Hohenberg's river / SAT 5-18-13 / Language related to Wyandot / Heffalump's creator / Title gambler in 1943 Cary Grant film / Inspector General star 1949 / Painter Schiele composer Wellesz / Captive of Heracles / Deirdre playwright

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Thomas H. INCE (61D: Thomas H. ___, the Father of the Western) —
Thomas H. Ince was an American silent film actor, director, screenwriter and producer of more than 100 films and pioneering studio mogul. Known as the "Father of the Western", he invented many mechanisms of professional movie production, introducing early Hollywood to the "assembly line" system of film making. He wrote the screenplay for The Italian (1915), and directed Civilization (1916), both films selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry. He was a partner with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett in the Triangle Motion Picture Company, and built his own studios in Culver City, which later became the legendary home of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. // Ince is also known for his death aboard the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; officially he died of heart trouble, but Hollywood rumor of the time suggested he had been shot by Hearst in a dispute over actress Marion Davies. (wikipedia)
• • •
Took one look at constructor's name (before opening puzzle) and thought, "O great. Quad stacks." And sure enough, there they were. I pretty much stopped caring at that point. I've seen this movie and know how it ends. Actually, today's ended worse than I expected, in that there was so much esoterica (and just stuff I didn't know) that I eventually gave up. I virtually never give up. I mean ... I can't remember the last time. But I just didn't care enough to fight it out. It's got all the infelicities of your typical quad-stack puzzle and then some. Also, literally NONE of the 15s are interesting. STREET ADDRESSES, dear lord. I nearly fell asleep just writing that answer out. Didn't I *just* say, yesterday, that most stacks usually have to resort to some cruddy answer with "ONE'S" in it? Didn't I? I did. And here we are. Up top *and* down below (my friend Matt calls ONE'S answers "the standard quad-stack sin"). Then there's the proper nouns from outer space and ugly partials and god knows what else. It's a workout, but a joyless one, and I am trying to opt out of joylessness wherever possible. My fellow blogger (a much better solver than I) also didn't bother finishing w/o looking up some of the namier trivia. When *both* of us, independently, just ... stop. Well, I don't know that that has ever happened, since I can't remember the last time I didn't finish a puzzle.

I looked at ENTENTE CORD SALE for a while and couldn't figure out what was wrong. Apparently ERIE is a language as well as a tribe, city, lake (12D: Language related to Wyandot). I would not have guessed that. Clearly I went with ERSE (also crosswordese, also a language), and got CORD SALE instead of CORDIALE. I didn't even care. Moving on ... let's see ... the real problem for me was FEEDING ONE'S FACE. I guess I've heard it, but I had no shot, even with FEEDING ONE'S, because I had the "Father of the Western" (HA ha, whatever you say) as INGE, who is both a playwright and a former Detroit Tigers 3rd baseman, but apparently not the "Father of the Western." Tried FEEDING ONE'S RAGE, which I liked, but alas. Also never Ever heard of CALF'S-foot jelly (53D: ___-foot jelly). So FEEDING ONE'S -AGE or -A-E got me ... nothing. Thought I'd get stumped in west too, but somehow managed to work it out despite Never having heard of MR. LUCKY (37A: Title gambler in a 1943 Cary Grant film) and Never having heard of SPOT TV (!?) (45A: Much commercial production). I was lucky (!) enough to have heard of the word ATRIP (22D: Like some anchors and sails), or I'd surely have died in the west too. Again, if I'd stuck with it at FEEDING ONE'S FACE, I'm sure eventually I'd have turned it up. But there didn't seem a point, really.

Adding to my personal never-heard-ofs: EMIL Igwenagu (42A: Eagles tight end Igwenagu); KLAUS Voormann (29D: "Revolver" Grammy winner Voormann). Hohenberg or EGER (though it's familiar in that same crosswordesey way that INCE is (now) familiar) (56D: Hohenberg's river). Wyandot. I think that's it. Oh, nope. Forgot about EGON Wellesz, a hilarious second EGON to go with the better known but still not terribly famous EGON Schiele (I knew Schiele, so got this one easily enough). Together, they are ... the EGONS! (9D: Painter Schiele and composer Wellesz)

Top third was easy. Middle was Medium (east)-Challenging (west). Bottom was a wipeout, so Challenging. TARGA! (51D: Porsche 911 model)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jackj 12:08 AM  

Martin Ashwood-Smith has given us such a gnarly test, I’m guessing this usually friendly Canadian constructed it while in a huff after his hometown Vancouver Canucks were denied, (once again), in pursuit of their first ever Stanley Cup. Tsk, tsk, tsk and a tut, too. (Go Bruins!)

The upper quad stacks were conquerable, but only by working from the back end forward after first entering the name of one of my favorite artists, EGON(S) Schiele to get started.

CEREAL, ERIE and TRES gave enough insight to enter CREDIT, ERROR and EYES and the beginnings of the 15’s came (albeit grudgingly) with the added help of BTEN and ART A, with VENT and ICERS being especially clever bits with which to cope. (ENTENTECORDIALE was an elegant answer that would never have occurred to me as a stand-alone entry).

Working down the puzzle, Martin bunched his four best clues and answers in the puzzle’s midsection with the delightful OCANADA and QUIT on the right side, an entry that always makes me think “Aaaargh” when it is finally revealed, ONED, in the middle and the very clever SPOTTV on the left.

Then it was on to the bottom quad stacks, which were about to draw blood until RUDE, ILIE, TARGA and SEES gave me enough torque to help fill things in, though, admittedly, including “An” in the “Tone poem” clue made it too obvious, (thanks be), that we were seeking AMERICANINPARIS.

Martin’s puzzle was tough but, fortunately, not quite as difficult as yesterday’s puzzle (though if one is taking a beating, whether it is being administered by Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, it seems to be a distinction without a difference).

Good one, Martin, (but I sure missed those three letter entries we get in your triple stack puzzles).

