Site of Tiberius Villa Jovis / FRI 8-9-13 / Gold Cup venue / Bubble handler / Peace Nobelist Cassin / Hand-held Star Trek devices / Sea creature whose name means sailor / Dance pop trio Right Said / Broadway musical with two exclamation points in its name / Fast food debut of 1981

Friday, August 9, 2013

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: KATE SPADE (58A: Bag lady?) —
Kate Brosnahan Spade (born Katherine Noel Brosnahan; December 24, 1962) is the co-founder and namesake of the designer brand, kate spade New York. [...] Kate Spade and Joel Franklin launched their New York-based design company "kate spade handbags" in January 1993. As the name implies, they initially started out selling mainly handbags, but eventually extended to include stationery, personal organizers, address books, shoes, beauty products, perfume, raincoats, pajamas, and eyewear. In 2004, "kate spade at home" was launched as a home collection brand. It features bedding, bath items, china, wallpaper and various items for the home. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another lovely puzzle from Mr. Berry. This one fought me more than his puzzles normally do, though at just under 7 minutes, I still have to put this one solidly in the "Medium" range for a Friday. The NW and SE corners were much more troublesome than their counterparts. Something about a chunk of open space that's 5x5 (or bigger) really presents a serious impediment to traction. Even with those long answers running through, I needed a lot of help. In fact, my first pass at the NW was a total bust. I had ANIME (5D: Miyazaki film genre), but then an amazing string of wrong answers in the Acrosses: TULSA for OMAHA (1A: Where Union Pacific is headquartered), TREVI for CAPRI (17A: Site of Tiberius' Villa Jovis), GAME for CABS (25A: Checkers, for instance), OTO for UTE (32A: Onetime Arapaho foe), and TET for ... well TET. I got that one right. Moved down to SW and thought maybe POLEMEN (?) for 40D: Gondoliers, but the MEN part gave me EBON, and that "B" was a godsend. CRAB went in and that whole corner went down lickety-split. From there I wormed my way back up into the NW and finally worked things out. Having the -TTA gave me "OH! CALCUTTA!" (1D: Broadway musical with two exclamation points in its name) and from there I was home free (in that section).

Went with NAIL TRIMMER at first, but that was easily fixed via CLAIR (34D: Huxtable family mom). Thought NE was going to give me trouble, but Right Said FRED was a gimme (13D: Dance-pop trio Right Said ___), and once again a "B" came to my rescue via BEEP, which gave me MCRIB (8D: Fast-food debut of 1981). The rest was just a matter of some quick hacking. SE came last and was about as tough as the NW, but with far fewer wrong answers. Far fewer answers in general—and I had the tops of all the long Downs! OPENED ... something? SELF- ... something? TRIL-? TRIC-? Is TRICORDERS a thing? (3D: Hand-held "Star Trek" devices) (side note: I just watched episode 1 of "Star Trek: TNG" only an hour or so before doing this puzzle—I don't remember TRICORDERS. Do they record things thrice?). I never know which "Sports div." is going to be involved — AFL, NFL, NFC, AFC, QRSTUV? Anyway, lots and lots of Es and Rs in that final section, so the answer that finally kicked stuff loose for me was ALIKE, with its golden K. Last letter was the "F" in THE FED (54A: Bubble handler?), which it took me running the alphabet to get.


Bullets:
  • 39A: Dread Zeppelin or the Fab Faux (TRIBUTE BAND) — great answer. This reminds me that Abba: The Concert is coming here this fall. "Not a typical tribute band, Abba: The Concert features members of the original ABBA band and has sold out shows in the Hollywood Bowl and played for crowds 20,000 strong!" I love Abba, but canNot imagine paying to see any TRIBUTE BAND.
  • 50A: Country whose flag is known as the Saltire (SCOTLAND) — dang. I lived there for several months, you'd think I'd know this. 
  • 33D: Sea creature whose name means "sailor" (NAUTILUS) — this sounds like a mythical sea creature (to me), but it's just a mollusk of some sort, right? Yes. With the famous logarithmic spiral
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

86 comments:

jae 12:04 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  And,  just what you'd expect from PB.  Very smooth and zippy...KATE SPADE, FLUBS, OH! CALCUTTA!, TRICORDERS, FRED, MCRIB (always reminds me of The Simpson's Ribwich episode), DUDE!...

Only hang up was CLeanERS (you know, those little brushes that you can also use on vegetables) for CLIPPERS.

@Anoa Bob -- Now that you've me looking for them, the  POC count seems pretty low here?

Nothing but love for this one!

Mark Trevor Smith 12:35 AM  

This one was easier than yesterday's for me! Have been teaching Latin to my grandson, and nauta is the first noun in the book we're using. Had to change my over-hasty "noseclipper" to "nailclipper." "Tribute band" broke open "Oh! Calcutta!" and I was on my way. (Transliteration: Oh, quel cul tu as. True fact.) My first day on the ipad app.

