River through Silesia / SAT 2-8-14 / Piece in fianchetto opening / Watchmaker's cleaning tool / 2013 Spike Jonze love story / Musical genre Poison Guns N Roses / Power to Surprise sloganeer

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Constructor: Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: none

Word of the Day: POPOV (27D: Low-priced American vodka known affectionately (and ironically) as "Russia's finest") —
Popov is a brand of vodka produced by British drinks giant Diageo plc's Diageo North America subsidiary. It commands a significant marketshare among vodkas in the United States and competes in the low range pricing niche, and because of this it is also affectionately (and ironically) known as "Russia's Finest" among college students. (wikipedia)
• • •

Two of my favorite constructors produce a very nice puzzle that I somehow didn't really enjoy. Abbrevs. and foreign stuff just became off-putting to me after a while. Long stuff is uniformly beautiful, but the cluing was not as entertaining as I'm used to from these guys. I mean, the POPOV clue was apparently lifted straight from wikipedia (and feels it). Also, POPOV? Never heard of it. See also "fianchetto" (part of the "foreign stuff" that locked me out quite a bit), and "TRA poco" and PEGWOOD (?!) (7D: Watchmaker's cleaning tool). Actually, I think I mostly liked this one. It's just everything N and W of POPOV was irksome (and tough) for me. In case you're still wondering about 15A: Dieter's beef? ("ACH!"), "Dieter" is a German guy's name. I'm sorry, I (apparently) meant German HOMBRE. A German HOMBRE's name (synonym? syno-not) (19A: Guy). For the longest time, all I had in the NW was ASS and SHAMELESS. Wasn't sure that "millions" had, in fact, received B.A.'S in history (1A: Things millions of people have received in history?: Abbr.). Did someone fact-check that? Seems high. Tree with burs? &%^* if I know. Wanted ALDER. Is that a tree? Answer was BEECH. Eventually SPEED presented itself as the right answer to 23A: Ticket number?, and then I saw BATHSHEBA, and that was that. But being held up by short foreign stuff and off cluing really took the luster off this one. It's clearly far above average, grid-wise. I just didn't have the usual "wow" / "cool" feeling I have when solving puzzles by either/both of these guys. Only clue that really seemed worthy of them was the one on TEENS (49D: Nancy Drew never left hers behind).



Broke into this one by throwing down some Downs in the NE and then noticing that the pattern J-K--OX---- necessitated "JUKE BOX HERO" (the one moment of my solve where I thought "great answer"!) (16A: Foreigner hit in the musical film "Rock of Ages"). Rest of the solve was slow and steady, down through the center to the SW and SE (the latter of which was by far the easiest part of the puzzle, with gimmes aplenty (SLEAZY, MIRA, BRAN, HAIR METAL, EZRA POUND). Just watched the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, so the SOVIET UNION was fresh on my mind (lots and lots and lots of abstraction/symbolism in the opening ceremonies meant that the Soviet period came off as a time of … red … and hammers … I may have misinterpreted). Thought "Inside the Actors Studio" was on AMC so I had AMCTV in there for a bit, sadly, instead of BRAVO. But in the end, it was just me vs. the NW in a mini-puzzle fight to the death. I won, but not happily. ODER? Oh, dear. Four-letter European rivers apparently *remain* my nemesis (35D: River through Silesia).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

97 comments:

wreck 12:06 AM  

Guns 'N Roses is NOT "Hair Metal!
Our guest host from yesterday would most assuredly agree!

jae 12:17 AM  

Easy-medium leaning more towards easy for me.  @Rex NW was the last to fall for me too. Solid Sat. with a fair amount of zip (although a tad lite on crunch...POPOV was a gimme for this vodka drinker).   Had YaWp before YOWL and never heard of PEG WOOD, but the rest went pretty smoothly.   The NE  11 and SE 9 stacks were excellent.  Also loved the 38a/26a combo in the NW.  Very nicely done HOMBRES!

We've done a fair bit of cruising and there are always daily trivia contest.  56a (Tue.) was a gimme because I put in the obvious Fri. for Black Friday for one of those contest and couldn't believe it when it was wrong. Spent quite a while checking sources (Internet was too expensive on that trip) to find out it was Tue. after all.

Pete 12:24 AM  

@wreck Top 25 Hair Metal Bands

@Rex - You've apparently never had a Beech tree in your yard. It's one of the dirtiest trees around. Millions of nuts, which no one eats, not deer nor chipmunks nor birds. They just lie there, and they are second to the burrs in annoyance.

POPOV was the dividing line for me, in more ways than one. N&W of POPOV was blank until the very end. You can also tell if you have a serious drinking problem: If you've ever bought a second bottle of POPOV, you're a drunk.

wreck 12:34 AM  

@Pete

I know it is argued ... but, the clue refers to genre, and Guns "N Roses is not in the same genre as Poison, Ratt, Whitesnake, etc.
In fact, Guns 'N Roses is pretty much credited in putting an end to to the hair bands from the 80's.

Evan 12:53 AM  

Just too much good stuff for me not to like this. Pretty much everything in that northeast corner is a beauty, and HAIR METAL in the southeast is even better. I found this very difficult for the first few minutes, then it somehow became way easier after getting a couple of answers. Even my biggest question marks (YMHA and PEGWOOD) became easy to suss out with a few crossings.

