Harkness Tower locale / SAT 4-26-14 / Physical feature of Herman on Simpsons / It's canalized at Interlaken / Locale for zoot suit riots of 43 / He called his critics pusillanimous pussyfooters / Reality show documenting two-week trade / Group with 63 hit South Street / Brand named after some Iowa villages / Europe's City of Saints Stones

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Constructor: Evan Birnholz

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Herman (6D: Physical feature of Herman on "The Simpsons" => ONE ARM) —
Herman Hermann, voiced by Harry Shearer, is the owner ofHerman's Military Antiques. He dresses in military fatigues. He is an insectivorian. // Herman has only one arm. He told Bart that the other arm was lost by sticking it out of the window of a moving bus and it was torn off by a truck in the other direction. It was also implied it was him, as Ms. Krabappel said not to do it because a kid once lost an arm that way, while on a bus. However, in To Cur, with Love, it was revealed that he stuck it out on a street while trying to hail a car, resulting in the arm being torn off by a passing dogcatcher truck driven by Chief Wiggum. // Herman is not a very important and known person in Springfield, but he will often participate in large mobs and crowds. (simpsons wiki)
• • •

A decent challenge, but (with some notable exceptions) slightly lackluster. This impression may just be an effect of juxtaposition, i.e. most themelesses are going to look lackluster after Joel's nice effort yesterday. And there is definitely nothing wrong with this puzzle. It's solid. Fine. It's just that the marquee answers made me yawn a little. I love "CALVIN & HOBBES" as a comic strip (who doesn't?), but I've seen it in puzzles before, and WALT DISNEY WORLD … first, most don't really call it that, and second, it's a bit mainstream and ho-hum. Evan is capable of phenomenal work. Maybe he's saving it (as many independent constructors do nowadays) for his own site ("Devil Cross"). Maintain control. Maintain copyright. Maintain independence. Sell your knock-out stuff to Fireball (which pays $1 more than the Times). Sell your Just-OK stuff to the NYT. It's a pretty smart way to go. (You really should see this week's Fireball, written by a guy named … oh, look at that: Evan Birnholz) (it's a contest puzzle, so I can't tell you anything about it … except it's good).


ECHO for DIDO (17A: Tragically heartbroken figure of myth) really really put a cramp in my NW at first. I was so sure … and then the "O" panned out … that was a pretty brutal trap. Even made me doubt CAMP, which had gone into the grid immediately. I had OCELI for OCULI … I feel like OCELI are something, and since Blogger isn't red-underlining it, it must be a thing … nope, not finding anything. Not with one "L" anyway. ORIEL! I think that's the answer I actually wanted. Very wrong, but, in its defense, a window. If I'd remembered it, I'd've seen it was wrong (plural doesn't fit). But OCELI ended up being oddly close. Floundered a lot up top and then just peppered the grid with tentative guesses until I stumbled into the OREO / HYDROX thing. That got me SKY BOX SEATS, and the whole puzzle got a lot easier from that point forward.

The most disturbing thing about the solve was Not Knowing Who Herman Was in 6D: Physical feature of Herman on "The Simpsons" (ONE ARM). I am a pretty die-hard "Simpsons" fan, and as soon as I figured out the answer, I remembered instantly who Herman was, but as I was solving … no dice. Got him confused with one of the bullies. Dolph, I think. No, the other one. Kearney. Wow: full  name KEARNEY ZZYZWICZ (15)!!!! The point of this paragraph is holy crap that clue must've been hard for non-hardcore fans. Honestly, it feels like I haven't seen Herman in any meaningful role since 1993.

Very much liked RACE CARD (edgy!) (23A: Controversial thing to play), PROTEST VOTE (4D: Abstention alternative) and "WIFE SWAP" (51A: Reality show documenting a two-week trade). The rest is OK BUT… 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

68 comments:

evil doug 7:37 AM  

oniONpeeLS
oniONBALLS
MELONBALLS

Nice beltsander clue. Not much else watered my eyes.

