SATURDAY, April 25, 2009 — Barry C. Silk

THEME: The Saturday puzzle is themeless—the game is decoding tougher clues and figuring out a slew of longer words and phrases

I just learned from crossword blogger Brian Cimmet that a Barry Silk puzzle will contain some sort of baseball reference. Here, there are two. 43A: Speaker of baseball is TRIS, and really, there's no other valid way to clue TRIS, is there? 47D: Infielder's cry is MINE; this grabby word could be clued plenty of other ways, but maybe Barry was just in a baseball frame of mind.

This'll be a short write-up because baseball puts me to sleep. No! Just kidding. This'll be short because a long day puts me to sleep, and it's apparently past my bedtime.

Crosswordese 101: Let's take a look at some old-school crosswordese: ANIL. It's clue is 26A: Shrub of the genus Indigofera. ANIL is where we get indigo from, and where would blue jeans be without indigo dye? If you've heard of ANILINE dye, I believe that's related. Other crosswordese dye you may encounter: AZO dyes are "any dyes whose molecules contain two adjacent nitrogen atoms between carbon atoms"—or, as crossword clues refer to them, "kind of dye" or "nitrogen-based dye].

Favorite Answers and Clues:

  • 1A: Super (WHIZBANG). Terrific word. One might even call it...whizbang.
  • 18A: Turkey appendage (WATTLE). How 'bout that wattle over there? Not even a 95-year-old person can rival that.
  • 31A: Kawasaki watercraft (JETSKI). Barry Silk likes to include uncommon letters, like J and K.
  • 55A: Space science (ROCKETRY). My son is a little into space travel these days.
  • 57A: London-born supermodel (KATE MOSS). I'm a sucker for first/last name combos in the crossword grid.
  • 8D: Two-ton predator (GREAT WHITE SHARK). Ooh, that's a great 15-letter answer there.
  • 32D: Multipurpose roll (DUCT TAPE). Duct tape is good for anything. They say it even cures warts.
  • 42D: Knight who sings (GLADYS). You like her music? Enjoy:

Bullets That Hurt: Among the more out-there answers and clues were these ones:
  • 46A: Yom __: holiday, in Hebrew (TOV). Is this related at all to "Mazel tov"?
  • 54A: Picket fence (PALING).
  • 2D: Hydrocarbon obtained from petroleum (HEXANE). The what now?
  • 3D: Weather phenomenon also known as pogonip (ICEFOG). Pogonip!
  • 4D: Prestone competitor (ZEREX). I don't know what this stuff is,

Everything Else — 9A: Winged mimics (MYNAHS); 15A: Listening device (RECEIVER); 16A: Where to see saucers (TEASET); 17A: Drill (EXERCISE); 19A: Trysting places, perhaps (CAFES); 20A: Sagan's subj. (ASTR); 22A: Sugary ending (OSE); 23A: Presidential middle name (KNOX); 24A: Needing to reorder (OUTOF); 27A: Line part: Abbr. (SEG); 28A: Major artery: Abbr. (EXPWY); 29A: It may be fine (PRINT); 30A: God to more than a billion (ALLAH); 32A: Immigrant's status, perhaps (DUALCITIZENSHIP); 36A: Detach, in a way (UNCLIP); 37A: Yellowish brown (TAWNY); 38A: Honored formally (CITED); 39A: O'Connor of "Xena: Warrior Princess" (RENEE); 40A: Slump (SAG); 44A: German-speaking Swiss city (BASEL); 45A: Manhandle (MAUL); 47A: Course with many functions (MATH); 48A: Dance with a kick (CONGA); 49A: Mate's response (AYESIR); 51A: Declared (ADJUDGED); 56A: Bastille Day party site (ELYSEE); 1D: Totals (WRECKS); 5D: Some pens (BICS); 6D: Prefix with fauna (AVI); 7D: Super __: game console (NES); 9D: Cal. sequence (MTWTF); 10D: Time for a revolution? (YEAR); 11D: Jazzman Adderley (NAT); 12D: Amaze (ASTONISH); 13D: National Museum of Finland site (HELSINKI); 14D: Dart feature (STEELTIP); 21D: Vegan staple (SOY); 24D: Plant in the primrose family (OXLIP); 25D: __ the crack of dawn (UPAT); 26D: Bohemian (ARTSY); 28D: Conqueror of Valencia in 1094 (ELCID); 29D: Trattoria offering (PENNE); 30D: Everything, to Ernst (ALLES); 31D: Valuable rock (JEWEL); 33D: It merged with Goodrich in 1986 (UNIROYAL); 34D: In an energetic way (ACTIVELY); 35D: First name in Western fiction (ZANE); 39D: Turncoat (RAT); 40D: Serenaded (SANGTO); 41D: Boring things (AUGERS); 44D: One might precede a tug (BARGE); 45D: Way to the Web (MODEM); 48D: Salad veggie (CUKE); 50D: Reunion moniker (SIS); 52D: 1988 noir remake (DOA); 53D: Where sts. meet (JCT).