And I think it's fair to say that millions have received BA's in history, if the American Historical Association's data since the 1970s is accurate. Pity that the number of open tenure-track positions for PhD candidates in history isn't big enough for the pool of graduates and isn't likely to get much better any time soon. The sucky travails of academia.

(Trying this new thing where I link my username straight to my website rather than my Blogger profile....)

Steve J 12:53 AM  

I thought this was an excellent puzzle overall, with only a few quibbles that pale in comparison to tons of really good stuff going on.

Every long answer ranges from very good (even with the virtually inevitable ONES showing up) to fantastic. I particularly liked HAIR METAL, EZRA POUND (one of my first entries and a gimmee for me), ORANGE PEKOE AND JUKEBOX HERO. Medium fill was pretty solid, too.

Unlike Rex, I thought there were several very good clues. SOVIET UNION was clued particularly well, as were DOS, TEENS AND POST. And going for the German named Dieter instead of what I'm sure everyone read - dieter - was evilly genius.

Using stacks of 11s did result in those less-than-attractive corners of 3s, all of which weren't good. But they were a small price to pay for the crossing downs.

I also struggled in the NW, and had to google fianchetto to get BISHOP and get any traction there at all. Had a lot of fun with this nonetheless.

Norm C. 12:56 AM  

What? No love for 37D Reddish Remnant for EMBER? This puzzle was a workout, but worth it IMO.

Yes, there was stuff such as PARI (50A) as a partial no less, and even after guessing it correctly, couldn't tell whether it was French or Latin. Never heard of it. Google suggests it's a legal term. OK. Maybe the next time I'm in PAREE I may PASS YOU on the Seine.

Strange how many of the longs were gimmes, yet overall the puzzle was a hunk of tough/love.

Good weekend, all.

John Child 1:03 AM  

I enjoyed this, but I'm surprised that MIRA, YMHA, ANA, TRA, LDL, PARI and CBER get a pass from Rex.

chefwen 2:52 AM  

It took two of use, but we finally got this puppy into bed. It was looking pretty snowy to me in the NW when I handed it over to Jon, he filled in ACROPLIS at 2D, handed it back and I sail WOO HOO were done, good job J. He looked at me and said "You've been there for God's sake, can't believe you missed that". Ah memory, it's the first to go. Isn't it?

I was pretty proud of myself for remembering Chestnut/OLD SAW, so maybe I'm not that bad off yet.

Eights over fives today, I'm on a roll.

Acropolis Carob Mira 5:41 AM  

Bleedover SPEED (skater)

YMHA exists? This jewess knew it not, tried YMjA, but thought that was a joke. Maybe there is a YMgA somewhere too (Village people could sing about it)

NW corner toughest for me even tho I put in BAS right off the BAt.
Just made the connection this past week that the BATH in BATHSHEBA means "daughter of" as in bar/bat mitzvah.
But I hear BATHSHEBA and think of Shirley Booth in ""Come Back, Little Sheba" which led me to imagining Hazel naked.
Over 50s will get the connection!

I liked this because each time I put it down and picked it up again I would see the errors of my way and get something new.
Hardest transitions: to make SLummY into SLEAZY and taKeten into. GOKAPUT.

I actually liked the weird foreign flavoring of ACH, FJORD, ODER, SOVIETUNION, ACROPOLIS, WIE, MIRA, POPOV, KAPUT, SLOVENE, KIA...
(well, maybe not ODER )
(Not to mention clue with the actual word Foreigner in it!)
Sometimes when I hear Spanish speaking mothers in the Mission, every other word is MIRA.
I wonder if Ms Sorvino feels slighted that shess been replaced in crosswordland?

SHAMELESS DOLT/ASS in the LAV was the right amount of lowbrow to set off the high.

BRAVO Dougber!

jberg 7:29 AM  

DNF. Don't know golfers, don't know cheap vodkas (unless there's one called Cossack, I think I might have seen that). Still I should have got PHOTO OP, which would have left me guessing PEG hOOD or WOOD (or LOOD, NOOD?).

Maybe if I didn't have an 8 AM meeting I'd have stuck it out. This was tough all around -- if not for OLD SAW, EZRA POUND, and later PARI passu, I'd never have got started.

But FIANCHETTO isn't really foreign, it's just chess (like en passant, blitz, etc.).

Did anyone else try ORANGutangs first at 53A?

@ACME, I think YMHA is strictly a New York thing.

Notsofast 7:55 AM  

A GREAT puzzle. Not that hard, but diabolically clued. I think "Dieter's beef" was brilliant. If Mike Meyers had not played "Dieter" of "Sprocket" on SNL, I never would have had such a great "ah ha" moment. The whole NW was a workout; I thought "ACH!" many times, but "Dieter" was the star of this show.

Mohair Sam 8:11 AM  

What @steve j said. Great Saturday, and we are overjoyed at completing a Peterson/Wilber puzzle sans dictionary or Google. Have always loved their cluing, no change on this one.

Played easy-medium here, probably because we had one gimme in each of the 4 triples. We were slowed in SE because thought LDL was a gimme rDa. Hardest work was filling PEGWOOD and the unknown POPOV - do Pennsylvania State Stores carry it?

