Buddhist shrine / FRI 8-17-12 / Compromise of 1877 figure / Nickname in classic jazz / Stronger tomorrow sloganeer / Souther writer William Gilmore / Somalia's locale in Africa / Bay of Fundy has largest one in world

Friday, August 17, 2012

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: William Gilmore SIMMS (36A: Southern writer William Gilmore ___) —
William Gilmore Simms (April 17, 1806 – June 11, 1870) was a poetnovelist and historian from theAmerican South. His writings achieved great prominence during the 19th century, with Edgar Allan Poe pronouncing him the best novelist America had ever produced.[1] In recent decades[when?], Simms's novels have fallen out of favor, although he is still known among literary scholars as a major force in antebellum Southern literature.[2] He is also remembered for his strong support of slavery and for his opposition to Uncle Tom's Cabin, in response to which he wrote reviews and a novel. [In case you wanna know what "being on the wrong side of history" looks like—here ya go] (wikipedia)
• • •

For how many long gimmes this one had, it put up a good fight. The real bone-crusher was STUPA (43D: Buddhist shrine), a word I've never seen before, and one that I'd consider "suboptimal fill" (to put it mildly). Not "stupid," which is what I want to say, for many reasons, but not ... yeah. The "T" cross took me (at the end) a full two runs through the alphabet to get. At that point, the puzzle has ceased being fun and has become a tedious chore. Oh well. Most of the rest of the time I was fairly well entertained, and though there's more clunky stuff than I'd like to see in a typical 70-worder, the grid also had some nice moments. I had the world's weirdest partial malapop* at 26D: "Lookie what I did!" ("YAY ME!"), which I wanted to be "DIG ME!" (which I like better). But I just left ME there and moved on. You can understand my reluctance, then, to believe, later on, that "DIG THIS!" (37D: "Dude, I got something to tell you ...") was right. Two "DIG" phrases in the same grid!? That's not ... oh, that's not what's actually happening. I see.

*["malapop" = wanting an answer that's wrong, only to have it turn out to be the right answer somewhere else in the grid]

Dropped F-STOP and OLE in immediately and then stalled in the NW (but apparently never saw CHANG the first time around, 'cause I'd've nailed that—7D: Cho ___, romantic interest for Harry Potter). Other toeholds abounded. Actually, now that I think about it, I'd written in AMNESIA (41A: "The Bourne Identity" plot device) and HOLST (15D: "The Planets" composer) before I even felt like I'd officially "begun" the puzzle. My eyes hit those clues and I couldn't leave them for later. Ended up using AMNESIA to get my first full corner in the SW—if I never see AOXOMOXOA again it'll be too soon (28D: Grateful Dead album whose title reads the same forward and backward). Yes, it's wacky, and yes, we've (or at least I've) seen it, and no, I'm not a Dead fan so I'll never remember it, so ... stow it. WHAT A JERK is solid, of course (27D: "Can you BELIEVE that guy?!").

SIMMS meant nothing to me, as did HAYES (33A: Compromise of 1877 figure) until I got it (haven't thought of the Tilden-HAYES compromise—which ended Reconstruction—since probably high school), so middle of grid was a little dicey. But WALT (47A: Cartoonist Kelly) and OPERAHOUSE (50A: View from the Sydney Harbour Bridge) gave me the SE (exc. &$&#ing STUPA) in pretty short order, and then DIVVY (37A: Split (up)) gave me REALITY TV (11D: "Big Brother," for example) and ARTICLE IV (12D: It includes provision for the admission of new states) instantly. Bam bam. Amazing easiness punctuated by dead stops at brick walls. That's what this felt like. I rammed my head against the wall a full three times at 24A: Having a bad trip, maybe. You wouldn't think that, with SICK already in the grid, I would have much trouble, but ... SEA SICK? No. Oh, "R" from IRIS so ... AIRSICK? ... no? Really? Oh &$%! Me, CARSICK?! Yes.

That's about where I ended (if you disregard STUPA, which I'm willing to do).

  • 16A: The Bay of Fundy has the largest one in the world (TIDAL RANGE) — I assume this just means that the tide goes out the farthest, and that a TIDAL RANGE does not involve mountains.
  • 26A: QB who threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes in a single game (1962) (Y.A. TITTLE) — a name that's stuck w/ me from my NFL Encyclopedia-reading days (age 11 or so).
  • 40A: Nickname in classic jazz (DIZ) — had the "D" and nothing else seemed plausible. 
  • 2D: "The Pearl Fishers" soprano (LEILA) — no idea. Seen her before, I'm sure, but still, no idea. I know LAILA Alie and LEELA from "Futurama," and LAYLA from "Layla," but not this lady.
  • 13D: "A stronger America" sloganeer (JOHN KERRY) — ugh, no wonder that guy lost. I fell asleep just reading that clue.
  • 23D: ___ Kramer, 2010 Dutch speed-skating gold medalist (SVEN) — who could forget ... ?(99% of America, probably ... still, super-gettable)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


DSSinDC 12:04 AM  

Had the same problem with STUPA/TAP. I can handle not knowing STUPA, but how does "Bug" clue TAP? That's the *real* puzzle...

