Jewish parchment scrolls put on doorposts - FRIDAY, Jun. 19 2009 — Mythical Aegean Sea dweller / What "you can't hide" per a 1975 Eagles hit

Friday, June 19, 2009

Constructor: David Levinson Wilk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: NEREUS (8D: Mythical Aegean Sea dweller) — Greek sea god. The son of Pontus (a personification of the sea) and Gaea, he was noted for his gift of prophecy and his ability to change his shape. He lived at the bottom of the sea with his daughters, the Nereids. Heracles wrestled with him in a variety of shapes in order to gain his advice about recovering the golden apples of the Hesperides. (Brit. Concise Encyc.)

A toughish puzzle with mostly beautiful corners and only a few icky smallish answers. I ended up with an error (ZOO! - 18A: Where the wild things are? - I mean BOO!): had CPD and PINETA, figuring CPD was just some military abbrev. I'd never heard of (not uncommon). I got former secretary of transportation Norman MINETA (46D: 2001-06 secretary of transportation) confused with former Clinton Chief of Staff and current C.I.A. director Leon PANETTA, partly because of their shared Clinton lineage and partly because, come on, MINETAPANETTAMINETAPANETTA. They sound a lot alike. Glad to know now how to spell PANETTA's name.

I bumbled around the puzzle at first — right off the bat I went for ADIOS AMIGOS at 1A: South-of-the-border sign-off (hasta mañana). That didn't work. "Babette's Feast" is a movie to me, so I had no idea who the author was (and when I found out who it was, the spelling, ugh — I hate few authorial names more than I do that of misspelled ISAK weak-voweled DINESEN, 15A: "Babette's Feast" author, 1950). Finally got ZOO and then, tentatively, MEZUZAHS (12D: Jewish parchment scrolls put on doorposts), but I don't trust my spelling (clearly) or my knowledge of things Jewish very much, so I was very tentative there, and it didn't help me at all. Put in AIR / TAXI with no help, which is odd since I'd never heard the term until I saw it in a crossword (56A: With 41-Across, it makes short hops). The real puzzle-opener came, finally, at 24D: What "you can't hide" per a 1975 Eagles hit ("Lyin' Eyes"). Along with Neil Diamond, Bread, and America, the Eagles were one of the musical groups on heaviest rotation in my childhood home. That Eagles Greatest Hits album got Worn Out.

Gotta wrap things up quickly this a.m. — besides the MINETA / PINETA debacle, I didn't get eaten up by my own ignorance too much today. Never heard of SANTEE (3D: South Carolina river to the Atlantic); is that a famous river? When I googled it, some place in CA came up. Then I added [river] to the search. ECASH is never ever welcome (52A: Direct deposits, e.g.). Just hate it. I knew about the NEREIDS, but don't remember ever learning about their dad, NEREUS. I knew ANDREAS without having any idea how (7D: Two-time Greek P.M. Papandreou). I've heard of Hedy LAMARR (44D: Strange woman player in "The Strange Woman," 1946), but not that movie. Biggest groan of the day was for the clue on ERR (16A: Cause an interception, e.g.). Only a total non-sports fan could imagine that that is OK. If I cause an interception, I am a defensive lineman playing very well. I tipped the ball or hit the quarter back as he was throwing, and I am happy because I am on the team that "intercepted" the ball. Is this clue referring to the quarterback? You throw an interception; you don't "cause" an interception by throwing the ball to the wrong guy. Bah. Narthex!


  • 25A: Speaks about gravely? (eulogizes) — loved it. Also loved 35A: Present day demand? ("OPEN IT!") and 40D: Shout to someone in danger of getting stuck ("OLE!"). Never thought I would love OLE in a puzzle.
  • 28A: "Miss Pym Disposes" mystery novelist (Tey) — mystery novelist in three letters, esp. with a prissy title like that, clearly TEY.
  • 42A: Horse-pulled vehicle (dray) — makes me think more of donkeys, for some reason.
  • 43A: First name of two first ladies (Ellen) — can you name them? I can't. ELLEN Wilson and ELLEN Arthur (as in Chester A!).
  • 48A: Actor who said "Only the gentle are ever really strong" (James Dean) — so EMO. Didn't know he said this, but by the time I saw the clue the answer was obvious.
  • 53A: Earthy deposit (marl) — I have a strange affection for this word.

