FRIDAY, Oct. 24, 2008 -Frederick J. Healy (Subject of the 1989 musical monologue "Bon Appetit" / Obi accessory / Supporter of the mascot Handsome Dan)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

I have written on this puzzle "harder than tomorrow's," if that's any consolation.

Even though I began with a rash of gimmes - first MAEVE (48A: Novelist Binchy), then KATEY (50A: "Married ... With Children" actress Sagal) then YALIE (51D: Supporter of the mascot Handsome Dan) - it took me longer to do this Friday puzzle than it does most Saturdays. The big problem was the NW, where the Downs just smacked me around, and the Acrosses (as clued) weren't any great help either. I tried to back into the quadrant via the back end of 6D: One whose lead is followed in the service, but wrote in PASTOR instead of CANTOR. That's what I get for growing up heathen, I guess. I don't think I've ever seen DNAS pluralized like that (10D: Strands of biology), which is why I didn't instantly write it in upon seeing "strands" in the clue. Guessed JULIA CHILD (1A: Subject of the 1989 musical monologue "Bon Appétit"), finally, from a smattering of crosses I managed to scare up, and that got the ball rolling pretty well. I am very familiar with IRON MAIDEN in both its heavy metal and dungeon-dwelling forms, and yet 15A: Old torturer did little to clue me in. But those Downs, ugh. JIMA (1D: Chichi-_____ (largest of Japan's Bonin Islands))!?! INRO (4D: Obi accessory)!?!?!? AMOUR clued in non-French fashion (5D: Reason for a tryst)? It was a bloodbath up there. Can't believe I've seen a billion OBIS and never even heard of INRO. Wow. Still reeling from that. Still, somehow JULIA CHILD makes everything OK. You can have all your contemporary, blow-dried celebrity chefs - this woman rules:

There was some iffiness here and there in this puzzle - to my ear, anyway. TIES A KNOT (41A: Does some macrame work)?!?! Why not EATS A SANDWICH or PETS A FERRET? Those are phrases too? Does TIES A KNOT cohere as a stand-alone phrase, worthy of crossword inclusion? You decide (I'm sorry, the answer is "no"). And TINY TOTs (25D: One taking a first step) are candies, aren't they? Hmmm, I can't find evidence for that. Just sounds a lot like something I would have bought at the corner 7-11 when I was circa 7-11. A TOT is already TINY. I see TINY TOTs as a cutesy name for a diaper service, a pre-school, an awesome 50-year-old kids' book. The clue just seems too literal and plain to accommodate this level of sucrosity.

The SE was simple - a bunch of easy Downs helped me go through it like a buzzsaw. FONZ (55D: Sitcom guy with a frequently upturned thumb), ERGO (56D: Sum lead-in), RIEN (57D: Zip around France?) and SERE (58D: Sun-damaged) all came one after the other, with almost no hesitation between answers. Helped offset the agony of the NW, somewhat. The other corners had some serious thorniness as well. In the SW, the long Downs were Really hard to get from the bland one- and two-word clues, and the easy Acrosses were filled out the quadrant only sparsely. Had TULIP for OXLIP (34A: Yellow primrose) - I know, stupid, but it ended in -IP and that's all that came to mind. Also had STES and then ILES for LACS (59A: Geneve and others). In the NE, one serious error - MACY for SAKS (11A: Gimbel contemporary) - had me stalled badly for a while, primarily because the "C" from "MACY" gave me CARL (not the proper KARL) MALDEN, which I didn't question (13D: Warden player in "Birdman of Alcatraz"). Ooh, PR MEN hurt me too (43A: Guys who make people look good). Difficulty is not bad this late in the week. All in all, a very good Saturday puzzle - the little guy just got lost, apparently.

Here's an interesting phenomenon - 36A: Oscar winner after "Rocky" ("Annie Hall") - should probably have been more specifically clued as [Best Picture winner...], as "Rocky" won multiple Oscars. And yet, the very next Across answer prevents [Best Picture] from being in the clue for "ANNIE HALL" - 38A: Tops (the best). I love "Manhattan" above every other movie ever made, by Woody or anyone, but this one scene from "ANNIE HALL" is enough to put it among my all-time favorites (and there are many such scenes ... "I'm into leather" ... any scene with Walken ... etc.):


