Sketches pseudonym / SAT 3-8-14 / Pimienta's partner / 100-at currency unit

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: STEARIC (32A: Fat-derived) —
  1. Of, relating to, or similar to stearin or fat.
  2. Of or relating to stearic acid.
[French stéarique, from Greek stear, tallow.]

Read more:
• • •

I just saw David Steinberg about half an hour ago at a party my friend was throwing here at the Brooklyn Marriott. Nice kid. I'm still recovering from a cold, and now also recovering from a delicious meal, so I'm going to have to blow off the blogging specifics tonight. I enjoyed this puzzle. APATOW and BOZ were gimmes; they gave me my initial toehold, and I struggled only intermittently after that. STEARIC was the only word I didn't really know. BIG HOAX feels a little GREEN PAINT. "JUST DO IT!" was nicely clued (36D: Popular line of footwear?). 'Fraid that's all I got for you tonight. More tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 1:19 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Solid zippy Sat. with a fair amount of crunch!  Just enough gimmes in each section...OTIS, APATOW, MECCA, STOLI, SEXY SADIE, HOAX (I was iffy on the BIG part), RADNER, make this very doable.  Another fine puzzle David!

Also did not know STEARIC.

August West 1:31 AM  

Personally, this was the most enjoyable Steinberg Joint to date. Loved the clues for JAILBREAK, CANDYSHOP, AIRSPACE, JUSTDOIT and OPENAREA. And SEXYSADIE made an appearance. Which is nice. I think.

APOLLOXII also felt a bit "Green paint-ish" to me, as any number of other missions also included a moonwalk, but that's a minor quibble over an otherwise fine effort.

wreck 1:38 AM  
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wreck 1:40 AM  

I don't always connect w/ David's puzzles, but sometimes I just click with him right off the bat. The NW corner practically filled itself and from there I just sort of zig-zagged down and across the rest of the puzzle. A few googles here and there, but actually very few for a Saturday. I would never guess he would know who "OTIS" is!! (A much better clue than "Elevator man")

Moly Shu 2:00 AM  

Medium for me, and like @wreck, clicked early which usually doesn't happen. I got going in the NE with MSDOS/ETAL/DAKAR, then skipped around until I guessed the L in LENA/LAIT and was done. Never heard of LENA, but had to be LAIT, right? Yes, right. Same
reaction to BIGHOAX as @Rex

Another golf first for this long-time baffer, a hole-in-one on a par 5 is an Albatross, not a CONDOR.

Liked it a lot, initially daunting, but, ultimately enjoyable. Thanks David

Anonymous 2:53 AM  

Hey, Mr. Shortz, I'll gladly pay you anything you'd like if you'd stop publishing these painfully affected trivia concoctions masquerading as crosswords. And, yeah, we know why you do it, and no, that's not a good reason.

An Albatross is a double eagle in Britain and maybe the rest of Europe. A hole-in-one on a par 5 is virtually impossible and has only been recorded three times apparently. Because of it's extreme rarity its name is never brought up and even experienced golfers probably aren't aware of it--which makes it perfect for constructors like Mr. Steinberg.

J Tearney 2:53 AM  

An albatross is 3 under par, a condor is 4 under par. An albatross is the same as a double eagle.

Brian B 2:55 AM  

I thought BIG HOAX wasn't so "green paint" because of the Giant/BIG connection. Maybe that's just me.

jae 4:28 AM  

Random condor association.

Danp 5:22 AM  

I hated this puzzle. Clues were more vague than cleverly misdirecting. Like time? GOINGBY?!?!? It was run in the 1980's? Ugh! It's flown in? Some Yale degrees?

Lena is known for its goldfields? By whom? The wikipedia page for Lena includes the word gold exactly once. At least the Cardiff Giant is known for little more than being big and a hoax.

My single least favorite clue/answer was Goya/Aragonese. I know both fairly well, but it might as well have been Pepe and Paraguayan. After this puzzle, I may add an avatar to my profile. I'm thinking of Goya's "Saturn devouring his son".

