Folk guitarist Leo / SUN 3-20-11 / Chick lit book / Conifer with durable wood / Ulster Norfolk / Locale for many a gondola

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: medium

THEME: Chick Lit — Book titles that include a type of bird. I find it interesting that all of these books have also been made into movies, though I don't suppose that's relevant here.

Word of the Day: Leo KOTTKE (15D: Folk guitarist Leo) —
Leo Kottke (born 11 September 1945, Athens, Georgia, U.S.) is an acoustic guitarist. He is widely known for his innovative fingerpicking style, which draws on influences from blues, jazz, and folk music, and his syncopated, polyphonic melodies. Kottke has overcome a series of personal obstacles including partial loss of hearing and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage in his right hand to emerge as a widely-recognized master of his instrument. (wikipedia)
• • •
treedweller here again. By now, scores are probably posted for all of today's puzzles from the ACPT, where Rex Parker appears to be in 36th place. There is one more puzzle today before the finals. I assume he will be back to his regular duties tomorrow.

After glibly expressing confidence about finishing this puzzle at the end of yesterday's post, I printed it out today and saw BEQ in the byline. I panicked a little because he always seems to find my weak spots, especially in music and pop culture stuff (including sports). I dove in and found myself leaving a lot of blank spaces. A Lot. My confidence level on the first several answers I entered was low. As usual, he stumped me on several empirical facts that I just didn't know, such as GINO (37A ____ Franco (watch brand), KOTTKE, OWEN (44a: ___ D. Young (Time's Man of the Year in 1929), ODOM (71D: Lakers star Lamar), OIUDA (74A: "A Dog of Flanders" writer), and I would not be disappointed if I never again had to guess the name of a race horse (11D: First horse to compete in all three Triple Crown races --- WAR CLOUD). I got lucky on a few more; for example, the little sports I know comes largely from watching the hometown teams, like the Mavericks, for whom NASH played a few years (48A: Two-time N.B.A. M.V.P. Steve).

I was at least ten minutes into the thing before I caught on to the theme at LONESOME DOVE and started feeling hope again. Once I knew I was looking for titles, I started dropping in long answers and finished in about 30 minutes. On Sundays, I tend to get bored before finishing, but I think a good Sunday time for me is about 20, so I called this medium. I hasten to add this was not a Sunday that I was inclined to put down. Once I gained a little momentum, I steadily plowed through and was a little surprised to realize I was done. And this time, I really did finish with no mistakes.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Chick lit book #1 (1992) THE PELICAN BRIEF --- John Grisham thriller--seen it, haven't read it.
  • 33A: Chik lit book #2, with "The" (1843) UGLY DUCKLING --- Probably most of us heard this story as children. I'm still looking forward to the day I turn into a swan.
  • 39A: Chick lit book #3 (1965) THE STERILE CUCKOO --- The title was reasonably familiar. I had to google to find out if it was a movie or not. I can't tell you anything else about it.
  • 59A: Chick lit book #4 (1974) SIX DAYS OF THE CONDOR --- The movie is just Three Days. You always have to edit them quite a bit to get the film under two hours, it seems.
  • 69A: Chick lit book #5 (1960) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD --- One of my favorites, book and movie. It made me wish someone would leave secret gifts for me in a tree somewhere.
  • 87A: Chick lit book #6 (1930) THE MALTESE FALCON ---- After seeing the movie several times, I finally read the book recently. The movie is good. The book is better.
  • 95A: Chick lit book #7 (1985) LONESOME DOVE --- Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer winner, though I like some of his others at least as much. It was so long it had to be made into a miniseries.
  • 109A: Chick lit book #8 (1967) WHERE EAGLES DARE --- See 33A above.
I'm not really one to count black squares and white squares and theme squares, but this was an impressive array to me, even in a large grid. I was a little sad to see just one title had to get clued "with 'The'" but I am happily cutting major slack for that.

By far the ugliest part of the grid had to be GINO / GNC / UIES / PAWER. GNC slowed me down because I was thinking CVS for a long time, but it was more or less familiar when I finally got it. GINO is a mystery. Though I have come to accept that I must wait for a cross or two to decide if it's TSAR (86A: Opponent of Napoleon), "tzar" or "czar", it still really bothers me to have to choose between UIES and "Ueys", since neither really seems right. PAWER isn't really in the same section, but I had to include it here on principle.