Guy who's wasted many months of his life said 12:13 AM  

If you've never spent a month pondering the nature of a "seamless stupa", well, maybe you haven't wasted each of the months of your life.

@DSSinDC - the police TAP, or bug, your phone. Or they did, but now Google does it for them.

Richard 1:00 AM  

This was smooth sailing for me with one big exception - the NW. I had the C and the final T with 1a and quickly concluded that the last four letters were cHAt. In retrospect this was stupid given the ? in the 1A clue but I left it in for quite awhile even after I had the F and L as the first two letters.I kept thinking about some kind of chat starting with FL. I even had HANK for 8D, thinking that a hank of hair can be twisted. I finally realized my mistake by figuring that TIDAL RANGE had to be the answer to 16A and this section fell quickly after this.

thursdaysd 1:13 AM  

Wow, when I finish a Friday in 22 minutes with no recourse to google (or duckduckgo in my case), although with a lot of guessing at names, I fully expect to come here and find it rated easy. I'm doing much better this week than last.

No doubt it helped that I've seen a lot of STUPAs while traveling in Asia, (I like the ones in Nepal with the eyes), but I really wanted 16A to be TIDALbore and had UN charter before ARTICLEIV.

Richard otra vez 1:13 AM  

I am a confirmed and knowledgeable Deadhead. Yet, I do not like their studio recordings and could not remember the name beyond knowing it was unusual. Thank goodness for the clue indicating it was a palindrome, along with some of the crossings.

Anonymous 1:58 AM  

I don't think that's what malapropism means, although I can't remember the correct term now....

Richard still again 2:23 AM  

I know he is more than able to speak for himself, but Rex used "malapop" rather than "malaprop. If you do a search, you will see that he has used this term in the past so it is not a typo. Not sure who coined it.

jae 2:31 AM  

Yup, easy mixed with brick wall covers it. However, TAP/STUPA was not much of a problem for me. NW was. Did not know LIELA, ARRANT, THEFATES (I mean, I knew THE FATES but the clue was a WTF), or CHANG, went through Ell and Ess before EGG, guessed at ANDES, KIA, TIDALRANGE, so 3/4s easy-medium NW very @&$!ing tough!

So, finally a Fri. with some bite! Any puzzle with WHATAJERK, KINK, YAYME, DIVVY, TOETOTOE, ... and what ever AOXOMOXOA is has got my vote.

I remember YATITTLE (a gimme for me) from growing up.

Clark 2:54 AM  

@anonymous and @Richard: I do believe that the coiner of 'malopop' is our own Arrant Carsick Moira —sometimes known as ACMe.

Amnesia Carsick Malapops 2:55 AM  

Love Peter Wentz puzzles...
always seem impossible to me but if I keep at it, in this case over an hour, i FILL (it) IN, despite not knowing the football, the Dead, Harry Potter, Classical music and on and on.

Feels like a miracle as it all had to come from GREENBELT, OPERAHOUSE, WALT and JOLLIES (which I almost fainted when it was right!)

Love 3 Js at beginning middle and end of entries, two Xs in one word and a palindrome at that! He's SO cool!

@Richard still again
I coined "malapop", my single greatest naming achievement since the now defunct "Oryx" awards. YAYME!

acme 2:57 AM  

Oh @Clark
You beat me to it! And SO close on the name!

Anoa Bob 3:07 AM  

Lots to like in this puzzle, not the least of which was that I came out with guns blazing in the NW getting FLAK JACKET and TIDAL RANGE off of 4D KIA.

TIDAL RANGE is the difference in height between lowest and highest tide, which for the Bay of Fundy is something insane like 50+ feet. Where I live, Port Isabel, TX, it's like 2-4 feet.

One quibble with 1D "It controls the amount of light admitted". I realize that this was a crossword staple double-up with the same clue for 21D IRIS, but F STOP is a measure of the size of the opening of the device that controls the amount of light admitted, the aperture, not the device itself.

AOXOMOXOA? Really? What were they smoking?