Moly Shu 6:02 AM  

@JTearney, thx for the albatross info. I've never had one, maybe partly responsible for my ignorance. Agree with anon2:53, never heard of CONDOR as a description for -4. I will try to make one tomorrow, though

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

Hated this puzzle for some of the same reasons stated above, especially by Anonymous 2:53 am.

jberg 6:42 AM  

Challenging, for me -- maybe because my heat has gone out and I'm about to leave town for a week, hoping I can get it dealt with somehow. It will be warm where we're going, but I don't want to come home to frozen pipes!


Evan 7:17 AM  

Did this on the early-morning bus to NYC -- some great stuff in each corner, though I also raised my eyebrow at AIOLIS and AOLERS and ARIOSI. Fun and easy-medium Saturday in any event.

Looking forward to the tourney, y'all.


Thanks for the kind words yesterday on my Devil Cross meta.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Any puzzle with my name in it (Rossi)is fine with me...

Glimmerglass 7:46 AM  

It's Saturday, so I expect to struggle, and I did. I didn't know either JACOBS or APATOW so neither was a gimme for me. Same with YATES and SEXY SADIE. Maybe I should have, but I didn't, so I struggled. Luckily, they (and STEARIC and KIP) fell to crosses. If I win in the end, harder is better. So I probably liked this puzzle better than those of you who found it easy.

AliasZ 8:04 AM  

The names in the NW corner killed this puzzle for me. I had EPhrOn in there for the longest time, I had no clue who JACOBS and OTIS were, and the two pen names BLY and BOZ (with a zed), plus the Laotian KIP was just too much I thought. By the way, according to Wikipedia it is 100-att, not at. And it was not Nellie BLY who wrote Ten Days in a Mad-House, it was Elizabeth Cochrane (1864-1922).

I was a little taken aback by the randomness of a few phrases both yesterday and today, from Friday's IN A STATE of NOT GREAT ICKINESS and CITRIC acid, to ARAGONESE BIG HOAX GOING BY in an OPEN AREA and STEARIC acid today. Even my spell checker doesn't know what STEARIC is. Yesterday we had CRAB apple and CRAN apple, today the red ANT is BEET red, like a can or red paint.

Short of these few nits, I liked this one. The AIRSPACE and JUST DO IT clues have to be the best of the week. I also enjoyed CLARITIN, GOOGLEBOT, COKE ZERO and BILIOUS.

For music, I could go with ARAGONESE composer Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710), Mantuan-Jewish violinist / composer Salamone ROSSI (1570-1630), or the obvious one: Spanish Overture No.1 subtitled Capriccio brillante on the ARAGONESE Jota by STOLI-drinking Saint Petersburgian Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) of all people. But instead, let me INTONE this beautiful Sonata sopra la Bergamasca by the aforementioned Salamone ROSSI.

Enjoy your weekend, and to all those participating at the ACPT, good luck.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

Nellie Bly is the pen name for Elizabeth Cochrane. Ok puzzle. Flower lady

Mohair Sam 9:01 AM  

We don't usually enjoy David Steinberg puzzles much, but this one was a blast. Played Easy-Medium here.

Might have been naticked in NW but saved by gimmes LLDS and BOZ, both of which were extensively discussed on this blog within the last week or two. ROSSI should have been a gimme, but the question mark had us looking for something more clever. Slowed by believing in "curse" for SWEAR and Can for CHA.

Some fresh stuff (GOOGLEBOT), some older pop culture (RADNER), a little classic literature (BLY, BOZ), and a tough word or two (STEARIC). Very nice mix, fun cluing, and little "ese" - a solid Saturday. Big fan of the word BILIOUS, neat to see it used in a puzzle.

Oh yeah, and I learned that the over-used term SEXYSADIE comes from song.

Keep 'em coming David.

Andrew Morrison 9:09 AM  

Just about worst ever Sat score. Twice as long as my average. APATOW was no gimme. The clue for time was lousy. This puzzle just flat out didn't click for me.

Susan McConnell 9:14 AM  

Enjoyed very much. Lots of fun clues, but not overly difficult. My favorite Steinberg puzzle so far, too.

chefbea 9:27 AM  

Many things I did not know so DNF. But of course knew 40 across!!!

