Wilt Chamberneezy more familiarly - SATURDAY, Jun. 13 2009 — Neighbor of Kaliningrad / Papuan port in W.W. II fighting / Dogpatch possessive

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MAGNETIC EQUATOR (35A: Line on which a dip needle is horizontal) — (also called "Aclinic Line")


an imaginary line on the surface of the earth, close and approximately parallel to the equator, connecting all those points over which a magnetic needle shows no inclination from the horizontal.

I can't lie — this puzzle smacked me around pretty badly. Had trouble getting started at all, and then solved in what felt like alternating flashes of ALERTNESS (64A: Opposite of torpor) and torpor. Can you have a flash of torpor? I'd hit dead zones, and years would go by, and then all of a sudden something would click and an entire quadrant would be done. Then another dead zone. The biggest, deadest zone of all was the NW, where I essentially hanged myself with more wrong guesses than I've ever ventured in an entire puzzle, let alone in one little quadrant. Read 3D: When 58-Across occurs, then read 58A: Crowing cue, and immediately got SUN UP. Then I thought, "OK, when does SUN UP occur?" Problem — by this point I already had deadly mistakes in place. Misread 4D: Bond analysts' field?: Abbr. as [Body analysts' field] and wrote in ANAT. Then crossed it with what I felt was a perfectly good answer to 19A: Fashionable meeting place? — TENT. This left me with only one possible answer for [When SUN UP occurs]: MORNIN'! Oh, man, just misreading that stupid bond clue had a horrific domino effect that cost me untold minutes. Never mind that I thought Louisiana State won the first FINAL FOUR, then later SUGAR BOWL (it's PEACH BOWL) (1A: Louisiana State won the first one in 1968). And I thought I remembered charcoal wood coming from a LARCH TREE (it's ALDER) (17A: Source of charcoal wood). Actually considered FLAT TV as a possible answers for 1D: High-definition video display (plasma). Never heard of Kaliningrad, and since it sounded like a city, I didn't consider that its "neighbor" would be a country, LITHUANIA (15A: Neighbor of Kaliningrad).

Kaliningrad is an exclave, used here as an example in this definition of "exclave":

An exclave is strip of land that belongs to a political entity (like a country or a region) but that is not connected to it by land (excluding islands). The strip of land is surrounded by other political entities. A good example is Kaliningrad Oblast (the region around the Russian city Kaliningrad). It belongs to the Russian Federation, but is separated from the rest of that country by territory belonging to Lithuania and Poland. (wikipedia)
Anyway, back to the NW. No, on second thought, that's about enough of that.

My grid progression went: center - NE - center - SW - center - NW ..... time passed ..... and finally SE, which went down quickest of all (just as my errors in the NW had a bad domino effect, so having that "Z" in place in the SE had a good domino effect — threw EZIO PINZA across at 59A: 1950 Tony winner for Best Actor in a Musical and that was pretty much that). Started with the merciful gimme Mies van der ROHE (whom I coincidentally cited by name yesterday in my write-up of the L.A. Times puzzle), which gave me the hilariously clued SHAQ (33A: Wilt Chamberneezy, more familiarly) and FAQS (29D: Newbies are often directed to them). From this little nexus of words, I was able to make out both EQUATOR and SQUARE without knowing the rest of either answer (MAGIC SQUARE — 10D: Recreational mathematics construct — isn't very familiar to me, MAGNETIC EQUATOR even less so).

After polishing off the NE, I struggled to open anything up. My big break came when (with nothing in place) I got PTUI (32D: Spittoon sound), YEP (31A: "I reckon so") and AYN (27D: First name in objectivism) in quick succession. Then, with just one "E" and one "P" in place, I got KNEE-SLAPPER (23D: Good one). I would say that that was my biggest break in the whole puzzle. The tipping point from "o man I'm so dead" to "OK, I can do this" (even though the epic struggle in the NW still lay ahead).

Overall, the puzzle felt very solidly built, with only I'LL TREAT hurting my ears at all (12D: "This one's on me"). The phrase is "MY TREAT." A good clue for ILL TREAT would have been [Def candy]. No, not really.


