FRIDAY, Nov. 23, 2007 - Paula Gamache

Friday, November 23, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Baseball Stadiums (or, none)

Would have rated this "Easy" were it not for the NW corner, which Krushed me. Did anyone else just stare at the four spaces before CHEESE at 17A: Greek salad ingredient and think "How is that not FETA!?!?!"? Never having heard of 1D: _____ Mason (asset management firm) (Legg) or 2D: "_____, dislike it" (start of Marianne Moore's "Poetry") ("I, too"), I was in a hell of a lot of trouble up there for a bit. The whole thing came together only after I spun through my Rolodex of character names from mysteries for an answer to 3D: Fictional character who first appeared in "The House Without a Key" and finally alit on CHAN. Perhaps if 19A: Exhausted (gone) had been more self-evident to me, things would have ended more quickly up there. I mean, I got LICENSE FEE (1A: Bit of income for the Department of Motor Vehicles) right away and the clever ETHNIC VOTE (15A: What someone might win after stumping a cultural group?) shortly thereafter. Never heard of NIC (5D: Robertson of CNN), but it hardly mattered. I had heard of the ... colorful ... Marge SCHOTT (6D: Controversial 1980s-'90s baseball team owner), so most of the NW was in place fairly quickly; and yet fully half my time solving this puzzle was spent mulling over what kind of cheese besides FETA could go in a Greek salad. Sad.

I loved that the long answers were thematically linked:

  • 26A: Where Yankees are found at Shea (Visitors dugout)
  • 40A: Fan fare? (Ballpark Franks) - not sure whether to capitalize that or not - it's a brand name, though I guess it could also be a general term
There was much cuteness in this puzzle, almost all of it acceptable to my notoriously cute-resistant sensibilities. First there's this pairing:

  • 11A: Waist products (obis) - OBI is going to rule the Pantheon of Crosswordese any day now. Seems there is some kind of unspoken context going on lately to see who can clue this word in the most inventive way.
  • 35D: Waste product (trash bag) - a product for carrying waste ... OK

Then there are the many impish clues:

  • 20A: Body repair sites, briefly (ORs)
  • 35A: Ark contents (Torah)
  • 47A: Amer. capital (USD) - that's U.S. Dollar, for the annoyed/confused of you out there...
  • 29D: Id output (urges)
  • 9D: Big-headed sorts (ETs) - always "big-headed?"
  • 57A: Witness to Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala's secret wedding (Artoo Detoo) - I will never be entirely happy with that spelling
  • 44A: One-eighties (U-eys) - ditto
  • 41D: Start of a little daredevil's declaration ("Look, Ma ...") - speaking of "impish" ...
Tough stuff:

  • 16A: Russian car (Lada) - ??????
  • 28D: Ninth-century founder of the Russian monarchy (Rurik) - Did he have a Cube too?
  • 42D: Food fish of Australia and New Zealand (red cod) - My Kiwi wife did not know this.
  • 51D: Wilson's vice pres. _____ Marshall (Thos.)

And assorted curiosities:

  • 39A: Doesn't quite mash (rices) - got it instantly - speaking of "mashed" ... so full ... of mashed potatoes ... turkey ... pie. My fridge is packed with the stuff. I'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner for at least three more days.
  • 58A: When tripled, "et cetera" ("yada") - how long has it been since I last claimed not to care for "Seinfeld"? Too long.
  • 7D: "A thousand pardons" ("Ever so sorry") - good, though ... who says this? A very polite British guy from at least 50 years ago?
  • 10D: Big shoe spec (EEE width) - I love this. EEE is such a tiresome answer, but this is fantastic.
  • 24D: City where Cezanne was born (Aix) - C├ęzanne = my favorite artist ever, FYI.
  • 25D: Cuisine that may be served with a chork (Asian fusion) - officially the first time I've ever seen the word "chork" - I hope never to see it again.
  • 26D: Hornet genus (vespa) - Scooter genus, as well.
  • 27D: "Everything's cool" ("It's all good") - modern! I had "IT'S ALRIGHT" for a bit.

