Record producer Talmy / SAT 11-12-11 / Musical great grave unmarked 150 years / Player of evil Blofeld / All-Star Dark of 1950s Giants / Relatives of arroyos / North Platte feeder

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ANTA (26D: Broadway acronym) —
The American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA) is a non-profit theatre producer and training organization that was established in 1935 to be the official United States national theatre that would be an alternative to the for-profit Broadway houses of the day. // The ANTA, which by law was to be self-sustaining, sponsored touring companies of numerous shows to foreign counties in the post-World War II in the 1940s and 1950s, owned the ANTA Theatre on Broadway, played an important role in the establishment of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Center, was the main membership organization for regional theatre in the U.S. before ultimately having a greatly diminished role in the 1980s. Today as an entity its main focus is the National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. (wikipedia)
• • •

I've been constructing for a few hours, so I don't really know which way is up, and I'm not sure what to say about this (fine) puzzle. It's kind of blurring together with the puzzle I'm working on. I even had ANTA in my grid, before getting rid of it (it's pretty bad fill ... though I've got something at least as bad still in my grid at the moment, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere, so I can't judge too harshly—it's legitimate, and when there's not a lot of other clunkers, sometimes that's good enough). I know that my solving experience was really uneven, timewise. That is, I was lightning-fast in some patches, and turtle-slow in others. The whole bottom of the puzzle was something close to a cakewalk, but it took me a while to work my way down there, as (with some patchy exceptions) I crapped out in the NW and NE and the center to begin the experience.

Started the puzzle with OJO, which let me get the MAJESTY part of HER MAJESTY (6D: Lead-in to some royal names). Names in the NE were tough to crack, but I got LOIS LANE right away (16A: One whose crush was caped), which allowed me to deduce FLYWEIGHT with little effort (11D: Boxing class). Got the eastern ends of the long middle answers, but couldn't crack either (remembering that Barry is from the D.C. area *might* have helped me with CAPITAL BELTWAY (39A: 495), but also might not have). Finally got to HAY / IAN / APRON and then just shredded the bottom of the puzzle from there. Felt like a Tuesday puzzle there for a bit. Worked my way back up and finally pieced together the NE and ended up in the NW, where I'd begun. Last letter in was the "G" in ALEGRE / AGNES (a tough proper noun crossing) (15A: Pôrto ___, Brazil + 4D: Georgia's ___ Scott College).

Interesting to see LARAMIE as a river (41D: North Platte feeder) and JABBAR as a non-Kareem Abdul (32D: Al-___ (one of the names of God in Islam). Love the clue on CUPHOLDER (30D: Place for some car fluid). Had no idea Ray LIOTTA was ever on "ER" (20D: 2005 Emmy winner for "ER"). Nice trivia on the J.S. BACH (1A: Musical great whose grave went unmarked for nearly 150 years), though I feel somehow like the initials should have been signified in the clue somehow. I know Max VON SYDOW (18A: Player of the evil Blofeld in "Never Say Never Again") only from some 80s art house movie ... "My Life as a Dog?" ... no ... "Pelle the Conqueror?" Yes! Never heard of IRA Berkow (24A: Pulitzer-winning sports reporter Berkow), but IRA is a man's name in three letters, so no problem. More of a problem was SHEL Talmy (51A: Record producer Talmy). Yee-ikes. Wow he arranged and produced some pretty great songs, such as ...

Another mystery name—ALVIN Dark (great name!) (7D: All-Star Dark of the 1950s Giants). I didn't realize the Nazi-hunting group in "Inglourious Basterds" was the O.S.S. (10D: "Inglourious Basterds" org.) I think I was too distracted by the suspense and massive bloodshed to notice details. I learned about WADIS from crosswords, but wanted other less exotic words there at first like DALES and GLENS (which aren't really cousins of arroyos at all). Wish I'd gotten a chance to appreciate the clue on "DUKE OF EARL" (28D: The "me"in "nothing can stop me now," in a 1962 #1 hit). I had OF EARL before I knew what was happening, and just glanced at the clue, noticed "hit," confirmed what I assumed had to be the case.

The younger, still-living ASSAD is in the news a lot now, and not for his benevolence (45D: Name of father-and-son world leaders). Lastly, this ADANA place (50D: Turkish city or province), I'm seeing it more and more in puzzles. Or maybe I'm seeing it the same amount and I'm just noticing it more and more. At any rate, it's a city of over 1.5 million people in south Turkey, just inland from the Mediterranean, and is a major commercial and agricultural center, so it seems eminently crossworthy and is hereby officially filed in my memory banks.

