Name means princess in Hebrew /SAT 7-30-11/ Site War of 1812 Museum / Part of legionnaire's costume / Italian seaport home to Saint Nicholas's relics

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Stratigraphist (25D: What a stratigraphist might take=>CORE SAMPLE) —

Stratigraphy: n.
The study of rock strata, especially the distribution, deposition, and age of sedimentary rocks.
• • •

Wow. Looking over this grid now, it's hard to see why the solving experience should have been so tough. In typical Berry fashion, this grid has mostly common words / names / phrases—very little in the way of "WTF??"—but the cluing, OH MY. I floundered quite a bit before I got decent toehold, and even then I lost my grip and had to go find a new one at least twice. My greatest struggle came at the very end, as I tried to fill in a tiny 3x4 section of white squares in the far NW. Blank BISCUIT .. ? Blank ANTENNA ... ? Blank LMINDED ... ? Never heard of the first (really wanted SHIT BISCUIT to be right) (1A: Another name for hardtack => SHIP BISCUIT), and have to quibble with the clues on the other two. An often-retractable car part is an ANTENNA. Maybe a HOOD ANTENNA or ROOF ANTENNA. Not a damned AUTO ANTENNA. You already have "car" in the clue, so you're essentially saying a retractable car part is a car antenna. If the clue had simply been [Often-retractable part], I would've got AUTO much more easily. Instead, I thought ROOF, HOOD, AMFM ... even after I got AU- I was just frustrated that AUDIO wouldn't fit. Boo. As for SMALL-MINDED ... that doesn't shout [Selfish] to me. It's a much bigger, or at least vaguer, state, of which selfishness might be a part. I think of bigots as SMALL-MINDED. Anyway, that corner tore me up. I only got it after finally putting SASH (1D: part of a legionnaire's costume) and HUME (2D: Fox News political commentator) in there at the same time. HUME was one of several answers that I had right immediately, on first instinct, but didn't put in ... see also PANE (20A: Italian bread) and BARI (40A: Italian seaport that's home to Saint Nicholas's relics).

Got my first taste of success with BIG APPLE, which I was certain was going to be a Babe Ruth nickname (26A: Nickname popularized by a New York Morning Telegraph sportswriter in the 1920s, with "the"). Guesses of RAH (23D: Cry that's often tripled) and PEP helped me see that one. But I didn't get much leverage out of that answer at all and had to reboot in the far SE, where I made real headway for the first time. Had EGGO and BARN (instead of SOHO, 46D: Loft-y place?) down there in the corner and knew one was wrong. Left EGGO (45D: Brand with Toaster Swirlz) and then luckily just guessed REMINISCES (42A: Chats at a high-school reunion, maybe). It fit, and crosses started to fall from there. I know PLATTSBURGH for its SUNY campus, not (at all) for being the [Site of the War of 1812 Museum]. Also don't really know SALLIE MAE (28D: Lending "lady"). Had FANNIE MAE in there for a bit. Eventually, PASTILLE took care of that problem (36A: Medicate lozenge). Guessed the ON IT part of STEPS ON IT, which allowed me to work the SW from the ground up (27D: Picks up the pace). Then after working my way into the NE and finishing it off, I came at the NW from both sides until I got down to those damned 12 blanks. Then I sat. And eventually I won.

  • 19A: Something seen on a pad (HELICOPTER) — Weirdly, wanted HELICOPTER at 12D: Aircraft that doesn't need a runway (FLOAT PLANE).
  • 28A: Name that means "princess" in Hebrew (SARAH) — I did not know that. I was expecting a Much weirder name.
  • 29A: What "the lowing herd wind slowly o'er" in a Thomas Gray poem (LEA) — couldn't make sense of clue at first because I was saying 'wind' wrong in my head.
  • 39A: Source of most of the names in "The Lion King" (SWAHILI) — had the terminal "I," so no problem.
  • 4D: Something to clean one's teeth with, maybe (POLIDENT) — the "maybe" confused me. What else are you going to do with POLIDENT? Wax your car?
  • 14D: TV family that popularized the term "parental unit" (CONEHEADS) — great clue, but terribly hard. I was, of course, thinking of TV families that actually had their own shows (HUXTABLES, KEATONS, etc.), not families that periodically showed up on a sketch comedy show.
  • 40D: Towlines are tied around them (BITTS) — the one answer in the puzzle (besides SHIP BISCUIT) that I'd never heard of.
  • 26D: "Goin' to Chicago Blues" songwriter (BASIE) — as in Count. Had the "B" and it still took me a while. I couldn't get BESSY Smith out of my head (who spelled her name "BESSIE," it turns out).

