19th Amendment champion — FRIDAY, Aug. 14 2009 — Papal name last used 1724 / Ponderosa pal / Subject of a 1976-79 Met exhibit

Friday, August 14, 2009

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Renata SCOTTO (11D: Her 1965 Met debut was as Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly")Renata Scotto (born February 24, 1934) is an Italian soprano and opera director. Recognized for her sense of style, musicality and as a remarkable singer-actress, Scotto is considered one of the preeminent singers of her generation, specializing in the belcanto repertoire with excursions into the verismo and Verdi repertoires.

When 1A is a 10-letter gimme, you know it's going to be a good day. Or at least a fast day. Actually, I've nailed 1A before only to come to a crashing halt, but not today. Blazed through this one with virtually no problems, a full two minutes faster than yesterday. Despite its less-than-toughness, this is a solid puzzle — light on impressive or inventive fill, but expertly constructed and, as people are fond of observing about Mr. Silk's puzzles, smooth. CRAIG'S LIST (1A: Alternative to newspaper classifieds) is about the most modern thing in this puzzle (except NAS (20A: "Stillmatic" rapper), who hardly counts, as he's one of those glue words that people constructors put in more out of necessity than from any particular modern sensibility). Otherwise, the puzzle has its pop cultural sensibilities set squarely in the period just before I was born (and extending out a decade in either direction). I don't know who Renata SCOTTO or Peggy Cass is (12D: Play for which Peggy Cass won a Tony in 1957 => "AUNTIE MAME"), and Rita MORENO (41D: Puerto Rican-born Oscar winner of 1961) is on my radar mostly because she was a regular on "Electric Company" when I was a kid.

SHARON TATE (57A: "The Wrecking Crew" actress, 1969), I know, but not for her acting, sadly. "Happy" Anniversary to that answer, by the way [Shudder].

[this is a great song]

One place my own pop culture sweet spot overlapped with the puzzle's was at 38D: Subject of a 1976-79 Met exhibit (Tut). Hard to describe what a big deal this was. One of the first major American cultural phenomena of my lifetime that I can remember. I have vague memories of Watergate (mainly a memory of being on the mall in D.C. and being accosted by, or perhaps just seeing, a man in a Tricky Dick / jailbird costume). Then there was Bicentennial Mania. Then TUT. Oh, the Starland Vocal Band was in there somewhere too.

[STARGAZERS (14D: Night watchmen?)]

My main slow-downs today were caused coincidentally, by symmetrical answers. I blanked on 26A: Dessert, in Dover (afters) — had the -ERS part and knew it was something oddly literal, but could think only of ENDERS, which is what I wrote in. ENDER'S GAME is a fine scifi novel, but ENDERS was not the right answer here. Problem was eventually remedied via the long Downs in the SW. The other extended stumble occurred at MUSERS (41A: They're reflective), where I resorted to running the alphabet when I got to -USERS. Couldn't see the answer even After running the alphabet, so then did what I should have done the instant I couldn't get it — Check The Cross. Ms. MORENO was waiting to help me all along. Aside from putting in INDIC and then URDIC (?) for VEDIC (34A: Like the scriptures on which Hare Krishna is based), there were no other points of difficulty in the puzzle.


  • 15A: Constitution precursor (Magna Carta) — by the time I looked at this clue, I had more than half the letters in place. When I get 1A, I then move to the Down crosses and try to pick them off in order. I had pretty good success with that today.
  • 19A: Member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (Nero) — four letters, Roman ...
  • 23A: 19th Amendment champion (Catt) — got a little worried here when I realized I didn't know if it was CATT or COTT, but the clued-as-if-it-were-real ARK (24D: Major ancient construction project) settled the matter. That is a Noah's ARK clue, right?
  • 33A: E.U. mem. since 1995 (Aust.) — oddly pesky. If I had to name all the Eur. countries, this one would almost surely bring up the rear, despite its familiarity. I like to call AUSTria "Not Germany."
  • 36A: Sch. in the New England Football Conference (MIT) — they play football?
  • 43A: "The Human Stain" novelist (Roth) — a gimme. Also, one of the ugliest book titles of all time.
  • 44A: Storied shrine (Pagoda) — I thought PAGODA was just a little shop, but then realized I was thinking of BODEGA. I don't know what's "storied" about PAGODA. Appears to be a generic name for any number of multi-tiered temples found throughout Asia.
  • 4D: Papal name last used in 1724 (Innocent) — medieval studies gave me a certain familiarity with papal names, which came in handy today.
  • 26D: It goes up and down at dinner (Adam's apple) — no fan of riddles, I.
  • 37D: Ponderosa pal (pard) — at first thought "Ponderosa" was some Spanish place name, and went looking for AMIGO.
  • 47D: Muslim honorific (Agha) — wrote AGAH ... why?
  • 49D: Couch extension? (-ette) — had to look this up. Sleeping berth on a train. Thought it might be a female and/or miniature couch.
  • 53D: Setting for sedges (fen) — hey, I only just this second noticed this clue/answer. FEN and BOG, despite their manifest ugliness, are two of my favorite three-letter words.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Eric Berlin 8:44 AM  

