THURSDAY, May 15, 2008 - Elizabeth C. Gorski (HEAVIEST MEMBER OF THE WEASEL FAMILY)

Thursday, May 15, 2008



Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: SUNRISE, SUNSET (36A: Classic Broadway show tune, or a hint to the word ladder revealed by the answers to the eight starred clues) - word ladder goes from DAWN to DUSK

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and yet this puzzle has DAWN in the west and DUSK in the east. Isn't anyone editing this puzzle!?!? I am of course kidding. This puzzle is fantastic - everything a Thursday puzzle should be. It's got a complex theme that covers the grid in an unexpected pattern, and though I'm not big on Broadway, the central theme answer, SUNRISE, SUNSET, clues the word ladder perfectly. There are also a host of wacky, odd, offbeat answers in the non-theme fill that made the entire solving experience a real pleasure. Oh, I didn't even mention the majestic 3x8 letter columns in the NE and SW. Really professional work all around.


Theme answers:

  • 1: *Beginning (dawn)
  • 18A: *"Rats!" ("darn!")
  • 22A: *Makeshift hangar (barn)
  • 33A: *_____ center (burn)
  • 41A: *Right face, e.g. (turn)
  • 53A: *Relative of an Azerbaijani (Turk)
  • 59A: *Narwhal feature (tusk)
  • 66A: *End (dusk)

Also very impressive to have completed the word ladder without having gone through DARK, which would have screwed up the theme but good. If it's DARK before DUSK ... you've got one of three problems: 1. Blindness, 2. Eclipse, 3. Armageddon.

There are lots of names in this puzzle, many of them delightfully uncommon. We've seen OLEG before, but usually as Cassini, not as whoever this guy is: 15A: Former heavyweight champ Maskaev. We've seen RENEE before, but usually not in a gaggle (RENEES!?) and almost certainly not in the form of an actress who played a secondary role on a (mercifully) bygone TV show (40A: Taylor of "The Nanny" and others). Fleming and Zellweger will have to sit this one out. I've read ALISON Lurie before, otherwise I might have been in trouble there (2D: "Familiar Spirits" author Lurie), and I remember Melvin BELLI as a famous attorney from the pre-OJ era of famous attorneys (61A: Attorney with the autobiography "My Life on Trial"). I thank "The Daily Show" for hammering the name Porter GOSS into my head (65A: Porter _____, former C.I.A. director). I guess I should have known that Llosa was from PERU, but I did not (25A: Home of novelist Mario Vargas Llosa). Further, "film producer" is not the first thing that pops into my head for DODI Al-Fayed (5D: Film producer _____ Al-Fayed), though what does pop into my head involves either sex or death in ways that probably aren't puzzle-appropriate. I enjoyed seeing a blast from my 70s TV past in KRIS (54D: "Charlie's Angels" role) - though I wrote in KATE, confusing a character with the actress KATE Jackson, who played Sabrina. But my favorite of all names in the puzzle, and the one I'm proud came back to me as quickly as it did, was NANOOK (48D: Title subject of a 1922 documentary in the National Film Registry). I don't think I knew what the phrase "Nanook of the North" referred to until very receently - I must have looked it up for something crossword-related (I mean, what else do I do all day?). This would have been easy enough to piece together from crosses, but it was nice to get it off just the "K" today.

Closing credits:

