Dracula heroine Harker / SAT 12-8-12 / Pentateuch peak / 1935 Cagney crime film / Experience ecdysis / Washington attraction with punny name / Big Blue member for short / German resistance leader / Institution A-Team was jailed for robbing

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: VELUM (30D: Soft palate) —
n., pl., -la (-lə).
  1. Biology. A covering or partition of thin membranous tissue, such as the veil of a mushroom or a membrane of the brain.
  2. Anatomy. The soft palate.
  3. Zoology. A ciliated swimming organ that develops in certain larval stages of most marine gastropod mollusks.
[Latin vēlum, veil.]

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/velum#ixzz2EQYZLuTK
• • •

A typical (and typically enjoyable) Barry Silk offering. His puzzles are usually not quite on my wavelength, but they're close, so the feeling of solving is the feeling of chasing something that seems very catchable but keeps slipping out of my grasp. A greased pig? You like that metaphor, Barry? Now that we've established that "wavelengths" and "pigs" can be part of the same figurative universe, let's move on to puzzle specifics. I started out guns blazing and then ran into a wall (it's my mission to mix as many metaphors as possible tonight). GSHARP, ECOCAR, and ORTEGA, all easily gettable. But as far as the Downs went, only HOTHEADS gave way. [German resistance leader?] meant nothing to me, even with GEO- in place (though, to my credit, "resistance"/OHM connection did occur to me quite early ... just with no clear results). And SCRAM JET is something I'd say to a JET that I wanted to go away (2D: Boeing X-51 engine, e.g.). Never heard of it. But the O'JAYS (27A: "Use ta Be My Girl" group, with "the") and MT. SINAI (34A: Pentateuch peak) got me enough traction to finish things off there. No luck moving directly into the NE. In fact, no luck getting anywhere until I finally pieced together NY GIANT (24D: Big Blue member, for short) (I was thinking "Big Blue" = I.B.M., possibly because I live next to the town where it was founded, which itself is only an hour or so from ELMIRA (56A: Seat of New York's Chemung County)). Then it was into the SW, which was the easiest of the corners by far—ICONS and MOLT got me all the Downs, which got me all the long Acrosses, though BYSTREET took some thinking, as I've never heard anyone use that word ever (58A: Part of many a detour). SE was only somewhat more challenging. I had all kinds of WATTs before I hit on TERAWATT. No idea what the NEWSEUM is, but inferred it once I got the "W" from FEW. NE proved far easier to solve from the east than from the west. If I knew what TIELINES were, I'd've torn it up the same way I did the SW—the "T" in TIELINES was my last letter.

Two crime films today and neither clue rang a bell (16A: Oscar-nominated player of Sonny Wortzik = AL PACINO; 23A: 1935 Cagney crime film = "G-MEN"). I should probably be embarrassed, given that I teach a Crime Fiction course, but I lost my capacity for shame years ago, so no problem. I thought my ABS were crunchable, and I'm sure they are, but they aren't what was called for at 29A: They're crunchable: Abbr. (NOS.). While I would probably enjoy experiencing an ecdysiast, I think I'll pass on experiencing ecdysis. My skin is awfully pale, but I'll keep it, thanks. I've read "Dracula" exactly once, and yet MINA Harker apparently stuck like glue (49A: "Dracula" heroine Harker). Thanks, MINA. I love the insanity of the clue on HANOI (21D: Bank of ___ (institution the A-Team was jailed for robbing)). What kind of hardcore fan do you have to be to know that? Lucky for me the answer was totally inferrable from the -OI ending.  I didn't know FELIX the Cat was an early TV image (35D: Cartoon character that was one of the first images transmitted on TV), but I did know his career went back to the silent movie era—he debuted in "Feline Follies" (1919). Guess I've got six years or so to work on that centennial tribute puzzle.

There's a great new article out by Ben Tausig on the economics of crossword puzzles. Published by the website The Awl. Go check it out. And allow me once more to plug the new Tausig-edited American Values Club crossword—weekly, awesome, cheap. Get it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

This was way easier than yesterday's. Got in the grid right off and made good progress. Unlike yesterday, I finished with a mistake though. Bummer.

