Pope Urban II's real name of Lagery / FRI 3-9-12 / Singer with 1994 #1 alternative rock hit God / Swearin to God singer 1975 / Three-toed wading birds / Dancer who was fan favorite / Tiny biter / 1966 AL Rookie of Year

Friday, March 9, 2012

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DOPESTERs (29D: Ones giving winner forecasts) [is that supposed to be a pun on "winter forecasts?" Yeesh ...]

One who analyzes and forecasts future events, as in sports or politics. (freedictionary.com)
• • •

Lots to like here, but also a depressing amount not to like. Also, some painful cluing. Let's see ... this started out rather nicely, with a lively, doable NW corner. "THAT'S A NO-NO" isn't the most plausible phrase in the world, but it's got ... something, and everything else up there is solid, so, good. MEAT DIET is oddly clued (17A: A vegetarian isn't on it), in that it's not just vegetarians that aren't "on it." Omnivores aren't on it either. Large cats are on it. Wolves. But we get the idea. Thought the puzzle was going to be easy -to-average, until I rounded the corner into the open center and then just stopped. Had DENTAL CARE, but little else (33A: Brushing and such). Got ICED IN, then toyed with HIT and AGEE (41D: 1966 A.L. Rookie of the Year), but couldn't get crosses to work. Never heard of "belowdecks" with an "s" (34D: Not belowdecks), so I thought it was referring to a group of people, possibly the people in steerage, the lower classes, all those happy dancing people who died on the Titanic. Whatever. Anyway, the "s" threw me, or, rather, the lack of a corresponding terminal "s" in the answer threw me (see reverse problem at 4D: TV Land staple (SITCOMS)). Would've helped if I'd had the slightest idea who SALLY RAND was (28D: Dancer who was a fan favorite?). SALLY RIDE, I know. AYN RAND, yes. SALLY RAND sounds like a purveyor of cupcakes. Or financial advice.

Got started again in the NE with THEO (13D: Malcolm-Jamal's "Cosby Show" role) and S.O.S. but mistakenly put in EGRETS at 9A: Three-toed wading birds (STILTS) and stupidly couldn't put together HO HO HO at 16A: Present-day cry?, and so floundered up there a bit. RASAE (choke) did not lift my spirits (22A: Tabulae ___). Eventually I got the santa thing and then getting into the middle of the grid was easy. But the SW and *especially* the SE fought me to the bitter end. Really glad I knew AGEE, because HEGIRA (and thus RAND) could easily have stayed hidden from me without him (43A: Flight from danger). So far (3/4 of the grid), I'm mostly entertained, despite falling down a lot. But then the SE happened. This corner is a gigantic Fail for multiple reasons. First, and foremost, there's the utter unreality of 46A: "Not if my life depended on it!" ("I'LL NEVER!"). The phrase "I NEVER!" exists. The phrase "I'LL NEVER" exists only as a prelude to a verb or a phrase that stands lone because its speaker got choked off mid-sentence. Then, there's the mystifying clue for VALLI (39D: "Swearin' to God" singer, 1975), the difficulty of which is compounded by the highly ambiguous 39 square. VOILES? (39A: Curtain fabrics) I had TOILES. That's a thing, right? "Swearin' to God"—was that popular? Furthermore, there's the esoteric clue on the Kruddy fill ODO (32A: ___ of Lagery (Pope Urban II's real name)). Again, see my oft-repeated edict that you do not draw attention to your crap fill by giving it a gaudy, nutso clue (when perfectly pedestrian one exists). RIM out? Not LIP out? (44D: Not quite make the putt, with "out") Google "rim out." I dare you. I just did, which means I'm literally laughing as I type this. Finally, there's the word DOPESTERS. I wouldn't be mad at this answer if it weren't for *$&%ing ODO, but I couldn't make any sense out of D-P-STERS (I was still thinking that somehow THEME might be THEMA at that point) (37A: It's developed in a sonata). I finished and my software said "yay, you're done," and I was like "really? Do-Pesters? What the h- ... oh ... DOPE-sters ... that sounds like it could be a thing." Let's be clear, though—were it not for the ungodly "I'LL NEVER" (and, to a lesser extent, the world's most stupidly named pope), I wouldn't have been bugged by the roughness down here.

I nominate MAITREDS for World's Most Unnatural-Looking Plural (48A: Four-seaters, maybe?).

This is what happens when you try to take the word count down a *little* beyond your reach. Things start to break. Also, "S"s appear in nearly every bottom right corner (I count 8).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Tobias Duncan 12:33 AM  

    I absolutely tore through 75% of this puzzle(relative to my normal speed).I was dead sure this would be my fastest Friday ever.
    The last 25% got tough though and I ultimately DNFed but that is not uncommon for me this late in the week.
    I am well chuffed to see Rex rate this one difficult. You should have seen me guys, really, I popped a bunch of these with just one letter . TOPSIDERS off the T, PHYLA off the P, hell I even had a no looker!

    I hope this means I am out of my slump!

    pk 1:28 AM  

    Gaudy Nutso may be my fave Rexism to date. I admit to being daunted by all those contiguous white squares, but then...so much of it was gettable.

    Sally Rand is really famous where I live.

    Heatwave fits where Hotspell goes. I didn't put it in, but I wanted to.

    No idea what Hegira means. Guess I will go google it now.

    Also don't know what "well chuffed" means @Tobias, but I think it means you are as pleased as I am that we could solve a Friday (or almost-solve) that Rex rated as challenging. Probably means it took Rex 10 minutes when it took me 45, but still. Chuffed here, too!

    Anoa Bob 1:47 AM  

    SHORE LEAVE (25D) and TOPSIDE (34D) had me wondering if Mr. Croce spent some time in the Navy. But I resent the clue for the former "What many crewmen carouse on". When I was a swab, me and my pals would always head to the museums and libraries when we pulled into port.

    Really liked HAM FISTED (1D) and both RAW DATA (22D) and its clue "It hasn't been interpreted yet". Tried RosetTA at first.

    I suspected misdirection in the clue for 26D "Deposited into a bank", but SEDIMENTED didn't seem right. (Spell check agrees with me.) I found "sediment" as a noun and the adjective as "sedimentary" or "sedimental". No verb form.

    Deb 2:03 AM  

    RASAE bugged me because of the already pluralized "tabulae." In current day jargon, the phrase translates to "blank slate." "Blanks slates" makes no sense!

