Cousins of oribis and dik-diks: SATURDAY, Jul. 26, 2008 - Barry C. Silk (CONDUCTOR OF MANY TV EXPERIMENTS)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

A very easy breezy Saturday *except* for the NW, where nearly half my fifteen minutes were spent. Never watched whatever MR. WIZARD is (1A: Conductor of many TV experiments), I've seen REEBOKS but not RHEBOKS (2D: Cousins of oribis and dik-diks), though to my credit I got the -BOKS part easily enough. The All Blacks recently played the SPRINGBOKS of S. Africa, I think (and lost, here in Dunedin). Tonight, the All Blacks take on the Wallabees of Australia. Dear Australia, your rugby team name is Ridiculous. Perhaps if you change it, you will win more often. Just a suggestion. So the NZ/AUS match tonight is Huge Business here in NZ, and I am at a massive family gathering where, after "tea" (that's "dinner" to you and me), the men (...) will gather around the TV and watch / talk rugby. I am in for some kind of schooling, I expect. "Let's teach the American about rugby!" All I know about rugby is that there are no helmets involved and the All Blacks uniforms are totally flash. I want one.

Oh, SNAP, we just got wireless to work, so I'm getting off this clunky desktop and work on the Mac, huzzah. Now I can do a screen grab and get the finished grid for you all.

Well, I'm back on the clunky desktop, which is actually less clunky than my laptop when it come to mouse-work. I should have brought my wireless mouse on the trip - touchpads just aren't as fast, for me. Anyway, the puzzle:

Started easily enough with 9A: Many people get 100 on it (IQ test) - once I tested the "Q" crossing - 10D: Big telecom company (Qwest) - I knew I was right. NE corner was done in under a minute. No foolin'. Only real STUMBLEs (13D: Err) occurred at 54A: Second biggest city in Russia's Orenburg region (Orsk), where I entertained only OMSK and then OREL ... maybe OPEL. Not sure I knew ORSK was a real place. Had ERGO for IS TO (26D: What a colon may mean) and GAS LIT for OIL LIT (25A: Like some old lamps) and EST for OST (61D: Right turn from Nord) - the capital "N" should have told me the language wasn't French. Had real ISSUEs with the ISSUE-region of the puzzle (32A: Children). Made a complete and utter (and, it turns out, correct) guess at 24D: New York Congresswoman Slaughter (Louise), and finally worked that narrow passage to the NW down to a single blank square - the NEB. / IBMS crossing. Creighton sounds like it's in NYS (29D: Home of Creighton U.), and computers never occurred to me where "servers" was concerned (35A: Many servers). Once I put the "B" in, I figured I was home free with a sub-10 min. time. But no.

The Mix:

