Koran memorizer / FRI 4-27-12 / Finnish architect Aalto / Pick-up sticks piece / Warp drive repairman on original Star Trek / North Pole author 1910 / Tom Detective 1896 novel

Friday, April 27, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MARTA (35A: Commuting option in Georgia's capital) —
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority or MARTA (play /ˈmɑrtə/) is the principal rapid-transitsystem in the Atlanta metropolitan area and the ninth-largest in the United States. Formed in 1971 as strictly a bus system, MARTA operates a network of bus routes linked to a rapid transit system consisting of 48 miles (77 km) of rail track with 38 train stations. MARTA operates almost exclusively in Fulton andDeKalb counties, with bus service to two destinations in Cobb county (Six Flags Over Georgia and theCumberland Transfer Center next to the Cumberland Mall) and a single rail station in Clayton County atHartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. MARTA also operates a separate paratransit service for disabled customers. As of 2009, the average total daily ridership for the system (bus and rail) was 482,500 passengers. (wikipedia)
• • •

I am getting worse and worse at puzzles. This is by far my slowest, clunkiest week in the past six weeks, and today, I can't even blame the puzzle's thorniness. I just ... don't know. I get bogged down somewhere and bump my head against a wall instead of moving on, putting answers in, taking them out. This puzzle's pretty dang normal, now that I look at it; I just got hung up on stupid things. Like ... oh, I don't know, insisting to myself that 48A: Some ruminants (DEER) must end in an "S" and therefore Not putting in SAWYER (36D: "Tom ___, Detective" (1896 novel)), which is the only answer my brain wanted (and the correct one, it turns out). Wanted "TELL ME ... something" instead of "TALK TO ME" (great answer, btw) (31D: "I want the lowdown!"), and just the wanting of TELL over TALK kept me from seeing the *easy* PACED (34A: Expended some nervous energy) for an absurd amount of time. Wanted SPINE (?) instead of SHIRT at 5A: Back cover? Could not retrieve ALVAR to save my life (11D: Finnish architect Aalto). Here is the one place I think the puzzle itself (and not just me) is actually weak: over-reliance on odd names. This is especially true in the southern half of the puzzle, which is crammed with proper nouns, many of them totally unknown to me (MARTA? KURTIS? EWELL? — I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" just last summer, and that name clearly didn't stick At All). Never would've gotten YNEZ (50A: Santa ___ Valley (winegrowing region)) if not for OYEZ (43D: Courtroom cry). Other parts of this grid, I cut right through. But a slow start and a ridiculous amount of fussing in the region in and around (esp just SW of) JACKSTRAW (26D: Pick-up sticks piece) put me over my normal time by a good margin. BEAT for DEAD (41D: Utterly exhausted) was kind of a backbreaker too. Weak, weak work on my part. Embarrassing. I don't even know what a JACKSTRAW is. Maybe that would've helped.

Love the long answers here. "THREE TIMES A LADY!" (20A: First #1 hit for the Commodores) Not my favorite Commodores song, but good. And 15! They mostly make up for the not-great name-i-ness of the grid.

[The best Commodores song]

I think I resent KURTIS (40A: Former "CBS Morning News" co-anchor Bill) (seriously, who?) so much because a. you already forced me to remember ALVAR (!), and b. the clue wasn't this guy (the world's greatest KURTIS):

  • 8D: Like a town that used to be a ghost town (REPEOPLED) — because of SPINE (ugh), I had this starting "NEW-" for a while.
  • 5D: Warp drive repairman on the original "Star Trek" (SCOTTY) — one of the few things I had in the grid early on. Sadly, also the answer (along with IMAM ([Koran reciter])) that convinced me that SPINE was right at 5A.  
  • 6D: Koran memorizer (HAFIZ) — youch. Neverheardofit. Probably should've been my WOTD. According to wikipedia, this is "a term used by modern Muslims for someone who has completely memorized the Qur'an."
  • 18D: "The North Pole" author, 1910 (PEARY) — Admiral, I presume. I didn't know if it was PERRY or PEARY, so I just waited (for ERSATZ—one of the language's greatest words).
  • 9D: Schooner features (TOPSAILS) — any time the clue goes nautical, I'm pretty much doomed. I was also thinking maybe "schooner" was a kind of beer glass. Hey, look, something I'm not wrong about. For once.
  • 27D: English physician James who gave his name to a disease (PARKINSON) — So the disease is his 4D
  • 42D: Literary governess's surname (EYRE) — this and MARLA and MERKEL were my flat-out gimmes in the South. If I'd moved out of the SW and found them earlier, this thing would've been wrapped up much more quickly. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Kevin 12:36 AM  

I'm having the opposite experience from Rex this week. So of. I flew through this puzzle except for one letter. And to save my life, I could not find the flaw in my answers.