    The particular cluing for BANTER (teases playfully) reminded me of what a great word it is, and how using the perfect word can really crystallize a thought (and defuse tensions). A few months ago, a woman I had been playing WWF with for a few weeks got upset with me for saying things like "OMG, you're killing me!" or "Aw, man, I knew you were going to steal that spot!" and such. She messaged me pointing out that I had won the previous five games and hinted that I shouldn't be so greedy. When I responded "Please don't take anything I say seriously, it's just light-hearted BANTER" she immediately understood and we still have a couple of rousing games going at a time months later. (And she BANTERs back at me now!)

    VOILE as a curtain fabric? Sheers, maybe. Not curtains, per se. Why couldn't they just clue it "sheer fabric?" Not EVERY friggin' fabric is CURTAIN fabric, dammit!


    Anonymous 2:16 AM  

    This was not a fun Friday.
    Lots of tough clues
    Ya gotta be kidding
    HEGIRA ???
    You get the picture how my puzzle solving went.

    I skip M-W 2:41 AM  

    Dnf because of SE. Had Toile, and delegate, in the sense of bumping an assygnment down to a subordinate. Might have gotten Valli, since I did see "Jersey Boys" a couple of years ago, but didn't see toile, or maitre d's. Tried lip out, dip out, dig out, but not rim out.

    Earlier , for 22 d, I had the final a, and didn't hesitate on LINEAR A, a kind of Cretan writing that I think is still uninterpreted, although Lionel Ventris famously interpreted linear b half a century ago. Was sad to see it become raw data, as it had to because of rasae. @ deb, I don't really know Latin, but know adjective has to agree in number with noun, as in French.

    Hegira refers to Mohammed's flight to save himself and family, from Mecca to Medina. Dopesters also seemed obvious to me. Impressed myself by getting Tori Amos, must be from earlier puzzles.

    jae 2:47 AM  

    I've been playing golf for 50+ years and no one has ever said RIM out. It's LIP!!! Fortunately LELEGATE made no sense.

    Top easy, bottom tough.

    Gimmes for me (but not Rex): SALLYRAND and VALLI (yes it was) which corrected TOILE.

    Zippy stuff: THATSANONO, HAMFISTED, FATCATS all in NW.

    I liked it. Nice Fri. challenge but, Rex is right about ODO/DOPESTERS.

    jae 3:21 AM  

    @anoa bob -- I too was a swab and that is exactly what we did. Umbrage well taken!

    George Barany 7:05 AM  

    Spot-on writeup, Rex! The blank grid was something to behold. I too wrote TOILES for 39-across and LIP for 44-down (and yes, I tried your experiment with google of "rim out"). SALLY_RAND was a gimme to my generation (google her, especially under "images") -- a well known fan dancer -- but upon further reflection, maybe well known only because I've seen her so often in crosswords. It was also nice to see Tommie AGEE, who, a few years after being rookie-of-the-year with the Chicago White Sox, played centerfield for the Miracle Mets and made two of the all-time great catches in game 3 of the 1969 World Series at Shea.

    Continuing yesterday's "seminar" about Jim Horne's invaluable xwordinfo.com, I offer two observations.

    First, during the Will Shortz era covered by the database, SALLYRAND is a debut word but RAND has appeared 36 times, most often clued for South African currency or "The Fountainhead" author, and most recently clued for the junior senator from Kentucky, the son of GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul. You have to go back to 1997, though, to find the one and only reference to the fan dancer -- so now I'm second guessing where else I could have learned this name.

    Second, the "analyze this puzzle" mode (near the bottom of the solution page) suggests this is an across-the-board Saturday, but upon closer examination, Friday vs. Saturday numbers are quite similar. What sets this puzzle apart are far fewer black squares, and far more open squares, than are usual. Rex rightly points out the price paid for such ambition.

    Scott Thomas 7:08 AM  

    The former copy editor in me has to protest 48a. Would need to be maitres d'. (cf: brothers-in-law)

    Has Rex ever laid out his criteria for what makes a puzzle easy/medium/challenging? Does the rating just reflect how it went for HIM? I would not have thought this puzzle rated any higher than medium, maybe even easy-medium. Or did I just get lucky that my personal collection of brain trivia (Sally Rand, John Singer Sargent, Tori Amos)fit the bill here?

    ERS 7:27 AM  

    Took longer than my usual Friday time. I play a significant amount of golf and have, on too many occasions, lipped out putts. I have never
    "rimmed" out a putt. In fact, in my 30 years of golf, I have never, ever heard that phrase.
    Agree with Rex, lots of inane clues, in addition to "rim" out.
    However, loved the clue "Blood rival" having just watched a documentary on gang violence in Los Angeles.
    Scott, you got lucky I think because my collection of brain trivia does not include John Sargent or TorI Amos.

    SethG 7:27 AM  

    MEAT DIET, BEITSO/RASAE, HEGIRA/AGEE/SALLY RAND, DOPESTERS/VOILES/SARGENT/I'LL NEVER. That's what I was talking about. Still, mostly a fine solve overall.

    TELLI/SERGENT seemed more likely than TALLI/SARGENT.

    Anonymous 7:31 AM  

    If you restricted your googling to the NYTimes archive, rim (or rimmed) out has plenty of support. For basketball. Searching for "rimmed out" gave a few hundred basketball articles, for "lipped out" it was all golf.

    Oscar 7:41 AM  

    11-Down, and IT crossing IT is $#!+. Does remind me of a joke, though:
    Did you hear what happened during the stage act of Sally Rand and Billy Rose when Sally went out onstage without her fans? Billy rose and Sally ran! Hey-o!

    Anonymous 8:05 AM  

    Have played golf for 40 years. Have NEVER used or heard the term "rimmed out". So weak!

    Sue McC 8:14 AM  

    Finished it but just barely. A toughie. Swearing' To God is and oldie but goodie...worth a listen!

    The Bard 8:19 AM  

    Julius Caesar > Act III, scene I

    RUTUS: Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar's body.
    You shall not in your funeral speech blame us,
    But speak all good you can devise of Caesar,
    And say you do't by our permission;
    Else shall you not have any hand at all
    About his funeral: and you shall speak
    In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
    After my speech is ended.

    ANTONY: Be it so.
    I do desire no more.

    BRUTUS: Prepare the body then, and follow us.

