Star of Bunuel's "Belle de Jour"; 19th-century abbot and scientist; Cygnet's parents

Friday, November 22, 2013

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: EASY


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: URI (Altdorf's canton) —
Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. Wikipedia 
Area: 416 sq miles (1,077 km²)
 University: The Educatis University
• • •
Hello, Rexworld. This is treedweller, filling in. Rex is in Washington lobbying for an EYEPIT exception to the filibuster limits. I was wary of agreeing to guest-host, since Friday/Saturday puzzles are still a little hit-or-miss for me and I didn't want to be up half the night. Happily, I found this nice, breezy romp that would be a solid Wednesday if you worked in a theme somehow. Except you don't need to, because it's fun without a theme. So I guess that's why it showed up today. Either that, or this is that one-in-a-million puzzle that I just clicked with while others won't.

Either way, as always, that's "for a Friday" Easy. I left the NW mostly empty until I worked my way back up, and still wondered if I'd finish when I got there. I was stymied by the fact that most of what I had there was wrong, but once I buckled down and searched out my mistakes, it fell quickly. If anything, I think I'd be a little disappointed that Friday was so easy if I wasn't blogging it.

Bullets:
  • 11D Milk Additive OVALTINE — (cf. 1A BOSCO) I tried to get Vitamin D in there awhile, then moved on until I had few crosses.
  • 6A TV actor who lived, appropriately, in Hawaii JACKLORD — Being from Texas, I am pretty familiar with (6D One of the Bushes JEB), for good or ill, so I quickly sussed the actor.
  • 53A Dicey issue (HOTPOTATO) / 56A Deep-fried treat (ONIONRING) — I like both of these individually, and I like that they are stacked together. cf. 28A Relative of a leek CHIVE.
  • 57A Third-place finisher in 2004 and 2008 / 42D "Northanger Abbey" novelist (NADER / AUSTEN) —Being in the Best City in Texas, I would have preferred a "Low point-" / "Live Music Capitol of the World-" type cluing, but I do enjoy Ms. Austen now and then, and I voted for NADER when he was Green (i.e., not in '08).
  • 36A First name in pop (CELINE) — when Michael didn't fit, I just waited. I know it's perfectly acceptable as a clue/answer, but it pained me to see it.
Signed, tree dweller

P.S. Rex here—if you have time, check out my 11/22/63 anniversary puzzle, created for the current Off-Broadway drama "Witnessed by the World" http://www.witnessedbytheworld.com/news.html

103 comments:

jae 1:10 AM  

No, you're right Treedweller, pretty easy for a Fri. and nothing really stands out.  Very smooth grid, but kinda boring.  

No erasures, no WOEs, but plenty of gimmes.

wreck 1:16 AM  

Hi Treedweller! Even I found it pretty easy - about the same time as Thursday for me. Very little tortured fill. I usually fare pretty well with Patrick Berry puzzles.

Anonymous 1:16 AM  

This was my fastest Friday ever, so of course I was a little annoyed to see that it was in fact an easy one.

Out of curiosity, what kind of times do you normally get for Friday?

treedweller 1:21 AM  

Anon 1:16 either I get them, or I don't, and usually when I do it takes at least 20 minutes. so, yeah, easy Friday.

wreck 1:21 AM  

@ Anonymous

.. if you were referring to me, about 40 minutes on magmic ipad app.
I am still a newbie compared to most of the regulars here.

treedweller 1:22 AM  

guess I never mentioned this one took 15:ish

chefwen 1:38 AM  

Hi treedweller - I miss your comments, please stop in a little more often.

I read the constructor and saw Patrick Berry, but my mind saw Barry Silk. Let out a little groan, Barry Silk and I are on different playing fields. Halfway through I was amazed as to how much I was enjoying a Barry Silk puzzle until I reread the constructors name and let out a big whoop, of course I love it, it's PATRICK BERRY, DOH!

Loved BOSCO when I was a child, that was so long ago, I was surprised I remembered it. CATfoOd before CAT CHOW, an easy fix.

Thanks for a smooth Friday solve Mr. Berry.

wreck 1:43 AM  

..... obviously not referring to me, we posted at the same time! Nobody gives a darn my times!! ;)

treedweller 1:50 AM  

@wreck, yours are as valid as mine, but you forgot to say what your norm is.

jae 2:12 AM  

@fergus -- just did a final checked on yesterday's comments. Nice to know you are still around. I truly miss your take on things.

And, @treedweller -- what @chefwen said

Jisvan 2:38 AM  

There is finally a real nip in the air here on the Central Coast, and I must say I enjoyed the Bosco, Ovaltine and Nestles chocolatey delights! And with the holidays so close, why not throw in some onion rings and a hot potato? Tasty puzzle, Mr. Berry. And nice write-up, Treedweller! Really liked the clips!

John Child 4:15 AM  

Thanks Treedweller! Yes, it's "easy," but not in a simplistic way. It's 68 words, so Friday level. But it's Patrick Berry, who is the Michael Jordan of Xwords. He does it better than anyone else and makes it look easy.

People will do this quickly because it all makes sense and there's no crap. (Well, PENMEN isn't wonderful, biut if that's all here it's to complain about then no harm, no foul.)

I wish we could have a Patrick Berry puzzle every week. Or two of them...

If not pen men, then men pen: http://www.themenpen.com

Clark 5:39 AM  

1A Mild Additive BOSCO (cf. 11D OVALTINE).

