FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2009 - M. Nothnagel (Uppland inhabitant / He fought Robin on an episode of "Batman" / Scotch flavorer / Steward's domain)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

Theme: OK, OK? (actually, there's no theme, but ...)

Word of the Day: EZER Weizman - "swashbuckling and acerbic former president of Israel who built the country's air force and guided it in the startlingly swift victory over the Arab forces in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war" [New York Times]

I don't know why, but I struggled more on this Friday (esp. in the very beginning) than any Friday I've done in a long, long time. Not sure what or whom to blame: puzzle burn-out (doing 6-10 a day now), tiredness, a brutally cold winter, the economy ... yeah, those'll do. I just poked at the puzzle for several minutes and had only patches of answers filled in, which led me to believe at one point that there was a rebus involved or some other trickery and I just couldn't see it. I went POPE (2D: Poet who wrote "Hope springs eternal in the human breast"), SPREE, ERNS (4D: Birds with "meat cleaver" bills) ... nothing. OMOO (16A: Novel about its author's experiences on Tahiti), NOTRE (12D: Our counterpart in France?) ... nothing. Then a bigger gust - ANKE (25D: Huber of women's tennis), DE SAC, ETHAN HAWKE (27D: Oscar nominee for "Training Day," 2001), SKEE, PORK (61A: Government largesse), SLOW, LESS IS MORE ... and then nothing.

This is when I caught my big (opposite-of-) break - I saw the clue 48A: Reno's county and thought "Reno is kinda near TAHOE, so that must be the answer, and ... there's some trick to this puzzle where you jump or ignore esses." Thus TASHOE was born. This was only confirmed by 48D: With 64A, sight under the eaves, at times. TASPS made know sense, but TAPS ... well, I didn't get that either, but at least it was a word. So I wandered around the grid like a lost, sad, sedated puppy, until it started to come together, and I realized - there's no trick. I was just SLOW. Only now am I remembering that I had been slightly drunk earlier in the evening. Gin and Friday puzzles apparently don't mix well.

Still, even in the cold light of day, there are issues here. I like chatty, colloquial phrases as much if not more than the next guy, but YES WE DO (15D: Reply to "Have you got that in stock?") is not tall enough to ride this ride. OK SHOOT is a little closer (36A: Response to "I have a question for you"), but with ALL OK already on the ride, OK SHOOT should have been forced to sit on a bench with cotton candy and wait. The "Reply to..." and "Response to..." clues were part of what made me think there was some theme involved - "Aha, these are made-up phrases that will all amount to ... something ... in the end." Only they didn't. Now move across the grid to see YOU-KNOW-WHO, which I Love (10D: Unnamed individual). That's how colloquial is done - a totally self-contained and in-the-language phrase that people use all the time, but that seems very surprising when it shows up in your puzzle. Brilliant, especially paralleled with the equally lively IMPULSE BUY (11D: Many an item at a checkout line). The rest of this puzzle kind of tasted of HOT DILL (my longtime wrong answer for 39D: Bechamel sauce ingredient (hot milk)).

I felt guilty solving the puzzle, in that the only stuff I was getting at first was pop culture and SHOW BIZ (38A: Tinseltown is part of it) stuff that I just knew and didn't have to work for: ETHAN HAWKE, MR. UNIVERSE (53A: Arnold Schwarzenegger, four times), and Verne TROYER (46A: Verne of Austin Powers films) really saved my skin. Same with KATO (41A: He fought Robin on an episode of "Batman") and Don HENLEY. Wait ... that's not Don. That's a 22A: Regatta setting. What the hell? Mysteries like this abounded. WNET is a horribly provincial answer that I resent every time I see it (30A: PBS station with a transmitter on the Empire State Building). I didn't know Scotch had a "flavorer," but roasting PEAT is a part of the scotch-making process, it turns out. YING could be a panda for all I know (10A: Soprano _____ Huang) - needed all the crosses there. And "ELSIES"!? (5D: "The Two _____" (Martha Finley children's book)) - come on. Who is Martha Finley, first of all? Second of all, what is this book? Third, this is up there with "Bad Plural Names I Have Seen" in puzzles. I think I would have respected [Spokescow and namesakes] more.

