Cyrillic letter between kha che / SAT 11-3-12 / 13th-century empire founder / Politico Michael / Union in 1999 news / Antagonistic org in Simpsons movie / 1990s party name / What may follow NO / Speaker of film line This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Constructor: Milo Beckman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Eddie YOST (16A: Baseball's Eddie who was nicknamed "The Walking Man") —
Eddie Yost, a durable and reliable third baseman for three American League teams whose penchant for garnering bases on balls earned him the nickname the Walking Man, died on Tuesday [10/16/12] in Weston, Mass. He was 86. // Yost made his major league debut with the Washington Senators in 1944, when he was just 17, and never played in the minor leagues. Fourteen of his 18 big-league seasons were spent with the lowly Senators, who finished as high as fourth just once while he was playing for them. He was, however, a stalwart, playing in 829 consecutive games from August 1949 to May 1955, still the ninth-longest streak in baseball history.
He was the sort of pesky player who gave more powerful teams fits; in the early 1950s, the Yankees were known to covet him, though they never managed to pry him away in a trade. Casey Stengel, the Yankee manager, selected Yost for the 1952 All-Star Game, his only such honor, even though Yost was in the midst of a season in which he hit just .233.
“Every time I look up, that feller is on base,” Stengel explained.
Indeed, Yost’s forte was getting on base, especially by way of the walk. A student of opposing pitchers, he had a keen eye, a precise sense of the strike zone and the deft bat control to spoil good pitchers’ pitches by fouling them off. In one game, in 1953, he fouled off a total of 20 pitches in two consecutive at bats.
Yost led the American League in walks six times, and though he was a below-average hitter, his on-base percentage was over .400 — a stellar figure — in nine different seasons. He led the league in that category twice.
He also had some power, hitting 139 home runs in spite of playing most of his home games in Washington’s notoriously spacious Griffith Stadium.
Had Yost played a few decades later, in the “Moneyball” era, when the ability to get on base became a more valued quality, he might have achieved greater fame. For his career he batted just .254, but his on-base percentage was .394, higher than that of a long list of current or future Hall of Famers, including Frank Robinson (.389), Tony Gwynn (.388), Willie Mays (.384) and Derek Jeter (.382). (from NYT obit, 10/17/12)
• • •

A very enjoyable Saturday. Two minor gripes: 1. it was a little too easy (the Q-containing 1A and 11-letter 10D were out-and-out gimmes, and most of the rest rolled over easily), and 2. that YOST / ASTANA cross is as close to a Natick* as I've seen in a while [Natick = essentially an unfair crossing of proper nouns; see FAQ for definition]. I mean, I thought the TSE / STEELES cross was kind of brutal (57A: Cyrillic letter between kha and che / 43D: Politico Michael and others), but Michael STEELE (former RNC chairman) is a pretty high-profile guy, esp. during this election season, so I was able to work that one out easily. The YOST / ASTANA cross was a total guess based *solely* on the fact that I know another baseball YOST—Ned YOST, manager of the Kansas City Royals (my friend Robert hosts the radio post-game call-in show for the Royals' flagship station, 610SportsKC). I think Ned YOST actually appeared in a Sunday puzzle a while back. Anyway ... it's only because I knew of Ned that I went with the same name for Eddie. I'm just not sure how inferrable that "S" is. Seems like it could be a stumbling block. But maybe you all know your -stan capitals better than I do.

Puzzle starts out great in the NW—AIR QUOTES (1A: Sarcasm indicator) over CHEAT SHEET over HOT TAMALES is a delicious opening gambit. Puzzle's weakest in the W where ON NOW and NO EVIL are kinda wobbly and feel like partials, and TRINES is just ugly (as is the easier-to-get EGEST and SST). Actually, with the exception of the mighty WINGMAN (2D: Lead pilot's support), most of that area down into the SW is just OK at best. But things better in the SE, with the double-X EXXON-MOBIL (59A: Union in 1999 news) and the retro video EIGHT-BIT video game (38D: Like some old gaming consoles). I love Elvis Costello, so I was more than happy to ride "MY AIM IS TRUE" up into the NE (where all was smooth sailing, YOST / ASTANA notwithstanding) (10D: Elvis Costello's debut album).

