Winner of annual posedown / SAT 8-16-14 / Genre for Django Reinhardt / 1959 #1 hit for Fleetwoods / Eric Cartman's mom on South Park / Next President comedian / 2009 Grammy winner for Crack Bottle

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Constructor: Peter Broda

Relative difficulty: Medium for me, but this will vary widely today...

THEME: none

Word of the Day: VITUS (26A: One of saintdom's Fourteen Holy Helpers)
Saint Vitus /sɨnt ˈvtəs/, according to Christian legend, was a Christian saint from Sicily. He died as a martyrduring the persecution of Christians by co-ruling Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in 303. Vitus is counted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the Roman Catholic Church.
Saint Vitus' Day is celebrated on 15 June. In places where the Julian Calendar is used, this date coincides, in the 20th and 21st centuries, with 28 June on the Gregorian Calendar.
In the late Middle Ages, people in Germany and countries such as Latvia celebrated the feast of Vitus by dancing before his statue. This dancing became popular and the name "Saint Vitus Dance" was given to theneurological disorder Sydenham's chorea. It also led to Vitus being considered the patron saint of dancers and of entertainers in general.
Vitus is considered the patron saint of actorscomediansdancers, and epileptics. He is also said to protect against lightning strikes, animal attacks and oversleeping, and is the patron saint of Bohemia. (wikipedia)
• • •

Saw the constructor name and buckled my damn seatbelt. I know Peter Broda (and you should know him too) from his independent puzzle site, The Cross Nerd, which ceased regular production earlier this summer but seems poised to maintain irregular production (you can sign up for his Google Group and get new puzzles sent free, right to your Inbox).  I gave one of Peter's puzzles Puzzle of the Week honors back in March, and he's been on the short list many other weeks this year. I generally think of his stuff as slightly too edgy or avant-garde for the NYT, so I'm glad in this case that I was wrong. This is a fresh and colorful puzzle, one that abounds in lively longer words and phrases. He's got a great ear for modern colloquialisms, and this lends his puzzles a lot of character and charm. Sure, AHA MOMENT's been done before, but "NOT YOU TOO!" and "DID I STUTTER?" are wonderful, wish-I'd-thought-of-it phrases, and even short ordinary stuff like META (41A: Like some horror films, in modern lingo) and GUMS (28A: Windbags beat them) is jazzed up by clues that situate those words in the context of the slangy way people talk. Common turns of phrase are something an observant, artful constructor is always looking out for. They lend unexpected pop to puzzles, and are more likely to make me smile than virtually any other category of answer.  I love a deep dictionary cut like PTARMIGAN, but there's something magical about an answer rooted in the vagaries of human speech. Makes the puzzle feel alive.

Yes, there are weak spots. SAME'S and ELSE'S are particularly insidious S-ending contractions, and MESS TENTS is just a giant safety net of 1-point letters. ENATE never excited anyone, IDI and OTERI are hoary, and RST YOO must be kidding. Still, there's just too much good for any of that smaller stuff to matter much. I don't like the choice to cross IAN and LIANE and then give both of them contemporary TV show clues (51A: "Pretty Little Liars" actor Harding / 46D: Eric Cartman's mom on "South Park"). That's the kind of thing that gets you into Natick territory real quick. But that "I" really couldn't have been any other letter, so no real harm done.

I found this one relatively easy to start with because I knew the [Genre for Django Reinhardt] had to have JAZZ in it somewhere. I wanted GUITAR JAZZ or JAZZ GUITAR, but … no fit. So I just mentally slid JAZZ to the end of the answer and checked the crosses. Let me tell you, when you start with the Js and the Zs, especially in initial positions, those crosses come quick. Got all of them in short order (though had JOLT for JUMP at first). So despite not knowing VITUS and thinking PTARMIGAN (3D: Prey for an arctic fox) had a "T" on the end (through a bizarre conflation of TERMAGANT and CORMORANT), the NW went down easily enough. Had a little trouble with the word after DEGREE—seriously considered MINES and MINTS before the (now seemingly obvious) MILLS came into view. Had DRAKE / CHEEKIEST before eventually correcting to DR. DRE / CHEERIEST. Bottom half of the puzzle was very pliable, in general. Hardest part of puzzle for me by far was uncovering (!) MS. OLYMPIA. First letters were both solid and (to me) inscrutable. MSO-??? The only famous MS. I know is surnamed PAC-MAN. But then EPONYMS and UNSURE ended up coming pretty easily, and I eventually set MS. OLYMPIA into place to end the puzzle.

I did not know YO HEAVE HO was a thing (2D: Cry that helps people pull together). YO HO HO, yes. HEAVE HO, yes. YO HEAVE  HO, no. But there it is.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Carola 12:22 AM  

 A lively, voluble puzzle - YO HEAVE HO! NOT YOU, TOO! DID I STUTTER? SOOEY!  EIEIO. Meanwhile, some ULULATE and WAIL.  