Finishing Up:

  • 20A: Many a Kirkuk native (Kurd) - in retrospect, I should have gotten this right away. But no. I just sat there thinking "Iraqi? Iraqi? Shia? Sunni? Iraqi?" Etc.
  • 24A: "A Writer's Life" writer, 2006 (Talese) - TALESE remains at the top of my "Man I Want To Read Something By That Guy I Should Do That" list.
  • 33A: Uppland inhabitant (Swede) - I went to college near a one-P'd Upland. I think they film a lot of porn there.
  • 1D: Steward's domain (shop) - who knew one little clue could be so confusing. Lord knows how many wrong answers I considered before this dropped in.
  • 23D: Brand named after the pronunciation of its parent company's initials (Esso) - ESSO is ESSO is ESSO. You can try to dress it up fancy (I actually kind of like the clue), but it's still just a kid from around the block, like OMOO and RBIS and ERGO and ESTA and that weird kid ATKA (32D: Aleutian island), etc.
  • 35D: Israel's Weizman (Ezer) - I had just (just!) learned this name from another puzzle earlier in the day. One of my few lucky breaks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Is Asst. Ed. something I should recognize? Assisted Education?

PuzzleGirl 9:11 AM  

So, basically what I'm taking away from your write-up is that there is no HOG MILK in béchamel sauce.

Kurisu 9:12 AM  

GOVERNATOR fits in the Arnold clue; of course he wasn't governer 4 times but that would have been a cute answer.

RUER and TWOD I got through crosses and had to stare at them for a while before I could figure out what they meant.

(I was only able to do this after googling most of the google-able answers, but a year or two ago I wouldn't have even been able to do it then so I guess that's some progress.)

Anonymous 9:19 AM  


The parent company referred to by 23D ESSO is Standard Oil.

Had a lot of trouble myself in the NW, as i could not get any of the first 4 downs, and was just guessing 4D would end in S.

Had LYRATE on top of SEASON, on top of SISTENT, and was just stuck there for a while. Tried conSISTENT, duckSEASON, deerSEASON.

Could not see HOURLYRATE forever because from the Y, I could not let go of salary____ for the longest.

How is TWOD the answer for Flat? Is it from music or the British apartment?


Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Ed. = editor.

I'm actually better at puzzles when I'm slightly tipsy. I write in audacious guesses with more frequency, and a lot of the time they're right or at least helpful.

I think Schwarzenegger actually won Mr. Universe 5 times, by the way. From Wikipedia:

"in 1967 Schwarzenegger won the title for the first time, becoming the youngest ever Mr. Universe at the age of 20.[13] He would go on to win the title a further four times."

1 + 4 = 5.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:32 AM  

I've been doing puzzles too long. As soon as I saw 24D, Flat, I knew it was TWOD for two-dimensional. The first time I encountered that in a puzzle I was totally baffled.

Most of the rest of this puzzle was challenging but doable, and I knew Rex would complain about WNET. If I weren't in WNET's broadcast area, I would have cried Natick, since ANKE Huber is totally unknown to me, could have been Enke or even Onke (always need those Scandinavian names!) (Which works on the wrong letter, but you get the idea!)

I was feeling good about doing so well, then died in the center four squares. I unshakably believed that 32D was ATTU, had absolutely no idea about KATO (wondered why Robin would fight TOTO!), just gave up before resolving the obvious problem.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

So I've been writing about how I have just started my 15-year-old daughter in on Monday puzzles; yesterday afternoon we did one from October together. Then, at 10:00, when the new puzzle hit the Internet last night, she was sitting next to me and was watching me work on it. She saw the Tinseltown clue and immediately called out, "SHOWBIZ." So, her first time keeping me from finishing a puzzle on my own! Couldn't get mad at her, anyway, and I figured that I would have gotten the answer anyway.

Ulrich 9:35 AM  

@chris: Wow, thx--who woulda thunk it?

For the eastern half, the puzzle felt easy, relatively speaking, for a Notnagel (I'm normally not on MN's wavelength), except that IMPULSE BUY took me an insanely long time to see with almost all crosses in. But then the west, especially the NW, made up for it--took me a long, long time, even with wife chipping in POPE. The only bright side: finished w/o googling (if I discount her contribution, which is kinda cheating), except to verify the K in KATO/ATKA.

Learned about PEAT, which does not raise my enthusiasm for Scotch (the blended kind--single malt is a different story), and still don't really get the "circular" clue for the hourly rate--sure, but what the hell?

I'm surprised nobody complained about Anke Huber yet--she was supposed to be the second Steffi Graf, but never really got there--not exactly a household name, it seems to me.

SusanMontauk 9:40 AM  

Yes WNET is a gimme for those of us who live in it's broadcast area, but there are many many programs on Public television that are courtesy of WNET and say so(Live from Lincoln Center is the most obvious, but I think also Sesame Street)that I don't see how you can complain about it. That is unless you say it is not fair to have something like Kato or Troyer in the puzzle for those of us who are culturally ignorant.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

anonymous @ 9:19 TWOD = 2 Dimensional

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Favorite clue was 34D Torch Site (dime) - it was totally wtf until the crosses proved that it was right. Cute!

