1919 novel set in Paris Tahiti / SAT 1-16-10 / Comic actress who co-starred on Archie Bunker's Place / 1968 soul album with hit Think

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: HYSON (61A: A caddy may hold it)

Hyson or Lucky Dragon Tea is a Chinese green tea that comes from the Anhui Provence of China. It is made from young leaves that are thinly rolled to have a long, twisted appearance that unfurls when brewed. The name Hyson is likely a Chinese name meaning "flourishing spring" or "blooming spring," emerging between 1730-40 in the Chinese dialect Guangdong as "héichēun". However, some believe it to have been named after an English tea merchant, Phillip Hyson. Hyson is graded into the following three categories: Mi Si, Cheng Si and Fu Si.


One of the best puzzles of the week, which is not saying much, I realize. It's just fine — an incredibly typical Saturday: felt hard at first, contained many clues and answers unfamiliar to me, but came together in fits and starts. Nothing nothing, spate of answers, nothing nothing, another spate. Neither of the crossing 15s were immediately familiar to me. That is, I've heard of both, but could see neither from their given clues. SKITTLES are nothing but candy to me, but once I got the -TLES part, the phrase BEER AND SKITTLES (36A: A bowl of cherries, in Chelsea) came to mind as "something British I don't really understand." Wrote it in tentatively and it held. Also solved "The MOON AND SIXPENCE" (8D: 1919 novel set in Paris and Tahiti, with "The") from the back end (puzzle in general went NE, SE, SW, NW), though even after getting the "SIXPENCE" part, I had to struggle a bit to remember the rest (possibly because I'd written in DOWNY where TAWNY was supposed to go at 26A: Like the coats of 25-Down — you know, because of all the DOWNY PUMAS I've seen in movies). Last square was the "L" in SUL / LPN (29D: Orderly supervisor, maybe: Abbr.). Knew that SUR was "south in Spanish, and nearly convinced myself that there was such a thing as a Registered Practical Nurse, but the "Brazil" part of 28A: South of Brazil? made me change my mind. If it were SUR, the clue would not have gone Portuguese. So though I'd never heard of SUL, I went with it.

Started with -ETH (5D: End of the Bible?) and got nowhere in the NW. Knew that the album involved ARETHA, but though I got ARETHA to fit in the first part, I couldn't think (Think!) of a word to follow. Only much later did I get the full "ARETHA NOW" (17A: 1968 soul album with the hit "Think"). Rebooted in NE with the sweet gimme AMBOY (9D: The ___ Dukes (1960s-'70s band)) — no idea who this band is, but "The AMBOY Dukes" is a classic novel by Irving Shulman — classic to vintage paperback collectors, at any rate. I gratefully took AMBOY and used it to destroy the NE in a matter of seconds — except CATAWBAS (13D: Carolina natives) — what the !?

Sent BEER AND SKITTLES across, tentatively, but then went down to the SE, where I anagrammed an initially wrong answer (ASPCA) to get a right answer (ASCAP) (46A: Org. that tracks numbers), and then, with help of A LA (53A: Mimicking), proceeded to make relatively short work of that quadrant. Needed a little help from ED HARRIS in the west (34D: Jackson Pollock's player in "Pollock"), but I got those SE answers surrounded and solved with little problem. Once I changed DOWNY to TAWNY, the top opened up. TWO WEEKS (15D: What an angry employee might give a boss) gave me the "W" I needed to get "ARETHA NOW," and the NW fell from there. Then there was the exceedingly easy SW, where only HYSON (61A: A caddy may hold it) gave me any pause, and by the time I saw it, the whole section was filled in and I knew it had to be right.


  • 1A: One very concerned with how a kid acts (stage mom) — just saw this answer somewhere else. I had GOATHERD at first.
  • 14A: Plant disease similar to blackleg (potato rot) — BLACKLEG would have been a Lot harder to get.
  • 16A: Comic actress who co-starred on "Archie Bunker's Place" (Meara) — also just saw this clue / answer somewhere else. In crosswords, Ms. MEARA is usually clued as part of the comedy team MEARA and Stiller. Or is it Stiller and MEARA? Whatever, they're great.
  • 35A: Limerick scheme (AABBA) — wondered if I knew the word for "scheme" in Gaelic ...
  • 6D: Evidence of paranormal activity, perhaps (moan) — uh, no. No. A MOAN is "evidence" of no such thing.
  • 7D: Speculation follower ("... or not.") — I had "...MAYBE."
  • 11D: Dance based on bullfight music (paso doble) — a gimme, but ... it's sloppy to have essentially the same word in two different answers. PASO = "step" and "PAS" = "step" (from PAS DE, 49D: ___ bourée (ballet move)).
  • 32D: Entrepreneur's request (seed money) — like it. Don't like the word "entrepreneur," as a. people use it in stupid, pretentious ways all the time, and b. it's creepy to type – it's got 16 Es and 22 Rs and just goes on and on monotonously.
  • 41D: Kenyan leader Mboya whom Obama called his "godfather" (Tom) — really? That's your clue for TOM? Gotta say, I was not expecting such an apple pie answer. I've literally Never heard of this person. Of course, I never read Obama's book (the "Dreams" one), which I'm guessing is where Obama "called" TOM his "godfather."
  • 44D: Biblioteca Ambrosiana locale (Milan) — no idea, but had the "MI-" so no problem.
  • 47D: Sportscaster with the autobiography "Holy Cow!" (Caray) — as in Harry CARAY, the late Cubs broadcaster.
  • 55D: Contemporary of Baiul and Yamaguchi (Ito) — Midori ITO. These are ice skaters.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


