Jane who was Chicago's first female mayor, Image on a denarius, Soviet attack sub, Kind if root in math

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg and Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: RONDEL (48D Chaucer's "Merciless Beauty," for example) — A rondel is a verse form originating in French lyrical poetry, later used in the verse of other languages as well, such as English and Romanian. It is a variation of the rondeau consisting of two quatrains followed by a quintet (13 lines total) or a sestet (14 lines total). The rondel was invented in the 14th century, and is arguably better suited to the French language than to English. It is not to be confused with the roundel, a similar verse form with repeating refrain.
• • •

Merciless Ambiguity

Your Number Five Puzzle will stump me suddenly;
Their wordplay mocks me who was once overweening;
Straight through its heart the long Down mocking, mean.

Only the right word will fill the injury
To my split grid, while yet the clock is running -
Your Number Five Puzzle will stump me suddenly;
Their wordplay mocks me who was once overweening.

Upon this clue, I tell you faithfully
My life and death in this contest does depend;
For with this fill the whole grid shall be seen.
Your Number Five Puzzle will stump me suddenly;
Their wordplay mocks me who was once overweening;
Straight through its heart the long Down mocking, mean.

Today, the contestants in Brooklyn for the ACPT stake out a chair, sharpen their pencils, get one last cup of coffee, make one last pit stop, array their lucky talismans, and launch into the official competition puzzles. It's been all socials and gladhanding up to now, but the tiger awakens when the timer starts and you hear the whoosh of five hundred sheets of paper being flipped simultaneously. Some tear into the puzzle like wild animals and propel themselves to the upper echelons. Some falter when a crucial answer will not come. A few doodle in the margins and plan to work their puzzles after the convention so they can savor them more. But none of them will have time for this extra newspaper puzzle. 

Ha, ha! See what I did there? I was kidding. Every Single One Of Them will at least attempt this puzzle before the competition begins. Most of them solved it last night. A few of them have already posted to their blogs about it while I am sitting here typing.

Nevertheless, I think Mr. Shortz decided to go easy on us Average JOEs (31A Mud) while the serious solvers are at the tournament. I always know I have a fair chance when I see Mr. Silk's name in the byline, but this was not the challenge I expect on a Saturday. I'm not complaining, mind you. In fact, I feel godlike on these rare weekends when I can complete both Friday's and Saturday's puzzle. I might even get my taxes done today. And wash the dogs.

  • 20A Bicycle support, informally SISSY BARI know some people are offended by the S word, and maybe the double entendre here is pushing the limits, but it makes me think of kids riding bikes. I like it.
  • 9D Sominex alternative ADVIL® PM—well, after yesterday, I couldn't overlook this blatant shill. So, will I give it a pass on my standard of facilitating worthwhile fill? Since it crosses both sissy bar and Warren Zevon, I will. But I DARE YOU to try that again.
  • 42D Lugs GALOOTS — I learned it as a BRAT from watching Warner Brothers on many long-ago Saturday mornings.
  • 55A Wine-tasting accessory SPITTOON — so, if you were thinking about getting into wine tastings, but wanted to be sure you could look suave and sophisticated as you participated, now you know. You spit into a bucket.
  • 61A One stoked to provide warmth WOOD FURNACE — I thought it said "stroked" at first. Write your own wood jokes here.
  • 28A Title science teacher of an old sitcom MR PEEPERS — Like, really old. Like, 1952 old (thank you, google). Because there's no way a guy named Mr. Peepers could get a job working with kids today.
  • Gets in a lather SUDSES — I haveses reservations about this word. It seemses made up.
Good luck, ACPT puzzlers. Remember, you're all winners. Don't get too worked up if things go badly. This is not healthy: [WARNING: NSFW language]
Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 3:04 AM  

Thought this was going to be easy when I dropped in NICOLAS CAGE with no crosses, but, unlike treedweller,  it turned out to be mostly medium for me with the NW on the tough side even with CAGE in place. NAh for NAW didn't help as well as trying to fit Ambien in where ADVILPM was supposed to go.  Fortunately knowing MR PEEPERS opened up the NE and the South was overall medium.

WOEs I needed crosses for: BYRNE, UTA (apparently Ms. Hagen is not Sat. material), OBRIEN (the actress who plays her on Downton Abbey is leaving), and ALPERT who I know but had no idea he was the A in A&M.

