Poisonous gilled mushrooms / FRI 10-21-11 / What Surgeon's Photo supposedly depicts / Prelapsarian home / 1976 Broadway musical based on Henry VIII's life

Friday, October 21, 2011

Warning—If you get your puzzle online, make sure you download the .pdf format (directly from the NYT's "Crosswords & Games" page). The *real* Friday puzzle (by Patrick Berry) is available online *exclusively* as a .pdf file. The AcrossLite and applet files are a different puzzle entirely.

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Crossing over —some Down and Across answers wrap around, or "cross over" to the other side of the grid; three grid-spanning answers have two clues each—one for the strange phrases that start on the far left of the grid, and another for familiar phrases that start somewhere in the middle of the grid and make sense only if you read them as wrapping around, or "crossing over"

Word of the Day: "REX" (37D: 1976 Broadway musical based on Henry VIII's life) —
Rex is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and libretto by Sherman Yellen, based on the life of King Henry VIII. [...] Following tryout engagements in Delaware, Washington and Boston, it opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 25, 1976 and closed June 5, 1976, after 14 previews and 49 regular performances. (wikipedia)
• • •

I've done a wrap-around puzzle before (I think Tyler Hinman had one in a Lollapuzzoola tournament a couple years back) and earlier this evening I did Patrick Berry's mind-blowing Fireball puzzle for this week, so this wasn't nearly as strange to me as it might have been. I saw the gimmick right away, though the puzzle still had enough bite to make it a solid Friday affair. Weirdly, I never saw the second "crossing over" clues on the long answers. Instead, when I finished, I noticed the author LESLIE CHARTERIS's name inside CHARTER ISLES LIE. Then I went and found DESTROYING ANGEL and WINCHESTER RIFLE. Only then did I notice that these phrases were clued via Across numbers that were positioned mid-answer. If I didn't know this was part of a week-long meta puzzle, I'd say that I didn't care for this one much. Seems slightly pointless, and since the gimmick wasn't new to me, the whole thing was more chore than joy. But it's still an impressive construction—not as impressive as that damned Fireball puzzle (you really should see that thing), but impressive nonetheless.

Theme answers:
  • 6A: Country singer Gibbs glided a short distance? (TERRI FLEW INCHES) / 9A: Old West gun, crossing over? (WINCHESTER RIFLE)
  • 35A: Cowboy Rogers as part of a posse afger some younger namesakes joined up? (ELDEST ROY IN GANG) / 36A: Poisonous gilled mushrooms, crossing over? (DESTROYING ANGEL) — why is clue plural and answer singular?
  • 60A: Leasable tropical locales aren't truthful? (CHARTER ISLES LIE) / 64A: Simon Templar's creator, crossing over? (LESLIE CHARTERIS)
I had no idea there were Billboard charts in 1914. I also had no idea that a song named "The ABA Daba Honeymoon" existed (14D: "The ___ Daba Honeymoon" (1914 #1 song)). I suppose I can be forgiven that ignorance, as well as my ignorance of the extremely short-lived 1976 musical "REX!" (if it doesn't have an exclamation point in the title, it should). Took me far, far too long to get CAMBODIAN (15D: Language in which "yes" and "no" are "baat" and "te," respectively), partially because "te" is Maori, and partially because I was half-expecting an invented language like KLINGON. Never heard of the "Surgeon's Photo" (29D: What the "Surgeon's Photo" supposedly depicts => NESSIE) and can't picture or place MEL Allen at all, though somehow his name came to me fairly readily (22D: "The Week in Baseball" host Allen). Had no idea Natalie Portman's birthplace was ISRAEL. I kept wanting something "Star Wars"-y like NABOO. I love the word "pre- (and post-) lapsarian" (mmmm, Miltonesque), so EDEN was a cinch (45A: Prelapsarian home). Lastly, I made a huge crossword nerd error when I wrote in IN STIR for 11A: Doing time (INSIDE). "In stir" survives only (so far as I can tell) in crossword clues and answers. I was so bummed to be wrong.

See you tomorrow for the grand meta-finale.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:09 AM  

Times screwed me with Across Lite! Instead of Berry's, they put up the puzzle that was put aside for the Steve Jobs tribute, perhaps?

PurpleGuy 12:17 AM  

Everything @Rex said. Took me the longest time to parse30D ATEAT as ATE AT. sigh...
Never even saw the clues for the three long wrap arounds until I came here. long sigh...

Can't believe there is an original cast album for a show that lasted only 49 performances. RCA must have been desperate!!

Tomorrow should be a challenge. I have saved all the puzzles, even though the prize is rather meh.

Shanti -

Kristin 12:27 AM  

Totally unfair to mobile only users because you don't have the printable with iPad apps

jae 12:35 AM  

Impressive puzzle! Easy-medium for me. I've seen the wrap around trick a number of times so this was a pretty smooth solve. It was the double question/answers that kicked this one up a notch or two. Only write-over was DIST to DISS. At this point I've not a clue about the meta, but I never figured out any of BEQ's hidden themes either. Hasta mañana....

Tobias Duncan 12:36 AM  

uggg did the wrong damn puzzle!! Guess I was warned and should not be bitter.... aaaggg still bitter!!!

Griffin Jackson 12:40 AM  

You have amazing taste and skill. Loving the James Taylor piece. So classic. Anyone with an eye, ear, or interest in A&E things should check out and contribute at: http://wwwtahome.blogspot.com/

foodie 12:51 AM  

For this course, we got ourselves a Samosa or Burek or some sort of fancily folded pastry, stuffed with mushroom (hopefully not deadly).

