Japanese guitar brand / SAT 2-15-14 / Eighth century apostle of Germany / Tycoon Stanford / 2009 Grammy winner for Make It Mine / Iconic Seinfeld role / Home to Vila Hugel / Newfoundland in Naples Nogales / Green with five Grammys / Company that added four letters to its name in 1997

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ST. BONIFACE (25D: Eighth-century Apostle of Germany) —
Saint Boniface (LatinBonifatius) (c. 675? – 5 June 754), born WinfridWynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom ofWessex, probably at Crediton, was an Anglo-Saxon missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empireduring the 8th century. He is the patron saint of Germany, the first archbishop of Mainz and the "Apostle of the Germans". He was killed in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others. His remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Facts about Boniface's life and death as well as his work became widely known, since there is a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, and legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence.
Norman F. Cantor notes the three roles Boniface played that made him "one of the truly outstanding creators of the first Europe, as the apostle of Germany, the reformer of the Frankish church, and the chief fomentor of the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian family." Through his efforts to reorganize and regulate the church of the Franks, he helped shape Western Christianity, and many of the dioceses he proposed remain until today. After his martyrdom, he was quickly hailed as a saint in Fulda and other areas in Germany and in England. His cult is still notably strong today. Boniface is celebrated (and criticized) as a missionary; he is regarded as a unifier of Europe, and he is seen (mainly by Catholics) as a German national figure. (wikipedia)
• • •

Mostly enjoyable, this one. Could've been cleaner, overall, but there's a good deal of zing in here, plus ALAN MOORE over ZEN GARDEN, which is hard (for me) not to love. What was odd/frustrating was how two-toned the puzzle felt—that is, everything from NW to SE was easy, but the NE and SW corners were like little puzzles unto themselves, and a good deal harder. I think the SW corner was hard because of the preponderance of names, only some of which I knew. I used to scream about stupid "Ally McBeal" names and then, poof, they were gone. I felt so powerful. But now here we are, years later, and bam: NELLE? Nobody Remembers That Show. Ugh. Are there not other NELLEs? Sorry, personal vendetta there. I won't go on. MELLON is a name in banking, which I didn't know. Is that the MELLON of Carnegie-MELLON? Of the MELLON Dissertation Fellowship I had in grad school? Yes, Andrew MELLON. Whom I confuse with Andrew Carnegie, for reasons both university- and Andrew-related. IBANEZ I "knew" as soon as I saw the clue (47A: Japanese guitar brand), but did not at all trust, not least because I thought IBANEZ was Spanish. Like Raúl IBAÑEZ. ST. BONIFACE I've heard of, but couldn't get from the clue (25D: Eighth-century apostle of Germany). Could think only of Al Green at 62A: Green with five Grammys; took a while to see CEE-LO. But WHALE BONES saved me (26D: Old collar stiffeners). It was a guess, but a fruitful one. I still can't parse the clue on 25A: Certain guy "ISO" someone (SWM). Had to ask a friend: it means "in search of," presumably in singles ads. I figured that was the context from SWM (single white male), but … clearly I don't read singles ads (in case my wife needed proof—there it is).

[CEE-LO's "F*ck You," signed]

I tanked (mildly) the NE because of how long it took me to make anything out of SOLAS- (14D: Totally out). Again, parsing problems (ended up being a great answer: SO LAST YEAR). Also, -IST is a suffix for LEGAL?? I see, upon looking it up, that it can be, but that's pretty rough. And I hate when crap fill gets a rough clue. ended up writing in the "P" in PEÑA because that was the only name I could make work (42A: Mexican president Enrique ___ Nieto). I own Steely Dan's greatest hits but don't remember a song about KATY (ah, crap, it's from the *album* title, "KATY Lied," not a song title. D'oh!). That "K" was the last letter to go in—seemed a good bet, as it made a name, and then it hit me that KOP = Keystone KOPs = [36D: One of a silent force?] (i.e. they were big in the *silent* film era).

Liked imagining the SOUP NAZI on PAXIL really liked the clue on KAMA SUTRA (1A: Position papers?). Fill is probably weakest in the top half of the NE (ENERO / ONE NO / ENOTES / IST). Interestingly, its symmetrical counterpart (i.e. the SW) is similarly rough (NELLE / ANILL / ESSEN). But because the roughness was not a source of great difficulty, and because there were a number of delightful patches, I had a decent time solving this one.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

The NW went pretty fast but the rest took some effort, so medium for me.  

