Musician who was trailblazing Rastafarian / FRI 1-22-10 / Nickname pioneering jazz piano / Class record label for Bee Gees Cream

Friday, January 22, 2010

Constructor: Natan Last

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Vint CERF (51D: Vint ___, the Father [not to be confused with FATHA (43A: Nickname in pioneering jazz piano)] of the Internet)

Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf (pronounced /ˈsɜrf/; born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist who is the "person most often called 'the father of the Internet'." His contributions have been recognized repeatedly, with honorary degrees, and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.// In the early days, Cerf was a program manager for the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity, Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet. [...] Cerf has worked for Google as its Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since September 2005. In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.
• • •

A FRUITy (3 answers), Italian (6 answers!) puzzle that I enjoyed very much. There are as many "O"s in this puzzle as there are "E"s. I don't think you see that very often, though it's probably not very often you see OODLES OF NOODLES (36A: Ramen brand), FOOTLOOSE (39A: Free), and SOTTO VOCE (49A: Hushed) in the same grid. Overall, this was fresh and entertaining. A tad on the light side, difficulty-wise, but maybe if FATHA weren't a familiar face by now, that wouldn't have been true. At any rate, when NED FLANDERS is your exclamation point answer (60A: Well-known TV evangelical), you'd have to trash the rest of your puzzle for me not to like it. That short stack in the SE is really elegant, and its counterpart in the NW ain't bad either.

[19A: Musician who was a trailblazing Rastafarian (Tosh) ... and Mick Jagger!]

Cluing in the NW felt hard, but I put in the "S" from WATTS (1D: There are 746 in a single horsepower), which gave me SRS. (22A: Matching ring recipients), which gave me ABHOR, then TOSH, then WATTS, then ABRACADABRA ... and that go things rolling. Managed to throw ASTI, ITALY (which looks insane) across to the east coast (20A: European wine center), and worked that area, but didn't trust DONATELLO and couldn't get OPALESCES at first (13D: Is like a moonstone), so abandoned things for the west, where I'd already scrawled in a sad, lonely pair of answers: -ERN (26A: Follower of directions) and ELLIOTT (26D: E.T.'s pal). From there I got FRUIT (38A: It's sometimes forbidden) — a key cross-referenced answer in this puzzle — and SOFA (31D: Common crash site?). Noodled around in the east again until I had NOODLES, but still couldn't see the answer until I got BEFOG (27D: Opposite of clarify), which gave me the "F" in what I assumed was "OF," so "... OF NOODLES" ... ONE CUP OF NOODLES? No, OODLES OF NOODLES! Now it was all downhill.

As I said above, I might have crashed and burned a bit if I hadn't seen FATHA several times before (a very high-end piece of crosswordese — the nickname of pianist Earl Hines) (43A: Nickname in pioneering jazz piano), because I sure couldn't remember the "H" cross HOGAN (44D: Navajo home), though I'm sure I've seen it before. Once through there, I got to the SW, which is really custom-made for me — a member of GENERATION X (54A: So-called "baby busters") who listened to "AMERICAN PIE" (58A: Song that mentions "the Father [not the FATHA] Son and the Holy Ghost") a ton as a kid (and watched the unrelated movie as an adult) and can tell you more about NED FLANDERS than you'd ever want to know.

  • 1A: Pad producers (water lilies) — started thinking of ... well, different pads, including but not limited to, maxi pads, apartments, notepads, and possibly tablet-like computers like the Newton only from this century.
  • 35A: Longtime name in auto parts (Delco) — why do I think DELCO should be preceded by "AC?" Ah, because that's its current name: ACDelco: "The "AC" often seen in front of the name are the initials of Albert Champion, a pioneer in the development of the spark plug. He made the change during his tenure at General Motors, after they took over Delco." (wikipedia)
  • 40A: Classic record label for the Bee Gees and Cream (Atco) — Feel like I've been stumped by this before. Founded in 1955 as a division of (surprise) Atlantic Records.
  • 41A: M. in Milan (Sig.) — i.e. "SIGnor"
  • 46A: "Grey's Anatomy" hookups (IVs) — never seen an episode, and have absolutely no desire to start. Looks like someone crossbred early "E.R." with one of your lesser soap operas. Pass.
  • 10D: Work that marked the start of musical Romanticism ("Eroica") — Beethoven's Third, a very common (because 2/3 vowels) bit of crossword fill.