Having never done anything that folded over (in both directions), it took a minute to get oriented, but it was easy enough to figure out what needed to be done given the odd numbering and the single or double squares. I also saw the dual clues, but it did not help all that much because I did not know LESLIE CHARTERIS (even though I had heard of the Saint books) and it took work to conjure up DESTROYING ANGEL. Still, I agree with Medium mostly because some of the clues were fairly straightforward for a Friday.

I am blown away by the mind behind all of this. Not only to be able to construct across borders, but to figure out the 3 long theme answers with the nested flipped answer within an answer!! It's a kind of thinking in 3D that few are capable of! It makes me want to devise some brain imaging tests that can capture how and where these talents reside. So cool!

Detour 1:00 AM  

Magmic (ipad) tells you the printable PDF can be obtained at http://bit.ly/qY3R0C.
Never having seen a wrap around before (and not as jaded as Rex) I loved this puzzle! HTG about all the items Rex mentioned except for Israel. Knew Portman was born there and that was my key to finding the wrap. Also, it's amazing how much easier a Friday puzzle is when one googles! Very impressed that the 3 crossovers were full length. I expected them to be partial layovers. I couldn't begin to create a puzzle like this. Very impressive PB!
Regarding the car quest. I can't imagine having to haggle over a vehicle anymore. As a GM engineer our prices (with discount) are set so it's a breeze. Our discount also goes to extended family, but occassionally we have promotions where we can give our discounts to "friends". If this interest you @Rex I can inquire. Also Chrysler employees have a certain number of discounts they are allowed to give to non family members. I know lots of Chrysler employees if that interests you. Btw check out the new Chevy Volt

CoffeeLvr 1:12 AM  

Wow! I have done a few 3D crosswords, but it is harder to see the word wraps on paper.

I had never heard of DETROYING ANGEL, and had a hard time parsing ELDEST, so had to put down the clipboard and come back to it. I also didn't know MEL, ARDEN or that Othello uses DISCs, so the crossings weren't solving it for me.

On the other hand, I don't know LESLIE CHARTERIS, but it didn't matter since I could make out the nonsense phrase.

This was really fun, and I am anticipating tomorrow. Not only do we get another Patrick Berry, but the meta-challenge contest awaits.

@Rex, if you want to buy a new Ford from a dealer, I can provide you with the "Friends and Family" discount. My email is in my Blogger profile. Since @Detour opened that door, I will follow him (her) in.

Aaron 1:48 AM  

What's going on? When I download from NYT I get something completely different (with the same date, Fri Oct 21, 2011). I get one composed by David Bunker.

Where's Friday's actual puzzle?

zcroll 2:05 AM  

Did the online NYT. Did not realize the Patric Berry puzzle was in the paper version only. Ironically, one across on the on line version was JACKBLACK. Really thought I was on to something with yesterday's JACKB. Boy was I disappointed when I realized Berry was not the constructor.

chefwen 2:26 AM  

It took two of us and pretty much a bottle of wine to tackle this puppy to the ground, but we did! Husband would not let me quit, so we persevered, and ultimately won. Yeah us. No Googling involved which just added to my "Yeah us."

Like @PurpleGuy - Had to come here to find that the long crosses weren't just gibberish, so I guess I failed in that area. But what the hey, a finish is a finish. I'm happy! Tomorrow is going to be interesting.

attagirl michaels 2:28 AM  

@TObias, @Zcroll, me too! :(

JACKBLACK must be thrilled to be in the NY Times two days in a row!
He loves Scrabble so perhaps he is a crossword fan as well?

Poor David Bunker, not his fault, but it is a letdown...he must be sitting somewhere cursing his luck...bumped for Steve Jobs, now being a sub when folks are expecting Patrick Berry! I feel for him, big time.

And only a J-W short of a pangram
(I wonder if that is how G-d writes Jew?)

Check it out as there is a double U you will love...AND an actor who starts with U.

I feel sorry for DB bec who will blog this? I would but I have to pack for my mom's 80th in Boston
(and her identical twin, my beloved aunt Fran)!

acme 2:34 AM  

oh wait, I'm insane, the first letter of the puzzle is a J! So just no W.

Poor SHARONTATE. Only known for "The Fearless Vampire Killers" and being Charles Manson's victim and child rapist Polanski's first wife.
Small compensation, I imagine, to get to be an answer in the NY Times puzzle.

Anonymous 2:39 AM  

ok, for those who want Patrick's puzzle, click over to Wordplay blog and there is pdf download there.

foodie 2:46 AM  

I have the greatest respect for the NY Times, but I feel that they need to upgrade their puzzle system to accommodate different formats. There is really nothing that weird about the shape of this puzzle and a more flexible platform would have allowed the usual online solving. It would have avoided all the confusion of a different online puzzle vs. printed puzzle (and what will show up in the actual paper?). I certainly agree with Andrea that it is most definitely unfair to David Bunker.

And as far as I could tell, there is not even a note anywhere on the game page that says that there are 2 different puzzles today. If it were not for this blog, I'd have nooo idea.

I'm not even pretending to know how easy or hard this is to accomplish. But I do know from running a research operation: When the technical infrastructure gets in the way of the tasks that it's meant to support, it's time for either an upgrade or a completely new solution.

End of rant...

jae 3:43 AM  

OK, having actually paid attention to all the hype this week, I knew I had to print out the PDF version of the Fri. puzzle. I didn't even check the AcrossLite option. I just now downloaded the Fri. puzzle on my IPAD Crosswords program and got the David Bunker puzzle. So, I'm with foodie, Acme, et. al., something is wrong here that needs to be fixed. I mean they (I.e. The NYT) knew about this at least a week ago, no?