Under ten minutes for me, which always makes me feel good. And that's despite having --AME in place for that play and writing in, with full confidence, THE GIN GAME. And then the I correctly fit the cross, so how could it possibly be wrong? Because it could, that's how. Luckily I caught on to the problem much faster than usual.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Not my best. Thought ark was Ark of the Covenant. Otherwise, everywhere puzzleguy struggled I breezed through and vice versa.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Just in case you weren't being ironic, the "tiers" of a PAGODA are analogous to the "stories" of a regular building. Hence, any generic PAGODA is "storied."

Just ignore me if you already knew that...

joho 9:01 AM  

This was an easy Friday puzzle that made me feel good about myself. Nice to have once in a while.

I see a mini-theme and homage to @Greene here. GREEN(RIVER), AUNTIEMAME, SCOTTO, Les MIZ, MORENO, and in a sense of the audience, STARGAZERS.

Thought it was odd to see CRAIGSLIST and WISHLIST even though I like both phrases.


Nice puzzle, Mr. Silk!

fikink 9:04 AM  

Having two LISTs in this puzzle really flummoxed me.

JannieB 9:06 AM  

@joho - once again, great minds... I also noted the SW corner - with it's apple, fruit etc. and was also bothered by both lists.

Thought it was a good but easy puzzle for a Friday. Off to a bridge tournament for the weekend. Enjoy!

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Held onto "Rivera" for the longest time... (not in real life, just in this puzzle)

Greene 9:08 AM  

Sweet Friday puzzle. For me, just the right degree of difficulty (and actually easier than the LAT, which is certainly a switch).

When I think of Peggy Cass, I always see her on the panel of To Tell The Truth sitting right next to Kitty Carlisle. The Broadway production of AUNTIE MAME is a bit before my theatregoing time, but I'm well acquainted with the movie, which features Cass hilariously recreating her role of Agnes Gooch. I'll spare you the YouTube clip. If you should take a look, she's the one who's preggers for the second half of the film (after Mame exhorts her to live, live, live!).

If I'm not mistaken, Rita MORENO was the first artist to win the big four (Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Oscar).

@joho: you make me blush.

retired_chemist 9:15 AM  

I am usually on Barry Silk‘s wavelength. This time is no exception. Easy. My best Friday time ever. About halfway through I noticed it was a Silk puzzle and stopped looking for a rebus.

MIT in the New England football Confererence? Who knew? And I are a graduate…. Dessert in Dover (26A): AFTERS. I tried SWEETS, and knew it was wrong, but the E serendipitously gave me INNOCENT at 4D. The V in VEDIC (34A) got me to try VIDEO something for 34D, but the C in 37A PC LAB straightened me out and got me VCR TAPES. Fortunately, the RADIO part of 29A was right and helped me open up the NE. Was looking for something séance-y @ 30A, but nooooo…….

The gustatory down 3-stack in the SW was cool. Didn’t see any relationships between members of the other stacks.

Surprised nobody to date (or did I miss it?) has mentioned Rita MORENO’s movie role as Anita in West Side Story, which catapulted her into the public eye. Or at least mine…..

dk 9:16 AM  

With Rex on 1A, had sticks instead of scents, Wanted to put in soupspoons for ADAMSAPPLE but that was never going to work.

It was hard to fill in PCLAB with my MAC staring at me from my desk. Fortunately, all that white-out (still LOL thx jannie b) blurred its vision.

Summer is rereading time for me, The Human Stain is on the pile but Tony Hillerman is ruling the roost. The PBS Mystery versions of his work is a good time as well.

Re 57A: 10050 Cielo Drive was a must drive-by for my NYC Psych PARDS when I was finishing up my residency at a certain psych unit that at one time had hewhoshallnotbenamed as a guest. Very scary as it is so nondescript.

Nice Friday that felt like a solid Thursday.

Thank you Mr. Silk.

retired_chemist 9:17 AM  

Hmmm - should edit more carefully. This puzzle felt so Thursdayish (and I did it Thursday evening) I was looking for a Thursday rebus.

