Jersey Shore housemate's music-biz name / SAT 1-4-14 / Tuareg rebellion locale of 2012 / Constituent of molding sand / Monty Python theme composer / One of 64 in genetic table / Like cute nerds in slang / Like cork trees flying lizards / Where some believe Cain Abel are buried / Paw Oscar-winning Disney short

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Constructor: Kyle Dolan

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (or Challenging, depending on your grasp of supremely trivial pop culture)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: CODON (48D: One of 64 in a genetic table) —
n.
A sequence of three adjacent nucleotides constituting the genetic code that determines the insertion of a specific amino acid in a polypeptide chain during protein synthesis or the signal to stop protein synthesis. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •

This is a lively and interesting puzzle. I want to take a moment, however, to talk about the downside of being hip, fresh, and contemporary. That is—triviality and quick obsolescence. I love the *idea* of DJ PAULY D (6A: "Jersey Shore" housemate's music-biz name), and it certainly looks cool in the grid, but as pop culture goes, I think it's a bridge too far, even for me. It's one thing to expect people to know the names of the cast of the "Jersey Shore." I once put SNOOKI in a puzzle, so I can't throw stones too hard here. But something about the "music biz name" part of the clue made me balk. Seriously? Why would one know that? Now, it's inferable. I somehow remembered (eventually) that PAULY D was … someone, and with the "J" from JETSET (the only thing I had in the NE for a while), the DJ part was gettable. It was all gettable (at least for me). But I slightly resented the sheer … sheerness, the thinness of that answer. I don't know how long this puzzle sat around—turnaround time can range from months to years. But "Jersey Shore" as a concept already feels dated. And that answer, with its expectation that we'll know not only names but stage names, is going to rankle some. And for once, I'm kind of sympathetic to those folks. I know it's a judgment call when it comes to contemporary pop culture. Unless you can get your stuff into print right away (the way independents can), you are risking something every time you grab for The New. I think it's often a risk worth taking, but the thing about risk is: it's risk. Things can go wrong.


OK, so the rest of the puzzle seems pretty good. I struggled everywhere there were answers I'd never seen before—that is, in and around CODON, SEA COAL (??) (37D: Constituent of molding sand) and DJPAULYD. Big thumbs up for ADORKABLE (a roll of the "contemporary" dice that paid off, IMO) (4D: Like cute nerds, in slang). Cluing was tough all over. Very Saturday, this one. The way they're supposed to be. The way I like 'em. My time would've improved considerably if I'd simply remembered Oswald's connection to MINSK, but no (19A: Where Lee Harvey Oswald was a lathe operator): I was stuck in … nowhere really. MENSA? Do they have lathes?


Fix-its: RAZE to RASE to TASE (23A: Take down with a charge). ELITES to JETSET (7D: First-class regulars). ELBAN (!) to EXILE (51D: Napoleon, notably). SHIFT to STINT (49D: Piece of work). CRANKIER to CRABBIER (27A: Less agreeable). I think that's it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

105 comments:

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium for me.  Seemed about right for a Sat.  I've never seen "Jersey Shore" but the cast was in the news and on talk shows enough so that some of it must have sunk in, although  I did needed a few crosses.   Kyle says he did this over a year ago when the show was still around (see xwordinfo).

Got ADORKABLE with no crosses.  I'm a fan of Zooey Deschanel (going back to the  Hitchhikers Guide movie) and that term was used a lot to describe her "New Girl" character Jess.  Great entry!

Still waiting for MINSK to be clued with a Seinfeld reference. I did try MIami before MINSK.

WOEs: SEA COAL and CODON.  So I learned something new.

Liked this a lot.  A fair amount of zip plus some crunch.

DocRoss 12:43 AM  

Thanks for the Everlys! RIP Phil.

Carola 1:28 AM  

Tough! On first pass I had only the comparative -ER ending and various -S plurals, two of which turned out to be wrong (JET SET, AUDITORIA). Finally got a real start in the NW with ASIAN and TUTOR and clawed my way around the grid from there. SW was last to yield: at last I saw SENTENCE, erased the hyperbola's foCi, and was able to finish. Satisfying!

New to me: ADORKABLE, CODON, SEA COAL. New to everyone: the Tuareg had an outpost in bALI (embarrassed I wrote that in; at least I knew Oswald hadn't been in bINSK). I also entertained Elban for Napoleon.

Prominent P's today: PARK RANGER, PACK RAT, PAT DOWN, PART-TIMER, PREFIGURE.

Especially loved the "Predictor of fame" clue and getting faked out by the "leaf part," which I was sure was going to be some botanical term. Very nice Saturday puzzle, I thought.

Steve J 1:37 AM  

Completely agreed that DJ PAULY D is a swing and a miss on the fresh front, while ADORKABLE is a homerun.

This was definitely challenging for me, and my worst Saturday in weeks. Thought I was off to a good start, with the NW filling in very quickly off of the ADORKABLE / VAULT crossing (plus instantly dropping in SOUSA; given the many hours I've spent watching Monty Python over the years, that's about as big a gimmee as I'll ever have).

That was an illusion, as I ground to a cold stop after that. I could not buy my way into the other corners. I had small entry points (ARCS, LUMEN) that yielded nothing in return. Finally took a good amount of googling in the NE to get traction there, and things slowly spread out from there, although I had to check the completed grid to get me out of a couple jams (particularly having circus instead of BIG TOP).

Stuff I liked beyond ADORKABLE: CRABBIER, STONEWALL, PARK RANGER. Loved the clues for SENTENCE and PATDOWN.

Stuff I didn't like so much: ATH, LEND A, AUDITORA (nobody says that, unless it's a bit mocky, like stadia), DIXON (based on its WTF factor as clued), using one music term as an answer for another (LENTO).

Thing I really disliked that doesn't appear to be the puzzle's fault at all: Tie TAC. First thought upon seeing that: Misspellings are legit now? Thought after googling it to see if it's in use: I'm gobsmacked at how much it shows up. I could understand if it were a brand name, but it doesn't appear to be so. It's just a dumb way to spell a perfectly normal word in order to save one precious character.

chefwen 1:43 AM  

Had a difficult time getting started on this one. Finally did get a toe hold with the help of Jon who filled in a bunch of holes I had in the upper half. Got that polished off but was on my own for the bottom half. We were both dead dog tired.

Like @jae - never have seen Jersey Shore, but I remembered a PAULY dude from listening to some other shows, it was still a chore to fill in the DJ D.

