Landmark also known as Kissavos / SAT 7-28-12 / Knox co-star Lon Chaney Mummy's Tomb / Les Pecheurs de Perles composer / Capital of Iran's Fars province / O'Connor's successor / Reference program launched in 2005 / Sight along una calle / Fourth caliph in Sunni Islam

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Constructor: Victor Fleming and Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Will ARNETT (28D: Actor Will of "Up All Night") —
William Emerson "WillArnett (pronounced /ɑrˈnɛt/; born May 4, 1970) is a Canadian actor andcomedian best known for his role as George Oscar "G.O.B." Bluth II on the Fox comedy Arrested Development. He is also known for his role as Devon Banks on the NBC comedy 30 Rock. Since his success on Arrested Development, Arnett has landed major film roles. He played supporting roles in the comedy films Semi-ProBlades of Glory, and Hot Rod. He starred in 2006's Let's Go to Prison and 2007's The Brothers Solomon. Arnett has also done work as a voiceover artist for commercials, films, television programs, and video games. He is currently starring in the NBC show Up All Night as Chris Brinkley. (wikipedia) [co-starring in a sitcom w/ Christina Applegate, married to Amy Poehler ... *and* my wife thinks he's cute. So the guy pretty much has it all]
• • •

This one went from rough to easy on a dime, almost by sheer force of will. I was stumbling around the grid, getting frustrated here, held up there, and then I just stopped and made myself go back to square one (literally). Starting over in the NW, I found the whole puzzle just fell into place. Fast. So maybe it was easy easy, but my time said Easy-Medium. I got distracted from the get-go by LEELEE, whose name I can never quite believe (42A: Actress Sobieski). I wrote in LEILEI, because it always seems somehow more namelike to me. And then I got distracted by not being able to get a Hall & Oates hit (!?). I take these kinds of failings way too personally. That is something I absolutely should know. With no crosses. Instantly. But when I ran the songs I could remember from the '70s, I came up with only "Sara Smile" and "Rich Girl" (which, sadly, fit). So I lost time harrumphing about my stupid brain's pop culture failure (eventually got "SHE'S GONE," which I know well, of course) (38D: 1976 Hall & Oates hit). Toyed with writing in SATIE where (it turned out) BIZET was supposed to go (44D: "Les Pêcheurs de Perles" composer). Then I saw a nice FAT gimme at 28D: Actor Will of "Up All Night" (ARNETT). He was on "Arrested Development" (great) and is married to Amy Poehler (great) and is on "Up All Night," which we discovered on Hulu+ and really love. So, yeah, knew him. But he got me only a handful of answers before I was flailing again. This is when I forced myself to reboot. Then it was ALITO / FAT / SPIFF and off to the races (3D: O'Connor's successor / 19A: Thick / 1D: Neaten (up)).

I think of "giving lots of ... criticism" as PILING ON, not PILING IT ON, but I guess the clue works well enough. I love the parallel internet phenomena PHOTOBUCKET (11D: Picture-hosting website) and GOOGLEEARTH (24D: Reference program launched in 2005). The clue on CELLMATE is good (though I got it instantly) (62A: Pen pal?) and the clue on CALORIES is *$&%ing fantastic (33A: They may be empty in a vending machine). In fact, with the exception of CEIL (ouch) (36D: Put a cover on), I liked most things in this puzzle just fine. Took me just 40 seconds less to solve than yesterday's, but provided tons more solving pleasure.

  • 9A: Appliance maker that porduced the first microwave oven for household use (1955) (TAPPAN) — wow. That's early. How do I know TAPPAN? One of the last things I got, but with a few letters, it just came to me.
  • 18A: Landmark also known as Kissavos (MT. OSSA) — no idea. But there are some clues (Greekness) that allowed a reasonable guess. Actually, when I first looked at this answer, I already had -OSSA in place, so I wasn't really guessing, I guess.
  • 27A: "Copper Canyon" and "Coroner Creek" (OATERS) — never heard of either. But again, inferrability is afoot. I like the alliteration.
  • 40A: Genre of Lauren Weisberger's "The Devil Wears Prada" (CHICK LIT) — had the CH-, so no sweat. This is the answer that allowed me to see PHOTOBUCKET (thank you, K—once again, you are my hero-letter). 
  • 51A: Like Jesus on the Shroud of Turin, many believe (IMAGED) — I don't think I understand how this word is being used. Is it that his "image" is supposed to be on it, so he is ... IMAGED? Like Tony the Tiger is IMAGED on a box of Frosted Flakes?

