Stock pantomime character / SAT 3-30-13 / Orangish gem / Inti worshipers / Privateer who captained Blessed William / Wall St manipulators / Symbol of elasticity in economics / Mikado weapon / 1968 #2 hit with lyric my love for you is way out of line

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Constructor: Gareth Bain

Relative difficulty: Easy (maybe Easy-Medium)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MOW (60D: Part of a barn) —
1. The place in a barn where hay, grain, or other feed is stored.
2. A stack of hay or other feed stored in a barn.
• • •

Mostly very easy, with a couple sticky places. The stickiest was the SE, where EYEWASH is [Nonsense] and MOW is [Part of a barn]. Rural + olde-timey = place I do not live. I ran the alphabet to get the "W," and knew it was right only because I had a vague memory of seeing EYEWASH used in this capacity before in crosswords (as with SARD [Orangish gem], I have never seen it anywhere outside puzzles). I'd've gone with EYELASH and actress Gretchen MOL, but that's just because I hate the figurative and literal meanings of EYEWASH so much. Just ... off-putting somehow. But the rest of this grid is pretty nice. I do Not understand building a puzzle around THE AGING PROCESS (37A: Gerontologist's study). The THE makes it weird, and the phrase itself just has no pop. You've got one 15 here: make it count! But I do love the mid-range stuff, like PROM KING (5D: Alpha senior?) and "OH, PLEASE" and the delightfully creepy "YOUNG GIRL" (21D: 1968 #2 hit with the lyric "My love for you is way out of line"). I even like "I HATE MEN," despite never having heard of it—it was easy enough to infer from knowing the plot of "Taming of the Shrew" (38D: "Kiss Me, Kate" song). In a 70-worder, I'd rather not see stuff like STLO and IRT and MIRY and SARD and SNEE and any number of other short dull/common stuff, especially with nothing *terribly* interesting in the corners to offset it. So I liked it, but with a lower-case "L."

[barbed wire ... wait for it ...]

Wrote SCRIPTS in immediately and was surprised it worked out (1A: In-box material for some agents)—a rare obvious Saturday 1A. I don't know where PIERROT lives in my brain, but he's in there somewhere—I'm guessing crosswords put him there. I felt lucky to be able to piece that together pretty quickly. Felt right, then crosses confirmed it. I got MIRY off the "I"—that's how used I am to seeing that absurd word. Once I got "YOUNG GIRL," I was able to fan out in all directions. NE and E were astonishingly easy—probably Tuesday/Wednesday easy. Had some trouble in the SW until "I HATE MEN" broke it open. Then there was the SE, where I finished with that damn MOW / EYEWASH cross. Had a few odd missteps. Wanted to write in OGDEN (?) at 32A: Writer of the lines "Pigeons on the grass alas. / Pigeons on the grass alas" (STEIN). Is that Gertrude STEIN? It must be ... yep. It is.

Not much else to say. Didn't know a few things, like 45D: Annie once played by Ethel Merman (OAKLEY) or 53D: Privateer who captained the Blessed William (KIDD), but crosses took care of them pretty quickly. I don't really know what "Inti" is, but INCAS came readily (28D: Inti worshipers). I thought [XX] was a pretty damned clever clue for FEMALE.

I'm going to go bask in the warm afterglow of Michigan's OT win over Kansas now. It's been a long time since UM was good at basketball—you gotta go back to my first years in grad school—I got there the same year as the Fab Five. Good times. OK, bye.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jackj 12:04 AM  

    When the “XX” clue clearly was looking for the FEMALE chromosome and it crossed one of the trickiest clued entries in the puzzle, ONSAFARI, I was rolling fast enough to never gather any moss.

    TEAMUSA, no problem; OHPLEASE, a piece of cake; ETERNAL, a gimme; ORIGAMI, clever but familiar and then, in the upper left it was “Alpha senior?” and it quickly showed itself to be the wonderful PROMKING and then…..and then….I was beset by lichens that trumped the moss and Dr. Bain had me gasping and grasping in that damnable northwestern quadrant.

    And what made it worse was other bits kept filling in for me, IRT as the subway line, ECO for the car, STERN for “Serious”, even LOW for the cyclone and RESOW for the added plants but then, nothing. It was firstly, the mayo clue that had me stumbling, YOLKS, maybe or LEMON, it wasn’t capitalized, so it couldn’t be the Irish county. Nada.

