Andre playwright William / SAT 4-21-12 / Cats Tony winner Trevor / Olden dagger / Reprimander of Miss Gulch / Kirk who played first big-screen Superman / Erhard succeeded him in 1963 / 1982 1991 Pulitzer winner fiction / Four-time Gold Glove Award winner Boone / Bug about bills / Film composer Clausen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: William DUNLAP (41D: "André" playwright William) —

William Dunlap (1 February 1766 – 28 September 1839) was a pioneer of the American theater. He was a producer, playwright, and actor, as well as a historian. He managed two of New York's earliest and most prominent theaters, the John Street Theatre (from 1796–98) and the Park Theatre (from 1798–1805). He was also an artist, despite losing an eye in childhood.
He was born in Perth AmboyNew Jersey, the son of an army officer wounded at the Battle of Quebecin 1759. In 1783, he produced a portrait of George Washington, now owned by the United States Senate, and later studied art under Benjamin West in London.[1] After returning to America in 1787, he worked exclusively in the theater for 18 years, resuming painting out of economic necessity in 1805. By 1817, he was a full-time painter.[2]
In his lifetime he produced more than sixty plays, most of which were adaptations or translations fromFrench or German works. A few were original: these were based on American themes and had American characters. However, he is best known for his encyclopedic three-volume History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, which was published in 1834, and which is now an invaluable source of information about artists, collecting, and artistic life generally in the colonial and federal periods.
• • •

A pretty solid offering from Mr. Silk, despite the preponderance of names. One of the namiest puzzles I've seen in a while. Some are well known (QUAYLE, ZANE GREY, AUNTIE EM, UPDIKE) (2D: Deliverer of the 1992 "Murphy Brown" speech; 33D: "The Vanishing American" novelist, 1925; 15A: Reprimander of Miss Gulch; 42D: 1982 and 1991 Pulitzer winner for fiction), some less so (NUNN) (20A: "Cats" Tony winner Trevor), some familiar to me but but maybe less so to others (BRET, ALFS) (48D: Four-tim Gold Glove Award winner Boone; 30D: Film composer Clausen and others), and some completely outside my zone of name-familiarity (DUNLAP, NESSEN, ALYN) (41D: "André" playwright William; 43D: Ford's press secretary; 10D: Kirk who played the first big-screen Superman). I found the whole thing pretty easy, though my time was almost right at my 5-week Saturday average (today, 9:41 on paper). Felt like I flew through everything from the NE to SW, and built the other corners somewhat more methodically, especially the SE (where I finished). That corner was rough. There were two names I didn't know (I filled in DUNLAP toward the end without ever seeing the clue, thinking it was the sporting good company ... which is actually DUNLOP). Then there were a bunch of Acrosses where I got the first part easily but struggled to get the tail. UP ... ? OVER ... ? WIDE ... ? I had UPSETS for 49A: Affects radically at first, but then somehow I really, really felt SEATO had to be the answer at 46D: Defense grp. formed in 1954 (this is remarkable bec. I am Terrible at remembering these mid-century political acronyms). Testing SEATO allowed me to get all the troublesome Acrosses. Also helped that DUN was a gimme (41A: Bug about bills). One of those weird words that I rarely hear, but that has stuck with me. I first learned it as a color. Specifically, the color of the titular cow in a book my parents once read to me called (wait for it...) "The Book of the Dun Cow." I have no memory of the book, but I see now that it was loosely based on Chaucer's "Nun's Priest's Tale." This is an interesting piece of information to someone whose dissertation was in large part on Chaucer.

I don't understand the clue for SQUADS (40D: Some quiet riots). Oh, dang, I just got it. "Quiet" is a verb. Wow. Good one. Does it seem weird to anyone else that "International University" is part of the [Home of Texas A&M] clue? Is that a different university from the big football school? Oh, wow, yes, I should've known / remembered that *the* Texas A&M is in College Station. I was surprised to find out that I know the word "MAZURKA," or have heard of it at least (31A: Pole dance?). Had the "-RKA" and just threw the rest across (tentatively — it's funny to look at my grid and see what's faint or tiny vs. what's bold or big; the "MAZ" in this answer is kind of wee, while the final two Ns in NUNN are exploding out of their squares, probably because they were an emphatic, "aha" correction of NUTT).