So Anon 7:33 You appear in Criminal Minds??? One of my favorite TV shows.

Good luck everyone!!!

Blue Stater 9:32 AM  

I still don't get the connection between "popular line of footwear" and JUSTDOIT. Didn't get within a prayer of finishing.

Sir Hillary 9:45 AM  

I found this one really hard, although my hangover may have had something to do with that. :)

Like others, I am not crazy about BIGHOAX, but most of the other stuff is just hard, not unfair or anything. Stepping back, I really appreciate the grid. Lots of cool Scrabbliness.

The clue for JUSTDOIT is brilliant. @Blue Stater -- "Just Do It" was (still is?) a slogan for Nike and thus a prominent "line" in its advertising.

dk 9:50 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 Mohns) CONDOR who knew.

Living in Western Wisconsin I of course went for Justin as in boots instead of JUSTDOIT. And like cowboy attire here it was just wrong.

My biggest LOL was penning in sandy seas instead of CANDYSHOP. I mean you can see it cantcha? Please say yes.

Grrrr moment was being vexed by APOLLO XII v. XI (first moon walk).

Early dk motorcycle adventure (Triumph 650) was a trip to Cardiff -- not far from the family manse located between Lafayette and Jamesville. I so loved the idea of a BIGHOAX I became a psychologist and statistician.

Danp 9:52 AM  

@Evan. Glad you saw it. I'm working on a strategy to win the next available T-shirt.

Blue Stater 9:57 AM  

Thank you, @Sir Hillary. Of course one nanosecond after I posted my query I realized what it was. Hate when that happens. >8-}

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

It wasn't the best Saturday I've ever done, but it was the first I've completed without help, so there's that. APATOW, IONIZE, AIOLIS, and APOLLOXII in the NW got me started, and a pretty quick run through the NE really helped as well. Any ones I got stuck on (not many) were easy to get by cross.

Did I mention that it was the first Saturday I've solved by myself?? I'm not the greatest crossword-type person in the world....

Bill from FL 10:05 AM  

Close to challenging for me. I didn't know some of the proper names without lots of crosses. I hadn't seen or heard the word BILIOUS in a long time. I had no idea that AIOLIS were Provencal or that Goya was ARAGONESE. I had ELEGANT instead of OPULENT for a while. But it was all worth it--the grid is beautiful.

Ludyjynn 10:17 AM  

I saw David Steinberg's name and groaned. Almost put the puzzle down then and there, but AUNTIE popped off the page and I decided to give it a try. Well worth the effort; for me, medium-challenging, but I finally finished one by my nemesis!

Til the next round of torture, thanks, DS.

Norm 10:31 AM  

Very entertaining. Threw down JAILBREAK immediately and was off & running.

wordie 10:33 AM  

I liked it, especially all the clever clues. Though I DNF due to the naticky NW.

I have been listening to Car Talk while solving the puzzle and Will Shortz just called in! And he had a question about his 1992 Saab re exactly the same problem I've been having with my 1997 Mercedes. And, I have a 1991 Saab! So just very weird coincidences. Maybe you had to be there . . . .

Carola 10:36 AM  

MECCA was my starting point rather than destination, and from there I was able to ZIP through DAKAR across the MESAS and down to the SEA BED. Then I had to hop-scotch around to finish the west side. Resisted BILIOUS for the longest time because I only knew its definition as "nauseous."

Had no idea the Cardiff Giant was a BIG HOAX - I imagined it was a cousin of the Cerne Abbas Giant.

I'd like to solve a Steinberg puzzle that had less COKE, CLARITIN, Ultra-BRITE, STOLI, etc., and more nifty words like MOJITO and OPULENT and even BAGGY or cleverly clued like AIR SPACE.

Logan 10:42 AM  

Would someone explain "Green Paint" please? I haven't been here in a while, so perhaps it has come up previously and I missed it. Thank you.

Z 10:49 AM  

Mostly pleasant, but it crossed the trivial trivia line. A couple of authors I've never heard of, a random choice of APOLLO mission to make it fit, Dickens nickname clued by title that isn't exactly on the frequently read list, a 1960'sminor sitcom character, a director, and who/whatever Pimienta is... and that's just the NW.

