7.16.2011

07.16 Sat

S A T U R D A Y
July 16, 2011
Tom Heilman


Theme: None

Posting late today because I had a lot of trouble with this one, but I wasn't ready to give up. I started it last night and got about half of it done. Then PuzzleHusband wanted to watch a couple episodes of "Friday Night Lights" and I really couldn't say no. I decided I'd get up this morning and finish it, but of course I slept in. So here we are.

The northeast and southwest corners came together pretty easily, but the others … not so much. Up in the northwest, I had several answers that went in, came out, went in, came out. It just seemed to take a lot of finagling to get that section to make any sense. Thank God for AXL ROSE (2D: Frontman on the 1987 debut album "Appetite for Destruction") who at least gave me something up there that I knew was right. It was HERBIE (23D: Beetle of note) that finally broke that section open for me. It made GEYSERS become clear (28A: Surface phenomena affected by magma) and allowed me put HOLD back in (23A: A plan may be put on it) which got me to see NATIONS (7D: United __). And then I was off and running. Just one question, though: PASQUINADE?! Really? (1A: Public mockery.)

Other missteps for me included FLORIDIANS for ALLIGATORS (17A: Everglades denizens), NAVY SEALS for SWAT TEAMS (29D: Elite tactical units) and SANTANA for ESTEFAN (36D: Grammy winner for the 1993 album "Mi Tierra").

I definitely had some "aha" moments along the way. My favorite entries include:

  • 26A: Pregnant pause, perhaps (TENSE MOMENT).
  • 41A: Established favorable conditions (for) (SET THE STAGE).
  • 51A: Independent way to live (OFF THE GRID).
  • 56A: Private (ONE-STRIPER).
  • 11D: Raked it in (MADE A MINT).
Not a fan of seeing both PETR- and PETRO- in the grid (49D: Stone: Pref. / 49A: Chemical prefix?). And the alternate spelling of OYEZ bummed me out a little (55A: Court cry: Var. (OYES)). But I enjoyed the clues for DAMN (18A: Hoot? — as in "I don't give a hoot") and SLIM (53A: Barely better than none? — as "I would say the chances of me getting this blog up at a reasonable hour are slim to none"). And with that, I will leave the rest of the discussion to you.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: First Dominican-born Major League Baseball manager (ALOU).
  • 44A: Narrow ridge (ARETE).
  • 48A: Scented souvenirs (LEIS).
  • 10D: __ est percipi: to be is to be perceived (ESSE).
  • 46D: Pola of the silents (NEGRI).
  • 52D: President when the U.N. was created (HST).
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Everything Else 11A: Opening movement of Holst's "The Planets" (MARS); 15A: Cleans up (EXPURGATES); 19A: Occupation (TRADE); 20A: "Lady, shall __ in your lap?": Hamlet (I LIE); 21A: They may be geological (ERAS); 22A: Direct (BOSS); 24A: Artist son of Andrew Wyeth (JAMIE); 25A: Kyrgyzstan city (OSH); 30A: Judges (DECIDES); 31A: Complex design (WEB); 32A: Fatal opening? (NON-); 33A: Statement of equality (IT'S A TIE); 37A: Coastal freeze (FAST ICE); 43A: Pita look-alike (NAN); 45A: Faithful (TRUE); 46A: Crack agent? (NARC); 47A: "Okay then" ("I SEE"); 50A: Poet Walter __ Mare (DE LA); 54A: Railing with molded supports (BALUSTRADE); 1D: Moor feature (PEAT BOG); 3D: Flamboyant (SPLASHY); 4D: Plugs of tobacco (QUIDS); 5D: Seriously suggest (URGE); 6D: Supermarket chain with Chicago H.Q. (IGA); 8D: Components of the Maldives (ATOLLS); 9D: Scoffed at (DERIDED); 12D: Protected, in a way (ALARMED); 13D: Arugula alternative (ROMAINE); 14D: Down times? (SUNSETS); 24D: Playful (JOCOSE); 26D: Use a ring, maybe (TEETHE); 27D: Household (MENAGE); 33D: Discussion-ending words (I SAID SO); 34D: In a word (TERSELY); 35D: Pinball ball, perhaps (STEELIE); 37D: Thomas Mann's "Doktor __" (FAUSTUS); 38D: Caught (IN A TRAP); 39D: Four-wheel drive? (CAR RIDE); 40D: Spy, at times (ENCODER); 42D: Gimcrack (TRIFLE); 48D: Western howler (LOBO).

