Composer Siegmeister / SAT 12-15-12 / Ottoman dignitary / Guitar-spinning group / Move with bobbing motion / Three-sided carrier / Film producer Fayed / It blew in 1707 / Its central deity is Amatrerasu / Dweller in hall Bilskirnir / 1980s Argentine president Alfonsin /

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Constructor: Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ELIE Siegmeister (51A: Composer Siegmeister) —

Elie Siegmeister (b. January 15, 1909, New York City – March 10, 1991, Manhasset, New York) was an American composer, educator and author.
His varied musical output showed his concern with the development of an authentic American musical vocabulary. Jazz, blues and folk melodies and rhythms are frequent themes in his many song cycles, his nine operas, his eight symphonies, and his many choral, chamber, and solo works. His 37 orchestral works have been performed by leading orchestras throughout the world under such conductors as Arturo ToscaniniLeopold StokowskiDimitri MitropoulosLorin Maazel, and Sergiu Comissiona. He also composed for Hollywood (notably, the film score of They Came to Cordura, starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth, 1959) and Broadway ("Sing Out, Sweet Land," 1944, book by Walter Kerr). (wikipedia)
• • •

What a difference a wavelength makes. Whereas yesterday I struggled to get a grip, today I sliced clean through the grid, despite not being familiar with more than a few key answers (most notably the marquee answer: CHANDLER, ARIZONA (35A: City of a quarter million founded on a ranch site)—is that a well-known place? Generally, I think a central 15 oughta be legitimately famous for *something*). After some tentative, weak initial guessing in the NW—where I wanted FARSI or BANTU for 1D: Origin of the word "cheetah" (HINDI) and ETNA for 4D: It blew in 1707 (FUJI)—I decided I would gut-check the Downs (starting at 5D and heading east) in quick succession; that is, I wrote in the first thing that came to my mind (via my gut, presumably). This got me AGA (right!), NUT (right!), BALSA (er ...), HARE (right!), ATTN (right!), I-don't-know, and I-don't-know. I could tell BALSA was messing things up, so I removed it, and NINJA TURTLE jumped right out (17A: Raphael, e.g.). No problems after that, except with INAUGURATOR (15A: Swearing-in figure), which I didn't know was a word, and LOLLOP (10D: Move with a bobbing motion), which I *really* didn't know was a word. After that I took the easy MENLO PARK to the Very Easy CLAREMONT (13D: Home of Pomona College) (Rex Parker, c/o '91), and half the puzzle was done.

Had ARIZONA but no idea what was supposed to be in front of it. Was able to throw SHOELACE across the grid into the west, and there I performed my greatest miracle—I got HAS DIBS ON from just the "H" (32D: Claims) Just the "H!" I demand some kind of award for that, 'cause that is some damn fine guessing. Confirmed it immediately with RMN and OSO. Then there was the small matter of the SE. Couldn't decide between FT. ORD and FT. DIX (44D: Neighbor of McGuire A.F.B.), but did manage to get AVID, ARI, and EWAN, and between the "V" and "W" in that set, picked up CAVE DRAWING (53A: Bit of ancient art). This made everything else easy, and I ended with the "E" in LEGOS (47D: Toy snappers).

Crossword-famous ANI DIFRANCO finally gets the full-name treatment, which is nice (57A: Singer who founded Righteous Babe Records). I always like it when people whose first or last names are crosswords get their full-name due. Love the clue on ALI (16A: Onetime giant in decking). Completely fooled me. Stunned to uncover DODI, mostly because I'd totally forgotten he once existed. Such a huge name in 1997 news, now (by me) forgotten. Clue on ZZ TOP made me laugh (and helped me change PEPPY to ZIPPY). If you don't know what the clue refers to ... well, here:

ZZ TOP - Legs from Domenium on Vimeo.

In deity news: never heard of Amaterasu, but pieced together SHINTOISM from just the first and last letters (31D: Its central deity is Amaterasu). Also, had -HOR before I ever saw the clue at 48D: Dweller in the hall Bilskirnir (THOR). There's something about THOR's being boxed in the corner by SHINTOISM that I really enjoy. Nobody puts THOR in a corner! In non-deity news, RAUL Alfonsin is somebody (36D: 1980s Argentine president Alfonsin). Never heard of him, but I had the -AUL, and figured "hmmm ... probably not SAUL ..."

