Telecom giant headquartered Denver / SAT 6-25-11 / Practice with Wheel of Year / Chief Sassacus led one side / Where to get citation while surfing

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Mediumish

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PIELS (22A: Pabst brand) —

Piels Beer, aka Piel Bros. Beer and Piel's Beer, is a regional lager beer, originally brewed in Brooklyn, New York. Located in the East New York section of Brooklyn at 315 Liberty Avenue, it was founded in 1883 by the Piel brothers: Gottfried, Michael and Wilhelm Piel. The soft water from Long Island was preferred by German brewers and Breweries in Brooklyn proliferated at this time. Piels union employees are reputed to have been guaranteed ice cold beer on tap 24 hours a day in their union contract. Piels, in its present incarnation, is generally regarded as an inexpensive beer. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, that's a lot of Qs. Impressive. A flamboyant grid with lots to love, chock full o' original, contemporary entries. Hard, but not brutally so. A little heavy on the proper nouns, but I've never been one to complain much about that. The one proper noun that really held me down was one I knew, but sadly couldn't spell correctly: GAUGUIN (7D: Van Gogh threatened him with a a razor blade). I plunked down GAUGHIN, which even now looks strangely right to me. But that "H," lord! Really kept both EMBANK and UNPEGGED (24A: Like some exchange rates) from coming into view. Thank god I'd heard of the PEQUOT WAR (from earlier puzzle experience) (22D: Chief Sassacus led one side in it), or that NE could've been Brutal. That's the answer that forced me to change WIKIPEDIA (which seemed certain) to WIKIQUOTE (27A: Where to get a citation while surfing). PIELS!? (22A: Pabst brand) I accepted that only because it looked vaguely like PILSNER. QUANTA looks like a Latin word I made up (30A: Portions). Still, I think that corner is rough in a wacky, and not a terrible way. There's a difference. Weird, unfamiliar stuff vs. ugly / forced / abbreviated / archaic stuff.

Clue that threw me the most was 43A: Practice with the Wheel of the Year (WICCA). "Wheel of the Year" sounds like an award. Maybe a racing award or something? And "Practice" could be virtually anything. But CLAUDE Rains was a gimme, and the rest of the answers in that section were easy, so WICCA showed up eventually. Significant errors included TUNDRA for AURORA (2D: Polar region phenomenon). Bafflement occurred at CHI SQUARE (which I've heard of but couldn't tell you anything about) (41A: Kind of test associated with the null hypothesis), but *not* at ISOMERS, which I threw down off just the "I" (38D: Atomically related compounds). Two UN-words, you say? A DUE and a DUO, you complain? Don't be such a CALLOW EEL. This grid is nice.

The proper nouns are nicely spread out amongst a broad range of topics, from film to music to literature to commerce. These proper nouns have it all!:
  • 16A: Queen with a degree from Princeton (NOOR)—higher education!
  • 50A: City where "Smokey and the Bandit" begins (TEXARKANA)—cinema vérité!
  • 54A: Pap's son, in literature (HUCK)—rafting!
  • 58A: Brand that has Dibs (EDY'S)—dairy products!
  • 59A: Telecom giant headquartered in Denver (QWEST)—toothpaste!
  • 10D: St. John's is its capital (ANTIGUA)—travel!
  • 29D: Pianist Schnabel (ARTUR)—music!
  • 35D: Producer for 50 Cent, familiarly (DRE)—doctors!
And then there's CLAUDE!

Plus, the return of AFTA! (10A: English Leather alternative). "AFTA II: The AFTA-party."

  • 20A: "Gnarly waves, dude!" ("COWABUNGA!") — fantastic. Reminds me simultaneously of Bart Simpsons and Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High":

  • 26A: Less like nuts? (SANER) — first answer in the grid. It got me TUNDRA, which, while being wrong, got me DUHS (14A: Interjections from the obtuse).
  • 34A: Watt-hour fraction (ERG) — Physics question in three letters? ERG's a good bet.
  • 40D: Part of morning dress (SILK HAT) — Nice vanity answer, Barry.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. And you though *my* critiques of crosswords were sometimes extreme ... I mean, I've said a lot of things, but I don't think I've ever called for the NYT to be shut down: "Kazakh Newspaper in Hot Water over Crossword Clue" (6/25/11)


Marri = Age 12:39 AM  

Now I'm waiting for the special edition of the puzzle that comes with the instructions to find that path in the grid :-)

