FRIDAY, August 1, 2008 - Patrick Berry (Fictional parrot type featured in Monty Python’s “dead parrot sketch” / LIEUTENANT OF CAPONE)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

I don’t think any of the B-Team has exercised the trashcan privilege veto power since we’ve been driving the bus, but if anybody makes a whisper of a peep or even looks like he or she is going to say anything about 19A, you’ll be sharing a room with Oscar the Grouch.


Lots of nouns in this puzzle, clever clues, few fill-in-the-_____’s, hardly any abbreviations, no bona fide crosswordese, nothing that screams of desperation on the constructor’s part. I’m not sure how much of that is criteria for objective analysis of crossword construction, but those are my off-the-cuff scorecard categories. Good stuff, say I, if a bit on the easy side for Friday and not terribly adventurous in branching out far beyond the letters they spot you on Wheel of Fortune. (When did they start doing that, by the way? That business with the RSTLNE, I mean. In the old days, Woolery made you work for every damn letter. He knew you’d come back and thank him for it later. And you did.)

So maybe the grid overall isn’t that ambitious (for a Friday), but I do think a lot of the clues are worthy of esteem. [Updated: I've been corrected by more insightful critics who point out that the grid is in fact pretty ambitious, word-count and word-lengthwise.]

Clues Worthy of Esteem:
  • 14A: Like singing in the shower (A CAPPELLA) - To some people, everything invokes a Seinfeld episode. For me, everything invokes a Barney Fife moment:
  • 17A: Unwilling to get organized (ANTIUNION) - That’s a good, professional-level clue. It’s got wit, it’s accurate, it’s not too showy. As I get older and my options become more limited I’m starting to appreciate that kind of effort more and more. Just get it done quietly like a pro and let the kids have their fun.

  • 20A: _____ War (“Charge of the Light Brigade” conflict) (CRIMEAN) - Tennyson anyone? (Old joke, I know.) I knew this but didn’t get it on the first pass. Memorization of the poem is forced upon British schoolchildren, according to my wife. I think it’s the one with the line “Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die.” [update: I didn't get that exactly right. Should be "Theirs" not ours, and "reason" not "question."]
  • 22A: Fictional parrot type featured in Monty Python’s “dead parrot sketch” (NORWEGIAN BLUE) - Probably a gimme for lots of people but not me. I’ve seen parts of the sketch, I think, but never the whole thing. Before there were irritating Simpsons-quoters there were irritating Monty Python-quoters.
  • 24A: 7 and 11 (PRIMES) - Another good, non-showy clue, this one with a crappy misdirection. The man never breaks a sweat.
  • 32A: “Draft Dodger Rag” singer (OCHS) - Phil Ochs. I got this on the first pass and am not sure why. I used to fancy myself a folkie when I was about fourteen, but don’t think I’ve ever heard a Phil Ochs song. He hanged himself 1976 [updated from an reference to "the sixties," though 1976 was pretty much still the sixties, in my mind] but will live on forever in crosswords.

  • 37A and 38A: Pack animal (BURRO) and Pack animal? (CAMEL) - Okay, maybe this is a bit showy. (“Pack” as in cigarettes.)

  • 39A: 1970s American Motors car (HORNET) - Man, I miss the days when cars were named after things, tangible objects. I’m all for nouns—we need to protect our nouns and quit turning them into verbs. We have way too many verbs as it is. So don’t ask me where I “office,” because I’ve never officed in my life, and don’t ask me how something “impacted” me because nothing ever has. I’m unimpactable. I miss the Mustangs and Thunderbirds and Ramblers and Hornets and even the Gremlins and the Pacers. And then, midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost, and I found myself wondering what a “tercel” was.

  • 44A: Where to find free spirits (OPEN BAR) - Another one. It’s his world. We just live in it.

  • 2D: It might make you red in the face (ACNE) - This nicely crosses the answer we’re not discussing today. Right? Not discussing today? Right?

  • 4D: Archetypes (EPITOMES) - Is that right? I don’t think that’s right. An epitome is just the “perfect example” of something, isn’t it? An archetype comes with lots of socio-whateveral and Freudian baggage, doesn’t it? I mispronounced “epitome” well into my twenties, by the way, at least in my mental pronunciation. Same with “superfluous.”

  • 15D: Plato and Aristotle (ANCIENTS) - I don’t know what “ancients” means in the classical Greek context. Auden’s always writing about “the ancients” and “the ancient of days,” and I’m kind of a big Auden guy—I think we got a good deal in the trade for Eliot—so I figured it out easily enough, but somebody’ll have to tell me what’s behind it.

