Wine whose name means fragrant / SAT 12-10-11 / 11th-century invaders / Fisher with eponymous concert hall / Tarzan Ape Man star 1981 / Company in 2002 headlines

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Constructor: Corey Rubin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AVERY Fisher (43A: Fisher with an eponymous concert hall) —
Avery Robert Fisher (March 4, 1906 – February 26, 1994) was an audio specialist who made numerous contributions to the field of sound reproduction. [...] In the 1950s, Fisher invented the transistorized amplifier and the first stereo radio-phonograph. These breakthroughs brought Fisher both fame and fortune. From 1959 to 1961, his company also made important improvements in AM-FM stereo tuner design. In 1969, Fisher sold his company to the Emerson Electric Company for US $31 million, which in turn sold the company to Sanyo of Japan. Fisher was a consultant for both Emerson and Sanyo. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one played pretty average for me, time-wise, but I can see by the times at the NYT site that it's playing slightly more difficult than that for most folks. It definitely felt like a struggle, but I still somehow managed to come in under 10 minutes, which is in the Medium range (maybe even on the low end of that range). I loved this puzzle. A lesson for all you aspiring themeless constructors out there ... actually for most themeless constructors not named Patrick Berry: keep your word count on the high end. This one has 72 words, the max for a NYT themeless puzzle. While it's true that there are no daunting white expanses, and no answers at all longer than seven letters (?!), this grid is incredibly clean *and* has some crackling mid-range fill. I love the freshness of "YA THINK!?" and NEW COKE (58A: Famous pop flop) as well as the pairing of "MY TREAT" and "I INSIST," and with the exception of the high-end wine crosswordese of OLOROSO (15A: Wine whose name means "fragrant") and the slightly Odd Jobby ENCODER, there was virtually nothing that made me wince. Cluing tough and playful, answers solid and entertaining. A real winner.

[30D: Frank account]

I like the "V" crossing of the two title "relatives" of drama: VINNY and VANYA (I would've said "title 'relatives' of THEATRE," but that's a bit of a stretch for "My Cousin VINNY") (27D: Cousin of film + 27A: Title relative in a classic Russian play). I also like that the maddeningly ambiguous [Syllable-saving poetic word]s (ERE and O'ER) were symmetrical. Nice touch. ERE gave me untold amounts of trouble in the NW (the hardest section of the grid for me). I don't really consider ERE "syllable-saving"; I guess the idea is that it has one less syllable than "before" (?), but that's pretty weak. I considered only O'ER and E'ER because those apostrophes actually elide a syllable. Anyhoo, the long Downs up there were hard to get without the right little word in there. Had ENRON (19A: Company in 2002 headlines) and RTES and MOWN and OREOS (4D: They come in a Triple Double variety) pretty early, but still couldn't get those long Acrosses quickly. Had to abandon that section for a while and come back when I got DANDIES and NORMANS (7D: 11th-century invaders). Ended up finishing in the SE—threw down DAWS (52D: Crows' kin) and then, from N-W----, I got NEW COKE. "K" gave me EEL-LIKE and from there it was a short battle until I finally wrapped it up with the hard-to-parse I NAS NIT (55A: Noticeably peeved).

  • 8A: Features of some crooked enterprises (MOB TIES) — another great answer. That NE corner really is lovely.
  • 39A: "Tarzan, the Ape Man" star, 1981 (BO DEREK) — never heard of this movie, but BO DEREK became superfamous a couple years earlier with "10." I was lucky to know both her name and ELI ROTH's name, because the film names alone weren't doing it for me. 
  • 2D: Civic or Corolla competitor (ELANTRA) — a very highly rated sedan. I was shopping for a new car until I realized I don't really need one. We're a one-car family now, and so far, so good.
  • 11D: Article in man a hip-hop title (THA) — such as "THA Carter," "THA Carter II," "THA Carter III," and "THA Carter IV" ... and probably some others. 

