SATURDAY, March 6, 2010 — Barry C. Silk

Theme: No theme — Saturdays are generally themeless/freestyle

Hey, everybody. I know I don't usually get to hang with you on Saturdays, but I had a crazy, crazy couple of days this week and Orange was kind enough to swap days with me. She's good like that. PuzzleSister and her husband arrived Wednesday evening and left with the PuzzleKids Thursday morning for Disney World. Apparently there are giraffes and zebras right outside their hotel window. I believe they're having fun.

So today we've got a Barry Silk puzzle to talk about. Awesome! Funky looking grid, right? There are actually only two 11s, no 10s at all, and a slew of 7s, 8s, and 9s. I'm gonna say I didn't find the 11s — FORT MCHENRY (23A: War of 1812 battle site) and DRAGON TEARS (49A: 1993 Dean Koontz best-seller) — particularly sparkly. Although now that I think about it, if there really were such a thing as dragon tears, they probably would be sparkly. But I digress. Here are some of my favorites of the long-ish answers:
  • 27A: No matter what (AT ANY COST).
  • 43A: Nightly news snippet (SOUND BITE).
  • 21D: Potomac span named for a poet, familiarly (KEY BRIDGE).
  • 38D: Actor who often said, "Sorry about that, Chief" (DON ADAMS).
Okay, I just looked up "The Star Spangled Banner" on Wikipedia and guess what! The name of the poem that eventually became our national anthem was originally called "The Defence of Fort McHenry." I apologize what I said about the unsparkliness of that particular entry. With the KEY BRIDGE tie-in … it's awesome.

More highlights:
  • 7A: Down with relish (SCARF UP). I know this is totally legit, but I always want it to be snarf.
  • 17A: Mike's Hard Lemonade, e.g. (ALCO-POP). You kids don't know how easy you have it! Why in my day, we didn't have these ready-made namby-pamby drinks! We had to mix our own drinks when we wanted to embarrass ourselves in public! Now, get off my lawn!
  • 18A: Organs and such (INNARDS). Were you thinking about keyboards? And then … ew.
  • 29A: 1970s CIA director, familiarly (BUSH SR.). I have to admit that looks cool in the grid.
  • 37A: Legalese, say (ARGOT). And again with the argot — that stupid word that's not a ship and not a snail, but something totally different. It kind of reminds me of my friend Shari's twin girls. Their names are Maggie and Katie, but Katie should really be named Maggie, and Maggie is totally a Katie. I wonder how they managed to mess that one up?
  • 39A: "Laugh-In" regular (BUZZI). Two words: Awe. Some.

  • 42A: Send by wire (TAP OUT). I wonder how long it will be before we can expect to see MMA clues for answers like this?
  • 63A: Refuse collectors (ASH CANS). Tricky tricky. Not the people, but the things. See also 47D: Web browsers, e.g. (USERS). In this case, not the things but the people.
  • 2D: Literary middle name (WALDO).
  • 6D: Lionel creation of 1912 (SLOT CAR). Lionel made toy trains. I don't know what a SLOT CAR is, but it sounds kinda cool.
  • 10D: Company that developed TV's Indian Head Test Pattern (RCA). Fresh, fresh clue for a tired, tired entry. Love it!
  • 15D: Winningest baseball southpaw (SPAHN). I was going to tell you who SPAHN is, but when I search for him on Wikipedia, I typed too fast and left the N off his name and was directed to the page for The Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica. And I think I'll just leave it at that.
  • 31D: Pepper, e.g.: Abbr. (SGT.). I believe this is the first album I ever bought on CD. Classic.
  • 52D: Member of Dionysus' retinue (SATYR). PuzzleKids are totally into these Percy Jackson and the Olympians books right now which means they now know more about Greek mythology than I do. (Didn't take much.) I'm kind of hoping there aren't any satyrs in those books though.
  • 57D: Business issue (INC.). INC. is the name of a business magazine, which comes out in issues.