This puzzle was a pleasant distraction from an otherwise horrific day. I would like to say something profound about all the murdered children in Connecticut, but all I have at the moment is incoherent rage and despair. I'm just so sorry.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:19 AM  

I destroyed this one. Got in right off and blazed through it. CCL for "M Quarter" and CINCO for "A third of quince" held me up just a bit, but I swept through the puzzle and was only held up in the NW.

It would have been a record Saturday time, but the NW hung me up a bit. LOW FAT CREAM for HALF AND HALF (with WELDS off the W) took some sorting out.

No write-overs anywhere except the NW, which should not be possible. I am not good enough to do this kind of damage to a Saturday crossword, therefore it cannot be Saturday quality.

The only dicey spot was LOLLOP. Didn't know it and was torn between ON ICE or iN ICE. It would have been a huge disappointment to go down on a missed guess on this one - which is usually what happens. I seem to have about a 5% success rate on 50-50 chances.

Anonymous 1:01 AM  

I'm sure we've discussed LOLLOP here before. Perhaps if I weren't such a cheep bastard I'd give $10 to Jim Horne and look it up.

How can cheetah come from Hindi? Aren't cheetahs exclusively African? The internets say no. So much for a life spent watching Big Cats on NatGeo.

Rex - thanks for doing this.

jae 1:39 AM  

Yes, much easier than yesterday's. Me too for etna before FUJI plus PLAZZA before PIAZZA and ZestY before ZIPPY. Liked it, it had ZIPPY after all.

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

question about another puzzle's hint and answer:

Clue: Your, among Friends
Answer: Thy

Friends is a poet, play, old English something?


Anonymous 2:00 AM  

This is the first appearance of LOLLOP in the NYT.

Why the f.. isn't the NYT providing added value to the product by directly providing what xwordinfo does? Oh yeah, they don't even do all that good a job of what they do now.

Greg Charles 2:01 AM  

I'm glad you mentioned it anyway. I'm alternating between rage and despair. I think The Onion's coverage of it is actually the most accurate. "F$&@ everything, Nation Reports'"

Anonymous 2:16 AM  

Friends are Shakers

chefwen 2:39 AM  

How come most of the late night posters have turned into Anons? Annoying! I miss my old late nite buddies.

Much easier than the last couple of days but still a bit of a struggle for me.

Loved ZZ TOP and PIAZZAS. Like Rex really liked the clue and answer at 16A giant in decking ALI. Fabulous.

Looking forward for my PTPP return to "the rock" tomorrow to assist in the Sunday's extravaganza.

I wish I could feel rage, but all I feel is utter sadness.

Ellen S 3:52 AM  

@Anonymice: Friends are Quakers -- Religious Society of Friends. There are apparently about 8 Shakers left in the world -- a celibate sect, so no surprise there are only 8. Maybe they call each other Friends; sure enough they don't call each other "honey."

Lollop is another country word I think. My sainted hubby, who liked crossword puzzles "something fierce" used to describe my dog's gait that way. It gave me no trouble.

I got HAS DIBS ON from like the H, A and N -- if Rex deserves an award (yes he does), given my solving skills, I deserve at least a Nobel Prize in Crosswords. Today was easier than yesterday; yesterday was easier than Thursday. The world is going backwards?

Anonymous 4:04 AM  

Thanks Anon and Ellen about Friends.

Aero Claremont MenloParks 4:06 AM  

Yes, pePPY before ZIPPY... once I converted, all fell into place!

Seemed really easy, same wavelength, etc. that @Rex mentioned...
Once I put in INS and DODI, ---DI led to HINDI which lead to HALFANDHALF at 1A, the whole puzzle was like that.

BUT one huge mistake...I thought Gran Paradiso was an ILE, so ended up with iCRID (embarrassing! Thought maybe it was LIKE ACRID, but for cold stuff! I really don't know my cold stuff as I thought FREON would have two EEs) Gave me LOLLOe which I knew was wrong but didn't know how to fix it.