I finally had to give up after reading each and every letter of every answer the fourth time to make sure I wasn't making a typo somewhere.

Only after seeing Rex's post did I realize that the words is HAFIZ. I had entered KAFIZ. That meant that SKIRT was covering one's back (which I think is a better answer albeit cheekier). Since that answer made perfect sense to me, and since I had never heard of KAFIZ (or HAFIZ), I would never have found that mistake.

jae 12:36 AM  

My take on this one is very different than Rex's.  For me it was another really easy Fri.  Let's see ...no sports, a smattering of names, but mostly word play.   No real erasures.  Had to change the I to Y in YNEZ and the C to K in KURTIS.    


Zippiness on a 1 to 10 scale = 2.

This one was OK but this week's Mon. BEQ (which he sorta apologized for) was better and tougher.  If you haven't done it and are looking for a Fri. level challenge, now would be the time.

Pete 12:49 AM  

MARNA for MARTA and MERKOL for MERKEL made INNOSTATE instead of INTESTATE seemed reasonable. As I frequently tell my wife I'm INNOSTATE to go out, and I'm perfectly ready to "go" even though I'm INTESTATE, I like my answers better, even though they're nonsense.

Jascha Heifitz has the Koran memorized? PB & Will are sure about that?

sanfranman59 2:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alvar Cameo Merkels 2:09 AM  

This certainly was overly REPEOPLED in a very large CAST what with CAMEOs by :
ANNA Pavlova,
MARLA Maples,
Bill KURTIS (i left the C!?),
EWELL (??? Give me "7 yr Itch" actor Tom, please),
ALVAR Aalto,
James PARKINSON (which is a total downer in any puzzle, plus the word Name was in grid and clue) and Santa YNEZ.
Where is the word play on any of those?
Wow. It may be Patrick Berry, but i say doesn't JELLs.
And that's NOTEASYFOR (me) TOSAY.

sanfranman59 2:15 AM  

I thought for sure that Rex would rail on REPEOPLED, SMEARY and CARTOONY (CARTOONY? seriously?!?). But I can't complain. For some reason, I ripped through this one in my 5th best Friday in the 3 years I've been recording my solve times. I knew Bill KURTIS from his work on various A&E documentary series', but sure didn't recall that his name was spelled that way. This one's almost certainly destined for the low end of the Easy range since the Top 100 median is already a full minute below the Friday average. I don't know if Will is intentionally easing up on the difficulty of Friday puzzles, but by the online solve times, there's been a very disproportionate share of Easy and Easy-Medium Fridays since the beginning of 2012. This makes 13 out of 17 Fridays this year that fall in one of those categories.

jae 2:55 AM  

@Alvar Cameo -- Apparently you and I differ on the definition of smattering. My def. assumed MARLA, SCOTTY, MERKEL, and PEARY were gimmes.

chefwen 3:05 AM  

I was sure this one was going to be rated easy. Got through it sans Google, which is a rare occurrence in this household on a Friday. Looked around for a spot of Champers to celebrate but ended up having to settle for a glass of Rombauer, not a bad substitute.

Yeah for Patrick Berry, loved it!!!

patdugg79 3:22 AM  

I really don't like the clue for 44-Across. "Yeah, right" is not equivalent to "Easy for you to say."

To me, "Yeah, right" (sarcastically) means "I think that what you said is ridiculous"

"Easy for you to say" means "You can only say that because what you're talking about doesn't affect you the way it affects other people."

They're related, but still different.

That's why they're often used together for their combined effect, when you want to express both that you think what was said is ridiculous and the specific reason why it's ridiculous. That is, the speaker can only say it because the subject matter doesn't affect them the way it does others.

"Yeah, right, easy for you to say."

That sentence isn't redundant the way it would be if the expressions were equivalent. Rather, the first half says one thing, and the second says another, while offering greater detail.

Nancy in PA 7:19 AM  

I should have known HAFIZ immediately as I recently read (actually listened to) American Dervish, in which the hero tries desperately to become one. But I still needed almost all the crosses. It's a great novel, by the way.

Used to play Pick-up-Sticks with the kids; never knew it was also called JACKSTRAWS. Also Spilikins, according to Virginia Woolf.

Great puzzle. Happy Friday.

Glimmerglass 7:27 AM  

JACKSTRAWS is an old (100 years old) name for pickupsticks and for many still the "official" name. I agree with sanfranman59: REPEOPLED, SMEARY and CARTOONY are pretty lame. This puzzle had some easy parts (the 15s appeared with just a few crosses), but overall it was a medium for me, too.

