British running great Steve / SAT 7-27-13 / Fictional amnesiac portrayer / Election-related nonprofit since 1990 / Tynan player in Seduction of Joe Tynan / Severn Meadows poet Gurney / Presentation by Bill Clinton in 2007 or Bill Gates in 2010

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Constructor: John Lieb and David Quarfoot

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: IVOR Gurney (35D: "Severn Meadows" poet Gurney) —
Ivor Bertie Gurney (28 August 1890 – 26 December 1937) was an English composer and poet. [...] Gurney wrote hundreds of poems and more than 300 songs as well as instrumental music. He set only a handful of his own poems, the best known being Severn Meadows. His best-known compositions include his Five Elizabethan Songs (or 'The Elizas' as he called them) and the song-cycles Ludlow and Teme and The Western Playland, both settings of poetry by A. E. Housman. [...] Gurney is known both as a poet and composer and his reputation in both arts has continued to rise. Edmund Blunden, at the urging of composer Gerald Finzi, assembled the first collection of Gurney's poetry which was published in 1954. This was followed by P. J. Kavanagh's Collected Poems, first published in 1982 and reissued in 2004. It remains the best edition of Gurney's poetry. Gurney is regarded as one of the great World War I poets, and like the others of them, such as Edward Thomas whom he admired, he often contrasted the horrors of the front line with the beauty and tranquillity of his native English landscape - these themes were explored in the 2012 musical play A Soldier and a Maker. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this was a pleasure. Started out a bit tepid in the NW (some good stuff held together with junk), but once I threw down ROCK THE VOTE (22D: Election-related non-profit since 1990) and then got HUG IT OUT (40A: Resolve a bromance spat, say), the puzzle seemed to open up and become much more interesting. I hate the expression 'NUFF SAID (as it's usually said by morons who have not, in fact, said enough), but I love it in the grid (32A: "No need to go on"). Feels fresh and colloquial. SEXTED is, uh, timely (23A: Turned on a friend, maybe?). PIECE OF WORK is fantastic (10D: Difficult sort).

I have two complaints: one, plural suffixes should never be allowed ever ever ever—they are the most not-a-thing thing in crosswords and should crawl off somewhere to die (see, today, -EERS); two, I finished the puzzle much too quickly. Could've used some thornier cluing. If I got even a little bit stymied, there seemed to be a gimme just waiting for me. APER / TELE / DDT were gimmes right off the bat, which made the NW easy even though I couldn't think of MATT DAMON for a while (I was looking for character, not, as clue instructed me, "portrayer") (1A: Fictional amnesiac portrayer). ROCK THE VOTE I got off just the "R" and I don't think I would've needed even that. Annabeth GISH (24D: "Mystic Pizza" actress Annabeth) and EL CID (14D: Title role for Charlton Heston) were simple—the latter's in the grid all the time, and the former ... well, I was the right age for "Mystic Pizza" and that actress's name stuck, for some reason. The IMPS and TERSE clues were transparent. Got TED TALK off the "T" (and, again, don't think I would've needed even that) (41D: Presentation by Bill Clinton in 2007 or Bill Gates in 2010). B-TWELVE easy once you've got the "B" (39A: Vitamin in meat, milk and eggs). I need a little hurt in my Saturdays. It's the day I turn mildly masochistic. Make Mine Thorny!

    My one big "Wha?" moment came in the NW, where I was sure the [Big Indonesian export] was TEAS and so had PRES. for 19A: Head Start program service, briefly, which I could not comprehend. For good reason, it turns out. The answers were TEAK and PRE-K. What's weird is that I didn't want TEAS because I had TEA- and couldn't think of anything else; I actually wanted TEAS before I had any letters, which is why I was so certain it was right once the T, E and A fell into place. Danger Zone! Loved the clue on MALE NURSE (59A: Member of a medical minority), and "PLEASE, SIR" made me smile (it's a much parodied line—I've aped it myself from time to time) (62A: Start of a Dickensian request). Took a few beats for me to figure out what NSC stood for (and also to remember what the "Abbottabad raid" was) (60D: Grp. involved in the Abbottabad raid). Made me wonder if I had an error there at first, but the crosses checked out (and I eventually remembered that NSC meant National Security Council). Not much else to say, as the puzzle seemed like it was over before I'd begun. A fun brief time was had by all (of me).

