Fermion boson / SAT 8-14-10 / Hirsute sitcom relative / Cousin of custard apple / Hypersonic plane engine / Be More Chill novelist Vizzini

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Constructor: John Farmer

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: "The STRATTON Story" (3D: "The ___ Story, Jimmy Stewart baseball movie) —

The Stratton Story is a 1949 film directed by Sam Wood which tells the true story of Monty Stratton, a Major League Baseball pitcher who pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1934-1938. This is the first of three movies that paired Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson, the others being The Glenn Miller Story and Strategic Air Command. // James Stewart plays the part of Stratton, who in the off-season of 1938 accidentally shoots himself in his right leg while on a hunting excursion. When his leg has to be amputated, it looks as though his pitching career is over. Nevertheless, with a wooden leg and his wife Ethel's (June Allyson) support, Stratton is able to make a successful minor league comeback in 1946. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey everyone. Coming to you live from the Lollapuzzoola 3 Crossword Tournament in Queens. Well, not live. It's the day before, and I'm in a midtown Starbucks waiting for Brendan Emmett Quigley to show up so we can drink or ... drink, before our dinner at 8pm. Not the most exciting or romantic place to be spending time in NYC, but I gotta get in blogging time wherever I can this weekend. Can't really foist the blog off on guest writers yet again when I just did that last week, so I'm putting this thing together bit by bit, whenever I find time. Puzzle took me a good deal longer than my typical recent Saturday outings, but I don't normally solve in loud public places after a 3-hour bus ride, either, so let's just say it was Challengingish, for a Saturday.

Hardest part for me, By Far, was the SE. First, there's RUN AMOK, which is wrong. That's a big obstacle if you were dumb enough to put it in with virtual certainty (instead of its correct cousin, RUN RIOT=>49A: Go wild). I also stupidly had CUT INTO (?) for PUT IT TO (34A: Cheated in slang), though that got fixed well before I finally made the SE work. I've heard of a RAMJET, but not not not a SCRAMJET (56A: Hypersonic plane engine). Yikes. Figured TOKYO had to end with JOE (35D: 1949 Humphrey Bogart/Sessue Hayakawa movie), but -CORE didn't seem like a valid ending for 59A: Longstanding issue. What did you have in there at first? I had both MEDICARE and (my favorite wrong answer of the day) RED SCARE before my brain decided TASK (51D: Job) crossing PESKIEST (61A: Most difficult to manage) could work, and things started to loosen from there. OLD SCORE! Well ... of course? Did not know that those words in the 34D were PARTICLEs (34D: Fermion or boson), and never (I don't think) heard of a SOUR SOP (39D: Cousin of a custard apple). Yee+ikes. Rough stuff. But doable stuff, ultimately.

Loved the NW above all other places. Who wouldn't like a FIST BUMP (1A: Pound of flesh?) AT THE ZOO (15A: 1967 Simon & Garfunkel hit) (in front of the RARE BIRD exhibit?) (17A: One in a million). Nice nice stuff. Loved the clue on 31D: It's all downhill from here (MT. EVEREST). Otherwise, just solid Saturday stuff.

BEQ just showed up, so I have to go drink. Back in a bit.

Nope, false alarm. I mean, he *is* here, but we've decided I should just finish this up so I don't have to think about it any more tonight.

  • 16A: Armor plate protecting the hip and thigh (TUILLE) — whoa, mysterioso. Played D&D as a child and studied medieval lit in grad school and Never stumble on this fabric-sounding answer.
  • 25A: O.K. (HUNKY DORY) — Brendan claims this is the third ... no, second-best Bowie album. "Lodger" is third. "Station to Station" = #1. Discuss.