Enjoy Friday. Take it easy on the leftovers, though.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I had DICES instead of RICES and couldn't for the life of me figure out how DAY could be 'skate.' Big DUH moment for me.

I love when I get long answers right off the bat with no crosses. It happened with LICENSE FEE and VISITORS DUGOUT. I was amazed and very pleased that those both ended up being correct, and on a Friday no less!

Linda G 9:49 AM  

FETA CHEESE was my first answer. Once I put in CHAN, though, I had to erase the first four letters. Somehow looked at **A* and saw GOAT.

I had the same dilemma with BALLPARK FRANKS. Using all caps would have eliminated it entirely.

I guessed RICES...but how is RAY the answer for Skate?

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Ueys? Had me stuck with "uies" for quite a while. A google check reassured me that somewhere, someone spells it uey.

Otherwise, as easy a Friday as one could want. Why couldn't today be harder since I'm staying home from work? A Saturday challenge would have helped with digestion.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Rubik had a cube and Rurik probably had a tetrahedron. Sting rays are in the skate family or vice versa.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

I got stuck with the feta cheese also, and was determined that there had to be another asset management firm besides the Legg Mason that google led me to. Three pages of googles later, I finally gave up the feta. I also spelled ueys uies. And had nook for rook in the corner.

I wasn't crazy about the sheet music abbr. clue, as without the crosses it could be almost any darn thing. I never did understand the ETS until coming here, and now I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't think that the large headed movie E.T. is necessarily the only possible prototype for nonearthlings.

I've seen skates and rays clued frequently for each other, but google leads me to find they are somehow not the same thing.

skate or ray?

wendy 10:12 AM  

I coulda loved Stadium Mustard as an answer too.

Well, my grid is a horrible inky mess, but I liked it a lot. One Big objection on the tastelessness scale - OLD NAG and the proverbial glue factory clue. Unacceptable!!! Doesn't pass the breakfast table test or any other test. All constructors should resist their future URGES to get cutesy on the topic of dead animals. I can deal with bodily function clues far more willingly than with this.

I spelled UEYS as Uies and then Uees before realizing there was something pretty wrong with DAY (had Dices instead of RICES as well, Squash's Mom).

Also, GOAT CHEESE does not go into a Greek salad, that's why no one picked it as their answer. It's feta or ... feta.

ETHNIC VOTE was good, but I wanted Endorsement e'en tho it didn't, of course, fit. I was UP A tree in that same corner despite knowing that LICENSE FEE was correct.

Prefer my answer Sheesh instead of OH GOSH for Jeez. Preferring it caused many problems, however, and delayed that moment when I could write in ORGY. RATS!

News of the day - Chork.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

I fell into the Feta trap as the NW took some doing, as did the NE, where both IDLE and LADA required brain strain. And I agree with Rex on R2's spelling...the Twos were numbers, right?

15a ETHNICVOTE and 26a VISITORSDUGOUT were clued so specifically it turned them into gimmes (for me anyway). Seemed like they could have been more Friday-like in their difficulty, which would have nicely elevated the whole challenge.

I thought 56a "Snatch, slangily" (GLOM) could have benefited from an (onto) in the clue.

42a REDCOD -- I just guessed at the "red" prefix...seems to work often with fish and trees.

In general, I thought there were a lot of good clues/answers, some devious if not devilish. I made it through without knowing what a Chork might be, so off to google that now....

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Trying hard not to think of food today but I have to add that feta cheese is made from goat's milk.

Rex Parker 11:07 AM  

Oh, I know that feta cheese is made from goat's milk. Sorry if that wasn't clear. It's the fact of GOAT's (sort of) obviousness that really took the wind out of my sails.


Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Had just the same problems as Rex today!! Everything went really well until the top left quadrant!! I'm a Brit, but I had 'I'm so so sorry' that really messed me up - once I took that out and (confession!) Googled to get 'Legg', 'Chan' and 'Nic' all was right with the world!! Felt very pleased with myself for getting 'lada' and ''ueys' right away. Another good Friday for me!! Either I'm getting better, or they are getting easier!!

wendy 11:14 AM  

Well, I *didn't* know that feta cheese is made from goat's milk but even if it is, why is it the correct answer to the clue? Goat cheese is a specific food product, as is feta cheese. Or am I just splitting the proverbial goat hairs?

flyingpig 11:25 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle even though I couldn't quite finish it without Google's help. But I'm getting better!

I thought feta was made only from sheep's milk so was stumped for awhile and finally gave in to "goat" and learned that feta is made from either sheep or goat's milk.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

My spouse, who is Swedish, got LADA right off the bat. I don't know what LADA means in Russian, but in Swedish it means "barn" and apparently the big, clunky, Russian vehicle LOOKS like a barn, too!

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Stuck on Feta and dices along with some of you.

Had Yugo for the RUS car but then I got yada and r2d2 prompted yoda that resulted in Lada.

The rest was just plain fun.

Happy Black Friday.

Snow in Moab adding new meaning to slick rock.

Orange 12:10 PM  

Well, this Peruvian recipe for Greek salad includes goat cheese rather than feta. Apparently a real Greek salad (not the kind served in American restaurants) contains no lettuce. Who knew?

Tim Gillam 12:10 PM  

Well, who says "A thousand pardons" either? Old-timey answers of this sort tend to be clued by old-timey equivalents. I found this one to be a tad easier than most Fridays, but having the day off helped (more sleep).

Mike 12:13 PM  

I had the same problems that everyone else seems to have had. I guess I was the only one that had AWAYTEAMDUGOUT, before I changed it to VISITINGDUGOUT and then finally the correct answer.

Are the options for the blog in Spanish for everyone or is it just because I am in Mexico?

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

I believe feta is made from SHEEPS' milk.

Rex Parker 12:46 PM  

As others have said - it's goat or sheep milk that makes feta.


Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Hi Wendy

Goat cheese is a general category of cheese, as opposed to cheese made of cow milk or sheep's milk. There are many types of goat cheeses.

Feta is a technique for making cheese in brine. It is often made with goat milk but can also be made with sheep's milk or a combo.

In general throughout the mediterranean region, goat and sheep cheeses were more common than cow milk cheeses.

For me, the goat cheese part was an immediate runner up to the more obvious Feta. On the other hand I kept thinking what is a UPA tree? I actually googled UPA tree, and it gave me Up A tree!! duh!


Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Rex- Re ITSALLGOOD, you never would have tried ITSALRIGHT if you had remembered it's never ALRIGHT and always ALL RIGHT, irregardless.

Rob G. 1:25 PM  

My GOAT/FETA problems didn't last as long as everyone else's, but I knew LEGG and CHAN right away, which made it pretty clear.

Anyone else pick up on the USTA/GRANDSLAMS cross? I thought it was a nice touch to an already cute cluing.

I originally had BALLPARKFIGURE, which I think is more clever, but what can you do?

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

I TOO had FETA and DICES. I even erased ETHNICVOTE because it didn't go with FETA. Seeing CHAN help unravel NW and going through the alphabet gave me RICES. I agree this was on the easy side for a Friday but I really liked it, lots of clever clueing and interesting answers (RURIK, who knew?). OBIS was a gimmie as I've seen that clue before.

On an irrelevant note, for a very tasty tuna salad trying mixing in some GOATCHEESE with the tuna and mayo.

