Kentucky county in 1976 Oscar-winning documentary / SAT 5-10-14 / Prop for Kermit Frog / Profession of Clementine's father / Girl in Music Man with floral name / 2001-05 Pontiac made in Mexico / Org in 1950s-60s TVs Naked City / Melvin King of Torts

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Ruy LOPEZ (46D: Ruy ___ (chess opening)) —
The Ruy Lopez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈrwi ˈlopeθ/ˈlopes]), also called the Spanish Opening orSpanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5
The Ruy Lopez is named after 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura. It is one of the most popular openings, with such a vast number of variations that in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) all codes from C60 to C99 are assigned to them. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another lightning-fast themeless solve for me (I rated it "Easy-Medium" only because others' times — posted at the puzzle website — seemed not quite as faster-than-usual as mine was). No idea what's going on, but the last two puzzles have hardly put up fight at all. I liked this one fine. I think I would like it more if I knew what a CRAZY BONE was. Is that the same as FUNNY BONE? If not … just how many of these wacky-type bones do I have?? Longer answers are just moderately interesting to me today, except MCMANSION and DREAMLAND, both of which are lovely colloquialisms. Fill is somewhat weaker and duller in the W/SW than in most of the rest of the grid. DSO / ETES / ALLES / MIES are all a little crosswordesey, and SALLIE MAE and DES MOINES aren't exactly scintillating as longer answer go. But most of the rest of the grid is solid and bouncy. Very nice job handling the fill in the triple-Z SE section. Normally against cramming Scrabbly letters into a corner just 'cause, but here the fill is strong despite/because of the three Zs, so hurray.

Once again, 1A was a gimme for me (1A: Prop for Kermit the Frog). There is only one thing I can picture Kermit holding, and it's a BANJO. With those letters in place, that NW section goes down almost instantly. This leads directly to the easy SEQUEL, and then up into the NE via the "K" in SHAK, which gave me AZTEK (Walter White's car for most of "Breaking Bad," btw). That "Z" made me think CRAZY- even though, as I said, I've never heard of a CRAZY BONE. My dissertation was in part on Chaucer, so MCD was a gimme and that essentially meant that the whole NE, across the top and around the corner, went down fast. Things got a little dicey in the SE section, where I briefly thought I might get stuck for a good long while. But I guessed AROMA correctly at 48D: Something from the oven. I had forgotten LOPEZ (despite knowing it from, I think, Chandler novels), but once it popped into my mind, I iced that section pretty quickly. That left the SW, where I had gotten stalled coming out of the NW (wanted NEON GAS instead of RARE GAS, didn't trust ELATED …). WEBSITE to HERS to HYPO put me in decent position. DES MOINES was easy from there. NAME PLATE was harder. AMARYLLIS was hardest of all, since I'm not the best with floral names, but to my credit, I did eventually get it off the -YLLIS. From there, mad dash to the end. Last letter was the "S" in MERGES (I'd had an "R" there before seeing Über ALLES).

OK then. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Fugu 12:07 AM  

You somehow wrote my exact inner monologue reacting to CRAZYBONE.

I was disappointed when ZILCH turned out to be ZIPPO. Is that rational?

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

REM sleep is what you do while in DREAMLAND.

jae 12:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 12:10 AM  

Medium- tough for me.  Got off to a rocky start with cargo before HAREM and GLUT before QUAD followed by DREAMLess before LAND in SW, Zilch before ZIPPO @fugu,  and teED before CUED in NE which really held me up. 

WOE: transcriptASE.  Wanted ion but knew it was too easy.

Tried to spell BONSAI with a Z. 

HARLAN was a gimme not because of the doc, but because of Justified. 

Had SHAK early but took it out twice because of teED. 

Plenty of good stuff to off set...ASE, RRN, ETES, OCS...Liked it.  Zippy and crunchy which is pretty much the definition of a fine Sat.

Shakira 12:20 AM  

I've never said either of those two things in my life!