    So, turning my attention to the “Stock pantomime character” it was also a futile struggle trying to fit VILLIAN, BUFFOON or ACROBAT, OLDAUNT, even, (shows how desperate things got), and an inordinate amount of time trying to flesh out a cross dressing entry that didn’t involve Milton Berle.

    Finally, moving on and trying but dismissing ALLIES and ARMIES and then getting TORIES for the Revolutionary dudes, SCRIPTS evolved and the only two words that fit 1 and 2 down were SPIEL and CINCO (grrrr) and PIERROT joined the party looking like the poor man’s BIP and though it was vaguely familiar it was too remote to be remembered straight up.

    Gareth, just as in the Mafia, you made your bones with this one!

    Good on you!

    Carola 12:13 AM  

    Nice puzzle! Started in the NE with AMORAL and UVEA, then the lovely SAMOVAR and my not-quite-neigboring city of KENOSHA. That gave me what I needed to MOW - at hand mower speed - through the grid.

    Did well on some of the trickier clues (guessed that "mayo" wasn't the kind for sandwiches), got nicely faked out on others (that XX! With FE_A_E, I wasn't sure even how I wanted to run the alphabet). Had "OH come on" before OH PLEASE.

    Especially liked PROM KING, EYE WASH, PIERROT, ON SAFARI. Not sure how I feel about HAGS right below THE AGING PROCESS!

    Jim Walker 12:31 AM  

    Not a bad effort, but it was easy. Liked YOUNGGIRL crossing THEAGINGPROCESS. I remember the song and the group and liked them a lot, but always had to refrain from thinking too much about the lyric. Might not pass the PC test these days. Loved the clue for ONSAFARI as well. Probably a record Satueday time for me, but I don't pay that close attention.

    Area Cinco Miatas 12:56 AM  

    Didn't get MOW or LOW, so glad it was WOD, but I still don't get cyclone = LOW?

    Was with @rex that THEAGINGPROCESS is on the dull side for such a fabulous contructor as Gareth Bain, but @Jim Walker's pointing out it crosses YOUNGGIRL elevates it.

    Loved XX becoming FEMALE (as I had a desperate tENten at one point.)

    FEMALE, IHATEMEN, YOUNGGIRL balances yesterday's testosteronefest!
    Tho throw HAGS in the mix, with the creep factor of YOUNGGIRL and the negativity of IHATEMEN and I'm not convinced it's a STEP forward!

    OAKLEY my first entry, but still tried hogWASH. Totally with @rex about EYELASH/MOL, tho Gretchen has totally disappeared.

    Dr. Bain has had flashier puzzles, and I couldn't detect any animals nor South African-ness, but then again, couldn't make a Saturday to save my life...and this was solid as they come.

    jae 1:09 AM  

    Solid medium Sat.  Really liked the long downs.  

    Not sure a MIATA is on a par with a Mustang.  One is a muscle car the other is a Mazda.

    Speaking of DEBRA, Smash is worth a look no matter what the critics say.

    Nice to see a new clue for SNEE.

    You know you've done too many crosswords (if that's possible) when NACRE is a gimme off the N.

    @Andrea -- Check out Boardwalk Empire to see pretty much all of Ms. Mol.

    Not bad Gareth, but I have to agree with Rex on the small l.

    syndy 1:25 AM  

    One lousy EEL(s)! I expected aardvarks! zebras! and got a MIRY MARSH! NW was my sticking point too,I still thought we were going for Ireland and you were just being mean about it.CINCO made me laugh.I was tryingtoname the implement that delivered the "short sharp chop"forgot about the SNEE! thanks GB(DVM)

    Mike in DC 1:43 AM  

    @Area Cinco Miatas: A cyclone is a very, very LOW pressure center on the weather map.

    Acme 2:17 AM  

    Thank you @Mike in DC and @jae re: MOL...should've checked google first before making a pronouncement on MOL being MIA.

    @sydney. I have found I've been thinking about all the weird meaningof mayo al night...thedressing, the clinic, the Irish county, the Spanish month...crazy! Deserving of it's own puzzle!

    chefwen 2:26 AM  

    WOW a Saturday Google free. Red letter day for this munchkin.