I had some luck with names—I shouldn't have been able to get LEE ELDER so easily (I couldn't tell you anything about him, and my brain initially wanted something like LEE EVERS or EDGAR ... maybe a mash-up of MEDGAR EVERS????), but years of watching ESPN must've put his name in my brain somewhere (33D: First African-American golfer to play in the Masters). "Groundhog Day" is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I was surprised to blank on the director at --M--. Then I thought, "aha, DEMME!" Wrote it in, but it felt wrong. Finally remembered Harold RAMIS (34A: "Groundhog Day" director). Totally remembered OSMAN this time—got it with just the "O" and didn't even need that (6D: 13th-century empire founder). Can't believe it's taken this long, but I think I've finally got him tucked safely in my crosswordese arsenal. Then of course there's HAL, which I got off the "A"—another movie that I love. Really hard for me not to like a puzzle with Elvis Costello, "Groundhog Day," and "2001"— my happiness at encountering things I love is probably what's keeping me from harping on XOO (60D: Unhelpful noughts-and-crosses line) or EHLE (52A: Jennifer of the BBC production "Pride and Prejudice") or A TINGE (13D: Not much, colorwise) ... my favorite pop culture apparently acts like a muscle relaxant for my gripe muscle.

  • 19A: Antagonistic org. in "The Simpsons Movie" (EPA) — I had forgotten this (only saw the movie once), but when I got it I laughed out loud. My first guess was FBI.
  • 7D: Muse of comedy (THALIA) — memo to self: memorize world capitals and also muses.
  • 11D: Tacky yellow thing (POST-IT) — excellent clue.
  • 47D: 1990s party name (REFORM) — I could see (and, unfortunately, hear) Ross Perot in my head, but I totally blanked on the name of his party. I'm hoping that following the election on Tuesday, there is a good 3-month moratorium on all talk of politics anywhere in the vicinity of me. OK, 3 weeks. Everyone talk about literature or movies or music instead, OK? Great.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

Not quite as zippy as yesterday's, but the NW had a lot of pizzazz.  Mostly easy for me except for NE which was a bear.  Did not know YOST, MYAIMISTRUE, ASTANA, or the NAMING clue (gimme for Andrea?),  plus had ATonal for ATINGE and struggled with AQUAVITAE.  I got it sorted out but had to run the alphabet to get the S in YOST which I was still not sure of but it seemed to be the best option.  (I agree with Rex,  Natick anyone?). So,  easy- very tough overall.  Only other erasures were ONair for ONNOW and volT for WATT.


Cringes: XOO,  PQR, @Rex ATINGE

The only reason I got this was good/lucky guessing in the NE, it easily could have been a DNF.  That said, I liked it.  The zip out weighed the negatives.

travis 12:49 AM  

ASTANA is the name of Kazakhstan's Tour de France team so at least it was inferable. MYAIMISTRUE still doesn't ring a bell.

chefwen 2:28 AM  

I have very mixed emotions here. Cannot decide if I'm embarrassed for me or proud of my Part Time Puzzle Partner (Mr. I can do Monday and Tuesday, but that's it) He not only helped me immensely, but actually finished off the puzzle. I'm leaning toward proud. He sussed out AQUAVITAE, WATT METER and many more that I had just partially filled in. That's my boy.

TSUNAMIES 15D was a gimme as we had another warning Sunday night. Sirens going off every 15 minutes or so, from about 5PM until 3 or 4 AM. Drove me whacko. Stayed up waiting for the worst. Planes flying overhead warning everybody to get off the beaches and head inland. Unlike Sandy it was all for naught.

Astana Cheatsheet Mores 5:21 AM  

Same no ideas as you.
TRINES started as TRIadS, TRIceS.
Speaking of threesomes, loved the three EEEs in LEEELDER.

Xs and Qs fun fun fun

Onomasttics sounded vaguely familiar but it took me a looooong time to realize that "onoma" means "name" in Greek. Head slap. Embarrrassing with three r's!!!

AMORAL crossing AMORES was interesting in that they look the same but have such different meanings.

Throw ALISON before MY AIM IS TRUE and I'll bet it will ring a bell!

Thank god the TSUNAMIS alert was for naught!