Tobias Duncan 3:16 AM  

As a lifelong skeptic I am as far from spiritual as it gets, yet my Taos upbringing made STUPA a total gimme.
There is so much east coast and sports stuff that I know nothing about. Nice to have my little town toss me a break every now and again.

Jeremy Mercer 5:00 AM  

Have to disagree with Rex on STUPA. Not only is it a great word, it's a structure that is spiritually integral to Buddhist culture and there are (conservative estimate) 500 million Buddhists out there. Bravo for the religious diversity.

r.alphbunker 6:42 AM  

The NW was the last to go. It took 18 minutes to get there and then a drought of 21 minutes before FSTOP opened it up. The final step was replacing eye ({Examine closely}) with VET.

Finished with PASSINe/CHANe. Was more worried about ARRANT than CHANe. Thought that {Like A to D} was a music clue. The instant that my program told me that PASSINe was wrong I saw the correct answer.

Milford 7:01 AM  

I stumbled all over this puzzle, which means it was probably a really good Friday for more seasoned solvers.

Had TIDALsurGE for 16A from the very start and was stubborn to let it go. Often had most of a clue filled in and still couldn't see it: TEL_ _, RA_, VE_ (didn't know VET as a verb). And I will never remember a political slogan on principle alone.

I only know YATITTLE from the Life photo of him with blood pouring from his head.

Really thought for a happy moment that 27D was going to be WHATAnass.

Glimmerglass 7:21 AM  

You already know what the Dead were smoking. TAP, I guess, is as in "phone tap," which is a way to "bug" someone's phone. Ugh.

GILL I. 7:50 AM  

This took me well over an hour as well but it was worth it.
I had Southwest (as in the airline) instead of JOHN KERRY and that held me up until CAR SICK just had to be right.
I remembered the GD title had some x's and o's so I just filled in the blanks. Some great words today: WHAT A JERK, JOLLIES, DIG THIS, YAY ME...
The only beef I had was with YA TITTLE. Isn't that a bit obscure? Did he get MVP or something?
Thanks Peter Wentz for the work-out and the smile.

jberg 8:21 AM  

STUPA, you know it or you don't - or in my case, I knew the word, knew it was about Eastern religion, but wasn't sure what it was. Most of my Asian experience has been in Japan, where "shrine" generally means "Shinto," so the whole concept of Buddhist shrine was confusing. Still, I finished in medium time. odd LOT before JOB LOT, YAhoo! beffore YAY ME!, but unlike Rex I think about the compromise of 1877 (which was also on the wrong side of history) almost every day, so I couldn't miss that one.

Pretty much what ACME said - I always felt I was stuck, but just kept working and it all came along. Only just this second did I figure out how a HERO was a main part, rather than a sandwich.

Sue McC 8:46 AM  

Never heard of British RAJ, so that took a while. And the clue for HERO, right under RAJ, wasn't clicking for the longest time. But ultimately I liked this. It was challenging for me...about a 30 minute slog.

joho 8:48 AM  

Happily got it all until the NW. No JOLLIES for me there. Even with FSTOP and THEFATES in place I couldn't crack that corner.

Loved the puzzle though, really interesting and packed with scrabbly letters.

A brilliant Friday creation ... thank you, Peter Wentz!

evil doug 8:56 AM  

Milford: Yeah, that was my Bears kicking Tittle's ass in the championship game.

Brilliant cluing today, with all sorts of possible directions and cutbacks:

"Modern mail?" ('flakjacket' is pleasantly rhythmic);

"makes sense of" (a nice change of pace for 'digests');

'divvy' from "split (up)", and ending up atop 'diz';

'felt-tip pen' from "what a drawer might hold"---after 'divvy' I wanted 'skivvies';

'false start' (speaking of lots of ink scratch-outs on my grid) from "running too quickly?"---nice post-Olympic phraseology.

Missed on "so-so". I put in 'rosy', because the -os- worked, I bought into 'Rimms' for lack of a better idea, and never crosschecked 'joblyt'.
JERRY: [pause] You're Donna Chang?

DONNA: Did you think I was Chinese?

JERRY: [embarrassed] Oh. No. Oh, you mean because of the "Chang"?

DONNA: Actually, the family name wasn't originally Chang.

JERRY: I didn't think so.

DONNA: It used to be "Changstein."


Z 8:57 AM  

Hand up for WHAT An ass. Must be a Mitten thing.

@Gill I.P. - YA TITTLE was a gimme for me because, around age 11 like our fearless leader, I read a book about the greatest quarterbacks of all time and he was a chapter. Fran Tarkenton was the last chapter of the book. His name stuck because of its strangeness.

I had the SW first, then the NE, so I had the entire center axis complete with lots white in the NW and SE. Just a little embarrassed that SENIOR HIGH took me so long. My partial malapop was wanting A to D to be cup sizes, but 34D got me off that error.

IRIS near DILATE reminded me that people other than parents to be and OBs care about dilation. It's been nearly 16 years since I much thought about the word.

Unknown 9:10 AM  

Had "Whata***k?" for 27 down for a moment -- and thought "no the NYT wouldn't use, 'What a dick?,' would they?"

Matthew G. 9:17 AM  

Great puzzle. Like Rex, I've never heard of STUPA. Thankfully, I somehow had the wavelength of everything else in the SE, so I was able to push through.

I knew the relevant piece of trivia re: the Bay of Fundy (that it has the greatest distance between high tide and low tide of any place on Earth), but I didn't know the technical word for that phenomenon, so I put in TID_____ not knowing if it was TIDE or TIDAL or what followed. Very frustrating to know what a clue is going for but not know how to name it.

Didn't like the clue on REALITY TV. As clued, the answer would have to be REALITY SHOW or REALITY PROGRAM. To clue REALITY TV, it would have needed to be {"Big Brother" and brethren} or something like that. One show is not TV.

All in all, I finished with a better-than-average Friday time for me, so I guess I just connected with this one.

Loren Muse Smith 9:20 AM  

@Wes Davidson - too funny!

I agree – weird solve. Low-hanging fruit of F STOP, OLE, AMNESIA, WAGES, WHAT A JERK, GREEN BELT, ROLO and then a complete standstill. Warming to the puzzle’s scrabbliness, I unfortunately had “just” for SO SO and ‘James” for SIMMS and never looked back.

After declaring a dnf, I asked my husband about the 1962 QB. He said, “Tittle?” I said, “Nope. Doesn’t fit.”

Absent-mindedly wondering how much of a price Peter would have paid for that Q, I looked for the U’s and found only one! I’ve never paid attention to vowels. Is that usual to have only one of a vowel?

I like the way the words DIVVY and FLAK look.

Totally fair Friday that played like a hard Saturday for me. I guess I’m still a yellowBELT.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

"Tidal range" is a distance, but vertical -- the amount the water rises. At the Bay of Fundy, I could see the water sweeping in and visibly rising along the rocks that form the inlet that magnifies the effect.

STUPA: anagram of SPUTA; thanks, Scrabble

Had AIRSICK* and YBTITTLE* in the same area.

Good puzzle, though.

chefbea 9:36 AM  

Too tough for me. DNF

Could somebody please show me the pronounciation of aoxomoxoa??? thanx

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I too had TIDALSURGE for the Bay of Fundy phenomenon, and held on to it for way too long. I, however, have an excuse for this stuborness, as I have watched the TIDALSURGE of the tide coming in, forming a 3-4'surge as it proceeds up the river feeding the Bay of Fundy, on which people surf up the river.

Yes, the Bay of Funday also does have a mountain range as a result of the tides. The coast of the bay is full of monoliths, underwater or barely projecting from the water at high tide, forming a mountain range at low tide.

All of this occurs in Nova Scotia, tying in with yesterday's puzzle.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

@chefbea - It's unpronouncable, unless you've just done an 8-ball, at which point it's obvious. Obvious, though irrepoducable without the 8-ball.

This forms no significant obstacle to pronounciation among true Dead-Heads.

jackj 9:43 AM  

If I kept a personal “Best of” list, this Peter Wentz gem would be right up there when choosing an all-time favorite Friday puzzle. What a pleasure to solve, with entries so charmingly original, existing adjectives seem almost wanting.

The first two wild guesses that succeeded were HITITOFF for “Clicked” and then an even brighter one was exposed when putting in YAYME a fun, aggressive result of some neat slangy cluing.

But, the one that was the most fun was in getting my kicks from the clue of “Kicks” and as a stand-alone entry, translating that into JOLLIES. Wow, Peter!

Of course, there’s no shortage of other treats like DIVVY, TAP (think wiretap), RAJ, WHATAJERK and another doozy, CARSICK for “Having a bad trip, maybe”.

But, despite the Bay of Fundy’s spectacular 60 foot tide swings, the Dead’s AOXOMic album, even JOHNKERRY’s hopeful if hapless slogan, the entry that was most memorable was the one that honored an all-time HERO of mine, YATITTLE.

Despite his records and the example he set with his play as a great NY Giant quarterback, my most lasting Y.A. memory is of watching him on TV in a 1964 game against Pittsburgh, down on his knees in the end zone after being totally manhandled by a Steelers lineman, helmet off, bald dome shining, blood running down his face, totally SPENT, his career at an end, (though he did play a few more games before retiring). The pathos of that moment was breathtaking then and still evokes the same intense feeling today. It was a life lesson of sorts, not just something for a sportscaster’s highlight reel.

Thanks, Peter, did I mention I liked your puzzle, too?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:52 AM  

This definitely felt like the ideal Friday puzzle.

100% in sync with Rex on the SEASICK, AIRSICK, CARSICK progression.

100% out of sync with Rex re STUPA, pretty much a gimme, maybe from some vacation trips to SE Asia.

Catherine 10:03 AM  

I just got back from two weeks in the Bay of Fundy, and so when I saw that clue I was all, "Excellent! I will know this one!" and then I could not make TIDAL BORE fit and I was totally at a loss. Up there I heard a LOT about the Tidal Bore, and you can even go white water rafting on it, when the tide comes in and collides with a river going out. But I never heard the phrase "tidal range." Of course, it's a thing. But imagine how depressed I was that it was a Bay of Fundy thing I did not know. The rest of the puzzle was not too bad. I even got STUPA. YAY ME! Pictures of our trip to the Bay on my blog: fineyoungfauves.

Lindsay 10:06 AM  

Tons of writeovers, but fixed them quickly. Sugar Pie >> PEA, DIsEcTS >> DIGESTS, and JOHN dEeRe >> JOHN KERRY.

TIDAL RANGE was a flat-out gimmee.

Some friends and I rowed the coast of Maine a few days at a time over the course of several years. The last leg of the trip edged into the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Sobering. Every anomoly in the shoreline, or on the bottom, diverts so much rushing water that there are seemingly random upwellings of confused waves that are impossible to interpret.

The group finally decided to ditch the boats in front of a house (there aren't may up there) walk down a driveway that turned out to be 3 miles long and hitchhike (?!?!) into Lubec.

orangeblossomspecial 10:14 AM  

Here is an interview with Y A TITTLE. Y A was a QB at Ole Miss. When he played for the San Francisco 49ers, he and R C Owens developed the alley-oop pass, which we now call the hail-Mary.

47A WALT Kelly did Pogo Possum, a southern staple.

Beadola 10:32 AM  

The Village Voice puzzle has two answers the same as NY Times today! ACMe, do we have a word for that? One is actually one of the more fun ones of today, but I don't want to give any spoilers.

I had a kind of almost malapop in today's puzzle. I started with pupil for 1D, as the part of the eye the IRIS surrounds.

c allenbury 10:32 AM  

@ Rex: 13 D: " A stronger America" Yes, Kerry was boring, but the
reason he "lost" is that,
under the supervision of Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, one hundred and eighty thousand votes were stolen, enough to give Bush Ohio, a fact the Times refused to investigate, just as the Times called off its investigation of the Florida theft after 9/11.
This election cycle, watch for a trifecta: a theft on the precinct level of Ohio, Florida, for old times' sake, and also Penn, to close the deal for the mutt.

c allenbury 10:37 AM  

The Times had been in the middle of its investigation of Florida 2000 with Associated Press when 911 happened. They called it off because they did not think "the public" had any further appetite or interest to know what really happened in Florida.

GILL I. 10:40 AM  

Thanks @Z. I do like football; i'm a big 49ers fan. I guess TITTLE was before my fan time.

Emmett Fitz-Hume 10:50 AM  

Wow, Rex. Gotta hand it to your readers. Any other blog I frequent, and the peanut gallery would have been all over your "I'd've nailed that" reference to Harry Potter's girlfriend. Classy bunch!

Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

Great puzzle that made me work up a sweat. Vague clues like bug, kick, and drawer are good examples of the trickery of English.
Finished with an error though.
Never heard of this Tittle guy so I thought the answer was one long name. Patittle/Pay me. (I guess I was thinking of settling a bet or a dare.) Boo Hoo.
The rest was good Friday fun.

Mike 11:11 AM  

I don't get how FLAKJACKET tues to its clue "Modern mail?"

I did ok on this puzzle because I always seemed to find enough crosses to figure out the tougher things . Got DIZ from the Z, TAP was the only thing which fit (then bringing forth STUPA). Etc. Didn't remember which ARTICLE it was, but once I had the V, nothing else would work but IV.

Mel Ott 11:12 AM  

@evil: as @jackj pointed out the bloody picture was from the following season against the Steelers. YA's knee was injured by a Bill George tackle in the 1963 championship game - no blood, but more at stake.

@orangeblossom: I'm pretty sure YA played at LSU in a backfield with Steve Van Buren and Alvin Dark. Not Ole Miss.