Orange 1:45 PM  

Anon 1:18, I tried IT'S ALRIGHT first, too. ["Everything's cool"] is slangy enough that a nonstandard usage could fly here. And it's a nonstandard usage used by the canonical James Joyce and Langston Hughes. Alright doesn't pain me the way irregardless (which I assume you used advisedly) does.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

mike, yes, the spanish blog options are because you're in mexico.
When you get back home it'll again read "Mike said..."

Michael Chibnik 2:36 PM  

The more I look at the clue-answer pairs for this puzzle, the more I like it.

New word of the day -- chork.

cross I didn't like -- orrin-rurik. I had orren-rurek. I am a good speller, but...

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Friday puzzles of this caliber make me feel much smarter than I really am. And having said that I consider any post needless without at least one clue gripe. Has DETOX become common usage or should 31A have clued toward an abbreviation? And 49D OUTA just stinks. I just have to bring a little of next Thursday in here - I hope 55D is a concern that goes unmet! Go Pack Go!

fergus 2:51 PM  

I started messing with INTERLEAGUE something or other but that wasn't going to play out. Also, on the baseball field I was wondering about the LaBatt family who I believe owned the Montreal Expos for a while and I figured they were controversial since they couldn't be bothered to do much to stir up enthusiasm. Wrong again. But otherwise it all fell a bit too smoothly for a Friday. Marianne Moore's "Poetry" shows up in most anthologies I've come across so had I, TOO fixed in place. (Crummy poem, by the way I think -- I usually detest an art form referring to it's own creation.) I, too, am a big fan of Cezanne's so AIX seemed likely due to all the Provencal paintings. The TORAH was tricky since I was thinking PAIRS, even DUETS for Noah's boat rather than another Ark. Ark of the Covenant is the Ten Commandments, but I'm not sure where the TORAH (first five books) fits in with all this, but hey, it seemed to work. I know I must be a bit slow on this one, but I still don't see why this works? Hmmm.

Related and SAID seemed a bit weak, I can relate to you. GLOM did not compute as a slangy Snatch even with a parenthetical preposition added. Perhaps I have always mistaken GLOM onto as meaning 'Attach to in a dependent way', or maybe there's another meaning to 'snatch'? (And I'm not being disingenuous here.)

For a moment in the CHEESEy confusion I considered FOOT CHEESE, but that's even more repellent than anything heading to Glu Gluten's glue factory.

And I can't believe I stumbled over the Dude and BRO pairing since I'm exposed to these ad nauseum. I do sorta like the use of Dude, though, when it starts a sentence that's going to continue with a variant of "You've got to be kidding." Or better yet, stands alone, with the meaning obvious.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

Stupid chork! Because I had no idea what it was and because of the crosses I already had (not having written in ARTOODETOO because even though I've seen it written like that, didn't like it as an answer) wrote in ARGENTINIAN because their delicious buffet is served on long skewerlike things (which, in my mind became chorks). Gone was my pristine puzzle, dammit! I haven't Googled the word, chork, but since it's associated with Asian Fusion cuisine, I'd assume it was a hybrid of chopsticks and fork (remember those sporks we had in the HS cafeteria?)

Interestingly enough, I had LEGG right away because I once had an account with them so for the longest time was thinking that the G was for GREEN OLIVE (but never wrote it in because the answer seemed too generic). Also, I wasn't that bothered by the answer's being GOAT and not FETA. They're close enough in most people's minds that I just shrugged my shoulders and dutifully wrote it in.

I guess ENTERS ON works for "Begins" but I would prefer that the answer had been ENTERS IN. Not thrilled about the "frivolous" clue for IDLE, either, for that matter.

I did like ROOK for "corner piece". That clue tends to lead one in an architectural direction so it was nice to see something different in that regard.

As an aside, I had no idea that Rod Laver was THAT good that he won two GRAND SLAMS.

wendy 3:10 PM  

Foodie, thanks for the cheese tutorial. Didn't realize all that. As a related aside, I just got back from Chrissie Hynde's just-opened vegan restaurant where I had a salad with vegan cheeses, aka cruelty-free cheese, aka no dairy one way or the other. Didn't have much taste and had a weird consistency. I think I'll continue to be cruel, at least where cheese is concerned. ;)

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

My trouble was in the SW, trying to work with "my gosh" and getting nowhere. Thinking of "binge" as a verb. Rook for corner piece was my "aha." Great clue.