MsCarrera 8:38 AM  

Another serving of aspic for Elaine and her sister to enjoy.

PanamaRed 8:49 AM  

I don't keep times, but this had to be my fastest Saturday ever. Started after Leno's monologue - finished before 11pm. Not a speed solver (obviously), but I'm sure I never cracked the one hour barrier for a Saturday before this.

Loved Paso Doble - just sounds very cool.

imsdave 8:52 AM  

Rex, thanks for admitting to GOATHERD - I thought I was going to be the only one to do that. Agreed that the NW was the trouble spot in this one. I would have rated it easy except for that corner.

CATAWBA only means "wine I would never drink" to me, but it made sense. Rolled around quickly from the NE back to the pesky NW. Wanted Rizzuto for CARAY. Tried wears for HASON. I should have known ENDRHYME, but oddly wanted END to be BAD for some strange reason.

Very enjoyable Saturday.

Denise Ann 9:03 AM  

I wasn't able to submit this one last night -- and I was caught by two missteps: pasA for pasO and suD for suL. I knew the "D" was wrong, but what about OMA?

Anyway, I enjoyed Aretha so much.

I especially liked saying limericks in my head to get the rhyme scheme :)

SethG 9:09 AM  

I've quoted Wodehouse here before, and the same entry on my blog I took those quotes from has a few (THE) MOON AND SIXPENCE quotes as well. Doesn't mean I got this answer quickly, just that I should have.


Started with PAL for 1948, but the UN Partition plan was actually late '47. Started with TIN for #26, but Élément ain't English. Started with NIE for Nietzsche, as did Nietzsche.

fikink 9:10 AM  

Rex, @Dave: love that you tried GOATHERD and it fit. My limiting myself to NYT puzzles of late led me to STAGEMOM immediately.
Really appreciated the clues in this puzzle, Mr. White, especially those for STAMPEDE and SEEDMONEY.
Maybe limiting myself to the NYT is what keeps the puzzle fresh for me, though we often have noted bleeding from one day to the next.

Gil Favor 9:12 AM  

Nit Bordering On Error: Drovers drive cattle, not drivers. Drovers worry about stampedes, not drivers. Ever, ever, ever.

Elaine 9:13 AM  

I finished with two errors. SUD being "south" in Spanish...I decided it might be the same in Portuguese, and never went back to check the cross. TSK. And album names...just below sports teams, car models, and celebrity high jinks in my list of interests; I might have figured out ARETHA if I had spent more time trying to parse 17A.

PUMAS ...aren't they nearly extinct? and do they really stalk deer? I kept trying to come up with HAT synonyms for "Deer stalker," a la Sherlock Holmes.

@MsCarrera, yes....as soon as I saw __PIC there was a distinct impulse to shudder. ASPIC!!! Curse you, Ned White!

JannieB 9:14 AM  

I found this to be pretty easy for a Saturday. I threw in Stagemom with no crosses. Then held myself up in the NW by entering GUN instead of GAT. Marched around the rest of the grid, rethought my weaponry and was done.

I will never understand cockney rhyming phrases as nothing in the seed phrase or the new one seems to rhyme with anything else. Just took it on faith when the crosses looked right.

Lots of nice stuff in here - seed money, score card (who knew there were multiple spellings for caddy??) stampede. I'm already over the plant disease of the day -- hope that's not the start of a trend.

fikink 9:21 AM  

@Gil Favor, indeed! Excellent nit!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:23 AM  

The beauty of doing the puzzle on paper is that you can finish with everything looking good and think you have it licked, Easy-Medium.

The problem with reading Rex's write-up is that you find you finished with two mistakes!

Had SUR for SUL (don't speak either Spanish or Portuguese, and certainly RPN is as valid a nurse as LPN, although I don't know the pecking order.)

I was going to report 51 A as one of my write-overs, since I went from I DREAM to IF REAL, and never got to the correct I'M REAL (J.Lo albums are as foreign to me as Kenyan leaders, and surely TOF sounded more exotic than the pedestrian TOM!)

My other write-over was HYSOP before HYSON.

All in all, a solid Saturday if a bit easy.