Crosscan 9:23 AM  

Ditto Rex. Fastest Friday ever. On the road starting today, will check in periodically.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I liked this puzzle, but did horribly on it. Sometimes, having a really easy 1A can instill an overconfidence from which I never recover. Case in point: a DUMBWAITER "goes up and down during dinner," right?? And it fits, riiiight??? Craaaaash.

Anne 9:28 AM  

This was not a slog for me although there were lots of things I didn't know. Happily I did know Craig's List, and I was off, and if not running, walking fast. I ended with no googles and no errors, so put me down for a very happy Friday.

Ulrich 9:29 AM  

Second Friday when 1A was gimme--just used the list to find tenants--never even bothered to use classifieds. And rel. smooth sailing afterwards, although not necessarily reflected in a spectacular solving time.

Balked at the clue for adams's apple--it goes up and down not only at dinner, but whenever you swallow--would "you do it at night" be an acceptable clue for "breathe"? A much better clue would've been "acting device for Jimmy Stewart".

@anon at 8:55. Good point, never thought of the clue that way, and I'm an architect!

edith b 9:34 AM  

I, too, thought of @Greene, when the Broadway mini-theme began to present itself through Peggy Cass as I knew she would be unknown to some people.

It took me a while to gain a toehold on this one as I cherrypicked my way down the East coast until I finally got started in earnest in the SE and worked it in reverse order (for me), SE to NW, and ORANGEPEEL ended up being the key entry for me as it led to endgame.

I never know what I'm going to get with a Barry Silk puzzle.

PlantieBea 9:35 AM  

I'm always happy to get a Friday puzzle I can solve without too many problems. Thank you Mr. Silk for this one. Favorite answers included ORANGE PEEL, PRIZE FIGHT, and STEWARDS. Love the summery picnic image of TASTy FRUIT SALAD in the piney woods.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:44 AM  

1-Across fell immediately. Used the same seed entry myself three months ago here: http://is.gd/2gHY2

Otherwise, twas a breeze. Which isn't a bad thing, just a thing. With a pinwheel shape like this, why not throw fun/modern/new seed entries in each quadrant?

Anyway, knew VEDIC from the clues, which tells you I've done/written too many puzzles.

Ruth 9:58 AM  

Anon 8:55, thanks, that was illuminating.

PurpleGuy 9:59 AM  

@COIXT RECORDS- Had the same thought as you, with "dumbwaiter" for 26d. Great minds think alike !
This was a wonderful puzzle, and rather easy. Completed it Thursday evening.
Great way to get ready for the weekend,
A little cooler here this morning, so the walk was delightful. Now ready for my swim.

Greatpuzzle, Mr. Silk.
Thanks, Rex, for the funny writeup !

pednsg 10:05 AM  

This wasn't my first complete, no-error Friday, but it was certainly my fastest (somwhere between 45 -60 minutes while watching kids in bathtub), and as many have said, very smooth and clever. There were many words I've never seen before (FEN, sedges, VEDIC..) but all were easily gotten from the crosses.

I'm still too new at this to really have a peeve, but if I had to have one today, it's regarding 55A. To have humble pie is to eat crow, to be humiliated or embarrassed about something after being proven incorrect about something. Someone would promise to eat his or her hat if a very unlikely event were to come true, a way to express certainly that said event was not going to happen.

That said, I loved this puzzle, especially for boosting my confidence to the next level!

chefbea 10:13 AM  

I found this puzzle a bit difficult. After I googled a few things then everything tasted good, like the fruit salad and orange peel.

Now when someone is embarrassed we can say "his face is as red as a Titan's". who knew??

archaeoprof 10:21 AM  

Is it true that CRAIGSLIST is contributing to the financial difficulties of small and mid-sized newspapers?

Smooth sailing today, with a few write-overs: "cohorts" before ASSORTS, "shop" before CHAT, and "mis" before MIZ.

BTW, apropos of yesterday's conversation, I like to do the puzzle on paper, with a fountain pen. Those write-overs get thick real fast. Maybe I should try the wite-out...

roxanne 10:25 AM  

actually, according to IMDB.com, rita moreno won the oscar for west side story in 1962....the movie was made in l961.

HudsonHawk 10:25 AM  

Fun puzzle, Mr. Silk. Breezed through most of the grid until I got to the SW corridor, then slowed down a bit.

Didn't help that I had Lucretia MOTT before Carrie Chapman CATT for 23A. And I was thinking URI or UNH might be in the New England Football Conference (they are not).

mccoll 10:29 AM  

Fun! Was I ever on Barry Silk's wavelength today. Quick and easy it was.
I liked:
Juxtaposition of Craig's List and Magna Carta.
Adam's apple, fruit salad and tastes good aligned in the SW.
In a prize fight you throw your hat into the ring and lace the opponent.
Scotto stars in Auntie Mame under the audience's gaze.

