1974 John Wayne title role / Sat 6-7-14 / Like some Hmong / Donkey : mule :: __ : huarizo / Orion's hunting companion / Admission ticket

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: EMERITA (65A: Professor _____)
Q. I have been using the title “professor emerita” with the names of retired female professors. Now one of those professors insists that I have confused sex with grammatical gender. She writes, “The phrase is Latin; the noun ‘professor’ is masculine and should be modified by the masculine form of the adjective—‘emeritus’—regardless of the professor’s gender.” Since the sixteenth edition of CMOS has used “professor emerita” as part of an example at paragraph 8.27, I’m assuming that this usage is correct. Can you weigh in on this?

A. The professor has a point. But one of the nice things about the Latin word professor is that it has survived absolutely unchanged into contemporary English. And most people intend the English word professor in the phrase “professor emerita.” In that case, though professor is invariable and therefore neutral for gender (but not for number), it is perfectly acceptable to adjust emeritus to suit the gender (and number) of the professor(s): emeritus, emerita, emeriti, emeritae. But in this case of grammatical correctness coming up against political correctness, there is no clear winner. If you need to cite another authority, the latest editions of both Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate (11th ed.) and American Heritage (4th ed.) include examples with emerita—without any warnings about usage problems.
                                                                 ---The Chicago Manual of Style Online
• • •
Hello, Rexworld. This is treedweller filling in. For once, I got a chance to write about a Saturday puzzle I was actually able to finish, which is why I rated it Easy. Some of you probably have a more nuanced system, but for me they are all either Easy (For A Saturday) or Impossible. Like any good weekend offering, this one required a mere mortal like myself several trips through the clues before
things started coming together (though I'm sure someone finished it in like two minutes). It didn't help that my first move was to gleefully type in "Pop-up ad" for 1A (Web nuisance), but I finally gained traction in the SE, finished the bottom half, then slowly pieced together the remainder. All those Xes in the center helped a lot.

I doubt anyone will call this THE BEST (62A: #1), but I found it quite lively and engaging without sacrificing the challenge many of us seek late in the week. So often, Saturday puzzles seem to harken back to the days of mind-numbing trivia that hardly anyone knows or cares to. Or we are amazed by the stacks of long Acrosses but hold our noses when we see the Downs. The worst fill I can find here is ITA (61D: Suffix with 28-Across) and OUTEAT (41A: Show up at dinner?). That's a small price to pay for this nice mix of new (SPAMBOT, MANCAVE) and old (BOSCO, ROLODEX), pop (LEGOS, WALK-OFF HOMER) and classical (ARTEMIS, WABASH), colloquial (LIT INTO, SCHMO) and scholastic (TERAWATT, X-AXIS).

  • 20A: Donkey : mule :: ___ : huarizo (LLAMA) — I had No Idea on this one, but once I got the double-L there wasn't much doubt. Wiki tells me the other half of a huarizo is an alpaca.
  • 35A: The middle Andrews sister (MAXENE) — This apparently refers to her age, since she always seems to be on the end in photos and videos. Wiki says her name is Maxine Angelyn "Maxene". Very forward-thinking of her to adopt a spelling variant as her nickname to create a crossword niche.
  • 4D: 1974 John Wayne title role (MCQ) — I held off on entering IRAQ WAR a long time because I had forgotten this movie. All my favorites of his are oaters.
  •  31D: Pipe accompanier (TABOR) — I tried "pouch" and "light" and "match" before I finally realized we were talking instruments. I couldn't say why I knew this particular drum, but it came quickly once I looked in the right direction.

Signed, treedweller


wreck 1:39 AM  

Nice review of a puzzle that was still Saturday hard for me - but much easier than yesterday! I enjoyed this from start to finish and did not think anything was "unfair." Thanks, treedweller!

jae 2:21 AM  

Easy-medium for me, and it would have been just easy if I hadn't kept A Stab in for way too long.  That and eSE before ASE made WALK OFF HOMER tough to see.   The rest went very smoothly.   

Every time I see BOSCO I wonder if a Seinfeld clue would be too obscure?

@Treedweller I too wanted POP UP AD for 1a but MCQ, which I was sure of, nixed that, and thanks for the write up.

So, easier and less zippy (although SPAM BOT, FOOSBALL, SIN TAX, FAKE ID, BOSCO, WALK OFF... provide a fair amount of zest) than yesterday's, but still a fine Sat.  Liked it. 

Moly Shu 3:05 AM  

@Treedweller and @Jae, me too for popup ad. Couldn't get anything to go with it, so I abandoned it and went elsewhere. 3 sports answers got me going, WALKOFF, HOMER, and SWISH. Was sure they were correct, but maltESE kept haunting me. I'm sure someone will enlighten me on the ASE, perhaps @RetiredChemist.

Got DUCAT and XEROX and solved counterclockwise back to the NE where I entered gigAWATT. You know, 1.21 style, as in Marty McFly. Well, that was wrong also, but at least the WATT part was correct and I was able to finish. I'll rate it as difficult.

Somehow pulled FLEABANE from somewhere, knew The Hurt Locker (fantastic film) was set in IRAQ but my poor choices prevented me from entering it until late.

So much to like, from the cluing to the answers to the pitfalls. Terrific puzzle.

Moly Shu 3:08 AM  

Ummmm no, solved clockwise, damn watch. Sorry

chefwen 3:40 AM  

Had company Thursday night and never got to Friday's puzzle until Friday A.M. Stared at it for about half an hour, filled in Tyler Perry, stared at it for another half an hour and decided it was just not going to happen. Saturday was much more user friendly.

