Don Carlos princess — FRIDAY, Oct. 9 2009 — Maker of the LZR Racer suit / All-time strikeout leader's nickname

Friday, October 9, 2009

Constructor: David Quarfoot

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PASEOS (55A: Scenic walks) n., pl., -os.

  1. A slow, easy stroll or walk outdoors.
  2. The street, series of streets, or walkway along which such a walk is taken.
  3. In bullfighting, the formal procession into the ring of the players, including the matadors, banderilleros, and horses, that occurs just before the first bull is fought.

[Spanish, from pasear, to take a stroll, frequentative of pasar, to go, pass. See pase.]


Very quick write-up today — it is super-early in the morning, and any second, my wife (sleeping downstairs with two stray dogs ... literally, dogs: a bassett hound and a Jack Russell terrier) is going to get up which means dogs are going to get up which means Mayhem. My wife has to get ready for work (daughter and I are off), so I will have to be on Mayhem patrol. One stray likes to mark his territory, if you know what I mean, and the other is a doll but has the shrillest bark in dog world and for some reason wants nothing more than to rip the face off my chocolate lab. So ... should be interesting. And how's this for coincidence: Just yesterday morning, while teaching "The Third Man" in my Crime Fiction class, I recommended another crime movie set in a defeated post-war city — Akira Kurosawa's "Stray Dog."

Nice to see the great David Quarfoot back in action. This is a very good, toughish puzzle, though it doesn't Quite feel up to DQ standards (which were through the roof, in case you weren't with the blog a couple years back when DQ was knocking them out regularly). JCCHASEZ is beyond the pale for me (1D: 'N Sync member). NSYNC is famous, but that dude ... yikes. Needed Every Single Cross. Nice touch, though, that NW corner starts JCC in one direction and JRR in the other. Also needed a lot of help on EBOLI (27A: "Don Carlos" princess) — ECOLI and EBLOA I know, but this one, aargh, no — and the wickedly clued ROOMMATE (2D: Joint letter?). If you "let" an apt. with someone else, you are a "ROOMMATE." I liked this clue almost as much as I liked 46A: Letter greeting never read by its intended recipient ("Dear Santa"), despite its disillusioning message.


  • 1A: Composer of a famous ring cycle (J.R.R. Tolkien) — well, you know it's not WAGNER (too obvious for a Friday 1A), so you move to the next most likely name. And it's right. Weird.
  • 15A: Musician with the 1939 hit "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (Count Basie) — needed some crosses, but the name is very familiar. Had much more trouble, actually, with another old music clue. Was certain that 33D: Self-titled album of 1969 was ARLO (it was ELLA).

[sometimes I forget how Unbelievable her voice is]
  • 28A: They're usually worn over petticoats (saris) — since "petticoats" can't possibly be the right / native term here, I say 'boo.'
  • 30A: All-time strikeout leader's nickname (Mr. October) — more October baseball stuff (see Wednesday's puzzle). I have a new book by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson ("Mr. October") that's basically just conversations about the game. Totally Riveting. Bob Gibson is my favorite pitcher of all time. Reggie ... I grew up Hating him (Dodger fan in my youth).
  • 38A: Shakespeare follower (-ana) — wanted it, but somehow thought the final "E" went to "I" in SHAKESPEARIANA.
  • 44A: Maker of the LZR Racer suit (Speedo) — knew it instantly, for no good reason, though first impulse was to write in SPANDEX.
  • 52A: Big name in kitchenware (Ekco) — holy moly. Must be the only -KC- "word" out there. Not sure I've seen it in puzzles before. Seems like it would be ... useful.
  • 59A: "Te _____ Corazón," 2006 Prince song ("Amo") — easy to guess. This puzzle has lots of clues with years in them. This one, the ELLA one, 24D: It fell in 2001 (Mir), and 8D: 1968 Vanessa Redgrave title role (Isadora).
  • 61A: Musician called America's Tuning Fork (Pete Seeger) — that Really does not sound like a compliment.
  • 65A: One whose oils may be graded (art student) — tehee, good one.
  • 67A: Result of a hurricane warning, maybe (mass exodus) — Love this answer.
  • 7D: Big blast (kaboom) — I had KEGGER here, and thus considered TAU (?) for 4D: Producer of a 7-Down (TNT).
  • 10D: "Homer and _____ Hail Mary Pass" ("The Simpsons" episode) ("Ned's") — sooooo much better than [_____ Atomic Dustbin].
  • 48D: A 747 has two of these (aisles) — wanted AILERONS, but only because a. I learned that word from crosswords, and b. I actually heard the word used last night on the (really good) new comedy "Modern Family."

Off to deal with a motley pack of dogs.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Greene 7:38 AM  

@Rex: good luck with the dogs. I hope some owners show up soon.

Awesome Friday puzzle. I always love a good Friday. Nice wide open grid, crunchy themeless entries, and still at a level where I can solve.

I just tore through this one with a surprisingly small amount of difficulty. I did have one cheat though. My 18-year-old daughter called from college while I was solving and I got her to give me JC CHASEZ, which I would have needed every cross to get. She's in crossword training with the dumbed down LAT puzzles, but should be graduating to NYT early week puzzles soon. Maybe real soon, she got JRR TOLKIEN immediately.

