Bourbon enemy / FRI 1-20-12 / 1997 film with song Tupelo Honey / Head nurse on Scrubs / North American home 30,000 islands / What dickey simulates / Inventor given gold medal by Titanic survivors

Friday, January 20, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BITT (5A: Mooring post on a ship)
A vertical post, usually one of a pair, set on the deck of a ship and used to secure ropes or cables. 
tr.v. bitt·ed, bitt·ing, bitts
To wind (a cable) around a bitt. (
• • •

[It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

• • •

Deceptively simple. So clean and clear that it starts to border on ho-hum. Nothing here is gonna jump out and bite you, or make you jump up and cheer. It's all just ... creamy. No particularly grabby or contemporary answers, but all of it solid, which is remarkably hard to pull off when you have this much white space to fill. I found the puzzle extremely easy until I hit the NE, which stopped me cold. Couldn't come up with the latter parts of BUYS OUT (24A: Secures every share from) or RAN SHORT (28A: Had some inventory problems), and while I got LITHE OK, I put in both ABAFT and STERN before finally alighting on ABEAM (16A: Nautical direction). Thought maybe [Prompter] was a relative adjective, or else something akin to a cue card, so CATALYST was tough to come up with. I had no idea LAKE HURON had that many islands (12D: North American home of 30,000 islands). Astonishing. While I think the whole concept of RENT-TO-OWN is a terrible idea, I think that answer looks mighty nice in the grid (11D: Like some store furniture). Only other issue was putting in NATCH for NO DUH (1D: "Well, of course"). Otherwise, very smooth sailing.

  • 9A: Head nurse on "Scrubs" (CARLA) — not a show I ever watched, and yet I can picture the character clearly. Weird. "Scrubs" featured actor Donald FAISON. He has a name that could be useful in crosswords, but so far, no one's used it.
  • 19A: Highly rated 1997 film with the song "Tupelo Honey" ("ULEE'S GOLD") — ULEE is super-common in crosswords, of course, but, strangely, this marks the crossword debut of the full title "ULEE'S GOLD."
  • 37A: Inventor given a gold medal by Titanic survivors (MARCONI) — Something to do with radio, no doubt. He didn't invent the lifeboat, did he?
  • 52A: Colorful Amazon swimmer (NEON TETRA) — worked by inference here, and managed to get the whole thing off just the "N"
  • 41A: U.K. Triple Crown racecourse site (EPSOM) — standard xword fare. Very much worth knowing.  
  • 26D: Bourbon enemy (BONAPARTE) — me: "But ... how could anyone hate bourbon? It's sooooo good."
  • 3D: Mammy's son (ABNER) — something to do with the comic strip, no doubt. I was utterly stumped.
  • 13D: Tiramisu ingredient, often (AMARETTO) — wanted some kind of cheese, possibly ricotta. The actual cheese in tiramisu is mascarpone.
  • 38D: Leroux who created the Phantom (GASTON) — knew this without knowing how/why.
  • 30D: The Village ___ (musical group with the 1963 hit "Washington Square") (STOMPERS) — well, I guess that's as good a STOMPERS clue as you're going to see. Maybe [Tantrum throwers, at times]. Or these.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

This was either right in my wheelhouse or very easy.   Dredging up Mammy Yokem and The Village STOMPERS from my "early man" hood years really helped.  That said, I mixed up my Hulks and put in EDNORTON off the E in SWEAR.   Took a little extra time to sort that out.  Me too for NATCH for NODUH but the rest went pretty smoothly.   So, a solid (but light on the zippy) easy PB for me.

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

If I could live in Hawaii and only do Patrick Berry puzzles, Heaven would be a disappointment.

Matthew G. 12:26 AM  

Personal Friday best for me. I suspect I won't be the only person to say that in today's comments.

Only slowdowns were trying both RAN OUT OF and RAN LOW ON before RAN SHORT, despite being perfectly aware that they didn't agree with the clue, and trying to stretch "ricotta" to fit where AMARETTO belonged. That's it. Barely ever stopped typing for the rest of the time.

Tobias Duncan 12:32 AM  

I finally watched the trailer for ULEESGOLD after this puzzle was done seeing as how I was able to pop it right in but only knew it starred Fonda and honey.It looks dreadful. "On Golden Pond" with bees.
The only reason I was able to pop in DONLARSEN is because he is my plumber and sometimes drinking buddy.I had a conversation about his namesake in the bar with him one day when I was doing a puzzle during happy hour.Now its a gimmie.

Loved the MARCONI clue.
Did this one on paper(freakin barbaric way to do the puzzle) and I would not call this easy/med at all.I wonder if I would be saying "personal best" if I had stuck to my normal method.
But if I am ever going to come play with you guys at ACPT I have got to start solving on paper.Yuck.

Clark 12:33 AM  

Clang clang clang. Cha cha cha.

That Lake Huron statistic sounds to me like something from a Paul Bunyan story.