Loved the clue for pagoda, but have seen stewards only in the mess not in a restaurant.
Way to go Barry Silk.

SethG 10:42 AM  

One liked this puzzle, and found it pretty easy. Except for NorCal, where one stared for the longest time at xxxxTSALAD and xxxxSAPOLE (don't ask). Yeah, one was thinking Raiders of the Lost ARK...

ORANGE PEEL was one's first answer--turns out, the actual ingredient is related to but is not an orange. Not that one's had spirited sessions or anything.

MIT used to have the most varsity sports of any school in the country. I bought this computer and my new lawnmower off of CRAIG'S LIST, and as soon as I publish this I'm gonna go mow my lawn.

Don't forget noveLIST. Also a tree mini-theme in the SW, with pine, lumber, and FRUIT SALAD.

Glitch 10:43 AM  

Nice puzzle, BS & I tend to think alike, however, (had to be a however, right?)

Agree with @pednsg, "having humble pie" and "eating your hat" are not the same.


Disagree with @Ulrich, on Adam's Apple. While it does move all the day and night, dinner IS one of those times, OK for a Friday clue IMHO.

If clued re: Jimmy Steward would have been a WTF to me --- but now that I've looked it up, I'm ready if Ulrich's suggestion is taken by a constructor!

As for PCLAB, I'll defer,in advance to "Larry the Lurker" ;)


DanaJ 10:43 AM  

Nice puzzle. Not as easy for me as for some others, but I got through it eventually. Interesting how many diverse answers were guessed for 26D. EPIGLOTTIS also fit nicely and I stubbornly kept it there for a long while, with ITAL for 33A.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:55 AM  

I had a bit of a feeling of deja vu as I did this puzzle. It seems to me I've seen STARGAZERS and ORANGEPEEL both rather recently, which would be unusual for long answers. But then, other than the daily Times and Matt Gaffney, I tend to do puzzles long after they are published and out of sequence.

@mccoll - Perhaps if you went to more expensive restaurants than the ones I patronize, you would see wine STEWARDS.

Orange 10:56 AM  

Rex, thanks for "Afternoon Delight"! My sister and I had the album. The only other song I can remember was one about a girl who plays tambourine and wants to be a star.

I missed the "storied"/tiered PAGODA thing.

1-Across gave me trouble. Sure, CRAIGSLIST was my first thought, but I was looking at the 1-Down space so I filled in EBAY instead. That held me back. Had a longer-than-usual Friday time as a result. Plus I was doing the puzzle 90 minutes later in the evening than usual, and my brain slows down then.

Two Ponies 10:57 AM  

Another nice Barry Silk puzzle.
I enjoyed all of the food and dining answers.
It did have an old-fashioned feel at times with radio era, VCR tapes, and prize fight.
I see now that anon 8:55 must be right about pagoda making it a clever clue.
I'm not sure about the clue for Timer.
Liked the intersection of Vedic and Talmudic.
I remember the Tut exhibit from it's stint in Chicago. Very cool.
I also am a pen on paper solver. I just wait until I am fairly sure before I write it in.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@roxanne - 1962 is when they awarded the oscars for 1961 movies. As is always the case.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

I must be completely out of step. I found yesterday's puzzle quite easy and todays quite difficult. Needed to resort to Google, which I hate to do.

joho 11:07 AM  

@archaeoprof ... definitely try the Wite-Out. I also write in bold, flowing ink and, I promise, it works like a charm.

XMAN 11:20 AM  

No googles, nor errors completes my delight. We won't talk about writeovers. They don't count. Right?.

Quibble: I think the correct abbreviation for Austria is 'Aus.' and for Australia it's 'Austr.'

dsquaredmedia 11:29 AM  

I produced a film a few years back starring Ms. Moreno named "Play It By Ear" (not yet at a movie theater near you!) She's a terrific actress (deserved all her awards) and was so pleasant to work with. Just like Rex most of my young crew had either never heard of her or only knew "Electric Co." and more recently "Oz." Also check out her very funny role in "The Ritz." Nice to see her again at least in print.

Alex 12:23 PM  

Having ---ORTS triggered me putting in COHORTS for "Groups" instead of ASSORTS. Combined that first O with the T in STEWARDS and it was irrefutable that the picnic staple was POTATO something. Eventually had POTATO -LAD and spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I'd missed a rebus since obviously it was POTATO SALAD.

Only significant difficulty faced today.

