SATURDAY, May 24, 2008 - Charles Barasch (BEER BRAND SINCE 1842)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This puzzle had the "-Challenging" part appended to its rating based on my harrowing experience in the SW corner, where, despite an abundance of E's and R's, I couldn't get four different answers to work. Neither of the Downs, and two of the Acrosses. Two primary problems. Well three. First, I'd never heard of SCHAEFER (32D: Beer brand since 1842), so that didn't help. But I didn't know Lots of stuff in this puzzle, so in and of itself, not knowing SCHAEFER = no big deal. Second, the "with" in the clue 33D: One with a duty (taxpayer). I had TAX-A-ER and wanted only TAX-TAKER (the opposite of TAXPAYER), even though it didn't seem like a very good word. This brings us to my main problem - 52A: Long gone. Had the ---ORE and wanted only NO MORE ... only I had IT'S LOVE for 35D: Song from Bernstein's "Wonderful Town" (a guess, but a correct one, it turns out), which made NO MORE impossible. Instead, I was faced with O--ORE. And I ran through the alphabet a few times and then tried ON phrases. OF phrases seemed really unlikely, so I didn't even run through those til very very late in the game. And Y is very near the end of the alphabet. OF YORE. It's actually a pretty good clue, [Long gone]. Sure fooled me.

I should say that I liked this puzzle a lot, much more than yesterday's. It was tough and interesting and full of lively and clever answers. I liked it despite never having heard of five different answers (all Downs, strangely):

  • OSTINATO (10D: Repeated musical phrase)
  • UNIATE (2D: Certain Christian)
  • BLAS (48D: Gulf of San _____ (Caribbean Sea inlet))
  • LOME (49D: West African capital)

OK, I might have heard of those last two, but I certainly couldn't call them up - they were just floating bits of lost trivia in my brain.

The only iffy thing about the puzzle is an over-reliance on odd jobs and comparative suffixes ... just ER (or IOR) words in general:

  • IOR (19D: Super finish?)
  • DEWIER (14D: More innocent)
  • WISER (29A: More likely to be fresh)
  • SLASHER (12D: Horror movie character) - not that I don't love this answer. Early in the puzzle, when I had FASSAD where FAISAL belongs (15A: Mideast royal name), the only answer that seemed to fit here was ED ASNER.
  • LATTER (30A: Second)
  • GUESSER (1A: One taking a shot)

Then of course there's the bottom of the puzzle - I don't think I've seen R's and E's and S's and D's in such high concentration in a late-week puzzle. SEERESS (57A: Girl with a future?) is almost as bad a crutchword as REASSESSES (despite being a perfectly good word). Thankfully, the puzzle was strong enough that its strong reliance on E's and R's didn't feel cheap. The overall pay-off was worth it.

Bonus material:

  • 17A: Second in court? (Asst. D.A.) - a real lifeline in the NW, and helped confirm one of my favorite answers in the puzzle: FAT WALLET (15D: It's stuffed with dough).
  • 18A: Like a family man (married with kids) - great answer, and somehow pairs nicely with LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE (46A: Be like Clark Kent). Throw in FAT WALLET and ERRED (56A: Went off) and GUN MAN (1D: One taking a shot) and MAFIAS (41D: They have family units) and you have a great crime story on your hands.
  • 20A: First volume heading starter (A to) - despite having seen this kind of cluing before, it took me Forever to understand what the clue wanted.
  • 21A: "To you, Antonio, _____ the most": Shak. ("I owe") - total guess. What else could it be?
  • 23A: Pitch between columns (newspaper ad) - briefly thought this had something to do with cricket, then remembered the age-old use of "pitch" as a misdirection on clues related to advertising.
  • 32A: Cy Young had a record 815 (starts) - this is where I started. I put in LOSSES and then thought "you know, 815 seems awfully high ..."
  • 34A: One of the Blues Brothers (Elwood) - great answers. Loved the "Blues Brothers" movie as a kid. One of the first R-rated movies I saw in the theater.
  • 37A: Counterpart of "pls" ("thx") - online shorthand for "thanks" - I'd be surprised if this didn't throw a number of people today.
  • 38A: What most couples try to have together (quality time) - a phrase normally used for time with your kids ... and a stupid concept in general (but that's a discussion for someone else's blog)
  • 43A: Slow runner in the woods (sap) - really hard for me to get because of the whole TAXTAKER brouhaha.
  • 45A: '60s theater ('Nam) - theater of war.
  • 55A: Deli sandwich material (ham salad) - the last "salad" I would consider for my sandwich.
  • 4D: Restaurant business bigwig (Shor) - Should have made those of you who learned his name only two days ago very happy.
  • 6D: Real estate agent on "Desperate Housewives" (Edie) - "Desperate Housewives" is the new "Ally McBeal" and it must die, at least in my puzzle.
  • 25D: Area of interest to Archimedes (pi r squared) - brazen! I was thinking "did Archimedes care about AIR? ... FIR? ... FIRST something? ..."
  • 27D: Zoologist's foot (pes) - Latin. See also ESSE (50D: Ovidian infinitive)
  • 39D: Tzimmes (ado) - HA ha. Hilariously, this was a gimme for me.
  • 47D: Illustrator of "Paradise Lost" and "The Divine Comedy" (Dore) - about as far up my alley as you can go.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:34 AM  

