Turkic word for island / FRI 10-11-13 / 1960s civil rights leader Brown / Philosophy will clip angel's wings writer / 1998 hit from album Surfacing / Alternative to ZzzQuil / Old co with overlapping globes on its logo

Friday, October 11, 2013

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


Word of the Day: Alfred H. BARR, Jr. (7D: Alfred H. ___ Jr., founding director of MoMA) —
Alfred Hamilton Barr, Jr. (January 28, 1902 – August 15, 1981), known as Alfred H. Barr, Jr., was an American art historian and the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. From that position, he was one of the most influential forces in the development of popular attitudes toward modern art; for example, his arranging of the blockbuster Van Gogh exhibition of 1935, in the words of author Bernice Kert, was "a precursor to the hold Van Gogh has to this day on the contemporary imagination." (wikipedia)
• • •

Slightly thorny for me. Got pieces of all the 15s and still had only a couple figured out. Looking at it now, there's nothing terribly knee-buckling, but it definitely took longer than usual for me to figure out. There's much more mediocre-to-junk fill in this one than I like to see in a themeless: the two-H AHH (about 1/10 as common as the two-A version), RETIN, CTN, CWTS, PSEUD, THUR, ATNO, REE, USEAS, ENOTE, ESPO, ADIA, HRAP, ASTAR ... all tired and/or ugly. Cluing is off in places too—a real "benchwarmer" would not say "PLAY ME OR TRADE ME" (27A: Benchwarmer's plea); that's something a star player says when he's not being played for whatever reasons. This is to say that just because one happens not to be in a game does not mean one is a "benchwarmer" ("a player who is not among the best players on a team and does not often play : a reserve player who is usually on the bench" says Merriam-Webster). Such a player is in no position to be making demands. Not sure of the logic of having sequential Down clues that play off of one another when the answers to those clues are in entirely different parts of the grid. You can't really appreciate [Revolving feature] followed by [Revolving features?] unless you are someone who goes methodically through all the Acrosses and all the Downs in order (and if you're solving that way, You're Doing It Wrong).

I live in the NE and have never heard of Papa GINO'S. Papa JOHN'S, of course. I got all my initial traction in this puzzle from gimme proper nouns: H. RAP Brown, Katey SAGAL (25A: Katey who portrayed TV's Peg Bundy), OMAR Infante, "ADIA," "Everybody is A STAR." Not as much luck with IRENE or BARR, which were mysteries to me. Thought LYCEE was ECOLE and [Sudoku segment] a BOX, but otherwise, not major mistakes. I think my favorite part of this puzzle was learning "bong"'s language or origin (THAI) (52D: Whence the word "bong").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:06 AM  
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jae 12:08 AM  

Unlike Rex, even with a lot of tricky cluing, I thought this was easier than yesterday's and easy over all. 

I went through Acdc and AsiA before I got to ABBA which is embarrassing because I know the song.  Never got past the words Group and hit.

Also Hip for HOT and NODOZ for NYTOL thinking the alternative might be you want to stay awake.

Xword stuff I'm beginning to get sorted out:

Pete SEEGER - Folk singer
Bob SEGER - Detroit rocker
E.C. SEGAR -  Popeye creator
Steven SEAGAL - Martial arts doofus
Katey SAGAL - Actress with no Es (currently on Sons of Anarchy)
Marc CHAGALL - French guy

The 15s were pretty obvious to me which is what made this easy.  They were also pretty zippy.  Liked it!

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

BONG as in the noise, or BONG as in smoking weed?

Mohair Sam 12:20 AM  

So on Wednesday I complained here about cluing for a hockey player named ILYA. I stated that all hockey players should be named ORR or ESPO. I'd like to thank Mr. Collins and Mr. Shortz for listening.

Evan 12:30 AM  

Okay, so this is probably embarrassing for a history student currently thinking of doing a dissertation on 20th century urban and criminal justice history to admit, but in all of the books I've read on the 1960s-1970s, I've never come across H. RAP Brown. Not that I can recall, anyway. Gotta first learn about him from somewhere, so why not puzzles? Anyway, that entry made me do a triple take. No way H. RAP could be right, right? It was right.

