Sainted maiden of literature / SAT 11-8-14 / Up-coming world phenomenon / 1914 Belgian battle line / Eisner's successor at Disney / Literally skyward / Song whose title follows Para bailar / Eco-chic clothing option

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: "Bob" IGER (56A: Eisner's successor at Disney) —
Robert Allen "Bob" Iger (born February 10, 1951) is an American businessman and the current chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company. He was named president of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as chief executive in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake-up the management of the company. Iger oversaw the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006, following a period of strained relations with the animation studio. He also led the company to acquire Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, further broadening Disney's intellectual property franchises. (wikipedia)
• • •

Trying to figure out why this one seemed so joyless compared to most Barry Silks. I think it's largely the swing-and-miss cluing. Or, rather, all the "?" cluing that was more forced than clever. [Binder?] for PACT … I get it, but yuck. Is the "joke" that we're supposed to think of a three-ring binder? Not sure what the joke is on 41DGoes with the flow? (STREAMS), as that clue is either too literal to need a "?" or relates to streaming video, in which case … the clue doesn't make any kind of joke at all. How in the world is QUARK [A tiny bit strange?]. What is "strange" about it? Oh, I see that "strange" is a "flavor" of QUARK (… [crickets] …). OK then. But [Up-coming world phenomenon?] annoyed me the most, though there I was more annoyed by the answer. Call me terra-centric, but I don't think a phenomenon that no human being experiences should have a name. You experience this on the moon, right? When I finally got EARTH RISE (I needed every cross) I honestly didn't know what it was. That whole NW corner was just a [shrug] to me. Don't play golf, don't know what EARTH RISE is, never heard of Spender, etc.


Mainly I am surprised that a 72-worder is this lifeless. High word count themelesses should Pop. This one is clean, but EARTH RISE and GREEN TAPE just don't seem like strong marquee answers to me. Those are this grid's seed entries, right? I mean, they must be, as they are the main original-seeming answers in the grid. But neither of them is flashy or even very interesting, so while they're fine entries, they don't have top-billing-type oomph. Of course I enjoy BATSIGNAL, but there should be so many more such delightful answers, and the cluing overall needs to be more playful, less dull. What the hell is "Eco-chic"? (5D: Eco-chic clothing option).  That's a thing? Ugh (seriously, I thought the answer here was UGGS). Anyway, HEMP is a clothing material option, not a "clothing option."


Did not care for SOLS / EL AL. I'm more a SOTS / ET AL man myself.

See you Sunday.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    92 comments:

    jae 12:06 AM  

    Medium for me. 

     Lots of erasures:  OBscure before OBLIQUE, trouble spelling AIRLERON, narcan before IPECAC, POOLhalls before ROOMS, SHEp before SHEB (I always get that wrong at first), one before TWO...

    A solid Sat. challenge, however, as Rex intimated, nothing really stands out.  On the plus side the only real groaner for me was LASSOER.  

    Zeke 12:13 AM  

    At one point I had _PE_A_ for 7D and assumed the answer was OPERAS. Operas cause in me the same as does IPECAC.

    Questinia 12:23 AM  

    Challenging. Crapped out in the SE despite getting GREENTAPE and most of the others. ROLFE was the area linchpin that I couldn't summon up. I never heard of a PERFECTA and POOLROOMS just didn't come to me. I like good clean fun like shooting RAYGUNS in OBLIQUE STREAMS.

    Agree with Rex on the ? clues.

    Had Edun for eco-chic. HEMP? Chic? Silk is chic and Barry you should know that.

    Carola 12:30 AM  

    Liked it a lot better than Rex did, perhaps because I was smitten early on by the LYRIC quality of EBBTIDE x EARTHRISE.

    Speaking of EARTH, interesting contrast of the save-the-planet entries HEMP, GAS TAX, and GREEN TAPE with the destructive BIOWEAPON and military SORTIES. Does BATSIGNAL imply we need a superhero to save us? (Is Batman a LASSOER? or is that only Wonder Woman?)

    Anyway. Found it an enjoyable challenge, with the SW the toughest. One big help was the Downs that had B as their second letter (EBBTIDE, OBLIQUE [though like @jae, I first thought OBscure).

    Mette 12:31 AM  

    Felt very satisfied after finishing in about an hour. QUARK was a great entry. Like @jae, had OBscurE and IPECAC is a new word for me. Thanks Barry.

    John Child 12:49 AM  

    Pretty solid puzzle I thought. 45 minutes is about normal for Saturday for me, though I've been stumped by Mr Silk's puzzles often enough to be pleased to finish cleanly.

    Loved the clue for Quark, which I got immediately. But I also wanted SpongE for [Bob may follow it] and reserved judgement until I could justify the Q.

    I’ve had a go at constructing a puzzle. Would one or two of you be willing to test solve and offer comments: does the theme idea “work”; what would make the puzzle better? http://www.fihp.com/JohnChild.pdf and http://www.fihp.com/JohnChild.puz. My email is in the puzzle title. Thank you.

    wreck 1:01 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    wreck 1:06 AM  

    This was a lot tougher for me than those who have commented so far, but kind of what I expect for a Saturday. This took me about an hour and 20 minutes with a few googles. The clues were kind of a stretch for me, but maybe I'm a little jaded after a Berry puzzle the day before. I didn't really enjoy this puzzle, but have to admit that maybe I'm bitching because the puzzle gave me fits.

