Rush drummer/lyricist Neil / FRI 3-25-11 / Blue-backed Dr. Seuss character / One-named rock star 1990s-2000s / Wild flowers in Sara Teasdale poem

Friday, March 25, 2011

Constructor: Mike Nothnagel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: The TYMES (47A: Group with the 1963 #1 hit "So Much in Love") —

The Tymes are an American soul vocal group, who enjoyed equal success in the United Kingdom as their homeland. They share the distinction of being one of the few acts to have one and only one chart-topper in both the U.S. and UK with different titles [...] Their song "So Much in Love" was elected to the Songs of the Century in 2001. In 2005 The Tymes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. As of 2006, they are still performing, with three of the original five group members; they appeared on the PBS special, My Music: Love Songs of the 50s and 60s. (wikipedia)

• • •

Very, very slow start for me. Couldn't get a foothold anywhere. Had a *very* tentative ARE WE in the NW (4D: "___ ready?"), a somewhat less tentative but still not rock solid ORECK in the SW (37A: Hoover rival), and not much else. Kept circling the grid, looking at short stuff, trying to get in, when I finally made some headway in the unlikeliest of places: ILA (42A: Pier grp.). I can barely tell ILA apart from ILO, and the only reason I know either is because of crosswords, but for some reason, that initialism felt Right, and I plunked LEANER (43D: "Almost" in horseshoes) and I'M DONE (42D: "All finished!") down shortly thereafter. Used those and gimmes LANG (52D: Filmmaker Fritz) and ATEE (53D: Exactly, after "to") to wrangle the SE, and I was off, building continuously (though sometimes slowly) on what I had until I finished the puzzle.

Lots of this stuff ended up falling into my wheelhouse (ironic, given the Ugly start I had): ALEPPO (39D: Largest city in Syria) is in "Othello" and a Nabokov short story whose title cites "Othello" ("That in ALEPPO Once..."). GEN X'ER ... well, I am one (41D: Millennial's parent). That was easy. NSF I know from having academic scientist friends (36D: Univ. research grantor). Neil PEART (31A: Rush drummer/lyricist Neil) ... well, see GEN X'ER, above. That guy was legendary, esp. among a certain kind of boy in the 80s (not me, but kids I knew, for sure). I quite enjoy BECK (30D: One-named rock star of the 1990s-2000s). As a onetime medievalist, I'm amused by the presence of JOUSTS at a "Renaissance" fair (8A: Renaissance fair sights). TREF is one of my most memorable of all crossword words (22A: Not allowed on certain diets), as I thought I had made it up during my first tournament puzzle experience—come to find out, it's a very common word in some sets (not to this California GEN X'ER, that's for sure). With the exception of ECK (45A: Opponent of Luther during the Protestant Reformation), PEART, and TYMES, this puzzle had little in the way obscurities, getting all its difficulty from rough cluing (that ION clue, yikes—25A: ___ drive (engine in "Star Wars")). Hard for me to dislike a puzzle with TIME WARP (12D: Dance in which "you bring your knees in tight"), ERIC IDLE (33D: "And Now for Something Completely Different" co-star) and STEAMY SLEAZE (18A: R-rated, maybe + 56A: Schlock). All in all, a suitably tough and entertaining romp from Mr. Nothnagel (constructor of the Finals puzzle at this year's ACPT)

  • 59A: Where some jets originate (GEYSERS) — this was *not* one of yesterday's options!
  • 30A: She "espied their tails side by side / All hung on a tree to dry" (BO-PEEP) — not a part of the rhyme I know, but I had that terminal "P" and figured it out almost immediately by context.
  • 55A: Onetime General Motors spokesman (PAT BOONE) — Had forgotten or else never knew this.