  • 25D: Actress Kruger of "Unknown" (DIANE) — Never heard of actress, never heard of film. Recognizable woman's name? Check. OK, moving on... Not sure I could pick KRISTEN Bell out of a line-up either, but I've heard her name before, and I've definitely heard of "Veronica Mars" (one of those critical favs that don't get enough viewers and then get axed and then everyone goes on and on about the injustice of it all) (42D: "Veronica Mars" star Bell).
  • 49D: "Welcome to the human network" sloganeer (CISCO) — I read this as "Welcome to the human sloganeer network" — ominous. 
  • 51D: Certain badger or raccoon (BOAR) — had nooooo idea what this meant, until I realized BOAR was probably just the word for the male of the species. Rough.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


syndy 12:13 AM  

Rated it Medium/Easy til I got to the SW.I'd never heard the name Eli Roth (googled him after and Nope)or StMary'sRiver- not a surprise- finally BAdger or Raccoon made me trhink of Toad Hall-which made me think of RATTY.I have doubts about the BOAR thing but all in all a pretty good puzzle-NO CIRCLES :)

Uncle Pickupya 12:15 AM  

I zipped along pretty good til getting bogged down in the mid-Atlantic region. Couldn't see BO DEREK and was trying to think of the name of the guy who played Tarzan and the letters were distracting close to Ron Ely, which of course was impossible orthographically and spatially and chronologically. That, not knowing Big Ivan was an H-Bomb, the Roman numeral crossing the Roman ov, all made the last few letters take a quarter of my 19 minute time to finish. The Domino clue and answer was the highlight. That Chubby Checker chose his name as a pun on Fats Domino cracks me up and makes me wonder if Gnarls Barkley could have learned a bit more about wit from the Twister. Does that make me crazy? Probably.

jae 12:19 AM  

I also really liked this one. Same problems in NW as Rex with OER and the long downs. Plus I put an S at the end of 1a and it was the last thing I changed. Medium for me other than that misstep which caused me to stare for a while wondering WTF LEGOMES were.

Quite a few things to cause one to pause, e.g., HBOMB, IINSIST, RANDB, YATHINK...

CoffeeLvr 1:33 AM  

I liked this a lot, despite many unfamiliar names. Runner up best moment: suddenly seeing BO DEREK. Best moment: LEGO MEN!

Ended up with one square wrong: ENCOvER crossing DIvI. Did not know the cartoon Mom, and slapped in the v thinking 13D was uNCOvER. Didn't fix it when I got MOB TIES.

Evan K. 1:47 AM  

Fantastic! I'm still a NYTimes crossword yearling and haven't yet completed a Saturday, but I made as much progress in this puzzle as I ever have this late in the week.

Several things to latch on to this Saturday, including KRISTEN Bell. Veronica Mars, for the record, is unbelievably good.

ERE in the NW was a non-issue for me since ELANTRA and GOGREEN slid in instantly for me. KRISTEN and ROMANOV made OER apparent as well. MYTREAT ... IINSIST! -- brilliant. Great, fresh stuff in this grid.

Again, Veronica Mars: Watch it. Phenomenal writing, fantastic ensemble acting... Just go for it!

r.alphbunker 1:50 AM  

The right side of the puzzle had a lot of work left to do on it and nothing was coming. I decided to Google something. I chose the "Welcome to the human network" sloganeer out of annoyance because I could picture the ads but wanted Verizon. Curiously once that annoyance was satisfied, I filled in the rest of the puzzle on my own. NORMANS was the last entry. Wanted Saracens. Norman was my brother's name.

Avery cisco michaels 2:11 AM  

Never have seen "Veronica Mars" even tho i think my classmate Chris Clemenson played an evil guy, or her father or someone!

I can name drop today because the puzzle was rife with proper names: ELIROTH, BODEREK, KRISTEN (Bell),
VINNY, VANYA, DIDI, ROMANOV, AVERY (Fisher), DIANE (Kruger), (Stephen) REA...

