Cross of mysteries / SAT 1-30-10 / Giocondo Angelico / Alternative to Beauvais / Late entertainer who was known for his laugh

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


Word of the Day: Kurt GÖDEL (43A: Co-winner of the first Albert Einstein Award, 1951)

Kurt Gödel (April 28, 1906, Brno, Moravia – January 14, 1978, Princeton, New Jersey, USA) was an Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics. (wikipedia)
• • •

My time was slightly higher than my Saturday norm of late, even though this one didn't feel especially brutal. Tough, for sure, but very doable, as Saturdays go. I had this rated "Medium," but then decided to let the stopwatch do the rating and bumped it up a notch. Strangely, my last three Saturdays have all been within 1 minute 18 seconds of each other, with this one he highest by a good minute (at 13:15). I was slowed down today primarily by second-guessing myself. Wanted STRAP ON A FEEDBAG very early (8D: Get ready for chow), but a. in my head the phrase has a THE, not an A, and b. I thought 23A: Indian barter item (pelt) was probably BEAD, and since (at that point) the "T" in STRAP was not a given (what the $#%& is an ONION SET!?), I wouldn't commit. Played it safe and just hacked my way into the middle of the puzzle — which proved pretty tractable. Long Acrosses can be brutal when they're stacked, but if you can manage to get a few crosses, they can also open the puzzle right up. Despite wanting SERIAL ASSAULT for 33A: Shock-and-awe strategy (aerial assault) and not knowing the phrase DIAMOND FIELDS, those long Acrosses went down pretty easily. I've heard of DIAMOND mines and killing FIELDS, but not DIAMOND FIELDS (34A: Sources of Zimbabwean exports).

Bad start at 1D: Small stand (copse), where I had ETAGE — I think I was thinking ETAGERE ... but no matter. Despite being wrong, ETAGE managed to get me EARL (22A: Robin Hood, the ___ of Huntington) and I was off. As I exclaimed, above, ONION SET (had to check to see that it was indeed two words) was a mystery to me. The "S" in that word took many seconds of dumb staring — had to run the alphabet to get the damned "game" "I SPY" (6D: Game with a spotter). Same was true of ANITA (2D: One of the Pointer Sisters), though I *knew* it. It's the first thing I wanted to put in, but at the same time I was thinking "I have no idea." Weird. Big mystery word of the day was LASSEN (24D: California peak), a mountain I've never Ever heard of (this despite having grown up in and gone to college in California). I'd also never heard of this GÖDEL guy, though he's undoubtedly famous. Math famous, anyway. Had DODDIER for a bit at 34D: Relatively hard to pin down (dodgier), for reasons I don't quite understand. Had TRAGIC before IRONIC at 49A: Like Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," didn't know if RETSYN was with an "I" or a "Y" (54A: Certs ingredient), and took a while to see SLIMY (38D: Vile) because I figured the "balmy" in 38A: Hardly balmy referred to the weather (the only way I've heard "balmy" used outside crosswords). So I had DANK instead of SANE, effectively hiding SLIMY from view.

[52A: Head-scratcher (enigma)]

Finished up in the SE, where once again (as with STRAP ON A FEEDBAG, and WARM ONE'S HEART — 30A: Make a person feel good) I considered a right answer (ED MCMAHON) right away but was put off entering it because of crosses that looked dodgy. Dodgiest of them all down here, for me, was 42D: First sign, which I was certain was ARIES. This made me balk at ED MCMAHON (45A: Late entertainer who was known for his laugh) *and* PASO (39A: Part of una salsa), which I had entered right away. Entered A HERO right away because I knew it (40D: Thackeray's "Vanity Fair: A Novel Without ___"), and MOCS right away on a strong hunch (48D: Comfy wear). Hesitated at 46D: M.'s counterpart (Mlle) because I figured the "counterpart" would be MME, which didn't fit. Last letter down there was the "P" in BLOOPERS / PAPAL, which I initially made an "M," figuring 51A: Overthrows, e.g. were some kind of undergarment (?). But PAMAL States just seemed ridiculous, so I yanked the "M" and then "P" became obvious.

