FRIDAY, Nov. 2, 2007 - Barry C. Silk

Friday, November 2, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

November will be featuring shorter-than-normal write-ups from me, as I am exceedingly busy with a Major Project. Plus, I have that thing, what's it called ... a job, a family ... my mom's coming out here in a few weeks for Thanksgiving (and my birthday, which means, mmmm... cake and pie). Anyway, in case you start wondering why the write-ups seem brief, now you know.

This puzzle was Medium in every way - challenging in parts, but ultimately gettable, with no killer crossings or exceedingly ridiculous cluing. I had a stupid error - at 13D: Greyhounds may run in it, I wrote in BUS LINE and never looked back, largely because the cross, whose clue I never looked at, ended up being FIR, and that's a word, right? Well, yes, but it's not the answer to 24A: Much (far) - though I gotta say, [Much] is kind of a sucky clue for FAR. Still, error is totally my stupid fault.

Never heard of LUANDA (8D: African city of 2.5+ million founded by the Portuguese), though google assures me it exists. Had a lot of trouble - well, a little - at the bottom of LUANDA, where LIVE lived in BIDE's spot for a pretty good amount of time (23A: Dwell). Also had a lot of trouble uncovering DYNAST, both because the incorrect LIVE made the "Y" cross BYE NOW impossible to see (23D: "See ya!") and because the only letters I was entertaining at the first letter position of DYNAST were C and M - D is the Roman numeral most likely to slip completely out of my mind (clearly), and as I had no clear idea when St. Genevieve is supposed to have lived, I botched the answer (26D: Year of St. Genevieve's death). Loved LOVE-INS (7D: Hippie happenings), and was so proud to get it instantly (I feel like I've seen the answer or some variant very recently). Couldn't name a FATS WALLER hit (1A: He had a hit with "The Joint is Jumpin'") if I tried, but I like his name in the grid. Had "SURFER GIRL" in place of "I GET AROUND" for a bit (15A: First #1 hit by the Beach Boys). And I'm always happy to see a city + state combo in the puzzle: today, RENO, NEVADA (17A: City on the Transcontinental Railroad).

Loved the clue for SATIRES (14D: Wilde things?). The NE was easy enough except for my stupid BUS LINE error, and then SILEXES, which was new to me (31A: Materials used as inert paint fillers). Always glad to learn some new pop culture - today, I got the name of a MONKEES movie I'd never heard of (41D: Group that starred in the 1968 film "Head," with "the"). I would have liked the double "Organ" cluing, but one of the clues was pretty terrible:

  • 4D: They're located on organs (stops) - good
  • 54A: Organs are located in it: Abbr. (anat.) - bad - how is ANATomy an "it"? I mean, technically, maybe, you could use that pronoun, but the way it's clued here is not ... right, somehow.

Never heard of / struggled with:

  • 53A: 19th-century territorial capital (Sitka) - Alaskan territory
  • 60A: Succulent African shrub popular as a bonsai (desert rose) - ???
  • 35A: Whole slew of (zillion) - coulda been JILLION, I say
  • 34A: El relative (los) - this hurt my head a little
  • 40D: Like some surgery (in utero) - easy enough, but unpleasant morning imagery - for more (humorously) unpleasant imagery, including a stirring tale of surgery, check out my latest write-up of paperback cover art at Pop Sensation.
  • 46A: Discriminatory leader? (non-) - :( ... TTH, IMOO
  • 3D: Carpenter, at times (tenoner) - the puzzle loves the word TENON far more than is right or natural

I'm going to shut down FIREFOX (1D: Internet Explorer alternative) now and get some work done. I MEAN IT (36D: "This is no joke!"). BYE NOW.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

If you are truly bored or depressed, this non-crossword-related video demands your attention...
Or this one...


Linda G 9:10 AM  

There was a lot to love in this one. I struggled with parts of it, Googled a couple of things, but it came together. I knew FATS WALLER from a History of Popular Music class. Also knew MONKEES because...well, I was 13 then and loved them.

I don't think you mentioned XEROXES, sitting there next to SILEXES. Loved that.