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


dk 8:09 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Thank you Mr. Silk.

Interesting to me was my solving experience. I got the top and the bottom and had an unfilled center for about 10 minutes. Cheese STEAK bewildered me even after I got the longs.

LOL moment was DUI known as OUI here as I wondered how many ways can you drive under the influence. Good thing I live alone... people would wonder.

60 degrees here today. woo woo

*** (3 Stars) I loved the late fifties early sixties theme with 15A, 29A and 28D. I will always think of Max 18A playing chess with the devil.. if I have my Bergman correct..

Smitty 8:12 AM  

fun puzzle
DUKE OF EARL - brill

Z 8:21 AM  

I have to wonder how many Port cities in Brazil I don't know?

Thought I was off to a great Saturday when I plopped in ALVIN and LOIS LANE. It wasn't too be. HTG far too much. Putting in crankcase before the much better CUPHOLDER didn't help.

I have a hard time thinking of any Bud product as beer, so ICE BEER did not come easily. I was hoping for a clever flower term, too. If I want thin, weak beer, I'll at least get something brewed in my home state.

jberg 8:25 AM  

Only 2 comments, and it's 8:15 AM - did Rex post late?

Anyway, this was a lot of fun - tough answers that mostly turned out to be simple phrases; I'd say it was smooth as silk if it hadn't been said hundreds of times before.

The LIOTTA/STAINS cross was almost a total guess for me. I never heard of the former, and for 27A I was so busy trying to figure out if the targets could be chain stores that I never considered that All might have a double meaning, as well. Brilliant deceptive cluing!

Writeovers: MozArt before JS BACH, and (because when I looked for "17-across supporter" I mistakenly saw 16-A, "Lois Lane," Bra for BUN at 23D. Also iVAN instead of EVAN at 34D; despite having the odd GLi ending for 29A, I didn't think of EVAN until CONCRETE fell into place from the crosses.

Minor quibble: ET TU (35-A) were the words of the betrayed, not words of betrayal. Not a problem, though, once the U was there. A lovely puzzle!

exaudio 8:26 AM  

@dk: in the various states where I have lived, it's been dui and dwi (driving while intoxicated), so I was torn between those possibilities. Never heard of oui, but that makes sense too.

Loved the puzzle. Took me forever, but I solved it with many enjoyable "aha" moments.

Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

Great puzzle. The G in AGNES was my last letter, too. Took me a while to get DUKE OF EARL, because I had OUI (what it's called here) instead of DUI, and BRA instead of BOA (just as good an answer). When I stood back and looked at oukeorearl, I started humming, "Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl." What a great (nonsense) song. LOIS LANE is not a gimme -- she could have been Lana Lang (and I think there was another double-L girl) -- but either way I got FLYWEIGHT off the second L.

evil doug 8:31 AM  

Very satisfying.


wiener---bun---Bud Ice---cupholder---dui

reina---her majesty---Duke of Earl

ROTC---OSS---act of war---Assad---Biafra---Adana (home of Incirlik Air Base).

Spent some weeks at Incirlik, flying sorties all over Turkey. There were four shops just outside the back gate, and my crew went there to buy some copper yogurt pots. We looked in each shop, and at some point I decided to actually buy some. As we left, merchants from the other three all came out and started yelling at me in Turkish---apparently since I hadn't found theirs worth purchasing---so we ran to the guard shack hoping not to get shot.

Ray Liotta showed up in my new fave TV show: The League. Not for the kiddies.


R. McGeddon 8:38 AM  

Gramercy Park is at Lexington Ave., which is east of Fifth Avenue, the eastern edge of Central Park. So isn't the direction from Gramercy to Central Park NNW?

Help me out here.

Ray Greenberg 8:44 AM  

I enjoyed today's puzzle. Any time I can do a Saturday in under an hour with only one letter wrong, I'm doing well. I'm still hung up on something from yesterday if you don't mind....
Why is ASA is the center of rock? Hard as a rock? Nelson Rockefeller's Grandpa? I'm atsea!

Benedict Arnold 8:46 AM  

stylus virum arguit

Betrayal is in the OJO of the beholder.

Here In Franklin 8:50 AM  

Ha! Agnes was the first word I got--must be a Southern thing.

AnnieD 8:51 AM are right as far as the street layout goes, but manhattan island isn't actually north/south, but tilted some so the true direction you'd travel is NNE

Nice puzzle. So pleased to finish it without much real struggle, but lots of pausing and pondering. Lots of nice cluing too. Very enjoyable. Thanks for another fine piece of work, Mr. Silk!

