Capital near Excursion Inlet / SAT 6-5-10 / Triumphant shout / Magna Graeca colony / Boston skyscraper nickname / Dix follower

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: [Triumphant shout] — same clue for 10 different answers

Word of the Day: Galina ULANOVA (15A: Galina ___, old Russian ballerina whose Moscow apartment is now a museum) —

Ulanova, Galina (gälyē'nə ūlä'nōvə), 1910-98, Russian ballerina, b. St. Petersburg. Ulanova made her debut at the Kirov Ballet (1928), where she danced until 1944. That year she became prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, with which she first appeared in 1935, and she received numerous awards from the Soviet government. Noted for her lyric grace and beauty and the emotionalism of her superb acting, she excelled especially in Swan Lake and Giselle and in Lavrovski's version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (1940), in which she created the role of Juliet. First appearing abroad in 1951, she was lauded as one of the greatest ballerinas since Pavlova. After her official retirement in 1962 she continued to teach at the Bolshoi. (Columbia Encyclopedia)

• • •

Irony: I didn't shout triumphantly once during this puzzle. I think the concept is amusing and ambitious — ten theme answers! — but the fill I had to endure to get to the end of this thing ... let's just say you'd *better* love the theme, because there's not a lot else here to love. Any one or two or three or four of the following aren't going to bug me much, but in these kinds of numbers, the aggregate effect is sapping: OVIS, INME, ANUN, EPEE, HAEC (32D: Feminine "this," to Brutus), ANODE, AROAR, FICA, ANAS (!), SCAD (!!), SHEW (!?), ONIT, ENZO (21D: ___ Angiolini (women's shoe brand)), SUPE, ONEA, ENISLE ... and then the high-end crosswordese trifecta of ELEA, SPICA & ORLE (the official law firm of Crossworld). Since the clues on the theme answers are All The Same, there is a relentless quality of sameness to the solving experience, completely unalleviated by entertaining or intriguing words or diabolically clever cluing. Just a barrage of painful short stuff. Even some of the theme answers are really just common words (OLE, GIN, AHA, YES). Again, the theme density is very impressive. I just wish the overall quality of the grid were much higher.

I began weakly in the NW, figuring the triumphant shout at 1A would start with "I." USTA and AHA allowed me to build JUNEAU (1D: Capital near Excursion Inlet), which then prompted me to throw J'ACCUSE! down at 1A. Clever, but wrong. ULANOVA was a total unknown for me, so that had to be built letter by letter (the last letter being the "O" — POS = [Getters of letters]). There were no parts of this grid that fell particularly easily. The SE was probably fastest (I went there after the NW). Started with the random "S" at the end of what became SPRITS (25D: Sail extenders), and reluctantly used it to make SCAD (a most unlikeable word). No wait. I had SLEW at first, but then DEEDEE took me to SCAD. Thanks a lot, DEEDEE (44D: Myers who wrote "Why Women Should Rule the World"). ORLE (51A: Shield border) I knew from too many crosswords. I did not know CORTEZ at all (42D: "Lost" character Ana Lucia ___; never saw a single ep of "Lost" — zero interest ... I just know that some people on a plane get ENISLEd ...), but built her easily enough. ELEA (50D: Magna Graecia colony) I knew from too many crosswords. Same thing with SPICA (29A: Virgo's brightest star) in the NE, which is why I put those three in the law firm together. Somewhat galling to know that I am moving through the puzzle propelled almost solely by my vast reservoir of weird and/or exotic words I've only ever seen in crosswords. No fun in that.

Had most trouble getting into the NE. HURRAH for HURRAY was part, but not all, of the problem. Forgot PRU (22A: Boston skyscraper nickname, with "the"). Had HOT HEAD for HOTSPUR (18A: Impetuous sort). Had STEERS for STEEDS (20A: Occupants of 33-Across [i.e. Track adjuncts=> STABLES]) and so couldn't see ANODE (9D: Thermionic tube part). Tried YES WE CAN before I SURE CAN (13D: "You betcha!"). Etc. A good workout up there.