  • 16A: Recipient of much praise (Allah) — "recipient" sounds so much less grand than the answer it clues. Nice.
  • 18A: Mondavi competitor (Gallo) —Martini Rossi Mondavi Gallo .... random wine names I learned in childhood. I briefly thought Mondavi was a watch brand.
  • 22A: Abyssinian language? (mew) — I can't even remember all the ways I imagined this was supposed to be tricky. CATness of "Abyssinian" never occurred to me. I think I considered "SSS" because it's a hissing sound and that's the sound the fallen angels in hell (the abyss?) make in Milton.
  • 23A: Like the Angkor ruins (Khmer) — K--ER = ???? for several seconds, and then AHA.
  • 28A: Indy Jones and others (profs) — Indy Jones and me (for now). Indiana Jones is a professor of archaeology, I believe.
  • 30A: Dungeons & Dragons player option (elf) — HA ha. Sadly, a gimme.
  • 34A: Olympic sprinter _____ Boldon (Ato) — really? Holy moly, he and this ALANA person (11D: "Law & Order" actresss _____ de la Garza) can take a slow boat to LAE, as far as I'm concerned (9D: Papuan port in W.W. II fighting).
  • 52A: Splinter, to Woody Woodpecker (niece) — got it off the terminal "E," but have Never heard of her.
  • 57A: City name part that's Dutch for "hedge" (Haag) — I just gaped at the phrase "city name part" for a while... I don't know any cities with that name part.
  • 2D: Astronaut Collins (Eileen) — another reason the NW was a disaster. Don't know her.

  • 5D: Family name in a Lew Wallace novel (Hur) — more NW trouble; forgot entirely who Lew Wallace was.
  • 8D: Dish akin to cotoletta alla milanese (Wienerschnitzel) — solved it from grouping of letters in the middle.
  • 57D: Dogpatch possessive (his'n) — and the puzzle dominance of "Li'l Abner" continues unabated...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


andrea no plasma michaels 5:55 AM  

Wow, I'm first, so it must be soooo late that it's early!
As I am not ready for the digital conversion I'm up at 2:30am doing the puzzle...
(There's a sentence in there, I swear!)

Had nothing in the NE but SHORTFOR (Skeptical of the cross ending in an H...and "IVEGOTIT" which we've discussed before, I think.
SO finally gave in and had to google ALANA. Then everything else fell like a bonsai.

Tree-wise, swung from BODHI to CEDAR to ALDER...and I don't want to say how long I looked at KH_ER

Anyway, I liked all the Q's and Z's.

One mental malapop...
The first clue I looked at was 58A "Crowing cue" and thought DAWN, but then saw that it was five letters...and thought "damn!". Didn't see 3D till much much later.

Loved all the Q's and Z's and that MAG(NET)IC EQUATOR and MAG()IC SQUARE crossed but NOT at the Q's!
(Nothing but NET!)

Speaking of which, I don't get the SHAQ clue??!!

OK, I admit, I had to google HAAG too! I started with HOCH. and had ROT for "Go off"...what a mess.

Loved WIENERSCHNITZEL going down the middle.

Barry Silk you are such a SUCH and SUCH!

John 7:02 AM  

I had PECANBOWL at 1A for awhile. Had SEIKO for GALLO.I believe there is a watch brand very similar to Mondavi. Good Puzzle, a fun workout!

Ruth 7:41 AM  

Eileen Collins is a local hero(ine) here in Upstate New York--she's a native of Elmira, I believe. I got weinerschnitzel right away (just cause I like to eat!) and that was a big help--tho initially thought TAO of physics was ZEN. I tried to play with the spelling of SCHNITZEL for a while to make the Z go where I wanted it, but ultimately yielded to that other Eastern philosophy.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Ohhh, this was way hard for me. Way too many googles. ADA, APO and ICON were early gimmes. Just visited Shiloh a few weeks ago where Lew Wallace fought...too bad that wasn't in the puzzle instead of Manassas.

Jeffrey 8:11 AM  

My trouble area was the NE where I was looking for scrabbliness and decided MAXIS SQUARE was right. Also had BOWL, TREE and EQUATOR long before the first half of those answers.

INTER facial? Is this a common thing that only I don't know?

Good workout for Saturday.

retired_chemist 8:28 AM  

@ Crosscan - nope, interfacial refers to an interface. Common enough in surface chemistry (e.g. interfacial tension) but basically technical jargon.

Always a treat to solve one of Barry’s puzzles – tough, fair, smooth as (you know what). Filled with far more than its share of “Who knews” like 1A PEACH BOWL,15A LITHUANIA, 59A EZIO PINZA, 57A HAAG (OK, mac knew), and maybe a dozen others. 48A BRAZOS I did know, but there are several 6 letter rivers (Nueces, Sabine,….) that it might have been.

Enjoyed CHEM @ 4D – didn’t come to me until I had CHE_ - was, as probably most of us, thinking of something financial, not a chemical bond. A real smile at that one.

But far from my only smile. Only a true master could construct this with no Naticks and so many “Aw, &$#@, I wasn’t thinking of it that way. What a clue!” moments. Silk is a true master.