Strange that MilO beCKMAN is so similar to OCKMAN who had two puzzles last week.


Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

"Cyrillic letter . . ."? Are you kidding me? I remembered Michael Steele, but couldn't remember how he spelled his name. Guessed the crossing E, then changed it. Ah well, I can't win 'em all. Please let the political ads be over soon!

Z 8:19 AM  

Considering that I still occasionally can be heard saying "Elvis is King" (in reference to the album cover, not Presley) 10d made the entire north Wednesday easy for me. YO-T was a bit of an issue, but S seemed right pretty quickly. It is Saturday, so Muse knowledge has to include more than ERATO. The list - Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, Polyhymnia, and Urania. There's a theme for you constructors out there.

The SE opened up when LONG I occurred to me. Knowing that crossword trick was helpful today. It seemed like a stretch, but it was what I needed to see those long acrosses.

The SW was a real struggle. I knew TRIadS wouldn't work, but couldn't come up with anything else. Ovid Opus was not going to get me anything and I started with aiR ACE. I ended up having to piece it together one letter at a time. 75% easy, 25% challenging, so easy-medium sounds about right.

jackj 9:10 AM  

Truman’s secretary of State, Dean ACHESON, was a gimme for me and then with the “H” showing at 17across and a clue of “Real head-turners”, I brashly wrote in HOTTAMALES. When it held its spot and seemed to be correct it produced a warm and fuzzy feeling of symbiosis with young Milo Beckman and off I went.

In that beginning quadrant, cluing “Sarcasm indicator” looking for AIRQUOTES was clever to the nth degree and close by, when that “Tacky yellow thing” proved not to be any of those salacious ideas running rampant in my mind, it made a perfectly proper definition for a POSTIT note.

As usual there were simple little clues that produced extremely clever answers like “Currently playing” for ON NOW, “What may follow “NO”” that was just a tarted up clue designed to steer one away from the alphabet run of PQR and “Sound of silence?” well that was, of course, LONG I.

Fortunately, there was no need to struggle with MPAA, Eddie YOST, ASTI and PURITAN as they were all known and that opened up ASTANA and the Elvis Costello album but, with the likes of EHLE, OSMAN, WATTMETER and TRINES, there were still enough bits of vagueness left to deal with.

Then, as the puzzle wound down, seeing that the constructor had provide his WARACE with a WINGMAN on his starboard flank, it called for AQUA VITAE all around and put an exclamation point on this gem of a puzzle!

Thanks, Milo!

Mary BR 9:13 AM  

Everything was easy for me except for the NE, which killed. Was not helped by the fact that I confidently dropped AlmAty in for the capital of Kazakhstan off the first A. My father used to travel there for work in the mid-nineties, which as it turns out, was when it stopped being the capital (though it remains the largest and most important city). This may not be a problem many faced, but cannot believe that former and current capital both start with A and have same number of letters (though Almaty is also known as Alma Ata).

Did not know MY AIM IS TRUE, but eventually inferred it from crosses, at which point ASTI made me realize that Almaty was somehow wrong. Still, not knowing YOST, RAMIS, and not having sussed out NAMING or AQUAVITAE yet, the corner was a real struggle. Was also parsing 13-D to be an adjective, rather than a noun.

Anyway, finally wrapped it up by googling ASTANA and RAMIS. Ugh.

That being said, really liked the rest!

Park 9:39 AM  

I found this one much harder than Rex did and much harder than yesterday.

Merle 9:49 AM  

Found this "easy-medium" puzzle impossible. Started Googling, got Google answers leading to nada. Gave up, went to Rex. Yesterday's "medium-challenging" puzzle was a romp in the park for me. Go know. MPAA, hot tamales, any music by Elvis Costello, eight bit gaming consoles, Astana, Exxon-Mobil merger, Jennifer Ehle, Lee Elder, Eddie Yost, jsut a collection of WTFs for me. Young hunk is fox? I must really be gender-challenged, or very 20th century, because I thought hunk was male and fox was female. Interesting to learn that hunk and fox have become androgynous. Okay, kewl. My cultural frame of reference does include Thalia (and the other Muses), rotunda, trines, aqua vitae, Arab as in horse, esse, but that's about it. Oh yeah, I've seen Groundhog Day (over and over, non-stop, for the rest of forever) but never knew the director's name. Is ravined really a verb? Just Googled it, and, to my dismay, yes. Well, I'll be verbalized! Not my day. Three times in a row I proved I was a robot. Maybe this time I won't be a robot....