Theme answers, i.e. Triumphant shouts!:
  • 23A: AHA
  • 30A: BINGO
  • 32A: HURRAY
  • 37A: EUREKA
  • 38A: SWEET
  • 47A: OLE
  • 59A: YAHTZEE
  • 11D: YES
  • 53D: GIN

  • 28A: Dix follower (ONZE) — Heinrich ONZE, who followed Otto DIX as the official leader of the Freakist Movement after Dix became disenchanted and went off to paint landscapes somewhere. I think.
  • 4D: Human equivalent of a horse's stifle (KNEE) — So now I know the "stifle" and the "withers." I'm well on my way to becoming a horsine anatomist with the vocabulary I'm picking up via crosswords.
  • 7D: Occasions to compare noses (TASTINGS) — best clue of the day, I think.
À demain.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

UPDATE, 2:45pm — If you normally solve puzzles in AcrossLite or in the NYT applet, you'll want to download a .pdf of tomorrow's puz instead:


lit.doc 12:21 AM  

In an hour, I had worked out everything but that NW corner. Had PAVLOVA from the beginning, framed by TASTINGS and USTA. Other than that, I was still looking at 1A ____POT, 17A ____S_S, and zilch for 19A and 23A.

Three googles later, I had learned that I’d just banged my shin on an unusual EPEE clue, that I can’t remember Ms. Pavlova’s first name, and that I should have stuck with ALEPHS.

55A was an Embarrassing Bonehead moment. I knew perfectly well that “It” was Etna that had buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, but then needed like 45 minutes to think my way to “Yeah, dammit, it buried them in…” Doh[superscript TM].

Today’s guest WTFs were HAEC and ELEA. In fairness to ELEA, it at least looks like a word. And words alone can not convey how much I dislike ENISLE.

@Rex, terrific elucidation of DIX.

Clark 1:07 AM  

hic haec hoc, huius huius huius . . . I hear my brother-in-law saying these words. Thanks Rich. The SE nearly got me. Had 'stops off' instead of SWINGS BY for the longest time, and 'slew' instead of SCAD. And, particularly difficult to dislodge, I had 'mud' instead of ASH. So I wiped it all clean and ran the alphabet on the second letter of S _ _ _ G _ _ _. The W of SWINGS BY took me on home. HURRAY!

syndy 2:44 AM  

I toast both sides of my bread when i make a Blt much like this puzzle did to me!! Quite a bit of ugly-and when i gave up and came here i was glad i did cuz it didnt get any better. Can we shout any old game name ? how about BACKGAMMON!!! dix i thought was latin wanted ipsit I did like ASH (one of my few gimmees)stable yes steed no does one race a steed? Pretty sure licking ones nemeses in public is not polite,(okay some sour grapes here) going to bed now!

syndy 2:45 AM  

okay but wasn't it vesuvius?

chefwen 3:14 AM  

Got off to a faster start than yesterday, but soon ground to L.A. freeway crawl. Took me a long time to get about 80% done then I threw in the towel. It is around 9pm here
and husband just walked past me, saw me on the computer and said, what are you doing? I said cheating, he called me a quitter and I said "YOU BETCHA" my head hurts! And that is that. Sometimes you just have to know when to fold 'em

lit.doc 3:29 AM  

@syndy, yes, it was Vesuvius. That was the really boneheaded part of it.

fikink 5:28 AM  

Cannot believe I recalled my high school Latin.
@Clark, hic haec hoc, indeed! Do I remember saying "huic, huic, huic"?

Five-letter stars always make me go for DENEB and that says it all for how utterly clueless I was...Did this to go back to sleep and now I sit awake at 4 am with a headache...that is me, in Otto Dix's painting,
(Hilarious ONZE bio, btw, Rex! Thanks for that.

Not really your fault, Sam.

David 7:18 AM  

Since my meager knowledge of French numbers even surpasses my (nonexistent) knowledge of women's shoes, I wound up with ENCO/ONCE. Otherwise a real challenge. I also got the NE last. Note the geographically correct placing of the PRU.

Ruth 7:22 AM  

Gack! I bit on it, lit.doc. I had just chuckled at Rex's discussion of DIX and ONZE initially, then your comment made me think ONZE must actually have been somebody, and isn't that a weird coincidence, so I looked it up. Not. GOTCHA! (triumphant shout)

Leslie 8:10 AM  

There were no parts of this grid that fell particularly easily.

