Chemistry Nobelist Hoffmann / FRI 12-13-13 / Sendler heroine of WW II's Polish Underground / Tennis star Petrova / Israel Philharmonic maestro / All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984 / Kid in shorts with cowlick / Novel followed up by Boyhood of Christ / Like Madrilenian millionairess

Friday, December 13, 2013

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (though the times I'm seeing at the NYT site suggest something closer to Challenging, so I don't Even know what's going on)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: IRENA Sendler (43D: ___ Sendler, heroine of W.W. II's Polish Underground) —
Irena Sendler (née Krzyżanowska, also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in PolandNom de guerre Jolanta; 15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008) was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of theWarsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust.
The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. In 1965, Sendler was recognized by the State of Israel as Righteous among the Nations. Late in life she was awarded Poland's highest honor for her wartime humanitarian efforts. She appears on a silver 2008 Polish commemorative coin honoring some of the Polish Righteous among the Nations. (wikipedia)
• • •
[DEAR SYNDICATED SOLVERS. Please listen to the following pitch. Also, feel free to write me with any comments or concerns. You're well over half my total audience, and yet I hardly ever hear from you. Thanks!]

THE PITCH — [You can scroll down if you've already read it]

So … it's January, the time when I make my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to this blog. Actually, I didn't make the pitch last year. I used last January to raise money for other causes instead (and it was my pleasure to do so). But this year I once again ask you (especially you regular readers) to consider what the blog is worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. As I've said before, as much as I love writing this blog, I treat it like a job— answers and commentary go up every day, without fail, usually at 12:01 am, but certainly by 9am at the very latest. This has been true for seven straight years. I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

Maybe I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users. Let's see...

I think that worked. Cool.

For people who send me actual honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail, I have this great new set of thank-you postcards that I'm hoping to burn through: "the iconic Pantone color chip design in 100 brilliant colors." Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … Pantone 19-2025: Red Plum? Ooooh, elegant. It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …

Update: I got my first snail-mail donation —look at the cuteness:

• • •

I'm not usually on Gary Cee's wavelength, but today was a dramatic exception. I couldn't be stopped. The only serious obstacle I had was one that I made for myself—misspelled TOCATTA thusly, and therefore couldn't make sense of either 18D: Chemistry Nobelist Hoffman (ROALD) or 23D: Hernando's hundred (CIEN) for a bit. Also, the indefinite article at the beginning of AN ACQUIRED TASTE threw me a little. Those don't normally get included. But once I dropped LIQUORED UP and that Q locked in, AN ACQUIRED TASTE went straight Across and I made steady, continuous progress around the grid from there. I had special knowledge advantage today, perhaps, as both FOUR-COLOR and ONE-OFF are very familiar terms from the world of comic books (about which I know a little). When I look at this grid, I just can't see where any major trouble could arise … but when I look at some of those times being posted at the NYT puzzle site, I know there must've been some serious pitfalls in there somewhere. The guy I normally chase, the guy whose time I measure my own by, who's almost always faster than me, was three full minutes behind me today. This is something that virtually never happens. Other names who normally post times roughly equivalent to my own were much, much farther back. So I'm baffled.

I didn't know some of the names (like IRENA and NADIA), but those were very guessable. I got MEHTA with no crosses. Wait, what does ATP mean? (39A: Need for muscle contraction, briefly) I'm only just seeing it now. From wikipedia: "Adenosine triphosphate is a nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme. It is often called the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism." I will confess I have never heard of this. Or I forgot it. ATP has something to do with tennis, doesn't it? Yes, Association of Tennis Professionals. That's the ATP I know. This ATP … not in my vocabulary. Wow, I lucked out with the crosses, that's for sure. Oh well, that's what they're there for—to keep your ignorance from destroying you.

My solve went a little something like this: From the NW, I worked my way into the NE until it was done and JOSHUA TREE dropped. Then I went back and worked on that TOCATTA / TOCCATA disaster until it cleared up (22A: Organ showpiece). Then it appeared I'd have some trouble working down the west coast, but BEEB threw me a lifeline (25D: English channel's nickname, with "the"), giving me the front ends of all those Acrosses. Once I dropped MAGNA CARTA, the rest was a blur. I knew as I was solving, especially when I hit the BLUE TOOTH area, that I was flying at some kind of insanely high speed. I felt very briefly what it must be like to be one of those Top 5 solvers; everything just leapt into view. In retrospect, I think the grid is really nicely filled. There's a good hunk of stuff that is unpalatable—the lackluster duo of ATAD and ASAD, the foreign bloc of FENG ANGE RICA ENSE CIEN, the not-terribly-lovable ENTRAIN / REHEM crossing. But mostly this one pops with fresh entries and interesting words and phrases. HERE'S HOW TO ORDER is a great grid-spanner (52A: Line near the end of an infomercial). I initially wrote in HERE'S THAT NUMBER! Thank god that was wrong.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

Finally (@Rex I agree with the rating)  an easy-medium puzzle!  Put in ALFALFA and was off and running with only a couple of erasures...A few for TAD and can for HEW.

PERDU was a WOE and google doesn't seem to like it much either.

I wonder if "One having a pit?" would fly for 41a?

BLUE TOOTH sucks.  At least when my daughter calls me from her car.

Solid grid with a soupçon of  zip...LIQUORED UP, ALFALFA, THE URGE, ONE OFF, SNOW JOB, WHA, MA AND PA, TIT (not as clued)... Liked it.

retired_chemist 12:15 AM  

Solid. In my wheelhouse. Easy-medium works here too.

ROALD Hoffmann and I started our academic careers with our offices next door to one another. Great guy.....

Lucky guess: A TAD instead of A bit @ 1D. the latter would have slowed me down in the NW considerably.