  • 5A: Year of Pope Sabinian's death (DCVI) - oh, the dreaded Roman numerical pope clue! My first response to this clue: "Pope who?"
  • 14A: Program of variety acts (olio) - the other OLEO. I know OLIO as a general hodgepodge; didn't know it had any theatrical significance.
  • 21A: _____ jure (by the law itself) (ipso) - one of many instance where ordinary fill is hiding behind fancy cluing. The "itself" part of the clue tells you IPSO (or IPSA, I guess, theoretically).
  • 27A: Peter who wrote "Underboss" (Maas) - I've been fooled by this @#$# several times. By "fooled" I mean "completely stumped." Never again, Mr. MAAS. Mafia + Boss = MAAS.
  • 31A: Sight from Lake Victoria (Entebbe) - had a word ending in -BBE ... hmm, what could that be. Buster CRABBE? ... too short.
  • 49A: Some particulates (soot) - I wanted SOFT. Is that a thing? SOFT particulates?
  • 42A: Apple picker? (Mac user) - hey, the puzzle's talking about me. This clue / answer pairing is So good. I looked at my grid this morning and thought I had an error: "What's a MACUSER!" A: Someone who sullies you by accusing you of a horrible crime while holding artwork by Constantin Brancusi. It's a very specialized word.
  • 52A: Lobster claw (chela) - welcome to wonderful word of high-end crosswordese. "How will I remember this?," you ask. Well, just start calling all the lobsters that you meet "Sheila," and you are well on your way.
  • 7A: They've got a lot of pull (oxen) - cute, but, not being familiar with how one controls OXEN, I balked at the tie-in answer, GEES (55A: Calls to 57-Across). I thought GEES were for horses.
  • 60D: Nearest major airport to Bush's Crawford ranch (Waco) - busy airport this past weekend, I bet, what with all the wedding festivities and what not.
  • 62A: Culturally showy (arty) - not sure about "culturally" here. What does that even mean? It's too vague and imprecise a word here. Clue needs some indication of self-consciousness or pretentiousness.
  • 64A: Leaves in a salad (cress) - very nice. Seen the clue before (or one like it), but not for CRESS.
  • 1D: Mater _____ (Mary, in Latin prayers) (Domini) - OK, I guess I had DOMINE here ... it's all fuzzy at this point.
  • 7A: The "16" in "3:16" (verse) - here's Matthew 3:16, for example:

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.

In other dove news, I have been seeing doves lighting upon my garage.

  • 10D: Portion of a trick-or-treater's haul (caramels) - just a fantastic clue. Trying to write clues for my first puzzle, and it is Way harder than you might imagine (I mean, you can just steal old clues from the cruciverb database, but I tend to go there only as a last resort, just to see what the conventions have been).
  • 13D: J.F.K. visitor, once (SST) - aha, the old anthropomorphosis trick (didn't fool me for one second, so find it adorable).
  • 32D: Kind of acid found in oak (tannic) - for all you (insufferable) wine experts out there.
  • 36D: Heaviest member of the weasel family (sea otter) - THIS is my favorite clue in the whole puzzle, in that I imagine a big otter floating on his back eating abalone (if there's any left in the ocean at this point), hearing this clue and replying "Hey, who you callin' heavy!?" Or I imagine a big, fat weasel sitting in his lounge chair in front of the TV making one of the other members of his weasel family get him another beer.
  • 38D: Swiss nationals, historically (neutrals) - one step below "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys."
  • 46D: Austin school, informally (Texas U.) - ??????? So "informally" that I've Never heard this expression. Emily, I need a ruling. Do you guys actually call yourselves this?
  • 58D: "Dirty Sexy Money" airer (ABC) - I miss this show. It can't decide if it's campy or serious ... which is a kind of confusion I love.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

87 comments:

Wade 8:54 AM  

Rex, we most emphatically do NOT-- call ourselves UTexas, that is--and in fact it's close to an insult, since the Aggies insist on calling us "T.U." (That's what passes for wit to an Aggie.) Emily, is steam coming out of your ears, too? I got three degrees from that place and still owe them money and thought I was as un-school-spirited as most UT alum are reputed to be (I've never even been to UT football game. I tried to go to one once and got kicked out for having whisky in my boot and wound up arrested and on academic probation and I had to do 50 hours community service when it all came up again at the end of law school.) Nonetheless, this one struck a nerve.

Otherwise I liked the puzzle and got one of my fastest Thursdays ever on it.

WADE 8:59 AM  

TexasU, I mean.

Will Nediger 9:02 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. I should add that the PERU clue presumably referred to Mario Vargas Llosa, since Federico Garcia Lorca is an entirely different writer (from Spain).

Will Nediger 9:02 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. I should add that the PERU clue presumably referred to Mario Vargas Llosa, since Federico Garcia Lorca is an entirely different writer (from Spain).

jannieb 9:09 AM  

I still think Mater Domini is correct - otherwise you'd had enarage for going postal - or did I miss something?

Really enjoyable puzzle - from construction through the cluing. Had to work for most of it but still had a respectable time. Nice!

PhillySolver 9:10 AM  

So, I guess it is an oxymoron to call my wife 'my little sea otter.'

I took a film class on Documentaries back in the days we used a film projector (AV people may know of these). Nanook was awesome, but fifty years later the projected script was often dated and funny. BUT, my favorite Nanook is from Frank Zappa. in the duel track of Yellow Snow and Nanook Rubs It. Check it out.

