S A T U R D A Y   November 13, 2010
Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson

Theme: None

Wow. These guys really know what they're doing! Full disclosure: One of today's constructors is my Fake Crossword Boyfriend. So right up front, just to let you know I'm not playing favorites I will say that NEEDLE HOLE stinks to high heaven. I mean, that's just pathetic. And the clue makes it even worse. Perhaps Doug or Brad will stop by and explain themselves. Now that we got that out of the way ….

Wow! Love the long answers, love the cluing — this is just an all-around excellent puzzle. As usual on a Saturday, there were several things that I just flat-out didn't know. Like:
  • 1A: Single-season RBI record-holder since 1930 (HACK WILSON). Never heard of him, but that's a pretty awesome achievement. According to his Wikipedia page, Wilson played for the New York Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Philadelphia Phillies. In the first game he ever played as a professional, he broke his leg. And he died at age 48. Sounds like he had an interesting, but unfortunately short, life.
  • 16A: __ de soie: bridal gown fabric (PEAU). Let's just say I'm not an expert on bridal gown fabrics.
  • 25A: Esmeralda's goat in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (DJALI). I didn't know this, but I think it's probably fair. That's a super unfortunate cross with 26D: Cryer in a sitcom though. JON Cryer? Seriously? For those of you who don't know, he's on "Two and a Half Men." Oh wait, he was also in "Pretty in Pink" back in the day. Maybe I should have known him. Whatever the case, that J was the last letter I put in the grid and I'm gonna guess I'm not alone.
My missteps included trying "Ali" for ITO at 19A: Nagano Olympics torch lighter, "Hunter" for LAUREN at 44A: Holly of Hollywood, and "Dutch elm" for WITCH ELM at 5D: Shade tree native to the British Isles. I also had AGEE and then, inexplicably, OGEE, before INGE at 6D: "Bus Stop" playwright. No idea what the hell that was all about.

A lot of medium and long sparkly fill in this grid. I particularly enjoyed IN RARE FORM and ONE-MAN ARMY (60A: Knocking 'em dead / 65A: Rambo, notably). BLUE PERIOD looks good in the grid, as does BAR SCENE (30D: Years in which Picasso's art took a somber turn / 40D: What eHarmony users can avoid). Oh and BATMOBILE (13D: Wheels in a cave)! And MOB RULE! Those are awesome! I'm not sure I've ever seen the word 39A: Ochlocracy before, but the answer materialized pretty easily nonetheless.

  • 20A: "Cinderella" opener? (CEE). This is one of those literal letter clues that we see on occasion. The word "Cinderella" starts with the letter C (cee).
  • 21A: Like season 8 of "Dallas" (DREAMT). Oh yeah, I had a misstep here too. I tried "a dream" first. At least I knew what the clue was getting at though! (By the way, we all still agree that whole dream thing was stupid, right?)
  • 29A: Dealt with a fatal error, perhaps (REBOOTED). Since you're all reading this, I assume you didn't have any troublel catching onto the computer jargon.
  • 37A: "Moriae Encomium" author (ERASMUS). I don't know this title, and I just barely know this author, but the answer became clear with a few crosses in place.
  • 3D: "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," e.g. (CAROL). See this is the difference between early- and late-week puzzles. On Monday this clue would be "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." But Saturday? Something you've never heard of. (And by "you," I of course mean "I.")
  • 8D: Fed. loan source (SBA). Small Business Administration.
  • 9D: GOP segment? (OLD). GOP = Grand Old Party.
  • 12D: First actress to play Yente in Broadway's "Fiddler on the Roof" (BEA ARTHUR). Who knew? I loved Maude.
  • 32D: Any of the "Ocean's" movies, e.g. (HEIST FILM). I'm a big fan of the "Ocean's" movies. Of course I'm the one who, when PuzzleSister asked me back in 1996 which movie I thought would win Best Picture, replied with no hesitation "The Rock."
  • 34D: Ultra-reliable team members (MAINSTAYS).
  • 55D: Big name in TV talk (TYRA). Tyra Banks. Can't say I'm a fan.
Well, it's supposed to be a gorgeous day here in the D.C. metro area, so I'm going to try to get outside. Oh, but one quick announcement before I go. Some of you may know that I typically don't solve the Sunday puzzles. I post the grid, the theme, and the answers for you, but there's no write-up. Well tomorrow (speaking of Doug Peterson!) Doug Peterson will be here to get the conversation started on the Sunday syndicated puzzle. So come on back!

