Old TV news partner of David / SAT 5-31-14 / Sect in ancient Judea / Discreet music musician / 1978 Broadway revue that opens with Hot August Night / Lead role in film known in France as L'Or de la vie / Woolly bear becomes one

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Constructor: John Lampkin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Jordan's Mount NEBO, from which Jericho can be seen (18A) —
Mount Nebo (Arabicجبل نيبو‎ Jabal NībūHebrewהַר נְבוֹ‎ Har Nevo) is an elevated ridge in Jordan, approximately 817 meters (2680 feet) above sea level, mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of thePromised Land that he would never enter. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day. (wikipedia)
• • •

Decent. Dullish. Really not a lot to say about this one. Everything seems fine. And forgettable. Nice big corners, no standout answers. Phenomenal competence. Very little on the low end (AGR and REROOTED being the only real graters), but very little on the high end. Comme ci, come ça. Little bit of this, little bit of that. Win some, lose some. Etc. etc. Wasn't even particularly easy or difficult (though it leaned toward easy). Made consistent, methodical progress on it, from the west clockwise, until a bit of a stall in the NW (hardest for me by far). Really should've gotten ROUGHRIDER earlier (17A: Follower of Roosevelt). It's so literal, now that I look at it, I don't know what went wrong. I was kind of out of guesses after Truman. I have seen those foam noodles in pools before, but do not think I've seen or heard the full phrase POOL NOODLE before, so that one I was slow to accept (15A: Foam item at a water park). Key to my unlocking that corner was getting SPREE off just the terminal "E." Here's how weird a solver I am: ESSENES was a gimme (22A: Sect in ancient Judea), and EL GRECOS went in very shortly thereafter, very early in the solve, but all that other, more mundane stuff in the NW? It stopped me cold (for a bit). Still, the overall experience was not that taxing.

Is "In" being used … how is it being used? (32A: "In" => LIKED) Why is it in quotation marks? Even if it's being used slangily, it shouldn't require quotation marks. Or it should, and I just have no idea what's going on there. I managed to get "DANCIN'" despite never or barely having heard of it (39D: 1978 Broadway revue that opens with "Hot August Night"). Hmm, I just learned that Danny Terrio (who should appear in puzzles more often with a name like that) was in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This is what happens when an answer you don't know stirs a memory of some cheesy dance TV show from your youth that you can't quite remember, except for the fact that the host had an Italian name, and then you do a bunch of Googles, and under Dannys Bonnaduce and Osmond, you see "Terrio," and you're like "yes!", then you notice his name is actually "Deney" (!?!?!?!), and then you read his wikipedia entry.

[Danny … Thomas?]

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Only major erasure (other than misreading/misplacing stuff) was mATERNAL.   Loved the clue for ULEE.   Knowing what a POOL NOODLE is (I have grandkids) helped get this off to a smooth start.   Liked both sets of vertical 9s and the NW 10 stack had a  smidgen of zip...SE not so much.  So,  I'm  with Rex on the lack of standouts.

I wonder how familiar CHET Huntley is too Xers. 

And, speaking of Springsteen and Jersey, Steven Van Zandt's  Lilyhammer series on Netflix streaming is alone worth the subscription.  Much more fun than House of Cards... but I digress...

An OK Sat. Liked it.

Elle54 12:12 AM  

Solvable! But I had PASTOR instead of CANTOR but what are POGS?

Moly Shu 12:16 AM  

Medium for me, liked it more than @Rex. My 2 poor entries were CCS and JERSEYITE. But, the latter being next to SMARTALEC and TIGERMOTH (2 great entries) it's totally forgivable.

Lots of things that I didn't know I knew.ESSENES, DANCIN, ROUGHRIDER, PONTI, STJOE, CANTOR, all went in with just a few crosses. My first pass over their clues elicited this " I don't know any of this s$!t".

PATENted before PATERNAL and GRip before GRAB slowed me down in the east.

Really liked LOVENEST, ENTRAILS and TRAINEDEYE. Really liked the puzzle also.

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

This was a Saturday? I can't do a Saturday in 22 minutes. A couple of years ago, I couldn't do one at all, but I can now, thanks to this great blog. Anyway, enjoyed the puzzle, of course!

Pete 12:34 AM  

I walked by a display of POOLNOODLES today, labeled as such. My thought at the time was "whoever thought of such a stupid name?"

Still, it took me forever to get POOLNOODLES tonight.

I don't understand how I could be in 100% complete agreement with each and every word of such an equivocable review.

wreck 12:44 AM  

It took me a little a little longer than usual, but a very rare Saturday with no googles. The NE was the last to fall. It was one of those puzzles that if you got one of the long answers in each quadrant -- the rest seemed to come fairly quickly.

