1967 Hit by the Hollies / SAT 3-29-14 / Locals call it the Big O / Polar Bear Provinicial Park borders it / Junior in 12 Pro Bowls

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Saturdayish

THEME: None. It's Saturday!

Don't fret, folks. The full write-up will be up soon...

Hey, everybody! We had a little miscommunication here at the Rex Parker blog. Sorry about that. My name is PuzzleGirl and I'll be your host for the next couple days. Seems like you are actually doing just fine in the comments without me, but I will go ahead and ramble a little about this puzzle anyway. I thought it was on the easy side for a Saturday, but I always think that about Saturday puzzles that I actually finish. When I first started reading this blog, I was positive -- POSITIVE -- that people were lying when they said they finished Friday and Saturday puzzles. There was NO WAY that could be true. And yet, just a few years and a couple thousand puzzles later here I am at the point where I can almost always finish the Fridays/Saturdays. It's like that old joke. A guy comes up to me on the street and says "How will I ever finish a late-week NYT puzzle?" and I respond "Practice, practice, practice." Okay, maybe that's not an old joke. Maybe I just made it up and it's not even funny. Whatever! Let's talk about the puzzle!

Those familiar with Barry Silk's ouevre (can you tell I've been using the new Vocabulary.com app?), were not at all surprised to see  a 1967 hit by the Hollies (ON A CAROUSEL) up there in the NW corner. Barry has a thing for oldies and you will almost always find one (or more!) in his puzzles. This is one of those songs that I'm pretty sure I don't know, but I bet I'll recognize it when I hear it. Let's take a listen, shall we?

[If Barry reads the blog, he will enjoy that. I'm not sure if he reads it or not. If you're out there, Barry: Hi! I posted that song for you! Thanks for the puzzle! I'm trying to teach people about the things you like to put in your puzzles! Why no Philadelphia sports references in this one??]

I had the toughest time in the center where I entered DIP where ICE was supposed to be and STATURE for STARDOM (which I just mistyped STARDUM - ha!). OKECHOBEE is just barely hanging out back in the cobwebs of my brain, so even the fact that I was pretty sure it needed to start with an O (duh), I couldn't see it for a while with that R in there. In fact, with the R from STATURE and the P from DIP, I thought the "Big O" reference might have something to do with the Orioles' Cal Ripken. IS IT BASEBALL SEASON YET?

And with that, I'm going to leave you for today because it's already so late. I'll see you bright and early tomorrow with the Sunday puzzle.




Casco Kid 11:00 AM  

My Saturday: 98 minutes. 3 solve-time googles: ISAO OKEECHOBBEE ONACAROUSEL. No errors.

Favorite clue: [Submit a moving address?]

Had CAp for [86] so got RANANERRAND last. CAP is [Deep six]; CAN is [86]. Got it.

We'd called a conclave to elect a new Rex. Perhaps that was premature . . .

Matthew A. Harmer 11:03 AM  

This was a stumper for me. I got about half the longer answers (DANUBERIVER being the most obvious), which helped. Still kicking myself over WAX and CORGI, which I only got by crosses. Some less-than-pleasant fill (AMAH, USEME, UEY). Also, I've never used ORZO in my minestrone, only shells.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:07 AM  

From 54 A, The Beautiful Blue Danube.

Norm 11:08 AM  

If you've gotta put OKEECHOBEE in your puzzle to make it work, I suggest you start over. Sheesh.

OISK 11:12 AM  

Welcome back, Barry! Since I don't do the LA Times puzzles, it has been a long time. Typically fine, smooth, clever Barry Silk puzzle. Had trouble recalling how to spell "Cozy" and "ORZO" (cosy and orso looked right, especially since there is a fine restaurant called "orso" in NY). Love geographical clues, so San Marino and Danube River were no problem. Don't like pop music clues, so never heard of "On a Carousel," but as long as the puzzle isn't saturated with them, I don't mind. One other nit, while the Queens are often called "Queen bees," I have never heard the drones referred to as anything but drones, not "Drone bees."

Thanks, again, Barry. Visit us more often!

chefbea 11:12 AM  

Was getting worried when there was no write up at 8:30 when I finished the puzzle. @Rex glad you are back safe and sound

Was a tough puzzle but I managed to get thru it with lots of googling.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Would you have preferred Okefenokee?

jae 11:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Bottom half easy, top half medium.   Had dip before ICE  which was about it for erasures. 

Haven 't seen AMAH in a while.  I'd almost forgot that bit of crosswordese 101.

Speaking of crosswordese  thanks again Andrea for the ISAO AOKI tip that the AOs are juxtaposed. 

