Figure skater Kadavy / FRI 3-21-14 / Funny or Die web series hosted by Zach Galifianakis / Sir Henry pioneer in steelmaking / Semicircular recess in Roman architecture / 1961 Michelangelo Antonioni drama / Renaissance woodwind

Friday, March 21, 2014

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: CRUMHORN (58A: Renaissance woodwind) —
The crumhorn is a musical instrument of the woodwind family, most commonly used during the Renaissance period. In modern times, there has been a revival of interest in Early Music, and crumhorns are being played again. 
The name derives from the German Krumhorn (or Krummhorn or Krumporn) meaning bent horn. This relates to the old English crump meaning curve, surviving in modern English in 'crumpled' and 'crumpet' (a curved cake). The similar sounding French term cromorne when used correctly refers to a woodwind instrument of different design, though the term cromorne is often used in error synonymously with that of crumhorn.
The crumhorn is a capped reed instrument. Its construction is similar to that of the chanter of a bagpipe. A double reed is mounted inside a long windcap. Blowing through a slot in the windcap produces a musical note. The pitch of the note can be varied by opening or closing finger holes along the length of the pipe. One unusual feature of the crumhorn is its shape; the end is bent upwards in a curve resembling the letter 'J'. Some people think[weasel words] this is so that the sound produced from the crumhorn is directed toward the player to improve the intonation in consort playing. (wikipedia) (LOL "weasel words")
• • •

Sorry about the late (but still pre-9am, for the billionth day in a row) posting today. Had one of those sleep-drowning moments last night around 9:30, after watching the first episode of "Cosmos" with the family, where I was sitting there thinking "just a half hour 'til the puzzle … you can make it …" followed shortly by "f*** it, you're doomed," at which point I just lay down on the couch right there and went Out. Then I got up plenty early but … well, I'd tell you what I had for breakfast and all, but this isn't that kind of blog. I will say that checking Twitter before doing this puzzle—big mistake. Had puzzle partially, mildly spoiled for me by my friend Dan "Big Mouth" Bernstein of CBS sports radio in Chicago, who is a big BEQ fan and who couldn't wait, apparently, to tell TAJ Gibson about his induction into the Crossword Sports Hall of Fame. I probably would've gotten TAJ anyway, but still, Dan … dude. You gotta resist the hollering urge. I *know* it's hard. But … yeah.

[38A: N.B.A.'s Gibson]

I like this puzzle quite a bit. Very much in line with the quality of BEQ's regular, 2x/week offerings at his independent puzzle website. The one thing I didn't like was that the clues here are tamer than his normal fare, and the difficulty here came largely from nutso answers like (to my feeble brain) CRUMHORN, EXEDRA, and (!) CARYN, rather than from tough-to-unravel clues. I actually found most of the puzzle Easy, but then I had to fight CRUMHORN down to the last square (seriously worried about getting Naticked there until I ran the alphabet and hit, duh, MME. for 55D: Abbr. on a letter to Paris, maybe. And *then* I really had to fight in the NE corner, where CARYN was blocking me but good underneath (30A: Figure skater Kadavy), and both EXEDRA (8D: Semicircular recess in Roman architecture) and (wrong) NINES were holding down the fort up top. Total free fall for a few moments. Then my brain was like "isn't the steel guy BESSEMER" (7A: Sir Henry ___, pioneer in steelmaking)? Good boy, brain. That turned NINES to SIXES (in my defense, NINES are higher), and I ended somewhere inside CARYN ("Somewhere Inside CARYN" being the title of the world's first and last crossword porn flick).

[7D: Funny or Die web series hosted by Zach Galifianakis]

Two last thoughts: 
  • Pretty sure Antonioni is famous enough that you don't need his first name in that clue for "LA NOTTE" (26D: 1961 Michelangelo Antonioni drama). It's not like anyone was at home going "oh, *Michelangelo* Antonioni … now I get it."
  • I can't believe ONER(S) is even in BEQ's word list any more. Delete!!!!!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


John Child 8:54 AM  

This seemed like a typical BEQ puzzle to me -- pop culture, proper nouns, people and things I've never heard of. KADAVY? LANOTTE? BETWEEN TWO FERNS? EXEDRA? Dice are CUBES? And that's just the NE. Never in a million years could I have completed this puzzle, or even one quadrant of it.

