FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2007 - Patrick Berry

Friday, December 21, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Patrick Berry is one of the best constructors on the planet, and this puzzle shows why. Normally, when I look over a puzzle after completion, I search around for the most interesting clues and answers, and then annotate and categorize them, giving me a kind of outline for my write-up. Today, as I went over the puzzle, I found myself marking nearly everything. "How am I going to write about all this?," I asked myself. So, in the interest of fairness to all clues - and maximum puzzle coverage in limited write-up time - my entry today will be one long bulleted list.

But first, a brief introduction: Not only does this puzzle hold up well to close scrutiny - I think it actually starts looking better and better the more you dig into it. There are lots of cool echoes, parallels, and assorted thematic connections between and among answers in the grid. There is a striking evenness to the puzzle, with the difficulty level calibrated similarly for all areas of the puzzle. All parts required some thought and effort, but none were excessively easy or excessively brutal. In short, this puzzle was SMOOVE.

Let's get ready to Rumble....

  • 1A: Musical genre that uses a flatted fifth (be-bop) - and the puzzle delivers a quick jab to my chin. I gaped at the clue, thought "... mambo?" and moved on.
  • 28A: Member of the 500 Home Run Club (Sosa) - there are a few potential candidates, but this one is Always the most likely. First entry in the grid. Crossed it with CASA (22D: House on a hacienda), crossed that with ART (31A: "Science made clear": Cocteau), and I was off.
  • 5D: "Travelin' Thru" singer (Parton) - gimme. Wanna make me happy, put Dolly in the puzzle. Also picked up another folk/country answer easily: 12D: "Man of Constant _____" (old folk standard) ("sorrow"). Anyone who saw "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" should know this. Hell, I never even saw that movie, but I can still see George Clooney on stage "singing" it. Oh, I also like that PARTON is in a grid with PARDON (46A: Sentence ender). Rhyming!
  • 29A: Cannibal of Anglo-Saxon legend (Grendel) - the first of several answers in the puzzle that seem at first to be people but end up being animals / monsters. See also TOTO (47D: Oz visitor) and, one of my favorite answers of the day, GENTLE BEN (41A: Seven-foot star of 1960s TV) - I spent many seconds trying to remember the name of James ARNESS. Good thing my brain wasn't working. As for GRENDEL, I always thought "cannibal" was a word for people who eat people. Is a Great White a "cannibal?" At any rate, GRENDEL is from "Beowulf," which also, I'll have you know, features a BARROW (21A: Grave mound). Again, nice connection.
  • 54A: Van _____ ("Jump" band) - children of the 80's, rejoice. Your toehold has arrived. Other gimmes for me included TNT (52D: "We Know Drama" sloganeer") and UVULA (15A: It vibrates during snoring). NADER was easy to pick up, as I voted for him once, and DENTON (30D: University of North Texas home) was easier than it would have been, if only because I once co-edited a collection of essays on Raymond Chandler once, and it was published by Studies in the Novel, which is based at the University of North Texas in DENTON.
  • 45A: Films that require a lot of shooting? (oaters) - ooh, I love this word. Learned it from crosswords. It's pretty Pantheonic. The puzzle was otherwise mercifully lite on the crosswordese. VISA (37A: You may need it going in) and HESSE (26D: 1946 Literature Nobelist) are both reasonably common, and we just saw CAEN (6D: City largely destroyed by the Normandy campaign), but other than that, the puzzle is startlingly fresh.
  • 16A: Novel that nobody reads (audio book) - great clue.
  • 19A: Multigallon container (gas tank) - tricky, vague clue.
  • 23A: Endearing, as a smile (winsome) - this came to me almost instantly. Why? I love the word. "Her WINSOME smile drew him in. He ROMANCED (10D: Worked one's wiles on) her for a nearly a year before finally proposing. They then went to the ALTAR (38A: Union station?), where they each said 'I DO' (8D: Witness statement)" - notice how I skillfully sidestepped ASPISH, STALEMATE, SKEWER, and CAPTOR in that marriage narrative. People like a happy ending.
  • 24A: King's successor as S.C.L.C. president (Abernathy) - no idea, but had the ABERN-, so really, what else could it have been?
  • 27A: Shrink (cower) - fortuitous error here: my first entry, when I had no crosses, was LOWER.
  • 47A: Their work stinks (tanners) - And TANNERS around the world collectively say, "Aw, c'mon! There's gotta be a better way to get us in the puzzle."
  • 49A: What a lack of evidence of forced entry might indicate (inside job) - had the -OB and got it instantly. Reminds me of Spike Lee's "Inside Man" - fantastic movie.
  • 55A: Orthodox Church council (Holy Synod) - had the -OD and knew I was dealing with a SYNOD. Later on, I guessed at what four-letter word needed to precede it.
  • 4D: Sucrose polyester, more familiarly (olestra) - fake fat. This has been in the puzzle before, a number of times. Expect to see it again.
  • 11D: Longtime NBC sports exec (Ebersol) - had the -SOL, got it easily. Hey, he is married to Kate. Or is it Allie? I get them confused.
  • 20D: One of Ferdinand II's kingdoms (Aragon) - I had ARABIA at first, HA ha. I love when I can look back on my wrong answers and laugh.
  • 25D: "Wild Thing" band, with "the" (Troggs) - thought this was the answer, but it looked so silly with the two "G"s that I couldn't commit to it until it was mostly filled in.
  • 37D: Bonus Army member (veteran) - No Idea. At one point, not really paying attention to the clue, I figured the answer had to be VATICAN.
  • 39D: Cabin addition (lean-to) - this is pretty common fare. I never really picture it, though, so the "cabin" part threw me for a tiny bit.
  • 40D: Heel bone, e.g. (tarsal) - here, the puzzle gets anatomical on you. It's zigging and zagging all over the place. Perfect action for a Friday. On Friday, I want my puzzle to thrash like a dying shark. Only ... without the dying, suffering animal. Be nice to sharks. They get a bad rap.
  • 42D: Bridge declaration ("Land, ho!") - and I leave you today with my favorite answer - one which made No sense to me until after the puzzle was done and the tertiary meaning of "bridge" popped into my head. Before that I was thinking. "Wow, bridge is an even sillier game than I'd imagined."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