FTord vs FTDIX...perfect example of when in doubt go with X, Z, or J!
Look at the 3 ZZZ build up (and the diagonal of DXVDX, that's like some crazy Roman numeral for 514510)!

In Scrabble, C-H-I can also be spelled as the now- game-changing Q-I , so I count this as a pangram!
Will Nediger just probably didn't want a two-letter word in his puzzle! ;)

LOVED NINJATURTLE up top and FEDEXKINKOS at the bottom...that is one crazy entry in a grid and if that wasn't the seed/anchor I don't know what was! Crazy Cool.

I don't quite get Web site crasher FLY. Is FLY another computerspeak word for BUG?

And what was with the weird foreign math problem in the SW? A Roman numeral division problem crossing a Spanish one?

But love EWAN McGregor (circa "Shallow Grave") and CLINK is so evocative of can (it's like the sound of the bars being shut or maybe it should be called the CLANK)

TILDE was the word I was searching for Thursday...not ENYA
And it was lucky that there was a bleedover of MENLOPARK or I'd have been casting around a lot longer for that name.
(Tho I"m embarrassed to say I only learned a year or two ago that Edison was NOT out here at the MENLOPARK in Northern California. SOmehow I decided he must have been at Stanford or something)

There was something super energetic about this grid: RIPAPART! HISSY fit! LEAP of faith! ZIPPY! ATTN! NINJATURTLE! AVID NUT! SINK/CLINK! HASDIBSON! TOBEEXACT!

Also liked how many words ended in i:

Cathelou 5:12 AM  

@Anon: Think old-school web: spiderweb, fly caught therein.

Acme 6:10 AM  

@cathelou, thankyou! Headsmack!

OTD 7:23 AM  

Hung up on the NW until the end. Also had Etna at first. Forgot FUJI is a volcano. Ugh. Senior moment there.

Took me a while to work out ZZTOP since I'm Older Than Dirt, but fit with ZIPPY and PIAZZAS so had to work.

Didn't take long to get CHANDLERARIZONA. Agree with Rex on that one. Never heard of ANIDIFRANCO and hoped it worked on the crosses. Good puzzle for a Saturday.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 7:35 AM  

Thanks Rex for doing this every day. And for saying what you did at the end of today's post. Me too.

Glimmerglass 8:05 AM  

Nice guesses, Rex.I had no such luck. Every now and then I hit a puzzle that I'm sure will be impossible for me. No traction anywhere -- just a word or two here or there. Then I go round and round and pick at words or parts of words. (HARE, AGA, maybe NINJA TURTLE?) At last, it gets done. Very satisfying. But I would never call this easy-medium. For me, it was really hard.

Zygotic 8:36 AM  

Can a DNF be easy? My heads across the pond were the political PMS as opposed to the more mundane WCS. I even considered loo briefly. Since pEEDY and mELL didn't work I puzzled my way to sEEDY and wELL and wondered what an swS could be. Does anyone still use "mobile phone?" It took me a couple of beats after seeing the correct answer to get the clue.

With MENLO PARK, CLAREMONT (thx Rex), ZZTOP, and ANI DI FRANCO all automatic, big sections of the grid filled quickly. I, too, had Gran Paradiso in the ocean before the mountains. Writeovers were octTANE before HEXANE and jFK Bridge before RFK Bridge, but this was an otherwise easy Saturday.

Tita 8:49 AM  

AGA was the name of our dog - best dog ever. Short for AGApito. Or AGAmemnon, depending on which sibling you ask.

Ws just in PIAZZA Navona, so that answer shoulda come easier.

iLe and sEEDY. etna for FUJI...

Now, I did really great in the NE, SE, SW, and middle, but googled for the NW.