  • 55A: Capital of Iran's Fars province (SHIRAZ) — tough. Wine clue would've been more accessible, but it's Saturday, so this is more than fair.
  • 14D: Spring's counterpart (NEAP) — at first I thought LEAP (you know ... "spring" is a synonym of LEAP ... made sense to me). "Spring" is a kind of tide here. 
  • 48D: ___ Knox, co-star of Lon Chaney in "The Mummy's Tomb" (ELYSE) — this is one of those Sat. clues that no one is really supposed to know. You just know it's a name, and then you have to infer the name from crosses. It's common for short names to get blisteringly obscure clues on Saturdays. Nice (cruel) way to keep the solver from getting traction.
So, thumbs up. Amazing what you can do with a 70-word grid, creativity, and a desire to entertain.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:12 AM  

Yesterday's should have been switched with today's except for the middle east (yes, torn from the headlines, problems in the middle east).  So, easy-very tough for me.  The ME took  a whole lot longer than the rest of it. 

Had no idea what came after PHOTO as almost all of my picture taking activity involves handing a camera to my bride and/or daughter.  I do know how to print them out which my bride appreciates.  So, I tried PHOTO market, then park it (thinking maybe it was LEELEI which in my heart I knew was wrong).  SEACALF finally worked it's way into memory and I put HEFT back in and finished.  CEIL being a WTF didn't help either.  Wanted vEIL..

I'm with Rex again.  A very solid Sat. with no real dreck ( unless you really hate CEIL) and a zippy Internet mini theme plus stuff like SPIFF, LILYWHITE, and POSTNASAL.  Nice one guys.

Mark Murphy 12:40 AM  

In addition to starring with Lon Chaney Jr., ELYSE Knox married football player Tom Harmon, who later became a sportscaster.

The two of them also had a son -- actor Mark Harmon.

retired_chemist 12:54 AM  

Solid and enjoyable. Agree it was easy-medium, far easier than yesterday's puzzle.

Began with 2 minutes of terror as a white grid remained, well,LILY WHITE until a few thinks started to jell.

But not necessarily correctly. Put AMULETS for 8D, which gave me YOU LIE! @ 20A. That, with KAGAN instead of ALITO, made the NW pretty inscrutable for a while.

The SW was my toehold. OSHA was a gimme, LITTLE was so obvious I thought it was probably wrong,and while ONE HIT didn't seem unique it was certainly crossworldly. Et voilà! A French composer, 5 letters ending in -ET? C'est trop facile - BIZET. The SW fell.

Back to the NE, where I was fixing my early errors and making others. PAID HEED seemed obvious, and that made 1A into STAR MAPS. MAKE ME keyed me in to fixing those.

And so it went. HARD WON, but in the end TAMED.

Thanks,Messrs. Fleming and Ezersky.

GILL I. 1:02 AM  

This puzzle reminds me of the XXX Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
Started out with a wonderful whimisical romp through Alice's Wonderland and ended with SHESGONE.

imsdave 5:47 AM  

This was a treat after yesterday's slog.

I think I knew TAPPAN from watching old game shows on GSN.

TOKE put the image in my head of Judge Fleming on the bench blowing a joint.

Well done gentlemen

Eejit 6:33 AM  

Was pretty easy for a Saturday, not complaining though. I cheated a bit because I was at the pub with my friend Ali. I asked him who the fourth caliph of Islam was and he answered "Ali". Felt a bit silly. He also told me about the other three and how they were assassinated. Interesting stuff.

Carola 8:12 AM  

I was much more AT HOME in this puzzle than in yesterday's. A bad or good hair day, depending on whether it's falling out IN CLUMPS or nicely KEMPT. Interesting that MRS hovers over SHE'S GONE - a possible CHICK LIT plot?

