Victor Herbert's naughty girl / SAT 4-6-13 / Biblical boater in Brest / Rajiv's mother / 1960s Greystoke portayer / Colombian cowboys / Minnesota county west of St. Louis / Sidewalk scam / Nordic flier / Mocha residents / Their anthem is Lofsongur

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Constructor: Michael Wiesenberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Anthony WAYNE (42D: American Revolution's "Mad Anthony") —
Anthony Wayne (January 1, 1745 – December 15, 1796) was a United States Army general and statesman. Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the sobriquet Mad Anthony. (wikipedia)
• • •

I liked this one pretty well, despite some less than lovely short fill here and there, and despite being (often) well out of my wheelhouse. The stacks in the NW and SE look great. The peoples of three nations are in this grid—is that a record? How would you even begin to check that? Why am I asking you, you don't know. Still, it almost feels like a theme—YEMENIS! NEPALIS! ICELANDERS! (25D: Their anthem is "Lofsöngur") That's a lot of squares dedicated to inhabitants of particular countries. My main trouble today was a. proper nouns (a very predictable sort of trouble) and b. wrong answers that seemed right (also, predictable). Absolutely no clue who this MARIETTA person is (28A: Victor Herbert's "naughty" girl). Also no clue who Victor Herbert is (this is what I mean by "out of my wheelhouse"). Also no clue on CARLA Thomas or "Mad Anthony" WAYNE. Proper nouns also helped me, though. No idea who NAPOLEON II is or why he's important, but I could see that NAPOLEON was involved and then I just guessed a Roman numeral. No idea about moon craters, but TYCHO Brahe was an astronomer, so I inferred that one easily enough from crosses (7D: Large lunar crater). Didn't know DORSEY signed SINATRA, but I have heard of DORSEY, so not hard (with a cross or two). And then there was the biggest proper noun bonanza of the day: OKSANA BAIUL, whom I got in her entirety off the "K."

Then there were the wrong answers (always entertaining). First DELLA for CARLA (a stupid guess based on nothing but the -LA). Then ALL KINDS for ALL SORTS (fixed when I figured 39D: Nordic flier had to be SAS and certainly didn't start with a "K"—KLM's a nice three-letter "flier," but not "Nordic"). Off of -OLE-OS I wrote in BOLEROS at 36D: Finely tempered swords (TOLEDOS). Wasn't until I got the MIRROR part of DAILY MIRROR that I realized my error. Had all kinds of problems in the WEIMAR region. Tried STYNE for WAYNE, considered SETS for WEDS, considered STEM for SAIL, and best / most momentum-sapping of all, I had ZAGGED for WAGGED (40A: Went back and forth). Yes, ZAGGED is a bad answer, as that involves going only forth, not back and forth, but since I wrote it in off just the "G" in HOGS and then *all* the crosses (except that first one) worked out, I didn't question it. I was eventually saved by one of my great sources of childhood entertainment—MAD LIBS (37D: Game requiring many plug-ins? — great clue).

NOE is "Noah" in French, in case that was at all unclear (9D: Biblical boater, in Brest).

David Steinberg, in addition to being a crossword constructor, also runs "The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project," which is committed to building "a digitized, fully analyzable database of New York Times crossword puzzles published from February 15, 1942, to November 20, 1993 (before Will Shortz took over as editor)." For the project's website, he asked me and constructor Matt Gaffney to review a pre-Shortzian puzzle. We decided to do it as a fairly free-wheeling dialogue, and it turned out pretty good, I think (long, but good). David posted it yesterday, and you can read it here. But first, I recommend you try to solve the puzzle we discuss—everything will make more sense that way. It's a Sunday puzzle from October 22, 1989, written by Phyllis Fehringer, entitled "One Upmanship." Solve it here.

Happy birthday to my sister Amy, who doesn't solve crosswords and is far too busy to read my jolly blog.

See you tomorrow,
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:05 AM  

    This seemed just about right for a Sat.  So, medium for me.  Only guess was at the TYCHO/ATCO cross but it had to be "O". 

    Erasures: arGued for WAGGED and a couple of tries at spelling DILETTANTE and OKSANA BAIUL.

    Very little zip, but a nice crunchy solve.  Liked it!

    JFC 1:01 AM  

    @Rex said: "Also no clue on ... "Mad Anthony" WAYNE."