See some complaints about crosswordy words - when you've got four 11 letter triples you're going to have a lot of 3 and 4 letter fill, I think constructors kept it fairly fresh.

Thanks Doug and Brad.

Glimmerglass 8:13 AM  

Very challenging for me! It took me forever to crack the NW. The SE defeated me. I gave up on it (something I rarely do with so much white left empty). After looking at the answer, I was glad I didn't beat my brain any longer. I had TEMPO and a maybe chance for SLEAZY and EMBER, and 58A was a weekday abbrev., but the rest was never going to come to me, no matter how long I sweated it.

Sir Hillary 8:34 AM  

Loved this one, and breezed through it -- those two facts no doubt correlate. Got BAS and ACH right away, and the long downs fell in from there. Off to the races. Unusual Saturday solve for me.

Surprised that @Rex, being on an upstate NY college campus, has not heard of POPOV. It was the crap vodka of choice at Cornell in the 80s, and my daughter tells me it still is.

Always hate to see GNR labeled a hair metal band. They were oh so much more than that. But the true death of hair metal was wrought in Seattle by the likes of Nirvana.

JUKEBOXHERO was on the same album as "Waiting For A Girl Like You" which was our wedding dance. Nice memory.

IRINA Rodnina was one of the torch lighters last night. She's the first skater I remember watching. Won pairs gold in three straight Olympics, with two different partners.

POPOV should run a Dos Equis-sequel campaign starring Putin as The Most Creepy Man In The World. What a ghoul.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

jberg: it's "orangutan", with no "g" at the end, so no.

Sir Hillary 8:37 AM  

Dos Equis-esque. Damn autocorrect.

FearlessKim 9:04 AM  

Fun fair challenging solve, full of headslaps on my part. Lovely long stacks with great Scrabbly fill -- BATHSHEBA! JUKEBOXHERO! (Lucky me I penciled in EXT right at the start; when the other downs went in, the answer emerged from the mist) ORANGEPEKOE! EZRAPOUND!

@M&A: shades of yesterday's fun with triples -- HAR! Enjoyed it in 5:52. Over too soon.

Mohair Sam 9:06 AM  

@Sir Hillary - the nice thing about auto-correct is that it gives the rest of us a good chuckle now and then. Who starred in that Dos Equis sequel anyhow?

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Big golf fan here ... Youngest player to qualify for an LPGA Tour event is not (Michelle) WIE. It's Ariya Jutanugarn who has held that record since 2007.

A Nonni Nonny 9:28 AM  

Oh, pooh.
I had HOWL, not YOWL, so I finished with that error.
And I was feeling SO proud that the Dreaded Duo didn't beat me....

BEECH trees are lovely; they keep their leaves all winter, making the beech-maple forests look more decorative in the bleak months. It's kind of basic to know the common trees, for Pete's sake.

Carola 9:40 AM  

Nice puzzle! When BAS and BATHSHEBA went right in, I thought I might solve this one with some SPEED, especially since AgRa indIa fit for the temple location, but that ISN'T how it turned out.
Misspelled Wei and SLEeZY (geez!); for the "Ring" threesome I tried to stretch the norns or shrink the Rhine maidens to fit. Must learn those Chekov sisters one of these years.

Anyway, really enjoyed figuring it all out. Loved learning HAIR METAL. Thought OREGON TRAIL was very nice, TEENS inspired, and ACH diabolical - for the longest time I pictured a dieter gagging on CAROB or some other health food.

BRAVO, Doug and Brad - this was lots of fun.

Z 9:53 AM  

Personally, I hate it when GNR is described as a HAIR METAL band, they were so much less than that. 80's "METAL" in general is most remembered for the "power ballad," a musical form pairing that recalls to my mind prehistoric men dancing around the fire to the beat of the drum, trying to gain the attention of the matriarchy. I imagine the denouement would be quiet, "heartfelt" expressions of love and devotion to the women in charge. We have come so far.

Besides the NW DNF, I ended with hOG'S IT. That I would have to change the answer to hOG SIT to make LEASH work bothered me not in the least. As for OhER, cf. Rex on European rivers.

I got the chessiness of the fianchetto opening but plopped down knight, giving me ketel for my cheap vodka. Is Ketel vodka? Is it cheap? Beer, gin and tonic, gimlets, on rare occasions a single malt. Vodka, not so much in my cup of tea.

Fun Saturday. I'm in the "liked the cluing camp."

Questinia 9:59 AM  

Definitely found this more on the challenging side secondary to sheer end of week mental exhaustion.

Loved EMBER and its clue, TEENS and its clue. Much to like.

WTH is POPOV? Thought fianchetto was a game with tiles old Italian men play when they tire of bocce. Even though I got HAIR METAL I couldn't see JUKE BOX HERO even with a zillion crosses. I love BEECH trees but don't associate them with burs not Fagus Grandifolia, our native Eastern BEECH, anyway. Knew YMHA because I learned how to swim at one in NY.

Really limped across the finish line.