JC66 10:19 AM  

Age gap!

YOST was a gimme for me. Had to work to get MY AIM IS TRUE.

Carola 10:24 AM  

Not easy for me. Reading through the clues, I felt I faced a TSUNAMI of people and things I didn't know, so was happy to finish without a CHEATSHEET or a WINGMAN for help.

Love the combination of HOT TAMALES and AQUA VITAE, with a PURITAN between them. The PURITAN also fits into an interesting ethical TRINE (new to me) with AMORAL and NO EVIL. On the weather front - definitely feeling the NIP of approaching WINTER here in Wisconsin.

Wrote in "guardian" for "Legal tender?" and thought I was smart.

JFC 10:26 AM  

@Chefwen - I can see it now. Da Bears clinch the Division title just when you get hit with a tsunami....


Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

Medium for me.

Hand up for ONAIR/ONNOW, my only write-over,

Bigger challenge for this weekend: getting gasoline.

JFC 10:56 AM  

@Rex says: "A very enjoyable Saturday. Two minor gripes: 1. it was a little too easy."

I feel your pain. You poor SOB (he says affectionately) that it was too easy. Maybe if you were dumb like me you would have enjoyed it even more because you would have found it hard....


Aaron 10:58 AM  

The EPA were also the (secondary) villains in Ghostbusters, another RAMIS film.

jberg 11:16 AM  

Eddie YOST was my first answer - I remember him from his trading card. But wasn't he in the puzzle sometime during the last week? I thought so, but no one else is mentioning it and everyone's saying he's obscure, so maybe it's a false memory.

That said, it was tough for me, and I ultimately finished with a couple of errors. No idea what No PQR means, and didn't know RAMIS, so I guessed PQs (no phone queries) and sAMIS. And, after rejecting 'attorney' for 3D, I just filled in the crosses and didn't notice that I had RETorNER there instead of RETAINER.

The rest was OK, even good - but I'm not happy about AQUAVITAE; seems to me the plural is aquae vitae, or else in English aquavitas. And I was feeling embarrassed not knowing the capital of Kazakhstan until reading here that it had been changed - I did know almaty/ Alma Atu, and would have recalled it with a few crosses. Despite Rex's griping, I think world capitals are fair game--part of the 5th or 6th grade curriculum, aren't they, along with principal products?

32A, NO EVIL, is a sad commentary. Where is he?

Jeremy Mercer 11:36 AM  

Felt quite happy with HAN Solo telling Luke the mission was too important to let him jeopoardize ... until I read Rex.

Two Ponies 11:59 AM  

Far from easy for me.
If you've never heard of that album the title is impossible to parse.
I was happy to get aqua vitae and some others but sadly DNF.

Shamik 12:00 PM  

Great Saturday...for other people. Medium challenging with three wrong and Naticky (for me) squares.

Who knows what they do in Cyrillic and Michael STECLES seemed ok to me. Figured the WATT_____ could be a WATTMOTOR or WATTROTOR because absolutely, Better Off TOD sounded totally right to me. LEEOLDER could have been that golfer. The only balm for my wounds is that if I looked at the puzzle for 24 hours or 24 years, I probably would still have made those errors.

Excellent Saturday puzzle that bit me in the butt. As they sometimes should...just to keep me from being too proud.

Google King 12:04 PM  

Gee Merle, I'm surprised at what you said. I thought there were way too many proper names unfamiliar to me, making the puzzle impossible to get without looking them up. But once I used Google to get most of them, the puzzle fell in place for me.

Z 12:05 PM  

@jberg - A, B, C, ..., L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, ..., Z

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

What Merle and JFC said...

I'll just put this "easy-medium" rating in AIR-QUOTES.


J Caesar 12:23 PM  

@jberg - The clue is singular, "Brandy or whiskey."