25 comments:

Sfingi said...

At least I finished the Sudoku.

Brian said...

Kyrgyzstan Sporclers!!

Alexscott said...

Holy crikey, was that a tough puzzle. I mean, I know it's Saturday, but this one was hardcore Saturday. PASQUINADE must be a word I've heard before. Even though it was the last one to fall for me, once I put it in, it looked right. I still had to look it up to confirm, of course. I didn't know a QUID was a plug of tobacco, either. Wish he'd clued that as British currency.

IGA also ended up being tough. I've lived in and around Chicago most of my life, and the name is only vaguely familiar. I've never even seen one.

I originally had SealTEAMS for 29D, which made it hard to realize my mistake and get SETTHESTAGE. My only complaint is the use of PETRO/PETR at 49A/D. The way they're clued, they mean the same thing. Perhaps he could've clued 49D with the Russian czar? Just a thought.

I can't say I enjoyed doing this puzzle, but I'm glad I was able to finish it.

Anonymous said...

It's strange that IGA is clued as "Supermarket chain..." when IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, which suggests it's not a chain at all.

Steve said...

As with @Alex, PASQUINADE was the last to fall for me too. Never heard it, need to go look it up and check the definition.

NW/SE hardest for me. Missteps for me were SeAlTEAMS - took me a while to convince myself that it couldn't be right - JOCund for JOCOSE - I was so pleased with myself that I remembered "jocund" from a Wordsworth poem that I refused to believe that it couldn't be correct.

Can someone explain "FASTICE"?

As with @PG, not a fan of PETR/PETRO, not just in the same grid, but also crossing.

Didn't like the NAN clue - a nan doesn't look a bit like a pita, unless you want to say any bread looks like any other.

Loved OFF THE GRID and SETS THE STAGE for no good reason. EXPURGATES is great, as is BALUSTRADE.

Made me think - always good for a Saturday!

BTW, a thought crossed my mind out of the blue yesterday - I realized that CROSSWORD and PUZZLE don't cross anywhere. Made me chuckle (I know, I'm probably easily amused)

Anonymous said...

Fast ice is ice which is anchored to a landmass, remaining fixed in place instead of floating like drift ice does. Technically, the term "fast ice" is also used specifically to refer to sea ice, like the ice which forms in the Arctic and along the coasts of Antarctica.

Steve said...

Oh - @PG - in your (as always great) write-up you refer to PuzzleHusband. Being as you're a constructor too, isn't that inconsistent?

Let's say you were cluing yourself - "PuzzleHusband partner" you would be PuzzleWife, not PuzzleGirl.

So, being as you're not going to change your name, you're going to have to start calling him PuzzleBoy :)

Too much coffee already this morning!

Steve said...

@Anon 9:51 - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Happy to hear you had a fun Friday night and got to sleep in a bit this morning, PG. Also glad to hear this wasn't easy for folks. I got the bottom half quickly, and some of the top (alligators--I used to live in Florida--nations, and derides). But then I got stuck until I looked up PG's "Pasquinade" (never heard of it). The Hamlet clue bothered me: I thought "sit" was pretty pushy, but "lie"? I thought the dude was supposed to be a gentleman. Anyway, thanks for the help, PG.

MN

CrazyCatLady said...

PASQUNINADE is a little OFF THE GRID as far as I'm concerned, or at least off my grid. Had to google to finish. Got off to a bad start in the NW by putting in Heather instead of PEATBOG and Chaws instead of QUIDS. Had no idea what a Gimcrack was. Now I know it's a gewgaw. Favorite clue was 46A Crack agent? NARC. I liked I SAID SO next to TERSELY. And, of course, I liked seeing JAMIE Wyeth. All in all, way too tough for my wizened old brain, but a good workout.

C said...

Challenging puzzle. I liked it. Once I pulled QUID out of thin air, the puzzle took off for me.

Rube said...

Strangely enough the tough sections for me were the NE and SW. In the NW, EXPURGATES gave me AXLROSE, a name I know only from Xwords, and the rest fell easily although I had all but the first letter in PASQUINADE and had to use PEATBOG to get that P.

