SATURDAY, Dec. 27, 2008 - Karen M. Tracey (Track gold medalist in three 1920s Olympics / Deep-blue alpine flower / Anchorman, briefly?)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hi, everybody, PuzzleGirl here — did you miss me? (Correct answer: "Were you gone?") It's always a pleasure to fill in for the traveling Rex Parker and to hang out with you guys talking about our common OBSESSION (29D: Hard drives?). Pretty good segue, right? So here we go....

Today's themeless puzzle by the lovely and talented Karen M. Tracey is what I'm sure some of you will call "tough but doable." That's certainly how it was for me. I plodded through almost the whole thing in a little over half an hour, then erased and rewrote a bunch of stuff in the Northern California area, which eventually all came together. That was a tough little spot right there! I originally had host for (24A: Party leader), which I thought was pretty clever. If only it hadn't also been ... wrong. I was on the right track with the tricky 24D: Bit of a shock?, but with the H in place for host, I guessed the answer must be hair. Wrong again. So, yeah, took a while to get everything untangled over there. But untangle it I did and, seriously, for anyone that's new to crosswords and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by late-week puzzles — Don't Despair! I wouldn't have finished this puzzle a year ago. No question about it. The only reason I can sometimes finish Friday and Saturday puzzles is because I've been diligent about doing a lot of puzzles over the last year. And speaking of Finnish, let's run down ...

The Tough Stuff:

  • 27D: Track gold medalist in three 1920s Olympics (Paavo Nurmi) — Never heard of him. He won three golds and a silver in the 1920 Games, five golds in 1924, and one gold and two silvers in 1928. He and some of his countrymen were dubbed the "Flying Finns." During his career, he broke 22 official world records. Oh, and he has an asteroid named after him.
  • 17A: "Seems likely" ("I suspect so") — Raise your hand if you had "I suppose so" at first.
  • 16A: Glaucus's love in "The Last Days of Pompeii" (Ione) — Not to be confused with the 31A: Setting of St. Columba's missionary work (Iona).
  • 20A: Centipede alternative (Donkey Kong) — I wasn't thinking of the ATARI game. I thought a Centipede was some sort of tractor. Well, no, but there is such a thing as a Tractor Centipede. Weird.
  • 21A: Are, in Arles (etes) — Had sons at first.
  • 22A: Pop that's over 80 years old (Nehi) — I was listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" recently and Mavis Staples was a guest on the show. So all I could think of was Pops Staples. Even though that's Pops, not Pop. And, oh yeah, he's dead.

  • 28A: Inside shot? (sonogram) — I'm only going to say this one time so listen up. Just because it relates to pregnancy doesn't mean it fails the breakfast test. You will want to keep this in mind for future reference.
  • 40A: One less than une douzaine (onze) — That's eleven in French (douzaine = dozen).
  • 61A: Verse (poesy) — With the P and the S in place, I started to write in prose, realizing by the time I got to the O that verse and prose are, ya know, opposites.
  • 6D: "Good boy" (Jack Horner) — This is really the only clue/answer pair I really have a problem with in this puzzle. The quotation marks around the clue indicated to me that the clue was meant to be read as a phrase someone would say, and that the answer would also be a phrase someone would say. In this case, it sounds like a phrase you would say to your dog. Of course I can't think of a single phrase you could substitute here that doesn't have either the word good or the word boy in it. Which is why it took me so long to figure out the real answer. I guess the quotation marks here indicate that the words are actually being quoted from the poem. That makes sense, but I don't have to like it.
  • 10D: It comes into play when there's a deadline (time factor) — Awkward, but I'm going to let it slide because the rest of the puzzle is so good.
  • 13D: Eponymous candy man (Reese) — If you ever need to bribe me for any reason, chocolate and peanut butter will do the trick.
  • 18D: Piece of lobster or shrimp? (eye stalk) — I'm sorry but ewwww!
  • 23D: Half brother of Hercules (Ares) — I'm not very good at the mythology answers. Got this one through crosses.
  • 25D: Look of aged whitening (hoar) — Pretty sure I've only seen this word used in connection with frost, but good to know this other definition.
  • 46D: "NYPD Blue" Emmy winner Gordon (Clapp) — He played the bumbling, stuttering, anxiety- and allergy-ridden Greg Medavoy. You really can't help but like this poor guy.
  • 49D: "Song of the South" syllables (a-dee) — "Song of the South" is the 1946 film that introduced the hit song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." I was all over the place with this clue. I thought "Song of the South" was the title of the song and was trying to place it. I had a vague notion floating around waaaaay in the back of my mind. Lynyrd Skynyrd? No. Alabama has a song with that title, but it doesn't have any particular "syllables," and that's not the one I'm trying to get. David Allan Coe's "Son of the South"? It's starting to dawn on me that I'm going down the absolute wrong path here, but at the end of it I think I'll get to something good. Oh yeah. Kid Rock's version of David Allan Coe's song is called "Son of Detroit." It's one of those songs I turn up full-blast when I'm on a road-trip and I'm getting tired. This song fires me right back up.

