Given orally at law / SAT 1-26-13 / Maxwell rival / 1919-33 in German history / Repeated cry from Mercutio / Butler who played Grace Kelly / Standard sudoku groupings / It's between Laredo Nuevo Laredo / Monkey launched into space 1958 / Pianist Gilels / Butler who played Grace Kelly /

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Constructor: Raymond C. Young

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: KANSA (57A: American tribe that lent its name to a state) —

The Kaw Nation (or Kanza) are a federally recognized American Indian tribe in Oklahoma. They come from the central Midwestern United States. The tribe known as Kaw have also been known as the "People of the South wind", "People of water", KansaKazaKosa, and Kasa. Their tribal language is Kansa, classified as a Siouan language.
The toponym "Kansas" was derived from the name of this tribe. The name of Topeka, capital city of Kansas, is said to be the Kaw word Tó Ppí Kˀémeaning "a good place to grow potatoes." The Kaw are closely related to the Osage Nation, with whom members often intermarried. (wikipedia)
• • •

Crash and burn, first because the SE was just brutal for me, and second because of a technical issue—Safari browser, for whatever reason, makes the letters in the NYT applet all wispy thin (see grid). Really annoying. But especially annoying today, when I kept reading the "Q" (from QUIVERY) as an "O" ... I spent forever trying to figure out what kind of [Military hut] started OU- ... I did not notice my misreading until I'd spent a good ten minutes just staring at (mostly) blankness in the SW. Oh, I also had RIGHT ON and not (the absurd) RIGHT OH (is that really the spelling? Not RIGHTO?) (36A: "Indeed, mate"), so the Mae West quote was never ever gonna come (37D: Mae West reputedly said this "is good to find" => HARD MAN ... not a thing!). Wanted SEARLE, but couldn't confirm a thing and so didn't trust it. MRS. TEE VEE? (54A: She told Willy Wonka "Loompaland? There's no such place") Talk about your tertiary ... or whatever's below tertiary ... characters. Ridiculous. SAD AS is an idiotic partial that doesn't even make sense in the poem it's from. I read poetry all the time and can't even figure out what is *literally* meant by the Wordsworth quote, "The strain seemed doubly dear, / Yet SAD AS sweet"; I wanted, I don't know, HALF AS, TWICE AS, JUST AS ... tried WAS AS. I have no idea what CTRL-C is. I'm guessing it's a computer key sequence. If that's true, why not CTRL-anything? Horrible clue. So I hated that corner, but mainly hated myself for reading "Q" as "O"—I would've got QUONSET instantly, and that *probably* would've made the SE corner doable. Ugh, ALERT MIND. That's Not A Thing. SOUND MIND, yes. ALERT MIND, no. Also no—>plural AHEMS. Dear lord (46D: Sounds that make frogs disappear?). What is this Maxwell whose rival is REO? I have no idea what that's about. I thought it was tape and the rival was TDK. But ... It's a car? Yes. Ugh. Yes. This car.

GAY PARADE? Come on. It's called a "Pride Parade," or maybe a "Gay Pride Parade" (both of which significantly out-google GAY PARADE). GORDO? (1D: Monkey launched into space in 1958) "A SAIL" (!?!?!?!) (2D: Repeated cry from Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet"). Criminy. That corner's not much prettier than the SE (though I did it about ten times faster). PAROL?? (10A: Given orally, at law) Yuck. IRINA, yuck (16A: Russian princess who was Nicholas II's only niece). The SW is probably the most solid. If RIGHT OH had been RIGHT ON, then I'd be very happy with that corner. But when you go for a low word count (and lots of white space), fill tends to suffer. Most people shouldn't be down at 64. Just too hard to fill well. As 64s go, this is passable, but not very likable. 3/4 Easy-Medium, 1/4 Total Mess.

I refuse to spend any more time thinking about this puzzle. From now on, if I solve against the clock, it's in Firefox (which produces nice, fat, black letters in the applet).

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Liz Glass 12:08 AM  

If you had a 7-year old, you'd have gotten Mrsteevee right away. ;)

Pete 12:12 AM  

So, that bastard Will thought he could humiliate me again. Hah I say. Each of the 143 times I typed STRIATEd today, I mentally recited all verb forms, adjectives and root nouns.

Mae West would tell you that a HARDMAN is good to find, but she'd probably prefer that he come at a suitable time.

Shemp 12:16 AM  

Most of the compound word answers seemed . . . off. LAST CENT is more heard (to my ears) than LAST PENNY. Never heard of WEIMER ERA. Sounds like a breed of dog. "Screwbacks"?

Does anybody call the A's the "Athletics"?

I knew the Mae West quote, which I always assumed was a pun on the Flannery O'Connor story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," but come to think of it, Mae West probably said her line first, so I guess the O'Connor story title was already in the language before she wrote the story. Anyway, that got me to change GAS UP from TEE UP.

Otherwise I'm okay with the puzzle. I did it in average time (on Chrome, with fat letters.)

The RIO GRANDE is in Texas.

jae 12:19 AM  
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jae 12:24 AM  

Another tough one with an interesting looking grid.  I suspect I'm not the only one who tried Pardo before OLSON.   I also tried Garbo before DAVIS.   Guessed right on the PAROL/PIONS cross only because PIONS seemed vaguely familiar.  Plus @Shemp teeUP before GASUP (must still be thinking about golf).

Looks like a tribe mini-theme: KANSA, YUMAS, OTOES. 

NW was tough, SW easy-medium (put in STRIA with no crosses after yesterday), SE medium (CTRL really?), and NE tough, so medium-tough over all. 

Zippy stuff: LATE NIGHT, HARD MAN, RIGHT OH (I'm with Rex on this one, RIGHT O old chap seems better, but google likes them both), GAY PARADE,  QUIVERY, GORDO, DIANE LANE (Streets of Fire is worth a look if you haven't seen it)...

I liked it.  It's good to work for it on a Sat.