Media - how can you interview these kids?! Parents - how can you allow then into your Christmas-decorated living rooms, the same night of this horror!?

dk 8:52 AM  

Well CLAREMONT was easy enough. LOLLOP and INAUG-A-whatever slowed me down. Yesterday was an easier day for me. No traction today. Perhaps it was the 2 bottles of wine son and I downed last night in Stillwater… nah can't be,

Happy to see HOD and chuckling over the fact that Andrea needs to reread Charlotte's Web

🐢🐢 (2 turtles on the way to the Dojo)

Sallie and Rex, Despair and sorrow sum it up. After 20+ years as a forensic psychologist our capacity for cruelty still shocks me.

jackj 9:27 AM  

With CCS and CCL, (neat Roman numeral clue by the way), if Will Nediger had wanted to he could have clued in CCC, CCD, CCU, even CCW and had a most unique theme puzzle (with CEE being the reveal).

At some point, most solvers just know that they will complete a puzzle and with today’s, for me, it came right at the start when FREON joined FUJI, AGA and HARE in 1across and it became crystal clear that HALFANDHALF was meant to temper my coffee.

Not that there weren’t tricky treats along the way, like thinking of John Roberts as the INAUGURATOR, (makes him sound like a Mafia knee-capper) or learning a new word, LOLLOP and thinking it more appropriate for defining a half-licked lollipop than for being a bobbing motion.

On the easy side, having gone through Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at FTDIX made the Maguire AFB neighbor answer a gimme and DODI Fayed was an easy fill, sadly remembering that he died in the car crash that also killed Lady Di.

Strangest entry had to be CHANDLERARIZONA, a place that seems mostly noted for their annual Ostrich Festival and for being the home of Mean Joe Green but then there was my favorite entry, one that many would consider a throwaway but rang my bell, CLINK for “Can” (or “Jail”, if you must).

To reverse my final comment of yesterday, this played more like a Friday than a Saturday, but that’s not a complaint.

Thanks, Will Nediger.

With deepest sympathy to all the good folk of Newtown who are suffering from the unspeakable evil inflicted on their town.

We must find a way to end this insane thuggery!

Darlene 9:33 AM  

@Rex Ditto on your feelings and hand up for I'm sorry! .

For a midevalist; did Lollards LOLLOP since both have a connotation of lolling and stupidity as a slur against the sect?

I found this much harder than most. Way too many write overs including most of the above.

@Acme I was going to say, " Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly." However, @cathelou and @dk said it better.

@dk as an MD for 35 years (and almost a forensic pathologist in the beginning) I cannot agree more with your last statement.

Qvart 9:34 AM  

This one was fairly satisfying, but wished it had been more challenging for a Saturday puzzle (Typically I only do the weekend puzzles. During the week they're too easy). I breezed through it and only got hung up on one letter: I really did not know "hod" or "hexane" (though I suspected the common letter was "H" since the only other letter I thought might fit - "P" didn't work for the down word).

I enjoy your blog. Thanks, Rex.

joho 9:35 AM  

Great writeup, @Rex, from beginning to sad end.

After the last two challenging days I was thrilled to be on Will Nediger's wave length and found this puzzle to be sheer joy.

But, like @Aero Claremont Menlo Parks, I had a mistake at LOLLOe but with a different answer: I thought Gran Paradiso was an island ALe.

One square off didn't ruin my fun. There are so many great answers here there's no way I could RIPAPART a thing!

Milford 9:37 AM  

This felt like a Saturday, so I'm not sure what that makes yesterday's puzzle - a super-Saturday?

Very bizzare, but fun, collection of long across entries, not the least of which was the ARIZONA city.

Loved the ZZZ area. Laughed at myself for having bluE before HARE, thinking how Little Boy Blue was slacking, not taking care of the sheep and cows.

Grateful for the distraction of doing this puzzle, Grateful to Rex for maintaining it on a heart wrenching day. Grateful I'm able to watch my 3rd grader play basketball this morning.

jberg 9:58 AM  

I have lots today about yesterday, but this isn't the place. My heart goes out to everyone; like all of us, I can't stop thinking about my own kids (in this case, grandchildren).

Ah, the puzzle. Someone has to mention the crossing foreign language math problems in the SE. OK for a Saturday, I guess.

Also, as Rex suggested, the non-Di clue for DODI Fayed.

