FRIDAY, Mar. 13, 2009 - J Pahk (Piltdown man locale / Chiwere dialect / "Revolution 9" collaborator / Saloonkeeper of note)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: APERÇU - n., pl. -çus (-sü').

  1. A discerning perception; an insight: “Her schmoozy but magisterial aperçus inspired widespread emulation among the young” (Roy Blount, Jr.).
  2. A short outline or summary; a synopsis. (
This one had its moments. The NW was, as it says, EXQUISITE (15A: Flawlessly crafted). Nothing very flashy or contemporary (except for ZINGER - 7D: It may be fired back at someone), but the stack of SEA OF AZOV (1A: It's shared by Russia and Ukraine), EXQUISITE, and NEUTRINOS is really lovely. Nobody likes OTO (8D: Chiwere dialect) or MAG (20A: O, say) or SRI (19A: Honorific that's Sanskrit for "majesty") or AT NO (23A: 8 for O, say) or even EDSELS (32A: Old bombs), but they aren't terrible, and they're barely noticeable when the long stuff is this good. This puzzle felt both old-fashioned and sciencey. It's probably not any more sciencey than a lot of other puzzles, but NEUTRINOS is an ostentatious answer that skews the impression (17A: They're produced in great quantities by supernovas). Despite not having thought much about science since 1990, when I got an A+ in Physics I (i.e. Physics for Poets), NEUTRINOS came to me quickly due to ... well, due to having the NEU- in place before I ever saw the clue. that helped. But also due to having just reread, and seen the movie version of, "Watchmen." Dr. Manhattan talks a bit about subatomic particles, which he can see. The particle I actually remember him discussing is the GLUINO, but I'm sure NEUTRINOS are in there somewhere.

The rest of the puzzle didn't thrill me as much. There are great answers here and there - VESPUCCI (9D: He demonstrated that what Columbus had discovered was not 6-Down) over DE SOTO (48D: He joined Pizarro in the conquest of the Inca Empire) is nice, X FACTOR (45D: Hard-to-define influence) is always good, and the clue on PLACE MAT (37D: Put-down in a restaurant?) was pretty original-seeming - but by the end (and here I mean specifically the SW), the whole thing had begun to feel a little ... precious. Something about the (super-) collision of JAPE (46A: Make fun of) and JOCOSE (46D: Sportive) and APERCUS (40D: Quick impressions) and even SAUTE (63A: Start to prepare, as 49-Across) made me think of some horribly pretentious (and garrulous) guy at a Renaissance Faire, playing his LUTE (55D: It's featured in two Vivaldi concertos) around a set of PYRES (51D: Funeral arrangements) and hurling SAT words at you while overpronouncing his ESSES (65A: A lot of assessments?). OK, so I've never been to a Renaissance Faire. Still, there's something high-falutin', Frenchy, and pretentious about that corner. Precious and old-fashioned - that was my final impression. Further, the clue on OCCUR makes me a bit nauseous (59A: Become part of history). That's a pretty broad definition of "history" you got there. That SW corner is likely coloring my impression of the rest of the grid, and unfairly so. Maybe if I hadn't had to endure PPPS (57D: Afterthought #3: Abbr.), I'd be feeling more generous. I have "disgusting" written in the margin next to that clue.

Grad school helped out with a few gimmes today, though strangely it did Not help with the one gaudy literary clue in the middle of the puzzle - 26D: _____ the Destroyer (rabble-rouser in Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man") (Ras). The only RAS I know is RA'S Al GHUL, a Batman foe. I did, however, get AQUINAS (3D: "Summa Contra Gentiles" theologian), CARLYLE (54A: "Sartor Resartus" essayist Thomas), and NERUDA (25A: "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" writer), all without even looking at the grid. Bam bam bam. This made up a bit for The Trouble With SPICA (10D: Virgo's alpha star), SPICA being a racist-sounding star I've never heard of, or one I heard of once and then forgot. The only other real WTF answer was VIC (58A: 1951 A.L. strikeout leader Raschi). Maybe I've seen him in a puzzle before, but I have no recollection of such an event. Oh, and I don't know what RAND is supposed to refer to in this cluing context - 47A: 100 cents, in East London. Is there an East London in South Africa? Oh look, there is. What a whimsical JAPE. Precious.

I can never remember how to spell ANTIPASTO (64A: Italian meal starter). I always want to change one or the other of the middle vowels to Es. I had two "malapops" today (you know, where you want a word that's wrong, only to find that same word lurking somewhere else in the grid). I wanted NOT IT at 4D: Tag cry (out) and then found it at 52D: Tag cry. I also had the "ES" in VESPUCCI and really wanted DE SOTO to fit ... and then bam. DE SOTO, right underneath it. Very weird.


