Nepalese bread / SAT 6-1-13 / Embedded column / Stephen King horror anthology / Haydn's master of us all / Classic Meccano toy / Bellflower Bell Gardens / Cloth diaper film camera / Frito old ad symbol / Yoke attachment

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: COG RAILWAY (28D: How many reach the top of Pikes Peak) —
A railway designed to operate on steep slopes and having a locomotive with a center cogwheel that engages with a cogged center rail to provide traction. Also called rack railway. (
• • •

One speed bump: COG RAILWAY. Beyond the usual trouble getting started (not uncommon on Saturdays), this is the only answer that held me up. The only answer in the grid I've never heard of. The clue is also somewhat sadistic, in that Pikes Peak is in Colorado and the answer starts CO. Until almost the very last cross, I thought I was dealing with CO. as an abbrev. for Colorado *or* CO- as a prefix. CO-GRAVITY... didn't fit. Also, probably isn't a thing. But even here, marooned in Ignoranceland, in danger of not getting into that SE corner at all, there was an out—BIKINI WAX (61A: Painful spa treatment). Seemed obvious that hair removal was involved, and though I had hardly anything in place down there, I did have the "K" from PEEK AT. So BIKINI WAX went in easily, then SIXER, SOTOMAYOR (66A: Justice from the Bronx), and the rest. Last letter in was the "D" in DEMO / BANDITO.

[Uh ... wow]

Totally blanked on "CREEPSHOW" (1A: Stephen King horror anthology). Wasn't really sure what was meant by "anthology." So I had to break into this puzzle using smaller answers, specifically -ERN and RUPEE, which somehow made OPEN LANES obvious (17A: They're available in alleys). Once I finally retrieved the tribe name I wanted at 8D: Upstate New York natives (ONEIDAS), the rest of that corner came together pretty quickly. I have no idea how I know the word PILASTER (5D: Embedded column), but I do, and that sure helped.

Other minor stuff: Wanted BURG (?) at 1D: Bellflower or Bell Gardens, vis-à-vis L.A. ('BURB), and, briefly, PROM for 55D: One with hot dates (PALM)—are they "hot" 'cause they've been in the sun? Guessed OREO easily (36D: ___ Biscuit (1912 debut))—centennial was just last year, so "1912" rang a bell. Had the -DU, so "XANADU" was a no-brainer (11D: Hit soundtrack album of 1980). Don't think I knew OX-BOW was anything but a river formation, but I knew it was a word at least, so NE wasn't too hard (10A: Yoke attachment). Is the "popularity" part of the TETRIS clue (44A: Game of falling popularity?) referring to the fact that the game itself was, indeed, popular? Bad lady in Shakespeare in three letters = MAB every time, I'd imagine (42A: She plagues ladies' lips with blisters, per Mercutio). RETRONYM is a cool word (39D: "Cloth diaper" or "film camera")—I certainly didn't come up with it today, though. It seemed to come together entirely from crosses, in the flurry of solving activity that followed my finally figuring out the damned COG RAILWAY. The Frito BANDITO (43D: Frito ___ (old ad symbol)) must be pretty damned "old," as I've never heard of him. Also old (I think)—Meccano? The clue 3D: Classic Meccano toy meant nothing to me, but once I had the first few letters, the answer was easy. I thought ERECTOR SET was a generic thing, not a brand-specific thing. I can vaguely picture a cylindrical box ... primarily white ... no, that's not it, but what am I thinking of? Dowels with holes that you connect with sticks to build ... things ... roughly contemporaneous with the Lincoln Log phase, if there can be said to have been one of those. Ugh, this is gonna bug me now ... [consults Twitter] ... TINKER TOYS! Of course. I can sleep now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:12 AM  

Medium for me with SW easy, the East medium, and NW tough again.  Pretty solid grid but not a much zip as yesterday's...BANDITO, XANADU, BIKINI WAX, CREEPNSHOW, SOTOMAYOR, ERECTOR SET (I had one as a kid but had no idea who made it)...are about it. 


CHORD for 1d seems awkward unless I'm missing something about speaker.

Like it.  A no nonsense across the plate Sat.

Questinia 12:19 AM  

Solid Saturday. I wonder whether they've done PET scans of people doing Saturday crosswords... I'll bet a lot of the brain lights up somehow.