EJC on yesterday's puzzle:

[drawing by Emily Cureton]


McGuff 8:54 AM  

I too enjoyed this one, and initially had OILDRUM for multigallon container. Good clue.

Winsome IS a great word. My daughter cracked up when I told her the first love of my life was named Winifred.

NYTAnonimo 9:22 AM  

Great puzzle-Clever clues!

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Agreed on this puzzle. Took me about 14 minutes, which is a pretty good time for me for a Friday. I started off with 1 across and immediately put in BLUES, which quickly became apparent as a wrong answer. I went to the University of North Texas for a year (when it was changing its name from North Texas State University--alma mater of Mean Joe Green!--and the topic of the day was whether the campus radio station call letters would change from KNTS), so Denton was a gimme.

ARNESS also popped into my head immediately on the "7 foot sixties TV star" clue, but I was thinking of James "Marshall Dillon" Arness, not Peter (and I think he was short of 7 feet a bit.)

Alex S. 9:48 AM  

Don't know who Peter Arness is, but in his place I was trying to remember the name Ted Cassidy, the very tall guy playing Lurch in The Addams Family. Turns out he was only 6'9" though.

I love WINSOME, great word. Unfortunately, WINNING came to mind first and worked well enough that it caused me to doubt the otherwise gimmes of EBERSOL and SORROW.

Forgot about OLESTRA and based on the A in SOSA guessed SPLENDA. Unfortunately none of the other crosses came to me quickly and they were harder for having those wrong letters in there.

Overall, though, a very nice puzzle.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

I just did a Wikipedia search--I think Rex was thinking of James Arness's brother Peter GRAVES (of Airplane! fame). If so, I was on the same wavelength. I knew they were brothers but forgot they had different last names.

Rex Parker 10:00 AM  

No, I was thinking *James* ARNESS, who it turns out was only 6'7".


Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Hello Luv,

Greetings from the snow packed Midwest. This one made me think in that way that makes the NYT the best. While it has been done similarly, I like the 43A SEANCES clue. I got BEBOP (because it fit but wouldn't know a flatted fifth from an inflated fourth), but entered CHINBRACE and it took some time to recover.