Elaine 9:25 AM  

I believe "Chelsea" was just a tip to think British, not Cockney. Obviously, BEER AND SKITTLES is not a rhyming phrase, just one that is used in the same way that we Americans might use, "Life right now is a bowl of cherries," or "He's rolling in clover," and so forth.

Oddly, STAGE MOM came to me at once, too. Then I thought, "Nah," and was surprised when ultimately it dropped in.

Aleman 9:39 AM  

This is my version of Beer and Skittles.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:40 AM  

My apologies - I forgot to click the "Email follow-up comments . . . " box the first time around. Does anyone know how in the future I could get on the list in such a situation without posting a superfluous note like this?

ArtLvr 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 9:44 AM  

I began with STAGE MOM, then took it out as it wasn't getting me anywhere up top! ASPIC and AMBOY took care of the whole NE, though.

I meandered down the east coast and had that nailed soon too, then worked out all the SW easily with SEED MONEY to start with, and that led up to MILAN and US ARMY for the next footholds. The herd driver's problem STAMPEDE was a hoot.

MORPH was awesome, and it gave me the PENCE for the long 8D, and MOM back in place with MOAN attached, then NONONO. Meanwhile, BEER --- TTLES left Bottles out, AND SKITTLES in, so + couldn't be POS. TWO WEEKS was neat too, after I gave up Him for HIS.

Finally back where I started, STAGE went back in with MOM, with SPASM and other downs revealing POTATO ROT and ARETHA NOW. Whew, done!

Looking back, I liked the dance steps and Carolina CATAWBAS, AABBA and END RHYME, TAWNY PUMAS, and the two canny Caddy clues. STA for abbr. Boarding house? Groaner!

Congrrats to Ned White for a fave Saturday puz!


Rex Parker 9:53 AM  

Elaine is wrong. "SUR" (not "SUD") is Spanish for "south." "SUD" is French.


ArtLvr 9:59 AM  

@ Favor -- you may be right about Drovers, but they speak of cattle drives so Driver seemed okay for amusing misdirection!


mac 10:07 AM  

After finishing the puzzle in very good time I looked back at so many things and people I didn't know but got anyway!

Love the goatherd, Rex and Dave!
Ended up with one mistake, the Sur/Rpn crossing. I wanted Ascap for 24D, then it showed up at 46A.

I got the Hyson alright, except I was envisioning a caddy carrying a trophy!!!

That was a good start to the puzzle day. Now to Pilates.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

The Amboy Dukes was also a band that Ted Nugent once played for. I'd never heard of the novel.

David 10:14 AM  

Goatherd? Too many people have been listening to the "Sound of Mucus"!!

When 'shepherd' didn't work, the right answer emerged after a dalliance with 'spacemom.' :)

A satisfying solve - and a challenging but not impossible Saturday puzzle. Rex's write up pretty much captured the experience.

Rex Parker 10:15 AM  

From wikipedia, re the band Amboy Dukes:

"The band's name comes from the title of a novel by Irving Shulman about a Jewish street gang of the same name in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn during the 1940s."


chefbea 10:16 AM  

Good puzzle. wanted tea leaves for 60 across. Knew paso doble from watching dancing with the stars.

Yeh aspic!!!

Guess I will be a Catawba when I move to Wilmington

joho 10:17 AM  

Because I had upseT for ATE AT I was stuck in a spot as thick as ASPIC. Even with NOW in place I couldn't see ARETHA through that errant "S." So I Googled the album and immediately corrected my mistake and finished: tada!

Not. I had an error at SUd. Well, hasn't everybody heard of a Designated Practical Nurse?

Other than that sticking point at 3D, this was a steady solve.

Thanks, Ned White!

Dough 10:19 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. My misstep was putting in TWO CENTS for what an angry employee might give a boss. Didn't last too long. TWO WEEKS is what a really angry employee might give a boss! I first learned the term PASO DOBLE at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament several years back from Mel Rosen (constructor) who was taking dance lessons with his wife. Some learn new words from earlier crosswords, I learned this one directly from a crossword constructor!

Judith 10:19 AM  

amboy dukes did journey to the center of the mind, which you probably have heard, even if you don't know the band.

I too had sur instead of sul, didn't realize the error til I saw Rex's puzzle.

Ulrich 10:20 AM  

A very pretty grid--reminds me of a whirligig. And the fill held what the grid promised--if you like Britishisms that make no sense on the surface--I do.

Here's a quote from the eminently quotable W. S. Maugham: "Money is the sixth sense without which one cannot enjoy the other five" (appr.)--Will I ever reach that stage? Ach, nie!

Retired_Chemist 10:30 AM  

Could not parse 3D as ATE AT. Guessed the STN/STA ambiguity @ 19A as the N. Boo to me. My bad.

South in German/French is SUD, Spanlsh SUR, Portuguese SUL. I went with the R, not knowing the Portuguese until I looked it up.

Other than these two errors I had a good (if slow) time). What Rex said about the solving experience. Solid Saturday fare.