Questinia 12:58 AM  

So elegant, so smooth, so deceptively fleet as I careened into SELFSErvER/ TRIlORDER in the SE. Spent an unpleasant near-choke wallow, doubling my puzzle time.

It was like figure-skating a perfect short program until there came a never-ending final flying camel spin which looked like it was being performed by one.

"Thank-you" Patrick.



Evan 1:08 AM  

I'd rate this one as Easy-Medium. My only trip-ups were DAMN before DUDE (as in, "Daaaaaaamn, son!"), and not remembering if Mrs. Huxtable was spelled CLAIR or CLARE. If I had to guess, I'd say TRIBUTE BAND and KICKBOXER were the two seed entries -- they're the most colorful. Loved the clue for KICKBOXER, although I sorta wish it had been a reference to the bad 80s Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.

The only thing I didn't care for was REORDER crossing TRICORDERS. Quite a long letter string to repeat anywhere in a grid, let alone in a spot where the repeats cross. Other than that, no real complaints....smooth stuff all around. And Rex, if you're getting started on TNG, just think of the TRICORDER as the gadget that can scan anything and tell you anything about everything. In fact, it looks like science is trying to make Star Trek a reality, if the TRICORDER-like Scanadu Scout is any indication.

I didn't know OH! CALCUTTA! was the name of a musical. Per @jae, I knew of it as a Simpsons reference, when Apu shouted it just before he and his wife....well, you know.

Charlene 1:09 AM  

Easy for me, a Monday puzzle. Five minutes, where my time on the app is usually three times that for Friday.

Alphabetic Capri Meateaters 1:19 AM  

Gotta love OH!CALCUTTA!!!! Only two exclamation points!!!??!!

Love KICKBOXER and TRIBUTEBAND.
Love TRIBUTEBAND names like "Super Diamond".
Your faves?

REORDER crossing TRICODERS is a tall double order!
Usual Patrick Trekkie REF. Spared WWII stuff, which I am thankful for.

Yes, supER smooth, tho it felt evERyothER word had an ER in it...and some that didn't had RE.

Evan 1:47 AM  

Oh, right....I look forward to seeing all you puzzle people this weekend at Lollapuzzoola!

Davis 1:54 AM  

Easy for me. I almost never come close to Rex times late in the week, but I came in a little under 9 on this one (whereas 13-15 is a medium Friday for me).

Berry puzzles just click with me--I'm not sure if it's because we think alike, or because I've done piles of his puzzles (in part because of his Dummies book). Regardless, I am never disappointed by his work. And this puzzle was no exception to that rule.

Matty 2:23 AM  

Had KARATEKID where KICKBOXER should go. Same number of letters. Argh!

chefwen 2:47 AM  

Let out a little Woo Hoo when I saw Patrick Berry was the constructor and it was not wasted. I always wade into Friday and Saturday with trepidation but seeing Mr. Berry's name, I dove in and loved it. Had a little trouble at 30D where I filled in SELF SErvER, which I thought was a better answer than SELF SEEKER, that messed me up for a long time.

Can't believe that a Mc Rib has been around for 32 years. They look disgusting. Has anybody really tried one?

Anonymous 3:44 AM  

Went in like a lion and turned into a lamb. NW seemed impenetrable, so moved east, where KICKBOXER gave up he whole quadrant. From there the entire eastern seaboard was a throw down. Cruised through the SW. And then with UTTA it was Oh! Calcutta!. Record Friday time

mac 4:09 AM  

Beautiful Berry!

The NW was hardest and came in last for me, but the rest was for pretty steady. I also started out with pole men and nose clippers, and in the end I had a mistake at NFL/trilorders (obviously not a trackie).

Love the clue for 7D, lies!

Sir Hillary 7:05 AM  

Great stuff -- just the stress release I needed. Last letter in was the D in THEFED, because I have no idea what a TRICORDER is. Only FLUB was ATeasE/ATHOME for a little while.

Some interesting placements of unfortunate women...literally, KATESPADE is beneath an ARTMUSEUM south of SCOTLAND, while we have GERALDINE SITUATED under a KICKBOXER. Hope they're both unharmed!

Milford 7:32 AM  

Fastest Friday to date, amazingly. Must have just had enough toeholds to grab onto, like FRED, CLARE, CAPRI. Loved the NW downs of OH! CALCUTTA!, MEAT-EATERS, and ALPHABETIC.

Hand up for SELF-SErvER at first, and my last letter being the D in THE FED.

Thanks to my brother, my kids enjoyed an entire library of Miyazaki ANIME films. They loved Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away. Awesome movies in all.