[Captcha = nalgee = pointless water bottle (he said cryptically)]

syndy 12:49 AM  

I spelled him GAUGAIN-and had hulk for 54 across and CORONA-but WICCA was a gimmee and
I recreated the rest!Thank you Barry C. So are you saying your wife did her half of the puzzle?

retired_chemist 12:51 AM  

Nice puzzle. Medium here, but I lost 10 minutes or so in the NE trying to make WIKIPEDIA work. Bah. Wanted QUOTAS @ 30A, Knew NOOR, thought tentatively of ANTIGUA but only because Newfoundland and Labrador didn't fit. Wanted UNPEGGED but couldn't make the crosses work with WIKIPEDIA in place. Tried ION for EEL. IOW, a right mess. Finally I decided TOILETTE trumped WIKIPEDIA, erased everthing, put in ANTIGUA, and - voilà! - it all fell into place.

IROC-Z was new to me. Didn't like the clue for ERG even though it is technically correct. But all the rest was pretty cool. Fun seeing CHI SQUARE in a puzzle.


Thank you, Mr, Silk.

Anonymous 1:51 AM  

Wait, I want to know how Rex knew how to find that path in the grid and why it went unmentioned in the write-up!

jae 2:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
I skip M-W 2:47 AM  

Good puzzle, rather fast time for me, maybe because I'm on steroids (prednisone, for asthma). Aurora came right away, then saner, Gauguin (why is that hard to spell?) escapes, unpegged, wikipedia,( fixed later) lager, Noor, wouldn't have known afta so fast had not it been so recent, Artur, chi Square, and so on.

I think I understand @Rex's little diagram as moving around filling in. sort of worked that way.

jae 3:02 AM  

Medium-challenging for me. I tried DEFT for 1a, EXER for XERS, had similar trouble spelling GAUGUIN, and went with WICAN on my first pass which is apparently lacking a C. Plus, I can never remember if it's PEQUOD or PEQUOT so, FRET took a while. Excellent Sat. challenge. BTW, isn't IROC-Z (especially the way it's clued) pretty obscure. I mean it's been at least a decade since that model was made.

Was the puzzle path a comment or a goal, or maybe both??

Bruce 3:09 AM  

Clearly this is a nitpick, but Qwest doesn't exist any more. It was bought by CenturyLink, another telecom company that is headquartered in Monroe, LA.

chefwen 3:19 AM  

Like @jae - medium challenging for me also. Got so close I could taste it but ended up a DNF in this kids camp. Got messed up at 42D with get NOW instead of ACT NOW and never recovered. Even with the correct fill at 42D I still don't think I would have gotten CHI SQUARE (whatever that means) Anyway, I had a great time with the amount I finished. Always love a Barry Silk Puzzle even if I fell a little short of my goal.

antigua qarla michaels 4:53 AM  

loved the SILKHAT signoff!
(tho I had SILKtie...
4Qs! 5Ws! 2Xs! 2Ks!
Very David Quarfootesque.

Only five 3 letter words...COWABUNGA!

The Kennedy clue made me sad...of all the ways to clue SLAIN!
RFK, Jr. was just here this week doing a Q & A for the doc "The Last Mountain" about W Virginia strip mining. Bobby Kennedy works tirelessly to bring attention to environmental issues, particularly clean water...Very fabulous way to live up to his name.
Oddly he was in SF with Cheryl Hines from "Curb Your Enthusiasm".
Go see the film! (tho a little long, but we all promised to promote it!)

Anyway, wonderful puzzle.

Besides the SILKtie mistake, my only other writeover was FREEBIE which started out as FirEBug!!! Not what I'd like in MY Crackerjacks.

imsdave 5:44 AM  

Classic Easy (ha!) Saturday for me. Flying along (I started with IROC) thinking that Barry had gone all soft until the NE. Dead stop.

BRUT seemed perfectly reasonable for AFTA. ELK for EEL (I figured if a moose can charge, an elk can charge). Really wanted BARBUDA but WIKIPEDIA said no (the answer, not the site). Finally got QUOTE, then PEQUOT, remembered AFTA from a few days ago, then came up with the stunningly wrong ARMSDECK (this works very well with ELK). Great answer if the clue was worded 'from one' instead of 'in one'.

Got there eventually in a somewhat longish 30 minutes.

Happy Saturday all.

Smitty 7:03 AM  

Easy until it came to the NE, then not so easy...

I had SWORN for the Kennedy brothers and also kinda winced at the correct answer...