Hand up for Pop up ad, which went nowhere. A goat or a go at and something else ??? before A SHOT at. Can't read through my Wite Out. Jon helped me with WALK OFF HOMER, that corner was a hot mess until he chimed in. A little short in the baseball knowledge here. Had TOtal before TORCH. A lot to tidy up, but we did.

jae 4:09 AM  

@Moly Shu - (This has nothing to do with the puzzle) - after our exchange last week re: Lilyhammer I checked out Orphan Black - I'm hooked, thanks!

George Barany 4:35 AM  

Thanks treedweller for your lively and humorous writeup. John Lieb's puzzle certainly packed a lot of punch, starting with a pair of baseball cross-referenced clues, WALKOFF_HOMER, along with Joe TORRE who managed the Mets at SHEA, prior to his Hall-of-Fame worthy stewardship of the Yankees in the Bronx. The Andrew sisters died in the same order as they were born; I was mighty pleased to retrieve MAXINE (sic) from my memory--that was, after all, her given first name--so the I to E switch was particularly tricky.

On other fronts, thanks to all who commented, both on this forum and in private e-mails, on Covert Operations. Yesterday's 70th anniversary was splashed all over the news, and included a somewhat awkward meeting of the protagonists of A Sunday Morning in 1984 and Putin on the Fritz, along with the great grandmother of a Wondrous Wee Windsor. We are embargoed from telling you the full explanation until the beginning of August 2014, but (spoiler!) the outlines are contained in this article. Note the connection to crossword history.

Anonymous 6:43 AM  

@Molly Shu,

MaltOSE is a sugar; maltASE is an enzyme. I had maltose first.

thomas808 7:08 AM  

Fun puzzle. My last letter was to change the s to a t for LAOsIAN. The country's name in English ends with a S -- why use a T???

Time to go upstairs and see what my wife is up to in her MomCAVE.

In 1985 I was a high school physics teacher and spent a week trying to convince my students that the right pronunciation was "gigawatt" with a hard g, not "jigawatt" as used in Back to the Future. TERAWATT would have avoided a lot of grief!

Susierah 7:10 AM  

Well, I guess I have to resubscribe to the puzzle today. Is everyone happy with the new app?

Liked this puzzle, but it was a battle. Loved the clue for swish. Threw down Baghdad immediately, and kept it way too long until I figured it had to be Iraq. But, because I had spammer (never heard of a spambot) I could not finish. Kept thinking mawl might be a variation for maul. So, a dnf, but an enjoyable 53 minutes.

Gill I. P. 7:43 AM  

@chefwen - I didn't have company and yet I too could not get past staring at yesterday's puzzle. Today's did not make me TRISTE. It was full of XOXO for moi.
Headscratcher: 34D Las.e.g. = NOTES?
Las is "THE" in Spanish so I can't figure that one out. Had coN instead of KIN for the bunkmates clue but that FAKEID saved the day.
Huarizos are cute little critters.
Loved all the XXXXX's and my favorite clue was for SINTAX.
Thanks for the write-up Treedweller and John Lieb for a Saturday puzzle I actually could finish with a smile.

Gill I. P. 7:54 AM  

p.s. @George B. Finished the Covert Operations puzzle...Really enjoyed it. Ike was a hero in our family so it brought on some good memories.

evil doug 8:05 AM  

Timely use of "walk off" and "deserter".


Glimmerglass 8:05 AM  

Yesterday was too hard for me. Thursday was too easy. Today was just right, said Goldilocks. Nice writeup, Tree (may I call you Tree?). This was challenging but doable (with a lot of headscratching). I don't write long posts, but there would be a lot I could say. The biggest stumble was mer before eau before lac.

evil doug 8:12 AM  

"Swish" over "a shot".
"Bosco" and "Oval (tine) s".
"Outeat" and "outcome"? Hmmm....


AliasZ 8:17 AM  

Thanks for the fun write-up, @treedweller.

I loved this puzzle. It was almost derailed by the multiple cross-references, for which my limit of tolerance is near zero, AS A RULE. But today they weren't too egregious, in fact they helped me with both Joe TORRE (which I got just from the E) and SHEA, as well as with WALKOFF and HOMER, the blind ancient-Greek poet.

NOTES on the margin:

- What would you think of a guy whose first entry in this puzzle was SCHMO? It takes one to know one.
- I haven't used a ROLODEX in, I don't know, 25 years, but still remember it.
- I loved SWISH (Nick SWISHer) as a Yankee, one of the key components in their World Series win of 2009.
- I used to live on Manchester Avenue, or MANC AVE. for short, in Fond du LAC, WI. Nah, just kidding.

Francisco de la TORRE was a Spanish composer about whose life very little is known, except that he sought his musical fortune in Italy, and flourished in the Kingdom of Naples there between 1483 and 1504. What survives of his music is an instrumental dance tune, ten villancicos and some funeral music. An example of the latter is this piece called Dime, TRISTE coraçón. It is so sad and mournful, it may make you tear up a little if not quite BAWL.

Do you know who Rex is?
He's the one who loses
The war between SEXES.
Many hugs and kisses
From the X-y-AXIS
In the state of Texas.

Happy weekend to one and all.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

"Contact storing solution?"/Rolodex was was one the freshest and most amusing clues I've seen in a while. I think these puzzles have become too laden with pop culture (e.g. yesterday), but today's, while not the most difficult ever, felt like what a good crossword is supposed to be, plus it made me smile. Can't beat that!

loren muse smith 8:33 AM  

Agreed – this was way easier for me than yesterday's. I finished without much trouble at all for a Saturday. Nice job, John! You da X Man!