AliasZ 10:18 AM  

If the goal of this puzzle was to mask the higher than acceptable number of threes (for a Sat) with devilish cluing, it succeeded admirably. If it was to produce an elegant, challenging and satisfying solving experience, for me it failed. No matter how you clue shorts, ACH ANA ASS BAS DHL DOS EXT GEE HER IKE ITS KIA KOS LAV LDL TRA TUE WIE don't look pretty. For a Sat themeless I really like no more than 8-12 threes. Look at today's Saturday Stumper by the very same Mr. Wilber to see what I mean. But that's just me.

However I loved just about everything else about this one. Both the 11- and 9-stacks were fabulous, BATHSHEBA, ACROPOLIS and OREGON TRAIL being my favorites. SOVIET UNION brings me back personal memories that I wish I could forget. REVOLTS is the best to describe it. If I never see another hammer and sickle or red star, it won't be soon enough.

Other entries I liked a lot: DOGS IT, PH O'TOOP, GOK A PUT, and actress PEG WOOD, whose last big screen appearance was as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music.

After I got the second part of 31D, the only thing that came to mind from the clue was SCRAP METAL, but it didn't fit. I loved the symmetrically placed SPEED and TEMPO as well as LURE and HOOK, which is what you would use to fish in an iceHOLE. The two interchangeable clues for a nitwit were also fun.

The clues could have been a little tougher. How about these alternatives:

OLD SAW - woodcutting tool in need of replacement
POPOV - irate perspective, for short
CAROB - specialist responsible for the healthy birth of autos
SLEAZY - two dwarfs rolled into one
SLOVENE - mediate at a low speed
BISHOP - boutique for cross dressers

And so on.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 AM  

I had to fight off a brief impulse to just give up, but ultimately finished OK.

Greatly slowed by a partial write-over: Had 31 A correctly as HER, but knowing and caring nothing about rock music,confidently started entering 31 D as HEAVY METAL . . . until I saw it wouldn't fit. Took awhile to find the intended answer,

BTW, pardon me if I have mis-read comments by @Rex or anyone else, but I don't see any mention of the fact that the clue for 1 A does not necessarily refer to BA degrees in the field of History, but could be taken to mean Bachelor of Arts degrees awarded in any subject in all of human history.

Nancy 10:29 AM  

Re: POPOV. Years ago, I read an article saying that all vodkas are indistinguishable, and since I mostly used it for Bloody Mary's anyway, I decided to save my $$$s for decent scotch. I asked my neighborhood liquor store for their cheapest and was guided to POPOV, which I bought for years. Now, as a mostly red wine drinker, I drink vodka and other hard liquor much less often, so I asked my neighborhood liquor store what a good, but not ridiculously expensive vodka was. They said Skye. The article back then was wrong; there is a huge difference in vodka. But POPOV broke this puzzle open for me, confirming BISHOP (Knight would have also fit), giving me PHOTO OP and REVOLTS and confirming DOG SIT. Good old POPOV -- I don't think I could have solved without it!
Incidentally, I was sure I was wrong with HAIR METAL, but wasn't. That's a music genre????

Danp 10:30 AM  

I had howl and Hmha. Never heard of the Ymha.

Didn't Axl Rose pretty much set the record for most mousse in a video for Welcome to the Jungle? Otherwise, I love @Z's description.

I think we also need a term like Godwin's Law for predicting the liklihood that someone will complain about ONES. C'mon guys, save your artillery for Naticks, cliches and inaccurate clues. This obsession makes one wonder.

Steve J 10:31 AM  

@Z: The vodka you're thinking of is Ketel One. And, no, it's not on the cheap end (it used to be considered premium; do t know if it still is; I'm not much of a vodka drinker).

luyjynn 10:32 AM  

Medium workout, w/ the NW falling last, as it did for many others. Brief panic that I would not finish. FTMP, had fun, which is all I ask of a Sat. puzzle.

Danp 10:35 AM  

BTW. Hair metal is derogatory. I think they prefer to think of themselves as Glam or LA Rock. Oh, who cares?!?

RnRGhost57 10:53 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, that's how I read the millions of B.A.s in history thing, though as a longstanding member of the American Historical Association I echo @Evan's lament about the lack of tenure-track positions for History Ph.Ds.

joho 10:56 AM  

I'm suffering from jetlagged brain so was delighted to finally put the NW corner to bed. Unfortunately, like @Danp I ended up with hMHA/hOWL which made just as much sense as the correct answer. I thought the H stood for Hebrew.

Until I came here I thought ACH was a terrible variation of iCH which I had as my first answer for what a dieter would say after tasting some horrible diet food. I even know that Dieter means Peter but never saw it.

PHOTOOP looks great in the grid!

Doug and Brad make a great team, thanks HOMBRES!

Anne Marie 10:58 AM  

I graduated from college in 2009 so I definitely remember Popov!

Gill I. P. 10:58 AM  

Oh my...This was tres difficult.
All I had for what seemed like years was ISNT. Never heard of HAIR METAL. Didn't know the BISHOP and in my perverse way I thought how audacious, DIGS IT is to play with someone's toy. POPiV sounds like a cheap vodka and I kept looking at PHO TOOP thinking that really had to be wrong.
I prefer filet mignon to T BONE STEAKS but SLOVENia is a beautiful country and so are the people.
If I really cared I'd look up RYAN ONEAL.
You got me good Doug and Brad.