The NAUTILUS did remind me of the Sunday puzzle maybe a year or so ago that had the Fibonacci theme that @Rex refers to.

Glimmerglass 7:41 AM  

I solve on paper and don't keep track of time, but Rex's experience was very like mine always is with a PB puzzle. Stumped all over the grid until something gives me something else, which reveals a third answer . . . and so on. That's why PB is my all-time favorite constructor. Solving a PB is like working through a maze . . . or a really good mystery. Always hard, and always satisfying to solve.

loren muse smith 7:47 AM  
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loren muse smith 7:49 AM  
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loren muse smith 7:50 AM  

For me, this was the hardest PB in a while. Very nice grid, though. Like @Milford, @chefwen and @Questinia – “self server” way before SELF SEEKER. Rex- yeah, that K was, somehow, beautiful. (Quite often I’m so utterly amazed at what ALPHABETIC Word Nerds we are – that I was so taken with one letter makes me paws. SIC. MEW.)

BAG LADY – a couple of years ago, I was walking to my classroom where I would be a sub, schlepping my (pretty big) lunch BAG, Sub Supply BAG (word searches, Kanji character worksheets, “hello” in various languages color sheets, riddle sheets, NAIL CLIPPERS, LANCETs, RASPS, TRICORDERS, HERONS, BLUE BIRDs), a BAG with a change of clothes for lacrosse practice, and my (pretty big) purse. A girl, who usually gave me a lot of trouble in class, saw me in the hall, looked me up and down with disdain, and said perfectly, dismissively, “What are you. The BAG LADY?”

I missed yesterday’s letter shape puzzle. But I’m surprised no one has laughed at the “O-shape” clue today.

@Mark Trevor Smith – your French verson was clevor!

@Glimmerglass – exactly.

@chefwen – I’ve never tried a MCRIB, but about once every eighteen months, I have a Big Mac, and I savor Every. Single. Bite. I try really, really hard to avoid a lot of processed food, but I fall in with all of the millions who find it much tastier than the healthy stuff. Give me neon orange mac and cheese over pale yellow any day.

Liked NAUTILUS right next to BOATMEN, REFS crossing FLUBS, MEATEATERS crossing CABS, and the Japanese SAKE and ANIME. Poor Dad.

And speaking of. . .Hi, Mom, Dad! See you tomorrow at the beach!!!!! ) We used to go ANNULARly but haven’t been in a while.) Can’t wait to walk in the SERF.

lpkatzen@swbell.net 8:00 AM  

Some of us remember the word nautilus from the poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.(father of the Supreme CVourt justice) "The Chambered Nautilus."

Susan McConnell 8:04 AM  

Enjoyed this one very much. On the easy side as Fridays go. Lots of stuff in my sweet spot. Loved seeing the Fab Faux in the TRIBUTE BAND clue....they are absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend taking in a show if you can. Some of the best late night tv musicians playing uber-faithful renditions of The Beatles without the schlocky costumes and gimmicks.

Z 8:05 AM  

GERALDINE immediately brings to mind Flip "The devil made me do it" Wilson.

euro above REstock made the SE a mess for me, but guessing right on OMAHA made the NW easy. Other slow downs were CLAre before CLAIR and waiting on NAIL/hair CLIPPER, otherwise a smooth solve today.

Two Poli Sci majors in this house, neither are/were PRE-LAW. Of the two people I remember from the haze who were PRE-law, one was Poli Sci, the other was an English/Theater double major (who now does "legal expert" duty on local radio and TV in Metro Detroit).

dk 8:28 AM  

@Evan, your travel guide here. Hanging with Euro pals last night and Porto was a recommendation along with Coimbra. Another must see is Fatima site.

Dah puzzle! LEANERS, played with yesterdays HORSESHOE I suppose.

�������� (4 Stars) Just delightful.

joho 8:31 AM  

I wrote in OHCALCUTTA and MEATEATER right off the bat which never happens on a Friday. Then I kept going on through the grid, so yes, definitely on the easy side.

@mac, ended up with mistake at TRIlORDERS/ NFl. Wasn't there an alien race or a planet named TRILS?

Loved the new clue for the old EWERS.

FLUBS is a famous gathering spot for ice cream lovers around here, so that brought a smile to my face.

Fun Friday!

DBlock 8:34 AM  

Great puzzle
Also got held up in NW, largely because I wanted 19A to be ATEASE and wouldn't give it up
Loved clues for The Fed, Kate Spade
For Palindromic Man--kept thinking vowels had to be in the middle, but of course not
And if only the world would follow the advice of 11D but alas, most just keep on talking
I however, will 11D

chefbea 9:16 AM  

Fairly easy but had to google a bit. Saw Oh!Calcutta! many moons ago.

Loved the clue for meat eater.

