Spiral-horned antelope / SAT 3-23-13 / 1920-24 owner of Metro Pictures / Shogunate capital / View from Biancavilla / One of reality TV's Guidettes / American Scholar speech giver / Creator of heroine Catherine Earnshaw / Name on London Hall / English Channel feeder / 10th century European king

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: EXE (36A: English Channel feeder) —
The River Exe (pron.: /ˈɛks/ eks) in England rises at Exe Head, near the village of Simonsbath, on Exmoor in Somerset, 8.4 kilometres (5 mi) from the Bristol Channel coast, but flows more or less directly due south, so that most of its length lies in Devon. It reaches the sea at a substantial ria, the Exe Estuary, on the south (English Channel) coast of Devon. Historically, its lowest bridging point was atExeter, though there is now a viaduct for the M5 motorway about 3 kilometres (2 mi) south of the city centre. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, I know this kid. I saw him in Brooklyn earlier this month, and he seems busy. He's got a puzzle in "Twenty Under Thirty"—the collection of puzzles by young constructors, for which I was a judge, which just came out (get it here)—he's got a puzzle in "American Red Crosswords"—the Hurricane Sandy benefit collection that I put together (get it here)—and his work on the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project (digitizing NYT puzzles going back to 1942) continues apace. In fact, earlier this evening, I was editing a conversation between me and Matt Gaffney (about a Sunday puzzle from 1989) that will appear on the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project's website some time in the near future. It's a wide-ranging, occasionally ridiculous conversation about puzzles, then and now. Look for it. But back to David—all this crossword stardom and he's still just a teenager. This puzzle has its strong places and its weak places. The toughest place—the place where I started, flailed, and ended (flailing)—was also the prettiest: the NW corner. That is one nifty stack of 11s. Its symmetrical counterpart is solid, if not quite as stunning. The other corners, I had less love for. URI RES OLAFI and EXE kind of deflated my love for the NE; and while the SW is better, it's a little generic. Plus, I generally try to keep EGG SACS as far away from my MOON PIEs as possible.

NW was hardest because 1A: "Another Cinderella Story" co-star, 2008 meant *nothing* to me. I know who SELENA GOMEZ is (I have a 12-year-old daughter), but that movie title could've been any movie title. In fact, that whole corner didn't even begin to open up until I got the "Z" from ZEALOUSLY. Then OOZE. Then I saw ARIZONA (though I thought it was YUMA, at first, not MESA). Then MNO (9D: 6 string ). Then, and only then, did I get GOMEZ. After that, completely unknown ABRAM (6D: Norm of "This Old House") and barely known and somehow unforgotten NYALA (5D: Spiral-horned antelope) finally came into view, and the corner resolved itself. Before that, no real struggles—just a steady Saturday stroll. Started with RONA, then ON GOAL and LOEW (34D: 1920-24 owner of Metro Pictures) came together almost simultaneously, and from there the middle opened up. Weird. I don't usually get my first traction in the middle of a grid, but that's what happened. Needed help to remember stupid Euro-rivers (EXE, ORNE [Neighbor or Eure-et-Loir]) and Euro-provinces (on cantons, I guess—URI), and I had a few wrong answers that held me up: many different channels before AMC at 24A: Channel with the tagline "Story matters here"; COS before COT (64D: Trig function); GOES before DOES (35A: Gets along); ULM for URI (16A: It's bisected by the Reuss River); and the only-a-constant-solver-and-idiot-could-make-that-mistake mistake: scenic Sicilian ENNA instead of the much more obvious and common Mt. ETNA (10D: View from Biancavilla).

NOTE: 9D: 6 string is MNO because that is the "string" of letters on the "6" button on your phone. I get more mail about phone keyboard clues than virtually any other kind of clues, and so I'm hoping, perhaps futilely, to pre-unclog my Inbox with this note. Thank you.

