Bald Mountain's Range, The woman in a J. P. Donleavy novel, Star of 2009's Fame Ball Tour,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DER ALTE (18A Old West German moniker) —
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman. As the first post-war Chancellor of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963, he led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that forged close relations with old enemies France and the United States.[1] In his years in power Germany achieved prosperity, democracy, stability and respect.[2] He was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a coalition of Catholics and Protestants that under his leadership became and has since remained the most dominant in the country.
Adenauer, dubbed "Der Alte" ("the old one"), belied his age as the oldest elected leader in world history by his intense work habits and his uncanny political instinct. (from wiki)

• • •

It's Friday, and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament festivities begin this evening. First competitive puzzles are in the morning. Bookmark that link if you'd like to track results, as scores will be posted there whenever judges have them available.

This is treedweller, filling in for Rex so he can drink and socialize prepare for the event. In case you haven't heard, our fearless leader has announced this will be his last time to compete. And if that doesn't entice you, I hear there is a betting pool in a secret forum at one of the other blogs. Just send a couple of emails around and I'm sure you can get in. If you can pick the exact finishing order of all 579 contestants, I think it's paying twenty-to-one.

So, anyway, this is Friday and I finished without cheating. That usually qualifies as easy, but only because there is nothing easier in the ratings system. This is the kind of experience I always hope for late in the week: hard enough that I don't think I'm going to get more than a few answers at first, then I don't think I'll get more than half, then I think I'll never get that last corner, then I realize the last three answers are obvious. Most of the time, I don't reach the last step or two more than once per weekend, so look out for tomorrow.

Plenty to like here, and nothing to complain about. Oh, I'm sure someone will drum something up to make conversation, but nothing that isn't worth the trade. Wait, got one: LADY GAGA crossing READY-TO-WEAR? As if!

  • 43A Imitated a wound-up toy YIPPED —  
  • 29D Behave with respect to DO BY—At first, I YIPPED at DO BY, but I just needed a second to figure out why it works. That Y gave me a very confident YoyoED, which hurt me for some time. When I finally got it, it was off the P in
  •  44D Ruthless sort PIRANHA— So, I enjoyed the bonus of imagining little, yippy dogs being atacked by PIRANHAs. Also, I never know where to put the H. I think the dogs would escape and possibly even kick the pirhana pirahna piranhas' AAAS. Those guys have some nippers. Pi ran. Ha!
  • 40D Kia model SORENTO — I'm not even going to launch my usual rant about the corporate plug because it made possible a corner with a MOB BOSS (39D Icing supervisor?) and BEER GOGGLES (57A Bar glasses?).
  • 15A One of the Big Three in credit reports EQUIFAX — Still not, even though my initial thought was Expedia, which led to a Travelocity-Orbitz-Priceline tangent. Because that got us 
  • BEST BUDS (1D One of a tight pair)—I suppose the guy who introduced them would be their pairer, though I doubt you'd ever hear that colloquially. Please respect the children as you further discuss this clue in the comments. I don't want to get one of those google XXX flags on Rex's site the second day he's gone.
  • and a SUN BATH (17A Baking session). I already had a cross or two to rule out "batches" and was stumped for a second guess. I didn't even like it as an answer, but there it was. So I did a lot of undo/redo stuff here.
  • 45D Eatery seen in a "Manhattan" scene ELAINE'S—Still not, because this is iconic and I feel so sophisticated when I get the New York clues. Or, as they say in "The City," the Big Apple.
  • cf. 10D Parts of the Big Apple BOROSIt's Friday. They don't have to clue it as a variant or anything. But the urbane, modern, renaissance man picks these things up. I get around.
  • 36A "The Whiffenpoof Song" ending BAA BAA BAAI do have limits. I have only the vaguest idea what this song is. But once you get one BAA, you pretty much get them all.

Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 1:17 AM  

Easy-medium and a fair amount of zip...LADY GAGA, DOG EAT DOG,  BEER GOGGLES, OILED UP, MOB BOSS and the related GUNNING, MOOCHER (a Cab Calloway clue might have been nice), DAY MARE, BRIS... 

Not so zippy...SPIELER, DO BY, GIB (had ARG at first), SODS (plural, really?), AAAS...

