SATURDAY, May 15, 2010—Barry C. Silk

THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle, just like every other Saturday.

4:06 places this in the difficulty range of a Thursday NYT (or an uncommonly easy themeless Friday NYT).

The grid's got a triple stack of 15s across the middle, crossed by a couple more 15s running down. Those anchor entries are as follows:
  • 34A: [Minor league team with a locomotive in one of its logos] are the READING PHILLIES. Barry's a big Philadelphia Phillies fan.
  • 38A: [He played Will Scarlet in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"] clues CHRISTIAN SLATER. Never saw that movie, but he's a cutie.
  • 39A: [New England setting] is the EASTERN TIME ZONE. I think EASTERN STANDARD was in another recent puzzle, so I tried that here. TIME ZONE makes for better fill.
  • 5D: [Someone to build a team around] is a FRANCHISE PLAYER. Sports, schmorts. I want to put together a crossword team. You really can't go wrong with any of the first-round draft choices when it comes to crossword competitors.
  • 10D: [Runway displays] include FALL COLLECTIONS. I feel like the designers have fall and spring collections, but not summer and winter. Is this true?

Highlights, lowlights, midlights:
  • 1A: If you [Move to new places?] but don't get very far, you SHUFFLE.
  • 18A: [Source of relief?] is the BULLPEN where they store the extra pitchers at a baseball game. Good gravy, Barry, that's three baseball things. You couldn't stick one of these in your NYT puzzle yesterday?
  • What an unsightly pair these are. 21A: [Look at, to Livy] clues the Latin ECCE, and 24A: [Suffix with fluor-] is -ESCE. There are some other ugly little fillers, too. Like abbreviations—SBA, CIC, OSS. Fragments—DRI, 'ELD elided from "held," LA-Z, AT A. So many short names!—POE, NED, TEO, ALF, LEN, APU, ALLIE, INEZ, LOREN, LEHAR, LISZT, BEENE. Not one of these lends any real sparkle to the grid. The long answers are great, and the 7s are fine. It's the short stuff that's bringing me down.
  • 57A: The [Mexican salamander] with frilly gills is the AXOLOTL. I'm a big fan.
  • 59A: ["New York Mining Disaster 1941" was their first U.S. hit in 1967] did not at all tell me the answer. The BEE GEES!

Crosswordese 101: LEHAR has been covered here.

Everything Else — 1A: Move to new places? (SHUFFLE); 8A: Exotic vacations (SAFARIS); 15A: Bird known for hovering in a headwind (KESTREL); 16A: Like some birthstones (OPALINE); 17A: Bunratty Castle site (IRELAND); 18A: Source of relief? (BULLPEN); 19A: Best Actress winner for "Two Women" (LOREN); 20A: Wagner's father-in-law (LISZT); 21A: Look at, to Livy (ECCE); 24A: Suffix with fluor- (ESCE); 26A: 1930s Kansas governor Landon (ALF); 29A: Cupcake (HON); 30A: Racer Fabi (TEO); 31A: Entrepreneur-aiding org. (SBA); 34A: Minor league team with a locomotive in one of its logos (READING PHILLIES); 38A: He played Will Scarlet in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (CHRISTIAN SLATER); 39A: New England setting (EASTERN TIME ZONE); 40A: Soft & __: Dial product (DRI); 41A: "MS. Found in a Bottle" author (POE); 42A: Pres. title (CIC); 43A: Nancy Drew's boyfriend (NED); 44A: Problems (ILLS); 45A: Where some "SNL" regulars got their start (SCTV); 47A: New England cheer word (BOOLA); 50A: Child's retort (I AM SO); 54A: Seek acceptance at (APPLY TO); 57A: Mexican salamander (AXOLOTL); 59A: "New York Mining Disaster 1941" was their first U.S. hit in 1967 (BEE GEES); 60A: Like some academic positions (TENURED); 61A: They aren't on the program (ENCORES); 62A: Gives in (ASSENTS); 1D: Black & Decker competitor (SKIL); 2D: Long lunch? (HERO); 3D: Beta tester, e.g. (USER); 4D: Army post named for a CSA general (FT. LEE); 5D: Someone to build a team around (FRANCHISE PLAYER); 6D: Author Deighton (LEN); 7D: "We '__ our bloomin' own": Kipling ('ELD); 8D: ___ sister (SOB); 9D: "The Simpsons" shopkeeper (APU); 10D: Runway displays (FALL COLLECTIONS); 11D: DivorcÈe Lowell in an '80s sitcom (ALLIE); 12D: Tough currents (RIPS); 13D: Spanish name meaning "chaste" (INEZ); 14D: Elated (SENT); 22D: Restraint (CONTROL); 23D: Locomotives (ENGINES); 24D: Cultural group members (ETHNICS); 25D: Like many tsunamis (SEISMIC); 26D: Like rainbows (ARCED); 27D: Operettist Franz (LEHAR); 28D: Modern Persian (FARSI); 31D: Squelch (SIT ON); 32D: Designer Geoffrey (BEENE); 33D: Comparable to a beet (AS RED); 35D: Morse "E" (DIT); 36D: Light hit (PAT); 37D: __-Boy recliner (LA-Z); 44D: Volunteer's words (I'LL GO); 46D: Prize (VALUE); 47D: Symbol of innocence (BABE); 48D: Exposed (OPEN); 49D: Nigeria is its most populous member (OPEC); 51D: Poetic period (MORN); 52D: Go back on the dele? (STET); 53D: Defunct GM line (OLDS); 55D: Beginning of Time? (TEE); 56D: Org. in the 1946 film "Cloak and Dagger" (OSS); 57D: One step __ time (AT A); 58D: Strikes (out) (XES).