MetaRex 11:05 AM  

Same as Carola...had an insta-in for BATHSHEBA and BAS...the NW in general was smooth. Seems as though there must have been a Bathsheba in an an 80s hair band video...the Rembrandt image is v. nice, but way too plush and too real for MTV. Ya coulda made the puzz a pop trifecta, an 80s quadrafecta, and gotten in one of my favorite songs (sung in the 2010 Olympics, no less) by cluing BATHSHEBA as something like "Moonlit beauty in Hallelujah" ...

jazzmanchgo 11:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzmanchgo 11:23 AM  

jazzmanchgo said...
Not sure if I go along with "squalid" = "SLEAZY" -- To me, "squalid" implies poor, run-down, etc. -- not necessarily a moral judgment. "Sleazy" implies dishonesty, shiftiness, poor moral character etc. Lots of good, upstanding folks are trapped in "squalid" conditions, and lots of folks who don't live in "squalid" conditions are definitely "SLEAZY"!

jazzmanchgo 11:24 AM  

p.s. What the hell WAS that little squiggle-clue for 22-D, anyway? It was so small I couldn't read it, much less figure out that it had something to do with "ISN'T" . . .

Z 11:29 AM  

@Nancy, you were right the first time. Vodka is "tasteless" by definition.

Thanks @ Steve J. Makes me wonder if there is a Ketel Two. Or would it be Ketel II? Or maybe Ketel X for professors of Papal History. I think they should target the poor adjunct science instructors market with Ketel Avogadro's Number. The possibilities are infinite.

Susan McConnell 11:29 AM  

Rex's first sentence summed it up perfectly for me. Just couldn't get into it. Kept putting it down, then going back to it, not because it was too hard, but because it just couldn't hold my interest. I was more invested in knowing that I had finished the puzzle for the day than I was in actually finishing it, if you know what I mean. Oh well. Glanced at tomorrow and and it looks like a gimme. We shall see...

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Same, very challenging for me. The NW was a barren wasteland for quite a while until I started with BAS, then BATHSHEBA and bam, it went down.

Mu only strikeouts were Loo for LAV (which contributed to GOKAPUT being so hard to get) and rDa for LDL (momentarily, because what else could 31 Down be but "HAIRMETAL?"

This was quite challenging but still a one-cup-of-coffee, 30-minute solve which for me is a triumphant way begin any Saturday.

gpo

Z 11:30 AM  

@jazzmanchgo - the "not equal to" symbol. Equal sign with a line through it.

cascokid san 11:32 AM  

Crushed, like so many rabbits down so many rabbit holes when the bulldozers roll in. But since that was what I was expecting, no hard feelings. I completed 1/3 of the grid and got half of that right. Stopped trying fit square pegs in round holes after an hour. NW was my only completely correct corner.

TAKETEN for stops working (GOKAPUT)
PBX for phone routing inits (EXT)
WING for left or right (HOOK)
GAME on the line, not LURE
OLDONE for chestnut, not OLDSAW
BNBR for abbreviated Jewish community org. YMHA?
CORN is extracted to make hominy. Well, it is.

Congratulations to everyone who raced through the warren and lived to tell about it.

jazzmanchgo 11:37 AM  

Okay, I'll bite . . . To AliasZ: Please explain:

POPOV - irate perspective, for short (unless it's an indecipherable pun for "pop-off"?)

CAROB - specialist responsible for the healthy birth of autos

SLEAZY - two dwarfs rolled into one

??!?!?!?!

Airymom 11:37 AM  

The first YMHA (Young Men's Hebrew Association) opened in Baltimore in 1854. A few years later, one opened in NYC and then a YWHA was added. These two eventually combined to form the 92nd Street Y.

The YMHA was opened in Baltimore to give Jewish kids a place to hang out, play sports, swim together. Jewish families were barred from country clubs, swim clubs, gym, so they established their own facility.

As we know, 160 years later, there are still country clubs and other organizations which bar Jews (along with any other minority).

Baltimore's YMHA eventually became the JCC (Jewish community center) and has two enormous campuses. Membership is open to anyone in the community.

OISK 11:39 AM  

Finished, with no errors, so I ought to be happy, but never heard of Jukeboxhero, and have no idea what hair metal is or was. Don't speak Spanish either, so MIRA was the last thing I filled in. I think that product names should be avoided where possible, and barely avoided a Natick at "Honeycomb" maker. With all of the different ways one could clue "Post", why resort to the cereal brand? The Manhattan YMHA is familiar to a great many NYers, not just the Jewish residents. It is a site of many top-notch classical recitals, and discussions. Nazi sympathizer Ezra Pound balances out the Jewish reference, I guess…(just kidding) No one has asked yet, but a fiancetto is an opening in which the knight's pawn is advanced one square, and the bishop is placed in the vacated position ( knight 2 in chess-talk) Despite my nit-picking, a worthy Saturday puzzle.