Thought there was a lot of clever cluing in this puzzle: doesn't quite mash instead of mesh, 16 and Seventeen for mags, Russian car instead of czar, body repair sites for ORs.

Like Fergus, I was on Noah's Ark instead of in the Ark of the Covenant, and Rurik was new to me, but Orrin Hatch popped out of my long-term memory for some unknown reason and trashbag gave me Torah.

Chork??? Chopstick fork. A new one to me. Nice way for kids to learn to eat with chopsticks. And asianfusion was a good long answer.

I'm with Wendy on old nag/glue factory. Tasteless.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Yep, here also: FETA CHEESE. After that, I actually tried BLACK OLIVE and in desperation GREEN OLIVE before the GOAT finally sunk in. Whew.

LADA! What a blast from the past. I saw my fair share of these clunky cars in the Netherlands. We used to joke that the letters stood for "Slowly, otherwise everything shakes". Works in Dutch. Little daredevil's humor. :-)

Not happy to be reminded of that awful star wars prequel. Loved 4, 5, and 6, hated 1, 2, and 3.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

Rex, if you love Cezanne, you should seek out the song "Paul Cezanne" by the band 5 Chinese Brothers. It's great! ("Cezanne, Cezanne, the father of cubism...")

This was a fun puzzle that I'm amazed I got without resorting to googles or dictionaries. In one of those weird synchronicities, my sister-in-law ordered an omelet with goat cheese this morning for breakfast.

It seems not that long ago that I read HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY, so CHAN was a gimme. (Did I hear that someone like Lucy Lui is trying to produce a version of a Charlie Chan that is closer to Earl Derr Biggers' books?)

I loved the clues for ROOK and ETHNIC VOTE. And like most of you, I had UIES instead of UEYS. (Wasn't "UIE" used in a puzzle not that long ago?)

"Amer. capital" was throwing me until I realized, oh, Friday - "capital" must mean money. From then on it was ALL GOOD.

Happy post-Turkey Day to you all!

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Charlie Chan was fond of politely saying "So Sorry." He also used the phrase "A Thousand Pardons."

From IMDB:
The Black Camel (1931)
Charlie Chan: A thousand pardons. Assault and battery not permitted without license from boxing commission.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

I'm a long-time puzzler who can get through the Thursday puzzle pretty handily, but have just recently begun to crack the Friday code, having completed my first-ever Friday sans cheating (Google) a few weeks ago.

That accomplishment has given me confidence to now attack the Friday puzzle with regularity, and while the last few weeks were tough, I was impressed that I managed to finish today's once again without any assistance or aid.

That being said, everything in this puzzle made sense for me except RAY. Can someone please explain what on earth skate and RAY have to do with each other? Thank you in advance!

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

In a Synagogue the Torah scrolls are stored in a cabinet called an ark:

Also, fyi- I've seen Goat, Sheep and Cow Milk Feta at Whole Foods. Try em all!

I've seen "Artoo" as a nickname for R2D2, but not the Detoo part which it seems to me should be spelled Deetoo. It doesn't make sense for the D to have one E if the TOOs are gonna have 2 Os.

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Agreed on the R2D2. And in fact the whole south east corner was a mess. I went for trashing, even though I knew it was probably wrong, and that threw things. And not a clue on who witnessed that particular bit of Star Wars.

But still, given that it was a Friday, and I nearly finished with very minimal googling, I'm pretty pleased.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

For the latecomers, from Wikipedia:

Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of RAYs.

Orange 8:00 PM  

From the official Star Wars site, R2-D2 is also called Artoo-Detoo. (C-3PO is also See-Threepio.)