  • 50D: Tale of the South Seas (Omoo)Omoo is a Herman Melville novel. You'll probably want to remember it for future puzzles.
Rex will be back tomorrow.

PuzzleGirl, on behalf of HRH Rex Parker


evil doug 9:03 AM  

There you go. That's the right one....


evil doug 9:05 AM  

Well, for those who think I'm nuts: PuzzleGirl initially put up the wrong solution.


evil doug 9:05 AM  

Three and out. This is fun!


evil doug 9:06 AM  

Four and back in.


evil doug 9:09 AM  

No, I'm really gone. Great puzzle, though.


Anonymous 9:14 AM  

How can we miss you, you are everywhere! Somebody tell Rex and Orange that PuzzleGirl is taking over Crossworld, blog by blog.

Tough but doable is about right for this one. I had "I SUPPOSE SO", but I messed up the NW because I wouldn't get rid of TASK for DESK, and I thought PANTA was some obscure Chinese tribe.

Given this was Karen Tracey, I was on odd letter alert, and put XRAY EXAM for SONOGRAM.

BOTTOM LINE? Good Saturday puzzle.


dk 9:35 AM  

Todays wonderful puzzle was brought to you by ON. More ON's than I have seen in a lONg time.

I wanted favorite son instead of JACKHORNER, hasta luego for ADIOSAMIGO and most ski areas have replaced TBARS with chair lifts so the proper clue would be "Way to the top old school?"

Puzzlegirl if you are not on our monitor you are in our hearts. The Mavis Staples interview was one of the best I have heard. Pure joy.

PG Think of HOARy (gray or white with age) and HOAR makes sense.

LOL @evildoug. I am reminded of Foghorn Leghorn when he tells the Chicken Hawk to: "shut up shutting up."

Today is errand day and of course my lovely wife is still asleep. Perhaps if i drop a dangling participle that will awaken her? ISUSPECTSO!

Zip a dee do dah

Bob Kerfuffle 10:14 AM  

Ouch! Good puzzle, tough, but for me ultimately not doable, leaving me with one open space and one wrong letter.

Open space: cross of 40A, ONZE, and 33D, ENZO (French and an opera role - I cry "Near Natick!")

Wrong letter: Crossing of 58 A, POBOX, and 46 D, CLAPP. I had IO BOX (not smooth but it seemed to make sense) and CLAIP (not very likely, but when it comes to proper names, you never can tell.)

Two write-overs: NEET fo NAIR, 54A; and had ADIOS at 55A, wanted to put in AMOUR but that was the wrong language, so I put in ADIOSADIOS before crosses got me to ADIOSAMIGO.

As a skier, I agree that TBAR is not the easy way to the top. Today it is just about the hardest way, on a par with a Poma, and second only to a rope tow or, horrors, walking.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

I struggled to get going and was forced to Google Lavoisier's first name.

Which made me realize that ISUPPOSESO was wrong.

Struggled for a while with DONKEYKONG which made ATARI easy.

And that made me realize that the Flying Finn (that I remembered, incorrectly) was PAAVO NURMI, not PAAV NOURI.

