SATURDAY, July 3, 2010 — Will Nediger

Theme: NONE

Before we get started, I just want to say that I really appreciate you all hanging out with me here. I've been blogging solo here for a month now and so far it doesn't look like anyone's heading for the hills. So thank you for that. Also, even though I don't chime in a lot in the comments section, I want you to know it's just because my life is crazy right now. (Isn't that cute how I say that like maybe someday it won't be?) I do read all the comments and I both learn from and am entertained by all of you daily. I'm especially tickled when new commenters either stumble across our little spot here and jump right in, or when someone comes out of lurkdom. It's always awesome to welcome new voices into the mix. So. Thank you! Now onto the puzzle ….

I really enjoyed this challenge today. But again with the northwest corner! I had a heckuva time up there. I didn't know JAMES MASON (1A: He played Brutus in "Julius Caesar" (1953)) and had never heard of FATA MORGANA (14A: Complex mirage), which I'm happy to know now that I've looked it up. I also didn't know I GO TO PIECES (16A: 1965 Peter and Gordon hit) but now I have this song in my head:

My missteps include chief for SIOUX (46A: Sitting Bull, e.g.), sin for ERR (60A: Transgress), on time for AT ONCE (2D: Without delay), and AMA for HMO (47A: Doc bloc). I also wanted cup for SAC (8D: Egg holder). Egg cup? That's a thing, right? Other than that, it was just chipping away at it slowly but surely. I couldn't really get any traction anywhere except the northeast where the three three-letter gimmes helped immensely. Even though they sat atop the horrific GALOSH (19A: Wet-weather wear). You know how I'm always grumbling about the use of plurals in the grid? In this case, I would have preferred it!

Just a couple more things:
  • 21A: Ski nautique site (LAC). LAC is French for lake so "Ski nautique" must be "water skiing." N'est-ce pas?
  • 30A: House or lodge (STOW). Help me out here. Are house and lodge verbs in this clue? Cuz I think that makes sense then.
  • 48A: Team that's played in the same home park since 1912 (RED SOX). I did not know that.
  • 51A: "__ Got Bonnie": Rydell hit (I'VE). Don't know this song either.
  • 3D: King's downfall, maybe (MATE). At first I wanted coup here. Does that even make sense?
  • 14D: Dijon daughter (FILLE). More French!
  • 20D: 1993 Anne Rice novel (LASHER). Was anyone fooled into trying Lestat here? I already had the A in place and knew that Lestate started with LE, so I didn't fall into that trap. I did see it though!
  • 32D: Walking papers (THE AX). Love this! Might be one of my favorite clue/answer pairs of all time.
  • 35D: Cupid, for one (REINDEER). Okay, this trap I walked right into with my eyes wide open. Great clue!
Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
  • 28A: "I kissed thee __ I killed thee": "Othello" (ERE).
  • 29A: Shinto temple gateway (TORII).
  • 4D: Punk rock offshoot (EMO).
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Everything Else — 11A: Member of a notable foreign trio (AMO); 15A: Go for the bronze? (TAN); 17A: Enter the pool (BET); 18A: Crescent (LUNE); 22A: Acolyte's area (ALTAR); 27A: Barista's preparation (LATTE); 28A: "I kissed thee __ I killed thee": "Othello" (ERE); 31A: Pelvis-patella connectors (FEMURS); 32A: The farther ones (THOSE); 33A: 1988 Michelle Pfeiffer film (MARRIED TO THE MOB); 37A: Large amount (OCEAN); 38A: Stockpile (GATHER); 39A: Add water to, perhaps (THIN); 40A: Tribe member in many films (EXTRA); 41A: New Jersey casino, with "The" (TAJ); 44A: Pen output (OINKS); 50A: Busiest (PEAK); 52A: Figure to a fault (OVERANALYZE); 58A: One in a zillion? (ZEE); 59A: Venerable (TIME-HONORED); 61A: Some countdowns (HIT PARADES); 1D: Rain forest cat (JAGUAR); 5D: Payoff (SOP); 6D: Med. technique using contrast agents (MRI); 7D: What candles may reveal (AGE); 9D: A hundred sawbucks (ONE G); 10D: Like some vowels (NASAL); 11D: Fundamentally (AT BOTTOM); 12D: Stately and dignified, in music (MAESTOSO); 13D: Generally Googleable (ON THE WEB); 22D: Ordered pizza, perhaps (ATE IN); 23D: Capital of Togo (LOME); 24D: Walks with effort (TRUDGES); 25D: Chartered carrier (AIR TAXI); 26D: Ristorante dish (RISOTTO); 31D: Dogs (FRANKS); 33D: Make easier to use, in a way (MOTORIZE); 34D: One who gets things done (ACHIEVER); 36D: Via, informally (THRU); 41D: "__ here!" (THEY'RE); 42D: Floors (AMAZES); 43D: Caused a breakup? (JOKED); 45D: "In __, you are to blame": "Othello" (SOOTH); 49D: Louis __: son of Marie Antoinette (XVII); 50D: Lumber (PLOD); 53D: First to arrive, often: Abbr. (EMT); 54D: Good standing, for short (REP); 55D: "Got it!" ("AHA!"); 56D: Easter preceder? (NOR'); 57D: Santa __ (ANA).