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 28A: Salty delicacy (ROE).
  • 6D: "Bus Stop" playwright (INGE).
  • 11D: Basilica section (APSE).
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Everything Else — 11A: This ans. is one (ABBR.); 15A: Not beyond belief (IMAGINABLE); 17A: Elementary level (FIRST GRADE); 18A: Focus of some H.S. prep courses (SAT'S); 23A: Light-footed woman (SYLPH); 31A: Sched. gap letters (TBA); 32A: Skywalker player (HAMILL); 35A: Eastern theatrical style (NOH); 36A: Gambler's voucher (CHIT); 41A: Bulb output, maybe (IRIS); 42A: "... and too many to mention" letters (ETC.); 45A: Stray, in a way (SIN); 46A: Reacts to an affront, maybe (SPUTTERS); 48A: Living room sets (TV'S); 49A: Temporary tattoo dye (HENNA); 50A: Put forward (STATE); 54A: Less flabby (FITTER); 56A: Bad liar's giveaway (TIC); 58A: Lap dog, briefly (POM); 59A: "By Jove!" ("I SAY!"); 64A: About 5.88 trillion mi. (LT. YR.); 66A: High point in a Western? (MESA); 67A: Circumscribes (DELINEATES); 1D: Old living room sets (HI-FIS); 2D: Good relations (AMITY); 4D: Metric meas. (KGS.); 7D: I-35's southern terminus (LAREDO); 14D: Like many a jalopy (RUST-EATEN); 22D: Divested (of) (RID); 24D: Goody two shoes (PRISS); 27D: Quark's milieu (ATOM); 33D: Upstart (ARRIVISTE); 36D: It's rolled out at a patisserie (CRUST); 38D: Leave agape (STUN); 43D: UPS unit (CTN.); 46D: Byron's "__ Walks in Beauty" (SHE); 47D: Geisha's mat (TATAMI); 51D: Left on the bridge (APORT); 52D: "It Wasn't All Velvet" memoirist (TORMÉ); 53D: Pair on the réumé of 12-Down (EMMYS); 57D: Caspian Sea country (IRAN); 61D: Vane dir. (NNE); 62D: Seminary subj. (REL.); 63D: Govt. agency with a wing on its seal (FAA).



Gimme a break, the first word is a baseball clue… NO IDEA!!!
I loved this puzzle, but needed a lot of Google help for some rather arcane words:
DJALI, NOH (which we just had), ERASMUS, PEAU, and DREAMT.
Although I finished this puzzle in about an hour, I’m giving it a DNF, because I needed too much help.

The clue for 41A is just plain wrong. IRIS does not grow from a “bulb”… it’s actually a tuber, or better yet, a rhizome. Tulips, daffodils, and onions grow from bulbs.

WITCH ELM is a variant of Wych Elm. The botanical name is Ulmus Glabra, known in the U.S. as a SCOTS ELM. The Camperdown cultivar is a very attractive midwestern tree, however these Elms are highly susceptible to Dutch elm disease and grow very horizontal so they typically are not used as street trees. This is the first time I‘ve seen WITCH ELM used in a crossword puzzle.

I agree with you Puzzlegirl, the NEEDLE HOLE clue stinks… no needle I’ve ever seen has a circular hole. Baaaaaadddd!!!! Comeon, Doug and Brad, this just isn’t your style.

