Astrologer Dixon / FRI 11-2-12 / Korean liquor similar to sake / Barrio kinsman / Topic de Freud / 1962 film starring Elvis Presley as boxer

Friday, November 2, 2012

Constructor: Derek Bowman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: CARIBES (28A: Piranhas) —

See piranha.

[American Spanish, from Spanish CaribeCarib; see Carib.]
• • •

Interesting and mildly enjoyable. You don't often see 14-letter answers in 15x15 grids (for good reason—they can't be centered and that one black square they bring with them can be really tricky to build around), so when I finished the puzzle and noticed the top and bottom lines (1A, 65A), I thought "well, that's one way to handle 14s—break 'em." Most of the rest of the puzzle is at least OK, though to be honest CARIBES kind of put a damper on the whole experience. It's a long, totally uninferrable obscurity, a word that's of zero use to anyone, a word that no one but an ichthyologist and hard-core crossword solver (with a good memory) is going to know, a word of the type that gives crosswords a bad name. That single word slowed me down more than anything else. I couldn't believe it was real. It doesn't even look like it has anything to do with fish. I mean, I don't like EGER much as an answer either, but it's a real place in the world (9D: Hungarian city that has hosted two World Puzzle Championships). A reasonable bit of geography trivia. Nothing close to the same can be said for CARIBES.

ENDLESS STRUGGLE is vague and lifeless as a phrase (38A: Battle of good versus evil, e.g.), but most of the other longish stuff in the grid has pop. I even liked EPOXY RESIN despite its not meaning a hell of a lot to me (7D: It forms a strong bond). I have a vintage paperback version of the boxing story "KID GALAHAD" (27D: 1962 film starring Elvis Presley as a boxer) so that was a familiar face, as was TOBIAS Wolff (10D: "This Boy's Life" author Wolff). But there weren't that many gimmes for me today, and I made a ton of mistakes. Never heard of SOJU (though I like it as an answer) (52D: Korean liquor similar to sake). The SE corner was especially tough for me. Always dicey when you cross-reference answers in the same quadrant (SNOWFALLS and INCH). Then throw in lots of potentially misleading cluing, and you've got trouble. I couldn't decide between THE WEB (46D: What's used for site-seeing?) or THE NET. I had both POKE and PUSH before I figured out PSST (54D: Nudge alternative). I had PINE for PLOD (57D: Lumber) and SLAM for SLUG (58D: Hard punch). So, outside of the general vicinity of CARIBES, the SE was the real causer of slowness today. Aside from EMU for ELK (25A: Leather variety), no other significant missteps; just methodical, steady progress.

  • 52A: 1990s girl group member with a tongue piercing (SCARY SPICE) — first three words of the clue were a dead give away for the last five letters of the answer, and a cross or two took care of the first five letters. You might also see SCARY SPICE in the puzzle as MEL B
  • 8D: Topic de Freud (RÊVE) — Took me a while. I wonder if anyone else considered "IDÉE" a first. 
  • 45D: Tom of "Tomorrow" (SNYDER) — Tom Tomorrow writes a comic called "This Modern World." This is all I could think of until the "Y" made me remember that Tom SNYDER once existed. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:09 AM  

Easy-medium with lots to OOH about.   Really liked the top and bottom combinations.   An excellent Fri.!  Thanks Derek.

Erasures: PUlverize for PUPPYLOVE,  Poke for PSST.

No cringes but more than a dollop of crosswordese...EPEE, ENYA, AIDA, ERIN, TIO...  Unlike Rex, I have no problems with CARIBES although it did toughen up the center.



Random puzzle related comment: Tom SNYDER hasn't been on TV since 1999 and the Tomorrow show went off the air in 1981 when Rex was a teenager and probably not allowed to stay up that late?  Oh, and he (Tom not Rex)  passed away in 2007, i.e. this might be tough for the younger solvers.

syndy 12:10 AM  

Elk leather is a weird answer but better than emu! KIDGALAHAD gave me SEAlegs gave me AQUA gave me SQUAREPEG and so it went!Had wink for PSST and sock for SLUG. Caribs were the amerinds that dwelt in the area so the "B" was inferish.SCARYSPICE isn't even a blip on my radar-so challenging but not an ENDLESSSTRUGGLE! thumbs up

Rookie 12:18 AM  

Had SEXE instead of RÊVE.