Liked this a lot.  Very zippy NW plus MR PERPERS, BRAT as clued... Nice one guys and a third fine write up from the guy in the tree.

And, for those of you wondering why PBJS didn't have an abbr. indication, that's the way end of week puzzles roll.  Var., abbr, and the like are often subtly hinted at or just not provided.  End weeks are supposed to be tough to solve.

r.alphbunker 5:07 AM  

I think that PBJ has the same status as BLT, ASAP or radar. They all started out as acronyms but became part of the language due to common usage.

Danp 7:21 AM  

Not at all easy for me. But nice array of pop culture through the ages. Mrs. Grundy? Never heard of PBJ's - only PB and J's.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Agree fully about sudses. I desperately wanted suds up, but no luck. Sounds like what Gollum does on bath day. Other wise an enjoyable puzzle, but not as easy for me. I too popped Mr Cage in right away and felt superior. Alas, this did not last. Thanks for great write up.

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

I'm old enough to remember Mr. Peepers, played by Wally Cox. Like all Cox's characters, Mr. Peepers was a bit of a twit, so the name was as goofy as it would be now. I didn't find this easy, but finally got some traction at the bottom and solved it from the bottom up. Never heard of WARREN ZEVON (I guess I'm too old for the late 70's music) and went with NAh fir 1D.

Dean 8:34 AM  

I got it on crosses, but .., the contents of a SCONCE can be wicked? Wicked light bulbs? Wicked earthworms? I only know two meanings for this noun. Someone clue me in, please.

webwinger 8:36 AM  

Seems kind of echo-y here with everyone off in Brooklyn! This was fun but not at all easy for me. Quickly got BYRNE (good to be seeing references to my home town in the puzzles lately), MRPEEPERS (great comment, tree!), CAESAR, RAISA. Had to do a LOT of googling, even for names I was familiar with (NICOLASCAGE, ALPERT, ETRUSCAN) because of obscure cluing (I know, it’s Saturday…), but also found a number of delights in the clues, notably those for ASTRA and HEARTS, and answers (GALOOTS crossing SPITTOON—terrific pic, tree, you're really getting the hang of this!) Still don’t understand DASHES, which seems like it should be obvious. Had a DNF with the cross of MAT, which I guess refers to wrestling, and EMT, which refers to ??? I’m still just learning about the various constructors, but this seems to be a joint effort of one of the oldest pros and one of the youngest turks. Nice work, guys!

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Think "wickt", not "wick-ed". Candles are often in sconces.

webwinger 8:43 AM  

Aha! EMT--clears the throat doing CPR. Fiendish!

Merle 9:08 AM  

Easy? Wow, treedweller, you are sharp. Very difficult puzzle for me. Agree about sudses. Doesn't sound right. But -- it is right. I just Googled the word specifically for my comment. I knew that Mrs. Grundy was a prig -- a censorious type of person. I thought she might have been a Dickens character -- but I just Googled it for this comment, and she is a character in a 1898 play by Thomas Morton.

Initially I had "lions" for Circus Maximus stars, but when it led nowhere I tried "astra" instead.

50D "Its contents are often wicked" is a wicked clue. Very clever. Candles have wicks. Kewl clue and answer.

Yes, "sissy bar" is offensive.

Yes, Sominex and Advil PM are annoying shills. Bring back the good old days when brand names were not permitted in crossword puzzles, either as clues or answers.

Mrs. Gorbachev, known to her family as Raisa, is a pretty tired, overused clue and answer. Haven't seen it in a while. Don't think it should be used again.

Too much bland pop culture stuff. "Hoarders"? Really? PBJ sandwiches? Do "tykes" still eat that stuff? "Mud" = "Joe"? Overused. Do people still say mud and joe? I don't drink coffee, so I don't know. But if I did, I'd call it coffee. If I found myself in a place that served coffee that deserved to be called mud, I'd leave. 1978 album, "Excitable Boy"? Does anyone remember that? I sure don't. Princess Oona in Donald Duck? Who knew? Who cares? But I guess it is a fresh take on Oona. Charlie Chaplin's wife or Eugene O'Neill's granddaughter are pretty tired clues for this kind of fill.

Didn't know that Chaucer wrote a rondel called "Merciless Beauty", but it's a great clue and great answer. And And didn't know the history of A&M Records. Great clue.

