Czech religious reformer Jan / FRI 9-9-11 / Anatomical aqueducts / Alice 1971 antidrug book / 1953 hit for Mitch Miller / Home of Sun Devil stadium

Friday, September 9, 2011

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: RYS (61D: Roads with train tracks: Abbr.) —

Var. of RWYS, or "Railways" (
• • •

I really don't have much of an appetite for this tonight. I live in Binghamton, NY. Turn on the Weather Channel. You'll see. Twenty-thousand evacuated, river well over record flood stage in places, all major roads turned into rivers, National Guard, Blackhawk helicopters, etc. The county canceled all classes. Even classes at my STATE UNIVERSITY (62A: Appalachian, e.g.) were canceled (the Events Center there has been turned into a shelter for thousands of displaced residents). We are under "conserve water" and "no unnecessary travel" advisories. And to top it off, my wife got bit by a dog while out running. Really bit. Blood and bruise and doctor's visit bit. So ... yeah. It's been a day.

Puzzle: briefly, it was OK. Top half holds up, bottom half really truly goes to hell. NABES (48D: Local theaters) next to ITERS (49D: Anatomical aqueducts) next to GO ASK (50D: "___ Alice" (1971 antidrug book)) is barfy, I have never ever seen RYS before and was sure I had an error down there, and the ELUTE (45D: Dissolve out) / LOA crossing is criminally bad, esp. with that ridiculous clue on LOA (51A: "Aloha nui ___" (warm greeting in Waikiki)). TIPIS, also terrible (34D: Plains homes: Var.). Best part of the grid was FISHERMAN'S WHARF (1A: Starting point for a ferry ride to Alcatraz). Things go slowly downhill from there as you move (fittingly) down the grid.

Also, SCARLET TANAGERS (30A: North American singers with raspy notes) is the new A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE — I never want to see it in my puzzle again. It's officially played out.

  • 63A: 1953 hit for Mitch Miller ("UNDER PARIS SKIES") — who? what? pass!
  • 12D: Czech religious reformer Jan (HUS) — who? what? pass!
  • 38D: Saint-___ (Delibes contemporary) (SAENS) — OK, Saint-SAENS I know, but your clue reference is supposed to be the *familiar* one of the pair. No way in Hell Delibes is even a fraction as famous as Saint-SAENS.
I'LL GO now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:10 AM  

Rex stay safe and dry.

Easy medium for me(for a friday, they usually take me forever)
except for a few rough spots that Rex already covered.

I am sure this They Might be Giants song would have made the blog if not for flooding and whatnot.
Good thing I'm here to save the day.

syndy 12:14 AM  

REX keep safe keep dry -sorry to hear about Sandy!(hope she did't have to do the rabies thing) I can't believe your rating.I was sure you were gonna call this EASY-Got FISHERMAN'S WHARF from the clue and just sailed,I DID not understand all the answers though-41A-PAS? 41/45 down:ELUTE?NABES? both new to me but hey that's cool!The scarlet tanagers do seem to show up lately.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

38D: Saint-___ (Delibes contemporary) (SAENS) — OK, Saint-SAENS I know, but your clue reference is supposed to be the *familiar* one of the pair.

Is this a Rex rule or a Will rule?

Orange 12:30 AM  


Gill I. P. 1:22 AM  

Rex, add me to those wishing you a safe and dry journey ahead of you. So sad this is happening. A dog bite to boot...sheesh. I hope there are plenty of pain killers.
Well, I liked this puzzle. I thought the 15's were pretty fun to do regardless of the double "SLEEP" and the "IN ONE'S."
My favorite was AS BUSY AS A BEAVER.
I guess the fun for me was that there were so many possibilities with all the 15-letter entries.
Didn't (don't) understand 41A PAS nor 61D RYS.
Never heard of HUS but loved TIS since my husband says it all the time.
And there's my boyfriend Mitch Miller again although I've never heard of UNDER PARIS SKIES.
If ever you're in SFO in the summer, and you've never been to Alcatraz, It's a trip you'll never forget - especially a visit inside solitary confinement with the doors closed behind you.....

lit.doc 1:54 AM  

@MountainManZach, sorry I couldn't revisit the Thursday conversation till just now. Yes, KLUGE does rhyme with HUGE. I was carping about the D in KLUDGE (and I was with American Management Systems in that lifetime, FWIW).

Back after I do the puzzle. Or vice-versa.

anass canal michaels 1:55 AM  

Yikes! :( Stay high and dry. It's really getting biblical back East.
And so sad for Sandy. Scary and heartbreaking.
Amazing that you blogged. We do take it for granted sometimes. I am here counting my blessings.

@syndy, @ Gill I P
PAS...ce n'est pas facile, mes amies.
I looked at it for about ten minutes then realize it's "not" in France. 41A Not overseas = PAS.

As for RYS, I'm guessing RailwaYs?

3 stacks of 15 awfully cool, but how can you have both
Is that a mini-theme? An error? A repeat? A leftover from another puzzle?
I'm pretty sure I'll lose sleep over it.

Started with birdBRAINED and thought that was nice under the overused SCARLETTANAGERS, but it was HAREBRAINED.

Even tho I live right here in SF, I tried Pier thirtynine first and when that didn't fit, pier fortyone...That's one of those cases where it helps to know less.
But when it fell into place, I LOVED seeing FISHERMANSWHARF so beautifully across the top. I mean, that's just plain pretty.