Danp 5:57 AM  

The clue for Qaddafi was annoyingly cute: trivial, self-reverential, unhelpful. It may as well have been "former leader (Var.)"

loren muse smith 6:13 AM  

Thanks for filling in, Treedweller! Nice write-up!

@John Child – literally one minute before I started reading the comments, my husband asked about the puzzle. I said it was great, but of course it was because the constructor is the Supreme Constructor God of the Universe. I said, "He's, like, well, Pele, Michael Jordan. . ." I've compared him to Beethoven here before. But I digush (mornin', @M & A).

I was looking at the southwest and admiring how clean that corner was. But then I went back and looked at the other three corners, the middle. . . heck – it's all clean.

Had to lose "clothed" for DRESSED and kept wondering how "war" PAINT related to a bench. Sheesh.

Lots of IE or EI entries: LIES, ALIEN RAINIER, OREIDA, RECEIVER, RETRIEVER.

Of all the food entries, OREIDA spoke to me the loudest. I can eat my weight in OREIDA Tater Tots. (Don't even consider generic – I've been there. Ick.)

I never took Latin, but we seem to have three properly-spelled entries? STADIA, OVUM, ULNAE. The snob in me prefers these to "stadiums" and "ulnas," though I would never ask, "How many STADIA are there on the campus at Chapel Hill?"

Clean, clean, clean. PB wouldn't deign to mess things up to fit in a Y or a Z. Liked it!

Gill I. P. 7:45 AM  

I too "clicked" with this fun puzzle. Everything seemed right up my alley. From the BASQUE to FELIPE Gonzalez right on over to Luis Bunuel's DENEUVE in "Belle de Jour."
About the only thing I had a bit of trouble with was how to misspell QADDAFI. Two D's or put a U in or maybe two F's?? Anyway, it worked its way out....
BOSCO/OVALTINE RETRIEVER/RECEIVER fun, fun words.
@Treedsweller - I echo @chefwen and @jae. Come back and visit more often.

MetaRex 7:45 AM  

We have a new winner for low ESE..I got 39...first puzz in the 30s.

Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

I agree that 1) Patrick Berry is the best, and 2) this was pretty easy for a Friday and for him. I usually sweat more for a PB puzzle, though I almost always eventually solve them, which is why I like them. I liked many of the clues, and there was very little dull fill—except for URI. 23 cantons in Switzerland and this one is the only one I ever see in xwords. The rest of the clue is window-dressing. "Canton" = URI

jberg 7:57 AM  

Well, yeah, I guess it was easy; I mean I finished it and it didn't take me too long. But it was hard to get started -- working the acrosses, my first answer was MENDEL at 22A, and even then I wasn't sure he'd ever become an Abbot. But the crosses confirmed everything, and it all went into pretty smoothly. Minor writeovers: QuaDAFI (never saw the show, so a pure guess), LET it liE before LET ALONE, and WET PAnts before PAINT -- I really liked that one!

It's somehow comforting to see that even the great Patrick Berry has to use URI and ORE-IDA sometimes.

Fine writeup, @treedweller. Your second and third clips won't load on my computer, but I think that's a problem at my end, since no one else mentioned it.

Gill I. P. 8:07 AM  

Meant to mention how funny the CELINE clip is. Not to be outdone:

Qaddafi

Hope that works!

Sir Hillary 8:08 AM  

There's no better way to start a morning than with a PB&J -- Patrick Berry and java.

Typical smoothness from the master. @John Child, you nailed it -- no garbage makes for an easier solve, for all the right reasons.

What struck me today was a set of excellent "?" clues for ABOUTFACE, DRESSED, WETPAINT, ILLGETIT -- and especially LIFEPRESERVER, which is one of the best I have ever seen.

Top marks.

Susan McConnell 8:12 AM  

Fun puzzle, fun write up....it's gonna be a good day!

JHC 8:20 AM  

Really? Nobody else Naticked on AXTON/OXNARD? I breezed through 224/225 of this puzzle, and then thhhbbbbppppt. Both proper nouns, check; both obscure trivia, check; not inferable by word construction, check. I had AnTON/OnNARD -- the down was plausible, and the across was at least a real name.

AliasZ 8:23 AM  

Was it not yesterday that I mentioned Catherine DENEUVE in my fantasy yarn? Now the winning numbers for the next lotto drawing are... a total mystery.

Loved, loved, loved this puzzle. If I have one complaint, it is that it was over too quickly. My favorite was the BASQUE | BOSCO crossing. But I think we had enough EDAM for a while, let's try some Havarti.

Good riddance to QADDAFI, whichever way he spelled it.

I'LL GET IT, ABOUT FACE, SLUM DOG and HOT POTATO were all great entries, and FELIPE thankfully wasn't Alou.

JACK LORD was my first entry and WHITE the last. Luckily, Jane AUSTEN threw me a LIFE PRESERVER in the SE corner. The clue for WHITE confused me because strictly speaking WHITE is not a "shade." It is the lack of any shade or color at all. Small nit, though.

Let me ask you a favor. Please be kind enough to tell me if I am walking around with white stripes in my backside from the WET PAINT on the bench. It can be rather embarrassing.