Z 8:59 AM  

Thank you, President Obama, for making BETWEEN TWO FERNS a gimme. Had to guess at the Duchamp/Antonioni crossing. Rex is correct that the first name was absolutely irrelevant.

I also had a lot of "fun" down in the SE. Totally blocked on MINNIE Mouse (really wanted "Modest" there). The other snag for me was that CRUM HORN was HOPELESS with lifeLESS in place. I think it was finally grokking T-BAR that opened that section up.

A fine Friday solve.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  


Z 9:02 AM  

In case you somehow missed it.

Mohair Sam 9:13 AM  

Wierd that the President of the United States appeared on BETWEEN . . . . But pleased as punch he did it or we would never have finished this puzzle. Actually we dnf'd - personal natick guessing "k" for Caryn because never made the dice connection for CUBES. Of course if we solved on-line Mr. Happy Pencil would have saved us. But I digress . . .

Talk about a timely puzzle - SNOWDEN, a web show, Skype reference, and SBARRO declared bankruptcy (again) just a week or two ago.

A challenging but fun Friday - and again, thanks Mr. President.

Kim Scudera 9:22 AM  

Played difficult here, and I finished in 33, more of a Sunday time than a Friday :O

Thanks, BEQ and WS, for all the "dope-slap" moments this morning -- I'm now awake and ready to tackle the day! Highlights:

54A: ARTMAJOR ("oh THAT kind of oil!")

17A: MÉNAGE was MaNAGE for far too long ("can household be used as a verb? 'I've householded for forty-five years and I still have no idea whether to dust first or sweep first!'"). Good thing ONaSIDED made no sense...

Loved all the odd letters in odd places -- LIEV, TAJ/PBJ, SUMAC -- and the odd letters in ordinary places: EXITLANE, ARTMAJOR, SIZESUP, CAVORT, TEXASTEA.

Now to work!!

orangeblossomspecial 9:24 AM  

Texas Tea
is also a line from the Beverly Hillbillies theme.

Ascot Gavotte is from 'My Fair Lady'

Here is a cute performance on krumhorns.

Pete 9:39 AM  

I too found the new Cosmos to be stutifyingly boring. Great CGI though.

Sir Hillary 9:46 AM  

Sour taste, due to my first Friday DNF in a long time. I was done in by three simultaneous mistakes in the Appalachia region:

-- kARYN

Any one of those could have been corrected if the others had been right, but the combo proved too much to overcome. BEQ is currently making a custom for me, and I will have to be humble next time we speak.

The one error I fixed was daNger Mouse. I never would have written that in the first place if the constructor had been anyone else. I think he got in my head.

Despite my pissed off mood, I can't really complain about the entries, although I really dislike CARYN. I am a total sports trivia dork, and I barely remember Ms. Kadavy. She was good in the '90s, a competitor of Roslyn Summers (sp?)...right? Too cranky/lazy to Google right now.


AliasZ 9:56 AM  

Tough, excellent, beautifully constructed puzzle by one of the best in the field. I loved the open spaces and the many unexpected, fresh and OH, I DUNNO, sparkling entries: DO IT BY THE BOOK, EXEDRA, LA NOTTE, TIMELAG, CRUMHORN, WORE THIN, SUMAC and many others.

Too bad the unfamiliar names in the NE slowed down an otherwise faster than usual Friday solve for me. For figure skater Kadavy I WANTED TO enter Muammar, but I don't think he ever skated except on thin ice for most of his life. Besides, Muammar has one too many letters. CARYN was a lucky guess.

Never heard of STAN Greenberg or Sir Henry whoever either. The BESSEMER|MATHER crossing was a total Natick. When BESSEMER was accepted as correct, I broke into a song: "BESSEMER, BESSEMER mucho". Thank goodness for some TEXAS TEA and a bit of REASON. The NE corner ended up being my EXIT LANE from this puzzle.