The puzzle was just fine, but nothing really stood out or made me smile or go OOOOH.  The cluing was more fun than the answers.  A tad meh?

Nancy 11:15 AM  

The most satisfying puzzles for me are the ones that I am 100% positive that I will not be able to even get started on, much less finish, and then I end up solving them. This one fits that bill. I almost gave up in the NW corner, without a single entry. TADAS to DANUBE RIVER in the SE let me in. DICTA was huge; before that I had an impossible "S" for the 3rd letter of 42A. In the NW, I had CORNblank. I did get RAN AN ERRAND early, but wasn't sure of it. A tough and interesting puzzle that presented a nice challenge.

tensace 11:16 AM  

Ugh to BETARAY. I sold radioactive tracers for more than a decade and no one, but no one ever called a beta particle a beta ray. Plus you can google it and watch how quickly you're re-directed. If you're going to include science terminology, make it at least sound like you know what you're talking about.

Plus I had LIB for Rush target. Much better than (gold) ORE. But ONACAROUSEL readily bailed me out. I was once a big Hollies fan (probably still am), so that corner came readily.

OISK 11:17 AM  

@ Norm - What is wrong with "Okeechobee"? It is the largest lake in Florida. If I can ride "On a carousel," then geography-phobes should not object to Okeechobee!

Gill I. P. 11:20 AM  

Sheesh Doug you had me palpitating there for for awhile.
I really enjoyed this puzzle. My seed entry was OKEECHOBEE. I've canoed on that lake lots of times plus the summer camp my parents would dump me in was right around the corner. We sang Kumbaya a lot so I had that in my head instead of the inebriated SYNE.
ISAO/SEAU get me every time. Come to think of it so does INCA instead of Gael...
After working on this for about an hour I needed some help to get the upstairs section to work so I had to Google ON A CAROUSEL. I bet ON A Clear day fooled lots of folks.
SPHINX LIKE/WAX and OKEECHOBEE/DANUBE RIVER made me savor this puzzle
Good job B Silk..

OISK 11:25 AM  

While betas are particles, the term "beta rays" is still used. Emission of betas is called "beta radiation," and the product of "radiation" was originally referred to as a ray. Cathode rays are, in fact, electrons, as are beta rays. The term "beta ray" dates back to before their true nature was known, but the term is still in use. (Check any college chem text) There was nothing wrong with the clue, nor with the answer.

Moly Shu 11:28 AM  

Love this Barry Silk offering. Would not let go of TEA COat (whatever that is) which was my major hangup. I've lived within 20 minutes of Lake OKEECHOBEE for the past 25 years, don't know if that makes me a local, but I've never heard it called the Big O. I probably just wasn't paying attention. Anyway, puzzle was great with some nice misdirection cluing.

Dirigonzo 11:30 AM  

Jeez, I finished a Saturday puzzle before noon, error-free, for the first time ever and when I came here to brag there's no post yet - I do hope everything is OK with Rex.

Anyway, other than the spelling of the lake's name this didn't put up too much resistance. In a case of what ACME would call synchronicity, today's puzzle from the NYT puzzle-a-day calendar was also by Barry Silk and also pretty obtainable even to a hack solver like me. Thanks, Barry Silk, for a couple of hours of pure enjoyment!

Norm 11:34 AM  

Not a geography-phobe, but I've never heard of that one -- and, yes, Anonymous@11:13, I would have preferred Okefenokee. That, I've heard of. :)

mac 11:41 AM  

Very nice Saturday, just right difficulty wise to do it in one session.

I was trying to think of edible corn dishes before the pipe came into view, and while doing it figured Ayn Rand might be a FANTAST.

Ashamed to say I needed a lot of crosses for Okeechobee, but not a problem, I like geographical clues.

My teacozy isn't knit, it's woven and looks like a cat.

KTS: they often land next to queens is a mystery to me.

Magnus Carlsen 11:44 AM  

KTS - Knights on the chessboard.

John Child 11:49 AM  

@mac Think of knights and queens on a chess board.

Most of this puzzle was smooth as ... wait for it ... Silk, but the north stack of 11s slew me. Eventually I had to google for the Hollies to finish. Good fun even so!

John V 11:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
tensace 11:57 AM  

@mac KTS is the abbr. for Knights in chess.

@OISK Bet you had to knock the dust off the chem text to find BETA RAY (I can't find mine). Arcane usage is just that, arcane, though technically, even historically accurate. Do you still call people you really like the BEES KNEES and tell them they're just ACES? ;) Plus, you'd think that a guy that sold mega curies of tritium a beta PARTICLE emitter would have routinely heard of BETA RAY were it so common.