We get another destroyed French town today. ARAMANCHES maybe next.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Found I had an incorrect answer on orange's blog and now I've found another here.

I never checked the cross and kept LOWER for COWER which gave me ROMANLED which could have been an old war but certainly didn't fit the clue.

Ended up with five wrong words in the puzzle all together.

The other major miscue was BUCAREST for BUDAPEST


Anonymous 10:40 AM  

What is an "oater" ? I didn't find it in the dictionary.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Peri, an oater is a Western movie--cowboys and Indians and the such.

What a terrific puzzle as usual from PB--he manages to have tons of very clever clues that are "gettable" and extremely satisfying. Usually I get aggravated with overly clever puzzles, but his are great!

Rex, love the shark imagery. To support your theory, think of Bruce the shark in Nemo--"fish are friends, not food."


Anonymous 10:57 AM  

The movie industry called westerns "oaters" in the old days. Lots of oats for the horses and lots of shooting of guns.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Great puzzle! Lots of gimmies for geezers e.g. ABERNATHY, BEBOP, GENTLEBEN, EVAGABOR, TROGGS... This was pretty easy for me. The only place I really got hung up was putting in HUN for 33a. The last time I saw this clue I put in HON which was correct except for the U so I wasn't going to be fooled twice. Alas, I was.

My first thought for 41a was Fred Gwynne (if you spell it with one N it fits) from the Munsters, turns out he's only 6'5. I also had ARABIA for a while. I know I'm getting better at this when OATERS is a gimmie.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

For those of you that like Patrick Berry, he is also the author of today's NYS puzzle.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Hard to not love Patrick Berry's puzzles. Every corner is loaded! Coincidentally, hubby, son, and I watched a couple episodes of Ken Burns' Jazz before I did the puzzle, giving me bebop and Wynton Marsalis (his comments are as brilliant as his trumpeting).

Nader and liberals is another good pair.

I lowered when I should have cowered, until romanced set me straight. Ebersol came to mind instantly. I love Susan St. James and grew up with her in The Name of the Game and MacMillan and Wife before she was Kate. She has one of those great kinda gravelly sexy voices.

Got barrow from Tolkein and Grendel from Beowulf. Did anyone see the movie? Not I, but I was curious. There used to be a great restaurant called Grendel's Den in Harvard Square. Wonder if it's still there.

Sosa is starting to feel like the four-letter Ott.

Holy Synod sounds like something Batman would say.

Hesse two days in a row? Is this a sign that I'm due to read Siddhartha again?

Boy, could those Dutch guys paint... and I'm not talking about the Dutch Boy. Though Vermeer and Rembrandt are my favorites, Jan Steen and Frans Hals are right up there.

Might as well jump! Yes, I'm singing.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Rex: yes, a very enjoyable puzzle! Bebop and Wynton relate to Denton-UNTX has a great jazz major! Only got Troggs thru the crosses. Holy Synod, Gentle Ben!

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Another wonderful thematic connection - Eva Gabor adjacent to Budapest.

Jason 12:37 PM  

My trip-up was 46A "sentence ender," which I first had as PERIOD, then switched to PAROLE, and then had to switch again to PARDON. Fantastic puzzle today.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Ditto to PERIOD, and I suspect it was deliberate misdirection.

Phillysolver, in fact a flatted fifth is the same as an inflated fourth (if we take inflated to mean sharped). In the key of C, it would be F# or equivalently G-flat.

Clever drawing by Emily Cureton!

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

I tried to use Fred Gwyne as the tall star.

Aspish (gheez louise).

Aside from those the rest of the puzzle was just plain fun.

Winsome... sigh reminds me of spring.

grouchonyy 1:05 PM  

The Bonus Army clue refers to the bonuses due veterans of WW I , but unpaid due to the depression. The vets marched on Washington where they were stopped by an Army division headed by MacArthur. It was another event that made Hoover looks heartless right before the FDR election of 1932

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Spent time trying to remember the actor's name from the rifleman before the crosses forced Gentle Ben on me. Chusk Connors wouldn't have fit and he was only 6'5".
But he did play, briefly for both the Boston Celtics and Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

A relatively easy (but fun) puzzle for me. I finished in one sitting and under a half hour, too!

