Sliwinska of "Dancing With the Stars" / FRI 10-5-12 / One of Heinrich Schliemann's excavations / "Weekend Update" anchor between Miller and Macdonald / Symbol of Lutheranism / Beau Brummell's accessory / ___ Rebellion (1676 Jamestown uprising) / Stipend paid by a cathedral to a clergyman / Longest-living member of the Rat Pack / Merkel of German politics

Friday, October 5, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: EDYTA (18A: Sliwinska of "Dancing With the Stars")
Edyta Śliwińska (Polish pronunciation: [ɛˈdɨta ɕliˈviɲska]; born May 6, 1981 in Warsaw, Poland) is a professional ballroom dancer who is currently starring in a stage show DANCE TEMPTATION ( She is best known for her appearances on the American version of the reality television series Dancing with the Stars, where she appeared on all of the first ten seasons of the show. (Wikipedia)
• • •

Hello, CrossWorld. It's Evan Birnholz, the self-anointed Earl filling in for the King while he's away from the throne. Since today's Friday, here's a quick note of encouragement for any up-and-coming solver out there who likes crosswords but thinks the late-week puzzles are too intimidating: Only a short while ago, I wouldn't dare touch the Friday or Saturday New York Times puzzles for the same reason. Now, I blog about it for Rex Parker -- and treat myself like royalty every time I do it. So keep practicing!

This puzzle had all of the features of a splendidly-constructed gem for which Patrick Berry is well-renowned.....with one big exception, and no, it's not ENHALOING (49A: Surrounding with a glow). I'll get to that problem later, but first, the good-to-great stuff: Behold a cornucopia of lively, fresh, in-the-language phrases such as CLOSE CALL, TOE RINGS, JUNK DNA, MING VASE, MISTER BIG, ORANGE BOWL, ANY OLD WAY, ROOT CANAL, and WING IT. The clues for LSD (29D: Hits from the 1960s?) and GET WELL (37A: What invalid card readers might read) are wickedly clever.

I had an erratic, STOP-AND-GO (51A: Not flowing freely) solving rhythm -- I started very slowly, but once I cracked one or two answers in each corner, the rest of the corners generally fell shortly afterwards. I got some crucial, early help from these trivia gimmes: NEALON (22A: "Weekend Update" anchor between Miller and Macdonald), ANGELA (36D: Merkel of German politics), and BACON'S (5D: ___ Rebellion (1676 Jamestown uprising)), the latter of which I now know a lot more about than I did one month ago (thanks, Graduate School!). I did not know JOEY BISHOP (24D: Longest-living member of the Rat Pack) -- my knowledge of the Rat Pack doesn't extend far beyond Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin -- but with patience, his name emerged. Overall, I'd say that a slew of exciting phrases and tough-but-fun clues throughout the grid made 97% of this puzzle a real pleasure to solve.

But that 3% presents a rather glaring problem, an ultimate deathtrap in the northeast corner: EDYTA (?!) crossing PREBEND (9D: Stipend paid by a cathedral to a clergyman) (?!?!). That's just brutal. Let's start with the obscure name. Maybe I'm mistaken, but Edyta Śliwińska was never the "star" of the dancing pair, was she? I've seen only one or two episodes of "Dancing With the Stars" in my life, but isn't the whole point of it to match an A- or B-list celebrity (someone you would know outside of the show) with a professional-but-unknown ballroom dancer (someone you wouldn't)? Unless you're a hardcore "Dancing With the Stars" fan, I highly doubt you'd have the slightest idea who she is. In fact, her best finish on the show after ten seasons was second place, which she achieved only once, in 2008. All of her other finishes were usually no better than fifth place, so if you're more apt to remember the dancers who won the competition over the years, you don't get much help there either.

Plus, while EDYTA is a fairly popular girl's name in Poland, it's just not very common here in the United States. According to the Social Security Administration, that name has never been anywhere close to the 15,000 most common baby names in the past 75 years. It's not out of the ordinary to see five-letter female names like IRENE or ILENE or IRENA or RENEE (16D: "Walk Away ___" (1966 #5 hit)) in crossword puzzles, and it's expected that you'll get tough clues for common crossword answers in a Friday NYT grid (again, RENEE).....but when the answer itself is rare, like EDYTA? Yuck. That name is hard enough to spell, let alone remember it from a TV show you may or may not even watch. Obscure Dancer + Polish Name That's Rare in the U.S. and Hard to Spell = Very, very difficult to get without all of the crosses.

Speaking of which, meet EDYTA's partner in crime, PREBEND. Preb-huh?! I like to think that I Know Things and that I'm Generally Smart, but I've never, ever heard of a prebend before (and when I type it, I get the squiggly red line beneath it as though it were misspelled, so even my computer is like, "what the hell?"). You know that an answer is going to be really tough when its clue on a Friday is basically copied from the dictionary, because there's no choice but to give you the most straightforward definition possible. I made it harder on myself when I started to doubt PRAMS (9A: London carriages) where I thought TRAMS could work equally well. So now, the situation is Obscure Dancer + Polish Name That's Rare in the U.S. and Hard to Spell + Obscure English Word That Crosses It = "Screw it, just guess." I avoided ODYTA/PROBEND and IDYTA/TRIBEND, even though they both seemed reasonable enough, and went with my gut feeling. I guessed right. I have a sneaking suspicion that many, many others were not so lucky.

I really wonder if one's opinion on this puzzle will depend on whether that person feels that a plethora of great, sparkling entries as described above outweighs the frustration of solving a horrible crossing like that. Oh, and if you had any lingering doubts about their crossword-related obscurity, neither EDYTA nor PREBEND has ever appeared as an answer in the New York Times puzzle until today, not even as part of the clues either. Yet they had to cross one another. That's a real shame because, as I said, the rest of the puzzle is quite nice.