Donna 9:19 AM  

Dondie Says: "stirring tale of surgery." hahahahahahahahahahahah -

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

The silexes area had me. I wanted it to be Latex. Once I got tilted right (it was touted for a while) I started thinking about Procter-Silex coffee makers and now I am off to get some... espresso

I liked all the letters from the end of the alphabet in this puzzle.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

had SILICAS never heard of the other.

Isn't whole slew of ZILLIONS with an s?

LIVE instead of BIDE and SODDED instead of WEEDED left me with LUEGOS for seeya (a pathetic stretch)

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

You are taught to locate internal organs in an anatomy class, hence the clue makes sense that way.
Went to art school (took anatomy classes) and have been using paints for many, many years....never heard of silexes in any context. Ah well, live and learn :)

voiceofsocietyman 9:52 AM  

I have a WHOLE SLEW of them...
I have a ZILLION of them. That works fine, so ZILLION is ok as clued.

I agree with Rex on the ANAT clue -- weak! But I was really impressed with the fill; great overlaps! I had DOG RACE for BUS LINE (well, greyhounds run in both of them). That really threw me off. I also had SAME DAY for IN UTERO. Ah well. I filled in the NW, starting with FATS WALLER, in about 2 mins, got the SW pretty soon after, and then struggled mightily with the rest of the puzzle.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I fell into all the same potholes (live/bide, busline/buslane etc.) and balked at silexes since the only silex I ever heard of was the Proctor variety...I wanted a form of silica also. Maybe Silex is just that. I also had a major problem with Dynast, even only had "despot" for the "d" in potentate synonyms. I did not know that Italian for eight is otto, was working for something with a ch or double-c in the middle.

It has taken me until *just now* to figure out what "enls" had to do with developers. My mind was on the "builder of developments" kind of developers and all I could think of as a possibility, knowing enls was right, was... enamels (vs. latex?).

all in all, I had fun with this and learned some new things along the way.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

I had ZEST instead of JEST, and couldn't figure out my error. Ugh.

I immediately got FIREFOX, and then erased it when I saw where the X was.

I particularly like the ELOPE clue (not do the rite thing, quite question marky)

Orange 10:19 AM  

Good morning, Rex's Party People! I highly recommend that last link at the end of the post, labeled "this one." My son is digging the music, while I like the pictures (and of course cannot resist the music, because it is humanly impossible to do so).

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Got the whole north and west quickly even after having Fats Domino and ZEST instead of LUST.

31A and south threw me, spent 2/3 of my time there even though I had the three longish downs in the SE.

Can some one explain "BEST PEOPLE one for the Gipper"?

wendy 10:39 AM  

Oh man ... this could become an epidemic. I saw this on Comics Curmudgeon earlier in the week and wanted to tell someone about it, so in the spirit of the morning, if you'd care to visit this link and especially if you find some sort of sordid enjoyment in Mary Worth, you'll probably get a rush of endorphins!

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

rick... I too spent a lot of time trying to coordinate the "Best people" with "win". The "people" in the clue threw me completely and seems randomly extraneous (to me). But if you "best" some person/people, you win. That's all I can think of.

wendy 10:42 AM  

Rick - BEST is used as a verb here, as in, to defeat. It's the "late in the week, never assume you know the part of speech" rule.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Ahhhhh! Slap!


Anonymous 11:04 AM  

As long as we're doing videos you might as well look at my favorite

Unknown 11:21 AM  

I still don't get "ENLS" for "Requests for developer" and feel so dense. Just had to fill it in with crosses. Help.


Anonymous 11:24 AM  

sarah... enls = enlargements.

I did a slappa-da-head on that.

Unknown 11:34 AM  

Oy. Time for an Excedrin. Thank you.


Anonymous 11:48 AM  

The last box I filled was the N wherer LUANDA and ENLS cross, and it was a guess. Didn't have my brain ENLarged till I got to the blog. A couple other, already mentioned, hiccups, like dograce and busline. I had Jack then Jill in JANE's spot -- wrong primer.