    [Exeunt all but ANTONY]

    ANTONY: O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
    That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
    Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
    That ever lived in the tide of times.
    Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
    Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
    Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
    To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
    A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
    Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
    Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
    Blood and destruction shall be so in use
    And dreadful objects so familiar
    That mothers shall but smile when they behold
    Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
    All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
    And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
    With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
    Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
    Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    With carrion men, groaning for burial.

    Smitty 8:23 AM  

    I mistakenly came here first and saw "Challenging" so braced myself for an hour of staring at blank squares.
    This was my kind of puzzle - making you jump into the deep end of the pool with wild guesses, and rewarding you when you do.

    Sir Hillary 8:37 AM  

    Maybe I was so wowed by the grid that I overlooked the things people here are questioning, but I loved this one.

    -- 62 words, if I counted right -- holy cow!

    -- Love the symmetrical SAWTOOTHED and DENTALCARE

    -- The NW is lovely to behold. The 17A clue worked for me.

    -- I totally lucked out with the first letter of 11D, which was the last square I filled in. Reason? I thought the 11D clue was about cookware. Never even saw "I Hate It" until I came here.

    -- Only reason I knew SALLYRAND was that I watched "The Right Stuff" last weekend, and she is a character late in that film.

    -- Outstanding clue for 16A. Took me a while.

    -- Like others, I had LIP at 44D, and I compounded my SE problems with VACANT at 37D. Held me up for a while.

    -- Wanted HEATWAVE initially at 1A. Thank goodness I never wrote it in.

    -- I have never really heard of SEDIMENTED, DOPESTERS or HEGIRA, but the crosses got me there. There may be a sushi restaurant called Hegira near me. I could be wrong.

    This one was a blast.

    Howard B 8:56 AM  

    Odo of Lagery - the first Pope with alien shapeshifting powers. This undoubtedly caused some concern within the Vatican.

    That is all for today :).

    Cheeseguy 9:17 AM  

    Agree with the comments on Rim vs Lip. I would dare either Tim or Will (whoever decided on that moronic clue) to either go to a golf course or watch golf on tv until they heard the phrase Rim Out or Rimmed out. Fairly likely you would die first. Otherwise - I liked most of the puzzle. Funny how one awful clue/answer can nearly ruin the whole thing for you.

    jackj 9:22 AM  

    I’ve solved all 12 of Tim Croce’s puzzles and, while I don’t remember too many specific details, I do have a sense of all of them; enough to crown this one the most enjoyable of the bunch.

    After a look around the complete grid I was able to fill in key words in each of the 4 zones of the puzzle with a 9 letter goodie to boot. That’s sort of like satisfying the 5 food groups and then segueing right into dessert.

    What got me going were OCEANLINER, SAWTOOTHED, TOPSIDE, SARGENT and the 9 letter burlesque beauty who dazzled her male fans with her own fans, SALLYRAND.

    With only three obvious stretches in the fill, RASAE, ODO and PHYLA there weren’t many guesses foisted on us and there were enough familiar bits, ENO, SELA, SOS, et al to minimize any pain caused by the obscurities.

    Most fun clue was “Four-seaters, maybe?” for MAITREDS which, XWordInfo tells us, has a most celebrated lineage, (when using essentially the same clue), from Patrick Berry to Brendan Emmett Quigley to Tim Croce. “Berry to Quigley to Croce”, that’s the crossword world’s equivalent of “Tinker to Evers to Chance”.

    Nice puzzle, Tim!

    jberg 9:30 AM  

    Staring at one blank square, and having made the dELEGATE error at 44A, I guessed 'dip' out for 44D, and so finished with 2 errors. (Paitreds made no sense, but neither did any other letter I could think of). Didn't Arsenal just get RELEGATEd from the Champions League, or is that the wrong way to say it? Anyway, I just never questioned delegated.

    I liked DOPESTERS, though. To my mind, the clue refers to those trying to forecast the baseball season as spring training opens, not the winter/winner pun, which would indeed be horrible.

    SARGENT must have been a gimme for you ex-sailors, with all that museum-going experience. Arguably the greatest painter of his era, but one person's essential knowledge is another person's trivium, I guess.

    @Deb - the Romans were an uneducated bunch, almost none of whom knew English, so the absurdity of having both noun and modifier pluralized hadn't occurred to them.

    @Oscar, I can't find the IT crossing IT you refer to, but maybe you meant the GATHER IN/ICED IN crossing at 31d/45a. I should have thought that was prohibited.

    @Scott, Rex does explain his ratings from time to time. They are mostly based on his own solving time, in comparison with his average time for that day of the week.

    If you don't know of SALLY RAND, you are too clean leaving (and probably should not accept Rex's Google dare).

    Loren Muse Smith 9:35 AM  

    This was a perfect Friday for me, and I enjoyed the whole fill. I thought I had finished only to find my Ode/DePESTER mistake. HOHOHO and SOS were my toe holds, and cruising around, I was loath to put in ICEDIN since it was Friday. I wonder of some fiendish constructors purposely slip in really easy clues on Friday and Saturday because by their nature they become difficult?

    Do you think, like "bone" and "debone" (as in a chicken), "press" and "depress" can mean the same thing? I would normally say "press" a PEDAL.

    Oddly, the SE fell first for me, followed by the NE and then the NW. The whole middle and SW was inaccessible to me until I put it down for a bit and then picked it back up. SAWTOOTHED, BANTERS, LASERS, AND THEEND just jumped up and bit me on the nose. We need to add a word to the Rexicon describing that phenomenon. I thought maybe combine “after a break” with “break through” to get “afterabreakthrough,” but I don’t like it. I bet someone can come up with a great portmanteau. . .

    @Deb - I never took Latin, but I guess just like French and Spanish, the adjective has to match the noun in gender and number.

    @Scott Thomas – I had the same thought on the plural for MAITRE D’ but I think I would feel sillier saying MAITREs D’ than courts martial.

    Observation on that – we put the plural marker on such expressions on the noun: “mothers-in-law,” but not the possessive marker. I don’t think anyone would ever say, “Oh look! A coat was left behind. I bet it’s my mother’s- in- law.” Wouldn’t we say “mother in law’s?”

    Mr. Benson 9:36 AM  

    Okay, how can a four-letter baseball player from the 60s, starting with A, not be ALOU? Grrr.

    This one killed me. Big DNF. Oddly, however, I found the SE to be doable, maybe because of some lucky guesses. (That "V" from SHORELEAVE made ILLNEVER come into view pretty easily.) The NW wasn't easy for me - I had HEATWAVE in 1A. Right idea, wrong word. Ultimately the SW was my undoing; never heard of HEGIRA or SALLYRAND, plus my aforementioned AGEE/ALOU problem.