Challenging, fun puzzle, but I finished with an error - had not idea about Gran Paradiso (my first guess was either RUM or RON), and never thought of LOLLOP, so I ended with LOLL On/ALn, whatever the latter might be (some kind of ait, maybe?)

Stay safe, everyone.

Unknown 10:14 AM  

Easy medium? EASY MEDIUM!!! Great, now I get to spend the rest of the day feeling like a doofus for really struggling with this one. Good thing I like to be challenged, because these last few have really put me to work.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:25 AM  

I don't recall ever having encountered the word LOLLOP before.

@ACME - Some of us may have had an advantage re: MENLO PARK in having gone there on grammar school field trips!

Carola 10:37 AM  

Liked this one a lot - put up just the right amount of resistance, very satisfying to finish. Found it harder than yesterday's, but I think that was mainly due to my being on the HARE-brained side this morning. Started with the top half of the grid empty except for CLAREMONT, but that, along with SPA, got me to ARIZONA, and gradually the South fell into place.

Then back to face the empty NW swath. Had an internal HISSY fit when I finally realized that HALFANDHALF fit in 1A, as we always have 2 quarts in our fridge (you don't want to run out) and I was drinking it in my tea while staring at the grid.

Also slowed down by misreading the 12D clue as a plural so had an S where the K of MENLO PARK belonged, by deciding that if Gran Paradiso couldn't be an iLe then it must be an aLe, and by identifying the literary slacker as Huck.

Liked learning LOLLOP, the FREON/ ON ICE cross, and the crossing ZZs in PIAZZA and ZZTOP.

@Rex - You definitely get an award from me for seeing HAS DIBS ON from the H. I needed all but two letters.

@acme - Thanks for pointing out all of the ends-in-i words.

@Qvart - Maybe give a full week of puzzles + blog a try? For the early-week puzzles, there can be creative and witty themes - and blog posts and comments!

@Rex, I wouldn't be able to add anything to your last paragraph. So, so sad.

Shamik 10:38 AM  

Not just easy, but VERY easy. Although as I was solving it, I kept thinking I ought to have gotten some of the answers faster than I did.

CHANDLERARIZONA is in the southeast part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. I live in the northwest part of this area and had no idea Chandler had been a ranch.

Today is the first day that those families woke up without their children. Much sadness across the country.

retired_chemist 10:55 AM  

Wikipedia mentions the etymology ofcheetah - from Sanskrit via Hindi.

Lots of problems in the NW, despite having HINDI, AGA (or BEY), NUT(tentative), HARE, and ATTN. BLEW ANION - the dash in F- didn't look like a superscript minus sign to this chemist. Also FREON was hidden in my mind in a maze of possible alcoholic (and non) coolers. But when I got it, HALF AND HALF instantly emerged (DECAF was already in @43D). That changed ETNA or OSSA to FUJI,and then NINJA TURTLE (who knew?) fixed the rest.

Nice one, but not easy - medium. More challenging than medium here.

Thanks,Mr. Nediger.

Merle 10:59 AM  

Susan McConnell, you are not a doofus because I am not a doofus, and I struggled with this puzzle. I found it very difficult. Perhaps the shock of yesterday has had a mind-numbing effect -- I couldn't "distract" myself with the puzzle this morning. Such a sad time.

Re the puzzle -- Didn't get one answer until I finally got to 31A, shoelace, and the cross, 27D, acrid. i thought, oh good, now things will open. No. I knew that 17A clue, Raphael, was not the artist, was the teenage mutant ninja turtle, but somehow never thought of just ninja turtle, thought mutant had to be part of the answer. Took quite a while to get it.

Am I the only one today who knew who Amaterasu is? I knew her name because she is a major figure in the myth of the origin of Taiko, traditional Japanese drumming, and I have learned a lot about Taiko in the past several years. To learn about Taiko is to learn something about Shintoism.

Two Ponies 12:07 PM  

Easier and much more fun than yesterday. Thanks Mr. Nediger.

I suspect that as the facts are found, like the Aurora incident, it will be our mental health system that should bear the scrutiny.