Tobias Duncan 12:26 AM  

For someone who lives along the RIO GRANDE, it sure took me forever to come up with.
This puzzle made me feel pretty stupid. Was so glad to see the challenging rating.
Safari is one small step up from Explorer. I am amazed that anyone still uses it.

Carola 1:00 AM  

Liked it better than @Rex, though I see the point about the several not-so-great entries. I liked the grid lay-out, with the circling chunks of long answers. Found it easier than yesterday's, thanks to the good luck of knowing almost all of the proper names, enjoyed working it all out.

Liked LAST PENNY, the QUIVERY MAIDEN with Mae West's HARD MAN, the clue for ZERO G, and the retro feel of DANCE HALL and SCREWBACK earrings (man, I still remember how those things hurt).

Went looking for correspondences - along with the 3 tribes @jae noted, there's also...

Qvart 1:00 AM  

Got 3/4 of this okay, but !@#$% the SE. I mean, there's challenging and then there's downright stupidity.

@Rex: "I refuse to spend any more time thinking about this puzzle."

I'm with you on that.

Funny though, WEIMAR ERA was a gimme for me. But I just happen to know a bit about 20th-century German history (so the history part of my degree helped, but the philosophy part didn't as I expected something to do with "logic" for the "clear thinker's asset." Shows you what I know!).

And you don't have to have a 7 year-old to know Willy Wonka. If you're my age, you remember quite a bit. But not enough to answer this clue.





jackj 1:11 AM  

Is there anything more frustrating to someone tackling a NY Times Saturday themeless puzzle than dealing with an unknown constructor and having not a hint as to the workings of their crossword mind?

It can make one think they have been lured into one of those “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads and finding that the panic button’s batteries are dead.

A look back at the clues and answers shows (generally) some exciting, clever cluing to deal with and answers that are known (or knowable) but one can’t forget that in this verbal version of “King of the Mountain” it meant clawing and scratching from start to finish (but ex post facto, I enjoyed it!).

From guessing that “nearly perfect pitch” is a non-starter with music aficionados (either you have it or not), it cleared the way for baseball’s ONEHITTER and then allowed a move on to another of those cleverly worded clues for a SILENT letter, in this case an N.

The oft produced “Prisoner of ZENDA” thankfully gave the lead-in to the answer for “Feeling no physical attraction?” and it doesn’t involve one’s shrink, it’s ZERO G. Masterful!

Finding out that the “Activia maker” is DANNON Yogurt, not Toyota or Nissan eased the pain of ignorance and the gimme of “One who snaps”, evened things out a bit with CENTER, (likely the only nod to the Super Bowl we’ll be getting from Will and the Times).

From GAYPARADE to the randy Mae West and her clever quote, there was still a chance to dig out one of my treasured little wonders of cluing and TOA was it, with “Skylark” and “Mouse”, from Shelley and Burns, being the obvious add-ons to complete the title.

Started a slog, ended with total respect.

Thanks, Raymond Young; I'll be ready for you next time!

Rube 1:18 AM  

With EMIL as the only answer in the SW, oakLandas fit perfectly. That was only the beginning of my problems... pUptenT/QUONSET, hopiS/YUMAS, turtle/CENTER, high-C/CTRL-C, muONS/PIONS, notAS/wasAS/SADAS, teeup/GASUP, and cLEarMIND/ALERTMIND. Should have got CTRL-C as that's an old-timey re-start. Also, cLEarMIND was dumb.

GAYPARADE was a gimme for a Bay Area dweller.

I think "Oscar nominee" is totally unfair for us pop trivia challenged. This type of clue should be outlawed. I have enough trouble with Oscar winners.

Needless to say, DNF. Had to cheat/Google.

@Chefwen, I think my new avatar should be the new kitty, Misty. This will change shortly.

Anonymous 1:33 AM  

Eddie Brown - "A Good Man is Hard to Find" (1918 - jazz classic)

A good man is hard to find

You always get the other kind

Just when you think that he is your pal

You look for him and find him fooling 'round some other gal

Then you rave, you even crave

To see him laying in his grave

So, if your man is nice, take my advice and hug him in the morning, kiss him ev'ry night,

Give him plenty lovin', treat him right

For a good man nowadays is hard to find, a good man nowadays is hard to find.

syndy 1:58 AM  

I found this Much more accessible than yesterday's.The entire western hemisphere fell with little trouble-OSULLIVAN, WEIMAR(republic)ERA AVIATED gave me plenty traction.IRINA ans SCRIP were my entrys into the north east but LATE NIGHT was my head slapper! but Man that South east desert!My QUIVERY QUONSET stood in frozen isolation until I grokked AHEM and it started to thaw .CTRL-C though? ?Still I got it and after yesterday's humiliation I liked it just fine.

C. Ross Word 2:03 AM  

Lots of tough stuff here making for a challenging solve. Spent so much time agonizing, and finally accepting, CTRL that I missed seeing LAa instead of the proper LAI (the resulting cross of QUaVERY appears to be an acceptable entry). Overall, liked it!

JFC 2:05 AM  

I thought this was a relatively easy puzzle for a Saturday. Went to see all of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, so Mia Farrow's mother was a gimme. Searle was also a gimme for anyone who loved Diet RC Cola before the Government banned Nutra Sweet. Diane Lane was another easy answer. She’s about to do her third movie with Richard Gere.

Article IV is a snap for any good constitutional lawyer.

That maiden thing is what they call races for fillies who haven’t won.

Give me the prisoner of Zenda and a good man and all those Saturday matinees at the Karlov Theater in Chicago paid off….


PS. Sad to see Rex took the pipe on this one.

Elle54 2:25 AM  

I did pretty,pretty well for a Saturday. Just had a few blanks. The "p" in pions, the H and R in hardman . Olson was Yasan ( I don't know !). What is AESIR?

chefwen 2:43 AM  

Easier than yesterdays, but still a DNF for me. SW kicked my butt again. This is getting tiresome.