    I suggest you take some time off from whatever the hell you do and read something about American history. Start with reading Wikipedia about Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It takes less time than doing a puzzle in less than 3 minutes. That's not the best way to learn somthing about your country but at least it 's a start.....


    syndy 1:16 AM  

    NAPii wasn't very, but his mother was the princess Bonapart threw Josephine over for.Got OKSANA from the K and spelled it right(minor miracle)I zAGGED til the WEIMAR set me right!OVERSTRUNG was what my guitar was!ow!HArder than yeaterday-a tad but lotsa fun

    Benko 1:32 AM  

    There were a lot of hard words here, but all were gettable from crosses. Not easy, but not difficult.
    Just because you live in ft Wayne, don't expect everyone else to know about general Wayne. I'm from Greensboro and don't expect everyone else to know about Greene. Memorizing people's names and dates isn't the same thing as understanding history anyway. The only point to knowing about history is to know the present and future, not sing the praises of "great" long dead men,

    KFC 4:04 AM  

    @Rex,  How dare you not know a minor piece of early American trivia? I'll bet you would have preferred a Batman clue, you superficial pop culture slut. 

    Don't forget to eat more chicken, now boneless!

    Aria Carla Mariettas 5:23 AM  

    Does it make me a DILETTANTE not to know if DILETTANTE has one L or two, or one T or two?

    Made lots of same mistakes as @rex...i ziGGED when I shoulda WAGGED...bOLErOS, too, but OKSANA off the K.

    Lucked out with ITASCA under the it-pays-to-be-from-Minnesota clause. It had a Scandinavian vibe with ITASCA, ICELANDERS, SAS.

    BANANACREAM was fun..and yes, pretty puzzle.

    On a side note, I work with NEPALIS every week as rice lady at "CurryWithoutWorry"... We feed about 200 folks as a "celebration of Tuesday".

    Conversation with other volunteer :

    Him: Have you been to NEPAL?

    Me: Not yet, it's a dream

    Him: Have you heard of Mt Everest?

    Me: Of course!

    Him: You're too old to climb it.

    Me: Why do you say that?!?

    Him: Bad for your blood pressure.

    Me: How old do you think I AM!?!?

    Him: 50-55

    Me: (sheepishly) oh. (I'm 53)

    But still!
    This is the kind of daily humiliation I receive... Never met the guy, doing volunteer work, and within two minutes I'm suddenly being told I'm too old to climb a mountain I've never considered climbing in my life!

    Anonymous 5:29 AM  

    I read the linked review (after plodding through most of the crossword) and cannot stop laughing at "It's one of his long poems, you dumb *bleep* solver."

    Loren Muse Smith 6:03 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 6:06 AM  

    @Evan – psychopop – I used the word DILETTANTE yesterday in my post.

    On the easier side of “easy medium” for me. Hand up for “zigged.” I also had “herald” off the r in MIRROR, and that mucked things up for a while.

    DRILL PRESS was one of my very first entries, off only the final s, and I don’t even know what that is.

    Shout out to the wheel dog on one of the first sled teams I ever drove – OLA. The wheel dog is the stongest puller and the one closest to the sled. This OLA had serious g.i. issues. ‘Nuff said.

    @jae – yeah, that ITASCA/ATCO/TYCHO area was tough. I guessed the o, too.

    Got TOADS off only the d, certain it would be wrong. I never say the word TOAD. They’re all “frogs,” no matter where they live. Same with “tortoise” and “turtle” – they’re all turtles. (Hi, “Slick” Agard! We won’t even go there!)

    Wow – RIS has to be really hard for a lot of people! Hi, Dad!

    As one who is accused daily, hourly, of being too hyper, I hear “high” STRUNG all the time, but never OVERSTRUNG. ODD.

    @Rex – I loved MAD LIBS, too. My go-to noun was always “nostril.”

    Nice job, Michael!

    GILL I. 7:52 AM  

    Hah...that knot of TOADS didn't fool me this time - hi @B. Kerfuffle!! however I did a lot of head scratching with MAD LIBS and still don't know why MONTE is a sidewalk scam.
    Had vaqueros instead of LLANEROS. Not sure I even liked the answer. To my knowlege, only Colombia and Venezuela call them that.
    Like @Rex, I didn't know most of the proper names but I just plopped them in and they seem to fit.
    DAILY MIRROR was a gimme (I guess that says a lot about me) Got OKSANA BAIUL off of TERIYAKI, BERLIN before WEIMAR and my boring bits were DRILL Pliers.
    Ok puzzle, but not as zippy as I tend to like them.

    MetaRex 8:03 AM  

    Is the world ready for A MetaPsychopop?

    OTD 8:29 AM  

    A good Saturday puzzle for me, tough in spots but solvable.

    Raised outside of Toledo, OH, knew "Mad Anthony" WAYNE from the monument at the Battle of Fallen Timbers by the Maumee River where he defeated an Indian Confederation in 1794.

    LLANEROS was new to me. Finally had to look it up.

