SATURDAY, Nov. 17, 2007 - Brad Wilber

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

This puzzle gets almost none of my energy today, for two reasons.

  1. I have somewhere to be very soon
  2. The puzzle took me longer to finish than any puzzle has taken me in a Long, Long Time - for some good and some not very good reasons

The only part of this puzzle I truly liked and respected was the SE, particularly the stack of 10's:

  • PLAZAHOTEL (59A: National Historic Landmark in Manhattan)
  • FELICITOUS (62A: Apropos)
  • CRAZY HORSE (64A: Big name in Dakota history)

I particularly like that last one for two, admittedly highly personal reasons.

  1. I remember visiting the Unbelievably Gigantic Crazy Horse Monument when I was in South Dakota visiting one of my bestest friends. Its projected size is So Big that I doubt it will ever be completed. Its face alone is nine stories high.
  2. Sahra learned about Crazy Horse in school but then forgot his name when she was trying to tell us about him, so she called him "Silly Horse," which we have now decided is the perfect name for our next dog, whenever we happen to acquire one.

Here's what I can't believe is right - and I mean ... I "finished" this puzzle last night Absolutely Certain that all of these answers Had to be wrong:

The biggest problem: 46D: Character on trial in "A Passage to India" (Dr. Aziz) - This is one of those brutal you- know- it- or- you- don't- and- it's- foreign- and- compound- and- unfamiliar- so- crosses- are- of- limited- help answers that seem purposefully cruel. This one was made worse by intersecting TWO words I'd never seen before in my life: GOURDE (45A: 100 centimes, in Haiti) and BLATS (55A: Makes a raucous noise). I got up this morning to do some humiliating Googling, only to find that my grid was correct. Perfect. So my intense dislike of this obscurity-fest is tempered by pride in my educated guessing skills.

The part that took me longest, however, was the NW, which stayed mostly blank forever and ever. In retrospect, there were two answers I should have seen, which would have tipped (did tip, in fact) the whole thing. I had None of the Acrosses up there, and the only two Downs I had were a near-certain ANACIN (2D: Its ads once showed hammer inside the head) and a very tentative (but ultimately correct) ORANGEY (6D: Like a bad spray-on tan). I had fallen into the stupid (on my part) trap at 20A: Put down some chips? (snack) - I had ANTED. And I stared and stared. Now, here was my main problem:

24A: Its banks are lined with nearly 200 palaces (Grand Canal) - for some completely mysterious reason, the whole time I was doing this puzzle, right up to the point I got this answer correct, I was Certain that the CANAL in question was in India. Why? WHY? I couldn't think of a place that would have that many "palaces" in the West. So I felt like a complete idiot when this answer eventually presented itself. Also, WTF is up with 27A: "Giuliani: Nasty Man" author (Ed Koch)? Really? That seems ... preposterous. I mean, I'm sure it's right, but ... everything about that title is embarrassing. Tipping point for me in the NW was 3D: One of a protective pair (mitten) - I had the -TEN and could think of NOTHING. At one point, in frustration, I just started saying every English word I could think of that ended with -TEN. I said "KITTEN ... HA ha, that would be funny: two KITTENs protecting your ... oh wait. @#$#$#! MITTEN! Aaaarrgh!" (that transcript may or may not be literal; it's at least close). Also can't believe how long it took me to get CURATE (1D: Parish leader), when I already had the -ATE. LEGATE? PRELATE? Etc? Also initially had ETTE for ENNE (26A: Cousin of -trix).