  • 17A: Impetus to review safety procedures (CLOSE CALL) — With -----CA-- in place, I confidently dropped in BOMB SCARE. Obviously that was from the sick, deranged department of my brain. Getting LEGION (15D: Army division) helped fix that.
  • 19A: Like many gazebos (OCTAGONAL) — Also like many Ultimate Fighting Championship rings. Has our blog host mastered Rex Kwon Do yet?
  • 22D: They're in a particular order (NUNS) — With N-NS in place, I dropped in NONS. That was not from the sick, deranged part of my brain, but the careless, what-was-I-thinking part of my brain.
  • 26D: Resident of the largest Spanish-speaking nation (ARGENTINE) — Me: "Isn't it Argentinian?" The Internet: "It's both."
  • 28A: Lightheaded? (BLOND) — I was going to grouse about the lack of a terminal E, but The Intertubes just taught me a second thing that I didn't previously know: BLONDE is the preferred spelling for a female's hair, whereas BLOND is the preferred spelling for a male's hair. [Insert one of those "The More You Know" public service announcements from NBC here.]
  • 35A: Hard to control (ROWDY) — "Hard to control" is a rather appropriate characterization of former WWE superstar Rowdy Roddy Piper. There are no words that can do justice to describing his interviews, like this one from 1992:

    (Sorry for the ad. Just wait it out. It's worth it. Trust me.)
  • 39A: Small concession (BONE) — As in, "throw me a frickin' bone here." The clue feels like its missing something like "say" or "in a saying" since we're dealing with an idiom.
  • 41A: San Fernando Valley city (ENCINO) — Home of that poignant, heartwarming, critically-acclaimed film "Encino Man," starring Brendan Fraser, Pauly Shore, and the guy who played Mikey in "The Goonies," a movie which has the distinct advantage of not being "Encino Man."
Have a great weekend, all y'all.
Signed, Evan Birnholz, Earl of CrossWorld

p.s. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly urge you to check out an astounding crossword constructed by Rex himself. It has a record-breaking count of just 13 black squares. Try imagining some clues too, if you dare.


Jim Walker 7:32 AM  

Nice write up Evan. You pretty much nailed it.

PB puzzles always leave me appreciative of his elegant way of challenging without bludgeoning. I was sure LSD was lps for way too long. A card reader just HAD to be an atm. Etc.

And never put hot oil into your MING VASE!

Thank you Patrick.

Glimmerglass 7:34 AM  

Welcome, Evan the Earl. Good analysis, exactly my reactions. I've said before that I'm not bothered by being Naticked -- stuff happens. I love Patrick Berry puzzles (I subscribe to Fireball). One thing about them is that the hardest answers can usually be figured out from crosses and inferences -- Naticks, for me, are rare. This was one. I couldn't get the E in EDYTA.

dk 7:56 AM  

Evan the Earl Sultan of Stars here.

The PREBEND was not an issue for me as when in grad school we opined one night over derivations of the word stipend. One of my mates was a Theology student and he offered up PREBEND. The conversation moved on to names for groups of birds (e.g., parliament of owls). No LSD was involved. We were at Tropical Mexico in Pamona enjoying beef tongue mole and margaritas as was our wont.

So as Mr. Wizard might say to Tutor the Turtle be careful about what you learn in grad school. It pops back up in the oddest of places.

Fine Friday as one expects from Mr. Berry. I am sure ENHALOING and whoever the heck her name is from some lame TV show will get the trouncing they deserve.. but you got them in the crosses: n'cest pas?

🌹🌹🌹 (3 ROSEs) And as they are Lutheran they are sorry for thinking they smell sweet.

r.alphbunker 8:04 AM  

I put I before E and ended up with iDYTA/PRiBEND.

I initially tried bad badtoLL for {What invalid card readers might read}. But wouldn't it be cruel to send an invalid a get well card? To me the connotation of invalid is that the person is not going to get better.

Very nice writeup.

Milford 8:11 AM  

Great job, Evan, I had a very similar experience in solving. I will have to say that I am one that found the very good cluing and fill outweighed the unknown words.

Solved very systematically, NW counterclockwise to NE. Liked WING IT and ANY OLD WAY, and then the NUNS tying in with a different "order". Loved, loved both the JUNK DNA (very timely topic!) and the GET WELL cluing. It took saying the former clue out loud to get the aha moment! And only one (I think) abbreviation, but LSD was also a great clue.

Two erasures where I thought I was being Friday-clever: door instead of ROSE for the Lutheran symbol, and alums for BOORS for the no class people.

Yeah, my lack of religious terminology has hurt me this week. And Evan, I think you are being generous to refer to any of the Dancing Stars as A-list. The premise of that show is too depressing for me to watch.

The BLOND vs blonde distinction is new to me - I love learning stuff like that.

In all, loved it. Thank you, Patrick! I'm beginning to appreciate what all the fuss for you is about!

Ruth 8:13 AM  

Do you remember how Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia was so often referred to as "influential Senator Sam Nunn" that it was assumed by some that "influential" was part of his given name? Well, for anyone who has watched more than a little of Dancing with the Stars (and I confess I used to do so), Edyta is pretty much known as "smokin' hot Edyta" such that "smokin' hot" is part of the name (though not in this clue). She is known for extremely minimal costumes displaying a dynamite body. She COULD be more obscure, is what I'm saying.

Loren Muse Smith 8:13 AM  

I “finished” this one as if it had been A WED! This low-brow solver and fairly snazzy dancer who was slayed by the recent STURM UND DRANG beauty plopped in EDiTA with no hesitation. Just had to go back and fix it once I saw ANY OLD WAY (my favorite).

My two mistakes (B/M issues?) – “Macon” for BACON and “Moors” for BOORS. I just thought, “Huh. I never knew that about Moors.”

Since vapid reality TV is so thoroughly in my wheelhouse, I didn’t even notice That Cross. I was just pleased to get PREmEND so easily with the crosses. (I look forward to the NYT debut of MANZO or DE LESSEPS.)

With all the other terrific stuff, I didn’t really crINGE at ENHALOING; SEA SNAKE, ANY OLD WAY, ROOT CANAL, MISTER BIG. . .I can ABIDE that one stinker.

@Glimmerlasee - I subscribe to Fireball, too. This week’s is also a Patrick Berry and has MRAZ in the grid the day before the Times!

Have to rifle through my drawer now for my Tide Pen. Got EGG ON my shirt this morning and just noticed.

Thanks, Patrick for today. You deserve a show of ands!

joho 8:27 AM  

@Evan, fantastic write-up! You mentioned all of the sparkling fill and the two real problem areas with ENHALOING and EDYTA/PREBEND. I, like @loren muse smith, had EDiTA at first because I knew what it sounded like but not a clue how to spell it. The very fresh ANYOLDWAY easily fixed that. I learned a new word today, too, in PREBEND.