    Anonymous 8:49 AM  

    @Rex - If you do decide to take some time today to learn things you didn't know, I suggest you focust on Naughty MARIETTA rather than Mad Anthony WAYNE. I know nothing about either, but naughy women are intrinsicly more interesting than mad men, whatever document they may have signed.

    Brendan McNamara 9:05 AM  

    Whenever I see a clue for TERIYAKI in a puzzle I want to spell it teriaki and think it is the wrong length. Maybe I will remember going forward.

    Was just in London, wanted Daily Mail but DAILYMIRROR came soon enough.

    Slammed down highSTRUNG of the UNG and ruined that corner for a while. Thought DILETTANTE was correct but wasn't sure how to spell it. I had no idea on VIR or ELY. Finally saw ODD and convinced myself that OVERSTRUNG was an actual thing (I parse that as having too many strings, not as having strings that are too tightly wound).

    Z 9:05 AM  

    I don't live in Ft. Wayne, but I have lived in Wayne County for nearly 20 years now. That fact didn't help.

    Besides the three OFL mentioned, we also get people from the SILVER STATE, the TOLEDOS (who have an Anthony WAYNE Blvd I believe), WEIMAR residents, MARIETTA County, ITASCA County, TYCHO, and UTILITY POLES. A place for everyone.

    evil doug 9:17 AM  

    Loren: Don't encourage him. He encourages himself enough....

    I'd eat riblets before kidneys or liver. Those things are like dirty oil filters.

    Acme: If you haven't read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer, I highly recommend it---and you'll never want to climb Mt. Everest after that. Not sure if I understand CurryWithoutWorry, but it sounds like a nice thing you do.

    I share the concern of lack of U.S. historical knowledge among Americans. You've seen some of these Man on the Street quizzes on Jimmy Kimmel, etc, where people struggle with the most basic knowledge of their country---or can't come close to passing the test given to new citizens. Sad, even dangerous somehow. And if I'm going to war, I want to be lined up with a guy called "Mad Anthony"....


    Tita 9:22 AM  

    Busy day. Cheated a coupla times so I coud finish.
    I had hte generic maria before TYCHO, feeling smug.
    Organs are MEATS?

    My French gave me some much neded toeholds, but not enough.

    @LMS - Nostril was one of our go to words too, along with 5 year light bulbs... In fact, the older kids in our group created the UN - the United Nostrils.
    I still get emails from one of them with subject lines like Calling all Nostrils... (He's a children's book writer and illustrator!)

    So VIR is where Virile comes from?

    Good crunchiness - now for some gardening and guest bed making.

    mac 9:28 AM  

    Easy-medium, with the only part I didn't get the top NW. Only a couple of empty boxes, but a DNF. Have got to get on a train to NY.

    Gave myself a lot of trouble with the teriyaki answer. I thought it might be a porcelain glaze, and noritake looked so good. That part got solved. Weimar was easy since one of my sisters goes there a couple of times a year. The Enquirer for Daily Mirror for a while.

    Nice puzzle!

    mitchs 9:36 AM  

    @rex thanks for trip to Maleska-land. Great fun, and glad you two superstars got stumped at the same places I did.

    chefbea 10:01 AM  

    Too tough for me so DNF

    I always get the teriyaki glaze on my wings and of course banana cream pie for dessert.

    FearlessKim 10:11 AM  

    Played medium for me, with all kinds of hold-ups in the NW, but an otherwise smooth-ish solve elsewhere.

    Hand up for OKSANABAIUL off the K, "huh?" on OVERSTRUNG (this is actually a thing?), and zAGGED before WAGGED (Zeimar? sure, why not? but at least I've *heard* of Weimar, as in Republic...)

    Breeding season being well underway here in Virginia, we see all kinds of knots (perfect term, if you've seen this activity) of TOADS.

    @Gill I.P.: Sidewalk scam is (three card) MONTE. From Wikipedia:
    a confidence game in which the victim, or mark, is tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the money card among three face-down playing cards. It is the same as the shell game except that cards are used instead of "shells".

    And thanks, @OTD, for the detail on "Mad Anthony." Gotta say, the only thing in the second paragraph that rang a bell was "Toledo, OH", and yet I can't say that I feel like that's a gaping hole in my knowledge of US history that needs a whole lotta work. Sorry, ED et. al. Trivia is awesome, but some trivia is just trivial.

    Beautiful day here. Heading out! enjoy the weekend, Rexites, and thanks, Mr. Weisenberg!

    jberg 10:14 AM  

    Amazed I finished this one. I was completely stumped (well, I did have 'omo' at 16A, but that wasn't much help since every letter was wrong) until I got to those naughty girls, INDIRA (who suspended democracy in India) and MARIETTA, which were gimmes.