Also had SLut for SLOG and I'll bet I'm not alone.

Pretty solid Fri.  Liked it! Again, nice coverage treedweller.

Aquaria Clawat Mobboss 1:49 AM  


Gee, that's a lot of Gees Lady GaGAmache!

GGGood one!

ApeX/X-ray, EQuifaX/AQuaria liked those too!

chefwen 2:11 AM  

When I was in the steel industry I had a German customer who mixed his metaphors and would always say "it's a DOGGY, DOGGY world out there" I never corrected him.

O.K. need help again on BEER GOGGLES. I've downed many a beer in my day (Wisconsinite)DUH! But that's a new one on me. Are we talking about looking through the bottom of a beer glass? Man, I'm getting old.

ponte vedra beach real estate 2:15 AM  

The video is nice,the poster is also very good.Christian Democratic Union is a Christian democratic and liberal-conservative political party in Germany..

Michaela 2:17 AM  

Briefly really wanted "Take the junk out" to be Sext. I had the S!

The B in BEERGOGGLES also briefly made zamBoni fit for "icing supervisor."

jae 2:27 AM  

@chefwen -- BEER GOGGLES is the reason why persons of the opposite sex in bars grow more attractive as the night wears on.

Anonymous 3:11 AM  

Accepting BRIS over UINTA was the last of this one for me. That was a bit ugly.

My terrific answers of ROOT (for SALT cellar) over PADS (for SODS; football game coverage) caused some trouble in the center. Sorting out BLOGGERS fixed that easily enough. Those were my only write-overs; very low for me.

C. Ross Word 6:20 AM  

I wasn't as GAGA OVER this puzzle as our guest blogger treedweller, though I always enjoy his commentary. I thought the grid was clean except for ECH, MSS, and the plural SODS, minor quibbles all.

I guess SUNBATH is something you get when you SUNBATHe, but it seemed like a stretch. Other WOE's:

Adoption option: PET
SALT cellar
Imitated a wound-up toy: YIPPED
Advanced photocopier features: SORTERS and
"The Whiffenpoof Song" ending: BAABAABAA

Overall, the puzzle felt like a SLOG and, OOPS, ended with LEyLA instead of LEILA (thinking of Billy Joel's "All For Leyna" perhaps) and missing the PyRANHA.

Good luck to all at the ACPT!

Danp 7:06 AM  

I didn't find it that easy. But I loved that it had a lot of interesting clues and answers. Not a lot of crossword cliches. Bravo to Gamache for that.

Sir Hillary 7:49 AM  

Can someone please explain MSS to me? I don't get it. Thanks

Glimmerglass 7:57 AM  

Easy? Not for me. I finished with one wrong square ( and I should have gotten EGAD (I had gO BY). But it was hard work all the way around. What the snarkenflux are BEER GOGGLES? I understand @jae's explanation, but never heard it, and I'm old enough to know better. It was one of those answers that I left in place, even though I was pretty sure it couldn't be right. I still think so, even though it is.

MetaRex 7:58 AM  

Liked this one a lot. Not easy at all pour moi. CrossWorld and CrossOver buzz ratings here

Looking forward to chatting & spectating this wkend in Bklyn!

OldCarFudd 7:59 AM  

SUNBATH is legitimate, though possibly old. When I was a little kid, decades before tanning parlors, my folks had a sunlamp. It was a great big thing like an oversized floor lamp, with some sort of mercury bulb in it. In the winter, we would get sunbaths now and then for health. I wonder if that was one of the triggers of my four malignant melanomas.

I had never heard of beer goggles, so I googled the term after I'd finished the puzzle. One of the examples was, it's the reason a woman is a 2 at 10, and a 10 at 2. Since this is a family blog, I'll stop now.

MetaRex 8:02 AM  

The latest bulletin from the (Beer) Googling front...

Diary of a Fudger-3-8-13

Michael Hanko 8:10 AM  

Hey, @jae, BEER_GOGGLES work in gay bars too. (And don't I know it.)

Bookdeb 8:10 AM  

Beer goggles song:

jackj 8:24 AM  

This Paula Gamache puzzle was an absolute delight with fresh clues and answers at every position, a treasure chest of vibrant language and, in my experience also the easiest Friday NY Times puzzle ever, bar none.