Moly Shu 12:21 AM  

Challenging for me, and I'm happy. Started with only AZTEK, MINER, LOPEZ and ALLES, the rest was a constant struggle. Hand up for A. a made up name for the Humerus Q. what is the CRAZYBONE, Alex. That and IONIANSEA, really threw me. RAREGAS seems odd to me, but I think we've had this discussion recently. @RetiredChemist, yes??? DREAMlike state first, and AROMA in the wrong spot. Clue for MANUAL, my favorite by far.

Thanks Mr. Silk for knocking me down a peg (again).

George Barany 3:46 AM  

I enjoyed Barry Silk's offering, and was very pleased to see some chemistry and molecular biology come into the cluing for RARE_GAS (34-Across) and ASE (39-Across) respectively, especially the latter where another chemistry term, ION, fit the clue.

Turning to another topic, earlier this week, we discussed an easily discoverable [given the existence of the awesome and databases] theme duplication involving two New York Times puzzles published nine years apart. A more subtle theme similarity just came to my attention, as discussed in two separate posts on Amy's blog from earlier this week. Click here (Liz Gorski for Crossword Nation) and here (Bruce Venzke for Washington Post/CrossSynergy) if you want to look at the writeups of the solved puzzles, which were constructed by two of the most productive and experienced names in the cruciverbal arts. To me it's clearly a case of "Great Minds Think Alike" but I would rather not say more this early in the day lest some of you would like to try the puzzles first and draw your own conclusions.

Finally, the day before Mother's Day is an annual quasi-holiday on my adopted home turf, albeit for reasons that are alien to New Yorker types. Therefore, a couple of years ago, I enlisted a local expert to help me construct a Crossword Puzzle That's the Reel Deal. IMHO, the theme still works now, and BTW it would not come as any surprise if something similar (but hopefully not identical) had been done before.


AliasZ 6:29 AM  

What impressed me most about Mr. Silk's puzzle were the two sets of 4 interlocking trip-9 stacks in the NE and SW. All of them were clean and elegant, my favorites being CRAZY BONE (a phrase I use and hear about as often as funny bone), DON'T PANIC (the most useless phrase ever invented; once it needs to be said, it's half past too late), ON IN YEARS (aren't we all?), and of course the IONIAN SEA (are you lucky enough to have visited the island of Corfu?) and the beautiful word and flower AMARYLLIS (about which Louis XIII of France composed this air). ORAL EXAM is what a dentist gives you, so some less than pleasant memories tainted this entry.

A lot to like indeed, not to mention CROCHET, JINXES, and the zippy ZIPPO-PIZZA corner in the SE.

What I didn't like were the culs-de-sac in the NW & SE, however the aforementioned scrabbly entries managed to rescue them, and being rather easily gettable, did not turn into casus BELLI. I also disliked some of the short fill: INT, OCS, MCD, SBA, SES, DSO, SHAK, ASE.

TranscriptASE??? It sounds like an erotic dance performed by a person who has undergone gender reassignment surgery. However, it means: "A polymerase that catalyzes the formation of RNA from a DNA template in the process of transcription." Got that?

It was a very pleasant solving experience, if a bit on the easy side. Thank you, Messrs. Silk/Shortz.

On to the Saturday Stumper.

Glimmerglass 7:38 AM  

I thought this was hard. For several clues, I was smugly surprised I knew the answer, and I thought Rex would rate it challenging. What a comedown to find that Rex rates it easy (for him). I struggled but did eventually prevail. So I had a great time.

evil doug 8:08 AM  

Fell in love with fAnnIE instead of SALLIE, liked "F" for Flying in the RAF award, and never noticed the crossnonwords problems that left me.

Nice double p/double z box in South Beach.

Best of the week. Damning with faint praise, but it really was worth my $2.50.


Zwhatever 8:17 AM  

Placing Syracuse on the Aegean caused me a few issues.

Über ALLES followed by HEBREW... Youngest son is taking a History through Film class first hour. He observed that watching Schindler's List isn't easy at 7:30 in the morning.

Over at WaPo, it looks like MAS has engaged in some blatant pandering in order to get a positive review for his next quint stack. Har!