_ A _ L – "wail" or BAWL? I went with BAWL. "Pop up ad" was never an option and SPAMBOT went right in.

"GIs" before KIN
"Well" before TO BE
"Mer," "eau," LAC

Thank you, Learned League, for WABASH. I missed the question but remembered the river.

I'm currently eating a FLEABANE salad every three hours to ward off ticks. So far so good.

@jae, @chefwen – I had "a goat" first.

So LARD is a verb? My cornbread is better than a lot of people's because I just won't make it if I can't LARD both the batter itself and the wrought-iron skillet with bacon grease.

Uncle Fester Thursday today FESTERED.

@Gil I.P. – I had "noter/rexes" first, reasoning a definite article could note, and T Rexes fought? Or kings? But then I saw notes of a scale and battle of the SEXES. A wife BERATES her husband because of the messy MANCAVE with its FOOSBALL machine.

Far be it from me to offer solving advice to anyone but. . . I've slowly come to realize that common words like LLAMA, oreo, eel, Erie often have lipstick clues that never fail to please me.

Anyone who omits the KRAUT on a Reuben is MISSing out. And extra extra Thousand Island Dressing, please, with five more napkins. I'm not proud.

So Treedweller (thanks for filling in!), you didn't like OUT EAT? I did! As a rule, I can claim this at any restaurant with any dining partner any time. And somehow I've become a desserter, too.

Your EMERITA question is interesting. I never took Latin and can't really weigh in, but "emeritus" feels better for me. Add a us to a bunchus of stuffus, and it suddenly feels all learned and eruditus. When I was at the club and had to do little individual menus for fancy schmancy dinners, I always struggled with "haricot vert." I wanted "haricots verts" but didn't know if I was heading down the French Major Asshole Path, which is très easy to do, n'est-ce pas?

evil doug 8:39 AM  

George: I am not giving you my code.

Kramer: I'll bet I can guess it.

George: Pssh. Yeah. Right.

Kramer: Oh, all right. Yeah. Uh, let's see. Um, well, we can throw out birthdays immediately. That's too obvious. And no numbers for you, you're a word man. All right, let's go deeper. Hmmm, what kind of man are you? Well, you're weak, spineless, a man of temptations, but what tempts you?

George: Huh?

Kramer: You're a portly fellow, a bit long in the waistband. So what's your pleasure? Is it the salty snacks you crave? No no no no no, yours is a sweet tooth.

George: Get out of here.

Kramer: Oh you may stray, but you'll always return to your dark master, the cocoa bean.

George: I'm leaving.

Kramer (building up steam as George bolts for the door): No, and only the purest syrup nectar can satisfy you!

George: I gotta go!

Kramer: If you could you'd guzzle it by the gallon! Ovaltine! Hershey's!

George: Shut up!

Kramer: Nestle's Quik!
[Jerry, acting as his mentor, is providing new stand-up material to Banya…]

Banya (reading): “Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Roundtine.” That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

If there had been a "King's Ransom" answer, we would have hit the trifecta.

Questinia 9:06 AM  

Found the S much easier than the N. My new rule is if the NW doesn't gel I go to the SW and sure enough the answers bubbled up.
It is odd that the NYT's doesn't use more Seinfeldisms, for @ jae BOSCO or the perennial Minsk.

Just yesterday I was noticing the daisy FLEABANE in my garden. They are native wildflowers. Now back to a glorious day in NW Ct.

Mohair Sam 9:07 AM  

Easy, but clean and fun Saturday - Well earned after Friday's battle. Baghdad before IRAQWAR here too. LAOTIAN a gimme because of the growing Hmong community in nearby Pennsylvania Dutch country.

Clues for ROLODEX, SWISH, and OUTEAT were terrific.

Tip of the cap to singer MAXENE Andrews for beating rap artists in phonetic spelling of name by a full 1/2 century.

@AliasZ - that Yankee win in 2009 was due to a Fox cameraman with a little help from Swisher and ARod.

@Moly Shu and jae - Big yes to Orphan Black. Wife's favorite character is Helen (the female Joe Pesci), should I be concerned?

Moly Shu 9:12 AM  

@Gill I.P., think notes of the scale, doe re mi ...

Bob Kerfuffle 9:24 AM  

Medium at least for me; took darn near an hour. So LOL when I saw Treedweller's explanation of his Easy rating. (Hi, Treedweller, good to see you again!)

Opened with DUCAT/OUTCOMES and worked out from there, though somehow tried OLEANDER before FLEABANE. Also had SPAMMER before SPAMBOT, and thought the 7 D Lightning strike measure was AMPERAGE, but managed to work it all out.

Good Saturday puzzle!

Sir Hillary 9:24 AM  

When I looked at the 72-word grid with nothing longer than eight letters, I thought this might not be a very ambitious puzzle. But the "ambition" here turned out to be the sheer quality of the entries, which are squeaky clean. That'll teach me...

Lieb takes ASHOT...SWISH!

jberg 9:27 AM  

Hard but enjoyable for me -- WALK-OFF HOMER right away, but then a lot of blank space. I eventually got the LAOTIAN corner and slowly worked my way up. I wanted Fava Bean before crosses gave me FLEABANE; put in ikEA before SHEA, figuring 24D must be some famous business person (Trump? Nah!) -- and, most deleteriously, had to keep scaling up the power of my lightning bolt, kilo to mega to TERA. I spent way too much time wondering if IRAQ _ AG could be some sort of abbreviation for the Iraq-Afghanistan field of operations.