So, my ex and I used to throw a joint bday party at Wil Rogers State Park...a picnic while watchng celebrities play polo.
Beautiful woman sitting all alone watching her husband, answering our questions about polo. Said her name was Mo. I invited her to join us on the one caveat she had to be nice to me as it was my bday... She was wearing big sunglasses, very down-to-earth, blond and looked loke a typical beautiful LA woman...
Ok, it turned out she was BODEREK...1979 winner of the name most like University Prez Derek Bok, an award the Harvard Lampoon used to give out
(had to disband the contest after Bo, I mean, where can you go from there? Dirk Bogarde was the previous winner).

She was there cheering on husband/svengali John, who had,among other things, broken her legs and had them reset to add an inch in height.

Phew, I'm exhausted.

Other than write over VANYA for uncle, and debating between tATTY and RATTY for too long, I sort of found this puzzle easy...starting with GOGREEN.
OXY my fave answer.

jae 4:09 AM  

@Belu -- I'm hoping Rex gets a percentage of what ever you're hawking.

...and the embarrassing part of getting hung up on 1a is that we've invested heavily (low four figures) in Legos for our grandson.

Kathy 5:17 AM  

@Rex - I NAS NIT? How about IN A SNIT.

retired_chemist 8:29 AM  

Challenging here. HTG because of the proper names in the East: DIDI and KRISTEN were total unknowns for me. BO DEREK I knew, but I did not see the movie and I was looking for a male Tarzan player. CISCO - I couldn't recall the commercial. I should have seen ROMANOV much faster than I did. Anyhow, all that was too much to overcome so I busted the East.

Managed to piece the rest of it together correctly. Loved VANYA and VINNY crossing.

Thanks, Mr. Rubin. Enjoyed it despite my difficulties.

mac 8:30 AM  

Easy medium this morning, with my last letters filled in in the SW. That boar was a nuisance, because I wasn't sure about Roth.

Liked the clues for 18A truancy, 52A dials and 1A legomen, and My treat / I insist were great together.

@Avery Cisco: Whaaa? Broke her legs?? How much time did he do?

I can't say I've been very interested in Bo Derek, but a couple of months ago I happed to see an interview with her. She seemed smart, well-spoken, down to earth and still very beautiful without surgical enhancement.

mac 8:31 AM  

P.S. Easy-Medium means that I finished it without much trouble, without having to take a break or asking sports advice, but certainly not anywhere near in 10 minutes!

MaryBR 8:39 AM  

Medium for me. The B and A of BOAR were the last to drop. KRISTEN and DIANE were both gimmes for me, although ELIROTH was driving me crazy as I just saw that movie. Interesting cluing, he's much better known as a director. Was thankful that so many of the pop referenced skewed a little younger!

Leslie 8:44 AM  

Oh, my. I'm admiring you guys because I didn't finish. Loved what answers I could get, but the SW corner stumped me. Didn't know AVERY Fisher, didn't know ELI ROTH, didn't know where Whitefish Island is and thus didn't get ST MARY'S. Am pouting about ROSEATE being used as a synonym for "optimistic."

But on the plus side, the whole NE corner was just great, both in the cluing and the answers.

Glimmerglass 8:47 AM  

@Kathy. I think Rex knew it isn't I NAS IT -- that's just Rex's sense of the absurd. My own I NAS IT was the actor Boderek, a cousin of Matthew Broderick, no doubt. I had one error BeAR (and ELI Rath) for BOAR. I guess I was thinking of a honey bear. Great hard puzzle. I loved it. Very satisfying to solve (except for BeAR, of course). Great write-up, Rex. Glad you finally had fun with a NYT puzzle -- it's been a while.

evil doug 8:51 AM  

Jeez, Michael must have gotten some last night....

Mac: No surgical enhancement? My ass. Buxom Bo or cute Kristen? Ms. Bell wins handily. And no broken legs. How do women get attracted to guys like John Derek, and then allow them to manipulate/abuse them like that?

Triple double: I was thinking basketball (double-digit points, rebounds, assists), but the crosses saved me. If you want a great Double-Double, go to In-N-Out.


Bryan 9:24 AM  

Seriously, where's the love for LEGOMEN?


