Nobelist Bloch or Lorenz / SAT 7-14-12 / Pet kept by Wilson, Harding and Coolidge / War with little or no active warfare / "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" writer

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Constructor: Brad Wilber & Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy (because I finished it)


Hey everybody, happy Saturday! PuzzleGirl here to talk about this awesome puzzle by everybody's favorite librarian/opera buff and my Fake Crossword Boyfriend (please don't tell my Fake Wrestling Boyfriend — he gets very jealous).

Excuse me if I'm a little choked up, but this is kind of a big day for me. It's actually the four-year anniversary of the very first time I ever blogged here at Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle. He was in New Zealand back then too and he left Wade, SethG and me with the keys. During the following weeks, we talked a lot about puzzles (obviously), you learned a lot about the three of us and, although you probably don't remember it, I wrote what I still consider one of my best blog posts. This time around I'm only slated for today and you'll see Wade sometime next week but Seth is off in, I don't know, Japan? or somewhere, getting engaged and all sorts of shenanigans. So that was a fun trip down memory lane. But what's going on today?

As some of you probably know, I get nervous subbing for Rex on late-week puzzles because there is really no guarantee that I will Finish the late-week puzzles. I can finish them much more frequently than I could when I first became, interested in crossword puzzles, but it's definitely not a given. I did — luckily — manage to knock this bad boy out in short order, so let's get to it.

Browsing through the acrosses, I finally felt like I might have something at 20A, where I thought the answer might be GORP (Backpacker's bagful). Checking the cross, though, I saw the clue 6D: Red River city and I thought, "Oh crap. I must be wrong. Because every time I see 'Red River city' I want it to be FARGO (my hometown) and it never is, it's always HANOI. Waaait a minute ...." Unfortunately, that didn't give me Anything else up there, so I enjoyed my shout-out for one more second and then moved on. I actually finished the bottom half first, with a little hopping around but it mostly felt smooth. Lots of tricky cluing. My favorites:
  • 62A: Expedite some union business? (ELOPE) — On Saturdays you really have to look at each word separately and think about what it might mean. I caught on to "union" meaning "marriage" instead of "labor union" pretty quickly.
  • 2D: Massive chargers (RHINOS) — Not quite so lucky here. I knew this wasn't about batteries, and when RAMS didn't work (because that's not enough letters and becuase it would be weird to describe them as massive) I thought I must be wrong about the clue referring to an animal. Took me a while to get back there.
  • 3D: Goldilocks and others (ASTERS) — Wanted BLONDS, but already had the A in place.
  • 11D: Stops lying (RISES) — I really like this clue.
  • 35D: One may supply boaters (HATMAKER) — Again, "boaters" here is a type of hat and not a person who boats. The more puzzles you do, the easier it is to make this kind of shift in your thinking.
I only had a couple missteps along the way. I tried NEWNESS for RAWNESS and POT for BET. Then there was the stuff I just flat-out didn't know including SITZKRIEG (wait, what??), ISERE (I'm completely hopeless when it comes to European rivers — or any other rivers for that matter) and DEVO (although that one became clear enough with the D and the E in place).

  • 15A: Forty-niners' song (OH SUSANNA) — Thanks for the earworm, guys!
  • 21A: Pirate's shoulder, stereotypically (PERCH) — PuzzleDaughter recently acquired two parakeets who have just started sitting on her shoulder. She's already thinking "pirate costume" for Halloween.
  • 30A: Carrier whose theme is "Rhapsody in Blue": Abbr. (UAL) — I have flown on United a couple times recently, so this was a gimme.
  • 42A: "How I Met Your Mother" guy (TED) — Woo-hoo! Another three-letter gimme for me! So very very helpful on a Saturday.

  • 60A: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" author (ERIC CARLE) — I knew his first name was ERIC, and I knew his last name was a name that didn't really need an E at the end but had one anyway. Yes, this is really how my brain works.
  • 13D: Revival meeting? (CPR CLASS) — Love this clue. At first, I thought this might be about a SEANCE, but they don't actually REVIVE people at seances, right? Do people still have seances?
  • 24D: Bit of old European money (DUCAT) — I'm going "Franc, mark, lire, peso ...," thinking the "old" in the clue meant "pre-Euro" but, in fact, it meant, well, "old."
  • 29D: Rice served after him (POWELL) — Raise your hand if your first thought upon reading this clue was "What does that even MEAN?!"
  • 38D: Obsolescent music option (TAPE DECK) — Ah, the good old days. Remember when mix tapes were actually difficult and time-consuming to create? Because the songs all had to be in the right order and the right length. You didn't want a big gap at the end of Side A, but you didn't want to throw any old song on the end just because it fit. Yep. Back then mix tapes really meant something.
Overall, I think this is a solid Saturday puzzle with some great sparkle and I hope you enjoyed it too. In conclusion, COCKAHOOP.