Aaron 3:54 AM  

Okay, got the correct puzzle. Thanks all. Unfortunately this blog, in addition to pointing me to the puzzle, also gave me an inadvertent spoiler....

Rex Parker 8:00 AM  

The .pdf is available right on the NYT site. You don't have to go anywhere else.

What's *mind-blowing* to me is that today's puzzle issue (the fact that the true Fri. puzzle is available online *only* in .pdf format) is not highlighted in BIG BOLD RED LETTERS on the main "Crosswords & Games" page. While it is true that the NYT needs to ditch AcrossLite and get w/ .jpz or some format that can handle unusually numbered puzzles, they also need to show their subscribers some basic courtesy. Not everyone is deep inside the online crossword loop, for god's sake. How you drop the ball this badly *during a contest*, I have no idea. You shouldn't have to click thru to "Wordplay" to see the alert notices.


Z 8:04 AM  

Used to watch MEL Allen on "This Week In Baseball" on WKZO on Saturday afternoons. This was back in the dark ages of only three t.v. stations, with maybe 40 Tiger games on t.v. every summer. I got most of my Tigers action by listening to Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey.

MEL led me to I NERTIA and unlocking the wrap around. I suspected something like this from the three unnumbered squares in the NW, but wasn't sure until MEL appeared. Glad the cluing was straight-forward, because there was a lot I did not know, DESTROYINGANG EL, LESLIE CHARTERIS, CAMBODIAN, and Surgeon's Photo to be specific. Got them all eventually, but those are big chunks of real estate to have to get from crosses, inferences, and guesses.

I have to agree with @foodie's rant, but this is often easier said than done. Just yesterday we got a seemingly easy request from our School Board - put on our district web site a function where people can type in an address and have the schools for that address display. After some discussion about the difficulties of creating and maintaining accurate functionality (time and resource constraints, mainly) our Tech Director hit on an excellent solution - give the task to our GIS class to solve. It is nice to have a labor force working for letters at our disposal.

Z the Luddite

jberg 8:06 AM  

I solve in my home-delivered paper, so I avoided the online frustration. Relatively easy and fun, once I got the gimmick - and that was pretty quickly, given the odd numbering. I did have one writeover, cold for IDLE at 62D.

The real frustration for me was that I never saw the second clues for the long acrosses - I should have, since those numbers didn't make sense otherwise, but I didn't. I noticed the wraparound answers, but couldn't see how they constituted a theme, so I spend about 15 minutes on Google trying to see if LESLIE CHARTERIS had written books or short stories titled DESTROYING ANGEL and WINCHESTER RIFLE. Plausible, but wrong. So I came here to see what I'd missed, and read about the second clues.

The central downs read FEY REX. Is that a good description?

David L 8:07 AM  

@foodie: exactly right -- this is why Mr Jobs was so different from everyone else, yes?

Puzzle itself (once I had put aside my annoyance at how difficult it was to find) was just OK. I figured out the 'foldover' trick quickly but like Rex didn't notice the double cluing of the acrosses until I had almost finished.

jackj 8:36 AM  

When I was solving the puzzle and it became clear that there were extra letters to be dealt with for certain clues, like the CE in RATRA; the S in AS; the S in LEADIN, etc. I simply put the excess letters in the margin next to the partial entry in the grid.

When I had to finally deal with those extra letters, seeing that there were unclued and blank squares, on the same line, on the other side of the grid, it made it pretty easy to figure out where the excess words could go for those letters and for all the partials yet to come.

The strained theme entries were gettable, despite their awkwardness, and when converted in the “crossing over” clue, (WINCHESTERRIFLE, DESTROYINGANGEL and LESLIECHARTERIS), they actually made sense. (But, Leslie Charteris??!!)

The fill was crossword puzzle 101 which meant, absent the gimmick, it was a pretty easy solve, with the slight exception of figuring out that NESSIE was the subject of the “Surgeon’s Photo”.

Now that I’m cross-eyed from a week of Patrick’s offerings it’s time for the denouement.

Bring it on PB!

(As an aside, if one downloads the AcrossLite puzzle for 10/21/11 you will receive a different puzzle, by a constructor named David Bunker. By having two Friday puzzles available, it seems like the Times techies are determined to screw up Will Shortz’s “meta-challenge” any way they can.)

MikeM 8:45 AM  

What was the reason that the across lite is a different puzzle? Frustrating

David 8:47 AM  

Tyler Hinman's puzzle from the 2010 Lollapuzzoola was indeed a wrap-around, I tried it while considering whether to attend this year's event (I failed, but went anyway). Still, I think I would have gotten today's theme even without having previously seen the wrap-around. The HELENE Curtis clue was enough of a gimmie to give me the confidence needed.

From there, a "fairly" easy Friday, finished in under 20 minutes. But I robbed myself of some of the payoff - didn't even see the 2nd clues for the 15 letter answers until after I finished! And even then, I only understood WINCHESTER RIFLE. Never heard of LESLIE CHARTERIS or GANGEL(S). I learn something new every day...

David 8:50 AM  


Glimmerglass 9:03 AM  

I'm completely with foodie on two counts. I agree with the rant, and I also am in awe of the "nested flipped answers." (Great way to describe them, foodie.) The non-nested crossovers were not particularly challenging, once the gimmick was clear. Still, a good Friday puzzle ("medium").

Sfingi 9:12 AM  

DNF, naturally.

Nowadays, "Hire a kid," is pretty good advice.

After reading the Saint series, I saw a photo Charteris (Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin)and was surprised to learn he was half Chinese. He had trouble with becoming an American citizen because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

dk 9:15 AM  

Curse Vanna White's butt I have to do another even harder puzzle. I was so happy to get SHARONTATE in the across lite puzzle,,, and now I have to do some kick-ass trick puzzle -- cool.