Anybody else try BER(lin) or ISR(ael) @ 50A?

Missed the accents in the 57A clue and had a terrible time thinking of 3 letter elements in English. Put TIN,figuring a cross would either confirm or eliminate it. It hung around far too long. rethinking the SE, I did a count up from argon (#18) and got to iron. Still didn't see the accents. Got to FE_ and the light dawned. Elaine, where is that ASPIC?

FLOP @ 31A and HIM OR HER @ 39A took time to fix also.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

"Shits and giggles" is the American version of "beer and skittles."

Ben 10:39 AM  

Similar solving experience to Rex's. Enjoyable puzzle, Ned White.

Got BEERANDSKITTLES thanks to a misspent boyhood listening to the Dr. Demento radio show. He would often play Tom Lehrer's "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," which begins: "Spring is here, spring is here, life is skittles, life is beer..."

Don't know why I associate the Amboy Dukes with Bruce Springsteen. I know the Stone Pony in Asbury Park was the bar he'd play at a lot in his early days. Maybe I am just mixing up my A___Y words.

Rex is right, SUD is French for south. The French chef Paul Bocusse has a restaurant called Le Sud in either Lyon or Avignon, one of the cities south of Paris... ate there in 1997.

@Elaine, owe you a reply that is forthcoming shortly.

As my French teacher used to say, "Bon weekend a tout!"

Ben 10:40 AM  

@PanamaRed: You did make one mistake in solving your puzzle: watching the Leno show. ;)

Smitty 10:43 AM  

Having never heard of BEERANDSKITTLES nor MOONANDSIXPENCE, those weren't AHA moments for me.
I had to google MEARA cause I was looking for Jean Stapleton (never saw the other) and A DRY White Season, cause these two corners killed me.

I always assumed BRACKISH water was still considered freshwater.

Some gems ASPIC, PASODOBLE and Mr. Holy Cow, Wow! Harry CARAY

@Mac - The Hyson trophy. I love it!

chefbea 10:55 AM  

Forgot to mention Harry Carry. Use to listen to him all the time. He also would say:

"It might be...
It could be...
It IS a home run"

Aleman 11:00 AM  

I also drink Vodka and Skittles.

fikink 11:02 AM  

@r-c, yes both BER and ISR crossed my mind.

@Ben, yes, THAT is where I remember having heard BEERANDSKITTLES, Tom Lehrer! LOL!

urbanXworder 11:04 AM  

I love your blog and have been reading it for a long time, but never posted. I never google, only check for errors w/ Rex.

Missed one square, the D in SUL! And loved the puzzle. I always love the puzzle when I can get it (mostly) right.

Did anybody else think "aortae" and "septae", since both clues were plural? Even though I thought "aorta" right off the bat, figured I must be wrong because it wasn't plural.

Rex Parker 11:08 AM  


Thanks, and yes, always consider the "-AE" ending for the Latin plurals for fem. ("-A"-ending nouns) — except in this case, SEPTA is already a plural (of neuter SEPTUM), and AORTAS is not in the puzzle (is it? ... I could just be missing it). Did you mean ATRIA? (also a plural of neuter Latin noun)

OldCarFudd 11:28 AM  

We all seem to be on the same wavelength today. I knew beer and skittles, though I'd forgotten it was part of a Tom Lehrer song. Hand up for goatherd - although I liked the show way more than ever to call it the Sound of Mucus! Good, fun puzzle.

Gil Favor 11:29 AM  

@ArtLvr - Yeah, you sissified city folk, with your high falutin' dictionaries may think that's amusing. I invite y'all to meet me and my boys at the old hangin' tree just south of Sedalia where we'll discuss how amusin' y'all think it is to make fun of us. My ramrod Rowdy is particulary interested in meeting y'all. It'll make his day.

CJP 11:30 AM  

Got stuck for a while with tomato rot until I searched for an alternative veg.

Elaine 11:30 AM  

@Urban Xworder
The superior and inferior vena cavae are veins (which carry blood back to the heart) versus arteries, such as the AORTA, (the great vessel that arches over and carries oxygenated blood out of the heart to the lower body.) My question (MDs, please step in here): don't the vena cavae carry blood to the RIGHT ATRIUM only? The blood enters the right ventricle, is pumped to the lungs for oxygenation, then enters the left atrium, then the left ventricle, and is then pumped out of the heart to the body. If the vena cavae are sending blood to both ATRIA, there must be an atrial septal defect, eh?


How can I mix up Spanish and French when I don't speak any French? @#$%^&*! HS Spanish classes....too long ago. Sorry!

slypett 11:36 AM  

Got STAGEMOM, boom. Then stuttered and stalled. Finally got it all without dancing with Auntie Google.

For some under-the-table reason, I enjoyed this puzzle very much.

Now, if someone would explain why AMA is a medical suffix...