It seemed the equivalent of reading the answers from a crib sheet as one entry after another yielded on first thought and each time that happened it made for a petit olé.

Favorites around the grid included GUNNING which had just the right touch for its clue, the fun entry LABCOAT, whose clue made it seem like a bad pun, the “Icing supervisor?” (for Don Corleone maybe), as MOBBOSS and DOGEATDOG, saluting sociopaths the world over as they claw their way up to their lusted after APEX.

Second tier entries (but still goodies) included SAIL for taking the junk out, SALAMI that, of course, is the “Torpedo layer” found in the NYC branches of “Hoagies “R” Us“, XRAY from the devilishly clever clue of “Shot after a break?” and a nod to our online hosts, BLOGGERS, those diligent “Post masters”.

Most satisfying was writing in UINTA and DAGAMA without hesitation and least challenging answer was the Eli’s song whose ending is too well known to be anything other than a gimme, BAABAABAA.

Thanks for an enjoyable solve, Paula; may you be rewarded with an 850 credit score from EQUIFAX!

Rob C 8:26 AM  

Some very nice fill. A bit scrabbly. Good Friday.

Again, good luck to all the ACPTers.

@Michaela - Same wavelength - I thought "Take the junk out" was a reference to family planning ;-)

jackj 8:27 AM  

Michaela@2:17AM said-

"Briefly really wanted "Take the junk out" to be Sext"


Carola 8:30 AM  

What a fun puzzle - and write-up, @treedweller. Treats in every corner. Especially YIPPED with delight at DOG EAT DOG crossing BAA BAA BAA and the echo in GAGA. Also loved the cast of characters: BEST BUD, MOB BOSS, SPIELER, MOOCHER. SADIE Hawkins and LADY GAGA make a nice pair.

@acme - I liked all those G's in the puzzle, too - but didn't make the connection with Gamache - nice!

@treedweller - I match you in urbane sophistication! Too bad a crossword puzzle is the closest I'll ever get to ELAINE'S :) Oh and - I already had the final HA of PIRANHA but tried to squeeze in another H after the R.

Notsofast 8:31 AM  

SODS only works if you change the clue to "Provides football game coverage?" SIDS, or Sports Information Directors, are "providers" of coverage. So I had SIDS and BLIGGERS, and I like it, and I'm keeping that way. Like PAULREAN. WIN!

Horace S. Patoot 8:39 AM  

@Hillary: slush pile -> unsolicited manuscripts -> MSS

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Easy Friday for me with a little help from my wife. Thought I'd entered the 5th Dimension with aquaria. Sunbath is a Pacific Northwest service for people with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). That and coffee shops on every corner greatly reduce the suicide rate in Seattle during the winter months.

joho 8:45 AM  

Yes, easy for a Friday and most enjoyable, too!

I see a sinister undertheme with the MOBBOSS becoming someone's worst DAYMARE in his DOGEATDOG underworld where he will CLAWAT, STAB, TURN on, go GUNNING for,STOP and totally ABOLISH his enemies like a crazed, mad PIRANHA!

GGGGGGGreat job, Paula! GGGGGGreat write-up, Treedweller!

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Really makes me feel stupid when you call this puzzle easy. Oh well. There will be another Monday.

orangeblossomspecial 9:16 AM  

Ok @treedweller. Here is 36A 'Whiffenpoof song' sung by a an Eli, Rudy Vallee.

13D Fred ASTAIRE dances and sings 'Puttin' on the Ritz'.

Norm 9:28 AM  

No one else had YOYOED for the wound-up toy? Now I feel even sillier.

B Donohue 9:28 AM  

BORO? Is "var." not needed in clues at the end of the week?

I liked GUNNING, LABCOAT, & BLOGGERS. I laughed out loud at BEERGOGGLES, but it felt like a guilty pleasure. DNF for this relative crossword newcomer, but I got 50-75% of the puzzle, which isn't horrible for me for a Friday.

