Literally little towns —SATURDAY Dec. 12 2009— Moniker for fictional baseballer Roy Hobbs / Darkness personified / Historic base pirates Caribbean

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Constructor: Karen M. Tracey

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: EREBUS (22A: Darkness personified) — In Greek mythology, Erebus (pronounced /ˈɛrəbəs/), also Erebos or Erebes (Ancient Greek: Ἔρεβος, "deep darkness or shadow"), was the son of a primordial god, Chaos, and represented the personification of darkness and shadow, which filled in all the corners and crannies of the world. His name is used interchangeably with Tartarus and Hades since Erebus is often thought of as part of the underworld. Erebus married his sister Nyx (goddess of the night) and their children included Aether, Hemera, Nemesis, and Charon. (wikipedia)


Always happy to see a Karen Tracey byline, though today's offering was not as exciting as most of her stuff usually is to me. This is what happens when you set the bar ridiculously high. It's a really good puzzle, but doesn't pop and sizzle and generally wow me like her puzzles often do. VELAZQUEZ (28A: 17th-century painter of "Lady With a Fan") through ZACH BRAFF (29D: "Scrubs" Emmy nominee) into BRIDEZILLA (12D: Hard-to-please wedding participant) is pretty awesome, I admit, but the rest if just solid. Good solid (exc. that SW corner, which really seems sub-Tracey somehow — and the SHTETLS-over-RYAS, which seems like pretty dense (if high-end) crosswordese for a Saturday (41A: Literally, "little towns" + 45A: Scandinavian area rugs). As is typical with Ms. Tracey's puzzles, I cut through this in better-than-avg. time. EREBUS was the only real puzzler, and even that felt familiar (22A: Darkness personified). Didn't know what to make of the clue for COAL BIN but pieced it together easily enough from crosses (30A: A scuttle might scoop from it). Still don't understand clue on ACRO- (which signifies "height" as far as I know) (16A: Tip end: Prefix). Oh ... I see now. As in ACRONYM, i.e. you just take the "tip end" of the words involved and make a new word out of them, e.g. NAFTA. I was thinking ACROphobia (obviously). No memory of "BEL AMI" (31D: Guy de Maupassant novel), but it's basic French with fair crosses, so gettable. Thought the PEQUOT were PEQUOD, the ship in "Moby-Dick," which, it turns out is (ostensibly) name for the PEQUOT tribe, which were annihilated during the (horrible) PEQUOT War of the 17th century. Let's see ... any other problems? ... nope. Smoothish sailing overall.

Got a great break right off the bat when I guessed ATNO at 1D: Bit of elementary knowledge?: Abbr. I could feel the wheels in my brain turning as I tried to understand what she was doing with that damned "?" of a clue. "Elementary, eh? Well, it's not elementary school, too easy. Something to do with ... elements. An abbr. Aha, AT. NO.!" OK, so it was AT. WT. The AT part was enough for me to get ASPIC (1A: Stuff in a meat can) and start tearing through the Downs, 1, 2, 3, 4. Made another great four-letter guess at 25A: General Motors acquisition of 1929 (Opel). Four-letter car make I know of only from crosswords. These good early guesses made the west pretty easy overall. Sticking points were, first, the NE, where I figured VELAZQUEZ would open things right up — while the "Q" helped a lot, the first "Z" was only helpful for Mr. BRAFF's first name, and the second "Z" seemed wrong. Changed it to an "S" at one point. Then nearly went with BRIDESMAID at 12D, which seems not appropriate to the clue. Then I remembered the abandoned "Z" and the horrible TV show "BRIDEZILLAs" and bam, there was the puzzle's most original answer.

Not knowing BRAFF kept the SE interesting for a bit, though those long Acrosses down there were easy to piece together from the very gettable short Downs. Moving into the SW was a little rough, as MYCENAE did not come readily to mind (40D: Agamemnon's domain). Neither did DEMS, actually (50D: House party, briefly). I think I actually just dove into the SW and then came back and picked up DEMS and MYCENAE later, after I got L.A. RAIDER (49A: '84 Super Bowl celebrant). If I remember correctly, the last letter in the grid was (appropriately) the "C" in CLOSE (46D: Wind up).


  • 14A: Moniker for fictional baseballer Roy Hobbs (The Natural) — from the famous book (Bernard Malamud) and famous movie (Robert Redford) of the same name.
  • 47A: Alternative to culottes (capris) — somehow, names for ladies' pants styles that were big in the 80s are well known to me. I think I should thank my sister for that.