    @jae - Miata vs. Mustang, not EVEN close. Dream on Miata.

    Growing up in the Cheese State, all I had to do was to work my way down the coast until I came upon Kenosha. Mequon was where I hailed from and I think that would make a stellar, new Natick. Look at all those pretty vowels. Acme?

    @Carola - Agree with you re. hags and aging process. Too close to home. Sigh...

    Benko 2:55 AM  

    Gotta agree with Rex that miry is a stupid word. Also, this puzzle was built around all. Just random eyewash. Also feel like Pierrot was in my brain somewhere only because of crosswords, but sard I knew because I collected rocks as a kid.
    I was drunk as hell doing this puzzle and still finished under ten minutes, so I guess it wasn't too hard, despite the randomness.

    Anoa Bob 3:38 AM  

    Clued as "Gerontologist's study", THE AGING PROCESS hit a little too close to home. I would have gone with a more positive spin, maybe something along the line of "Whiskey distiller's expertise".

    Never heard of a CLAM BAR. New England thing?

    I got LOW at 23A, but I hesitated because I thought that a LOW would refer to barometric pressure, while "A cyclone is a big one" would refer to the direction of wind rotation.

    LOW's that become cyclones do happen, but only in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, that same LOW will become an anticyclone.

    Psalm 40 4:09 AM  

    I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
    He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
    And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

    MetaRex 7:38 AM  

    I think this one is a good bit better than meh...there's a cool implicit feminist theme going on, methinks...

    The reasoning w/ the story of my ON SOFA-ED solving stupidity is at


    Magenta Crayola 8:04 AM  

    Any Saturday I can complete without 'help' is a spectacular one for me. I'll be hummingly happy all day!

    imsdave 8:25 AM  

    Misread 1968 as 1962, had the YO in place, and was hoping for "You Send Me" just so I could listen to Sam Cooke. Turns out that it was 1957 but it was nice to hear that voice again anyway.

    The MIATA clue is just flat out wrong.

    @Rex - you probably remember PIERROT because of the Robert Greenberg lecture on Schonberg's "Pierrot Lunaire"

    Mohair Sam 8:35 AM  

    So MOW is new to Rex. Lucky dog. Having spent a couple of late June days in a mow puttin' up first cutting hay, I can tell you that I don't fear the heat of Hell a bit.

    Anyhow, YOUNGGIRL, ETERNAL, and (yes) MOW were gimmes so solving moved quickly until I hit the Northeast.

    After 20 minutes of trying to make 9d FILTHIER my wife looked over my shoulder and took the opportunity to introduce me to the word SAMOVAR.

    A fun Saturday puzzle.

    Z 9:03 AM  

    PIERROT? I didn't realize that Agatha Christie did pantomime.

    Not in my wheelhouse. I briefly dated a girl from KENOSHA. Her mom hated me. Maybe that's why I couldn't come up with it.

    Beyond the whole Mustang competitors are cars like Dodge Avengers or Chevy Camaros thing, it is hard to be considered a competitor when the manufacturers are partners, as was true from 1979 through 2010. I had pInTo until I finally sussed out THE AGING PROCESS.

    Carol Shelby 9:14 AM  

    Even if you've got a girl's name as your first name you can still dismiss the Mazda MIATA as a chick car, unlike a Mustang.

    Thoracic 9:20 AM  

    Wow. Totally different experience for me. I thought I was getting so good at these after regularly doing the puzzles for a while, but this one just kicked my ass! Never really got a toehold anywhere. Reduced to googling, which is a slippery slope. After resisting as long as I can, having cheated once, the subsequent googles seem to become more alluring and I finish with the guilty sensation of being a fraud.
    Sunday usually restores my faith in being a smarty pants, so here's hoping for tomorrow!

    MaryRoseG 9:26 AM  

    Au clair de la lune
    Mon ami Pierrot
    Pretes-moi ta plume
    Pour ecrires un mot

    Such memories of French class with Dr. Chanover City HS circa 1980...good way to learn French. We sang it. I would post a You Tube link but I don't know how��

    ������������ Happy Easter

    joho 9:34 AM  

    Well, drat, I ended up with EYElASH thinking that means nonsense, like, "That makes as much sense as a rat's EYElASH!" I do know Gretchen MOl ... would have liked that cross better.