  • 19A: Scottish : Mac :: Arabic : _____ (Ibn) - love it. Nice counterpoint to IBMS. Also, being in NZ makes me think often, and fondly, of Scotland - Mac names everywhere. DUNEDIN = EDINBURGH ... just upside-down and backwards. And with palm trees.
  • 20A: Where Charles de Gaulle was born (Lille) - there are other, more LILLE-ish clues out there. Alain de _____, for instance. Also, isn't LILLE known for its textile production?
  • 23A: Advent number ("Noel") - Proud of my brain for sticking with this one the 10-12 seconds it took to piece it together. Thought "12" as in "12 Days of Christmas," then thought 25 - number of days on an "Advent" calendar (?), then thought "NOEL," but didn't know why. Then figured out what was meant by "number."
  • 27A: "Frank TV" airer (TBS) - only just saw this clue. Hmmm. No idea what "Frank TV" is.
  • 30A: They don't respond favorably (noes) - wanted NAES then realized I wasn't in Scotland.
  • 33A: Snack for a dragonfly (gnat) - no idea why, but this is the first thing that came to me.
  • 52A: Ventura County's most populous city (Oxnard) - woo hoo, I got this with only a cross or two. Helps to have lived part of one's life in S. California. OXNARD always sounds vaguely obscene to me - like we're talking about a part of the OX that ought not be discussed.
  • 55A: The Guinness book once dubbed her "television's most frequent clapper" (Vanna) - as in White. Seems like the firstness of her name should be indicated somehow.
  • 57A: Mount Saint _____ (Alaskan/Canadian peak) (Elias) - no idea. I worked it out, somehow.
  • 65A: 1966 Pulitzer-winner poet Richard (Eberhart) - noooo idea. Thankfully all those Downs were Pieces of Cake.
  • 67A: Heartbeat halves (systoles) - we had this in a recent late-week puzzle, making it relatively easy to turn up here.
  • 1D: High point of the O.T. (Mt. Sinai) - "That part where Moses totally kicks ass!" - it's a literal and figurative "high point" - neat.
  • 3D: Stockbreeding devices (weaners) - I shudder to think what one of these looks like. Fake teats?
  • 6D: Hospital procedure, for short (angio) - did not come easily to me, but since my dad was a doctor and I spent some time in and around hospitals, I figured the term would eventually come to mind. And it did. One of the earliest articles of Rexiana is a "Slip to Go Home" written out for one of my stuffed animal dogs when I was very very young. Five? Six? Anyway, it had made-up medical stats on it and was titled "Doggy's Angiogram"; only a radiologist's son could pull that one off before grammar school.
  • 11D: Pond denizen (teal) - went for TOAD, obviously. Daughter was mauled by ducks today at the Dunedin Botanical garden - they know when people are bringing them little packets of seeds, and they care naught for the sensitivities or phobias of small children. Sahra was tall enough to fend them off with good humor. Other, smaller children were not so lucky. At least one had to be physically rescued by an adult.
  • 21D: Title woman of song who "lives in a dream" (Eleanor Rigby) - didn't come immediately, but with a few crosses, it fell right in place, which helped my time on this puzzle considerably.
  • 31D: Oahu "thank you" ("Mahalo") - easy if you've ever been to Hawaii; probably hard if you haven't.
  • 38D: Melodramatic outburst (sob) - SOB is weird as a noun.
  • 39D: They may have just one or two stars (B movies) - great clue, though I got instantly.
  • 40D: Ore galore (bonanza) - Clue is great; "Ore Galore" was rejected for the Bond film in favor of her sister, Pussy.
  • 43D: Players with saving accounts? (goalies) - another great clue that I got instantly. Watching UEFA this summer helped.
  • 47D: Columbus discovery of 1493 (St. Kitts) - I've stumbled on other Columbus discoveries in the past, but today, bam, I nailed this one. No hesitation. Thanks to the "K" from OMSK (now ORSK).
  • 52D: She won the 1970 National Book Award for Fiction (Oates) - Joyce Carol. Another one that just came to me, despite my never having read much by her. "Where Are you Going, Where Have you Been?" - that's her, right? That story is creepy.
  • 53D: About 5.5 Europeans (Danes) - making Denmark more populous than NZ by somewhere between 500K and a million people.
And I'm done. Must socialize. I'm getting a reputation for reclusivity.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 4:05 AM  

Hm, ROLLING STONE and ELEANOR RIGBY as the two longest entries suggests some kind of British rock theme...

53D -- so is it five Danes and one half-Danish person? ;-)


foodie 6:58 AM  

I am amazed that my experience is similar to Rex's. I totally sailed through the whole bottom, and struggled with the top 3 lines in the NW. ISSUE, QUENTIN, VANNA, SYSTOLE, NOOR, GNAT all tumbled out with not hints. ELEANOR RIGBY materialized in my mind with just the ending Y. I got OXNARD because I remembered the car ads from my youth at UCLA-- there seemed to be a huge dealership in Oxnard, but now I cannot recall the name of the dude. No doubt replaced by Lexus dealerships anyhow.

I wanted BIN for IBN and ORLIE for LILLE, SERBS for DANES, but it was all fixable, making me feel semi brilliant. Now off to my meeting (in NYC).

Barry G. 7:07 AM  


Well, the good news is that I filled in MR. WIZARD right off the bat. It gave me a huge boost of confidence and I dove into the rest of the puzzle with ZEAL. Sadly, that was the only answer that came to me immediately for awhile. There were a few other gimmes, such as NOOR, TBS, OIL LIT, and SYSTOLES, and it didn't take me too long to get ROLLING STONE and ELEANOR RIGBY. But the rest of the puzzle was a real slog for me.

I finished the NE corner first, followed by the NW corner, then the SW corner and finally the SE corner. In the SE I took a wild guess at RPI, since I vaguely remembered it was some sort of engineering school somewhere, and took another guess at the ORSK / ST KITTS crossing. Never heard of either and would love to call a Natick violation, except I'm probably the only one who didn't know St. Kitts. What can I say -- I don't get out much.

Anyway, it was a good puzzle and I did manage to finish it unassisted. There were plenty of other answers I didn't know (ELIAS, EBERHART, LILLE, etc.), but I got them all from the crosses.

Oh -- and has anybody else ever heard or used the phrase "in a pet"? New to me!

Bill from NJ 7:18 AM  

Started in NoCal with AKRON ISSUE IBMS. I am unfamiliar with minor-league baseball teams (aside from the Toledo Mud Hens and the whimisical Iron Pigs in Pennsylvania) so how I came up with AKRON is a mystery but it worked! and I was off and running.

I was able to move along the East Coast with two answers QUENTION and MTSINAI and the SE fell almost at once with VANNA anchoring the whole thing.