In the East, VELUM / NEWSEUM / MUTER / MINA, was the last to go. I was suspicious of TINA because it seemed too modern to be correct. Went with NEWSEUT (NEW SUIT ?) anyway. It sounded punny. Grrr. Maybe I'm just too tired, or maybe I should have scrolled the alphabet more carefully.

Woo hoo! HEDGEHOG for the first time since 1995. (Atrociously clued twice that year with "Spinose mammal" and also with "Erinaceus europaeus" OMG. Maleska's 1989 clue "Wonderland croquet ball" was nice.)

Sophie, the bestest hedgie:




Aura Catalog Muters 12:14 AM  

I'm not a speed solver, but for me to do this in less than 15 minutes for a Saturday would mean it was too easy.
(compared to almost an hour for yesterday, eg)

Literally my only writeovers were MTSINAI for MaSsada
(which I thought might be one S), CASTIRON for CladIRON which seemed backwards and
TALE for lorE.

So since I didn't fuss over anything, I didn't really appreciate anything. Almost too smooth for me to have anything jump out! Now I know how some speedsolvers apparently feel about Mondays.

PRANK was a bleedover.

Love names like NEWSEUM. There was a kids' museum here in SF just called Zeum.

PRANK bleedover.

I also liked the HAJ/ADJ cross. Nice sprinkling of Xs, Js, Q.

Would have stumbled over the GEORG spelling but an old Austrian friend just emailed today they'd be here for Xmas, and that's how her brother spells it.
Pronounced GAY-org, like Lambda, I guess!

WhollyWaters Blog 12:14 AM  

So, you callin' Mr Silk a pig? Way to ingratiate yourself into the xword community.

Way easier than yesterday, though MUTER runs neck and neck with RADARS as fake constructs.

Off puzzle topic, but does anyone around here know how/where to enlist on the "War on Christmas"? I'm about to go postal, and will the next time I hear some damned Christmas song in my damned gas station, or have my regularly scheduled programming interupted to watch '70s technology claymation elves on TV. Don't even get me started on It's a Wonderful Life. No it wasn't, you were miserable your whole damned life George. Just jump. I figure if I'm going to kill someone it ought to be in a good cause.

jae 12:37 AM  

Yes, much easier and much less zip than yesterday's.  I mean COOLIO vs. KEVIN Jonas....  Sharing an EXTRA DRY martini with an ICE QUEEN is about as zippy as this one gets.  Easy-medium for me with the emphasis on easy.

Erasures: lorE for TALE and, like Rex, abS for NOS. 

Mark Twain is buried in ELMIRA.  One more thing I learned from crosswords.

I guess this was OK, it's just that Wentz's is a hard act to follow.

acme 12:47 AM  

The Ben Tausig article @Rex has linked to says EVERYTHING I have ever thought or tried to say about crossword puzzles and money! And it's written perfectly! A MUST read! Thanks for writing it, Ben, and thanks for linking to it @Rex. this will save me from going blue in the face trying to explain how I feel!
Now I can simply just forward the article!

By the way, it's creepy that the numbers in the prove-you-are-not-a-robot thing are clearly pictures of people's home address numbers. Where are these pics coming from? That Google earth thing?

Anonymous 12:55 AM  

I love how all you people found this easier than yesterday's puzzle, which I finished without too much trouble. This was one of those where I get a sinking feeling early that I will not know nearly enough to have a snowball's chance. Got "gsharp", velum" and "felix" and that was pretty much it. Had to come here just so I could fill in the answers and feel RAGE. Still have no idea how "vel" or "adj" make any sense. For me, Barry Silk really lived up to his initials on this one.

jae 2:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 2:22 AM  

@anon -- rich and poor are adjectives, abbr. ADJ
The going rate is velocity, abbr. VEL

Two more examples of why this one is a bit of a let down after yesterday.

chefwen 2:29 AM  

Just read the late comments from yesterday, somebody really needs to step up to the plate and teach me how to spell. I am colored red.

Did alright with this one until I arrived to the NE. Fell flat on my face and ended up with another DNF. Two in a row. AARGH!

