09.03 Sat

September 3, 2011
Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

Super quick write-up today. It's almost 10:00 (Eastern) and I just finished the puzzle. Took a stab at it last night after watching some of the tennis, but couldn't get far. Decided I must be too tired and figured I'd finish up in the morning. Well, I chipped away at it in fits and starts for quite a while this morning. Finally had everything except the dreaded northeast corner. I think that corner took me as long as the whole rest of the puzzle. Once I got it pieced together, the only thing that looks completely out of place is that SCARNE character (13D: "The Odds Against Me" autobiographer John). Apparently, he's a magician. Anybody heard of him? I sure haven't.

Other problems for me included the vague clue for DRS. (60D: J et al.) since it was crossing ELEAZAR (62A: Son of Aaron), a biblical reference (not exactly my strong suit). I had to run the alphabet there. BEATLES CONCERT took me a long time to see. With the O,N and T in place I faintly penciled in "ONE HIT," thinking that seemed like a reasonable ending for an answer having something to do with baseball. I had OHMS for RHOS (32D: Density symbols, in physics) for quite a while. Also HAIR for HEAT (5D: Wave makeup) and MADE IT for MADE DO (7D: Squeaked by). I'm gonna call this one tough but fair although I'm pretty sure there will be some disagreement about the fair part in the comments. Let's hear it!

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Everything 1A: Name thought to mean "father of many" (ABRAHAM); 8A: Like Rubens (FLEMISH); 15A: Song title words after "The future's not ours to see" (QUE SERA); 16A: Novel genre (ROMANCE); 17A: 20th-century Riyadh-born ruler (IBN SAUD); 18A: Axes to grind (AGENDAS); 19A: 1966 Candlestick Park highlight (BEATLES CONCERT); 21A: Pier gp. (ILWU); 22A: Correct (EDIT); 23A: "I give up!" ("DUNNO!"); 24A: Inclement weather sounds (PEALS); 26A: Early L.A. Times publisher Harrison Gray __ (OTIS); 28A: Acronymous gun (STEN); 29A: Old Turkish leader (SULTAN); 31A: "The Curse of Capistrano" hero (ZORRO); 33A: Small missions? (OPS); 34A: Baseball glove part (WEB); 36A: Theoretical extreme (NTH); 37A: Health facility (SPA); 40A: Not at all active (INERT); 42A: Mainline? (AORTAL); 44A: Ride (SPIN); 47A: Stiff (TAUT); 49A: Close call (SCARE); 50A: They're involved in joints (ULNAS); 52A: Old pol. divisions (SSR'S); 54A: Emmy-winning NFL analyst Collinsworth (CRIS); 55A: Subject of an annual contest held in Brooklyn (NATHAN'S HOT DOGS); 58A: Suppress (SQUELCH); 59A: Ambushed (WAYLAID); 61A: "1984" superstate (EURASIA); 62A: Son of Aaron (ELEAZAR); 63A: Arrival time for the fashionably late? (TEN PAST); 64A: Diminishes (LESSENS); 1D: EPA stat (AQI); 2D: Aptly named soda brand (BUBBLE UP); 3D: Circulation measure (RENEWALS); 4D: Charge (ASSAULT); 5D: Wave makeup (HEAT); 6D: "Any fool can make __": Thoreau (A RULE); 7D: Squeaked by (MADE DO); 8D: Small part (FRACTION); 9D: Wikipedia's globe, e.g. (LOGO); 10D: Correct (EMEND); 11D: Nick of "Heartbreakers" (MANCUSO); 12D: Move from the edge (INDENT); 13D: "The Odds Against Me" autobiographer John (SCARNE); 14D: 1956 Moses player (HESTON); 20D: __ bath (SITZ); 21D: __ facto (IPSO); 25D: Shortened, in a way (SAWN); 27D: Certain Eur. miss (SRTA.); 30D: Old Nair alternative (NEET); 32D: Density symbols, in physics (RHOS); 35D: Military bigwig (BRASS HAT); 37D: Daydream (STARGAZE); 38D: Sartre, for one (PARISIAN); 39D: They may be brown or pale (ALES); 40D: Not stacked (IN A HEAP); 41D: Rear (TUSH); 43D: Pops since 1905 (R.C. COLAS); 44D: Final stage, as of a career (SUNSET); 45D: Memorial tablet (PLAQUE); 46D: How batters must bat (IN TURN); 48D: Gardening gadget (TROWEL); 51D: Hot stuff (SALSA); 53D: Old (STALE); 56D: CBS maritime drama (NCIS); 57D: Hair treatments (DYES); 60D: J et al. (DRS.).


Anonymous said...