    I'm never going to tell people they should know things they don't know, but Victor Herbert was a big deal; wrote many light operas, and if memory serves he wa also founding conductor of the Pittsburgh Sypmhony.

    I don't know how I knew Mad Anthony WAYNE, and I don't know how I knew ITASCA County (why not more complaints about that one?), but they sure helped!

    My major holdup, though, is that I somehow read "Their slogan is 'Lofsongur'" instead of 'anthem,' so confidently wrote in ICELAND air. aNE made sense, but 52 and 54A were impossible, until I happened to glance at he clue again.

    @Tita, all you have to do is remember the first line of the Aeneid, "Arma virumque canto..." "Of arms and the man I sing..." Back in the 1960s I took a philosophy course from a guy who liked to smoke, illegally, during lectures. He posted his TA by the door with instructions to recite that line if he saw any security personnel approaching.

    It took me a long time to think of it, though.

    Horace Fawley 10:18 AM  

    RIS does not mean laugh. Sure, it's part of the conjugation - je ris, tu ris, il rit... - but when you talk of a laugh in Lille, you say rire.

    Perhaps Mr. Weisenberg is a little confused. @Tita already complained (rightly, I think) about organs being classed as meats. As it turns out, the only thing given in my French/English dictionary for RIS is "ris de veau" or, calf sweetbread. Eeeuuwww...

    - Horace

    Notsofast 10:25 AM  

    Hard, but do-able. Kinda like Madonna.

    jackj 10:26 AM  

    Wanted stroganoff, got hash.

    The puzzle felt like “Jabberwocky” was being retold while swirling around my inner cranium, with a manxome bandersnatch chasing a beamish borogrove until my gray matter went all slithy, (which I convinced myself was better than ASHY), frumious rather than frabjous, and much galumphing and chortling ensued ere I called it a night lest a forlorn jubjub bird join the fray.

    joho 10:32 AM  

    One really stupid mistake: kept in zAGGED thereby creating the new state of zEIMAR.

    Got all the rest and like others, OVERSTRUNG only works as describing a tennis racket. Clue: Loud racket? (which only works if an overstrung tennis racket is especially loud!)(Wait, come to think of it, you probably can't even OVERSTRiNG a racket.) @loren muse smith, I've been called highSTRUNG, too.

    This was harder for me than it seems for others and I enjoyed the challenge.

    Carola 10:35 AM  

    A BANANA CREAM pie of puzzles - loved it. Can't say I found it easy as pie, though, at least through the top layer. Didn't mind the slow-going, though - much to savor. Loved the cluing.

    Happened to know Herbert's naughty girl and the mad general, remembered the TOADS from an earlier puzzle discussion. Knew the tabloid from Flanders and Swann: "Oh tempora, oh mores, oh Times, oh DAILY MIRROR."

    @Milford's "NOstS," please meet @LMS and @Tita's "nostrils" :)

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:41 AM  

    I was ready to call this puzzle easy, having breezed along after skipping over the NW. But finishing those few squares was a major project for me. I had the end of 1 A as _ONEY, since EL something looked good for Colombian cowboys. So it must be some kind of MONEY. And therefore the moon crater was some variation of MARE? Etc, etc, etc. But I finally worked it out. Good Saturday puzzle!

    (@Gill I.P. - You're welcome!)

    Since we have already been treated to "Arma virumque cano", may I ask the origin of ITASCA County? Of course you knew - Lake Itasca was named as the "true head" of the Mississippi River, or in Latin, verITAS CAput.

    Sandy K 10:45 AM  


    First thing in was naughty MARIETTA- surprised at Rex.

    Loved MADLIBS, SINATRA, OKSANA BAIUL- who beat Nancy Kerrigan by a tenth of a point- what ever happened to her?

    @Ellen S- No eels, but Ron ELY.

    Nice, not too DILETTANTE-y Saturday fare.

    Carola 10:49 AM  

    p.s. @LMS and @Tita - Just remembered - way back when, my middle-school-age daughter and her friends used to write and act out parodies of "after-school specials," one of which involved a rap star named "Nostrilmeister." What is it about that word?!

    DocRoss 10:58 AM  

    A bit of Minnesota trivia. ITASCA is a county and lake in North Central Minnesota, just west of St. Louis County. ITASCA County is the site of the Headwaters of the Mississippi, Lake ITASCA.

    The name is surprisingly from Latin. Itas Caput, or True Head, referring to the headwaters. There was a big race and competition among explorers to find the true head of the Mississippi back in the early 19th century, so it was a big deal at the time.