@Chefwen Never had a McRib!! Like their snack wraps. Not sure if they still make them. Haven't been to Micky D's in ages. I'm hooked on Wendy's chicken berry salad.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Reading this blog with, as usual, my head in my hands, I can only wish for a Rex Parker parody blog by someone with my (lack of) intellect, who would rate Friday and Saturday puzzles as Impossible. But thank you, Rex Parker, for the lovely frame from Spirited Away, one of Miyazaki's best.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Oh, Rex. For me ABBA should always be clued as a rhyme scheme. Never a fan, partly because I find the music a bit insipid but tap my foot anyway. Was recently in Stockholm, and the first question asked by the hotel desk clerk was whether I was going to the Abba Museum. Who knew?

jburgs 9:28 AM  

WAS very intimidated when the stack of clues in the nw faced me but skipping it and working clockwise, the answers went in quickly and with some effort that nw corner finally came out.
Haven't had a mcrib in many years but did love them. It was the pickle that made it pop.

Airymom 9:56 AM  

Loved the puzzle and finished it in record time for a Friday. Could someone please explain "thefed". I'm just not getting it.

Evan 10:09 AM  

@Airymom:

THE FED, a.k.a. the Federal Reserve.

@dk:

Thanks once again! Any other suggestions, just send 'em along.

August West 10:15 AM  

Poifect!

@ airymom: Fed up!

Did this over coffee before court this morning, a pleasant follow-up to a great night with my son and SELFSEEKER Loudon Wainwright III at City Winery. Half a day and a wake up -- Corolla here we come!

Sandy K 10:25 AM  

Loved the PB puz as usual. Great entries such as OH! CALCUTTA! TRIBUTE BAND, KATE SPADE made it fun for me.

@Airymom- Some say THE FED was responsible for the housing bubble.

I ended up with a big FLUB, however. Had NFL and never looked back to see that TRIlORDERS was aSKEW! So, a DNF on a lovely PB...BOO hoo!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:40 AM  

Took my time, jumping around to fill in what was easy at first. Looking at 1 D with only the _____TT_ in place, tried mentally counting to see how many exclamation points there were in "No, No, Nanette." (Answer: zero.) But by thinking before writing, finished with no write-overs.

@joho - Perhaps you were thinking of Tribbles?

Cheerio 10:53 AM  

Thanks Patrick! (and Will!) We should write an ODE to the smoothness of your puzzles. They are like...like...melted homemade peach ice cream, or peach zabaglione, or really anything peach.

I put in EWER last. Shucks! Foiled by EWER! Great clueing on that one.

At first I thought "like a poli sci major" could be BRAINY. I was snarkily amused when it turned out to be PRELAW. I was thinking, "BRAINY can't be right for poli sci, can it?"

Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

I never questioned Euro until it was obvious from the gibberish my SE looked like that something was awry. Oh! Peso!
Great Friday workout from one of my favorite constructors.

Tricorders, Tribbles, and Trills, Oh My 10:59 AM  

The Trill are a fictional species of symbiotic life forms, depicted in the Star Trek media franchise. First introduced in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the species became a major part of the spin-off series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which featured a Trill named Dax as one of its main characters.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Fastest Fri. ever for me, gimmes OHCALCUTTA an TRICORDERS in corners made for smooth sailing. One point of interest is I had NAILcutters for NAILCLIPPER made me think what other nouns do we pluralize when we only need one of them?

Gene 11:13 AM  

I solve Fridays on paper, because they usually take a long time, and am always disappointed (that i didn't do on line) when one proves as easy for me as this was. GERALDINE Page was obvious, and nothing slowed me down. Very rare!

Ray J 12:03 PM  

18 years old + $2.00 cover + 50₵ Genny drafts + The Back Doors = good times!

Another gem by Patrick Berry.

John V 12:07 PM  

Maybe because I'm on vacation or the Vermont rain this morning, but this was very difficult for me. I usually connect with PB very well but not today.

Finished well north of 7 minutes, snagged by THEFED and friends in the SE but otherwise okay.

Felt more like a Saturday, FWIW.

Lewis 12:14 PM  

Amazing what we keep stored in our brain's recesses. On 1D, as soon as I read the clue, I saw the answer in my head's movie screen. I'm sure I haven't thought about that in decades.

PB as usual -- much terrific cluing, and nothing that makes me frown. Always makes me feel ATHOME.

Do people still say SODAPOP? I say soda, never pop, and never sodapop. But I don't know how it is for others...

"Unpleasant near-choke wallow" -- very poetic, @questinia

Masked and Anonymo6Us 1:02 PM  

har. Told yah so.
Friday is reserved for Patrick Berry. No sense wastin that dude's slimy-smooth grids on a SatPuz.

Today's hidden secret message (HSM): DUDE FLUBS LIES.