Sandy K 12:10 PM  

This one went in O SO much easier than yesterday's. Today I felt more like the HARE to Friday's non-NINJA TURTLE.

Only hold-up was LOLLOP. Thought Gran Paradiso was going to be another ALe like SAM ADAMS, but ON ICE had to make it an ALP.

We're waking up and enjoying this puzzle and blog. Can't imagine what those parents are going through...their lives will never be the same. So tragic. So sad.

jae 12:42 PM  

@andrea & joho -- I just realized I had the same error (that's what happens when you post after coming home from a Christmas party). It was an ILE for me at first also but became ALE when iCRID looked very strange. Unfortuantely I never changed the E and might not have anyway as LOLLOP was a WOE for me.

Matthew G. 12:53 PM  

This puzzle was welcome after yesterday. I followed my worst Friday time in ages with my fastest Saturday ever. These last two puzzles could easily have been flipped.

I've heard of CHANDLER, ARIZONA, but this puzzle taught me the first fact I know about other than it's existence.

syndy 1:30 PM  

To the Quakers everybody was close friend/family- so they used the personal form;thy thou thee. when they were suppressed but the english government those form went out of common use. LOLLOP makes me think of the goofy character in Lucas' 4th movie-the jamaican thingy! Such devastation in connecticut-including Ryan Lanza-at first identified as the shooter. His mother dead and his brother having done such a horrible thing!

Lewis 3:03 PM  

@rex -- great writeup today, funny, smart, right on the mark.

Not easy for me, but relatively easy for a Saturday. Never heard of LOLLOP or CHANDLER ARIZONA, but they eventually fell...

Stevlb1 3:36 PM  

I got it BUT..........if that was "easy-medium", I'm outta my league!

JohnV 4:45 PM  

JNW was hard. LOLLOP is weird.

This is an awful day in CT.

Joseph B 4:49 PM  

The last letter I filled in was the H in HOD/HEXANE. It was a guess between H and P. The H looked as unlikely in HOD as the P did in PEXANE. I chose H mainly because I couldn't see how a pod was three-sided.

Funny: the last letter I entered in yesterday's puzzle was also a guess between H and P (and was equally Naticky): THEBIGSHORT/HALITE.

Yesterday I guessed wrong. :(

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Hmmm. I'll have to try Rex's "gut check" method out. I always wondered how someone can possibly finish a Saturday in 10 minutes. (I average around 45 minutes myself.) My hesitance to enter answers I'm unsure is maybe what's slowing me down.

Bad Hair Day 5:12 PM  

Had to Google a lot but finished. Learned some new words, too.

Thank you, Rex, for the great blog and to all the great people here for your insights. I learn so much from you.

Shamik, I had the same thought about waking up this morning to a new reality for these families.

Just want to hug my own kid but she is 21 and away at school...

Rex Parker 6:14 PM  

So much gratitude today. Awesome. You're all welcome.


bigsteve46 6:56 PM  

I guess CLAREMONT is a gimmee if you're an alum - but a relatively obscure college in a relatively obscure town, I mean its not CORNELL and ITHACA, or NOTRE DAME and SOUTH BEND, is what I'm saying.

Sparky 6:59 PM  

Hard. Of the thirteen answers I entered four wrong: Etnaa, PMs, isl and Ttop. Ouch. I would not have posted but I want to thank Rex and blog for being people of such gentle and humane feelings. A good place to come to.

Sparky 7:08 PM  

I can understand somewhat the right of the American Rifle Association to own a rifle so they can do sporting (hah) killing of furry things. How can anyone have the right to bear Glocks and Uzis? I cannot wrap my mind around this. Here in Florida "everybody's got a gun." Hate it.

Dirigonzo 7:14 PM  

My two sons were a huge help in solving the puzzle even though they are both grown now and live far away. Older boy loved ANIDIFRANCO amd used to get mail from Righteous Babe Records and number two son was into the teenage mutant NINJATURTLES, so with those long answers in place I was able to fill in the grid between them. Oh, and my yellow cat THOR helped out in the SW corner so he gets some of the credit too.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is a community in New Gloucester, Maine, not too far from me - I believe it's the last active Shaker village anywhere and it has only a very few remaining members. By all accounts they are a very peaceful, non-violent group - perhaps we all could take a lesson from them.

mac 7:42 PM  

This puzzle was a treat after a numbing 24 hours. Such sadness here, every kind word seems to produce tears.