  • 35D: Guatemala's national instrument (MARIMBA) — wanted MARACAS. Shows what I know about Central American instruments.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


retired_chemist 12:16 AM  

Finshed and DNG. Medium-challenging here. Wanted BUM for 16A and it screwed me up for a while in the NE, as did FANNIE MAE @ 28D. Tried AM-FM ANTENNA @ 15A and was tempted by STALK @ 7D. And, like I bet most of us, tried LIRE @ 20A.

I asked myself, "Why Plattsburgh?" Professor Wikipedia has the answer.

It is always fun to learn interesting facts from a crossword puzzle, and Mr. Berry is a master at constructing puzzles which offer that opportunity. Bravo and thanks!

Nate's Friend 12:40 AM  


Sallie Mae is the federal agency for student loans. Otherwise we were on the same wavelength tonight.

Alex S. 1:40 AM  

Top half was a bear since I knew that either HARRIER JET (ended up being HELICOPTER) or NOBLE GAS (ended up being INERT GAS) was up in there and having both of those wrong kept me from seeing the other words (also had HUME in there as a gimme but kept taking it out when NOBLE GAS would take the lead for me).

The BARI/BITTS cross was just me typing letters in until the puzzle finally submitted.

Anonymous 1:53 AM  

I thought AUTO Antenna refered to automatic.

lit.doc 2:04 AM  

Weasels ripped my flesh.

In a perfect world, 1A woulda been MREs. And SHIT ON A SHINGLE was just too long, although, to its credit, it had several correct letters.

@poopypants, me too re NOBLE GAS (which none of them is, as the clue stipulates). But hey, in the language, so fair game. And ROCKETSHIP fits 19A very nicely, BTW, though I would have gone with HARRIER JET if I could have come up with the name I should have remembered from the take-off footage I’ve seen.

15A was A_N… early on, abetted by 3D STET, so NW flew from my ANTENNA… for the entire ride. Symptomatic of the whole. Wow. And I’ve been practicing like mad with the “Patricks’” puzzle book. This one felt like Doctor Patrick and Mister Berry. Wow.

CONEHEADS was the most delightful of the miserly few gimmes. Yeah, I’m that old.

On the bright side, assuming a pretty impoverished sense of “bright”, I did work out SE without Check All.


“chapter” = MONKS? The ‘net sez yeah, but can you say obscure? Coolest new info was the lion king/Swahili connection. Didn’t know the Swahili were Christians.

All in all, seems like a perfect Saturday puzzle.

chefwen 2:12 AM  

Close but just out of reach of that ceegar the last two days. Felt unworthy of commenting, so I will not. Just wanted to thank Rex for Reminiscing by the Little River Band, one of my favorites. Soooo looking forward to a big, fun, Sunday puzzle.

capcha - hydrog, sounds like a close relative to yesterdays DUROC.

lit.doc 2:53 AM  

Doh. Make that "15A was A_T… early on, abetted by 3D STET".

jae 3:05 AM  

Yep for MARACAS, multiple tries for ANTENNA ( AMFM, ROOF, etc.), plus SALTBISCUIT = medium-challenging for me too. Got it all sorted out but it took a while. Oh, and FCC for FTC didn't help either. Fine Sat.! Nice challenge!

BTW, BITTS was a true WTF. A post solve google shed no light.

I skip M-W 5:07 AM  

I Immediately filled in Kepi for 1D, and then thought of biscuit, from having read F. Braudel's great work with overlong title, in which Philip Ii of Spain kept having to order biscuit well in advance for fighting season with Turkish fleet. But what kind of biscuit starts with K? Krisp didn't fit. First right answer that stayed in was lea in was LEA at 29A. Tried PANE and then Lire, before seeing PEP. Only 4-letter Italian port could think of was BARI, so in it went. wasted time on waht turned out, w/o my noticing to be bitts. Like @Rex, never heard of them.