Otherwise I didn't find this too difficult. I had HEAT before MEAT THERMOMETER and HEY PAL before MAN, but no other big trip-ups. I liked pretty much all of the long stuff a lot but really didn't care for the short stuff that Rex criticized (though the clue for SERE is at least cute). I don't mind AHH as the spelling -- I expect that's used less frequently because it's probably easier to switch out a vowel like A than a consonant like H. Unfortunate missed opportunity to clue SEEKERS as something like, [Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, e.g.].

mathguy 12:37 AM  

I agree with Rex. The clue for PLAYMEORTRADEME is dead wrong. I was trying to see something like PUTMEINCOACH. Hard for me because there were ten entries I didn't know and only two gimmes. And several devilishly misleading clues. Felt good about being able to solve it.

wreck 12:43 AM  

Funny how Rex said if you solve the puzzle by doing all the acrosses and then the downs -- you are doing it wrong! That is basically how I was doing them. Just tonight, I solved the puzzle in sections from the beginning and improved my time significantly!!

Questinia 1:37 AM  

Entered at OXYGENATED and rosetted out.

Had HEY you making the answer to universal query look more like WHERES THE pEyOTE? True enough.

{{{[Flashback to yesterday's @ lms~lsd]}}}.

PeaS ~ PIES. Liked the musical misguide to chemical symbols~ATNO.
Just adored EELS and ENOTE (may I have more THAI in that bong @Ellen S?)

Medium and I rate it: dk dk dk.

Davis 2:07 AM  

While my parents were divorcing, my dad and I would go to Papa GINOS one night a week. Even as a kid I knew their pizza wasn't all that great, but I liked them because it was where my dad and I went. There used to be a couple of them in the Albany area, but it looks like they're pretty much just in New England now.

Aces Ctn Meatthermometers 4:30 AM  

Four 15s crossed by two 15s connecting thru all of them!
Many many props.

Loved "Universal query? "

Biggest mess up ARMYSofONe even tho I knew the plural of ARMY probably wasn't ARMYS

Went to ABBA museum in Stockholm in August...didn't go in but have very funny pictures of lifesized cutouts of the group that you put your face thru.

optionsgeek 6:01 AM  

While it didn't slow me down all that much, I really didn't like CWTS crossing CTN. Incredibly forced and to what end? There's absolutely NO way to fix this dog's breakfast of a corner? Really?

Danp 6:26 AM  

The "play me or trade me" argument assumes the bench warmer realizes he's inferior. But that's not how life works, at least not in major league sports.

Sir Hillary 7:20 AM  

This was a fun one. Maybe too much short junk when Rex lists it all together, but CTN was the only one I noticed while solving. The 15s felt fresh and original.

The cluing felt a little cutesy for my liking -- too many ?s, although perhaps no more than usual (is there an unwritten rule as to how many are acceptable?). Not a fan of the forced sameness in consecutive clues (veins, revolving).

Rex has a decent argument regarding PLAYMEORTRADEME, but not enough to diminish the puzzle in my view. Rex's Tigers move on again, in identical fashion to last year. Nice to have a horse like Verlander, eh Rex? WHATHAPPENSNEXT? Tigers-Red Sox.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Wasn't crazy about the pizza chain clue--seems pretty obscure for people who don't live in the Northeast. I know this is the NYT, but it's supposed to be national in scope/appeal. Couldn't that have been clued some other way?

jberg 7:36 AM  

It took me a long time to get started on this one -- HEAR and GINOS were about it -- but it gradually came together with lots of effort. I like that kind of experience, so I liked it despite the horrid CWTS. And when I finally started to see some long downs, it was a nice AHH ha.

I had so,then, what's NEXT? before WHAT HAPPENS, ecole before lycee. and STagE before STILE (those couldn't all be right, of course). Only figured that out once I had SETTLES THE SCORE.

I saw SOXER and TAXER fairly early, but didn't write them in because they seemed so ridiculous.

Things I learned today: Fibonacci was a PISAN, and ARAL can have clues which don't mention that it's a sea. But "Turkic?" That's a family of languages, not a language, so how can it have a word for something? That's like saying that port is the romantic word for gate.