  • 17A: Country whose capital is Palikir (Micronesia) - never heard of Palikir, and wasn't completely certain that MICRONESIA constituted a country.
  • 18A: Union member of the future: Abbr. (terr.) - ???? Not necessarily.
  • 20A: Company that developed NutraSweet (Searle) - isn't this the company Rumsfeld ran? Yes! Man, I love when my memory works.
  • 26A: Jung's feminine side (anima) - Latin for "soul"; I know a medievalist named "Jung" - I don't know what she calls her feminine side. Perhaps "Leslie" or "Barbara."
  • 44A: View from the Arlberg Pass (Alp) - I'll take your word for it
  • 54A: Mass stack (wafers) - not BIBLES
  • 64A: Target of un coup (état) - accurate enough, but feels weird, butchering the phrase "coup d'état" like this. Who will stand up for the "d'"?
  • 2D: "O'Hara's Choice" novelist, 2003 (Uris) - who, he wrote a novel this century? Wow. I know that O'Hara was a novelist ... but that has nothing to do with this answer. I had to guess this one from crosses.
  • 12D: 1992 film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos ("American Me") - Commander Adama!
  • 27D: Sexy numbers (hot tamales) - just a fantastic answer
  • 35D: Family of 18th- and 19th-century painters (Peales) - never heard of 'em. Looks like a name someone might have ... crosses were easy.
  • 42D: Seraglio section (oda) - Old Skool crosswordese.
  • 46D: Home of the University of Delaware (Newark) - this seems like a joke
  • 47A: Bit of biblical graffiti (mene) - when I was a teen, I received a book from my grandma called "MENE, MENE, Tekel." I never read it, but I sure remember the title.
  • 53D: High-end shoe and handbag maker (Tods) - once again, I had No Clue. TODS, PEALES, INRO ... I really got smacked around.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[PuzzleHusband in throes of conversion]


Orange 9:21 AM  

You may be thinking of Tart 'N' Tinys, Rex. Ooh, look, that same nostalgic candy page has those satellite wafer flying saucers. I think they're essentially communion wafers sandwiched together with little balls of candy inside.

RodeoToad 9:24 AM  

I think one of the definitions of MICRONESIA is "forgetting about small countries."

I got maybe half this puzzle. If that. I thought I was off and running with MAEVE and ANNIE HALL and FONZ. The joke was on me. Was trying to fit "doppelganger" into DEAD RINGER's squares for a long time. Misspelled KATEY. Had OUR GOD instead of CANTOR (after considering PASTOR.) Had ARDOR instead of AMOUR. AMERICANOS instead of AMERICAN ME. Finally the puzzle and I just agreed to disagree. Agree that TINY TOTS and TIES A KNOT are not good. Not good.

Rex Parker 9:25 AM  



Thank you. Now I can rest my brain.


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

google-fest for me. I did maybe half the puzzle before searching for MAEVE, KATEY, ANNIEHALL, ALP, SEARLE, AMERICANME, and NEWARK. ALP seemed pretty obvious, but when it didn't get me any crosses, I was suspicious. I knew KATEY phonetically, but couldn't spell it. Eventually all the googling paid off, though, and several answers I shouldn't have known fell into place (MICRONESIA, KARLMALDEN, YALIE). WTF award goes to TODS.

JHHESQ 9:29 AM  

Had ARTIST for 52A "record list" which gave me VISTA which seemed plausible enough. Just couldn't nail down the answer for Berth, and it made me crazy that I couldn't figure out what a SLEEPETCAR was.

Is the rating of "Challenging" more difficult that "Difficult"?

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Is there a STRIKEZONE in a sport other than baseball? If not, the clue for STRIKEZONE makes NO sense at all. It's not at all a thing to swing from. If anything, it's a thing to swing THROUGH.

imsdave1 9:39 AM  

Medium for me. The NW was not a problem as I started with the 3 letter downs which got me 1A and 15A. With JIM in place, JIMA (as in our old favorite Iwo) gave me the A for ASKOUT and so the corner was finished quickly. I think AMOUR has become a part of our language, but I'm sure the purists will enlighten me. Knowing KARLMALDEN, and knowing how to spell KARL are two different things. I did Rex's MACY and STES (the mind is a funny thing, I was sure the clue was Genevieve). Totally agree with the missing D with ETAT. I don't think I would ever say, "let's overthrow state'. That really needs the 'the'.

Sorry I missed the musical discussion yesterday.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

I'm Jewish and I put PASTOR in first before going with CANTOR. The CANTOR generally chants and the congregation listens; when it is time to join in, the congregation generally knows, and the CANTOR doesn't have to give directions. I figured that the PASTOR, leading by example, is the one who is followed by the congregation. MAEVE was not a gimme for me at all; I've never heard of her. Generally, a tough Fri., but mostly fair. Re STRIKE ZONE: If you're swinging from the STRIKE ZONE, that means you're standing right where the ball is pitched. That's going to hurt!

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Agree with Chris. Had exactly the same reaction to STRIKEZONE.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Micronesia is one my favorite words to say in a faux British accent.