I think given the dire straits Rex is in, he missed ANASS in the middle of the grid, or there would have been some sort of clever comment there, I'm guessin'.

Favorite clue: 26D One may take your heart.

50D GOASK Alice could have easily been in yesterday's drugfest.

I love looking at this grid from afar. All the black squares are blocks of three...not one random single black square. That is some cool pattern.
You go, Joe!
(But what is the deal with almost identical SLEEP clues/answers?)

I skip M-W 2:01 AM  

@rex, so sorry to hear about more flooding, and I hope your wife doesn't need rabies shots.
btw, Hus is somewhat important, an early persecuted Protestant reformer after whom Hussites are named. I'm Jewish but a gimme for me.
Pas is part of French for not, usually ne ...pas, surrounding a verb, but in an answer, informally, pas can be used alone. Delibes is not fantastically obscure.
I don't get why ete is Dijon toasting time. Oh, does it mean that summer is when it's hot in Dijon? Guess so.
This took me over half an hour, but the clues on the whole were pretty fair, I thought.

Stay dry, and find the dog.

CoffeeLvr 2:01 AM  

41A was clued as "Not overseas," and PAS is part of how you form "not" in French, N'est pas?

This was a reasonably easy Friday for me, especially at the top. I was impressed with how easy it was with all eleven 15's. Still, officially a DNF, but WTF.

@Rex and family, sending you wishes for a better weekend, though I see the flooding will go on for a while, and there may be more rain.

Campesite 2:20 AM  

Man, I thought I was going to break my land speed record on this one, dropping the first two 15's with out a single cross. I even remembered and threw down the now-common Scarlet tanagers, but hit the wall at the damn crossing of elute (which the iPad wants to autocorrect as elite) /loa (also autocorrected by iPad).
As for the Scarlet Tanagers, they showed up in the same recent Krozel grid as A LOT ON ONES PLATE, which caused a ruckus. Also lively discussed on that puzzle: sterling silvers and ring around A rosy. Maybe Joe Krozel creates puzzles specifically to rile us up.
Take care of yourself up there, Michael. There's a clip on CNN of what looks to be a house that crashes into a bridge somewhere near Binghamton. Yikes!

lit.doc 3:44 AM  

Holy cow, I finished this one! It was so hard compared to my current skill level that I can’t really critique the puzzle beyond applauding the elegance and ambition of the grid design. Those 3x15s still scare the crap out of me.

Whatever the aesthetic shortcomings of some of the fill (I’ll take Rex’s word for it when it’s this far over my head), I will at least take a moment to celebrate having learned—and, astonishingly, remembering—NABES and ELUTE.

Speaking of WTFill and the seemingly endless curriculum of Crosswordese 101, ENATE came up in the conversation yesterday. Learned that one my first year doing crosswords, but was left in OCD limbo for another year or two before I found its partner, AGNATE. Look it up, or just take more Prozac. I measure out my vocabulary with coffee spoons.

And props to Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie for teaching me 9D “ou sont les NEIGEs d'antan?.

The Bard 7:53 AM  

Much Ado About Nothing > Act IV, scene II

CONRADE: Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

DOGBERRY: Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of
piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.
I am a wise fellow, and, which is more, an officer,
and, which is more, a householder, and, which is
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath
had losses, and one that hath two gowns and every
thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!

Stuart 7:55 AM  

I happened to like this puzzle, TYVM. But regardless, can someone explain to me why crossings like ELUTE and LOA are "criminally bad"? Is it because of some secret constructor's code of ethics? Or is it just because Rex is in a (justifiably) bad mood?

Glimmerglass 7:58 AM  

The 15-wides were so clear that I'm puzzled by the crazy fill. NABES? Maybe short for "neighborhood theatres"? That's awful. Can't find anything like the clue on a Google of RYS (my favorite is "Resurrected Yoga Slaughterers"). Good luck with the flood, Rex. Hope you and yours stay dry. I moved to Kingston, PA (across the river from Wilkes-Barre) in 1972 (remember TS Agnes?). Luckily, the house we bought was up in the hills, but the school where I worked was badly flooded. I remember how for years everything smelled of mud and mildew. We left in 1986, and the dykes were much higher by then.

RocketA 8:02 AM  

Seriously, who other than recent NYT puzzle solvers even know what a damn SCARLET TANAGER is. That this would be regular 15 fill is gross. North American singers/ we really live in a nation of tanagers?

Maybe one Sunday, a clever theme will render it SCARLET TEENAGER. Wouldn't that be more interesting? Maybe, maybe.

David 8:19 AM  

@ Rex, I echo others' comments - I hope the worst of the storms up there will be behind you very soon!

This was far easier than yesterday's puzzle, and probably is a Friday record for me. FISHERMANSWHARF came with zero crosses, and it only took one or two to finish that stack, esp. with CLASSACTIONSUIT so close to the themed answer from Sunday. SCARLETTANAGERS would have been tougher had we not seen it fairly recently. The only tricky stack was the bottom - I know no Mitch Miller songs, and STATEUNIVERSITY was off my wavelength completely but very gettable with a few crosses.

I liked TOSSINONESSLEEP and HAREBRAINEDIDEAS the most. And I like the continuation of the San Francisco theme from yesterday with FISHERMANSWHARF and GOASK Alice...