  • 15A: Creator of the heroine Catherine Earnshaw (EMILY BRONTË) — nooooo idea. But got the whole answer off just a few letters on the back end. 
  • 21A: Name on a London hall (ALBERT) — first guess, ended up right. Very useful in Saturday puzzles.
  • 43A: Bearers of bright red anils (YEWS) — I have resigned myself to never remembering being able to keep ANIL and ARIL straight. Such is my lot.
  • 53A: Shogunate capital (EDO) — certified Old Skool crosswordese. Gimme.
  • 57A: One of reality TV's "Guidettes" (SNOOKI) — not "Guid-" as in "TV Guide," but "Guid-" as in "Guido." I've never seen the show, but I put SNOOKI in a puzzle once. I think she got edited out.
  • 66A: Epitome of dedication, in modern usage (REAL TROOPER) — this is cute. 
  • 67A: Either of two cousin Udalls: Abbr. (SEN.) — me: "Are they both named MOE?" No. Neither. One is Mark (CO). One is Tom (NM). 
  • 2D: "The American Scholar" speech giver (EMERSON) — I was desperately trying to remember H.L. MENCKEN's name. Turns out I was thinking of "The American Mercury." That's what's called Knowing Too Much And Too Little Simultaneously.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jackj 12:08 AM  

Lots to like in this David Steinberg puzzle and a few disappointments as well but very few bits of crossword fallback entries other than URI, COT, ELA, DAE, EXE and COT.

Dealing with the disappointments first, there are clue types used too often in Saturday puzzles that might as well have their answer footnoted in brilliant lemon neon coloring because they are to be expected. Cases in point, the clue for ABS, “Focus of middle management?”; and for “Mismatched pair?” one need not look beyond the first word to see what letter is a double and EMS it is.

Then, not expected, just not good, there is ENTERER, “nuff said and lastly, one that wouldn’t normally be a “gimme” but David seemed to be trying too hard to be super clever and the clue “Dessert that’s out of this world?” flowed too naturally from the “M” of EMS and could only be MOONPIE.

In the likes department, the pairing of the SONORAN dessert with MESA AZ was clever (and Saturday worthy), as was EDDIEARCARO and his neighbor in the bottom stack, SEEDOYSTERS.

But, the parts of the puzzle that were the most fun were those that seriously stumped me for a time, firstly in the upper left where I knew RONA (Barrett), PSI and AOK, but for the hockey clue I had NOGOAL, which meant that the speechifier at 2 down was a Mr. or Ms….(something) SOO.

When I finally flipped the N and O for ONGOAL, clearly EMERSON worked better than EMERSOO and then the final test was in the same general area when LANE made 7down the obviously incorrect GRINER, but working in a roundabout way, 29 down proved not to be AGIST but ODIST that begat HOTBUTTON and the “H” revealed the Seussian GRINCH and there was no slowing down thereafter.

Kudos to David who is too young to be so good!!

Pete 12:14 AM  

" Epitome of dedication, in modern usage (REAL TROOPER) — this is cute."

It may be cute, but it's wrong. When referencing dedication it's TROUPER, when referencing courage it's TROOPER.

jae 12:19 AM  

Medium for me.  Just saw SELENA GOMEZ on Ferguson this week.  Unfortunately, she failed to mention "Another Cinderella Story", so I needed some crosses.  "Springer Breakers",  however, looks interesting.

Erasure: Bus for BLT and I suspect I'm not alone.


Had the O in 51 across and waited for the crosses to decided between ORNE and OISE.  (I have no idea where/what Eure-et-Loir is).

Liked the 11s.  A couple were actually zippy. Plus...HOT BUTTON, KNOW IT ALL, MOON PIE, SNOOKI, ANY TAKERS, SEMI PRO, BRER FOX...made for a fun Sat.

Nice one David!

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

BRER FOX? Is there a BRER CAMEL, or a BRER AARDVARK also? An entire BRER ZOO?

Carola 12:35 AM  
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Greg Charles 12:38 AM  

Norm ABRAM was one of my few gimmes. Measure twice, cut once! That guy could cut without measuring and still not miss the mark by an iota, or even an eta meson. I'm a big fan virtuosity in all its disciplines.

Jim Walker 1:03 AM  

Loved this one. Much harder than yesterday. Paused a long while over dual triple crown clue. Got off the track, literally, cuz. Three year old is only three once. Went to baseball and tried to squeeze in Eddie Matthews. Then remembered the horses had a human on their back and ARCARO whom I saw ride dozens of times in California, fell into place. 20 minutes on a stupid typo: BuT for BLT. Had bus at first. Bravo David.

My best wishes to the ailing child for a quick recovery.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

This was waaaay easier than yesterday for me. Went down in the NE though. Put down SITTING Madonna and don't think I'd ever have found my way to SISTINE, even though I knew EXG was going to be wrong.

TROUPER may be 'correct', but language evolves and that fight is long lost. Don't know if it ever even got a fight, so few people would know that there should have been one. Ha!