Erasures: MANse before MANOR (its Sat.), eSe before IST, and MorgaN before MELLON.

@Rex -- Yeah, it's been quite a while since the last Ally clue.  I too thought you had won that one.

Lucky stuff:  The Oldies station I listen to while doing crosswords at traffic lights is based in Mexico so PENA is very familiar.  MRAZ is a local musician. 

WOEs: ERICH, ALAN MOORE (I've seen the movie but did not pay that much attention to the credits), IBANEZ (needed most of the crosses).

Terrific puzzle Julian! From KAMA SUTRA through SOUP NAZI to ZEN GARDEN just terrific!  Lotsa zip and just the right amount of crunch.

wreck 12:32 AM  

Very tough for me (but, what Saturday isn't!) Actually I did pretty well before I had to Google. The Southwest had so many names I did not know. I did not give up (like yesterday.)
Note: I read the XwordInfo review and saw that Jeff Chen sometimes Googles on Saturdays!! I don't feel so stupid anymore.

wreck 1:52 AM  
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Questinia 1:55 AM  

The only better answer above ZEN GARDEN would have been ALAN WATTS.

Easy-ish puzzle except for the SW. Knew IBANEZ and FORELIMBS and guessed OLIO. ESSEN came from seeing that 26 and 27 down were plurals. Then MELLON was confirmed. Had rid instead of NET and once I rid myself of rid, WHALEBONE came into view. ST BONIFACE emerged out of pattern recognition and then all was done.

*LOVED* the grid design. Superb puzzle, Mr. Lim!

wreck 1:56 AM  

.......... note to self: In the future don't give away the fact you spent Valentine's Day at home, Friday night doing crossword puzzles. ; )

John Child 2:19 AM  

Lots of names I didn't know made his tough in the SW. Eventually googled the improbably named Mr Mraz to reveal FORE LIMBS (nice). Googled for PEÑA too because that whole eastern-seaboard stack was a mystery. And then finished with SONOrA instead of SONOMA. I guess that having boggled on MRAZ my mind was willing to believe in Roore too.

Most fun for a DNF in a long while. Liked the clueing, liked the answers.

jae 2:38 AM  
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chefwen 2:38 AM  

I had the opposite solve than @jae the NW was my real sticking point and was last to load. NE wasn't much better, but managed the bottom 2/3 area in a pretty good pace, that's unusual for me on a Saturday.

That SOUP NAZI episode on Friends was a classic.

Wanted coughs for 5D.

Lousy poker hand tonight, only two pair.

jae 2:54 AM  

@Questina -- Dang, I forgot. Me too for rid before NET.

@John Child -- Jason MRAZ is probably best known for
I'mYours . This link is not exactly his original version.

Anonymous 3:54 AM  

C'mon, Rex. The only way this puzzle is easy-medium is if you know most of the many names and trivia. As such, I rate your rating piss pour.

Now I must take leave to fetch a towel and dry my screen.

Signed Wrecks Parker--27th greatest crossword review reviewer in the universe.

Anonymous 4:59 AM  

I have to agree that your rating seems like you are trying to appear so superior. You admit in your notes you had a fair number of false starts and issues, so how can easy even be in the rating at all? I admit this is nothing as an issue, it is just annoying that you consider everything easy or easy-medium.

Danp 6:00 AM  

@wreck - doing xwords on Valentines Day night isn't so bad. Doing them at traffic lights like @jae is a different story. Then again, your username suggests you may know that from experience.

While penny ante and picayune both mean insignificant, they don't strike me as interchangeable.

I also loved the symmetry of the answers:
Kama Sutra - Zen Garden
Egomaniac - Alan Moore
Penny ante - ration out
So Last Year - St Bonaface
Gravestone - Whalebones
Leland Stanford - Mellon

John Child 6:02 AM  

@jae That's a funny cover indeed. Thanks. The riff in the chorus tickled enough neurons to indicate that I've heard the song before. I'm streaming a concert of his now and having a hard time deciding which genre to place the music. I like that.

@chefwen Wheelhouses vary! I got TROIS quickly and 1, 2, and 3 Down immediately after, so the NW went down very easily here. The souh was harder for me.

AliasZ 7:46 AM  

It is surprising to see so many names in a Sat puzzle. Every clue for them may have as well been blank for me except for ERICH Kunzel. It would have been much nicer to clue NELLE as "First name of famous writer with only one published book."