Shame on you, Puzzlegirl, for messing up the INGE thing… it’s one of your best CW101 words.

And crossing JON Cryer with DJALI was also a Natick for me.

PEAU de soie is far too gender biased… how the heck would I ever know about a bridal gown fabric?

I didn’t like seeing LTYR, REL, and CEE.

New WOTD for me: Ochlocracy (MOB RULE).

Some really great fill words: SYLPH, HAMILL, IN RARE FORM, ONE-MAN ARMY, TATAMI, and BLUE PERIOD.

I predict that this puzzle will be a high-discussion item… controversy, praise, criticism, and just plain SPUTTERS. I’m already seeing that in the amount of commentary in Puzzlegirl’s nice writeup.

Brad and Doug, you sure rattled the cage!

Third cup of coffee and away I go for my morning walk.
Have a super duper weekend y’all!


I've always wanted a BATMOBILE... maybe my next car! I love gadgetry.

SP said...

Funny, what is obscure or unknown to one is easily apparent to another. My father was a great admirer of HACK WILSON so that came easily. So did PEAU de Soie (my wedding gown),JON Cryer (wonderful comic actor), DREAMT, and I don't know why but NEEDLE HOLE was my third answer, even though the clue is confusing. On the other hand, did not know WITCH ELM, TATAMI, or ERASMUS. PG, interestingly, you pictured Adrienne Barbeau and BEA ARTHUR (from Maude) but they both appeared in the original production of Fiddler on the Roof (AB as Hodel).

Rex Parker said...

1A=GIMME (though I admit to wavering on whether it was HACK or HANK...)

This puzzle is sterling. First-rate. All the long answers (exc. NEEDLE HOLE) are solid-to-outstanding.

Hardest LAT I've done in a while.

JON Cryer is suitably famous, though DJALI, wtf!?!?

PRUDE for PRISS really slowed me down.

I like a puzzle that allows me to use my knowledge of the word "ochlocracy" (which I learned, the Very hard way, via a Bob Klahn puzzle years ago).

Nice work, guys.

Doug P said...

Umm, NEEDLE HOLE, let me see... It works with all the crossing entries, so how bad can it be, right? And we had to get HACK WILSON in there. One of my favorite baseball nicknames.

I'll take the blame/credit for DJALI. I like it because it looks like it could be the name of a Muslim rapper: DJ Ali.

And mucho thanks to PG for the "Core Four" picture! Brad & I are both huge fans.

badrog said...

18 words of 8,9,10 letters and just a smattering of cheap fill; to me that makes this puzzle awfully close to a masterpiece.

Among the longies, I personally thought 10D "Sewing circle?"/NEEDLE HOLE was the best, 'cuz it reminded me that I've got a stack of shirts and pants that need popped buttons sewn back on. I've been putting it off for several months 'cuz I can't decide whether or not to re-use the tiny "circle"-shaped HOLEs that were created by the NEEDLEs during the original "Sewing". Prolly will end up just leting those holes guide me to the proper area for the repair work.

Have long been a little bothered by the ambiguity of the term "CW-ese 101". "101" seems to imply that the lists are a tool for those who might not be familiar with the various ways many 3- & 4-letter answers can be clued. This is good!
OTOH, "-ese" seems to imply that this is stuff found more often in CWs than in the real world; and to me this usage also carries the negative connotation that these words are cheap throwaways used only as fill to make the "good" stuff work.

Certainly hope that 8D ""Bus Stop" playwright"/INGE is on the list more for "101" than for the above interpretation of "-ese". After all, William Inge won a Pulitzer prize for Picnic in 1953, and an Oscar for Splendor in the Grass in 1961. The list of actors that have appeared in the Broadway, Hollywood and/or TV versions of his works is quite impressive, including Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, William Holden, Kim Novak, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, James Dean, and many more.
Then again, maybe it's all too personal for me. Inge's hometown was Independence, KS, where my grandfather and father were born. And I once got a rare "A" on a college paper about Inge's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

Rube said...