Loren Muse Smith 6:19 AM  

Granted, this was way easier than yesterday’s, but IMO 1a was fiendishly clued for a Saturday. I resisted GSHARP until the bitter end and was, um, kicking around shoes (almost filled in T STRAP, annoyed/charmed by the a in the clue), apartments, *anything* but G SHARP!! I don’t know why my “no-this-isn’t-a-Monday” filter didn’t kick in as I confidently filled in “hybrid” for ECOCAR.

Along the same lines, I resisted the *temper* take on “they snap easily” and RAGE. Too straight forward for a Saturday, so to clue it thus on a Saturday is, then, classic Saturday. Cool.

Loved the ENTICING SEQUENCE of the UM-finals right next to each other: VELUM (my low-hanging fruit) and NEWSEUM. Ever been bitten by a noseeum at a NEWSEUM?

But hey, hey! How about the h-squared triumvirate of HEGDE HOG, HOT HEAD, and HANOI Hilton! Surely this wasn’t HapHazard?! It’s not a stretch, then, to envision the SCENARIO of the Hard- Hearted ICE QUEEN in High Heels, ENTICING the Heavy Hitter for the NY Giants.

A HoleHearted thanks to Barry and the NYT’s Head Honcho. Happy Holidays, everyone.

(Oh, and FWIW, POTLIKKER has been not only in my lexicon but also in my cooking repertoire for decades. Mine results from a long simmer of collards and ham hocks. ;-)

Doris 7:21 AM  

Knew ECDYSIS because of the H.L. Menken coinage ECDYSIAST, used to describe the art of Gypsy Rose Lee.
Has since been taken up by various droll scribes and satirists.

OTD 7:23 AM  

Well, I enjoyed this one, and thank Barry Silk for building a puzzle that was easy in spots and darn difficult in others. Had me scratching my head at times, but liked the fill, esp. SCRAMJET, NEWSEUM, COCCYX, ECOCAR, and TIELINES crossing RINGER. Could go on, but 'nuf said.

Glimmerglass 8:18 AM  

I'm developing a new pet peeve in Xwords: plurals of words that are unique. E.g. Taj Mahals" "White Houses" (U.C.). Also plurals of something that is measured rather than counted -- "yeasts." Today it was 25A KALES. It is possible that KALES means varieties of kale (I suppose there are more than one, and they are all "sources of vitamin K"), but that's a lame clue.

Smitty 8:21 AM  

I missed the word Washington "attraction" and went looking for a town in DC. or WA state....like New York, New Paltz...best I could come up with was New Seul.

I've heard of the Newseum but didn't even see it until I came here.

My time was Medium, but I'd still rate it Med-Challenging.

mac 8:37 AM  

Great time doing this puzzle! I usually do well with Barry's puzzles. Had nrs. for nos. and immediately put in -m--or at 1A. That did not hold.

Liked a lot of the clues. Really thought he was going for a pangram, I think only the z is missing.

Yes, there are different kinds of kales.

Alines crossing tielines is not pretty.

mac 8:38 AM  

Liked Ben Tausig's article very much, as I do so much of his writing.

jackj 8:59 AM  

I’m sure that neither Peter Wentz nor Barry Silk wanted to be pawns in a game of “which do you like best” but by running them one after the other, Friday/Saturday, Will Shortz has made comparisons inevitable.

But, in the puzzling community, we’ll doubtless have the wordies equivalent of “Tastes great- Less filling!” and since those taunts have no right answer, let’s just declare a tie and move on to look at what Barry has wrought for us today.

And that is another “smooth as Silk” creation, treating us to the likes of an “Alibis and stomachs” comparison for CASTIRON, an “A flat alternative” that turns out not to be some kind of British condo, but a musical GSHARP and those are from just the first two clues in the puzzle.

The rest of the puzzle is replete with super clever cluing, like BCD, clued as “Series after the opener?”, “Newbies resource” is FAQ, “Anatomy test, briefly?”, why that’s an MRI, “Where you may be in France” is ICI of course and “rich or poor” was tricky (but easy, if you know your ADJ..ectives).

Moving on up beyond the three-letter answers we are treated to the likes of ANNEXES for “Wings”, two nice misdirects to get ONEPIN and CATALOG, then a “Novel creation” gives us SCENARIO and the “Woman who’s hard to reach”, clues the aloof yet alluring seductress, the ICEQUEEN. All are important pieces of this grab bag of pleasure.