Had TIC for 39A briefly, but felt uneasy since it WAS a muscle contraction rather than what was needed for one. When MAGNA CARTA became obvious, so did ATP.

This is filled with cool answers and good clues. Thanks, Mr. Cee.

wreck 12:24 AM  

This was still hard for me -- but really fair! I agree with Rex's analysis pretty much across the board. 41 across made be grin .... I so wanted it to incorporate EYEPIT

retired_chemist 12:33 AM  

PERDU seems OK. However, I got it only knowing it was French for "lost."

George Barany 12:34 AM  

Loved this puzzle. ROALD Hoffmann , Holocaust survivor, Stuyvesant High School alum, Woodward-Hoffmann rules, Nobel laureate, science popularizer, poet/playwright ... and on top of that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) , the energy currency of life, including muscle contraction. Bravo Gary.

wreck 12:54 AM  

Retired_chemist and Mr. Barany -- Thanks!! It is really neat when we get to espouse on puzzles that hit "close to home." My only "eureka moment" was on the clue several weeks ago about the game "PENTE."

Ellen S 1:03 AM  

Really hard, but fun, bracing, refreshing. Is there going to be some backlash about Reedlings? Are TITs okay but pewits not so much? While looking up that answer (I say without even blushing), I found Reedlings are also a video game creature which through evolution or graphical laziness has no nose, mouth, gills or other way to breathe, but has developed growths on its back that look like flutes or recorders. The Reedlings breathe through these tubes, each exhalation producing a musical note; thus they "breathe music." Will wonders never cease? In the same puzzle with IRENA Sendler, yet.

Steve J 1:17 AM  

A TAD of a mixed bag that I mostly liked. Struggled with PERDU/THE URGE (I had THE HOTS for a very long time), and the MEHTA/RICA cross was tough. Finally got close on that with RICo by remembering one of the truly awful ONE OFF hits from the early '90s, Rico Suave, but I messed up the gender. (I apologize in advance to any and all who now have that song stuck in their head.)

Using articles in fill is AN ACQUIRED TASTE that I don't think I'll ever latch on to. They're usually not there, and outside limited circumstances, I always perceive them as a crutch.

Loved LIQUORED UP and HERE'S HOW TO ORDER (I had FOR A LIMITED TIME at first, but that disappeared quickly with the automatic (for me) BLUETOOTH), and clues for BEEB and VALET. Liked ALSO RAN, ONE-OFF and NOSE-TO-NOSE.

Too reliant on foreign words, and both VERY TOP and IT'S DONE fell a little flat for me. But this was mostly good and mostly enjoyable, even if I only mostly finished.

retired_chemist 1:33 AM  

A ROALD Hoffmann story: I had a lab on the third floor. I was running a reaction overnight, the water pressure in the building (Baker Lab) rose, and the condenser hose popped off. I had not planned for this eventuality. I returned to work in the morning to find that a full soaking of Hoffman's computer printout storage room in the basement, not to mention about 3 inches of water in several other basement rooms, had resulted. Much grief but he and my other colleagues were quite the gentlemen about it (there were no ladies at that time - late sixties).

Once recovered from my chagrin, I summarily got flow sensors and the shutoff valves they activated so this never happened again.

The water pressure problem, however, persisted. It was in those days adjusted manually by Physical Plant, with the consequent possibility of human error. A couple of years later, one of my colleagues showed up walking very awkwardly, and at coffee revealed that he was injured in his most private region. He had been in the building late at night and used a urinal. Physical Plant was expected to turn down the water pressure during periods of low usage, i.e. later at night, weekends, and holidays. This time someone forgot and flushing of the urinal resulted in an exploded urinal and ceramic shards all over the plane, obviously focused on my colleague. There but for the grace of God.....

retired_chemist 1:34 AM  

place not plane.

Benko 1:40 AM  

À Récherche du Temps PERDU--Marcel Proust's lifework.
Saw Proust's grave at Père LaChaise.
I'm sure many scientific-minded posters will be surprised @Rex has not heard of ATP. You probably did learn it in a biology class though, Rex, then forgot it.
I found this puzzle to be easier than yesterday's and there were sections if it which I did fly through. but I also got bogged down in the NE and SW for a bit each, causing my time to be higher than normal.
Biggest self-congratulatory moment for me was remembering FENG meant wind, since FENG Shui is "Wind water."

MetaRex 2:38 AM  

AN ACQUIRED TASTE? Well, I gave it a -1 for the AN, and a +1 for sparkle.

Thx for the reedlings info, @Ellen still relying on yr "how to link on blogger" link...

The numerical story on rating today's puzz is at Here's how to order.

Alfalfa Carew Manhours 3:08 AM  

Slow ups: THEhots, MANHOle, and since I had
---------EDTASTE I put in AcquiredEDTASTE, not realizing I already had the ED.

I understand the crazed happiness since people flew threw this, but I cry small foul on the AN, esp with ATAD and ASAD.

Synchronicity Moment, had just been discussing where JOSHUATREE was located an hour before.

I love to tell my meeting Rod CAREW at a MacDonalds in Minneapolis in the early seventies...not knowing who he was, but I'm too tired tonight!

JUST getting ALLY as a verb right now.

I hate the spelling of BOOTeE and I can't believe there's another famous ROALD besides DAHL.


Don't know the connection between BLUETOOTH and the Danish King, but sounds fun.

John Child 4:09 AM  

Good fun in a normal Friday time for me. I found the south harder, and the southwest hardest of all.

Danp 6:31 AM  

I can think of a lot of foods I would associate with acquired taste. Black Licorice and blue cheese are not among them. Maybe limburger and civet coffee.

Loved BLUETOOTH, a name that never made any sense to me before. Who'd have guessed a Viking would inspire a radio thing? Interesting metaphor as Bluetooth was known for bringing together warring factions. Well, not well known, at least not outside Denmark, but OK.

