Saturday, August 22, 2009 -- Muffed on the green / Russian oblast or its capital / Fractions of a gourde

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Constructor: Karen M. Tracey

Relative difficulty: Medium-challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Sentime (18A Fractions of a gourde => SENTIME) —


The gourde (French), goud (Creole) is the currency of Haiti. Its ISO 4217 code is HTG and it is divided into 100 centimes (French) or santim (Creole).
(from wikipedia)

[update: just learned in the comments that I got this wrong--it's CBC/CENTIMES. No wonder I had to go through "gourde" to find it --treedweller]


Hi, all. treedweller here, filling in for Rex while he tries to improve his world puzzle ranking. I so wanted to say, "Ha, just kidding about not being able to finish, this was a breeze," but here you have the sum total of my efforts before I resorted to google. Not quite "two right answers and a couple of bad guesses," but almost. I didn't even know how to choose a Word of the Day, since it seems like half the grid was unfamiliar to me. I went with the currency, since we may as well all resign ourselves to learning All The Currencies Of The World (Past And Present). As is often the case, once things started to fall, I realized I should have known a few things and could have figured out a few more, but I'm on a deadline here. Regardless, I have doubts as to whether I could have finished this on my own, no matter how many days I carried it around with me to waiting rooms and bank lines. I chose to rate it Medium-challenging because it was extremely challenging to me, but that's a normal Saturday, so I figure it's maybe medium for those who routinely finish the hard ones. I just hope not to hear "Easy, Easy, Easy" in the comments today.

Google got me the NE, since I was able to find ROSSETTI (14D: "Beata Beatrix" painter) and SENTIMES. The former revealed our old friend, BRIAN ENO (16A: Co-composer of the "Prophecy Theme" in "Dune"), who usually just gets his last name into the grid. He was well disguised today, but when I saw that terminal "O" I had him. I still needed the obscure (to me) currency to finish the corner, but things were starting to roll and I was feeling pretty good. And . . . nothing. Back to google, where I learned about 27D: Home of the annual Gathering of the Nations powwow, the world's largest celebration of Native American Culture, ALBUQUERQUE. Man, just typing out that clue was an ordeal. Is there anyone who didn't get the answer from the first half, but knew it once they got past the comma? I think not. Hello, King Olaf.

Then I immersed myself for the first time in Dancing With the Stars, where I learned there were not one, not two, but three possible answers to 37A: Olympic Gold Medalist who was a "Dancing With the Stars" champion. First hit was Shawn Johnson, who didn't fit. A little farther down was Anton Apolo Ohno, who seemed very puzzleworthy but also did not fit. I went to the Official Site, where you should not go if you don't like auto-playing ads and videos to blare out of your computer unexpectedly. I learned that a new season is upon us, but still could not find KRISTI YAMAGUCHI. She finally turned up when I clicked through google to a site by a fan of the show.

Even with two Q's and a K, I still didn't gain much traction. I was up to this:

Thank God for Orange, who already had the solution and her obscenely fast time posted by the time I finally learned to spell ROSSETTI. Here's the correct answer:

I'll spare you the play-by-play of my stealing of answers, but here's a few

  • 19A: Muffed on the green (foozled) -- I almost made this one Word of the Day, but decided I was not willing to admit it even is a word.
  • 66A: Was close to failure (tottered) -- Teetered gave me a little traction in the SW, but I had to steal the OT to finish that corner.
  • 1A: Spook's break-in (bag job) -- Okay, this a nice phrase that sounds real, I just Did Not Know It.
  • 12D: One who may get dispossessed? (demoniac) -- who knew? Not me.
  • 63A: Plumlike fruit (loquat) -- I can't pass a chance to mention the tree. I got it easily once I googled ALBUQUERQUE.
  • 4D: Swingers' get-together? (jazz session) -- As you can see above, I had SESSION pretty early, and considered JAZZ, but I couldn't figure out any crosses to work with the Z's. Okay, I've resisted it long enough, FOOZLED??!! That sounds like what Ms. Tracy did to me with this puzzle. I never had a chance in the NE. It didn't help that I had "enmire" (which I assume I just made up, since google returns no definitions) instead of
  • 1D: Cause to be Stuck (baffle) -- Come to think of it, that's really what Ms. Tracy did to me today. But it was a really nice grid, with only MTGES (40D: You can get them on the house: Abbr.) making me wince.
I'd better stop, since I just realized how late it is out there on the other coast. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to post any nice videos.

treedweller (writing from San Diego)


Jeffrey 8:11 AM  

Guest-blogging on a Saturday? Very brave. The NW left me all FOOZLED.

Sandy 8:31 AM  

This is pretty much how my Saturdays usually go. Thanks for validating my life.

Rex is probably sitting in some NYC coffee place solving a dead tree version (sorry, are we allowed to mention dead trees around you?). And I have the house to myself for the weekend. Sweeeet!

alanrichard 8:36 AM  

Kristi Yamaguchi: Not only was this a gimmie but why would a professional dancer be considered an amateur participant on Dancing with the Stars - duh???? Anyway Albuquerque and Jazz Session were also gimmies and three long answers on a Saturday opens the door wide. I got foozled contexturally but never heard the term bfore.

retired_chemist 8:38 AM  

COULD NOT get the NW without Googling (once, for OREL Oblast).