    Loved FEMALE next to IHATEMEN.

    So wanted bitEME before MAKEME.

    Wonderful clue, "Watching the big game, say." "Messing around on TV?" is great, too. @jae .... "Smash" got bad reviews? I find it fascinating.

    Thanks, Gareth!

    CBCD 9:38 AM  

    An arbitrageur (arb for short) is someone who takes advantage of differences in pricing. An arb buys low and sells high, perhaps on different exchanges.

    That is not the same thing as being a stock manipulator.

    Tsk tsk!

    Z 9:48 AM  

    @Carol Shelby - with a name like Shelby I'd expect a comment more along the lines of, "Mustangs have no real competitors."

    retired_chemist 10:07 AM  

    Personal best Saturday - the only time I have ever beat Rex's time, and by a full minute. So, very easy here.

    Another MAYO: O.J. MAYO, NBA player.

    Nothing until I hit SAMOVAR, and enough downs in the NE came easily to allow me to fill in the entire corner in quickly. Then a WI city _____HA was obvious, then a pause to decide between EPEE and SNEE for __EE @ 35A (made the right call), and teh rest seemed to just flow in.

    But a nice grid and a solid if easy Saturday. Thanks, Gareth.

    quilter1 10:33 AM  

    Say what you will about Miatas, I was sorely disappointed when I went to pick up a rental and the cute red Miata parked at the door was not available.
    Went through all of the ingredients of mayo.
    All went smoothly until the NW corner where I came to a screeching halt and mildly cursed Gareth for some time.
    I so enjoyed doing this puzzle. Thanks, Gareth (curse you).

    evil doug 10:44 AM  

    Hey, 'Carol'--you spell your name Carroll. Nice try, though....


    Anonymous 10:44 AM  

    I put CINCO in as my first word but removed it later because "mayo" wasn't capitalized. Aren't month names capitalized in Spanish?

    Mohair Sam 10:50 AM  

    @Carol Shelby - Good point. Saying Miata and Mustang compete is like saying I'm torn on Sundays over watching a PBS salute to Andrew Lloyd Weber or catching the Giants/Skins game on Fox.

    @CBCD - Very good point - I actually had trouble with that answer because manipulation is not what arbitragers do. Finding discrepancies in markets and manipulating markets are two very different things.

    Evan 10:52 AM  

    Quick correction, Rex: This is a 72-word puzzle, not 70.

    Today is the second day in a row in which a "Twenty Under Thirty" constructor has the NYT byline. I've heard that tomorrow will be the third day in a row.

    Easy-medium Saturday, I'd say. I had TR-MPS (either TRAMPS or TROMPS) before TREADS, MAL before MIS, KPS before OPS (when I got it right I still didn't understand it till afterwards), LANE before LAKE. I resisted putting in TWENTY before FEMALE. The KPS and LANE mistakes gave me KANLEY before OAKLEY at the very end -- I'm glad I checked over my grid before punching the clock on my stopwatch!

    Like others, I didn't understand LOW for 23-Across, MOW for 60-Down, or EYEWASH for 64-Across, but shrugged and figured they were all correct. PIERROT and SARD are completely new to me, and my brain still refuses to learn what SAMOVAR, NACRE, and ARBS are, even though I've seen those three more than once recently.

    As long as everyone is talking about the connections between FEMALE, I HATE MEN, HAGS, YOUNG GIRL, PROM KING, and THE AGING PROCESS, all of those things reminded me of this hilarious (and sadly true) article from Gawker which I read just before solving the puzzle: It's about a Princeton student's mother writing a letter to the university's newspaper about how young Princeton FEMALEs just need to be settled at an early age so they can marry high up into her royal Princeton family, otherwise they'll have no other suitable men to choose from.

    mac 10:53 AM  

    Medium hard for me, just because of the North. Only just now parsed TEAMUSA.....

    I had trouble getting into the NW because I had "mal" instead of -mis for a long time.

    Loved prom king, female's clue, pedaled and Oh please a lot. A worthy Saturday workout.

    Clam bars and raw bars are definitely New England things. In fact, maybe some fried oysters tonight?

    Anonymous 10:54 AM  

    Anyone else have TEA____ And think "tea party" and start looking for a rebus? No? Just me?