But, again, I'm cutting major slack. That's not much iffy fill and a lot of pretty nice stuff in addition to the theme answers.

  • 116A: Spread, as rumors (BRUITED) --- This is one of those words I think I know but could never define without a dictionary. Throw in the deceptive past tense in the clue and you've got a real winner.
  • 83D: Classic sandwich (HAM ON RYE) --- Three letters means BLT. Eight letters means WTF. And then it is just so plain and obvious when you get it.
  • 15A: ____ Works (KRUPP)— The 'K' was my last letter. Once I finally got that corner done, I was fairly sure it was right, but I stared at _OTTKE for a lo-o-ong time wondering what I had missed.
  • 88D: Shift's end / 92A: Start to production? (HEM / PRE) — Proudly caught the letteral clues here for PEE and TEE. Had a small internal debate about whether I liked the two of them crossing that way. Realized I had a problem and that the shift was a dress. Finally got to use the trick for real at
  • 24D: Chess Opening? (CEE). Similarly, I wanted "glued" for 13D: Stuck (TREED), then found GLUES TO at 68A: Affixes on.
  • 115A: Christmas or Yom Kippur (HOLY DAY) — I can't be the only one who started with "holiday".
  • 30A: A nut might go on one (RAMPAGE) — After a little queasiness over yesterday's TREMOR, I find myself delighted by this RAMPAGE. Timing is everything.
I hope you've all enjoyed my guest stints as much as I have. Now I look forward to letting Rex do all the work again.

Signed, treedweller,
on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


lit.doc 4:00 AM  

Back from spring break. Houston. Big Impressionist show from the National Gallery at the MFA. St. Paddy’s Day (and night) at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. And sister-in-law who’s way too cool for crosswords. Mixed bag.

DNF. Picked up on the theme at TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, which helped a lot, but gave up after an hour with 6 unfilled squares: 25A T?E?O, 44A O?E?, and 58A ME?I?.

Had what I imagine will be pretty common rewrites: EXONERATE / EXCULPATE, FANG / MANE, and QUARTET / GAL PALS (nice, that one). 27A was stubborn as a mule. 56A “P.R. locale” = ATL I still totally don’t get, and OSSEOUS s/b spelled HIDEOUS.

And 116A BRUITED? Really? Well, hmmm, now I see it’s actually a word. Dang.

@treedweller, hi—and thanks. LOL at the run-time commentary on CONDOR. And that’s a “no, it wasn’t just you” on HOLIDAY.

chefwen 4:06 AM  

I winced when I saw BEQ as the author as we are seldom on the same wave length but after getting my foot in the door it went down rather smoothly, I may have to change my opinion on his puzzles. Caught onto the theme early and it helped with the rest of the solve.

chefwen 4:09 AM  

@lit.doc - go to bed!

Dan 4:18 AM  

Am I the only one who was bothered by 51a? The "Italian city" is NAPLES; the city "in Italia" is NAPOLI.

Since I'm apparently railing on Italy today, I don't like 25a. I mean, the clue "Russia's longest river" would never mean THEVOLGA.

Okay, in actuality, I'm railing against the NE for sticking me with a big fat DNF. I got through the rest of the puzzle without much struggle, but just couldn't finish off the NE. I would've thought that knowing KOTTKE would help in a rough corner, but nope. Ah well.

lit.doc 4:25 AM  

@chefwen - OK, so what's your excuse? Hi, and so to bed.

JaxInL.A. 6:49 AM  

Can anyone help me understand where the egg of the title fits into this poem? Do the dots represent excisions which might help? (Don't be put off-only the first two lines are in French.) This is a highly literate crowd, so...

T.S. Eliot
A Cooking Egg

En l'an trentiesme de mon aage
Que toutes mes hontes j'ay beucs ...

Pipit sate upright in her chair
Some distance from where I was sitting;
Views of the Oxford Colleges
Lay on the table, with the knitting.

Daguerreotypes and silhouettes,
Her grandfather and great great aunts,
Supported on the mantelpiece
An Invitation to the Dance.
. . . . . .
I shall not want Honour in Heaven
For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney
And have talk with Coriolanus
And other heroes of that kidney.

I shall not want Capital in Heaven
For I shall meet Sir Alfred Mond:
We two shall lie together, lapt
In a five per cent Exchequer Bond.

I shall not want Society in Heaven,
Lucretia Borgia shall be my Bride;
Her anecdotes will be more amusing
Than Pipit's experience could provide.