  • 38A: "Be More Chill" novelist Vizzini (NED) — I take it this isn't an Italian guy. "Be More Chill" doesn't sound like it's trans. from the ITALIANO. After Flanders and Rorem, all NEDs are insanely obscure. Weird. Odd. Look it up. I've run into half a dozen lately whom I'd Neh-ever heard of.
  • 40A: "World News Now" airer (ABC-TV) — wanted MSNBC or CSPAN until I got that terminal "V" and knew it would be something-TV.
  • 44A: Kind of accent used by Ado Annie (OKIE) — I asked BEQ what musical "Ado Annie" was from. His reply: blank stare. (it's "Oklahoma!")
  • 1D: Baccarat alternative (FARO) — I wanted KENO at first. I ... don't play any of the games named in this bullet.
  • 13D: "Take it from me, elections matter" speaker (AL GORE) — HA ha.
  • 24D: Port on Italy's "heel" (TARANTO) — BEQ and I were trying to figure out a way to make this answer the actual city of TORONTO. Could only convert one of the "A"s.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


operapianist 1:56 AM  

Managed to finish my FIRST EVER SATURDAY puzzle. Go me. For some reason I found this waaay easier than yesterday's, by which I mean today's cluing was tough but pretty inferrable (read: less fact-based). Even with -ILLE in place I had a hard time with TUILLE... I literally guessed, probably culling up TULLE from past puzzles. Was hoping for CHEXMIX instead of the (more) mundane DORITOS. First answer, and best, was MTEVEREST. Most annoying answer? Hands-down SOURSOP, mostly because I proudly entered WINESAP as a kind of apple from an archive puzzle (9/25/97) I just happened to do yesterday.

andrea cohost michaels 3:20 AM  

congrats! yes, yay you.
(That's 3 Y's, nothing compared to John Farmer's 5 Y's, 2 Z's, 1 J, 3 K's)(I know the apostrophes are wrong but it looks MORE wrong without them.)

This was a fun puzzle.
I liked the RAREBIRD/PUSSYCAT (tho I had PUShovers)
LOTS of wrong answers that accidentally became right...like I put in cUIssE (French for thigh) so it was weird the UI was right)

Will assume FISTBUMP was this puzzle's raison d'etre. Thought it set the mood.
Tho, second day in a row with NEDs I didn't know (Potter was the other)

Anyone else have riSKIEST for PESKIEST?Since I didn't know SOURSOP
(Had SOURpOP for a while...bec PC RAMJET sounded computer-y to me.

Anyway, still bummed that I'm not East, but Wade really has helped assuage that... @Rex! you should have had us co-blog for you!

Have fun, guys!

chefwen 3:35 AM  

It took two of us to get this done, but we did it. FIST BUMP was my groaner of the day. PUSSYCAT was my fave, I love the kitties.

Had RANamok before RAN RIOT as Rex did and that messed me up for a while.

My friend who owns a little cafe and smoothy stand uses SOURSOP in her smoothies, great in a smoothy, yucky to eat by itself, sour in the name says it all, and the texture is disgusting, real mushy.

Difficult but easier than yesterday in my not so humble opinion. I like Mr. Farmer's puzzles, but today gave me a slight bit of a headache and I had to recruit some assistance, which I often have to do on the weekend.

Hope all are having a good time at the tournament. Looking forward to reports and pictures.

johnranta 4:31 AM  

"It may be classified" cannot be the clue for a plural - "data". It should be "they may be classified". This throew me off for a while...JR

The Corgi of Mystery 6:30 AM  

Good, fun Saturday. SE seemed significantly more difficult to me than the rest of the puzzle, even after the (virtual) gimmes of SOURSOP and PARTICLES. Only super-minor complaint was that the 2 cheaters were a bit unaesthetic.

Leslie 9:20 AM  

Yes, I DID have "riskiest" before PESKIEST at first. Was way late in getting the fabulous FIST BUMP, because FARO wouldn't come to me. Kept thinking, "Keno? Naw. But . . . four letters . . . Keno? Naw . . ."

Did SCRAM JET make anyone else think of Roger Ramjet?

Other fave answers: PUSSYCAT, AL GORE, HUNKY-DORY, MORPHEUS(!!). Well, okay, the whole northwest.