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Quadstack my dear Z, not quint stack.

In truth, I'm just having some fun. I originally thought of the idea about 10 years ago... long before this blog was even a twinkle in Rex's eye ;)


Zwhatever 8:44 AM  

@MAS - I thought maybe quads had become passé - besides, we're all waiting for your first triple quint stacks.... Who needs black squares, anyway?

r.alphbunker 8:57 AM  

A very enjoyable puzzle. I live in Iowa and did not know that DESMOINES was on the Racoon River.

@George Barany
Here's a couple of New Yorker cartoons that are relevant to the theme duplication discussion

Have all themes already been done?
Yes, but

Unknown 8:59 AM  

Good Saturday. I agree with easy-med rating. NE was a struggle - CRAZYBONE?

Nancy 9:16 AM  

Hard for me and DNF. Like others, had TEED for CUED and, worse, I had LANYARD for LANTERN, which threw me off completely. Never heard of CRAZYBONE for funnybone. I also had ZILCH for ZIPPO at first, but changed it pretty soon. But my quibble with this puzzle is all about the "relative of ocher" clues. Ocher is an earth tone. How is it anything like either TOPAZ or NECTARINE? I mean, I guess they're all colors of some sort...but still! Very unfair, I would argue.

joho 9:18 AM  

During my first pass I said to myself, "DONTPANIC" this is Barry Silk. You will figure it out slowly but surely." And I did!

I loved the scrabbliness of this!BANJO/BOTCH is a great beginning followed by JINXES, CRAZYBONE (I've definitely knocked mine!)AMARYLLIS and culminating in the most beautiful SE corner I've seen in a while: ZIPPO/ZAP/PIZZA/WAPITI/LOPEZ/TOPAZ!

Yippy Skippy Zippity doo da, Mr. Silk!

Sir Hillary 9:21 AM  

Pretty smooth for a Saturday. Didn't have the killer clues that BCS often gives. ZIlch held me up for bit, but was easily fixable. Love LOPEZ and TOPAZ side by side.

Bigger problem in the NE, where fhA and upINYEARS left me adrift for some time. Never heard of a CRAZYBONE, but that is a sweet stack of 9s up there.

Trying to find something else exceptional worth commenting on, but can't, so I'll sign off.

Questinia 9:30 AM  

Yes on Aegean. Yes on DREAMLess, had Rad before REM too. Yes on BONzAI. Had Transcript-rna while knowing rna is not a true suffix. Had tangeRINE. Never heard of AZTEK or the MONKEY,(had cha-cha ).

Therefore easy-medium

Liked the little iters through HAREM and YALTA to get to the SE and NW.

Boilerplate, lustrous Silk.

Dorothy Biggs 9:32 AM  

DREAMLess at first.

I can only picture Kermit in a top hat and cane...otherwise, he has no regular prop associated with him. BANJO is something I've seen him with (in the movie?), but otherwise, a lily pad, a cane, or really just about anything else.

HAREM pants live deep, deep in the recesses of my mind. I don't know what they are so I"m not sure how I even knew that.

I know Deutschland, Deutschland über alles is a thing, but I didn't know that ÜBERALLES was a thing. Seems like an unfair partial to me. I figured it out, but I didn't like it.

Wouldn't a Belize native be MAYAn?

At the very beginning, before it was clearly wrong, I wanted Leida Rose instead of AMARYLLIS. I think Leida might actually be spelled wrong...too lazy to look because it was wrong anyway.

Overall, fairly difficult for me and BANJO was the last to fall...which kinda pissed me off because of what I mentioned earlier.

retired_chemist 9:35 AM  

@ MollyShu - yes, RARE GAS is fine as clued.

Easy-medium here. Big hangup was in the center, where I immediately put in SHAK but then gave up on it when AZT__ appeared and had to be AZTEc. And then CRO__ET became CROquET. I'm sure it follows some kind of pattern. All games do, perhaps here the layout of the wickets. Not sure how I justified qUED up - figured it was a variant of queued and the clue referred to people in a line waiting to play..... something. Anyway, that all gave me SuAc instead of SHAK. I figured it out, but that set of errors added about two minutes to my time.