Smitty 9:34 AM  

I fell into every single pothole:

YOYO-ED for yipped
LUGGAGE for baggage
ACME for apex
CAT for pet
PLOD for slog
LA DODGERS for Lady Gaga

and my favorite one of all
ZAMBONI for icing supervisor.

chefbea 9:44 AM  

too tuff for me. DNF

And baking and icing had nothing to do with cooking!!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

Great write-up, Treedweller. Genuine LOL!

Flat-out gimmes that got me off to a good start: BAA BAA BAA, 25 A SADIE Hawkins.

Shoulda been a gimme but took a few too many crosses: 15 A, EQUIFAX.

Darn clever clue that tricked me into a write-over: 43 A, (as @Norm and @Smitty) YOYOED before YIPPED.

Also, 29 D, Behave with respect to, GO BY before DO BY.

Very nice puzzle!

Now I must hope my bus doesn't get stuck in a snow drift on the way to Brooklyn!

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Really enjoyed both the clever cluing in the puzzle and Treedweller's comments! Thanks to both for getting my Friday off to a good start!

I'm bald too 10:14 AM  

The Bald Mountains in Tenn. are in the Smokies.
Bald Mountain in Idaho is in the Smoky Mountain range.
Bald Mountain in Utah is in fact in the UINTA range,
There are about 30 Bald Mountains in California, mostly in the Sierra Nevadas.
The Bald Mountain in NY State is in the Appalacians.

Leopold Stokowski 10:24 AM  

And Night on Bald Mountain is in Fantasia.

retired_chemist 10:38 AM  

@ OldCarFudd - old mercury lamps had a lot of shorter wavelengtgh (UV) light, which is the dangerous kind. In the forties we didn't know the dangers of such radiation. Remember the fluoroscopes in shoe stores? Kids used to go to the stores to see their foot bones, and got a substantial radiation dose as a result.

We have learned better now.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

The NW corner nearly did me in.
I had luggage(I was so proud) and leotard. Boy was that tough to sort out. Oh, I had DeGama too.
Good Friday Ms. Gamache.
Loved all the G's.
Thanks to all for the beer goggles info. I had no idea but very funny.

retired_chemist 10:53 AM  

Ah, the puzzle. Probably good but I was off my game.

Started with EXPEDIA instead of EQUIFAX, and it isn't even a credit reporting agency. Then not knowing the Kia SORENTO (I would have spelled it with two R's) led to a guess of ELANTRA and some other stuff I can't remember. I drive Fords and really don't know models of other mfrs. BEER GOGGLES - I get it now that it has been explained here but while solving it was a WTF.

And so on.

BAA BAA BAA gave me a toehold. Things emerged slowly and I finally got down to BARGAGE for 1A - couldn't shake RUNNING for 3D. The light dawned and I finished after 24 minutes with no errors.

Thanks, Ms. Gamache. In retrospect much easier and more fun than I made it.

jae 11:08 AM  

@B Donohue -- Big Apple instead of New York City the clue is the var. indicator.

Unknown 11:16 AM  

Well, if "easy" means "finished without cheating", then I agree with dear treedweller, but my brain hurts. This took a while for me to finish and I can't say it was very much fun.

mac 11:19 AM  

Very good puzzle with a couple of great clues, I had fun with it.

I started out putting down pret a porter at 20A, considering it is a Paula Gamache puzzle. Same number of letters as ready to wear....

Good thing I got UINTA from crosses, as well as "in phase".

Just a few things to do before I take the F-train to Brooklyn!

Merle 11:26 AM  

Easy until I got stuck in the southeast. The only clue and answer combo that I don't like is 43A, Imitated a wind-up toy, yipped. Really? Too vague a clue, too specific an answer.

Loved beer goggles -- I got the answer, but then had to Google to find out what beer goggles are. Clever phrase. Ah well, I don't get around much any more.

Treedweller, why is Der Alte the world of the day? Dog, this phrase has been around Crossword Land since Hector was a pup. Or at least, since I started doing crossword puzzles 54 years ago. Once upon a time, everyone knew Der Alte was Adenauer. But then again, everyone knew that Mao was Chairman Mao and Bruce Springsteen was the Boss -- all ancient history by now, I guess....