Loved the PARTON/PARDON connection. Dolly is my favorite person in the whole world. Her wonderful music is just the tip of the iceberg- she is just a beautiful person through and through and sets a great example for us all to follow. (In how we live and treat other people, not how we dress. She always says, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.")

First thought of Lurch, then Fred Gwynn (sp) until finally settling on GENTLE BEN. "Gentle Ben" was an animal show from the Ivan Tors studios (great potential fill words, BTW), as was "Flipper". GB starred Ron Howard's lesser-known brother, Clint (who also manages to show up in most of his movies in some way or another). The Ivan Tors studios were located near my boyhood home in North Miami, on the other side of US ONE.

Thought Roone Arledge was the only sports exec I knew but then remembered EBERSOL because he was connected with Saturday Night Live, too.

Not one but TWO anatomy clues today- whee!

Someone earlier today asked about the Beowulf movie. I saw it in 3-D and it was enjoyable.

fergus 2:21 PM  

'Cannibalize' gets a lot of use in the business press in instances of a company's product line incurring on the sales of its others. Good example is ECOMMERCE replacing phone sales but not adding to overall turnover.

This truly was a beautifully constructed puzzle. Lots of good multiple answer possibilities, as in the WINSOME/WINNING, PARDON/PERIOD options. The clues for USERS' FEES and INSIDE JOB might have been Clued more tersely, but that's such a minor complaint. I recall someone very aptly describing a relationship gone sour as a STALEMATE, so I could see the Clue for 53A playing off that multiple interpretation, though it was fine as an Unchangeable situation.

Took a while to get CHINRESTS since I was thinking of whatever that thing is that you attach to the fingerboard to alter the pitch of the strings. A chinrest seems intrinsic to a violin, so couldn't really think of it as an attachment. Oh well.

Another appealing aspect to this puzzle is total lack of abbreviations in the answers. That's yet another element of construction mastery on display here.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Re 28A - Wikipedia confirms that Sammy Sosa is a member of a much smaller club: 600 Homers (although how many of those were tainted is the subject of speculation).

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

Bridge declaration was my favorite misdirection.

Loved the Troggs ,short for Troglodyte meaning cave dweller,a name that sounds like something that would emerge from a barrow.

John Gardner's Grendel, as posted, is a terrific book. I re-read it after listening to the audiobook reading of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney.

Epics are meant to be heard ,not read.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

Ditto everyone's enjoyment of the puzzle today. Really wonderfully clued with some diabolical misdirection, especially PERIOD/PARDON and LAND HO. I loved AUDIO BOOK and LIBERALS.

I must confess that I don't think I've ever heard BOOSTED for "stole." But since I haven't seen any comments on that, I'm guessing there's a common usage that's just not coming to mind.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Bah, Humbug,
Suppose I can admit the construction was, in a way, masterful. Did the whole East Coast in reasonable time and with pleasure. Then bogged down in the center. Then started marking all the squares that were crosses of 2 proper nouns- 13! In the center alone! Another 4 at least in the west. Chucked it in the recycling bin where it belonged.

Masterful puzzle - if you have a head full of name-trivia and just like showing it off.


fergus 3:29 PM  

BOOSTED is a term you'll hear in many an episode of "The Sopranos." If there's any need to pretend, the boosted article 'fell off a truck.'

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Leon... very apt observation regarding epics and audiobooks. I rarely read hardcovers anymore and am currently in the middle of the BBC's Dark Matters trilogy performed exquisitely by a cast of British actors and narrated by Pullman. And just decided to listen to the audiobook of Beowulf instead of seeing the movie.

Ditto Dolly Parton, Doc John. Love her.

I read about the Bonus Army, having never heard the phrase. We certainly have a patchy history of taking care of our fighting men. For shame.

Rob G. 3:57 PM  

Loved the puzzle, thought it easy for a Friday, mostly because all regions had so-called "footholds" that were gimmes for me.

Didn't get a chance to comment on yesterday's, but I think this is one of my favorite Thursday/Friday combos of all time. What a great start to the weekend!