Very similar experience as @Rex, with SE falling after FannieMae, then Sallie, I was unsure which to put, nad pastille fixed it for me too.

Put in FortMcHenry for what became Plattsburgh. had HIILS for 38a before vales. Never heard of rolling vales.

@lit.doc, Swahili is not a people, just a lingua franca, I think. Also don't believe difference between inert and noble gases.

Final slog NW, and reluctantly took out kepi for sash.
always annoyed when legionnaires turn out to be Shriners.

Have vaguely heard of coneheads, (on SNL???) but was an easy guess, once I replaced DOJ with FTC.
was delighted to finish correctly after a million years.

I skip M-W 5:09 AM  

Sorry for typos. Have one eye bandaged, from scratching cornea turning pages of Times.

GILL I. 6:33 AM  

I guess this puzzle says a lot about me when the only thing I knew was CONEHEADS.
I put the puzzle down and after a full tummy and a good glass of Zin, I plugged along.
I looked up SHIPBISCUIT and they have some other names such as "dog biscuits" and "worm castles."
Hand up for Fannie Mae and I just wouldn't let go. Never heard of STIPE. Could not get CALL ROLL since I had caller ID instead.
Like REMINISCES since I just came back from our reunion and we did indeed talk about how gorgeous we were back then. Also love the word PASTILLE.
Didn't finish but had some fun.

nanpilla 8:27 AM  

Having SodaBISCUIT in the NW kept me from finishing this one. Just could not get that last little square in the NW.

Laughed at finding HELICOPTER at 19a, after trying it at 12d.

Of course, I also tried fAnnIEMAE first, and thought it was interesting that fARAH meant princess!

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Pretty funny - My first thought after finishing the NW corner was definitely WTF. Then I see Rex's first sentence...

I saw Zappa Plays Zappa last night. Amazing

Nancy in PA 8:33 AM  

Hand up for HELICOPTER in the wrong place, "noble" before INERT, and "lire" or "euro" for Italian bread. No fair being literal on a Saturday! Also when "hills" didn't work I wanted dALES before VALES. But it all worked out in the end and was fun.

jackj 9:07 AM  

When Patrick Berry, your favorite constructor, has AUTO as part of an answer for a clue which refers to a "car", great expectations take a holiday as a titan shows a rarely seen mortal tinge.

Still, Patrick's disappointments seem to be the equal of the best efforts of many of his contemporaries and, so, we get on with it; we just don't whistle "Ode to Joy" for the duration of the solve.

tptsteve 9:10 AM  

NW kept me from finishing today. Otherwise, the rest fell fairly easily for a Saturday. FTC and LOO led to 12-14D, and from there, after a few false starts, no real problems.

Had AMFM for 15A, and couldn't think of HUME for the life of me.

Had I wanted to spend a little more time hitting my head against a wall, I'm sure I'd have finished. But since I hit the majority, I can live with it.

Loved CONEHEADS. Now to have some fried chicken embryos for breakfast

Had a nice solving experience on yesterday's puzzle with CoolPapaD!

Z 9:13 AM  

Several of the same problems already mentioned, helicopter first at 12D, fAnnIEMAE, no idea on alternate names for hardtack. BARI/BITTS is a Natick for me, so I had to google St. Nick for that "B."

BIGAPPLE and STRETCH were the first fills, yet I finished with FL_ATPLANE/_WN. I also could not figure out what dANISH had to do with "Beat it."

I really do not like the word REMINISCES. It always looks misspelled to me.

This wasn't the slog that Saturdays sometimes are for me, but this puzzle wasn't my favorite.

Lindsay 9:14 AM  

.... in which, after 48 years, I learn there's no Q in BISqUIT. Apparently being fed Bisquick as a child left a scar.

Actually, I wanted pilot bread for 1A, but it wouldn't fit.

Rex & al. You tie the bitter end around a BITT. It's nautical.