I was able to get the Oklahoma section with MINX giving me the only city in California with an X in it that I know of OXNARD and since I knew Queen NOOR from the news the RR produced ELEANORRIGY.

I saw IGNOREIT just yesterday in some other puzzle and I knew 67A was some form of systolic prressure so I was able to piece togther the SW and begin the long trek up the West Coast.

I had to put together the NE almost one letter at a time. That Frank TV clue -the seemingly ubiquitous Frank Cali-whatever whose commercials ran endlessly a few months ago started the ball rolling with TBS which helped me with STUMBLE and the IQTEST/QWEST crossing and SLIME MULE TEAL finally got me EATITUP and TYPESET cemented the whole NE.

I had enough crosses to get ROLLINGSTONE and ZEAL helped me dredge MRWIZARD up from the depths of my memory. I chipped away at the Midlands one word at a time which left just pieces of the NW and finally I saw THERENOW and RHEBOKS was the last to fall.

This puzzle was slick as silk, eminently fair and I was able to reel it in in under 30 minutes which is good for me on a Saturday puzzle. I really enjoyed this puzzle.

alanrichard 7:55 AM  

This was the easiest Saturday puzzle I can remember. When I do a Saturday puzzle, I find something I'm sure of and work off it. Thank you for MAHALO. I had the entire east in about 5 minutes or less. Rolling Stone and Eleanor Rigby were good follow ups to yesterdays Jumpin Jack Flash - and getting the long ones opens everything else up.
Having kids, I knew Mr. Wizard, although I was tempted to write in Mr. Rogers - but he really specialized in taking off and putting on sweaters; perhaps he had sweaty palms.
I got high point of the O.T. immediately after getting Mr. Wizard. For a moment I was thinking, whats the high point of OVERTIME - ha ha!!!
This was really one fast puzzle and each answer I got lead easily into another.
And --- St. Kitts is an island with no industry, no business - essentially nothing but tourism and Green Vervet Monkees. A French explorer brought them there years ago and they are all over the island. We went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise that included St. Kitts last year. My kids were plotting on how to sneak a monkey onto the boat and and take it back home with them.
I knew Oxnard, (I have business there), immediately, and Vanna White, and Joyce Carol Oates. I wonder if Joyce Carol Oates has relatives who have an interest in yesterdays Ricearoni. I felt like this was a Monday or Tuesday puzzle.
Now I'll try to do the Saturday Stumper and have a real hard time.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Day of madness was improved by getting Eleanor Rigby first off with no letters. A fine first Friday. Couldn't do it without help, of course, not that fluent yet, but wasn't unduly troubled by much of this. I love the word 'moue'. It made me think of a flirty girl alarming a potential pickup in a bar by letting out an enormous deep bellow. That may be because of the proximity of minx. Usual types dragged me down: Oxnard, Akron, Mr Wizard. I'd also like to know (@Barry) the origin of 'in a pet' if anyone knows it.
Thank you, Rex, for the rugby update. I am woefully behind on it all but at least understand this sport...
I have to go and look after my six-month-old daughter now, who has been a perfect snot today, as the rest of the family, god rot them, are off in their home village voting to keep Hun Sen in power and impunity for another ninety years.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Just realised it's Saturday today, not Friday. Even prouder of myself!

RodeoToad 8:12 AM  

"31D: Oahu 'thank you' ('Mahalo') - easy if you've ever been to Hawaii; probably hard if you haven't."

Got that right. That little nest of MahaLo/BLunt/soB ate my lunch. I had, finally, Mahaho/SHunt/SOS. I was explaining to Seth last night that I thought somebody shouting S.O.S. was much more melodramatic than calling somebody an S.O.B. It all made sense to me (to "shunt" is to "direct" something, I thought, and mahaho made as much sense as anything else to somebody whose exposure to the language is solely from John Prine's song, "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian.") I spent a long time trying to track down my wrong "letter" (because I'm always convinced I have only one letter wrong when the applet won't accept the puzzle), and I was sure it was the vowel in ORSK or the X/K in OX/KNard.

Never read much by Joyce Carol Oates, y'say? WHO THE HELL HAS? EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE FREAKING STORY THAT NO ANTHOLOGY PUBLISHED BETWEEN 1971 AND 1989 THINKS IT IS COMPLETE WITHOUT? The woman publishes a 500-page novel every day and a half and somehow, I guess, expects people to read each of them. And most of her books are in italics! Updike also publishes a book every couple of days, and nobody reads those either, but at least he uses regular font mostly.

I OD'ed on puzzles yesterday--Gaffney (thanks again, Orange, for hijacking my afternoon with that one), Harper's, this one. Gotta get some work done today. But this was a very good puzzle. I'm kind of disconcerted by realizing how much I look like Frank Burns, though.