      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


      Questinia 12:02 AM  

      This was a pleasure puzzle of double and not so double entendres. SEXTED GSPOT TABOO MALE NURSE REARS HEMEN SPEED DATE ITCH PLEASE SIR DENS CHEAP SHAG YUM.

      Favorites: HUG IT OUT, PIECE OF WORK, NUCLEI, ROCK THE VOTE, BUB, and all of the above.

      Really nice puzzle boys. Thanks for the romp.

      Questinia 12:05 AM  

      This was a pleasure puzzle of double and not so double entendres. SEXTED GSPOT TABOO MALE NURSE REARS HEMEN SPEED DATE ITCH PLEASE SIR DENS CHEAP SHAG YUM.

      Favorites: HUG IT OUT, PIECE OF WORK, NUCLEI, ROCK THE VOTE, BUB, and all of the above.

      Really nice puzzle boys. Thanks for the romp.

      jae 12:13 AM  

      This what you expect from Quarfoot and friends.  A fun solve with a ton of zip.   I had a little trouble getting started but once I got going it was on the easy side for me too.

      Erasures: DDSS for NCOS, KILO for MSRP, @Rex TEAS for TEAK, ECHO for APER (you can see why getting started was a problem for me), CIA for NSC, ASIA for URSA. 

      WOE: IVOR

      Sure there is some cringy stuff...PRE K,  EERS...but there is so much great stuff it's more than worth a cringe or two.  I mean the long downs were terrific,  but, NUFF SAID...delightful Sat.!

      Annex Centi Malenurse 12:15 AM  

      Hand up for TEAs/PREs... Thought PREs were short for PreKs, never occured to me to change it to K.
      One hour and one wrong square later, but lots offun.

      David Quarfoot is one of my faves, so I was looking for more XKQZ action, so tried jaPE before DUPE.
      Had to settled for PIECEOFWORK
      (PaininthenecK wrong ampunt of letters)

      Anyway, liked you could "hear" the puzzle (PLEASE SIR! YUM, NUFFSAID, ETTU) and could "feel" it (HUGITOUT, GSPOT, ITCH)
      So I loved it!

      syndy 12:58 AM  

      under 25-unheard of friday! asia?URSA and bud/BUB was my only writesover.Quite a nice PIECEOFWORK boys!

      August West 1:09 AM  

      Magmic app simply would not work for me from puzzle drop until about 11:45 ET. Open close. Over and over and over again. Reboot? Nuttin'. Delete/Reload app? Nuttin' but the loss of all my completed puzzles and time tracking. Thought it must be a problem with my iPad until encountering the same GNOME on my wife's, and iPhone. Maddening,

      Once I was finally able to get into the grid, I wished I hadn't even bothered. Don't know if I was off game from the prior frustration, tired from a long work week or just not on the same wavelength with our constructors, but this thing wrecked me. Everywhere I went, I went wrong. KILO for MSRP was my first mistake. IVEGOTIT went in blind where NUFFSAID ultimately materialized. LE CAR for PINTO; RATTED for SEXTED. Sheesh, I was abysmal.

      Abandoned my custom of working sequentially from NW->NE->MW->ME->SW->SE and just looked for anything, anywhere, that I knew I knew. URSA begat DUPE and the SE fell like the Republican Guard to Schwarzkopf's advance. Finally, a foothold and some traction. That corner got me into the great middle, and as HUGITOUT and ROCKTHEVOTE dropped, things started to move. Still, could not recall standard crosswordese like ENIAC and ADENO, and had never heard of "Silent Spring" or the OTTOMAN dude. These deficiencies, along with KILO still hanging out at 1D made the NW a bear. APER, TELE, MASCOT and NEOS allowed me to finally (aha!) see MATT DAMON, and my slog, mercifully, came to an end. Weird how you can plow through some things that give others fits, and then get eaten alive by something others might call a "zippy breeze." 21:18 of tortuous "fun."

      Best clue: MIX AND MATCH?

      retired_chemist 1:10 AM  

      Good puzzle - solid. Little not to like. Easy-medium.

      Filled the grid in a workmanlike fashion - no exciting AHA moments, but a number of more subdued AH SOs. 40A was dUg IT OUT for a while, leading to SHAt @ 26D. Not sure that doesn't loosely fit the clue.....