Tita 12:36 AM  

A PB Friday that I could finish before midnight? Hooray!

horSe before LASSO
Fell for fEmme instead of HELENA...

@Rex - I agree - so many 5 letter nautical directions to choose from...
ABEAM after ABaft put me in the mood for a sea lane instead of HOV.

BARGES on towpaths reminded me of walking along a grand one cut into the limestone on the Lot in France.

Happy to put my inexplicable knowledge about Don Larsen to work here.

2 naticks- guessed right at BITT/TCELL, guessed wrong at NODoH/oLEE...

retired_chemist 2:05 AM  

A lot of answers were right in my wheelhouse, which made it a very pleasant solve.

I remember listening to DON LARSEN's perfect game in study hall in 12th grade. We weren't supposed to have radios, but somehow.....

Got MARCONI from just a couple of crosses. ALTAR RAIL was originally HIGH ALTAR until "Madly for ADLAI" appeared. My mansions rarely were EYESORES at first.

Liked CHA CHA CHA and HELEN. Actually liked most of the fill but didn't find it overly exciting. Pretty much what Rex said.

Thanks, Mr. Berry.

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Has Rex changed his format for the comments or has my computer gone whacky. It's a lot more difficult to read. No one else has complained so I think something is wrong on my end.

Yesterday we had SIX STORY, today we had ONE STORY which I think would be better off not having a fire plan as six story building.

Had a little help from Mr. Sports Guy and managed to get through it Google Free.

adlai carla marconis 2:45 AM  

@Retired chemist
If you snuck in a radio to listen to the World Series, maybe you should have given a gold medal to MARCONI as well!

This gal who has no plumber to drink with put in ryannolaN and was very very very proud of myself, and all set to brag!

Went down your exact path of RANoutof/ well as @Rex's Natch.
(Plus we all know Ginger Ale is PeppeRY, right?! Cough cough sneeze sneeze)

Top heavy on the sea stuff...BITT, crossing BARGES no less, with ABEAM, crossing LAKEHURON.

Anyway, it is a very very clean grid, but in all honesty, the only thing that interested me in this puzzle was ALTER/ALTARRAIL
and that ERICBANA has ABC if you read it down to up.

Oh, and the "We're Madly for ADLAI" sounds fun! Why don't we have campaign songs anymore?
"We're Amok for Barak"! "We're the shit for Mitt"!

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

Hand up for "natch".

Deb 4:29 AM  

The NE was actually my easiest corner, but only because my husband happened to be in the room and knew CARLA (which, btw, is the VERY first crossword answer he's been able to supply for me in 32 years of marriage!). The C had me wanting "cue" something, but I threw in ABEAM and ALTER before I did the downs, so I held off.

The NW, however, gave me bloody fits. "Natch" instead of NO DUH and "spit" (seemed plausible!) instead of BITT made for a very rocky start. Then I threw in "skiers" for BARGES (I was thinking of a tow rope and the path left by a water skier, believe it or not). And I'm still a bit baffled by HARD SELLS as a synonym for "flogs." To me, flogging always involves punishing implements and lots of angry welts. I ended up having to Google ULEE'S GOLD to finish that corner and actually said "Oh, you bastard!" to the constructor for fooling me with the entire title.

Now, @Tobias - The movie wasn't dreadful. Eraserhead was dreadful. Al Pacino being so gauche as to age is dreadful. Roughly 95% of reality TV is dreadful. Ulee's Gold was just another forgettable entry in the "Man-triumphs-over-death-by sheer-force-of-will" genre. (His son's death, and I think it was a true story.) Plus, Susan Sarandon played the mother. I can't imagine any man watching a movie with Susan Sarandon and finding it "dreadful."

But more importantly, and still @Tobias - Re the paper vs computer solving. I really, really enjoy solving on paper. I love the tactile experience of my medium point Bic melding with the porous newsprint (and I'm not alone - I threw that query out here back in the Spring of 2007 and even Rex admitted pen on newsprint was his favorite way to solve.) But I finally bit the bullet and started solving on the iPad my husband and kids pitched in to buy me for Christmas simply because we were away from home for a few weeks and I wasn't getting my daily paper. I'm still not entirely comfortable with it, but after an agonizingly slow start where a Monday puzzle would take me 30 minutes instead of 5 or 6, I'm starting to get back to my normal times on MTW and am really shaving time off the TFS puzzles. I think that's because I'm a lot more likely to throw in answers that I intuit rather than ones I'm relatively certain of. While that can also slow me down (like it did today) more often than not it helps when I go back to do the downs. (That's another thing - I solve a lot differently on the iPad - I tend to go through the whole puzzle across, then down instead of bouncing around as I always did on paper. Not sure if that's good or bad yet. Time will tell, I guess.) Not sure why I just babbled on about all of that other than your comment made me wonder if I'm screwing myself for tournament play by having made the switch. Seems like something I'd do.

Gareth Bain 5:01 AM  

Love those new campaign slogans, ACM!

@Anonymous 12:10 - hurry and do the CHE then, it's another Berry!

kirble 5:29 AM  

You know who else has the exact same number of letters as ERIC BANA and was also the Hulk? (though not in the Ang Lee version, clearly)


That cost me some time. As did NATCH for NO DUH.

Other symmetrical "the Hulk" answers: LOU FERRIGNO (the voice of the Hulk) and MARK RUFFALO (the most recent actor to play the green giant on screen).

Rudy Shankar 6:42 AM  

ONBALANCE.. a toughie for me. Especially the Southwest corner. Never heard of NEONTETRA. Was thrilled to see MARCONI having just read "Thunderstruck" a tale of a murderer and the inventor of wireless. If not for Marconi's doggedness at his wireless invention perhaps there would have been even fewer survivors of the Titanic. 100th anniversary coming up. Some of the clues could have shown some panache.. for example 55a instead of the well worn Lucy-DESI clue why not try FOB Indian.

But CATALYST crossing RANSHORT, MARCONI crossing BONAPARTE, OCTANE crossing NEONTETRA ..oh, my!!

Dave 6:44 AM  


I too had NATCH for NO DUH. I think I'm about the same age as you (38) and I've neither said nor heard anyone say NATCH in my life. But it came to mind so NATCHurally I can't help wondering why I know it. MAD magazine? Dad's old Archie comics?


Anonymous 6:46 AM  

Never heard of Don Larsen, and Nolan Ryan fit perfectly, so that pretty much sabotaged the whole NW corner for me--even as I realized that Ryan was probably wrong, I held on to it desperately because I knew I wouldn't be able to piece together any other name.

Nancy in PA 7:11 AM  

Hand up for Nolan Ryan, and I was so proud of myself for coming up with him! As for dead tree vs. screen solving, I will do Mon or Tues onscreen if no other way is available, but it so irks me not to see all the clues at once I'd rather print the puzzle out on any old scrap of paper if possible.

SethG 8:06 AM  

NATCH (originally with TOM SEAVER and BARTENDS) took me 15 minutes to clean up.

If they'd clued the no-hitter as perfect, I think I'd have saved about 14 minutes. It just never occurred to me that I might actually know who'd done it rather than just have heard of him. Tricky.

David L 8:15 AM  

Am I missing something? How is PALEDRY an adjective? I count it as two...

I don't think of "flogs" as hard sells. In British lingo, a guy at the flea market trying to unload old junk is flogging it. Not a hard sell, particularly, just trying to lure you in. Also, 'flog' in this context is not used as a noun, in my experience, and if HARDSELLS is meant to be a verb, then yuck.

Other than that, very nice.

Leslie 8:24 AM  

Agreed this was on the easy side for a Friday but very enjoyable, as are all Patrick Berry's puzzles. (@anonymous 12:10--I agree!)

I thought CHA CHA CHA crossing CHARRED was cute, and thought PB had a little mini-theme going with all the double letters in ulEE's gold, rent tO Own, wOO, cNN, bestiRRed, altaRRail, uTTer, laSSo, tceLL, hardseLLs, and chaRRed.

Also thought 14A and 15A made a nice subliminal reference to a BALANCE BEAM--smiled at that one.

Today's captcha: ungles. I guess what you speak if you don't habla ingles?

David 8:37 AM  

Smooth as always....this puzzle had 3 quick phases for me. The NW, which was extremely easy, starting with DON LARSEN and then a correct guess right after on NO DUH, which opened the rest. Phase 2 was the panicky stare-at-the computer segment, where I only input a few answers and then decided I was in big trouble.

That lasted until I wroteover RAY for ROE after figuring out SWEAR AT, and phase 3 began, which was the completion of all other sections in just a few minutes. The critical placement of RAY smack dab in the middle was the key, as it gave me ERIC BANA with 2 crosses in the SE (easily the toughest section for me), ONESTORY and MARCONI with 2 crosses in the SW, and CATALYST in the NE, a section which then became pretty easy.

Love the clue trivia on ULEE's GOLD, MARCONI and LAKE HURON. I hope to work it into conversation someday. I mean, Tupelo Honey IS one of my all-time favorite Van Morrison songs.

hazel 8:46 AM  

i think someone (@bobk?) said NATCH yesterday - which I'm,pretty sure is why that phrase, which i don't really use, popped right into my head - and like @seth g., it led to Tom Seaver - it was unwound almost immediately thanks to the U in ULEESGOLD - which, based on the trailers I've seen of On Golden Pond - have absolutely nothing in common with each other - but Fondas, @Tobias D!!

Though this one never felt easy, my time says otherwise. I loved it, just the same.

joho 8:47 AM  

When I finally got NODUH I cried, "NATCH!"

The NW was definitely the hardest for me. The NE second. And the rest of the puzzle pretty easy, but really fun.

ONBALANCE this whole week has been above average don't you think?

evil doug 8:52 AM  

Speaking of the Titanic: Did you see they're calling Capt. Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia, "Chicken of the Sea"? Not exactly a Sully moment....

Thought "Mammy" was going to lead us into some uncomfortable territory, but the Yokum's saved the day. In related news, Harlem pastor James David Manning says Newt Gingrich is the son of a "liberal, educated black man...because Newt's real name is Newton Leroy McPherson and nobody on the planet names their children Leroy except black people." And he helpfully adds for clarification, "Just like nobody on the planet names their sons Hector except Hispanic people." Mitt? “His name is Willard. Willaaaaard! I think that he’s probably the son of a psycho," and probably has “some black blood in him, too,” according to Manning. So that gives those South Carolina voters a little more to contemplate as they head to the polls....


Glimmerglass 8:54 AM  

Looking over the comments, I note that many people were temporarily thrown off by grid-fitting wrong answers (NOT alternate correct solutions, alas). Mine were agilE crossing esprEssO in the NE. Still think CATALYST is a long stretch for "prompter." Not quite the same process. That and HARDSELLS in the NW (unusual meaning of "flogs"?) made this a "medium" for me, a long way from easy.

Jp 8:59 AM  

Lovely Patrick Berry puzzle as usual. Clever cluing and a minimum of pop culture answers made it easy for me. Roared through most of the puzzle. Smiled when I got CHA CHA CHA, BESTIRRED, NEON TETRA in the SE. Then LAKE HURON, BUYS OUT, RAN SHORT and RENT-TO-OWN.
Had ORATE instead of PRATE so could not get HOME SPUN.
NE corner needed google to get ULEE'S GOLD and DON LARSEN to finish this corner. Still had a personal natik in BITT and T-CELL?
When I can finish most of a Friday puzzle with minimum amount of google then it is a big accomplishment. So I would rate this one as easy.

jesser 9:07 AM  

The NW did me in, with the familiar Natch at 1D before ON BALANCE showed me the way. But I was pretty confident about HARD SwatS at 21A. BARGES and INSOLES, however, sold me on a different approach.

Ultimately a DNF because I'm not nautical, and I don't know from lymphocytes and baseball so I guessed BIsT and sCoLL, neither of which looks right, but hey it's early and I'm not fully caffeinated.

Loved the clue for 18A, and I had the EXACT same reaction as Rex when I read the clue to 26D. Word for freaking word!

And now, I am BESTIRRED to be productive here in the office environs. I hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Hand up for NATCH and for RAN OUT OF/RAN LOW ON for 28A. Smiled at seeing the full ULEE'S GOLD instead of the usual ULEE. Thank you Mr. Berry!

quilter1 9:26 AM  

Let's see if Google lets me comment today. Nice to see a fresh clue for ULEE'S GOLD. I did not know LAKE HURON has 30,000 islands. Who counted them? Also hand up for natch.

And Yokum is spelled this way.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

@Deb: I don't know what movie you watched, but it isn't Ulee's Gold. It was, however, decidedly unremarkable.

jackj 9:28 AM  

Patrick Berry gives us puzzles which exude elegance, the likes of which long-time solvers haven’t regularly seen since Manny Nosowsky ruled the crossword roost.

Like Manny, Patrick challenges the solver, cleverly demanding solving routes of varying complexity, (yet always honestly), thus allowing us a fair opportunity to turn clues into answers and one senses that, if you are willing to make the effort, you will likely solve Patrick's puzzles.

This puzzle was quintessential Berry with barely a hint of crosswordese or arcana but, instead, it featured gems like HOMESPUN, ONBALANCE, ALTARRAIL, CHACHACHA, HARDSELLS, RANSHORT, RENTTOOWN and the list goes on and on.

With all the puzzles published by the Times in the Will Shortz era, one might reasonably think that there are very few words in common use which haven’t already made an appearance in someone’s crossword, but XWord Info tells us that eleven of the words in today’s puzzle have never before appeared in any Times crossword edited by Will Shortz.

Then, digging a bit deeper, we learn that, since January 1, 2000, two thousand three hundred (yes, 2,300) separate words made their “debut” in a Berry puzzle, that is, they appeared as answers for the very first time in one of Patrick's NY Times puzzles.

That is remarkable; Patrick is remarkable; we language mavens are feeling remarkable, too, after finishing and enjoying this wonderful puzzle.

Thanks, Patrick, for the 156th time, (and looking forward to at least 156 more!).

Pete 9:50 AM  

I never heard of The Village STOMPERS. At one point I had ST_MPE___, so I threw down STAMPEDE, then double checked the clue - Washington Square? Not really a location that evokes STAMPEDE. Then I recalled my times in the early '70s hanging around Washington Square, when there were in fact STAMPEDEs there when a new dealer with great weed showed up.

imsdave 9:56 AM  

Wow - Thursday was Tuesday and Friday was Wednesday. I can honestly say that was my fastest Friday ever. I have a feeling that Saturday may be in "Wrath of Klahn" territory to make up for it.

Crushed the NW, stalled in the NE, proceded to SW and never looked back. Well under ten minutes.

There is a first time crossword tournament at the Killingworth CT library this Sunday @1. Hope some of you can make it!

OldCarFudd 10:19 AM  

Beautiful puzzle. Hand up for natch - which, being 75, I remember well. Don't recall hearing it recently.

Pen on newsprint - yes, indeed!

Evil - About 60 years ago the CEO of Metropolitan Life was Leroy A. Lincoln. And he warn't black, nohow!

Chicken of the Sea - I love it!

mac 10:22 AM  

Very nice puzzle! Definitely easy, with the NW giving me the most trouble, with a hand up for Natch and peppery. Thought if Tom Seaver, too, can you believe it?

Rent-to-own art is a pretty good idea; once it's been on your wall for a year you can't return it.

Plenty of McMansions are eyesores in this area.

Have to go look for that other Patrick Berry puzzle.

Good luck at the tournament, Dave! Say hello to Jan.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Now we know why that end of a rope is called the bitter end---

foodie 10:38 AM  

Great week in puzzledom, with excellent quality all along. And with some echoes, like ONE STORY, vs. SIX STORY. Is there such a thing as a Meta-malapop? When you malapop across puzzles?

CHA CHA CHA does echo the fun trios of Monday. Last night, reading Andrea's last comment of the day, I realized that this is her unique way of emphasis: she wrote "Clever, clever, clever". Much more effective than 'very clever'!

And speaking of LITHE Yoga, I thought of you Rex, and your yoga. There was a NY Times articles about how Yoga can wreck your body...It triggered a few hundred comments. Well, I guess now I can quit practicing my headstand.

Sarah 10:44 AM  

Had to Google Village STOMPERS: the only Village group I know is the People (a somewhat later vintage). I really liked ULEESGOLD. It's a little slow, but Peter Fonda is great. Some lovely little treasures here: NODUH, CHACHACHA, and LITHE were my faves. NE corner was my Waterloo (keeping on the BONAPARTE theme); I had "espresso" rather than AMARETTO, didn't know who CARLA was (never watched "Scrubs"). But other than that, smooth solving. A lovely Friday.

Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

I really enjoyed a savory solve this morning. Thank goodness for the crosses on Don Who? and Stompers.
Like Rex, catalyst was my last entry. When all I had was ____yst it looked too strange to be a word. Great Aha moment there.
I use Tia Maria in my tiramisu but amaretto sounds yummy.
@ jackj, Thanks for some amazing stats. And thanks Patrick.

JaxInL.A. 10:54 AM  

I have had such a wild week that this is the first time I have been able to post since Sunday. Totally worth it, though. I was in a excellent training session on nonprofit governance and fundraising with two of my Board members. Fact-filled, substantive, entertaining, fast-paced but not too overrwhelming. The trainers talked at length about the roles and responsibilities of Board members, among other things. The crowning moment came at the end when the two Board members turned to me and said, "We always thought all that stuff was your job." Hallelujah!!!

So I missed:
---commenting on a darling Monday trio puzzle by Andrea Carla Michaels, my favorite optimist and all-around word maven.
---reporting on the delights of meeting @r.alph_bunker and his charming wife and sharing the delicious cuisine of the Yucatán by Chef Gilberto Cetino.
---appreciating the wit of Elizabeth Long's Van Gogh puzzle.
---giving my "meh" for the spare tire puzzle.
---whoopin' and hollerin' fer the whoop-de-do Thursday from Derek Bowman and Sarah Keller.

But I do get to celebrate finishing a PB Friday in record time, and with great pleasure. After looking at the Hawaiian vacation pix last night of one of our former home-stay students, I agree with @Anon 12:10

Wood 10:57 AM  

Natch, PeppeRY, yep. NW was the toughest, even though I threw down NEAP, ENOLA and ABNER right away, and I agree that it's a bad clue on the ginger ale... it's two adjectives. Would have been easy to clue it that way and that would have been some nice misdirection as I probably would have filled in a final 'S'.

I also think 'Flogs' is questionable for HARD SELLS... The clue requires that the answer be a verb phrase, and while HARD-SELLS is a valid plural noun phrase, I'm not sure that HARD-SELL is ever really used as a verb... "The sleazy hawker hard-sold me the Brooklyn Bridge?"

Still, a likeable puzzle. Many new (to me) facts in this puzzle. MARCONI, NEON TETRA, LAKE HURON, DON LARSEN. Nice.

Capcha: endarmet -- "Seetie Pi"

Anoa Bob 11:17 AM  

In addition to the nautical theme entries BITT, BARGES, ABEAM and LAKE HURON, we get MARCONI (37A). Not only is it clued nautically---referenced to the Titanic---it is also used in a phrase that describes the single mast on a sloop sailboat. The mast is held up by several wires (stays and shrouds) that make it look like a radio transmitter tower, hence the term Marconi Rig.

dk 11:18 AM  

@tobias, one mans barbaric is another mans NEONTETRA and give ULEESGOLD a watch. I loved the movie. Kind of like Gran Torino only with bees.

HOV stumped me. I had sea lane and knew 27D was OVER (something) but was not BESTIRRED. I am such a PRATE.

*** (3 Stars) Lasso'd by this one

@evil doug. I have been dismayed to the point of disgust with GOP primaries. Your post will now cause me to chuckle. I also want to play the polygamist card as Mitt's grandfather founded such a community in Mexico. I know it has no bearing on anything.... if only I could relate polygamy to killing US jobs. As Newt clearly has no trouble with polygamy this may be an approach the Dem-Pacs may want to consider. It could be called swift spousing or outspousing: Just sayin.

Matthew G. 11:25 AM  

@SethG: Funny, I read right over the fact that the DON LARSEN clue said "no-hitter" rather than "perfect game." The clue is correct either way, but it's weird. Baseball fans are going to know that Larsen's game was the only no-hitter OR perfect game in World Series history, while non-fans are only going to know it as the perfect game, if at all. So the clue makes the puzzle no tougher for fans but perhaps much tougher for non-fans. Questionable cluing decision.

jberg 11:28 AM  

The reason I really liked this puzzle is that for the first five minutes I thought it was impossible - I just couldn't get any traction at all. All I could think of was 'corners' which should have been BUYS OUT. And I thoughl vOlvo's trucks were on the small side for 18A.

somehow, though, it all became clear with time. I forget what did it - maybe EPSOM, maybe GOSH, and my first sure answer was ANNE at 54A. (I take my spring break on Captiva Island, and her book "A Gift from the Sea" is everyplace.)

That's just what a puzzle should be. But I'm ambarrassed to say I had DON LARSoN at first.

Rookie 11:32 AM  

@retired chemist. My first fill was Don Larsen. Our elderly sixth grade teacher at IHM in Scarsdale, NY devised some activity that we could do in our seats while listening to the World Series. Larsen's win was indelibly engraved on my memory. I don't know which was more amazing: his feat or Sister Lydia's breaking the rules!

Did no one else have "curse at" rather than "swear at"? That threw me off for quite a while. "Curse at" seems far more profane to me. Undoubtedly Sr Lydia's continuing influence! I actually think I remember a religion class discussion parsing the difference between the two!

GILL I. 11:33 AM  

As @Rex pointed out, and I felt the same, nothing jumped out and bit me. I think at times that PB can put a crossword together while he's sleep walking - he's that good. This one, well GOSH, it didn't BESTIR(red) the heart.
The only really contemporary word I found is NO DUH. Everything else, from the TITANIC to ADLAI, seemed right out of my mom's wheelhouse.
I love NEON TENTRA(s). They are quite beautiful. I once dated a guy who was an aquarium freak. He had a huge one for freshwater fish (TETRA's included) and an even bigger one for salt water fish.
Most people need to get home to relieve the babysitter or walk the pups. He needed to get home to tuck his damn fish in....
I'm having a t-shirt made up with "We're the shit for Mitt." All proceeds will go to ACME's favorite Starbucks.;-)

chefbea 11:42 AM  

I posted hours ago and it's gone :-(

Fairly easy Friday for me. Busy day..Just had a new oven installed - convection - can't wait to use it.

Now off to Zumba class!!

Larry I in L.A. 11:44 AM  

Wasn't fooled by NODUH or ERICBANA (huge baseball fan, so DONLARSEN was a gimme), but cost myself some time in the NE with AnisETTe before AMARETTO.

Happy to see the (misguided) love for Nolan Ryan, not the best but easily the most exciting pitcher I've ever seen. He played into his mid-40s and his fastball never deserted him. If only I could forget the images of him palling around with G.W. Bush during the last couple of World Series...

While WOOing my wife more than 30 years ago, I warned her that she would be expected to accompany me to Ryan's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Conny still cares little for sports, but we made that promised pilgrimage to Cooperstown in July 1999. Thrilled to have been there, but that NY humidity made us SOOOO glad that we live in southern California.

Tobias Duncan 11:46 AM  

Mitt's the shit!
He won't quit!
He'll fight to bring down the deficit!

Ok dk, I am gonna keep an eye out for that Ulee flick online.

As for paper solving,I am going to try to stick to it for a few weeks this time.

Two Ponies 11:50 AM  

@ dk, I hope the Dems will not overlook the delicious irony of Newt having an affair at the same time he was impeaching Clinton.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Liked this a LOT better than yesterday's BROUHAHA!

imsdave 12:07 PM  

The crossword hall of fame flag flies at half mast today. Jamesetta Hawkins (Etta James) died today at age 73.

quilter1 12:14 PM  

Once again the NYT and LAT puzzles have a matching clue/answer.

Mel Ott 12:23 PM  

Nice clean puzzle as usual from Mr. Berry. Kind of easy for a Friday, especially for boaters. NEAP and BITT were throwdowns right at the top - to say nothing of BARGES and ABEAM. I think we've had the conversation here about BITTer End.

LARSEN's perfect game was a huge deal. We seem to get one every few years these days, but when he did it in 1956 (in the World Series to boot) it had not been done since the 1920's.

@Tobias: if you drank with more namesakes of ballplayers, perhaps you would be more amenable to sports names in your crosswords? Jes' kiddin'. I for one prefer few if any proper names.

RENT TO OWN makes no sense to me.

DigitalDan 1:09 PM  


Re: Marconi -- something to do with radio, indeed. The amazing thing is that, at a time many years before the vacuum tube, he was able to harness Maxwell's and Hertz's newish equations and create a transmission and receiver system capable of crossing oceans. Just clicks and such, but enough for dit-dit-dah-dit-dahhh-dit (Thanks, Maury Yeston.)

Bird 1:32 PM  

Well that was a disappointing finish to the work-week (I do the puzzles during lunch). This was a DNF for me - in part because of me and in part I blame PB.

Yes a no hitter is part of a perfect game, but the cluing threw me off. I kept trying to think of someone other than DONLARSEN. I had NATCH at 1D so of course I put in TOMSEAVER thinking maybe he threw a no-hitter in '69.

Who puts AMARETTO in Tiramisu??? My mother-in-law (born in Genoa) would have a fit. I threw in ESPRESSO until ABEAM and TONKA forced my hand.

PALEDRY is two adjectives - PALE & DRY

The person serving you drinks stands behind a BAR not a counter so TENDSBAR took a while to accept and fill in.

Finally - EPSOM (standard xword fare? really?) crossing SCOUTED (ths is how we search for phenomenon?) and STOMPERS (never heard of) was a natick for me.

OK. Lunch is over. Back to work.

Lewis 1:38 PM  

@foodie -- don't let an anecdotal NYT article stop you from doing yoga!

@jberg -- hand up for DONLARSoN, and I wondered what the hell a TCOLL was for quite a while.

@rookie -- hand up for curseAT, at first.

Unlike quite a few, the NW was my easiest corner. I needed one Google (LAKEHURON), but found the puzzle creamy smooth. I think I'm helped knowing that Patrick Berry constructed the puzzle; it puts me into such a positive frame of mind when I'm solving it.

Rube 2:04 PM  

Like #31, hit a stone wall in the NE. When LAKEHURON seemed to fit, Googled and found it to be correct! Unlike #31, ABNER was a given, not surprisingly. The rest followed easily, except... had SCOUrED and did not check the PRArE cross... sadly, a DNF.

I too enjoy the sensual pleasure of doing a paper puzzle, but getting Mr HP on-line means that I've successfully completed the puzzle, not just completed it to my satisfaction.

@Quilter1, I noticed that too.

I, also, call CATALYST a stretch for Prompter.

I thought the "bitter end" was the part of a cable attached to the 'bitter' slats on the reel from which the rope was uncoiled, e.g. an anchor line. But this has probably been hashed over before on this site.

Had no problem with PALEDRY. I think this may have been some early advertising slogan, lessee... Well, according to Wiki, the term "Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale" was copyrighted in 1922. Elsewhere, "Dry Pale" and "Pale Dry" ginger ales are everywhere.

Very enjoyable PB puzzle.

skua76 2:09 PM  

Slower than usual, but I sussed it out. Problems up north. I wanted NatcH but held off since it didn't look right. I left the last vowel in DON LARSEN blank at first thinking it might be an O. I first wrote in INStep for 6d. untionAnd hands up for questioning PALEDRY, but my brand new American Heritage 5th edition shows it, hypenated. I'll check out the ginger ale labels next time I'm shopping. Thanks PB...

PuzzleNut 2:26 PM  

Very nice!
I've started solving on-line more often and am much more reluctant to put in guesses than I am on paper. There is probably a way to put uncertain letters in "lightly" on the computer, but I haven't figured it out yet.
With my new, cautious approach, my only write-overs were DONLARSoN which let to eCOLi, but that was fixed fairly easily.
Can't say I flew through this, like many commenters did, but I thoroughly enjoyed the quality of this one.

dk 2:36 PM  

@two ponies, the electorate has been well trained and now has the memory span of a gold fish. Each time around the bowl is a new experience. Besides I am sure Newt's was a religious experience.

@Puzzlenut, see if there is a pencil option with the on-line program you use.

Tobias Duncan 2:41 PM  

@dk In your quip is NEONTETRA a stand in for raison d'être? If so that is exceedingly clever and I finally got it!

Chip Hilton 2:53 PM  

Like @Mel Ott and @jberg, I had no problem with DONLARSEN, because like @retired_chemist and @rookie, I have my own memory of the day. I was in third grade and, since all World Series games were played in daylight back then, at 3:15 I was hurrying home to try to catch the last few innings. An old guy on a porch saw me, read the situation, and said, "Slow down, kid. Game's over. Larsen pitched a perfect game." So no Tom Seaver or Nolan Ryan for me. Larsen was a gimmee.

Interesting that ULEESGOLD in its entirety came a day after MELOTT which is usual a last name-only answer on here.

Stumped by BITT/TCELL crossing but otherwise a joyful romp through another lovely Berry puzzle. Plenty of time to check out the snowblower. It's ready and loaded for tomorrow's expected CT coastal storm.

Stan 2:59 PM  

Very smooth Friday. Favorite moments were TONKA for 'small truck' and ULEE'S GOLD spelled out.

I always like it when a bit of crosswordese can change into something fresh. It's kind of an in-joke with the solving community, who have dutifully filled in ULEE so many times. In an NYT Crossword Info search, I see that MEL OTT has been used nine times, YMA SUMAC three times, and STEPHEN REA only once (like today's movie). Maybe we should have a name for this phenomenon...

And speaking of naming, I like @foodie's suggestion of 'meta-malapop' for the phenomenon of malapopping across puzzles. It certainly describes a real-world thing, and I think it's in keeping with the Greek root.

sanfranman59 4:02 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Fri 18:50, 25:17, 0.74, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 9:22, 12:32, 0.75, 13%, Easy

Go Niners!

mytk56 6:22 PM  

After reading today's comments, I am now curious as to how people solve the puzzles in terms of across/down. For example, I typically do north across and then north down, although sometimes I will do that in just a quadrant. Any thoughts?

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

@Evil - And James David Manning is related to Eli Manning, the Giant Packer killer.

@Chefwen - My Chicago grandson is getting excited over our pineapple bonanza.

@Acme - Only Joe Biden could go to San Francisco and confuse their baseball team with their football team.

@Anon at 12:10 a.m. - You read my mind. Oh, you are me....


chefwen 8:09 PM  

@JFC - You'll have to report back after your Pineappleaganza. Enjoy!

Rookie 10:30 PM  

Re: the objections to "pale dry" as two adjectives, I think in this case " pale" is actually an adverb answering the question " how dry?". More to the point, an adjective cannot modify another adjective. Only adverbs can modify adjectives.

At least that is what I think Sister Turibius taught us in seventh grade. A lesson we probably didn't learn in sixth grade because Sister Lydia let us listen to the World Series the day of that lesson instead. (cf earlier post)

davko 10:42 PM  

Beautifully constructed, with characteristically fresh Berry cluing throughout. Knew DON LARSEN right off the bat (pun intended), but couldn't help but notice that for the less fortunate, Nolan Ryan was a perfect -- and perfectly logical -- fit.

Surprised to learn that Tonka trucks are still around, albeit made of plastic, and by Hasbro. I had the all-metal Tonka tanker and Allied moving van -- the best two toys I ever owned!

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual 1:08 AM  

@Rookie - Actually, I tried cussouT first!

As this is perhaps the first time I have completed a Friday puzzle without muttering and growling, I am BESTIRRED to attempt them more often from now on!

Spacecraft 11:58 AM  

My criticisms echo David L's: 4d clue should have read "adjectives," and HARDSELLS was the very last thing I filled in, still wondering what that had to do eith flogging.
Finished, though, with no help, and in about half an hour. Had one writeover; didn't know ERICBANA, so had a D where the B is. Just guessing. Changed it when I saw the across was going to be BESTIRRED.
Is this me? Is today Friday? Is this Patrick flogging Berry?? I don't know how to explain it; the whole thing just flowed. It was like...okay, if this puzzle were a drink, it would be Southern Comfort. Kinda...HOMESPUN.

Solving in Seattle 1:46 PM  

thought tobias duncan's comment about doing this puzzle on paper - "freakin barbaric way to do the puzzle" - was amusing. Us syndicate folks who get a real paper do the puzzles on paper (and in my case with a pen) every day.

I liked this puzzle and only had one messy ink writeover: I had wAsSHORT for "Had some inventory problems" until I couldn't think of a flat fish that started with "W", and am not an opera buff. Finally thought of RAY and the rest worked out.

I didn't know MARCONI received a gold medal from the Titanic survivors, but the answer was a doy and gave me the SW.

Liked all the marine oriented clues in this puzzle. Smooth waters to you, Patrick Berry.

Dirigonzo 8:22 PM  

A puzzle replete with nautical references and bourbon - what's not to love? Solved clock-wise from the NW, and even I thought it was possibly my fastest Friday ever.

@ACME said, "Too heavy on the sea stuff..." and I thought well, maybe she's not the perfect woman for me after all; but then she came up, ""We're Amok for Barak"! "We're the shit for Mitt"!" and I'm in love again. What man can resist a woman who can come up with stuff like that?

Anonymous 1:25 AM  

Only a middle aged white person will ever even have heard of NO DUH. No one else. No one!

Anonymous 1:30 AM  

Make that an old white person!

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