Just sayin'

Zeke 12:02 PM  

So, I waited all morning for the person who Rex asked to fill in but forgot to write up the puzzle finaly post, or wondered if Rex forgot to ask someone to fill in. I seriously thought of doing a post myself, but Google hates me with as much fervor as I hate it, and wouldn't allow me to log into my account - just found out who I was and went blank, refusing to respond. That happens to me a lot.

Anyway, I thought about what I would write. When I solved the puzzle I got stuck, took a break and watched "The 10 buildings that changed American Architecture" on one of my available PBS stations. Part 1 of why that was interesting was the abundance of crosswordese brought up - Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen etal. The second was a comparison between the original, game changing buildings and those that followed, exactly how great the difference is between something constructed by an artist rather than something similar done by a technician. The critism of the derivitive works was brutal, while being both accurate and the items critiqued likely invisible to the untrained eye. Small things, subtle things, but things that ultimately differentiate between excellence and mediocrity.

That made me grateful for Rex's work.

Also, I hated CORGI, not because it's anything but right and tricky, but I hate the fact that CORGIs show in the herding group at the AKC, frequently winning. Beating out real dogs - big, strong real dogs. There's no way a CORGI should ever be chosen over a German Shepherd, ever for anything.

Mohair Sam 12:05 PM  

Wonderful, medium-challenging Saturday for us. Pretty much "ese" free - loved it. Neat clues, OKEECHOBEE a great word for sure, lost time here by misspelling. Clue for CORNCOBPIPE was a classic.

Question: We have a no Google, no reference book policy here. We had finished except for the NW - only BOR filled down through the triple 11 stack. And didn't I love "plagiarized" for "Copied the page?", hence we were dead. I remembered a Hollies CD gathering dust in the closet, ran to it, filled ONACAROUSEL and quickly finished the puzzle. Wife says we're a dnf, I say it is my album and therefore part of my general knowledge and we're not guilty of a reference material infraction. Who's right?

AliasZ 12:21 PM  

I enjoyed this one tremendously. The cluing was plenty tough but not unreasonable. The DANUBE RIVER acts as the BORDERLINE between Pest and Buda, and acted as the anchor in the SE. From there I slowly started working my way around the grid.

While the echoed clues of what lands next to a queen were cute, they seemed to be off. The KTS don't land next to the queen with any more frequency than any other piece, so it seemed a bit arbitrary, and the DRONE BEE virtually never lands until his job is finished in flight, then he just lands dead on the ground. If he gets lucky, that is. AMAH is a throwback to the good old days of Maleska, and ATNO time did I have a doubt what it was that O had one more of than N. Other great clues: higher-up for ELDER, every second for ALTERNATE, and half of nine for ENS. The Himalayan production and the knit at a social function were terrific misdirections, they gave me a smile when I got them. Come to think of it, most clues did that to me today.

Favorite entries: SPHINX-LIKE, CORNCOB PIPE, romantic SAN MARINO, TEA COZY, BETA RAY and Lake OKEECHOBEE, which I never heard of before. Does anyone remember Kent Tekulve? SIDEARM is also the military name for a hand gun.

Messrs. Silk/Shortz, to quote Cole Porter:

"YOU DO something to me,
Something that simply mystifies me.
Tell me, why should it be,
You have the power to hypnotize me?"

Happy weekend, all.

ACPT Judge 12:29 PM  

@Mohair Sam -- Your wife.

Random Whipped Guy 12:32 PM  

Your wife, always your wife. About anything

OISK 12:37 PM  

Exceeding my three post limit - forgive me, but @tenace - I am a chemist by profession, lecturing in college and high school, and writing texts, so I did not need to "knock the dust off the chem text." The term "beta ray" is a very familiar one to chemists, although largely for historical reasons, as you realize. Beta emission is STILL called radiation, and "ray" is used to shorten "radiation" although as you realize, since betas are particulate, "beta particle" is the preferred term. There is certainly nothing wrong with "beta rays" as a crossword answer. ( I don't mind "aces" nor "bees knees" either! )

Chloe's Dad 12:39 PM  

Mohair Sam, you loose. I won't use any reference material but have no qualms about asking anyone in the room.

Jisvan 12:47 PM  

@Mohair Sam: Hmmmm. Google closet vs stick and mortar closet.... One is a lot larger... I say you did finish fair and square, and got some dusting done as well, win-win! But then, consider the source. I have a very large closet, especially late in the week!
@Casco Kid: Nice work, and nice write-up. I think you should be put into Rex's sub rotation. You are coming right along with this puzzle business. Congrats.
The big O has always meant something else entirely to me, but that was obviously not going to be in the puzzle, and my party bowl was trying to be something else as well. Ah the joys of a misspent youth...