Trebek was a CBC newscaster, not CBS (that was game shows only AFAIK), so you get CENTIMES @ 18A.

FOOZLED? Really?

Challenging in the NW, medium/challenging elsewhere.

Rex Parker 8:40 AM  


Trebek worked at the CBC. I went to confirm this at Amy's site, but there is no grid there ... !?

Woke up to furious pounding sound this morning. Wondered what the emergency was. Turned out ... PuzzleGirl couldn't get out of her own room bec. humidity had sealed the door shut. I rescued her.

We solved the puzzle together last night after dinner with Hudson Hawk et al. and we had most trouble w/ the FOOZLED section (never heard that word before). Didn't like / get the clue on ABROAD. DIdn't like JAZZ SESSION, despite the great letters in JAZZ, mostly bec. JAM SESSION seemed so much the better / more common term. Didn't like DO SAY. DO TELL, yes. DO SAY? Not so hot. The rest of it, though, was OK-to-Good.

PuzzleGirl was orgasmic about LOQUAT in a way I don't quite understand. I mean, it's a nice word, but ... I guess I'm just more of a KUMQUAT man myself.

thx, treedweller


treedweller 8:42 AM  

OOF, so I misspelled the word of the day? Ugly! Rex may choose to correct it later, but I'll leave it, as it just adds to the whole picture of how this went for me.

PuzzleGirl 8:50 AM  

Okay, first of all it wasn't Furious Pounding. It was tentative, polite yet ... increasingly desperate pounding. Really enjoyed this puzzle except for the NW (which I think treedweller referred to as the NE in a subtle yet brilliant tribute to Mr. Parker's directional dyslexia).

C'mon. LOQUAT is awesome!

Jeffrey 8:50 AM  

Here's Alex Trebek at theCBC

SethG 8:55 AM  

I did better than you, but the puzzle was definitely not Easy, Easy, Easy. It was full of traps, and she totally made up a few words (even if she had the foresight to do it years ago to make sure they'd appear in my dictionary today.)

Never seen the show, so I started with APOL(L)O ANTON OHNO. (It fits if you spell it wrong, and it still gave me RINK!) xABxTx was PABSTS. ACTAEON looks one point I had OCTAGON, with WOOD in for TOAD. I wasn't sure that Herd was a collective term, and a Latin abbreviation makes for a nasty cross. Tried STAMEN and PISTIL for GAMETE, and at one point even had EARNED A D for TOTTERED.

Finished in the NW, where WET JOB is the wrong kind of spook thing even though WAFFLE works too.

And I was gonna say something about FOOZLED, but I realized I probably had seen it in the collection of Wodehouse golf stories I read. Yup, in the first story, in the second...

Retired_Chemist 9:10 AM  

@Treedweller - can you grow LOQUATS in Austin?

LOQUATs would be my favorite fruit if they were available here. We had two loquat trees, which set fruit exactly once in their short lives. They need about two weeks of temps above freezing in December/January, which only happened the one time in Dallas.

Prolific fruit producers, loquats, and the entire department had a chance to try them. The next year was a stretch of more than a week of sub-freezing temperatures, which killed them right off. Sad.

Mara 9:11 AM  

Torment. I was so baffled and foozled by the NW that I lost my will to solve for the more possible sections. Jazz Session? "Let's get out our saxes and have a Jazz Session!" or "I'm going to the Bluenote to catch a Jazz Session!" I know the phrase exits, but it sure doesn't come trippingly from my tongue. Neither does "ablare" for that matter. And I don't think I've ever heard someone say "Do Say". And am I supposed to know the names of Russian oblasts? (or am I just bitter because I chose Omsk from the Wikipedia list?)

The NW was a perfect storm of contorted clues for me. Congrats to anyone who solved this without Google!

HudsonHawk 9:45 AM  

treedweller, thanks for the entertaining guest write-up. Definitely medium-challenging or tougher, especially in the NW. GOLF SESSION and HOPS did not help my cause. FOOZLED? Really?

On to Queens.

Meg 10:03 AM  

Well, OREIDA gave me FROZEN which led to JAZZ SESSION. ENISLE was then wrong.

For a minute I thought it might be FONZIED, but I don't think he ever played golf. Never heard of EXEUNT. Thought the Razors might be a team and had BAT for awhile.

Mostly I was impressed with the wonderful cluing! Great puzzle. Another Saturday where almost nothing comes at first, and the entire process is a slow trickle of AHA's!

How is a gallery a corridor?

edith b 10:07 AM  

ROSETTI was a neon for me and gave me the terminal I for KRISTYYAMAGUCHI which I knew from osmosis as my family likes to watch "Dancing with the Stars."

I knew Alex Trebek was Canadian and CBC was a shrewd guess, giving me most of the NE through BRIANENO.

I built this puzzle rather than just solved it. I guessd that 1A had something to do with the CIA and FROZEN from OREIDA allowed me to get the B for BAGJOB.