Ouch, and amen. This was one of those puzzles where I read through Every Single Clue, first time around, came up absolutely empty-handed, and felt that initial "I got nothin' " panic.

NW was the last to fall for me, even though 7D was my first fill. But I finally did get everything, correctly, without Googling and with only two write-overs: "hooray" for HURRAY and "barrage" for BESIEGE.

So now I can get on with my day! Woo hoo!! (My own personal triumphant cry.)

foodie 8:11 AM  

Serious befuddlement...

Malapop city...

(in a beautiful grid)


The Bard 8:14 AM  

A Midsummer Night's Dream > Act II, scene I

OBERON: That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew'd thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I bit on it, too. I was all set to write that I couldn't believe Rex didn't know the French for ten and eleven -- until I saw Ruth's comment. Gack, indeed. There really was an Otto Dix. Dan

Leslie 8:28 AM  

Oh, and I forgot to high-five Rex for the Scrabble tiles spelling out BOOYAH. Hee!

@lit.doc, I so agree on the word ENISLE. All sorts of wrong.

Signed, "mixest"--which describes exactly how mixed-up I was while working this puzzle.

Ben 8:30 AM  

@Anon, his "A demain" immediately afterward suggested le tongue was in la cheeque.

Had ____AU for the capital near Excursion Inlet and Could Not get away from NASSAU. Surely I wasn't the only one... actually, Patrick Merrell over at the NYT Wordplay blog felt the same.

A tough grind. Solving this was like the Russian army inexorably putting down an insurrection. When I finished I didn't say YAHTZEE or SWEET, I just said, "Well, that's over with."

Ben 8:52 AM  

And speaking of the USTA, (1) I'm off to play doubles and (2) you might enjoy tuning in the French Open women's singles final, starting shortly on NBC. A first-time Grand Slam champ will be crowned today on the red clay of Roland Garros.

imsdave 8:53 AM  

Definitely a good workout. Nice to see a themed Saturday to mix things up a bit. HAEC looks so strange, but the crosses are solid, so I sucked it up and left it in.

I thought 25A should have been clued via Ed Sullivan somehow.

JayWalker 9:02 AM  

This one made my head hurt and my heart ache!! Got maybe half of it on my own. Otherwise? I was a Google-eyed participant today. I HATE THAT!! I at least want a fighting chance. Rex's "Medium" being anywhere NEAR this puzzle discourages me beyond words. I finally finished it - but I hated how I had to do it. A big "NO" for me today. I shoulda stood in bed!

Golfballman 9:11 AM  

Dix follower onze, just how obscure can some of these clues get and still be considered fair?

Jo 9:19 AM  

Easiest: Alephs, onze, haec, a nun.Had trouble with Boheme and entire NE corner.Got it done in the end, a bit of a slog. But always satisfactory if no cheating involved. Thanks for the great quote from Oberon!

Doris 9:25 AM  

For some reason, (George Bernard) Shaw liked the spelling SHEW, which I could never understand. And he advocated the (unrealized, of course) reform of English spelling. Go figure. Nice to see Ulanova in the puzzle. A gimme for us balletomanes. Her tomb in Moscow has a life-size statue of her en pointe. Have a photo of it somewhere.

Dorothy Biggs 9:37 AM  

i got "ONZE" but not for the right reason. i thought "DIX" was the number ten from some vaguely remembered language that i don't know well but kind of know about, and "ONZE" must be the word for eleven. if "DIX" and "ONZE" aren't numbers in some latin/french-ish language, they should be.

i got "I SURE CAN" immediately, but erased it several times because i toggled back and forth between "FREEWAYS" AND "HIGHWAYS" before "BABYSIT" jumped out at me.

also, i thought "SCAD" was a fish and "SCADS" was a lot i dunno...

Hobbyist 9:52 AM  

Not exactly a stifle slapper but upbeat theme w tributes (??) to S. Palin and her home state.
I had fun and finished minus errors w wasn't the case hier.