SatPuz will be harder than this. M&Ark my words. How hard? Top likely possibilities...

1. If U need to ask how hard, U should stay in bed.
2. 10 on the Mohs scale. [har! This is the scholastic section of the comments, dude]
3. It'll make 4-Oh do HOGCALLS.
4. It'll make Anthony Wiener envious. [Cancel that last bracketed remark]
5. Solvers will qualify for FEMA relief.
6. Top 100 solve times will top 100.
7. DNF thingy will be permanently replaced by @questina's UNC-W thingy. [nice]
8. M&A will binge swallow a record number of cinnamon rolls. So... not all bad news, here.

M&A


Chip Hilton 1:09 PM  

One of my fastest Fridays ever, following an instant recognition of OHCALCUTTA (What does that say about me? Hmmm.). II wasn't sure about TRICORDERS but the crosses cooperated. Like many here, I love PB puzzles, always fair and doable.

I smiled at 58a. I used the clue 'Iconic bag lady' when I attempted construction of a puzzle a while back. My answer was BIRKIN which my wife deemed Saturday-worthy.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

when faced with CA_R_ it is difficult to get cairo out of your head. add to that egrets, which makes the sister helga, and that corner has alot of holes. until you have the confidence to erase it all and start over with omaha and anime, after which it filled easily.

another great pb, but the only thing i hated about this was 6A. if you have to explain the clue in parens on friday then find a different one. will does this alot, and maybe its ok on monday, but it should never be necessary.

MandA Returns 1:28 PM  

p.s.
Gimme gimme gimme = TRICORDERS. Altho... they usually just take one of 'em along, on them there beam-downs. SoooOooo... Gotta call POC, here.
Re: DUDE FLUBS LIES. Would alo accept DUDE FLUBS LUGS.
fave word of the day (FWOD): RARER. Try sayin that a few times, without spittin somethin up.

M&A

loren muse smith 1:51 PM  

@Questinia – yes –“unpleasant near-choke wallow” – funny!

@M & A – DUDE, you saw in that UNC-W. Cool. I understand that’s a big party school. EWER So quick.

How ‘bout SERF BOOSTs DUDE’s BOXERs?

DavidS 1:58 PM  

Finished in record Friday time, after flailing in the NW at the end. Finally dragged OHCALCUTTA (off the UTTA) from the recesses, and it fell into place. REALLY liked the puzzle, felt like there were so many good answers that I haven't seen before, and almost nothing felt forced. Given the newness of the fill, felt more like an easy Saturday than a medium Friday, if that makes sense.

efrex 2:02 PM  

Just a great puzzle, although I made things more difficult by throwing down SELFSERVER before SELFSEEKER and ATEASE before ATHOME. Just figured out the clue for LEANERS (was thinking basketball, not horseshoes). OHCALCUTTA and TRICORDERS were no-cross gimmes, as was KICKBOXER, so you'd think I'd zip through this thing, but finished in just under my usual Friday time. Just a smooth, fun piece of work as we've come to expect from PB.

M and A's Last Silver Boost 2:15 PM  

@Madame Muse: Where does one go, to party hardy in Wilmington?

Have fUn at the beach. SPF yerself. M&A

JFC 3:00 PM  

@Chefwen, your Pack is fighting at training camp, as well as losing two starters for the season. My sympathies. But, cheer up. I expect Da Bears to win no more than three games this season.

I eat at least one McRib each time McD offers them. I must admit that this last time it did not seem as good as the previous times. It is without a doubt the messiest, piggyish, best tasting piece of crap McD has.

This was an easy puzzle for a Friday, but classic Berry in its simplicity and smoothness....

JFC

chefbea 3:02 PM  

@MandA and @Loren. who is in Wilmington???

Anoa Bob 3:13 PM  

I liked that the center area had so few FLUBS. In big-stack themeless puzzles, this area is often an afterthought where you see a mish-mash of abbreviations, initials and partials, or whatever it takes to gitter done

PB not only fills the center with quality stuff, he then spins four beauties coming out of there, NAUTILUS, BLUEBIRD, NAILCLIPPER, & TRUBUTE BAND.

@JAE, maybe a few more POCs than usual for a PB, including the "helper/cheater square" type (the pluralizing S could just as easily be replaced by a black square) where HERONS & CABS, and TRICODERS & EWERS are conjoined at the final S.

loren muse smith 3:28 PM  

@chefbea – Questinia had a funny remark – “unpleasant near-choke wallow, ” describing her solving experience. @M & A saw that the first letters are UNC-W. Just down the road from my morning solving experience: ungainly near choke clumsy hour.

DUDE – thanks. SPF already SITUATED in the big box.

Outlaw MandA 3:59 PM  

@chefbea--Did that Wilmington explanation from @lms make any sense? UNC-W can stand for University of North Carolina - Wilmington.