  • 57A: 1950 movie on which the musical "Applause" is based ("All About Eve") — ah musicals, I know nothing about you. Love this movie, though. PROTEGEE! (13D: She has a personal trainer).
  • 61A: Verdi's "_____ giardin del bello" ("nei") — had DEI, but then remembered Italian's odd (to me) for of "in the"
  • 62A: Setting of many New Yorker cartoons (Pearly Gates) — I believe this is what they call "red meat."
  • 9D: Civil-rights leader _____ Philip Randolph (Asa) — no idea.
  • 22D: Contents of a cylindrical case (lipstick) — great. Threw me for way too long, even with "TI-K" in place.
  • 49D: Straighten (up) (shape) — had SHORE, ugh.

Follow me on Twitter ... and look for a Father's Day last-minute gift idea update later in the day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS My write-up of today's LA Times puzzle is here.


Dough 8:46 AM  

A perfectly wonderful Friday puzzle, Mr. Wilk! I started by putting in "A Star Is Born" for the "Applause" clue with so much confidence and then "Loam." I know Roy Lichtenstein but with two non-matching letters, I was all at sea. With the kind assistance of Hedy Lamarr I corrected my mess. The NE came quickly. I don't know anything about the Eagles, except for Donovan McNabb, so the first two letters of "Lyin' Eyes" were my last. I loved the movie "Babette's Feast" so I didn't mind at all that I didn't know who wrote it, but am glad to now know! Puzzles are great for that! Diverse mix, nice entries, solid clues. The rains have stopped and it's going to be a wonderful day!

Jeffrey 9:00 AM  

Despite also starting with ADIOS AMIGOS, I found this easy. MEZUZAHS, LYIN'EYES and EVA MARIE were gimmes, opening up huge areas.

SANTEE is another addition to the random geographical locations file.

Nothing to RANT AND RAVE about; a fine Friday effort.

Orange 9:11 AM  

I was wondering if ISAK is a standard Scandinavian spelling of "Isaac" (looks like it is) and the first Wikipedia article I clicked on made me laugh:

Isak Abrahamsen (April 28, 1891 – April 22, 1972) was a Norwegian gymnast who competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics.

He was part of the Norwegian team, which won the gold medal in the gymnastics men's team, free system event. He wanted to spell his name Isaac when he was born, but his mother won in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

treedweller 9:20 AM  

This was yet another late-week puzzle that I thought I'd never finish without google, then did, somehow. LYINEYES was a big break for me, too. SANTEE/TEY was a Natick for me, but I applied my lessons from this site and narrowed down the possibilities to the most likely one. That E was my last letter, and I was fairly surprised not to get an "incorrect" message.

I spent the whole time returning to the NE and kicking myself for not knowing MEZUZAHS. I just recently read an article or two about a family who sued for the right to have one despite condo/apartment rules against decorations in the hallway, but I Could Not Remember the word. Even when I had the last letter filled, it was only because of confident crosses that I didn't have strong doubts about it.

I seem to have reached a point where I have a reasonable chance of finishing Fri/Sat; now if I can just shave off the last 10 or 20 minutes, I'll have a chance to do it at an ACPT.

edith b 9:25 AM  

I opened with LYINEYES as I was a big Eagles fan in the 80's and bent downward into the SW and knocked the corner out. I never saw NEI. I liked the J's in the Midlands and scooted northward. I left ARR in place until the end because I had MAZUZAHS.

I struggled in the SE as I was unable to see EXPRESSLANE because the MARL/TENABLE cross came very late to me. I spent way too much time in the Midatlantic states with the ONLOAN/OUTSET causing problems.

It seems I had holes in my puzzle particularly in the east/south east because of crosses that would not come but time heels all wounds, to coin a phrase and this puzzle eventually gave up its secrets.

I'm guessing I had wavelength problems for want of a reason why I struggled but struggle I did!

HudsonHawk 9:40 AM  

That's Hedley!

Fun puzzle that was reasonably quick for me. LYIN' EYES and EVA MARIE got things started, and the SW and then the SE went pretty fast. I really wanted PEE DEE for 3D, but I figured 1A had to start with HASTA. LUEGO? No. LA VISTA? No. MANANA!

I knew MEZUZAHS, as they're very common in my building, but that doesn't mean I know how to spell it. The initial M did steer me from RDA to MPG, though.