@Two Ponies: mental health? Are you talking about the mother of the shooter owning at least 5 weapons including an assault rifle?

Anon 1:01AM 7:57 PM  

So, since I've already been nice and expressed my gratitude for this site, may I get snarky and ask how the hell you got into Pomona when the sign clearly requires reverence as a condition of admittance?

Anonymous 8:12 PM  

Second week in a row with Sat. easier than Fri.

Did I miss a memo?

Anonymous 9:15 PM  

I have to admit I've gotten out of the habit of reading your wonderful synopses. But when I saw a reference to my beloved Pomona College, I wanted to see what Rex would say. Color me disappointed. :-(

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

I went to college in CLAREMONT. That was before I went to rehab in CHANDLER ARIZONA.

Qvart 5:02 AM  

Carola - "Maybe give a full week of puzzles + blog a try? For the early-week puzzles, there can be creative and witty themes - and blog posts and comments!"

True. Maybe I will. This is the first time I've read comments and posted. And I do complete some of the other puzzles, but only when the paper doesn't sell out at my store. Then I get to keep them and do the crosswords (I don't have a subscription - but I never miss a Saturday puzzle). I check in here mainly if I'm completely stumped or looking for confirmation when I'm unsure about an answer (this typically only happens on Saturday. Sometimes Friday).

I've been doing the Sunday acrostic puzzles too lately. THOSE can make my brain hurt!

As for this puzzle: CCS, CAPACITOR, MENLO PARK, ZZ TOP, SHOELACE, RIP APART, HISSY, UPS, FLY, CCL, ANI DIFRANCO, FT DIX, CAVE DRAWING, FEDEX KINKOS, and TILDE all came too easy. The NW took the longest to complete, but when I realized my first answer - ETNA - wouldn't work the obvious second choice was FUJI. Then NINJA TURTLE seemed obvious because of the "J" and was confirmed by DRUMS and HARE (which felt like gimmes). HALF AND HALF seemed obvious after DECAF in the SW. As for CHANDLER ARIZONA, that answer seemed like it would be both city and state and once I filled in CAPACITOR and SPA I guessed ARIZONA. I've heard of CHANDLER but wouldn't have thought of it without the crossing down answers, but they weren't difficult either - HAS DIBS ON, CONSOLE, WEEDY, and CELL.

Definitely fun. Just felt like it should have stumped me more here and there. Typically I work the puzzle while listening to Car Talk and Wait! Wait! Don't tell me! and often get through most if not both shows before I'm done. I had this one done in something like thirty minutes.

Spacecraft 11:59 AM  

This was a lot of fun to do--which I did but for one square: #23. I could not decide whether "Overgrown" was rEEDY or sEEDY--completely forgetting about WEEDY. Well, in my defense, I'm not used to that word. Perfectly legit, but it just never entered my mind. And did I stew and stew about that clue: "Heads across the pond!" First I was thinking RHS for Royal Highnesses, but then what does HELL have to do with "Mobile?" Finally settled--after about three alphabet run-throughs--on CELL for the mobile, and just left 23 with SCS/SEEDY, hoping I'd find out what an SC was when I came here. When I saw the W it was a gigantic headslap. Sure. The old WC. The line that got Jack Paar fired. How could I forget?

Despite the one-letter fail, I did enjoy this. It certainly had no lack of ZIPPY fill. True, the central entry should be a bit more, um, significant (sorry, CHANDLERites!), and we had to endure a cross of foreign numbers and the letter CEE (grr!), but overall a fun solve. Saturday cluing made for a medium-challenging rating for this blogger.

Oh no: here we go again with the illegible captchas. Come on, guys, have a heart!