My first two entries at initial read were EGOMANIAC and ENERO. "Vanity case?" did not trick me whatsoever, perhaps a misfiring of a clue trying to be too cute. But "One of a silent force?" totally got me, that is until I got to the K running the alphabet for ?OP. I was pretty sure the Mexican prez had to be PEÑA because MENA (Suvari, LENA (Olin), CENA (John), etc. made no sense. Likewise, ST... at 25D was the only part I was sure of, but the WHALEBONE gimme helped me in the SW corner. I never heard of PEXIL, which I consider to be a good thing.

Some questionable small fill raised an eyebrow: AGER, ACER, STAN, STEN, BALE, BALL, although the clever clues for the last two made them OK. And then the ubiquitous OLIO and OTOE. If I never see these again, it won't be too soon. ANILL was my least favorite entry today, and the palindromic ONENO. I play bridge exactly as often as I used to watch "Ally McBeal." Never.

However, I loved all the LONGS (8's, 9's and 10's). What a fabulous, varied collection of clean, fresh entries! Out of the 16, 10 were debuts -- quite a feat. My favorites were KAMASUTRA, GRAVESTONE, SO LAST YEAR (I had "week" for a few secs), SOUP NAZI, FORELIMBS, TERRA NOVA and ZEN GARDEN.

In retrospect, this was a pleasure to solve. I don't even mind all the names, and the sub-par glue holding the puzzle together, as much as I thought I did while doing it.

The Ave Caesar March by Miklós Rózsa from the movie Quo Vadis is performed here by the Cincinnati Pops conducted by ERICH Kunzel (1935-2009). All MILITARIES of the world would appreciate this march for making their troops step proud and in precise rhythm.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mohair Sam 8:47 AM  

Played medium/challenging here, but (after two days of suffering personal naticks) we got it google-free.

Seems like almost everyone here enjoyed this puzzle as did we. Kudos to Julian Lim for constructing a puzzle that pleased such a divergent audience.

Our last letter was a correct guess on the first letter in ALANMOORE, as we filled it my wife laughed that it would be a gimme for younger folks, and @Rex proved her accurate. Speaking of Rex, he's right, Ally McBeal clues need to be banned.

Too many great clues here to enumerate, some fun misdirection (OTOE, i.e.) - terrific Saturday puzzle.

Glimmerglass 8:52 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Not at all easy medium for me, because of all the trivia. I'd have liked it less well if it were. Didn't know a lot of the trivia, but worked it out through crosses and reasonable guesses. (KATY was a guess, but KOP was an aha moment because of it.) Loved the clue for KAMA SUTRA. One error: I had ONE Nt instead of ONE NO. ENtTES made no sense, but I don't think of notes to oneself as ENOTES. I was trying to find a term for those annoying ads stuck on the front page of a [paper] newspaper.

Suzy 9:03 AM  

Very tough for me! Googled my way through all the Trivia-- no fun!

Z 9:10 AM  

The NE was my first section done. Getting ENERO and GRAVESTONE immediately certainly helped. KATY Lied was on the playlist last week, OTOE or uTes are always good bets for four letter tribes.

Paused for a long time on the MD part of HOUSE, as we only ever called the show HOUSE, but the entire NW to SE diagonal fell fairly easily with a brief stumble with jay-Z.

The SW, on the other hand, totally defeated me. I'm with @Rex regarding Ally McBeal, no clue on IBANEZ (much like the last time it was in a puzzle, maybe I'll remember next time), stalled after getting ST BON from the crosses, etc. My first reaction to the clue for ST BONIFACE was "no such thing." I haven't been to church in decades but those Calvinist teachings are still in there.

So 75% easy and 25% impossible here.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

I guess I am really stupid. Why does nobody mention how Joneses = Longs? I don't get it at all!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:19 AM  

Nice puzzle.

Easy-Medium seems about right - lots of things I didn't know offhand, but everything filled out from crosses. Not even a single write-over!

@Anonymous, 9:10 AM - "Jonesing" means to have a desire for something, or LONG for it -- but this is in the slang of a generation much younger than mine; I recognize it but would never use it.

Pete 9:20 AM  

@Anon 9:10 - Jones is '60s drug reference for addiction, or an intense longing. Not that I know anything about '60s drug culture other than extensive, purely intellectual research. I swear.

RnRGhost57 9:55 AM  

Has Rex been taking PAXIL? Mellow review today.
If the NARCS do too good a job, the JONESERS face AN ILL WIND indeed.