    Norm 9:43 AM  

    29D? 11D!

    chefbea 9:45 AM  

    Tough puzzle. Had to google a lot and DNF.

    Too many word I do not know. Dopester?
    And what is a crip???

    Saw toothed??? It's serrated in my kitchen.

    John V 9:47 AM  

    A tale of two puzzles here. All save for the diagonal going from NE to SW fell very easily. Finshed with a correct guess at 48A/42D, the A in SELA. Never heard of Sela Ward. I have heard RIM out. @Rex, not sure why you laugh at poor Research In Motion when you Google RIM.

    11D was interesting in that I could NOT see the answer reading down, but when I wrote it in the margin horizontially, it jumped right at me. A good reason for theme answers not going down, of course. Good indirection at 36A Ivy supporters, as was thinking and trying to force ROOETERS or some such. Hard time convincing myself that HIT @ 43D could be in a Friday puzzle, but there you go.

    I'd say medium to easy. Always facinating how idiosyncratic our experiences are, particularly to end of week puzzles.

    Anonymous 9:49 AM  

    Re: 37D: I've heard "TO LET" and "FOR RENT," but never "TO RENT."

    quilter1 10:09 AM  

    As I sat down to solve my eyes fell upon the 28D clue and SALLYRAND was my first entry. I liked everything about this puzzle--very fun, a bit challenging. I do agree that bread knives are serrated. If you have one and also own a saw, compare. Not really the same.

    Great vacation, glad to be back.
    @evil doug: Drake is up for an NIT bid, playing at the Knapp Center. We have reserved our seats.

    Matthew G. 10:26 AM  

    Three entries I'd flat-out never heard of before resulted in my worst Friday showing in ages. I ripped through the entire northern half of the grid, but then crashed and burned in the south. HEGIRA, SALLY RAND, and DOPESTERS are all entirely new things to me. Legit, now that I Google them, but entirely new. HEGIRA is perfectly fair, and even great--a word from Arabic that I'm disappointed in myself for not knowing. SALLY RAND is an old-timey performer, which puts her right in my anti-wheelhouse (located in the general vicinity of my Achilles heel), so that's just me. But I am both a sports junkie and a political junkie and I've never heard a predictor referred to as a "DOPESTER." That one just looked like was from Mars, sitting in my grid.

    Like Rex, the only part of this I thought was ultimately unfair was the ODO/DOPESTERS crossing. The rest of it is good stuff I didn't know.

    I'm not sure what Rex has against THAT'S A NO-NO -- I think that's a pretty in-the-language expression.

    I liked a ton of stuff in this puzzle, especially the NW and center of the grid. But I share Rex's sentiments about the SE.

    perfectlycromulent 10:27 AM  

    I really got jobbed by RIM.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 AM  

    What do SALLY RAND and GYPSY ROSE have in common? Sadly, only the . . . Y R. . ., accounting for my only but very long write-over.

    Also didn't help that about four times I read the clue for 22 D as, "It hasn't yet been interrupted.

    optionsgeek 10:31 AM  

    I get that a MAITRED(S) is involved in "seating" people. However, I can't see any obvious reason why "four" was chosen to be the number of sittee's. It could just as easily be three, five or twenty, right? I dislike obfuscation of this sort, where unnecessary and essentially arbitrary detail is added to the clue to throw off the user. Far better is when the obfuscation hangs together at the AHA moment. Am I missing something?

    Brian 10:45 AM  

    @loren: that's the possessive, not the plural.

    RIM is crap. MEATDIET is crap ("gee, you're looking unwell". "yes, I'm on the MEATDIET"). SAWTOOTHED is crap (it's serrated!). ILLNEVER is crap. SEDIMENTED is crap. TORENT is crap.

    Some good stuff, but all over the place...

    Beadola 10:45 AM  

    @chef bea. Bloods and Crips - rival gangs in L.A. area.

    Wood 10:52 AM  

    Nearly double-naticked on ODO/DOPESTERS and AGEE/HEGIRA, but guessed right on both. Finished with one error: tALLI/tOILES. Dang it. I want to give the constructor props for such an open grid but those crosses were just brutal. Once again this week, we're off by a day: This was a classic Saturday.

    Totally new words to me: DOPESTER, HEGIRA.

    Why do there have to be fabrics called both toile and voile? Can we outlaw fabric names and baseball players from more than 20 years ago please?

    Loren Muse Smith 10:55 AM  

    @Brian - right. What I'm saying is that whereas we can say

    The mothers-in-law are seated here.

    We cannot say

    *That's my mother's-in-law coat.

    davko 10:55 AM  

    Croce is a masterful spinner of double entendres, and there was plenty to like in trying to tease out which of many possible meanings he was getting at with so many of his clues. I somehow blazed through the NW and SE -- just landing upon nicely meshing answers, -- then got seriously ICED IN in the SW, which I nonetheless managed to solve by sheer luck.

    Learning that Tommy Agee was in the American League (Chicago White Sox) let alone a Rookie of the Year was quite a revelation, and I balked at entering the ex-Met's name for a long time (not knowing what a Hegira was).

    Didn't like GATHERED IN (31D) crossing with ICED IN (45A), not only for the double "ins," but because the clues seemed off. Being "iced in" may confine you to the home, but it's "iced up" that seizes your car engine and truly immobilizes you. Similarly, to "gather in" is a tautology; just plain "gather" works for "amass". You can look it up.

    Otherwise, a pretty good workout for a Friday.

    Wood 10:55 AM  

    @optionsgeek: A four-seater is a thing (a car, a plane); a five-seater or twenty-seater really aren't. So with the ?, I call this a fair (but tough) clue.

    Anonymous 11:04 AM  

    Got ICEDIN on ___ of Lagery
    This pope ILLNEVER know...
    Brought me to THEEND! HOHOHO!!

    Nice Friday puzzle!

    evil doug 11:04 AM  

    'Hamfisted' is such a great, vivid, easy to imagine term. It's applicable in so many arenas, but I heard it a lot among pilots *playfully teasing* each other after rough landings.

    Add 'hegira' to my rule yesterday.

    Yeah, I imagine Rex stumbled upon 'rim jobs' in Google.

    You Navy guys who spent shore leave in libraries---did you get tattoos featuring "Little Women" before you returned to your ship?

    "That's an Ono": What Lennon said when he saw other 'blokes in drag'.