  • 59A: Data center workhorses (mainframes) — so ... not actually horses. OK.
  • 2D: Old Manhattan restaurateur (Shor) — more high-end crosswordese. I've written about this guy before, mostly because I had Never heard of him before I started doing puzzles. Now he's a big fat gimme. Look out for his first name too: TOOTS.
  • 4D: Quaint stationery store stock (inkwells) — unless you are traveling back in time to save the Declaration of Independence, what's the point?
  • 5D: Remoulade bit (caper) — couldn't define "remoulade" for you beyond "... some kind of sauce?" but CAPER was easy to infer.
  • 10D: Historic base for pirates of the Caribbean (Nassau) — having the -AU in place before I ever saw the clue made this one a cinch.
  • 33A: Turn down (dip) — ooh, I almost forgot. Total disaster here. Finished the grid completely but was really unhappy with my original (and, frankly, much more appropriate) answer here: DIM. What the hell is "MASS UP" supposed to mean, I wondered. "UP MASS?" "Maybe it's COPULE and MESS UP??? But how is that any better? Grrrrr ... oh. D'oh. It's DIP. And PASS UP. Yeah. That makes sense."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Leslie 9:13 AM  

I was so proud of myself as the Pacific coast fell smoothly and quickly, and then . . . yikes.

Didn't read the 16A clue carefully and tossed in STER, for tipster, then spent way too long wondering why nothing worked in the NE. Of course, realizing my mistake didn't help at all, as ACRO never did make any sense to me as an answer. Even your explanation doesn't help, Rex. Just don't get it.

But I literally laughed out loud when BRIDEZILLA came into view. Another "clearing of the clouds" moment came with STEADY JOB. I had most of it, but when I went off, got a cup of coffee, and came back, boom--there it was.

It feels as if Karen M. Tracey is winking at us by including a rapper answer and a sports answer. I got both of them only through crosses, as usual.

joho 9:22 AM  

I had DIm for way too long. The last thing I did was change the M to a P. PASS finally made sense.

Unfortunately I never did change the K in ZACk to an H. I know I've seen SHTETLS before but left it SkTETLS anyway.


Loved POOLSHARKS next to what would be their EASYTARGET.

I enjoyed this puzzle even though I ended up in failure.

Great job, Karen!

joho 9:35 AM  

Oh, that would be SHTETLS! Easy for me to spell!

Jon 9:55 AM  

Yeah, I flubbed the DIP/PASS/COPULA area, originally putting in DIM/MISS/COPULI. "Miss on" did sound funny, and the "i" ending seemed strange for a singular form, but (as happens all too often) I just said, "Oh well, it's a Saturday, there are some things that just seem strange and unfamiliar." D'oh.

foodie 10:05 AM  


This was my smoothest solving experience for a Saturday puzzle-- as soon as I got a foothold, with ACTIVE DUTY, I solved steadily.

I think for the end of week puzzles, I tend to do better with women constructors-- the way things are made hard is not beyond my ability to disentangle.

nanpilla 10:19 AM  

Karen Tracey's name always strikes fear in my heart, but this one was delightful. Some hard stuff to be sure - I've never heard of COPULA or RYAS, but they were both gettable from crosses. Tried doing something with parent instead of PERMIT, figuring minors referred to youngsters, but WORKparent just didn't make any sense. My last letter was the S in close, I just don't know rappers, and I had to work my way through the alphabet to have that aha moment.
Glad that ZACH BRAFF was the correct Scrubs actor, since he is the only name I know from that show, since I don't watch it. He's done enough other things to be recognizable.
Overall, a great puzzle. Thanks, Karen!

JC66 10:50 AM  

Where is everybody?

Zero 10:56 AM  

Does it count as cheating when, not knowing how to spell SHTETLES other than knowing SKTETLES is incorrect (ZACH?), you say "Oh wait, that's what they keep refering to in "Fiddler on the roof" and read a snyopsis of that to find the correct spelling?

Chorister 11:04 AM  

@Zero - No, it is not cheating. It is a learning opportunity.

Ben 11:08 AM  

A few sticky spots in this worthy contribution from the great Karen M. Tracey. I found it trickier than Rex did, with more awkward crosses than I'm used to, but ultimately solvable.

One misstep was putting ARTS instead of ORGS for the yearbook section, which lasted longer than it deserved to because 2 of 4 letters were correct. This led to the unfortunately plausible CEASE instead of CLOSE. Then for the 1984 Super Bowl, I had... EARA_DER? I felt pretty sure the Niners were in that one, but the AFC was the furthest thing from my mind. I was trying to find a way to turn EARA_DER into SANFRANCISCAN. Eventually it all sorted out.