TWO Natick moments, both mentioned above: we foreigners (to the Big Apple) don't know WNET, and who is Anke Huber? Atka crossing Kato was another. Not unfair - I had at least vaguely heard of WNET and Kato, but certainly they are not household terms to me. WNET was WQED for a while until it proved silly - used to listen to KQED in CA all the time, knew there was a WQED back East, and so I was in a cul DE SAC.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

It's not often that a guy gets to be prominently pictured in the arts section (Ethan Hawke, p. C1) and in the crossword on the same day!

imsdave 10:12 AM  

Popped this one open and loved the look of the grid. Totally agree with Rex's evaluation of this one and got no traction until MRUNIVERSE. SINGLESBAR was my favorite answer.

WNET shouldn't raise eyebrows. National Educational Television was the original designation of PBS, and the W should be a relative gimme - apologies to those in the west who start their electronic media stations with K.

Jeffrey 10:13 AM  

I don't know why, but I struggled more on this Friday (esp. in the very beginning) than any Friday I've done in a long, long time.

I know you wrote that but...ditto.

KATO was a gimme. Otherwise, Somewhat dense (SLOW). OPEN SEASON on Crosscan.

Parshutr 10:28 AM  

Had only one sticky wicket...put in DRYS for spin cycles.
If there was a theme, maybe it was smartass answers, like YOUKNOWWHO, YESWEDO, OKSHOOT, all trisyllabic.
But hey, it was ALLOK, not a WASP'S NEST at all.

jubjub 10:33 AM  

I had SHIP for SHOP, WASHINGTON for ETHANHAWKE, and ATTU for ATKA momentarily. Like PuzzleGirl, I also considered many other types of milk instead of HOTMILK, e.g. RATMILK (I obviously have no idea what béchamel sauce is). I was also thrown by the repeated "OK" in the puzzle.

MRUNIVERSE is our governor, and last night in his state of the state address he referenced his fine work as Conan the Barbarian in complete seriousness:
"... for too long we have been split by ideology. Conan's sword could not have cleaved our political system in two as cleanly as our own political parties have done."

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

I'm feeling out of synch ... I found Thursday's extremely difficult and could only get about 2/3. Honestly it felt like a Saturday puzzle. Today I was able to get the whole thing without any aid, although I see I had CATO instead of KATO.

fikink 11:15 AM  

@imsdave - exactly the way I figured out WNET, knowing that east of the Mississippi stations begin with W; west, with K. Handy little tidbit.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Not an absolute rule, fikink. E.g., WBAP (Fort Worth), KDKA (Pittsburgh) . . .

fikink 11:55 AM  

@anon at 11:43 - Is it a general rule of thumb?

ArtLvr 11:55 AM  

I "knew" that the radio station had to start with W,, but TKO'D looked good for "knocking flat": 2-D did not come through... KURD was Turk for a while, ATKA was Attu, EASESBY was Edgesby, the college in Michigan was Hope rather than ALMA...

I got the SE and NW on my own, then started to google a bit, as time was running out -- TROYER, HAWKE, TALESE. Seemed a shame, IN THAT it might have been doable without, but I have other stuff to do, and Oy, too many OK's didn't seem kosher...


Anonymous 11:56 AM  

How many people put terminator before getting Mr Universe!!! Of course, you had to notice sluggers don't have eras, they have rbis!

joho 11:56 AM  

I had many false starts. Wrens for WASPS nest. MiniMe for TROYER. Assets for TENTHS. Drys for DAYS. I tried to make MR Olympia fit. I was all over the place for a long time and couldn't finish until I Googled. So, this was without a doubt, the hardest Friday puzzle I've done in a long, long time.

I didn't enjoy it very much.

edith b 11:57 AM  

There always seems to be a lot of second-person references in a Nothtnagel. YOU YOU YOU - not that there's anything wrong with that. But I just KNEW that 14A was going to start with YOU or YOURS and it held me up until the very end.

I had three specific errors in this one - the afore-menbtioned YOU, WASHINGTON at 27D and ATTU for the island.

I completed the SE and moved up the East Coast with little in the way of problems.

Gay Talese was mentioned (by me) in our discussion of New Journalism and Hunter Thampson but along with DESAC, I couldn't make it work with Denzel in "Training Day". I had to completely come away from WASHINGTON to make any progress in the SW. I didn't see the movie so getting PORK and SKEE didn't help me much. I chipped away, entering TALESE tentatively, then DESAC. I still didn't see the answer I needed but I saw somthing else - LESSISMORE. This confirmed TALESE which got me ANKE, then guessed at WNET and ETHANHAWKE swam into view.

I was still hung up in Flyover Country and the Great Northwest because of two shaky assumptions. -ATTU and believing YOU would open 14A


And like a bolt out of the blue,I saw OPENSEASON and this allowed me to rethink 1D ( without the Y)and see SHOP which opened up the NW at last.

