Big-time kudos / SAT 2-27-10 / Emulate Niobe / Captain Nemo's final resting place / Operation Bikini co-star 1963

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Constructor: Patrick John Duggan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Gnarls Barkley (29A: Grammy-winning Gnarls Barkley, e.g. => DUO) —

Gnarls Barkley is an American musical group collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) from New York, and rapper/vocalist Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway), from Atlanta. Their first album, St. Elsewhere, was released in 2006; it and their first hit, "Crazy", were major commercial successes, and were noted for their large sales by download. The duo released their second album, The Odd Couple, in March 2008. (wikipedia)

Coincidentally, Danger Mouse (half of Gnarls Barkley) will release a new album on March 9 as part of his new group Broken Bells (a collaboration with James Mercer of The Shins)

• • •

72 words is pretty high for a late-week puzzle, but when a grid is this clean, this fresh, it's easy to see the value and upside of a somewhat high word count. Very workable grid leads to astounding smoothness, with all the difficulty located in the (devilish) cluing. In short, not an ELKES in sight, and despite being harder than yesterday's puzzle, this one was much, much more lovable. It's also more daring. MAD PROPS (1A: Big-time kudos) and OH, SNAP (16A: Response to a good dig) in the same grid!? That's a wicked lot of 2006 (i.e. Gnarls Barkley-era) slang to cram into one puzzle. I guess you gotta get that stuff in before it gets too dated. Anyway, I loved it all. A nice, tough, 11+-minute workout for me. Even something as forgettable as T-BALL is enlivened by having its pals C BATTERY (36D: Common toy go-with) and E*TRADE (59A: Dot-com with an asterisk in its name) in the grid. MAD PROPS, for sure.

Couldn't do much with the NW and so went over to the NE, where I flubbed 18A: Preparatory stage (LEAD-UP) by entering PHASE I. The upside of wrongness — it occasionally leads you in the right direction. In this case, the "A" gave me TSA, which gave me PATINA (9A: Film about the Statue of Liberty?) (which I'd just seen in a puzzle immediately prior to starting the NYT), which gave me POLOS (9D: Tops of golf courses?), and I was on my way. Ran down the eastern seaboard until petering out in the far SE, where SURE AM and lack of certainty about how to spell SIEGEL (49D: Film critic Joel) and ENCASE all stopped me cold. Moved slowly but surely up from the front end of MR. PEANUT (34A: Mascot that's a shell of a man) until I got into the NW, then circled back down to the SW, where BRAT PACK (41A: Demi Moore was in it) came easily, but the front end of CATLIKE (36A: Slinky and stealthy) did not. Brain wanted only EELLIKE, which is probably not a legitimate answer, though who's to say anymore? TSO (55A: Eponymous general) broke me through and I came whipping around to the S and SE, where I finally polished things off. "A" in UNSEATED (64A: Moved out?) was the last letter in.

Nine "?" clues today. I've never counted before. Is that a lot? It felt like a lot, but it's Saturday, so such playfulness is expected, and most of the "?" clues were good, or at least inoffensive. I was super annoyed at not being able to get 42D: Dog's coat?, but then when I got it (KETCHUP), I had to give it the MAD PROPS it deserves. Favorite clues of the day — for their fine combination of misdirection, subtlety, and accuracy — were 66A: Opening used before opening a door (PEEPHOLE) and 37D: One being printed at a station (ARRESTEE). The latter clue was so good, it made me completely forget that ARRESTEE is pretty crappy fill.

  • 32A: Disco or swing follower (era) — fine, but if we were talking about the Swing Era, wouldn't the words be capitalized? (I'm looking at you, "swing")
  • 2D: "Operation Bikini" co-star, 1963 (Avalon) — also the place where King Arthur went to die (or not) and a Roxy Music album from 1982.

