tonight is another Breaking Bad episode! Another opening sequence puzzle piece, hopefully.

    Nice puzzle, and really enjoying the constructor notes at xword info.

    Mohair Sam 9:33 AM  

    @Milford - to be "called on the carpet" is an old metaphor for being called to the bosses office for a chewing out.

    Evan 9:38 AM  

    I did a team solve on this with my wife for the first time in many years, so I can't really say how difficult it was....we got the theme early on and didn't have too much trouble with the middle, so Easy-Medium, perhaps? Thought it might be a nice idea to co-solve a crossword on our anniversary -- yup, it's today.

    And that means I gotta get moving for our big trip to Portugal, but first things first:

    * It's cool to see four sets of 9-stacks on a Sunday.

    * Didn't care for RESEE, HODS, EME, LIC, LAE, DOO, ASIR, ESSE, ALER, DOUSER, the triple partial combo IS NO/TO EAT/OF ME, the is-it-an-I-or-a-Y LIS, or the clue for SIDE(LINE). It's a sports perimeter, dammit, and yeah I know OFFENSIVE and FREE THROW are already there, but still, I ain't never called my crossword hobby a SIDELINE.

    * Loved most of the longer non-theme fill, and though I've never heard of the tetm ONION DOME, I sorta really like it as a phrase.

    * My write-overs: CHASTENED before CHASTISED, BIKINI before BIMINI, and REPOSE before RETIRE. My wife's write-overs: CROSSBRED before INTERBRED, RICK before RICO, HORSE CAB before CAR, and FUSSIER before CRUSTIER (realizing only after writing that it was a letter short).

    I think that's all. See everyone back here when I return in two weeks!

    Blue Stater 9:41 AM  

    This was easy for me -- no tricks and fairly straightforward cluing, and I got the theme early on. One nit, though: 110D, "A, e.g.," ALER. Huh?

    joho 9:45 AM  

    Imagine coming up with 12 real phrases that = word + line, positioning them perfectly around the PERIMETER of the puzzle and then still make sense of the rest of the words in the puzzle. Liz not only did that, there also are the bonus theme answers in the middle and very little "grid gruel" ... @Lewis, is that your term?

    Quite a feat!

    John in Philly 9:45 AM  

    Any time I see Liz Gorski as the constructor I know it's going to be a good one - and this one did not disappoint. Thanks for another great Puz.

    leah712 9:56 AM  

    Liked this one a lot. Not happy to see "Blurred Lines" in the blog, though. This year's "song of the summer" is so much worse than last year's "Call Me Maybe."

    Z 10:01 AM  

    I guess OFL had to go with a G rated version, but I was hoping for an R rated Blurred Lines theme. (This is the banned from YouTube video)

    Like Rex, the middle was the struggle. I wondered, too, about RISES/IN ICE. Either change the clue or go with ON ICE. 124A's clue also seemed really strained for such a simple word. Too cute by half in. My book. Otherwise, a fine Sunday solve.

    Z 10:07 AM  

    @leah712 - not to mention a music video that makes great use of irony.

    Carola 10:07 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 10:10 AM  

    @BlueStater: Perhaps baseball? "A" = Oakland Athletic, "ALer" = "American Leaguer"

    Carola 10:12 AM  

    Elegant puzzle! I actually had more luck with the center than the edges - the BAR area took me to ALOUETTE via AUTOPILOT, so I hung around there and got AROUND THE PERIMETER and BORDER LINES before I had anything else on the SIDEs.

    Sadly, having the reveal didn't help me as much as it should have. Like @Rex, I kept forgetting I needed to add LINE, and like @Bob Keruffle, I'd read the edge piece I had in place as a stand-alone answer (BAR). Thus, for the hang-out place, I first tried CLOset, until my dim bulb finally came on.

    Anyway, loved it. Great long entries so fun to write in, both the ones that came easily - CARRIES ON, ONION DOME, the not-so-easy - PRECIPICE, and the ones that seemed impossible - _ _ ABBA_.

    @Blue Stater - I think it's baseball - Oakland A's in the American League.