  • 21D: Finely tempered blades (toledos) — not sure how / why I know this, but I got it with just a few crosses.
  • 28D: The Ponte alle Grazie spans it (Arno) — one of six Italian answers: ARNO, SIG., DONATELLO, ASTI ITALY, SOTTO VOCE, MIO.
  • 34D: First name in international diplomacy (Kofi) — This is a very un-Scrabbly puzzle, except, conspicuously, in the center, where K, F, and G are huddled together at the puzzle's core.
  • 48D: Instruments in Ravel's "Boléro" (Saxes) — I don't remember these. Shouldn't there be something cuing the abbreviated form of SAXophonES?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Ray Greenberg 7:52 AM  

up = each?

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

I broke (my) tradition last night and instead of doing the puzzle in my Times this morning,I printed it and did it while watching the last quarter of my Cavs beating up the Lakers.(The thought of doing a puzzle in front of computer monitor gives me the willies) This puzzle was the perfect compliment to the game.

Didn't get a lot of acrosses the first time through, but hitting American Pie and then Ned Flanders- nice one, Natan- seemed to get the mojo working.

Wanted Naapa for DELCO at first, and Ile for CAY, but those missteps cleared up quickly.

Like the mini-music theme, with Peter TOSH, EROICA, FOOTLOOSE, AMERICAN PIE, and ABRACADABRA (Steve Miller Band.)

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

@Yogeshvara- as in a game, when the score is tied, e.g., the score is 10 up.

Elaine 8:57 AM  

As with yesterday's puzzle, I found this much harder than Rex did. For one thing, a gimme for Rex is usually the last thing I fill in... Wanted DOXOLOGY where AMERICAN PIE belonged, and I finished with NED FLINDERS/ACI because I live in a Simpson-free zone.

One thing that made this difficult: straightforward clues were just as frequent as clever, cagy ones. This made me second-guess myself too often.

As several of us commented on Amy Reynaldo's blog--EON as a unit in astronomy is questionable. Light years, yes; EON is too vague even for geology.

50D ONED? for "Superficial, briefly"? Can someone explain?

And is this Natan Last one of those whiz kids? Because this puzzle has that "I just took a survey course in art and music history!" feel to it.

OneD Solver 9:06 AM  

@Elaine - His analysis of Flauber was one dimensional (ONED) at best.

imsdave 9:08 AM  

@Elaine - one dimensional.

I feel much better today - God knows how I knew Donatello (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!).

Back on track after my humiliating defeat yesterday.

CoolPapaD 9:11 AM  

@Elaine – You must have a great memory - I am impressed!

I will never moan about content / fill, since building one of these bad boys must be a chore (hell, even the People Magazine puzzle can’t be easy to construct). That said, I’D SAY I HOPE that it’s ok to have so many first person references in a grid – I BET it will disturb some of you today. Like I’ve said before, any Friday I can finish is a treat, because a year ago, it was simply not possible!

AAMCO and MAACO preceded DELCO.

Loved clue for ALI, and having NED FLANDERS appear unexpectedly was gravy.

Any puzzle with Peter TOSH and Phil LESH is spectacular in my mind! Holy TOLEDO - Phil is going to be 70 years old this March (he and Chuck Norris are 5 days apart)! Unbelievable… nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile!

Megan P 9:22 AM  

Fastest Friday ever! But I loved this puzzle - and now I know how some of you can whip through a puzzle and still get a lot of pleasure from it.

ArtLvr 9:36 AM  

I liked Last's puzzle too and found it relatively easy going in spite of the answers I'd never heard of: CERF, TOSH, LESH, AMERICAN PIE and NED FLANDERS. The crosses appeared to SAVE ME...

The double Os across the belt in the middle were fun, along with the double I in ASTI ITALY and the double consonants in ELLIOTT, SOTTO VOCE, ANNS, TRESS and DONATELLO.

This was THE CAT'S MEOW for a Friday!


Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I also don't get EACH for up.

Had stove for Franklin for the longest time and cannot believe
I didn't get my name right off!!

John 9:43 AM  

Just the NAME Ned Flanders is more than I want to Know!

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

@CoolPapa D- I forgot the Phil Lesh reference in the mini-music theme.

RP- also forgot to mention I loved the pic of Bennett Cerf. One of the first books I remember taking home from my elementary school library was Bennett Cerf's Book of Riddles.

mitchs 9:51 AM  

Elaine, over on the Wordplay blog it's explained that EON is, indeed, precisely one billion years in astronomy.