Something to do tonight while listening to Chris Iassk sing Solitary Man... perhaps some fava beans, liver and a nice Chianti

LOL on the word of the day -- to bad pander was not in the grid.

Gotta go so I miss any more self inflicted spoilers.

mac 9:25 AM  

When I first started, I was convinced I wouldn't be able to finish this one (I failed miserably at Tyler's puzzle, as well...). Then Natalie Portman and Helene Curtis saved the day, and the interior wrap was clear because I know of Leslie Charteris. Had to read that destrong anger letter by letter, though!

If tomorrow is going to be more meta than today, I'm afraid, very afraid!

mac 9:28 AM  

- that's "destroying" of course.

Wade 9:28 AM  

What about the puzzle on AcrossLite? Is it a re-run or what? Seems kind of sad that the thing's up there just because something has to be there, while the real star is down in PDF. It's like being one of Saddam Hussein's doubles.

Terri Gibbs? Come on, that's gotta be super-obscure to most of you, right? One-hit countryish singer from 30 years ago? I ask because I KNEW IT RIGHT AWAY! HA HA HA HA HA! Ha. Ha ha ha. Ahem. Oh well.

Pete 9:31 AM  

The switch to .jpz from .puz issue aside, the only necessary change to make this seamless and fair to al was to have the "Play" button point to the same .pdf file as the "Download puzzle as a pdf" link for one day.

As a consulting IT guy, I can tell you two things:
1) This is one line of code which would take about 1 minute to incorporate into the system.
2) The IT department refused to do it, as it wasn't part of the original specification for the system and that they would need 3 weeks of testing to validate the change according to their internal 6 Sigma protocols.

That, my friends, is how Jack Walsh (really, foolish MBA's who have misapplied Walsh's ideas) has ruined America.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

BTW, as of 9:30AM EST, there is a notice on the puzzle page, appropriately in red, that the pdf version is the one you're looking for.

evil doug 9:43 AM  

I must have done wraparounds before, but it didn't occur to me until after about an hour of grabbing the fill I could handle and stalling for time on the rest. Felt pretty sure about "rat-race", so I was trying to find a spot to loop the excess letters back in rat-race form, rather than cross-country.

Axis of ____
Exhausted Rat-racer

chefbea 9:45 AM  

Did not like the puzzle!! Couldn't do it!!DNF An extrordinary feat to construct it.

If anyone wants the puzzle and hasn't figured out how to download it, I will e-mail you a copy.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Mel Allen was the one with the catchphrase "how about that!" He was great back in the day ("back in the day" being the time when you couldn't just get baseball news on the Internet whenever you wanted). He also had a cameo along with a half-dozen or so announcers and Dr. Joyce Brothers in The Naked Gun.

R. McGeddon 10:10 AM  

Part of the fun of watching Mel Allen do the nightly news sports was to see if he could get through it. His state ranged from tipsy to plastered.

Lindsay 10:11 AM  

OK, I'm a doofus. I solved the puzzle, circled the three "crossing over" clues, highlighted 9A WINCHES, 36A DESTROYINGANG, and 64A LESLIE, then put the paper aside thinking we won't know until tomorrow what to do with them.

In over my head for sure.

joho 10:21 AM  

Feeling like a dolt because I did the wrong puzzle wondering the whole while, "Why isn't this done by Patrick Berry?"

@Rex's warning here made it clear where I went wrong so I tried to do the correct puzzle but never got the wraparound because I'm at work. I got a lot of the answers but never flushed out the theme. Dolt. Dolt. Dolt.

I want to make a shout out here to David Bunker for his puzzle which I enjoyed. Like @Andrea, I went looking for that "W." @Andrea, you're right. @Foodie, you're right. @Rex, you're right, too.

I would call today's puzzle mixup a snafu.

Norm 10:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm 10:24 AM  

Don't when it was added, but there was certainly a clear warning about the contest puzzle being only a pdf (and the AcrossLite being a different one) when I went to the website this morning (7 am pacific time).

Tobias Duncan 10:27 AM  

I have said it before, solving on paper is barbaric.
I now wish I was one of those guys that ticked off every clue number. I solved the whole damn thing without ever seeing the inside clues for the theme answers,WINCHESTERRIFLE is brilliant but I never even saw it.

I need closure on the other puzzle.In my solving world, this blog has always been here. I almost never do puzzles outside this group.For one thing I need the bloody rating!

Rex Parker 10:34 AM  

That "warning" is NEW. Was not there at 8am EDT when I posted the above comment. Good thing the NYT has folks who read my blog. They even put the warning in red letters, like I said. You're welcome, America.


Matthew G. 10:38 AM  

Found the puzzle easy, but didn't see the non-wacky versions of the wraparound answers until I came here. I don't know how other people solve, but I look at the grid first, and then turn to the clue, so I would probably never have noticed the secondary answers for the theme entries if I didn't read Rex's blog. Scanning the list of clues is something I just don't do. And DESTROYING ANGEL and LESLIE CHARTERIS would have been complete unknowns to me anyway.

The wraparound aspect of the theme jumped out at me immediately because it is constructed just like one of the constituent puzzles of Neville Fogarty's end-of-day contest at this year's Lollapuzzoola. So that made this easy for a Friday, but of course it's really a Thursday-style puzzle, not a Friday.