I'm trying to refrain from making an untoward comment about that.

Let's just say that the IDÉE (per Rex) of a SEXE RÊVE is a happy one!

Which reminds me. Where is Evil Doug? I miss his comments!

m_crabb 12:48 AM  

I had Eternal STRUGGLE, which really held me up. Anyone else have "suck up!!" go through their mind at 9D? ;)

Kyle 1:10 AM  

Tough puzzle. Was I the only one that threw down COKE instead of ICEE @ 23D? That really tripped me up for a couple minutes.

Aqua Caribes Miamis 1:38 AM  

This flowed like water UNDERTHEBRIDGE...
Liked this sort of bleedover from yesterday of phrases taking up a few words across.

More Minnesota shoutouts after COEN.

I was shocked that KIDGALAHAD came to me without a moment's delay, no idea where I learned that as I know I've not seen it.

Lots of little tugs to the past. Tom SNYDER and his laugh...the little picture of JEANE Dixon that would accompany the horoscopes that I read religiously every day...

My only hesitation was putting in SUNSETS as Western phenomena with no letters. For half a second I wondered if that were true everywhere in the world! I know, that's a bit idiotic.

REVE felt like it could have been anything, as Freud discussed everything from work to love. The first E was my last letter...but I guess he didn't live long enough to discuss RAVEs or Karl RoVE.

Greg Charles 2:13 AM  

Does anyone pronounce eraser with a LONG E? Ee-raser?

chefwen 2:15 AM  

Another joint effort that we had a lot of fun with.

Our Dog Skippy has just been dubbed with a new name. He gets very agitated when the wild roosters (where's @Jen CT) start crowing loudly and thinks that he has to protect me. Today, when the crowing started I just said "EASY THERE TIGER". So along with Skippy, Scrappy, Bob and Dave we have now added TIGER.

Great SUNSETS here over the mountains and being from Wisconsin I am very familiar with INCHes of SNOWFALLS (more like feet). Don't miss it.

Great Friday puzzle that wasn't easy, but doable. Thanks Derek Bowman.

chefwen 2:17 AM  

@Greg Charles - I do.

Milford 7:16 AM  

@Kyle, I had Coke before ICEE. I think it's a holiday logo for Coca-Cola?

Challenging Friday, lots-o-erasures. rovER before TIGER. groG Before SLUG. ScAM before SHAM. fAST before LAST. Small mistakes, but the really slowed up the process.

Did anyone else think, "What color are SEA legs?". Oh, duh.

Liked SCARY SPICE and KID GALAHAD. We just had SQUARE PEG a few days ago, yes? Still like it. Favorite clue was for NASA.

UNDER THE BRIDGE is an awesome song.

dk 7:26 AM  

My first misstep was ecru instead of AQUA as I was thinking of something leggy not watery. Then I had eel, followed by emu. My bright spot was when KIDGALAHAD popped into my head. Like Andrea I said: "where did that come from."

A fine Friday outing and an excellent use of 52 minutes and 34 seconds.

Agree with Rex on CARIBES but as it just appeared as a function of the crosses.... I just gave it a mental LINE.

A nice shout out to TOBIAS wherever he may be.

🌟🌟🌟(3 Stars) You go Derek

I know where I can get a big box that is a replica of a spice container. Perhaps next year I will be SCARYSPICE for halloween.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

@chefwen and Greg Charles: I don't. The first sound is a schwa, with the accent on the second syllable.

Unknown 8:46 AM  

Nice Friday challenge. Loved the clues for EXERCISING, REHAB, EGGY, THEWEB, MIAMI.

I miss Tom SNYDER.