    Anyone else see the clue "important part of mayo" and think "madre "? No? Just me?

    Anyone else see 14 down ARBS and think "That's how it feels en route to a six pack"? Yeah, I know you did...

    Fun puzzle, very quick time for Saturday, despite the digressions noted above. Thanks!


    Anonymous 11:02 AM  

    "Clued as "Gerontologist's study", THE AGING PROCESS hit a little too close to home. I would have gone with a more positive spin, maybe something along the line of "Whiskey distiller's expertise"."

    I have no problem with either the entry or the clue, but agree that this clue suggestion is pretty cool. Would Rexy have found the entry to have "pop" with this clue? It's a pretty nice pairing that makes the other clue kinda blah.

    Tita 11:09 AM  

    Typical Saturday struggle for me...missed 3 squares.
    The NW remained blank up to the end - the hardest section for me. Completely blank until my incorrect longO for Important mayo part led me to finally break it down!
    (I had written down the ingredients of mayo, then sensed trouble, so thought I was clever.
    I am quite sure that was planned on Mr. Bain's part.

    Kept trying to cram some kind of doG in as the alpha senior...

    A friend who grew up in the Bronx was terrified to skate on a LAKE, rather than a rink. When I told her the city garbage trucks in New Rochelle are how the Twin Lakes were cleared, she said she might be willing to venture out...

    My mother has a beautiful silver SAMOVAR with a broken walnut handle - anyone know wher to get it repaired?
    (Our afternoon teas just aren't the same...!)

    @jae - I too was incredulous that anyone could consider a MIATA a Mustang competitor. Talk about misdirects...

    @acme - lol!

    @chefwen - we have a Lake KENOSiA here in CT - someone got lost...

    Milford 11:10 AM  

    I knew this would be rated easy, because I finished sans google(I made an educated guess with the MOW/EYEWASH cross). Amazing, for me.

    Did remember that the constructor is a vet, so I was on the lookout for more science and animal clues.

    Loved the cluing for DEBRA, ON SAFARI, LILT, and ORIGAMI. The NE took the longest for me, even with TSP and UVEA in place I could not get the across answers for awhile.

    Another hand up for not liking the MIATA clue. I had VETTE at first.

    @Anon 10:44 - yes, in Spanish, the days of the week and the months are not capitalized.

    Like @Rex, I was happy to see UofM win, but SADDENed to have MSU fall to Duke. The former was one awesome comeback, very reminiscent of the good-old days.

    Tita 11:31 AM  

    Forgot to hit the "get emails" box...

    As long as I'm here, yup - Mal instead of MIS, mac...
    ERaT instead of ERST.
    lens instead of UVEA

    Thanks Mr. Bain.

    Bob Kerfuffle 12:03 PM  

    Early on, in my 45 minute solve, I was looking around the grid for an opening entry, and I noted 60 D, "Part of a barn." This being Saturday, I seriously considered that the reference might be to this barn. (And, no it is not an SI unit. If you follow the link, it is worth reading at least up to the Table of Contents.)

    The actual answer, MOW, reminds me of one of the great triumphs of my very early life. At the age of 7 or 8, it was a big deal for me to follow my cousins up a ladder (which was just 2 x 4s nailed to the wall of the barn) and swing my body up through the hatch into the mow of their barn.

    Ellen S 12:31 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Nigel 12:42 PM  

    Well, everyone except me found it easy, even though I did almost finish without cheating. But honest, I had to give up and it's all because of a B. I had "yet to be" where INSTORE belongs so the entire nw corner was nasty for me. I did finally think CINCO was not right (and @anonymouse, no Spanish months are capitalized.) I knew I knew the song for "my love for you is way out of line" but stopped the puzzle to get coffee and suddenly there the words were singing in my head YOUNGGIRL - now "get out of my mind" because I have an earworm. @area cinco miatas - ONSAFARI is a pretty good S. African activity, at least for tourists. Show off that I am, my first fill in was STEIN because believe it or not, I've read almost all the Gertrude Stein oeuvre - which is quite the feat. Hey, I was young and impressionable. "Pigeons of the grass alas" and "a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" are still stuck in my head.

    Nigel 12:44 PM  

    Dang, meant to say "I did finally thing that "CINCO" was right... I"m sorry - I will do my best to edit before posting from now on.