Thanks DQ for getting my Friday off to a great start. Happy weekend all!

Judith 8:44 AM  

I don't buy the saris/petticoats clue combo. A petticoat is a particular type of slip and I can't believe women in India are wearing undergarments like the ladies of Petticoat Junction. Maybe Rex should have given us a You Tube clip of the opening of Petticoat Junction, which I think of everytime anyone mentions an Uncle Joe.

Michele Humes 8:52 AM  

"Petticoat" is a correct, if not Hindi, term for what goes beneath a Sari. The colonists left their mark.

I shake my fist at you, Quarfoot! That whole ALT/TUNE/EKCO absolutely slaughtered me, and I'm still not sure why TUNE means "strain." And "cooler fill" was deadly: for the longest time I had CONE (picturing the paper cones with which an office water cooler is stocked), though I suppose you planned that all along. Grr.

Funny to see PETE SEEGER in the grid, since I'm having someone over to dinner tonight who's in a band with his grandson.

Michele Humes 8:58 AM  

Did I really just say "colonist" instead of "colonialist"? I believe I did. I'm sorry, I grew up in a British colony myself and have clearly been indoctrinated.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Don't understand the "DEARSANTA" answer... why wouldn't he read the letter? What is DQ implying?
What does he know? Has something happened to Santa?!?! I'm getting really upset now.

Elaine 9:11 AM  

OUCH. What is a Quarfoot? and why is it not Word of the Day?

This puzzle seemed so filled with obscure entries that I began doubting the ones that turned out to be correct. My first pass, I think I had only OTRA, ITSABOY, TOGA, and AMO and ACLU...but I was so traumatized that I put TEC, ANTS, and STEIN out in the margin.

I quickly determined that I had to Google for 'N'SYNC, TUNING FORK, and LZR RACER as well as EBOLI...and I had to remove EVACUATION, which fit perfectly (and meant the same thing as MASS EXODUS...which worked better with the cross TEENAGED instead of TEENAGER.... Well, probably OTRAS have the same story. This puzzle took me a long time, with its wicked cluing.

Things of "strains of familiar music" reaching your ears, and you will see the wickedness of the clue for TUNE.

Greene 9:12 AM  

@Michele: I too was tricked by "strain." Not strain like physical exertion, but strain like a snatch of melody (i.e. a tune). Typical Friday misdirection. I love it.

@Anon 9:07. Rest easy big guy. Santa's fine and reading your letter right now. DQ's just messin' with your head. :)

twangster 9:14 AM  

It took me a while but I managed to solve this, so I would peg it as a medium.

I liked how 30-across made you think of a pitcher at first. I was trying to think of nicknames for Nolan Ryan or (for some reason) Walter Johnson that fit. For a moment I thought it might be BRONTOSAR or something.

I momentarily had the whole puzzle correct and then I thought CHASEZ can't be right so I changed that to CHAVEZ and VARIS.

I think I subconsciously knew strain could be a synonym for tune from Little Feat's Dixie Chicken:

Oh, but boy do I remember
The strain of her refrain
And the nights we spent together
And the way she called my name

S. Claus (aka dk) 9:31 AM  

Hardly a gift this one.

evacuation instead of MASSEXODUS
vistas instead of PASEOS
more baseball stuff
and that NSYNC guy... geez louise

@Greene, thank you for putting @anon at ease.
@twangster, I think I'll join the rest of the bar as we sing along "if you be my dixie chicken, I'll be your Tennessee lamb"

@anon, while I try to read all the letters it is not necessary as I just know what you want ;)

@joho from the other day you were right mentioning I was a Yankee fan was not a good idea and it is getting worse: DPLUS maybe.

Great puzzle Mr. Q. Thanks

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:34 AM  

Loved it. Totally fresh. Absolutely didn't feel rehashed At All. Pulled JC CHASSEZ out of thin air with just the C in CONTRABAND. What does that tell you about BEQ? Solid A.

Frank Price 9:43 AM  

Just because you can start strong doesn't mean you can finish strong. Which I'm sure was the life lesson Mr. Quarfoot was trying to teach me :-P

I was just rolling through this one until the NE brought me to a dead halt. Initially for 24D I thought "some space stationy thing," but MIR didn't come to mind. Then I figured it was a misdirection and that the answer must be "dow" as in Dow Jones. From that point I was screwed because I just would not give up on dow. D'oh!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:54 AM  

I found this to be a fairly easy Friday. Must be that age thing we talk about (except, of course, for JCCHASEZ, which was my Absolute Last Fill.)

I was going to object to 13 D, but I forget why . . . .

Unknown 9:59 AM  

For the most part I really liked this puzzle, but the NW corner seemed a little unfair. ETERNE?JC CHASEZ? ZEE is also a stretch, considering the alphabet is rarely thought of as a pure series. I realize it's common crosswordese, but still a stretch.

Rest of the puzzle was great.

joho 10:03 AM  

Great puzzle that killed me in the end. I had everything right until MROPPOSER and POPS (they fill a coolers, don't they?) THEMES for hit makers ... OMG what a mess. Still I loved this puzzle.

@Rex ... EKCO stands for Ed Keating & Company ... Mr. Keating named his company after himself it seems. Used to be everybody had a bottle opener in their drawer with EKCO stamped on it. I think he became rich on kitchen gadgets.