Actually, the whole thing. Thumbs up.

Leslie 9:23 AM  

Oops--serial post: I also loved the 38A clue, because Vizzini is the name of Wallace Shawn's character in "The Princess Bride."

And my captcha word, I kid you not, is "angst."

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Gave up on this one. Maybe I just wasn't interested in puzzles. Some of the clues were just too cute for me. The Mt. Everest clue made me figuratively hurl.

Ben 10:00 AM  

Easy answers were scarce, so the few gimmes like DENNYS and ETCHES were the key to cracking this one open. ETCHES, e.g. made AZTECS and ABCTV clear, which led to ZEROEDOUT, etc.

Thought I knew my S&G hits, but ATTHEZOO, not so much.

21 minutes sounds respectable in hindsight, but it felt like a slow, grueling grind the whole time. That is a compliment. Nice tough puzzle, John Farmer.

Good to have you back, Rex. Holla at the Lolla folks for me.

chefbea 10:02 AM  

I found this easier than the last two days but had to google a lot

I think I've heard of soursop but have never tasted one.

Had popcorn, then cheetos..finally doritos

Have fun everyone in New York. Cant wait to hear all about it

joho 10:06 AM  

@Andrea, didn't just have riSKIEST, I left it in. That's because PARTICLI is obviously ITALIANO for PARTICLE. That's how my cousin of a custard apple ended up a SOURSOr.

Had Incan, Mayan before AZTECS. Also Sob before SADSTORY.

Lots to like in this puzzle, very original phrases. I did not like ESPIALS being furtive, however. Maybe they are, but to me it's just seeing something.

Great job, John Farmer!

To everybody at the tournament: best of luck!

Unknown 10:23 AM  

Really Rex? Rorem and Flanders, then insanely obscure? What about Beatty and Buntline just off the top of my head. I'm sure you'll get hammered with ten more on this one.

Wow! B.E.Q. sounds like my type of guy. You make it sound like it's almost imperative to start cock-tailing whenever you're in his presence, or is it the other way around? Lol. If Tinbeni was there, the blog probably never would have been posted. I'm sure he would have corrected Brendan's initial thought processes on priorities. Lol.

Well this was a slog, but finally succeeded correctly in just under and hour. Pretty pitful, but at least no DNF. Had the same problems as Rex with 34D and 39D, but figured SCRAMJET had to be right. Toughest corner for me was the NW. I've probably seen the STRATTON STORY 5 or 6 times on late night TV, but still couldn't remember it. I was trying to recall the German word for ARMS, not thinking of a specific weapon. Excellent bit of misdirection there, since UZI is usually clued as Israeli related. Had no idea how the French spelled TEA, and still couldn't believe THE was correct, but it had to be. Wanted NINO for 5D, ever Mother's pride and joy. Finally got FISTBUMP, and then everything fell into place.

Very nefarious by John and Will. After an utter FAIL yesterday, I feel somewhat vindicated.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

explain please drag=road. Dragway maybe but not just drag. Typical fri, sat combos no aha moment, no excitement, just a boring slog.

Joe 10:32 AM  

Used to listen to a lot of S&G but I've never heard ATTHEZOO.

Wouldn't enter RUNamok because there was no damn way the clue at 51D would begin with K.

NW was almost my Waterloo. But with MORPHEUS and PODIUMS in place I inferred -BUMP. Then, of course, I was certain it would be babyBUMP. No, no, and no. Then UZIS and BEBE appeared and the rest eventually fell.


Chorister 10:42 AM  

@anonymous 10:31 - back in my misspent youth, we called any main road the "main drag."

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

I filled in the bottom half of the puzzle quickly: started with 54A etches crossing 42D creche and wandered off from there. HOWEVER, hit a wall about half way up the grid. Confidently leapt over the wall by filling in 15A I am a Rock and 4D eau where Simon & Garfunkel intersected the Dijon drink.

Not helpful.