This one was very tough for me. I got off to a bad start with ESCAPEE for "one taking a shot," SLATER for "certain Christian), and TRASH for "worthless stuff." Fortunately, my wife gave me EDIE. I only got going with a guess of I CAN SO and THX, which gave me the foothold for the SW and LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE. From there, I went counterclockwise and finished in the NW. I had to stare at UNIATE, for a while to convince myself it was a word, then figure out what ATO might mean. There were many groans along the way. A great puzzle.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Many groans indeed, but a fun workout. Had MICHELOB forever, which fit very nicely but obviously didn't work at all. Then it came back ...

is the
one beer to have
when you're
haaaving more than one!


TZIMMES was a GIMME??? Somebody please explain... I've never, ever seen that word before.

Saw "IN IDLE" early on, but put off writing it because it is just so wrong.

"Desperate Housewives" is the new "Ally McBeal" and it must die, at least in my puzzle.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

SEERESS, of course!!! I was so certain that "girl with a future" was HEIRESS that I ended up with "the Gulf of San" BLAH, which kind of sums up how I felt about this puzzle (although I did like PIRSQUARED).

Doris 9:11 AM  

Tzimmes, also spelled tsimmes, is Yiddish for a stew of various fruits and/or vegetables, e.g, a mixed-up concoction. In slang it has come to mean a mess or a big fuss: "Don't make a tzimmes out of it!" I guess if you're a New Yorker, Jewish or not, you'll know it, but if you live elsewhere and/or have never read the likes of Philip Roth or Bernard Malamud, you might not.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Whew. I found this puzzle to be the polar opposite of yesterday's puzzle. With no googles on Friday, I just about burned out the g and o keys today searching out answers for this puzzle. The answers just didn't seem to fit for me, even after they were correctly entered.

HAM SALAD yecchh. Makes sense, but I've never heard anyone place this order at the deli.

I CAN SO .... meh.

I've no Idea what a UNIATE is.

OSTINATO and DROSS were also new to me.

I guess you can't click with every puzzle.

Enjoy a beautiful Saturday

Leon 9:18 AM  

Man, this puzzle beat me up and made me feel like DROSS.

Schaefer is still sold and distributed by Pabst. Here's the Jingle.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

"Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."

Am I so old that this and other beer jingles are stuck in my head? (Or perhaps it's the album of commercials that I own.)

Wanted SLOUGH for SLOUCH, and that's pretty silly on my part. I was also going between DREGS and DROSS in the NE, and was having little joy with either. ("OSTINATO" now sounds like something I should have known.)And PI R SQUARED - which I got only from crosses - didn't make sense at ALL until I saw it here with the spaces.

Tough puzzle, but not impossible.

Happy Bob Dylan's birthday, everybody.

JannieB 9:26 AM  

Uncle! This was one of the most difficult Saturdays in a long time. I tried Golfer at 1D, then Slater at 2D. Then trash at 8A. I hopscotched around forever looking to get my footing. Married with kids opened up the the northern hemisphere, where I then tried "dreck" for 8A. Kept putting stuff in and taking it out - asst da, then in idle (that hurts to even type it). Finally got the long acrosses (all great, btw). The southern hemisphere took forever. Couldn't get rid of Heiress, I abbreviate thanks as "tks" so that took too long as well. The SE beat me - curled in? coiled in? Gulf of B-AH - pick one. Most of this was great fun after yesterday. Wished I'd done a better job with it.

janie 9:55 AM  

tzimmes -- mmmm mmmm good! give it a go:

another sort of olio



Unknown 9:56 AM  

I also found this puzzle difficult and yet rewarding. If I tended to slap my forehead when I finally figure something out, I would still be laying on the floor punch drunk this morning.

I still don't know what uniate means, but maybe I am one and I am just in denial. If SAT I is in the language then I must have taken SAT Beta is was so long ago.

Could you guess that the constructor teaches linguistics at the University of Vermont?

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Re 5D: SATI ---SAT1? What is?

I assumed the ever popular HS exams as the SAT part, but never seen it as four characters.