Love, PuzzleGirl

[Once again, a quick reminder about the 5th annual Lollapuzzoola crossword puzzle tournament, which is right around the corner on August 4 (that's a Saturday in August). This is a really fun one-day tournament brought to you by Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer. If you can't make it to New York for the tournament, please consider the "compete at home" division. Either way, you will be treated to puzzles by some of the best constructors in the business and I'm totally not exaggerating. All the details are at the Lollapuzzoola 5 website, so check it out!]


jae 1:20 AM  

Welcome back PG.  A fine write-up and a fine Sat.  For me NW-tough, NE-medium, and S-easy.  So, medium over all.  SITZKRIEG alone is enough zip but then we have COCKAHOOP which I've only heard from Craig Ferguson. 

Erasures: flop for BLIP, why for TSK, HAnoi for FARGO,  DOWN for upon, ANodes for ANIONS just to hit the highlights.

Nice one guys!

Deb 4:18 AM  

Fabulous write up, Puzzle Girl, and not only because of several freaky coincidences.

First, that this is also a Rexland anniversary of sorts for me, because it marks only the second appearance of the word KNEEPANTS in the NYT puzzle since my very first comment on this blog. That was back in January of 2007 and I commented that it was a STUPID non-word. I still think so, even though Rex thought it was "cute."

Second, GORP was also my first entry into the grid. Twenty minutes in, I had GORP and the NW filled in and nuttin' else. So, I googled to crack a way in and ended up here, where I read that GORP was also your first entry, and that you were a bit worried you wouldn't be able to finish the puzzle but soldiered on and persevered. Which inspired me to do the same! .... For about another 20 minutes, when I threw in the towel and googled with abandon.

Third, no shit, trying to recall the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar I thought "Eric Something-with-a-superfluous-E."

Never even tried to suss out the Forty-niner's song because I missed the lower-case N and figured I'd never dredge up a team song.

Never heard of SITZKRIEG, but I love it. COCKAHOOP, on the other hand...

Jeremy Mercer 5:23 AM  

Finished with SIKZKRIEG crossing ASKERS because: i) I had never heard of SITZKRIEG; and ii) Wasn't Goldilocks always asking herself questions? 'What porridge do I like best?' 'What chair is most comfortable?' 'What bed do I want to sleep in?'

Glimmerglass 7:37 AM  

Hi, PG. Welcome back. Good write-up. You hiy all my comments. I wrote in Hanoi, then saw the clue for GORP and erased Hanoi. Other than the pop culture words (TED, DEVO) which I never know for sure, the only really weird word was COCKAHOOP. Pretty easy, for a Saturday.

r.alphbunker 7:58 AM  

GORP was my first word and gave the energy to continue.

Two parts of the puzzle were quite misleading to me. An ANION could be considered a part of a galvanic cells but I normally think of parts as being bigger than that. And it took a while to think of a HOLE as being part of a costume. Good stuff.

The NE was the last to go. Had to get rid of the false friends "oner" ({It's hardly a trend}), "roost" ({Pirate's shoulder}) and "Caen" ({French town}). Thinking that APERTURE was spelled APERaTURE didn't help either.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I'll be kind since we have a guest columnist. I'll just say that this definitely was NOT easy. Medium at least.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

I agree medium at least. I was proud to get the 1a answer on quilters' destination. Obviously "scrap heap". Wrong. Also happy to get "chandler" as supplier of boaters. Pride and joy out the window with this puzzle.

Oscar 8:29 AM  

Was really hoping 42-Across would be NPH. Alas, it was not to be. Maybe next time!

orangeblossomspecial 8:35 AM  

One famous song has a line about 65A KNEE PANTS: "Blues in the night", lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

I'm not sure why 15A "OH SUSANNA" is a Forty-niners' song. "Clementine" has a line about 'a miner, a forty-niner, and his daughter Clementine'. But I don't know why 'Oh Susanna'. Did people sing it during the migration to California?

Wreck Sparker 8:40 AM  

Does anyone else do the Saturday Stumper, I generally manage to muddle my way through the Saturday NYT but the Stumper is always a DNF for me. Howz cum? Is it the editor that makes the difference?

Evan 8:46 AM  

Two different puzzles for me: A pretty easy one in the south and northeast, and a way, way tougher one in the northwest. I put in FABLES at 3-Down -- because the Three Bears spoke in that story, right? ("Who's been sleeping in my bed?") And then that gave me CAFETERIA (?!) at 1-Across. I should have erased that one immediately since I had to do all sorts of mental gymnastics to convince myself it was right: Quilters....go to cafeterias when they're having a quilting with mothers and eat bake sale cookies???? Just a mess up there until OH SUSANNA became clear.