With Patrick Berry you get what you paid for: a clean, uncluttered grid without a flimsy corner in it. Great, clean fun.

joho 8:25 AM  

Super smooth and more scrabbly than usuaL for Patrick Berry (Hi, @Andrea!) Whenever I see a Q and a J in the grid I start looking for a pangram. Just a Y and a Z short.

It's been mentioned but it was so much fun to see HOTPOTATO over ONIONRING with OREIDA close by.
And how beautiful to have NESTLES crossing OVALTINE with BOSCO just to the left.

I had a malapop with ONION before CHIVE followed by ONIONRING.

I'm not sure Fridays are supposed to be this much fun, so easy must be the rating today, but I'll take it!

Thanks, Treedweller!




Scarab 8:40 AM  

This was my Friday record, too. 12:10 on Magmic, and my average is 20:06 even with occasional googling. I really enjoyed this one, although I'm a little disappointed to learn that I haven't just gotten that much better!

Mohair Sam 8:42 AM  

Smooth puzzle, if easy for a Friday. Nifty comments from @treedweller too.

This skewed to the oldsters. BOSCO, Catherine DENEUVE (be still my heart), Charles Freakin' ATLAS, NADER. No rappers, no Potter, no super-heroes. I think that's why it seemed so easy to a lot of us.

Loved the chocolate trilogy. And the mix of food clues. Really a fun, clean puzzle.

Z 9:11 AM  

While I've been to the Tulip Festival in Holland, MI too many times, I've never been to the Strawberry Festival in OXNARD, CA. Hand-up for naticked at the A-TON cross. I guessed AlTON. OlNARD looked funny but, then, so do EDINA missing an M and OREM and everyone's favorite three letter Canton, URI.

Otherwise, typical PB&J. The south went in smoothly and easily. The NE waited for JEB and RECEIVER, but then went right in. The NW had BASQUE, STADIA, and ONE AM, but was a letter by letter struggle from there. BOSCO sticks I know from presiding over middle school lunches, not as a chocolate syrup. Quik was our go-to brand when I was growing up. SNARE came from running the alphabet for S-A-E. My final, wrong, letter was a coin flip between N and L. I did not realize I needed a three sided coin.

Forty minutes real time from start to near finish, but that included feeding the cat, letting the dog out and in, refilling the java mug, and saying good morning to the spouse. Probably 30 minutes actual puzzling time. 99.56% easy.

Rex Parker 9:25 AM  

Thanks, Treedweller. I slept 8 hours! Woo hoo!

I wondered about a potential Natick at AXTON (which I did Not know) and OXNARD (which, being a Californian by birth, I did).

Felt like the easiest Friday I've ever done, but for the first time in two months I did the puzzle untimed. :(

See y'all tomorrow.

RP

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Thank goodness for Patrick Berry. Redeemed this whole week.

Lewis 9:38 AM  

Loved the clue for WETPAINT. Loved the puzzle and the experience of solving it. This generally happens when I do a PB puzzle, and there is usually a smile pn my face as I'm going through it.

He got me on the clue for SOAP -- I kept trying to think of another name for the metal bar in some showers. So that led to an aha.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Yeah, that Oxnard "x" was troublesome for me, to say the least.

My best wrong answer of the morning was "withani" for 18A

That made the top half a lot harder for me, plus I have never heard of Jack Lord or Bosco, but then, I'm foreign, so what can you do.

Nice to hear from you, treedweller.

Sandy Davenport

August West 9:44 AM  

So happy to see Mr. Berry's name in the byline because, with PB, you always know what you're in for -- elegant construction, remarkably clean fill and a nice aha moment, or nine, spawned of clever and misdirect cluing. Looking at the seeming ease with which he crosses those 9's with 8's in the NE and SW is just today's spur of the question I consider each time I solve a Berry puzzle: Why can't others do this?

Light on the "ahas" today. Pretty straightforward, pedestrian stuff, although I did make some happy sound akin to an lol as LIFEPRESERVER came into view. Also enjoyed RETRIEVER, ABOUTFACE, I'LLGETIT, HOTPOTATO and all that hot chocolatey goodness up in the North, which needs it as we begin to experience not a chill to the winter but a nip to the air.

Agree with others re: PENMEN but, as @John Child said, one groaner supporting an otherwise pristine grid is certainly forgivable.

bhikkubum 9:48 AM  

For us old dino-rockers, Hoyt Axton was a gimme.

Carola 9:51 AM  

Oh, what a pleasure! Not easy for me, and that was fine, as I got to savor it longer. Not seeing a foothold up top, I started at the "end" with SWANS and worked my way counterclockwise, ending up in the WET PAINT.

In addition to all of the word treats others have mentioned, I enjoyed the PETRI, PREMED, OVUM, ULNAE cluster and the crossing echoes of SWANS - DAWNS, CHIVE - HIVES, and RETRIEVER - RECEIVER. Also got a kick out of the "protection" outfit MAFIA crossing LIFE PRESERVER. And all the fun-to-write-in entries - BASQUE, QADDAFI, DENEUVE, BOSCO.... Loved it (obviously)!

Z 9:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 9:59 AM  

Any Master PENMEN amongst us to set the complainers straight? "Offhand Flourishing" sounds vaguely kinky in and Indianapolis sort of way.

quilter1 10:01 AM  

Yes, liked the puzzle, Patrick and @treedweller, but the last few days I get a pop up ad when I log onto the blog, usually for Lean Cuisine. Has @Rex had to give up ad free status?