OLEIC was amino first, BANJO was a late-comer. MCD only required knowing Chaucer was a fourteenth century dude - only MCD has three letters and is consistent with that.

NECTARINE a relative of ocher? OK, got me. I do not brag about my color sense.

Solid fill and nice cluing, i.e. just what I expected from Barry Silk, whom I thank for this Saturday's exercise.

Loren Muse Smith 9:41 AM  

Nice job, Barry! Perfect themeless with scrabble and crunch.

LOPEZ crossing PIZZA was my low-hanging fruit for this one. NECTARINE, on the other hand, remained unpluckable for quite a while. If you're playing me in chess and I'm white, I'm opening with Ruy LOPEZ because that is pretty much the extent of my repertoire. I'll keep my knights off the edges, and I'll castle very early, but even then, you won't have any problem wiping the board with me. Ask my daughter.

I never knew "behemoth" came from HEBREW. What is it about that word that makes me want to put the emPHASis on the wrong sylLAble? Maybe vehement is interfering? (Or maybe we see MOTH and want to pronounce it with an open O rather than a schwa so we automatically put the stress on the first syllable? I sure wish there were a serious phonologist out there. And I know you Bostonians don't have an open o vowel, but you're all still nice anyway.)

The clue for MANUAL was excellent. Very early on, I considered "adhere," and somehow took forever to pull myself out of that direction of thought – a fatal flaw for a Saturday NYT.

@jae – I considered "cargo" and "capri" even though I'm sure I've gone down the same Five-Letter-Second-Letter-A-Pants Path several times before settling on HAREM. I could probably really dig in and entertain "baggy" and "fancy," too, before I get Saturday serious.

And I kept erasing QUAD and putting in "glut," all the while vehemently despising the machines that work out both muscles at the same time.

I first had "Indian" Sea but then figured that Syracuse feels more Greekish.

"Tans" before SUNS had me pretty sure that it was Thoreau who gave us those quotes. Ah, but then I remembered that Shlakman/Chen Sunday Hamlet puzzle. I really need to brush up on my SHAK.

I saw _ _ _LAND for sleep, and with that A off ALLES in place, I confidently tried "la la land," a phrase that I really get a kick out of. "Oh la la! LA Laker's lavish la-la land lair."

I keep noticing MAYA and AZTEK.

Even with a LANTERN, you couldn't pay me to be a MINER and crawl around in caves.

HARLAN Coben (author) OK – I'll toot my own horn:

" . . .shifting from Hunter's travails to those of homicide detective Loren Muse, a lapsed Catholic who's investigating the murder of a nun with breast implants."
(from an Amazon review of The Innocent).

Didn't know about my other life, did you?

So Neon walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Hey, buddy - we don't serve noble gases. Beat it." He didn't react.

Unknown 9:44 AM  

Tough for me, but no googling necessary. Never heard of CRAZY BONE, but I guess it's close enough to funnY BONE that I can imagine people using it. The long answers helped me immensely.

Zwhatever 10:01 AM  

Maybe this for CRAZY BONE? I thought it was from the game, Operation!, but it is the funny bone there.

mac 10:09 AM  

Very good but tough for me. Hand up for teed and zilch, and I can only visualize Kermit with a crown....

All in all, the NW was the hardest part for me. Harem pants!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

Medium for me, about 45 min.


Hesitated at 19 A, _____ mix, CHEX, thinking the clue should have had a capital M.

