Time for Debussy's faune / FRI 1-16-15 / Hemoglobin carrier / Picturesque subterranean spaces / Journalist who wrote 1943 book here is your war / Alcopop alternative / Like tarantella dancers

Friday, January 16, 2015

Constructor: Michael Wiesenberg

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ERYTHROCYTE (55A: Hemoglobin carrier) —
Red blood cells (RBCs), also called erythrocytes, are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrate organism's principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues--via blood flow through the circulatory system. RBCs take up oxygen in the lungs or gills and release it into tissues while squeezing through the body's capillaries. (wikipedia)

• • •


Hey, this is pretty good. I like this grid shape; my one NYT themeless puzzle had a very similar shape. It gives you four showcase areas, four stacks/groupings where you can take cool, longer fill out for a spin. What I like most about this grid is the breadth of subject matter. Science! French music! Hybrid punctuation!  I gagged a bit on EGOISTICAL. Try saying it in a way that doesn't make you sound like an affected, tea-drinking whist-player. I don't know why you're drinking tea, but you are, and I don't really know what "whist" is, but it sounds like you're saying it when you say EGOISTICAL. EgoWHISTical. Normals say "egotistical," of course. Gotta let that one off on a (dictionary) technicality, but don't gotta be happy about it. But nothing else clunked for me. Clues were gritty without being inedible. A fine time was had by all (of me). Here's what that time looked like. Let's start with the opening:

As you can see, I was following the time-worn tactic of drilling down the short stuff first and then seeing what your brain can do, pattern-recognition-wise, with the longer Acrosses. I had *just* enough after my first pass at the Downs to pick up SWEET POTATO (even though I had half of 1D wrong). A bit later, when I couldn't make headway, I took out AM and tried DO SO, and when that didn't work, I think I got SEE YOU LATER and IS SO simultaneously. That corner fell from there. When I hit a wall trying to move into the SW, I headed to the east, which proved most tractable. STIR IN, FATTEST, SOLOISTS, all easy pick-ups, and so the NE went down without much trouble. Soon I had a grid that looked like this:

Again, drilled down through the long Acrosses and waited for pattern recognition to do its thang. Thank god (!) for OBSERVANTLY because those other two Acrosses in the SE were not going to cough up their secrets very easily. But with OBSERVANTLY in place, the little Downs in the far SE fell easily, and after virtually all their crosses were in place, first NATURE TRAIL and then ERYTHROCYTE came into view. Big stroke of luck that JUICE BAR was so easily inferable from just the -BAR. "J" helped me take care of the whole middle, and then there was just the SW. Here's what happened there:

Hurray for the '80s. Do people still drink WINE COOLERs? (26D: Alcopop alternative) They sure did when I was in high school. I mean, I didn't—I was a total square who was too terrified to break any law (until college, when I started knocking over banks). But Bartles & James were practically folk heroes in the '80s. Anyway, again, I just needed that little bit of help from the crosses and boom went WINE COOLER. All you need is one of those long answers in any given quadrant to get serious traction. A minute or so later, I was done.

  • 8D: Restrain, as one's breath (BATE— OK, upon reflection, there are some clunkers in here.  Breath might be (figuratively, floridly) "bated," but nobody BATEs their damned breath. Nobody SOEVER. DEUT ITI ATA LEB NRC also aren't great, but that's a pretty small handful. And the longs are generally good, so I'm not too disturbed. 
  • 30D: ___ Beach, Calif. (PISMO) — my dad took me and my sister to PISMO Beach in the summer of '78. In an RV. This trip was weirdly memorable. It was the trip on which I was introduced to baseball cards (Topps had this solitaire game you could play with the cards—basically a game recreation type thing—and I sat at the RV table and played and played and played … I can still see Jim Rice's big smiling mug …). My sister tripped over a parking curb while holding an ice cream cone and went right over onto the pavement … but maintained total control of the cone (she was 6). And this song was very, very popular: (Also, within a month my parents would be divorced. But … this song!)
  • 4D: Brew ingredient from a 2-Down (EYE) / 2D: See 4-Down (NEWT) — This was wicked confusing ("Brew" being highly ambiguous), but when it came together, the phrasing all checked out. I like my cross-references spot-on and close together (check and check).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Look what I got in the mail today! Fan art! Very sweet… (it's a magnet!)


Gabe Tuerk 12:04 AM  

I wanted wine cooler to be some sort of neer beer?! I think there was a loose theme on worship of sorts (saint's day, sigils, observantly)

Gabe Tuerk 12:11 AM  

*near(ly) posted without a typo

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium for me too with the South on the easy side and the North tougher.   INTERROBANG was a WOE so NW was a struggle even with SEE YOU LATER filled in.   Did an educated guess at the SIGILS (also a WOE) /SO EVER cross.  Could have been an N or an M or an H???

Very solid Fri. with a hint of zip...RU PAUL O LORD ?!...liked it.

Whirred Whacks 12:29 AM  

Challenging puzzle for me. Liked the variety of answers.

East and south went in first. West was difficult.

Learned a new word: INTERROBANG. I feel like I should have learned this a long time ago.

Favorite clue: "Found in preserves" for NATURE TRAIL


Thought a little bit more about yesterday's discussion for the clue for 53 down which was "The Host author Stephenie." The answer was MEYER. A much better clue would've been "The best college football coach in America, Urban _______."

