S A T U R D A Y   September 4, 2010
Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

Good morning and Happy Labor Day Weekend to y'all! Nice Barry Silk offering today. I'm a little surprised not to see what I usually think of as a tip-off that it's Barry's puzzle: references to (a) Philadelphia or (b) baseball. In any case, late start + busy day ahead = straight to bullets.

  • 12A: Water potential symbol (PSI). PSI is a Greek letter that's used to represent water potential which, according to Wikipedia, "quantifies the tendency of water to move from one area to another due to osmosis, gravity, mechanical pressure, or matrix effects such as surface tension." Alright-y then.
  • 18A: Manhattan liquor (RYE). Also a town in New York not far from Manhattan.
  • 34A: Milk sources (TEATS). Wasn't expecting the answer to be quite so … specific.
  • 36A: Stumblebums (LUMMOXES). Great word!
  • 40A: Pocono and others (RACEWAYS). Got this one through crosses. I thought it was going to be something more like "resort."
  • 43A: Virginie et Floride (ÉTATS). French spelling in the clue indicates French answer. As we learned earlier this week in the New York Times puzzle, ÉTATS is STATES spelled backwards!
  • 47A: Sound heard very close to your ear (SNIP). Pair this with 2D: Buzz, e.g. (HAIRCUT) and you've got yourself a mini-theme.
  • 51A: Spoke Abyssinian? (MEWED). I always think Abyssinian is referring to an ancient people but it's always referring to a cat.
  • 66A: Cologne conjunction (UND). And in German (where Cologne is located).
  • 68A: Orgs. with chiefs (PD'S). Police Departments.
  • 1D: Item for a camp project (T-SHIRT). This would be an item needed for tie-dye day.
  • 5D: Mr. Big's org. on "Get Smart" (KAOS). I guess I'm from a different generation. When I see "Mr. Big," I think "Sex and the City," not "Get Smart." Which is actually kind of bizarre since I've never seen "Sex and the City." I did enjoy Chris Noth on Law and Order though.
  • 9D: USSR successor (CIS). The Commonwealth of Independent States was esablished upon dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991.
  • 12D: Seeming contradiction (PARADOX). My first thought was "oxymoron." At least I got the "ox" part right.
  • 14D: Summer refreshers (ICE TEAS). Yes, it should be "iced." No, crossword puzzles don't care.
  • 24D: Old-fashioned tightening tool (SKATE KEY).

  • 26D: Historical Oder River region (SILESIA). Got this one through crosses. I wish there was room in my brain for more stuff.
  • 35D: Places for sweaters? (SPAS). Get ready for three tricky clues in a row. In this one, "sweaters" means "people who sweat," not the item of clothing.
  • 37D: Physics leader? (META-). META- is a prefix that can be placed in front of the word "physics," thus "leading" it.
  • 39D: Fine and dandy: Abbr. (SYNS.). The N here was the last letter I entered into the grid. The cross was making sense to me with the N, but it took a while before I understood that the words "fine" and "dandy" are SYNonymS.
  • 64D: SEAL's org. (USN). United States Navy.
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Everything Else — 1A: Symbol of concentration (THINKING CAP); 15A: Noted pier site (SANTA MONICA); 16A: Org. offering the Canine Good Citizen program (AKC); 17A: Rap sheet notes? (HIP HOP MUSIC); 19A: Vexation-plus (IRE); 20A: Irish __ (SEA); 21A: Make potable, in a way (DESALT); 23A: Some phones (RCA'S); 25A: Emit coherent light (LASE); 28A: "Sexy" Beatles woman (SADIE); 29A: Folded parts (TUCKS); 31A: The south of France (MIDI); 33A: __ fide (BONA); 38A: Clearance level (TOP SECRET); 46A: Out of control (AMOK); 49A: Mexican waters (AGUAS); 53A: "Don't __ word!" (SAY A); 55A: -an counterpart (-ENNE); 56A: Hoped (PRAYED); 58A: Polish, say (RUB); 60A: Memorable time (ERA); 61A: Respectful title (SIR); 62A: Stock, usually (LIQUID ASSET); 67A: Calcium oxide (CAUSTIC LIME); 69A: Accepting personal responsibility (ON ONE'S HONOR); 3D: Good way to go (IN PEACE); 4D: High degree (NTH); 6D: Press forward (IMPEL); 7D: Polite turndown (NO MA'AM); 8D: Savanna sighting (GNU); 10D: Biting (ACID); 11D: Shows impatience, in a way (PACES); 13D: View when landing, perhaps (SKYLINE); 22D: Spy's doing (SABOTAGE); 27D: Cabinet dept. (EDUC.); 30D: Store (STOW); 32D: 2002 Literature Nobelist Kertész (IMRE); 40D: Increases sharply (RAMPS UP); 41D: Portmanteau word for a certain native (AMERIND); 42D: Each of them is "one who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs": Bierce (COWARDS); 44D: Receives on the radio (TUNES IN); 45D: Italian Riviera resort (SAN REMO); 48D: Fool's gold (PYRITE); 50D: Two-__: tandem (SEATER); 52D: Car battery ignition system pioneer (DELCO); 54D: Q5 and Q7 (AUDIS); 57D: Anthropologist Fossey (DIAN); 59D: "The Well-Tempered Clavier" composer (BACH); 63D: Locus in __: the place in which (Lat.) (QUO); 65D: Pitch preceder (SLO-).