Any puzzle with SHTETLS, BRIDEZILLA, POOLSHARKS and VELAZQUEZ is all right with me.

@Andrea Copula Michaels, I replied to your comment on my blog but lacking your email address I couldn't forward you a copy.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Leslie 11:08 AM  

@JC66, I think they're running Christmasy errands. Like I should be doing, dang it.

Soon!! I'm almost ready to get out the door.

Ruth 11:33 AM  

Hee hee. He said copula.

mccoll 11:40 AM  

Hey, great puzzle Karen Tracey! I'm childishly pleased to have solved it!

I, too loved the POOLSHARK and EASYTARGET. I had a single inspired guess at the "T" in PEQUOT. Pequod was in my mind from Moby Dick but SHDETLS made no sense. Zero Mostel came to my rescue from Fiddler and I plunked down the "T" When I was a kid, we had a coal bin and a scuttle along with a hob,a fender, and andirons. We had inkwells in school, too. There,you whippersnappers!
Thanks Rex, Karen and all.

Stan 11:45 AM  

I just loved this puzzle! One of my favorites ever.

That said, the clue for 11 down, implying that reservists cannot be on active duty is a) wrong and b) *really* culturally insensitive, given recent history.

Elaine 11:46 AM  

I got this puzzle in a very steady 1:30 AM Club session....though had to give up REMBRANDT and put in VELAZQUEZ after ZACH BRAFF hove into view.

ASPIC-- how is that a "meat can" dish? It can be vegetarian. And ASPIC refers to the "gelee"/gelatin thickener...Anyone?

Um, Rex? CAPRIS and Pedal Pushers and even SKORTS were popular in the FIFTIES!! and we had culottes in fashion in the SIXTIES--followed by Bell-bottoms! Then there were Gaucho pants in the SEVENTIES. Was your sister maybe kind of a Retro dresser? It's good to know these terms, but c'mon.

Anyone who has had to read Dickens should know coal bins, scuttles, hobs, and clinkers!

Greene 11:59 AM  

Had a blast with this puzzle which seemed to be just the right level of Saturday difficulty for me -- enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so, but not so impossible as to be undoable.

I did finish with a rather ridiculous error: I had CADRES instead of CAPRIS for 47A. I must have been thinking of culottes in an historical context as being part of a male military uniform (totally divorced from the modern meaning which has something to do with shorts that look like a skirt?). Of course, this left me with SOD for 41D which made no sense at all. Finally realized SOP and then CAPRIS came into view (CAPRI pants always make me think of Audrey Hepburn).

ZACH BRAFF was a total gimmie (incipient puzzle daughter is completely in love with him) and having all those scabbly letters was a big help in opening up the eastern seaboard. I was able to get SHTETLS and MAINFRAME off single letters in Mr. Braff's name alone. I thought myself very clever that I got BRIDEZILLA off the single L in SHTETLS (fantastic word, BRIDEZILLA, although I absolutely despise that television program!!). That left me with two Zs in 28A and VELAZQUES sailed into view. Not so clever with EREBUS which I only pieced together from the crosses. He gets his own flashcard today.

I love the structure of this grid with its paired ten letter answers placed neatly in each corner of the grid. That plus sign at the center acts as a sort of axle and the whole thing reminds me of a spinning pinwheel rotating clockwise.

Another excellent puzzle from Ms. Tracey (and solvable to boot)! What a fine Christmas gift. Now off to pack-up my office. My medical practice is moving to a new building next week...across the street. Don't ask.

Two Ponies 12:00 PM  

Except for the unfortunate intersection of a foreign (to me) place and an actor whose name could be Zach or Zack it was an enjoyable solve for me.
I'm not always on Ms. Tracey's wavelength but today I was.
Bread = sop? What? To sop up the aspic in my canned meat?
I thought they were the Oakland Raiders.

Smitty 12:15 PM  

Not easy for me but very enjoyable with lots of fun aha's (ASPIC, BRIDEZILLA) and no groaners.
I had lots of false starts that slowed things down

REMO (remodel?) for DEMO
@Ben I had ARTS too.

Only one eensy nit to pick - CAPRI pants did't seem like an alternative to CULOTTES. Like @Elaine, I went looking for SKORTS or those new "Manskirt" UTILIKILTS, or like @Greene, some kind of weird Celtic term for Kilt like CAIRN or CAILT or who knows what...

Delightful puzzle

ArtLvr 12:19 PM  

I had to google ZACH BRAFF after I finished, just to see if there was such a name, and COPULA was a question mark too. Like Rex, I thought of PEQUOD too. Lots of fun, though.