    AliasZ 2:45 AM  


    Two superb puzzles in a row = a great start for the weekend. I'll take Berry/Barry PERFECTAS any week of the year.

    EARTHRISE is an amazingly beautiful thing to see, if only in photographs. I enjoyed the OBLIQUE cluing tremendously. Some of my favorites: offensive observance for TET, aid in creating a part for COMB, blanket produced in Mexico City for SMOG, the TWO banking facilitator clues, and a few others. I wasn't crazy about the searchlight triple echo, because they all referred to the same object.

    I hesitated putting in SIRREE for a long time because I always see it and use it as "siree," although I can imagine the same people who spell "canceled" with two L's would spell "siree" with two R's.

    Least fave entry: the one-L RON.

    Wasn't ENG one of the famous Siamese twins? ENG and Chang, yes, that's it. Did you know that they adopted the last name Bunker when they became naturalized US citizens? No relation to Archie or Cary Grant. They married two sisters and had a total of 21 children. Some TWO hundred of their descendants held a family reunion in 2011 to celebrate the TWO-hundredth birthday of the twins.

    But enough of that.

    My Bonnie LASSOER the ocean
    My Bonnie LASSOER the sea
    My Bonnie LASSOER the ocean
    Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me.
    [All together now]
    Bring back, bring back...

    Nevermind. Goodnight.

    But not before this amazing performance of Beethoven's LENORE Overture No.3, Op.72b. I guarantee it will not have the same effect as IPECAC syrup.

    I skip M-W 5:05 AM  

    @Rex, your ignorance is no reason to dislike a puzzle. Steven Spender was not only a poet but the editor of "Encounter," a literary magazine of sorts that scandalously turned out to have CIA backing with Spender's knowledge. I even subscribed to it for awhile before the revelations.
    On the other hand, "a tiny bit strange" would be a better clue for sigma, a "strange particle" since quarks are not necessarily strange. (incindtally when quarks were first introduced, the s that once had stood for strange was reinterpreted to stand for "sideways" to go along with "up" and "down" quarks. then 3 more quarks were discovered/ inferred, and the nomencalture became bizarre with up, down, strange (back again) charm, top and bottom. These are viewed as "flavors" because all quarks also come in three "colors". Since the names now are completely arbitrary, it would be nice if the "flavors" were named more flavorfully, as say, Umamu, Diet, Salty, Chocolate, Taffy and Bitter, but by now we're probably stuck with the more stupid list of names.

    I found the puzzle hard, but liked it. Earth rise went right in, practically. I thought of perfecta, but foolishly thought that would be for an even larger combo than a trifecta. Lots of clever answers in my view.

    Danp 5:23 AM  

    Trying to figure out why this one seemed so joyless

    Could it be the imagery? Bioweapons, Lehore, Rayguns, Gastax, Bloomberg, Ipecac, Amoral, Sorties, Greentape, ORs, Blinding snow.

    Gill I. P. 6:56 AM  

    Oh, I see. no SIREES Bob? Well, not when you have QUEER for a tiny bit strange and your chessmen are RTS.
    Oh lordy, then we have PPG which I don't understand and OCT for alternative to 10 and then the biggest head scratcher... AIR TAXI instead of some toad that is the obvious puddle-jumper.
    Not my favorite BS. And, good grief, who in the world names a kid SHEB?

    Glimmerglass 8:15 AM  

    Good, strong Saturday puzzle. I found this challenging, but satisfying in the end. Very little crosswordese, and what there is is clued originally (AMI). Some misdirections (COMB), which is what I expect and enjoy on a Saturday. I agree with Rex's comment about PACT, but found the rest of his cavils mostly silly. He's trying too hard to be clever and not succeeding.

    glr-nyc 8:22 AM  

    Can someone please explain ENG? Thanks!

    Questinia 8:45 AM  

    ENGlish.

    Charles Flaster 9:03 AM  

    Challenging in 50 minutes. Surprised I finished(no googling allowed here).
    Liked many clues---COMB, CEREAL BOX, POOLROOMS and SNOW.
    Writeovers were as yet for UNMET and boot out for ROOT OUT.
    Had some nice "aha" moments. Really enjoyed this week's puzzles !!
    Thanks BCS.

    Newbie 9:08 AM  

    Glad many of you enjoyed this, but a big Yuck for me. Airtaxi, greentape, rayguns, earthrise? Not a big fan of some of the cluing, either. Banking facilities, material for a float, temporary blindness, Spender and Spenser, little bit of strangeness (and I know what a quark is). I like clever cluing, but in moderation. This felt like inundation.

    My ignorance certainly didn't enhance the enjoyment. Don't know Harry, Wills, Spender, Iger, or Ida, though I suspect the last two are legit crosswordese.

    Had obscure, Lieberman, and quirk as reasonable wrong answers. Another degree of difficulty that added to the grind.

    Disagree that a two iron is obsolete; very handy for punching out of trees, which I do often. Used check and reveal too often to punch out of this puzzle. No fun for me.