Naugahyde 12:19 AM  

Same here, except opposite--I got the bottom third and bailed on the rest, other than a handful of the downs. I went with URDU instead of ERIE, and though I had CREDIT and ERROR, I couldn't get the beginnings of those phrases.

I liked the clues for OCANADA and NACL (though I didn't get either of those answers.) WALDO also (didn't get that one either, though I had the W and the D.

ICERS is my second favorite crossword occupation, behind only EELERS.

Shit, this puzzle was hard.

I didn't object too much to FEEDING ONES FACE. It's "in the language," I think, but not as much as STUFFING ONE'S FACE is.

I could go on and on about how much I like the word LACONIC.

Shit, this one was hard.

skua76 12:33 AM  

I haven't started the puzzle yet, and by Rex's rating I may never finish it. But I did want to express my hope that @JohnV wasn't involved in (or even delayed by) the Metro North crash. I'm not even sure if he's doing that commute at the moment...

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

What was the "Past" in "Past pump preference" (63A) getting at? 40 years ago when one choose between leaded and unleaded? The fact that I, just yesterday, chose regular rather than premium for my car?

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

The one and only master that responds to ARFS was Annie. No other dogs ARF, and no one but Annie would consider responding to an ARF.

Kristin 12:45 AM  

Hardest clue for ERIE I ever saw, found out Wyandot is native American and tried CREE, nah, they speak Algonquin...

Abner 12:46 AM  

You all should try CALFS-foot-jelly instead of Mayo from time to time. Makes your roast possum sandwitch really sing. It takes the road out of road-kill.

DocRoss 12:50 AM  

Some of the same troubles as Rex, but EGONS fell into place for me, as did KLAUS Voorman, the artist who did the cover for Revolver, and bassist for John's Plastic Ono Band and George's All Things Must Pass.

JFC 1:21 AM  

Poor Rex. Life is a cereal....


Benko 1:31 AM  

INCE and TARGA were completely unknown to me. I also had Erse before ERIE and took a while to let it go.
This was quite a slog, but it was doable. Slowly pieced it together cross by cross and finished under nine minutes, barely. If I hadn't decided to just start putting in things based on intuition and how many times I've seen certain clues before, don't think I would have got enough to finish.
Favorite part...the cluing for WALDO.

Benko 1:33 AM  

Oh yes..."An" leading in the clue to AMERICANINPARIS was a big help to me, too.

chefwen 2:35 AM  

Same as @Naugahyde but managed to eke out the middle third. By the time I got to the upper third, I said a bad word followed by IT and decided to save myself for tomorrow.

@LMS - Good one over at the LAT, really enjoyed it, but it was a little on the tough side, as a Friday should be. Congrats!

okanaganer 2:47 AM  

I also finally gave up on this one, when even after Googling several clues (which I rarely do) I was still stuck. Simply too many things I have never heard of. I was greatly relieved to come here and not see Rex rate it Easy/Medium!

I got--but hated--REGULAR GASOLINE, which I really wanted to be something like REGULAR AND ETHYL, which is before my time but I've heard the phrase, I think in movies. I did not get--and also hated--CLEANSER, after the futile experience of picking through a zillion brand names in my head.

As a proud Canadian I am quite ashamed that it took me quite a while to get O CANADA, since I insisted 35D just had to be LAMB rather than LOIN chop.

Anonymous 3:01 AM  

What's wrong with CLEANSER aside from the fact that it stumped you?

Dr. Adz

Atrip Cereal Mongods 3:26 AM  

Super hard but googled my head off after a standstill.

EGON Schiele I knew because my dad collected him...
Unfortunately as one of my first entries it reinforced the incorrect AmericanExpress for One Across.

I count that as a minimalapop for AMERICAN INPARIS later...however I couldn't grok "An" in the clue, I literally thought that was a Vietnamese name or something!!!

With you...Hard core Beatles fans will know KLAUS Voorman... Just saw him interviewed in the film "Lennon in NYC" that just aired on PBS. Just when you think you know everything about John Lennon....it was fabulous.

But I googled more than I ever have in my life(cereal?): EMIL, KAYE, TARGA, INCE, CALFS, MRLUCKY, EGER.

Was looking for a brand name in the P&G answer. CLEANSER seemed so pedestrian, but it seems key to building a grid lie this.

And I'm dumb enough that I thought JAMBS were just for doors.

(And I still missed ERsE and IOnE)

I'm still bowled over by quad stacks and will never cease to be, so figured it was worth powering thru...one google and would get five more words, then another...and so on.

I don't feel bad about not knowing a 1943 nor 1949 film, even tho I'm a big film buff. Danny KAYE reminds me of my grandparents place, so don't mind ATRIP down memory lane.

Speaking of going down memory lane, I'm off to LA this weekend, the No Kidding tour continues and it's been fun to perform again.come on out to the MBAR if you're around!

jae 4:05 AM  

OK, I had the opposite experience from Rex--the bottom half of this was easy, the rest was holy s**t!  I missed this by two squares.  Went with IOnE vs. IOLE a complete WOE.  I relied on our absent compatriot's rule  "if you've seen it before go with it".   Same thing happened with EGaNS vs. EGONS.   By now you know CORDIALE was not in my wheelhouse (ENTENTE was though).  The Middle East was also a bear.  Got it sorted out but it took a loooong time.  Did not know that YEATS did Deirdre, dredged up MILNE after a lot of churning, no idea about the "Running dog" clue just guessed, and KLAUS was also a total WOE.

So, did I like it? Not really.  Not much (any)  zip and a lot of iffy crosses. Nice to know Rex and friends had a similar experience. 

Anonymous 4:28 AM  

Can someone explain how sails and anchors can be ATRIP? I got it, but I kept coming back to stare at it, thinking it couldn't possibly be right.

Anonymous 4:40 AM  

a·trip [uh-trip]
-adjective Nautical
1. aweigh.
2. (of a sail) in position and ready for trimming.
3. (of a yard) hoisted and ready to be fastened in position.
4. (of an upper mast) unfastened and ready for lowering.