It's clued as an abbreviation (Coll.), but can't figure out this variation.

Or is this something else?

Just don't tell me SATI is the plural of SAT for that would make the plural of test testi!


JannieB 10:00 AM  

Is Uniate another word for Unitarian?????

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

@wobbith...ah yes, nostalgia from the good old days of wretched excess advertising

Do you remember "vote for Miss Reingold", the barhag beauty contests each year?

I had SCHMIDTS, which obviously didn't work.

janie 10:21 AM  

unitate -- from the wikipedia entry:

The term "Uniate"

The term Uniat or Uniate is applied to those Eastern Catholic churches who were previously Eastern Orthodox churches, and to their members, primarily by Eastern Orthodox, who sometimes give it pejorative overtones.[16] The term was also historically used, though less frequently, by Latin and Eastern Catholics, especially prior to the Second Vatican Council.[17] Official Catholic documents no longer use the term, due to its perceived negative overtones.[18] According to Eastern Orthodox Professor John Erickson of St Vladimir's Theological Seminary, "The term 'uniate' itself, once used with pride in the Roman communion, had long since come to be considered as pejorative. 'Eastern Rite Catholic' also was no longer in vogue because it might suggest that the Catholics in question differed from Latins only in the externals of worship. The Second Vatican Council affirmed rather that Eastern Catholics constituted churches, whose vocation was to provide a bridge to the separated churches of the East…"[19]



janie 10:22 AM  

um. uniate...


Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I started this in the wee hours -- bad idea. Had DROSS and FAT WALLET and never changed those, but other stabs in the dark had to come out by light of day.. "Wool" instead of TORT for a suit, "Sausages" for HAM SALAD, for example. Mmm.

Things finally did unravel, clockwise from the NE. For some reason, my brain got overly tangled because of the double clues: "One taking a shot" 1A, 1D; "Split" 7D,8D; "Second" 17A, 30A; "Went off" 54A, 56A. Very distracting because of the way I solve -- mentally earmarking certain strings before entering any letters, and I certainly hope other authors don't pick up that trick!

I had to google a couple toward the end, just so I wouldn't spend all morning here, though in retrospect I might have caught on to Cy Young's STARTS. And I didn't see the NAM until checking Rex's comments! THX was easy but SAP was hard. All in all, I was impressed with the puzzle, but can't say IT'S LOVE.


Anonymous 10:32 AM  

For me, not so good a puzzle. Finished it, no errors, just wasn't fun. Lots of stupid stuff--e.g. words that are not in the language: MAFIAS? Who uses Mafia in the plural? SAT I? A previously used term by the college board when they were rebranding the Achievement Tests as SAT II. They are now the SAT Subject Area tests, or something like that, and no one uses SAT I anymore, if they ever did. BTW, SAT no longer stands for anything, since people complained that they didn't actually measure anyone's aptitude (orig. Scholastic Aptitude Test.) Therefore, no Abbr. warranted. PI R SQUARED an area of interest? It's a formula, for Pete's sake; geometry is an area of interest. DEWIER means more innocent? Feh! I can deal with words that I'm unfamiliar with through crosses or just common sense (OSTINATO, UNIATE) but some of the cluing today was off.

RodeoToad 10:33 AM  

Tough, tough puzzle for me. I left HEIRESS as my final answer but am generally giving myself credit (cuz I never would have known BLAS or ESSE. I know, Iknow, I oughta know my Latin better.) First pass gave me only one answer I knew (ELWOOD) and a few guesses, two of which, SWAN and LEAR, I kept changing through the course of the puzzle (though they were right), and another, NAIVER, I thought was just about right for a weird Saturday word. Turned out to be DEWIER, of course.

Other things that slowed me down (to put it mildly): KROC (instead of SHOR), TKS for THX and CROUCHED for CLOSEDIN.

I looked at a lot of white space for a very very long time before filling in anything after the first pass.

Schaefer was our beer of choice in high school--it was cheap and, we thought at the time, superior in taste to other cheap beers. They're probably all out of the same vat in Milwaukee, thought--just put in different cans. That doesn't mean I knew the answer, though. I figured it was a British beer (and for a long time I had a K where the H should have been, because of TKS.)

Hard puzzle. Well over an hour. I liked it.

Looking back over this post, I see how boring it is. Tune in later for a play-by-play of how I vaccuum the den.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

One more comment: for "Girl with a future," I was hoping TAMARA would fit. Would have been a better answer.

Orange 10:41 AM  

Rex and I are opposites for the second day in a row. I liked yesterday's puzzle much more than he did, and liked this one much less.

Anyone who knows The Wiggles' oeuvre at all, I want you to sing "Ham salad, yummy yummy."