Whether planned or serendipitous, I got a kick out of a couple of the juxtapositions - YO HEAVE HO leading into EIEIO and the euphonious YOO-SUE-DEBUSSY-SOOEY chain.  Also liked CUT-UP next to OTERI and STAR next to MATT DAMON.  And the modern MS. OLYMPIA hanging around with classical/mythical PLUTO, ERATO, and MEDEA.  Placing SOOEY next to MESS TENTS - surely not a comment on Army food?

Solving it....the left side fell into place fairly quickly, but I had to pick at the isthmus and barely pencil ideas in on the right side until the answers gradually materialized.  New to me: GUMS and META as clued, STARWIPE and DID I STUTTER as a stock phrase.  AHA MOMENT was a treat, as I was looking at A HAM????? - very fun when it clicked.

@Rex - I didn't recognize Peter Broda, but will be sure to look for him now.

Thank you, Peter Broda - a great workout for me and lots of fun.

Whirred Whacks 12:26 AM  

Tough grind. Got traction in SW with my favorite clue "what's round because of too many rounds" = BEER BELLY.

Also liked SAHL, my favorite political comedian from the 60s. DEGREE MILLS brought a smile.

Have a good weekend!

okanaganer 1:01 AM  

You know what really scares me? The thought that I am starting to think like Rex. As I (slowly) pieced together the answers, I repeatedly said to myself: "Self, I like this one. And so will Rex". That northwest corner was really juicy. The Southeast wasn't bad either.

I was absolutely certain that 11D "Cell interiors" had to be NUCLEI.

Knowing Peter Broda so well (okay, we exchanged emails once) I really really wanted 39A to be "WHY, DID (YO)U FART?" In another ten years that may well be an acceptable NYT answer.

Also, knowing Peter is a Saskatchewanian (15 letters!...boy would I love to see that word in a puzzle) made 29D a gimme. Except at first I had CDT = Central Daylight Time. That time zone quirk used to really screw with my head when I commuted from college in Manitoba to parents' home in British Columbia. In the summer, change the time at the Man./Sask. border; in the winter, at the Alberta border. Once the fall clock change happened on the day I crossed Sask., which was really confusing.

jae 1:07 AM  

Medium-tough again for me.  NW took a while as PTARMIGAN was a WOE, and if you don't know it inferring it is not easy. 

STAR WIPE was also a WOE and now that I've read what wiki had to say I know why.

Why does a SHAY require a "hoss" as opposed to a horse?

I've watched a TON of South Park episodes and had no clue Cartman's mom was LIANE.   Subtitles would be essential for a correct spelling.  @Rex - as a possible alternative I briefly considered an E (who knows what odd names actors have these days) but Evan's heuristic prevailed. 

All that said I liked it.  Very zippy NW plus BEER BELLY, DEGREE MILLS, DID I STUTTER, MR BLUE, MS OLYMPIA...  and also crunchy.

Posted from my iPad in another prairie province Banff, Alberta.

Mark 1:26 AM  

The Deacon's Masterpiece; or The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay"
by Oliver Wendell Holmes
used to be a famous old poem. Now, apparently, it's only old, not famous.

Casco Kid 1:38 AM  

I kept at it, but NE wasn't gettable without flat out knowing [Spaceship Earth setting] EPCOT, which I didn't know. I googled for it after 90 minutes and the otherwise vacant NE fell quickly. OTERI, TOSEA, CUTUP, PLASMS were all clued pretty vague, so that first letter meant the difference.

NW was a different matter. I googled for Django Reinhardt (after guessing Django was the movie character and investing 10 minutes on western racial justice thematic genres based on Django Unchained) only to find that Wikipedia's genre frenchJAZZ didn't fit. What to do? It was still a deep suss to get GYPSYJAZZ from a deconstruction of the wikipage. (The actual term is on the page, but buried way down there.)

In the end I ran out of patience and discovered errors with [Clicking point] AHeMOMENT and PTeRMIGAN, which goes unlisted on the artic fox wiki. The fox eats everything, and I did remember PTARMIGANS (but not the correct spelling) from a trip to Denali 2 years ago.

Lastly, I erred on SOuEY/ERATu. I'm sure ERATu is an alternate transliteration for ERATO, and SOOEY Piiiig and SOuEY Piiiiig are equivalent (unwritten) cheers in down in Fayetteville.

So, Medium Challenging/Undoable but not so bad as to INDISPOSE me with self-loathing, here.

jae 1:40 AM  

@Mark - Thanks. Some how missed that poem in my checkered upbringing.

I skip M-W 1:45 AM  

good work out, except Braille is an eponym but not Louis Braille, I think. Les Paul works though. You can play a Les Paul guitar, if you can play guitar, but even if you read Braille, you don't read Louis Braille.
@ Carola, Liked the Aha Moment when I got that answer,.
btw, not sure I understand why "did I stutter" is rude or a joke or anything in reply to "Excuse me". anyone?

Mark 2:06 AM  

@ I skip M-W: "Excuse me" can mean many things, including "I did not understand you," or "I strongly disagree with what you said," or a kind of combination of both of those: "I can't believe what you just said; I must have mis-heard." Thus, "Did I stutter?" is a very confrontational response, implying that the excuser is being stupid or trying not to listen, or a combination of both.