Casco Kid 12:47 AM  

I guess easy medium, as I finished the grid with 3 errors in 90 minutes, but really a hell of a workout. I was thinking Canticle Hymn, but that wouldn't fit, so I went with CANTle, giving me SOLlING (a canvas painting without its backing? Nope.) for SOLOING and PATEeNAL for PATERNAL, which I thought might be an alternate spelling of patinal, which is a protective oxide layer on some tool steel.

Things I didn't (and still don't) know but sussed or guessed correctly: Mt. NEBU, CANA, PONTI, ULEE'S Gold in French translation, SONES, PEKES as a contraction.

I went with kvetchED before GOSSIPED. I desperately wanted maudlin-something-or-other for Hallmark SENTIMENTS. COGS/ONELINERS/GOBoNkerS were first entries, but all came out at the 60 minute mark as something was wrong.

Damned close. Very encouraging. I particularly liked the solver-friendly grid design. It would not surprise me to hear that the pattern is on the harder side for constructors.

retired_chemist 12:50 AM  

Liked it - didn't love it. Competency oozes from every square.

Had to give up on BULL MOOSE for 17A since it is a letter short. PICASSOS @ 4D took longer to dispose of, as did "oh lord" @ 11D. BaTTY figured in incorrectly in the SE, which was broached by the nicely clued GEESE and a lucky half-remembrance of CANA. SOLO act/Ist before SOLOING.


A good job today overall. Thanks, Mr. Lampkin.

Casco Kid 12:53 AM  

@jae have you seen the Ian Richardson House of Cards? Also available on Netflix. Same political anomie with the original high falutin' accent.

Ted Michon 2:14 AM  

What do others think about the terrible things the NYT has done with the iPhone app? In my opinion it's awful. With no warning they wiped out 5 years of data and stats, and I'm really upset.

jae 3:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 3:54 AM  

@Casco - Not yet. If the protagonists in the BBC version have as much redeeming value as those in the Netflix version I'll skip it. I mean Walter White broke bad but at least you could root for him. Frank Underwood not so much.

Anonymous 5:36 AM  

My fastest time ever for a Saturday. The thing simply went down without a fight. Only pause in the NE, but when snowglobe appeared even that was done. Didn't find much of the tricky cluing I expect on a Saturday.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

SE is a little harder if you think the '78 Broadway revue is CanCan. Never heard of DANCIN.

Also, thought for the longest time "L'Or de la Vie" was the French title for "On Golden Pond." Couldn't for the life of me figure out who Henry Fonda's character might have been. It made a little more sense when OUTLAW fell into place.

Anyone with grandkids will know POOLNOODLE. Also liked the NUTTY/INANE/GEESE stack.

Not a bad workout.

Gill I. P. 7:31 AM  

I enjoyed this work-out far more than yesterday's...Lots of fun stuff but also lots of write-overs. Having PATented really screwed me up in the NE which was my huge bugaboo. I put in BOND instead of ULEE and I really wanted some kind of martini for the one left shaken.
Finally finished with two Googles NEBO and CANTOR. Cleaned it up and patted my back mighty hard.
Goodnight, CHET...goodnight David.
(Yikes I'm old!!!)

Glimmerglass 7:31 AM  

Disappointingly easy for a Saturday. Some of the clues were not so much clever as just "off." Someone SOLOING, for example, is usually backed by a chorus or an orchestra. Even a solo hiker has emergency backing. Milady might be told ANON by a stalling servant, but so could anyone else. Goodnight, Chet.

jberg 7:46 AM  

Hey, it's the biggest painting in the Louvre again! Only this time clued much more easily, at least if you know your New Testament weddings.

Me too with Picassos and pOGS/pAsTORS before sorting them out in the end. Also busTS before ROUTS, rhyme before TOONS, so that NW was really tough. In fact, the whole puzzle was, but in a satisfying way -- I didn't write in anything until I got down to ST. JOE, then gradually worked the puzzle widdershins from there. A few snags with JERSSEY boy and bad guy before OUTLAW, but that NW corner was really tough, Finally I couldn't resist ENTRAILS any longer, that got rid of the Picassos, and it came into focus.

Good mental workout -- now I'm off to the gym for the rest of me.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

A funny week. I didn't finish Thursday (rare for me) nor Friday (common for me) but completed today's puzzle. POOLNOODLE was totally new to me but all the crosses seemed solid so ...


Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Says something about the solvers on this blog that they comment on how anyone with "grandchildren" but not "children" would know POOLNOODLE. How about children themselves? Maybe it's just that the early comments are made by early-rising geezers?

Z 8:45 AM  

ESSENES and EL GRECO went right in. If it is the Prado the short answer is Goya and the long answer is EL GRECO. My son did a self portrait for his drawing class. My wife's first thought was Munch, mine was EL GRECO. Yes, my son is one skinny dude. Vegetarian diet and lots of yoga will do that for you.