Babette's Feast is a wonderful movie, and I'm guessing all the foodies (and Danes) will be out in full force today.

Ulrich 9:47 AM  

I'm following mac's advice as much as I can and try holding off my pilgrimage to the google shrine as long as I can stand it. The result: My third Friday in a row in which I succeeded on my own. This also means normally that Rex found the puzzle easy, and I'm happy to see that he didn't today.

I struggled mightily in both the SE and SW and managed finally by guessing James Dean off the D and All about Eve from the ABO (Hedy Lamarr, being Austrian-born, resides somehow in my extended universe). I can proudly add now hasta mañana to hasta luego and hasta la vista to the Spanish good-byes I know.

BTW La Dame aux Camélias is the source for Verdi's La Traviata, the story of the doomed love between what was then called a courtesan (high-class call girl in today's lingo, if I'm not mistaken) and a young client. Greta Garbo played the dame in question, as did Gina Lollobrigida in a very dark, updated version that I saw a long time ago (I can't remember the title of the movie. Anthony Franciosa played the young lover and Ernest Borgnine the father who tries everything to stop the liaison). I think I remember the film b/c for a change, everybody was of the right age. The opera needs a hefty tenor for the role of the son, which makes him look like a middle aged man, when in fact he should be an immature, if passionate youth--otherwise, the psychology of the main characters makes no sense.

Glitch 10:00 AM  

Thoughts for today (so far):


"He wanted to spell his name Isaac when he was born..." How precocious!

- For newcomers, the last "Air Taxi" blog debate was Jan 27, 2008 --- that's where Rex learned it ;-)

- Somebody please tell me that "L.A.P.D. division?" = Los is more than than an inaccurate rephrasing of the stantard "Part of L.A.P.D." in an attempt to mislead. At best, it's a COMPONENT.

- Isn't "E-cash" as a deposit going in the wrong direction?


Rex Parker 10:07 AM  

Also wanted, and went for, PEE DEE.

JannieB 10:20 AM  

Definite medium for me - had more trouble with spelling than anything else.

@HudsonHawk - LOL - One of my all time favorite movies.

Some really great cluing today and very little forced fill. Nice nice Friday.

retired_chemist 10:21 AM  

Wow. As challenging (to me) as I have ever solved sans Google or non-puzzle wife’s advice on movies, music, and pop culture. First fill was (the incorrect) ADIOS AMIGOS @ 1A and I thought it was going to be easy. I was pretty sure of 12D MEZUZAHS. 24D LYIN’ EYES came after a few crosses. And then – inertia. Distinctly uneasy about several answers – 28A TEY, 61A NEI, 8D NEREUS, 51D THESE. No idea who wrote Babette’s feast (15A ISAK DINESEN), or who said “Only the gentle…” (48A JAMES DEAN), or who the strange woman player was (44D LAMARR, who first was LAMOUR). About six tries at Lichtenstein’s first name before ROY.

The toughest thing about this puzzle was the plethora of wrong answers that overlapped substantially with the correct ones. See LAMOUR/LAMARR above, and also SHORE/SHAPE, SHAY/DRAY, and MUTINIES/PIRACIES. TAPES/REELS wasn’t one such but also hung me up.

Happy to get 7D ANDREAS Papandreou (which ruled out ADIOS AMIGOS and eventually led to HASTA MANANA @ 1A), 46D Norman MINETA, 3D SANTEE, and 53A MARL with a couple of crosses each.

Never heard of E-CASH (52A) as clued, but so it is. Didn’t like the clue for 26D LOS. DID like 37D Saint of acting (EVA MARIE) – looked for the patron saint of actors (per Wikipedia, Saint GENESISUS in case you care) until about 5 crosses were in place.

Finished error-free, but with a feeling of being whacked upside the head. Not going to RANT AND RAVE, but I finished mostly because I was DRIVEN, not because I was having fun.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Mezuzah might as well be Channukkahhh...I knew the MEZ, then that it would have at least one more Z, a U, and an A. More Zs? An H? Or maybe with another Z and the Hebrew ending, say MEZZUZIM? Sure, why not?

Pretty sure I learned SANTEE from a puzzle. Pretty sure I learned MARL and TEY and NEI and NEREUS from this puzzle. Feed it up an AUX, or something like that.