  • 4D: Org. addressing class conflict (PTA) - I completely challenge this. In trying to be cute, you've completely misrepresented what the PTA does
  • 7D: Score direction: abbr. (ritard.) - longest abbreviation Ever.
  • 10D: "Saving Private Ryan" craft, for short (LST) - I'll never remember this
  • 8D: Scottish cereal staple (oat cake) - weird ... OAT, I get. I never had an OAT CAKE when I was there (for many months)
  • 14D: Lemony meringue concoction (angel pie) - again, I say, WTF?
  • 34D: Keen of vision (lynx-eyed) - well now you're just making up words
  • 49D: Mint-family plant with bright-colored leaves and blue flowers (coleus) - all from crosses; to my wife's credit, she knew COLEUS was a plant (she also got MITTEN in about one second, damn her)
  • 56D: "_____ Ching" (classic book of Chinese poetry) ("Shih") - I had "THE I," duh
  • 32A: "In the," in Italy (nei) - I was so cocky when I entered the first word of "Inferno" - NEL ... that's what pride gets me


  • 21D: Celtic Kevin with a retired jersey #32 (McHale) - I was a huge Celtics fan at the peak of this guy's career, so this was a gimme. MCHALE is now GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • 12D: Player in a shirt pocket (iPod Nano) - hot. One of my very favorite possessions. Mine is red and has my name on it. Its design ... its feel ... it's just so pleasing.
  • 21A: Minute buzzer (midge) - I just this second realized that the clue is trying to be cute, as if the referent is a timing device and not a flying pest. The trick never occurred to me, thank god.
  • 43A: Rx specification (ter) - Latin! (for "three")
  • 59D: U.S.M.C. E-2 (PFC) - I love that there are no words anywhere in that clue/answer
  • 37D: Novus _____ seclorum (Great Seal phrase) (ordo) - Latin! (for "order")
  • 51A: Nightspots where the attraction is simply a gas (oxygen bars) - I got this so fast. Do these exist anywhere outside of NYC/LA?

And I'm done

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:14 AM  

The food clues got me as did Dr. A. Dr A was an answer I was so sure was right that it had to be wrong. Oatcakes and Angle pies have never been on my diet.

I loved O2 Bars and Plaza Hotel. And, the Anacin hammer ad along with Tums jack hammers is etched (pounded) into my brain from watching my grandmother watch soaps on a tiny b&w tv.

I offer up these childhood memories in case any wonders where the answers really come from (free association balanced with a memory for facts or lint as my lovely wife might say).

A good puzzle for me. Off to Moab Utah where the NYT is always a day behind and I have no online access.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

it should be in case anyone...

Le Master 9:53 AM  

Is anyone else getting a little tired of seeing Apple products being mentioned in puzzles so much?

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Answers I had a hard time giving up on

TIMER (minute buzzer)
MIME (certain copier)
ENCE (cousin of trix)

The easiest answer to give up on-E.T. STAR (People person)

Alex S. 10:09 AM  

I never did straighten out the NW. I had the downs ANACIN, PTA, and ORANGEY.

Unfortunately these created fits for wrong answers:

Adams, Fillmore, and Taft were all ONE TERMERS (horrible phrase but like it would be the first time).

And for "rap" PARATACTIC.

I know PARATACTIC isn't a good fit but once it occurred to me it wasn't leaving my head. And RAT A TAT TAT certainly would never have occurred to me on its own.

The only place I've ever actually seen an oxygen bar is in Vegas (but then I've never been to New York and haven't done much night life stuff in LA).

Badria 10:13 AM  

I too was convinced that the 200 palaces HAD to be in India. Oooh, I want to go there, wherever it is, I was thinking. When I got the answer, I hung my head. Been there.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Remembered the hammers and Anacin.
Here's one before the hammers :

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

What made me mad was the cross of DCL and ETLA. One a random year; the other was...french? And compound to boot. And why couldn't I see CURATE when I had COCONUT OIL? I did like the OXYGEN BARS clue, it's just such a goofy idea.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I think I am finally right on this one. The "craft" in "Saving Private Ryan" from which Capt. Miller and his men debarked on Omaha Beach was either an LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) or possibly an LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicles and Personnel). It most certainly was not an LST (Landing Ship Tank). That was a large, ocean-going vessel that ran up on the beach, then opened its clam-shell bow doors to allow tanks roll out. Troops typically descended from stairways on either side. It's possible somewhere in the opening scene there was a passing shot of an LST, and in the event, LST's were probably there, but I think this clue is just wrong.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

I believe 43A "TER" means" three times a day on the Rx your doctor writes to the pharmacist. The translation is what appears on the label.