Thank you, Victor Fleming and Sam Ezersky - very fun!

r.alphbunker 8:18 AM  

Great puzzle, great writeup, poor performance. Finished with SHIRAs/BIsET. This is a repeat of the PANca/AcERA finish a couple of days ago. I need to finish my alphabet runs (or maybe start at Z and go backwards!). I am sure that I was thinking of Jacqueline Bisset.

Also I officially called the Mid Atlantic area a disaster zone and applied for Google aid. Googled SHESGONE to verify its correctness. Thought PHOTOBUCKET might be correct but needed Google to confirm it and Googled LEELEE outright.

You should get a MacBook Pro. You can then take pictures of yourself :-)

Loren Muse Smith 8:39 AM  

What a relief from yesterday! And I find myself in the unusual position of thinking today’s was easier than other posts are claiming.

The NW was the last to fall, but it went pretty quickly once I changed “rtd” to RET, which let me see IDITAROD (Dad and I volunteered for a week with the race. What a hoot)! I always like seeing pairs, and today’s had a few: GOOGLE EARTH and PHOTOBUCKET, MAKE ME and AM SO, HEFT and FAT (kinda). . .

And there are four entries that are in unexpectedly unadorned: SPIFF, LAM, ABASH, and KEMPT. I love that ABASH and KEMPT share a grid!

CALORIES was my toe hold – terrific clue – and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. The clue for ENCL was great, too.

I actually had the ridiculous thought of “Shortz” for ARNETT off the t in AS YET.

Great job, guys!

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

I stopped doing the puzzle when I learned BITEME wasn't the answer to 20A. It *really* should have been BITEME, a golden opportunity was squandered.

I like to think of the Judge telling councel BITEME when an inappropriate objection has been made.

Loren Muse Smith 8:41 AM  

Lose the in before unexpectedly. Ninety nine percent of the time I cannot delete a post.

evil doug 8:53 AM  

I could actually have timed myself on a stopwatch today---maybe 30 minutes, so not exactly the same as clocking Usain Bolt---contrasted with a sun dial yesterday.

Only guess was Shiraz/Ali, but seemed tonal to the ear. Pretty heavy Iran/Islam test otherwise.

Wanted 'seal' for 'put a cover on', until I saw 'certain seal' neuter that possibility. Then 'veil', but the 'vr----' required by 'war ace' made no sense. 'Ceil' is a nice logical play off ceiling, I s'pose.

Sure thought Amana was the microwave leader, and then Maytag to fit. Happy to finally capture Tappan, which I always associated with ranges given away on game shows in the 60's.

Hair falling out in clumps is a lovely visual.

Don't read chick lit, but love Chiclets---especially the pepsin variety. I remember the days when airline meals included a four-pack of Winston's and a Halloween-sized mini-box of Chiclets.

Michael mentioned the best clues. I really don't cotton much to puns in answers, but I love those synapse-popping moments in cluing.

'Spiff up' is a great little phrase, and you don't see 'kempt' without the 'un' very often. Started with 'slug' for 'flog', and hung with it for a bit since the 'l' and 'g' worked fine.

Loren: Did you get Iditarod right away? Once the 'id-----' appeared it had to be.


evil doug 8:54 AM  

Loren: Oops. I see you did.


evil doug 9:03 AM  


Thanks for yesterday. I reread my post and actually regretted the gratuitous French line. Some jokes are of the 'funny at the time' variety. Glad you could find a redeeming quality elsewhere....

What language and where in the midwest?


evil doug 9:04 AM  

Consider this one long post instead of four shorter ones. I reserve my right to post later if I feel like it.


evil doug 9:05 AM  

Five in a row. I felt like it.


Loren Muse Smith 9:11 AM  

@ED - CEIL off of CEILing!! Add that to LAM, SPIFF, ABASH, and KEMPT. Love it!

Bill from FL 9:15 AM  

I was reminded of the Brewer & Shipley chestnut, "One Toke Over the Line" (1971):

jackj 9:28 AM  

Welcome back to Judge Vic, who brings with him a collaborator who seems to be 13 years old, 14 tops, based on his picture at XWordInfo.

Sam Ezersky is his name and looking at the fill in today’s “smooth as silk” puzzle, one can almost go through the grid and designate “Sam bits”, “Vic bits” and “Joint bits” (though TOKE is clearly a joint bit).