I shall not want Pipit in Heaven:
Madame Blavatsky will instruct me
In the Seven Sacred Trances;
Piccarda de Donati will conduct me ...
. . . . . . 
But where is the penny world I bought
To eat with Pipit behind the screen?
The red-eyed scavengers are creeping
From Kentish Town and Golder's Green;

Where are the eagles and the trumpets?

Buried beneath some snow-deep Alps.
Over buttered scones and crumpets
Weeping, weeping multitudes
Droop in a hundred A.B.C.'s

(up in the middle of the night with the same dang cold)

Rex Parker 8:05 AM  

Hey all,

Breaking my own rule to comment without having done the puzzle OR read the blog—just a note to say that there are dozens of regular readers of the blog here at the ACPT, incl. a bunch of familiar names from this comments section. About 660 contestants total. Top three right now are Dan Feyer, Anne Erdmann, and Francis Heaney, with Tyler Hinman very close behind (technically tied, but tiebreaker favors Francis).

I left a square blank on the VERY EASY puzzle 1, but have aced everything since and am currently in 36th. One puzzle to go. Going to take it nice and slow and see if I can't hit 44 again. I like that number.

Current ACPT rankings are here.


Smitty 8:10 AM  

Theme answers were easier than some of fill. (I wish they'd decide on a standard spelling of U-ey)

Also, what makes these titles chick lit? I was looking for something more Jane Austen-y.

Evgeny 8:51 AM  

Hand up for Naples @ 51a - poor cluing! a nice puzzle otherwise though.

Pegasus 9:16 AM  

The high concentration of proper nouns and the less than stellar cluing are for the birds, imho. After a series of outstanding Sunday puzzles, starting with Liz Gorski a few weeks back, this BEQ was a big disappointment.

Alpine Joy 9:53 AM  

Did anyone using Times Reader 2.0 get what must a wild error in the puzzle?

It's really, really weird, and I've printed it out.

For short, the first letter of every clue is clipped off. Even the "N" in NY Times at the top of the puzzle is missing, even the "B" in Brendan's name is missing.

My puzzle only prints out to 113 across words, and 104 down words.

This must be some kind of major error, not part of the puzzle, right? My Reader 2.0 puzzle is only 18 columns wide, not 19, yet the numbering all follows in order, with 19 across being the first word in the second row, not 20!

What gives!

OldCarFudd 10:30 AM  

I. Did. Not. Like. This. Puzzle. I couldn't imagine having to know the names of chick lit books, so I was in a grumpy mood to start with. Then there were loads of obscure names. I continued to grump my way through it, eventually entering book names I'd heard of given just a few crossings, and wondering why they were considered chick lit. I finished as I often do, sticking in letters that seem to be the only ones that could POSSIBLY be right even though I don't know why. No aha! moment, so I was just as crabby when I finished as when I had started. Sometime later I looked at the theme answers and finally realized they all had birds. Doh! That made me appreciate the puzzle more, but I still hadn't enjoyed the solve.

I agree with the gripers about the Napoli cluing.

Grump, grump, grump. And growl, too.

chefbea 10:48 AM  

Hand up for did not like the puzzle, also DNF.

Can someone explain Yo=sup and Hue and cry= din????? And what is a larch??

treedweller 11:10 AM  

The Larch.

mitchs 11:17 AM  


Larch = tree
Hue and cry = a lot of racket
Sup = contraction of "what's up?"

Man, BEQ does tend to polarize the different camps. I thought this was a very solid, entertaining, fairly challenging Sunday. For me, even a lesser BEQ, (which this wasn't) is still always worthwhile and interesting.

chefbea 11:21 AM  

@mitchs and @treedweller thanx

Shamik 11:23 AM  

Finished in 24 minutes flat...which makes this medium-challenging for me for a Sunday. BUT two wrong squares. Still feels better than puzzle 5 in Brooklyn in 2010.

Also not a fan of chick lit, but could have had a V8 when I saw all the birds. At one point I was trying to think of what a female of that particular bird was called. Yeesh.

Looks like improvements in scores over last year all around for some I know at ACPT! Woohooooo!!!!!! As long as you're all having fun!!!

Now I'll have to say I WAS the 186th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe. There's always next year.

joho 11:25 AM  

@chefbea, "Yo!" means "What's up?" or SUP. When you hear hues and cries you hear noise i.e. DIN. The clue answers your question about a LARCH.