Got through this one fairly quickly. John SCARNE was a noted TV news reporter, I believe,for ABC News. Would have helped this ChiTown guy to down Nathan's Famous instead of our Old Vienna's.

Anonymous said...

42A aortal is adjective form, aorta would be more consistent with the clue

slypett said...

Scarne wrote about cardplaying. Very big in the 50s. I believe his titles were something like "Scarne on Bridge," "Scarne on Poker," etc.

Orange said...

No, SCARNE wasn't an ABC reporter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Scarne

What makes him a lousy crossword answer is that it's such an uncommon name (he made it up by curtailing his original Italian surname) so if you weren't following magic 40+ years ago, you not only wouldn't recognize the name, your wouldn't necessarily recognize SCARNE as an actual surname.

Never heard of ELEAZAR (though Elie Wiesel and my in-laws' late friend both had the given name of Eliezer) nor Nick MANCUSO. And I'm good with names in crosswords! Barry, you're better than this. Crossing SCARNE with STEN? Really, now. And this OTIS was tough for people outside of the L.A. Times' home area.

Rube said...

Guessed __CONCERT off the O & T because neither the Giants nor Niners were doing anything in those days. Then got BEATLES from BUBBLEUP and MADEDO. Haven't heard of BUBBLEUP in years. Do they still make that stuff? Apparently so, according to Wikipedia. FWIW, Dad's Rootbeer Co. bought BUBBLEUP in 2007 and changed the sweetener from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup.

My only writeovers were PEALS/PlopS, INAHEAP/INApile and NCIS/lost. Not quite sure how HEAT relates to "Wave makeup"? Heat Wave?

My first rule for fair is: solvable without Googles. Thus, I declare this a tough but fair puzzle. Clever clue for DRS.

Gene said...

"There's gonna be a heat wave, a tropical heat wave" Remember that song?
Didn't like "I give up"= "dunno"
I knew Candlestick Park had mothing to do with baseball because thus is a Sat. puzzle filled with misdirection. Didn't the Beatles play at Shea Stadium around that time?
Scarne also wrote about uncovering card sharks and their methods (in the 50's)
Anyway, puzzle took all a.m. to finish thanks to my puzzlebride.

Gene said...

I meant "Beatles" not whatever I mistyped. (This laptop doesn't allow me to read clearly what I type)

Margaret said...

It was the SW corner that gave me so much trouble. I was so certain that the 1984 superstate was Oceania I couldn't get past it.

I agree with @Anon 8:10 about AORTAL. @Orange, I thought STEN was well-known enough Crosswordese that I was OK with it but YMMV.

Rojo said...

I'd agree with tough but fair.

I was actually really into cards and cons (the latter only theoretically) when I was in my teens and early 20s and therefore am quite familiar with Scarne. Although I didn't know that actual title, his name popped into my head the second I read the clue, but then I thought, "Nah, that's too obscure..."

Bubble Up, though, I've never heard of in my life. Also wanted OchS, not OTIS, but Ochs is NYT (?).
Or am I getting confused because Phil Ochs' first album was called All the News that's fit to Sing?

Ron Worden said...

I thought Doris Day song title had two seras after the que. Dont know what epa stat aqi means.I also never used the word sawn. Who knew that a rueben was flemish maybe all the thousand island dressing causes flem. Since there was bubble up and rccola maybe peppers et al would have been a better clue for 60d.

jheaton said...

@Anon 8:10 & @Margaret, I think [Mainline?] for AORTAL is fair, because mainline is often seen as an adjective, as in Mainline Protestantism.

@Ron, the full title of that song is "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." But note that the puzzle didn't ask for a song title; it asked for song title words. So I think it's fair.

The NE gave me the most trouble too, despite FLEMISH being the very first thing I entered in the grid. It was my subsequent entry of FRAGMENT in place of FRACTION that tripped me up. The pair of names slowed me down too. I'd heard of Nick Mancuso at least.

JSW said...

Wow I needed a lot of google which I do consider cheating. Ironically I got both long ones fairly early on.

Anonymous said...

Ron W.. Think RUBENSthe painter

Margaret said...

Thanks, @jheaton, that helps. I couldn't wrap my head around that form of mainline.

Ron Worden said...

sorry I guess I was thinking about lunch at the time. Thanks @JHeaton for clearing up the song title issue I had.

C said...

DNF for me today. NW corner did me in, mainly the Riyadh clue was my Waterloo. Tough but fairish for a Saturday.

Btw, the Beatles concert in Candlestick was their last US performance, I believe. SF gets all of the "last US performance" cred for most bands. That has to be worth something somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Loved this one. FLEMISH - FRACTION...etc. Lots of tough but fair ones. Almost gave up... But then remembered Nathan Hot Dogs and it all fell into place.