    Two Ponies 11:14 AM  

    I enjoyed this challenge very much.
    Not a golfer so rim didn't bother me. For sign of availability I wanted "no ring" but waited.
    Can't believe I remembered Tori Amos, I thought Jewel sang that.
    What seemed strained to me was rootlets. Topside was OK. Remeber Sperry Topsiders?
    Nice 30 min. workout. Last letter in my grid was the G in the SW.

    chefbea 11:19 AM  

    Forgot to mention earlier..really loved the spam protection clue!!!! Still have a can of spam in the cubbard incase of a hurricane.

    Kerry 11:26 AM  

    Helps to NOT know golf, I guess. RIM was the first thing that occurred to me (didn't even know the term "lip").

    Other than challenges around MAITREDS/VALLI/VOILE and SALLYRAND, this was on the quick side for me. Always a joy to have less trouble than Rex.

    Ulrich 11:29 AM  

    Again, I had one square that I absolutely could not fill, the infamous crossing of dopester and crip--it's so frustrating when this happens.

    @loren: Add German to the inflected languages where the adjective has to match the noun in gender, number and case.

    WesIsland 11:30 AM  

    I slotted "dopesters" right in for 29 down -- was thinking of the tip sheets at horse racing tracks and their vendors shouting "get the dope on the WINNERS here."

    Bob Kerfuffle 11:36 AM  

    Heads-up to all:

    Andrea Carla Michaels has a guest puzzle at BEQ's site today.

    Ulrich 11:36 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    dk 11:39 AM  

    LIP out is the term of art not RIM out according to golf pro GF.

    Otherwise, very nice Friday outing.

    *** (3 Stars)

    Loren Muse Smith 11:42 AM  

    @Ulrich – Sie haben Recht -Entschuldigung! I was being a romance language snob, even though I enjoyed studying German a lot more than French! Mark Twain said it all,

    “Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”

    Tita 11:42 AM  

    DNF, but had fun anyway.
    All of the SE, and, my own entry for EWAHoF (Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame:
    tASERS for LASERS...
    Who else saw that segment on Colbert about Taser Soccer...
    (Anyone up for a game of Taser Tag?

    @Rex...I think I typed in every possible 3 letter-word before I finally got RIM... Don't think I'll google it - my imagination will have to suffice...

    @Anoa Bob...
    I agree - riverbanks might have silted up, or developed sediment...

    @Scott - Check Rex's FAQ for his explanation...he tries to make this an absolute scale, and not peg it to himself...

    @JohnV - I scribble in the amrgins all the time - seeing words in tehir "natural habitat - horizontal and lowercase, makes light bulbs go for for me! (And why I invented "Scratchpad" for the app).

    @ED - re: Anoa's tattos...lol!

    Ulrich 11:42 AM  

    ...but the real question is: When would one ever use the plural of tabula rasa? I mean, doesn't the whole concept imply that there is only one? From a technical point of view, of course, every correct plural may be used in a puzzle, but still, tabulae rasae smells of desperation on the part of the constructor.

    Come to think of it, it's also the genitive (possessive case) singular (and dative?). But that raises the same question: When would one use the possessive of tabula rasa?

    archaeoprof 11:43 AM  

    Really enjoyed this puzzle. Lots of "in the language" answers.

    Except for RIM, of course.

    HEGIRA is a word worth knowing in our globalized pluralistic world.

    Mel Ott 11:49 AM  

    SALLY RAND is really going back. I think my father ogled her in a World's Fair. (I'm in my seventies.)

    Here's a pic: http://www.yodaslair.com/dumboozle/sally/images/sallycol.jpg

    I thought this was a nice, interesting, straightforward puzzle until I got to the T/V Natick at square 39.

    evil doug 12:07 PM  

    Quilter: Welcome back. Hope our Bulldogs are invited. Victory beer at Peggy's?

    The Sox losing Tommy Agee to the Mets was akin to that other great Chicago trade, this time on the North Side: Lou Brock to the Cardinals for washed-up pitcher Ernie Broglio. Four months after joining the Cards they upset the Yankees in the '64 World Series, then won it all again in '67 against the Bosox. HOF inductee in 1985.

    Broglio? 7-19 after the deal....


    KRMunson 12:14 PM  

    This puzzle wouldn't give up without a fight. I agree with all the comments - lots to like, lots to dislike. I had no idea about "dopesters" or "hegira". I had "ham-handed" - never heard of "ham-fisted" before. Also, only saw "mait red" so I didn't know that this was "maitre' d" until I came here!!

    Ulrich 12:34 PM  

    @loren:...and finds himself in America--that's what happened to this literary German.

    And this is how he learned "hamfisted", after Watergate: Haldeman said that Nixon was so hamfisted with the tape recorder that he (Haldeman) always had to turn it on and often was not there when it should have been turned off. Nixon couldn't do it, and that's why we have so much material that an entire cottage industry has sprung up around it.

    ksquare 1:05 PM  

    If, like me, you grew up in the 30's you'd remember Sally Rand who danced nude with strategically place large feathery fans.
    On a European History exam:
    Q. Who was [French diplomat] Talleyrand?
    A. A famous fan dancer and stop using baby talk!

    treedweller 1:07 PM  

    Just curious, what would be the acceptable clue for ODO? I know about the Deep Space 9 character, but I question whether it is any better than a random pope name. Am I forgetting (or clueless about) something there?

    John V 1:13 PM  

    @treedweller Re: ODO clue: How about, "Meter head?"

    Two Ponies 1:20 PM  

    @ archaeoprof,
    It makes sense that you know Hegira. I'll bet it was a gimme for @foodie too.
    @ John V, Good one.

    evil doug 1:24 PM  

    Odo: Yoko wid a head code.


    Loren Muse Smith 1:30 PM  

    Odo: Someone with really stopped up nose saying, "oh no."

    oren muse 1:42 PM  

    I get now that DNF means did not finish. I have a new one for everyone: CEGS – couldn’t even get started. Well, not quite true. I did get OCEANLINER. Hellooooo Monday!

    Masked and Anonymous 1:43 PM  

    Epilogue to #31's "This is what happens when you try to take the word count down..."

    No U's.


    Masked and Anonymous 1:47 PM  

    ODO = Answer to "which letter come after N?"

    chefbea 2:07 PM  

    @oren love CEGS lol

    Bird 2:08 PM  

    Agreed with @Rex and his write-up today. I also started easy in the NW after overcoming HEATWAVE with HOTSPELL. Got DENTALCARE and little else thereafter. DNF.