But ultimately, it was the relatively easier section that doomed me. There was no way I was going to see STEEPS at 49-Down when A) I already had STEAMS, B) I've never heard of ERIC CARLE, and C) I've never, ever heard anyone say the word COCKAHOOP (and I don't expect I will anytime soon). Both "Carla" and COCKAHOOM sounded just as plausible, so no amount of Natick resolution was going to save me there.


Regarding the Lollapuzzoola tournament, I'm going to a wedding that evening in Brooklyn. Would it somehow be possible to attend both? I'd probably have to skip out before the final round or two to make it work. I'll have to investigate further.

jackj 8:53 AM  

Another day, another tag team match, this time pitting two of the Crossword World’s toughest against our diverse group of eager puzzle groupies, expecting and hoping for a serious tussle and getting same, in spades.

To help get rolling, this puzzle seemed ripe for the use of old tricks, like putting in a bald, stand alone “S” where a plural looked likely, (as in the ends of 2 and 3 down), that ultimately produced ESSEN, that tied in to EDAM, that opened up the entire left side and pointed the way to Oz. (Was that Will happily cranking the controls behind the curtain?)

Some things came easily like FARGO, POWELL, MERLOT and KNEEPANTS, others, like CPRCLASS, COCKAHOOP, RAGPAPER and SITZKRIEG, not so much.

Oddly, my lasting memory of this puzzle will be the pleasure of having immediately known the John LOCKE answer while not caring one whit that I had to get ERIC CARLE from the crosses. (Caterpillar, Schmaterpillar, a post-solve Google search tells me it could have been even worse since the first title proposed for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was “A Week With Willi Worm”.)

Lots of fun from two of the best!

joho 9:09 AM  

@PuzzleGirl, great write up but I think your abundance of gimmes made this easier for you ... certainly a lot easier than it was for me!

Most of my solved was steady. I was thrilled to figure out COCKAHOOP and ERICCARLE both unknowns. But the NW was brutal.

Finally I guessed KONRAD. I had GORP, so that gave me FARGO and after that CRAFTFAIR. I so wanted 1A to be sewingbee! Nice shout out to @Quilter1. I was certain the Forty-niner's song was "Clementine" -- a shout out to my grandmother. Those charging RHINOS sorted that all out.

I thought of @Ulrich at ESSEN.

Did anybody else have HAVEAcow before HAVEAFIT?

In the end a great Saturday puzzle which I am grateful to have finished. Thanks, Brad and Doug!

Carola 9:09 AM  

I could post as "Needs to wear glasses said...," as I read the clue for 1A as "Destination for a quitter" (the shower? walk of shame?). So that slowed me down.

Add me to the "Yay, I know GORP" group to get the first entry. I came up ERIC...let me see now... CARLE! because of reading the book to my little granddaughter in recent years.

IN ERROR were DINAR/ SOP IN/ RAG PAGES for quite a while.

Small moments of triumph - getting CPR CLASS from one "s" and understanding the clues about the massive chargers and pirates' shoulders.

Thank you, PuzzleGirl, for the write-up and Brad and Doug for sending me into my Saturday with a smile.

joho 9:29 AM  

@PuzzleGirl ...I know that's a pic of Seth G ... and a great one, too! But who is the girl? His finace? (And I am NOT talking about the dog!)

Bill from FL 9:31 AM  

If you haven't heard it yet, Neil Young has a great version of OH SUZANNA[H}on his new album:

GLR 9:36 AM  

Have never heard of SITZKRIEG, and it sounds made-up, though plausible as sort of a pun on blitzkrieg. Struggled with that NW section for a while because I had gone with stateFAIR at 1A, and couldn't make any sense of 1D. Problem there was that in AcrossLite, the "degree" symbol showed up as what looked like a subscript-i.

Had the same Natick moment in the SE as @Evan. Finally decided that STEEPS fit a little better than STEamS, so I got lucky. COCKAHOOP - hope never to see that word again.

pajamapartypants 10:05 AM  

funny how these puzzles effect different people different ways. i had the puzzle filled out relatively early, all except the NW. ASTERS? OHSUSANNA? (there could be a million of these kinds of songs...why this one?) SITZKRIEG? was this an official nazi alternative to blitzkrieg? or is it just a pithy little rhyme for the nazi war method? who does sitzkriegs? don't we call them "cold wars?" ugh. i got INEZ very early and ESSEN...but the rest of the NW sucked.

don't get me started on COCKAHOOP. "talking smack" didn't fit, so i was lost. next time i'm playing a pick up basketball game, i'm going to COCKAHOOP it the entire time. i'm even going to mention that i'm COCKAHOOPing it. i'm sure everyone will love that.

sometimes i feel really good after a puzzle. sometimes it pisses me off. this one pissed me off.

chefbea 10:17 AM  

Busy day so no time for the puzzle..which I generally DNF any way on a Saturday.

Just wanted to stop by and see who the guess host was.Enjoyed your write up Puzzle girl.

Now off to a car show/craft fair Husband looks at cars while I peruse all the crafts.

Orange 10:29 AM  

Hi, PuzzleGirl! Looking forward to seeing you in Hotlanta soon, and pleased to hear more of your voice here as a teaser.

@Wreck Sparker: Now, now. You know (maybe) that Rex doesn't like people talking about other puzzles here. That said, the Newsday Saturday Stumper is hard in a special way, achieved by avoiding most of the clues that could be gimmes--fewer quick footholds. Many of the clues are also mighty oblique; a single word that can be construed as a noun with two different meanings or a verb, say. I blog it every week at Diary of a Crossword Fiend ( but I haven't done today's puzle yet. Soon.

Smitty 10:30 AM  

Nowhere near easy for me.
There were clues that went so far out of the way to be clever, they became cloying.
Keep spinning as yarns RETELL
Inexperience RAWNESS
Edible red ball EDAM
Line item veto target RIDER

I see KAPOW in the funny papers but why is that a report?
Is there really such a thing as an AIRMEDAL?

Sorry, but the AHA moments were obscured by the UGH-liness for me.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 10:34 AM  

Amazed to see a few comments that failed to mention COCKAHOOP. COCKAHOOP just shouts seed entry.

Smooth & fun solve. This was a U/F puz. More better.

Carola 10:39 AM  

@orangeblossomspecial, thanks for "The Blues in the Night." Doing the puzzle, I was humming, "My mama done told me...." but I didn't know the source. On "Oh! Susanna," I had the same question. According to the Wikipedia entry on the song, "After its publication, it quickly became known as an 'unofficial theme of the Forty-Niners', with new lyrics about traveling to California with a 'washpan on my knee'."

@GLR and @pajamapantsparty, your questions sent me to German Wikipedia. I learned that "Sitzkrieg" (English term: "Phoney War") originally referred to the situation on the Western Front between Great Britain's and France's declaration of war on Germany on September 3, 1939, and the beginning of Germany's Western campaign on May 10, 1940. The article says that the term "Sitzkrieg" was coined by the British press as [indeed] an antonym for "Blitzkrieg."

GLR 10:41 AM  

@Smitty - I thought the clues for RAWNESS and RIDER were pretty straightforward. Clues for EDAM and RETELL have a little twist to them - but nothing unusual for a Saturday.

The Air Medal exists - was created during WWII.

In 59A, "report" refers to the sound that an explosion or a gunshot might make.

Wade 10:43 AM  

Wow, that was 28 years ago in my world. We were so young and beautiful then.

Connie Lingus 10:53 AM  

@Wade - As long as you've still got a 8" long tongue, age doesn't matter.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Hi Puzzle Girl!

Even tho I managed to finish it, I did NOT think it was EASY!

Wanted CLEMENTINE instead of OH SUSANNA, BLITZKRIEG instead of SITZKRIEG, and anything instead of COCKAHOOP...

Oh yeah, and Goldilocks are ASTERS?? Don't know how I ever finished...but HAHA

Ulrich 11:22 AM  

@Joho: I'm flattered! Honestly, I have been preaching that there is a better clue for ESSEN--"to eat" rather than that overrated city. Apparently, our constructor friends tried to have it both ways, and actually succeeded, at the prize of a roundabout clue.

Count me among those who have never heard of SITZKRIEG--the coinage never made it to my side of the Channel. Reminds me of "Handy", German for "cell phone", that never made it across in the other direction...

mac 11:33 AM  

Hi PG! Great write-up and great puzzle. Easy-medium for me, because of cockahoop and Carle. I fell for steams.

Everything else fell together nicely, it's one of the most pristine Saturday puzzles-in-the-paper I've ever done.

I got Oh Susanna, which was a great help in the NW, but Clementine and Mathilda crossed my mind as well.

My favorite answer was Sitzkrieg.

M and A also 11:52 AM  

@Smitty: report = sudden loud noise, according to my small, ratty dictionary.

PuzSpouse had trouble gettin' to sleep last night, because couldn't instantly get the 1-A quilters clue. It tasked her.

thUmbsUp for the blog essay, PuzGirl.

Is the red part of that red EDAM ball actually "edible"? Thought maybe it was just wax. Never have been a big wax eater.