Once we got going it was a lot of fun. How could you not love ADORKABLE?

Hope Sunday is as much fun

August West 1:59 AM  

Easy-medium here. Like @ Steve J, SOUSA went in *bam*! Entire NW gone in a flash. Had never heard the "word" ADORKABLE. Hate it, mostly because it spurs visions of that vapid, banal sitcom about the nerds my wife insists on watching. And laughing at. Never watched an episode of TJS, but DJPAULYD was floating around my pop culture repository and came to the fore rather quickly. Just watched a bunch of Oswald stuff little more than a month ago, and remembered that he worked in MINSK. Where he decided maybe he didn't want to live in the Soviet Union, after all. Most trouble with PREFIGURE, which just sounds wrong, as clued. Loved DIXON, as clued. Lotsa great longs, and minimal crud. Liked it.

Questinia 2:12 AM  

After some DRANG and a bit of Sturm...
Dang! No Finito. NE did me in. The DJ of Joisey specifically.
DRONE.

Garth 2:17 AM  

A Saturday has to be pretty easy for me to have a chance at finishing it. This wasn't one of those. When I don't finish, I like looking at the solution to see if I could have completed it if I had spent more time on it. This wasn't one of those either. Too much misdirection in the cluing for me.

unrelated question: How does one add a photo to their comment? Does that require a Google account?

Benko 2:32 AM  

I agree that DJPAULYD is, at this point, a bit dated...but it sadly was a gimme for me.
SOUSA also was a gimme...love Monty Python and watched it obsessively when I was younger.
I used to love Zooey Deschanel, around the time she was in "Elf"...but I got sick of her insistent ADORKABLEness in the New girl and that Godawful Siri commercial..."is that rain?" Now I hate her.

wreck 2:56 AM  

Saturdays are always a crapshoot for me without google. Google was no help today. After seeing the answers for the clues provided, I just don't get it. I guess my understanding of the English language is severely lacking. I must be a dumb ass.

Anonymous 3:21 AM  

Someone please explain the relaton of DIXON to fame. The X was the last letter to go in, for EXILE (duh) largely because nothing made sense in DI_ON.

Anonymous 3:58 AM  

Jean Dixon was a famous astrologer, so the meaning of the phrase was turned in the clue so that the prediction was not of the fame, but the fame referred to the predictor. Very clever!
I was with my two teenage daughters watching TV while I was doing the puzzle (I get it at 5 pm in Hawaii) and I asked them what they called a cute nerd. I said it looks like "adorable" but it had an extra letter. They both yelled ADORKABLE -- great family moment. I'd like to think I used to be adorkable! Great clue!

Just Curious 4:09 AM  

@Benko -- other than that, how do you feel about Zooey?

thomas808 4:17 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, but I have one gripe. I really didn't like ARCS for "hyperbola parts" because maybe it's the ADORKABLE in me, but a hyperbola is a continuous curve with no parts. My first attempt was ARMS, and that wrong answer alone took me about 10 minutes to fix. Whoever heard of a CODON? MODON sounds good to me!

George Barany 4:29 AM  

Thanks to @Rex for a fair and balanced review, and congrats to constructor @Kyle Dolan for getting CODON into the puzzle, with an inspired, highly gettable clue. Elucidation of the genetic code in the mid-60s was one of the signature accomplishments of 20th century science, and justly rewarded by Nobel Prizes in 1968 to Nirenberg and Khorana. With 4 building blocks (A,C,G,T) and a triplet codon, 4 cubed = 64. Wonderful stuff! On the other hand, denizens of the Jersey shore, not so much, at least for me. The D of DRANG was a potential Natick, especially with that ingenious yet super-hard clue, but made me smile because @Michael Hanko and I have recently been discussing "Sturm und Drang" for an ongoing crossword project that we hope to share with other Rex-ites by the end of the month. Again, in fairness to the constructor, we learn from his notes provided at xwordinfo.com that his project has been waiting to appear in print for over a year.

Jim Finder 4:55 AM  

thomas808 -- maybe 'arcs' doesn't work for you, but a hyperbola does have two separate branches, so it's not a 'continuous curve with no parts' as you say.

George Barany -- Kyle Dolan and Michael Hanko are people's names -- why do you change them by sticking an "@" in front? It's not as if "@Michael Hanko" were the salutation of a message to him in your post. I really want to know. I don't get this on-line tic at all.

Thanks, Rex, for your reaction to Pauly Nobody clogging up the puzzle.

Gareth Bain 4:55 AM  

I laughed at Rex's MENSA musing because I had nearly the same musing, and the same frustration at trying to find a city that could be associated with Mr. Oswald matching the pattern M?N??

Mike 5:04 AM  

I am still really slow on Fridays and Saturdays, but seeing that my initial errors were mostly the same as Rex and the other regulars makes me feel better. I had RAZE before TASE and ELITES before JETSET, etc. This one was tough for sure. DIXON was a forehead smacker once I remembered her astrology columns appearing in some newspaper long ago.

Asian Condo Minsks 5:14 AM  

Hand up for elites, circus, Elban, not knowing CODON and misspelling PAULie...No room for D.

My biggest hang up was I was at Harvard a year after Benazir bHutto...so convinced myself either Pakistan was somehow considered Europe for purposes of this puzzle or that she was in EXILE as president there. Couldn't let that go!

Even tho I have a resolution not to whine how old I am, it paid off to get DIXON, TIPPLE and JETSET.

Malapop... After relinquishing Tie DYE for TA? I refused TAC (for reasons @Rex pointed out) I tried TAb, Tie TAb...only to have it appear at 25A.

Embarrassingly, I parsed ARENT as A RENT. (after Loo/LAV)

Stayed with this for hours, and because i finally solved it, I must declare it ADORKABLE!

The Bard 6:16 AM  

Hamlet , Act III, scene IV

HAMLET: On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest with this piteous action you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.

QUEEN GERTRUDE: To whom do you speak this?

HAMLET: Do you see nothing there?

QUEEN GERTRUDE: Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

HAMLET: Nor did you nothing hear?

QUEEN GERTRUDE: No, nothing but ourselves.

HAMLET: Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he lived!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

[Exit Ghost]

loren muse smith 6:35 AM  

Exactly what @Garth said – I couldn't have put this one to bed if I had had a week. And @Garth, I've never asked the "@"question here, but my kids told me that it's so a name jumps out at you on a blog. @you fella bloggers – is that right? And if you want an avatar with your name, just create a google mail account and then email me. I'll walk you through it, computer whiz that I am.