    Ms. Manners 11:14 AM  

    There are way too many snide or vile comments today. Why are people using this blog to insult each other? And why expect everyone else to share one's knowledge bank? I knew of Victor Herbert and "Naughty Marietta", and once upon a time I knew of Mad Anthony Wayne, but didn't click with it today. So what? Does that make me an early 20th century pop culture maven or an historian? No. Some neat clues and answers in this puzzle, despite the "ris" fiasco. "Vir" instead of the more familiar "omo", for instance. And it was amusing to see "Yahoo" restored to an earlier meaning, "lout", rather than a search engine. And thank you, DocRoss, for the Minnesota trivia, the Latin derivative of Itasca County, "True Head". Civility and knowledge sharing is welcome.

    Anonymous 11:15 AM  

    The one and only "true head" of the Mississippi is Bambi Larue of Memphis. Reasonably priced, too.

    Anonymous 11:16 AM  

    Threw a wrench into my NW when, in a flash of false brilliance, I put in FISHINGPOLE for "one that holds up the line".

    Judith Martin 11:17 AM  

    The real Miss Manners would never call anyone rude or snide. Doing so, even if true, is rude.

    Mohair Sam 11:25 AM  

    @KFC - So many bloggers get so pounded that it becomes boring - but your light-hearted jab at Rex "you would have preferred a Batman clue you superficial pop-culture slut" is as nifty an insult as I've seen in quite some time. A much needed chuckle this morning - thanks.

    Unknown 11:45 AM  

    Unlike most others, DNF because of the SW corner. Never saw ICELANDERS or DRILL PRESS. Oh, well. Did like the clues for HUNT and DRILL PRESS (now that I know the answer).

    Clue for MEATS seems like it was written by Hannibal Lechter.

    GILL I. 11:54 AM  

    @FeerlessKim. Thanks...Biggest DUH of the mornin. I remember seeing players around Times Square. They fascinated me - as did the people playing. My brain was parsing MONTE as either the sandwich or the Count!!!!

    dm3000 11:57 AM  

    Easiest Saturday for me in a LONG time. More like a Wednesday.

    Miss Manners II 11:59 AM  

    @Judith Martin - The real Judith Martin would have recognized that Miss Manners called comments rude or snide, that she didn't call anyone. Similaly, the real Judith Martin wouldn't have publicly corrected Miss Manners.

    Judith Martin's Evil Step-Sister 12:14 PM  

    @Miss Manners II - "There are way too many snide or vile comments today. Why are people, using this blog to insult each other?" {emphasis added}

    Milford 12:23 PM  

    @Carola - if we get the Cosa Nostra involved, we will have a trifecta!

    Definitely more of a challenge than yesterday, but this was an average Saturday time. Had to run through a few letter combos to get the ITASCA/TYCHO/ATCO area to be accepted. Thanks to all that offered the ITASCA origin - I'll remember it for next time.

    Briefly considered BAked Alaska before BANANA CREAM. Hand up for OKSANA off of the K (thank you, TERIYAKI) and zAGGED before WAGGED, even though it seemed wrong without its zigged.

    @Z - I had no idea that WAYNE county was named after this dude, either.

    Don't we all think that our own, personal knowledge base is the best? For instance, my base allowed me to get TOLEDO, as the city of TOLEDO, Spain is world famous for its swords. But I would never dream to judge others who don't know that. Yes, sometimes it puzzles or amuses me what people don't know or know well, but isn't that kind of cool how different it is for everyone?

    Sparky 12:25 PM  

    Hand up for zagged. Figured DORSEY or James. My godparents' name was WrYNE. Back in the day Saturday radio was full of operettas. Naughty MARIETTA was often done. This did skew mature audiences.

    Googled OKSANA. Didn't she cry all the time? DNF--NW beat me. Owns not AILS, missed INDIRA and CARLA.

    I used to be high STRUNG and now I am almost comatose. Cheer up @Loren. Time will tell. Chin up @Andrea.

    Have a good weekend.-

    Unknown 1:04 PM  

    PS - Wayne county in NE Penn is named for Mad Anthony also.

    Ellen S 1:19 PM  

    I liked it. Had to Google ITASCA (thanks, all, for the derivation; I love that stuff. Also for the Aeneid opening.) and WEIMAR. The other answers came to me as in a dream, one where I was really sweating. Hand up for vaquEROS before LLANEROS. What would that be, Plainsmen? Like in the Gary Cooper movie?

    Forty years ago I was living in what the Manhattanites call "Upstate" New York (I dunno what they call Rochester, Syracuse and like that-- I was in Red Hook, across the Hudson from Kingston). In an even smaller townlet further east, Pine Plains, a couple of guys bought the historic opera house and converted it to a movie theater where they showed Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald movies on Saturday Nights. I went all the time. So "Naughty Marietta" was a gimmee.