  • 30A: It may concern arms or contain legs (race) - Not a fan of riddles
  • 36A: Finno-Ugric tongue (Lapp) - had LATT here ... not sure what I was thinking.
  • 42A: Piltdown man locale (Sussex) - a complete guess. Is "Piltdown man" a prehistoric apeman? Aha, it was a famous ape-man hoax from 1912. Took 40 years to discover the fraud. Read more here.
  • 49A: Dish cooked in seasoned broth (pilaf) - was looking for something soupier.
  • 51A: Wildcats and Cougars play in it (Pac Ten) - had the TEN and without thinking wrote in BIG TEN.
  • 5D: Tofu specification (firm) - yes, firm good. Soft bad (unless you are incorporating it into a soup or something, I suppose)
  • 13D: March preceder, periodically (leap day) - I never think of Feb. 29 as having its own special name.
  • 39D: City due south of San Juan (Caracas) - one of the coolest-sounding world capitals. It is the capital of Venezuela, which belongs to the OAS (62D: Intl. group with 35 members).
  • 61D: "Revolution 9" collaborator (Ono) - ONO, OTO ... OTO, ONO. ONO is part of the great OOT sandwich in the south, created by MOOT POINT (60A: It's open to debate) over TOOTS SHOR (66A: Saloonkeeper of note). I hate "Revolution 9" - the worst thing about the White Album. So let's hear one of the best things about the White Album:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


evil doug 9:05 AM  

Quite so: The Great Northwest is that indeed.

Desoto and Edsel was a nice pairing. Took me back to my model-car youth, when even that lesser Ford product seemed cool to me.


Barbati 9:22 AM  

Anyone else having difficulty accessing the puzzles page on the NYT website this morning?

JannieB 9:23 AM  

I also had a malapop - initially wrote Aquinas in for Carlyle - my knowledge of 7-letter surnamed authors named Thomas being very limited. The SW fell for me before the NW, which the next-to-last area I conquered.

The SE was last for me because I had Cut Into for the longest time and couldn't visualize Sussex or Pilaf. Once that was cleared up, I was done.

I thought the cluing was often pretentious and overly difficult, even for a Friday. This was a hard slog and not a lot of fun.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

My first answer was SENSATE, but the rest of the northwest was the hardest part for me. I had ERRORFREE for "flawlessly crafted" instead of EXQUISITE, a much superior answer. Everything else fell into place after I corrected my stubbornness.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Had "Big Ten" instead of "Pac Ten," which turned "pyres" into "biers," but quickly saw that wouldn't work and spotted the problem.
Vic Raschi is probably one of the best pitchers not in the Hall of Fame. He was a mainstay of the Yankees dynasty that won 5 straight World Series from 1949-53, but his career was shortened by arm trouble. I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter a few years ago and she shared some recollections of her late father. Seeing his name pop up was a treat for this Yankee fan.

poc 9:37 AM  

Very very good. I liked this a lot. Clever cluing, and only a few obscure sports references. I even managed to do it "connectedly", which is where I only look at clues that connect to an already-filled answer.

Kurt 9:41 AM  

I'm with both Jannie B. and Anonymous. The northwest gave me fits so I left it to last. And I spent lots of time trying to fit AQUINAS into Thomas CARLYLE's home in Palm Springs. It was humbling to find out that Mr. Aquinas had taken up residence in Idaho!

This was a tough Friday for me...mostly because of the difficult cluing. Doctor Parker summed it up pretty well: "Precious and old-fashioned".

What does this portend for tomorrow?

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

I woke up way too early this morning and could not go back to sleep, which is why I am here and why I finished the puzzle.

I thought it was medium and made one error - nenuda, not neruda. What can I say, it sounded right to me. No aha moments occurred (is that history?), just slow and steady progress. I had the same experience as Rex with not it and Vespucci and Latt. And I have never heard anyone say jape. I don't even know if I have ever read it other than in puzzles. I read about the piltdown man fraud many years ago; it was an interesting story.

Now if I only do as well on Saturday, I will be one happy solver.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Didn't make me laugh a lot, but I enjoyed the puzzle. Guess it fit my knowledge set, so the cluing seemed fine.

Orange 9:54 AM  

I started with LETT, the Latvian designation, before remembering that the Finno-Ugric business was pretty much limited to Finland (Finno-), Estonia (Finno-), and Hungary (-Ugric). It was the bed SLAT that unraveled that for me.

Excellent puzzle overall.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Wow, I was very close to throwing in the towel on this one at several points ... and probably complaining that there were too many obscure clues. But I kept plugging away and many to get it. I also had BIGTEN, and some others that threw me off were INDIA for ASIAN, RIDE for JAPE, and LATT for LAPP. Mostly though I just had a lot of blank squares for a long time.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Good puzzle. I got bogged down in a number of places (CASTILLE, TOOOTSSHOR, etc.), but they eventually worked themselves out.