This one is right up there with the recent Manny Nosowsky NYT puzzle in my 2009 favorites list. a hair under 30 min., but error free and no Googles. Satisfying.

retired_chemist 8:51 AM  

@ Ruth 7:41 - That was ZEN, this is TAO.

Orange 8:54 AM  

"Ill-treat" is, of course, a dictionary word. So Will or Barry made the choice to bypass that and clue it as a phrase that people may or may not actually say.

LITHUANIA! I'm one eighth Lithuanian, so that one was a gimme.

Steve Manion mentioned at my blog last night that the "neezy" portion of Shaq's apparently self-administered nickname, like "nizzle," is a playful form of the N-word, which generally finds no home in crosswords. I never heard the nickname, or the slang, so the clue didn't shock me.

C'mon, ATO Boldon is awesome!

Rex, the TENT for a fashion show was such a sophisticated wrong turn to take!

Hey, anyone who's interested in contests and has a knack for coming up with dreadful crossword themes (you know who you are) should check out Crossword Fiend's Fourth Bloggiversary Contest". The inspiration came from riffing on former agency FSLIC when that word was Rex's Facebook status update. He said my theme really was the worst ever, but I like to think the creative crossword community can top it.

bookmark 9:05 AM  

"The Tao of Physics" explores the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism. Written by Fritjof Capra, the brother of Berent Capra who directed "Mindwalk," the movie is based on much of F. Capra's writings. It stars Sam Waterson, Liv Ullmann, and John Heard and is set on Mont St. Michel, the medieval island-abbey in France. We were there last fall and were told by someone in our group how "The Tao of Physics" influenced the movie. A beautiful setting for the film's discussion among a poet, a politician, and a scientist.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Finally. A day where I thought the puzzle was easier than RP's rating. I would have posted earlier, but I had to strut around the kitchen for a while.

I did have "BARITONE" in the NE corner for a bit... Good thing I got that music degree.


Pinky 9:32 AM  

I agree with Retired Chemist - "Tough but fair", i.e.
took me forever but I never had to "pre-Google" (as opposed to "post-Googling").

Have to say I LOVED this Saturday puzzle.

@Andrea I don't get the SHAQ clue either.

dk 9:36 AM  


My first fill was NIECE (I know my woodpeckers) and one of the last was NEV, had NEb and thought well GObERNOR works with the Dogpatch theme... until that aha moment when you realize you are as dumb as your sisters always said you were.

I did not like SERER, but that is a nit.

Off to show some young wippersnappers how a RAMBO mountain bikes, last time I did this my MALEALTO was soprano for a month.

Denise 9:37 AM  

Tao or Zen of physics? That was the question. I finished this puzzle without looking anything up -- it was great, just working it and working it. So much I didn't know, but still I could fill those squares. A wonderful puzzle. It made my brain work, and I love that.

If I mentioned the name WILT CHAMBERLAIN to my husband, I would have to listen to his 20 minute explanation of why Bill Russell was the greatest player of all times. What has SHAQ got to do with it?

I was thinking of all sorts of letters that could represent the spit into a spittoon sound. PTUI was great.

This was what I look forward to when I start a puzzle. Thank you, Barry Silk.

bill from fl 9:49 AM  

The NE was hardest for me. Never heard of a MAGIC SQUARE or ALANA, so those came last. I stuck with ILLGETIT (or IVEGOTIT) until I saw ELF; that eventually led me ILLTREAT. I had to think about INTER(facial) a few times, before grudgingly accepting it.

MAGNETICEQUATOR across the center was a nice touch.

Ruth 10:12 AM  

@R_C: oh my. I did set you up nicely, didn't I? So glad I could be your straight man! :)

HudsonHawk 10:20 AM  

Closer to a medium for me. FAQS and ROHE were my first answers, and PROFS next. I actually had both 15s in relatively short order, which helped immensely.

I was confident that 1A was ____BOWL. The Sugar Bowl had to be much older than 1968 (1934 as it turns out--Rex, the first Final Four was in 1939, and LSU has never won a basketball championship). PEACH fell into place with AT DAWN. I wanted the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl, but ran out of room (kidding, but yes, there really was one of those in the early 90s).

I finished in the NE, with the I"VE GOT IT, I'LL GET IT, I'LL TREAT writeovers that Bill from FL had also. "My treat" is more common to my ear also, but I've got no problem with I'LL TREAT.

@John, you might be thinking of Movado for the watch brand.

Glitch 10:24 AM  

@R_C re: "...Only a true master could construct this with no Naticks ..."

Actually, I find Natick a lot like crossing the BrIzos somewhere around the HaIg ;-)


joho 10:26 AM  

I LOVED this puzzle. Mr. Silk never disappoints!