Two Ponies 11:39 AM  

Nice satisfying Saturday solve.
I'm no speed solver because I like to savor my experience and this one did the trick.
My worst slow-down was having rotten tomatoes for awhile.
@ Bob Kerfuffle, There are no RPNs.
I knew the south clue would start with SU and just waited for the L to appear.
I'm glad hyson was the wotd because I had no idea.
For the sonnet clue I also considered bad or odd for my rhyme but only to amuse myself.
Hand up for trying goatherd.

Meg 11:41 AM  

I was fried in the NW, refusing to give up UPSET.

I didn't know that a TORTE is often made with grated nuts or bread crumbs instead of flour. I kept looking for another word for CHEXMIX.

I kept SUD because I figured it was the Director of Practical Nurses. Worked for me.

Got ASPIC with a groan, but wondered about "mold". Container? Green stuff? Just because you put things in ASPIC, does that make it a mold?

I also think BATHE is a stretch for hydrotherapy. I wanted something more like SOAK.

Actually I'm just picking at the carrion of a puzzle I had to CHEAT ON!!

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

I've spent countless hours trying to convince editors to use the plain old English plural "-s" for Latin terms that are fully naturalized into the English language. My particular pet peeve is "serum." In Latin, the plural would be "sera." That's fine, when used as the plural, but somehow the term has morphed into an all-purpose designation. It's amazing how many so-called educated people (those who submit material to medical journals!) use "sera" as a singular, eg, "this sera did not cause a reaction." If everyone said (or wrote) "one serum" and "two serums" the sera-as-singular abomination would wither away.

Martin 11:42 AM  


You and I indeed have one each vena cava (superior) supplying one each atrium (right). So our right atria are supplied by venae cavae.

The clue doesn't say "all" are fed. Fish hearts have atria but not venae cavae. Houses have atria but no venae cavae. And we have left atria that aren't fed by venae cavae.

Would "some" have made the clue better? Wouldn't have hurt.

Rex Parker 11:44 AM  


I've never ever seen SERA as a singular. This "abomination" may be a seriously localized phenomenon (i.e. localized entirely within medical journal articles).

Two Ponies 11:45 AM  

@ Elaine, You have your blood pathway correct. This is just a typical xword plural. Both your and my venae cavae bring blood to our atria.
@ darkman, It's -oma as in lipoma, for ex. :)

Elaine 11:50 AM  

Oooooooohhh. That does it. No more LorTabs, no matter how much this tooth is hurting. Drugs making life even harder than usual.....

hazel 12:00 PM  

@imsdave - I invite you to check out the Wikipedia page on Catawbas. So that you can understand that this once mighty tribe (who fought with us in the American revolution), is much more than a "wine you would never drink"!

I liked this devilish puzzle quite a bit - lots of AHAs, backing into answers, etc. Perfect Saturday fare.

mccoll 12:00 PM  

Good puzzle! I had to google Hyson because it didn't seem right. Wadiya know? It's a tea:and I still have my grandfather's tea caddy as well. STAMPEDE was an aha! as was PUMA.


Pumas,or Cougars as we call them north of the border, are far from extinct in the west.They range from California to Alaska and attacks on people and pets are fairly common.They normally feed on deer: about one a week, i hear. Grand cat!
Cougars seek a different prey in America.
Thanks for the medical info. I didn't know that.
A nit to pick. Normally the caddy has nothing to do with the score card. Keeping score is the player's responsibility.

mccoll 12:07 PM  

Aspic is molded not moldy.

Van55 12:11 PM  

Fine puzzle except for....

Kansas City to Omaha dir. Grrrrrrrr!

Bob Kerfuffle 12:12 PM  

@Two Ponies - I don't claim any knowledge of the nursing profession, b ut according to Wikipedia:

Licensed practical nurse
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Registered Practical Nurse)

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in California and Texas and as registered practical nurses (RPNs) in Ontario, Canada. They are called enrolled nurses (ENs) in Australia and New Zealand and as state enrolled nurses (SENs) in the United Kingdom.

Wouldn't want to draw the wrath of Crosscan!

edith b 12:12 PM  

I tapdanced through the South, starting with JLo's IMREAL. I'm not a big fan of her music myself but my granddaughter is. I had PENCE in place and thought of Maugham. I wonder if I hadn't uncovered what I saw as an English sub-theme if I would have come up with BEERANDSKITTLES?

I funneled toward the NW in fairly short order but had a problem cracking POTATOROT until I saw SPASM. It's funny how one answer can hold up an entire quadrent but that is what happened here with 3D.

Fits and starts pretty much defined my solving experience too.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  


I'm sure you see a lot of mangled prose as an English professor, but for mangled prose of truly striking pomposity, you can't beat scientific publications. To be fair, I must acknowledge that journals are a LOT better than they used to be.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Anhui Provence????? Isn't it Anhui Province??

Dave in California 12:38 PM  

I wrote GOATHERD out of the gate and told myself this would be easy. 25 minutes later I finally arrived at STAGEMOM and finished the NW, but it looks like someone spilled an inkwell on it.