Never heard of GENTIAN but got it through the crosses.

But it could have been GEMTIAN making 45A MSEC rather than NSEC. That was almost a Natick for me.

So I'd also rate this as "tough but doable."

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

I found this one really hard and only finished with some googling. I was sure that "I suppose so" was right and I actually only suspected (incorrectly) that it was right.

I would have gotten this is the foreign language clues were Spanish, but they were French (of which I hardly even know crosswordese)

Greene 11:30 AM  

Ye Gods, this was a hard one! After I finally got it completely filled in this morning and went back to review, however, it suddenly seemed much more straightforward. Not so last night when I was locked in my study flailing about with this while my daughter and her fifteen friends were playing Rock Star downstairs. Well, you try to concentrate on a puzzle with that "wake the dead" brouhaha going on.

Anyway...I have never seen a GENTIAN flower, but remember it from my chemistry lab days, when GENTIAN violet was a dye used in making a gram stain. I think it's just named for the flower and not actually made from them.

I did not know PAAVO NURMI but was able to piece him together via 10 hard won crosses. Kept hoping a recognizable name would come into view, but no such luck. A quick Google at the end proved he was a real person; I guess I have a blank space in my brain where 1920s Olympic track stars should go.

Many thanks to the ubiquitous PuzzleGirl for filling in with yet another excellent write-up. You must be exhausted by now.

chefbea 11:30 AM  

I agree - a tough puzzle. Had to google a lot

I remember as a youngster at camp when you fell down and skinned your knee they put some antibiotic on it that was purple. It was called Gentian Violet

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Yup, tough but doable, and yup, had ISUPPOSESO and stuck with it until the very end. Wanted to fit DOODLEBUGS in where DONKEYKONG goes but it just wouldn't fly -- or crawl or whatever. Thanks to Ms. Tracey for a good Saturday morning workout.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Gentian root is also what gives Angostura bitters and Moxie soda their yummy bitterness. I enjoyed this puzzle but didn't find it that challenging, compared to some other Saturdays.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I guessed my way through with no aha's

Big roadblocks I put in place for myself were
JOLT (bit of a shock)
TASK (you may work hard at this)
SOON (not just yet)
HOOT (laugh-a-minute sort)

Good Saturday puzzle though.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:56 AM  

Here's a nice alpine gentian for a winter day.

Ladel 12:16 PM  

@evil doug

With all those years in the left seat and your wicked sense of humor you must have driven ATC crazy when you called up for something. Then again, if you didn't make nice to them you could wind going around, and around....

RodeoToad 12:25 PM  

I'm in Edinburgh, actually about thirty miles south of there, and just caught up on the last few days of puzzles while my mother-in-law, who thinks I'm working, entertains the kids with a bunch of Scottish hooey, and my wife and her two sisters are in town visiting their dad, and my brother-in-law, a Yorkshireman who is still permitted to drink, is down the road in an Innerleithen pub watching "the football." Day before yesterday I was at a bus stop in Edinburgh and saw one of my Houston neighbors I don't like very much. Yesterday I was walking with my wife and kids up the Southern Upland Way, a trail that runs the length of the Scottish Borders and goes through the woods behind my mother-in-law's house, and halfway up the hill one of my wife's old boyfriends stepped out of the trees ahead of us. That stuff is all real quaint when it happens to somebody else. Everybody's very polite, though. I grew up with a guy whose standard holiday greeting was "Merry Christmas, sons a bitches!"

What's a bookrest? Is that for people without laps?

I learned "gentian" from a John Gardner review of John Updike poem. I've been waiting for years for that to be useful.

Coop 12:26 PM  

Piece of shrimp or lobster...EYESTALK? As Ricky was given to say, someone's got some 'splaining to do.

Also, I agree TIMEFACTOR is lamely clued. Too bad MURPHYSLAW couldn't have been used.

Despite my nitpicking, this was an enjoyable puzzle.

imsdave 12:27 PM  

NW definitely took me the longest. I had the G from SNOG and was convinced that the Centipede alternative had to end in BUG. Loved LATINLOVER over ADIOSAMIGO.