@Rube - What a cutie and I love the name that you and Mrs. R picked out for her. I'm hopeful that I will get to meet her and your other rascal someday.

Aesir Ctrl Mrsteevees 4:51 AM  

Yikes! Only got NW without Googling...
Had to Google at least one answer in every other quadrant... EMIL, AESIR, SEARLE, KANSA, most are names I didn't feel awful, but I never got PIONS/PAROL.

OAKLANDAS same amount of letters as ATHLETICS?

I agree that WEIMARERA sounds like William Wegman dogs, and ZEROG looks like a caveman comic strip name.
Actually everything looks freaky...RIGHTOH, ZEROG, SILENTN.

Loved the HARD MAN quote...and QUONSET. Boo on AIMUP/GASUP cross.
Amazing looking grid.

imsdave 6:31 AM  

A shame it's a bit too obscure to use as a clue, but to those familiar with the original version of "Coupling", the 'Inferno' episode would have provided a much funnier one for HARDMAN.

The Bard 7:03 AM  

Romeo and Juliet , Act II, scene IV

MERCUTIO: Why, is not this better now than groaning for love?
now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo; now art
thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature:
for this drivelling love is like a great natural,
that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole.

BENVOLIO: Stop there, stop there.

MERCUTIO: Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.

BENVOLIO: Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.

MERCUTIO: O, thou art deceived; I would have made it short:
for I was come to the whole depth of my tale; and
meant, indeed, to occupy the argument no longer.

ROMEO: Here's goodly gear!

[Enter Nurse and PETER]

MERCUTIO: A sail, a sail!

BENVOLIO: Two, two; a shirt and a smock.

(here's goodly gear: a large clothes horse, refers to the appearance of the Nurse, who is also described in this scene as a sail. Romeo also continues Mercutio's series of bawdy puns in this scene, as gear refers to the reproductive organs.)

Loren Muse Smith 7:05 AM  

Big DNF for me, too, but I got most of it after a fight.

SILENT N was my first entry, and then with AIM UP crossing tee UP, I stared forever at the white expanse. A few minutes later, I expertly added TO A and a lone S on 55A, which I was sure was some kind of astrological answer. I resisted filling in “high” for CTRL, but I still don’t get it.

My misspelled “noneads” for ENNEADS and thinking some kind of golf “hole” instead of DANCE HALL made my progress QUIVERY as best.

@jae – I noticed the three tribes, too.

@Carola – nice groups! How ‘bout

For some reason, I didn’t object to RIGHT OH, and I own SCREWBACK earrings.

GAS UP - just sent my son back to college with almost three gallons of cabbage soup for him to freeze in little Tupperware bowls. AHEM.

I cannot get my MIND around filling corners like this; every corner has a stack of four nines. Raymond, if this was your MAIDEN puzzle, I congratulate you. I’ll look forward to more!

OTD 7:06 AM  

Now this was a challenge with some obscure clueing adding to my frustration. Agree with Rex on a lot of it. Did like RIOGRANDE, WEINARERA, ATHLETICS, QUONSET, OSULLIVAN, etc., but never heard of MRSTEEVEE or KANSA, or DIANELANE. Had to get them with a little help from Google.

All in all, a good Saturday workout thanks to Mr. Young.

Smitty 7:47 AM  
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Smitty 7:50 AM  
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Sir Hillary 8:28 AM  

This was a toughie indeed. I really dislike the PAROL/PIONS cross and don't think much of ASAIL and AIMUP as an entry. Other than that, however, there is little to quibble about here. As ACM says, the grid is gorgeous (I think four-way symmetry is very cool, albeit unnecessary) and all the nines (16 of them!!) are very good. Mistakes at TEEUP/GASUP and OAKLANDAS/ATHLETICS hurt, but they were fixed pretty easily.

I knew 29D from the old Bowie song:
"Ground CTRL to Major Tom, commencing countdown, ENGINESON"

Thanks, Mr. Young.

MetaRex 8:48 AM  

Good to find a pretty grid...four nice 9 x 4 stacks...a GAY PARADE...a HARD MAN. Thx, Raymond C. Young and Will, for nudging NYT CWP culture a little bit away from its virtuous Victorian roots, which were still pretty well-rooted in my Maleska-era constructing days.

Liked the Sudoku ENNEADS clue...teased me w/ a hint of

Good to find

chefbea 8:48 AM  

Too tough for me. Googled a lot but still DNF . Hand up for not knowing ctrl-c.

Glimmerglass 9:01 AM  

Wow! Really hard for me. All the corners were hard, but I managed A SAIL and O'SULLIVAN from just a few crosses. NE and SW were similar, but like Rex, I crashed in the SE. It took me several alphabets to finally see HARD MAN (and she may have meant a thing rather than a person) and realize that RIGHT On should be the ridiculous RIGHT OH. But I never saw DAVIS or SAD AS and I got MRS TEE ..., and guessed the incorrect "Lee." So two letters wrong today. Not bad for such a hard puzzle.

Unknown 9:25 AM  

I agree that it's a bit unfair to use expressions that are just slightly off in wording and spelling.

joho 9:33 AM  

At first I thought, "How rude," to be calling astronaut Gordon Cooper not only GORDO but a monkey, too!

@jae & @loren muse smith, I don't ever remember seeing three tribes in one puzzle ... must be a record!

CROCI always remind me of spring at Northwestern.

I had the same struggle in the SE as @Rex without the "Q" problem. With MIND in place I was waiting to see what it would be as it could be any random adjective my first guess being "sharp." Changing RIGHTOn to RIGHTOH gave me HARDMAN. I ended up with one wrong square with MRSpEEVEE. I've seen the movie but don't remember this character. I figured she PEEVEd Willy thus the name.

I was happy to do as well as I did and congratulate Raymond C. Young for this feat!

