Saucer-shaped jellyfish / FRI 4-3-15 / America vaudeville England / 1837 short story collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne / Onetime competitor of Mad magazine / Cartman's first name on South Park

Friday, April 3, 2015

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: none

Word of the Day: "SICK" (24A: Onetime competitor of Mad magazine) —
Sick was a satirical-humor magazine published from 1960 to 1980, lasting 134 issues. It was created by comic-book writer-artist Joe Simon, who also edited the title until the late 1960s. Sick was published by Crestwood Publications until issue #62 (1968), when it was taken over by Hewfred Publications. Charlton Comics took over publishing the magazine in 1976 with issue #109.
Sick 's original mascot was a blank-faced little physician. He was later replaced by a mascot named Huckleberry Fink, whose design was similar to that of Mad 's Alfred E. Neuman, and whose motto, instead of Neuman's "What, me worry?", was "Why Try Harder?" (wikipedia)
• • •

Kind of distracted by family goings-on tonight, so can't write much. It's Patrick Berry, so, no shocker, the grid is great. Just great. I found this a good deal harder than the average Berry Friday, for a couple reasons. First, Britishness. I guess I've heard of MUSIC HALL … but, no, not as a vaudeville equivalent (14D: America : vaudeville :: England : ___). No idea. Inferable, but I had no idea. Also, BARMY, a word I recognize in retrospect, but couldn't come up w/ at all while solving (22A: Bonkers, in Britspeak). I had BAR-Y and went with BARGY. From Argy-Bargy, which may or may not be a Squeeze album. Hang on … yes, a Squeeze album. Also Britspeak (see!) for "argument." Then there were names I didn't know. W.C. HANDY is basically what N.C. WYETH used to be for me, i.e. a guy whose last name I know, but whose first two initials are a crapshoot (21D: Songwriter with the 1941 autobiography "Father of the Blues"). So that name crossing "SICK" (??!?) was not easy. Caused me to have serious trouble even getting into that damned NE corner. Also, MEDUSAS? (11D: Saucer-shaped jellyfish) … no clue. O'GRADY? (29D: "Sweet Rosie ___" (Betty Grable film)) No clue. None. And then there were a lot of "?" clues, it seemed, so I definitely had to work harder than usual for this one.

[1980]

NE was definitely the toughest. I was dead stuck. I guessed HILL (9D: Reason to downshift) and then CHUMP (8A: Sucker), and luckily they were both right, as I had zero up there before that. Guessed "SICK" from the SI-, which helped. I'm still kind of hung up on "SICK," especially considering how long it ran. It's true that I was a bit young for that magazine, but I have absolutely no memory of it, whereas "MAD" and "Cracked" are ultra-familiar. I probably started paying attention to those kinds of magazines in the late '70s, so I must've just missed "SICK." I stupidly put in AFRIKAANS for AFRIKANER at 33A: Charlize Theron, e.g., by birth. Clue calls for noun, not adjective. My bad. CONK OUT for SACK OUT held me up some as well. But overall, the struggle was well worth it. No big Wows, but solid and entertaining throughout.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

101 comments:

jae 1:52 AM  

I had this at easy-medium.  Unlike Rex NW was the tough section for me.   The clue for AXEL was tough and BARMY did not ring a bell.   Plus I had ON THE sked at first.  I also had dim before WAN and Cad before CUR.  Suffice to say I had none of the problems Rex had and he probably did it in half the time it took me. 

I owe 34a being a gimme to playing the Authors card game as a kid.

Solid, smooth, but not particularly zippy.  That said, if you have the opportunity to see CYNDI Lauper's musical Kinky Boots you should go.  

Oh, and liked it.

dmw 1:54 AM  

I usually can't finish Friday, without help, but did this time, so happy to see Rex's "Medium-Challenging."

And, as usual, stuff that is difficult for one solver is easy for another (e.g. Rosy O'Grady was a giveaway).

Steve J 1:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 2:00 AM  

A couple years back, I started doing puzzles without looking at the byline until after completing the puzzle. At the time, I was finding myself dismissing things because of constructors I hadn't really connected with in the past, and I was going in with a negative opinion.

The flip side of this approach is that I don't automatically fawn over a puzzle from a constructor I usually like. Such is the case today. This is not one of Berry's finest. Sure, there's a minimum of junk, but there's none of the scintillating fill Berry usually brings out - the long answers are all quite pedestrian. And there's too much stuff that seems just outside normal usage, like SACK OUT, TONES UP and POOR SPORT. Cluing didn't feel as sharp or as playful, either, outside a couple exceptions.

Did appreciate learning that BERETTA has been around for nearly 500 years (!). And I'm left wondering why the language is Afrikaans, but one of that heritage is stripped of an A to become an AFRIKANER.

Paige Reader 2:32 AM  

Afrikaans is the language -- a noun, not an adjective. Afrikaner is both a noun AND an adjective.

Anonymous 2:55 AM  

Mr. Berry's clues are so fair, that just one letter, or perhaps two, enables one to fill the cross easily.

GGF,

Jim Walker 4:34 AM  

Thirty minutes. No cheats. No mistakes. So I would have to say easy. But as @JAE pointed out OFL would probably rate a puzzle that took him that long as "near impossible" or something. MUSICHALL crossing BEACH brought to mind the wonderful Olivier film that I believe was called "The Entertainer". Someone will correct me if I am wrong, I'm sure. Good puzzle, PB..

mac 5:39 AM  

This is my kind of puzzle, medium, with the toughest area the NW. It didn't help that I spelled Stephen's name Rae.