Still, a sometimes interesting if frustrating puzzle.

jackj 9:11 AM  

What an unlikely pairing, with one of the youngest of Will’s posse matched up with one of the most established of the crossword world’s elder statesman.

Next thing you know, we’ll learn that young Mr. Steinberg did the cluing for ADVILPM while dapper, tuxedoed Barry Silk provided the goods for SISSYBAR.

Or, David gave us the RONDEL entry while Barry countered with WARRENZEVON.

Even with entries like those, the puzzle had a rather pro forma cast to it, as if David and Barry had a non-aggression pact and were intent on accommodating each other, resulting in such uninspired bits as WOODFURNACE and DAIRYFARM, when there should have been snapping, crackling and popping all over this grid.

We might have been dazzled by the likes of rappers BOW WOW and XHIBIT or perplexed by every day phrases in an unexpected setting like KOSHER DELI or TEXAS TEA, but instead got we Jane BYRNE, ERNS and RAISA.

There was still a lot to like, MRPEEPERS, SPITTOON, GALOOTS and IDAREYOU, but there seemed to be too many yawners, exemplified by one that neither constructor should take credit for, SUDSES.

Please try it again guys and this time let your hair down (sorry Barry) and let things flow free; then you can switch MALA to BONA and leave your delighted fans agape, as ever.

chefbea 9:17 AM  

Another tough one for me. DNF.

Thanks for filling in for Rex Tree dweller. You've done a great job - and thanks for the picture of Alfa Caesar Mala!!

Carola 9:21 AM  

Not easy for me, got faked out right and left. Usually Barry Silk is my puzzle CHUM but today moved to the frenemy camp. So much to like, so hard for me to finish.

Paper puzzle is a mess of eraser smudges: brood mARe before DAIRY FARM, coal FURNACE, NAh, bonA, SCOtCh - thought it could be wicked - and more.

Eventually got all but the upper NE. Was sure trifLE was right for bagatelle. But that meant the bicycle support would have to be SISSY fuR - a shearling-padded seat? I had to resort to going to AcrossLite and checking squares. F-i-n-a-l-l-y saw BAUBLE and finished.

DBlock 9:28 AM  

One more hands up for this being hard despite some gimmes: Mr. Peepers, adobe reader, Jane Byrne
Had to google six answers ---oh the shame knowing those at the tourney would never stoop so low.
Makes me admire them all the more and know I am far from their league.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I had a bike with a sissy bar 40 years ago. It was the only bike I ever begged for. Sissy bars were the coolest thing in town in the 70s, and no one thought it was demeaning.

retired_chemist 9:38 AM  

Definitely not easy here. Finished in the low twenties (medium-hard time) with one silly error.

Could. Not. Get. Past. an E I had left over from some wrong shot at 43D ans decided that DAIRY FARE must be some dairy company in the NE. Mambo is a WTF so I was certainly not clued in to YMA.

WARREN ZEVON? WHO? Never heard the the term SISSY BAR; I suppose I will look it up later.

Superb: 49A, ASTRA; 34A MALA instead of BONA (which would have led to ADVIL PB, presumably a kids' flavored pill, see 22D); 22A PELE; 45D DASHES; and more.

Shout-outs to geezers: ALTAIR, MR. PEEPERS. WOOD FURNACE, no, not that much of a geezer.

Overwrite: ARISTA @ 46D (ALPERT).

A slog here, but in hindsight a very nice puzzle. Thanks, Messrs. Steinberg and Silk.

Twangster 9:41 AM  

Solved this pretty quickly, but my first 3 interlocking answers were wrong: BONA, SINUTAB, and LUST (for the groupie).

Dan 9:42 AM  

SUDSES sounds like the sort of thing Gollum would say, if Gollum bathed... ("The hobbitses need to clean themselves with the sudses!")

Had NAH for NAW and no clue on LEES so I ended with HARRY N. ZEVON.

Bert Lahr 10:15 AM  

I guess you find me offensive too.

