Fort's steep slope / FRI 2-3-12 / Curling rink line seven yards from tee / Oedipe opera composer 1936 / 2008 demolition target / Where ayuh is affirmative

Friday, February 3, 2012

Constructor: Joel Kaplow

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ELATER (45A: Click beetle) —
The family Elateridae is commonly called click beetles (or "typical click beetles" to distinguish them from the related Cerophytidae and Eucnemidae), elaters, snapping beetles, spring beetles or "skipjacks". They are a cosmopolitan beetle family characterized by the unusual click mechanism they possess. There are a few closely related families in which a few members have the same mechanism, but all elaterids can click. A spine on the prosternum can be snapped into a corresponding notch on the mesosternum, producing a violent "click" which can bounce the beetle into the air. Clicking is mainly used to avoid predation, although it is also useful when the beetle is on its back and needs to right itself. There are about 9300 known species worldwide, and 965 valid species in North America. (wikipedia)
• • •

Six interlacing 15s, none of them very grabby. SINGING TELEGRAM (17A: Special delivery of a sort) is somewhat interesting, but the rest are just blah, as is most of the fill. It's actually somewhat glutted with crosswordese (for a Friday—SMEE and SNEE make for some ugly bookends). Overall, it was a piece of cake except for a. HOG SCORE (or is it HOG'S CORE??? Nope, it's HOG SCORE), an answer that wants to be quaint and adorable but is just annoying for being both highly technical and completely forgettable (10D: Curling rink line seven yards from tee), and b. the whole ELATER area. Actually, it was EINS (28D: Fifth of fünf) that screwed me up. I had EINE. I'm not Germanically versed enough to know the difference, apparently, so my [Oxford attachment?] was an E-HIRE for, like, ever. Other minor slips included ALAN for ALEC, RTE for AVE (9D: GPS screen abbr.), and ON A BREAK for IN A SLUMP (38D: Experiencing down time). I did learn that Eolith or neolith is a tool. I thought they were eras, but now that I think of it, I'm probably thinking EOCENE.

I'd almost like ESCARP (43A: Fort's steep slope) / ELATER better if it were one word: The ESCARPELATER!

  • 1A: Title matchmaker of early 19th-century literature (EMMA) — Only needed the first two words of that clue. Cinch.
  • 15A: Britain's Douglas-Home (ALEC) — I have no idea who this person is. In fact, at first, I wasn't sure it was a person. Maybe, I don't know, a home ... of some kind. Oh look, he was Prime Minister, very briefly, six years before I was born. How interesting.
  • 25A: "Oedipe" opera composer, 1936 (ENESCO) — a composer that appears in grids from time to time, often under a different spelling (ENESCU!)
  • 36A: N.F.L. QB Kyle (ORTON) — former Bronco, who led the KC Chiefs to victory over the Tebow-led Broncos in a late-season game that made me very happy.

  • 2D: Where "ayuh" is an affirmative (MAINE) — I can't even imagine how this works.
  • 61A: "Live at Red Rocks" pianist (TESH) — a poor man's ENESCO.
  • 6D: Pasternak mistress Ivinskaya (OLGA) — ??? [Some Russian woman's name] would've worked just as well. Got it off the "O."
  • 24D: 2008 demolition target (SHEA) — I forgot about that. Somehow I imagine it still sitting there, unused, sad. Like Tiger Stadium. (Whoops, apparently that was also a 2008 demolition target—I haven't been to Detroit since '06)
  • 33D: Dutch Golden Age painter (HALS) — I like his name. It means "neck" in Middle English.
  • 39D: Home of Sistan and Baluchestan (IRAN) — I'm enjoying imagining that these are fat twins, like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:12 AM  

Can't make up my mind if this was med. or easy-med. I only time Mon. &Tues. so I go by "amount of resistance " which can be somewhat imprecise.  This went fairly smoothly but didn't seem too easy for a Fri.  Fairly solid puzzle with a dearth of zip... unless you count whatever HOGSCORE means.

Unlike Rex, I liked the juxtaposition of SNEE and SMEE which I used to confuse a while back.

Me too for ALAN at first.

Now that I finally know who Joe ORTON is you throw Kyle at me?

DOD 12:23 AM  

The ESCARPELATER for soldiers is in theback and to the right, tye freight ESCARPELATOR for munitions and supplies is in the back and to the left.

chefwen 12:39 AM  

With football on the brain 11D was a real head scratcher until I got a few acrosses. Made the same mistake as Rex with rte before AVE at 9D. Had my malapop moment with Santa's LISTS.