Paul Statt 12:50 PM  

@mohairsam: I say you are right. Looking at things is different from looking up things. Came up for me with the seal on a penny a few weeks back.

joho 12:54 PM  

I really enjoyed this one as I almost always do a Silk puzzle.
It seems he always creates just the right amount of resistance along with clever but gettable cluing. All I have to do is keep at it until every answer shows up.

@mac, I, too, went through every edible corn dish I could think of and had CORNpuddIng for a bit.

Loved the simple PURR for "Himalayan production". I was thinking the Himalayans might have a theater genre similar to the Japanese NHO.

Also loved the SPHINXLIKE/WAX cross. Made me think that a WAXLIKE SPHINX might exist.

I finished with figuring out OKEECHOBEE -- the most difficult answer for me-- with a happy sigh of satisfaction.

Thank you, Barry Silk!

Peeping, Tom. Inmate #74C0218, Attica State Prison, Attica NY 14011 12:54 PM  

@Paul Statt - You're saying looking at skirts differs from looking up skirts? Maybe that explains why I'm a registered sex offender

Two Ponies 12:56 PM  

Lots of fun except for that damned golfer.
My best wrong answer was wannabees not drone bees.
I was expecting the Big O to be some sports arena so the big lake was a nice surprise.
Very satisfying solve. Thanks, as always, Barry!

loren muse smith 12:57 PM  

Hey, PG! Thanks for setting the world back in its axis! My late-week finish story is just like yours. Hmm. Does that mean I'll be regularly dispatching The Saturday Stumper next year? (I'm shaking my fist at you, Brad!) Yay! So I finished today!(@Mohair Sam, it's subjective, but for me, that means absolutely no outside help – not even consulting an album cover.)

ORATE/"okra" was my $#%@ faux-hold, and I didn't see ORZO forever. So off the wrong final "s" for DICTA and the wrong "r" I kept trying for some kind of knitted shirt instead of a TEA COZY.

@jae, PG. – me, too for "dip" before ICE, and I'm sure we are legion. And the clue for SAVOR was excellent; made me go ooooh! The thinking was bassackwards in a way I can't express properly.

Of course, I loved the clue for ENS. I keep waiting for VEE to be clued "fifth of vodka?"

Considered "I wins" before TADAS, thinking, "No way." Awk. Ward.

@Gil I.P. – I've never went to the OKEECHOBEE River before. ;-)

"Wall" before SYNE. I won't elaborate, ear worms and all that.

Speaking of ears, for SIDEARM, I had that EAR in place first and could not for the life of me parse it any way besides some kind of EAR. Dastardly.

Why do I *always* fall for the Himalayan (and Persian) misdirection? Always, always. Chai? Echo? Sheesh. And we even have a cat! He's just a Domestic Shorthair, but he's come to terms with this and accepts it. When he was a kitten, my daughter and I used to do a ridiculous Domestic Shorthair Shuffle dance with him, and he was a remarkably good sport.

Kept wanting "growl" for 2d's "live warning." And you can pronounce "live" either way.

Considered Ayn might be another darling "Omahan" but it didn’t fit.

I wish I had a PEN NAME. Hey - there's that formula for getting your own stripper name, right? Let's make one for getting your PEN NAME – how 'bout your favorite author's first name and then your favorite US town. So mine is David Ely.

A TEA COZY seems civilized and fancy to me. I want to have friends who have them and use them, *and* I suspect that I have several friends here on this blog who use them and not just because they're showing off and stuck up, but rather because they want their tea (brewed from loose leaves) to stay warm in that beautiful pot kept hidden by the even prettier TEA COZY. I'm more of a CORN PIPE person. I have memories of CORN PIPES in my house growing up, I swear. Mom – they were just for fun, right? Please? (Along with the CORNCOB PIPEs I remember a beautifully-crocheted Toilet Paper COZY covering a roll on the back of the commode.) Now if we had had a CORN COB COZY on the back of the. . . well. Never mind.

Barry – fine Saturday – the kind where I think I'll fail miserably but stick with it and then finish with no cheating!

Casco Kid 1:05 PM  

@Jisvan Thanks for the encouragement. It honestly helps.
Here in Maine, "The Big O" was known -- and universally despised -- as Bush 43's tactless, sophomoric nickname for our ever-popular Senator Olympia Snowe.

In fact, I used Google-query-line spell-correct (not really google is it?) to find OKEECHOBEE, as it clearly began with an O, I had the K on the cross, and HOBEE was already filled in. Indeed, Windows7 spell-corrects OKHOBEE on its own. Not the first time I've used that trick. Still counts as a google, though.