Rex – (I never use @ with OFL, don't know why) Really enjoyed your write-up. I had "lase" before TASE and also had "crankier." Loved your "Elban" and "mensa!"

"Cork" in the clue drew me in like a sucker, and I confidently had "Irish" for ASIAN, feeling so smart and thinking I must look into these Erin flying lizards. Fascinating, I thought. Probably bright green, I thought.

DIXON does a heck of a lot of PREFIGURing, huh?

@Steve J – a kind of snobby British guy told me once that a proper gentleman wears *nothing* to keep his tie in check – no tie clip, no tie bar, no tie TAC. Granted - those little /k/-final words are indeed problematic. Sac, sack, tick, tic, sync, synch, sink, mic, mike, ARC, ark, bloc, block, flak. . .

So does a PARK RANGER carry knapsack, but ROO carries a napsac? (By the way, *love* the word gobsmac ;-)

@Questinia -my baguettes VAULT out of that pan on command – I spray it over the sync with Pam. Seriously. I don't own parchment paper.

I didn't fall for "classroom," but I did put in "The Rotunda." Sheesh. Anyone else out there always consider street signs, historical signs, etc. to make sure it's the right CAPITOL or capital? And then feel all smug and satisfied? I'll say it again – I'm so two-faced. Descriptivist or prescriptivist?

I learned the hard way in tenth grade to avoid the cute ATHs (I've said before – I spent a week one afternoon on a date with the BMOC – he had all the ELAN of a head of a cabbage) and instead chase the ADORKABLE guys. I never looked back.

@Carola – I'm so embarrassed for you that you wrote in "Bali." I just thought it but didn't write it in. Whew! Hey – thanks for coming clean. Big hug.

Really, really glad that we have a viable, non-judgmental word now for those who used to be called PACK RATs. I've known three full-blown "hoarders," and the predicament does not stem from laziness but rather from a compulsion too big to overcome without help. And slowly help is on the way in terms of specialists, support groups, etc.

Quite surprised that Will allowed a themed Saturday! The Jersey Shore was omnipresent:

-DJ PAULY D
-TIPPLE some GRAIN alcohol, ACT UP, TEETER off ALOFT foot-high platforms, weighed down under foot-high DOS. . .PAT DOWN and SENTENCE just around the corner...
-Snooki. BIG TOP. Nuff said.
-CRABBY USERS in a CONDO?

I dunno.I never kept TABs on anyone who wasn't in DWTS. Hey – I have my standards on vapid tv shows.

Little-known fact – before Jersey Shore, Snooki was a TUTOR in genetic code, and her forte, Dr Barany, was actually the work of Nirenberg and Khorana, specifically those 4 building blocks (A,C,G,T) and that pesky triplet CODON. She was absolutely ADORKABLE.

I guess if I finished well over half, that's a typical Saturday experience for me. I agree with Rex – lively and interesting, Kyle, but that DJPAULYJ (and GREAT BEAR, for that matter) gave me nothing to LATCH ONTO.

Gill I. P. 7:41 AM  

I said to myself that *this* time I'm not going to Google a Sat....When you stare at POLLO as long as I did and nothing else, I decided I was really a lush and gave in to the temptation.
ADORKABLE for some reason makes me want to TIPPLE. Why, oh why (someone?) does keeping buff make you a PACK RAT?
Oh, I got DIXON because I used to read her and believed everything she said about the Aquarius in me.
Since it is almost TEN TO five, I'm going back to bed.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

I liked this puzzle, even though the NE was too much for me. I took a bad Saturday drubbing today. From ADORKABLE north and east, I had nothing except RUB OUT, MALI (a guess), and TASE. PARK RANGER eluded me (if I'd ever heard of ADORKABLE, I might have had a chance). The rest was silence. Ah, well. There's always next Saturday.

Jim Finder 8:32 AM  

Gill, a PACKRAT is a big fan of keeping stuff. A synonym for "fan" is "buff."

cacjac 8:36 AM  

Toughest one for me in a while. Pretty much the Eastern third -DNF. But there were some really good clues I just did not see. My own fault on THECAPITOL,DIXON(yea, I'm old enough),TEETERED,
GRAIN. All ones coulda,shoulda.but didn't.
However you are right on pop culture reference and I refuse to watch reality TV even though I've gotten some of those in the past.Together with the Disney and Eyewitness clues,tough going. Add in a bit of a stretch on GREATBEAR, since that seems a synonym not a 'setting'. JETSETS. I stuck with AIRMEN(as in rank), or SEAMEN,tho don't know if there is either. And that tipped me to trade MINSK for Miami. YIKES. YES Gill I.P.--PACKRAT? Is 'buff'
the same as stuff?

Michael Hanko 8:38 AM  

@Steve J, I shared your irritation over what I perceived to be the misspelling of "tack". I too googled "tie TAC" and found that a lot of instances come up—mostly from commercial websites. It seems to be a cutesy spelling adopted by sellers, like "lite" or "creme". I couldn't find a dictionary that legitimized this usage....can anyone?

Hated the clue for POLLO until I just went back—in the process of asking for someone to explain it— and figured out for myself what the cluer was getting at. D'oh! Now I think it's brilliant! I really liked a lot of the cluing in this puzzle.

DJPAULYD could be used to exemplify @Rex's concept of Natick: The clues for the words crossing trivia known by fewer than 25% of the solving public must be gimmes, or at least clued in a non-ambiguous manner. I would think that this would go double for a music-biz name, which can be pretty much any string of characters. Anyhow, I can imagine many people finding the initial letters of DRANG, LENDA, and YATES impossible to decide on; each admits several possibilities. I guessed wrong on the Y, so DNF, even though I had easily sussed the D from living in Germany for a decade.

DJ PAUL CD seemed defensible, yo.

cacjac 8:41 AM  

Thanks Jim Finder. I'll take that blame on that one. Good clue

Twangster 8:51 AM  

If I could have gotten one more correct letter in the top right corner, I think I would have figured it out, but no such luck. I was sure 11-down had to be PANDA Paw, which left me with GREAT FAIR or LAIR, and perhaps DJPAPPMD. Ugh.

Norm C. 9:15 AM  

I was pleased with myself for dropping uRsAmajoR in for 15A without hesitation. Ugh. To say it slowed me down is an understatement. Even so, nearly an hour later, everything was "set ... right."