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Medium challenging for us also.

I want EPCOT to have two T's, I need to get over that. At first I thought that there were a lot of words starting in two incompatible consonants, PT, MS, GY, MRB, in the end they all fell into place. Did have to finally Google MS OLYMPIA never heard of a "pose down". The first time I saw the word PTARMIGAN I pronounced it PAH TARMIGAN and have ever since, just think it's funnier that way.

Loved BEER BELLY and it's always fun to see my beloved PACKERS in a puzzle. Did not know Cartman's mom, always thought of her as Mrs. Cartman.

Good thing I'm not married to Mr. Wenders, WIM and WEN WENDERS would be a tad bit over the top.

Good puzzle Mr. Broda, thanks.

Anonymous 4:19 AM  

@Mark, The Deacon's Masterpiece is no longer famous? That makes me want to ULULATE!

Moly Shu 4:24 AM  

@Chefwen, I think I can help

Much easier to remember than

chefwen 4:31 AM  

@Moly Shu - Ahh, now I can remember. Have been there once, when it first opened, and you are right. Thanks!

mac 5:44 AM  

Very tough for me, but the most amazing thing was putting in 18A Oates without crosses. I wouldn't not even recognize their music, I think, only know them from Xwords.

List of things I did not know off-hand:
Degree mills
28A Gums
Gypsy jazz
Yo before Heave Hoe

I had to give up on the NW.

RAD2626 7:07 AM  

Very hard for me. Never had an AHA MOMENT. Had Abcde for starting lineup and kept it there until I filled RST for character strong in SE and realized it had to be wrong. Could not get 1A despite having G----JAZZ. WANTED SAMEiS true which did not fit and mental cramped on contraction. Thought cluing was fair and Saturday-esque but made things even harder. Liked BEER BELLY and MESS TENTS clues the best.

Gill I. P. 7:18 AM  

Puzzles like these help those of us afflicted with the malady of insomnia. If you can't rest your brain, at least give it a marathon run.
I actually finished this one albeit some help was needed. But first, let me say that the cluing was down-right crackerjack. How could you not like the clue for BEER BELLY and EIEIO....?
I bet I'm the only ZOT who wrote in GERMAN RAP for 1 across....After getting NOT YOU TOO and AHA MOMENT I crawled back to the top and whittled away at GYPSY and JAZZ.
Now PTARMIGAN was something else. Had to google that puppy. MESS halls messed me up. I want to thank the staff at my dentist office for supplying me with People Magazine so that I know who the sexiest men alive are. MATT DAMON saved my bacon.
@chefwen....Ha! WEN WENDERS!
I won't be forgetting your name Peter Broda. You are the VITUS TITUS of puzzledome.

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

Hard, but easier than yesterday's, and not as satisfying, but I enjoyed all the things Rex and others are praising today. My AHA moment came when I finally remembered that PTARMIGAN doesn't start with a T.

Susierah 8:31 AM  

A typical dnf Saturday for me. After 45 minutes had finished all of it except the northwest corner. Had gnats, and a team, but couldn't get any more. Finally googled Durango, so I kept trying to squeeze guitar something into 1A. Just couldn't get it done. Really liked aha moment after coming here, and learning what a ptarmigan is.r

evil doug 8:57 AM  

I prefer "diploma mills".


Loren Muse Smith 9:03 AM  

Well, heck. I didn’t' finish, but I came pretty darn close. Not knowing STAR WIPE, LIANE, or WIM was my undoing; I just couldn't sort things out in the southeast.

Unbelievably, my first three entries were SOOEY, DEBUSSY, and DID I STUTTER. I was delighted with this last one.

@okanaganer – me, too, for "nuclei." And, Rex – me, too, for considering "jolt" first.

I can be accused of windbaggery, but I usually show restraint and merely flap my GUMS.

Until my second cup of coffee kicked in, I was trying to come up with some ridiculous piece of property whose name is a palindrome. And I was so excited because we were talking about palindromes in (middle school math) yesterday while I was calling roll. – I have a "Hannah." I showed'em "race car" and that desperately- grasping "Able was I ere I saw Elba." So here I was all geared up to show them a big ole eight-letter one. This despite this guy, Joey, who said, "Uh, can we do math now?" Hey – I covered every part of the review that the other two math teachers covered, *and* my charges learned about palindromes. This coming Monday I think we'll cover EPONYMS and guess whose name will become famous. Sorry, Joey.

Looks like I'll be the long-term sub in middle school math until they can hire a real teacher. Sheesh. I have to learn translations, reflections, and rotations this weekend. (@Z – know of any DEGREE MILLS where I could get a quick certification so I can just be a full-fledged English teacher?!)

Am I the only one who was considering "heads" for the place where captains go? Isn't it funny that "go" is a euphemism for "pee" - ? (@jberg – the placement of the dash, question mark is my way around committing to putting the question mark inside or outside of the quotation mark. I'm still utterly lost on that convention now.)

How 'bout this:

A-camping were LIANE and VITUS
Who called to their dear old friend TITUS,
"Come out of that TENT!"
But came his lament,
"Damn GNATS – they'll just start to bite us."