    GPO 9:18 AM  

    I'm with the crowd on this one. I was enormously satisfied to finish in under an hour with no cross outs. I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on in the NW. None. Finally, DOUSE got me to EBBTIDE to EARTHEISE, whatever that is, probably some science thing.

    Agree, this week's Friday and Saturday were very satisfying.

    Twangster 9:19 AM  

    Could not get the top on either side on my own. Most of what I guessed at first was wrong: ROSSPEROT, BIPLANE, TOSSOUT. Figured Harry and Wills were from Harry Potter. Even after I started googling, I put in EMETIC for IPECAC.

    Hartley70 9:27 AM  

    Good grief! Even seeing ENG, I thought it must be engineer. This was the toughest I can remember and I gave up after an hour and a half. The NW was impossible. I kept trying Global and Lieberman to fit. I just couldn't see PERFECTA. I did like BATSIGNAL, CEREAL BOX, and GREEN TAPE. There was no way I would ever get QUARK, LABAMBA and RABAT. Even googling didn't help. It's really cold here this morning. Could this be brain freeze?

    Ludyjynn 9:27 AM  

    Courtesy of Camilla Parker Bowles, STEPMOM, the NE fell easily, but mistaking Lieberman where BLOOMBERG belonged stymied me in the NW. Ultimately, DNF due to additional problems in the S.

    As much as I was on yesterday's constructor's wavelength, noSIRREE, Bob, today!

    Thanks for the workout, BCS and WS.

    Hartley70 9:32 AM  

    Did I mention that QUARK and it's brilliant explanation above makes me stick my fingers in my ears and sing la la la la?

    Casco Kid 9:39 AM  

    2:08. 4 googles. 7 errors
    Googles for LAHORE (I knew it was Pakistani; shoulda come up with that!) IGER (Whatev), RABAT (ya got me!) ENG (dumb clue, dumb fill)
    Errors: BONe/eSER (my bad), tPG/tOOLROOMS, PERcENtAS/ROLcE/OnT. I don't get OCT as clued.

    The clue for EARTHRISE wasn't particularly enlightening or clever. Is a POOLROOM a thing in a bank? Three point goals (TPG)/tOOLROOMS seemed like as likely a crossing as any. PERFECTAS was clever. The clue for OCT just wasn't a clue for OCT. [alternative for BIN] or [Alternative for HEX] would have worked. I doubt PB1 would have treated us so badly, there.

    BLOOMBERG bedeviled me. I tried philgramm, Arlen Spector, Strom Thurmond. The two presidents Roosevelt accounted for three parties between them. But that was a great clue-fill pair.

    I got pretty close, considering. Lots of correct susses, after a fashion. You struck me out, Barry Silk, with some inhittable fast balls high and inside and curves way out of the strike zone.

    Moly Shu 9:45 AM  

    @Gill, PPG= Points Per Game and OCT is the 10th month. Oh how I liked that one.

    Medium for me with BIOhazard obscuring the NW until I put in TWO and then tried BLOOMBERG. Then the rest fell. Started with ELAL, LRON and SHEB, and figured this would be a huge DNF as those 3 just sat there for the longest time. Then ESSES and STEPMOM came to me and slow but steady progress ensued. Liked it's difficulty. Made up for the lack of sparkle. Thanks BS.

    NCA President 9:45 AM  

    Couple of early on mess ups:

    inalinE and/or inlines for ENMASSE (which I had too but erased a few times). SNap for SNOW. radON for XENON, neon and Bulb for BEAM, one for TWO (does anyone carry a one iron? And who here can tell me what the TWO IRON was replaced with? I used to use the two iron in places where a five/four wood wouldn't work...like long grass. The demise of the TWO IRON is sad news to me).

    I did not like ESSES. I really don't like these meta clues that refer to the words themselves. Cheap misdirection that only makes me groan when I get it. I groan mainly because there is no sport in it. At least with rapper names you have to go outside the puzzle to get the answer...this is just managing to count the number of letters a certain word/phrase has. If you can count, you can write it in. For me, this type of cluing ranks up there with opposite of .

    Not a bad puzzle...but not delightful.

    quilter1 9:47 AM  

    With obscure and sponge in the SW no hope of finishing. I am usually on Silk's wavelength, but not today. Agree with @Rex that this one was lifeless.

    NCA President 9:47 AM  

    ^^ Should read: "...opposite of three letter directional headings."

    Casco Kid 9:47 AM  

    Bank shots in POOLROOMS. Got it. I'd considered planes and, you know, where the EAU gets deposited on the SEINE, but as we already had AIRLERONS I figured this bank would have a fiduciary meaning. Sigh.

    Andrew Morrison 9:51 AM  

    Hard. Only clue I think was out-and-out bad was the two poets. ENG? Really? Other than that quite a challenge and a good way to start my Saturday.

    @CascoKid - think banking as in a pool shot. Billiards. I think the more common name would be POOLHALL. I have never heard of a POOLROOM but I have never been one to frequent such places anyway.

    Andrew Morrison 9:52 AM  

    @CascoKid - there you go! Beat me to it!

    Kurt 10:12 AM  

    I think of a ONE IRON, not a TWO IRON, as being an obsolescent club. Two irons are still fairly common.