Began to suspect the song was wrong when it wouldn't cross with 1D keno. Also not helpful. Never eaten at Denny's, never heard of the armor plate. Or Taranto.

Seemed very bifurcated north vis a vis south to me.

Glitch 10:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glitch 11:01 AM  

"At the Zoo" (1967) Trivia ...

The narrative tells the story of a trip to the Central Park Zoo, perhaps under the influence of drugs.

In 1991, Paul Simon released a children's book titled At the Zoo which combines the lyrics ... with the ... illustrations of Valerie Michaut.

To make this book appropriate for children, Simon made changes and additions, including identifying Rum as a beaver (because the original lyric states that "the zookeeper is very fond of rum") and giving the hamsters headlights (because they "turn on frequently").


Glimmerglass 11:04 AM  

I think of "the main drag" as "main street," but what else are you going to do with "roa_"?
Great (hard) Saturday. The middle east fell at the last. I worked for a couple of hours and slowly figured out the rest, but got stumped by "weeper"; I had "sad sacks," missed the plural. Went to a 1.5-hour meeting and came back, and found that my subconscious had solved the section (Gertrude Stein's "mailbox").
I also had "riskiest" for a while, but somehow "sour_o_" suggested "soursop," an old-fashioned somethingorother, which gave me "scramjet" (never heard of it) and "peskiest." Funny what clutters the attic of one's mind.
Didn't like "fistbump," even when I saw it had to be right. Knuckles are not "flesh." Had "cuiras" instead of "tuille" early on, but that goes somewhere else on a knight's body. "Spread" and "stalk" are pretty clear, "assign" is a bit of a stretch for "fix."

foodie 11:22 AM  

Exactly, I mean Exactly the same path as @Anonymous 10:48 AM. It's freaking me out.

I love that AL GORE quote!

And the whole thing is really making me want to head to Italy.

Unknown 11:54 AM  

@AnonymousSaid: I think you should change your handle to Capt.Curmudgeon. You seem like a very irascible individual. We may be brothers from different mothers? LOL.

Fortunately, TARANTO was a "gimme" on my grid. It was one of three ports I visited while serving Uncle Sam in 66, the other two being Brindisi and Naples.

Vis-a-vis the cluing of DENNY'S, it brings to mind a very interesting bit of sports trivia. Many years ago, there was a baseball player named Ricky Henderson. His greatest accomplishment was breaking Lou Brock's all time base-stealing record. I'm pretty sure he's in the Hall Of Fame. Ricky had an ego big enough to have it's own Zip Code, and he was a notorious whiner and crybaby. He once demanded having a six month old contract renegotiated because a player at his position on another team had just signed a contract for a higher salary. If memory serves me correctly, he was playing for the Yankees at the time. Big surprise !

Anyway, Ricky pulled a hamstring muscle and was out for a very protracted period of time. Some began to question the length of his rehab. A sportscaster of the era opined that Ricky was "Mooning Over His Hammy" or in other words, "Dogging It." The phrase morphed into "Moon Over My Hammy" and was mentioned continuously that summer.

Now, I can't prove what I'm about to say, and I have no definitive proof to support my conjecture. However,I believe that somebody in the Denny's hierarchy seized upon the Henderson debacle and decided it would be a catchy addition to the breakfast menu? The time line may be all wrong. I don't know when "Moons Over My Hammy" were added to the list of Denny's fare. It just seems like way too much of a coincidence to me, and I'll bet 100 shares of the VXX that I am right. Well, maybe not a hundred shares. LOL. I know someone will do their homework on this. Just sayin!

son of dad 12:06 PM  

I did this puzzle while watching Jersey Shore, so of course I had Fist Pump instead of Fist Bump. Whoops.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

@chefwen, have you ever had soursop fresh off the tree (in my case in the South Pacific)? It's sweet, not sour, wonderful texture, is called the ice cream of the South Pacific.

Mel Ott 12:20 PM  

Finally solved it, but it was a long slog.