Roxie 10:08 AM  

I got the western half of the puzzle so quickly I started to think this would be an easy Saturday. Then I hit the eastern and SE and was stopped dead by combination of Spica, sprits, supe (really? I wanted SUPER. Never heard them referred to as SUPES) Elea and Cortez. Had ON A LEAD, but then changed it because clearly, HOTHEAD was correct, and was "proved" by the crossing with TOTS (toasted on the outside). Anyone else think the "of" in "of modern humans" was wrong somehow? I thought of sapien, but wanted it to have an -ic or -al ending.

redhed 10:09 AM  

Totally folded and came here. DNF, not even close. Such a letdown after last week.

Off to pull weeds, hopefully they will yield more easily than the answers to this puzzle!

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I got most of this but was ultimately done in by spelling it HOORAY instead of HURRAY (which seems off to me, to close to HURRY).

Also had to google in the bottom right ... despite having just watched a Lost DVD in which the Ana Lucia character played a major role.

Folks, if you're confused about DIX and ONZE, just google those two words.

joho 10:24 AM  

I'm always happy to finish a Saturday without errors but I did not let out a victorious whoop in the end. Like @Ben, it was more a "Phew, that's done."

I had SCADs of write-overs: ONALEAd/ONALEASH, OATs/BLTS, HOThead/HOTSPUR and nassAU/JUNEAU.

It was reright city at ORLE/ONIT. I knew they were right but couldn't commit. Nearly wore out my Wite-Out.

@imsdave, I, too, wish it would have been about "A really big SHEW" at 25A.

This was killer but not half as fun or satisfying as yesterday.

Saturday Rules 10:24 AM  


Definitions of SAPIENS on the Web:

of or relating to or characteristic of Homo sapiens

PuzzleNut 10:36 AM  

Started with ALEPHS, AHA and nSTA, thinking I was going to fly through a Saturday. Oops - another triumphant shout, and another OMG, I'm starting to not like this puzzle.
Worked down with ABBEYS and ILKS, giving me EUREKA and STABLES, and the SW fell without too many more problems. Unfortunately, spent the next five minutes trying to get a toehold somewhere else.
Eventually moved around counter clockwise with some lucky guesses. SAPPHIRE was a big boost to the NE and I loved the BABYSIT answer. The NW looked hopeless, although I had TASTINGS, OVuS and ALEPHS. NEMESIS finally popped out and led me to CAMEAT. The stifle must be either heEl or KNEE, and once I changed it to KNEE, I hit the JACKPOT and fixed up JUNEAU. ULANOVA was all crosses.
My downfall was Dix follower. No idea on that or the women's shoe. Finally decided there must be a word Dixonia, and BOHEMA looked almost as good as BOHEME. Looking at ENZO now, I should have remebered the barber in Seinfeld.
Kept me busy for one cup of coffee which is just about right for a Saturday puzzle.

retired_chemist 10:38 AM  

Needed one google - ANY serious dog person (except, apparently, me) knows what a stifle is. I put HEEL and it stayed. And stayed. And NEMESIS "confirmed" it. And it f%#@ed up the entire NW for, like, ever. Eventually looked us stifle and realized I have had it wrong for 15 years. Sigh......

I'd say challenging, no medium here. I do now have SPICA to add to DENEB and RIGEL as crossworthy 5 letter stars, a bunch of triumphant shouts (Of which YAHTZEE is the one I am least likely ever to need), a ballerina I will not remember, an archaic present tense verb (SHEW) I initially rejected because I thought it was past tense, a distinction between ORLE and GULE, a 9th grade Latin minireview (HAEC, SAPIENS), a name from Lost which will be lost to me immediately, and a feeling of some satisfaction that I finished but not enough to use one of the triumphant shouts. Definitely not YAHTZEE.

Thanks, Mr. Donaldson, I think....

Brendan Emmett Quigley 10:40 AM  

When's the official t-shirts for the law firm of ELEA, SPICA & ORLE coming out?

retired_chemist 10:47 AM  

@ PuzzleNut - ENZO is also often clued as _____ Ferrari or similar.

@ syndy re dix ipsit - I think you mean ipse dixit.

fikink 10:53 AM  

@Ben, Schiavona just kissed the red clay!!!
Thanks for the heads up!

Doris 11:00 AM  

Found the photo of Ulanova's tomb. I know: Who cares?

joho 11:09 AM  

@Brendan Emmett Quigley ... sign me up for one!

chefbea 11:17 AM  

Tough puzzle. Had Hang out for 8A. Knew onze from my french classes many years ago.