    Earth Rising 10:15 AM  

    Rex is on the rag. Again. His rant about EARTHRISE has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen him write, and that's a pretty big feat. "I don't think a phenomenon that no human being experiences should have a name??!!" So many things wrong with this statement. First of all, human beings HAVE experienced it. Second of all, does that mean a QUARK shouldn't have a name? How about a unicorn? Or a jet pack? Asinine and pretty damned ignorant, rex.
    This was an enjoyable, tricky puzzle with a lot of aha moments. Rex needs meds.

    mathguy 10:16 AM  

    The primary pleasure I get from solving a puzzle is the ego boost I get from having done something difficult. For example, I attempt the 8x8 KenKen every morning. There aren't any aha moments or learning experiences along the way as there are in crosswords. But if I solve it, I get a little tingle.

    But in a tough crossword like today's, I get annoyed if I feel it's unfair. In today's I was annoyed at the inconsistent use of the question mark in the clues. I can make a case for all of the question marks that appear, but there are five other clues that could easily have carried one. 35A, 52A, 66A, 2D, 10D.

    I also didn't like that variant spelling of SIRREE. The extra R stalled me for a long time until I remembered (vaguely) IGER.

    I was also going to complain about TWO IRON because two irons are still being used. But that was because I thought that obsolescent meant the same as obsolete. I just looked it up. It means "becoming obsolete."

    r.alphbunker 10:22 AM  

    I think that Carl Sagan would have liked the NW. It definitely sent me out to find his Pale Blue Dot. There is a nice shot of an earthrise there and it puts BIOWEAPON in perspective.

    vomitous 10:26 AM  

    I had "emetic" instead of IPECAC for quite a while. Might make a good cross someday.
    I agree, rex, like Lucinda Williams, has lost his joy.

    dk 10:26 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    Well queer for QUARK was triublesome as I never recalled rts (right tackles) from my chess club days (61d problem). Also wanted antibuse for 7d but there were several problems with that.

    Found the whole save the earth super heros theme to be fun for a Saturday AM.

    Off to DC to vie for an award for Habit Heroes, joint project with Disney. I only hope I get my name in the NYT.

    SHEBoygan 10:31 AM  

    Hey Gill you ignorant slut. Nobody names a kid SHEB. It's a nickname for Shelby, which you could have discovered with a quick search. Instead you chose to rant like a maniac.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:43 AM  

    Challenging for me; took about an hour.

    But I thought it was a pleasant workout, the kind of puzz I like on a Saturday.

    Two write-overs others have mentioned: BIPLANE before AIRTAXI, OBSCURE before OBLIQUE, and one in which I seem to be alone: 24 A, turn HEEL before turn TAIL.

    Has been mentioned, but I thought 66 A, ESSES, would bring forth a louder howl. Somehow doesn't seem a Barry Silk-level entry. :>)

    The joke's on me department: had no idea who "Harry and Wills" in 13 D were! (Thank you, @ludyjynn) I was ready to complain that there was a typo, meant to be "Willis"!

    Dirigonzo 10:52 AM  

    I loved it. The multiple searchlight clues illuminated the bottom half of the grid for me and I climbed upwards from there. I thought the clues were fun - who doesn't like "Life preserver?" for CEREALBOX, and I thought "Banking facilitator" yielding AILERON and "Banking facilities" producing POOLROOMS in the opposite corner was a nice touch. PERFECTA!

    Z 10:54 AM  

    I loved the QUARK clue. I loved the searchlights, although I needed one to retrieve AMATI, who got lost somewhere in the deep -ese- recesses of my brain. Since we were going all scientific today I really wanted another TWO for "Alternative to 10."

    The notion of UGGS as Eco-chic is LOL-worthy in its wrongness. They are the best boot ever, but they took a turn as a HS chic-chic fad not too long ago. If you want eco-chic footwear I think you still have to go the Toms route.

    EROTIC BATSIGNAL ---> BONY TOOL --> AMORAL STREAMS (who said there was no joy in this puzzle.)

    Ellen S 11:01 AM  

    Ggggggg, SHEBoygan, get a life. Rex is allowed to rant: it's his blog. The rest of us are supposed to behave courteously.

    Now I'm afraid to admit I also thought the answer to 31A was Lieberman, but I was saved by two things:
    1) I absolutely could not remember his name, and I'm not a bit sorry about that! Now I have to expunge him all over again.
    2) But before i do, didn't Lieberman go from Democrat to Independent to Republican? (haha, I bet he felt more at home with himeself at that point.)

    I won't mention the good timing on this puzzle, ending an election week where the real Republicans beat out so many of the Republicans-in-drag running under the Democrat banner. Oh, oops, I just mentioned it.

    Whirred Whacks 11:01 AM  

    SILKy rough for me. Nearly an hour. Agree with Rex about the clues. But it's Saturday. [SMOG for "Mexico City blanket" was good.]

    Initially had Virginia senator HARRY BYRD for BLOOMBERG (the B in RABAT made this plausible), but Byrd went straight from Dem to Indy in 1970.

    IGER was a gimme for me (odd that I had been thinking about Iger earlier in the day).

