SATURDAY, Nov. 3, 2007 - Brad Wilber

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

[updated 12:30pm]

Sorry, no write-up today til around noon.

I will say that VIRAL VIDEO and EURO DISNEY are fantastic. Ditto STREET CRED. Impressive.

See you in a few hours.

In the meantime, you could amuse yourself by checking out what my high school classmates looked like then (and look like now). Well ... I thought it was amusing, anyway. Thanks to my sister for sending me the Class of '87 Reunion link. Quite an eye-opener this morning.


I'm back, and on the timer - and listening to occasional crossword denizen RENEE Fleming, if you must know. Never liked opera much, but love her for some reason. I think it's because I heard her interviewed about opera recently, and she was so smart and lucid and charming that I decided to will myself to like her. Working so far.

Good things about today's puzzle:


  • 24A: Co-creator of Hulk and Thor (Stan Lee)
  • 38A: Fictional Pulitzer-winning journalist in a 2006 film (Lois Lane)
  • 52A: Colleague of 38-Across (Kent)

Beautiful pairing, those last two - their comics origin completely disguised. Somebody requested art from a Stan Lee comic, so ... here it is (art by Jack Kirby):

Crazy names!

  • 7D: _____ Lopez de Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Inigo)
  • 23A: "Rhapsodie norvegienne" composer (Lalo)
  • 10D: Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bryan (Trottier)
  • 25D: Casbah fugitive of French film (Pepe le Moko) - holy crap, where the hell did this answer come to me from? I have absolutely no idea who this is, or what "film" is involved - I just have a hazy recollection of the name ... no context. Weird. Briefly considered PEPE LE PEW... but couldn't figure out how to spell PEW such that it would fit.
  • 5D: "View From the Summit" memoirist (Hillary) - first name that came to me. Sometimes it helps, being married to a Kiwi.


  • 19A: Suffix with polymer (-ase) - "polymerASE?"
  • 41A: Aquatinting acid (etchant) - oh this hurt; the last square I filled in was, I think, the "A" in this word. It intersects another scientastic (TM) word ...
  • 36D: Garden no-no, now (alar) - this has been banned since the late 80s. Weird word. Also means "winged."
  • 39D: Daisy variety (shasta) - botany's a science...

Assorted Fabulous Compound Phrases!

  • 1A: Sleuthing aid (flashlight) - After getting GEDS and HEE straight off, I wrote in FLASHLIGHT, and that opened up the NW very nicely. This word reminds me of Encyclopedia Brown.
  • 17A: YouTube phenomenon (viral video) - here's the king of them all, in case you are wondering what our world is coming to ....
  • 14D: Homey's acceptance (street cred) - love the answer, hate the clue. Not all "homeys" live on the "street" or care about STREET CRED. Further, there are people who would never use the word "homey" who care an awful lot about STREET CRED. This clue may as well read [What some black guys seem to care an awful lot about, at least from what I can tell by watching TV. Being an upper-class white person, I wouldn't really know]
  • 53A: Place for trophies at an awards luncheon (prize table) - should hate it, but I don't. I love it. It's perfect. I don't think of this phrase as being very in-the-language, and yet the clue helped me visualize it almost instantly.
  • 27D: Alternative to a rip cord (static line) - outside my vocabulary, but a cool phrase nonetheless
  • 49A: Much-anticipated Paris debut of 1992 (EuroDisney) - "Much-anticipated" by whom!?
  • 26D: Noted diary words ("And so to bed") - never read the Diary of Samuel Pepys, but I know people who have ...

Mystery or Groaner!?

  • 15A: Hammer wielder (auctioneer) - groaner. Wanted so badly for answer to be THOR!
  • 30A: Relative of homespun (tweed) - mystery
  • 31A: Century-ending Middle Ages year (MCC) - groaner. The ultimate "I give up" clue.
  • 36A: Fail to be (aren't) - groaner extraordinaire.
  • 44A: One might be kidding (goat) - mystery - in that I didn't know that was the word for birthing a goat
  • 45A: U.S.C.G. rank (CPO) - mystery; military ranks are always guesses for me
  • 30D: _____ Canal (connector of lakes Ontario and Huron) (Trent) - mystery
  • 33D: It intersects the nave (transept) - mystery ... until I got a few letters; then I remembered this word from ... somewhere.
  • 37D: One of six pieces by Bach (partita) - neither mystery nor groaner; I just like this word.
  • 47D: Legal hearing (oyer) - grOAner
  • 50D: Sch. in Kingston (URI) - mysteriously groaning; it's University of Rhode Island. I guess Kingston is supposed to make me think Jamaica?