Z 10:06 AM  

No ads for me.

Milford 10:12 AM  

Lots of fun, I finished a Friday easily, which rarely happens, so I knew this would get the easy rating.

Agreed that the OXNARD/AXTON cross is a natick, but somewhere in my brain I knew OXNARD was a city somewhere, so I held my breath and guessed that as my last letter entered. AnTON would be a more reasonable guess, using our established Natick Resolution (sorry,I forget who came up with it).

RECEIVER/RETRIEVER is a fantastic cross. I have a labrador, and he is a terrible RETRIEVER. Then again he is somewhat inbred.

Speaking of genetics, loved the MENDEL clue - I don't think you would find many monk/scientist combos nowadays. Back in the day they used to brew amazing beer, too...

Been to BASQUE country - the language is one of the most peculiar ones you'll ever see. But it's a beautiful area.

Guessing we might get a JFK puzzle on Sunday, maybe?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:35 AM  

Very nice puzzle, and glad to hear from treedweller again!

With regard to a comment by @loren muse smith,

"I never took Latin, but we seem to have three properly-spelled entries? STADIA, OVUM, ULNAE. The snob in me prefers these to "stadiums" and "ulnas," though I would never ask, "How many STADIA are there on the campus at Chapel Hill?""

this is off the top of my head:

I agree with you, but I seem to remember an observation that in English the word "stadia" is usually reserved for an old Roman measure of distance, while "stadiums" is accepted for the sports arenas. In the case of this puzzle, though, I would say that "stadia" is correct, since the clue, ""Places for races", seems to refer to ancient sites of chariot races (and was probably written this way for the sake of the rhyme). Today, baseball and football are played in stadiums and horse races run at tracks with grandstands. If there are any human races, which might be run in a stadium, well, we know those are only ephemeral events which pop up only every four years for the Olympics. :>))

Nancy 10:35 AM  

I had ASTON and OSNARD. Then I had to Google "Natick" to see what similarly perplexed solvers were talking about when they used the term. Sure enough, the original Rex Parker reference to the NW corner of an old Quigley puzzle popped right up.
I also had MENgEL for MENDEL, giving me that incandescent French film star: gENEUVE! But even with these mistakes, I still found this pretty easy for a Friday.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

Good fun as I expected.
Almost Naticked by that pesky X.
It didn't help that NW corner when I misspelled Rainier.

@quilter1, I get the pop up too.

Steve J 10:50 AM  

Like everyone else, I loved this one. Clean grid, great fill, excellent cluing. I was enjoying seeing this come together so much, I hadn't noticed until I finished that I had wrapped this up in record Friday time for me (17:15; 25 minutes is more typical for me on a Friday).

Only a few writeovers: CARo for CARA, inexplicably genericizing CAT CHOW into pet CHOW, and initially dropping in MERCED instead of OXNARD, since I had the D.

Loved HOT POTATO, CAT CHOW, SLUM DOG, CHIVE. Loved clues for WET PAINT, LIFE PRESERVER and SOAP.

I didn't Natick at AXTON/OXNARD, but that was my last spot to come together (largely because I held onto MERCED too long). I live in California and have been to OXNARD, but even before I moved here, I would have been able to pick it up. Being a geography geek (I used to kill hours on road trips as a kid just looking at the Rand McNally atlas) pays off regularly with crosswords. Although, you'd think that would help me remember URI, which I can never do. And I do recognize the name Hoyt AXTON, although I couldn't tell you a single thing about him that I didn't just read in a crossword clue.

FAQ 10:58 AM  

@Nancy - While Google seemingly is all-knowing, you might benefit from taking a peek at Rex's FAQ page.

Master Melvin 11:13 AM  

Favorite wrong answer: my unwelcome benchmark was a SPLINTER.

Chip Hilton 11:14 AM  

A ten minute Friday?!? What the heck! Wonderful flow, top to bottom. Reasonable clues.

Um . . . What do I do with the rest of my day?

Sandy K 11:19 AM  

'TIS a lovely thing to behold a PB puz when you wake up in the morning...

Altho it was easy, it was OREIDA with me- sooo smooth! Loved BOSCO, NESTLES, and OVALTINE, and the HOTPOTATO and ONION RINGs teamed with OREIDA.

Thanks to Mr. Berry and Treedweller.

Benko 11:22 AM  

I have to wonder, after the sea change in the tone of the comments for today--if Patrick Berry had used an alias in the byline, would everyone still be so rapturous about this puzzle? It was a fine puzzle, in my opinion, without too much dreck, but I didn't find that much to be excited about either. Unlike seemingly everyone else here, there were a couple of puzzles earlier this week I found more interesting to solve. Is the emperor naked?
@Milford--There are still plenty of good beers brewed by monks! Check out the Trappist and Benedictine abbey beers from Belgium.

Steve J 11:37 AM  

@Benko: I've wondered sometimes too about whether knowing the constructor skews the perception. At one level, it can't help but do so. So the question becomes more whether people factor that in.

Personally, I try not to look at the constructor's name until after I've finished a puzzle, to reduce whatever skewing I do have. And I do try to do my best to judge a puzzle on its merits. For example, there was a Liz Gorski puzzle a few weeks back - a constructor I usually like - that I thought was subpar. Maybe I would have been more sharply critical were it someone else. Then again, maybe I was more harshly critical because it was a constructor whose work I generally like.