Now to put my CODON and shovel the sidewalk.

AliasZ 9:26 AM  

I don't know anyone who believes Cain and Abel are buried in ADEN. Do you? Everyone thinks it is Eden. Come to think of it, ARENT Adam and Eve EXILEs from Eden?

Some people were appalled by yesterday's NICOLAI clue (which, by the way, did not include Otto NICOLAI, composer of the opera The Merry Wives of Windsor) for mentioning the words "opera" and "fame" in one breath. They got their wish today with DJ PAULY D of Jersey Shore fame. Kudos! I hope Pauly uses a CODON, I mean CONDO. Or else, just RUBOUT.

Speaking of opera buffs, my greatest head slap moment came when I finally PREFIGUREd, or rather postfigured out "Keeping buff?". How does staying in shape relate to a PACKRAT? Head slap. I figure, when you figure something before you figure, it's called PREFIGURE. Like a preheated oven is heated before you heated it.

DRANG, when did Ang Lee get his doctorate?

Extra-large bikini bottom go-with: BIGTOP.

I loved this one despite ATH, TAB+TAC, DJ PAULY D and SEA COAL. Congrats to Kyle T. Dolan for an excellent third.

PapaLeroux 9:27 AM  

Yuck. Didn't finish. Didn't even come close. Got off on the wrong foot with Ursa Major instead of Great Bear.

Russell Long 9:33 AM  

True story. It was after midnight and I was struggling mightily in the NE. My 15 year old son walked over and wondered why I was still doing the puzzle so late. ( I wondered why he was not in bed). He looked over my shoulder and asked what kind of word starts with DJ? I mentioned Jersey Shore and he blurted out the answer. Maybe I should stick to archived puzzles from the 1980s!

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Ack! Tough week. Sunday should be fun.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:40 AM  

Pleasantly challenging puzzle, some great clues, some things I would never know but got from crosses. Had to run the alphabet a couple of times, but in the end finished just fine.

Am I the only one who thought the 10 D "battle of the St. Lawrence" was in the French and Indian War or the American Revolution? (Got the answer but don't know the history.)

Z 9:51 AM  

DJANGO, Djumbo, DJPAULYD, a new twenty first century triumvirate.

This kicked my a$$ three ways past Thursday and then came back and kicked it some more. How many words that end in O can one cram in one puzzle? CONDO, ONTO, POLLO, VERSO, LENTO, DO'S. Oh no, where do I go for some help.

I had to laugh to consider that programmers consider the END USER. I started with bad code.

Hand up for MeNSa(?). Hey, if CHIRAC could go to Harvard then maybe Oswald was an ADORKABLE brainiac. It took me at least .003 seconds to come to my senses.

A balmy -8F this morning in the Laurentides, warmest day yet. Time to go ski.

NCA President 9:57 AM  

LargO instead of LENTO
short instead of EXILE
circus instead of BIGTOP
CODex instead of CODON
Awake instead of ALOFT

ARENT was new to me.

Some plurals here and there (which I'm usually suspicious of), and you have a tough puzzle.

Can't remember exactly when the puzzle started to reveal itself, but once I erased all of my guesses and basically started over, the cards started to fall just right. So many times you have that 50/50 chance on a guess and you hope that of those guesses at least 50% of them are right. Today, in my case, all of my guesses were off.

Fortunately, I have nothing to do this morning and I have plenty of coffee...

cacjac 10:03 AM  

Bob Kerfuffle-
I had Ethan ALLEN for that battle I figured for the
Revolutionary War. The only upside of so much war--great crossword clues.

r.alphbunker 10:14 AM  

I nailed this one in three sittings. I used to consider having to leave a puzzle and return to it a DNF but that only applies in a crossword puzzle tournament. Coming back to it and effortlessly seeing answers that eluded me earlier is a nice aha experience.

@Bob Kerfuffle
I wanted scOuT for the St. Lawrence raider but I thought it unlikely that Tonto participated in the battle.

I always consider that any five letter city name might be Omaha but Oswald was not there. Too bad because it would be the best ever clue for OMAHA.

Steve J 10:22 AM  

@Jim Finder: The use of the @ is a longtime online convention in unthreaded discussion forums such as this to help make it easier for people to see when they're being referred to or directly addressed in the course of discussion, such as a response to a previous comment (unthreaded discussions being ones where everything appears in sequence, as here, and doesn't show a chain of related responses to an original comment). For example, how I added it to your name at the start of this paragraph, to make it clearer I'm addressing you and not other people I'm also going to respond to in this post. It's also become somewhat conventional on this site to use the @ even when not directly addressing someone, but referencing someone who's a regular contributor here.

@Bob Kerfuffle: I thought French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Pretty much covered all my colonial and immediately post-colonial bases.

@Z: I hope you're not going to use those words today to start up the notion of O's of Convenience.

Mohair Sam 10:24 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Took us an hour or two but we finally finished. Then we read @Rex and laughed aloud at his last paragraph - we made each and every one of those errors.

We're OK with DJPAULYD - Never watched Jersey Shore (our daughter-in-law is a Margate native who said she'd kill us if we viewed) but heard of Pauly and Snookie often enough to be able to fill that one with a few crosses.

Struggled for quite a while in NE. Then MALI jogged the MINSK memory, so JETSET replaced elitEs and the corner fell in minutes.

Wonderful cluing - and Kyle Dolan can expect hate mail from our lovable nerd nephew who is now ADORKABLE. What a great word.

jburgs 10:51 AM  

It has been sorta close but no cigar for me since Thursday. I did the worst on Thursday.
Today, At 55A I had DI--N and at 51D had E-ILE. Can't believe I could not think to put the X in there. Had run the alphabet for the Napoleon clue but not entirely, thinking maybe EmILE might be his middle name or that he may have been an EdILE some french political position at some time. Big head slap when I used the reveal and got the X. It should have come to me but I had by then decided that the clue was a misdirect and that it related to the dessert or some other napoleon.

The lesson for me was: If you are going to run the alphabet go right to the end. If I had done so I would have been able to finish.

Having loo instead of LAV was a hold up for a while. Got UBOAT as soon as the U was there. Had enuf crosses to suss out the DJPAULYD despite never hearing of his stage name before. Was he not on Dancing with the Stars? I thought that if you got on that show you had earned to be part of popular trivia.

quilter1 10:52 AM  

@Rex thanks for the Everly Bros. clip. RIP Iowa boy Phil.

