Creature that moves by jet propulsion, 8-9-2014, Biblical quartet, Spelunking supply, British footballer Wayne ___, Lear's youngest, How Mount Etna erupts

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: medium-challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LASCAUX (30A French locale of prehistoric cave paintings) —
Lascaux (Lascaux Caves) (English /læsˈk/,[1] French: [lasko][2]) is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in thedepartment of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.[3][4] They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossilevidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.[5] (from Wikipedia)
• • •
Hello, Rexworld. This is treedweller, filling in while Rex completes his photo essay, "Crosswordese in the Wild." Sorry for the late post; though I got through it, I couldn't help but FALL ASLEEP (2D Drop off) a few times during this one. Don't get the wrong idea—if it had been a lousy puzzle, I probably would have just googled for the solution and moved on. But, as I'm beginning to appreciate more each time, the best thing about late-week grids is when I'm sure I'll never finish, but then I do. This one was a nice mix of things I knew but couldn't see at first because of the vague cluing, and things I guessed wrong and eventually managed to correct. If not for the proper-name crossing in the SW, there would be nothing in the grid that I wasn't at least a little familiar with after I got it. Some will call that one cross a Natick (41D Fashion Designer THOM Browne / 45ABritish footballer Wayne ROONEY), but, really, what could have gone there except O?

  • 1A Colonel's charge, once KFC — I started with TNT, tried out PFC, and eventually backed into the right answer. It seems like a clunky way to start, but it works for me. I remember when it was Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I know they changed the name some time ago.
  • 1D Contents of some lockers KNAPSACKS — I'm not sure I ever heard anyone use this word in real life (though I like the two Ks). Perhaps these lockers are in 1954.
  • 25D Monocle, in British slang GLASS ONION — been hearing the Beatles all my life, but never new what this meant. 

  • 44D Conqueror of Valencia, with "the" CID — I only ever saw it con "el."
  • 49A Curtains END — nicely placed.
Signed, treedweller


jae 4:52 AM  

Mostly medium except for SW which took forever because I could not let go of SIttiNg Madonna.  I also had rECitalS before LECTURES for a while.  Got it sorted out but there was a lot of staring and erasing.  So, @treedweller medium-tough for me too including the "thinking I wasn't going to finish experience. "

Also Omar before AVON.  Omar was known for stealing AVON's drugs,  so I assumed he was dealing?

LASSAUX was a WOE so it was no help in cracking SW.

Was the 1d ego answer on purpose?

Crunchy Sat. Liked it. 

Danp 5:05 AM  

I would think a treedweller would know that in 1954, knapsacks were used for camping - not school books.

jae 5:10 AM  

...pretty evil misdirect Sitting Madonna 

Valkhorn 5:59 AM  

No comment on shine box eh? What am I? A clown? Do I amuse you? :) makes me want to watch Goodfellas again.

Jim Finder 6:06 AM  

Again with the TV shows ... I assumed that the "Drug dealer on 'the Wire'" (10D) must be played by the chanting poet AKON. That got me SHAKES at 15A for "loses ones shadow," as in shaking the detective shadowing you. Not defending those answers, mind you, but they seemed plausible enough.

OTOH, we see at 19A that couscous contains pine nuts, which sounds delicious. I'll get some today.

Susierah 7:45 AM  

What is a meme? Is that like a selfie! Liked this one even though a dnf, it was fun trying. Had to google to get Robert E. Lee to finish up the southeast!

evil doug 7:53 AM  

Elbows before hinges.
Esso before Hess.
Shine kit before box.

Ready to give it high marks--Cuban cigar, sea serpent, Ginsberg, voodoo doll, (all of) Robert E. Lee, last stand, diocese, Gospels, spits out, watered, luau, and a new tattoo cloo.

... and knapsack--until it was suggested that the creator had to go the ego route, in which case I take it all back.


Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Sorry, but to me KFC is an abbreviation. Bad way to start the upper left corner.

Loren Muse Smith 7:56 AM  

As I wrote in "hasta" for my very first entry - my faux-hold - along with I'm sure, thousands, I was thinking, "Really? Such a gimme on a Saturday?" I don't know where my trusty caveat solvor radaror was for doubting easy clues on themelesses. Nope. I wrote that baby in with a satisfied flourish and didn’t look back until much later.

I've advanced a step in sniffing around to write in desperate S's and ED's. After I dispatch those, I go ahead and put an A at the end of any literary woman's name and maybe an LY if a clue feels adverby. So I had the A in CORDELIA and the LY in VARIABLY, a few S's, and my "hasta" and just felt lost. With less than a third solved, I was beginning to panic. But. . .little by little I chipped away and finished a Saturday!!