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ScottK 9:58 AM  

Wow, I get to comment before Rex finishes his post?

Then let me say that with STAN LEE in the puzzle, if there's no Marvel Comics art in here by the time he's finished it'll be clobberin' time!

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Looked at the then and now h.s. pics. Just got a picture of my classmates from the 40th reunion and literally could only identify two (one solely because of ethnicity). Things do change!

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

This week's puzzle brought to you by Auctioneers and Odea... Enough of these words, already.

Stephen 11:00 AM  

Unfortunately for me, two better, yet more obscure, answers fit for "YouTube phenomenon:" LONELYGIRL and LAZYSUNDAY.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Found this puzzle extremely difficult ... destroyed my two-week Saturday streak. Too many obscurities in the lower left: obis, transept, pepe le moko.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Thought this was pretty cool, but recordIST was annoying. I started by confidently writing TYRANT at 25A. So much for confidence. Not a YouTuber so I don't get VIRALVIDEO. Anyone can explain??

Orange 11:41 AM  

Joaneee, viral videos are the video clips that a zillion people post on their blogs, e-mail to their friends, and post links to. Examples are the SNL song, "Lazy Sunday," the Evolution of Dance comedy/dance segment, OK Go's music video performed on treadmills, that European kid singing and chair-dancing to "Numa Numa" on his webcam, and Obama Girl's "I Got a Crush on Obama" music video.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Joannee: meaning videos that one sends to 10 friends, they send to ten friends.. usually something amusing and topical.. SNL will have a funny skit on Sat. and everyone in the world has seen it by Wed. It goes "viral', spreads rapidly..

OYER for "legal hearing"- nevah evah heard of this.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
The Court of OYER is now in session.


Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Yes, "oyer" is a word sometimes, make that almost never, used in arcane legal proceedings. Thought this was a great puzzle with some truly unique clues. Loved Pepe Le Moko and street cred, especially. Went through all of the across clues without one jot on the page. Desperate, I seized on Trottier and transept to bail me out of utter humiliation. Hope to see more of these types soon.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Thanks, Arundel...i see why VIRAL.

PuzzleGirl 1:03 PM  

Discouraging to see this rated as a medium when I had to Google my way through the whole thing. Well, at least I finished it. I'm definitely getting better! Just last night at the grocery store I picked up a frozen dinner that was labeled "Mostaccioli with Meatballs" and I thought to myself "Man, that looks a lot like penne!"

PS to michael: Go Hawks!

Orange 1:13 PM  

I thought of Grabthar's hammer, which didn't help.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

I wanted Homey to be Homer Simpson and within the next 30 years I should remeber how to spell bhat (sic). This caused a delay: doh!

It was my good fortune to remember auctioneer from well... yesterday.

Last but not least the kidding goat made me smile.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

and remember to spell remember correctly more than once

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

I found this a bit more than "medium" on my personal challenge scale. Though I did get some of the acrosses on first go-thru... well, bhat (sic) didn't help me at all, & slowed me into wanting chasescene to be car-something **sigh** It was almost a pleasant deja vu all over again to see new best friends auctioneer and odea.

Deciding on the downs that dizzy needed to go where woozy belonged held up that area quite a bit.

Thanks for the "viralvideo" explanation. I watch youtubes frequently but had never heard this term. It sure makes sense.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

homespun (tweed) I did think cloth when I saw homespun but only tumbled to tweed at the hour mark. The last to fall was SAND for the clock. A groink moment indeed. No nit there but why SKEET?