Carola 10:04 AM  

Too tough for me, was defeated by the cluster of proper names in the SW, by clinging to ONE Nt and ESE in the NE, and by my inablity to understand the two forces (joint task and silent). Still, I enjoyed what I was able to get - loved having KAMA SUTRA, ST BONIFACE, and ZEN in the same puzzle.

@danp - Thanks for those nice parallels.

Kingdaddy 10:11 AM  

A Sten is a submachine gun, not a carbine.


Reading Your References 10:24 AM  

@Kingdaddy - Since the puzzle is almost always right, I took the trouble of looking at the references you posted. If you follow footnote #2 in your first reference, you will get a pdf which is an instruction booklet for the "Carbine Machine Sten."

Reading your second reference, you find, "In some historical cases the term machine carbine was the official title for sub-machine guns, such as the British Sten and Australian Owen guns."

The rule is, crossword puzzles only have to be true, not uniquely true.

quilter1 10:32 AM  

DNF as too much was never on my radar, such as CEELO, anything about Ally McBeal or Seinfeld, graphic novels or Steely Dan. I did finish the NW and SE through the center but that is all. Challenging for me.

joho 10:34 AM  

Absolutely delightful, thank you, Julian Lim

I couldn't decide between LEGit and LEGAL then *knew* it had to LEGAL as eSe was correct: not! I figured it out, however. Loved the clue for LONGS and GRAVESTONE. SOLASTYTEAR is a great answer!

I lucked out in the SW with STBONIFACE and WHALEBONES going in quickly. MILITARIES marched in right after and knowing CEELO/MELLON cinched it.


@Rex, understanding the meaning of KOP was a great aha moment.

Entertaining, fresh and fun!

JC66 10:48 AM  

23323582 97Like @Rex after starting with SOLA and finally completely filling in SOLASTYEAR from crosses/guesses, I couldn't parse it and had to Google to get it.

Norm 10:49 AM  

Pfffft. Too many names. This is the kind of puzzle I hate.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Oh, I see, as in "Keeping up with the Joneses". Thanks! When I do a puzzle like this, that I have to google bunches, I can always look forward to a good rant by Rex as my reward. Very disappointed!!!

Ludyjynn 10:57 AM  

Enjoyed this one from KA to ZE. Once again, the NE fell last, but what a pleasure when it went!

For me, this week of puzzles represented a personal best. Two letters wrong in seven grids! Either the puzzles are getting easier or I'm actually improving. The latter, I hope! Please don't tell me it's the former. My fragile EGO(maniac) will be crushed.

DSinDC 11:23 AM  

Loved it! Potentially natticked with KOP (tough clue), as PENA and KATY were guesses. Finished in 22 minutes, which is a good Saturday for me :-)

Jisvan 11:45 AM  

Googled like crazy for the trivia and was rewarded with those beautiful long ahas! Loved the write up, especially the clip for the Ceelo Green tune. Best ASL performance ever. You tell em, sister!

Sandy K 11:52 AM  

So many things to love- right out of the gate- KAMA SUTRA, REM SLEEP, EGOMANIAC > SOUP NAZI > RATION OUT > PAXIL, Jason MRAZ, ZEN GARDEN, etc.

Got stuck a few times and thought, "Uh oh, no soup for me!"
But some lucky guesses and AHa moments KEPT me GO-ING.

ACER was a gimme- using my ACER Aspire One laptop...it's SO LAST YEAR and quite SLO.

A satisfying Saturday solve, Mr. Lim!

Nancy 11:57 AM  

"Joneses"=LONGS???? What on earth is Joneses, other than the people you keep up with? Help, someone, please. (Looked it up in my non-puzzle dictionary; it wasn't there.)

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@anon 10:52

Nope, it's not like keeping up with the Joneses.

@Bob Kerfuffle and @Pete explained it above.

mathguy 12:07 PM  

My wife and I had a lot of fun with it. We passed it back and forth five or six times before we got it. We spent over an hour last night and another hour plus this morning, while reading the papers and drinking coffee. Very pleased that we only needed to Google once for "Joneses." It was hard because there were eleven entries we didn't know including the ones Rex didn't know plus IBANEZ, CEELO, ALANMOORE, ZENGARDEN, MRAZ, ERICH, STAN.

Loved the devilish clues for KAMASUTRA, BALL, GRAVESTONE, MILITARIES and, best of all, KOP.

I've stopped being annoyed when Rex calls a toughie like this one "easy." As Señor Wences' puppet used to say, "E-see for you, dee-fee-coal for me."

jae 12:32 PM  

I hope everyone realizes that Rex's ratings are relative to the day of the week. This was easy for him (medium for me)compared to the average Saturday. No question this was a tough puzzle compared to other days of the week.