IF I ONLY HAD A NERVE by The Wizard of Oz Cast
Yeh, it's sad, believe me, Missy, When you're born to be a sissy
Without the vim and verve.
But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mou-ess
If I only had the nerve.
I'm afraid there's no denyin' I'm just a dandelion,
A fate I don't deserve.
I'd be brave as a blizzard....
Tin Man
I'd be gentle as a lizard....
I'd be clever as a gizzard....
If the Wizard is a Wizard who will serve.
Then I'm sure to get a brain,
Tin Man
a heart,
a home,
the nerve!

Cheerio 10:16 AM  

The NE was DNF for me, because I had no idea that bagatelle had meanings outside of music. Two meanings at that! I hope to see its billiards game meaning sometime soon. I should have remembered Altair since I read Isaacsons's biography of Steve Jobs twice, but no, I couldn't bring that to mind. Mala fide is interesting, and the 2 stacks of 11 letter words are impressive. Thanks!

joho 10:24 AM  

I had big trouble with the proper names in this one. @Dan, you, too! hARRyNZEVON is funny! I can't believe with the "Y" un place I actually wrote in Yul for YMA! And I had ALhiRT for ALPERT because I had riM for HEM. Now if only SPRAT had been the familiar Jack ...

This puzzle was not easy for me, kudos to Treedweller and whoever else found it be so! This one would be a tournament puzzle nightmare for me!

Unknown 10:26 AM  

Loved this. Took me a few clues to get started, first thing filled in was WARREN ZEVON. Must be an age thing...I can't imagine folks not knowing him, and would encourage anyone unfamiliar with him to check out his wonderful music, and documentary "Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart". It's hard to believe he's been dead 10 years.

I loved treedweller's write up, particularly the point about SUDSES. Good luck to all the puzzlers today!

joho 10:26 AM  

That should be "in" place.

MetaRex 10:29 AM  

Go ACPTers! It was great to chat w/ Marion, Dave, loren, and other v. famous Rexeans in the shadow of the Bklyn Bridge last night...

CrossWorld and CrossOver buzz rankings at 'Cause I'm all strung out on heroin"

MetaRex 10:33 AM  

Googling/non-Googling notes at

Annals of Non-Fudging, pt. 1

dk 11:05 AM  

A picture of Andrea: heavy sigh.

Had PRIm for PRIG and was just about to look up mALOOTS but… never mind.

Add my whine to the SUDSES collective.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) My abnormal psych students called me MRPEEPERS… I may have to look that up and perhaps go back about 20 years and change their grades.

Wait theres more! Had a friend who was a commercial fisherwoman -- she often threatened to teach her landlubber boyfriend the other meaning of CHUM

Notsofast 11:23 AM  

I really like Saturdays when It occurs to me early on that I might not be able to do this!!!! Then a crack appears. And another. And another. A massive workout! Very enjoyable! LOVED Nicolas Cage losing his shit! A

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Brutally hard for me. NE last to go and finished -1, with SED / DEVON instead of SEZ / ZEVON.

ADVIL PM wicked hard.

I had no problem with SISSY BAR, you pussy. (Except for taking foooorever to get it.)

This post brought to you by ADOBE, purveyors of fine software, including Photoshop and Flash.

lymank 12:12 PM  

Treedweller found this easy??? GRRR....
But I rarely find a Saturday easy.
Can someone please reinterpret the clue and answer for 25A in a manner that I can understand. Clues like that drive me bonkers. I stare at the answer, and still don't understand what I'm looking at.
I felt good about slamming down Nicolas Cage fairly early on, but most of the other proper names belong in the realm of trivia that I can't justify keeping in my head:
Warren Zevon (huh?)
Uta Pippig (wha?)
Raisa Gorbachev (an old cwd friend)
Pele (of course we've heard of him)
Jane Byrne (maybe if you're from Chicago)
Mr. Peepers (never heard of him)
Arnaz (yes, we know him)
Elena Kagan (somebody I should remember)
Yma (is that Sumac?)

On to Sunday...

Suzy 12:31 PM  

Alit is past tense of alight.

Bot easy for me, but very enjoyable. Thanks for the
nice write-up, Treedweller! Knew it couldn't be Rex,
nary a snarky comment!

OISK 12:35 PM  

First DNF for me in a long time. Two long pop culture clues in the NW did me in. Never saw nor ever heard of 8 MM, nor Warren Zevon. Adobe Reader is pop culture in a way - dislike product names in puzzles ( I use adobe photoshop, could not come up with "Reader") and we have another product, Advil PM (never heard of it, but of course I know of Advil). Don't know how Geos are storms either. I usually like Silk's puzzles, but loading too much pop culture and product names in one sector is poor construction, as far as I am concerned. Applesauce!