Be happy it's just a dumb limerick and not The Psalm of the Ptarmigan or The Detritus of Vitus and Titus

@jae – I'm envious – Banff is beautiful!

Peter – really nice puzzle! Thanks!

evil doug 9:07 AM  

Loren: teach 'em "a slut nixes sex in Tulsa."


greendragon 9:12 AM  

Yo heave ho --- Song of the Volga Boatmen

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Grr. Stupidly DNF on "ZONES" instead of "ZONKS," leaving the "Pan Arab Emirates" PAE as 20 across. I have never seen PAK as an abbreviation for Pakistan, but I suppose "zones out" really isn't an answer for 8 down. Did I mention UGH? Ugh.

NCA President 9:34 AM  

Very challenging for me...and there were definitely some aggravating moments: PTARMIGAN, META (is that what the kids are calling horror flicks now?), DEGREEMILLS (had DeestudentS for a while), and a few others.

But overall, it was fair. That said, many of the clues read more like riddles than clues so I had to make some adjustments there. Also I thought TITUS and VITUS in the same puzzle was weird.

Bill from FL 10:13 AM  

Challenging to me, too. Even though I knew used the same logic as Rex to reach JAZZ right away, the NW did not fall as easily for me. And even after solving the NE and NW, nothing really flowed until BEER BELLY gave me a foothold in the south. I really stared at STAR WIPE trying to decide if that could really be a thing, and DID I STUTTER trying to figure out how that was a rude response. Still a great solving experience--entertaining all the way though.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Help me... why is Les Paul an eponym?

NCA President 10:39 AM  

@anon 10:16: A "Les Paul" is a guitar.

AliasZ 10:41 AM  

Again with the BEER BELLY? NOT YOU TOO, Peter Broda.

What an entirely charming puzzle! Except for the S-SW where there were just too many names I didn't know: LIANE? Really? I thought that was the wooden vine that climbs all the way to the canopy of tropical forests. WIM? Sounds like the partner of wigor. Liked the wink to IAN Livengood though, but not to DRDRE. Hey constructors, can we puh-LEEZE, get rid of DRDRE forever? I much prefer Deirdre.
MATT DAMON, sexiest man alive? You have got to be kidding me. I put in LeTTerMaN at first, although he's no Adonis either.
What MATT DAMON does after he is finished is called a STAR WIPE.
I loved the META MEDEA, MEDAL pile-up in the middle.
The only DIDI I know is the legendary Brazilian soccer player, and the only TUTTER I know is the little blue mouse muppet. I was unaware of DIDI'S TUTTER.
I learned today that SOOEY is a shout for calling pigs. If the farmer is in a hurry, he yells out "CHOP SOOEY!"
ULULATE may be how a stutterer says "you late!", but I'm UNSURE.

What I am sure about is that Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli play "La mer" here -- no, not the DEBUSSY "La mer".

There once lived a dapper young PTARMIGAN
Who has worn a hand-knitted cardigan.
But snatched by a fox
While snoozing on rocks,
He could never display his charm again.

MEDEA has been the subject and heroine of many works of art, operas, ballets, plays, etc. This is a brief excerpt from the 1693 opera Médée by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704). In this recording the legendary Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) directs her ensemble.

Enjoy your weekend!

CBXW 10:42 AM  

Strange—I was getting nowhere with this one, went through all the acrosses without a hit. Then I instantly got Ptarmigan and it all started to fall into place.
Agree with Carola on the fun juxtapositions.

RooMonster 10:44 AM  

Hey All!
Found this one (like most Saturdays) challenging. A big DNF for me, I got the south done (after Googling all [yes
All] the names down there [is it really a crime to Google not-known-names?])

I did have EPCOT in, plus OTERI & TOSEA, and still couldn't suss it out. Me also for Cartmans mom. I could have sworn I knew that... Still haven't heard of some of these answers! I wS looking also for an actual palindrome (Hi @lms!) for 4 D. Did manage to get SAMES. Can someone explain STARWIPE? Do they mean get rid of high priced talent for nobodys who will work for less?

Anyway, have fun everybody, looking forward to a nice Sunday puz!


Z 11:12 AM  

Philosophical question - If you give up because you can't find your error and check the grid on Rex's blog and discover you don't have an error, is it a DNF?

Django Reinhardt sounds like an Alt-Emo-Electronica-Rap act to me. SHAY MEDEA is definitly East Coast Rap, while BEERBELLY DR DRE seems like old school rap. VITUS GUMS is probably Grunge and ULULATE UND IDI has got to be Krautrock.

Everything was typical Saturday except for the NW. SAME'S seems especially weak to me. PTARMIGAN was only going to come from the crosses for me.

@CascoKid - "Five letter SNL" is going to be OTERI about 95.7% of the time.

@ LMS - No, but there are schools that will give credit for time served and just make you do the pedagogical classes. Unfortunately, there are probably also requirements to do practicums and student teaching, too. As for math, it's just teaching kids to read a different language, especially in middle school.