Steve J 11:54 AM  

@jazzmanchcgo: CAROB = car OB (OB = obstetrician)

SLEAZY = Sleepy + Sneezy

Bob Kerfuffle 12:06 PM  

POPOV - Pissed Off Point of View

OISK 12:10 PM  

I like the "foreign stuff" that Rex generally dislikes, although pop-rock references are certainly foreign to me. I have been in Frankfurt-am-Main, but never in the other Frankfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder. Still, I knew that the Oder is an important river in the former German Democratic Republic. The names also demonstrate what I consider a lovely peculiarity of the German language. It is "am Main" because the Main is a masculine river, while "an der Oder" because the Oder is a feminine river. No one has ever explained to me how the gender of a given river is determined...

mac 12:53 PM  

Tough one for me, especially the NW Coast. It didn't help that Methusala fits nicely in 1D. Several other areas needed lots of crosses as well, I guess I learned a lot today.

Ended up with Howl for Yowl.

jazzmanchgo 1:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzmanchgo 1:08 PM  

". . .'an der Oder'" because the Oder is a feminine river. . ."

Okay, now I'm really confused. I thought "Der" was the masculine article in German, and "Die" the feminine. Have I been wrong all this time?

mac 1:19 PM  

jazzmanchgo: after "an" you use the dative form. Die Oder, an der Oder.

Lewis 1:31 PM  

So, is HEREON a partial, as Rex said HELLORHIGHWATER was?

Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:42 PM  

Did this puz BAS-ACH-wards. Did a dash of the middle, then the bottom, then rest of middle, then top. PEGWOOD was a BEECH. Really Liked the sneaky "Dieter's beef" clue a lot, tho. One of my best tennis nemesis bros of all time was a Dieter. Used to run each other ragged, on hot and humid summer days of yore...

Thanx, to @FearlessKim. M&A's puzmakin motto: always leave the solver wantin less.

fave weeject triple stack: TUEANALDL.

HardASSthemelessthUmbsUp.

M&A

foxaroni 2:07 PM  

This was as hard for me today as yesterday's was easy.

Thirty years in radio and never saw or heard of HAIRMETAL. Hair bands, yes. Heavy metal, yes. Hairmetal, no.

Nice to see ALLEY OOP's brother, PHOT OOP in the puzzle.

Dictionary Guy 2:18 PM  

Ain't English wonderful?

The name "orangutan" (also written orang-utan, orang utan, orangutang, and ourang-outang) is derived from the Malay and Indonesian words orang meaning ...



here·on (hîr-ŏn′, -ôn′)
adv.
On this; hereupon.

[One word, ergo not a partial.]

Jackie 2:33 PM  

Glad I'm not the only one to object to the GnR answer! HAIR METAL in any case is/was not a "music genre"; it was more of a style genre, and I don't believe that term was ever used at the time. (At least not in the great literature of CREEM and HIT PARADER.) Back in those days Poison and GnR and all those groups were classified as Heavy Metal. (Though many argued that Poison were a bunch of POSEURS and should really be labeled POWER POP.)

quilter1 2:33 PM  

Busy this morning making ham and bean soup so I just now polished off the puzzle. PEGWOOD is unknown to me unless there is a play on words there I'm missing. Now to read the comments.

Mohair Sam 2:34 PM  

@mac: Methusala was a guy and lived 900 years. Thank God Rembrandt went with Bathsheba.

wreck 3:22 PM  

I wonder if GnR was ever ganked?

wreck 3:23 PM  
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JDipinto 3:24 PM  

One might also imagine Bathsheba Everdene, played by Julie Christie in "Far From the Madding Crowd." Much more appealing than Shirley Booth.

Browser 3:34 PM  

(Psst - secret note to M&A - found while browsing re: Methuselah: "The Sumerian king list mentions a character named Ubaratutu who seems almost identical to Methuselah.")

anon5 3:36 PM  

Could someone explain the connection between the German word "Ach" and the English word beef?

Fred Romagnolo 3:49 PM  

hair metal foreign to me; can kick myself for missing photo op; didn't know "Ring" required 3 oboists - knew it couldn't be norns or rhinemaidens(or even naiads)

FearlessKim 4:04 PM  

@anon5: in English beef is slang for complaint. Thus that German HOMBRE Dieter, when complaining, says "Ach!"

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Foreigner was always one of my LEAST favorite bands. Everything they did seemed cheesy and derivative: take a chord progression from column A, an off-the-rack lyric from column B, and a sythesizer riff (two notes if possible) from column C, and you have yourself a generic MOR pop song. The whole "rock and roll fantasy" trope in rock music was done much better by The Kinks ("Juke Box Music," not to mention "Rock And Roll Fantasy") and Dires Straits ("Skateaway"). Foreigner added nothing except their mediocrity.