So sayeth SethG.

fikink 10:36 AM  

Very surprised I finished this puzzle since my only entry, first time through, was ROYS. Eventually had an odd debate with myself about whether that is a "case" or a "sheath" that I pull the DIPSTICK out of when I check the oil. GLUTS, which is a great word, settled it, of course.
@Dough, "except for Donovan McNabb" - I hear you!
Great respect for this puzzle. It repeatedly almost felled me.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

@Orange - the newborn won the game of rock/paper/scissors? How stupid do you have to be to loose a game of rock/paper/scissors to a new-born? The only thing they can do is make a fist!

edith b 10:43 AM  


That Gina Lolabrigida movie was "Go Naked in the World" and illustrates quite well the difference between melodrama and art. Anthony Francisos is not up to the role at that stage in his career.

imsdave 11:00 AM  

I flew through this one with the exception of the NE. I wanted CALorie for MPG, and refused to put in ERR. I solve on paper and have the annoying habit of writing in the correct letters in the wrong places. Today, when I finally got ONLOAN off the ON__AN, I wrote in ONOAAN. Slowed be down a bit, but just wondered if this is my personal form of dyslexia, or if it's shared by others.

Fine puzzle Mr. Wilk

hazel 11:02 AM  

Lots of thing to like about this puzzle, but overall, I found enough annoyances that it really cratered this puzzle’s delight factor for me.

First I totally agree with Rex on the ERR - that was the last area I completed - because I just kept thinking I was missing something. That clue is just plain wrong.

MARL is another word that doesn't make me think earthy - had LOAM then MIRE then DIRT. I see that MARL is in fact an "earthy deposit" (, but I'm more familiar with its use as a geologic term - where its formed in marine or freshwater environments - it often has shells in it or marine sands so its hard for me to think of it as "earthy" which makes me think "terrestrial" not "marine." Maybe I need to get over this one.

Like @Glitch, ECASH just doesn't fly for me either. Aside from the whole e-thing, its just a made up word that I guess is technically correct, but I've never ever heard direct deposits referred to in that way. Yuck.

And associating the NIH, the major source of federal funding for cancer and other medical research, with the fact that it produces an annual almanac, just flat out irritates me. Who’s familiar with the almanac? What it covers? I just looked it up - its an almanac about the NIH and its programs. I’m sure its well-done, but I wonder how many of those are requested each year. Ridiculous clue for a wonderful organization.

There were actually more irritating clues to me, but it was enough to get these out of my system......

Karen 11:08 AM  

I started with HASTA LA VISTA BABY which was too long but led right into HASTA MANANA. I muddled through until I roadblocked in the SE corner (although I left a TAY/SANTEA crossing). Not helping that I wanted ELUDE for SKIRT. I had TENABLE and RAYS and that was it. Is LEXington Avenue really that famous (outside of NYC)? And I've already read the arguments about PC vs LAP. I ended up googling about three clues down there.

PlantieBea 11:11 AM  

Ugh. Fun puzzle but I finished with errors. I had RUTTED for stuck, and didn't know JASON or NEREUS so I had a mess in the middle. I also got bogged down in the bottom with SHORE up. Thank goodness PEARLY GATES resolved the matter. Definitely challenging for me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 11:27 AM  

Brutal. Normally, I'm in the DLW camp, but Jesus, not today. I repeat: brutal. Not even three cups of coffee was opening this baby up for me. Resorted to Googling to just finish the thing and get on with the day. Agreed on all the winning clues Rex pointed out, but man, this one just felt unfair overall.

Blue Stater 11:38 AM  

OMG, if even BEQ found this one brutal then I don't feel so bad. I got it (after a 45-minute struggle) without googling or other prosthetic devices, but was totally turned off by the errors and stretchers that others have already pointed out. Don't these puzzles get run through the Times copy desk? If they did, I doubt that howlers like ERR and its clue would survive.

poc 11:43 AM  

An excellent Friday puzzle. I'm proud of finishing it with no Googling :-) I stuck on the NW for a long time as I had KARENBLIXEN (ISAKDINESEN was her pen name. The movie Out Of Africa is partly based on her life.)