Having grown up in Central Massachusetts I can tell you that the real beverage with a polar bear logo is Polar....they were involved in a lawsuit with Coke over it, which I believe Coke won, even though Polar has been using the bear for much longer. Anyone driving through Worcester sees Orson the bear waving at them from atop the bottling plant.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Feeling like I just want to disagree with Rex today. Sure, CARIBES is obscure, but at least it's not an abbreviation. I'll take an obscure noun any day over an obscure city like EGER (which has a population not much greater than Natick, MA, btw).

I realize it's Spanish, but it's in my dictionary and a little language history reveals that it may have the same root as 'Carribbean' and 'Cannibal,' from the belief that the inhabitants of the West Indies had a taste for human flesh. To me, that's a cool thing to learn.

Speaking of food,if I could relate crossword fill to food, I'd separate it into three categories:

1) Just tastes good.
2) Tastes good AND good for you.
3) Just good for you.


Fill like PUPPYLOVE is the equivalent of ice cream -- it just tastes good, not very good for you (i.e., it's a fun answer, but I don't need it in my life. It's just fluff, didn't learn anything from the clue).

Fill like KIDGALAHAD is like a well-made garden salad -- tastes good AND good for you (i.e., it's a fun answer, and I learned something, win-win!).

And then there's fill like CARIBE. It's the broccoli of crossworld. It's good for you, but tastes kind of gross. Well, you still need broccoli every once in a while.

Shamik 8:50 AM  

Just what I like in a Friday...initially seemingly impossible to solve. Didn't enter a single word doing acrosses first until AIDA. Then it was tenuous and then it just built from the south on up to the northwest. Plenty of fresh stuff: ENDLESSSTRUGGLE, GETITRIGHT, EASYTHERE TIGER, SCREAMOUT. I just liked it...and it ended up being easy-medium.

Has anyone here really heard of April Stevens before?

jackj 9:03 AM  

Derek Bowman’s multi-word answers had many possibilities and were slightly vexing because all my initial guesses fit and they all seemed to be on point, like ETERNALSTRUGGLE that, in Derek’s book, was ENDLESSSTRUGGLE or how about GETITRIGHT that was just as comfortable being my version, ACETHETEST or, just one more example, EASYTHERETIGER also played nicely as WHOATHEREROVER.

But, the final answers are all in the language, they all became obvious through their crossings and as in any good crossword one begat another and made what could have been a simpler solve into a more delightful, fun affair.

Good stuff included not being tricked at all by “Eraser head” for LONG E, the itty bitty gem of TRY for “Whirl”, LINE as a clever bit for “Very short note” and, of course, the sad but correct answer of AGE as we are reminded it is “always increasing”.

Some of the other long entries were also well coined and included PUPPLOVE and EXERCISING (as clued), while SNOWFALLS (and its measuring means of INCH) hit a little too close to home as winter approaches and lastly, one does certainly empathize with SCARY SPICE and hope that her punctured tongue has completely healed because there’s nothing more bothersome than a painful IPSE Dixit.

Great fun, Derek!

jberg 9:21 AM  

Tough but gettable, although like many I had to rely on plausibility for CARIBES - is that an alternate name for the fish, or is Piranhas an alternate name for the eponymous people of the Caribbean? I guess it's the fish.

EGRI bikaver, aka "Bull's Blood," is a famous wine (not good, just famous). I suppose that's why those puzzle championships were held there.

The one thing I really didn't like was EPEE - taking a crossword cliche and trying to make it Friday worthy with a somewhat obscure definition. There must be a better way (not that I could do it!)

As for EE-raser, yes, I pronounce the long e, but I don't accent that syllable so it can be hard to tell.

quilter1 9:35 AM  

Slow to start, then a fast finish. I know CARIBES as a people not piranhas, but it was fair. Our daughter used to have piranahs as pets and they would eat out of her hand. Not eat her hand.

Carola 9:45 AM  

Lovely. At first pass I thought it would be an endless struggle to get it right, but the TOBIAS/LAST cross gave me what I needed to get started and PLOD right along, enjoying the SNOWFALL, SUNSETS, and other crossword scenery up to the last SQUARE. Loved the three-word phrases at top and bottom, PUPPY LOVE, SCARY SPICE, and the EGGY batter (crepes!).