@Thanks, @treedweller for another nice writeup and especially for the ACPT clip ... fascinating!

I got the bird theme right away so pretty much sailed through this one.

Thank you, BEQ, for a most enjoyable Sunday morning.

Thank you @Rex for stopping by with the latest. Can't wait to see where you end up.

Eric 11:26 AM  

@Lit.Doc P.R> Puerto Rico in ATLantic Ocean

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

although i knew the theme after lonesomedove i dnf big time and felt this was for me an impossible puzzle. i almost always finish on sundays so i guess i am not on the brain wave of the constructor but i rate this superchallenging!

syndy 12:39 PM  

What was not to LOVE here-(no doubt helped that both krupp and kottke were gimmees)wondered what made Pelican Brief Chick Lit and started to giggle at Ugly Duckling. I must have been on Quigleys Clef big time 'cuz I threw down NAPOLI without a thought! I did have the FANG and HOLIDAY write overs but it was all about the misdirection today anyway Loved the alternating super simple and excruciating answers -WOODSCREW and then EXCULPATE! HOLY DAY and then OSSEOUS Least favorite part of the Puzzle was that it was Finished!!

syndy 12:41 PM  

OH also thank you Treedweller. Two thumbs up ! enjoyed your write ups alot!!

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

also why were the theme clues numbered?

lit.doc 1:18 PM  

@Eric, thanks. I ran aground on "Public Relations" long before I reached the caribbean.

Gotta stand up for theme device on this one. We all treasure misdirection in clues, right? Well, BEQ set us up with a very specific expection with the "Chick Lit" tag in the clues (and it sounds like I wasn't the only one whose hackles were perplexed by such a phrase in the NYT). Then, he cuts back against the grain with a totally unexpected take on the meaning of the phrase. Evil, yes, but brilliant misdirection.

Cathyat40 1:28 PM  

The PEPIN/THEPO cross was a Natick for me. I had PErIN/THEro. Other than that, I got everything correct - with a lot of help from my boyfriend.

jae 1:50 PM  

Very nice enjoyable BEQ Sun. Crunchy enough to make you work but quite doable. Caught on to the birds early so the theme entries went pretty smoothly. Had a couple of spelling issues but no major problems other than needing to stare a some sections for a while. Thank Brendan!

jae 1:53 PM  

Oh, and thanks treedweller for the entertaining commentary over the last two days.

Maryb 1:54 PM  

I enjoyed the theme (and got the "chick lit" as soon as I filled in Ugly Duckling) but found the NE corner to be an absolutely brutal combination of proper nouns. I guessed Kottke correctly, dumped in the "h" of "Thepo" and still couldn't get K-u-p, The-o, -ahal or -e-in. Yuck.

I actually put Napoli in instinctively, changed it to Naples when I realized the clue was Italy, and then had to change it back.

hazel 2:43 PM  

When I think of "chick" in a bird context, I think of a young bird, like maybe "duckling" but not eagle, condor, or pretty much any of the other thematic entries. I got the ruse, think its somewhat clever, but not really brilliant - because its bird lit, not chick lit, which might be interchangeable in the UK, but not really here - I don't know. The theme just didn't seem particularly tight to me. I do like seeing novels as theme entries.

Either way, the puzzle was a definite medium for me, not for the 80% I could complete fairly quickly, but because of the 20% I could not.

mitchs 2:50 PM  

31 has certain ring, eh? Congrats!!!!

quilter1 3:07 PM  

First, Thank you to @treedweller for your enjoyable hosting.

Oh,*chick* lit. I too was looking for Wuthering Heights, My Sister's Keeper or The Notebook. I didn't even notice that each theme answer had a bird in it until coming here.

Finished Ok, with a short break for Mother and church, then came back and filled in a final few squares. Write overs the same as many of you.

A little annoyed at THE PO and NAPOLI but otherwise no real complaints. Thanks BEQ for a good Sunday puzzle better than most.

bakewr: a broken pie plate

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

Took me quite a while to finish, and then I had three incorrect letters: “O” instead of “U” at crossing of TOUTS and OUIDA (didn’t know Ouida and thought “toots” one’s horn worked); “C” instead of “T” at crossing of ETHOS and TUN (didn’t know tun and thought the “echos” of others in the room might be group think – but I guess that would have been “echoes,” anyway); and “E” instead of “O” at crossing of ODOM and NOH (didn’t noh Noh and had heard of Lamar Odom, but didn’t know the spelling).