Howard B 9:44 AM  

I'm with Rex on this one, which isn't always (or quite often) the case - he's spot-on here. Interesting puzzle, but many phrases in this are invented, odd, or just a bit off from the language that most of the challenge came not from the clever clues, but trying to parse just exactly what awkward phrasing was meant (GAY PARADE vis-a-vis PRIDE PARADE, ALERT MIND, etc.).
I knew MRS TEEVEE cold, and was still not thrilled about the oddity of such a supplementary character in the grid. Not being pouty here (I finished this in an average Saturday time), but this was an admirably ambitious reach of a grid, just reached a bit too far.
I always give respect to the constructor for creating - it still made my mind work overtime and that's worth the price of admission.

Lindsay 9:47 AM  

Ugh. Thought I had finished OK, but apparently AS AIr! AS AIr! crosing OrSON is wrong. Found the whole NW brutal. Never heard of DIANE LANE or Maureen O'SULLIVAN, though it helped that the latter's name is ethnically consistent. Tried to get a toehold by positing that the Mayflower man was a "mover". Just ick.

Michael Hanko 10:05 AM  

Maybe my mind is in the gutter, but I have always assumed that Ms. West was referring to a — er — person of tumescence. So as much as I appreciate seeing such a HARD_MAN, at a GAY (pride) PARADE or just casually in my life, I was a bit shocked to see this phrase appearing in the NYT puzzle. (After all, look what a commotion ensued after the far milder MID-ASS TOUCH of last year. Which, btw, I found relatively innocuous because I had interpreted the "MID" as from top to bottom and not smack in the crack. So maybe my mind is not in the gutter after all.)

Anyway, if I have Ms.-construed Ms. West Ms.-erably, someone please let me know what she in all innocence meant by HARD_MAN in her epigram.

mac 10:15 AM  

I got about 3/4 of this puzzle, then gave up. The East coast was the worst for me although having "pup tent" for quonset and "pulsant" (nice new word?) for quivery were a major problem.

I had the Mae West quote early, but wasn't sure the NYT would accept it. Weimar no problem, with a sister who spends a lot of time there, summer and Christmas time. Also virgin for maiden at 35A.

Every year, a month before the Brooklyn tournament we seem to get a couple of monster Saturday puzzles that probably frighten a lot of the contestants/participants. Mission accomplished, guys.

PuzzleNut 10:26 AM  

Haven't commented for ages, mainly because not much new to add by the time I get to Rex's blog. Today, probably for the first time ever, I found this much easier than Rex. Got QUONSET off of teeUP, Mrs Teevee was a gimme, HARDMAn and ALENE made short work of the SE (never even saw SADAS, which seems rough). Did nut like the GASUP / AIMUP cross at all. NW was my toughest corner. YUMAS and Astor got me the Gay Parade, but GORDO, ASAIL and DIANELANE slowed me down. Finished in the SW where I held off on STRIA due to the I, but was happy when CROCI confirmed things. The RIGHTOH was the shakiest answer, IMO, but by working over from the SE, it had to be right

orangeblossomspecial 10:27 AM  

Shemp at 12:16 am and Anonymous at 1:33 am are on the right track. I imagine Mae West's joke refers to a popular song of the era. Here is Bessie Smith's version of "A good man is hard to find".

Here is a cute video of Johnny Olson on Match Game doing COME ON DOWN.

Elle54 10:28 AM  

N U also plants purple tulips

Tita 10:53 AM  

O frabjous day... I completeed this in one sitting, over breakfast, thinking that, by definition, if I finished, it will be rated Easy... And yes, I freely admit that I do get a kick when that happens, as it is exceedingly rare.

One of my early toeholds was the Mae West clue - easily inferable, if you know anything about her, and pretty hilarious,

Figuring the clue at 47D needed a first name, I had bette in there for a bit.

OK - now I have all but the empty SW done...was going to ask ph for help...then WEIMARERA came to me, and it started to fall.

ZEROG and AHEMS are great. CROCI sounds like an exclamation made by a mate after hearing RIGHTOH!

CTRL did take me forever, but I think it's fine for a Saturday - it should be fairly well known as the shortcut for Copy - ctrl-c,ctrl-v for paste - doesn't everyone know that?? Hey - much more knowable than FAVICON.

I will leave the masters to write the story using all the salacious vocab in this grid.

Oh - I finished with RIAt/DIANEtANE. Doesn't/didn't some country somewhere have the RIAt?
Great puzzle, Mr. Young.

Good grief - my robot detection device msut have known this puzzle put my mind in the gutter - capcha is 'assraft'

Sandy K 11:04 AM  

This one fell in much faster than yesterday's...thanks to Mia's mom, DIANE LANE, Mae West, Conan O'Brien, Princess IRINA and MRS. TEEVEE.

Lucky guesses at PIONS and PAROL and CTRL-C...agree with Rex. Had no idea- just went down the alphabet and somehow got it RIGHT-OH? RIGHT-O!

jberg 11:09 AM  

Whew!This one took a long time, for many reasons. First, I had golf on the brain from a couple days ago, so put in tee UP and tenth HoLe (the bar at a 9-hole course, I guess) right away, and only grudgingly gave them up. I also tried for an Agile MIND before I was ALERTed to the error, and RIGHTio before RIGHTOH.

But mostly it was the NW, with two actresses. I thought I didn't know either one - I certainly don't know the movies - but finally Maureen O'SULLIVAN popped into my mind. The real problem though was GAY PARADE. As someone observed, no one calls it that. My first thought of the entire puzzle was GAY PRIDE? No, that's two short. I actually wrote in SUN SHOWER at one point. At not getting that had me trying 'squareS' and then 'nontADS' before I remembered that ENNEADS was a word.

@REX - there's an implied "as well" in the Wordsworth - sad as well as sweet.

Puzzle aside, it's really interesting that so many found WEIMAR ERA unfamiliar. I guess history has turned a corner; for most of my life 'Weimar' was shorthand for what could happen (i.e., the Nazis) if partisan squabbling gets out of control. Weimar was the capital of the post-war German Republic - and also, presumably, where that breed of dogs comes from.