Oh, the puzzle? Sorry, I digressed: tough but not impossible. I was able to infer some of the answers. I agree there were a lot of foreign phrases and rarities, but able to get it by sticking with it. I finally realized that "Dieter" meant a
German boy or man's name, and that they were asking for "ach." I also wasn't thrilled with much of this puzzle, especially "hole" for "running back's target," but finally figured it out.

sanfranman59 6:30 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 6:04, 6:22, 0.95, 27%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:30, 8:18, 1.27, 94%, Challenging (13th highest ratio of 217 Tuesdays)
Wed 8:25, 10:26, 0.81, 7%, Easy
Thu 18:20, 18:35, 0.99, 44%, Medium
Fri 18:20, 20:15, 0.91, 34%, Easy-Medium
Sat 27:31, 28:13, 0.98, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:01, 4:00, 1.00, 47%, Medium
Tue 6:33, 5:14, 1.25, 96%, Challenging (9th highest ratio of 217 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:26, 6:15, 0.87, 15%, Easy
Thu 10:09, 10:24, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Fri 11:06, 11:32, 0.96, 42%, Medium
Sat 16:26, 18:12, 0.90, 30%, Easy-Medium

okanaganer 6:31 PM  

Whether it is "taste" or "structure", as the link from @Z insists, I can assure you non-vodka drinkers there is indeed a HUGE difference between cheap and decent vodka especially if drunk neat (=straight: no ice, no mix). In my personal experience most European brands...Wyborova, Finlandia, Absolut, etc...taste just fine, a very subtle kind of fruity taste. Any Canadian/American vodka I've tried...not too good, sort of a chemical/solvent taste. Have never tried Grey Goose but I would bet their high price is mainly a marketing ploy.

Joseph B 6:31 PM  

Add me to the list of those who had HOWL instead of YOWL, my one mistake.

Loved the "Honeycomb maker" clue, even though it slowed me down. I now have the '70s commercial theme-song stuck in my head: "Honeycomb's big, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's not small, no, no, no..."

mac 6:34 PM  

@mohair Sam: LOL! But look asthma all those letters that conform!

mac 6:35 PM  

Spell check debacle.

Dirigonzo 7:09 PM  

I completed this in 2 sittings of under 30 minutes each which is lightening fast for me on a Saturday. BAS went in right off but BATHSHEBA had to wait until I circled the grid and came back to finish the NW. Yesterday's syndicated puzzle (it's a long story) had YAWP in the grid and that kept me from seeing YOWL for too long. The clue for 22a was printed in miniscule type that is indecipherable, but I don't think it could be a "not equal" sign - production error, maybe?

Vodka afficianodos who can tell one brand from another should sample a bottle of Cold River Vodka produced from Maine Potatos in my home town. They also make gin, which is recently learned is vodka flavored with botanicals, which I'm told is also very good.

Z 7:25 PM  

@mac - So, was that intentional? An LOL about a spell check comment resulting in that much ??? had to be by design.

@okanaganer - First, I'm not a vodka drinker, certainly not straight-up. But if vodka is without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color how can it have "a very subtle kind of fruity taste?" Although, I do remember doing shots of frozen Stoli back in my youth and it tasting very good.

Regarding "Hair Metal" not being used in the 80's, I think it was used, just not by its fans.

okanaganer 7:39 PM  

Possibly much of the "taste" comes from aroma, etc. But it's definitely there!

From about.com:
"Since vodka has no distinct taste, a stylistic difference in the different brands is their texture on the tongue, or mouth feel...Absolut has an oily, silky sweet texture, while Stolichnaya is clean and watery with an almost medicinal finish...

It should also be pointed out that vodka is not necessarily tasteless and there are distinct differences between vodkas. The flavor of vodka is subtle, often like a clear grain, and if you taste enough of a variety you will pick up on the differences. I liken it to the difference in taste between tap water and bottled water."

Z 8:33 PM  

@okanaganer - one of the dirty little secrets of bottled water is that it is often just tap water that has been bottled. So that last comparison doesn't work for me. However, the difference between the well water I had when I lived just north of Holland, MI and the city water here in Metro Detroit is distinct. Detroit has great water, but it is treated. My well water was treated by the sandy soil. That water was great to drink and was also great for home brewing.

My captcha numbers are gone and the letters are so blurred that I've gone through 12 to find a readable one (although it could have a t j or a W, I'm not quite sure). 42!

Steve J 8:47 PM  
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Steve J 8:50 PM  

@okanaganer and @Z:

Most of our taste actually is smell. Try eating something when you're congested, and you'll see how if you can't smell something, you can't taste something.

Different vodkas don't taste that different (if you isolate aroma). But they definitely smell differently. I've done double-blind tests to confirm this. And as @okanaganer pointed out, there are also differences in texture and mouthfeel.

The differences are nowhere near as pronounced as between different beers, wines and whiskies, but they're not imagined.

And, even if I hadn't done double-blind tests some years ago, I'd know that humans can detect differences in vodkas because of Absolut. Thanks to a very unfortunate experience with that particular brand in my early 20s, I have a visceral repulsive reaction from simply smelling Absolut that I don't have with other vodkas. The lizard brain does not lie.

(The nuts and bolts of the differences are that not all vodkas are filtered the same way, either in terms of numbers of filtrations nor media. Because of that, there are subtle differences amongst the various brands. Different grains used in the base mash can also leave different trace components. Given that the human nose can perceive some compounds at the levels of one part per tens of millions, it doesn't take a lot for differences to be real for people who have been blessed with finely tuned sensory perception.)

@Z: Regarding water, you're right about simple bottled water. However, mineral water by law cannot come from the tap. And there's definitely a difference between most mineral waters and glorified tap Coke/Pepsi tap water (sorry, Dasani/Aquafina).

Dave 11:51 AM  

POPOV is a timely answer for me. I use cheap vodka in the airlocks when I brew beer - last week I asked in the liquor store for the cheapest rotgut vodka (the store also sells brewing supplies so they know me) and they handed me a bottle of Popov! Under $7 for the 1.75 l.