Tita 11:17 AM  

GIll - I rarely suffer from insomnia, but I think that you and I were probably puzzling at the same time, 3 time zones apart, until I finally ZONKed out.
And all your sentiments exactly, BTW.

@lms - I flap my gums too. Thought that was an old-timey entry, as is CUTUP. (Plenty of Us for M&A today...)

I thought of your debut puzzle at PTARMIGAN - that was your NYT debut, n'est-ce pas?

Diploma MILLS sound right to me too.

I needed to reveal one wrong letter in the NW to be able to finish, so a DNF, but no googling required.

ZONKS and ZOT look cool together in the grid. YOU crossing YOO I like too.
Love the clue for EIEIO and UND.

Thanks Mr. Broda!!

mathguy 11:19 AM  

Sweated over the NW for an hour. Didn't know PTARMIGAN, ZOT, GYPSYJAZZ, YOHEAVEHO. Of course I know "Yoo hoo" but YOO was still a problem.

I had to sweat too much to say that I enjoyed it.

I agree with @I skip M-W. Louis Braille is not an eponym. I don't like that pretentious word even when it's used correctly.

@Susierah: I had the same words you did in the NW and was looking for GUITAR across the top until I lucked out and came up with GYPSYJAZZ.

@evildoug: I don't have emordnilapphobia. To the contrary, I love palindromes. But I don't think I've heard the one about Tulsa before. Very neat.

Mohair Sam 11:23 AM  

What a brutal Saturday workout for us. Absolutely loved it. We were battling hopelessly through the NW (Damned drAY for SHAY, and puppieMILLS tied our hands) until I had an aha moment at AHAMOMENT - then we lost 5 minutes laughing before finishing this challenge.

Just what a Saturday puzzle should be - not much to add to Rex and what most here have said. PTARMIGAN! Talk about tough fill; but we learn. I new learning the Song of the Volga Boatmen would come in handy sometime, btw.

Need to report that ULULATE exists outside of crossword puzzles. Have just finished the first two books of "Game of Thrones" and George R.R. Martin has used the word three times. Maybe he's a cruciverbalist.

Nancy 11:26 AM  

In 2 words: IM
Entire Northern section, E and W, were ungettable and unguessable for me. Had EEMILLS and should have had DEGREE MILLS but could only see COFFEE MILLS, though obviously I didn't write it in. The rest of the top -- fuhgeddaboudit. And why, once again, were there so many pop song/singer clues???? I loved BEER BELLY, but that's about all I loved.

quilter1 11:34 AM  

Hard but fun. I enjoyed SOOEY as being timely. The Iowa State Fair is winding down and always includes a hog calling contest so the SOOEYs have been ringing out.

Leapfinger 11:35 AM  

Ha @Rex, crossing PTARMIGAN with TERMagant! Suspect that a TERMite wood do.
@jae, I did my level best to make Banff prairie, but failed. Will settle for just being jealous, though remembering the GNATS at Mosquito Creek, maybe NOT...
@Gilly, ZOT's right! Great post.

Any grid starting with DjangoR will be a winner. Been listening to his CDs at work: apparently a finger deformity is the reason for his unusual playing style. Those JAZZy ZZs were the tops, and PTARMIGAN made it one AHA MOMENT after another. My only grouse was that I'd thought they looked more like puffins, discovered on review I was wrong about that.

Plenty of digging and scratching to be found, but only a couple of really wrong terns. For awhile, I was afraid we were stuck with ENDISEASE @58a, and I had to check that 37D wasn't going to be reARWIPE. Further information on that latter led to:
First STAR that fades in sight,
Wish I may, wish I might,
Wipe this tripe that's over-ripe.

This was MESSTENTSably a Themeless Friday, but in reality was the Fodder of all Punfests.

IN DIS POSE, I get a crick in my neck.
Hate to point out that EREBUS is misspelled, but pleased that WARC RIMES with 'pork'

Has everyone met Joon PAK?
You gotta JUMP PAK (Jeopardy!)
Solve a bunch of puzzles!
You gotta JUMP PAK (Jeopardy!)
The Province of Trebek!

Hey, MATT DAMON was overheard to say: I'M SO LYMP I Always am after Sarah Silverman."

Well. In lieu of all that drinking that gets you a BEERBELLY and TITUS Canby, I'm offering instead this discreet little Saskatune, "Have Some MEDEA, M'dear"

Thanks, Peter, I truly enjoyed this. You Broda whole lot more sunshine to this Saturday.

joho 11:39 AM  

What a fantastic Saturday this was!

I got totally lost in the NW, though, and DNF (Hi, mac!) Also, like @loren muse smith, I couldn't come up with a city or town name that came anywhere close to being a palindrome: duh!

Great clue for EIEIO which crossing SOOEY made me smile.

Lots and lots to love here, thank you, Peter Broda, I'll keep my eyes out for you!

Masked and Anonymo9Us 11:40 AM  

@muse: A bottle and cork are on sale, at 20% off, for 88 cents. At full price, the bottle costs a dollar more than the cork. Please ask yer pal Joey how much the cork costs, on sale. Let us know, how long it takes him*. Meanwhile, teach the class all about wordplay. Thanx.