AnnieD 8:55 AM  

@yogeshvara, the clue was "Solid rock center"...solid as a rock

Ray Greenberg 9:02 AM  

Thanks Annie, I hate it when I get something clever, but don't know why....Great song too!

Lindsay 9:11 AM  

VONSY DOW is right? Good grief. And BIAFRA? Random letters to me. Gotta google. Never heard of LIOTTA, which was a problem because I can never remember how to spell CAPITAL, and LIOTTo looked plausible.

Felt like I'd won a game of chance when I came here to check my grid and it was perfect.

Bud drinkers tend to throw their beer cans out their truck windows on their way to their DUIs, so I knew ICE because I pick up the empties while I'm walking my dog.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tita 9:28 AM  

Liked this one too...when I can finish a Saturday in 2 sittings, it makes me ALEGRE!

Did need help from spouse in NE - just did not see LOISLANE... had LOuisXIV for a while... (!) (Those mousquetaires wore caoes, no?)

Liked CUPHOLDER, though I too had Crankcase in for a short time.
Better clueing might be something like "Fluid place in car?", or at least a "?" at the end...
Coffee or soda is not "car fluid"

Tried to get Boston BELTWAY in for 495, being from NE.

61A Quaint introduction...quaint because it's a throwback to the days when we assumed all office workers of import were men? Not sure I get why it's quaint.

Liked 33D Grass roots development.
All in all, great cluing.

joho 9:29 AM  

"Lovely" really does describe this puzzle.

My only writeovers were upSET before BESET and chAINS before STAINS. The last to fall was the AGNES/STAINS crossing, the toughest spot in the grid for me.
As mentioned by @jberg, the misdirection with "All" was brilliant.


Mr. Silk, you've done it again!

Shamik 9:41 AM  

@Tita: What? What? Coffee isn't a car fluid? Mine won't start in the morning without coffee in the CUPHOLDER!

Does anyone else wonder if those dancers in "Duke of Earl" were getting dizzy bending and doing a half swoop and ratcheting back? Poor things!

Delightfully crunchy puzzle that i'm happy to have solved in an easy-medium time for me on a Saturday. It must be a girl thing, but FLYWEIGHT did not fall easily.

Wish I could have another NYT Saturday puzzle now!

aliumpit: 1) an alley-oop gone awry; 2) axilla of a specific Arab man.

Eddie Haskell 9:47 AM  

Lindsay, I share your frustration. Vonsy Dow never reached the fame his brother Tony achieved as Wally Cleaver. Hardly puzzleworthy.

AnnieD 9:47 AM  

@lindsay, from another who knows ice from picking cans while walking, it's von sydow...

jackj 9:49 AM  

Barry's puzzle was downright Nosowskyish- elegant and intelligent, though it seemed better suited as a Friday. It could have used a turn of the cluing crank to make it a tad more difficult, Saturday level puzzle.

A mini-boo for cluing ALVIN Dark as a Giant; Alvin made his baseball bones as Rookie of the Year in 1948, as a Boston Brave. (He did continue his marvelous baseball career with the NY Giants and a host of other NL teams as player and manager but it all began in Boston).

Lots to love in this one, not the least, DUKEOFEARL, which Gene Chandler faithfully reprises each year on a trip-down-memory-lane, PBS, fund-raising, Doo-Wop special.

BOA, DUI, RAIN and CUPHOLDER were just a few of the words clued with excellent misdirections and in the same vein, BIAFRA wanted to be TUTSIS until the crosses finally said otherwise.

Thanks, Barry. What a nice way to end our puzzling week!

Tobias Duncan 9:55 AM  

Back about ten years ago, i arrived late to a cocktail party in Taos.One of my friends came running up to me excited, eyes blazing red and said" I just got High with Kareem Abdul Jabbar! My father is a HUGE fan but I can never tell him,ITS KILLING ME!! I looked past him and awkwardly, just within earshot was a very tall, very shy, very high black man who turned out to be quite charming.
Just could not make much headway last night so I went to bed.This morning a bunch of stuff just fell right into place. I had forgotten about that trick.
Never heard of LODI despite living in California for 5 years.
I know I should not admit this here but the only BIAFRA I have heard of is the Jello.

foodie 10:00 AM  

I'm glad others liked this puzzle. For me, seeing the ASSADs, father and son, clued as world leaders put me in a sad state. Their people HAVE SAID NO to them...but here we are...

CONCRETE JUNGLE and ACT OF WAR seemed oddly fitting. Even the name of Allah as the JABBAR reflects might and power, as opposed to other names which reflect kindness and forgiveness.