Smitty 10:11 AM  

Not easy for me but interesting with words like SPELUNKING and PORTFOLIO

Wanted STP for ALI (flooring) and hung on to DYNES instead of WATTS, for a while.

I thought Bolero was mainly clarinet, can't recall the sax offhand.

Nice puzzle....I guess I should buy a TV and watch the Simpsons to improve my crossword times.

CoolPapaD 10:14 AM  

@tptSteve- I have a vague memory of you seeing Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger in concert in the late 70s.

Vint Cerf is Al Gore??

Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

Very satisfying puzzle to complete.

Had to look up EON online to see that it is 1,000,000,000 years, and had to wait for @tptsteve's comment to get the connection between Up and EACH.

Just one write-over; had PEC before LAT.

kelen 10:20 AM  

saxes? in Bolero?
Oboes, that's what I remember!

PlantieBea 10:21 AM  

Grumble, grumble...easy-medium except the SE where I was burned by NED FLANDERS. Obviously I don't tune into the Simpsons. I also wanted PANIC for PERIL too long which didn't help matters.

Lots of good stuff today with OODLES, OPALESCES, ASTI included. Thanks Natan Last!

Van55 10:22 AM  

This was tougher on me than it was on Rex. I gather that NEDFLANDERS is a Simpson's character. No wonder I didn't know it.

I know on the LAM, but LAMS as a verb is new to me. Didn't remember any saxophones in Bolero. Didn't know TOLEDOS as blades.

Loved the cluing for ALI.

Overall a fine, fresh puzzle, but on the challenging side for me.

Maurice Ravel 10:25 AM  

Boléro is written for a large orchestra consisting of two flutes, piccolo, two oboes (oboe 2 doubles oboe d'amore), cor anglais, two B-flat clarinets (Bb Clarinet 1 or 2 doubles on Eb Clarinet), bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, sopranino trumpet in D, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, two saxophones (one sopranino and one tenor doubling on soprano — one of the first large ensemble pieces to employ the family), timpani, two snare drums, cymbals, tamtam, celesta, harp and strings (violins, violas, cellos and double basses).

(The sopranino saxophone called for in the instrumentation is a sopranino saxophone in F; the ones of today are in E-flat. Today, both the soprano saxophone and the sopranino saxophone parts are commonly played on the B-flat soprano saxophone.)

treedweller 10:32 AM  

Isn't saying "Instrument in 'Bolero'" almost the same as saying "Instrument?" Started with oboes, then when I took it out I just waited for crosses.

I finally just came here to find my error at KOFe / SeG.

My captcha is "manten"--that just might be accurate, though screen names above do not all clearly suggest a gender.

Ulrich 10:33 AM  

In continuation of the v/w discussion from two days ago: "vint cerf" is the way in which we Germans pronounce "wind surf" (and rather apt, I might add, for dealing with the electronic wind of the internet)

treedweller 10:33 AM  

Ah, Maurice, if you'd only been a little quicker (or slower) my comment might not have seemed so out of place.

Elaine 10:37 AM  

Thanks, I have now read that and stand ready to whip out EON next time!

Thanks for the instrumentation list! I believe the saxophones are very prominent in this piece, and the clue was a gimme for me. This piece was one which made the lowly saxophone more acceptable as a classical music instrument. Various solo instruments are featured as "Bolero" builds up-- but you can't miss the saxophones' contributions. Worth hearing again if it has been a while, eh?

retired_chemist 10:37 AM  

What everybody said. Saturday hard but much fun – comparable to a Manny Nosowsky puzzle for me, and that’s saying a LOT. Resisted the temptation to go to confession with Father Google and was in the end rewarded with victory, slowly won and savored appropriately. Tried to end 54A with an S (it looked plural), and did not catch it until the very end. That led me to SASES for the instruments in Boléro. Could NOT figure out what self-addressed stamped envelopes had to do with music, or how GENERATIONS were “baby-busters,” and after a while - D'oh!

@ Elaine - 58A was THE DOXOLOGY to start (hey, it's correct!) but it died slowly on the crosses. How Christian is that! Non-puzzle wife, when presented the clue afterward, said immediately, "You mean AMERICAN PIE?"

Never heard of NED FLANDERS. Must study Simpsons lore sometime. Not having this 11 letter answer at my fingertips is probably the reason I found this somewhat harder than Rex did. OODLES OF NOODLES – also unfamiliar, though the crosses made it clear eventually. TOSH @ 19A – total blank. Wanted (ZZ) TOPP there. (OK, it’s TOP, they are a group, not an individual, and have nothing to do with Rasta. What do I know?) Futzed around with variants of SIG (41A) for a while. 39A was ???? LOOSE with some incorrect iterations for its beginning: TURN and CAST. 11D ditto: LET IN/LED IN before SAW IN. All this was, happily, resolved by the crosses. Not much choice for the F in CERF/FLANDERS, but it felt somewhat Naticky for me.