ArtLvr 12:33 PM  

Loved the Silk puzzle, no problems except a few hesitations like Mott before CATT, which would have given a Pope ending in -MENT. This led me to think of Clement, the Pope in Avignon during the Papal Schism of the late 14th-early 15th centuries, even if it didn't fit! That split was politically motivated, by the way, nothing to do with theologiical differences...

My mind is still back in those times: constant deadly plagues and pillage, wild spending by church and royalty, futile wars and crusades, persecutions of peasants, heretics, witches, Jews, and descent into chaos, madness and murder.

I just finished the fabulous history by Barbara Tuchman, "A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century" which came out in 1975 but is even more pertinent to modern times if you add in the last quarter of the 20th century plus the beginning of the 21st!

Anyway, back to the xword: there was also LAOS, a Golden Triangle land, which beckoned me toward the "Golden Temple" in the Punjab region of India, as storied and central to Sikhs everywhere as St. Peter's in Rome to Roman Catholics, not the tiered (or golden) PAGODA!

All the rest went swimmingly, including VEDIC...


fergus 12:36 PM  

It wasn't that easy.

Always a bit hesitant to enter the obvious on Friday or Saturday. I also saw the TUT Exhibit in Chicago in 1977, which made the Met timing questionable for this answer. (Looking forward to seeing the new version in SF before long.) Even thought about MASERS, which I figured to have some reflection going on in intensifying the beam. But I liked MUSERS, after giving it a bit of thought.

Stuff and MATTER? Well, OK, whatever. The GREEN RIVER is remarkably green, I recall from travels in Utah.

I suppose EAT ONE'S HAT falls into the Humble Pie category. (My first guess there was EAT CROW BIT.) To me, the hat-eating is more the result of surprise than recognition of one's erroneous boast, but I often get this sort of thing wrong.

Aviatrix 12:41 PM  

Retired chemist talked me out of my no-posting vow.

This was a hard one for me. I got stuck in so many obviously ill-fitted ruts, but couldn't get away from them. I wanted WATERMELON for the picnic staple. (I've never had fruit salad at a picnic! How would you transport and serve it?) and was really beginning to believe that there was some American spelling of MAITRED that was going to be required. I tried to use EPIGLOTTIS, AUDIOAGE, and had FACEDEFEAT for humble pie. Also there's a children's character named Ponderosa PETE. Plus I was trying to make SEANCE into a verb with a five letter past tense, for the spirited session. That took me SO long.

Now to see if I can get this to post. Once.

Campesite 12:44 PM  

I too struggled until the forehead hitting moment with MUSERS/TUT (the U being my last letter). I was briefly convinced it MISERS, but that would make tit, and the Times wouldn't do that, would they?

SethG 12:47 PM  

The Times might, the Met might not.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:50 PM  

@Campesite - Only 34 times in the last 15 years, according to Jim Horne's website.

retired_chemist 1:03 PM  

@ Campesite and SethG - MASERS are also necessarily reflective devices, which means KING TAT comes into play, or if 38A is still blank then one has KING RAT. Not that Clavell novels are likely to get 3 yrs exhibit.... just musing.

PuzzleGirl 1:10 PM  

Put a bunch of stuff on Craig's List just this week and thought to myself "That would make a good puzzle answer." Damn you, Barry Silk, for reading my mind again!

@Orange: Starland Vocal Band had another song?

I thought I remembered Peggy Cass from Match Game, but maybe it was To Tell the Truth. (Wikipedia tells me she was on the original Match Game, which I never saw. Maybe she was a guest once or twice on the 1970s iteration. Who knows? It's a mystery!)

Really tried to make THRILLA IN MANILA fit at 51A.

jeff in chicago 1:10 PM  

I filled this from SE to NW to NE to SW, all fairly swiftly. Agree having CRAIGSLIST over MAGNACARTA seems cool. ADAMSAPPLE by FRUITSALAD as well! Ended with one stupid typo, in a gimme answer, so I'm counting this as a successful fill.

@Greene: I, too, can picture Peggy Cass on "Truth" next to Kitty Carlisle, star of "A Night at the Opera"!! (Is it OK to find my Marx Brothers connection to a puzzle in the blog post of someone else? HA!)

@ArtLvr: I discovered Barbara Tuchman with "The March of Folly," the story of history's biggest screw-ups. It's a great read, especially the chapter "The Renaissance Popes Provoke the Protestant Secession."

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Fun puzzle I was able to solve without cheating. With CRAIGSLIST and MIT in place, early on I had IGNATIUS for the Pope and STOMACH_ _ _ for 26D, which took some time to sort out.