Mohair Sam 7:58 AM  

Posted here 1/2 hour ago - post vanished into cyberspace - hoping this won't appear twice -

Disagree with Rex on PLAYME. . . the clue is fine. If the clue had been "every benchwarmer's plea" I'd agree.

Liked this one a lot. Challenging for us but really fun. Loved the Fibonacci clue - was the last thing we filled.

MetaRex 8:25 AM  

Excellent "who ya lookin at!?!" vibe w/ DON'T EVEN GO THERE, PLAY ME OR TRADE ME, WHERE'S THE REMOTE, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, and SETTLES THE SCORE. A really nice set...ya can make up for the one weak link answer by imagining a mom driven crazy by a remote-losing husband and kids who won't go to bed stickin the MEAT THERMOMETER into the bird like Travis Bickle on a bad day...

Gotta be grumpy about the pile of non-words in the middle...yes, it's self-interested complaining...I fished around for a minute or so after getting the incorrect signal before realizing NYDOL should be NYTOL.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:37 AM  

Had what I'll bet will be the two most common write-overs: AAH/AHH and JOHNS/GINOS, but I also had HEY PAL, could see that the long across made no sense, but had neither the time nor the brainpower to get to HEY MAN. Fail.

Sarah 8:43 AM  

Personally I wouldn't call HRAP Brown, author of the immortal "Die, N----r, Die," a "civil rights leader." he was a black power activist and all-around rabble rouser, a sort of black Abbie Hoffman (or maybe Hoffman was a white HRAP Brown?). At any rate, it's a weird clue for a really interesting person.

Unknown 8:45 AM  

Took a long time for me to get a foothold, then just kept pushing through it. Can't say it was very much fun, but I finished eventually, I do have to respect intersecting all of those long answers. But there wasn't a lot of joy in solving this one for me today,

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I immediately thought SOXER for 34A, and didn't write it in for a long time because I thought that couldn't possibly be right. A couple of crosses later, I wrote it in with just a little bit of self satisfaction.

As for 30D (___-A), I couldn't get a more common (to me, anyway) phrase out of my head.

GILL I. 9:06 AM  

What a mess! I had so many wrong answers.
Thought Bobby's were socks, "Everybody is A nerd." and my pizza joint was (like @Rex) Papa Johns. I'm probably the only person on this planet that would rather eat cardboard than chomp on a heartburn inducing pizza.
I did get most of the long ones though which I thought were fun.
@Questinia. Sometimes I have to read your posts a couple of times knowing that behind that isoteric mind there's a laugh lurking.

joho 9:15 AM  

I thought this easier than yesterday's and today we get an extra THUR!

I really liked all the 15's except MEATTHERMOMETER. That's just a thing, not so much an interesting phrase like the others.

I liked it a lot. Thanks, Peter Collins, for a difficult puzzle smoothly executed.

Junief 9:35 AM  

Someone please explain "atno" to poor, dense me,

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

atomic number for an element ^

August West 9:41 AM  

I found myself on Mr. Collins' wavelength throughout this solve, completed a full 11 minutes faster than yesterday's crucible. FAWN/NOTARY went in bing, bang, quickly yielding ECHO, FEMA and ACES (the latter, I thought, not cleverly but awkwardly clued). Inferred WHAT as the first word of 3D, revealing MEAT as the start of 17A. The conclusions of both phrases then basically wrote themselves, and I was off to the races.

Four letter hockey nickname must be ESPO, and the SAP above him gave me the PP needed to confirm WHATHAPPENSNEXT. DONTEVENGOTHERE dropped from the NT, so over to the east I cruised, finding SETTLETHESCORE just inland from the coast. Never heard of ADIA or the album it spawns of, but thankfully its crosses were easy.

Groaned at the CTN/CWTS cross, but I can't say I had a conscious awareness of the degree of shit fill along the course of the solve, probably because it is fairly well spread throughout the grid.