The breadth of knowledge demonstrated by a constructor so young amazes me. Thanks, Natan!

Is a calsill a door frame at Berkeley?

joho 10:42 AM  

I actually can't believe I finished this with no errors. I was staring at OODLES of white squares for a very long time.

I also had aamCO before DELCO. A reright at SAXES. I guessed NEDFLANDERS correctly. I had ASTI for quite a while before getting ITALY because TOLEDOS was also a guess. ITALY, of course! I don't remember seeing the city and country as an answer before, anyone?

Fantastic Friday, Natan ... difficult for me but ultimately doable and most enjoyable!

slypett 10:45 AM  

Had to dance with Auntie today, needed more horsepower, I guess. Still finished with errors: NEDFLANDERS! NEDFLANDERS! Not Neill Anders! D'oh!

Natan Last, will this be the last time you ruin my day? (Nice puzzle.)g

Denise Ann 10:46 AM  

"The Simpsons" get me every time -- I had FLINDERS/ACI -- my espanol isn't too good either.


Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

Very clever puzzle today.
Phil Lesh was my first entry and then Peter Tosh.
Rhea took some guesses as I was considering Hera or Pele first.
Oodles of noodles was a real surprise aa I was expecting something oriental.
A fun solve.
I know everyone is getting tired of these verification words but mine is appropriate today with two E's and two O's - oomeness!

fikink 11:09 AM  

Did anyone fall for GORE instead of CERF? Ha!

Thanks for the Praiseland pic, Rex. As I don't watch The Simpsons, I think I must follow @Mac's lead and familiarize myself, starting from the beginning DVDs. I did learn NED FLANDERS from this blog. How's that going for you, @Mac?

The FIL once again was happy to see FATHA Hines in today's puzzle and then the clip from you, Rex, put a twinkle in his eye. Somehow the old luddite isn't so averse to my arriving for breakfast with my computer anymore!

Mick Jagger mugging next to Peter TOSH is a juxtaposition for the ages! Thanks, Rex.

A solid, fun and impressive construction, IMO, Natan Last!

retired_chemist 11:21 AM  

@ Darkman - I first thought Neil Landers - a different parsing form Neill Anders.

@ fikink - sounds like FIL is doing well. Nice to know.

Tony from Charm City 11:23 AM  

I was speeding along on this until I hit the S/SE area and stalled for a while. IVS, RHEA, and RIND came easily enough, but it took me a while to find NED FLANDERS (wasn't thinking character) and AMERICAN PIE and GENERATION X took longer. I definitely need to brush up on my Spanish crosswordese as I wanted ICI for 55-D even though I knew it was French. But I'm happy I was able to do a Friday without using anything but my noggin.

Lon 11:44 AM  

@Two Ponies - Phil LESH was my first clue, as well. I misread the clue as dead (not Dead) bassist Phil and thought, "Phil Lesh is dead?"

Thanks RP for the Eroica clip! With the crosses I had, I thought it was EROTICA at first, but re-considered that. Erotica may have kicked off other things, but not Romanticism.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

exactly--how is it that "up" means "each"?????

Why we're here 12:12 PM  

@Anon 11:54am

Read the very first, then third, post for today.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

@r_c said:

"Is a calsill a door frame at Berkeley?"

Very funny, but WTF does it have to do with this puzzle, or with this blog, or with anything else, for that matter?


Lurking Larry


Despite decades of watching or listening to sports broadcasts, I have NEVER heard an announcer use a phrase like "10 up" to mean "the score is tied at 10 apiece." (Yes, the oral pun is intentional.)

Please, someone, post an example of that, in voice or text. Or provide another interpretation of 4D. Please...


Clark 12:53 PM  

I choked on NED FLANDERS, not knowing a bunch of the crosses: HOGAN (FATHA), ONED (Doh!), CERF, ACA. Rats! I need to get me some Simpsons DVDs that are dubbed in Spanish. Two EMUs with one stone.

@Lurking Larry -- I tried Four of the first five definitions linked there give the offending definition. You can check the next 24 if you're interested. But it looks like a landslide! ("The score is 7 up." Sounds good to me.)

hazel 12:54 PM  

Do that funky chicken, white boy!! Its astonishing to me how MUCH cooler Peter Tosh is than Mick Jagger in this video. Mick is just trying so hard. Eye opener.