Jim Finder 5:46 AM  

I enjoyed this hard puzzle and completed it in a normal time, "cross by cross" as someone said above.

One quibble: "Flat" (47A) is not ONE-D (linear). "Flat" is 2-D (planar). Is there some sense in which this clue is correct?

C. Ross Word 5:49 AM  

Rex is right about this puzzle: joyless. Ugh.

The Bard 6:24 AM  

The Tragedy of King Lear
ACT II, Scene IV

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.--But, for true need,--
You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks!--No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall,--I will do such things,--
What they are yet, I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep;
No, I'll not weep:--
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
Or ere I'll weep.--O fool, I shall go mad!

Glimmerglass 7:00 AM  

Hooray! I finished one (correctly and without Google) that Rex did not. Of course, technically he just gave up. The only answer I was doubtful about was SPOT TV. I know what a TV spot is, I never saw it reversed. Yeah, I thought it was hard, but I like hard. My favorite kind of puzzle looks impossible, but turns out to be doable in the end. This was one of those. Sorry Rex hated it, but then, Rex hates to lose. He reminds me of the snotty kid who says, "I could do that, but I don't want to."

Z 7:27 AM  

Thou ART A CEREAL. Or, Life is a CEREAL and then you die. I guess I should just stop CEREALing and admit defeat.

Anywho - we ate at the Sports Brew Pub in Wyandotte, not more than 50 miles from Lake ERIE, just last week. I had a nice Wheat beer to go with a fantastic Walleye. All irony aside, Sports doesn't serve SAKI, so no running dogs or heffalumps caused A TRIP after dinner. In keeping with the name, neither YEATS nor INCE made the wall, nor Inge for that matter. Kaline and Yzerman had portraits up, though. I am EGER to return. I don't normally go to sports bars because the beer options are so limited and the food so mediocre, but this place is great.

Unknown 7:31 AM  

I feel even denser since I don't understand the "quit" answer to 44a and none of the three puzzle reviewers I consulted even mentions it, and @JackJ likes the clue!

r.alphbunker 7:47 AM  

To can somebody means to fire them.

Big fat asterisk next to my finished grid on this one. Had about 20% of the grid filled in and ground to a halt. Used a feature of my crossword program that identified wrong letters without telling me which words they were in (e.g., "there is an E that is supposed to be an A"). It reported about 10 wrong letters! After tracking them down things went more smoothly but had to google ENTENTE CORDIALE to get ERIE and IOLE.

Loren Muse Smith 7:54 AM  

The fact that you can get quad stacks with real words, even if some are obscure stretches, still fascinates me, so I always enjoy seeing MR Quad Stack’s name at the top. Thanks, Martin!

Once I dispatched all the gimmes: TARGA, INCE, IRLE, AEC, DRAY, IOLE, EGONS, EGER , and SAKI, I was stuck. Hah! I LIE.

Too hard for me to finish, but I agree with many of you – the top was a lot easier than the bottom.

@Acme – as I confidently filled in “American Express,” I was thinking smugly I’d have to call Dad to remind him that 15’s don’t have to be too hard and in fact can be pretty easy. I thought that clue/misdirect would be what everyone was talking about this morning! NACL/LACONIC sent me scurrying back up, tail between my legs, to erase it.

Without thinking, I had “deux” and “Seuss” for CINQ and MILNE. I’m not a math person. We had three math answers: CINQ and TRES. Well, actually, we had nine occurrences of numbers: TRES, CINQ, TEN, ONE, ONE, and ONE.

I just may cook LOIN chops for dinner.

@naugahyde – I was thinking the same thing about LACONIC. Great word.

@Wes Davidson – if you QUIT first, your boss can’t fire you.

If I could meet ONE person before I die, it would be Koko, the gorilla who signs A TAD. My daughter says I’m obsessed with her. I probably am. I showed an hour-long documentary about her to my students at the prison, and when it was over, you could have heard a pin drop. Then one of them whispered, “Play it again.” Here are a couple of clips. Grab some Kleenex for the second ONE, though.



r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  


A friend of mine knew a chimp named Noam Chimpsky who had some facility with sign language.

r.alphbunker 8:17 AM  

Make that Nim Chimpsky

Smitty 9:04 AM  

Guessed my way through - letter by painful letter.

ATRIP the sails all ye mateys! ...puh-leese.

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Agree with @Rex, this was a joyless slog. His DNF may have been by choice, but mine was not. This was simply too hard for me, and unfortunately the 3/4 that I was able to complete was not very interesting -- I actually said "booooo" as I was writing in ATO. The bottom fell relatively easily, followed by the east and even two of the top 15s. But the remainder of the top eluded me, and the west was a total mystery because the only two access points were MRLUCKY and SPOTTV, neither of which I had any clue about. Not a fun Saturday.

Carola 9:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Horace S. Patoot 9:59 AM  

@Wes: If you quit your job, they can no longer can you.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Funny, KLAUS and CALFS were among the few (10) answers I did get. Saturdays are hopeless, puzzle-wise.

Carola 10:05 AM  

What A TRIP - took off from PARIS, slowly ascended over CANADA but could not reach the STARS. Crashed and burned.

Wreckage below included SmOTTV, because I forgot ATRIP from an earlier puzzle, and KLAUd crossing the holiday honorees the dTS ("d" for "dumb" in this case; the S should have been easy). Liked the QUIT - END IT cross.

chefbea 10:08 AM  

Too tough for me. Googled a lot and finally got the bottom half. Came here for the top half.

Hope none of the Connecticut rexites were invoked with the train crash. How horrible

chefbea 10:09 AM  

meant involved

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

FearlessKim here: like @ACM "I googled more than I ever have in my life(cereal?): EMIL, KAYE, TARGA, INCE, CALFS, MRLUCKY, EGER". Okay, not CALFS, which I somehow knew, but all the rest, and then some: KLAUS, EGONS, SAKI, IAND, and (oh, the shame!) AMERICANINPARIS. oy. After each Google, I'd give it another shot, come to a complete halt somewhere, and have to Google again. Brutal.