    @Acme, the oldest people to climb Mt. Everest are in their 70s -- including a woman who climbed it at 73. However, the two oldest men, one is Nepali (that shouldn't even count; it's like the Sherpas--of course THEY can climb it) and one is Japanese, as is the woman. But one of the advantages of maturity should be that you listen to your own good sense (and ED's advice) and remember that you're too old to want to climb it. Sounds like you're putting yourself sufficiently in harm's way doing volunteer work!

    I don't yet appreciate the aethetics of grid construction, and I thought the short fill was new enough or cleverly clued enough to make it fun. Ron ELY much better than EELS. I was thinking, Buster Crabbe? Elmo Lincoln? And Ron ELY's name floated into my brain. I thought, is there such a person, and did he play Tarzan? I guess so!

    "Mad Anthony" Wayne had stuck in my head since high school, along with Sockless Jerry somebody who didn't stick as well. Oh, also, I think the French skip king and emperor numbers when there's somebody who "would have been." Napoleon II never was actually a ruler, but when the nephew took power he called himself Napoleon III. I think there's a missing Louis, also, according to the same custom.

    Now to print out that Maleska puzzle, or something so I can solve it.

    Unknown 1:42 PM  

    @Ellen S - Jeremiah Simpson (March 31, 1842 – October 23, 1905), nicknamed "Sockless Jerry" Simpson, was an American politician from the U.S. state of Kansas. An old-style populist, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives three times. During one campaign, Simpson's opponent was Col. J. R. Hallowell, an attorney for a railroad who campaigned from the back of a private rail car. Simpson, campaigning on a populist platform of public ownership of railroads, a graduated income tax, the abolition of national banks, and universal suffrage, denounced Hallowell as a pampered scion of wealth whose feet were "encased in fine silk hosiery." Hallowell fired back that having silk socks was better than having none at all. With the help of populist campaigner Mary Elizabeth Lease, Simpson won a new nickname, "Sockless Jerry," and an 8,000-vote margin of victory in the race. -from Wiki

    Apparently no counties or cities named after Sockless Jerry

    Elle54 1:51 PM  

    Why is Bark part SAIL? Also had ZAGGED.
    Does anyone know what DEPOSEMONEY means? Neither do I , so got that section wrong too.

    syndy 1:58 PM  

    re;the preshortz puzzle-those were the days!make them brain cells squirm

    Anonymous 2:05 PM  

    Bark = barquentine, a type of ship

    Tita 2:07 PM  

    @Elle - "It is the star to every wandering bark..."
    Sonnet 116.

    It's a sailboat.

    @Sparky - you too - cheer up!!

    Bob Kerfuffle 2:08 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Bob Kerfuffle 2:09 PM  

    Having just read Daniel Myers's post at Crossword Fiend, I wish to withdraw my explanation of the name ITASCA. Apparently the history is far from clear, and I may have been unknowingly perpetuating a myth.

    (@Elle54 - a bark is a kind of boat, hence the SAIL.)

    ((Don't know why part of my comment was truncated!))

    Digital solver 2:17 PM  

    Rex, thanks for the Maleska side-trip. I failed miserably but had a lot of fun trying, and it gave me renewed appreciation for what Mr. Shortz brings to the game.

    I like your solving program way better than the one at the Times. Can you please please please make the Times crosswords available using your solving program too?

    Much thanks for all you do.

    ojairanchgirl 2:43 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    King&QueenFan 2:54 PM  

    Anyone remember that great album, King and Queen by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas? Knock on Wood, Ooh Carla Ooh Otis, etc.
    Here's from wikipedia:
    King & Queen is a studio album by American recording artists Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. It is ...the final studio album before his death on Dec 10, 1967.... includes crossover hits "Tramp" and "Knock on Wood"....

    Acme 2:55 PM  

    @bob kerfuffle
    And I was all set to thank you for that interesting ITASCA trivia! However, I still thank you for pointing me over to Crossword Fiend today, which I usually don't get to these days...
    First of all, fewer comments but generally more polite and erudite, but also Orange is in fine form today and laugh out loud funny (cf Pulaski comment)

    Evan 3:05 PM  

    I didn't enjoy this puzzle as much as Rex and others did. The southeast stack is really good, and crossing it with MAD LIBS and TERIYAKI is fun. The other long answers didn't strike me as that exciting, unfortunately, except for BANANA CREAM and the clue for DRILL PRESS, which are great.... okay, DILETTANTE is good, too.