Uma 7:23 AM  

Was it just me or did someone else find that there were a number of alternate answers that fit?
Of course I entered all these, which is how I know! :-)

GILL I. 7:39 AM  

For some reason I just can't conjure up a picture of a bearded TIT.
This puzzle was fun. Easier than yesterday's and not as many bothersome entries.
I too don't like BOOTEE and ENTRAIN - sounds made up. but that's about it.
To me AN ACQUIRED TASTE would be something like snails or raw oysters. (I love them both though). Any cheese with blue or green in it is ok by me....
Thanks GC - good puzzle.

jberg 7:45 AM  

Funny how one's solving experience varies with life experience. I couldn't even get started with this one (except for the incorrect 'stew' at 20A) until I got to the gimme ATP. I'm not a scientist, but this stuff fascinates me.

On the other hand, being of Norwegian ancestry, I always think of Harald BLUETOOTH Gormson as king of Norway -- which he was as well -- so that otherwise obvious answer didn't come to me until I had most of the crosses.

So this one was challenging for me, mostly because of the many wrong entries I confidently wrote in: can before HEW ("gave the ax"), stirS before ROILS, type a before VALET (one who works a lot), Axis before ACRE (Plot element?), and the aforementioned stew (goulash). I thought of PERDU right away, but didn't put it in because the clue gave no hint of French, while the clue for 42A did hint at Spanish, and 50D of Chinese. I finally broke through when I saw FOUR COLOR, fixing the 'stirs' error and giving me ALFALFA, A TAD, and AN ACQUIRED TASTE.

Which gets me to that indefinite article. I actually liked it, because you NEVER hear the phrase without the article.

Oh, yeah, IRiNa, IRENa, before finally IRENE. Given all those errors, I'm surprised I finally got it.

@Retired, thanks for all those chemistry stories!

Bookdeb 8:00 AM  

Easier to google reedling to find photos of a bearded tit.

It is the last one on this page.

joho 8:04 AM  

Fun Friday!

My biggest problem was the SE corner because I like @Steve J and @Alfalfa Carew Manhours had THEhots for too long. I also tried PERse. Finally I saw that it had to be ODOR which gave me FREE and I was DONE!

Loved learning about BLUETOOTH today! I wonder if he was related to Red Beard? Also loved TOOTH next to NOSE.

This was EASY to me as Fridays go and I enjoyed it immensely! Good one, Gary Cee!

Robso 8:05 AM  

Loved the english channel clue. Do some valets work really hard? I was a parking valet for a few months--that wasn't hard work by a long shot. Also, I think babies wear "booties." A bootee is the guy who gets booted from a bar.
Bearded tits? :/

AliasZ 8:07 AM  

ALFALFA and TOCCATA gave me a strong foothold in the N-NE, which made the entire westERN hemisphere fall like a house of cards with the help of BEN HUR. The east side was harder due to my initial entries of WAIT THERE IS MORE and FACE-TO-FACE. But MAGNA CARTA helped me out as did ALSORAN, Rod CAREW and ODOR FREE.

Funny, @Ascot Cien Mehta, my first reaction was that I couldn't believe there was another famous ROALD besides Amundsen.

I would have loved the 41A clue to read "Lead-in to bolt or pit."

For some reason I had THE URGE to enter ENTRAIL for 55A until I figured out that the "limited" refers to express TRAIN services rather than narrow trails.

ATAD, ASAD, ASCOT (Sean Connery, e.g.), and the Wheel-of-Fortune purchase ANI were ATAD repetitive, ASAD little glitch on an otherwise brilliant puzzle. The freshness of the entries and exemplary cluing (the one for V-CHIP my favorite) made it a near-perfect, ODOR FREE Friday (no stinkers). Thank you, Gary Cee and Will.

This upbeat puzzle could not be put to better music than the TOCCATA Marziale by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Anyone suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia? No? In that case enjoy your Friday the 13th!

dk 8:14 AM  

Retired and George thanks for the mammerys (sorry Ellen S I just can not help myself).

What a puzzle! No tricks, no missing amything -- just words. This one had me at HERESHOWTOORDER and coupled with ATP -- life is the making and breaking of chemical bonds don't cha know.

A certain VERYTOP constructor is a source of THEURGE if ya catch my drift.

**** (4 Stars) off to see if i can spot the watch on the chariot driver in BENHUR or perhaps feed the lions... I wonder if there is a christian deli near by... Ho Ho

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Tough Friday but fun. @Retired Chemist, great story.

Michael Hanko 8:25 AM  

Sparkly, fun puzzle! Nice way to welcome the weekend.

Here's a question for the seasoned constructors among us: when is it ok to use a word in both the clues and the fill? I was wondering if the editing team BLUE it today....

Sir Hillary 8:31 AM  

Loved this one. The grid really sparkles, and just the right amount of crunch. About as enjoyable a solving experience as I could ask for.

As usual, sports knowledge was my foot in the door. Dropped NADIA in first, and somehow got ANACQUIREDTASTE off just that one D...probably because my daughter hates both black licorice and blue cheese (so for her an uNACQUIREDTASTE).

Toughest part for me was the SW, despite having MAANDPA, MAGNACARTA and ERN early on. Took me a while to parse VCHIP and HERESHOWTOORDER.

Love the (inadvertant, I assume) central column of ROALD CAREW. Looks like a theme answer in a puzzle entitled "Al Aboard". Haven't thought of a good clue yet.

Thanks, Gary!

Mohair Sam 8:38 AM  

dnf Friday here. Got naticked at the "T" in ATP. Enjoyed the puzzle a lot however. NW filled in what seemed like seconds, then worked painfully around clockwise until getting ATP'd. Thank Heaven for Rod CAREW or we would have had a ton of white space at the bottom.