I agree, Treedweller, that corporate entities out to be banished from Crossword Land -- once upon a time, when everyone knew who Der Alte was, brand names were verboten in crossword puzzles. And although I am not nostalgic -- I am happy to be in the 21st century, right now, 2013, here in America -- I do think we could restore certain courtesies in society -- one of those courtesies being no plugs in crosswords. And no electronics at dinner -- either kids at the dinner table at home, texting or playing games, or friends of whatever age at a restaurant, ignoring the person across the table and texting with someone else, in effect telling one's dinner partner there is someone much more interesting or much more important who commands attention now now now now....

Well, my rant is over. I'm glad I'm old enough to not need or wear beer goggles -- now where did I leave my rose-colored glasses? Oh, there they are, I'm always leaving them somewhere....

Cheech 11:26 AM  

@Treedweller - Congratulations on the trifecta photo in the write-up. First I've seen, if I'm not mistaken, but I'm frequently mistaken. Tommy is indeed my BESTBUD, we were taking a SUN BATH at the time, and if I recall correctly (actually, there's no need to recall, that was our default state at that time) we were, in-fact, baked at that instance.

GILL I. 11:27 AM  

EGAD, my EGOS bruised. I didn't think this was that easy! In some parts it was, like in the attic area, but BEER GOGGLES held me up. I had a ton of fun looking that up in Google and watching all the videos though.
GIB was my first entry. You linguists out there would have some fun in GIBraltar. They parlar a very peculiar language (if you can call it that) called llanito. It's a mixture of Spanish, English, Hebrew, Italian and any other you want to use. Imagine a Castilian/British accent then add in some Yiddish!!!!ole vey...
So many great clues. Take the junk out being the favorite.
I didn't have any OOPS other than puttin tomato for SALAMI.
Thanks for the write-up @treedweller and thanks to P Gamache for the fun...

Merle 11:30 AM  

Sir Hillary,

Mss means manuscripts. A slush pile is where over-the-transom (there's an archaic phrase for you) manuscripts are placed for editors to review -- essentially its a graveyard for paper that's going to be ignored and dissed.

You might be able to tell that I am an embittered writer.... Or, since I'm also a published writer, embittered only when I wind up in the slush pile, delighted when I'm published.

Sparky 11:32 AM  

Started last night, then stuck in SW. Finished this morning. Liked LABCOAT, DAYMARE took a while. BRITA had me confident with baker. OOPS. That started as Oyve. 33A nice made me think French answer. Clever misleads solvable and gave smiles.

Clue for 43A still doesn't make sense to me. Why wound? And wind up toys do a lot of things, play drums, scoot arond, go ting, ting. Not specific enough. I wish I had thought of yoyo. Put the Y of GOBY in grudgingly.

Still, they all came tumbling down. Thanks Paula Gamache.
Good write ups Treedweller. I am off to Brooklyn soon.

Sparky 11:37 AM  

That's around, of course.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

jjbpuz here

Not a moron, just too lazy to set up an account.

For wound up toys think Yorkies, Poms. They yip.


B Donohue 11:59 AM  

jae- Thank you for the explanation! I would think that Big Apple is a different name altogether rather than a variation on the spelling of New York, but I guess I am interpreting too literally.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Tough one for me except SW and NE. Just read an article this week about beer goggles, so that one came pretty easily:

Not sure I would agree...

Dan 12:08 PM  

Me: "There was someone in the Old West with a German moniker?"

Didn't figure that one out til I saw the word of the day...

Evan 12:15 PM  

Quick hits from me so I can pack for the ACPT: Nicely done puzzle by Paula, nicely done subbing by treedweller....and can someone tell me why Rex won't be competing anymore after this year? I feel like I could be missing out on some big joke and no one's sent me the memo. Or maybe he's serious.

See some of you all in Brooklyn!

triggerfinger 12:34 PM  

The "other" credit reporting agency is Experian (not Expedia), which did not fit.
Good luck all at the ACPT.

Ulrich 12:47 PM  

Well, Der Alte went to the same high school in Cologne I went to, and when we had our 100th anniversary, he visited in person (I hope I did not say this before--I'm getting old and forgetful, too). Thx @treedeweller for featuring him today. BTW he was the mayor of my hometown until 1933, when the Nazis replaced him with a party member. Part of his legacy is the "Green Belt" surrounding the city, an extremely popular hiking, sunbathing, and picnicking area.