@Evil Doug, I shared your thought. I don't think we have the whole story yet, but the timing is uncanny here.

@Loren, LARDing is when you stick extra bits of fat under the skin of a turkey or in little slits in a hunk of beef before you roast it. Barding is very similar, but I can never remember the difference.

I wanted malware before SPAMBOT --- but for those who had not heard of the latter, they're what the captcha is trying to block.

Thanks, @treedweller, for the write-up and especially for those two great musical clips.

Dirigonzo 9:33 AM  

Great write-up @treedweller - I agree 100% with your rating system, if I finish a Saturday puzzle it must be easy. I finished this one in what may be record time for me (that would be under an hour). I stalled in the NW for a while until I abandoned Baghdad as "The Hurt Locker" setting and replaced mer with LAC as the place for un bateau.

Z 9:39 AM  

Very sports heavy, so easy here. Met before LAC, wISh before MISS, otherwise a clean solve. It took awhile to get away from math to see RENTS and needed every cross for TABOR, but much easier than yesterday .

Z 9:59 AM  

That would be "mer" - damn auto-correct.

retired_chemist 10:08 AM  

@ Molly Shu - Yes, maltASE is an enzyme in saliva and elsewhere that breaks down maltoSE into glucose. Owning toy dogs myself, I had malteSE first too. AFAIK there is no maltiSE or maltuSE.

Medium-challenging here, and I think the NYT times will confirm that. The early median of the top 100 is about 25 minutes.

Lots of places to be wrong - always fun. Personal favorite: sABine river, which forms most of the TX - LA border. OK, it's a total stretch to call them midwestern states. But hey, a couple of states due north it really IS the midwest, so.... And thus the i gave me variously okapi or oribi for 20 A.

SPAMBOT and IRAQ WAR went right in and soon out again. PARADE should have given me more confidence but that led me to eAu for LAC, and I couldn't make any downs work for for the longest time. (the link is to the Billy Joel song of that name to celebrate his recent dedicated Sirius channel (4).

aLoe vera was my first bug repellent (hey, it does everything else...), so you can see all this conspired to make WALKOFF HOMER about as obscure as it could be.

42D was swak - but XOXO came soon and broke the puzzle open. Gave me X AXIS, XEROX, and MAXiNE (OK, eventually had to fix that i) immediately, which was enough to get a foothold in the SE. And rethinking sABine gave me WABASH, which got me the NE.

And so it went. REALLY fun to be wrong so often,then have the light slowly dawn. Nothing unfair or too obscure IMO, and a lot of great answers to boot, FOOSBALL, MAN CAVE, FLEABANE, SIN TAX, and more.

Thanks, Mr. Lieb. Don't be a stranger.

Thanks,Mr. Lieb. More please.

retired_chemist 10:12 AM  

The double thanks is an editing error. I'm not changing it, since I enjoyed the puzzle so much.

Laurence Katz 10:15 AM  

Not easy.

Casco Kid 10:21 AM  

Impossible here. 2:05. Much harder than Friday. No confident points of entry. [Hurt Locker setting] baghdAd. [Web nuisance] latency, timelag, [All ____] aboard. [huariza] zebrA. gigAWATT

Googled for MCQ, LLAMA, XEROX, MAXiNE (yeah, misspelled) TRISTE, BOSCO. Didn't help.

Cheated for SPAMBOT, ASARULE, FOOSBALL (because I'd stopped giving a damn) OUTEAT, LAOTIAN, FLEABANE.

Most of my correct answers were uncertain and remained so throughout. WABASH, WALKOFF HOMER. TORRE. ASHOT. SWISH

Wanted Malt-ESE

Don't get DUCAT.

Unpleasant solving experience. Felt like MAS. Are there two of them now? The XAXIS clue "around" RATHER THAN "on" is cloying and irksome, more ignorant than clever misdirect.

Any hoo...

Carola 10:25 AM  

This one was harder for me than yesterday's. I started out with only a confident SENOR, a pretty-sure WABASH, and a hesitant LAC. I reallly struggled in the NW.

But then TORRE led me to the approprate FEAR NOT, and like @Questinia, I found the SW much more congenial. From there I was able to slowly circle around to WALK OFF and finish.

I liked how MAN CAVE fit with all the sports-related clues, FESTERED x DEBASED, and the two neighboring losers, the SCHMO and the HEEL. Favorite clues were for SWISH and TABOR.

Mr. Benson 10:34 AM  

I thought 1A was likely to be malware but was hoping it would be some kind of spider.

joho 10:34 AM  

I finished this puzzle all SMILES :)

Yes, easier than yesterday but so interesting with amusing misdirects (@Loren and probably most of us had mer before LAC)and way above average cluing.

Absolutely delightful! Which is not an adjective I usually use on a Saturday.

Thank you John Lieb and Treedweller, too, for your great write up! I agree with you that the X's really helped. But I loved the combo SENOR ITA!

I hope tomorrow's puzzle is this much fun !

Norm 10:38 AM  

@thomas808: Interesting question about Laos/Laotian. The people are the Lao, so the "t" is not odd from that perspective. The country was also known as Lao long ago, but the French, as I understand it, changed it to Laos during the colonial era. I do not know why, but I guess Laotian was firmly embedded enough in the world that it did not change. There's an interesting article here theorizing about -ese, -ien, etc., although it doesn't address your question: http://www.linglish.net/2008/10/22/so-many-nationality-suffixes/

joho 10:38 AM  

Oh, I also wanted to mention that I loved the LITINTO/ BERATES one-two punch.

mac 10:43 AM  

Excellent puzzle with great clues. It was medium-hard for me in just a couple of places. But fun all the way.