  • 38D: Snapper, of a sort (CENTER) - Here’s the 145-pound center for the 1983 Graham Steers JV team. He was one mean sumbitch:

  • 40D: Eggheaded experts (WONKS) - I had DORKS at first. It just worked out that way.

  • 41D: Dealing with honey makers (APIAN) - Notwithstanding my recent comments down in the cheap seats about my generally ambivalent attitude toward food, I love honey. I often crave it. I don’t understand honey, I don’t know what food group it belongs to, I can’t think of any other creature whose puke we eat, but I love honey. A friend of mine named Clint has some bees, and they’re supposed to make some honey and he’s going to give me some.

Me (Wade) again tomorrow.

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Anonymous 3:19 AM  

Phil Ochs died in 1976.

jae 5:04 AM  

Ah, the benefits of living on the left coast and not going to bed until 2am, i.e. occasionally, I get to post very very early! I'm completely with Wade on no mention of you know what (notice I've never mentioned them even though I occasionally enjoy them in the roasted form). In the interest of full disclosure I too mispronounced EPITOME well into my 20s.

To the puzzle. Way too easy for a Fri. My only problem was misreading clue numbers which I do a fine job of on Mon. and Tues. I did wasted time on 18a trying to fit SOLVE or SENSE in as opposed to the obvious GODLY. Oh, and I wanted FORKLIFT for 1a as it seemed a fine misdirect but, SAAB was a gimmie.

How about "penny nickname" or "presidential nickname" for 52a, it just needs to be harder! Maybe "Yucatan domiciles" for 36a, a tad closer to a Fri. clue. I could go on but its late....

jae 5:08 AM  

Damn -- it should be "I did waste time" -- note to self, actually read the preview.

Unknown 5:35 AM  

dang! COMMUNE fit so nicely in the 44A: Where to find free spirits (and made me chuckle). It took a while before I was willing to let it go for the OPEN BAR answer. But WONKS and APIAN were not to be denied.

Mahalo from da aina ("land" in Hawaiian, coming soon to a crossword near you!) for the write up.

A Hui Ho!

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

Very easy for a Friday, one of only a handful of times I've been able to finish a Friday before going to sleep, usually have to come back to in the morning. Very enjoyable.

Barry G. 7:58 AM  

Morning, folks!

Ayup, surprisingly easy for a Friday. Pretty easy for a Wednesday or Thursday, for that matter. I had to make numerous passes through the puzzle to get everything, but in the end I actually new every single word and didn't need to rely solely on the crosses for anything (well, except for OCHS).

It helps, of course, that I'm a huge Monty Python fan and sing in an a cappella choir.

Oh -- and did this puzzle actually have a theme?

Parshutr 7:58 AM  

Very, very easy for a Friday. As for Monty Python quotes: "No one expected the Spanish Inquisition."
But really, every single word was, if not an absolute gimme, an uphill three-footer with no break at all.
Congrats on not misquoting "do and die" as "do or die".

Barry G. 8:04 AM  


And I actually knew that "knew" is spelled with a k.

JannieB 8:25 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle. Solved it "bottoms up". First corner done was the SW, then the SE, NE and finally the NW. No real theme, but lots of miliary clues - A-bomb, uboat, carbine, war horse.

Some of the cluing was definitely more Wed/Thurs easy, but it still took me the longest time of the week thus far. Nice smooth solving, however; and nothing clunky about it.

Parshutr 8:34 AM  

By the way, most people misunderstand the meaning of epitome. It meant, to the Greeks, the best example -- and that's the one in the middle, the average, the median, whatever.
So the epitome of intelligence is an IQ of 100, and the epitome of a golfer is one who scores "around 100".
The people at the extremes -- the idiots and geniuses, the klutzes and superstars -- are not the epitome. The middle-man or woman, with a BMI of around 29, is the epitome.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

I agree with everybody that this was an easy Friday. I only had two changes to make: had "relets" for 6D and "tugs" for 46D ... both of which were quickly fixed. In fact, it was such a happy solving experience I had no reason to turn 19A.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

For the foodies, I had a roasted _ _ _ _ root salad at a great restaurant in Staunton, Virginia last night. It is called the Staunton Grocery with a very upscale menu with lots of local produce. We're doing the East Coast college visit tour with my daughter so it was nice to find a great restaurant in a smallish town.

mac 9:29 AM  

I also think this was on the easy side for a Friday, but it was a beauty with nice clues and answers. Don't know M.P. very well, so this Norwegian bird took a lot of time to figure out. The "blue" part would have really helped me do the North East, which was the last to fall.