Since AQUA VITAE means "water of life", the AE of VITAE is a possessive ending, not a plural.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Got the puzzle but still don't really know what an air quote is. Could be an age thing. Can't get apicture of an air quote in my head. Not easy medium. Can' always figure out the ratings. I thought Thursday was simple and today challenging

Sandy K 1:01 PM  

@ Rex- Easy for you, difficult for me!!

Never thought I'd finish this one without a CHEAT SHEET or google, but kept plugging away and got it!

Got stuck a few times- had voltMETER and SOVIETRUpee for too long. Finally, WATT and RUBLE SEEPed in!

Liked AIR QUOTES, HOT TAMALES, EXXON-MOBIL, and Jennifer EHLE from Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth- a FOX!

Some really tricky cluing, eg Spanish cardinal, Hexagon on a map, etc. ASTANA and ATINGE were not fun. But overall, I enjoyed the challenge.

jae 1:06 PM  

@anon 12:48 -- Think of someone miming quotation marks in the air with index and middle fingers of each hand as they make a sarcastic remark.

quilter1 1:07 PM  

Not easy. Too much I just did not know so DNF. But my excuse is also I had little time to devote and many distractions. Maybe if I had been able to concentrate....Nah. I've never played anything on a gaming console, don't know Cyrillic, Elvis Costello or that capital. I did know Michael Steele and Lee Elder. I got cheat sheet and hot tamales (what's for lunch?).

Tita 1:36 PM  

Naticked like many, but learning about Mr. YOST was worth it. Coincidence, I guess, that he died just last month.

Puzzle-husband came up with POTIT instantaneously...a great clue indeed!

Like y'all pointing out TRINES crossing those three EEEs.

Ha ha - ACME - you are an onomastician par excellence!

@Rex - thx for the Michael STEELE pic.

@J Caesar - you are my hero.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Got everything except NNW thanks to my fixating on AIR GUITAR, which sort of made sense, given air violins and such. It led me perfectly to GAT, UTAH, INCAN, and THALIA, then the gears clashed. Cold brown beers might be a cause for head-turning, but not HOT TAN ALES. And who know what a CHEAT'N HOST would give as a final answer, except to let an RSVP fall through the cracks. Grrr. But fun.

syndy 2:24 PM  

" " EASY MEDIUM" " LOL @ anon CJ! Admittedly My time would have been much shorter if I had trusted my first instincts,but time and again I balked and backpedaled.OSMAN and THALIA were pure GIMMEES;AQUAVITAE AND WINTER the few quess I went with. EHLE TSE STEELES TRINE LEEELDER YOST all WTH'S REORGANIZE my most regretted cowardice.

Davis 2:30 PM  

This one was apparently right in my wheelhouse (even though I didn't know the Costello album), as I achieved my best-ever Saturday time, by a lot. My progression through the puzzle was basically NW, SW, SE, then a short hang-up in the NE. The ASTANA/YOST Natick was annoying, though — I just started randomly guessing plausible letters until the iPad app said I was good (for the record, 'S' was my third guess, after 'L' and 'N').

Loved seeing EIGHT BIT in this puzzle, as it brought me back to my misspent youth playing Nintendo (and blowing in cartridges to make them work). I enjoyed all the long across entries in the NW. And AMORAL crossing AMORES in the SW was kinda cute. Like our host, I also enjoyed EXXON MOBIL for the double-Xs (which briefly made me suspect I'd screwed up down there).

As far as some of the weirder ones go, I knew QAT from Scrabble, TRINES from a random computer game, and OSMAN from who knows where (not from crosswords, though). And somehow I remembered RAMIS immediately, which is unusual for me as I have a hard time remembering who directed what.

So overall I found this a treat — fun enough for me to overlook EHLE and TSE (couldn't we get a less awful clue for TSE, though?), and the awkward adjective RAVINED.

John V 3:22 PM  

West was medium, East was haunted by Big Gene, IMHO. TSE? EHLE? Bah. RAVINED feels made up. Maybe I've just been too HURICANED or TORNADOED or NOREASTERED or WHATEVERED.

NO trail was clever, liked that one.

Okay, end of Sandy cranky pants. Power is supposed to come on today. Watched a kid from Oklahoma working atop a power pole, in front of Andy Rooney's old house, cowboy hat atop his safety helmet. Cool.