All 15s and 10s were easy. HRAP filled from crosses, and I correctly guessed TRAMS from the "T" at 17A. Its concluding "S" made SOXER a no-brainer, and with that "X", OXYGENATED was apparent. The "V" in 46A rendered 47D a quick slay. That brought me to 59A, where I correctly inferred WHERE'STHE as the first two words of the answer from its clue. Everything else down south flowed quickly off of that, and that was that. Felt more like a hard Tuesday.

@jae - hand up for NodOz before NYTOL.

JFC 9:54 AM  

Rex, I think reasonable minds can differ on the bench warmer clue. A good example to support the clue is Alex Smith, formerly the QB for SF and now the QB for KC. True he was a starter until injured last year but then he became a bench warmer after he recovered and Kaepernick was the starter....


chefbea 10:03 AM  

Of course we all know what my favorite word of the puzzle is!!!! If you don't know, you'll bea embarrassed and turn as red as a .......!!!

Also liked meat thermometer!!


jburgs 10:44 AM  

Was able to finish this one after my disaster of yesterday.

Was confident about all my answers except the previously mentioned cross of CWTS and CTN so was relieved to see that they were OK. Have no idea what CWTS refers to.

I disagree with Rex's quibble with PLAYMEORTRADEME. I think there are plenty of situations where quality players may be sat on the bench by a coach. Relief quarterbacks and goalies come to mind.

Had a lucky break with OMAR Infante. Didn't know that name but while doing the puzzle the Sports came on TV and I heard his name mentioned.

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Finished with no errors but not much fun either.
Aida a complete mystery to me.
Who made the album?
Not our best week here in puzzle world.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Oh, Sarah McLachlan. I was supposed to know that?

gifcan 10:55 AM  

I'm not sure why it played easy for me. My brain seemed to be in sync with Mr. Collins. I didn't need many crosses to get the 15s and I never had any 'at sea' moments.

Enjoyed this puzzzle.

Sandy K 11:17 AM  

Really liked all the 15s, altho the only one actually USEd AS needed in my home is HEY, WHERE'S THE REMOTE?

Ditto for Papa Johns before GINOS- we don't have either around here, (but we do have Spumoni Gardens) and ecolE before LYCEE.

Last to go in- CTN/CWTS? and REE? But it was gettable.

Ellen S 11:22 AM  

@questinia, I recommend a properly filled bong would make the return of the EELS easier to swallow. (Ugh.). But as long as they don't inhabit every puzzle I'm okay with them.

It took me a while to understand how VEES are "revolving features" but okay, letters in the word "revolving," so good clue, good answer. But I disagree with STILE for 44D. The dictionaries say:
"an arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall."
Only one had an alternate definition of "turnstile". Unless it's a turnstile, a stile does not revolve. Am I missing something? Perhaps when an EEL climbs over a fence, it revolves.

H. RAP Brown was easy for me, all the sports things were not. So it goes.

Ellen S 11:25 AM  

Oops. Stupid voice-to-text. I meant "I reckon a properly filled bong..."

Master Melvin 11:38 AM  

A guy named Phil Linz, a benchwarmer on the declining Yankees of the 1960's offered his own variation on 27A: "PLAY ME OR KEEP ME."

flora 11:40 AM  

@Evan H.Rap Brown: an old favorite of mine. How many people today can be charged with "inciting a riot" -by giving a speech? A 180 from the antics of the inane ted cruz.

@ Sarah: I think it's safe to write out the whole title include the dreaded N word when it is part of a title of a book, no? or a quote from a book? I mean, where would the recollections of Willie Morris, or the works of Faulkner be without the word?

OISK 12:08 PM  

Missed the CWTS CTN cross, using HWTS for "hundred weights" which made sense, (I thought of CWTS as well) and having no idea what WHSE was an abbreviation for. Wearhouse?? Don't like it. Also never heard of "Adia", so another square goes to pop culture, but a chemist like me should have realized that Re, La, and Ti are elements, and not musical notes, which wouldn't have been capitalized!! Still, a worthwhile Friday puzzle, despite my objection to the SW corner. (Unlike others, I had a lot less trouble with yesterday's.)

OISK 12:10 PM  

I wrote WEARHOUSE!!! Someone shoot me! Warehouse.