So, that ICE BEER (which had been PALE ALE at one point) was welcome. as well as BrA instead of BOA, both of which provided some comic relief...

SethG 10:04 AM  

I admit it. When I had BRA as a WIENER supporter, I giggled.

Nice puzzle.

retired_chemist 10:06 AM  

I always enjoy a Barry Silk puzzle. This was a very good one.

18A started life as BOBBY DEE (who?) on a wild stab from _O__YD__and I was hung up on a 5 letter given name and a 3 letter surname. I fixed it, but then I was wondering who VONSY DOW was.... Google that and you will get VONSY someone who is apparently a pinup for a low rider organization.

Central park is definitely NNE of Gramercy Park.Check that out in Google Maps while you are at it. Because Manhattan's "long axis" is itself sort of SW to NE, it just seems to be NNW.

Needed a few letters until 39A 495 made sense. But a clue of 635 for LBJ FREEWAY (in Dallas) would also get me good, and I drive that frequently. Nice one, Barry.

Several very good clues: Musical great..., People who see...., and more.

A very fast Saturday here. Thursday was the slowest this week. Unusual.

Thanks, Mr. Silk.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Max von Sydow. Easy to google at IMDB. Look up the movie.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

"Headless Christmas visitor"

Very nice puzzle. Very slow to start, but average solving time overall.

I believe Rex is not a big cryptic puzzle fan, but if he were . . . His remarks today somehow triggered the thought that the words above might be a cryptic clue for ANTA!

mac 10:25 AM  

Fantastic Saturday puzzle, Medium this morning, and a real Barry Silk (Capital Beltway, cheese steak, Alvin Dark)!

@foodie: I also had bra for boa, and pale ale.
Had NNW at 44A, I don't think Manhattanites look at the map so closely. Fifth Avenue is considered the border between East and West.

Ray Liotta was charged with a DUI in 2007.

retired_chemist 10:27 AM  

Well, there really is a Bobby Dee. C&W. Never heard of him before unless it was somehow grafted into my subconscious by alien rednecks.

JC66 10:40 AM  

@jackj said...

More people might know ALVIN dark as the shortstop for the '51 Giants of "the Giants win the pennant; the Giants win the pennant" fame than as a Boston Braves rookie.

quilter1 10:55 AM  

Hand up for Mozart before JSBACH. Why have all these musicians' bodies gone astray?

I liked the puzzle and puzzled over parts while trying to think like Silk. Sometimes it even worked. I thought the clue for LIPREADERS was very good and really enjoyed SAIDNONO.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Once again, not challenging enough for a Saturday puzzle. But I loved the Duke of Earl!!

That's All he Wrote 11:07 AM  

** Comment unrelated to puzzle; is about Joon's Jeopardy performance **
** Please "Blur eyes, scroll down", if you're not interested. **
** I did see Andrea's admonition to keep the comments puzzle-related. I know she will find this as the exception to the rule. **

Now that we have got beyond the disclaimers . . .

Joon didn't win his semi-final contest :( In my opinion, this three-some (Alex seems to get a chuckle out of saying this word) was probably the toughest of the 3 semi-final groups. Just like we dissect the puzzles here everyday, let's review the Jeopardy show, shall we . . .

** Roger, the contestant who won today, found all 3 of the Daily Doubles (DD) and came up with the correct answer all 3 times. Twice he made it a true Daily Double, and in the final instance bet $10K. He went from $7K to $27K in a matter of 4 clues. And that is the reason he won.

** Roger was also quick on the buzzer (great mind-thumb coordination or was it strategy?). He rang up at lightning quick speed, then took the maximum possible time to think through and come up with the answer. This hurt him once when he came up with the answer just after time expired, and was penalized for that late answer. (Poppy seeds was the answer . . . the bagel type to avoid if you have to take a drug test).

** Luck certainly wasn't on Joon's side today; Joon took a wrong turn (obvious only in hindsight) and it ended up as a tactical mistake. The sequence went like this: Roger found the first Daily Double in double jeopardy, bet all-in, and came up with the correct answer (Mannerism was the answer). The next clue Roger chose was answered by Joon. Now it's Joon's turn to choose the clue. And here is the tactical mistake that Joon made: Most of the time, contestants stay with the same category, but Joon went to another category and Roger correctly answered that one. Now it's Roger's turn to chose the next clue and he returned to the previous category. What do you know . . . it was another Daily Double, he bet $10K, came up with the correct answer and the rest is history (Hedonism was the answer). If only Joon had stayed with the category when it was his turn to pick the clue and found the final Daily Double, I think he would have won (because we all know that Joon also has the habit of going all-in, and the clue was relatively easy). That is how the cookie crumbled for Joon (or is it the Apple pie!!!)