The NEATEST clues: "One learning how to refine oils?" and the "rollers" trio.

What I didn't care for: NOTAT which I thought should follow "notit". I also never heard CAST UP said that way, so I am not sure if the clue is correct. The definition I found at dictionary dot com was way down at #75:

75 - CAST UP:
a. to add up; compute.
b. to vomit; eject.
c. Chiefly Scot. to turn up; appear."

and at M-W:

CAST UP: (transitive verb)
1: to bring up or say by way of reproach casting up to her that she had failed;
2 a: to measure (set type) usu. in ems pica in order to determine the cost or charge to be made;
2 b: to lay out (tabular matter) before setting in type;
3: to add up (figures) in making an accounting;
CAST UP: (intransitive verb)
chiefly Scot.: to turn up, esp. unexpectedly.

Neither of these definitions sound like "raise by digging." What to make of this?

Besides these ONERS, this one was a super clean, very enjoyable puzzle.

Thank you, B-E-Q. And TGIF.

chefbea 9:58 AM  

Tough for me DNF. Wanted Long island iced tea for 18 across. Didn't like cubes..wanted dice but wouldn't fit.
Guess Stine is getting to be crosswords!!

chefbea 10:00 AM  


Bob Kerfuffle 10:00 AM  

Surprisingly easy for a Friday/BEQ, though fresh and ever so up-to-date; loved it.

One minor stumble in the clue for 43 D, Raise by digging, CAST UP. I agree that if you are digging a hole, you raise the dirt temporarily by casting it up from the pit, but this all feels very awkward. Or am I totally missing something?

One of my favorite little jests is to say that the steelmaker at 7A has his own theme song.

wreck 10:02 AM  

BETWEENTWOFERNS was an immediate gimmee and gave me a great foundation to work from (...and I did not even know Obama did one of the interviews)!
A few googles, but BEQ puzzles are always enjoyable!

Z 10:11 AM  

The American English Dictionary has CAST UP at definition #4 for this meaning. New to me, too.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

Many too many proper names -- all of them naticks for me.
To Mohair Sam: Don't mean to be snarky, but surely someone who can solve a difficult BEQ puzzle can spell "weird". Please tell me it was a typo!

Fred Romagnolo 10:23 AM  

I got off on the wrong foot right away with MIGHTY Mouse. Inferred between then thought "the lines," obviously setting myself up for problems. Exit RAMP didn't help; but then I realized Bessemer, and things began to sort themselves out. I've heard of hoofers, but never saw hoofs used that way. I decided the bush was Africa so roo wasn't apparent. Never heard of Texas tea - sounds lethal. I haven't experienced time lag problems with Skype - seems instant to me - mostly text though.

D-Squared Media NYC 10:26 AM  

What no Seinfeld cross reference for "menage???"
Seinfeld Menage Scene

Milford 10:26 AM  

I don't do any other puzzles regularly, but I did sweat a little for a BEQ puzzle.

Lots of ereasures, as per usual for a chewy Friday. WANdEred before WANTED TO (I actual like my entry better), lifeLESS before HOPELESS, EXIT ramp before LANE.

That TEXAS TEA recipe made me CAST UP (AED definition #1) in my mouth a little bit. I think we would have called it Garbage Can or something if we had made that in college.

Like others, I was grateful for the recent Obama appearance on BETWEEN TWO FERNS.

Had to Google to finish, but otherwise a nice Friday.

Oldest kid's soccer game has been cancelled again, due to the snow.

John V 10:30 AM  

Deja vu; back at ACPT #5 puz.

Perhaps the day will come when I get in Brendan's wavelength, but I'm not not holding out a lot of hope. I looked at the by-line and came close to taking a pass; shoulda done that.

7D answer was completely new to me on coming here. Not a happy way to start the day.

Magenta Crayola 10:37 AM  

This was such a good puzzling experience! Even the hard stuff was eventually gettable, and not much of the 3-letter junk. I liked it!