I went all the way through the puzzle this way until I finally bogged down in the SW.

This turned out to be an over-nighter as I couldn't finish in one sitting. The first answer to fall this morning was KNOWSBEST and hard on its heels was IDLECHAT and I finally solved it.

I really did find this one to be Challenging, Crosscan, and I despaired that I wouldn't be able to solve it late last night but sleeping on it really helped.

PurpleGuy 10:17 AM  

Thank you for a very funny,and honest writeup, treedweller!
I had the same solving experience as @edithb. Started last night, but kept crashing into brick walls.
This was quite a challenging Saturday for me.

JannieB 10:17 AM  

Great debut, Treedweller! And no way was this easy.

I echo all the comments about the NW - it just sucked, big time. Kristi gave me the whole southern hemisphere, then I hammered out the NE. The NW just wasn't happening. I hate that!!!!

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

fun puzzle, except that using foozle ought to result in the constructor having to watch 24 straight hours of cable news or some other such torture.

Elaine 10:24 AM  

Well, 1D says it all for ME! I spent most of the time baffled. I think I was on Karen Tracey's wavelength for a lot of clues (Hit to the wallet, for instance,) but having BOGEYED instead of the obscure FOOZLED put me in the weeds. I resorted to Google pretty quickly for BENET and BRIANENO...and the never-viewed Dancing show Google just gave me Shawn Johnson. Not A Lot of Help!
All in all, I'd have preferred to be stuck in a room!

Clever cluing....but all in all a painful puzzle. (I still do not get MTGES>)
Hats off to Treedweller for being willing to take this on!

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Ah, treedweller. You get an "A" for admitting that you were stuck and a "B' for effort. You gave up too soon.
However, the Saturday puzzle is usually a killer but this one wasn't as difficult. It took me about 45 minutes. Better luck next time.


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Foozled, or maybe foozzled, anyway have watched golf and read golf magazines for over 30 years and never heard or seen the word. When will constructors stop making up words to fit the fill? Or at least come up with a more accurate clue. Tough and NO FUN puzzle. Golfballman.

Elaine 10:29 AM  


At the end of Shakespeare's plays, "Exeunt Omnes" means "All leave." I had "Begone!" first...liked it better.

In a large (palatial) house, a wide corridor would often be called a gallery and might be a site for hanging the ancestral portraits...doncha know.
Only having BrianEno in place gave me that one, so you are not alone.

Now, please--someone help me out on the MTGES ...OH, duh. Mortgages. That's not how I would abbreviate it. Mean, mean, mean.

edith b 10:53 AM  

Sorry, Treedweller. Have you and Crosscan confused in my head

Kurt 11:01 AM  

Solid Saturday puzzle with only one "you've got to be kidding" word ... FOOZLED. Thanks Ms. Tracy.

Entertaining and educational commentary. Thanks Treedweller!

joho 11:11 AM  

I've been around golf my whole life and have never heard of FOOZLED therefore I cry Fore!, I mean, Foul!!!

Like @Meg OREIDA gave me FROZEN which got that corner going. I completed it correctly with the aforementioned fake word in place.

I finally had to let PABSTS go but I never got LABATT, unknown to me.
I ended up with with errors there and at BLAS and DEMONIAC. I had ROSSETTI right.

LOQUAT crossing ALBUQUERQUE is just pure genius.

I really liked this puzzle even though it beat me.

Thanks, Karen Tracey!

Oh, and thank you @Treedweller for your amusing, honest, brave write-up: congratulations!

Bob Kerfuffle 11:16 AM  

Challenging, definitely!

1D, BAFFLE, was almost the last word I got before giving up with 2 or 3 wrong letters. Just could not come up with FOOZLED. And I was hung up on 23 A being either HOPS or LEGS, thinking only of airline "quick flights." Must admit LAMS is perfectly right.

Today's Latin lesson: EXEUNT is indeed the plural third person form of "goes out", as @Elaine notes. The third person singular Latin word is "exit", which was adopted intact into English. There is a famous Shakespearean stage direction, "Exit, pursued by a bear."

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Thanks for the very entertaining writeup treedweller, tough puzzle for your guest debut! This was about 60% intense staring, 10% AHA! and/or 'aw groan' and 30% googles. Tried 28A: BANKS (as in Tyra) haha. Would have been hilarious if it was right. In golf, Fozzle is a game of six coins. End of each hole, you get a coin if you did something very good or very bad. (good: Birdie bad: sand, water, lose your ball, etc) You collect or give away coins through the game. Object is to have no bad coins at the end. If you do, you pay. I've played this game; never knew it was called Fozzle.
What I learned today:
A knot of toads: The word knot is derived from the Anglo Saxon word cnotta for a knot. A knot of toads in this sense would be a small group or cluster.
Source: Webster's 2nd Unabridged Dictionary, page 1006
@MARA - funny LOL post
Thanks to Karen Tracey, you beat me good. I look forward to the rematch.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Excuse me, I can't spell. Fozzle should read Foozle. My bad

JannieB 11:22 AM  

I vaguely remember a cartoon series where one of the characters (maybe a tiger) said "exeunt" a lot. Can anyone help fill in that gap for me????