Z 11:33 AM  

"HARD MAN...not a thing!" - Speak for yourself, fella.

NE was easy for me. Once I tried the down clues and got WEIMER ERA the SW filled pretty quickly.

SE I mostly got. I went from tee UP to lAy UP because my brain was stuck on the golf course. ZENDA is a WTF for me, so never got ZERO G or GAS UP or SEARLE. Still, I did better than in the NW. Hand up for pardo and not seeing GAY PARADE because they are GAY PRIDE PARADES. So I had DANNON and nothing else when I finally threw in the towel and resorted to Uncle Google for help. A nice tussle. Now for Friday's grid.

PoetLaurie 11:35 AM  

The quotation from Wordsworth is elliptical. It is difficult to paraphrase poetry in prose, but it seems to mean: The strain (song or part of a song) seemed twice as precious, even though it was as sad as it was sweet. Of course, this explication de texte mangles Wordsworth’s beautiful lines.

Z 11:40 AM  

I forgot to mention - If you're going to post an REO video you should post one with more Gary Richrath and less Kevin Cronin.

Norm 11:40 AM  

I personally found the SE a lot easier than the NW (even though GAYPARADE was a gimme, despite the usage error Rex pointed out) and even the NE. Basically solved this one counterclockwise from the SW (which was the easiest of all, with EMIL, WANES, AESIR, WEIMARERA & ATHLETICS going in without a second thought). The DANNON/DIANELANE cross was my final entry: never heard of her; don't eat it (it's a food, right?). I actually had DAIWOO on my first run-through (thought maybe an Activia was an SUV) even though I wanted ZENDA from the start and was glad to see it come back. Liked this puzzle a lot, even though that final cross was close to a Natick for me.

OldCarFudd 11:42 AM  

This one both pleasewd and annoyed me. Pleased, in that most of the answers just fell into place. On a SATURDAY?? unheard of. What annoyed me was the stuff I'd never heard of and couldn't clearly get from crosses. MRS. TEEVEE?Those four squares in common in GORDO, ASAIL, DIANE LANE and OLSON. CTRL-C. Fortunately, I guessed them all right, in ink, no write-vers and no Googles. So I'm a happy camper.

What really appalls me is Rex's Wikipedia link to the Maxwell (the answer to which clue, of course, was right in my wheelhouse). The Maxwell 25 appeared in 1914. It was in no way a competitor to the Model N Ford (ancestor to the Model T, and out of production by 1908), the Brush (a single-cylinder, wooden-axle(!) runabout dead by 1912), the Black (a solid-tired motorized buggy dead by 1910), the Gale Western Model A (a single-cylinder car built only in 1905), or the Olds runabout (last year of production, 1907). I had heard that the stuff in Wikipedia had to be taken with a grain of salt, but the article about Maxwell was just off the wall inaccurate.

Parolee 11:47 AM  

Couldn't finish (on paper) without help from Merriam-Webster's at PAROL/PIONS - no idea what letter started those words. Just flipped through the pages until "parol" turned up.

Other than that crossing, hardest part was SE. Each corner had a couple answers that went down easily, but in that corner - had to keep coming back to it.

Hand up for teeUP - also wanted (Rod) Roddy instead of OLSON, but didn't fit with what was already in.

Like the puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Young.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

I'd forgotten about the CTRL-C command in MS-DOS but I still use it a lot (along with CTRL-V) to copy and paste so it (eventually) made sense to me. NE was the only big problem area for me - ENNEADS and ALDEN were the only words I dared to enter without crosses. Oh, the PI of PIONS eluded me also. Kudos to anyone who knew those. Good tough Saturday for me.

Sandy M.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Oh yeah, @Rex, TDK would be a rival of Maxell, not Maxwell.

Sandy M.

lawprof 12:18 PM  

I cheated (a lot) to finish this toughie. Drew a blank at Mercutio's repeated cry, so sought extrinsic help from my high school English teacher wife, who offered two suggestions (off the top of her head, mind you): (1) the correct, "A sail, a sail;" and,(2) alternatively, "A bawd, a bawd," which appears just a few lines later.

Had to google much of the NW and SE, including OSULLIVAN, RAMADA INN, MRS TEEVEE, SEARLE.

Totally absurd writeover for the Mae West quote: had niceMAN(!?) until the "Is that a gun in your picket, or are you just glad to see me?" image came to me.

Most lawyers would be familiar with 10A PAROL, because they studied the so-called "Parol Evidence Rule" in their first week of Contracts in law school. The rule provides essentially that in proving the terms of a written contract in court, you can't offer evidence of oral statements to vary the meaning of the agreement, i.e., you're confined to the "four corners" of the document.

Mel Ott 12:26 PM  

The PIONS/IRINA cross got me. I thought PUONS might be something like MUONS so I went with PUONS/URINA! But who the hell names their daughter URINA? Maybe a Romanov would do that?

WEIMAR was a gimme even tho it's more than 50 years since I was a history major and the specialty of my favorite professor/class advisor was Germany between the Wars.

Lewis 12:33 PM  

The first thing I plugged in was GAYPARADE, so the clue worked for me. Hand up for PARDO. Loved the clue for CENTER -- it took me forever to see the answer and when I did I laughed out loud.

@jackj -- with you word for word

I nickeled an dimed, letter by letter, and crawled to a solve, finished with a few letters wrong, but only a few. A HARD puzzle is GOOD to find.

Evan 12:44 PM  

Wow, this one was hard. Somehow I triumphed over it, but I can't say I enjoyed it that much. It's one thing for a Saturday to be hard -- it's another thing when it's held up by words and phrases that are just not in-the-language, or too many proper nouns for comfort. Seriously, that northwest corner is one big proper noun fest, and if it weren't for RAMADA INN, I don't think I'd have ever solved it.