I had DAISY Dukes as a guess for a little while before I decided she wasn't around until much later. Then wondered if @Elaine was back from Europe in time to watch the Dukes of Hazzard...

imsdave 12:38 PM  

@Hazel - thank you for pointing me to the Wikipedia article. Turns out that some of my ancestors (the Seneca), were not very kind to them.

No slight intended. As an upstate New Yorker for many years, I was only familiar with pink Catawba from the Finger Lakes wine region. Trust me, it makes white zinfandel seem like Napa's finest.

Hobbyist 12:53 PM  

Goatherd was such a gimme.
Did I feell clever when I entered that 1A.

hazel 12:57 PM  

@imsdave - well they were vaguely familiar to me only as a word, so I went to Wiki, and learned more about them. For what its worth, I'm sure my ancestors weren't so nice to them either, which saddens me.

On a lighter note, I will say that pink Catawba from the Finger Lakes does sound kind of hideous - not a wine snob, but since I don't like zinfandels to begin with....

lit.doc 12:58 PM  

This one took a vorpal blade to my butt. The fact that I started—and stayed—with GOAT HERD for 1A is my night in a nutshell. By the time I threw in the towel (and here I’m just looking at the acrosses), I still had five all or partial blanks, and six completely wrong words. I’m sure the downs, as a result, were at least as ugly. This was after googling like a [insert favorite simile for desperate person]. For an hour. “Fail” with extreme prejudice.

I’m so glad that tomorrow’s Monday.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1:03 PM  

Birds of Passage


This song of mine
Is a Song of the Vine,
To be sung by the glowing embers
Of wayside inns,
When the rain begins
To darken the drear Novembers.

It is not a song
Of the Scuppernong,
From warm Carolinian valleys,
Nor the Isabel
And the Muscadel
That bask in our garden alleys.

Nor the red Mustang,
Whose clusters hang
O'er the waves of the Colorado,
And the fiery flood
Of whose purple blood
Has a dash of Spanish bravado.

For richest and best
Is the wine of the West,
That grows by the Beautiful River;
Whose sweet perfume
Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.

And as hollow trees
Are the haunts of bees,
For ever going and coming;
So this crystal hive
Is all alive
With a swarming and buzzing and humming.

Very good in its way
Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy;
But Catawba wine
Has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

There grows no vine
By the haunted Rhine,
By Danube or Guadalquivir,
Nor on island or cape,
That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River.

Drugged is their juice
For foreign use,
When shipped o'er the reeling Atlantic,
To rack our brains
With the fever pains,
That have driven the Old World frantic.

To the sewers and sinks
With all such drinks,
And after them tumble the mixer;
For a poison malign
Is such Borgia wine,
Or at best but a Devil's Elixir.

While pure as a spring
Is the wine I sing,
And to praise it, one needs but name it;
For Catawba wine
Has need of no sign,
No tavern-bush to proclaim it.

And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

Meg 1:12 PM  

@Lit.doc.: Um....Tomorrow's Sunday....or maybe you were just expressing your quite understandable frustration.

Clark 1:33 PM  

In the interest of keeping myself honest, I report massive failure in the NW and substantial failure in the NE. I had TORTE, but so many don't have nuts that I took it out. Had GUN instead of GAT. Didn't see MOAN, but as to a MOAN being evidence, @Rex, notice how this word gets used in two different ways. 1) something that proves something else, 2) something that can help in forming a judgment. A MOAN is evidence in the second sense, not the first. (For something to be evidence in court it just needs to be relevant and probative and and.)

Semi-puzzle partner and I finished the NE corner with 'fever' for BESET, 'emy' for OMA, and 'men' for DEW. That gave us PAVE MOBLE and CARYNBAS. Looked (semi) ok to me. Yikes.

fergus 1:37 PM  

Scribbled in CHEROKEE, figuring maybe they had to migrate out of the Carolinas? That led to TANK not BOMB. Otherwise not too many problems, though I did think of GOAT MAMA, and first went for HIS'N HERS.

The original idea for this puzzle was very clear, unlike what Rex was wondering about for some others.

Two Ponies 1:37 PM  

@ Bob K, Thanks, did not know that. I can't claim to know every country's medical acronyms.
Looking back at all of the comments I think the clue for 1A was the cleverest double-cross to most of us.
We smarty pants weren't going to be fooled by the kid/child misdirection and it was just a child after all.
For those of us who don't get the Sunday Times tomorrow is Monday in Puzzleworld.

treedweller 2:08 PM  

MILAN seemed like it must be right, but I had SEPTi and kept trying to get Lysol (BRACKISH saved me from going too far down that rabbit hole, but I kept wondering about it), so I finally googled the library to finish that section, and then the JLo song looking for my mistake. Which turned out to be SUr/rPN.