NitPicker 10:20 AM  

In the IRONMAIDEN space, I had both INQUISITOR and TORQUEMADA, both very Jewish answers to torturer. But then I did get CANTOR.

Unknown 10:26 AM  

jhhesq -- there is no "difficult" rating in the difficulty rating ... it's easy, medium, challenging or some combination of two.

gotcookies 10:33 AM  

Wow. Totally defeated by this puzzle. Also thought I was doing well when I got KATEY, MAEVE, MICRONESIA, and ANNIEHALL...but then I got stumped. What exactly does OMN stand for (24D)? I'm not familiar with that.

Ulrich 10:35 AM  

@wade: Now I'll never forget Micronesia again--IWGA.

Tough puzzle for me--got the SW and NE stacks after a struggle, and Annie Hall is my favorite Allen movie. But needed to google to get footholds in the NW and SE, even with the gimmie FONZ. As a former catholic, I too started with inquisitor at 15A, and when that didn't work, had no plan B. I hate that clue: The iron maiden is an instrument, not a person, and therefore cannot do anything on its own, as the clue suggests.

imsdave1 10:38 AM  

@steve - lest we forget (a Saturday morning that will live in infamy for me), the 'infernal' rating given to this one:

Kirk 10:54 AM  

Lake Geneva is known as Lac Léman to most francophones. I've never heard it called "Lac Genève."

ArtLvr 10:57 AM  

It does help to do xwords every day -- I started with ROBOT and the recently-seen OMN descending from the second O. Then BEATNIK, not that it was all smooth sailing from there, far from it...

I'd looked up OXLIP and cowslip for something else, so that was handy! Still, I had no idea about MAEVE or KATEY OR AMERICANME, so I ended up checking several of the answers in google.

I lived in Geneve years ago, and while I know its lake is often called the same I think the actual name is Lac Leman. I didn't look that up... Would guess the foreign fill stacked in the SW was tricky for some?

My favorite was MENE clued as [Bit of Biblical graffiti], and I also liked DEADRINGER... not so amused with RIEN as [Zip around France]. Last thought: wasn't SLEEPERCAR better known as a sleeping car, back in the day?

EXHILIARATE was nice to see, though not applying to my mood... In sum, much was good, but overall not THEBEST for me!

JannieB 10:59 AM  

Uncle! Challenging indeed.

The SE fell first, then the SW - except for "TODS" (WTF?!?!?!?), then the NW and last the NE. Tried "Royal Us" for "WE", Macy for Saks, "tap" for CAM (which still makes no sense). Still don't understand "MENE". Just plain nasty.

ArtLvr 11:05 AM  

@ gotcookies -- OMN is the abbreviation for Latin OMNIA or another form of same meaning "all".

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

First the bad news - finally had to throw in the towel on this one.
The good news - thanks to this blog(I'm sure) it's been months since I've had to say that.
Oxlip has to be the ugliest name for a flower. Yuck.
Lots of unknowns to me - mene?
Maeve? Abd all the ones Rex mentioned. A humbling puzzle.
Guess we had this one coming.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

MUCH relieved to see this listed as 'challenging'--with agreements from the bloggers--I was embarrassed at how many Googles I resorted to.

Ulrich 11:07 AM  

@jannieb: Here's the whole story--it's easier to give you the link than retell it.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Agree w/ challenging,
A great start --- first entry was JULIACHILD, and checking with a couple of NW down gimmes, that corner fell fast.

Then ARTIST ARRESTed my progress in the SW, and couldn't MACY out of my mind for the longest time.

I do have a problem with 54A clued as *Mass Stack*. If it is referring to the communion wafers used at Mass, they don't come in *stacks* (take it from a former altarboy).

These are not Pringles, Necco Candy, or Oreos.

I find the clue a bit demeaning, but at least it wasn't clued as *Mass sNacks*.


Agree with you, can't find a *definition* for OMN (unless it's an abbr for OMNI, which makes as much sence as JUN for JUNE).

Every source I checked has q.(quaque) for every, as in q.d. (quaque die or every day).

Anyone help us out??


In previewing, saw your OMN = OMNIA, as in ALL. That causes me to balk even more at the cluing. Big difference in perscriptions calling for dosing ALL day, vrs EVERY day.

Unless ALL = EVERY (for small valyes of all?) ;).


Anonymous 11:19 AM  

make that *small VALUES*


PhillySolver 11:20 AM  

From the Book of Daniel...
24 “Then the hand was sent from Him and this inscription was written out. 25 “Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.’ 26 “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. 27 “ ‘TEKEL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. 28 “ ‘PERES’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.