Evil

Glimmerglass 7:50 AM  

BELT SANDER held me up for a while. Off the D, I confidently wrote in ROAD GRADER. Needless to say, nothing worked until I scrapped it. Good puzzle, not at all lackluster. Apparently, whatever is not flawed for some specific reason is just "'lackluster." I agree that yesterday's puzzle was much better, as is this week's excellent Fireball, but give a decent puzzle a break once in a while.

Danp 7:51 AM  

I had to do a lot of googling here. The only thing I know about the ORLONS is that they're nothing like the Cashmeres.

Also never heard of HYDROX. Who was the marketing genius who came up with that name?

jae 8:04 AM  

Yesterday's is a tough act to follow but Evan gives us a pretty zippy Sat.  My only problem is that it was a tad to easy.  My only erasure was NEWat before NEWTO.   Put in CAMP out of the printer and just kept going.  For the record I've never seen any of the Jason movies, but I've been keeping up with films for decades so I knew the basic plot. 

Did a puzzle recently with the clue "Long time Sunshine brand" so HYDROX was fresh. 

The 15s were great, and as an added bonus now I have "the hippest street in town" running through my head.  Liked it a lot.  Nice one Evan.

loren muse smith 8:08 AM  

Is there a word for bragging here about knowing a constructor? It's not really "name-dropping," but doing it smacks of bragging. Anyway, I'll brag - I know Evan. I like Evan. I consider him a friend rather than an acquaintance in that supremely American way we have of calling someone a "friend" after only two face-to-facers. Seriously.

So I was really pulling for him here. And, well, wow. What a grid. I liked this a lot more than Rex et al so far. This to me is a quietly confident themeless that could have easily been done by a top constructor less NEW TO themeless grid building.

Off the probable initial H for 5D, I guessed HOW DARE YOU and was off and running. Some of the clues were excellent: TEST, EVER, RACE CARD, SEW. . . loved those clues!! And. . . . if you're going to use OREO in a grid, clue it this way and through in HYDROX for good measure. All that brought my biggest smile. (@Danp – Mom had us endure a HYDROX phase in Chattanooga. OREOs are better.)

OK BUT - TTYL took a while because "farewell" has a permanent-I'm-not-ever-going-to-see-you-again feel. For me, there is no "later" in "farewell."

This had a political feel: AGNEW, ALITO, INAUGURALS, and especially PEROT and his PROTEST VOTE.

Yep – I cut my vapid TV teeth on WIFE SWAP, but I lost interest because some of those parents' ideas were just way too wharfed for me. Sheesh.

Two unfortunate paths held me up forever – "lake" for CAMP (@jae, this Kevin Bacon fan saw the movie many, many times, but that was my first thought) and "ego" for ART. (So I will officially coin the quote, "Ego is a veil, rather than a mirror," per Muse.)

Also – aside from Archie back in the day, I don't pay a lot of attention to comics, and "Barnes and Noble" shares a remarkable number of letters with CALVIN AND HOBBES.

Evan – congratulations, man. You're joining some pretty impressive ranks in crossworld.

Benko 8:19 AM  

It was a very good puzzle. If you didn't find it as zippy as evan's latest work, it's probably because (given the wait time for publishing a NYT puzzle) it was constructed a year or two ago.
I thought Herman was a gimme. I live about 5 miles from Main Street USA and WALT DISNEY WORLD was also a gimme.
Also, though many people think HYDROX is just an OREO knockoff, it's actually the opposite. HYDROX came out first and OREO ripped them off.

Jim Finder 8:20 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. Can someone explain why "Q&A query" is ANYONE ELSE (65A)?

JayWalker 8:22 AM  

Isn't it time to call a "cease fire" to the Rex Parker/Will Shortz Feud of the Century? I don't personally know either of you but I "like" both of you and this constant nagging is getting on my last nerve. Please Rex. Back to just being the world's best critique writer. I miss him.