    Looks like most of my bullets were already covered by previous posts: 28A should be serrated, 26D is not a verb, 44D on a golf course is LIP out. I’m not an English major or professor so the plural issues for 22A and 48A didn’t bother me – now I know. If not for the R in 2D I would have had BOOSTERS for 36A.

    I had JOSEPHINE (Baker) for 28D – did Josephine dance with fans? 31D should simply be GATHER – GATHERIN to me is tucking in your shirt.

    I object to 9D. Yes, customers sit down to try on shoes, but the typical customer walks around first shopping for something to try on. I’ve also seen people standing while trying on sandals and TOPSIDERs.

    Double captcha ethis Upson morphs into thin spouse


    Anonymous 2:19 PM  

    I too was reluctant to give up serrated in lieu of SAWTOOTHED, but for those who insist SAWTOOTHED is wrong, exactly what do you think serrated means?

    Chip Hilton 3:24 PM  

    Southeast killed me. LIP out was a given to this golfer of 50 years, so much so, that I couldn't see one of my favorite sports terms, RELEGATE. I'd love American pro sports leagues to do as football (soccer) leagues around the world do - send the bottom teams down while advancing the top teams from lower leagues. Imagine the Pirates in Triple A, replaced by the Columbus Clippers? The pressure to avoid such disgrace would be monumental.

    Different Anon 3:31 PM  

    @Anon2:19 - yes serrated and sawtooth are synonyms, but when you're in the kitchen you use a serrated knife; that's what they're called. Really surprised Wil let this one in with RIM and SAWTOOTHED and SEDIMENTED - the cluing and answer did not match and sedimented is not a valid word.

    Lewis 3:35 PM  

    @evil -- very funny tattoo comment!

    How different our wheelhouses are. One of the first words I plunked in was HEJIRA (it's also spelled that way) and I'm not sure how I knew it, but I knew that was it.

    I kept asking myself what a MAITRED was -- some kind of vehicle? My first thought was AtkinsDIET, but of course it doesn't fit. And I agree with Rex, MEATDIET just sounds plain weird. Liked the clues for 27A and 40D.

    @twoponies -- wanted NORING also
    @m&a 1:47 -- made me laugh!

    miriamb 3:36 PM  

    I had a tough time morphing "hairsalon" into SHOESTORE, having had my hair cut -while in a sitting position - just prior to solving the puzzle. I also had to shoo away the "heron", but once the STILT had waded in, all went quickly.

    Tomorrow two of my daughters and I are going into NYC to have lunch with a visiting Parisienne cousine, and the four of us will be seated by a (nonpluralized) MAITRED at Il Gattopardo (great place to splurge for a change).

    Yeah, serrated derives from serra, or saw. But IMHO serrated knives have very small serrae, while saws used in carpentry have more prominent ones.

    On to my first encounterr with the new captchas

    chefbea 4:01 PM  

    @miriamb good to see you again

    Mighty Nisden 4:08 PM  

    Slog. Total Slog.
    NW was the only area I was able to do without master google.
    I agree that RIM out is wrong for golf, but right for basketball.

    TG this week is over. Horrible horrible week. Now on to the weekend and Golf. Hope none of my putts lip out!!

    santafefran 4:10 PM  

    Like @Tobias, I was well-chuffed to solve most of this Friday puzzle in record time for me in spite of starting out with HEATWAVE, HAMHANDED AND EGRETS.

    I do miss ODO and all the other Star Trek spin-offs and their denizens.

    When I was but a toddler--2 or 3, I am told that I sometimes removed all my clothes to go au naturel and one day did so in the front yard. A neighbor came over to tell my mom that I was doing a Sally RAND act. So I always remember her!

    No SAWTOOTHED knives in my kitchen either.

    Tita 4:19 PM  

    In a moment of synchronicity, opened an email today from the Cornell Ornithology Lab, where there was an article and video on the black-necked STILT...
    who have the longest legs in the bird world relative to body size...

    Hence the name, I suppose!

    Missallaney 5:11 PM  

    Not so many Joni Mitchell fans here, eh? Hejira was her 1976 album. Wonderful stuff but not a commercial success in its day...songs were mostly long, with "Song for Sharon" over 8 minutes.

    OISK 5:24 PM  

    After about 15 minutes had everything done except for one square. Tommy Agee was easy for me - someone suggested not using baseball players from 20 years ago - fine, if they also stop using pop music stars! I never heard of Tori Amos, nor "Valli," which brought me to the one missing square . (without which, this would have been an exceptionally easy Friday for me, typically, the opposite of what Rex thinks) I had TALL _ going down, (using toile as my fabric) and Ma_treds across. I tried just about every letter, passing over "i" several times, until I saw maitreds. I got such a kick out of getting that right, only to discover that the singer I never heard of was Valli and not Talli. Still a nice puzzle, clever cluing except for "odo", -Thanks to Mr. Croce.

    joho 5:37 PM  

    Love the comments today! Much more fun than the puzzle for me.

    @Matthew G, it is so refreshing how you don't blame the constructor or the editor for what you don't know, even when some of those things are pretty darn arcane.

    I didn't know lots today and didn't finish but I do admire Tim Croce and all of you who came to THEEND successfully.

    However, RIM out is like chalk on a blackboard!

    Anonymous 5:37 PM  

    Had halfassed for one down and wouldnt let it go . Dnf for me!!!

    Doc John 6:13 PM  

    Surprised that coming here after finishing a Friday in only 2 sittings that Rex rated it as Challenging. Hm, maybe there's hope for me yet! I think today's "victory" comes from the fact that all of Rex's WTFs were my gimmes.
    Frankly, SALLY RAND is more well-known than people were alluding to here and RASAE was my first entry.
    Finally, ODO was the name of a shape-shifter character played by Rene Auberjonois on the long running Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    Overall, a fun puzzle with some lively fill and not too much garbage.

    Sparky 6:22 PM  

    DNF--four little boxes. HyGeRA first. Fixed the I, erased the y/_ASERS. 48A _AETREDS. North West went in first, then SALLYRAND. Wanted serrated also. Put down, picked up couple of times.

    Whenever I have OILES I just wait for the down as with OTRo/a. Shooed away egrets too. Like @Wesisland thought of touts giving tips at horse races.

    Oh, @jae and Anoa Bob. At Fleet Week the Met and Carnegie Hall are so crowded I just have to go hang out at Down The Hatch.