Like treedweller says – "the best thing about late-week grids is when I'm sure I'll never finish, but then I do." This is such a good feeling. Enormously satisfying.

Ok, listen. I'm obsessed with this fascinating show, Survive the Tribe, and I've been seeing some club and ax throwing and stuff. So I've decided I'm going to buy an introductory set of knives and learn how to throw a knife at a target accurately. I've looked into this, and apparently since you have to stand about 15 feet from the target, knife-throwing isn't an ideal self-defense option, but I really like the idea of walking down the street (or entering a classroom of seventh graders) and having someone whisper, "See that woman? Over there? The mysterious, dangerous-looking one? She throws knives." Anyway, I couldn't lose the idea of "weapon" for TATTOO. And I was deeply impressed with Jackson. That really held me up in the northwest. That and checking for the eleventh time that "octopus" indeed did not fit.

Other missteps:

"bass drum" GINSBERG
"shop at" DINE AT
"atwirl, "aswirl" AWHIRL (Put that one in your pipe and smoke it, girl.)
"Coffee__" CUBAN CIGAR

Because of the small flap yesterday, I put in the bleedover SISTINE off only the T.

(Oh, and speaking of yesterday and the GRE – anyone who's taking notes – I had an abysmal score on the GRE – so low that my thesis director at UNC, who a year after I was accepted became the admissions director, could not believe that my application was even looked at. And I made straight H's (in a system of H, P, L, F - High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, Fail). So take those tests and flush'em down a demijohn or at least remember my story.)

@jae – good catch on 1D. I totally missed that.

Treedweller – thanks for subbing!

Lollapuzzoola people – have a great time!

Josh – thanks for the workout. What's not to love about FALLS ASLEEP next to CUBAN CIGAR, ROBERT E LEE next to GLASS ONION, and that cool center stagger step of 7's and 8's? Nice job!

Glimmerglass 8:02 AM  

"The best thing about late-week grids is when I'm sure I'll never finish, but then I do." This is exactly why I like xwords (and why I don't Google). And what I love about almost all Patrick Berry puzzles. @jae 1D was on papoose.

Davidph 8:05 AM  

@susierah-- 'MEME' is a term coined by Richard Dawkins. It is a unit of cultural heredity, analogous to a gene.

Davidph 8:11 AM  

@Jim Finder -- Likewise with SHAkE and AkON. Never watch The Wire. One square away from a clean Saturday finish! Grrr!

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  

Twenty minutes into the puzzle Andrew Jackson had a hairdO, John Belushi was a romanIAN, conventioneers were polS, a common dance theme was a Leap, a bishop lived in a holyseE and Shakespeare said alas. Details of how I recovered and finished triumphantly are here

Surprised you didn't comment on OWOE. You've been quoting Shakespeare all this time :-)

John Child 8:31 AM  

The northwest went down pretty quickly, and then SEAmonster or SERPENT mixed with a gimme (for a boy obsessed with archaeology as a teen) at LASCAUX to open up some of the center. Then nuttin' for a long time. I had SWAMP in and out a couple of times before I believed it because I had Parsley in my couscous. In the southeast esSo and elbowS went in (like @evil) and stayed way too long. All in all spot-on for Saturday, I thought. Crunchy, tough, nice long fill. Good fun Mr Knapp.

Twangster 8:38 AM  

Thought I would be stumped but kept at it for an hour and finally got it all. Last obstacle was changing ATWIRL to ASWIRL to AWHIRL.

RooMonster 8:39 AM  

Hey All!
Tacled the NW with surprising fluidity last night. Was going to finish it up (maybe) this morning, but forgot to take the printed version with me to work! Not viable to do on my phone, so I guess you can call this a big DNF. :-)

Maybe I'll tackle it later, even though I've already looked at the answers!

Everyone (who's there, that is) have fun at. Lollapuzzola!


jberg 8:48 AM  

Me too with the AkON/SHAkES error. In another month they'll have finished stripping and shellacking the woodwork in the room where the TV goes, we can hook it up to the cable, and actually watch some of those shoes. Until then, I pretty much have to guess those names.

Me too for atwirl -> aswirl => AWHIRL, as well. At least that worked out in the end.

But what does the "once" in 1A mean? It's KFC today -- or does it mean that the Col. no longer is in charge (which is true, I guess). My son used to live in Tokyo, in Koenji, and the first time I visited, since it takes years of experience to find a Japanese house by its address, he told me to meet him at the life-sized Col Sanders statue outside their local KFC.

Time to pack. We're off to Stonington ME for a couple of weeks. You may see me around, though, as I can usually get the Times there, and we have sort of an internet connection.

Thanks for the writeup, treedweller, esp. the Loony Tunes.