Minor quibble: the plural of supernova is supernovae. How's that for sciencey?!

nanpilla 10:04 AM  

I got stalled at MAG, since I didn't think O was an abbreviation, just the name of a magazine. I couldn't come up with any other letter that would fit, though, which meant that WINNER for something that can be fired back (thinking tennis) had to be wrong. Eventually I cleaned all of that up, however. Overall, I liked the puzzle, because even though it had a lot of things I didn't know, they were all getable from crosses.

retired_chemist 10:07 AM  

I really liked this one. EXQUISITE! Congratulations to joon! Agree with Rex re sciencey, but that's fine by me. Actually a lot less sciencey than a physics teacher like joon might have produced....

MANY places to fill even long words with correct but incorrect answers. My first fill was 17A GAMMA RAYS, knowing that a single cross could change that to NEUTRINOS, which of course happened. 66A was MISS KITTY to start. 37D started as TABLE MAT, which morphed her into TOOTS SHOR. I was thus left with LATT also at 36A, which eventually all got fixed. 46A was MOCK before it was JAPE, which arose from 46D starting as JAUNTY (lucky to have the J!). 1A SEA OF AZOV started as URAL RIVER, which is a thousand miles or or so off, I think.

All this made the solve truly enjoyable. I hope to see more of joon's puzzles.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

The puzzle was sorely lacking in any modern pop culture references.

I thought the NW was very tough. If I hadn't got Aquinas off of the IN,I wouldn't have been able to get anywhere (Sea of Azov?).

Revolution Take 20 (which has been floating around the Internet for the last few weeks) is apparently a 10 minute extended take of Revolution 1 (still no official confirmation). The last 6 minutes of the take were lopped off and John and Yoko took some of that 6 minutes to make Revolution 9. If they'd left it as is I think Revolution Take 20 would have been the best thing on the White Album.

retired_chemist 10:26 AM  

@ Evil Doug - EDSELS, DESOTO, and also let's not forget PICKUPS (21A).

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I am staring at "8 for O, say" and can't figure out why it means "at no". Illumination please?

Jeffrey 10:38 AM  

Not being the literate type, AQUINAS, CARLYLE,and NERUDA were major ?huhs? to me, so I had no right solving this puzzle perfectly, but somehow I did. Feels like a Saturday, but in a good way.

Started with ANTIPASTE instead of ANTIPASTO. That would be a gel toothpaste lover.

Did Mrs. SHOR name her son TOOTS because she wanted to give him crossword immortality?

I wonder about a MOOT POINT being open to debate; I thought it was something not worth debating. But that's a MOOT POINT, better discussed at a Crossword blog. Pretty EXQUISITE work.

JannieB 10:42 AM  

@retired_chemist - "Miss Kitty" was my first thought in the SE as well. I also started with "Jaunty". Great minds...

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Anonymous @10:38 -- AT NO=atomic number.

I also had INDIA, MISSKITTY and GAMMARAYS for a while which slowed everything down to a crawl.

The SW and NE were the toughest for me. I thought the NE was reasonable once I got it but I agree with Rex about the SW. But "precious" isn't the term I'd use, I think ridiculous is more appropriate since there are too many obscure words (JOCUSE, APERCUS) that don't come easily from the crosses.

I'll readily concede that it is possible to construct a hard puzzle using obscure words. What makes it enjoyable for me is when it is a hard puzzle because the words are common but the clues are obscure.

Two Ponies 11:03 AM  

This one really had me sweating for a long time. Thought I'd never finish and...I guess I never did since I got hung up at jape/apercus intersection.
I did not like the clue for Asian. I don't know Carlyle but with ___lyle in place I made a good guess.
Agree with the rating. Overall not a very fun puzzle but not a bad challenge.
Agree with crosscan about the moot point. It was that sort of clue that put me off a bit. I also wanted Miss Kitty. Does Toots think of himself as a saloonkeeper? I doubt it. Isn't his place in NYC? Hardly the wild west.

Unknown 11:11 AM  

Among my struggles was the LETT attempt Orange mentioned. I believe I completed this puzzle because of the participation in the blogs where joon hangs out. The timing though is uncertain since the puzzle was submitted before some of the controversies that allowed JOCOSE, PACTEN, and ATNO to be possible for me. I enjoyed this one and bet the next one will have fewer OTO ONO OAS fills. I guess many will get to meet joon in Boston for the Harvard Crossword event.

jeff in chicago 11:37 AM  

Crushed again. [sigh] Just could not get a foothold. After my first run through the clues I had exactly two words in the grid. AQUINAS and XFACTOR. Managed to get VESPUCCI and SENSATE, which gave NEUTRINOS, and maybe 10 more after that. NERUDA? APERCUS? SPICA? O NO! And I am OUT.

edith b 11:40 AM  

For information junkies like me, this was in my wheel-house. People, places and things. Neons everywhere.Yet I found this one to be strangely unsatisfying.