Sandy K 12:39 PM  

Not easy for me. Never thought I'd finish, but somehow I did.

Re: 25A present tense= alight
past tense= alit

@Susan M- WARREN ZEVON was my first answer too. I knew him from Letterman. He'd fill in for Paul Shaffer, and performed "Seminole Bingo" and "Porcelain Monkey"- which I still have on tape somewhere.
Some might remember him for "Werewolves of London".

Didn't know UTA, DASHES and SUDSES, but worked it out. IMHO, a challenging puz cuz of its tricky clues.

Thought of O'BRIEN from Downton also. Too bad she's leaving. Good villain.

Lewis 12:41 PM  

So, Harry N. Zevon is today's PAUL REAN.

Lots of pop in both senses of the word. I found it to be easier than the typical Saturday for me.

This was so good, combining experienced Barry with young David. I felt like David's last puzzle was technically beautiful, but out of touch with the mindset of older people -- he didn't know what would be familiar and what wouldn't. But tempered by Barry's wisdom, today's was much more in tune.

Great job, guys!

Anoa Bob 1:43 PM  

DNFed on the WARREN ZEVON/ADVIL PM crossing. Never heard of the former and thought the latter was a pain reliever, not a sleeping pill---that's what "Sominex" is, right? Tried Lunesta there.

Not too sure how well a WOOD FURNACE would work. I'd go with some kind of metal, maybe cast iron.

Seriously, I've heard of a coal-fired or coal-burning FURNACE, or a WOOD or WOOD-burning stove, but never a WOOD FURNACE.

Norm 1:50 PM  

Did not like this puzzle at all. A bunch of celebrity names clued by some of their most obscure achievements ever? More common names clued by the most obscure individual possible ("Marathoner Pippig"? really?) crossing an equally obscure computer? And, in my book, it's not a wood furnace: it's a wood-BURNING furnace. A wood furnace would not last very long. There was some cute stuff in this puzzle, but overall? Thumbs down from this camper.

Ellen S 2:01 PM  

@Oisk, it's another product placement, the GEO line has/had a model called the Storm. But while I recognize the meaning of the answer NOW, I didn't while I was trying to solve. That space remains G _ _ S. Massively DNF: the most frequently used letter in my grid is "blank". I knew Jane BYRNE and RAISA Gorbachev, and correctly guessed some others then gave it up. I'm happy for those for whom this is easy. Just goes to show -- I waltzed through yesterday's. Today, even Googling didn't help. I googled Sominex to see the lineup of competitors. None of the specific sleep aids fit the grid. Consumer Reports had an article that said over the counter products with an antihistamine work just as well. Oh, great, that only opens it up to about a billion possibiltiies. I never heard of WARREN ZEVON, but I wil remember Barry and David and be on guard next time!

syndy 2:03 PM  

I felt like I had been in a dog fight but my time turned out to be very shotz for a saturday. I would say Applesauce to SUDSES!the ALTAIR/UTA crossing in my mind was particularly brutal.The grid is,looking over it a thing of beauty.The cluing of ,however, was a Trifle mean spirited!

chefwen 3:05 PM  

Nothing EASY about this one for me. I was agape after reading treedweller's rating.

Got about 3/4 of the way before I threw in the old towel.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times puzzle was by David Steinberg and David Phillips, it wasn't easy either, but loads of fun.

Rob C 3:08 PM  

Found this one very difficult. Stunned to see easy. Not a big music or movie buff and that hurts me once in a while, like today. Almost the entire NW was a DNF with CAGE and ZEVON. Know who they are for sure, but couldn't get them from the clues.

25A - an 18 word clue. I wonder what the record is?

Hopeful for another Merle rant tomorrow. Nicely fills the void left by Rex.

captcha is "airponzi" - scheme run by a pilot?

jae 3:20 PM  

I second @chefwen in recommending the Fri. LA Times puzzle. A tad tougher than their usual Fri. and definitely fun!