Too old to care 12:23 AM  

The clue for ERECTOR SET is technically correct for. relatively recent times. However, the toy was originally made by the A. C. Gilbert Company. They also made American Flyer trains, competing with Lionel and eventually bought out by them. I got the answer right away however only because I recently came across the item in a specialty toy store

syndy 12:40 AM  

I'm old enough to remember the Frito Bandito and the outcry against the ad.Never heard RETRONYM before but it's dead on.I had COlRAILWAY but smelled a rat.I do not however understand REC as short play-Rupee made it neccessary but I don't grok.A little more textured than his usual but lotsa fun

audiophile 12:56 AM  


1D seems to make sense if you think of a speaker as part of an audio system (a piece of equipment rather than a person).

jae 12:59 AM  

@audiophile -- OK but "strike" still seems off.

@syndy -- rec is "short" for recreation which is play.

Anonymous 1:12 AM  

Rex, the dowels are the sticks.

Numinous 1:12 AM  

When a speaker "strikes a chord," the speaker says something that resonates with the audience. I'd have thought that was a fairly common idiom.

Greg Charles 1:44 AM  

Interesting trivia: Logan, Utah, home of the WAC's Utah State Aggies has exactly the same number of letters as LAS CRUCES, home of the WAC's New Mexico State Aggies.

Damn it.

Benko 2:20 AM  

Agree with @Numinous re: CHORD.
Also had prom for PALM, briefly.
James May from Top Gear had a show where he built a bridge out of a Meccano ERECTORSET and then used it to walk over a canal.

chefwen 2:32 AM  

Medium /challenging for me. Saturday/Barry Silk, audible groan from me. Just can't get on the guys wave length.

Frito BANDITO 43D was a gimme, given that I am of the given age. I can break into that song at a drop of a hat. Not that anyone wants me to. LAS CRUCES reminded me of @Jesser, just like a couple of weeks ago. Miss the guys humor, wish he'd pop in again.

61A BIKINI WAX??? Breakfast test anybody?

Good one Barry Silk, now give me a well earned break, my brain hurts.

jae 3:11 AM  

Exactly, the phrase is "Strike A CHORD", not "Strike CHORD"

Would you "Strike match" or "Strike pose" or Strike deal" see where I'm going with this ....

John Child 3:14 AM  

For a certain generation, FRITO _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is a gimme. My fastest Saturday ever, though I despaired at first, having filled in 9 or 10 answers and seeing nothing else that I knew. Good fun all around despite the recently ubiquitous ELHI.

areas creepshow mondos 3:29 AM  

BANDITO was, in fact, my first answer in the grid.

Unfortunately ANSWER was my second answer (55A What's often blowing in the wind) which I never let go of, so didn't finish the whole SW corner
(TVwooD seemed like a plausible cable channel name)

Finally peeked at Rex to see DEMEAN, fixed my N to R and got the rest...but I never would have been able to solve on my own, had already spent an hour, knew something was wrong with DEMEAr, but decided it must be the M of MAB.

Anyway, got lots of the answers but didn't understand the clues...That is always my experience with Mr. Silk. But I loved the three XXXs.
BIKINIWAX and XANADU in the same puzzle is pretty fabulous, plus a new female Supreme Court Member.

I would have paired the UNSCREW clue with OREO instead of BOTTLECAP!
In references a VERY old joke, "what's the difference between an OREO and a pregnant gal?"

Love the whole idea of RETRONYMS and will look up a whole list of them.
Does something like IPAD ONE count, even tho there was no "One" when first introduced?

r.alphbunker 3:36 AM  

Great puzzle. Loved retronym. I wonder when wireless will be dropped and the Internet connections that need a cable will be called cabled or wired.

The early TV remotes were attached to a TV set with a wire and I imagine that when the wire was eliminated the remotes were called wireless remotes for a while.

The NW was the last to fall because I had leaveS for POLLEN and roomS/specS for AREAS

The Bard 6:39 AM  

Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene IV

MERCUTIO: O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight,
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,

Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she--

ROMEO: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.

MERCUTIO: True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

Finished a Saturday puzzle without resorting to Google or husband. Both fine sources. This makes puzzle easy. Rex, if you've not been on a COG RAILWAY, you're not getting out enough. They're normally found in mountainous areas and are a reliable if somewhat noisy way of getting up an incline.