      I suppose the MALE NURSE SAW (an) IV, many times. G SPOT - cool, and well clued.

      SW was the toughest region for me. Had MAULS @ 49D, never heard of SAW IV or ROCK THE VOTE, 61A OVETT was a blind stab that started as OVELL (Still kinda like ROCK THE VOLE), and it took a long time to find the G SPOT.

      Last square was BUd/dTWELVE. Same story as Rex's about TEAS - I had BUD for 29D and the B and U were confirmed, so I must have been right, right? And who remembers how many D vitamins there are? Not I,at least not this late at night.

      Thanks, Messrs. Lieb and Quarfoot.

      Erik 1:41 AM  

      This was a fun one. Laughed out loud at SEXTING. It is certainly a way to "turn on a friend" but not if you have political ambitions!

      August West 1:42 AM  

      What, no TRAYS?

      Clark 6:14 AM  

      I put in HoMos for 43A, thinking that was a bit outré. The puzzle did, after all, have SEXTED in it. Sadly, TED TALK set me straight.

      Fun puzzle.

      mac 6:26 AM  

      Very good puzzle, but this time I got caught by the soft C and stayed stuck too long.

      I also had mauls for mitts, and Prek looked so weird in the grid. What does msrp stand for?

      @August West: trays crossed my mind, too!

      Loren Muse Smith 6:28 AM  

      Ok. So I spelled “Ben Afleck” wrong so it could fit in 1A. And I was off and running. Morning, @jae – “echo” worked for me. But like Rex said – DDT was such a big gimme that I fixed that whole corner pretty quickly.

      TEAK was easy because I was talking to my husband yesterday about how to store his grandmother’s, uh, anTEAK dining-room table – can it be in WV in an enclosed-but-not-climate-controlled structure for a couple of years? PLEASE, SIR, inquiring minds want to know. . .

      I love PINTO beans over rice with sour cream. YUM.

      @reired_chemist – “MALE NURSE SAW an IV” clever!

      @August West - “What, no trays?” – hah!

      DUCK made me smile because yesterday in a meeting, someone said that word, and I leaned over and whispered to my intern, Reba, “I saw her DUCK at the bank.” And then I looked at her pointedly and whispered, “Think about it. What can *that* sentence mean?” Poor girl. She has had a year of language/crossword talk with no escape. And she’s never worked a puzzle in her life. A few weeks ago, I got in before she did and was looking at our phone message notebook. In her writing, up in a corner was

      WALK THE WALK 11
      TALK THE TALK 11

      She totally understands who both Patrick Bs are, BEQ, Will, pangrams, POCs, SOFT C clues (Which. I. Love. Always.), quad stacks. . . I'm SARI. NUFF SAID? I GESSO.

      When we moved to WV, I thought it would be really funny for WVU cheerleaders to have a cheer, “Give me an apostrophe! Give me an E, Give me another E, Give me an R. . .!” But no. It’s parsed all wrong here. Not ‘EERS but 'neers. Mountai nEERS. I wish someone had consulted me first on this. When you parse team names wrong, it can be very upsetting. Go Eels.

      John, David – even with only three *barely* sports clues, this had a real masculine vibe: MAN, MEN, MALE, SIR, HE, TED, BUB, EL CID, ALDA, MATT DAMON, all SKIPping CLASS in DENS. Fun!

      And for once I finished a (kinder, gentler) Quarfoot; I like your influence, John. It’s going to be a good day.

      Sean Dobbin 7:46 AM  

      Couldn't get SOFTC for a long, long time. I never seem to tune into those darn things.

      Pretty good stuff. 90% was totally on my wavelength, 10% wasn't, due to my own shortcomings.

      No 15s this Fri/Sat.

      Anonymous 8:02 AM  

      Clark.... Homos? Really? I wonder what you would have wanted to write for "Spiritual singer."

      Anonymous 8:27 AM  


      evil doug 8:31 AM  

      (Michael: I responded to you at the end of yesterday's string.)

      Ditto. Pre S for preschool. Teas for teak.

      "Please, sir, can I have another?" Kevin Bacon getting hazed in "Animal House".


      Anonymous 8:50 AM  

      MSRP = Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

      Glimmerglass 8:56 AM  

      Fun, but not easy. Like @mitzi, I struggled far too long before SOFT C dawned because I had tEXTED. I should be used to this kind of thing (cf. HARD G, LONG A) but the clues always have an object that makes a sound (like "cymbal"), and I get caught. Finished at long last, but with one error. I had BUd and d-TWELVE. (I should know there aren't dozens of D-vitamins.)