SethG 8:29 AM  

All the 15s were solid, though one's never heard of the song, the sleep repetition is not ideal, and one really dislikes ONES phrases that aren't actual phrases. And all were well clued.

But the short stuff is short on actual, you know, words. At least English words. And the cluing is overall much worse, though some of that's because of the material he has to work with.

The grid is pretty and the 15s are flashy, but it feels like it would have been a better solving experience had more energy been spent worrying about the details.

Z 8:36 AM  

Hope today goes better, and drier, for you and yours, Rex.

Yesterday I wasn't on the bus. Today I wasn't even at the bus stop. I didn't grok the 15s and the short fill was no help.

captcha - purry - how solvers feel when an easy puzzle for them is rated challenging.

joho 8:37 AM  

First, Rex, I really do wish the best for all of you in your town. And especially to Sandy regarding being attacked by a dog. That had to be terrifying! I hope for a quick and complete recovery.

At first glance I thought the grid was laughing at me! But it turned out to be easier than expected. I did have errors, though, because I wouldn't let go of LaMeBRAINEDIDEA.
Thus I ended up with the super lame AmOvE, SlIPS and PAv.

I, like @anass canal michaels, was really surprised to see SLEEP in two of the theme answers.

FISHERMANSWHARF was really cool.

I can't work this morning because I need to log on to my computer in San Diego to do so ... I my fingers crossed that they'll get the power up and running soon!

joho 8:38 AM  

I "have" my fingers crossed ...

Lindsay 9:29 AM  

I'm a start-at-the-bottom solver, and the lack of actual words in that sector .... very bad. A K-tel compendium of Hooked on Crosswordese.

Best wishes to all those in flooding parts of the country.

John V 9:32 AM  

@Rex, add my sympathies and best wishes for the Sharp family and all of Binghampton. We got it somewhat bad in Norwalk, CT, my home, from Irene, but what's happening inland is ridiculousness. Godspeed.

I make this puzzle to be somewhere between easy and very easy for a Friday. Between last week's and today, I think I may have overcome the psychological impact of stacked 15s and just plowed through. I mean, I had almost **NOTHING** first time through the accrosses. In other days, I've said WFT (and you may quote me) and just put it down, DNF. All in, about a half hour/40 minutes, a great time for me for a Friday.

Yep, the South was last to fall. 62A, Appalachian, was the hardest clue for me.

As I'm not on this blog during the weekends, may I today send best wishes to all for a peaceful Sunday, September 11, from one who, with his daughter, was in within three blocks of the attack ten years ago.

Howard B 9:41 AM  

Rex: Just be safe. The puzzles will still be there when you're dry again. We had a bit of it ourselves, but none of the severity in your area. Just road closures, mostly. Hoping the best recorvery for your area.

@lit.doc - congrats on the puzzle. It's a good feeling when you initially solve these tougher ones.

@Lindsay - "A K-tel compendium of Hooked on Crosswordese" - That's classic. Thanks, I needed that :). (Order within the next 20 minutes and receive a free ULU - the all-purpose Eskimo knife!)
OK, I LEAVE now.

PuzzleNut 9:41 AM  

Sailed through this one like many other commenters. Expected a Super-Easy rating, but I have had funky days when my brain just wasn't in gear. Sounds like things couldn't get much worse in the NE and sorry to hear about Sandy. We would be glad to take even a little of your rain down here in Texas, where it is as dry as I've ever seen.
Other than RYS, the short stuff was fine in my book. Don't know much French, but inferred that PAS was NOT. Will always remember a poster in Paris for the movie NEIGE BLANC and thinking how clever this non-French speaker was to figure out what it meant (a picture of a woman with seven dwarfs may have been a clue). Liked LEG IT as an alternative to the more common LEGIT. I also thought the cluing for REMIT (cancel out) was wrong, but I guess that when you REMIT a payment, you cancel out your debt.
I continue to be amazed by Rex's diligence in posting an informative, witty and comprehensive blog EVERY day. I keep expecting to come here one morning and see a note "Just not in the mood to post today" on the site. Sounds like this should have been one of those days.

Elisene - time slot for Family Ties

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Having been through one 40 years ago, floods are scary shit. I recently recieved a broadcast e-mail from someone in Vermont who went through Irene last week, and an excerpt which is hopefull of human nature is as follows:

Our town was completely alone. Everyone squared away their families as best they could and got to work. People, who cooked, cooked. People who ran heavy equipment jumped in. Organizers organized, volunteers volunteered, and everyone shared what they had. We kept the Bakery open, making French bread and bagels and soothing frayed nerves. People who had money paid. People with credit wrote it down. Everyone who worked or was devastated could eat for free.

I learned what anarchy is during those three days. Anarchy is not rioting in the streets. Anarchy is not pillaging and looting. Anarchy is when your buddy jumps out of the truck and starts directing traffic while something is going on, and then leaves when the operation is completed. Anarchy is feeding people because they are hungry and giving them showers because they are dirty. Then you continue doing what you were doing before you stopped doing that and did the thing that needed doing at that moment.

arlene 9:54 AM  

Fear of 15s didn't stop me - with the top going quite well. The bottom, on the other hand - I kept thinking 53A was "ambassador" something - with 47D being "loser". I needed to Google Mitch Miller to get it straightened out and finish.

And my thoughts with you all impacted by flooding and weather.