No rating on the puzzle PG? Maybe Rex has trademarked Easy-Medium-Challenging ala Siskel and Ebert's "thumbs up". Definitely a challenging for me, but I got there after an hour long struggle. I'm embarrassed how long it took me to get TREBLECLEF.

Great writeup on a very satisfying puzzle.

Thanks to all for your kind comments and emails on my puzzle from yesterday.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

I'm with those who didn't find this tough but doable or even gruff but lovable ... couldn't get much going without googling like a fiend.

chefbea 1:15 PM  

@wade LOL ... people without laps!!

when you are standing up in the kitchen, cooking you don't have a lap, therefore you need a book rest for your cookbook.

mac 1:25 PM  

Hi PG, hi Wade,

Tough but doable, even in the car on the way to NY, no googles. I did have a couple of nice aha-moments, but also quite a few answers where I needed the crosses. I will never know all this video game language.

I supposed too, and Paavo was Paevo for a while. I wanter ardor for anger, and cacti for aloes.
That's a good explanation of the bookrest, chefB! I hadn't thought of that but of maybe another word for book end. I enjoyed this puzzle, it felt smart and had great clueing. I guess it's a Medium for a Saturday.

fikink 1:37 PM  

Nice write-up, Pgirl.
I raise my hand to SUPPOSE SO.
I too thought farm equipment when first I saw "centipede" (Puzzlegirl, your Iowa is showing.)
@Coop - Murphy's Law...good one!
Pretty enjoyable puzzle, if slow-going for me.

jeff in chicago 1:45 PM  

I'm in the tough and barely doable crowd. But PG (and others) keep telling me that if I just keep pushing through I will eventually be able to master the Friday and Saturday puzzles. I will come after you if this does not pan out.

I actually got ISUSPECTSO. I think I already had PAID and DONKEYKONG, so SUPPOSE made some nasty letter combos. Guessed DONKEYKONG off of the DO in PAID and ALSO. Lucky guess for me as I don't do the video game thing. (OK...maybe a little Wii.)

Loved the NEHI and SONOGRAM clues.

EYESTALK = major ick. (I love lobster, but I insist that the exoskeleton be removed in the kitchen. I don't butcher my cow. I don't behead my chicken. I don't skin my shellfish.)

@dk: My brain is telling me that "shut up shuttin' up" was more Yosemite Sam to Bugs Bunny. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was recycled in other Looney Tunes.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Newsbreak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rex stranded in DC :(
Just gave him Puzzlegirl's # so I'm sure something wild is about to unfold.
I am so sorry for them...and devastated I won't see them :(
On the upside, maybe I don't have to clean my apt for another year!

Maybe Puzzlegirl will take them in, and they will co-blog tonight, drunk!

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

No three letter words.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

thanks for filling in Puzzlegirl
& you are much better than I even tho I too do them daily.
Alot of today's clues escaped me
like centipede; figured it might
be a game but what?
But yesterday's was a piece of cake!!! No googling like today &
got 'em all right.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Great write up, PuzzleGirl!

Definitely doable if I had just kept plugging. I was all done except for 24A and 27D and answered with WHIG and GIA VON NURMI ... hey, that sounds like a real name doesn't it? I made WHIG party make sense.

I was very close to solving without help, but no cigar.

No matter. Very enjoyable. Thank you Ms. Tracey!

Oh, EvilDoug ... you were a RIOT this morning.

Shamik 2:06 PM  

Yip-A-DEE-do-dah! Yip-A-DEE-ay! Finished this one in a medium-challenging time for a Saturday for me (22:34). Great clues. Great answers. Really enjoyed this puzzle....well except for EYESTALK. Didn't pass MY breakfast test!

Great write-up PG, and I raise my hand for the ISUPPOSESO crowd.