Glimmerglass 7:27 AM  

Rex, if you had "hardly anything in place down there," then you had no need for BIKINI WAX.

etb 7:28 AM  

Seemed obvious that hair removal was involved, and though I had hardly anything in place down there

I see what you did there...

Loren Muse Smith 7:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 7:38 AM  

Yay! I finished and guessed correctly on the A in the WAC/MAB cross! I had to change “meant” to LEANT. Nice cluing on the LEANT/LEAN cross.

Wow. I feel so old. @Acme and @chefwen- BANDITO was one of my very first entries, and the whole time I was solving this, I was singing the song in my head. And Rex has never heard of it! Yikes!

@r.alphbunker – I liked RETRONYM, too. I predict M&A will come up with a list of possible future RETRONYMS. Land line? Laptop? Bar soap? Fuel injection? Coffee grinder? How about LARGE eggs?? When I was watching the Frito BANDITO on TV in Chattanooga, we had LARGE eggs in the fridge. You could get small, medium, or LARGE. Over the years, the size descriptions have morphed into LARGE, extra LARGE, and jumbo. In a few years, it’ll be extra LARGE, jumbo, and supremely ginormous.

A BRAD is a little nail, right? How does it secure stationery? I was at Walmart recently and among my purchases was a ream of paper. I saw on the screen that it rang up as “stationary.” I told the clerk it was misspelled and then just felt STUpid. (Mercifully, I didn’t point out the problem with the “15 ITEMs or less” sign.)

HURRICANE, West Virginia is a town near me, and natives pronounce it so that it ends like “Vatican.” I can’t bring myself to say it like that because I feel like a CREEPy poser wannabe West Virginian. Like I don’t deserve to pronounce it that way.

Etch-a-Sketch has one too many letters. My husband, kids, and I used to have contests to see who could draw the most convincing elephant on an Etch-a-Sketch. Try it. Mine always ended up looking like a big ole PILASTER.

@jae – can you believe HANDEL was clued using Haydn? HAh!

I got ONEIDAS with no crosses, and wondered how on MONDO I knew WES and SEATO. ELHI is making a serious go at dethroning OREO. I have never seen ELHI except here. AT ANY RATE, I have to fry some jumbo eggs now; EL HIjo quiere su desayuno.

In college in the summers I worked as a cocktail waitress. Anytime someone ordered a martini and didn’t specify the garnish, I would say, “OLIVER Twist?” They would always just tell me which one. No one. Ever. Got. It.

I’m going to go off now and plaque a bunch of ladies’ lips with blisters. Watch out.

Sean Dobbin 7:40 AM  

A thing of beauty. Not easy-medium for me, much harder than that. A much better challenge than yesterday.

What is MAB?

Anybody care about LEAN crossing LEANT? I don't.

evil doug 8:16 AM  

Speaking of Handel, I had a lot of dates with my hot palm...


Anonymous 8:21 AM  

You should check out the cog railway sometime. But warning, there is a HUGE gift shop at the top of Pikes Peak!! Totally disgusting. Maybe you shouldn't check it out.

Twangster 8:23 AM  

First thing I put in was KING BISCUIT. (Wrong.)

Had the ORSE in ERECTORSET and thought for a while it was going to be some kind of HORSES or HORSEY.

Pete 8:41 AM  

Rex - Your picture of the ERECTORSET was an all time classic.

BIKINIWAX was a gimme, as I've been considering a puzzle entitled Waxing Poetic. Theme answers consist of poets crossed with types of waxing. Brazilian crossing MayaAngelou both amused me and grossed me out.

Z 8:49 AM  

@Glimmerglass and @evil doug - Yes, I laughed and the laugh was out loud, so LOL.

Mr. Silk normally is a DNF for me, so this has to be the easiest Silken puzzle ever. The NE fell like a Wednesday. STE opened up the mid-Atlantic states and RETRONYM opened up the SE (I learned RETRONYM from the commenters here, thanks). Everything from 8D east was done, but the west pivoted on the MAB/WAC crossing. I finally trusted my instincts, which gave me BOTTLECAP (was thinking facial hair at first) and UNSCREW (@acme - old joke but still true). Everything went in forthwith from there. Last letter was the LEAN/LEANT crossing (ugh).