Pinky 4:16 PM  

I had trouble in the SW corner, the rest of it flowed pretty easily. Haven't been to Rex site lately as we cx'd NYT due to cutbacks (writer's strike) and hadn't seen Emily Cureton's work before today. BRILLIANT! Coming back every day now to see what she's come up with. Bravo! Bravo indeed!

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Just realized one way I judge a puzzle, it's by my grunts and groans vs. oohs and aahs. To wit, I heard myself ooh or aah at least 3 or 4 times on this puzzle. No grunts or groans, but minor hmms on the words "boosted" and ecommerce (I hate those e-whatever answers).

Otherwise, the puzzle ranked top 3 in the past year for me. I circle clues I like and put XX on those I dislike or think are icky for whatever reason. This one got plenty of circles.

wendy 5:33 PM  

Well, if Patrick Berry is a virtuoso constructor, and I do very well on his puzzle, then it's a damn fine day indeed! I had as much fun with this as I typically do with Mike Nothnagel's stuff. I concur with Jae's sentiments in the things-are-now-gimmes-that-never-were-before department. I wish I could move the needle so well in other areas of my life!

In re: Smoove experiences - One of my most favorite comedy discoveries of recent times was seeing JB Smoove as Leon on the most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. OMG, funny doesn't even begin to cover it.

I was thrilled by the personal relevance of today's proper names - I can't hear the TROGGS' "Wild Thing" without evoking a very specific summer of my life; Hermann HESSE similarly in terms of a phase I and my high school cronies went through in the late 60s, WYNTON Marsalis, who I saw play in a very intimate venue in Columbus, Ohio, years ago, and Ralph ABERNATHY, who cradled Dr. King's head as he lay dying at the Lorraine Motel. Nice work, Patrick Berry! Of course GENTLE BEN is fabulous.

I thought Dick EBERSOL had recently died tragically, but now I see that it was his and Susan St. James' son who died in a plane crash. Ebersol was injured but survived.

In the past, I couldn't deal with clues that were as vague as "you may need it going in," "send to the front," and "their work stinks". Now I am able to suss them out.


But what up with the recent binge on "sweetums"? It's not even in my dictionary!

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

Happy Aniversary of the crossword puzzle!

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

I also liked this puzzle, one of my fastest Friday's ever. Long weekend ahead, lots of time for crossword puzzles!

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

We must be the exact same age. My garage band played "Wild Thing", you make my heart sing, you make everythiiiiing groovey, wild thing..

drphil, rikki
Saw Beowulf in 3D and didn't like it. I though it was the same kind of slomo dismemberment as 300. I told my son I would have paid twice as much just to see the last 30 minutes instead of the whole movie.

Agree with you on CHINRESTS.

Michael Chibnik 8:18 PM  

For whatever, some constuctors puzzles are easier for me than others. When I see Patick Berru's or Manny Nosowsky's name, I am fairly sure I will both enjoy the puzzle and not work too hard. B.E. Quigley, on the other hand, makes puzzles that are clever, but often difficult for me.

Like others, I think Emily Cureton's drawing are great!

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

Regarding the same answer showing up with in a day or two of its last appearance (this week HESSE). This happens way too frequently to be a coincidence. I'm wondering if Will and crew are subtly trying to halp daily solvers better learn stuff that may recur?

Michael Chibnik 8:21 PM  

I often make typos in my comments. But hardly anyone else does. I wonder what this says about puzzle solvers...

PuzzleGirl 9:02 PM  

Ditto everyone's comments on the quality of the puzzle. I had to let it sit overnight and finish the NW and SE today. I love it when that happens. (Hate it when I let it sit and STILL can't get it done.)

Now that I think about it, I do believe Dolly Parton is my favorite person in the world too. Despite all the trashy glitz on the outside, the first word that comes to mind to describe her is "genuine." How the heck does she pull THAT off? Anyone watch the Crossroads shows that pair country and rock/pop stars? Dolly was paired with Melissa Etheridge and it was awesome. During a Q&A period with the audience, a guy stood up and asked "If you ever get divorced can I be your next husband?" With no hesitation whatsoever, she responded, "You can be my lover NOW." She's hilarious too!