Masked and AnonymoUUs 12:23 PM  

Hey, it's pewit dude. And looks like he was tryin to cram that Athenian Thuckadeedees dude back into 54-down, before he ran outa room. shiver.

Are these his clues? Does he like to pull wings off flies? Day-um. Let's do a coupla bullets, in examplia...

* [Sound after call waiting?] = ECHO. Okay. Now I sorta get it. I guess I am equipped with that kind of call waiting. Just needed my clue waiting mechanism to kick in.
* [Drone] = PEON. Sure. Take out a few terrorists, by droppin a passle of peons on 'em. No controversy there.
* [Response to a threat] = TRYME. Doesn't seem to work well with incoming category five storms, tho.
* [___-A] = RETIN. As in RETINA?!? Wanted M-AND.
* [Blasts through] = ACES. As in "I blasted through that there A-bomb test today".
* [French class setting] = NYTPUZ. whoopsie... make that = LYCEE.

fave row: HRAP SAGAL.
fave column: BARR RETIN THUR.
fave diagonal: FCAA AEXTNOI YOAS.
fave puz feature: Six interwoven great grid spanners.

In summation: Top grid half: tougher than a pewit's patoot. Bottom grid half: Smooth with a hint of LYCEE ETAT infestations.


mathguy 12:43 PM  

Alex Smith was not a benchwarmer. He was a highly successful player who sat on the bench for part of one season. According to the definition, a benchwarmers is a reserve player who is normally sitting on he bench. A better clue for PLAYMEORTRADEME would be "Cry from the doghouse?"

Richard 1:15 PM  

@mathguy: Alex Smith was a reserve for almost half of last season and would have continued to be a reserve this year with the 49ers. So, at least to me, his status is consistent with a definition of a benchwarmer. At least some definitions do not require that the bench sitting be lengthy.

Your alternative clue is cute, but I think it is inferior because it suggests that a second stringer is in the "doghouse." This was not the case with Alex Smith.

Bird 1:36 PM  

Pretty much what Rex said, except for the part about doing it wrong when solving Across then Down. That’s my method - it’s not wrong, just different. First pass yielded very little, but things started to appear.


jazzmanchgo 1:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzmanchgo 2:03 PM  

H. Rap Brown was, in fact, a civil rights leader -- at least in the '60s, as the clue specifies. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which for a time was allied with Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference in non-violent protests. He and Dr. King eventually split, after Brown became increasingly militant and separatist in his rhetoric. But early on, he was an important figure in the non-violent civil rights movement. So the clue, as it stands, is legitimate.

On the other hand . . . what the FRIG does "Whse." stand for, and what the FRIG is a "CTN"??? For that matter, what's so "universal" about "WHERE'S THE REMOTE"? It's certainly not "universal" with me -- I haven't watched television in years.

Acme 2:12 PM  

Thanks for the HRAP info to legitimize the clue a bit better.

As for your other queries:

The clue is a play on the fact that there are "universal" remotes that are all-in-one instead of five different remotes...for tv, dvd, cable
(or in my home, VCR still!)

okanaganer 2:29 PM  

I fell into the PEAS rather than PIES trap, which gave me HAY MAN (new slang spelling, maybe?) and STELE for "Revolving feature". I remembered STELE from other crosswords, couldn't remember the meaning, and thought, sounds like "stella", which means star, which seems like it could revolve, or at least rotate. Overthinking again!

I saw ESPO in person, in 1971 at a Canucks game, walking back to the dressing room between periods, with Orr and all the other legendary Bruins of that era. I was 11 years old, and they were all at least 12 feet tall! (of course they were wearing skates).

John V 2:31 PM  

Thought this was the easiest Friday in a very long time and felt so good after getting the crap kicked out of me yesterday. The 15s were particularly easy. The slightly higher word count and over half of the words being 3 or 4 letters made it easier for me.

Papa Gino is well known to me; think there were some in Buffalo when I was a kid. I've always imagined that the name was a play on Papageno from Mozart's, "Die Zauberflote". (Don't know how to make an umlaut.) C'mon, @Rex, you knew that.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Adia crossing Sagal?


jburgs 2:50 PM  

Regarding 55d "Wizened up": All my life I've always read "a wizened old man" as a compliment about a wise man. Was a revelation when I googled to get an explanation of that clue.

mac 3:42 PM  

Easy in some areas, then tough in others. NEVER heard of H Rap, learned something today. I went the hey pal, hip and John's route, as well.