I refused to write in GAY PARADE for a really long time for all of the reasons stated above. PAROL/PIONS is a horrible crossing (which I guessed correctly, but still). REO/SEARLE was pretty shaky too. Even RIGHT OH/HARD MAN felt wrong -- not just because I had plenty of doubts about RIGHT OH, but because I feel like the clue and answer for 37-Down are pretty clunky. Shouldn't the answer be A HARD MAN? The quotation is "A hard man is good to find," not "Hard man is good to find."

I actually found the southeast section to be one of the easier ones -- I've seen "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" at least 20 times, so I got Mike TEEVEE's mother without much problem. And amazingly, I had heard of a QUONSET. It was the northwest that really stumped me. I didn't know O'SULLIVAN, OLSON, GORDO, and A SAIL, and needed crosses for just about everything else.

joho 12:48 PM  

@Tita, now I really feel like an idiot. My one mistake today was something I do everyday using CTRL C or V to cut & paste. Obviously I do it unconsciously! Too bad my subconscious didn't figure out the correct answer.

Tita 1:19 PM  

I don't think it has ever, ever happened that I found a Saturday easy when all the Rexite gurus struggled.
Makes me wonder why.

Because I flew alot out of White Plains airport when it was a QUONSET hut? Because my French helped with with PAROL? Spanish with PLANO?
Looking back, there was so much I did not know. So weird - maybe the Mayans were right - just a few months off...

At @joho - I often think my subconscious is smarter than I am!

(I'm sure next Friday & Saturday, and those beyond, things will be back to normal and I will once again be humbled.)

evil doug 1:30 PM  

Agree on the 'right-o'. Perhaps the 'indeed, mate' is supposed to lend a rath-ah British civility to the matter. Or they're guys in the gay parade....

Guessed the 'par' to go with my ---ol, because doesn't 'par' mean 'by' (par avion, say)?

"Engines on"? I'd say, "Start engines" before I 'aviated'.

A no-hitter is an even better performance with nearly perfect pitch than a one-hitter.

Tried 'Kiowa' before 'Kansa'.

Diane Lane or Brett Butler? Not even close. I'd drink Diane's bathwater....

Missed on 'quAvery'. "Laa" didn't make much sense, but I thought 'quivvery' looked better with two v's.

Uh-oh. 49D: "They go down when it's cold"...

George (to Jerry): How do women know about shrinkage? (They see Elaine walking down the hall) Elaine! Get in here! (She enters) Do women know about shrinkage?

Elaine: What do you mean, like laundry?

George: Noooo....

Jerry: Like when a man goes swimming... afterwards...?

Elaine (now getting it): It shrinks?

Jerry: Like a frightened turtle!

Elaine: Why does it shrink?

George: It just does.

Elaine: I don't know how you guys walk around with those things.


Bob Kerfuffle 1:46 PM  

Tough, but I thought I had filled the grid correctly, until I just noticed I had SCREWTACK and TRETT. Oh, well.

Didn't exactly remember the legal term PAROL, but I assumed that one who was granted "parole" was being trusted on his word, suggesting both words have to do with something oral.

Milford 1:52 PM  

Another tough one today, but finished faster than Friday. Had hang ups at _AROL/ _IONS, _EROG/_ENDA and had QUaNSET/REa.

The NW filled within the first 2 minutes, which never, ever happens. Kind of scary for a Saturday.

Hand up for oakLandas before ATHLETICS. Surprised HARD MAN made it into the puzzle, but loved it.

John V 2:00 PM  

Could not get NW, what with two actresses and a reference to a game show thrown together. Rest of the puzzle seemed more medium than not. GAYPARADE just filled itself in, for me, got YUMAS; everything else I tried just would not work.

@Rex re: browsers, Google's Chrome browser absolutely rocks. Give it a try. Among its strengths is built in spell checking in the blogger comments box.

Merle, old as the hills 2:16 PM  

Three solvers, five opinions. It's who and what you know.

Shocking, really, that people don't know 20th century world history and thus Weimer republic.

Or colonial era American history. John Alden sailed on the Mayflower and was the first to disembark.

The bluesy jazz standard, with the lyric, "A good man nowadays is hard to find", was first recorded by Bessie Smith and a bit later by Sophie Tucker and later by others.
Mae West got specific about what she wanted in a man, didn't she!

Right-oh is very Australian, mate.

Some clues and answers were challenging and entertaining. Others were weirdly obscure -- or else i am so out of it I don't know what people know nowadays (although I do know that Mayflower is a moving company). Brett Butler who? Diane Lane who? Someone made a movie or TV show about Grace Kelly? "Unfaithful" is a movie?
People know about this stuff and care about it? Who is this Olson who said "Come on down"? Down where?

Pions and parol is a great cross. Article !V and Rio Grande were well clued as well. History and geography still counts, y'all. 32 A "silent n" was a great answer for a fine clue.

All in all, challenging and interesting puzzle. Although I would like to erase the names Diane Lane and Brett Butler and whatever movies or TV shows they were in from my memory hard drive and still retain Bette Davis in "Jezebel".

History? 2:19 PM  

Anyone else try MOVER for a Mayflower man?

Merle again on a lazy Saturday 2:24 PM  

Dear Bard, thanks for the extensive quote and exegesis of the Bard's "Romeo and Juliet". I was mystified by what "A sail!" had to do with the star-crossed lovers, since they didn't elope, like the Owl and the Pussycat, in a beautiful pea-green boat, and wouldn't have seen a sail. Shakespeare's innuendos fit very nicely with Mae West's. I wonder if puzzle-composer Raymond C. Young realized that....

Joseph B 3:03 PM  

Thank you Rex. I found your rant therapeutic.

I have near-endless patience when it comes to a Saturday puzzle, sometimes sticking with it after the Across Lite timer runs out. (I average around 45 minutes for a Saturday, but I solve most of them without error.)

I gave up on this after 30 minutes in disgust. Partially because of the near certainty of a missed guess on the _AROL/_IONS cross, but also because of the SW, where my only toehold was the (mistaken) OAKLANDAS and ______ERA.