Carola 8:51 AM  

A congenial puzzle for an erstwhile art history and literature student - SISTINE, LASCAUX, SONNETS, CANTOS, CORDELIA, GINSBERG (loved that clue), LECTURES.

Also liked the combination of CLIO, the muse of history, with the reference to the Spartans' LAST STAND at Thermopylae.

And the intersection religious references in the center - the DIOCESE with its GOSPELS crossing VOODOO DOLL and LASCAUX.

A real pleasure, Josh Knapp - thank you.

Mohair Sam 8:58 AM  

So I stared at my four gimmes for half an hour (ROONEY, CORDELIA, MENU, and weapOn -Jackson clue-) and got zippo. Then She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed came down and said "12 down is PSST" and we were amazed how steadily the rest fell.

Had the @lms experience in NW because of weapOn, but it had to be CLIO or Emmy, so we finally gave up and saw the OO.

Perfect Saturday experience: looks hopeless, suffer misdirection, and finally a hard fought victory.

We get a kick out of ego clues, so KNAPSACKS was fine with us. Great clue for GINSBERG. Belushi was clearly Italian, so we'll have to straighten that out. Hasn't Wayne ROONEY been trying to lead England to a World Cup since about 1978?

Wonderful Saturday puzzle Josh Knapp. Keep 'em coming.

Hey! An opportunity to see an ad in the captcha. Makes my day for sure.

AliasZ 8:59 AM  

SISTINE two days in a row? For this neither Josh Knapp nor Bruce Haight can be blamed or credited. But since it came up, we should know a few things about the eponymous Pope.

He was born Francesco della Rovere in 1414 and was elected in 1471 as Pope Sixtus IV until his death in 1484. He furthered the agenda of the Spanish Inquisition and was famous for his nepotism, surrounding himself with relatives and friends in order to strengthen his position. His greatest achievements were sponsoring the restoration of the Aqueduct for fresh water supply to the city, restoring over 30 dilapidated Roman churches and adding a few new ones, building the road leading from Castel Sant'Angelo to St. Peter's, building the first bridge across the Tiber since ancient times, the eponymous Ponte Sisto, establishing the Vatican Archives, and most famously, sponsoring the design and construction of the Chapel. The group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpieces of the city's new artistic age. - after Wikipedia.

Of all the crooked clues in this puzzle, "Big beat?" and "How Mount Etna erupts" must be the crookedest. With the V of VOODOO DOLL in place already, I kept thinking about how Mount Etna erupts, reasonably I think: volcanically, violently, vehemently, viscerally, vaginally (sorry, I was getting desperate) but none fit. Does variability have anything specifically volcanic about it? H5m's... And trust me, you do not want to know all the things AWHIRL in my mind for "Big beat?".

A super tough nut to crack, this one, but worth every minute of it. An exceptionally clean puzzle always elicits joy.

Today only two or three entries stick out as less than ideal, but I can live with DELS, SSN, CID, OWOE, DINEAT and IMPOSEON. Not seeing "Inconvenience" as a verb, I thought IMPOSEON was some obscure word related to melodeon, odeon or bludgeon.

I love Haydn's sense of humor. He composed a movement just to scare the starch out of some of his patrons who dared FALL ASLEEP during the performance of his Symphony No. 94 in G major.

Happy weekend all.

Casco Kid 9:02 AM  

1:10. Pregoogle: CORDELIA, HOTTUBS, CANTOS, CID, GOSPELS, DIOSCESE, Tina for THOM , esSo for HESS, SHAkES fot SHAVES. That's all folks!

Googles for the unknown-to-me and unsussable clues for ROBERTELEE, Wayne ROONEY, THOM Browne, LASCAUX cave paintings, SISTINE MMadonna, AVON Barksdale, CLIO awards, GLASSONION. with those in place, the rest of the puzzle was gettable. Medium challenging, but at least google-able, making it substantially easier than Friday or Thursday.

chefbea 9:29 AM  

Too tough for me. DNF

As for is a grain. Of course you can add anything to it weather hot or as a salad. You can add tomatoes, celery, peas and even pine nuts!!

Second time I have had the same ad as my captcha. - camiocam

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

There's not one thing wrong with vaginal eruptions.

Trust me on this.

retired_chemist 9:37 AM  
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retired_chemist 9:40 AM  
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joho 9:42 AM  

I suffered a DNF with SHAkES/AkON but looks like I'm not the only one. Makes me feel a bit better.

This was a wonderful Saturday puzzle so I now join the FANDOM for the super-talented Josh Knapp!

I've never heard "CARPE manana" -- funny!

Thank, Josh and you, too, Treedweller for stepping in. I also never knew what GLASSONION meant until today -- loved learning that.

retired_chemist 9:44 AM  

CORDELIA was my lock, reached only after a long time with nothing in place.