Nancy 10:46 AM  

If ever a puzzle was worthy of the anagrammed homage I recently wrote about editor Will Shortz, THIS one is it! See if you can solve it. All blank words are anagrams of each other:
The ----- today wasn't tricky enough,
The Editor just made it tougher.
He wants all our ----- to be dripping with sweat,
He wants all us Solvers to suffer.
Now you know the -----; it's an unnatural grid:
The clues will be weird and Shortz-sited,
The answers as long as a passage of -----,
Your every attempt will be blighted.
And just as a ----- is a thing that will grow
From a seed to a bean to a bean dish,
A puzzle's a thing that will grow through the week
From the guileless and sweet to the fiendish!
Nancy Stark

Sparky 10:48 AM  

My first word was FERN. Saw all the number oddities and homeless squares so, like @evil doug, decided to fill in what I could and worry about the tricks later. Remembered wrap around of 2010 and that helped when I hit HELENE (a gimmee). WINCHESTERRIFLE leapt off the page when I had DRIP, IDI, and FERN so that guided the double cluing. Took me an hour with one error eMAIL/EY-. Whew.

Debbie Reynolds and Carlton Carpenter had a hit with Aba Dabba Honeymoon from the 1950 movie Two Weeks With Love. Still before your time @Rex, but not mine.

If I can cobble all this together to solve the meta it will be a mackerel.

John V 10:55 AM  

DNF. Actually, got killed. Kept looking for rebus or some kind of hook. Got maybe half of the puzzle.

Had, e.g., SCAMS at 50D, which threw me off.

IIRC, there was another Friday wrap-around not too long ago, which I also trashed. Really odd. I see rebuses just as fine as you please, but do NOT see wraps, even when the grid makes it obvious. Guess I get to Fridays and all my puzzle synapses are spent.

Okay, end of pity party. On to Saturday.

capcha hertel: Avenue in North Buffalo, where I grew up.

Sparky 11:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arundel 11:05 AM  

Jeez, this would have been a dandy puzzle, but it was completely confounded by technological foobars. In our house, @Stan gets the dead-tree version, and I normally solve in AcrossLite.

I don't know whether it's just the way my browser (Chrome) deals with PDFs, but on top of the irritation of having to solve on paper instead of on my netbook, I was missing all the clues at the bottom of the page that fell below that line. "For answers, call..." No matter how I scaled it, they just weren't there. I had to solve with the netbook beside me, reading the missing clues as I went.

It's unfortunate that AcrossLite is so uncooperative about non-numbered squares, because none of the other formats I've tried work even that well!

Two Ponies 11:11 AM  

I loved this!
Destroying Angel has to be the coolest name for a mushroom or anything else.
It's really a shame about the tech glitch that detracted our lovely week for some folks. I solve on paper so was unaware of the problem. Very cool that someone at the NYT read and responded to Rex's suggestion.
My oh my, what awaits us tomorrow?

r.alphbunker 11:45 AM  

I solved the David Bunker puzzle without looking at the constructor's name because I assumed it would be Patrick Berry. It was a perfectly acceptible Friday puzzle that required three Googles to finish.

When I finally noticed the name, I went back and got the Patrick Berry PDF. I filled in almost everything that didn't require a wrap around (googled NESSIE) before I saw the gimmick. I knew that Natalie Portman was born in ISRAEL but did not look up to see where the EL could go. HELENE made me look up for some reason and it was a sprint to the finish.

I am not upset about the snafu. I got two quality Friday puzzles for the price of one!

Noam D. Elkies 11:47 AM  

Neato — a themed Friday, and what a theme! Yes, I've seen a few toroidal grids before, but not put to this use. Now I wonder how (if?) the metapuzzle will all come together tomorrow.

Note that the three theme entries are not equally spaced: 6+3+6, not 5+5+5. Thus PB had to link 60/64A and 6/9A with nine Down words.

Did anybody else guess "Malayalam" at first for 15D:CAMBODIAN? Before I realized what the theme was about, I figured this central entry *had* to be a palindrome. Not. Hm, does this mean that BAAT is now fair game for constructors?

50D:FLEECES — also things that one might take to the cleaners :-)


P.S. Do I remember/guess right that this is only the second NYTimes grid in history to have a 2-Across entry?

Martin 11:52 AM  

The Destroying Angel refers to any of several Amanita species. Equally deadly, the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) is another of those "erotic" species, at least to the botanist who named it.

Mel Ott 11:56 AM  

"Hello there, everybody."

Caught onto the wraparound right away. Finished solving without making any sense out of the 15's. Stared at them for awhile and got WINCHESTER RIFLE and DESTROYING ANGEL but not LESLIE CHARTERIS. Never saw the clues that start in the middle of the 15's.

"How about that!"

Arundel 11:57 AM  

I have to add that it always astonishes me just how different the solving experience is on paper than by a digital means. I look at my paper puzzle today and it looks like a bird has danced upon the paper and scratched around on a lot of letters!

I worked completely at random, with the dawning of the gag at the clue for 60D, since TI was already up there and Bruins didn't fit. But the chaos left me wondering whether I'd really finished. I wasn't sure I'd filled in everything, and worst of all, there was no Mr Happy Pencil to confirm it!

Martin 12:18 PM  

Discussion of the Bunker.

Masked and Anonymous 12:29 PM  

First impression on seeing this thing (the PB one) was "what's that #1 doin' shoved over to the right in my FriPuz?" PuzSpouse's initial reaction on seeing it was to perk up lots of extra coffee.

Dug in, and felt like Captain Kirk, doin' battle with some totally weirdball alien lifeform. The bad news: "It's putting up a hell of a fight, I ain't sure what the rules of the fight are, and I got a bad feelin' this monster is cheating." The good news: "Its breath is minty fresh."