This led me back to Flyover Country and, using YESWEDO as a pry bar, I was able to pop open the rest of the puzzle. I finally got ATKA which helped me with my least favorite type of clue - SINCE leading to INTHAT (I can never sort out this kind of adverbial mumbo-jumbo - and I was able to get ATTUNES, not RETUNES and KATO was my last entry.

Nothnagel puzzles are always like this - Long periods of staring vacantly, followed by short bursts of activity. I really like his puzzles.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Okay, well, I think Rex has expressed proper umbrage for this stinker, so I'll whine about time. I simply can't spend my entire day on these puzzles so I resorted to googling. Do you non-googlers buy that? Probably not. Anyway, I began by grasping on to Mr. Universe and slowly crawling upward. When I finally looked down and saw all those empty cells, I resorted to you know what. Onward to Saturday.

dk 12:10 PM  

err, so terminator is wrong, it is HENLEY not harbor and OPENSEASON not coldseason.

The rest of the fill came to me over time but the above mistakes resulted in a time that might be called SLOW.

Mr. N, thank you for the challenge.

Speaking of the weather, minus 32 this morning, cars were spinning as if ICESKATING (which they were) on my creep to work. Happy days it had warmed up to -22 when I got here. The ski area were I volunteer is closed until noon today. And, a fun fact fluorescent lights do not work at -20 and below. Ya know, I spent 3 weeks a few years ago near Hilo....

imsdave 12:14 PM  

@Anne - I remember a comment from Mr. Shortz at some point to the question "Is it okay to use the dictionary and almanac to do these puzzles?" He said (and I paraphrase here) - these puzzles are for fun - do them however you want to - enjoy!

I only google when my frustration level hits RED. But I do google on occasion.

I agree with Mr. Shortz 100%. Solve anyway you want to, and enjoy the experience.

Jak 12:19 PM  

First run got me PEAT, DESAC, TROYER, ALMA (almost went there/had a toon of friends who did go there), MRUNIVERSE, SKEE--started thinking, "Well, that's a much better start than yesterday!" After filling a couple of downs, and getting the SE done with LESSISMORE... yeah, giant screeching halt.

Did anyone else have issue with GOODY? That spelling either refers to a Puritan housewife or hair elastics, to me...

Doug 12:21 PM  

@nan: Definitely had Terminator and it caused me lots of grief.

@dave l: Was inspired and sat down with 14-year old son last night to do the NYT Young Puzzle. Good fun.

@RP: This one made me spit my morning coffee, thanks.... 24A: "TALESE remains at the top of my "Man I Want To Read Something By That Guy I Should Do That" list."

I did the puzzle while watching the final episode of CSI featuring Gil Grissom. Thankfully it wasn't soppy, and it featured Letterman's psycho intern Lyle as the psycho killer.

I just found an interesting error on my part. I had


where "flat" was TKOD as in "knocked out flat" in boxing. KNET could be a legitimate station as K is one of the two call letters in the US.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

HOT DILL? Thank you,Rex. I will be laughing at that all day. HOGMILK and RATMILK are almost as funny (and just a little gross) but HOT DILL has me LMAO.

Two Ponies 12:34 PM  

Too bad it took twelve proper names, some of which were too obscure, to make this puzzle work. Otherwise I admired the look of the grid and the stacks of 10-letters answers.
The only Henleys I know are Don and a shirt style.
Ying sings?
Didn't like the clue for lasso. But because of a book I'm reading now, Blood Meridian, it was an easy association. I can't put it down but it is not for the weak-hearted.

elitza 12:40 PM  

Damn. Sorry, the comment from Jak up above was actually me--boyfriend used my computer yesterday. Sorry!

HudsonHawk 12:47 PM  

I rocked this one initially, starting in the SE and moving up the Eastern seaboard. But it took me awhile to polish off the NW, even with _____RATE and ____SEASON. Before I had RATE, I wanted TAX BRACKET and even after the RATE was in the grid, I still was thinking taxes. Ugggh. Same with SEASON. Deer, Duck, Cold, Flu. I was fairly confident with RUER and POPE, so SPREE fell into place and it all finally made sense. Fairly enjoyable puzzle for me, but not Nothnagel's best either.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I agree with Rex (and others) that this was a tough Friday to get into.

Managed to complete without Google but was tempted plenty of times.

I had ATTU to too long, eventually put in CATO rather than KATO making the Aleutian island ATCA. Isn't this a semi-Natick?

SINGLESBAR took a long time but evoked a smile after getting it from the crosses.

And HOURLYWAGE looked too right for too long.

And while I got TWOD from the crosses, I didn't understand the clue until reading this blog. I assumed it was the number of a British apartment!

All in all I'd rate this more as a "challenging" than as a "medium."