A super Saturday puzzle that’s a bundle of fun; DARNIT, Barry, you’ve spoiled us!

jberg 9:13 AM  

I've been in the NEWSEUM, but it still took me awhile to get it - I wanted something more punny, like Foggy Bottom or the Senate office building formerly called the "Old SOB." I'm happy, though, as this is the first puzzle in 3 days I've actually finished correctly - maybe my brain is recovering from whatever had hit it.

Yeah, MUTER. Ever see a trumpet player put in MUTER in his horn? Neither have I. I've also been on byways and byroads, but never a BYSTREET. Or well, otherwise a nice, challenging puzzle. The last thing to fall for me was BCD.

Carola 9:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:31 AM  

GEORG OHMygod, did it take me a long time to see that one! Thinking of World War II, I'd gotten George VI into my head, but of course, that was FALSEST (false - falser - falsest: really? How much falser can you be than false?) The O in OHM was my last letter.

Otherwise only went temporarily astray in France, finding myself on an Ile before ICI and in mistaking a card game (ACE) for a play (ACt). MINA I happened to know from "Nosferatu" movies; not knowing "Toy Story," I smiled at learning Mr. Pricklepants is a HEDGEHOG rather than the some-kind-of-dOG I'd first imagined.

@Doris - The stripper was my reference, too. I had no idea ecdysis actually referred to MOLTing.

Zygotic 9:33 AM  

Easier than yesterday? Not for me. GEORG, KEVIN, and MINA must all live together in ELMIRA, maybe listening to NEIL. In my house Herdez, La Victoria, and Pace are salsas and ORTEGA is a central American political figure. I'm not sure why the ?'s were needed to clue MRI or VEL. And I take personal offense that Mr. Silk found room for two Q's but not a single Z.

"... the feeling of solving is the feeling of chasing something that seems very catchable but keeps slipping out of my grasp." Yep. A fun struggle.

joho 9:38 AM  

Didn't know I had one error until I came here: BiSTREET (where you'll find a bistro?)

Still, I really enjoyed this as I always do a Barry Silk.

Two great puzzles in a row ... can't wait to see what's up for Sunday!

Merle 9:40 AM  

Found the Friday puzzle pretty much the same as this one -- tore through it until I got stuck just before an easy finish. Friday's Coolio, for instance -- heard of Coolio, but don't know anything more than his name and genre -- but Kevin Jonas is totally unfamiliar to me. Know who the O'Jays are -- but not the song in the clue. Really liked aspects of this puzzle -- the "aha" moments when ice queen , cast iron, Mt. Sinai, Al Pacino, G sharp, extra dry, Elmira, spigot, extra dry, by street, darn it, "came across", fell into place. And coasted "down" hill on ringer, veneer, imbibe, scenario, no sale, kneed, A-lines.

Ortega as a salsa brand rather than any other clue for Ortega was an unknown. Nigaragua president, yes, salsa -- hmmm -- I like the music and the dance, but not the dip.

WTF moments -- vel, falsest, scramjet, Mina. Even if I had read Dracula, which I wouldn't -- always hated anything to do with vampires -- I probably wouldn't have remembered her name. Falsest sounds false -- who says falsest? Anyone who ever heard falsest said out loud before today, raise your hands. Okay, you're dissembling, put your hands down! After finishing the puzzle, Googled vel, and discovered, oh, velocity, going rate. Cute.

Merle 9:59 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for the link to the Ben Tausig article. I've been solving puzzles for 56 years, and whenever I've considered creating a puzzle, I've realized it's way too difficult for me to do. I love words, word games, find writing as natural as breathing, and almost as necessary -- but creating a crossword puzzle is a very specific and difficult undertaking. Kudos to those who have the talent, and who give us all so many hours of pleasure solving.

I never think of solving as an "adversarial" situation. It's not me against the puzzle. Rather, I see the puzzle as an invitation to play.