Every once in a while I think about the article I read that quoted WS as so loving the long, or clever, or zinger answers he is willing to overlook the crap answers. Always makes me mad when I think about it, because ... well, what about the other millions of us who love a well-balanced puzzle? Like this one! I know WS has his posse planted in here who always jump to defend, but really, the puzzles are published as NYT xwords not WS xwords.

Susan McConnell 10:37 AM  

I thought it was on the easy side for a Friday, and missing...OH, I DUNNO...some of the zippy, sparkly clues that I usually enjoy in a BEQ. Still, it was fun, and yes, without having seen the Obama bit, I would have struggled with BETWEEN TWO FERNS.

Steve J 10:38 AM  

Unlike Rex, I didn't think this was up to the standard of BEQ's self-published puzzles, precisely because of the reliance on "nutso answers". I expect a few unknown names or words in a BEQ, but there were too many crammed in too tightly for my liking. And I very much missed his typical cluing. I understand needing to tone some things down for the NYT's general audience, but it still felt like clues lacked some of his typical zip (although the clue for ART MAJOR was excellent).

And, yes, I was amazed to see ONER sneak into a BEQ. Add in IN A PET, on top of that.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Caryn Kadavy -- one of the few lasting benefits of having been a figure skater in my youth (along with still following figure skating sporadically)!
--ChrisP in Ann Arbor

Ludyjynn 11:07 AM  

Out of the gate, I smiled to see CARYN Kadavy on the grid. For anyone who follows figure skating, she is arguably one of the most fluid, effortlessly balletic and athletic skaters of any era. She got a raw deal at her Olympics, along w/ several other athletes who had to withdraw from events due to a flu epidemic there. But she has had a phenomenal professional skating career. Watch one of her glorious performances at the Natl. Prof. Championships on You Tube.

Thanks, BEQuigley. You made my day.

joho 11:08 AM  

This is my favorite BEQ puzzle to appear in the NYT so far. It's jam-packed with interesting, scrabbly words and phrases.

Who knew there are so many Mouses? I had MIckey and MIghty before MINNIE and others have posted Modest and Danger.

That EXEDRA/EXITLANE/SIXES section is fascinating!

Loved it.

Off to practice my CRUMHORN ...

AliasZ 11:11 AM  

There once was a lad called BESSEMER,
You'll never see one who's handsomer.
His main claim to fame
Is due to his name,
Which perfectly rhymes with "gossamer."

ArtO 11:16 AM  

BESSEMER and BETWEENTWOFERNS (again, thanks to the president) went in immediately. So, all of a sudden I had a chance to complete not only a Friday but a BEQ...and I did! Will wonders never cease.

jae 11:21 AM  

Easy-medium for me except the PUN/LA NOTTE cross where I needed to guess.  I knew Duchamp did not do dogs or bars so it had to be N, but it still seemed iffy.  CARYN was also a WOE, but putting in BESSEMER with out any cross was very helpful.  A fine BEQ with 7d providing some major zip. 

Jisvan 11:38 AM  

Couldn't even finish this one with Google, had to flat out cheat (hanging head in shame). And I knew Bessemer because he invented that process and all! Had never seen Between Two Ferns, loved the clip, thanks @Z! I actually had gas MAJOR for 54A for quite some time, (well it is a billion dollar industry... Or maybe it was the burrito I had for dinner). Even head-bangers like this one are fun when I can come here to read the comments. Thanks to all who make the magic happen, and I'm glad you got some sleep, Rex.

Gill I. P. 11:39 AM  

The only solo, stinking, single, solitary name I got was SNOWDEN....Oh wait, I got SAHL as well.
Oooof - that whole NE was a disaster. BETWEEN TWO FERNS was my only gimme.
NOT AT looks so wrong. Did anyone else have Hulas instead of HOOFS?
Crazy hard puzzle with too much trivia and proper names for my liking.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

I'll ignore yet another shameless fawning over Obama and let you know that I've skied more resorts than practically anyone I know. I can only name ONE that still has a T-Bar (Whistler Blackcomb). They've gone the way of laced up leather boots, bamboo pools and bear trap bindings. Using TBAR as an answer shows the puzzler's cluelessness about skiing.

allan 12:09 PM  

When I saw BEQ as the constructor, on a Friday, I figured no shot. But it turned out to be solvable. That makes it easy for a BEQ in my book.