I enjoyed the SE, thought the stack of AUCTIONEER and DESERTROSE and INTERFERED was interesting and unusual, and the cluing made SITKA fun (as opposed to "another T-shirt tourist spot that the cruise lines hurry to overnight, thereby missing much of the splendor of the inside passage").

ONESTEPATATIME being split over three answers was an unusual twist. I don't remember many such constructs.

Re 47a, I always wondered what Y would make of itself. Way to go, Y.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Did anyone notice (no one mentioned it to my knowledge) that the puzzle contains every letter of the alphabet? I don't recall seeing that before.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

What are WATS? Never heard of it, and per Google they are Bhuddist Temples -- didn't know that Bhuddists brew in their churches.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

DOH! Just double-checked my answers against Rex's and saw my error: Vats, not Wats. That's what you get when the film hero in your native language is spelled differently.

wendy 12:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:45 PM  

I missed it again by 1. I had Lualda which crossed with ells for request for developers which made sense although it's not an abbreviation but thought perhaps its short for L-shaped extensions.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Re zillion. I'm with Pinky.

You can have a whole slew of zillions (or jillions). And you might even have a whole slew of A zillion (or A jillion).

But ain't nobody got no whole slew of zillion. No how.

It should have been clued "with A", in my opinion.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Got a really slow start on this puzzle. After a first pass about all I had was Fats Waller, Lili Taylor, Jane, Dr. Zhivago, the Monkees, an adoptee, and and owl eloping to have a love-in on Neptune. But tenacity and a Rolling Rock got me through. I couldn't believe how many correct answers I erased and then filled back in. That doesn't usually happen, but sometimes I have to clear an area in order to get something.

Then suddenly the puzzle popped before my very eyes, like those pictures that have another picture embedded which appears if you look kind of through the picture or past it. And everything fell into place.

Haven't googled once this week, and if I get through tomorrow it will be my first ungoogle week. Hope I didn't jinx it by saying that.

Only thing I disliked about this one was far. I just don't think far is a good answer for much. Go far? Go much? Talk much? Talk far? Far is a distance. Much is a quantity. Oh... and a slew doesn't strike me as being as many as a zillion, though I knew it had to be correct because of Zhivago.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

I did most of this last night and found NE and SW pretty easy. I had a little more trouble with SW and got completely stuck on NW eventhough I had IGETAROUND, LOVEINS, ARE, ONE, and ENDLESS. Went to bed, got up this morning looked at NW, saw RENONEVADA and finished in in a couple of minutes. Odd how that works.

I made exactly the same error as Profphil for exactly the same reason, but LUALDA just didn't look right. A google check confirmed the need for an N vs. L.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

"It is a far, far better thing that I do..."

Substitue MUCH for FAR and it says the same thing (though not quite as eloquantly)

fergus 2:30 PM  

This puzzle was FAR(Much)too seductively challenging for one who has a fair amount of work to do -- after completing the puzzle, of course. Spent more seemingly precious time on this than any other in a long time. So many ANSWERS at the very farthest, peripheral interpretation of the Clues, but I'm not complaining. A judicious use of the question mark, I might add as well, though the temptation must have arisen in several instances where ultimately it was withheld.

Didn't really like the LINER for Shortstop challenge, and have no idea what FINS Cabbage might be. My ZEST for Life finally yeilded to LUST, but that ain't half-bad. Annoyed that I couldn't get LILI Taylor, having seen Mystic Pizza video only a few months ago. My Italian companion clarified the disctinction between Buena Sera and Buono Notte last night, which helped me with the assurance that eight should be OTTO, rather than OCTO or OCHO, and that gave me the whole SW corner. Could argue that DYNAST and Potentate realms don't intersect in the ruling Venn diagram, but that would only be for the purpose of establishing a scale from the meekest official to the most authoritarian despot. And speaking of Establishing things, ERECTS seems a bit of an inappropriate and far-fetched ANSWER for the Clue (or a rather crude one, in that ZESTy sort of way). Now I'm perhaps on the periphery, and should get to work.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

anoa... you can have "much more" as in "far more", or "much better" as "far better". That's the only sense I can make of it.