Anonymous said...

Prestone and Zerex are engine coolants--anti-freeze. Good for your car. Bad for animals. It is sweet tasting and poisonous to feral cats.

Rex Parker said...

Took me 1/2 again as long as the NYT. The NW ... I just couldn't get in for the longest time. RECEIVER was oddly clued. A RECEIVER is a listening aid the way an AIRPLANE is a flying aid, i.e. it's a necessity if I want to participate in the activity (here, listening to someone in, say, Bangkok or Fresno). Never heard of ZEREX. HEXANE is not in my regular vocabulary. ICE FOG ... only ever seen it in crosswords. I might have had ICE AGE at one point. Oh, HERE's the other EL CID (I just finished saying, re: the NYT's EL CID, that I felt I had Just Seen that answer...). Never heard of PALING either. Tough, but (w/ exception of NW) very nice.


Daniel said...

In Hebrew, tov = good. Mazel tov literally means "good fortune," but is used to mean "congratulations" or something similar. Yom tov is literally "good day" and is a phrase that refers only to the most important Jewish holidays--these are, to my knowledge, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.

Orange said...

Rex, the clue for RECEIVER is [Listening device]. That seems pretty straightforward to me. HEXANE wasn't on the tip of my tongue either, but now I want to start saying, "What the hexane?"

Thanks for the info, Daniel.

imsdave said...

First three words in the grid:

ZEREX giving KNOX giving WRECKS.

The NW was defeated at that point. Much luckier starting this one then that other papers evil puzzle. Great job Mr. Silk.

Rex Parker said...

"device," eh? Hmmm. OK.


gjelizabeth said...

Good Morning! This was really challenging. Eventually I was able to put everything except the NW corner in place. I resorted to the dictionary for "pogonip" and the ending to "hex-". Arriving here with my completed puzzle I discovered that I'd gone astray on 24Down and 28Across. I had OWLIP and EWPWY, thinking "East-West Parkway" would be a "major artery" and Owlip just might, maybe, could be a flower name I'd never heard of.
I knew PALING. I think it might be related to "palisade" (in the sense of fortifications built of upright poles, not the cliff face meaning).

John said...

Antifreeze is poisonous to ALL cats AND Dogs!!!! If your pet goes outside, its a danger. Countless pets are poisoned every year by accidental ingestion. A small leak on the driveway is all it takes.

Fun but a workout nonetheless. A wakeup call from LAST saturday.

docmoreau said...

I’m learning quickly (duh) that unlike the straight forward clues early week, cluing in late week puzzles is devilish. Eg. WRECKS for “totals,” EXPWY for “major artery:abbr,” AYESIR for “mate’s response.” I knew ICEFOG from an old Farmer’s Almanac perennial warning in a winter day entry “Beware the Pogonip!” How WHIZBANG ever came to mean “super” I’ll never know. I assume it comes from the British term for a notably primitive German rocket used in WWI and was the inspiration for a song in the 60's musical "Oh What a Lovely War." (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYEKJOoDcRo)

Lemonade714 said...


I was raised to believe any holiday where you lit candles, was a Yom Tov (or Yontiff, as the old Yiddish way) and that was more inclusive. HOLIDAYS.

I love using a silent W, a silent K, a Z and an X in the same corner. It was hard but that was the idea.

alanrichard said...

This is always so much easier than the NY Times. Receiver threw me for a moment. I was looking for some kind of ear but I remembered Super Nec. Avi & Bics were a gimme and the rest of the NW fell into place.
El Cid had DUAL CITIZENSHIP in the east & West Coasts with the La & NY Times. Maybe he had washboard abs from working out in a step class!!!