Tinbeni 11:18 AM  

Nice BOOYAH shout out to Jim Cramer.

Puzzle, EPIC DNF.

PuzzleNut 11:39 AM  

@retired_chemist - Thanks, I do seem to recall that ENZO, but the shoe clue didn't help at all. I too am amazed at how much arcane trivia has infiltrated my brain. Now I've got a few more cells filled with fairly useless information.

dk 11:48 AM  

Had to come here for the G in ADAGIOS and GIN, and S in ENISLE. Feel dumb for the G not so bad about the S.

I eschew (note pithy reference to olde english SHEW) TV but find it interesting that an actress named Cortez is a Lost star. The bones of Cortez, hidden when Mexico claimed independence from Spain, were thought to be lost and were rediscovered in 1947.

My EUREKA moment was finding its spot on the grid as I knew EUREKA had to be there... somewhere. I hunted for Excelsior (NY motto) but no YAHTZEE there.

** (2 Stars) Just plain hard.

retired_chemist 11:53 AM  

@PuzzleNut - join the crowd of us who have ENSILED such trivia indelibly in our minds. Here is an example of the advanced stage of the illness.

Non-puzzle wife saw a turtle on the bank of our larger tank (pond, outside of TX) this morning, and commented that we have a lot of turtles this year (true). That of course led me into a flawless rendition of the relevant Ogden Nash poem. Response: "How can you remember stuff like that? Counter: "How can I not?"

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Une, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix, onze... Remember 'em, folks; they are precious gold, if yer gonna go toe to toe with the Shortz-meister. Better yet, watch "Beneath The Earth's Core" with French subtitles turned on. Worked for me.

Hate to admit that crosswordese was my ENTRY into this puz. USTA and ORLE saved my bony bacon. Pitiful. Also an early crutch was plunkin' down STABLES and HORSES. STABLES really helped; HORSES not so much.

Really yucked when we hit ONLEASH. Sounds like somethin' Tarzan would say... "Cheeta bad monkey -- put on leash!" Gotta love what desperate cruciverbalists will come up with next.

Thumbs way, way, way...yadda yadda...way up! McLuvin' it when you get a theme on the weekend. Puzzes oughta be about somethin', my book. Lotta U's, too. No LUXOR. I'm in!

Hi-Yo, ELEA-SPICA&-ORLE [great one, 44!] away...

Ed 12:01 PM  

Really big Shew.

Lon 1:38 PM  

@Leslie -- Ditto!!

Sometimes, I look at a blank Saturday puzzle and see no way in. An hour later, I'm done and without knowing many of the clues/answers that I've just worked. This one had a dozen or so of those.

@Ruth, thanks for putting me on to Rex putting us on!! Made his write-up hilarious.

MC 2:19 PM  

That was truly painful - I hate feeling dumber at the end than when I began. Quickly got, and enjoyed, ALEPHS and TASTINGS. Had SKETCHED (y'know, like an architect) as 33 down for a long time, which got me COM as the "type on the left side"...

And "ALLEGE" for "Hold"? Really? A court can "hold that..." but I wouldn't equate it with an allegation.

kate 2:29 PM  

Stray LOST trivia: Jorge Garcia who played Hurley on the show said in a recent interview that some of the cast used to solve the Friday NYT puzzle together during breaks on the set.

edmcan 2:51 PM  

@ Masked and Anonymous - it's un, deux, etc. when counting. Une is a feminine specific.

mac 3:21 PM  

Two-thirds of this puzzle was very quick for me, then I spent a lot of time on the top third, finishing in the NE. For a while I had Bosnie for 8D, so I put "stenos" down instead of steeds. Of course the stables set me right soon.

High school French and Latin came in handy aujourd'hui. Bring on the German, I still remember all the Dativus and Accusitivus and both depending on direction prepositions!

@Puzzlenut: I would have had a very cold cup of coffee....

mac 3:23 PM  

Accusativus, of course....

Bob Kerfuffle 4:35 PM  

I wrestled with this shark at the beach today, and it took large chunks out of my hide. Which is to say, Did Not Finish.