Hand up for cad, dim and conk out. I needed a lot of crosses for W.C. Handy or is it W. Chandy?

Alec Myers 6:08 AM  

Could someone identify when in Jaws a net was cast?

kvet0407 6:10 AM  

Half to be able to add something to the conversation here - as a native Dutch speaker living in Europe the NYT Fridays and Saturday's always the limits of my understanding of (American) English. In this case Paige Reader is right - In English Afrikaans is the language, not an adjective. In Dutch (and one gathers also in Afrikaans) it is both the language and the adjective (though in Dutch as in English it I spelled with a capital when the language is meant).

Steve J mentions the dropping of the 'a' when the noun is used - that this because of the rather arcane Dutch spelling rules which try to follow actual pronunciation (something the English gave up on after Sir Gawayn and þe Grene Knyȝt). Dutch has both a short 'a' and long 'a' - the last one is appropriately spelled as "aa". Now in Dutch an 'a' at the end of a syllable is always pronounced long, so the ever frugal Dutch decided that as there was no possibility of confusion over the pronunciation of the word to drop the extra 'a' at the end of a syllable.

Hence A-fri-kaans, but A-fri-ka-ner

George Barany 6:31 AM  

To me, the experience of working this puzzle by @Patrick Berry was absolutely wonderful. Translation, I'm not a particularly fast solver, especially on late week themelesses, but this one went down uncharacteristically quickly, with no need to google or reveal or ask a friend or anything else. It couldn't have hurt that way back in junior high school, we were subjected to the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which meant that 34-Across filled in quickly based on only a handful of crossing letters.

Another word that came quickly was 27-Down, which differs by one letter from 37-Across in Something Wise by my remarkable friend @Steve Bachman. Thus, the research into how to clue two closely related words was still fresh in my mind.

Over at the Los Angeles Times, another friend, @Jim Quinlan, makes his MSM constructing debut with a cute themed puzzle. Congratulate him if you have a chance; he occasionally visits this blog under the handle @JimQ.

Finally, Happy Passover and Good Good Friday to all.

kvet0407 6:55 AM  

The strange wording in the above is the result of using a Dutch autocorrect when typing English - I cannot change the post anymore.

Thomaso808 7:17 AM  

Easy for a Friday at a time of 29:26 which is half my usual Friday. NE fell very fast with SWELLUP a lucky guess that led right away to PREPPY and HILL and the rest crumbled like a politician with his pants down.

@Steve J the zing wasn't there for me either but looking at the grid I have to say it is actually really good. Just demonstrates how important world class clues are to make a world class puzzle. This one, grid yes, clues no. Also, it just leaves a bad taste to have two answers end with UP (SWELLUP and TONESUP).

I did really like the clues for POORSPORT, FEDEXES, and YESMAAM (there's the double A the Dutch misplaced!).

It may not have been his best work, but Patrick Berry sets the bar pretty high for himself, and this one did not disappoint!

Loren Muse Smith 7:37 AM  

Rex – me, too for Africaans. @Steve J - I know, right? Why drop that A? Thanks for the info, @kvet0407.

It is always jarring for me to see a double A anywhere. Salaam, ma'am. Isaac Aaron speaking. How do you say "naan" in Africaans?

@Steve J – "I don't automatically fawn over a puzzle from a constructor I usually like." At least you're not a CHUMP like me and just fawn over everyone. And I disagree on your take on TONES UP, SACK OUT, and POOR SPORT. These are all firmly in my arsenal of "normal usage" phrases.

"Casual" for PREPPY, "wee" for WAN, "_ _ _steps" for EXIT RAMPS, and "star" for STAT were three early entries that I seriously considered.

I also revisited POOR SPORT several times to make sure that "yo-yo dieter" didn't fit.

"Lives on" – equal stresses – ENDURES.
"Lives on" – initial stress only - "eats only ____."

I was thinking the latter above. I love this kind of ambiguous clue.

I don't believe in ESP, either, but a few days ago in class (upstairs high school side) I was telling an absolutely captivated class about whether or not to capitalize the B in Brussels sprouts and giving examples of when many people USUALly do not capitalize food nationality words (french fries, swiss cheese, tabasco…) Then I gave a couple of examples of when most would capitalize the place name – many cases in more unusual, rarer things like Peking duck or Turkish coffee. Three days later, a science teacher (downstairs other side of the building on the Middle School side) told me at lunch that he had had a dream about me and several other teachers and that we were drinking Turkish coffee and he didn't even know what the heck that is. Hmm.

I bet we all have a POOR SPORT story. (G. Folk in Chattanooga, I'm looking at you. How many times did you just take your baal and go home?)

Fine Friday fare, PB – Just perfect.

jberg 7:49 AM  

Like @jae, I used to play a lot of Authors (for you young'uns, that was a rumme-like game that you played with cards that had the names of authors and their works on them -- my grandmother had grown up in a denomination that banned card playing with real cards, so she had a lot of things like that around (Pit is the only other one I remember).) Only my memory has faded a little more than jae's, so what I remembered was "Mosses from an Old Manse" -- I figured it was some rebus-like trick where the 'from an' was dropped.

My other problem was in the NE, where the early HILL gave me sHoot for 'sucker,' (thinking botanically) and spunK for 'sass.' That in turn gave me SICK, so it wasn't until Amanda Palmer came along with her UKULELE that it all sorted out.

Well, almost all. I failed to parse STOCK EXCHANGES as places, so I went with the Latin MEDUSAe/EXCHANGEe. Sigh.