To make matters worse, I didn't have time for the puzzle yesterday, and somehow thought that I was solving a Friday puzzle! Between the gnashing of teeth and the clacking of keys on the Googlenet, I was saying to myself "how could this be a Friday? How could I be having This. Much. Trouble with a Friday?!"

And to make my humiliation complete, my only gimme was the Heffalump! I think I'll give up crosswords, and go back to children's books...

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Mega-google. Still did not get vacant and spot TV. I clung to spot ad. Glad I'm not the only one thatvhad trouble.

jberg 10:33 AM  

After reading @Rex, I'm feeling bad that I finished -- soulless masochism, or something, I guess. But finish I did, eventually, and I did like WALDO, NACL, and AMERICAN IN PARIS, even if it was a partial. It was really hard to get started, though -- thank God for the EGONS, SAKI, and MILNE.

EsER before EGER, Ivan before ILIE, and cReE before ERIE. (As @Z pointed out, there's a Wyandotte in MI, it's obviously a Native American word, so ERsE doesn't really fit--at least, if you've ever lived near MI.)

I thought of American Express, natch, but was too timid to put it in, especially because I couldn't see how whatever life was one of could start with X. (Xylophone doesn't fit.)

@Abner, I'm not sure, but I think CALF'S-foot jelly is German, not hillbilly -- you can probably find some in Wyandotte, or Sheboygan, or one of those upper Midwest towns.

So a few good words/clues, counterbalanced and more by SPOT TV, a phrase never before uttered, I am guessing.

Carole Shmurak 10:38 AM  

Guess you had to be "of a certain age" for this one, and like mivies a lot. Immediately knew INCE, KAYE, MR LUCKY and AMERICANINPARIS.

Challenging though.

Carole Shmurak 10:41 AM  

Make that "movies."

joho 10:46 AM  

Nothing like a puzzle like this to make me feel totally stupid and like I'm losing ground when it comes to my solving skills.

@Acme, I too, wondered about JAMB and even looked it up to see if windows have them ... they do!

While I totally admire Martin's ability to create such a monster puzzle, it was just too hard with too many obscure names to float my boat.

I'm always wishing for a challenging Saturday but today when I got what I wish for, I didn't like it!

Suzy 10:56 AM  

@Jim-- oned: surely the worst clue/answer in the whole bloomin' thing. I, too, thought jambs were in doors. Oh, well... I suppose
Monday I'll miss it.

Mohair Sam 11:02 AM  

Wicked, mean Saturday. Loved it!

We enjoy 3 and 4 stack puzzles here, and don't mind the frequent "ones" in the answers that seem to bug the pros.

Two of us, two hours - and we thought we had it. But alas, the AMA puts out a journal that should be ABA, hence MILNE is not bIrNE and KLAUS is not KrAUS but we are DNF.

Couple of complaints - I'm in Jersey a lot where you can't pump your own. I say "Fill 'er with regular" and never get laughed at, and do get gas. So what's this "past" pump thing? And would have saved a ton of time if "Bringer of peace" had had (Fr) after it. Otherwise a very difficult puzzle and lotsa fun.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:11 AM  

Top was hard; bottom was easy.

I was so pleased to have finished this, on paper, no help. So I am doubly deflated to see that I had BIRNE instead of MILNE - and that @Mohair Sam has just posted the exact same mistake with the exact same reasoning! :>)

(PS to Mohair Sam - I'm in Jersey, too, but I go to a cheapie gas station that has regular only and cash only, so no specification needed.)

@Jim Finder - You are correct mathematically, but I think the crossword usage is often meant in the sense you might use in a movie review: "The characters are all one-dimensional, their lives as flat as their lines."

Shamik 11:12 AM  

Kudos to all of you who finished this puzzle accurately and without a Google.

@Glimmerglass: Sorry, but you sound like the snotty child that says "Nyah, nyah, Rex...I finished it and Youuuuu didn't." Seems to me, unless you finish in the top 20 at the ACPT, you can only compete against yourself. And if you finished in the top 20, then congratulations. For the rest of us, we can only compete against ourselves.

To Google or not to Google is always a personal choice. I don't, so ended up with 6 wrong squares which for me were as acceptable as anything else. ATRIM made more sense than ATRIP. And knew it was Waldo, so avoided SMUTTV.

ENTENTECORDSANE made as much sense as the final answer since ERSE makes sense as a language and so does IONE as someone in some ancient story. Advocacy made me think of the ABA and some author named BIRNE also made sense. It certainly sounded non-breakfast test and non-PC, but some poor mother might have named her son KRAUT. TTS? There's a holiday for everything.

Proper names, native-American languages, and nautical terms really did me in today. I want my 42:25 minutes back. Last time I had a 6+ letter error was Henry Hook's Friday 2/25/11 puzzle. :-(

Benko 11:18 AM  

Since I filled in first with educated guesses, I made a couple of interesting mistakes:
"Tire" for VENT (blowout location).
"Unit" for ONED (flat, thinking British style like the constructor).
Not so interesting, "pork" for LOIN (kind of chop). I felt it was too obvious, but all I had was the "o".
Totally lucky guessed MRLUCKY off the KY, since the clue was about a gambler. Maybe had it somewhere subconsciously,

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

It seems churlish to complain about a form of entertainment like a cross puzzle, but this one is particularly (stupidly, maddeningly) perverse--"entente cordiale" embodies its perversity. A ridiculous, extremely obscure, and--most damning--very difficult to obtain by brute force. This puzzle was horrible.

I don't blame the constructor nearly as much as I blame Mr. Shortz.

quilter1 11:57 AM  

Got a lot of the bottom and almost none of the top. Middle so-so. Hand up for american express at 1A. DNF and feel a little resentful about it since I just never heard of a couple of those long acrosses.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

New Rule of Crossword Construction: The word "one" should show up in a crossword ONCE.