But it gave me some fun on a frigid morning in NYC (which made WNET a gimme).

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

@doug--Did you mean me--steve l--when you said dave l? People always call me Dave by mistake--maybe it's the closeness of the two names' pronunciation, and I actually have a brother named David. But the people who call me Dave don't always know that.

Also, a tko is not a knockout. That's a plain old ko. A tko is when the ref decides it's too dangerous for you to continue, so you're not flat on your back. And all TV and radio station call letters this far east begin with W, not K.

But I agree that WNET is a little out-there as an answer, despite the fact that I live in the WNET broadcast area. I looked it and said, isn't this supposed to be a (inter)national puzzle?

@ArtLvr--WNET is a TV station, not a radio station, just FYI.

hazel 1:09 PM  

@two ponies - agree Blood Meridian not for the faint-hearted. Really not much by Cormack McCarthy is - but what a great writer....Looking forward to seeing The Road when it comes out.

Not much to say about the puzzle that hasn't already been said. I will say that when I saw Schwarznegger, I immediately put in MRUNIVERSE - didn't even count the letters. I think that documentary - Pumping Iron? - has stayed with me longer than the Terminator movies. Not exactly sure why i found it memorable, but i did.

jeff in chicago 1:09 PM  

I am not averse to Googling if the option is that the puzzle does not get finished. And my personal rule is that I will Google the shortest possible answer first. Sometimes just one Google will open up the entire puzzle.

Then there's today. Googled early. Googled often. Yikes!

@steve l: as our anonymous friend said earlier, that W=east/K=west rule is not hard and fast. KDKA is in Pittsburg, for example.

17 below earlier here in Chicago. It has soared to 2 below now. Woo hoo!

PlantieBea 2:00 PM  

I'm glad I could mostly finish this puzzle. I had to google to confirm ANKE and TALESE since I don't know either. I also had ORATE instead of PRATE, and didn't understand the resulting OEAL used to flavor Scotch. I also struggled with the TROYER, HUME, EZER cross. Thoght KATO was going to be MRTO and had RETUNES for ATTUNES. Other than that...the slow and steady progress kept the fun factor alive.

PlantieBea 2:04 PM  

I should also add that I started with DEER SEASON instead of OPENSEASON, but had to ditch that to make ERNS fit.

tedequity 2:08 PM  

Anonymous - About 29D I think the ed. is editor, not education, making the asst. assistant as in assistant editor.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I don't go to a lot of regattas, so Henley was news to me. I did know of the Henley collar, though, and I've always thought of the shirt as being somehow English in origin, so after a few crosses, HENLEY came to me. Wikipedia says: [Henley shirts] were so named because this particular style of shirt was the traditional uniform of rowers in the English town of Henley-on-Thames. So there you have it.

TERMINATOR also fits the the Arnold clue (were there 4 Terminator films?) and I had that for a while, until it became obvious that it was wrong.

I never did solve the KATO/ATKA crossing, however, and that made ATTUNES and INTHAT wrong as well. I was just too busy this morning with other stuff to spend the time to fix it. I had ATTU for the Aleutian Island, of course, and wouldn't give it up, and that was the source of all the trouble--that, and the fact that I had TITO instead of KATO.

So I went down in defeat, 4 letters wrong.

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

"IN THAT" is unquestionably not a synonym for "since".

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

I think all of you made a mistake in this puzzle. I'm pretty sure it was TATO that Robin fought, the evil tuber that tried to take over Gotham. Robin was loosing, but using his Bat-Wiles, lured the evil TATO into back of a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, ran to the dining room, then sprayed him with Bat Chives & Bat Sour Cream. Then, the good citizens of Gotham pitched in to finish the job, preserving the safety of the local citizenry once again.

At least that's the story I'm going with. It was enough I changed ATTU to ATTA, and I wasn't going to change any further.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

@Anon 2:49 - In that I stubornly refused to change ATTA to ATKA, I failed to solve the puzzle correctly. Since I stubornly refused to change ATTA to ATKA, I failed to solve the puzzle correctly.

Doug 3:04 PM  

@steve l: Indeed, it was you to whom I was referring. My apologies! But doesn't TKO just fit so darn well.....

The NYT tosses in a Young puzzle every month I think, and the content is definitely not HORSY, PUPPY so good for teens. My son did not know the name of Jimmy Carter's daughter, and in fact I doubt he even knows Jimmy Carter. The one this time is about weather, and had HYPOTHERMIA, AIRMASS,NOREASTER,"cold as a..." WITCHESTIT. (In the spirit of current teenspeak, LOL on the last one.)

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Greetings from upstate New York, where it only *feels* like it's 2 below!

There are times when I like a lot of names and proper nouns in the puzzles I'm solving, and there are times when I don't.