** To those who wonder why it's a tactical mistake - When Roger found and answered the Daily double he moved significantly ahead of Joon, and there were only few clues left on the board. So, Joon should have looked hard for the other Daily Double to catch-up when he had the chance. (Some players actively hunt for DD when they're down significantly.) Actually it was right there for the taking . . if only he had stayed with the category. Instead he went back to the category where the first DD was found. Roger answered, switched the category back and found the final DD too.

Joon did win the hearts of many when he said, during his qualifying round interview, that he and his wife decided to give more than half of his winnings to charities, to disaster relief in particular. He not only has a brilliant mind, but also a compassionate heart. Now hurry up and make more puzzles, Joon. PLEASE.

Ain't no more.
That's all he wrote.
Sorry for the long post.

Z 11:10 AM  

Anheuser-Busch has one ale, distributed first in 2008. Until then it had brewed nothing but lagers, almost all of them some variation of a pilsener.

syndy 11:14 AM  

Oh lord, stuck in Lodi again! NAPA/LODI was my writeover-don't think I'd drink a LODI wine.I have learned how to assume a silken state of mind!I love how that man clues.Lois came slowly because I had a hard time shaking the picture of a bottle of Grape Crush with it's cape flowing behind and it's fists on it's hips

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

If Daily Doubles are randomly distributed, there is no such thing as "hunting" for them. Every square is as likely as any other so choosing any order, including straight down each list from top to bottom, is equally likely to land one. The only way to improve your odds is to answer questions correctly.

JenCT 11:29 AM  

SW was the trouble spot for me; also didn't know the variations for John.

@Anon. 11:06: not challenging enough? You're not Dan Feyer, are you? LOL

GILL I. 11:35 AM  

Barry Silk really is a master when it comes to elusive cluing. I read 33D to my husband to see if he could come up with the answer to Grass roots development? He very proudly answered high.
Lodi is a small town in the San Joaquin valley in Calif. It's not as well known as the Napa/Sonoma region but it has a reputation for producing excellent Zins. Credence Clearwater R. sorta put the town on the map with their song "Lodi." Not eactly in the "San Francisco" or "New York, New York" genre but... By the way, it's a pretty town.
@jberg I was going to ask how a bra might hold up a wiener and then @SethG say's he also put that in. Is that a male type thingy?
Fun but difficult puzzle for me. I needed some Google help with ALVIN, DUKE OF EARL (I love that song) and LIOTTA.

jae 11:36 AM  

Top = med. challenging (the G was my last entry also), bottom = pretty easy, so easy-med. works. My only write over was SEAN for EVAN. Lotsa of good stuff in this fine Silk puzzle. Too bad 6d wasn't clued with something like "Last on Beatle's last." We could have had a 60's music mini-theme with hits that bookended the decade.

Two Ponies 11:37 AM  

Fun puzzle except for crossing a foreign beach with a college I've never heard of.
My Alvin is a chipmunk.

Anoa Bob 11:40 AM  

Like others, thought DUKE OF EARL was the shining jewel of this Barry Silk beauty. Gotta love a song with the line "We'll walk through my dukedom" in it.

One of doo-wop's all time great groups, Sha Na Na, did a cover of this song in their set at Woodstock in '69. There's some grainy, skakey video of them on You Tube. If memory serves me correctly, they were followed by Jimi Hendrix. How's that for some contrast.

Campesite 11:56 AM  

As a teenager in the 80's, I lived with little adult supervision as long as I got straight A's. Before I was old enough to drive, on several occasions I saw the spectacle that was the Dead Kennedys (tasteless name, but it was a punk band) who also hailed from the Bay Area. They were fronted by Jello BIAFRA, who lost to Dianne Feinstein in the SF Mayor's race (came in fourth, actually). 

Holiday In Cambodia

At about the same time, the Specials were doing this:

Concrete Jungle

Mel Ott 11:56 AM  

Very nice Saturday puzzle.

Saw immediately that either MOZART or JS BACH would fit at 1A, but had to wait for crosses which were slow coming.

Thanks @Annie for clearing up the Manhattan direction thing. I had the same issue and suspected that it might be the tilt of the island from a straight N-S axis.

The NY Giants won two pennants with ALVIN DARK as their Captain. 1951 ("the Giants win the pennant") and 1954 (after which they swept the Indians in the World Series.

However the first big league game I ever saw was at the Polo Grounds (1949?), Boston Braves v. NY Giants, and ALVIN Dark was still on the Braves. His primary identification is still with the Giants, whom he later managed in San Fran.