  • 19A: Group whose 1972 debut album "Can't Buy a Thrill" went platinum (Steely Dan) ... Green Day ... Green something
  • 26A: Toyota pickup named for a U.S. city (Tacoma) — eeeeeasy, and good thing — I needed every cross in LASSEN.
  • 29A: Giocondo and Angelico (fras) — an answer in a puzzle I did earlier in the day. Put it in with no crosses. Wasn't certain, but it felt good.
  • 35A: Alternative to Beauvais (Orly) — thought it might be some kind of wine, until I got to -RLY.
  • 27D: Cross of mysteries (Amanda) — never read her, but she's a very familiar name — the pen name, actually, of feminist literary scholar Carolyn Heilbrun.
  • 28D: Pub pull (cold one) — was looking for a specific type of beer (stout, pilsener, etc.)
  • 30D: Blame-diffusing words (we all do it) — uh ... blame for what, I wonder.
  • 47D: Judging point at a dog show (coat) — "point?" A COAT is a "point?" It's a *trait* that the judge considers ... maybe "POINT" is a technical term. Time for a clip from "Best in Show":

[Apologies for the idiotic, 10-second intro, unrelated to the movie]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Noam D. Elkies 12:12 AM  

Darnit — 43A:GÖDEL and 12D:∫∫∫ plus a neat clue for 16A:ATONAL in the same puzzle, but it's a Saturday puzzle and I have no time to solve Saturdays nowadays. (But no German-code clue for 52A:ENIGMA?)


lit.doc 1:55 AM  
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sen. j. mccain 2:28 AM  

Shock and Awe is a strategy; aerial assault is a tactic. Shock'n Y'All, by contrast, is a Toby Keith album.

SethG 4:04 AM  

I was gonna say what sen. j. mccain said. Except the Toby Keith part.

And GÖDEL crossed Asok's beak.

Anita Titer 4:19 AM  

CAT HAIRS, ONION SET, PIT VIPER- I had a lot of empty space up there. I couldn't penetrate the NE until I found STRAP ON.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Balmy is to do with weather. Where sanity is involved, it's barmy.

Rex Parker 9:00 AM  

A. "balmy" is used correctly in the clue. It's a secondary or tertiary def.; Brit. slang, I think.
B. Sen. McCain and Anita Titer are my new commenting heroes.


Jeffrey 9:08 AM  

One of my favorite themeless puzzles in quite a while. I got stuck, I moved on, I laughed, I cried, I erased, I solved, I completed.

This is a textbook Saturday. Bravo!

PanamaRed 9:19 AM  

Struggled with the NE, despite having Anita, Steely Dan, Earl and the strap on thing. Had the rest of the puzzle done before having an aha moment with reed, and the rest fell quickly.

Thought for sure titer would be the word of the day - as had I been any titer, would not have finished last night.

Sam 9:33 AM  

Shocked and awed. Big problems everywhere.

Douglas Hofstadter (not really) 9:34 AM  

@lit.doc: it's ...Eternal Golden Braid (thus forming a permutation of the initials G,E,B), not Triangle.

Smitty 9:45 AM  

Like @Rex I had SERIAL attack, which is what this puzzle did to me.

M.'s counterpart? DR NO, right?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:00 AM  

Thirty-five minutes: for Rex, an eternity; for me, an easy Saturday.

Opened with Milton CANIFF. (I used to read all the comics in the NY Daily News, but didn't care so much for the ongoing dramas.)

Slowed up the most by a write-over at 1 A: had PETHAIRS before CATHAIRS. After all, who could be allergic to a sweet, cute, innocent cat?

Last fill was ONIONSET -- definitely not in my vocabulary.

All in all, an excellent puzzle.

William Burroughs 10:04 AM  


edith b 10:08 AM  

I opened with two neons: STEELYDAN and Milt CANIFF and from those two entries I was able to construct all of the North. The South, that presented a problem.