I started this puzzle with two specific construction goals: (1) no 3-letter words and (2) put the triple 10s in rows 2, 3, and 4 instead of their usual places in the first three rows.

Why? Who knows. Was it worth the abundance of names and the repetition of OK in two entries? Perhaps.


Jeffrey 3:19 PM  

Nobody has explained KATO. Kato (played by Bruce Lee) was the Green Hornet's sidekick and met Robin in a crossover episode between their respective 60's shows.

Holy Explanation, Batman!

Crosscan, who hopes to be Rex's sidekick when he gets a network show.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Biggest issue was refusing to give up on Harbor instead of thinking Henley. Insisted on Birds Nest at first even though it didn't make sense before waking up and TWOD also confused me even when I got it by fill and thought it was a flat number (disadvantage of being from the UK). Never thought two-dimensional.
Tough day for me not knowing Yinge,Anke and Troyer.


Unknown 3:50 PM  

anon 3:01
TATO was a common masher.

Found out this morning I had invented the winter sport ICE SKASING. Essa?
Washoe was the first 'signing' chimp tutored by Dr. Roger Fouts when working at the University of Nevada. I met both in Norman, OK. Washoe used ASL and created the name 'water bird' for ducks. The whole field of animal language study is amazing to me.

chefwen 4:16 PM  

First Google was Writers Life and came up with some chap named Goldburg so filled in auburg thinking to self you are so clever then remembered that the NYT doesn't do that Sh** on Fridays, so back to the drawing board. I have to Google my butt off on Friday and Saturday or would be at a standstill and would have to think of something else to do, like maybe clean my house. NOT!

Got Henley as I spent a few years in the U.K. as a wee bairn.

After getting my Googling in place I was able to get through the rest of the puzzle and actually finished it which is a rarity for this kid.

@Steve I said. Why don't you print out a copy of the puzzle for your daughter and you can start having a contest. My Dad and I do that whenever I can force myself to leave paradise and visit him in the cold country. Brrrr you guys.

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

Quibbles Department: I guess I can grudgingly let goody go, although I have never seen it spelled any way other than goodie for this usage. But esta for "is in Spain"? Am I missing something here? Esta translates "are," not "is" [es]. Anyone out there who is an espanol expert?

PuzzleGirl 4:47 PM  

@jewel: The English to be can be translated in Spanish to both ESTAR (estoy, estás, está, estamos, están) and IR (soy, eres, es, somos, son). I'm going waaay back here, but ir is used to describe, for example, a physical trait. "He is blond," would be "Él es rubio." Something temporary, like "He is here," on the other hand, would be "Él está aquí." SethG, help me out here.

PlantieBea 4:47 PM  

No, esta is just fine. I'm not a Spanish expert, but the way I understand it from high school Spanish taken more than a few years ago is that when you want to know where something is, you ask "Donde esta ...?". So, for example, Donde est Wally? (Sorry, can't make accent marks or upside down question marks)...Esta, the third person singular present tense, comes from the Spanish verb estar meaning "to be" in the location sense. Es is derived from the Spanish verb ser, also meaning "to be", in the sense of existing.

PuzzleGirl 4:49 PM  

Oh man. I meant ser (to be) not ir (to go). But I think I got the conjugations right!

evil doug 5:07 PM  

You can "complete" the puzzle any way you want---google, ask for help---hell, just find a solved copy somewhere and transpose the letters into your own grid. Voila! Completed!

But that's not "solving" the puzzle.


Anonymous 5:18 PM  

Oh, Evil, You're just the smartest coolest one of all!!!! So much smarter and cooler than the rest!!!! Would you be my BFF?

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

You can do accent marks by composing first in Word and then cutting and pasting. In Word, you do control + apostrophe (in all of these, hold down the control key while typing the symbol). Then type the vowel you want accented. For the tilde over the n, do control + shift + tilde (shift because it's the upper character on that key). For the inverted question mark and exclamation mark, hold down control + shift + alt all at the same time, and type the regular mark while holding down the other three. For dieresis, do control + shift + colon. You can do grave and circumflex accents similarly for French. Cedilla using the control + comma before typing the c. Then just cut it all and paste it into this box.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

I agree with Evil Doug here. If you don't think Googling before you finish is cheating, fine. It's your conscience. But in these times, I'm not sure I'd trust you with my money.

You certainly should use this tactic while you are learning and doing a puzzle on a day that's beyond your current level. But you will grow more as a solver if you try other things, like putting the puzzle down and coming back to it later. Where's the satisfaction from finding the answers online?