Every time I see ORTON on the field I think "ORTON Hears A OOO. I know, groan!

As usual had a few Googles (it's Friday) 60A NURMI, who?

Pete 12:41 AM  

They couldn't at least have clued OLGA as Pasternak's mistress, not Pasternak mistress? Pasternak mistress YankaDankaBlank = LARA, Pasternak's mistress YankaDankaBlanka = some Rusky name. I stuck way too long on LARA.

I feel bad for Red Rock.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Sourpuss! This was fun!

Anonymous 1:04 AM  

•36A: N.F.L. QB Kyle (ORTON) — former Bronco, who led the KC Chiefs to victory over the Tebow-led Broncos in a late-season game that made me very happy.

@Rex - Me too. with gusto as a Bears fan (Da Bears drafted Kyle and the Bear fans always liked him)!

@Chefwen said... Every time I see ORTON on the field I think "ORTON Hears A OOO. I know, groan!

Chefwen - I've always said that!

BTW, did you see Jimmy Fallon tonight tossing a fresh pineapple as though it was a football?....


Anonymous 1:11 AM  

@Rex - Just noticed your touching closing on Thursday. You get points in my book.

Why must you be so complex?....


Larry I in L.A. 1:23 AM  

Not particularly snappy, but a stimulating late-week workout that was populated with mostly "real" things. I know that obscure proper names and crossword clichés are pet peeves for many, but give me SNEE over a partial or suffix any day. Also, today's Roman numeral wasn't random, either, but something you could work through (once you figured out it was a Roman numeral you were looking for, of course!).

New to me: HOGSCORE, ORIBI, HALS, this particular cluing for ESTE.

Hard-to-believe gimme (I read a ton of sport-related books as a child in the 60s): NURMI!

charryod: what my wife does every summer when the Rainiers and Queen Annes are in season

Tita 1:53 AM  

I thought indefinite articles leading words was a no-no - or at least frowned upon.
THis had two...AHAND and ANION.

Way too late to comment further - till morning, Rexville!

Unknown 2:37 AM  

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jae 2:53 AM  

@Tita -- either the AN ION comment was a joke or ret_chem will likely explain the nature of ANIONS sometime tomorrow. Maybe both?

colossusofrhode 3:15 AM  

I'm a curler. I've never heard it called the "HOG SCORE" before. Everyone I know calls it the "HOG LINE." I was so disappointed when I dropped "HOG LINES" in, thinking it was one of those gimmes-for-me-but-not-for-anyone-else clues, only to find that it was actually an even more obscure term.

Aleutia Cluela Mcmls 3:22 AM  

Despite starting out with EMMA, and the beheaded MARIEANTOINETTE spanning the middle, i would have to say this was one of the most male vibe-ish puzzles i have ever had to solve.
Felt so masculine as to be almost neanderthal right down to STONETOOLs.
So sports laden from ORTON to NURMI to HOGSCORE to NCAA to having to know when SHEA stadium was torn down.

One huge corner mistake that I should have known, but had messed up my Roman numerals ( which i dont get as to why they were used for Korea exactly, but that's another issue for another time)...
Dr Faustus author, i had cA?N/?URMI
Settled on H, I or N. should have realized it was MANN!

Not irate, but yecch.

Never even noticed the interlocking 15s but now that @Rex has pointed them out, i like this puzzle about 37% better!

And not that anyone will care, but the 50D answer ABDUL for "The X Factor" became incorrect/dated as of two days ago!

chefwen 3:40 AM  

@JFC - Still semi early here, I will record the Fallon show. Hope they took the spiky ends off before they tossed the pineapple ball.

I skip M-W 4:21 AM  

@Tita: an anion is different from a cation, so there's no indefinite article there. I think "a hand" as a phrase is perfectly ok too.

@ Rex, true, many gimmes. For me: Mann , Nurmi Aleutian Islands, Hals, Alec, but not Enesco, oribi, Orton, hog score, or Tesh.

with all the Santa references, shouldn't this have been Yuletide fare?

Anonymous 6:05 AM  

For sure a Natick at 30 Down and 36 Across. Matt and Ortan seemed like as good a guess as any to me.

r.alphbunker 6:33 AM  

I dedicate this puzzle to Mr. Gauthier, my high school English teacher and cross country coach. Because of him I STEELE and NURMI were gimmes. He would always use the word "ho'omalimali" in critiques of work to indicate something non-substantial. I thought he made the word up but Google found it.