I found this one challenging indeed, but finishing it almost made up for last night's Philly's game.

Jeffrey 11:22 AM  

Well thank goodness for MAEVE and my inability to spell EXHILARATE or One-mistake-per-day week would have been spoiled by a perfect Friday.

Unsatisfying experience today. Just a blah. not sure why. Nothing I particularily like or hate about it.

Wait. It does have the Fonz. Nothing reminds me more of the 70s than the show about the 50s. AYYYYYYYYYYY. That's like accordian word you can expand to fit the number of letters required.

Why do I feel ANNIE HALL is only in the puzzle so Andrea can tell us a Woody Allen story?

PuzzleGirl 11:27 AM  

Well, I finished the whole puzzle, but that NE corner gave me fits. I gave up before figuring out that HATER should have been SATAN. Oops, and I just found another mistake. I thought "Target of a coup" was going to be either TSAR or CZAR, so filled in the -AR and never changed it. Oh well. I'm happy to have gotten as close as I did.

At first I had BIBLES for WAFERS and then couldn't get "The Beav" out of my head long enough to even think of the FONZ.

Not sure how REMITS = Postponed, but I suppose I can go look it up.

I guess I thought AMOUR was okay because TRYST is French? Did I make that up?

Love seeing HOT TAMALES. And any puzzle that includes BEATNIK is cool with me.

P.S. PuzzleHusband is thrilled -- THRILLED -- to be featured on the blog. ;-)

JannieB 11:33 AM  

@Ulrich and Philly - thanks. I knew the clue referred to the writing on the wall - but never can remember what was actually written. For awhile I tried INRI - the inscription on the cross, just because I "knew" that.

poc 11:35 AM  

I don't have a quarrel with TIE A KNOT, but I had TODDLER for TINY TOT for a while, TORQUEMADA for IRON MAIDEN (the clue implies it's a person, so iffy), ANITA (Jung) for ANIMA, AMERICANOS for AMERICAN ME, so couldn't fill in MENE, PRMEN and HARM, but I managed to fix it all (except the last) with only one Google (KATEY, sorry but I never watched that show).

gotcookies 11:44 AM  

@ artlvr and anonymous 11:15--Thanks for clearing up the OMN dilemma. I still agree with anonymous about the difference between ALL day vs EVERY day. Quite an important distinction there...

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

At 33A, is CAM some sort of abbreviation for camera? If not, then I do not understand.

thornibus 12:24 PM  

27D I had HOTTA MALES - never heard that expression. It helps to have coffee first

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

As much as I love seeing BEATNIK, I wish it had been clued better. There are so many possibilities!

"Go away."
"But your souls are in danger."
"Our lives are in danger, you beatnik."

Orange 12:26 PM  

I know Rex frowns upon discussion here of other puzzles, but Ulrich, don't miss this week's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle. You can download it at or via a Puzzle Pointers page.

I just checked my Stedmans' Medical Dictionary, and OMN. isn't in there by itself. There's omn. hor., meaning "every hour," but I'm thinking that's only going to show up in hospital-based prescriptions.

dk 12:40 PM  

In my past it was PRN not OMN. I had hottickets for a while and I could not get EXHILERATE because of the heretofor unknown OXLIP.

It sounds like we all looked like puzhuz this am.

Great ANNIEHALL clip. My other favorite line is when Annie parks the car and Woody states: "I think I can walk to the curb from here."

Greene 12:44 PM  

Well, it serves me right for saying yesterday was easy. This puzzle just TIES [me into] A KNOT and kicks me squarley in the SAKS. And those were answers that I got. Otherwise it was a googlefest followed by defeat. Hope Rex is right about tomorrow being a bit easier.

@Rex: I agree about "Manhattan." It's Woody's finest film, not the least because of the wonderful Gershwin songs woven throughout the soundtrack. I know you're no lover of musicals and this film is not remotely a musical, but you've got to admit the Gershwin numbers add greatly to the tone and atmosphere of the piece.

I should have tuned into the blog last night. Great fun and completely off topic. I read it all this morning and IWGA. Really helped me recover from today's puzzle

Late note to Andrea: I met Lithgow once briefly after a performance of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrals." He turned in a fine comedic performance that had the audience in stitches all night. Afterwards he was exceedingly gracious and charming -- signed an autograph for my daughter and gave her a T-shirt. I laughed about the cheating story, but I figure you have to have an ego the size of Everest to face 1700 people night after night for a living. Maybe he just can't accept defeat. BTW, I'm ready for your one-woman show. I vote you do it at Lincoln Center on the nights "South Pacific" is dark.

bigredanalyst 1:12 PM  

First time poster but long-time reader of the blog; I only do the Fri, Sat and Sun puzzles.