Ulrich 10:44 AM  
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Bill from NJ 10:50 AM  

TZIMMES was a gimme for me as I had an uncle who used that expression to mean a big fuss. Aside from LEAR at 51D, IOWE at 21D and ELWOOD that was all I had on my first pass. I seem to remember we had 36A:Sticker as a clue to SPEAR in another puzzle and this provided me with TORT. QUALITYTIME was a pure guess but I was in 45 minutes at the time and I was getting desperate.

PIRSQUARED was next and I finally had a toehold. This helped me clean up the Tennessee/West Virginia section and MARRIEDWITHKIDS got me the entire NW but I had FASSAD at 15A which took forever to clear up.

By this time I was exhausted and went to bed, making this the second two day puzzle in a month.

I pieced together the South from LEADADOUBLELIFE and finished up at the TAXPAYER/OFYORE cross. I had much the same problem with OFYORE as Rex did and picked DORE from God knows where. I guess he was the only illustrator I knew from the 17th Century (or whenever.)

This was more like work for me and, curiously, not a lot of fun but I did finish so I guess I can take pride in that.

Mac, you mentioned yesterday that you lost your comment and was too tired to redo it. I had the same experience. Is there a time limit for completing your comment? Does the window shut down after a certain period of time?

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Oddly the SW was the only corner I got without cheating.

As a kid Schaefer was the Mets' sponsor.

Ladel 11:07 AM  

For me this puzzle is an excellent example of why orthodox Jews don't write on the sabbath, no writing means not being slapped around by a tough clever puzzle. As for tzimmes, the stuff is horrid, probably an excuse to use up extra stuff that would otherwise have been tossed, don't you chefs out there agree?

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

As often happens on Saturday, the only real pleasure in the puzzle was checking in here. Tzimmes was a fun clue, and I got '60's theater. The rest? ay.

No stamina for two-day solving here! But I remain hopeful that one Saturday, someday, the misdirections and puns and clever (and crazy) reconstructions of the language and the culture (SATI? SEERESS?) , together with a hard-won stockpile of crossword staples, may sustain some momentum on a Saturday. More power to you when it's only the oddities that slow you down!

Ulrich 11:19 AM  
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Ulrich 11:32 AM  

[This is a repost with a funny mistake I made in the first one corrected--thanks, phillysolver]

I got beat up badly by a tough, but fair puzzle--had to take it like a man.

"Schaefer" is German for "Shepherd"--both are surnames referring to an occupation. This, together with Bob Dylan's birthday (thx phillysolver!) makes this a good day to introduce the latest product of my labors, a

listing corresponding occupational surnames in English and German.

To those who are sick and tired of German references on my part I can only say: It's not my fault that constructors riddle their puzzles with same. There must be something in the letter combinations found in German that makes them a very welcome Notnagel to complete a grid.

Wendy Laubach 11:33 AM  

After half an hour or more, I had to admit defeat on the remaining blanks at "CLOSING IN," Gulf of "BLAS," and "SEERESS." I wanted HEIRESS, then PEERESS, and never did see SEERESS. "Closing in" still doesn't make any sense to me, and BLAS is a blank. I left it as "Gulf of Blap," despite a conviction that that could hardly be correct.

Otherwise, the puzzle was like Judge Dred: tough but fair. I enjoyed Pi R Squared.

I guess I need to do more crosswords per week to stave off mental degeneration, because I didn't understand "A TO" until I got here, and I'm just now figuring out (from a late reading of yesterday's comments) that the motto clue yesterday referred to the the literary trio instead of the fifth state to sign the whatever (well thank Heavens).

Ulrich, I enjoy your German instruction. Surely anyone who doesn't want to read it can just skip? Why worry?

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

I'm such an oddball. I loved this puzzle. The first Saturday puzzle I've ever really enjoyed!

I hot guessed "Lead a double life" and "Married with kids" and "Quality time" with virtually no crosses, so that might explain my giddiness.

Nothing is perfect though. SW was a pitched battle for me.

And in the SE, sigh. For 40D "Not going anywhere?" I typed "Is idle" and thus visited Rexy and all of you to find out what '60s theater was named Sam!

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

@ulrich, Your comments re. German always welcome, in my unabbreviated opinion. Mahler=Painter=Mix-up at the hospital.

miriam b 12:13 PM  

I saw a bunch of gimmes right off the bat, so filled in DORE, LEAR, and SHOR. FATWALLET gave me the almost indelible impression that, as we were in a SHOR time frame along with a Wonderful Town song, Superman, SCHAEFER, and OFYORE - and me - the answer had to be Farouk. The fact that DROSS was a good possibility led to RISK and OSTINATO and ultimately to FAISAL.