Cluing had some unusually clever misdirection, loved BEEB. And BLUETOOTH - who knew? Yeah, this was a quality Friday test and a lot of fun. Thanks Gary Cee.

Sir Hillary 8:44 AM  

@retired_chemist...wonderful stories. As a Cornell government major, I didn't spend much time in Baker, but the building took on a certain mythical quality in my head, as I was constantly listening to friends bemoan their difficulties in Chem 207 or P-Chem.

Shamik 8:58 AM  

Rex, don't be baffled. You had a stellar day. Simple! Sit back and enjoy feeling smug...sometimes it's just good to do that. Another day will kick your butt...not as much as it kicks most of ours, but it will come to pass. Enjoy those stellar solves as they come.

But you knew that advice already. ;-)

retired_chemist 8:58 AM  

@Sir Hilary - The bumper sticker, "Honk if you love P-Chem" came later.......

Unknown 9:06 AM  

A little harder than average for me, due to the bottom areas. Flew through the top. Had IRiNA, which made dor a very hard to fathom beginning of the infomercial (HiRES). That had me stopped dead. Finally ran through enough ballplayers from the era in question to arrive at CAREW from there things fell into place. Not happy about TIT, PERDU and FENG but managed thru guessing and rudimentary knowledge of French. Kept looking for a rebus or nasty trick after yesterday's nightmare!

fe 9:08 AM  

I, too am a retired chemist from Cornell. I first met Roald Hoffmann when I had to take the placement exams, like every new graduate student in chemistry. Roald Hoffmann was the one passing out one of the exams and he looked so young (and with wire-rimmed glasses) that I wondered who this TA was. When I found out I was astounded that someone so young could have made such an impact. In addition, a truly nice person.

Carola 9:13 AM  

WHA' a treat! (Pronunciation possibly heard on the BEEB.) Agree with all above about the great entries and clues. I purred right along until I reached the SE, where I took at DETOUR into the wrong Shakespeare play and wrote in "athens." Also mistakenly had "THE hots" beneath "ITS gONE," which gave me a 5-letter word ending in "gh" for "Out of sight" - seemed possible. Took a while to straighten that all out.

Fun that the married couple from yesterday, M(R) AND M(R)S, felt THE URGE and became parents: MA AND PA.

P-CO 9:34 AM  

ATP is created by the Krebs cycle. Krebs and Lipman were awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in physiology for this groundbreaking discovery. I first learned about it in high school biology back in '64. That'll teach you, Rex, for falling asleep in class. But on the positive side, we're grateful that you've channeled the energy from all your ATP into creating the world's greatest crossword site.

wordie 9:51 AM  

I agree that this is a delightful puzzle, but I cry foul on bootee. I DNF because I had bootie, and ended up guessing I ask for 33D, leaving me with eke instead of eye. Spent a lot of time on that section and it never occurred to me to spell it bootee. Because it's wrong!

mathguy 9:52 AM  

I was surprised that no one complained about the clue for ALLY. It seems that "Hitch" would have been a sufficient clue. Unless it's a technical term having to do with horses.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

40 across doesn't say work hard, it says "work a lot"....valet, parking lot. Duh.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

The ATP clue surprised me, at first I had REP as in reps of an exercise then I got the A in MAGNACARTA and my mind went to ATP or ADP (the degraded form of ATP). I thought it was a little obscure but wrote it in.

I thought the puzzle played tough and it took me two sittings to finish it. Even then I had an error at RICA/MEHTA (had RICI/MEHTI. Silly mistake.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

"work a lot" not "work hard". Valet in parking lot. duh.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 AM  

Really fine puzzle, what a Friday should be.

@Michael Hanko - You ask, "I was wondering if the editing team BLUE it today.... " I would say yes, in writing the clue for 17 A, which certainly was intended to say "bleu cheese." :>)

Lindsay 10:29 AM  

Wow, very challenging here, especially the NW, which for a while looked undoable. Only know ALFALFA as something to feed a horse, never ever heard of TOCATTA and couldn't even figure out if the clue was going for a pipe organ, an internal organ or a propaganda organ. Had ????????EDTASTE and didn't think of "acquired" as it never occurred to me that one could acquire a taste for licorice or blue cheese. Wanted "vomitose" or something like that.

So, having no entrée into that corner, I filled in parade pErmit yie yie yie. Going nowhere. Put the puzzle down, came back, pulled FOUR COLOR out of some recess of my brain and crawled over the finish line. But barely.

Robso 10:37 AM  

Oh yes, re: valet.
Duh indeed, anonymous.

Anoa Bob 10:43 AM  


With F_ _R_ _ _ _ _ in place for 6D "Like a common printing process", I did a mini-happy-dance and confidently threw down FerRotype. Oops, wrong kind of printing.

With _ _OW JOB up top and THE URGE down below, an interesting opportunity was missed, methinks, for the NYT to get a little edgy.

Adding an article to the front of a grid entry, here AN ACQUIRED TASTE, is the equivalent of adding S or ES to the end of a grid entry. Both are examples of letter-count manipulation (LCM) for convenience sake, solely to make it easier to fill 'er in.

Milford 10:50 AM  

This felt easy as a Friday, for me - I finished it! I am especially proud that I had the confidence to plunk down AN ACQUIRED TASTE as my very first entry, nary a cross. I think that is what attempting these harder puzzles week-after-week can give you - confidence in those long entries.

(And I have no problem with the article included - that AN is a necessary part of the phrase, IMHO).

So interesting to have two people on this blog who knew ROALD Hoffmann! Thanks for the story, @ret. chemist.