I also found this to be very challenging; definitely a Saturday puzzle for me. Needed about six Googles to finish.

anonymous; CAM is a common computer term for "camera" as in Web-cam. But I was stumped by the cluing .

mac 1:21 PM  

Challenging allright! I think I had most of the problems described before, by everybody!

Julia Child and Micronesia came immediately, as did robot and Saks, and I remember thinking: this is too easy for a Friday. HA.

I thought it was Todd.
Forgot about the oxlip.
Admen / pr men
Kathy / Katey
Tried to think up some tribe for 32D.
Sons / sibs

Didn't know inro, oda, American Me and Searle.

What a great beast this was.

Funny about all the names for Lake Geneva. I think the German speakers call it Genfer See. (Ulrich?).

@Thornibus: your avatar looks exactly like my late Abbie.

Gotta pack.

Spencer 1:24 PM  

Rex, Orange -- NEWARK, Delaware is pronounced New Ark, in contrast to the more well-known city in NJ. That one was a gimme for me, because I visited the U of D some years back, and the unique pronunciation stuck in my head.

This puzzle beat me up. Over 40 minutes, and a couple of Googles (KATEY, for sure, I needed to google, and the spelling of EXHILARATE).

I had OXEYE, but that made SY__ where I wanted SIBS. Finally remembered OXLIP.

Did you know that both JULIACHILD and JAMESBEARD have the same number of letters and both start and end with the same letters, and are both foodies? Why could I not remember JULIA? :-(

The applet on my Mac often cuts a couple of letters off the end of clues. Thus, I was looking for a country whose capital was "Palik". Google failed meter, but eventually it just "came" to me.

SoWal Beach Bum 1:36 PM  

A charming detail of Child's real (as opposed to TV) kitchen was a wall of pegboard, with garage-style outlines of the cooking gadgets to be hung from the pegs. A place for everything, etc. (a bit like xworld).

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Wow am I glad to come here to learn that this puzzle was as difficult for (almost) everybody as it was for me. I did finish but totally guessed on the M at REMITS/OMN. @puzzlegirl: I, too, don't get the Postpones clue. @gotcookies, @anon 11:15 &artlvr: I didn't know OMN and couldn't find a definition for it.

@Andrea: your comments yesterday were hilarious ... I would definitely attend your show. And I will never look at John Lithgow quite the same from now on.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Ame to all of the above. I found this puzzle rather difficult -- just the way I like them.

I had put in ALPHAMALES for 27D, and when the crosses forced me to the correct HOTTA MALES, I was confused for awhile. And until I read Rex's comments, I thought the Olmos film, 12D, was "America 'n' Me"!

Finally, I thought I had a grasp of English, but had no idea "remit" could mean 31A Postpone. A quick look at Google (only after finishing the puzzle) shows that "remit" has at least nine different meanings, sdeven of which I was unaware of!

Bob Kerfuffle

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

That is, "Amen to all of the above."

(gotta learn to type.) And "seven meanings.

Bob K

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Wowee! A pummeling! Mainly because I couldn’t get my own sexual perversions out of my mind I guess. SMUT alert! Wanted to force sadist for 11D and could not get Sixtynines out of my mind for 27D. I feel so dirty.
Katie for Katey and a variety of Eli’s and Elihu then Yalee has that corner over inked to saturation.
I think I am the only person I know who finds Woody Allen films redundant. They all seem to be about some homely neurotic guy who scores the hot chick.

chefbea 2:35 PM  

Boy was that tough!!! Had to google a lot and then come here to finnish.I had macy instead of saks.

There is a nursery school in Riverside , ct called Tiny Tots.

Welcome bigredanalyst.

Was glad to see the fonz..Have you all seen the Political spot with Opie and the Fonze??

zeitguy 2:54 PM  

I don't think anyone mentions this, but Peale was the portrait artist whom we thank for our dollar bill likeness of Geo Washington. Peale had 17 children, includting Raphael Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Rubens Peale, and Titian Peale. Hard to estimate the damage such naming did on the offspring, but they were a family of painters.

Side note: I used to read this blog regularly when I used to cheat doing the Xwords but now that I can get through most of them without help I don't come by so much. But I enjoy the writing here...jokes and insights both.

SethG 2:56 PM  

Si difficile!

See, in French that means that this was not easy. I've decided to learn French because apparently I need to--no idea today about RIEN or LACS after yesterday's E-TOILETS... Aside from English, I only speak the language of AMOUR.

I agree with chris and steve l and Norm that STRIKE ZONE makes no sense, and I'm pretty sure there's no country called MICRONESIA. That's a region; the country is the Federated States thereof.