(Too many posts. But gotta take care of @chefbea. She makes cUpcakes.)

M&A

gifcan 4:01 PM  

I was on a thoughtful cruise through the puzzle when I hit the SW corner. I laid in scavengers right away and clung to it forever.

I thought Arthur! Arthur!, but it didn't fit and I had the trains sidetracked in Aspen. Why not Cairo?

A DNF when I googled the musical and then discovered that scavnegers was wrong. Helen was obviously lost somewhere between OMAHA and CAPRI. ATeasE didn't help matters.

Loved the puz, Pat!

Joe The Juggler 4:49 PM  

Funny--I remember the TRICORDER exactly as it's pictured in the blog: as a box held by a shoulder strap, not actually a hand-held gadget.

Still, it was one of several nice long "gimmes" in this puzzle.

LaneB 4:52 PM  


OK Friday. Minimum Googling and only one error@ a41-- NFl for NFC making TRICORDERS ( didn't t know the word)
TRILORDERS. That made enough sense to a non- Trekie. So I did not give myself a DNF. Would love to have a similar Saturday. Not bloody likely!

Brookboy 5:00 PM  

Really enjoyed the puzzle. I don't track my times (my stopwatch can't compute that much time...) I do a few clues, stop and do something else, then come back and do some more. Same thing for the Sunday puzzles. That's how I started doing the crosswords and that's still how I enjoy doing them.

Got OMAHA (1A) right away, and that made me think that 2D was MorTician. That stuck in my head for a while, but then I got CAPRI and CABS and the penny finally dropped.

Re McDonalds offerings, my wife and I used to live across the street from a McDonalds (also across the street from the 50th Precinct in the Bronx) and we ate there almost every day. How could we not? But this was before the introduction of the McRib (which I've never had), and it has to be more than 10 years since either of us has been in a McDonalds.

I thought the puzzle was medium - challenging.

Steve J 5:01 PM  

Loved this, and not just because it was my fastest Friday ever (and also one of only a couple where I haven't had to break down and eventually look something up).

While many struggled with the NW, that filled in almost instantly for me, which is probably a big reason of why I solved this so quickly. A cousin of mine happens to work for Union Pacific, so I knew OMAHA. OH!CALCUTTA! instantly pulled itself from the recesses of my mind just from the O, HERONS and ANIME came just from the OMAHA cross, and I was off to the races.

As typical with Patrick Berry, so many great answer/clue combos. I especially loved 15A, 25A, 39A (any clue that works in Dread Zeppelin is fantastic) and 2D.

Very, very satisfying.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Don't speak too fast - Fab Faux is no ordinary tribute band. They do something fairly unique - you can read up on them on the net.

Tita 5:13 PM  

@Evan...
squinting my eyes here to not read Rex or comments...
I ONLY now finished Thursday!
Haven't even started Friday.

email me - it's on my blogsite...
I am Portuguese, and can add lots to what @dk already memntioned...
Those were great tips - you HAVE spent time there!!

joho 5:43 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, thanks! Yes, it was Tribbles I was trying to remember. I think trills are only for the birds.

joho 5:43 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 8:17 PM  

I did this one w/ normally non-puzzle wife, while driving-- she read out the clues, and we tried to figure them out. So it's heard to compare, with some parts easy (O! CALCUTTA!) and others harder (SELF-SEEKER). Fun overall, though. I don't recommend the method - she kept putting in answers w/o reading the clues, a bit frustrating but I think anyone would do that.

At 17A, shouldn't it be Tiberius's? I'm only a poli sci prof, but I'd mark that wrong in a paper.

Tita 8:27 PM  

Easy-peasy! What a great ego boost after the shellacking I took yesterday. Would thunk Rex would rate it easy.

Will be in Scotland soon (stepdaughter marrying a Scot!) - now I know some trivia to impress folks with...

@Mark Trevor Smith beat me to the other trivia about "O quel cul t'as".

hAIrtrImmERS share many letters with the right answer.

@lms - I did highlight the "O" clue smack in the middle...

Thanks Mr. Berry for the obvious, but unnoticed, fact that NAUTILUS means sailor.
And a great, relaxing Friday for a change!

chefbea 9:04 PM  

@M and A it made sense..thanx...here's a cUp cake for U

Tita 9:07 PM  

@Evan...