I don't think I ever said "epitome" out loud, but know how to. Years ago, I did make a mistake: guess how I pronounced Arkansas? Why would it be so different from Kansas?

@Jae: for a moment I thought you were from Texas or Georgia; isn't that where people say "did wasted"?

Unknown 9:33 AM  

This comment has been deleted by the current pasha of the B Team for a passing reference to the vegetable that shall not be named.

Orange 9:33 AM  

Wade, I'd say it is a pretty ambitious grid. That stacked 7, 8, 9 crossing another stacked 7, 8, 9 in the NW and SE corners? That's a lot of white space. The word count is 66, and themeless puzzles can go up to 72, so this was probably considerably harder to pull off than a 72. (Really low word counts, in the 52 to 60 range, are often associated with big compromises in fill, with lots of prefixes and suffixes tacked on where they don't belong.) There's no crap fill, and very few 3- and 4-letter entries.

Unknown 9:41 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle mostly because it made me feel smart for solving a Friday puzzle faster than Thursday's and Wednesday's. The problem now seems to be that everyone else did it faster and laughed at how easy it was. Thanks everyone.

I think 23D sitting where it does is the inside joke that acm referred to in her post late last night. All of the puzzle is held together by the Elmer's GLUEALL. I also like to think that yesterday's LEOSAY...(oops, sorry Wade) was there for us just as 19A was today. Orange knows better, but I have an active imagination.

dk 9:47 AM  

19a, what is the big deal, it is a sweet sleeping tuber thats why it isn't talking, and the flush to it's skin is a result of time at the OPENBAR. Look at the shape of 19a, talk about EPITOMES, it is the kind of tuber you want RUNTO, a WARHORSE, dare I say almost GODLY.

I mean its not like we are talking about CORNSUGAR.

Again, what is the big deal: beats me?



Jeffrey 10:13 AM  

I hope I don't come off grumpy this morning. It is raining and the crossword umbrella I got at the ACPT broke so I was walking around like Ellen in WordPlay.

Didn't solve like Ellen, though. I had two snags solving this one. I decided on OPEN AIR instead of OPEN BAR and didn't know what a tree-dwelling snake or an M-1 was so trouble ensued. I was thinking M-1 was some sort of english highway and it started with CAR so I tried to get that to work.

My other problem was refusing to enter the vegetable-that-must-not-be-named for the longest time as I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and there was no way that could be right.

jubjub 10:33 AM  

@crosscan, I learned what a MAMBA was from Kill Bill. Would have been a more fun way of cluing it than the bland tree-dwelling snake.

I had TUgS instead of TUBS for the slow boat, and could not figure out what HONE STAgE meant. Doy.

@wade, or the "irritating Simpsons quoters" remark, I have to say "you, sir, have the BOORISH manners of a Yalie" :).

ArtLvr 10:35 AM  

Thanks, Wade, for the good commentary... I didn't notice the ? in the CAMEL clue, and thus didn't make your connection to a pack of cigarettes. Neat!

Working south to north as usual, I found things went fairly smoothly -- but did anyone else look at the 14A clue "Like singing in a shower" and think it was a cute one for "Soap Opera"? I had three good crosses, but needed to give it up for A CAPPELLA...

It may have been done before, but I liked the COB clue, "inner ear". Also, I learned a new word: PALAU. However, I don't expect we'll run across that improbable parrot again. Egads.

Thanks to P Berry for the enjoyable puzzle; it made a happy start to the morning. Time TO GO out! In upstate NY, we may be able put away the "wellies" today, after a long string of rainstorms!


alanrichard 10:41 AM  

This was an easy Friday. I got Honest Abe and really just breezed from there. Never heard of a wonk but got it contexturally.

Shamik 10:43 AM  

O.k. Just 'cause the whole puzzle gets filled in correctly, doesn't make it necessarily "easy." Took me quite awhile this morning.

Liked the pairing of UBOAT with ABOMBS. Was a big Monty Python fan, but sadly didn't recall NORWEGIANBLUE and it was one of the last things filled in. : (

SALESMAN to SALESREP. NUMBS to DAMPS. Two P's in ACAPPELLA??? DROP for PROP, which cleared with PRIMES. Never heard of DRIMES. GAMES to MEETS. VENTER to CENTER. TEARINGUP to CHOKINGUP. TUGS for TUBS. Took awhile to understand HONE STAGE was HONEST ABE. DUKE for BOOT. SAMOA for PALAU. REALISTS for ANCIENTS. STEERED for SPURRED. That's all my mis-entered words.