  • 5D: Means of forced entry (rams) — grrrr ... "means" is singular *and* plural. I didn't consider the latter possibility until ... well, until I looked back and noticed I'd gotten the whole answer from crosses.
  • 13D: Captain Nemo's final resting place (Nautilus) — the name of his ship. "Final?" You never know. Maybe he'll come back. Just like Arthur. From AVALON. Aaaaany day now.
  • 52D: Triumphant song (paean) — I'd like to thank grad school for teaching me this word. This word, and ENCOMIUM, which is its near equivalent. See also PANEGYRIC.
  • 56D: "Laverne & Shirley" landlady (Edna) — I was *addicted* to this show as a kid — every Tuesday was "Happy Days," "Laverne & Shirley," and then bedtime. Still, didn't remember this right away. Charlotte Rae, from "Facts of Life," has taken the only spot my brain has for sitcom EDNAs. Whoops, scratch that. EDNA Krabappel's in there too.
  • 57D: Emulate Niobe (weep) — one of the few flat-out gimmes in the grid.
And I'm done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefwen 1:57 AM  

Thanks to all who tried to help me out to set my dad right on rank and file. It didn't work, but the sweetheart is 90 and sometimes you just have to let it go.

Re. puzzle, I did as well as I could, but still ended up short of the mark. Not unusual for me on Saturday.

Looking forward to a Sunday extravaganza.

lit.doc 2:27 AM  

Slow-motion massive fail. Worked out NW and central Atlantic. Got ___EMAND, NAUTILUS, and APPEAL TO in NE. Got ARRESTEE, TAILOR TO, and EDNA in SW. Got SIEGEL, NORSE, and WEEP in SE.

Symptomatic of the rest was “getting” GRASS for 9D (high-quality wrong answer, IMHO), SURE IS for 48D, and ENSURE for 50D.

Seeing the answer, “Film about the Statue of Liberty?” is brilliant. That 41A wasn’t a movie title, ditto. That 66A had me chasing an utterance, ditto.

[Embed pic of Bill The Cat exclaiming “Ack!”]

Elaine 5:04 AM  

I was using white-out to 'refresh' my grid before I finished this puppy. My first entry was PATINA at 9A, and I worked my way down the east side feeling smug. Used to live in HESSE--used to TEACH. PAEAN was very helpful in the south...Oh, yeah, HERE WE GO!

Then I just ground to a halt. 'Batteries' wouldn't fit. 'Keyhole' kind of fit; (I didn't notice the P from WEEP in the center for a while, but when I did that area solved itself.)

Most annoying moment: realizing I had written ARRESTEE in the margin and then decided it was 'not a good word.' Ditto AVALON. How could I fail to notice it fit? Googled the movie in the end, but decided not to slap my head for fear of more brain damage.

Must rethink 3 AM solve time.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Ketchup on a hot dog? If you're six, I guess.

CJP 8:43 AM  

I could not get off READUP for "Preparatory stage," and therefore wound up with the puzzling POROS (huh?) for "Tops of golf courses"

chefbea 8:45 AM  

Tough puzzle. Lots of words I had never heard of - mad props,oh snap, gnarls barkley to name a few. And what is MIA=honoree on 3rd friday of Sept??

Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes. Had a great day.

Readeri - where one goes to buy reads

retired_chemist 8:50 AM  

@ Chefbea - MIA - Missing in Action - military personnel lost in battle and unaccounted for.

Meg 9:08 AM  

Great Saturday workout and devilish cluing!!!

I almost died in the SW, mostly because I wanted an animal baby for "Springtime arrival" and JOYSTICK, since BATTERY wouldn't fit.

@Anon 8:29. I always put ketchup on my hotdogs. Besides, it's a very healthy part of the vegetable food group.

retired_chemist 9:17 AM  

A LOT harder than medium here. Spinning my wheels on Friday night and finishing up Saturday morning is getting to be the norm.

But worth it. VERY nice fill and clever cluing. Favorites: MR PEANUT and PATEN (with its salacious undertone).

Unforced errors: 15 A was the classic Jimmy Cagney line WHO DID IT - from Mr. Roberts, line delivered by Capt. Morton (Cagney) after Ensign Pulver (Jack Lemmon, who got an Oscar for the role) threw his d**ned palm tree overboard. 36A FURTIVE.