Glimmerglass 8:00 AM  

"Sweet Rosie O'Grady" was a popular song at the turn of the century (not the recent turm, the one before that). I remember hearing it as a child at singalongs. Old people, then, remembered it when it was new. Never heard of the movie.

Kathy D. 8:06 AM  

Gosh, I thought this was an easy puzzle, had no problems. I thought the clues were excellent and I just thought of double meanings and figured them out.
And I sometimes have trouble with Friday puzzles, but not this time.
This constructor knows how to write logical, not cutesy or esoteric clues, but still one needs to stretch a bit to find his meaning.
Very enjoyable.

Tita 8:07 AM  

Thanks, @kvet... Since the rare 'aa' in English is NOT a long a, I am always confused by it in Dutch. I try to remember that 'riis' means 'rice' (as in riistafel)' and that reminds me that the doubles are long. Oops...except now I see that it is actually riJstafel... I guess Dutch will continue to elude me...

Puzzle? The trifecta of puzzle superiority- acing a Friday; a Med-Chall Rex rating; and Patrick Berry - has me feeling very superior indeed.
In the context of a DNF, that is...but close enough to keep my smugness intact...

Thought it was UKeLELE, managed not to correct ELeDE, and guessed wrong at hACKOUT/hICK.

Must be in my wheelhouse, because many of my guesses turned out to be right.
Thanks Patrick.

Danield 8:08 AM  

Although much earlier in my crossword career than Steve J, I agree with his observation and approach. I did like this puzzle and, as someone else commented, I think that Barry's cluing is almost always fair--probably means it's in my wheelhouse.
Appreciated the clue for hiker and the fact that it crossed hill.
Thank you Patrick

chefbea 8:22 AM  

Found this easier than most Friday's though I did google a bit. Loved the clue for 28 down.

@Mac it's W.C. Handy. But can someone explain 6 down = axel??

Now to start preparing our Eastover dinner!!!

Lewis 8:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 8:30 AM  

Well, I'm anything but lukewarm to this puzzle. I was buzzing with smiles all the way through it. Patrick's puzzles are usually not very scrabbly, and the answers are also sometimes not loaded with zip, but to me it doesn't matter because there is so much zip to the cluing, and, as PB says in his book, what makes a crossword puzzle worth its salt is the cluing.

I loved the clues for -- HIKER, ESP, STOCKEXCHANGES, YESMAAM, FEDEXES, FINEART, SEMI, UKULELE, FORBES, KFC, and NET. They are clever and often misdirecting, and smile producing. This adds such a level of pleasure to solving a puzzle, in my opinion.

I don't think I've ever spelled UKULELE in my life and while I bet M&A knows this spelling very well, it threw me (the third and fifth letter). I liked having the synonyms ELUDE and SKIRT in the same puzzle. All the answers I didn't know were fairly crossed. And look at how remarkably clean this grid is!

Bravo once again, Mr. PB, and thank you for a great start to my day.

Z 8:33 AM  

Greenspan and Bernanke.*

Saying this isn't Berry's best is a little bit like saying Crooked Tree isn't Dark Horse's best beer. I agree it isn't his best, but this is pretty damn good. Breadth (Hawthorne and Lauper) and more breadth (BARMY and SICK). Weird trivia (Firearms and Make-up, the yin and yang, the masculine and the feminine) and interesting parallels (FORESAW ESP). When KFC and AXEL can be made interesting the puzzle is pretty good.



*FED EXES

ulysses 8:33 AM  

Will shortz holiday special. Nice and easy Friday. NW was a little slow but otherwise smooth sailing.

ulysses 8:35 AM  

Anyone else feel like will is always making holiday puzzles easier than there typical day would suggest. A little something to make papple feel good especially for those that might not usually have time to do the puzzle?

quilter1 8:36 AM  

I'd rate it medium for me. Perhaps it skews a bit "old," though I prefer classic. Berry never disappoints--chewy but solvable.

Z 8:37 AM  

@chefbea - Ice Skating - that flying pirouette maneuver. I spin on skates as well, right down onto my ass.

RnRGhost57 8:38 AM  

Terrific cluing, as usual, from PB.

joho 8:47 AM  

Electrical storm led to power outage halfway through my solve last night. At the time I still had a lot of white spaces staring at me. This morning, as it often happens with Patrick's puzzles, everything fell neatly into place along with lots of smiles, YESMAAM!

I was too tricky for my own good with tears before ELEGY. I also had ___stoPS for a bit.

Loved BARMY, SALTY and CHEEK(y).

CAYUGA makes me think of those old car horns.

I loved it! Thank you, PB!

Charles Flaster 8:49 AM  

Love PB puzzles as they usually bring out your Personal Best.
This was easy with a few writeovers--- shoat for CHUMP and spunk for CHEEK, thus making upper right most difficult.
Enjoyed cluing---FINE ART, POOR SPORT, NET and KFC.
Fortunately O'GRADY and W.C. HANDY were gimmes. Handy is mentioned in "76 Trombones" from Bye Bye Birdie.
Thanks PB and your contribution to Variety Puzzles on Sunday is exquisite!

Fredd Smith 8:50 AM  



Barany's here using this blog to promote his site again.

AliasZ 8:53 AM  


POORSPORT is not as common as POORloser or spoilSPORT.
SACKOUT is not as common as conkOUT or SACKrace.
TONESUP is not as common as TONESdown or whatSUP.
AFRIKANER is a noun just like Hamburger and Frankfurter.

We shouldn't make a mountain out of a MALL HILL. Or an ANT HILL.