2 obscure movies by 2 Hollywood icons of the 40's and 50's. 2 idioms that don't sound quite right for the clues (34A & 45A). A S&G song that I must have heard but just don't remember - nice song, too. Thanks, Glitch.

Andrea, I also wanted something like Cuisse. Tuille looks and sounds like it should be some kind of lacy fabric instead of armor plate!!

Wanted Lindsey GRAHAM for 13D because he said something very like this explaining his unexpected vote for Obama's Supreme Court nominee. The Al Gore quote certainly makes sense and I think I remember him saying it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

@44 and BEQ: To get yer TORONTO, constructor friend Erul proposes:
Clue for 38-A: [27-D in reverse].
You can see why Erul hasn't made the big-time yet. Have a blast in the big-time city, dudes.

SatPuz fought back like a well-educated wildcat, but eventually we got 'er down to a couple guesses, like at 5-D crossin' 20-A and FISTBUMP vs. FISTpUMP. I say "we", cuz I did the first 1/3 and then the missus got hold of it, and did the heavy liftin'. One wildcat fightin' another til only one was left a-standin'. I just stood back and watched the fur fly.

JenCT 12:42 PM  

Found the southwest to be the easiest.

Also had RUN AMOK.

REMY Martin made me think of @Tinbeni.

Alas, DNF - still too hard for me.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

For whatever reasons, this was (obviously for me) the easiest Saturday I've ever done. Probably helped that I knew the Stratton story right off, as well as at the zoo.

Masked and Anonymous II 1:03 PM  

P.S. The missus snarled at me one time, when my 15-A entry of IAMAROCK didn't play well with others. Seemed OK to me. We call such things "figs". I forget why; somethin' to do with a puz of yore, I reckon.

Tinbeni 1:10 PM  

Rex and @Chaos1
If I was meeting someone for drinks before dinner it would NOT be at Starbucks.

Yup, Run Amok. Never heard the term RUN RIOT.
New also was SOURSOP and SCRAMJET (is that a Super-Charged RAMJET?)/ So I do have a SE that looks like a Rorschach Ink Blot test.

Got NED from the crosses, looked at the clue, said WTF! and put down this SAD STORY poured some REMY in my java.


Clark 1:20 PM  

Thanks @Glitch for the clip. This is one of my favorite S&G songs, but it didn’t come to me (when I was doing the puzzle) as a 1967 song. I was listening to it in, oh, about 1972. Reruns.

Could not come up with FIST BUMP. I got so frustrated I peeked. I hardly ever do that.

D_Blackwell 1:32 PM  

Hey now, don't you tell me you don't remember me 'cause I sure as heckfire remember you.

Ned Ryerson

Two Ponies 1:40 PM  

I nearly gave up but finally beat the spread. Another day of wicked clues.
I've had a good week so I'm sure a big slice of humble pie is heading my way.
In Jamaica they have sour sop and sweet sop. I forget what a custard apple is.
I did not know those particles and having steam jet for a bit (what do I know about jet engines?) made 34D some kind of title. That was the peskiest part for too long.
Cohost started as costar.
Old score was medicare.
Loved the clue for Morpheus.
Ugliest word - espials. Yuck.
Anyone try our old xword pal rara avis first?
I hope we hear of all the East and West coast socializing that's going on.

Doc John 1:51 PM  

What about NED Beatty? He's not so obscure.

Every time I see "run amok" I think of an episode of "I Dream of Jeannie" where that phrase figures prominently. Too much TV? Probably so.

retired_chemist 2:03 PM  

Many of the above writeovers. And a crucial google. Had to, to remove REAGAN @ 13D which messed up the NE for a LONG time.

Still do not get ORDS and never heard of SCRAMJET, so that crossing was my last square.

MESSIEST for PESKIEST @ 61A, KENO for FARO, failure to commit to BEBE (NENE, NINO, NINA all work).

A solid puzzle, more solid than my performance last night - and today.

Rara avis too 2:11 PM  

Definitions of scramjet on the Web:

A scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) is a variation of a ramjet distinguished by supersonic combustion. ...