CONDOR? I'm surprised to read that there have been three. A par five is so long that it should take three shots to get onto the green for most people. Even the longest drives should be well short of the green. I can only imagine that some weird circumstance would lead to a hole-in-one on a par 5.

Z 11:01 AM  

@Logan - let's see, an adjective/noun pair where the adjective is arbitrary. I don't agree that this is an example. What saves BIG HOAX is that the hoax involved a "giant," so that BIG really isn't arbitrary. If the clue had been "Crop circles e.g." Then there would be no reason to include BIG in the answer. Make sense?

Logan 11:12 AM  

@Z - Yes, thanks, that makes sense. However, I never had heard the expression before and wonder where it originated. Do you know?

Questinia 11:18 AM  

Fun, nice and easy. Like becoming a bottle blond.

Great Saturday puzzle. Thanks David. Have fun everybody!!

wreck 11:30 AM  


A hole in one on a par 5 is crazy, but I suspect the 3 were on "short" par 5's with a severe dogleg that was cut over.

RnRGhost57 11:38 AM  

What Norm said.

Z's alter ego Zed 12:24 PM  

@Logan - I think this is the first appearance of "green paint" here.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Woo-hoo! I finished a Saturday puzzle! I finished a David Steinberg puzzle! And I did it without Googling except to check if MOJITO is a real word! I must be dreaming!

Andrew Heinegg 12:40 PM  

'Just do it' is Nike's long time ad slogan, mostly for their running/training shoes.

Steve J 1:00 PM  

Certainly the most enjoyment I've gotten out of a David Steinberg puzzle. Also the easiest Steinberg puzzle I've done. I'm sure the two aren't coincident with each other.

Like @Carola, I started my trek with MECCA. Got the two long C-led downs, and I was off to the races. Only significant holdups were BILIOUS/BRITE, and ARAGONESE/ARIOSI, where I semi-Naticked (I had -ene and -ete in there first). Otherwise, this flew by. Certainly one of my fastest Saturdays.

While it was easy for me, I can see how many struggled. The cluing is indeed trivia-laden, and there are a lot of proper and brand names. I don't object to either in my puzzles, and I think they can add some freshness and verve, but they should be used a little more judiciously than was the case today (I could practically hear @OISK cursing at the adjacent pairs of JACOBS and APATOW, and COKE ZERO and CLARITIN).

There are still some remnants of Steinberg's earlier off-key obscurity (like KIP - btw, @AliasZ, one of my dictionaries has the currency spelled at, not att, so the clue's fair in my opinion), but it's good to see him maturing and hitting a more gettable and clever tone. Dial back the trivia and name-dropping a bit, and I think his appeal will broaden.

Mohair Sam 1:02 PM  

Neighbor is a bird-watcher. Next time I golf I'll tell him I was within 300 yards of a CONDOR today. @wreck has it right - You'd need a dogleg par 5 with maybe a convenient cart path.

Remember Redford movie? "Three Days of the Condor" - old CIA Cold War paranoia flick Lotsa fun.

Logan 1:09 PM  

@z's alter ego Zed: Well, okay! You dug deep to find that for me. Thank you so much!

Ellen S 1:21 PM  

I see two (2) anonymice finished this puzzle without googling. Sad to say I have to be right out in the open with my DNF. I had to Reveal Word for BOZ (I was looking for "Sketches" in IMDB; should have gone to Amazon) and OTIS (Mayberry had a town drunk? And a village idiot? In a town with a population of 5? I did not know that. Or care, until today.) Anyway, that's cheating even by my standards.

The rest of it I found fun though challenging, and mostly gettable with what little I know and figuring out the cleverness in the cluing. Maybe Rex's assessment of "Easy-Medium" means "--for a David Steinberg"!

jazzmanchgo 1:22 PM  
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joho 1:23 PM  

Hey, you know what a hole in one on a Par 5 hole is? A hole in one! An ace!

My first answer was IMPOSSIBLE but it didn't fit.

I have heard of a Double Eagle also being called an Albatross but I prefer Double Eagle because it lacks any negative connotations. "BTW, how's that Albatross feel hanging around your neck?