Spelling SOTOMAYOR was an adventure. Briefly wondered if SotoMeijer was where we bought our Fritos (that's a bad regional joke for those of you not from the mitten area). Fortunately, I knew SEATO so fixing that E was easy.

Carola 8:49 AM  

An easy Saturday for me, after an easy Friday. So I know a Puzzle of Doom is wating for me out there. Probably by Martin Ashwood-Smith (I'm still reeling from his last one).

UPRIGHT/STU gave me my toehold and I was able to keep going from there. I've been on a different COG RAILWAY so that went right in. I did get into trouble at ProM for a while; that AREA was my last. I have the same question as @loren about BRAD.

The NEAR MISS / DEMO / BIKINI WAX stack - yikes!

Unknown 8:57 AM  

I too am of the Frito Bandito first-clue-solved set. And @loren - I've heard the word "brad" used in the office to attach a set of accounting-related papers.

Also found this on Google: "Just press the brad through the paper and flatten the ends open on the other side." from: How to Accent Your Scrapbook with Brads by Christine Perry / Hobbies community

Hobbyist 9:20 AM  

It's ok that "grand" is in clues twice?

Lindsay 9:33 AM  

Ridiculously easy for a Saturday, except for where I entered magI to answer "The King's followers?" instead of AND I, which blocked me out of the NW (my last corner). PILASTER should have been obvious, but I'm used to seeing them described as "engaged columns" rather than "embedded" columns, which had me thinking buried rather than attached, not to mention the "m" in magI which had me thinking of hamsters all together on the wrong track.

There's a (locally?) famous COG RAILWAY to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

I'd never heard of Frito BANDITO until quite recently when the name cropped up on an article on, as I recall, the Washington Redskins. Or maybe it was the Cleveland Indians. Offensive mascots AT ANY RATE.

Unknown 9:43 AM  

Not ridiculously easy for me, but fun. Slow start, then with the help of BANDITO and BIKINIWAX I finally got going. Have been up a COGRAILWAY with Hubs before, in NH I think. Lots of "chunkachunkachunka" noise, and most memorably, lots of sooty smoke billowing. And as I recall, lost of wondering along the way if we were really going to make it up that hill!

jackj 9:45 AM  

Ah, another Saturday, another intelligent, clever, fun Friday puzzle from Gary _ _ _ _ (four-letter word for “Lustrous fabric”).

Who else would have the audacity to frame his grid with “MAINEiac” horror maven Stephen King’s CREEPSHOW at the start and “The Bronx” SCOTUS Justice Sonia SOTOMAYOR, (heroine to baseball fans across the country), as the puzzle’s exit entry.

ATANYRATE, it was no NEARMISS for this one, a triple, at least, for this EPIC construction that struck a winning CHORD with this solver.

I was charmed to think that in 21 down Gary might have been channeling the Teutonic terror, director Otto Preminger, by making us think of Preminger imploring the extras in a completed crowd scene of “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon” to get off the set, screaming, “EXEUNT people, EXEUNT, vee must be “Leaving out”!”, EXCEPT that Gary passed on that opportunity.

Finally, anyone who has seen Gary's photo at XWordInfo is likely to peg him as avuncular so it was mildly rattling to find that Uncle Gary had joined the PG-13 parade by including the provocative entry BIKINIWAX. What’s next, VAJAZZLING? (Why not, I
guess, it’s already been featured in the Times Arts section).

Thanks, Gary, lots of fun today, as usual!

Oscar 10:00 AM  

@The Bard - give it a rest. Your schtick is old and tired and takes too long to scroll through.

Puzzle was adequate.

Ellen S 10:05 AM  

Hey, @evil, good to see you here again, and in fine form!

I also flagged BRAD as a misclue, believing they are only small nails, but Wikipedia says those flattened split-leg stationery fasteners are also called brads, so, okay.

Got through this with major cheating. First answer in was ERECTOR SET, then a bunch of things, then checked. R.alph's PuzzleWriter app tells me letters are wrong but not where they're located -- however, I could see nothing was right after ERECTOR SET. Had j.s.bach before checking (I mean cheating) informed me that somewhere there was a "j" that should have been an "h". There were some other j's but I think they were wrong, too. Heck, I'd have thought HAYDN was "Master of us all."