The puzzle got me curious about THECATSMEOW - it turns out that there are at least 3 aspects of a cat that are considered to be "too cool." They also include its pajamas and whiskers.

If someone calls you a "cat's paw" it means you're a dupe and finally, If you've ever been called a *barber's cat*, well, it means you're not just conceited, but very conceited.

This puzzle wasn't exactly THECATSMEOW for me, more like herding cats, but it was solid Friday fare.

Tinbeni 1:09 PM  

Damn, another Simpson's character?
Thought I had finally learned them from crossword puzzles.

Up is EACH, Naaah, even with @tptsteve explanation (and when tied at 10, I just say "tied" not up).

Oh well, there were OODLES of 'O's'

Time for my IV'S of Scotch!

dk 1:22 PM  

Puzzle moment: Me laughing out loud to NEDFLANDERS while waiting for blood to be drawn in the Hepatologist's office (Need to get immunized for HEP A and B as in skiing "There will be blood." They are testing me for antibodies, etc.). Needless to say I was the only one laughing and when I tried to explain myself to the lab tech she turned out to be an evangelical... think dk as a dinosaur fighting to get free in the La Brea Tar Pits.

No problem with EACH for up as I have heard the term many times.

Loved the puzzle, knew DONATELLO from the aforementioned turtles. The rest of the fill did not come easy as I was being distracted by TOLEDOS (aka needles). But it was fun.

Pressed Rat and Warthog a Cream favorite along with Badge.


My only gripe is LAMS. I know it has been used before -- It just does not work for me.

**** (4 Stars)

fikink 1:45 PM  

Re: Jagger-Tosh chasm, glad you saw it also. Too funny!

Also can't wait to see "barber's cat" in conversation.
Reminds me of a Wm. Hamilton cartoon from way back:

Cocktail hour.
Bonfire-of-the-Vanities couple.
She is saying, "No, Charles, I don't have a cold. What you hear in my voice is contempt."

Van55 1:58 PM  


I may never have listened to Bolero all the way through. What I remember of it is as background music for a love scene in the Movie "Ten" with Bo Derek. Sensory overload may have caused me to miss the saxes to focus on the sexes.

Sandy 2:05 PM  

@Hazel. I think the difference may be that Tosh is stoned and Jagger is drunk.

I live with Rex and in our living room there is a Ned-Flanders-as-werewolf figurine. Yet I still had trouble with the tricksy clue, so don't beat yourself up, folks. I found that SE corner way harder than the NE.

fergus 2:16 PM  

I had always thought SOTTO VOCE meant in a silly voice, probably from the French Sotte. I guess the meaing is quite like an Aside, rather than the foolish talk I had suspected. So many things I have interpreted not as they were intended ...

hazel 2:49 PM  

@Fikink - your memory/sense of humor never ceases to amaze me!!

@Sandy - good call.

Doc John 3:00 PM  

Pretty hard but ultimately gettable. Except for the extreme NE in which I could not come up with a good word that started with E for [Make out].
Glad to get Phil LESH right off the bat. I remember being amazed to find out that he was actually the leader of the band. I thought, "how can someone who looks so stoned even keep time, much less lead the band?" But somehow he did. Brilliantly.
Other than LESH, there were rock references such as AMERICAN PIE and ABRACADABRA.
P.S. @ Rex- I thought for sure that I'd see a pic of a Ninja Turtle when I came here today.

lit.doc 3:34 PM  

No hits, no runs, no errors, no google, and game over at 71:02. This felt like the most challenging puzzle I’ve ever actually finished without google or Check All. Toughest elements were the Italian answers and the names, too many of which I didn’t know. But I finished. And enjoyed it.

@tptsteve, thanks for the “up” = EACH explanation. I was still in WTF mode. Still feel like the clue was quite a streeetch.

@retired_chemist, LOL re your “died slowly on the crosses”.

@CoolPapaD, me too re wanting GORE instead of WHOO? for 51D. Teehee.

@Elaine, good comment re Ravel’s ground-breaking use of SAXES in symphonic music. One of the few gimmes for me (wow, music school wasn’t a total wasted of time!). The ONED thing really vexed me, both because it took me so long to spot it and because I’ve previously run aground on its ugly sibs, TWOD and THREED. And, though I accept the research on EON by several of those present, it still feels like the use of “parsec” in Star Wars as a measure of time.