Mark Tucker 7:40 AM  

Personally, I "loved" "CARTOONY"

Rex Parker 8:12 AM  

*Loved* CARTOONY too. I use it all the time. But then I teach a course on Comics.

Smitty 8:14 AM  

Nice puzzle...I always feel like a genius when I guess one of those longy wordy answers.

@Bob Kerfuffle and @anonymous, thanks for clarifying ABBESS for me yesterday.

orangeblossomspecial 8:19 AM  

SW corner was most difficult for me also because I neglected Mark Twain.

27A reminds me of Disney's Johnny Appleseed with Dennis Day singing "The Lord is good to me".

29D brings to mind Edith Piaf and Les Compagnons de la Chanson Les Trois Cloches, which became a hit in the US for The Browns as "The three bells".

evil doug 8:27 AM  

Started with nothin' as I just cranked helplessly through the first acrosses in sequence. Took a stab at 'ok-er' at 1A, but quickly saw it preempted by the 17A clue. When I stumbled into 'coin' much later, I retroactively enjoyed the twist from an expected human---"one"---into pocket change.

Retreated to the "look through the clues for a gimme, any gimme" mode.

Bill Kurtis helped---before his national fame he was the local Chicago CBS guy when I was a kid. Northern Cally became a legitimate toe-hold from which I could build some up-shifting, and suddenly I was playing dominoes as tiles kept falling in sequence.

Oleo? That's a no-noleo.

So: Easy, but enjoyed some fresh stuff with 'poly', 'Ynez', 'on the mend', 'cameo', and 'talk to me':

Jerry: Hey, what were you doing with that bus yesterday?

Kramer: (Hands Jerry a brochure) Here you go, here you go, check it out.

Jerry: "The Real Peterman Reality Bus Tour". I'm confused.

Kramer: Peterman's book is big business. People want to know the stories behind the stories.

Jerry: Nobody wants to go on a three hour bus tour of a totally unknown person's life.

Kramer: I'm only charging $37.50, plus you get a pizza bagel and desert.

George: What's desert?

Kramer: Bite-size Three Musketeers. Just like the real Peterman eats.

George: He eats those?

Kramer: No. I eat those. I'm the real Peterman.

George: I think I understand this. Jay Peterman is real. His biography is not. Now, you Kramer are real.

Kramer: Talk to me.

George: But your life is Peterman's. Now the bus tour, which is real, takes you to places that, while they are real, they are not real in the sense that they did not *really* happen to the *real* Peterman, which is you.

Kramer: Understand?

Jerry: Yeah. $37.50 for a Three Musketeers.

joho 8:32 AM  

@Mark and @Rex Parker ... you beat me to it! I had CARTOONY written in the margin as one of my favorite answers. Along with EASYFORYOUTOSAY and TALKTOME.

I also liked SCOTTY because it made me say, "Beam me up."

I had one error at MARgA thinking the gA stood for Georgia. MARTA??? There must be somebody named MARTA, but then that would just be another name in this, as @Alvar Cameo Merkels noted, REPEOPLED puzzle.

John V 8:46 AM  

Loved, loved, loved! A completely perfect Friday. Easy here, but PB's puzzles mostly resonate that way for me. South played harder than the rest of the puz for sure, but it was worth it. INTESTATE is fabulous, great clue. @acme, agree PARKINSON is a downer, but a great entry. Had YNEZ right away, like @Rex OYEZ made that corner a gimme. Yep, lots of proper names but all fairly crossed, for a Friday, even KURTIS, for whom I needed every cross. This one certainly gets my STAMPOFAPPROVAL. Thanks, PB for yet another great one.

Sue McC 9:00 AM  

Took me a while to get this one started, but once I did, it popped right in. Much easier than yesterday. And some really fun clues. Loved it.

jackj 9:09 AM  

This puzzle continues the apparent Will Shortz effort to “easify” the weekend puzzles and Patrick’s brilliant fill is diminished by what seems to be a concerted effort by the editor to go soft on solvers with the cluing.

Case in point, COIN at 1 across is brilliantly clued, but CAST at 1 down and ANNA at 14 across were gimmes that eliminated the potentially delicious struggle we could have been treated to while seeking the COIN answer. Further, can “Hardly seaworthy” (5 letters), be anything other than LEAKY or was anyone fooled by “Diagnosis deliverers: Abbr.” when it turned out to be MDS?

Well, gripes aside, once again Patrick delivers a puzzle that is a charming melding of familiar, fun phrases (EASYFORYOUTOSAY, TALKTOME, INARREARS) and clever word play, (REPEOPLED, CARTOONY, SMEARY) with sprightly touches of whimsy, (ERSATZ, KNOLL, INTESTATE) all glued together with proper nouns that flow without the need of Wikipedia, (SCOTTY, MARLA, PARKINSON, MERKEL) and the result is, as ever with Patrick’s puzzles, a grid full of sparkling intelligence.