JayWalker 9:29 AM  

I'll be damned!! Did not know that "bitter end" referred to a length of rope. I knew "bitt" and still didn't see that. Of course, I thought it referred to something like "death" or the cursed ending of a dilemma. Thank you Z. Finished the bloody thing but it took me forever to do it. But ultimately? Great challenge. Good fun. Thanks Mr. Berry.

jberg 9:37 AM  

OK, I didn't like AUTO either, but still a great puzzle -- I really didn't think I'd finish, but I did. My big hangup was the NE. Even though my mother told that joke a lot, I didn't see LOO and thought it must be misdirection for tin (Prince Albert being English by adoption), and stuck to it for far too long once I crossed it with city CLERK. Finally OWN showed me I was wrong.

Oddly, the gimmes for me were LEA and STIPE--although Gray wrote "winds" rather than "wind" (many cows, but only one herd). Just shows how different people are!

After LEA and BIG APPLE I was sure 12D was some kind of PLANE, which ruled out the otherwise obvious hillS at 38A, but I went through dunES and dALES before I got to VALES.

There were a couple of really nice touches. One is the already-mentioned miscluing of HELICOPTER at 12D. And, even though I live in Boston, I liked the crossing of the boastful BIG APPLE with someone who was blue about going to Chicago. It was SOME TIME AGO that I last enjoyed such a hard solve so much.

David L 9:50 AM  

Tough all the way through -- had [something]BISCUIT, [something]ANTENNA, and [something]MINDED in the NW before finally getting there. Does AUTOANTENNA mean an antenna on an automobile or an automatic antenna? Either way, it's a non-phrase, IMO. I agree with Rex that SMALLMINDED is not a synonym for selfish.

I had DALES before VALES, and wondered why someone would beat their DANISH. Which sounds like a euphemism...

Finally, I live in a condo and I don't have a balcony. Ergo, this clue is wrong.

dk 10:05 AM  

Snapbiscuit, XII for Apollo (lunar landing 1) and dales - insert heavy sigh about here.

Perhaps I shall get small (STONY) and watch old SNL.

*** (3 Stars) Mr. Berry does it again.

JaxInL.A. 10:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaxInL.A. 10:15 AM  

Had a brief flirtation with Narcissistic for Selfish. Fits nicely, too. But nothing else works with it, though, so I had to keep groping around for a hold elsewhere

I travelled around the grid much the same way as Rex, and thought I might be able to finish the puzzle off, but got stuck in that nasty NW corner. In the end I just could not get it, cried Uncle, and let myself come limping in here to lick my wounds. Sigh.

Has anyone else ever heard of a Flying Eagle CENT? It was only minted for two years between 1856-1858. Wha?

I would have posted last night but I was trying to find a video of the CONEHEADS. Apparently SNL or NBC is very good about policing their content on the web. What few I did play only in Flash, not viewable on my APPLE product. Sorry, I tried.

@quilter1, I'm not near Eagle Rock but could get there. Have you tried to call? As a back-up, the home number is 323- six four one-7677. Email is jaxhamilton [at] gmail. I sure hope we can connect.

Gareth Bain 10:17 AM  

Quite a few dittos! The puzzling clueing for SMALLMINDED for one, which I took out and put back twice; also, expecting BIGAPPLE to be a Babe Ruth nickname (actually started typing BAMBINO!) Thirdly wanting HELICOPTER at FLOATPLANE...

From Experience 10:24 AM  

1) A decade or so ago, my Mazda offered a *fixed* or optional auto[matic] antenna, the latter always retracting when the radio was turned off.

2) In most of the condos around here, a balcony is an UNcommon feature.

Despite those carps, one fine puzzle today.


JenCT 10:28 AM  

I was all over the grid trying to get a foothold - 1st answer was CONEHEADS (loved those skits), followed by STAYAWHILE, FLEASHAMPOO, and MARIMBA.

My Pathology professor had a great off-color joke about mushroom stems...

DNF, but enjoyed the challenge.

David 11:01 AM  

tougher for me than Patrick Berry's recent Saturday (2 weeks ago?). but was able to finish. Had PONE for PANE at first, luckily FLOOTPLANE just couldn't stick, so the A eventually worked itself out for FLOAT.

Also, spelled COLISEUM as COLOSEUM for the entire time, as it was a "gimme" for me, so when I had -ARO for the Italian seaport I was stuck. I fortunately recalled BARI, finally realized my spelling error and changed it. Never heard of BITTS either, wanted MITTS, if only because it's a word.