Van55 said...

It's hardly worth adding a comment since my solving experience was almost identical to PG's. I think this is the most challenging LAT entry this year. Very, very good.

gespenst said...

I had a lot of trouble w/ today's puzzle, but I think that's good on a Saturday. I had hopes of getting it done w/o google, as I managed the NW corner just fine ... but alas, it wasn't to be.

FATA MORGANA was actually my first entry :) I learned this one in German first and didn't know it was also used in English, lol.

The "3 letter gimmes" weren't such gimmes for me, though I finally managed the NE w/o help.

The lower half of the puzzle took longer to fall, but it was really the SE corner that killed me. I also had AMA instead of HMO (and still think it's a better answer for the clue) and that ruined that corner for me.

None the less, I had a few "of course!" moments which make puzzle solving worth it for me :)

Thank the baby for giving me some time to get it done (older child at grandma and grandpa's overnight, yay!)

Sfingi said...

I had to hurry since we're going to a wedding in Poughkeepsie. I gave myself a time limit, after which I came here.

I knew FATAMORGANA since the name is based on the mirage off the coast of Messina in Sicily. Where the crazy Pres. wants to build a bridge. I guess the word it's more Europy (new word, rhymes with syrupy).

But even though I knew MARRIEDTOTHEMOB (what a striking worman, that Pfeiffer)and find it actually realistic, I knew little else.

Had faiTH instead of SOOTH. Are there 2 similar quotes in Othello? After all, it's not like the Bible, with different translations.

When did a BARISTA (bartender) become a coffee shop worker? The only coffee I actually buy is at Duncan Donuts. Oh hell, I'm old and stingy.

Anyway, Nediger just thinks differently than I do, certainly clever, if not convoluted.

The bride today is Pakistani and the groom is one of Hubster's many relations. Like rabbit in Winnie the Pooh. They've already married, Pakistani style, but the mothers are outdoing each other, and neither are attending the other's fete. The couple just gaze into each other's eyes, oblivious.
I had my sister make a hand-tied cultured pearl and crystal necklace and have money for the groom. The hardest part was finding a box, and I had to resort to semi-antique since that sort of thing isn't out there this year.

It's going to be hotter than Hades here this week. I'll get my paperwork done. God bless, Willis Carrier of Erie Co., NY.

See y'all Mondat.

will nediger said...

Astute readers might notice that I also used MARRIEDTOTHEMOB in my last LAT themeless. Weird. I swear, I don't have some sort of strange obsession with that movie.

Tinbeni said...

I tore THRU this puzzle just like Argentina verses Germany this morning.

Anonymous said...

I gave it a month...I moved on.
The "I'm running late, My life is crazy, Sorry this will be quick" has eroded this once-compelling and humorous blog.

Joon said...

will, i did notice that. does that make me astute? anyway, this one's up to your usual high standards. well done.

CrazyCat said...