North Beach 12:09 PM  

Wait just a minute. @Tobias hobnobbing with a sports legend? Lew Alcindor no less? Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor.
@Eddie Haskell: good one! By the way, you are a smarmy brown-noser.
I learned CHEESE STEAK as one word so had STRAW, then STICK before STEAK. In a Google Fight CHEESE STEAK beats CHEESESTEAK 4.85M to 285K so my bad.
Growing up if you didn't eat all the food on your plate (using your TINE) you would be reminded of all the starving children in BIAFRA.

davko 12:27 PM  

Love Silk's inventive cluing, and he's in top form with the likes of STAINS (22A) for All targets, and DUI (28A) for a guilty weaver. One also comes away edified by some great nuggets of trivia, such as the Liotta role and Bach curio (I pounced immediately on Mozart, too). Enjoyed learning about LODI, too (52D), after rushing right in with NAPA.

While too young to have ever seen him play, the name Alvin Dark will forever be a gimme for this solver because the first baseball glove I ever owned, passed down from my father, bore the ex-Giant's replicated signature inscribed in the palm.

Lewis 12:40 PM  

@eddiehaskell -- made me laugh

If you've DVRed Jeopardy and don't want to know how it turned out last night, stop reading here. Joon -- I hope you ARE reading here. I don't know you personally but I have enjoyed following you on the show. Whether you have wanted to or not, you've represented this little c-word community, and did so with class, excellence, and the highest character. Thank you!

Today's puzzle was so good. It made me work hard, but it was a labor of love...

RI Squasher 1:47 PM  

Does anyone have a hard time visualizing an answer when they've written in another that crosses it and may or may not be right? For example I put rejected in at 56A. I knew it might not be right and as I was trying to figure out the downs I had trouble visualizing letters other than the ones in rejected. Just the way my brain works I guess but makes me hesitant to write in educated guesses because if they're wrong it also makes it difficult for me to get the crosses.

retired_chemist 2:04 PM  

@ RI Squasher - same here.

Tita 2:22 PM  

Great question, RI Squasher.

When I'm not sure of an answer, I pencil it in - the less certain I am, the lighter I press.

(Just one of the reasons I prefer paper to online...the "pencil" option of AcrossLite just ain't the same...)

If I was right, the trace of those letters will help solve the crosses.
If wrong, their is still a chance that a letter or two still might be right.

Having them written in lightly ios enough of a mental signal to help me ignore them as needed.

Does that make any sense at all???

I also use the margins when a puzzle is particularly tough, as a staging area - especiallyw helps me to better visualize downs when I can write them horizontally.

Pencil and paper forever!

I have absolutely no interest in speed solving - I like to pick it up throughout the day (if I didn't solve it hte night before, that is.)

Del Taco 2:30 PM  

best clue : "One whose crush is caped" Lois Lane
I like that one
I also didn't know Ray Liotta was on ER
and I had put Brandaur as Blofeld in Never Say Never Again, until I remembered he place Largo

r.alphbunker 2:37 PM  

Really liked CUPHOLDER. But I think of coffee as a meeting fluid. As the meeting proceeds it is drawn into my body to keep it functioning.

@RI Squasher
I need flow when I am solving. Too much time without writing anything down stalls my brain. Since I solve on a computer it is easy to erase. If a section around a word remains empty for a while, I erase the word. This strategy probably would not work as well if I was solving on paper.

I learned long ago to take advantage of the delete key on the computer. Before word processors I dreaded writing. Now it is okay if my first draft is crap because I can easily edit it into an acceptable state.

Masked and Anonymous 3:19 PM  

@RI Squasher: Even tho I use pencil/paper, tend to check for a corroborating cross, before filling in anything but gimmes. For really long answers, or if I'm just gettin' desperate, I'll often just try stuff out. So I do a lotta the latter, on a SatPuz. Kinda like @Tita's light pencil idea; I occasionally do something like that with very small letters, especially at Nat-tick crossings.

Fave clue today: the CUPHOLDER one. Makes yer mind take a double leap, since it's the cup where the fluid goes, and then the cup goes in the holder. So, sneaky good. Puz thUmbsUp, just for that clue. Always good to have a groaner riddle in there, somewhere.

Runner-up clue: @Bob Kerfuffle's one for ANTA. Need a similar one for ADANA, to regain balance in the universe, tho. "Commercial olio?" Nah.

Sparky 3:30 PM  

DNF. Did not start is more like it. Just did not click. I can see from the solve and the comments that it is a really nice puzzle. And I like Mr. Silk.