I was stymied for a while until RETSYN came floating up from the recessses of my brain. I guess I paid more attention to those breath mint commercials than I am willing to admit. GODEL was my only neon in the South but it helped produce the G in ENGS which produced AIRBORNE from ENIGMA and I was able to bleed into the SE.

I could go on but, suffice it to say, I pretty much built this puzzle a syllable at a time. Drudgery, yes; not much fun, yes but the skill I have developed over the years is the only reason I completed this one. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

chefbea 10:16 AM  

Difficult for me but a bit easier than yesterday.

When I go to the grocery store later I might just buy a set of onions - do they all have to match??

Ben 10:26 AM  

My problem with this puzzle was putting FLYFAST instead of FLYPAST. This led to the unsatisfying SHEAF instead of AHEAP. I had ATONAL and NOSH, and even VESTRY, a stretch for me, but with the problematic S, ATEAT (which in hindsight shouldn't have been that hard) proved impossible. I didn't know whether it was CANIFF, CONIFF or CUNIFF.

@Rex, agreed as to ONION SET. I had ONIONSE_ and felt it had to be ONIONSEED, with the ED in one square, rebus-style. I started looking around the grid for other EDs and found one (__ States looked like U N I T ED).

Rex, surprised an academic like you didn't know Godel. _Godel, Escher, Bach_ is a classic title on the bookshelves of the brainy (not mine of course). Orange referenced it over on the 'Fiend. I know it's not English lit but in your polymathy you usually know this kind of thing.

Speaking of Orange, I'll second what she said: given all the white space and only 64 words, the fill is admirably fresh and interesting. No blah words like "reassesses." Good job, Mark Diehl.

Elaine 10:31 AM  

All y'all need to plant gardens: you need the Life Experience! The wee onion bulbs that one puts into the ground (pointed tip just below the surface) will send up green tops and add layers and layers until, presto, you have nice big onions. Then you... well, see me after class and I will lend you a seed catalog to get you started.

I can't explain how it happened, but the NW went in at once (despite answers like STEELY DAN and the Pointer Sister)...Then the SE fell, although JOE E LEWIS had a better laugh than ole ED MCMAHON any day!

Credit due: Hubby helped by dredging CANIFF when I gave him C---FF.

Hand up for ALE for the pub pull, SERIAL ASSAULT, and RETSIN...but I did this without Googling AND while watching Serena disjoint Justine Henin. A good morning!

WES 10:31 AM  

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, appears to have infiltrated your discussion of today's puzzle, where Kurt Godel more properly should be.

chefbea 10:41 AM  

@Elaine thanks for the info!! and I also googled onion set. I will definitely plant some when I get down to NC. Heard there is freezing rain in Wilmington and snow expected in Raleigh!!!

The Corgi of Mystery 10:53 AM  

Found the NW and SE extremely tough -- had no real gimmes in there, and STRAP ON A FEEDBAG wasn't coming. Having one rock solid certain answer in a corner for me on a Saturday often makes a huge difference in my solving time. Alas, none today.

I'm also more familiar with BARMY than BALMY, but I guess that's just my British education.

Oh, and what's with [Diamondback, for one] and DIAMOND FIELDS in the same puzzle? That was kind of troubling to me.

Ben 10:55 AM  

@WES, I was wondering whether you had to win the Albert Einstein Award to understand the West Coast offense. (The Goodell photo was of course Rex punning, not erring.)

@Elaine, I should have watched the women's final before reading comments here. Whoops!

Elaine 10:55 AM  

Oh, and Mount LASSEN was once considered the only active volcano in the continental US...until Mt. St. Helen's disputed the title. I was torn between SHASTA and LASSEN until I took BEAD out because STRAB- going down looked impossible.

In NC you will probably plant your onion sets in the Fall for late Spring harvest. I am still adjusting to Southern gardening after 14 yrs in Zone 3's short season... Here's to gardens!

Zac 11:03 AM  

@Rex - I'll bet Sen McCain is also one of your old favorite commententors. Think acid with & country music knowledge.