My last answer was NED FLANDERS. Doh!! I’m an avid Simpson fan, but the clue succeeded in keeping me watching TV for more than an hour.

On to BEQ’s Friday offering.

edith b 3:38 PM  

I am a voracious reader and tend to recognize another of my ilk. I've done all of Natan Last's puzzles and have enjoyed them all.

I notice thst folks are amazed that a person of his age could have the breadth of knowledge he has. Recognizing the animal we have in our sights, I would say he is a reader with omnivorous tastes.

Regardless of how old Mr Last is, this one seems to be an old-fasioned knowledge based puzzle, one that I cut my teeth on growing up

Doug 3:49 PM  

As a teen of the late 1970s, "Bolero" only means one thing to me, which is the song playing while Bo Derek lustfully thanks Dudley Moore for saving her husband.

Awesome puzzle, but was definitely medium-challenging on my scale. Of course, after the Bolero memory my bloodflow was directed far away from my brain, so I could have been a bit slow last night.

I also thought the grid pattern was really interesting. NEDFLANDERS threw me because at the time I thought of 4 different TV evangelists that all fit the bill:
BillyGraham, JamesBakker, JimSwaggart,OralRoberts. Also KenCopeland, BobSchuller, TammyBakker and JackVanImpe. Because I'm lazy today I looked at Swaggart's bio and how he came to be outed as an adulterer by a blackmailing fellow evangelist. "OMG."

sanfranman59 3:58 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Fri 21:43, 25:49, 0.84, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 11:13, 12:26, 0.90, 22%, Easy-Medium

Boy did I miss the boat on this one. This is the most help I've needed on a Friday puzzle in quite a while. And this, in spite of having filled in the NW in short order. I guess it just missed my wheelhouse. Since I don't watch the Simpsons, I didn't know that NEDFLANDERS is an evangelical. As such, I ran through Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Billy Graham, Ernest Angley, John Hagee, Benny Hinn etc. etc. (there sure are a lot of these folks!) I've never heard of GENERATIONX referred to as "baby busters" (since it's in quotes, I assume that it must be part of the vernacular somewhere). I don't do ramen noodles and am not at all familiar with the brands. I don't speak Italian or French. I think I've come across HOGAN before, but couldn't call it to mind (per xwordinfo, this is its first NYT appearance with that type of clue since July 2000). A definite learning experience for me (I hope).

lit.doc 4:02 PM  

@Lon, you're in the company of professionals on the EROTICA thing. Years ago I came across a large, expensive-looking ad in the Boulder Daily Camera for the Chautauqua Music Festival's performance of Beethoven's "Erotica" symphony. Kept that one for my scrap book.

andrea idsay michaels 4:30 PM  

"I live with Rex and in our living room there is a Ned-Flanders-as-werewolf figurine."

that comment will be with me all day!

Turns out, as usual, I had one square wrong and was unaware of it...
if only Ravel listed SASES as one of the million instruments he used!
So, should I say this puzzle unravel-ed me?

That cat list is grrrr-eat!!!!!!
Should be used for something!

Holy TOLEDOS, I have never seen OPS or ATCO (thanks for the Atlantic Co explanation)

So many misstarts I can't count, from the WAY off (Tongs for CRUET) to the close but no cigar:
nOSE for HOSE (Is that too Jewish? To think first of taking the kinks out of your nose?) and finally FATso for FATHA.
(Fats Domino to haters?)

That cascade of OOs across the middle actually is almost a perfect wave if you hold the puzzle at arms length.
If there were a word at 38A that had double OOs...
I'm thinking if FRUIT were spelled FROOT there would have been a very cOOl up and down with the fabooloos OODLESOFNOODLES directly over FROOT FOOTLOOSE. Do you see it?

Let's see...if it had been SNOOT, you could have SOSA going down, PONte- something in keeping with the Italiano sotto theme, EDOmame...

I love that Natan Last's puzzles always seem themed, even on a Friday.

Agree about IDSAY, IHOPE, IBET. ICANT decide if it feels more sub-theme-y than mistake-y.

and finally, @dk
Just when I can't feel more cold and rainy and down on a Friday, I get an unexpected shout out from you and it feels like the sun has come out! Thank you.

George NYC 4:32 PM  

@Hazel re Mick. Man, you said it.
@Doug That movie pretty much ruined Bolero for me...

chefwen 4:33 PM  

Tough, tough, tough one for me, but then again I think I say that every Friday and Saturday. Started out with maaco for DELCO, meted for DOLED, tongs for CRUET and so forth. Twas a bloody mess to sort out.