Robso 8:32 AM  

"Thank you for that question, Jim Finder . . . Anyone else?"

Casco Kid 8:34 AM  

1:13. 16 googles. Finished with one error SNsT/AMATs in the SE. I was able to correct that and resubmit without much fanfare.

I started googling at 25 minutes, which is pretty early on a Saturday, but I didn't have a point of traction, so I had no choice. Before googles [team unifier] was gOal. I had OKBUT, but took it out since it didn't line up well with gOal. WIFESWAP came out early because it didn't have good support. Wanted {GHW}Bush for Carvey's caricature. Briefly considered rebuses. lAke for CAMP
I got USSR, sussed YOU, dropped in YALE & EAR, then went to shameonYOU and OmmA.

I should have gotten CALVINANDHOBBES without the google, but confidence had already waned.

Nice clue for reverse transcriptase.
I concur with @rex that this was a Medium Saturday. Get table with heavy googling

VaBeachpuzzler 8:36 AM  

Perfect Saturday puzzle, sharp and challenging. Idiocy of the day: for 61A (Reverse transcriptase is found in it) I tried BLANKVERSE.

Sir Hillary 8:46 AM  

Good stuff, Evan -- thanks!

As usual for me, the quality of the long entries overwhelms any nits I have about the shorter stuff. OK, maybe nothing in here screams "super current" but, c'mon, every 10+ entry is interesting and very much in the language.

NW played hardest for me. Hands up for lAke at 1A. Also got fixated on holeCARD for a bit.

I have never watched The Simpsons (probably my most significant cultural blind spot of the past 25 years) but somehow a SLEW of knowledge about the show has seeped into my brain.

Love OREO and HYDROX in the same grid. Think the latter got its name from a primary ingredient, hydrogenated something or other. Yuk!

I am (or maybe just think I am) pretty up on rock music but had never heard of TED Leo until a couple of weeks ago. He has a new band called The Both, and WFUV here in New York has been airing their kickass tune "Milwaukee". Funny that his partner in The Both is Aimee Mann, whose last name appears several clues below Leo's in today's puzzle.

Wish we could have Fri/Sat pairs like this every week.

Mohair Sam 8:59 AM  

@Jim Finder. Think Q and A session after a speech. When no more hands go up the speaker asks "ANYONEELSE".

Excellent Saturday following fantastic Friday. Only gimme was ORLONS - was required to sing "South Street" on a Ride-the-Ducks Philadelphia tour a few years back.

Zoot Suit riots? Learned something there. Outstanding cluing for so many, especially RACECARD and BELTSANDER.

I too wish Rex would get over his endless snit with the NYT - today's complaint was that this great puzzle wasn't great enough (with detail as to maybe why) - kinda like saying Thompson's 1951 homer off Branca didn't go deep enough into the seats.

Evan 9:01 AM  

Well, I did just post a new themeless puzzle to Devil Cross about half an hour ago. I wouldn't call it my best puzzle per se, though cluing it was awful fun.

As always, I appreciate the review, Rex, as well as the shout-outs about the Fireball contest and Devil Cross, though I'll say that I submitted this puzzle to the Times well before I started my website. There's no real strategy to send the Times puzzles which you or I or other bloggers would consider just okay, other than the fact that I know that some words and themes wouldn't fly with them. It's a tough balance trying to figure out which puzzles to submit where, and which I should keep for my site. I get a lot more exposure through the Times (and, right now, more money through them too), but I get to edit Devil Cross puzzles however I want, post them whenever I want, and use all the naughty words to my heart's content. I only try to stick with a fixed schedule on my site (new puzzle every other week), whereas I have no such schedule with a mainstream outlet.

Anyway, I hope all y'all enjoy all three of mine (NYT, Fireball, and Devil Cross). Stats on this submission to come a bit later.