Fishman 11:04 AM  

Wow. Its Saturday and as soon as I saw the clue for 8d I instantly entered put on the feed bag. Holy cow it fits. Put an E in front of the D in 45a and voila Ed McMahon. The SE went pretty smooth so my feed bag fit. I live in northern California so I instantly put in Shasta for California Peak and wanted to use a permanent marker. Then I looked at Toyota Pickup named for a US city and what else could it be but Tacoma.

No that's not right because it Hasta be Shasta and put on the feed bag is solid. Oh my gosh there is a new Toyota Pickup Truck !!.

That is how you add 30 minutes to a Saturday solving experience. I had to chisel Shasta out of the square before I was able to finish. Weird thing, I live 60 miles from Lassen.

Zac 11:04 AM  

That was supposed to by "acid wit"

jesser 11:07 AM  

Tough workout for me. STEELY DAN jumped right into the grid, but I badly wanted Arizonan for 17a, thinking maybe it was some sports team. That was a killer. Took a l-o-n-g time to pin cathairs, because it's plural and the clue is singular and my mind would not grok it. Hands up for FLY fAST, which I wanted to cross with sHEAf for 21a (plenty). Ugh. I had never before heard of balmy as anything other than weather, so like Rex I held onto dANk for way too long, and I only changed the i to a y in RETSYN reluctantly, but when I did, ahas came. I didn't like 51a, because I think of BLOOPERS as television outtakes, along the lines that the late, great Johnny Carson (and his fabu sidekick at 45a) used to show on anniversary episodes. And 12d was a WTF for this non-math guy, but the crosses saved it. Only other major ouch was at 1d where I wanted kiosk, which fit nicely, but wrongly, with king for 22a. Mr. Diehl dealt me a bruiser today, but Rex's write-up made me grin with Paul Simon, so all's good with the universe. My SO and I will be taking the Jeep out this afternoon, and I suspect we will sing along to Radio Margaritaville (ATONALly, natch) while we navigate the Dona Ana Mountains. Wow, it's good to be here! Peace and love and crosswords -- jesser

jesser 11:12 AM  

Oh yeah, one more thing: Was anyone else bothered by AERIAL sharing the first A with AIR? I was thinking it Could Not be right, but I was wrong because it was. And Lassen Peak? Thank God PELT was hiding there to save it. That L was the last letter to skinny dip into the grid. Now off to breakfast.

Deborah 11:50 AM  

Is Bloopers a sports term? If yes, explains its absence from my brain pan. If not, pls 'splain.
Not one gimme in the puz for me, but still finished it (in about 33 minutes - yay!).

miguel 11:52 AM  

From today's Onion set...
MIAMI—Team officials from the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts emerged from a tense, 12-hour negotiating session Thursday and told reporters that, while they had yet to reach a settlement that would prevent a massive on-field conflict, the AFC and NFC champions were committed to resolving the Super Bowl through diplomatic channels.

"Playing this Super Bowl is our last resort," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was flanked by the coaches and quarterbacks for the opposing teams. "Yes, there are some difficult issues that need to be hashed out, such as who will be the game's MVP, the number of total passing yards for each quarterback, and which team will be named Super Bowl champion, but I think we made progress today."

hazel 12:00 PM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Never cried, but the rest of my solving experience was similar to Crosscan's.

The fact that I've been married 16 years to a man who:
drives a TACOMA,
plants ONIONSETS every year (in the fall),
wants to go to LASSEN National Park on vacation this year,
and is allergic to CATHAIRS definitely helped.
The fact that I grew up watching Johnny Carson and reelin' in the years didn't hurt either.

Just when I was feeling proud of myself, I see @Deborah's post, and am now 100% with Crosscan.... all those gimme's (hope that's correct apostrophe usage, picayune grammar thread people) and it still took me longer than 33 minutes. Sigh.

ArtLvr 12:14 PM  
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ArtLvr 12:19 PM  

My gimmes were AMANDA, off that came Who _ DAH MAN! ? And TITER, off which I got FEATHERS. And then... trouble. Took out feathers to try EASEL at 1D and LORD at 22A ... but had double trouble.