The SatPuz. Very enjoyable. themelessthUmbsUp. Nine U's (yo, @Tita). Has nice collection of weejects. Speakin of which, I really, really wanted 56-D "Character string" to be DNA.


* 4 cents. Insist that Joey prove that no other answer will work, if he got the answer by trial-and-error.

JenCT 12:06 PM  

Tough, tough, tough!

Okay who thought first of Anthony Wiener for 40 Down?

I miss Cheri OTERI- here's one of my favorite skits starring her: SNL

Didn't know how to spell SOOEY: SUEEE? SOOIE? SOOEE?

BEER BELLY went right in, though.

@Molly Shu: Every Person Comes Out Tired - I love that!

imsdave 12:11 PM  

I'd just like to attest to the fact that Tita and LMS do in fact both flap there gums.

Fortunately, they're both so interesting and charming that this is not a flaw.

Leapfinger 12:15 PM  

Sorry for not inserting the link to "MEDEA, M'dear"; the notebook with the formula is in the car and I'm being lazy. If you take the trouble, I think you'll enjoy it.

A bit more about PTARMIGANs.
My mom used to make a fabulous chicken soup with chicken legs [feet?] in it. PTARMIGANs wouldn't be good for that without a lot of extra work, because they're feathered all the way down.

The ptarmigan's genus name, Lagopus, comes from Ancient Greek lagos (λαγως), meaning "hare", + pous (πους), "foot", on account of these feathered legs. So it amounts to a 'rabbit's foot', which I guess is lucky for the bird, but not if you want soup.

The word ptarmigan comes from the Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, meaning 'croaker', on account of the male's mating call, which apparently the females appreciate.

The silent initial p was added in 1684 by Robert Sibbald, who was thinking of the Greek pteron (πτερον), "wing", "feather" or "pinion".

Apparently Sibbald was something of a WordPlayer. [from wiki, adaptations per LF]

Z 12:19 PM  

Regarding EPONYM - The word can mean the noun derived from a proper noun OR the person from whom whom that noun is derived. Braille is the EPONYM derived from the EPONYM, Louis Braille. I remember this because I was once certain a clue not dissimilar to today's was wrong. Why don't we have two separate words? English.

M and A Help Desk 12:24 PM  

@Roo, STARWIPE is kind of visual transition between two different scenes in a film. Uses a shrinkin or growin star-shape. It's a bit cheesy/specialized/rare. More commonly seen ones: iris wipe, barndoor wipe, invisible wipe.


wreck 12:36 PM  

I actually liked this puzzle until I got to the point where after 4 Googles, I was still fighting it. Some Saturdays, I have the time and inclination to plod on - last night wasn't one of them. On to Sunday!

RooMonster 12:45 PM  

Ah, thanks M&A, I didn't think anyone was going to answer me, and I'd be forever going through life not knowing!
Wasn't that, like, cheesy 70's wipes? And I just thought they were called fades...


nemo paradise 12:49 PM  

Please, may I have a puzzle without a rap star clue? It's become almost unavoidable.

Dirigonzo 1:01 PM  

I spent a very enjoyable hour or so by the pool with this, the last 15 minutes of which was spent staring at the PTARM_GAN/V_TUS cross and hoping for some invisible helper to tell me the correct vowel (that happens sometimes, really - or at least it seems like it does when a word just pops into my head out of nowhere). I finally flipped a mental coin to decide between "o" and "I" and of course I guessed wrong. I did love everything else though.

jdv 1:05 PM  

Challenging. NW corner was brutal. Had KONKS before ZONKS and GASP before JUMP. Only thing I had in that corner was ATEAM and PAK. Eventually got __JAZZ, GNATS and SYMMETRY. Tucker and Dale vs Evil was a good META horror film. Never heard of STARWIPE, SOOEY and a bunch of other stuff. I'm clearly out of sync with Broda, but I enjoyed the challenge.

M and A Bored of Education 1:05 PM  

@Roo, no sweat.

@muse, if all else fails, ask Joey to solve for the type of beverages that that bottle must contain.*


* T's. Which sucks him into the next wordplay lesson...

Fred Romagnolo 1:27 PM  

Totally out of my ballpark: Django, MSOLYMPIA, OATES, DID I STUTTER (rude indeed), META, IAN Harding, STAR WIPE, any People's sexiest men, LIANE, Fleetwood's hits. Broda is of the 21st (possibly 22nd!) century. I hope I never see his name again. I couldn't even get it with googling. But, I do enjoy his cleverness.

jberg 1:35 PM  

Jeesh, @Loren, I make one mild comment about gerunds and i get painted as the punctuation police. I'm really easygoing, just ask my students.

I, too, didn't get going on this until PTARMIGAN. I've listened to a lot of Django Reinhardt, knew he played jazz, knew he was a gypsy, but didn't know GYPSY JAZZ was a genre until I had that P to ground it.

At that point, we went out for a nice brunch, so I have no idea if the puzzle took a long time -- the SE seemed tough until I saw the MON on the end of 32D, but then it sort of fell into place.