Z 9:13 AM  

Hey, @LMS - I wrote in "ego" at 8:35 MDT. I must dispute coinage privilage with you.

I started while watching the Tiger's bullpen try to give away a nine run lead. Said, "I'm stuck" around the thirty minute mark and put it down. Got up this morning and immediately saw CAMP and HOW DARE YOU.

I think the central 15s are quite good and enjoyed the solve.

Hartley70 9:18 AM  

It took me a while but I got the job done on the straight and narrow. The long answers just came to me from the stratosphere because I didn't really KNOW the answers but I started with most of them as my first fill. Favorite answer HYDROX...my faves as a kid. Long gone, right? The northwest corner was my hardest fill but with a little groaning I got it. Just under an hour is nothing to brag about but if I can do a Saturday by myself it's a WIN!

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

Oreo vs HYDROX, Rice Krispies vs RICE KRINKLES...only the good die young. Sniff!

Moly Shu 9:57 AM  

Wanted The Little Rascals for CALVINANDHOBBES, about the same time I realized it wouldn't fit, I remembered their group was called the He Man Woman Haters Club. Who's next? Oh yea, C&H. Then WDW went in and I was off. Stuck in the north for the longest time, had Her before HIM and like @Rex, echO. That "O" got me PROTESTVOTE and I struggled home. Decidedly challenging for me.

@LMS, ego at first too, and agree that OREO's are miles better

Liked it @EVAN, thanks for the insight.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:58 AM  

Nice one, Evan!

Taking about a half hour (with breakfast) makes it an easy one for me.

Had that ripped-from-the-headlines feel with 27 A, "Base's opposite"/SUMMIT, echoing the tragedy this week on Mt. Everest.

mathguy 10:06 AM  

Definitely challenging for me. Didn't have to Google but I needed my wife to supply LIMOS, OKBUT, and that 61A ended in VIRUS.

I put entries into four categories. 1) Those I don't know, 2) Known with a direct clue, 3) Known with an indirect clue, 4) Known with an indecipherable clue. If the 1s and 4s outnumber the 2s, I'm going to struggle. In today's, they were about equal: 16 I didn't know and 6 indecipherable versus 24 direct.

Enjoyed the comment by the constructor.

wreck 10:08 AM  

Another nice puzzle! I was only a few minutes longer than Friday and had a couple of Googles (ORLONS,EAST LA). I know the aces here consider the last 2 days easy, but they were big confidence builders for me! Thanks, Evan!

rondo 10:19 AM  

@evil doug - for good or ill, I seem to almost always agree with you

Dirigonzo 10:43 AM  

Rex characterized the grid-spanning central down answer as "a bit mainstream and ho-hum" and so of course I got it immediately with no crosses - such is my life. The rest of the grid went in fairly smoothly except for the NW where I had PResEnTVOTE blocking the view - strangely it was ALITO that came along and saved the day.

The AVILA AMANA AMATI series running diagonally down the grid tickles me.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Wanted the west coast version of Main Street USA, and when Disneyland didn't fit, I put in "The Magic Kingdom", which did fit! I thought it was so cool to get a long answer with no crosses. hahahahaha

Shamik 11:18 AM  

This one came in at a medium time (for me) of 18:08. Can I say how much I loved thi spuzzle? Can I say it often enough? I haven't felt this much satisfaction from a puzzle in quite awhile.

Why? It looked impossible. It felt impossible. Every word entered seemed wrong. And then it began to fall into place. THEMAGICKINGDOM was destroyed by WIFESWAP. That alone is priceless. Since cookies are my life, HYDROX was the key to the whole puzzle. So the SE fell quickly folled by the center and the NE. SW took some time, but not nearly as much time as the NW.

Having never seen Friday the 13th, I had them in a MALL and then on a RAFT. Good grief! Who makes a teenage slasher movie on a raft?