Hand up for drawing a blank after Truman was too short. It wasn't until I wrote in ROUTS that the corner resolved itself. Starting with traffic jam at 1A didn't help. My other big slowdown was caused by bad guy before OUTLAW. Combine that with a French movie title that was basically meaningless (Life's Gold could be lots of different films, right?) and it took some untangling. No writeovers in the SE, but it was my slowest section. Not writing in PASTIME because I thought 7 letters wasn't enough didn't help. Worked out from the INANE, NUTTY GEESE ending.

COGS was a gimme for me, but pOGS are a thing. My sons were very briefly interested.

Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, Walter Cronkite on CBS, but who was on at 6:30 on ABC?

Casco Kid 8:50 AM  

@Z per Wikipedia, a very young Peter Jennings. Huh

Suzy 8:56 AM  

Saturday mornings require a gentler solve-- hooray for this Saturday's puzzle

Carola 8:57 AM  

Very nice! My first thought about the artery blockage was "traffic jam," but EL GRECO got me out of there and down the West coast to ST. JOE, then through the LOVE NEST into the SE and the rest.

I really liked the many fresh (to me, anyway) two-word phrases: POOL NOODLE, ROUGH RIDER, TIGER MOTH, TRAINED EYE, SNOW GLOBE.

Crossword stalwarts reunion: ULEE, ENO, MIES, ETTA. Absent: asao, esai, yma.

AliasZ 8:57 AM  

This puzzle felt easy and smooth-solving with very little to get excited, or to complain about. It surprised me that POOL NOODLE was the seed entry, given that it could've been FOOL BOODLE, WOOL POODLE, or COOL DOODLE. What surprised me more that ENTRAILS passed the breakfast test. Otherwise no crunchy words to speak of, no controversial or questionable entries, except perhaps REROOTED. Rebooted yes, REROOTED not so much.

I liked TIGER MOTH, SNOW GLOBE, ROUGH RIDER and JERSEYITE. It does not take a TRAINED EYE to spot EL GRECOS in the Prado, or Carlo PONTI at the Cannes Film Festival with heavenly Sophia on his arm.

A schoolteacher in Chinatown trying to quiet down some unruly kids yells out: LEE! One of the kids looks up: "Who? MELEE?" She replies: "Yes, ULEE."


- What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
- The shin: a device that helps you find furniture in the dark.
- By the way, what is the speed of dark?
- Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
- God must love stupid people, he made so many of them.
- It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end.
- If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
- I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
- Take my wife. Please!

I'm sure you won't MINED if I don't CONTINUE.

Except for this little STREET FAIR music from the opera The FAIR at Sorochyntsi by Modest Mussorgsky. Don't miss the Gopak at 4:50 of the clip.

Enjoy your weekend.

donkos 8:59 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle for precisely the reason that Rex did not - after my first pass through the clues, I thought this was going to be impossible. But once I got StreetFair and Jerseyite (both of St Joe by the way) the puzzle 'fell together'. Going from a first impression of 'Wow, I'm not sure I can do this' to a fast solve is always a fun experience for an amateur like me

Anonymous 9:00 AM  


Hey, 26D, if you read close, 'anyone with grandchildren' does not imply in any way 'to the exclusion of all other classes'. And that includes them as hasn't reproduced themselves at all.

If there are any children out there solving this puzzle, more power to 'em.


Nancy 9:03 AM  

Much easier than yesterday. Favorite answer: TRAINED EYE. I'm beginning to think that whenever you have a 3-letter musician, no matter how obscure the clue, just write in ENO...and you can't go wrong.

Norm C. 9:06 AM  

I thought the puzzle was fine -- what's not to like about POOL NOODLE or ONE LINER (great clue for that one, too). But I was really hoping that 1A "Cause of an artery blockage" was going to be "Chris Christie," but it didn't fit.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

@ted I'm on the iPad and can't figure out how to reinstate my subscription. Very annoying that they did this with no notice and make subscribers reinstate rather than update

loren muse smith 9:26 AM  

@jae – I had "Rhet" before CHET, making SMART ALEC some kind of "aler" and for the life of me, I couldn't see it.

@Moly Shu – me, too, for "patented" first.

@Nancy – good advice, but I went with "Ono" first.

I was going for "county" FAIR first, muttering to myself that, well, maybe if it's well-planned there are no traffic problems. STREET finally fell, and my world was righted again.

Clues like the one for TREATED just amuse the heck out of me. Bravo!!

"Lunar" MOTH first. I just don't know my etymology.

Kept kicking around "nerf" NOODLE. Those things are great. You can blow water on people.