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

Obviously a victim of government schools.

Bencoe 1:19 AM  

Didn't even notice the constructor until I came here. Saw him speak at ACPT as well, and got to meet Rex (briefly, and I was a bit dazed at the moment, standing in front of big crowd waiting for division c finals to start). I was thinking that there were a few young, contemporary answers, particularly Selena Gomez, so it makes sense the constructor is only 16! Was a relatively easy saturday except for maybe the cot and Eddie Arcaro cross.

Carola 1:21 AM  

Medium+ for me. I liked reading the central KNOW IT ALL? as a question to the solver. To which I had to say, "Hardly," when I was struggling to extricate myself from various mistakes. Thought Poseidon's trident was the Roman numeral iiI and thus the speech giver an EMERIta. The incorrect COs kept me from seeing SEED OYSTERS and a bad guess at two moe Udalls fouled up the SW, where I'd rejected SONORA, not realizing it has a final N. Eventually it all got sorted out.

Lots to like. Nice group of literary and other arts references: EMILY BRONTE, EMERSON, Anne Frank's DIARY, an ODIST, ALBERT Hall, and the SISTINE Madonna. Fun to have BRER FOX and the GRINCH added to the mix.

I thought I'd gotten to be a SEMI-PRO at recognizing clues referring to the alphabet, but the "mismatched pair" faked me out until just now, when I was going to ask about it.

@evil doug - I hope all is going well with the little one.

syndy 2:17 AM  

Hand up for the bus,but I knew that OLAF had to be right.I had the same journey as @Jim Walker, thinking that horses can only run the triple crown races once-oh!duh!Zuma before MESA PRETAPE means nothing to me but hey the pencil was happy

Anonymous 2:42 AM  

Can someone explain MNO = 6 String?

chefwen 2:49 AM  

Thought this was much easier than yesterdays. Still, not a stroll down a country lane, at least we were able to finish.

Horse racing maniac got me EDDIE ARCARO, saw him ride many a time at Del Mar. He came up with that answer in betwixt studying the races for tomorrow. He also finished off SEMI PRO and ON GOAL for me. Very helpful to have a sports type person in house.

Good one David Steinberg, always time for celebration finishing a Saturday puzzle.

chefwen 2:52 AM  

@Anon 2:42 - MNO above the number 6 on your telephone.

Aureate Cia Myopes 3:30 AM  

Had the humiliation of being bested on this puzzle 7 minutes versus my 20+ minutes vs Eric Maddy, my houseguest this weekend, as he's come to have fun at the Equinox games.

Why I challenged him at midnight to a speed contest, is unclear, except i figured since he'd been up since 5am that would level the playing field! nope.

Plus I'm a better hostess if I let my guest wallop me at a crossword thingy, no?

I had an error too. EGGSACk/kEN. I kept asking who KEN Udall was...

TWO malapops!!!! I had the card game as LOO instead of UNO, right before the Bath Can clue.
Then MY Madonna was LISTINg!!!
And because of OisE, I had PiETAPE before MOONPIE.
LOO, LISTING, PIE... Two and a half malapops... A record!
Like I had all the right letters for the puzzle, just in the wrong places.

David Steinberg is young and very very very busy, (add to your list his editing the OC Register puzzle) but I'll bet it wasnt his age that made him start out with SELENAGOMEZ. Am I right, David, that you are more interested in SELENAGOMEZ having a Z at the end of her name than her being in "SpringBreakers" or knowing she's Bieber's ex.

Well, my first entries were SNOOKI and Ann Frank's DIARY, IDEE and OTROS. That about says it all.

Eric got a kick out of elevator being ODIST instead of OTIS, but only now am I realizing that was intentional...on someone's part. Sounds like a classic Will clue.

Anyway, I look at the puzzle this TOT has created and I BEAM. :).
Bravo, young David! You are no longer just a SEMIPRO.

Anoa Bob 3:35 AM  

Lots of good stuff in this one. I think of a REAL TROOPER as one who fulfills their duty ZEALOUSLY.

Loved MOON PIEs when I was a kid. Amazed they still make them.

21A ALBERT and its clue "Name on a London hall" reminded me of the Beatles' "A Day In The Life"

jae 4:14 AM  

@Anoa Bob -- Sgt. Pepper's is why that was a gimme..."now they know how many holes...."

Did not know at the time they were talking about pot holes.