Joon said...

i can tolerate a certain amount of 1960s TV in my crossword puzzle, but i had to work for every letter of DON ADAMS (especially since i didn't know if it was going to be a full name or a surname). but that wasn't so bad. BUZZ_ crossing H_T clued as {Successful} was just mean. you're supposed to be able to work out unfamiliar names from the crossings. there was absolutely no reason to make that into a 50/50. harrumph.

i liked most of this puzzle, but that's editorial decision i can't get behind.

Tinbeni said...

As I expected, today was not TOO EASY.
Ass Kicked across the living room floor.

Yesterday I knew Larissa, today I could not remember NERISSA, to be honest I hardly remember "The Merchant of Venice" I believe it has been 40 years since perusal.

Nor do I remember a book title from 1993. Kuntz or other authors I don't prefer.

Don't mean to quibble (Oh yeah, I do!) but I wonder if Mr.Silk has investigated TIN ROOFs. AT ANY COST, they aren't inexpensive.

SCARF UP into my INNARDS, lovely breakfast fare.

Got the OATH this time for the swearing symbols. It stumped me last time.

Fave answer was TOUPEE, spot covering.

Had alcohol, ALCOPOP was a new word to me.
Geez, I'll stick with the real stuff ... Scotch.

@PG Nice, informative write-up. Esp. enjoyed the BUZZI clip.

Gareth Bain said...

Despite taking twice as long (par for the course) it looks like I had more or less the same slow spots...

Also had to fight every letter for DONADAMS, and glad I didn't choose BUZZO/HOT, though IMO it's an entirely reasonable choice. Not sure how I guessed the B of BUZZI/BATT either, esp. as that was BATS for a while, before deciding DRAGONSEARS was just silly as a book title.

P.S. when reading SPARKLY it made me think of BEQ and vajazzling again! mind still not righ!

Gareth Bain said...

P.P.S. I'm not sure what I was smoking on Thursday. Couldn't sworn nothing but apparently not!

Van55 said...

Good puzzle of Saturday difficulty.

I think of math as a branch of learning distinct from the sciences. Am I wrong?

Orange said...

Joon, you may have forgotten that most crossword constructors and editors are over 40. Sometimes we forget that you whippersnappers have no idea who someone like Ruth BUZZI is because we've known the name for decades. Given that the average age of daily newspaper solvers tends to be on the older side too, it's possible that the "Is it HIT or HOT?" trap didn't even occur to Barry or Rich.

Joon said...

no, i haven't forgotten, and indeed i assume that's exactly what happened. but i don't want it to keep happening, which is why i brought it up. i know rich reads these comments at least some of the time.

van55: math vs sciences. don't forget to read the mouseover text.

Doug P said...

Whew, I'm glad I was able to watch that Ruth Buzzi clip without breaking up. According to my mom, I absolutely loved "Laugh-In" when I was a wee tot. But whenever Ruth Buzzi would hit Arte Johnson with her purse, I'd get upset and run out of the room in tears. I guess I'm lucky this was in the early '70s. Nowadays parents would put something like that on youtube.

Fun puzzle from Barry today! The KEY BRIDGE/FT MCHENRY mini-theme was excellent, and DON ADAMS never makes me cry.

Charles Bogle said...

@tinbeni captured my sentiments nicely...definitely not TOOEASY here and had to rely on all of @orange's solving tips
@PG: you didn't get to go to Disney World...bummer. Super write-up though; thanks for the Laugh-In clip

The "Pepper, eg abbr." clue and answer were absolutely inspired

Of all the things to clue for Noah and the Ark, TORAH would have been the last one I'd of thought of; also inspired

Puzzle may have been easier for people in the DC area (not me), what w Fort McHenry, Keybridge, and of course, the FERRY over the Styx...


The constant sound on my forehead as I worked through this smooth Silk puzzle.
What fun with trying to crack these codes.

I'm not going to BOAST today about my rapid solve-time. Nosiree! Here it is 11:30 AM, haven't had breakfast yet, and I'm just starting to blog comment.

Got stuck bigtime in the SE... it sure was not TOO EASY. Kept thinking that Dionyysus' retinue just had to be the NYMPH or MENAD. Not! As soon as I had to CONCEDE and got SATYR filled in, then the next hurdle, LOA. What the heck is "Long, on Niihau"?