    JenCT 6:27 PM  

    SE was brutal!

    @Bob K: thanks for the heads-up

    SEDIMENTED is indeed a valid word; I remember it from Chemistry classes - such as, "The beaker held the sedimented remains of the soil sample."

    Took me forever to get MAITRE DS.

    Hmph 6:46 PM  

    SEDIMENTED may be a valid word, but I still don't like it. Hmph!

    I like a challenge, but c'mon: SAWTOOTHED knives?
    A golf ball DOES NOT RIM OUT.
    ORATES for Holds forth? Why not CHAIR?
    PHYLA is too close to HEGIRA - natick?

    And don't get me started on the captchas. Double hmph!

    skua76 7:57 PM  

    @Bob K,
    Thanks for pointing out Andrea's puzzle...it was fun! Even though I had a DNF...don't know my Irish statesmen! Good one Acme!

    This puzzle, a disaster in the SE. I ended up with miLLI for 39D...

    Tita 8:02 PM  

    @Sparky - lol re: Fleet Week!

    @SantafeFran...I will forevermore be able to remember SALLYRAND, thanks to your story!

    @bird - thx - Josephine Baker is the image that came to mind for the fan dancing clue, but couldn't think of her name.

    chefwen 8:33 PM  

    Husband gave me LIP for 44D, half an hour later, Honey, I don't think your LIP is right. I KNOW that one is right, DON'T take it out. But Honey, I don't thing LELEGATE is a word and PAITREDS makes no sense. Finally got RIM but his nibs was. not. happy. His final comment was "that's Bullsh*t"

    michael 10:24 PM  

    voiles? I had toiles and am glad to see that I am not alone. My other mistake was staring at ma-treds, doing the alphabet, and missing "i"

    Got stuck for a while with Fred Lynn as rookie of the year. But he was 14 in 1966...

    Anonymous 11:32 PM  

    What a surprise to see SALLY RAND in today's crossword. I knew she was a hit with the guys at the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair, but had no idea she was NYT puzzle-worthy.

    I teach neonatology. That's a branch of medicine dealing with the care of newborn infants. Not terribly long ago, the care of babies born prematurely was not something that hospitals were involved with. In fact, in 1933, the place you were most likely to encounter a living preterm baby was at a carnival attraction. The Chicago World's Fair had such an attraction titled "Living Babies in Incubators".

    The live baby exhibit was fairly popular, and was located not very far from Ms. Rand's very popular show. On more than one occasion Ms. Rand was harassed by law enforcement for her paucity of attire. Once, in her defense, she pointed to the nearby building containing incubators and said, “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. They wear even less clothes in that exhibit over there.”

    I get the impression she was quite the character ... and very entertaining!


    Achieves Chigger Meatdiets 12:23 AM  

    Hand up for tALLI/tOILE :(

    Too many plurals for me, that were sort of cheater squares, but worse, sort of fake ones...
    I sort of agree that the S is misplaced in MAITREsD', and tabulae RASAE...but tricky since they are Latin and French and the plurals are sort of going by American spellings, but it seems reverse snob hoi toity...
    Like, I'll use a Latin plural, but not one that would ever be used...and a French one, but not technically correct in the original language :(
    So add to those SLAMS/PEDALS, TINS/SITCOMS, BANTERS/ROOTLETS, MAITREDS/DOPESTERS (on pot?), CANCELS/TASERS and even ORATES/SOS is borderline and this comes across slightly more sophisticated than it might have rights to.

    Ok, now Tim can go to BEQ's site and make fun of mine!

    I'm almost positive I learned who SALLYRAND was from crosswords as a child... i think fandancer Sally was in theTV Guide puzzle at least once a week.

    Oddly, i made THREE J mistakes: HEjIRA, and instead of SITCOMS i had JeTsOnS, crossing with jeTseTS for FATCATS...had I been right, I would have complained about two JETS crossing, which can be very dangerous!

    And yes, BEQ and I raised a glass today in Central Square with Jooooon, and the most adorable baby girl, had she a beard would be a dead ringer for her proud papa.

    Shoot , just realized I had a SECOND wrong square...
    tASER/tECH...i was just going to ask why a tECH is not a good looker. Oy.

    Interesting to make so many J/T mistakes...I probably thought this puzzle was written by Jim Croce.
    Speaking of which I saw payphones today and was shocked.

    Trying to find something I liked...CHIGGER in a creepy sort of way, and the whole NONO, HOHOHO pair.

    Glad to see there are so many erudite former swabbies here! Maybe the ones who goofed around on SHORELEAVE don't do Friday puzzles, or write into blogs about them...

    Anonymous 7:34 AM  

    So, in baseball, do you refer to RsBI?

    Anonymous 8:10 AM  

    I'm probably too late to have anyone read this, but can someone please explain LECH as "hardly a good looker"? I don't see anything in the dictionary, and haven't seen any comments above about it.

    joho 9:21 AM  

    anonymous 8:10, a LECH is somebody who ogles a woman in an unsavory manner.

    joho 9:22 AM  

    "Did you see how that guy was looking at that young woman? What a LECH!"

    Z 10:00 AM  

    anon@8:10 - short for lecher.

    Anonymous 10:17 AM  

    ... which is a contraction of LECHer.

    Anonymous 10:23 AM  

    @anon 8:10 here:

    Thank you for those replies. I guess I knew that had to be it. But the spelling is "letch". I see a google hit with "lech" as an alternate spelling, but it is in neither Merriam-Webster's 3rd International, nor the OED.

    Seems like a flat-out error to me.

    Anonymous 6:32 PM  

    This one was tough, but "rim out" is legitimate golf jargon. I don't play, but I watched many tournaments on TV with my ex whose entire family were golf nuts.

    Peter C. 7:20 AM  

    @Deb: Tabulae rasae is the correct Latin plural form. Like most Indo-european languages, in Latin adjectives are declined to agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify. English is something of an exception in this regard.

    nebraska doug 10:53 AM  

    I finally gave up on this one this morning, only a few letters missing in the SE. Done by RIM and VOILES, which i was 100% positive had to be LIP. Glad to see others agree. Had TOILES, which I knew had to right, I'd remembered seeing it before. Ugh!
    Knew HEGIRA from the Joni Mitchell album HEJIRA. SALLY RAND, never heard of her. Fun, challenging puzzle.