Had write-overs at HOTHEAD for HOTSPUR, FAROUT for FRINGE, and God knows how many attempts before correctly getting SWINGSBY. But I finished with a personal Natick at the crossing of ENZO and ONZE. And then there was the SE, full of blanks and garbage, anchored by the fact that I couldn't get past SLEW, and had no idea/wrong idea about ELEA, ONIT (had ATIT), and total ignorance concerning 42, 43, and 44 D.

(As for the character from "Lost": my sister kindly made a videotape of the 5 and one-half hours devoted to "Lost" on May 23 (including the Jimmy Kimmel show with "alternate endings"), which I just watched this week. No spoilers from me if you haven't seen it, but in the words of Click and Clack, "Bogus!" (or "Boooooogus!!!!").

TinaPete 4:42 PM  

Think counting in French dix, onze is 10, 11
Love your blog Rex.

ArtLvr 5:07 PM  

I nearly rolled on the floor at Hobbyist's memorable "not a stifle slapper" comment...

Also was looking at 32A with _UR___ and cried EUREKA!, but that turned out to be HURRAY with EUREKA yet to appear on the west coast. And in the NE, "What some teens do on Saturday night" started as Hang Out, with only a T in common w/ BABY-SIT. Huh.

Did anyone, in Latin class, learn a jingle starting "Hic, haec, hoc -- I'm a lucky bloke"? Probably now lost in the the mists of time...

While writing this we just had the FRINGE of a long-threatened "tornado with hail" -- the sun is out again after two minutes of rain!

My thanks to Sam -- today's puzzle may not have been an EPIC, but did SHEW some SWEET spots.


Sparky 5:41 PM  

Well, I was just so happy to get anything that it was a good day for me. @Doris, Ulanova my first entry. Ah, those movies at the Thalia. @imsdave and others. Sullivan--tee hee. Worked at it on and off all day and did most. Lost in SE corner. Some things I recognized as crosswordese but even then couldn't remember. I just love this blog. Thanks Rex and all. All in all, I'm just pickled tink.

PuzzleNut 5:46 PM  

@mac - Never said it was hot by the time I finished.
Reminds me of a wonderful joke. An older fellow is visiting his new doctor and the doctor is amazed at what good shape he is in. "You don't find many guys in their 60's that look as good as you" exclaimed the doctor. "Never told you my age, did I," drawled the patient. "I'm actually 76 years old." Amazing, thought the doctor, "Was your father as healthy as you when he was your age?" "Never said he was dead, did I. He's 93 and still works at his hardware store every day." "No kidding" gasped the doctor, "and how about your grandfather - how long did he live." Never said he died, did I. In fact he just celebrated his 115th birthday by marrying his 22 year old girlfriend." "Unbelievable - I wouldn't think anyone his age would even want to get married."
"Never said he wanted to," drawled the patient one more time.

sanfranman59 6:05 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 6:33, 6:55, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:31, 8:49, 0.97, 44%, Medium
Wed 10:16, 11:47, 0.87, 20%, Easy
Thu 14:19, 19:14, 0.74, 6%, Easy
Fri 32:06, 26:28, 1.21, 91%, Challenging
Sat 31:59, 30:43, 1.04, 65%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:01, 3:41, 1.09, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:42, 4:31, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:07, 5:47, 0.88, 19%, Easy
Thu 7:00, 9:12, 0.76, 6%, Easy
Fri 15:56, 12:47, 1.25, 93%, Challenging
Sat 18:09, 17:31, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging

chefbea 6:18 PM  

@puzzlenut LOL that was great!!

mac 6:27 PM  

@PuzzleNut: LOL!

I'm looking forward to this evening: Deb Amlen's booksigning in NY. I'm sure there will be lots of puzzle types.

jae 8:25 PM  

I kinda liked this one. Med-Chall. seems right with the West side and SE medium and the NE challenging. Although, the NW would have been tougher had I not known ALEPHS and OVIS, xwords and seen through the EPEE clue. I also think the ONZE/ENZO cross was tough and might have gone with ONCE if I hadn't remembered my HS Spanish. I'm with the NASSAU at first bunch and agree with imsdave et. al. that Sullivan would have been more fun.