Elaine 11:35 AM  

YES! Wholly agree. "Ablare"--hardly defensible.
"Do say"--no; DO TELL, yes.
But I guess a puzzle constructor gets to do a little fudging.
I thought "STACCATO" for a stop in a *performance* was a bit much; playing a note in a clipped fashion is staccato, but you are not abbreviating the performance (or indeed, the beat.) I thought that cluing was uninformed.

And I'm not just saying that because this puzzle had me on the ropes. Musical terms have specific meanings.

tedequity 11:38 AM  

LOQUAT brings to mind a wonderful liqueur from Bermuda, Bermuda Gold. Don't think they export it. Hope Bermuda is doing OK . Hurricane Bob is on a rampage.

The San BLAS (31D) islands of Panama are where the women make incredible molas, reverse appliqued panels on their blouses. Am surprised that mola isn't used as a crossword answer more often.

Raul 11:39 AM  

Snagglepuss would always say "Exit, stage left or stage right", (sometimes even up or down.)

drubytue 11:49 AM  

What did you think of WHENS? Seems cheap to me. Overall, I was definitely baffoozled by this one.

Anne 11:51 AM  

I'm feeling pretty good about this. I managed to finish three fourths of this thing with the help of some wild guesses and more time than I will ever admit. But I have to do other things today as well so I came here to finish the upper NW which I thought was simply impossible. I also got Kristiy's last name wrong since I have never heard of her and don't even know how I got her first name. Those wild guesses helped. I remain undaunted.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Re MTGES: I do software design in the financial industry. That said, a lot of my financial knowledge is empirical, outside of my direct responsibility. But I do know that "MTGE" is the accepted industry standard abbrev.

Anne 12:00 PM  

Treedweller - You have my respect and gratitude for doing the write-up for today, so Bravo. Yours in foozlement and bafflement, Anne.

The Bard 12:22 PM  

...But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I
To be by oath enjoin'd to this. Farewell!
The day frowns more and more: thou'rt like to have
A lullaby too rough: I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase: I am gone for ever.

[Exit, pursued by a bear]

The Winter's Tale > Act III, scene III

Clark 12:23 PM  

Bravo, @treedweller. Echoing @Sandy, I too feel validated by a write-up that acknowledges that this puzzle was hard, hard, hard.

@Elaine, I think STACCATO is perfectly clued. When I play a note staccato, I do in fact cut it short in my performing of it. It took me forever to see this, but once I did I thought that it was good.

Greene 12:35 PM  

Yikes, this was a killer. Flailed around with this for an hour last night and got the NW and SW done. Another hour this morning got everything else but the NE where I just could not sort things out. FOOZLED and BAG JOB are just unknown to me. I should have known OREL, but it would not come and I had no idea who wrote "By the Waters of Babylon."

Interestingly, FROZEN was my first entry in the grid which later gave me OREIDA. Everyone else seems to have gotten that in reverse.

@JannieB: I have to agree with @Raul that you're probably thinking of Snagglepuss. Having just watched the clip (I've not seen Snagglepuss since I was a child), I was immediately struck by the fact that this character sounds astonishingly like Bert Lahr. I'm guessing this was an intentional homage to the Cowardly Lion? I'm also just realizing that Snagglepuss was probably the first gay cartoon character I ever saw as a child. I mean a pink lion with a bow tie, collar, and cuffs? Heavens to Murgatroyd!

@Bob Kerfuffle: I have never seen A Winter's Tale (source of the stage direction Exeunt, pursued by a bear) in the theatre, but I've read the script and wondered how on earth would one stage that?

Thanks for filling in today Treedweller.

Denise 12:47 PM  

I couldn't get the northeast WITH GOOGLING. My Lord! Then, in the end, I guessed correctly, if you don't count BABJOB/BLOOPS!

I also had SENTIME.

It was hard, hard, hard. I did the puzzle very late last night after having 27 people here for a Clam Boil. Hot and humid and tired and stupid.

Treedweller was very validating to my style of approaching DIFFICULT.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:50 PM  

@Greene - I suspect even in Shakespeare's time they used the same technique used in the present day for "Equus" or "The Lion King".

(As @The Bard notes above, only Antigonus gets chased out, so it remains "exit".)

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Fantastic! For me, this puzzle supports the hypothesis "if I stare at it long enough, then I'll eventually get the answers." I was stuck at the dealership with no internet connection for 2 hours while they fixed up my car. Thanks for keeping me occupied Ms. Tracy! -Michigal

chefbea 12:59 PM  

Tough puzzle. Started it early this morning. Went grocery shopping and when I came back to the puzzle was able to get a few more words but did have to google a lot.

@tedequily - It's hurricane Bill - not Bob.

And lastly - a bunch of Beets for Treedweller for super job!!!!!

Campesite 1:01 PM  

Treedweller: brave move filling in on the Blog on a Saturday! Great write-up, as this was a toughie!
Good to see Brian Eno get the full treatment for all the heavy lifting he does in puzzles (I'm listening to Roxy Music as I type this).

Elaine 1:08 PM  

@Anonymous re MTGES: thanks. NEXT time I'll get it. I hope.

@ Clark: one note does not a performance make, to my mind. I mentioned that I will clip a staccato note, but the beat is not shortened, so I remain nit-picky about this one.

All in all, though, it made little difference in the end; I came here to get the rest of the NW. Usually when I start by filling in three answers at once,(abroad, Edsel, bogeyed) I continue strongly in a section. Of course, when one is wrong.... Tsk. So, i burned to the waterline.

Glitch 1:15 PM  


Snagglepuss's voice was patterned after that of actor Bert Lahr (who is famous for playing another lion, the cowardly one in the 1939 production of The Wizard of Oz), and was provided by Daws Butler (an old hand at mimicking real actors for cartoon characters — his Peter Potamus sounded like Joe E. Brown, and his Wally Gator like Ed Wynn). Butler was so good at the Lahr imitation that when the character was used as a spokestoon for Kellogg Cereals, Lahr sued, and the commercials had to give Butler a credit line so nobody would think it was Lahr plugging the cereal. (toonipedia)

... and now you know the rest of the story.


foodie 1:30 PM  

@Treedweller" Perfect write up! Thank you! I needed that!

In my hopeless struggle to conquer the North, I put ENABLE for 1D, "Cause to be stuck"... Why you ask? As in being an "enabler" for an alcoholic for example. And I had BRAINIAC in lieu of DEMONIAC... they get to feeling dispossessed, you know...Oh, what Saturdays do to us!

Actually, I had a relatively easy time with the entire area from KRISTI YAMAGUCHI on south. I just happened to see her dance in the finals as I was flipping through channels and it opened up the whole south for me.

My grandparents garden had a LOQUAT tree and we used to climb it and get fresh fruits that were the best I've ever tasted. I wish I could grow them in Michigan. @Treedweller, any hope?

Leslie 1:34 PM  

Like Anonymous, I got this one by dint of more or less constant staring. I'd be completely flummoxed (perhaps even FOOZLED), then something would pop into place and let me make lots of progress.

In the NW, I slowed myself WAY down by having "slumps" instead of GLOOMS, which kept FROZEN and ORE-IDA off my radar far too long.

I never googled, but that only means I finished with a big old mistake almost square in the middle: "Actaron" instead of ACTAEON, so "Rt. Seq." instead of ETSEQ. I figured something was wrong, and that it was in the "rt" part, but Could Not figure it out.

Really fun puzzle!

Orange 1:45 PM  

I laughed when I saw the solution grid atop this post! Well done, Treedweller.

I am hell on my guest bloggers. A Saturday guest blogger at my site is charged with writing about three themeless puzzles, one of them (Newsday) often harder than the NYT. And Sundays! That's four Sunday-size puzzles and a themeless. The astonishing thing is that I can always find someone willing to take on the job. People are so nice!

hazel 1:54 PM  

@Treedweller - excellent job.

@Puzzle - yeah you were challenging with your little made-up words, FOOZLED, DEMONIAC. Whatever.

alanrichard 2:00 PM  

foo·zle (fzl)
tr.v. foo·zled, foo·zling, foo·zles
To manage clumsily; bungle.
The act of bungling, especially a poor stroke in golf.
Oh yeah - nobody got this without some contextural help!

fergus 2:01 PM  

My Swingers were still having a SWAP SESSION when I finally gave up on the NW corner.

Susan 2:11 PM  

@treedweller -- thanks for the write up.

@SethG -- I wanted Appollo Ono, too but since I knew I didn't know how to spell it, I didn't write it in and therefore didn't get too messed up by it. When I figured out that it was, in fact, Kristy Yamaguchi, I unfortunately thought I knew how to spell it. Sigh. Thanks a lot, Kristi with an I. Do you dot it with a little heart? Blech.

@Rex and PuzzleGirl, funny coincidence. I woke up to knocking this morning, as well. My no-longer-a-baby had climbed down from his crib and was knocking on his door to be let out. I love that he knocked. You know, crying would have been so immature...

fikink 2:12 PM  

YOWSA! This one was tough! Karen Tracey, again, who last time entertained us with FLOUNCE. But FOOZLED?! I wanted to call a friend, @imsdave.
@Meg, I wanted FONZIED for a while, too. Why not?
@Elaine, I like your using the word, "uninformed" - nicely gentle.

@treedweller, you mensch! You are the best, most straight-up good sport of all time. Together, Mr. F and I, only now, settled on our final answers and can start our day. I look forward to your next write-up.
p.s. My first entry was ENMIRE, too!

poc 2:20 PM  

Definitely Challenging in my book. I managed with only two Googles (BENET and NITA -- had RITA) despite the large numbers of Naticks. I've never heard of KRISTIYAMAGUCHI, LABATT, OREIDA. I had SLUMPS (for GLOOMS) for ages, guessed DEMONIAC and CENTIMES, still don't know why LETS is the answer to 29D (oh wait, it's LET'S, clever).

I guess I did finish it but it was a real slog and not at all enjoyable.

Unknown 2:46 PM  

Had rink for 9D and One Tenth for 13D. I had Apollo Anton Onho for 37A which fit mutiple ways (letters, Olympic gold, Dancing with the Stars, setting). Took a while to get rid it.

Unknown 2:47 PM  

Had I only known that he actually spells his name with one L.

foodie 3:08 PM  

The top solving speed on this puzzle is 2:34 (so far). Assuming that it takes almost 2 min. to read the clues and enter the answers, this means that this solver processed all the complexities of the puzzle in around 30seconds... the whole TOTTERing, FOOZLED, DEMONIACal,LOQUAT-bearing BAGJOB!

BTW, have you looked up BAG JOB in Urban Dictionary?

PJ Parrish 3:13 PM  

My husband the golf nut is mad that he foozled on "foozle."

skua76 3:14 PM  

A rough one I didn't finish even WITH google. I had "muzzled" for 19A, I figured that "muffled on the green" was what your dog might be in the park. After the usual Saturday morning first gaping glance at the clues, my first entry was exeunt.

Excellent guest work, treedweller.

edmcan 3:44 PM  

@Fergus - my swingers had a swap session too! The rest of this puzzle was like performing my own dental work :-P

Karen 4:01 PM  

Challenging. Put me in the group confused in the NE (and after I got KRISTI so easily!) I WAFFLEd on the type of JOB they were doing, and ABLARE just didn't come.

Harleypeyton 4:11 PM  

Okay first. Googling for answers? Heresy. Second, 'jazz' session isn't more obscure than 'jam', it's just plain wrong. No one who follows, enjoys, or understands the music, or had a passing familiarity with jazz in the first place would use the term. Or rather, misnomer.

PlantieBea 4:18 PM  

Thanks treedweller for you honest and entertaining write up. Like most everyone else, I struggled with the NW. I couldn't get past ENMIRE and I never heard of BAG JOB or FOOZLED. I had to google BRIAN ENO (did not like the Prophecy Theme I heard on youtube either) and took a guess at CENTIMES. The top part of this puzzle was extremely challenging for me.

LOQUAT trees grow here. We have volunteers pop up in the landscape often. Fish crows swarm our neighbor's trees when the fruit it ripe and apparently drop the seeds all over our yard.

Whew. That was rough.

twangster 4:41 PM  

I'm a big jazz fan but couldn't come up with jazz session. Even so, it is a phrase that comes up a lot on google and has been used as the name of albums, radio shows, club nights, etc., so I don't think it's fair to say it's "just plain wrong" or a misnomer.

jae 4:52 PM  

Yes, tough! I too needed an overnight to finish this. First thing I put in was BAGJOB which I proceeded to reright at least three times.

I've been playing golf for over 50 years and have never encountered FOOZLED.

Tried a few creative spellings of PABST before dredging up LABATT from my grad school days memories.

DEMONIAC just seems strange and had me wondering about my spelling of YAMAGUCHI.

No googles but lots of staring!

Very funny write up treedweller, I hope you are enjoying San Diego.

Sandy 4:53 PM  

@harleypeyton: one person's heresy is another person's fun. Really, you do the puzzle however you like. Unless you're at a tournament, of course...

I loved this write up - funny and brave!

Bill from NJ 5:01 PM  

I never heard of Jazzsession used in this context before or BagJob either. But the way I have always done puzzles is to "Go with what fits" and worry about the dictionary later.

It's funny that knowing KMT's penchant for Scrabbly words made JAZZ a gimme and realizing she was probably going for BLACK BagJob and Demoniac . . . just an ALT spelling of Demonic. The more ambitious the puzzle, the more I am likely to run into these things, unless, of course, your name is Patrick Barry. Beats the hell out of unopen (meaning Close) or recarve (meaning God knows what.)

I'm not sure why I remember Foozled but I was a caddy at the Officer's Club on Dover AFB when I was in high school although the golfers on this blog seem to be split on the term.

One man's opinion.

JannieB 5:20 PM  

@Raul & @Greene - Snagglepuss it is! Thanks so much for the memory. Must be my hearing because I always thought he said "exeunt" - can't imagine where else I'd have learned that word.

Still hate that NW corner - glad to see my misery has plenty of company!

Jim in Chicago 5:28 PM  

Brutal. Just brutal.

Just now finished up as we had guests and I spent the morning making pancakes and bacon.

Jazz session is far from a gimme, as I can attest, since SQUARE DANCE is a perfectly wonderful answer for "swingers' get together" as in "Swing your partner...."

That, in combination with SPOLETO for the Italian music town - another gimme that wasn't - pretty much doomed me.

Treedweller. Thanks for the smashing writeup, which made me feel much less stupid.

slypett 6:36 PM  

Before the night gets old(er)...I had a terrrrible time, got behind Aunt Google's skirts, still got BAFFLEd in the NW. Refused to come to the blog. Kept sweating it...only to have fozzled when I should have FOOZLED, with other consequent errors.

I felt so bad I didn't want to come here to find everyone had done it in record time. WHAT A RELIEF!

I think, treedweller, you could have rated this "Challenging" and gotten little argument. By the way, bravely undertaken and nobly done!

fikink 6:50 PM  

@Harleypeyton, if you were an educator, wouldn't you encourage students to do as much of the puzzle as they could and then follow through by researching the fill they did not "get" and reading about the subject at hand? At what point do any of us quit learning?
Even the most curmudgeonly among us, the FIL, has had to admit that the existence of Google has caused an increase in reading and proactive inquiry, the downside of which I fail to grasp.
@Xman, hats off to your persistence with "Auntie Google."

treedweller 9:13 PM  

Thanks to everyone for the support and compliments. I'm glad people enjoyed it. Not to fish for more sympathy, but you might be interested to know that, when I felt it just had to be finished because it was so late in NYC, I was adding 3 hours to the clock on my laptop. Unlike my cell phone, the laptop did not automatically update from Central time to Pacific. So I rushed out the final posting at a little after 6am Eastern. It's amazing how frazzled and foozled I was, feeling like I was going to be late. Rex makes it look so easy!

As for LOQUATs, they do grow well in Austin (@R_C)--this was a really big year for fruit there--but I do not know how they'd do in Michigan (@foodie). I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of the trees I see every day, but it's amazing how much that changes when I leave Texas. I can only identify about 20 percent of the trees I'm seeing here, and I have never even been to Michigan. I recommend you find a good, local nursery (don't bother asking at the big box chains) and see what they say about it.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

snagglepuss said heavens to murgatroyd too

retired_chemist 9:25 PM  

I predict loquats will not live through a winter in Michigan.

Treedwelller, I enjoyed your writeup. What a curve ball you were unknowingly thrown - a toughie for your first. Hope you do it again.

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Foozle is in the dictionary but it's a word that is not "in the language."
It would have been okay for a clue,
but seems unfair to be used as an answer.

michael 10:13 PM  

I feel a lot better about my experience after coming here. I worked on this slowly, but just couldn't get the NW without googling for Benet. After that I still wrote in ablaze (though it seemed wrong) instead of ablare (which doesn't seem much better).

Joseph 11:15 PM  

Tree Dweller, you are officially my favorite puzzle poster. The half empty grid was beautiful. I'll read your stuff everytime.

The word foozle does not exist in the modern language, at least in the United States. I grew up with the game, played competitively for years, professionally for 2. Still play competitively today. Of all the ridiculous words and expressions that have their foundations in the game of golf, foozle is one whose usage must have long ago faded.

Tree, I hope you'll write again. You were terrific. Authentic.


Gene 11:29 PM  

Got FOOZLED, either way you want to look at it. Finally decided FIZZLED wouldn't fit, and went with it. NW definitely the hardest.

mac 11:31 PM  

I can't believe it, I just posted a very long comment about the Lollapuzzoola and it disappeared. It was hexed!

Today's puzzle? It was my 8th today, and


just were new to me. I also had hops for lams/

I like idle chat, knows best and I'm going to try to use exeunt.

@Greene: you are very funny.

I had a fantastic time in Queens, probably only my second or third foray into that borough after U.S. Open matches.

Ryan and Brian, and their wonderful wives, did a great job organizing and keeping this show going! Almost three times as many participants as last year, many, many puzzle bigshots from both the constructing and solving area. It was hard work, 5 puzzles and other (fun) requirements, but the puzzles were of great quality, surprising difficulty sometimes, and I think all made especially for this tournament.

Afterward there was great quality pizza (this from a non-pizza eater) and many interesting conversations and tickling of the feet of Joon's little boy, after which the Champ, Dan Feyer and his partner, Gretchen drove me and two other women back to Manhattan.

mac 11:42 PM  

In my former post I said: Treedweller, I gasped when I saw your first grid. Then I laughed! Great job!

sillygoose 11:42 PM  

@treedweller, I loved your write up!! I laughed so hard when I saw your "pre-Google" grid - it looks so similar to my first pass grid, including enmire. We even had a similar cheating order, uh, method of inquiry.

I usually skip the Saturday puzzle because it is just too full of things I have yet to learn. Sometimes I"ll solve them after the solution is posted to see the ratio of red corned cheat squares to regular squares.

More treedweller, I say. I wanna see what he can do with a Wednesday.


Oh, and husband who is the rock solid go-to for sports answers and who has been golfing for decades says NO to foozle, not that I got that far.

Stan 11:43 PM  

@Treedweller: When I gave up for good on the NW corner and came to the blog, I almost fell over at your post. As Sandy said, it was very validating.

Some puzzles (especially when they use ABLARE and FOOZLED) are just too hard for me. No big deal, and on Saturday, anything goes. Congrats to all the people who finished this one.

Again, thanks for the entertaining write-up!

zardoz 11:50 PM  

Why the question mark at the end of 4 down? I thought that would indicate some clever answer. I opted for jamb session, jam plus "b", thought the the swingers might be doors. Oh well, and now to bed.

Orange 11:55 PM  

Foodie, as of midday when I looked at the applet standings, the fastest time that I know was legit (Byron Walden) was a hair under 6 minutes. It took me and Howard Barkin 6:something, and Dan Feyer was behind us. The 2:34 time, if it didn't say "tylerhinman" beside it, was bogus (someone pre-solving and typing in their answers).

mac 12:08 AM  

I forgot what I mentioned in the disappeared comment: I thought of different swingers, and after a z in the third space and session in place I tried "cozy"....
What's that called, a euphemism?

Robin 12:14 AM  

Treedweller - Loved the write-up! You have established your street cred with all of us Real People. My husband, the golf expert, guessed "two-putt" for 19A. A two-putt would be a par not a muff, but no other numbers of putts fit. Just e-mailed him the "real" answer, foozled, and am waiting for reply.

slypett 12:42 AM  

Oh, Zardoz, thine eit precedes thine name. Most clever and better than the answer (which I didn't like anyway).

Anonymous 3:45 AM  

Even my hair is foozled! Well done, T. I hung
in there, but still foozled. Foozled, foozled!
May as well use the dang pain in the butt
word. Will probably NEVER use it again in the
Real World, Ms. Tracey.

Southern Ma'am 3:57 AM  

Who was that Masked Man?
Validated, I am.

Anonymous 4:46 AM  

Orange is fake.

edith b 7:34 AM  

ABLARE is one of those words that makes logical sense after the fact but obviously doesn't on its surface. I had all but the R and thought blaring which, as we all know, is a real live word but ABLARE, not so much.

This is what I expect from Ms. Tracey and she didn't disappoint. Horses for courses and odd words for odd minds (like mine.) And apparently Ms. Traceys. Talk about being on the same wave length.

chefbea 8:31 AM  

where is the sunday blog??? It's 8:30 am

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

You mean swingers don't have JIZZSESSIONs?

Aviatrix 1:59 PM  

I hadn't finished the Saturday and was just here to check out what Rex thought of Sunday, but the very unfinished grid caught my eye.

I got further than you without googling, with the whole southwest done, and CENNTIME with two Ns because damnit I knew gourde was French, but had somehow missed that it was supposed to be plural. My favourite word that I made up for this crossword puzzle was TWOZIED: see that's when you get the ball on the green and should get it in the cup in one shot, but you don't so you have to make a second putt. Two putts, TWOZIED. Makes perfect sense to me.

Your guest blogging was much appreciated: love the stages of solving. Now we can all dream of being guest bloggers here.

And anonymous of 12:05: Ewwwww! (but lol).

Brian 12:45 PM  


Noble effort. My wife and I agonized over this puzzle longer than about any other NYT puzzle we've ever done. I'd definitely rate it more than medium-challenging.

"Artemis" was a noble try, but it was a bit premature, eh? We knew that would screw too many other right things up, but didn't know Artaeon, so we had to leave that blank. And "sentime" was just "settling for something to make it work," I think. You know that feeling when you write something and say to yourself, "it doesn't feel right, but I can sort of force it in there?"

Mtges messed us up, too. All in all, it was a week of frustrating breakfasts (when we do the puzzle). As misery loves company, we were kind of glad to see that you found it challenging, too.

Keep up the good work,

Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at )

Whitney 2:34 PM  

Yesterday (the day before?) there was some comment from an anon about everyone being geniuses on this site. Now, I'm sure many of you are - but Treedweller's experience mirrored mine in so many ways. I laughed out loud at the near empty grid posting. She made me feel good about being just "above average" smart :)

BAGJOB made me giggle a little bit. Now, I get that SUEDE has a nap, in a sense, but why kid that has a nap? What does "kid" have to do with it? I'm BAFFLEd. I was also annoyed with WHENS - When's the last time you brushed your teeth? is all I can make of it...

Thanks Treedweller!

slypett 2:52 PM  

Whitney: Kid=the young of a goat.

Whitney 5:24 PM  

XMAN - and suede is made from goats. Got it. Kinda sad. PETA wouldn't approve...

slypett 6:51 PM  

Whitney: I guess suede can be made from the skin of any animal; constructor chose kid because he could make a clever clue.

Whitney 10:34 PM  

Yo XMAN - I guess so. Though I'm still nagged by the clue - the kid goat doesn't have naps. The suede that is made from his/her skin does. I'm being nitpicky - and maybe ignorant. Anyway, I guess SHE thought she was being clever ;)

Singer 11:42 AM  

Very late post from syndication land as I didn't have time to do this puzzle until late on Sunday, and I finished(?) it Monday morning.

I have two comments for Elaine:

1) Staccato is a great answer to the clue - a staccato note has the sounding time of the note shortened in performance. The beat is the same, but the note sounds shorter than its written time, i.e. a quarter note sounds for about half the time when staccato, with the other half of the beat being silent.

2) A puzzle constructor may get to do a little fudging, but to fudge the entire NW corner is just plain mean!

Also, Kristi Yamaguchi won Dancing with the Stars either last season or the season before (not going to waste time Googling to verify when). I agree that she may have had an unfair advantage since figure skating has a lot of commonality with dancing, but she is not a professional dancer.

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