  • 10D: Uintah and Ouray Reservation tribe (UTES) — UINTA mts. (a must-know bit of crossword fill) are in Utah, so ... that was a clue, though it doesn't take much prodding for a solver to get from nothing to UTES. Tribe in four = UTES or OTOS / OTOE and then a host of other less common possibilities like, say, CREE.
  • 13D: Those involved in cutting class at school? (STYLISTS) — well this one gave me fits. Had ST--ISTS and still needed help from the crosses (another beanball of a clue at 20A: Digs for peanuts? => HOSTEL).
  • 15D: Blue-backed Dr. Seuss character (YERTLE) — the Turtle. I was at a loss until eventually I had the -TLE. Not on heavy rotation when I was a child. (Dr. Seuss Dictionary and "Green Eggs and Ham" and "One Fish, Two Fish" were the Seuss books of my childhood)
  • "Wild" flowers in a Sara Teasdale poem (ASTERS) — not a poem I know. A very tough ASTERS clue (though as with UTES, it's not hard for a constant solver to get to ASTERS with minimal clue prodding: "Flower ... starts with "A" ... sure."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. nice (loooong) write-up of the ACPT over at PuzzleGirl's "L.A. Crossword Confidential"


syndy 12:23 AM  

Went with HORTON and DEWEY and it must have been thr tref cuz I had CANTOR for 21 down.worked it out but my real fits came in the southeast (being a boomer)had ADIEUS and GENSER which surely looked wrong put whatup I have never never in my life heard "Millennial"Great puzzle bopped all over the place

Tobias Duncan 12:30 AM  

Nice puzzle, just within my grasp tonight. Was pretty impressed with myself for popping in HOSTEL with no crosses.Rex called the clue a "Beanball" which I had to google, now I think I know what a beanball is but not sure if that means the clue was tough or a gimmie. Had Drek for TREF for quite a while so YERTLE took way longer than it should have.This puzzle is right at the end of my comfort zone.I feel like I have been stuck at this level for six months.Any advice would be much appreciated.

chefwen 12:30 AM  

Blogger ate my comment, that seems to be happening a lot lately. Grrr.

Enaway, I Googled 12D dance where you bring your knees together and up popped The PEE PEE dance. Almost lost a little wine through my nose.
I think we have had enough PEE PEE the last couple of days.

Bottom half easier that the top for me.

I love Mr. Nothnagel's puzzles and this was no exception.

I skip M-W 1:23 AM  

@Rex, yes at first nothing seemed definite with so many very generic clues. SE was my break as well, Lang and then I'm done and ILO, before A. I think choice has to do with different longshore(men) organizations on east and west coast. But then began ot sail through. Adieux led to genxer very fast. Don't recall the Tymes, never heard of time warp dance, didn't know Pat Boone was GM spokesperson, but puzzle so well made all became clear.

Salad fork was a big help, and then the d and the clue for 21 A helped yield steed and joust. Trued I did it for 1D, but steed made that impossible, and, as I like ot annooy my firends by answering the phone "it is I," that came in. Had furred before furled, but eventually saw yertle. Recently read a 100 pagge history of Xtianity, but still forgot Eck, if he was even in there. But still the magic pencil appeared at last. Saved!

I'd say tour de force, Mr. Nothnagel

I skip M-W 1:26 AM  

Re-posting with fewer typos, sorry for above!

@Rex, yes at first nothing seemed definite with so many very generic clues. SE was my break as well, Lang and then "I'm done" and ILO, before A. I think A-O choice has to do with different longshore(men) organizations on east and west coast. But then began to sail through. Adieux led to genxer very fast. Don't recall the Tymes, never heard of time warp dance, didn't know Pat Boone was GM spokesperson, but puzzle so well made all became clear.

Salad fork was a big help, and then the d and the clue for 21 A helped yield steed and joust. Tried I did it for 1D, but steed made that impossible, and, as I like to annooy my friends by answering the phone "it is I," that came in. Had furred before furled, but eventually saw yertle. Recently read a 100 pagge history of Xtianity, but still forgot Eck, if he was even in there. But still the magic pencil appeared at last. Saved!