I was gleeful about the clue for ATP - "Need for muscle contraction, briefly" - what a great, accurate clue! I wouldn't expect the general population to know what it is, but as a biochem major, I had to know the glycolytic pathway and Krebs cycle. ATP is amazing, a genius recycling process for energy in our bodies! One of the most interesting things I learned in physiology class was how muscles work. Once you learn you are in awe of what has to occur for each muscle contraction.

LIQUORED UP was a fun entry, and I liked FOUR-COLOR. @Carola, I like your MA and PA connection to yesterday!

Thank you, Gary Cee, lovely Friday.

Oscar Wilde 11:00 AM  

AQUIREDTASTES are the only ones worth having

Steve J 11:04 AM  

Seeing a couple comments about BOOTEE - and having made a comment a few weeks ago when it showed up - I looked in a few dictionaries. Most of the 5-6 I looked up listed BOOTEE as the primary entry, with BOOTiE as the variant.

I've always thought it was "bootie", but that appears not necessarily to be the case.

@Michael Hanko: I'm not a constructor, but from my point of view, there's nothing wrong with having a word that shows up in the fill show up in the clues. The big no-no is having the word in the answer's clue (which happened a few days ago). Elsewhere, especially when it's a pretty common word and it's well-separated from the answer, doesn't bother me as a solver. If it were an uncommon word, or if it were in close proximity to the answer (say, in one of the surrounding clues), that would be problematic. But as done here, it doesn't seem like a problem to me.

(And, yes, as @Bob Kerfuffle said, it should have been bleu cheese. Which is AN ACQUIRED TASTE. I love good ones now, but I hated it as a kid. I'm guessing that's the usual trajectory.)

Two Ponies 11:08 AM  

It's been a tough week. This one slayed me. Really vague clues made it feel more like a Saturday for this (non)solver.
Egged on for Goosed?

Lewis 11:18 AM  

I believe the AN in front of ACQUIREDTASTE is fine, as the answer is clued. It could have been left out, but is more natural. I loved the answers WHA and BEEB. As someone said earlier, just what a Friday puzzle should be.

Elegant looking grid. And I like ALFALFA backwards -- aflafla -- which sound like a statement that could be made while half awake.

Michael Hanko 11:24 AM  

Thank you for chiming in, @Bob Kerfuffle and @Steve J.

I agree with you, Steve, but we apparently draw the boundaries of "uncommon" differently. In my opinion, BLUE is a colorful enough word that it sends up a red flag. Prepositions or articles or mundane words like "man" or "good" I would probably accept or not even notice.

It's great to see how differently we all approach the same activity!

Unknown 11:34 AM  

Fun Friday challenge. I loved the longer answers and found them a worthwhile payoff for having to deal with what Rex appropriately dubbed "the foreign bloc".

Unknown 11:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 11:43 AM  

@mathguy. Let's "hitch horses" is a common term down on the farm when you want to team up on a project.

Ω 11:49 AM  

@Gill I.P. - I ran into a few in my younger days, so no problem visualizing one here.

NW of the diagonal was almost Monday easy for me. SE of the diagonal was an hour plus in the solving. So Easy-Challenging here. Began with facE-TO-facE, but the DROOL finally got wiped from my chin. Then I tried BOOThE (thinking a shower at an Expo) and wondering if the E could be a legit variant. This made "Calm down now..." huSh, with that one right letter helping me to hang onto it for toooooo long. CAREW, VERONA, and ACRE were my toe holds. Have haT where TIT belonged made the last two words of 52A WhO ORDER, making parsing the front part of the phrase neigh on impossible.

TORSION? yuck. ATP gets talked about by the younger ultimate players, so that was no problem. REHEM was REarM for awhile. And I, too, wondered where the French indicator was for PERDU.

Beer-Rating - Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. AN ACQUIRED TASTE for some, much like a good, straightforward, challenging Friday NYT crossword puzzle.

Ω 11:54 AM  

Blue cheese is the American spelling. Knowing the French, they probably have some law about "Bleu" cheese having to be from some specific region and made in a certain way.

Blue Stater 11:57 AM  

I still don't get 1A, ALFALFA. Other problems: "hitch horses" = ALLY? "Out of sight" = PERDU? I'd like to see even one citation for that last word with that meaning.

AliasZ 12:07 PM  

MAGNA CARTA (Latin for Great Charter), also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter originally issued in Latin in the year 1215. It was the first document forced onto a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their rights.

It inspired many later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution. Sadly, there is a general tendency today to question the validity of the purpose of the US Constitution: to limit the powers of government by law and protect our individual rights.

For me what made the movie BEN HUR was its music by composer Miklós Rózsa. In this clip he himself conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Sir Hillary 12:11 PM  

@Blue Stater...ALFALFA as in the kid from The Little Rascals.

i am not a robot 12:26 PM  


Wonderful write-up.

Also, loved the inclusions of Bach fugue and Wiki on Irena Sendler.

And, while I am at it, loved learning that Blue Tooth is named
after Medieval King. Who knew?

Nemo paradise 12:35 PM  

Ben Hur's subtitle is "A Tale of the Christ". No boyhood in there at all. Tsk tsk.

Notsofast 12:42 PM  

You know how men and women don't have the same thought processes? Well, I guess its the same with me and Gary Cee. For example, BOOTEE, made for the shower? BREWS, an Inn inventory? Apex is VERYTOP???? Who thinks like that? I did like some of the fresh fill, even though much of the cluing was weird as hell.

Masked and Anonym007Us 12:56 PM  

Feels soooo good to have the puz's R's actin normal again. That R-boy constructioneer from yesterday is at it again, tho -- over at the La Times puz; and he brought along some help.