The NY Times had an article a few days ago about attempts to harness the currents caused by the TIDAL RANGE in the Bay of Fundy to generate electricity.

Gore Vidal's recent death brought to mind his novel "1876" which was about that "compromise" that stole the election for HAYES and plunged the nation into another century of racial oppression.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

@Mike - Think of mail as armor in the days of knights and damnsels in distress.

DSSinDC 11:31 AM  

@Mike, as in "chain mail" armor. FWIW, I robo-filled that space with "KEVLARVEST" on the first pass. That didn't work out, but interesting that it's the same letter count as the correct answer.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I thought this was hard Saturdayish. Too many things were just out there for me. Each section had its share. NW Chang and Leila. NE Holst and Yatittle NW AOXOMOXOA, SE Stupa, and Middle Simms and Hayes. This was no Yay Me. When I finished, I thought What a Jerk...

John V 11:44 AM  

What everyone said about TAP/STUPA. In the end, YAYME! This was very challenging for me, but got it all with no BUGs. I mean, first pass through I had NOTHING. This was hand-to-hand, TOTOTOE combat.

I had ANALOGDIAL for 14A for the longest time. Also wrote in FLOODTIDE for 16A, so, like many, NW was a bitch, last to fall. So much really great stuff in this one, a clasic, to me.

Thanks, Peter Wentz.

Carola 11:48 AM  

Loved the puzzle, love the comments. Definitely a challenge for me - my only "for sure" answers to start were CHANG, HOLST, OLE and STUPA. So, slow but fun all the way - JOLLIES for sure.

On Y.A. TITTLE - as kids my brother and I used to "replay" NFL Highlights in our yard. I was older so got to be the quarterback, while he was the receiver. Favorite plays were TITTLE to Gifford and Starr to Dowler. (Go Pack!)

ARRANT is a word I see only in crosswords - does anybody here ever use it?

@Richard - I also had "haNK," giving me -ChET for the end of !A - one of the last things I corrected.

Peter Wentz - I really enjoyed going TOE TO TOE with this one. Thanks!

Z 11:57 AM  

I forgot to mention that having a picture of George Orwell on the same page as the puzzle in the print version was a serendipitous misdirection for the Big Brother clue.

Cheerio 12:00 PM  

I went to the island of Vinal Haven, ME for a summer vacation recently. It isn't too far from the Bay of Fundy, I now see. A motel there, the Tidewater, sits above a narrow waterway joining a pond to the main harbour. The TIDAL RANGE was more than I had ever seen before - about 11 feet. I hadn't know such tidal ranges existed. Most of the time, the water under the Tidewater motel flows from the pond to the ocean, but around high tide, the flow actually reverses direction. At low tide, the flow out is stong rapids. At high tide, the rocks are deeply submerged and the surface is pretty quiet. If you were daring and stupid, you might even consider taking a kayak under the bridge. I wanted to see if the water flow ever stood still, but never quite got around to it.

Lewis 12:02 PM  

Rex, you must have a low tolerance for pain if two runs through the alphabet causes the puzzle to cease being fun and become a tedious chore.

Sparky 12:47 PM  

Out of my wheelhouse but did get OPERAHOUSE. See y'all tomorrow.

Mike 1:01 PM  

Thanks, all. Went to the dictionary to read about this unfamiliar usage of mail.

Merle 1:19 PM  

Puzzle was a bear, but, ultimately a cuddly teddy bear. First, the obvious -- we know what it is that we know -- cultural background, cultural acquisition, age, demographic, interests, crossword puzzle experience -- we are who we are. For me, the question mark after mail in 1 A was a clue -- not mail as in message, but mail as in -- what? Oh. Chain mail. So 1 D answer, f-stop, led to flak jacket -- protective armor, like the chain mail knights wore once upon a time. Sorry, Rex, I thought stupa was a great answer for an interesting clue. And I knew it to begin with. In 16 A, got the tidal, sweated the range. Most obscure WTFs were 53 A, Rolo -- who eats that tuff? -- 30 A, Y.A. Tittle, and 28 D. In desperation, I Googled Dead discography, and lo and behold, Aoxomoxoa wasn't listed. Walt Kelly was a gimme -- I'm 70, and grew up on Pogo. British Raj was a gimme -- recent enough history, for all of you aware of the extent of abusive colonialism. Is 1947 that far away, end of the Raj and division of India and Pakistan? Other great clue and answer combos, fresh and original, include 14 A and 11 D. Yes, for me "Big Brother" belongs to Orwell, and I don't watch any reality TV, "perish forbode," as Walt Kelly had Pogo say. Well, enough of typing all this stuff that no one will read. But it sure is fun thinking about a challenging puzzle after the last entry has been made.

mac 1:23 PM  

Fantastic Friday puzzle! Many of the same turns and twists as earlier posters. The NW did me in, although I had plenty of crosses.... "Jollies" by far my favorite answer.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

On this, or last's, week's orient vs orientate discussion, I actually heard a radio talk show host use the term "conversating". Use it without the slightest touch of irony.

Masked and Aoxomoxoa-pus 1:25 PM  

Oh man. This coulda been an all-day sucker, had the M&A-meister not caved, and done wiki-research. Needed enlightenment on a whole range of blindspots...
*LEILA - Sigh. Opera.
*CHANG - Who cares about a hairy potter's girlfriends? snort.
*Altiplano - That was so far out there, that new Mars probe couldnta helped me.
*KIA - Done in by a clue without pity. But with soul? Ironic.
*ARRANT - There's probably a clue out there that mighta helped my bony head here. Maybe one that accidentally revealed all the crossin' answers...
*YER - Perfectly arrant good word. Trouble was, I wanted FAR. Then GET or GIT (var.)
*AOXOMOXOA - Now, see. This is what yer in fer, if U let doctor orgs participate in tictactoe tourneys.
*STUPA - The cruelest blow. The one poor defenseless orphan U in the whole grid, and it's nesting in the middle of this. And crossed by more opera stuff. That's even worse than writing UHURA as AHORA, like the Shortzmeister did yesterday. Arrrrrgh.


Merle 1:27 PM  

Yo, Carola, people fond of somewhat archaic verbiage may use arrant, as in "that is arrant nonsense" or "he is an arrant knave." Shakespeare used arrant, but it was hip contemporary lingo back in the Bard's day.


Anonymous 1:51 PM  

I'm floundering in The Bay of Fundy
Nothing I FILL IN will work...
I'm just gonna F_____STOP

YAY ME! But no JOLLIES- cuz I'm totally SPENT!!

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Editing was off which seems to be a trend for Thursday and Friday. Dude and dig were from completely different eras, so never heard these two words used in the same phrase. Amnesia is not a device. Taser's don't sting. The first clue should have been chain mail. His name was John, his nickname is Dizzy not Diz. I don't enjoy inaccuracies to allow the constructors/editor to allow Friday to be a Friday when it is really a Tues. or Wed.

Carola 1:56 PM  

@Merle - thanks! I was always hearing "errant knave" - like "knights errant," I guess! Glad to have a new word in my vocabulary. And - I was already going to respond to your earlier comment with a "Hey, I read it!" - Same for me with Walt Kelly and Pogo, except it was my dad reading it to me from the Sunday funnies. He loved it.

evil doug 2:18 PM  

Merle, Carola and others---right there with you on the Pogo thing. My dad was a fan, and I inherited (or stole) all the original books he'd collected along the way.

“Do you herd sheep?” old gramma sighed.
My grampa leapt in fright.
“That grammar’s wrong!” to me he cried,
“Have you heard sheep? is right!”

Don't believe something just because you didn't read it in the papers. Wait until you haven't seen it on television.

Having lost sight of our objectives, we redoubled our efforts.

I'll tell you, son, the minority got us out-numbered!

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

(...and of course...)
We have met the enemy, and he is us.

---Walt Kelly

Ansel 2:25 PM  

@Anoa Bob - You need to chill. F-STOP controls the aperture which which is the IRIS that lets the light in. Cluing is correct.

3rd time attempting to read CAPTHCA!

Bird 2:46 PM  

Good challenging (for me) Friday puzzle, but in the end needed help to FILL IN the last few letters.

As a NY Giants fan I’m asking why 36A couldn’t be clued as “Winning QB in Super Bowl XXI”. I mean we have Y.A. TITTLE in the grid so why not two stars from the same team (and there are two clues for light controlling the amount of light).

Had Sugar PIE for the loooongest time, which really screwed me up down south.

Can’t remember seeing DIVVY written anywhere; looks weird.

DARTS is really stretching the term “missiles”, IMO. I was thinking along the lines of arms, like ICBM and SCUD. TASER is a stinger? Did not know STUPA, but today is Friday. I thought DIZzy was his nickname, not DIZ.

Even with the question mark I don’t like the clue for 56A. Running too “early” is better.

I did like 1A and 27D (@Milford – I prefer your answer).


Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Odd fact of the English language. Not only are TAP and synonyms, or at least can be used in the same context, but so are TAP and bugger.