Clue on ATLASES (34A: Their scales aid in location), like the clue on SQUADS, mystified me til just now. [Bit of rough housing] was also hard to grasp, though I did catch on to that one eventually (LEAN-TO). I think this is SNEE's second day in a row. He needs to hit the showers and stay there for a while now. Hey, is ADENAUER the guy who always appears in clues for ALTE? Yes, he was called "Der ALTE" or "the old one." That's how I know him. No idea how I knew LES Brown and his Band of Renown, but I did (7D: Brown with the Band of Renown). Well, I 2/3 did. I wrote in LES, but part of me thought "... is it WES?"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I call your attention to a very thoughtful blog post by 5-time American Crossword Puzzle Champion Tyler Hinman, in which he has some provocative things to say about the quality of fill in recent crosswords. The comments section is full of very smart agreement and dissent. I also call your attention to the *possibility* that CBS Evening News will air a piece about me this Sunday during the 6:30pm broadcast. But this story has been bumped more times than a rush-hour subway rider, so who knows? If I get a definitive indication that it's airing, I'll let you know.


jae 12:07 AM  

Wow six in a row!!! (Although I was not a huge fan of Wed.).   This is one of the best Sats. in quite a while.   No need to point out the obvious zippiness, it's everywhere.   Easy-med for me, about the same as yesterday's.

1d didn't fool me at all as I confidently put in TSTRAP as my first entry.  I erased it 5 seconds later when I read the 2d clue.   Only other erasures were SockS for SHOES and UPsetS for UPENDS.

And, the Rabbit series is really worth the read if you haven't already.

It seems like there is a kinda theme here with stuff like ENRAPTURED uncovered pole dances under wraps..... Perhaps someone will....

Clark 12:49 AM  

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice. Ok, that is pretty obscure. One of semi-puzzle partner's favorite movies is An Unmarried Woman. Is this the right blog?

Masked and Anonymo10Us 1:23 AM  

thUmbsUp for tax week! Never thought I'd ever be sayin' that. This puz in particular was pretty taxing, but lots of good, clean suffering fun. Next week has a mighty tough act of 15x15's to follow.

chefwen 1:24 AM  

@Clark - HUH?

After last Sunday's excruciating workout the puzzle Gods got together and decided to give us a weeks worth of fun filled, action packed puzzles and they sure did deliver. Bravo!

Of course I had to Google to get a toe hold (it's Saturday, after-all)but once I got in it was sheer pleasure.

qlf 2:33 AM  

Learn something new every day—if asked to provide a plural of 'aurora' (aside from 'auroras,' like a good English-speaker) I would have gone with AURORAE BOREALES, for the noun-adjective agreement. But apparently that hasn't been done since the 19th century, if Google hits are any indication? Sic transit, &c.

Clark 3:19 AM  

@chefwen -- I thought I would start the ball rolling on the question, Why the picture of Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice? At the same time, I didn't want to just give it away.

jae 3:23 AM  

@Clark -- 56a TRYSTS.

Adenauer Quayla Michaels 3:44 AM  

Lots of MISSTeps, DO I cARE? No.
Enjoyed as each showed itself.

Really wanted ODD Socks, seems so much more likely than ODD SHOES...I mean, really.

NESSEN rings a very dim bell, nice palindromic name, as is, almost NUNN...that I messed up as NUNa.

Had moment of synchronicity...writing in ELOPED as someone on TV was saying ANTELOPE. W-e-i-r-d.

Nice and crunchy, lots of Qs, Z, J, Ks...pangram short one X. LIked the QUINT and SQUAD clues which I also didn't get till I got.
Don't like DYNAST without the second Y! Makes me feel incomplete, but overall, liked it lots.

Bleedover SNEE.
Oh! LOVED JUST SAYIN!!!! That's got to be the seed!

foodie 5:28 AM  

The TRYST in a LAREDO motel felt depressingly seedy. The place REEKED of a stale odor that EMANATEd from an UPENDED ashtray. Cigarette BURNs all over the carpet. A SANDAL dangled from the lamp. No wonder it ended with a SQUABBLE... Her family always came between them, wanted to UNKNOT their relationship, made DERISIVE comments that ATE AT him... it felt hopeless.