    @chefwen - I was also hoping for circles!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 AM  

    Regarding 65 D, "How picnic drinks may be packed": I may drive past a liquor store and see a sign proclaiming "Coors Light On Ice!", but when I go to the beach I grab my old Coleman cooler and make sure my cans of A&W Root Beer are packed IN ICE. The puzzle is correct.

    retired_chemist 10:17 AM  

    @ Milford - So many people have said I would enjoy Breaking Bad I plan to watch it tonight. Never heard of it until recently. I apparently don't get out a lot, in the TV-watching sense.

    retired_chemist 10:31 AM  

    @ Bob K - I am reminded of the old one about the fare and the cabbie. The meter is $10.50 and the fare hands the cabbie a ten and two quarters. The cabbie looks surprised, maybe even disgusted. The fare says, "That's correct, isn't it?" The cabbie responds, "Yeah, it's correct, but it ain't right!"

    The issue actually was not which is correct (either is) but what is usual and customary. I still bet ON ICE is more in the language than IN ICE.

    Anonymous 10:58 AM  

    I hoped "Primitive Drive" would have been "Floppy."

    Norm 11:02 AM  

    I have THISPUZZLE for 73D, and I'm sticking with it. I usually love Gorski puzzles. Not today.

    r.alphbunker 11:14 AM  

    I too wondered where the circles were. Since I am using my own program to solve the puzzle the omissions might have been a bug in the program. But they weren't. Ms. Gorski has squared the circles!

    The ENHALO clue and the theme reminded me of the following story. There was a woman who could see peoples aura (halos). She heard of a great saint in India and decided to visit him to see what his aura looked like. She attended a lecture of his in a large hall and was initially surprised to see that he had no aura but then realized that his aura filled the entire hall.

    jae 11:19 AM  

    @Evan -- Me too for CHASTENED and today is also our anniversary(#47). Congratulations!

    @r_c -- Breaking Bad is one of those shows you need to watch from the beginning to make sense of. Jumping in 7 episodes from the series finale will just be confusing. The entire series is available from Netflix streaming or you can buy/rent the DVD set. It is worth it. It has consistently been one of the best shows on TV for the past few years.

    Anonymous 11:25 AM  

    The Main Hood in Little Caesar(1931) was Edward G Robinson, alias Rico. Paul Munie did not appear in the film

    Anonymous 11:26 AM  

    Little sucker -- EDDY?

    Can someone explain this? Eddy in a stream perhaps; but why is that a sucker?


    GLR 11:44 AM  

    My two cents regarding "on ice" vs. "in ice" - I think the word "packed" in the clue favors "IN ice." If the clue were how picnic drinks are "kept" or "served," I think "ON ice" would fit better.

    Anonymous 11:52 AM  

    This was fun and anytime I finish before noon--all the better! Thanks Liz!

    r.alphbunker 12:05 PM  

    An eddy is a small whirlpool. A whirlpool sucks water down into it.

    Questinia 12:20 PM  

    Chastened also.

    Loved the clue for ENSCONCE. Love the word.

    Easy-Medium, no hold ups interiorly nor on the fringes.

    Has mellifluous ever been in a puzzle? There should be a puzzle filled with words that dribble down the chin like melting custard.

    TY Ms Gorski.

    Ellen S 12:38 PM  

    Oh dear, I want to leave a comment, don't know where my keyboard is, need to just do this and then take the dogs out before it gets too hot. This is what happens to me and why I haven't been commenting!

    I loved this puzzle and was sorry when I came to the end. Even though I don't understand EDDY either and never heard of Johnny OLSON.

    I don't understand about FOUR COLOR. I mean, I thought I understood--I have a certificate in Graphic Production from the 1990s. Printing then, and for ... forever, was either 4-color or less, or spot color, (or some of each). Printers had reservoirs which normally were filled with cyan, yellow, magenta and black ink. A print job uses any or all of these. The FOUR COLORs can be combined in varying proportions (that is, any of the colors can be screened back to any degree of faintness) to make just about any color you want. A separate printing plate is made for each color; as the paper goes through the press, each color is applied in turn Some colors just can't be created from such combos--think neons and metallics, for instance--and to get those, one of the reservoirs would have to be cleaned out (sometimes there is a fifth reservoir for that purpose) and filled premixed ink of the desired color. Those are "spot colors". The paper has to not wiggle any as it is inked from each reservoir, or the Registration will be off, as always happened in old newspaper color printing. Remember how the lipstick on women's images never matched up with their lips? It wasn't because they were drunk when they were putting on their makeup!