Didn't know HACKWILSON, but should have. A still standing record 191 RBIs in a single season, amazing!

Enjoyed the very impressive 8, 9, & 10 length answers. NEEDLEHOLE just appeared from the crosses and I've learned to accept this kind of thing as a normal crossword stretch.

WOTD is ochlocracy, of course.

Had to Google for the first time this week, so DNF. Still enjoyed the puzzle despite this, multiple writeovers, and the four or five pop culture answers. Do question TIC as a bad liar's giveaway.

Mokus said...

Yes, PG, the "J" was my last entry too. Thanks for sharing.
Speaking of sharing, it was hard to wait until I was finished to find out the botanical name for Witchelm.
I liked badrog's needlehole comments. I thought of the needles used by sailmakers as a justification.
The praises above are justified. It was a terrific puzzle and a pleasant way to start the weekend.

Brad W said...

We were thinking that the NEEDLE HOLE clue corresponded to the hole in fabric created by a needle, not the hole (eye) *in* the needle, which I agree is never round.

And I'll totally take my lumps for the misinformed IRIS clue -- I'm surrounded by gardeners in my personal life, some of whom I'm going to be at dinner with tonight. They will give me what for, too.

@badrog: Thanks for the comment about DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS--I just unearthed a copy of the film version (incredibly elusive) and was able to check it off my dwindling Oscar list.

SethG said...

I knew it wasn't AGEE or OGEE. I had IMRE. Otherwise, what Rex said, except that HACK was sub-gimme.

Enjoy your gorgeous day, I'm gonna go shovel 6 inches of snow.

Anonymous said...

Brad W, don't worry about John. In drier climates irises do indeed grow from bulbs.

John, English Iris and Dutch Iris are just two examples.

imsdave said...

Just got back from a beautiful day of golf - November 13th in CT? Not a day to complain, and nothing to complain about (well, the goat thing - but that's it). Saw the constructors names and figured it would be wonderful and hard, and was not disappointed.

Excellent work by two masters.


choirwriter said...

Good grief, Seth - where are you located?

backbiter said...

I loved this one. Bea Arthur was a gimme. Not because I'm a fan of Bea Arthur, but I have pretty much absorbed every bit of minutae from Fiddler On The Roof. I'm that much of a fan. No clue about Hack Wilson. All from crosses. I filled in Grade and had to get the first part from crosses. FirstGrade and ThirdGrade have the same amount of letters. The Living room set clues are the only ones that feel odd to me. HI-FIS and TVS?? There are TV sets in every room of this home. Including bathrooms and closets. The only exception is the pantry.
Finally 39A:Ochlocracy Ans:Mob Rule
HELL YEAH!!!! MOB RULES is my second favorite album from Black Sabbath. Ronnie James Dio KICKS ASS! RIP!

I'm off to a cigar event in about 4 hours. Also, next Saturday is another cigar event Heritage Festival is held in Ybor City. I'm just saying, Tinbeni. If you'd like to join in.


SethG said...

I'm in Minneapolis, and I'm regretting my decision to buy a house on a corner. On a hill. With an extra-wide lot.

My back hurts.

Fowler said...

This was fun, and Saturday tough. It took me too long to finish though, as I fell asleep over several attempts (drugs in my system from recent surgery. Hmmm.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was a little dismayed by NEEDLE HOLE, but not as much for some reason as by RUST EATEN. That matches the clue but I was dwelling more on "Rust heap or ""Rust bucket," neither or which could fit. I just haven't heard RUST EATEN as an expression.

I had ALI first too. How did Judge Ito ever get asked to the Olympics? I know the Japanese have great respect for the law, but REALLY? (Kidding: it was Midori Ito, the figure skating medalist.)

Frank said...

Crazy! Toughest for me in a quite a while. I can usually get a sense for clues, but this one was extremely nebulous for me. Anyway, had fun!