Anonymous 5:19 AM  
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newsom sam 5:20 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:12 AM  

This was just as hard as yesterday for me, but I got pretty far.

uke MNO
eland okapi NYALA (huh?)
got to GONNA
brahm stoker EMILY BRONTȄ (Ouch on misspelling Bram to make it fit off uke’s K)

OLAFI looks like a five-letter African beast wannabe.

I once knew a wire-haired Dachshund who ate an entire case of Moon Pies while his owners were at work. What a dog.

I saw EGG SACS, BLT, KNOW IT ALL, and REAL TROOPER early on, but my truly fatal mistake was misspelling DIARY. The Dairy of Anne Frank. Jeez.

I’m HERE TO tell YEWS guys that this one SNOOKered me! Good job, David!

Thoracic 7:40 AM  

@loren muse smith
Thanks a lot. I now have the vision of Anne Frank locked in an attic trying to very quietly remove the cellophane from a slice of aged cheddar, while armed men wander around the apartment below. I'm sitting here alone laughing like an idiot!
The puzzle was entertaining as well.

evil doug 8:22 AM  

Tests passed, parents thrilled, all is well. Thanks.


imsdave 8:35 AM  

Count me in the bus riding group. I wanted the 6 string to be guitar related - something like dee or gee - looked it up afterwards, and if there were such a thing as a 6 string, it would be an E. Last letter in the grid was the second O in TROOPER.

Sidebar - I got my snow blower fixed this week, so folks in Southern New England can be sure there will be no more measurable snow this year.

Dumb Guy 8:43 AM  

EMILY BRONTË wrote Sex in the City? Who knew!

Glimmerglass 8:48 AM  

Looks like someone scammed us at 5:19 and 520 am.

Glimmerglass 8:55 AM  

I thought the SE was pretty ugly: PRETEST? ENTERER? Not hard to work out, just ugly. Great puzzle otherwise.
Good job, Mr. Steinberg. I though SEED OYSTERS and EDDIE ARCARO were cleverly clued. @Rex: Catherine Earnshaw is the heroine (sort of) of Wurthering Heights. Surely more than half of us read that in 11th grade. (The girls loved it; boys hated it.)

Not a prescriptivist 8:57 AM  

@Pete you idiot - Language evolves. See, for instance, the citation in the Oxford Dictionary of American Usage for a discussion of "real trou[o]per"

trooper;trouper. Trooper=(1) a cavalry soldier or horse; (2) a police officer mounted on horseback; or (3) a state police officer. Trouper = (1) a member of an acting troupe; or (2) one who handles adversity well. The proper expression, then, is real trouper (sense 2), not real trouper. Yet while the correct form is more common, the incorrect form seems to be gaining ground --e.g. "Recently, our beloved 16-year-old cat, Casey, was stricken with cancer. Nevertheless, she was a real trooper[read trouper] until the end"(St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

See, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the premier source of coupons within the greater St. Louis area, contains a citation for "real trooper". For the obituary of a friggin' cat

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Catherine Earnshaw as in Wuthering heights

jberg 9:53 AM  

@Pete -- you have to read the clue for 66A, "... in modern usage." Modern usage is to spell things wrong -- more precisely, it's to rely on spell-check routines in Word, so that you end up with a lot of misspellings that are homonyms. Subtle clue!

Yes for the bus, thought maybe the Reuss River went through oRe, and that mabe there was a reSTINg Madonna among Raphael's oeuvre; also that maybe the US joined the OAS in 1917 (do you really "join" a war?). Also MYOPic (as a collective noun) before MYOPES. So all that slowed me down, but I got it eventually.

I hope I can do as well at this captcha as those two robots dis.

Z 9:59 AM  

Clue: Focus of middle management?
50 something solver's answer: Fat
10 something constructor's answer: ABS

'nuff said.

Z 10:02 AM  

@ED - great news!

chefbea 10:16 AM  

Busy day today. Started the puzzle but DNF. Now going to a big plant and herb show. Gotta bundle up as it is freezing cold here. Brrrrr

Bob Kerfuffle 10:30 AM  

Felt Challenging to me, but after 45 minutes or so, finished correctly, no write-overs. Did spend quite some time looking at 28 A with only TTON at the end, wanted FORGOTTEN, which didn't fit crosses, held off until I could put in HOT BUTTON.

@jberg - Thanks for the clarification on TROOPER/TROUPER. Crosses dictated the answer, but I felt uncomfortable with it.

tonydia 10:34 AM  


dk 10:35 AM  

Looks like the spam protection has failed. Can we dump the robot test.