Likes "where's the remote" a lot.

Lewis 4:06 PM  


Happy to see a non-sea clue for ARAL, but I didn't like the clue!

Z 4:39 PM  

@Gill I.P. - I'm still pondering "Isoteric mind" but have decided it is a very apt description for @Questina and @dk and, most especially, @______-A.

Was up late watching OMAR Infante and friends rip the heart of Oakland A fans yet again. Tried to get started this morning before my trip to Lansing for a meeting. I got diddly and squat.

Post meeting sitting on my front porch on this beautiful fall Davy it played easy. Averaging between "Impossible" and "easy," medium challenging sounds about right.

When I think of the ARAL Sea islands do not come to mind.

Paul 5:46 PM  

A better clue would have been 60s Black Power activist.

retired_chemist 5:50 PM  

I am usually on Mr. Collins's wavelength and it was so today. No real hangups, although only a so-so time. Medium-challenging works for me.

Katey SeGAL and ecolE before SAGAL and LYCEE. Papa GINOS? WTF, but then I am not in the NE. Fibonacci was a PISAN? Interesting trivium. Surprised at the confusion with whse., CTN, and CWTS.

Thanks, Mr. C.

daveyhead 6:21 PM  

I printed this out to solve like i do every day and what I got was The Incredible Shrinking Puzzle (about a quarter normal size). I wrote tech support but no answer yet. Nothing is different; same browser, same computer, printer, even printer SETTINGS.


Mette 7:53 PM  

@bk - I gave up when staring at WHEn ESTHER EpOTE

@Rex - in every THUCYDIDES-FRIDA-REMAINSAT puzzle, I do it tthe wrong way, simply trying to get a toehold. My husband calls it cherrypicking. Suspect that may be the difference between leisure solvers and professionals like you. Am not disagreeing with you, because I respect your insight.

M and A Help Desk 8:13 PM  

@daveyhead: When U print, does the print screen show your printer type? Does it perchance also show a page size = some %? Make sure both settings are good ones. 100% page size is best, of course. Sometimes some other computer app can mess with some of these settings, even if U didn't. Computers are sneaky.

If none of that helps, it's probably the fault of the govt. shutdown.


JenCT 8:56 PM  

@acme 4:30: How about posting one of those pics as your avatar???

@Ellen S 11:55: I like "recommend" better...

I play WHERESTHEREMOTE everyday with Justice - she finds it & brings it to me, then we watch TV together...

Steve J 9:51 PM  

Was not on the right wavelength for this one. Several misdirections - HEY YOU, ONTO (instead of KNEW), like @mathguy, wanting to get PUT ME IN COACH at 27A - and just not having anything flip on the little lightbulb over my head. The abundance of crap fill (as Rex noted) didn't help.

(Crap fill including ENOTE. Nobody has written an ENOTE. Ever. People have written and sent uncountable scads of emails. Again, the only E word that should ever be allowed in a puzzle. Everything else is forced and fake and really needs to stop. It's not 1995 anymore.)

Did not fall for the Papa John's trap. That's a national chain, so the Northeast reference in the clue clearly had to be pointing to something else.

Agreed with Rex on the criticism of the benchwarmer clue. A benchwarmer is specifically a last-tier player. It's not synonymous with backup. (@JFC and @jberg are right that there can be other reasons to ride the bench, but an example like Alex Smith last year is distinctly different than a benchwarmer.) A benchwarmer is just happy to have a job, and while they'd like to play regularly, they're not likely to make such a demand.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:06, 6:07, 1.00, 47%, Medium
Tue 8:15, 8:15, 1.00, 51%, Medium
Wed 14:00, 9:44, 1.44, 98%, Challenging (4th highest ratio of 197 Wednesdays)
Thu 21:18, 16:44, 1.27, 86%, Challenging
Fri 24:10, 17:47, 1.36, 96%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 198 Fridays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:50, 0.97, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:49, 5:10, 0.93, 23%, Easy-Medium
Wed 7:23, 5:37, 1.31, 97%, Challenging (7th highest ratio of 197 Wednesdays)
Thu 12:48, 9:30, 1.35, 86%, Challenging
Fri 14:02, 10:07, 1.39, 94%, Challenging

Heath 10:34 PM  

Agree about "Play me or trade me". A benchwarmer would suggest (not demand) "Put me in, coach." As in John Fogerty's Centerfield.