But he decided to BEAT BACK the BEAST and fight for their future. "I love you", he said. "My heart is WIDE OPEN. WANT TO ELOPE with me? Let's get out of here and go to Alaska. I DARE you!"

To his shock, she agreed! They traveled so far to the north, it looked like a different universe- clean, shimmering, full of NACRES accents. OVERTAKEn with joy, they went out NAKED AS JAYBIRDs and danced the MAZURKA in the rain. Then they laid down and watched a beautiful double RAINBOW surprise. They made love all night long, and were awakened by an amazing light show... "AURORA BOREALIS on our wedding night!" she exclaimed. "This ain't LAREDO any more!"

kirble 6:40 AM  


I was thinking the same thing. It really should be AURORAE BOREALES if they're going to go the "aurorae" route.

And, for the record, "auroras boreales" (550K) gets a lot more hits than "aurorae borealis" (21K) or "aurorae boreales" (5K)

Z 7:15 AM  

I finished without a google and few writeovers, so fully expected an Easy rating. JUST SAYIN.

I have a basket of ODD SockS in the laundry room, but all the shoes in this house are matched. JUST SAYIN. (alright - enough - it really is an annoying phrase)

Finished the north as if it were a Monday, but SockS and not having coming up with the BACK half of BEATBACK slowed me down through the middle. MISSTeps didn't help in the SW. ADENAUER popped into my brain even with the snotty Do I cARE trying to fool me. Finally came at it out of the SE with SUPE to UPDIKE giving me enough to see the two eights. Fixing aVI to OVI finally showed me AURORAE BOREALIS. My last two letters were the AR in tin WARE.

@foodie - nice story. I wonder if the lovers were ZANE GREY and AUNTIE EM.

Z 7:17 AM  

"not having come up with" or "not coming up with"

Hey - it's early.

Leslie 8:13 AM  

My only write-over was replacing "Aunt Mame" (yes, I know it's "Auntie Mame") with AUNTIE EM. I was so certain that Miss Gulch was Mame's pregnant secretary that I was determined to squash Mame in there somehow.

Thanks for the SQUAD explanation. I didn't understand why that was the correct answer.

Ditto on wondering why BOREALIS isn't also pluralized.

So, so wanted 30A to be a deodorant rather than a pain reliever, but ALEVE finally revealed itself.

Fun puzzle! I always like Barry Silk's clues.

Glimmerglass 8:25 AM  

@Ms. Michaels. Just what I thought. I loved JUST SAYIN'.
I had bad START for MISSTART, but that was okay, because I somehow remembered a Polish dance as a bAZURKA (probably thinking of bouzouki), which was mostly right, and then 39A had to be SENS.

orangeblossomspecial 8:26 AM  

9A Start the day with a few cute Smothers Brothers routines, including Streets of LAREDO.

7D Rexie didn't know LES Brown, so here is Sentimental Journey. Doris Day does the vocal.

Jimmie Lunceford had a version of 31A Yard Dog MAZURKA. Not the traditional Pole Dance.

jberg 8:27 AM  

The fun of this one was mostly in the trick clues, together with the beautiful long acrosses and all the tough letters. NAKED AS A JAYBIRD would have been my first answer, if only I were braver - but I didn't DARE write it in until I got ODD SockS at 14D. I sort of vaguely remembered Trevor NUNN, and the JU sounded like JUST something - so that was enough for me.

Chopin wrote about a gadzillion MAZURKAs, so that one's a gimme if you ever tried to learn piano; and ADENAUER is worth remembering - creating a more-or-less democratic West Germany out of the ruins of Naziism - but I guess you have to be old.

Writeovers: autO for IDIO (but I crossed it our right away, when I got ODD SockS for ODD SHOES), via for OVI, and shANTy for LEAN-TO. Also DERISory for DERISIVE. And I never noticed that PRY Out didn't work with PILAF, so I finished with an error.

Now to UNKNOT the AURORAE question. It's the aurorae as a whole that are up North -- in fact, it's pretty hard to think of them as singular -- so I guess it has become IDIOmatic to use the singular adjective to describe the whole phenomenon.