To continue with the German theme: "Spiel" means "game" or "play", and a "Spieler" is a gambler or player, quite different from the English "spieler", who had never crossed my path before today. Nor did "beer goggles", an expression I love.

Where are Paula's customary French words?

And good luck to all at the ACPT!

Jjbpuz 12:55 PM  


Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Why is GOAT the answer to "charge"?

Lewis 1:52 PM  

@anon 1:37 -- it's two words, GO AT

Paula combined many fresh words with fresh cluing to make a fun and interesting puzzle. Even with relatively dull words, imaginative cluing can make a puzzle dazzling. This puzzle felt vibrant and was a joy. Keep 'em coming, Paula!

Mohair Sam 2:08 PM  

Thought this was going to be a very easy Friday when I got READYTOWEAR immediately, BAABAABAA was a gimme, and said "omg, that has to be BEERGOGGLES (another secret men-only phrase now shared by women, btw. - is nothing sacred?).

But Friday reared its ugly head and defeated me in the west. I blame a brother-in-law who had a different meaning when he called someone a schlemiel, and I blame years of living in Syracuse for knowing too much about piles of genuine slush. I had spelled Sorento SE and so I was dead.

Anyhow, it was a fun puzzle. BEERGOGGLES being the best answer of the month! Thank you Paula Gamache.

Melodious Funk 2:15 PM  

Anon: it's Go at.

Does anyone remember that a schlemiel spills soup on a schlemazel's lap? I guess I've been both.

I'd like Merle to be my BestBud.

Bird 2:16 PM  

I love Paula Gamache’s puzzles and this did not disappoint. Terrific cluing and fresh fill make this puzzle a piece of art. Love the long fills, too. Only nit is the for 17A – I know we sun bathe, but I never heard the term SUN BATH so maybe the clue should have had a question mark. Plenty of write-overs (such as BOY at 35A, WINE at 42A, PRICIER at 64A and LANES at 6D) so the finished grid is a mess. But it is Friday and I did finish. Woo Hoo!

My slush pile (aka slush fund) is usually a pile of bills on the bar. Then I put on the BEER GOGGLES.

Lots of luck to the tourney players.


Ellen S 2:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Whenever I see the expression "dog eat dog", I think of the scene in an episode of Cheers where Norm says, "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear".

My opinion as a resident of New York City: regardless of whether you call it New York, the Big Apple, Gotham, or Baghdad on the Hudson (sadly, an expression you never hear any more), it's made up of boroughs, not boros. If you use a variant spellng, it needs to be so indicated.

Ellen S 2:26 PM  

Hey, @Jjbpuz - good for you for getting un-lazy and setting up a profile. And demonstrating that not being anonymous just means there is a "name" associated with a post rather than "anonymous" and a time stamp. We may learn to recognize your style and hate you or love you, but we still don't know who you are. And the same could be said for most of the rest of the posters. Old/young? Red/Blue? Man/Woman?
Truly, many thanks for the explanation of "wound up toys". I got the answer but didn't realize the meaning. And I was just thinking about Toy Group dogs yesterday, explaining that my big dog is good with all dogs over a certain weight, about 15 pounds. The Toys, he tries to eat them.

Susan McConnell said...
Well, if "easy" means "finished without cheating", then I agree with dear treedweller, but my brain hurts.
-- That's my definition of "Easy". I didn't have to check, or google, but I did ask my brother what this "2009 fame ball tour" was. I said, "Fame, like famous",since the phone often muddies things. He said, "No, not famous, it's a thing." I have no idea what he meant, but somehow I immediately knew the answer was Lady Gaga. I might have had the "D", since I knew "DER ALTE". Does that prove I'm NOT MetaRex?

Thank you @Orangeblossomspecial for the link to the Whiffenpoof Song. I may not know anything about Lady Gaga, but Rudy Vallee stuff is a gimmee for me. (OMG - he spelled it with an accent! Can I do it? Vallée. Yay, thanks to whoever told me to long-press on the iPad keyboard to bring up alternative letters. And doesn't that mean those are alternatives of the same letter so it's okay to cross them in the grid?

