SATURDAY, December 19, 2009—Barry C. Silk

THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that hits at about a Thursday to Friday NYT difficulty level

Lots of fun stuff in this puzzle. A dozen 10-letter answers provide a wealth of cool phrases to make this crossword really sparkle. To wit:


1D: Soul immortal (JAMES BROWN) and 50A: Singer with four recent best-selling albums of pop standards (ROD STEWART) can be heard ON THE RADIO. The song "NO ONE Knows" and Paul ANKA have also been on the radio, but you don't want clips of those, do you? No, you want the Godfather of Soul and Rod Stewart acting his age:

Other highlights:

  • 5A: Southwestern site of gypsum dunes (WHITE SANDS). Pretty! I've never really been in the Southwest much.
  • 16A: Accountant's concern (AUDIT TRAIL). You know you wanted PAPER TRAIL. I know I did.
  • 18A: Polite invite (PLEASE STAY). That's what I say to my dog. Don't want to come off too bossy. (That's a lie: I have no dog, love being bossy.)
  • 37A: User-edited online compendium of notable snippets (WIKIQUOTE). It's the Wikipedia version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
  • 44A: It heats up your food immediately (TABASCO). My favorite clue in this puzzle. I was thinking of microwaves and fire.
  • 2D: It may be twisted apart (OREO COOKIE). Wait, nobody calls it that. They're just Oreos.
  • 3D: Source of tears, slangily (WATERWORKS). This is my favorite answer after JAMES BROWN. "Turn on the waterworks!"
  • 5D: Original "People's Court" judge (WAPNER). Judge Wapner! So many imitators came after him, but none have had his avuncular charm.
  • 28D: Race infraction (FALSE START). That's when a runner takes off before the starting pistol is fired. We've seen False start? as a clue for the prefix PSEUDO-.
  • 29D: Unauthorized explorer of city tunnels and sewers (URBAN CAVER). Ooh, what? People do that? Read all about it at Wikipedia.

    Crosswordese 101: There's a five-letter piece of crosswordese in this puzzle: TORII. Usually this word is clued as a Shinto temple gateway from Japan. Barry has gone all crazy on us, though, and clued it as 44D: Angels outfielder Hunter who has won nine straight Gold Gloves. I can't say I know anything about Mr. Hunter, but then, I know about Shinto gateways only from crosswords. The Angels play in Los Angelaheim, so I'll bet all sorts of Los Angeles Times readers thought Barry's clue was a gimme.

    Everything Else — 1A: Prominent bloodhound feature (JOWL); 5A: Southwestern site of gypsum dunes (WHITE SANDS); 15A: Burnoose wearer (ARAB); 16A: Accountant's concern (AUDIT TRAIL); 17A: Citi Field team (METS); 18A: Polite invite (PLEASE STAY); 19A: Want ad abbr. (EOE); 20A: "Diana" singer (ANKA); 21A: Places for dips (POOLS); 22A: Fights (SCRAPES); 24A: Benefit (BOON); 26A: One unhappy about a split (BOWLER); 27A: "Coppélia" costume (TUTU); 28A: Trapper's ware (FUR); 31A: 1976 best-seller that spanned three centuries (ROOTS); 32A: Frightening ordeal (NIGHTMARE); 34A: It's sometimes deep-fried in the South (OKRA); 35A: Chihuahua chicken (POLLO); 36A: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 37A: User-edited online compendium of notable snippets (WIKIQUOTE); 39A: Like ens (NASAL); 40A: Nintendo's Super __ (NES); 41A: Coffee houses? (URNS); 42A: Pop, e.g. (PARENT); 43A: 1-Down or 50-Across, e.g. (MALE); 44A: It heats up your food immediately (TABASCO); 45A: Can't stand (ABHOR); 48A: Pixels (DOTS); 49A: Work on the road (TAR); 50A: Singer with four recent best-selling albums of pop standards (ROD STEWART); 53A: Work on the road (PAVE); 54A: Where 1-Down or 50-Across may be heard (ON THE RADIO); 55A: Independent (FREE); 56A: Swearing-off words (NEVER AGAIN); 57A: Key in a corner (CTRL); 1D: Soul immortal (JAMES BROWN); 2D: It may be twisted apart (OREO COOKIE); 3D: Source of tears, slangily (WATERWORKS); 4D: Dumbbell abbr. (LBS.); 5D: Original "People's Court" judge (WAPNER); 6D: Clumsy vessels (HULKS); 7D: Think of it (IDEA); 8D: Familia member (TIA); 9D: Some say they live among us, briefly (ETS); 10D: Leave temporarily (STEP OUT); 11D: Hot pursuit? (ARSON); 12D: Brussels-based intl. alliance (NATO); 13D: Watch part (DIAL); 14D: Stone and Stallone (SLYS); 20D: Galoots (APES); 23D: __ Mountains: Central Asian range (ALTAI); 24D: Army brass? (BUGLE); 25D: Emperor Galba's successor (OTHO); 27D: Arcade violations (TILTS); 28D: Race infraction (FALSE START); 29D: Unauthorized explorer of city tunnels and sewers (URBAN CAVER); 30D: Cassette alternative (REEL-TO-REEL); 32D: "__ Knows": 1958 hit (NO ONE); 33D: "Awakenings" actress (MEARA); 35D: Knitting loop (PURL); 38D: Washington is on it (QUARTER); 39D: Busts (NABS); 42D: Battle of the Bulge commander (PATTON); 43D: Arens of Israel (MOSHE); 44D: Angels outfielder Hunter who has won nine straight Gold Gloves (TORII); 45D: Cal's brother in "East of Eden" (ARON); 46D: Something to pick? (BONE); 47D: Cutting-edge set, briefly (HDTV); 48D: Arp works (DADA); 51D: Hurler's stat (ERA); 52D: Chattering tongues do it (WAG); 53D: Rank below cpl. (PFC).