Easy? Bah!

See y'all late Sunday. Off on a solo backpacking trip overnight and then working on Sunday. But, of course, had to do the Friday puzzle before my backpack trip. Then my husband caught me and I turned that 19A. LOL

Shamik 10:47 AM  

Oh yeah...And why Mr. Bill?

dk 10:54 AM  

Whoops, the puzzle. I had alie for 2d as that coupled with the not to be named 19a seemed as much fun as COB and CORNSUGAR. I had Javlin, then Marlen (spelled wrong I know) and finally the APIAN answer gave my little gray cells HORNET.

I liked the unique pairings of colors, pack animals etc.

Imaginative start to the weekend.

Great write up Wade

It is bridge collapse day here in the Twin Cities. I know this will come as a shock to most of you, it seems (as with our sister city at the other end of the big muddy) much of the aide promised by a certain ELI is as alive as a certain parrot.

Ok, back to looking for satanic references in the puzzles: rust never sleeps!

PuzzleGirl 10:56 AM  

I had a few of the same missteps others had: TUG for TUB, HONE STAGE (wtf?) for HONEST ABE. But it all worked itself out. This is a really impressive puzzle.

@shamik: Thanks for asking that. I had the same question when I was helping Wade with this last night. It's PLATO / PLAY-DOH -- get it? I didn't either.

JannieB 11:05 AM  

@Wade - interesting factoid about honey - it is the only food that doesn't spoil. You might want to stock up before your wife heads off to Scotland again.

Pythia 11:07 AM  

Good to see the Valdemort veg in the puzzle! I've missed it.

Super easy, agreed, fun nevertheless. Lots of good images evoked. Loved WONKS and HONKER. Wish I were smart enough to be a wonk. Maybe I should try reading more books instead of solving puzzles?

Happy August!


Pythia 11:09 AM  

Oh, sorry, I forgot -- nice job Wade!

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

I agree with Orange that the puzzle is very well constructed. But from a solving point of view, too easy for Friday. The only thing I did not know was OCHS, which came through crosses. Once again, a very pleasant puzzle, but on the wrong day.

Isn't 72-ish the epitome of a golf score by your definition? "Par" meaning "normal" or "average."


HudsonHawk 11:14 AM  

Enjoyed lots of elements to this puzzle, especially the stacking of water balloons and open bar, two of my favorite things. Also loved the Python bit, which was recently named the funniest TV sketch ever by some self-proclaimed experts on the internet.

One quibble, which was that the ending of 19a was the color in the 2d crossing clue.

p.s. loved the write-up--especially the Play-Doh.

Ulrich 11:25 AM  

@shamik: I waited until someone else stepped forward and challenged the "easy" rating--didn't want to look like the only idiot in the universe. I guess I'm still too intimidated by white space--or not watching enough TV: The only 4-letter company relating to jets I could think of was LEAR, and that locked the NW solidly until I googled in desperation--with SAAB in place everything else fell easily.

For the record: Architects never start with a model--if they have no ideas, they wouldn't know what a model would look like, and if they didn't have a client program or--in Britain--brief, they wouldn't know what they should generate ideas about. So, it goes like this: program, idea, sketches, and then splits into many parallel activities, one of which may be building a model.

miriam b 11:26 AM  

I DUGIN immediately, albeit slightly spooked by the mere fact that today is Friday. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find the puzzle pretty easy.

My father used to say that CAMELs were the only cigarettes with the manufacturer's picture on the pack.

I'm not so sure about 11D. I think an architect's starting point is more likely a concept.

I love the word HONKER. It reminds me of a song I once heard: "If I had a nose full of nickels, I'd sneeze them all atchoo."

As a child I used to mispronounce "misled". I would say MY-zzld. This kind of thing is common enough with little kids who are voracious readers. I do know of some adults, including the father of a friend of mine, who never gave up this pronunciation. I imagine that he thought the infinitive was "to misle".

foodie 11:31 AM  

I whipped out this puzzle in a heartbeat
Yet admired Berry’s construction feat,
Mixing pack animals with a modern fleet
And contrasting a dead blue bird with red…(uh) meat?

jae 11:31 AM  

@jubjub -- I also owe it to Kill Bill for MAMBA being a gimmie. Amazing pair of movies!