      Lindsay 9:06 AM  

      Writeovers: SpARing >>> STARKLY and asiA >>>URSA.

      Not much else to say. Very very glad GSPOT didn't leap to mind, because "pacer" was on the tip of my pen for 70's subcompact, and if I'd had the "P' I would written it in and never let go.

      Have a good weekend.

      Carola 9:10 AM  

      A work-out for me and DNF (dumbly, d-TWELVE/BUd), but really enjoyed chipping away at it. Many rewards: PIECE OF WORK, ROCK THE VOTE, SPEED DATE and the many clever clues that suddenly made sense.

      @Lewis - Thanks to your comment yesterday about "leader," I got TELE right away. Still got fooled by the SOFT C, though!

      @Rex - I also hate "'NUFF SAID," in my case because of years of working with a blowhard colleague who only said it after holding forth at excruciating length.

      Anonymous 9:11 AM  

      manufacturer's suggested retail price

      chefbea 9:24 AM  

      Too tough for me. Wasn't too bad after a bit of googling but still DNF

      evil doug 9:24 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      evil doug 9:33 AM  

      I'd enjoy seeing "g-spot feature" as a clue for 'soft g'...


      Questinia 9:49 AM  

      'nuff said
      is as bad as
      Just sayin'

      jberg 10:13 AM  

      This one felt medium for me, but I don't time myself, and it is Saturday. I couldn't get going until I took a chance on ENIAC, and I was so delighted that it was right I filled in the whole NE -- only to get hung up by ddsS in the NW, BUd, and plane for the surface of a painting (you know, the picture plane, what a lot of modern art breaks out of). Also arid before SERE, uSn (you know, those SEALS) before NSC. And I was really reluctant to put in APER - although it's not as bad as EERS, I agree.

      So it was more of a struggle for me, but I enjoyed it on a Saturday.

      "Silent Spring" had its 50th anniversary last fall, and is often thought of as the start of the environmental movement. And Suleiman? Well, he was magnificent, and so eminently crossworthy!

      Jeremy Mercer 10:14 AM  

      I feel better about finishing with DTWELVE if a @retired_chemist made the same mistake ... As a reader of Marvel Comics in the '80s, I love 'NUFFSAID because it was Stan Lee's catch phrase ...

      Norm 10:47 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Norm 10:47 AM  

      Far from easy for this camper (even by Saturday standards), so I had the thorough workout that Rex wanted. SW was the hardest corner. Had COMMR rather OWNER (shouldn't the V.I.P. call for an abbreviated answer?), ARCHES for GNOMES, and SHORN for TERSE (not to mention ROCKTHEMOON for ROCKTHEVOTE, which I'd never heard of), but had to reboot when nothing worked. And, yup, BUB for BUD was the final change. Fun.

      Masked and Anonymo6Us 10:48 AM  

      @lms: Write this in that same phone notebook corner:
      Wait and see if yer intern thinks of one more, and then starts drawin a grid. Then U know she's a goner.

      No way was this SatPuz easy. More average hard, at my house.


      retired_chemist 10:55 AM  

      Awake enough this morning to look up Vitamin D and find that its numbers apparently stop at 5.

      joho 11:00 AM  

      I'm in the BUD/dTWELVE group. But once I replaced Bro with BUd and saw that we were talking about a vitamin, I was satisfied I had the right answer. Not. So, one square wrong today. Nice to know I'm in good company.

      My last letter in was the "K" at PREDK/TEAK. NW was the most difficult for me. Like @Rex, it took forever to see the word "portrayer" in the 1A clue.


      There's a lot to love here guys, thanks, John Lieb and David Quarfoot!

      Intern Goader 11:08 AM  

      FILLTHEBILL? har.

      Oops. Lynn Lempel beat us to it, August 22, 2005.

      GILL I. 11:08 AM  

      Not easy for me either but twas enjoyable.
      Didn't know PREK, SEXTED, GISH, TED TALK. Yikes, those are some words come to think of it...
      I was always in awe of the seize of Suleiman's turban. I guess the bigger, the more important?
      Nina Simone's "NUFF SAID"

      GILL I. 11:11 AM  

      Well I failed AGAIN on trying to get an embed of Simone's NUFF SAID so I'll leave it to your imagination,,,It's good.