En garde, everyone, for the Lake WINNIPESAUKEE entry next up. Lucky 13.

Steve J 1:07 PM  

I had a supremely lousy week, so my ability to enjoy something like a well-constructed crossword is probably diminished. So take it with a grain of salt (I'd be surprised if anyone took any one opinion on a puzzle with even that much, let alone mine) when I say this felt flat to me.

There was some really nice fill (I liked CORNCOB PIPE and SPHINX-LIKE in particular), and everything was pretty clean. Cluing was nicely misdirectional, but I didn't get any sense of playfulness or any unexpected twists that made me grin. Again, it's probably just me.

@Mohair Sam: I'd say that if you have a no-reference policy, than looking at anything counts as a DNF. Looking at the CD case isn't really any different than googling the album's track listing, from where I sit.

Fred Romagnolo 1:14 PM  

I first thought "Sweet Adeline, will you me mine?" from the ne. I loved "tea cozy," mine was knit by an English lady. As to orzo vs. shells: it's whatever's in the pantry, both work. @Mohair Sam, your wife, a reference is a reference. I think "drone bees" is acceptable; too much nit-picking. I hesitated at "river," thinking it might be "Danube bridge," but forum setting and spy target quickly cleared that up. Any pop music since 1955 is a mystery to me.

RnRGhost57 1:19 PM  

Fine Barry Silk Saturday puzz.

@Jisvan, i think our youths were similarly misspent, becuz i had the same thoughts.

kms 1:35 PM  

SPHINXLIKE is marvelous, and adding to my lexicon...basically that after WAX, started my run to the end...I always thought it was SANT o RINO..? Every second a touchy but classic double entendre...and I can just imagine INCAs wearing TAMs

okanaganer 1:35 PM  

I thought it was neat to have a Chinese answer for a change. Then I checked the dictionary, and it turns out AMAH comes from the Portuguese word for "nurse".

sanfranman59 2:11 PM  

I was sitting in my local Starbucks solving today's puzzle when a very friendly couple took the sofa opposite me and as part of our conversation, I learned that they were in town from Fort Lauderdale. So I had one of those mysterious serendipitous experiences where my crossworld intersected with my real world when I confidently entered Okeechobee and reported to my new acquaintances that their part of the world made the NYT crossword today. The woman said that she'd never heard it referred to as "The Big O". Hmmm. In any case, it's always good to see Barry Silk's byline on a weekend crossword because it gives me confidence that I'll solve it (I seem to click with Barry having solved so many of his puzzles both here and at the LAT). It seems to me that confidence is at least half the battle on Fridays and Saturdays.

Lewis 2:11 PM  

@norm -- I've got to disagree. Okeechobee is a great word, so musical, and I would think most people have heard of it.

I don't like DRONEBEES. Aren't they just drones? Do people say drone bees?

I thought the answer to "It's between Buda and Pest" was CONJUNCTION, but that didn't last too long.

No, Mohair, you cheated. The question is whether its okay to cheat, or when it's okay to cheat, if ever. And we've had opinions all over the board on that here.

I loved the clues to CORNCOBPIPE, ORATE, POOLTABLE, and NINE. Perseverence pays off in Barry's puzzles, at least for me. This gave me a good workout, just how I like it.

John V 2:12 PM  

Late to the party, but just to say that, as ever, Barry's puzzle are fun and resonate well for me. I had some bits left when I ran up the flag, but that's okay. This silver solver liked the tribute to the Hollies, as I was in a band, in college, that played that tune.

Thanks, PG.

quilter1 2:17 PM  

So proud when I came up with SPHINXLIKE. Made up for my DNF, but it was a fun one.

Mohair Sam 2:25 PM  

Thanks for the input folks. Looks like She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed is right again and we're a DNF this Saturday.

btw: I saw a complaint above about the clue for 42A. Would that be considered knit-picking?

David Fink 2:31 PM  

For the "page" clue, I entered "got a haircut". Laughing. Had a hard time today.

retired_chemist 2:47 PM  

Easy-medium and quite enjoyable. Thanks, Mr. Silk.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

BETA RAY and DRONE BEES are both borderline at best and should not have been allowed in the grid.

The clue for OKEECHOBEE for "Big O" is ridiculous. "Big D" for Dallas is fine, but "Big O" is a big no-no for Okeechobee.

mac 2:58 PM  

Thanks for the explanation of KTS!
I just realized they're also my son's initials. D'oh.....

okanaganer 3:09 PM  

Everyone knows The Big O is Montreal's Olympic Stadium, where the Expos used to play.