Mohair Sam 12:27 PM  

@Bob K - Misery loves company, and we do feel better here that we shared the same error. Couldn't he have clued "Eeyore?"

@Shamik - Give ol' @Glimmerglass a break. He (she?) was just enjoying a rare moment, kinda like the Florida Marlins high-fiving after a win over the Braves.

dls 12:37 PM  

Hm, don't feel so bad about taking just under 50 minutes to finish this clean any more.... Wrong entry of the day was, uh, STADINGROOMONLY for "packing it in" at 64a. Oops.

wa 12:37 PM  

I have lived on this planet most of my life and many of the things mentioned were alien to me.

Jim Finder 12:47 PM  

Thanks, Suzy & Kerfuffle.

I'm surprised by all the hating on "Entente Cordiale," from people who say they have Google. This was a major event in world history.


"regular" for gasoline is not "past" in any way. Maybe a Canadian thing?

Sandy K 12:58 PM  

I don't know if you have to be "of a certain age" as @Carole Shmurak opines, but I had to have my Wite-Out handy, that's for sure!

Had the opposite experience of Rex, as did @jae. I was feeling A TAD LUCKY getting those bottom quads- filled in a lot of WTFs eg TARGA, INCE, CALF'S, etc.

The top half was another story. I was ready to END IT all, but the B-TEN opened up a whole new world, and after squeezing out CEREAL, and changing LACKEk to LACKEY- (how did I stick with kEATS instead of YEATS for sooo long?)- I was miraculously done! Whew!!

heathcliff 1:04 PM  

To paraphrase Cassius -- yeah, I know, you probably haven't heard of him either...

The fault, dear Rex, is not in the puzzle but in yourself.

GILL I. 1:04 PM  

Good Lord. If I had finished this puzzle I too would be singing praises from here to ENTENTECORDIALE.
I got tired of Googling and so, for the first time in aeons eons, I just put it down and walked away.
I like stacks - actually I like all gimmicks in a puzzle but this was beyond my reach.
Off to a BBQ where I shall pity poor myself into some great daiquiris and food.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Why does Rex always complain when he doesn't know an answer. If he knows one,it's too easy.If he doesn't, it's too esoteric. Not only was Mr. Lucky a movie; it was a tv show. You may not know Klaus but wasn't the Germanic name a giveaway. Wyandot is an Indian name so why go with erse. Feeling one's face is a standard idiom. Nothing new there. Stop complaining when you're out of the loop or the wrong ago to know something.
Roberta Hunter

Merle 1:13 PM  

Pre-Google, a dictionary was a no-no. Using a dictionary was cheating. Google-era, Google is a necessity! It is difficult to keep up with instant-information world-wide, changing cultural icons, fact-glut overload.

My WTFs: Klaus Voormann, Emil Igwenagu....

I'm more at home in the past -- got Yeats as "Deirdre" playwright; Buber's "I and Thou"; Milne as creator of the Heffalump, a wonderful baby name for an elephant; Egon as first name of both Schiele and Wellesz (didn't know Wellesz but had no doubt since I knew Schiele). Didn't know "Mr. Lucky" but easily guessed it from clue and crosses.

Didn't know the Father of the Western, Thomas H. Ince, but it's a useful last name for constructors, where Inge won't fit. Didn't know Iole, captive of Heracles, nor Chandra, moon god. Now I do. Good for further reference.

So -- highly challenging, frustrating puzzle. Lots of Googling. And, finally, Rexing.

To those who solved the puzzle, with or without Google, I offer kudos, and admiration. Wow.

And since I happily Google, I guess Google is not illegitimate for ordinary puzzle solvers who do not enter competitions.

I think Google is vastly superior to other search engines. Does anyone Bing?

Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:14 PM  

Different experience than 4-Oh. Similar outcome.
* Middle part ... medium easy
* Bottom part ... feisty but doable
* Top part ... bad. Was pretty sure of CEREAL. Flirted with LACONIC, but wanted POLES, in between 'em. My words were not playing well with each other. And the rest of that upper quad stack was all stereochemistry, to me. Kept me from focusin' on the buildin blocks.

With no theme to look forward to, needed more than CEREAL to keep me goin. Ditched the puz in favor of cinnamon rolls.

michael goldstein 1:37 PM  

I was impressed with myself for finishing this without help but much much more impressed that someone was able to create this puzzle in the first place.

Butt-head 1:49 PM  

The two EGONS were totally unknow to me, so, ever dutiful, I looked them up. I was pretty sure that i was very familiar with Egon Schiele's work until it occurred to me: My buddy Beavis and I had to have been originally drawn by him!

syndy 2:23 PM  

@ Shamik..Dear lord to finish w/o googling a puzzle that kicked our LAM's butt deserves a little crowing!I did have some help-Cassie the pug dog came up to me and said "ARF" at the opportune moment.I should give her a treat!

bigsteve46 2:27 PM  

I agree that Rex sure is a sorehead when things don't go his way. A tough one - which I only finished by putting it down twice and then coming back. I mean a Saturday puzzle should be as hard as possible. Rex seems to prefer puzzles where he can brag about having finished it in four minutes. Beside the fact that this idiotic puzzle-solving timing is totally unverifiable - who cares? Better to have a good challenge, sez me.

Thoracic 3:16 PM  

Wow. Sooooo tough. Glad to see many had the same experience. Googled so much I thought"what's the point" but kept going out of pure obsession with seeing "well done" from Magmic app even though it was a big fat lie.
Only high point was shout out to my dog SAKI, a damn cute Shiba Inu. I probably had as good of a chance of finishing this thing as she did.
Lowest point- failure to get OCANADA as I am Canadian.
Hopefully Peking Duck and copious alcohol tonight will wipe this sad affair out of my brain!

Thoracic 3:21 PM  

That should be "as much of a chance". Me talk real good.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

What does ATO stand for? I don't understand this answer.

Too old to care (but today I do) 3:35 PM  

At first, it was Canadian 10, me 0, but then I was felling the mightiest trees in the forest. Erie without a wince, American in Paris, and on and on. Yet no matter how much I filled in, the blanks remained blank.