No idea about VESTA, TODS, Seraglio, ODA, INRO, MAEVE, Vitiate, PEALES, OXLIP. And one gets tired of pharmaceutical abbreviations one doesn't know--can someone put a list together for one to memorize?

To end on an up note, I'll leave you with my favorite KARL MALDEN.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

After about 50 minutes of head-scratching and erasures, I completed the the kitchen table, nowhere near my computer. What an ego boost, to read here that so many of the stalwarts had resorted to Professor Google! Today's mental gymnastics will have burned far more than ONECALORIE.

Mike the Wino 3:22 PM  

I blew through the NW, with JULIACHILD the very first thing I wrote in, then HIE, IDS and LEI, which allowed me a quick guess of MICRONESIA and URIS.....the whole corner was done before my chicken fried steak and scrambled eggs showed up at the table, less than 5 minutes after I ordered them. Then it took awhile before I came across the FONZ, which along with NET and EAR gave me STRIKEZONE. Then I went to la-la land.

As far as OMN is concerned, we had this exact same discussion back on OCT 10th. I found these terms:

Omni biduo (Omn. bid.) - Every two days
Omni bihorio - Every two hours
Omni hora - Every hour
Omni mane - Every morning
Omni nocte - Every night

on this site:

Notice the first one shows the abbreviation "Omn. bid." But the bottom line is, doctors rarely use Latin anymore, so this is surely archaic and should (may)be so indicated?

BTW, I've seen the abbr. "IWGA" twice here in the last couple days. What does it mean?

RodeoToad 3:25 PM  

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN is also a Borges story. Borges is a great writer. I know that because the New York Review of Books says he is.

JoefromMtVernon 3:35 PM  

Well, I didn't beat yeaterday's time today. Resisted any temptation to google, guessed at the 7 or so blank letters, and got all but 3.

I had resits for remits (not a pharmacist, so osn and omn are unknown) ida for oda (thus knit instead of knot) and vespa instead of vesta (Probably thinking of Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa in Spaceballs). Etat is state; I thought a coup is against a leader.

I found the SW hardest, exilarate sprung out, but guessed at hot tamales and the rest eventually (10 minutes later) fell. First wrote Macy at 11 down, saw the c, and thought of Karl Malden, and knew Macy was wrong. I guess on Monday, it would have been Macy.

I'm rambling, sorry. It's been a good week. Maybe I'm finally closing in on Rex (only 2,534,017 places behind him!)

Good weekend all!


Orange 3:40 PM  

Mike the Wino, I'm a medical editor. What's standard terminology for my client is q2h for "every two hours." I've never encountered "omn." in a prescription abbreviation in the papers I edit. The common ones: bid = twice a day, tid = three times a day, qd = each day, qid = four times a day, prn = as needed, po = by mouth, q_h = every _ hours. Those are all abbreviations of Latin terms, and docs use 'em all the time. But "omn."? Maybe that one is archaic.

As for IWGA, I said I had not LOLed at something, but that I was genuinely amused by it. People extracted the abbreviation from that.

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

I'm surprised there isn't more outrage over the strike zone clue. I'm not exaggerating much when I say that it was the worst crossword clue I've ever seen in any crossword ever. I actually yelled "WHAT THE *&^%?!???!" when I finally got the answer. It just doesn't make any goddamn sense. The strike zone is over home plate! You want to swing from home plate? I hope you're wearing a cup. Honestly, how could anyone who knows anything about baseball read that clue and not feel this way?

mac 3:43 PM  

@mike the wino: it means "I was greatly amused" and the creator was trying to be honest about not really LingOL. I think it works great, IWGA or IAGA.

Two Ponies 4:13 PM  

@ orange, thank you for jumping in on the medical abbrev's. I was in medicine over half of my life and Q was the standard for Every in all normal situations. That clue/answer has been really nagging at me.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

Not a very enjoyable puzzle; still don't understand how REMITS = postpones and if the constructor thinks Tods is Upscale, he might venture into SAKS w/its own zipcode
for authentic upscale shoes!!!

thebubbreport 4:37 PM  

I'm a shoe freak, but I had CHOO in there until the bitter end; I thought about DIOR but they are more known for clothes than shoes and bags. Also, TOD'S used to be known as J.P. Tod's. Right now, Gwenyth Paltrow is doing a major campaign for Tod's, for those of you who don't looks at the ads in your NYTimes.

Why GIMBEL and SAKS? Isn't the store GIMBELS? Why wouldn't it be SAK or MACY (if those were actual people, I'm not sure).