John V 4:08 PM  

Heads up, all. BEQ puzzle tomorrow!

Unknown 5:08 PM  

Liked it, though I found it challenging. Would have been even more so if I did not know MYAIMISTRUE (part of the lyric from "Alison"). Really liked the AMI repetition in TSUNAMI, NAMING, RAMIS for some reason. Also really liked the clues and answers for AIRQUOTES & IHOPENOT. Could have had more fun with the clue for WINGMAN.

I was intimidated a bit by all that wide open white space, but any Saturday that I don't have to google is a good day.

retired_chemist 5:29 PM  

Great puzzle. Easy-medium here also.

AIR QUOTES and MY NAME IS TRUE needed a LOT of crosses before emerging. YOST was clear from _O_T. HAL was a gimme; ditto LEE ELDER. AIR ACE for 44D,

TRIADS for 35A, and SENATOR @ 53A were speed bumps. ARAB to me is an ethnic group; the horse is an Arabian. So the clue of 58A seemed a bit off to me, even though it is correct.

The NW in particular was the most fun to solve - the whole puzzle, however, was a winner. Enjoyed 23A, which was SE_S, and the aha moment when I put in the I. Speaking of onomastics, I was looking here for something like Jaime Cardinal SIN, perhaps my favorite name of all time.

Thanks. Mr. Beckman.

Because it's funnier that way.. 6:22 PM  

My Politio Micheals and others were STOOLES.

Milford 6:41 PM  

Not easy for me, but it's been a distracting Saturday. I don't use AIR QUOTES myself, but I really should have gotten that one sooner.

Was determined in having the 17A head-turner clue be something anatomical, so that took awhile as well.

Good workout, just tougher than most.

We almost named our first-born Allison, so MY AIM IS TRUE is a great entry.

Stevlb1 7:45 PM  

This was a tough one for me. I finished, with no mistakes, but it took awhile. I have been doing the NYT puzzle, for many years. Am I that dumb(rhetorical)?

Dirigonzo 8:00 PM  

I had completed the bottom half of the grid but was in deep trouble up top when weekend puzzle partner stopped by and started popping in answers like she'd been doing Saturday puzzles for years (she still struggles with early week grids). Our combined efforts finished the puzzle pretty quickly (for us) with only OWS: MPiA/iSTANA. When she filled in the obvious "NO" follower to complete the grid all I could say was, "I taught you that".

Loved the shout out to my favorite onomastician at 27a!

My sympathy goes out to Rexites in the NY/NJ/mid-Atlantic area who are suffering the lingering effects of superstorm Sandy - the suffering and hardship caused by the storm are unimaginable but I hope life returns to some semblance of "normal" soon.

fergus 8:23 PM  

YOST was also spelled JOOST. (Known from that great board game, All-Star Baseball, where his at-bats were delineated by wide swaths for Walks.) Had enough trouble in the NE by having penned in ALMATY. And oops, left in FOE for FOX, figuring an EMAN was something comical.

sanfranman59 10:20 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:25, 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
Sat 27:01, 29:06, 0.93, 34%, 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
Sat 14:56, 16:30, 0.91, 33%, Easy-Medium

Notsofast 12:31 PM  

Everything was fun until the NE. What follows "BULL".

Amelia 4:43 PM  

Easy to Medium????

Good grief. I just finished it. I didn't look up a single thing, but man I was struggling. I'm embarrassed that I didn't get PQR sooner. I was wondering why the NO was in all caps. As difficult as I found it, I enjoyed it immensely. Another thing. Because I have refugees from Hurricane Sandy in the house, I graciously gave up the newspaper and was doing the puzzle online. That's no fun at all! Give me newsprint every time!

Dirigonzo 5:01 PM  

@Amelia - congratulations on your persistence, your generosity and your appreciation of solving on paper. These are all commendable traits in my opinion! I hope your refugees are able to return to their own homes soon.

Amelia 5:16 PM  


Thanks so much for the kind words. It is no imposition to provide a hot meal and shower (and newsprint) to people in their 80's. They're good company, too. They desperately want to go home to their own things, but no power yet. Dead zones abound in Manhattan, despite all the news you hear. As for the puzzle, the very last thing I got was longi. Longi? What the hell? Twenty minutes later, I (long I) got it.