RYAS was a riot, as I'd just reread a tale which featured Orental rug dealers -- including one who had to undo his new wife's uneducated updating of his home's decor and rescue the heirlooms.

@ Greene -- Good luck with the moving! At least you aren't dealing with piles of snow outside...


foodie 12:26 PM  

Rex, that Bridezilla clip is amazing. I've never watched this show. I wonder how many people get married at the end, and how many marriages last, and if so, why? And most importantly, how does one qualify for the show?

@Greene, I was in Florida last week and experienced a 70degree drop in temp. when I returned home. So, while I don't envy you the moving, I do envy you the warmth.

Lon 12:54 PM  

I initially had "cupoli" which generates a reasonable 34D. Reasonable for the Onion or BEQ puzzle, but not the NYT.

Ben 1:10 PM  

@Two Ponies, they were initially the Oakland Raiders. John Madden coached them there and they had some glory days in the 1970s. Then owner Al Davis moved them to L.A., where Heisman Trophy winner Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson ran for something insane like 8 yards a carry one season. More recently the franchise moved back to Oakland, a reversal more or less unheard of in pro sports.

With the L.A. Rams having moved to St. Louis, this left Los Angeles without a professional football team (unless you count USC).

PlantieBea 1:13 PM  

I had my hands full with this one (an ARMFUL I guess) and ended up googling Velazquez and Zach Braff in order to get enough traction finish the middle east. A challenging puzzle for me.

False starts inclue ACTIVE DATE before DUTY, STAGS for SORES, SKORTS and SKIRTS for CAPRIS, CARD and LOAN SHARKS before POOL SHARKS, RAGES or RANTS before RAILS AT, and MES or LES AMI before BEL AMI...I loved the answer BRIDEZILLA--now to check out that clip.

Greene 1:17 PM  

@Foodie: I've lived in Florida so long that I can actually drum up a certain nostalgic fondness for winter, but I certainly wouldn't want to experience one again. Of course, the constant sunshine has so addled our brains that we can't even be relied upon to correctly cast ballots, much less count them. Sorry I missed you on your recent trip.

As near as I can tell, the only qualification for being on the BRIDEZILLA program is to have an upcoming wedding...well, that and being a petulant, demanding, rude, egomaniacal, and completely unreasonable shrew. Talk about trash TV.

BTW, I really do know how to spell VELAZQUEZ. Honest.

PlantieBea 1:27 PM  

@Greene: I just watched the Bridezilla clip and must agree. Trash TV at its worst...and to think this bad behavior (and scripting?) is rewarded with air time? If this is where the term bridezilla originates, I officially change my comment to reflect that I detest the answer BRIDEZILLA.

OldCarFudd 1:38 PM  

Great puzzle, but by no means easy for me. Missteps were cad for CUR, esta for ERES, active list for ACTIVEDUTY, and not being able to decide between Ss and Zs for VELAZQUEZ. Never heard of ZACHBRAFF, but got it from crosses. Eventually solved it, but not quickly. Loved BRIDEZILLA, despite never having heard of the show - I assumed it was Karen's Klever Koinage.

slypett 1:45 PM  

Auntie Google had another day off, so she is not responsible for my goofs.

Started out with the sinking sensation of having no place to start out from but gradually massaged the W side of the diagonal into submission. (Wouldn't that be a great way to "fight" a war?)

Thought BRIDEZILLA was a movie and never heard of ZACHBRAFF.

klochner 1:52 PM  

Fun puzzle, agree it was on the easy side, but I'm skeptical of the acronym thing for acro (tip end, prefix). Does anyone have a better guess for wtf this one means?

Doc John 1:52 PM  

Quick and fun for a rainy SD Saturday. Did make the same mistakes in the Virginia area that everyone else did. Oh well, live and learn.

Laura Petrie wore CAPRIS, decidedly before the 80s. Mary Tyler Moore said that she wanted to make the character more realistic and that all housewives of the time wore capris, not the shirt-dresses and pearls of the June Cleaver era.

Toots SHOR was a man? Guess I really should google him.

klochner 1:56 PM  

never mind, got it -

CoolPapaD 1:59 PM  

Ouch! I was hurt badly by this today, but it's the kind of hurt that makes you wiser (I hope). Put CARDSHARKS in, and didn't change it, leading to all sorts of problems in said area (BALL BIN, ERASES...), but I actually felt a sense of acheivement for filling in most of the rest without error.