@Michaela -- I love Sext for "Take the junk out"! But for the rest, thank you Paula, and thank you Treedweller for the writeup.

Micky Gilley 2:47 PM  

The psychiatrist who says that BEER GOGGLES is a myth doesn't know what he's talking about. It's a well know fact that Girls get prettier at closing time.

LaneB 2:57 PM  

Totally defeated--even with some extensive googling! If this was an "easy" one, then I should give up trying to solve some of these goddam things. Or maybe this was just an off day. Top half went pretty fast, but once I put ESPN for SODS [are you kidding?] nothing made sense thereafter. Also hated a43 apparently referring to a toy dog yipping. Doesn't tsake much to ruin my efforts and put me in a foul mood.

OISK 4:17 PM  

Finished it correctly, although I've never heard of beer goggles, so the SW held me up for a long time. I also thought that Sorento had two "R"s, was looking for Yiddish from the Schlemiel, and was fooled for a long time on "recreating," a really great deceptive clue.

Only clue and answer I really don't care for is "Yipped."

I actually though that Equifax had to do with horse racing. Got it confused with Equibase - I am more interested in track ratings than credit ratings..

All in all, a good Friday. Thanks. And here in Brooklyn, the snow has stopped, and is melting quickly.

Bird 4:37 PM  

As of this posting Michael Sharp is tied for 137th place. Doh!

(no times yet posted for his puzzles)

treedweller 4:57 PM  

@merle I guess I am a new-school solver with old-school tendencies. The only puzzles I solved back in the Maleska days were he crummy ones that turn up in dinky local newspapers, so Der Alte stumped me. Actually, I strongly suspect I've seen it before, but the clue had me thinking Old West, German rather than old, West German. But I actually had to dig a little deeper than the first google hit to even figure out what this clue referred to. Also thanks to @Ullrich for a little more info on the man, who sounds very interesting.

My second choice for WOTD was UINTA, which still looks wrong, though I'm sure plenty of people knew that one instantly, as well.

As for the corporate thing, I've been prone to complain about excessive product placement, but I have always stopped short of calling for an all-out ban. As I said, when SORENTO facilitates a really nice corner with strong, lively entries, I don't mind much. When the entry is, say, BAN, I'd much prefer a clue that hints at one of the many non-deodorant definitions. Not sure what Ms. Gamache could have done to clue SORENTO without the brand name.

@cheech thanks for catching that. I always had fun seeing the two of you enjoying BUDS together.

treedweller 4:59 PM  

oops, sorry, @Ulrich for the misspelling.

chefwen 5:23 PM  

@jae - Thanks for clearing that up for me, like @glimmerglass had never heard that expression before.

@Merle - Totally agree with your rant about electronics at the dinner/lunch/whatever table.

Milford 5:32 PM  

Easy until I tried to tackle the NW, and luGGAGE, De GAMA and not a clue about UINTA did me in. So a DNF for me, but still a fun puzzle.

Loved BEER GOGGLES. Reminds me of The Simpsons episode where they visit the gift shop of Duff Gardens, and Bart tries on BEER GOGGLES that make Aunt Selma look sexy.

Also loved the ELAINE'S clue - just saw the movie again the other day, and I believe it's the very first scene.

Instead of a crossword tournament this weekend, I get to go to a dance competition. Hopefully I'll still have time to do the weekend puzzles.

Thank you, Paula!

FearlessKim 8:42 PM  

Took 15 minutes to do 80% of the puzzle, then the rest of the day to grok the SW! Had BRITA, took it out. Wanted OY VEY, but it wouldn't fit in four spaces. Had GOGGLES but couldn't for the life of me see the BEER -- like @Michaela, I had also flirted with Zamboni, although not seriously enough to actually enter it and at least have the benefit of the B. Loved the "aha" moment when MOBBOSS emerged, and the clues for YIPPED and XRAY. Happy to have grown up in a place where BRIS is a gimme. Getting tired of the Yale references: anything in the ELI/BOOLA/BAABAABAA industrial complex is feeling tired.

@anon at 3:11 am: I like your PADS better than SODS for the clue.

@Glimmerglass: thanks for "what a snarkenflux"! what a useful word -- I shall use it as soon as possible.