I have a masters in landscape architecture and I have NEVER heard of OXLIP!
This puzzle kicked my butt. Especially after the rest of the puzzles this week were pretty easy.

Mike the Wino 4:52 PM  

Orange, my wife is a nurse, and the last time this came up, the first thing she said is exactly what you said. Then she recalled seeing something once about "omni nocte", and that is what led me to search for it. I called our local pharmacist, and she said she hadn't heard the term since med school, and that she was "old"! ;>}

Thanks to you and Mac for the explanation regarding IWGA. I like it!

RodeoToad 5:00 PM  

Man, that anonymous dude at 3:42 is seriously angry. Right on! From now on, when I'm mad, instead of cussing I'm going to just yell, "Asterisk caret symbol percentage sign! Pound funny foreign symbol!"

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Still fuzzy on REMITS. Just finished reading the new John Le Carre, and on page 314, ran into "Their remit...was to stay inside their car until...".

HudsonHawk 5:38 PM  

A nicely challenging Friday, but happy to say it didn't kill me, other than my personal little Natick moment at the intersection of MAEVE and VESTA. Agree completely with the complaints about the cluing for STRIKEZONE. Just horribly, horribly wrong.

@Bubb, SAKS was founded by Andrew Saks, so the clue is OK. I wanted MACY but didn't fill it in as the Y wouldn't likely work with either the S or T in 16A (figured it had to be AMAS or AMAT).

miriam b 6:41 PM  

A variety of foreign words today, which I like to see: French, Spanish, Latin, Japanese, and whatever languages ODA and MENE come from. Movie titles sometimes bother me, but I got the ones in the puzzle via crosses. This was a toughie, but I saw it through though at times I thought I'd have to Google.

I was a little unhappy about SLEEPERCARS; agree with ArtLvr (I think it was) that sleeping cars is the better designation. In fact, there once was a union called The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters which eventually merged with other transportation unions.

I have to finish preparing dinner now. Aferwards, we'll try to burn at least ONECALORIE. For the curious, it's tofu and green peas in a sauce composed of onions, garlic, pulverized walnuts, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and pomegranate molasses, garnished with fresh cilantro (if my alpha cat Iris hasn't chewed up my plant) and served over basmati rice.

If you care.

Unknown 6:56 PM  

Finished with help of husband and looking up vitiate in the dictionary. I tried to go to the atlas for Bonin Islands and got distracted for a good twenty minutes and then discovered it didn't name the individual islands.

Similar struggles as everyone else, as well as for 28d. At one point I had the __HILA_ATE, new that philatelists collect stamps, and tried to make a verb out of it so that it would fit for send.

Aphilitate. Yep, I tried to justify it to myself in desperation.
Feel free to mock my insanity.

Feel like I went 10 rounds with Rocky on this one, but in a good way.

ArtLvr 8:45 PM  

Re: The Brotherhood of SLEEPING CAR Porters who gained recognition in 1925 as a legitimate labor union, the first major one with predominately black members. Founded by A Philip Randolph (1889-1969) after a ten-year struggle against all-white unions, it went on to represent "red caps" not only in the U.S. but across Canada too. By 1959-1960, Randolf was a major figure in the civil rights struggle and was included as speaker in the Yale series "Challenge" I've mentioned before... Thank you, MiriamB, for bringing it all back!

Thanks to Zeitguy too for elabarating on the amazing Early American family of artists, the PEALES -- Maryland-born Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827) was the self-taught patriarch who had the 17 children over the course of three marriages, many of them artists, but his younger brother James was no slouch either, producing six children of whom five were also accomplished artists and four of those were women! Portraiture was in high demand, but Charles and James were versatile and did scenes of the Revolutionary War and other landscapes, plus still-life works, as did all the artistic offspring and even some wives who married into the clan... As mind-blowing a gifted kinship as ever was!


ArtLvr 8:49 PM  

I meant "elaborating" ...

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

I breezed through this puzzle except for getting stuck a bit on 45A "Applied, as paint" (I was sure the answer was daubed). The whole trick is not to be too well educated (Torquemada, doppelganger never came to mind). Streamline those overambitious brain cells and you too can be a crossword hot tamale!

fergus 9:26 PM  

I reluctantly put in LACS since I thought the proper name was Lac Leman, and that Lake Geneva was kinda unofficial. With R_M_TS it had to be remits, which I did look up. After all the normal stuff, then the legal, it becomes Postpone due to the legal back and forth, which keeps delaying the proceedings.

I wonder whether the philosophy professor John SEARLE is eminent enough to get a Clue in the puzzle? He seemed so even when I took his courses in the late 70s and it seems his fame has only grown. Maybe I'm just being a little provincial.