My family mows through Hershey's Kisses like nobody's business, but the foils everywhere drive me nutty.

So it's PASTIME sharing that T, but part time? Who gets to be the boss of these decisions?

I agree with @jae – the clue for ULEE was fun. I'm learning that esoteric-seeming stuff like that is just a lot of times, well, lipstick. Kind of a cousin of a desperate weeject, huh, @M&A?

My 2000 Ford Excursion, with its horrible suspension, is one ROUGH RIDER.

@Tita – really fun story about your childhood tag games! And I'mso glad you worked my puzzle! I tell you – constructing a runt is pretty easy once you see that you get to make up the rules as you go along. Perfect for this fledgling. Quite emancipating.

@M&A – glad you liked the "sad butt" clue. I went way overboard with the cutesy clue thing, but I couldn't stop myself.

John – thanks to this site, I'm developing more of a TRAINED EYE, and I appreciate the fill today. Those triple 9's and 10's are terrific.

Horace S. Patoot 9:27 AM  

@ted micron: I'm flabbergasted. You don't usually see a software company deliver far fewer features in a new release. I imagine your like me: I have years of data that have now disappeared because I have the Magmic app, but no NYT subscription. Magmic doesn't seem to store data anymore.

Mohair Sam 9:27 AM  

Played medium for us. Would probably have been nearer to easy, but we were confident of the gimmes "bullmooser" for 17a, and "airkisses" for 12d (which we still prefer to ONELINERS).

Liked it a lot, had the same experience as @dunkos - one pass and thought it was hopeless then gradually built answers (starting at STJOE too, btw). I think that's the perfect crossword experience.

@AliasZ - A cheer here for the Chinatown teacher's story.

@jae - don't know how far you are into Lillyhammer, but we enjoyed season one and stopped after about 4 episodes in season two. Much shark leaping.

@Cascokid - Loved the English version (high-falutin' Richardson for sure), however was surprised by how well Netflix Americanized it. Spacey is so much fun to hate in that role.

swimslikeafish 9:29 AM  

Haven't done today's puzzle yet, but wanted to say that I am surprised no-one commented that Thursday's Anna Shechtman's # puzzle was a major shout-out to OFL. That they have become recent friends makes sense!

Andrew Morrison 9:46 AM  

Easy Saturday that started out tough. First run through was almost blank, but well-positioned easy short answers like, yes, STJOE provided sufficient traction. POOLNOODLEs provide hours of fun for me and my kids ;). The NE section was last to fall for me. Overall, I enjoyed the puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:47 AM  

OK puzz.


Considered but didn't put in, STALLEDCAR fits and shares letters with STREETFAIR.

(Not much use for the POOLNOODLEs on my just-concluded, cold, windy, and rainy vacation in Mallorca!)

Leapfinger 10:00 AM  

This felt like a Build-a-Bear puzzle; just kept adding and adding till suddenly the outfit was done.

The early hiccup was TRAFFICJAM, after figuring that eliding CHOLEST'ROL wouldn't fly, but SPREE-TOONS-RUINS scotched that. ENTRAILS fixed RUINS, and doesn't that sound like shabby workmanship? Only other writeover was JERSEYBOY, because saw that play.

It helped a lot that just yesterday I played with HIS TORIES vs HER WHIGS, and realized that I have as much trouble deciding how to spell India ARIE as I do deciding about ULEE. Admit to having played a game with 8 POOL NOODLES, we'd chant Octopus! Heptapus! Hexapus! etc as they were knocked away. Yup, played that with the Grandboy.

INANE made me blanch, but I sure liked that corner. Have heard about Tiger Moms, but never yet about TIGER MOTHers.

Then noticed a fair amount of musical potential in the grid. A few TOONS:

Dem SONES, dem SONES, dem LO SONES...

From CANTORS in CANA, From Memphis to ST JOE
Wherever the OUTLAW and POSSE go

Happy ENTRAILS to you...

And the theme song of psychiatrists: Send a mental fee
which actually goes against the idea of EMANCIPATE, ie "Free your head".
(Just some PEKES into my MINED)

Found this all very entertaining and good fun. Thanks, John Lambkin, and a good weekend to all.

mac 10:08 AM  

Welcome back, Bob! The weather in May and June can be bad in Southern Europe.

Easy-medium for me, too, in fact easier than Thursday and Friday. Enjoyed all three of them a lot.

A write-over at sones (lunes) and completely wrong reasoning for rough rider. Confused it with Red Rider. I actually asked my husband if a Roosevelt was the name of a sled....

quilter1 10:10 AM  

Medium here. But I liked it. Just soldiered on getting one after another and enjoying POOL NOODLE, ONE LINERS, TRAINED EYE and others.

