01.01 Sat

January 1, 2011
Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

Howdy, puzzle fans. PuzzleGirl has been called away to babysit Rex Parker's blog, so you're stuck with me (Doug) today. Yep, we do all the hard work while Rex gets drunk on appletinis on some beach in Florida. That's because he's the King of Crossworld and the rest of us are mere peons.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first puzzle of Oh-Eleven. I know, I know. I've already been told I shouldn't call it "Oh-Eleven," but I like how it sounds, so I'm going to go with it for a while.

Nice to kick off the year with a Barry Silk puzzle. I met Barry at the 2008 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and we've been friends ever since. There are a few things I expect to see in a Silk puzzle: '50s & '60s music, computer & technical terms, Philadelphia Phillies, and scrabbly letters. The only thing missing today is the Phillies entry. That's OK. I can do without thinking about the Phillies and their scary pitching staff right now. For the music, we have ELENORE; for the technical entries, we have ENIAC, MSEC and QUANTUM COMPUTER; and as for scrabbly letters, I see three Q's, two Z's, one J, and one K. Barry also included shout-outs to two crossword luminaries: MERL (55D: Reagle of "Wordplay") and ANGELA (1D: PuzzleGirl's alter ego).

  • 8A: Game with beehive-shaped pieces (PACHISI). I know what the beehive pieces look like, but I couldn't find a picture of them anywhere. This section of the puzzle was the hardest for me to finish. I wasn't thinking about MAGGOTS at 18A (thank goodness) and PACHISI wasn't coming to mind either. Eventually I'M OVER IT (12D: "It's okay now") broke it open for me.
  • 36A: Experimental processor (QUANTUM COMPUTER). I assume this was the seed entry that Barry built the puzzle around. My favorite model is the "Rare-earth-metal-ion-doped inorganic crystal based quantum computer." Maybe Barry can drop by and explain that one to us.
  • 62A: "You're my pride and joy, et cetera" girl in a Turtles hit (ELENORE). Wow, that has got to be one of weirdest love song lyrics I've ever heard. So what's the story? The Turtles' record company had been hounding them for another "Happy Together," their biggest hit. So they quickly wrote this uninspired song ("Gee I think you're swell") and it went on to become a big hit despite their best efforts at sabotage. Howard Kaylan of The Turtles explained: "It was my feeling that they would listen to how strange and stupid the song was and leave us alone. But they didn't get the joke. They thought it sounded good. Truthfully, though, the production on 'Elenore' was so damn good. Lyrically or not, the sound of the thing was so positive that it worked. It certainly surprised me." (Thanks to songfacts.com).
  • 4D: Pou __: vantage point (STO). Too French for me. This was the only entry I found to be a complete mystery.
  • 24D: Actor __ Ivory Wayans (KEENEN). I couldn't remember whether this was spelled KEENAN or KEENEN. Keenan Wynn has an "a" and Keenen Ivory Wayans has an "e." Who names their kid Keenan/Keenan anyway?
  • 35D: "War and Peace," e.g. (EPIC). I plan to read War and Peace someday, just so I can say I've read it. Or I could just say I've read it. That would easier.
  • 36D: Fictional harpooner (QUEEQUEG). From Moby-Dick. His harpoon never leaves his side. He even shaves with it. I did read Moby-Dick once. (Really!) The unabridged version with long chapters on whale physiology, blubber harvesting, etc. It was worth reading, but I wouldn't do it again.
  • 39D: Tamarin relative (MARMOSET). Cool word. Tamarins and marmosets are both types of little monkeys. They look kinda cute, but you wouldn't want one in your house.
  • 44D: One often has a colon in its title (SEQUEL). Excellent clue. A classic example is Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Thanks for the fun puzzle today, Barry. See you all tomorrow.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: Julliet is part of it (ETE).
  • 43A: Signs of success (SROS).
Everything Else — 1A: Builds up considerably (AMASSES); 15A: Avian activity (NESTING); 16A: Cruel (INHUMAN); 17A: Start working (GETONIT); 18A: Common bait (MAGGOTS); 20A: Chess stratagem (GAMBIT); 22A: Pop singer/songwriter Sands (EVIE); 23A: Steal (LURK); 25A: Yarborough of NASCAR (CALE); 26A: Fumble (ERR); 27A: It takes your breath away (APNEA); 29A: Normandy beach (JUNO); 31A: One with a spare in his boot (BRIT); 32A: F1 neighbor (ESC); 34A: Put out (ETHERIZE); 40A: Like eagles (UNDERPAR); 41A: Do a typical teenager's job (SIT); 42A: Nobel Prize subj. (ECON); 45A: Some Wi-Fi offerers (CAFES); 49A: Great time (EON); 50A: Processing time meas. (MSEC); 52A: Word with punch or party (LINE); 53A: Bit of wit (QUIP); 55A: Muezzin's temple (MOSQUE); 57A: Keep out (BAR); 58A: Increases (UPSIZES); 60A: Title lost love in a Poe poem (ULALUME); 63A: Fifth Greek letter (EPSILON); 64A: Unified whole (GESTALT); 65A: Expose (LAYBARE); 1D: German chancellor Merkel (ANGELA); 2D: Rendezvous (MEETUP); 3D: Opposite of ahead (ASTERN); 5D: Do a number (SING); 6D: Room-sized computer (ENIAC); 7D: U.S. Army E-9 (SGTMAJ); 8D: Antipasto veggie (PIMIENTO); 9D: It may be gross: Abbr. (ANAT); 10D: Small fee? (CHG); 11D: Quite significant (HUGE); 13D: Mock (SATIRIZE); 14D: Editor, at times (INSERTER); 21D: Early hospital services insurer (BLUECROSS); 28D: Celestial sci. (ASTR); 30D: Units measured by a multimeter (OHMS); 31D: Painful, as honesty (BRUTAL); 33D: Afternoon service items (CUPS); 37D: Separate (UNCOUPLE); 38D: Hunks (ADONISES); 46D: Leg bone (FIBULA); 47D: Bewitch (ENAMOR); 48D: Tranquil (SERENE); 51D: Apology ending (CULPA); 54D: Ice cream purchase (PINT); 56D: Relaxed (EASY); 59D: Suffix with Meso- (ZOA); 61D: Stack site: Abbr. (LIB).