I'm reading World Without End right now, Ken Follett's sequel to Pillars of the Earth, every page has monks in it, so MONKS came easily today.

I also struggled with the front end of many of the big clues, which can sometimes be the death of me. SHIP, AUTO, SOME for SOMETIMEAGO, heck, even PLATT for PLATTSBURGH was slower than it should have been.

Overall, loved the puzzle! Oh, I had dinner the other night in Natick, MA with my old college roommate. Although he used to try puzzles way back then, I didn't bother to mention why his town is famous in our circle.

retired_chemist 11:02 AM  

@ JenCT - I cannot imagine an off-color joke about mushroom stems. Do share.....

Bob Kerfuffle 11:05 AM  

LTS - Life's Too Short.

Total Fail, DNF, Gave Up Completely.

Had everything correct before trying the SE, then almost complete blank from __NKS at 35 A and ___ES at 38 A down to 52 A. Anchored at CALLERID at 31 D (If you can "ID" someone in person, why not "CALLER ID" him on the phone?) and NIAGRA FALLS (yeah, I know, spelled wrong) at 50 A, just totally lost and didn't have the time to devote to fixing.

And I, too, sure wanted KEPI at 1 D but didn't put it in.

But I did like the puzzle!

foodie 11:11 AM  

No way I could have finished this one without cheating. And I agree that in looking at the grid, you'd think it would mostly be highly gettable.

I can see the beauty of the construction and I always admire Patrick Berry. But some of the cluing feels like it's gone from tricky to imprecise edging towards wrong. Best example is the one Rex pointed to: Selfish= SMALL-MINDED?

I really like the clue for META, even thought I did not get it except from the crosses...

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

This one was pretty smooth sailin', for a SatPuz, until I got her cornered in the SE. Took an extra cinnamon roll call to sort things out there.

Worst moments came in the ?ARI/?IT?S/PLAT?SBURGH area, like for lots of y'all. Knew I didn't know the two across names, so reasoned the down entry was gonna be something reasonable. So, I triaged it out for a while and confidently filled in kITeS. Wrong again, M&A.

Would be in pain, but still like my answer better than BITTS.

slypett 11:30 AM  

Flopped around like a flounder on a dock for a long time. Then I calmed down and went into deep solving mode. Died happy.

I couldn't listen to Bessie Smith. I've seen that clip before.It is terribly sad.

Masked and Not Bitter At All 11:32 AM  

P.S. Too bad Nat-tick already has dibs on dirty double crossers. Otherwise, we could now have Bari-bitts.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

I finished the puzzle with no googling or other assistance. But my joy needle never moved from 0. Not sure why. I did hate some of the clues -- ball point??? And some of the straightforward clues I'd never know. Wouldn't know 'em this afternoon if I saw 'em again. But still it is a Saturday.

Mel Ott 11:34 AM  

Finaly solved it but definitely challenging. Had the same problem in the NW as @Rex et al. The front ends of those three long answers took forever.

@Rex: I think the AUTO in 15A may refer to AUTOmatic rather than AUTOmobile. Does that help?

My other big hurdle was REMINISCES. I wanted CATCHES UP - didn't fit. Then had RECONNECTS for awhile.

Somehow the spelling for COLISEUM doesn't look right.

As a boater I knew BITTS.

Masked and Anonymous's last silver bullet 12:32 PM  

P.P.S.S. @Patrick Berry--This puz was lots of fun to solve. Thanx for the "Berry bitts"; they gave me an ultra-rare opportunity to carp about something in one of your puzs. I need to learn the parts of my yacht better. Sure hard to please everyone, huh?
And keep yer U-count up. ;)

syndy 12:47 PM  

Had all the missteps as everyone else (except noble GAS)even to spelling BISQUIT at first!Had the answer to 42 A but had fits trying to spell it! PLATTSBURGH came from deepspace somehow-Was going to run the alphabet for the _ARI/_ITTS cross but since I started with "B" i got a happy pencil!BARRY FINE piece of work-as usual

poc 12:55 PM  

Agreed about most of Rex's comments, especially the AUTO abomination. And SHIPBISCUIT is almost always SHIP'S BISCUIT anywhere outside of a dictionary, as readers of Patrick O'Brian will know.