Jeffrey said...

The NW was a mess for me. There is no way to get KNOX from _NO_ , even if you go through the alphabet. Brains don't work that way.

Eric said...

For some reason I found this much easier than the NYT puzzle today. Must be the way my brain works - or doesn't. Agree NW corner was the bear in this one.

chefbea said...

Much harder than the ny times IMO. Had adds to for totals which gave me Todd for Knox. What a mess. Had to come here to get straightened out

Anonymous said...

Orange, I think the 95 yo shuffle is spelled WADDLE and not WATTLE.
The presidential middle name KNOX is what locked me out of NW. I guess having a list of the full names of our presidents would have helped.
It's good to have profiles of the CW authors (eg. the baseball thing with Silk).

SethG said...

I had to give up on the NYT today, but finished this in (barely) under ten minutes. It helps that I'd at least heard of all of the people included, though NAT Adderley and RENEE O'Connor didn't come to mind immediately. Other facts I didn't know, like London-born supermodel, were at least inferable--I knew KATE MOSS was _a_ supermodel.

I started with the turkey part as a WADDLE too.

Much fun.

alanrichard said...

When I was a little kid my mom wanted me to learn all the presidents, states, state capitals & alphabet backwards. I played a board game called "Meet the Presidents" which went up to Eisenhower. I also played a states game, but i don't remember the name. But every so often this info comes in handy and I knew Knox. Of course my first inclination was to write ALAN.

ArtLvr said...

The rest was great, yet the NW killed me... No way in except through the beginning of GREAT WHITE SHARK. BICS looked good, but...

I wanted Ethane for Hexane, Drill looked like Rehearse, Totals might be Creams, and so on. I'd take something out to try a different tack and never hit the right combo! Must remember AVI and ICEFOG.

A JEWEL from Mr. Silk!

Daniel said...

@ Lemonade714: I was always taught that "Yom Tov" specifically referred to the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) and the three festivals that are commanded in the Torah (Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot). I don't have much to support that, though, other than this piece from Chabad, which also includes Shemini Atzeret. Also, the Wikipedia article says that Jewish holidays "may be called yom tov" "depending on their nature" (emphasis added), but that still doesn't exactly prove my point.

Denise said...

My four year old grandson is a "shark expert" so I got the Great White, and the rest fell into place.

Thanks for Gladys Knight.

I am curious about ice fog, but think I would not like being that cold. Mid-eighties in DC today.

Greene said...

Struggled in the NW. I just could not see WRECKS, even after I had SEG, KNOX, CAFES, and EXERCISE. Please...I've got **ECKS and all I can think is "Rex!" Duh. Talk about the proverbial head slap when I finally figured that out.

The rest of the puzzle was delicious. Not as elegant as Mr. Silk's Friday entry at NYT, but still wonderful.

embien said...

PALING was my last fill despite the fact that I've built countless palisade walls in the various Age of Empires computer games. (Wood is easier to get by logging the forests that are everywhere and hence much less expensive than finding the rare stone mines which you mine in order to build proper "castle walls".)

Possibly more than you cared to know about computer games....

I loved the puzzle, took me about 21 minutes, but much, much more fun than Friday's street abbreviations, which I found not much fun at all.

Barry Silk rules!

mac said...

I enjoyed this Barry Silk puzzle so much more, and did it so much faster than today's N.... Nah, we said we wouldn't compare. Love the new word "pogonip" and want to know what its root is. Sorry, but I cannot stand expressions like "wowie" and "whiz bang" and some other expletives like kerplunk and eek! I also thought "wattle" was "waddle", was that Ally McBeal or Boston Legal?
Of course I like dual citizenship, and adjudged and rocketry sound a little Victorian. Sll in all a lot of fun.

Orange said...

Mac, according to the Wikipedia article, pogonip is from a Shoshone word. And in Siberia, "The water vapour in the air freezes when there's no wind and produces a thick ice fog. When a person walks through this fog, behind him or her a completely visible tunnel appears, and children going to school often play a game trying to guess who has just passed (here our fat schoolmate, there that tall teacher...)."

mac said...

Thanks, Orange, great information!