Unknown 8:09 PM  

Very bad clue for 19 across..exhausted. Could have been done as wsll as gone I also never heard of Legg Mason.Otherwise a medium Friday puzzle.

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

Having lived in Greece and being a cheese fan, I can say that feta cheese is NOT automatically made from goat's milk. It is sometimes made from goat's milk, sometimes from sheep's milk, sometimes from a combination of the two, and sometimes primarily from one of the two above milks with a small amount of cow's milk added.

Like taking a multiple-choice test, sometimes knowing too much can hurt you with a puzzle. I stubbornly refused to give up FETA till I had completed almost the entire puzzle and it made no sense, because GOAT is inaccurate.

Anonymous 9:04 PM  

Also lived in Greece, for two years. A Greek salad is sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, Kalmata olives, fine olive oil, and feta cheese, with the possible addition of some fresh basil. No lettuce.

Unknown 9:59 PM  

wsll=well. so sorry.

fvigeland 11:13 PM  

Count me in as confused by R2D2. I originally had it in as ARTWODETWO, even though I was convinced that D should be spelled 'DEE'. Rod Laver also screwed me up right from the start -- the first word I wrote in was WIMBLEDONS (it was the only major that fit) before changing it to GRANDSLAMS after seeing some of the crosses.

I also wrote in BALLPARKFIGURE (you know, fan fare, so fare like what you pay, so a number, so figure is a number) which I agree with Rob is much more clever. Oh well.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Hey, I recently had BUFFALO-milk-feta on a pizza (in a shishi Jackson, WY).....not untasty.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

I couldn't believe how easy this was....and on a Friday!!

Stan 1:44 PM  

Either I'm getting better or this was a much easier Friday crossword than usual. A few missteps including much agonizing over FETA, 35D: TRASHCAN instead of BAG and 31A: REHAB instead of DETOX.
I don't question the cluing too much. I'm just happy if I finish. Maybe, with more experience, I might comment on clue quality.
The only questions after: what the #&*#%^$& is a 'UPA' and a 'TOAT'.
Like someone way upthread, I actually googled 'UPA TREE'
... *forehead smack* ..

Aviatrix 8:35 PM  

Ugh, baseball. A ten or twenty years ago baseball team owner is about as obscure as it gets for me. I guessed HOMETEAMDUGOUT and BEERSANDFRANKS so that got me going in the E.

Lada is the export name: domestically it's called a Zhugaly.

I approve of Vespa. I think genus names are kind of unfair unless they are something people have heard of like the genus of the zebra or housecat. I had RULE at the end of 53D for a long time.

REDCOD is not in the Standard Fishnames List approaved by the Australian health department, but they do have red-coloured codfish, so I'll have to give them that.

My dirty mind got the better of me but I *knew* that the four letter word that came to mind for 56A was not in the approved crossword lexicon. And then I went through the alphabet wondering what cowboys cared about: ADS like the Marlboro Man? CDS like Toby Keith? MDS because they get hurt in rodeos a lot? RDS to herd cattle along? Maybe VDS from 56As? Finally when I got to YDS, I realized they must be a football team. A Y looks enough like a T that I figured out to turn my RULE into TRUTH.

I had DICES for almost mash, and thought it was pretty stupid, so I had to come here to find out what the heck DAY had to do with skate. I had DAB.

The X-rated puzzle from Thursday looks really cool. I was wondering (before I came here and saw that no) if it was yours, when I saw your name in it. I only get the paper on Friday, so I see Thursday's answers.

Previus sentence wil be taken out and shot.

Anonymous 10:01 PM  

I got about half of this before I had to resort to googling, which is good for me on a friday.

Funny how everyone is different - i didn't have any problem with RICES or RAY or UEYS, but i put HOMETEAMDUGOUT - Shea stadium is in New York, and we went to the stadium where the Yankees play when we were in New York... DUH!

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