Fun puzzle, even with cheating.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Dunno why it took me forever to get "pollen" as I sit on my porch with itchy eyes and runny nose... Fun puzzle with a big groan for Nepalese bread. I really wanted something made with flour!

Unknown 10:39 AM  

Medium Sat. for me. Very smooth. Not much flash besides BIKINI WAX, but enjoyable. Took me a long time to crack that SW corner.

Interesting reading how Rex cracked the SE corner. Different experience for me. I started with SOTOMAYOR as a gimme, then filled in IRA, SEATO and SIXER lightly in pencil to lead me to BIKINI WAX. Then the rest fell.

No problem with BIKINI WAX passing the breakfast test. @Evil Doug doesn't pass the breakfast test, but, would we really want him to? Funny stuff.

Just an fyi since I don't see that anyone's mentioned it yet. W Shortz posted a comment late last night about TWO in yesterday's puzzle.

mac 10:48 AM  

Nice Barry Silk Saturday, I always look forward to his puzzles.

Overall medium-easy, but I did have a few knots. Husband helped with Wes Unseld, which got me "show", but as @jae said, I really wanted an A in 1A-D.

Going from terra to mondo in the SW opened up that area and fixed the "answer" Andrea described. Never heard of the Bandito, but that filled itself in.

In the end the cog railway did me in, could not figure the I and L.

Nice exercise, though!

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Isn't it mundus?

jackj 10:57 AM  

One of my favorite constructors, Barry Silk and I'm calling him "Gary"?

Shame on me and apologies to Barry Silk.

JC66 11:05 AM  


From the top, using your logic, 10A should be anOXBOW, 15A aHURRICANE, etc.

Sandy K 11:08 AM  

Everything went in fairly smoothly.

Hand up for BANDITO going in early and like @acme- had 'answer' before POLLEN because of the song.

Also had magI before AND I, and gavel before CHORD- but all were soon RIGHTed.

Faves were RETRONYM, ERECTOR SET, XANADU, SOTOMAYOR, and knowing PILASTER- didn't think I did...

AT ANY RATE, a very enjoyable solve!

joho 11:13 AM  

I loved this one!

Wanted SCREWonCAP before BOTTLECAP so was pleasantly surprised when UNSCREW popped up.

My worst wrong answer, once I had NEA___SS for "Aviation safety statistic," was NEAtneSS. I actually had myself convinced for a bit that pilots can't fly until they and their cockpit are both immaculate!

The hardest part of the puzzle for me was the NW where I ended happily and correctly.

What a great way to begin the weekend ... thank you, Barry Silk!

joho 11:16 AM  

Oh, forgot to say, RETRONYM is my newest favorite word!

Tita 11:28 AM  

Doing the Snoopy dance because I finished a Saturday Silk all by my lonesome, and it's still Saturday!!

For The King's followers, I had elvI for a while - the plural of a nickname for Elvis fans?

Never thought about it before, but that speaker *struck* a CHORD. I have never heard it in anything but the past tense, is why it sounds off, as well as missing the "A", @jae), and why it took me forever to get it.
Next time I prepare a speech, I will be sure to tell myself "I hope this will strike a CHORD with my audience."

@chefwen...Breakfast fail, for sure!
**B'fast fail alert***
Plus, I spent 5 hours yesterday sitting in the breakfast area of a DoubleTree hotel.
In the last 15 minutes, when my colleagues had gone off to pack their bags, I realized that the decorative glass panels across the room from me looked insanely and disturbingly like giant wax strips after a leg waxing. If you're in Norwalk, and must eat there, sit facing the window.
Who thought that was a good idea - in a breakfast room, or anywhere!

@Rob C - I noticed, though I got to the point that as I read the comments, I just scrolled right past any comment that had TWO in it. Are you kidding me?? Who cares!! (Sorry, all of you who so obviously do...)

Carole Shmurak 11:41 AM  

To the anonymous person who asked about mondo/mundus. " Roman" can mean Latin or Italian. Mondo is Italian, I assume. Mundus would be Latin. As in "Sic transit gloria mundi."

So glad someone explained "brad"! Thank you.