Denied KFC since the clue didn't call for an abbeviation. Had it, I would have tried reg(iment).

IMPOSE ON seems also not to agree with the clue, which calls for a noun.

Was sure of LeSCAUX and Spent (37A) so VeR_A_LY left me with little hope in that area. Tried VeRbAlLY after fixing STALE, found it silly, gave it up. Finally checked the spelling of LASCAUX and eventually fixed everything. Long time spent, DNF.

But it was a good puzzle, albeit too rich in unfamiliar proper names. Belushi was croAtIAN for a while. PITONS are, I thought, a climber's thing, not a caver's. AVON, THOM. ROONEY, HESS (first arco then Hunt), Mt. St. ELIAS,....

Thanks, Mr.Knapp.

James Dean 9:47 AM  

Andrew Jackson's alleged tattoo appears to be somewhere on tbe fact-legend continuum leaning toward legend.

A good but not especially enjoyable puzzle. Clever cluing, but getting footholds in each of the four corners was taxing.

Leapfinger 9:48 AM  

Medium-challenging, eh? This baby had me treed in my dwelling.

Me too for NW going rather well. Doubted Belushi being ArmeNIAN, since all their name end in -IAN. Rifled my old Invertabrae Zool folder to get past 'squid' and 'octopus'; still haven't checked to see if the chambered NAUTILUS is the same as the unenchambered one. Or if it's a submarine.

The SE was tougher, the center diagonal a nightmare of wrong uns;
Ahem/ PSST
Erupts in/ SPITS OUT
Raisins/ PINENUT [hey, we're making some pretty tasty couscous here; just remember to toast them PINENUTs, less oily that way!]
GireAUX/ LASCAUX [hiding in my mind's Can't quite remember Corner]
SEAmonster, hi @Roomie!
All in/ STALE
Alas/ O WOE
What's the prob?/ deal?/ HARM?
Low/ BAA
Aisle/ FIRST
Can do manana/ CARPE manana... This is someone's idea of a joke? Oh, um.. Maybe I shouldn't talk...
My favourite wrong 'un was having that central OOD giving me THE GOOD GUY being stabbed.
Oh yes, and thinking the Arlington burial was ROgER TELEsomeone. [It was really really late by then.]

@Alias, I thought MEME would result in an aria from La Boheme.

Loved all the crunchy, misleading clues, too humorous to mention, so am forgiving the misspelling of PLATO, and Josh can keep his KNAPSACK on his back.

Valderee, Valderah, Valdera-ha-ha-ha!

Nancy 9:59 AM  

To Glimmerglass and Mohair Sam: That's what I love about late-week puzzles, too, and why I don't google either.

To lms and twangster: I also was undecided among ASWIRL, ATWIRL, AWHIRL.

To Carola: I also loved (and was completely fooled by) the GINSBERG clue.

To evil doug: Also had SHINE kit first.

To joho: I also laughed at CARPE MANANA, which I'd never heard before.

I suffered over this one before finishing -- hence loved it!

mathguy 10:00 AM  

An embarrassing DNF. It was just in a few days ago, but I flubbed SHAVES. Had SHADES and ADON. I was never able to get into The Wire.

Great comments today.

Very pleased to read several commenters including @Glimmerglass express the joy in going from seemingly defeated to triumphant. That's why we do these things.

@AliasZ: Thanks for the thumbnail of Sixtus IV.

@Valkhorn. Thanks for reminding me of the great scene in Goodfellas. I've seen it at least six times and I get more out of it every time. I think that it was Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos who gets plugged by Joe Pesci.

I don't know MEME but from the definition I found it seems to be a stretch to call one a fad.

On this coast, we call them backpacks, not KNAPSACKS.

Excellent puzzle.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Horrible number of cross-outs in the SE. Should have been a medium but I spaced on CORDELIA for such a long time and also wanted HESS to be esso and HINGES to be elbows. Which doesn't work at all. Consequently this took me 45 minutes.


Vincent Canby 10:45 AM  


If A can be B, it does not follow that B specifically has to imply A.


jdv 10:47 AM  

Medium. After getting nothing in NW and SW, finally got started with CID/CORDELIA in SE and slowly worked through the grid ending in the middle section, which was the toughest part. I couldn't see VARIABLY and never heard of LASCAUX. Had SPENT before STALE. Wanted S#ITSOUT instead of SPITSOUT. Toughest clues were 'Big beat'/GINSBERG and 'place to walk to'. Liked it.

Mohair Sam 10:49 AM  

@leapfinger - Delightful memory with valderee, valderah. It was an earworm for about a year, and now has come back. Always wanted to be the Happy Wanderer, but it never happened.