Please - anyone that can answer - what is the meaning of the clues Rex has at the heading of his daily entries (ie today's Literally little towns - SATURDAY Dec. 12 2009 - Moniker for fictional baseballer Roy Hobbs? Darkness personified / Historic base......)? Are these his favorite clues, the ones that he found most difficult...???

chefbea 2:10 PM  

Seems to happen every Saturday...Start the puzzle - don"t get very far - go food shopping - come home - and the puzzle falls into place - must be a food thing.

@Elaine Aspic is usually found in any kind of caned meat - Ham for example - even though it might be made from veggies

Just made something very delicious (I might have mentioned it last year) Its called White Trash - sort of like trail mix but coated with white chocolate. yummm

slypett 2:18 PM  

klochner: acro=pertaining to the tip or end. (Compliments of Messrs. Meriam and Webster.)

Clark 2:19 PM  

I thought it was a tough puzzle. Finished with 3 (count em, 3) wrong squares. Spelled VaLAZQUEZ wrong and ended up with BaN as the Walton kid. Never watched that show. Wasn't there a Ban in the King Arthur legend? (Why yes, Ban was the King of Benoic, father of Sir Lancelot.) And then I had SchETLS (never noticed that extra T) giving me ZACcBRAFF and PEQUOh, which didn't seem right, but heh.

Thanks to @klochner for solving the ACRO riddle.

foodie 2:56 PM  

@CoolPapaD, I think you posed this question before. It's under Rex's FAQs, in the sidebar:

"14. Why are there clues in parentheses in the title of each post?"


"It's a clue I've chosen to highlight for one or both of the following two reasons:

a. it's a clue that seems likely to move people to Google
b. it's a clue that strange, challenging, colorful, or otherwise noteworthy"

--I'm not sure but I think that if you google that clue, and it's in Rex' title, it' more likely to come up and lead someone to find Rex's blog.

You know how humankind came out of Africa? Well, most of the Rexites came out of Google.

klochner 3:16 PM  

Rex - another good example of acro usage would be acrophobia.

Steve J 3:38 PM  

I'm still not getting 1D. The letters are there, I've read it here, and ATWT still means nothing to me. Atomic weight (I'm going to assume it's that and not "As the World Turns," which dominates the Google results)? Still not clicking with me. Oh well.

I made a mess of this one several times, but finally managed to fill in the grid. How, I'm not quite sure. I couldn't get anything at all in the NE. I mean literally nothing. Finally, when I managed to piece together VELAZQUEZ, which enabled me to get PEQUOT, and things finally started to fall into place.

More of a relief today that I finished than fun. It was just on the wrong side of challenging but steady for me.

nanpilla 3:49 PM  

@Steve : You are right, it's atomic weight, which is a property of an "element".

chefbea 3:51 PM  

@Foodie You are so right. I found Rex on google about 2 years ago. So glad I did

nanpilla 3:59 PM  

@Foodie and chefbea: I immigrated here on the "google boat" too. Felt like a family - decided to stay.
3 and out.

lit.doc 4:03 PM  

@Chorister, thank you for putting today's puzz experience into perspective for me. Seriously. It was indeed a "learning opportunity". A very, very loooonng learning opportunity (79:18). Definitely a joint effort, though. With google, not ganja.

Tried and tried to find spam in 1A’s can. And I totally feel like a schlemiel every time I can’t remember SHTETL, even with SHT___ in place and I know perfectly well it’s that Yiddish word for town. I tried to replace 47A’s culottes with SKORTS, but later found that MY CENAE wouldn’t fit in them (Latin joke, sorry). Similarly, I wanted to DIM the lights at 33A, but it just wouldn’t MASS puster. Sorry, I’ll stop that.

Despite plenty of Classics courses, I still know Christian mythology better than Greek mythology, so I needed nearly all the crosses before I saw EREBUS. And BRIDEZILLA made my glad (I use the term advisedly) that I see ad’s for shows I would never watch while watching (oxymoron alert) Real TV. For 28A’s “Lady With a Fan” I pulled down a nice, big, glossy ref from the art shelf—for some reason I feel more virtuous if I “actually” look something up than if I just google it.

I’ve gotta say that the fact that COPULA is perfectly legit grammar jargon scarcely justifies my actually knowing it, much less talking that way in public.

My only rational cavil is with the cluing for 16A. Very misleading. “Acro” refers to the leading tip, not the "tip end".

jae 4:06 PM  

Easy-medium works for me. Delightful puzzle with BRAFF and BRIDEZILLA. My missteps also included CEASE and ESTA and, I needed my Conn. born bride to give me the correct spelling of PEQUOT. Other than those, a pretty smooth solve.

andrea dim michaels 4:25 PM  

word for word your experience!