Mark 10:18 AM  

My small complaints about the new NYT iPad app are relegated to the shade in light of the new cross-platform access. Solving (or struggling) on laptop with keyboard and touchscreen is a pleasure. Thank you, NYT!

Still, this was a hard Saturday for me. PICASSOS and TRAFFICJAM and BULLMOOSE stumbles did not help much.

David 10:20 AM  

Ted and others. I agree! I have a many months streak of solved puzzles that act as an inspiration for me! So they did no conversion when they pushed out this upgrade??? Very poor.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 10:25 AM  

Don't hand out enough at water parks. Kinda evolved the foam gizmo to be lookin like SEAL POODLE.

Tough, but fair puz, today. AGR deserves a weej little nod, not to mention a double-?? clue.

Welcome back, @BobK. U missed out on three runtpuzs. And only one of em was mine! The runtpuz virus spreads. And here's a welcome home one...


Hittin the road, off on vacation, ourselves, this mornin. See y'all before long.


M and A Oughtacorrect 10:27 AM  

p.s. hang out, not hand out.


Sir Hillary 10:35 AM  

Played tough for me. I stared at the empty grid for 15 minutes before ETTA went in. Yeah, that helped not at all. More staring, followed by JERSEYITE, STJOE, ELGRECOS and ROUGHRIDER. That allowed me to finish the NW and SW. Then LOVENEST and MER showed me the way in the SE. Then...nothing. The middle staircase and NE were pure white. 20 more minutes. Finally, GOBANANAS revealed itself, and I cruised home from there. Probably took 90 minutes in all.

To me, this is an incredible puzzle. The "phenomenal competence" that @Rex offers as a backhanded compliment has created an astonishing grid. To have that many long entries with almost no junk fill...just wow.

My nutritionist wife pointed out to me that, depending on what one eats at the STREETFAIR, the clue could work in the cardiac sense as well.

Dirigonzo 10:35 AM  

I was feeling pretty smug about myself as I cruised around the grid filling in entire sections at a time until I crashed and burned on the last answer to go in at the bottom of the puzzle. I had succumbed to the temptation to insert the terminal "s" which was obviously required by "Rialto and otherS" and that left me with TRustEDEYE - the crossords seemed plausible enough, so I left it in.

Norm 10:38 AM  

I'll second donkos@8:59 and Andrew Morrison@9:46: I had nothing I was sure of on my first pass through the Across clues except for ESSENES, AGR, ETTA, and CHET. Knew woolly bear was a caterpillar, so TIGERMOTH fell and I was off to the races. The NW was the last to fall, but it could have gone earlier if I'd bothered to go back and work off of ESSENES, rather than just heading back there more or less counterclockwise. My time was about where I expected it to be on the NYT page (even without "correcting" for pauses to take a sip of coffee), so easy-medium seems about right. Liked it better than Rex did, but I get his point of view.

Ludyjynn 10:40 AM  

Rex, this is my take on LIKED: Even though I personally have never used and totally reject Facebook, I hear people say to "Like me" on Facebook if you approve of their site. If they are liked, then they are part of the "in" crowd. N'est pas?!

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, which also looked difficult at first glance, but quickly morphed into easy-medium, starting w/ CHET and JERSEYITE. Some beautiful clues all over the grid.
A couple of new words: ESSENES and SONES, and some old chestnuts: ULEE,ETTA,ENO.

I use a POOLNOODLE several times a week in the pool, year round. Works great to stretch hamstrings, as well as a flotation device for deep end exercises. Cheapest piece of gym equipment I have ever used!

Thanks, JL and WS. This one ENHANCEd my day.

Leapfinger 10:50 AM  


Necessary to REROOT on account of the STREETFAIR, yes?

Me, I am just Scicolone that I haven't seen the Pont avec Io. Nor am I Prado that. Louvre you?

Monica Ziti had some Rigatoni, some Cavatelli, some Fusilli and a bit of [BeniAMINO] Gigli. but not enough of any to feed the crowd. Yup, she had to ________

Curses, FOILS Again!

joho 10:50 AM  

@Dirigonzo, I, too, had TRustEDEYE at first but thought, "That's not a familiar phrase!" That's what led me to TRAINEDEYE which is a beautiful answer.

Also JERSEYboy before JERSEYITE and REROuTED (what?!) before REROOTED.

So, not a lot of resistance for a Saturday but a lovely solve just the same.

Thanks, John!

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

I can't find any explanation from the NYT of the rational for eliminating historical data, rankings, and daily statistics. Has anyone seen one? Is the new subscription rate of $39.99 a big increase? I can't remember what we've been paying.

Dirigonzo 10:58 AM  

@joho - a TRAINEDEYE would have let me catch the error; sometimes making rookie mistakes is what I do best.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:04 AM  

@M&A - #130, brilliant as always; I didn't come close to solving.