Ray Greenberg 8:19 AM  

Can some help me? miffed = in "apet"
Angry because my dog at it? I've heard of in a snit, a stew, pique and a pickel. inept. gone ape. but in a pet? In what universe? I googled it and found references to turtles getting loose and swallowing things and while that might make someone miffed, I'm guessing I'm missing something big here, since Rex and none of you have brought this up.
Please educate me.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

I also just tried (not very hard) to get a definition of 'in a pet'. One website suggested it might have something to do with petulance, possibe but shady. Another one gave no definition or origin but translated it into farsi and hungarian for me. رنجيدن ،کج خلق شدن and dühös (if you can read those...). Yippee!

JannieB 8:49 AM  

Like Male Chicken, I think I have my days mixed up. I did today's entry in better than half the time it took yesterday. Being a child of the 50's, Mr Wizard went straight into the grid. (AKA Don Herbert, he was the precursor to Bill Nye and was a TV staple for many many years.) I pretty much charged around the grid from NW to NE then SE and SW. SE took the longest (supreme/surreal?? that Russian town), Eberhart??, but all worked itself out in about 12 minutes. Funny, when I turn right from north, I'm then heading East, not west. Unless I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, I guess.

In a pet??? I've seen it many times before - sounds very Edith Wharton or Jane Austen. Seems like it could have come from petulant.

Glad you're back with us Rex. But you sure did pick a good set up backup bloggers!

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

In a pet is used alot, always
thought it was short of petulance.
works for me anyway.
found this one easier than yesterday prob. cause Eleanor Rigby & rolling stone gave alot away.

RIP Dr. Randy Pausch for those
who have seen his Last Lecture on youtube or read the book (co-authored with a WSJ editor).


Ray Greenberg 9:06 AM  

in a pet. I guess you learn something new, or rather, old but new to me, every day. Thanks all.

Bill from NJ 9:11 AM  

Jeez, I got all directionally confused and wrote East Coast for West Coast and got the SW and NE all mixed up.

I'm going to have to find another way to identify the various sections of the puzzle as I have done this sort of thing before

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Easiest Saturday puzzle I've ever done ... which is why I loved it! Had just enough difficulty and changes of letters to make me feel brilliant on a Saturday when I usually struggle. In reality this isn't a "real" Saturday challenge but enjoyable just the same. Rolling Stone & Eleanor Rigby are my favorites today.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

ELEANOR RIGBY, woo hoo! I also had OMSK. I had MAHALO, but somehow put in "SOS" for SOB--that would be pretty dramatic, wouldn't it? :) That made me change the L in MAHALO to put in an H to give "SHUNT" for 50A, which works as a verb. It's kind of sad when you start changing correct stuff to go with other wrong stuff you have. Fortunately, I caught all that when I was checking the grid at the end, but it cost me a few extra minutes.

Oh yeah, early on, I put "FOUR" in for 23A, since there are four advent candles and four Advent Sundays. When I got MT SINAI, I changed it to "NINE", since that's the only 4-letter number starting with N! Oh... you want me to put in a _song_! D'oh!

The other amusing thing is that I looked at 55A and thought, "Okay, VANNA or WHITE--let's check the crosses. Hmm, 56D could be NONE or TRUE. Rats!"

Jeffrey 9:43 AM  

This was tough for me. Let IT BE for Let IT GO, ironically fixed by ELEANOR RIGBY.


Trouble with vowel crossings today as well - MAHALI/IMSK; INTOTE/EST; RHO/SYSTOLES

So I'm on a ferry yesterday from Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA with one stop at San Juan Island. We are 10 minutes out of San Juan and the captain announces we are going back because a lady forgot to get off. Makes us half hour late overall. You wouldn't see that on a plane.

Then it takes 45 minutes to get through US customs because they are opening the trunks of every car. Fortunately they do not notice yesterday's HASHEESH puzzle. Must have been the spelling.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

OMSK for ORST and BIN for IBN kept me flailing about for way too long. Magically got MR WIZARD right off the bat. Poets, random California towns and minor league baseball teams will always leave me in A PET.

PuzzleGirl 9:56 AM  

Fun puzzle! I did have MR ROGERS initially. And (let) IT BE for (let) IT GO (and this was before I had pieced together ELEANOR RIGBY). My first thought for ANGIO was CHEMO, but realized that wouldn't fly. PuzzleHusband has begun to show an interest in the puzzle so he helped me with this one. Gimmes for him were MAHALO, ELIAS, and NEB, which helped a lot.

Joyce Carol Oates books I have read:

Them (hated it)

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (loved it)

We Were the Mulvaneys (liked a lot of it but felt it went on too long)

Man Crazy (disturbing)

The Falls (loved it -- but I sincerely hope someone fixed all the typos before they printed another run)

Missing Mom (couldn't finish it -- the protagonist bored me to tears and Oates has apparently lost her ability to write complete sentences)

So I think I'm done with her for now.