A couple of writeovers were
47A Go at [AttAck-->ASSAIL]
48D Really put out [cRAnk-->IRATE]
9A Some help [temps-->AHAND]

dk 7:20 AM  

Beth Orton the once and future Chemical sister, haunting voice.

What is that on my line? ES CARP!

I got the longs but took it in the shorts. Despite an early fascination with German neo-romanticism and still owning a copy of Magic Mountain MANN eluded me along with PAPI.

So what have we got here. A pretty solid Friday IM (not so) HO.

*** (3 Stars) Thanks Joel

Tita 7:51 AM  

Sadly, @JAE, my ANION comment was not a was the product of solving at nearly 2am and not remembering enough from my physics studies.

Anyhow, in spite of 3 personal naticks, I liked this. Had to google ORTON to get MOTT.

Lots to like - BETWEENTHELINES splitting the grid, SINGING TELEGRAM - fabulous!, MARIEANTOINETTE reared her head (!) to creep out from under that alternate revolutionary celebrity MuRIEl somebody.
Cluing for SHIRE, ALGORE, VOICE, SAIL AWAY and SPAS left me happy. (TEEHEE)

Thx Rex for the lesson on ELATER, and happy belated birthday to your Dad.

The Bard 8:08 AM  

All's Well That Ends Well > Act IV, scene IV

HELENA: Yet, I pray you:
But with the word the time will bring on summer,
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns,
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us:
All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown;
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown.

joho 8:08 AM  

I liked all the intersecting 15's ... very impressive!

For "Some help," mine were working AlAND instead of asea! lOGSCORE sounded good to me.

Despite one bad square, I liked it. Thanks, Joel!

David 8:12 AM  

Medium for me, but especially with last Friday's very easy puzzle still fresh in my memory, this felt pretty tough - more appropriate for a Friday.

Thank goodness for some of the gimmes - MOTT the Hoople, Paavo NURMI, Kyle ORTON (also a huge Bears fan who appreciates his achievements in his short stint with the Bears) - as some of the other proper names were completely new to me: ALEC Douglas-Home, ENESCO, ELENA Verdugo. Not impossible answers, but needing a bunch of crosses.

Of the 15s, I thought MINIATURE CAMERA, MARIE ANTOINETTE, SINGING TELEGRAM and ALEUTIAN ISLANDS (well, maybe moreso the trivia clue) were really cool. And I also got a chuckle with the juxtaposition of SMEE and SNEE.

Glimmerglass 8:14 AM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle, but I'd never have rated it easy. It was on the challenging side. HOGSCORE is really esoteric. Lots of semi-famous/obscure proper nouns. Not sure why OxfordSHIRE has a "?" How do tears (either meaning) create a MIST? "Ayuh" is one way to transliterate the strange sound Downeasters make when they mean "yeah" or "Yup" or "Yep," with an aspirant H on the front. It's often said while inhaling. You have to hear it to understand. There's actually no way to write this word phonetically.

evil doug 8:29 AM  

I'm pretty sure Amoco, Esso, Enco, Citgo, Arco, Sunoco, and Conoco merged to form Enesco.

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news


John V 8:39 AM  

Off to the airport, so brief. Screwed up ORTON/STONETOOL cross, had SHIRT for Oxford attachment and just got stuck. Saw and liked the interlocking 15s -- a flashback to my teen years? TMI

More medium/challenging to this road warrior.

Off to Westport.

Jp 8:44 AM  

Three 15's Across intersecting another three 15's Down. Awesome. All six entries are fresh in my mind in the sense that when you get them you get the nice eureka feeling with them. I don't understand why Rex thinks they are not grabby enough or are "just blah". Is freshness a purely subjective factor or the determination is based on some objective measure? I am willing to be educated on this by Rex or one of the veterans.
What I don't like about the rest of the puzzle is that it has a lot of trivia answers. EMMA, ALEC, ENESCO, SHU, ORTON, ELENA, NURMI, TESH, ESTE and that on the Across clues.
So I had to google to get some of these words. But I did finish.
So for me being able to finish a Friday means it was easy-medium.

jackj 9:13 AM  

Joel Kaplow’s last published Times puzzle was 7 years ago in Feb. 2005 (a Sunday) and before that his only other Times puzzle was a Wednesday in Aug. 2002. Based on the fill in today’s offering one wonders if this has been sitting in Will’s Friday pile for a full 7 years?