Thanks @AnnieD for the NNE explanation. I was drawing little maps in the margin and didn't consider the true slant of Mnhattan Island. @Shamik. Same thought here re the dancers. I kept wanting them to at least switch to the left side. @Tita. Very sinsible. My Frixion is a pen but I have a pencil handy just in case.

Ray Liotta was a guest on ER not a regular. Very moving episode shot in real time.

Whew, a lot to say for someone who did bupkus. I am already working on Sunday.

foodie 3:33 PM  

I've gotten over my funk, and looking back on the puzzle, I can tell it's pretty cool...And very little junk fill. Impressive.

@ RI Squasher-- Yeah, putting down a guess is about balancing its power to inhibit vs. its power to inspire. One of my favorite outcomes is when what I put down is totally wrong, but it still really helps. Or when it's funny, a la Seth and the creative way of supporting a WIENER...

So BRA showed up erroneously, for more than one person, in two different places to replace BOA and BUN? I like that :)

michael 3:59 PM  

Nice puzzle -- perhaps more of a Friday than a Saturday.

favorite answer (glad to see I am not alone) --Duke of Earl

Assads -- world leaders. I suppose it depends on what you mean by "leader."

archaeoprof 4:29 PM  

What @Foodie said. ASSAD should have been clued "vicious Stalinist Arab tyrant" or "son of vicious Stalinist Arab tyrant."

Otherwise the puzzle was a very good one.

The Republicans have arrived, and it's like the circus has come to town. Busses and vans and signs everywhere. I'm secretly hoping someone will yell "You lie!" in the middle of the debate tonight.

mac 4:43 PM  

@Gill I.P.: LOL! Nice way to put it!

@Archeoprof: ditto!

jackj 4:58 PM  

Not a lot of support for my campaign to clue ALVIN Dark as a Boston Brave (which I understand and accept) but, my Boston Braves were pummeled every which way from Sunday and it's a natural response to try and give my erstwhile team a bit of credit if not some luster.

Is my recollection correct that Alvin Dark is not a member of the Hall of Fame?

quilter1 5:23 PM  

You all should try the ADANA kebab. Delicious! Try it in Turkey, of course.

JenCT 5:44 PM  

@jackj: Alvin Dark

Interesting to read about that weird play of 1959; never heard of that.

Matthew G. 5:48 PM  

Great puzzle, but the NE did me in, and I HTG for the first time in a long time (I googled the movie title to find VON SYDOW). Didn't know VON SYDOW or ALVIN or OSS or WADIS or ANODE. Not knowing one or two of those might have been survivable, but all of them in one corner ... nope. I agree with the Rex that the bottom half of the puzzle was pretty easy, but the top third was just brutal, so I rate this Challenging.

Re: Joon. (Stop reading here if you don't want to know how last night went for him)........... Was very sad today to see that our champion didn't get a shot at being the champion of champions, but I watch Jeopardy a lot, and I can tell when a great player just has an unlucky game, and that was definitely Joon last night. Rough going early, and then his adversary got both of the second-round daily doubles -- not much you can do in the face of that. Great run, Joon -- I'm currently in the active contestant pool myself and eagerly awaiting my shot! I might write you for tips if I get the call...

Chip Hilton 6:36 PM  

Timely alternative clue for 47D:
Spanish national soccer team goalie Pepe _____ who gave up goal today in 1-0 loss to England in International friendly.

Yeah, I guess that's a bit lengthy.

Stan 6:38 PM  

CONCRETE JUNGLE balancing CAPITAL BELTWAY really worked for me. Agree with all that DUKE OF EARL ruled the day.

Enjoyed looking up SHEL Talmy (whose name I didn't recognize but who produced many of my favorite songs, ever. How did I miss this?)

Max VON SYDOW: I haven't seen "Pelle the Conqueror" but "The Seventh Seal" and "Three Days of the Condor" are classics that deserve to be classics.