Z 11:47 AM  

@Tita - Care? Not a whit. Have fun with it? I sure did.

Forty-Two! Or if you need it for M&A's opus - 000000000101010

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Hand up for LOGANUTAH. Did anyone else try to somehow make DAVID fit into Justice from the Bronx?

Kim 12:30 PM  

For a huge Stephen King fan to start off so badly with GREENMILE/GLASS (which a speaker could logically strike to get a group's attention) in the NW was as painful as a BIKINIWAX.

Thankful to remember Frito BANDITO, though. Surprised that reference is even allowed in puzzles in our politically correct world.

jae 12:42 PM  

@JC66 -- Only if you were going to "strike" those things.

Sean Dobbin 12:47 PM  


I poop on you.

Anoa Bob 12:50 PM  

Mr. Silk's puzzles are always first-rate and today he showcases his skills by getting by-lines in both the NYT and the LAT. Truly amazing.

JC66 1:06 PM  

@ jae

So if the clue was "something to strike to get fire" MATCH wouldn't work for you?

BTW, my 1st answer was apOse.

Lewis 2:04 PM  

Loved the clues for ANDI, BOTTLECAP, and RUPEE.

LARGE eggs are actually small eggs. That's marketing for you. They start at LARGE, then go up from there, as Loren has pointed out. I find this very funny (and sad).

Some of the puzzle went molasses slow for me, some streakingly fast.

Hello ED!

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

The Cog Railway (world's first, dating to 1869) up Mount Washington in New Hampshire is unique in that it is still steam powered. No junky shops at top, rather an observatory as Mount Washington is noted for extreme weather and wind. The average grade is 25% with one section at 37%, second steepest grade in the world. Lots of fun on a warm summer day!


inANYcAsE for ATANYRATE and a complete inability to spell SOTOMAYOR = trouble in the SE!!

COsmartcookie 4:37 PM  

I ultimately saw the error of my ways & successfully finished, but temporarily had my favorite wrong answer ever, courtesy of this puzzle: "One with hot dates, maybe" - PImp.

jberg 4:45 PM  

@anonymous 2:58 PM - last time I went up Mt Washington (on foot though) there was a restaurant there. Did that close?

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Again FYI All Bloggers: The Los Angeles Times is publishing more and more of Barry Silk's puzzles.
And, I noticed the LAT is also using many of the constructors usually found in the NYT.

Ron Diego, Sat 6/1/13

jberg 4:49 PM  

DNF on this one; when 'terra' wouldn't work for 65A, I decided it must be 'orbis,' which changed LIES TO to bIaSes, LEAN to drAb, and ket me from seeing POLLEN or putting in AREAS, which I'd thought of earlier. So I was just stuck.

The East half went in easily, with the last half totally blank - went out and played the recorder, then listened to my granddaughter play the violin, and came back to get most of it, but not that pesky SW corner.

As someone said, ERECTOR SETs used to be made by Gilbert, and I think Meccano was a competitor - that held me up for quite a while.

AT ANY RATE, it's too late so say more. I should get here earlier tomorrow.

jae 5:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 5:57 PM  

@JC66 -- I'm not really saying it doesn't work, I'm saying it seems awkward (see my original post). The clue/answer "What a fire maker might strike" / MATCH, seems less awkward, but still feels slightly off. I think it has to do with how strike is used in this context. Obviously "strike gold, pay dirt..." are fine. Anyway, this is pretty far down nit wise and I'm more than one toke over three.

sanfranman59 6:07 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:00, 6:12, 0.97, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:36, 8:09, 1.05, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 12:00, 10:00, 1.20, 88%, Challenging
Thu 19:52, 17:12, 1.15, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 17:03, 21:35, 0.79, 15%, Easy
Sat 22:00, 25:19, 0.87, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:49, 1.01, 50%, Medium
Tue 5:10, 4:52, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 7:11, 5:49, 1.23, 93%, Challenging
Thu 10:54, 10:00, 1.09, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 9:06, 12:19, 0.74, 9%, Easy
Sat 12:04, 15:08, 0.80, 12%, Easy

michael 6:29 PM  

easy for a Saturday. Got stuck for a while on "chord" -- thinking it should be "a chord" (already discussed here) and c-grailway (like Rex). But got all of it fairly quickly (for me)

chefwen 6:35 PM  

@jackj - After I read your post I thought that maybe there was some inside joke that I was not privy to.