Anyway, I didn't notice this one was by Patrick Berry until I was done with the puzzle, and my impression was already sealed at that point.

Oh, and you're right about Trappist monks and beer. However, the vast majority of the other abbey breweries in Belgium are simply licensed names, and the monks themselves aren't involved in the brewing as they are at the Trappist breweries. Either way, there are many excellent beers coming out under various monastery names.

Jisvan 11:38 AM  

@Z, thanks for the Master Penmen link! In a digital age it is so lovely to see calligraphy, like handmade lace or knitting... (There should be a category for edge of page doodling, high school division.)

retired_chemist 11:38 AM  

I'll join the crowd of admirers of this puzzle. Always a good experience with Patrick Berry.

lactO for 1A at first - thinking of a grammatical additive that links the rest of the word to milk.

dogsHOW for 36D - thought "Purina product" was a strange clue, since they don't produce dog shows, they sponsor them, i.e. give a substantial donation, hand out samples of food, and provide welcome bags with the Purina name on them. But again, it was what first came to mind. Fixed after a while with the four needed crosses. Didn't even see the correct answer until later.

Hand up for onion instead of CHIVE,for knowing both AXTON and OXNARD, and for an 11:02 Friday, which makes it a Wednesday for me, i.e. an easy Friday.

Thanks, Mr Berry.

Evan 11:44 AM  

@Milford:

Others have credited me with that Natick resolution strategy, but it failed me today at the AXTON/OXNARD cross. I had ANTON/ONNARD.

I like Patrick Berry's puzzles as much as everyone else does, and for the most part I found this easy-medium, but that crossing is really bad. They should have changed the AXTON/SNARE/ONNARD/CORD nexus to ANTON/SWALE/ONWARD/COLD. Sure, SWALE isn't a spectacular term, but it's at least somewhat familiar and you can get it from the crosses, plus I think ONWARD is a pretty good word. AXTON/OXNARD is just....CRUEL.

John V 11:54 AM  

Haven't read the comments, but just to say that, save for the NW, which snagged me, pretty typical PB puzzle, in that it was a)fun, b)gettable.

Alex Vratsanos 11:57 AM  

50 years later, we remember John F. Kennedy... but if you'd like another, perhaps more pleasant anniversary, check out this puzzle by my friends George Barany and Noam Elkies:

http://www.chem.umn.edu/groups/baranygp/puzzles/composercentennial/

Also thanks, Mr. Berry, for such an enjoyable Friday.

OISK 12:02 PM  

Fortunately, I have heard of the city of Oxnard, which saved me the missed square - never heard of Axton. Lovely, smooth puzzle, easier than the norm for a Friday, but that is not a complaint. Noticed "Berry" about half way through, and thought "Of course," although unlike one of the earlier writers here, I like Silk about as much. A lot to smile about in the cluing, almost nothing one could call obscure. I've actually liked all the puzzles this week, enjoying my daily fix since last Saturday's "worst of all time" event.

Milford 12:22 PM  

@Evan - I was 90% sure it was you, but hesitated to put it on you. It usually works! But alas, not today, for many.

@Benko and @Steve J - I've actually been to the Trappist Abbey in Brugge, even took a little tour! Just didn't remember if the actual monks were still involved. Also went to one in Salzburg, Austria, that brews Augustiner. Took the Sound of Music tour first, then spent the rest of the day at the brewery hall - great day!

@treedweller - I forgot to say thanks for the great write-up and links. And I have to say that every time I read it, I parse your name as "treed-weller". My brain just can't let it go!

gringa 12:29 PM  

I'm a Northern Californian but, even though I know Oxnard, that was a Natick for me, too.

My mental itch was that the town was in that part of So Cal that not technically LA and I knew it wasn't that Scandahoovian town (solvang). Pretty sure Oxnard is near by so I was on the right track.

My brain also got caught up on a unfruitful loop because there actually is a town in CA called "Strawberry" (strawberry fruit loops!!). Couldn't stop thinking about childhood adventures there and as I wracked my brain for town names in the Sierra foothills.


Very enjoyable. Easy puzzle.

David 12:36 PM  

@Benko, @SteveJ:
Visiting the Westvleteren Brewery in Belgium and sampling the Westvleteren 12 is an item very high on my bucket list.

I thought this puzzle was terrific, one of my 5 fastest of the year, but my favorite for this week was yesterday's, one of my 5 slowest Thursdays this year.

AliasZ 12:43 PM  

I think it is time to contaminate the proceedings with a little culture. Anyone interested to see what dancing SWANS look like, click on the link. All others, please ignore.

Jesús Guridi Bidaola (1886 – 1961) was a Spanish BASQUE composer, and is a key player in the Spanish and BASQUE music of the twentieth century. His style fits into the late Romantic idiom, directly inherited from Wagner, and with a strong influence from the BASQUE culture. Among his best known works are the operetta El Caserío, the opera Amaya, the orchestral work Diez melodías vascas (Ten BASQUE Melodies) and his organ works, of which Triptych of the Good Shepherd is among the most notable.

Maurice Ravel was born in the BASQUE town of Ciboure, France, near Biarritz, only 18 kilometers from the Spanish border. His mother, Marie Delouart, was of BASQUE descent and grew up in Madrid, Spain. The spirit of much of Ravel's oeuvre is infused with Spanish-BASQUE color and atmosphere, from his Rapsodie espagnole, L'heure espagnole to the Bolero and beyond, stemming from his ancestral roots.