I did the declination (sing, sang, sung) and wrote in sung giving me 'rugtag' which is clearly the height of diversity.

I watched YouTube clips from Fiddler on the Roof for over 30 minutes last night and had to stop for the tears in Sunrise, Sunset, Do You Love Me and Chavala's Dance.

@ Wade, you got the boot from a TexasU game? oops, UT game.

Peter Sattler 9:12 AM  

You are so right about the clue (and answer) for 10D: CARAMELS. Wonderful! It's a familiar word, and a perfectly clear -- and rhetorically appropriate -- clue. But it remains challenging. So much better than "showed disloyalty" for SANG -- and other moments where puzzles "create" difficulty by using hints that use a level of language two or more removes from that of the answer. (As you suggest, picking the most obscure connotation [OLIO] is another way to engineer such difficulty, without really earning it.)

A Personal Favorite: RAGTAG -- which immediately puts me back in front of the TV, circa 1978, watching the original Battlestar Galactica's "ragtag fugitive fleet" on it's lonely quest for Earth. Man, those speceships were so un-homogeneous.

Rex Parker 9:18 AM  

I liked SANG, but I like olde timey crime fiction and movies...

I think I have fixed my many typos and grid misreads now...

Please just email if you see a mistake or typo. And the grid is Always Right, so there's no need to wonder aloud...

rp

Eli Barrieau 9:23 AM  

Wade: If I ever make a band, my first single will be titled "The Whiskey in My Boot" (the English won't get it).

This one took me forever, but I loved it. I can't believe sea otters outweigh wolverines. In semi-related news I saw my first river otters two weeks ago.

Michael Greenberg 9:26 AM  

I liked this puzzle also, particularly enjoying how well the word ladder was integrated. I had trouble getting a foothold until 59A "Narwhal feature", which opened up doors all over the puzzle.

The weak point, in my mind, was the crossing at 5A and 5D: MODI or DODI? I seem to remember now that Sabinian was an early pope, but that makes for a tight spot.

PhillySolver 9:32 AM  

@ Ulrich

Note my 'duel' for dual above. I hope I can always make you feel better.


@ eli
A certain WACO wedding party reminded me of Nero for some reason.

Ulrich 9:34 AM  

Best Gorski puzzle I've seen for a while in the NYT. Having tried my hand at the infamous #2 at the recent ACTP, I knew what a word ladder was and could used it judiciously to crack this one--guessed wrong for square 5, though.

@jannieb: Yes, "Mater Domini" is correct. "Domini" is the genitiv or possessive case of "dominus"--(the) Lord--as in "anno Domini"--in the year of the Lord.

ArtLvr 9:37 AM  

This went so fast I didn't checked out the starred clues! The word ladder that Rex points out is impressive, but I was happy with the main theme and creative fill anyway....

CHELA begins with a K sound (does one say hard CH?), so thinking "Sheila" isn't exactly helpful (though Rex was probably joking). Maybe use picturing the careful placement of a plug in the claw as the Key to avoid getting pinched?

Sometimes aggravating in modern times, the Swiss nevertheless had good reason for their official neutrality over the ages, being small and landlocked -- In Geneva they still have torchlight parades with huge burning torches to commemorate their defense of the city walls in medieval times, when they poured hot pitch down on would-be invaders...

p.s. I always remember Goss because I knew the Bill Goss whose company made the printing presses for the U.S. Mint's literal money-making!

Very tight and enjoyable puzzle -- thanks, CG.

∑;)

Ulrich 9:42 AM  

@phillysolver: My posts are also riddled with typos and grammatical mistakes--that's the nature of the game: We're responding fast and not composing PhD dissertations here.

What I publicly confessed to the other day was something much, much worse: the incorrect use of a fancy word, demonstrating a combination of ignorance and pretense that I absolutely hate.

ArtLvr 9:45 AM  

p.s. it's "thanks to ECG": I overlooked "Elizabeth"!

Peter Sattler 10:00 AM  

@Rex: I liked SANG, too -- as an answer. I was wishing for a clue that, perhaps, might have also seemed (marginally) appropriate for old-timey crime fiction. Of course I have no great alternatives, but how about something along the lines of "squealed," "gave it up," "turned on the gang," "went to the cops," "broke with Omertá" (just kidding)?

jannieb 10:06 AM  

Sorry Rex, I almost never check the grid. Would have sent this via email but for some reason my Mac's outgoing mail feature has decided not to work.

jls 10:07 AM  

here's a link that'll fill ya in on "olio" and "olio curtain":

the other oleo...

terrific puzzle -- and loved the cluing of "suggests" as "throws out."