Took a long time but very satisfying when it was all done.

Love this blog,


Dave in Bend, OR said...

@Ron, being an ex-resident of L.A. I can tell you that I know what an Air Quality Index is. (FWIW)

backbiter said...

I disagree with JSW. Google is not cheating. Buying a Dell from the store then looking in the back for an answer is cheating. You just look at the word and write it in. When you google you are not just looking at the word. You will actually learn something about the subject. I can't tell you how many times I've googled a clue then went astray from the puzzle. I've read ten articles or more about a specific thing before I remember that I was doing it for a crossword in the first place. Then I get back to the crossword and finish. Reading about it only makes you a stronger solver for future puzzles instead of just getting the word.



MPPuzzler said...

I thought it was tough, but actually easier than the last few Saturdays. I had the most trouble in the SW.

It was interesting to learn that STEN is an acronym. I only know it from crossword puzzles.

backbiter said...

I did an alphabet run at least five times for the J et. al. It was on the last run I finally figured out Dr. J
Here's me in my head. das j dbs j dbc j etc. Never heard of Eleazar which wasn't making it any easier. Looked it up after the solve. Some biblical thing. A very weak subject for me as well.



CoffeeLvr said...

Tough, DNF, but I enjoyed it. I'd like to be able to go to any stadium, have a HOT DOG and R.C.COLA or BUBBLE UP, sit back and thrill to a BEATLES CONCERT. Of course, the Beatles broke up in 1970, I avoid eating cured fatty meats, and I don't drink sugared sodas, whatever the source of the sugar.

I got some of the toughies (IBN SAUD) but switched the skill level about halfway through when I was stuck. I won't remember SCARNE, but maybe ELEAZAR, if the Z is in place.

Peter said...

Lucky to finish this one.

My problem with AORTAL is that it should not exist. Yes, it's in the dictionary and it's been used in crosswords at least 12 times before (including 8 in the NYT) according to cruciverb, but the word that is used in the language is AORTIC. Who has ever heard of an "aortal aneurism" or "aortal stenosis" or an "aortal valve?" Just another entry I'll have to learn to accept, I guess.

New words for me included BRASSHAT, SCARNE, and ELEAZAR. Learn something every day.

Steve said...

Super-loved this. Tough, great cluing and I'm guessing great editing. Puzzles like this keep me coming back.

Could not see RENEWALS for the longest time then ahah!

Longbeachlee said...

Go figure. The last two Saturdays were nightmares. I breezed through this one. I'm a certified geezer, but went over the puzzle again and still don't see where that helped. I did testing on a hospital plane for the Saudi royal family in the 80s, so Ibn Saud was easy for me, but that's about it.

Steve said...

Hey - I usually don't really comment on everyone else's misery but - I do the crossword to learn. Sure, I've never seen AORTAL before, but when I solved it I learned something and that's fine with me.

Stop freaking whining, all you whiners. There are rarely any "wrong" clue/answer combinations in any of these puzzles. Sure, go ahead, like 'em or hate 'me, but learn and move on.

OK, rant over. Sorry @PG for this, I'm tired of reading "Amon: This was horrible. There were many words I had to Google"

Get over it, and learn.

Hoyt said...

How do you stargaze during the day?
DAY dreaming right?
Maybe AORTAL should have read "Of the mainline".
A FRACTION isn't neccessarily small, 7/8 would be a large part.
I could be venting because this puzzle gave me fits.. Rock on puzzle people

Anonymous said...

Still don't get 'J' and Drs. Can someone help? It was the SW corner (because of Nathan's) that tripped me up today. Fun puzzle, tho.

Anonymous said...

Just asked about J. Went to the fridge for a beer and it hit me. Actually, clever clue.

Anonymous said...

As a West Coaster and Bratwurst fan -NEVER heard of "Nathan's". Being a 55 year baseball fan, coach, manager, etc. I NEVER used, "Please bat in turn' with my boys. Are we talking Cricket here? Give us a break! SW corner strangled me.

jheaton said...

@Steve, mistakes do happen, even in quality puzzles; founding NYT crossword editor Margaret Farrar told a story about receiving a letter from an eight-year-old girl complaining that WOODEN LEG was clued as [One of Captain Ahab's features]. (Pause for a moment to think about whether you were solving the NYT crossword or reading Moby-Dick at the age of eight, and pat yourself on the back or sob quietly to yourself as appropriate.) But the point of talking about the fairness or unfairness of clues in a forum such as this is only partly about complaining. It's mostly, I think, an effort on the part of solvers to understand why the clues they didn't understand were fair, so that they won't be fooled again.