Stevlb1 3:14 PM  

I'm glad Rex is OK. I was afraid that he might have exploded, from being too full of himself.

foxaroni 3:36 PM  

So "gamma ray" is okay, but BETARAY is not? Please.

There's nothing wrong with BETARAY. There's nothing wrong with DRONEBEES. (I mean, they're drones and they're bees, right?) There's nothing wrong with OKEECHOBEE as a puzzle answer.

Lighten up, people. These are crossword puzzles, not doctoral dissertations. Sheesh.

Susan McConnell 3:43 PM  

As so often happens, I found the long answers to be much easier than the short ones in this puzzle. I got it started late today because, since rain was predicted for this afternoon, I wanted to get out in the woods with the dog this morning. As we were finishing up our hike, I walked her over to the dog park area, where there were two other dogs playing off leash, one of which was a CORGI. In no time at all, said corgi was herding around my bloodhound, Daisy. Sorry, @Zeke.

Carola 3:45 PM  

Lovely, loved solving it. Needed two sessions. Did well in the lower "world atlas" section, was stymied by the NW, despite having ISAO and CORGI in place. Never entertained the thought that the CORN-something wasn't a dish (hi, @mac and @joho - I wrote in "pudding," crossing it with "giant" for the "Higher-up?") or that the CASE wasn't something you could tote around. Took a break, light eventually dawned.

Loved getting faked out by ORATE - such a crossword staple and I totally failed to recognize it from _ _ ATE.

@Mohair Sam - Same policy here. There was a puzzle a while back where you had to know the symbols above the numbers on a typewriter keyboard. I was solving online that day with the keyboard right under my fingers. I tried to construct an argument along the lines of, "If it's impossible NOT to look, then...." But yeah, looking is looking.

@loren - Same here on "Himalayan" - grrrr! instead of PURR! Same deal for "Egyptian," which also caused me much anguish in a recent puzzle. Here, I wrote in "trek" for the Himalayan production. Also, confession: I stopped using my TEACOZY in favor of a small electric teapot-heating-pad-sort-of-thing. Does a better job.

jae 4:34 PM  

@Steve J. I believe, yet again, I agreed with you.

jburgs 4:47 PM  

Can anyone help me understand 17A? I just can't see how 'Copied the Page' relates to RANANERRAND. Thanks. I'm sure I'll slap my head when I hear the answer.

Norm 4:52 PM  

Thank you, Casco Kid. I've added that totally ridiculous conglomeration of letters to the list of lakes I'm apparently supposed to know in order not to be a -phobe of one sort or another. I will no longer feel sorry for non-Californians exposed to our [relatively] reasonably named "San this" and "Santa that" counties, towns, etc. Game on! :)

Norm 4:53 PM  

@jburgs: congressional pages run errands. Copy = imitate.

I skip M-W 4:54 PM  

@tensace Can I consider your rant about beta rays the arrogance of ignorance? Just because you sold something for a decade doesn't mean you know much about it. When radioactivity was first discovered, it was divided into alpha , beta, gamma and delta RAYS. The identification of betas and deltas with electrons came much later. Probably the people who buy radioactive tracers aren't physicists, who are most likely to know and teach such facts. ( I do suspect a really good salesperson would delve deep enough into the back story to know such things.)

That said, I wasn't wild about the puzzle because all but the Northwest came so easily. I think drone bees is valid because there can also be drone ants. And chess knights "land" more than other pieces because they can't always be slid along. Once I guessed Carousel, the NW fell easily enough, though food before a pipe slowed me down all along.

michael 5:58 PM  

A pleasing Saturday -- really worked at it, but finally finished without a mistake. Really wondered about drone bee and had bins instead of tins for too long. I finally finished when I managed to pull out the Hollies song from the recesses of my brain. Couldn't have done this if I were younger (unless I listened to oldies stations).

sanfranman59 6:18 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 5:18, 6:13, 0.85, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 221 Mondays)
Tue 9:07, 8:32, 1.07, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:40, 10:13, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 18:31, 18:41, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Fri 15:44, 21:24, 0.73, 9%, Easy
Sat 26:13, 27:10, 0.97, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:31, 3:58, 0.89, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 221 Mondays)
Tue 5:35, 5:11, 1.08, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:46, 6:14, 0.93, 30%, Easy-Medium
Thu 14:23, 11:12, 1.28, 83%, Challenging
Fri 9:29, 12:39, 0.75, 11%, Easy
Sat 16:43, 17:05, 0.98, 44%, Medium

Z 6:22 PM  

@Zeke - CORGIs will herd your German Shepherd right into his kennel. If you're not careful, a CORGI will herd you. Besides, CORGIs don't have that perpetual "I'm guilty" look that German Shepherds have.