Sorry for the interruption. As you were.

Notsofast 1:03 PM  

Mr. Berry is a real artist. Clever, fun fill and fair clueing. This is another beauty. And, as a kid, I couldn't get enough BOSCO. Bosco was the Patrick Berry of chocolate flavorings for my milk!

OISK 1:05 PM  

@AliasZ - always pleased to "Basque" in the glow of your erudite remarks. I am familiar with Rapsodie espagnole, and L'heure espagnole; my question (which I hope interests others here) is whether there is something in the music which is peculiarly Basque, as opposed to simply Spanish. Thanks.

Masked and Urinonymo3Us 1:07 PM  

AXTON was no problemo, hereabouts. Only Hoyt I know of.

Admire the faint waft of desperation in PENMEN. Is this whence PENMANSHIP comes from? Look kinda funny, runnin around, away from their boat.

fave weeject: URI. Named after ninth century Swiss EYEPIT filabusterer Uri Cantondude. Congrats to 4-Oh, for carryin on the time-honored tradition.

fave 4-Oh sub: Treedweller.

@4-Oh: "y'all"?! Day-um, we're gonna make a hick outa U yet...

m&A

p.s. Everyone who submitted fave 20-year-span puzs: thanx. Worked on em all. Primo picks.

Nameless 1:40 PM  

OMG!
Patrick Berry!
And it's Friday!

Pinch me.

Snark

Bird 1:47 PM  

Got everything but the NW corner. Forgot all about BOSCO (is it still around?), drew a blank on AXTON, had TWO AM and refused to consider STADIA as an answer.

Otherwise I enjoyed this puzzle.

Gotta run.

TGIF!

okanaganer 2:27 PM  

The Good:
- interesting grid shape
- fun answers
- No abbrev.s!!! Yay!...has this ever happened before?
- hardly any brand names. (Ovaltine is so fun it doesn't count, and never heard of Bosco, so at least it's novel)

The Bad:
- it was over so soon. But is that necessarily bad?

AliasZ 2:30 PM  

@OISK,

Separating the Spanish from the Basque influence in Ravel's music is rather difficult, but this is how his biographers describe it:

"He believed that composers should be aware of both individual and national consciousness. For him, Basque music was influential. He intended to write an earlier concerto, Zazpiak Bat (the heraldic nickname for the Basque coat of arms), but it was never finished. The title is a result of his Basque heritage: meaning 'The Seven Are One', it refers to the seven Basque regions, and was a motto often used in association with the idea of a Basque nation. But Ravel abandoned the piece, using its nationalistic themes and rhythms in some of his other pieces." -Wikipedia

Much of his music shows other influences as well. He used folk themes of Hebraic, Greek, Hungarian and other origins. He was also inspired by various dances, including the forlane, rigaudon, waltz, czardas, habanera, passacaglia, and the boléro.

Ravel was a remarkable synthesist of disparate styles, thus not quite easy to categorize. His musical language was ultimately very original. To put it simply, he was an individual, with the above-listed (and other) influences supplying the color and flavor of much of his work.

M and Also 2:44 PM  

p?p?s?s?

@4-Oh: Questions abound, regardin that (highly recommended) Sharp bonus puz...
1. Are U **in** this Off-Broadway drama?
2. Do bloggers get reduced rates on tickets, if they mention yer ACPT finishin position?
3. Where can bloggers go to post comments on yer puz? I want to praise yer U count.
4. Have U come full circle, in yer luv for the circles in puzs?
5. Would U please make/post puzs like this more often? Don't deny solvers yer essence.
6. No MARTIANS?! (I don't think that was a spoiler.)

M&A

Norm 2:51 PM  

Fun, fun, fun. If not for the NW, it might have been too easy. Yummm, Bosco. Wasn't it a bear-shaped bottle? Kept waiting for a "theme" of similar crossing answers like RETRIEVER and RECEIVER but it never happened. An "IE/EI" switch could be a fun theme. I hereby grant all you constructors out there full rights in fee simple.

Benko 3:08 PM  

@Milford--I've been to Munich three or four times, and every time I go to the Augustinerbrauhaus. Lots of fun.
@David--I just went to Westvleteren this past summer as part of a Belgian beer tour my wife and I put together. You can't tour the brewery, as at all Trappist breweries, because they don't want you to disturb the monks' silence. You can tour the grounds and buy a six pack of whatever beer they happen to offer that day (only one six pack per person). When I was there, I was lucky enough to get Westvleteren 12. The hardest part was saving two bottles to bring back for beer aficionado buddies of mine. If you have a car and know your license plate number ahead of time (we had a rental, but didn't know what the plate would be), you can reserve a spot to pick up a case. It's all very strict...they don't want you to drink immoderately nor resell their beer as some have done in the past.

Z 3:30 PM  

@M and Also - Thanks for the heads up on the lately added PS.

@Rex - What? No Pangram? I suspect a plot.

@Benko - you are my kind of puzzler.

mac 3:58 PM  

Hi Treedweller! Nice write-up, thanks.

Loved the puzzle and agree with the easy grade EXCEPT for the NW.

@JHC: I beat you. I would have had Bisco, Anton and Innard if I had filled in that I.

Clark 4:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan K. 4:06 PM  

Nice, smooth puzzle as always. I originally put CAPTAINSTABLE in place of LIFEPRESERVER for 33A.