Loved the variety of knowledge sources this puzzle had...no pandering to any one generation. So what if you don't know something. Everything I know about the Simpsons I learned from crossword puzzles. That's been my stock line for years and it is still my stock line.

Bravo Evan!

jdv 11:19 AM  

Easy. I've never heard of HYDROX, Harkness Tower, or TED Leo. The cluing on this puzzle was too straightforward for a Saturday; not much trickery or misdirection e.g. "Moving Supply/LITHE", from last week. On the other hand, the grid/fill is scrabbly and fantastic.

mac 11:24 AM  

Excellent Saturday, Evan! I can imagine you have a lot of fun writing your own clues for the puzzles on your site.

Medium for me, with a couple of write overs: TTFN at 57D, and I so much wanted Peoria at 7D...

JFC 11:28 AM  

I'm with Loren on this one and I don't know Evan. The thing I like about Rex the most is that he's not always right but he always sounds like he is.

JFC

Blue Stater 12:00 PM  

Rex, since others are complaining about your criticisms of the puzzles and of the editor, let me offer my support. The puzzles are on a downhill slope for the reasons you state, and for others as well. It's time for a change. Past time, I'd say -- but I've been saying that for years.

Gill I. P. 12:17 PM  

I didn't think it was just ok...I thought it was fresh with just the right amount of yummyness for a Sat.
I've enjoyed all of Evan's crosswords and this one deserves A TOAST!
WALT DISNEY WORLD and CALVIN AND HOBBS - were my easy peasy long answers and I was so proud. Love BOBA which means dumb broad in Spanish. Spelled MIEN wrong (MeiN) so that whole downstairs portion was a disaster. It took some getting up and down from my favorite chair several times to finally see RETROVIRUS.
Keep em coming Evan - just like this one.

RnRGhost57 12:23 PM  

Much googling today but enjoyable.

@Sir Hilary, i wasn't aware of The Both, although both Ted Leo and Aimee Mann have been longtime faves. So thanx for the 411.

Z 12:25 PM  

Not to be heretical, but arguing Oreo v. HYDROX is a little like arguing Bud v. Miller. Sure, each side has ardent supporters but I can't tell the difference.

AGNEW and ALITO in the same puzzle, but no OBAMA. What is the NYTX coming to? If I don't start seeing more liberal clues soon it won't bother me at all.

Benko 12:40 PM  

@sirhilary and @RnR:
I wasn't aware of the Both, either. I did enjoy Ted Leo's 90s indie band Chisel.

Nancy 1:02 PM  

I had BoaTSANDER instead of BELTSANDER and since I never heard of either and since TTYA is no more gobbledygook to me than is TTYL (what does it stand for, someone?)I had an error I was completely unaware of.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:11 PM  

Talk To You Later

Numinous 1:12 PM  

@Hartley 70:
In 2014, Leaf Brands, creator of the Astro Pop, acquired the trademark to Hydrox Cookies. Leaf Brands plans on keeping the original flavor and familiar 'crunch' that consumers came to love about the Hydrox. The new Hydrox cookie will be available in most supermarket chains as well as in specialty stores. Leaf Brands plans on releasing the new and improved Hydrox Cookie to the market at the end of 2014 --Wikipedia

DNF. The NW defeated me completely. I put echO in first and was SO confident. Ha ha. I was also convinced it was lAke. I've heard of DIDO and Aneas but don't know a thing about them. Guess I'll have to Wiki that next. Otherwise, I thougth this was a really good puzzle, @Evan. Who the hell is ALITO? I was looking for a Grammy nominee. Noted?

@Casco, I'm really glad to hear you had success, I don't care how many googles you had. The point is, you are starting to finish the serious puzzles. Think back to when you couldn't at all. Good on ya.

Thanks, Evan.

OISK 1:17 PM  

Anyone of about my age would probably remember Hydrox. (Sunshine Hydrox vs. Nabisco Oreo,IIRC). I also vaguely recall that initially, Hydrox was kosher, and Oreo was not, but I may be wrong. They were different. Oreo had more "creme", but the outer shell of Hydrox was a bit softer.