This one was all over the map and lacking the rhythm of a well constructed Saturday puzzle. Seems like just a bunch of hard solves on a page. That said much promise. Fix the above mentioned trouper, replace COT with a clue for CUT and get rid of EDDIE and SELENA and viola a relationship storyline to the puzzle:
Just sayin.

🌟🌟 (2 Stars) SEMIPRO

Sandy K 10:46 AM  


Surprised PSI was clued as Poseidon's trident instead of Gangnam Style singer. But our young constructor seems to KNOW IT ALL!

Very enjoyable, Mr. Steinberg!

Tita 10:59 AM  

DNF - had OisE, not ORNE, and SeSTINa.
Knew EMILYBRONTE, needed the webs cleared by sleep before the totally unknown but must've-heard-speak-of SELENAGOMEZ leapt out.

The domino effect from dropping in that Z led me to fix Bus.

@Anon @2:42 - you're just funnin' with us, right? I mean, you can read...

Liked the dessert & desert pair.

SEEDOYSTERbedS are polluting Cape Cod Bay - inexplicably, someone scammed the state to allow an ever-expanding base of ugly and in-the-way to windsurfers/sailors and walkers and gazers in the otherwise empty tidal flats. Ugh.

Thanks, @imsdave - that, together with our new generator last week, should guarantee the end to inclement weather! You're welcome.

@ED - what a relief - I guess I need to read Friday to hear what you are relieved about, but glad the outcome is positive.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Ynaldo makes a good point today about TROOPER. Why cross it with COT instead of CUT?

Deliberate? To provoke discussion? Which might be especially interesting for those who know only the TROOPER spelling? It is more than "modern usage" - it is current standard usage (non-standard only for those who know the difference).

Evan 11:10 AM  

Thanks for plugging 20 Under 30 again, Rex. David's puzzle in that collection is a real clever one. Hopefully you all have gotten a chance to solve mine, too!

I thought most everything here was relatively easy, except for the northeast corner. That held me up for way longer than the rest of the puzzle combined. I couldn't decide between OLAF and OLAV, couldn't let go of SESTINA instead of SISTINE (I've seen the word SESTINA before but had no idea what it meant, even though it looks Italian enough -- apparently it's a type of poem). And did no one else get stuck between ABS and ASS (he said, tittering the whole time)?

I've never read the Uncle Remus tales, but once I got BRER FOX, everything else fall into place. That's where my handy little rule-of-thumb helped me out. I couldn't remember URI as a Swiss canton (and of course, hadn't ever heard of the Reuss River anyway), and I could never have guessed EXE was a river in England -- but I'd seen both in crosswords before, so I figured they had to be right. Confirming them with SISTINE was the clincher.

Other tough spots -- AIRTIME before LISTING, HEREIN before HERETO, and the who-knows-what-I-was-thinking SEED NESTERS before OYSTERS. ORNE came entirely from crossings.

So yeah, I'm glad I beat this one -- that one corner nearly made me give up!

GILL I. 11:22 AM  

I'm with @dk on this puzzle.
I think my HOT BUTTON got pushed when I had to figure out two proper names right at the start. I'm also with @Z on the fat issue.
MY OPES were also dashed when I didn't know SNOOKI nor EDDIE ARCARO.
AUREATE and ENTERER just didn't make me BEAM.

Sandy K 11:22 AM  

Corrections: Gangnam Style singer is spelled PSy not PSI, and I think SNOOKI is spelled with only 2 OOs, not 3.

quilter1 11:24 AM  

The top filled in easily but then I got bamboozled in the south and DNF. EGGSACS eluded me as I was thinking something like tech schools. I think of triple crown winners as horses not jockeys, so.... Catherine Earnshaw was a gimme--surprised @Rex didn't know. SNOOKI not in my consciousness on any day. Agree on TROOPER/TROuPER even though I didn't get it. I enjoyed the tussle, though.

webwinger 11:32 AM  

Was planning to take today off, but couldn’t resist when I saw the byline of our favorite wunderkind constructor, and wasn’t disappointed. Favorite answer: BRERFOX. Favorite clue: for EGGSACS. BLT/bus fake, TROOPER/trouper hedge, and ODIST/Otis wordplay (thanks for that insight, Acme), EDDIEARCARO answer and clue all added significantly to the fun. Hang-ups were mostly geographical, as per Rex and others. Agree with @lms that Noah might have rescued a couple of OLAFIs. (BTW, DS, when do you do your homework?)