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

This was a beautiful puzzle. I also laughed out loud at many of the comments, for example by phillysolver, lurch, jae and rikki. I needed a good laugh, sitting here with ice on my sore shoulder.... Never heard the word "boosted" before in this context, nor several of the names, but everything came up with the crosses and some luck and common sense.

Amy 9:56 PM  

Hi, I am new here, though I have been doing the NYTimes puzzle since around the time the Troggs were singing Wild Thing! Loved this puzzle, and I am really glad I found this blog and others who do these puzzles each day.

Anyway, what really prompted me to write is to tell Rikki that GRENDEL'S DEN does still operate in Harvard Square. We were there with our daughter just a few months ago!

fergus 10:10 PM  

Rex, et al.,

Reflecting on a discussion about blogging, and how this form of conversation adds to, subtracts from, informs and has changed associations with like-minded individuals,

(in comparison to passing notes, door chalkboards, While You Were Out, phone machines, discovery of email, and all sorts of current and future devices we'll never comprehend)

I'm sending you all a bit of Xmas cheer and gratitude, for so much entertaining communication regarding the crossing of words.


Anonymous 11:44 PM  

A Friday puzzle without goggling! Woo-hoo! (And Rex called it "Medium"! I alwasy assume that a google-less Friday must be "Easy." Double woo-hoo!)

Loved the cluing for a lot of this one. PARDON, GENTLEBEN, GASTANK - fun stuff!

"Inside Job" is the name of a Springsteen song, too.

Around 1967 or so, somebody did a recording of "Wild Thing" as if Bobby Kennedy were singing it. Very funny. ("Play the ocarina, Teddy. With vigah.")

It's easy to get - er, distracted -by Dolly Parton for a number of reasons (the make-up, the hair, the outfits, the Daisy Mae figure), but I've long held she's an extremely talented songwriter. Her bluegrass albums of a couple of years ago were dynamite. And her recording of "I Will always Love You" just kills you with its restraint (compared to Houston's vocal calisthentics).

"Holy Synod" is something ROBIN might have said in that horrid BATMAN TV series. Don't get me started on that show and how it temporarily wrecked the comics!

Speaking of comics, Roy Thomas (terrific and influential writer) used to refer to a certain category of science fiction as "ether oaters" - transplanted Westerns in which (as he put it) a rocketship replaces a horse, a raygun replaces a six-shooter, and a bug-eyed monster replaces Jack Palance.

Anonymous 11:59 PM  

Great puzzle, and I went out to get the NYT especially to keep up with Rex's blog -- getting addicted! Normally I get only the Sunday NYT unless on vacation..

Violin attachments had to be chin rests, because the capo (clamp to change tuning) applies to guitar but not to orchestral string section.

Wasn't the Western film genre known slangily as "horse opera" (cf. soap opera) ere "oater" was needed for xwords?

Anyway, speaking of horses: a few days ago someone commented that a "pelter" was "an old horse" in some dictionary -- However, in Animal Science at Purdue, a pelter was an old ewe -- too old for lambing or for meat or even for fleece, but commercially the hide or pelt was still of value for the sheepskin. I don't think a horse's hide fits the concept! Just thought you'd like to know...

Final quibble of today: "novel that nobody reads" 16A, clever but isn't there technically at least one who is the Reader of an audiobook? One might try picturing that riddle ;-)

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Billnutt- a prime example of the "ether oater"- Star Wars. George Lucas even admits it's a Western.

Anonymous 1:56 AM  

Thank you Artlvr! The same thought, re: AUDIOBOOK, occurred to me.

Enjoyed today's puzzle and was happy to see Herb Ellis in last Sunday's.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Being 89 years old, I remember the Veterans' march on Washington, so that was a gimme. And my long-time study of art history gave me Jan (Steen). My grandmother was born in the lean-to of her family's log cabin, so that was easy. Just saw the movie Beowulf (Grendel). But I didn't know Troggs or Gentle Ben and had to look you up on Google. Old age was a disadvantage there.

impjb 3:59 PM  

Writing from the future...

Only the second Friday puzzle I've managed to complete, and it's not even dark yet!

I'm still waiting for the day where something that tripped me up didn't trip up someone before me. It's always interesting reading these postings, knowing that I'm following in "good" footsteps.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  


Well crafted to the point that I felt cleverly led (in a way) to many answers today, leaving me feeling smart and insightful. Quite a skill.