CORGI and CORNCOB PIPE went in immediately and I wondered if it was Wednesday. The "Big O" has nothing to do with Florida or lakes around here, so the middle really slowed me down.

A nice, easy for a Saturday puzzle. Silk used to defeat me on a regular basis, so the ease was a nice surprise.

Beer rating - Vicious American Wheat IPA - Great from the start. Mostly clear with a moderate amount of haze. Really solid upfront flavor with just the right amount of malt to back it up. Turns sweeter as it lingers.

retired_chemist 8:09 PM  

Too late for most to see this but anyway -

Beta ray is fine as a crossword answer but beta particle is to be preferred. Basically beta particles are electrons. As charged particles, they can be deflected by electric or magnetic fields and in such a situation the trajectory of the electron is not a straight line. Customarily, a ray is considered to have a straight line trajectory.

Gamma rays are high energy photons and are not deflected observably by electric or magnetic fields. I'll ignore diffraction and (weak) gravitational effects for present purposes and say they generally do follow the expected straight line trajectory. So rays makes more sense there.

Zeke 8:38 PM  

@Z - Not so much. The scientific name for CORGIs is cannus terminus molestie, which roughly translates to "dog that herds by being annoying". They're not so much herders as so annoying that cattle (or sheep or ducks or people and, fankly, most fungi) will do anything to get away from them. They were bred to be small so that cattle miss them when they kick at the gorgi. The AKC has a test to gauge the innate herding capability of corgis without actually exposing them to animals. It consists of timing how long an AKC representative can stay in the room with the dog without having to get the hell out of there.

A German Shepherd would treat them the same as the first ground hog of spring - grab them by the nape of the neck and shake.

Z 8:55 PM  

@Zeke - So not a herder so much as an annoyance to civilized breeds. No wonder they always look guilty. Probably the reason those AKC judges tend to pick CORGIs over German Shepherds.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

Interesting 39D (repetitive). Iterant has, apparently, two meanings. Merriam-Webster: not in thesaurus but M-W dictionary defines as "marked by repetition. At Thesaurus.com: (adj)irregular, sporadic.

This one took me far too long, many "kick me" answers, some just wrong - secret agent instead of state secret for 60a was roadblock for longest time. Still, enjoyable.


Benko 11:17 PM  

German Shepherds probably look guilty because their ancestors were Nazis.

Casco Kid 11:48 PM  

@retired chemist. You have complete concurrence from this physicist. And very well said, I might add.

Arear Corgi Mess 4:25 AM  

ITERANT. Is repetitive and so is DANUBERIVER and DRONEBEES. Kind of bugged me.

@benko re nazis...Old Hungarian beau actually said BLUEDANUBE turned red when they lined up and killed hundreds of Budapest Jews along the banks.

But would rather think about whether it's ok to look up a record on a shelf than contemplate the holocaust when solving the puzzle.

@puzzlegirl thanks for saving the world yet again and for posting the ONACAROUSEL video

El Heffay 5:06 AM  

Can anyone explain "O's is one more than N's" or "Half of 9" to me?

Also - wouldn't "Often found next to a queen" be a better clue for the Corgi?

Bob Kerfuffle 5:52 AM  

El Heffay -

The ATomic NO (number) of Oxygen is 8; the AT NO of Nitrogen is 7.

Half of the letters in the word "nine" are "N"s.

Susan McConnell 1:02 PM  

Arear Corgi Mess --- HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Great name.

El Heffay 8:49 PM  

Kefuff -

Muchas, gracias, sir!

- heffay

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imnotbobby 9:56 AM  

24 minutes. As a FL native, OKEECHOBEE came to mind pretty quickly, but bottom right was my entry way. Only needed the M from USE ME and the E from BERET to confirm ANCIENT ROME and from then on, it was off to the races. Not a particularly hard Saturday. Anyone else find GIGAflop kind of annoying?

Charles Flaster 6:20 AM  

If u FINISH a puzzle with help(Google)-----you ain't finished!!!!!!

spacecraft 12:20 PM  

Like @Nancy, my most satsfying solves are the ones I thought I couldn't. What a raft of "that-could-be-anything" clues! ISAO and AMAH stood there amid a sea of white for close to half an hour. I finally went for the first four downs, leaving me with CORN-, ONAC- and RANA-. The rest of that had to wait another hour, till I was almost done.

I'm sorry, but how does "Copied the page?" define RANANERRAND? OK, I get it, we're talking about a congressional page, who does that. But "the?" Surely there are more than one! This phrasing turned an already difficult clue into an impossible one. The entry had to go in on crosses.