I grew up in Brooklyn so have fond memories of the PIELS brothers ad campaign, voiced by the legendary Bob and Ray...

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

I don't get the diagram. Would someone please explain it? Thank you.

Vincent L. 7:39 AM  

I read Rex's write-up for Friday -- which ended with his discussion of "Old Spice rival (AFTA)" -- just before starting this puzzle, so obviously the first thing in was AFTA again. Afta that came NOOR, and on we went....

GILL I. 8:21 AM  

I really enjoyed furrowing my brow to try and get at least half the puzzle done. I managed but barely.
I wrote in Picasso at 7D and didn't want to remove it. Couldn't figure out what a laper was for a Pabst brand although it sounds about right given how awful that beer is to me.
I remember when I was about 7 our family went to visit my grandparents in California. Grand-dad owned a restaurant in Malibu and every one would ooh about the beach (which I could have cared less about.) What I loved was the counter where there was a huge display of candy. Mom told me that CRACKER JACKS had a prize inside. My uncle had given me a whopping dollar and I bought a million boxes. I loved the rings and the little maze puzzles but couldn't stand the candy.
Enjoy your week-end all.....

Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

Is DUH really what the obtuse say? I thought it was an insulting way of saying, "That's obvious." I'd have solved this a lot faster if I hadn't been so fond of "ghost" where DOUBT goes. Good, hard Saturday puzzle.

SethG 9:04 AM  

"...generally regarded as an inexpensive beer". That's nice. Never heard of it, couldn't think of EEL, spent almost a third of my solving time just trying to think of ARMS DEAL. I think I even considered ARMY DESK first.

Nice puzzle, excellent theme!

evil doug 9:13 AM  

Any Mouse,

"I don't get the diagram. Would someone please explain it? Thank you."

Of course. Lately we've seen a dearth of posts here---and most of those have been so tedious that they haven't generated much in the way of engaging conversation---so Michael is trying to stir the pot and get some action going.

Happy to help out,


David L 9:24 AM  

@ret-chem: I was going to explain all my missteps in this puzzle but you beat me to it! Very reluctant to give up wikipedia....

The PEQUOT/PIELS cross I had to get by running the alphabet. Never heard of either.

@glimmerglass: I agree - I thought "Duh" was what you say TO someone obtuse, while the obtuse person (eventually) says "D'oh." But I'm out of my depth here, lingo-wise.

TRI-PUP was Cerberus as a young whelp.

GLR 9:27 AM  

@Anon 7:20,

The path through the puzzle spells out *marriage equality.* Yesterday, the NY state legislature voted to allow same-sex marriage in the state.

foodie 9:29 AM  

Wonderful puzzle, on the easy side of medium for me, which doesn't mean that I sailed through it.

The NE fell easily with AFTA and NOOR, but I had no idea what PIELS was and could not get a foothold in the center north, so I stopped, googled PIELS, plunked LAGER in 5A and was off to the races.

But here's my nerdy scientist nit for the day: the cluing of CHI SQUARE is all kinds of awkward. It's a statistical test, and true enough, in statistics one tests whether or not the null hypothesis can be rejected with some degree of certainty. But the way it's phrased reminds me of how someone who's foreign and trying to sound hip might use slang and slightly miss...

But I loved COWABUNGA, TEXARKANA, WICCA and CALLOW! I agree with Rex about how this feels.

Nice coincidence re MARRIAGE EQUALITY, and great pick up, Rex!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

@GLR - Yeah, but how did Will & Barry know that would happen today? You think the fix was in?

joho 9:42 AM  

This seemed easy until I hit the NE. The only thing that saved me was remembering PEQUOTWAR, my toehold into that corner. AFTA and NOOR soon followed which helped get the rest.

Beautiful Saturday, Barry, I tip my SILKHAT to you!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:05 AM  

Nice puzzle, but add my Aargh! to 28A!

thursdaysd 10:07 AM  

Got through the west last night, slept, finished the SE, but had to google PEQUOTWAR (what?) and ANTIGUA (couldn't shake Newfoundland) to get rid of WIKIpedia and sort out the NE.

Never heard of IROC-Z, PIELS, CHISQUARE and was surprised to find I didn't know how to spell GAUGUIN without thinking hard. Nice to see BURLESQUE and WICCA.

GLR 10:08 AM  

@Anon 9:30,

Probably the all-powerful Crossword Lobby flexing its muscles. Just last month they got a bill defeated that would have required a warning label on all rebus puzzles.

jackj 10:43 AM  

I'm always happy to see "Q's" in a puzzle because "Q's" signal (generally) "U's" and it's like getting free letters in a tough puzzle.