Off to the LAT.

Happy Birthday Mac and a belated greetings to Mr. Mac and his broski!!

jae 4:38 PM  

Easy-medium for me also. A little slow getting started in NW but ABRAC... opened it up. My only problem in SE was misreading evangelical as evangelist and trying to come up with preacher named NED. Rex is right about Grey's. We watched it for a while but IMOO it jumped the shark when George got hit by the bus.

Elaine 5:37 PM  

For a reset of your memories of the wonderful "Bolero," I suggest watching Christopher Dean and ?Jane Torville winning the Ice Dancing competition a couple (cough cough) of years back. It was wonderful.

I am amazed at the Easy ratings, but I bow to Superior Beings....or maybe just younger ones who watch TV cartoons...

I have never heard of OODLES OF NOODLES, but with OO-LES in place, it seemed like a good guess.

Mystery readers who liked ?Tony Hillerman's novels should have picked up a good deal of Navajo culture (including HOGAN.) These are good reads, BTW.

slypett 6:38 PM  

lit.doc: A parsec is 3.258 light years, a measure of distance.

Naama 6:43 PM  

This was an easier Friday for me, and by easier I mean 25 minutes solving time (time spent on the phone, half-watching Apartment Zero inclusive, however), not like you animals, Jay-sus! But should've been much easier considering I live off Oodles of Noodles and didn't get it til the end.. I had 30D as HAIR, and 37D as PASO and a dyslexic attempt at 13D for OPALESTON (opalstone in my head. sigh) which gave me OODLESHOIPOLLOI. And THIS was an easy day. Sigh.

Naama 6:48 PM  

Also, had "FATSO" for "FATHA" (yknow, jazz cats), never heard of lams as a verb, and isn't "here" in Spanish acqui? that one through me for a while... ACA?

Meg 7:02 PM  

If you tell a person he's "one-d", then in my mind he doesn't actually exist, philosophically, I mean.

Oh...was about to ask about SAW IN and just got it! I was thinking "admitted" as "conceded". D'oh!

Spanish speakers.."en otro tiempo" = at another time. Is this necessarily formerly? I suppose it doesn't have to be.

Doesn't anybody remember "Bolero" from the Olympic ice-dancing routine that the judges disparaged? Many years ago.

Great puzzle and not that easy for me.

Meg 7:04 PM  

@Elaine: Wherever you are, we were thinking the same thing at about the same time!

Dave in California 8:11 PM  

Late post today, just got home...I liked this puzzle a lot for some reason--it had some neat answers like OPALESCES. I had trouble in the NW because I filled in VOLTS for WATTS, LETIN for SAWIN, and PEC for LAT, and it was a mess for a while. When I suddenly hit on ABRACADABRA--despite the crosses that didn't seem to work--everything fell in quickly. One niggle--I tend to think of ABRACADABRA as something you say when you make something appear or transform, rather than disappear, so I looked up its origin: it’s from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra, meaning “I will create as I speak,” which seems to support the notion that ABRACADABRA is not typically a disappear word. Oh well...

joho 8:15 PM  

Mac, didn't know it was your birthday until now ... I hope it's very, very happy!

@andrea ... I know! "Ned Flanders- as-a-werewolf-figurine" ... I was howling!

Elaine 8:31 PM  

Hi, Meg....
Hmmm. I posted at 5:37 p.m., and I don't know where you are/were, but I am glad that someplace, somewhere, sometime, there was at least ONE other voice trying to salvage the vision that Torville and Deane (sp?) created with that piece.

Oh, and the judges did not disparage in the least--- they took the gold.

michael 9:21 PM  

I started this one slowly, but finished quickly. Just fell easily for some reason.

Nathan seems a bit young for "the cat's meow" but then again so am I and I'm lot older than Nathan. I wonder if anyone alive has heard somone use this phrase unironically.

Spencer 10:00 PM  

Funny, I got OPALESCES straight off with no crosses.

I've never seen OODLESOFNOODLES -- we get TopRamen and Maruchan around here.