A jet engine capable of propelling an aircraft at hypersonic speeds; combustion of the fuel/air mixture occurs at supersonic speeds


Masked and Anonymous 2:20 PM  

@chemist dude: ORDS=city ORDinanceS, I think. Kinda made my engine light come on, too. Have a good one.

Ulrich 2:42 PM  

Knowing too much and not enough at the same time was my downfall in filling in the last 3 squares: I new OTRANTO was a city on the heel of Italy b/c of the Walpole novel and since it fitted so well with the crosses I had at the time, I would not let it go. Had I known of TARANTO, I may have found a way to resolve the resulting mess, but I didn't, and given my background in Latin, it never occurred to me to consider DATA as a singular to be classified (I know, I know--no need to comment). Result: I gave up...

Unknown 3:02 PM  

@Tinbeni: You crack me up! I had forgotten that Rex said he was at a Starbuck's. It would have taken me about ten seconds to get him out of there. No double Venti Mocha Pumpkin Latte's from a barrista for me. I'm a 7-11, Dunkin Donuts guy. Give me someone who can make the quintessential Johnnie Walker Black scotch mist with the obligatory crushed ice. Hold the zest. If I want a lemonade, I'll ask for it.

Here's where the term SCRAM came from. I have to thank a fellow blogger on WordPlay for jogging my memory. As an ex-submariner in the nuclear navy, I knew about this. I just couldn't relate it to jet propulsion:

" Scram has an interesting etymology. When nuclear reactors were first developed in the '40s under military auspices, the nuclear reaction rate was held in check by control rods of neutron-absorbent material inserted in the gut of the reactor pile; the positioning of these rods determined the reaction rate, and therefore the heat generated. The rods were suspended in a vertical position from an overhead frame by ropes and pulleys. In the event that the rods had to be re-inserted quickly to prevent the reactor from "running away" and therefore going critical -- or exploding, the ropes were cut by an axe, thus allowing the rods to fall into the reactor. The person who performed this action was the Safety Control Rod Axe Man. The military was fond of acronyms, and so the reactor operation manuals contained note of this person as the SCRAM, and the act of shutting down a reactor in an emergency was referred to as scramming. Eventually, I suppose, it made its way over to scramjet as an offshoot development of the ramjet engine. English is wonderful."

There you go. More useless information, but true.

Ahh, java! The sun is over the yardarm now. Cognac and coffee? Nah! Scotch and steak!

Agree with TwoPonies. Espials! Yuk!

It had to be RARAAVIS no? Not!

Glitch 3:07 PM  

@Late Night (and any others)

Re: "Live Link Issue"

I've posted some info and a "how to" in yesterday (Friday's) blog.

Take it as more practical than authoritative ;)


syndy 3:20 PM  

got hunkydory, Itt,enormous,okie dennys,doritos, creche and etched w/out crosses but also messiest,nino, scoopjet?run amok best of. STill don't know espials? Oye?soursop? custard apple at least sounds tasty-anyway I always took "Peskiest" as mildly annoying.Mostly liked the puzzle but i had a History prof who used to test on obscure parts of armor and i Felt it was unfair-still think so

Clark 4:07 PM  

@Glitch, @LateNight, et al --

I have heard that in the last few days Google has tweaked Blogger, making changes that are supposed to catch more spam postings. This is being discussed on other blogs, where people are trying to figure out exactly what is making their comments disappear. That's all I know, or more than I know, even.

(Double post. I meant to post today not yesterday.)

CoffeeLvr 4:09 PM  

Hello, contributors to this site. I had a L O N G morning. First did the NY Times syndicated puzzle in my KC Star, & had a good performance (for me) on a Saturday (no errors, 9 Googles).
This inspired me to finally create my Blogspot identity, and sign up for NYT puzzle on line, and well, it was MTEVEREST from there. Of course, I was using AcrossLite for the 1st time, plus this is a much harder puzzle than 5 weeks ago. Now if I can just get my printer functioning, I can skip the online solve tomorrow.
I have been lurking here, and learning so much, for quite a while, so I decided to join you. My posts will always seem quite late, due to the Central Time disadvantage coupled with my retirement schedule.

chefbea 4:47 PM  

@coffeeLvr Welcome. Always glad to have new people joining us.