Ludyjynn 10:48 AM  

Easy for you, DNF for me. Too many sinkholes to mention. My worst performance in months. I think I'm just distracted by the garden calling my name. Opened the pond Thurs. and only lost 2 fish despite the wacky Winter weather we had. Yesterday, veggie garden went in since we are FINALLY past the frost deadline. Got a little carried away w/ planting so many tomatoes! Today, caladium bulbs over-wintered indoors go back in pots presently sporting pansies which will start to wilt by June as Summer heat escalates. Just in time for the colorful caladium spikes to pop up and take their place til Fall. And so it goes...

lawprof 10:48 AM  

If I finished a Saturday, it must be - by definition - easy. Still, a grind for me. Got enough on first pass, MAYA, ALLES, ATEAM, AZTEK, ETES, LOBE, WEBSITE, BELLI and LOPEZ to provide fingerholds, but ground to a crawl, and thought about throwning in the towel. Hung in there when mALTA became YALTA, which triggered the MONKEY, and reminded me that Clementine's pop was a MINER [Forty-Niner]. And so it went, little by little. That's the beauty of Barry Silk's puzzles: if you work at it, you'll get it.

Is the AZTEK the ugliest car ever manufactured, or what? (The old farmer's Citroen 2CV is in a class by itself). The Aztek probably spelled doom for the entire Pontiac line, which is now consigned to the automotive dustbin of DeSotos, Edsels, Studebakers et al. RIP.

Fred Smith 11:10 AM  

LMS --

Segueing to OT on your finish ...

So this horse walks into a bar, and goes up to the barkeep. Says the barkeep: "Why the long face?"

Ba day bump! ;-)

-- Fred

Mohair Sam 11:13 AM  

What's not to love with this fine Saturday test? - Would you call the corners double-crossing triple stacks? Had to be tough to do and he pulled it off seamlessly.

A Tolstoy freak here, so YALTA a gimme that opened up SE quickly. Worked our way steadily up the puzzle and stalled cold in NW. I pictured Kermit in a scarf, and therefore was sure of cignA tower in Hong Kong (which is on the South China Sea, I know - but I'm thinking like Caribbean/Atlantic, ya know). Anyhow, my wife put her mind to BOTCH and remembered a BANJO-toting Kermit and we were done.

The Music Man's AMARYLLIS has stuck in my mind for decades as one of the coolest names out there, but struggled with the spelling.

Only county I know in Kentucky is HARLAN, kept safe by Raylin Givens. Knew a guy in the service who always called the funny bone his CRAZYBONE, maybe he was Barry Silk's father.

Always enjoy Silk's cluing, but MCMANSION, JINXES, and OCS were particularly good. And proud to say IONIANSEA was a gimme, although I was momentarily tempted by the Erie Canal.

Notice how so many of us stalled in different parts of the puzzle? That's a sign of an excellent mix of clues. Just a great puzzle.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

So a couple of weeks ago several lost their minds over Wagner's victory (SIEG) and today we have (Deutschland) Uber ALLES and not a peep. This phrase is much more commonly associated with Hitler than "sieg", a single legitimate German word.

my my.

jdv 11:26 AM  

Challenging w/2 errors. Had ALLEr/MERGEr and WORd/MONdEY. Second error was a lazy mistake because I had LINDEY before MONKEY. First error was a fifty/fifty guess and I guessed wrong. Started in NW--nada. Went to SW--nada. Finally got going in SE. The hardest clue for me was 8d Stick. I tried COHERE, ADHERE, GLUEON. Having TEED for CUED pretty much screwed me. I winced when I realized it was CRAZYBONE. I've never heard it called that before. It will always be FUNNYBONE to me.

Dirigonzo 11:35 AM  

My truck has a MANUAL shift and I own an AZTEK (which I'll sell real cheap to anyone who wants it) so that pair of automotive gimmes got me off to a good start. I struggled for a while in the SE corner because, you know, I had ZIlch there but it was the NE that almost did me in. I never give up on a Barry Silk puzzle because his fill is always ultimately obtainable for even a hack solver like me, and after I dumped amino and murIC in favor of OLEIC it all came together - I love it when that happens.

Dirigonzo 11:41 AM  

Had to come back to check the follow-up box anyway so I might as well correct the corner in which I stalled which was, of course, the NW. I have heard "funnybone" and CRAZYBONE used interchangeably so no grief there.

Mohair Sam 11:43 AM  

My, my yourself, Anonymous 11:25. Say Sieg to 95% of Americans and they think "Sieg Heil", a salute to Hitler. Say Uber Alles to the same 95% and you'll get a blank stare from all but history buffs and cruciverbalists.