    Unknown 12:55 PM  

    Played like two different puzzles for me today. The entire right half was done in the blink of an eye. Left half was challenging all the way through. Some mistakes contributed to the difficulty of that side too. Was sure of "The rEd" for 6D (a side in the revolutionary war) with two crosses that worked. You know, the blue, the gray, and the red.

    Fun puzzle.

    Ellen S 1:22 PM  

    @MaryRoseG, and others who have trouble embedding links, I did make a tutorial (much easier to follow than the mess above) on my blog. Last December; I just forgot to provide myself a way to find it again.

    The links Rex provided in his FAQs had errors in them (I haven't looked lately) but I think mine works (it worked for MetaRex, so it should work for you). If you have any problems, let me know.

    I was head over EELS in love with Gareth until this puzzle.

    AZPETE 1:40 PM  

    Must have been easy. Finished with no googling!

    Masked and Anonymo2Us 1:43 PM  

    Things I was sooo sure of...
    1. [XX] = TWENTY. But I smell a trap bein' set. snort.
    2. [Defiant response] = BITEME. Woulda coulda shoulda been a great bookend for SCREWIT. Was Extra sure of this one, so held me up forever. I demand BITEME in a future puz, Gareth.
    3. [anything...mayo...anything] could not be referring to a month name. Don't those Spanish dudes know when to capitalize? Guess not; and Gareth capitalized on it.
    4. That Ellen S would be all over EELS in her first post. Nice recovery, tho.
    5. That after a painfUlly long drought, Gareth would trot out a veritable treasUre trove of U's. buzz.
    6. That today would be the day Rex came out of the closet. (By admitting he was 41st.) har.
    7. That the Fighting Illini would take 3rd in the NCAA's.

    Wrong again x 7, M&A.

    thUmbswayUp, for the ONSAFARI clue. Entertaining.

    Ellen S 1:46 PM  

    I deleted my earlier, messy, attempt to explain how to embed links. It also had a long boring dissertation on how I didn't finish the puzzle, but not important. For some, easy, for me, MIRY.

    Toggle 2:10 PM  

    Loved this! I knew where Mr. Bain hails from and have spent months in his magnificent country so was looking for nyalas and Boers. But as I was watching "the big game" (actually, just an exhibition game between Dodgers and Angels),I stared at ON......I for way too long. Still really easy - less than half an hour,while distracted by Josh Beckett & co. A Saturday for me is usually 40 minutes or so. Yes, I know, I'm a slowpoke - but hey, a couple of years ago I couldn't even DO a Friday or Sat. I can now - thanks to this blog. Thanks, Rex & co!

    webwinger 2:13 PM  

    I’m so ashamed! Got off to a quick start in the NW with SCRIPTS and PIERROT (thought this was a name most people just knew), made decent progress marching through the grid (several gimmes among the shorter downs, including OAKLEY, no problem with INSTORE, KENOSHA, ONSAFARI, ORIGAMI, CLAMBAR). Then, THEN, at the FIRST signs of resistance (thinking, it’s Saturday, it’s OK…) ran to Google for INCAS, KIDD, and YOUNGGIRL (which song I weirdly had no memory of whatsoever despite being 19 when it came out). Ended up finishing with a very respectable time but couldn’t feel good about it. The horror!

    Two thumbs up for the puzzle anyway—really liked many of the answers and clues, though agree with Rex and others that THE AGING PROCESS was a bit humdrum as the centerpiece.

    quilter1 2:19 PM  

    @Tita, check with your art center for someone who might be able to duplicate the samovar handle. Also check woodworkers in the Yellow Pages and craft markets. My great aunt, who was not a trained artist, carved a leg for a love seat to match the others. You might also take the handle to a home improvement store or mill work dealer and see if they have anything similar you could use. Good luck.

    I thought people would complain more about MOW. Not an everyday word but totally legit.

    OISK 2:26 PM  

    Young girl brought back some memories. I met my future wife in 1968, when she was 15, and that song was popular. No problem with this puzzle, which I liked very much,largely because of what it lacked...hip-hop, rap, rock , computer slang, product names, comic book references...must be part of the aging process..