@dk ... LOL.

Mr. Quarfoot, you are evil and create wickedly wonderful puzzles. More!!!

Jeffrey 10:09 AM  

Am I the only one who tried to enter "INLAWS" at 54 Across?

Great clues, great answers, great puzzle.

retired_chemist 10:11 AM  

Tough. Very tough. Slow, slow going, but a fair and fun challenge.

37D was LINE first. As in M-W online, def. 1: "a. lineage, ancestry b : a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions [a high-yielding strain of winter wheat]"

As a dog breeder, I SNAPPED TO it.Bet few (no?) others go there first....

@Rex, did you check your new canine boarders for microchips or tattoos?

J C CHASEZ was forced upon me by the crosses. Completely unfamiliar.

Good ones: ROOMMATE, THEE (had THOU first but saw the trick), the entire 3X10 across stack in the SE, DEAR SANTA, and especially MR OCTOBER. Was dutifully looking for a pitcher there, just as the diabolical DQ (WS?) intended.

64A was UNLV, then UTEP. DR SEUPS was obviously wrong - fixed it and then said that UTEP was now nonsense - UTES? Oh yeah, d'oh, it's now right!

Thank you, Mr. Quarfoot, for reminding me that I don't have to speed to have a pleasant journey.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

kc words--backcountry, backcourt bookcase, crankcase

John 10:24 AM  

@Rex -- you wanted TAU for 4D because the sig TAUs used have big KEGGERS back in our salad days?

jskarf 10:26 AM  

I missed the "nick" in 30A, and without hesitation I filled in NOLANRYAN, which I knew was correct (5714 total). Then I wondered why the heck nothing else fit.

twangster 10:30 AM  

Meant to include that for "a 747 has two of these" I initially put in SEVENS.

Stan 10:36 AM  

Re: JC Chasez -- Sometimes it helps to have worked for Teen People in the late '90s. Now if they would only clue the Spice Girls (just kidding!)

HudsonHawk 10:39 AM  

It was a tough night to be a Cardinal fan, but a good morning to be a sports fan: DEPAUL, UTES, EXACTA, SPEEDO, A-ROD, MR. OCTOBER.

Hand up for THOU before THEE, SEVENS, and with the Z as my last letter into the grid. Looks like a QV short of a pangram for DQ. Fun Friday fare.

I'll also join the boys at the bar in the Dixie Chicken chorus, then move on to a little bit of Fat Man in the Bathtub...

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Please explain, someone, how Reggie Jackson is the all-time strikeout leader. I thought it was Nolan Ryan, whose nickname was "The Ryan Express." Reggie Jackson was a Right Fielder, wasn't he?

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Sorry, Rex. Amo is Spanish for love. Ano means year. the Prince clue roughly translates to "love of my heart".

Stan 10:54 AM  

Anon 10:41: Like many power hitters, Reggie Jackson struck out a lot. There's more than one way to be a "strikeout leader."

hazel 11:00 AM  

Very much loved this puzzle even though it took me over 9 hours to complete - well there was a bit of sleeping involved too.

after the first few passes, i had maybe 3 or 4 answers (sort of like elaine), but the puzzle seemed to have its own gestalt, and a lot of the answers eventually just revealed themselves - not in a "knowing" but in an "Oh, cool, where did that come from" sort of way. I think my crossword memory banks took a day off (TGIF!), and some other more interesting brain sector stepped in for some big reveals.

Liked the way THEMOB crossed wise guys (SWAMIS) - and the excellent juxtaposition of MROCTOBER and AROD (who has been anything but!).

Very very cool Friday puzzle.

Two Ponies 11:05 AM  

Thanks DQ for a wonderful Friday.
I couldn't let go of what had to be a V in Chavez. What kind of name is Chasez? Despite that I had a great time. Loved the clever clues and misdirection.
I'm pretty tired of the baseball stuff but I'm learning to accept it as it seems to never go away.
If Santa doesn't read his mail how do you explain that bicycle in 1962?
I hope you find the owners of those dogs. A JR and a basset sure are two ends of the dog spectrum.

Jimonjo, HE 11:06 AM  

@All - DQ was right, don't believe that ersatz Santa (DK) for one second. He never reads that stuff. Truth is, 364 days a year he's just a fat, sloppy drunk. You think he got that nose from its being cold up here? No way - he just sits in his BarcoLounger 24x7, swilling bourbon and eating cheese-fries.

Mrs Claus does the letters, I keep the lists, design the toys, schedule deliveries, oversee manufacturing, keeep the supply chain full, everything while that fat bastard stays drunk. So no, he doesn't read the kids letters. And don't get me started on trying to sober him up for his one evening of work a year. You can't imagine how much Librium we need to quiet his shakes.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

How awful to name your daughter Eboli.
Maybe if you say it to rhyme with Emily it's not so bad.
Vari's must be a brand of underwear I've never heard of.
If you have never seen Isadora you are missing a great and gruesome death scene. The primitive special effects were sufficient.
Andrea, don't ever wear that red scarf of yours in a convertible!