Cheerio 12:33 PM  

I thought rex ratings were designed to be relative to the average Saturday NYT puzzle. This puzzle is easy in the middle, hard in some corners. No idea how he averages across that.

Cheerio 12:36 PM  

I don't get why a stickie is the same as an enote. I think of stickies as the same thing as post-it's.

Carole Shmurak 12:48 PM  

@Cheerio: My old Mac computer had "stickies" that you could use on the screen. They were like electronic post-its.

"Jones for" coes from heroin addiction though no one seems to be certain of its origin ca. 1965 or so.

Steve J 12:55 PM  

I'm going to be the lone voice defending the Ally McBeal clue. Only because, for whatever reason, my brain dredged up vague recollection of someone named Nelle when I had only the crossing N. That helped me get going in the SE.

Either the names and trivia were in my wheelhouse, or this was indeed an easy Saturday. It's the rare Saturday where I don't google, and that was the case today. It was also my fastest Saturday ever. While I'm getting better with my Friday/Saturday puzzles, I know I haven't gotten that good yet.

Filled in the NW straight away, with the K from the crossing KEPT giving me KAMA SUTRA (with its fantastic clue) right out of the gate. SW was next to fall, with SWM and WHALE BONES giving me good traction. SE was the hardest for me, as I don't know ALAN MOORE, but I eventually pieced it together.

Had the same trouble parsing SOLA before I figured out SO LAST YEAR (another one of my favorite parts of the puzzle). The P in PEÑA/KOP (great clue) was the last thing to fall.

Lots of great fill that others have mentioned, lots of fun cluing, minimal dreck. Delightful Saturday puzzle.

Zhorn Software 1:05 PM  

Stickies (note the capital S in the clue) are electronic, not paper!

mac 1:21 PM  

Difficult to rough for me, although I loved a lot of the clues/answers!

I'm blaming a cold coming on. I'm taking a nap now.

Unknown 1:27 PM  

First hour went fine. Google free through NW, N, NE, E, C. Lots of a-ha moments with ? clues. Good feeling. Good fun. Then I found the rabbit holes in the SE, and nothing in the SW. Confidence evaporated, and I started missing easy ones.

ROOD was getable from the R and a memorable visit to Castle of Holyrood House years ago. Missed it.
The Shot was for CALM :) , then CARD :), then CARE :| and only after googles and crosses CURE. :( Bleh.

I've never heard of ALANMOORE. I never want to again. Total waste of space, that one. MRAZ and STAN aren't much more culturally relevant. Raise your hanfd if you've been to a Stan Dragoti film festival, I rest my case. But at least they were google-able.

After 4 more googles in SW NELLE, ESSEN, STBONIFACE, IBANEZ, I had enough crossing to complete the grid. Wrong.

I've never seen SLO on a road sigh. Have you? [Odds and ends] didn't trigger OLIO or OLEO. I got CEELO OK, THIS as a total guess, SWM from crosses, but NET was invisible, and WHALEBaNE and FAKELIMBS were just the products of a feverish mind that would put no-one-knows-or-cares ALANMOORE in a puzzle.

Called it quits after two hours. God, how I spend my time these days. And it had been going so well . . .

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Too many names, too much pop culture. What kind of a puzzle is it when I write in the foreign - language words like UNA, TERRANOVA, and ENERO immediately? Was sure for a while that 47-A was YAMAHA (yes, they do make guitars, or at least they used to).

Jim Quinlan 1:37 PM  
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Jim Quinlan 1:39 PM  

@ Cheerio- I think because "Stickies" was capitalized it's referring to the program that comes with a Mac where you leave notes on your desktop.

Unknown 1:42 PM  

@jim, congrats on the Saturday solve! Yes, lottery balls blow around inside the lottery machine then blow up the tube where they are removed. I did get that one.

Jim Quinlan 1:43 PM  

First time I ever finished a Saturday with no mistakes! Whoo hoo!

Woulda had it done sooner if not for BALL... took forever to get the "B." I still don't get the clue.

How is a BALL "One blowing up a lottery machine?"?

Like, those bingo balls? They don't blow up lottery machines... any help? This is bothering me...

But I did put the "B" in which led to BONIFACE and finished.