Avg Joe said...

The Wikipedia entry on Pachisi has a picture that can be enlarged to give a reasonable idea of what the pieces look like:


That NE corner really threw me too. I wanted Vast for HUGE, but finally accepted inhuman as the likely fill across, which gave me huge then eventually IM OVER IT. I've never heard of Pachisi, so wanting Parchisi (sic) left me feeling like it was finished, but wrong. Ulalume is also unfamiliar, so that only added to the lack of satisfaction. I actually did finish correctly, but gotta admit it's probably the least enjoyable Barry Silk puzzle I've ever done.

Thanks Doug, and Happy New Year everyone.

CarolC said...

Thanks for filling in, Doug.

As usual on a Saturday, I couldn't finish without googling, but today was especially tough on me. PACHISI? Never heard of it. Pou STO was and is Greek to me. I should have remembered Chancellor Merkel's name, and now that I can link it to PG ANGELA I won't forget it! Then I figured I'd get here and find that everyone said it was a snap. At least I was spared that humiliation since there aren't many posts yet!

Great job, Barry. Maybe one of these days I'll be good enough to solve on my own. Or as my captcha says I'll "derove" it.

Happy New Year all!

Jan said...

Wow, what a tough puzzle. I'm proud to say I got it all without Googling but it took me over an hour! A fun way to start the year, though. First things first!

Mokus said...

Lots of interesting words and clues. Nice puzzle to start off the year.

Healthcare mini-theme? One of my earliest memories is being ETHERIZEd as a five-year old. Sort of traumatic. Welcomed BLUECROSS because their service and coverage has been outstanding. Three of their plans nicely fill the gap with Medicare here in California.

QUEEQUEG is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Liked the cross with GESTALT.