The clue for GETWELL is one of the best ever!

Another satisfying solve and fun Friday from Patrick Berry!

lawprof 9:10 AM  

This was an elegant Friday puzzle, but a disappointment for me when I encountered the natick at the intersection of 4D and 18A. Any vowel made a certain amount of sense, so I guessed (incorrectly) and dropped in an O. The only similar proper name I could think of was Odetta, the great American folk/blues singer, and I made what I thought was the rationale choice. Wrong.

Sir Hillary 9:18 AM  

At the risk of deifying Patrick Berry more than he already is around here...I found this one a bit lacking by his standards. But excellent by just about anyone else's. Unfortunately, I am one of those silly people who, when Patrick delivers a gem like the one a few Fridays ago, expects the same from him every time out.

I really do need to get over that, because as Evan and others have noted, there is way more wheat (gorgeous and flawless SW, snappy downs in the NE, clue for GETWELL, etc.) than chaff (EDYTA, ENHALOING) here.

I got stuck for a while by assuming that 6D ended in BALL...volleyball? wiffle ball?. Also wrote NOSERING at 21A for a bit. Almost put RESEDA in at 41A, but decided to wait for a cross first.

Curious about one thing -- the clue for 3D. I assume the context here is dramatic emoting equated with poor acting? Or am I missing the gist entirely?

jberg 9:19 AM  

I knew PREBEND, knew it had something to do with clergy, but did not know what it actually meant - I thought it was a title, like sexton or rector. You sometimes see positions described as 'prebendary,' which I now realize means that they get paid. Anyway, that was enough for me once I had RENEE, so I changed tRAMS to PRAMS and charged ahead - only to come up completely blank in the SE until I finally started trying uncrossed downs and saw ANGELA (who is very hurt that you think her trivial, Evan! All that stuff about the fate of Europe resting in her hands has gone to her head, I'm afraid.) But you only have her to worry about - @Loren is going to face the entire, enraged population of Morocco! (Just kidding - that was a brilliant comment.)

My other writeover: I thought 37D would start with TOOTH (from the double O).

I guess the BLOND/blonde thing makes sense if you're considering them to be French words. It's always interesting to see what's carried over into English and what isn't.

Oh yeah - I never wrote it in, but was thinking that maybe bumper pOoL was first played in 1935. I bet it's much older than that, though.

jackj 9:21 AM  

A lucky Halloween trick-or-treater might be faced with a basket full of high caliber goodies at night’s end with the seemingly impossible task of deciding which ones do I eat first?

A Patrick Berry puzzle commenter is in a similar bind, wondering which of the many bits of brilliance he has given us should be singled out, when almost all qualify for a mention?

First up might be the recognition that there are only three, 3 letter answers in the entire puzzle and two of the three are very cleverly clued, WOK and LSD. Then, having Id’ed WOK as a very cleverly clued “Oriental vessel”, it behooves us to mention the other very cleverly clued “Oriental vessel” in the puzzle, MINGVASE.

In the upper right area, JUNKDNA was perhaps my favorite of the puzzle and ANYOLDWAY had a charming insouciance about it but by first writing in DRAYS for the “London carriages” it left me with two answers that seemed impossible, at 9 and 12 down, especially since I didn’t have a clue about Ms. Sliwinska’s first name or the SNL anchor.

When a dose of reality told me to think METRONOME for 12 down, DRAYS became PRAMS and NEALON, EDYTA and the arcane PREBEND finally brought things to a slipping, sliding close.

Thanks, Patrick. I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the pleasures you always provide us (but I’m pretty sure ENHALOING won't do you justice).

Thoracic 9:44 AM  

Rare Friday with no Google cheating for me. Was amused by nuns as I am at this moment staying in a convent in Rome for a few days while traveling in Italy. It's run by an Irish Dominican Nun. True story. Somewhat sparsely furnished rooms, but relentlessly clean! Enjoyed the puzzle immensely, especially ANYOLDWAY and GETWELL. Great write-up as well.

PuzzleNut 9:46 AM  

Excellent write-up. Hit the nail right on the head. Very good puzzle (as expected from PB). Would have been great if I had guessed E instead of A at the Natick.
Now to try and prove I'm not a robot...

chefbea 9:51 AM  

easy Friday puzzle though I DNF. Never heard of prebend. Have watched sliwinska on DWTS but had no idea how to spell her first name.

Puzzle husband just called the dentist to make an appointment for a root canal...ouch

John V 9:54 AM  

Liked it a lot, as is my wont for PB puzzles. Much brilliance as other have noted.

Missed two letters at NEalon, prebENd cross.

BTW, is JUNKDNA a real thing or a PB neologism? I'm going with the former. I ranted some months about POLITICALDNA but relented when I believe @lawprof assured that it is real. I'm not persuaded about JUNKDNA; I'm voting "made up." It shows up in Google/Wiki, but not in the language, IMHO.

Oh, yeah, had LPS too for a long time. Fav clue 37A re invalid card readers; about 17 levels of indirection.

jae 10:19 AM  

I have been completely wrong on my difficulty estimates all week long.  So, it is with a grain of timidity (if there is such a thing) that I'm going with easy-medium on this one.  NW very easy, NE medium, SW easy, and SE medium.

A few erasures toughened this one up a tad for me: DISoRder for DISARRAY until I saw ORDER in the clues, me too (@Jim Walker John V) for  Lps for LSD, tYPE for HYPE but neither MiSt or MESt made sense,  and the "EN"  vs. "iN" debate for 49a.

Lucky guess: the E in the PREBEND/EDYTA cross.  Evan is right, talk about two WTFs.  And while we are on the topic where was the word Natick in your otherwise excellent write up Evan?

Very solid Fri. as expected from PB with some nice touches...WINGIT, TOERINGS, JUNKDNA, ANYOLDWAY,  ROOTCANAL, MISTERBIG, and good old JOEYBISHOP.

Thanks Patrick!

quilter1 10:22 AM  

What a pleasure! And also pleasing to this Lutheran to see the rose in place (my only bumper sticker). I liked ENHALOING even though I'll bet it is rarely used in language or print. It conjures up an image for me out of It's a Wonderful Life of the guardian angel finally receiving his halo.

Ulrich 10:25 AM  

@Evan: I like your style, I like your tone!

This puzzle felt like an easy Friday for me except for that cursed 9D column--never heard of PREBEND (and I was raided a Catholic), and so TRAMS and IDYTA gave me TRIBEND (combination of tribute and stipend), which looked perfectly plausible to me.

Ah yes, Angela M. is the daughter of a Lutheran minister, although she doesn't seem to wear a rose often. And since I'm at it: The current head of state of Germany (president, as opposed to chancellorette) IS a Lutheran minister.

Ulrich 10:27 AM  

...come to think of it, I was raised a Catholic.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:29 AM  

Easy-medium for a Friday for me. I did have to run the alphabet in the NE to get PRAMS -- First thinking of horse-drawn carriages, then some mass transit carriages, but when I got to T, baby carriages were head-slappingly obvious.

@Sir Hillary - I, too, have often wondered why "emote" (and "orate") are consistently considered pejorative in crossword cluing. My little dictionary gives some support for seeing orate that way, but not emote.

C. Ross Word 10:39 AM  

Typically great Patrick Berry puzzle and great write-up by Evan. I'm always happy to finish a Friday without feeling too beat up while still enjoying a fun (loved the clue for NUNS) and challenging puzzle. That said, I hated finishing with 4 errors: also got Naticked by PRAMS PREBEND as I too had i at the cross leading me to go with tRAMS. Other mistakes were in the SE where the 'press for a hit' clue led me to tYPE which makes more sense to me than HYPE (can anyone explain this one for me?) and this led me to change the E to I in ENHALOING to yield MiSt for 47D - as it certainly is full of holes. Frustrating - or just being cranky.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:53 AM  

@C. Ross Word - "Press" as a noun can mean news or quasi-news as placed in the media by an agent or spin doctor to HYPE an idea, a candidate, or a movie, for example.

wordie 10:56 AM  

How is "hands down" RENDERS? (35D)?

Re blond vs. blonde, the distinction is properly applied to persons with blond hair according to gender; the hair itself is always sans e.

Loved the puzzle, though I found it quite hard, and it turns out i DNF due to the much-discussed NE. I've only been doing the NYT puzzles for a few months, but now I always check the name of the constructor and PB's name always makes me smile with anticipation.

Fifth try with the capcha, could I be going Borg?

Matthew G. 10:57 AM  

Yep, I fell into the deathtrap -- IDYTA/TRIBEND. Had absolutely no clue on either word, and also didn't notice that TRAMS would be better as PRAMS. TRIBEND sounded vaguely like "stipend," so I figured, why the heck not?

Very un-Berry-like corner, there. Everywhere else, this was gorgeous.

Carola 10:59 AM  

A puzzle of many pleasures - and, for me, too, that one death trap. Like @Milford, I started in the NW and proceeded systematically counterclockwise, smooth sailing and many smiles along the way, until I ran aground at PRxBxND crossing xDYTA and NxALON. No idea. Since I don't have a TV, it's a given that there are names I'm not going to know, but most of the time I can get them from crosses or have a good chance at guessing right. I feel I've read enough English novels featuring clergymen to have encountered "prebend," but there was no, "AH, YES - PREBEND" experience for me today. Anyway, instead of playing vowel roulette, I came here to find out.

Then I discovered that I also DNF due to MiSt crossing tYPE: "Press [a key on the typewriter] for a hit" - the little metal dealie flies up and hits the paper. Was a little uneasy about "mist" having holes and "iNHALOING" but still did not question my clever decoding of the clue. (Just read the latest comments before posting and see that I'm not alone with my "tYPE-ing.)

Loved the cross-cultural pairing of an ORANGE BOWL with a MING VASE.

Last month the Times ran an article about how scientists are discovering that junk DNA isn't quite as junky as they'd assumed.

Sandy K 11:03 AM  

AH YES, this is another PB beauty ANY OLD WAY you look at it!

I am always AWED by the PB cluing and the PB fill- no JUNKDNA here.


Was STOP-AND-GO with PREBEND, but "Walk Away RENEE", and having a mom who was Czechoslovakian helped...her name could be spelled as Edita or EDYTA!

Another CLOSE CALL- had tYPE for 'Press for a hit' and MiST- but iNHALOING and MiST seemed too 'full of holes' til MESH CAME to me...

Thanks, Patrick Berry for a lovely Friday.

Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

Perfect Friday.
Funny that neither Oriental vessel was a boat but the floating casino was. Wicked great clues at every turn.
I've never watched that dancing show but with a last name like that I knew something unusual would prove to be the right answer.
The SE was the last to fall and how satisfying to finally see Get Well.
I love a puzzle that teaches me something and today I got three new bits of trivia. Prebend, blond/blonde, and toe rings.
Thanks Patrick and Evan.

Mel Ott 11:06 AM  

The phrase 'canons prebendary' was lurking somewhere in the recesses of my mind, having something or other to do with English cathedrals. So I was able to get PREBEND, but I agree it was unfair to cross it with an impossible name like EDYTA.

I wouldn't let the esteemed Mr. Berry off so easily for ENHALOING. That's a pretty awful word.

Carola 11:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wordie 11:12 AM  


Thanks! I'm amazed sometimes at what a blockhead I can be. Of course I wracked my (pea) brain before coming here to ask, and you'd think, being a lawyer, it would have come to me, but no. Ah well.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Fun puzzle today! Had no problem with EDYTA once I had the YTA; it happens to be the name of a nail polish I use a lot. (The brand names all their polishes with a female first name.)

And I just saw WILCO in concert a couple weeks ago, so the shortened form of "will comply" was fresh in my mind :)

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Actually, my favorite answer was chevrons. My least favorite, even though easy to get, was JunkDNA. Why? Because we now know junk DNA isn't actually junk but contains critical on/off switches.

mac 11:36 AM  

Wonderful Friday puzzle, and very accurate and good write-up. I opted for an O in the NE, so no luck for me,

Can't imagine Patrick Berry watches Dancing with the Stars!

Carola 11:46 AM  

@wordie -
I tried to edit my post [but inadvertantly deleted it!] to add that I looked it up because I could only think of the Biblical "Render unto Caesar...," which would be handing over but not handing down. The "rendering judgment" idea just didn't come to me.

retired_chemist 11:52 AM  

Terrific Friday. Easy-medium.

Most of the cool answers have already been noted so I needn't.