Left those and worked out the bottom and middle sections, LASSEN not a problem, and I loved NEMESIS! The NE cleared up after I removed the Chapel and entered the VESTRY.

So there remained the knotty NE, for which I had maybe WAVE (cf. WAC), then blues like TEAL, also Throw instead of STRAP etc. I resorted to Google for STEELYDAN and ANITA: thus CATHAIRS and COPSE and the rest fell.

My longhaired cat eying me from the radiator top should make me as chagrined as @fishman living near Mt LASSEN. If it weren't near zero outside, I'd have cried Uncle sooner. Kudos to Mark Diehl...


retired_chemist 12:26 PM  

Challenging. Left it last night half done, finished in two sessions this morning.

@ REx - "Points" is fine in the 47D clue IMO. Dictionary (OK, def. 4) says they are items on a list, e.g. of points to consider: topline, headpiece, dentition, front and rear assembly, COAT, ......
Hand up for COLD ALE @ 28D, RBI @ 37A, HAGS @ 26D (until I remembered the Jimi Hendrix Experience yesterday), and NO IDEA (SIC) @ 52A (OK, I was desperate). Thought 12D INTEGRALS would hassle the non-techies among us - I feel your pain.

A fine puzzle, and an enjoyable, mind-stretching solve.

HudsonHawk 12:36 PM  

I had a fairly easy time on the East Coast and a brutal time on the West Coast. That had a lot to do with errors already mentioned here (hand up for SHASTA, SERIAL, PALE ALE, as well as TPL before DBL and TEAL before ANIL). With SERIAL in place, I thought 33D might be a twisted clue for SEA PLANE. AIRBORNE seems obvious now, but I just wasn't seeing it.

The NW was slow to fall, even with STEELY DAN and ANITA as two of my first entries (Can't Buy A Thrill is one of my all time favorite albums).

Great Saturday workout, all in all. On to the Sunday puzzle from Tony Orbach and ACME!!

Pinewood Roller Derby King 1:04 PM  

I can't believe y'all don't know the stuff you're saying you don't know. Surely you know those things! Otherwise you'd have killed yourselves by now due to lack of knowledge of stuff other people think you should know and, according to you ( which I seriously doubt), you in fact don't. And Hey 19 Across, I really did know you--you just slipped my mind.

babslesley 1:10 PM  

Did not like this puzzle. Resorted to Google. "Barmy" and "balmy" to me (another Brit) are, as indicated by other posters, totally different. Barmy is nutty, and balmy is warm and breezy. So I'm usually prepared for either meaning.

PlantieBea 1:18 PM  

A challenging but fun puzzle for me; I needed three solving sessions and a reboot with CANIFF to get moving. Once I had DIAMOND I entered SHAFTS which turned my FEED BAG into a SEED BAG and ruined NEMESIS and INTEGRAL. Ach...had to back up and redo the center. I also had trouble at WE ADMIT IT where I finally looked up GODEL to fix the SW.

@Elaine: I was reading yesterday's comments between today's solving sessions, and I saw your ONION SET comment. It was helpful to me, since I had created a small ONIONLET in this puzzle, but the comment may be considered a spoiler to another solver.

lit.doc 1:24 PM  
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Doug 1:29 PM  

There is an academic question regarding the origin of "balmy" and "barmy". Google it if you're interested. I thought they were linked, others dispute this.

I do dispute COLDONE as a pub pull. I first filled in REAL ALE, then PALE ALE off the E in EDMCMAHON. No good publican will EVER pull a COLD one. I have 23L of a Boddington's clone bubbling next to me right now and damned if it's going to get below 53F. Damned, I say. :)

jae 2:04 PM  

A fine solid Sat. and mostly a medium for me. Made the TEAL and RBI missteps and, despite living in CA for the last 35 yrs., I needed all the crosses for LASSEN. My biggest problem was trying to make EDWINWYNN work in SE for far too long.

slypett 2:09 PM  

I was two-thirds done, with lots of white showing in the SE and NW, when I called out, "Auntie! Forgive me, for I know not what I do!" She answered, "The first is a synonym for 'dildo' and the second is 'a long bite in NYC'." I found this helpful and went on to finish in record bad time.