    Teedmn 11:08 AM  

    Finished with three Googles, which took the fun out of it but that's just me. My favorite wrong answer was for 17A. With the L and BE, I thought it must be gLennBEck. This gave me a Ten iron (never heard of it so obviously it's obsolete). But 1A now looked like EARTH would fit somehow, which gave me HEMP and I finally worked out the rest.

    Had ediTOUT and considered steTOUT as some kind of double negative but again EARTH saved me. I was warily expecting Anthrax to involve the group, not the BIOWEAPON.

    @M&A would have liked my "tourbus" answer to 47D, with its two U's but those also made it very unlikely. Altogether, it was more slog than joy for me because of the need for Google but the puzzle was well made with little dreck. Thanks, Barry Silk.

    Nancy 11:20 AM  

    Even tougher for me than yesterday and not as much fun, though certainly a good, challenging Saturday. I gave up in the SW -- then allowed myself to check LAHORE (I was right) and look up SHEB (had everything but the B). Having cheated, I now solved the last of it, getting BEAM from B--M, leading me to ROADMAP and enabling me to change GREENlaws to GREENTAPE.
    Before that I was almost stymied in the SW, because I had QUiRK for QUARK. But because STREIMS is not a word, I did finally figure it out on my own.

    Casco Kid 11:29 AM  

    @EllenS. Lieberman is an excellent guess. When he spoke at McCain's anointing, he crossed from I to R, for all intents and purposes. Good one!

    jberg 11:49 AM  

    I don't think Lieberman ever actually registered as Republican, though -- unless maybe after he'd left office.

    I couldn't get anywhere in the NW -- finally went away, read the comic strips, and came back to figure out EARTHRISE. The real problem, though, was that I didn't get minute enough at 23D, and wrote in m (for milli-) SEC.

    Unfortunatelly, filling in all the blanks made me so happy that I forgot to go back and fix the SE, where I had had GREEN lAws, corrected by ROAD MAPS, but with the L still sitting there. I never thought the 10 was anything but a crossrefernce to BAS, so I tried ABS and then just gave up.

    Worse, I finsihed with SOng/En AL/ GAg TAX. I figured the last was some kind of weird feature of ladies' shoes, and let it go.

    Still, I liked the puzzle, despite my failure. Fun to get the really obscure references, and to learn the sister city of RABAT and the name of LAHORE's airport!

    LHS 888 12:00 PM  
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    LHS 888 12:01 PM  
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    LHS 888 12:03 PM  

    I agree with @Newbie on the clever cling inundation. After an hour I had TET, HEMP, COMB, LRON, XENON, SHEB, SMOG, GASTAX and the incorrect smith for ROLFE. That's it. I googled EIGER and LAHORE. Then nothing else came. After another 20 minutes I gave up. It just wasn't any fun for me.

    jdv 12:06 PM  

    Easy-Med. It felt harder than easy-med, but my time doesn't lie. I liked the NE. AIRTAXI at the rightmost edge is great. The other 'edge-ending' words (ENMASSE, GREENTAPE and ESSES) are pretty crutchy. Like @jae, had POOLhall. Did not know Wills was a nickname for Prince William.

    Gill I. P. 12:23 PM  

    @SHEBoygan: Well I might be a slut but by golly then you had to go and spoil it by calling me ignorant. You hurt my feelings!

    Leapfinger 12:36 PM  

    All right, who let in the ripped RAPT? For 'not ripped', FLABBY would have been a funner answer than SOBER.

    OBLIQUE? Oh yes, SIRREE Bob, very much so; the QUiRK to QUARK journey being only one of many UNMET guESSES.

    Some of the many CEREAL BOXES I found myself in:
    Lieberman --> BLOOMBERG
    Narcan --> ZantAC --> IPECAC
    rope --> lace --> PACT
    Cara Mia --> LA BAMBA, with headslap: Spanish, not Italian!
    'Number' strongly suggested Anesthetic, so took a stab at abbrev of hypodermic with
    hYpIC, also considered magIC, cYnIC and LYtIC before LYRIC. Ah, 'those' lines in 'those' numbers...

    Wondered: Is there AMORAL to the EROTIC TAIL of LAHORE LENORE? Is the relevant clue 'put out'?

    Elegant touch, btw to pair 'Put out' with 'Puts in', almost symmetric with the paired 'Searchlight element' clues. Also, AILERON is one of those musical words, like 'derailleur'. Clue for COMB one of my favourites, but they were too humorous to mention. Was also pleased to see that @Casco got his recent WREN o' Rhea taken care of.

    du Barry may have been a Lady, but un Peu de Soie Barry... my Lord! The man scores PERFECT A'S. EARTHRISE and EBBTIDE are lovely, but they don't hold a candle to the Silk du Soleil.

    Honoree BALSAc 12:55 PM  

    Zowie. An ENGlish prof who doesn't know Stephen Spender? Thefield must be over-niched. And nary a word about BLOOM"BERG" today. eis see...

    Skip Mon-Wed, it's 'umami', but maybeyou wante to make M&A a bit happier.

    @Gil I.P., I was going to suggest 'parts per gallon'. Never you mind, girl, a PERFECT ASs surfaces every day.