I took forever to get LIPSTICK and it raised a smile when I did. That's a good sign. My only quibble is with ECASH. To me, Direct Deposits are banking transactions, whereas Ecash implies the use of a very specific electronic mechanism for payment. Not the same thing.

retired_chemist 11:50 AM  

If BEQ found it rough I don't feel so bad about my own difficulties. What is DLW? Acronym Finder lists several but none seem to fit. Damage Liability Waiver? One thing to screw up clues in the puzzle, quite another to do it in this Blog. ☹

motorhead 11:54 AM  

RAC, are you asking BEQ what DLW means?

Noam D. Elkies 11:56 AM  

12D:MEZUZAHS was the first thing I put in the grid. Unfortunately I used the Hebrew plural MEZUZOTH... so the bottom of that extended corner took a while to set right. The word mezuzah (מזוזה) originally meant the doorpost itself, but is almost never used that way in modern Hebrew.

Did anybody else try SCYLLA for 8D:NEREUS? Unlike "mezuzoth" I wasn't sure enough of it to actually write it in.

Yes, 28:TEY's name was a mystery to me. So was the clue for 51D:THESE. I guess one expects that kind of gratuitous cr*p on a Fri/Sat puzzle. Quod licet Jovi, non licet Bowie.


Denise 12:02 PM  

40 minutes, three googles, and a mistake at the JASON/NEREUS cross. I thought I was so smart -- "adios amigos" and then became humbler and humbler.

I wanted TAG for ERR, and I could not spell MEZUZAH -- had all sorts of Z's and S's.

Thanks for the explanation of NEREUS.

The thing that really gets me is that I should have known JASON.

It was a hard but interesting puzzle.

Unknown 12:04 PM  

@Anonymous 10:23 (is that an apocryphal bible verse?)

The proper plural of Mezuzah would be Mezuzot (or Mezzuzot as I had for awhile), and I also desperately wanted that double Z. And I completely agree with hating the clue for interception. Yuck.

But, finished in 8 flat, and didn't feel too stressed. Although, Rex, you have to go with the original Symphony if you're gonna link one. "And put a quarter in your *** cause you played yourself"

hazel 12:05 PM  

@RC - I think DLW is the constructor - David Levinson Wilk.

Two Ponies 12:05 PM  

I had a real love-hate relationship with this one. The SE was the worst for me.
I felt so good at the start as eulogizes was my first entry. That smug feeling was dashed to bits by so many proper names and odd abbrev's.
The CMD/Mineta crossing kept me from success.
Aren't the Pearly Gates the setting for about a million cartoons and jokes? I was looking for something more New Yorkish.
My PC (a Mac, actually) is not meant for my lap. Laptops go on my lap and desktops go on my desk.
I'm still chuckling at Orange's anecdote and picturing this conversation between mother and newborn over the spelling of his name.
Anon 10:40 nailed it. A newborn can only be the rock in that game! Too funny.

mccoll 12:05 PM  

Whew! I had to google several times on this puppy but I gotter done! Thanks Heavens for being of vast age and knowing James Dean, Hedy Lamarr(Always reminds me of Harvey Corman's Hedley Lamarr) All About Eve and Isak Dinesen. Isak is not misspelled it is just Danish. Thanks DLW and Hasta Manana.

slypett 12:23 PM  

Ooooh! I had nothing, nothing but white squares all over me like spiders. Even with vast googling, this was tough. I don't know what happened to me--rejecting ANDREAS and EULOGIZES, e.g. Ugh! Fine puzzle. Ughly solve.

Stan 12:27 PM  

Probably the hardest puzzle I ever finished correctly (and I don't Google, I give up). Which is what I was about to do when I started playing with letters -- blank, N or S, blank, K -- and came up with good old Isak Dineson.

Had AEOLUS for a while instead of NEREUS, which made no sense except that it fit!

PuzzleGirl 12:28 PM  

Finished this one with three ERRors. I had the Mineta/Panetta confusion and never heard of MARL, so I left it MIRE and didn't bother to figure out what was wrong with it. I was not, however, tricked by the South-of-the-border sign-off. Sure, I didn't know what it was right away, but I had a sneaking suspicion that ADIOS AMIGOS was too easy.

@imsdave: I have that same problem. It usually happens when I already have several crosses and am just filling in a few letters. Today I had JAMES DEAD until I got to the corresponding down.

retired_chemist 12:28 PM  

@ hazel and mccoll the subtle re DLW - D'oh! My forehead hurts from the banging.....

poc 12:30 PM  

@Noam: Josephine Tey wrote mysteries around the 40's and 50's. The most interesting one in my view is The Daughter of Time, which argues that Richard III got a bad rap from Shakespeare (everything from his hunchback to his murdering the little princes in the Tower of London seems to have been simply Elizabethan propaganda). Very enjoyable.