I'll catch up with the last two weeks eventually.

Enjoy your vacation!

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

First Rule for almost everything: Never destroy original data. If 'they' share a brain between the lot of them, all that data was only removed, but not destroyed. If enough response and reaction gets back to TPTB, _perhaps_ it will be restored. Worth a try.

r.alphbunker 11:08 AM  

ULEE was the first answer I wrote in. Finished with my fastest Saturday time in memory.

If freckly describes a face full of freckles, does ULEE describe an ideal runtpuz?

Casco Kid 11:16 AM  

I will not update Magmic. Thanks for the warnings, guys!

jdv 11:24 AM  

Med-Challenging w/2 errors. pAsTOR/cAnTOR. It took about 10 minutes to track down this error as I was so sure about PASTOR. Rest of the puzzle was easy-medium. Groaned at ESSENES. Liked SNOWGLOBE. Also had ARTDECOS before ELGRECOS.

600 11:40 AM  

Usually if I come here with a question, it will have already been asked and answered. So this time I feel really stupid. It's clear AGR has something to do with agriculture, but I just don't get how the clue leads to it. And for @Norm, it was one of his first for-sure words. Please, someone, what am I missing?

Fred Romagnolo 11:43 AM  

Nobody else has mentioned it, but POSSE is an old friend in crosswords. It was my first entry, and literally everything else just followed. Easiest Saturday I ever had. Howard Smith was big on ABC News way back then. @Muse: never sure about your tongue in cheek, but it's "entomology." (study of insects) Etymology is the study of words. FWIW "shrubs" in the clue kept me from "repotted." I agree that it's either ENO or "Ono." NEBO O.T. & CANA N.T.: nice balance. Learned today: POOLNOODLE. I didn't know LOIS, but it fell into place.

Fred Romagnolo 11:44 AM  

Nobody else has mentioned it, but POSSE is an old friend in crosswords. It was my first entry, and literally everything else just followed. Easiest Saturday I ever had. Howard Smith was big on ABC News way back then. @Muse: never sure about your tongue in cheek, but it's "entomology." (study of insects) Etymology is the study of words. FWIW "shrubs" in the clue kept me from "repotted." I agree that it's either ENO or "Ono." NEBO O.T. & CANA N.T.: nice balance. Learned today: POOLNOODLE. I didn't know LOIS, but it fell into place.

Fred Romagnolo 11:45 AM  

Nobody else has mentioned it, but POSSE is an old friend in crosswords. It was my first entry, and literally everything else just followed. Easiest Saturday I ever had. Howard Smith was big on ABC News way back then. @Muse: never sure about your tongue in cheek, but it's "entomology." (study of insects) Etymology is the study of words. FWIW "shrubs" in the clue kept me from "repotted." I agree that it's either ENO or "Ono." NEBO O.T. & CANA N.T.: nice balance. Learned today: POOLNOODLE. I didn't know LOIS, but it fell into place.

Fred Romagnolo 11:45 AM  

Nobody else has mentioned it, but POSSE is an old friend in crosswords. It was my first entry, and literally everything else just followed. Easiest Saturday I ever had. Howard Smith was big on ABC News way back then. @Muse: never sure about your tongue in cheek, but it's "entomology." (study of insects) Etymology is the study of words. FWIW "shrubs" in the clue kept me from "repotted." I agree that it's either ENO or "Ono." NEBO O.T. & CANA N.T.: nice balance. Learned today: POOLNOODLE. I didn't know LOIS, but it fell into place.

Z 11:58 AM  

@600 - The field of study that involves arable fields would be agriculture. The field of fields.

heathcliff 12:11 PM  

Started hard, got easy. ESSENE came in handy. As for the updated app, it's lacking so many features -- leader board, daily times/averages -- that I feel like I must have signed in wrong.

Thoughts, anyone?

Moly Shu 12:14 PM  

@LMS and @FredRomagnolo X4, perhaps your mistake is considering ONO a musician. Just sayin

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Would have been easy medium if I;had not been absolutely sure one across was STALLED CAR instead of street fair. Ended up taking 50 minutes to sort out which is medium challenging for me. But absent the brain freeze I guess the rating is OK

600 12:51 PM  

@Z--Of course! Now I don't know why I couldn't see that. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Steve J 1:34 PM  

@jae: While I don't think I could picks him out of a lineup, this Gen Xer had no problem filling him in as Brinkley's partner.

@Nancy: Good advice until the answer is ONO instead of ENO.

Overall impression of this one was pretty much like Rex's. Competent, nothing to dislike, but nothing stood out. Definitely could have used some cleverness and verve.