Seeing MALL and HILL in symmetrical slots made me look at some other symmetrical pairs, and noticed: WAN|OOF, BARMY CYNDI, CUR|REA or REA|CUR, ESPerANTo, the Irish law firm MCCAIN and OGRADY, and indeed FINE ART ENDURES for centuries, but I never saw a PREPPY CAYUGA, etc. YESMAAM, it'll SWELLUP, give it a minute.

The thing about Patrick Berry puzzles is that they are so clean, so logical that solving them becomes also clean and logical. Loved the clues for AXEL, HIKER, KFC, UKULELE, and especially "People get off on them" to which I immediately entered EXITRAMPS with no crosses. On what else does off one get?

Vielen DANK.

What would be more appropriate for today than the opening of the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach? Nothing, I tell you, absolutely nothing.

Happy Passover.

Elle54 8:55 AM  

Yep OGrady was my first answer

pfb 9:00 AM  

I found this medium to easy for a Friday. Liked the Brit clues; MUSICHALL was a gimme, and BARMY should have been but was not. Enjoyable.

Maruchka 9:05 AM  

It's a Good Friday, and in more ways than one. Warming UP outside (a big U and P day), north wind gone (should be capitalized?), no static cling, and a PB puzzle. Easy-Medium. Thank you, Jesus!

Like @Rex, the NE was last to fill in: Spunk/CHEEK, yuppie/PREPPY. Could not see UKULELE for the longest, LOL when I did. So many ahas - thanks again, Mr. Berry.

Fav of the day - OOF. Mad, SICK and Cartman all come to mind..

Re: Dutch stuff. Recently viewed 'Nightwatching" by Peter Greenaway. Rembrandt (played by - Bilbo Baggins the younger!) in a hot mess, and so beautifully filmed.

@Z - Totally agree. And a hands UP for the FED EXES.

I just feelin' the UP today. Happy holidays to one and all.

Hartley70 9:19 AM  

Nice, fast, old-fashioned solve.

chefbea 9:26 AM  

@Z thanks

jberg 9:27 AM  

@chefbea, an AXEL is some kind of figure-skating leap.

Steve M 9:42 AM  

Superb

John V 9:44 AM  

Save for MUSICHALL, pretty easy, I thought. Typical PB puzzle, hard, fun, fairly crossed.

NCA President 9:44 AM  

Rube that I am, while I enjoyed the puzzle, I don't get the unequivocal love PB gets that others don't. There's nothing "new" in this puzzle, it's still in English (for the most part), there are still three-letter answers that are par for the xword course (ANT, CUR, OOF, PIX, ESP, REA) and there are phrases that are just a bit wonky (SACKOUT, LANCOME, BARMY). I just don't get why this puzzle is so grand and others aren't. I read that PB got some amazing reception at the tournament...if he is the savior of the modern xword puzzle, then color me the doubting Thomas.

I mean, sure it was good. But not *amazing.*

I did like MUSICHALL only because I like Queen and a lot of their songs were rooted in that style of music (Seaside Rendezvous, Good Company, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon, etc).

Otherwise, it may be Good Friday, but I'm not sure, puzzlewise, if it was necessarily that great.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

Agree with @Lewis. "Zippy" is a good adjective for this puzzle, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Agree that the NW was the toughest: my only answer there, REA, didn't give me any kind of toehold. So off to the NE, where PREPPY (which I checked by the ESP cross) let me in.
Every time, now, that something buried deep in my memory from long ago pops up from a few letters, I think of @NCA President's recent comment. In this case, for me, it was TWICE TOLD TALES. I knew that once like the back of my hand; today I needed TW---T---TALES. Memory. Oh, well.

If I had any nits with this delightful puzzle it was: Why so many cosmetics companies? But, actually, there were only two. It just seemed like more.

Marc Cohn 9:52 AM  

WCHANDY
Won't you look down over me
Yeah, I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be.

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Was walking with my feet, ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel?



Kris in ABCA 10:03 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Had several instances where I'd wrestle with the double meaning of a clue and then have that happy light bulb moment when I figured it out. Just what makes Friday's great. And, like @Tita, bonus fun to view that Rex had found this medium-challenging when it was a relatively fast (and cheat-free) solve for me.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:06 AM  

Easy-Medium Friday for me.

Most of Rex's speedbumps were gimmes to this geezer.

My unique mixup: I somehow mis-read 31 D as 13 D, or vice-versa. But with TWICE TOLD TALES already in place, I glanced at 31 D but was solving for 13 D ("Magazine that's on the market?) and threw in INC. When I got back to the NW and saw the "same" clue, I put in FORBES. All straightened out eventually!

Rex Porker 10:09 AM  

This puzzle was by Patrick Berry. He was born in a manger to a virgin a long time ago, and when he constructs a grid, it's great. Just great.
This one took 47.38 seconds, much longer than my USUAL Friday, probably because I was blinded by the starbursts of light flashing in my eyes after I saw the PB at the top of the puzzle. Have I mentioned that, in my opinion, he is a very good constructor?
I suspect this puzzle was even better before that cretin Shortz got his grubby little paws on it. Not sure if he edited it all, but just by looking at it he must have done something wrong. Have I mentioned that, in my opinion, Will Shortz is a very bad editor? When a puzzle is bad, it is his fault. When a puzzle is awesome, like today's offering from you know who (Patrick Berry!), it is because the constructor is amazing.
I guess my weekend is ruined now because there is no way that Saturday or Sunday puzzles will be able to compete with today's masterpiece. I am already considering what mud to sling at the weekend's constructors, because they are named something other than Patrick Berry.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

"Gift that not everyone accepts?" GAB.

