Mother of Valkyries / FRI 5-4-12 / Designer Gernreich / Goldeneye relative / Jazzman Montgomery / ESPN anchor Kolber / Holden Irving Bacheller novel / Follower of Help / Emergency extractor

Friday, May 4, 2012

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TEXAS STAR (32A: Ferris wheel in Dallas that is the tallest in North America) —

Texas Star is the tallest Ferris wheel in North America. It is located at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, and operates during the annual State Fair of Texas, where it is the most popular ride.
The structure has an overall height of 212 feet (64.6 m) (approximately 21 stories) and can carry up to 264 passengers in its 44 gondolas. It will be superseded as the tallest Ferris wheel in North America if the proposed 286-foot (87 m) Pepsi Globe proposed for American Dream Meadowlands, in New Jersey, is constructed. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wheeeeeee! Fun, and easy, except for a couple of places where I got dead-stopped. This is where difficulty gets tough to gauge. A puzzle might be tough overall and take you, say, 10 minutes, or it might be easy everywhere except that one damn corner you can't figure out w/o struggling, and take you 12. So I guess the latter puzzle is "harder," but that hardly gets at the flavor of the puzzle ... which is perhaps why I wrote semi-complete sentences about the puzzle instead of just slapping a difficulty rating on it and leaving it at that. "Challenging!" "Three Stars!" Man, that would be nice/easy. I should do that on days when I'm just not feeling it. Anyway, I got slowed down three times, to varying degrees. In order of devastation, from least to most devastating: the NE, where ERDA (14D: Mother of the Valkyries) / PENNA (21A: Only one of the 13 Colonies not touching the Atl. Ocean) is particularly unpretty (I'd change the "A" to an "E"—sure ERDE (German for "earth") is bad, but worse than "ERDA?" I doubt it. And PENNE beats PENNA hollow); the DEALER / DRY MOP (42A: Collector of dust bunnies) crossing—not knowing that single letter (even with -EALER in place) meant I was way slower getting into the SE than I would've liked; and the SW, where side-by-side obscure names really took the wind out of my sails. I just realized that if a solvers have never heard of ODER-NEISSE (54A: ___ Line (international boundary)), they are likely screwed in that corner, as RUDI (46D: Designer Gernreich) and EBEN (47D: "___ Holden" (Irving Bacheller novel)) are not exactly household names.

When I saw -EALER for 42D: Crack investigator's target?, I thought the answer might be SEALER. Because ... you seal cracks? It made a kind of sense at the time.

This puzzle lost me at 1A: Goldeneye relative (SMEW) (I got "goldeneye" confused with "goldenrod"—a SMEW is a duck), but then immediately got me back with the highly-made-up-yet-exciting SIXERSGAME (1D: Wells Fargo Center event, informally). Then I was permanently won over at JAWS OF LIFE (5A: Emergency extractor). Is that a NYT xword first? So good! Really really hate ODER-NEISSE as an answer (an old, not-loved grid denizen), but then along comes "RUBBER SOUL" to ease the pain (50A: Follower of "Help!"). MAELSTROM's a lovely word (37A: Very turbulent situation). I don't know ... with the exception of a few fill hiccups, this looks nice in retrospect.

  • 17A: Jags of the 1960s and '70s (XKES) — a crossword gimme, though often the letters come back to me all out of sorts. "X ... J .. Ks?"
  • 34A: Angle in botany (AXIL) — another crossword gimme; got it off the "I"
  • 43A: ESPN anchor Kolber (SUZY) — she's pretty well known to ESPN-watchers. There's a popular NFL humor blog called "Kissing SUZY Kolber."
  • 4D: Jazzman Montgomery (WES) — first word in the grid! This has become yet another crossword gimme for me.
  • 20D: Three-time All-Star pitcher Pappas (MILT) — under the influence of the election season, I misremembered this guy as a MITT.
  • 24D: Annual "Hot 100" publisher (MAXIM) — good clue, absurd magazine.
  • 28D: Cardinal for 22 years (STAN MUSIAL) — I think I'd have gotten this with no crosses. He's The Cardinal.
  • 51D: "Still Crazy" star, 1998 (REA) — wow, 1998 is a dark dark hole for me, movie-wise. Once I had -EA, I was fairly sure who I was dealing with, though.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:11 AM  

Seems like the streak of easy Fridays continues.   I liked it.  A little zip...RUBBERSOUL, WHIRLYBIRD, DEALER...a  bit of sports...MILT, STAN, SABRE, SIXERS... dash of pop culture...MAXIM, REA, SUZY... and you have a fine puzzle.

Erasures: amok for WILD, beEs for ALES,  ninO for PASO.

Possible tough cross:  ODER/EBEN

Somewhere in a closet I have the RUBBER SOUL album I bought in the 60s.  One of their best!

jackj 12:22 AM  

I don’t want to be ‘Johnny One Note” by repeating the mild plaint again this Friday that the puzzle is too easy, so I won’t. (But, it wasn’t very difficult).

Barry Silk has given us another gem, with clues that bring smiles all around the grid.