Z 11:05 PM  

While there is some support in the various online dictionaries for the "worst player" interpretation, more common is the simple "reserve" or "substitute" definition for benchwarmer. Of course, the Urban Dictionary definition is the most colorful. I have heard it used in both ways, so was a bit surprised to find that all of the online references I looked at listed only one definition (except for the Urban Dictionary).

Anonymous 11:35 PM  

Not a huge fan of this puzzle's content, but extremely grateful for the puzzle experience, meaning multiple points where I was ready to DNF but found a small path forward by looking at a clue from a different angle ("Hmm, what do I stick in a turkey?"). This made up for Thursday's fiasco, where the dots were begging me to connect them but I created a perfect storm of self-obfuscation. Thursday, in turn, was payback for breezing through Wednesday by virtue of my familiarity with the P.K. Dick oeuvre. So, CW karma about even for the week.

syndy 12:02 AM  

Steve Young was the patron saint of benchwarmers.He told the niners exactly that!...and Montana got the axe! If one is not a speed solver is consecutive solving a sin? For the first run??What if we wanna???Been doin' it longer than you been alive,works for me.sue me!

Unknown 12:18 AM  

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Anonymous 1:36 AM  

I still don't know what CTN (51A) means, even after reading above that "Whse." means warehouse. Can somebody please explain?

Acme 1:42 AM  

@flora 11:40 am
Better not to write out because blogs can then get flagged and shut down, regardless of context.

JenCT 5:24 AM  

@Anon. 1:36: CTN = carton

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Thanks, JenCT. That occurred to me, but I thought it was too lame. Goes to show.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

A benchwarmer is anyone who sits on the bench all the time. Some are complacent, some might complain about being put in the game, or in this case, traded. It's a fine clue. It wouldn't have been necessary to change it to "underused athlete's cry."

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Loved this puzzle; finished 10/19/13. Ya know D says always go through the across clues first, then the down clues , then the across clues again and so on. The discussion about how to do crosswords today was interesting.

D and A

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

It's difficult to imagine that the team's reply to 27a wouldn't have the complainer in an airport within the week. And if he were Alex Smith he wouldn't have to say it; he knew damn well he'd be traded, because the team could get some meaningful talent in return. Personally? If I were gathering splinters? I'd keep my mouth shut as long as I was getting paid.

[TV show is just ending]
SHE: What happens [is on] next?
HE: I dunno. Where's the remote?
SHE: Oh, no. Don't even go there. You had it last.
HE: No; don't you remember? You mistook it for the meat thermometer last night.
SHE: You're gonna bring that up again? Why don't you just sleep on that couch you're glued to, then? There, that settles the score.
HE: Hey, man, play me or trade me.

AHH, ain't nothing like becoming a free agent.

Oh yeah, I'm supposed to evaluate the puzz. Despite some almost frantic attempts to toughen this baby through cluing, I did it in fairly short order and with only a couple of writeovers--johnS was a reflex action off Papa that I knew was wrong as soon as I wrote it in; that chain is nationwide. And HEYyou was soon eliminated, too, else 67a would have to begin UE__. And if it turned out to be UEYS--what else could it be--I was determined to toss it in the wastecan on the spot.

I agree that there must be some way to fix that horrible SW corner with all those consonants. Beyond that, we know that 15s beget junk fill; still there is some nice stuff going on: NOTARY ARMYSTRONG OXYGENATED. Interesting that the clue for SOXER, "Bobby's follower." is almost next to "Hockey Hall of Fame nickname." Get it? ORR should I give you a hint? The other -XER, TAXER is a bit less palatable. I can see "TIME GAP" as a clue for INTERVAL; in the reverse it looks awkward. Who says "TIME GAP?"