But, one can’t help but wonder why Will insists on turning “Mozart” into “Muzak” with his emphasis on accessibility for all, regardless of skill level.

dk 9:09 AM  

Lost my post. Lucky for all of you.

👍👍👍 (3 thumbs up)

KRMunson 9:12 AM  

I loved it, too. Cruised through it with almost no re-writes. Clues were clever and deceptive, and the fill was solid.

Rex, don't worry. You'll get your mojo back soon. We still love you :-)

Great puzzle, Mr. Berry!

evil doug 9:23 AM  
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evil doug 9:26 AM  

"Well, gripes aside, once again Patrick delivers a puzzle that is a charming melding of familiar, fun phrases (EASYFORYOUTOSAY, TALKTOME, INARREARS) and clever word play, (REPEOPLED, CARTOONY, SMEARY) with sprightly touches of whimsy, (ERSATZ, KNOLL, INTESTATE) all glued together with proper nouns that flow without the need of Wikipedia, (SCOTTY, MARLA, PARKINSON, MERKEL) and the result is, as ever with Patrick’s puzzles, a grid full of sparkling intelligence."

75 words.
1 paragraph.
1 sentence.
15 commas (speaking of 'all glued together').
1 period.

Easy to get confused---that period key is right next to the comma, and demands tricky contortion of the right ring-finger. Or maybe you missed the day when the teacher discussed run-on sentences.

Out of breath....

pcory 9:40 AM  

Is it so obvious that no one mentioned a theme, or am I imagining triple letters in the long answers and "three times a lady as the clue"?

(although "draw attention to" has a 4th "t")

Z 9:43 AM  

A pretty typical PB experience for me. After my first pass I had TAXES and SEXES and little else. Masochistic crossing, that. But I started to build off a word here, EYRE, and a word there, SCOTTY and IMAM, suddenly got DRAW ATTENTION TO, and before I knew it I had everything but the SE done. That is a typical PB experience for me, no idea about anything yet a little persistence and a few "Duh" moments (ANTE, OATERS, COOLED (a pie, not a bird)) and the grid is suddenly filled.

MERKEL/KURTIS/MARLA/EWELL/YNEZ seemed a bit much for me down in the SE, but I got them all eventually. Other than that concentration in the SE, the names didn't bother me much. I prefer ERASMUS to all the luminaries PB did include.

Last letter in was the "I" in PIP. Debated between PIP and PeP as eNTESTATE is certainly plausible. I decided that PIP seemed seedier.

Kurt 9:50 AM  

Loved the puzzle. I found it to be rather easy, but definitely enjoyable. My only cringe was at REPEOPLED. Seems awfully contrived.

Otherwise it was solid Friday fare.

Thanks Doctor Berry!

mac 9:57 AM  

Easy-medium for me, so a light Friday. My only real problem area was in the SE, where I had written "oyer", so that complicated things for a while.

Remember that poly/poli discussion we had some months ago?

Very rare to see jells, it's usually gels.

mac 9:59 AM  

@pcory: Friday and Saturday NYT puzzles are almost always themeless.

mortalcoil 10:04 AM  

Good Friday time for me on this one.

Anybody else's first guess on the Commodores' clue "She's A Brick House?" Not sure if that's even the accurate title, but it's a great line nonetheless. Much more fun that "Three Times a Lady."

Wood 10:07 AM  

Would have been a record Friday for me, except it took me a minute to find my YNEs/OYEs error. I guess OYEZ is crosswordese then? Thought I had seen it all...

Had HAdji at first (know it from Scrabble). Never heard of HAFIZ. Add it to the non-English lexicon (along with PLEUT from yesterday -- I felt smart when I put in PLuiT. Is that a different tense?).

Love all the 15's and the long downs. Brilliant grid!

Cheerio 10:07 AM  

A smooth, easy cocktail of a puzzle. A promising start to the weekend.

Loren Muse Smith 10:09 AM  

First - @JohnV – glad to see you survived yesterday, having slipped “hebdomadally” successfully into a conversation!

Count me in the Really Liked It group. I usually don’t like a lot of proper nouns, but this fill was so smooth, I didn’t even notice until Andrea pointed all of them out.

I did notice all the Y’s! LEAKY, SMEARY, PEARY, POLY, CARTOONY. . . Complete Natick at the JACKSTRAW/EWELL cross. I didn’t get the “w.”

On CARTOONY. I may have already noted this, but maybe that was on Amy’s blog, I think the suffix you choose to turn a noun into an adjective can be telling.
cartoonic. . .

I myself am a CARTOONY adjective maker upper.

Thanks, Patrick and Will! Nothing to CARP about today.

John V 10:13 AM  

@Loren: Yes, I've resolved to use hebdomadally hebdomadally.

Sharonq 10:17 AM  

Loved it, but too easy for a Friday!

pcory 10:18 AM  


Thank you.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

An alternative clue to 27 D could have been: Lawgiver who wrote, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

I live under that oppressive law all the time!

Sir Hillary 10:36 AM  

Doing a Patrick Berry themeless is like eating at a 4-star French restaurant. Quality ingredients, flawless preparation, impeccable service, nary a wrong foot -- professionalism at it's finest. You walk away marveling at the unbelievable level of proficiency.

Sometimes for me, though, there's a missing element of danger, a lack of an edge. Proficiency ≠ fun, at least not always. I wish the qualities of the fine French dining experience could be combined with the innovation of, say, Ferran Adrià. That would be dining heaven.

I guess what I am really wishing for is for PB and BEQ to become one. That would be cruciverb heaven.

Anyhoo...I solved this one bottom-up, using some toeholds in the SE. Anyone who reads the NYT will know Angela MERKEL, as I am convinced she is the single most photographed person in that paper, eclipsing even President Obama.

I agree with those lamenting the lack of difficult clues. Case in point is 5D...why not just clue it as "Warp drive repairman" and leave it at that? As written, it's a Monday clue.

PS - Failed the captcha for the first time ever. I think it through a square-root symbol at me.

Sir Hillary 10:40 AM  

...And I can't believe I mistakenly "threw" in that homophone in my PS.

Matthew G. 10:51 AM  

Hmm, contra @jackj, I thought this was much harder than the typical Patrick Berry Friday puzzle. I usually glide through a Berry Friday like a knife through warm butter, but today I floundered in all the same places as Rex, especially in the south, where I thought that {Some ruminants} had to end in S and couldn't recall Mr. EWELL from To Kill a Mockingbird. I cannot abide broadcast news, so I had no idea who Bill KURTIS is, and so I thought that first letter had to be a C, which made KNOLL impossible to see and had me doubting the correctness of DRAW ATTENTION TO.

I would have known JACK STRAW if it had been clued as {Longtime British Cabinet member}, but I have no idea what it means as clued here.

Northern half of the puzzle was easy, but the south was so rough I had my worst Friday in months. And on a Berry!

Detective 10:51 AM  

Call the missing persons squad!
This puzzle was not constructed by the real Patrick Berry. The real Patrick Berry would never submit a grid containing the entries REPEOPLED and SMEARY.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  



GenJoneser 11:14 AM  

@sanfranman59 Glad you remembered the Bill Kurtis
A&E series. For a while he was on that channel
every night of the week.
I was the Production Manager for several seasons of
"Inside Stories"
and "Investigative Reports"
so his name was not a problem for
me in thus puzzle.

Always enjoy a Berry challenge
and am overly pleased with myself when it
comes to me somewhat *easily*.

Good weekend everyone...

Lindsay 11:26 AM  

I had in mind to say this seemed like a themeless Tuesday (but a lovable themeless Tuesday!) then I read over Rex's litany of proper names I don't know (ALVAR, KURTIS, EWELL et al.) and .... I still can't say it's a Friday.

Probably helped that JACKSTRAW was my second answer (after SILKS with its useful "k"). And that the only Commodores song I could think of was THREE TIMES A LADY, so I flung it in without crosses.

Really really liked EASY FOR YOU TO SAY.

I may have a amusing day in store. One of my colleagues sent out an email this morning CARPing about the local paper's coverage of our activities, and it looks like at least one of the reply-all-happy recipients didn't pick up on the fact that she CC'd the reporter.

Jordan 11:28 AM  

As an Atlantan who rides MARTA everyday, I have to DRAW ATTENTION TO the fact that it sucks. There were 20 minute delays on my way to work this morning, so it was salt in the proverbial wound to have that be the first entry in my grid.

r.alphbunker 11:33 AM  

I guess repeople could be used instead of repopulate if you want to emphasize that humans are the new inhabitants. But I still think that most editors would find a way to replace repeople with repopulate.

Repeopling a xwp would involve changing answers like ALVAR to ALVIN.

I could not find reanimal on Google.

Miss Manners 11:47 AM  

@Evil - "E,v,i,l
Out of breath" - I always suspected you moved your lips while you read, but your having to take deep breaths in the process takes this to a new level.

Don't like JackJ's style? - Don't read him.

DigitalDan 11:52 AM  


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, . . ."

Tita 11:54 AM  

Ironic comment re: ERSATZ - a fabulous example of a "loaner word".
(Ach! You knew that, of course!)

@r.alph...how about reforest (trees) or restock (fish). What other words exist for re-introducing living things to an area? Anyone catch the PBS show about repopulation of Chernobyl?

Was no one else caught by the reverse-redirect of Apple seed? I had mac forever, which made that corner impossible.

Liked the puzzle, though was surprised at some easy clueing, but DNF cause I had OYEa, which left me wondering why I had never heard of the Santa YNEa Valley.
I never heard of the right one either...

wordie 12:11 PM  

@Wood: "oyez" is Law French and still used in some US courts. Also, "la pluie" is the French noun for rain.

wyonative 12:11 PM  

Encountering "Tom Sawyer, Detective" in a Friday puzzle is my personal reward for having actually read this Twain monstrosity. I'm thinking HADIZ is familiar to me from the memoir "In the Land of Invisible Women."

I finished this puzzle in very speedy time for me. Nothing made my head hurt, and I enjoyed the long crosses. I think REPEOPLED is just fine: it happens in regular cycles here in Wyoming.

baja 12:20 PM  

@pete, had in no state as well, sounded reasonable. other than that pretty straightforward.

David 12:26 PM  

"JACKSTRAW from Wichita, cut his buddy down
and dug a shallow grave, laid his body down
Half a mile from Tucson by the morning light
One man gone and another to go
My old buddy you're moving much too slow....."

"Grate" show opener, one of my favorite DEAD songs....

Z 12:32 PM  

@Matt G - I usually use a brush for my warm butter.

@Evil - you want to see the sentence diagram, don't you?

wyonative 12:39 PM  

Oops: that would be Hafiz, not Hadiz, in my previous comment.

JenCT 12:59 PM  

@Rex: I feel your pain; this was a super-slow week for me, also...

Ugh - two days in a row with annoying earworm songs!


Really didn't like REPEOPLED, SMEARY.

But, I always appreciate a PB puzzle.

WesIsland 1:20 PM  

Patrick Berry is the only major constructor whose wave length I seem to match. Not that these puzzles are easy, but I seem to intuit better where they are going.

As @John V said (better than I), 'PB's puzzles mostly resonate that way for me.' I too spent my career in business and lived many years in CT taking MetroNorth to Manhattan....maybe that's it.

@Kevin...thanks for the "cheekier" comment.

@wordie...fun fact of the day...."oyez" coming from French Law.

'Ersatz' and 'ennui' are two of my favorite words. One from the German language and one from Old French.

Bird 1:43 PM  

Had some of the same problems as Rex with the obscurish proper nouns, but end the end all was gettable. Some big “Oh, of course” and “Duh” moments so this was a good challenge. I still don’t get some of the answers, but this blog is a great source of information.

CARTOONY looks great as a word.


treedweller 1:51 PM  

"I never do well at scrabble tourneys,"
"You just have to memorize all the three-, four-, and five-letter words."
"yeah, right." ("easy for you to say")

When I was a kid, we had this version of jack straws so that came pretty fast for me.

connie a 2:16 PM  

10 D Cooled, clue-Sat on a sill, maybe.
Can't see this answer without thinking of the pie cooling on a sill that Jean Stafford opens "Bad Characters" with: one of the best short stories ever.

OISK 2:26 PM  

Agree with WesIsland. This was right in my wheelhouse, and I enjoyed it very much. A very quick Friday for me, considerably faster than yesterday's puzzle. (which I also enjoyed a lot, although I found it more difficult) Made one mistake initially - I put "resettled" instead of "repeopled," and then thought I was right when I answered "horse shows" with "thirds."
Never heard of the Commodores, but I am familiar with the song. Thanks again, Mr. Berry!

Howard B 2:30 PM  

Loved CARTOONY, as it's very lively and very much in the language. I did know of HAFIZ (possibly from an article I read on people with super memory skills), so that was a rough cross that resolved itself. Next to IMAM, too! Well-played. But not inferable otherwise. Learned something new with JACKSTRAWS.

The other names in this one really hurt. I didn't know MARTA, KURTIS (same thought as Rex there), EWELL, etc. The proper names in here really made solving an exercise in dodging verbal landmines. I was thankful for crossword standby ALVAR Aalto's help. Always appreciate a weekend challenge, so that's OK.

Unknown 3:05 PM  

Hard Friday for me.
The funny thing was that the long across answers were easier than the rest.
The only Commodores song that comes to my mind was the actual answer, so one big gimme...

I kept picturing my cat sunning himself on my window sill (10down), so it took me a while to get it. Not COOLed!

Have a great week end people!


Lewis 3:08 PM  

@jackj -- I disagree with Doug. The ultimate test of a long sentence is how well it works. Yours was not only broken by commas, but by the parentheses with the capital lettered answers. It was smooth and clear to me, not clunky, and didn't seem unnecessarily run on.

I hope commenters aren't going to have to worry about being called down for less than stellar expression. That's not what this forum is about!

patdugg79 3:54 PM  


But in that example, by responding "Yeah, right," you are saying, "I don't believe you that memorizing those words is necessary. That's silly."

On the other hand, by responding "Easy for you to say," you are saying, "I realize one must memorize those words. But while memorizing those words may be easy for you, it's difficult for me."

Depending on which phrase you choose, you are expressing different things.

jackj 4:00 PM  

Evil wrote (in part)—

“Easy to get confused---that period key is right next to the comma, and demands tricky contortion of the right ring-finger. Or maybe you missed the day when the teacher discussed run-on sentences.


Out of breath....”

Sorry you couldn’t keep pace with the comment.


(Kudos for the "E,v,i,l")

evil doug 4:25 PM  

"Sorry you couldn’t keep pace with the comment.

8 words.
0 commas.
5 periods.

By jove, I believe you've got it!


sanfranman59 4:43 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 15:53, 24:54, 0.64, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 8:17, 12:19, 0.67, 5%, Easy

Matthew G. 5:00 PM  

Wow. I'm speechless at sanfranman's report today. Literally, speechless. I've done plenty of Berry Friday puzzles where I would have expected such a rock-bottom rating, but not today's!

I (and Rex) just missed the boat today.

treedweller 5:24 PM  

I disagree. in fact, I think a lot of the best scrabble players have memorized those word lists, and it undoubtedly gives an advantage.

In my example, imagine a tone that would convey an implied extension: "yeah, right, as if I would do that." easy for you to say, but not worth the effort. All kinds of nuances are possible.

Joe The Juggler 7:04 PM  

The INTESTATE clue was pretty clever. For some reason (maybe Ben Franklin's "death and taxes" was rolling in my mind) I went directly to the right answer on that one.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Patrick Barry puzzles are the worst. I refuse to waste my time on them.

Sparky 8:29 PM  

ANNA, PIP, and SILKS gimmees. Had soya at 16A. Shawl before SHIRT, ewes before DEER. Many little glitches resolved with work. Challenging for me but I finished. Happy as a doodle bug.

John V 8:37 PM  

@Anonymous 7:48: That you, PB?

JenCT 10:50 PM  

@John V: LOL

patdugg79 11:18 PM  


I still disagree, though not about Scrabble. I have no actual opinion on the game or strategies for playing it . . .

But even if you interpret "Yeah, right" to mean "Yeah, right, as if I would do that," that's still not the same as "Easy for you to say."

With, "Easy for you to say," one might still have every intention of doing what's being discussed. You might do it, you might not. That's not clear. It's just that you resent the implication that it's somehow "easy" to do.

With, "Yeah, right, as if I would do that," one is dismissing the idea being discussed entirely. You've already decided you're definitely not going to do it.

Still different, says I.

treedweller 11:57 AM  

@patdugg79 in this context, when I say "easy for you to say," it means I can't / won't do it. Same same. You might never use it this way, but you may as well accept that some do.

Waxy in Montreal 12:57 PM  

Don't wish to carp but no stamp of approval here! Agree with @jackj 5 weeks ago that this certainly seems to be part of an effort to "easify" late week puzzles. Certainly not up to the usual Patrick Berry level of obtuseness. Other than INTENDS TO at 29D and HARP at 10A, had no writeovers at all, certainly an ersatz Friday/Berry for me. Bring on Saturday...

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

This blog is hilarious. Better than watching the Big Bang Theory. I think Evil D and Jack should get together for a pilot (non aero). It's especially funny when the blogmeister is flummoxed (sorry, RP). Yeah right, easy for me to say. I'm 75 years old and "As I lay dying...........(chortle, chuckle, teehee and guffaw).

connie in seattle 1:53 PM  

To @Evil Doug: My huband is a Seinfield fiend and has seen every episode, so when we went to NY several years ago, I took him on the Peterman tour as a surprise. The surprise was what a waste of time and money it was. For my $37.50 X 2, I was very pissed about the crummy pizza bagel and the candy bar.

rain forest 3:22 PM  

Can't believe how quickly I dashed through this. Got the NE instantly which enabled me to get both long acrosses. Stalled momentarly in the centre, but the bottom half fell without a struggle, and the "x" became apparent right at the end. Now I see that everyone else found it easy, so I'm not crowing, but I'm happy.

DMGrandma 3:22 PM  

Was on the constructor's wavelength and enjoyed this puzzle. There were a few slow spots, but they solved themselves. It helped that I vaguely recall hearing of (playing?) jack straws in the dim past.
I find myself playing games with the robot words, some of which (the photos) are too dim for these aging eyes. Also find Google has apparently decided I can't post unless I open an account with them. Have no desire to do so. Shall see what happens.

eastsacgirl 5:18 PM  

Hi from syndi land - actually found this one pretty easy. Matter of fact doing great this week. Got THREETIMESALADY off the bat and away we went. Was surprised to see a medium rating. Loved pick-up-sticks when I was a kid (yes, I'm old) but still took me a while to click on JACKSTRAW. Had the top half in good time. Took a little while for the bottom.

Waxy in Montreal 6:36 PM  

Syndisynchronicity again - hadn't given a thought to The Commodores for years until solving this puzzle. Then glanced at the entertainment section of the paper only to read that The Commodores are giving a concert in Montreal this Monday.

Dirigonzo 8:01 PM  

MAR_A (The Donald's second ex)could be filled in with any number of random letters (really, try it) so I had to stare at the cross at 40d for a long time before the KNOLL finally rose up to complete the grid. But yes, pretty easy for a Friday.

More syndisynchronicity (hi, @Waxy) - just last night I wrote a piece that mentioned Eagle Island in Casco Bay, which was Admiral PEARY's summer home (it is now owned by the State and is well worth a visit), and today he shows up in the grid!

@DMGrandma - I just ignore the photos if I can't read them and it seems to work out OK (if this comment appears it worked again).

Solving in Seattle 8:23 PM  

I dashed home from the golf tournament for a nap and a shower and couldn't sleep so I did the CW in record time (with a little help from Father Google). As @DMGrandma, I was on the same wavelength on this one. And that's EASYFORmeTOSAY.

See you Syndies later.

Lola505 8:40 PM  

Managed to finish error-free with only a few, single-square corrections. Would have had errors, had I not gone back to the SW corner and fixed up my ruminant "ewes" for DEER and "note" for ANTE. Not one for rechecking, but today, good thing I did.

@Diri, The Donald's wives go: Ivana (who called him "The Donald"), Marla, and Melania, the only brunette, just for possible future reference.

@Solving in Seattle, how's your team standing after the first round? 'Round here, the sandbaggers come out of the bushes and bite you on the you-know-what on the last day. Good luck!

Dirigonzo 9:15 PM  

@Lola505 - NOTE was the right answer, you just had it in the wrong place; it goes in the corresponding squares on the other side of the grid. Thanks for the lowdown on Trump's exes - it's amazing how crossword friendly they all are. I wonder if his daughter Ivanka ever shows up?

@DMGrandma - I meant to add that if you do relent and get a Google identity (it's really pretty easy), when you post here you will have the option of getting follow-up comments via email, so all later posts will show up in your in-box. It's much more convenient than checking back periodically to read new posts. Of course Google will probably read all of your email but they wouldn't do anything evil with your personal data - really, it says so right in their privacy policy.

Spacecraft 11:43 PM  

I'm with @patdugg79 about the clue for 44a, but do not share you guys' love of "CARTOONY." I put it in quotes because it's not a word, at least according to my Scrabble dictionary. Had it filled in, and went: "Really??" and looked it up. Tried to rework the section to change that entry somehow, but nothing else worked. I left it in, and after completing the grid (successfully, no errors), went back and double-checked by looking up 50a.

The cluing today was inconsistent, as has already been noted. "Rise" for KNOLL was absolutely brutal. Likewise did my solving experience vary from one area (north: easy) to the other (south: pret-ty darn hard). Unusual to see JACKSTRAW clued without mentioning British politics.

Loved ERSATZ, SCOTTY and the memorably pneumatic MARLA. Also the center SEXES/TAXES crossing: X marks the spot.

A very Berry Friday: guess I'll give it my STAMPOFAPPROVAL.

Solving in Seattle 11:52 AM  

@Lola, my partner and I are middle of the pack going into the second (and final) day. You're right about the sandbaggers. There are guys who really do "handicap maintenance" during the year and show up for the big events. I happen to be the Handicap Chair at my club which really endears me to many of the players, but we try to make sure there are no obvious felons in the field.

Lola505 1:39 PM  

@Solving in Seattle, at our club, sometimes the H.C. chair invokes the USGA "exceptional tournament performance" rule and freezes the player's H.C. for a year at the level to which they played during their best round of the tournament. Instant justice!!

Fairways 'n greens -- hope you finish in the prizes!

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