Something I forget (but it was a good answer) instead of 18A LEADUP. Ditto for 61A HERE WE GO. These answers with several small, common words which could be a LOT of things make for a challenging puzzle IMO - often a cul-de-sac for me.

Never heard of E*TRADE but it was inferrable from crosses. Ditto the neologisms MAD PROPS and OH SNAP. All good stuff.

I think ECLAT was not well clued. It references the act itself, not the praise for it.

Let me be the first to give MAD PROPS to Mr. Duggan for the whole puzzle. Rex's referred to a specific clue.

Peter Panic 9:21 AM  

You honor POWs and remember MIAs. This threw me for a while.

edith b 9:40 AM  

It pays to have a granddaughter who is up on the latest slang and is a fan of things Hip-Hop. She tries to educate me on these things - sometimes successfully, sometimes not but I was familiar with OHSNAP and MADPROPS through her as our interests coincide when to comes to language, less so when it comes to music.

As Rex noted, there seemed to be a lot of ? clues which means there was a certain opaqueness to this puzzle. I felt like I was looking at it out of the corner of my eye and I had to "go with the flow" to solve this one.

It took me a while to get this one but I feel like my horizons have been somewhat broadened as the only true neon I had was, curiously enough, BRATPACK. 80s movies were a quilty pleasure of mine and I still pay attention to the career of Judd Nelson (she says looking down sheepishly.)

Oh, and I knew Gnarls Barkley was a group, so DUO was a semi-neon. I guess my granddaughter was more successful with my musical education than she thought.

Dough 9:48 AM  

I loved this puzzle a lot. It's not a show-offy grid, but great entries, and where the words are weaker, the clueing elevates them. Big props, indeed, for Mr. Duggan. Mr. Peanut, brilliant! Oh, Snap! Joyous!

ArtLvr 10:02 AM  

Egad, too bad -- so close, yet I finally quit without getting the NE completed... I had most of it as of last night, darn it.

I wanted Mock Up for a Preparatoy step, rather than LEAD UP, couldn't see POLOS and PATINA, though they were both fairly clued, both with ? which I managed to overlook.

I just wish I'd held out this a.m. until the coffee was ready! Great work, MAD PROPS to P J Duggan.


Bob Kerfuffle 10:05 AM  

Back to pen on paper and having fun.

Nice Saturday puzzle, half-hour with breakfast.

Started with gimme at 9A, worked my way almost strictly clockwise around the grid, shared others' hesitation at OHSNAP and ECLAT, one write-over at 58A (REW before REC), finished at 1 A with MADPROPS, not in my vocabulary but had to be what it was. No offense at 36 A, CATLIKE, though at first glance "Slinky and steathy" sounded less than complimentary.

The springtime arrival of ARIES has become a crossword cliche; maybe time for a new clue.

ingneser 10:10 AM  

Got to love TSA and TSO in same puzzle. TB,CB and SV word starts almost made me WEEP.

PanamaRed 10:12 AM  

No ketchup for hot dogs (it's forbidden in some Chicago hot dog stores) - mustard is for hot dogs.

Got PATINA only through crosses - didn't "get it" until I came here.

Failed in the southwest - keeping my record of finishing Saturdays at about 50% intact.

Still don't get 62A PATEN - can someone explain that to me?

joho 10:20 AM  

Absolutely loved the cluing which made me smile when I got AKA, EATCROW and KETCHUP among others.

Took me waaaaay too long to figure out POLOS/OHSNAP. I couldn't get a high geographical form out of my mind, you know, like a POLO is similar to a mesa. Doh! I've heard OHSNAP, but it did't come easily this morning.

MADPROPS is brilliant just like this puzzle.

Patrick John Duggan: great job!

Hobbyist 10:24 AM  

What does a poi have to do with a toy?

JannieB 10:24 AM  

Definitely a challenge for me. Crazy hard cluing - but I loved it all. As fresh as a BEQ puzzle, and that's high praise indeed.