Today I really had to put on my THINKING CAP!
This puzzle really RAMPS UP the usual LAT Saturday bill of faire.
I always like Barry Silk puzzles and with those eleven letter words… hey, this one’s a definite winner!
Superb fill words, like: LUMMOXES, AMERIND, SILESIA, and PYRITE… not seen much in CWs. Great clues, like “The south of France“ (MIDI), “Buzz” (HAIRCUT) and “Places for sweaters” (SPAS).

I am very happy when I can humbly finish a Saturday puzzle in about one hour, and with no mistakes and no need for Googling, now that makes my day.

Some words for me to further research: SILESIA, ENNE-an, and IMRE Kertesz.

One of my favorite songs based on the SKATE KEY, was turned into a very clever TV commercial. Can anyone tell me what the advertisement product was?

@PG I'm so glad you explained that PSI thing as I had totally forgotten that (from my engineering days).

One of my favorite places to visit: SANTA MONICA Pier. (of course… it’s the symbolic end-point for Route 66), and, and… the venue for a recent ACPT.
One of my favorite things to avoid: HIP HOP MUSIC.

Now this is more my style of “modern” music: J. S. BACH, The Well Tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude and Fugue No 16 in G minor (notice the G MINOR) played by the marvelous harpsichordist, Wanda Landowska.

Hmm… what’s for breakfast today?


I know it's Melanie Safka who sings that song, but I'm trying to think of the TV commercial that it's in. Anyone? Anyone?

Also, I remember that Janis Joplin made that song popular.

wilsch said...

I'm very happy to have completed a Saturday Barry Silk puzzle. The only stumper was the MIDI/IMRE cross. I didn't know that Barry Silk often references Philadelphia. He did refer to the Poconos (RACEWAYS) today.

Unknown said...

I cheated on the JOHNSNEVERHOME question, but the answer is the Fisher-Price Toy Company in the 80's! That was my first Google for the day...Nate


Thanks Nate, but the TV commercial I was thinking about was fairly recent.

Anonymous said...

Sort of OK:
to "ramp up" is not a sharp change - it is slow as in a ramp vs. a stair step.

How, exactly, does syns come from "fine an dandy". Nothing I can find comes even close. Prerhaps it is some arcane "NYC lingo" xword creators seen to use.
As an occasional social liberal I dislike "american indian" as a term instrad of "native american"

Anonymous said...