Also pretty hard to think of NACRES as plural, by the way - sort of like saying "there are a lot of oils in Texas." That's about my only gripe with this fine puzzle.

dk 8:30 AM  

Sigh, remembered Miss Gulch as the Riverdale High teacher for Archie, couple that with falling prey to ODDsock (as did my beloved Andrea). Did I mention dirk as opposed to the correct SNEE?

My performance, summed up by 54A: REEKED. A great Saturday experience.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Thank you Barry

Nakitab 9:12 AM  

I enjoy the comments as much as Rex's commentary. Today was particularly good. I knew who it was, but couldn't think of Dan Quayle's name for the longest time, so NE was where I finished. My favorite? Just sayin'.

Sir Hillary 9:18 AM  

Starting with QUAYLE, the NW took me all of 45 seconds, including the wonderful NAKEDASAJAYBIRD. I was anticipating a lightning-fast solve and, since this was a BCS puzzle, declaring myself a super-genius.

Um, no. Wile E. Coyote is more like it. Took a while to get through the rest, due to BCS's typical subtlety and misdirection as well as my error of SHANTY at 9D, which killed me for a long time. Eventually got through the whole thing with only that one write-over. Thank goodness I knew MAZURKA from another puzzle I did a few years ago.

Really a good puzzle. I didn't even notice the preponderance of proper names until I read Rex's review. Brilliant clues for 21A, 35D, 38D and especially 40D.

joho 9:23 AM  

I was thinking today would either be a Patrick Berry or a Barry Silk in keeping with the excellence of this week and voila!

This is an alphabetical delight with super clever cluing and fantastic fresh answers. JUSTSAYIN. Love NAKEDASAJAYBIRD, too. This many great words in a puzzle just cries out for a story to be told ... thanks @foodie!

However most people would walk out of the house wearing a pair of ODDSocks not ODDSHOES! I mean, that would be really ODD bordering on nuts!

Thank you Barry and again, Will, for a great Saturday solve!

evil doug 9:25 AM  
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evil doug 9:28 AM  

If I'm Will, I quit right now, on top. (But not "king of the world"; begone, Titanic...)

With ACME+Z: Odd socks over odd shoes. More fun to say, too.

Went with el pasO early. Clever 'lean-to' clue saved me there. Still don't know if it's Kirk Alyn or Alyn Kirk, but nobody cares about either one of 'em.

'Flew united'---mile high club?

'dynamo' at first---one of those turbines in an old power house?

Do I care? No, but Do I dare?

Very nice clues with 'finishing touch on a diamond'=tag and the health conscious taking the stairs.

'tortured' will raise the hackles of the breakfast testers. Clever clue, though.

'uncommon delivery' had me thinking plural---twins? then quads?---before figgerin' a single quint.

Too nice. Lovely week. Much obliged.


jackj 9:34 AM  

It seems like Will Shortz has been making the weekend themeless puzzles much more accessible than usual, (read “easier” for “much more accessible”), and hopefully more people are trying to solve them but, if you like your Saturday puzzles as tough as kangaroo jerky, you’re out of luck.

Solving this puzzle’s questions began with a tentative T STRAP at 1 down, (which quickly went to SANDAL when he of the “e” in “potato(e)”, Dan QUAYLE preempted it at 2 down), the NA at 17 across was then enough to make it an easy fill-in for NAKEDASAJAYBIRD and from there it was a straight line to the finish.

Where the JAYBIRD entry provided the means to fill the upper half of the puzzle, MAZURKA and ATLASES, (both cleverly but too obviously clued), performed the same role for the lower half and even AURORAEBOREALIS was readily apparent, (notwithstanding it was glowing in the puzzle’s south), after ADENAUER and ZANEGREY joined the fill.

Still in all, an enjoyable puzzle, (which would have been more so if the misdirects had done more misdirecting).

JUSTSAYIN’, (oops, sorry, wasn’t that phrase banned from use on this blog recently?)

jackj 9:43 AM  

Rex raises obscurity to a new level with the picture of "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and it must mean that MAZURKA reminded blogmeister and film buff 31* of Paul Mazursky, director of the film.

quilter1 10:00 AM  

I think ODD SockS is more likely, too, so kept it in too long. Great Saturday puzzle, though. Agree with the medium rating. Fresh and fun.