This one here went pretty smooth. Nailed ALFALFA, FOURCOLOR, JOSHUATREE and WHA cleanly. Big slowjob at TOCCATA CIEN ROALD plaza, but toughed it out. Ever seen Joshua trees in bloom? We did. Musta been in March, near twenty mule team road, out in California. We were just passin thru. Looked like some dude in a hurry stuck big radar dishes on them trees at random. Made me go WHA (fave weeject of the day, btw). Kinda pretty dishes, I'd grant.


Agent 007-U will return, in "Per Du Eyes Only".


Sandy K 1:01 PM  

Really liked this puz!

Had a few DETOURS eg facE TO facE before NOSE TO NOSE, cantATA before TOCCATA. Wasn't sure about PERDU, ALLY or ONE-OFF, but now IT'S DONE.

Faves were AN ACQUIRED TASTE, ALFALFA, HERE'S HOW TO ORDER, MA AND PA, and the clue for 13D.

Enjoyed it, tho not EASY- took A TAD under a woMAN-HOUR for me.

Alice in SF 1:10 PM  

@retired_chemist. You knew Roald Hoffman too? He was my husband's colleague in arts and science. We know he and his wife; his son was a friend of our son; and we sold our condo on West Hill to him. How about that?

This puzzle was a killer for me--peeked at Rex's answers every other minute. No fun at all compared to Thursday's.

Gen. Lew Wallace 1:11 PM  

@Nemo paradise -

Among my novels are:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (New York: Harper & Brothers), 1880.

The Boyhood of Christ (New York: Harper & Brothers), 1888.

Benko 1:14 PM  

I was really surprised to see everyone else's surprise at
learning BLUETOOTH is named after a Danish king. Doesn't everyone know that trivia, it used to be on every game show, I was thinking, until I remembered that it was always on the shows on the BEEB, when I lived overseas. Funny how it's a really common bit of trivia over there but not over here.
@Z--I don't think the French have laws regarding bleu cheese in general, but they do for the specific kinds--Rocquefort has to be aged in the Rocquefort caves, for example. Also, regarding Bell's Two-Hearted--I used to not really like pale ales, but 2 Hearted was the one that eased me into loving hops as ANACQUIREDTASTE. Now I drink the extremely hoppy beers, no problem.

Ω 1:44 PM  

@Benko - The wiki article on blue cheese does discuss EU rules and then individual country rules, mentioning Rocquefort. I, of course, was just being my usual sarcastic self. And Two-Hearted Ale is a great introduction to hoppier beers, as well as a great accompaniment to a little Hemingway.

R. McGeddon 2:01 PM  

ROALD HOFFMANN wasn't saved directly by IRENA SENDLER, but he and his mother escaped death thanks to a neighbor. Honor to all the righteous.

retired_chemist 2:35 PM  

@ milford - your comment might be taken to mean that Roald Hoffmann is deceased. Not at all - he is in his late seventies or so, and he is still very much alive both physically and mentally.

Acme 2:41 PM  


I stand corrected about BOOT?E, tho viscerally still don't like!

Regarding BLUE clues and in grid, I am not AN editor, but considering there are a hundred other things that could be cited for ()ACQUIREDTASTE, I'd have chosen a different one, considering BLUETOOTH is in the puzzle

(Plus it does seem like a misspelling of BLEU rather than a translation. I only see BLUE cheese written on menus that also offer RUEBEN sandwiches and BROCOLLI.)

I suspect Will chose Blue cheese to go with the color scheme of Black licorice.

okanaganer 2:44 PM  

Whew...what a nice, solvable puzzle after yesterday's epic (but rewarding) struggle! @uma: I too had LIQUIDATED for a looooong time.

It's funny how phrases parse (or don't) when concatenated... looking at the completed grid I think "NO SET ON OSE...what the heck was that?"

Questinia 2:46 PM  

Brain felt like oatmeal on a stick last night and so found this more on the challenging side. In fact I kept looking at the day to make sure it wasn't Saturday. Top was easy, bottom I had to CHIP away at. Did not know BLUETOOTH at all, despite using it, and needed many crosses.

THE hots before THE URGE, ODOR less before FREE.
Was overjoyed to see ATP.

HERES HOW TO ORDER simply didn't come for the longest Kept thinking "Our operators are standing by".

M and Ally 3:00 PM  

Occurs to m&e, that these constructioneers make a beeline to sites like this, anxious to devour our meaty, learned comments about every nuance of their puz. Snazzy long entries? Tough crossings? Interestin vocab? Solid fill? Good mix of grams and pans? Clever theme? Easy versus hard solve?

So, they get here, and are served up real odd -- but primo -- discussions, such as...
* Sharknado movie reviews
* Steven Hawking theory holes
* U counts
* Cool explodin urinal injuries
* Choir performances from Hell
* Who did the La Times puz today
* Grammar and punctuation tips peppered with flea references
* EYEPIT flashbacks
* Which cheeses suck
* Captchas
* Some *really* wildass digressin

No doubt these published cuciverbalists experience a major constructioneer-WTF? Not that y'all is shy about sayin something, plus or minus, about the puz. But, heck, if they're gonna try to puzzle us and fry our brains, darned if the least we can do is try to return the favor, and confuse things up a little. Tis only polite, yah see... QED.

Gotta go do my C-cards. So many friends and relatives that have been ignored for a year, so little time...


OISK 4:31 PM  

@retired chemist - Thanks for the memories; I hope to be a retired chemist in a couple of years myself. Liked this puzzle, just about right for a Friday, and MUCH easier than yesterday's, which I finished this morning. Gary Cee's puzzles almost always work well for me. Clever cluing , but nothing completely obscure - had to think twice about what "entrain" means though.
Had a bad run of one square DNF last week, but haven't slipped up this week yet. Nice job, Mr. Cee.

P.S. - Blue cheese, sure, but does anybody not like licorice on first tasting? I can't remember anyone ever turning down a "Good and Plenty."