“Implicatively” seems to be a clue only a mother could love until the answer of BETWEENTHELINES is sussed out and grudging appreciation is then due for this unexpected bit of sophistication. The rest of the 15’s, all five of them, were evident and easy, even with only a smidgen of crosses to point the way.

Things had started out nicely, looking for a home state for those folks who say “Ayuh” (those down-easters from MAINE, of course), but when TEEHEE showed up as “Response to being tickled”, we seemed to be quickly reversing course and heading down a rock strewn slope, with rented skis.

No matter, the solve proceeded apace until reaching that double Trifecta(tion) of HOGSCORE, STONETOOL, MOTT, ELATER, ORIBI and SHIRE which, thankfully, to some extent, were rendered less painful by some familiar gimmes in the area, SPAS, ETE, NORMAL and SNEE, (not to mention the easiest of the 15’s, AIRPORTTERMINAL).

Sad to say, though, when finished and taken as a whole, my initial question seemed answered and this construction looked to be suffering from a serious case of rampant oxidation, (and rust doesn’t produce an attractive patina).

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

I expect to learn new words from the puzzles, and I usually do. However, I get more excited by what I learn from people who respond to this blog. Favorite new words this week:

Qtip (quit taking it personally)


Loren Muse Smith 9:20 AM  

@Rex - "so my [Oxford attachment?] was an E-HIRE for, like, ever."

I've been thinking a lot about how we use "like" these days and find it fascinating. We've gone from using "go" to report dialog (So my dad goes, "You're grounded!" And I go, "Fine!") to using "like" -(So my dad's like, "You're grounded!" and I'm like, "Fine!")

Also - "We got there at, like, ten." feels a little different from "We got there at ten."

I thought this was a really hard puzzle, and eveyone else's gimmes were certainly not mine! NURMI? Are you kidding?

Loved MARIEANTOINETTE! I saw a lock of her hair once in a museum and it somehow moved me. OK - someone's gotta say it - "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!"

dk 9:21 AM  

@jae, are there dogions as well as cations. Which one is positive? Is that why the ions stay apart because they are cats and dogs? This science crap is becoming interesting.

I have a home repair question. I am replastering walls with Lime Putty (old school, like me). I have a wall that needs to be redone and I cannot get blue board at my local lumber/big box/DIY store. Does anyone know if plaster will adhere to backer board (used for tiles)? Note: Plaster does not adhere to sheet rock -- hence the question. Click on my little picture (motel in Tucumcari NM) and email me if you are in the know or have a good guess. Thank you.

Has anyone noticed how @acme's... nope never mind once a week is enough.

Joke at my expense from yesterday. I kept reading about this ED poster. I scan the posts and sexz to mineself WTF there is no ED... Ahh the knock on the door as they come to take way my MENSA card.

Watched MARWENCOL the other night -- you should!

Tita 9:29 AM  

@dk - was that a Freudian slip, or are you just messin' with us...
"and sexz to mineself WTF there is no ED"

or, you're setting yer pal ED up for an EPIC tasteless post...

Bob Kerfuffle 9:31 AM  

Exposing my total ignorance of three disparate fields, I finished on paper with HOGSTONE crossing ENESTO and ONTON!

jberg 9:33 AM  

I was going to gripe about ENESCO; I've learned to live with the OLAF/OLAV ambiguity for the king/saint/college namesake, but Enescu is just Enescu, no ambiguity about that. But it turns out that he's called ENESCO in France, the opera title is in French, and it has a French libretto, so I guess it's OK - and certainly not obscure! (I saw the opera in 2003, in Vienna, so I shouldn't complain.)

I liked the 15s except for 11D - who calls it an AIRPORT TERMINAL? It's just a terminal.

Count me with those who liked the SMEE SNEE combination, and Santa's busy checking.

@Rex, the eocene is only an epoch - eras are a lot longer, like the cenozoic. As for the Neolithic, when they made neoliths, that's only an age, way shorter.

evil doug 9:38 AM  

"I liked the 15s except for 11D - who calls it an AIRPORT TERMINAL? It's just a terminal."

I call it a "base hit."


foodie 9:58 AM  

"Thank goodness for some of the gimmes - MOTT the Hoople, Paavo NURMI, Kyle ORTON"...Said @David

This is exactly the list of what I needed to google. Exactly the kind of puzzle I find between challenging and impossible. And then I see an easy-medium rating and want to shoot myself in the head...