Since you say you are going to Lisbon & Setubal, I will limit myself to those areas, While it is a small country, there is so much to see in any given area - don't spend your time driving.
Depends too on how long you will be there.
Setubal area:
Sesimbra - fishing village, spectacular crescent beach. Try the least fancy restaurant you see... there is one (at least) right on hte beach. Last time I was there, the fishermen would beach their boats, come in with their catch, and haggle with hte chef. The chef would stand at the outdoor grille, grabbing the fish by the tails and flipping them - no potholders or tongs...
In fact, in general, dine at simple places - you will have amazing meals, for a tenth the price. Sure, splurge, but you will not always eat better.
Cabo Espichel - spectacularly desolate cape that juts out into the Atlantic. Breathtaking cliff views. Aandoned convent, tiny church with sea-faring scenes.
I think there is an ancient tidal mill along that part of the coast, though I can't find it in google.
Lisbon:
Nearby the Torre de Belem are many things to see, many of them related to the age of discoveries, Including the Torre - a gem of a Maneuline defensive tower, now the Gateway to Lisbon from the sea.
A fun museum is the Museu dos Coches - horse-drawn coaches, housed in an amazingly beautiful royal riding arena.
As Docas - the docks - is a fabulous place for nightlife - restaurants and clubs..."O Tertulio" is a good restaurant. THough it's a bit too trendy for my taste, and I fear that most of hte restaurants tout location over cuisine.
For a kick, go to my favorite store in the world - Luvaria Ulisses - The Ulysses Glove Shop - it is a tiny jewelbox of a store, art deco - the experience of being fitted is a hoot. And the handmade gloves are excellent quality.
To eat/drink:
You can stop in cafés at most any time of day and order Pasteis de Bacalhau, Rissois de Camarão (shrimp-filled pastries), croquettes (meat and chouriço) with a Super Bock or Sagres beer, or a vinho verde ("green" wine - green as in young - a little bit effervescent).
Meals - any kind of seafood - it's fresh and fabulous.

sanfranman59 10:01 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 6:50, 6:09, 1.11, 87%, Challenging
Tue 7:23, 8:13, 0.90, 19%, Easy
Wed 8:57, 9:43, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium
Thu 20:27, 16:30, 1.27, 86%, Challenging
Fri 15:55, 18:52, 0.84, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:15, 3:47, 1.13, 89%, Challenging
Tue 4:42, 4:57, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:24, 5:35, 0.97, 42%, Medium
Thu 11:42, 9:30, 1.41, 90%, Challenging
Fri 8:48, 11:04, 0.80, 19%, Easy

Mark Trevor Smith 3:33 AM  

@jberg I also prefer Tiberius's. That apostrophe rule is #1 in Strunk & White, but even they fudge a bit, and this is one of those spelling/grammar rules where intelligent writers can agree to disagree.

MetaRex 12:02 PM  

Mmmm...pretty.

On a business trip to Orlando...did this the old-fashioned way in downtown Celebration sitting on a rocker by a pond with a preening cormorant and a "don't feed or harass the alligators" sign.

A smooth by MR standards 12 minute solve w/ one glitch...filled in BOATERS in the nice spidery purple ink I was using instead of BOATMEN and was left with a slightly messy grid. Under my old solving etiquette, that required a little x rather than a check mark at the upper left of the puzz. Forgot to put the x in yesterday...am out of practice with my own hard copy norms...mechanisms of self-discipline for MR in CrossWorld as in RealWorld are persistent yet evanescent...

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

When in Lisbon don't forget to stop at the mcdonalds on Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca. The McRibiero is to die for.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

It probably took me about 2 hours to get this one, which, by my standards, is actually closer to "easy" than "medium." No great sense of pride that I normally get from correctly filling out a "medium" puzzle.

I really struggled with the Gold Cup clue, as this has been a recent soccer thing. After finishing, I had to google to find out it's also a horse racing thing.

Count me among the people who had scavengers before meateaters, and, frankly, I like scavengers better.

Tita 1:10 PM  

@Anon @12:13 - my family lives near corner of Rodrigo da Fonseca & Sampaio Pina!

I don't remember ever seeing a McDs there, but your point is hilarious...

sarah brightman 11:06 PM  

I wish to buy this white villa as my dream house. It must be too costly to buy. Can I afford it?
http://www.samuiproperty.asia/

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Oh come on. NOBODY put in EURO for "Coin of many countries?" That was my only hangup; TRICORDERS was a gimme for this Trekkie. (The name comes from the three scanning functions: GEOlogical, METeorlogical, BIOlogical.) It took me quite a while to straighten out the money mess, but once I did, the rest of the puzzle OPENED like the petals of a peony being industriously worked on by ants (cf. @Glimmerglass).

One entry brought tears to my eyes. My stepmom, a very great lady whom I loved deeply, mentioned she had heard Jan Peerce sing "BLUEBIRD of Happiness," and wished she had a recording of it. This was NOT something you could hop down to the record store and buy. But I was determined to get it for her for Christmas, and at length found it in New York City. So after the present-openings, I said, "Let's put on some Christmas music," and slipped it into the pile. And oh! the look on her face!