    Similarly, my laser printer uses four toner cartridges, C (cyan) M (magenta) Y (yellow) and K (black, apparently because the registration of the other color plated was Keyed off the black plate). Color inkjets use the same process.

    So what's with this statement from the Wikipedia article @Rex linked to: "Four Color, also known as Four Color Comics and One Shots, was a long-running American comic book anthology series published by Dell Comics between 1939 and 1962. The title is a reference to the four basic colors used when printing comic books (cyan, magenta, yellow and black at the time."

    When printing comic books at the time? Comic books and anything in color, and up to the present day, as fat as I know, even though some newer printing technologies don't require plates, they still use the four color process. (My laser printer even has a Registration problem, and prints the Magenta offset from the other colors. Just like in the old comics.)

    Anonymous 12:59 PM  

    I finished this puzzle without a clue as to the gimmicky theme, except for lower right. I still am puzzled re: the answer to 125 across--"dedicated" Can someone explain?

    Milford 1:04 PM  

    @Mohair Sam - thanks for the carpet explanation. Makes sense now. Amusing to think that only the boss' office would be so decadent as to have carpeting.

    @retired chemist - I have to agree with @jae that you will be doing yourself a disservice by watching BB tonight without the whole history. Watch the whole series if at all possible.

    @Ellen - Johnny OLSON was the announcer on The Price Is Right, if that helps.

    Currently I am sitting in the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor to await a screening of "Lawrence of Arabia" on the big screen, with our crossword favorites O'Toole and Omar.

    Gill I. P. 1:20 PM  

    Absolutely loved this puzzle. Would have enjoyed it even more had I not gone back to read yesterday's late comments on the blog. Some @$$ revealed the theme for today's puzzle so I knew all about the "Line." Would have gotten it anyway but please, people, don't do that!!
    My only real bugaboo was my inability to see CRUSTIER. Had CRABBIER and he wouldn't let go.
    Thanks for another terrific puzzle EG.

    mac 1:58 PM  

    Excellent Sunday puzzle, with plenty of beautiful words and crunchy clues.

    I managed to get the theme answers "around the perimeter" and borderlines fairly early on, which helped me here and there. I do remember staring at "clothes" for a long time before it sunk in, though.

    Newbie (still) 1:58 PM  

    Gorski must just be in my age/experience range. I found this puzzle Easy, and I can't say that about many Sunday puzzles. I seemed to get all the references.

    My difficulty was in the Southeast. Kept seeing Final Edit as Finaled It, and could not make sense of it!

    @Anonymous: 125A refers to a "dedicated line," that is, a phone line, eg, that might be "dedicated" as a fax line, or to one particular use - and maybe even individual?

    ANON B 2:21 PM  

    One of these days I will figure
    out why some of the commenters think anyone cares whether they
    found the puzzle easy or not.
    Why not just comment on the
    clues and the answers?

    jburgs 3:11 PM  

    I like to hear people's comments about relative difficulty as it is human nature to do so.
    As a relative newcomer it helps me gauge my own performance. The fact that that I found the puzzle fairly easy is a confidence booster. So sue me.
    I was a little distracted doing it too. My son has recently graduated from a chemical engineering program. He has yet to obtain employment and is worried about his $22,000 student debt. He came to me with a proposal last night. He would like me to help him to set up a little lab in the back shed to produce something called methamphetamine. It is an illegal drug apparently. But he says that by "cooking" just one batch we could sell it quickly and make enough not only to pay off the debt but have enough extra for me to get the 2009 Corolla I've been eyeing. I am troubled by the illegality but he makes a compelling case. So I'm figuring, what could go wrong?

    Photo Ed. 3:18 PM  

    @Ellen S -

    I'm going to guess at what the wiki post meant - that comic books can now be printed with more inks than just CYMK - to get some of the effects you noted - neon, metallic, maybe others?- that can't be produced otherwise.