Anne 12:30 PM  

I wish I could say something different than I say every Friday, but I cannot. I took much more time than is reasonable, I googled a lot after reaching the east side, both north and south, and I made a couple of mistakes, even at that. However, I did finish and I always like to end on the bright side of things. The end.

archaeoprof 1:08 PM  

Mezuzoth here too.

And I live in SC, but it took me a long time to get SANTEE. Like Rex, I tried PEEDEE first.

Tough puzzle. If BEQ says it's tough, then QED.

HildaK 1:30 PM  

Gosh, I had "dipstick" instead of "lipstick" - even though that meant a cross with "gduts" instead of "gluts" - I gave up last night and waited for the morrow.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:43 PM  

Great puzzle to wrestle with and finally solve. My experience was so much like Rex's (except I probably took ten times as long) that I thought I wouldn't have anything to say. But . .

For 60 D, "Que ____?", I could only think of Que pasa? Got Que tal? from crosses, but never heard of it. Spanish speakers, compare and contrast, please.

Also, for 62 A, cartoon setting, I contemplated "Guru's mountain", "desert island", "psychiatrist's office", "boardroom", "cocktail party" etc, before being led to the Pearly Gates. But, Rex or anyone, in what way are the pearly gates "red meat"? The New Yorker doesn't exactly pitch itself to evangelists, or the recently dead, as far as I know.

DJG 1:49 PM  

My experience was similar to BEQ's. This puzzle destroyed me like few I can recall. I Googled just to finish and put this one behind me. So many wrong answers -- GAINS for GLUTS, DATE for PAGE (I just accepted that "aid stick" was something I didn't know that came in a cylindrical case), ECOST for ECASH, and STAND for SHAPE. It's amazing how many close but wrong answers made decent sense with the clues.

Looking back it was a solid Friday puzzle, I just didn't have my qi going today.

DJG 1:53 PM  

Oh, and add CRASSEST for GROSSEST and LEA for ZOO to my list of wrong but reasonable answers.

Shamik 2:00 PM  

Rating a puzzle is tough. Which is more important, correct solution vs. time when you can't have both? Googling vs. guessing? Since tracking my times, my time comes in solidly in medium for's medium. But I ran into two wrong letters.

One is the MINETA/PINETA area. The other one was the NEI/NEL area which left me with EVAMARLE...thinking this theater saint was one of those obscure post-Celtic saints. It could happen. But it didn't, of course.


Am still looking for help solving an audio clip puzzle featuring different sound effects from arcade video games. Please e-mail me off blog at

Doug 2:04 PM  

I got slammed, and am pleased to be in good company. Doing this was kind of like listening to Dutch. I feel like I understand what the cloggies are saying, but the words just aren't connecting with my language.

Got about 75% and didn't have the opportunity to Google the arcana. But, was able to watch "300" for the first time on TV while scratching on my paper and that made me feel it was a worthwhile experience.

ArtLvr 2:07 PM  

Duh, I had to come here to understand "Saint" of acting being the person, EVA MARIE. I managed to get everything else without a google, but I wanted Nel rather than NEI in the title of Verdi's aria. I see Shamik went that route too! My only error, glad I wasn't alone.

Like Rex I fished up the ANDREAS as well as NEREUS out of practically nowhere. MEZUZAHS wasn't a problem either, but it took extra thought to get forward or backward SLASHES!

@ poc -- Tey's thesis in Daughter of Time was TENABLE, unless you read the rebuttal by another author I used to have shelved right beside it. Can't find it at the moment, unfortunately...

I really loved this puzzle, even with pure guesses like the ELLENs. Who knew?


Campesite 2:09 PM  

Man, this felt like two puzzles to me: I ripped through the NW and SW diagonal, but the other half of the puzzle absolutely worked me. Oddly though, despite how difficult I found this puzzle, as I look over the finished grid nothing looks that unfair to me (save MEZUSAHS).

retired_chemist 2:46 PM  

@ Bob K - "¿Qué tal?" roughly translates as "Wassup?" Or did when I took Spanish a LOOOONG time ago. Long before "Wassup, dude?" became part of the vernacular. In Argentina "¿Qué tal, che?" means exactly "Wassup, dude?"

poc 2:50 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: "¿Qué tal?" es perfectly orthodox Spanish, meaning roughly "What's up?" and used as a salutation. It can also mean "how about that?" as a rhetorical comment.