A Rhode Islander for many years, URI was a cinch but not the clue I would have chosen. These are:

URI Geller with a psychic act nyt Oliver Hill Tue Oct 02, 2007

URI Spoon-bender Geller cs Martin Ashwood-Smith Tue Apr 18, 2006

URI Tell territory nys Henry Hook Fri Mar 17, 2006

I hope the use of "act" in the first clue was deliberately subtle.

And my favorite video is Paul Potts' tryout:

It never ceases to enthrall.


Anonymous 2:58 PM  

Like Penny, I finished in the "Ohio" area with SAND, SKEET, SWINE and TRENT. Including the esoteric TROTTIER didn't help either.

I never knew why the name INIGO keeps popping up in the world. That guy has many namesakes. Thanks!

But I ended with one error: *PEPI* LE MOKO. "Recordist" is a word. Can anyone explain why the answer to 35A "record finish?" is EST rather than "ist"?

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

jim in nyc... the only thing I can think of is that when you set a record, you have done it... fastEST, or farthEST, or bEST... anybody else have a better idea?

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Penny, the Paul Potts video is magnificent. Thanks.

SKEET is "earth-shattering" because those flying things you shoot are made of clay.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  


I was having lunch with the incredible Nothnagel today in rainy Connecticut and I mentioned the following things you might try on your blog:

1) Add a 1-10 difficulty meter where people could rate the day's puzzle. The average rating could be displayed.
2) Add a 1-10 enjoyment meter.
3) Add a "Veterans' Only" comments section. It could be invite only, if you desired.
4) Add a bar on the side with puzzle counts by well known constructors and average comment counts for those constructors.

Just some thoughts,

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

Old timers remember Charles Boyer as Pepe le Moko in "Algiers", a late 30's pot boiler, co-starring Hedy Lamarr, she of the naked swim in "Ecstasy".

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

This was harder than it needed to be for me but still challenging. Again, I did about two thirds last night and got stuck in Indiana and NW. This morning TRANSEPT hit me and Ind. was done but I just stared at NW. I had HILLARY, the two EEs in 9d, and DIEGO where INIGO (I much prefer the Princess Bride clue) should have been. When GEDS finally dawned I tossed DIEGO and saw FLASHLIGHT and the rest fell. FLASHLIGHT and AUCTONEER should have been more obvious but, alas, weren't.

I agree that RECORDEST is iffy at best and TWEED is a stretch, but overall this was a good one with some very clever clueing (e.g. 44a).

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

One who records, perhaps on a recorder, is a recordist.

CPO is chief petty officer.

Pepi Le Moko is possibly the most obscure name I've ever googled.

This puzzle wore me out!

fergus 4:14 PM  

For the Record finish? I had 1ST, liking First better than the generally accepted RecordIST. Man, this puzzle was a slog. I admit to Googling to check whether TROTTIER and TRENT were correct. Funny that both these curiosities are both Canadian, and that's what my Passport declares, as well. I don't know how many times I was reluctant to get a SKIN TEST; maybe it was after sneezing at TRIER for Judges? My only breeze was in the NE, though I couldn't get to even western Pennsylvania. Racked my brain for Elton John song, which was annoying since 1971 was when I was on to all the top 40 Hit Parade songs. Now I know none. Couldn't bring myself to fill in EURODISNEY since I'm such a curmudgeon about all the happiest places on Earth. Was it really that much much-anticipated?

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

Anoa, the correct answer to 25D was "pepe" not "pepi".

Thus the answer to 35A is "est", and that "est" answer is hard to understand!

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

ACK! Jim you are right. Apologies to all.
I take back my blithering. But I'm going to leave my incorrect "i" in the 35 space because, as you say, 'est' is hard to understand.

I will now go re-screen Benny Lava, a video that Rex helped go viral!

Rex Parker 4:28 PM  

Everyone please listen:

EST is not a suffix for "Record" - it is a superlative adjective suffix, as in "largEST," "tallEST," etc. Thus it is likely to be used when describing "records," as in "World's FattEST Man," for example.