Bill from NJ 2:17 PM  


BLOOPER could be a sports term referring to a ball hit between the infielders and outfielders, justs eluding both but it is usually called a "bloop hit."

The other way I have heard BLOOPERs used is a series of outtakes.

lit.doc 2:18 PM  

My solving experience this morning was "a failure pile in a sadness bowl" (see Orange's write-up of the LAT puzzle).

The brief version of my 1:55 a.m. post is that in half an hour, I'd gotten 21 answers and, in the following half hour of googling, the net result was still 21. :(

Chuck Knoblauch 2:29 PM  

"Overthrows" are AIRBORNE BLOOPERS which FLYPAST the intended receivers and, occasionally, strike people in the stands.

fergus 2:43 PM  

Second the Pub pull objection. If you're pulling a pint it's going to be an ale that's not supposed to be cold. The little spigots spew the cold ones. But I'm supposing there are some American pubs where there are some long levers to pull, which yield the aforesaid ... .

So wanted the Small stand to be KIOSK, but couldn't think of any allergan that started with K. TEAL seemed a good Navy relative, WIND as good as a REED, and that makes NW become pretty wild.

Then in the SE, clever first sign was ARIES (I think I can finally recite the Zodiac) and was fairly confident of PICO (de Gallo) as the salsa part. But I was on to the dance possibility, too.

Who DONE IT? must always be spelled differently, I guess. Over an hour for me.

GK 3:14 PM  

Rex, when you say "I'd also never heard of this GÖDEL guy..." you must be forgetting your rant from January 11, 2008, in which you made the same complaint about the same person, who happened to be one of the most important logicians of the 20th century. You even took some grief about it in the comments section that day.

Elaine 3:30 PM  

Aw, c'mon! I myself can't remember what I was coming upstairs to do before I got sidetracked by this blog ("I'll just see if there are any new comments...") Are you really gonna give Rex grief when he forgets something from two YEARS ago? Remember, he's Over Forty now!

I myself did not know GODEL, and worse, I did not make anything of the NFL photo next to his bio sketch. "Good looking guy," I thought to myself. (I know, I know.)

Three and out (shoveling snow)

Free Lunch 3:57 PM  

I had trouble letting go of NLWESTER for the diamondback clue (figuring if NLER is acceptable, why not?), and had RBI crossing AIRBORNE, rather than DBL, which gave me the plausible WORMIER where DODGIER should have been. Took a while to dig myself out.

No clever double entendres in the clues today, except for the ATONAL one. It didn't stop me from looking for them everywhere, though. I got beat by reverse psychology.

joho 4:43 PM  

I title my solve today, "Waiting For GODEL and other impossible no shows."

As I'm late here today I have loved reading all the comments and seeing how my mind tracked with others, wrongly, mind you, but it's nice to know I'm not alone in my inability to answer all questions.

I so wanted DITZIER.

Great Saturday, Mark Diehl. At times I hated you while solving but end up only with congratulations.

Ulrich 4:57 PM  

The only thing left for me to say is that the grid reminded me immediately of a dreidel, and that he puzzle spun me until I was dizzy--if a Saturday contains no, nada, zippo gimmies, you're in for a long haul, and some mistakes may remain undetected (I thought the Mavericks may be playing in Ohio, hence MAV at 9D)

Of course nobody remembers Godel--who the hell was he? The eminent logician's name is Gödel, as NDE said right away...

Deborah 5:17 PM  

@Chuck - thanks! Much appreciated.
I intend to forget this piece of info immediately, as I do all sports-related data.

R. McGeddon 5:33 PM  

I agree with the objections to COLDONE. If you asked for a cold one in an English pub you'd get a cold stare from the barmaid.

Aleman 5:34 PM  

When in an English Pub, you pull a warm one. In the States, you pull a cold one, Ale and Beer.