Today's puzzle begs for comparison to yesterday's themeless gem which, ironically, was smooth as silk while today's is a rather scrabbly old-fashioned concoction.

But, props to Barry for giving us the fun answer of the week with COWABUNGA. (But, boos to Barry for his too obvious bit of self-promotion with SILKHAT).

mac 10:50 AM  

Challenging-ish to me. The whole East gave me a hard time after flying through the other 2/3 of the puzzle.

I thought 14A was huhs, and to me "wet behind the ears" means young and inexperienced. Had Gloria at 44D....

Great puzzle, Barry, but I ran out of time.

evil doug 10:57 AM  

Michael got the "marriage" part of the code right. But the rest of the message goes like this:

19A: 3rd letter.
15A: 5th letter.
14A: 4th letter.
1A: 2nd letter.
20A: 1st letter.
31A: 1st letter.
49A: 1st letter.
58A: 2nd letter.


Z 11:04 AM  

Nice shout out to the NY Legislature, Rex. Last night's vote raises my opinion of New York quite a bit.

I guess it is just me, but I refused to enter AFTA into the grid a second day until I absolutely had to. Both days clues are the equivalent of cluing "Blue" as a "Budweiser alternative." The product was Afta Shave by Mennen or Mennen Afta shave in all the ad jingles I remember. A little web search shows me that Colgate-Palmolive doubles the phonemes, calling the product "Afta After Shave," which makes the clue technically correct - but it is still wrong in my book.

Mel Ott 11:12 AM  

I never got off WIKIPEDIA so that whole corner went in the TOILETTE.

I think a third Kennedy brother, Joe Jr., was also SLAIN, but not assassinated like Jack and Bobby. I believe he was shot down over the English Channel in WWII.

Not a fan of commercials, but I agree with @Smitty. Those Bert & Harry (Piels Brothers) commercials, voiced by Bob & Ray, might have been the best ever - usually more entertaining than the programming.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

On the Howdy Doody Show Chief Thunderthud would exclaim "Cowabunga". Rex is so young.

Joe Kennedy was kill when his to be radio controlled "suicide" airplane pack with explosives detonated before he could parachute out. He wasn't shot down.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Alternative clue for 28A: "And hast thou ____ the Jabberwock?" (Pretty sure that's how it goes.)

Michael Leddy 11:33 AM  

Just want to point out -- those are cartooned versions of Bob and Ray on the serving tray. (That is a serving tray, isn't it?)

Here's one of Bob and Ray's commercials on YouTube.

I guess after this puzzle I will never forget the PEQUOT war.

chefbea 11:45 AM  

Had lots of trouble and DNF.

Didn't understand the drawing but now I do.

Should there be an apostrophe in St. Johns????

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Thanks for the explanation of the drawing. I had not been paying attention to the letters - just the shape he drew.

Mel Ott 12:12 PM  

@Anon 11:28: Thanks for the clarification. I didn't bother to look up the details of the plane crash. Since he is listed as Killed in Action, I suppose one could argue he was SLAIN, but your point is well taken since he clearly was not "shot down".

RMS 12:44 PM  

@jae 3:02 am--Neither a comment nor a goal, I suspect, but a celebration. I add my hurrah! Let me join Z in saying New York took another big step forward in my opinion! Not that I ever thought poorly of it.

Loved all the Q's in the puzzle; never heard of Pequot War; thought "they're lined up on a neck" was a great clue for frets, though it nearly did me in.

Yay for Saturday morning crosswords!

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Billions and billions of U's. Impressive. Thumbs up.

Finished ok, but still don't get WICCA or SILKHAT. Ditto for UNPEGGED or PEQUOTWAR. [Insert many DUHS here.]

SILKHAT bugs me most, because everybody's just shrugging and movin' on. Are all of you sittin' around and workin' the puz in silk hats every mornin'?!? It's like a bad dream, dude ... where M&A is the only one not wearin' clothes at the final exam, or somethin'.


Fave Clue: "U leaders".


Least Fave answer: QWEST. Or maybe SILKHAT, if no one can esplain it to me like I'm a fifth-grader.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

"SILKHAT bugs me most, because everybody's just shrugging and movin' on. Are all of you sittin' around and workin' the puz in silk hats every mornin'?!"

"Morning dress" is a term of art. It refers to the clothes you wear to a formal event, like a wedding, that takes place during the daytime. If a man wore a hat with would wear with morning dress it would traditionally have been silk.

Masked and Anonymous II 12:58 PM  

Bless you, oh wise and maskless Anonymous one.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

That "Like two Kennedy brothers" clue ruined this one for me.

santafefran 1:55 PM  

Another Silken puzzle except for 28A which was quite jarring.

Kudos to NY!

CALLOW always brings "Try to Remember" from THE FANTASTICKS to mind. Here is the late, great, Jerry Orbach version:

Try to Remember!

fergus 3:34 PM  

After dropping PEDIA I went for WIKILEAKS, figuring on another sort of Citation. Then TOILETRY made a real mess of the Mid-Atlantic. Mr. Silk is such an elegant craftsman.

Sparky 4:11 PM  

Had to Google for ANTIGUA and PEQUOT. Still didn't complete. NW got me. Brut before AFTA, GAUGaIN. So 24A and 27A never arrived. Aside from that, found it quite enjoyable. All those Qs. 29A sad. I don't get IROC-Z.

The Gay Pride parade is tomorrow, the Marriage Equality Act had been up in Albany for a while. Just good timing that it was passed and signed into law last night.

My street is closed off as a pedestrian walkway during big events in the Village. It's going to be a hootnanny tomorrow.

EG in TO 5:21 PM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle even though I had to google in order to finish. Loved COWABUNGA and thought we were on a surfing theme when I misinterpreted the WIKIQUOTE clue. Then went for WIKIpedia even though I had originally dropped in FOREGONE. That took a while to sort out.

Wanted lobSTERY for BLISTERY. Spent ages looking at RE_REATE and _HISQUARE before the C came to me. DUH!

Can some explain ADUE to me?

EG in TO 5:30 PM  

Never mind, it just clicked. DUH! (again)

sanfranman59 6:32 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 6:25, 6:52, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:31, 8:56, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 18:36, 11:52, 1.57, 100%, Challenging (highest median solve time of 103 Wednesday puzzles)
Thu 15:47, 19:05, 0.82, 21%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:08, 25:48, 0.82, 21%, Easy-Medium
Sat 26:37, 30:22, 0.88, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:40, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Tue 4:53, 4:35, 1.07, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:48, 5:51, 1.67, 100%, Challenging (highest median solve time of 103 Wednesday puzzles)
Thu 9:07, 9:14, 0.99, 57%, Medium
Fri 11:16, 12:42, 0.89, 31%, Easy-Medium
Sat 14:59, 17:16, 0.87, 24%, Easy-Medium

CHISQUARE was a nice and surprising shout-out to statisticians everywhere. It's nice to be in-the-know for a change on what I assume was an obscure Saturday answer for most solvers.

I skip M-W 7:47 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous:An exchange rate for a currency is sometimes pegged to another currency, that is, fixed with respect to it. An unpegged rate is not fixed with respect to another currency.

But what's Iroc-Z????

Tincups 8:53 PM  

Inking in FLOATING [exchange rate] over Wikipedia turned NE and this puzzle into Challenge for me!

to previous: IROC-Z is a sporty street car inspired by the one used in the International Race of Champions, a race where all drivers race in what are intended to be exactly the same car.

Rookie 9:33 PM  

Well, it's probably too late now--but ADUE never clicked for me. I kept waiting for someone else to ask--and then EG in TO almost did. Grrr.
Can someone explain how that's
"scored together"?

musicdictionary 9:37 PM  

A due
(Ah DOO-ay)

[It., for two]

For two voices or instruments; a duet. Also used to indicate that two instruments playing from the same part or score are to play in unison, after divisi or a solo passage for one of the instruments.

See also a 2; [Fr.] à 2; [Fr.] a deux; [It.] a due.

Masked and Anonymous's LSBII 9:41 PM  

@I skip M-W: Thanx. I'll remember that for next time. Crossworders are the nicest people. M&A

Rookie 9:48 PM  

Thank you, music dictionary!! Crossworders really are awfully nice people!

EG in TO 10:26 PM  

Oops, sorry I should have described A DUE once I realized. I'm glad music dictionary chimed in!

Donna 12:06 AM  

SW was kicking my butt because I couldn't get "Brand that has Dibs". I kept thinking Nestle, which obvs doesn't fit.

"MTV generation" - Xers - got me Texarkana which made SE a breeze.