DMGrandma 3:33 PM  

Worked my way through this one, and somehow got everything but the NW which just wouldn't come. with the H in place I wanted the coffee thing to be Hotsomething-that foam stuff they put on fancy drinks. I never knew Diana's boy friend had a job, and despite having been there, didn't know Fuji had erupted in modern times, so had Etna. Finally came for help. While HALFANDHALF opened some down doors, the acrosses wouldn't come. INAUGURATOR, sounds like a word invented by the Decider. Add that the only Raphael I know used paint brushes, and I went down for the count.

Maybe I can manage Monday's challenge, but I'm beginning to wonder.

rain forest 4:42 PM  

Two things:
Despite not knowing that Raphael was a NINJATURTLE, or what a FEDEXKINKO is, I got this puzzle. Totally different experience from yesterday's, though I'm still unsure of LOLLOP. Not fast, but complete.

Second, the despair and rage that some bloggers have expressed 5 weeks ago is nothing compared to what they are probably feeling now as the gun lobby is in high dudgeon because the President wants to cease the sale of assault rifles and magazines of greater than 10 rounds. Words cannot describe the sheer lunacy rampant in that group. If this is tossed, so be it.

Dirigonzo 6:56 PM  

@rain forest - re your second point, thank you for saying it. All I have to add is "Amen".

Kari R 7:33 PM  

Decent for a Saturday. Not sure if I would rate it easy-medium, tho. It was chewy for me.

Dirigonzo 8:04 PM  

@Kari R - "Easy-Medium" for Rex usually translates into "chewy" for many of us here in syndiland. Welcome to Rexville - I hope you will visit often.

Anonyrat 8:20 AM  

@ Ellen S 3:52 AM - I agree with you on this week's puzzle progression. And it's not just this week - for the past two months or so I've been wondering if Thursday hasn't become the new Saturday. This puzzle was (for me) Monday easy except for the NW. Despite being a caffeine addict, I couldn't see HALFANDHALF for the longest time. Was looking for mocha-something. I usually go for a quad venti mocha, or preferrably, an ER 911 (six shots of espresso!) at Dutch Bros. (If my memory serves me correctly, you're in Cali, but not sure where exactly. They're not in SoCal yet, but their coffee is the best, and my kids love their smoothies.) Like Rex, didn't know INAUGURATOR was an actual word - wanted Supreme Court Justice, bailiff, court clerk ... And was thinking artist for Raphael, not a frigging ninja turtle (after my childhood, before I had kids, so don't know squat about them). And INS for a ruling group? They don't rule, or make rules - but they issue rulings, so I guess it's legit, but weak IMHO. Plus LOLLOP (WTF?) and an ALP (not my idea of "paradise") called Gran Paradiso meant the NW took me longer than the rest of the puzzle combined.
Surprised to see the griping about the CCL-CINCO cross. That was my first gimme. Perhaps it's a little mean-spirited, but it amuses me to see people who think everyone in America should know "a vostre sante" cry because they don't know "five" in Spanish.
@ Two Ponies 12:07 PM - Agree with you 100%. My degree is in Psych, and this deplorable event is much more a "mental health system" issue than a "gun control" issue. Even if you ban guns, people like this will still find a way to kill (bombs, knives, whatever). Unless and until these people get the treatment they need, stuff like this will continue to happen.
Re HOD - if you collected old Matchbox cars as a kid, it wouldn't be that hard. A truck with an open back end was a "hod carrier." Didn't actually know what that meant, but now I know.
@ bigsteve46 6:56 PM - Now you know how we westerners in Syndiland feel when the clue is some obscure little New York college. Turnabout is fair play. And to be fair, the Claremont Colleges include Harvey Mudd College, which is one of the top engineering schools in the country along with MIT and CalTech.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

@Anonyrat, 8:20 AM -

Beg pardon, but I read your remarks addressed to Ellen S, and I believe you may have misinterpreted one answer in the grid.

For INS as a ruling group, it seems you take this to be an abbreviation for Immigration and Naturalization Service. I would suggest that it is just a standard bit of crosswordese, those who are in office, the "ins", as opposed to those who are out of office.

Anonyrat 3:23 AM  

Yes, I definitely read it as I.N.S., not ins. The latter never even occurred to me. Thank you for the clarification.

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