I think it is a nicely made puzzle with only a few hiccups. I didn't care for 57D: Afterthought #3:Abbr. and several others but those are only minor quibbles. I wait all week for Friday and Saturday puzzles because they are usually crunchy and have a certain pizzazz to them. I find it hard to fault joon for this effort but I really think, as Rex intimated, this was a tutor session for one's SATs.

PS As a young girl, I used to read the dictionary. That held me in good stead today.

sillygoose 11:42 AM  

What jeff in chicago said.

I am SCAREDY I will never complete a Friday puzzle.

ArtLvr 11:43 AM  

I enjoyed this a lot, and even thought I'd manage a very good time (for me) until I got to the SW... There I wanted a Jockey instead of JOCOSE and Jive rather than JAPE, so it took a while to fix that wee corner!

I was even thinking of Ova to be "extracted" for a procreational purposes, as I'd been involved in a whole week of laparotomies on a flock of ewes at Purdue years ago. Too funny -- it wasn't even dental extraction, but ORE.



Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@crosscan, two ponies--The basic meaning of MOOT POINT is that it is debatable. That led to it meaning that since it has no practical application (for example, if it is past time to act) it is nothing but debatable. And that led people to interpret it as not worth debating, because there is no reason to debate it, since there's nothing you can do about it. But at heart, it means debatable.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

The constructor's name jumped out at me. Joon competed in College Bowl in the years that I did, and I'd see him at meets. I'd sometimes even have the misfortune of facing him.

Having witnessed the depth and range of his knowledge firsthand, I'm not surprised by how difficult the puzzle was (for me, at least).


Anonymous 12:07 PM  

I read Rex and the bloggers every day and always enjoy everyone's comments. This is probably my second comment in 3-4 years but I had to stick in my two cents because I found today's puzzle pretty easy--only Googled Sartor Resartus. Having bragged about my singular accomplishment, last week's Fri. and Sat. are still unfinished. I usually struggle mightily and have to resort to Rex to finish those two days. Was Toots Shors really considered a saloonkeeper? Alice in S.F.

Orange 12:15 PM  

Cruciverb lists this 2007 NY Sun clue for SHOR: [Self-described "saloonkeeper" Toots]. So I blame Toots for the "saloonkeeper" mislead in Joon/Will's clue.

Shamik 12:22 PM  

@sillygoose: Some day you definitely will solve a Friday puzzle, but this wasn't going to be the one, for sure!

@ArtLvr: Had EGG and OVA in and out and in and out and in and out before ORE. Must be worried about my final exam in 43 minutes from now.

9 minutes saw 18 words
25 minutes only the SW empty
51:29 saw completion

Imagine my shock when I checked the blog and discovered I'd solved correctly. Priceless.

Have to call this one uber-challenging. Had AQUINAS down in the SW. Imagine my dismay when I had to pull him out and stick him in the NW!

Wanted BELLSTARR for TOOTSSHOR. Night club vs. saloon? Please. INDIA...possible...CHINA...possible. ASIAN is a stretch. Good thing I enjoy a hard puzzle. But this was truly a WTF! Today I don't feel smug about having finished this one. I just don't.

fikink 12:40 PM  

@joon, a challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed, although it took me forever. Many thanks.
My hand is up for MISSKITTY, initially, and I was wed to APERIES for APERCUS for too long.

edith b 12:44 PM  


I'm right there with you, sister.

I think this one was directed at crossword geeks and no one else.

HudsonHawk 1:03 PM  

Completing this puzzle felt like an accomplishment. Nice work, Joon. Even though the terminal V bothered me a bit, I started with VESPUCCI and PICK-UP, finished the NE and ambled slowly in a clockwise direction before finally finishing in the NW. Repitition paid off, as JOCOSE was much easier the second time around.

miriam b 1:08 PM  

Did anyone else think of RAS TAFAR? Or RAS el Hanout, the Moroccan spice blend?
I have a home-made version and I'm now inspired to use it in meatballs for dinner. I'm already planning on making beet pkhali, a Georgian concoction involving walnut sauce. And what the heck, why not a pot of pilaf too, for nostalgia's sake?

@Rex: Who was Blount describing in that quote? Google wouldn't tell me a thing.

I loved this puzzle to pieces. It was right up my alley, for the most part. I did have to look at PACTEN for a while before it meant anything. And when I saw ONO, that's exactly what I said.