    Lola505 2:00 PM  

    As a golfer, I agree with the others, @jae, ERS, several Anonynouses, et al., RIM out has NEVER been used, either by golfers on the course nor by TV golf commentators, therefore I DNF.

    I also call "foul" on DOPESTERS. What? I had Tipsters, which of course didn't work with SAWTOOTHED.

    Maybe it's just me ... DNF today's SUDOKU, either. :(

    Spacecraft 2:02 PM  

    Big hand up for lipout! That gave me a double fit of confusion down there; when I saw that "lelegate" made no sense, I went "Aha! It's DELEGATE!" Leaving me with DIP out. And then at last I saw the ultra-tricky clue meant the guy who "seats" two...or three...or how-many-ever. Wow, what a convoluted clue! So: DIM out? Hmmm. A light bulb, maybe, but a putt? And then at last, that bulb turned on. Not delegate, but RELEGATE. So 44d is one inky mess, but I wound up with the goods.

    A fond memory of college days left me with a great word in today's puzzle. Late at night in the dorm basement, a bunch of us played games. Many nights it was Risk--and there was one "spoiler" in the group who never tried to expand, but just took his "easy victory" (and woe betide the guy who wouldn't leave him one!) and lumped his army in one territory--usually the Ukraine. Then when he had amassed a huge number, he'd go on what he called his "horrendous hegira," picking out an opponent with a strong position and sacrificing his troops to destroy it. Silly? Well, it beats drinking yourself to death.

    Gypsy did use fans in her later career, but it was SALLYRAND who practically trademarked them. No confusion there. And I liked that she was sandwiched between TOPSIDE and RAWDATA.

    @anoabob: really? Museums and libraries? What day is this...it's not April 1, is it? I get so confused here in syndiland.

    11d was another brutal clue; I was trying to picture some weird-looking cooking utensil for a while. Oh, THAT kind of "pan." *groan*

    Afetr getting SALLY, I really wanted SERRATED for the bread knife; short by 2. SERRATEDGE? Can't be. The eventual SAWTOOTHED left me wondering: that sounds way more dangerous than a bread knife.

    Another hand up for the unfamiliarity of DOPESTERS, but it forced its way in on crosses. Some mean clues made this medium-challenging; but for the LIP/DIP/DIM/RIM confusion, I might have called it straight medium. I did enjoy the solve.

    Solving in Seattle 2:47 PM  

    Damn, I really thought I was going to trump the prime-timers (thank you @Dirigonzo) with the DOPSTERS explanation. I got through about 2/3s of the comments thinking no one was going to stumble on to it. Damn you @Wesisland! Horse race tip sheet hawkers.

    Anybody up for a friendly game of tASER tag?

    Who has ever seen a sign "TORENT?" Different clue needed here.

    HEGIRA in a crossword a day after DIASPORA.

    Man, did I ever learn a lot of arcane latin grammar from today's comments.

    I play about 100 rounds of golf a year. Never, never, never heard "RIM out." Ever.

    BEITSO, Mr. Croce, I Will not say IHATEIT, rather that I enjoyed this puz, without which over a hundred entertaining comments would not have been generated.

    @acme, I'm a little disappointed you didn't make more of HOHOHO NONO.

    and finally, ROOTLETS - really?

    My mind is now a TABULA(E) RASA(E).

    capcha: morion. I feel like one most of the time.

    rain forest 3:07 PM  

    I really liked this easy/tough puzzle, and put "rim" in right off the bat (I have used that terminology). Like everyone, I found the SE intransigent, but the only answer I can't quite understand, even though I shrugged my shoulders and put in, was "I'll never". Had "talli" but then realized that the only singer I've heard of whose name ends in "-alli" is "Valli", so then "voiles" appeared. I can't understand the vitriol over "Odo". Big deal. The crosses delivered that word. All in all, much fun.

    Ginger 3:35 PM  

    The toughest part of being lost in the twilight zone of syndi-land is that most everything has been said, and said better than I ever could. What I find interesting is one solver's wheelhouse, is another's impossible dream, right AGEE? I knew Sally Rand from the 'n', and Tommy Agee was a gimmie. As was said earlier, if sports clues are disallowed, then ban the pop music clues (anything after about 1960) too! ;)

    I must admit that I have many times used the phrase "That's a no no", much to my kids, grand kids and great grand kids dislike.

    A golf ball lips out, (much too often...ugh) a basketball rims out. Nuff said. I completed the puzzle, that is I filled all the squares, unfortunately, some have the wrong letter in them.

    But the object of doing these things is to have fun, and I did. You don't spit into the wind...oops, wrong Croce.

    olfuddud 5:17 PM  

    Maitreds? Ah, the futility.

    Dirigonzo 8:43 PM  

    I got RIM out from the crosses and don't know enough about golf terminology to question it - although I suspect "Urban Dictionary" would provide an unsavory alternate definition for the term.

    As to the rest of the grid, the NW quadrant fell quickly but my success ended there - that whole swatch from the NE to SW remained largely blank, or wrong. I blame it on the egreTS who would not leave their perch atop the grid and so hid everything beneath them. And even though I did manage to get SAWTOOTHED right it still seemed so wrong (is that a song?).

    I'll chalk this one up as a lesson in humility and move on. Good puzzle, but this solver was not up to the task.

    Anonymous 11:45 PM  

    I'll add myself to the list of former USN types who went to zoos, museums, etc. while on shore leave. On the ship there were 5000 men - I wanted to go where they weren't whenever I could.

    I finished the SE first, while the SW was almost a total DNF for me. If obscurity is a virtue, this one's going straight to paradise.

    Anonymous 12:37 PM  

    Challenging? I thought this was fairly easy for a Saturday, for the most part. That said, I need to learn more about curtain fabrics. I had the OIL in place at 39A and decided that must mean DOILYS (which of course is stupid on at least a couple of levels).
    That led me to DYLAN at 39d, primarily because Queen Mary (She's my friend) put him in my head. I wrestled with the timing of Dylan's first Christian album, though, so when I'LL NEVER came into view, Dylan became DELLA. Which also didn't look right, contextually. But she stayed there, so I lose.

    So I suppose if your definition of Challenging is breezing through 98% but stumbling on one word (well, three words), then it's challenging.

    Anonymous 12:42 PM  

    It's me, anonymous, from right up above. I forget that doing a Friday puzzle on Saturday morning does not make it a Saturday puzzle. But I still found this medium at best for a Friday.

    Out to the driveway now to fetch my Saturday puzzle. (I need to get me a dog)

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