I really liked this puzzle, despite not being a big Simpson's fan, and never watching ANY reality shows. Just what a Saturday ought to be. I started out feeling helpless, didn't like the clue for Rene Belloq (?) and spent a very pleasant half hour filling it all in. Thanks, Evan, pretty close to a perfect Saturday puzzle, in my book.

Scalia Sux 1:29 PM  

@Numinous: Supreme Court Justice ALITO!

Fred Romagnolo 1:54 PM  

Echo came first, but since it didn't cross with anything, I held off. Was ashamed when I finally realized it was Dido, the founder and queen of Carthage, whose death-pyre curse on Rome (Aeneas' city) was supposedly responsible for the 3 Punic Wars. I wanted ACIDIC for opposite of BASE, but, again, crosses wouldn't work. I'm neutral on the Hydrox - Oreos conflict; I should avoid both, at my age. What politico DIDN'T Carvey caricature? He's probably done Agnew and Alito (not precisely a "politico"). I flirted with Omaha for Otoes. Finally made it without googleing

Andrew Heinegg 2:05 PM  

Holy catfish Batman! Two puzzles in a row@ NYT that are really well constructed! Today's was one where I looked at it and thought I knew none of the answers but, after buckling down and working on it, I was able to solve. That tells me that the constructor did a wonderful job for a Saturday or any other day for that matter. Well done Mr. Birnholz;

Evan 2:13 PM  

Here's the info on the original submission:

* Will left 31 of my clues (43% of all clues) basically intact.
* He made minor revisions to 11 clues (15.3%), meaning he kept the intended meaning of the clue as well as most of the same words but changed their order or added/deleted others.
* He made major revisions to the remaining 30 clues (41.7%), meaning he changed most or all of the words and basically went for a completely different angle on the clue.

My five favorite original clues which the NYT changed:

* HOW DARE YOU = Cross words
(Yeah, probably kissing up too much….I still think it's clever)
* EAR = Common sense necessity?
* CALVIN AND HOBBES = Source of the line "It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what's cool"
(This was one of three clues I submitted for this answer. Another was [Comical pair?], and the third was a minor revision of the eventual clue. Good god, I miss this comic.)
* PROTEST VOTE = Expression from one who avoids big parties?
* ERA = Time of one's life?
(It's so hard to come up with new clues for this answer, and I when I wrote this in June 2013, no one had used it, as far as I could tell. Julian Lim got there first on November 17, 2013.)

Evan 2:13 PM  

Continued from the last comment....

My five favorite original clues which they did not change (or didn't change much) are for the following answers:

* INAUGURALS
* RACE CARD
* AGNEW
* RENE
* SER
(I don't like this answer itself much, but I think it's better to make a reference to "Game of Thrones" than to an abbreviation for "sermon.")

My five favorite revised clues from the NYT are for the following:

* SEW
* WIFE SWAP
(My clue was a little too straightforward)
* BELT SANDER
* USSR
* ACH

My least favorite answers:

* ERN. I seem to rely on this one (and ERNE) quite often. Kinda hard not to if everything else is fine.
* A WAR. As I said on Xwordinfo, this isn't the worst answer of all time, but I've really grown to dislike partials.
* OLLA
* WTS. It was either that or STS. I liked my clue for AGNEW, so there you have it.

Thanks for the comments, all.

Everett Wolf 2:14 PM  

It's discouraging to see -- as JFC says -- that Rex posits things in an entirely believable way, and then is outed as being blatantly wrong. I found it interesting that constructors send their lesser material to the NYT, and would've believed it if I hadn't read as far as evan's post. That's terrible. I found it an interesting thought that quad stack puzzles relied too much upon database queries, only to find out, TWICE mind you, from MAS, that it isn't the case. It makes me really question all the other assertions made, despite the friendships Rex has with various constructors. I enjoy the blog tremendously, in a way I suspect others do: by enjoying the non-hateful insights, and getting revved up (in a negative way) by the malice of the others, but THIS kind of blogging is, well, amateur.

Ludyjynn 2:34 PM  

DNF due to being braindead in NW corner @ CAMP and AVILA. Also, messed up Wilde quote, writing AGE, not ART. Otherwise, really enjoyed some easy, some medium and some crunchy clueing.

Because this was a DNF, I rate the puzzle Challenging. Don't understand why or how some of you Googlers rate a puzzle Easy or Medium; IMHO, if it was, you wouldn't have to rely on outside help. Just sayin'.

Thanks, EB and WS for a nice workout.

Carola 3:09 PM  

Tough for me, a very enjoyable workout. Got a toehold in the SEW-WHARF-HYDROX area, which led to SKYBOXSEATS on the right and the very welcome OREO connection on the left. Enough for a gradual accretion of letters to let me see CALVIN AND HOBBES, WALT DISNEY WORLD and, slowly, the rest. I liked RACE CARD with HOW DARE YOU, as well as its cross with PROTEST VOTE.

Not knowing the "Friday the 13th" movies, I thought the setting might be a duMP. My first abstention alternative was a PResEnTVOTE (thinking of Obama being given grief for voting "Present" in the Illinois legislature). NEWly before NEW TO. Got faked out by both the "leader" and the "terminal" today - when will I EVER learn?

@Evan - I thought "uh-oh" when I saw your name at the top. I've tried your Devil Cross puzzles and have had to give up; and when you've occasionally suggested alternate cluing in comments here, my reaction has been, "No way would I have known that." But this one was very accessible (eventually :) ). Lots of fun to figure out.

Billy 3:27 PM  

East L.A. is absent from the millions of answers you might have come up with for the clue zoot suit riots locale.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

This was looking like it was going to be really hard. I didn't have a toehold anywhere.

And then: the creators of G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) to the rescue! Everything fell into place after that.

It's a Calvin and Hobbes miracle.

gpo

wreck 3:42 PM  

All ratings of puzzles that I make are strictly on MY scale only. I only compete with myself! This puzzle took me 50 minutes - very fast Saturday for ME . Someone who takes 10 minutes to complete when it usually takes them 8 minutes might not agree.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

I don't understand how anyone can rate a puzzle as easy, medium or difficult if they have to google one single answer to complete the grid. Just saying.

John V 3:48 PM  

I had PRESENTVOTE for 4D, and consequently didn't get the NW. All else was good. Liked the 15s, thought the SW was nothing short of inspired. One of my best Saturdays in a long time.

@LMS was kind to introduce me to Evan in Brooklyn. Nice puzzle, Evan.

Hartley70 3:59 PM  

Thanks for the cookie info Numinous and Oisk. There is no end to the talent available here.
Evan, be still my heart, I'm star-struck to read a message from a CONSTRUCTOR! Who knew this is where one hung out? I always figured they were locked away creating Mensa tests for lesser mortals and taking breaks for short spurts of brain surgery. Wow!

Lewis 4:03 PM  

@dirigonzo -- even though it's not in the diagonal line, you have to add ALITO to the list

I'm with @gill -- this was a yummy puzzle. I have had some experience with Evan; he has helped me with questions on puzzles I was constructing. He is a thinker, always, with a strong interest in cluing (note his posts here are mainly about the cluing), as well as giving the puzzle a contemporary feel. I always look forward to his puzzles, knowing they will have bite, cleverness, and very little garbage. (i.e. -- no complaints from Rex about the fill.)

chefwen 4:29 PM  

Due to my second addiction CALVIN AND HOBBES was my first fill and I let out a big "SWEET". The rest wasn't as easy.

Not knowing Friday the 13th, my people were at the PROM first. Where I came up with that idea remains unknown.

It took two of us, but we finally tackled this one to the ground.