It took forever to remember QUAYLE's name although I could see him in my mind's eye. Forgettable vp as most are.

Felt like an idiot when ALEVE finally appeared, as I also wanted a deodorant name and ALEVE is a sponsor of Jeopardy! which I watch faithfully.

Pettifog is a great word and fun to say.

Perhaps I have proved I'm not a robot well enough since the captchas have been more legible lately.

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

@foodie: In my mind, I've already drawn the cover for your new novel. The ending is the absolute best! What a good fun laugh this a.m.
Well I would like to start by saying a huge congrats to all who finished this. I had a terrible time with the proper names and wanted to call Natick at 41, 42 and 43D. I stared at that corner till my eyes burned. Got UPDIKE but DUNLAP and NEESEN were persona non grata.
I'm curious - why is a JAYBIRD naked as opposed to say, a crow?
Had to Google most of the proper names. Once I got those (about 6 of them),I was able to finish.
Great clues, great answers but a BEAST of a puzzle.

Doris 10:19 AM  

@Leslie: You were thinking of Agnes Gooch in "Auntie Mame." (Why do I know this, and why am I bothering to mention it?)

KRMunson 10:22 AM  

I agree with @jackj - Saturdays seem like they are getting easier. Works for me!! At least I have a chance of solving them now. But they are the best way (that I know of) to practice for the hardest puzzle in the ACPT. Those are tougher than kangaroo jerky (thanks for that, @jackj!)

Still, you can't beat a BSilk puzzle. Love the cluing!

JaxInL.A. 11:20 AM  
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archaeoprof 11:21 AM  

NUNN/ALYN cross was a total Natick for me. Ran through the vowels first, then the consonants and N jumped right out.

Now (like @Evil) my inquiring mind wants to know: was it ALYN Kirk or Kirk ALYN?

@Foodie: are the lovers in your story going to have QUINTs? Maybe in the sequel...

JaxInL.A. 11:27 AM  

If you just can't get enough of Barry Silk, he has today's L.A. Times puzzle as well.

JaxInL.A. 11:33 AM  
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JaxInL.A. 11:38 AM  
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wyonative 11:40 AM  

Way to pop my balloon, @jackj. I thought maybe, just maybe, after years of effort, that I have finally gotten a handle on Saturday puzzles, since I finished this one in half a morning. Ah well, I have long realized I'll never be one of the elite.

JaxInL.A. 11:43 AM  

@archeoprof et al:

Kirk Alyn Superman movie trailer

He did a very popular 15-episode series 1948-50.

mac 11:57 AM  

Another excellent Barry Silk puzzle! Couldn't print it out for some reason, and the IHT doesn't give us the Saturday, so not quite as much fun....

Great story, @Foodie! I also wanted a deodorant for the Aleve spot, must be something wrong with that ad line. An odd shoe, especially on the side of the road, freaks me out.

Just returned to Hamburg from Berlin and its amazing new Hauptbahnhof. My wurst moment was when someone talked me into trying a sausage with red curry sauce (;-) Shamik!).

Wood 12:27 PM  

@Glimmerglass: bAZURKA means "postal" in Polish!

Agree, Saturdays seem to be getting easier.

Tita 12:32 PM  

Finished before noon!!!!!!! No googling, no errors at end!

@Foodie - you win the Xwordese Pulitzer!
(Though dancing naked in the rain in Alaska makes me QUAYLE!)

Forgetting to come back and fix MISSTep_ made 51A eURO-something - took me forever to realize - then AURORAEBOREALIS filled my brain!
You could be a stinker if you pEEKED...)

Hand up for Arrid - funny how many of us did that!
Was suspecting Rasperries were of the Bronx cheer type of a recent puzzle.
Legions were tons-->Army-->ALOT.

Thanks Mr. Silk. Sublime clueing.
(P.S. Barry - my crowd-sourced grid shows the most clues tagged as "Nice" that I have yet seen on a grid...)

Norm 12:59 PM  

@qlf/kirble/leslie: My daughter (a junior at Dartmouth majoring in classical languages) opts for AURORAE BOREAL-E-S as well. Still a fun puzzle, no? Despite the near-Natick at NUNN/ALYN. C'mon, you couldn't have given us old Sam? Who the heck would name a kid ALYN anyway?

Loren Muse Smith 1:16 PM  

Thank you, @Gill I.P. and @ wyonative – I feel better about the mighty struggle I had with this one. That proper noun fest in the SE was especially tough.

Great puzzle, though, and fair enough. @Tita – I do have to say that so, so many of the clues were “nice,” especially the ones for RAINBOW and LEAN TO.

@Evil – had “el pasO” forever.

@qlf – how interesting about the plural. I wanted BOREALeS, too.

I really like the word SQUABBLE.

Thanks, Barry!

foodie 1:21 PM  

Thanks for the comments about my puzzle story, and thanks also to Joho for creating the genre. Maybe because I finished the puzzle as night was turning into dawn that I was struck by its unusual combination of film noir atmosphere and luminosity-- hence the contrasting scenes.

When you can write a puzzle story, no matter how silly, it says that the puzzle is filled with real words and that they are evocative. So to me, it's a compliment to the constructor, saying thanks for the extra dimension they created.

I really like that people want to add more elements from the puzzle! Maybe we can all collaborate sometime, like in Improv, someone starts with a sentence, another adds to it, and see how many words we can incorporate and still make sense:)

tea 1:24 PM  

Easiest Saturday ever, was surprised Rex gave it a medium rating. For me at least, the lack of sports was a welcome relief. I had a hard time erasing shanty - I had three crosses that I were correct because of it.

joho 1:33 PM  

@foodie, I couldn't have said it better myself. Whenever I'm compelled to write a "puzzle story" -- love that term -- it is exactly because the constructor filled the puzzle with so many wonderful words. And, you are right, it is a huge compliment to the constructor.

fergus 2:21 PM  

Puzzle seemed skewed to those in their fities, so very few bumps in the road for me. Just petty stuff like PAYOFF (not Out) and Burn (not Boil). Now heading off to Mr. Hinman's zone.

syndy 2:26 PM  

having fallen into most of the missteps Mr. Silk so deftly led us into,I was amazed by my finish time!as always-such a pleasure.

Lewis 2:29 PM  

Can someone explain, please, SIS as a "pop sharer"?

Got the puzzle with a couple of Googles, and it was a satisfying solve. I loved the clever cluing.

Rex, after your rant against "just sayin'" several months ago, how could you be totally silent about that answer in this puzzle?

Lewis 2:32 PM  
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joho 2:34 PM  

@Lewis, as in SIS and Bud being the nicknames for sister and brother, both of whom share Pop.

Lewis 2:38 PM  

Thanks, Joho. I was thinking that was it, but wasn't sure...

Leslie 2:56 PM  

Ah, Doris, thank you! I don't feel quite so bad about my AUNTIE EM write-over. "Gulch" and "Gooch" are definitely close enough for my brain to get them mixed up.

JenCT 3:08 PM  

Challenging for me as usual, on a Saturday.

Enjoyed the tricky cluing.

I think AURORAE BOREALIS is indeed the correct pluralization.

Beautiful, sunny day in CT.

Loren Muse Smith 3:17 PM  

So on the AURORAE BOREALIS plural question, if BOREALIS is the proper form here, is it following the pattern of "courts marshall" and "attorneys general?"

Z 4:04 PM  

@LMS - if the answer is in Latin, then the noun and adjective have to agree in number, but if the answer is in English they do not. If AURORAE BOREALIS is an accepted English synonym for "northern lights," and I believe it is, then your comparison seems accurate. For the suggested AURORAE BOREALES to be correct there would need to be something to indicate that the answer was in a foreign language.

Of course, none of this went through my brain when I was solving this morning, since the "I" from UPDIKE was one of my first letters in the answer.

quilter1 4:52 PM  

Just did Mr. Silk's LA Times puzzle. Also good.

sanfranman59 6:08 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 6:37, 6:49, 0.97, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:34, 8:52, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Wed 11:02, 11:49, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 19:32, 18:57, 1.03, 60%, Medium
Fri 19:21, 24:57, 0.78, 14%, Easy
Sat 23:09, 29:38, 0.79, 10%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 4:27, 4:35, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Wed 5:53, 5:52, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Thu 9:46, 9:19, 1.05, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 9:27, 12:21, 0.76, 10%, Easy
Sat 12:43, 16:43, 0.76, 10% Easy

This makes 5 straight Easy Saturdays (6 of the last 7 and 8 of the last 11, for that matter). Friday's have also been mostly Easy or Easy-Medium of late (5 of the last 6 and 7 of the last 9). Is Will softening up on us?

michael 7:15 PM  

I've found every puzzle this week (all enjoyable) easier than usual. For a brief moment I thought maybe that my abilities had improved after many years of being on a plateau. But thanks to sanfranman, I see that's not the case -- the puzzles were for most people easier than usual (or of average difficulty).

Oh, well...

Dirigonzo 7:49 PM  

I finished in under two hours which is a lightning-fast Saturday for me, but had a blank square at M_ZURKA; I would have seen the missing A had I not Had IcARE immediately below it. Loved the cluing as many have mentioned but thought the puzzle overall definitely skewed toward "old" (a good thing for someone like me). The clues contained references to 1925, 1954, 1963, 1982, 1991 and 1992 so I'm guessing gen-xers had some difficulties.

There are meteor showers in the astrological forecast for tonight so I believe I'll sit on the deck with a galss of bourbon and watch the shooting stars.

Sparky 10:06 PM  

DUN my first entry, then SNEE. Rough going after that. Hand up for SHANTY for far too long. Misspelled LoREDO.

On and off all day. Almost quit with triple Natick at 41, 42, 43D. Had UPsets and OVERlook. Erased them and UPDIKE (who I know) and the other gys fell in. Hooray.

ABC News had show about Murphy Brown with QUAYLE clip last night. ODDSHOES made me think of Eugene Levy in Best in Show. He had two left feet.

Great story @foodie. Best yet. Tip of the Hatlo hat to @joho.

Busy day, lots of errands. Put down payment on my cemetary plot. This getting old thing stinks. Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, it was a great week. Looking forward to lazy solve Sunday before watching CBS Evening News.

GILL I. 11:44 PM  

Hey Diri: I hope it's Old Rip Van Winkle ;)

GILL I. 11:45 PM  

Hey Diri: I hope it's Old Rip Van Winkle ;)

Dirigonzo 1:16 AM  

@Gill I. P. - Nope, Evan Williams, so I'm still a pretty cheap date. The clouds have moved in on the coast of Maine, so no shooting stars tonight. Have a nice Sunday and I'll see you back here next week.

Tita 1:19 AM  

Yup - too cloudy in CT too...but thanks for the reminder.

@Rex...thx for the link to the 'fill' article.
@Sparky - thx for the reminder to tape @Rex tomorrow.

qlf 2:34 PM  

@Z: point well taken; there's no arguing with usage. By gut feeling—and from having been a classics major, once, though, I would have liked auroras borealis much better as the Anglicized plural, since that at least makes no bones about the idea that we're speaking English now.

(Language is funny that way: why be concerned with a "correct" plural for the head noun and then toss all thoughts of correctness to the wind when it comes to the adjective?)

DMGrandma 3:01 PM  

What a lot of names. Eventually got them, but failed in the NE where I wanted some kind of horseplay for 9D and something fruity (seedless fits) for 13D. Other than that it was fun to figure out the clever clues!
Capchas: rypexc true = true cryptic?

rain forest 2:59 PM  

Like @Dirigonzo, I "flew" through this one...The more Saturday puzzles one does, the easier they seem, in a gradual sense, I think. Someone up there said Miss Gulch was from Archie comics but I believe that was Miss Grundy, unless Miss Gulch is a newbie. I don't think there is an Aunt Em in Archie, but maybe in Lulu. It's hardly important, though. Been away a week, trying to catch up.

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

My first thought upon reading 17a clue was STARK RAVING NUDE. And it fit. So I challenge Mr. Silk to start over, using that phrase as a springboard.

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