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Anon 10:47 - Rex was referring to the number of clues which specify the year in the clue, eg 2006 Prince song. He wasn't confusing AMO for the Spanish for year.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Anon 10:47 - Rex was referring to the number of clues which specify the year in the clue, eg 2006 Prince song. He wasn't confusing AMO for the Spanish for year.

edith b 11:27 AM  

My husband's jazz records gave me COUNTBASIE which opened up the whole northern section of the puzzle and I rode the diagonals through Reggie Jackson and Santa Claus into the South.

My daughters first car was a PASEO which I knew meant promanade and took me down the west coast, leaving only the extreme SE left to do which gave me all kinds of fits. I couldn't parse 40D for the life of me and the U ended up being the key letter to solve this one.

I had everything but ARTSTUDENT and MASSEXODUS before I went to bed last night and dreaming on it helped me unlock this very fine effort by Mr Quarfoot as EDITMENU, at last, appeared and allowed me to solve this one.

That U . . .

jae 11:28 AM  

This was pretty easy for me. Did it in spurts while watching Thurs. night TV and never got hung up. The Z in CHASEZ was my only iffy square. That said, I often find myself on DQ's wavelength. Excellent puzzle DQ, nice to have you back!

slypett 11:41 AM  

Omigod! The first time in many months I couldn't finish. Had an unnatural disaster in the NE.

Feel very frustrated, so find I can only grudgingly say, "Nice job, Quarfoot."

Ulrich 11:48 AM  

Had to look up Tolkien's first initial. Still didn't get the N'Sync musician's name right--had EEE as series ender, like in a series of shoe sizes. Plus, I thought a LOSS could be a miss, which gave me EXACTO as the wager--made sense to me.

Which goes to show again that doing things online does have its advantages: You are told if you have a mistake, whereas my printout remains silent on that score. Still, I won't switch--as Rex said so correctly a while ago: You can't take your laptop to the bathroom--well, you can, but it's no fun...

@Rex: If they don't accept you in people heaven, they will accept you in dog heaven, which may not be a bad place to spend eternity anyway, and I'm sure nobody is spraying there...

PlantieBea 12:13 PM  

Fun for a Friday. Thanks DQ. My favorites were MASS EXODUS and the tricky ART STUDENT. I had to look up the the UTES to get AISLES and PASEOS figured out. I don't think I have any EKCO in my well furnished kitchen so I'll have to look up what they actually make.

Good luck with the dogs, Rex. I'm sure their owners will be grateful your wife adopted them for the night.

foodie 12:29 PM  

I was sure JC Chasez was a misspelling. I was sure petticoat could not be something that an Indian woman wears. And everything else, I was unsure about...

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Maybe the elves read all those letters? Dunno, but I sure enjoyed the puzzle!

miriam b 12:31 PM  

I was intimidated at first by the plethora of sports and pop music refeerences, but I slogged through, almost forgetting to drink my coffee. I stopped for a moment to sneer at TEC, which I deem unworthy of the redoubtable Mr. Quarfoot.

I did finish sans any sort of help, but I still can't believe that someone's name is JCCHASEZ. I've barely heard of NSYNC in any case. I had to accept that or claim that VARIS are worn over petticoats. I think I would sooner describe aaid undergarments as slips. Somehow petticoats evoke crinolines under poodle skirts.

A marvelous puzzle, all in all.

treedweller 12:56 PM  

Maybe I'm back on track, since I not only finished this one but in a respectable time (I figure I'm doing well if I break half an hour on the weekend). My last letter was that 'Z'. I could not imagine the name was correct, but no other guess seemed plausible.

That's probably the biggest thing I've leaned from this blog: solving well on the tough puzzles frequently means guessing well.

I was worried when I saw the byline, but this was tough-but-fair fare. thx, DQ and WS.

still_learnin 1:11 PM  

A+ for Mr. Quarfoot, and a pity DPLUS for me... if you grade on a curve. I gave up and never cracked the SE. Among my many misstarts: DEARDIARY for DEARSANTA, SOS then USS for HMS, UTEP for UTES, PASSES for PASEOS, EVACUATIONS for MASSEXODUS, ADIDAS for SPEEDO and I just couldn't accept that a princess would be named EBOLI.


Santa may read my letters, but some how I still end up getting socks and underwear. Could Rex be right?

Hobbyist 1:21 PM  

My goal in life is to be able to set a puzzle that almost nobody can solve but is so clever and interesting that nobody will kvetch. also, there should be no crosswordese therein.
Maybe I'd get a Nobel prize even.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

To me a strikeout leader refers to the batter and leader in strikeouts refers to the pitcher? But that's just me

bookmark 1:48 PM  

This was a difficult one. Had to Google to finish it.


Check out this week's NEW YORKER (Oct. 5), page 24.
The cartoon depicts Moses holding a stone tablet and saying, "Who did the damn crossword?"

Roxie 1:50 PM  

Was anyone else puzzled by "wetnaps?" Wet wipes, yes. Wet Ones, yes. Wet naps? Sounds borderline nasty.

bluebell 2:00 PM  

I once read the Ring Cycle all the way through in 3 or 4 days and still remember having to reawaken to the real world. Yet I couldn't remember Tolkien's initials. I keep thinking senility is not yet upon me, but . . .

Petticoats have wide flounces edged with lace, in my mind, and are worn under western dance skirts, or Victorian dresses. I can't imagine those bulges under a graceful Sari.