Jim Quinlan 1:45 PM  

@cascokid... Ahhhh! Thanks for that. I can relax now.

joho 2:27 PM  

@cascokid, SLO isn't on a sign, it's actually painted on the road, thus the clue, "Pavement caution." I'll bet you've seen this sometime along your travels!

Relative Difficulty 2:28 PM  

@anons and others today:

Rex's ratings are pretty much based on "time to solve" relative to *his* average time for that day of the week.

With rare exceptions, content doesn't play a role in the rating.

Sanfranman's rating method is similar, but uses a wider base of daily solvers.

Neither directly rates the actual clue/answers.

Lewis 2:38 PM  

@jim -- congats, that's a good feeling, no?

@q -- I second your nomination for Alan Watts.

Loved the 9s and 10s, and clever cluing (such as that for BALL). I needed to Google a few times. This was enjoyable, felt more like play than work or dreck, which is all I ask of a puzzle.

Anoa Bob 2:41 PM  

Got plenty of REM SLEEP last night but still couldn't rassle [sic] this one to the ground when I tried it again this morning. Too many names for this non-googler.

Tried wiLLie at first for "Longtime name in banking" at 44D. That works for either Willie Mosconi or Willie Hoppe, two of the greatest bankers ever to chalk up a cue tip.

Willie or Won't He? 2:55 PM  

Not to mention Willie Sutton.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

20A - In Naples it's TERRANUOVA. In Nogales it's TERRANUEVA. No?

retired_chemist 3:26 PM  

DNF due to the mid-Atlantic - KATY did me in, and SO LAST YEAR just didn't parse until I had the whole phrase in place.

HOUSE MD was AFAIK just "HOUSE," which is what it is usually called. I had it in correctly and erased it several times because I didn't think the MD should be there. I hate when that happens.

Excessive use of rather obscure proper nouns in my book. The clever cluing - even sneakily clever - was fine for a Saturday, but when coupled with names that are NOT in my wheelhouse (or even close) the experience was not pleasant.

John V 3:29 PM  

I got about half, mostly the middle. Julian's puzzles are always hard for me.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 3:51 PM  

The last few comments are startin to make me feel better about my SatPuz performance today. Day-um. This one put up more fight than a cornered, slightly-wounded, two-ton squirrel in a bad mood.

For anyone who suffered like I did today, below is a puz that I can solve in sub-60 second time (documented). A mark for U to aim at. Dan Feyer: Can U beat that time? I predict no, because he will simple out to often.


Goodbye, and good luck.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:00 PM  

@M&A - Two minutes 44 seconds. Tried to tell you I'm no super solver!

But might have had something to do with how hard I was laughing at 1 A and 1 D!

Thanks as always; you have brightebed a dreary day!

Bob Kerfuffle 4:03 PM  

Sorry, blame my fat fingers: "brightened a dreary day!"

Unknown 4:03 PM  

@joho, if SLO is painted somewhere on I95, then it is painted on my soul. I just missed it. So much for self knowledge. Thanks for the heads up, or in this case, down. ;)

OISK 4:19 PM  

Solved it correctly, but as many pointed out, far too much pop trivia for me. Aside from Mraz and Ceelo, of whom I have never heard, but who have popped up in the crossword before, we had a Steely Dan song. I don't know who he is, I assume with a name like Steely Dan he must be like Metallica, like Lead Zeppilon (yes, I know I misspelled it), like the Osmium brothers, or the hip-hop group Cuzn - known for their brassy renditions… I also would prefer to do without product references, directors of mediocre movies, and characters from defunct T.V. shows. But we had Acer, Stan Dragoti, (surely there are better known Stans?") Nelle, Paxil, and Ibanez. Also disliked the "Joneses" clue - plenty of good ways to clue "longs," - I know it is Saturday, but as obscure a slang term as that belongs nowhere. Glad to see Erich Kunzel there for a hint of cultural balance, but not enough.

Numinous 4:53 PM  

I blew it on ALAN MOORE and changed KOP to cOP. Stupid me.

ACER went in first, I have an Extensa, then PAXIL. @Z, IBANEZ was a gimme, I've owned at least four of them; they make great guitars. And, @Anonymous 1:30, yeah, Yamaha still makes guitars too. They make instruments from Alto horns to Xylophones but they don't seem to make Zithers.

I've known, in my distant slightly checkered past, a few people who jonesed. I wouldn't call longing what it was they experienced when in the grip of a cold turkey.

I had to dig in the dusty attic of my brain for a lot of the answers. Many others magicaly materialized with the aid of crosses. KAMASUTRA was a favorite. The jonesing NARCS got a chuckle.