"¿Qué pasa?" is literally "what's going on?" and is much more interrogatory than a salutation.

Daniel Myers 2:50 PM  

Tough but splendid puzzle - There seems to be some consternation though on the source of the James Dean quote(i.e., When/where did he actually say that???)---The help of any researchers or James Dean aficionados would be most appreciated.

PuzzleGirl 2:57 PM  

I don't know anything about the James Dean quote, but I do know "James Dean" the Eagles song.

HudsonHawk 3:00 PM  

Thanks, PG. On The Border may be my favorite Eagles album...

David Essex 3:11 PM  

@Puzzle Girl, Rock On!

jae 3:15 PM  

A fine Fri.! Medium-Challenging for me also. Ala Campesite the west side went pretty smoothly. I got hung up in SE like RC and some others with SHORE and LAMOUR which I held onto far too long. I also did the PINETA thing but the military clue fixed it. I'm with the majority on ERR and LOS and I just now got the LAP clue. I was initially looking for ISP or LAN, or ??? Never thought of PCs as laptops.

BTW the CA SANTEE is here in San Diego.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

@Shamik said...

I ran into two wrong letters.

One is the MINETA/PINETA area. The other one was the NEI/NEL area which left me with EVAMARLE...thinking this theater saint was one of those obscure post-Celtic saints. It could happen. But it didn't, of course.


Living near the Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC for historical reasons; San José City is my guess), I had no problem with MINETA; nor, I think, would many Californians.

But I alo fell for the NEI/NEL and Saint EVAMARLE error. I guessed wrong between "giardino" (singular; NEL) and "giardini" (plural; NEI). The Google hits are 5110 for "NEI ..." and 1790 for "NEL ..." so I've got some company for this mistake. I think Verdi owes us an apostrophe for the elided end of "giardin"! How do we collect that? :-)

Larry the Lurker

David from CA 5:06 PM  

I can't believe I guessed right on all the intersecting proper names in this puzzle-just in the NW alone it has an obscure river crossing two obscure names, one of which also crosses 3 other names! What a mess of required proper knowledge!

Agree totally about ERR being really poorly clued. All kinds of things can allow an interception, but nothing causes one except the defender's hands grasping hold of the ball.

joho 5:19 PM  

This was tough.

I had many of the same snags and delights as @rex wrote. I also fell into the CPD/PINETA trap.

I had OLDSOCKS ways too long. Once I got OLDJEANS, I also got JAMESDEAN. Cool that he crosses with jeans.

Like others until LOAM became MARL there was trouble there. I had GAINS for GLUTS, too.
In fact,@Z.J.Mugildny ... I had GAIN, DATE, CRASSEST AND LEA, too!

I really enjoyed this puzzle. It was the challenge I was looking for all week.

Thank you Mr. Wilk!

treedweller 5:26 PM  

I understand the complaint with ERR, but I think it works. If you cause an interception by, for example, tripping your own team's receiver, that would be an error.

@ZJ I tried "crassest," as well, after giving up on "brashest."

I guess I'm the only one who thought JASON might be Janus at first. No reason for that, except it was 5 letters and started with J.

mac 10:06 PM  

I simply loved this puzzle. It took me a fair amount of time, but I got it done with no googles and no mistakes. Plenty of aha-moments and smiles, so good for your Mr. Wilk!

Of course there were false starts, like gains, silt for marl, Mad/Lex (in hindsight, Lex is the only one that gets abbreviated in local lingo). With New Yorker cartoons, which I've been reading for many years, I just thought of after-work bars, but how do you fit that in? With 15A, not having seen the film but I will, I asked my son: "Do you remember who wrote the Babar books?"...... All those things gradually straightened themselves out.

We have a friend who is still constantly listening to the Eagles (and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young et al.), so I sort of sounded that one out.

@Doug: cloggies? I guess you haven't been there.

michael 10:31 PM  

I got this entirely right, but it took me forever. All I can say is that is a good thing that I know Spanish and wrote in hasta manana and que tal early. Like another poster, the first time through the only thing I wrote in was roys. (Interestingly, this was the last part of the puzzle I finished).