I was even more delighted after seeing Rex's challenging rating because I completed correctly with no help. I attribute my increasing competence solving Saturday's puzzles with this blog. Before blog I Googled. Now I won't allow myself that crutch and just keep at it until I get it ... or don't. And these days I mostly do.

It helped a lot today that Barry's puzzles are so fair.

Brilliant clues for me were: Fashionable meeting place? and Fan setting.

What a great way to start a Saturday! (As was dk's hilarious post.)

Frank Price 10:31 AM  

I thought the SE corner was really hard, between RAMBO, ERR, HAAG, and PINZA. I had RABID for RAMBO for a while, and HUUS for HAAG (I thought it looked kindof Dutch :-). Finally got ORGANS and erased all that other stuff.

To me this was a great Saturday: tough but solvable with persistence!

Leslie 10:49 AM  

"the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl"

I don't want to believe this ever existed, I really don't.

On the other hand, I would love to believe (but can't) that I found a puzzle easier than R.P. did. I think remembering "alder tree," with the same clue, from a short while back was a big help.

Getting "Allah" and "Gallo" quickly helped, too.

I absolutely ADORED "wienerschnitzel" marching down the middle of the puzzle. Fun answer, fun to say, and I've never seen it in a puzzle before. I'd gotten "E_io Pinza" before that, but could NOT remember his first name. Ezio? Enio? Elio? They all sounded equally right/wrong.

What is a magic square?

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

I drove down to the 1-yard-line on this but couldn't quite complete the drive without looking up countertenor in the dictionary. The trouble was in the top right. I played around with BASICSQUARE, PAIRS and BASEALTO, and I was thinking Mondavi was a police detective.

But all in all, I was surprised to see this rated challenging.

retired_chemist 11:12 AM  

@ Glitch - LOL. I take your emoticon as a graphic equivalent to D'oh, a feeling I had a lot while solving.

Den Haag (de facto seat of government of the Netherlands, per Wikipedia) is well known enough, as is Bob Dylan's "No More Cane on the Brazos," to rate it NaN (Not a Natick).

NaN used to (perhaps still does) appear in code debugger output as short for "Not a Number," didn't it? Memory dims.....

fikink 11:13 AM  

I'm so glad you called this challenging, Rex. I did better after I slept on it.

Hadn't realized I was so much a part of the Mac world until this puzzle reminded me that PCs recycle their trash. ;)

Going to keep a sharp eye out for "exclave," of which I was unaware. Again, thanks.

Haven't thought about "objectivism" since I read Rand years ago - and haven't we world weary folks all known someone in our past who went "off the deep end" with AYN? Is she still read?

@Joho, thought watches too, at first, and put in SEIKO!

@R_C, thanks for the INTERfacial context.
I join you in rating this one way up there.

Ulrich 11:18 AM  

For once, a Saturday that I could do in one sitting and w/o even considering googling (well, afterwards--PTUI?). Got the Wiener Schnitzel off the bat from the W in bowl (a guess--didn't know which bowl) and never looked back. Haag and Lithuania were gimmies (for once, my backgound payed off), and I loved the whole ride.

Kaliningrad used to be Köningsberg, the city where Kant lived all of his life. It was then part of East Prussia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union after WWII.

@Andrea Häschen (Bunny) Michaels (as per late last night): ... and manche Leute hassen Pfeffer (some people hate pepper).

slypett 11:27 AM  

I only had to google once and that once didn't give me the answer, so, I guess, I had no googles. And finished in quick time.

This was lots of fun. Perhaps it points to a misspent youth: I had GALLO instantly. Had GATORBOWL until the end. as well as MAPLETREE. These were thorns in my paw until I got LITHUANIA.

I remember when I first found this blog (by accident): I thought I was alive in heaven.

Two Ponies 11:29 AM  

I don't think Mondavi is very worried about Gallo as competition.
Very clever misdirection today.
Loved the long answers but parts of the north were my undoing.
This puzzle covered so much territory.
Cartoons, music, mathematics, food, and hillbillies. Wow.
Liked sun up over arose.
Way to go Barry Silk.
@ dk, I guess you do know your woodpeckers!

Norm 11:35 AM  

"Shaq" = sarcastic reference to O'Neal vis-a-vis his marital problems and Wilt Chamberlain's claim to have slept with every woman in the western Hemisphere. At least, that's my take on it. Awkward.

My experience with this puzzle was identical to Rex's. Alertness/torpor; repeat. Benefited from serendipitous errors, like LAT (Los Angeles Times) for 60D (riffing on the "periodically" which gave me the "T" for ALERTNESS (already had HISN) and the "L" somehow opened up that long down.