I'd say tour de force, Mr. Nothnagel

I skip M-W 1:28 AM  

Two more typos: I meant 1,000 page history

jae 2:29 AM  

This was easy-med for me, but I'm usually on MN's wave length. That said, I started off with INARUSH, tried BONO, and went through NADA and BUCK before getting to NICK. Oh, and SOUPSPOON briefly occupied the 5d slot. Delightful Fri. , loved the TIMEWARP clue.

The Bard 7:22 AM  

Macbeth > Act I, scene III

[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

First Witch: Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch: Killing swine.

Third Witch: Sister, where thou?

First Witch: A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:--
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

Second Witch: I'll give thee a wind.

First Witch: Thou'rt kind.

Othello > Act V, scene II

OTHELLO: Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.

[Stabs himself]

Dan 7:30 AM  

Had CURLED for FURLED, and STEER for STEED, leaving me with the inexplicable SALAR CORK, which I had no hope of fixing because I was convinced it should have been SALARY CAP or something...

From the Desk of Bob Mankoff -- March 23, 2011 7:48 AM  

I have to tell you that I was not the first choice for being the presenter. Alan Alda was, but he was on vacation, climbing an arête in the Ural Mountains. They tried to get Eero Saarinen, but he had fallen on his épée, and got a stoma. Luckily his amah had some aloe with her in an etui. Erle Stanley Gardner fell down an adit. And Esai Morales broke his ulna and his tibia while he was in China researching the Chen, Qin, Zhou, Ming, Song, Tang, Qing, Qi, Sui, and Yin dynasties for an epic opera in which he’s going to sing an aria.

Even though I wasn’t the first choice, I’m not at all irate, because I get to stand up here and tell you a little bit about myself. I love Nature. Recently I was on safari and I saw an ecru and onyx oryx, although it may have been an eland or an okapi. I’m not sure. I don’t want to err, or I’d have to atone. I also saw an egret, an emu, and an erne who was building an aerie. The food was a little eerie. We had an olio of dal, agar, eel, and taro. An emir on the trip complained because the poi had been in the oast too long, and an imam cried because he missed his esnes. Afterwards, we traveled to the Aral Sea and took a proa to Etna. I wore a boa. The tsar upped the sartorial ante with his Eton collar. It was aces, but by the end, I couldn’t wait to get home, put some Edam on crackers, eat Oreos, and play Atari. Well, I think that’s enough sharing. Please forgive me for any mispronunciations. I’ve never really heard any of these words before. And now I’d like to announce the winners.

David L 8:04 AM  

Took a while to get started, but then things began falling and it ended up on the easy side of medium, even though there was quite a bit I didn't know. Last to fall was the ILA/LEANER cross -- ILA being a vaguely remembered crossword thing, LEANER being a total mystery to me.

Also, what's the deal with PRETTYBOY for 'Handsome Dan'? The only pretty boy that comes to my mind is Floyd of that ilk, whose real names (sez wiki) was Charles Arthur. No Dan there. What gives?

Leslie 8:45 AM  

David, just "Handsome Dan" and PRETTYBOY as (possibly mildly mocking) terms for goodlooking men. No reference to anyone specific.

My last fill and most favorite answer: TIME WARP.

joho 8:50 AM  

@chefwen ... ah, but today we had PEAS!

I finished with on error because I don't speak French and was clueless to Millenial so I had ADIEUs/GENsER.

Having Bono before BECK and mensTIES before NECKTIES really slowed me down in that section.

Even with the mistake I loved this puzzle. Mike Nothnagel never disapoints.

Judith 9:05 AM  

Lots of missed guesses today. I had Bono before Beck, Dyson before Oreck, and Horse before Steed. Guess I should just be glad I finished!

mmorgan 9:07 AM  

Almost gave up a few times -- for a while I had almost nothing except TIME WARP (love it!). Next thing I knew the entire right side was filled it. Woo hoo!

But I just couldn't get anywhere on the left -- wanted BOOMER for GENXER at 41D, had ADIEUs, MIELE for ORECK at 37A, went through a SMALL FORK and a SOUP SOON to no avail at 5D, silkTIES at 34D, I DID IT at 1D, IN A RUSH at 1A, UNKNOWN and JOHN DOE at 32A, and so on, making the entire left a brick wall. I have stuff to do, so I resorted to one or two "Reveal Incorrect Letters" (there were LOTS of 'em!) and that was all it took.