Blanche 11:39 AM  

I must object to the definition for 14a. The term "a cappella" actually refers only to choral music without instrumental accompaniment. So, unless you have company in the shower. . .

foodie 11:42 AM  

Since I learned English mostly from reading, I used to mispronounce (in my mind) "albeit" to sound something like "I'll bite". Miriam b's post reminded me, as she used it in her first sentence...

Margaret 11:46 AM  

Man, I must have lost some IQ points in my sleep because this one was not easy for me at all. Ultimately, I got it with only one google (LEONA Lewis) but I needed my Wellies 'cause it was a hard slog all the way.

19A was one of the first things I filled in and I chuckled heartily at it. Fortunately, I knew CRIMEAN or my ship would certainly have been sunk. Even so, the NE was the last to fall for me.

I liked how B**TRED crossed NORWEGIANBLUE and CORN(SUGAR) crossed COB. I was going to take exception with the clue for ELIDE but a (post-puzzle) google showed me that, indeed, it means to omit as well as to slide together.

Oh yeah, and then there were the few seconds where I actually wrote in WATERBOARDERS for those who make a splash before reconsidering the breakfast-worthiness of it!

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Beets beets beets beets!!
Go ahead Wade,
spank me 'til I'm Red

matty lite 11:51 AM  

When I was an angst-ridden teen I heard a few snarky Phil Ochs tunes and decided to buy some records. Pleasures of the Harbor and Rehearsals for Retirement were not what I thought they would be. They were these beautifully over-wrought chamber pop type things that made me forget how pissed I was supposed to be and actually opened my ears to the sorts of music I tend to prefer now. Thank you Phil Ochs for your help with my ear development and my crossword skills.

Also, maybe some crossword constructors could give some much-deserved credit by cluing Phil's brother Michael OCHS, whose photo archive we are all much more familiar with than we know.

eliselzer 11:51 AM  

Easily my fastest Friday time (though it got held up a bit in the SW- having GLUEALL earlier would have sped it up considerably). I started at 22a and worked from there- I saw Monty Python in the clue and jumped at it. Having actually performed the Dead Parrot Sketch as part of a benefit cabaret in college, this was the easiest gimme I've had in a while. Lovely bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage.

While I'm not sure I totally understand the ban on 19a, I'll politely avoid discussing it as asked.

Though I filled it with crosses before I even saw the clue, I am familiar with Phil Ochs. It's understandable why others might not be. As the legend on the back of the Phil Ochs Greatest Hits album (which was all new material) read, "50 Phil Ochs Fans Can't Be Wrong."

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Easyish for a Friday I thought.
The only thing I have to say about the unmentionable is that I love pickled beets. When I was 10 I overindulged and later ran screaming for my Mom after I went to the bathroom and thought I was peeing blood.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Nice write-up Wade. Is that you in the football gear??

Agree that the puzzle was easy for a Friday. I still needed to Google, but required less than usual. TURN ONTO was right up my alley--my 15 yr old has his driving permit now so I am deluged with driving rules and commentary from him about how I am breaking multiple rules of the road and how there are so many horrible drivers out there.

Had GEEKS for a bit instead of WONKS and PLANS instead of MODEL. Agree that a model would seem to be made much later in the process.

Loved this puzzle also because it reminded me of the NORWEGIAN BLUE sketch. That sketch is one of the funniest sketches ever. Orange posted it over on her blog (thanks!!) if you need a few laughs today.


fiddleneck 12:06 PM  

What is it with Beet Red? Dare I ask? But I too was always my-zzld as a child, so maybe that's my problem.

Spencer 12:13 PM  

A "tercel" is the UK spelling of a male falcon. Whether that's what Toyota had in mind, I don't know.

NORWEGIANBLUE was a gimme for me, as I used to be one of those obnoxious Monty Python quoters (I guess I still am, on occasion, but less frequently than when I was young.)

OCHS came to me in a flash once I had --HS. I mean, what else could it be at that point?

I, too, wondered what a HONE STAGE was. In a flash, it came to me, and I was about to fix it when the applet flaked on me and I had to retype the whole puzzle, losing a minute or so on my time. Oh, well, it was fun, and my time isn't good enough that a minute really matters.

Afterwards, I stayed up entirely too late watching old Buffy episodes on

Barry G. 12:13 PM  

As a child I used to mispronounce "misled". I would say MY-zzld. This kind of thing is common enough with little kids who are voracious readers. I do know of some adults, including the father of a friend of mine, who never gave up this pronunciation. I imagine that he thought the infinitive was "to misle".

Heh. I thought it was pronounced "missiled," and in my mind I imagined somebody having missiles launched at him or something. I also thought "determined" was pronounced dEHter-mined, as a matter of fact.