Doc John 1:29 PM  

Fastest Friday ever! Thanks, Mr. Silk!
I, too, remember Peggy Cass from To Tell the Truth and always wondered what she had done to deserve her fame. I just saw Auntie Mame for the first time just recently.
In the MORENO spot I kept trying to think of the male Oscar winner's last name: George who? George Chakiris.
Not much else to add to what's been said but add me to the dumbwaiter list.

foodie 2:00 PM  

I agree that the puzzle was wonderful and very smooth. And MIT playing football was a shocker. I didn't think they would even teach French, much less play football! If there was ever a prototype of Friday cluing, this would be it.

On another front... Rex, please forgive me because this is off topic, EXCEPT that I started this conversation with this group before, asking people what makes them happy. I got a number of wonderful answers both on the blog and by e-mail. Anyhow, I wrote a little essay about happiness and joy, which I wanted to share, mostly because one of the things that give me great joy is exactly here... Rexville. So, here goes:

Pursuit of Happiness

XMAN 2:03 PM  

@Fergus: Try this: If God changes this straight into a royal flush, I'll eat my hat. Surprise and an admission of erroneous expectations. Not exactly "humble pie," which is more like: You didn't win that hand as you said you would; now eat your humble pie. So, you got it right.

Ulrich 2:08 PM  

@Glitch: Having to say "it's a joke" is always awkward: It shows people couldn't get it. In this case, if you don't remember Jimmy Stewart moving his ADAM'S APPLE up or down to express strong emotions, it's lost on you.

@foodie: Thanks for putting one more item on my list of things I have to read today:-)

still_learnin 2:09 PM  

I found this much harder than Rex. But, when I finished and looked back I couldn't say why. Every answer was something I knew or should've known. I just wasn't in synch with Mr. Silk.

I did't get the PAGODA cluing either.

Wasn't Peggy Cass in a tv show with monkeys?

PlantieBea 2:16 PM  

@foodie: Thanks for sharing!

ArtLvr 2:29 PM  

@ jeff in chicago -- Thanks for the heads-up on the next Tuchman book for me to find! I wish I could see your Henry V production in Evanston, but we're in Michigan for nearly the rest of August.

p.s. The NYT has a super retrospective of Les Paul on the back page of the first section today, with photos of his "Log" -- the first electric guitar, etc.


Anonymous 2:34 PM  

i wanted EPIGLOTTIS for 26D: "it goes up and down at dinner." and aren't we having a healthy "picnic (staple" 27D) with our FRUITSALAD? no burgers here.

Stan 2:43 PM  

Enjoyable puzzle!

Ali-Frazier (or Frazier-Ali) also fit for 51A.

Would have preferred to see Sharon Tate clued with "The Fearless Vampire Killers" than some Dean Martin movie.

ArtLvr 2:45 PM  

p.p.s. @ foodie -- I enjoyed your discussion of what makes us happy! There were some other neat insights in the NYT's memorial of Ruth Ford's life, page A15. Muse to many outstanding writers, artists and musicians for over 40 years, she said "My life has been too exciting and too wonderful to let anything else, and that includes acting, to come first." She had a spectacular sandbox in which to wiggle her toes!


Can't come up with good, sardonic, anonymous name 2:55 PM  

Odd seeing Sharon Tate in the puzzle the same day Squeaky Fromme gets let out of prison.

chefwen 3:07 PM  

One of my first fills was watermelon (similar minds Aviatrix) and sweets for the brit dessert, although we always called dessert Pud or Pudding. Filled in the rest of the puzzle with nary a problem but couldn't figure out why nothing was working in the lower left. Had slog for PLOD, amasses for ASSORTS. Finally took out the whole section (I won't say how as I don't want Treedweller to fall out of a conifer)stared for a while and it all came tumbling down. Felt a tad bit on the stoooped side but I finished, even though it wasn't purdy.

Meg 3:19 PM  

I got stuck on that "?" after Night watchmen. Figured it couldn't be someone who watches the night. I guess the joke is that it's not a security guard.

Thought Ursule might be a bear of some sort and I never heard of a couchette. Liked GAG for "Shut up".

Not so many people I've never heard of in this puzzle, which made it pretty easy for a Friday. I'm finding that I have much more fun when the puzzles are harder.

william e emba 3:25 PM  

Anonymous wrote: "1962 is when they awarded the oscars for 1961 movies. As is always the case."

Not true. Charlie Chaplin won the 1972 Oscar for best original score for his 1952 film Limelight. Because of ridiculous red scare politics, Limelight was barely seen in the US at the time, and definitely not in LA.

The Academy changed the rules afterwards.