Stuff I dropped in right away surprised me by being right (arrestee, svelte, Aries). Loved Mr Peanut, Peephole, Ick, Patina.

Perfectly pitched for a Saturday.

retired_chemist 10:28 AM  

@ Hobbyist - POI is 35D, toy ref. is 36D.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@Panama Red a paten is a plate often used to hold the wafer (The Host) in a communion service. Oh snap and mad props never ever heard the expressions. Response to a good dig maybe ya got me but I can't imagine anybodt saying oh snap. Golfballman

HudsonHawk 10:45 AM  

Mustard only. I dropped in BRAT PACK and worked through the SW quickly, then hit a wall. Didn't help that the mute neighbor just had to be VOL.

Restarted in the NE, and as OH SNAP was coming into view, I hesitated. Would that really make the NYT puzzle? Sure enough. After that, the grid fell like dominoes.

Great puzzle, Mr. Duggan.

Glitch 10:52 AM  


"Oh snap" was new to me also, but wife knew it instantly as a phrase [over]used by the young-uns at her office,usually accompanied by a snap of the fingers.

See also "My Bad".


CoolPapaD 10:52 AM  

Loved this - one Google to get MILANO, and I was then able to clean up the multiply written-over NW.

Don't understand POLOS or POI. I'm not that old (I like Gnarles) but I don't think I've heard MAD PROPS before - nice!

Clue for KETCHUP was awesome!

Kurt 10:53 AM  

A real knuckle-buster for me. The "wicked lot of 2006 slang" was my undoing.

archaeoprof 10:56 AM  

I put ketchup on a hot dog. But only after the mustard.

Lots of fun in the cluing today, with misdirections all over, and not all of them with "?"

MADPROPS to Patrick John Duggan.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@CoolPapaD- Polo as in shirts worn on golf courses. Poi, as a side dish.

Elaine 11:04 AM  

Okay, I'll bite: why don't hot dogs take ketchup? Look, they've just been simmered, maybe put on a grill. You've won. You can do any damn thing to them you want to!

In Cincinnati, they have a chain of horrifying eateries called Skyline Chili, where they put ersatz chili on hot dogs; worse still is a 'five way,' with..chili, onion, cheese, possibly eye of newt. (I had one.
Once. In 1974. I think they make the chili with ketchup.)

captcha: coloping--Oh, snap! for your colon. (See 'chili dog.')

PanamaRed 11:21 AM  

@golfballman - thanks for the paten explanation - I've seen it in movies - we Lutherans don't use them.

@Elaine - I'm a transplant to Cincinnati, and agree about Skyline Chili - ate there once when we moved here in '94 - never again.

I hope I never hear anyone say, "oh, snap."

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

The madsnap and ohprops and gnarlsbarfly were not part of my vocabulary (still aren't), so a google on Operation Bikini got me unstuck.

i liked the puzzle even if i didn't finish it without resorting to google.

mitchs 11:34 AM  

If I hadn't read the author's name I would have guessed BEQ. That's a MADPROP.

(A little surpised that there wasn't more of a hue and cry from Maleska-ites over some of these entries.)

Nancy in PA 11:36 AM  

Am I the only one who had "touche" for OHSNAP? How dated is that? Also put in AVALON and erased it, put in EATCROW and erased it...almost wore out the paper. But great fun and admirable puzzle. Perfect Saturday.

CoolPapaD 11:42 AM  

@tpt - thanks. Got them from the crosses, but was drawing a big blank! POI is one of only a few foods I found truly inedible.

Here in Phx, Sonoran hot dogs are popular:sub-style buns, with bacon-wrapped grilled dog, jalapenos, whole pinto beans, tomato,onion, lettuce, shredded cheese...

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I had touche as well -- it was the first answer I entered.

I also made such a mess of the bottom left that for a while I had BATTTERY and couldn't figure out why "springtime arrival" was TRIES.

Also had MRPOTATO for a bit for no apparent reason.

But I sorted it out and got the whole puzzle without googling. Strange to get annihilated last Friday and Saturday and then get them both this weekend.

Two Ponies 11:55 AM  

Medium? Not in my corner of the universe.
I could not pick up on this constructors way of thinking.
I have never seen a device or toy that took only one C battery.
Complete fail for me and not a good end of a less-than-stellar week of puzzles. I believe Tuesday was the only bright spot.
@CoolPapaD, That Sonoran dog sounds tasty!

hazel 12:10 PM  

The only time I've ever actually heard anyone say MADPROPS, I just felt sorry for the guy. He was trying so hard to sound hip, and he just really really failed.

Puzzle was a brick by brick affair for me. When I started, I thought it would be a Lindsay Vonn effort (DNF), but all that staring "out of the corner of my eye" as @Edith B so aptly stated - and poof, Thank you for Playing.

Although the clue vagueness factor was a little on the high side for my tastes, the completed solve was very rewarding.

@CoolPapaD - that Sonoran DOES sound tasty!!

lit.doc 12:12 PM  

Clue: "Hotdog purist". Answer: OXYMORON. That said, I gotta toss some sauerkraut into the recipe.

Most trenchant commentary thus far from the Picayune Points of Hotdoggery crowd was Elaine's "they've just been simmered, maybe put on a grill. You've won. You can do any damn thing to them you want to!" LOL.

And I totally don't get all this outrage about catsup, or ketchup, or whatever. "If you're six, I guess"?! Blatant ageism. All the rest, blatant condimentism. Chili dogs rock.

And the way my mom cooked, ketchup was a basic survival tool, as it can cover up the taste of almost anything.

slypett 12:15 PM  

ECLATs de rire! During the first pass I was gored by this bull. I got up, prayed to St. Google, and worked my cape, swoop! swoop! swoop! I finally gave it the coup de grace. Though I now mourn for the nearly indomitable beast, I am grateful to have survived its savage onslaughts.

CoolPapaD 12:24 PM  

For thise interested, here is a link re the dogs. I recommend a side of Lipitor:

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

@CoolPapaD- do those dogs come with their own cardiologist?

Stan 12:50 PM  

My wife asked how "More Than This" came up and laughed out loud when the connection was Frankie AVALON.

Two Ponies 12:59 PM  

@ chefwen, I'm worried about you and the tsunami warning. What's going on where you are?

ggill 1:06 PM  

love the gnarls. chewbacca on the drums, storm-troopers on guitars... mad (nerd) props!

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

OH, SNAP has to be a euphemism for "Oh, sh*t," and sounds to me mighty older than it is (like the 1920s).

Here is a site that incorrectly traces it to 2004; one of the comments sources it "at least 20 years ago." It has a handful of cute graphics, like this very fresh one (don't miss it!):

It's easier to read if you go to the site linked above and click on the image.

BTW, Blogger doesn't accept my attempted IMG tag to embed the image here, but Rex has no problem. GRRR!

BTW2 (basketball): If Cal beats ASU today, they will clinch at least a tie for their conference title, which they haven't won since 1960. Droughts in other major sports are equally dismaying. So GO BEARS (puleaze)!!!

Larry the Lurking and Yearning Bear

Bill from NJ 1:23 PM  

I lived in Louisville KY for a time in the 70s and was called on to travel to Cincinnati periodically and the natives took me to The Gold Star Chili parlor, a competitor of Skyline Chili.

I had mine 3-ways: chili, cheese and onions. The basis of the Cincinnati Chili is Allspice and is an acquired taste. I can certainly see why some people didn't find it palatable.

I did enjoy it as I like to try regional delicacies in my travels. When I was in Phooenix AZ, I ran into something called the Wineburger which was truly delicious.

archaeoprof 1:34 PM  

@Elaine, Panama Red, and Bill from NJ: the recipe for Cincinnati chili comes from the Middle East, so it has nothing at all to do with tex-mex chili.

As a Cincinnati native (I bleed Cincinnati Red) I grew up eating the stuff. My mother gave it to me. Don't tell me it isn't good.

BTW, Bill from NJ is right. Gold Star is way better than Skyline. I can tell Gold Star from Skyline just by looking at it.

Gimme a 3-way, with a cheese coney on the side, mustard no onions.

Go Reds!

chefwen 1:42 PM  

@Two Ponies - The sirens started at about 6 a.m. and all the coastal areas are being evacuated. Roads, stores, gas station, are all a mess. We, I think, are high enough not to be affected. Also, by the time the waves work their way through the chain of islands, by the time they hit Kauai, they will be pretty well played out.

On the other hand, I am reeeally hungry for a good 'ol Chicago Dog, right NOW! Thanks guys.

wipolitt - what might happen on the south shore today.

retired_chemist 1:43 PM  

Have not yet figured out how the 16A clue relates to OH SNAP. Will someone half (or less) my age, or who has access to same, clue me in?

retired_chemist 1:45 PM  

Oh, thanks, Larry. Cross posted. Sorry.

Rube 1:49 PM  

This set a new record for me... a record number of googles and still DNF. Discouraging after smoking yesterday's.

@lit.doc, your Mom and mine must have gone to the same cooking school, or not.

Speaking of hotdogs, next time you're on Kauai, (assuming it's still there), be sure to try a Puka Dog. Puka means hole in Hawaiian. They take an unsliced large bun and skewer it with a hot poker 'til it's toasty warm, then put a polish sausage inside with Hawaiian style mustards and relishes, viz. mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut, etc. No ketchup. A vegie dog is available as an option, (read ICK factor here). I understand that there is a Puka Dog store on Oahu now.

What is meant by props, as in MADPROPS? My 20-something kids are useless for this kind of thing. They couldn't even tell me what "mojo" is. Maybe I could hire @EdithB's granddaughter.

Clark 2:05 PM  


Here is an entry for OH SNAP from 'The Urban Dictionary.' Note especially the sample dialogue at the end. Darrin gets in a good dig on Ted by suggesting that Ted's mother is, shall we say, loose. Ted could respond by saying "OH SNAP" (and, importantly, making the OH SNAP gesture), but in the example it a third party that says it, illustrating the flexibility of the phrase. Or something.

(exclamatory phrase) a playful indication of surprise, misfortune, or insult
popularized by Tracy Morgan of Saturday Night Live, OH SNAP is seemingly derivative of oh no you didn't where an insulted person, for example a guest of Jerry Springer or often a spunky African American woman contends the insult being made against him/her. While derivative of "oh no you di-int," OH SNAP has more of an emphasis on playfulness and can be said by people other than those being insulted.
see also: OH ZIP

Ted: Man, where you been all afternoon?
Darrin: I had to stop off at your mom's place for a nooner that last a bit longer than expected.
Ben: OH SNAP!"

Ben 2:09 PM  

My mistake was too casually putting in YESMAN rather than YEOMAN for "Official's helper", which mostly looked right, so I got tackled on the 1-yard line and came here rather than take the time to clean up the mess myself. This was after I finally got CBATTERY. I knew the C and B were right but it looked like one of them was wrong.

A mere 11+ minutes, Rex? MADPROPS.

chefbea 2:17 PM  

weather channel just said all countries bordering on the pacific are under sunami warnings . Hope everyone will be ok

Dirty Harry 2:19 PM  

Nobody puts ketchup on a hotdog.

lit.doc 2:21 PM  

@Rube, I'm old enough that when I started seeing (though never hearing) "prop's", I googled it. It comes from one or another variation of giving someone proper credit and respect.

BTW I was in college before I learned that meatloaf wasn't supposed to be gray...

R. McGeddon 2:34 PM  

I also had a problem with ECLAT. It means brilliance. But then OED def. 3b has "Conspicuous success; universal applause, acclamation. Chiefly in phr. with (great) ├ęclat."

chefwen 2:49 PM  

@Two Ponies - I neglected to thank you for your concern, how rude of me, so thank you.