Evan K. 10:03 AM  

Easy for me for a Friday. But the repeated SLEEP in the 15s, and I'LL BE and I'LL GO??? Not to mention "INONESSPARE.." and "..INONESSLEEP.." Seems a bit odd. Top and center went really nicely for me. If only I'd heard of that Paris song...

LOA isn't too bad because there are only a handful of words you'd expect with a Hawaiian reference, like POI or KEA.

CAPTCHA: gradski! Just started grad school here. Nice.

jesser 10:03 AM  

From bone-dry New Mexico, my heart goes out to Rex and Sandy as they ride out the polar opposite of extreme drought. No one can catch a break, but at least I have no dog bite with which to contend. I send my good thoughts for good health and receding waters, friend!

The puzzle:
Top: Easy, and FISHERMAN'S WHARF is indeed beautiful.

Middle: Easy, and thank St. Someone that I remembered SCARLET TANAGERS and just plopped them into their cage and let them sing me into the rest of that sector.

Bottom: Brutal. Big, fat DNF. And the salt in the wound was that scary-ass Mitch Miller down there again. I'll keep SCARLET TANAGERS if Will and the Constructors (a fine name for a band, as Dave Barry would say) will leave me alone with Mitch Miller already. Creeps me right the eff out. Add to that the BS factor of ELUTE, LOA, NABES and RYS, and you have a moderately Cranky Jesser on your hands.

Writeovers were apo before SIR at 57D and X before V at 59D and cup before TIN at 43A.

I'm 2/3 happy.

Happy weekend, amigos!

dk 10:05 AM  

My old home state VT has seen it's share of trouble and now our dear leader. Rex and crew it is sunny and dry here in WI and I have a few extra rooms. You would have to tolerate my bad jokes.

Thought this puzzle was to be a nod to my favorite SFer as I penned in 1A... But nae, it was a both a POSER and at times HAREBRAINED. My best LOL was 30D.

When all was said and done this puzzle was a good time. Off to work (in the next room) with a smile on my face and wishing all the best for the Rexites.

*** (3 Stars) way to go Joe.

chefbea 10:06 AM  

Rex and Sandy and daughter..stay safe!!

Puzzle was easier than yesterday even tho I had to come here to finnish.

I too noticed the 2 sleeps and also
Ill go
Ill be

whats with that???? although ill is not feeling well.

archaeoprof 10:22 AM  

@Rex: my thoughts are with you and your family.

Cool grid today.

Appalachian STATE UNIVERSITY plays in our conference. Their chronically-good football team is having an off year. Maybe we can beat them this time.

JC66 10:28 AM  


Hang in there. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

quilter1 10:30 AM  

Easier than I expected at first glance. Took me awhile to remember the French for snow. Guessed at elute and hesitated too long at the second sleep after getting the first one. Actually filled in the center first, then top and finally the terrible bottom. Agree with all complaints about obscure words, but, I like scarlet tanagers. Very pretty.

Re floods, they are the pits. During the floods of '93 in Iowa the Des Moines water works were flooded and we had no water for two weeks, then water was restored but we had to boil it for another two weeks. I learned I could wash my hair and bathe in one gallon of water.

So sorry about Sandy and floods. This, too, shall pass.

jberg 10:31 AM  

Let me add my sympathies and encouragement to Rex and family. I live in Boston, where it has finally stopped raining today - but we did not get the worst of it, those a bit further West, sort of from Worcester to Binhamton, did.

@RocketA - I'm a birder, so I have to say there are probably 50 million people who know what SCARLET TANAGERS are, but I do like your proposed variant! Maybe "heroine of long movie when young," except that I think she had an extra T in her name.

Working my way down, all I had was BAD EGG until I reached SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, but it kind of fell into place (slowly) after that.

Norm 10:47 AM  

The Alcatraz ferry actually leaves from Pier Thirty-three, but I guess I can accept Fisherman's Wharf as referring to the general area. Thought this was an entertaining puzzle, all in all.

Matthew G. 10:49 AM  

Found this easy for a Friday, but only because (a) I got FISHERMAN'S WHARF with no crosses after in a moment of inspiration and (b) those pesky SCARLET TANAGERS had showed up so recently. I'll never forget those birds, because I'd never heard of them before they popped up the last time.

A so-so puzzle. Really like the top third of the grid. Do not like the SCARLET TANAGERS coming home to roost or the repetition of SLEEP within the grid.

The worst thing, though, is UNDER PARIS SKIES. I don't think a song that charted for one week -- at number 26 -- 50 years ago -- has any business in the crossword puzzle. Especially not when it's 15 letters long.

I'm bored of stacks.

Two Ponies 10:56 AM  

@ Rex, Thank you for posting with us despite your awful situation. Getting bit by a dog is very scary.

Puzzle was rather easy but I hit a bump in the road at the same place as @ joho with lame brained. First thought about the Bozo clue (because it was capitalized) was that it might be something like eat your vegetables. Funny that our ancient friend Mitch Miller showed up again.
@ anon 9:44, Thanks for the anarchy story. Very nice.

GenJoneser 11:10 AM  

Sending out drier thoughts and safe wishes to @Rex and family. Applause for keeping up the blog under those conditions. Dogs scare me so I avoid them cause it makes them aggressive. But when you own/like dogs and still get bit it might do damage to ONES psyche. I hope that is not the case for your wife.