David from CA 8:47 PM  

@jae, @JC66
I think the awkwardness of 1D, which I felt also, is because "strike a chord" is a figure of speech. So pulling "strike" out in the clue and "chord" out as the answer leaves one wanting. Whereas 10A OXBOW is just a standard crossword descriptive clue/noun answer, which we all are used to not including an article.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:11 PM  

Might have been a fun puzzle to do at the beach - half a dozen or so entries could be read as beach-related, including our old friend at 4 D. (Will leave others to your imagination.)

Unfortunately, home delivery of the NY Times came after I set out on my first visit to the New Jersey shore after the big storm. "My" beach has been largely put back together, but much remains to be done.

So I only did the puzzle after returning home, not unhappy that it was fairly easy.

mac 9:27 PM  

Good you had a good beach day, Bob!

Dirigonzo 10:33 PM  

WPP and I tackled this after dinner Saturday evening, and when I saw it was a Barry Silk offering I said, "This will be fun" - and it was. We finished in the NW corner with a "Hail Mary" at REC(reate) for Short play? (19a) which gave us CHORD at 1d and the whole corner opened up. I love it when that happens.

@ACM - "...but you can't UNSCREW a pregnant girl" indeed. That chestnut is a lot older than you are!

Milford 11:04 PM  

Busy weekend, just finished. And without a google, so it was a good Saturday for me.

@Z - I got your SOTOMeijer joke. I spent a significant chunk of my early years at one shopping with my mom. My parents still call it Thrifty Acres.

Took the Pikes Peak COG RAILWAY maybe 18 years ago. I don't remember the gift shop, but I remember the altitude change making me feel drunk.

@jackj - I'm sure vajazzling is exactly what I think it is.

spacecraft 12:06 PM  

Well, any grid that leads off with a Stephen King clue gets an automatic thumbs-UPRIGHT from me, even if "Dark Tower" also fit, which presents him at his storytelling best. CREEPSHOW, I have always thought, was written to appease those who insist on calling him a "horror writer."

So that means I have to be enthusiastic about a puzzle that contains the horrid XED, the thrice-appearing-just-this-week ELHI, and another mirror crossing at LEAN/LEANT. What is this anyway, a new fad? I just think it looks lazy.

I had a little trouble seeing ATANYRATE from "Nevertheless," yet if you want a closer definition in one or very few words, I don't know what I would put. So, let that slide. The rest of it I can say I enjoyed--and hey! It's a Saturday and I finished correctly! Therefore, INALL, thanks, Barry!

Waxy in Montreal 4:57 PM  

Ruined a set of brakes years ago driving up and, especially, down Mount Washington - next time we'll take the COG RAILWAY. Spelling SOTOMAYOR was a similar misadventure. Otherwise a fun mid-summer Saturday (tho' I still think a NEAR MISS is actually a NEAR HIT).

SeaEagle 5:15 PM  

"Master of us all" quote mis-attributed to Haydn. Actual source was Beethoven (a student of Haydn).

DMGrandma 5:50 PM  

Off to a slow start, i grabbed onto a gimme here and there, and, surprising to me, finished a Silk puzzle. Silliest slow-up was "Twist in fiction". I kept trying to think of a name for the O'Henry type of unexpected ending, and was rather non-plussed when the, should have been obvious, OLIVER showed up. And, maybe after this, I'll remember how to spell SOTOMAYOR!

Is it just me, or are these anti-robot things getting harder and harder for us real,people. Must have gone through half a dozen to,find one where I can attempt to read both the "word" and the number. Now to see if I got it!

Ginger 11:27 AM  

Waaaaay late to the party and unlikely anyone will see this, but I finished, IN ALL, with no googles. This is a first for me on a Saturday, and my buttons are bursting. Of course I loved this puzzle. PILASTER was my first entry though I've no idea how I knew it. Had balloon (for POLLEN) which slowed up the SW. Briefly considered LoSalamoS. 61-A made me cringe.

Dirigonzo 2:18 PM  

Congratulations on breaking through the Saturday barrier (but do try to keep your blouse on).

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