C'mon man 12:10 PM  

@Anon 12:04 - Dislike Obama as much as you wish, but at least be reasonable in your comments: No one "fawned over" him, they simply stated that they never would have heard of BETWEENTWOFERNS without his recent appearance there.

Matthew A. Harmer 12:23 PM  

The NW was a killer for me, and in retrospect, I'm kicking myself for taking so long to recall LIEV Schrieber's name. TEXASTEA, BESSEMER, and BETWEENTWOFERNS sealed up the NE pretty quickly. Glad to see SNOWDEN, TAJ, and a Skype-related clue.

Benko 12:34 PM  

BETWEENTWOFERNS is worth watching, beyond the recent Obama healthcare episode. TAJ Gibson is on my fantasy basketball team and, in my opinion, a potential Sixth Man of the Year this year. LIEV Schreiber's show on HBO, Ray Donovan, is also worth watching. TEXASTEA is just Long Island iced tea with bourbon.
A lot of interesting and relevant (to me) entries.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Bottom left is HOPELESS for sure. There is (was) a pizza joint named SBARRO? Maybe it's a New York thing. KRUMMHORN I knew. CAST UP? I still don't get it.

Z 12:47 PM  

I had never heard of TEXAS TEA but have had Long Island Iced Tea, so I looked up the recipe. TEXAS TEA adds one part of bourbon to a Long Island. For those who have never had one on a hot summer day, the danger is that the taste is dangerously close to Iced Tea, making CASTing UP an all too real possibility after you drink way more than you realized you were.

@anonymous12:04 - I probably would have remained blissfully unaware of BETWEEN TWO FERNS if not for the hissy fit thrown by conservative media (AKA Weapons of Mass Distraction) over Obama's schtick, so I guess I should have "fawned" over Faux News. Feel free to imagine my apology sung over the dulcet tones of a CRUMHORN.

Lewis 12:49 PM  

Had a tough time in the NE, and semi tough in the SW, but I'm not complaining. This worked my mind and gave me some good aha moments. Learned a couple of things too. This was my kind of fun, and thanks BEQ.

I love seeing CAVORT; I hate seeing EDDA. Can we retire EDDA?

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:56 PM  

BEQ is the master of long fills and weird names.
The BESSEMER-MATHER-CARYN-LANOTTE-STINE express was EXEDRA feisty. It had some LEGS, in puttin up a fight.

re: TEXASTEA ... Whoa. That clue tryin to give us a recipe for paint varnish?

Tough puz, but not quite the Bridget Oofer variety of yesterday's, for m&e. Real nice passle of weejects. Great clues. Psychodelic fillins. There's yer rodeo... Hell, there's yer CRUMHORN of Plenty!


Bird 1:41 PM  

Couldn't finish, but liked what was able to enter. Don't mind ONER as much as others.

Had NINES at 9D off the I in EXIT LANE, but remembered you can't roll NINES. You can roll a NINE, but the highest you can roll are SIXES (assuming 6-sided dice here). Still didn't get BESSEMER though.


MetaRex 1:48 PM  

Got all indignant about the Natick of PUN/LANOTTE, thinkin LANOTTE was some kinda funky Italian gal's name...was in mid-rant on this on Skype to my son in China when I realized, perhaps aided by his having taken HS Italian, that it was actually, um, ahem, LA NOTTE.

On bus to Newton on Mass Turnpike not far from Framingham and yes Natick...

quilter1 1:54 PM  

We don't have SBARRO here and I never can remember it. Otherwise a good BEQ for me. I can usually tune in to him doing the weekly Mon/Thu puzzles.

LaneB 2:17 PM  

Couldn't even google my way through this one--not unusual for a Friday. I only bother on the off chance that I become inspired or lucky. Not today, and I quit before getting entirely irritated.