Very nice puzzle, part of me wishes I'd stuck with it.

Unknown 9:18 AM  

NE corner was a tough one, even after getting JOUSTS from STEED at 21A. 24:28 but no googling.

David L 9:19 AM  

@Leslie, thanks, I was assuming it referred to someone in particular...

Bob Kerfuffle 9:35 AM  

Great, solid Friday puzz! Just right for me, took 30 - 45 min, but finished with no write-overs and no errors.

But what is with the comment from "From the Desk of Bob Mankoff -- March 23, 2011" above? For those who were not at the ACPT, that is word-for-word the text of the speech Roz Chast made before announcing the awards on Sunday afternoon. So who is Bob Mankoff, and who wrote the speech?

PuzzleNut 9:37 AM  

Same slow start as Rex and others. ILo/LEANER was my first fill, and the only fill for quite a while. I danced ThetWist which was confirmed by JOUSTS and TWI, but PEAS finally convinced me I had a big problem. Lots and lots of write-overs today. cher/Bono/BECK. Tried dyson/OREkK/ORECK, beEF/TREF, oToe/oToS/UTES. After my SE start, that was the last quadrant to finish. After reviewing the puzzle, GENsER just didn't make sense and I was fortunate to see the X.
Overall, loved the puzzle! Took me a while, but was great seeing everything finally fall into place.
Haven't posted for some time as I am just getting settled after spring break (great time skiing with the kids in northern NM). LOVED the pictures and comments from ACPT. Really helped bring this great community to life for me. Plus, I felt like a groupie that got to go backstage at a rock concert and meet the stars. Hope to make it there some year.

Look Up Guy 9:37 AM  

@I skip ...

ILA -The International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO is the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada.

And interestingly:

Additionally, the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots; the United Marine Division Tugboat Workers and the New York State Supreme Court Officers are affiliated with the ILA.

OTOH: ILO •International Labor Organization: the United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor

mac 9:51 AM  

Great puzzle, just wat I hope for on a Friday. Sorry I finished it.

I had Times for 47A, am really weak on those exclamations. Couldn't get Iacoca out of my head for 55A, although he may have worked for a different car co as far as I know.

Still don't know wat TREF stands for, I'll look it up.

Last area for me was the NE. Had ribbed and bushel, but figured it all out in the end.

Favorite word: furled. Beautiful work, Mike!

@Bob Kerfuffle: thought the same thing, I enjoyed that rant a lot last Sunday!

Ruth 10:13 AM  

As I was fighting to fill in the NE corner (my last area) I got to the OUT OUT crossing (in the midst of JOUST and UTES it felt like quite the OU fest) and thought this might generate some heat, but no. It does actually look kinda cute (UTE).

jackj 10:19 AM  

Thank goodness for themeless Friday and a welcome respite from cutesy themes.

Mike Nothnagel doesn't disappoint; the French plural ADIEUX was a perfect grace note to a superior Friday offering.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

northeast the last to fall. was sad that "renaissance fair sights" was not "tights" which would have been hilarious; but also picked it up finally from "steed."

crossed my fingers on "peart" knowing nothing about Rush but something about how wrong answers look . . .

was reluctant to part with "dateline" at 17 across but have to admit "we're live" is a better answer

did something good i normally don't do, which is to question "gensers" and catch on to the "x" plural for "adieu"

good puzzle, not easy for me

quilter1 10:30 AM  

Great tussle today, like others,slow start, Bono, etc. Finished in the NE where I was bogged down by misreading the UTES clue--thought the state was wanted so Utah had me scratching my head because I *knew* Utah was right. Accidentally re-read the clue and everything fell into place.

Didn't know BECK, PEART or the dance. Had pastor for RECTOR for a while until BOPEEP corrected me. All in all a good Friday puzzle. Thanks, Mike.