@Rube - Don't tell me that you actually liked the Puka Dog, I personally think they are disgusting.

hemis - what you might get from eating Puka dogs

Rube 3:40 PM  

@chefwen: Where on the island are you? It sounds like you're far enough inland that you're safe, but I'm worried about our place on Poipu as we are close to the water. Would you e-mail me re status? I'm listed on Rex's Followers, toward the end with the non-avatared.

I'll pass on your opinion about Puka Dogs to the continuous stream of some 20-30 people lined up out front of the Puka Dog store every day for ~3 hrs at lunchtime.

@lit.doc: Tx for the def. I was sure it was something like that. I should have gone to the Urban Dictionary as it's not in M-W... yet.

Nancy in PA again 3:53 PM  

Here's a first--two posts in one day. "Props" is said to come from Respect, lyrics by Otis Redding, sung by (of course) the Queen of Soul:

I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home...

sock it to me, sock it to me...

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

too many clues trying to be clever but just being weird or slightly off....

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

"Loved this challenging (for me) workout. What wonderful wordplay and misdirection and fresh fill. I'm at intermission of Cavalia - a great horse extravaganza from cirque soliel. Even non-horse husband is enjoying it.

nanpilla 4:24 PM  

That wa me - nanpilla

OldCarFudd 4:43 PM  

11 minutes, Rex? My gawd! I think I'd better go back to the puzzles in the Star-Ledger.

This took forever, and almost did me in. I had never, EVER heard of mad props or oh snap. The cluing on the rest was devious, brilliant, and tough. I ended with one error, that I should have caught: etrane/enna. A fine Saturday puzzle.

I hope the casualties from this quake are few. I haven't seen details yet from interior Chile. Joan and I are scheduled to go to Chile next month on an Elderhostel bicycling trip. Our plane tickets arrived in today's mail! We're supposed to go about 300 miles from the epicenter - it may not be enough.

Elaine 4:46 PM  

Agree with @R.McGeddon (really?) re 'eclat.' I might do something with great eclat and get no kudos whatever!

Recommend 'The Daily Show' both for unbiased news and Modern Language. I knew both OH, SNAP and MAD PROPS (also Major PROPS, etc.)

@Lit.doc, Rube
Okay, top THIS: MY mother made 'pizza pies' from Chef-Boy-R-Dee kits and added her own toppings, e.g., leftover peas In the words of Dave Barry, I Am Not Making This Up.

Hilarious comments today...makes it easier to face the 55 degrees with cloudless sky weather we're having. (Sorry! Thinking of you, Chefwen. And poor Chile! And the entire Northeast.)

addie loggins 5:00 PM  

Great write up, Rex. Hard puzzle for me, but I finished in less than an hour with two mistakes ("yesman" rather than YEOMAN and "ers" rather than ERA).

Struggled in the NE after writing "windup" for LEADUP, and in the SW after writing "wimps" for DRIPS. CATLIKE was one of the last to fall.

Great words, excellent cluing. Well done, Patrick!

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

not only is EELLIKE a legit word (albeit a crappy crossword entry), it's the only word in the english language that begins with two double letters.

Slime Boy 5:42 PM  

EELLOVE also begins with two double letters and expresses even stronger emotions toward eels.

chefbea 5:47 PM  

@anon 5:27 what about llama

miguel 6:03 PM  

@slime boy, eellust is weird, too, but don't forget that eellooking takes eellike a step further. @chefbee...llaama might qualify, but not llama.

Stan 6:06 PM  

We're making meatloaf (seriously) -- spurred on by the ketchup discussion. Just learned the word 'panade'. Off to buy ingredients!

dk 7:17 PM  

Got both Gnarls Barkley CDs so DUO was not so hard.

Had to EATCROW on the rest.

Although I did have 2 hotdogs for lunch today with deli mustard and relish (no kraut available). KETCHUP is for namby-pambies.

Never heard the phrases MADPROPS or OHSNAP. Age thing.