JUNK DNA is apparently not junk - it has functions, apparently just not genetic encoding. Google it to see the popular press's take. If a biologist Rexite can speak authoritatively and concisely on it, please do.

Complaint: ENCINO. A few weeks ago is was clued as a district of LA. At that time I thought about ENCINO because, well, it fit. But I thought it was a city, so I delayed until forced into it. Turned out, "District of LA" is correct. So, naturally, when 41A today required a city, I noticed that ENCINO would fit but, well, I now KNEW it was just a district. So I delayed again, until, forced into it. So, constructors, have your ENCINO (and eat it too) but please decide amongst yourselves whether it is a district or a city. Of course, as the link shows, you could remove the ambiguity by cluing it as "Obscure village in New Mexico."

PREBEND came late, ripening slowly on the vine as I filled in the NE downs to get 9A. 9A first was SHAYS, then DRAYS, then DRAMS, which obviously was wrong, and then - aha - TRAMS, as others said. WTF is a TREBEND?

And then - mirabile dictu - I recalled a rather frequent religious term, PREBENDARY, in various Monty Python shows. Here is one of several examples. And PRAMS worked at least as well as TRAMS. And Mr. Happy Pencil emerged, just like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day.

Thanks, Mr. Berry. IMO easily up to your usual high standard.

C. Ross Word 12:07 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle Thanks for your response: it just never occurred to me to think of "Press" as a noun. Learned a lesson (again): when left with some iffy fill (i.e. iNHALOING and MiSt) something else is probably wrong. Thanks again!

Lewis 12:18 PM  

I tried CLOGGEDUP for STOPANDGO, and that held me back for a bit. For "invalid card readers" I considered BRAILLE. I had to Google twice, and then the puzzle was a joy, truly a make-my-heart-smile joy.

Evan, excellent writeup -- bravo!

Nick 12:18 PM  

Such a joy after a string of (for me, I know not everyone felt as strongly) stinkers that I gladly forgave 'enhaloing'and 'edyta' and reveled in the elegant wrestling match.

Also, great write-up!

syndy 12:29 PM  

As a resident of LA county I had no problem with the description of ENCINO as a city! We have very little idea what constitutes the city of LA and what does not.The City has never been a coherent whole anyway.Prebend was not a problem but EDYTA waited on crosses.I put in ENHALOING with no crosses but little enthusiasm.DNF because I fell into the TYPE trap-sad because I had MESt and had not caught it.

Merle 12:32 PM  

Welcome, Evan. Interesting commentary. i am a veteran puzzler -- 54 years of puzzles, 70 years down of my life sentence on the blue planet. And unlike the tyros, who you have encouraged to keep on keeping on, I am having difficulty nowadays because my frame of reference is somewhat antiquated. I used to ace every puzzle every day, Friday and Saturday too, without resorting to that once taboo resort, the dictionary (huh?). Now I Google quite a bit, and even Google didn't help today. Sometimes I have to just throw in the towel, and turn to Rex to help me. As I did today. Thanks, Evan! Southeast filled in very easily, and so did the Middle East -- is that a crossword puzzling term? -- but I struggled with the rest. When I was stuck in the Northwest, I Googled Rex, peeked at the top, caught the 6 "boat", and from there, got the rest of the Northwest. Whew. I think 25A "Saran" is kind of lame -- but I am old school, don't like brand names in puzzles. Junk DNA, Ming vase, root canal, octagonal, red oak, mister big, all very kewl answers with kewl clues (klues? klews?). "Walk Away Renee" is from "my era", talking about "my g-g-generation", so that was fun to find. Yes, pram and tram were equal opportunity options, with no help from 6 D "prebend". Will we ever come across "prebend" again in a puzzle? Will we remember it when we do? Also, Evan, "your what the hell" was quite quaint, quaint enough to be charming. Definitely not WTF. Although, if you are aiming for total gentility, "what on earth" won't offend those who do not cuss in any way at all. Anyway, pleasant, interesting, maddening, frustrating puzzle, and fun commentary from Evan.

Anoa Bob 12:44 PM  

Maybe it's a lingering effect of a few "hits from the 1960's", but I like to search for gems in puzzles that have special meaning for me and recall vivid memories.

Since I used to teach psychology, today's puzzle provides a good example. Most people think, and even some psych books say, that Ivan Pavlov used a bell to condition his dogs to salivate. That's incorrect. He tried using a bell but said that the sound upset the dogs, so instead he used a METRONOME.

thursdaysd 12:50 PM  

Usually love PB puzzles, loved this one, especially after the disaster that was Thursday this week. But while I enjoyed the write up, I was expecting the complaints to be about the hideous ENHALOING, not the NW. I got PREBEND with minimal difficulty which I attribute to reading too many English detective stories set in cathedral cities, and the E gave me EDYTA. But while I have watched Dancing With the Stars (C and D list celebrities, BTW), I had no idea about NEALON.

JUNKDNA was a highlight, as was GETWELL. Had to change Lps to LSD and needed all the crosses for ENCINO.

Merle 12:51 PM  

Merle again. Frequently there is more to say after re-reading other people's posts. So -- had no idea who Edyta Silwinska is -- don't watch those shows, reality shows, voting for talent shows, because I find them inane. But I do know the name Edyta -- it's a Slavic Edith -- so had no trouble slotting in the name given the surname and the crosses. Sir Hillary, I was a Speech and Theater major in college, lo these many years ago, and emoting was a definite no-no. Emoting meant hammy. Over-indulging in corny, false emotion rather than living within the feeling. Ah, the neglected Rat Pack member -- Joey Bishop was not a singer, like the other three. He was a comedian. I don't know if blonds (or blondes) have more fun, but maybe comedians live longer than singers... and maybe not. Besides, the singers also were comedians. I never liked the Rat Pack members -- i thought the value system they represented -- Las Vegas libertine lifestyle -- totally sucked. Sexist pig womanizing, irresponsible alcoholism, gambling, money uber alles -- sucks.

Always interesting to read other people's posts....

John V 1:11 PM  

@Merle so, WOE as an alternative to WTF? Works for me.

Unknown 1:14 PM  

I quite enjoyed this one. As Evan noted, clever cluing for GETWELL and LSD. I also got held up in the northeast, but had more trouble with the NxALON/PREBxND crossing than with EDYTA. ANYOLDWAY gave me the "y" in EDYTA and then figured it had to be an E in PRxBxND - Edyta seemed like a reasonable form of the name Edith. But Evan's gimme of NEALON was someone totally unfamiliar to me - had to get every letter on crosses and it still didn't look right.

Sandy K 1:31 PM  


Yes, my mom who was born in what was then Czechoslovakia, did Anglicize Edite/Edyte to Edith!

Sandy K 1:47 PM  

Just to make matters more confusing, Edita/Edyta, Edite/Edyte,
AND the addition of a k as in
Edi(y)tke/Edi(y)tka were also used as terms of endearment in Slovak.

Davis 2:10 PM  

This puzze fell into place nicely for me, with the exception of the PREBEND/EDYTA Natick. I actually correctly guessed the 'E', but I had gone for TRAMS rather than PRAMS up above. I figured out my error, but I definitely think that this adds to the ugliness of PREBEND as an entry (TREBEND seems equally likely to be a real English word).

Otherwise this was a really nice puzzle. I'd quibble a little bit with describing casino boats as exploiting a "loophole," but I would probably have felt different before I became a law nerd. I really do think this is shaping up to be one of the most solid puzzling weeks in quite some time.

Argentine Closecall Mingvases 2:14 PM  

Methinks folks are protesting too much about DWTS (Dancing with the Stars for those who watch! And top ten show for many years now, so careful about the namecalling and highbrow snobbery!)
The host Bergeron, who just won an Emmy, is worth watching the show alone for...

As folks pointed out, EDYTA is just the Eastern European versionof Edith and for once the obscure name skewed female instead of sports!
And altho I suspect there is a smallish Venn Diagram overlap of those who solve Fri NYT puzzles and those who watch DWTS and know the decidedly non A-list celebrities much less the dancers names (dollars to donuts there are many many women who know Maks, by his ass alone!) this was a BONE thrown to women...
Yay Patrick on that!

I suspect MISTERBIG was also originally a SATC (Sex AND the City) clue but that was too much for either the editor (edytor?) and test solvers, because godforbid a puzzle should have too much female trivia!

For those stymied by PREBEND, PB always has a dollop of Catholic trivia in his last night, altho I started with tREBEND I stared at that till the P came to me, not because I knew the word but the P looked more religious to me, like PREsbyterians (anagram for BRITNEY SPEARS which will continue to amaze me till I die).
(Maybe PB are also secretly initials for Pre Bend)

In that sense, I'll bet ENHALOING didn't even occur to him that it would raise an eyebrow.
It seems Scrabbly enough to me (not in high count letters which PB puzzles rarely have which lends to their smoothness, he gets to be tricky in the cluing), but in the "is that a word?" questioning that goes on when folks play odd verb or adjectival words with a common base. But you look it up afterwards and there it is...ENHALO, ENHALOING ENHALOED...the only question in Scrabble would be is whether the plural or third person takes an S or not or both.)

In a PB puzzle, even the inclusion of a Jewish name, JOEY BISHOP sounds archdiocese-y!

(on a local note, the already beleaguered Catholic church here in SF just got a new Archbishop who is both a convicted DUI driver and an ardent anti-gay rights advocate so there are protests in the street)

I read your typo as not d/s, but that you had left out "by" and that you had been "raided (by) a Catholic"!

Here's an Evan-like Heuristic for PB puzzles: assume the least likely form of the word use, so read inVALid as INvalid from the get-go and things like GETWELL will be the first thing that comes to you.
Any word that can be pronounced two ways, start with the other one.
If you start with thinking "drilling and filling" prob won't be oil but be dentiistry, an answer like ROOTCANAL will be the first thing that pops into your head.

@anoa bob
Love the METRONOME info...I was a psych major, studied with the lecherous BF Skinner and didn't know that! Hope they don't rescind my degree!

I also didn't know JUNKDNA, liked the JK tho... But I'm glad it's being scientifically discredited already. Just because scientists might not have clearly identified each use, to label it JUNK (when it could just be ignorance at this point) seems arrogant.
(Same can be applied in other areas when folks cry "Junk" as well...just because they may not understand the subtleties...i know I've been accused of this with my attitude towards sports which I'm slowly trying to grow out of)

That's as a a constructor, I'm envious that PB even gets to use names like EDYTA because it's a Friday...whereas early week constructors wouldn't even get to put MAKS in the grid...(did I mention his ass?) ;)

Anoa Bob 3:05 PM  


Never met Skinner, though my major professor was a colleague of B.F. when they were both at U of Indiana. Judging from his books and, especially from his demeanor in videos, I would never have guessed that he was lecherous!! He seems so quite the opposite. Thanks for that juicy tidbit. Hilarious. And in a way makes B.F. seem more human!

Bird 3:13 PM  

Thought this one was a tough solve, but still a decent puzzle. A few WTF spots (EDYTA crossing PREBEND for example) slowed me down as I stared and wondered what the answer is or could possibly be.

I did like 11D, 47A and 24D. I was trying to figure out how to fit Shirley MacLaine at 24D.




Two Ponies 3:14 PM  

@ Davis, I believe the loophole is that if gambling is illegal in a particular state but you have a body of water a floating casino is a way around it since it is technically off-shore.

@ Merle, Peter Lawford was another non-singer in the Rat Pack. Humphrey Bogart also was once part of the gang and it was supposedly Lauren Bacall who coined the name Rat Pack. She was not fond of them.

sanfranman59 3:15 PM  

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

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

Fri 21:05, 24:28, 0.86, 26%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:06, 12:11, 1.08, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Owing to the EDYTA/PREPEND crossing, it seems to me that today's numbers for the All Solvers group are going to be artificially low because there will probably be more than the usual number of DNFs. As I've said before, I trust the Top 100 Solvers ratings for tougher (i.e. late in the week) puzzles and the All Solvers ratings for easier (i.e. early in the week) puzzles.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Pram is an abbreviation for perambulator, so the clue should have some inference of abbreviation
Tram is not an abbreviation ergo the correct solution try again mr constructor

JFC 3:25 PM  

Now I am really upset. I come here in search of treacly praise of Patrick Berry by Rex and he pulls a slight of hand. Instead he dishes up Evan to do his bidding. And what does Evan give us? Only a balanced, thoughtful, well-reasoned analysis of the puzzle! Curses, foiled again!