;-)

janie

Bill D 10:12 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! And I don't like word ladders. Big white blocks all over (only two 3-letter answers!), not a bit of crapola fill, only one "forced" word (CHELA), obscure stuff gettable off crosses, clever cluing ranging from direct to cutesy...what a joy!

Despite my aversion to them, the word ladder (starting with TUSK like Michael G) helped crack the puzzle for me, which is surely the intent of the constructor. My biggest problem was hanging on to "Negron" for 40A: Taylor of "The Nanny" and others. Taylor Negron probably wasn't even in that show, but he should have been. I couldn't name any of his "others" (I was thinking shows) either, but it just seemed too good to let go. But I really liked this puzzle!

Never having had anything to do with Texas colleges*, 58A: Not discounted, say for AT PAR was the only clue that struck a mildly wrong note with me. I liked Showed disloyalty for SANG; maybe earlier in the week the clue might have been clarified with in a way, but not on Thursday. I thought the "inconsistency" in the cluing made this one even more fun!

*The only thing I could think of after putting in TEXAS U was can we now informally call Texas Tech "TEXAS T" ?

Did I mention I loved this puzzle?

Shamik 10:12 AM  

Now parked on a ranch in NW Colorado, I can return to daily solving. And what do I get stumped with? Codi for Dodi! Besides being a playboy he was a film producer? Having a spelling glitch in my brain. 44A went from glimmer to glitter and finally to glisten. Overall, a good puzzle.

Pete M 10:14 AM  

DODI crossing the yotp* clue killed me. I figured I had a 33% chance (CODI, DODI, MODI). I went with the C. Doh! Also, didn't register that 57a (They've got a lot of pull) was plural, and went with EXEC to start. Couldn't figure out what "Calls to an exec" would be.

NANOOK always makes me think of Frank Zappa.

* (year-of-the-pope).

Bill from NJ 10:19 AM  

What I liked best about this puzzle was that I could use the Shift + 8 trick to circle the letters in the word ladder but as I drifted down into the Midlands and got the central theme answer SUNRISESUNSET, I found it wasn't necessary as I started with DAWN and filled in DUSK at 66A.

This was a very smooth puzzle that was executed just so and I really enjoyed it. The only real problem I had was in the SW but the UNCOUPLE / ATPAR crossing broke it open for me with the K in KRIS as the last letter filled in.

Rex Parker 10:27 AM  

@PeteM

Thank you so much for YOTP, which I will now treat as an acronym, pronounced "YACHT PEE."

rp

william e emba 10:28 AM  

I always remember CHELA in a most backward manner. I first try to remember the scientific name for lobsters and the like, and in the time it takes me to recall Crustacea, I've also recalled the Chelicerata, consisting of the spiders and scorpions and mites and horseshoe crabs. They are so called because they have chelicerae ("little claws") as mouth parts. At which point, out pops CHELA.

Yes, it's probably easier to just memorize the word.

I'm surprised at people having to guess at DODI vs CODI vs MODI. But then again, I know people called Dodi (it's Hebrew and I presume Arabic for "my darling"). Well, OK, I used to be a regular customer at the late lamented Cody's bookstore in Berkeley, but that doesn't count.

jubjub 10:37 AM  

Seems that I'm the only one who *didn't* like the puzzle. I thought most of the answers were good words to have in a crossword, but I didn't feel like many of the clues perfectly matched the answers.

There is, of course, TEXASU, which I resisted putting in until the end. Hook 'em horns.

INARAGE does not well match "Going postal" to me. I guess i object to the "IN" part of the answer. To me, going postal is the becoming crazy angry part, not the being crazy angry part. Since I don't know my Latin/Bible, I had trouble putting in the crossing I in DOMINI/INARAGE.

I really didn't like the "when did this pope you've never heard of die" clue, as we're just guessing a roman numeral here. My last error in the puzzle was MCVI instead of DCVI (gave me MODI instead of DODI, "Got an A from MODI for sticking to themes \ When it comes to envy y'all is green \ Jealous of the rhyme and the rhyme routine").