      Mohair Sam 11:11 AM  

      You always learn something new in the NYT crosswords. Today I learned that if you spell Anasthasia without the H it has exactly as many letters as MATTDAMON, and it becomes a gimme for 1A. Cost us half an hour - thank God for DDT.

      A really fun Saturday, great clue after great clue. And I agree with Rex, it felt like it should have been difficult but filled relatively quickly (once we got by the spelling error).

      Nearly had a DNF with the vitamin, but my wife said gently, "There is no D Twelve, stupid" - and I corrected it.

      btw - Are there any rules on when a clue carries a question mark? We stumbled a bit on SOFTC because we thought the clue required "?".

      Milford 11:28 AM  

      Pretty quick for a Saturday, but ultimately a DNF. So glad to be in good company with those that had d-TWELVE / BUd. I think I was so distracted by the awkwardness of a vitamin numeral being written out, much like others are annoyed at aircraft names spelled this way.

      Remembered ROCK THE VOTE from MTV. The TABOO entries of SEXTED and G-SPOT were fun clues.

      @Jeremy - I forgot the Marvel 'NUFF SAID phrase. I thought it was a character that said it (Beast? Wolverine?).

      MALE NURSE makes me think of Gaylord Focker.

      wreck 11:36 AM  

      ..had same magmic issues -- app would auto close up until 10:45 Central. It has been acting up since Thursday night. Once it finally starts to work,I'm frazzled and can't think straight! It took me about 45 minutes.

      Cheerio 11:43 AM  

      Wonderful puzzle! It was relatively easy for a Saturday but only because of the crosswordese I have learned such as gesso, El Cid,I Aper, MREs and Ursa. I still get tripped up by combo-compact words like Soft_C and G_spot, and B_Twelve, but I'm getting better with that. OWNER was the last thing I put in, and had to groan because in retrospect it was so perfectly and simply clued. The pleasures came from these entries:
      Rock the Vote
      Please Sir
      Skip Class
      Piece of Work
      Speed Date
      Male Nurse
      Hug it Out

      Amazing to have all of that goodness in one puzzle!

      I just made plans for summer vacation, so GNOMES are in order.

      Thanks for a wonderful puzzle!

      Cheerio 11:46 AM  

      Fine: I see now that it was Pre-K and TEAK, not MREs and TEAs.

      rgards 12:01 PM  

      Just before coming here, I was bragging to my wife about a fast Saturday completion, pen on paper, sans Google, with an engaging diversion appearing from the F and K in in 10D (what sort of freak?), only to now learn that it's just another Saturday DNF, due to a vitamin D deficiency. Enlightenment is deflating in this instance. On the off chance she was listening, I will correct the record, but maybe I'll wait until next Saturday to do so, coupling it with news of a fresh triumph.
      An enjoyable puzzle -- thanks.

      Sandy K 12:12 PM  

      Agree with @Cheerio's list of great fill.

      What could be more 'newsy' than SEXTED? Is it TABOO 'NUFF to ROCK THE VOTE in NY? Is that Mr. Weiner's version of a SPEED DATE? ADENO, but I GESSO. SARI...
      PLEASE SIR, I don't want more.

      My sister teaches PRE-K, so no problem there.

      To the constructors- A SpARKLY PIECE OF WORK!

      Ray J 12:16 PM  

      PRE K and TEAK were my first entries. An old BUd (son of a B!) once asked me to go in with him on a teak farm in Panama. I declined. He retired at 55, bought some hectares, built a house and planted trees. Then he married a woman 30-years his junior - dude never could SKIP a LASS, and is now a proud papa and livin’ his dream.

      Loved the puzzle.

      dk 12:18 PM  

      The guy up the road who carves animals (out of tree trunks) with a chain SAW now does GNOMES.

      My inner BTWELVE wanted HyMEN along with GSPOT, ITCH, TABOO, SEXED etc. I suppose the PREK rating prevented that.

      🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Joyful solve

      gifcan 12:33 PM  

      All of your comments are helpful. I was tripped up in many of the same places.

      My wife helped me with PREK and ETTU and I had to google GISH to open up that area.

      MATT somebody came to mind and DDT provided his last name.