Thank you Mr. Silk.

Sfingi said...


I rarely enjoy Barry Silks' puzzles. Too tangential for me. BRUTAL.
Sorry, I'm too stupid and not in the B.S. admiration society.
Too many abbrevs. at 9.
INSERTER dreadful.

Did learn some things, of course. Thought a tamarin was a palm tree.

E A Poe sure picked some ugly women's names, ULALUME, and Annabelle Lee just comes off as "and a belly."

Shared some problems with Puzzle Girl - Pou STO way too French and didn't know how to spell KEENEN.

@Carol - you might know it as Parcheesi, that game in the back of the attic with Chinese Checkers and with pieces that just look like pawns.

Finally, what is this afternoon service - a sports thing or a religious rite?

And, do people really use maggots as bait? I think they're cute, smooth, little bobbing white things, but most would say yecch.
Unless he means Gummy Maggots.


Avg Joe said...

Sfingi, The afternoon service refers to a tea set.

And yes, maggots are used as bait. Primarily for ice fishing. They most often call them wax worms, I assume to ease the Yech factor. But they are in fact maggots.

Anonymous said...

An additional computer reference is "F1 neighbor" - ESC

Vega said...

Despite the odd QUEEQUEG here and MARMOSET there, I can't say I loved this one. I did like "It takes your breath away" for APNEA. But I agree: INSERTER wasn't great. I appreciate the Qs, and I'd appreciate the Zs more if one of them didn't come from UPSIZES and a suffix. And where's my Phillies?

Oh well.

CrazyCatLady said...

I thought Barry's puzzle was a little INHUMAN for New Year's morn. I had minnows before MAGGOTS. Yuck, just what I don't want to think about over brunch. I did like PIMENTO though. I now remember why I forgot the Turtles' song ELENORE. I used to play Parcheesi at summer camp. I guess it's the American version of PACHISI. I think I may have known that at some point.

Happy 2011 everyone!

Thanks Doug.

KJGooster said...

I liked it. Tough but fair, and like others I had the most trouble with the NE. Once I figured out PIMENTO the rest began to fall.

Regarding sequels -- my brother and his wife once had a Subaru which, for reasons that escape me, was called Randy. After many years Randy had to be replaced, with a descendant of the same make. The new car's name?

Randy 2: Electric Subaru, natch.

Rube said...

Tough one. Had 4 googles: Keenen and Evie, (naturally for a pop culture challenged guy), Marmoset and Pachisi. Should have gotten Marmoset, but the crosses in place wanted Formosan... not. Learned that Pachisi is "India's national board game", and, of course, the precourser of our Parcheesi.

Re: maggots. When bass fishing, there is an often used artificial soft plastic lure that is referred to as a "grub". The body looks just like that of a maggot, sort of round and plump. All sorts of tails, legs and "skirts" are attached to catch the attention of the bass. Me? I put in MudwOrm at first.

Was thinking chess board for F1, but Knight or Queen wouldn't fit.

Just started doing Merl Reagle's Sunday puzzles recently. Very enjoyable, and doable. Highly recomnmended.

mac said...

Hi Doug, happy new year! To the rest of you as well.

Very good puzzle, love it a little tougher at the LAT. I also wanted an r in Pachisi, and pou sto is going to be researched today. I only used little balls of white bread for bait, but I saw people using worms. That's as far as my fishing knowledge goes.

John Wolfenden said...

Never knew that Parcheesi was really a Western variant of an Indian game.

Don't think I've ever seen ETHERIZE before...nicely clued. The only place I've ever read it is in "The Love Song of Alfred B. Prufrock": "Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky. Like a patient etherised upon a table."

Sfingi: totally agree about INSERTER. A weak spot in an otherwise solid puzzle. Chuckled at "And a belly..." Sounds like something the cutups would laugh about in high school English.

Not quite sure I get "Steal" for LURK. I assume Barry means the clue as in "stealing across the heath..." but lurking seems like more of a stationary activity.

Liked seeing APNEA and FIBULA. "Like eagles" is a great clue for UNDER PAR. Nice and misleading.