@Anonymous 9:44 am...thanks for the reminder of the way it was in NYC 10 years ago...people coming together simply because they can and they care. If only we could remember those feelings under non-tragic circumstances.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:11 AM  

Two write-overs: LAME BRAINED before HARE . . and NIEGE before NEIGE (not very good at French - also wondered about PAS, but it fit!)

FWIW, NABES was my entree into the puzzle!

And now Under Paris Skies is going through my head, though I don't associate it with Mitch Miller.

Still On Break, But... 11:12 AM  

Wishing you and your family all the best in this tough time. Floods close to home are always very scary.

All those 15's with the weirdo crosses were pretty scary, too. Thanx for blogging, in spite of everything. Stay dry, 31.


nanpilla 11:22 AM  

@lit.doc - love WTFill !

Very distracted by two SLEEPs and INONES and ILLs. Definitely detracted from an otherwise amazing achievement.

The sun is finally shining here in South Jersey. So sorry to hear about the trials and tribulations up your way, @Rex and Sandy. Hope all is better soon.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Does nobody remember this Simpsons episode?

Badir 11:42 AM  

@ Rex, I was thinking about you last night when they were talking about Binghamton on the news. I'm sorry about the flooding and the bite.

I agree with some that this was an easy puzzle--it
was my third fastest Friday ever!

captcha: repang--to get hungry again

Crosscan 12:17 PM  

NABES is one of those words that tests how long you have been reading this blog. Who remembers when it appeared twice in one week - we all went "huh?" the first time, and "gimme!" the second time.

I liked the puzzle.

KarenSampsonHudson 12:35 PM  

Sending good thoughts your way, Rex/Michael. May you and yours stay dry and warm. So sorry to hear about your wife's dogbite--how stressful!

The puzzle had some bizarre clues but a lot of easy ones also.

Mel Ott 12:36 PM  

Really liked all the 15's, especially FISHERMANS WHARF which was a throwdown for me and opened up the whole north end.

RYS really sucks as an abbreviation for Railways.

Jan HUS was an important reformer who anticipated Luther by a century. The Moravian Church, based in Bethlehem, PA is a spiritual decendant of the Hussite movement.

mac 12:43 PM  

I liked this puzzle, a little daunting at first glance, but nice to chip away at. Thank you, Scarlet Tanager (although I had Scarlett Onager for a while...)

Nabes was one of my first entries, too, thanks to a lengthy discussion on the blog. Isn't the term more common in Canada?

Best wishes to Rex and Sandy. Hope you have some good food in the house!

@lit.doc: WTFill is brilliant! BTW, I'm seeing Suddenly Last Summer this evening.

Jim in Chicago 12:52 PM  

This is the second stacked puzzle in a row where I got 1A right out of the starting block. That gave me a huge boost in the North.

Being a Chicagoan, I'm ashamed that I didn't remember Bozo's "Harebrained Ideas."

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I guess I am alone in hating the Ernie Banks clue? I mean, "NLers"? Come on! Also, it's still not clear to me how "harebrained idea" is a "suggestion." Liked "pas" and for some reasons, got scarlet tanager pretty readily.

Lewis 1:15 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle -- Yes, Under Paris Skies is a classic (when I hear it in my head, it's played by an accordion), but like you, I've never associated it with Mitch Miller.

I liked the clue for 20 across, "Drilling type".

Because Rex so recently waxed emotionally on how he loves the stacked 15s, which he said are so gettable with just a few crosses, I looked at this puzzle with a sense of joy -- and I think it helped!

My heart goes out to you, Rex and family...

OISK 1:17 PM  

I didn't like the Mr. Cub clue either, but I really enjoyed this puzzle. Had a scarlet tanager in my back yard (in Brooklyn) a few springs ago. It is one of the most beautiful North American birds. I also can hum "Under Paris Skies." This was a pleasant, welcome half hour or so of solving, quite a relief after yesterday's miserable puzzle. Also, Delibes is a more familiar composer than Saint Saens, if one's tastes include ballet. (Coppelia and Sylvia, two of the finest IMHO ballet scores)
Nothing wrong with that clue, although just "Saint____" would have been sufficient for a Friday.

In all, really nice puzzle. Thanks.

Chip Hilton 1:49 PM  

Add my feeling on Mr. Cub. It had to be ERNIE or BANKS. Terrible.

I circled the clue numbers 51A and 45D which means I felt about the LOA and ELUTE crossing pretty much as Rex did.

I love 15 stack puzzles and the first look at today's grid really fired me up. I enjoyed most of this challenge. For me, the center section was the last to drop.

Rex, hang in there. This inland aftermath to the two storms has been truly dreadful. (I'm tempted to say, concerning the dog bite, that when it rains . . . but you don't want to hear that.)

chefbea 1:49 PM  

Forgot to mention earlier...I am making pickled red tubers today..yummmmmmmm

ArtO 2:06 PM  

Fridays are often a WTF for me so when I knocked off FISHERMANS WHARF without a cross I decided to take the plunge. Top two thirds went relatively easily but the bottom was a struggle which went down with the exception of the L in ELUTE. So I fully expected an EASY rating from our fearless leader since I essentially finished - a Friday rarity!

My heart goes out to all of you in flood zones. My basement is finally dry after four days of constant sump pump and shop vac action but I realize just how relatively lucky I am not to live near all those flooding rivers.

Good luck to all.

Clark 2:23 PM  

Rex and Family – May your luck turn!