Now, I'm a Hollies fan; I still think they were terribly underrated. But ONACAROUSEL is one I somehow missed. Listening to it just now, I can understand why. It was...not one of their best. Are you sure it was a "hit?" I've seen that term thrown around in clues before, and doubt that in all CASEs they qualify as a bona fide hit. Make the top forty, then we'll talk.

TheseNW problems notwithstanding, my toughest area was the center, where my fame morphed from STAture to STAtiOn finally to STARDOM (duh!). Just one of those things I didn't see right away. Also, hand way up for DIP, the third word I wrote in! Don't we usually put ICE in a bucket, freeing up the bowls for DIP?

Last letter to go in was the T of BETARAY/TINS. Oh. THAT kind of decay. All in all, a typically Silky Saturday--but geez, Barry, didja HAVE to pull a UEY?

Old Al 1:52 PM  

In computing, FLOPS (FLoating-point Operations Per Second) is a measure of computer performance. Therefore you can't have a Giga-flop. It must end in the "S" even though it's not a plural.

And so endeth the lecture for today.

rain forest 3:17 PM  

Thanks, @Old Al. I had no idea what that meant.

I liked this puzzle for the combination of seemingly ungettable entries with ones that were relatively easy to infer. I originally thought 1A had something to do with corn, but I had to get the..IPE before I thought of the pipe. ONACAROUSEL came off the first four letters, and then the North fell, and from there, it was smooth. The BORDERLINE/SPHINXLIKE crossing gave up the rest of the puzzle. Never heard of that lake, but it just appeared from the crosses. Reminds of some kind of gum...

So, what's the deal with @Rex? I miss his irascibility, sort of.

Solving in Seattle 5:42 PM  

For the life of me I couldn't parse a vertical BETARAY. Thought it was wrong.
While diving in Maui a few years back I saw a slow moving pair of Manta Rays that had to have 15 ft wing spans. Majestic.
I, too, thought this was an easy satpuz. All except the NW which was the last to fall.
A Silky-smooth offering.
Strange to see our @Diri so close to the top of the posts.

Two low pair. Fold.

Dirigonzo 6:53 PM  

@SiS - Now that my Saturday routine permits me to solve before noon it does indeed seem strange to be among the first few dozen commenters, although I am still hours behind those who jump on the puzzle the moment it is posted on-line Friday night. I still haven't given up on my quest to have my local paper print the Saturday puz so I don't have to leave syndiland for even one day a week.

Wow - four 9s; I hope it's a big pot.

DMG 7:16 PM  

Was halfway into this puzzler when the kids invaded. Stuck with it for awhile, but ran into several roadblocks. Daughter supplied the CORNCOBPIPE! Grandson supplied a request for lunch, and things kind of slowed down. But honestly think that even without the distractions I couldn't have finished it all. Mr. Silk, but he and I seem to live on different planes.Lived in Florida for a time and have visited lake Och... But would not have called it "the big O" . Really wanted that to have something to do with New Orleans. Now the kid sitting besside me hooting like an owl just put in a request for something to eat...I'm outta here. see you Monday!

Red Valerian 7:41 PM  

I thought it was great, even though I DNF since I stooped to a Google (one only!) for the Hollies song.

Is there something up with @Rex? I hope he is well.

@DMG-- great imagery, and long may you have distracting family invasions.

WHS 10:15 PM  

For those of us who live in Montreal (home to the 1976 Summer Olympic Games) there is only one Big "O": our Olympic Statium and the 30 years it took us to payoff the mortgage on it. Total cost $1.5-billion !!!!Great Barry Silk puzzle btw.

Waxy in Montreal 12:49 AM  

What @WHS said about our Big O(we)! Wondering just how long it'll take Rio to pay for the 2016 games, even assuming they actually happen there - may eclipse the Montreal record.

Ended up the (DANUBE)RIVER due to stubbornly holding to the misguided belief for way too long that 42A was NETWORK. Otherwise few problems. Loved SPHINXLIKE, CORNCOBPIPE and GIGA.

Mr. Silk's usual silky Saturday.


Anonymous 6:40 PM  

Sure. Tekulve was a great reliever for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I loved watching him pitch when I lived there. He's a commentator for them now

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

Love your response!


Syndication comment here... "One a Carousel" was in my head all weekend (and being an oldster I got it without Googling) and lo and behold, it turns up on "Mad Men" the very next day. Love it!


That's "On a Carousel" -- ouch

Dirigonzo 6:57 PM  

@CYNTHIA - Welcome to the comment string in Syndiland, where we are very tolerant of typos in posts - no need for an "ouch" when you make one because you are among friends and we all know what you meant.

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