Got BRUITED from the crosses, but spent a long time trying to come up with alternatives for SUP and DIN, because it just didn’t look right.

I thought the theme here was fine and, happily, I was familiar with all the titles. Apart from the theme though, I thought there was much that was UGH-ly: CEE – I think any constructor who resorts to this “first letter” nonsense should be banned from the NYT for a year; the already mentioned “THE” PO; the always hated, regardless of how it’s spelled UIES; GEED – a new word for me, and one I’ll be sure to work into my everyday conversations this week (along with its companion, HAW); SEC – “Just a ___” is the best we could do here?

PuzzleNut 3:38 PM  

I always have problems with some of BEQ's more modern clues/answers, but I've come to appreciate how well constructed and fair all of his puzzles are. This one was no exception. I learned a few new words (BRUITED, KOTTKE), but was still able to finish in a reasonable time (for me).
Hi to everyone at the ACPT. Hope I can make it there some day and meet some of my fellow bloggers.

Doug 4:05 PM  

I do the BEQ's from his site and generally like them a lot, but not this one. Knew the theme related to books, but after the first pass didn't have enough to know what the puns were going to be. Then I got stumped when it looked they were punless, and never even noticed the birds while trying to figure out pun/punless.

lit.doc 4:12 PM  

Hey, all, am just now catching up on the puzzles I missed while on vacation and noticed that Rex got the Friday WSJ! Heck of a 21x puzzle, but be sure to take your Big Bag O'Names with you.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

I learned the word "bruit" from studying for the SATs a really long time ago. Out of all the words I learned for that test, "bruit" was one of a handful that made a conscious, lasting impression- for no clear reason and along with the more obviously memorable "uxurious". It makes me smile when I see "bruit" used -like finding a long-lost friend.

jackj 5:26 PM  

BEQ is always "pushing the envelope" and today's puzzle provides some gentle cage rattling aimed squarely at the "average Sunday Times solver".

Sure to stir the juices are such BEQisms as GALPALS, SUP, BRUITED and FIE, just to pick out a few.

Hopefully, there will be lots of terrific "Aha" moments, (rather than complaints), for those not familiar with the edgiest of constructors.

Blue Stater 6:02 PM  

@Alpine Joy: I'm a TimesReader subscriber, too, and had the same problem, which did nothing for my already foul mood engendered by the fact that this was a BEQ puzzle on Sunday.

@Everyone: TimesReader is just lame. I'd take any electronic alternative that got me the whole paper, didn't cost more than TimesReader ($20/month) and allowed me to do the puzzles. Any ideas out there?

mac 6:04 PM  

Hi Treedweller, thanks for the write-up! We had dinner at Queens in Brooklyn again and missed you!

I think this is probably a mild BEQ puzzle. I got the change in what I expected from the theme very early, with Ugly Duckling, which then made me go back to the Pelican Brief. Learned two new words today: gee and bruit, very nice.

I also wanted exonerate and holiday, of course, and had a lot of trouble with THE Po. Napolitans love their (thick crust) pizza so much, I met one who had driven from Rome for the weekend just to get his fill.

If we have to have uies, this happens to be my favorite way to spell it.

I don't think Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights would be considered chick lit; I'm thinking more Sex and the City (which I loved finding back in this puzzle!!), the books about the nannies and shopping in Manhattan. A little lighter reading.

The ACPT is over, and it was a great weekend. I improved my standing compared to last year, so I'm happy. I think there are a lot of tired, sleep-deprived people travelling home today!

Jamie 6:51 PM  

@Rex: Well done! You must have died when you saw the blank square afterwards. Without that error, I reckon you'd have been in the low 20s. Never mind, 31 is better than 44 and I presume it's a personal best/

I don't know how anyone managed to finish puzzle 5.

Alpine Joy 6:59 PM  

@Blue Stater: Thanks so much for your comment! Just to be sure, are you saying that you had problems with your puzzle downloading today into Times Reader 2.0, and you had symptoms similar to mine, with the first letters or symbols cut off of all the clues?

So it's not just me, people don't think I'm a crazy crank out there squawking that the sky is falling? Thanks!

chefbea 7:38 PM  

Can't wait to see puzzle #5. Guess we will get it next week - Fri or Sat?