I'm especially proud that I finished this one in less than an hour and on my 3rd beer.

fergus 1:09 AM  

SF Man,

But wouldn't there be a better Clue for isolating the CHISQUARE distribution?

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

OK fellow syndi-solvers...hands up if you got PIELS off Lee Glickstein's misplaced Bob & Ray comment in yesterday's blog. I probably would have had HAMMS there otherwise.

I frowned at TRIP UP/LED UP. That didn't bother anyone else?

Thought perhaps dreamers would be IN R.E.M., which would've been nice directly under TEXARKANA

CLAUDE was indeed a gimme, but I had so much trouble in SE I began to wonder if there wasn't some pop singer named Rains who was born in the '80s.

NE: PIELS first (thanks Lee). Held off on AFTA because I mean it was just in there yesterday. Really wanted ARMS DEAL but as I had WIKIpedia in place I tried ARMS pAct. That messed me up but good. At this point I figured my only chance at a save was to figure out 11d without looking at the grid. Finally came to the conclusion it must be FOREGONE. That freed up AFTA, ARMS DEAL, EEL, gave me WIKIQUOTE and surely would have turned HAMMS into PIELS.

Saturday: done!

I prefer the wide open Saturday grids but this one was a good workout for my surviving brain cells this morning.

Deb 1:20 PM  

I was so absolutely certain that GAUGIN was the correct spelling that I left it open waiting for the crosses. A book of his paintings sits on a shelf not two feet from where I was sitting as I solved the puzzle, but so certain was I that I didn't even bother to glance over and look at it.

My biggest problem area was INBED/NOIRE/QWEST. Got NOIRE, INQ, and QWEST immediately (though it's no longer QWEST as has been pointed out), but just couldn't suss out the N and B between I__ED.

All in all, this was a much easier Saturday than usual for me. Meaning, I had a good third of it completed before I had to resort to Google and the dictionary.

captcha=dowerp: PC term for doo wop

Deb 1:30 PM  

Oops, forgot to add, @mac - CALLOW means naive, though I understand why you might think it means the opposite. It really sounds more like a word to describe a shallow cad. Like @santafefran, the word always puts Try to Remember in my head; I think that's the only context in which I've ever heard the word used.

Longbeachlee 6:50 PM  

After googling for Pequot War I finished using 4th dimensional energy like happens sometimes. Answers appear out of nowhere for no reason but great certainty. Barry reaches out to me. Wish the procsswas faster. I'd say 3 hours for me, and no shame.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Thanks for help with NE corner. Had Queen Noor, but was convinced 27A was wikipedia. Couldn't make the leap to other wiki functions.

Anonymous 5:03 AM  

Once I got a couple of the big Q-crosses, I assumed a Q-theme and so found Quite a bit. Question: What in the world is IROC-Z? Nev. Vah. Heard of it.
We get to the problem of the touchy clue. 5 letters, 2 Kennedys and the first thing that pops into my head is SLAIN. Naw, but he wouldn't use that for a clue; that's pretty harsh. Then the A and I fell in, so with a shrug I put it in. Well, I guess life is pretty harsh too, when you get down to it. But I kinda think something like "Irish toast without tea ['TE']" might be better.
Wait a sec. I think I just had an epiphany. This "captcha" that some of you go on about, nonsense words--is that the "word verification" in wavy colored print that you have to copy before you can post? If so...

captcha=upromo: today's grid, with no fewer than 13 U's.

Red Valerian 3:18 PM  

Congratulations, New York! But Vancouver still makes a great destination for a same-sex marriage, as it has since 2003. Come on up/over!

Pride weekend here this weekend. Vancouver Pride Lotsa fun, though I'm staying home in the suburbs, puttering.

As to the puzzle, enjoyed it a lot and got it all with no help, except didn't know the "P" in PIELS and PEQUOTWAR, and forgot I'd left it blank. I probably would have guessed wrong, but Pequot War does ring a very faint bell.

Like others, I did not like the 14A (obtuse) clue, and was saddened by 28A. I didn't like the clue for 26A, but I don't think anybody else mentioned it. Why is it "less LIKE nuts"? Sounds like valley-speak or something. But, I had a good time.

@Evil. Your point? (and I'm sure you have one)

@Anonymous 5:03am--good play on your captcha!

Red Valerian 3:20 PM  

Sorry, link didn't take. It's

Andres 8:07 PM  

City where "Smokey and the Bandit " begins is a poor clue. The story began in Georgia from where they headed out to Texarkana "West Bound and Down". Their troubles only began after leaving Texarkana.

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