Good to see your name up there, Joon. I notice you haven't posted lately.

Shamik 1:14 PM  

@edith b: LOL....i thought all of us ARE crossword geeks!

joho 1:22 PM  

APERUCUS was definitely my word of the day, thanks for the definition, Rex. I thought the clue was talking about a game of speed Charades or something.

I also had CURACAO for a brief time before changing to CARACAS. I'm geographically challenged.

I was surprised how fast I finished this Friday's puzzle. But also sad to see I had one mistake. I had NEUTRINE/OTE.

I liked this puzzle and it was nice to see Joon's name up at the top.

PlantieBea 1:26 PM  

Whew! A very difficult Friday for me. The SW corner was the last to fall because I didn't know CARLYLE. APERCUS is a new word. I had the common false starts of INDIA, JAUNTY, GAMMA RAYS and the malapop DESOTO. And, I had VESPUCIO for a long while.

Thanks for the Helter Skelter link--glad it wasn't Revolution Endless...

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

some great entries like X FACTOR. overall the fill felt like a saturday to me, particularly due to SEA OF AZOV, CASTILE, LAPP, TOOTS SHOR, SPICA, etc.

George NYC 1:44 PM  

It had me at Neutrinos

Bob Kerfuffle 1:49 PM  

Challenging indeed for me. After 50 minutes I had everything correctly filled in except the SW. Working from two correct letters, I thought there might be a city in Puerto Rico called "Corrado", which was stopping me from completion, even though I suspected JOCOSE and JAPE. So I broke down and looked at a map (Since I started coming to this blog regularly, I have become shy of using any references.) and there was CARACAS and eventual completion.

But if there is one thing I have learned from this blog, . . . well, actually, it was PACTEN, which I dropped in confidently, something I would never have known before the discussion here in the last few weeks.

What if Joon does a Saturday puzzle?

Unknown 1:55 PM  

The first go through I got PALER and ANTIPASTO, and that was all. I almost walked away in disgust at this clearly ridiculously unreasonable puzzle, but an hour later I had finished all but the bottom left - at which point I looked at a google map and saw CARACUS, which was enough to finish.

I learnt PACTEN from this blog just recently, and JOCOSE from a puzzle last week, so I know being here is helping.

I thought RAND was going to be PAND - some sort of attempt at saying POUND with a London accent, and a screwup where 100 pennies was changed to cents by mistake.

Unknown 2:00 PM  

Funny that Bob Kerfuffle was basically writing exactly the same comment as me at the same time!
I meant to mention that I have never heard of TOOTS SHOR, or OAS, and randomly guessed a P at their crossing.

chefbea 2:00 PM  

A really tough puzzle for me today I had to give up and come here - but that was after I got
Firm tofu and

All and all a yummy puzzle

Greene 2:35 PM  

I thought this was a very classy and highly satisfying puzzle. There were a few items that were completely outside my frame of reference, but that is pretty much what I expect from the Friday and Saturday puzzles; plus even the obscure answers were very gettable from the crosses.

I love the SW corner with its JAPE, JOCOSE, and APERCUS. Fine work Joon. I look forward to more.

archaeoprof 2:52 PM  

@Rex: yes, it felt a little quaint here and there, but wow, what a NW corner. Plus VESPUCCI. After that I didn't really notice.

False starts today: lock/HANK, latt/LAPP, quid/RAND, oboe/LUTE.

fergus 2:53 PM  

After messing around in the NE corner, I finished rather doubtfully with a HANK of hair. Maybe pulled out? Never heard of this before. With the K in place, it had to be LOCK, right?

I see what Rex is saying about the preciousness of the puzzle, but that didn't really detract from its overall splendidness. The Dated will? Clue was the most opaque to me. ANTIPASTO was too spookily obvious.

Also went for CURACAO after CORDOBA before finally getting to the Venezuelan capital. Tried fitting in FRAIDEY before SCAREDY

I've been to a pub in Piltdown where they keep a little display commemorating the hoax. More fun after a couple of pints.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

Yay Joon!
THo I didn't finish bec I couldn't get past JOCKEY and APERIES even tho I knew somehow they were wrong.

It was tough and I felt like I was learning all the way...
APERCUS I had no idea about, so am happy to see it as word of the day.
I think I thought it was a hint of...but I think I'm confusing that with SOUPCON...

(Soup's on is not an invitation to have a discussion about sauteed pilaf...)

THere is a new documentary on TOOTS SHOR called "TOOTS" by Kristi Jacobson

fikink 3:23 PM  

@fergus, Ricky Nelson had a hit called "Honeycomb" wherein she was created:

a HANK of hair
and a piece of bone,
made a walkin',

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

@anonymous 10:38 -- 8 is the atomic number of Oxygen (the number of protons an atom of oxygen has).