Some of the palaces on the Grand Canal in Venice are in sad shape, but there are plenty that make you go "ooh, aah".

Usually see it as "ratatat".

ScottK 11:00 AM  

Surprised and delighted to see BUBBLER for drinking fountain. Surprised because I thought this was very regional slang. Delighted because the term derives from a specific brand of drinking fountain produced by Kohler, near my home town in Northeastern Wisconsin, which is where "bubbler" first became a generic term for all drinking fountains.

wendy 11:08 AM  

I could get exactly 6 answers in this brute. MARIA, IPOD NANO, TIE GAMES, A PIN, ENT and MIDGE. And MIDGE only because that was the insect that did in the Yankees during the AL Division Series here in Cleveland. Midge is my new best friend (sort of like Barbie). I should have gotten the Nasty Man answer because I had just seen that somewhere but ... no.

I guess I just don't have the energy for this kind of workout today.

wendy 11:09 AM  

Oh yeah, I wanted DAW for Rx specification (dispense as written) because yesterday we had an overview of our new insurance coverage which requires the use of generics unless DAW appears on the prescription.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  


Thanks now that I know Anacin is a cure for depression I can save my clients a bundle. And, to think all these years a recommended Bufferin.

I liked Bubbler as well. Made me think of the public pool in South Pasadena that was called the plunge.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

it should be I recommended... darn

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Mita??? I don't get this.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

I was annoyed by "ter" because I've never seen it on a prescription. It's always "t" as in tid, or "3" as in q3h

But, then, maybe I haven't seen every prescription written yet.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Bravo, Sossend. It's always a pleasure to be informed by an expert.

Not intending to be dogmatic, and I know that "RAT A TAT TAT" is onomatopoetic for what a woodpecker does, but HOW does that follow from the clue "rap"?

My Waterloo was the cross between TER and MCHALE. The GOURDE-DRAZIZ cross was borderline unknowable, although guessable.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Scott, I too have only heard "bubbler" in the old days, in Northern Illinois.

Mita is a copier brand name these days.

Thanks, Anonymous 10:53. Seconding "ratatat" but it's still not clear how that follows from "rap".

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

I put in BUBBLER right away too. Never believed it would actually be correct. When in my twenties I landed in R.I. from N.Y. and took a job as a 6th grade teacher. With youth and arrogance on my side I figured I'd just fake it until I got the hang of it. As a result, I simply said yes whenever I was asked by a student "Can I go to the bubbelah?" They all seemed to return in a timely fashion and in one piece but it took me some time to figure out that a Pawtucket, R.I. bubbelah was not the bubbelah of my youth.


Orange 12:17 PM  

I, too, thought bubbler was primarily a Wisconsin regionalism. In addition to being a regionalism in a few other nooks of the U.S., it's also an Australian term.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

I liked how the quote "How many angels can fit on the head of A PIN?" crosses with ANGEL PIE.
My Naval father told me an LST was Land Sea Transport.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

My favorite clue was "People person" for Editor....but this was a tough Saturday, as usual. And yes, I am getting tired of seeing Apple products of one sort or another in the puzzle. Gates should get equal time.

Campesite 12:42 PM  

The NW passage was brutal! Still no-sale here on ratatattat for rap. The other 3-stacks of ten-letters and eight-letters I liked somewhat (particularly CRAZY HORSE, as a Neil Young fan).

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

So, I am the only one so far in ignorance of TESTACY? With a question mark clue (43D - willful state). Please someone explain and put me out of my misery. A brutal puzzle - I did not finish the NW.
btw I think rap's relationship to 17A is like, rap on the door. Or something.