P.P.S. In my mind now, Alfalfa is singing to Darla, "Believe me if all those endearing young charms.."

Loren Muse Smith 4:58 PM  

I'm with @jberg and @Questinia – this was harder for me than everyone is saying.

@Questinia – I kept making sure that "But wait! There's more!" Didn't fit.

@Gil I.P. – funny about a bearded TIT!

@M & A – you always entertain.

"Sole" before LONE, "stirs" before ROILS.

I didn't see VERY TOP until the bitter end. After I checked the "but wait" one, I kept making sure "tippy TOP" didn't fit there.

Liked EGGED ON crossing LIQUORED UP. Recipe for disaster. "Hey, Bubba – I dare you to climb to the VERY TOP of that JOSHUA TREE and SMELT. Go on. I won't tell MA and PA."

DROOL is always nice and always appreciated. Seriously. What a lively little word.

All in all, nice job. Thanks, Gary.

Alice in SF 5:05 PM  

I left a comment earlier but it's been deleted, I guess, so I'll try again.

What a puzzle--couldn't do it at all; spent most of my time peeking at Rex's answers. The only aha I had was Roald whom I knew in Ihaca, NY.

@retired_chemist: My husband was Roald Hoffman's colleague in arts and sciences. We knew Roald and Eva; our son was a buddy of their son; and we sold our condo to him. What a coincidence.

mac 5:50 PM  

Very good Friday, but challenging for me. DNF in the bluetooth/valet general area.

For way too long I was trying to remember a nickname for the English Channel, la Manche, until the penny dropped. Instead of bootee I had douche for a little while, it just means shower in Dutch.

I can't call "the urge" a euphemism; can't we think of something a little more "eu"?

retired_chemist 5:51 PM  

@Alice: Amazing how many of us connect to Roald. Nice, actually.

Ellen S 9:26 PM  

@dk, don't need to apologize if you want to make a boob of yourself... (Besides,the "christian deli" is priceless!)

@jberg, IRENA was correct; if you wound up with IRENe, you ended with an error, and your rural parents would be Me AND PA.

I thought of ENTRAIN in its literal definition of something being swept along in a current, thus having limited options of motion, not the cute wordplay of getting aboard The Crossword Limited.

Anonymous 10:27 PM  

As a knitter, I found BOOTEE totally legit. That is the only way I've ever seen it spelled in pattern books.


sanfranman59 10:44 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:35, 6:07, 1.24, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 207 Mondays)
Tue 9:34, 8:12, 1.17, 87%, Challenging
Wed 11:19, 9:55, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Thu 26:07, 17:47, 1.47, 95%, Challenging (11th highest ratio of 207 Thursdays)
Fri 25:24, 19:47, 1.30, 92%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:41, 3:46, 1.24, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest ratio of 207 Mondays)
Tue 5:24, 5:09, 1.05, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:45, 5:55, 1.14, 85%, Challenging
Thu 18:38, 10:07, 1.84, 100%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 207 Thursdays)
Fri 13:06, 11:32, 1.14, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Challenging Week continues

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

Interesting that you measure your time against other solvers and so rudely dismissed me when I asked how some of these solvers post impossible times....

Tita 11:00 AM  

@Robso - Valets work a *parking* lot.

@AliasZ - my stepdaughter married a Scot in September - his brother got married yesterday, Friday the 13th, because they met on 12/13/02, also a Friday. No phobias there.

@ret_chem - great stories!

@Bob K - personally, I think it oughta be "blue", if it defines "cheese", rather than "fromage". Not sure what the convention is...all I know is, if you said "bleu cheese" to my mother, shwe would insist that you pronounce it "bleu". She neve lets me pronounce any French word like née or fiancée withthe adopted American prononciation.

Added a stiffer TORSION bar to my 1985 VW GTi to try and keep its inside wheel from kicking up when rounding corners at high rates of speed when I'd take it to Lime Rock (or exit 41 off the Merritt...)

Puzzle - I finished! wog! Wonder of wonders. Just crunchy enough to make me feel like I worked hard at it. THought MANHOUR and ONOFF were much more general terms than how they were clued - I'm in software, and use both those terms all the time. Liked VERYTOP - makes me think of how we would stretch to get to the VERY[tippy-]TOP of our tree, which while tall at probably 10', seemed like 100' when I was wee.

THank you Mr. C!

Laurence Hunt 12:30 PM  

Rex, you need to take a biochemistry course. Ours is the era of biochemistry, a very exciting field at this time. Just saying, ATP is one of the first I got. And after that, check out "myokine" in Wikipedia. Everybody should know this stuff.

GAR 3:42 PM  

I found this to be harder than most of the commenters did. I am amazed that 3 commenters personally knew Roald Hoffman, who won the Nobel Prize over 30 years ago. I never heard of him. Other answers I had never heard of or didn’t know included TOCCATA, FOURCOLOR, IRENA Hendler, ATP, ENTRAIN and PERDU. I got ALFALFA, LONE, FRAT, and ANI right away in the NW, and then came to a grinding halt. I had almost all of the same incorrect initial entries as others have mentioned including ABIT for ATAD, CAN for HEW, RILES then STIRS for ROILS, REP for ATP and ITSOVER for ITSDONE. I also had several others (EXODUS for BENHUR, URGEDON for EGGEDON, ONESIE FOR BOOTEE, INYOURFACE FOR NOSETONOSE and AARON for CAREW). Needless to say, it took me quite a while to get on the right track. I only did so after looking up Roald Hoffman. After that, it all started to fall in place. Despite the number of things in the puzzle I didn’t know, I enjoyed it.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Thank you Mr. Cee for a delightful medium puzzle. Twas nice to learn a new word like "toccata."