RnRGhost57 2:25 PM  

Got BESSEMER and BETWEEN TWO FERNS right away, so thought that maybe, finally, I'd gotten on BEQ's wavelength. Alas, the puzz got much tougher. Hubris, hubris . . .

Carola 2:27 PM  

Nice puzzle, pretty grid. Ended up medium for me after a slow start. Names gave me a leg up: BESSEMER, LIEV, LEGO, MINNIE, SNOWDEN, STINE (thanks to a recent puzzle). It took me until I had every letter but FE to remember that President Obama appeared on a show called BETWEEN TWO FERNS. Last in: CU in the CARYN, PUN, CUBES cluster.

I understand that @Rex and others here feel that ONER(S) WORE THIN a long time ago, but it was a favorite word of my mom's, so I'm always happy to write it in - never puts me IN A PET :)

Karl 3:08 PM  

You and I had the same problem except I could not come up with PUN AND WROTE "PUB" AND "LABOTTE"...

Moly Shu 3:38 PM  

Went to bed early, caught the first flight to Vegas, figuring I'd do the puzzle there instead of staying up to do it. I was sure I made the right decision when I saw it was a BEQ. Then, big DNF in the northeast confirmed my decision. BESSEMER EXEDRA MATHER CARYN, arghhh, didn't know any of 'em. Liked the 3/4 of it I got, but that top right killed me. Thx BEQ

Susierah 3:38 PM  

I do beq 2times a week. Found thus way way harder, and a dnf!!! I also threw down danger mouse (I'm 63, but it is beq and I am a graduate of the school of cool)!

chefwen 3:59 PM  

Was all set to hate this as I seldom seem to be on the same playing field as BEQ and ended up loving it.

Being in the steel industry for 15 years made 7A a gimme. Wanted EXITrAmp for 16A but didn't know any word that started with Rp at 14D. Started to fill in Mickey, checked the downs and couldn't come up with a month that began with K, so MINNIE it is. Just reading the recipe for TEXAS TEA made my head hurt. We used to call that a Wapatoolie Party where you snuck a little bit of booze out of each of your parents bottles, not enough that they would notice, and mix them altogether. Ah memories... Not all good ones.

Had to change my BLT to a PBJ and I did Google a couple of things. Hey, it's Friday, it's BEQ, it's allowed. O.K. I'll own up to a technical DNF, but I sure had fun.

Gill I. P. 4:33 PM  

@chefwen...Oh lordy - that wapatoolie brought back a memory of my one year living in the Palisades in Southern California. My first frat/toga party at USC - but everyone called it Jesus juice!!!!!

Freddy Murcks 5:27 PM  

Easier and more enjoyable than Tuesday's Thursday.

DigitalDan 6:12 PM  

Duchamp/Antonioni a total Natick for me. Never much interested in pictures adults draw for their own sake, moving or still.

mac 6:19 PM  

I enjoyed this one, felt easy at first until I ended up in the Caryn/pun/La Notte area. Had four empty boxes when I gave up.

Write-over at gets open: gets past. Almost funny, the in a pet/oner/Edda and Tbar, maybe BEQ pulled our leg.

@Greene, our theater specialist, calls
Disney "The House of Mouse"!

@Gill I.P.: after I told my husband about the Texas tea, he told me that in college they mixed a drink called Purple Jesus. They did this on Sundays, and included all the leftovers in all the bottles. He figures there must have been a lot of red wine, thus "purple".

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

I stand by fawning. The BETWEENTWOFERNS was nothing more than yet another PR blitz to prop up Obamacare. Plus I do the NYTimes puzzle every day and hardly week goes by, sometimes a day, without OBAMA as a clue or answer. I've done the Sunday puzzle and more dating back to '99 and beyond. There is no such comparison for any other president. Keep politics out of my puzzles and I'll shut up.