AMERICANPIE was another gimme for me. I was in high school when it came out. I had just acquired a console radio from my creative writing teacher and was listening to it when American Pie came on, with a voice-over interpretation. It made quite an impression on me.

a kevin 10:34 PM  

@Spencer, TopRamen was OODLES OF NOODLES until 2000. yummm!

lit.doc 10:39 PM  

@darkman, I know. I was ref'ing a major groaner from the first Star Wars movie when someone says that they'll arrive at their destination in [whatever] parsecs.

lit.doc 10:53 PM  

@Naama, yeah, I had a major problem with "acá". "Aqui" is a preposition, while "acá" is an adverb. IMHO, the clue should have clued the part of speech for what must have been, for most, a pretty obscure Spanish word.

mac 11:07 PM  

Even though I didn't do the puzzle until the afternoon, I had to look it up again to be able to comment. So much celebrating: husband and BIL's twin-birthday yesterday, mine today, and lunches and dinner for days to come....

I found this puzzle medium-challenging, but that was because I didn't remember Ned! @Fiking: I'll have to go back and watch a little more of the DVDs.....

Up for each was totally unknown to me, Aca????? I didn't remember the saxes in Bolero, although I knew the music even before the Torvil and Dean performance.

Very good puzzle, just too much going on. Great work, Nathan.

ArtLvr 12:14 AM  

@ elaine, I conjured up Tony Hillerman mysteries too for HOGAN -- enchanting on so many levels! In The Sacred Clowns, the introspective Leaphorn reminisces on how he learned patience from his Navajo childhood: "... he'd waited for the roads to dry so he could get to the trading post, and waited for the spring to refill the dipping pool with the water he would carry to their hogan, and waited for the nuts to ripen on the piñon where his parents had buried his umbilical cord, thereby tying him forever to the family home..."


slypett 12:34 AM  

ArtLvr and Elaine: That tears it! Now I have to read some TH!

sanfranman59 1:27 AM  

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

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

Mon 6:47, 6:54, 0.98, 51%, Medium
Tue 8:56, 8:47, 1.02, 60%, Medium
Wed 10:54, 12:01, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium
Thu 22:53, 19:26, 1.18, 89%, Challenging
Fri 22:38, 25:51, 0.88, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:40, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Tue 4:28, 4:29, 0.99, 54%, Medium
Wed 5:45, 5:55, 0.97, 48%, Medium
Thu 10:45, 9:22, 1.15, 85%, Challenging
Fri 10:30, 12:24, 0.85, 14%, Easy

Unknown 10:58 AM  

Thanks for the "each" = "up" explanation. Never played that game, though.

Stan 12:51 PM  

Coming in very late with nothing to add, but I'm happy I stuck with it and finished. Enjoyed the signature non-Boomer SE corner.

Fun comments today--esp. Hazel et al. on Jagger and Tosh.

Happy birthday (yesterday) @mac!

fvigeland 1:15 PM  

Rex, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the three Spanish words in this puzzle as well, all coming in downs in the SW quadrant of the grid. That was what struck me first, then the FRUITs, then all the Italian stuff. But I had a very different solving order than you did, going (in general) all the middle, then SW, SE, NE, SW.

"En OTRO tiempo" definitely means formerly, like when we say "from another era."

Anonymous 5:46 PM  

I believe Rex's solution to Sunday NY Times 1/24 has an error. The lower right makes more sense if the answers are 124 down "nana", 124 across "nap" and 126 down "power". The problem is it requires 135 across to be "aloe" and you already have that answer at 67 across

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

someone help me out...the note at the top of our puzzle said 'each corner represents "nothing." Where does that come into play?

Where's That GPS? 2:48 PM  

@Anonymous, 2:20 --

Man, you are lost. There was a puzzle recently with blank corners that stood as a rebus for "nothing", but this ain't it!

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Thanks, makes sense to me now but threw me off this am! Small town, small newspaper - didn't remove the comment from an earlier puzzle!

Unknown 1:07 AM  

Way off in syndication land, so few if any will ever see this. But I've been a professional astronomer for 30+ years and can say that no one uses "eon" as a unit of time. A billion years is a gigayear (Gyr). I'd be way happier to see that in the puzzle!

But I did like the puzzle.

nwg 7:05 AM  

All explanations aside:
1) even in the most obscure of games, no one ever says "5-each"..."5-apiece" (as was earlier mentioned) or "5-all", yes. "5-each": never.
2) a "variety" of a "fruit" is, in no way, a "pod"
3) as RP explained, there is no intimation in the clue that "saxophones" should be cut to its abbreviated form...and if Ravel were alive and doing this puzzle, HE would have forgotten that he wrote pieces for two "saxes" in "Bolero"...honestly.

slypett 9:27 AM  

Rick: Thanks for the information, and welcome! we need an astronomer around here--som many stars, so few planets.

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