      I like learning new things. GESSO is my word of the day.

      Killer - SOFTC.

      Enjoyable time with the help of wife, google and morning coffee.

      Evan 12:40 PM  

      I fall into the BUD/D-TWELVE camp as well. So ticked I didn't catch it. I blame that on the fact that I wrote in BUD first, had DTW---- and said "Oh yeah! It's definitely D-TWELVE!" Ugh.

      I'm actually more ambivalent about this puzzle than many others here. Yes, there were many fun answers that I liked, and overall I thought this was easy for a Saturday. But I also thought there were a little too many prefix/suffix/abbreviation/crosswordese entries for my liking: MSRP, APER, TELE, PRE-K, DDT, ADENO (all in the northwest corner), NEOS, NCOS, ENIAC, CENTI, GESSO, SERE, NSC, EERS. I'm not really familiar with John Lieb's work, but David Quarfoot is one of my favorite themeless constructors, so I thought this wasn't his best puzzle.

      But I'm still in a good mood because my wife just bought me some early anniversary gifts, and one of them is the Xbox game Bioshock 2. So. Awesome. Right. Now.

      Anonymous 12:47 PM  

      Last letter in was the incorrect 'S' at TEAS / PRE-K. Just couldn't see it and wanted TEAS.


      Put down HUNKS for "Muscle Beach sights". After getting YUM, HOMOS was the first thing that came to mind. Had to sort it out to HE-MEN

      North Beach 1:44 PM  

      Will anyone else admit to OcTOMom before OTTOMAN?

      Mette 1:51 PM  

      DNF due to dTWELVE, but really got hung up for way too long with YUp and wondering what synonym for surfboards was spelled --pes.

      Unknown 2:05 PM  

      Yup. Fun and fresh. Could have been tougher, considering it's Saturday, but a fun quick solve.

      Lewis 2:32 PM  

      I like SAINT crossing SEXTED, and SHAG crossing HUGITOUT. Would have liked it if PLEASESIR crossed GSPOT.

      HEMEN just looks weird to me.

      I'm surprised so many people aren't so familiar with B12, which is found generally only in animal foods, with vegans being warned to take B12 pills to supplement their diets.

      Grid gruel: eniac, msrp, ettu, nsc, adeno, sere, eniac. I agree with Evan that there was too much. I liked the clue for NCOS and loved PIECEOFWORK and HUGITOUT as answers.

      Felt easier than a typical Saturday, but not easy by any stretch for me. I had copy for APER, and gash before SHAG (which is a much better answer!).

      Clark 2:37 PM  

      @Anonymous 8:02 AM --

      The word 'homo' lives in my vocabulary with this meaning (among others): "a term that has been reclaimed by some gay/queer communities that is used affectionately between community members to mean someone wonderfully, sublimely gay" (urban dictionary). The idea of finding 'homo' in the puzzle amused me because it would suggest that we're all gay now. My gay card does not license me to reclaim terms that belong to other communities.

      loren smith 4:45 PM  

      @M&A - I had to rewrite those 11's because the page was too far back. I wrote yours, too. She nixed yours in favor of LOOK THE PART and then she adds either PLAY THE GAME or SEAL THE DEAL.

      I kind of like


      Ellen S 5:52 PM  

      hi all! I was out of town for a week and am finally almost caught up with the puzzles. I am proud that I got TEAK off of nothing (I remember that's a major export from "Indochina" ... no reason "Indonesia" would have the same resources, but amazingly it was right.) And less proud that I got OTTOMAN off I think the initial O. Other than that, I made all the mistakes everybdy listed, including winding up surprised to discover a "d" that should have been a "B" -- oh, there is no d-TWELVE. Damn. I need a wife.

      sanfranman59 5:58 PM  

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

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

      Mon 5:21, 6:09, 0.87, 3%, Easy (6th lowest ratio of 188 Mondays)
      Tue 9:05, 8:13, 1.10, 76%, Medium-Challenging
      Wed 9:56, 9:43, 1.02, 60%, Medium
      Thu 22:51, 16:29, 1.39, 94%, Challenging
      Fri 17:41, 20:21, 0.87, 29%, Easy-Medium
      Sun 19:58, 25:29, 0.78, 8%, Easy