R. McGeddon 3:35 PM  

One mistake at 22D: rUNS. Wasn't watching SNL when NEALON was on and thought rEALON sounded reasonable.

Milford 4:00 PM  

I don't think the term JUNK DNA was ever intended to be an arrogant dismissal by scientists of something not well understood. Likely it was a shorthanded way to refer to noncoding DNA in a way that was less pretentious-sounding to laypersons and the press. Not a pretty term, admittedly.

Anonymous 4:08 PM  


Wanted to write a Letterman-style Top Ten List of the Things That Made Me LOL in your comment- but here are the Top Three:

#3 editor/ edytor

#2 Joey Bishop= archdiocese-y

#1 Maks

Sparky 4:10 PM  

Never thought of LSD because the halucinatory events from taking that don't strike me as hits. Had sENDERS for 35D. 3 blank spaces there. Used Evan's rule and opted for oDYTA. STOPpedup Before STOPANDgo.

When I see Patrick Berry's name I quake in fear. Was worth the effort today as I soldiered on to a good solve except for those 5 spaces. Like the two Chinese vessels neither of which was a JUNK.

Great write up Evan. I remember when you came on board. It's wonderful seeing how you have progressed. Thanks Patrick Berry. This has been a good week.

Bird 4:25 PM  

@Sparky - My first thought for Oriental Vessel was JUNK, but there was either too much room or not enough. Then we get JUNK DNA so it wasn't all for naught.

re captcha - I've got what looks like the stitching on a football for what I think are suppose to be the numbers (maybe they are 3 crossed-out 1s?)

Loren Muse Smith 4:35 PM  

@Merle – for me, SARAN has joined the ranks of coke, q tips, band aid, Kleenex and the like; I call any plastic see-through wrap SARAN wrap. And I bought a coke from a coke machine even if it was a 7 Up from a Pepsi machine!

@Anoa Bob – interesting to hear that Pavlov’s dogs salivated to a METRONOME.

@John V and Merle – love WOE!!

@Ulrich – funny typo!

@Andrea – MAKS’ AS(COT) – agreed – ganz TOLL.

Z 4:55 PM  

Tony Bennett anyone?

Two days in a row with a naticky corner.

Notsofast 5:04 PM  

A GREAT puzzle! Got everything except the "E" of EDITA and PREBEND cross. I think that was MEANT to trip us up! So: Good One!

Ulrich 5:09 PM  

@acme: You're in top form today, and so I forgive you for seguing from a homophobic sot directly to me--actually, there was a point in my life when I felt raided not by a Catholic, but by the entire Catholic church...

chefwen 5:29 PM  

This one went down like a beautiful arrangement of Dominos. One right after another, very smooth, no STOP AND GO's.

I'll watch just about anything related to dance so EDYTA was a gimme. I concentrate on the pros the stars (?) are secondary.

One little bitty write-over at 34A ere before AGO. Last bit in was the S at the LSD/POSES crossing. Gets ready for a snap, couldn't get football out of my mind as in snap the ball. DOH!!!

Great one Mr. Berry, loved every minute of it.

Two Ponies 5:44 PM  

@ Sparky, A dose of LSD was (or maybe still is) called a hit. The subsequent events were the trip.

Evan 5:56 PM  

Thanks, all. Interesting points about JUNK DNA.


Whenever I fill in, I usually try to avoid Rex Parker lingo like "Natick" or "DNF" or "malapop" so that my point will be clear to the blog's non-regular readers. I know that most of the usual commenters know what those terms mean around here, but for anyone who doesn't, I don't want to confuse them nor go to the trouble of explaining them when I can just make it easier by saying "that crossing is bad" (though I employ the blog lingo more often in the comment section, however).

@mel ott:

I wasn't letting Patrick off the hook for ENHALOING. I, too, think that answer is dull at best. I just think that however bad it is, it pales in comparison to the EDYTA/PREBEND crossing, which is why I spent so much of my time on that.

@Milford and @thursdaysd:

You're probably right that the contestants are mostly C- or D-listers. But haven't a few of them been pretty mega-famous? Kim Kardashian has been on that show, and for better or worse, I'd put her on the A-list, or at least no lower than B.


Speaking for myself, I'm not protesting "Dancing With the Stars" trivia in a crossword per se. My problem is that a) the person you're expected to know in this instance, EDYTA, is someone you couldn't possibly know unless you watch that regularly; b) her first name is so uncommon that you are unlikely to have ever seen it in crosswords before, therefore making guesswork and recall extremely difficult; and c) that it crosses an equally obscure word like PREBEND.


I'm a bit late on this, but I appreciate your high compliment of calling me a "saint" last Tuesday! I'll settle for something more secular -- being an earl is just fine by me.

joho 7:59 PM  

Sorry, I can't remember who said it earlier today, but I'd replace Natick with "death trap."

jae 8:43 PM  

@Evan --Roger WILCO

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

I learned the word PREBENDary reading the Barsetshire novels of Anthony Trollope. Though I don't recall seeing the root word as here, I was able to get 9D without any crosses, hilariously.

It's a nice word, but Evan is right about the unfair cross.

mac 9:23 PM  

P.S. Nobody had Fallon before Nealon??

The Kardashians are definitely not A-listers, and shouldn't be considered that.

Carola 10:25 PM  

@Evan - Thank you for the terrific detailed write-up today. I also appreciated the Wilco clip - the Midwest's finest! - cheered me up after succumbing in the death trap.

@Anonymous 8:45 p.m. -
When I was gnashing my teeth over PRxBxND, I thought to myself, "I knew I shouldn't have given up on Barchester Towers!

sanfranman59 10:28 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 5:57, 6:47, 0.87, 5%, Easy (9th lowest median solve time of 169 Mondays)
Tue 9:14, 8:57, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:28, 11:51, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Thu 22:23, 18:51, 1.18, 82%, Challenging
Fri 21:47, 24:28, 0.89, 31%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:23, 3:41, 0.92, 16%, Easy
Tue 5:03, 4:40, 1.08, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:45, 5:57, 1.13, 84%, Challenging
Thu 12:33, 9:23, 1.34, 90%, Challenging
Fri 12:31, 12:11, 1.03, 59%, Medium

michael 11:00 PM  

I got this completely right, but this was really sheer guesswork with unsurprisingly prebend/edyta/nealon.