I'm a taciturn CONN type, so I don't say THX, but rather tx.

So many words in the puzzle were plurals or past participles that many of the crosses were eased for me.

Ulrich, you're enriching my fading knowledge of German. I've used it very rarely since college, most recently having been pressed into service at work to translate shipping documents and the llke.

My favorite German word: Schlimmbesserung. My world seems rife with examples of this phenomenon. Do Germans actually use this word in everyday speech?

miriam b 12:17 PM  

PS: ein Schlimmbesserung is an intended improvement that only makes things worse.

PuzzleGirl 12:23 PM  

I had to google twice to finish and still ended up with an error at HEIRESS. I first had FIANCEE in there and thought, well that's a sucky answer! Little did I know the real answer was going to be far far suckier. I'm surprised that Rex gave it as much of a pass as he did. IMOO, adding a "feminine" ending to a word that doesn't need one is Way Worse than adding a RE- at the beginning or an -ER at the end. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

I finished my first pass with only ERIE, ELWOOD, THX, and TORT. Plus I had RENT for REND, but knew I might have to change it. Had to work for everything else. Toyed with MICHELOB first, then once I had the S, with SCHLITZ and SCHMIDTS. Luckily, SCHAEFER was back there in my brain somewhere. I had VENTED for VEERED (even though it doesn't make any sense with the (off)) and HAM SLICE for HAM SALAD. RIPER for WISER, DRECK for DROSS, and guessed IT'S A SIN for IT'S LOVE.

I loved all the long acrosses and didn't love the long downs. Overall, a decent Saturday.

PuzzleGirl 12:24 PM  
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chefbea 12:52 PM  

Thanks Leon for the Schaeffer Jingle. That was great.
Pretty tough puzzle for me though I did know tzimmes

chefbea 1:05 PM  

Thanks Ulrich for the german lesson. Found my maiden name in your list Kaufmann so I guess that's why I have been in retail most of my life along with cooking.

I promise I wont bring any ham salad to our next meeting

catlanta 1:07 PM  

Ifound this puzzle to be very tough, but I am familiar with the term "basso ostinato" from college music class many years ago. I think that the professor used "As My Guitar Gently Weeps" as an example of basso ostinato (repeated/obstinate bass). If you listed to the bass in the background, four notes are repeated over and over. Rex, thanks so much for this enjoyable site.

RodeoToad 1:15 PM  
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Ulrich 1:40 PM  

@miriam b: I'll be damned--I didn't expect the day to come when I learn something German here. My, rather extensive, German-English dictionary doesn't list Schlimmbesserung, and I can't remember ever having heard it used in Germany. But it's a useful word b/c it has no obvious direct equivalent in English (it's right up there with Weltschmerz, Schadenfreude, Zugzwang and Fingerspitzengefühl--in decreasing order of pronunciability:-)).

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Man oh man, talk about being taught some humility... Since I could hardly get a toehold in, I wrote what I could and was happy to put pastrami on top of heiress, which made as ugly a mess as ham salad on seeress.

And given that I work on the Hypothalamus, you'd think I'd come up with (Epi)thalamus. But this is sort of an older term and it totally slipped my mind. I had (sub)thalamus, which is anatomically correct but totally inapt.

Quality time occurred to me, then I thought "nah" most couple don't think that, that would suck. Quality time means you're not getting enough regular old time together and you're making up for it in some contrived way. My two cents re kids and quality time: don't even bring up the idea. You just need to be around, especially with teenagers, and let quality or misery emerge as they might (sorry Rex I know you said that discussion is for another blog).

Rex, I don't believe Fassad is a name in Arabic, but it made me smile when I read it in your blog. It would mean "spoiler" but in the sense of making things rot :) . Must be a hybrid between Assad (meaning Lion as well as surname the Bushes of Syria) and Faysal.

After I got over myself, I admired the puzzle on its own merits.

JC66 1:45 PM  

What Rex experienced in the SW I lived through in all four corners. It was so painful that I'm suffering from short term amnesia, so I can't share the experience with you. Suffice it to say that the timer stops at 99:59 and I was still going. The Mets went into the 12th inning (in Colorado) when I finally finished.

Difficulty wise, for me, this puzzle sure made up for the rest of the week.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Great puzzle today! Is this Charles Barasch's debut?

(Warning - math rant begins here.)

Regarding 25D - I teach and tutor mathematics at a community college, so I thought PIRSQUARED was fantastic. Despite the negative comment above regarding its cluing, the clue was absolutely accurate, although very misleading; just what a Saturday clue should be! Of course, the word 'area' in the clue refers literally to the AREA of the circle, which Archimedes used the 'method of exhaustion' to try and calculate. It was this method (involving inscribing/circumscribing regular polygons inside/outside the circle in order to approximate the circle's area) that allowed him to arrive at his estimate of pi (Wikipedia claims that "By using the equivalent of 96-sided polygons, he proved that 223/71 < π < 22/7.") Impressive work, considering it was carried out a few hundred years BC! [In case you can't tell, Archimedes is one of my total heroes.]