It just stopped snowing, but it isn't sticking to the pavement so I don't think it will last. A good day to put the pink quilt together.

Beadola 10:35 AM  

First answer was Time Warp which had me smiling until I was done. Just right for a Friday for me.
Tref may be hard to look up since it isn't English and is pronounced more like traif. It means not kosher.
I'm a member of the ILWU here on the west coast. International Longshore and Warehouse Union. ILA/ILO always bugs me.

SethG 10:42 AM  

With the -X in place, I added ADIEU. There's a definition of HOSTEL or of peanut that I don't know, though I suppose it could be both. YERTLE was on heavy rotation in our house, but I'd forgotten his back color.

Lois 10:58 AM  

SethG, Digs are a place to stay and for peanuts means for very little money. You probably know this but have to read 20A differently.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:59 AM  

@SethG - The definition isn't of "peanut," it is of "peanuts": Cheap. Lodging for little money at a hostel.

@everyone: For much more on the ACPT, see Ben Bass's blog, Ben Bass and Beyond, for today.

Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

Great Friday puzzle.
Lots of clever clues like the one for tassel.
The speech had me laughing.
I'm a little disturbed by the unknown Little Bopeep verse.
Why are their tails hanging from a tree?

jesser 11:08 AM  

I danced into the grid with TIME WARP, and just kept going from there until it all fell. Never saw TREF, and still don't know WTH it means, and don't care enough to Google it. I did the puzzle in the waiting room of Mountain View Regional Medical Center, where I had to give up most of my blood and (yes) pee in advance of my annual physical. Had to fast 12 hours in advance. No fun, but I'm sure I'll be pronounced healthy on April 7, and that's a good thing. Only writeovers today were at 9D, where I originally wanted JeStED and at 48D, where I wanted YElpS. Didn't take too long to see the errors of my ink.

Happy weekend, amigos!

Balfi! (No idea, and I have no blood to feed my brain) -- jesser

santafefran 12:08 PM  

@chefwen--PEE PEE for the dance LMAO!

Couldn't get a toehold in the top part of the puzzle so worked from the bottom up with LANG, GERE, GENXER, ATEE and ONEOWNER. Wanted OWOWS but had to alter with PLAYEDAT. Guess the Y in TYMES correctly.


piglou--a home for pigs in Alaska

David 12:17 PM  

TREF - Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, of course! I am Jewish, but have never heard of that word - but I got it thru crosses. Did have one mistake, blanked out on NSF and wrote NSA (originally NEA), never correcting GOLEAT in the middle. Zoomed thru the right side, very slow on the left, and correcting ADIEUS with ADIEUX and finally seeing GEN XER was the the pronoun bonanza in the NW (IT WAS I, WE'RE LIVE, ARE WE)

Arundel 12:37 PM  

Well, I loved this one - so many great words, such good cluing. Nice work, Mike Nothnagel!

It was hard to get a toehold, but jousts and Utes, ILA and leaner, salad fork and steed, Eric Idle and adieux were really fine. Tymes was tough, pitman was a bit iffy, and I really wanted the perfumery employee to be a nose, but okay.

Oh - and Bob Mankoff is the Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker. Draw from that what you will, so to speak...

Two Ponies 12:37 PM  

I googled Little Bo Peep and was relieved that no one had lopped off their tails. Silly sheep just left them behind.
One never knows with nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Some are quite gruesome.

quilter1 12:51 PM  

Many nursery rhymes have little to do with the nursery. They were originally political/social satire. Example, ring around the rosy refers to the plague. Reading the Brothers Grimm unsanitized stories are indeed gruesome.

william e emba 12:53 PM  

Treif is not part of my diet, which is probably why I needed all the crosses to get TREF. For awhile I thought it might be MEAT, but that was the answer for "crux", but then I thought maybe I can't spell SLEAZE, and "crux" is a MEeT, as in a meeting place? I had to beat down the crossword demons.