Anybody have "Heartaches by the number, troubles BY THE SCORE" in their head?

Weeks of insomnia before my PhD orals sentenced me to hours and hours of Tom SNYDER. Agony.

Overlapping words this week: Mon-Tues - ODESSA, Tues-Weds - RAWLS, Weds-Thurs - BLIND (both as the beginning of a three-word phrase), Thurs-Fri - POISE

Thank you, Derek. You really had me EXERCISING my brain on this one - good Friday workout!

joho 10:09 AM  

Really enjoyed this one, thank you, Derek!

Biggest wrong answer was confidently penning in KInGcreole for KIDGALAHAD. I had the wrong Elvis movie!

The only other writeover was PuSh before PSST. Speaking of which, I loved the 3 SSS's acroSS the middle in ENDLESSSTRUGGLE which I am thankful this puzzle was not!

@Greg Charles, me, too.

@chewen, that's so funny about your multiple dog names! We call Riley Sparky and Blackie and anything thing else that pops into our heads are at the moment. He doesn't seem to mind!

Didn't we just have SQUAREPEG, too?

Merle 10:14 AM  

A tough puzzle. My experience of it was quite different from Rex's, though. Caribes for piranhas fell into place. I don't know much about piranhas, but I know they can be found in river areas in the West Indies, ao the answer was easy to deduce from just that piece of info and some crosses. No I never had an "idee" that the topic de Freud was "idee". But, like Rookie, I had sexe on the brain until I dreamed the right answer, reve. Scary Spice? Figured out the Scary -- must have heard of her once upon a time -- not my music, never heard Spice Girls sing. Motown or Mozart. Yes, a bit too many crosswordese gimmes -- Enya, Aida, Tio, ESPN -- even Ursa and Adlai. But still, some nice clues and answers pairings kept the puzzle interesting. Enough. Now I have to prove I'm not a robot. I'll get a human to help me with this. Can't Google the answer for this....

Sandy K 10:27 AM  

GETTING IT RIGHT was not a problem.

Only write-over was PLOD after woOD- which seemed too easy. That's when I like an IPSE to fiXIT...

Liked the clue for "Goodnight IRENE", knew Tom Snyder cuz he followed Letterman and I'm a Dave fan, KID GALAHAD was one of those lame Elvis movies he made BY THE SCORE...

Never knew Piranhas were CARIBES but was CLEARly gettable, OOHED at EGER cuz Grandma was Hungarian.

Not an ENDLESS STRUGGLE for a Friday. PSST! Good one, Derek!

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

I was on Derek's wavelength today and it was an easy cruise besides being fun.
I remember watching Tom Snyder after SNL way back when.

baja 10:34 AM  

Was almost thrown under the bridge by this one - got my start at water under the bridge and worked up. Shuddered at snowfalls - coming soon!

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

In my old Webster's ninth, there are entries for caribe ( final e is pronounced) as piranha, and piranha as also called caribe.

Cheerio 10:58 AM  

I loved learning the word caribe.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:14 AM  

Fine Friday puzzle.

I had a bit of a smile at the clue to 33D, "Once-faddish aerobics regimen." Never meant anything to me, but somehow it seems that qualifiers like "once-faddish" are rarely used for so many other crossword favorites.

Sir Hillary 11:19 AM  

Like others, I feared this would be an ENDLESSSTRUGGLE and ultimately a fruitless one. An answer here, an answer there, none of them connected...felt more like a word search than a crossword. Progress finally came in the E and then the NE. The grid is pretty segmented, so even then I had to solve one tic-tac-toe square at a time. Eventually all was revealed, the SE coming last.