Anonymous 4:33 PM  

Got half the puzzle last night and finished this morning, but blew my personal streak by having to google twice. Waaaannnh. The east fell into place. Never heard of street cred but it made sense. Penne and partita were gimmes as were skeet and Trottier (not esoteric if you are a hockey fan). Loved sand and goat, both of which popped right into mind. Transept and alar are still mysteries to me. Alar as winged would have been a gimme, but didn't know how it related to gardens. Looking it up after the fact, I see that it relates to a chemical used by apple growers which would make "orchard" a more appropriate clue than "garden."

Shasta, pastry and molars showed up early, but it took me awhile to get the obvious Lois Lane and Kent, not having seen any movies for a couple years while out of the country. Never heard of Pepe le Moko and could not remember obis until it fell on the cross. Last to go was the northwest, when I gave up and googled Hillary (big head slap) and Inigo and finished with a big duh on auctioneer.

Hated est as record ending... had ing for the longest time, but now that Rex has explained that it isn't actually an ending for the word record, I humbly accede. Got nervous when I saw viral video, thinking my computer could catch something from watching youtube videos, which I didn't know existed until returning to the states, but now I get it.

A challenging one for me, but typically Saturdayish, I think.

Being from New England URI was a gimme and my money's on the Pats, but those Colts...sheesh... what a great team.

Campesite 4:45 PM  

STATIC LINE, BATTLEMENT, CHASE SCENE and STREET CRED are all pretty macho--I like. Would have gotten LALO if the clue had referenced the TV theme composer.
Ever since Silence of the Lambs I've given up FAVA beans.

Peter Clothier 5:12 PM  

Extreme southeast, damn. I had z for oyez until I realized that couldn't work with Elton John; but didn't know John's songs, least of all from 1971, and I thought I might have misspelled "oyes." "Tiny Dances"??? "R" never even occurred to me until I checked in here. Stupid.

Michael Chibnik 5:14 PM  

I thought this was going to be an easy puzzle when I finished the NE almost without putting my pen down (hubris!), but I then slowed down and finally had to google much of the SW and some of SE. A hard puzzle overall.

p.s to puzzle girl -- I did this puzzle (or should say that I partly did it) while watching the Hawks beat Northwestern.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

I like DQ's idea about a difficulty vote. I hate the idea of a veteran's section.

ETCHANT through me off because I thought the acid had to end in -ic. Good word.

fergus 5:54 PM  

Rex -- when you said that ALAR was banned I thought you meant its use in the puzzle being forbidden some time in the 1980s due to overuse. Accurate either way I guess. And on further thought, perhaps 'anticipation' of EuroDisney wasn't necessarily in the eager sense. While anticipation usually carries the connotation of favorably looking forward to, I can see anxious and fretful anticipation, as well.

I remember reading about an English cryptic crossword that included MCC intrinsically in the clue. The clue was Twelve hundred less two centuries. So you think Roman Numerals, MCC, minus the CC (with the centuries hinting at cricket), leaving M for Marylebone. The Marylebone Cricket Club being a well-known establishment and team, sort of like the NY Yankees. Ingenious clue but not the type that would win over many converts to that variety of puzzle right away.

wendy 6:11 PM  

Karen, I'm with you; not sure what the intent of a veteran's section would be, but it would seem to create strata among us that I don't think are warranted, or desirable. Just IMOO.

Anonymous 6:57 PM  

Thank you rex for splaining est! As I said before, I'm an ox. I'm still trying to figure how y equals "ies".
I also recently almost embarassed myself publicly asking what "a tob" was, but at the last moment remembered the alleged Dorothy Parker quote about Katharine Hepburn in a broadway play.

mea maxima culpa,

anoa, not a candidate for any veterans' section. By a longshot.

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

Stan Lee AND Lois Lane AND Kent AND "Tiny Dancer" in the same puzzle? How I could not love this one? (Although one day I'd like to see Jack Kirby's name in a puzzle.)

Actually, I paused over "Tiny Dancer." I know that technically, Elton John's MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER album came out in very late 1971, but I think of it as a 1972 album. I quibble.

EST for record ending is one of those Saturday slaps on the forehead.

Rex, I was hoping that THUNDERGOD or something similar would be the answer to "Hammer Wielder." What's with the repeating of AUCTIONEER?

I had three friends who went skydiving on a static line, so that was something of a gimme.