Elaine 2:03 PM  

WetNaps are still around, and I think were an early iteration of the product. You got them at BBQ joints...and it took a while for the potential vast number of uses to come to the fore.

I had a lot of the same possible-but-not-correct answers that you list. It's always a sign of a good/clever puzzle, I think, but it can be frustrating. After a while I find myself doubting everything! And I hate to say it, but DEAR SANTA was almost my last Aha. Just keep chipping away...put all the possibles in the margin to wait Just In Case...

RE: MR OCTOBER.... maybe it's an advantage not to have known baseball trivia. I got MR _CT__R and filled it in without knowing even to whom it referred. After checking the blog, I Googled the nickname. Who knew? (A lot of people, apparently, but not I.) And I did not know there could be a difference between a "leader in strikeouts" and a "strikeout leader." seems complicated.

Please! the suspense is killing us! Has Dear Santa sent you some missing owners? ...or is there possibly a reason those dogs had been left out on the street...?

Andrea runsamok michaels 2:17 PM  

Loved the puzzle...
At first I thought there was a little theme of two/three initial names like JRR, JCC (till I parsed it), HMS (Pinafore) so I tried I.S.ADams.

Sort of scared me that I knew most of the sports references...till I got to a possible girl Natick of DEPAUL/UTES.
Blue Meanies I know, Blue Demons I don't. When DENVER didn't pan out, my one google of DEPAUL saved me after giving myself partial credit for UTAH.

Also tried eXitmenu.


What was weird for me was I didn't get the what other oils could be graded besides an art student's?

Never heard of Angle Irons, I don't get that. Ankle irons, yes.

And I call a Simpson on the NEDS clue...I mean, is that a joke? The title of ONE episode of a show that has run for 19 years????????

And since Rex has his hands full
(let's hope this whole thing doesn't take a sort of noir-ish turn and have it be that Sandy is actually dognapping at night!)
I would like to be one who RUNSAMOK (my first answer to 3D) and randomly comment on some extra stuff:

Nice MR October/DR Suess
BIG bleed over: Te AMO (what happened to Yo???)
WETNAPS/SNAPTO as parallels
EIN shoutout to Ulrich

@BEQ did you love that the "Bottom" line was lASS/mASSexodus

My stumbles:
STBARTS for STKITTS, which left ACED which makes as much sense as ICED for "put away", think tennis)

AND I was convinced NORTE was 90 degrees from sur! I even envisioned 45 degrees and made a little hand gesture...where DID I put my Compass ROSE?!!!
(See, I swear I will now use that expression everyday...or for two days, whichever comes first)

I am very touched by your concern!
I wear neck scarevs to hide these bizarre neck lines I've had my whole OWN ring cycle!

Maybe the Princess WAS named Emily...and Don Carlos had a cold and the nursemaid heard EBOLI.
(OK, but there IS a joke in there SOMEwhere)

Nothnagel 2:23 PM  

Oh, yes, this was Good. No, this was Outstanding.

If BEQ gets an A for getting JCCHASEZ with only a C, then I get an A as well -- I got it from the J in JRRTOLKIEN. (What does that say about *me*?)


miriam b 2:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
miriam b 2:35 PM  

@andrea: For quite a while I couldn't shake the notion that olive groves are graded for their oils: Virgin, Refined and (ugh) Pomace. I was about to cry foul on the grounds that the trees themselves are not graded, but the pressings are. So I didn't have the opportunity to kvetch.

Clark 2:48 PM  

Man Oh Man. Oregon did me in. I thought of a number of things that fell in 2001 but not MIR. 'Runs wild' and 'runs amok' somehow crowded out RUNS FREE. ROOMMATE is brilliantly clued, but not something I would have ever figured out. JCC who? Wicked fun.

@Rex and Sandy -- Applause and encouragement for taking in strays!

Ulrich 2:49 PM  

@andrea: This is from your architecture friend who assumes you're dying for the scoop on angle irons: They are L-shaped in cross section, i.e. form a right angle, and come in handy to support stuff spanning e.g. a horizontal opening, like the bricks forming a lintel over a window--one flange of the L is bolted, screwed or nailed into the plywood backing, and the bricks are laid on the other flange that is sticking out--see, now you know:-)

My problem with the oil clue is that no student in the art departments I know paints in oil anymore--it's sooo old-fashioned--if they paint at all, they use acrylics.

Van55 2:52 PM  

You can't call me Mr. October, as attempting to solve this one was AGONY for me.

I ended up being unable to solve the NW because I had no idea who the NSync guy is. And I had no access to google where I was solving.

AV 3:01 PM  

Okay BEQ and MN, stop this one-upmanship. But I agree, what a clean, crisp, fresh puzzle!

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

I had WTC at 24D, and couldn't understand why SKIRTS didnt fit over petticoats. Finally had to wiki the NSync guy even tho I had the JCC stack and entire rest of puzzle done.

Oh well.

----> Uncle Joe, moving slow at that junction

sanfranman59 3:06 PM  

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 26:07, 25:25, 1.03, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:36, 11:55, 1.14, 84%, Challenging

Again, the Top 100 rating will almost certainly end up in a lower category by the end of the day.