(End of math rant... for the time being at least.)

I urge you to also see today's LA Times puzzle for more Saturday goodness (very entertaining although not quite as hard as this one was.) Enjoy the day!

archaeoprof 2:14 PM  

Count me in with the "heiress" crowd. And first I tried "awestruck" at 26D. Really hard puzzle, but lots of fun.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

John Reid

Here is a link about Charles Barasch

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

SCHAEFER was the sponsor for the Brooklyn Dodgers. One for the old guy.

A very hard puzzle for me. A multi-googler.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Everything south of the Mason-Dixon line was a major challenge, but I nearly dislocated a shoulder patting myself on the back for finishing without Googling. Alas, pride goeth before a fall. I had IS IDLE instead of IN IDLE, but figured SAM was some sort of experimental theater back in the '60s.
From cookbooks, I knew that tzimmes was a fruit or vegetable mixture, but had no idea the word had a colloquial meaning.
It was hard for me to let go of NASH (as in Ogden) for the comic poet, but I finally came up with the other 4-letter comic poet.
Overall, a bracing workout.

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Does the number of "comments deleted" indicate the degree of displeasure with this puzzle? I thought there were a lot of reasons to dislike it, although my experience was almost the opposite of Rex's. NE to SW was a breeze for some reason, but I had to slog through the SE and the NE baffled me for the longest time -- not the least because I refused to accept SAT I (as noted over at Orange's place). Oh well.

mac 2:52 PM  

...and a very hard puzzle for me, too. Weirdly enough, I got "married with kids" on just the r in escrow, so I got cocky and gave the couple "eternal love". For the beer I tried Anheuser and Heineken (although the LATTER may be older). I guess "closed in" is right, but I had crouched as well. I found it hard to believe that Shor came around again, so didn't want to write it in. I vaguely remembered that tzimmes was a food, never heard of the other meaning.

@bill from nj: is that what happened? You make me feel better, I thought I touched a wrong button or accidentally clicked something bad.

@Ulrich: please keep the German tutelage coming, I enjoy it. I had also never heard Miriam's Schlimmbesserung, and what is de meaning of "Zugzwang"? Fingerspitzengefuehl is pretty close to the Dutch expression.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Wow, Ulrich, even my cheesy Cassell's German Dictionary lists what seems to be the actual German word for that phenomenon--verschlimmbessern, v.t., "make worse instead of better."

Ulrich 3:31 PM  

@miriam: Zugzwang (forced move--sort of) originates in the German chess terminology. It describes a situation where a player has to make a move (you cannot pass when it's your turn in chess), but all options are crappy. From there, it has come into general usage to describe this type of dilemma.

@anonymous: I'll be in Germany in two weeks to watch the European Soccer Championship from closer up and plan to get to the bottom of this. I'd be happy to let you know what I find out if you are willing to come out of anonymity and send me, for example, an e-mail address.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

this was a perfect saturday experience with no obscure crossings, so the result was hard but gettable. i was happy to finish with no errors, a rarity for saturdays for me.

NICOTINE was for the first answer in, and i was delighted to see that Toots SHOR, whose name i'd learned on thursday, fit here. initially had SATS for SAT I. ESCROW was hard to figure out, i had _SC___ and thought it might be US C___. Really got tripped up in the south west, since it could have been LIVE A DOUBLE LIFE also. guessed IT'S LOVE, VEERED, and ERRED all at once, and then things came together after SAP. great clue.

the other really hard corner was the north east. the only saving grace was that i was familiar with OSTINATO as a musical term, so that helped get the unknown DROSS and FAISAL, where NEH was also just a vague guess and the first vowel of ANE had other possibilities. initially had TRASH instead of DROSS.

challenging construction with 2 15's and 2 11's near those, with long down crossings.

Shamik 3:49 PM  

Whew! Twice I turned to the husband and said: "This puzzle is kicking my a-s!" It went from all white with a little black to something resembling a dalmation to a finish without googling...but a break for lunch. In fact there was a jump from my seat at the table to dash to the computer to change sam to Nam!

The SW was my final barrier to completion. I had had seeress in the SE but then erased it. And I've lived in the west too long...forgetting that HOTSAUCE isn't on most deli tables east of the Rockies.