Tita 9:44 AM  

Thank you Rex for an early Christmas present - a Medium-Challenging rating on the first Saturday that I ever finished on a Friday!!!! :D

Well, a DNFwoG..but I only had to google twice.

itsonme before MYTREAT,
held me up in the NE.

And gotoWAR-->WAGEWAR,
made NW tough!

Hand up for Saracen (or Germani) at 7D.
Shoulda remembered 1066 and 1054 as key dates in Norman history!

Agree with everyone's likes.

(Speaking of supernovae, thanks to all of you bright folks - coming here regularly has made an enoromous difference in the quality (and fun) of my solving!)

Tita 9:45 AM  
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dk 9:48 AM  

Fun Fact Diane Kruger was also in Inglourious Bastards.

And, yes kids Bo was John's frannkenstienette.

gotoWAR was my big mistake, but WAGE came to me afar about 20 minutes.

Had a beer last night with another Rexite: Ron. It seems he lives just across the river. Keep in mind we live in towns whose combined populations hover around 1k. Six degrees of Kevin. Alas he solves in syndication so a visit here can be a little too revealing.... if ya know what I mean.

It must be the lunar eclipse as I agree with both @evil doug and Rex albeit for different reasons.

I liked the war theme of this puzzle although 60A made me squirm.

**** (4 Stars) A Ten (lame BODEREK reference)

dk 9:49 AM  

that would be after 20...

JaxInL.A. 9:57 AM  
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Lindsay 9:58 AM  

TIO VANYA? Very funny. Got mildly hung up in the BO DEREK area because as usual, I was assuming that someone in the movies is someone I haven't heard of, plus I was looking for one name rather than two.

Overall though the puzzle reminded me of a line I once read in the magazine Messing About in Boats (only mentioning the name because @Syndy has already dragged Toad Hall into the conversation).

Anyway, the observation as made that if you get a boat twice as fast, you'll find you live on a lake half as big.

I've gotten much, much better at solving since I started hanging out with all of you, but the grids are getting downright tiny.

Thanks, I guess, and have a good weekend.

JaxInL.A. 10:03 AM  


@r.alph, sorry that Norman "was" rather than is.

Mini Russian theme: VANYA, Shostakovich, ROMANOV, Big Ivan

The puzzle skewed young to me, so it was a stretch in places, but fair. Could have done without the completely random Roman numeral but otherwise I share Rex's admiration.

GILL I. 10:16 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Did it in the AM with overnight friends who couldn't get enough stories in about BO DERECK. @Avery cisco you would have fit in nicely ! ;)
Loved MOBTIES, YATHINK and TRUANCY all stacked up in that northern corner. Except for VANYA, VINNY and BO, I had trouble with some of the proper names. Managed to get them all, though, rendering this here fine puzzle medium.
OLOROSO brought a smile to this face. I've never been a big fan of sherry but my grandmother used to love it. The cheaper, the better, as far as she was concerned. I brought her a bottle of OLOROSO sherry from Spain called "Abuelo pepe" (how can you not love that name?) She found it "distasteful" but she kept the bottle and put a little candle in it.
Off to the Tahoe slopes to find out
if the old legs still feel SPRY enough to get into stem Christie mode.

jberg 10:22 AM  

I found this one a lot more fun to think about afterward than to solve, mainly because I completely missed 48A - I couldn't get the pizza out of my mind (well, it flickered over to the board game for a few seconds), so I ended up with N AND B, which I took to be some obscure toppings. (Nuts and basil, maybe?) The N came from nAsTY at 48D, since I had no idea what ELI's surname might be, and thought 54D was Stephen lEA.

A couple of other errors: IN G for Shostakovich (my mother also told me I'd be sorry one day if I didn't memorize the keys of the Shostakovich symphonies, but I got too tired after I finished Haydn), giving me TAEgO for 24 D (Heard of TAEBO, but I thought it was a martial art, not a cardio exercise), and EIE (as in the immortal line, E-I-E-I-O) at 26A. It doesn't really save a syllable, but as Rex points out, neither does ERE. And ELANTiA seemed just as good as the right answer for 2D. I'm too old - I can remember when cars had names that meant something, like Tercel.