I learned a new word today, CONDOR, which is a word I will never be able to apply in real life.

I particularly liked the cluing on this puzzle as there was much misdirection leading to AHA!

I wish everybody at the tournament much success!!!

Pics please!

jazzmanchgo 1:26 PM  
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jazzmanchgo 1:28 PM  

Didn't know "CONDOR" -- to me, a three under par is a double-eagle.

More seriously, though: INDECIPHERABLE CLUING! What the FRIG does "100-at" mean? What does "The addition" mean, and how does that result in "LAIT"?

No idea who/what "Pimienta" is, and why his/her/its partner is a "SAL" (maybe "Dean [Moriarty]'s partner" would have been a better clue?)

As for "CANDY SHOP," I always get thrown by clues that use the pronoun "one" to mean a thing instead of a person -- we NEVER use that in everyday speech or even writing.

I also thought there were too many names and brand names, and AOLERS seems purty ugly to me, but maybe I'm just BILIOUS . . .

Stoli Bar-Stocking Mojito Drunkometer Martini Rossi 1:48 PM  

I've been reading this blog for ages and have never left a comment. Today's puzzle, however, seemed to merit a comment if only because I found the number of booze-clues (and answers) coming from the young Daniel Steinberg slightly troubling. Someone get this kid (or Will Shortz?) to crossword AA stat.

chefbea 1:56 PM  

@Jazzmanchgo the (with an accent over the E) is Tea in French. Lait is milk in French. So you are adding milk to your tea.

Lewis 2:06 PM  

Oh this was a joy. Smile after smile over clever clues. This had zip. Oh, it wasn't perfect, but it had so many enjoyable moments, I don't give a damn.

Rex, sending healing thoughts your way...

Fred Romagnolo 2:10 PM  

lotsa "ahas" for me; cross refs. my only hope. Steinberg's clever, but maybe a bit too precious. Since I've used my mute on all commercials for years, I'm bad on anything related to ads.

Elle54 2:22 PM  

If I finish a Saturday I am happy! So thanks David!

OISK 2:24 PM  

I finished it, giving me a three puzzle personal Steinberg winning streak. I disliked it less than usual, a bit less pop trivia, but why does David find it mandatory to include a sneaker reference? Adidas, Reebok, and now a Nike commercial in the past few of his puzzles. There is still too much product-commercial stuff to suit me. Rossi, Googlebot (the usual computerese from David) Stoli, AOLers, Ultra Brite, Just do it…Yet what makes this puzzle a good one none the less is that they were not stuffed together, and not obscure. Only Googlebot is a complete mystery. So thanks, David, even though I never heard of Sexysadie, nor director Yates, I am not so deeply buried under my rock that I didn't know Apatow. Pretty good puzzle.

Dirigonzo 2:25 PM  

Others spoke of the gimmes that got them started but looking back I don't see anything I would call that, still I managed to get it done in fairly good time for me (which is to say I finished the puzzle the same day I started). I completely agree with those who say this puzzle seemed more solver-friendly, and much more fun, than others by DS. GOOGLEBOT is a real thing? I find that troubling.

I skip M-W 2:29 PM  

My wife is away, so I. Started this puzzle at 3m in effort to get to sleep, and though my brain was hardly functioning woke this morning to discover I hade a big dent, though w/ a few strange mistakes like cell break and dietcoke. Fixed them and surmised correctly re naticks. Tried Texas .tie before sexy Sadie. Etc. But finished correctly, so, fun puzzle DS!

Z's alter ego Zed 2:35 PM  

Pimienta is Spanish for pepper, so I'm guessing the SAL is Spanish for salt. The usual Spanish speakers must all be at ACPT so I had to go look it up for myself.

@Logan - Used the google machine with "green paint rex parker does" in the box. The google machine shot back a half dozen or so blog pages and I looked for the oldest date. Fortunately, OFL commented on how he had just learned the term in that post. Given how many times it has popped up it is time for OFL to add it to his FAQ page.