@Matthew G. – "I don't think a song that charted for one week -- at number 26 -- 50 years ago -- has any business in the crossword puzzle." Tell me you're not serious. Do you know which song you're talking about? It has a history that goes way beyond its one week on the charts. In French it is "Sous le ciel de Paris." Here is Edith Piaf singing it. Or try Yves Montand or Juliette Gréco . If the makers of movie soundtracks were banned from using this song, there would be no more movies set in Europe.

George NYC 2:30 PM  

@Norm is correct: the Alcatraz ferry doesn't leave from Fisherman's Wharf (check Google Maps). It is in the same general area in the sense that the Statue of Liberty is in the same general area as Wall St. It's a great clue, but unfortunately it's inaccurate.

@OISK: Scarlet Tanagers migrate through NYC. If you had a pair one spring, you might see them again...

Clark 2:34 PM  

[Third try. Blogger won't post this for some reason.]

Rex and Family – May your luck turn!

@Matthew G. – "I don't think a song that charted for one week -- at number 26 -- 50 years ago -- has any business in the crossword puzzle." Tell me you're not serious. Do you know which song you're talking about? It has a history that goes way beyond its one week on the charts. In French it is "Sous le ciel de Paris." Here is Edith Piaf singing it. Or try Yves Montand or Juliette Gréco . If the makers of movie soundtracks were banned from using this song, there would be no more movies set in Europe.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

@Rex - Hope you are and will stay safe. Best wishes to Sandy for a speedy recovery.

One of my better attempts at a Friday puzzle. Got Fisherman's Wharf off the clue (was in SF in March - beautiful) so that was a lot of help with the downs. I agree on a few of the answers being terrible - RYS(?!), TIPIS(!!), SAENS (??). And some of the clues were really out-of-the-box - 24D (c'mon), 36D (what?). Oh, well. TGIF

Stan 3:26 PM  

I agree that the puzzle started off great, but lost focus somewhere in the middle -- maybe some Ambien would have helped.

Best wishes for Rex and family (especially Sandy). Take care, and don't worry about abbreviated or late blog posts. We'll understand.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Not only was Joe Krozel the constructor the previous time SCARLET TANAGERS appeared, but he also used the phrase two years ago, accounting for three of the four times it has appeared.

jackj 3:46 PM  

As a non-constructor, the look of a grid never seems of interest but, today's Joe Krozel grid was down right eye-popping.

Eleven 15's, with phrases which are all in the language, seems an incredible feat, no matter how many times he used SLEEP!

Only two bits really troubled me, the terrible misdirect which sullied Ernie Banks' good name and the equally horrid Var. spelling for TIPIS (which, surprisingly, M-W Collegiate has in their listings).

I chuckled at SCARLETTANAGERS showing up again but, if that's what it takes to fill such a spectacular grid, so be it.

We see EMU or TEAL on a routine basis so why discriminate against Joe's bird just because it has a few more letters.

A fun puzzle!

Rex and family- Nothing is more frustrating than water run wild; hang in there.

william e emba 4:35 PM  

Extremely easy for me. But nothing important is distracting me. I started with WHARF, blanking on which one, and breezed through most of the puzzle.

Jan HUS ought to be a gimme. He's right behind Martin Luther in the history of Protestantism.

I hit a small bump at NEIGE. I was thinking of "neve", which is snow in several European languages, but not French.

Since the two 15s with SLEEP are symmetrical, the correct reaction is "cool, mini-theme!"

I have no idea who Delibes is, but Saint-SAENS was a complete gimme. For that matter, so was NABES, off the A. Solely because of its past appearance and this blog.

I have no complaints with TIPIS. It was clued as a variant, so it was easy to guess tipis and then easy to fix.

On the other hand, I agree, SCARLET TANAGERS is getting abused.

I didn't like Mr Cub the NLER, solely because I thought Mr Cub was a mascot. Like Mr Met. I guess I was spared filling in BANKS.

Gill I. P. 4:42 PM  

@anass canal michaels: Merci pour le PAS.
@Clark: Such a difference listening to Miller's rendition (which I didn't recognize) and then tuning into your embed and listening to Piaf's glorious voice. It was a "but of course" moment and a real good one at that. Thanks for sharing.

Ed 4:51 PM  

You're beautiful when you're mad. Hang in. We need you.

quilter1 4:51 PM  

I believe Hus was martyred (burned?) for his reform movement.

I've never seen a scarlet onager, but I want to. (Tempted to emulate Cerf, but resisted)

Sparky 5:39 PM  

Good grief Rex, so sorry Binghamton hit so hard. Add the dog bite, that's terrible. Thanks for hanging in there. Wishing you, Sandy and Ella well.

Totally defeated by the puzz. Grid very attractive. Got HUS, SLEEPLESSNIGHTS, SAENS, NABES, EDITH (Head, the designer) and that's about it. Things just didn't click. I'll slink off now.

skua76 5:59 PM  

Rex and Sandy, hope things are looking up. I hate dog bites...and I was in the Navy in DC in 1972 when Agnes flooded the Susquehanna and that flowed into the Potomac. Yuk.

Great start with 1A here and a lousy finish at ELUTE/LOA like everyone else, but at least I was able to suss out the Mitch Miller tune from the crosses.

aeorti (!) anatomical aqueducts?