Glitch 5:01 PM  


Don't worry about being a late poster. It actually saves time.

I find the longer I wait, the more likely the mundane topics will have been beaten to death and I can bring up something new, or not ;-)


PS: @Clark --- that's why some older (and simpler) techniques have stopped working.


Ulrich 5:15 PM  

Following up on Glitch's "more practical" advice: Even if you use the HTML A tag to embed a hot link, you should copy-and-paste the URL into the HREF attribute (that's what's between the quotes Glitch mentions): I find it excruciatingly tedious to type in a lengthy URL manually--I always make mistakes and therefore always copy and paste it. What I mean to say is do not take the discussion as a blanket prohibition of copy-and-paste (cut-and-paste is a misnomer)--just use it wisely!

chefwen 6:00 PM  

@Anon 12:15 - Yes I have had SOURSOP right off the tree and as 2Ponies stated, there are soursops and sweetsops, you probably had the latter as soursops are quite acidic. The sweetsop is also called the sugar apple.

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

FISTFULL would have been a nice answer for "pound" of flesh

sanfranman59 6:25 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 6:56, 6:58, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Tue 9:52, 8:50, 1.12, 87%, Challenging
Wed 9:28, 11:45, 0.81, 9%, Easy
Thu 28:24, 19:18, 1.47, 97%, Challenging
Fri 27:05, 26:32, 1.02, 60%, Medium
Sat 30:16, 30:56, 0.98, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:43, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Tue 5:05, 4:33, 1.12, 85%, Challenging
Wed 4:57, 5:46, 0.88, 16%, Easy
Thu 14:42, 9:15, 1.59, 97%, Challenging
Fri 13:50, 12:55, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 17:21, 17:42, 0.98, 47%, Medium

jae 8:50 PM  

I found this one harder than yesterday's with NW being the stickiest, although AMOK was a problem in the SE for while. When I finally realized it was the movie Munich I got it. But, even with FARO, ITALIANO, and MORPHEUS in place I was staring for a long time. (Also, I never heard of the STRATTON movie).

Noam D. Elkies 10:08 PM  

Solved Fri/Sat this week to warm up for Lolla III, where I had much fun though I probably didn't come as close to the Local finals as I did last year. I knew of both 24D:TARANTO and Otranto (though I couldn't locate them on the map) because Quine mentions them in Quiddities as Italian words with unexpected pronunciations: both are accented on the first syllable. "Taranto" seems to be also related to "Tarantella", of which the last movement of Mendelssohn's "Italian" symphony is sometimes cited as a famous example. With this kind of dance music available, why bother to argue which Bowie album is #1?... That song is way more interesting than most of today's pop fare, but it still doesn't hold a Zippo lighter to the real stuff.


Anonymous 11:11 AM  


i know its a matter of personal preference but i wonder if BRENDAN has ever experienced BOWIE FROM BERLIN ?

if he does he may change his order of merit

anyway be well


GenJoneser 1:27 PM  

Did this puzzle on train to Montreal so am late posting this comment, but had to.

My Dad loved that phrase "Moons Over My Hammy" and would go to Denny's just to get a chuckle. He would crack up every time it was uttered. Every single time! His sense of humor got him through 11 years of very difficult cancer treatment. I was so proud of the way he handled his illness. Never a complaint or a why me. Truly inspirational to all. He passed away last November and he is greatly missed.

Peace Pop and enjoy your "Moons Over My Hammy" wherever you are!

mennoknight 9:11 PM  

Bowie albums for me go: 1) Lodger 2) Hunky Dory 3) Scary Monsters. Couldn't get past RUNAMOK and got stumperooed.

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