@nancy - yeah, just learned Carpe Manana too. It's awesome - I'll be using it plenty.

GeezerJackYale48 10:50 AM  

I struggled and struggled, but finally finished and felt great - except I still have no idea how/why HARE is the answer to "what's the____?"

Leapfinger 11:06 AM  

KFC came to mind quickly, perhaps because the Colonel used to come to our town on an annual basis for a stint with the Rice Diet; that fried chicken can pack on the pounds. He was a favourite when he showed up at the hospital, smiling and surrounded by his FANDOM. Colonel Sanders rather resembled SANTA, in his red velour warm-up suit.

btw, apparently Col. Sanders never got beyond Grade Sixtus. H7mm.

jae 11:48 AM  

errata: should be LASCAUX not LASsAUX

wreck 11:52 AM  

This was a huge DNF for me. Looking back at it now, if I had 2-3 hours to spend at it, I MAY have muddled through. I wandered pretty aimlessly, and gave up after an hour with a few scattered answers around the grid. This themeless so far out of my wheelhouse, I had no desire to continue.

Steve J 11:52 AM  

Definiteliy on the tougher side of medium for me. At first I only had a few scattered footholds, with at least a couple turning out to be wrong (@jae, I also had Omar - I just assume four-letter character from "The Wire" has to be Omar - @Loren, I also had Hasta, never having heard CARPE Mañana). NAUTILUS unjarred from my memory banks, and I got the NW pretty quickly. Erased Hasta, remembered CORDELIA, got the SE to fall. Then I sat staring at an ocean of emptiness in the middle. Eventually got things to come together, but only after a few missteps corrected with using the app's check-answers function.

Liked this overall. Some nice cluing, some nicer fill (GLASS ONION - the thing I learned today, in spite of knowing that song for years - SPITS OUT, CUBAN CIGAR). Love the clue for PSST. Couldn't see it forever, but when it finally became apparent, I had one of those great aha moments. Literally said to myself: "I never saw that coming. Brilliant."

@retired_chemist and Anon 7:54 a.m.: KFC isn't an abbreviation. Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed their name to KFC all the way back in 1991. So no flagging of an abbreviation is needed in the clue. Which is part of what made it a great Saturday clue. (@jberg: I think that's exactly what the "once" in the clue means: Col. Sanders once ran the business, and obviously doesn't now.)

Steve J 11:54 AM  

Oh, to echo @chefbea: 19A as clued is a green paint answer. You can put pretty much whatever you want in a dish with couscous as a base. But couscous itself has exactly two ingredients: semolina flour and water.

r.alphbunker 12:10 PM  

@Steve J

I googled "green paint answer" and found

GREEN PAINT ANSWER = adj/noun pairing that is an imaginable thing but not a phrase that deserves to stand on its own

There is no mention of a clue in the definition so I found your "as clued" qualification enlightening.

If the clue had been {Edible seed} PINENUT would not have been a green paint answer.

Maruchka 12:16 PM  

'Big beat?' spoke to me early on, but couldn't suss if it was Allen or Jack yet. Miswrites: [SPEWS]OUT, SEA[MONSTER], {ESSO]. Misspells: P[E]TONS, SIST[E]NE (again!).

Good clueing. NW came fast, SW last. I LOVE 'carpe manana'. New to me, soon to be a watch-phrase.

MEMES. "(1) an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation...(2) a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users." Ces les memes choses? Non. But clever boots to you, Mr. Knapp-sack.

@ Leap - A KFC vision! Also thought, 'MEME, you funny little, naughty little, MEME...'

@ Jae - Diocese as in diosese? Not groggin'.

Steve J 12:24 PM  

@r.alphbunker: Yep, in this case it's definitely contingent on the clue. PINE NUT is definitely a (delicious) thing. But as a couscous "ingredient", it's nothing distinct.

Perhaps there's a better term to describe this when the answer is a real thing, but it's clued in such a way as to make it completely generic. I can't think of a good term for that, though.

OISK 12:35 PM  

Completed a perfect week for me, alleviating the fears of impending senility after last week's four DNF's. Never heard of AKON, but fortunately, I had written "Shakes", and "Shades" never occurred to me. Still, "Loses ONE'S shadow" suggests the correct answer, while "Shades" would be better clued "Loses a shadow," so I probably would have gotten it. I follow British football, so Rooney was easy. SE fell last, once I walked to first and got "Robert." Really fine, crunchy, fair but difficult, nicely constructed Saturday puzzle. Ready to happily move on to the Double Crostic. (I do the Sunday crossword last) And such a lovely day, to sit outside with my pipe, IPOD, pen and Times magazine…it has really been a perfect Brooklyn summer.

fiddleneck 12:41 PM  
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fiddleneck 12:43 PM  
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r.alphbunker 12:46 PM  
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RAD2626 12:56 PM  

Very fun that SHAVES, SHAkES, and SHAdES all work with the clue.