Dirigonzo 5:12 PM  

Much easier than yesterday's thanks to the very obtainable 15s, and still a lot of fun. Which point gets me to a place where I must take dispute with our illustrious host, who wrote: "You can't really appreciate [Revolving feature] followed by [Revolving features?] unless you are someone who goes methodically through all the Acrosses and all the Downs in order (and if you're solving that way, You're Doing It Wrong)." Well, that is exactly how I do it (as do others, I noted in the comments) and I do it that way for the same reason OFL does not - It let's me read every clue, even ones that may already have been solved by crosses. To me, reading a clever clue or figuring out a tricky one is half the fun of doing the puzzle and as I said, I do the puzzle for fun, not speed. Yes, I noticed and appreciated the Revolving feature/Revolving features? and I'm glad I did. So if you asked me who is "doing it wrong" I would say those who go for speed over savoring the nuances of the clues during the solve. I tried solving on-line recently and the process practically forced me to solve the puzzle in sections - I hated it. Which is why, dear syndilanders, you will never be rid of me. (End of rant.)

rain forest 5:31 PM  

Second consecutive great puzzle, in my opinion. Got PLAYMEORTRADEME with a few croses and didn't think twice about it. Seems there is a 5-week TIMEGAP between the original and the sydicated puzzles...

Agree with @syndy that I will solve my puzzles the way I want to, even if some "expert" says it's wrong. I'm not interested in reducing the TIMEGAP between my solve time and others'. So there!

DMG 6:15 PM  

Fell into the PeaS/PIES bog, though I couldn't remember ever hearing of a revolving stele. And, my 51A was a CoN(tainer), so I messed that corner up. Was surprised to find that HRAP/PEON was right. In all, I found this an awkward puzzle, and think @M and A was right- on about a lot of the clues being a bit iffy. and, no I didn't know ABBA, it was the only four letter group I can name! Sometimes it's jut luck! Or not, I just failed the robot test! One more try.

Cary in Boulder 6:58 PM  

Back in the Dark Ages when I was a kid in Baltimore, there was a burger chain called GINO'S, owned by the great Colts' defensive end, Gino Marchetti. Nevah hoid of this other guy, but then I've been Out West for over 40 years.

Personally thought the VEES clue was lame. Missed that Re, La and Ti are elements and could not name a Sara McLachlan song or CD if my life depended on it. Got TAXER but didn't like it. (I'm not a Tea Partyer just think it's a crappy word.)

How, pray tell, does ARE equate to "were present"? Inquiring syndicatees want to know.

Cary in Boulder 7:07 PM  

There's a very cool computer baseball simulation game called Out of the Park Baseball. Periodically players on your team will make requests or demands of you (the manager). I was once playing a season from the '60s and Woody Held, the very definition of a benchwarmer and hitting about .150 at the time, gave me a "play me or trade me" ultimatum. I didn't play him, but I didn't trade him either, mainly because no other team wanted him.

Dirigonzo 8:10 PM  

@Cary in Boulder - you're overthinking the clue. ARE is simply the present tense of "were". Get it now?

sdcheezhd 3:26 AM  

ECOLE for LYCEE. PEAS for PIES. Then when those were fixed HEYPAL for HEYMAN. RATIO for PISAN. MANSE for MANOR. Never heard of STILE. It was a mess over there. Glad to see the average times.

Not Quite the Bard 6:42 AM  

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Unknown 3:24 PM  

ARAL - you get the solve for free, from the down words. I could not find any translation of "island" to Turkish, except "ada"... not "aral". Nor does "aral" in Turkish translate to English. So, how did anybody get ARAL from only the clue?

JenCT 5:01 PM  

@Vick G:


Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Having a crossword puzzle issue.
My grandpa gave me the word reti, or re and ti as a crossword answer and asked that I find the word for word clue for this. The only clue he gave me was that it was two different words in the movie, Sound of Music – so naturally I go to the Do Re Mi song.
Chess is not the correct subject, nor the med terms.

He gave me the first letter for each word in the clue, which is SNAABDTW -- but I cannot figure this out. Help!

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