-- Some really clever and tricky cluing. Consecutive beauts for NASA and EXERCISING were my favorites.
-- For 54D, thought about POKE, then settled on PEST ("noodge") when the 9s in the SE became clearer. Changing the E to S was the very last pen stroke.
-- Like Rex, thought about PINE for 57D, then assumed it would be WOOD after I got the --OD. I was all ready to come here and point out TIGER WOOD in the same grid. But no.
-- There is very little in here to complain about. Don't get Rex's objection to CARIBES. Yeah, I've never heard of it either, but it's completely inferrable via crosses. EGER gets a pass because of the crossword tie-in clue.
-- Baseball answer at 18A had me fixated on baseball for 41A.
-- Love the consecutive bell clues at 14D and 21D.
-- Initially wanted AUSTIN at 6D, then PIERRE, before realizing that I-15 had to be farther west.

@Andrea -- LOVE your comment about whether or not sunsets are in the west everywhere! I admit to doing the same visualization as wrote in the answer.

All in all, a tough challenge and a fabulous Friday puzzle. Thanks Derek!

David 11:51 AM  

I loved SUNSETS as Western phenomena. But then, I love sunsets.

EASY THERE TIGER popped into my head with just a couple of crosses. Fun!

Evan 12:50 PM  

This was a bottom-up puzzle for me -- the top gave me nothing at first, so I went south and built up from there. UNDER / THE BRIDGE went right in with no hesitation. My time was pretty good for a Friday, so Easy-Medium in the end.

Besides ESTO (for Estonia) before LITH, I didn't have many write-overs, but I ran into a lot of dead ends that slowed me up more than I expected. When I had S--WFALLS, I briefly considered SlOWFALLS for some reason -- must have been all those years playing computer games like Daggerfall where you could cast levitation and slow-falling spells. Like @m_crabb and @jackj I wanted Eternal STRUGGLE instead of ENDLESS; the former gives you about three times as many hits on Google when you put both in quotation marks. And Rex's objections to CARIBES aside, did anyone else almost go for CAnInES?

I don't know the astrologer Dixon or the Korean liquor, so the JEANE/SOJU crossing was a total shot in the dark. Nearly went with a K because I've seen KEANE in other contexts (like the English band), and hey, SOkU sounds kinda Asian, right? Anyone?

I'm with @Milford and @Sir Hillary on my love for the NASA clue; I'm surprised it didn't have a question mark. And I was about to complain about the clue for EXERCISING, because isn't the article of clothing more commonly called an EXERCISE sweater? Then I saw the pun on "sweater" -- much smacking of head and d'oh-ing followed.

Anoa Bob 1:06 PM  

Quality puzzle. Lots of good, straight-up words crossing each other, which is not always the case.

I'm probably the only one who cares, but EPOXY RESIN (7D "It forms a strong bond") will not form a strong bond by itself. A second ingredient, called a hardener, must be added.

How did I miss April Stevens when I was a kid? So sultry and steamy. I see per wiki that her voice was sometimes mistaken for Marilyn Monroe's. Is it possible to form a retroactive crush? It would have been more than PUPPY LOVE, as in EASY THERE TIGER!

As usual, enjoyed reading Rex's write up and the comments. So many erudite, witty people out there.

Bird 1:49 PM  

This puzzle was one big “what the you-know-what”. I really did not like it. Got a few words then needed to resort to Google, which was not much help either as the cluing made a web search nearly impossible. Then there are many possible answers with no way to cross-check.

Hand up for COKE and not looking back. And KRAZEY GLUE at 7D (I know it’s not spelled correctly, but I was desperate).

@Greg Charles - Of coure.


Masked and Anonymo6Us 1:51 PM  

"Teach Me Tiger" was a 1959 tune; pretty feisty for its day. I remember it more as a sign-off song each night by one of our college radio station deejays, several years later. April Stevens also performed in the hit "Deep Purple", with Nino Temple.

I wanted KIDGALLAHAD, with the extra L, which wouldn't go. Really butt-fudged up that area unnecessarily, for a while.

Cannot beee-lieve my last letter was the O in LONGE. Just sat there, like a mindless SLUG, mutterin', "What the @#31*! is a longe?" Up high... Down low... Too slow, M&A.