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Answered it from the crosses, but having brain freeze with regard to clue for 23A, "8 for O". "At no?" Can someone explain?

retired_chemist 4:24 PM  

If there is an award for the puzzle with the most wrong answers that fit well (absent crosses), this one is a contender. I mean that as a compliment to joon and Will. As I said, I enjoy that challenge.

We could call it the DEKE award, per a word I know only through crosswordese.

edith b 4:34 PM  


To paraphrase "Animal Farm," some of us are geekier than others but I take your point.

Three and out

mac 4:41 PM  

I did this though puzzle on the train, and when I arrived I had a few wrong letters in the NW that at one time or another, during the trip, had been right..... I don't know neutrinos, forgot about Azov, so Ute instead of Oto messed it up.
For 31A I had "fers" for a bit, but Sir fixed that. I also put Car before lyle, luckily. Had quid for rand, biers instead of pyres and find hank pretty lugubrious, visions of bloody scalp. I love the clues "dated will", "hard to define influence" and "become part of history", but I don't think "eat into" is accurately clued. Thank you to this blog for Pac Ten!

Two Ponies 5:18 PM  

@ fikink, That's the song that ran thru my head and gave me "hank". Thanks for reminding me of who sang it.
Also, I loved the clue for Shalt.

jae 5:29 PM  

I too liked this one. Add me to the LATT group. I also tried ONETONS for PICKUPS and went through PROS and AYES before getting YEAS. Last entry was the O in AZOV which was pretty much a guess as I knew neither the sea nor the dialect. Stuff like SCAREDY and ZINGER in the same puzzle with NEUTRINOS and AQUINAS made this one an enjoyable solve for me.

SethG 5:52 PM  

I wanted the SEA OF xxOV to be LVOV, which I'd at least heard of. Hey, it's even Ukrainian.

My big problem: I thought couples setting up TRUSTS was a lock, and I had no idea about SPICA or HANK and had a PALER/ILLER unsurity. After a pile of other things I'd never heard of, I had no problem figuring joon knew of some [Mosaic work] that fit xxLAU. That little section took me an awfully long time.

So much I didn't know, including pretty much everything fact-based except NEUTRINOS, but I eventually got it all anyway. Which is either a sign of good construction or I'm getting better. Turn me on, dead man.

mccoll 5:56 PM  

Whew! This was a one googler, but it still took i bit more than an hour. I had to look for Sea of Azov but then the NW fell into place. Fortunately, I knew Carlyle, the auld atheist Scot, and Caracas, so I pieced together "apercus" but it will be a while before I use that in a sentence. I had Miss Kitty, too, but Desoto and "not it" soon sorted that out. I liked this puzzle. It was pretty easy for a Fri. and not too many arcane Pop culture clues. Thanks, Joon.

Glitch 6:52 PM  

"Honeycomb" Recorded by Jimmy Rogers (1957), big hit, covered by Ricky Nelson (1958), Bigger hit.

Today's bummer was the SW, had all the letters but couldn't believe they were all correct. Biggest ouch was finally realizing the city south of San Juan was not in PR.

Anyone else see a (poor) resemblence between the "blue man" and John (of the John & Yoko fiasco)?


Unknown 7:07 PM  

Easy puzzle. This was what a puzzle was like in Maleska's day. No pop culture or obscure sport's trivia. I'd rate it an easy medium

miriam b 7:08 PM  

Didn't Kipling use the phrase "a rag, a bone, and a hank of hair" to describe a woman?

George NYC 7:26 PM  

I'd say one man's RBI is another man's ATNO.

fikink 7:33 PM  

@miriam b: yes, Google says it is from his poem, "The Vampire,"
but I remember it from Brother Dit listening to Ricky Nelson.
@Glitch, had no idea it was a cover! ha!

chefwen 7:35 PM  

@glitch - I too thought oh God, he put another penis in the blog are we to be flagged again?

Just the mere fact that I actually finished a Friday made it a red letter day for me. Me this morning "I don't think I am going to do the puzzle today, it's too difficult" Husband "why do you always give in so easily on Fridays, just walk away and go back to it later". It worked, had to do a tad bit of googling, but that's O.K. with me, I learn things that way. Only goof was having aperies in way too long. I really had a good time with this puzzle, so no more giving up too soon is my new motto.

Bill from NJ 7:37 PM  

“Her schmoozy but magisterial aperçus inspired widespread emulation among the young"

Someone - and I can't find the comment - asked who Roy Blount Jr was referring to in the quote above in Rex's selection of APERÇU as his word of the day.