The beggar man and the mighty king are only fifferent in name, for they are treated just the same by fate...

Well, is it any wonder. Wiping my eyes even now as I'm typing this. Thank you, Mr. Patrick Berry, for that wonderful memory. "My man!"

EXIT.

Solving in Seattle 2:32 PM  

I, too, spent my euro restock(ing) and the SE was off and...well taking most of my solving time.

song before BLUE. Learned a new cool word: ANNULAR.

Didn't read all the comments, but am I the only one to notice ELI above NFC? Probably not. Here in Syndyland, the Manning brothers are playing against one-another on Sunday.

Thanks, Patrick, for a dreckless Friday puz.

capcha: uartyfu. A martial art started in SoHo?

ahimsa 3:19 PM  

@spacecraft, thanks for sharing your memory sparked by the BLUEBIRD entry. Very touching.

Five weeks later I can't remember now whether I finished this one or not. But I do remember writing in Euro before PESO. And I remember that I first thought of "Naughty MarieTTA" (won't fit, of course) instead of "OH! CALCUTTA!" D'oh! I've obviously been watching too many old movies on TCM.

At least TRICORDERS was a gimme. :-)

Ginger 3:25 PM  

So very interesting that what is a gimmie to one, is impossible to someone else. I don't know why I knew OMAHA, yet I did, and O!CALCUTTA just filled itself in. Yet, I've never heard of KATESPADE. Just knew that euro had to be right, not. Learned ANNULAR, and that ASCOT awards a gold cup. (I was thinking soccer).

Beautiful, elegant, puzzle. My wavelength was just too short.

@ahimsa thanks for visiting Syndiland...What part of Oregon? I'm in the Couve

ahimsa 3:39 PM  

@Ginger, I'm in the suburbs west of Portland.

It's funny that I had to google "Couve" to figure it out. That's Vancouver, WA, right? The nickname I've heard a lot is "Our Vancouver." (to distinguish it from Vancouver, BC)

I've lived here since 1982 and yet I don't remember hearing the phrase "the Couve" before now. Of course, it could easily be something that I've heard before and then forgotten. :-)

LongBeachLee 4:02 PM  

Trouble letting go of Ogden. It's near last week's Golden Spike, and the Weber Club there was founded by the old time railroad guys. Omaha doesn't seem meaty enough, except for great steaks.

Dirigonzo 4:14 PM  

PB&J (creamy, no chunks) - Patrick Berry and Joy; I love the solving experience he almost always provides. I don't believe I saw any other mention of hairCLIPPER before NAILCLIPPER - am I the only one?

My BLUEBIRD of Happiness memory is not nearly as sentimental at @sc's (which was beautiful, thanks for sharing): Rowan, or maybe Martin - I can never remember which is which, always said "May the bluebird of happiness fly up your nose" when signing off the "Laugh-In" show.

MCRIBs were, I believe, on hiatus for several years but were recently reintroduced - I have never had one but I am told that no actual ribs are involved.

Waxy in Montreal 4:59 PM  

Having seen OH! CALCUTTA! many years ago, I'm not surprised to learn that the title is derived from "O quel cul t'as" which I won't translate in this family-friendly blog.

Fell into the SCAVENGERS trap early which led to ASPEN for the Union Pacific HQ and a totally errant NW. Eventually had to google 1A as well as the Huxtable family mom and almost all was revealed. (Until arriving here, also had ANGULAR for ANNULAR (new word for me) and thus the River SEIGE which seemed somehow French or Belgian enough to feed the English Channel.)

For too long, a NAIL SNIPPER was my grooming tool and I would EDIT when I had nothing left to say. Which reminds me to EXIT, right now.


Ginger 5:21 PM  

@Diri Thanks for the memories, of Laugh-In Hi Jinx, brought a smile! And, yes, I considered hairCLIPPER. NAIL took a long time to fall.

@ahisma Yes, "Our Vancouver". We predate the other one by several decades. Maybe "The Couve" is a local idiom. There's a regional sensitivity to being confused with the 'other' Vancouver, and the 'other' Washington. (DC) Smile

Anonymous 11:04 PM  

A small nit to pick - Dread Zeppelin is _not_ a tribute band. While DZ undoubtedly pay tribute, a "tribute band" strives to re-create the experience of the original band, i.e. playing the music faithfully, dressing like the original band, replicating dance moves, facial expressions, mannerisms, etc.

Nothing against Dread Zep, I quite enjoy them, but they aren't a tribute band.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Can someone explain Bubble handler - The Fed...... I still don't get it.

Dirigonzo 8:15 PM  

@anony 7:51pm - When the "bubble" in the housing market burst it played a part in creating the crisis in the financial market, which is regulated by the Federal Reserve. The Fed tried to "handle" the crisis (with limited success). That's the best I can do - hope it helps.

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