I loved this puzzle, even though it took me the longest time.

archaeoprof 12:03 PM  

Wow, what a puzzle! The NE was a battle royal. When it finally ended I had writeovers in 19 squares just in that corner! Tried "illgetit", "ivegotit", and "illtryit" before ILLTREAT, and "falsetto" before "MALEALTO."

And for some reason it took me a very long time to get PROFS for 28A.

I agree with Rex's rating, and with others who've said this was tough but fair.

Chorister 12:21 PM  

Forgive me, but the very idea of recreational mathematics gives me the shudders.

Had to Google some, but I don't mind that esp on a Sat, and esp for this good a puzzle.

Had CASTRATO for MALEALTO for way, way too long.

I also had Bush HOG for Bush ERA. HudsonHawk might understand. Maybe.

Steve Manion 12:27 PM  

My take on ChamberNEEZY was similar to Norm's. It came up at about the time that Shaq was having marital difficulties arising out of extramarital affair(s). What I found strange for the NYT was that the self-sdopted nickname was Shaq's "playful" way of saying I'm just a big powerful N___ like my main man, Wilt Chamberlain.

fikink 12:43 PM  

@Chorister, I had HOG at first, too. We use a bush hog along our perimeter all the time.

FWIW, fellow puzzlers, out here in farm country, it is considered a courtesy to keep the perimeter of your fields along your fence line mowed to prevent your neighbors' cattle from tearing up the fences by sticking their heads over them to graze.
Mending fences is a joint responsibility. (Foodie, I thought you would appreciate that sentiment.)

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Yay! The first Saturday puzzle I've ever solved without cheating!

I think it's funny to read about the mistakes of those of you who do this all of the time. We "newbies" make different mistakes. My thought process for example: A splinter for Woody Woodpecker? Obviously, PROGRESS. I see the constructor made a mistake there ... Indy Jones and others? CHEFS. Sure, it doesn't make sense, but it ends in FS! So it must be right.

Hmm ... I think I now know why I solve so few of these.

Shamik 12:46 PM  

@AndreaNoPlasmaMichael: As long as it's digital or you have cable, you'll have no problem with the changeover! LOL We got our converter box and it works just fine, thank you!

I can't recall a puzzle I enjoyed this much despite being unsuccessful. I totally blew it with KUMER for KHMER and should have known better because it isn't new to me. Still, the baker' dozen became a weird French word: BATCU.

My other oops was the SLAM that was a fashionable meeting place. Well, don't all the beautiful people go to poetry slams? And with names being odd these days, anyone could be named EILLEN. Well they could.....

But they're not. Still, a great challenging puzzle for me at 34:25 with the NW corner falling last...and incorrectly.

ArtLvr 12:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 12:50 PM  

Lovely Silk puzzle! No googles, no errors, but it took quite a while. First foothold was ROHE, with FAQS and PROFS leading to EQUATOR and SQUARE, then the NE with MAIMS and MAGIC.

Next to fall was the SW, 1950's musical likely to be South Pacific with EZIO PINZA and the city Den HAAG.. Saw the longest down WIENER SCHNITZEL, which led to SUCH rather than Ever and Ever! The longest across MAGNETIC to go with EQUATOR was a good guess becuse I mentioned Bull Run the other day and was ready for MANASSAS. That made completing SW easy.

Back to KNEE SLAPPER and KHMER, then BATCH and BOWL, MEW and PLASMA to end in the NW -- last fill was the "fashionable" SEAM! Much to love, as others have noted, so many thanks to Barry S.

p.s. Did anyone think of Falsetto for MALE ALTO?


archaeoprof 1:01 PM  

@Chorister and Fikink: Bush Hog here too.

@ArtLvr: I tried falsetto before MALEALTO.

HudsonHawk 1:13 PM  

Forgot to mention KNEE SLAPPER in the grid and Kneecaps in the clues. I didn't mind, though, because MAIMS actually was my first guess for 10A.

Also, do Spittoon and PTUI pass the breakfast test?

@Chorister, I've been a Manhattanite for 15 years, so not much need for a Bush HOG in my 'hood. But I do know what it is.

Added weekend bonus to today's SILKy puzzle: Sunday's is a BEQ that gets off to an interesting start, so to speak.

PlantieBea 1:53 PM  

I'm in the tough but fair camp. Wonderful puzzle, Barry Silk! I got most of it in fits and spurts, but had to cheat and look up the LSU bowl. I was stuck with Sugar Bowl, didn't know the astronaut. Once I had Peach, the final corner fell.

I had to write over a few problems--had CAT for MEW, and I started with DECIPHER for crack. Smiled at the Bond clue when CHEM finally came into view.