Hands up on "Organs and such" being a musical thingie. As a member of 3 Chicagoland Theatre Organ Societies, I was already biased on this one. INNARDS? Yuck!

When I had filled in ---HSR for 29A, I thought, no way does anyone have a name that ends with those three consanants. How tricky! BUSH SR, and once again I was fooled.

Hmmm! ALCOPOP, now that just has to be a California thing.

Our kids used to race SLOT CARS back in the 70's... great fun. Never knew that Lionel introduced them in 1912, but then, how would I know!

Nothing TURNS ON this old man like the TV partner of DON ADAMS... BARBARA FELDON (Agent 99)!!! She was the Smart one on that show. Oh, and that throaty tigress sound! BAM!!!!

Because of this blog, I'm starting to learn "puzzle-ARGOT", so that one just plopped in.

Yesterday, I learned a new word, LARISSA. Today I learned about NERISSA. Is there a trend forming here? Can't wait to find out what my word-of-the-day is tomorrow.

Ialways get such a kick out of reading Puzzlegirl's writeups, and I especially like her little personal touches.

Time to SCARF UP some long overdue breakfast munchies.

It's 58 degrees here this morning... Spring is just around the corner!!!!
Have a fun Saturday y'all.

mac said...

Another silken puzzle! I also have to cry Natick, around Buzzi, Batt and hit. Goldie Hawn looks just like Twiggy in that clip!

I agree with PuzzleGirl (lucky you didn't have to take the kids to Disney World, so nice of PuzzleSister!), Bushsr looks great in the grid, and als MTST(Helens).
Here is "ate at" again....

Good puzzle day for me!

Orange said...

@ChasBogle: The Ark of the Covenant is a chest or cupboard in which the TORAH is stored at a synagogue. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" dealt with the chest/box type of ark, too, rather than the Noah's boat sort of ark.

@JNH: Head to the liquor section of Jewel and you will see plenty of ALCOPOP choices. They're in six-packs of 12-oz bottles, just like beer, only they aren't beer. Mike's has lemon and cranberry flavors, I think, and some vodka brand has a line of flavored alcopops as well.

Anonymous said...

50D: See 12D

Tinbeni said...

I believe where the TORAH is stored at a synagogue is called a Torah Ark (or cabinet).
The Ark of the Covenant, as noted by you from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was the depository of Moses Ten Commandments.
When I saw 48d Ark contents, like Bogle I had a first thought of Noah, and wondered "Pairs?"
Alas, I already had the JUT so I completely lucked into Torah.

As to you info re:Liquor Sections. I'll just peruse the many Scotch selections and stay away from the 'kiddie alcopops.'

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl, nice to see you on a Saturday. As always, love your prose style. Please to help me out with “MMA”, though. Thought it meant “meet me at…” And inquiring minds want to know: does the hardware and infrastructure still even exist to tap anything out, I wonder?

Lots of fun moments here. When I saw “Down with relish” I thought uh-oh, here comes another Hotdog Purists condiment debate. Whew. But seriously, shouldn’t the clues for both SCARF UP and INNARDS have signaled slang? And when I saw “@&#^$%!” I thought too bad this isn’t a BEQ puzzle.

@Orange, hand up for the HOT/HIT trap.

Good clue moment: clues like “J and others” and “Pepper, e.g.” amuse the heck out of me for some reason.

Not so good: “tassel” is a verb, huh? Not the dictionary’s fault, I guess.

shrub5 said...

Started this bad boy last night and got a fair amount of the left side but the right side was basically empty and going nowhere. Resumed this AM and finally finished it off, but not before thinking several times that I'm going to have to google some things...but I didn't. This was a terrific and challenging Saturday puzzle!!!

I had DRAGON-EARS and wasn't familiar with this Dean Koontz title. So I ran through the alphabet -- just about every consonant makes an acceptable word and some are reasonable: dragon years?, dragon fears, how about dragon dears? or (my favorite) dragon rears! The "T" made the most sense in BATT.

@PuzzleGirl: LOL at the Harmonica Society. Looking up initials, you realize there's an association for everything imaginable.

Timely inclusion of OSCAR. Tomorrow night. As I seem to say every year, I wish I had been able to see more of the nominees beforehand.

Did anyone else put BELCH before BOAST for "let out hot air?"

Cleo said...

I got Don Adams right away. I think it's good to have answers tailored to people in various age groups, and I hope puzzle drafters never start restricting themselves to current pop culture only.


Thank you, but no thank you.
I'll just stick with my pomegranate, cranberry, and orange juices (Non-alc, of course).
Oh yeah, and my ENDEARed flavored coffees.

When I think of the North Sea, I usually think of Norway, Denmark, and the UK. Certainly not BELgium, although technically it is.

And when was the last time you heard the term ASH CAN for a refuse container? We haven't had coal-fired furnaces since I was a tot. Overheard in a 5th grade classroom--- "What's coal?"

Loved @Joon's cartoon (math vs sciences)... I'm with those snobs on the right side.

I just heard a SOUNDBITE on TV. Seems there's a military JUNTA forming in Iraq. Now that's scary!

To those of you younguns (yes, you Joon), who do not know what the RCA Indian Head Test Pattern is---
There was a time in American TV where this was seen more often than programming. Somehow I preferred that to our present-day infomercials.

When I saw 30D "Ocean State sch.", I immediately thought of the Rhode Island School of Design. Their art museum is marvelous... one of America's best kept secrets. If you visit RI, by all means try to spend some worthwhile time there.

Hulk Hogan said...

MMA refers to Mixed Martial Arts, where two guys beat the crap out of each other until one submits by "tapping out". It's also seen in pro wrestling.


Sorry, I know this ANNOYS some of you!

lit.doc said...

@Hulk, thanks. You still rock.

This comment has been removed by the author.

That vid clip by Take 6 on the Star Spangled Banner is awesome. THANK YOU!!! The harmony was glorious, the singing style was reverent.. it was not laced with the usual goofy vocal flourishes that are so prevalent these days. John Stafford Smith (the composer) would have been pleased to hear this.

Rex Parker said...

MTST is not good. Not good at all. I'll give you BUSHSR, but not MTST. That's just ... well, you don't ever do that unless you have to.

I thought my error was in the vicinity of (wtf?) DRAGON TEARS (specifically the "T"). But no. I had FITTER, not FATTER. I do not associate being FAT with being prosperous because, well, I don't live in medieval Europe. Also, Niihau is not recognizably Hawaiian to me. Thought it was Chinese. OK puzzle overall. NYT (also Barry's) was somewhat better.

chefwen said...

@shrub5 - Belch, now that was funny, with I would have thought of it,

Niihau is a small, private island just off Kauai. Home to only native Hawaiians and is accessible to others only by invitation. They call it "the sacred island". They boat their children to Kauai for schooling and last I checked, they have no running water or electricity.

Being of a certain age group, I sound the puzzle smooth and easy to medium.

chefwen said...

OOPS, I goofed. The forbidden island, not the sacred island. My Bad!

CrazyCat said...

@Shrub5 Hand up for BELCH.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ok, fine, but I still don't get it. "Long, on Niihau" = LOA
At first I thought Niihau was a variant on the Chinese greeting (for hello) that I learned to use while I was in China... but I guess that's spelled "Ni hao"

Anonymous said...

Loa in Hawaiian is Long
Mauna Loa = Long Mountain

HUTCH said...

Only two comments. One of my favorite words is "scarf".In 1943 or thereabouts a Boston sailor bought me a drink of scotch and urged me to "scarf" it up.which, of course, I did. I have never heard that word, conversationly, since. Maybe, on the east coast it is still used. The Dictionary uses it to define A carpentry bridging, or shoring. I prefer drinking Scotch.

mac said...

@HUTCH: maybe I'm mixing up expressions, but I have seen "scarf down" more than - up.

Haha, my wv is "fries", my favorite side.