This was a PLOD today, but had fun with it. FATA MORGANA was my new WOTD. Had similar transgressions as PG. COUP for MATE, SIN for ERR, etc. Saw GOLASH and thought hmmm Wet weather gear for Captain Ahab maybe? Loved THE AX for Walking Papers! Couldn't remember TORII even though I knew it. Didn't get tricked by ZEE One in a Zillion? Very nice puzzle.
@anon 9:25 Bah humbug.

Mick said...

Mate is short for checkmate in chess (A King's Downfall) and a chess player usually tips their king over to concede.

This puzzle had a lot of things my Dad and I didn't know which was cool. At least their weren't many names... we hate names.

CrazyCat said...

@Mick - thanks I figured that out. Not a chess player.

Oops I meant GALOSH. Galosh, goulash.

Margaret said...

Hand up for AMA; since I already had J__ED I was prepared to get on my high horse that the answer was japed, which would have been horrible. Luckily I corrected to HMO and JOKED in time. I also remembered MARRIEDTOTHEMOB from the last time it was in; didn't realize it was the same constructor!

Gotta run so I can put Peter and Gordon IGOTOPIECES on my iPod -- what a great song! I'd forgotten all about it.

I agree with @CrazyCatLady 10:49.

Peter said...

Overall an impressive puzzle for its design. I got stuck in the SE corner because of the HMO/AMA thing. I also figured on CLOD rather than PLOD. Should have realized that one.

Like PG, I knew none of the NW across answers (FATAMORGANA, JAMESMASON, and IGOTOPIECES), but was somehow able to figure them out.

Things I hated: EMO, TORII (too crosswordese), MRI (misleading clue since an MRI does not need contrast and is often without any contrast), GALOSH (yuck), STOW (poor clue - house or lodge??), REP (in good standing? can anyone explain this to me?), HMO (I agree doc bloc should be AMA), ATBOTTOM (not really in-the-language in my opinion).

Things I loved: TAN (go for the bronze?), AGE (what candles may reveal), THEAX (walking papers).

Despite all the complaints I lodged, it was still thoroughly enjoyable in the end!

LanceCarver MD said...

Today's error:
The femur does NOT connect the pervis and patella, but rather connects the pelvis and the tibia.
The patella is ensheathed in the Quadriceps Femoris tendon and lies anterior to the femur(knee joint).
The proximal end is in the acetabulum - the 'socket' in the pelvis - and the distal end forms the knee joint with the tibia.
A better clue might have been 'long bone', 'thigh bone' or
'hip part'.

Anonymous said...

What a total waste of time! Do these puzzle writers think they're clever??? For anyone who spent more than 20 minutes solving this trash: "GET A LIFE"!!

Anonymous said...

Almost sorry I found this site! Now I'll be tempted to cheat on the puzzle whenever I hit a snag. But I'll try not to do that.

Jeff Chen said...

Lurk! Oh darn, not lurking now that I've posted.

I enjoyed it! Super hard NW though, with FATA MORGANA. Wow. And I wasn't such a fan of the grid shape. I like grids where you can break into any section from at least two points, and to have a serpentine shape made the NW very tough for me.

Thanks for the puzzle and the blogging!

Argyle said...

Sorry, Mick, but mate and checkmate are two different things.

Mate means the king is in danger but can be saved. Checkmate, the king has no options.

Rube said...

@pg, I haven't abandoned you, just been gone/busy/trying not to spend so much time on xwords. Actually, most of what I usually have to say has already been said by others. Isn't it a shame that some "anonymous" clowns can be so rude. The really pathetic part is that they don't realize how obnoxious they are.

FYI, Ski Nautique is a brand of water ski boat.

Anyone know a surefire way to get your Google account username back in the identity section below. I've tried signing out and then back in, but not joy.