Hartley70 3:52 PM  

I found this one really tough going to start and I had to google Lois to get a toehold. My other google was Nebo. I hate it when that happens. From there I worked those corners out and finished up in the northwest. It took me 50 minutes. It just wasn't my day.

Lewis 4:00 PM  

Thank you Alias Z for some smiles!

Of the 12 long answers, 9 were two words, which seems to make the puzzle more interesting. Like Rex, the NW was toughest for me, and the puzzle overall was medium-hard. Also, I've always heard them called just noodles rather than POOLNOODLES. That's all we ever called them.

I enjoyed the workout, and despite what some people have said, there was cleverness in some clues, such as for STREEFAIR, TREATED, ONELINERS, and SNOWGLOBE.

mathguy 4:39 PM  

I'm at home today watching The French Open and the Giants playing the Cardinals (currently in rain delay in St. Louis). I've been meaning to give my thoughts about the blog for a while and today seems to be a good time to do it.

I've been reading the blog and the comments for a year or so and enjoy both very much. I usually read all the comments, visiting the site two or three times a day. I make a comment two or three times a week.

These are my thoughts about the blog. I like Rex's writing style and his wit. I'm not a constructor so I find his comments about structure quite illuminating. I'm not put off by his critical comments: They may be acidic but they are consistently fair. I don't care whether Rex finds a puzzle easy or challenging but I like his telling us which entries he didn't know. I like Word of the Day. I almost never play the video -- I want to get to the comments.

These are my thoughts about the comments. I enjoy reading most of the ones I understand. Some that I don't understand seem to be about other crosswords -- I only do the NYT. I seldom get a laugh out of the paragraphs made up of entries from that day's puzzle. I like Sanfranman's (?) assessment of the difficulty of a puzzle based on the average solve times of online solvers. I almost always like the comments by Steve J and retired_chemist, good information and eminently sensible.

For what it's worth.

sanfranman59 6:19 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 no data
Tue 7:37, 8:46, 0.87, 13%, Easy
Wed 8:17, 9:54, 0.84, 12%, Easy
Thu 19:50, 18:08, 1.09, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 16:55, 21:06, 0.80, 16%, Easy
Sat 18:55, 26:13, 0.72, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon no data
Tue 4:57, 5:21, 0.93, 22%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:07, 6:11, 0.83, 7%, Easy
Thu 11:55, 10:44, 1.11, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 11:24, 12:39, 0.90, 27%, Easy-Medium
Sat 12:20, 16:26, 0.75, 8%, Easy

Thanks for the shout-out, @Mathguy. It's always good to hear when someone finds these numbers of interest.

Paladin 6:39 PM  

I was feeling discouraged that I only got a few answers. Here are all these bloggers having little or no trouble,when I came upon Anonymous' comment that (s)he couldn't do anything two years ago, and now is much better.
Thanks for the encouragement, and the motivation to continue !

Arlene 7:36 PM  

I'm a happy camper finishing a Saturday puzzle with just a few Googles. I liked the answers - made sense and weren't weird or too cute or forced. I also like snow globes! :-)

Z 7:40 PM  

@Paladin - I've gone from needing google to only fail miserably to getting Saturdays done almost always. Now I'm working on always getting them done in under 45 minutes. It is a learned skill like any other.

retired_chemist 10:19 PM  

@ mathguy - thanks for the compliment.

Lena 2:22 AM  

I, like mathguy, have been lurking for a while now and thought I might join the chorus tonight. I recently started constructing and I'll admit that I find myself working extra hard to avoid fragments, dull esotery, etc., because I can hear Rex panning the fill in my head. Ultimately, a good thing. I learn the most from cranky people ;)

I required a 5 hour beer-and-sunshine break to complete this puzzle, and I had to look up ESSENES. I brazenly slapped down UNFETTERED as my first answer in place of EMANCIPATE, but got rid of it pretty quickly after getting GEESE, GOSSIPED, and PASTIME. I also instantly thought "FUN NOODLE!" but was sad to find that not only did it not fit, but that Chinese food surely does not belong in a pool...

Also put in MATERNAL instead of PATERNAL. Well played. Disliked PEKYS quite a bit, though.

Happy to use my Moth Nerd superpowers on TIGERMOTH.

A satisfying Sunday overall and I just love those wide open spaces.

Lena 2:26 AM  

er, satisfying Saturday, although I technically finished on Sunday. Today.

Leapfinger 4:03 AM  

I'm delighted to learn that there is such a thing as a Moth Nerd.

Also, to recently have discovered a couple of personal additions in @sanfranguy's communiques. Have only been reading this blog a short while, but had been thinking that @sanfran's were perhaps a robofeature of the blog. Was reading them anyway for interest, but now am also on the lookout for the extr dibbit.