Without worrying about attribution, it’s easy to pick out winners in today’s puzzle, not the least of them being those popular web locations GOOGLEEARTH and PHOTOBUCKET, and further, with a tinge of Southern courtliness, maybe, we’re doubly blessed again by MONOGAMY and LILYWHITE. Good stuff, whomever the source.

CEIL and SOLI are knotty, clever entries and POSTNASAL, INCLUMPS and CHICKLIT were welcome, (though perhaps clued a little too friendly for a Saturday puzzle), but most certainly the “Pen pal?” known as CELLMATE found his way to the crossword slammer via Vic’s courtroom.

I would have liked SHIRAZ better if it had been clued as the wine but that’s an insignificant nit that is roundly trumped by my favorite entry, that smile inducing life lesson, “They may be empty in a vending machine” for CALORIES.

Congratulations to Sam and Vic for producing a superb puzzle, totally devoid of crosswordese and esoterica, which made it a pleasure to solve!

JHC 9:41 AM  

I loved everything about this puzzle except TAPPAN. iTT (Bygone N.Y.S.E. ticket symbol) and lEAP (Spring's counterpart) are both plausible, and TiPPAl looks as much like a 50's brand name as TAPPAN, so... yeah. Either you know it or you don't, and I didn't.

Kathy 9:58 AM  

@Mark Murphy, thanks for the really interesting bit of trivia. Makes Ms. Knox a bit less esoteric!

Like ED, I wondered about the mental image evoked by hair falling out in clumps, and it's hanging out near postnasal drip. Eewww...


joho 10:05 AM  

This is such a lovely puzzle.

I pretty much plugged along with many little aha moments making this most enjoyable.

Some snags were SeARouTE before STARDATE, MiNistrY before MONOGAMY and SHESmiNE before SHESGONE. I also wanted vEIL before I saw CEIL @evil doug and, like @Rex, TAPPAN was the last in.

Fun, fun Saturday, thank you Victor and Sam!

Sue McC 10:13 AM  

When people complain about a lack of zippy cluing, this is the kind of puzzle they are hoping for. Smart, but gettable by even novice solvers. Who didn't smile at the empty CALORIES bit? I respect our major white space creator of yesterday, but I respect our creators today just as much since the enjoyment factor is much higher.

Jeremy Mercer 10:23 AM  

Great puzzle today, creative answers, clever cluing.

@John V., one last note from yesterday. Touché on the style sheet. If such a document were public, I would be grateful to read it in order to better grasp the constructor's plight and provide more informed criticism.

Still, I would hope you aren't among those who believe that any criticism of the NYTXP is the result of 'cry babies' and 'haters' as was expressed in this space. Like architects, chefs, musicians, etc., I would think constructors would appreciate that their creations are relevant enough to be discussed, dissected, and, yes, criticized in a public form.

And is a charge of 'sloppiness' really out of bounds? I have seen reviews that call operas at The Met sloppy and books published by Viking sloppy. If these Institutions (note the capital I) can have the word leveled at them, why can't the crossword????

Evan 10:27 AM  

For me, this was much more of an exercise in memory than pure solving ability, though it did involve some of that too at first. That's because Victor actually showed me an early draft of this puzzle without clues a few months ago, before it was accepted. When I realized that 24-Down was GOOGLE EARTH, I gave up timing myself and immediately threw in PHOTOBUCKET, then went to work trying to fill in everything I could recall from seeing it before. I remembered some tough answers (both LEELEE and TAPPAN) for no other reason than I saw them in the draft, didn't know what or who they were, but knew they were in the puzzle somewhere.

Basically, I take away three lessons from today's puzzle:

1) You have to really admire how clean and fresh this grid feels, far superior to any themeless I've tried to construct thus far (it's damn hard).

2) This was one of those solving experiences where my solving time meant nothing, but if I got anything wrong, it would have been monumentally embarrassing. Fortunately, I had a perfect solution. The only thing that changed from the early draft to now was the southeast corner, but that didn't take too long to sort out.