Thé has used before to cue a French answer, so I wasn't sucked in by it this time.

retired_chemist 2:49 PM  

Nice to watch young Mr.Steinberg mature as a constructor,which he seems to be doing at a brisk pace.

This one had a wide variety of answers, some outside my ken, but even those were accessible through reasonable crosses. Sharp fill, interesting and frequently challenging (but fair) cluing, and thus little not to like. BIG HOAX was not particularly good IMO. but nothing else made me even come close to wincing.

DAKAR was accra first. Mojito was coctèl.

Thanks,Mr. Steinberg.

mathguy 4:39 PM  

It took me so long to finish that very few of you will read this. It was certainly challenging for me. Eleven entries that I didn't know although three or four were short and easy to guess. Six of the clues were for entries I know but they were too clever for me until a got some letters from the crosses.

I have a feeling that the stats will show this one to be beyond easy-medium.

Notsofast 4:53 PM  

I had to break for "life" in the middle, so late finishing. For me, this one is when David Steinberg really arrived. So much fun! So fresh. So crunchy. Perfect! A Standing O.

Kim Scudera 5:14 PM  

Really enjoyed this one, DS! A fight to the finish -- good thing I solve on an iPad, because of all the writeovers! Loved seeing BILIOUS in the grid; not a word I see every day. Thanks!

sanfranman59 6:04 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, 6:18, 0.96, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:07, 8:16, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Wed 10:46, 10:14, 1.05, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 21:36, 18:35, 1.16, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 24:12, 21:06, 1.15, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 24:08, 28:16, 0.85, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 4:00, 0.95, 19%, Easy
Tue 5:10, 5:13, 0.99, 44%, Medium
Wed 6:09, 6:14, 0.99, 45%, Medium
Thu 14:12, 10:36, 1.34, 85%, Challenging
Fri 14:20, 12:15, 1.17, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 16:23, 18:05, 0.91, 31%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

A condor is four under par, thus a two on a par six is also a condor. Perhaps that's where the three occurred.

Phil 7:00 PM  

Go to Laos often, anything but kip is not in circulation even in the poorest hilltribe villages
Is what happens when CW creator's world is a crossword dictionary
Didn't know apatow. Msdos updated to windows 95 in 1995 so it wouldn't hurt to say '95. My skill level couldn't get me from curse to swear and white to bte so DNF

bad hair day 7:54 PM  

JACOBS also wrote "A Year of Living Biblically" which is really "enlightening." I recommend it. Totally enjoyable read.

Ann Heil 8:34 PM  

Seemed hard to me, but I did manage to finish with no errors, which isn't usually the case in a Saturday. Managed to guess condor after a few crosses (gee, what could possibly be better than an eagle?) but words like apatow took every cross.

Ann Heil 8:35 PM  

Oh, and I'll add that if you didn't do the Friday LA Times crossword this week I highly recommend it.

Anonymous 9:04 PM  

I could not agree more

KarenSampsonHudson 10:03 PM  

Have fun, Michael!

KMS 7:15 AM  

Must be that David Steinberg and I jive on crosswordese - another Sat. w/out having to google. Not surprisingly OTIS was my JAILBREAK, somehow identify w/ alkies in old TV shows. And my artist wife will be happy to know at some future date, that I recall Goya as ARAGONESE.

Seeing Mr. Parket referring to David as a "nice kid", makes me wonder if I'm wrong about his identity, thought he is the former standup comic. Yes, no?

Debby Weinstein 10:06 AM  

Hey! Why all the bile? This is for fun! We too were slowed down but not stopped by cultural references we simply did not know, but then we were able to dig them out by working on the crosses a little harder. I think the problem of people who get all bent out of shape by the harder puzzles is that they are trying to do them alone. Super competitive people don't always know how to have fun, and even if they worked with their very best buddy, they'd resent that person for getting an answer first. Lighten up!

Debby Weinstein 10:11 AM  

"just do it" as Nike's slogan.

Debby Weinstein 10:19 AM  

@Anonymous, alone? A triumph indeed! My husband and I are - jointly - a genius. But I once did a Saturday alone, so I know how you feel. Ahhh!