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

This puzzle was another Saturday DNF for me. I get about 1/3 of them correct now. No credit to me, but I note from another blog that all the "Triumphant shouts" in this grid are placed symmetrically. This was apparently overlooked by Rex and the commentators here. It probably constrained the constructor and accounted for some of the abstruse crosswordese in the puzzle. I think this fact should be a consideration at least as mentionable as "which words someone may not like". BTW, I do not like the word "Booyah". Not even a little bit.

Rex Parker 10:10 PM  

Not overlooked. All puzzle themes are symmetrical. When they're NOT, then you'll hear something.

Noam D. Elkies 10:12 PM  

YAY for themed Saturdays — more, please!

Fortunately the NYTimes blog alerted me to this rare treat before offering any spoilers, so for once I tried solving a Saturday puzzle, and found it at the right level (barely finished), with the symmetrically placed theme entries [oops, just noticed Anon 9:42's comment] starting with a bang (1A:JACKPOT) and fittingly ending with a bigger bang (59A:YAHTZEE — no, I've never said it either). Yes, some unfortunate fill holding it all together, but that's par for the course late in the week, and there was also plenty of good non-theme fill (52D:ADAGIOS was particularly welcome given the clue and the temptation of "win" for 53D:GIN) and stacking.

20A:STEEDS — "steers" was my first thought too, but I've not heard of bullracing; still had to erase "diode" for 9D:ANODE. I did guess 2D:אS (making NW relatively quick) and know 22A:PRU (@David 7:18 — good point), and recognized 2D:HAEC (from a liturgical text "Haec est dies" sometimes set to music) and 50D:ELEA (as in Zeno, though my first guess was "Asia" under Tuesday's influence). Also knew 25A:SHEW, a spelling that still is (or at least was till not long ago) used in some British maths [sic] texts for "prove". Apropos "knew" and SHEW, yes, I too had "slew" for tew long where 41A:SCAD belongs.

Re:x — thanks for the riff on dix/28A:ONZE and the visual riff on 30A:BINGO (the closest I can come is "ballyhoo" if there's a usefully placed L or O on the board). @BEQ — Elea, Spica & Orle must be the attorneys for the cult of Ooxteplernon. @dk11:48 (Cortez), @ret.chem. 11:53 (Nash) — nice. @M&A11:55 — Spinal Tap may go to 11, but useful French counting numbers don't; one of these days somebody will seize the opportunity to clue SEIZE as "Six + dix" or somesuch. @puzzlenut: yes, an oldie [sic] but getting the reader to infer the punchline is a nice touch.


Rex Parker 10:23 PM  

@Noam and thank *you* for understanding the ONZE riff (i.e that it *was* a riff). You wouldn't believe the amt of mail I got today because of that. Or maybe you would.


foodie 12:27 AM  

Rex, as I read your DIX/ONZE tale earlier this morning, I laughed then wondered how many people would take it seriously, especially if French was not in their repertoire. I wondered whether the Freakist Movement, and the A demain coda, would be enough of a hint. But your humor was as Sherlock Holmes would say "diabolical" because it was such a mix of fact and fancy :)

fikink 9:34 AM  

@Rex, such riffs are why I avidly read you - this one reminded me of your hilarious play with OS X, Aussie, Oz and EMU sometime back.
...something about unfettered thinking

@Bob Kerfuffle, I appreciate your "personal Natick" designation. Indeed, we all have them.

Brian 11:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
FoodFixers 3:07 PM  

Thanks for pointing out that the themes are symmetric. I knew that the puzzle is symmetric but not the themes. Cool.

I made most of the same mistakes as Rex and these puzzles take me a lot more time than most here but I usually finish and this one was not an exception. YAHTZEE was the final lynchpin.

ed abendschein 8:21 AM  

I'm new to this site. In my browser I asked, "How close is Excursion Bay to Nassau?" And the first entry was Rex's comment. How embarassing, particularly since I traversed Excursion Inlet twice by by boat (although in my defense, both times was at night).

MikeinSTL 1:54 PM  

Hated it! This wasn't really worthy of Saturday NYT status -- the thing is, anyone can create a puzzle with a bunch of obscure trivia, but it's clever clues that make a Saturday. This was a big FAIL.

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