And yes, I was a voracious reader as a little kid...

RodeoToad 12:28 PM  

I just went and ate a bunch of honey. I really did. Now I have a fierce honey headache.

I offended PuzzleGirl last night when I complimented her (sincerely) on her design talents by referring to her talent for "arts and crafts." Sorry, PuzzleGirl. Can we go outside and play that fun game with the stick now?

Eliselzer, you must be new here. On behalf of all, welcome. During these weeks when PuzzleGirl, Seth and I have been filling in for Rex, I've become sensitized to how exclusionary inside jokes are and how hard they are to avoid in endeavors like Rex Parker's estimable blog, where so many of the same folks show up every day (and Rex is to be congratulated for, among other feats, how well he does in fact avoid them and how well he maintains an even tone day-in-day-out.) 19A, however, is unavoidable. BEETS (there, I said it) have gone from inside joke to meme on this site. (Meme is a word I use all the time without knowing how to pronounce it or what it really means.)

Spencer, thanks. Sethg pointed out to me this morning what tercel means. So it is in fact a noun, which undercuts further the already stupid point I was making. (But it's a dang wimpy word for something as awesome as a hawk.)

Matty Lite, your blog is a gas. I gotta try those Indian nachos you invented.

I'm hurt that nobody has commented on my modified mullet.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

I have found it best to avoid commenting on a German Shepard's coiffure.


mac 12:45 PM  

@wade: thanks for a new word: meme (looked it up on Wikipidia, it's pronounced miem), interesting and not altogether negative.

As a honey lover you must be worried about the mass disappearance of some honey bees in this country.

Great write-up this morning!

jeff in chicago 12:48 PM  

mmmmm....sweet sleeping tubers!

Bill from NJ 1:03 PM  

BEETRED was my first entry and then into the NE with the ABOMBS/UBOAT crossing. NORWEGIANBLUE was next and the rest of the NE fell fairly easy.

I went into the lower MIdlands and got CAMEL CASAS MEETS RUNTO LEFTS in a staircase. MAMBA led me into the SW and NITTI KAREN helped me get WATERBALOONS which took me to my bete noire in the SE. I misread the clue at 52A as 1980 and had TUGS which completely flummoxed me in that corner

HONESTAGE? Couldn't figure it out.

I cherrypicked back through the Midlands and finally worked my way into the NW where SAAB ( I saw the commercials on TV) and PLO got me ACAPPELLA and the puzzle fell.

If I had read the clue at 52A correctly, I would have found my mistakes if if if If the dog hadn't stopped to S**T he would have caught the rabbit, too! But there you are

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

I felt DEEtermined but was in fact mizzled as I couldn't find my debriss.

Unknown 1:32 PM  

Hello all,

I just discovered Rex Parker's Blog and all these wonderful comments a couple of weeks ago and I love it.
I Used to be just a Sunday to Wednesday solver but have recently been able to cross the Thursday to Saturday hurdle.

I got Norwegian Blue right away thankfully, but then, since I filled in the -LOONS portion of the other long clue first, thought I was dealing with an avian theme. (Loons do splash when they land in the water, right?) I let go of it eventually but it had me thinking along the wrong track for a while.

My mispronunciation: bed-raggled for bedraggled.

Parshutr 1:42 PM  

@human beet box.
Par is the target score for an expert golfer.
Bogey (one over par) is the target score for the average golfer.
The true average for male golfers in the U.S. is just over 100, with conceded putts, lax rule adherence.
The club I belong to has 750 members, two of whom have handicaps of 0 or better.
The epitome is some guy in a golf cart, drinking beer and shooting 106.

fergus 1:46 PM  


Thought seriously about entering SCHNOZ before HONKER. Also, dropped in BOMBERS hastily, without reading the Clue properly. Not a good practice on any day.

Trying to come up with a more roundabout Clue for HONEST ABE ... and I'm getting no further than rail-splitting and log cabins.

Michael Chibnik 2:02 PM  

I got Ochs right away which probably means that my age can be guessed plus or minus five years. Perhaps the easiest Friday I've done...I got a bit slowed up with 2D and 19A with red in the clue for the down and the answer for across, which for some reason I thought violated crossword constructor convention.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Screamed through this one... Except, unlike the HONESTAGE people, and never having heard of the singer (I'm very bad with singers and popular music), I thought HOMESTAGE might be some kind of odd pre-civil war thing. Big oops. Beautifully constructed puzzle and a nice prelude to my 7:30 golf game. Excellent work (as usual) Wade.

imsdave, too lazy to log in.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

For all you Monty Python fans, my mom, Carol, was married to a man named Cleveland.
(I'll leave it at that)

Fabulous write-up!!!