Nighthawk said...

@Fowler Judge Ito cracked me up. Guess the glove fit?

Hats off to Brad and Doug for a real workout!

Like @JNH, had too many Googles so wound up with a DNF, but totally enjoyed this.

Never heard of HACK WILSON, but loved learning about him.

@DougP, loved your parsing of the goat! Must be related to Ali G?

Like @PG, had Holly for LAUREN.
Loved the clues for 51 and 52D. First thought 32D would be Caper Flic but liked much better HEIST FILM.

Really liked the Hunchback reference. Always thought it one of the better Disney outputs when my daughter was of that age. I thought the feisty, assertive and self-reliant Esmeralda was heads and shoulders better as a role-model for a young girl than the wimpy Cinderella, and was delighted when daughter found it one of her favorite videos and went for Halloween one year as that heroine. The downside - I don't do well with heights, but was forced to suck it up to accompany daughter, on a trip to see Parisian relatives, on a tour to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral.
High among the gargoyles, I was not IN RARE FORM. It's still a story that daughter delights to tell. Her 10 year old bravery versus Dad's weenieness. Jolly for her, but am only amused now, not at the time.

Anonymous said...

This one was tough for me. Once you put in "Needle's Eye" early - you're pretty much tied up for a while! Didn't like "DJALI", had a fun time trying to figure out "FIRST", "FIFTH", or "SIXTH" grade.
Very nice exercise although a teensy tiny bit on the unfair side (Bulb output and Djali)!

Jim said...

Occupational hazard for me as a computer programmer -- I had DEBUGGED in for 29A instead of REBOOTED and that hung me up for quite a while.

Many summers at the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore caused me to have HENNA as my first entry.

mac said...

Fabulous puzzle. Paused at needle hole also, but the explanation makes sense, I do follow them when repairing something.

Had nymph for sylph for a bit. Agree with some of the Iris being grown from bulbs. Just like tulips, they don't multiply but fade away...

Sfingi said...

I never heard of: HACKWILSON and ITO (both sports). I thought Chris Moon did the Nagano torch with the cute snow kids. What good does it do to remember anything in sports?

Had to Google DJALI and ochlocracy.

Did not know who had the roles for Skywalker and Yente.

But did know my Po-duh-swa PEAU and clicked with NEEDLEHOLE. The holes are what the needles make, not the eyes. It's a girly thing. We need something to balance out sports. Still waiting for etsy.

Totally got the SE to my own surprise.

Tn the SW, held on to meRv instead of TYRA and FIrmER instead of FITTER, and spelled ARRIVISTa wrong.

@Mac - but they do multiply! They clone themselves yearly, really.

Loved REBOOTED. Nothing's changed since the '60s.

@Nighthawk - nice story.

"Lo, how a rose e'er blooming," "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen," (Praetorius) shares this fascination of the rose blooming in the winter snow with the Our Lady of Guadalupe story, both 16th century.

My sister in law has a huge Witch Elm near her house in Marcy, NY. Recognized it from its leaf. I need to grow one from a sapling.

*David* said...

Just got to the puzzle and WOW, exactly what I needed! I knew when I saw the names that I was headed for a treat and I was not disappointed. It was exactly at my level of difficulty where I continued to make progress but very few gimmes. At first it looked bad like a Hard BEQ but then the SE fell with ONE MAN ARMY and then the NE came through with the cool BATMOBILE. The SE was next where HEIST FILM came to me with the H and T. HACK WILSON was the final piece with ON at the end to complete the puzzle. The constructors were IN RARE FORM.

Jan said...

So... what is a "fake crossword boyfriend"? That sounds a lot more interesting than anything in this puzzle!

Tuttle said...

Occupational hazard for me as a computer programmer -- I had DEBUGGED in for 29A instead of REBOOTED and that hung me up for quite a while.

I'm a sysadmin. I wanted KILLNINE.