FWIW, he was referring to the late Pauline Kael, the longtime movie critic of the New Yorker in his review of her last book "For Keeps" in the Atlantic Monthly sometime in the mid 60s.

Stan 7:56 PM  

I liked this puzzle for its Q's and Z's and P's and O's and double O's (certainly the goofiest English vowel).

Got very blocked on the SW corner until my wife came home and gave me JAPE and SAUTE.

Good job, Joon!

George NYC 7:57 PM  

"This was what a puzzle was like in Maleska's day. No pop culture or obscure sport's trivia."

cf: 58 across: "1951 A.L. strikeout leader Raschi"

@Alan, if that isn't "obscure sports trivia" ...
I'm just saying...

jeff in chicago 8:18 PM  

@sillygoose: I have completed a Friday now and then, but it remains the exception to the rule. (Let's not talk about Saturdays; I think I finished one once...) And to be clear, I don't want Fridays (or Saturdays) to be easier. I want me to get better!!!

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

I'm in with George NYC. This was the most obtuse Friday puzzle (for me) in months.

joho 9:07 PM  

I'm curious. This morning as my husband was leaving for work at 6:20 in the morning and I was plumped up in pillows with a cup of coffee, staring at today's challenge with pen in hand he said, "You're puzzling."

Isn't that great that he totally understands my fascination with something he doesn't fathom, has no interest in but also has a sense of humor about it?

My question is: do your spouses and partners get your crazy itch to solve? Or do they just accept it. Or do they share it?

PuzzleGirl 9:08 PM  

Loved it. Had a lot of the same wrong ideas as others (Caracao for CARACAS, ride then jive for JAPE, etc.). I was not, however, lulled into the Big Ten/PAC TEN mistake. There are, in fact, Wildcats in the Big Ten, but no Cougars. (Only Buckeyes, Spartans, Fighting Illini, Hoosiers, Badgers, Wolverines, Nittany Lions, Golden Gophers, and — who am I forgetting? ... hmmmm ... oh yeah, HAWKEYES!)

mac 9:13 PM  

Talking about sportive, Raschi, Big Ten and Pac Ten: I know it's a different sport, but my nephew, Brian Freeman, is playing in the Big West Tournament this evening, for Long Beach State. He's the tall, blond Dutch-looking guy with the sweet smile.

PlantieBea 9:15 PM  

@joho: my husband will do Monday and Tuesday puzzles, but he doesn't have the patience for Wednesday and beyond. But he gets it, totally, and likes to peruse my completed puzzles. Now, my kids can tell when I'm reading the Rex Parker blog, often by the chuckles they hear, and they're always curious about why Rex has posted a link to particular piece of music they hear coming out of my computer.

mac 9:18 PM  

@Joho: my husband is a good sport about it, knows not to take me on trips to locations without Herald Tribune, only very rarely burns the arts section in the fireplace, and was a great host to my puzzle buddies a couple of months ago. I do see his eyes glaze over from time to time when I go on about a great clue or puzzle, but he's always very happy to help out on a sports clue. Not happy when he doesn't know the answer....

imsdave 9:36 PM  

@joho - my wife celebrates my crosswording - she thinks it will keep me from going senile. She's also a great art and german reference for me, and loves it when she can help me.

Personally, she could care less about puzzles.

JannieB 9:41 PM  

@joho - interesting question. My husband is supportive enough to make sure Across Lite is always loaded on our laptop for when we travel. He even went so far as to put a beta version of it on his Blackberry. He's tried his hand at some early week puzzles and is helpful to me with the science stuff.

chefwen 10:04 PM  

@joho - My husband is totally supportive at my puzzling because he is as passionate at handicapping horse races. When we lived in So Cal you could find us at the race track every weekend, me doing to puzzles and he playing the ponies. Those were great weekends, he would make money and I got to eat corned beef sandwiches. Yum!

Anonymous 10:27 PM  

This one was on my (geeky?) wavelength. I enjoyed the puzzle and found it easy. The only clue-answer pair I didn't like was "become part of history"-- "occur." There must be a better clue for "occur" at a Friday-level.

davidb 10:38 PM  

I love Fridays, and there's only just a touch of masochism in that love. All the suffering along the way is easily ecclipsed by the joy when everything falls into place.

Well, almost everything today. Only a few squares in the NE refused to find their correct occupants. Never heard of SPICA or HANK, and though SHALT seems easy in hindsight, it just wouldn't come to me.