Clark 4:07 PM  

@AliasZ, @OISK -- The first movement of Ravel's Piano Trio is Basque through and through. It imitates the meters of Basque poetry and has many of the features found in Basque folk songs. There is a pretty thorough analysis of all this in Peter Kaminsky's Unmasking Ravel: New Perspectives on Music, at 160ff.

David from CA 4:13 PM  

NW was just plain lousy. What a pile-up of proper nouns: BOSCO on AXTON on QADDAFI on URI and MENDEL, crossing BASQUE and OXNARD and FELIPE and RAINIER!!!!!
THIS is a crossWORD puzzle deserving heaps of praise? Think not. But typical of the late Shortsian era.

Never got past having SADDAMN for 18A, even though I knew that RANNIER didn't look right.

sanfranman59 4:15 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 14:06, 19:17, 0.73, 10%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 8:27, 11:12, 0.75, 11%, Easy

Steve J 4:17 PM  

@Benko: The Augustiner in Munich is different from the one in Salzburg that @Milford mentioned.

In Munich, around the back of the Frauenkirche (meaning just 2-3 minutes' walk from the Augustiner Brauhaus in the city center) is a pub that serves Andechs. Andechs is a monastery about 35km southwest of Munich that brews the most delicious doppelbock I've ever had. They also have a public beer garden and kitchen at the monastery, which you can reach on the S-Bahn and a 30-minute hike. It's on a hilltop, and it's a glorious setting on a nice day.

(And trivia for the classical music folks: Carl Orff is buried at Andechs.)

@David and @Benko: As Benko mentions, no tours at Westvleteren, but the cafe across the road is the one licensed retailer of their beer. You can usually get something to drink there, but it's only for consumption at the cafe, not to take home. So, even if you can't get bottles to take with you, you can usually at least sample.

After all this beer talk, I think I need to book a return trip to Belgium. So many wonderful things to drink there.

David 4:24 PM  

@SteveJ, I was fortunate enough to go to the Brussels Beer Festival in the plaza for my 40th B-day. Absolutely amazing. Also toured Brugge for 2 days, also wonderful.

@Benko, thanks, I do know that the only way to get beer to take with you is to call up in advance, order, and pick up at the designated time. Recently I entered a raffle to get a case of the 12, but alas, it was not to be.

COIXT RECORDS 4:26 PM  

What does "cf" stand for? Seen a few of y'all say that when discussing multiple clues? Or something?

adicecream 4:27 PM  

Loved the food clues, loved that I could be my current older age and still solve the puzzle -- none of today's pop culture clues where I have to call my daughter. Easy for a Friday...but now what do I do tonight?

Wikipedia 4:31 PM  

cf. is interpreted, and can be read aloud, as "compare to". It is an abbreviation for the Latin word confer, literally meaning "bring together", and is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts such as in academic articles (mainly humanities, physics, chemistry, and biology) or legal texts. It is the imperative singular form of the Latin verb conferre.

Last Silver Bullet 4:35 PM  

p.p.p.s.s.s.

@Z - no sweat.

@muse - har. mornin on back at yah. Stay clear of them coyote packs, kiddo. Out here we call em "kowts".

@Patrick Berry: I suspect the reason folks found this fridaythUmbsUp puz so easy to solve was...
* Not the clues. They were clever and fun and not gimmes, at all.
* Not the slyly hidden theme. No one has detected it yet, and we'll just let that be our little secret.
* It was the smooth fill. When you can depend on answers bein this "reasonable", somethin happens. There's no pewit-psych-outs, and you start to venture writin stuff in with more confidence. It's like magic.

@Trip Payne: Wrong puz place, but that Fireball puz of yours from this week was plumb amazin. Wish I'd thought of it -- and glad I didn't, as I'd still be tryin to construct it to come out right, a year from now. Standin O. But I digrovel.

@Treedweller: Oustandin mess of blog bullets.

WeekendsUp, everybody.

M&A

jae 4:44 PM  

@Benko -- Nice to see someone agrees with me. It was getting kinda lonely...

AliasZ 5:00 PM  

Thank you @Clark.

To demonstrate, here is a magical performance by the Beaux Arts Trio of the magical First Movement of Piano Trio in A minor by Ravel.

Luckily this work is very well represented at Youtube. I listened to the Menuhin/Cassadó/Kentner, the Heifetz/Piatigorsky/Rubinstein and a few other performances, but the Beaux Arts playing touched me more than any other.

REALLY? 5:01 PM  

Ironic when someone has SADDAMN for 18A and blames it on a lousy puzzle.

foxaroni 5:42 PM  

Nice write-up, Treedweller--thanks.

This is the first Friday puzzle I've completed, with no Googles, in at least a year. (There were errors, but still...)

I had SADDAMN for QADAFFI, never having seen an episode of "Seinfeld." Thought it was MANDEL, maybe as in "Mandelbrot," so I was wrong all the way around."

This puzzle is a good example of answers that are gimmees for me, yet esoterica for you. Hoyt AXTON composed the number one song of 1971, "Joy to the World," performed by Three Dog Night. The group also did well with another Axton song, "Never Been to Spain." Axton was the human male lead in the movie "Gremlins," and was in a number of other movies and TV shows. Finally, Hoyt Axton's mother wrote (or co-wrote, depending on your source) "Hound Dog," the flip side of Elvis's "Don't Be Cruel."