Questinia 10:21 AM  

Berry's cluing and answers always feel like a dance to me. Usually a waltz, sometimes a tango, occasionally a cha-cha.

This was a two-step and I had a bum knee. But the music was fine.

I agree with @ SteveJ re confirmation bias when looking at the byline. Only thing I know with Berry is that it'll be some kind of dance.

Arlene 10:25 AM  

I finished today's puzzle without Googling. YAY! I almost succumbed, but the ACPT "no Googling" influence prompted me to just keep trying. And it all fell into place. I don't even time myself on Fridays because there's usually no point to it - wish I had today!

Andrew Gordon 10:27 AM  

Medium here. Enjoyed it.

Main log jam was that my brain was fixated James Fenimore Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales" once I had TALES in the grid. The only Hawthorne work that has permanent residence upstairs is "The Scarlet Letter" which we read in 8th grade I believe. I just learned from Wikipedia that he also wrote "The House of the Seven Gables" a familiar title, but I have no idea what it is about. Is it any good?

Happy Eastover All!

Roo Monster 10:34 AM  

Hey All !
Well, first comment got deleted :-( , so try again.
Got most of SW first, moved up to NW, had
FORE___
FINAL___
ONTHE___
and thought SAW & EXAM, but SEMI was a tad hidden, and AXEL was a hard-un. Managed to suss out the middle, hit the NE, had UKeLELE, and wanted PRimPY and CHide, so that section took a bit of time to straighten up. Heard of WC HANDY from the "Walking In Memphis " song. Went to the SE, where white space stared at me for, like, 30 minutes. Finally broke down and had to Goog the ___ Jam clue. Thought I should have known that, but had Class for CASTE, so couldn't see it. Once I got NBA from Googster. and changed to CASTE, filled in the rest in about 5 seconds!

So, overall, nice puz. Lots of X's and K's. And U's, so Mr. Masked will be happy!

@Alias Z, "YESMAAM, it'll SWELLUP, give it a minute " ,....... ROFL!!!!!!!!

SALTY CHEEK
RooMonster
DarrinV

Maruchka 10:34 AM  

@Questinia - Love your meta-for PB. For me, he serves a smoothly integrated word meal, though not necessarily in strict course order. That's where the tasty bits live.

pmdm 10:37 AM  

I completely agree with SteveJ and NCA President. There is nothing to wince at with this puzzle, but I found it neither humorous or entertaining - just a bunch of OK words. A bit too many proper nouns for my taste, (PB he usually but not always avoids overuse of proper names.) Some may think Shortz has lowered the bar for NY Times crossword puzzles. Perhaps these same people have subconsciously lowered the bar when critiquing a PB puzzle. Does it really mean anything, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Carola 10:39 AM  

The NW was my last chunk, and I smiled at FINE ART - as in, puzzle constructing. I thought it was a FINE Friday - a little tough to get started but then not too hard to gain and maintain traction.

First pass got me only REA, BEACH, STOCK EXCHANGES, and CYNDI, but that gave me the O'GRADY cross and lots of ways to branch out. Help from previous puzzles: COEN, WC HANDY. I thought the British equivalent of burlesque might be pantomime.

@Alias Z - On the symmetry: SALTY CHEEK is good, too. Also, you can probably find PREPPY attire high above CAYUGA's waters on the Cornell campus.

@loren - I also thought of yo-yo dieting :)

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Surprisingly easy for me. I think the medium-challenging rating by Rex is caused by generational differences, e.g. W.C. Handy, Rosie O'Grady, Sick, etc.

GILL I. 10:50 AM  

This was a beer and pretzels puzzle. Nothing wrong with that, but I like it better when PB offers a dry martini and some caviar.
Really, about the only thing that made me smile was BARMY. The clue might have said Bonkers spoken by a Brit who is about 80 years old.!!
Enjoy Good Friday or Passover today. Or, maybe just a day of sunshine....

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

W.C. Handy "?..is referenced in Prof. Harold Hill's lead-in to the song Seventy-Six Trombones in Meredith Willson's 1957 musical The Music Man." So, not Bye Bye Birdie, and not in the lyric.

GILL I. 11:05 AM  

@Questinia...I just now read and laughed at your post. Are we thinking alike?

wreck 11:07 AM  

I do look at the constructor's name right at the start, and have to admit I get a smile when I see PB's name. In the past several Berry puzzles, I have not had to Google and completed in above average times. Today's took me longer and I had to Google a couple of times, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems almost every clue has the possibility of a double meaning - that is why the first pass through always has a lot of penciled in answers instead of pen.

Roo Monster 11:10 AM  

Hey @Carola!
I had SALTY CHEEK first! Na-na-na-boo-boo! :-P

Great minds Sass alike! :-D

RooMonster

Carola 11:24 AM  

@RooMonster - I know! Saw it as soon as I posted. TWICE-TOLD TALES :)

Steve J 11:42 AM  

@kvet0407: Thanks for the Dutch spelling explanation. Makes sense.

D-Squared Media NYC 11:47 AM  

Thanks Bugs Bunny for helping Rosie O'Grady become a gimme. Well at lear as a song! "She's the daughter of Rosie O'Grady" A PB puzzle always satisfies. Thanks!

Tita 11:52 AM  

@NCAPres - why do I think PB is fabulous? Because Rex and many others here tell me to...!

I am nowhere near tuned-in enough to recognize constructors from their work. Maybe Liz G, because of her visuals - but unless it's way obvious like that, I am lost.