Carola 12:30 AM  

Very nice puzzle, fun to solve - ERTHROCYTE, INTERROBANG, VIBRATO, ROTTERS, JILTS...so much to like. I found the Across clues vague enough that my first pass yielded only AGA, ANNE, and V?DAY. Fortunately, the Downs were friendlier, starting with L'APRESMIDI, which sent me on my way.

Loved seeing NATURE TRAIL materialize out of what I'd supposed to be a jam jar and WINE COOLER for what I thought would be some sort of music (alcopop, sort of like Euro-pop). SIGIL was a new word for me.

@Gabe Tuerk - Yes, also: O LORD, ADAM AND EVE, DEUT, MYRRH.

Jim Finder 12:40 AM  

Can someone please explain OTS (19A)? Thanks.

Steve J 12:48 AM  

I first read about the INTERROBANG a couple years back. I fell in love with it right away. And it enabled me to get off to a quick start, although it was actually the NE that was the first corner to fully come together for me.

I found this a good deal clunkier than everyone else so far. Was not fond of the clue for BATE, of EGOISTICAL , of SIGILS crossing SOEVER. Found 49A to be a bit of a tautology. And I very much disliked DAY crossing DAYS.

That said, I liked clues for JILTS, ACCLAIMS, and ADAM AND EVE. And nice fill was to be had with SEE YOU LATER, JILTS (again), NATURE TRAIL. And, of course, INTERROBANG.

Carola 1:04 AM  

@Jim Finder - Overtimes, after the end of regulation play. 

John Child 2:03 AM  

Despite the curiously outrageous INTERROBANG and the jargony ERYTHROCYTE bookending this puzzle it went down very quickly for a Friday. There's lots of other fresh, less obscure stuff here too.

A recent "Economist" blog post about the interrobang is interesting. And I see that an erythrocyte is just a red blood cell, from Greek erythros meaning red. Learn something new everyday, my mom told me. A double dose today from Mr Wiesenberg. Thanks!

Anonymous 2:30 AM  

It's Bartles and Jaymes. Nice puzzle. Very crunchy, with some appreciated rarely-used fill (SIGILS, JILTS, MYRRH). Medium for a Friday is spot-on.

I thought Rex would highlight LAPRESMIDI. I'd never heard of it. Second choice was Ernie PYLE, famed WW II photographer.

I don't like PINES for "Much Scandinavian landscape." Landscape involves geography, not flora, when the scope moves beyond one's fence line, IMHO.

Does anyone still use the term "ROTTERS"?

Still, best puzzle of the week--which isn't saying much.


Susierah 6:45 AM  

Interrobang? New word for me!

I used to download the latimes crossword from cruciverb.com. This week, the puzzles have not been available. Anyone know anything about this?

wordie 8:00 AM  

I just loved this puzzle! One of the best I've ever done. Lots of really tricksy clues and great fill. Many aha moments. I didn't even notice the short fill that Rex pointed out, or at least it didn't bother me. I will smile in the future whenever I see MW's name at the top of a new grid! Thanks!

Mohair Sam 8:05 AM  

Was this not a terrific Friday puzzle?! I guess it played medium for us because we filled it fairly quickly in spite of it feeling difficult.

INTERROBANG and ERYTHROCYTE both had to fill, although the latter rang a bell. But all four stacks had a gimme or near gimme for us and made the solve DOABLE.

Loved the NEWT/EYE clue (rYE before EYE); nice misdirection on NATURETRAIL; and how English is ROTTERS?

A nod to Rex's problem with SOEVER - and a thanks to Rex for posting the cartoon. Neat stuff.

Someone will post a link to "Prelude a L'APRES-MIDI d'un Faun" - if you don't know the piece you might enjoy. Maybe they'll give you the link to Debussy's "Clair De Lune" too, just because that's the best piece of music ever written (imo, of course).

Greg 8:06 AM  

On the interrobang... new one for me, also, and the blog post cited by @John Child is excellent. However, after reading up on it, it seems to me that the clue is inaccurate. ?! is not an interrobang, it is merely a question mark in conjunction with an exclamation point. An interrobang actually combines the two, a la ‽. So cluing interrobang as ?! is actually the exact opposite of what the interrobang was intended to do. Regardless, this is the best new word I've learned in a long time.

jberg 8:15 AM  

Very STIRRIN' puzzle. Now must run to my plane.

Rhino 8:29 AM  

Really struggled with this one, but liked it.

Horace S. Patoot 8:29 AM  

I figure out more answers while I'm typing them into this space!

r.alphbunker 8:31 AM  

So close. Finished with OBSERVeNTLY/VIBReTO. Was suspicious that VIBReTO had only one T, didn't think much about the "e". Spent a lot of time on ATWIRL/ASWIRL/AWHIRL

Details are here

Zygotic 8:39 AM  

Bartles and Jaymes didn't need no first names.

VJ DAY? Yes. V Day? Yes. VE DAY? I can't recall ever hearing it so I checked Uncle Google and there it is at the top of the Victory in Europe Day Wikipedia article. Has anybody ever heard this as the preferred reference to the day, because I sure haven't. If the VJ DAY wiki article is to be believed, VE DAY is the official name for the day Germany surrendered, so maybe common usage is different from the official name. I'm curious about the usage of people who actually lived through the summer of '45.

I remembered that INTERROBANG is a thing at about the time I figured out that amSO was wrong and it wasn't oast/hop but EYE of NEWT. Of course, if you had asked me pre-solve what thing INTERROBANG is I would have not been able to answer. I wonder if BATE and abate are synonyms because they look like they should be opposites.

Had a real hard time coming up with OBSERVANTLY. Intermittently? Rarely? Almost never? On Easter? Poorly? You see my issue. I stopped going to church long ago when I realized too many of the people practicing religion needed a lot more practice.

Sir Hillary 8:40 AM  

This was a strange one for me. When I look at the finished grid, I can't help but be impressed. But for some reason, the solve was no fun at all. I actually went pretty quick for a Friday, but there was no enjoyment. Usually, there is at least one long entry I can just drop right in, which always gets my blood flowing. Not today. Every 7+ entry was painstakingly sussed through the 3s, 4s and 5s. Felt...I don't know...too basic. As I said, strange.

Like others, I learned the term INTERROBANG today. I don't imagine I will ever use it in a sentence or speak it aloud, other than to tell people I learned it today.

As a Southern California high school senior in the early 80s, I drank Bartles & Jaymes WINECOOLERs like they were Kool-Aid. That's when I wasn't drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. My tooth enamel has been compromised ever since. I am not proud of any of this.


Sir Hillary 8:43 AM  

@Z - I thought about mentioning Band of Horses, but figured it would be too obscure. (For this crowd? What was I thinking INTERROBANG). That is a fabulous song, and the B&J reference always makes me chuckle.

AliasZ 8:44 AM  

This puzzle didn't start off well for me. The portmanteau INTERROBANG is not a word I ever heard or used in a conversation, although I have used the symbol itself (very rarely‽) in writing. And it ended the same way with ERYTHROCYTE.

ERYTHROCYTE is a lovely technical term that doctors and phlebotomists like to throw around during cocktail parties while sipping a Bloody Mary, but I am not likely to ever need it in conversation. Maybe in a technical dissertation. Red blood cell is one syllable shorter, easier to spell and pronounce, and it is a universally understood and used term.

But to be honest, I loved to learn two new words today. It is now my responsibility to not forget them by next week.

Didn't we just discuss Sylvester's TALLONE this past Sunday?

It is easy to choose the music when the puzzle throws me such an obvious bait. Allow me therefore to present the "Prélude à L'APRÈS-MIDI d'un faune" by Claude Debussy, inspired by the poem "L'APRÈS-MIDI d'un faune" by Stéphane Mallarmé, in the only interpretation of this piece you ever need to hear.

Loved this puzzle from start to finish. Thanks, Mr. Wiesenheimer (or is it Wiesenberg?).


Gabe Tuerk 8:59 AM  

So many had struggled with observantly. I'll admit that I started with reSERVedly and landed harder on OBSERVANces (as in "through" observances) before correcting my last errors. Observances left me trying to cram a single rebus staycAY which clearly was not going to work. Erythrocyte jumped out before almost any other answer in my puzzle solve

mathguy 9:23 AM  

Very crunchy for me. Only 12 squares filled with gimmes and 69 squares to be filled with entries I didn't know. That's an MGI of 57, high even for a Friday.

Like Steve J, I found this one to be on the clunky side. OBSERVANTLY, OLORD, SOEVER, EGOISTICAL.

As I remember, Ernie Pyle was a writer, not a photographer.

joho 9:31 AM  

@Susierah, I'm having the same problem. Just Google LA Times Crossword Puzzle where you can play online or print the puzzle out.

@Rex, nice magnet!

I liked this one a lot but struggled and failed at SIGILS. Figured out the G but not the S.
I also wanted room instead of STAY. Then when I had the S I wanted Seat. ERYTHROCYTE was new to me as was INTERROBANG. Both nice new words to know. (Except I keep hearing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in my head now and that is not good!)

Thanks, Michael Wiesenberg!

Maruchka 9:48 AM  

BIg DNF. Could not see the forest for the PINES. Is IT I, or is it EYE? Mayhap 'tis time for cataract surgery.

No fav of the day. BUT - a favorite line from Lonesome Dove, when NEWT's attacked and Cap't Call almost kills that scary cavalry scout: "Can't stand rude behavior in a man, won't tolerate it." Words to live by.

@Rex - Whist-ful re: EGOISTICAL, too. Love the crunchypuzzle monster card.

rgards 9:49 AM  

Most often, these days, I see the ?! after the phrase "What the F**k". Sending that through my Shortzian filter, "what the heck" seemed a reasonable entry, mildly supported by tea as 3D and hold in 8D. The gimme sweet potato (17A) saved from a disaster for an ink on paper solver.

I had guessed that Rex would object to "midi" (in 12D) and "mid" as 31A as both, I think, have same root.

The pleasure of following this blog comes largely from the wonderful daily commentators. I find myself checking in twice daily -- once in finishing the puzzle and then in the evening to catch the commentary. I sent a small donation to Rex today but it's really large thanks that I want to sent to the regulars.

Back to lurking.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Am I the only one who has never seen the word "sigils" before? I guess so. Stupid me.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:07 AM  

Had the "Oh, this is going to be so easy" feeling as the NW and NE fell immediately with gimmes at INTERROBANG and L'APRESMIDI. Came a cropper in the SE and SW, where at first I wanted 33 A to be WILTS before JILTS, 41 A could have been anything, 25 D was wonderfully obscure, 55 A had to be spelled out letter-by-letter, etc.

But successfully finished, great Friday puzzle.

pmdm 10:12 AM  

Terrific write-up today. 'Nuff said.

evil doug 10:16 AM  


You're welcome.

I accept bitcoins.


Emily Poster 11:03 AM  

@Whirred and others...
The unwritten practice 'round these parts (actually, it might be written down in Rex's FAQ), is that it's nothing but today's clues today.

Not every solves sequentially.

If you have cool things to say about a previous puzzle, and it includes spoilers, then just post on that day!! Easy-peasy!

And since lots of us click on "email follow-up comments", we'll be sure to see your belated gems.

You're welcome?!

Hartley70 11:06 AM  

Yup Z, sorry but VE Day is the way it rolls. If one is a Rhode Islander who got out of school on VJ Day, then VE Day is the counterpart. Loved those Victories!

Hartley70 11:10 AM  

You're not alone.

Charles Flaster 11:11 AM  

Medium with last long filled being OBSERVANTLY. Originally had obsessively
Never heard of SIGIL.
One mistake was vibrata and thought the awkward letters would be ok for ERYTHROCYTE. Nope.
Should clue for HANDCRAFTS be embroideries?
Liked cluing-- ADAM AND EVE , NATURE TRAILS and especially SILKS.
Thanks MW.

Hartley70 11:19 AM  

I first thought that WOW this was an easy Friday, la la la, as I cruised along. And then I hit SIGIL/SOEVER and ERYTHROCYTE and realized that there was an ATA (which I still don't get) up at the top with the weirdest word I've come across, INTERROBANG. Really? Whose Idea was that? Why not interrobangarang? Isn't English grand?!

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

A great puzzle with many great clues. Laughed at EYE of NEWT and at VET for "one testing woofers." Also liked the misdirection for NATURE TRAIL. Ended up for a while with EGOIST ECHO for "repeating I" and was glad to discover I was wrong. Nice job, MW

Mohair Sam 11:22 AM  

@Alias Z - Knew you'd link to that, great interpretation btw. Thanks.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:26 AM  

@Hartley70 - One AT A time, please.

Nancy 11:27 AM  

Rule of the day: Sometimes cheating doesn't pay. Like everyone else, I never heard of INTERROBANG and I was baffled by 5D, "Heels." (I already had -OTT--S). So I went to my handy-dandy Roget's to look for heels synonyms. One was "tilts," which gave me my aha moment. 5D was TOTTERS. This gave me INTETROBANG, which made no less sense to me than INTERROBANG. I had to come here to found out it was ROTTERS (a synonym of heels that WASN'T in Roget's, thank you very much.) So, while I thought I'd solved, I hadn't. (Well, there was one other cheat: I looked up every California "Beach" city with an "I" as the second letter in my handy-dandy Atlas and found PISMO. (I always allow myself geographical cheats, my big weakness, though I won't use Google.) Without PISMO, I would not have solved -- or almost solved -- this puzzle.
Two fabulous misdirections that fooled me completely at first: 23A and 28D. Also wanted RYE instead of EYE for 4D, but there were then too many consonants in what turns out to be INTERROBANG. Once I had EYE, that gave me NEWT -- two more clever misdirections. I loved this puzzle for its difficulty, combined with its almost complete lack of proper names.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

You people don't watch Game of Thrones?! SIGILS are featured prominently.

Anoa Bob 11:29 AM  

An ess fest?!

Did this one la nuit dernière. Maybe if I had remembered to STIR IN a WINE COOLER in my TALL ONE from the JUICE BAR, I wouldn't have so OBSERVANTLY noticed all those entries that were one letter short of their allotted slot.

What to do? POC to the rescue! Quite a few do double duty, two-for-one service, most notably in the foursome paralleling the diagonal line of black squares below them. From a constructioneering point of view, I'm marking this one down as POC-assisted.

Thomas808 11:32 AM  

@Sir Hillary summed it up well. None of the long answers came easily, though in retrospect they are fair and cleverly clued. Just didn't click for me, but that's just the way it goes in the Crossworld sometimes.

DNF because SIGIL was unknown to me, so crossed with SOEVER was a WOE. No, I don't watch Game of Thrones.

Had bED before MED for a long time and even after fixing it I was wondering for way too long who ADAM ANDEVE was. Should have been easy, but the brain was somewhere else.

Tita 11:32 AM  

2 squares shy of perfection... So surprised (and pleased, yes - I DO feel smug when I can do great on a Friday or Saturday and Rex marks it anything higher than Easy!) to see that rating.

Sigh... I miss DIALS. So much more intuitive and user-friendly than the alternatives.
You can see where they are set in the context of the overall range, they are easy to grab, and usually easily distinguishable from the other DIALS.

At least many car manufacturers seem to have gone back to them for at least volume, and sometimes for tuning.

I think all the "user experience" designers got fired at around the same time it got cheaper to build e-buttons. With so many products, I wonder if anyone at the company ever uses what they make.

Anyhow, learned some new things today.
Thanks Mr. Wiesenberg for a Friday that was just crunchy enough to not over-tax my cold-congested brain.

Nancy 11:44 AM  

OMG. I have a 2nd letter wrong that I was sure was right. I thought 40A was SIBILS, an alternate spelling of SYBILS. (I never heard of SIGILS, but I see from the comments that no one else has, either.) That gave me PEBS for 34D, which seemed beyond arcane. But I figured I just don't know that much about violins. Now I find out I don't know that much about symbols with magic powers, either.

ArtO 11:51 AM  

SIGIL, INTERROBANG !!! Never in a million years. Otherwise, pretty good Friday result for me.

Zygotic 11:52 AM  

@Sir Hillary - I've seen Band Of Horses live a couple of times. The first time was on their Infinite Arms tour. They were the very definition of "tight" for that show. Just awesome.

How I know PISMO Beach. And Albuquerque.

@Hartley70 - And you got out of school! Thanks for the feedback. Anyone else out there going to reply to my VE DAY v. V Day question?

@AnoaBob - does 14D set a precedent for an OWDPOC (one word double plural of convenience) or has it occurred before?

Bill from FL 11:54 AM  

A pedant (not me, of course) might say that the clue for EGOISTICAL ("Repeating I") is more appropriate for EGOTISTICAL.

1 a : excessive use of the first person singular personal pronoun


Fred Romagnolo 12:07 PM  

@Z: this very old-timer has always said V E DAY, and V J Day since those respective days. @Hartley 70 remembers. I'm with everybody on SIGILS & SOEVER. INTERROBANG was also a newey to me. Does anybody SOEVER remember ocarinas which we used to call SWEET POTATOES (veep spelling)? George Meredith wrote "The EGOIST", doesn't Rex teach Literature any more?

AZPETE 12:12 PM  

Never heard of interrobang, sigils. Therefore, WTF?

AZPETE 12:14 PM  

Also rotters?

Fred Romagnolo 12:15 PM  

I played Randall the ROTTER in GBS's "Heartbreak House," which I have previously mentioned in the Herb Caen comments.

Leapfinger 12:18 PM  

@jae, and I must fly to my races.

As @Rex so OBSERVANTLY noted, the best way to kill a quadrant is to enter enough short crosses to make the long'uns apparent. Still and all, starting with AMSO-BEER-TEES-HOPneeded revision, and only BATE-ATA-NETSALES let me SEE YOU LATER. For a while, I was diverted into the [Antonio] INTERRO-BANd Era, but was saved by the GROTTOesque.

The same approach worked with MOBS-DYER in the SE, which gave me four downs and goal of another set of lovely elevenses. The tossing-in of proTHROmbin was purely the effect of my wake-from-sleep-to-do-a-puzzle brain. The same brain that thought elephants have TWO E'S, and either one or four of everything else. Except ears.

Thought of vIGIL for SIGIL, and NORELCO was kinda gender-biased, but then I s'pose NOXZEMA was also.

Overall, can't PICA nit here: nothing DYER, FEUD for thought, POIgnant in places and MED-high on MYRRth.
Wiesen's a reason for pleasin'

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

There is a notable error in this puzzle: the clue for 46 down reads "got off" -- as in to have taken flight. But the answer has the opposite meaning: to alight is to land, not to take off. Alit is the past tense of alight. I hate when puzzlers get the definition of a word wrong like this.

Carola 12:21 PM  

@susierah, @joho - re L.A. Times puzzle: on the Cruciverb site, you can go to "L.A.Times" in the Archive section and click on today's calendar date to get the puzzle in AcrossLite.

@Z - VE DAY and VJ Day are equally known to me, even though I wasn't quite yet around in 1945.

@Anoa Bob - I noticed those S's, too. But 2 of them get a pass as verb endings (ACCLAIMS, JILTS - and PINES would, too, if clued as the verb).

Benko 12:30 PM  

Liked this puzzle. I also didn't know SIGILS, but I did know INTERROBANG from reading John Hodgman's very funny (and mostly fictitious) books.
I think EGOIST is more common than EGOISTICAL, to be fair to @Rex. Don't think I've ever heard someone say EGOISTIC or EGOISTICAL.

Andrew Heinegg 12:31 PM  

Sorry, I just can't get past sigils and interrobang as answers. I thought the rest of it was challenging but, as Sir Hillary wrote, I was impressed with the puzzle but still found it to be an un-fun solving experience.

Angie O, Graham 12:34 PM  

When driving in parts of the Southwest or the Blue Ridge Mtns, I've been amused/bemused at how frequently cars will pull over to areas marked 'Scenic View', just long enough to snap a picture, then promptly drive off. Hardly enough time to say "Look, a sight!"

Bloody waste of landscape.

Robso 12:41 PM  

This puzzle was pretty good, but . . .

Mohair Sam 12:47 PM  

@anon 11:28 - GofT of course! Got SIGILS off the first "I" and wondered how the hell I knew it.

@Z - Hand up with the crowd who have never heard it as anything but VEDAY.

@Nancy - As a heel who has dated and then broken up with more than one Englishwoman I can assure you that Roget's has missed one. Trust me, ROTTER is right on point for heel.

Three and out.

RooMonster 12:48 PM  

Hey All !
INTERROBANG, WOE, WTF, never heard, though know the symbolism.
No opera listening, (Sorry @AliasZ!) so didn't know LAPRESMIDI.
Spelled MYRRH correctly!
@Anoa Bob, I also saw a whole cluster of POCs. 18 if counted correctly (19 if include the OWDPOC. (Thanks @Z!)
Speaking of @Z, knew VE DAY, learned in school, or some such.
Cool clue for ADAMANDEVE.
Shouldn't SOEVER be SOEER? Poetic and all that.


RooMonster 12:52 PM  

Oh, and EGOISTICAL is indeed missing a T. When I pronounce it without the other T, it's like in South Park when they went to the Planetarium and the guy pronounced it, "Planet-arium" (Pause twixt syllables) Ego-Istical. Just sayin'.


Tita 12:55 PM  

@Jon Anderson...
Take a step back...
The clue reads "Got off", as in the passenger -got off- the plane.

Here is google's take - Mr. Webster agrees...
"descend from a train, bus, or other form of transportation.
"the conductor alights to push the cable car completely around"
synonyms: get off, step off, disembark from".

Whenever I am convinced that I have caught Will in an error, I remind myself that in some way, shape or form, and usually, without even a very long stretch, he is, in fact, right.

A couple of years ago at the Westport tournament, he told us about the handful of times that he was wrong.
I have those listed on my blog somewhere.

Speaking of which - who's going?? Feb 7!

Unknown 1:04 PM  

medium-challenging, unsussable, ungoogleable, unDOABLE. 3 sittings, 1:45. gave up and revealed to correct SenILS/PEnS/VeRBRATO. Ok, VIBRATO was gettable, but PEGS took 30 seconds of rumination before .

A violin quartet would be 5 instruments, hence PEnS was my best guess. PEntaS woukd be better. I ran the alphabet 4 times before choosing PEnS, pausing at PEGS because the string instrument players may call each other "You PEG!" but I've been warned not to be so inventive in my susses.

Off to google SINIL...

jrstocker 1:10 PM  

Played more like a Saturday for me, but I did eventually manage to wear it down. I stared at RROBANG as a partial in the upper left for quite awhile thinking there's no way that could possibly be right...

Elfin Girl 1:11 PM  

@joho, O LORD, did you have to bring up 2(Chitty)2(Bang)!?

Regards to rgards. ED, you're being EGOISTICAL! Hmm,...EGOtisticle!?

ROTTERS because yusta read Brit kid-lit. Roget doesn't do much Brit.

Would someone Please find the Bugs Bunny "Turn left at PISMO" cartoon?!?!
[Hmm. Must check out @Z's link,that might be it!?]

Jon Anderson, my jo, Jon - I ALIT the subway at Grand Central Station. I got off the subway, didn't I?

Rozsa Sandor 1:13 PM  

Igen. TGIF

Alan 1:30 PM  

Enjoyed this one. Finished in the NW after sputtering with snapS for DIALS (wrong kind of button) and exCLAIMS for ACCLAIMS. Count me in for "Game of Thrones" making SIGILS not unfamiliar.

Also, ROTTERS is totally fair (as clued "Heels") if you've paid close attention to the lyrics of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" any of the hundred times we all heard it over the holidays:
"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a HEEL.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel,
Mr. Grinch.
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel....
...You're a ROTTER Mr Grinch
You're the king of sinful sots
Your heart's a dead tomato squashed with moldy purple spots
Mr Grinch"

SenorLynn 1:42 PM  

Like everyone else, didn't know the big words at 1A & 55A, but got all the crosses.
Don't watch GOT, but knew SIGIL anyway.
Know (& really like) the Debussy, but forgot the "L' " at first, so had to wait for the crosses.
First thought for 51D was aeC, but that was long ago, no?
Know who RUPAUL is, but didn't know about the show.
36 min, avg for Fr

MetroGnome 1:51 PM  

Huh -- never heard elephants referred to as "tusks" -- only "tuskers". Y'learn something new every day!

(Also never heard of "alcopop," by the way, so that one was a non-starter for me.)

By the way -- Whist is, in fact, a well-known card game, usually called "bid whist" these days (because -- guess what?-- it involves bidding!). It's especially popular in the African-American community.

Hartley70 1:52 PM  

Of course, head slap! Thanks.

Nancy 1:54 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo
@Mohair Sam
I agree with you all that ROTTERS is completely fair and that I should have thought of it on my own. But I didn't. If Roget's had had any other ROTTER-style synonym for "heels" -- CADS, SWINE, SLEAZEBALLS, anything, it would have lubricated my thought processes. But that meaning for "heels" simply never occurred to me. (Is it because I never dated you, Mohair Sam? Or do you only break the hearts of ENGLISHwomen?:)

Mohair Sam 2:07 PM  

@Nancy - I was always an equal opportunity heart-breaker. But only the English called me a ROTTER.

(She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed saw this post and mentioned something about "in my dreams")

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Got down to the very last letter and had to gamble on getting it right. Was 40 an "S" or a "V"? Although VIGILS are not a symbol, I was tempted to go with "V" but VOEVER made no sense at all (and SOEVER didn't sound very poetic, although it made sense). So I reluctantly put in "S" and came here to check -- and behold! SIGILS was correct. I still had to look its meaning, as just about everybody else did, but finishing is finishing.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

If EVERSO I think of RUPAUL (for whateverso reason), somehow Dennis Rodman is the first who comes to mind.

Babar 2:23 PM  

@MetroGnome - It's not that there are two elephants being referred to as "tusks." The clue is a devious way of saying that an elephant has a pair of tusks.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

@Sam, 'She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed' made me want to Rumpole your MoHair.

Fred Romagnolo 2:29 PM  

@RooMonster: LAPRESMIDI d'une Faune is an orchestral piece, made into a ballet; not an opera.

Fred Romagnolo 2:33 PM  

oops! shouldn't have capitalized the F, then French have different rules. @RooMonster, go back to @AliasZ at 8:44 AM and give a listen, it's a hypnotic piece.

Fred Romagnolo 2:35 PM  

@Anon 2:24 PM: before Rumpole, there was Haggard.

Jlb 2:41 PM  

I remember when VE Day happened, but the war wasn't over yet. We had to drop nuclear bombs before we got to VJ Day. Or maybe we didn't have to, but we did drop them.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Eye of newt is actually a plant.

Nancy 2:52 PM  

@Mohair -- I thought you sounded pretty much of a ladykiller, myself. But it looks as though She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and Anonymous 2:24 are ahead of me in line. (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, BTW, sounds like a very funny person. You can tell her I said so.)

Anon 2:24 2:58 PM  

@FredRom, Aye, sha 'nuff, only I thought it friendlier to Rumpole someone's hair than to ride 'er haggard.

btw, I chanced to read the wiki entry on H. Ryder Haggard awhile back; a pretty interesting bio.
It sounds ungrammatical to say I read She decades ago, but I did, and was fascinated.

Chip Hilton 3:01 PM  

What a blast! So many fun clues and answers, starting with INTERROBANG. I taught my fifth graders the word years ago and have been patiently awaiting the day it's found on keyboards in its combined form (@Greg - I agree with you. It should be shown as one figure.). Loved the EYE NEWT combination. Failed on SIGILS, guessing SIbILS as did earlier posters. Got ERYTHROCYTES thanks to crosses. This was a Friday to savor.

Lifted (a small way) From Ignorance 3:05 PM  

@Anonymous, 2:44 PM -

Bless you! I had no idea! But you might have included a link to this list of herbal ingredients Shakespeare could have mentioned:

What "Eye of Newt" and all that really mean.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

As in Rumpole. Love it!

Hartley70 3:19 PM  

Sorry @Z I have to correct myself. We did not get out of school because there wasn't any in August. I was confusing Veteran's Day. On VJ Day the businesses were closed and Dad's were home because it was and still is a state holiday in Little Rhody, the only state to celebrate VJ Day today.

Hartley70 3:21 PM  

And autocorrect put that apostrophe there. I swear!

Zygotic 3:34 PM  

@Elfin Girl - I was in a bit of a hurry this morning or I would have found and posted a link to the entire cartoon.

Thanks all. Now I wonder why, in the course of reading every WWII book in the "kid" half of the Herrick Public Library in the 1970's, the phrase VE DAY never stuck. The Wiki article does state, "or simply V Day," so I don't think I was totally making it up, but VE DAY seems both more correct and more sensible (since VJ Day is really when the war was over).

Mohair Sam 3:41 PM  

@Fred Ramagnolo - I actually stole "She . . . . ." from the old Ursula Andress movie based, loosely, on the Haggard book. I had purchase my wife a "She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed" sweatshirt pre-Rumpole, which she happily wore each time we watched Rumpole of the Bailey - probably the best courtroom drama series ever.

Leapfinger 3:53 PM  

@Alias, a beautiful SILKY rendering of 'L'APRES-MIDI' with a lot of inCYTE. A couple of incidental surprises:
a. For the first time, it struck me that un (not 'une') modifies faune (not 'faun'), so it's rather like 'mon amie'.
b. The conductor was a surprise, but I imagine you wanted to have your own Port Monteux.

Years ago, when I was a newbie to commenting, I had occasion to ask when is it EGOIST and when EGOTIST; I remember Richard E'tagere answering it depended solely on whether the fill needed a 6- or a 7-letter fill. I was a SAP to ask.

Thought those Scandinavian PINES were painted green, rather.

OISK 4:39 PM  

Never heard of interrobang, but got it, never heard of sigils and got it, but I don't share others' admiration for this particular puzzle. Of course, the first things I filled in were erythrocyte and Anne Bronte,and myrrh...I filled in "Sigils" last, when "Soever" finally popped into my head.. Still, when the very first clue is WTF?? (or should I say ?!) it kind of spoils the experience. But some nice touches, like Juice bar next to tall one, vibrato next to pegs,and a much better clue for "tare" than we had a few weeks ago (which I missed)..

Cheerio 6:03 PM  

Never in my life heard the word SIGIL. That I know of anyway. Do not watch Game of Thrones. Take that back. Tried to watch it and thought it was lame to the point of well, anyway.... So, I am proud not to have learned the word there. In addition to the whiteness of that show, let's add stupid references to the occult. Have at it folks. But I'm not sad to have learned the word through a crossword puzzle,except if the editors decided it was OK to use because of GOTh.

I thought TALLONE was going to be a new word too. Googled it, and up comes TALL ONE! Good thing this blog is quasi-anonymous, or I would not admit that.

Teedmn 7:28 PM  

My kind of Friday, needing multiple "ahas" but eventually solvable. My solve mirrored @Rex's until he continued down the East. I got SIGILS (one more reason to read SciFi/Fantasy, I'm tellin' ya) then went back to the middle.

30D was a total WOE (as was INTERROBANG and ERYTHROCYTES) so I was missing the p in PINES (I'm with @Leapfinger for 30A being green-painty) and had _U_KS for 36A and couldn't see TUSKS for the life of me. JILTS gave me JUICEBAR and that gave me OBSERVANTLY so I was able to clean up the SE. Is PISMO a portmanteau for Pepto Bismol INTERROBANG.

I was AswIRL and AtwIRL before AWHIRL. FEUD was an aha from the E of ROTTERS, which finished the NW. I really think that solving on paper has curbed my urge to Google at every little hitch, and has made me much happier with the puzzles. Next thing you know, I'll be joining the Luddites and tossing my iPad.

Thanks, Michael W, for the best puzzle of this week, IMO.

ps: @Carola, thanks for the cryptic link. But the Britishisms put it out of my league, though the explanations help a lot. I've found a website Easy Cryptic Puzzles that has a link to a cryptic tutorial so I'm slogging away at it.

GPO 7:42 PM  

It's funny how my solving pattern is so similar to Rex's. Although I take 4 times as long.

What the hell is a sigil? I got it but I don't get it.

johnranta 7:43 PM  

This is BS! It's apres midi, not lapres midi. What an abomination.

Numinous 8:53 PM  

The title of the poem is l’après-midi d’un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé. Debussy wrote a prelude based on his feelings about it. The piece stretched the boundries of classical music and established a new era of music.

@johnranta, LAPRESMIDI is an apt answer given the clue, "Time for Debussy's 'faune'" = The afternoon.

old timer 11:20 PM  

Been to Pismo a couple of times, actually when the kids were too young to really tolerate a 500-mile car trip, so the smart thing was to take 101 and break the journey. Pismo Beach is nice now, but it was amazingly stuck in the 1940's back then. I loved it, and we would stay at a place (now either gone or upgraded) right on the beach. My first thought was it was Avila Beach, also five letters, just next to Pismo.

INTERROBANG was my last answer in the NW. I had RYE rather than EYE, and smiled when I realized ?! is a real thing -- I had the BANG part early.

I was glad to see Rex liked the puzzle, Not easy for me, but it came together in the end. For a long time I had ADAMANDEVE but nothing else in the SW.

LAPRESMIDI went in early. I tell you, you have to know some French (or poetry and music) to do well on the weekends.

Noam D. Elkies 11:47 PM  

This is very good — especially with nary a YAWN entry in sight. [YAWN = Yet Another Who(-cares?) Name.]


pfb 10:28 AM  

Struggled through this one. Did not know INTERROBANG but once I got he NE corner I thought I was finished, went to see if INTERROBANG was right and then realized I was hung up at another unknown to me SIGILS. I suspect I never would have gotten that so an accidental DNF just hastened the inevitable.

spacecraft 12:05 PM  

?! about sums up my take on this. I join those who never heard of INTERROBANG; my last letter in that area was the B. What else could one do with one's breath but BATE?

Kept trying to stretch AFTERNOON into ten squares, but it wasn't DOABLE. Finally figured out I had to come up with the French. My natick was at PE_S/SI_ILS. I ran the alphabet looking for magic symbols, without success. PEGS made sense, so I went with that.

EGOIST: fine. Even EGOISTIC: OK. But EGOISTICAL? OLORD. Yeah, cue the tea-drinking whist players (whist, as OFL apparently didn't know, was a card game which eventually gave birth to bridge. There was no bidding and no dummy. The dealer simply turned the last card face up, and that suit became trump.) That one was a wincer.

An open-spaced tour de force with four ten-stacks. Impressive. If we forgive ATA and ITI, even the fill is solid. Let's do an A-.

rondo 1:10 PM  

Now this is a puzzle!! Worked it from the outside in for the most part. Except INTERROBANG which I sussed from crosses; never heard the term but makes some sense I suppose. Found this easy-medium, happy and snappy with just enough mis-direction in the clues.

Poor Casco Kid; but at least he's in there trying.

NETSALES could have gone techno with clue "etail"

The words DOABLE and RUPAUL should never appear in the same sentence.

Did this puc much faster than testerday's and really, really liked it.


rondo 1:13 PM  

My re-built left hand/arm meant puz and yesterday.

Burma Shave 1:31 PM  

“ANNE my fine girl,
Give it AWHIRL,
for a TALLONE at the JUICEBAR down in PISMO”.

brought to you today by NORELCO

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

OTS is overtimes. It would follow regulation times.

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Did better than I expected when I first saw all that white space. Still ended up DNF. Had ELECTOlYTES and tID. Even tho most French is beyond me, I really, really should have gotten MIDwestern.

@Z:VEDay was a very real thing. My Dad was in Italy at the time, and we were relieved that that fighting was over. Of course, he was then shipped to India, and we had to wait for VJ Day to have him home. As I recall, from April 1942 to October 1945 he had only one 30 day leave at home. Sort of had to get reacquainted again after everything ended.

Can't believe Eng Prof Rex really wrote "me and my sister"-one of my favorite language no-nos

DMG 2:40 PM  

Guess I still haven't got the hang of my new iPad. At any rate that was me above

rain forest 3:00 PM  

Except for the deep SE, I found this relatively easy (**for a Friday**). INTERROBANG was gimme, and the whole NW went down apace (aha!). Took a chance on AWHIRL, lucky me, and raced down the West, over to the NE, then down to the South. I don't watch Game of Thrones, so SIGIL was unknown, and had to wait until SOEVER announced itself.

A lively puzzle, with a variety of entries and terrific cluing. Excellent.

Are You There, Grammar? 3:47 PM  

@Anonymous 2:38 - Rex wrote,

"30D: ___ Beach, Calif. (PISMO) — my dad took me and my sister to PISMO Beach in the summer of '78."

What do you find so wrong with that? Would you insist upon "My sister and me"?

leftcoastTAM 5:03 PM  

A good, solid Friday. I learned some new words, including INTERROBANG and, causing a DNF, SIGILS, where I had SIbILS, not having thought hard enough about the odd crossing PEbS instead of PEGS. Sheesh.

spacecraft 7:09 PM  

Gotta come in late to thank @Burma-Shave for the "road signs." Brings me back, plus, they're usually witty.

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