Why is no one complaining about IT WAS I? That type English only exists in jokes about college deans. I initially put in I DID IT, which led to drAgAWAY crossing TWIT and EAVE, but then the NW shut down and I had to back in to it later, even though I wanted the obvious NEED TO and ARE WE.

What's with the complaint about ION drive? I mean, I couldn't remember, but surely the clue deserves props for originality.

So like others, I started in the SE. Got ALEPPO and LANG and ILA and the rest fell pretty quickly, then I steadily worked my way to the rest of the puzzle. Most amusing hang up: I originally thought a millennial was a plant, something like a perennial, only really long living.

Sara Teasdale 1:12 PM  

Wild Asters

In the spring I asked the daisies
If his words were true,
And the clever, clear-eyed daisies
Always knew.

Now the fields are brown and barren,
Bitter autumn blows,
And of all the stupid asters
Not one knows.

Sara Teasdale

Unknown 1:13 PM  

After I used TREF in an e-mail to a Jewish friend, she asked how I knew that word (Yiddish for non-Kosher). I had to admit that I learned it from a NYT crossword (an older one, not today's).

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Ouray is not in Utah, it is in Southwest Colorado and is the center of the Southern Colorado Ute reservation.

True, but 1:58 PM  

@Anon 1:36

The Uintah and Ouray reservation [per the clue] is located in Northeastern Utah (Fort Duchesne) approximately 150 miles east of Salt Lake City on US Highway 40 ... The Utes have a tribal membership of 3,157 and over half of its membership lives on the Reservation.

Just wonderin' 2:38 PM  

@ True, but,
You seem up on your tribes. I was wondering if it pronounced
Ootes or Yewtes and should we say
Ootah instead of Yewtah?

ronathan 3:06 PM  

@William E Emba

My complaint with ION drive (25A) is that it's not acurate. The engine in Star Wars ships is called a "hyperdrive", which allows for faster-than-light travel. There is mention of an ion CANNON in Star Wars, that can fire an energy beam to disable weapons or ships.

Both the hyperdrive and ion cannon were featured in The Empire Strikes Back. If you recall, the Rebel Alliance fired an ion cannon at Imperial ships to disable them as Rebel ships escaped from the ice planet Hoth. Later, the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive was disabled in Cloud City to prevent them from escaping a trap set by Darth Vader.

I will now take my dorkdom elsewhere. :-p


archaeoprof 3:15 PM  

Not easy for me, either, but interesting and entertaining all the way.

Non-puzzle biology professor wife is attending an NSF conference today.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

You know the TIE fighters were named for their Twin Ion Engines, right? And who mentioned the movie?

Sparky 3:19 PM  

Like @jae and others I tripped on INarush. Had Sade, then Bono. SALADbowl, ADIEUs. Managed most of it but gave up and had blanks in NE. Hung on to 12D as The something. STEED gave me JOUSTS but I never got OUTWIT, STEAMY and HOSTEL. Enjoyed GEYSERS. TASSEL and FURLED. Had UTES but erased because the clue was singular. Sigh.

Enjoying all the ACPT write ups and pics. Thanks for the tips @BobK and Rex.

Good weekend everyone.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Can someone explain how you get "eave" from "builder's projected expense?"

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

An eave is a structure jutting out (or "projecting") from the roof of a building that protects it from water runoff and/or sunlight.

Lois 3:38 PM  

"Projected" here means that the eave is projecting from the roof, and the expense for it is one more item adding up to the cost of the building.
"Eave" as a singular seems more accepted today, and I've seen it in crosswords a few times, but as it says in Wikipedia it's really supposed to be "eaves" for both singular and plural. The word in Old English, "efes," that "eaves" derives from (according to Wikipedia) was a singular. "Eave" is a back-formation from "eaves."

jberg 4:04 PM  

Like everyone, it seems, I found it hard to get started. Finally saw the obvious MIELE for "Hoover rival" (lots of 5-letter vacs!), added BONO, ILO, IN A RUSH, and HORSE instead of STEED. I did finish, but am sort of amazed I did. I do these things on the subway to work, and got there with most of the NW blank - but managed to get it on my way back home. Thanks for explaining TREF, never heard of that one.

joho 4:17 PM  

One thing I forgot to mention this morning when I was obviously not awake if you look at the typos, was OUTWIT crossing OUTOF. I was surprised by the two OUTS.

sanfranman59 4:19 PM  

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

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

Fri 28:34, 26:17, 1.09, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 14:03, 12:55, 1.09, 71%, Medium-Challenging

dk 4:33 PM  

*** (3 Stars) Liked it.

Garr for GERE and no x on ADIEUX.