I'm probably at a 60% hit rate in identifying a composer by hearing the music, or 70% for an artist from a painting, but that's about it.

With Will editing clues so much, how can it even be possible to recognize a constructor?

So just as I'm in awe of the classical music knowledge of lots of the folks here, I am in awe of that ability to recognize constructors. Call me the Salieri of xwords.

(And I don't give a pass based on name - it's still gotta be good, and I do agree, that today's was good, but not golden. As I've said many times, including today, my opinion is very unabashedly tainted by how well I did!!)

Casco Kid 11:53 AM  

I hung tough and finished with 2 unfindable errors in 75 minutes. SKInTS/CUn. OK, I should have been able to find that, but I was exhausted. NE gave me fits. jelly fish= Manowar, not plural. UKULELE was clever. WCHANDY/SICK was a Natick I guessed right on. The Charlize Theron clue was a gimme, and she saved me. Think she'd let me take her out for a thank-you dinner?

wreck 11:59 AM  

@Casco Kid
I wish for that as well, but I would probably get the "Monster" version of Charlize!

Leapfinger 12:10 PM  

Loved the VERBAL GYMNASTICS in the cluing; as noted, the logic is inexorable, which is what made it easy for anyone who can think THUSly.

Saw the ANT HILL and WCHANDY by the MUSICHALL, but missed so much else. If it'll SWELL UP as promised, I'll give it more than a minute, YESSIIRee

I now have it down pat that UKULELE has 2 U's to start and 2 E's to finish, but I still have to check my I's and E's to see if the BI/ERETTA is one on the head or one in the pocket.

@Z, I so liked your Greenspan and Bernanke!! When my daughter's first husband brought his new wife to our Seders, and my former dude came with my understudy... those were the times we FED EXES.

I came to praise Berry, not to seize him, so it's rubbing CHEEK in a SALTY wound to flaunt that leavened BRED IN THEME, NU? right before a long week of matzoh?

Way to RAMP it UP, PB! A Good Friday made better.

Lewis 12:13 PM  

Factoid: About one out of three people who go to the BEACH cannot swim.

Quotoid: "America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the USUAL interval of civilization." -- Georges Clemenceau

Masked and Anonymo9Us 1:10 PM  

Hard, for a PB1 puz.
First four (correct) entries: REA. MCCAIN. COEN. ESP.
Note that 3 out of 4 were names. Quite a few names in the puz, which usually makes it harder for the M&A.

fave weeject: OOF. This wj has now appeared 37 times in the NYTPuz. 4 of em by Patrick Berry. PB1 kinda likes OOF. But it is not wj1, with him. He has used ERA 8 times (9, if he also goes by Patrick D. Berry), for instance. But, I D-gress.

PB1 has never done a pangram. Not even in a SunPuz. He lives and dies by the smoooooth fill rule. This no doubt puts X-tra pressure on him. Can U imagine buildin some fabulously smooth grid, only to roll into the final corner, and discoverin that nothin else will work, to seal the deal, except for IAL or IER? PB1, wracked with pain, after 22 straight hours of quality nonstop 64-word grid fillin, is faced with the #1 scourge of the Crossword Gods: desperation. What does he do? He has an impeckable reputation to maintain.
Top choices:
* File it in the "crappy SE" folder, volume six.
* Kick the budgie.
* Kill off the last brewski in today's Coor's Lite case of 24.
* Go on a first date.
* Use his fave alias, "M and A", and publish the sucker online somewhere.
* Break Mr. Happy Pencil in two.
* Bite the bullet, and remove OOF.

themelessthUmbsUp. Thanx for yer hard work, Mr. Berry.

M&A

Chip Hilton 1:15 PM  

Medium-Challenging? I did it over lunch and finished it along with my egg salad sandwich, a mean feat for this man Jack. Beautiful puzzle, wonderful clues, but quite easy, for a Friday, in my opinion.

Benko 1:25 PM  

@tita: Yes, the bizarre vowel combination "IJ" represents the "long i" sound in Standard Dutch. But in Flemish and Afrikaans it is usually replaced by a "y".
@lewis: Like today's factoid!

I have written about the "unequivocal praise" which Patrick Berry gets for his puzzles (@ncapres), but while it is sometimes confusing when one of his lesser puzzles gets a reception usually reserved for a masterpiece, that doesn't mean he isn't actually one of the greatest constructors of all time. Not every one of his puzzles has to be "caviar and champagne". And there's nothing wrong with a "beer and pretzels" puzzle, as @GILL puts it!

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

How many independent used book stores around the world are named "TWICEsOLDTALES?" I've lived in at least 3 cities that have such an establishment.

Pcrest Bob 2:14 PM  

Porker- please go away

old timer 2:33 PM  

I was actually looking forward to what the charming Mr. Porker would say about this one.

I say, I am much smarter than Michael Sharp (smarter today at least though surely not as fast a solving time) because I had no difficulty with this puzzle. None whatsoever! The answers marched down the page from top to bottom. I've lived in England. I know BARMY. I know MUSICHALL. I immediately wanted FINALEXAM and STOCKEXCHANGES and the first two letters gave me TWICETOLDTALES (now that should have been a gimme for Prof. Sharp).

I do agree, this was not the most elegant PB puzzle. The standouts were UKULELE and LANCOME in terms of cluing and choice of words. But a very good puzzle all the same.

Questinia 2:36 PM  

@ GILL I, yes and evidently like @ Maruchka. I like the addition of your quaff.