Smiles like:

Does “Maxim” stir your soul? Then meld their “Hot 100” with RUDI Gernreich, noted monokini, (topless bikini), designer and you’ve created a memorable image indeed (maybe even more so if it’s the puzzle’s Olive OYL in the monokini).

One smile that every football fan will have no trouble recalling involves ESPN’s sideline interviewer SUZY Kolber who, when interviewing Joe Namath at a nationally televised Jets game learned to her surprise that Broadway Joe was “stinko” when he leaned in close and said, (twice), “I want to kiss you”.

OK, last one, think “RUBBER SOUL”, The Beatles’ album after “Help” which will then have you thinking of “Norwegian Wood”, and on to George Harrison, which will trigger a sitar memory, reminding you of Ravi Shankar, which in this daisy chain brings you to Norah Jones and a smile and a sigh of total satisfaction.

Barry, thanks for the puzzle and the smiles; you’ve become the Friday Grand Poobah.

Tita 12:24 AM  

Racing through in my XKE - had some major gimmes like JAWSOFLIFE(great clue), EARLYRISER, EASTORANGE... feeling happy, then hit that wall in the SW!
I did sorta know ODERNEISSE, but couldn't dredge it up, in spite of it having been in a puzzle very very recently.

@Rex - about old-timey - I was totally gobsmacked to see Eggbeater/WHIRLYBIRD, since it was in that Antique Maleska puzzle that @r.alph unearthed, clued exactly in reverse.
I had never heard the term eggbeater before, and now here it is, twice in one week, though worlds apart.

Delighted that I have a new crossbird to add to my aviary - SMEW!

At Cardinal clue, saw ST, and smugly thought - SaintSomebody...

Nice, though SUZY, EBEN, and RUDI contributed to my downfall. DNF was thanks to PENNs/EDRs.

SethG 12:39 AM  

Fun and easy, except for the SW, which I couldn't figure out w/o struggling, and it took me 12. So, yeah.

Octavian 2:05 AM  

This puzzle made me sad. I am finally to the point in my puzzle-solving life when I can fly through a Friday puzzle, almost without hesitation. And yet I get this eerie feeling that I'm not actually getting better. The Friday puzzle is just getting easier.

I got JAWS OF LIFE instantly, which led immediately to half its downs, which led immediately to EARLY RISER and WHIRLY BIRD and FRYPANS, and from then on nothing stood in my way.

For a second when I saw Cardinal I thought about someone like Tom Egan, but then the SEP and TEXAS STAR emerged, giving the ST, and it took me half a second to get STAN MUSIAL, and suddenly the whole right side was down.

Not sure why I knew RUDI but it was in my head instantly, along with SABRE despite not being a hockey fan, and DEALER ... and to complete the easy names we had WEILL and MILT.

So I don't know. For me it was easy, and now I'm feeling like the Fridays have lost their zip. But at the same time, any puzzle featuring ODERNEISSE and SMEW has to have some exclusivity to it, so I'm OK with this for a day. Gotta say it: Smooth as Silk.

Pop media time: Did you know that The Smew is the Canadian equivalent of The Onion? Here is the link - The Smew

syndy 2:20 AM  

JEEZ, I was really excited about zoning into Barry's wave length!I stood still at the border of Poland for a ten count but still finished in wildly easy friday time.thanks BARRY its always a pleasure.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Mentioned to my husband that if Rex has rated this anything other than easy I would be shocked. Easy/Medium O.K. I'll buy that. I was mildly disappointed because I finished before I was ready to be finished.

Big mistake, but easily fixed was at 56A when I slapped down bridesmaid and felt pretty smug about it. Obviously nothing worked with that. Pretty embarrassed when it turned out to be WINE TASTER as above mentioned husband is a oenophile.

Aegis Cants Maelstroms 3:23 AM  

Scary! One of those writeups that was almost word for word my experience, including thinking MItT, sEALER, and perking up about RUBBERSOUL.

Seemed east but so much to like MAELSTROM, JAWSOFLIFE, MAKEUP EXAM, RUBBERSOUL, 3XXXs, JZ despite FOUR stacks of three 10s. WOW.

Despite the over abundance of sports (only seven clues, but 37 letters) STANMUSIAL, MILT Pappas, MEET (could have been nonsports), SIXERSGAME, SABRE, even the girl is on ESPN..SUZY Kolber...the Fix ISIN.

Mild malapop...started to write I'm EARLYbird, only to have it appear immediately underneath...

But, I liked it! Breezing thru it tho it seemed like harder than it was somehow.

Deb 3:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
I skip M-W 4:41 AM  

Very fast Friday for me, amazing considering my minimal sports knowledge. Thought at first that Goldeneye was a James Bond thriller. I 've just learned to identify greater and lesser scaups, and now I have to learn about smews! Immediately knew crack had to refer to drugs, but had the d from dry mop, and thought of druggy before dealer.

Loren Muse Smith 6:07 AM  

Because I didn’t know ODERNEISSE, just as Rex sensed, the SW was a mess. This was way harder for me than everyone else is saying. Just off the O_L, JAWS OF LIFE was my first complete answer (I’ve used them!).

Like @ACME, I had a near malapop with BIRD in the NE.

Like @Tita, I was looking for a saint, not a STAN. For what it’s worth, I knew STAN MUSIAL not from baseball knowledge, but rather from a Stephen King novel.

Four 3x10 stacks. MAELSTROM, WHIRLYBIRD, DRY MOP. . .Terrific puzzle!

Gareth Bain 6:36 AM  

Doesn't ERDA play a role in the Ring Cycle? If so that would make it far superior to an arbitrary bit of German that no-one has any reason to know: which would make the E/A choice much more even, if no less pleasing. I said what had to be said about ODERNEISSE at Amy's...

mac 6:55 AM  

Medium for me, and enjoyable as I always find Barry Silk's puzzles.

A little trouble here and there: thought a goldeneye was a snake, eggbeater that stuff without lousy cholesterol you fry instead of eggs, and "kiss of life" instead of jaws. Does that even exist, or is it only "kiss of death"?

Loved "Rubber Soul" and its clue. Former Mr. Ragu/husband couldn't remember if the brand had Alfredo sauce, tomato was much more important.

Dan 7:34 AM  

I managed to pull ODERNEISSE out of some orifice despite not knowing EBEN or RUDI either. But my guessing skills failed me at SMEl/lES (that's an L) and PENNs/ERDs. Ugh.

(speaking of entirely made up words, what is up with the captchas today??)

Zwhatever 7:45 AM  

Ditto what Rex said on solving. I don't know how anyone who doesn't do crosswords on a regular basis could finish this, especially that SW corner.

My first thought on seeing 50A was, "does he really think I'll remember the song after 'HELP!'?" That pulling ODERNEISSE from my "learned from crosswords" file convinced me that SIS was right leaving me with R__BE_S__L was finally enough for the light bulb to go on. Five different types of obscurity (hockey, fashion, literature, 60's pop music, and geopolitics) in that corner made it tough.

joho 7:48 AM  

I thought the phrase was the ISoN but not problem as it had to be BIRD.

Only other changes were quackS to SPIELS and MIke to MIlo to MILT.

My favorites were JAWSOFLIFE, MAELSTROM, RUBBERSOUL and PROSPECTUS but there was a lot more to love here. Great clue for LIBEL.

Mr. Silk, you never disappoint.

joho 7:50 AM  

Whoops, left out the "fix" ISoN.

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

One can sometimes solve double and triple Naticks. The SW was challenging. I was screwed, but a little luck and a little logic, and I was delighted to see that my guesses were correct. Never heard of ODERNEISSE, RUDI, EBEN, or "Still Crazy." Didn't remember RUBBER SOUL. Okaaay. ODER is a river. REA is a three-letter actor (there aren't many). 50A must be a Beatles album (or movie). What's a good name for a rock album? (Dave Barry makes these up all the time.) Are RUDI and EBAN possible names? Yeah. Let's guess RUBBER SOUL and ODER. . . . Bingo. Feels great to be lucky.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

C'mon. I expect a Friday to stump me. Not. What you did not know for sure, you could make a correct guess. My cleaning lady will think I am so smart! I'd rather have it be a hard one that I have to hide from her and finish later. Onward--to clean up for she who finds dust bunnies in Spanish. Harder next time, please.

orangeblossomspecial 8:12 AM  

Never heard of a SMEW, but luckily I give a lot of MAKEUPEXAMs, so that one popped out.

Marty Robbins had the definitive song about 36A El PASO. Nice touch that El PASO is adjacent to TEXAS STAR. El PASO del Norte.

Lotte Lenya recorded her husband, Kurt WEILL's composition, "Mack the Knife".

Robert Mitchum and Dean Martin had versions of "Little ole wine drinker me", which seems appropriate for 56A. Here is Mitchum's version.

dk 8:23 AM  

Who gives out the stars?
I give out the stars!

BEGOT? Now there is a verb to conjugate… if you catch my drift.

MAXIM! Huh, I thought it was money.

PENNE is something upon which to put RAGU I thought as I met my Waterloo…

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) And not because Rex said so.

Thank you Berry fun Friday fare

Sue McC 8:29 AM  

Ack. This was rough! Eventually completed it, but it was slow going. Started with SMEW and was all uphill from there.

evil doug 9:02 AM  

I once complained about puzzles getting easier. Rex replied: "Maybe you're improving. It happens." So today was simpler than many Fridays, but it was still more fun than a spin on the Texas Star.

Rubber Soul: The pivot point in the Beatles career. Loved the pureness and simplicity of that and prior records; didn't care as much for the overly synthesized/mixed envelope-stretching that followed.

Penna: Kind of miss the 'old-timey' abbreviations. Used to see this one a lot---had family that worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

If the team played in Canada, I'd expect 'Sabres'. In Buffalo, I guessed Sabers. No '---gtaster' made sense, so I ran the reverse.

Suzy Kolber: Teeth bigger than a buzzsaw. Might be the granddaughter of Bert Parks. You could do better, Joe. How 'bout Hannah Storm?

Misspell, take 2: 'Whirleygig'. But the fix was in, so I dropped the e and flipped the bird. Also 'perspectus'.

Wanted 'make-up game' before I knew students were involved---and then Sixers game stuffed that.

From the ' It coulda been worse, Andrea' dept: Joe Rudi, Oakland A's.

Milt Pappas, then a Cub, had a 2-2 count on the last out that would have earned him a perfect game. The ump called the next two pitches balls, even though they were close and could easily have been strikes, and Pappas settled for a no-hitter. I don't think he ever forgave the ump---Bruce Froemming I believe.

Loren: You can't just say you've used the jaws of life and then not tell us about it.


quilter1 9:05 AM  

So much fun. I knew we had seen ODERNEISSE a while ago and had most of it, but remembering the rest was what slowed me down, not that I time myself but I have an appointment this morning and so was aware of the time. Great Friday.

JenCT 9:52 AM  

Breezed through the top but then slowed down on the bottom.

Really wanted PLUMBER for 42d...


Didn't know SMEW or ODERNEISSE; got from crosses.

Buddha 9:54 AM  

3D is flat out wrong, there's only one eternity. When one is a temporal being, there seem to be differences. By being stuck in an temporal exisitence, an eternity starting two days ago seems logically to be different to one starting yesterday. However, that difference is a falsity to an eternal one. Once one becomes eternal, you see there's no start nor no end, there's no yesterday nor today, there's only being.

archaeoprof 10:19 AM  

No writeovers on a Friday! I may be improving, but not that much.

Enjoyed the clues for MEAL and BARN.

@Evil: a very young Bruce Froemming.

Tobias Duncan 10:20 AM  

Wonderful puzzle ruined by sports clues.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Wonderful puzzle -- because of sports clues.
Easy (for Friday) except for SW -- which was very tough for me.

George Barany 10:31 AM  

Many enlightening comments have already been posted that track my own thoughts and experiences, so I won't repeat. Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial had exactly the same number of hits lifetime at home and on the road -- I quickly entered his name into the grid based solely on the number of letters, before any of the crossing words were in. I was reminded of the trick riddle: what two former Cardinals have plaques at Yankee Stadium? The answers are (SPOILER) the Popes (Paul VI and John Paul II) who held mass there. Riddle showing its age though, since a quick visit to wikipedia reveals that the current Pope also has a plaque, and both Miller Huggins and Roger Maris wore Cardinal uniforms at other points in their careers. Plus, it's only a matter of time before Joe Torre gets honored.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

I, too, have used the Jaws of Life.
I was a paramedic and the awesome power of this equipment was so fun to practise with.
@ mac, Peter Gabriel has a great song "Kiss of Life".
@ JenCT, I was thinking repairman too.
Really fun puzzle.
Maelstrom is a wonderful word.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

thank you for killing any joy i might otherwise have felt in solving a friday puzzle. who effen cares if rexie thinks it's easy

chefbea 10:48 AM  

Good puzzle though I did google a bit.

Of course knew Stan the Man and of course have been to His Restaurant where I tasted wine and probably had Alfredo sauce.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

changing Dr. No to SMEW
Needed the aid of the JAWSOFLIFE

Tita 10:53 AM  

@Anon @ 10:44 - who cares? Uuh, you do, since Rexie was in fact able to kill your joy.
(Was that a trick question?)

John V 10:57 AM  

Greetings a bit later in the morning, working from home/CT today.

I'd say easy, too and lots of fun. Favorite clue/answer: 30D Security account?/PROSPECTUS. Now THAT if fabulous! SW was not hard for reasons I do not understand. 2D/38D were fun; I usually find these referential clues annoying, but in the hands of Maestro Silk this really worked. TEXASSTAR completely new to me. I like learning new words in the puzzle and this one was nicely crossed, fairly crossed.

Kept wanting EASTBRUNSWICK for 29D, which just goes to show you my CT sense of NJ geography.

Board provision -- great indirection, kept thinking Board of Directors.

So, one could go on and on about this, one of the truly great Friday puzzles. Since I've been doing Saturdays, Fridays have gotten much easier. That's what happens, per @Rex.

It has stopped raining. I believe I will go outside. Ciao.

God 11:09 AM  

@Buddha - You're so quaint, that's why I love you so. I never question the enlightenment you've achieved, but it amuses Me that anyone who's achieved what you have keeps making the same mistakes as before. You scoff at those stuck in temporal existence because you've surpassed that but you remain unaware of the infinite layers of understanding still in front of you, making you no better than they.

The infinite you percieve as being one is, in fact, one, but it's simply one cardinality out of an infinite cardinalities awaiting you. Quit correcting those less aware than you and become aware of what awaits you.

GILL I. 11:22 AM  

I started this way too late last night and just couldn't get started. Except for the XKE and ODER NEISSE (which we just had in a recent puzzle)I just went to bed and picked it up again this a.m.
Still found it difficult and needed help with STANMUSIAL (wanted Torquemada or even Richelieu(x)) EASTORANGE could have been West Apples as far as I knew. I counted 12 ten-letter words which made me want to finish this even more so. Eventually got it all over two cafe con leches. By the way @Anonymous 8:02. Next time your cleaning lady comes, ask her to be sure and clean the "pelusa de conejito" under your bed. Let me know what she says....

jackj 11:31 AM  


God can't spell?

"The infinite you percieve as being one"

Try "perceive", all knowing one.

God 11:34 AM  

On the eight day I created pricks. My one mistake.

Mel Ott 11:36 AM  

I think we had ODER-NEISSE a few weeks ago.

I have also used the JAWS OF LIFE, back in my volunteer fireman days in the 1970's, when they were relatively new. Simply called the Hurst Tool, for the manufacturer.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:04 PM  

Fun puzzle. One write-over at 34 A, ARIL before AXIL (Hey, they're both botanical!)

Also, just a heads-up:

Bonus guest Xwd by Brad Wilber at BEQ's site today.

Chip Hilton 12:20 PM  

@Glimmerglass-The 3 letter actress that screwed up my puzzle is the lovely Sara Rue. RUBBERSOUL was a snap (Most played LP of my teens). I thought ODARNuISSE had a shot and WINETeSTER certainly seemed acceptable, so left it at that.

I really enjoyed this one. So many lengthy answers of quality.

Have we seen the last of number 42 in the big leagues? Say it ain't so, Mo!

Mike 1:00 PM  

Took me over 20 minutes! I feel shame.

I had no idea on Oder-Neisse but got enough crosses to finally figure it out. Also did a face palm because I considered Help! as a Beatles song title, so I was repeatedly going through verses until I had almost all of Rubber Soul filled in.

miriam b 1:05 PM  

@Tobias Duncan - I'm with you. Too Many Sports Clues. If, like me, you don't give a rap about most sports, this puzzle becomes an exercise in ingenuity. My coffee started to cool off by the time I finished. Wonderful words like MAELSTROM, ODERNEISSE, WHIRLYBIRD, and clever misdirections were fun and stimulating enough to compensate for the - uh- less desirable material

jberg 1:09 PM  

I kinda agree it was easy -- except I finished with errors. Didn't know SUZY, couldn't see that 35D was a litteral, even when I ran the alphabet (what's it mean to be ATOZ?), and was stuck on the robes that judges wear, which are certainly not TERRY. So I went with ATOm, TERRe, and SUme - didn't make sense, but there it is.

Now I'm getting outta here, before this argument among deities gets any hotter.

WesIsland 1:13 PM  

Any long time Cincinnati Red's fans out there? Once considered the worst trade of all time: Milt Pappas for "an old 30" Frank Robinson who went on to win the Most Valuable Player Award and be MVP of the winning team (Orioles) in the World Series.

Loren Muse Smith 1:50 PM  

@ED, Mel Ott, and Two Ponies – I used the JAWS OF LIFE only in extrication class when I was a volunteer firefighter; at the scene of an accident, I (low man on the totem pole) was always assigned traffic duty. Really cool tool, though, and thanks @Mel for the memory – we called it a Hurst Tool, too and I had completely forgotten!

Mighty Nisden 1:53 PM  

Got JAWSOFLIFE right off the bat. Loved RUBBERSOUL - Answer and album. Hated PENNA ERDA crossing that last letter could have been any number of letters that I guessed wrong on.

Never heard of ODERNEISSE so like Rex said, I was screwed. Guessed RUDI correctly but Missed the EBEN.

Overall a good puzzle and fun solve.

AND the darn ATOZ got me AGAIN when will I get this through my thickish skull? Drives me crazy that it catches me every time.

John V 2:01 PM  

@jberg ATOZ: Think, "Everything from A to Z"

quilter1 2:05 PM  

If I ever have to go before a judge I hope said judge is wearing a terry robe. And bunny slippers.

Grumpy 2:10 PM  

AXIL is a gimme? ODER-NEISSE crossing RUDI, EBEN?! Jeez . . .

PENNA?! What happened to PENN or PA or PENNS?! Let's make up some more abbreviations. And PENNA crossing ERDA?!

So the NE and SW corners are left with holes.

There was some good stuff - Sweet SUZY, the great STANMUSIAL, JAWSOFLIFE and WHIRLYBIRD

Jaguars are getting to be the new RRN. At least there were no RCD (Random Compass Directions).

Normally I like Mr. Silk's puzzles, but not today.

TGIF indeed!

retired_chemist 2:21 PM  

Easy. Very easy.

A smattering of mostly correct answers (BOUT @ 20A and RUN AMOK @22A were exceptions)until I hit the SW, where I got my foothold. ODER NEISSE and WINE TASTER were gimmes. I have at long last given up my mispelling [sic, in honor of yesterday] as ODER-NIESSE. That led to crosses which gave me most of the letters in RUBBER SOUL, which I did. not. know. I was a busy Asst. Prof. in the Beatles' heyday.

Fixed RUN WILD with Kurt WEILL, MEET with AAHED and WRIT, and got STAN MUSIAL with a few crosses. Olive O(I or Y)L was I, but knew Y was a possibility so EARLY RISER broke the NE open.

After this, I breezed through. I always enjoy Mr. Silk's puzzles but I rarely find them this easy.

Thanks, Mr. S.

mitchs 2:21 PM  

@wes: Count me in that club. Wonder if that was done by Bob Howsam? If so, he made up for with the Lee May for Joe Morgan et al trade.

Arby 2:38 PM  

Sadly current, in that Stan Musial's wife just passed away yesterday, after something like 70 years of marriage. I immediately wrote in "StanTheMan", which fit, but was obviously wrong.

matty lite 2:51 PM  

Easy ERDA-->ERDE fix: Mahler's "Das Lied von der _____."

Is it just a sore Cards fan over-reading, or is the STAN the man clue a subtle dig at Albert Pujols?

Lewis 2:51 PM  

Rubber Soul was the album where the Beatles began to get unpredictable and interesting. I loved it, and the cover is tattooed in my memory.

This puzzle wasn't easy for me, but it did feel easier than the usual Friday. Smooth as ever, from Mr. Silk...

Arby 2:58 PM  

Also: isn't mouth-to-mouth sometimes referred to as the "kiss of life"?

Wood 3:53 PM  

Unlike most everybody else, I found this TOUGH. Took 50% longer than my average Friday time. Struggled for almost every long across and down. WHIRLYBIRD? SIXERSGAME? ODER NEISSE? STAN MUSIAL for cripes sake???

This felt like a Saturday+ to me.

sanfranman59 4:08 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 19:06, 24:51, 0.77, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:01, 12:18, 0.81, 22%, Easy-Medium

hazel 4:19 PM  

Wow - i'm with @wood and @loren et al. I thought this was tough - even though i immediately (and smugly) got JAWSOFLIFE. Wound up being a struggle - but still a v. rewarding solve for me.

Loved the nods to MILT Pappas and STANMUSIAL. Talk about crappy deals thoug - back in the day, the Braves were second to none. who remembers Nick Esasky, Bruce Sutter, brett butler for len Barker, the list goes on....They have fared much better growing their own.

KRMunson 5:07 PM  

I'm not a baseball fan or an East Coaster and I had no idea about the Texas ferris wheel. But I loved this puzzle. Ok, so it was easy for a Friday, but so what? The cluing was close to perfect. Barry, can I bear your children? Call me.

AnnieD 5:46 PM  

No one mentioned it, but I would argue CT doesn't actually touch the Atlantic, but Long Island Sound. I'm just sayin'.

JohnnyMao 7:32 PM  

I discovered Suzy Kolber from the recent HBO documentary "Namath" which featured the cringe-inducing interview with a drunk Broadway Joe.

Fun fact about the Rubber Soul cover. The photographer was showing the Beatles the cover art by projecting a slide onto an album-sized piece of cardboard. The cardboard slipped and changed the perspective of the image and the Beatles loved the way it looked.

Tita 7:35 PM  

@hazel - Nick Esasky just has "crossword puzzle" written all over him!! ;) Maybe we'll see him in the future!

@AnnieD...hmmm...good point...we need a cartographer or geographer to weigh in here...

antena yagi 8:37 PM  

Big mistake, but easily fixed was at 56A when I slapped down bridesmaid and felt pretty smug about it. Obviously nothing worked with that. Pretty embarrassed when it turned out to be WINE TASTER as above mentioned husband is a oenophile.

S. Nelson 8:47 PM  

NYT puzzles can always be tricky for younger solvers. Today I was totally in the dark. I could say it more angrily, but I won't. I was no where near finished when I threw in the towel. Major crosses STANMUSIAL ODERNIESSE RUBBERSOUL all had me blank. I can appreciate the beatles reference now that i get it, but its definitely out of my knowledge base. EASTORANGE seems pretty regional, like many NYT clues that make southern living a liability. NW seems easier now that it's over but the grid is full of answers I've never heard of, which is less common after a year of puzzling. Overall the most frustratingly unattainable Friday I've tried in months. Here's to Saturday!

Kerry 8:56 PM  

Blech, sports. SIXERSGAME, OILERSGAME, NINERSGAME... entertained "St. Augustin" for what turned out to be STANMUSIAL (who is, I'm sure, extremely famous but is strictly crosswordese to me).

There's even a bloody ESPN anchor in there.

Hated it.

Henry Shapiro 9:47 PM  

Us oldtimers remember when food packages had on them something like "registered Penna dept of agriculture", which is how I knew that Penna was the abbreviation that was desired.

Tobias Duncan 10:12 PM  

@ Kerry 8:56
Thank you! That was all I was trying to say.

hazel 10:31 PM  

@tita - there would be 100 different kinds of outrage if he ever showed up in a puzzle!

JenCT 10:47 PM  

It seems that the Long Island Sound estuary is connected to the Atlantic Ocean at both ends; would that qualify as CT touching the Atlantic???

sanfranman59 12:59 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:33, 6:50, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:09, 8:53, 0.92, 29%, Easy-Medium
Wed 13:16, 11:50, 1.12, 80%, Challenging
Thu 14:44, 18:55, 0.78, 16%, Easy
Fri 19:12, 24:51, 0.77, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 48%, Medium
Tue 4:22, 4:35, 0.95, 41%, Medium
Wed 6:54, 5:53, 1.17, 88%, Challenging
Thu 8:23, 9:18, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 9:46, 12:18, 0.79, 19%, Easy

Solving in Seattle 1:01 PM  

I used to race sailboats (as crew on my father-in-law's Cal 40) and one of our nemisises (Neville's spelling) was a boat named "MAELSTROM." Loved the name. I think it means "storm" in Norwegian. I had BEGaT at first but is BEGOT kosher?

After yesterday's puzzle, I kind of think it's cool that @God doesn't use spellcheck. And, if you're standing close to @jackj, I'd be edging away I were you. Also, it's odd how @Gods style seems to be similar to the Evil one... hmmm.

My only miss was PENNe/ERDe, but I'm from the PacNW, which happens to be the ONLY state with below average temperatures this year.

SW solved very quickly without knowing RUDI, EBAN or REA.

While an undergrad at ASU, the coolest chick on campus had the first XKE model. She, too, had the look and sound of a Jaguar.

Fun, but easy puzzle, Barry Silk.

TGIF, Syndies.

Capchas: sorry, uninspiring.

NM Robin 1:27 PM  

First entry was JAWS OF LIFE. My brother and sister-in-law were in an accident recently and the Jaws-of-Life saved their life.

I found this easier than most Fridays. Usually I only get about half the puzzle.

Easy puzzle from Barry Silk. Definitely smooth as Silk.

Spacecraft 1:52 PM  

Not the late-week Gordian Knot that I usually face...yet in one place a natick. OD_RNEISSE/EB_N. Hmm, what goes in there; never heard of either of those. Oh well, the long one sounds Germanish, so I'll try "E." Ah! You can't lose 'em all, right?

I guess I had a leg up on this one, though: I'm from PENNA, so SIXERSGAME was a gimme.

Good stuff, even if I'm not a huge fan of ATOZ. Just once I'd like to see that one clued as "Librarian in STTOS' 'All Our Yesterdays.'"

rain forest 2:25 PM  

@SIS, my high school phys ed teacher was named Hemingway, and drove an XKE, in 1963! He was God, in so many ways.
Silky smooth puzzle today, and I don't care if it was easy.
Also, @SIS, isn't this the worst June in memory? I'm in Vancouver, and my feet are in danger of webbing up, while freezing.

I don't think I can nail this capcha...I was right. This one I think I can handle

DMGrandma 2:49 PM  

Finally got this sports heavy puzzle, though I still wonder how I got STANMUSIAL off just S and M. He must have been super in the news. As it happens, I finished thinking RUBBERSOUL is the only thing that fit at 50A, and wondered if it came from some kind of punny shoe ad! I must join the real world some day!

Solving in Seattle 3:56 PM  

@rain forest, I guess your blog name says it all for us Salish Sea types. I swear it rained an inch in about a minute yesterday!

and let me think for a minute about a name like Hemingway, a '63 XKE, and high school gym teacher... hmmm, sounds like trouble.

@DGM, my son has said the only think he really wants me to bequeath him is my complete collection of all the Beatles' albums. What's the best of all?

capcha: hatedzo. A Gabor sister expressing her dislike.

Solving in Seattle 3:58 PM  

Forgot to add to my last comment. Are the Kardashian sisters the present day equivalent of the Gabor sisters? Famous for being famous?

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Gotta chime in as a Pennsylvanian:

Penna is not a made-up abbreviation! And Penne has never been an a variation. Penna was the standard abbrev for PA before the two-letter abbrevs were established...

Ginger 5:32 PM  

Fascinating that one solver's 'gimme' is ungettable to another. I dropped in RUDI and ODERNEISSE without a thought, yet I had never heard of RUBBERSOUL. As a long time fan (currently on the French Open), I like sports clues. But when the subject is pop music, ACH!

Before the post office came up with 2 letter state abbreviations, most states had 4 and 5 letter so called standard designations; ie Calif., N.Dak, Mont, and Penna.

@SIS and @Rainforest yes, we have had a cold wet spring, but that's the price I'm happy to pay for our incredible scenery. And...@SIS, among other things, it's what makes Bandon Dunes...Bandon Dunes!

Hands up for the malapop of EARLYbirdy over WHIRLYBIRD. A quick observation about the latter; they do their best to commit suicide by centrifigal force. I understand they require 2hours of maint. for every hour in the air.

Ginger 5:37 PM  

@Anon 5:22 You beat me to it...I still want to write Penna....old habits are hard to break.

Solving in Seattle 5:52 PM  

@Ginger, Bandon and Chambers Bay in Tacoma are the equal of the links courses in Ireland and Scotland, but it's almost as easy to get to Ireland as to Bandon.

Texas Solver 5:59 PM  

PROSPECTUS is a terrible answer. All security accounts have a prospectus; but a security account isn't a prospectus.

eastsacgirl 6:30 PM  

Hi from syndiland - Grrrrrr.... couldn't come up with 2 letters in SW corner...oDErnaisse. Just never came across before. Zoomed through most of the rest though, so not too bad. Like others said, pretty easy for a Friday. Knew the Help! clue had to do with the Beatles off the bat but couldn't dredge up for the longest time. And wanted MAKEUPTEST for while too.

Waxy in Montreal 7:07 PM  

Didn't get started on this one until late this afternoon due to first round of golf of the year taking precedence. Nevertheless, finished it in record time (Rubber Soul?). Perhaps multiple ALES at the 19th hole helped or maybe it was something I ATE... Anyhow, a bright, breezy, silky Friday puzzle IMHO.

Red Valerian 7:34 PM  

Hey--it's momentarily NOT RAINING! egad.

Have family driving from Toronto. Got a message Wednesday that they were with friends in Field (just west of Yoho NP, not far into BC from Alberta). Thought we'd see them Thursday or more likely today. Mudslide at 04.30 yesterday closed Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. They were not on the road yet, so headed south (and, frustratingly, east) to take Highway 3 along the bottom of the province. It closed between Salmo and Creston because of heavy snow. They took a detour up 3A to catch the Kootenay Lake ferry from Crawford Bay toward Nelson, to hook up with Highway 3 again. So did scads and scads of others. Huge line-ups. Then truck broke down. In the meantime, the road back out of Crawford Bay washed out, due to, um, heavy rain. Parts have to come by boat. They are still there. in the pouring rain. in a tent....

See? Could be worse!

Had never heard of the Canadian equivalent of The Onion! The Smew

Liked the puzzle, but had to guess on the last letter of PENNA and ERDA.

When did the captchas start including numbers?

Dirigonzo 7:52 PM  

Well Barry Silk certainly woke the syndilanders up with this one - that's great! So was the puzzle, except I, like @Spacecraft, needed a lucky guess to complete the International border. Unfortunately I guessed wrong on the ESPN anchor - isn't there a SUZe somebody on one of the cable channels? (I don't get cable anymore - the red squirrels chewed right through the cable where it attached to the house and I decided it just wasn't worth it to get it repaired and you know what? - I don't miss it at all.)

@ Octavian said: "Pop media time: Did you know that The Smew is the Canadian equivalent of The Onion?" Syndilanders north of the border, any more info on this?

Dirigonzo 8:00 PM  

@Red Valerian - Nice to see you back (but sorry about all the weather-related problems)! I was composing while you posted, so thanks for the comment on the Smew. I posted a comment on your blog with the address of a live webcam feed on an Osprey nest here in Maine - 3 eggs just hatched!

@Anony 5:22 - I think Rex would have reclued PENNe to something pasta related, not a variation on your home state.

Lola505 9:52 PM  

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I like a little more meat on the bone of my Friday puzzle. This was just too easy. Even the clues I didn't know right away were easily filled by crosses.

I'd about written off Barry Silk as a constructor I just couldn't see eye to eye with, but this one fell right into place. He must have an "in" with Mr. Shortz, he's published so regularly?

Really, nothing much to write home about here, IMHO.

Lola505 10:36 PM  

@Diri, Suze (Orman) is a pop-financial guru. I thought about her for a minute, too.

Dirigonzo 11:39 PM  

@Lola505 - Thanks, at least I wasn't imagining things (for a change). If there's anything I know less about than sports, it's finances.

Maybe tomorrow (five weeks ago) will present more of a challenge - but I really like the "smooth as Silk" offerings. Have a nice weekend!

Ginger 12:07 AM  

@Red Valerian - OMG your family's odyssey sounds ghastly. In a tent. In the rain. ACH

Glad to see you back. How is your avian family?

Red Valerian 12:28 AM  

@Ginger: family members still trapped at Crawford Bay, but they're young and they're coping just fine. Thanks for asking.

Osprey update available at my (barely functional) blog, skimpy though it is. Short version--I don't know. Longer version--things look interesting.

Check out the live webacam link @Dirigonzo provides in the comments. Now THAT's an osprey nest, and one that folks can see.

I've been sharing this robin site with a few folks since one of my neighbours sent it to me. This isn't completely on-topic (crossword? what crossword?), but here it is

Robins nesting

Solving in Seattle 12:53 PM  

@Dirigonzo, I just read your blog and I'm sad at the news. The Rexville community is special, but obviously also fragile. Doesn't anyone remember the lesson taught in "Lord of the Flies?"

JenCT 1:34 PM  

@Dirigonzo: I also read your blog, and I'm saddened by the news.

I chose to stay out of the negativity all those weeks ago.

I will miss @Acme very, very much.

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I'm a day late on this discussion, but for here's how I handled the "Help!" clue: first tried to squeeze in the next line of the song "I NEED SOMEB---". Nope. Then I tried the next film the Beatles made "MAGICAL MYS--". Nope. Must be the next album.

This puzzle contained my holy trinity of Beatles, Baseball and Beer (there's actually a 4th B, but that one seldom makes the Times puzzle), though I admit to thinking the Cardinal was going to be a Pope, right up to ST. ANMUS__L.

Anonymous 8:38 PM  

Wasn't Nick Esasky the one who suffered from Vertigo?

Nothing trying join the conversation after everyone else has gone home.

Dirigonzo 8:50 PM  

@Anony 8:38 PM - don't be so pessimistic. With email updates. many commenters here will see your post. And some may even reply!

But I can't help you with the Nick Esasky question - maybe someone else will buzz in on the your question.

Dirigonzo 9:14 PM  

@Solving in Seattle and @JenCT - thank you for reading. I am truly mourning the loss of someone so special. But sadly, no I don't think we remember the lessons taught - bullies, apparently, can still have their way.

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