Other mis-starts:

Great puzzle! Off to lunch with the daughter & son-in-law.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Here's Yosemite Sam:
Shuttin up.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Now back to the regular programming:

@jeff in chicago
don't feel bad
I couldn't do this puzzle AT ALL...
In the end I had to google:
ANTOINE Lavoisier
Roaring Fork River
Hercules half-brother
Glaucus's love
St Columba (which only led me to Ireland...)
Chinese highlands
(@Crosscan, I too had PANTA!)

and in the end, the puzzle remained unfinished bec I had GASP for WISP.

What fooled me in part was indeed that it was I tried to get all Scrabbly...
So, for the news I had SIXPM
(For a moment I thought you could remove hair with an XRAY!)

and so I also tried "WE EXPECT SO" as I thought for sure this would be sprinkled with X's!

Oddly, my only initial fills were the French ETES and ONZE, plus the British SNOG.

Fabulous that you pointed out LATINLOVER over ADIOSAMIGO...
and now I notice the string across of ETTU and LATINLOVER

I mean, this puzzle totally got me today...
If I could gently criticize anything, I would have redone the NorthEast corner bec why have
IONE when you have IONA?
Esp when it's coupled with the awkward MTGE, the obscure (to many)ETES and the imperfect TIMEFACTOR? N
(Not to mention the dated clue of TBAR...)
SO why not rethink that top corner?
BOTTOMLINE (which I DO like), ETES and REESE were the first things I got (and practically the only things!)

Speaking of redoing the NorthEast, I wish I could redo the weather there and get the Parker Family out here to California!!!!!!!!!

You really are the go-to gal!
Now you'll be maybe pulling triple duty and HOUSING Rex et famille! How "Away in the manger"!

Keep up the good work, PuzzleGirl! Even tho I tanked on this puzzle, I'm still here if you need me...

(And as a good Midwesterner, I put in DEERE for Centipede producer!)

jae 2:28 PM  

Hand raised for SUPPOSE. Seems like I tried what some of you tried, had BUG and ARDOR briefly, initially went with SIXPM, BOOKRACK, AJAX (for ARES), and IMPOSITION. Eventually got it all sorted out but I did go overnight because of the tricky Northern CA area. Not knowing PAAVO or IONA (never heard of GENTIAN either) made it pretty tough but I managed to guess right. This was about medium for me, except for N-CA, so tough but doable works for me.

I don't get the ? in the "Piece of lobster or shrimp?" clue.

Had the same issue with JACKHORNER as PG.

jae 2:33 PM  

I forgot to say I really liked this one, very nice Sat., thanks Karen!

Doug 2:54 PM  

Nice "fill" in for RP, Puzzle Girl. I also look forward to the weekly podcast of Wait ... Wait, along with Bill Maher's HBO show.

@wade: Here's the smallest of small world experiences. I recently met my brother's girlfriend, a Swede, at my mom's house in Toronto. It turns out that as a teen she lived a block from where we lived in Hong Kong, and her mother, our real estate agent, helped us find the place in 1999.

Got about half the puzzle, about the usual for a Saturday. Great puzzle! Cousin Evil has taken all the Doug space for day, so I'm out, and off to watch Wisconsin at 1:30.

PlantieBea 2:54 PM  

This puzzle was a total disaster for me. I thought it would be very doable when the SW and NE filled nicely. Wrong. I had way too many errors--including I Suppose So to ever get back on the right track. I just couldn't get a grip. Ayyy...Failure.

fergus 3:00 PM  

Almost left in a couple of errors up there in the NW, but persevered because all the other entries, when they showed up, were without doubt. I had TASK for 4D so I put in HANTA for the Chinese dweller since I had at least heard the word before. I ran through all the Office stamps I could think of ending in ID, then with PAID remembered that HANTA was a sort of virus caught from some vermin spoor. Sorry PANDA. Then with DESK, ALOES, duh. I'D EXPECT SO was what seemed likely to me.

French got me off to a start, though I did have SONT rather than ETES. Thrown off a little bit by the apparent inconsistency between Douzaine and ONZE, thinking you need to distinguish between Ordinal and Cardinal numbers. Overcoming my pedantry, I saw that I had to give it a pass since, uh, I was wrong. Pleased to recall ANTOINE, anyway.