Shamik 3:19 PM  

Brilliant puzzle with fresh fill and grueling clues. Came in at a medium time for me for a Friday at 17:00 on the dot....dots being things missing between J.R.R.TOLKIEN and J.C.CHASEZ and MR.OCTOBER.

Was given a beautiful burgundy colored sari with gold trim by good friends from Salem, India. Oddly, they didn't give me the petticoat. Guess what's under my sari? Not to mention that I cannot don a sari without considerable assistance by those who wear them regularly. Hmmmm...Take one wide and very long piece of fabric. Drape it in a variety of styles to fit the region and occasion. Nope. Need help.

joho 3:23 PM  

@Andrea ... the mention of Sandy dognapping made me laugh. A few years ago while on the way home from the market I almost hit a poor, little Yorkie slinking across the road. I parked and corraled the tiny lost dog and took it home with me so I could find its owners. No tags made it difficult, but she did have a collar on. Anyway, to make a long story short, I drove her back to where I found her, looking for some clues, when I saw a frantic-looking woman. I held up the dog and she came racing over to me. It seems the dog I had "rescued" was on its way home when I literally stole it from its own frontyard!

@Rex & @Sandy ... I hope your "dognapping" story has a happy ending like mine did.

poc 3:25 PM  

JRRTOLKIEN was obvious, but the cluing is sub-par. I'm a big Tolkien fan but I've never heard of Tolkien's "Ring Cycle". For one thing it's The Lord of the Rings (plural) and for another Tolkien himself hated his trilogy being compared to Wagner.

I also call a Natick on DEPAUL/UTES, which messed up the SW for me. Otherwise, a good Friday level of difficulty.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Anon 10:47 AM said...

Sorry, Rex. Amo is Spanish for love. Ano means year. the Prince clue roughly translates to "love of my heart".


Sorry, dude. "Ano means year" only in a carelessly constructed puzzle (i.e., just about every puzzle :-). Go here to see what it really means.

"Año means year," as is referenced from the wiki linked above.

Hey, diacritical police (Ulrich, for one)! How did you let this slip by? Heh, heh...

Lurking Larry

chefbea 3:33 PM  

The north west was the worst. Gave up and came here to get the answers.

I too tried sevens at first.

@Rex As I recall, wasn't Bob Gibson a St. Louis Cardinal?

Hope there are no hurricane warnings once we get to North Carolina

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

I call Foul! This puzzle has three unclued abbreviations:


45D ETA (Why not clue it as a Greek letter?)

20A AROD (The baseball-deprived deserve sympathy here!)

OTOH (Abbr. :-), 60A ACLU is clued as "Org." and a couple of others explicitly by "Abbr."

Anyone care to defend the evil three? Maybe I'll modestly call them "Lurkers" from now on. :-)


retired_chemist 3:45 PM  

Surprised nobody else got hung up on Duke Blue Devils => Durham (NC) as the home referred to in 46D.

ACMichaels 3:53 PM  

Usually I'd leave this to someone else, but Time on my hands today.
Temping again at the mag (9-5! And I had stayed up till 3 am thinking I didn't have to get up for anything, normally I'd be making a puzzle, today I can just barely see straight enough to Rex)

Anyway, read again and you shall see the clues they need to be shortened are subtle but there...'04 instead of 2004 means shorter as does Yankees instead of NY Yankees (New York Yankees?);
Info is short for information;
and HMS are letters, tho that one is maybe your best bet.
(What are the odds that lurkers will catch on or go the way of the Olafs? I'm starting an underground movement to call a Simpson, where the specificity is so great, only a staff writer or NY Times solver would know the answer!

what a paradox! You did get the opportunity to kvetch...twice even! ;)

Tried to embed (no pun intended) the JCCHASEZ soon-to-be-classic "All Day Long I Dream ABout Sex"

The world is still safe.

Defender of Good, not Evil 3:54 PM  

@Larry Lurker
Letters at sea = HMS. See, 3 letters.
Touchdown Info, not Touchdown Information = ETA clued with an abbreviation
AROD is a nickname, not an abbreviation.

miriam b 4:48 PM  

@ulrich: Yep. My daughter paints in acrylics. She's in a show in LA starting tomorrow. It's called Puzzle Pieces and comprises the work of seven people with autism; proceeds go to Autism Speaks.

Speaking of philanthropy and such -good for you, Rex and Sandy.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

@Defender of Good, not Evil said...

Letters at sea = HMS. See, 3 letters.


Touchdown Info, not Touchdown


Information = ETA clued with an abbreviation
AROD is a nickname, not an abbreviation.

It's a nickname that just happens to be composed of abbreviations of his first and last name!

I think @ACMichaels nailed this one on the "'04" instead of "2004."


Whew! And I didn't even gripe about 4D TNT and 23A AMFM, which aren't clued as Abbrs. either (so far as I can see :-), but may by now be actual words. The transition point may be when the user is no longer aware of the abbreviand (such a word?): TNT == TriNitroToluene or AM/FM == Amplitude Modulation / Frequency Modulation.

So 18A SENS and 36A ALT have no independent semantics and 60A ACLU may be becoming a word. Fuzzy boundaries.