Yeah, Berry. I'd say @ Lewis that M. Clemenceau had never done a Berry puzzle. Height of socio-cruciverbial breeding.

Nancy 2:42 PM  

@Tita -- It's not that I think anyone here would shade the truth, heaven forfend, but I'll believe that some people in puzzleworld can identify ANY puzzle creator simply by examining the puzzle only when the byline is eliminated...and not a moment before. Like you, I wouldn't know a PB puzzle if I fell over it or anyone else's puzzle either. It seems to me that puzzle creators use different styles all the time. David Steinberg used a lot of pop culture references until one day he created a terrific puzzle where he didn't. I never come to a byline with either high or low expectations. I just try to solve the puzzle and then, maybe or maybe not, I go on to assess it.

@Leapfinger -- BERETTA is the gun co. BARRETTE is the thing in the hair. (Do women still wear them? They did in my day, though I, personally, never did.)

@M @ A -- Was impeckable meant to be a pun I didn't get? The correct spelling is impeccable. And why would you be upset that PB doesn't do pangrams? What's so great about a pangram? Now a rebus -- that's something else!

OISK 2:44 PM  

Really loved this one, despite the two "cosmetics" clues. Knew WCHandy from the "Music Man" reference - found out who he was after seeing the show (with Barbara Cook and Robert Preston), and Rosie Ogrady from the song. I had Balmy before Barmy, Gab before ESP, (great clue), cad before cur, exit stops before ramps...and finished correctly in record Friday time. (Twice told tales and Coen were gimmes, leading immediately to Cayuga - High above Cayuga waters....) Thanks again, Patrick! And happy holidays to all.

mathguy 2:56 PM  

@Lewis. I agree completely. Thanks for reminding me of the charming clues for several of the entries.

I've been recording the MGI for the non-Sunday puzzles for the last four or five months. Since I don't time myself, it is a measure of how difficult a puzzle is for me. It's the number of squares occupied by entries I didn't know minus the number of squares occupied by gimmes. The bigger the MGI, the harder the puzzle. Friday's average about 30. Today's was -24, unusually easy. Patrick Berry's Friday puzzle of 2/13 was -22. My point is that his puzzles are relatively easy for me, more like Wednesday puzzles. And yet, because of the cluing, there are very enjoyable.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Lovely. Enjoyed immensely. Easy- medium for me -- glad Rex had trouble with it!

Melodious Funk 3:18 PM  

Baked Alaska
Russian dressing
California roll
Boston cream pie (and baked beans)
Prune Danish
Steak Diane
Indianapolis Indiana

Charles Flaster 3:23 PM  

Thanks. I goofed.

Ludyjynn 4:47 PM  

This puzzle made me feel like I have ESP. It all fell neatly into place. Halfway through, decided to check the name of the constructor and was TRULY delighted to see PB's work. SOMETIMES the stars are in alignment. RAH, RAH! I say.

@ChefB, the infamous knee-whacker conspirator/ice skater, Tonya Harding, was the pioneer of women skaters to perform/complete the triple axel jump in competition. To this day, most women only perform double axels, while the men do triples. That extra rotation requires an enormous degree of stamina.

Whether your preference is matzoh or ham, enjoy the holidays w/ friends and family.

Thanks, PB and WS.

Teedmn 6:18 PM  

The NE was my non-sweet spot, like @Rex and some others. Thinking of the crosswordese Uke gave me the UKeLELE (my favorite clue) and that made ELUDE and MEDUSAS hard to see.

And FED EXES was a hard one also. I put in rED EyES but I don't think anyone has ever winced saying "OOr" so that finally got corrected.

A very nice puzzle, Mr. Berry, and it didn't even make me BARMY on a Friday. Happy holidays, all.

(I really wanted 'Wild Lover?' to be referring to the Minn. NHL team :-) ).

Leapfinger 6:28 PM  

@Nancy, ah yes, BARRETTE is also somewhat a confounder, but it's 'in the hair', not 'on the head'; I wasn't thinking past BERETTA/BiRETTA. (I guess that perhaps you aren't Catholic, but then, neither am I!) If you google for 'Biretta images', you'll see that a biretta is what a yarmulke dreams of, when it aspires to grow up into something between a tam o'shanter and a fancy chocolate gift-box. I CASTE no aspersions, but by CUR ANT standards, pompoms are over as a fashion statement. (And I agree that it seemed like more than a twofer on cosmetics.)

Looking forward to a crunch-time Saturday.

"It was a DANK and BARMY night..."

GILL I. 7:28 PM  

Hi @Ludy...Actually, Tonya the whacker actually landed a quad... There are a few females that still do triple axels...!
Hi @Nancy....I wear a barrette! My hair is pretty long and those little puppies keep everything in place.
Cheers.

M and A Help Desk 7:29 PM  

@Nancy: har. M&A loves most all crosswords, so a&m rarely much upset by anything. They're a heckuva great use for unused empty boxes. M&A uses the autocorrupt spelling app, so usually one or more errors are all but guaranteed, in his looonger msgs.

Rebuses rock.

As I recall, PB1 once did a 15x15 crossword that woulda been a pangram, but lacked havin any E's. That seemed even cooler, than a pangram.

M&A
"Peace on Earth, Good Will To Comment Gallery"

Robert Landman 8:31 PM  

certain cluing, is like , really? i wonder how much input will had on this one....

Ludyjynn 8:36 PM  

Hi, @Gill I., I believe Harding landed quad toe loops; can't find any evidence of a quad axel; if you know of any existing on-line footage of that axel, I'd appreciate a link! She was an extraordinarily athletic and inspiring skater, esp. considering her humble background, but then it all went straight to Hell. A true tragedy.