I liked this much because it was all gettable--even though I didn't get PEACH by myself. Good fun.

Clark 2:10 PM  

@joho, I am with you in not allowing myself to Google (until later), getting better from following this blog, being delighted today when I saw Rex’s challenging rating on a Saturday puzzle I had finished.

As a lover of WIENER SCHNITZEL, one who knows how to order it when in Italy, I got 8D early, which was a big help. Like archaeoprof and ArtLvr I Had FALSETTO instead of MALE ALTO, but it got me ALLAH and GALLO, and I got it corrected before it generated false crosses. And I had FRACTURE instead of APERTURE, but it got me four correct crosses. That is called luck!

For all practical purposes (as R_C mentioned) Den Haag is the capital of the Netherlands. The Queen, her government, the legislature, the high court, even the embassies are there -- reasons we should know it I guess. And it is just a cool name. Article, double A.

My last fill was the H in PEAC_BOWL. I'm thinking PEACE BOWL, that doesn't sound right . . .

fergus 2:41 PM  

I had always thought Den HAAG was the Dutch equivalent of Le Harvre. The typically imperious English spelling comes out as Gravenhage. And speaking or graven images, got to wondering about seeing ALLAH in the puzzle. There was quite a stink with the appearance in Danish cartoons, so I was wondering if this inclusion might lead to a some sort of puzzling fatwa? Geez, I hope not.

I found the Capras rather disappointing -- they both seemed to have that middlebrow insistence on their profound powers of insight. Even had the audacity to say as much at the "physics" lectures and at a test screening of "Mindwalk." OK, I'm a jerk.

LIONS from LOONS marred the neatest weekend pair of grids I've ever had. Almost dropped in BALTIC SEA instead of LITHUANIA though, and that would have been a right mess. And names like MANASSAS can be pretty dangerous. I don't think there are any rules on when to pick the doubled letter.

mac 2:58 PM  

We're having a wonderful crossword end of the week: Patrick yesterday, Barry silk today, and BEQ tomorrow!

I enjoyed this one a lot, although I had to google once in the NW: I did not know Eileen. After that it fell together fast.

I did have a lot of false starts, where do I begin....
"snack" for 52A niece
13D Castrato
19A E-bar (what, doesn't exist yet?)
and I had sugar bowl as well for a while.

For 57A: I almost panicked: Hague doesn't fit! Do'h.

@fhp: "Huus" is huis in several dialects.

mac 3:08 PM  

@Fergus: Den Haag is short for
's Gravenhage or Des Graven Hage, which means The Count's Woods.

Doug 3:23 PM  

Whenever I get all or most of a Saturday I'm pretty pleased, so I'm really, really pleased today. Only trouble was in the SE and had to look up EZIOPINZA. I speak Dogpatch as well as I do Esperanto, and was totally misdirected on PST and the hedge clue, thinking it was an English town suffix like "-ton". I even went mile by mile along the google map coast of the Gulf!

poc 3:46 PM  

I also had to look up EZIOPINZA, and I'm at a loss to understand the clue for SHAQ (I know -- vaguely -- who Shaq is, but the clue is gibberish to me). And what's with the tricksy "Ones with stalking feet"? I thought of LIONS almost at once, but the clue seemed to want something more subtle. (I only just got it: "stalking" is meant to be a pun on "stocking", so it's worse than I thought).

I agree with Rex on ILLTREAT, but it's not as bad as SERER on the "words no-one in the history of the Universe has ever employed in a sentence" scale.

However these are minor blemishes on a tough but well-made puzzle.

abnorma 3:56 PM  

Rex, I did know about Discovery's Commander Eileen Collins because I remember hearing a piece on NPR in 2005 in which it was told that the crew was awakened one morning by the song "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. So, I totally enjoyed your link to that!

miriam b 4:53 PM  

@Orange: I'm one-quarter LITHUANIAn, and what's more I have first cousins once removed who live in NATICK.

From an old discussion with mac: The article about ny daughter which was recently published in Out of Art, the Dutch magazine, originally had the English title A One-Track Mind. When the article was translated, it was given a nicer title: Op het juiste spoor (on the right track). The article concerns her interest in drawing and painting trains and other types of transport. BTW, mac, where does the word "Hague" come from? It doesn't seem to be Dutch, and the "the" peeceding it implies that it's English.

This was a rich satisfying puzzle. I didn't find it too difficult as I was somehow attuned to Barry's wavelength. The sports references were obtained via crosses.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:55 PM  

Another fine puzzle from Barry Silk!