Loved HOW DARE YOU.

And, yes, I do watch WIFE SWAP, and yes, I'm not proud of it.

Freddy Krueger 4:50 PM  

C'mon, guys, I thought everybody knew "Friday the 13th" was filmed in a real Boy Scout Camp - you can even sign up for a guided tour!

retired_chemist 5:22 PM  

@anon 3:43 - I rate this puzzle easy- medium despite needing one google. Shouldn't have neded that but had a brain f**t in the NW. My bad, not the puzzle's.

That's how you do it. Any questions?

fergus 6:22 PM  

Enjoyed both Fri and Sat puzzles enough to see what others might say. Then I see first comment on Saturday and my reflective pleasure is oddly enhanced.

fergus 6:31 PM  

Having something to new to say about the puzzle-solving experience is an amazing thing Rex has done. Not awesome, since that's an adjective I forbid to be used in my classes, but pretty darn capable for English teacher writing merit.

LaneB 6:45 PM  

DNF but did 95% before going brain dead with YOKE and HYDROX and using ORiONS instead of ORLONS.
Pretty good for a Saturday on which I often throw in the towel early. Found this one easieer than yesterday's.

Doc John 12:42 AM  

Just wondering if anyone else had "Rose" (as in Pete) for "Red giant that disintegrated?"

Z 12:48 AM  

@Doc John - I like your answer better.

Grove Park Fullery 5:45 PM  

I have a real beef with the clue for Dido. The Aeneid is an epic poem written by a man, Virgil. He made all of it up, even the stuff that the gods and goddesses do in it. It is a work of fiction. It doesn't count as "mythology" just because mythic deities appear in it. Dido is not "of mythology". She was a fictional human female character in a written work of fiction which developed status as a legend due to political and cultural forces.

Fred Romagnolo 6:01 PM  

@Grove Park Fullery: it's my understanding that Roman poet, Virgilius, has his name spelled Vergil in English; seems nonsenseical, but there you are.

Ann Heil 10:07 PM  

Thanks, Evan. I enjoyed this one. Came in at 23 minutes over two sessions, so a bit easier than the usual Saturday for me. Thanks for the Calvin and Hobbs answer!

Charles Flaster 9:38 AM  

Hard.DNF I Never Google.52 down---a real high fiver doesn't say anything.Enjoyed learning a lot from this puzzle

spacecraft 11:16 AM  

Ah yes, 52d. Who can forget Jean-Louis' triumphant cry at finding...not the treasure, but Herman's spare: "WEWON! WE WON!"

[There might still be a human being on the planet who hasn't seen "Charade," but I doubt it.]

This one was crunchy, interesting, and both easy and hard, by turns. How hard can it be when you start with two gimme fifteeners? And yet, cracking the NW was...no pushover. I didn't get PROTESTVOTE as an alternative to abstention for a while; Now that I see it I guess it makes a kind of sense. Don't know from AVILA outside of baseball.

If you need a nitpick, I could go with SKYBOXSEATS. The SEATS ending implies that the ticketholder is assigned a specific seat location. Not true. The holder, most typically a company, has the whole box, and those with passes can sit anywhere they want. I was in one once, and I can tell you, it is one helluva great way to see a ballgame.

I'm in a two-pair rut. Fold. Again.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Big DNF for me. I had onions instead of orlons and 1000S instead of limos so retro remained incorrect. Oh well, see ya all next Wednesday. Enjoyed the comments today.

Just a thought: Could Evil Doug be the anti-Chr....er...anti-Rex on this blog. I hope so. Nice balance.

Ron Diego 10:AM PST

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

Ah, youthful summers spent at CAMP HOW DARE YOU.

longbeachlee 1:24 AM  

Everyone happy with the SW huh, Rex included? Retrovirus, the Orlons, ttyl, ser, along with cute cluing on belt sander, and anyone else. Made it to there, and then a stone wall.

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