Matthew G. 9:04 PM  

Well, I found this one Challenging. The irony is that I knew what the theme would be as soon as I saw the title of the puzzle -- "Oh, it's going to be books with birds in the titles." Unfortunately, two of the books were completely unfamiliar to me -- THE STERILE CUCKOO and WHERE EAGLES DARE -- and a third, SIX DAYS OF THE CONDOR, I've only barely heard of.

Those were surmountable problems, but what kept me from finishing was the NE corner. KRUPP, KOTTKE, and RAHAL were all unfamiliar to me, and ... THE PO? Really? What an unusually clumsy THE from Mr. Quigley.

Anyway. Really liked the theme, but the proper-name fill was more than my match today.

davko 9:57 PM  

I too was intimidated by the BEQ byline at first, but quickly got over my apprehensions as things began to flow. There was just enough esoterica to keep things interesting, yet not gum up the works. That much of it could be intuited or accepted through logical deduction (i.e. KRUPPS Works) made this all the more enjoyable.

@ Dan -- I'm in lock step with you. Don't mind puzzles with a heavy Italian bias, but c'mon, THE PO? I had trouble picking this up even after getting it through crosses, wondering how the devil I had never heard of "the Thepo." Less offensive, but also objectionable, was the use of NAPOLI, which should properly have been clued with at least one Italian word. (Of course, one could argue it was: "pizza!")

Vega 10:23 PM  

Just stopping in to say thank you, treedweller, for two highly entertaining days. Welcome back everyone from ACPT; can't wait to read the reviews.

Blue Stater 10:27 PM  

@Alpine Joy. Yes, I had the identical problem with letters and columns missing; sorry to have been unclear on that point. Grrr. I complained to TimesReader; so far (five hours later) not even a robo-reply let alone a real one.

Alpine Joy 10:50 PM  

@Blue Stater, thanks so much. I too have complained, politely, to Times Reader Customer Service, with no response yet, and then my comment with a copy of that question, which seemed to me was very on-topic because it concerned today's Puzzle, was not allowed to be posted on the Times Puzzle Blog, Wordplay. The moderator says she has passed my information on to technical support, but I still am politely miffed, because I want to find out how many other people are affected by this glitch. We'll see if we get any response back.

Stan 11:44 PM  

For a while I tried to make one of the answers "Sex and the Single Gull." Another wrong tree I barked up was "Tokyo..." instead of "To Kill a Mockingbird" because I remembered Dee Snider but spelled his name with a y.

Fine puzzle overall.

Congrats to ACPTers.

treedweller 11:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
treedweller 11:51 PM  

@ mac I'm glad to know you were thinking of me. I hope to see you all next year.

Thanks again to all for the kind words. Congratulations to Rex on improving the ranking.

@Rex I wouldn't bring it up except I'm sure you've done the math--would that blank square have put you in the B final?

CoffeeLvr 12:34 AM  

Thank you for your puzzle commentaries, @treedweller. I read them both with interest.

I spent a long time on this puzzle, with a long, long break in the middle. Ended with two errors - I changed UeyS to UeES, but failed to go up a line and fully correct the entry. And I had lightly penciled in OUIjA, not knowing that author, in some attempt to amuse myself. Then failed to go back and check the Down answer.

I have never seen the word BRUIT before, in any tense, so learning a new word is a plus.

I saw Leo Kottke in concert in the early 70's - very impressive. So that was a gimme for me, and a pleasant memory.

JaxInL.A. 1:44 AM  

I finished the entire puzzle on my own, except for a Natick in New Jersey.  Who the heck was OWEN D. Young, and can there truly be an automobile called a NITRO? It conjures up for me a picture of driving a ticking bomb. I had NAPles (like @Dan says, no indication calling for the Italian name) crossing asTRO, and never heard of Mr. Young. Okay, so Astro is a Chevy van, not a Dodge SUV, but it FIT!  Sigh.

Turns out that Mr. Young was GE Board Chair, occasional diplomat, and something of a visionary. From the 1929 Time article on him: "Never a technician, he is nonetheless obsessed with the idea that some day it may be possible to write a message on a pad at one's desk or bedside and have it instantaneously transmitted to the addressee anywhere on earth." Just imagine.