Shameful admission: I have actually seen The Wrecking Crew, the last of the Matt Helm films. The title was familiar, and I only needed two crosses before I remembered! Aargh.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

SW corner was tough for me. Fruit salad fit, but I thought of watermelon first. Nope. A water glass goes up and down during dinner. Nope. Tastes good I got right away, but took it out, put it back in, took it out. Not so tasty. After I got pagoda and woodsy things finally started coming together.

edmcan 3:39 PM  

@Still_learnin-OMG, was that show 'Barrel of Monkeys'? For some reason, that sticks in my mind, go figure...

sanfranman59 4:25 PM  

Friday midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 20:25, 26:01, 0.78, 8%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 9:39, 12:15, 0.79, 10%, Easy

I was feeling pretty good about myself for sailing through this Friday puzzle in record time (for me) and without even once being tempted to consult Google or Wikipedia. Now my bubble has been burst as this turns out to be one of the easiest puzzles in the 10 weeks I've been tracking solve times (relative to the day of the week, that is). C'est la vie.

Stan 4:26 PM  

@Can't come up with: Yes it was odd -- completely unintentional I'm sure.

@william e emba: I think it's cool that you've actually seen "The Wrecking Crew"!

Greene 4:36 PM  

@still_learnin & edmcan:

I have my own shameful admission to make. I too remember the television program with Peggy Cass and the monkeys. It was called The Hathaways, a rather ridiculous program from the early 1960s about a suburban couple (Ms. Cass and Jack Weston) who are raising three chimps instead of children. I think it ran for one season and then disappeared forever. I remember a recurring "joke" in which visitors would realize that the couple's children are actually chimps. The shock would always be mollified by a reassuring "They're adopted!"

I know...I can't believe it only ran for one season.

edith b 4:44 PM  


I also had FRAZIERALI at 51A before WISHLIST going down disabused me of that notion.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

It must be a rather unfulfilling life if you don't know who Peggy Cass is! Why she's Agnes Gooch, Auntie Mame's "sponge" in her "orthopedic oxfords." What a hoot! But I never knew until today that she won a Tony for that role.

Shamik 4:59 PM  

Fun puzzle with some different fill that fell easily for me somehow. Third fastest Friday for me at 7:29.

(Took me 3 tries to post since i forgot my password. Guess I haven't posted much lately...sharing a computer.)

Shamik 5:01 PM  

@sanfranman: It's only against yourself that you need feel you're competing. It's better on the soul that way. I am not Dan Feyer and never will be.

andrea cmon michaels 5:06 PM  

@eric Berlin
I too had _AME and confidently wrote in PAJAMAGAME.

what do you make of THEGINGAME, PAJAMAGAME and AUNTIEMAME all fitting?
(I can see Lucille Ball in a nightie playing cards)

And yes, Peggy Cass and Kitty Carlisle were folks I grew up on not realizing they existed before they wre TV panelists.
You don't see smart, quick women on shows that often, everything hosted by a male...altho Cat Deeley on SYTYCD is as quick as she is sweet and sexy.

Wow, I just realized that altho I filled in SHARONTATE this whole time I've been thinking SHARONSTONE! WOndering what these comments have meant!

was ORANGEPEEL a nod to your birthday tomorrow????!!!!!!!
(are you going skinny dipping?)

@joho, fikink, JannieB

more than one corner, it was definitely a theme...
This was rife with food...
That's gotta be intentional!!

(Or I just haven't eaten yet today)

Only quibble (nibble?) agree with you about
CRAIGSLIST and WISHLIST in the same puzzle?

@anonymous 9:07am
I always conflate RITAMORENO and CHITARIVERA and today was no exception. And Chita (or was it Rita?) just got the presidential Medal of Freedom two days ago.

French lesson Coucher= to sleep
thus couchette is a little couch, sleeper on a train...
as in voulez-vouz coucher avec moi.
See how facile le Francais is?

Greene 5:32 PM  

@ACME: Chita got the Presidential Medal of Freedom ealier this week. Rita got hers back in 2004. I can't for the life of me understand why this would confuse anybody. :)

treedweller 6:08 PM  

I got the NW pretty quickly (largely from the CRAIGSLIST gimme). I got a smattering of other answers soon after. I slept. I worked more over breakfast and got the SE and most of the center. I went to work. I got the SW soon after returning to the office. I stared at the NE until I was sick of it and googled AUNTIEMAME, which broke the last corner. Ended up with an error at TaT/MaSERS. TUT probably should have been obvious, but my first guess was Arp and I never got off of looking for an artist--figured Tat was someone I never heard of.

Usually I find Silk puzzles fall a little faster than this, even with my Friday/Saturday mental block. I dunno what went wrong for me today. It was fun, anyway.

Help WOODSY spread the word, never be a dirty bird.