The first time I ever saw Frank Caliendo was on Letterman. Funny stuff! He also does a mean Charles Barkley.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Could someone explain IBN to me?

Ulrich 10:05 AM  

This was way easier for me than yesterday's, even with several towns and persons that had to be gotten from crosses. Learned "in a pet", and most unexpectedly, that "touched" can mean "crazy" (clever deduction, on my part;-), from the SANEST clue).

Barry G. 10:07 AM  

Could someone explain IBN to me?

I believe it is an Arabic word meaning "son of", equivalent to the Scottish word "Mac".

Andy 10:24 AM  

I feel like an idiot, but can someone please explain to me how "Mt. Sinai" is the answer for the 1D clue about O.T?

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

This puzzle went pretty quickly. Mr. Wizard, probably the first guy on TV to attempt to teach science, was my first entry. A 1990s variation of his show, called Beakman's World, gave him a minor shout-out by naming 2 of their recurring characters Don and Herb.

My only write-overs were in rhebok and angio--I initially entered reebok and amnio. Other than very smooth sailing.

I always chuckle when I hear of Europeans' *discoveries* in the western hemisphere. I imagine the indigenous people saying, "We beg to differ."

Nobody's actually uttered "in a pet" probably in the last 100 years. But it does show up in puzzles somewhat frequently. And, in that vein, you might wat to remember "het up"--another one that shows up every so often.

Bill from NJ 10:32 AM  

As Mac is to MacGregor in Scottish and Ben is to Ben Gurion in Hebrew and Van is to Van Damme in Dutch, that is how Ibn functions in Arabic.

My friend, Hisham Gadallah, who is Egyptian, explained this to me and I am passing it on.

If there are any Arab speakers among our group of commenters, perhaps they can explain it better

Margaret 10:52 AM  

Like Jannieb, I am also a child of the 50's. I also watched Mr. Wizard. I knew who the clue was asking for. But could I dredge up the name from the depths of my memory? No way.

It's an ugly sight to see a grown woman lose her memory. I used to have it. I had the knowledge; I had the recall. Man, I was GOOD. I coulda been on Jeopardy. But now, I'm just a frustrated 50-something, staring at her computer screen, trying to form an answer, repeatedly opening and closing her mouth but accomplishing nothing more than a reasonable facsimile of a guppy.

Whew. Okay, that's over. Yes, the NW (the section from OXNARD to Vancouver, Crosscan) was the last to fall and took me the same amount of time as the other 3/4 of the puzzle. Still, it was my best Sat. time ever. I did like the Rolling Stone nod to yesterday's Jack Flash. Fun puzzle despite the harsh reminder of my own diminishing capacities!

chefbea 11:03 AM  

@andy high point in the old testament is Mount sinai - a high mountain

@mac you made it two puzzles in a row

Southwest was very easy and I knew Mr wizzard. the rest was sorta hard

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

This was a brutal puzzle for me. Took me an embarassingly long time to get IQ TEST and the NW was a complete mystery for the longest time. The long downs were one of the easiest parts. Fortunately ROLLING STONE jumped out from NOOR (a gimme) and the end of IBMS (that I had URNS at the time didn't matter), or I'd probably still be trying to get traction somewhere. I always remember IBN from Ibn Saud, which I think was the patronym for the sons of the founder of the ruling house of Saudi Arabia.

jae 11:48 AM  

Easy for me also except for NW. Had MRWIZARD off the bat when BILLNYE didn't fit but, 2&3d took a while to figure out (I also tried various numbers for 23a). The rest of the puzzle, however, was a breeze. My only other problem was getting the clues for 20a and 22a mixed up and wondering why LILLE was Goo.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

I am always amazed that Rex completes any puzzle after Wednesday's as he is, per his repeated admissions, clueless about much of what anyone with a reasonable education knows intuitively and well. He does have an obvious knack for the actual solving, however, despite his unfamiliarity with most of literature, science, geography and anything but near-contemporary pop culture. From his comments, his closest confederates are similarly ill-schooled. He thus deserves admiration for stumbling to the finish line time after time. Out of the ballpoints of babes.... Still, it hurts my head to realize how little he knows and yet succeeds; I acknowledge that on Saturdays I sometimes have to turn to him for the last few squares, so kudos where kudos are due and begrudging respect.

miriam b 12:10 PM  

I once had a coworker who used the expression INAPET. She was what would later come to be known as a dweeb, and BTW, she was often INAPET.

On Wheel of Fortune this week, I forget which day, mention was made of VANNA's Guinness Book citation. So that was a gimme.