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

@anon 6:45

Rex Parker 8:00 PM  

Hardly a week, nay, a week, neigh, an hour goes by without my seeing IDI or AMIN or Ed MEESE in my puzzle. Not today, of course, but HARDLY A DAY. Keep politics out of my puzzle, NYT! Signed, an idiot.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:01, 6:15, 0.96, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 12:39, 8:20, 1.52, 100%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 223 Tuesdays)
Wed 10:17, 10:13, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Thu 16:47, 18:41, 0.90, 29%, Easy-Medium
Fri 21:23, 21:24, 1.00, 49%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:59, 0.99, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:56, 5:11, 1.53, 100%, über-Challenging (highest ratio of 223 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:26, 6:14, 1.03, 59%, Medium
Thu 10:31, 10:44, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Fri 13:50, 12:39, 1.09, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

Crappiest puzzle in recent memory. Don't know where to begin. In a pet? I'm 70 years old, never heard of it. A gaff is not a spear, it's a gaff! A hook! Get it? Oh, I dunno. Not fun. Not clever. Rubbish.

Rex Parker 11:13 PM  

Wow, lots of candidates for the Abe Simpson award in the comments today. Keep it up, folks!

Casco Kid 11:27 PM  

I called it at 42 minutes and 10 googles, and I'm glad I did. I had kEeNEST for "Most smart" giving me EDDe for the Norwegian tales. Now, I know EDDA is correct, but correctness is not a requirement, so I'd decided that EDDe was an allowed misspelling, the way CUBES is an allowed misspelling of bonES, the 5-letter word for dice. When you start second guessing rules like this, it is time to quit. So I did. Really,it is Will Shotz's job to protect us from this level of second guessing.

jae 12:25 AM  

@Casco -- My rule of thumb which has served me fairly well is that "if it doesn't look right it isn't." EDDe was a cue to erase stuff.

Ann Heil 12:27 AM  

Ahhhh.... BEQ. Magnificent, fun, lively, topical, interesting. I made it through the NE names quagmire by sheer luck, and ended up a DNF because I went with a PUB for Duchamp. The whole puzzle would have been hopeless with Baraks recent web appearance. As it was, I loved every minute of it. Thanks Will and BEQ!

RC 12:36 AM  

Why are "els" "high rollers?"

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

@RC - Elevated Trains

foxaroni 12:42 AM  

Being totally and completely unfamiliar with a "web series hosted by Z.G." meant DNF. Tried, though. Thought maybe I had it with BETWEENTHELINES...but no. Crumhorn took care of that. So I changed it to BETWEENTHEFERNS. Why not? That made a "bush beast" a REO. Why not? But "became tiresome" was looking like HORETKIN (because of OKIDUNNO). That's when I threw in the towel.

Thought CARYN was pretty esoteric and a bit unfair for "most" solvers.

Now I'm all set for another epic Saturday fail. ;-)

foxaroni 12:49 AM  

P.S. Also didn't know LANOTTE. "Blowup?" Sure. "Zabriskie Point?" No prob. LA NOTTE, no.

Laughed at ARTMAJOR, though.

Rhymin Ancient MandAriner 1:15 AM  

@Rex, you smart-aleck young whippersnapper.

Why, in my day, they made puzzles the good, old-fashioned way... on birch bark, usin bits of charcoal. I had to walk ten miles, just to get my first clue. And none of this commie-pinko unfair trickery with them clues, neither. A topnotch solver had to plain and simple know his stuff. Why, if you didn't know what a bitter vetch was, you were toast out of luck with marmalade on it, Clarabelle. grumble. grumble. snort. kahoptooie.

And get off my lawn.

(Best I got, on short notice.)

Casco Kid 1:17 AM  

@jae, I was pretty well down the rabbit hole as it was. kEenEST had a high likelihood of being right. cLn for conclusion was [End: abbrev] and gave me the n. It was a matter of pushing my brains to make everything else work around it.

This was a tough puzzle because of many credible (superior?) alternate solutions. latEncy is a much better answer technically speaking than TIMELAG for the Skype clue. decEased is better than HOPELESS for nonviable. LEGS is not a synonym for durability, but it is for potential. TEXASTEA is a well-known euphemism for oil. Call me a smooth-cortexed literalist, but I find that I have to defocus to get into BEQ's clue structure here. EDDe was my guess at defocusing. Just my luck he went with the "right" answer on that one.

jberg 9:51 AM  

I finished this one before Rex posted, and then had to leave for an early meeting, so I'm just getting back to post now.