Worked for a co. who had Dinah Shore as a spokes person and all the GENXERs called her dinosaur.

Kids these days: No respect. Why just the other day I said to my wife I need a home improvement loan... see gave me $1000 to move out.

d as in dangerfield k

Bob Kerfuffle 5:39 PM  

Thanks to @mac, my guide as always, and Ben Bass, I have the definitive answer to the question I posed at 9:35 AM:

* The New Yorker

From the Desk of Bob Mankoff

March 23, 2011

Roz Chast on Crossword Puzzles
Posted by Robert Mankoff

The thirty-fourth annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament was held this past weekend in Brooklyn. I would have entered, but my approach to crosswords follows cartoon logic. . .

However, my friend and colleague Roz Chast was there to present the awards to the winners. She told the contestants,

[Speech as posted at 7:48 AM.]

Language Nerd 6:27 PM  

Really had fun with this. After last Friday's débâcle, I feel like maybe I'm not such an idiot after all. Got JOUSTS right away, even though like Rex it made me laugh because it's more medieval than renaissance; also ADIEUX and TREF (surprised how many said they didn't know this word - and I'm not Jewish!), and TASSEL.
Laughed out loud when the penny dropped for "Digs for peanuts", and enjoyed the PEAS/PEART/PEAL cross.

Thanks to The Bard Said for the wonderful "Aleppo" quotes.

Enjoyed reading about the ACPT, and thanks for posting Roz Chast's speech, so those of us who weren't there could enjoy it, too.

adieux carla michaels 6:37 PM  

uncanny, same mistakes, mensTIES, Bono (I first tried Enya, tho hardly a rock star!). I so didn't believe two OUTs crossing that I tried JeStED, instead of JOSHED.
Well, at least there weren't three outs!

With the above errors + SALADbowl and beEF, there is a splotch of messy writeovers splashed across Mike's beautiful puzzle!

My last ta-da was changing Nea to NSF.
Dare I say just a Q short of a pangram?! Altho since Mike Nothnagel is a mathematician, perhaps 5Y = 1Q.

(You could also tell he teaches at a culinary academy what with SALADFORK, ADDWATER, and TREF)

I've made a list of 300+ words from Yiddish and Hebrew that are acceptable in Scrabble (list sent on request :)) and I still cringe at the spelling of TREF! ECK!

@rex and I msut have solved this one from opposite directions, as I came to YERTLE from the YER---.

TIMEWARP my first answer too, so I was already grinning from ear to ear...My biggest mess was changing ScissorS to STYLISTS.

And it's the first time ever EVER that a referral clue helped me. Once I saw the Renaissance Faire clue needed an animal, I got JOUSTS which led to STEED.


nebraska doug 7:22 PM  

Much faster than normal for me on a Friday. All went smoothly till the YERTLE/TREF crossing...TREF finally popped into the corner of my mind as something I'd seen in a puzzle before. As usual a MN puzzle has cluing I love.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Sorry to be missing the Time Warp meaning that gave so many smiles- can someone explain?

JenCT 7:35 PM  

Gotta love a puzzle that references Rocky Horror, Rush, and Beck.

Same mistakes/writeovers as everyone else. Never heard TREF before.

mitchs 7:35 PM  

@TobiasDuncan: I read your comment and felt your pain. I thought I was stuck at the same skill level for years also. Then I realized that, while previously I had made what I would have called game efforts at Friday and Saturday and solved them more often than not, I now expected to complete every puzzle I face, with certain exceptions like a ridulous Fireball or Stumper or whatever.