But really a good late-week puzzle -- gettable with a whole lot of thought. For me more of Saturday than a Friday.

Nebraska Doug 10:49 PM  

Very strange. Sometimes I'll come to this blog totally stumped by a Fri or Sat puzzle to find people posting how easy it was. Today I had the opposite experience, I thought today's puzzle would be rated easy/medium. Surprisingly, I found many people struggled. Yet again, it seems that sometimes you are just on the same wavelength as the constructor. Plenty of things I didn't know, but the crosses saved me. Marl, Mezuzahs, Nereus, Mineta.

sanfranman59 11:31 PM  

This week's numbers ... the number in parentheses is the number of solvers. I'm also including last week's numbers for comparison.

Mon (all) 7:02 (960) last week: 6:55 (856)
Mon (Top 100) 3:44 last week: 3:43

Tues (all) 8:17 (877) last week: 8:09 (878)
Tues (Top 100) 4:19 last week: 4:06

Wed (all) 12:03 (723) last week: 14:33 (626)
Wed (Top 100) 5:35 last week: 7:26

Thu (all) 15:13 (649) last week: 14:08 (613)
Thu (Top 100) 7:01 last week: 6:45

Fri (all) 29:20 (403) last week: 17:30 (547)
Fri (Top 100) 14:34 last week: 7:52

A much more challenging Friday puzzle than a week ago, judging both by the average solve times and the number of solvers. However, today's solve times were a little faster than the Friday puzzle two weeks ago when the median solve time was 33:08 among 428 solvers.

andreas carlas michaelis 11:37 PM  


slypett 11:40 PM  

@Doug: If you happen to intercept this, Mad is the abbreviation cum jargon used by messenger services in NYC for Madison Avenue and has been as far back as I remember (1961, when I first worked for a mess. serv). And, there is no Avenue of the Americas. In NY talk that is still Sixth Ave.

andrea cougar michaels 11:53 PM  

ok, I'm going to try three and IN instead of three and out!
I've lost two VERY long posts with blogger down, and of course, in my occasional fits of paranoia, I thought Rex had finally figured out a way to block my endless stories!

But here's one anyway...
Of course, I got ANDREAS as my first he was also in power when I lived in Greece.

We share the same name bec in Greek you drop the S when speaking directly to someone (ie Georgo, Yianni, Niko) but add it when speaking about them in third person. (Georgos, Nikos...)

And since Andreas MEANS "man", they laughed every time I said my name. SO I had to become Adrianna for my year in Crete/Thessaloniki.

You got punished for being TOO literate! It's fascinating that KARENBLIXEN and ISAKDINESEN have the same amount of letters.
I wonder how she came up with her pen name, as it's not an anagram AND she gave up an X in her name!!!

(I would kill for an X! I was originally to be named Alexandria, but when I made a fist, my mom made paper :(

I'll bet had I been a boy, I would have won when the Mohel made scissors!)

Anyway, I think this puzzle must have been much easier for the older crowd...really older crowd.
ELLEN defined as 100 year ago presidential wife, not as a married lesbian?
oldy-not-modly-but-oldy for sure.

Even cluing JASON mythically instead of Friday the 13thly or Halloweenly, whatever it was he was in...
Seemed the freshest clue was LYINEYES circa mid-seventies, so I'm guessing so is the constructor.

So that's why the young 'uns might have struggled more today...hah!

(I say that as someone who is miffed to have just received a "Cougar" birthday party invitation from two 26 yr old gals who are throwing it jointly and thought that would be funny bec now they are SO old!
I oughtta show up as a legitimate cougar and claw them to death!)

andrea X Michaels 11:58 PM  

MEZUZAHS was my second answer, tho I tried about 89 different spellings first.

When I lived in LA, the Hasidic family next door used to mistake me for a Shabbas goy/shiksa (and I wasn't even blonde in those days!) and send one of their 18 children to get me to turn on their lights!

I would point to my Mezzuzzuzzahim and insist I was Jewish. Didn't get rid of them tho...instead, I was bombarded with Friday night dinner invitations and had to dodge a few shittachs (sp?)

Hasta luego, babies...I'll be back!

Mezuzah 9:30 AM  

Mezuzah is very important mizvah!

Shabbas Goy 10:23 AM  



kas 4:58 PM  

Challenging for me, but fun.

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