Finished, but with an error -- incredibly, I had kARYN and could not see that CUBES was a better answer. I was fixed on the idea that in-line skates had some kind of brand-name wheels in them. Sigh.

kRUMHORN before the English spelling. I've not only played them, I once bought a kit to make my own (it's been half finished for maybe 15 years now). For those of you not familiar with them -- the last line in that Wikipedia entry about helping the player with intonation is a little in joke. Crumhorns are always out of tune, unless you're playing a matched set.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Texas Tea is oil. I had several wrong squares in the northeast corner, so maybe I'm just sour grapes.

JenCT 11:03 AM  

There's also a TBAR at the Breckenridge ski area in Colorado.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to BEQ in the ACPT judging room; he's not mean at all...

Jimmy Fallon did a cute bit on SBARRO the other night:

Thank you Sbarro

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

Good 'un. Tough, as Fridays should be, and in the SW very nearly backbreaking. Had lifELESS, but completing the section with that in place was, er, HOPELESS. Couldn't think of the old pizza chain--who, ME???--until I put that O at the end. And then, of course--headslap!--SBARRO! Ah, and "Paper-clip" is a VERB in this clue! But CASTUP? Looks like a misspelling of CATSUP, what Hunt's calls ketchup. "OK, Hank, we have the script, we have the sound stage, time to CASTUP." The natick was that U, but no other letter made sense with CAST_P. So, CRUMHORN, eh? All right, Bequey, if you say so. Had I been in charge of Naming That Instrument, I may have opted for something that didn't sound so...crummy. Whatever.

I like the conversational feel of GETSOPEN, SIZESUP, DOITBYTHEBOOK and OHIDUNNO. This is what people say in real life, unlike so many of the made-up phrases, or archaic words, I see on this page. Take "notes," you STENOs out there who WANTEDTO build a crossword.

I didn't do any better in real-life poker yesterday than I did here, busting out on QQ vs. KT offsuit (!) when the idiot spiked a king. I'll try again today with four 4's.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

OK, I'll admit it. I had to google for "Between Two Ferns," but after that everything went smoothly. Not fast, but smooth. I did have play by the book instead of, which was corrected. I kinda think "cast up" was unfair, just sayin. I do like BEQ.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA 10:30 AM PST

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

P.S. New to Between Two Ferns and would like to thank BEQ for the introduction.

Ron Diego

DMG 2:44 PM  

Way out of my league. All those names I know nothing about. Solved what I could, leaving blanks in the NE and SW, and quit, knowing there was no way I could ferret out the rest. Came here to discover that most of them were things/people I have never heard of. Did think the drink should be a Zombie, the scary, never tried, mash-up of my college days.

And with all that, one miserable pair!

Dirigonzo 3:25 PM  

I never let go of HOraS for "dances on stage" but I somehow convinced myself that the resulting gibberish were words BEQ invented just for this puzzle (I never claimed to be the NEATEST solver in syndiland - or anywhere, for that matter).

Two pairs and adios.

Solving in Seattle 4:32 PM  

I saw the Zach bit with Obama on the news, but said OHIDUNNO as to what Zach's series is called. I WANTEDTO know the answer, but I was INAPET and felt HOPELESS. I just couldn't DOITBYTHEBOOK, so, like Ron Diego, I googled BETWEENTHEFERNS. !@#$% CRUMHORN *&^%$!

Thereafter, completely sullied by cheating, I ATONES, took the google EXITLANE, and LEGO of the interweb.

The rest of the puz went down in a MINNIE CAVORT at the MENAGE with EDDA and CARYN. Good thing we had plenty of EXEDRA TOWELS and TEXASTEA.

nuff. Have a good weekend, Syndies.

Capcha: The Taboardi. Rival group in the Di Vinci Code.

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