And as a graduate of a Jesuit school (Fairfield University), I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't know that the man I know as Ignacio Loyoya was born Inigo. (Is there anyone who, upon hearing the name "Inigo" doesn't automatically add the name "Montoya"?)

All in all, a fun puzzle.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

P.S. I _think_ (correct me if I'm wrong) that Pepe LeMoko in the movie ALGIERS utters the line "Come with me to the Casbah."

Michael, the clue for IES the other day was "Whay y may become." If you make a plural out of several words that end in "y" then "y" becomes "ies."

fergus 7:40 PM  

INIGO Jones, the English architect is the only notable Inigo I had ever heard of, though I did know an aspiring painter with that same first name, twenty years ago.

My solving Failed to be anywhere close to the PRIZE TABLE. Maybe because I had the Famous kicker as a MULE.

fergus 7:44 PM  

... I mean the famous one is PELE; the stuff of legend: the MULE.

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

I come back to earth.

It's interesting that I got most of the answers that everyone here found difficult but I did not get the easy ones.

I got less than 2/3 of this puzzle done today and less then 1/2 of the NY Sun puzzle yesterday.

It has been a while since I have not been able to complete a puzzle (except for maybe a letter in an odd cross) but to not finish two puzzles in two days is humbling.

I may have to stop smoking crack (at least on Fridays and Saturdays, or the occasional Thursday)

Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Very challenging. I sensed it would be when I saw the name of a hockey palyer longer than Hull or Howe. And definitely not Orr. Ouch.

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

The math guy in me likes the DQ/MN suggestion for rating scales (isn't at least one of them a math teacher?). As for the veteran idea, I have no idea what would constitute a "veteran" which means I'm probably not one.

frances 10:23 PM  

In my opinion, this one wasn't Medium, it was Impossible. I had to Google early and often, and even so could not finish it; it's the first time in years that--allowing for judicious Friday and Saturday Googling--I've been unable to complete the grid.

Anonymous 11:42 PM  

kate says:
agree that this was the most difficult in a long time. Must disagree with using Google as "solving the puzzle." If need to Google, then you did the equivalent of copying from the nerd next to you in class- you got a passing grade, but cheated. Google if you must as a last resort, and then honestly admit to yourself that you did not "solve" the puzzle, but hopefully got useful info for the next one.

Anonymous 11:57 PM  


I got to see Renee Fleming in concert a few years back in Lincoln Center. She was charming and beautiful and has a wonderful voice. One of the few opera-like recitals I really enjoyed.

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

anon 11:42 p.m.

I'm sure we all have our own way of enjoying the puzzles.

Someone (my mother, actually) once told me "Being smart isn't knowing everything. It is knowing how to find out what you want to know." Google/Internet search has made this easier than it once was, but research is research.

Some of us (I'm speaking for me) enjoy the puzzles not just to see what we already know or can figure out, but to learn new stuff along the way. If that's cheating to you, so be it.

For me, sure, I get an extra ego boost at filling a grid without having to use outside resources. But I also get a lot of pleasure learning interesting things I hadn't known before.


Orange 9:02 PM  

Re: cheating, see what Will Shortz says in the last paragraph of this article.

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

dear orange: I rest my case. Kate

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

I had "battlevent" for Archer's Post instead of "battlement." In the old fortified cities of Europe there are these slits in the walls that I would describe as vents--designed for maximum flexibility shooting from the inside out with a minimum of exposure.

That would make Century Ending Middle Ages year "VCC" which sorta works as century ending but I suppose the Middle Ages hadnt started by then. Oh well, still like Battlevent

Anonymous 11:12 PM  

profphil, Renee Fleming is cool! Besides the fact that she's rather gorgeous, she has great musical instincts. Her non-operatic CD, HAUNTED HEART, is a knockout.

Unknown 11:41 PM  

Sometime, my age is an advantage. Who could forget Charles Boyer in the movie Algiers saying, "Come wiz me to the Casbah" to Hedy Lamarr? One of the most frequently imitated movie quotes.

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

PolymerASE? - Is that a question or a value judgment? FWIW polymerases are enzymes that catalyze polymerization - DNA polymerase, e.g.

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