Rex Parker said...

Whoa, some new stuff (to me) here. WIKIQUOTE! URBANCAVER!? AUDIT TRAIL?! I liked it. Took me between 6 and 7, which is a good minute+ longer than Saturdays were taking me a few months ago. I like that trend.


Another easy LAT puzzle… hope this isn’t a trend. Took me about 14 minutes to solve online, which is a good time for me. Watch out, Rex, I may pass you up soon! LOL
Thought this was a well constructed Silk puzzle… lots of good 10 letter words, not many 3 letter words, and some nice clues.
(11d) “Hot pursuit” = ARSON
(44a) “Heats up your food’ = TABASCO
(15a) “Burnoose wearer” = ARAB (a new twist on ARAB)

Kept thinking of NOSE or EARS for “Prominent bloodhound feature” (1a)
And JUNKS or SCOWS for “Clumsy vessels” (6d).
Didn't know that version of TORII (Hunter).

Didn’t like “ens” = NASAL (39a) and I thought MALE (43a) for (1d) & (50a) was pretty lame.

Glad to see Anne MEARA, ROD STEWART and Paul ANKA in the puzzle… all faves with me. Thanks, Orange, for those nice clips.

Diana by ANKA---


A good WIKIQUOTE quotation from General George S. PATTON Jr.--
“Don't fight a battle if you don't gain anything by winning”

Time to STEP OUT and find that URN.

Y’all have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend!


Wow! URBEX and URBAN CAVING is all new to me. Glad that Amy "snuck" that link into the writeup. How interesting.
I sure am glad to learn about WIKIQUOTE. Sometimes I use famous quotations in my writings and frankly I'm finding my 1955 edition of Barlett's a bit out of date. Now I'll be able to quote Obama as well as Roosevelt.

Amy, next year in May I'm touring the U. S. Southwest (including eight National Parks) and then returning via Route 66 from Gallup... another photo excursion for me. Wanna go with?

imsdave said...

Perfect write-up to a very nice puzzle. Thank you Orange and Mr. Silk.

I watched JNH's Diana clip, and it got me exploring Paul Anka a bit. Immense talent. Definitely worth a quick Wiki.

I'm glad I did this one prior to the NYT today. This was so enjoyable, and the other just sucked the life out of me.

GLowe said...

Rod Stewart, on the radio, never again? Please stay!

... although that 'if you think I'm sexy' thing could crater for good, for all of me.

Excellent puzzle.

From whence 'avuncular'? Always wondered... 'avauntular' never gets much airplay.


I guess I'm spoiled because I've only ever done the LAT puzzles. Judging from your comment (and others) I shudder to think of breaking into the "Big League" of CWs. Lately I've been doing the LAT online (Tempo) for three reasons: 1) I can complete an EPUZZLE in half the time of a paper puzzle. 2) I don't want Rex to call me a Luddite (even affectionately). 3) I hate digging my Tribune out of the snow early in the morning.
I'd like to try that dastardly NYT if I knew how to do it online. Is there a good site for the NYT?

Tinbeni said...

@Orange - WOW, 12 ten letter fills, cleaver cluing, no cheap fill and Great Clips. LAT & Mr. Silk, this was outstanding!