Aside: BITT is indirectly the origin of "bitter end", which has nothing to do with bitterness. So there :-)

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Re 42A: "Reminisces" is a verb. "Reminiscences"is a noun.

The Blasevicks 1:26 PM  

We had a small slip-up with Italian bread (20A), thinking Lira (bread as money) rather than actual bread (Pane). Should have known better. This was a tough one to start -- Lion King names stemming from Swahili did it for us.

Lewis 1:31 PM  

I've been trying for two months now to figure out what "capcha" means -- I've been trying to figure it out from context, to no avail. Uncle. Can someone help me? Thanks!

rookie 1:33 PM  

Am new to this ...

1) Can anyone indicate a source that would explain some of the "gimmicks" in the clues, e.g., ending in "maybe," "?" or "say."

2) Someone mentioned "submitting" his/her puzzle and finding errors. I'm using the puzzle online from my paid subscription. The only option that I can see for checking is the "reveal" and "check" icons on the bottom that do not become active until late in the evening. Am I missing something? Or are you checking against Rex's puzzle?

3) Had the same issues with "helicopter," "fanniemae," and "kepi" as many others. As a complete beginner, that is actually reassuring for me! In one case, knowing too much actually hurt me. I knew that pastille is a French lozenge but did not know that the word exists in English. My mind kept suggesting pastille, and I kept rejecting it. Oh, only to learn to trust my intuition!

4) And lastly, thanks to all of you. What a nice and interesting group of people! I really love reading your comments. I'm in awe of those of you who finish without any google references. Wow!

The Raven 1:34 PM  

Rex: The "maybe" in the clue for POLIDENT must mean that not everyone would use it, only those with false teeth.

HTG to finish. An UNDESIRED, ILL result. I shall VANISH on my HELICOPTER to the VALES.

JenCT 1:37 PM  

@Lewis: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

joho 1:46 PM  

Well, for 17A "Selfish" I confidently aha-ed with SweLLheaDED. This gave me sTet for ITAL and totally screwed up that corner for me. I also did not know BITTS, but vaguely remembered BARI, but still that crossing was worthy of a Natick, for sure.

I got the rest so I'll give myself one resounding RAH!

Great write up today, Rex! I especially agree with you about 15A: AUTOANTENNA??? I wanted roof.

ANON B 1:53 PM  


I just read your 1:55AM remark
about our mutual "friend" from
It's the only smile I've had
in a while. Thanks.

andrea carp meta-michaels 1:55 PM  

Tried sleeping on it for the whole NW corner but DNF :(

Never heard of hardtack and couldn't even figure out what category of animal, vegetable. mineral it would fall into.
Had the -UIT and thought something sUIT. In the morning thought maybe it could be a kind of frUIT or some sort of circUIT.
FINALLY got SodaBISCUIT, but never recovered from hoodANTENNA or

Knew BITT from learning the meaning of EVERY four-letter word in Scrabble, so folks couldn't lodge their lame complaint that it's just about memorizing letters you don't know the meaning of!

They are just words you hadn't learned YET and never know when you WILL see them in "real" life!
(Same goes for crossword puzzles and the naysayers who say "oh yeah, use (fourletter word you find in a crossword puzzle) in a sentence!")

Love learning that it's literally "tied" to BITTer end, and I laughed at @Masked and Anonymous needing to learn the parts of his yacht better!

(There definitely was a sea-faring undertone (undertow?) with BITT, FLOATPLANE, SHIPBISCUIT and FLEASHAMPOO)

With @Z, @Mel Ott
SO much looked misspelled to me: COLISEUM (not two LLs or two SSs or one of one and two of the other?) and REMINISCES would definitely get me a "ding" were I in a Spelling Bee...

Also,have never watched Fox News even once, so couldn't get past Beck. :(

Had fannieMAE too, as fARAH seemed like a Princess to me, tho more Farsi perhaps than Hebrew. And Farrah Fawcett was sort of a princess...right? Well, an angel.

And was it on this blog that I learned that at one point the nazis stamped all Jewish women's id cards with SARAH and all the men with the same name?

That's why I try and read every comment, even tho no one wants to use the word Malapop (eg HELICOPTER at 12D) any more!