Agree that this clueing was a bit dense in spots. NE and SW fell right in place for me. NW and SE not so much. Really didn't like "dogsit", got stuck between "loo", "ldr" and "lav" for 51A and had trouble even with the bottom 11 stacks filled in. One of those days for me, I guess.

Kent 8:14 PM  

I knew of Popov mainly becasue of the Neal Adams ads from the '70s: http://ratscape.tumblr.com/post/45280536406/neal-adams-advertising-work-for-popov-vodka

Anonymous 9:52 PM  

can someone elightne me...I cannot see 24A lock combinations DOS. What is that?? Had an OK time otherwise. some tricky stuff. And my brain can't get around 24A... help?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:18 PM  

As in:

a piece of a person's hair that coils or hangs together.
"she pushed back a lock of hair"

literary
a person's hair.
"flowing locks and a long white beard"

make up hairDOS.

Anonymous 11:57 PM  

Anyone see 27d?

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Can someone explain how 1/4 = ISNT?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Popov was easy cuz I drank it in high school. $1.69 a pint. Very affordable night of drinking. Lousy vodka though.

wordcross 11:35 AM  

Good question. Did you ever get an answer?

Leishalynn 12:10 PM  

Piling on with how is 1/4 ISNT? I'm stumped.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

hi. new here. in response to the 1/4 == isnt issue, i believe it's a typo in the syndicated issue. clue should be "ain't fixed". stumped me too. -bruce

Leishalynn 12:17 PM  

A typo? Argh!

Paul 12:34 PM  

Ditto on 22-A. 1/4 = ISNT??

spacecraft 12:57 PM  

@anon. 9:12: did your copy have a different clue than mine? Mine began "Until 2007..."

@anon. 10:47: I'm with you. I am totally baffled by 1/4 = ISNT. Help! Anyone?

Fortunately, that ISNT was 100% forced in on crosses, and that wasn't my only trouble spot. Where else? pretty much everywhere. This was one tough puppy to try to DOGSIT. Some super-extra sticking spots:

-->Had the toughest time parsing PHOTOOP, with the -OOP ending I kept rhyming things with Alley OOP.

-->SE was wicked, thanks in part to my original nutritional inits., RDA. Also never heard of HAIRMETAL. That is one SLEAZY term.

-->SW looks like a dog's breakfast till I got done with the w/o's. The "Inside the Actors Studio" channel was, I thought, A&E. Oh no. I have to write this out. With a heavy sigh, I wrote in AANDE, and couldn't get off the ground there. Eventually I had enough letters in 57a that that simply HAD to be SOVIETUNION, so with savage delight I crossed out the hated AANDE and put in BRAVO. Last letter was the P at #50. Had to run the alphabet to recall, oh yeah, POST, they make cereal. Me, I'm a General Mills fan: mess with my Wheaties, you mess with ME.

So I Cable-Guy'ed it; I got 'er done. There was one section that fell quickly once I recalled the Foreigner (one of my favorite bands) hit JUKEBOXHERO, so if that's enough to add the "medium-" to the "challenging," I agree with the rating.

Did I like it? You bet. I have a [BA in] history of liking toughies that I manage to complete sans Binging, but even so: the aforementioned hit is a double-Scrabbly delight, and all the 9- and 11-stacks are high-quality, IMO. Some fill is less than optimal (TRA, DHL, MIRA not clued as Sorvino), but that's a bargain price to pay for the rest. Kudos to DP and BW; is this a new partnership? Encore!

Bottom line: I'd have loved it no matter what, just for NOT having to leave in that mistake at 47d!

One pair of 4's; these hands are getting worse as we go. I'm out.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

From Syndication Land

One of the commenters above noted that the clue for 22 across was the not equal sign ≠. The syndicated puzzle made a typo with the 1/4.

DMG 3:15 PM  

Just couldn't make much headway with this one. Got a handful of maybe-right answers, and threw in the towel. Now, looking at the solution, I'm glad I did. No way I could have figured out the chess move, that Dieter was German, that lock combinations were...... You get the idea. Not my day!! Also couldn't do the Cryptoquote or the LAT puzzle! But I did draw two pairs, 9's and 6's. any luck there?

Steve J 4:36 PM  

For those of you scratching your heads over 22A: The original puzzle had a clue of "Ain't fixed?". Very weird that the clue was changed for the syndicated puzzle to the doesn't-equal sign, and even weirder that for many, it just got printed as 1/4.

Rxdoxx 3:02 PM  

Tough, hate it when it is structured so that the areas are isolated with minimum squares creating passages to other areas. Means each section must be wrestled with, and the "contrived" answers sitting on a number of those egresses was particularly nasty (YMHA, DHL, Lav, yowl....)
Been a while since I came here (appreciate Rex and this blog though) because things like 1/4 and pegwood crossing oldsaw, of which my spell checker is underlining both words...

Will say that I knew fianchetto, so I had Bishop, which told me the river started with O, but still took pulling teeth before I know if it was Oder or Oise.

No quero Mira sleazy bran answers from hereon .... shoulda suspected something when they were calling t-bones as prized cuts instead of porterhouses.

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