    But like others above, I've heard it called HIGH STRUNG, not OVERSTRUNG. I'm also not used to it being called a UTILITY POLE -- it's usually been a TELEPHONE POLE in my experience, but I guess UTILITY is a better catch-all term for different kinds of wires rather than just telephone lines. Maybe TELEPHONE POLE is a regional thing?

    Lots of short fill I wasn't crazy about -- VIR, ATCO, EPIS, RIS, OLA, ITASCA, NOE, TOLEDOS, and ISL. I had to guess at the MARIETTA/LLANEROS crossing -- I don't know much Spanish, and thought it could possibly be LLANEDOS or LLANEJOS. MARIETTA seemed like the only plausible cross, though, so I got it right.

    Well done, Rex and Matt, on the Maleskan conversation -- I was surprised I got as far in that puzzle as I did, but I also got stymied by the same sections.

    OISK 4:03 PM  

    Liked this one a lot, and pretty much zoomed though it, smiling all the way, except for "vir" (someone explain?) which I got easily from the down clues, and Itasca, which was a pure guess, since I never heard of ATCO, nor ever owned a "BeeGees" recording. Itasca just seemed right, which means I probably have seen it before. Never heard of Carla either, but if you are going to give me Naughty Marietta, (from which I can sing all the songs, and own two recordings ) I guess I shouldn't quibble with Carla Thomas. It is always nice to complete a Saturday without help, after missing two squares on yesterday's pop-infested Friday. Yet most others liked Friday's...Ah sweet mystery of life...

    Rex Parker 4:15 PM  


    I meant to say something about OVERSTRUNG, namely that it's not a thing anyone says. Ridiculous. UTILITY POLE, however, seems fine.


    Evan 4:30 PM  


    I'm sure it's more common than I realize. When I got UTILITY POLE I had wondered if it referred to fishing....holding the fishing line, I guess. I've always said TELEPHONE POLE so the right answer caught me off-guard.

    Bob Kerfuffle 4:33 PM  

    @OISK - VIR is the Latin word for "man". Cognates include virile and triumvirate.

    Anonymous 4:44 PM  

    Got very close what with Googling a bunch of individual clues for help, but still had big problems after putting down LLAmEROS. The N made a big difference. Mearer made no sense, and I wasn't smart enough to see that the M couldn't have been right. . The cross of HOGS and WAGGED plus OVERSTRUNG caused me to fill out a few words incorrectly also. I used Tas rather than RAS at a31. So a lot of the NE corner was pretty messy.
    But still not bad for me for a Saturday--Saturdays often ending in failure. I can now watch the Giants beat the Cardinals in comfort.

    Wayne Resident 6:03 PM  

    down here in Penna we see our pop culture films at the theatre named for the general who was said to catch a few films there prior to the incident up the road in paoli. legend has it that washington called him "mad" because he spent much of the war talking about the latest movie.

    sanfranman59 6:04 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 7:02, 6:12, 1.14, 92%, Challenging
    Tue 7:22, 8:19, 0.89, 16%, Easy
    Wed 9:25, 10:16, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium
    Thu 20:46, 16:58, 1.22, 84%, Challenging
    Fri 15:18, 22:18, 0.69, 5%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 171 Fridays)
    Sat 25:42, 25:08, 1.02, 67%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 4:22, 3:42, 1.18, 96%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 172 Mondays)
    Tue 4:21, 4:52, 0.89, 13%, Easy
    Wed 5:20, 6:04, 0.88, 18%, Easy
    Thu 14:10, 9:56, 1.43, 91%, Challenging
    Fri 8:36, 12:57, 0.66, 4%, Easy (7th lowest ratio of 171 Fridays)
    Sat 15:06, 14:48, 1.02, 60%, Medium-Challenging

    mitchs 6:16 PM  

    really surprised because I thought there'd be a ton of comments about the Rex/Matt G solving and analysis of the Maleska puz. It's really entertaing, follow the link at the end of Rex's blog.

    Dirigonzo 7:11 PM  

    I needed every single cross to produce OKSANABAIUL - happily they were all obtainable. Ended with a lucky guess at the last two letters of ATCO. Some other answers I wrote in without knowing why they were right, but they were - my brain works in mysterious ways.

    @mitchs - I suspect the everyone is being courteous and avoiding any discussion that might constitute "spoilers" to those of us who have not yet completed the puzzle.

    jerry k 7:33 PM  

    Gill I.P. -- if this wasn't addressed earlier, 3 card monte was extremely popular in New York City in the good old days, before Guiliani. A dealer, a shill or 2 and a couple of losers. Oh, by the way, close but DNF. Just have to trust myself a little more.