Don't worry, I never fall out of trees--I use a rope and saddle. Plus, we don't have many CONIFERs in Austin (soil too alkaline). But thanks for thinking of me!

hazel 6:46 PM  

@treedweller - give a hoot don't pollute! one of my favorite ad campaigns of all time!!

nothing much to say about the puzzle - it always surprises me when so many of us have the same errors, esp. for such long answers - i too had DUMBWAITER and FRAZIERALI - even though neither of them seemed quite right - sort of like EATONESHAT, though. (excellent comment, @pednsg!)

SHARONTATE just makes me sad - doesn't seem quite right to see her in a puzzle.

Campesite 7:54 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, @SethG
Not a surprising number of the uses for tit--I reckoned it'd be for a small song bird or __ for tat, but if the Met indeed had an exhibit of that theme, I'd see it!

Glitch 9:13 PM  

@Ulrich (2:08pm)

The feeling / problem is mutual.

.../Glitch ;-)

Bill from NJ 9:44 PM  


I first read Tuchman's A Distant Mirror during the Reagan administration and found it pertinent to the times even then. Mark of a great book, I guess.

I either do very well or have a miserable time with Barry Silk. I usually do well when his puzzles are more sports based - this one wasn't but I still did well, thinking of ChefBea the whole time. I quess that's how the madeleine crumbles.

fikink 10:54 PM  

@Bill from NJ, the way the "madeleine" crumbles-LOL

I gave A Distant Mirror to a number of people, including my father, as a Christmas gift, somewhere around 1980. I think he actually read it. I remember discussing how apt the title was.

Still have to read The Guns of August...good idea, now that I think of it.

foodie 11:03 PM  

@Orange: Happy Birthday!!

@Andrea: I laughed at the ORANGEPEEL-- skinny dipping meaning for Orange! First preceded by a few sips of Curacao, of course...

@Plantie Bea and ArtLvr, thank you!

ArtLver, where in Michigan are you?

deerfencer 11:47 PM  

Bah, I never got out of the box with this one after cruising through yesterday's puzzle.

sanfranman59 12:23 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:30, 6:59, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:34, 8:35, 1.11, 81%, Challenging
Wed 14:01, 12:41, 1.10, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:49, 18:35, 0.90, 25%, Easy-Medium
Fri 20:11, 26:00, 0.78, 8%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:32, 3:43, 0.95, 43%, Medium
Tue 4:49, 4:25, 1.09, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:54, 6:11, 1.12, 84%, Challenging
Thu 8:04, 8:53, 0.91, 24%, Easy-Medium
Fri 9:06, 12:12, 0.75, 7%, Easy

For the Top 100 solvers, there have only been 3 puzzles that were easier relative to the average for the day of the week and only 4 have been easier for all solvers (I've been tracking solve times for 10 weeks now).

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@Glitch: Thanks for the "shout-out"! I wouldn't want to disappoint you, hence this very late -- no one will read it, as it's already "tomorrow" -- post. Sigh...

A Niners pre-season game got in the way. Meaningless, but fun anyway, with an odd ending which I predicted. Happiness...

So: PCLAB not hinted as abbr.:


Larry from the (Bear's) Lair

Glitch 10:33 AM  


Mesage received ;)


big steve 9:37 PM  

I don't see why anyone who does the puzzle regularly, meaning that you solve it regularly, and enjoy it, would bother to time himself doing it. That would seem to spoil the fun and introduce an element of tension into one thing in the day that can provide some simple pleasure. I actually prefer to stretch it out a little. Maybe some of you have jobs ... but my experience is that crossword puzzle people usually aren't really in much of a (legitimate) hurry. But that just my thinking.

Stan 11:50 PM  

@big steve:

Many people who do something very well enjoy a certain competitive aspect to that activity. Usually 'self-competitive' as in comments like 'This took me much longer than the average Friday.' Yes, it's fine to solve crosswords, hike in the mountains, play tennis, or go surfing without any thought about what your standings are compared to others. But for many people that's just part of the fun.

If you want to be slow (like me), great. If you enjoy timing yourself, what's wrong with that?

Whitney 4:02 PM  

This puzzle was fun, fun, fun. I was really surprised that CRAIGSLIST was the correct answer. I thought it might be too modern for a Friday puzzle. I do tend to psyche myself out by thinking Fridays will be impossible and I think that slows me down quite a bit...VCR TAPES got me, too. It sounds so awkward. It was my first thought but I was shocked when it turned out to be right.

@Rex "clued-as-if-it-were-real " re: the ark. LOL. Reminds me of one my favorite Simpsons quotes - Bart: Woah! God is so in your face!
Homer: Yeah, he's my favorite fictional character.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP