Meteorite impact product / SAT 5-2-15 / Pretty in Pink heroine / Computer data structure / Old German duchy name / Lulu opera composer / Corporate headquarters in Mountainview Calif / Flower-bearing shoot

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TEKTITE (38D: Meteorite impact product) —
  1. a small black glassy object, many of which are found over certain areas of the earth's surface, believed to have been formed as molten debris in meteorite impacts and scattered widely through the air. (google)
• • •

A fine, tough puzzle. I actually don't care for the GOOGLEPLEX / GOOGOLPLEX thing, even though it really helped me out a lot (had the first in place, and then, by inference, got the second off just the "X"). I'd rather a wholly different interesting word go in place of one of those plexes. Also, I didn't know GOOGLEPLEX was a place. I wanted GOOGLEDOME. Sounds much cooler / more sinister. Like Thunderdome or Terrordome or Astrodome. But no big deal. One answer sacrificed to unnecessary cuteness. Rest of the puzzle is smooth, if oddly dull in the longer stuff (except ROY ORBISON). Mainly you get common phrases, which are decent, but not exciting. But the vagueness and toughness of cluing made for a not unpleasant grind. The kind of grind I don't mind on a Saturday.

Had tough time getting started, as I tried MESTA at 1A: Socialite who wrote "How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man" (GABOR). You know you know too much crosswordese when MESTA is the first thing that leaps to your mind in *any* situation. So I was screwed in that corner. Abandoned it for adjacent area in the north. No luck there. Finally got traction by guessing AGED at 10A: Acquired wisdom, per a saying, then guessing ANNIE (close!) at 10D: "Pretty in Pink" heroine, and then getting ELEC / DETECT / ENURES in pretty quick succession. Was really surprised that worked, as I wasn't certain about any of the stuff that got me going. From there it was most a slowish, steady clockwise trip down, over, and back up again to finish in the NW. Actually, I finished in the far north. Here's the exact square, where I was stopped cold:

I had no idea. At all. None. As far as I knew, there *was* no word that followed the pattern -LEATE, so I figured I had an error. But I ran the alphabet and then SOAP slipped into view. OLEATE … OK then.

  • 6D: Seat of Monterey County (SALINAS) — I was just in Monterey County last month. Still needed many crosses to pick this one up. 
  • 48A: Divorced title couple of film (KRAMERS) — just watched "Kramer vs. Kramer" earlier this year. It holds up OK, though courtroom scenes, like, apparently, all courtroom scenes in movies, were Preposterous. Also, Streep's whole "I'm just abandoning my child to go find myself" thing felt really poorly motivated and explained, and thus unsympathetic. Still, she was great. But it's mainly a hero-dad picture.
  • 37A: Thou (G-NOTE) — Not convinced this a real thing. Do people really say it. C-NOTE, sure. But a. that's a much rarer "note," and b. no reason a "Thou" should come in a single "note." I wanted GRAND. Then, at GNO-E, I wanted GNOME. Not really. I just like the idea that the puzzle was saying to me "Thou art a GNOME!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Medium for me with the K in TEKTITE  (a WOE) my last entry (had to dig to remember KRAMER vs. KRAMER). 

That said, NW was the toughest part.  Never heard of the book, the language, the musical biography, the opera/composer, or have seen the Mississippi state quarter.  Guessed MAGNOLIA with LIA in place and the rest fell quickly. 

Had alt before SST.

Unlike @Rex I thought the double PLEXes were a great seed idea. 

Tougher than yesterday's but not as much zip.   Liked it.

Zeke 12:08 AM  

There hasn't been a G-note printed since 1934. I think Graham Kerr got the last one.

Martin 12:20 AM  

Actually, the series 1934 $1,000 bill was not taken out of circulation until July 14, 1969. It was another brilliant battle in the war on drugs.

They're still legal tender although they're worth more than a thou to collectors.

Whirred Whacks 12:22 AM  

I very much liked the GOOGOLPLEX/GOOGLEPLEX pairing.

I first learned the words GOOGOL and GOOGOLPLEX when I was 8 or 9 when my parents gave me a book of mathematical curiosities.

GOOGLE, the company, was a client of mine from 2009-2011, and I had many opportunities to visit the GOOGLEPLEX (in Mountain View). A crazy, fun atmosphere with delicious free food.

Trombone Tom 12:45 AM  

Crunchy puzzle from Mr. Silk. Enjoyed it very much.

For a change I agreed with @Rex's comments without exception.

I think G-NOTE is a stretch.T

DebinSac 2:06 AM  

I decided it had to be tectite and thus, that the exes were the Cramers. Grrr... A really nice puzzle, though. I'm in Jersey and can't seem to get on Eastern time, so I'm very happy Rex put up tonight's post.


John Child 2:14 AM  

I like the filled grid a lot except OLEATE which I knew and RACEME which I didn't. The clues though left me with many more ughs than ahas. If I have more than one "I hope it's not..." moment in a 15x puzzle I am not a happy ... what ... Not "camper." Jotter?

chefwen 2:58 AM  

@John Child, so happy to read your update. Stay safe.

Saturday, Barry Silk, finished with two Googles, win win in my book. Loved it.

Wanted Milwaukee before Mel's diner @ 55A as in LaVerne and Shirley and had to settle for the latter. I'll live.

GILL I. 5:17 AM  

Well, I too plunked in Mesta for that socialite. I think of the GABOR's as an acting family.
My second entry was Snitch for the notable Snowden, Subway instead of my favorite PANERA, ON duty for the POST and then I poured myself another glass of wine so that I could gather my wits...
I am such a rule follower...when they are broken I start to cry. I was never like that in my youth but now I'm scared to death someone is going to call me out. I refused to enter two PLEXes. Yesterday we had 16's, today we have a duplicate word. What's next? A 3 letter rebus in a little box?
I found the upper half sorta easier than the bottom (after I fixed MESTA) KILTS is neat over DUELERS. (mental picture of oopsies while they duel)..CURATORS favorite clue and DEMU RER looks just wrong.
Thanks for the work-out but it was worth the buzz and the GOOGLEs I needed to finish.
Save the Last Dance For Me...Ben E. King.

Charles Flaster 5:56 AM  

Liked this medium and diverse puzzle.
Rex is pretty spot on except I have no trouble with GNOTE.
SOAP was a big help in cleaning up the north and SAXE was my crutch in the south.
Two writeovers slowed me down: HULA for HaLf and TErmITE for TEKTITE as both were not even feasible answers.
Liked cluing for NEAREST EXIT, REM, DUELERS and ALGEBRA EXAM (created many) especially intersecting GOOGOLPLEX.
Did not think GABOR was a socialite. LEAKED OUT above Daniel Snowden was not accidental.
How about a new clue for RACEME--"playground invitation" (RACE ME).
Thanks BCS.

Charles Flaster 5:57 AM  

Great to hear from you!!

George Barany 6:55 AM  

After reading the comment by @Gill I., I was left to wonder whether @Will Shortz had been prescient two days in a row with respect to juxtaposition of the New York Times crossword and obituary pages. Alas, the only King in sight was in 47-Down (paraphrased), "the best musical before FOSSE." Plus, of course, @Rex.

r.alphbunker 8:07 AM  

Bravo. Got half the squares filled correctly in half the time.

From Wikipedia:

n 1920 Edward Kasner's nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, coined the term googol, which is 10^100, then proposed the further term googolplex to be "one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired". Kasner decided to adopt a more formal definition "because different people get tired at different times and it would never do to have Carnera be a better mathematician than Dr. Einstein, simply because he had more endurance and could write for longer".It thus became standardized to 10^(10^100).

David Koller posted this about the name Google:
From time to time I read or hear stories of the origin of the search engine and company name "Google" that are incorrect, which prompts me to write this brief account, based on my understanding of the genesis of the name. The source of my information is my friends and colleagues from Wing 3B of the Gates Computer Science Building at Stanford University, where Google was born.
In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin called their initial search engine "BackRub," named for its analysis of the web's "back links." Larry's office was in room 360 of the Gates CS Building, which he shared with several other graduate students, including Sean Anderson, Tamara Munzner, and Lucas Pereira. In 1997, Larry and his officemates discussed a number of possible new names for the rapidly improving search technology. Sean recalls the final brainstorming session as occurring one day during September of that year.

Sean and Larry were in their office, using the whiteboard, trying to think up a good name - something that related to the indexing of an immense amount of data. Sean verbally suggested the word "googolplex," and Larry responded verbally with the shortened form, "googol" (both words refer to specific large numbers). Sean was seated at his computer terminal, so he executed a search of the Internet domain name registry database to see if the newly suggested name was still available for registration and use. Sean is not an infallible speller, and he made the mistake of searching for the name spelled as "," which he found to be available. Larry liked the name, and within hours he took the step of registering the name "" for himself and Sergey (the domain name registration record dates from September 15, 1997).

Generic Solver 8:21 AM  

Got hung up on the "Thou" clue thinking this was referring to God, not a thousand, but eventually got G NOTE from the crossing downs.

Jim Walker 8:40 AM  

A lot of fun. Stared at D-M-RER for about ten minutes. But then CURATORS brought it home. I don't think two PLEXes breaks any rules any more than two LLYs or two ITYs. It is now a common ending. Nothing to complain about here. Another gem from Mr. Silk.

Loren Muse Smith 8:41 AM  

@r.alph – interesting story on the birth of both GOOGOL and GOOGLE. Thanks for that.

This was really hard for me, and I finally threw in the towel with most done except the southwest. Soooo many traps, traps that I totally credit Silk with for deliberately planting:

"Ray Charles" for ROY ORBISON (GABOR was my first thought, that and "Ivana.")
"vitro" for UTERO
"leaker" for ÉMIGRÉ – @Charles Flaster – I liked that guy under LEAKED OUT, too.
"pull" for LURE
"hula" for HALF (hey, again, @Charles Flaster)
"xes" for EXS
"grand" for G NOTE

And the biggest trap was that '70s-'80s sitcom locale ending in R. First thought (in the spirit of MONTE CARLO CASINO) was "Boston bar" or "Cheers Bar." Then I changed it to "Korean War" and was smug. And that gave me "chokes" before CHOMPS.
BTW, are the thoreaubreds champing or CHOMPing at the bit this morning?

Before SOAP did thousands consider "okra?" Hey, it could contain "ketate," just as obscure for me as TEKTITE.

And I'd rather be nudged than POKED AT. If you're POKED AT, it could hurt, but just jostled if nudged.. And let's not even start with KNEED.

Count me among those who liked the two PLEXes. Cool observation, that.

Barry – nice grid, nice clues! But ya beat me.

Zha Zha 8:44 AM  

Brutal Saturday, as Saturdays should be.
It's been an excellent late week.

Dorothy Biggs 8:56 AM  

I'm glad that first cross wasn't Mesta...that would've meant this puzzle was going to be ridiculously challenging. As it was it was moderately challenging. I forgot that GOOGOLPLEX was a thing...I'm so GOOGLE centered now, so I had GOOGLEPLEX and GOOGLEPLEX. That, um...didn't look quite right. And the only CG rank I could think of was I was stuck. Hoops divisions could be east or west...HALF seems a bit gratuitously deceptive since many other sports (except hockey and maybe cricket) have halves. So that cross didn't help.

And as per usual, the cavalry of memory came riding over the hill at the last minute and reminded me it was GOOGOL...and while that was a relief, I did second guess it for a while since this is Saturday and having GOOGLE/GOOGOL in the same puzzle was close to a theme. But GOOGOL answered lots of my questions and the grid filled itself in and I got the happy jingle.

I had oNe_E for 37A...I wanted it to be something akin to one-Ge(e)...or as Jim Rome says, one-grr.

I didn't like some of the cluing: Drawing people, Place for a decorative clip (you mean an earring??), In preference to, Some cable splitters, and Retired runway model.

Didn't know NIM,

I did like the NW...MAGNOLIA, ALGEBRAEXAM, ARRAY, etc.

Rhino 9:08 AM  

Tough. Cheated all over the place and still way slower than average. @chefwen, I was positive it was Milwaukee - not only because of Laverne and Shirley, but That 70s Show was set there.

Also had a third cup of coffee and now I feel a mix of euphoria and panic.

thursdaysd 9:08 AM  

I, too, struggled in the SW. But after I did "clear all errors" and discovered I didn't have any, I was able to limp to the finish. Have no idea why knowing the rest of the grid (which was finished) was fine allowed me to solve the SW. But any time I can finish a Saturday with minimal help is a good one. Had heard of GOOGOL but not of GOOGOLPLEX - interesting back stories, tx.

Was sure DUELERS must be wrong. Is it referring to drawing a sword?

Billy C 9:34 AM  

@thursdaysd --

I assumed it was drawing swords.

Also thought it could be drawing pistols, but pistol duelers start walking away from each other with pistols raised, before turning and shooting, don't they?

Unknown 9:36 AM  

SW was a challenge. I wanted Cincinnati for the sitcom, but ran out of squares....

Still finshed well under average time in spite of staring at vast tracts of empty squares for what seemed to be an eternity.

Joe Kraemer 9:38 AM  

The song titles is "all my EXES live in Texas", not "all my EXS". I've never seen EXES spelled EXS. Weak.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:53 AM  

Good puzzle. Medium-Challenging for me.

Saw the constructor's name, but as I worked my way slowly through the grid, I had the feeling that most commenters would be shying away from the cliché of "Smooth as Silk" today. Indeed, as @Trombone Tom notes above, "crunchy" applies much better than "smooth."

BERG and MAGNOLIA were very helpful gimmes to start, but I am embarrassed to say that although I consider myself a big ROY ORBISON fan, it took an awful lot of crosses to show me why Johnny Cash didn't fit at 5 D!

Shafer and Shafer 9:58 AM  

@Joe Kraemer -- The Interweb says tghe puzzle is right and you are wrong: "All My Ex's Live In Texas" is a song written by Sanger D. Shafer and Linda J. Shafer, and recorded by American country singer George Strait.

Lindsay 10:01 AM  

My "I work too many crosswords" moment was filling in epEED for "jointly attacked". I mean, they're attacking each other, so that's jointly, right?

Then, off the "k" in KILTS and the "a" in STAMP, I decided that 28D skedaddle was tAKE a powder, but ran out of squares. Really should take the time to count the little boxes before writing in letters.

But my biggest problem was (working from the bottom) deciding that the subject of Rhapsody in Black was cOunt BaSie. With the "b" and "s" unassailable, I just couldn't give it up. Eventually though MAGNOLIA woke me to the error of my ways & finito in pretty quick order.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Nancy 10:06 AM  

Crashed and burned on the entire West Coast, from North to South, with the sole exception of SAXE (which I had penned in very lightly, anyway). I would have been done in, I think, even without my two major mistakes in the puzzle's midsection: SALerno instead of SALINAS and exerTED instead of GRUNTED. Didn't know TEKTITE...oh, hell, what I didn't know is much too long to list on such a beautiful day. Well, at least the East Coast looks pretty good.

I'm a very stubborn solver and it's rare for me to give up so abjectly. But this one was a huge DNF. Hearty congrats to all of you solved, sans Googling, of course.

Teedmn 10:11 AM  

Gah, four GOOGLEs to finish today. Once I looked up SALINAS (couldn't get past SALerno) I figured it was ALL OR NONE for cheating and quit trying. The SW is one big black ink mess, with 58A being variously "first stop" (thinking delivery truck, and giving me "scarfS"), "homeplatE", giving me nothing, and finally PRESS TIME.

Had EniGma for EMIGRE, GRUNTED went in early and came out, cUba for GUAM, aargh. I'm going to MAKE TRACKS to Sunday and put this shame behind me.

Thanks for the spanking, Barry Silk. I should have hidden my iPad so GOOGLE(PLEX) was out of reach!

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

A Silk spanking. Sounds very "Shades of Grey." Heh.

RooMonster 10:18 AM  

Hey All !
Tough-un. Heard of GOOGOLPLEX from the third Back to the Future movie! Remember? When Doc is at the bar after telling Clara he has to leave?

Puz was ok. Did online, so gratuitous use of Check feature! SW was a bear! Wanted scarfS and subway for 42,43D. SDS? Don't know that one. Had to flat out Reveal Word for NIM. Did finish, but a-cheatin' I went! Oh well, SatPuzs will do that to ya.

Skillets are from the PAN ERA.
Is RACE ME a politicians taunt?
Mr. Davis after going to the gym= MILES TONE.
Choice twixt Rodgers or buffalo? ROY OR BISON
NYer asking to see if something is really dead= POKE DAT
Insufficiency of a certain vitamin could be K NEED.
OK, I'll srop! :-)


AliasZ 10:26 AM  

I too forgot how to spell GOOGOL, thus the SW corner was the last to fall. Also, PRESS TIME seemed a little clunky to me, it comes right after wash time and dry time unless you are pressed for time. Otherwise a lively and crunchy puzzle, with some very nice long entries throughout the grid. I loved the challenge.

The cluing was fun too, especially ROOMIES who split cable bills, and DUELERS who draw people into fights (actually, they take 10 paces, turn and draw), for which I had other drawing people at first: 'artists', because 'doodlers' and 'cartoonists' fidn't dit. The best though were those exhibitionist CURATORS. I wonder, if one walked in front of the Mona Lisa exhibiting her/his ware, how many people would still be looking at Mona.

Initial gimmes: UTERO, Alban BERG, ENURES, STAMP and KRAMERS. In the early-mid 1980's I was working for the company that rented the sound stage for the entire court scene of Kramer vs. Kramer, so I remembered that one. However I had no idea who ORANGE MEN are, I am a banana guy myself. I only hesitantly surrendered to ALL OR NONE with a quizzical look on my face. I have plans to start a new profession once I learn how to DETECT TEKTITES. I will be the first "detektive."

7D could have been clued "Didn't eat daintily" to mirror the CHOMPS clue. It describes a person who holds a napkin in front of his face, picks up a handful of food and tosses it toward it from an arm's-length distance. Then he tries to catch the flying food with his mouth as he yanks the napkin away and yells OLÉ! That is how I always OLÉ-ATE. Not very dainty, but lots of fun. You should see all the people in the restaurant running for the NEAREST EXIT.

GÁBOR Gabos (1930-2014) was an excellent Hungarian pianist with little international recognition due to the extreme isolationism of communist Hungary during the 1950-60's, although he managed to grab a couple of international awards in Brussels and Paris. GÁBOR is a common male given name, the Hungarian equivalent to Gabriel, but it can also be a surname as in the case of the GÁBOR sisters. Let's listen to GÁBOR Gabos play "Dance Suite" by Béla Bartók in its original piano version. The work was composed for the 50th anniversary of the unification of the two cities Pest and Buda to become the new capital of Hungary Budapest.

I'll MAKE TRACKS now (you can RACE ME if you want) with my usual sign-off for Barry Silk puzzles:

Thank you, Messrs. Silk/Shortz.

joho 10:37 AM  

Another beautiful puzzle by Barry Silk.

GOOGOLPLEX/GOOGLEPLEX was an unexpected and welcomed repetition. "Hoops division" and "2003 N.C.A.A. hoops champs" were not.

Loved the whole Snowden EMIGRE LEAKEDOUT DETECT smash up in the NE.

Boy, could ROYORBISON MAKETRACKS! Wonderful to see him today.

My first thought was KoreanwaR before I got MELSDINER.

Fun Saturday, thank you, Mr. Silk!

Tom R 10:46 AM  

Got hung up on tektites (wanted to spell it with a c) and on saxe/fosse. I wanted Saxy, but Fosse? How is that the best musical after the lion king? I still don't understand.

Carola 10:49 AM  

A very pleasing challenge. For once, proper names were more a help to me than ???: I started off with BERG, GABOR, ROY ORBISON, SAXE, FOSSE, and KRAMER. So, the western third yielded to pressure fairly quickly.

But that left me with only a chunk of the longer Across answers that would lead me into the eastern HALF, and it was really hard for me to see ALGEBRA EXAM (considered aXis), MEL'S DINER (considered MELbourne), and PRESS TIME (wanted PRE-something).

I finally resorted to, "Okay, lets look at the plurals," which got me the lowly SERFS way down there at the bottom, and I worked up from there. Last in: SOAP x OLEATE.

I liked MAKE TRACKS next to MILESTONE. Fun to watch them roll by.

Questinia 10:50 AM  


Charles Flaster 10:55 AM  

Same wave length!!

GeezerJackYale48 11:06 AM  

Not at all happy with two "plexes". As I think about it, not so thrilled with two Googles either. I thought good puzzles weren't supposed to do that. Is it just that I am a little tired of so much Google in my life?

Bob Fosse 11:08 AM  

@Tom Rowe --

Tony Award Winners

. . .

Best Musical: Hairspray
Best Play: Take Me Out

Best Musical: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Best Play: The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

Best Musical: The Producers
Best Play: Proof

Best Musical: Contact
Best Play: Copenhagen

Best Musical: Fosse
Best Play: Side Man

Best Musical: The Lion King
Best Play: Art

Best Musical: Titanic
Best Play: The Last Night of Ballyhoo

Best Musical: Rent
Best Play: Master Class

Best Musical: Sunset Boulevard
Best Play: Love! Valor! Compassion!

. . .

Andrew Heinegg 11:28 AM  

Ok, I confess I have a hard time getting on BS's wavelength. That stated, Ms. Gabor may have been a decent actress but, to clue her as a socialite, well. Although I got it, since when is something that you wear equipment in a sporting event, kilts?! Are hockey shorts equipment? And while I am being picayune, I will grumble about poked at for nudged. Poked at has zero indication of the subtlety clearly inherent in the word nudged. They are opposite ends of the spectrum, so to speak. The Google words and gnote were fairly and accurately dissed by Rex and others.

Andrew Heinegg 11:28 AM  

Ok, I confess I have a hard time getting on BS's wavelength. That stated, Ms. Gabor may have been a decent actress but, to clue her as a socialite, well. Although I got it, since when is something that you wear equipment in a sporting event, kilts?! Are hockey shorts equipment? And while I am being picayune, I will grumble about poked at for nudged. Poked at has zero indication of the subtlety clearly inherent in the word nudged. They are opposite ends of the spectrum, so to speak. The Google words and gnote were fairly and accurately dissed by Rex and others.

r.alphbunker 11:50 AM  

Word Origin and History for Deuteronomy
5th book of the Pentateuch, late 14c., from Late Latin Deuteronomium, from Greek Deuteronomion, literally "second law," from deuteros "second" + nomos "law" (see numismatics ). A mistranslation of Hebrew mishneh hattorah hazzoth "a copy of this law" [Deut. xvii:18]. The book is a repetition, with comments, of the Decalogue and most of the laws of Exodus. The title was translated literally into Old English as æfteræ, literally "after-law."

Wood 11:56 AM  

Thought "Sandwich chain" might be HAWAII.

old timer 12:11 PM  

I was pleased that the puzzle was so (Northern) California-centric. My very first entry was EXS, and I too groaned. But I got no traction there and moved to the NE, where STAMP and KILTS immediately gave me GOOGLEPLEX (I originally wanted something ending in Apple, but their HQ is in Cupertino, not Mountain View).

Of course I immediately got SALINAS, which gave me LEAKEDOUT and the very cleverly clued ALGEBRAEXAM. For a brief moment I wanted Peru where GUAM is, and GUAM led to GABOR. (Perle Mesta never wrote a book about man-catching or -ditching that I know of. She was the inspiration for the "Hostess with the Mostes', Sally Adams, the heroine of Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam. Great musical, great movie too, great songs, and one of Ethel Merman's very best roles. Worth finding and hearing.

GABOR also gave me ROYORBISON. So like most of you, I ended up staring balefully at the SE corner. DINER, sure. But whose diner? Again, SF knowledge reminded me of MELS, where American Graffiti was filmed in part. There still are a few Mels in San Francisco, but none, I think, in their original locations.

I somehow dredged SAXE out of my memory, and FOSSE, and stared at the result. Oh no, this cannot be! I cried. Happily wrote town the (wrong) googleplex and realized that GOOGOLPLEX had to be right, as was CPO. My cousin did 8 years as an officer in the Navy. The first words of advice he got, on his first ship, were, "always be guided by the CPOs". This is advice every Lt. JG needs to heed.

What a delightful puzzle by Barry Silk. (And no, there is no rule against reusing *parts* of words, especially when doing so elicits oohs of admiration.

pwoodfin 12:42 PM  

Funny... working in one of those NYT crossword compilation books and yesterday was working on a Barry C. Silk Friday puzzle from '09. And today we have a Silk Saturday. But dig the comments from Rex then and now.

2009 puzzle:

"Hard and grating, as opposed to hard and rewarding. Lots and lots of precious cluing made for few AHA moments and many UGH moments. There's thorny / clever cluing and then there's ... trying-too-hard cluing designed to make the puzzle more difficult / mask the fact that much of the fill is really quite bad. Now, there is much to like about the grid too."


"Rest of the puzzle is smooth, if oddly dull in the longer stuff (except ROY ORBISON). Mainly you get common phrases, which are decent, but not exciting. But the vagueness and toughness of cluing made for a not unpleasant grind. The kind of grind I don't mind on a Saturday."

There's an odd consistency to what Rex has to say about Barry's puzzles. I guess that's a good thing. I think.

Patted myself on the back after finishing until I realized I had ALLOw_NONE. Nuts! I was that close. But at least, aside from a built in Google, no Googles! For me, that's huge.

mac 12:47 PM  

Very good Saturday workout, but, like @loren, I DNF in the SW.

Holdups: artists at 40A, timider (sorry, Barry) at 40D at some point.

Lots of stuff I didn't really know but pieced together anyway. Just the way I like my Saturday.

Leapfinger 12:56 PM  

GABOR was always outgoing, but could still do DEMURE. Notably, she self-described, not as a socialite, but as an excellent housekeeper:'Every time I get divorced, I keep the house.' I don't see how one could be DEMURER.

Fell for the Thou GRAND, which fit so nicely with Neolith. Every time there's a 'rock' clue, I want a LITH answer, and it's a TITE ending every time. When I finally straightened out, I also went with TEcTITE, because TEcTonic plates. Like @ROOMIE, saw the BISON, wondered where that was going.

Loved the (GOOGLE:GOOGOL)PLEXy; I've known for decades that the original GOOGOL was Child's play, appreciate @r.alph's providing the fuller version.

For anyone who liked the Exhibitionist CURATORS, I recommend The Madonnas of Leningrad, an impressive first novel by Debra Dean. Note: this is not a DETEKTIvE story.

REEF again? We seem to be getting REEFer all the time...
And who was it Satin Long Silk Shortz?

Another lovely puzzle, Barry S; thank you, I KNEED that!
SAXE co BERG, and no Gotcha?

Fred Romagnolo 1:16 PM  

@Nancy was chary; I am in awe of ALL who finished, including the googlers; I couldn't. At the end my DeALERRS destroyed me. @old timer: couldn't agree more on Call Me Madam and Ethel Merman. I'm pretty much in @Andrew Heinegg's camp on this one; clueing too abstruse for me. @Alias Z: I expect you know it because I expect you know everything, but did you know that Richard Strauss once made a pun that is exactly the same in German and English: "I thought I was the Buddha of music, but many found me its Pest."

AZPETE 1:19 PM  

Thou is BS. Totally unfair. Two plexes is also unfair. I don't care if it's BCS or not. These are BS!

Fred Romagnolo 1:20 PM  

that's DeALERS

AZPETE 1:22 PM  

Agree. More BS. Of course because it's BCS, Rex gives him a pass!

AZPETE 1:25 PM  

Of course. What do you expect from Texa's?

AZPETE 1:29 PM  

Every other time "we" rant about repetition! Today it's unexpected (of course) and welcomed. More BS.

RnRGhost57 1:30 PM  

There's an awful lot of Northern California north of Mountain View.

Z 1:51 PM  

Re:EX'S - Where's the grammar nazi when you need 'em?

Three whacks at this to finish. Yeow. The clueing felt too precious by half at times. Sour grapes? Maybe.

Maruchka 1:59 PM  

Never thought of Zsa Zsa as a socialite. Love the title, ENUREd by her charms. EMIGRE? Yeah, with the DOJ in hot pursuit.

With @Nancy (yes, it is a beauty today) and @Andrew, she DEMUREd. Sigh and grrr.

@Gill - Ben E. King and Percy Sledge are in my top ten of the best balladeers. Gone so close together, too. Sniff.

Steve J 2:22 PM  

Found this quite tough but mostly enjoyable. Top half slowly but steadily filled in, but the NW wouldn't bend until I resorted to googling BERG. SW was even tougher for me.

I liked the cluing throughout this one. There were a couple points where the clues seemed extremely vague, but it is Saturday. Mostly, they were in that sweet spot of being impenetrable at first, and obvious once the answer became apparent.

@RnRGhost57: Despite the fact that the San Francisco Bay is nearly at the center of the state on a north/south basis, pretty much anything from Big Sur on north gets called Northern California.

Lewis 2:24 PM  

@lms -- Loved your thoreaubreds!
@rex -- Another terrific writeup; that's two excellent weeks now. Someone above accused you of pandering to BS, but it's clear you didn't, i.e., you were not happy about the two googs.

At first that made me smile, but after a moment, like Rex, I felt cheated. That was my only negative moment. This was, as @carola said, a "pleasing challenge". I especially liked the clues to REM, ROOMIES, and GNOTE, and was fond of those for SOAP and EXHIBITIONISTS. Road bumps here and there but an overall joyous solve.

Now Barry, if you want to make my year, come up with a puzzle with no double letters.

Lewis 2:37 PM  

Factoid: Because parrots have such good EARs, a group was placed on the Eiffel Tower during WWI. They would squawk when enemy aircraft was approaching long before humans could hear the planes.

Quotoid: "I should be a postage STAMP, because that's the only way I'll ever get licked. I'm beautiful. I'm fast. I'm so mean I make medicine sick. I can't possibly be beat." -- Muhammad Ali

Leapfinger 2:44 PM  

Call Me Madame? A winner.

Don't know SDS? You must be a young'un. If you were anywhere near a university in the early '70s, you were hearing a lot about Students for a Democratic Society. Being mostly in the lab at the time, I had to keep it sorted out from Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate.

Klarification to my 12:34 --
The GABOR in question is ZsaZsa, of course. More could be said about Eva, Magda and Jolie. I almost fell off my seat when I recently saw the original Moulin Rouge ('52) and recognized Jane Avril as the adorable young ZsaZsa.

ps. The comments in my ending were accidentally out of order. Did anyone notice? Thought not.

mathguy 2:51 PM  

I was stalled in the upper left. For 1D, I had ???M. I called in The Closer. She said, "How about GUAM?" It was an inspired guess. It gave us GABOR and UTERO and we were able to finish in a couple of minutes.

Very hard for me. The cluing primarily. But proud of finishing without Internet help.


NIM is not a mathematical game. There is a strategy for winning at NIM which uses binary numbers but the game itself has to do with withdrawing objects out of a pile.

DUELERS is archaic. It's duellers..

I've never heard of a guard being ON POST.

I guess Zsa Zsa was more successful as a socialite than as an actress, but ...

Billy C 2:58 PM  

@SteveJ --

Re: Anything north of the Big Sur is generally called Norther California."

Huh ... Even though "Big Sur" means "Big South?"

;-). . Just pulling your chain ...

Billy C 2:59 PM  

@SteveJ --

Re: Anything north of the Big Sur is generally called Norther California."

Huh ... Even though "Big Sur" means "Big South?"

;-). . Just pulling your chain ...

Maruchka 3:42 PM  

@George Bar(a)ny - Interesting. A bit disappointed to learn it's definitely not derived from "Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googly-eyes" tho.

Ludyjynn 4:04 PM  

GOOGLE says OVER and over that the Strait tune is called "All My EX'S Live in Texas". Harumph that WS took liberties w/ the apostrophe. NE went in first, followed by SE. Despite 3 walk away from the puzzle extended breaks, a DNF for me. Sounds like HALF of you ended up in the same boat. Misery loves company!

Liked ARF crossing Labrador FLOES...LOL.

Speaking of MELSDINER (another missing apostrophe), Linda Lavin, who played the lead on "Alice" has a recurring role this season on "The Good Wife" as an extremely obnoxious probation officer. She CHOMPS the scenery beautifully, turning a minor role into a lesson in "there are no small parts...". Nicely done.

Heading outdoors to plant the geraniums and coleus I picked up at the nursery this morning. Don't you LOVE Spring?

Thanks, BS and WS for the challenge.

Mohair Sam 4:07 PM  

Brutal and wonderfully done Saturday puzzle Mr. Silk. Thank you.

Couldn't get a toe-hold until Mrs. Mohair said "That may be MAGNOLIA." Which gave this ex-Syracusan ORANGEMEN (instead of the previous syracuseu). And we own only 5 dvd's, the only one concerning music is ROYORBISOn's "Black and White Night" - so gimme number 2 off the "O". Then we stalled - but the better HALF stayed at it and give us a win.

Agreed with most of OFL's comments today, although we enjoyed the PLEX's rather than seeing them as a negative.

btw: Orbison's lady back up singers on "Black and White Night" are Bonnie Raitt, K.D. Lang, and Jennifer Warnes. His male singers include Springsteen - It's worth a view.

wreck 4:17 PM  

Brutal for me (again)!
Roy Orbison was indeed great. It is said that he had a 4 octave range!

Unknown 4:44 PM  

This is the hardest puzzle I've done in the NYT in the last 2 weeks. The NE corner all fell in nicely for me. GOOGLEPLEX and ANDIE were gimmes, and everything else LEAKEDOUT from those entries up there.

I got MAGNOLIA off of just the LI, somehow, and that opened up the NW. I went back and forth and back and forth on GOOGOLPLEX because I couldn't decide if they'd both be allowed in the grid together. FOSSE was another gimme for me, so after putting them both in together, things started to fall down there, too.

The SE was another beast altogether. I had the N and the EXIT and couldn't find anything to go in there, so I was left with that empty space, MILESTONE and KNEED as my only filled in things south of KILT. What a slog to get through all that. :(

@Joe Kraemer The title is "All My Ex's Live In Texas" which makes me sick just to type (Hi @grammar nazi!). Unfortunately, that's what it really is. :(

@Wood I considered hAwaii briefly as well, but it didn't work out.

@mathguy I, too, was upset about the clue for NIM.

jae 5:02 PM  

@Ludy - Re: Linda Lavin - I thought she looked familiar. You are right, she is excellent!

Sentry Mike 5:12 PM  

@Mathguy@ 2:51: Strange you haven't heard of ONPOST. We just had almost this exact same clue for the same answer on 2/1/15.

Unknown 5:14 PM  

The GABOR answer reminded me of the, probably apocryphal, story about the time she appeared on the Carson show with her cat. She asks Johnny, "Would you like to caress my pussy?" He replies, "Sure but you'll have to get rid of the damn cat!"

jberg 6:02 PM  

I was just reading clues and coming up with nothing until I spotted my namesake at 3D; then, thinking this was 'bend the rules' week, I almost wrote myself in again at 33A, but fortunately I decided to wait for a few crosses.

Aside from the tough cluing, I was held up way too long by Grand, leaker (for Snowden) and thinking Rhapsody in Black might be about the bluesman Rob(ert) Johnson.

It was my SDS activities that got me 8 months in prison for taking over the administration building at Harvard, so that was kind of nostalgic. In the end, fun and satisfying.

What do you call it when an Arab monarchy's leader is lost in a plane crash? An EMEER EMER. But the Yeats play would be a better clue for the latter. Compared to that, Perle Mesta's a celeb.

OISK 6:13 PM  

Finished it correctly with no help. For me, this was easier than yesterday's (which Rex called "easy," and I called "DNF"_) But I am almost always on Mr. Silk's wavelength - was delighted to see his name at the top!

Orangemen and Gnote gave me trouble. I am a big sports fan, but I was looking tor the name of a college, not the team name! For "Kramers" I kept thinking about the Michael Douglas film, and couldn't recall the family name. (Rose ! Would not have fit, but had I thought of it it would have saved me a lot of time).

Never watched the show with Mel's diner, but I knew it existed...

Love Barry Silk's puzzles!

Frank Lynch 6:40 PM  

I got 'Berg.' I got nothing else. I saw it was a beautiful day. I still got nothing else. And then, I got nothing else. I stopped.

For me Berg was a surprisingly easy "you know it or you don't lay up." Give me a string that works in Berg, To Sir With Love, and the Kinks.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

The song title is "All My Ex's Live in Texas"

kitshef 6:58 PM  

I give lots of credit for the perfect Saturday difficulty. Very, very tough, but fair (except for SDS, perhaps). Needed several sessions to get through it.

Only serious drawback is in my (cross) world if you have GOOGLEPLEX and GOOGOLPLEX in rotationally symmetric spots, you don't get to match ROY ORBISON with MAKE TRACKS.

And a few nitpicks: DUELERS (isn't it duellists?); KRAMERS (singular in film title, plural in puzzle); GNOTE (have never heard anyone say this).

Loved the clue for KNEED.

Anonymous 3:21 AM  


A friend in KNEED is a friend in pain.

paulsfo 2:33 AM  

GOOGLEPLEX and GOOGOLPLEX are two words which happen to have the same suffix. This happens in *every* puzzle (though, admittedly, usually with 1- or 2- or 3-letter suffixes, rather than a 4-letter one). So, i think the outrage over "PLEX" occurring twice is pretty off-base.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

Read the clues--both across and down--for the whole NW corner and had no idea about any one of them. I thought: uh-oh, I'm not gonna get this. So often anymore in late week I find myself searching for a toehold; found it today in KRAMERS. However, since two total WOEs, TEKTITE and ERACEME, ran through it, that wasn't much of a hold. I had an idea about the vast number being GOOGOLPLEX--a ridiculous figure that exceeds the number of atoms in the universe--but hadn't yet come up with SAXE, of SAXE-Coburg fame, so left it.

On to another X, EXS. Folks, you can't do that; that's a flaggable offense. It's "exes," or possibly (though inferior) "xes," but NEVER EXS. Just...not. That's gonna take a full letter off the final grade. Still, it was the only possibility, as 22 across is clearly a verb in the past tense. Actually, this offense became the big can-opener into today's grid. It gave me ALGEBRAEXAM and confirmed GOOGOLPLEX.

Wanted Grand for the thou, and CountBasie for the bio, but eventually cured the former when I realized that 46 across was simply HALF. Now, you talk about an obfuscating clue! "NCAA division?" Really? That clue is absolutely brutal. As to the latter, I just tried another name when I wasn't getting anywhere with the Count, and it occurred that "in black" could mean blindness as well as skin; thus ROYORBISON. This name wound up working, the weightlifter GRUNTED, the champs were not a school name but a team nickname: ORANGEMEN, and I was done.

A very satisfying solve, and with Silk's customary smoothness, save for 23-down. Sorry, Barry: B. That's the most I can do.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

From Syndication Land

I was feeling so smug to have finished a Barry Silk Saturday in faster than normal Saturday time,
only to come here and be undone by the Cramers! Must watch too many Seinfeld reruns...

Burma Shave 2:20 PM  


Ms. GABOR and I were ROOMIES, she would COVET having fun.
We’d MAKETRACKS to the NEARESTEXIT, she’d RACEME to get done.
Her KNEED was to be POKEDAT and she wanted ALLORNONE.


rondo 2:34 PM  

What a workout! Had MAGNOLIA, ELEC, and KRAMERS first pass through the across clues. The M got me GUAM and it was off to the races in the NW. No racing anywhere else. Especially with problems like MIddleagE for MILESTONE and PRimeTIME for PRESSTIME.

What was it that OLEATE? Lena’s Swedish meatballs?

ROYORBISON, one of the all-time greats.

So, plenty of write-over ink spilled today, but in the end a correct solve. Thumbs way up.

2065 meh

DMG 5:20 PM  

Didn't do well on this one. although I got GABOR and most that section, I have no idea who RAYORBINSON is ( was?). I've heard the name, but that's about it. Not getting that one and an incomplete ORANG???? fouled up a bunch of crosses. But my real failure was the SW. CPO and CHOMPS. were my only correct contributions there. Even spelled the German place SAch!! For the rest got a lot including GOOGLEPLEX, but didn't come close enough on its SW doppelgänger to even make a guess. Sometimes I think I should give this whole thing up!! See you Monday, I think!

spacecraft 6:18 PM  

@DMG: I'm sure you have heard ROY (not Ray) even if you don't know him. Remember Only the Lonely? Pretty Woman? You've heard him.

leftcoastTAM 9:27 PM  

Yes, Roy Orbison, one of the greatest, although I didn't get him or most of the West. I'm not ready for a Barry Silk Saturday, I guess.

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