Anyway, another great puzzle. TGIF.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

It's been said before, sometimes you are on the same wave length as the puzzle creator. I felt that today. I think I solved it faster than the Wed or Thur puzzles. The last answer to fall for me was also my favorite clue, (also enjoyed by Two Ponies) "Dated will?" I stared at it for a long time till I had a D'Oh! moment. A perfect clue in my book, totally misdirected me down the wrong path. I was surprised to find a medium/challenging rating, expected to find an easy rating today. I had the exact opposite reaction the past two days.

edith b 11:53 PM  


My husband considers reading fiction to be "frivolous" and tends to snort when he sees me on my laptop (which he also considers frivolous.)

Since he retired this year, I must say he has gotten better about it as he asks me questions about doing puzzles - which he claims he is doing on our daughter's behalf.

Any port in a storm, I say, so I take that as progress. It's a lonely business, this crossword stuff.

+wordphan 3:57 AM  

This is so wack. I saw an interview on tv with a researcher rhapsodizing on the subject of neutrinos, I mean gushing on and on as if he were in love with these sub-sub-sub-atomic particles. I immediately flushed the word from my brain. Hey, I'm still trying to grasp the super-collider concept. So, what pops up in my NYTimes puzzle the NEXT DAY? Where did I put the aspirin?

sillygoose 4:01 AM  

@Shamik - thanks for the kind words.

@joho - My husband is happy to answer any sports related questions, otherwise he avoids puzzle talk the way I avoid football talk. When I read the blog and comments I often laugh out loud and sometimes he will say, "what's so funny?" but he always regrets asking. I guess it's like when he screams at the TV and I say "what happened?" and he goes on about penalties and flags and how that was NOT offensive pass interference blah blah blah.

@jeff in chicago - I have actually solved the occasional fri./sat. as a rare event, but they usually have difficulty ratings like : Why did Will put a Thursday puzzle into a weekend slot? I hope I make it to the next level.

Someday I want to run into a stranger and have a whole conversation using just the crossword puzzle words I have learned in the past year but will never say aloud, like apercu, and wickiup, and recherche.

evil doug 4:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 4:51 AM  

PuzzleGirl: Also Boilermakers. The Big 10 is really the Big 11 now that Penn State is in. Hence the clever logo sneaking the number "11" around the T in "BigTen". Given that your Hawkeyes lost twice to Purdue in bball this year (not to mention my Drake Bulldogs), I can see why you'd try to forget....

JoHo: As long as I bring home those fancy crossword trophies with Will's likeness on the top looking dramatically toward the heavens, crowned with circling angels blowing extended trumpets of gold, with crossed pens atop a sea of crosshatched squares and a base made of compressed old Times Arts sections cradled in the likeness of a stopwatch being held by a stern looking judge---as long as I bring those lovely and important parting gifts home to decorate our mantle and impress our friends she's so happy with my endeavors.

Alpha and Omega

Stan 9:53 AM  

"Start to prepare, as PILAF..."


"What, you start a pilaf by cooking the rice in a pan?"

"Of course."

"I was thinking OPEN BOX or THAW."

miriam b 10:13 AM  

@stan: First you sauté the zirvak, then you put in the rice.

Stan 11:01 AM  

@miriam b: Thanks. I always enjoy the food digressions on this blog. And when ZIRVAK comes up in a future puzzle, I'll be ready.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

I thought this puzzle was medium easy until I hit the SW. The science and literature references were practically all gimmes, and then, total freeze. I thought maybe it was JAPE (correct!)maybe it was PLOTS (not PYRES) maybe it was OIL (not ORE) maybe it was JAUNTY (not JOCOSE) maybe it was TOAST (not SAUTE). But it all refused to gel, so it sat there incomplete.

I knew San Juan was in Puerto Rico, so I knew the answer was some South American city. Nothing beginning with a C came to mind. When I eventually got CARACAS, I could have screamed. What would have been so difficult about going down the South American continent listing countries and their capitols? Nothing whatsoever. Oh well, I blew that.

Eventually, I had an APERCU! Yes, out of nowhere I remembered that word. Samuel Beckett The Lost Ones "So much for a first apercu of this credence so singular in itself and by reason of the loyalty it inspires in the hearts of so many possessed."

Yeehah! At which point I finished the puzzle almost instantly. Better late than never.

Doc John 3:44 PM  

It's Sunday afternoon and I just finished it! Man, was there a lot of WTF and guessing what she meant in the clue in this one for me. Can't believe I was actually able to complete it. Took several sittings, as one might imagine. Three J words in the SW: jaunty, jovial and finally JOCOSE. The SW was the last part to fall and once I got PYRE the rest somehow came into view. Even though I'd never heard of CARLYLE, with the Y the name just fit. (It doesn't hurt that my niece's last name is Carlyle.)

Now to try to finish yesterday's. I have the bottom half of the NW still to fill in.

@ Rex, if you ever listened to Revolution #9 while stoned you might change your impression of it! (Now how would I know something like that...?) ;)

Anonymous 9:00 AM  



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