Very reluctant to fill in the MICRO part of NESIA since I was pretty sure that that was just a designation, not a true country with a capital. I wonder when the nation came about?

And yeah, this was the tough one I was looking for after yesterday's pretend Thursday. All I had for a while was AMA_, ROBOT and WAFERS. The Boswash corridor was my most intractable region. Very satisfyingly tough, though, not goofball.

foodie 9:39 PM  

I came home after a very long and busy day and found that husband had neatly folded the paper and left me some suggested answers near the various clues... which was was highly unusual. Except, bless him, almost every answer was wrong:

ABBOTT in lieu of SEARLE
MACY instead of SAKS
KATIE instead of KATEY
ESSO instead of HESS
He did give me ROBOT for ROBOT.

I got myself mostly sorted out without googling (or other "help") except in HESS, OXLIP area and was too tired to keep trying, so came here.

Husband will be pleased to know he did not mislead me much, as the pros made the same errors. But it was so weird to see a photo of Puzzle Husband in conversion: is this stuff catching?

Michael Chibnik 10:14 PM  

I got all but one letter, but I had to put the puzzle down for several hours and then come back to it. I missed the p in oxlip/peales; this was a Natick for me.

The strike zone answer doesn't make much sense to me.

I don't think of Micronesia as a country; it seems more like an area of the Pacific -- e.g., Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia.

The only meaning of remit I know is to send money back home, but I see unsurprisingly that postpone and numerous other things are alternative meanings.

mac 10:34 PM  

@foodie: it has happened in my house also; I will leave a half-filled out puzzle on the table and go out to do errands, and when I come back there are a few extra answers filled in! I think the difference is that we get excited when the puzzle is tough, they call it nonsense when they get stuck....

I heard a new word, or what I think is a new word, on David Gregory's show this evening: externalities. I'm going to look it up right now.

mac 10:41 PM  

O wow, it is a word. I think the speaker didn't use it in this context, though. I learned another word today.

Got to go to sleep, we're leaving at 5.45.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

I liked this puzzle with it's squishy clues - i was luck in that I reached for cantor before all the other possibilities - got stuck on Macy before thinking of Saks and was lost on Artist instead of Arrest for 52 until forcing it with Sleeper Car and seeing arrest jump off the page. Never heard of Tods and agree that Strike zone is a stretch. But all in all - a good Friday puzzle.

fergus 11:14 PM  


I am totally astounded (IATA) at your lack of familiarity with the term Externalities. (You know I don't say this derisively.) Externalities are what every economist uses to justify, despite the lapses and the incoherence, of his or her pet theory. It is also, within any context, completely legitimate, since there will never be a true measure of the cost or the benefit of anything. Can you see why I was drawn to this discipline despite knowing that as a science Economics is pretty much total bullshit?

foodie 11:40 PM  

@fergus, you're being hard on your field. Almost every field, except may be the purest of math, throws in a fudge factor. In trying to understand the genetics of an illness, a trait or a behavior, we throw in "the environment" and it can be anything, from how much fish oil you ate to how much your mother hugged you, to how your brain is wired to perceive your mother's hugs.

I had heard the term, but like Mac thought it was somehow made up. I just looked it up. Thank you mac, and happy travels!

PS. You're right, the difference between the solvers and the non-solvers is whether challenge leads to a dismissive response.

fergus 12:24 AM  

While I am so tempted to launch into a comparative analysis of why the Economics 'fudge factor' is a standard deviation or two beyond those of the hard sciences, I only have ten minutes before I have to go out. Another time perhaps. And if you're interested, the Economics profession is getting a good psychological jolt these days from the behavioralists challenging the strict mathematicians. Somewhere in "The Nation" there was an incisive summary not too long ago.

fergus 12:55 AM  

... and since my ride is late,
here's the start of a little gem
about prepositions that I dredged
up for the second graders today:

in on into over
above about around across
beneath between
before below beside ...

et cetera

If I recall correctly, there were 47 of them to both complete the jingle and cover that part of speech.

Bix2012 12:16 PM  

Kudos again, Sir Rex--this was a toughie, alright--especially for my merely adequite noggin. TINY TOTS & DNAS really got me.

Again, great work, Rex--and again, thanks--your blog is always appreciated.

Chip Hilton 2:23 PM  

First time poster. Thanks, Rex, for greatly increasing my NYT puzzle pleasure. Happy to hear of the shared angst over this one. NE corner hammered me but good. Being a non-Google puzzler, I admitted defeat after a fun battle. Again, thanks, and Go, Phillies.

thebubbreport 3:30 PM  

Hudson Hawk, thanks for the SAKS explanation! I didn't know that.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

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