The puzzle defeated me. I got the NW and NE and then very little. Not enjoyable for the reasons @Rex gave in his comment.

MetaRex 10:53 AM  

notes from the underground...diary of a mediocre ethics-challenged solver part xxxix:

Saw my better tushnet had taken a half hour to do this one...predicted MR time = 40 minutes w/ significant POG [poss./prob. of Googling]...

MINSK a gimme to get started...middle falls kinda quickly...then the NE and the SE and NW...is this gonna a rare day surpassing t-net!!?...

nope...cannot make any headway at all on the SW beyond ARCS and ROUTE...when I get to the half-hour point I decide to Google the European pres and give up on posting my time...

most all the Google answers are crossword-related...ugh..there's one from my alma mater Harvard Law School...click on that one and see nothing relevant...

decide to use reason...how many European prezzes as opposed to PMs are there we can be expected to know for even a Saturday?!...CHIRAC swims up through the primeval codonic ooze of the hindbrain into consciousness...AAAH...

puzz finishes some minutes later, in almost exactly the predicted non-speedy time...98th out of 153 posted times as of a while ago...thx much to trdavis316 and the other folks who keep their computers on and help the rest of us be a little less lowly...

feel a semiminitwinge on whether it was wrong to post my time on the site since I Googled...the melancholy moment passes, aided by the usual rationalizations and a little Lana Del Rey on YouTube...DJ PAULY D okay by MR...have no standards today...time to go out into the non-summery Jersey air to take the X-mas cardboard to the dump...

cacjac 11:33 AM  

@Meta Rex, I don't attempt to post times, but to me,
any outside help(google, books, people, whatever) are
prohibited, and are a DNF. If I were to go on the clock I would be on my own. I hope others do not feel like they solved a puzzle when they go to google. It's a whole different game with google; perfectly ok if you enjoy it,but not the same. Can there be no honor
even here? (This isn't worth bringing my U-boat through the Great Lakes to fight on the St.Lawrence, but COME ON!)

Questinia 11:35 AM  

@jburgs~ be grateful there are only 26 characters to go through instead of the thousands of characters in Japanese Kanji. That's what I tell myself when I run out of steam, get bored, or become distracted while running the alphabet. "I'm at R ... I can... I can do it.. this isn't Japanese!". I've considered taking Ritalin just to be able to run the alphabet.

I had MINot before MINSK thinking Oswald might have been in the Dakotas. But when I did an alphabet run-through there... I made it to S for the big win.

Also when running through the alphabet, don't run. Saunter. Running invites mental impatience and a greater tendency to experience the u-z sequence as "Yeah... yada-yada-yada". It's in that yeah-yada blur where the x-nugget can't be mined for the big Napoleonic win.

joho 11:35 AM  

@Gill I.P., it took me forever to understand the clue for PACKRAT and when I finally got it, the aha moment was definitely worth the wait!

Tough cluing all the way around today, @Rex, great write up!

I can't believe I finally finished in the NE with DJPAULYD being my last answer. It just had to be YATES.

Difficult but doable, that's what a Saturday should be and this one was great! Thanks, Kyle Dolan!

Milford 11:37 AM  

First we have ATP in a puzzle a few days ago, and now CODON! And clued wonderfully to boot. I'll take the opera and river clues that elude me if we can keep the biochemistry clues coming occasionally.

Filled in ADORKABLE rather early on, deduced from the clue. Ask my 16-year old if it was a word actually used by anyone, and I got The Look from her (which means, "no").

Hard puzzle, especially the NE.

Lots to do today, especially since Snowmaggedon is due this evening.

600 11:37 AM  

Hard puzzle for me. HTG more times than I care to mention, and whoever mentioned that googling was little help is right.

I read this blog every day, but I rarely post anymore--only when I just cannot figure out an answer. This time it was "keeping buff" for PACKRAT. Thanks to @Gill I.P. for asking and @Jim Finder for answering. (I don't know what those @'s are about either, just following the etiquette I've seen on this blog.)

I don't know if this makes me proud or not, but like Rex I had ELBAN before EXILE. No, writing it out makes it clear to me that I'm not proud of that answer. And then I tried EXPAT. Imagine that!

Thanks, bloggers, for almost always answering my questions before I need to ask them--and also for ALWAYS answering them when I do have to ask.

MetaRex 11:46 AM  

Thx, @cacjac. You might be interested in a post on the Google DNF ish I did a while back: here.

Nancy in PA 11:48 AM  

Hand up for Ursa Major and feeling smug about it. And loo before LAV. Also had to run the alphabet to get EXILE. Knew Mali because my son, recently in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, reported seeing Taureg refugees often. And I had thought Taureg was a VW brand name. Very satisfying puzzle.

600 12:01 PM  

Thanks, @Steve J, for that excellent explanation of @. I obviously hadn't finished all the postings when I wrote mine.

Also wanted to share that I just now parsed ARENT correctly--or at least I think I did. Is it, as I now think, meant to be the contraction? If so, I would argue that inanimate objects ARE even though they lack life. Initially, I thought it was like ANENT or even ENATE--a word I had just missed hearing about until now. So, tell me: is it AREN'T? And if so, is that really an acceptable clue? Am I missing something again?

Mohair Sam 12:14 PM  

@cacjac. I agree that anytime one goes to a book or Google for help they are a DNF. But asking help from someone wandering by the breakfast table? Nah, that's OK. If Mr. Happy Pencil can let an online solver know there's a mistake and turn a DNF into a completion, then why can't someone's kid help out with DJPAULYD?

When we are stumped by a puzzle we go through the three levels of DNFing: 1. Try the dictionary; 2. Try the crossword dictionary; 3. Google.

A DNF3 is, obviously, a total defeat. And we confess when we do this.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Thanks so much for Phil and Don! I'd forgotten about their hair. I loved Tammy and George too. Keep up
the lord's work. You will be rewarded.

Sandy K 12:40 PM  

Medium-challenging, but so darn ADORKABLE and eventually gettable.

Once I FIGUREd OUT the clever clues for DIXON, POLLO, THE CAPITOL, ARENT, PACKRAT, etc, I wasn't too CRABBy.

Most DRANG came from CODON, SEA COAL, and DJ PAULY-?...happily only had to go down the alphabet to D.

i am not a robot 12:58 PM  

re: 44 Down:

In 1953, after graduating from "Sciences Po" (more formally known as the Paris Institute of Political Studies), he attended Harvard University's summer school, before entering the ENA, the Grande école National School of Administration, which trains France's top civil servants, in 1957.......