    DigitalDan 4:04 PM  

    Couldn't let go of SEUSS for STEIN -- just had to be the doc, alas. Or of DEP for DEM (sad, not party color). This made the puzzle harder than it had to be. I chalk it up to THE AGING PROCESS.

    jberg 4:29 PM  

    Medium for me, but I'm still a bit delirious. Lots of gimmes, like KENOSHA, OAKLEY, PIERROT but I ended up getting my shellfish from the CLAM mAn and not noticing the errors, alas!

    MetaRex 4:37 PM  

    A strong thumbs-up for Ellen S's link on linking!...

    How to link

    W/o it, MR would still be lurking in his/its MetaLair...

    Evan 4:44 PM  


    If you're solving Saturdays in 10 minutes or less, will we be seeing you at the ACPT one of these years?

    (I don't know if you've been to one previously -- all other factors to the side, I just think your speed is quite good enough to justify giving it a shot.)

    Stevlb1 4:52 PM  

    When I finally finished, I felt good.........until I saw "Easy (maybe Easy-Medium)". I am WAY out of my league here.

    Notsofast 5:27 PM  

    Today was yard work, puzzle, yard work, puzzle, yard work, puzzle. When I finished it, I felt pretty damn proud of myself. A pretty damn good Saturday. Now for some golf with the grandson followed by an adult beverage. Aaaaah.

    sanfranman59 6:14 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 5:52, 6:07, 0.96, 30%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 6:56, 8:20, 0.83, 5%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 173 Tuesdays)
    Wed 10:04, 10:22, 0.97, 43%, Medium
    Thu 21:48, 16:58, 1.28, 88%, Challenging
    Fri 17:50, 22:18, 0.80, 14%, Easy
    Sat 20:28, 24:59, 0.82, 12%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:29, 3:41, 0.95, 18%, Easy
    Tue 4:15, 4:54, 0.87, 9%, Easy
    Wed 6:01, 6:08, 0.98, 44%, Medium
    Thu 13:41, 9:56, 1.38, 88%, Challenging
    Fri 10:25, 12:57, 0.80, 18%, Easy
    Sat 12:50, 14:38, 0.88, 28%, Easy-Medium

    Dirigonzo 7:00 PM  

    As soon as I read "Important part of mayo" and plunked in CINCO I knew I was going to love it, and I did! My only slow down was in the NE corner but TEAMUSA finally showed up to get me home. Thanks, Gareth Bain, for a really fun Saturday puzzle.

    Clams are delicious steamed or fried, but I never eat them raw.

    Z 7:30 PM  

    @Stevelb1 - Not really. Ah, the good old days when Rex took 40 minutes to do a Saturday and songs about lusting after underage girls could be top ten hits.

    Dirigonzo 8:30 PM  

    @Z (I Really wanted ZEdS at 29d) - bloggers evolve, and so do song lyrics: "Young girl, get out of my mind
    My love for you is way out of line
    Better run girl,
    You're much too young girl

    With all the charms of a woman
    You've kept the secret of your youth
    You led me to believe
    You're old enough
    To give me Love
    And now it hurts to know the truth, Oh,

    Young girl get out of my mind
    my love for you is way outta line
    better run girl, your much too young girl

    Beneath your perfume and make-up
    You're just a baby in disguise
    And though you know
    That it is wrong to be
    Alone with me
    That come on look is in your eyes, Oh,

    Young girl get outta my mind
    My love for you is way outta line
    better run girl, Your much too young girl

    So hurry home to your mama
    I'm sure she wonders where you are
    Get out of here
    Before I have the time
    To change my mind
    'Cause I'm afraid we'll go too far, Oh,

    Young girl get outta my mind
    my love for you is way outta line
    better run girl, your much too young girl."

    But at least he resisted the temptation or he'd be a registered sex offender.

    retired_chemist 8:47 PM  

    @ Evan - thanks for the thought. We will see if I am consistently faster than I used to be. I think this Fri and Sat were just especially suited for me.

    The ACPT comes at a bad time of year for me but it is tempting.....

    Z 9:12 PM  

    "With all the charms of a woman
    You've kept the secret of your youth
    You led me to believe
    You're old enough
    To give me Love
    And now it hurts to know the truth"

    Honest officer - she told me she was 18.

    I wanted ZEdS, too.

    Spacecraft 12:46 PM  

    Thanks, @Diri, for the lyrics to the song that was playing when I first kissed my first true love. There was a mote of truth in it for me personally, too.