At first, thought the Wyeth was to be N. C. Wyeth of Natick fame, but it didn't fit and remembered him as a father or brother of Andrew. Ended up Googling for JAMIE, but then didn't know JOCOSE. Had JOCOus and JOCund first. Knew MENAGE, but not in reference to a household. And never heard of FASTICE... wanted FloeICE. ALso wanted HoRned for the beetle. The B of HERBIE was my last letter. Had navysEAlS before SWATTEAM as many did and chawS before QUIDS, another new word to me.

All in all, a really tough puzzle. Much harder than yesterday's as well as the last couple of Saturday's. Still, there were some great words like BALUSTRADE and all the 10 letterers in the NW and SE as well as TENSEMOMENT and SPLASHY.

Margaret said...

Hand up for heather before PEATBOG and chaw before QUID, and for not knowing PASQUINADE. Also thought PETRO crossing PETR just had to be wrong; thought that kind of thing was against the rules! My other quibble was ISAIDSO -- wanted it to be ISAIDNO. I always hear ISAIDSO as prefaced by "because" ("Because I said so") but "I said No" stands alone. Otherwise tough but doable.

backbiter said...

Holy Moley! That was tough! Google was my best friend today. But I don't mind. More like this, please. Pasquinade. I'm gonna try and use that Monday morning at work in a sentence. I can't think how I'm gonna do it, but I will get it done.
Super tough puzzle today.

Cheers!

*clink*

Anonymous said...

Was sort of having fun at first. Finished the. NE. And SE corners, the center section.looking good... But the NW and SW corners fried me. A dnf drats

Anonymous said...

Seems like LA Times really had it in for us this past week, with almost every day raised at least one level of difficulty. Really a workout today. Still, it was great to see a Saturday puzzle that showcased a bit of high end vocabulary again. Fast Ice, Pasquinade (huh?), expurgates (no, not quite what one expectorates), gimcrack, quids, balustrade; hot hoot!

I have to agree though about Petr/Petro being an awfully low, rock bottom x-ing. Got hung up myself on Lith (for litho) for awhile on 49D.

My only other nitpicky editorial gripe was the appearance of U.N. in both clue and answer (7D & 52D).

Fowler said...

Sorry, MN, but Hamlet was no gentleman, and, yes, Ophelia did take ophense!
The two toughest for me were FAST ICE, for which I had FLOE ICE for while and the name of the VW bug in the movie. I knew it had to be him, but was forced to look HERBIE up.
I loved PASQUINADE. How often do we see that?
A good one.

Sfingi said...

@MN- Hamlet was particularly cruel to Ophelia, not because he didn't want to love her, but he felt he was driven to take care of a certain piece of business before anything else. One would also consider him rude to his college houseguest - and then, what to you say if you accidentally kill your possible father-in-law who has done you no harm beyond being boring.

Wanted lith(O) for PETR(O). And ALL the others mentioned.

Golfballman said...

Great write up PG and good hard puzzle, just one nit 1 across seems to be a French derivation of a Latin word. I put the letters in my wifes spellcheck puzzle solver and it said no words found indicating it was a foreign word. If so how come no clue to its foreigness,[new word?]

Rojo said...

Between pasquinade and quid I could not finish the NW.

And the rest of it was a real struggle too. Agree that the Petr-Petro crossing was ugly.

Steve said...

So - since no-one else mentioned it and we're all adult crossword-solvers here - AXLROSE is a lovely anagram for a single rocker on the road with not too much to do between gigs :)

Just sayin'

Hoyt said...

Tough puzzle. Learned some new words. Couple of clues were very vague though. Lot of googles.

Mokus said...

I had most of the same problems as all the above so I won't try to add anything. However, in what branch of the military is a Private a ONESTRIPER? A Private in the US Army is a slicksleeve and a Private First Class has one stripe. I know this because in the '60s I was promoted to Pfc three times and my stripe had snaps for easy removal.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Norris and Lewis, proud of yourselves? Let a puzzle past you that almost NO ONE could solve!! For those of us who only have time to solve puzzles on weekends, you have driven me away from the Times puzzle to on line ones that a person with normal intelligence can solve. Good way to increase circulation for a struggling newspaper!

p.s. I actually got THREE clues correct without Googling!

Anonymous said...

Completely stupid and off the wall is my opinion. Half the answers were in outer space . . . comletely in sinc with the rest of the world.