I almost DNF with an error, as i had been careless writing in SYMMETRY -- had SYMMErRY instead, which gave me St. VIRUS as a holy helper. I liked it, but was pretty sure it was wrong. Glad I noticed.

What I learned today: POSEDOWNS are a thing. I was looking for a model, got something that looked like a ship name, but all the crosses fit.

I'm with @Evil, though -- diploma MILLS. You get the diploma by email, it looks like a degree but isn't really. Then by extension schools that give degrees that aren't meaningful, but it all started with diploma mills.

@Roo -- I don't really know this stuff, but I think a fade is like a dissolve -- the image just goes away and then a new one comes along. In a WIPE, the image is removed piece by piece, as if you were wiping off a chalkboard. In the STAR WIPE, a little star appears in the center of the screen, perhaps with the new image in it, then expands to fill the screen. But I'm UNSURE of that.

NYWheeler 1:36 PM  

I go the YO HEAVE HO fairly easily because it's the English translation of the refrain from the Song of the Volga Boatmen.

Why did someone teach me, as a child, the Song of the Volga Boatmen? Odd!

Here's a link:

Casco Kid 1:37 PM  

@lms Palindromes and anagrams are great examples of group theory in practice. Anagrams illustrate a common group operation: "internal rotations" and palindromes illustrate a property of some rotations on some groups: symmetry, viz., a group operation that maps the set element onto itself. I can see why you'd discuss them in the group theory context. Outside the context, well, they really are just kinda cutesy. At least (!) one member of your class maxed out on cutesy.

Fwiw, I was Joey in 11th grade math when I was thrown out of my class for "acting out" in an egregious and irrecoverable way. By thrown out, I mean gone for the year. I had to finish pre-calc in independent study. My crime was Joey's crime, with extra vehemence and a direct assault on the teacher's authority. And I did it with one, angry, shaking, shouted word: TEACH! I was toast. I wonder what @Z would have done with me if I'd been escorted to his office. [I also wonder what I would have done with me. Damn, what an ass I can be sometimes. ;) ]

Fred Romagnolo 1:39 PM  

@Anoa Bob: thank's for yesterday's SOC.

Dept. of Redundancy Dept. 1:46 PM  

I didn't know that EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of the Future. Wow! It's experimental, AND it's a prototype, AND it's of the future! Powerful stuff.

Tita 1:50 PM  

Aw shucks, @dave, I'm blushing...

And likewise, I am SURE.

Hey - as long as we're talking about that part of the puzzle, I also found it fun that ULULATE crosses those flapping GUMS.

My curiosity got the better of me, as I mused about whether or not uvulas have anything to do with ULULATion, and, wonder of wonders, they do!
"a high pitched loud voice accompanied with a rapid movement of the tongue and the uvula."

@M&A - runtpuz?

Z 2:05 PM  

@Casco Kid - I was a bit of a prick as an administrator. I probably wouldn't have let either you or the teacher off that easy.

SenorLynn 2:24 PM  

45 min, w googles for Oteri(@Z--I'll know next time) & "posedown." Waistline for BEERBELLY, which I like better.
Django & Les Paul are giant trunks on the family tree of rock guitar. Most any jazz or rock guitarist will list one or the other as an influence.
Wim Wenders is a quirky director I especially like. Try Paris, Texas, Until the end of the World, Buena Vista Social Club.

Lena 2:25 PM  

I joked with my coworkers that I was going to open a bar called The Quilted Ptarmigan.

Really liked this puzzle!

Casco Kid 2:33 PM  

@Z That's the right answer! :)

retired_chemist 2:34 PM  

Medium. Very nice puzzle, little to add to previous comments. STAR WIPE was a WTF and WAIL nearly Naticked me since I didn't get that either. Busy figuring out the NW GYPSY ?A??. When I did, luckily had the W in place, so Mr. Happy Pencil showed up.

Spelled it SOOIE to start so that was another speed bump. Also, instead of MS OLYMPIA, Mr americA. Is there one and does he pose? Not exactly one - there are/were THREE bodybuilding competitions using that name!

BTW MS OLYMPIA sounds like the winner of a ladies' beer drinking competition sponsored by Olympia beer.

Thanks, Mr. Broda.

Kerry 3:56 PM  

I cry foul on this puzzle. EAN and LEANE are also both names.

Obviously I considered "I" but thought to myself, no, if it was I, why would there be such a ridiculously obscure clue when there are dozens of IANs people have actually HEARD of (no offense to that guy from that show I barely knew existed)? Thus I decided it must be an "E".

And, for the record, has heard of the name LEANE, but not the name LIANE.

Hash tag annoyed.

Lewis 4:10 PM  

Loved the spark of DEGREEMILLS, YOHEAVEHO, and DIDISTUTTER, and the clues for UND, YOHEAVEHO, and GUMS.

Names I didn't know forced me to Google, but I did enjoy this one. Agree that it has a contemporary colloquial feel.

Did anyone here know VITUS and not get it from crosses? That would be quite impressive to me.