(thank you, wikipedia)

"summer school".....and we were supposed to know that?!!!

mac 12:59 PM  

Medium-challenging for me, too, but what a delight! Loved a lot of the clues, especially the ones for pollo, packrat, Drang and tutor. I'm still suffering from the ear worm I got reading the clue at 16A, "Get regular with Relax". Also considered Exlax.

I'm not watching the right tv programs, obviously, I had never heard of Pauly D. At 10D I wanted a tribe.

Incredibly cold in CT, but it looks beautiful.

Falstaff last night was fantastic, especially Act III.

jburgs 1:01 PM  

I gave some wrong info in my previous post. I said I thought DJPAULYD had been on Dancing with the Stars. I have been informed that it was actually Pauly's condomate, "The Situation", who was on it. Look for him in a puzzle next week.

mac 1:02 PM  

@i am not a robot: Many people claim an MBA or other degree from some of the American universities when they have only done an "Executive course" of much shorter length.

Slow Motion 1:33 PM  

Jeane Dixon is famous for one prediction: in 1956, she predicted that the next president would be a democrat who would die in office, perhaps by assassination. When that came true, despite thousands of predictions that never worked, she was famous. Nancy Reagan consulted her and passed her advice on to her hubby. It is not known if he followed it.

Masked and Anonym007Us 1:35 PM  

har. Just wrote up the best seta comments ever, mashed the Enter button, and got "Service Not Available". Oh well.

Agent 007-U will return, in "DJPaulyD's Are Forever"...

On to the festivities. Was gonna present them at the Super Bowl halftime, but the NFL dudes said "service not available". snort. Hafta use the local auditoria, instead.

M&A

Respect 1:38 PM  

I Fink U Freeky – 3rd Annual Awards
"Celebrating the Rodney Dangerfield of vowels in crosswords"

Best of 2013:

1. Greg Johnson – LAT, Aug 13. A 15x15 puz with 21 U’s. Each themer has 3 U's in it. Revealer answer: YOUYOUYOU. Runaway freek-U-out winner.
2. Merl Reagle– Apr 7 – "Oh, It's You" – 16 U's. Themers all convert O's to U's.
3. Jeff Chen – NYT Dec 15, entitled “A Cut Above”. 19 U’s, including three answers of UUUUU, which
collectively trace out a giant U.
4. Paul Hunsberger – NYT, Feb 21. 11 U's. Best U-count all year long, in a NYT daily.
5. Tim Croce – NYT, Jun 18. Only 2 U's, but get this: symmetrically placed in the grid! Okay, so I was kinda desperate, for a #5 nominee. But it *is* UnUsUal…


Thanx so much, and a standin U-vation to y'all.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T-fully,
M&A

p.s. Yo! See M&A on Letterman, doin mixer keyboards in the background of this related musical interlude:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA1LxhugiJI

WA 1:51 PM  

Yes let us pay homage to musclebound buffoons, just when you thought they disappeared.

pmdm 2:08 PM  

thomas808: A hyperbola is a set or two mirror-imaged arcs that extend into infinity.

cascokid san 2:10 PM  

2:15 8-google, 6-error DNF. Huge effort as every clue pointed credibly to the wrong answer. I got killed by Loo for LAV. Crosses ARENT and VERSO are so obscure and nonsensical they couldn't save me. Natick.

Cork trees are Sardinian. Don't know how you get ASIAN from that. I wrote ASIAN under protest in hour 2.

Biggest betrayal was chicken a la Rey. Al Rey is Spanish, so a la Rey must be some kind of French POuLe. It made the crosses obscure but not as erroneous as ASIAN.

So. Hard work. Seems like I should have done better. Perhaps I'll start being able to anticipate constructor errors of fact and language.

Do I seem CRABBIER than usual?

Lindsay 2:21 PM  

I'm more the Tammy Wynette set than the Jersey Shore or Eyewitness set, so square #12 was a big ???. Considered the options (i.e. ran the alphabet) and settled on oATES crossing DJ PAUL oD, because ODing seemed like a hip-hoppy concept. Or a Jersey Shore concept. Or something.

Otherwise, no problems. Started at POLLO and just kept going.

Cold here, but warming up a bit.

Lewis 2:48 PM  

I think this year has gotten off to a superb start, puzzlewise. The tricky cluing made this puzzle IMO. Never heard of that Jersey Shore character or CODON. Got a good good workout. Bravo, Kyle!

cacjac 3:16 PM  

@Mohair Sam,@MetaRex
Thanks for the thoughts(and blog). Since there's no money or fame involved, I guess it doesn't really matter to me how fast one finishes or if they use help. And since I generally do print version I didn't know about submission issue. Nonetheless, it's nice to read 'situational ethics' anywhere about anything.
And when I can't finish it's ok to say I got beat by
a worthy opponent(the puzzle maker). It reminds me of past athletic endeavors. The fun really isn't only about winning, it's about competing with your best efforts.(and then drinking and commiserating
aterwards).

Z 3:20 PM  

@Steve J - far be it for me to ever criticize anyone for an O of convenience. Seems more like a priestly duty to me.

@M&A - Nice awards. I'd give them a standing O but after my last comment that might be misunderstood. Nice video, too.

Apparently, Cork Trees and Cork Oak are not the same thing. Cork is from Asia and Cork Oak from Europe and Northwest Africa.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

On first pass, all I had was URSAMAJOR for 15-A, SMOKEYBEAR for 21-A, and POLLO for 35-A. All were correct but in unexpected ways.

SK VB 3:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ExMeaSententia 3:53 PM  

@Z
Thanks for the clarification on cork trees vs. cork oak. That clue had me stumped (no pun intended)

Susan McConnell 3:53 PM  

Ooh, my brain hurts! But it was worth it. By this time next week, hubby will begging me to stop using my new word: ADORKABLE! Love it!

michael 4:31 PM  

I eventually got this puzzle (which I liked) but was slowed down by ursa major instead of great bear and (three ring) binder instead of big top. I was quite sure of both these answers, so undoing them took a while.

soyezforte 4:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
soyezforte 4:55 PM  

As an under-30-yr-old puzzler, I know Pauly D but not Dixon. I think that level of difficulty in puzzles with proper nouns is hugely generational, more than is generally acknowledged here. And codon is now a term taught in high school biology.

retired_chemist 5:24 PM  

DNF - HTG in the NE. Too many proper nouns I didn't know.