But I never thought about the economics of crosswords until I read Ben Tausig's article. And it was dismaying. Somehow I assumed the constructors were on contract, or something of the sort. Didn't realize they were free-lance. And didn't realize they weren't properly compensated. I hope at least that they find great pleasure in the challenge of creating a puzzle, as much pleasure as we do in the challenge of solving.

Thank you, all constructors! Thank you, Ben Tausig! Thank you, Rex!

JFC 10:15 AM  

Kept trying to squeeze IBM EMPLOYEE for Big Blue member....


OISK 10:36 AM  

Loved this one, especially after yesterdays horror. I rarely have a DNF, but when I do I become frightened that senility is beginning to set in. Whew, apparently not. Despite knowing nothing about the Ateam, the Jonas brothers, Toy Story, or the OJAYS, this was a pleasurable solve for me. The crossing clues were all within my range. I don't mind unfamiliar pop culture in a puzzle, but too many such clues in one quadrant (as in yesterday's SE) should be avoided. I always enjoy Mr. Silk's puzzles - challenging but fair. Love the clue for "cast-iron" by the way! Thanks, Barry!!

OISK 10:44 AM  

@Merle. "I'll play a bad part on the FALSEST of fiddles-on very false fiddles he'll play a bad part." (From Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore) As for Mina..."The children of the night, what music they make..."

Sandy K 10:56 AM  

Gee, felt much more SHARP today than yesterday!

Everything was gettable and fell into SEQUENCE. Never heard of NEWSEUM, but 'punny' clue made it inferable.

Resistance made me think of OHM, and the crosses gave me GEORG- which happened to be Capt. Von Trapp's first name in "The Sound of Music."

Glad I remembered my COCCIX and FELIX the cat! ICE QUEEN was very ENTICING. Much smoother going than yesterday- just what I KNEEDed!

Jim Finder 11:29 AM  

No comments on 6D, "Shoe-lacing," as a PRANK? Shoe-lacing is how you set up your shoes so they won't fall off your feet. I do understand that a jokester might tie your two shoes together, as a prank. But why would that be called "shoe-lacing"?

Please make the CAPTCHA thing easier.

evil doug 11:32 AM  

I read the Tausig article.

Yes, you can always self-publish. But if you get a chance to sell your book to Simon and Schuster---even with the associated bureaucratic headaches, management fees, etc---most would jump at it. So it is, I imagine, for the occasional and perhaps frequent constructor to whom seeing a byline in the Times means much more than the dough, syndication rights, so forth.

If one feels enslaved by the Times or other national papers, then why do you keep banging your head on that wall? Withhold your services. Organize. Go on strike. As long as you continue to provide your puzzles to the paper, your complaints ring hollow.

For those who seek to make a living on crossword construction, my question is: Really?

And realize, when you do get published, that you are voluntarily inviting the consumers of your product to voice their opinions of its value. We get to say what we want. Don't defend your work, you won't change our minds. If you have thin skin, better to find another avocation (or, for you few starving artists out there, occupation).

I've got a few other things on my plate right now---the debt, fiscal cliff, Syria, Korea, Iran, a dying dog, Christmas presents, the Bengals making the playoffs, which shirt to wear---so I guess I'm going to have to load-shed my concerns about the woes of crossword makers. God-speed, you courageous grid-mongers.


MAB 11:45 AM  

I just read Mr. Tuasig's article and am actually angered for the contructors even though I have never even attempted to pen a crossword puzzle. I wonder if the fact that the NY Times now has an advertisement prominently displayed atop every puzzle if compensation will change.

I've been solving the NYT crossword for the last 40 years and will continue to do so thanks to all of you creative geniuses - the contructors. Thank you very much. And thank you Rex Parker for your wonderful blog!

lawprof 11:54 AM  

Finishing a Saturday without error makes my weekend...hell, it makes my whole week, especially after Friday's fiasco.

Started like a house-afire with GSHARP, but then absolutely nothing all the way down, except for a few terminal S's on the obvious plurals. Then I got some traction in the SW and worked my way counter-clockwise around the grid, finishing in NW, where I almost gave up on GSHARP because all I could think of for 2D was tuRboJET until the vaguely-heard-of SCRAMJET appeared over the horizon. The end came quickly.