    Your printer prints magenta offset? Where does it get the water? Cleaning the offset cylinder must be a pain. Sorry, couldn't help it....

    Anonymous 3:58 PM  

    A fun Sunday that helped me recover from going over the line with the caberbet last nit

    Ray J 4:00 PM  

    Enjoyable puzzle and very interesting to read Ms. Gorski’s comments about the constraints involved in creating a grid like this.

    @R.alphbunker already satisfactorily explained EDDY but I like this
    little sucker.

    chefwen 4:09 PM  

    Sorry to go "off topic" - @chefbea your daughter was on the cover of the Honolulu Advertiser Travel section today, rubbing elbows with the likes of Anthony Bourdain (her picture was better) I see it was taken from a NYT article, you must be BEAming! Very cool.

    chefbea 4:31 PM  

    @chefwen just copied your coment and sent it to her. Thanks. Now to google your newspaper

    Anonymous 4:45 PM  

    I love it when a puzzle gives you an AHA moment. todays did it with "line".
    thanx to rexfans for the explanation of ALER.

    Rob C 4:58 PM  

    About medium difficulty for me. Yeah, the middle was a bit tough to break into. I thought some of the mid-length fill was great. A fair amount of it was add a prefix/suffix (ENHALO, RESEE, UNENDED, DOUSER, IFFIER...)

    All of the LINES were solid. All in all a fun puzzle.

    METH LAB today, Bong last week. What's going on here?

    Arthur Mercante 5:22 PM  

    BIMINI brings back memories of the hard working middleweight of the 1955-65 era who was always introduced as "Yama Bahama from Bimini in the Bahamas"

    bonigreg 5:38 PM  

    Thought this was a fun, clever puzzle; about medium for me.

    One issue though, 47D Hybridized is just about the exact opposite of interbred. A hybrid organism is the result of breeding outside the genetic line, not interbreeding.

    jackj 5:40 PM  

    For Anon, Lewis and Rob C, from two days ago-

    Belated thanks for the welcoming words.

    same anonymous 5:57 PM  


    I always look forward to your clever commentary on the puzzle. In most cases, I agree with your take, but even when I don't quite agree, I admire your writing skills, your knowledge and wit! Can't say enough!

    shari 6:17 PM  

    Help!?! 110D ALER ??

    michael 6:19 PM  

    I often disagree with Rex, but this time reactions to the the puzzle are similar to his. Had some trouble with the cetner but eventually got it.

    Anonymous 7:09 PM  


    As @Carola explained earlier, an Oakland A, short for Athletics- is an American Leaguer. AL-ER.

    LaneB 7:55 PM  

    Once the " line" additive became clear, I managed to slog through the rest of it except for the middle of the south end. It had to be ONIONDOME, of course, but the Morph--- clue threw me since I had not heard of EME as a suffix. That made LAUDE Questionable ( isn't it plural " honorS" ?) But DOUSER saved me from a DNF

    Maybe I was in a bad mood but this puzz was somewhat irritating, particularly the clues for DOO, EDDY and NES. I suppose that will always be a problem when there are Los of 3- letter fills.

    JenCT 9:28 PM  

    How does Liz Gorski do it? Very impressive construction...

    Got quarterback protectors right away.

    @jburgs: Too funny! Let us know how it all works out.

    @jae, @milford, @r_c: Once my son played the very first B.Bad episode for me, I was completely hooked! We watched all 54 episodes on Netflix streaming.

    55 is on right now...

    sanfranman59 10:52 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 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
    Sat 26:04, 25:53, 1.01, 60%, Medium
    Sun 26:59, 27:42, 0.97, 48%, Medium

    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
    Sat 16:51, 16:06, 1.05, 64%, Medium-Challenging
    Sun 18:40, 19:20, 0.97, 43%, Medium

    Ellen S 2:45 AM  

    @photo Ed: ha ha. I use poisonous solvents like in the good old days.

    saleem mohd. 2:53 AM  

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    sarah in new york 12:57 PM  

    In response to earlier question, "dedicated line" is, I think, something like the hotline to Moscow that is supposedly in the Oval Office (or that used to be there). So it's a telephone line specifically devoted to one thing.

    And when you pack for a picnic, you pack your stuff -- shrimp, too, e.g. -- in ice so that it does not get warm before you get to your picnic location.