Lots of good comments today, esp. @evil doug (8:31), @foodie (10:00). and campesite (11:56).

sanfranman59 6:50 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:30, 6:50, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:12, 8:51, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium
Wed 15:12, 11:50, 1.28, 94%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 123 Wednesdays)
Thu 22:02, 19:03, 1.16, 81%, Challenging
Fri 17:44, 25:21, 0.69, 8%, Easy (10th lowest median solve time of 125 Fridays)
Sat 23:33, 29:59, 0.79, 9%, Easy (10th lowest median solve time of 117 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:28, 3:40, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:15, 4:34, 0.93, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 7:36, 5:51, 1.30, 96%, Challenging (6th highest median solve time of 123 Wednesdays)
Thu 11:38, 9:18, 1.25, 8%, Challenging
Fri 9:09, 12:37, 0.73, 13%, Easy
Sat 13:12, 17:05, 0.77, 9%, Easy

@JenCT ... thanks for the link to the description of that bizarre baseball play. I've been an avid baseball fan for more than 40 years now and have never seen or heard of anything even close to that happening. ALVIN was a gimme for me and was my first entry today. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Swamp Fox since he was the manager of my beloved Indians the first season I can remember following the game (1968). That was the only halfway decent season the team had until the mid-90s.

alegre creator michaels 12:56 AM  

Upset that Max VON SYDOW isn't getting enough love here!
Last time I guest-blogged I even posted pictures of how he looks like the guy on the $20 bill!!!

He's playing chess with DEATH!
It's THE most iconic image from a Bergman film.
He was nominated for an Oscar for "Pelle..."; he was the assassin in "Three days of the Condor"...
He's THE Exorcist, for godssake!
AND Ming the Merciless and the heartbreaking father in "The Iron Bell and the Butterfly" (or whatever it was called) film.
And the serious artist in "Hannah and her Sisters" furious they wanted to buy one of his pictures to match the couch.

And it was the first time (of 10) that someone put his whole name and not just "Actor Max Von _____".

C'mon people!

OK, confession, I have been in love with his son for about 35 years...but still!

And I was thrilled to see this highbrow actor combined with Tyra Banks, my other guilty pleasure, tho there were many other ideas that occurred to me before "CREATOR"!

acme 1:09 AM  

Make that "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"...
Jesus Christ in "The Greatest Story Ever Told"! "Hamsun"! "Shutter Island" (ok, no "!")
NOW do you realize who he is and how crossword-worthy?!

amanas concrete michaels 1:35 AM  

ps Shamik @9:41
a million hours later, but HA! Your comment got me to watch the "Duke of Earl" video...
and yes, those poor go-go girls!!!
What was up with that????!!!

Eejit 3:19 AM  

My fastest Saturday ever I think, at around 35 minutes. Yes I know, not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I was fairly pleased seeing as was in the pub on my fourth Guinness and talking to people occasionally.

The clue for CAPITAL BELTWAY could also have been "colossal disaster". It's been a mess for months, putting in HOT lanes, making a huge mess and eternal backups. Was funny to see it in the puzzle though.

DigitalDan 11:37 AM  

There was a song called "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" in the 1962 Broadway Hit "Stop the World,I Want to Get Off." Led to to no end of confusion for this pop-ignorant solver.

Really anon 12:07 PM  

Acme, reading some of your recent posts gives the impression you've become the self-appointed blog whip. Do we need to have our wrists slapped?

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

Well, this was a good old-fashioned DNF for the Spacecraft. How this was rated as anything below challenging is beyond me. Weirdly enough, the only section I could complete on my own was the NE! Save, that is, for the E in TINE. "Sticker on a plate" just simply would not lead my brain to that.
Fatal error in the NW was MOZART; I just knew it had to be him--had it inked in--and so couldn't move after that.
The downstairs was a total mystery to me, even though I had a string of letters down there with the iconic DUKEOFEARL, and the endcap of SSNS (c'mon: 3 plurals out of 4? Didn't even have to read the clue!). Nothing else would come, though, even after Googling the ultra-obscure SHEL (what's the matter with Silverstein?). "Place for some car fluid" is how you want to clue CUPHOLDER? That, my friend, is hitting below the fanbelt. But this was just one of several unfair clues.
Finally, I never heard the expression CONCRETEJUNGLE. I would never have got that if I stared at this puzzle for a hundred years. The surface of popularity is ASPHALT--alas, that yields only 13 letters.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Forgot about VONSY DOW. I had the similarly named VONSY LOW in there, who of course is no relation to Tony. My only error.

LODI has clearly come a long way since John Fogerty was stuck there.

PALE ALE wouldn't work due to its being clued backwards.

@Campesite 11:56 AM
Saw the DK's once. They weren't really my cup of tea but I still think of them whenever I hear the phrase "Governor Jerry Brown" and when I see BIAFRA in crossword puzzles. I had forgotten that Jello ran for mayor.

When I saw the clue "495" I immediately went into Roman numeral mode, which gave me VD. My entire adult life I've practiced safe sex, and I end up getting VD from a crossword puzzle.

Jen in CA 1:55 AM  

Almost 11 pm in west coast syndi-land and I just finished my first Saturday puzzle. No googling, but lots of guessing. I'm pretty happy.

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