Joseph B 3:57 PM  

Yes, well, treedweller said yesterday's was easy, too, but based on stats from solve-times on the website (provided daily here by sanfranman), it proved to be medium-challenging. Looking at the comments here, I'm guessing today's will be a medium at least. (Loved the write-up all the same, treedweller)

Almost the whole top was empty until SISSYBAR showed up. (Good thing I'm a child of the '70s.) That gave me Caesar, which gave me NICOLASCAGE and MRPEEPERS, and the rest of the top fell.

The west was terrible due to convincing myself that "Inner party member in '1984'" was OBRIST. You know, Obrist: an adherent of Obrism... Thank God the incorrect BYRTE cross kept nagging at me.

Nice, clean puzzle. Far better construction than previous two days.

jackj 4:20 PM  

UTA Pippig-

Uta Pippig famously ran and won the 1996 Boston Marathon while suffering from menstrual bleeding and a serious bout of diarrhea, somehow coping with the pains of the situation and preserving her dignity by accepting water from the onlookers to cleanse her legs as best she could while she ran, recording an amazing winning time of 2:27:12.

In my New England, the highest accolade we can bestow on a person is to note that they are the “Finest Kind’”.

Uta is the Finest Kind.

sanfranman59 4:23 PM  

I think @treedweller is selling his crossword-solving talents short. This one is headed toward either a Challenging or Medium-Challenging rating by my online solve time assessment. It's possible that the numbers are affected by the ACPT, but my own solve time was also about 3 minutes above my Saturday average, so I'm happy to think of it as a toughie.

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

@jackj: Voluntarily running a marathon with medical conditions that threatened critical dehydration is your definition of "finest kind"? Cannot agree. Escaping a prisoner of war camp in such circumstances -- yes. Participating in a voluntary sporting event -- no.

retired_chemist 4:39 PM  

@ jackj - glad that UTA Pippig comment was made well after breakfast time.....

LaneB 4:39 PM  

Huge DNF! What the hell is a25? ALIT.Feeling humbled and very stupid. If this one is "easy", I'd better stick to Sunday through Thursday. Sure do admire all the smart folks out there.

retired_chemist 4:40 PM  

OMG! Just noticed that the number in the captcha for the previous post was - wait for it - 42!

sanfranman59 4:55 PM  

@LaneB ... The verb ALIT is the past-tense of the verb alight (dropping the 4th and 5th letters yields ALIT). Don't give up on the tough puzzles. Speaking from personal experience, the more Fridays and Saturdays you try to do, the better you'll get at them.

Ulrich 5:25 PM  

Found this hard, too, on account of names in crucial places that I had never heard of. Amused myself on the side by following the progress of our friends in Brooklyn. Rex is no 34 as of this writing...

sanfranman59 6:02 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
Sat 26:15, 24:59, 1.05, 72%, 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
Sat 17:46, 14:38, 1.21, 88%, Challenging

michael 6:03 PM  

Not at all easy for me. One of the hardest Saturdays in long time. DNF. I could have stared at the NW forever without getting it.

Easy my hat! 6:10 PM  

Today's post certainly demonstrates the folly of rating a crossword puzzle's difficulty. It you are good with proper nouns that are obscure or clued obscurely, this puzzle was a cinch. If not, this was one of the worst puzzle ever. Look at the NW corner. The first 6 (!) across clues marching down the west side (1A, 15A, 17A, 19A, 21A and 26A) are all names, Just not my cup of tea. Bah.

Melodious funkl 7:19 PM  

Has anyone heard that Yma Sumac is actually Amy Camus, a little Jewish girl from Brooklyn? She changed her name (spelling it backwards) to appear more exotic.

This is a base canard perpetrated by professional musicians in my sphere. She was actually a Peruvian singer with an amazing vocal range. I know that's true because I read it on the Internet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_camus#Personal_life

And the Peruvian government supports this. And we know they are totally reliable.

Z 8:02 PM  

NW - Monday easy for me, a guy with 101 songs recorded by Mr. Zevon in my iTunes collection, including Excitable Boy. For the romantics out there you might prefer Accidentally Like a Martyr to Lawyers, Guns, and Money.

The rest of the puzzle is just one big mess for me.

I, too, once had a SISSYBAR, along with my banana seat. So did every other boy in my fifth grade class. So I got that and Jane Byrne and JOE and SPITTOON, ELENA, and GAS LANTERNS, but not much beyond that. I did get that "wicked" was referring to candles, but never came up with SCONCE. So one very easy corner for me then a big DNF.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Sooo, like Susan, can't imagine NOT knowing who Warren Zevon is. First thought: those must be some really old people. Then realized, no, it's ME who's old. (53) They don't know him because they're too young. :(

This had kind of a nice 70s/80s feel to it with Warren Z, Jayne BYRNE, SISSYBAR, INTERRACIAL.

Loved (and got almost immediately) yesterday's BEERGOGGLES. And someone's comment about what the SNARKENFLUX is that, which would make a good Sat. answer. Heh, heh.

Elle54 8:47 PM  

At least I knew Jane BYRNE. Isn't Grundy the old lady teacher in the Archie comics?
Hand up for never hearing of Warren Zevon.

Chip Hilton 9:06 PM  

I know it's late but wanted to add my two cents. I loved this puzzle. Lively, clever, all over the place in terms of clue eras . . . Just a really fun Saturday slog. The triple stack of 11's at the top were late to fall but their were other roadblocks. Hated SUDSES, wanted SUDSup. Did Miss Grundy and MRPEEPERS ever . . . you know?

Thanks, Silk & Steinberg.

Chip Hilton 9:07 PM  

there, not their. So careless.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

Wait. Sissy bar may be pushing the limits? Have you seen any prime-time show in the last, say, thirty-five years?
I rode bikes with sissy bars; most of my friends rode bikes with sissy bars. We didn't have any feelings about the bars one way or the other. How we felt about anyone who actually had to hold on to the sissy bar while riding two-up, well, that's another story. it was an apt term. No doubt still is.

Dirigonzo 10:55 PM  

Not easy for me, but still fun. I would have finished, too, if only I had known U?A Pippig and ?MA of "Mambo" fame (but I should have known the far east capital YEN - that trick has fooled me more than once). Now I have to go set all my clocks ahead for DST.

Mia Mossberg78 11:16 PM  


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Doc John 11:44 PM  

Humorous scene from the movie, "Sideways" involving a SPITTOON.
That is all.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:11 PM  

@webwinger- Don't see that anyone answered your question: Five DASHES constitute the Morse Code symbol for Zero.

MetaRex 8:21 PM  

Congrats to ACPT champ Dan Feyer!

A couple of earlier MetaRexian posts have been based on the assumption--not sure how I made it--that the irascible, highly articulate, and politically scarlet poster Evil Doug and the very fine constructor Doug Peterson are one and the same person. I have been informed by a reliable source in a post-tournament conversation that they are in fact two completely different people.

My regrets!

I will continue to enjoy ED's posts and Doug Peterson's puzzles, but without conflating their creators.

Spacecraft 12:07 PM  

I read "easy" and couldn't believe it. Me? DNF, after only a few stabs. I put in RAISA, and even IDAREYOU after staring at the area for about an hour. Below, FRA and ELS led to a FURNACE, though mine was coal: that's what is "stoked," what an automatic stoker "stokes." You don't "stoke" a WOODFURNACE; you just throw another log in. The "black-and-white" (note the DASHES) had me thinking cop car, MOTORPATROL maybe. IMO, the winning entry INTERRACIAL should not be clued with those dashes. A "black-and-white" is a cop car. And now will somebody please explain to me how "Mud" gets you to JOE. That one I am sure I will not understand even after it's told to me. Makes absolutely no sense. The rest of the stuff I just plain didn't know.

Crap, even the captcha is illegible! What a day THIS is starting out to be!

rain forest 5:51 PM  

@Spacecraft Coffee. Cuppa mud--cuppa joe.
This was definitely not easy, yet I was able to do it, so not as difficult as some Saturdays. I knew Warren Zevon and Mr. Peepers right off. Raisa, Pele, and a few downs in the NW, got me a big foothold, and I inched my way to the finish, without knowing what a RONDEL is. I was hung up for way too long on the MAT/EMT cross until it came to me--my last entry.
Pretty fun, in my opinion.

Spacecraft 6:51 PM  

Coffee? Realy? What a sheltered life I've led: I have never heard coffee called EITHER of those two things. But thanks.

Joe in Canada 10:28 PM  

I get this in syndication. A few weeks ago on Sunday we had FRA as an abbey title. I hope Mr Shortz now knows that it is not an abbey title. It might be a monastery title, but it is used by mendicants, not monastics.

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