I felt the same way about most (all?) of the person name clues -- just guessing random names that fit the crosses. Yup, just looked back at the puzzle, I've never heard of any of the people in it. I'll admit that I'm rather ignorant of names, history, culture, ...

Do people really yell "Gee" to their oxen? I'm imagining someone sighing gee as in golly gee willikers...

Also didn't like CARAMELS clued as "Portion of a trick-or-treater's haul". I guess I don't like the portion wording.

I don't feel like WANNABET is what one says in retort to "Oh yeah?". I feel like they are more synonyms.

There's more, but that is already too much negativity! Since I've been so so negative (maybe I am just crabby this morning?), here are some positive things I can say about the puzzle:

NANOOK was my favorite answer. It is just fun to say. Saw the movie on UCSD TV last year, it is really quite exciting, which one wouldn't expect from its unique combination of ancient, silent, and documentary. PS read Wikipedia's summary of the criticism of the film's documentary status.

What else can I say that's positive? RAGTAG's cool ... Sigh.

Adam 10:43 AM  

jubby-
WANNABET was not clued as a retort to "Oh, yeah" but rather as a follow-up, which it is indeed.

Dallas Alice 10:56 AM  

Great puzzle, but two terrible Texas answers. Everyone knows that The University of Texas (and, yes, the "T" in "The" is capitalized) is UT, NOT Texas U. Also, calling Waco's airport "major" is absurd -- it has just two runways, and Bush doesn't even land there when he goes to Crawford. Only an ignorant yankee, or an Aggie, could have clued those words.

SethG 11:00 AM  

Well, CHELA rhymes with Sheila, so it's not that far off. To get any closer you'd just have to call your lobster friends, well, "Chela".

People hold up signs for John 3:16 at sporting events and such--that's one about G-d giving up his only begotten son, and how loving him is a good thing. I've always been tempted to hold up a sign referring to something like Ezra 36:31 ("They joined five of the curtains into one set and the other six into another set."). That'll keep 'em wondering.

I went on what might have been a date to ENTEBBE last year, and we ate lunch on a rock overlooking Lake Victoria. So I knew that wasn't Crabbe.

Not surprised the Texans don't like TEXAS U. Mildly surprised no one objected to WACO being called a major airport. I looked it up--it's serviced by two commuter airlines, one of which flies only to Dallas and the other only to Houston.

But minor cluing quibbles on a mostly great, fun puzzle. I particularly liked how the "...or a hint to the word ladder" was actually a good hint to the word ladder instead of a bad pun.

Wade 11:10 AM  

But Alice and Seth, everything in Texas is major.

(Alice, driving home late last night I think I saw you in every headlight.)

jls 11:11 AM  

jubjub -- here's a link for you:

gee whiz!

and pete m. -- give *yerself* some bonus points ofr yotp!

;-)

janie

william e emba 11:11 AM  

Yes, people really do say GEE to their work animals. It means "turn right". And HAW means "turn left". As to whether the animals actually know this, I have no idea.

jls 11:12 AM  

um... or even *for* yotp...

;-)

j.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Absolutely loved this puzzle. Next time a Roman numeral is required why even bother with an obscure clue? I think YOTP would be sufficient and we'll just guess (as we end up doing anyway). Two Ponies
@ wade - That must have been a small bottle of whiskey or you wear really big boots!

ArtLvr 11:16 AM  

@ wm e emba -- I think I learned "chelate" in chemistry, where it applied to a remedy for heavy metal poisoning (such as seen in children eating chips of leaded paint). The metals were "clawed out" of the system by bonding to the chelating agent, like lock and key, and then excreted! Most commonly used was called EDTA for short.

jae 11:17 AM  

Now that I know what a word ladder is (thank you ACPT #2) I really enjoyed this puzzle. I also briefly had KATE and went from GLITTER to GLISTEN but other than that a smooth solve. Great Thursday!

BTW Colbert focused the first third of his Tuesday show on the O'Rilley clip.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Thougt I aced it but had domino instead of domini. Going postal made my first choice rampage. However the downs did not work so got rage and ended up with on a rage (instead of in a rage) which is more apt for on a rampage. Also going postal seems to fit more with on than in, although idiomatically on a rage does not work, I guess.

Profphil

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

As usual, the proper names got me here--Belli and Goss. Nice puzzle, but the whole YOTP thing drives me nuts. There is absolutely no way anyone would know that year and as noted above, it comes down to pure guessing.