Le Master 12:49 PM  

There are oxygen bars around Atlanta, I just saw one in Buckhead not too long ago.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

I finished with great uncertainty by filling in 43 down, but it turned out to be correct. "Intestate" means "without a will," so TESTACY appeared to be OK, but TER looked like it should have been PER, BLATS seemed iffy, and could there really be a currency named a GOURDE?

The ROEG/ANGELPIE crossing was guesswork, too.

We studied "A Passage to India" for weeks in high school, so DRAZIZ fell into place quickly. Here's a sobering thought: the novel is twice as old now.

Rex Parker 12:50 PM  

No no no, not "bravo, sossend." Check check check things out before you go proclaiming certainty. Come on. Do you know how rare it is that the puzzle makes an actual, factual error? Not saying it doesn't happen. But it's very uncommon. Cursory searches of [LST saving private] and the like show many hits. The clue just suggests that the craft is somewhere, ANYwhere, in the movie. Seems more than likely.


Anonymous 12:51 PM  

I liked this a lot more than yesterday's and also found it easier. My biggest problem was NW where I also had ONETERMERS for a long time. It fit with ANACIN, ORANGEY, and PTA so it was hard to let go. I had exactly the same problem with the GOURDE/DRAZIZ/TESTACY/BLATS area that Rex did and also made some lucky guesses. (TER was almost a gimme as I think Rex blogged it a while back.) Where I guessed wrong was L in the ETLA/DCL crossing. It was a fifty-fifty shot between L and I and I looked good to me. My wife (who could have been helpful here) was asleep and I've been warned not to wake her up for crossword questions.

BTW sosend is spot on. I know this because my friend Jim just stopped by to borrow a cardtable for Thanksgiving. The reason this is relevant is that he was a crewmember on an LST on D-Day on Omaha beach. He said the Private Ryan craft were LVCPs or maybe LCIs. The craft that Tom Hanks road to the beach was definately not an LST.

Rex Parker 12:52 PM  

The assertion that "Gates should get equal time" is the single most hilarious comment anyone has made at this blog.

You're right. Someone really should be looking out for the little guy...

rp, Apple user/lover

Le Master 1:11 PM  

What was today's...IPODNANO? If there isn't the answer ZUNEFLASH within five days...sailor's will be jealous of the knot my panties are in.

Dr. Rick 1:11 PM  

Can't think of a court game which can end in a tie and most tie games are not anticlimatic in any case. Would have preferred the clue of Fussy wife's morning satorial shenanigans

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

The RAT A TAT TAT discussion was interesting. Here's another take: Rap artist Daz Dillinger has a single entitled RAT A TAT TAT.Dr. Dre has a rap song entitled either RAT A TAT TAT or RAT TAT TAT.
Other rap song feature the phrase in rhymes.

fergus 1:51 PM  

There's an OXYGEN BAR in Santa Cruz, as part of a struggling gelato emporium. It's sort of superfluous here since the air is a little fresher than in Tokyo or LA, though there are enough gullible customers apparently.

I hope Ms. ORANGE didn't take offense to having the RITARD right next to her adjective? Being of Scottish descent I would get OATCAKEs in my Xmas stocking -- how's that for thrift?

My only stumbling point was the crossing of TESTACY and BLATS; otherwise there were many places with seemingly very few decent alternatives, and so the puzzle fell FELICITOUSly, even if that relative ease wasn't exactly Apropos for me. Having regularly perused the monthly IMF reference books I've got most of the world's currencies down, but I admit to choosing MR. AZIZ rather than DR. Been quite a while since I read "Passage to India" but I remember that it had a gripping moment of suspense in a cave where the reader was left to guess what happened. Great drama -- on a par with "Heart of Darkness" when a great fog came down over the river.

UNITARIANS took some time to figure out since this seemed such an odd collection of Presidents. And took quite a while to let ODOR settle as a Characteristic quality.