    SHEBoygan 12:59 PM  

    Hi Ellen S,
    Thanks for your useful feedback regarding your rules for the blog and its commenters. Nobody ever said rex or his minions weren't allowed to say whatever they wanted. I didn't know you were in charge, but thank you for clarifying.
    I've met Gill, and he is, indeed, an ignorant slut. At least he got the joke. You, apparently, have the sense of humor of an AIRTAXI.

    RooMonster 1:00 PM  

    Hey All !
    Don't know what it is with Saturday puzzles that get me each week. Probably just psychological. I believe I go in expecting the worst, ala not going to get any answers cause it will be tough. As I was solving, a bunch of answers made me say, "Of course, that should have been easier to suss than that." Time to change the mind-set, I 'spose.

    Luckily, I solved todays online, so I made liberal use of the Check Puzzle feature as I solved. Ended up with 58 wrong squares (written over)after the dust settled, out of 194. Also not good with percentage-math, so whatever percent that is! (@mathguy?)

    Did have postALBOX for the Life? clue, thinking the magazine! Looking for the pangram after the Q and X's, but no J or Z.

    Used to live in Connecticut (Hi @JenCT!) where the state had Jai Alai, where a PERFECTA bid was common, but moved out of there 7+ years ago, and the ole brain took a while to suss out the answer.

    Nice themeless overall. On to Sunday!

    BONY
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Anonymous 1:06 PM  

    SHEBoygan,
    First off, I doubt you've net Gill, as she is not a man. Second, if the only was to get yourself off if by posting insults on a blog (as I'm sure this is not the only one you do it to), you seriously need to get a life. Or maybe get a gun, and do us all a favor and shoot yourself. Third, go suck balls.
    Thank You.

    Honoree BALSAc 1:08 PM  

    PS, if that was a riff on SNL's "Weekend UpTODATE" 'Jane, you ignorant slut...", then it's really kind of an ambidextrous compliment.

    SHEBoygan 1:14 PM  

    Hi anonymous at 1:06.
    You seem angry. And violent. And sad. Also, you seem unable to string together even simple sentences in English. Maybe try a translator? "...if the only was to get yourself off if by..." might be a perfectly normal string of words in whatever language you speak, in English it is gibberish. Crazy gibberish. Can you dig it?

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:20 PM  

    Let out a hoot, when I saw GREENTAPE. I figured on a major treatise by @63, there. Wrong again, M&A breath.

    Thought I was on a roll, when the bottom half bit the dust quick. Eastern side of the upper cross went much slower. (Am likin @Teedmn's fillin suggestion -- clearly, CEREALemu would be a small price to pay...).

    For some reason, the upperwesternmost cross exposure area was just plain nutso-hard, for m&e. All my golf clubs are pretty obso-basement-lete, anymore, for one thing. Had the -OUT part of 3-D lick-spit prontomatic, but wanted U-name-it, ahead of thinkin of ROOT-. Had lowTIDE. Like the EARTHRISE entry, but that clue was nasty; one ? at the clue's end didn't hardly do it justice.

    Overall, enjoyed the solve, despite the oui-ject at 34-Across. Thanx for yer efforts, Mr. Silk.

    M&A

    GAMMA rays are the rays of choice for RAYGUNS? Is this well-documented? Or is this another one of them loosey-goosey RAYGUNomics deals?

    Jyqm 1:21 PM  

    My my, this one played very tough for me. Having lowTIDE and casTOUT up top made the NW all but impenetrable for me. BLOOMBERG should have been a gimme for this NYC resident, but w_s__BERG made him invisible to me.

    CEREALBOX also took me a long time to suss out, as the reference to "Harry and Wills" convinced me that 13D had to be STEPMuM.

    Lon in Austin 1:29 PM  

    I love reading Rex's comments, especially for a puzzle like this which took me longer than usual to complete.

    While I'm working on it, I don't think about the quality of the clues or answers. But afterward, I read Rex and say to myself, "yes, exactly!"

    The answer for 17A was a head-slapper after I got it. Nice.

    Thanks again, Rex

    RnRGhost57 1:35 PM  

    Puzz is not much fun but the insults on this thread are hilarious. "Go suck balls"--ROFL. Haven't heard that since high school.

    Arlene 2:17 PM  

    This one was tough, and I see where I fit in with this crowd. I couldn't do it without Googling, but the assists I got for the few clues where that was possible delivered enough to take me to the end. And, believe me, I don't have a whole lot of patience to sit and stare at blank squares.

    I also thought that Harry and Wills would have had a STEPMUM - but didn't spend any time wondering about anything BUX.

    And yeah - I got BLOOMBERG immediately. It is, after all, the NEW YORK Times.

    Fred Romagnolo 2:48 PM  

    Hardest solve I ever had. Referenced SHEB and RABAT; couldn't remember if Adele's cousin was Ada or IDA. When I say referenced I don't mean googled; important difference to this retired school-teacher; one a challenge, the other a crutch. I still can't see why people who disagree have to insult one another. I'm a conservative, but I'm also a San Franciscan, all of my friends are liberals; they don't feel the need to be insulting just because we disagree. How about a little live and let live? It's particularly galling when you do it without using your name. Nuff said! Great puzzle, but perhaps cluing too abstruse.