I like the little tic-tac-toe board, the top three letters being the EMI from DEGREEMILLS. In that 9-square box, reading across and down you have two EMIs and two EDIs. If you find that kind of thing interesting. And if you do, shift over two squares to the east so you get a tic-tac-toe board with the top three letters ILL, and you get a Runt 9-square puz that works.

Yes, I have too much time on my hands.

Time Dude 4:23 PM  

@Lewis, the 3x3 puz block of


is a Word Square! (Well, runt word square, anyway.)
Reads the same, both Across and Down.

Nice find, bro!

Lewis 5:22 PM  

@timedude -- wow, good catch!

wreck 5:36 PM  

Hate mail to follow! ; )
Great catch!

Melodious Funk 5:41 PM  

I always read The Casco Kid. doesn't everybody?

sanfranman59 6:09 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 6:02, 6:02, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Tue 7:39, 7:54, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:01, 9:31, 1.05, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 21:09, 17:28, 1.21, 83%, Challenging
Fri 17:15, 20:16, 0.85, 23%, Easy-Medium
Sat 27:31, 25:07, 1.10, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:08, 3:57, 1.05, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:24, 5:21, 1.01, 53%, Medium
Wed 6:16, 6:08, 1.02, 58%, Medium
Thu 14:05, 10:49, 1.30, 83%, Challenging
Fri 10:50, 13:00, 0.83, 23%, Easy-Medium
Sat 18:48, 16:56, 1.11, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Arlene 7:48 PM  

This was hard hard hard - but I figured it all out - albeit with Googling. I'm so impressed by people who finish these Saturday puzzles on their own! You're awesome!

Lewis 9:59 PM  

@wreck -- good one!

DigitalDan 11:08 PM  

Argh, the Fleetwoods could really have used Autotune, especially in the live performance.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:15 AM  

Great puzzle; did it at the beach yesterday.

Didn't start out well for me, though. Saw the clue for 39 A, Rude response to "Excuse me?" and immediately entered WHAT DID YOU DO?, or at least up to that last O, for which there was no space!

But all ended well, after a few write-overs others have already mentioned: ZONES, UAE, MESSHALLS.

Charlene 12:33 PM  

I so wanted "Zoolander" for the posedown winner.

bswein99 1:23 PM  

Too many "stretches" for me in this puzzle (though "term" for "stretch before giving birth" is fine, despite taking me forever to figure out). No one has said "yo heave ho" for about a century, ptarmigan is just silly, starwipe is really arcane, and I still don't get "Did I stutter" even though I got all of these from the crosses. But a puzzle with both Titus and Vitus can't be all bad.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

A good half-dozen inaccurate clues, hip expressions I've never heard, and pop culture. Very ephemeral. I haven't the faintest idea why "Did I stutter" is a response to "Excuse me". In 62 years I've never heard anyone utter that "witticism". Yecch.

spacecraft 12:12 PM  

Presumably, the "Excuse me?" translates as either "I didn't hear you" or "I can't believe you'd say that!" So the DIDISTUTTER reply forcefully reinforces the original statement. The cluer is right: this is extremely rude.

This was one of those "OMG I don't know a single across answer; where am I gonna start?" puzzles. I finally began with ATEAM--though I was even UNSURE about that. Remembering ZOT from one of my all-time favorite comics, B.C., led to -JAZZ, ZONeS (!) and natch, uAe for the Islamic repub. But what was J--U?

Much later, after nearly having my brain INDISPOSED with the rest of the puzzle, I came back to the even-more-troublesome NW and had my penultimate, literal, AHAMOMENT. So 6d had to be JUMP. PAE? What country was that? I was in mid-shrug, resigned to leaving it like that, when the last, great 17a hit. It's a K! And so, so close to DNF, I conquered it!

Don't ask me how; looking back, I can't even remember. Any puzzle that starts out "HUH??" and winds up solved is going to get a high mark here. I GOTTA take something off for RST and EIEIO, so A-.

6233. I'm MRBLUE (man, does that take me back!).

DMG 1:40 PM  

Like @spacecraft, I started out with almost nothing. First time through gave me a couple of terminal "s" squares, not all of which survived, and a misspelled SOOie. Eventually, I squeezed out a bit here and there, revealing things I've never heard before, GYPSYJAZZ ! Not knowing the OLYMPIA chick, I hung on to MSamericA for a long time until the old time ULULATE forced a re-think. Stumped in too many places I finally looked up MEDEA and managed a pretty good solve. Ended up with a mess in the EPCOT/OTERI and INDISPOSE areas. Was playing. With some kind of --DISeaSE, and have no idea what a STARWIPE is. I hope Monday's puzzle is more fun!

Read 'em and weep: 639

rain forest 2:10 PM  

I liked this one a lot, as I did yesterday's, and the one the day before... Easy to please--that's I.

It was delightful to see the answers sort of just appear with the odd random letter in place. I thought EIEIO was fun, as I was thinking of shEep for awhile.

Very lively, in-the-language, and yes, even sparkly, possibly memorable. Hall and OATES' Abandoned Luncheonette - marvelous.

789 - NOT marvelous

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

From Syndication Land

Never having heard the term "star wipe," I assumed it was when the star of a show gets written out in the next script!

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