Fortunately, thanx to the PB Mon- thru ThurPuz's, I knew somethin' helpful, ahead of time. Har. C'mon, SatPuz -- let's see what you got! Snort.

Andrea Darlin' - Thanx for the headsUUp on that other pUz. I'll go have a look. Is it permitted to comment on that puz here, too? Or is it now the universal "filler" whenever they need to bail on AcrossLite? Or is part of a really sneaky meta puz contest TBA?

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

The game piece in Othello is a disk, not a disc.

thursdaysd 1:43 PM  

Really, really annoyed by the .pdf thing! I'm traveling with an iPad and solve using the Crossword app, which had NO indication I was solving the wrong puzzle. It was only when I came here for help with the SW corner, that I discovered I was working on the wrong puzzle. And how the xxx am I supposed to print the .pdf from my iPad?

I wound up creating the grid on paper in order to solve it - in pen since I don't have a pencil with me. Fortunately I got the gimmick early and found it a lot easier than the non-pdf puzzle (and I still need help in the SW). Having read Leslie Charteris as a kid helped.

But this was infuriating!!!

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Like Yossarian said about chess, sometimes it's so interesting that it becomes stupid

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

-And how the xxx am I supposed to print the .pdf from my iPad?-

Try the "print n share" app. Check your printers compatibility if it isn't free (i can't remember)

Martin 2:31 PM  

A problem is that the iPad solving app is not part of the Premium Crosswords subscription. Which means that iPad users can't get to the .pdf because it's behind a paywall they don't have access to, unless they're also print or Premium Crossword subscribers in addition to paying for the iPad app subscription. But why would anyone do that?

Masked and Anonymous II 2:46 PM  

Deja-vuosity light came on, when workin' the David Bunker metan-alternate-puz. [Quasi-Spoiler Alert?] Martin's 12:18 comment link is worth clickin' on, for more about that puz from @31. Make that @44. Oh, man... I don't know.

jesser 2:51 PM  

For what I think is my first time ever, I'm going to post before reading the comments. Why? Because I'm terribly late to the party and I'm crunched for time in a big way. I'll take time to explain why momentarily, but first the puzzle.

It was a DNF right on the WOTD, because I did not know the play, and I've not studied all the finer points of mirror images. So I had RE_/A_IS, and I thought to myself, "Self, was not Henry VIII the one who whacked off peoples' heads for sport?" "Yes," I told myself, and then guessed a good title for a play about him would be REd, on account of all the blood. AdIS looked ok. Like axon, which is a real word I learned from crosswords, so I went with it.

I caught on to the trick reasonably early, although I can't recall exactly where. I really wanted 59D to be mittens, but I held off, and was rewarded for my patience. I would never have seen the secondary answers (WINCHESTER RIFLE, etc.) if REX had not pointed them out.

My writeover was sue before ANN at 48A, but that straightened itself out in almost no time.

Because I did not struggle with this one, I have concluded that: A) It's a good thing I went back to drinking coffee this morning; and B) I'm not scared about tomorrow as much as I probably would have been if this had been cruel (rather than merely unusual).

My time crunch: Some months ago, the HR (I call it Human Rules; they have another name for it) Department consulted with a consultant, who analyzed all the organization's job descriptions and made a matrix of where every employee should be ranked. Although I am one of 8 people who attends the boss' weekly Monday strategy meetings, and I have three job titles, the consultant decided I ranked 44th (familiar number!) in the organization. The consultant recommended a demotion and a $30,000 salary cut. I protested. As a result of that protest, the HR people targeted me for what they call a 'desk audit.' This is a process by which two HR people sit down with you, scowl frequently and basically ask you to justify your existence. They take lots of notes. It took just over two hours. I think I did OK. But those HR people are unpredictable, like California juries. I'll report back when I know more.

I did the puzzle over lunch on the outside patio of St. Clair's winery in Mesilla. I had the salmon. You should eat there. You should ask me along, and I'll treat. I love that place. And now my lunch hour is about over, and I have much work to do. Here at my desk. Which has been audited.

quilter1 2:55 PM  

Because of work I had to solve over lunch. CAMBODIAN was my first fill as I have a CAMBODIAN DIL. Although really, the language of Cambodia is Khmer. I remembered another wrap puzzle so figured out that trick pretty quick and then was happy for the crossing words within. I liked it. My big write-over though was at 5A. Wanted unsalted at first, then roasted. SHELLED was my final entry.

Hope I'm smart enough for tomorrow!

joho 2:58 PM  

Jeez, @jesser ... good luck with that!

jesser 3:58 PM  

Thanks! I should point out that our HR people are good at what they do, and they listen, and I'm pretty confident they'll side with me rather than the consultants. It's just the whole process is a little discombobulating when you're one of the ones (there are others) in the middle of it. I still love my job, but my confidence/motivation will likely remain a little wobbly until this all gets resolved. :-)

thursdaysd 4:05 PM  

@anonymous 2:21 - I'm TRAVELING, I don't have a printer. I suppose my hotel has one, but since I'm in a guesthouse in Mostar, Bosnia, I don't fancy trying to use it with the iPad.

@Martin - I'm a print subscriber (which is why I could access the .pdf) but with the xxxxx iPad (which I only have because it weighs so little) I have to solve with an app

@jesser - good luck!

JenCT 4:05 PM  

Caught the wraparound trick early, but still a DNF for me. Wow, I admire those of you who found this one easy!

@jesser: that stinks! I 2nd the good luck wishes.