And in reference to metaphoric commercials I saw a truly tasteless one for All-Bran on TV the other day. So crass, yet amusing, that it had to be on YouTube, and it was:

Isn't the Chelsea Hotel in the same class as the PLAZA, at least as far as this puzzle is concerned?

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

A Pastor or a rector (1D) is the leader of the flock, the curate serves under either of the above, and even knowing the answer to 7D 'ritard' ??? Can any one tell me what this nis an abbrevbiation for? And 'midge' ? English has too many homonynms (Minute: tiny or time span, yech). started 26A with -ress (wait-ress) since both it and rix start with R. And 'peppermint'fit in 1A just fine leading to much consternation, until LST told me it was not correct, but no clue to the correct answer until I looked at the blog.

Paul in Portland

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

A perfectly Saturdayish challenge that kept me up much later than I'd planned to be. I managed to get one or two answers in each quadrant and then it was hit and miss, hit and miss, until suddenly it was done.

The only answer I'm not happy with is "blats." To me, a blat is more like the sound a tuba makes when the note is flat. In fact, I just looked it up in my Mac dictionary and the definition was "bleat." That isn't a very raucous sound.

Ipod has shown up a couple times lately, but that got me a toehold in New England where I only had Maria and Mita. I was looking for something legal the courts, like mistrial or hung jury, neither of which fit. I had nel as well for nei and didn't know Roeg or gourde, but trusted they were correct from the crosses.

Oxygen bars was great. I was looking for something in the night sky, as in stars, but the answer was much more fun. I actually looked into the oxygen bar thing at one point when I was looking for a business venture. Imagine charging people to breathe. What a concept!

If bubbler is regional, then count Boston as another place it was used. That's where we went for a drink when I was a kid in school.

I was also looking for some familial relation between the presidents, having discovered this site some time ago that lists all the presidents who are related as cousins. Very surprising connections I was not aware of.

And Orange (too much spray-on tanning?) tells us that lynx-eyed is in the dictionary.

I never ate a rat
But always wear a hat
And have mittens on my cat

That's my rap!

wendy 3:32 PM  

paui in pdx, as I noted in my post at 11:08 above, a midge is the insect that did in the Yankees during the AL Division Series here in Cleveland. They normally appear much earlier in the year but the warm October produced a late-season hatching (this is a Lake Erie phenomenon, and for all I know afflicts other lake areas as well) so it was just pure serendipity that they arrived when they did. There are many types; some bite but the ones here don't. They just swarm. When I first moved here I couldn't believe what I was seeing; I'd walk around downtown and they'd descend in clouds all over everyone. Disconcerting to say the least. They're like big fluffy gnats.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Paui, "ritard." is short for "ritardando" meaning "slowing down." It appears very commonly in music.

wendy 5:24 PM  

People, before Rex gets on here and kicks some solver ass, please don't comment in any way, shape or form on tomorrow's puzzle. And speaking just for myself, I don't really want to read comments about non-NYT puzzles either. This blog has a singular purpose as far as puzzles go.

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

There are other puzzles?

Enough this blog is to much fun, I have to pack.

Michael Chibnik 5:56 PM  

blats, ter, mita, and ipodnano were all news to me (though I got the ipod part easily). The SE was hard for me and I never did get it completely right. The rest I got except for the n in the ipodnano/nei cross.

My favorite answer -- Unitarians. Like others, I had onetermers for quite a while.

All in all, a typical Saturday.

Orange 5:59 PM  

If Microsoft knew how to create kickass brand names, its products would show up in more crosswords. What do they come up with? XP. NT. '95. Two-letter words are too short, and numbers usually won't work. Vista? That's already a word. Same with Outlook and Explorer. Apple packs their product names (iMac, iPod, iBook) with vowels—very crossword-friendly, and they allow constructors to make things fit the grid.