    Well, needless to say, the Puckett tune went right in for me--and like OFL, I branched out from there. I would never call a Saturday offering "easy"--cluing alone would preclude that--but I did get it done fairly handily, so I'll give it a medium.

    Working off the ____PTS of 1a, I was so sure it was RECEIPTS that I had the REC written down before I realized: uh, idiot, you need an extra square there. And since this was the last area to do for me and no rebuses (rebi?) had appeared so far, I knew I'd made a mistake. Naturally, I was thinking of IRS "agents." So, one writeover. I finally remembered that no, the Spanish do NOT capitalize their months; I'd taken the cluer to task in an earlier puzzle and had been sternly corrected on that. (If doing these puzzles weren't educational enough, reading these blogs is, many times, enlightening.)

    Thank you, Dr. B., for a sweet, sweet memory.

    rain forest 1:40 PM  

    I guess it was easy because I finished in less than 45 minutes... The NW was a laydown, but then it was stop and go after that. YOUNGGIRL, ah yes, good to have that gimme. I thought YOUNGGIRL crossing THEAGINGPROCESS was a nice touch, and overall, the puzzle was most enjoyable although I would never call a MIATA and a Mustang rivals. Different sorts of car.

    DMGrandma 3:08 PM  

    With some pauses here and there, I managed to get this one, though I had to come here to see if the L I guessed in LOW was right. I know what a SPIEL is, but "door to door"? Hardest for me was accepting MIRY as a real word, and having an aha moment when realizing TEAMUS? wasn't referring to something you drink. Paused, also over YOUNGGIRL as it sounded pretty risqué to me! But then, I blush at a lot of what you young whippersnappers call entertainment these days! Back to the crocheting!

    Joe in Montreal 5:34 PM  

    Did Dr Bains know that in syndication this would appear on the 4th of May? That's the only reason I got 'important part of mayo'.

    Dirigonzo 7:45 PM  

    @Joe in Montreal - I think we can be certain that the constructor did not know when the puzzle would appear since that is entirely up to the editor, but it is still a stellar example of the phenomenom that I call "syndication synchronicity" - sometimes stuff like that just happens.

    @Spacecraft - you're welcome, and I'm glad the puzzle generated such a pleasant memory for you.

    Happy cinco de mayo to all! Don't forget to watch for shooting stars tonight!

    strayling 8:14 PM  

    The PIERROT clue is a nice example of definition vs. reality. I've been to many pantomimes and they don't feature those creepy clowns at all.

    There's always a Widow Twankey though.

    Syndi Solver 9:46 PM  

    DNF for me today. But I am happy that I got most of it eventually. I had to cheat in the NE because all I had was AMORAL and a huge blank space.

    Hand up for hogWASH first and really not wanting it to be EYEWASH even though I was sure OAKLEY was correct.

    I was so happy to remember I HATE MEN from Kiss Me, Kate. But "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" is a lot more fun.

    @strayling, I know PIERROT from old movies and books. I remember a scene (maybe more) where someone complains about having to wear that outfit to a costume party. I had to look it up (years ago) because I had no idea what PIERROT was. That came in handy today!

    Syndi Solver 9:52 PM  

    Argh, messed up the link. This time 2 copies of the protocol in the URL instead of forgetting to include it like yesterday. I've got some bad brain fog this evening. :-)

    "Brush Up Your Shakespeare"

    Waxy in Montreal 10:09 AM  

    Late to the CLAMBAR on this one as yardwork and Mrs. Waxy's nursing class reunion (no PROMKINGs present) took priority. Like @jackj et al, the lack of a capital em confused me concerning mayo - so offset THEAGINGPROCESS a bit by learning something new about Spanish months. Also expanded my own private Wisconsin beyond Milwaukee, Racine and Green Bay, adding KENOSHA from its crosses. Leery about MIRY - wanted Goo(e)y or oozy instead. Loved the clue for ONSAFARI; no so much the one for MIATA.

    Fun Saturday though, ending a very high quality week of puzzles - thanks Gareth and Will.

    Back to the yard.

    Tarheeled 12:25 PM  

    Back in the 1930's or so, my father wrote the sequel to Pigeons on the Grass, Alas. It was Pigeons on the roof, aloof!

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