It's remarkable how many "abbreviations" there are in this otherwise excellent puzzle?


and car mic 5:42 PM  

pt wl tkn :)

mac 6:06 PM  

Fantastic Friday! I love these tough themeless puzzles. I did most of the puzzle pretty steadily, but got stuck in the NW. Never heard of JCC, forgot about Ned, and ran amok as well...

With petticoats I think of wide, fluffy underskirts, once even saw one with a tube attached to the bottom that could be inflated.

I was lucky to think of "deux" for 58D, made mass exodus a lot easier. Tried to put "Dal(l)oway" in instead of Isadora. I've seen that film, very good but with a shocking ending.

Years ago I was in Bloomingdale's when Reggie Jackson walked in. As he moved across the first floor, more and more people started following in and he ended up running away to the back door!

foodie 6:21 PM  

That oil rating clue really got me. My grandparents owned groves of olive trees and every year, we'd get large containers of freshly pressed olive oil that they'd ship to us (from different types of olive trees, green, black, big, small, etc). As soon as the shipment arrived, my dad and uncle would have an oil rating session-- It wasn't about extra-virgin, virgin, etc... but more about subtle nuances of taste, aftertaste and aromas. Like wine. Those impressions would get discussed for days and sometimes for the life of that shipment.

I just couldn't shake that image from my mind and wondered if there was some secret club that did the same here in the US.

andrea isnotadora michaels 6:28 PM  

Mazel tov to your daughter! Just checked out the site (they feature Susan's work!) as I'll be in LA this who knows?

olive your stories! Makes me feel like I'm travelling when I'm not.

four and waaaayout.

ArtLvr 8:40 PM  

Picturing petticoats underneath SARIS? Impossible! Some of the rest was surely as far fetched, I agree with Foodie! I liked the ART STUDENT, though I'm sorry most go for acrylics over oils these days as if instant decaf were the equal of brewed coffee...

Andrea, you are a Stitch in Time!


michael 9:29 PM  

I didn't find this particularly hard, especially given the constructor. Like lots of other people I stared at JCChasez and concluded that there must be a garment I never heard of called a "vari." After all "sari" didn't seem right with "petticoat."

Susan 9:47 PM  

In American English "petticoat" has all the flouncy connotations you guys are pointing out. But in British English (the kind of English spoken where saris are worn) a petticoat is just a plain old slip like my mother would wear under her skirt. (I say my mother because like many women under forty I don't even own a slip or a petticoat or a whatever...)

Robert of San Francisco 9:52 PM  

Does anyone else think that "It fell in 2001" is in bad taste, considering what else did?

Maybe I'm being too sensitive.

miriam b 11:22 PM  

@andrea etc.: Two of Sue's sisters live in the area, one in Laguna Niguel and the other in Moorpark. If all goes well, they'll both attend the opening. If you do go and if you notice two 40ish blonde women hanging around Susan's work, ask them which of them is Connie and which is Barbara. I'm on Lon Guyland so it's a bit of a hike for me. Just so you know, my kids do NOT have that dreadful LI accent.

Three (I think) and out.

foodie 11:58 PM  

@Susan, interesting about petticoat being plainer in England. It helps explain that weird Sari/Petticoat combo.

@Miriam B, congratulations to you and your daughter!

@Andrea, I will now always hear "olive" differently :) Actually, I love olives. Enjoy LA!

slypett 12:22 AM  

ACMichaels: Why do people excuse themselves by saying "No pun intended," when the pun might be quite charming or funny or even just a so-so accidental wordplay? After all, a pun is not a fart. And, anyway, just as saying "Excuse me after a fart," saying "No pun intended" calls attentiom to the "accident." Perhaps, to put it generously, one has been surprised at the accidental mot, and is, oneself, taken aback, and ries to disavow the event. Whatever, ça m'irrite.

slypett 12:29 AM  

foodie: For a Syrian, you're okay. Seriously, though, that was was one of the most charming reminiscences I've ever come across. I wish it were part of my memory, but I'm glad it's part of yours.

slypett 12:33 AM  

ArtLvr: It's more than that. There's a whole aesthetic dimension that is lost--the refraction of light through the layers of pigment and glaze.

Anonymous 1:53 AM  

I won't dwell on my utter humiliation wrestling with today's puzzle - bad for me, even for a Friday. It has left me in a nasty and pedantic mood so I'll ask, I am the only one to quibble with Rex's explication of the stunningly clever ROOMMATE clue? If you "let" an apartment with someone, then you are a landlord with them. Landlords "let", tenants "rent". At least it was so in the British-inflected environment in which I spent some long formative years.

Daryl 1:54 AM  

Loved this puzzle. LOVED it, even when I had the L in DPLUS and was thinking "but Arlo came out in 1968!". Thought it was actually fairly easy, but then I got J C CHASEZ from JCC so maybe difficulty hinges on your knowledge of NSync members.

On SARIS, petticoats are absolutely the correct name for what saris are worn over. Just search for "sari petticoat" in Google. And as a citizen of another former British colony, I have to say I find Rex's comment quite insulting. English is as valid a language to name the item as any, and quite often the word that many Indians would choose to use.