I did this at the beach in about 50 minutes, but that includes a lot of time not looking at the paper. By thinking before entering answers, I was able to keep my write-overs down to those two three-letter words that were too obvious to ponder: I had ZEN before TAO and CAT before MEW.

@Leslie - A magic square is a square array of numbers {1,2,3...} that has the same sum horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

Magic square is a mathematic puzzle in which all the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines add to the same number
627 Not quite but close

First thing I put in was Snack how many guessed that I put it in for splinter to Woody Woodpecker, Eventually got the magic square and undid that error

mac 5:25 PM  

@miriam b: Much better title!

I think The Hague and La Haye are just phonetic versions of the Dutch name. Den Haag ends in a guttural g, and the a sounds almost like an exaggerated "wow!".
No effort was made to translate the actual meaning of the word, which is hedge or hedged in land or woods.

mac 5:27 PM  

Anonymouse 5.19: I reported earlier I had "snack" too.....

chefwen 5:27 PM  

I can make a killer Wiener Schnitzel - I could not finish this puzzle. Sigh!

andrea toora loora toora loo-rye-aye michaels 6:04 PM  

So here I am 12 hours later, practically first getting up and I blame you!
I stayed up WAAAAY too late and became mesmerized by the "Come on Eileen" video... I knew the song, I thought, but then it was like, "Wha?" is he singing in English? Is he on drugs? What ARE they wearing?"
Then I had to google the lyrics and caught up in the lead singer's bio...
I just love it!!!!!!! Esp the whispering part...very sexy in a very dissolute way! DK take note!

@Norm, Steve Manion
(and @Denise LOL re: husband)
Thanks for the edification on Shaq, tho a little sorry I asked!
I should have quit while I was ahead for getting PEACHBOWL without help!

Wade 6:26 PM  

Hey, cool site! How do you get the pictures and words and stuff on it?

I bought the paper today--me and the boy rode our bikes down to Starbuck's. I didn't finish the puzzle but probably would have, so I'm surprised by the Challenging rating, too. (I didn't get all the NW but had cracked _ _ _ _ _ BOWL and WEINERSCHNIZEL, so I'd have finally got there--I know that about myself--but we had to go to Lowe's so I could bitch about them selling me a ceiling fan they don't make light bulbs for anymore.)

I grew up on the Brazos river, right above the first dam at Possum Kingdom, where John Graves put in his canoe in 1957 at the beginning of the lovely book "Goodbye to a River." I love that river. We're going back up there the 4th. The full name is Brazos de Dios, "the arms of God," though nobody knows why. It's pronounced like "has us," by the way. It's muddy as hell. All my underwear was red when I was kid from swimming in that river. At least that's what I told the school nurse.

It never occurred to me that Splinter was the name of Woody Woodpecker's neice. I just assumed that "splinter" was some specialized term for that relationship among woodpeckers, like how a gosling is a baby goose, etc. I guess you don't usually see different terms for the neices of animals. Most animals probably don't even recognize that relationship and probably couldn't give a crap about their brothers' or sisters' kids. Man, crosswords can make you stupid and gullible.

jae 6:51 PM  

Yep, a fine puzzle. Semi-tough but doable. Found the southern half easier than the north with NE being the toughest for me. Thanks to all who provided the SHAQ background, got the answer but had no idea.

treedweller 7:05 PM  

I'm feeling especially parochial today, as I kept trying to make it alAmoBOWL. I have no idea when the first one was, but it seemed reasonable that a Louisiana school might have won it. That, plus the unknown astronaut, plus inexplicable blindness to PLASMA, plus the HURs (who?), plus trying to come up with some abbrev for either spies or film critics (you know, the other Bond), kept me from finishing this one (even WITH google). But I had a good time going from "No way I'm getting anything" to almost finishing.

And I've seen it a thousand times, but I still had to watch Bugs Bunny, and it still made me laugh.

sanfranman59 7:25 PM  

Here are this weeks's numbers. The number in parentheses is the number of solvers.

Mon (all) 6:55 (856)
Mon (Top 100) 3:43

Tue (all) 8:09 (878)
Tue (Top 100) 4:06

Wed (all) 14:33 (626)
Wed (Top 100) 7:26

Thu (all) 14:08 (613)
Thu (Top 100) 6:45

Fri (all) 17:30 (547) last week: 33:08 (428)
Fri (Top 100) 7:52

Sat (all) 31:30 (321) last week: 25:13 (343)
Sat (Top 100) 17:19

A tougher Saturday puzzle this week than last. It certainly gave me fits. I was unable to solve it without getting some help from Google and Wikipedia. This week's Saturday to Monday ratio was about 4.6 to 1 (4.7 for the top 100). The Friday to Monday ratio was about 2.5 to 1 (2.1 for the top 100 solvers).