Martin 11:49 AM  

Anon 11:25,

You do know that "Deutschlandlied" is still the German national anthem, right? Hitler loved asparagus, but I eat them without guilt.

Unknown 11:51 AM  

Oooof. 2 hr. Dozen googles. Undoable. Challenging, with a few unfairnesses. SBA doesn't loan money. It offer loan guarantees to lenders.IMF loans money. FED does, kind of. Crossing CRAZYBONE, which is clearly made up. Gimme a break. Don't knock CRAZYLOVE, however. NE needed reworking with CRAZYLOVE. That would've been fun. The Mexican Pontiac is a Matiz. Look it up. MACB was my the abbreviated Shakespearean source. Half right there.

South came with effort and a few googles.

NW had no point of entry. Kermit has no regular prop besides maybe a hat. Not really. Pacific landmark tower is world's second tallest in Shanghai. Anyway, wreck for mangle, (hi @wreck!) as in the cluing for this section. bossy pants, because smarty pants wouldn't fit. Rev for brass maker, because Revere the silversmith could work brass, too, no? Greener = Eco-er, maybe. Yuk. After SBA debacle, you just stop caring.

I did not much enjoy this experience. I don't believe that was entirely my fault.

bigsteve46 12:09 PM  

Anyone else (perhaps other SU grads?) think ERIE CANAL, for "Where Syracuse is a port?" I think that the Canal was rerouted at some point - used to be where Erie Blvd. is now, Anyway, I know we have an Erie Canal Museum in town. Figured out soon enough that it wasn't going to work in this puzzle, but the upstate-NY sentamentalist in me held out for a while.

pmdm 12:23 PM  

Bob Kerfuffle: Came here only to make the comment you already made.

I suppose if you buy Chex by itself and mix it with your own concoction of raisins, dried fruit and nuts you would make your own homemade Chex mix. So, in theory, the clue could be said to be acceptable. But I'm with you: Chex Mix is a commercial product with both words capitalized. Mr. Shortz blew this one.

Lewis 12:34 PM  

Right in the pocket, a splendid Saturday. Smooth yet tough for me. I struggled early on, but with each revelation the puzzle opened itself up until during the last third, I was filling it in like a Tuesday. Top notch, Barry, and thanks!

Carola 12:35 PM  

Challenging for me but lots of fun to puzzle out. This was one of those puzzles where an intial incorrect entry nevertheless gives you what you need to get started: "Dfc" leading to the same DREAMLike state and fAnnIEMAE that others also had.
Fortunately, I remembered Melvin BELLI and HARLAN County so straightened myself out and eventually crept to the finish, savoring all those grid treats along the way - AMARYLLIS, MCMANSION, DON'T PANIC, NECTARINE....
The home stretch in the NW was tough, as I had no idea about the BANJO, and needed to resort to an alphabet run for _ _ _ XES, as heXES had been blocking JINXES (which seems nicely paired with BOTCH in that corner).

Thank you, Barry Silk - this had everything I look forward to in a Saturday puzzle.

AliasZ 12:51 PM  

Re: "blatant pandering" in today's WaPo. The symmetrical pairing of REX seemed to be contemptuous rather than pandering, today or ten years ago. Coincidence or intelligent design? [Loved the puzzle. And not a quad stack in it!]

Back to the NYT. MANUAL reminded me of classical guitarist MANUeL Barrueco's performance of Danza de los vecinos (Dance of the Neighbors) from El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) by Spanish composer MANUeL de Falla (1876-1946).

Banzai! [= "Live long!"].