Best thing today: reading some of the comments. Laughed at the dogions and cations, at MENSA taking their card back (I say good riddance... too much pressure), ENESCO's being the result of a merger, and Andrea's very original name-- Aleutia Cluela McMis should be a Dr. Seuss character and meet Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate! thank you guys... Feeling better.

GILL I. 10:00 AM  

I liked it though had some look-ups which were similar to others.
ABDUL, (she of the run to the bathroom to get sick because some contestant exposed his nuts on national tv) got canned. Now, what am I going to watch?
SINGING TELEGRAM brings a smile since I actually got one. Unfortunately, it was "You are my sunshine" and I can't stand that song.
Loved seeing PAPI. It's probably not that common of a word to non-speaking Spanish folks. I used it for my Dad and now I call my husband PAPI (especially when I want him to do something for me)

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Here's how it works:

One Mainuh to another -

"You and Rosalee goin' to the bean suppah?"

"Ayuh" (spoken while taking in short breath)

jesser 10:14 AM  

Rex, you crack me up!
Foodie, put the gun away!

I struggled most with the NE corner, what with curling, opera and football. So I ended up with ENESnO crossing HOGSnOsE crossing OsTON. They all seemed plausible until Rex reminded me gently that this ENESCO guy shows up from time to time, and I should be able to pull him from The File. That particular drawer was locked this day, but I think a Hog's Nose would be a fine term for a curling player to use. Please adopt it and send me royalties.

I flirted with hawaiIAN ISLANDS in my brain at 57A, but my pen wisely stayed off the paper. Thank you, pen. I must thank him also for resisting 'stop it' at 27A, although that's damn sure what I would say to someone tickling me.

All in ALLS, I will not ESCARP about this puzzle, and I will head gleefully into the weekend, wishing it to be lovely for all who reside in and/or visit Rexville!

quilter1 10:16 AM  

Having watched curling with interest during the last winter Olympics I also wanted HOGlines.

I thought oxford attachment was going to be some sort of shoe decoration. Knew MAINE from the comic Non Sequitur, another good strip.

Overall I thought it was pretty easy and I liked the long acrosses and downs.

Wood 10:28 AM  

One man's gimmes are another man's natick. Nearly double-naticked on MOTT/ORTON and HOGSCORE/ORTON. But what are the options, really, with O_T_N? Would have preferred it clued with Joe, though.

Was fun to puzzle out MCML, not actually knowing the exact year. I thought it was later in the 50's. But with only 4 letters, there was only one option.

I liked SMEE and SNEE. I never remember which is which, so it seems appropriate that they appear together. In fact I think it should be required that if you are going to use either one, you should have to use both. Dumb words but together they speak of crosswordy delight.

The interesecting 15's are great. A good, tough, but gettable Friday.

chefbea 10:42 AM  

Another busy day getting ready for Sunday. Have the vegetarian chi on the stove as we speak.

Tough puzzle and had to google and finally come here. Had a malapop at34A..put lists and then found it at 51D.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

The long answers were easy enough but the fill failed to keep me interested. I stopped counting the proper names at 22. If that's what it takes to make your boring long answers work I say Back to the drawing table.
And if you have elater in your cruddy fill do not clue it as an insect.

Pete 10:51 AM  

@Chefbea - You're boiling the Ch'i of vegatables? What sort of beast are you?

Lindsay 10:57 AM  

ORTON was my first answer in, but opera is an utter mystery leaving me to wonder about the HOG StORE on the curling rink. I mean, ENESCO just sounds like an elided corporate name. Like Nabisco.

And eeyORE declared, "The planet has a fever. AYUH."

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

jberb is absolutely correct. We don't say Joe Green is the composer for one of Verdi's operas translated into English, so why change Enescu to Enesco? Never fails to befuddle me when solving a puzzle.

archaeoprof 11:39 AM  

Quick and easy German lesson for XWorders:

EINS = the numeral one.
einer/eine/ein = the indefinite article.

But REINS isn't German at all...

JaxInL.A. 11:42 AM  

Miss you guys. Hope my work and the intense process to get my daughter into a private school (with financial aid) lets up soon.

I struggled with the center of this puzzle, adored the Liz Gorski on Weds. Fun write-ups and comments this week.

Met a young man in my daughter's Hebrew school class who came to talk to me when he saw me doing a crossword on my iPad. I love to see young people interested, but why not more girls?

chefbea 11:44 AM  

@Pete I didn't say boiling. It was simmering. Will make the Regular chili tomorrow.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Jackj said…”and rust doesn’t produce an attractive patina.”

Interesting point. The Daley Center in Chicago was constructed intentionally with steel that rusts to give it a lovely burnt orange patina. Unfortunately it also gives the windows a similar patina from time to time, requiring frequent washing at taxpayer expense. Of course, nobody in Chicago cares or even notices that because in the plaza in front of the building is the weirdest looking sculpture by Picasso, which catches everyone’s attention. Picasso never revealed what it represents but it looks like an angel with a baboon’s face. I think it might be made of the same steel but there aren’t any windows on the Picasso to wash….


Pete 12:03 PM  

@Chefbea - The joke was in the typo; in your original post you had chi, not chili. I was wondering why you were simmering out the life force of vegatables. It sounded mean.

DigitalDan 12:32 PM  

ENESCO always makes me think of some sort of branch of the UN.

TIS for Indeedy? Ugh.

Rudy Shankar 12:45 PM  

I was at an airport terminal with plenty of time to get at the Friday puzzle. And lo and behold AIRPORTTERMINAL appeared after a 3 hour slog. The constant happy music being muzaked in perhaps had its effect. What a bottle of Budweiser for $6.49? Why, Paavo NURMI was a gimme? I had as a kid chosen to sketch this athlete as part of my kindergarten exercise. The Flying Finn moniker must have gotten my attention.

So there I was at 30,000 micrometers off the bar floor enjoying the extremely thirst-quenching aforesaid Budweiser when MARIEANTOINETTE revealed herself. Wasn't TESH that perfectly coiffed TV anchor person. Piano player? I am surprised there was not much of a boo for ALEC Douglas Home who was the PM after the Profumo scandal but lasted not too long. The President Garfield effect maybe.

Flew USAirways (their jingle should be "USairway or the Highway" which reflects their attitude) but heavens this craft was brand spanking new with even narrower seats to get more butts in.

Evil Doug.. Do Something!!

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, ... then ... I wanna say "sex"?
(That happens lot, tho.) Seems like .5 boxcars is a real stumper for me, in just about any foreign lingo.

@Jp and 31 and others throw out a juicy topic for target practice: when is a long answer "interesting"? Answer at first blush seems obvious -- personal opinion. De bustagut. But, I'll bore y'all with my list of suggestions, anyhoo...

1. Multiple words
2. Funky/scrabbly letter combos
3. References to anything that makes an ultra-conservative Republican barf up their Wheaties
4. Unusual terminology/names in current events (TAHRIRSQUARE, OBAMACARE, ROMNEYCARE, etc.)
5. Something that happens to really trip your trigger (lots of U's, for instance)
6. ...Sechs! I'll bet that's it! Vie gehts, brain?

Personally, I liked all the 15's in this puz. MINIATURECAMERA was my fave aha moment one, because of the crafty clue. thUmbsUp.

archaeoprof 1:20 PM  

@JaxinLA: enrollment in my Xword class is 25 men, 6 women. Is this typical??

Ulrich 1:31 PM  

@archaeoprof: The confusion surrounding ein/eine/einer/einen/eines/einem is that they represent not only inflected forms of the indef, article, but also of the numeral adjective meaning "one", as in ein Euro (one Euro--in other contexts, it may mean "a Euro", as in "I saw a Euro lying on the street"). I have given up protesting the frequent clueing of ein/eine etc as numerical adjectives instead of indef. articles b/c it's technically correct, even if it trips me every time.

r.alphbunker 1:44 PM  

How are your students doing? Have you been able to compile statistics for each day of the week?

If you want 15 letter answers that are interesting bordering on painful do Peter Gordon's FireBall puzzle this week. The clues were {Song in "The Book of Mormon"} and {Evil genius on "Phineas and Ferb" whose nemesis is Perry the Platypus}

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

ALEC Douglas-Home is a gimme for right-pondians of a certain age, but the only interesting thing about him is that the name is pronounced "hume" (as in David Hume) rather than "home".

I just thought people would want to know that ...

archaeoprof 2:01 PM  

@Ulrich: ganz richtig!

@r.alph bunker: steady progress. None had prior experience with the NYT puzzle. As of today, 50% have correctly solved Mon and/or Tues google-free. Fastest correct Monday is 13 minutes.

Working in pairs, 12 have constructed puzzles which, while not quite ready for the NYT, are still good. Student newspaper will publish them.

Bird 2:02 PM  

Needed to Google a lot today. Not saying it was a bad puzzle, just a lot of stuff I didn't know. What was that quote from yesterday?

I did like SMEE/SNEE and would have liked some symmetry between REINS/LISTS.

Did not like AHAND - it's a partial and not clued as such.

Had ELAND before ORIBI.

Go Giants!

Tita 2:05 PM your students would love the Instant Replay in Ralph's awesome app!
And did I mention that I would like to sign up for your course???

Tita 2:15 PM  

Hit enter too fast...
@Ralph - you are a puzzle-solving maniac!

@Archeo and @Ulrich - thanks for the refresher...
Ulrich - your discussion about EINS etc made my brain hurt. When my husband was trying to learn German, he asked why objects change sex when you have more than one - Der Hund, Die Hunde...

sanfranman59 3:22 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 22:51, 25:12, 0.91, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:43, 12:28, 0.86, 28%, Easy-Medium

Paul 3:22 PM  

I don't think the NCAA offers scholarships at 11down. It only regulates those offered by member institutions.

mac 3:27 PM  

I'm with @Foodie all the way... At least we have the funniest typos in the comments today!

Hals means neck in Dutch, too, but it's the word we use for the front of the neck. We say nek to the back of it.

I'm cooking, too.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

59D - "The X-Factor" ex-panelist has a certain ring to it.... or Simon's ex?

Query, Beside Liz Gorski and Patrick Berry, has any NYT constructor excaped the wrath of Rex in the past 12 months?

Two Ponies 3:59 PM  

Speaking of cooking.... I just finished making a batch of Super Bowl cupcakes. Chocolate topped with whiskey-laced butter cream frosting and topped with bacon!

Re: the Maine clue. Once while in the backcountry of Maine I stopped at a gas station for directions. I had no idea if what I heard was even English.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

@Two Ponies - Wow. What are you serving with the cup cakes, Irish Coffee? And be careful what you call them - the NFL might sue you for trademark infringement. Maybe you should call them Big Game cupcakes.

And I agree about what is considered English in this great country of ours. I was in New Orleans on business and couldn't understand the waiter explaining what the specials were. I got a few of the words (sausage, gumbo, blackened). I picked something that sounded good. It was very spicy, but the Hurricane calmed the fire.

Ulrich 4:37 PM  

@Tita: We can continue this conversation tomorrow at Westport!

@foodie: Yes, I have the same experience again and again, starting, possibly, as early as Thursday, and I'm glad there's no gun under my bed...

Chip Hilton 4:53 PM  

Wasn't Paavo NURMI the fellow who ran with a stopwatch in his hand checking his splits and ignoring how his opponents were doing? If so, apparently he was superior enough to excel in spite of the quirky approach.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

I had ISASLEEP for 38D, which gave me (guess) ELISA for 40A, which screwed up 3D for a while.

Are eolith and neolith tools made of stone or tools made for working with stoen?

chefbea 5:10 PM  

Good luck everyone at Westport!!! And have fun at Mac's soiree!!!

Lewis 5:11 PM  

@r.alph -- I subscribe to Peter Gordon's Fireball series too, on Rex's recommendation in one of his columns early in the year. They are hard but so clever! He is amazing!

Also wondering how tears cause a MIST.

I was in the process of Googling 64A, but before it revealed the answer I already thought of it in my head and used the Google to confirm. I would like to say then that I didn't really use the Google, because this would have been the first Friday I ever completed without a Google or Reveal Incorrect Letters -- had I not gone through that process. My heart knows, sigh, that I have to count it as a Google. Wait'll next week!

Masked and Anonymous 5:24 PM  

@Lewis: Don't do Fireball, but...
Tears related to "misting up" somehow?
Just guessin'.

Duh 5:28 PM  

Hey, wait a sec. MIST was in today's NYT. PuzSpouse worked that part, so pardon the extent of my ignorance. M&A

Tita 5:32 PM  

@Ulrich - Gern! Bis Morgen...

Thanks Chefbea - some of us will need it more than others!

r.alphbunker 5:52 PM  

his eyes misted over

Theoda3rd 6:01 PM  

Watching all that Curling in last winter Olympics helped with "hogscore". Now a need to bone up on my British PM's again. Hardcore Jets fan who wishes he could watch Curling Sunday night!!!

Z 6:05 PM  

Easy for a Friday. It's not that long ago where this would have been a big DNF for me and I would have been amazed that anyone could have used the adjective "easy."

I am still waiting to see 61A clued as "Rite of Ascension Klingon" or "Klingon Hologram."

Smee/Snee - there is a fine line between awful and audacious.

mac 6:23 PM  

Westport contestants: rest assured, our soiree will not be a gala. Hopefully closer to a salon. Charlie just got home from London, in time to set up the bar!

mac 6:26 PM  

P.S. Thought Alec's name was Douglas-Hume. Saw The Iron Lady last Sunday, superb job by Meryl Streep and a good movie, friend and I thought.

Sparky 7:49 PM  

DNF. Holes in top. Did have 17A. Confusing Ionesco with ENESCO. Know Kyle Rote. See, I do know some sports. Had rte and Lara. I must memorize Pavo NURMI. Doesn't he show up often? Like @Quilter1 expected Oxford to be aglet.

Good luck in Westport. Wish I could be there. Have fun.

MattMittMottMutt 9:28 PM  

Great puzzle IMO, thanks J Kaplow. Enjoyed your writeup, Rex.
@EvilD, Although I got fed up with that baseball yammering yesterday, I couldn't help bursting into laughter at your apropos terminal comment.
@Glimmerglass, How do Mainers speak on an inbreath? I tried to find an audio pronunciation of ayah, but found only the Indian word ayah.
Re: dissatisfaction with AHAND, 'Give me a hand' is like 'Give me some help', which seems to me like a fine substitution. Tried chImE for VOICE thinking 12D might be NMA.. National Merit Association or something. Also tried Oxford SHIRt, which I thought made some sense. And although I finished with a mistake at MOTT/ORTON, I otherwise completed the puzzle without Google!

sanfranman59 10:00 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 6:11, 6:49, 0.91, 14%, Easy
Tue 7:46, 8:51, 0.88, 17%, Easy
Wed 10:17, 11:50, 0.87, 24%, Easy-Medium
Thu 20:54, 18:57, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 22:36, 25:12, 0.90, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:40, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:34, 0.90, 18%, Easy
Wed 4:51, 5:52, 0.83, 10%, Easy
Thu 10:25, 9:16, 1.12, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 10:15, 12:28, 0.82, 22%, Easy-Medium

Jenny 11:52 PM  

[Probably too late, but...]

@Mac: Home, pronounced Hume. :)

@coloss: Yeah, I thought actually curling would help with 10D, too. SCORE?? I had nothin'. Fortunately I do know Kyle ORTON.

MikeOverHere 5:54 AM  

Where the hell is Saturday's write-up? These days, you can't depend on the government, business, the church, the bank... Hell, all institutions have let us down. Et tu, Rex? Christ. Thanks for nothing.

Solving in Seattle 1:28 PM  

trying to find a theme here... do you suppose the revolutionary tribunal informed MARIE ANTOINETTE of her exile to the ALEUTIAN ISLANDS by SINGING TELEGRAM?

Spacecraft 2:42 PM  

I have just discovered that the captcha times out. How come? WHAT the BLAZES is all the stupid SECURITY about? This is a blog, for Chrissakes! I don't see NSA breathing down our necks here! WHAT is the PROBLEM????
Anyway, easy-medium for me too. Would have been a straight easy were it not for the SE, with ORIBI blocking things up. Determined to get through without Googling, I finally got it on crosses, but couldn't resist a back-check. That's not cheating, is it? If I don't have to change anything? I know a lot of those antelopes, because my fraternal order had the whole bar decorated with trophies from the safaris of a well-known member, but ORIBI wasn't in there. ORYX and DIK-DIK were, but not that fellow. That makes him uber-obscure in my book.
The fifteens? Laid down like a dive-taking boxer. The SMEE/SNEE bit was amusing; I wondered if it was by design, their being in symmetrical position and all.
Just to clear up the German thing: EINS is the cardinal number. Translation: "one." EIN and EINE are indefinite articles (EIN for m/n gender, EINE for f). Translation: "a." And for those who are 6-challenged, the German is "sechs," pronounced zex.
And now I will attend to my current captcha, hoping that it's one of those that I can actually read. SHEEEEESH!

Dirigonzo 8:13 PM  

Finished with the same error as @Bob Kerfuffle so I feel like I am in good company.

Any puzzle that has SAIL crossing MAINE is finest kind in my book. Ayuh.

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

Hog score??!? Hog line is what it is called. I have never heard the term hog score in all the years I have watched and participated in curling.

Anonymous 4:35 AM  

Too much time spent around Deadheads to think of any other artist when Red Rocks is mentioned. So when _ESH unfolded of course I thought of Phil LESH. Should have known he wasn't a pianist, though, because the Grateful Dead went through keyboard players like Spinal Tap went through drummers...and Lesh is still at it with his Friends.

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