Snortiosity readings, this puz:
1 snort = CARIBES. What the professor dude with the wotd said.
2 snorts = SCARYSPICE. Had the hit tune "Teach Me, Sandworm". Y'all probably don't even know what I'm babblin' on about, unless yer a Dune Dude.
3 snorts = SOJU. Since it's booze, I'm willing to swallow this one.
4 snorts = REVE. Since it's French, I'm willing to upchuck on this one.
5 well-deserved snorts = THEBRIDGE. Also, havin' both EGER and EGGY in the same puz.

Tip of the day: Run, don't walk, to see the flick "Seven Psychopaths". Har-larious.

Lois 2:02 PM  

Re the pronunciation of "eraser": The almost-perfect, though old, Pronouncing Dictionary of American English (Kenyon/Knotts) (although the title of that book really begins with a self-deprecating "A," indicating that variations are always possible) gives only one pronunciation, the first "e" pronounced as a short "i." I think extra care should always be taken with trick clues, but I guess it should be taken with everything. Otherwise, I liked the puzzle a lot, especially because I finished it. Only one hint from hubby: that 1 down had something to do with sports.

Lois 2:05 PM  

Forgot to thank Greg Charles for saying it first.

MollyculeTheory 2:24 PM  

Convinced myself that, because the bottom long answer had "under" in it, the top MUST have "over" so I got stuck on "something over eaGER" for a while.

Clark 2:24 PM  

@Lois, @chef wen, et al -

Now you all got me mucking about in phonetic alphabets. I thought I was saying a long e sound, but with the accent going quickly to the second syllable. When I looked for confirmation, I found that some dictionaries give short i, and some give the International Phonetic Alphabet sign (capital roman numeral for one), which is somewhat more open than our long e but somewhat more closed than the schwa, and it is placed a bit more to the front than the schwa and not quite as far front as the long e. After some experimenting with sounds (and scaring the animals) I have become convinced that that is in fact how I say it.

fergus 2:27 PM  

Naticked at Square 63

ksquare 2:35 PM  

@ Charles-Me too,though i've heard it as ihraser or uhraser.
For others, EGER happens to be the Hungarian word for mouse.
Again the number in the captcha below is illegible but I'll take a guess.

John V 2:51 PM  

Really off me game with putting the world back together after Sandy. Still waiting for power.

Challenging her. Got everything slow but okay, save for SCARYSPICE/SOJU/LINE/SNYDER spot. Not a pretty crossing, IMHO. Otherwise, fun, what @Rex commented on splitting the 14s; clever construction and it worked. Heck, I'm even thinking SQUAREPEGOPERA is a real thing.

Power, lights, please?

M and drunk on Soju-amous 3:06 PM  

p.s. Despite my snortings, really have to admire the work. And thanx, ADLAI, for gettin' me in the sidedoor, so I could participate.
Seed entries? Got me. Not a clue. Kinda hopin' SOJU wasn't one, tho. ENDLESSSTRUGGLE? Lordy.

Anyhoo... themelessthUmbsUp. Puz had farkle. M&A

Tita 3:14 PM  

@JohnV and @mac - hope you're doing as well as can be expected. My Darien sister has no power.

Don't like the water UNDERTHEBRIDGE, as there is too much of it everywhere after Sandy - but that's no reflecion on the puzzle.

I liked it alot - I finished it in 2 sittings - rare for a Friday. No googling!

I learned to drink SOJU with some Korean business associates. Ther is quite the charming ritual that goes along with the drink itself, having to do with showing great respect to one's co-drinkers.
We all respected each other nearly under the table that first night!

Thanks Mr. Bowman.
& thanks again, SanfFranMan - I don't understand your explanations, but love that you do them!

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

i say ehraser SAY e-raser..
i declare this puzzle do-able for a friday which is not so frequent so i feel proud. usually when i finish rex says easy. i enjoyed this puzzle and think my age helped.

sanfranman59 3:34 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 20:12, 24:23, 0.83, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:28, 12:10, 1.02, 58%, Medium

The ratings are Medium (44%) and Medium-Challenging (66%) when using solve times for just the previous 13 weeks as the basis for comparison (for details about why this may be important see my posts--and those of others--from last Friday and Saturday).