Why is "GREAT BEAR" a setting for the Big Dipper? Isn't it just another name for the constellation?

acme 5:52 PM  

the constellation is Ursa Major (Great Bear) the big dipper is just a part of it

OISK 5:54 PM  

@retired chemist - The Big Dipper is a part of Ursa major, the great bear, and not all of it, so the clue is OK. But PaulyD with Yates going down is awful. I had Cates, for a DNF, but come on! DJPAULYD ? If you are going to be THAT obscure with your pop culture, at least give me a shot on the down clues. Never heard of Peter Yates either. I had a one square DNF on Thursday, got snowed out Friday, and this certainly made me crabbier. Odd how these things seem to go in streaks - before last Friday I had four perfect weeks in a row. Since, I missed squares in three of 6 puzzles.

To be fair, outside of the DJ in the NE, this was a really fine, challenging puzzle. But when even Rex dislikes a pop-culture reference, it must be REALLY obscure, which for me adds up to impossible, frustrating, and unpleasant.

retired_chemist 6:16 PM  

Thanks, acme and OISK.

acme 6:20 PM  

@i am not a robot 12:58

I agree that the CHIRAC clue was nonsense...
It's like my uncle who went to army training held on the Harvard campus for 6 weeks before being shipped off during WWII, and yet he told everyone for the next 50 years he "went to Harvard"!

At least my terrible guess of bHutto was based on her attending for four years as an undergrad (even tho the European presidential part was a bit wobbly!)

And both The Situation and Snooki (who was actually cute and hardworking) were on DWTS.
Had DJPAULYD been on as well, that clue would have been much easier for folks...
but I'm enjoying the guess of DJPAUL oD, DJPAUL cD and DJPAUL mD!
I guess I was alone on PAULie...or maybe the only one who enjoys Shakespeare and the NY Times as much as I enjoy DWTS and "Jersey Shore" which I once binge-watched, before I knew the term for that!
It's all of a piece to me (when I play trivia, I'm the language/literature, TV/Movie/pop culture gal...
I leave the sports, geography and science to my teammates!)

Tita 7:36 PM  

Totally slayed me. Not even close to a finish. Finally filled it all in, but with plenty of googling.

Learned about ASIAN cork trees.
That was the absolute worst area for me... Portugal being the #1 expoter of cork, I was sure I could figure this one out. Though I never had heard them called Cork trees - rather, cork oaks...so something seemed not right.
Ummm - because it was. Not right. (Hi, @Z)

Trivia of the day - Sousa's father was Poruguese!

@Steve J - I did not enter TAC, which was my very first idea, because I was certain that it was wrong.

Had angst before DRANG. When Silica didn't fit, tried Silicon.


I had Oswald working at intel for a while.

@Jim Finder - it's become social network convention - you "mention" someone (or something) by preceding its name with the @. In many apps, magical things happen. Here, it simply shows that we are all ubercool JETSET GOGETTERS.

Was sure that keeping buff had something to do with being a nudist!

A solid, clever puzzle, but I'm black and blue from it.

Thanks Mr. Dolan, and thanks to OFL and all of youse commentors... you make me laugh, and you make me smarter.

retired_chemist 7:48 PM  

Oak is "quercus" taxonomically, whence I suspect the term "cork".

Carola 8:08 PM  

@retired_chemist - Your post made me curious - such an interesting connection -, so I checked "cork" in the OED... "quercus" appears toward the end::

Etymology:  Compare Spanish corcha , corche in same sense; but 15th cent. corke , with 16th cent. Dutch kork , kurk , German kork , appears to represent Old Spanish alcorque ‘a corke shooe, a pantofle’ (Minsheu), in which sense corke is cited in 1463 (sense 2); compare also German korke slipper (1595 in Grimm), and the earliest High German name for cork, pantoffel- or pantofflenholz slipper-wood.
The Spanish corche represents (directly or indirectly) Latin corticem bark (in which sense Spanish now uses corteza < Latin corticea). Alcorque, known in Spanish of date 1458, was immediately < Spanish Arabic (Covarrubias 1611 has ‘dicho en Arabigo corque’); but its origin is uncertain; Dozy thinks it represents Latin quercus. If this be so, then corque, and by implication cork, has no connection with Spanish corcha, corche, or Latin cortex.

Dirigonzo 8:09 PM  

I extended my two hour, two drink limit a tad because I was so close to finishing, but in the end DJ PAUL jD seemed like a nice play on letters but was wrong so DNF due to OWS - still not too shabby for me on a Saturday and still a really good, challenging puzzle.

Scott Bates 8:18 PM  

Huge DNF, worst effort for me in a year.

retired_chemist 10:30 PM  

So, @Carola, what do you think? Are quercus and cork etymologically related? I'm reading "maybe" into your post.

Tita 11:10 PM  

@ret_chem, @Carola - fascinating!

In Portuguese, the word for the bark of the cork oak is "cortiça", derived from Latin "cortex" - "bark of a tree".

Interestingly, that word is reserved only for that tree - we've got one other word for the bark of every other tree out there.
Understandable, I suppose, given its importance to the economy.

And "cork" (what used to be the stopper in wine bottles) is "rolha".

Last thought for the evening - an old Portuguese dictum:
"We plant vines for ourselves, olives for our sons, cork oaks for our grandsons."

Carola 11:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 11:49 PM  

@retired_chemist, @Tita - I love learning about etymologies, but am definitely not enough of a linguist to offer any opinion. I was surprised that the OED's etymology paragraph didn't indicate at the outset that opinion is divided. Just now, I checked a German dictionary for the etymology of "Kork," and it goes with a derivation from the Spanish "corcha" (bark of the cork oak) via Hispano- Arabic "al-qurq," from Latin "cortex." And yet "quercus" seems to make so much sense..

morticia 3:22 PM  

late late.... skiing too much

Here is an easy and delicious gnocchi recipe

6 medium potatoes (Yukon gold the best)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley

mix all just until together (don't beat the dough)

boil a pot with water, salt, put a drop of olive oil on it . keep boiling rapidly and add the gnocchi to cook.

Fish them with a strainer and then place them on a hot dish plate, dropping tomato sauce as you go . Or just garlic/butter!


Perfect for a snow day... just made some yesterday

enjoy!