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

As a chemistry teacher I was aghast at 34 across, Noble one. I have seen Noble gases being called Inert gases but never rare gases. In fact they are not rare at all. There is more Argon in the atmosphere than Hydrogen. There are also rare earths but they really aren't rare either.
Bad answer to this clue. 1:17 PM  

Lovely Saturday for me. I only had one careless error, WORD for WORK. Should have caught it before I clicked "check".

joho 1:22 PM  

There is absolutely nothing funny about hitting your CRAZYBONE -- it hurts like CRAZY! Maybe it started out as a funnyBONE and the name was changed to CRAZYBONE for that reason!

retired_chemist 1:27 PM  

@ Anon 1:15 - In comments above, this retired chemistry professor as well as an active one (George Barany) had no problem with the term rare gas for the elements of Group 18 in the periodic table. Neither does Google. Your point that argon especially is not rare is of course correct, but the term remains.

Mies and Anonymo3Us 2:26 PM  

Even tho 32-Across has primo segue potential, no way is M&A postin a puz, when the competition is this fierce. SatPuz thUmbsUp for Team Silkzmeister.

* MCD (Militarized jewel box contents)
* SES (Opposite of NWN)
* OCS [Great clue, as is!] - I do smell a SOC in there, somewheres, tho.

Mystery meat fillins:
* MIES - Must get to know my architects...
* SHAK/SHAC (var.) - That O'Neal dude dreamt all them phrases up?! wow.
* CRAZYBONE - Paves the way for the juicy grid-spanner, WILD&CRAZYBONE.
* (TRANSCRIPT)ASE - Var. spellin of ACE fooled m&e, here.

Grid Recap Report:
First half: 3 U's. Field goal. DONTPANIC.
Second half: ZZZIPPO. Panic.


p.s. Still no word from NY on my nonruntpuz submission. Mail delays?

Fred Romagnolo 2:41 PM  

Boy, did I struggle with this one! I agree that with Barry Silk, if you sit and stare at it and rack your brain long enough, it will come. Minor quibble, I feel that he put the Ionian a little too far west. I join the FUNNY BONE crowd. Macbeth has already been indicated; the other phrase is from Twelfth Night, delivered by Sir Toby Belch, considered by some to be a precursor of Sir John Falstaff. @Mohair Sam correctly chastises @Anon on the German national anthem (written by the great Haydn). @Lawprof: for what its worth, as a young man I fell madly in love with the '54 Studebaker. I'm surprised one of the PC'ers hasn't complained about BABE. I had no idea NECTARINE was a color. Fanniemae had to give way to ALLES. I knew Zip, didn't know ZIPPO.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Loved this! Took me 3 hours but I had such a delightful time. Like so many others had zilch fot zippo until the very end, until pizza appeared and solved all of my problems (just like real life! ).

wreck 3:02 PM  

@Casco - noted, but I didn't even think of using "WRECK!" - ; )
On MY Saturday scale it was just under medium. I struggled a bit, but the few googles I did gave me a great foothold and it solved fairly quickly afterwards.

Sasha 3:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Twangster 3:26 PM  

I started out with CIGAR instead of BANJO, which turns out to be plausible:

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

I took Forest Ecology in college, and part of the class involved the Forest Ecology Songs (they're that good that it's capitalized). When we learned about aspens, the song that went with the lesson was "Aspen Über Alles."

Aspen, aspen, populus tremuloides!
What a remarkable species,
Aspen über alles!

When I see Über, I immediately sing the song and remember remarkable things about aspens.

All that to say I got that clue pretty easily.

jberg 3:34 PM  

Drat, I went with SHAc/AZTEc -- never heard of the car (never heard of most cars) and it seemed about as likely.

That aside, I really struggled with this one -- had to come back to it three times. In the NW, once I'd receted cApri and cArgo, I figured 1D to be crusH; then the obvious malIC acid made me change it to smasH. Hard to get past that one!

Other problems were aegeAN and thinking the IONIAN was over toward Turkey, and, like @Doug, wanting DfO for the RAF, parallel to the DFC. Also, somehow, inexplicably, I had not remembered when Chaucer died. I'm glad @Rex knew, or he'd have degraded it as musty with age.

Despite all those problems, I enjoyed the solve as everything (except AZTEK) did finally ererge into view. Nice work!