I had a roommate once that used to say, that's why there's chocolate and vanilla. That applies here, I guess.

jae 5:36 PM  

A tough one for me too. Needed to go overnight to finish it. Went down too many wrong paths initially, DEERSEASON, EDGESBY, WRENSNEST, HARBOR, DRYS, and MESS then SHIP for 1d, just to hit the highlights. It took a looong time to fix all of that. I also balked at OKSHOOT because of ALLOK. I kinda liked it overall but not as much the typical MN effort.

WASHOE was a gimme because of the chimp that Philly mentioned.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

@ Steve I:

You don;t need Word for most diacritical marks. Typing on my IMac directly in this blog, with key chords indicated in parens:

ç = option c
ü - (option u) u
ä - (option u) a
ö - (option u) o
á - (option e) a
å - option a
ê - (option i) e

Must be a lot more fun stuff too. I still haven't found the accent grave.

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

To get the grave symbol, try typing "Option-`, and then type the letter like an e.
or maybe...
Did you check in the edit menu, top left, the last item "Special Characters"
Sounds like a grave issue

nanpilla 6:35 PM  

@artlvr :Glad someone else wanted Hope for Alma. Hope gets so little love in crosswords.

I took longer than needed because I just didn't want to give up on
AT HIGH NOON instead of OPEN SEASON. That cost me some time. And I just couldn't believe the two O.K.s, so I kept trying to change things around. Overall, a challenging, but doable puzzle.

Anonymous 6:49 PM  

Good puzzle. Fits and starts for me. And then I had to go to the bench (that would be my wife). She gets Ethy Boy right off the bat, and saw HOURLYRATE too. I got all the answers having something to do with drinking (If you want to taste the PEAT, try Laphroig).

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

I have to agree with Evil Doug here too. Kind of reminds me of how my father taught myself, and my 14 brothers and sisters how to walk. Put us in a room with some food and water at the other side of the room, and came back a week later. Made me one tough sum-bitch.

Sure is lonely at the family reunions though.

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

Weird. I though 24-D (Flat) was TKOD (as in technical knockout) which works with KNET (since I think K and W are the only radio call name start letter). Never heard of the the word TWOD and can't seem to find it in any dictionary. Oh well, i still like my answer...

Anonymous 7:43 PM  


Hey, anon - it works! Good on yer, mate!

@ Nanpilla et al. - my wife is from Alma MI and we were married (in our sixties!) by a retired chaplain of Alma college. Jesse Perry, a true gentleman. Alma, clued as the College, appears in puzzles often, and it always gives me a sense of joining two of my worlds. OK, enough memory lane.....

Anonymous 7:44 PM  


Hey, anon - it works! Good on yer, mate!

@ Nanpilla et al. - my wife is from Alma MI and we were married (in our sixties!) by a retired chaplain of Alma college. Jesse Perry, a true gentleman. Alma, clued as the College, appears in puzzles often, and it always gives me a sense of joining two of my worlds. OK, enough memory lane.....

Soul Solver 7:48 PM  

Roman Solver's Lament?


To drink a hefeweizen at lunch, to get to the last letter of a Nothnagel Friday by the end of said lunch, and then face the ATKA/KATO crossing. Not loving that. But I ought to have remembered that geographic locale from past puzzles.

But thanks to MN for consistently great puzzles. And thanks to CrossCan for explaining Kato.

By the way, NC Wyeth is in the news today. His much more famous son passed away.

SethG 8:33 PM  


I had the wrong crossover Batman episode and had DR. NO for a while. It was hard to figure out because I've never heard of ATKA and I had BOSSOS and RETUNES. OSSD Ed. anyone?

I knew HENLEY from this, which is perhaps not the regatta they're referring to.

I didn't even know POPE was a poet, but I got the philosopher from Monty Python and I do know me my tennis.

chefbea 8:54 PM  

I have been out all day. havent done the puzzle. Will read everything tomorrow

Unknown 9:28 PM  

My 1st post!
Just thought I'd mention that for Brits (like me), it's hard to even say 'regatta' without immediately thinking of HENLEY. That was a very easy one for me.
On the other hand, I wondered if I was being led astray by my britishness...

mac 9:31 PM  

Challenging for me today. Ugliest word: twod.

I had a lot of wrong starts:
farce for spree
deer season
dole for pork
ship for shop
attu for atka, no idea about Kato
"think so" for "yes we do"

I got Talese, but realise I always thought Gay was a girl. Can you believe the boring ern has a "meat cleaver" bill? And that Scotch is flavored with peat? I thought that single malt just accidentally tasted like it. Can't believe I didn't know Channel 13, which I have been supporting for years and years, is the same as WNET.

On a positive note, Anke Huber and Henley were gimmees.

The hot dill had me laughing as well!