I have taken to doing the puzzle the night before since I'm on the left coast and it is still early evening. The reason I do this now is THIS BLOG, which I love and gives me something to look forward to waking up to. Otherwise I might be tempted to use this blog to cheat a bit when really stuckstuckstuck, instead of waiting it out for the answers to slowly rise to the surface as they can do.

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Cabbage -> Moola
Fins -> fives

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

Speaking of inappropriate erections, I had "tented" for tilted, giving me selexes (why not) and nos instead of los, which was okay in my mind because nos is a Spanish pronoun too, I think. Really, tented doesn't work for "pitching," but once the association was made, my brain just pitched a tent and called it a night. Isn't a fin a slang term for some denomination, Fergus? A twenty? Fifty?

And for my contribution to the video sharefest, please turn up your volume and have the best five seconds of you day here (sorry I'm link-challenged):

ScottK 3:14 PM  

Thrilled and delighted that "Mrs. Waller's 285 pounds of jam, jive, and everything," was 1 Across.

The roof is rockin',
The neighbors knockin',
We're all bums when the wagon comes,
I mean, this joint is jumpin'!

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Yes, of course. Far for much. I must be far less eloquent or was far less alert when thinking about this one. That earns a duh.

I got erects for establishes from seeing the word and a date e.g. Est. 1895 on buildings in London.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

I had two problems
1: Silexes are used as pigments, not fillers, in paints. I still wouldn't have gotten it, but still, be accurate, and
2: Technically, developers don't do enlargements, printers do. Since I had no chance of getting the 'N' in enls from the cross (Lualda, which doesn't exist, is as well know to me as Luanda is, which apparently exists), this inaccuracy hurt the puzzle.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

I was relieved when this was over, throwing my pen down, sinking slightly in my chair, and letting out a "whew." I got a few hard-fought footholds with some of the pop stuff, but had grave doubts throughout whether I could close this sucker at all. Happy when I did and, on honest reflection, masochistically enjoyed most of the frustration. ONE STEP AT A TIME, in other words, was poetic and prophetic. Never did know if WIN was right until reading about it here, but couldn't see anything else working. NE went down last for me for because 1) couldn't think of LILI Taylor, 2) thought Wilde things was SONNETS, 3) could only remember Experian and TransUnion as credit bureaus, 4) thought WALL couldn't be right as it was too obvious, 5) had no idea about ocean, since I thought it could almost be anything, 6) only got FAR at very end, and didn't appreciate it. Still, happy to complete a Friday in 35 minutes, which for a duffer like me is really good.

Jeff 5:08 PM  

i'm sorry, but 49D Challenge for a shortstop really bothered me. a "liner" is probably the easiest play a shortstop ever has to make. if i had to be randomly inserted at shortstop and i had to make a play with the future of mankind at stake, i would be praying for a liner. a challenge would be a bad hop. though friday it be, i would have preferred seeing "ocean _____" as a clue for liner.

Rex Parker 5:21 PM  

Not sure why anyone would balk at LINER. A hard-hit and / or high liner is indeed a challenge. A routine ground ball is way easier - assuming it doesn't take a bad hop. The "easiest play a shortstop ever has to make" is probably catching a pop-up (depending on the sun / competence of the other infielders).


PuzzleGirl 5:32 PM  

I don't think "challenge" necessarily means it has to be something difficult. It's just something someome might be expected to handle.

fergus 6:27 PM  

Well, maybe one of those 'knuckling' LINERs hit right at you -- that's a challenge. Otherwise it's just like playing catch. And most grounders on most of the infields I've played on represent a considerably greater challenge than anything in the air. And Puzzlegirl, your challenge would probably have to be called a "chance." Perhaps Jeter or Lugo will chime in with a final judgment? Mussina'a the X-word guy, though, isn't he?