Anyone can compose a puzzle unsolvable by even the best. To do so with the most macramé clues and answers is not an accomplishment to take pride in. The worst and most diabolical was the quote from Lear. It is hardly memorable. I felt no joy after I guessed it early in the game. Why not follow up with a quote frm, let's say, "Catch 22" which might be "Where are you going." That is really memorable.

Too old to care (but today I do) 3:38 PM  

Sorry about the macramé error. Should have been obscure.

Z 3:41 PM  

@anon 3:30 - The first volume of an encyclopedia would be "A TO ... Al". Vol 2 would be Am to Az, and so on.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:46 PM  

For anyone seeking a glimpse into a twisted mind:

When I was a kid, we had some encyclopedia set, don't remember which, but even now (haven't been a kid for at least 50 years) I can reel off almost all the volumes: A - ARC; ARC - BIL; BIL - CAR; CAR - DUM; DUM - FIR; FIR - GUM; GUM - HOB; HOB - IRR; . . . Well, you get the point.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:49 PM  

No, actually CAR - COR; COR - DUM;

jae 3:49 PM  

In case anyone was wondering which absent compatriot I was referring to it is, of course, Evan whose schedule I hope will let him return soon.

mitchs 4:01 PM  

I've been in advertising for over 30 years and not once have I heard the expression or term "spot tv". I think it's reared its very ugly head before in the NYT Xword - I hope never again.

Melodious Funk 4:16 PM  

I love reading Rex's nonsense, he can be as sanctimonious, elitist, and off-putting as he wants, I'm with him!

It's his blog, he created this community, whatever he wants to say I can agree with or not, WTF cares?

Smith's puzzle (I share his last name so he can't be all bad) was a bear, I couldn't finish. Some clues were too vague to be sussed, that's OK. Those stacks were amazing, how anyone can do it is well beyond my mere powers to add or detract, to coin a phrase. Hats off to him!

LaneB 5:01 PM  

I would like to know: Are there any solvers out there who finished today's amazing puzzle WITHOUT Googling any clues? I can't imagine having that much arcane knowledge and being able to suss some of the weird clues, e.g, a47, a50, d4, d22, d38 [Chi referring to Chicago, I guess] and d55. There were others, at least for me. Never had a chance on this one and essentially quit after filling AMERICANINPARIS. The upper four stacks remained a mystery until I got the solution from Rex. Thank God for Sunday!

Z 5:09 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - I was going to correct you but you beat me to it.

@LaneB - I think one or two posters said they solved it. I wonder what the count of the solvers from @sanfranman59 will be.

Jim Finder 5:13 PM  

MitchS - Google is your friend. "SPOT-TV" seems to be the name of a production company. Absurdly obscure to be in the Times puzzle.

LaneB - Scroll up. Many finished it today.

mac 5:16 PM  

Finished the top two-thirds, but in the bottom had only vacant, Targa and calfs (although I tried calve first).

Packing it in means to give up, in my book, not feeding one's face. Never, ever heard this before.

I never google, when I give up I come here. Does not happen very often!

LaneB 5:16 PM  

Congratulations! My hat's off to you and you must be a top contender in the annual puzzle tournament

You and I approach the puzzles in about the same way. I feel better for having read your comment. Thanks.

pmdm 5:16 PM  

Today's write-up deserves high praise. It is a fine example of how to express a negative reaction to a puzzle. Simply expressing one's reaction, not attacking the constructor/editor or trying to impose one's feelings on the worth of the puzzle. NIcely worded. As are most of today's comments.

I suspect that almost every classical music lover, if given the clue "Piece of orchestral classical music that includes a taxi horn" would identify the piece as Gershwin's An Ameican in Paris. It's a fairly popular piece often played during pop concerts. I can think of no other piece that uses a taxi horn (or car horn for that matter), not including avant guard compositions.

Not that 54A made the puzzle any more difficult for me to complete. I actually needed to Google fewer times than normally on a Saturday. But I must admit, I put the puzzle down twice to do Sunday's puzzles (which paper subscribers get on Saturday as you probably know) and each time I came back to the puzzle a few answers popped out at me. Beginning solvers, take not. If you get stuck on a puzzle like this one, put it down and come back to it.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  


Yes, from my reading of the comments, I'd say that 5 solvers here finished today WITHOUT googling.

retired_chemist 5:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 5:54 PM  

What Rex said. I have not needed Google so much in a couple of years. Esoterica all over the place. Difficulties top, middle, and bottom. All I got cleanly was the mid-Atlantic region. The rest had one or, usually, more Googles.

Someone please explain ICERS.

Exclusive of the 15s, I counted 16 answers I had no hope of getting without googling.

No fun.

jackj 5:57 PM  

For anyone still wondering about SPOTTV, it is the television industry’s buzz word for targeted advertising. Here’s one succinct definition:

Advertising in selected geographic markets as opposed to advertising on a national scale. For example, an advertising agency purchases promotions in small markets.

M and A 6:00 PM  

@RetChem... I think ICERS means that people icing a cake might add in some rose shapes, among other decorations/designs.