Late breaking amusement from yesterday’s puzzle, one answer in which recalled a long-ago conversation with an acquaintance whose Boston accent sometimes rendered her speech nearly incomprehensible. She made reference to an item’s costing “a NOMINAL egg”; after much back and forth her intended verbiage was revealed be “an arm and a leg”…

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Rex, aren't you an English professor? Or something to do with literature? I'm just surprised that Catherine Earnshaw was a noooo idea....

Masked and Anonymo3Us 11:52 AM  

@Evil D: Congrats and thUmbsUp to the little dude.

@puz maker: Congrats and thUmbsUp to the little dude.

Unknown 11:59 AM  

Nice catch

GILL I. 12:00 PM  

@Melodious funk from yesterday. I just opened my Email comments and saw your post on "departing space."
THAT WAS AWESOME.....I'm watching it again. Thanks for sharing
ED. Good news on the wee one.

Notsofast 12:17 PM  

That was a hard one. That's what she said. An excellent Saturday puzzle. A tip of the hat to "Bath can". A fun time.

Ed C 12:41 PM  

Knowing too much and too little simultaneously pretty much sums up my lifelong crossword puzzle experience. Well said, Rex.

Unknown 12:41 PM  

Harder than yesterday for me. Hate to have anything but support for this wonderful young constructor, but PRETAPE next to ENTERER was yucky. Other than that it was a fun, challenging solve.

Sparky 12:44 PM  

DNF. Not unusual for me on a Saturday. It seemed to me there was an awful lot to Google and I don't usually Google.

The big clincher is that there was a big blog of printers' ink on almost the whole Across clues. Waah! Only four were readable. Put Across Lite version up on screen, solved on paper. Took forever so I quit with about 2/3 done.

Hand up for Bus and stuck in the tulip bulbs for 68A. Have a good weekend.

joho 12:58 PM  

David you did me in. Doesn't matter, I really enjoyed the challenge. And regardless of your age, when it comes to crosswords, you are a REALTROOPER.

@loren muse smith regarding your, "OLAFI looks like a five-letter African beast wannabe." That name looks like he might be clumsy, too.

I live in Butler County, Ohio, who has just sued Punxutawney Pete for his bogus weather prediction that spring would arrive early. This got me to wondering if anybody will ever do a puzzle with his name in it. ANYTAKERS?

David Steinberg 1:32 PM  

Thanks for the great writeup, Rex, and I'm looking forward to posting your and Matt's conversation about pre-Shortzian puzzles! @Aureate Cia Myopes, you're correct that I was much more interested in the Z in Selena Gomez's name than in anything else about her!

Lewis 1:46 PM  

@rex -- excellent writeup today, witty and elucidating.

David, your puzzles continue to get better. You have the potential to become a crossword legend. Keep gaining life experience, and follow your passion. All this will help your puzzle building.

After my first pass, my puzzle looked naked, and I thought this was going to be rough going. There was so much Googlable stuff there, but I resisted. But bit by bit, and in some actual rushes, it opened up. And the Googlables filled in.

I haven't thought about Eddie Arcaro in ages. I thouht the 6-string was going to be GEE for the g-string. I liked the middle management clue.

Evil -- very glad to hear.

Carola 1:52 PM  

@evil doug - Glad to hear the good news!

@dk - I was waiting to see if you'd rate it in MOON PIES :)

@webwinger - So funny!

@joho - Punxsutawney appeared here along with Groundhog Day, but without Pete.

@Rex - William Wyler's 1939 Wuthering Heights with Merle Oberon as Catherine Earnshaw and Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff is worth seeing. Beautiful cinematography by Gregg Toland.

Rex Parker 2:18 PM  

I think I read "Wuthering Heights." Once. 20+ years ago. Not my thing. Aside from Heathcliff (thanks, Kate Bush), I couldn't tell you a single name in that novel.


MetaRex 2:20 PM  

Late to the lists today...MetaRexa got MetaRex to do some long deferred household maintenance of the rambling MetaWreck...

Reflections on David S.'s puzzle, Ms. Gomez, and other weighty matters--should you be grumpy when your personal Natick AN-TAKERS and _EWS has a Y answer?--at Selena, Selena

MetaRex 2:31 PM  

In case anyone is still wondering about the deep structure of Monday's SI/Systeme Internationale/Sports Illustrated/Swimsuit Issue puzzle...