Really appreciated your explanations today, PG. Even after finishing I had many questions. Thanks esp. for SYNonyms. Clever clue but way over my head.
I agree that "ramped up" is a trend so that clue left me mildly ired.
BTW, would anyone tell me how to create a clever blog name and picture so I won't have to forever be anon?

Rube said...
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Rube said...
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Graham said...

Anonymous: 39D "Fine and dandy" are synonyms. Or "SYNS" for short.

I agree with you on "ramp up" normally meaning a slow steady increase, not a sharp one.

Rube said...

Like @wilsch only unknown was the MIDI/IMRE crossing, but guessed correctly.

Had two writeovers, coNeyisland for SANTAMONICA and INstyle for INPEACE. Note that the N works for all of those. Obviously these were on the first pass.

I kept thinking what might be sighted in Savannah, GA. All I could think of was fire. (Sorry, y'all.)

Regarding PSI. I know of it as the wave potential. Never heard of a water potential.

badrog said...

Noted that RCA is on your CW-ese 101 list, no doubt for "some TVs" and "some radios" as well as "some phones". But the link from the list (to a Sep 2009 puzzle) also mentioned "Nipper's co." And that reminded me that I once saw "STOLI" as the correct answer to "Nipper's label."

Cheapo? The hint "..., in a way", as in "Make potable, in a way" for DESALT, I guess identifying it as a non-standard variation of "desalinate".

And... is "lase" really the verb for "use a laser"?

And..., can't recall ever having heard or read the plural of LUMMOX before. It was easy enough to fill in, especially with the X of PARADOX as a cross. But it bothered me so much that, after-the-fact, I checked, and no plural form is given in either WEB10 or AHD3, altho it does get a few legitmate Google hits.

Vega said...

As a fellow Pennsylvanian (historically), I'm sad that Pocono is a RACEWAY rather than a mountain or a range. LUMMOXES and stumblebums: awesome. I got SKATEKEY almost instantly, and wow, the vividness of the flashback!

Thanks for explaining "fine and dandy." I got it through crosses but never went back to figure out what was going on there.

Very nice!

Van55 said...

Nice Silk puzzle. I could come up with a couple of quibbles, but why bother? Liked it a lot!

Rex Parker said...

I tried ADJS for [Fine and dandy, e.g.: Abbr.]

Nice puzzle, toughest in the SW for me.

Anonymous said...

As a retired Intel employee, I often heard ramp up used to indicate the need to increase production swiftly when demand required it. It was one of the ways Intel outshown AMD. We could ramp up faster and better.

tram519 said...

Can someone explain how acid means biting? I got it thru the crosses, but it bothers me that the answer is not acidic. This is the second time ive seen this...stumped me both times....maybe I'll remember it next time....thanks. ...Tom in the D

CrazyCat said...

I really had to wrestle with this one especially in the lower left corner. CAUSTIC LIME, PYRITE and ON ONE'S HONOR were a mess. Also didn't know PSI, which I got through crosses, or AMERIND. SYNS was a complete mystery until I got here. Foiled again! Other than that, I liked MEWED (one of my kitties is an Abbysinian mix) and SANTA MONICA. I was on the pier a week ago. What a zoo that place is. Batman, Darth Vader, Princess Leah and Elmo were also in attendance. Great view up the coast, though.
@Vega As a native Pennsylvanian, I too was disappointed by RACEWAY for Pocono. I was looking for mountains, resort, honeymoon capital, etc. I went to summer camp in Dingmans Ferry.
@tram519 acid and acerbic are SYNS.
Nice Barry Silk Challenge.
@PG Excellent write-up. You just keep getting better!

ddbmc said...

Took me 4 ever! But that's a good thing! Didn't know RCA made phones, just thought they were the "Most trusted name in television."
RCA Color TV
Nice puzzle.

CrazyCat said...

That would be lower right corner. I'm directionally challenged.

shrub5 said...

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If you don't want to do this, you can select Name/URL at the end of your post and type in your "identity" each time you comment.