According to the Wikipedia entry on LSTs ("landing ship, tank"): "From their combat debut in the Solomon Islands in June 1943 until the end of the hostilities in August 1945, the LSTs performed a vital service in World War II. They participated in the invasions of Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and southern France in the European Theater and were an essential element in the island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific which culminated in the liberation of the Philippines and the capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa." The Normandy invasion, of course, was what happened on D-Day, and what's depicted in Saving Private Ryan. And this site on goofs in the movie says the camera pulled back to show LSTs, cruisers, and destroyers in the background, but failed to show the Liberty Ships that should have also been there.

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

Okay, what did the midges do to the Yankees?

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

Orange, that same site on goofs in SPR says that the craft depicted in the movie were LCVP's, not LST's. Really, we can't rely on that site since it's a conglomeration of anonymous comments by non-experts.

fergus 7:59 PM  

Referring (with trepidation) to a different puzzle:

Stumbled into the NY Sun puzzles through the sidebar on the main Rex page. They're pretty good, though I'm not sure I can adapt to fumbling through the Across Lite screen, even if it does seem like a nifty program. As a creature of habit I like to read a bit of the paper, then put the crossword on to a clipboard, and then use my pen to enter the answer, either forcefully or tentatively, and drop marginal marks for quality measures or curious occurrences. Sure, I could get a printout of another puzzle from a download, but since I've banished printers (owing to my credulousness about the 'paperless office' since, oh about 1987) and seldom can justify the purchase of any other American newspaper, I'll just have to deal with the compromised solution. And for those of you with access to it, the San Francisco Chronicle usually has a pretty challenging Saturday specimen.

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Orange -- I completely agree that LST is valid answer, I just wonder what was going through the head of the clue writer when she/he used
Private Ryan. If the writer knew that the memorable scene of Hanks and men landing did not directly involve an LST then the clue was a bit of misdirection for solvers who know about D-Day and the various landing craft involved, ie. very clever. If not, then .... My initial thought about the clue was that the intended answer was LST but the writer didn't know it was not the Private Ryan craft. If it had been clued "D-Day craft" the "for short" could have been eliminated, but that may have been too easy for a Saturday.

Orange 8:27 PM  

Does anyone else relish the deliciousness of an anonymous commenter (7:40 pm) impugning the reliability of anonymous commenters?

Fergus, is the clue for 1-Down in today's Saturday San Francisco Chronicle puzzle read [Fishing wear]? If so, that's the syndicated LA Times puzzle.

fergus 9:19 PM  

C'est la meme chose, ya. It's by Bob Peoples, just to confirm.

Normally I don't much care for the offerings of either the LA Times or the Chronicle. Even though the latter has Merl Reagle on Sundays in the magazine, there is seldom much joy in toying around with that. Though I do very much appreciate his constructive art, especially after having seen his pencil process in an open grid in that movie, the puzzles come across sort of flat, like a politician appealing to the broadest audience. While I am not naive about the circumstances, I think the market could sustain his better work.

Anonymous 9:23 PM  

As a frequent reader of this blog/comments, I had concluded that ORANGEY meant fast, accurate, thoroughly researched, sometimes snippy, and often funny.

After having trouble in all four corners, I thought about the four corners (the point where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet), and imagined a pair of gigantic thumbs and forefingers manipulating the four states in and out like the folded paper gizmos we made in grade school half a century ago, and started folding up my crossword had to serve some purpose, after all. Please don't report me....

Apple : Lisa / MSoft : MSDOS

Beyond challenging in my unabbreviated opinion.

Anonymous 9:40 PM  

Don't forget Microsoft Bob.

wendy 10:02 PM  

karen, the MIDGEs appeared out of nowhere during (I think it was) the 7th inning of the Indians/Yankees game and attacked the players, particularly the pitchers. The Indians were not that fazed by it - our pitcher Fausto Carmona looked positively serene - but it appeared to unnerve the Yankees, which is understandable, I suppose. And then they started putting insect repellent on, which only caused the midges to stick to their skin and, well, it was all pretty surreal. We won. Whether we would have anyway, we'll never know. ;)

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

First off, I actually was able to finish Friday's puzzle by my lonesome. So, of course, it's a puzzle that everyone hates. Typical!