One thing that might make the genesis of a puzzle or wordplay game was ROLLCALL/CALLROLL.

META was the first word I put in!

andrea callroll michaels 2:15 PM  

Found the reference...figured I should follow up after such a heavy statement about nazis and the name SARAH.
It had to do with the nazi postal system and censoring Jewish letters in the camps:
Here is what I found on line:
"The stamp “Z,” for zensiert, meant that a censor had reviewed the letter. It was then punched and stored in a large notebook. Some camps required that old mail be exchanged for new mail. Beginning in 1941, Jews were required to insert the middle name “Sara” for women or “Israel” for men in all addresses."


Anonymous 2:27 PM  

@anon 1:26 "Chats" can be either.

mac 3:02 PM  

Very good Saturday for me; DNG and finished, but @Lindsay's comment made me realize I also spelled biscuit with a q. That word was tough. I know what hardtack is, scheepSbeschuit in Dutch, so ship's biscuit seemed logical. Except there was no place for the s.

Hand up for Fannie, kepi and AMFM.

Neat to find out about the "bitter" end! Thank you all!

@rookie: try Amy Reynaldo's "How to conquer the NYT crossword puzzle".

Agree that the clue for small minded wasn't optimal.

Clark 3:17 PM  

Finished puzzle with SHI*BISCUIT -- giving TOLIDENT in the cross. Could not think of any other possible answer. Imagining the NYT publishing such an answer amused me more than finishing the puzzle would have. That is all.

fergus 3:50 PM  

Rex, it seems like we had virtually the same experience in solving today, since I found your write-up so closely mirroring my protracted time. All the same guesses at incorrect answers. So often do we share our solving experiences, but seldom does it seem like we're of a like mind.

Who cares about time on a Saturday? I was hoping to actually extend this a bit longer, enjoying the puzzle as much as my reminiscence of yesterday's gem. What a fine Fri-Sat combo this has been.

chefbea 3:54 PM  

No time for the puzzle today. Getting ready to go to Ct. for the week so might not be in Rexville regularly.

retired_chemist 3:59 PM  

@Clark - LOL! I knew POLIDENT but did consider TOLIDENT as a (not very serious) alternative...

JenCT 4:06 PM  

@retired_chemist: What do you call a mushroom
with an extra-long stem?

A fungi to be with.

Chip Hilton 4:09 PM  

I've little to say. Finished it, liked it, had AMFM... and Fort McHenry for a BITT, but eventually reached the finish line.

All the 20's sports nicknames that sprang to mind! Bambino (and Sultan of Swat), Iron Horse, Manassa Mauler, Galloping Ghost.... at least none of them had 8 letters.

Hmm...more to say than I thought.

fergus 4:21 PM  

Andrea -- I now feel like a crusty old veteran, since I chuckled inwardly at finding HELICOPTER Across, recognizing Malapop from the ____ PLANE at 12D. If anyone could cite the coinage discussion (or that of ampersandwich), that could be fun for Rookie and some others who haven't been around as long.

michael 4:29 PM  

Got all of the puzzle, but it took a really long time. Definitely challenging, but possible. Good thing that I knew marimba right off. Took me forever to get flea shampoo -- oh, that kind of "spot"!

michael 4:30 PM  

Also, had "me me" instead of "meta" for way too long...

fergus 4:47 PM  

The SMALL-MINDED Selfish connection, while initially seeming dubious, now comes across as insightful, both psychologically and politically.

andrea sarah michaels 4:57 PM  

sounds like a puzzle to me! WOnder if it's been done!

Two Ponies 5:09 PM  

My kind of Saturday puzzle.
I knew it would be fun when I saw P. Berry's name on top.
SO hard to let go of Fannie Mae esp. when, like some others here, it made Farah a princess. I only know Hebrew from xwords. Ditto for legal phrases.
Pastille made me change it.
Adamantine was a cool clue word but made me laugh. What made Adam Ant special?
Now I know where "bitter end" comes from.

Doc John 5:42 PM  

Is that SARAH showing the size of her brain?

Just a style note, Rex- you left out the 'd' in "Medicated lozenge."

rookie 5:46 PM  


Thanks for the suggestion re: Reynaldo's book. I've ordered it already.