Hand up for "mer" instead of lac, but I kept the option in my mind. Maltase was more of a pain. I had flea balm at first, probably thought of bee balm.

For 15A, modern sanctuary, my first thought was "earbuds".

Hi treedweller! Nice write-up.

Hartley70 10:43 AM  

Completely done in by the Northeast corner. I've never heard of walk off homer or swish. I tried to make wolfbane work for what amounted to an hour and a half before I screamed Aaarrrggh!...and came here. But on a happier note, I too love Orphan Black and my girl is Alison. She is sooo CT meets Metal Hurlant. Now I have to find Lilyhammer.

jae 11:23 AM  

Re: my Orphan Black comment. That should have been @Mohair Sam not Moly Shu. Same initials, dyslexic mind. So, thanks Mohair, we're almost through season 1 and it's been quite a ride.

Andrew Heinegg 11:45 AM  

All things considered, this seems like easy-ish for a Saturday. While emeritus is a bit of an unknown/little used word, emeritus does not fit so the crosses' gave' it to you. I enjoy some gardening work (not weeding! ) but, I have never heard of a fleabane (which my spelling 'correcter ' turned into cleavage, hmmm) but, it's name should be changed to something more ear- pleasing. All in all, this is an okay puzzle that probably belongs in a different day of the week offering.

jdv 12:23 PM  

Medium w/one error. AtEIT/AcEIT. That error is on me; I need to RTFC. I didn't have anything after the first go-around. All sorts of problems in NW. Tried THUMBS before SMILES; BAGHDAD before IRAQWAR; and MER before LAC. Never heard of the Andrews Sisters/MAXENE. Liked it.

Steve J 12:27 PM  

I always find it interesting how widely variant people's puzzle experiences can be. Several people have mentioned they found today's puzzle easier than yesterday's. My experience was exactly the opposite. Different wheelhouses, I guess.

I got stuck frequently with this one, but I enjoyed this nonetheless. Lots of moments where I filled something in, looked back and the clue thinking "that doesn't make any sense", and then had the light bulb above my head click on. Perfect example: "Complex data" as a clue for RENTS. Loved that there was lots of cluing like that.

I couldn't name an Andrews sister if you held a gun to my head, and FLEABANE took nearly every cross to get, so a lot of the NE quadrant was a struggle. Had and then removed IRAQ WAR (after previously having Baghdad), because I couldn't believe the terminal Q in 4D. Got WALKOFF HOMER and SWISH (another great clue) right away. Really good mix of easy entry points and challenging spots. And a really good pair of late-week themelesses.

mennoknight 12:37 PM  

The plural of lego is lego. LEGOS is totes not kewl.

Anoa Bob 12:59 PM  

Saw a program on TV a couple weeks back about a favorite subject of mine. It was an hour-long history of beer. One segment on home brewing mentioned a group of aficionados in SoCal that calls itself "The Maltose Falcons".

Numinous 1:39 PM  

@Casco Kid, my solving experience wasn't all that different from yours except I did finish but with three googles. I managed in 1:19:06 which it about 20 minutes longer for me than my Saturday average. I had to google for ARTEMIS, MCQ and MAXENE. I had a lot of erasures but when the penny dropped, I usually managed a smile along with my "Aha!"

One that faked me out was AsprIN before ANACIN. Where I worked once, there was a flim editor who was way past retirement age. He told me once that the pronounciation for asperin in the "olden days" was as-per-een. As a (hopefully) amusing aside, he once told me about moving with his famile when he was a boy from Georgia to California. The trip took them about a week in the family car as the drove most of the trip on dirt roads. One of the big holdups was having to repair flat tires several times a day. I've no idea by what year that trip would have been done entirely on paved roads but the notion of I-10 as dirt roads, amazing!

I found this one to be a real head-scratcher which I enjoy more in retrospect. I reckon puzzles are meant to be puzzling. This one was to me.

Hang in there, @Casco, you're doing great!

I skip M-W 1:45 PM  

In first grade, I used to walk to school on a path through the woods beside the WABASH railroad, yet it took a number of crosses for me to see that name. It wasn't along the IL -IN border, though,if that's the one in question. (Also it was only a couple of blocks long.) Like some others started with spammer, went through , mer, lac, eau, before finally returning to lac. Great cluing, enjoyed the solve because so hard in spots. Put in Podre before Torre. Happy Belmont Stakes today, all. Never have seen a Triple Crown won. Favor this sporting event because it takes a total of under the minutes a year to watch.

Notsofast 1:45 PM  

As a kid, I thought BOSCO was THE BEST. I also remember a cartoon character named "Bosco". A crunchy and very enjoyable puzzle today.

I skip.... 1:48 PM  

Excuse me that's ten, not the, in time spent watching.

Lewis 1:49 PM  

Good one! As Treedweller points out, it covers a wide range of topics and time periods. Some clever clues, and I learned FLEABANE, EMERITA, and MAXENE (who I am likely to forget).

Here's a quick Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™): One of our answers is a company name with two X's (XEROX). Can you think of two more? If so, just write down the last letters of the two companies.

Melodious Funk 1:51 PM  

Can someone create a sentence where the word HIGH can be replaced by EUPHORIA?

EUPHORIC was my guess, but I knew LAOTIAN. The SW corner therefore was a bear.

Terrific puzzle. Hope to see more of Mr. Lieb.