Saturday's puzzle was tougher. I felt grateful that I FINALLY remembered DRAZIZ. (Oh, and campsite - I'm with you on the Neil Young and Crazy Horse connection. Did you every hear Crazy Horse's self-titled album without Neil? It's pretty cool! It's got the version of "I Don't Want to Talk About It," which Rod Stewart later covered, as well as the song "Gone Dead Train," hands-down one of the best songs about premature ejaculation ever.)

I digress.

Like you, Rex, I assumed that put down chips would refer to poker, not food. My ignorance of Italian made the NE brutal, with both GRANDCANAL and NEI giving me fits. (I've never heard of the eMita copier, either - I really wanted it to be MONK.)

On to the Sunday puzzle...

Anonymous 10:59 PM  

ANTE has appeared so often lately I figured the chips reference was meant to mislead and refer to food. I so wanted the answer to be SCARF.

Orange 10:25 AM  

A couple summers back, there was a midge invasion along the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan. Apparently the Cubs game was fun to watch on TV, with thousands of people swatting madly. I was out in the bug clouds, though, and ick. I had little green spots all over my shirt where midges met their demise. At least I was mostly in a car or indoors—I saw a hapless Evanstonian riding her bike through the swarms and that can't have been pleasant.

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

"Testacy" had me going until I realized that the across solution was "ter". After a few blind alleys, I solved te whole thing. I had the right mental set yesterday, I guess.

A few years ago there was a clue the solution for which was the name of the painter of "The Embarkation of Cythera". I shot off a postcard pointing out that the title of Watteau's painting was in fact "The Embarkation FOR Cythera', Cythera being a fabled island of delight. I got a nice response from Mr. Shortz.

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

I'm a doctor and have never used the term "TER" in my life! I guess now that I've seen it I remember it from another crossword in my distant past. Will have to try to file it better in my brain next time. I used "GEN" instead (short for "generic").
That caused my downfall for the puzzle. I had been doing so well, got the NW and NE without problem (except for ETLA- took a guess and had ETIA).
As for LST, that's just standard crossword fare.

I only missed 5 letters in this puzzle- not bad for one that Rex called challenging.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

For dk: it's not angle pie, it's angel pie: a meringue shell filled with lemon curd, and it's delicious. I've made it often.

The clue I didn't get was 44across,"ent." What does it stand for, anyway?

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

To PP,

ENT is abbreviation for Ear, Nose, Throat--the kind of doctor who would treat sinus infections.

That was one of the few I got--That and oxygen bar. The rest I "cheated" on. (Google was my friend today for sure).

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

Back from the future: I'm often astonished when ostensibly hard-core solvers acknowledge ignorance of what I understand to be crosswordese. LST was a gimme since it seems to be in every other puzzle; there was no debate in my mind as to whether LST was indeed the correct landing craft, so all the back-&-forth above is nonsense.

My biggest gripe about this puzzle (which I finished in one night without Googling) was the obscurity of much of the fill. Concur with Rex re: BLATS, GOURDE, and RITARD. I'd also throw in BUBBLER (never been to the places where this apparently is commonly used), SHIH, ENNE, and ANGELPIE. And as of this date (12/30/07) no one has yet explained RATATATTAT (Rap) to my satisfaction. Rap, as a knock on a door, to me sounds like one knuckle-to-door contact, so then let's say this clue is a streeeeeeetch...

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

I finally got to this in syndication and had lots of bad guesses along the way...

NEI - NEL ??

This is the problem when proper nouns and foreign phrases cross... one's overactive imagination can rationalize anything.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Lynx-eyed is not a made up word. It's part of the English lexicon and has appeared repeatedly in English literature - admittedly it seems to have been replaced nowadays by the American usage of "eagle-eyed."

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