One of my daughters has lived in vsrious locations in Ventura County over the past several years, but still I couldn't summon up OXNARD immediately. I've been there, but I didn't know what county I was in. She lives in Moorpark now, but it's highly unlikely that there are moreporks there.

I bought some Pink Lady apples imported from NZ yesterday - will try one today and see how it tastes after its long journey.

I thought of "toad" before I saw that the entry should have been TEAL. In fact, I don't believe toads live in ponds, but on dry land for the most part. I could be wrong. I'm going out to weed the vegetables now and I may even see a toad out there, if I'm lucky. They're adorable and good at eating GNATs and other bugs, and maybe slugs with their disgusting SLIME.

A good puzzle with solid cluing.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

@Andy don't feel bad, I was about to ask the same OT (Offtrack Thoroughbred?) question.

I was trying Oregon Trail for O.T. but Mt. Shasta wouldn't fit.

Also had BIN for IBN like someone else here.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

I have a question that's not puzzle specific to today. I know a lot of you strive to finish each puzzle in record time. I have no desire to race to the finish, but rather enjoy whatever pace I go depending on the day of the week. On some of the harder puzzles I actually slow down at the end, savoring my victory ... much as I turn the pages slower at the end of really great book. Am I the odd duck or does anybody else feel as I do?

fergus 1:43 PM  

Hey CrossCan, that's one of the many great ferry trips in the region. One winter late afternoon coming into Anacortes, Mt. Baker went all purple with the setting sun. Also, I recall seeing San QUENTIN most surreally lit and surrounded by fog while driving across the San Rafael bridge.

Like for Rex and some others, it was the NW that was the trouble spot. Dwelt far to long before DWELL ON, and was thinking CARE until ZEAL looked better. That brought out MR WIZARD, who I recall as the rescuer of an errant cartoon turtle, circa 1966. "Trestle, trestle, trestle trome; time for this one to come home." Or something like that.

Otherwise, though quite a demanding puzzle it seemed to fall in quite smoothly, with far fewer mistaken entries or seeming misdirections than might be typical for a Saturday.

I want to put a plug in for Ms. OATES and Mr. Updike, who were summarily dismissed up above. I've read some memorable stories in recent New Yorkers that show both of them still going at full strength.

Ulrich 2:23 PM  

@joho: Consider me a soulmate--especially when it comes to the slowing down at the end, even feeling regret when a truly great puzzle is done. Or when I got a particular devilish answer, I may get up and reward myself with a cup of coffee. Sure, it looks like sour grapes b/c I couldn't speedsolve if my life depended on it, but then again ...

HudsonHawk 2:26 PM  

The NE and SW fell easily, then trudged through the NW a bit. Also wanted gas-lit and Omsk, but figured oil-lit pretty quickly. Changing Omsk to Orsk finished the puzzle for me.

I did stare at IB_S for a minute before running through the alphabet. Got to M and said Doh! Kinda clever. That gave me minx and Oxnard and the rest was history. Nice puzzle, all in all.

Just finished Sunday's Nothnagel/Quarfoot puzzle, which I think most will enjoy. Will comment tomorrow if I have time.

@joho, I also relish the harder puzzles like a good book and definitely don't worry about speed. But that's just me.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

I guess I have the best of both worlds with my solving. I go as fast as I can and end up savoring how slow I am.

mac 2:55 PM  

It's a good thing my pantel .7 has a long, retractable erasor, because I had to correct a lot of mistakes: mr. rogers, amnio, reeboks, deepen (18a), and bin, and at first I was afraid there was another one of those new series involved that I don't watch, like yesterday's "Heroes"....

In the end it was the NE that fell last, and took much too much time. Anyway, this is how I like to spend my time on a Saturday, and this was a real Saturday one for me. I always like the Silk puzzles, thank you Sir!

@Bill from nj: when you see a two part last name like Van Damme, or Vandamme, it is almost always Belgian. In Holland it would be van Damme. Any de, van and van de are uncapitalized and separate from the main part of the name.

@joho: I don't think you are going to get much of a reaction. This discussion has come up too often already, like every couple of weeks.....

@rcb: if ever I saw or heard a backhanded compliment.....!

I agree with some of the comments on Ms. Oates. I met her some months ago and enjoyed her reading and the following question and answer period very much. I have to admit that I have put away one or two of her books without finishing (about 22 names on the second page), while others kept me spellbound. @puzzlegirl, try "Black Water".

jae 2:56 PM  

@joho -- I print out the puzzles Thurs. through Sun. and just enjoy the experience without timing myself. Lately I've started doing this on Wed. For example, Joe Krozel's Wed. of a couple of weeks ago seemed like it was more fun on paper than it would have been on line.