Ron Diego 8:30 AM PST 1/17/14

spacecraft 11:51 AM  

I found this one to be medium to medium-challenging in the SE. Like @Blue Stater, I'm having a "lot" of trouble with the clues for ALLY and PERDU. My Scrabble dictionary defines the latter as "A soldier sent on a dangerous mission." Hmmm. So, I guess he'd do well to keep, uh, out of sight.

The 15's? Whipped those suckers right across, off just the ANA on top--and nothing at all on the bottom! I do not watch those horrid time-fillers, but channel surfing does sometimes land me in one of 'em, and that line is universal. And they repeat the phone number six, seven, and even eight times, in rapid succession, separated only by "That's." Do they think we're all morons?

But I rantingly digress. "Goosed" means just one thing to me, and it has little to do with EGGEDON. FOURCOLOR came easily enough, but I never heard of ONEOFF. Also, to me direct confrontation is much more commonly head-to-head. I'm not familiar with the nose thing; perhaps from Cyrano's point of view...

Also, WHA??? does SNOWJOB have to do with "Soft soap relative??" I finished this, and can't believe yesterday's nightmare rated an earlier day slot, but on some of the clues, somebody's got some 'splainin' to do!

The fill was interesting. I sense that Mr. Cee is evolving, and in the best of ways. The most unlovely thing is REHEM, but that's a small enough price.

Serendipity: I played in a video poker tournament yesterday, getting four deuces twice in my session. That's the same hand as my captcha today!

Merriam Webster 12:03 PM  

snow job

: a strong effort to make someone believe something by saying things that are not true or sincere
Full Definition of SNOW JOB
: an intensive effort at persuasion or deception

transitive verb \ˈsȯf(t)-ˈsōp\

: to try to persuade (someone) to do something by using praise, kind words, etc.
Full Definition of SOFT-SOAP
: to soothe or persuade with flattery or blarney

Solving in Seattle 1:55 PM  

Ahem... nice to see another TIT showing up for the second day in a row. We now have a pair. Gives me THEURGE.

I have ANACQUIREDTASTE for a lot of stuff, but licorice is not one of them. Love the scene in Amahl, though, when the night visitor reveals what's in his box.


My father-in-law doesn't sleep well at night, so he gets up and watches infomercials. Packages arrive every day. Sigh. 52A was a drop-in for me.

Good Friday puz, Gary Cee, and pretty good clues, too.

@Tita, nice to see you visit Syndyland yesterday. Luv your posts.

@Spacy, your four deuces beat my two pair today. Congrats.

Go Hawks!

Dirigonzo 3:31 PM  

I threw a Hail Mary at the ATP/MEHTA cross and it connected to prevent my usual OWS. My parade needed a pErmit before a DETOUR.
@spacey - M-W has already explained your SNOWJOB query, so I'll share what I just learned from about PERDU: perdu (ˈpɜːdjuː) or perdue
1. (Military) (of a soldier) placed on hazardous sentry duty
2. (Military) (of a soldier) placed in a hazardous ambush
3. (of a person or thing) hidden or concealed

Wouldn't a pair of BOOTEEs be more likely to be made for a shower than just one?

I thought "Stand and fight" grp./NRA was just plain offensive.

DMG 4:35 PM  

Got most of this, but couldn't hack the center south. As almost always, no idea of the sports name, and tried both REnEw and REwEd, neither of which gave me anything for the infomercial thing. For me, the PERDU meaning relates to Pain PERDU, or "lost bread" recipes. Liked "the hots" and stuck with it until FENG made me change. As for ALLY as explained, that seems regional to an nth degree.

Captcha poker hand back today. Three 9's, two 3's. About as so-so as my job on this puzzle.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

Since when is "bootie" spelled "bootee"?!?!

Waxy in Montreal 6:07 PM  

@SiS, talking of (cold) showers...

@Diri, my parade also needed a PERMIT for way too long.

Unknowns - TOCCATA, ATP, PERDU (which I didn't realize was used for lost or out of sight in English) and BLUETOOTH's origin. Should have known Zubin MEHTA as he became conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 24 in 1960, a position he filled for 7 years.

Other than BENHUR, had no idea Lew Wallace had authored any other works. Wonder if they're in print?

Assuming rural parents MAANDPA must often have had THEURGE. Needed lots of BOOTEEs too thereafter.

rain forest 6:56 PM  

Loved this puzzle. It had the appearance of a toughie, but it was just so damn smooth in the solving. Nice cluing throughout, with many places that allowed for pure guesses that turned out to be correct.

I do believe that ANACQUIREDTASTE is stronger *with* the article.

One of the few who never met Roald Hoffmann, but did use a Hoffmann apparatus to electrolyze water. Turns out, he was a different Hoffmann.

Sad to say, when I feel THEURGE, it's usually to go pee. Ah, well, at least I can do *that*.

Did I say that this was a great puzzle?

TAM 9:43 PM  


Your reports are valuable. Thank you for providing them. Could you add the absolute number and their average percentage of reporting solvers? I think this would help me/us assess the results even better.

Tita 10:52 PM  

Hey there, @SiS, likewise, I's sure...
@Diri - what kind words - thanks... Now I'm all blushing because I see that I sounded like I was fishing for compliments...
Oh my - mebbe I were...

I, for one, feel like a kid with her face pressed up against the window, watching all the other kids having fun, but I can't go join them.
My syndiland peer-age happens on my mini tablet, where the emails arrive, and which is just enough of a pain to post that I simply remain, outside looking in...

Oh - and the fact that I have totally forgotten that puzzle 6 weeks later, so am CLUELESS as to lots of the discussions. But I read 'em anyway!

@SiS' revelation yesterday really tickled me though!!

'Night all. Thanks for the postscripts.

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