I had crewSoCKS in my locker until they smelled. Finally figured it had to be KFC so found my way to the finish.

Liked the puzzle for all the words @evil Doug pointed out. Big beat? an impossible clue.

r.alphbunker 12:57 PM  

@Steve J

Just thinking out loud ...

It is probably impossible to know if an answer is green paint without knowing how it is clued because of wacky theme clues. For example HEAVYKNOT would be okay clued as {Gordian challenge?} if the theme was words that follow TOP.

A clue does not determine if its answer is green paint or not. If the answer for {Cous cous ingredient} had been SEMINOLA this is not green paint.

Perhaps we could call an answer that is green paint relative to its clue a blue paint answer and call its clue a yellow paint clue. So PINENUT is a blue paint answer and {Couscous ingredient} is a yellow paint clue.

mathguy 1:01 PM  

@OISK: 15A is SHAVES, as in five o'clock shadow.

Lewis 1:03 PM  

Loved the clues for FALLASLEEP, PLATEAU, SHAVES, IMPOSEON, and FIRST. Many lively answers already mentioned. I solved this in fits and spurts, and am grateful for puzzles like this, where I learn new things like GLASSONION (as I learned onion dome on Thursday), and where I get to strongly work the brain.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): By anagramming answers, can you find:
1. An opera
2. How some cats are found (ego answer for our reviewer).
3. Airplane cabin feature
4. Roofing material

If you find one or more and wish to post, either post the second letter of the original answer(s), or use I'll post answer later this afternoon.

Leapfinger 1:06 PM  

@ret_chem, I completely agree about PITONS for climbing rock faces. [ps, they should not be left behind!]

@Maruchka, good one! I'm always up for a little M. Chevalier. Thank Heaven for little pearls.

@r.alph, I believe all seeds are edible, if you set aside issues of taste and after-effects. But thanks for clearly defining 'green paint'. Now I just have to find it if WOE is something besides 'what on earth'.

@SteveJ, How about 'floaters"?

jae 1:12 PM  

@Maruchka - I assume you missed my errata (or is it erratum) at 11:48 - Late night typo. Sorry.

Steve J 1:21 PM  

@r.alph: Love the blue/yellow combo.

@Leapy: I'm glad I wasn't drinking when I read your suggestion.

Done for the day. Have a good Saturday, everyone.

Norm 1:22 PM  

DNF because of the SHAKES/SHAVES [never considered SHADES] cross. I thought that was a total fail on the part of constructor/editor, since there is no way to choose between the two unless you know the answer to the trivia question. Given that there are so many other ways that AVON could be clued, I went with AKON. You can count me as dissatisfied with this one.

michael 1:52 PM  

Very nice Saturday. As others have said, it is really satisfying to seem stuck at first and then slowly get it all.

AliasZ 2:18 PM  
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AliasZ 2:28 PM  


1. Gbfpn
2. gerrq
3. nvfyr
4. fyngr

Here are a few more. Same rules:

5. Electric motor part
6. AMC model until 1980
7. Most heartless
8. Confine
9. Santa's ride
10. Blow the car horn to get her attention
11a. Certain horses
11b. Engine part
11c. Memo elements
11d. Despise (2 wds.)

These are a bit green-paintish, so I did not assign a number to them:

- Group of chief executives (slang, 2 wds.)
- Members of a perennial plant species, some of which are called quaking (2 wds.)
- "Longhorn Bar" or "Cowgirls Wanted" or "On Tap" (2 wds.)

There may be more possibilities, but this will do for now.

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

"Glass onion" and The Beatles! Me, too. Sheesh. After all this time...

Rick M 2:48 PM  

My vote for best clue of the week goes to "Swinging joints" for HINGES.

Arlene 2:55 PM  

I'm a Googler if I'm not getting anywhere - so I did manage to finish - but it was Saturday hard for me.

I did know Cordelia, as I've been reading up on the Shakespeare in the Park production of KING LEAR - and plan to see it tomorrow evening at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Looking forward to that!

Fred Romagnolo 3:51 PM  

Had to Rand-McNalley for ELIAS, otherwise no googling; unlike everybody else I struggled most in the NW. @Mathguy is right, on this coast we don't have KNAPSACKS. Although I don't time these, I happen to notice that it took me 2 hours. @Chemist:"I hope I don't IMPOSE ON you"; it's a verb. @Alias Z: slight disagreement - Sixtus' greatest achievement was the elevation of his nephew to church prominence, without whose prodding of Michaelangelo, we wouldn't have the frescoes (frescos? potatoes?).