Other than the NJ probs noted above, I truly enjoyed this puzzle, despite taking over half an hour to get any significant purchase. Even when I felt sure of something (hand up for exonerate),  it turned out wrong.  Love Leo KOTTKE but forgot he had two Ts. Stuff like that. I started to think that all the obscurities in this puzzle were meant to keep me humble while the world-class solvers battle it out in Brooklyn.  I like BEQ puzzles in general, though they are hard work.  

More news of ACPT, please. Deb Amblen has written two nice atmosphere pieces over at Wordplay. @Greene, @Sparky and @mac all took the time to stop by between events and/or sacrificed sleep to keep us in the loop.  And yet I want more.

I especially loved Andrea's recap of events here (twice!) yesterday, including a blow-by-blow of Rex's performance. I hope he knows many (all?) of us are rooting for him! 

JaxInL.A. 2:01 AM  

That last post was done early this morning but for some reason waited to fire until now when I came back to check on the day's posts. Congratulations to all who survived the tourney, and esp. to those who improved their standings or got one for the first time.

Back to normal life and a Blindauer / Salitan Monday. Cheers.

I skip M-W 2:03 AM  

BLTN I suppose. did finish, in about an hour. Kottke was a gimme for me,: i've loved his music since the 70's at least. That made duckling easy and then the chick = bird or at least birdlet became apparent ans started thinking of bird titles at all the theme answers.

BTW, bruit is Fr. for noise, and Shaks. often has noised as well as bruited, I seem to recall. Last letter I put in was the p in espnews, because what else it could be, but failed to grasp why sup fit, so thanks for that explanation @mitch s.

Also, now I know what Andrea's loss was, my deep sympathy. Glad you get along with your father's widow.

hope you all had fun at the tourney and thanks to treedweller and BEQ, despite the PO and Napoli.

Howard B 1:40 PM  

Very late to the game here, but I wanted to thank treedweller for the posts, and compliment the RAMPAGE pic for sheer awesomeness :).

Bloglarım 3:32 PM  

puzzle konusunda profesyonel çözümler sunan puzzle dükkanı sitemizde, tüm puzzle modellerinin satışı yapılmaktadır.

nurturing 9:40 PM  

I haven't had to google for months and months. BEQ made me google my ass off. Liked the book titles, but most of the rest of the puzzle was NOT FUN!

"Noh" was my first entry. It went downhill after that.

Copy Editor 7:17 PM  

I figured out the clue from "The Pelican Brief," but hated the rest of the puzzle for the problems others have already pointed out.

I also thought "stros" was a horrible clue. I'm a pretty big sports fan, and a newspaper copy editor who regularly edits/designs the sports section and I'm not familiar with that nickname. Before I eventually filed it in using the other clues, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to shorten "White Sox" so it would fit.

Copy Editor 7:20 PM  

Also, like Dan, I was bothered by 51a. I tend to think of the cities' Italian names, so I had to stop and tell myself to change it to "Naples," since nothing in the clue indicated the Italian spelling, only to change it back later.

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

A nice meaty puzzle, with some tricky fill. I was defeated, in the end, by one final square. Having never heard of AMANA, I wasn't sure if it was an adjective or a brand name.

I've also never heard the Houston Astros referred to as the 'Stros. I had STRO and was baffled, as I couldn't get my mind off St. Louis. In fact I've never seen an abbreviation of this kind for a baseball team in a crossword. I tried running through all the National League team names, but I live in an American League town and haven't been following baseball lately.

So, I had to look up the 2005 World Series; then it was clear. But ... sheesh.

Valerie 10:40 PM  

I'm a syndicated solver who found this one challenging and finally had to resort to Google for the last few blanks. It didn't help that my newspaper had the title as "Click It" so every time I got one of the theme answers, I would go back and look at them all to see if I could make sense of the title!

Dirigonzo 3:38 PM  

Checking in a day late even by syndicated standards. DNF due to the same problems in the NE already mentioned by so many prime-timers. But I see that many enjoyed it so I'll chalk my lack of joy with the puzzle up to my own ineptitude and not blame the constructor. I would be interested to know what RP's take would have been.

I didn't finish wrestling with the puzzle until today because yesterday I went to see the Young@Heart Chorus in concert - great fun! It was what my sons might call a kick-ass-good concert. If they come to a venue near you, go see them - you'll be entertained AND inspired, and you'll come away grinning.

Fishcad 6:06 PM  

The "n" in ESPN stands for "network" not "news" so that bothered me.

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