    A-Train Resident 10:35 PM  

    NYT readers dont have to know monte.
    thats a game for people who read the Daily News...while scratching off their lottery tickets on NJT.

    this was a typical outcome:

    Ellen S 1:21 AM  

    Elle54 - I don't see where anyone answered your other question. 1A really looked like it would be "something"-money, but ithe correct answer was DEPOSIT ONLY. (As one wirtes a check"For Deposit Only".)

    Stevlb1 4:40 PM  

    Ultra- challenging for me.........but I got it.........finally!

    Spacecraft 12:23 PM  

    And as in uffish thought I read @Jackj's post, I LOL'ed.

    How in tarnation can you call this easy-medium? I had to pry open every section--and the NW needed a big crowbar! I didn't know ANY of that stuff up there; finally tried TYCHO after recalling the site of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" lunar monolith. Then somehow DEPOSITONLY entered my mind, and I was done at last.

    A major holdup along the way was misremembering Ms. BAIUL's first name as "OxANA." Since the letter count was "wrong," I thought I must have the wrong year (did I mention how terrible I am at timelines?) and left it blank, only to work back around to that unmistakable name anyway.

    Hand up for the "ugh" at OVERSTRUNG; I agree it should be "high." Every single letter of LLANEROS went in on crosses. Oh, and one final nit--another of my pet peeves:

    There is no such word as ADE. It can appear as a suffix (lemon-, Gator-, etc.) but is not a stand-alone word.

    Let me repeat that. ADE is not a word. Can you hear me now?

    Solving in Seattle 1:10 PM  

    It could be that I had one glass of wine too many last night, but it took me and google forever to work this one out. Not "easy-medium" for me at all. How do you say "boring" in Brest?

    Anonymous 2:00 PM  

    Finally got it all worked out. Knew Ely as he seems to be the standard three letter actor in crosswords. Also knew who was naughty, and who was mad from history.

    However, I do not see how "handles" gets to be "tends to." Can someone help me here?

    Bob Kerfuffle 2:14 PM  

    @Anonymous, 2:00 PM - I think we can get someone to handle your problem. I'll have my secretary tend to it.

    Anonymous 2:37 PM  

    Of course! Thank you, Mr. Kerfuffle! Glad I didn't cause one.

    DMGrandma 2:45 PM  

    My one square ? again today. Managed, eventually, to spell BAILL correctly, but a not-so-famous county crossing an unknown record company??? Guessed AShO, so no cigar. Record companies I recall are Decca and RCA Victor!

    Enjoyed the stuff for us "oldies". Anyone else remember all the wonderful Victor Herbert (and other) operettas on The Railroad Hour with Gordan MacRae. It was on Monday night just after The Carnation Hour....."you can hear them in the dell, they are contented I can tell". I'll be humming all day!

    Captcha sounds like a an ancient war cry: Ravashi corpo.

    Syndi Solver 3:24 PM  

    I managed to finish without help today which was a nice improvement over yesterday. Not fast, just slow and steady. The clue which stumped me the longest was "Bark part" for SAIL. Good one! I also enjoyed learning that it's a knot of TOADS. I've even read "An Exaltation of Larks" but I can't remember most of those collective nouns.

    I didn't think OVERSTRUNG was too bad. I'm sure I've run into it while reading. It's just a rather old fashioned word.

    Just to check I did a quick search (using an older date range) and found the word in books ranging from P. G. Wodehouse novels to Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan). So, it's definitely real, but perhaps considered dated or obsolete? Hmmm, like myself? :-)

    NM Robin 4:29 PM  

    I agree that this puzzle was not easy. I would classify it as challenging. I know if I complete a Friday or Saturday puzzle,OFL is going to call it "easy".

    I left one letter blank so a DNF.

    Also, never heard of overstrung - highstrung is O.K.

    Thanks to whoever explained BARK. I could not figure how that was SAIL even though I ran the alphabet to find the "L" and that was the only letter that fit.

    Still a good puzzle.

    AquilaAquilegia 7:25 AM  

    I've been hoping someone would say this, but... oh, well, here goes: TYCHO is not a "large lunar crater"! I was running names in my head: Clavius, Ptolemaus-Alphonsus-Arzachel, Theophilus-Cyrillus-Catharina... um, Plato...
    So at least I had the "O". "Splashy" lunar crater would have been better for me.

    WAYNE was a throwdown for me, but then, I've lived 20 miles from the Fort for 40+ years. To each his own.

    Bananafish 12:37 PM  

    I was convinced the Colombian cowboys were herding llamas, so that led me to LLAMEROS, which led me to OPENSTRUNG, with a side of MEANER for NEARER. I considered OVERSTRUNG, but I mean, that still doesn't make much sense to me.

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