Bravo and Ugh for this Saturday challenge!

jae 4:40 PM  

Very tough for me too! The North was a bit easier and I liked it much better than the South (not because it was easier but because of fewer iffy answers e.g. SEERESS MAFIAS). My fatal error was in SW where I had LIVEA... After a loooong time staring I googled for DORE (which so far not up my alley it may be in a different town), changed LIVE to LEAD, and the rest fell easily. I also tried DREGS and CROUCHED.

I did get some help with ITSLOVE from a friend who is a retired music Prof. from Grinnell who also did musical theater. He called while I was solving so I read him the clue, gave him a couple of letters and he knew it. I might have need a second google without his help.

Michael Chibnik 5:40 PM  

I really liked this puzzle -- a almost ideal Saturday solving experience. First, I was mystified by most of it and then slowly but surely got the whole thing with one minor exception. (I had "is idle" instead of "in idle" and assumed that there was a theater called "Sam" that I had never heard of.)

The best answer in the puzzle (and one of my all-time favorites) was pirsquared.

dk 6:46 PM  

@wade I vacuumed the hall today. I tried to follow the Vacuum Council's guideline of 7 passes but I had expended all of my mathematical energy on PIRSQUARED and kept losing count.

I remember some brand of HAMSALAD with a devil on the can as playing some part of why I became a raw foodist.

SEERESS was the top groaner for the day, SATI I still do not get.

Lastly, given that it is late in the day and I have been with 12 year olds isn't UNIATE something you do over a porcelain bowl?

@chefbea1, thank you in advance for no HAMSALAD

Did we not determine that anon-mice LEADADOUBLE life earlier this week?

My lovely wife wants some QUALITYTIME with a SAP, so I say THX for this blog.

Make sure you send REX funds! I got pink Cadillac with Mary Kay Kills Kats worked into an Emily Cureton drawing on the hood as a thank you gift. I am the envy of all.

Kimbopolo 7:16 PM  

Sheer torture! Only upside - Rex's Schlitz poster.

Is this flannel-robed Brylcreemed daddy machine having his early morning or late night brewski? Does the clock read 11:45 AM or PM? Is he eating a ham salad sandwhich? Just what the heck was going on back there in the 50's?

BTW: Thx for the postcard, Rex!!!!!

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

someone please tell me re 27D:Why is "pes" a "Zoologist's foot"? thx

PuzzleGirl 7:42 PM  

@dk: Don't click on this link if it will cause you trauma to see that devil on a can of ham.

chefbea 7:48 PM  

@dk - I think it was potted ham - tiny little cans with a devil on it. I can mix a can of that with sour cream for a dip to serve at the meeting.

And thank you rex for the card of one of emily's drawings

chefbea 7:51 PM  

I'm wrong. It is underwood deviled ham

Rex Parker 7:51 PM  

@chefbea et al,

You're more than welcome for the card. Those of you who gave so generously to this site and have not received a thank-you yet - I haven't forgotten about you. As I like to say, whenever I get the chance, I'm only one man. I'm sending the (beautiful, custom-made) cards out in stages.

All the best,

jae 8:01 PM  

Just wanted to add that I also briefly misstepped with INPARK, PSAT, PISEQUENCE, and RYEBREAD (when I only had the "D" in EMEND).

I've got a pretty good story about the first time I saw The Blues Bros. It involves alcohol, golf and the DEA and I will share it if I ever meet any of you.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

According to Wikipedia: The pes (Latin for foot) is the zoological term for the distal portion of the hind limb of tetrapod animals. It is the part of the pentadactyl limb that includes the metatarsals and digits (phalanges). During evolution, it has taken many forms and served a variety of functions. It can be represented by the foot of primates, the lower hind limb of hoofed animals, the lower portion of the leg of birds and dinosaurs or the rear paw. It is also represented in the rear 'paddle' of extinct marine reptiles, such as plesiosaurs.

Joon 11:53 PM  

i'm very late to the party, but i was playing bridge all day so i didn't have time to share my thoughts on the puzzle.

i loved it.

that being said, there were some groaners. DEWIER? yuck. SEERESS? double-yuck. -IOR, EPI-, -ANE: one of these would be okay, but three was a bit much. NEH, IOWE, ATO, PES... boy, i really didn't like the short fill, did i? only SAP and ADO among the 10 3-letter answers is actually, you know, an english word, although i didn't mind THX or NAM. (by the way, ISIDLE can't be right because it doesn't agree grammatically with the clue, which is either an adjective or present-participle verb.)