I don't know that I've noticed a Julian Lin puzzle in the past but I'll be on the lookout from now on. I liked this one.

LaneB 5:55 PM  

@cascokid san
My experience on a daily basis is quite similar to yours and I spend much too much time on these things, especially on Friday and Saturday.
Today with some Google help I did OK in the lower 2/3 but failed completely in the NW and NE. Perhaps fatigue got to me. Anyway, I drew a complete blank on KAMASUTRA totally misled by the "papers" reference in the clue and whiffed on EGOMANIAC, having gone stupid on the vertical fill in that corner.. In the NE SOLASTYEAR and TERRANOVA did me in and I used ity instead of IST, dooming that whole section. . Never did get LONGS as the answer to "Joneses" Does that answer have something to do with underwear?
Anyway, an unequivocal DNF to end the week--and if that was an Easy-Medium Saturday, I had better reassess my place in the universe.

Mohair Sam 6:01 PM  

@Relative Difficulty - thanks for posting that. I've always chuckled when folks complain about Rex's rating. How in Hell can they expect him to know how tough the puzzle is for someone else?

I'm wondering if some of these nuts think my wife and I are great solvers - I usually rate puzzles when I post as to how they play for us. An easy Saturday for us is one we get in less than maybe an hour with no Google or dictionary; Monday thru Wednesday solves are judged as to whether we finish them before we finish breakfast.

sanfranman59 6:03 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 6:00, 6:20, 0.95, 24%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:01, 8:15, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium
Wed 9:40, 10:26, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:57, 18:35, 0.97, 39%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:07, 20:15, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 28:20, 28:20, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:59, 0.94, 17%, Easy
Tue 4:47, 5:12, 0.92, 18%, Easy
Wed 6:13, 6:15, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Thu 11:32, 10:36, 1.09, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 13:03, 11:46, 1.11, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 18:51, 18:32, 1.02, 56%, Medium

Dirigonzo 6:18 PM  

In the end I didn't know ALANMOORE/ROOD or STBONIFACE/CEELO so I wound up with two blank squares. I suppose google could have CUREd my deficiencies but I like to succeed/fail on my own. Speaking of google: Check this out. (Thanks to @Tita for the instructions on how to post a link.)

Unknown 7:55 PM  

@dirigonzo, Hello, neighbor! If you are a google plus fan, perhaps you can me how to change my google plus username. The "-san" is vestigal. Time for a -sanectomy. (Googling for it doesn't help.)

Doc John 8:20 PM  

"Katy lies- you can see it in her eyes." So, not only is it in the album title, it's in the lyrics, too (Doctor Wu).

ahimsa 9:25 PM  

DNF for me. I did not know KATY or PENA, and could not figure out SO LAST YEAR (great clue/answer combo!), so I gave up with 4 letters unfilled.

Since @Rex posted a link to a signed version of CEE-LO's song "F*** You" (sadly that video did not work for me) I thought I'd post a different version. Here's Camilla and the Chickens from the 2011 movie, The Muppets:


I saw this movie in the theater. When this scene came on I started laughing hysterically at the idea of including a song with the title "F*** You" in a PG movie. Actually, I think those chickens are all clucking along to the "clean" version of the lyrics, Forget You. :-) But that's not the lyrics that were going through my mind. :-)

@M&A, I'm off to do your puzzle now. I hope it really is as easy as you say it is!

ahimsa 9:42 PM  

@M&A, Easy (and funny) puzzle, thanks!

One last comment - I enjoyed that clue for LONGS, Joneses. But I've actually never heard or used that tense of the word. I'm used to hearing either that someone has a Jones or someone is Jonesin' for something. But I figured it out.

Does anyone remember the song, Basketball Jones? (Cheech and Chong)

Dirigonzo 9:45 PM  

@Cascokid - sorry, you're asking the wrong guy. I set up a profile on Blogger for my, you know, blogs, but I pretty much avoid google+ for all the reasons mentioned in the article. Still it's nice to know that there is a fellow Rexvillian nearby. Good luck with your -sanectomy - I hope it's not too painful. I can't wait to get back out on Casco Bay!

ahimsa 9:48 PM  

Whoa, how could I have forgotten to mention the Jonesin' crosswords by Matt Jones when talking about what the word "Jones" can mean?! http://www.jonesincrosswords.com/

Unknown 11:01 PM  

Who TF is ALANMOORE? That is too esoteric even for a Sunday. Are you kiidding me?