JenCT 6:12 PM  

@RocketA: SCARLETTANAGERS have shown up in my yard - the male is especially striking: Scarlet Tanager

@Howard B: LOL

@quilter1: Just completed my first quilt, and I have a new appreciation for the work involved! I never really understood the time commitment that a quilt takes. (I'm doing some volunteer sewing for a church.)

@Rex: very sorry to hear about your troubles. :-(

acme 6:25 PM  

@wm e emba, @jackj
I agree it's a major feat to have 11 15s all in the language, but I disagree that the "correct" reaction to two phrases that mean the same and both have SLEEP is a mini-theme.
"One" can't repeat a word in the grid and make a theme, unless it's a rebus. You have to either leave out the repeating word or have a different theme.
I can't make a Monday with BLUEMOON, BLUELAGOON, BLUEBERRY, etc. it's not done. So, someone was caught A SLEEP at the wheel, imho.
Still gorgeous grid, major feat, etc. Just surprised. Big time. AND it kept me from putting in the second SLEEP for half the time of the solve, as I didn't think that could be right. You are not even supposed to repeat a word in the CLUES thta is in the grid, much less have the same word in the grid unless it's I'LL or AND or ONES.

Wow, PIERTHIRTYTHREE even has 15 letters! I was wondering why I couldn't get FISHERMANSWHARF right away, I was trying other pier numbers bec it's true, it doesn't really leave from there...but as I said, that was a case that you were better off knowing less!

@The Bard
Thanks! Much Ado About Nothing could be the name of my blog!

Sparky 6:26 PM  

@JenCT. Thanks for the Tanager picture and the soundtrack.

r.alphbunker 6:31 PM  

I like JK puzzles.

Pretty much went top to bottom on this one. I show below how many letters I needed before the right answer occurred to me. Worked the down clues first, glancing at the long 15s occasionally to see if anything jumped out at me.






Tobias Duncan 7:06 PM  

Geez, anyone look at the front page of the NYT website in a while?
Does not look good for Binghamton.
Is anyone here in touch with Rex?
I would not expect a review tonight.

michael 8:56 PM  

Floods are really hard -- sometimes develop slowly and then last forever. We had horrible floods in 2008 in Iowa and the hardest-hit places (including my towns) have not recovered yet.

Scarlet tanager is a completely reasonable Friday answer Anyone who is a birder or knows even a casual birder is likely to know of scarlet tanagers. On the other hand, the Mr. Cub clue was terrible. Mr. Cub is Ernie Banks, who played in the National League for sure, but...

Z 9:04 PM  

Rex was stirring trouble on Facebook 7 hours ago, so his day must have improved a bit from yesterday.

mac 10:49 PM  

@michael: did they raise the dikes (dykes?) in Ohio after that flood?

captcha: tricoo, very lovey-dovey.

sanfranman59 10:54 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 6:36, 6:51, 0.96, 35%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:05, 8:54, 0.91, 25%, Easy-Medium
Wed 12:36, 11:51, 1.06, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 23:18, 19:16, 1.21, 85%, Challenging
Fri 24:57, 25:48, 0.97, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:35, 4:35, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Wed 6:07, 5:51, 1.05, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 10:57, 9:23, 1.17, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 11:43, 12:45, 0.92, 38%, Easy-Medium

CoffeeLvr 11:20 PM  

In Native literature and news, the preferred spelling is TIPI. It is not originally an English word, so can be rendered in multiple ways. Second most common is TEEPEE, with the crosswordese TEPEE coming in dead last.

Anonymous 11:48 PM  

NABES? Really. That was my tipping (boiling point) and RYS is ridiculous as well.

acme 3:33 AM  

anyone in the Bay Area, hope to see you on Saturday in Alameda... see details under Rex tab of upcoming tournaments.
4th annual fundraiser for CA Dictionary project. $30/door by 11am

Will gave the whole week's puzzles!
Sorry I should have been plugging this all week.
We are going to rename the tourney The BAC Fill. AND we will be forming a BAC Society.
(Bay Area Crossword Society)

JaxInL.A. 8:00 AM  

Rex, thanks for posting in spite of the dogs and the flooding! I was bitten by a pit bull once and bent in the side of a pot on his head trying to get him to let go of my knee.  Scary as hell, but 25 years later it makes for a good story. Hope Sandy doesn't have to wait that long to feel it's a worthy tale. My sympathy.

Just heard on the radio posting late Friday evening) that most of Binghamton is under 4 feet of water, and the university flood shelter is filled to capacity. More than 20,000 displaced people.  Thank heaven no one has died.  Michael, your family and your community are in my prayers.  Knowing you really brings home the trials that all north-easterners face now.   

Most things have been said about the puzzle. I HTG to get done, but finished with only a little help and feel quite victorious, for a Friday.   I like the striking red body and black wings of the SCARLET TANAGER and I miss them now that I live in the west.  Every appearance in a puzzle reminds me of their beauty.

To cheer us up, here is a painless dose of Shakespeare with the very funny scene from Much Adoodle (as my daughter used to call it) in which the villain, Borachio, calls the dim-witted Constable (Dogberry) AN ASS. Michael Keaton at his clownish best.

Knufflebunny 4:58 PM  

Ugh, I didn't like this puzzle at all, as the very first clue was inaccurate. As someone who just escorted out of town guests to Alcatraz, I can tell you that the only ferry that lands at the island leaves from Pier Thirty-three (which also has 15 letters).