Unknown 7:51 PM  

I didn't finish this puzzle due to a crazy schedule...well, really because I had about twenty minutes last night and got less than a quarter finished. I am just back and decided to read the comments and Wade's post added to Rex finding it Challenging made up for my sluggishness.

Let me start an argument. I find that veal in Vienna is better than veal from Milan.

mac 8:00 PM  

Yes, Philly, I will bite in ChefBea's name. The Austrians would never put a pile of tomatoes, onions and basil, sometimes even arugula, on top of a fine piece of veal! They might add a fried egg, or a sliver of fois gras, but that's it.
A Schnitzel in Germany more often than not is thinly pounded pork, but it is delicious as well.

On the other hand.... I have to be careful. The Dutch don't eat a lot of veal, but apparently they supply the Italians with their prized milk-fed veal.
Still, on a hot summer night, I don't mind the Milanese version on a terrace in Manhattan...

Bob Kerfuffle 8:01 PM  

@PhillySolver - Let me complicate your argument. When ordering Wienerschnitzel in Austria, I have often found the choice of "Schnitzel vom Kalb" (veal schnitzel) oder "Schnitzel vom Schwein" (pork schnitzel). So you may not be comparing veal to veal. (For various reasons, I prefer the pork schnitzel.)

chris 8:13 PM  

I wasn't sure if this puzzle was really difficult or if I just had a raging hangover. I think it was probably both.

The clue for Shaq refers to one of his many nicknames. He's given most of them to himself (the Big Aristotle, MDE (Most Dominant Ever)), but I think Kobe gave him this one.

mac 9:30 PM  

That's foie gras....

michael 10:14 PM  

I got this, but it took a looong time. The northwest was the last of fall.

A comment on "profs" As a prof, I've never heard another professor refer to others with the same job as "profs" even though I know that all sorts of other people use this term. Vaguely like "Frisco" for San Francisco -- just about never used by someone from there.

edith b 10:54 PM  

Good to hear from Wade again and in midseason form to boot.

I started the same way ArtLvr did thru EZIOPINZA but I had a number of partials *****BOWL, ********EQUATOR and *****SQUARE that I filled in at this point. I went with KHMER that produced KNEESLAPPER and took me into SE which fell almost at once (SERER?).

This left just the NW left and CHEM helped me KO it. I kept trying to fit MICHAEL in the astronaut slot but my granddaughter Tatiana helped he here, reminding me that women were astronauts too and gave me EILEEN which pretty much wrapped this one up, much to my chagrin for not knowing the astronaut clue.

I always find Barry Silk puzzles to be difficult but doable if you keep at them. I found this one to be easier than most of his puzzles simply because I knew a lot of what he wanted in the puzzle. As both a Law and Order person and a Civil War buff and getting the BRAZOS river from just the Z, I had a jump on this one.

Kellyg 1:25 AM  

I had to comment on this puzzle. I thought it was great! I spent about an hour just looking at it; getting very few answers and even fewer that turned out to be correct. Then, strictly because I had entered ZEN instead of TAO at 56A, I flashed on WIENERSCHNITZEL for 8D, realized my mistake at 56A and immediately also got EZIO PINZA for 59A. After that I was off and, maybe not running, but steadily strolling. The whole rest of the puzzle took less time to finish than I spent staring in the beginning.

Dough 12:23 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nebraska Doug 11:25 PM  

No one will see this, but I have to post it anyway. It took me four days to finish this puzzle, but I did it without a mistake or cheating(googling). After Saturday morning I thought it would be yet another to join the pile of unfinished Friday/Saturday puzzles that I occasionally come back to. But I kept chipping away word by word and eventually I finished it. Feels good.

slypett 12:18 AM  

Hey, Nebraska! Well done!

Nebraska Doug 10:12 AM  

@XMAN - Thanks! Someone read my post!

Anonymous 11:07 PM  

If I had taken four days to work on this one, I probably wouldn't have made the stupid mistakes I did!

Anders 1:04 PM  

After a syndicationland week in which I failed to finish a Thursday (Kilauea) and even a WEDNESDAY (playing fields of Eton area), it sure was nice to redeem myself by finish this toughie unaided over three sessions (afternoon, bedtime, and following morning). Redeems my faith in the puzzlers credo: no matter how blocked you appear, give it time and eventually the answers will come. No other word for it: satisfying.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

Finished, no googling, one mistake at EilLen and sLam. Natick for me as slam seemed a fashionable place to meet and the name wasn't so off-putting as to cause consternation. Oh well...

Designer Outlet 4:38 AM  

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