INBOX before PO; GLIMMERS before GLISTENS and managed to pull out GENTIAN from POESY. I'm thinking Rossetti or Byron -- it will be more fun to look through an anthology than Google.

This was a great puzzle; nary a TAINT upon it.

Ulrich 3:05 PM  

@acme: Intermittent googling revealed that Xrays ARE a hair removal method--that happens to be illegal in the US. This alone stymied me completely in the SW b/c six pm was for me, too, a more plausible evening news hour. Not knowing much about ATARI games didn't help either. The upshot: about the toughest Saturday for me that I can remember--it really sets my budding self-confidence back by a year.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

The King is addressed as "His Majesty" - HM.
A Prince (or Princess) is
"His (or Her) Royal Highness" - HRH.

archaeoprof 3:11 PM  

@ACME: your post made me feel so much better. I got through this one, but only with help from my brother-in-law and other members of our extended family.

BTW, what do you call your brother-in-law's son-in-law?

fergus 3:16 PM  

If you cross Rossetti with Byron you may come to D.H. Lawrence, whose poem "Bavarian Gentians" appears right here:

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime torchlike with the smoking blueness of Pluto's
ribbed and torchlike, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off
lead me then, lead me the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness was awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the
lost bride and groom.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

You call him Paul (or whatever his name is...) just don't call him late for dinner!

you see! we are the same! :)

Puzzlegirl racing to the airport to pick up rex! This is actually sort of exciting in a disaster-turned-adventure sort of way!

edith b 3:29 PM  

Events have a way of conspiring. Karen Tracey generally builds a puzzle around something that is Scrabbly and a proper name to boot. Just recently, I remember Speedy Gonzalez.

I just saw a documentery on Paavo Nurmi on some cable channel and he turns up as the entry ISUSPECT she built the puzzle around.

Also, I didn't get off on a good foot as none of my answers were connected to each other, just random in all four quadrents until, at last, I got some connectivity in the SW and that section had *****NURMI in it.

Curiously enough, the P produced the WHIP/WISP crossing that seemed to give a lot of people troubles in that area. WHIP was my first guess for party leader, based strictly on that P. Next up, INHIBITION which gave me the rest of the West Coast.

I had NSEC in place but couldn't think of the NYPD actor - I saw his face but his name didn't come for the longest time but I finally saw ROXY and that got me POESY and Greg Medavoy's last name snapped CLAPP! and I was able to finish up all of the South.

I didn't have near as much trouble in the North as my neons seemed to be well placed and getting ATARI in the South produced DONKEYKONG in the North and I was able to chip away at the rest of the puzzle.

This was not IMOO opinion a typical Karen Tracey puzzle - I kept looking for geography and her trademark Xs and Zs but - nowhere in sight.

But PAAVONURMI was the key and my confidence built on just that single answer!

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Why were you wrong about ONZE and DOUZAINE? it struck me as unparallel too, is it that ONZE is both?

Doug 3:49 PM  

In English, if we said "one less than a dozen" wouldn't "eleven" be a correct answer? I think ONZE is perfectly fine.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

The one I remember is Bugs Bunny:

Bugs and Thugs (1954)
Plot: When Bugs calls a cab he doesn't know it's the getaway car for a couple of bank robbers.

Rocky: SHUT UP!
Bugs Bunny: Shut u-up? Why certainly! You don't think I'm the type that would keep on blabbin'? Some people never know when to stop. When I'm told to shut up, I shut up...
Rocky: [sticks gun in Bugs's face] Shut UP shut-in' up!

and from the same cartoon:

Rocky: Shut up!
Mugsy: What'd I do, boss?
Rocky: I said button yer lip.
Mugsy: Oh, okay, boss.
[Literally buttons up his lip]
Mugsy: [Muffled] How's this, boss?

fergus 4:20 PM  


I think we were confusing Douzaine with Duozieme, the former being just a noun whereas the latter is the adjective, as in twelfth in a sequence. A dozen less one will be eleven, of course. If it were Douzieme in the Clue, I would say that only Onzieme would work as the answer.