Looking at the solved grid, I'm glad I didn't waste my time. When you stack four obscure proper nouns in a corner (EMIL, BRETT, AESIR, KANSA), the crosses need to be gettable. But no, instead we get SCREWBACK, WEIMARERA, ENGINESON, and ATHLETICS (where - again - Oakland As fits perfectly).

And ENGINESON is NOT a command. It's a confirmation after the fact. Better cluing would have been "Pre-flight checklist item."

And don't get me started on BRETT. There are ways to clue that name that don't involve an actress whose IMDB resume barely spans my laptop screen. And the Grace Kelly she portrays is not the actress/princess! It's the main character on the TV show "Grace Under Fire." Yeah - exactly: I never saw it, either.

I hope tomorrow's puzzle will be more enjoyable.

Unknown 3:14 PM  


Naticked at _AROL/_IONS.

Refused to accept GAYPARADE until the last possible minute. Really?

TEE UP before GAS UP, and I don't even golf.

Didn't care for CTRL_C, but it IS a thing.

There is an article about BRETT Butler in the Entertainment section of tomorrows Times. Sounds like she's been through the ringer.

jae 3:38 PM  

@ History ? -- Yes

@Merle & Joseph B -- I knew BRETT because I've seen the show, but it was a long time ago and she has thankfully slipped into obscurity, so I'm with you on fairness of the clue.

DIANELANE, on the other hand, has been around for a while and was an Academy Award nominee. Her IMBD page is extensive and, if you aspire to do late week puzzles with out resorting to google, you need to be familiar with reasonably well known movie personalities.

michael 4:19 PM  

About average for a Saturday. Got it all, except for two letters in Mrs. Teevee. Surprised that so many people here find Weimar era obscure. Agree with most of Rex's comments except for his assessment of the puzzle's difficulty (even though I know he finished it much more quickly than i did).

Cheerio 4:35 PM  

That's pretty funny how many don't know good old control-c. Try it some time! Not only does it copy, it also kills programs if you happen to find yourself in an infinite loop or other tight spot. I think it pulls up a cheat line in the Sims. In fact, in any program it's worth giving ot a try, just to see what it can do.

Bungerting Baloner 5:05 PM  

NYT puzzles seem to be going down the drain in quality, relying on some really bad clues/answers and far too many obscure names. It's sort of the revenge of Maleska in a different form.

This week's Friday and Saturday puzzles were far from pleasurable.

Evan 5:28 PM  

One other interesting tidbit about this puzzle: It has 90-degree rotational symmetry. Most puzzles are symmetrical in that if you turned them 180 degrees, you'd get the same configuration of black and white squares. This one not only does that but it gives you the same configuration if you turned it 90 degrees in either direction.

chefbea 5:39 PM  

What does ctrl-c do on a mac?

LaneB 6:27 PM  

Where does one get instructions for publishing a comment?

LaneB 6:30 PM  

NW corner tough when you use OaklandAs. Failure ensues.

sanfranman59 6:30 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 5:45, 6:12, 0.93, 17%, Easy
Tue 8:31, 8:37, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Wed 10:47, 11:44, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium
Thu 15:04, 17:02, 0.88, 24%, Easy-Medium
Fri 24:49, 20:49, 1.19, 84%, Challenging
Sat 26:56, 24:28, 1.10, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:39, 1.01, 54%, Medium
Tue 5:04, 5:01, 1.01, 54%, Medium
Wed 6:22, 6:29, 0.98, 43%, Medium
Thu 8:48, 9:34, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:42, 11:47, 1.25, 84%, Challenging
Sat 15:40, 14:36, 1.07, 70%, Medium-Challenging

It's a rare Saturday that I can complete a Times puzzle that our host and the online solve times place in the Challenging category. So I'm feeling pretty smug about now. I'm not sure if I'm more surprised that Rex had trouble coming up with HARD MAN or that it made it into the Old Gray Lady's puzzle. I thought everyone knew that quote. Then again, the older I get, fewer and fewer people seem to know the things I think everyone knows.

Woz 7:27 PM  

@chefbea - mac keyboards have a "command" or ⌘ key that does many of the same tasks as the ctrl key on other computer keyboards. The ctrl key's most common function on a mac is to replicate the functions of a right click button of a mouse.

chefbea 7:41 PM  

@woz thanx

kyla 7:59 PM  

Did anyone else have STATE LINE instead of RIO GRANDE?

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

Sunday is an adventure. Of sorts....

Dirigonzo 10:10 PM  

PP and I reached immediate consensus on GAYPARADE and the top half of the grid fell in place with little struggle - except _AROL at 10a, which neither of us knew and the cross was no help. We struggled through the bottom half, finishing with another wrong square at MRSTEEViE, where again the cross offered no assistance. The Mae West quote was a slam-dunk, which helped a lot, and the ENGINESON lyric finally opened up the whole SW. My cat, Thor, has no idea what AESIR refers to as he considers his group to be the Brat Pack, our name for the dogs who share his space.

The clue for SILENTN was a crossword classic - some will hate it (@Spacecraft, I'm looking at you), but I love it!

Ellen S 2:04 AM  

Loved the clue for SILENTN -- when I finally got it.

HARD MAN was my first answer; I guess knowing about Mae West and the WEIMAR Republic marks us geezers as geezers. I immediately knew SCREWBACK earrings but tried to fit it in 37D instead of 27. Was puzzled indeed when it didn't fit. Perhaps another sign of advancing age.

xyz 10:43 AM  

The SE was all I could finish! The anti-Rex...

Joe The Juggler 1:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 5:52 PM  

MRS TEEVEE appears to be a mistake -- in the book it's spelled TeA Vee

DMGrandma 2:34 PM  

Eventually worked out most of this sometimes awkwardly clued puzzle. Made the teeUP/GASUP write over, finally remembered the WEIMAR, and assumed the curious sounding ALERTMIND must be right. Still DNF because of proper names. Did want Monty Hall for the "Come on down" guy, but have no idea who replaced him. Equally lost for the actress above him and the Wonka lady. Glad someone explained CTRL, I've never seen it.