DataGeek said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle - probably because I could finish it! Orange - you and team must add LEN (Deighton) to CW101! I only know from Xwords, and it sure helped me out this morning. Have NO idea how I knew SOB sister or LISZT. And yes, for me AXOLOTL required every single cross to fill in. No Googles - 17 minutes - as w/today's NYT - a fine Saturday outing.

Van55 said...

I wasn't allowed to say it on yesterday's NYT blog -- smooth as Silk.
Very nice puzzle in all respects.

Tinbeni said...

@Chefbea, another AS RED as a beet salute to you.

ETHNICS, is this some new Politically Correct way of addressing each other? Oy veh!

Prize = VALUE?

That AXOLOTL pic I remember from the last time I saw this word in a puzzle. He is a cute little guy.

As I SIT ON my LA-Z Boy, sipping coffee I enjoyed this solve.

gespenst said...

@Tinbeni - if you prize something, you value it. I actually got that one right off (I think I had the V from crosses).

I got nowhere on my first run through, so I resigned myself to googling my way through this puzzle. I found it a challenge, but that's ok on a Saturday :)

I actually found the long answers easier than the midsized answers. Not that it helped me much ;)

When I had the "EE" for the musical group, I first had MONKEES but the crosses wouldn't work.

OPEN next to OPEC (for the OO, PP, and EE) was interesting :)

For a googling Saturday crossword it wasn't bad. I didn't mind the baseball references :)

Anonymous said...

quick question: How bout 14D Elated = Sent? Do you think that was a typo, and that they really meant "Related = Sent"? Or maybe, and this is a stretch for me, Elated = Sent [over the moon]?

Thanks!! :)

Charles "LC" Cooke said...

My brother, Sam Cooke, sang my song "You Send Me!"

Since he was elated with the sales, it could be implied he was SENT.

shrub5 said...

Loved this well-crafted puzzle! I got one of the long answers, EASTERN TIME ZONE, right off the bat from the Z in LA-Z-Boy and I was in business. Agree with @gespenst about the long answers being easier to get than a lot of the others -- think that's what @Rex has often mentioned.

I didn't know who divorcee Lowell was so first went with ALICE, then ALFIE, finally ALLIE. Also had some varieties of volunteer's words: I WILL and I'LL DO before getting I'LL GO.

New thing I learned today: Didn't know minor league baseball teams could have the same team name as a major league team (e.g., READING PHILLIES). Looked it up in wiki and it's actually quite common.

Anonymous said...

Question? will Elana Kagan replace Elana Verdugo in crosswords or at least give her a much needed rest? Golfballman

wilsch said...

34 across - My hometown baseball team in a West Coast puzzle!! Wow.
Great themeless puzzle.

mac said...

I have to agree with Orange; some ery good stuff but lots of not so great little stuff.

Like the axolotl (was that a baby?), opaline and kestrel, which I dug up with no crosses; I've been in New England a long time but had to learn about boola here! I guess we can consider that a sports clue/answer as well.

Sfingi said...

Preakness is about to come on. Only lasts a couple minutes - my sports for the months.

Knew this writeup wasn't Rex, when CHRISTIANSLATER was referred to as a cutie. Speaking of putting your $ on, I thought he'd be bigger by now.

Had "lamd" before BABE, "IranI" before FARSI.

My OLDS Cutlass Ciera sure ran great, and very comfortable. I still see them all over.

It was a Barry Silk, it was a slog, but I got the 15 letter expressions. Had never heard of the READINGPHILLIES, naturally, but figured it out from DINGPHIL.

Agrre with @Gespenst that the long ones were esier than the mediums.
@DataGeek - agree with you, too. Solvable=enjoyable.
Did not know AXOLOTL. He is cute.

Googled Bunratty Castle, Teo FABI,
ALLIE Lowell, Franz LEHAR. Decided not to speed it up by Googling more. It took time, but I enjoyed it.

@Anon247 - I'll bet. Even her last name is CW-able

Tinbeni said...

I like you're way of thinking about sports.
Follow the Triple Crown each year and you only have about 6 minutes invested to cover everything. LOL

Though I am a hugh baseball fan there is a benefit.
It is the only sport I know where when I take a nap in the middle of it, go out and wash my car, do a crossword, whatever, I never really miss anything.

Plus your team can lose 60 times, the equivalence of every day for 2 months, and still be the best. Go figure.

gespenst said...

@Tinbeni - you made me think about baseball watching ... I'm a baseball fan, I'll admit it. I have discovered the beauty of watching baseball w/ Tivo ... you can go off and do something for 30 minutes w/ Tivo on pause. When you hear the tv start up again, you go back and then watch in Fast Forward. That makes those endless at bats w/ all the step backs, glove fixing, scratching oneself, etc. more tolerable. When contact is actually made with the ball, slow down to live speed and watch the fielding and running. Then back to FF for the next at bat. When you're caught up to live again, pause and go get some more chores done!

I've also been known to just nap and wake up periodically to check the score ... again, w/ Tivo it's easy to go back and watch an inning if the right team scored and I missed it while snoozing :)

Sorry, I apologize for wasting a post w/o actually discussing the puzzle. I could tell you that our local team used to be the New Britain Red Sox, so yes, many minor league teams take the name of their major league affiliates (or a related name) @shrub5