The high point of the actual solving experience was seeing that II at the beginning of 12D, concluding that MOB TIES must be wrong, and then having the slow realization that it wasn't.

How come no one is complaining that it's sexist to clue LEGO MEN as "ones"? It could have been "guys."

Jim 10:26 AM  

First clean Saturday finish in about a month (I've been off it) so I didn't mind my crazy-long time.

Popinjay is a great word, as is DANDY, although a popinjay has a literal meaning as well, which is the only one I could think of, as a target for shot in archery.

Thought SeaLaNE was a credible answer until MYTREAT came into place and fixed up that whole NE.

Overall, the entire south played fairly easy, and the N was tougher, esp. the NW. Had beGREEN, which REALLY slowed things down, since, uh, MOWN is more than slightly ridiculous. But the GO gave me LEGOMEN (shout out, dear Newt!) and then it was just a matter of running the alphabet for the S in OLOROSO.

Nice, nice job Mr Rubin.

Oh, and by the way, DIANE Kruger should be well known to any man in the audience. Turns as love interests in Troy, National Treasure and (more violently) in Inglorious Basterds make her a nearly must-see. KRISTEN Bell, meh, not so much.

joho 10:26 AM  

LOVED this puzzle, especially the NE which was my last completed corner. I just never expect such colloquial answers as YATHINK? MYTREAT, IINSIST is inspired.

Last two letters in were the "O" in ELIROTH just because I know ROTH is a real name, ReTH not so much. BOAR??? And finally the "N" in LEGOMEN as I, like @jae, had jotted in an "S" there.

@Kathy, you took the bait! @Gimmerglass is right.

@avery cisco michaels, you have given new meaning to the term, "break a leg" regarding an actor. That is horrible!!!

Not horrible: this beautiful Saturday puzzle. Thank you Corey Rubin and Will for the playfulness of YATHINK?

quilter1 10:44 AM  

Could not make sense of LEGOMEN even though I knew it was right. I know LEGOs, but MEN? Uh uh.

@avery cisco michaels, I know Chris Clemenson, too. Watched him grow up in our church and still warm friends with his aunt and uncle, Janie and Curt. It is always a small world. I smile every time I see him on TV. A solid actor and nice guy.

I did like the puzzle with the exception of the evil LEGOMEN.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

I don't recall such effusive praise from the King of Crankiness on a non-PB Puzzle. Now I'm afraid the world is about to come tto an end....

skua76 10:54 AM  

Great fun today, thanks Corey and Rex! Started with the usual Saturday blank page, then gradually made it through everything except the SW. Had a dead end with 35A as macAdam crossing 24D TomBa (somehow I thought that was an exercise routine). Didn't help that I didn't know Popinjays. Oh well, a little Google to the rescue.

Norm 11:02 AM  

LEGOMEN: a cousin of Legolas?

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Legoset maybe, but Legomen? I was so sure it was lego set that I assumed tartans for 7 down, sewn for 5down (like fairways) and got totally stuck. Moral? Never be so darned sure.

Badir 11:44 AM  

For whatever reason, this one was fast for me--my 8th fastest Saturday. I think the only big problems I had were trying to put the S at the end of 1A LEGO MAN before I figured it out, trying "ANIS" for 52D DAWS, and putting FEED HAY for 39D BEDDING. So I had to come back to the SE and fix all that up later.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

As Dr Katz says "if the criminals have mob ties and they don't want to get caught, don't wear the ties!"

OldCarFudd 12:06 PM  

Difficult but enjoyable for me.

Lindsay - Messing About in Boats is a marvelous magazine, put together by one guy using almost no technology at all. I love his slogan: "On the Information Highway, MAIB is a dirt road."