Gill I. P. 1:58 PM  

@Loren and @Moly Shu...Big head bang. So darn obvious too. Thanks.
@Numinous...Welcome back.
If you like stacks, the LA Times today has a pretty good one. It's fairly easy as well.

wreck 2:17 PM  

@ lewis

both end "AX"

Smokey 2:25 PM  

I know you don't smoke weed, I know this; but I'm gonna get you EUPHORIA today, 'cause it's Friday; you ain't got no job... and you ain't got shit to do.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

NO WAY this was easy. First of all, "maltase" instead of the far-more common "maltose" or "Maltese"? Got it only because I figured out "walk-off homer," but still find this objectionable, to put it mildly. Then I had "thumbs" for 1-D because I went with "mer" rather than "lac" for19-A; finally was able to figure out this was wrong. "McQ"? Not exactly one of The Duke's most well-known films/roles, but got from the context. And most people don't expect "Maxene" to be spelled this way, but I figured out it must be an alternative spelling; had a bit of an advantage with this because my almost 89-year-old mother-in-law is named "Marleen" rather than "Marlene," and so figured out that many people used alternative spellings when naming their children (or at least girls) in the 1910s and 1920s. But I would not call this an "easy" puzzle.

WOHJR 2:40 PM  

Too easy. 16 minutes. First one I saw was xerox and then it was off to the races. Hurt locker clue is also a repeat: hint: it's in there to give the Q! More sports than usual which I enjoyed

Steve J 2:48 PM  

@Lewis: So far, I have -on and -el for company names. One I'm certain is on your list. The other may not be.

I can also think of two brand names ending in -ax, but that's not what you asked for.

wreck 3:01 PM  

@ Lewis @ Steve
I was using "brand names" in mine (although I did consider the fact they were not the manufacturer's actual names)

wreck 3:23 PM  
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Masked and Anonymo3Us 3:29 PM  

Same deal as for almost everybody else: SatPuz was easier than FriPuz. MCQ was the weeject that got me in, and IRAQWAR came right after. Whole NW corner caved forthwith. Then the X boys and BOSCO kept me in the game, the rest of the way.

Only slight engine light flickers:
* LAC - Liked the mysterious clue, tho. Had no unearthly idea what the vowelishly outstandin "un bateau" meant. Un cola, yes. Un dabelly, sure. Un bateau? Take off the toe? Wanted LOP.
* TRISTE - "Blue, in Burgundy" was a neat clue, again. Burgundy is sorta dark red, as I recall. So, blue in red sounds pretty intriguin. But mysterious.
* LARD/DUCAT intersection - Now, here were two perfectly good clues, with answers that looked like they could be switched, and they'd seem just as plausible:
Admission ticket = LARD. (Would U refuse entry to anything totally slathered in lard? MacDonald's customers sure don't.)
Enrich = DUCAT. (Even better: DE-CAT.)
Yep, sounds fine.


museruntpuz #3:
My unofficial time: 9:31. Budgie bit me a couple times along the way. Lost valuable nanoseconds.
Really admired the desperation of 1-D. What I like to call "runtpuz sparkle".
9-A seemed way harsh, somehow. "Men bad" aura to it.
Like how 12-D bailed, with a religious context. har.
No unearthly idea, on 21-A answer. Wanted to understand. Was tossin and turnin, all night.
Great clue lengths. M&A may have a contender, now. Just wrote a runt where all the themers have two clues, each. Funny, am still concerned that muse's single clues might be even longer, anyway. day-um.


Fred Smith 3:45 PM  

M. Funk --

Re: a Euphoria & High: You're right to point out that a parallel sentence construction may be impossible, but that's not a mandatory relationship between a crossword clue and answer. It's enough that Euphoria is an emotional High, IMO.

As to the puzzle generally, all was easy except for the NW, where Spambot Natick'ed me. (BTW, and OT, I'm off to Natick now to visit my daughter, and do y'all know that it's Doug Flutie's home town?). Further, ManCave McD, and Terawatt provided no help on the proximity fill-in help.

Casco -- I think Ducat is mainly some kind of old-time European coin, but it's also contemporary slang for an admission ticket.

Leapfinger 3:53 PM  

@ret_chem -- I also did the MaltASE/ESE/OSE shuffle, and I beg to differ about the incomplete vowel-run. You're forgetting about Henri Maltise, the French impressionist painter, and about the Rev. Maltuse with his population theory.

@Alias -- Listened to the TORRE outdoors this morning and did not find it TRISTE, au contraire, very serene with wonderful harmony. Suits my taste for Baroque, and my enjoyment of Italian cities as independent kingdoms. Sometimes I wish Garibaldi had just stayed on his ship.

Had an inauspicious start, spelling [relief] R-O-L-A-I-D and thinking REND good for [not just tear]. Add in the mer/eau/lac shuffle, and it's clear I was getting a 2-L sheLLACing well before I got to the 2-L LLAMA.

Pretty well misconstrued whenever the opportunity arose, eg, having [mate] clue for WED rather than BRO, etc, but eventually got straightened out.

Had no trouble with ARTEMIS, however, since some friends named their girls Artemis and Clytemnestra. (They married while at Oberlin, which explains something, I think.) I continue to be amazed at the evil some parents visit on their young...

Also noticed the SWISH...A SHOT and other fun duos that @DEvil and others have mentioned; definitely added to the sparkle.

Ich Lieb', Johannes, EUPHORIA me, and thanks for not bringing me quite to the edge of ANAfillXAXIS.