@shamik, I made word for word your mistakes (TEARING for CHOKING, TUGS) + BEAST for BURRO yet still finished in record time and felt so proud till I came here as well!

Wow, you must have nerves of steel to be teaching a 15 yr old to drive (I initially had VEER ONTO bec of aforesaid BEAST/BURRO misstep) I still remember my mom (before she was Carol Cleveland)frantically pressing a non-existent brake on her side of the car.

Didn't know NITTI. LEONA.
SAAB I learned from this blog.
Agree that a model is way into the process of architecture...
My grandpa said "Myzlld" till the day he died, as it did sound more sinister than mis-led.

Fell for the whole EVADE to ELUDE to ELIDE which I also did on Merv Griffin's crosswords...which is somewhere on YouTube, along with Patrick Berry's big win that was just repeated yesterday.
I am too much of a luddite, but perhaps someone else can post the link to Patrick's show so you have a constructor video to go with the puzzle! This must be a big week for him!

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

I so don't know what any of this means. Just stopping by to give props to an old pal...and to say there are worse places you can be than in the can with Oscar.


RodeoToad 4:10 PM  

Yeah, many of you don't know that I made the NYTimes Bestseller list not too long ago . . .as a character on page 258 of Fussy's (aka Michelle Richmond's) "The Year of Fog." Noam, if you're out there and still interested in math, as I assume you are, check out Fussy's latest, "No One You Know." It's a literary mystery about math and coffee. It's also very good, though for some reason I don't get into the action until page 272. Editing error, I assume.

It probably counts as chatboard abuse to plug your friends' books (for the second time.) I get credit, though, for resisting the urge to invite you into an exciting business opportunity in my Amway distributorship. But if you care to meet me at Denny's . . . .

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

my bad...I got's Patrick Jordan on Merv YouTUbe, not Patrick Berry.
I confuse all the Patricks there's a Merrill too.
It's a block bec one of them wrote something mean about me years ago about my Britney Spears puzzle...

But let me take this time to give a shout out to my fave Patrick constructor: Mr. Blindauer who has yet another amazing puzzle in the NY Sun today!

ArtLvr 4:26 PM  

Just found out there was a solar eclipse this morning -- visible mainly from Siberia, however. Maybe something like that would have saved the Light Brigade?

My worst mispronunciation as a child, in class, was HORizon, as in horizontal. Not to mention trying to ask my parents about venerEEal diseases, at the breakfast table. Good thing that came up at home!


foodie 4:44 PM  

Wade, wow you have interesting friends! I've been wanting to read Michelle Richmond's book, the Year of Fog for a while, but kept thinking it might be too sad. But if you're in it, then I have to read it, and if fussy is your friend, then I'm sure she has a wonderful sense of humor.

@Fussy, I googled you and found out you were born in Demopolis, Ala. I spent my wedding night there, on the way from New Orleans to California (long story). That place had the nicest people, ever!

@Carla, how fun for you, to have (a) Carol Cleveland as a mom! That show was the best.

Leon 4:46 PM  

Great puzzle Mr. Berry.

Wade: This write-up will be hard to beet.

I had major "G" problems throughout. TUG for TUB and GETINTO for DUGINTO. Only the unwieldy TODLY and GAMPS prevented me from accepting EBOAT.

If you are choking up, do you SAAB ?

foodie 4:48 PM  

PS. That haircut is not a mullet. It's a pageboy. Very cute!

crackup 4:51 PM  

I thought it was a great write up, got 19A right away, think someone's spying on this blog?
Honey is a magical food!

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

Hi Foodie. Thanks for the note. I didn't live in Demopolis. I was only born there (parents stuck in town while my big sister was having surgery, another long story.)

But I have to give you cred for driving from New Orleans to California on your wedding night, or right after your wedding, or whenever it was. Long drives can be trying on a marriage.

Wade, you were supposed to be a bigger character in No One You Know, but somehow your part got left on the editing room floor. Next time, though, you're the villain. Or maybe the good guy. I haven't decided.

What I have decided is that this is a smart people blog all around. Even the comments are smart.

big love

fergus 5:04 PM  

Foodie, It's curious how you would be in Alabama heading from New Orleans to California? I guess you did say it was a long story.