3) If my solving time had counted it would have been lightning fast for a Saturday -- and yet it still would have been slower than Amy Reynaldo's (certainly) and Rex's (probably, he didn't list it). It's a pretty good illustration of how fast they really are -- take a pretty good solver with prior knowledge of the puzzle vs. either of those two with no prior knowledge of it, and the latter still finish faster. 10:28 AM  

I'm surprised you didn't know who Elyse Knox was. She was a fairly prominent actress until she married football hero Tom Harmon and produced actor Mark Harmon and actress Kris Harmon (ex-wife of Ricky Nelson). She was also the daughter (or niece) of Frank Knox, Alf Landon's running mate in 1936 and later Secretary of the Navy.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:30 AM  

With 36 A "Journal keeper of fiction," I would love to have seen 1 D as "Spaceman of fiction," although that may have made 1 A even more obvious than it was.

Fun puzzle.

quilter1 10:39 AM  

Yeah, I don't think of CRUSOE primarily as a diarist, but otherwise a fun and interesting puzzle to do on Saturday morning. I got TAPPAN off of crosses, but have not thought of that brand for a long time. I always thought the Amana Radar Range was the first microwave. Keep cool, folks. We had the air off yesterday for the first time in weeks.

Norm 10:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm 10:42 AM  

Thumbs up for this one. Didn't really care for MAKEME and AMSO in the same puzzle, but that's a minor nit. So much better than that travesty on Friday.

Rex Parker 10:44 AM  

"I'm surprised you didn't know who Elyse Knox was" is one of the funniest comments I've read in a while. Thanks.


Carola 10:44 AM  

@evil doug - German and the Great Lakes state WIS :)

Sandy K 11:03 AM  

Ahh, sooo much SPIFFier than yesterday's PILE-IT-ON!

Thank you, BIZET, for giving me SHIRAZ...

Shamik 11:12 AM  

So much freshness in this very easy puzzle. Pulled in at my 9th fastest solve for a Saturday. As easy as it was, it as filled with aforementioned meaty answers. Thanks for a great puzzle!

I think my family had a TAPPAN appliance when I was growing up in Connecticut. Biggest stumbling block was CEIL. Pretty esoteric, that.

Two Ponies 11:18 AM  

Lots to love today.
After slogging through yesterday's mess we got a fresh fun Saturday.
I don't regret my $2.50.

Surprised ceil wasn't the WOTD.
It sure was mine.
Like ED observed, I can suppose that putting a cover on a room gives you a ceiling?
Kempt reminded me of curst from earlier this week.

mitchs 11:56 AM  

My thanks to ED and REX (commenter) for the good laughs

mac 12:15 PM  

Excellent puzzle! Had the hardest time and ended in the NW, but in the end I love pile it on and spiff. Put Eagan in, took him out, put him in and took him out again.... He should never have been in.

In clumps was good, but what a bad visual! Kempt and ceil I knew from crosswords. In the end I found a mistake coming here: Tippan. I should have pondered it more, I do know the Tappan Zee.

chefbea 12:21 PM  

Too busy to finish the puzzle today.

Agree with everyone about ceil!!!

Merle 12:29 PM  

Oh my. I'm not only so 20th century, I'm so 19th century. Bizet is a gimme. Crusoe is a gimme. Iditarod is a WTF, although I've stumbled across the word now and then. Photobucket is a total WTF. WTF!?!?!? Had the "photo" part. Then what? Phtotomarket? Didn't work with the "u" in Crusoe. Ceil is a familiar, though not often used word. Shiraz the wine does not come from grapes in the Fars province of Iran, but somehow it is not hard to remember both names. Good crossword name. And a three-letter word for a caliph? Gotta be Ali. What other three-letter name could it be.

Because I am so 18th 19th 20th century, and sometimes so BCE, puzzles are becoming harder for me. Will Arnett who? Leelee Sobieski who? Chicklit, well, okay, I know that. And "imaged" for Shroud of Turin, well, okay. It's not BCE, but I got it. "Imaged" is a beastly neologism, though. Ain't good English, though, not according to my inner schoolmarm.

Davis 12:50 PM  

I loved almost all of this grid — the cluing and the fill generally felt fresh, and there were only a few nasty bits (such as CEIL, which I had to Google to be sure it was not an error). PHOTOBUCKET and GOOGLE EARTH were lovely entries; LILY WHITE, MONOGAMY, POST NASAL, and CHICK LIT were also fun longer ones. As others have mentioned, CALORIES had a great clue. And as an Arrested Development fan, it was nice to see ARNETT show up.

Main negatives for me: I had to Google TAPPAN, since, like Rex, I had put LEAP in the NE corner. That always feels like cheating to me. I also had PAID HEED instead of TOOK HEED, which complicated my solving of the NW until I got IDITAROD (I initially thought that might be IDIOTIC, but that wasn't quite long enough; definitely would have been a good clue for that answer as well).

Aside from my NE and NW issues, I burned through this puzzle pretty quickly for a Saturday. I really had a lot of fun with it — a nice counterpoint to yesterday's mess (yes I know, 17 black squares, but who cares if it's not fun to solve?).

syndy 1:06 PM  

Hand up for BITEME which was what I said when I finally got CEIL,LOts of ahas even if I'm not nearly so tv clued as Rex. Will was unknown Knee over SHIN PHOTOBUCKER did not look right BUCKET broke down the daM in florida and let me finish up!

Jim Walker 1:09 PM  

Loved the puzzle today. Very fresh and moderately challenging. About an hour to finish. But had one crazy error. Had to guess at tRENDT which gave me OtTERS. Who knew there weren't Copper Canyon otters???

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Ceil, eh. Had veil and kept trying to fit in Vronsky...

Sparky 3:21 PM  

I finished. I am happy. Found it a challenge but stuck with it. Put down, came back.

Ravel before BIZET and wanted Amana to fit. Dislike CEIL. Dictionary says "to provide with a celing." Not "will you please put the ceil back on the Bonne Maman." One horse open sleighs dash through the snow. Clues for CALORIES and MONOGAMY gave me a smile.

I believe hair falls out in clumps after chemo. Alas.

Feel much better than yesterday when I quickly slapped in sister for 1D had CENCI (BA in English after all). And. That. Was. It.

John V 3:28 PM  

@Jeremy re: NYTimes Puzzle requirements: Here you go

Easiest Saturday in a long time. Liked everything about it. Took too sittings, but had fun.

John V 3:29 PM  

Make that "two" sittings, please. Thank you.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

Note: in the NYT style sheet there is no explicit prohibition on duplicate words, or word forms, in a crossword grid. No, you won't find the three letter word LED duplicated in a grid, but you may find LEAD TO, and LED UPTO, for example.


Lewis 4:43 PM  

A buoyant solving experience with hardly a hint of dreck. I don't find myself saying this often: an enjoyable Saturday puzzle.

Atra Ceil Makemes 6:00 PM  

It's interesting in this forum a puzzle may bethought of more in terms of what it is not, vis a vis yesterday, than being commented purely on it's own terms...
That is just thenatire of a daily blog.

But looking at this only as this, or comparingto other Vic Fleming puzzles, or other Sundays, I'd say this was fun and super easy.
I'd even recommend it to those afraid of Saturdays (which I just did,i told a friend who is afraid to attempt postThurs to give this a try.
Why not? She has the requisite smarts, Hall & Oates is in her era, and there aremany easy vivid phrases

Having a sister named ELYSE, i didn't know Knox, but love learning all the trivia about her husband, father, son, etc.
Her Mummy and Mommy roles are both interesting!

Also my best friendin kindergarten was named LEELEE, as was a cousin I never saw after her parents divorce... I've always held a soft spot for that nickname.

CEIL is good in Scrabble, exactly for the reason that CEILing exists..and I before E except after C comes into play, because I always want to be able to do CIEL, French for sky, which is NOT acceptable...tho i can't imaginethey are not from the same root.
Plus there is SEEL which means to sew a falcons eyes shut!!! Just came up in Boggle last night with the charming Tom Pepper, of GOCOMMANDO fame!
(Lost rather badly due to house rules, i will tell myself!)