Count me in for one who did the wrong puzzle at first; will there be a discussion of that one (hint, hint?)

treedweller 4:28 PM  

huh. I went to nyt to do today's puzzle after the big red note went up, so I got the right one from the beginning. I finished, so I'd say it deserves the medium rating, if not easy. I never heard of the singer or the author, but managed to get them anyway. I don't remember seeing this wraparound trick before, but it seemed pretty obvious and I dove right in as if I knew for sure that was going to work. Pays sometimes to get lucky. Was I the only one that took forever getting IDLE because I couldn't let go of "iced?"

Then I kept hearing about the other puzzle here, so I went back to the applet to check it out. I got yesterday's puzzle, instead. Crazy crossworld today.

hazel 4:33 PM  

very cool puzzle that i did not catch onto for a WHILE. To me, the obvious part was that there were nested wraparounds, but figuring them out was not a cinch. Didn't know who either of the clued people referenced, but it all came together with a little perserverance. The OTHER wraparounds should have been obvious, but were not, until the lightbulb finally went on.

Kind of sad to see the harshing going on in the blog - the mood all week has been kind of kinetic and buzzy (except for the bitching about the prize, I guess.) i thought this puzzle was awesome, and yet there's been so much venting and frustration today. For what its worth, I printed the pdf out from the NYT puzzle page on my iPad because those were the instructions on Day 1 of the contest - and I think they've been repeatedly repeated. Granted, the instructions were given at the NYT blog, but still - it doesnt seem that much of a stretch for people to go the blog to figure out why Patrick Berry's name isn't on the puzzle they're solving? The warning Rex suggested seems like it would have eliminated most of the frustration, so I suppose they will live and learn.

@thursday - i don't expect the NYT will ever to be able to accommodate EVERYONE's unique situation. But, maybe you could grab a IHT. Don't they run the current puzzles? Was in Slovenia and Croatia last year - and the paper was not hard to come by - though I didn't solve any puzzles. went through a sliver of Bosnia, traveling to Mljet. The border guards were not affable.

I'm really glad that NYT put together this unique solving week for us - and I hope that's what gets remembered in the end. Plus I hope I win a prize!

skua76 4:39 PM  

@jesser, good luck!

@r.alphbunker, I liked your thought, "two quality Friday puzzles for the price of one" so I went and downloaded the Bunker puzzle. GEESH! Were they ALL that hard 5 years ago? I was doing them back then but I don't remember this one, nor Rex's discussion (which has all of four comments)!?

Of course by the time I looked at the NYT Crosswords page this morning the warning in red was already there, and besides I was already prepared for it. I'm not sure I'm prepared for what PB has in store for us tomorrow...

archaeoprof 4:53 PM  

Like @hazel, it took me awhile to figure this one out. Then it all went very fast.

I get the paper and solve on paper (folded over -- always fold it over). So the technological troubles didn't affect me today. But sometimes if it rains my paper is wet.

Every new technology solves some old problems and creates some new ones.

Z 5:01 PM  

@Jesser - Good Luck

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

@Rex: Looks like you're a little rusty with that old-fashioned handwriting thing...

and you're so wrong; the answers don't cross over at all. That was PBerry trying to confuse everyone. The answers run around the back of the puzzle and reappear at the beginning. Look on the back of your paper and see if you can catch them at it!

Chip Hilton 6:23 PM  

I hated this puzzle. I loved this puzzle. It frustrated me. It thrilled me. A work of art that made the extended time spent well worth it.

@mac: Same wave length. HELENE and ISRAEL cleared up the vertical wrap arounds, while knowing LESLIECHARTERIS (thanks to the old Roger Moore tv series) helped me decode the horizontal business.

@R. McGeddon: You're talking about one of the heroes of my youth in MEL Allen, so forgive me if I don't find his drinking problem a hoot.

What can Saturday hold? Bring it on, P.B.!

quilter1 7:10 PM  

@jesser: I do not exaggerate when I say I have been there and feel your pain and anger.

michael 9:38 PM  

An odd experience, even though I solve on paper. I completely finished the puzzle, knew it was correct, and yet was really puzzled by the weird long across answers. I had to come here to learn about destroying angel, etc.

JaxInL.A. 12:40 AM  

Had to come say how much I enjoyed the huge AHA moment when I got the trick after struggling with it for some time.

We were out of ink in the printer so I could not do this last night. I got up early to go buy a paper, but got waylaid by small family emergencies, forgot when I got to work, and it was a long day so I just got the Friday puzzle on Friday evening (shocking!).

I'm about 1/2 way through but it's pretty smooth now that I get it. I'm not feeling well, though, so gonna finish this and do the Saturday puzzle in the morning. I look forward to reading everyone's comments then.

I'm very excited. What a week!

JaxInL.A. 2:46 AM  

Okay, I dozed for a while, dreamed of this puzzle and had to come back to finish it in the middle of the night. Not only does it wrap around in two directions, but it has those "nested flipped answers" as @foodie called 'em, with the double clues. And I finished!!!!!! This was a real treat.

I might not have caught on to the first trick but for the wrapped puzzle from the L.A. Crossword Tournament (where I had the great pleasure of meeting Rex, Acme, DougP, Rich Norris, and loads of other really nice people. ALWAYS go to crossword gatherings, it will always be worth it no matter your solving level.) I didn't come close to finishing that grid, but I remembered the trick.

I'm with @Hazel in hoping that the comments tomorrow have a bit more of the giddy excitement that we've had here all week until now. PB's puzzles have delighted me, and coming here to share them with Rex and all of you has heightened that joy.

Having said that, I completely agree with @foodie's rant. The puzzle sells papers. It's not too much to ask that they invest in some programming to allow for the occasional unusual grid, or that they think about all of the many ways that solvers will approach the puzzle each day and direct us all accordingly.