XOXOousepac unat

wreck 4:01 PM  

Besides @steve's "ON" -- head slap, they are based in Dallas - how about "DX"?

Leapfinger 4:07 PM  

[captcha seeks the limelight one more time --- should move the cursed cursor!]

I'm feeling some kind of EUPHORIA.
[Will that do?]

The guy is a real DUCAT of LARD!
Oh LARD! Is the DUCAT Woffordshire for the races again?

Um, I gESSO.

Oxford Dictionaries 4:08 PM  


Fred Romagnolo 4:17 PM  

I DNF'd: SPAMBOT still too contemporary for this old coot; likewise with MANCAVE; "eau" didn't help. Also I just didn't know WALKOFF, and figured either "ese" or "ose" for ASE. Of course I knew the Andrews sisters, but was unaware that MAXENE spelled it that way. By far a better puzzle than yesterday's, no "var" Tushes or impossible SPITALS. I failed fair and square on this one. No resentment. Only a very sleight disagreement: when a wound festers it's not decaying but growing bigger, causing the injured party to possibly decay.

Fred Romagnolo 4:19 PM  

Oops, that's "slight", not "sleight," sorry about that.

Melodious Funk 4:21 PM  

Great, guys. I'm euphoric that you came up with a cognate. I guess I was just locked on that one. $*it happens.

Fred Romagnolo 4:25 PM  

DUCAT was the middle-ages and Renaissance coin of Venice which was ruled by a "Duke" (Doge), and therefore highly valued based on Venice's commercial strength.

Malsdemare 4:25 PM  

Did my first runtpuz yesterday and loved it. If only I could get it on my ipad. Just too damn lazy to make my way from comfy sofa to less comfy desk.

Today's puzzle put up a fight and won. Too many WOEs to name. But. I did get a few of what I thought were the harder entries. I think I'm regressing.

Nancy 4:38 PM  

What a pleasure compared to yesterday. Imaginatively-clued but normal words compared with obscure trivia that no one's ever heard of. And very few names, compared to yesterday's plethora of them -- all ridiculously arcane. Never heard of a WALKOFF HOMER, nor MALTASE; I had Maltese, then changed it, knowing there certainly was no such thing as a WeLKOFF HOMER. But still, do-able and pleasurable.

Leapfinger 5:29 PM  

@FredR -- R U Really an old coot? I've known a coterie of Old Coots in my time, but can't enlarge your photo quite enough for me to tell for sure.

You're absolutely right about 'fester'; that indicates there's a very active infection going on in living tissue, and it's the infection that can release toxins and kill living cells. That's pretty different from 'decay', which indicates rather the breakdown of something no longer living. But clues in the past have blurred that distinction, and probably will again, so I've stopped hassling over it.

[ps, for FESTERing, you can take two antibiotics and call me in the morning)

John Lieb 5:32 PM  

Thanks treedweller for the write up and all for taking the time to comment. Great to hear what you liked and what you didn't. I had a lot of fun writing this one and am glad lots of you enjoyed it.


Melodious Funk 5:35 PM  

I'll post late here, the last one for me according to the convention. I figure few will read it. That's fine by me.

I use these puzzles as a touchstone. I'm nearing eighty and am a bit concerned about the various forms of dementia associated with age. I read all the time, mostly novels these days (Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson, is my recent favorite). Unfortunately I'm finding I don't remember the last paragraph so I re-read. Disconcerting. I wish it on no one.

But puzzles: Early week give no trouble of course, I've been doing them for more than 50 years. But the Thursday-Saturday are more important for me. Not that they're more challenging, but rather as a personal titration against age (yes I'm also a freaking chemist! Who isn't in this forum? But I'm an analytical chemist, or Anal Chemist as we called it for short. Actually a nuclear chemist, whatever that is. But no more thank goodness.)

I find that on average it takes me 1+hour to finish a Friday, much longer for a Saturday. Usually. I actually begin to wonder about Saturday. It's becoming unpleasant. It could be because there are many pop references that don't reverberate with me; maybe... something else.

As the puzzle times increase I do uget concerned. Why is it taking me two hours to do a silly puzzle? But somehow when I see a quirky solution and get it, it's all the more fun. Hah! So that's what he meant! I'm still with it.

I suspect that a few others here are looking at the same phenom and wondering. Join the group.

Lewis 5:35 PM  

@wreck and @steve -- you had some different answers than I did, and I'm sure they fit the bill. The ones I had were:

spoiler alert -- PPP answer


Lewis 5:37 PM  

And I'm curious, @wreck and @steve, what your answers were...

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

@Melodious Funk

Thank you for sharing. That was the most heartfelt, uplifting post I have read in a long time.


Steve J 5:54 PM  

@Lewis: I had Exon and Exxel.

The brand names I had were Exlax (owned by Novartis) and Xanax (owned by Pfizer).

wreck 5:57 PM  


sanfranman59 6:20 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:14, 6:04, 0.86, 3%, Easy (6th lowest ratio of 230 Mondays)
Tue 8:51, 8:46, 1.01, 56%, Medium
Wed 10:36, 9:54, 1.07, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 12:13, 17:42, 0.69, 6%, Easy
Fri 19:38, 21:06, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 25:25, 26:13, 0.97, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:56, 0.90, 5%, Easy (12th lowest ratio of 230 Mondays)
Tue 5:44, 5:24, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 7:02, 6:11, 1.14, 84%, Challenging
Thu 8:22, 10:43, 0.78, 13%, Easy
Fri 14:49, 13:00, 1.14, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 17:18, 16:43, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging

jae 6:21 PM  
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jae 6:24 PM  

@M. Funk -- Caveat: I once was a psychologist who did some memory research - not so much these days.