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

Like some have said above, I too was one letter off from a perfect solution. And no google! Having never seen The Wire I put aDon, thinking that one loses one's shadow in the shaDes. Ah, we'll.

But fun overall. Good sat puzzle


Leapfyngr 4:53 PM  

@r.alph, Really nice, the way U mixed it up with the Blue Paint and the Yellow Paint. There's a special talent in giving serious consideration to a bit of nonsense [cf, "Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown", J Irreproducible Results] That bit of 'thinking out loud gets the ROY G BIV Award.

@Alias, am pleased that you worked in one of my favourite Beatles numbers:
Will you still need me,
Will you still feed me
When I'm Sixtus IV?

Your list of anagrammarians looks anaprescriptive.

Lewis 5:02 PM  



And please note @AliasZ's post, where he has a good number more!

@aliasz -- ELIAS came close to ALIAS, I was hoping to find your name there, but alas. Terrific list you made. I've been away all day, and I'm heading out again for plans tonight, but in a quick scan, I got your #5, 6, 9, and 11A-D. I hope you post the answers later. But I do have one more for you that I just found:

12. Nudist feature, often.

mathguy 5:10 PM  

@Leapfynger: Lovely!

Lewis 5:11 PM  

@aliasz -- just got 10

Lewis 5:19 PM  

And one more for you @aliasz:

13. What comes out of those 11a's.

I'm off, but much later, if you haven't gotten these last two, I'll post them.

r.alphbunker 5:32 PM  


From "This Book Warps Space and Time: Selections from the Journal of Irreproducible Results":

"Do 1,000 chameleons make a chabeleon?"

FWIW. I have been trying to capture the subjective experience of solving a puzzle with my movies. I have made a giant leap today. Click the Fast forward button. The moving gray square is a poor man's eye tracker, it shows how I moved the cursor around as I was solving and my eye followed the cursor. The red letters are all the mistakes I made. A lot of them do not show up in the movie of the correct answers because they were entered and deleted between two correct answers.

AliasZ 6:06 PM  

PPP II answers:




Sorry, but I am past Sixtus IV.
"Mi chiamano MEME" -- maybe next time.


sanfranman59 6:11 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:25, 6:01, 1.07, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:07, 8:01, 0.89, 17%, Easy
Wed 14:00, 9:31, 1.47, 99%, Challenging (4th highest ratio of 240 Wednesdays)
Thu 14:27, 17:28, 0.83, 20%, Easy
Fri 19:02, 20:26, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 29:11, 25:07, 1.16, 87%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:22, 3:55, 1.11, 87%, Challenging
Tue 4:42, 5:10, 0.91, 14%, Easy
Wed 10:14, 6:08, 1.67, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 240 Wednesdays)
Thu 10:05, 10:49, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:52, 13:03, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Sat 22:07, 16:56, 1.31, 92%, Challenging

So now Google is making ad money from camiocam? It's pretty clever of them to introduce this (relatively) new source of advertising cash flow, ay?

Leapfyngr 6:43 PM  

@mathguy, so pleased you noticed! That was a last-minute bit of serendip.

@r.alph, just love the JIR and its spinoff: the perfect publication for serious people with an advanced sense of the ridiculous.

So, will a million million chameleons make a chatreeleon? I wouldn't 'dwell' on that...

As an aside, it reminds me of a comment made by one TJ on another blog, about his pet iguanas, Camille and Leon, who apparently were having marital problems. Seems Leon was suffering from a reptile dysfunction. Stop me if you've heard this.

And your movie was fantastic; I watched the whole thing, and almost shouted "No!" when you put in SEAHORSE.

Sorry I didn't have the chance to try the PPP. It looked like a real anagram-fest, I just didn't have the anapest for it today.

Z 7:26 PM  

NW was easy. The SW to NE took a little longer. Having to get out of the house I am staring at GINSBE-- and parsing it GIN'S BE?? -- As I'm walking out the door I say to my wife "Big Beat? and I have G-I-N-S-B-E and no idea." Her response after 0.0002 seconds of consideration was GINSBERG. D'oh!

I was very disappointed that 36A got a baseball clue instead of "Maiden."

Z 7:45 PM  

Catching up on some reading and happened upon this article about people compiling a database of usage manuals. I personally found the final paragraph laugh inducing.

Maruchka 7:54 PM  

@ Jae - Me, too. Wrote groggin' instead of grokkin'...

@ Leap - I'm a sucker for Chevalier/Eddy/MacDonald movies. Never ever expected it, but - there you are. Carpe Manana!