And thanks, @Merle, for the rant: I'm with you 100%.

sanfranman59 10:01 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 6:15, 6:10, 1.01, 60%, Medium
Tue 9:30, 8:23, 1.13, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:43, 10:59, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:31, 17:17, 1.01, 57%, Medium
Fri 24:05, 22:14, 1.08, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:41, 1.03, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:33, 4:52, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 5:36, 6:22, 0.88, 18%, Easy
Thu 9:26, 9:56, 0.95, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:46, 12:33, 1.18, 75%, Medium-Challenging

bctbct 10:38 PM  

Night on Bald Mountain is a well-known Moussorgsky tone poem for orchestra. He was Russian, so it seemed likely that it was a Russian mountain range. Had Urals at first, though.

Pete 10:54 PM  

I went into my local convenience store, and the Muzak was playing a cover of the a Monkee's song. A note for note imitation of a Monkee's song.

Why would anyone do that? There are no royalty implications, the composer/songwriter receive the same royalties no matter who performs the song, so why cover a Monkee's song?

You expect me to care about a crossword puzzle when there are people out there covering Monkee's songs?

Joseph B 1:19 PM  

Thanks, sanfranman59. I found this puzzle to be tough. I was relieved to see that treedweller was way off on the difficulty rating.

It didn't help that I had no idea how the Whiffenpoof Song ends. Needed every almost every cross to confirm my guess.

Speaking of which, don't get my started on DOBY. No one says "do by" without an adverb in between: e.g., "do well by." Really, please - someone use it in a coherent sentence. Here, I'll try: "They always do by me." Terrible.

Other lousy fill: BESTBUD, GIB, MSS, AAAS, SPIELER. Really, spieler? As if anyone has seen this classified ad: "Help wanted: spieler."

Had some bright spots (loved the clue on BLOGGERS), but overall, an ugly puzzle.

Mia Mossberg78 11:17 PM  


HipHop recording sensation Provy Suflayy released his first single off his upcoming album!!

'A Star Burnin Brite' features New Zealand's " best kept secret" Kiwi artist Rachel Schryvers.

Go buy now on iTunes and other fine online retailers for only $ .99 cents!!

Check out the music video now on youtube!!

Spacecraft 11:48 AM  

Hey @Mia Mossberg78: Nobody wants to read your ads here. This is a blog for crossword solvers, and the second day in a row you've crashed the party. You're welcome to share with us your crossword solving experiences, but please spare us the rest of it.

Now to today. Top: easy-peasy. SW: finally gettable after capitulating to the fact (?) that SORENTO has only one R, and the late-arriving aha! of MOBBOSS.

Then there's the SE. For some reason that took me forever--yet, very much like @treedweller, once they started to fall they all fell.

More weird expressions that I've never heard expressed: STOPOVER for "drop in--" stop over is what you do at airports--BEERGOGGLES (I see what it means thru several blogs here but it was totally strange to me--and then there's DO BY. That one's just ridiculous. One might "DO right BY" someone else, I guess, but DOBY?? No way. I'm throwing the penalty flag on that one. Bah, bah, bah!

Dirigonzo 3:51 PM  

As I passed by the puzzle on the way to read the comics (first things first, after all)I notice Paule Gamache was the constructor so I hurried back to get started, knowing it would be fun. What I didn't expect was for it to be such a romp - the only place I had to SLOG through was the UINTA over DAGAMA area but even that was just a minor slow-down while the crosses came into view. Favorite clue: It smells on a bug > ANTENNA - my early thought process was along entirely different lines. Had a couple of OOPS at caT/PET and rooT/SALT, other than that a very smooth SAIL on the junk (my other favorite clue).

When I was little my mother and older sister used to go out on the garage roof to take a SUNBATH, never to sunbathe. SPF lotion hadn't been invented but they slathered on the baby oil to enhance the TAN. Ah, memories.

I thought I learned BEERGOGGLES from an earlier puzzle and discussion in Rexville, but maybe not.

Paula (also my sister's name), you really massaged my EGO with this one - thanks!

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

From syndiland, Probably the easiest Friday ever for me. Some weeks I struggle when everyone else says it's easy. It just depends on your wheelhouse. Nice puzzle.

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