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

Friday 5 pm 1/10/14

Spent the week chipping away at this terrific puzzle. Each day had new insights into clues--proof of the uncontious mind or the intercession of saints.

Had a DNF because of the "Y" in the NE.
How about DJ Pau, LLD?

Loved the comment of REQUEST 1:38 PM
about puzzles capi-tUl-izing on letter U.

D&A

SEO Moz 6:45 AM  


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spacecraft 12:06 PM  

Another one: stared and stared, and despaired of even getting started. There was no...wait a sec, I see lots of "El POLLO Loco"s in my travels here in Sin City. And that makes 27d CPR; I'm trained in that. Foothold!

With gray matter held firmly against grindstone all the way, I unearthed this bad boy. No errors and no Googles. ['Scuse me while I kiss the sky.]

But for sure not without a few leaps of faith that turned out to be right: AUDITORIA, TEETERED (wotta clue!) and the K in ADORKABLE, a never-heard-of but as OFL says, gettable. Is that what that kid on "The Big Bang Theory" is? ADORKABLE? I see ads all the time featuring him--not that I'd ever actually WATCH a sitcom. Only if the only other choice was "Jersey Shore." [gag]

Needless to say, I needed every single cross for 6a. My only w/o was up there, I left GREATBEAR in Latin at first; it does fit: uRsAmajoR.

Wack clues throughout make this a full-out challenging. By the time I got to 26d, "Three-ring setting," I rejected CIRCUS as being just too damn simple for today. When it turned out to be BIGTOP I thought, gee, that WAS simple. He gave us a breather.

Great puzzle. Just at the edge of doability, for me, and that's what I like. I do have a couple of questions, though. Why is a PARKRANGER a "Warden in drab clothes?" And...PREFIGURE? Really? Who says that?

Back to two pair. I'm out.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Sat,2/8/14 9:AM PST. Finished 75% and was done in by the NE. The clues for that section were absolutely stinko. Cmon, Drone, Latch onto, DJPauly D, Packrat???
No thanks, Mr. Dolan (or Mr.Shortz). Every one of those clues was a loooong Stretch, and, in my opinion unfair. Crabby? You bet I am. I would like a head count of those who agree solving this puzzle was not a pleasant experience. There, I said it. And, I'm usually not a complainer. If anyone reads this (doubtful), I hope he or she agrees.
Ron Diego

Red Valerian 2:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Valerian 2:14 PM  

I thought it was great, though I ended with an error. I had DJPAULmD. Seemed plausible enough--aren't there a number of "Doctor" wannabes in pop culture? And there's the logician Benson mATES, who coulda had a brother…

But it was a fun solve. I thought I wasn't going to get anywhere at first. Then put in TUTOR, which gave me the U for Monty Python composer, which had me briefly thinking faUré. Nah, couldn't be. Worked my way from the south-east.

@600--I'm still not sure about AREN'T either. And I read this blog way more often than I post. Usually, there's nothing new to say, plus I'm getting caught up days later. Hello, @Diri and @Gill I. P.!!!

Anyhow, really enjoyed the solve. Sorry you didn't, Ron Diego. But not being gettable by you is not really the same as "unfair". And clearly many solvers were tickled by the trickiness, even if in hindsight.

Okay, off to figure out captchas. Oh--numbers. That's easy.

Argh. No it's not. Back for another shot.

Gill I. P. 2:42 PM  

Hey @Red Valerian...Always nice to see your name pop-up in my E-mail follow up. Any new travels??? Is Fidel dead yet???
Cheers

Red Valerian 3:31 PM  

Hola, @Gill I. P.! Ecuador over Christmas! Really excellent trekking, and Quito is wonderful.

We missed some excitement though.

That Fidel--he never writes.

Gill I. P. 3:56 PM  

Ok...a bit off topic but I know CHILE has been in some puzzles so..here goes.
You want fun...fly to Santiago and take the train to Pucon. The Villarica volcano is always active and the vistas are breath taking. the first time I was there was in 1964 on my birthday and the damn volcano started rumbling and puffing up smoke. I'm still alive so it wasn't so bad!!! Fun times!
Cheers...

DMG 5:00 PM  

Got lost in the trivia forest again! Never seen Jersey
Shores, So even if had gotten some of the crosses I would never have figured out 6A. Thought the Big Dipper was in the sky or heavens, or??? and briefly wondered if Oswald had spent time in MIami? So NE not finished.
In fact the whole right side was basically blank, not helped by Loo. Also, wrongly associate cork trees with Iberia and, while it seemed to fit, couldn't believe an English show used SOUSA. Got the rest, but have admit, over all, a major DNF!

Did get a full house, 6's and 5's.

Solving in Seattle 7:08 PM  

@Diri, if I'd done this puz in the evening, as I assume you did, I definitely would have exceeded the two drink limit. This was one tough cookie.

Mrs SiS helped me get POLLO (fluent in Espanol after living in Chile for five years. And @Gill IP, I agree it's a great place to visit). Finally got CRABBIER. Gonna have to try CRAB with POLLO in my next batch of paella.

Sorta agree with @Ron Diego on the NE clues. Never watched TJS so the DJ guy and YATES was a Natick for me. Totally on crosses. Other clues still baffle me, e.g. the one for PACKRAT. Also had ursAmajoR before GREATBEAR.

Love the term "STONEWALL" and it's partner, "bunker mentality." Gifts from the Nixon administration, I think.

If I had one of @Spacy's flags, I'd throw it for the clue for 53D - Italian clue for an Italian answer? Ten yards and loss of down.

I think that Kyle's construction was very good. I just think that a lot of the cluing was deliberately Draconian.

Capcha won't let me play poker today.

Dirigonzo 7:26 PM  

@SiS - thanks for giving me the benefit of doubt as to when I start imbibing; Saturdays I work all day and solve in the evening, but as for the rest of the week it's like the song says: "It's five o'clock somewhere".

@Red Valerian and @Gill I.P. - nice to see you two reuneing here!

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

Cherac was the Prime Minister, non?

Joshua 12:37 AM  

@Anonymous: Chirac did have two stints as prime minister of France, but he was president of France for much longer than he was prime minister.

late anonymous in Montreal 2:14 PM  

the hinterland of syndication chiming in here. I didn't know DJPAULYD but no big deal, there's lots of things I don't know, except it crosses wtih 2 other proper names and so I just had to leave them blank. I didn't understand PACKRAT until I came here.

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