This one was a 2 cup of coffee puzzle for me. Probably had something to do with Fridays Scotch entries (into me, NEVER AGAIN!).

Past work exp.= AUDIT TRAIL my first thought. Its a GAAP thing.

Faves - ARSON & TABASCO, not to hot to handle.

Third ARAB ref.this week, EOE and OREO COOKIE got me finally going in the NW.
I wanted nose for the longest time, when I finally got JOWL, JAMES BROWN the Godfather of Soul, Duh!!! (was dwelling on the immortal).

Not familiar with Nintendo, Super NES was new to me. As was WIKI QUOTE, you live and learn.

After yesterdays discussion, MALE was a get fill. LOL

GLowe said...

@ Hosts - is that anon some kind of crawler/spambot? Do you get them often?

Tinbeni said...

"They're not pillows" ... I'm watching that movie RIGHT now on the HDTV.

@Rex - Hope our discussion last night didn't lead you to say "NEVER AGAIN!" also.
The Gambit worked, 'nough said.

mathcapt said...

I had to work this one online since my paper didn't get here through the snow this morning--or this afternoon. Pretty, but still coming down fast. I think two feet by tomorrow morning is the prediction/guess.

The online version is much faster with the wrong letter clues.

lit.doc said...

Thought I was burning up the track today, turns out I was running on empty. 20 minutes in (yes, taking longer and longer, good trend for LAT) and I'm staring at J__MES BROWN and O__OCO_CKI_. Brainlock. Seriously. Tick tick tick.

Suddenly I see the obvious and have to revisit the DOH! (or D'OH!, whichever) issue from yesterday.

@Timbeni, no knowledge GAAP here either re AUDIT TRAIL. Must confess sordid past association with Coopers & Lybrand.

At least 44D wasn't clued "donuts' topography (var.)". And I wonder if anyone else tried as hard as I did to fit DEWLAP into 1A.

@resident scotch drinkers, consider Irish whiskey, 12-year-old Jameson's e.g. Have tried repeatedly to damage my chromiums with it, but have thus far failed.

Tuttle said...

Had 'howl' for 1A. Sat there for a minute wondering who this Hames Brown person was before I had my d'oh moment.

Paul Anka always makes me think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRAMm1Gry0Q

chefbea said...

Much more fun than the nyt puzzle today. Thought there was a bit of a theme... three male singers that we hear on the radio. As a matter of fact, Just yesterday I heard "Have I told you lately that I love you" - my favorite of Rod Stewart.

@JNH you should do the NYT puzzle and join in the fray with the Rexites


I'm afraid I'm not up to "joining in the fray" again.
I had enough of that yesterday.

I'll just continue with the safe "Mary Poppins" way... staying with only the LAT.

Gareth Bain said...

Not nearly as tough as the NYT (no surprise) but a way cooler diagram, IMHO; though am also kind of ambivalent to OREOCOOKIE. Though am very familiar personally with WIKIQUOTE was a bit surprised (pleasantly) to see Mr. Silk included. The clue for TABASCO is one of my favourite this week!

"Please Stay" - made me think of this: http://www.tsrocks.com/w/warren_zevon_texts/please_stay.html

CrazyCat said...

Thought this puzzle was very nicely put together. All those 10 letter words caused me to struggle a bit. But I loved it. This puzzle took me almost 40 minutes and that's on line. Way more than my usual 12 - 15. I did have to google Awakenings to get MEARA. I had totally forgotten about that movie. Also had to google the Citi Field team since I still can't get it through my thick skull that the METS no longer play at Shea. And that Shea no longer exists. Lots of new and interesting fill - TABASCO, AUDIT TRAIL, WHITE SANDS, NIGHTMARE, WIKIQUOTE, NEVER AGAIN, ETC. My favorite was TUTU because it reminds of when my daughter was a little Bon Bon in her very first Nutcracker. URBAN CAVER was totally new to me. Read an article a couple of months ago about an engineering student who discovered a 170 year old hidden railroad tunnel under Brooklyn. He found it by crawling down a man hole and digging through a dirt floor. Guess he was an URBAN CAVER although he did have permission from the borough. Now the Brooklyn Historical Railroad Association gives tours. Supposedly John Wilkes Booth Diary was hidden down there along with an old locomotive that was lying on its side. You can read about it at http://curiousexpeditions.org or at Brookly Historical Railroad Association Tunnel Tours. It's really quite fascinating.