Fairly close to a finish, though, after I had exactly three answers from my first pass, AND I was successful on Friday, so that's a pretty good weekend for me.

Guilty confession: I got PASODOBLE from watching "So You Think You Can Dance."

lit.doc 2:33 PM  

@Meg, I've reeeally got to come up with an emoticon for "irony alert"...

lit.doc 2:38 PM  

@treedweller, if, as it sounds from you comments, you enjoy dancing, find some occasion to see the film "Strictly Ballroom". Culminates in a stunning PASO DOBLE.

Meg 2:52 PM  

@Lit.Doc: You are so tactful! I think the younger generation will have to come up with a host of emoticons to replace the facial expressions and intonation lacking in texts or twits..er tweets.

@Treedweller: I've seen every season (multiple times) of "America's Next Top Model" due to the presence of a teenage daughter. I could ignore it, but...is that really Tyra's hair?

edith b 2:53 PM  

I guess Patrick Merrell over at Wordplay was fooled like a lot of us at 1A. I came late to the NW with GAT for 4A: Rod knocking out GOATHERD for me.

deerfencer 4:22 PM  

Catawba is also the name of a rhododendron species native to the Carolinas.


jae 4:36 PM  

This was on the easy-medium side for me mostly because I started off with STAGEMOM and changed RPN to LPN once I got STAMPEDE. It helped that both 15s were familiar. HYSON was the only iffy answer and it turned out to be right. Solid Sat. from Mr. White.

dk 5:23 PM  

Missed HYSON and SEPTIA as I had BRACKIas. Also had ENDsHYMn for ENDRHYME. At least I didn't do the goat thing.

Thought it should be HImORHER, but TWOWEEKM made NIE sense. STAMPEDE was my favorite fill.

So POTATOROT, as we CATAWBA'S are wont to exclaim.

*** (3 Stars)

fergus 6:08 PM  

DK -- it almost seems as if you've been reading Swift, and thought that was the theme? Always amused by your posts. -FF

fergus 6:09 PM  

... yet what's with apostrophe?

sanfranman59 6:12 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:52, 6:54, 0.99, 53%, Medium
Tue 9:10, 8:47, 1.04, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:53, 12:03, 0.82, 12%, Easy
Thu 18:58, 19:19, 0.98, 50%, Medium
Fri 24:07, 25:57, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Sat 30:36, 30:00, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:52, 4:30, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 4:59, 5:55, 0.84, 14%, Easy
Thu 8:26, 9:19, 0.90, 23%, Easy-Medium
Fri 11:16, 12:28, 0.90, 23%, Easy-Medium
Sat 17:48, 17:23, 1.02, 66%, Medium-Challenging

This was another Saturday beat-down for me. I'm just not yet at a point in my crossword-solving career that I can solve a puzzle of this level of difficulty. And it's days like this when I question if I ever will be. I think I stared my computer screen for about 5 minutes before I entered even a single answer. Ouch! Kudos to anyone who solve this puzzle without help.

michael 6:17 PM  

Easy Saturday, though I got two answers right that I didn't understand (hyson -- never heard of it -- and ateat which I parsed as "a teat"). But even though I've been to Brazil, I had sur instead of sul. When I wrote this, I knew in the back of my mind that this seemed wrong (the name of some states have "sul" I think) but I couldn't remember why, Irked that I missed this, my only mistake.

Tinbeni 6:42 PM  

Mon.to Thur.ease set me up for todays

ASPIC has come up so often lately I knew it.
Can I now forget it?

@Van55 - re: Kansas City to Omaha, Grrrr? ...
Huh??? Get a MAP! It is as NNW as it gets.

@Lit.doc.- I like your "So glad tomorrow's Monday"
A day off will give me time to Re-Boot my brain.

@Rex re: 41d - Does that clue set a record for the longest way around the block to yield the answer 'TOM' in a puzzle ???

fergus 6:57 PM  

SFman, This puzzle gave me the satisfaction of the breadth of my knowledge (French periodic table, par example) and years of experience. Just being alive and aware as well as puzzling fairly frequently since the NYT first started publishing an edition in the SF Bay Area in 1980. I noticed at the Alameda tounament that you were sharper than I, yet maybe more narrowly focused. This Saturday puzzle cast its net more widely, and us slower folk reacted accordingly.

joho 8:31 PM  

What's all this talk about goatherd. I had sheepMOM for the longest time. Just kidding.

fergus 8:39 PM  

The gradual acceptance of KIDS as offspring for humans went from the USA to England, just like the greeting HI. Not such an uncommon languange after all.

PlantieBea 8:40 PM  

So very late to the puzzle conversation today. Add me as another who first entered GOATHERD...Bah. I worked most of the puzzle, but even after realizing that 1A was a *mom, I still had to google to get ARETHA at 17A, and a firm foothold on that corner. I entered SOOTY MOLD at one point for the plant disease. And in the end, I had an error with SUD. Even with the NW struggle, I liked the puzzle.

chefwen 9:15 PM  

@Henry W. - Thanks for the poem, it was beautiful.