The Model T being designed to run on ethanol is sort of urban legend. It was designed in 1908, when alternate fuels really weren't an issue. It had a very simple fuel system and low compression, so it would run on damn near anything. If the engine was already warm and you ran out of gas, you might get some coal oil (kerosene) from a farmer and make it home, spewing blue smoke. But almost every other low-priced car of its era would do it, too. In general, Model Ts used gasoline just like everything else. And remember - ethanol doesn't give the power of gasoline. Since a Model T driver had only 20 spirited horses awaiting his every command, he wouldn't have too eager to leave any of them back in the barn.

r.alphbunker 12:10 PM  

The Anatomy of a Google.

Googling CISCO set off the following chain reaction. Letters in brackets can be traced back to CISCO.

GAS[O]VEN   (had this before but erased it. The O from CISCO convinced me it was right)
INA[S]NIT   (Bouncing around between ENRAGED,INARAGE and INASNIT. The S from CISCO convinced me that INASNIT was the one)
D[I]ALS     The I from CISCO gave this to me
ROM[ANOV]   ANOV all filled in after CISCO
[OE]R       At last, the right poetic word
[CML]I      Had to be an I
K[RISTEN]   Guessed the K
BODE[REK]   Was thinking of a male actor
REA[D]Y     Got this from R__DY
TH[E]ATRE   Wasn't thinking this generally
DI[A]N[E]   A guess
[D]IDI      Another guess
B[AN]       Very vague clue
[HBO]MB     Fat Boy meet Big Ivan
RAND[B]     Ah Domino is a person, not a game or a pizza chain
OARED       No help from CISCO. Had this before but erased it
YATHINK     No help from CISCO
BT[U]S      Considered this before but thought it was for air conditioners
MO[BT]I[E]S Interesting boolean attribute of a business

I then finished off the NW on my own. None of the following were helped by CISCO (other the boost I got from rapidly filling in 24 words)

Since I am a geek, not getting CISCO is definitely an example of flying Telta. Had I put the puzzle aside a la @JohnV and come back to it I am sure I would have remembered CISCO and been able to finish without Googling.

Cheerio 12:26 PM  

Loved this! It's as good as a p.berry offering. Pretty good week all in all.

Funny celebrity gossip about Bo Derek: she has been involved with John Corbett (of Sex and the City fame) for some years. He did an interview a few years back, where he sounded pretty blissful about their life, but the funniest thing he said when asked about how their daily life is was something like, well we are both getting older so we mainly try not to fart too much in each other's company.

Two Ponies 12:32 PM  

So much to like today. Medium feels about right. I liked the misdirection of the pop clue. Hmm, music or soda?
Boar in this context is my WOTD.

Mel Ott 12:36 PM  

I usually rant about proper names, but in this puzzle it was the interlocking crosses of NORMANS/VANYA/VINNY/AVERY that got me going. I think they were my first four correct answers.

David 12:40 PM  

Very fine ending to a tough week, a couple of below normal times on Friday and Saturday after some major rough patches on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wonderful puzzle, a Medium for me. Interesting tidbit on BO DEREK, though not on the same aha level as MAMA CASS yesterday. Zoomed thru the whole South, fortunately nailing AVERY Fisher and ELI ROTH with few crosses even though I know little about them. HBOMB and RANDB were well-clued and somewhat thorny but very gettable.

NW provided the only problem spots - any kind of answer with WAR came slowly at 17A, and even then, I wanted GOTOWAR or MAKEWAR. GOGREEN finally allowed me to finish, as LEGOMEN was the last entry today.

archaeoprof 12:54 PM  

@Rex: thanks for the Bone Thugs video!

By a quirk of fate, I have the same name as one of the Bone Thugs. Back in the late 90's their fans called me a lot. My teenage kids loved it -- their dad was being mistaken for a hiphop star. But the fans were so disappointed: instead of Bizzy Bone they got a college professor.

jackj 1:57 PM  

Terrific puzzle, which had more false leads than an Iowa corn maze.

Just to note a few:

Off VANYA's "V" it seemed for sure that the down clue was a clever misdirect for VIDEO not VINNY.

Having YAT---- in the upper right produced zero ideas until, finally, the "K" of SKYLINE showed it was the slangy YATHINK, (my favorite bit in the puzzle).

LEGOMEN, nonsense, that was meant to be REPOMEN!

No PIZZA from Domino's, just old RANDB favorite "Fats", belting out his joyful Christmas special, "Frosty the Snowman".

Strangest clue was the Royal Shakespeare clue, which was only looking for the British spelling of THEATRE; caused massive over-think.

An extra special treat from Corey Rubin!

Jenny 4:07 PM  

@Tita: Ooh, "Lichens" is good - I didn't think of that one. But I did think of Limpets and then LEechEs, all of which took a while to unravel. Fun puzzle today, though.

fergus 4:12 PM  

Before reading anything, I just want to say that the 25 square was one flaw in an otherwise clever and amusing puzzle.

fergus 4:23 PM  
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fergus 4:28 PM  

Andrea, we were synchronized solvers, though maybe not in time. Had some splendid times by the polo fields too, and up in the Santa Monica mountains. LA ain't so bad.

This was such a nicely balanced puzzle -- with measured amounts of all the standard constituents of a reasonably difficult Saturday.

Wood 4:54 PM  

60 minutes with no googling. There were quite a few answers I had no idea about (trireme? DIDI? KRISTEN Bell?), which goes to show how you can bust open even a Saturday with persistence and lateral thinking.

My one bad error was putting in ELI ROSS. I felt too confident about that, and it prevented me from seeing RATTY and LEASHES. Figured out R AND B finally but something was still wrong. Even though the puzzle was full, I knew something was wrong, had to have the app clear my errors and then right away I saw ROTH. Doh!

Still... I am so happy I can do a Saturday now!!!

Clark 4:59 PM  

LEGOMEN, from Greek "legomenon": holding on to something that someone else is trying to take from you.

John V 5:02 PM  

Finished with a couple of small errors. Didn't see LEGOmen. Didn't know THA so wound up with MOBBIES for 8A, which makes no sense, BTW.

Loved Domino's delivery. Also, Old TV lineup.

So, first Saturday I've had time to sit down and do a good job on the puzzle since the Meta-puzzle. Interesting that this one came in medium-challenging even for our constant-solver host. My time was similar to @Rex in the sense that they can both be measured in minutes. I think I came in shy of triple digit minutes, but not by much.

chefwen 5:23 PM  

Two seating puzzle for me. Got about half done last night before throwing in the towel. Usually, I would visit Rex to see what was going on (no patience) but I held off and was able to piece it together this morning.

Asked my husband to pick up a package of OREOS yesterday for his birthday cheesecake. While I was working on the puzzle last night I read the OREOS cluing to him saying "now that's a new way to clue crosswords favorite cookie" He said "no kidding, how many freaking varieties are there now, it took me forever to find just the regular ones".

As others have stated, MY TREAT, I INSIST, and YA THINK were my favorites.

Lewis 5:28 PM  

High quality fresh puzzle. Loved so many of the clues, especially for 48 across. Hand up for gotoWAR. Amazed at some of your times...

sanfranman59 6:57 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 6:52, 6:50, 1.00, 55%, Medium
Tue 10:09, 8:53, 1.14, 87%, Challenging
Wed 11:03, 11:48, 0.94, 39%, Easy-Medium
Thu 20:39, 19:00, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 20:32, 25:29, 0.81, 16%, Easy
Sat 26:07, 30:01, 0.87, 20%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:40, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:00, 4:34, 1.09, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:39, 5:51, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Thu 9:31, 9:17, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 10:22, 12:37, 0.82, 22%, Easy-Medium
Sat 15:11, 17:07, 0.89, 30%, Easy-Medium

michael 6:58 PM  

I found this easier than usual for a Saturday. One mistake -- odoroso instead of oloroso, I more or less knew this was wrong when I wrote it in.

enjoyable puzzle -- took me too long tp get "ya think" but otherwise steady progress.

Dirigonzo 8:56 PM  

It's a good thing I knew Otto I became king of the Lombards in 951 or I never would have finished.

Seriously, I kept thinking, "this is way too easy for Saturday, Rex is going to be INASNIT", and then I came here to find he rated it medium-challenging. Maybe the Apocalypso is really upon us.

Tita 9:16 PM  

Oh, Dirigonzo - I was elated to see Rex's rating - now I read your comment, and am deflated...

Dirigonzo 10:58 PM  

@Tita, I didn't mean to burst your bubble. I've learned a lot from this blog, foremost of which is that everyone's solving experience is unique; today the stars aligned (or maybe it was the full moon) to guide me through a Saturday puzzle in record time (for me - we're still talking hours, not minutes). But I was just kidding about the king of the Lombards thing - I got that completely from the crosses.

muskox 11:45 AM  

Curiously Diane Kruger was also in Inglourius Basterds (or however that title is mispelled).

OISK 12:52 PM  

Pretty quick finish for me, (after a DNF last Saturday on a puzzle Rex thought was easier than usual!!) but I missed one square. I had no idea what "Domino" meant, and missed the "B". You would think that having HBOM--, the "B" was pretty obvious, but I wrote a "C" - maybe Big Ivan is the MC on an HBO Russian program?? And R and C is Ravioli and Cheese?

Liked puzzle, although I'll join others in not caring for "Legomen" which is too contrived, and never having heard of Diane Kruger, Kristen Bell, Eli Roth, or Rugrats Mom Didi. Got "Boar," but like Rex, had no idea what it meant.

20 minutes is just about my record for a Saturday, but how much do I deduct for the one incorrect square?

Tita 6:29 PM  

@dirigonzo... I think we're in sync here...

Whenever I can finish a Saturday, much less finish it in <3 hours, I just assume that Rex will rate it an Easy.

Almost by definition - if Tereza can do it, it MUST be easy...

Which is why I was gob-smacked to see it rated as it was.
I was pulled back into reality by sanfranman's stats, and of course, by you! ;)

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

Spacecraft here. I thought the rating was fair; I will concede right now that I probably cannot finish a "challenging" one--at least without help from old Uncle Google. But I got this baby! No mistakes, no nuthin'. Took me all day, just thinking (falling asleep--oops!) about some of this stuff. Big sticking point: the DB ending for 48a. HBOMB I knew, and everything pointed to BEDDING--but what to do with that ___DB?? I thunk and I thunk. And finally one of my old faves, Fats, hit home--and his work is practically a ready-made definition for RANDB.
The SE proved troublesome also, with my wanting ELUSIVE in place of the correct--but much more awkward--EELLIKE. That word gets a big "Eww!" from me.
Other hangups included GOTO instead of WAGEWAR, and TANGO for the temporarily forgotten but obvious TAEBO.
Guessed correctly at one natick: did not know ELIROTH, or that badgers and raccoons name their daddies like pigs. But "O" seemed logical.
This puzzle TAXED every brain cell I have. Good job!

Deb 9:19 PM  

I am so bloody excited that I managed to finish a Saturday puzzle that Rex rated medium challenging with NO googling! Woot!

I am curious about the construction rules though. Both TV PILOT and R AND B are abbreviations but they weren't clued to indicate that. Doesn't that break a rule, or are both of those abbreviations just so commonly used instead of the full words that it's acceptable for that reason?

Dirigonzo,, you're a real killjoy! ;p

Dirigonzo 10:18 PM  

@Deb - Hey, I represent that remark! (But two Saturday puzzles in one day - I'm impressed.)

Red Valerian 12:35 AM  

@Deb--me, too!!! (all happy to have finished a Saturday puzzle Rex rated medium-challenging) though I'm also glad to finish a Saturday no matter how Rex rated it. (though, like @Tita, I was put in my proper place by @sanfranman)

I really enjoyed this puzzle. I'm sure partly because I could finish it, but that can't be the whole reason.

I thought LEGOMEN was brilliant. But then, I have a (just turned) 9-year-old nephew. I at first thought mussels, but didn't write it in.

@Spacecraft--love that you thought 24D ("cardio workout option") was TAngO! I definitely don't want to dance with you, but I'd be delighted to be sitting on the sidelines watching.

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