Doug 5:06 PM  

Ah, I see that BxxxRxxx is the crossword equivalent of MACBETH! Och...the SCOTTISH PLAY! Och, the bloody root!

I love this site...Natick, root vegetable taboos, etc....

Was pleased to finish a Friday and to have a couple of strong gimmees. NORWEGIAN BLUE was a gimmee, and yes as I was a teen in the 1970s I can do the whole skit verbatim.

Nice puzzle--Enjoyed it thoroughly!

Rex Parker 5:47 PM  

Hey all,

Leaving Taupo now for Auckland, our final NZ destination. We head home on Tuesday, I think. Which may be Monday or Wednesday, or possibly Thursday, depending on the Hemisphereal + Intl Date Line conversion matrices.

No time to write proper commentary, so I'll just say: Patrick Berry is awesome. Yes. That's it. Pithy. Eloquent.


mac 7:50 PM  

@andrea: thanks for the shout-out, I'm on my way to the Sun puzzle!

@cheryl: love that bed-raggled thing, I am sure I had more problems than just Arkansas. I probably added a k-sound to Connecticut....

@Michelle/fussy: I'm on my way to Barnes and Noble to get one of your books to take on the trip that's starting tomorrow (party in Westchester, on to NY, very early morning flight to Vancouver). If you want to use Wade again in your books, make him a villain. In his comments and blogs he comes across as a sweetheart who likes to sound like a bad boy. Yesterday he had many of us worrying about his eating habits..... It's a good thing chefbea is on vacation, she probably would have sent some food!

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

Bed-raggled sounds much nicer than be-draggled. Maybe we should all adopt it.

Unknown 9:41 PM  

I didn't start the puzzle until after dinner and, being easily distracted at this time of day, detoured to locate the parrot sketch, found the script, spent a half hour re-enacting it and reminiscing about our favorite Monty Python bits. So, this was a terrific puzzle, finished quickly after the break. Seems easier than the standard Friday, except who is Nitti? -- never heard of him.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

Not sure anyone will read this -- it is getting late in some places.

@Andrea Carla- My nerves are becoming steelier each time I drive with him. I frequently find myself trying to convey the urgency of the situation but without yelling (STOP!! SLOW DOWN!!) and completely sending him into a panic and thereby risking bodily injury to us all. My mother told me the same story about her mother frantically attempting to hit an imaginary brake while driving with her. I will have to try that -- maybe it will make me feel as if I have some control, if only imaginary.


Anonymous 11:17 PM  

I learned about Frank Nitti from watching The Untouchables.


Anonymous 11:47 PM  

@ Cinedina, I'm still here!
I can't believe everything in the world is on the net!
@bruce I enjoyed the whole nitti gritty, thank you!
re Puzzle:
BEET RED on top of NORWEGIAN BLUE on top of PRIMES...too bad hornet wasn't YELLOW JACKET!

Anonymous 5:34 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. It was easy for a Friday's but Thursday's wiped me out and I longed for an easier one.\

But it was a fun one on Friday.

Not only are people on this blog smart, you are all HILARIOUS.

I can't wait to finish the puzzle so I can read the post by Rex or one of his appointed-puzzle-solvers and then the blogs. (And I do not cheat; I actually wait until the puzzle is finished.)

Kathy D.

Daryl 7:30 AM  

@shamik: a cappella, two 'p's, is Italian, one 'p' is Latin. Since it's a musical term you usually use the Italian.

A generally easy puzzle - I had TUGS for TUBS as well, but that was easily corrected. My main complaint was the HONKER/HORNET combination - CONKER is a perfectly good slang word for a schnozz, and for those of us not around in America in the 1970s, CORNET and HORNET sound like equally viable car model names - why not, since a cornet has pistons as well.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Seth/puzzle girl...Fess Parker is male. He played DANIEL Boone on TV and Davy Crockett in Disney movies.

Mike the Wino 4:05 PM  

Truly enjoyed this one, five weeks later than most of you...

I love all the mom, who is extremely well read, has always said enTREP-renewer (as in someone who renews enTREPS, whatever they are), for that founder of a risky business.


Anonymous 11:23 PM  

Oh, the sad day I was talking to a med school classmate who went to a much fancier college than I did and studied French to boot--and I said something-or-other about being plagued with a feeling of EN-U-EYE. (he got a real funny look on his face and said, "that's ohn-WEE" very kindly) I made a big effort some years later to take a year of French so I could face the world again with a modicum of confidence. I'm still blushing.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

I too always think of that Andy Griffith episode (Rafe Hollister) whenever i see the word "acappella" (14a)

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