Two Ponies 11:59 AM  

I stared at this sooo long before I actually put pen to paper. Some of my guesses were correct and some were close. State fair, craft fair, craft show? Had a cow or a fit? Etc, etc.
In the end it all fell in place and I had a fun solve. So much to love.
@ Ulrich, I have you to thank for Essen. I remember you giving us that bit of data not too long ago and it stuck!
Thanks Puzzle Girl.
@ Wade, Looking forward to your write-up.

Outta Bullets 12:09 PM  

P.S. And another thing. Our EDAM doesn't come in a ball. Looks more like a big hockey puck or marshmallow.

Better 27-D clue: "Big edible red hockey puck, not counting the red part". Snort.


Nooner 12:09 PM  

I thought it was very respectful to pirates to add the "stereotypically" to 21A. I mean, not ALL pirates have parrots PERCHed on their shoulders, people!

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

This was a great Saturday puzzle for me, as I managed to finish in one sitting with no errors. My first entry was cONRAD, which eventually made it to the correct K. I got ESSEN off of the plural Ss implied in the clues for 2&3D, then worked steadily into the SW, through the SE, up into the NE finishing with the NW. There are always words I have never heard on Saturdays (COCKAHOOP, TWEE, ISERE), and it’s nice to have my guesses turn out right for once. I really loved EYEHOLES, which I got off of the H and L.

I looked up RENEE (filled entirely with crosses) Richards and was tickled to see the double meaning of the clue “Racket-raising Richards”. She was a professional tennis player, but also transgender. The USTA tried to keep her from competing as a woman in 1976, but she eventually prevailed in court. I remember the incident now, but had forgotten her name.

I always enjoy PG’s columns a lot. She makes me smile.


syndy 12:40 PM  

The parrot goes where he list shedding poop all around.I was proud (and considerably freaked) to get COCKAHOOP off the HOO! That made the southern continent considerably easier than the was hard but nw was brutal! Since I had stateFAIR and wanted Clementine badly enough to blinker myself.And oh yes ASKER!(picture goldilocks in a portmaneau with oliver twist)but bless them galloping rhinos!PG nice writeup-a little more snark please

Smitty 12:56 PM  

@GLR and @MandA, thanks for the clarification on "report"

To me, RAWNESS means unrefined or coarse (or underdone) and I can't think of any sentence where I'd substitute it for inexperience.
There was nothing wrong with RIDER - it was just out of my wheelhouse.
EDAM comes in more of a wheel than a ball. It was my first guess but I ix-nayed it.
Yes one expects twists on Saturdays - but there's an artform to making them cleverly obscure rather than something you can only comfortably use in Esperanto

Anonymous 1:11 PM  


Z 1:24 PM  

ERIC CARLE - was my second sure entry, after PERCH. Off the C I got LOCKE even though it's been 30 years since I didn't read that book for a Poli Sci class. CARLE helped me avoid the STEamS problem, too.

In the NE BRACE, ISERE (now an automatic crossriver for me - I had it in lightly right away), ST. LO, and PERCH suggested CiRCLe-- for the revivial meeting, so CPR CLASS was a nice Aha moment. I too thought it was APERaTURE, which didn't help.

As with others, the NW killed me. Guessing quillPEn crossing neWNESS (DUCeT?) didn't help at all.

As for COCKAHOOP - my first thought was of painful body piercings.

Zed 1:27 PM  

Edam Cheese Ball

Smitty 1:56 PM  

@Zed - I. did. not. know. that.


retired_chemist 2:16 PM  

Nice writeup, PuzzleGirl!

Easy/medium here. LOCKE was a gimme, as was 39A NAIVETÉ. Oh, you had RAWNESS instead? Made it easier to solve the rest of the puzzle, but NAIVETÉ is IMO a better answer.

Other GIMMES: KONRAD, ESSEN, OH SUSANNA (from the line "I went to CAL-I-FOR-NI-AY with my banjo on my knee), and not much else. On the right track with ROOST for 21A, but not with STRAFED for 35A.

Hand up for SITZKRIEG and COCKAHOOP being WTFs. Had heard of Handy from my German friends,Ulrich.

Fun Saturday. Thanks, PG, Brad and Doug.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Any time you have an error and I finished with Sikskrieg still don't know why goldilocks is an aster. And a guess cockahoop. The puzzle is frustrating and at leats medium. Particularly frustrating because the rest of it was a fair and interesting test. Why throw in the crap

Carola 2:27 PM  

Thinking of the phrase "a raw recruit" got me to RAWNESS, but I also couldn't remember seeing the word used. Here's from the Oxford English Dictionary:

3. Inexperience, ignorance.
1861 Dickens, Great Expectations II. xviii. 289 In my first rawness and ignorance.
1883 Harper's Mag. Oct. 740/1 All that was experienced on both sides at the beginning of the late American civil war in respect to rawness of soldiery..was equally known in the early Continental army.
1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 845/2 The rawness of his crews and his own error in wasting time in pursuit of prizes delayed his passage.
1991 R. Brookhiser, Way of WASP (1992) vi. 72 A second sin of Wall Street's new men, after rawness, was the open avowal they made of their own desires.