This blog has certainly helped. I guess what I'm saying is that, if you aspire to be a more competent solver, you're on the right track and are probably improving despite your occasional frustrations.

As for speed solving, that's beyond me, though I certainly don't subscribe to the school that claims that to speed solve is to lose enjoyment. I just can't do it. If that's your goal, Godspeed. KEEP SOLVING!

JenCT 7:36 PM  

@Anonymous 7:33 - that song is from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

Jen CT- thanks! Anon 7:33

Mike Nothnagel 8:11 PM  

All y'all are too kind.


Two Ponies 9:43 PM  

@ Mike N., Not really, it just was a good puzzle that made me smile.
Everyone who was baffled by tref must have skipped the last day it was in the grid. We had a long discussion that day. Luckily for me it sank in.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:30, 6:55, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:50, 8:55, 0.99, 54%, Medium
Wed 13:09, 11:45, 1.12, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:25, 19:09, 0.86, 24%, Easy-Medium
Fri 29:19, 26:17, 1.12, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:29, 3:41, 0.94, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:32, 4:34, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Wed 6:26, 5:47, 1.11, 80%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:19, 9:14, 0.79, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 13:50, 12:55, 1.07, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Only the clue is new 10:15 PM  

TREF (9 times)

Date Clue Author
Fri- 03/25/11 Not allowed on certain diets (MN)
Thu- 05/06/10 Not kosher (Dan Naddor)
Sat- 06/28/08 Not kosher (Byron Walden)
Wed- 06/01/05 Not kosher (Nick Grivas)
Sun- 02/06/05 Not kosher (Joel Kaplow)
Fri- 03/26/04 Not kosher (Nancy Kavanaugh)
Tue- 08/23/94 Not kosher (Peter Gordon)
Sun- 02/13/94 Nonkosher (Cathy Millhauser)
Sun- 12/19/93 Not kosher (John M. Samson)


Brad and Janet 10:37 PM  

Unless censored by Blogger, this is The Time Warp.

OISK 10:51 PM  

Finished it. But, never heard of Peart, timewarp, Beck, Tymes, and have no idea who Eric Idle is, although the name was familiar. I do not share the enthusiasm of most others here for Mr. Nothnagel's puzzles. That does not mean they are less than brilliant - they are just too often too far outside my cultural orbit.

aleph1=c? 2:43 AM  

another @william e emba

"I did it" wouldn't be very dramatic, now would it? It's the strange (albeit correct) way of saying it that makes it so. I remember my 9th grade English teacher discussing this very phrase 35 years ago. Funny how it's the only thing I remember from that whole year. Not that he was a bad teacher...I'm sure it was just I.

william e emba 5:55 PM  

But "I did it!!!" would be dramatic.

Big Ol' 46-Year Old Dork 2:28 PM  

I am a GENXER (just barely) and I hate to admit that ION engine (25A) was the first answer that I had on the grid. My second was TIMEWARP. I grinned as many of you did, and felt my age. Made me think about the comments from yesterday about puzzles for 'oldsters' vs. puzzles for MY age set...and how did the folks who are a little older than myself think about todays wonderful offering....

Dirigonzo 4:07 PM  

Well this syndicated solver actually found the puzzle easier than most Fridays and I finished fairly quickly (for me) with only a couple of the same minor errors already mentioned (plus a couple of my own invention.)

I seem to remember that @NarB had some interesting images of TASSELs when they came up a few days ago so I had a good chuckle when they appeared in the grid today.

ruaho - question you should never ask a woman you have just met.

NotalwaysrightBill 7:25 PM  

Syndi-late paper solver.

Had to Google a few of the pop culture clues and even then I found it hard. TREF new to me, but for some reason I believe I'll remember it long after I've forgotten half the pop stuff.

Whereas the pronoun complement of most verbs takes the objective case (This galls him.), the pronoun complement of COPULATIVE verbs takes the nominative case (This is he.). The rule shouldn't be taken too literally since it was made up before sex was invented.

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