For me, this is the most satisfying of puzzles - hopeless at first, then a little glimmer, followed by steady progress and a furious finish.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

First want to chime in to say that yesterday was one of the toughest, highest quality puzzles I can remember. Today was a forgettable breeze in comparison.

Don't buy 7A: alibis are "ironclad" (which is what I began to put in); stomachs are CAST IRON. I don't really think there's overlap in actual usage. Google comes up with a few "CAST IRON alibi" hits, but they look like strays to me.

syndy 12:10 PM  

I love Barry Silk-always will!. now for the nits: I don't care if every single leaf has it's own dna,fingerprints,life style choices,hopes and aspirations "KALES" is just a cheap trick.nuff said. I loved the flow from GEORGWATT to TERAWATT-who knew? can the frequency of repeated words in this puzzles be entirely random?or is it a PRANK?

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Georg Watt. Who knew indeed …

Bob Kerfuffle 12:27 PM  

My one write-over was to enter, as did @Carola, ACT before ACE at 4D.

Must confess I had 29 A, NOS, entered correctly, but didn't "get it", had to have Rex explain!

Acme 1:56 PM  

@Bobk, @Carola (@ted and @alice?)
I think the ACE referred to is a tennis one, not a cardgame one. Tho whoknows, maybe both?

@ mac
I took your "nrs" mistake to be cultural because we grew up here seeing the abbrev for number as "no.". But now that I see your comment, that IS odd, considering there is no O in
n- u -m- b- e- r!
I wonder What the explanation/ derivation of that is?

HeeHee...very cute... Maybe even puzzleworthy if you can find a reveal, (or have an internal meaning like Liz Gorski's clever PG -13...or 10CCs) As he (Will) won't usually take just initials.

I noticed the missing Z too, (so close!) but figured you would show up here :)

Bob Kerfuffle 2:18 PM  

@ACME - My paper dictionary says "no" for number comes from the Latin "numero", the ablative form of numerus, number.

Strangely, my first thought upon seeing your question was "numero" as in "numero uno", completely without reference to proper scholastic study of Latin! :>))

GILL I. 2:19 PM  

This was a case of using Google to check most of my answers rather than find them.
Spelling does me in (hi @chefwen) all the time DARNIT..
I can never remember how Diamond spells his name. What happened to i before e? But then I'd guess you'd expect NEIL from someone who talks to a chair and lives forever in Blue Jeans.
Like @mac said, there are a ton of KALES - curly kale, walking stick kale, Siberian kale - to name a few.
@Merle: "Biography is the FALSEST of arts." F.Scott Fitzgerald.
My favorite: HEDGEHOG. I love those critters.
Q: What do you call a hedgehog with hot lips?
A: Sonic the Hedge-Snog.. (courtesy of 8 year old granddaughter!)

Stephen Hero 3:18 PM  

felt pretty proud of myself for thinking i had figured out that something often handed down was lAcE.

@acme - click on the little "?" button under the reCAPTCHA for an explanation of the pictures of people's addresses. basically they are crowdsourcing the transcription of photographs of written things

Two Ponies 4:04 PM  

I love Barry Silk's puzzles.
After yesterday's ass whoopin' this was just what I needed.
Gary Oldman as Dracula was unforgettable and said Madame Mina several times. Thanks Gary.
@ Merle, Despite the fads of Anne Rice and Twilight I highly recommend Bram Stoker's Dracula, both the book and the movie. While you're at it grab Frankenstein. No movie I have ever seen has come close to being faithful to the book.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

1. Thanks for the Tausig article. I was just talking to my wife yesterday, wondering if after Will retires and someone else takes the reins, constructors might start getting royalties (not a knock to Will -- obviously he's done a lot for constructors/puzzles! I just know that the last time a major shift happened, it was when he took over for Maleska).

2. Not so sure about that CAW clue.

3. Anyone else but me have MEWSEUM for a while? I was imagining some sort of awesome cat museum.

Cheerio 4:23 PM  

The article by Tausig was interesting, but I didn't see much economics in it. Website distribution of Xwords sounds like a different distribution channel. In the market for newspaper Xwords, a way to get the price up would be to reduce the supply, or alternately perhaps the group of people who are capable of constructing high quality puzzles could form a union and bargain collectively over the rates. How many such people are there anyway?