Thought a bit of Axton information would be a nice balance to all the Ravel/Basque comments. :-)

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

I hoped for a Medium rating, since I wanted to be prouder of not getting any squares wrong, and I really struggled with the northwest and northeast corners. This puzzle took me an hour or so.

However, I agree with easy, and, frankly, it was kind of dull. Certainly not the most current, but "Jack Lord" and "hot potato" and "qaddafi" (I think it was more the West Wing reference) made me feel like it was 15 years ago.

foxaroni 8:49 PM  

Sorry...strike "Seinfeld" and substitute "The West Wing," another show I've never seen.

LaneB 9:03 PM  

A late start today by reason of volunteer work at the Marin Humane Society followed by 9 holes of quite successful golf. That said, this Friday's puzz WAS easy considering the day of the week.. I got Google help to confirm answers written and also to look up AXTON and FELIPE to speed things along. Liked the clue for APOP (Each)., and though it took me lots of time to do so ,I avoided Old Man DNF.

Stop Lying to Yourself 9:59 PM  

No, you didn't.

sanfranman59 10:05 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:36, 6:06, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
Tue 7:49, 8:12, 0.95, 34%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:26, 9:52, 1.06, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 19:16, 17:14, 1.12, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 14:14, 19:17, 0.74, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:46, 1.06, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:50, 5:01, 0.96, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:23, 5:49, 1.10, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 11:29, 10:07, 1.13, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 8:21, 11:12, 0.75, 10%, Easy

Blackeyed Susan 10:51 PM  

One of my all time favorite quotes is from Catherine DENEUVE: after a certain age, a woman has to choose between her face and her derrière.
Fridays like this are so good for newbies!

DB Mall 27 7:13 AM  

PIAS may refer to: ... record label based in London and owned by the PIAS Entertainment Group ... Pias (Lousada), a civil parish in the municipality of Lousada ...

Z 8:46 AM  

@DB Mall 27 - Linking to your own blog while appearing to link to some sort of xword related info is kinda dickish. Doing it on the wrong day's comment page, making it a potential spoiler for syndicated solvers just makes it worse.

Rgrant50 11:25 AM  

I get fridays every three or four weeks. First time I did one
under one hour. This took only 32 minutes.
I do mine on an IPAD so it's difficult to do them quickly.
Last week a very easy thursday and this week a very easy friday. Is our friendly editor getting old and tired?

gifcan 5:06 PM  

Have you seen the movie Sled Dog? Me neither. Still, that is what I had until SLUMDOG raised its head.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

A clever, gettable, easy puzzle from one of the best. Thanks Mr.
Berry. I notice your puzzles in the Los Angeles Times and eagerly look for them. What I don't know is: Are you the same Patrick Berry who writes the humorous syndicated columns? Old man in San Diego would like to hear from someone. Thanks.

Ron Diego 7:15 AM PST 12/27

spacecraft 10:44 AM  

Lots of stuff I didn't know, to start: the star at 23d, the Spanish PM, Hoyt who wrote, etc. Oscar winners? I can probably say a lot of them, but put them with their YEAR? No way. Timeline-wise, I suck.

Yet all of these came into focus, and I wound up with a shorter-than-average solving "time." (You know I don't stopwatch myself; I simply had the sense that it didn't take as long as a Friday usually does.) And no wonder. We're talking PB here; 'nuff said.

LongBeachLee 1:43 PM  

It would have been easy if I was not immediately positive about helicopter pad. How could that have been wrong? So much better than life preserver, not to mention captain's table.

Solving in Seattle 3:00 PM  

JACKLORD went in with no crosses. Would've hated to have to pay his Brylcream bill.

CATfoOd, too. Had ONIONRING and that really screwed me up thinking that foOd had to be right. fOTPOTATO somehow didn't look right. Hmmm. Finally and sussed it out.

Liked Catherine DENEUVE right in the center. She ain't no SLUMDOG.

How many Hoyts are there in the world, folks. One, that's how many.

I just want to say that sometimes I am truly in awe of the posters to this blog. I mean, really... a discussion about the level of BASQUEness in Ravel's compositions, and how it reflects the Basques poetry meter style. Did I make a mistake and show up at a Mensa party?

@Diri, hope you have electricity and all that. You and the pups OK?

Ginger 3:27 PM  

Mostly white spaces after the first pass, then SWANS clicked, and then it was onward and upward. Knowing it was PB, and that it would be an honest puz, I persevered. The NW was the toughest. twoAM, dogCHOW, kAhDAFI, and a wanD on my draperies made for a slow solve. I know OXNARD, but my festival was in the San Jauquin Valley so I tried to squeeze in Hanford. Eventually it all worked out. BTW, how about knuckle ball, Hall of Fame, pitcher, Hoyt Wilhelm? Still holds numerous records.

Lived up to it's billing, an elegant, honest, terrific way to start the day.

Dirigonzo 4:10 PM  

Echoing the only valid complaint anyone had about this puzzle, it was OTS - Over Too Soon.

@SiS - I second your amazement at the level of discourse that takes place among the posters. I often skip some of the longest ones and skim others but even with that I learn much here every day. And the pups and I are as snug as can be, thanks for asking. We on the mid-coast didn't have as tough a time as Down East and up-state where there are still some with out power, and it is bitter cold.

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