Bill from NJ 3:31 PM  


I guess I shouldn't pass on what I, personally, am not sure about

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Fergus we also got a beautiful Mt Baker sunset. I told my wife the delay just gave me time to do a few more puzzles. She turned into Mrs. VeryCross-can.

Extra time today at the outlet mall required.

imsdave1 3:46 PM  

I really liked this one. Finished in a good time (about 15 minutes - took a while for the coffee to kick in pre-golf this a.m.). I think IQTEST was hard because the average blogger here is probably well above the 100 mark.

INAPET after an appalling golf game,


Michael Chibnik 4:18 PM  

I thought this was a fairly easy Saturday. I did miss one square -- the crossing of mahalo and orsk even though I spent a summer in Hawaii many years ago.

"in a pet" seems like sort-of-ordinary English even if it is not an expression I've ever used.

I was stalled for a while in the NW with "reeboks" and "dream on" (which I thought was a quite good answer).

Leon 4:28 PM  

Real fun puzzle Mr. Silk.

Mr. Wizard.

Re: "in a pet"
Wuthering Heights:

She flung the tea back, spoon and all, and resumed her chair in a pet;her forehead corrugated, and her red under-lip pushed out, like a child's ready to cry.

He imagines me in a pet--in play, perhaps. Cannot you inform him that it is frightful earnest?

fergus 4:38 PM  

Concerning the IBN, van, von, de issue, I'm curious whether these other prepositions (?) denote some background of nobility, like the de does in French?

CrossCan, I took the Keystone to Port Townsend ferry in May, which presented some fantastic views of the Olympics. When I was at UBC, my parents were living in Sidney, so I would often park on the causeway at Tsawwassen (which my father called quadruple u) and catch the nice, big boat over to the island for the weekend. They're now on Whidbey, and I always enjoy the Mukilteo crossing. Also, loved the little boat that went to Salt Spring from Sidney. From the Ferry Building in San Francisco to Jack London Square was always fun, and for a while I commuted from Tiburon to the Financial District. I guess I'm sort of into ferry boats ... and please pardon the digressive blogspace

fergus 4:53 PM  

"Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome; time for zis one to come home."

That was what my MR WIZARD is reputed to have said to Tooter Turtle when he was imperiled at the close of one of his misadventures. I hope this fragment of information matters to someone.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

Tooter Turtle.

The "Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome; time for zis one to come home." is at 4:13.

mac 5:32 PM  

In Holland "van" is often followed by a name that was originally a geographic bit of information, and in some cases, often with double last names, there my be an aristocratic background. I can even think of some names that go
"van ------ tot (to) ------, obviously major landowners centuries ago. These days, no noble connotations to van and de.
When Napoleon required the Dutch to formally register (under his brother's reign), many people had some fun with it and created hilareous names like "Naaktgeboren" (born naked). Their poor ancestors are stuck with it!

fergus 7:08 PM  

Guy de Maupassant was one of those pretenders. (Another superb short story, ou je devrais dire Conte, writer, along with others I've plugged recently.) It was probably a late 19th century affectation that was more pronounced than other forms of the simian ego trip.

I've been pleased, by the way, by how many other people, celebrity scholars and nowhere scribblers, are recognizing the brilliance of Edward Gibbon. Parallels with Rome and America are rife (and I've yet to read that Atlantic guy's take), but "The Decline and Fall ..." is about as much fun as one can have in a serious reading state.

Save for some poetry, of course, where I'm still dwelling in some melodious plot of beechen green, where the some happy bird sings of summer in full throated ease.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

@mac: I've been at this site for over six months and haven't seen one person ask what I did today. I could be brain dead, however.

@ulrich: We definitely are in crossword puzzle solving synch!
@hudsonhawk: Now you know it's not just you who feels the way you do.
@jae: I, too, print out the puzzle every day ... makes it more of a treat.

Thanks to you all for sharing your feelings about speed solving with me!

Doc John 7:15 PM  

I struggled thru this one, pausing every now and then to practice some for our concert tonight (8PM in the Mississippi Room of the Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Blvd). I certainly didn't have a "silky" solving experience, having to jump around the puzzle filling in answers willy-nilly. QUENTIN was my first fill followed by BBQS and then B MOVIE. OK, I guess the SW went kinda quickly. NW gave me the most trouble: had ___WHALE for a long time and "bin" didn't help me any, either. Actually had "it'll be OK" for 15A for awhile. Finally finished with a WTF H in RHEBOKS.

Not really sure how children=ISSUE.

fergus 7:45 PM  

ISSUE is a standard term from the British aristocracy. If a marriage were without ISSUE, all sorts of land and title claims could go awry.

dk 8:14 PM  

I am back! Miss me?

Sailed through with one delay notreal for SURREAL and one STUMBLE quest instead of QWEST.