Acme 3:23 PM  

Next time I'm having this much trouble with a grid, I should call you...your gimmes were my exact last fills!

syndy 3:32 PM  

Wheelhouse?what wheelhouse? I didn't even have a paddle!I had JOHNDEERE which made perfect sense to me.SWEETPIE,check EYE(VET),GETTHIS I had gotten everything west of HOLST but having the brick wall thing when I finally got FELTTIPPEN I wanted to cry!took an hour and a half and the CHECK?CHEAT button.oh and Rex when you said "not since HIGH school surely you meant SENIOR HIGH?

M and A 2 4:15 PM  

10. Countdown begins today, 'til somebody here turns the big Six-O.
Need a clue on who?

Not yet 50 4:41 PM  

@M and A 2 - 10 years? 10 days?

Sandy K 5:09 PM  

Easy-breezy Friday...Just kidding!

Never thought I'd finish this one, after many a FALSE START in the NW.
FLAKJACKET and ARRANT were lucky guesses for me.

Don't want to copy YAYME! So I'll just say- I won't be using my FELTTIPPEN to FILLIN YER puzzles, Mr. Wentz, but I wouldn't mind SAMOA!

Carola 5:20 PM  

@acme - Anytime! :) Today you could have helped me with those JOLLIES that eluded me until the very end.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

Always love it when I nail a "medium challenging." But then I'm Buddhist...

Two Ponies 8:25 PM  

Ah where is Ulrich when we need him?
I wondered if "flak" was an acronym but it is an abbrev. of a German word for anti-aircraft gun.
Wow, what a mouthful. No wonder they called it flak.

retired_chemist 8:30 PM  

The STUPA/TAP cross was my last letter. Grew up on Pogo too and got my daughter into him.

Medium/challenging puzzle here - under 20 mins. AOXOMOXOA would have been really tough if we had not been told it was a palindrome. 30A was BALKS to start - soon fixed, but including the two proper names directly below made the center mt toughest section.

Not much to add, except thanks to Mr. Wentz. YAY HIM!

Anonymous 10:49 PM  

I love it when I nail a "medium-challenging." But then I'm a Buddhist and Deadhead, of sorts.

orangeblossomspecial 9:34 AM  

@Mel Ott at 11:12.

Thanks for the correction. Right conference, wrong school!

DMGrandma 2:51 PM  

I join those who couldn't complete this one. Had TIDALsurge and stuck with it. Needed help that didn't come despite having read all the Harry Potter books. Guess I'd have been better off watching TV as the only Big Brother I know owes his existence to Orwell. Never heard the expression YAYME which crossed some sports figure. All that, combined with drawing a total blank on the RAJ, left me with lots of the top half in disarray. Surprisingly, the bottom was an easy fill, tho I wondered what made a FELTTIPPEN the most important thing in a drawer. DOH!

rain forest 3:48 PM  

Just a wonderful puzzle, and I had great fun working through it. I must say, though, that for a Canadian, W-2 and Article IV were Greek, no, say Korean, for me. Hard work enabled me to complete without an error. "Divvy" and Article IV came at the end. I remembered the Dead album, but not its spelling, but the fact it was a palindrome made it almost a gimme, once I got "wages". Challenging, for me, but so enjoyable.

Dirigonzo 7:59 PM  

After my first run through the clues I was certain this would be a totally humiliating DNF, so I was very pleasantly surprised when an hour later I realised the grid was complete. I know the Bay of Fundy well but tried TIDechANGE before TIDALRANGE came along. Down in the SW, where I finished, I totally undersetimated the clue for "Bug" and put in the all too obvious "irk" and was very pleasantly surprised when the much more clever (and devious) TAP became apparent. My favorite "aha" moment was when I remembered YATITTLE from a time that doesn't seem all that long ago. Fabulous Friday.

Spacecraft 8:02 PM  

I finished this one with no errors and no help and I still can hardly believe it. Even now, I don't know how I arrived at FLAKJACKET off the "Modern mail?" clue, with only the first K (KIA) in place. It was a leap of faith, I guess.

Had Pie ("Sugar___") from the 4 Tops' "Can't Help Myself." My JOBLOT was first an oddLOT. And AOXOMOXOA? Crosses, plus the palindrome clue, left that sitting there. What else to do? Hey, it's the Dead, they could name their albums anything they felt like. Talent-wise, they were the 800-lb. gorilla. I once got high in one of their concerts--all I did was breathe the air. Remember the girls in neon-trimmed bikinis selling those stiff dog leashes? Ah, the days.

Anyway, Much satisfaction. OPERAHOUSE got me going; AMNESIA was my second entry. None of it came easy--but come it did. YAYME!

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