Jeff 6:32 PM  

i suppose i always considered liners easy plays, assuming they were hit right at me. it is true that a liner hit somewhere other than right at the defensive player would be more challenging. i would argue that a grounder, even without the bad hop, is more challenging than a liner (again assuming it's right at the defender) because you have to both field the ball and make the throw. perhaps i was being overly critical of the clue, though.

i also agree that challenge, as it is used in this clue, does not necessarily mean something is challenging.

this has always been a sore spot for me when watching webgems on ESPN. i always think the plays where a player both makes a diving stop and throws are much harder than 95% of the catches they rank higher.

this has probably gone on longer than most people care to read so i apologize.

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

Well, when I got FATS WALLER and I GET AROUND within seconds of opening the paper, I knew I'd feel better about this puzzle than I did about last Friday.

There were a couple of a stealth music clues in this puzzle. The Desert Rose Band was formed in the 1980s by former Byrd Chris Hillman. And all the Iggy Pop fans out there must have smiled along with me at LUST for life. ("Lust for Life" shows up in commercials, surprisingly.)

I wanted BYE BYE for BYE NOW, which meant I had problems with the lawn clue. THen I mad a bad situation worse by having SEEDED instead of WEEDED.

I _love_ GIRL for "Delivery option." (I initially had RAIL.) The SW was the toughest part of the puzzle. IES for "y" is a hoot, too.

I knew 23a couldn't be LIVE, on a Friday anyway. Took me a while to recall ABIDE, though.

All in all, this was a fun one.

Rex Parker 7:16 PM  

O come on, catching a liner is not at all like playing catch, unless the liner's hit reasonably softly and right at you, or near you. Players have to dive and leap for liners all the time, and many of those liners are hit considerably harder anyone would ever throw in a game of catch.

And at any rate, a LINER can certainly be a challenge.


fergus 7:30 PM  

OK -- a miscue on which, a grounder or liner, is more likely to be called an error? What does the answer to this question prove? Probably not much (FAR?).

Michael Chibnik 8:43 PM  

The very last letter I got was the x in the cross of silexes and equifax. This was a guess because both of these words were unfamiliar to me. It seems to me that such an obscure cross isn't really fair. Or do others know more than me about silexes and equifax?

PuzzleGirl 9:12 PM  

michael: Can't speak for everyone, of course, but EQUIFAX was one of the first answers I got.

Anonymous 9:19 PM  


Didn't connect Iggy and "Lust for Life", glad you did. He's a homegrown (Detroit) boy and I must have seen him a hundred times in the sixties. "I Just Want to be Your Dog" is what springs to mind when I think of Iggy and the Stooges.

I origonally had ASON for "Delivery option" because of a bad cross.

Michael Chibnik 9:22 PM  

puzzle girl:

We live in the same town!

Anonymous 10:05 PM  


Have you ever heard of a musician named Alejandro Escovedo? He's a multitalented musician from Austin. He does a KILLER version of "I Just Want to Be Your Dog."

Anonymous 10:25 PM  


No I haven't but I will look for it. I've been to Austin a few times and there's a lot of music happening there.

I like just saying the name "Alejandro Escovedo"

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

I love 70s top 40. Thx for Carpenters link.

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

While we're looking at youtube, there's a video of Fats Waller at

Cute eyebrows.

Anonymous 12:58 AM  

Rick, OMG that video's hilarious!

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

I just wanted to say Alejandro Escovedo. And thanks to all for the videos. I just got a chance to watch them. Loved the Copa, but the winner was Benny Lava. You need a bun to bit, Benny Lava!!! Hilarious. I'm still laughing. Did you see the pundit in there, btw?

Also, thanks Rex for your loyalty to us in the face of business. That "short" entry was rich and fun as always.

Lastly GO PATRIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully it will be one fabulous football game. My loyalty is with the Pats, but those Colts are such a damn good football team.

Anonymous 11:15 PM  

Rikki, you can say "Alejandro Escovedo" as often as you want. His name is as musical as what he plays, and he's a true gentleman. (I've met him a couple of times.)

And Austin is one of those places that I know I have to go, just because of all the music. Many of my favorite musicians are Texans (T-Bone Burnett, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, James McMurtry, Buddy Holly, Steve Earle....I'll be quiet now.)

Congrats on your Pats. Hope you liked the game.

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