    Casco Kid 2:50 PM  

    @leapy yes, WREN not a WOE this time. Will we see again in its "Christopher" variegation sometime soon? (Note to self: remember that not all architects are MIES VAN DER ROHE. )

    The Gull 3:08 PM  

    So Gill is galled? Is she also a Gaul? Heh.

    Mmm 3:09 PM  

    I LOVE a good ball suck.

    Anonymous 3:45 PM  

    I was CERTAIN the obsolescent club was CBGB's. Wrong again.

    AnonyWrong'un 3:58 PM  

    CBGB was a good thought; I was stuck fora while with MACE and that kind of gladiator stuff. You know, balls and chains...

    Anonymous 5:11 PM  

    I do LOVE how I learn from crosswords. "Obsolescent"= "becoming obsolete," like "adolescent"= "becoming an adult," and "senescent" = becoming senile. What was I saying again?

    Steve J 5:21 PM  

    This kicked my ass. Part of it was just my not being up to it, but part of it was a lot of misdirectional cluing that was a real reach. I can't remember where it was, but there was a point I started rolling my eyes at the answer to what felt like the 150th ? clue in the puzzle.

    There were definitely some enjoyable bits, but there was enough that kept me from loving this. As NCA President put it: "Not a bad puzzle...but not delightful."

    RAD2626 5:26 PM  

    Challenging. Hand up for Lieberman. Also was sure temporary blindness was eNvy which I thought was a clever clue so I stuck with it stubbornly for a long time. Also, apart from spelling of SIRREE, it is okay to have a partial partial without a "yes" or "no" first since the phrase always has one of those two lead-ins? Just asking.

    mac 6:24 PM  

    This was a typical Silk for me. Only a couple of gimmes to start with, then a little plugging away, and then the big words fall!

    Lots of fun on a long plane ride. Green tape is just the cleverest!

    michael 6:34 PM  

    Hard Saturday -- went slowly and I had to google Iger to finish. I wrote in "Eng" but had a hard time believing it was right.

    Got Bloomberg right away but took quite a while to get the rest of the nw, mostly because of earthrise. But I liked many of the clue/answer combos (including earth rise).

    Anonymous 7:21 PM  

    Hard. Took almost every cross to get Aileron, and I'm a pilot! That's how the cluing went for me today. Good brain training, this one.

    Andrew Heinegg 7:24 PM  

    Amen. I agree with you and RP. It was difficult, which is ok but, some, if not many, of the clues and the answers were just lousy and underinteresting.

    Mohair Sam 7:55 PM  

    Challenging and a DNF for us. Got it all except for the NW. Partially our fault (wanted traficant where BLOOMBERG was much better - and correcter, and don't know RABAT). Partially a couple of B.S. clues - for ENG and TWO. Yeah, yeah, I know the arguments. Bullshit.

    My friend Bogie Bill carries a two iron and hits the hell out of it. Not obsolete except by the semantic argument I've heard before that everything is obsolete. And the ENG clue is simplistic misdirection, not worthy of a NYT puzzle, imo.

    On the other hand, most of the long clues and answers were exceptional, especially EARTHRISE, BATSIGNAL, AILERON, PERFECTAS, and POOLROOMS.

    Shocked and awed that OFL never heard of EARTHRISE. Watch a little Discovery Channel or PBS and you'll see EARTHRISE many times, astronauts are always awed by it. You missed a great aha clue Rex.

    Anonymous 8:31 PM  

    @Mohair Sam:
    Again, TWO IRON was clued as "obsolescent" NOT "obsolete." Learn and appreciate the difference. Great, accurate clue.

    Leapfinger 8:56 PM  

    @R.OLFE Bunker, that was a nice piece on the Pale Blue Dot, and I didn't mind watching Dr. Quantum first in order to get to it, either.

    OISK 9:17 PM  

    I had Lieberman too, but never wrote it in; couldn't get a down clue to go with it. I live in NY, so Bloomberg should have come to mind, but for some reason I was thinking national, not local, and only when "Tail" (instead of Heel) led to Rabat, did the "BER" give me Bloomberg. Smooth sailing after that. I always enjoy Mr . Silk's puzzles - a Berry followed by a Silk makes for a perfect weekend! 59 across, "Ida" from Fledermaus - I love that operetta, play it often, but I hesitated to write in "Ida", which is essentially a speaking part, whom Silk clues as "Fledermaus soprano." Ida is the sister of Adele, the maid, (a major role) and is identified as a ballet dancer, not a soprano!! And I don't think she sings - she certainly has no solo arias. Still, I am grateful for the operetta reference...

    Anonymous 9:20 PM  

    I loved this puzzle. Hard enough to last my morning coffee. One small beef...I'm pretty sure Wills and Harry would say they have a STEPMUM...wouldn't they?

    Steve J 9:38 PM  

    Forgot to mention earlier: While everyone was entering LIEBERMAN (who never was officially a Republican, although many cynics - including myself - often said he may as well have been), I entered ANGUS KING. I knew he had been a Democrat at one point, but I couldn't recall if he'd had a stop with the GOP before going independent. Also, he fit.

    Anonymous 9:38 PM  

    STEPMUM is so EastEnder! Harry and Willswould say STEPMAMA. Or STEPMATER.