I also put ACRI/SIRE thinking sires were horses that had dressage...
bec i thought ACRO was only for heights and ACRI I thought was like ACRID and a sharpness...or point.

Wow, rationalizations kicked into overdrive.
Didn't know till today what SHTETL meant...and to learn it from the least Jewish man alive (Unless it was Karen's clue) is a shock!

Here is a clip of my cat Koko on TV last night...How many cats can say they've been on the 6 O Clock news?
(@Greene, I know you've taught me out to embed, but I've forgotten...)

Stan 4:34 PM  

@foodie: Great meta-comment on arriving via Google. My first day was, I believe, the famous (or infamous) Simpsons puzzle last fall... I was thinking, "Yikes, this discussion is amazing on both sides!"

CoolPapaD 4:37 PM  

@foodie - You are correct on all counts - I did pose the question a week or so ago, but I didn't think anyone responded, so I tried again today. Thank you so much - I really thought I'd checked out all of Rex's notes, links, etc, but I obviously did not! Thank you - makes much sense.

You are also correct, in that I (like chefbea, nanpilla, and countless others, including my beloved brother) all stumbled here via Uncle G. I still love the fact that when you type "Rex" into Google, "Rex Parker" pops right up as the first suggestion.

@foodie - If you're still reading, you wrote a wonderful essay sometime in the last year/year and a half ago (about, or for, your granddaughter, niece, or someone close to you - I cannot remember the specific details) that you linked to from this site. I loved it and wanted to share it with someone in particular, and saved it on my Favorites, but lost it when I had to reformat my hard drive earlier this year. Is it still available??

treedweller 4:50 PM  

I was scared when I saw the byline, but managed to get almost all of this one done. My downfall was LEM. BE_AMI could have been almost anything (no French lit for me; I even stared hard at TOSSES because I though it might be "Bon Ami") and Lycenae seemed plausible, so I tried gem, gel and hem but never figured out which Apollo I was supposed to take apart until I came here.

I felt lucky on SKEE--since I've heard of card sharps, I thought Spee-Lo seemed plausible. Now that I've typed it, it seems much less so. Otherwise, I worked through many of the missteps already mentioned and everything fell into place.

@OldCarFudd & PlantieBea
I believe BRIDEZILLA was out there awhile before either the show or Ms. Tracy's usage here.

I consider myself lucky that my wife's aunt got out of her tomato ASPIC phase before I came along, partly because it sounds disgusting, and partly because it isn't really vegetarian--gelatin being made from hooves, skin and bones. But I don't really think that explains the meaty clue.

chefbea 5:00 PM  

@Andrea freezing Michaels...what a great clip. Did you ever get heat? Has your cat gotten a TV contract?

archaeoprof 5:31 PM  

Google brought me here too. I was looking for answers to that puzzle now known as "the wrath of Klahn."

"Bridezilla" should be replaced by a show about Andrea's cat.

Van55 5:36 PM  

I had SKORTS where CAPRIS was supposed to be for far too long.

And I had DAB ON for SLOSH. I think my answer is better than SLOSH, for who intentionally sloshes to apply anything?

Anyone else notice the cross at the center of the puzzle next to TAU? I like that.

RYAS was a gimme, but SHTETLS came with great difficulty. New word to my vocabulary.

slypett 5:41 PM  

CoolPapaD: My experience was very different from yours and most others. My in was my dear Auntie Google, who is unmarried, quite black in skin color, and pleasantly plump. Perhaps she has a brother I've never met.

Elaine 5:53 PM  

Meats certainly exude a gelatinous substance in the cooking process-- (which substance usually congeals when refrigerated) but in 62 years I have never called it ASPIC--just gelatin, consomme, gravy, sauce, etc. I don't understand why I got ASPIC in there correctly...but I did. I guess I will have to -gasp- look it up. (I am still in a pet about it. Plan to have arms akimbo during dictionary consultation.)

Elaine 6:01 PM  

YES! My mother (a horrid cook) made TOMATO ASPIC (from tomato soup, just imagine how yummy...but this was a person who served canned spinach and canned asparagus --oops, I am starting to gag.)
My sister wrote about the dish in a note my grandparents saved: "Mother made tomato ass-pick today, and no one wanted to eat it." I think that seals the discussion on ASPIC.

BTW: there are vegetarian gelatins...have you ever thickened a berry pie with arrowroot? or tapioca? And if you ever know someone with a swallowing disorder, you will become well-acquainted with thickening mixtures...)