PIRSQUARED, though? genius. one of my all-time favorite clue-answer pairs. FATWALLET? brilliant. QUALITYTIME? loved it.

i had almost no difficulty with the SW. putting in STARTS with no crosses was a big help... knowing that cy young won 511 games made this one pretty easy. he is the MLB record-holder for wins, STARTS, innings, and yes, losses (but nowhere near 800 of those). the place where i had trouble was everywhere else. putting in DRECK and having it confirmed (so i thought) by RISK and KRUEGER made it very tough to see OSTINATO, though i actually know what that is. and i always always always get tripped up by REND/RENT. someday i'll learn to leave that last letter blank. i'd like to think MARRIEDWITHKIDS would have sprung to mind sooner if i hadn't been staring at a T there.

this was a very tough puzzle, i thought. (even tougher than wednesday's, at least on an absolute scale.) but a satisfying conclusion to what had been a somewhat shaky week of puzzles.

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

re - PES: the Latin word would be given as "pes, pedis" showing first the nominative singular and then the genitive singular -- the latter containing the combining root "ped-". That's why pedestrians are those going by foot, pedals are foot-levers, and humans are called bipeds, two-footed... (Podiatrist is the foot-doctor though. Pediatrician, children's doctor, is from a different root: paedo-, youth, as I recall).


Anonymous 12:24 AM  

Or was it "pes, pedes"? Too late to look it up, but the principle of the root deriving from the genitive is the main thing!

Anonymous 4:23 AM  

Had one of those public humiliation/praise sessions in the coffeehouse where I was doing the puzzle someone said, "Look, she's doing the Sat NY Times puzzle in ink!" and then I had to show them, yes, and not only that, I managed to make mistakes in almost every square!:

DROSS/DRECK (I blame Tsimmes, the only answer I got off the bat, but it put me in a Yiddishe Kopf mood)

(so happy to learn both ZUGZWANG/Schlimmbesserung which totally describes my situation today!)

CLOSEDIN/TENSEDUP (at least that's what my cat does before he pounces)
I could go on...

What was weird was to eventually get the whole thing, but still assume BLAS/LOME were wrong and I could find out later from Rex!

The only thing I put in with no crosses was LEADADOUBLELIFE. I'm not sure what that says about me...

miriam b 8:33 AM  

BTW, acme. San BLAS Indians create those colorful molas which I'm sure you've seen: a kind of reverse appliqué. I took LOME on faith but am finally going to Google it to fix it in my mind.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

A little late on this comment, but Schaefer used to sponsor summer concerts in Central Park - The Schaefer Music Festival. Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1975 - or was it 74?

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Too much puzzle for me. Got about 3/4 of it, but the other words! Weird music term. Never experienced the Blues Brothers, probably because all my education predates the invention of SAT in any form. Thought you eat tzimmes, don't speak computer shorthand-besides which these old eyes read the clue as "pis"-newsprint i's and l's tend to look alike. Suffice it to say I was glad to come here and find the missing fill-otherwise I'd have spent the day poking at it-probably without luck! Comes a time when "uncle" is the right word!

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

Got hung up on the "lead" part of Clark Kent clue and wondered what would be a word for someone that could see thru everything but lead.
NE the toughest for me till fall wallet was in.

Chrisvb 3:30 PM  

Just in case there are any other 6 weeks late people here:

Not Jewish or from NY, so Tzimmes was a new word for me. Re: the comment that they are bad tasting because they are just a way to use up vegetables, as a cook there is a lot of ego in producing a tasty "tzimme". Can it be singular?

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

Wanted "LIVE" or "HAVE" a double life, for some dumb reason. This left me with E--E for the illustrator and that kept me hung up assuming it was ERTE for the longest time. I gotta find out a little more about ERTE and DORE so I can actually interpret their clues a little better! Good puzzle, hard but good. Docruth in 6 week later land.

Anonymous 2:58 AM  

Took me pretty much all day to finish this. Not full time, but 4 or 5 sessions, and thinking in between. Red Herrings were TKS instead of THX, HEIRESS for SEERESS, and I wore out the paper changing LIVE and LEAD back and forth.

Worst one was AKROID for the Blues Brother. I was sure someone else would have mentioned that.

I didn't like to see MAFIA pluralized, but I suppose.... there is the Russian Mafia, and the Tongs are sometimes referred to as the Chinese Mafia.

Another week without googling, except to check an answer already decided on.

What with the increasing number of comments, and my growing resistance to resorting to Google, you are using up a bigger and bigger portion of my time, Rex!

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Better late than never:

Obscurities: SATI, BLAS, LOME, PES & UNIATE (not to mention "Tzimmes")

Stretches: INIDLE (being IN NEUTRAL is usually when a car IDLES); a FATWALLET doesn't necessarily mean it's full of cash (think George Costanza)

Just Plain WRONG: Orange, the Wiggles' oeuvre includes "Fruit Salad." Not ever having had it, I think ham salad might taste good, but I doubt anyone would conclude it was yummy-yummy...

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