So kind of you to respond!

retired_chemist 6:28 PM  

@ JenCT - thanks. Who would think that a pathology professor has a sense of humor?

Stan 6:35 PM  

Solid, enjoyable puzzle, and good comments too.

Loved, loved META. That such a 50-cent, graduate school Greek prefix could be now in the language as slang took me by surprise. Urban Dictionary's first example is: "Dude, that's so meta."

retired_chemist 6:49 PM  

@ Chip H - how about Big Train (Walter Johnson) for an 8 letter example? But there aren't a lot....

I call bullsh*t 6:56 PM  

Lewis, seriously? Two months? I went from not knowing to knowing in less than 30 seconds by putting the term into the search bar on my web browser. Do you not have that capability on your machine?

retired_chemist 7:34 PM  

Even misspelled as capcha, Google gives the answer.

foodie 7:38 PM  

@Andrea, my first answer was HELICOPTER in lieu of FLOATPLANE. Then it took forever to get HELICOPTER where it did belong. As soon as I finally tumbled to it, I laughed out loud and thought Malapop! And then I decided that Patrick Berry designed the Malapop for us.So, it's a faux-malapop.

@Fergus yes, I remember ampersandwich as well. I recall the ORYX Award and remember how Natick became famous. We need to give out a booklet.

metamorphic petrologist 8:42 PM  

I've never of a stratigraphist and I'm a geology professor. A person who studies layered sedimentary rock is a stratigrapher.

Nancy 8:54 PM  

SHADE instead of SCENT at 24A threw off the whole NW section for the longest time. Never heard of BITTS or PASTILLE or FLOATPLANE. Like Rex, hate AUTO & SMALLMINDED. Also hate the clue for TEE. Nevertheless I thought I'd solved...until I came to this website. The SHADE, you see, gave me HORN SAMPLE at 25D, which I changed to CORN SAMPLE once I got SCENT. (With EYN at 33A.) So while I thought I was a genius, guess I wasn't. A very tough puzzle that took me forever.

Lindsay 8:57 PM  

As long as we're malapopping, my first thought for 32A Determine the age of, in a way, was CoRe.

Though I was thinking of dendrochronology, not rocks.

Lewis 9:49 PM  

@i call bullsh*t

Duly chastened and red-faced...

+wordphan 2:57 AM  

My dog is sick and this puzzle didn't help my mood at all. Patrick's "read my frigging mind" game. No fun, as if. Next time, Patrick, do it in Sanskrit.

nebraska doug 11:51 AM  

Ouch! One of my worst outings in a long time. Couldn't get started anywhere except for CONEHEADS. This puzzle destroyed me.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

This ranged from very hard (south) to impossible. Started with THY and VII, then erred with FANNIEMAE, but the I_I ending suggested SWAHILI. From there I pried open the SW, correcting to SALLIEMAE along the way. Guessed at SPF and SOMETIMEAGO, had to Google PLATTSBURGH and the south was in. But all this burned so many of my brain cells that I got confused as I headed north. Wanted BAMBINO so bad that I even tried it with an extra M--and then an extra O! Never DREAMED that BIGAPPLE was nearly so early. I thought that was, like, a 70's thing. Just couldn't make it work. This Berry guy is scary smart. Don't let him get control of big weapons.

Today's v-word is talippo: what you get when you cross a talapia with a hippo.

Longbeachlee 5:30 PM  

Geezer alert. Contragate was a disillusioning moment for me. Up to that point I pictured Central America as a happy place where the natives sang and danced. This impression gleaned from the 1939 SF World's Fair Central America exhibits. Specifically the Guatemalan one where the singing and dancing were to the tune of the marimba. Gimme for that.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

As several others have already pointed out, AUTO ANTENNA refers to automatic antenna, not automobile antenna.

I was very proud of myself for finishing this (HUME & ITAL were the last to fall when I finally gave up AM/FM), only to discover that I butchered the NE with FLeeT PLANE and cOiN CLERKS. Neither sounded right but I left them alone, so I lose. Now it's on to Sunday.

captcha=metric: I metRic Ocasek once. (true story)

MikeInSTL 12:49 PM  

Hated it! I usually don't mind Patrick's puzzles, but this one just went too far with "I guess you could kind of sort of see that as the answer to the clue."

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