The Last Word in Salamis

Campesite 3:03 PM  

Had the pleasure of having lunch with this cool young constructor at the LA puzzle tournament (which is also where I met the delightful ACME) and his folks. My money is on him taking over Will Shortz when the puzzlemaster decides to hang up his pencil.

@ED: very happy to hear the little guy is doing fine.

Cheers from poolside in Palm Springs!

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Ditto on TROUPER--that's just wrong. Yes, language evolves, but too many people (and a strong majority of the smartest ones) still know the correct spelling. So that fight is not yet lost. And in particular, people who construct puzzles ought to have that sort of knowledge. Otherwise I liked the puzzle, though, and nothing's perfect in life.

JFC 3:37 PM  

@ED, that's great news. We had one (in Chicago) who was a preemie by 2 plus months and another (in Maine) with heart problems requiring surgery, etc. The first is now 8 and healthy and normal and the other is 6 and an athlete. One hundred years, and maybe even 50 years, ago neither would probably be here. In these cases I always think there's more at work than just medical science, however. It also helps if the kid is a survivor but there is still more. Good luck....


Jim Finder 3:44 PM  

What's with all the @Ed, @Pete and @Rex? Why don't you just write their names?

Joseph B 4:04 PM  

Help wanted: ENTERER.

This was an easy-medium for me, especially since SONORAN and MESAARIZONA were gimmes. (I grew up in Tucson.) The NE, however, was straight up challenging.

Had FAT where ABS eventually went, which slowed me down. Plus, two of the three downs were proper nouns, as were and four of the six crosses - with a Latin word thrown in for good measure!

Went through the alphabet on several squares, which revealed OLAFI, RES, and [something]FOX. Spent quite some time convinced that 12D (AUREATE) was a two word phrase ending in TO, since OXE sounded more like a river to me. Was relieved to see the happy pencil pop up in Across Lite when I nervously entered the U to complete AUREATE.

(Mental note: gold in Latin is "aurum." Should be easy to remember due to Sp. "oro.")

mac 5:38 PM  

I slayed me. Then again, I was in a hurry to go shopping for a dress, not my favorite pastime... Success, though.

@metarex: shouldn't that be metaregina?

Good news, @ED.

bigsteve46 6:08 PM  

11-letter actress ending with Z: Cameron Diaz also fits! I really didn't want to give her up (I'm really very fond of Cameron Diaz - and have only a vague idea who Selena Gomez is) - but in the end, she was nothing more than a wrong answer and she had to go!

Also - think it's "Punxsutawney Phil," not Pete.

sanfranman59 6:16 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 5:51, 6:10, 0.95, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:20, 8:20, 1.00, 52%, Medium
Wed 10:16, 10:37, 0.97, 43%, Medium
Thu 13:38, 16:58, 0.80, 16%, Easy
Fri 28:53, 22:30, 1.28, 91%, Challenging
Sat 25:13, 25:08, 1.00, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:35, 3:41, 0.97, 29%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:06, 4:57, 1.03, 60%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:11, 6:16, 0.99, 44%, Medium
Thu 7:39, 9:56, 0.77, 11%, Easy
Fri 14:32, 13:21, 1.09, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 15:09, 14:48, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging

chefwen 6:19 PM  

@ED - Great news!

joho 6:22 PM  

@bigsteve46 ... of course, it's Phil not Pete!

Dirigonzo 7:19 PM  

"That's what's called Knowing Too Much And Too Little Simultaneously." My curse is knowing too little about too much all of the time so I'm no KNOWITALL, but PP and I managed to get this done in about any hour. She supplied the factual stuff like SONORAN, I contributed the xwordese like the mismatched pair EMS and the crosses did the rest. I insisted on gOES for Gets along (still don't see how DOES works) and we never went back to correct it so finished with OWS. I was really sad when ElbA had to be replaced with ETNA as I thought the constructor was making a really clever reference to the palindrome supposedly uttered by Napoleon (except, of course, he said it in French).

(Skulking back to Syncity now.)

LaneB 11:34 PM  

Did passably on the top half, but when you use the too-time triple crown hitter TEDWILLIAMS (and it fits and is true!), and combine that with a44 MYOPic, also Tom Udall for a67,most of the lower part is impossible. I'm surprised that so many knew SELENAGOMEZ. An other Saturday. DNF, even on an "easy" one.