Someday I will learn the trick to posting accent marks ....

Chip Hilton 5:09 PM  

I was in the process of congratulating myself when I got to 58A and found my INBOX shoulda been a POBOX. Dang it. I could picture the NYPD guy, but the name escaped me.

I recall reading somewhere that the great NURMI (my first fill-in of the day) ran with a stopwatch in his hand and cared only about hitting the time he was targeting rather than concerning himself with his competitors. Anyone heard that as well? Considering his sterling Olympic record, it appears he set epic targets.

The GENTIAN is one of my favorite flowers. I've tried growing them here in CT but they really need the loose, pebbly Alpine soil. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Fun, challenging puzzle and a great write-up by the super sub.

Ulrich 5:21 PM  

@fergus: Ach, D.H. Lawrence and his obsessions... I looked at some pictures of gentians on the web, and even these shots reveal a deep blue that is almost unsettling.

BTW The German word is Enzian, and it's famous more as a basis for Schnapps than for its color, not to speak of its relation to the underworld:-)

jeff in chicago 5:38 PM  

@acme: how sweet. makin' me feel better. you're a doll!

@meotch: yes! i can picture the thug. really short, with a giant hat that covers his eyes.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

I forgot to mention earlier that I had been waiting years to see EYESTALK in a puzzle but when I actually did it was much uglier than I had imagined.

Just got back from seeing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." I loved it. This sort of ties into the puzzle if you consider it takes place in New Orleans where there is shrimping and therefore EYESTALKs.

mac 10:05 PM  

@acme: I also had gasp and sixpm at one point....
This gentian (to me gentiaan) came to me probably through the Heidi books I read as a little girl.

What's this about poor Pgirl having to house Rex and family? I thought she lived in Iowa, not DC.

We just had a lovely anniversary dinner at Oceana in NY. The city is absolutely packed with people and cars..... I heared many different languages, all those people here to help out our economy!

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

Googled like crazy for this puzzle's solutions, but enjoyed it. Agree
on eyestalk, maybe a few others.

Thanks for the beautiful gentian picture. That was a nice breathe of fresh air.


Doc John 1:28 PM  

Not bad for a Saturday. Had to put it down several times before finally completing it. (Which was done at the AT&T store while waiting for the hubby to finalize returning to an iPhone that he rashly threw aside for a Blackberry Storm. I told him he wouldn't like it but did he listen to me? Nooooooo!)
I wrote in and took out TREBLE CLEF about 5 times.
The fleet Mr. NURMI was in a puzzle a few months ago and so I finally accessed the withered gray cell that contained that bit of information.
Took a guess on the Z in ONZE/ENZO and was pleased to find I was right!
So REO made fire trucks- who knew?
Interesting to see the (sort of) yin/yang of INHIBITION and OBSESSIONS in the same puzzle.
As for GENTIAN, I seem to remember some Vonnegut book where he frequently mentions gentian violet being painted on people's throats. I've never seen the stuff in practice.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

I liked the Latin lover (48A), Donkey Kong (20A), etc. but the obscure fill -- Pana (1A), aloas (14A), Ione (16A) and Iona (31A) -- was a regression to the relatively bad old days of NYT puzzling.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Five weeks later - SUPPOSE looked good for my first shot. Today's experience was much better than yesterday's which was intractable. I did have to Google PAAVO and IONA, but the rest was quite doable.

Waxy in Montreal 6:38 PM  

I guess if you're of a certain age and were raised on sports lore, then Paavo Nurmi was a gimme. Also, Latin Lover for that matter.

From the comments earlier, this puzzle seemed to stump people in differing ways. For me, everything south of the Mason-Dixon line was quite straightforward whilst most of the north needed Googling.

BTW, in most political systems the whip is not a party leader. Rather he or she is the party official in charge of ensuring that party members in a legislature are 1) present for a vote and 2) vote the correct way.

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

Took forever, but I finally got it with one mistake. Or is it?
Seems to me SISTINO and FOES works as well as SISTINE and FEES.

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