    In unrelated news, this was the first Sunday crossword in my ENTIRE LIFE that I finished on a Sunday, all by myself, every square in the right place, no need to look up anything! I know that happens to most people on this site most of the time, but to me, that really felt like something.

    wayne Porter 3:40 AM  

    Hi, thanks for this wonderful post! awsome tools!Chester County Short Sale

    paulsfo 1:39 AM  

    I really don't care if something is hard to construct; I'd like it to be interesting to solve. No matter how hard it might be to arrange twelve phrases with "line" around the edges, they were totally boring to solve. So the entire outside of the puzzle was a waste of time, in my opinion.

    spacecraft 11:54 AM  

    Back-to-back Berry/Gorski--now there's a RED-letter weekend! Very well done, dense theme, and although in spots IFFIER (!) than her usual, the fill is tremendous.
    OK, the NE could use some tweaking; UNENDED/RESEE/ELEE, and ALER is an old-time groan, but by and large meeting or exceeding tough Gorskian standards.

    Besides, a thumbs-up must go to any grid containing the talented and scrumptious TERIGARR. Hand up for DESREE as a WOE; on the other hand Allen FUNT was a gimme for me. Son Peter CARRIESON the show's tradition.

    I actually found this more mediumish than OFL, so smoothly does it come together. Yes, a bit of trouble cracking the central egg, but once I had "Oh, THAT light!" COORS, all was well. Thanks, Liz--again, and again...

    BedfordBob 1:55 PM  

    Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Thanks Ms Gorski for a fun Sunday.

    I do the syndicated puzzles and Saturday killed me but Friday and Sunday were great.

    I was afraid early on that all the proper names I never heard of we going make me DNF but the crosses were so fine I aced it.

    The last thing I got was RED at the bottom because I forgot I had to add LINE to it and of course it then made perfect sense.

    Solving in Seattle 3:16 PM  

    Similar to @Sarah in NY's experience, I solved this puzzle quickly (for me) and cleanly with only one writeover: con before PIT. Otherwise, caught on to the theme right away and basically went on AUTOPILOT and filled out the PERIMETER then worked my way in. Before coming to the post I thought OFL would label this one "easy."

    I don't drink light beers. It's just a way to pay money for bad breath and no buzz. Especially don't like the taste of COORS beer.

    Ms. Gorski, good work on this puzzle.

    Capcha: xpublic. Gone private?

    Anonymous 3:37 PM  

    @bonigreg..... I think you're confusing interbreeding with intrabreeding. I too fell for crossbred, however.

    DNF because I refused to put COORS at 54D (had to be something more exotic) along with crossBRED, so never got BORDER...

    Dirigonzo 4:19 PM  

    Al CAPP made cameo appearances in both this puzzle and today's Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo - could we say the two were INTERBRED?

    METH lab reminded of this picture which might be of my dogs, except I don't have a chocolate lab.

    Anonymous 6:48 PM  

    I actually got the tony gilroy w/ no help- I am a charter member of entertainment weekly and that allowed me to answer that with no help- Liz has been doing puzzles forever and when I was much younger I always thought she was easy and the clues and answers un original - but this puzzle had some really different clever cool clues and answers- so well done

    Cary in Boulder 11:34 AM  

    I DID IT ... or so I thought. Now I see that I misnamed Ms. GARR (who is best remembered to me from her role in "Young Fronk-un-steen") as BARR, which gave me a why-not of BES for the refrigerators. Another _ES answer that had me buffaloed was Super-NES, which I'd never heard of. Got it from the crosses, though. ALER had me scratching my head as I penned it in, but now I see it's that sneaky A.L.-er for an Oakland A.

    Got a very late start on this one last night because we spent all day in Denver at the final stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Eight laps around the city and for the last three we stood on a curve where the riders literally went right in front of our noses at 30+ MPH. A very visceral experience.

    When I went to bed, the NE and NW looked like the Gobi Desert, but the morning brought fresh cognition.

    Overall, I liked this one a lot. Cleverly applied theme with lots of other good stuff and not an over-abundance of dreck.

    @Dirigonzo: I loved the picture of the METH lab.

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