Davis 10:44 AM  

@Two Ponies — Yeah, that was what I had gathered, I just think that's a misuse of the term "loophole." I'd consider a loophole to arise when a statute is written in such a way as to allow conduct that is meant to be prohibited. With the off-shore gambling scenario, the problem is that a state or country's jurisdiction only extends to certain limits. It'd be sort of like saying it's a loophole that it's legal for a Utah resident to gamble in Las Vegas. (Note: this is me being a pedantic law nerd.)

Spacecraft 12:00 PM  

Another (flawed) diamond from PB. Eyes went right to the Rat Pack clue, and I started counting. Two tenners in the pack: Martin and Bishop. Which? I searched crosses. Not one cross a gimme! Left it, went NW, found OCTAGONAL and the quadrant fell pretty fast (for a PB, like lightning!).

Knew 36a had to be either AHYES or OHYES (forgot about Ms. Merkel; only know actress Una) and so 11d wanted to end in ______WAY, thus to WOK and SEASNAKES. The aha! of METRONOME was followed by CAME. Weird clue for that: "Advanced," but nothing else made sense. Now, what ending in _____NA is a "worthless inheritance?" This was a problem, since I have never heard the expression JUNKDNA. I still don't understand it. There IS no "junk DNA," is there? Very weird. After the rest of the NE was in--sans the Nedicks at #18--I realized the "order" clue had to do with NUNS, so had to pick between DUNKDNA and JUNKDNA. Perhaps the former might be transmitted to the offspring of Yao MING(VASE), but I went with the J, committing to JOEY.

The center was hard, as I stubbornly held on to LPS. To the SW, where despite the double meaning of "lashes" 52a had to be WELTS. (She batted her eyelashes at me; oh boy, that'll leave a mark!) From the L I somehow grokked ROOTCANAL and the SW was history. Now I had _ENDERS, and it was only then that the judicial context of "hands down" showed itself. Trick-ee, Patrick! The sport's __LO ending forced POLO, so now I had ROWSY. Hmm. No, but how about ROWDY? (Favorite Piper quote: "Every time somebody figures out the answer, I change the question!") At last the aha! of LSD.

To the last square. Was it PREBEND/EDYTA, or PROBEND/ODYTA? From somewhere unfathomable (I do NOT watch DWTS) I seemed to recall an announcer introducing "[schwa]dita Sliwinska!" I decided that had it been O, he might have pronounced it differently, so I went with the E. Serendipity!

Notes: "Small concession"-->BONE is a stretch to the snapping point. And ENHALOING? Mr. B., I know you redid this area many times to get out of that one, but nothing else worked, so you swallowed hard and left it. My condolences. It is, after all, a real word--just one that's never actually used. Thus, square 18 and word 49a are flaws in an otherwise brilliant diamond. Nobody's perfect (besides Piper's compadre Curt "Mr. Perfect" Henning), but PB, you come scaringly close.

Ginger 3:45 PM  

It's Friday, and a juicy Patrick Berry is awaiting it's halo. Started in the NW and breezed down the west coast with no problems and then came to a screeching halt with STOPpedGO. Huh? Solved that and moved north. Love dancing, so DWTS is about the only regular TV I watch, and so of course knew EDYTA (she of the almost non-existant costumes). @ACME, you are sooooo right about Maks, and his ass. Also agree with your Sex and the City comment about MISTER BIG.

Never heard of PREBEND,(didn't question PRAMS (I think of trams as more of a cart), but it was eventually getable with crosses.

Terrific puzzle, Mr. Berry, Thank You.

DMGrnadma 4:07 PM  

This is the kind of puzzle that brings me back for more! Love it when you can work out the words, rather than know/not know trivia. I, too, started with Lps, which played havoc with the already in place POSES. For some unexplained reason, ENHALlowed( a real word?) occurred to me for 49A, but it wouldn't fit, so I settled for what showed up. Very favorite clue was the in/val/id fooler. Smiled when I got that one. Actually completed this one, but only because I took a stab at the two e's in PREBEND, never heard of it or the two names involved. A lucky guess that made my day!

Syndi Solver 7:13 PM  

A solver from "Syndi-Land" here. Long time reader, first time commenter.

Overall, this was a great puzzle! My favorite was the clue for JUNK DNA.

I thought I'd say that TOE RING was completely new to me even though my husband is from India and we had a Hindu wedding ceremony. And none of my married in-laws or Indian friends wear toe rings. I know of several other items married women are supposed to wear such as mangalsutra (necklace), bangles, and sindhoor. At first I thought it might be nose ring which is the right length. But it did not work, of course.

I'm not complaining about TOE RING or saying the clue was wrong! Indian customs vary depending on the state/region so this may be more common among women from the southern states, for example. Or maybe it's considered too old fashioned among the women that I know. It was just interesting to learn about some other item that I'm supposed to be wearing. :-)

Red Valerian 10:41 PM  

Welcome @Syndi Solver! You are not alone. It just might feel that way sometimes. I don't think nose ring would have fit, but I appreciate the insight!

I liked the puzzle, too, though got done in by tRiBEND/tRAMS/iDYTA. Should have known PRAMS, though somebody was kind enough to point out it should have been clued so as to indicate an abbreviation.

AH YES, I also had mOAT/mACONS. I mean, I know there's a Macon somewhere in American history. I just googled "Jamestown Rebellion" and this site is the third listed.

It worries me a tad, @Acme, that you seem so, well, keen to give a sex or gender to clues/answers. I realize that stereotypes often have a basis in fact, and that there simply are statistically normal preferences and behaviours. But one woman's Sex and (or in--whatever) the City is another woman's Mathematica Principia. Okay, that makes no literal sense, but the idea should be clear enough.

Let me hasten to add that I LOVE your (@Acme) commentary on this blog. I always look forward to reading what you have to say. You're funny and smart. (as though you needed me to tell you that)

Um, let me also hasten to add that I am wondering where Evil Doug is. I've been unable to keep up with the blog the last while, so I don't know what, if anything, happened. But I (largely) enjoyed the exchanges between you two and just ED's quick, if unforgiving, wit.

Oh, and thanks @Evan the Earl, for the write-up.

No point in using Preview, since it's STILL not working, so apologies in advance for typos.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

If it were up to me, I'd put Kim Kardashian on the DD Celebrity list.

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