Savory Jelly 6:04 PM  

ASPIC - Argumentation Service Platform with Integrated Components

chefbea 6:10 PM  

@Elaine My mother also made tomato aspic in a round mold with a hole in the center. I think there was a mayonaisy mixture in the center. It really was quite good. Maybe I should try a beet aspic.

retired_chemist 6:27 PM  

Too busy with puppies today to get this done earlier.

Easy today. Started slowly but all fell into place faster than my usual Saturday.

Fun. Thanks, Karen T.

treedweller 6:40 PM  

I know other thickeners are out there, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have been in Aunt Lois' aspic.

congratulations, you win the who-can-make-that-sound-even-worse award.

Steve J 6:56 PM  

@nanpilla: Well, there's my "duh" moment for the day. Thanks for the explanation. My brain just wasn't separating out the "element" in "elementary."

Incidentally, found my way here a while back via googling a tough clue as well. Learned a hell of a lot as a result. And found myself wasting more time (in a good way) as I've started getting involved in the discussions.

foodie 6:59 PM  

Rex, please forgive the 4th post. My respect for your rules is doing battle with my mother's admonition not to be rude, so I feel I need to answer a direct request : )

@CoolPapaD, I've posted a link to the article about the Pursuit of Happiness under my avatar/Food for Neurons blog. I'm glad you liked it!

mac 7:42 PM  

I may as well fess up right away: when I got back from work at the Westchester gem show and opened the newspaper to the puzzle, the "LA Raiders" had been put in already!! My husband has been appropriately punished.

I loved this puzzle, and was sure Rex was going to call it easy because it felt so to me. Easy but a lot of fun. And by the way, even though I've been doing cwps for a while now, Shtetl and Ryas are not crosswordese to me. We don't see them very often these days.

I got the coal bin without any crosses at all; must be the Masterpiece Theatre.

I talked myself into Bridesmaid for a little while: a bridesmaid is single, envious of the friend who is getting married, and giving everyone a hard time. Velazquez's zs showed me the way to Bridezillas. Never watch "Reality" shows, but this one was mentioned in other newsy programs.

I also thought of capris immediately, but I am amazed that Rex did as well! Yes, it may make you think of Audrey Hepburn, but realise that they make your legs look short and your feet big. Audrey, and Jackie Kennedy as well, had very big feet.

I must have seen a few Waltons episodes, because that John-Boy voice is so familiar to me. He's now a spokesman for Mercedez-Benz.

@Andrea: I hate for you and your cats to be cold, so cover those shoulders!

PlantieBea 7:47 PM  

Another Rexite here because of google. Nice analogy, Foodie.

Yes, I'm with archaeoprof--more cats, fewer bridezillas on TV.

@Andrea: I hope your story gets you some heat. We try to keep our furnace off as long as possible, but when is does get cold enough to turn it on, it is almost impossible to heat up our house over 68 degrees (Florida insulation/concrete walls are the pits). More than a few days of having blue fingernails can really be depressing. Love your kitty, too!

Elaine 8:23 PM  

I am SURE you were not alive in the Fifties to taste my mother's truly gruesome recipe. I must confess yours does not make me think, "Oh, that would make all the difference." Treedweller and I have the same thought: please, please, no more references to ASPIC! Aiiieeeeee.

A merciful curtain of darkness will now fall over the whole discussion. God, send us Sunday!!!
(I am pretty sure this is a safe prayer.)

Four (over and out)

mac 9:59 PM  

@Rex: I think you would like the film "Garden State".

Greene 11:22 PM  

Count me among those who found this website through the courtesy of Google. The cool part is that while you may need Google to stumble onto this place, once you've been here a while you need it less and less. I don't think I've Googled an answer all week. Well, at least not in the solving phase. I do Google plenty after solving to check answers and bone up on the endless puzzle items I know nothing about.

@Elaine: There appears to be no "merciful curtain of darkness" in your immediate future. I fear you have aroused the wrath of the puzzle Gods.

slypett 11:52 PM  

Rex: "Garden State" is a wonderful film. I'm sure your list of movies is as long as your list of films, but this is just lovely.

Stan 12:41 AM  

Thumbs way up on "Garden State." Don't judge Zack on the basis of "Scrubs" (which I'm sure is a fine TV show that I've never seen).

Andrea -- Seriously cute cat. Are they both Siamese?

3 and O-U-T.

Elaine 2:43 AM  

Now I'm REALLY over the limit...but saw Jean Seberg in "The Mouse that Roared" and recalled a David Niven/Deborah Kerr/Jean Seberg movie: "Bonjour, Tristesse," set in Monaco/Nice.....not a joyous film, but superb acting.

Not sure what Greene has planned in the way of Torture by Aspic, but Chefbea has promised to have mercy!

Now for Sunday's puzzle......

andrea toots michaels 3:00 AM  

Koko is a 15+ year old cat whom I inherited when the Evil Mr Fong killed Helen and I moved into her apt.
he is fat. Everyone comes in and come sup with a different euphemism for him. "My your cat is...substantial" "Well, isn't Koko a big boy!" and on and on. He's fat.
He's fat. And he eats all of BlackJack's food out of self-defense or something.

However, he SHOULD have his own show! He was asleep on my bed, and the reporter came in and I said, "Koko, would you be willing to come back to your own bed and huddle by the radiator to demonstrate what it's like for you?"
He looked up, plunked/flopped off the bed (did I mention he's fat?) and settled in on his pillow before giving a rather fetching look to the reporter...Simon Perez
(whom I had correctly guessed was half-SOuth American with an English mom)
Whereas Blackjack, when asked the same request, looked at his pillow, looked at SImon, looked at me...and then ran off. he is a black devil cat, tho I suspect perhaps half Siamese as he's chatty. (French pun intended)

Anyway, BlackJack should definitely have his own Catzilla show, as he spends his day harassing Koko, destroying my furniture, and abusing his girlfriend (me).

And I would have covered my shoulders, but I didn't know I was going to be on camera...they called, asked if my apartment was cold an dif they could come over with a thermometer. I told them I hadn't even showered yet, but they needed to film before 11am.

Crew stayed till noon to get those 10 second sound bites! We got into a heavy discussion about Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (who is from the same small town as Simon's dad), the whole Tiger Woods mess, and...crossword puzzles!

I honestly didn't know it was going ot be the lead story on our 6 O'Clock news or I would have at LEAST showered and dressed!

I also had LARAMFAN for awhile.

Ass-pick!!!!!!! Wow.
still laughing, funny boy!

andrea cara michaels 3:12 AM  

One more thing re: Zach Braff
(whom I'm sure will experience the bittersweet joy of being in the NYT puzzle, but then, if he reads this blog, be heartbroken to see so many folks don't know who he is!)

He just produced a doc that involved his dad and his dad's alma mater which I saw at the Jewish Film Festival.
Here, I'll just copy part of the notes about the doc that my friend Brook's cousin Beth Kruvant made which was very moving...
"The 84-minute documentary Heart of Stone ...documents the six-year tenure of Stone whom Kruvant describes as an unconventional educator — Stone cultivated a conflict resolution program that brought about an effective truce among warring gang members of the Bloods and Crips. Equally important were his efforts bringing African-American and Jewish alumni together to raise scholarship funds and encourage the students to pursue worthwhile educational paths."

(It had gone from being the #1 highschool in the country with predominantly Jewish grads, to a gang-infested violent school, till Zach's dad and the principal and a bunch of folks came together and saved it...and showed what can be possible)

Clark 3:55 AM  

@andrea charm michaels -- I just looked at the clip. You look fabulous. And Obi sends a shout out to Koko. He feels some kind of kinship with siamese cats, though he is a Bengal, and it's best not to argue with him, as he talks enough already.

And, in case ZACH BRAFF checks in, I just want to say that I definitely knew who he was (I love the wacky sensibility of Scrubs). I just never paid attention to the fourth letter of his first name. I mean, ZAC_ BRAFF is really all you need to identify the guy. Now that I am doing crossword puzzles I am trying to pay attention all the way to the end of words.

kate 5:14 PM  

With ATWT at 1-down and END OF AN ERA at 56-across, I thought this one might end up being a nod to the recent announcement that "As the World Turns" is being canceled after 53 years. But just a coincidence, it seems.

william e emba 9:22 AM  

Speaking of the Wrath of Klahn, that puzzle contained Vice President Garret HOBART. He was McKinley's first VP, and died in office.

Joseph Brick 1:45 PM  

Considering the dictionary def. for the prefix ACRO is "tip; beginning," "tip end" is unnecessarily misleading. I guess "end" here means "half" or "side." As if anyone when asked for clarification would say, "The tip end."


Jeffrey 4:58 PM  

I've been wiped out by Karen Tracey on many a Saturday but this one was accessible and a straightforward solve.

Singer 5:19 PM  

Ran through the top half in record time and thought it would be an easy go, but had lots of trouble in the bottom half. And at the end I had Velasquez and Sach Braff. Never heard of Zach Braff and only watched Scrubs once, after which my wife and I dismissed it as a pretty dumb show.

I kept trying to fit Oakland or Raiders into 49A - forgot they were in LA at the time, and that really mucked things up.

I was most pleased when I was done, and then came here to find my S for Z mistake. Darn.

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