Outlaw M and A 2:28 PM  

@Zed - Useful cheese tips. Thanx. The Edam down at our local market must get flattened some in shipment.

Z 2:53 PM  

@Smitty and @ Outlaw M and A - I didn't now that either, but a quick peek at google images took me to a ball shaped EDAM and then that fascinating website for the cooking obsessed. I also learned more about beets then I probably needed to know.

chefbea 3:06 PM  

@Z Hope everyone red your lesson in beets. You can never know/eat too much/many.

Stevlb1 3:21 PM  

I finished and I am pretty proud of myself! Am I being "cockahoop"?

Smitty 3:22 PM  

@Carola thanks! I was using the rule of common parlance when I made the crack about a phrase being technically correct but only sounding normal in Esperanto.
I guess I spoke in a moment of rawness
2. (of a person’s nerves) very sensitive:
Fran’s nerves were raw

Charley 3:25 PM  

Sitzkrieg and cockahoop in the same puzzle? What language is that?

Loren Muse Smith 3:34 PM  

I didn’t think this was as easy as a lot of you. I dispatched the south pretty handily, even not knowing COCKAHOOP. My first gimme was KONRAD, and off that, KNIFER. I’m not a scientist but I’ve never forgotten KONRAD and his little geese (They start to follow him at 1:05 into it.)

But the NE was brutal, and I ultimately DNF (redundant?) Had “pile” for ‘”nap kin.” (How fun is THAT clue??) and I wanted “blonds” for ASTERS. Hand up for not understanding that one.

@Wreck Sparker – I most times can finish a Saturday NYT, but I’m not a speed-solver. Then I’ll print out the Saturday Stumper and usually just sit with it a while, staring at that one pathetic plural s. I can maybe finish one in five. It’s invariably a lot harder than the Times, but I like the challenge.

For some other really, really
tough ones, you should look into the Fireball puzzles. They’re just as hard as the Stumper, but are a lot more playful. Patrick Blindauer had one in January, “Little White Lie” that blew me away!

JenCT 3:37 PM  

Medium/Challenging for me.

Just didn't want to abandon CRAFT SHOW - the FAIR took a while.

COCKAHOOP must be when my rooster flies out the door in the morning...

Love that UAL theme song.

Had a good guess to get Goldilocks ASTERS: ASTERS

JenCT 3:39 PM  

Oh, and anyone else a little creeped out by KNIFER?

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

Wanted PADUCAHKY for 1a. Alas, not even close. @Quilter1 will understand. Also thought it was spelled COCKAWHOOP? Ditto all comments for Roost/perch and sitzkreig. Is it related to a sitz bath?


Al Rodbell 3:50 PM  

SitzKrieg, I would guess would be known by anyone over 85, and those who love history. It was the period after Germany invaded Poland and France and England declared war, but did not actually wage war. The attack on Poland was the BlitzKrieg, German for lightening war, therefore the term caught on.
and if this does get posted, tell someone that the capcha is damn near impossible to discern after many tries.

Clueless in Texas 4:41 PM  

This was a tough puzzle for me. Only reason why I knew ERICCARLE is because I have young kids. (Although I always want to say Eric Carlyle because that ending "e" feels wrong....). Needed lots of google help to finish.

Cockamamie, yes. Cock-and-bull, yes. COCKAHOOP, never. And WTF with SITZKRIEG.

Sue McC 4:41 PM  

ZOINKS, this was tough for me. Thanks for the Asters link, add me to the ASKERS crowd. I'm also in the GORP was first group, and the WTF is COCKAHOOP group. A good challenge, but I'm glad it's over.

Rex Parker 4:43 PM  

Hi, my name is Rex Parker, it's been two weeks since my last NYT crossword ["Hi, Rex!"]

SITZKRIEG / ASTERS would've sunk me, I'm sure.

Greetings from Lake Hawea, NZ, where it's raining like crazy but will be sunny and 14 later. I don't know what "14" means, but that's the forecast so I'm just repeating it.


skua76 5:00 PM  

I knew sitzkrieg (too many war books read in my younger days I guess) but ASTERS was more of a problem, I first wanted eaTERS as in porridge tasting. And then I thought that OH SUSANNA was spelled without an H.

Rex, I do love those laconic NZ met forecasts. "Fine, 20." Still makes me think it is unseasonably cold until I get used to the numbers.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

easy puzzle; silly write-up. disappointing saturday.

John V 5:27 PM  

JohnV bringing up the rear.

Finished with a couple of glitches, INEZ/ASTER crossing, COCKAHOOP, T at the end.

I guessed this would be marked easy for a Satuday, and parts of it were easy; but not all.

Another nice SITZ word from the music world -- SITZFLEISCH -- meaning but your butt on the piano bench and practice. Saturday constructors take note: SITZFLEISCH has never been used, says CRUCIVERB and XWord

jae 5:34 PM  

@skua76. -- Me too for eaTERS and SUSANNA with an H. Those were among the low lights of my NW erasures.

Lewis 5:43 PM  

I loved this puzzle, with spark, and things coming from all directions. Bravo, Brad and Doug. You can cockahoop after this puzzle...

michael 6:15 PM  

I knew sitzkrieg and finished without errors, even without knowing Eric Carle and cockahoop (which I was sure was wrong).

Anonymous 6:23 PM  


30 is hot
20 is nice
10 is cold and
0 is ice.

Mary in NE

Ulrich 6:50 PM  

@JohnV: It's particularly apt for a Saturday puzzle since guys like me need Sitzfleisch to get through one.
For the German-challenged: "Fleisch" means "flesh", and "Sitzfleisch", literally, is the stuff your butt is covered with. Figuratively, as John said, it's a willingness to sit on same butt for hours on end in order to accomplish something.

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

How much more does "twee" have to be thrown around in American media before we can stop putting Brit tags like "in Cambridge" on the clue? Holy moly, the word is used in every other movie review or music review you ever read these days.

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

Oddly enough, I did know COCKAHOOP. I read a lot of Georgette Heyer novels at an impressionable age. I still don't believe SITZKRIEG.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Twee is a language spoken in Ghana, according to a former Ghanian student of mine. Just sayin...

Dirigonzo 9:25 PM  

I started the puzzle at 7:00PM and set a two hour deadline to get it done or call it quits - I surprised myself by getting it done! Now I have a headache from running the alphabet so many times trying to figure out unknown (to me) words. It didn't help that my Ticket specification was Aisle for a long time - it was the presidential AIREDALES tht set things right. I completed virtually the entire SE corner using the downs only. Happily, and surprisingly, I managed those pretty esily with only TAPEDECK putting up any resistance.

@Z - that sounds really, really painful to me!

sanfranman59 9:25 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 6:56, 6:50, 1.01, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:18, 8:57, 0.82, 5%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 158 Tuesdays)
Wed 14:09, 11:47, 1.20, 91%, Challenging
Thu 17:52, 18:54, 0.95, 44%, Medium
Fri 22:05, 24:43, 0.89, 30%, Easy-Medium
Sat 26:59, 29:28, 0.92, 31%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:27, 3:41, 1.21, 97%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 157 Mondays)
Tue 4:06, 4:38, 0.89, 15%, Easy
Wed 6:47, 5:53, 1.15, 88%, Challenging
Thu 10:54, 9:21, 1.17, 82%, Challenging
Fri 10:58, 12:15, 0.90, 33%, Easy-Medium
Sat 14:36, 16:42, 0.87, 25%, Easy-Medium

pk 9:33 PM  

Wanted "sewing bee" for 1A but didn't actually put it in.

Wanted "Lindor truffle" for the edible red ball, but it didn't fit.

Wrote WTF in margin for Sitzkreig.

Then cackled like an evil scientist, or Helena Bonham Carter, "I killed Serius Black," "I killed the Saturday puzz."

Great write-up, great puzz b/c ya know, I could do it.

Karl 10:23 PM  

I really have an issue with the clueing for "Oh Susanna"...My Darling Clementine is the song that I have always associated with the 1849 California gold this just me?

TrudyJ 8:48 AM  

Anyone who doesn't know SITZKRIEG... Well, I'm not blaming you personally but I'd like to go back and give your high school history teacher a good sound beating. BLITZKRIEG and SITZKRIEG are two of the most fun words to teach in a unit on WW2, and as you can see, that knowledge will continue to be useful throughout life.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

ASTERS, RAGPAPERS and most definitely COCKAHOOP were the killers in my deep end (word choice?)....but I'm fairly amazed at the unanimity of reaction against SITZKRIEG.

I'm no WWII expert but the term is in literally every book I've ever read on it. Yeah, def a British pun on "blitzkrieg" (lightning war) versus "SITZkrieg" (sitting on yer ass war).

Good write up, PG!

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

I guess I got lucky, having visited Alma Ata before it became Almaty.

Tita 12:20 AM  

Hard for me. Made this a joint effort, being by-the-sea with friends & family. So finishing was fun.

ESSEN was my first word in. Nice clue.