I'm about 10 years behind you and I think part of what you are experiencing is information density. You have a lot more stuff in your head than say a 30 year old and this slows down the retrieval/clue solving process. (Plus getting older doesn't help). As to having to reread paragraphs my question is "is it like reading it for the first time or do you recognize the passage as something you've previously read?" If it's the latter I wouldn't be too concerned. I suspect most people who don't read a book in one sitting go back over what they've previously read to refresh their memories. That's why serialized TV shows often start each episode with "previously on ..."

My goal is to still be solving Sat. puzzles with out any cheating 10 years from now. More power to you!

Melodious Funk 6:25 PM  



Malsdemare 6:30 PM  

@melodious funk. I'm in your club, share your "niggles," exhalt when the penny drops. I do succumb to the temptation to cheat and will come here for the name I know I will NEVER GET, and then feel guilty for my lack of perseverance. But I'm gonna stick with it. I'm learning German (not pretty, but happening), and I'll be damned if. I'll let a puzzle scare me off.

Not a chemist; a sociolinguist. That rarely helps, more's the pity. Could we have more Sapir-Whorf, please?

Arlene 7:08 PM  

No triple crown! But I finished the Saturday puzzle with Googling. I started with ROLODEX - and finished the south - but never heard of some of this stuff. I loved WALKOFF HOMER - always liked the idea of that! Meanwhile, so much fuss over a horse race!

Melodious Funk 7:19 PM  

@Malsdemare. Sapir Whorf. (I post because it's late and I'm well over the limit.) it's a linguistic thingie I see. The only linguist I know is David Justice (not the ball player). Remarkable man. You may be interested in one of his earlier blogs, for the flavor. Diddle there for fun.


See what you think. He's always curious to read, unusual takes on relatively obscure or completely ordinary things. Never boring.

Z 7:32 PM  

I see OFL has a new Twitter account - @pangramtweets. It retweets any tweets that are pangrams. Har!

retired_chemist 7:41 PM  

@ leapginger re Maltise and Maltuse - LOL! Good one!

So @Melodious Funk is a chemist too!

Of the fifty-odd regular posters (didn't count exactly) seems four or five are chemists. IMO 8-10% of any population not biased toward chemists is remarkable.

Anonymous 8:10 PM  

@Melodious F

As we age, we lose our sense of smell. A mature human has about 5% of the smell receptors functioning that there were in childhood, yet we get by with that, and generally don't miss it. Very likely, there's a similar reduction in the brain: perhaps some neurons die, some synapses fail, some circuits short out. At some point, there may be enough cumulative change to warrant a clinical diagnosis, to leave the bearer no longer recognizable to himself as himself. Wherever that threshold lies, you give no signs of being _anywhere_ near it.

People much younger than yourself have discovered that they've put the TV remote in the refrigerator.

Anonymous 9:14 PM  

Finished Sunday. This was fun and Patrick Berry is awesome but I still am not sure that I figured out the theme...

Lewis 10:21 PM  

@steve and @wreck -- great answers

@melodious -- doesn't work, needs two X's...

retired_chemist 11:08 PM  

@ Anon 9:14 - mentioning Sunday puzzles in a Saturday blog is viewed by some as a spoiler and thus inappropriate. You were circumspect, so not likely to elicit complaints this time but do keep it in mind....


TOM 11:35 PM  

I truly did NOT appreciate this puzzle, mostly because of its misleading/obtuse clues, e.g., "Admission ticket", "Corrupted", "Bunkmates often", and especially "Professor......." (the word "professor" is, as you stated, masculine in Latin and deserves a masculine adjective (as in the French "professeur"). Also, NO ONE has been cited as "Professor Emerita" in my fifty years as a college-level professor (now EMERITUS and proudly so). I hardly think that "debased" could be a valid substitute for "Decayed", and I find the clue "Yellow type" to be especially offensive at this time when an allegedly AWOL soldier was exchanged for five terrorists who were rotting away in Guatanamo. If I see JOHN LIEB puzzle again the TIMES, I will be sure to SKIP IT. grubbnewyork@aol.com (Tom)

Fred Romagnolo 11:46 PM  

@leapfinger: don't know if anybody reads these things this late in the game, but yes, I'm an old coot; born in 1931.

Fred Romagnolo 11:49 PM  

@leapfinger: Uncle FESTER was, of course, mentioned yesterday

spacecraft 1:44 PM  

Not using the same rating system as @treedweller, I would no way call this easy--despite finishing with no lookups or writeovers.

Frankly, I have no idea how i did it. I mean, the clues were Saturday brutal. I took stab after stab in the dark, and they all turned out right. Why can't I have a poker tournament like that? I guess my Xword (X-ray?) vision must have been 2020 today, which is my captcha number. 4 needs another card, please.

DMG 3:01 PM  

Got 3/4 of this one, a lot of that by guess and by golly. But, nothing worked for me in the NW corner. Just couldn't find an entry. Thought ANACIN was right, but it crossed "mer" which also seemed right. It couldn't be both, which one? Add to that things like SPAMBOT, MANCAVE (horrible expression), and a movie I know nothing about...well, not surprised at the big blank space.

The over-80's comments were interesting. I'm there, and I've reached the stage where words just won't come when summoned, even though I know they're there. I attribute it to the above mentioned brain-jam, but it is majorily frustrating. However, as long as they do come later, sometimes much later, I guess it's just a part of the fun of getting older. Robert Browning lied!

150=6 No prize for me.

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