Fisherman's Wharf is at Pier 39, or drawn more broadly from Ghiradelli Square to Pier 35/Kearny street.

Best yet, you can get off the BART, walk from the Ferry Building to the Alcateaz tours and never pass any of the Fisherman's Wharf tourist craziness.

C Richard 10:32 PM  

Umm - how is Appalachian "state university"? SUNY has 4 university campuses, none of them named - or in = the appalachians. And nonce abbreviations - RYS - should be capital crimes.

JenCT 10:52 PM  

@C Richard: the clue didn't specify SUNY; Appalachian is a state university in North Carolina.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

SF native had PIER something-or-other off the I in I'LL GO, but STAGS quickly let me know that wasn't correct. Of course FISHERMANS WHARF isn't correct either, as has been pointed out. SF native has never taken the Alkatraz tour, by the way, but has walked past the starting point enough times to know where it isn't.

Best ferry ride in San Francisco is the one that docks at (the former) Pier 46.

BANKS and ERNIE would not fit the plural "and others" clue. ICONS would work, though.

I'm going to have Mitch Miller's catchy "Underpants Skids" in my head all day now.

rain forest 3:11 PM  

Sorry, but I disagress with just about everything Rex said. Maybe his trying day had something to do with his negativity, but this was a fine, if a little easy (for a Friday) puzzle. Absolutely nothing wrong with Go Ask, or elute, and what else could loa be? As I worked through, I continued to appreciate the art of the constructor on this one.

eastsacgirl 7:29 PM  

Well, for a Friday I made it most of the way through. Top/middle pretty easy but a big DNF on the bottom. Still pretty fun since I'm not a big fan of the 15ers. Just to subjective for me.

Dirigonzo 9:18 PM  

This was difficult for me, made more difficult by wanting my Side (1d) to be Fries and sticking with it for way too long.

@Spacecraft, there's the NLer to go along with the ALer you so loved a few days ago - I'll bet you got it this time, though!

And now, highlights from RPDTNYTCWP on this date 5 years ago:

Solving time: 1:18:00 "That's ONE HOUR and EIGHTEEN minutes, yes...I blame the mystery waffles I had at Greg and Michelle's this morning. They were tasty, but they contained what I can only guess were peanut butter M&M's, which gave the waffles a psychedelic color wash, and I'm not sure it hasn't affected my cognitive abilities. Plus it's inexcusably cold here, and Rex is too cheap to turn on the heat, so his solving hand is cramped and numb." Early Rex referred to himself in the third person.
- "PS sadly, it turns out, SIR is the wrong answer!!!! It's "SIG" (for "signore?") - Oh, SIR ATE-A-LOT, I guess you just weren't meant to be... (31D: Capella's constellation is AURIGA!? Ugh. Useless arcana, my least favorite thing in a puzzle.)" This was a Saturday puzzle and Rex was not yet the 31st (or even 44th) greatest puzzle solver in the Universe.
- "Took me forever to remember the part that came after "LILI," but it was totally worth it for the mental picture, which looks something like this:" Unfortunately Blogger will not let me copy the picture here, but it was smokin' hot!
- There were 6 comments, two of which were by RP himself.
- It was Sandy's Birthday - Happy birthday, Sandy!

Red Valerian 10:43 PM  

I had a good time, though I agree that "I'll go" and "I'll be" is a little awkward, as is the pair of sleep answers.

@mac: I'm Canadian, and I'd never heard of "nabes." But I'm on the west coast...

Saint-Saens certainly is more famous than Delibes, but I bet almost everybody has heard one piece from the latter. The Flower Duet from the opera Lakme. Flower Duet A version of it featured in an ad for British Airways years ago.

I hope all is well--I'd skip ahead to see what happened with the flooding and the dog bite, but I'd get too many spoilers. I was a letter carrier for seventeen years, and got at least my fair share of bites--they can be extremely painful. I was almost glad of one, though. Quite a bad puncture wound to the thigh from a large German Shepherd. I signed my right to sue over to the Crown (i.e., in this case, the Post Office), and they got, from the dog owner's house insurance, my wages reimbursed (to them, since they paid me), plus almost $2000 in damages for me. Wahoo! My career as a can can dancer had been ruined, but I had airfare to India.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

No, sadly, the Spacecraft did not get NLER, or most of this. Unable to get started anywhere beyond SAENS (don't you just love half-name partials?), I finally decided to Google the Mitch Miller "hit." It's such a big hit that I couldn't find it anywhere except right here. UNDERPARISSKIES?? Nev- vah heard of it. What a hit. Meh. I just gave up, a big fat DNF. DNS, actually. And looking at some of this fill, even if I had somehow gotten started, I'm sure I'd have ground to a halt somewhere.
Appalachian, e.g. as a clue for STATEUNIVERSITY? Oh, we're gonna pick that right up. Sure. Mr. Cub and others, OK. Either ERNIE or BANKS will fit, but no room for others. I'm supposed to get NLERS off of that? Okay, that's it. I'm officially boycotting any puzzle with the perfectly awful ALER(S) or NLER(S) in it. Fie! Away with them! Away! You are ANASS!
NABES?? You have got to be kidding me. And ELUTE and RYS have already been blasted. Maybe I'll REBLAST. Hey, I just coined a word! Not pretty? Well, it's at least as good a word as half the entries in this 39-across.

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