Daryl 2:04 AM  

Also, the garment under a sari is definitely called a petticoat and not a slip if you're referring to it in English. I think Susan has it right about people being tripped up by the American / British English distinction.

sanfranman59 2:25 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 7:13, 6:59, 1.03, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:40, 8:34, 1.25, 95%, Challenging
Wed 10:49, 11:46, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:44, 18:51, 0.94, 36%, Easy-Medium
Fri 27:01, 25:28, 1.06, 70%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:42, 1.01, 59%, Medium
Tue 4:58, 4:24, 1.13, 84%, Challenging
Wed 5:28, 5:48, 0.94, 35%, Easy-Medium
Thu 8:19, 9:08, 0.91, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 12:41, 11:52, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Bill from NJ 3:33 AM  

This is one where a goofy guess panned out for me. My daughter was an NSYNC fan so I thought I knew the guys: Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and who I thought was JC Chavez. When IA and 15A produced JC******, I thought I was OK. But the crosses gave me VARIS at 28A and I reasoned thusly: Petticoat is like a slip you wear under something and what possible something could that be. The only female article of clothing that fit had to be SARI so I went with it.

I realize that petticoat is not the same as slip and sari is not the same as dress but I have had good luck expanding definitions when all else fails.

liquid el lay 4:19 AM  

Very nice puzzle.

SWAMIS as you all know is a world famous surf break in N San Diego County, and thus does not need to be clued as a plural.

BAND is a nice juxtapositon.

Also liked AROD x LBARS and KABOOM x SOOT. 'TEC took me forever to figure out why it worked. SWAMIS x THEMOB was cool b/c the cluing.

ETERNE AGONY? Not! Enjoyed this puzzle.

The conjunction of DPLUS and DEPAUL.

DEARSANTA might have been clued: Letter greeting to recipient who requires no mailing address.

PETESEEGER is neat-looking with all those ees.

SPEEDO was the funny answer (and I'm shocked to see Rex admit that he knew it right off- don't admit to stuff like that!) I was figuring it something to do with NASCAR or Navy-air, or something like that. Speedo. Even the name is funny.

The mysterious allure of MASSEXODUS?

MAS SEXO means "more sex" in Spanish, DOS!

Elaine 8:10 AM  

@liquid el lay
Santa's mail does too have a mailing address. The North Pole!
If you have not been getting what you wanted, this could be the explanation.

dls 11:33 AM  

I guess it might be a while before we see XKCD in the puzzle.

fikink 9:18 PM  

A day late and a dollar short, I just have to weigh in on this puzzle. I thought it was an absolute delight which I had to walk away from and think about between other demands.
More DQ!
@Xman, yes to the magnificence of the multiple facets of oil and glazes.
@retired chemist, you will have to incorporate the chemistry of oil painting in your course.
And now on to tackle today's (Saturday) puzzle.

Nullifidian 1:59 PM  

Writing from syndication-land:

Rex, you need to start attending some operas. If you were a regular operagoer, EBOLI would have been one of this puzzle's few gimmes. Princess Eboli is one of the major roles in Verdi's Don Carlos (and in its source play of the same title by Schiller) and she has two of the greatest arias in the Verdi canon: "Nel giardin del velo" and "O don fatale". Both links go to Youtube videos of the inimitable Grace Bumbry.

Only one write-over for me today, and it was caused by my sheer carelessness. I knew the author of 42D's Oh Say Can You Say? immediately, but I wrote it in as 42A. So I had "Seuss" instead of the accurate DR SEUSS. That caused me some trouble in the SW corner, but I worked through it eventually.

I'm sorry to say that I actually did know JC CHASEZ, merely from having attended high school when they were at the height of their popularity. That's one of those things I'd rather forget, much like the popularity of Hanson, The Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls, The Cardigans, Weezer, and Ace of Base. In my opinion, the 90s were the absolute nadir of pop music.

Singer 3:04 PM  

Also from syndication land: I had many of the same errors as others, seven instead of AISLES, RUNS amok instead of RUNS FREE. I had minus for a while instead of D PLUS which gave me Mrs Sups (?) instead of DR SEUSS. I had UTEP instead of UTES and Passes instead of PASEOS. Ended up Googling JC CHASEZ. The rest was a snap. Nasty little puzzle, definitely medium challenging for me.

Unknown 6:07 PM  

Good puzzle. Went counterclockwise from SW to NW for once, no roadblocks. Which means tomorrow will be a finish-it-later job...

mrbinkey04 11:51 PM  

It feels so pointless to post from syndication-ville, but I felt like bragging. I actually thought this was one of the easiest Friday puzzles I've ever done. I got held up in the SW with DEPAUL, but I otherwise rushed through everything. The first thing I entered was JCCHASEZ, which I figured was a huge gimme for several people, but I guess not. I just thought he was more well-known than that, but I do know the names of all the members of 'NSync, so maybe it's just me. I immediately got HMS, AMFM, ETERNE, and ZEE. Those gave me ROOMMATE, which in turn gave me JRRTOLKIEN. The rest of the puzzle fell just as quickly. AROD, THEE, DRSEUSS, and ARTSTUDENT were instant fills for me as well. I loved the DEARSANTA clue, and I also loved another poster's guess of DEARDIARY. It's funny and kind of creepy to imagine a diary reading itself. Overall, I think this puzzle might have been easier for the younger crowd. It was a nice break from all the clues about things way before my time. I'm just glad I knew COUNTBASIE and ELLA.

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