May I recommend: Cold Ass Beer from Pennsylvania.

edith b 5:52 PM  

I didn't study Russian literature although I did know there is some dispute as to whether The Cherry Orchard can be categorized as a comedy or tragedy, I was faced with an answer that took the form I**NI* and I was able to use my lack of knowledge about that play to enter IRONIC. Sometimes the less you know about a subject, the better as a I am sure you can get an argument among literature scholars about whether you can properly call The Cherry Orchard an IRONIC composition or not.


You will find that one of the pleasures of Rex's blog is the playful way in which he uses images for effect. You can never assume anything as he is an inveterate punster among his other attributes.

Cold Ale 6:16 PM  

We got cold ale in a pub in GrBritain! The publican apologized all over the place, as the new barrel had just been brought up from the cellar. We thought we had died and gone to heaven.

Never say never :0)

Dave in California 6:22 PM  

This was really hard for me, I had to put it down and pick it up several times. NW was toughest, because I got sold on PATHOGEN for 1a.

Stan 6:59 PM  

Recusing myself due to complete failure. (The usual heartfelt congrats to those who finished!)

AMANDA and STEELYDAN were gimmes.

As an apprentice gardener, I knew ONION SET -- but always thought it was plural. Oops, cannot post this until I resolve the issue....

Ah, resolved, and I was wrong: e.g., "An onion set is a small bulb...." Not necessarily a group of bulbs.

fergus 8:02 PM  

I suppose the Pub pull could mean a slug off the pint glass, which just happened to be chilled. Or the chilled lager that draws one to a Pub. These sort of dampen the objection, though they do whet my thirst.

OldCarFudd 8:18 PM  

Gimmes were CANIFF, FRAS, TACOMA, and - and - er - not a dadburned thing. I got there, no Googles, but it took three separate sessions. There's a reason I'm posting after 8pm! Great puzzle - glad to have survived it.

mac 9:56 PM  

Very very tough for me, my main excuse is that I did it on the train, interrupted many times by the little boy opposite kicking me when he was sparring with the back of his seat.

I practically erased a hole in the SE, but it hindsight I erased a lot of good stuff. I think someone tried to fool us with the balmy word once before; well, it got me again. Dank. Also, irenic for ironic! How ironic is that. Bead for pelt, but also pelt for coat. I do know Amanda Cross, and Steely Dan I got from -an. Comfy wear is a slim clue for a shoe.

Sorry, I didn't have a lot of fun today....

Wait a second, this is rude: my WV is "imoldhog"

michael 9:58 PM  

Despite having "straps on a feedbag," "mocs," "a hero," "gets lost," and "onset," I couldn't finish the the SE. I did have a housewarming party (at my house) in between beginning and giving up on the SE, but I don't think I can attribute my ineptitude to imbibing.

lit.doc 11:51 PM  

@edith b, much as I hope you didn't read my early a.m. rant before I tossed it, you're dead on about the Cherry Orchard problem. That the play is satiric does not make it ironic. Good job sussing what the constructor wanted, despite the cluing.

fergus 12:01 AM  

Tired of MOCS as Comfy wear. Mac, I thought IRENIC, too, from seeing the play in an intimate Berkeley theatre. Dank? (Da's was iz weed to homies, no?) Though that's presumably a Dutch imprecation.

I've been trying to steer a potential young gangtser away from his default pursuit, through chess and uplifting card games, and selected Xword puzzles. Today's, which he looked at for at least ten minutes was a loss, but also a gain.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Technically, it's Robin Hood, Earl of Huntingdon with a d. Looks wrong but it's right. Or was it a NYT typo? As in four for for, for one.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

I was disappointed at the use of cathairs. Cathair is both singular and plural. Cathairs is incorrect usage.

Waxy in Montreal 5:32 PM  

Grew up with STEVE CANYON (& TERRY AND THE PIRATES) so CANIFF was a gimme as was TACOMA and CAV but not much else. Had THE EAGLES (right year, wrong album) too long for 19A which didn't help. Oh, and ELEPHANT TUSKS instead of DIAMOND FIELDS!

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

how could i not love this puzzle? i've seen lenny or leonard in puzzles, but godel? a first!! who cares that i didn't come close to solving without help...hooray for my name!!

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