    Mohair Sam 2:19 AM  

    @anon 8:31. Big Ooops, misread the clue. Thanks - Boogie Bill swings an obsolescent club for sure. If I head read the clue correctly I may well have avoided the dnf. I stand humbled.

    spacecraft 12:52 PM  

    DNF. Got the west, and a couple of inroads into the east, but that's it. Too much I didn't know. There must be someone somewhere who knows the first two words to LABAMBA--maybe a descendant of Richie Valens--but certainly not me. What is "EARTHRISE?" Must be what those Jovian monoliths see every one of their mornings. (Cue "Also Sprach Zarathustra.") And I'm supposed to glean CEREALBOX out of "Life preserver?"? Right. No chance.

    It's a bit early, historically, to call the TWO IRON, though in very little use among current PGA Tour players, "obsolescent." Mashies, niblicks and cleeks are obsolescent; the deuce is "so 20th-century."

    Is AIRTAXI a thing? Never heard of it. And on and on. Like I said, no chance.

    4195. Overshot the runway, like maybe the 14d.

    DMG 2:12 PM  

    Wonder if I've ever finished a Silk puzzle? This time I stuck with it for awhile and ended up with somewhat over half, doing it the hard way. Only got BLOOMBERG because I had somehow eked out the BLO... As for ENG, i assumed they must be some ENGlish company. Accepting STEPMOM, surely not English usage, gave me the other side. Thus went the top half.The SW and SE were something else. Too many unknowns. Got ...SIGNAL, but no idea what kind. Dumbly had the donors in the eR, and knew weiRd, was wrong, but no idea what was right. And if I had had the Q, my choice wouldmhave been QUiRK. On the other side, POOLRacks and GREENlaws just slowed me to a stop. Congrats to those who got it, but not much fun here!

    Or here! 307

    rondo 2:17 PM  

    DNF due to the 8-stacks and inability to ROOTOUT the triple 7 letter downers in the NW. Somehow figured out the rest. Didn't hate it as much as OFL; the "snap" he's looking for must translate to easiness. I like - prefer - a challenge like this.
    Most unfavorite answer = ESSES, but harmless, even helpful as clued.
    Again, better than the simple M-W fare.

    captcha = dicontented macroop - must be Scottish?

    rain forest 5:29 PM  

    Challenging? Oh yeah! Took two sittings with a couple hours in between. Biggest holdups were clinging to the ONE (IRON) for too long, considering tROpIC unnecessarily, taking ages to see OCT as an alternative to 10 (I guess that OCTober, the 10th month, is the rationale there), and convincing myself that BALSA is used to construct floats.

    I stayed with it because I was gradually warming up to this beast as I inched along. I thought GREEN TAPE was funny. Anyway, ended up liking it a lot.

    979 Hate when the first number is 9, but 7 isn't bad.

    cmf77 8:07 PM  

    16A AMATI never made a string in his life, but he did make some wonderful violins. Poor clue! I agree with Rex, you will never see an EARTHRISE while on the earth. I never did understand CEREALBOX as making sense for life preserver....about 1 1/4 hour for me.

    Waxy in Montreal 1:41 PM  

    If the esteemed Mr. Silk says so, must be high time to toss my TWO IRON - even though I use it occasionally. OTOH, my son still loves to smack the definitely obsolescent one iron off the tee rather than a driver.

    Confidently started with STEPMOM, BATSIGNAL and OBLIQUE and then followed up with not a lot more. Never did suss out EARTHRISE while GREENTAPE remained GREENLAWS causing DNFs in both corners.

    Definitely Challenging from my perspective - but even so possessed a large redeeming quanta of QUARK charm flavor.

    Bananafish 1:09 AM  

    This was beyond difficult for me ... the first Saturday (or any other day for that matter) I have not been able to finish in several years, at least until I started googling.

    Had SPONGE bob and SILENT bob before SIRREE bob. Had LIEBERMAN, and believe it or not, tried GLENNBECK before I got BLOOMBERG from googling. QUEER and QUIRK before QUARK. SVEN before SHEB. KINGDOM and EARLDOM before STEPMOM. HASSLES and TACKLES before SORTIES. EDITOUT and BLOTOUT before ROOTOUT. LOWTIDE before EBBTIDE. I could go on, but, well, you get the picture ... I had a LOT of wrong things before I slogged my way to the right answers - never had so much ink squeezed into the white space on my newspaper before.

    I often enjoy a difficult puzzle, but I just cannot say that about this one. More often than not, I rolled my eyes when I got one of the marquee or '?' answers rather than smile in silent delight like I usually do.

    Oh, and I pride myself on being a degenerate gambler, and I never really heard of a PERFECTA before.

    Dirigonzo 7:18 PM  

    From the "Syndicate + 2 days" commentariat. My local paper has finally started running the Saturday syndicated puz, albeit on the following Monday. I gave up on this ever happening long ago and started buying the Saturday NYT so I could solve and comment in "real time", so now 5 weeks and 2 days later I solved it again and you know what? - It was no easier than it was the first time (although I did have a couple of "deja vu" moments). The best part was re-reading the write-up and the comments (including my own) and then seeing how my fellow syndi-solvers fared. I probably can't break my Saturday habit now (I really like to try the Ken-Ken puzzles on the same page) but it's nice to have a second chance 37 days later, in case I don't do so well the first time around.

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