The anonymice are particularly sinister today.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

I finished this on my own just as I was about to give up and google in the northwest. As usual with Nothnagel constructions, I liked this puzzle. The very first thing I filled in was Anke, but had to get Troyer from crosses. I thought WNET was fair because so many public TV programs come from there. (For that reason, I wouldn't object to WBGH.) Just shows once again how different people know different things and one shouldn't be too quick to declare a crossing a Natick (a town name I actually know).

I was surprised by the two oks.
And I didn't understand twod until I came here...

I got erns because of a postcard on my refrigerator.

Anonymous 9:40 PM  

I meant WGBH

nanpilla 9:47 PM  

@Retired_chemist I'm a Hope grad myself and have many happy memories of the chemistry department there. And, of course, lots and lots of tulips!

Glitch 9:51 PM  

This was a "4 cupper" for me (I measure my times in cups of morning coffee). An enjoyable MN creation, no google required, but a couple of lucky, correct, guesses.

TIVO'd CSI, hope Lyle wasn't a spoiler


Despite the xword community, the NYT is the NEW YORK Times and I hope will always remain NY centric. Also, I assume it doesn't have xwords as it's primary publication. See London Times.

@Evil Doug

... and soz your old man


Glitch 10:04 PM  



In my earlier post I mentioned the puzzle sliced/diced/chewed/thumped in this blog is NY(T) centric.

Not to worry about your "britishness", my "americanishness" stymies me on the London Times puzzles!

Blog early, blog often, the "others" here are not as closed as they appear.


Pythia 11:29 PM  


Loved it. Light and lively.

Cool to see ETHAN HAWKE on the front page of the puzzle section ... I mean the Arts section ... of the Times, putting him in my consciousness before his clue appeared ... bummer that Ben Brantley panned EH's performance in "The Cherry Orchard." Might see it anyway ... although BB did also spank Sam Mendes a bit.


Anonymous 11:34 PM  

The K in Kato was my last entry, and boy did that bring back memories. Hadn't seen that particular episode in 40 years, but I instantly recalled my shock over witnessing two good guys duking it out. Left me confused and disoriented for years to come.

allan 12:25 AM  

TWOD as TWO D an apartment number? Nah, I like 2D better.

@ Soul Solver: I like your avataqr better than mine. Can I steal it?

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Muchas gracias!

poc 12:26 PM  

On the subject of accent marks: in Windows you can add an extra keyboard layout called "US International" which enables "dead keys", thus ' a comes out as á, ~ n as ñ and so on. You get a little icon on the task bar to enable you to switch.

On MacOS you can add an extra keyboard layout but you have to download it from somewhere (I forget but I'll look it up if there's interest). I installed it on my wife's iMac since she mostly writes in Spanish and her keyboard is a US model.

On Linux (my own system) it's also easy to add extra kb layouts.

BTW, I think the distinction between "ser" and "estar" is the hardest thing for the English-speaker to understand when learning Spanish. I've been doing it for 30 years and I still hesitate sometimes in unusual situations, even though native speakers never have any doubt.

Doc John 2:32 PM  

Just finished it! (Saturday, midday)
So none of the commenters mentioned Voldemort in relation to YOU KNOW WHO. I'm aghast!
Went with C instead of K for KATO, my only mistake. I've never heard of ATKA (only Attu).

Anonymous 3:24 AM  

Yes, I had ATTU; yes I even got out my
"Mastering The Art Of French Cooking"
to refresh my memory of Bechamel sauce.
Twod? For the record, not a fan of Mr. Nothnagel
and his multi-syllabs: yes we do, LESS IS
MORE, Mikey.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Missing something obvious - still can't get "days" from "spin cycle?"

Bob Kerfuffle 4:20 PM  

@Anonymous 1:26 PM - One day = the time it takes for the Earth to complete a cycle of spinning on its axis.

Rick 1:38 PM  

Seems I may have been one of the few for whom ANKE was a gimme. I'm a huge tennis fan and love when tennis players show up in the puzzles, as they are almost always an easy fill for me.

I think the duplicate OK entries could have been avoided by changing SKEE to SWEE as in Swee'Pea, crossing with ALLOW.

Does anyone know where in upstate NY Nothnagel is from?

Rick 1:54 PM  

I don't mean that in a stalking kind of way, just curious where puzzle makers are from.

Greg 2:38 PM  

So many problems here. First of all, BASSOS is NOT a correct plural of BASSO. I don't care if Google says it is. The English singular is bass, and the plural is basses. In Italian it's singular basso and plural bassi, NOT BASSOS! That's as bad as saying "PANINIS". A conductor would be laughed off the podium for his ridiculous pretension and ignorance if he referred collectively to the bass section as the "BASSOS".

After that just relentless Naticks. ANKE crossing WNET and TALESE, EZER crossing HUME and TROYER, KATO crossing ATKA. Editor must have had the day off. Awful.

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