Stat Guy 6:19 PM  

@LaneB: I count nine who claim to have finished without help/cleanly. There were also several who did not google but had errors.

sanfranman59 6:23 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 7:07, 6:14, 1.14, 94%, Challenging
Tue 6:14, 8:09, 0.76, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)
Wed 8:14, 10:03, 0.82, 10%, Easy
Thu 16:17, 16:58, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium
Fri 24:17, 21:35, 1.13, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 34:43, 25:19, 1.37, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 171 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:46, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:48, 4:47, 0.79, 2%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:04, 5:54, 0.86, 12%, Easy
Thu 9:32, 9:56, 0.96, 38%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:06, 12:19, 1.14, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 23:34, 15:08, 1.56, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest ratio of 171 Saturdays)

No mas! I had no prayer of completing this puzzle without cheating. Today's 212 online solvers is a new low among the 171 Saturday puzzles in my spreadsheet. But it's actually not much lower than other recent Saturdays (e.g., 217 for David Steinberg's 4/20 puzzle and 218 for Chris A. McGlothlin's 4/27 puzzle). The number of online solvers took a nose-dive after last July's billing policy change and continues to fall steadily. The average number of Saturday solvers since then is 267 vs. 313 in the comparable time span two years ago, a 15% drop. The decrease in early-week solvers is even more pronounced ... Mondays have fallen from an average of 881 solvers to 568, a drop of 36% ... and that number is continuing its downward trajectory. If the goal of the decision-makers at the Grey Lady was to reduce the number of people coming to their web site to solve puzzles, they seem to have succeeded.

retired_chemist 6:26 PM  

@ M&A - Thanks. I can accept that for ICERS but it is IMO a stretch.

michael 6:43 PM  

Probably my worst performance on a Satiurday puzzle ever. Didn't come close to finishing. And when I looked at the answers, I didn't think there were many answers I should have gotten.

chefwen 6:51 PM  

Speaking of Googling @Thoracic - I just Googled your Shiba Inu, you weren't kidding about damn cute! Adorable!

Davis 6:54 PM  

I'm in general agreement with Rex on this one; I was having so little fun that I unabashedly started Googling answers just to get this thing over with.

One thing I wanted to add: the clue for ONE-D is simply incoherent. Colloquially, "Flat" is how we describe two dimensional things, so ONE-D is wrong on that front. Technically (i.e., from a mathematical or physical standpoint), something that is one-dimensional is not necessarily flat—for example, a parabola is one-dimensional from a technical perspective, as is any curve—so ONE-D is also wrong on that front.

Tita 7:13 PM  

@BobK - thx for the clarification on ONED. And for that glimpse - hilarious!

Impossible puzzle - not even close to finishing without cheating. Alot.

@LMS - adored your tough but amazing puzzle at LAT. Congratulations!

@BobK - for a glimpse into a twisted-by-the-21st-century mind...
I printed @Loren's puzzle, rather than solve on my tablet, which I've been doing now for a year, using Ralph's app.
I "write" letters with my finger, and tap the grid to highlight the associated clue.
Twice I tapped the printed grid. I guess I have not only gone to the dark side, I have fallen into a black hole of gadgetry and can't get up!

M and A Helpdesk 7:13 PM  

@Davis--Yep. I justified "flat" to myself as meaning monotonous or superficial. "One-dimensional" can also mean superficial. Then it's just a quick, jaunty little abbreviated hop to get to ONE-D. I'd hafta say that "Flat, for short" would have been a more friendly clue.

On the other hand, the SatPuz does have a "cruel and unusual" rep to maintain. So it went ahead and let the clue fall flat.


regis 7:27 PM  

Pfaugh! Boring.

Davis 7:27 PM  

@M and A — Yeah, I did consider the metaphorical explanation as a justification for the clue. I found that explanation unsatisfying because it just sounds incorrect to abbreviate the metaphorical "one-dimensional" to ONE-D. Maybe that's because the metaphorical term is literary-nerdy, and the abbreviation is math/science-nerdy, and rarely do the twain ever meet.

Z 7:35 PM  

@sanfranman59- the timed puzzle uses flash, so I'm not able to solve it on an iPad. I can still solve it on my Mac, but the only times I don't do the dead tree version is when I'm out of town. So I always resort to the Play for Fun version that doesn't interact with the site timer when I do solve online. Since it is the first option, too, I suspect new online solvers go to that version. So, no newbies and no iPad users. Unless something changes I don't think we'll see an increase in the average number of solvers.

@thoracic & @chefwen - Shiba Inus are pretty dogs, but they were bred to be pesters. The rabbits have learned to steer clear of my yard.

Unknown 7:40 PM  

Glad you said it Rex. This puzzle was a swamp

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

Spot TV?!

That was exactly my reaction. I have no idea what that was supposed to mean, even though I was left with no alternative given the other answers to adjacent clues.

Dirigonzo 8:19 PM  

My solo attempt at the puzzle was going nowhere when WPP arrived on the scene. Together we managed to reduce the grid to one blank square - we incorrectly guessed SAfI/fAYE so ended with OWS. I'm still feeling pretty smug though.

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

There is no proof at all that Koko uses language. Gesturing is not language. Koko and the other "signing-apes'" handlers have been so reluctant to release their data and deny real scientists access to the apes, that the scientific community is extremely skeptical of the claims.

But, it makes such a nice story that it's accepted at face value.

triggerfinger 8:53 PM  

Loved loved loved this puzzle...just what a Sat puzzle should be. Managed to fill every letter though with 4 or 5 errors...Saturday's should teach you something, no? Always thrilled to figure out quad stacks...and MAS one of my favorite constructors. Bravo!

dm3000 8:57 PM  

I am astonished that Rex et al just gave up on this. I stuck it out and got it all. The short perpendiculars to the long answers usually come easy - but not today. It's fun to have a real tough one once in a while - even if it's not pretty. I'd love to have more of these.

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

I immediately got AMERICANINPARIS and thought the rest of the bottom stack would come easy. Well, no. I eventually got it but the top stack wouldn't come at all until I googled a lot. Probably the hardest puzzle that I ever actually finished. But I did finish it. Rex was right -- there's no joy in this one.

Milford 10:16 PM  

Utterly unfinishable for me. So sad.

One bright spot was that I did guess, like @Z, that the Wyandot were closely related to the ERIE, based on the Wyandotte the city.

chefwen 10:45 PM  

@Z - I guess I'll scrap that idea, we have fat and happy domestic chickens waddling around the property. Would hate to see any harm come to them.

Z 11:04 PM  

@chefwen- we also have a corgi. Herders, smart, and cute too. You'd never lose a chick.

MetaRex 1:07 PM  

Surfacing for a sec from my house tour prep (now done!) and paper-writing (all too much not done) hiatus to comment on yesterday's controversial puzz...