Dirigonzo 1:20 PM  

@KMS - Not that David Steinberg, THIS David Steinberg who I believe is still a teenager.

KMS 8:00 PM  

Thanks Mr. Dirigonzo - Pretty impressive to have that kind of ability. Gotta wonder how it will be with his kids!

curious 1:53 PM  

Sanfranman or anyone: in scoring the difficulty of a puzzle, what two quantities determine the Ratio?
Also, please explain "an tick" for a noob. Thanks

Anyone 2:42 PM  

@curious - Rex's FAQ page might be of interest to you. As for @sanfranman59 - he uses the solve times on the NYT website for those using the java applet.

Anyone 2:46 PM  

@curious - Ratio - missed that part of your question... Median time for this week's puzzle on the website compared to the average median for that day of the week in his data base.

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

Looking at this initially, I was convinced I'd never get it. Finally found something I knew--DREI--and worked from there. Some time later, I had it done, and still don't remember how I managed it. At times I was throwing down pure guesses: could bad-tempered be BILIOUS? What about Ultra_____? Wait, wasn't there an old toothpaste called Ultra-BRITE? Could clearing simply be OPENAREA? These stabs turned out to be right; even a blind squirrel, etc.

Then in the still undone NW (didn't know 1d and forgot 2d) I spotted a gimme I'd missed earlier: BOZ. Needless to say, this was a Godsend. It still took quite a while to parse out that X from EXHALES into part of a Romanumeral with APOLLO, and at last the headslap of JAILBREAK let me infer JACOBS. My only literary A.J. thus far was Cronin.

This was for me the friendliest Steinberg yet--and still was "Ultra" hard. Like it? Gotta like the ones you think you'll naver get through--but do. It didn't help that my restroom door read WOMEN for too long, or that my Goya was ARAGONian before being -ESE. A near natick at GOOGLEB_T/ARI_SI, but -BAT made less sense than -BOT, so I went with it. Only three techie references and nary a rapper. I'll take it! Thanks, David.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

NW was a mess for me. Mainly because I couldn't figure out how to turn the obvious answer CANDY STORE (too many letters) into CANDY SHOP. How does one plow through these puzzles on a daily basis and not be able to think of a four letter synonym for STORE that begins with S? Well, he gets impatient, that's how. Should've put the paper down for a while and come back to it later.

Had to guess at the Apollo mission. I know XI was the first and XVII was the last, so that narrowed it down to XII, XIV and XVI. A pure guess, since 8d & 9d were foreign to me, and with 33% better odds per square I chose XII. Score one for math as a means of solving.

Red Valerian 2:10 PM  

I thought it was brilliant. Loved the whacky cluing. For 3-Down (turn positive, say), I had gObluE for a while, thinking pregnancy test. I do not know why.

Didn't understand KIP until I googled after I'd finished. The clue "100-at currency unit" refers to the fact that the Laotian kip is made up of 100 ats. Typing that, it seems obvious, and maybe y'all got it right away. But I didn't. Also had to (after the fact) google BOZ. That one, I'm embarrassed about.

It is truly spring here in the Canadian south west. Or the Pacific Northwest. Or Cascadia. Whatever you want to call it. Too bad I have papers to mark :-( though that might explain why I'm posting a comment…. sigh)

DMG 3:17 PM  

First time through decided this wasn't for me, looked at the author, knew I was right, and quit. Mr S. and I seem to exist in two different spaces. Just came here, to Syndiland, to say 'See you all Monday".

strayling 7:35 PM  

Apropos of nothing, Apollo 8 was the one which ignited my enthusiasm. Not only was it the first time ever that people had been unable to see the Earth (what a feeling that must have been!), but the shape of the number matches the shape of the trajectory.

Oh yes, the puzzle. Enjoyable enough, but a bit of a trivia quiz in disguise.

Shax 5:23 PM  

Even tho I'm old enough to be DS's grandmother, I appreciate all his puzzles. His talent is remarkable. He just may be my schadenfreude!

HC Visigoth 3:17 PM  

A very late comment here, but I'm surprised no one commented on another clue that this is a teenaged constructor, and not the Beatles-era comic: SEXY SADIE isn't really a "she" .

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