      Top 100 solvers

      Mon 3:18, 3:46, 0.88, 3%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 188 Mondays)
      Tue 5:25, 4:57, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging
      Wed 5:24, 5:36, 0.96, 41%, Medium
      Thu 14:20, 9:30, 1.51, 94%, Challenging
      Fri 9:44, 11:52, 0.82, 23%, Easy-Medium
      Sun 12:00, 15:22, 0.78, 10%, Easy

      Dirigonzo 6:45 PM  

      One hour, one bourbon, one beer (BUd).

      bayonne 8:33 PM  


      M and A's Eleven 10:01 PM  

      @lms... Yep. I think U got a real winner with that last set of four 11's. Could even expand it, with: JOINTHECLUB.

      Of course, there's also the somewhat more M&A-like...

      Man, do we digress.

      Anonymous 7:50 AM  

      So, is HUG IT OUT an actual phrase? Is there a pop culture reference I'm missing? As far as I know, this isn't a known action (like, say, HIGH FIVING or a FIST BUMPING or CHEST THUMPING) so I thought it was a bit of a reach. It filled itself in and it wasn't an impediment to solving, but still...

      Loren Muse Smith 7:59 AM  

      @M&A – I always try to take these periphery discussions off this site because, well, who cares, really?

      (Speaking of which - @Steve J –I tried to email you with this: after a full day of making low, suspicious palatal, and, yes, alveopalatal sounds to myself, I hereby admit that my SH’s, CH’s, etc are indeed alveopalatal. When I made myself produce a truly palatal sound, I realized you were correct.)

      Anyway, Mr. M&A – I can’t take our discussions off this site, *can I*??

      I like your quartet, too. I think we should collaborate because

      A. I’ve come to understand after numerous “thanks but no thanks” letters that I don’t have the constructing chops to please Will or Rich on my own.

      B. I will hence happily, shamelessly, pepper/pester more seasoned constructors with theme ideas, and I’m convinced you’re such a constructor.

      Steve Kowarsky 7:09 AM  

      Glad to see at least one other person questioning "hug it out" -a phrase I have never encountered. Seems to me "duke it out" would far better fit the clue. Also, "shag" has several meanings, but is that really one of them?

      Anonymous 10:58 AM  

      Can't believe no one else had a problem with blank slate. It's blank CANVAS or CLEAN slate.

      spacecraft 11:19 AM  

      DNF for the usual two squares, but I object to that whole SOFTC/BTWELVE crossing. "Hard" or "soft" or "silent" letters--we've had this two days running now--ought to be BANNED, along with "IN [insert musical key letter]." Likewise, here's a term that is absolutely NEVER! NEVER! written out except in bad crosswords: B12. I can't even force myself to type it out. BANISH them! Cast them out!

      Captcha=AManadm, a mad man scrambled. That would be me.

      Texas Syndy Solver 12:02 PM  

      @Steve K. HUGITOUT was my first entry. "Bromance" in the clue should have lead you to a modern slang phrase. And for SHAG think Farrah Fawcett hair cut from the '70s. It was called a SHAG cut and it had many layers.

      Texas Syndy Solver 12:07 PM  

      I had a big problem with it. But we are in the minority obviously.

      DMG 3:02 PM  

      I seem to be the only one who couldn't do the NW. Got stuck at the first clue and spent too long trying to remember which literary character had pretended to be an amnesiac. Gave up, did the rest of the puzzle and came back. To no avail. Got DDT, ADENO, and NEOS, but, sadly, they were not enough. And so it goes!

      Waxy in Montreal 8:43 PM  

      Had HEMIS (powerful car engines) on my Muscle Beach instead of HEMEN which led to MIT TALK instead of TED TALK (which like ROCKTHEVOTE & HUGITOUT, I wasn't aware of) and TACK instead of DUCK.

      Really liked the NUFFSAID, DTWELVE, CORDON section, not so much its neighbour to the left. But all-INALL, an enjoyable PIECEOFWORK.

      Solving in Seattle 9:10 PM  

      @Spacecraft, I knew we'd hear from you on the SOFTC. I concur.

      @DMG, I filled in 1D with MaRg and couldn't give it up, so also a DNF. Once I came to the blog I damaged my forehead again.

      Never heard HUGITOUT before, but got it on a few letters. Had asiA before URSA.

      Good Saturday John and David.

      capcha: vacycoc. Quick withdrawal?

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