A proposal for peace in CW:

An MAS Monday puzz.

It wouldn't be a quad or a quint and probably not a triple. But I believe it would be darn good, and would help stack skeptics like OFL and many of the rest of us see things in a different light.

MetaRex 1:09 PM  

Shoulda worked ENTENTE CORDIALE into my post a second ago...

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Anybody else think Rex is a bit of sniveler? And in anticipation of the inevitable "why come here if you don't like him" queries---I'm here for the community of solvers. You guys. If there's another community that does the Times's puzzle and comments on it, please let me know. I'll ditch the whiner and leave you good people to him.


Z 4:55 PM  

@anonymous 3:30 - right there on Rex's blog, over to the right, are links to several other daily crossword blogs. Scroll past the independent puzzles section and you'll see it.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Been on vacation doing an old book of Friday/Saturday puzzles edited by Shortz. Many were quite difficult, but none so filled with arcane answers. Way too many abominations with very little cleverness. This one should never have made it off his desk.

Anonymous 8:38 PM  


I see lots of link, and even opened a few, but none seemed to have much, if anything at all, on the NY Times puzzle. Am I missing it?


Z 9:38 PM  

@anon 8:38 - Diary of a Crossword Fiend does lots of puzzles including the NYT. Wordplay is the official NYT blog.

Chip Hilton 9:19 PM  

Hi. It's Tuesday night, I'm watching Rangers/Bruins, and I just finished the Saturday puzzle. Refused to QUIT on this monster. Total time devoted to the task? I'm guessing around five hours. Call me crazy.

Your wish is my command 9:32 PM  

@Chip Hilton - You are crazy.

Will 1:30 AM  

Well, I guess I am the last one finished, but did get it with the help of Google. I didn't start it until lunch today, anyway. Last spot was up left (how often does that happen?) where I tried to force Detente Cordiale for Entente Cordiale.

Not getting the clue for A trip. Or is it At rip? Anyone?

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

"We choose to go to the moon [and meet the MOONGOD?] and do the other things [like, say, solving endweek NYT crosswords] not because they are easy, but because they are HAHD."

And this one, brother, was HAHD. I did manage to get through it, without Google even, but must admit to a couple of [MR]LUCKY guesses.

How HAHD was it? Here's the best example: I am a dyed-in-the-wool Eagles fan (the band? YES! The NFL team? Also YES!); I travel across town--and carless, that involves a long bus ride plus several blocks walking--to an Eagles' bar every game day. I have a closet full of Eagles shirts and caps. And yet I HAVE NEVER HEARD of "Tight end Igwenagu!" This guy HAS to be a third-string backup--and recently acquired. Now folks: THAT's obscure!

Many ills, already covered, made me wince also. "Running dog" = LACKEY? That's a new one. What price quad stacks? Too high, IMHO.

Wound up with two blanks in ENTENTEC_RDIA_E; the downs were total unknowns. I finally decided to finish it in French, like it started, so CORDIALE. There's no Mr. Happy Pencil for me; I solve on newsprint. I had to come here to confirm a correct finish--with zero PERCENTAGEERROR!

But another two hours. Ugh. I need a life.

Wikipedia 11:37 AM  

@spacecraft - IGWENAGU made at least one tackle in his month long playing career.

DMGrandma 3:27 PM  

Blanched when I saw this one, but unlike Captcha, you can't look for one you think you have a better chance at. So, I dug in. It wasn't pretty, but I actually ended up with all but two long crosses. Had ETENTECORDsAlE and _E_DINGONESFA_E. Would never have gotten the latter, as I was looking for a reference for quitting. Other miss was looking for a four legged dog.

Once again, one's experiences help in solving. KAYE was a drop in for me, but EGON? A lot of people question using references, and i say its up to them. When I first got into solving, in the Maleska era, my dictionary was by my side. However, as I got more proffecient, i chose to give it up. Maybe just to lazy to keep looking back and forth? At any rate, I imagine crossword creators, no matter how clever, must occasionally resort to Google or some such, to find a meaning for some unlikely letter combination their coding has created. So why shouldn't solvers? It's how you learn.

Now to see if I really can copy that. Captcha!

Solving in Seattle 5:14 PM  

@Diri, nice to see your post. Been missing Maine lately.

I finished this puzzle (well, with a couple of teeny errors), but I googled so much I needed to recharge my iphone.

ATRIm to ATRIP. Been a sailor almost my whole life and have never heard the term. Trip the anchor, yes. Trip the sail, no.

Can someone explain how STS = "Some holiday honorees: Abbr"?

Can someone explain how ONED = "Flat"?

Otherwise, good saturday puzz, Martin.

capcha: was adulying. Telling someone you really, really like them when you really don't?

spacecraft 6:07 PM  

Saints: Patrick, Valentine, what have you.

As explained above, cluer error. Flat should be two-d. ONED is, um, pointy?

Solving in Seattle 6:15 PM  

@spacecraft, thanks. I had finally figured out saints but totally "spaced" on one dimension.

Ginger 7:49 PM  

Just when I was thinking I'm improving my solving skills, I tried to solve this one. NOT My experience was not unlike OFL's, only more so. However, reading the comments, I actually did as well as most, which soothed the ego a bit.

First thought was an 'American' theme, what with American Express at 1-A, and AMERICANINPARIS (love Gershwin) at 54-A. Again, NOT! Made some (MR) LUCKY guesses, and some intuitive inferrals, along with gazillion googles to mostly fill the grid. Had to come here to complete it. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

@Diri - missed you lately. I've been watching the ospreys on Hog Island. Thanks for the referral. Is that very far from you?

@SIS - I take STS to be Saints. As to ONED, or ONE D, there are several explanations above, but none that I find very satisfying.

@DMG - time for Wimbledon!

Ginger 7:54 PM  

@spacecraft and @SIS - Sorry to chime in so late to your Qs & A's. Apparently my refresher, didn't :-)

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

It's Aug 7 and I just finished this sucker! Boy, my backpack will be lighter!

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