Anyway, good one!

sanfranman59 6:03 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)

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)

Dirigonzo 6:11 PM  

I wanted "titheing" (yes, I know that's not how it's spelled) before MONOGAMY, which I wrestled it into place with the crosses. OBAMAcare has appeared in the grid three times lately - I missed it entirely the first time, but I nailed it the last two. And now I know SHIRAd is not a capital and BIdET is not a composer (he could have invented the fixture too, couldn't he?). Lots of clever cluing made this great fun.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

Thanks for the kind words. Vic

Acme 6:45 PM  

so many typos and unclear thoughts...
I meant one should compare this to other SATURDAYS, not Sundays...and / or as a standalone on its individual merits, or to other Judge Vic puzzles, NOT necessarily to a random Friday by another constructor...
(But that is understandable given the NATURE of a daily blog. )
Ok, I feel better now.

Two Ponies 7:36 PM  

Wow, an appearance by Hizzoner?
Thanks for stopping by. Well done.

jberg 8:37 PM  

Kind of embarrassed that I put in STARDATE right off the bat - I'm not that nerdy, really! But I've actually seen "The Pearl Fishers" performed, so BIZET was a gimme. Unfortunately, so was tabriZ (for SHIRAZ - who knew there were two Iranian cities ending with Z?)

All told, this one was really hard for me - much worse than Friday's. Just not on my wavelength. Thought "The Devil Wears Prada" was a suspense novel; thought "Coppey Canyon" and "Coroner Creek" were, well, 'titles.' And I've never used PHOTOBUCKET, so I didn't know that one. I had to go at this about 5 times before it finally came together. Nevertheless, It was enjoyable in the end, as each puzzle was a delight as it finally became clear.

Tita 10:06 PM  

Did Friday & Saturday today - maybe that's why I thought they were both really hard - went back & forth between them. They have now melded into one tough puzzle!

@Carola - thx for noticing the hairy extremes.

GOOGLEEARTH is that young????????? What did we do before 2005???

@Shamik et al - can we all agree, right here and now, never to call any Saturday puzzle "very easy"?

@Acme - pls give Dr. Pepper my salutations!!!

Thanks Mr. Fleming for a good workout.
On to Sunday...

Spacecraft 1:56 PM  

My east was an absolute mess., despite knowing--having--POSTNASAL drip. I am not a picture-taker, so know nothing of the PHOTO-whatever website. I went with MARKET, which led to AMAZE for "discompose" (not an actual word, BTW, according to my Scrabble dictionary). Then the short downs wouldn't work; back to the D.B. How about PHOTOPACKET, that seems reasonable enough. APALL could certainly fit the clue, and so LIFT. CRUSOE, sadly just simply never occurred. After I saw it, of course, it was a headslap. I thought maybe CRAS II might have been some sort of sci-fi journalizing robot.

It was hard enough getting started over there, what with the natural aiRACE in place as a "given." Talk about your deliberate derail. Clue WARACE as "Top gun." Yeah. Incredibly, no one even mentioned air ace. Come on, NONE of you filled that in, at first? NOBODY???

Also had Dear for DOLL; my sweetums and I celebrate our 40th today--I call her Dear, mostly.

As for the east, well, let's just say I'm gruntled.

DMGrandma 6:31 PM  

Again, so many things I didn't know, but the difference, for me, from yesterday's that they all were inferable (real word?) from what I could solve. Thus I ended up with one write over from correcting IDTeROD where it roses DIAM. After the last few days I needed a confidence booster, and this one was a pleasure both in clues and answers!

@Diri. Sadly our blue moon was fogged over, but had a great preview the night before!

Dirigonzo 6:49 PM  

@Spacecraft - Happy 40th to you and sweetums; with the way time flies these days you'll be celebrating your golden anniversary before you know it!

@DMGrandma - The moonrise was obscured by clouds here too, but they cleared out in time to reveal the full moon high in the sky - definitely a toast-worthy occasion.

Solving in Seattle 8:26 PM  

@DMG, the blue moon here in Seattle has been spectacular, especially driving across the lake to Bellevue with the bright reflection on the water.

@Diri, how are your osprey's? Mine are getting big. Wonder when they will not be there as I take my walk.

Today's puzzle was enjoyable - loved the clue for IDITAROD. Clue for the shroud of Turin was iffy. Had IMAGry at first.

I didn't check in yesterday because the puzzle KICKED MY BUTT. Had lettersfrompaul instead of EPISTOMOLOGY and never got started.

Happy Labor Day weekend to you syndies.

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

SueMc said this puzzle was easily done by a novice solver. What color is the sky on her planet????

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