I heard on the radio today about a new "light field camera" called Lytro that lets you interact with and focus on different parts of an image AFTER you take the photo. This is only a few steps removed from the magical moving pix seen in Harry Potter, and it's on sale now. Yet the largest newspaper in the United States, with tens of thousands of us paying just to get the puzzle, can't get anyone to program a grid that doesn't number every square? It is competely ridiculous.

Oops. I did it too, didn't I? Sheepish grin, shrug, slink off the stage... Until tomorrow (well, later today, really).

thursdaysd 3:11 AM  

@hazel - I think the instructions were to "keep the solutions handy", not to print the pdf. And they are handy - in my iPad's memory! (Not to mention on Rex's blog.) I just.hope that only being able to see one at a time doesn't present a problem....

And I don't see why I should go out in the wind and rain for an expensive IHT when I already paid for a print sub and an iPad app.

But I agree that this has been a fabulous week and we should all thank PB.

hazel 8:42 AM  

@thursday - these instructions were in a gigantic box at the Wordplay blog every day of the week last week:

Administrivial Heads Up For Friday! The Friday, October 21 crossword puzzle will be available at the normal time and place, but will have a format that will not be available in Across Lite.
However, we will be offering a PDF version that you will need to print out to solve. That version will be available here on the blog and the Premium Puzzle Page on Thursday, October 20 at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

I believe on e first day there was also a remark that there would likely be a lot of complaining.....

Sound s like you were able to make your own grid anyway so good luck! and enjoy the rest of your trip!

stuckintx 12:29 AM  

The term "in stir" survives through Bob Dylan's "Hurricane." To quote from memory, "They want to put his ass in stir. They want to pin this triple murder on him. He ain't no Gentleman Jim."
I really loved this song when I was 13...

Tita 12:43 AM  

I'm late to these, as I was avoiding spoilers.

For the same reason, I never went to WOrdPlay. Actually, I NEVER go to WordPlay.

WHy on earth was their not big blinking red letters on the puzzle page, rather than somewhere that many people never see?

Only when I saw my sister's print-edition Friday did I realize I had done the wrong puzzle...

Hey - not a big deal in the scheme of things, but this s such an easy thing to have gotten right.

Hey NYT - if you need someone to help you with user/website interaction design, send me an email...

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Hey Tita - if you want NYT to read your message, why don't you go to their site....

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Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Chiming in from the Syndication 'burbs.

I figured out the wraparound gimmick after a few minutes of staring, but I had huge holes in the grid until I stumbled onto the hidden 9a clue. WINCHESTER RIFLES (TERI FLEW INCHES) broke it open for me.

Finished with just one error. Had eMAIL/eYe until CRAM made it eMAIL/eYM. Told myself I'd revisit 20a but I never did. First error of the week.

Can't wait to see how these all tie together tomorrow. I have an inkling, but after doing this puzzle I believe I'll just expect the unexpected.

OK, time to go pepper spray some fellow shoppers.

Dirigonzo 9:57 PM  

@Anonymous 10:42am - Glad to see you are going with the non-lethal means of gaining your competitive shopper's advantage; according to my afternoon paper there have been incidents of actual gunfire at shopping malls today. What is wrong with these people?!

Had a friend helping with the puz today and it was she who spotted the wrap-around (cross-over) feature and it was all down-hill from there as we put in answers we had earlier rejected for lack of room. Happily, solving on paper 5 weeks late pretty much means technical glitches are not a factor.

@Arundel, I'm pretty sure your foobars are really FUBARs which is an acronymn (it ends in Beyond All Recognition - you can guess the FU).

@Skua76 (who looks a lot like Willy Nelson) has posted a link to a write-up from 2006, so I'll skip that feature today. I will however remind all that tomorrow, 11/26, is RP's birthday.

Red Valerian 10:23 PM  

I've been having fun this week, especially today. Took me a while to get the wrap-around thing--saw 21A "nitwit," and had 17D (RAP) and 28A (GPS), so thought maybe it was ASS (which it was), but because the answer turned south to catch the S from GPS.

Yah, stupid, I know. It would still have left the odd placement of the numbers unexplained. But, then, I tend to be suspicious of our local rag's ability to print the puzzle properly. (Once, there were no numbers at all. And, no, that wasn't some special planned feature.)

By the way, without this blog, I wouldn't know there was a meta-puzzle in the offing. Thanks, Rex!

Filled in the whole thing (sans Google, so it counts as finishing) but DID NOT SEE the crossing over answers until coming here (so kinda doesn't count as finishing). I recall seeing the clues, but promptly forgot about them since the grid was filling in. (that's my story)

Loved the clue for 29D (NESSIE), as that fact(oid) was somewhere in the depths of my brain.

@jesser--guess I'll have to wait five weeks to hear how it all turned out. I hope good!

@Nancy--haven't we seen that before????

paleolith 10:21 PM  

I didn't try to put INSTIR, but the comment about it brings back memories. I grew up to an LP of Songs of the Pogo, with Walt Kelly himself singing most of the songs. One lyric goes

I was stirrin' up a stirrup cup
In a stolen sterling stein
When I chanced upon a ladle
Who was once my Valentine.
(Natural, this was a ladle I used to spoon with.)
"Oh, whence that wince,
My wench?" quoth I.
She blushed and said, "Oh Sir,
Ol' Daddy isn't stirrin'
Since my Mama's been in stir."

Too bad I can't post the melody with it. I have the song book but no longer have the recording. Heck, I could sing it for you. But that song keeps that bit of vocabulary fresh in my mind. (And I think it was probably my father who explained the term to me. His father had been a judge in Louisiana, which might explain why an academic chemist knew the word. Too late to ask him.)


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