Unknown 4:45 PM  

About the same toughness as yesterday for me. Both were challenging, fun, and satisfying. I am now resting on my COCCYX in anticipation of a houseful of people descending on me in about an hour for a holiday party. Cheers everyone!

Hey, has anyone received their calendar prize yet? I have not.

michael 5:24 PM  

For me -- A very easy Saturday (like a Wednesday) after a Friday that I couldn't finish in both the SW and NE.

John V 5:34 PM  

Late to the party, as we were doing clean up volunteering in Rockaway today and didn't start the puzzzle until mid afternoon.

Didn't know GMEN or SCREMJET, so finished with GWEN/SCREWJET cross, or something like that, as two wrong letters. Otherwise, aced it, which, like others, felt good after yesterday. And, like others, Barry's puzzles are consistently fun and challenging. Thanks for this one.

Now, on to Patrick Berry's puzzle in tomorrow's magazine. Yea, home delivery!

Dirigonzo 7:24 PM  

I won't see the Friday puzzle everyone is comparing this on to for 5 weeks, but I certainly liked this Barry Silk offering just fine. Puzzle Partner and I finished with our traditional OWS since we had tINA Harker and never went back to correct the mistake - DARNIT!

@ED - Very sorry to hear about your dog; I hope his last days are peaceful and his passing is gentle.

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

So lets hear the math...how much, considering everything, is a daily NYT puzzle really worth?

Unknown 8:24 PM  

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Spacecraft 12:57 PM  

Finished, and with no help/errors: a miracle, just about. I finally got started with SLAP. My next entry turned out to be my only writeover: UVULA for "soft palate." Yes, I know it's only the "bell-clapper" fleshy part that hangs, not the whole palate, but I thought: close enough. [cue "Price is Right" loser music]

The FAQ/SEQUENCE cross fixed that wagon. Didn't know ytterbium (now THERE's a word to work into your grid!)'s at. NO, but figured it had to be something-TY, so that went in. So it went, burning brain cells at virtually every turn, from SE to SW (least tough) to NE (I too thought IRONCLAD at first) to NW--the hardest of all. I knew OHM, but not the dude's first name, and JET, but not what kind. Heard of ramjet, but never SCRAMJET.

Other stuff I've never heard aloud: ECOCAR, TIELINES, BYSTREET. Could not have explained ADJ till after I read the blogs here: adjective? Good grief! Of the many wonderfully oblique clues today, I call this the cheap shot.

Great endweek clues and pithy entries (YOU try working COCCYX into your grid!) made for a very satisfying solve. Once again, Mr. Silk lives up to his name.

DMGrandma 2:36 PM  

Did better than yesterday. Didn't exactly understand a lot of what I finished, but it seemed somehow to mesh together. Alas, I was done in by not knowing VELUM and NEWSEUM both of which crossed my incorrect SEntENCES and left me with some blanks in the SE. Thought the Dracula clue wanted someone from a movie version! Another "no cigar" day.

Thanks @Diri for explaining YAO.

Anonyrat 7:46 AM  

@ Anonymous 12:08 AM - What you said. Felt much easier than yesterday, but I finished yesterday's and DNFed today thanks to NEWSEUM. Similar to @ Anonymous 4:19 PM, I went with mEWSEUM on the theory that there are enough "cat ladies" out there to make it plausible, and, IMHO, it's punnier too. (Ironically, my captcha is "peaceum".) mEIL didn't make any sense, of course, but then, I'm not a jeweler either, so... . I, too, should've taken the time to run the alphabet.
@ Anonymous 11:58 AM - I've never heard of a "cast iron" alibi either. Usually it's "ironclad." Made me wonder if Mr. Silk was mixing his metaphors.
@ Gill I. P. 2:19 PM - How about Monty Python's Spiny Norman?
@ Zahid Ali 8:24 PM - Tel has tisee.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

Tripped up by the sci fi clue. Not my forte, and as a result loRNE is the only name I could come up with. Hardly Seminal, but somehow I recalled that Lorne Green starred in the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. Left me with holes that couldn't be filled.

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