@Tinbeni I never thought you were a girl! How many girls drink Single Malt Scotch? My son is an aficionado of the SMS and he has offered it to me on several occasions. I can't get past one or two sips - way too strong! Not as strong as the Grappa I had in Italy, but almost. I'll stick to my wimpy occasional Dewars. You probably feel about Dewars the way I feel about White Zinfindel. I always enjoy seeing your Glass of Pinch avatar while I'm having my oatmeal in the morning.


Yes, I too like some of these new avatars... looks like everyone is changing theirs (including moi).
Speaking of AVATAR, has anyone gone to see the movie "Avatar"? I guess it just hit the theatres out here today... maybe I'll go see it. It's been awhile since we've had a good sci-fi flick.
I agree with your last statement... I too quite often find conversations with my male friends pretty boring. And I abhor all these half-time ads and perfume/cologne ads that portray men animalistically.
Your avatar baffles me though... it's sooo ruggedly macho looking. Is that an ironic twist or is that really who you are?

CrazyCat said...

While on the subject of Rex's avatar, I often wondered what that thing is on that guy's head.

Van55 said...

I never paid any attention to the puzzle constructors' names before I found Rex's blog on the NYT.

I recognized Barry Silk's name on this one and knew I would be in for a pleasant challenge. No drek at all in this one. Nicely done!

Tinbeni said...

I never thought I was one either.
Your correct in one aspect, Aged and Single Malt Scotch NEAT is definitly a MALE trait.
Hell, even commenting on it at lenght is a MALE thing.
Throw in control of the HDTV clicker and you have the final bastions in the war between the sexes.
We're losing ...

mac said...

Very nice Barry Silk puzzle, as usual! No big problems, but I did try to insert a couple of different facial parts into the bloodhound clue's space...
Still not snowing in Fairfield, CT, I guess our party is on!

Sfingi said...

Just learned something by accident, If I take someone's avatar and drag and drop, it will open in Mozilla Firefox.

Anyway, did not know TORII NES ALTAI WHITESANDS, WIKIQUOTE, the last of which I'm investigating.
Had "nose" for JOWL, "junks" for HULKS, "oils" for DADA, and "Potomic" and then "Pacific" for QUARTER. Barry Silk often has a dif way of looking at words, FUR shur.

@CrazyCat - My speed is more like yours. Thank God not everyone does them in a minute flat. I haven't tried it on the computer, yet. Still a bit scared.

@John - I buy and do the NYT until Wed. If Wed. is easy, I go for Thurs, and down the line. I'll bet you could go to Fri. In these parts, you have to get out early to find it. I buy the USA Today if I'm out. That one is all over the place like horse s--t. Actually, I like it, and it has a bunch of other puzzles with it. Sometimes they have good articles, like one this month on imposters throughout history.

I would like to have an avatar and change it a lot, but I can't deal with Blogspot. They keep forgetting who I am. Any suggestions?

gespenst said...

I enjoyed the puzzle b/c (1) it was a real challenge but (2) I again was successful in completing it w/o google!

My biggest goof (yes, I had NOSE first for JOWL) was confusing "Diana" with "Rosanna" and I wanted TOTO instead of ANKA. Whoops!!!!

I also thought "MALE" was a cop-out for similarities between JB and RS ... surely they have something other than gender in common?

Otherwise, I really enjoyed it :)

Oh, whoops, one question: doesn't the N in NES stand for Nintendo? Wouldn't that rule out using Nintendo in the clue? Or is it sort of the converse of asking for part of an abbreviation, like "Part of ASAP"?

chefbea said...

@mac boy its a blizzard here now!!!

*David* said...

This is what it is about, this puzzle hit the sweet spot. Perfect Saturday LAT puzzle with no forced fill, lively names, places, and facts. TABASCO was clued with wit and held me in thrall the longest.

CrazyCat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
housemouse said...

If I wanted to try the NY Times puzzle, I'd do that one. I'd rather that this puzzle lay off the over-reliance on Google and "cutesy" clues. Silk and Naddor are definitely not my favorite puzzlemeisters. I am trying to convince my paper's editor to get its puzzles from a less snobbish source, so people who don't have all day to play around can get the puzzle done too.

Orange said...

@housemouse, the Friday and Saturday puzzles are supposed to be harder.

Go ahead. Beg your paper to switch to the Newsday crossword. You'll breeze through the first few days of the week, but on Friday you'll slow down and on Saturday you'll weep because that Saturday puzzle runs about twice as hard as the Saturday L.A. Times puzzle.

Rex Parker said...

"snobbish?" — because "snobs" ... like word play? Damned bluebloods with their snooty word play!

If you've got only five minutes in your presidentially-busy day, I suggest Jumble. Oh, but that involves word play. Sorry. Word search?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go play around all day. It's what I do.