I remember watching her land that first triple axel. At the time, only Midori Ito of Japan had done it and I luckily watched that performance as well. Amazing!

GILL I. 8:48 PM  

@Ludy...ooops, your right. I guess I don't know my quad toe loops from an axel!!!!
Yes, she was amazing and so dumb to ruin her career.

Casco Kid 10:12 PM  

I was like "Really?" Then she was like "Really." Then I was like "Really!" Then she was liek "Really . . ."

Not really.

Fred Romagnolo 10:42 PM  

Hawthorne was a very great hater of Jefferson, and wrote some really venomous things about him. The House of Seven Gables is available on the tourist route in Salem. Good book about injustice and punishment. He's generally recognized as our first great fiction writer. He's a lot easier to get through than Fenimore Cooper. The Scarlet Letter is a masterpiece. Good old movie on Seven Gables with a very subdued Vincent Price; the great Lillian Gish gave her elegant beauty to the best version of Letter.

Anonymous 11:38 PM  

Shut up, you moron. No one thinks you are amusing or interesting. Go away.

Fred Romagnolo 3:20 AM  

@anon 11:38: did you mean me?

Roo Monster 8:41 AM  

Hey @Fred, that Anon left that reply to Rex Porker. On my phone, I can see direct replies to specific posts, online they appear to be in order. So please, keep regaling us with your tales!

Roo

How I Got My Ex Husband Back 10:01 PM  


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rondo 12:17 PM  

Smoother than Silk – or even silk. Unlike OFL I started in the NE and breezed through after that. And WCHANDY a supergimmee as well as OGRADY – aren’t they common knowledge? Should be. I had actually gotten 1/3 through when I started thinking that this puz was really good, then looked at the byline which appears at the bottom in the St. Paul paper. PB1 fantastic as ever. Maybe my suggestion from yesterday actually paid off.

I recall SICK magazine from my youth. The USUAL was Mad, and then maybe Cracked, but in a pinch or if in need of something to keep occupied with on those long family roadtrips there could be a little SICKness, too.

Can’t keep my wife away from the LANCOME counter in either Macy’s or Herberger’s so that was TRULY another slam dunk.

That AFRIKANER in the clue is the number one all-time unsurpassable yeah baby!

Nary a write-over and a swift and ultra-pleasant solve. Born in a manger or not, PB1 is Topps.

spacecraft 12:37 PM  

I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for CYNDI Lauper! I remember her--and was reinforced recently by a guest appearance on, of all shows, "Bones," playing a psychic (cue ESP). She was my way in.

Someone explain the clue for POORSPORT. To me, that's a person who, in fact, DOES lose: that's how you find out he's a 51a. I get the sense that "just can't" really means "doesn't know how to gracefully," but to me the wording of that clue is bad. I filled that one in with extreme reluctance.

Another off-putting clue was "Chain attached to buckets?" I had mentally tried STOCKEXCHANGES for 30a, and the K at 31 seemed to want KEY, but the bucket thing had me hung up. Among the myriad Things I Didn't Know in this puzzle was hottie Theron's native land. Way later, AFRIKANER emerged, and KFC got an aha! But that word "attached" was most curious. Sure, KFC sells buckets. Attached? Nah.

I wound up finishing this without even a writeover, to my surprise. Can't even complain about OOF: at least it's fresh. Almost put in Bore for begat instead of BRED.

Again, I note the presence of "cheater squares," but no mention made in the lead writeup. That settles it. Fearless one, from now on you are NOT ALLOWED to complain about those any more! You should never have started, IMO.

On deeper reflection while writing this, I decided that even those clues that gave me such pause were more my GUILT that that of the constructor/editor. I must borrow yesterday's APLUS to apply to this gem. Patrick, don't let your head SWELLUP with all these kudos. You wouldn't want to become a POORSPORT. Hey, come to think of it, Mr. Berry just can't lose!

P.S. CYNDI? Meh. Charlize? YESMAAM!!!

Burma Shave 2:07 PM  

OLAY WAN STAT

With SALTY old MEDUSAS it’s “YESMAAM.” or “No.”,
if it’s ONTHEMENU to SACKOUT and get BRED on the down-low.
But SOMETIMES those PREPPY young ladies in their APTLY fit SKIRTS
like the SEMI-USUAL pinch on the butt CHEEK – TRULY they’re flirts.
And “Don’t be a POORSPORT.”, or “There’s no GUILT where the sex is.”
were the TWICETOLDTALES, the lines I SOMETIMES FEDEXES.

--- AXEL OGRADY

rain forest 2:58 PM  

On my first run-through, I had ONTARIO, REA, CYNDI, BARMY,and CASTE. That was enough to propel me relatively smoothly through this med/chall effort.

ON THE MENU is new to me, but eventually went in. My Dad served on the HMCS Cayuga in the fifties-nice remembrance.

Had the same thought as @Spacey re POOR SPORT, but it had to be.

@DMG - not much in the way of picky comments today, due to a really good puzzle.

191 OOF

DMG 3:17 PM  

I like PB puzzles. They always seem impossible at first, then some small thing appears, (CYNDI in this case) and the answers seem to come for nowhere. Only paused at the "L in AXEL, but what else could fit.

124. Good enough?

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

Did the puzzle way too late this eve, so I'm not going to post a comment....not one word....nil, nada......nothing. It's all been said. Over & Out.

Ron Diego LaMesa, CA

No sir, not a word.

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