@mathguy, sorry that all doesn't speak to you. You may already have seen this, but in case not, pull up this one-hour outstanding BBC tribute to Paul Erdos. Hope you find it as fascinating as I did:
"N is a Number"

I do XWPs as a PASTIME, a beloved addiction, so I view the blog also as entertainment. Love the mix of different voices, how many different things are elicited, how many different ways people do or don't get to POG.

Don't often get into a serious vein, but I did let @MrKid's remark goad me intuit last week. Thought it pretty hilarious to have resulted in @Evil's disgusted reaction and a spate of "Take 2 and call [someone]"s.

Happy blogging, in all veins.

Corgy the Corgi 6:17 AM  

@Lena - Keep at it and we look forward to your first published puzzle - or maybe you will start down the *runtpuzz* road.

Since I can't be sure if it is only a typo or if you are messing with our heads, I must ask about your comment, "Disliked PEKYS quite a bit, though." The actual answer is PEKES, but since at 35 A, Acoustic units, SONYS makes a fair amount of sense though not the correct answer (SONES) - kidding or not?

Jeff C. 10:36 AM  

I'll just throw this out there, and then you can yell at me: There is no such word as JERSEYITE. People from my home state are called JERSEYANS. Yes. We are.

Lena 12:47 PM  

@Corgy Haha, wow! No kidding, I absolutely thought it was SONYS. It was the last thing I had to fill in and I only have a lap cat :) I knew I was right to dislike it!

@Leapfinger indeed there is, and I can't wait to see/put CECROPIA in a puzzle!

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

I might quit puzzles entirely after what the Times did and I'm sure I'm not alone. It's not fun any more knowing the company holds us in such contempt. To throw of years of work.

Charles Flaster 10:29 PM  

Easy ( 25 minutes).Only help was from my non-puzzle doing wife who gave me sentiments for the Hallmark clue in one second. I did not like inane as answer for cuckoo. Foolish or empty would be more in line.Nutty was perfect for cuckoo. Harder than yesterday but enjoyable.

art mugalian 8:47 AM  

Howard K. Smith, yes, and Frank Reynolds, I think, on ABC.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

All aspects of the puzzle have been covered, so I'm not going to add anything. Not one word, not even a thought or an idea or a personal story. Nothing! Nada! Zip! My lips are sealed. That's it, take it or leave it.

Ron Diego

spacecraft 1:40 PM  

Nailed this puppy, starting with gimme CHET (Huntley) and ETTA (yetta-gain!) which led to SMARTALEC, and off to da races.

Couple of snags, like when I REpOtTED my shrub, which would REROOT it anyway (?), and when my hymn leader was my gentile pAsTOR instead of Jolson's CANTOR. That was a last-minute one, as I don't know from Jordanian Mounts SEBO, NEBO, or freakin' Gazebo, and though POGS looked OK--weren't they some kind of bottle-top that got turned into a tiddly-winks-type game?--it didn't jive with the clue. But COGS sure did, so it had to be CANTOR, and so done.

I'm not saying this doesn't belong in a Saturday slot; maybe I'm finally developing a TRAINEDEYE. But it did seem to go down very smoothly. For a Saturday. Always incredibly hard to build such an open grid, but I didn't find much to grab me. LOVENEST is getting to be old hat, and there were lots of crutchy S's and E's (ESSENES, GEESE). Still, a git'er done Saturday, and so thumbs up.

Has my luck finally turned? 333=9! Peruse them and grow lachrymose!

DMG 1:41 PM  

Started off (over) confidently with streetrepAIR, crossed at 1D with ripat. Then total confusion in the NW. Really wanted Goya in some form. Finally switched from thinking FDR to TR. Saved by a horse! Elsewhere things went more smoothly, and tiny bits of known trivia, NEBO, MIES, SONES, DAS, provided enough mind jogging to get me past JERSEYITE, SNOWGLOBE and the like, and I was done! On a Saturday,

241 yields 7. Probably not good enough,

rain forest 4:52 PM  

Today's puzzle completes a Thu/Fri/Sat run of good, solvable stuff. The NW went down quickly, but the NE was much more opaque for me, so I went to the South and worked up from there. I thought that whole Southern area to be really well clued, even memorable. Writeovers were PATEnted and Der (I always thought it was Der Niebelung), and STJOE and NEBO came from the crosses. Rare that Saturday is easier than Friday.

3132=9 Split pot, @Spacey? Or does three cards beat four?

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Lol!!! : )

Waxy in Montreal 9:27 PM  

Stymied in the northwest with BULLMOOSER before ROUGHRIDER and PICASSOS before ELGRECOS plus drawing a complete blank on both 1A and 15A. Otherwise a competent but rather dull exercise - not to be compared with the exciting Holland - Costa Rica game just concluded.

Hmmm...119 yields 2. Like Costa Rica, I don't win.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP