Balrog slayer, in fiction / FRI 3-16-12 / Billy famous for informercials / Bowser in the Super Mario series, e.g. / Big list maker / 10-Down, e.g.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Pretty Easy, but maybe only if you're young or at least think you are like I do because I sometimes find these teenagers relatively easier than some others do even though they probably think of me as really old

THEME: none

Word of the Day: (Fugitate) (FLEE) —

transitive verb
Scots law : to declare judicially to be a fugitive from justice and thereby cause the escheat of the fugitive's movable property to the crown : outlaw
intransitive verb
: to run away
• • •
It's ACPT weekend, and everyone who's anyone is off in Brooklyn. I am here, with you. Sorry to miss seeing everyone who's anyone, but I'm saving my vacation time (and my money) for my trip to Japan this summer.

Speaking of, RAMEN (47A: Dish often served with soy sauce or miso)! I think ramen often gets a bum rap when it's in the puzzle--there's a world of difference between good ramen and the 22¢ packets of Maruchan. If you don't think all Italian food is like cans of Beef-a-roni, you should reserve your judgement about ramen if you're unfamiliar.

While I'm in a lecturing mood, HI MOM is a (2D: Stadium shout-out) because the Hi-er specifically wants to acknowledge his or her mother. HILARY (15A: Swank in Hollywood), for example, may be a shout-out to a specific Hilary if Joel knows one, or maybe it's even his mom, but it's not a shout-out to me just because I used to play ultimate for a team called Swank.

HI MOM was my second answer. A-MINUS (17A: Low 90s, say) was first. Then BANANA SLUGS, then ELI MANNING, the whole NW was done in no time.

Moving into the middle, Jill just started her job as a Clinical Case Manager yesterday but ABA was still a gimme for (32A: Case workers' org.). More smooth sailing down and to the right--I even entered TOE LOOPS without first checking how many letters were in (49A: See 42-Across).

First bit of thorniness was in the SW, where I couldn't think of FORBES as a (45D: Big list maker) and (54D: "___ told often enough...") wasn't much help for A LIE. Finally figured out MACH (53D: Physicist Ernst who invented the razor blade), changed PESKY to PETTY (50D: Inconsequential), and that corner was done.

NE, more gimmes but more fun with SPACE JAM and Billy MAYS. POKING still sorta makes me giggle. (GAG GIFTS do not, but that's still a good answer.) And there was more stuff, but it's getting late.

A few of my favorite things:
  • Really, every single one of the 8/9 letter acrosses in the upper right/lower left was good.
  • Really clean fill overall.
Or not:
  • Great clue, though I've seen similar, for EASEL (34A: Stand for something). Not as big a fan of that for EASE (43A: Well-being).
  • Made-up wordsies in the middle, with HORSY and TECHY.
  • MEANIE is (48D: Bowser, in the Super Mario series, e.g.). Well, I guess it's not so much dislike as do not understand. Is he blue?
Have fun in Brooklyn, everyone who's anyone. And hi, mom!

Signed, SethG, Royal Vizier of CrossWorld


Evan K. 2:11 AM  

Highly enjoyable -- it's always good when you and the constructor are on the same wavelength. It also helped that I remembered seeing SPACE JAM in fifth grade and that DAVE EGGERS was my commencement speaker. And that I have a friend from BRUNEI. And-- yes. This worked out really nicely. And it possessed a smooth, clean grid to boot. Kudos, Joel!

Octavian Okay 2:17 AM  

Perfect Friday puzzle -- just hard enough to qualify as thorny but filled with interesting words and people.

Wouldn't it be awesome to be at a dinner party with Eli Manning and Dave Eggers? I doubt either one of them would use Coke as a mixer.

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was written and recorded by a South African of Zulu origin in the 1920s. It had a long and circuitous path to become a hit for the Tokens in the 1960s and Disney in the '90s, and has bee the subject of intense copywright litigation.

Here is a link to the original song, with Solomon Linda, the author, doing the wailing in the background:

jae 2:18 AM  

Yes Seth easy, even for an old guy. Even easier than yesterday's for me.    Very smooth grid (NE was very nice) just a tad too easy. There was even a bit of zip .... BANANASLUGS, CAYENNE, HORSY? ...

One erasure: SCENE for SCORE.

Anonymous 2:28 AM  

This is a beautiful puzzle.

Larry I in L.A. 2:38 AM  

On my wavelength, too, so much so that I almost wished it were more difficult ('tis Friday, after all). Five answers of six letters or more in the realms of sports and entertainment gave me toeholds everywhere. Only hangup was inexplicably putting Grendel at 25A, which made 10D Chicken until LENIN got me back on the right path.

With ACPT upon us (never been, but will try a tourney here in L.A. in a couple of months), had a weird puzzling experience this afternoon that is tangentially related to the ACPT of four years ago. Before I paid the NYT to solve on its website, my stepmom used to make me copies of the syndicated puzzles before solving them herself. Digging through my briefcase this morning, I found one of these that had apparently stumped me as only a few squares were filled in. Smugly assuming that I am much improved, I expected that I would complete it lickety-split. Wrong! After much labor, got three corners to work out but was stymied in the NW. Ended up Googling three times and still had six squares wrong. The only balm for my wounded pride was finding Rex's write-up. Turns out this was a BEQ that ran on Saturday, 03/01/08, and Rex rated it as "super-hard". The review was brief because Rex apparently squeezed it in while moving up to 55 (now 31) at that year's ACPT. What were the odds of me stumbling across this unfinished four-year-old puzzle today?

Anyway, if you're there for the camaraderie, have fun, and if you're there for the competition, best of luck!

chefwen 3:26 AM  

I usually approach Friday and Saturday's puzzles with much trepidation, but I sped through this one like a house on fire. I was truly shocked, no Googles on a Friday, how is that possible? Like @jae my only write over was SCORE over SCenE at 7D. God forbid what is coming our way tomorrow.

Thanks Joel, you made my Friday evening.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

I haven't watched Tampopo since college. I could never get through the movie without pausing for some good ramen in between.

Evan 6:58 AM  

Dear Rex Parkerites,

I haven't solved today's or yesterday's puzzle, and have strenuously avoided checking any of the answers here throughout the week. I just came to write that I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the ACPT. I'm getting on a bus bright and early to get to Brooklyn and I can't wait for my first ever crossword tournament.

Good luck to all competitors.

Z 7:39 AM  

HILARY followed by CYS were my first answers, so I considered THE ioC for 1A. Then I thought "Quadrennial sporting event" would have to be the Olympics. Wrong both times.

I have to agree on the easy rating. The only real hold up for me was in the NE where Shaq's Shazaam was blocking me from remembering SPACEJAM. The irony here is that the movie I've never seen was making me not remember the movie I have seen.

@Seth - Ultimate, eh? I still play a couple times a week.

joho 8:05 AM  

@Seth G, nice write up!

I agree, this was easy for a Friday but also highly enjoyable perhaps because it wasn't a struggle and also because of the smooth, fresh fill.

Loved BANANASLUG next to ELIMANNING, talk about opposites!

Only brief snags were honEsT before DIRECT and onlINe before POKING (fun, comtemporary answer!)

Thank you, Joel Fagliano!

Sue McC 8:11 AM  

Really loved this one. As a Patriots fan, it was painful to pop in ELI MANNING as my first answer. Same as jae on SCENE for SCORE. Delighted to see one of my most favorite authors, DAVE EGGERS (What Is The What! Zeitoun! Oh please read Zeitoun if you haven't!). And that NW corner was a pickle, since I completely missed the intent of "Super" and so it took waaaay too long to get to MASTER KEY. But a fun Friday. For some reason I ended up doing it at about 10:45 last night instead of this morning...felt a little slower than if I had waited, I think.

Sue McC 8:14 AM  

Ack, of course I meant SW corner! Whoops!

foodie 8:56 AM  

Now, Seth, everyone who's anyone is not off in Brooklyn! The people in the Upper East Side are likely to find this highly offensive.

Very nice puzzle, although I struggled in the SE. That ALPHABET clue was really tricky!

I had the SE done first, and I plunked SauCE in lieu of SPICE crossing Vocal in lieu of AGAPE...

Interesting breakfast offering: BANANA and JAM with EGGS SPICEd with CAYENNE, drunk with COCA COLA and a slug of HENNESSY.

I loved fugitate, and the upbeat, young feel of it all.

evil doug 8:56 AM  

Eli's turned out to be a pretty good QB. But he'll never be as cool a guy as his big brother. Where Peyton happily took his chances on the lousy---and small market---team that drafted him, Eli immediately told the Chargers that he would refuse to play for them. Did you see Peyton's farewell speech? Class act.

Love the Beeb: AbFab, Fawlty Towers, Luther....

Poking? Really?

Never read that Hobbit stuff, so I misspell Gandalf almost every time.

Gag gift is probably more fitting to the puzzle than gag ball. But fun is fun....

RIP, Billy Mays.


jackj 9:31 AM  

Comfortable seems to best describe Joel Fagliano’s first Friday puzzle. Doing it was like wearing a favorite old sweater while basking in the glow of a cheerful fire and sporting comfortable old shoes, (while wondering if the blog administrator throws out tired old idioms).

There was a lot to like and nothing to dislike in this puzzle, though TOELOOPS wanted to be TOELEAPS for a bit, until it seemed likely that The TAKENS had nothing at all to do with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and the FERBES 400 did seem to be richer as the FORBES 400.

My favorite clue, a brilliant misdirection, was “It breaks the “I before E” rule for ALPHABET, which, as it turns out, seems to be a really gnarly cousin to the “Hard C” type of clue. Exquisite!

Thanks, Joel, the puzzle was a charming example of wordplay as it’s meant to be!

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

If you can't name at least two people with a given name, you shouldn't be able to clue that name as Person A and others. Name another Cy. Go ahead, I'm waiting.

Whenever I see HILARY Swank in puzzles I cringe, because I just know that poor child had a horrible time in middle school, what with everyone calling her HILARY Skank. It's one of those things you just know happened.

ELIMANNING should have been clued as 'a competitive oreo eater' just to maintain our daily intake of oreos.

quilter1 9:37 AM  

HILARY was my first entry--Iowa connection. I had tabasco before CAYENNE, hence sauce before SPICE. But otherwise smooth sailing. I don't know why I knew a whistling thorn was ACACIA. Must be a leftover from another puzzle that stuck.

@evil doug: I misheard. Drake is playing in the CIT, not NIT (women are playing in the WNIT). Won the first round, on to Rice. Good game, nail biter to the end.

evil doug 9:51 AM  


Ah, instead of 'March Madness' we're in 'March Somewhat Angry-ness'. Ah, well, a game's a game....

Mach: Been there, done that, and in spite of the drama in "The Right Stuff" it's much more impressive observing from the ground than in the cockpit.

From the 'Upon Further Review' dept: 'Horsy' doesn't look right to me; 'horsie' seems better. Same with 'techy'; I prefer 'techie'. Since 'meanie' is also present, I think I'd stick with the 'ie' to remain consistent as I believe in the hobgoblin of little minds. And that little discussion should prove I've got way too much time on my hands, and not near enough good material to ply my wares here....


Loren Muse Smith 9:52 AM  

Terrific puzzle! The NE rocked with SPACEJAM, COCACOLA, OKAYOKAY. . .simply PRICELESS.

@Evil – you weren’t alone in misspelling GANDoLF.

@jae, SueMcC – I erased SCenE, too.

Loved the cluing for NAÏVE, ALPHABET, and YEA.

Even with all the sports, I managed to finish reasonably quickly. Now I’m going to google BANANASLUG. Ick.

jberg 10:12 AM  

I feel so stupid! Everyone says this puzzle was easy, and I almost DNF - had to ask non-puzzling wife, whose daughter skated, for TOE LOOPS, which finally let me see ALPHABET and FORBES.

Many writeovers - not only scene befoe SCORE, but Borneo before BRUNEI, and GAG item (which would have been lame) before GAG GIFT. Oh, and oven before SPAN for "range." At the end, I only think I solved it, because the SW is such a mass of inky writeovers that I can't tell for sure.

chefbea 10:13 AM  

Much easier Friday than usual although I did google a bit. Loved the alphabet clue although I put neighbor down at first.

Thanks Seth G for a great write up.

And to all in Brooklyn have a great time and good luck.

Tobias Duncan 10:16 AM  

Solved the east half then the west today.Got ELIMANNING off just one N. I only know him from crosswords and only because his name once made my head purple with rage.

Cant remember who I lent my copy of Heartbreaking Work to, I have a vague memory of some girl saying she needed something to read on the plane.

Just yesterday I succombed to cravings and made white trash pho.You Saute chicken and veggies including cabbage, jalapenos, squash, onions , garlic and carrots.Take all that and dump it into a piping hot bowl of spicy chicken flavored ramen. Its better than it sounds.

Yes I know that my dish in no way resembles pho.

Cheerio 10:18 AM  

This was the hardest Friday for me in a long time. Not in my wheelhouse, that's for sure. But it is really lovely. BANANA SLUGS! I thought all Califonia Schools were some type of BEAR. What's with Santa Cruz? I guess they have to state their difference - from the clouds of marijuana smoke.

Thanks so much to @Octovian OKAY for the uTube link to the original Lion King recording. That's the sort of serendipitous bit of history I love coming to this blog for. NPR had a spot this week about the end of the print Britannica, and the serendipitous fun of reading random entries in Britanicas. That's beyond lame compared to the kind of serendipity one can get through the web.

fruitypants 10:22 AM  

I loved this puzzle- mostly for the fabulous fill, but also because it was my fastest Friday time to date (11:09)!

David 10:26 AM  

Terrific puzzle, with a nice mix of unusual Friday gimmes and some real thorny stuff in the SW. That SW was made tougher by my not honing in on the flavor of the 37D clue. I thought HORSE was too simple but threw it in there anyway, and that E rendered the SW even more difficult. Slogged around all over, not grasping the relatively easy HENNESSY and forgetting the phrase "A LIE told often enough...". Fortunately SPAN and THAN finally arose out of the clouds, which gave the brilliant ALPHABET, then everything else fell into place.

Never watched SPACE JAM but as a lifelong Chicago sports freak was familiar with the film. BANANA SLUG was in a puzzle at some point in my life so that helped the East section greatly, along with some nice gimmes in HILARY and ELI MANNING.

Good luck to everyone this weekend, I am heading out to Brooklyn 1st thing tomorrow AM and I look forward to meeting as many people as I can!

Larry I in L.A. 10:29 AM  

@Evil--to me, "techy" is an adjective while "techie" is a noun. As clued, "expert" could be either an adjective or a noun, so I was OK with 36A. 37D, however, I would spell "horsey".

@Anon at 9:33--Tony-winning composer Cy Coleman shows up in the puzzle from time to time. Regardless, I thought 6D was fair for a late-week because the universe of pluralized two-letter names is reasonably small. Al, Bo, Cy, Ed, Em, Hi/Hy, Mo, Jo, Vi...

I'm sure there are others, but not a heckuva lot...

JaxInL.A. 10:34 AM  

My first encounter with a BANANA SLUG came straight out of a cartoon. Playing volleyball In the forest near Everett, Washington (ah, youth), I slipped on said fruit-colored invertebrate and first one leg then the other flew into the air and I landed flat on my back. (hearty laugh track here)

@jesser, you asked a big question recently. I don't recall seeing whether you got the answer you wanted. Or any answer. Do you mind sharing?

Looking forward to hearing about the Rexworld connections made at ACPT and I hope someone remembers to take pictures.

Liked this puzzle but didn't find it easy. Loved SethG's write-up, esp. since it was not PRICE LESS.

jackj 10:42 AM  


Cy Twombly, noted American graffiti style artist.

Cy Vance, Jimmy Carter's Secy. of State.

Cy Vance, Jr., New York County District Attorney.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

This one was tough for me. Micheal Jordan made a movie? News to me.
Man, I hate that lion song.
Good Friday challenge.
Have fun in Brooklyn.
I wish I could go but not enough time or money.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I thought this was a fun one, more a medium for me.

I was struck by the large number of wrong answers that had overlapping letters with the correct answer:






Beadola 11:15 AM  

Lots of actual banana slugs living on the beautiful campus in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Matthew G. 11:25 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! I had to laugh when I saw Seth's description of the relative difficulty, because it mirrors own reaction exactly. I'll be 36 next week, but I'm so much more in tune with this college lad's cultural references than with those of most NYT constructors. Halfway through the solve, I started thinking, "I don't believe I've ever done a NYT themeless where the proper names were so familiar to me." It doesn't hurt that I'm a huge fan of the reigning Super Bowl champions, so 3-Down was my first entry. HILARY, BANANA SLUG, GANDALF, SPACE JAM, DAVE EGGERS, Facebook POKING, Bowser as a MEANIE (hilarious) ... all of these were gimmes, and surely that would not have been the case for me with whatever their 1950s equivalents are. Obviously, I loved this puzzle.

I expect to be present for at least parts of the ACPT this weekend. I'm going to be on call for two potentially urgent work matters, so there's a greater-than-zero chance that I'll be there to do some puzzles but then get a phone call and have to skip some other puzzles. But I'm not gunning to win any prizes anyway, and I hope to meet some of you there--perhaps as soon as tonight!

jae 11:27 AM  

@Evil -- Here in SD his name is only said with contempt. And, me too for an O in GANDALF briefly.

@Cheerio -- UC Irvine teams are the Anteaters.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

were just OKAYOKAY
get a SCORE of A-MINUS today!

orangeblossomspecial 11:37 AM  

Octavian, thanks for the lead on Mbube.

Another song in the puzzle with disputed origins is Rum and Coca Cola, originally by Lord Invader then popularized in the US by the Andrews Sisters .

chefbea 11:37 AM  

@tobias duncan...I mean chef TD. Guess you have joined us foodies

Bob Kerfuffle 11:42 AM  

Very nice Friday puzzle and write-up.

I agree with @Evil Doug and @Larry 1 that TECHIE would be a better answer for "Expert with computers," but since neither of them said it, I would also mention that to me TECHY seems like slang for someone having mental problems. (Not looking this up; just off the top of my head.)

And now to catch the bus for Brooklyn . . .

Andy 11:51 AM  

I hate to say I'd forgotten the last part of that old grammar rule:

"I before E except after C, or when it sounds like an A as in neighbor and weigh,... or in the alphabet"

Maybe that is a new addition?

Lewis 12:22 PM  

@tobias -- maybe you should call it "faux"

Excellent writeup, Seth, written with EASE.

I had AFTERCEE, and loved the right answer. I'm for the first time getting the urge to go to a crossword tourney. Maybe next year!

WesIsland 12:28 PM  

Flew through the puzzle and couldn't believe it was Friday UNTIL I reached the southeast. My first look at the clues told me that this will be books and sports, but then the wheels fell off.

Makes me feel my age since I'm an inveterate reader and have never heard of Dave Eggers (after Googling him I wonder what was going on in my life in 2000 when his best seller came out). And like @Evil, did not get into the Hobbitt when younger although loved science fiction so "Gandalf" was a big "huh?" And finally as a huge sports fan could not come up with "AsianGames." (Also, easel never occurred to me for 34 across). Result: a big DNF after an optimistic start! Think I'll go read some Dave Eggers.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

When John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson got gore all over themselves when Travolta accidentally blew away the guy sitting in the back seat of the car they were driving, they had to strip and get hosed down by Harvey Keitel. Travolta's Vincent character ended up with a tee shirt with Santa Cruz BANANA SLUGs on it. Only reason that clue came to me.


GILL I. 12:54 PM  

I like to earn my Fri. puzzles and this one felt like someone handed me a wonderful bowl of free RAMEN.
Fugitate as a clue left me really wondering if that *is* a word. It sounds so awful; kinda what you'd do after eating a lot of Buffalo wings.
I too loved the ALPHABET clue although I hated my grandmother singing "I before E" at every opportunity.
I thought HENNESSY was a Cognac...There is such a difference in taste between the two.
An OKAY OKAY, AMINUS puzzle. Enjoyed the write-up and watching how RAMEN really shold be eaten.....

Loren Muse Smith 1:09 PM  

@Gill I.P. -too funny about "fugitate" and buffalo wings! My issue would be with cooked cabbage. . .

AND "I before E except after C."

Jet City Gambler 1:22 PM  

As a UCSC alum, I remember when we got a new chancellor in the early '80s, he changed the mascot to Sea Lions (slugs were unseemly for such a distinguished institution).

The students threw a fit, of course, and they actually held a student vote on the mascot. Banana Slug won like 80% of the vote.

Super easy puzzle, hardly any tricky cluing.

Sir Hillary 1:33 PM  

I am one of the "wheelhousers" today. Made pretty quick work of this, despite never having heard of DAVEEGGERS or knowing how to spell GANDA(O)LF.

The ending Y's for HORSY and TECHY had me wondering, but I will defer to others on that.

As for the I/E/C rule, can anyone name the 2-word title of an 80s movie in which both words violate the rule?

lawprof 1:42 PM  

Banana Slugs is what you get when you let California students pick their mascot. When the Stanford Indians were declared politically incorrect some years ago, the students voted for Robber Barons, a choice that the administration overruled in favor of Cardinal (NOT Cardinals)-- whatever that is. Makes little sense because the mascot on the field or the court seems to be some sort of a sequoia tree. Lesson to be learned? Students are goofy; adults are obtuse. At least on the left coast.

jae 1:49 PM  

Weird Science

Larry I in L.A. 1:54 PM  

@sir hillary: Weird Science!

@loren beat me to my childhood mnemonic "I before E except after C--unless it's a weird word".

evil doug 1:56 PM  

I think the Stanford Cardinal teams are just named for that shade of red---like Harvard teams go by the Crimson, Dartmouth calls theirs the Big Green (another school that conceded on the Indian-esque names).

I like the Presbyterian Blue Ho's. Their mascot is a Smurfette-looking hooker. [Actually, it's the Blue Hose---as in socks, I guess---but imagine the cheerleader uniform possibilities....]


Bird 2:33 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, despite not knowing what fugitate means. But once I looked it up, and remembered that Kudzu was not just a comic strip, the rest of that section fell in place.

Only fixes were RAMAN before RAMEN, SCENE for SCORE and HONEST before DIRECT.

TECHY/TECHIE, HORSY/HORSIE – either way doesn’t bother me though I think convention is “I before E”. I know - groan. Great clue for 59A, by the way.

Did anyone else not care for EASE so close to EASEL?

Double captcha “nsenuesu evenite” morphs into “See Eve untie nuns”


Anonymous 3:11 PM  

@Bird - EASE (not really a word I use for well-being BTW)and EASEL should have been crossed, and linked by clues.

I had DUCK for Kudzu, but DAVEEGGERS fixed that real quick.

Wood 3:15 PM  

Cy Young and Cy Twombley. Off the top of my head.

Wood 3:25 PM  

Nice puzzle... Offered some good (but not impossible) resistance in SW and NE. Good mind-engaging solve!

Matthew G. 3:38 PM  

This story just appeared on the NYT website moments ago:

Joe The Juggler 4:20 PM  

Just figured out two of the visual puns in the blog: a player from the ABA and Vincent for PRICELESS (something that the puzzle was).

I don't get the rabbit one. . . (probably has to do with the Super Mario clue that is also outside my realm of knowledge). Or is maybe just another -Y word (HORSY, TECHY, BUNNY?)

I liked the puzzle. I finished in 22 minutes which is a rarity for me for a Friday.

Time for me to fugitate!

sanfranman59 4:23 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 19:06, 25:07, 0.76, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 8:46, 12:26, 0.71, 11%, Easy

Mighty Nisden 4:49 PM  

Knew this would be easy. I flew through all but the SW and MidEast... I know long trip.
Anywho, threw down HENNESSY then removed it as I knew and love their Cognac. Suprize, they make brandy too.

Only one google for DAVEEGGERS. An excellent day for me.

How could an old guy like me miss a movie that included Bugs Bunny? And the Lord of the Rings is in my wheelhouse.

Good Luck y'all and try not to have too much Brandy!

joho 5:09 PM  

@Matthew G ... thanks! Fascinating article about Dr. Fill. Now I can't wait to see how "he" fares!

Two Ponies 5:25 PM  

@ Seth G, I just noticed how you changed the clue for Mach. Good one! Nice write-up, thanks for sitting in.

mitchs 6:17 PM  

Seth, what a great write up. Makes me wish your usual comments were longer.

If someone uses the word "fugitate" instead of flee they should be slapped hard.

jazzmanchgo 6:24 PM  

RE: Weird Science

News is that some researchers exhumed a long-deceased baseball immortal to see if they could create a new super-athlete with his DNA. Unfortunately, they struck out and got blown away with their Cy clone.

Anemia Cola Masterkeys 7:18 PM  

I liked the whole NE corner with the Js and Ks, gave it a bit more crunch...
I'd say this was smooth more than easy, because after you finish it, you look back andsee how clearly the clues matched the answers tho at first glance seemed right amount of misdirection.
The thing is, if you anchor it with real names like DAVEEGGERS, ELIMANNING. And the gimme HILARY Swank, it makes it easyish or impossible.
Anyway, just arrivd in Brooklyn...going down to say hi to everyone who is anyone who is accidentally here!

chefbea 8:08 PM  

@ all Rexites...Have fun doing the conga!!!!

michael 8:40 PM  

I thought this was really easy for a Friday until I got to the southwest, which I half-filled in and just got stuck. Had to google the singers of "the lion sleeps..." (I had to--ens) and after that finished rapidly.

nebraska doug 9:40 PM  

@Sue McC: "DAVE EGGERS (What Is The What! Zeitoun! Oh please read Zeitoun if you haven't!)." Totally agree, though I'd recommend 'What Is The What!' over Zeitoun - both are great, but What Is The What! was incredible...I'm constantly recommending it to people.

nebraska doug 9:43 PM  

Oh yeah...very easy of my fastest friday's ever

sanfranman59 1:08 AM  

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 6:45, 6:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Tue 8:07, 8:51, 0.92, 29%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:30, 11:49, 0.89, 26%, Easy-Medium
Thu 19:41, 18:56, 1.04, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 19:38, 25:07, 0.78, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:40, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Tue 4:02, 4:34, 0.88, 13%, Easy
Wed 5:32, 5:52, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium
Thu 10:44, 9:17, 1.16, 80%, Challenging
Fri 8:28, 12:26, 0.68, 7%, Easy (10th lowest median solve time of 142 Fridays)

Tom Parker 1:43 AM  

Yeah, but "I before E after C" IS the rule, just as it appears in the alphabet, supporting the rule, not breaking it

Tom Parker 1:49 AM  

Oooops! I meant "I before E except after C" IS the rule, just as the letters appear in the alphabet, thus supporting the rule, not breaking it.

Eloise 10:41 AM  

Octavian Okay, thank you for the song link! That was awesome.

Oh, am I the only person who never knew there was a team called the Banana Slugs? What must it be like to play on that team?

I am in Brooklyn this weekend, but only cause I live here. I guess that makes me special.

Puzzle had lots of elan but I would have liked it to be a wee bit harder.

Solving in Seattle 2:30 PM  

Gimme a B... gimme an A...

@Evil, my daughter (swim team/water polo) went to Dartmouth and they still do Indian yells at games. Go Green.

I'm sure every one of you has had this thought: a crossword puzzle that has two completely different solutions without any word/answer in both puzzles.

59A - I'm in the "great clue" chorus. Good work, Joel.

The CIAAGENT used his MASTERKEY to steal the bottle of HENNESSY before some other ALPHABET soup agency got it first.


Rexers at ACPT, how did you find each other, I.D. tags with your blog names? A sign, like at a political convention - "Rexland?"

Capcha: stobat. A flying mammal hiding on a cruise ship?

DMGrandma 2:54 PM  

Maybe this was one for the young, it certainly wasn't for me on the east side. Never heard of Spacejam or Dave Eggers and stuck with club soda. When I finally looked up fugitate on Dictionary Search, I got the message that it referred to fugitation and that word was not a legal scrabble word. So, resorted to good old Google, and the first thing that came up was this post! Comes a time to admit defeat, and I had felt so smug after sussing out master key!
Captchas: zerra elcusses. No excuses??

Spacecraft 3:16 PM  

@ anon. 9:33: I know an actor in the Battlestar: Galactica series, Cy Borg. Then there's that one-eyed dude, Cy Clops. And steer clear of that serial killer Cy Anide.

OKAYOKAY, enough of that. I had no trouble with SCORE; possibly because I already had the first word(s) in this paragraph entered. However, no one has mentioned my only writeover--and a huge delay in scoping out the SW. Working down from the west with GAGGIFT gave me FORBES. I have a habit of picking out the least used letter of an entry to start working the crosses; in this case that would be the "B." 8-letter word that breaks the i/e rule--with B in fifth position? Why, NEIGHBOR, of course! I filled that in confidently, as an anchor word for the whole section. It was right, that was for sure.


I had momentarily forgot the TOKENS, which would have 86ed my mistake right away--and shame on me, because that was a hit in my heyday (when I was "YEA" young). And did I ever wrestle with the rest of that before finally coming back and going "Oh yeah, that was the TOKENS." So, was 59a WRONG?? I couldn't get the "H" to fit into anything for 41d, but MILEAGE would work...and so on, to HENNESSY and THAN--and by that time the ALPHABET light came on. Whoa, and I was so sure...

This was a great puzzle despite--or maybe even because of--my 59a troubles, but I'd like to voice my displeasure at the clue for PRICELESS: I would never use "hilarious" for that. In one narrow sense they can be synonymous--the clue is therefore not outright WRONG--but it would never even occur to me to put the word "hilarious" in the clue for 20a.

P.S. The way I learned the rule was "I before e except after c, and when sounding like "a", as in neighbor and weigh--

but there's always the weird exception."

Red Valerian 5:20 PM  

Loved it! Don't keep track of the age of constructors, so I guess I should be pleased to be "in the wheelhouse" (an expression that is probably not in the wheelhouse of most youngsters).

Especially liked the double letters: GAGGIFT, CIAAGENT, and, okay, ELIMANNING, ANNUM, THE BBC, and DAVEEGGERS. (PRICELESS, HENNESSY, EGGS, and MESSES being also-rans.)

@Dirigonzo: who knows what the Blogger is up to. Never did get email alerts yesterday.

@Lola505: my missing post (yesterday) wasn't taken down, else there would have been a "this post has been deleted" entry. It simply never appeared despite having triggered @Dirigonzo's email alert (but not mine) Ah, well!

Joe in Montreal 5:23 PM  

in syndication, but I have to agree strongly with Tom Parker. The alphabet KEEPS the I before E rule because the rule is I before E except after C etc, and in the alphabet I and E are after C, and hence EI.

Anonymous 9:08 PM  

With all due respect to the deceased yelling guy, MAYS should never be clued as anybody but Willie.



Dirigonzo 10:04 PM  

To me, this was a perfect Friday puzzle - seemingly impossible at the out set but ultimately completely doable due to clever cluing and some strategic easy crosses. The NE reamined blank for a long time - I have no idea what POKING means in connection with facebook (I'm sure it's not the same thing it meant in the vernacular of my youth) but at least the term was familiar and finally made me replace ClubsOdA with COCACOLA, and the puzzle was done.

After reading all of the comments on the topic if "I before E", I promise never to misspell weird again.

@Red Valerian - glad to see that blogger has decided to let you post again.

Lola505 11:05 PM  

Well! Today's puzzle started out "hopeless" in the SW corner (as a "leftie", that seems to be my preferred starting point). Dear husband and Physicist provided MACH, but I couldn't get much further. (He also supplied ROCKS for 51a, EGGS, so I stopped asking for his help).

However, after some sustenance, the puzzle seemed to just fall into place.

Like others, I'd never heart of Facebook POKING, but I like learning new words in my solving.

A good Friday puzzle, I thought.

@Anon 9:08, I AGREE, on both words!!

@Red Valerian, I should have thought of that. I've had a couple of posts not show up after posting, myself. I still wonder who said what to have been removed, though.

@Dirigonzo, I misspell weird almost always!

wordcross 9:39 AM  

Help. What's the answer?

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP