Female counselor / SUN 7-29-12 / Neighbor of Draco Hercules / Bob Marley tune made popular by Johnny Nash / 1972 Bill Withers hit / Aristotle's fifth element

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Constructor: Kevin G. Der

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Debut Promos at the World's Fair" — imaginary (I assume) come-ons for products that were debuted at World's Fairs (with the relevant year for each product in parentheses at the end of each clue)

Word of the Day: EGERIA (100D: Female counselor) —
Egeria was a nymph attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of RomeNuma Pompilius, to whom she imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor. (wikipedia)
• • •

A cute and simple theme. Might've been cooler if the World's Fair angle had been in the grid rather than the title. Or maybe that would've been too obvious. I mean, I could tell what the gist of the theme was after I got the theme answer, and at that point I hadn't even looked at the title. I'm a little disappointed, I guess, that there was nothing to "get." It was all so straightforward—though the theme cluing does have a bit of cleverness to it at times, I found the theme answers remarkably easy to get (except WALL OUTLET ... possibly because I don't think it its being a Thing ... I mean, clearly, it is, but it's not a discrete thing ... or doesn't really exhibit its thingness unless it's attached to a WALL, which you can't really handle or ride ...). All the challenge was in the fill, where the cluing was pretty tough at times. I got hung up all over the place, though not in any kind back-breaking way. Nice, diverting work, with a theme a little too obvious and too easy to work through, but fill that provided just enough crunch to keep things interesting.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: "Get an inside look at our booth" (Buffalo, 1901) (XRAY MACHINE)
  • 25A: "Come by and chat at our booth" (Philadelphia, 1876) (TELEPHONE)
  • 41A: "You've gotta get your hands on this" (Knoxville, 1982) (TOUCHSCREEN)
  • 44A: "Puts the keys of the future at your fingertips" (Philadelphia, 1876) (TYPEWRITER)
  • 59A: "Bring your dogs to our booth" (Philadelphia, 1876) (HEINZ KETCHUP) — my first answer here, because I had REV at 46D: Small energy boost?: VETERINARIAN. But I sort of assumed that was wrong and that the real answer would have to do with shoes ...
  • 69A: "The fair's toughest man alive" (New York City, 1939) (HUMANOID ROBOT)

  • 79A: "Get the scoop on our new hand-held offering" (ICE CREAM CONE)
  • 94A: "Fairgoers may be in for a shock" (St. Louis, 1904) (WALL OUTLET)
  • 97A: "Starting a giant revolution at the fairgrounds" (Chicago, 1893) (FERRIS WHEEL)
  • 117A: "Getting fairgoers moving on the right track" (Paris, 1900) (ESCALATOR)
  • 119A: "Now showing our big vision of the future" (Osaka, 1970) (IMAX THEATER)
So, where was the trouble? The trouble was ... well, first, having no memory at all of a movie called "SHARK TALE" (53D: 2004 Will Smith animated film). Also, not seeing (and barely seeing now) how to get from 52A: Ones with natural curls? to ASPS. Also, having no idea that EWW was a "word" (I had EEK). Also, OSMIUM? EGERIA? EINER? All over my head. (114A: Densest natural element / Female counselor / 9D: Mussorgski's "Bilder ___ Ausstellung") I'm sure I've seen them all before (I *know* I've seen stupid horrible EGERIA), but that didn't matter. Total blanks. Designer Pucci? I know Gucci. Not Pucci. Certainly not EMILIO. I figured a Met someone? would be an OPERA STAR, not just a stupid GOER. A "someone" should be noteworthy, not just any schmo with a ticket. That mistake cost me. I also had CAFE for CHEZ (42D: Part of many a bistro name), EARTH for ETHER (57D: Aristotle's "fifth element"), and ON CALL for ON SALE (71D: Ready to move). And the aforementioned REV for RAH (46D: Small energy boost?). Otherwiiiiiiiise—no problems!

  • 30A: Early 20th-century modernist (MAN RAY) — Kept wanting MANET or MONET to fit, despite the fact that they are neither of the things mentioned in the clue.
  • 83A: Bob Marley tune made popular by Johnny Nash ("STIR IT UP") — ON CALL screw-up kept this hidden for a while, despite the fact that I could hear the song, faintly, in the back of my head, somewhere ...
  • 125A: Source of the Hulk's power (RAGE) — most parodied superhero on the internet. Lots of Twitter versions of Hulk. Just like there are lots of Tumblr versions of Ryan Gosling.
  • 127A: "Shepherd Moons" Grammy winner (ENYA) — New Agey title, Grammy-winner, 4 letters. Next!
  • 36D: Neighbor of Draco and Hercules (LYRA) — oh, these are constellations, right? I just (literally, as I was typing out the clue) got that. Before that: "What does Malfoy have to do with Hercules, and who's this LYRA person?"
  • 96D: 1972 Bill Withers hit ("USE ME") — easily my favorite bit of musical crosswordese. It comes up a lot. Seriously, you should commit it to memory now, as it will come back. ENESCO will also come back. But he won't be as groovy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Lollapuzzolola 5, NYC's most lovable crossword tournament, is this Saturday. If you have ever been even slightly curious about tournaments but aren't sure you're "good enough" or whatever, this is the one to go to. It's somehow both a serious tournament with great puzzles *and* a not-at-all serious tournament with scores of other lovely crossword enthusiasts like yourself. I've met some of the Nicest People In The World at this tournament. You should go! And if you can't physically be there, there's a "Compete From Home" option. Details here.


Deb 12:16 AM  

DNF here due to the stupid OPERA GOER. I had rOuSES for GOOSES, which gave me the made-up word OPERAtuER. Which, now that I look at it, would be spelled wrong even if it were an actual word, but it still feels like more of a "somebody" than a stupid GOER.

No problems other than that. Enjoyed it mostly.

Typically Snobby Opera-Goer 12:30 AM  

Don't you know that OPERAGOERS are morally, spiritually and intellectually superior to the rest of humanity (if we can even extend to non-OPERAGOERS the term human)? An OPERAGOER is the ultimate "somebody". The rest are gutter rats.

retired_chemist 12:59 AM  

A fun solve. Enjoyed the theme.

Quite a few overwrites; ALPO => IAMS, NAVY => ANIL, SHARK TANK => SHARK TALK (which should be SHARK TALE; KSS for 104A makes no sense but I missed it in checking), CAYMAN => BAHAMA (66A).

My "group in many a park" was ELKS to start - ether an Elks Club picnic or elk in presumably several National Parks. My 119A was IMAC THEATER - CLI and XLI are RRN's to me. I know - the iMAc is something else but I ALWAYS screw this one up.

Never heard of SADA Thompson.

Thanks, Mr. Der.

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

Is HeShe a pronoun?

jae 1:07 AM  

This is my idea of what a Sun. should be.   Medium-tough, but doable and you learn stuff (you might like this one ED...worth the price of the paper).

Erasures over lapped with Rex: Cafe for CHEZ, OPERAstaR for GOER,  but Rent for RIFT instead of the call error (which I briefly considered).

Nice workout Kevin!

Danny 2:00 AM  

I had disturbingly similar hang-ups in this puzzle as you did, Rex:

-OPERAstar, instead of GOER.
-Cafe, not CHEZ
-Earth, not ETHER
-Rev, not RAH (I think REV suits the clue absolutely perfectly.)

Oddly, I knew EMILIO. And the ONLY reason I know this is from my doing crosswords. There are some things that have finally stuck, and EMILIO Pucci is apparently one of them.

Did not enjoy this puzzle as much as I expect to enjoy a Sunday puzzle.

I did, however, enjoy seeing Mussorgsky in a puzzle. He's under-mentioned in the world of music and in the world of anything else.

syndy 2:05 AM  

Had Rouses and ONcall,RAy instead of RAH;forage rather than PREYON but that all made it fun! howsoever HESHE was a big biteme.It made me feel some RANCOR

Evan 4:12 AM  

Good gravy. I thought the puzzle was fun, but it was a much bigger challenge than I think it should have been. That's not the fault of too many obscure answers or unfair crossings, but rather my uncanny inability to get past several initial mistakes for a long time. Let's count the write-overs:

1. Aft instead of AGO at 34-Across.
2. Omsk instead of OREL at 48-Across.
3. PEdi, then PErm, instead of PEEL at 50-Across.
4. sAHArA instead of BAHAMA at 66-Across (can't defend that one, except to say that it sounded right on the first pass).
5. egAd instead of WHAT at 88-Across.
6. kAHN instead of CAHN at 15-Down (can never remember the spelling).
7. OPERA staR instead of OPERA GOER at 37-Down (fortunately, that one I was able to fix pretty quickly).
8. smAsH instead of REACH at 43-Across.

And that was before recognizing how all of the entries crossing those ones were not only wrong, but made no sense.

But the worst (funniest?) mistake of all -- the one that not only slowed me down the most but was the most indefensible given the clue -- was HEINeKEn sHoP at 59-Across instead of HEINZ KETCHUP. Even well after I thought that maybe the "dogs" of the clue had to do with hot dogs, I still couldn't get it -- probably because I figured that the customers at the World's Fair really, really wanted some Dutch beer with their lunch. Wouldn't you?

Somehow, I managed to fix all of those errors, and get past some really tricky stuff (MAN RAY, EGERIA), and come out with a perfect solution. But not without feeling like the puzzle still beat me. A hand up for thinking the clue for KENNEL ("It may receive a few pointers") is fantastic.

Last note: My biggest "huh?" moment was with MACE. I never knew it was a spice. The only MACEs I know are a) the medieval weapon, b) the self-defense spray, and c) a crappy 1997 fighting game for the N64 called "Mace: The Dark Age." Here's a video of that game in which Pojo the killer chicken defeats the monstrous demon Asmodeus.

Evan 4:20 AM  

Oh, and I'm waiting, just waiting, for the first person to comment on the double entendre in the clue and answer for 97-Down. A person can "act like an expert without being one" by FAKING IT in more ways than one.

.....I guess now I'm that first person.

evil doug 5:02 AM  

[location: Elaine's office]

(A secretary walks past the office...)

ELAINE: Rene, can you come here a second? Let me ask you something: Have you ever... you know... faked it?

RENE: Yeah, sometimes.

ELAINE: Really? Like when?

RENE: Like if we went to a Broadway show, if we had really good seats...


RENE: Or, well, you know, if it's enough already and I just wanna get some sleep...
Bonus joke!
Q: Why do women fake orgasms?
A: They think men care.


Ruth 8:21 AM  

The wall outlet is one of those things that's so common, so unexciting, so much part of the background that we just don't think of it as A Thing. But then you realize that there was a time when it (and electricity in the home) didn't exist, and for somebody, it was an AHA--this is how we'll do it! And for the consumer, it must of been an "Oh cool--that's how I connect my things to this electricity stuff." Never would have thought about that--at some point, they had to have been A New Thing.

Glimmerglass 8:22 AM  

This one was harder than your average Sunday. Several tricky (i.e. Thurs -- Sat) clues. I liked the theme, and learned something from it. Got ON A LARK wrong -- I had On A dARe, even though I had a sense that wasn't quite right. Never heard of EBOLI (sounds like a disease, and I hate opera) and I didn't think of SHARK TALE (though I think I watched part of it with my grandchildren). So ... two letters wrong this week. Fun Sunday puzzle.

Typically Snobby Opera-Goer 8:44 AM  

Oh, I forgot. What sort of heather puts ketchup on hot dogs? It's mustard, or nothing.

Wreck Sparker 9:34 AM  

Nice Sunday workout. Enesco / Enescu is like Olaf / Olav for me. Ya never know until the crosses go in.

joho 9:38 AM  

I was really impressed with the dense theme answers ... 11 to be exact, but not so crazy about their straightforwardness. @Rex, mentioned this, too. All of the cleverness falls to the cluing white the answers, while informative and educational even, are just things like TELEPHONE, TYPEWRITER, etc. On a Sunday I want some kind of twist, a big AHA, a chuckle and belly laugh, something more than an ESCALATOR.

I also found this to be pretty easy with my most difficult theme answer being WALLOUTLET where I wanted WALLsockET.

@Evan, my favorite answer in the grid was FAKEIT! Fresh and fun!

joho 9:39 AM  

"while" the answers ...

jackj 10:05 AM  

In what is akin to a game of “Trivial Pursuit Master Game-World’s Fair Edition” we are asked to identify products debuted at World Fairs from 1876 to 1982 and the answers are surprising, HEINZKETCHUP, ICECREAMCONE, FERRISWHEEL and the more serious XRAYMACHINE to name but a few.

The hardest to identify was WALLOUTLET, only because it seemed such an unremarkable thing to have been presented, it didn’t come quickly to mind like most of the others.

But, as recompense, we are given a chance to reflect on the brilliant avant-garde artist MAN RAY who influenced the direction of American art through his surrealistic work from before WWI to his death in 1976. (Well, it works for me.)

Another nice touch was cluing OLEMISS as writer William Faulkner’s alma mater instead of using the usual sports reference, although Kevin didn’t totally spare us the mundane as he doubled down for the Pac-12’s UTAH UTES.

The best entries of the day were a long one, “Met somebody?” that brilliantly clued OPERAGOER and a very short one, “Bull run participant?” which no doubt had many a solver who didn’t notice the lower case “r”, in a tizzy trying to remember the details of the Civil War battle when all that was desired was TORO. Wonderful, Kevin!

Another interesting challenge from Mr. Der; his puzzles can certainly stir the gray matter.

retired_chemist 10:10 AM  

@ Evan - LOL re HEINEKEN SHOP. I would visit...

Hand up for AFT and OMSK, and for missing WHAT at first (88A) - wanted IS IT?

Smitty 10:50 AM  

@snobby opera goer
Ditto on the ketchup w/ dogs - who knows what else they ate in 1876
MANRAY came from some unknown part of my hindbrain.. Scary to think of all the undeleted trash hoarded back there.
fun Sunday!

GILL I. 10:52 AM  

The puzzles this week have been hard for me and this was no exception. I enjoyed it though and kept plugging away during breaks in men's beach volley ball which I love. Hmmm, I wonder why?
I read this book called "The Devil in the White City" some time ago and it got me interested in World Fairs and the inventions that were introduced. I started looking them up and it seems the food items such as the ICE CREAM CONE and HEINZ KETCHUP won the fair goers over big time. Speaking of KETCHUP, who in the world puts it on a dog? It's sacrilegious!
Loved seeing Princess EBOLI - she who likes to STIR IT UP for the OPERA GOERS.

Davis 11:00 AM  

Solid puzzle — this was the first Sunday in some time for me where solving it felt like a satisfying accomplishment. The theme answers were interesting yet challenging (HUMANOID ROBOT, rather than WALL OUTLET, was the one it took me the longest to get). After I had filled in the puzzle and was told I had an error, I looked mare closely and realized I had EBOLa at 61D. Whoops! (Though I do have to say, opera character names are a plague when it comes to fill.)

The west edge gave me the most trouble — I knew it wasn't OPERA star because I had already gotten ICE CREAM CONE, but I had entered GPA instead of AVG, which munged up the rest of my work in the region.

Not too much garbage fill here, I thought – EGERIA was a new one on me, and I never remember ENESCO, but I hardly noticed those because of the crosses. I also find Roman numerals to be unsatisfying fill, so XLI gets a knock for that.

OSMIUM goes on my list of fun fill, but that's because I'm a bit of a science geek. Other non-theme entries I thought were nice: BEDLAM (I always like this word, even though it's probably losing its freshness), MAN RAY, WHELK, HATE MAIL, and maybe GATEAU. Also, it was fun to see Jean-Claude van DAMME get a shout-out.

Finally, there was one clue I still don't quite get. How does "Winter reading, say" clue for TEENS?

Norm 11:06 AM  

@ Davis Think temperature & thermometer.

Loren Muse Smith 11:06 AM  

I had all the same mistakes as so many people have talked about: opera star, aft, Omsk, pedi, café, rev. . and some others no one has mentioned: gelato for GATEAU, redeal for REFUEL, moms for ELMS and (embarrassingly) pop tart for pop IN ON. Does that mistake alert anyone that I may put KETCHUP on my hot dogs?

@Smitty – ODOM came very, very early from some unknown part of MY hindbrain!

When was a NANO person, I found a pristine, whole, live, WHELK one summer at the beach and was a beach “somebody” for the whole week.

I liked that MEGA and NANO shared the grid. Liked HESHE, though we don’t need it; we have an inclusive pronoun already in place in our language, and it’s they. I predict it’s just a matter of time before the Powers That Be accept it as a third person singular pronoun.

Yeah – this was a harder than expected Sunday, but I enjoyed the theme density and the history lesson. A tough solve, but I liked it!

retired_chemist 11:14 AM  

Being a big Dallas Mavericks fan, I tried hard to forget Lamar ODOM, but couldn't....

Sue McC 11:25 AM  

Nothing on my dog, thankyouverymuch.

Rex's write-up saved me the trouble...I would have said exactly the same stuff, especially about the title. Before I even started filling it in, I did a quick mental inventory of items I knew from Worlds Fairs, and did ok at getting many of the theme answers. All in all, I enjoyed it very much but it was quite straightforward.

Is it me, or are the Captchas getting longer?

Carola 11:28 AM  

The puzzle definitely gets more than one RAH from me, I liked the theme and learning about these debuts; I knew only ICECREAM CONE and FERRIS WHEEL beforehand and it was fun to try to guess the others with just a couple of letters filled in, with HEINZ KETCHUP especially being a treat to write in. I also thought the cluing showed some nice WIT. I liked OPERA GOER crossing ICECREAM CONE, alluding to two of life's finest pleasures.

But there's also a dark undercurrent, with HATE MAIL eliciting RAGE and RANCOR, and the call to STIR IT UP leading to BELAM.

A do-over: for 57D Aristotole's element, I had the H and R and, remembering the "petrichor" discussion from some puzzles back, confidently wrote in "icHoR," feeling like a real crossword ACE. But the ASTORIA cross soon DOUSEd that glow.

Thank you, Kevin Der - I liked the puzzle a lot.

Sparky 11:30 AM  

Hand up for HEINZmustard at first and ONAdare. Also question HESHE. CLI would be 151 which is not a date for Claudius I. So it may be annoying but not really random. (Thank you Sister Maria deLourdes.)

Took me a while. Started last night and felt like a slog then I got into the swing of it. Had to look up SHARKTALE and EBOLI in my books. Wrong square at OdEL. LYdA made sense too. Rex's stumbling blocks and those mentioned above pretty much the same as but I knew EMILIO right off.

All of Sunday stretches ahead, enjoy yourselves.

Cliff Guthrie 11:38 AM  

Egeria is also the name of a fourth century female pilgrim to Jerusalem whose descriptions of the Easter rituals of the church there was largely responsible for the Christian calendar. Interesting that her named Roman counterpart had much the same role.

Davis 11:40 AM  

@Norm — Ah! Thanks, I can't believed I overlooked that "reading" of the clue.

chefbea 11:48 AM  

Fun, Fun puzzle. Saw the theme and was waiting for Ice cream cone to pop up!! Didn't know that the wall outlet was from my city.

Use to have an Emilio Pucci dress so I knew that one

Lewis 11:49 AM  

The clues may be straightforward, but in my first passes there was a lot of white on my board. Once they started falling, though, they fell pretty fast. Not a slog, but short of sparkling; still worth doing...

r.alphbunker 12:02 PM  

I initially had Cape instead CAMP for {summer getaway}. I blame @Tita for that one. Also had tribecA instead of ASTORIA.

ITALIA for {Firenze's place} was a gimme because I was recently in Italy and learned that if I wanted to get to Florence I had to get on the bus labelled Firenze. I enjoy geography clues that I actually can write in immediately rather than waiting for crosses and faking it. For example, I rarely know directional clues.

It turns out that EMILIO Pucci lived in Firenze but I was not required to know his first name while I was in Italy so I had to guess it off the EM. Guessing correctly has its own charm but I prefer knowing the answer outright.

Carola 12:11 PM  

Yikes, from 11:28 - BEDLAM!

Evgeny 12:18 PM  

Could somebody please explain how the clue for 9D got past the editing? "Bilder EINER Ausstellung" is not the title of Mussorgsky's piece. The (original) title is "Картинки с выставки" meaning "Pictures at an Exhibition" in Russian (!). "Bilder einer Ausstellung" is merely the German translation.

So we now get a translation of one foreign-language title into another foreign language? How is this legit?

syndy 12:39 PM  

Cuz the Russian can't be done on our typewriters?

Brookboy 12:51 PM  

In addition to many of the same stumbling blocks others have mentioned, I also struggled with IAMS/ASYLA. Not sure why.

Started OPERAGOER with OPERAbuff, but the crosses pretty much killed that.


Got WHELK and MANRAY pretty quickly, but then got hung up on WIT (wanted Wag, which hung me up on PATCH for a while, till the penny finally dropped).

Like others, I wanted smAsH for REACH, and it took all the crosses for me to finally get ASPS.

I finished the puzzle, but it took me about twice my average time, and I kept thinking, "Wow, this seems like a really tough puzzle." I figured Rex was going to describe it as Easy to Moderate, which he often does with puzzles that I find challenging. So I felt vindicated to see his difficulty rating.

Sandy K 1:04 PM  

This puzzle is a metaphor for HEINZ KETCHUP...
Began with much "Anticipation" but fill was thick and slow to come out.
Had 57 varieties of answers before I got HESHE...EWW!

PS. My capcha was more of a pronoun than HESHE- glyTHEIR

retired_chemist 1:05 PM  

Sparky - CLI vs. XLI is certainly not truly random, but it seems so if you don't know the dates of the emperor's reign. And with only X, C, D, and M possible for _CI and D and M silly, plunking down C for reasons irrelevant to the RRN and finding it IS a RRN (Real Roman numeral) is something that was easy to go with simply on a statistical argument.

I was wrong - but I would have needed your knowledge of Roman emperors to know that from the date. IMAC vs. IMAX - I gotta own that part.

Dirty Harry 1:58 PM  

DETECTIVE: Hey, don't tell me this $#!t's getting to you. Not Harry Callahan. Say it ain't so.

CALLAHAN: No, this stuff isn't getting to me, the shootings, the knifings, the beatings, old ladies being bashed in the head for their social security checks, teachers being thrown out of a fourth floor window because they don't give A's. That doesn't bother me a bit.

DETECTIVE: Come on Harry, take it easy.

CALLAHAN: Or this job either, having to wade through the scum of this city, being swept away by bigger and bigger waves of corruption, apathy and red tape. No, that doesn't bother me. But you know what does bother me?


CALLAHAN: You know what makes me really sick to my stomach?


CALLAHAN: It's watching you stuff your face with those hot dogs. Nobody... I mean NOBODY puts ketchup on a hot dog.

ksquare 2:29 PM  

I recall seeing the HUMANOID ROBOT at the Westinghouse exhibit of the 1939 World's Fair, but don't remember it being called 'humanoid'. GE had a more exciting show with man-made lightning.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

It is so refreshing to have a puzzle that uses "real words" and is straight forward. I don't mind some where you have to "get" the secret, but using our brains for real answers sure is fun.

fan 3:24 PM  

hey chef bea, try the post puzzler, you're favorite is in there!!!

jordan.wright 3:25 PM  

Totally miffed by TEENS for winter reading. Still asea...

ANON B 3:44 PM  

Can someone explain what Rex was talking about with
that was wrong.

GILL I. 4:14 PM  

@ANON B Rex was thinking REV for 46D which would have given him VETERINARIAN for the dummkopfs who put ketchup on their dogs.

jordan.wright 4:44 PM  

Oh snap! It's temperature reading

chefbea 5:18 PM  

@fan will see if I can find the post puzzler and print it out

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

My eraser hurts! But I finished!!!!

Sparky 5:54 PM  

@retired_chemist. Or PBS shows or books by Robert Graves.

sanfranman59 6:04 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 6:30, 6:49, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:23, 8:56, 0.83, 7%, Easy
Wed 13:44, 11:47, 1.17, 86%, Challenging
Thu 24:54, 18:56, 1.32, 92%, Challenging
Fri 30:06, 24:43, 1.22, 88%, Challenging
Sat 20:36, 29:23, 0.70, 3%, Easy (5th lowest median solve time of 151 Saturdays)
Sun 37:51, 33:04, 1.14, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 1.00, 52%, Medium
Tue 4:21, 4:38, 0.94, 37%, Easy-Medium
Wed 7:42, 5:54, 1.31, 97%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 158 Wednesdays)
Thu 13:31, 9:22, 1.44, 94%, Challenging
Fri 15:16, 12:15, 1.25, 88%, Challenging
Sat 11:20, 16:39, 0.68, 4%, Easy (6th lowest median solve time of 150 Saturdays)
Sun 23:30, 21:01, 1.12, 79%, Medium-Challenging

FWIW, I've accumulated a little more than a year of Sunday data now, so I might as well begin posting relative difficulty ratings.

JenCT 10:00 PM  

Wow, looks like I picked a good week for a crossword vacation - all those Challenging ratings from@sanfranman.

Had to post this for @Evil, from the movie "All Of Me:"

Peggy Schuyler (Madolyn Smith) breaking off with Roger Cobb (Steve Martin) in All of Me (1984): ''By the way! I never liked your dog , and I think jazz is stupid, and I faked all those orgasms. ''

To which Steve Martin replies: "Yeah??? Well, I faked mine....too........."

Anonymous 11:18 PM  

Ketchup on a hot dog? 7D! I understand there are locales where that is (as you all like to say) a "thing", but this is the *New York* Times, and here it ain't. 82D!

I think 5D ("Like hams") is a cruddy way to clue AMATEUR, especially with the Olympics on, where many competitors can still claim that honorable, though somewhat dated, status. (I originally had "emoTErs".)

jae 11:42 PM  

I'm flying in the face of Rex's "don't respond to anons" advice, but I felt I had to defend the clue. I believe the reference was to ham radio operators who are, of course, amateurs.

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

Lowly anon11:18 responds:

Thank you, jae! Obviously I was thinking more along the lines of the "hams" being actors, but I'm happy to accept your more civilized alternative was what was intended.

I hadn't realized anons had been the subject of that sort of anathema by our blog host. Thanks for treating a person like a person!

nurturing 6:30 PM  

I am a native New Yorker and I put Heinz ketchup (gotta be Heinz) on my hot dog and have been doing so for the 62 or more years I've been eating hot dogs.

A little tolerance, please.

Occasionally I use a spicy mustard instead. In either case, sauerkraut makes it a total comfort food.

The NYC street carts back in the 50s-60s had the best dogs. I miss them!

Steve 3:54 PM  

EWW burns as a legal word. I entered that in a puzzle at the Brooklyn tournament. They were looking for EEW, crossing IEOH (!)

Anonymous 10:37 PM  

Can someone tell the winter teen clue.

JenCT 11:17 PM  

@Anon 10:37: as in thermometer

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Thanks. It was driving me nuts and is so obvious. At least I got it. Dave

Alec 10:13 AM  

Not so obvious to us Celsius users!

Spacecraft 2:05 PM  

I rate this a straight challenging, as the only really obvious theme gimme (for this me) was ICECREAMCONE. On the others it took at least a few crosses to suss them out. Some clues really were ESS-shaped. Winter reading had me hung up till I finally got the point. The expression WARMEDAL leaves me cold. There are many "war" medals, and they all mean something. I just don't like the sound of the generic model.

I know from ESPN-land that they really call the University of Mississippi "OLEMISS" and it seems to be an actual official designation. I've often wondered about that. EBOLI is really a character's name from Don Carlos? Egad. Sounds like a cross between Ebola and E-coli. UGH and EWW!

Got through it OK, only one writeover: I missed lunchtime by an hour ATone. Shoulda known there were better clues for those five letters. A satisfying solve.

Dirigonzo 3:22 PM  

This will be an historic first for me - I've solved many puzzles while sitting on my pool deck but never before have I posted from here; thanks to my new laptop (I know, I'm so twentieth century) that is about to change. Here we go.

puzz-partner and I had great fun sussing out the theme answers, not all of which were intuitive to us - it didn't help matters that we convinced ourselves early on that the "dogs" at 59a referred to wEINEr something. And I complicated matters further and extended our solve-time greatly by suggesting, facetiously to be sure, that maybe Faulkner had attended OrEgonu, a la a couple of recent answers along those lines. We both knew it was oh so wrong, but we just couldn't see past it for a time, mostly because we started laughing everytime we went back to that clue.

I can't wait for a chance to describe someone as, "HESHE is denser than OSMIUM".

A fine and fun Sunday challenge thank you Mr. Der!

Dirigonzo 3:31 PM  

(Just checking the box for follow-up comments.)

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Finished with two errors: GeTEAU/eNIL and AnG/nOCE. I feel pretty good about that result considering the amount of work that went into coming up with some of these answers.

As with Gill I.P., Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City" Made FERRIS WHEEL a gimme and, the rest of the theme answers easily gettable from the straightforward cluing and a minimum of crosses (if any).

OPERA GOER was the real bitch. The E in ICE ruled out the only answer that made sense (STAR). I had AT IT for Fightin', so I started running the alphabet on the third letter od T--SES(Energizes) and then checking the downward cross. I got to R and considered OPERA PREZ (well sure, the opera president is a pretty big somebody) but did not commit. Finally got GOOSES, which gave me GOERS and broke that final section for me.

My only real issue with this puzzle is the clue for 59a. Ketchup on hot dogs? EWW!

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

Astoria, according to Google Earth, is only 7 miles from Flushing Meadows where the World's Fair was held in 1939/40 and 1964/65.

Mike 4:40 PM  

EGERIA makes me think Kevin G. Der, as well as Mr. Shortz, might also be fans of Wayne Robert Williams' puzzle - found below the fold in the Mon-Sat Seattle Times. I swear he has a collection of older - much older - dictionaries, what with some of the words HE comes up with.

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