Spacecraft 12:57 PM  

And that is why, @Amelia, I'm on a campaign to rid grids of the awful scourge, the LONG/SHORT vowel sounds. Let me give an example of a SHORTO while expressing my displeasure: AAAAAUGH! STOP IT!!! My reasoning, beyond mere personal distaste, is that you can use any old word in your clue that has the requisite phonetic, thus sending the solver on an infinite number of wild goose chases. I'm getting too damn old to go off after "untamed fowl," as Spock would say.

This was hard but gettable (just) for me. Gimmes ACHESON, HAL and RAMIS--the latter two representing two of my very favorite movies--were still not enough to bring my rating down. OFL, this may be hard to believe, but some of us are [gasp!] NOT fans of Elvis Costello. Without knowing OSMAN, THALIA, ASTANA or that album title (note: album titles were never that important to me, even of bands that I loved)--and battling endweek clues like "What may follow 'NO'"--today was no picnic. It all came BIT by BIT after much headscratching and pondering. I made a face at SOVIETRUBLE--wasn't it just called the ruble?--but I guess it's OK. 59a really threw me for a while before the aha! of EXXONMOBIL--I own some!--because I was stuck on the ORGANIZational meaning of "union." By now I should know better. And what a strange definition for AMORAL: "Not ikely to judge." TRUE enough, I suppose, but that has to be the kindest way to describe that word I've ever heard.

Finished with no help or errors, but with a "Whew!"

rain forest 1:25 PM  

Some crosses are Naticks for some, and gimmes for others. I blanked for a period of time, and then scanned the puzzle for gimmes which turned out to be YOST, MYAIMISTRUE, LEEELDER, ACHESON, HAL, and ON NOW (once I got ACHESON). Everything else came quickly except for my personal Natick, the TSE/STEELES cross. I was sure the actress was EHLO (sounds more like a real name to me), and for me, Michael Steele is completely unknown. I plead Canadianism. Except for that cross this was easier than yesterday's for me.
It's hard to believe that some people hit by Sandy still don't have power. Hang in there, folks.

Waxy in Montreal 6:13 PM  

Time now to chew the QAT. Same gimmes as @rain with the exception of MYAIMISTRUE which took me forever to suss out. Strong commitment to VOLTMETER before WATTMETER made the SW more difficult than it needed to be abetted by GROUNDS before ROTUNDA. And had RAVAGED before RAVINED (huh?) in the mid-Atlantic area. Would have preferred a clew referencing Chairman Mao for TSE - luckily for me, Michael STEELE is such a fixture on CNN that even this Canuck is familiar with him. Got SEIS from its crosses but had to Google before understanding a connection to a Spanish cardinal anything.

Always liked the fact that an anagram for PURITAN is A TURNIP.

Time now for some refreshment before the Sunday crossword. A NIP of AQUAVITAE sounds promising.

Hugh Hefner 7:57 PM  

Had "eighteEn" for 3D.

bananfish 3:18 AM  

Thought some of the cluing was kinda clumsy, but YOST wasn't a problem (had it once I saw my first instinct - GAEDEL - wouldn't fit.

How does SERIES make any sense for "Season finale?"? Is that referring to the World Series being the end of the baseball season? Just Series, without World?!? Are you kidding me?

I also agree with an earlier complaint about FOX for "Young hunk, say" because hunk is male while fox is female, and while I'm at it, how does "young" illuminate the answer any?

I also wasn't crazy about REORGANIZE for "Modify an order?" but I guess I can't put that one in the "unfair" category.

My own natick was ACHESON/SEIS. I ended up with ACHERON/REIS, thinking that the word for a Spanish cardinal was similar to the word for king. Acheson should have been in my head somewhere.

Ernie Boy 6:05 AM  

Never thought that there are lots of strategies in the game. Though sometimes I use scrabble two letter cheat sheet just for the winnings. I only use it if I were playing it with my family :D

bocamp 7:04 PM  

@Sandy K 1:01 PM

Doing this puzzle Nov. 3, 2020 - I echo your experience! Did manage to NOT dnf, so both challenging and fulfilling. :)

Peace 🕊

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