Wow, a BRUTAL puzzle to start off "Oh-Eleven." I'm far from UNDER PAR on this one... took me hours to solve, but I was determined to slog through it without any help... however, I did screw-up in the NE corner because I clung to MINNOWS instead of MAGGOTS.

You just don't see words like PACHISI, PIMIENTO, ETHERIZE, QUEEQUEG, or ULALUME in your run-of-the-mill puzzles, but then this was no ordinary construcor either. I always like Barry Silk puzzles because they stretch my feeble gray-matter.

And then Doug does a mighty fine writeup to cap off my learning process. Forget the humble stuff though! You can construct puzzles, Rex can only destruct puzzles. Anyway, thank you for filling in for Puzzlegirl.

And thank you @Sfingi for the cute MARMOSET photo. And yes, people do use MAGGOTS for bait... worse yet, think about squid bait. yech+

Well, I hope y'all have a very pleasant 2011.


Here's a good website to describe the game of PACHISI (also known as PARCHEESI).

Anonymous said...

3 poor/unfun/unfair IMO: Pachisi, anat, inserter, chg.

Avg Joe said...

JNH, if you wanna talk about nasty bait, try leeches. They cling to you instantly when you're trying to get them on the hook. Of course they can't attach that quickly, but it sure feels like they can. They do work fairly well as an attractant, but they give you a sense of revulsion unmatched by any other bait.


@Avg Joe
Leeches suck!
I think I'll just stick with good old worms... they're so cute when they squirm on the hook.

Eric said...

Another sweet grid -- even prettier than the one from two weeks ago.

What everybody else said about the NE section, MAGGOTS, INSERTER, ETHERIZE, "Steal" -> LURK, et cetera.

Editors (for print publications, anyway) are far more often deleters than INSERTERs, I think; they more often have to shorten an article to fit the available space, than to pad one out.

QUEEQUEG came surprisingly easily. I couldn't have told you anything about him, or even which book he was from, but I knew he was a character in one of those old seafaring novels. That, plus QU_____G crosses, let me slot it right in.

Oddly, I guessed ELEANOR (spelled thus) for the E.A.Poe clue, before I even saw the Turtles one. Not that horrible a mistake: Eleanora (the correct spelling) is the "title lost love" in a Poe short story. That messed me up for a while on the Turtles clue, even though I could recall the lyric in question, and even the tune fragment that goes with it. (Wikipedia says that's the only song "to date" to rhyme "et cetera".)

The Turtles' record label, which was pestering the band for another bubblegum hit, was White Whale Records. And ELENORE crosses QUEEQUEG -- how cool is that?!?

Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - I also thought of Prufrock. Mr. Silk has lots of nice "big" words, but it's the other stuff, the stuff on which it is built, and the off-the-wall cluing which annoys me. Just sayin'

@John - it takes a lot to turn my stomach since I'm kind of nerdy. I've cleaned squid in the past for baking, which I prefer to frying, but not since Hubster's family used to do the 7 fish. The old timers are dead now, so most of the younger ones only want to see haddock and shrimp. I really like the pasta ghi sard' and baccala' they used to make.

Also, didn't notice Doug was pinch-hitting for Puzzle Girl.

Cleo said...

I agree with those who said parts of this puzzle were too obscure. CarolC, was it a deliberate pun when you said POU STO is Greek to you? It IS Greek, meaning "where I stand."

Anonymous said...

Like a lot of folks, I had a problem with that nor' easter.
"Pachisi?" "Inserter?" "Chg?" Got everything else without any helpers. But that nor' easter?

*David* said...

I feel better reading the comments. NE was also my most difficult section. I spent about 20minutes on the rest and walked away. I watched Mystic Pizza came back for the NE. I had MAGGOTS before and reentered in in and then INSERTER came to me. PACHISI was in the dim recesses of my mind even though I really wanted Parcheesi and then I was done. I finished this one purely based on doing lots of puzzles versus knowledge. ANAT and CHG made no sense to me initially and still feel forced.