@Anon 9:25
@Anon 1:10
Both of you are rude smartass punks. GROW UP !
You don't even know what life is about. People have priorities and family should always come first. I'm just thankful that Angela manages to fit us into her very busy schedule.
Solving complex puzzles can be very rewarding and healthy for stimulating our gray matter. "A total waste of time" is just a cop-out for someone who's stupid and won't admit that he/she cannot solve the puzzle.
Okay enough chiding... on to the puzzle.
I think this puzzle was indeed a FATA MORGANA in itself. Lots of distorted clues, deceptions, and obscure words, but I LOVE IT!!!!
Learning new words and solving techniques is paramount with me.
It's been quite a few weeks since I had to throw-in-the-towel and declare this puzzle a DNF.
NE and SE were boogers.
Knew JAMES MASON and that sure helped me get going. Even the little French lessons FILLE and LAC were gimmes. I had remembered Will's previous MARRIED TO THE MOB. So that and some easy crosses got me well along the way. But then the cock-sure AMA stymied me.
Mr. Nediger, your cluing is awesome! "House or lodge" for STOW is pure genius. Who would have thunk of the verb? For now I'm putting this puzzle in my "Top-Ten for 2010" pile. @LC MD, that's TMI.

backbiter said...

@pg: I admit I don't post very often here. I work uneven hours and am usually catching up on three days' blogs worth on a Thursday. But that doesn't mean I don't love this place and everyone in it. Fata Morgana? Well, I guess I learned something new. Cheers!

Al said...

Rube, do you use Firefox?

Blogger will keep a cookie for your sign in, but it just chooses not to use it unless you specifically click sign in or go directly to the blogger.com page first, before visiting any of the other blogs. So, here's what I do (in Firefox):

Along with my own homepage, I have a second tab start automatically with blogger.com whenever I start the browser.

Tools -> Options -> General on the dropdown menu near the very top. Then in the "Homepage:" box, directly after your primary homepage URL, type in the "pipe" character "|" (the vertical bar above the backslash) and then enter this URL immediately after that pipe, and click OK to save:


Now, every time you start Firefox, it will open two tabs, your original homepage and a second tab with blogger on it.

The first time you visit blogger.com directly, you will need to put in your email address and password that you used to sign up with, and also check the "remember me" box before clicking the "sign in" link (to save the cookie). From there you can go to any other blog using bookmarks or typing it in the URL bar.

Every time you close down and restart Firefox after that, it will automatically open the blogger page in a second tab, and automatically sign you in, so you can go to any blog from your bookmarks without re-entering your id and password, unless you do clean ups that clear out your cookies, or click the sign out link.

RASTA said...

Agree with @JNH about the 2 anons, how rude they are

@PG, love the blog, do miss Orange a bit now and then but I do read the blog everyday now, you are doing a great job and thank you!

@Sfingi, you in westchester, we're neighbors?

@Tinbeni, loved the world cup game, spent some of my early years in Germany and since U.S is out, they are the team I am rooting for, glad to see some one else enjoying the games, seems soccer may be catching on, but I still can not get into the MLS.

Thx again PG for your time blogging the lat!

Rube said...

Tx @Al. I don't use Firefox, but I do have multiple home pages. I'll try Blog.com & see how that works.


OMG, you're thanking us???
We commenters should all be giving you a standing ovation!!!!
Your blog is bellissimo!
And you are much appreciated for your valuable time, dedication, and very entertaining writeups.
And I might add, for your patience with some of us twits.
Keep up the outstanding work!
Thank you.

Joon said...

argyle, you couldn't be more wrong. mate is the same as checkmate. the situation when the king is under attack but not actually trapped is called "check."

*David* said...

Late to the party as I did this one in bed at 12 midnight. A really solid puzzle and yes I filled in MARRIED TO THE MOB immediately, not realizing it was from a prior Nediger. The SW filled up first with REINDEER and then the SE with OVERANALYZE. AMO kept sitting there tantalizing me but I waited to fill that in to get the NE. Like most solvers the NW was the most difficult even though JAMES MASON and I GO TO PIECES were familiar. One error was M instead of F in FILLE/FATA.

Good times and we obviously ALL appreciate someone who takes their time to blog the puzzles, go Hawkeyes or was it Cyclones...

Argyle said...

Joon, you underestimate me, I certainly could be more wrong but I'm always glad to be corrected.

Thank you.