- - Robert

Waxy in Montreal 9:21 PM  

6 weeks later...

What a fun puzzle! Challenging but, with a bit of thought and some intense erasing, everything fell into place without a Google.

One quibble: not being a Sopranos fan, also have never heard BOOSTED for Stole, slangily (32A). Wanted HEISTED instead but the TROGGS made that a nogo. Spent far too much time there.

BTW, The Troggs were just one of many groups/performers to cover Wild Thing. For example, the novelty team of Senator Bobby (Bill Minkin), from the Hardly Worthit Report, recorded a version of "Wild Thing" in the style of Bobby Kennedy, stuttering throughout the song, with the recording engineer directing him. The flip side of the 45 featured Senator Everett McKinley (Republican Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen) doing the same song. (thanks, Google).

synda kate 2:03 AM  

This puzzle made me feel Very Clever, therefore I loved it. Then, I came here and you all made me feel Very Young, so I love you too.

Anonymous 2:19 AM  

Also six weeks later...

The best benefit of getting the puzzle six weeks later is that I get to read all of the posts written previously. Very entertaining.

I wonder when Rex does, in fact, stop reading posts. There must be a time...

Enjoyable puzzle, this. I kept asking my wife, "What do you call those people who conduct seances?"

Oregon Sidekick 5:24 AM  

6 weeks later -
Quite an interesting puzzle. First time through I only had about 5 answers. I was able to slog thru the South, but had major trouble in the North. I just started checking my time this week, so I don't know how it compares, but I got a 37:18 with no googling. Whew!
1A was the hardest, I couldn't figure out which possible musical genre that could be, also didn't know Parton sang "Travelin' Thru", so those were my last 2 fill-ins.
Other problems: 17A - Nader (thought this was it, but unsure); 6A, 16A, 18A - although once I got these it fell pretty easily.
I didn't know "Barrow" was a burial mound - is this what Barrow, Alaska is named after?
19A - Gastank took a while
and had to puzzle out Abernathy (24A) from crosses.
A difficult puzzle, but I was happy to get it w/out resorting to google or Rex - a rarity for a Saturday.

Oregon Sidekick 5:37 AM  

Oops, I meant Friday, not Saturday. I work graveyard so do these at night while at work.
I agree with everyone that this was a very enjoyable puzzle.
BTW, I haven't seen "Beowulf" yet, but wouldn't have gotten Grendel without knowing about the movie.
I also wonder if anyone else had "StLo" instead of "Caen" for 6D.

Aviatrix 4:17 PM  

Another member of the six weeks later club, who didn't get to her Friday paper until the next week.

On first pass I saw as did the Grinch, a high number of proper nouns, but I just starred them all, thinking I'd Google later. But other than EBERSOL (done entirely from crosses), ABERNATHY (as Rex), and a town in Texas six letters starts with D but DALLAS doesn't fit, I had heard of them all. I remember NADER from his book, and the fact that it was right above GASTANK didn't hurt. (Although I seem to be the only one who thinks 'multigallon container' is a stupidly vague and inaccurate clue, i.e. the gas tank on a stove, pump or lawnmower is usually not multigallon. Why does everyone like it so much?)

I find it interesting thet pairs like PARTON/PARDON and SORROW/BARROW (yay Tolkien) are considered good form. I would have thought the opposite, that a constructor should avoid similar words.

I don't have any trouble with Grendel eating a man being cannibalism. I've always thought of Grendel as a monstrous man. Isn't he supposed to be descended from Cain, after all? And what non-human monster's mother would come to avenge his death?

I had MEDIUM instead of SEANCES but that and INSIDEJOB got me LEANTO and showed me that PERIOD was wrong.

I always figure I'm the last person to get to these, so I don't feel guilty about waffling on for a long comment. :-)

John 1:09 AM  

Dylan: Here's the origin of the naming of Barrow, Alaksa: Barrow was named for Sir John Barrow, 2nd Secretary of the British Admiralty. Barrow's Eskimo name is known as Ukpeagvik (place where owls are hunted.)

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Mohsin 9:22 AM  
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