Happy to see HESSE again. Beneath the Wheel is my favorite (ditto age thing)

WEEP not, got sunburned skiing today.

*** (3 Stars) A killer like Saturdays of yore.

secret word: sadio - how you feel after eating crow

sanfranman59 7:31 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 6:36, 6:54, 0.96, 40%, Medium
Tue 11:04, 8:46, 1.26, 94%, Challenging
Wed 11:17, 11:53, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium
Thu 22:49, 19:33, 1.17, 87%, Challenging
Fri 22:53, 26:08, 0.88, 20%, Easy-Medium
Sat 34:15, 30:19, 1.13, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:39, 0.90, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:24, 4:28, 1.21, 90%, Challenging
Wed 5:25, 5:50, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium
Thu 11:26, 9:23, 1.22, 91%, Challenging
Fri 10:16, 12:35, 0.82, 11%, Easy
Sat 17:41, 17:25, 1.02, 60%, Medium-Challenging

There's an unusually large disparity today between the Top 100 solvers and all solvers relative to their usual Saturday solve times. In any case, this one trends to the challenging side of the ledger.

Rube 9:15 PM  

@stan (& readers of both blogs): You've inspired me. I'm going to pull out my new BassMaster and make a Bass & Turkey meatloaf... with KETCHUP.

(Actually I'll use boneless bass fillets in my old cuisinart. RubeWife is down on beef these days even though she was raised on a cattle ranch.)

Will let you know how it turns out after an opportune future Xword. We've beaten this "offer" to death.

Tx ChefWen. We're all breathing a sigh of relief.

3 & out

jae 11:11 PM  

Excellent puzzle! Thanks Mr. Duggan. Medium-Challenging for me. I got hung up in the NW until I sussed out AVALON but the rest was pretty smooth. Elaine is right about The Daily Show as a good source for stuff like MADPROPS and OHSNAP. I also remember the lead female character on "My Name is Earl" used OHSNAP a lot as a complement for a good one line gibe. So, watching mindless sitcoms can help too.

mac 11:24 PM  

Hope everyone on the Pacific is ok!

I finished this one unaided, but it took a long time. Oh, snap and mad props were totally unknow to me (anybody think of malapops at any time?), and I must have erased Milano 4 times.....

Anonymous 11:39 PM  

Who has ketchup on a hot dog?????

Obviously not from NY.


Anonymous 9:21 AM  

llama begins with one double letter, not two

>>chefbea said... @anon 5:27 what about llama<<

Van55 12:30 PM  

Tried posting a comment yesterday from my BlackBerry but failed.

The clues for this puzzle were too cute by a half.

Hawaiian side = POI -- a traditional side dish at a luau.

Tops on golf courses = POLOS -- shirt brand often worn by golfers.

UGH. Hated it.

Stephen 8:58 PM  

I got out-dodged in several spots here, but eventually understood them (mascot that's a shell of a man, picture receiver, be cut down to size) and had to admire the construction. And I can't keep up with impossible things like MAD PROPS and OH SNAP... they are just going to be forever out of reach.

It's with some sheepishness that I come to ask about "street name lead-in". Nobody commented on it, but I still don't get why AKA (Also Known As?) fits. In my world, streets don't have multiple names often enough to be renowned for it. I waited 36 hours for it to suddenly come to me, but I now despair. Someone have sympathy please!

Stan 10:33 PM  

@stephen: Think nickname or alias 'on the street'.

Rube 10:39 PM  

@Stephen: Al Capone's street name was "Scarface", which also appeared on his rap sheet as an "AKA". "Bugsy" Siegel and "Bugs" Moran, recently mentioned here, were their "street names" as well as appearing on their rap sheets as AKAs. (I forget what their real names were.)

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

MY first time here. Love the NYT puzzles usually, but the Sat. 2/27/2010 puzzle angered me; OHSNAP is something to abstruse for me. Reminds me of a STAN NEUMAN Newsday puzzle; Is anyone else as mad as me when it comes to MR. Neuman?? Fred Florida

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