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

What was easy for Rex was tough for me. BANJO was the very last word I got. If I hadn't guessed OLEIC for the acid, I don't think I would have ever finished the NW corner. That eventually allowed me to guess BOTCH and NEWER and gradually the others came to me.

sanfranman59 6:05 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 6:20, 6:04, 1.04, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:46, 8:32, 1.03, 60%, Medium
Wed 9:22, 9:54, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 12:30, 17:55, 0.70, 6%, Easy (14th lowest ratio of 228 Thursdays)
Fri 15:57, 21:06, 0.76, 13%, Easy
Sat 29:40, 26:58, 1.10, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:04, 3:55, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:21, 5:15, 1.02, 55%, Medium
Wed 6:07, 6:11, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Thu 7:14, 10:31, 0.69, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 228 Thursdays)
Fri 9:59, 12:18, 0.82, 21%, Easy-Medium
Sat 19:50, 17:00, 1.17, 81%, Challenging

michael 7:22 PM  

I thought this was easy for a Saturday (helps that I play chess and knew ruy lopez right off), but then got stuck in the north and had to do one google (Aztek).

Such a word would never occur in Spanish but of course made up car names are common.

mathguy 11:19 PM  

Casco Kid: You and I seem to be the only ones who couldn't get the NW.

"___ mix" is an unfair clue because Chex Mix is a product name and mix should be capitalized. I was thinking stew mix or seed mix. I also was sure that 1A was PIANO. Kermit is often seen singing while sitting on a piano. I've seen the Aloha Tower several times and never thought of it as a landmark. I was thinking that spelling had to do with casting a spell, but to me casting a spell on someone is much more sinister than jinxing them.

Whining is permitted here, isn't it?

Arlene 5:55 AM  

Better late than never - I finished this Saturday puzzle with just a few googles. YAY!
Following this blog gave me the confidence to "just do it"! Thanks folks!

Zwhatever 9:38 AM  

On CHEX MIX - Yes, General Mills now makes many pre-fab CHEX MIXes that you can buy. However, CHEX MIX goes back at least to the 70's (probably longer, but I cannot attest to it). The version I remember was usually one variety of CHEX with nuts mixed in.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

what does DSO stand for ? Harem pants was a gimme ? for whom ? women? chex mix? what are they? some toxic Kellog cereal?

Savvypete 3:20 PM  

Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth of Nations and British Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Chaucer's death is a RRN for the majority of us. Rex would complain too except that he happened to know it. This just goes to show that a puzzle is easy if it is in the domain of your areas of interest.

Solving in Seattle 3:05 PM  

Quick break from watching the Open. Kaymer's lead is amazing.

Gotta say this was another Silky smooth satpuz from BCS.
I awarded my RAF pilot a Dfc before the DSO. Got DREAM off that. Had mad before LEX which came off SALLIEMAE. The X from LEX gave me ORALEXAMS, so the SW was the first to fall. Told myself DONTPANIC, the rest will fall, and it did.
I'm back to the TV and BANJO lessons.

DMG 3:52 PM  

Too many things I couldn't dig up. Never heard of AZTEK, and couldn't shake "stick" away from it's adhere meaning, so a lot of the NE eluded me. Same sort of thing in the center. No idea of the candidate, misspelled AMARYLisS, and somehow withe B and W in place, failed to latch on to HEBREW. Again, with ?ALTA in place, knew the Russians wouldn't be associated with mALTA, but by that time couldn't even summon up the Y. I think my brain needs a vacation!

Waxy in Montreal 9:51 PM  

Even though MCD was a gimme, never did get MCMANSION or CRAZYBONE. UPinyears didn't help. Also AZTEC before AZTEK, TEED before CUED, LEDGES before MERGES & DREAMLESS before DREAMLAND didn't help. CHEX and mix don't conflate in my world (unlike corn flakes) so was stymied there.

All that being said, a very enjoyable Saturday puzzle from the redoubtable Mr. Silk. On the way back to my TV for the 4th World Cup game of the day. And as @SiS commented, Kaymer has indeed been amazing thru the first 3 rounds of the US Open. And a Happy Father's Day tomorrow to all!

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