I prayed for a religious theme given the O.T. and NOEL clue and answer... but those prayers were consumed like a GNAT. That said I liked all the Bs and Qs almost like BBQ was the theme.

Spent the last 5 days on Madeline Island, part of the Apostle Island Group, Lake Superior WI side.

So relaxed I can just say IGNOREIT to... well to be BLUNT... a response as obscure as APET. Sounds like something I may have wanted to do at a cetain age when my palms were SWEATY and things were starting to HEATUP with (name omitted to protect the...).

@joho, you just do the puzzle whatever which way you want and ignore any snickering you may read about savoring your victories such as they may be ;).

Doc John 8:19 PM  

Ah, thanks, Fergus. I'd never have known that. Will have to file it away for next time!

chefbea 8:31 PM  

@joho I dont time my puzzles.. especially on sunday. its good to take all day, then come back and solve some more.

Bill D 8:58 PM  

Liked this puzzle; it was a smooth Saturday except for the NE for me - I couldn't get a toehold there for the longest time. SLIME finally greased it.

I see my Alma Mater has become the default Engineers of college sports, although this lame Liberty League must be a new organization. I used to send my fellow "True Sons" copies of the finished grid with RPI in it, but now it seems we're in there at least once a month.

@DocJohn - Children = ISSUE of one's loins...what kind of Dr are you again?

I, too, savor the solving experience, slowing up at the end. Doing the puzzle in ink in the newspaper itself only adds to the sensuality of it all - smooth, viscous ink flowing out to sink slowly into the porous newsprint while my SWEATY palms HEAT UP in anticipation of a successful completion. Phew, are you guys as het up as I am?

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

@dk: My victories are just that and snickering is always allowed.
@chefbea1: I couldn't agree more about a Sunday puzzle ... and thanks to you both for your kind and informative remarks.

Bill from NJ 11:38 PM  


When I came here six month ago, I aspired to speed and for the first several months, I made progress to that end. Then it occurred to me, that this was supposed to be fun and relaxing and I stopped. Cold.

Don't get me wrong. I am in awe of people like Orange and Rex and Ellen but I no longer want to be them. If speed makes folks happy, then by all means go for it!

But for me, now, I spend however long it takes on the puzzles. It I reference time, it is only generally, like half an hour, 45 minutes.

I enjoy the richness of the puzzles now.

fergus 12:58 AM  

And since I've already drenched you with scholastic allusion, here's another:

Subject: beyond good and evil

Nietzsche's little aphorisms have some sway

Same as it was on a train out of London in 1980,
reading the numbered pointed statements
in the basement of Logos bookstore in 2008
as if it were yesterday,
or 1890

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

@bill: Thanks for letting me know that you, too, like a leisurely and lovely time with just you and your puzzle. The NYT puzzle has become a great friend (who sometimes gets me in a pet!)

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Could not wait to blog on as I am resident of the town in which Richard Eberhart was born. Recently, the high school IMC was renamed in his honor, he is also a distinguished alumni, and the school's poetry contest is named after him. He was ill,as I recall, and his daughter accepted the award for him. I think he was poet laureate for NH as well.
Thus, an extra fun puzzle for me.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

Fergus- Thanks for the Tennessee Tuxedo reference. Don Adams supplied Tennessee's voice. I'm a Chumley fan myself.

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

Funny how the brain works (or doesn"t). Though we are driving up to visit friends in Oxnard next week, I spent what seemed like an eternity dredging up the name. On the other hand, the only Eleanor I could think of was Rigby, so I put it in even though I thought she was a tennis star-amazed when it worked!
With relatives all over Vancouver, Victoria, and Salt Spring, I thank Croscan for bringing back memories of wonder boat rides up there. Too bad I live so far out (in time) he won't get the message.

Jeffrey 5:24 PM  

You are welcome.

Time travelling Crosscan

embien 11:29 PM  

5wkslater in syndicationland:
Loved how (Let) IT BE crossed ELEANER RIGBY for a Beatles fusion moment. Oh wait, it's not BOALIES, it has to be GOALIES. And ELEANER looks more than a little strange. So much for serendipity. I sadly put in (Let) IT GO (ELEANOR) for the sake of the puzzle, if not my old hippie psyche.

Where are the 60's when you need them (or was it 70's)? Who can remember?

55a most frequent clapper should've had some indication it was a first name (VANNA) and not WHITE--I hate blacked out letters on my grid (solving in ink).

My first Saturday solve in some time, so cut me some slack, I have to take my small victories when I can.

Anonymous 10:37 PM  

27A: "Frank TV" airer (TBS)
Mad TV (FOX) alum Frank Caliendo who does the impressions of John Madden, Goeorge W. Bush , Donald Trump , Dr Phil.

Latley he has been seen in the Direct TV commercials.

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