Anonymous 3:13 AM  

Wanted St. Danny Bonaduce from the Holy Family of Partridge.

And am I the only one who had vet instead of net for "clear" (like clearing a background check)? Oy.

And seriously Stan Dragoti instead of an Eminem reference?

Pom for "toy type" should get a shout out. Took me a while for that one to sink in. ARF!

cwf 11:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
cwf 11:39 AM  

"Katy lied" is also a lyric in a song from that album, "Dr Wu":

"Katy lied
You could see it in her eyes
But imagine my surprise
When I saw you

Are you with me Doctor Wu?"

jberg 5:47 PM  

We were away for the weekend, didn't get the Times -- but it was waiting for us when we got back just now. I had a hard time in the NW (until I saw EGOMANIAC and then KAMA SUTRA), and SW -- because I figured Yamaha must make guitars (since they make everything), and didn't know CEE-LO -- or NELLE. So I finished with an error, CEEce/NELcE, misspelling MELLeN, too boot. Also guessed ST Aloysius off the Y in Yamaha; took awhile to see BONIFACE.

No time to read all the comments, gotta solve today's puzzle! Only posting to confess my failure, for the historical record.

adicecream 10:09 PM  

Ugh, two days later I gave up. Never google; my mother raised me to believe checking sources is cheating. Big white spaces in the SW.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

For flippers, I wrote fish limbs. Poetic, maybe, but wrong of course.

spacecraft 12:21 PM  

It is remarkable, with this collection of obscurities and "that-could-be-anything"s, that I got as far as I did, but the SE just totally gutted me. I mean, who the hell is ALANMOORE? And "Cross?" Must be fifty, sixty things you coud put in there. How OFL, or anybody else could POSSIBLY let the word "easy" get anywhere near this puzzle is beyond me. This guy made a puzzle he didn't WANT solved. Well, you got your wish, Mr. Lim.

DMG 4:00 PM  

SOUPNAZI made me realize that the zAnax was not the wanted drug...and let me finish the NW to SE swath of the puzzle. However, there was no such help in the NEand SW, so I finished with a lot of blanks. Big problem in the NE was thinking the Newfoudlanders were nonnAtiVe, and even though the couple of crosses I did get showed I was wrong, couldn't fix it. Maybe because the Nogales I know is in Arizona? As for the SW, think I'll just draw a veil over my ignorance there! In other words, a pretty typical Saturday!

There's something funny going on, I have six 6's!

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

Thank you Spacecraft. I usually do pretty well on Saturdays but not this time. The SW corner did me in. Mr. Lim is obviously a cruel, heartless, despotic, nasty man whose sole purpose is to make grown men quiver and cry. lol

Ron Diego 1:PM 3/22

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

P.S. from an old man-
Not for one blippin second do I believe it when some of the commenters say they finished a puzzle in 2 minutes or 4 minutes, 5 seconds, etc. Including our fearless Blogmeister. I want proof and/or corroboration, with witnesses.

Signed, Ron Diego, The 99th Greatest Solver in the West.

Z 4:45 PM  

Maybe Feyer faked the video?

Z 4:56 PM  

Isn't modern technology wonderful? This one is Feyer doing Rex Parker's debut. My personal best on a Monday is just over six, but I have to look at my fingers to type. Besides, I still prefer paper and pen.

Dirigonzo 5:19 PM  

@Z - I can't even WATCH that fast!

@DMG's 6 sixes destroy any hope for success at the table.

Z 5:33 PM  

Right. Humans are capable of some pretty amazing things. I read somewhere that Feyer does ten puzzles a day so, as far as total time spent solving in a week, he and I are about equal.

Hey, four 5's. Does my third post of the day count?

Z 5:35 PM  

Never mind, I elided over the sixes. Still, better than the wavy letters I got in real time today.

Solving in Seattle 6:06 PM  

This was an enjoyable slog for me. One tough step at a time. I do agree with @Spacy re: ALANMOORE. Never heard of him or his novel, but it's doable on crosses. I did spend a summer on my uncle's ranch and BALEd hay for a month.

My MANOR was first a MANse. DEn before DER. It's iNthe wind before ANILL.

Good Satpuz, Julian, with some cleveer clues.

@Z, two sloooowww cups of coffee for me. Nowhere near single digits.

How's the Noreaster, @Diri?

One @#%$^ lousy pair. @DMG takes the pot.

Dirigonzo 6:15 PM  

@SiS - We still have that to look forward to. Thanks for asking.

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