Lewis 8:13 PM  

@aliasz -- terrific answers and entries. The two extra I gave for you were:


LaneB 8:28 PM  

Clues for VARIABLY, MENU, AVON [could have been Elba], SISTINE [could have been Sitting], FIRST, CARPE and PSST didn't seem to have much to do with the answers. I guess that's par for the course on Saturday, but these irritated me more than usual--and, of course, led to total confusion in the NE and a not unexpected DNF. Not a cute puzz--just a pain in the you-know-what. Face it, I'm really a sore loser.

Dirigonzo 8:17 PM  

I called it quits last night (Saturday) with the SE section mostly blank and no hope for progress. When I picked it up again tonight (Sunday), HINGES, TANGENT and IMPOSEON seemed obvious and the rest went in on crosses. I still had to come here to see why GLASSONION was right. Some would call me "stubborn" - I prefer the term "persistent".

Bob Kerfuffle 2:01 PM  

@ GeezerJackYale48 - No one seems to have answered your question, so I hope you have noticed that the answer was "What's the HARM?"

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

Rats! After much brain-abusing, I triumphanty completed the grid--only to find I had one square wrong! Loses one's shadow (person following him) = SHAkES, no? As to that guy on "The Wire," I had no idea, so AkON looked as good as anything else. SHAVES. Yes, sure, I see it now. One's 5 o'clock shadow. The "D" never even occurred.

That's too bad, because I had such a tough time getting started, with only CORDELIA, CID and DEEM to help. Finally took a total flier on ROBERTELEE, and was rewarded. I had to "Howl" at the clue for GINSBERG. Many such clues bothered me. "How Mount Etna erupts" for VARIABLY?? A hundred thousand things happen VARIABLY. You pick out a specific volcano?? That's pretty mean.

Another in the same vein: "Contents of some lockers" for KNAPSACKS. I don't doubt that some people keep a knapsack in their lockers, but really. Lots of other junk is in there, too. Why do we have to pick out one particular item? Arbitrary. That's what those clues are: arbitrary. And to my mind, unfair. The spacecraft flag flies for both those clues.

The NE natick? Well, punish me for never having seen "The Wire." I guess that's on me. The rest of this was an arduous but rewarding (almost) experience. I have to deduct for those arbs, but make it a B.

304, extending the theme of the day: close but no CUBANCIGAR.

DMG 1:16 PM  

I join those who originally thought "no way", but then a letter fell here and there ( those French caves start with LA and, I think S), and so it went, almost letter by letter, until things started falling. Really resisted the LEE answer because I "knew" the Arlington Cemetary location was selected to keep,the LEE house from becoming a shrine. So much for what I remember from a tour some 50 years ago! My locker contained some kind of booKS for while, which agreed with KEG. My SEAmonsters had to become SERPENTS, and I had to accept that the hero might be called the CID in some odd translation. But that C reminded me of the youngest daughter. A bit more, and I was done! And, yes, it's a nice feeling!

Not so nice, 608.

rain forest 1:58 PM  

I did this one pretty quickly, too quickly as it turns out. No writeovers, and plenty of good guesses, mainly ROBERT E LEE, off the R.

I was feeling smug when I came here only to find that "reckon" was *not* DEal, as in, "you'll have to reckon with me, pard", and I hadn't checked the crosses; I might have got FANDOM if I had.

So, second DNF in a row. That hasn't happened in a while, but this one I blame on my hubris. Lesson learned.

362 Another lesson learned.

Waxy in Montreal 4:32 PM  

Gave this one a AWHIRL but OWOE like many fell victim to the SHAKES/AKON nattick. Also overthunk 1A with ADC (Aide-de-Camp) rather than the more obvious KFC and had John Belushi as a CROATIAN which led to a DNF in the Pacific NW.

ROONEY, ROBERTELEE, HOTTUB, ELIAS, SWAMP and SANTAS were gimmes but failed to take full advantage due to KEWPIEDOLL at 27A and SPEWSOUT at 15D. Understand but have never heard of a SHINEBOX or GLASSONION (despite originating in the UK) which slowed down the solve.

OTOH, loved the cluing for GINSBERG and the proximity of GOSPELS and DIOCESE.

Still trying to squeeze a var. of SINGLE-MALT into 35A.

If my 900 indeed = 9, might yet end up FIRST and CARPE diem.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Ah, Saturdays. Went well in the northwest, but dnf. Don't know if I ever will complete one on Sat without a google fest, but like Sisyphus, my efforts improve my character: I hope. Sigh . . . . Stupid on Saturday.

cg 10:21 PM  

I had to look up Cordelia (I still haven't read King Lear) and Rooney (I had "ohme" instead of "owoe" and could see it wasn't right but couldn't quite put it together). I liked this one.

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