Anonymous 3:45 AM  

It's late enough, and I'm drunk enough, and everyone is already on to Sunday's puzzle, so I'm just going to say it:

Rex, if you're teaching college in the humanities, and you have "nooooo idea" that Emily Brontë created the character Catherine Earnshaw, at least have the decency to be embarrassed about it. Jeez.

Acme 2:18 PM  

Namewise, i now wonder if Carrie Bradshaw, main character in "Sex and the City" was a nod to Catherine Earnshaw, that makes perfect sense!!! This is what I love about the blog!

Also, @ Big Steve 46, am loving that there are at least two actresses that end in Z! Third one does a puzzle make, perhapz!

retired_chemist 11:12 PM  

Easy. Lost 30 seconds or so by putting in REAL TROUPER and not seeing that it was wrong. Never looked at the 64D clue and CUT is a word, so it didn't look like an error. I don't get the "in modern usage" part of the clue - the phrase has the U. So I feel a bit had.

I can't b***h too much when my time was one of my best Saturdays even including the snipe hunt for the "error."

Spacecraft 12:00 PM  

Casting about for a gimme, I found DAE, which led ( I thought) to another: teDwilliAms. No, I'm not such a master of stats that I might know how many times that worthy achieved the TC--if ever. But I rejected horse racing because those races--well, at least the Derby for sure--are for three-year-olds. De facto, no horse can win the triple crown twice. Alas, forgot all about the jockeys.

Couldn't make sense of anything down there--no wonder--so I went NE, where I worked out ALBERT, then spotted another "gimme:" BRERbar. This led to ABS and RES and I thought I was on my way. Alas, forgot all about BRERFOX.

So, stalled there too--again no wonder--I gave up and DNF. I can't point to the clue for 62a and cry foul; it's not unfair. But with a famous and obvious entry fitting perfectly, the answer turned out to be a wicked curveball that even the venerable Ted would have whiffed. Chalk up another K. :(

SmacD 2:27 PM  

@tonydia and @Dirigonzo: For DOES = "Gets along", think of "How are you doing?" = "How are you getting along?"

DMGrandma 3:08 PM  

Came fairly close, but couldn't get the gold ring. Even though it didnt work with SEN, I wanted the far off dessert(!) to be a MOONsea (dont ask, but then I've never even seen a moonpie),and couldnt straighten out the resulting mess. Also ended up with OgIST and wondered what that is. But my real downfall was the SE. HEREin ruined my chances of finding the OYSTERS, and, with no idea for 66A I tried some kind of ROOtER. Wanted DAy for Mr Kim. And so it went. Finally just gave up. Some days are like that.

Waxy in Montreal 3:47 PM  

Quibble at 32A - unsaved hockey shots (those that go in) are also ONGOAL.

Had TARBABY before BRERFOX, ODD before EMS, SEEDSYSTEMS before SEEDOYSTERS and, of course, TEDWILLIAMS before EDDIEARCARO, all of which slowed me to a crawl. ENTERER is a shame as is the neo-spelling of TROOPER. On balance, though, an excellent Saturday puzzle. Thanks, David.

Joshua 12:48 AM  

@Anonymous 12:21 -- Yes, pretty much there is an entire Brer Zoo. The Uncle Remus stories focus on Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear, but a bunch of other "Brer" animals show up too -- Brer Buzzard, Brer Possum, Brer Terrapin, etc. ("Brer" is a short form for "Brother.") Occasionally a female character shows up, like Sis Cow.

Bananfish 2:47 PM  

Got hung up in SW, basically because I would not let go of PAINTED for the ___ desert with the saguaros.

And I had two errors in the NE. Ended up with LUMEATE for "Golden" instead of AUREATE. You know, lumeate, like something bright with a lot of lumens. And that also gave me LBS for "Focus of middle management", which is a perfectly fine answer. Now if I can just figure out how MES is OK for "Caesar's thing", I'll feel like my two error squares aren't errors at all. Maybe MES means month in Italian, and Caesar's thing is the Ides of March, which is of course smack dab in the middle of a month?

Dirigonzo 6:34 PM  

@SmacD - thanks, that makes sense.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Two time triple crown winner was TED WILLIAMS. I wasn't even thinking horse racing, since obviously no horse won the triple crown it twice. I always forget there's a little guy on top of the horse.

Coincidentally, today is Derby Day. I'd like to see it run without the horses some time. Just have the jockeys race around the track. You'd get more than two minutes out of the deal, for one...

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