Sandy K 3:36 PM  

@ ksquare

Knew EGER was a Hungarian city, but haven't heard Hungarian spoken since my childhood. Indeed- it means mouse!

Thanks for reminding me! It's such a delicious language. I've kept a few of my grandmother's poems, that she used to recite...wonderful memories!

Z 4:48 PM  

Not Kid Galahad or 10cc.

michael 8:59 PM  

I found it easy, even though I pronounce eraser with a short e.

abnorma 11:17 PM  

Tom Tomorrow did the artwork for Pearl Jam's last studio album (Backspacer) and I could only think of him, too, until I remembered Tom Synder and the great impression Dan Aykroyd did of him on SNL.

sanfranman59 1:04 AM  

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 6:25, 6:47, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:10, 8:58, 1.13, 85%, Challenging
Wed 11:45, 11:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Thu 15:35, 18:47, 0.83, 21%, Easy-Medium
Fri 20:49, 24:24, 0.85, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:41, 1.00, 55%, Medium
Tue 5:45, 4:41, 1.23, 97%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 175 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:23, 5:57, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:19, 9:22, 0.99, 57%, Medium
Fri 12:07, 12:10, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

CARIBES is a great anagram when ASCRIBE won't fit. It also makes a bunch of 8s with another letter.

retired_chemist 6:07 PM  

late by a day - writing anyway.

Solved it in workmanlike fashion - PLOD, PLOD, PLOD. (which was WOOD at first, of course). UNDER THE BRIDGE, JEANE, and OOHED gave me *HAD for 27D, which was SIR GALAHAD momentarily until I remembered KID G. The K gave me ELK @ 25A, saving me from the EMU or the EEL. Which sound like signs in an alternative zodiac.....

Agree ENDLESS STRUGGLE is a blah phrase. EASY THERE, TIGER is no better. YAP AT is sort of skewed as an answer for "lecture, say" IMO.

Somehow got CARIBES out of _AR_BE_, can't say how.

Thanks, Mr. Bowman.

Spacecraft 10:47 AM  

@Carola: hand up for the "Heartaches" earworm. And @retired_chemist: sIrGALAHAD was the fault of my faulty memory--and my only writeover.

Despite a couple of easy ins like the JEANE/COEN cross and ADLAI/RAT/TIO, I feared at first that I'd never GETITRIGHT, but in the end I prevailed.

Likes: YAPAT crossing PUPPYLOVE (now there's an earworm, Anka fans!)--plus, the canine reference in the clue for the top line (though curiously, the last part of the answer is feline); the general freshness of entries and cleverness of cluing.

Dislikes: EPEES (overused), EGER and SOJU (ultra-obscure), PSST and the ugly INSTS smack in the middle.

Can't STANDs: LONGE. I'm on a campaign to ban that crap, period.

rain forest 1:50 PM  

Well, exept for the entire North, I PLODded through this with many write-overs. I'm not up on my obscure Elvis, so first King Creole went in, then Kid Gavilan (I think he was an actual boxer), then, after JEANE and OOHED, KIDGALAHAD made it in. EXERCISERS before EXERCISING, ETERNAL STRUGGLE, thinking that the water behind must have a wake, BY THE DOZEN, etc. Yep, I found it tough, but a nice themeless that touched on many areas with fresh material.

Dirigonzo 7:46 PM  

I guess I'm the only one who aaHED when I should have OOHED at 60A? Beuller? Anyone? I still think my answer was plausible (but wrong).

And getoffthecouch fits nicely in 1a, but I didn't write it in because it never helps to say it around my house so I figured it wouldn't help in the grid.

No complaints here - it's fun to GETITRIGHT (almost) without resorting to THEWEB for help.

Longbeachlee 12:55 PM  

Am I the only one that interpreted girl group member as any member instead of a specific member?
I then got hung up on the Scary Sistas. You remember them don't you?

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