Not fooled by 30d, though had milliner before HATMAKER. Danbury, CT is Hat City, home to many HATMAKERS.

Did you know sewingbee shares absolutely no letters with CRAFTFAIR?

Grandpa was run over by a RHINO. Then thrown by same into a tree. His friend was not so lucky, having been gored, and died.
This was at the turn of the last century.

Thanks Mssrs. Wilber and Peterson.
Thanks PG.

cheaper electricity melbourne 8:59 AM  

Easy for you to say. I don't think its that easy. I have a hard time answering crossword puzzles.

child puzzle 5:57 PM  

Math and Logic Puzzles. If you REALLY like exercising your brain, figuring things 'round and 'round till you explode, then this is the page for you !
toddler puzzle
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Spacecraft 11:02 AM  

One of those "Omigosh, I'll NEVER get through this" Saturdays, but I decided to try. After a frantic gimme-search I found OBERON, and part of the SE fell. But I've never heard of COCKAHOOP, which forced its way in 100% on crosses, and even then I was sure I'd goofed somewhere. Only left it in because I couldn't get anything else to work.

Found a PERCH in the NE (good ol' STLO) and that came in. Finally managed to remember POWELL (duh, Spacie! It wasn't THAT long ago!)

Overlooked ESSEN at first, but saw it LATERON--instant gimme. Clever using DIR as both head and heading. That gave me KNIFER (c'mon, guys, that one's bad: one who knives??). From there, I had to DRAWUPON all my skills to do the SW; remember the comic strip Shoe? In Skyler's basketball games the ref's whistle always went TWEE!

Last area was the NW, where I had _____FAIR from FARGO, etc., and naturally put in STATE (it's a great one; don't miss it, don't even be late), but SECANT wouldn't square with ESSEN. At the time I had _____RIE_ for 17a, not knowing what went into the blank at RA_PAPER. That little 3-letter "How could you?" had me going. EWW, maybe? 15a seemed to want to be OHSUSANNA, but that's not 49er stuff, that's, like, deep south. Still, I wrote it in, and 1d became COSINE. My last two fills were--fittingly--the two Z's.

Triumph! No, no. Not COCKAHOOP. I feel about that word like the Klingon felt about tribbles: I hope I never see another one of those creatures again!

JenCT 11:53 AM  

@Spacecraft: having better luck with the captchas? I left you a message yesterday.

DMGrandma 3:59 PM  

Wanted stateFAIR until I got FUZZ. From there on it was tricky but mostly doable. COOKAHOOP, LIPPY, really? But nothing else fit. I hesitated at GORP because my daughter tells me there is no such thing, and the stuff is called trail mix. Guess its a generational thing.

Finally got tripped up where it was clear my ticket for the aisle was wrong, but even with everything else in place except for TWEE and the N and final E in RENEE, I just didn't see ADULT, probably because I was trying to make 37D. Be DRAWfrom. Another almost!!

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

I make it a point to keep after these things until I finish them, and while I'm no speed solver I've gotten pretty good at doing so. This one took me about five or six hours. So the last thing I wanted to see when I came here was "easy." I guess it's time for an MRI.

Sitzkreig seemed like it would be the quiet version of blitzkreig so I plunked in that T as my final entry (after changing RAMP OPEN to RAG PAPER). In the end I finished with a single error, at the crossing of a word I didn't know with a word I didn't know how to spell (ISuRE/APuRTURE). There are lots of both out there, which is why I get so cockahoop every time I manage to complete a NYT Saturday puzzle. But with writeovers in about a third of the grid as iffy answers morphed into better answers and eventually into correct answers, I consider finishing with just one error a triumph.

I miss those nights reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to my daughter. Maybe she'll let me read it to her one more time the next time she comes home from college.

Anonyrat 10:03 AM  

Easy my @$$. @Evan - I'm with you bro. Lower right was the worst. COCKAHOOP - WTF? Seriously, is that even a word, and if it is, does it mean what the clue says?
At 20A, haven't heard "GORP" in ages - wasn't that a '90s thing? From all the comments stating this was their first gimme, I'm guessing there's a lot of old hippies on this blog/board/thread/whatchamacallit. Had _O_P and given our environmentally conscious times, would have guessed pOoP if I hadn't thought it wasn't NYT appropriate.
@PG - re 29D, knew exactly it was a Condoleeza reference, so no hand up.
@Deb - Googling is cheating. You might as well just come here and look up the answers.
@pajamapartypants - Yes, "SITZKRIEG" is an official Nazi term. (Eyeroll) Schweinhund!
@Anonymous 8:20 PM - 9:00 PM : Time to take your meds?
@Grandma 12:20 AM - and Grandma was run over by a reindeer. "At the turn of the last century" - in 1999? How old was your Grandpa - 150?

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