Cannot comment on the puzzle because I didn't do it, too busy celebrating
Birrrthdaaay! Last one I'm counting because the next is too frightening to ponder.

Just wanted to see what y'all were up to.

Off for sushi and sake with the gang.

PlantieBea 9:21 PM  

Happy b-day Chefwen!

Anonymous 9:24 PM  

GPS НАВИГАЦИЯ (для автомобилей, КПК, телефонов)

“ДЛЯ ТАКСИ” (с адресной частью – контуры домов, дробная часть);
“ДЛЯ ПУТЕШЕСТВИЙ” (Украина, Россия, Европа, Азия);
“ДЛЯ ОХОТЫ И РЫБАЛКИ” (топографическая).

[url=http://gps-group.hdd1.ru]Узнать подробнее…[/url]

Контроль передвижных объектов
(автомобилей, грузов, ценных предметов и документов, сотрудников, детей, стариков, любимых животных).

Оптимизация затрат по транспорту
мониторинг, диспетчеризация транспортных средств: контроль маршрута - левые рейсы; необоснованный простой.

Контроль расхода топлива
транспортных средств (недолив, слив).

[url=http://gps-group.hdd1.ru]Узнать подробнее…[/url]

Охрана объектов

• (передвижных, стационарных) - дистанционная охрана объектов, возможность дистанционного влияния на контролированный объект.
• Прием тревожных сообщений от объекта наблюдения в случае несанкционированного вторжения, угона, аварии. Прием тревожных сообщений при активации «Тревожной» кнопки.
• Дистанционное управление различными устройствами, как на мобильных, так и на стационарных объектах (например, в случае получения сигнала об угоне – дистанционно блокировать двигатель автомобиля).

[url=http://gps-group.hdd1.ru]Узнать подробнее…[/url]

miriam b 9:55 PM  

The last lines of a Petrarchian sonnet may or may not be an ENDRHYME. The second part of the sonnet - the sestet - has variable rhyme schemes. The Shakespearean sonnet always ends in a rhyming couplet. I'd have liked to see the Bard cited in the clue.

@Ben: That French teacher really said "à tout?" Tsk. Should have said "à tous."

Anyway, I hope everybody is having un bon weekend and will forgive me for being a curmudgeon (if a woman can qualify as such).

mac 10:09 PM  

@miriam b: you are right re tous.

@chefwen: Happy birthday! Mine is on Friday, my husband's and his twin's on Thursday. I have a lot of celebrating going on. So you turned 29?

Glitch 10:38 PM  

I have a problem with even trying GOATHERD for 1A --- mostly with the concept of a herd of goats being very concerned (as ONE?!?!).

STAGE came immediately, with the choice of MOM or DAD soon resolved.


ArtLvr 12:44 AM  

Happy Birthdays, Chefwen and Mac (and Mr Mac and his twin!)...

@ Gil, I don't think I'm sissified, if a female can be sissified, since I took a group of riders up into the Tetons when still in high school and was thrown near the top of the trail. The horse was caught and I was put back on for the descent -- but I came to half-way back down the trail, with a MOAN and query "Where am I?" My head recovered from having hit a rock and cleared up fairly quickly, but my lower right leg still has a hoof-shaped dent where I was stepped on! Rather an odd souvenir...

Still don't want to meet up with your rough-necks, thanks anyway!


fergus 3:45 AM  

Cool Cylric. What'up?

andrea nonono michaels 4:53 AM  

so glad you didn't do the goat thing!

Messed the SUL/SUR/SUD SOuthern Brazilian Nurse thing...at one point had SAO.

Debated long time over JLo being ISREAL or IMREAL...why is she trying so hard?

Learned last year that PUMAS = COUGARS
But I swear, I've never stalked a deer in my life.

ACH/NIE two German shout outs (literally!) for Ulrichkeit.

@meg @treedweller
Are you sure you don't mean "Dancing with the Stars"? (That where I learned about PASO DOBLE.)
Till @Rex pointed out the PAS/PASO thing, I think I thought PASO in PASO DOBLE was a double Pass, like a bull running at a cape twice...but I guess the whole step thing makes more sense.
My latest guilty pleasure: Jersey Shore. (Not to be confused with Pauly Shore, but almost!)

No longer officially your birthday in this here parts, but wanted to wish you a belated one!! Went to a 90 year old's bday today! Elzene was born in 1920 and took a horse and buggy to her one room school house, so... feel young! I know I did!

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Caddies can hold many things -- your car keys, your eyeglasses.... but not your scorecard. Unless you want to be disqualified.

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

@anonymous 12:26
You're quite right about human caddies not being permitted to hold your scorecards on a golf course but if you walk the course yourself pulling a golf cart as I do, the fancier golf carts are also called caddies - and, of course, you can clip your scorecard onto them.

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