Beautiful day, think I'll go see if the CROCI are coming up!

rain forest 3:41 PM  

Some of this puzzle played easy, particularly the NW where GAYPARADE, OSULLIVAN, and ENNEADS just entered themselves. The PAROL/PIONS could have been MAROLMUONS, but I don't think a Russian princess would be named Urina. I know nothing about ARTICLEIV, so it just appeared via crosses. I didn't think that both AIMUP and GASUP would be correct, but I hesitantly placed a Q before both U's giving QUONSET. The term is RIGHTO (no h), and I just wouldn't let go of the N, and so the SE killed me. Nevertheless, I found it a challengingly enjoyable struggle, or enjoyably challenging, take your pick.

Waxy in Montreal 4:10 PM  

Thnx to the prisoner of ZENDA, learnt today that DANONE, the French company that markets Activia in most of the world including Canada, is known as DANNON in the USA. Who knew?

Agree @rain - always thought the Briticism was spelt "RIGHTO" but being aware of Miss West's pun, the H had to be (reluctantly) added.

Alas @DMG, no CROCI in this neck of the woods as yet; SLEDS are still going down.

Definitely this grid tilted towards those of us who are pre-boomers with WEIMARERA, OLSON, QUONSET, OSULLIVAN and, of course, the Mae West quote, landing right in our wheelhouse (except those of us who these days sadly lack an ALERTMIND).

eastsacgirl 4:53 PM  

Eeeeew -made it about 3/4 of the way. Challenging doesn't even come close. DNF. Feeling mighty stupid today.

Spacecraft 5:54 PM  

Late to the party today,folks, but meds zonked me out for a nap there. Although I needed all of my ALERTMIND to do this, I think it actually came easier--when it came. I agree that the SE was the sticking point; AHEMS was a while coming, and I kept thinking of the Dahl character as MISS somebody--though that seemed to line up three vowels in a row for the pharm-co. Finally hit on MRS instead, and that helped tremendously. Wanted ESTR-C there for a bit, and though SADAS does seem awkward, it is not so out of tune with the way Wordsworth talks. We don't use "AS" the way he would. Clever SLEDS clue.

I thought the twin -UP phrases was a cheap way to get the U's for that Q. How do you get ready to fly a plane? GASUP, then, um, AIMUP. RIGHTOH. I rate this one by quadrants: easy/easy/easy/medium-challenging. I liked it more than our fearless leader.

Anonyrat 9:07 AM  

Lots to hate about this puzzle, as already mentioned by Rex and in the comments above. NW was by far the hardest for me - totally agree with what @ Evan 12:44 PM said - so many unknown (at least as clued) proper nouns - O'Sullivan, Ramada Inn, Diane Lane, Olson, Gordo, Alden, etc. - sheesh. SE was kinda sucky too - MrsTeeVee (who?) crossing Searle (really? - one of three obscure product placements today) and "Jezebel star" Davis - I guessed that was Bette, not Geena?.
@ Liz Glass 12:08 AM - I disagree. I've never seen Willy Wonka, and I tried to get my 8-year olds to watch it recently when it was on, 'cause I figured I should see it at some point. After five minutes, they refused to watch any more - they thought it was creepy, lame, boring and just basically sucked - pretty much the same reasons I never watched it as a kid.
Anyway, managed to hack through it all, but like @ C. Ross Word 2:03 AM, only to get hosed at the spot I knew I would: 38A/33D. "Shaking" could be either quavery or quivery - the cross, "Medieval love poem" - laa or lai? Who the hell under the age of 500 (or who has a PhD in something totally useless) would know? I knew whichever one I ended up guessing would be wrong. Sure enough, quavery, a word I've seen and heard, was wrong, and quivery, which I've never heard or seen anyone use (other than a prepubescent girl describing how she felt when she saw Justin Bieber) was "right." If you're going to throw obscure mid-evil $h!t into your puzzle, at least give people a chance instead of making them flip a coin. I don't mind a puzzle being hard, and a lot of people might be satisfied with only one wrong square on a "challenging" Saturday, but I think crossing something totally obtuse with something that equally well could be two things, that's just absolute B.S. (or a dead giveaway that the constructor is a novice/hack relying on autofill) since the cross is no help so it's basically "you know medieval poetry or you don't and if you don't, up yours."
Re HARDMAN, I'm surprised that so many people found that difficult. It was my immediate first thought, having heard that joke a million times. My only hesitation was I thought (like @ Michael Hanko 10:05 AM) it was too off-color for the NYT to allow it. "GAYPARADE" seemed a little too "politically incorrect" (without "pride") for the NYT for me to believe it at first as well. And Michael, I don't think you've misconstrued it. I'm pretty sure she meant just what you think she did.
@ Lindsay 9:47 AM - I too tried "mover" for Mayflower man at first.

Unknown 11:46 AM  

REO are the initials of Ransom Eli Olds the founder of Oldsmobile. After being forced out he founded the REO Motor Car Company.

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

I don't think anyone has written about this yet, but the character's name is Mrs. Teavee, not Mrs. Teevee. I was sure of the correct spelling, so that E/A mixup really sank my southeast, as I wanted AHEMS but couldn't get it to fit. I'm a little surprised no one caught the error. Is it still uncaught?

Bob Kerfuffle 7:01 AM  

@Anonymous 1:28 AM - Yes, there is a comment above,

"Anonymous said...

MRS TEEVEE appears to be a mistake -- in the book it's spelled TeA Vee

5:52 PM"

However, the Wikipedia entry on characters in the movie says,

"Mike Teavee, a boy that does nothing but watch television, is the fourth Golden Ticket finder, [. . .]

In the 1971 film, Mike is played by Paris Themmen and his surname is spelled "Teevee" in the credits."

So, by the usual rules, we can't say that the puzzle is wrong.

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