@sethg, Do people really go on maybe-dates to Entebbe? I'm more of a "let's try TGI Fridays and see where this goes" kinda guy.

Brooklyn

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

The novelist is Vargas Llosa (not Llosa). He's in the Vs alphabetically.

CHELA was in another Gorski puzzle two months ago. Before that it was in a puzzle in 1994.

miriam b 11:45 AM  

@artLvr: Yep, chelating agents are used medically, and also to purify water and for other purposes. I remember including EDTA* in some personal care formulations I developed, but since retiring I've put the specifics in my mental inactive file.

*Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid

Joon 11:47 AM  

liked (most of) this puzzle, but i can't say i loved it, because one of the bad things about it was so bad...

boy, did i hate TEXASU. it's so incorrect it should just not have been allowed. i'm not even from texas and i know it's wrong. UTEXAS is less wrong, but i could at least swallow it. TEXASU? no way. that's like saying that kiran kedlaya teaches at MTI, or noam elkies at U-harvard. you cannot change the word order in university names.

i hated yotp, too, but ... DODI al-fayed is Just Plain Famous. i don't follow current events or popular culture (with extremely narrow exceptions) at all, but i know who that is... though, as rex pointed out, not in his capacity as a film producer. don't you people remember princess di? so, no guessing required for me because the crosses were easy. having said that, yeah, the clue is awful. it might as well have said [A roman numeral]. i'd rather do peter gordon's ridiculous roman arithmetic than have a clue which cannot be solved on its own. seriously, pope sabinius? i don't think there is a pope before the 20th century whose year of death could be expected to be commonly known (not even peter), and sabinius is... not a famous pope. a roman emperor's year of death, okay, maybe; people do study roman history even if they are not roman historians. a random pope? no.

i don't think i understand why AT PAR is [Not discounted, say].

NOTFOR would be fine as a clue, but as an answer? is that really "in the language"?

everything else i liked, even the stuff i didn't know.

CHELA is easy to remember if you often think about chelating ligands in chemistry. which i don't, so stop looking at me that way.

humorlesstwit 11:49 AM  

I got SEAOTTER because it fit, but remain convinced that wolverines are actually larger than sea otters. So, off to Wikipedia I go.
According to the weasel section of Wikipedia, neither otters nor wolverines are included among the weasels. Under Otters, Wikipedia recognizes Sea Otters as being the largest of the weasels. Under Wolverines, Wikipedia states they are the largest weasels, with the exception of the Giant Otters.

I think Wikipedia is the largest weasel.

Bill D 12:11 PM  

@Alice - love your name! In college we learned the song from a Seatrain album (NOT Little Feat) and used it in our garage band act (I sang lead and played kazoo.)

@Wade - On my trip to Antarctica we had 42 Australians and eight Americans, 2 from Texas. When our host told us this, he said there were eight of us from the US with "a Texas minority." I piped up that there was no such thing as a "Texas minority".

(Better leave now before the proctor raps my knuckles...)

Dan 12:48 PM  

Who is SST?

Wade 12:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Texas U is just wrong. The only blot on a great puzzle.

Rob 1:29 PM  

Oh, what a great little mini-emotional roller coaster last night in the SE. :)

First, I had the terrible lows of realizing the answer was that dreaded rival. Then I was mystified when TEXAS/UTEXAS/LONGHORNS didn't work. Finally, when I saw that an Aggie must have been the one to create the proper answer of texasu, I got a great big grin on my face!

Gig 'em Ags! :D

Bill D 1:35 PM  

@Dan - Not who, what...Concorde, Tu-144 (alias Concordski), Super Sonic Transport. JKF = Formerly Idlewild.

Zach M. 1:35 PM  

Great puzzle. Loved the theme, loved the fill, loved it all. Yay!

imsdave1 1:40 PM  

@Joon - at par is at face value (neither above nor below the asking price of a security).

@Dan Super Sonic Transport

@Ms. Gorski - excellent puzzle, though OLIO seemed odd to me - that clue chould be for revue, I think.

peete 1:50 PM  

A+ great puzzle!
WINONA in A NO WIN situation.
Switzerland : "Women were granted the right to vote in the first Swiss cantons in 1959, at the federal level in 1971, and after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1990." (wikipedia)

Peter Sattler 2:01 PM  

@ humorlesstwit: Wikipedia looks okay to me, even by your account. They said that otters were the largest, with wolverines next in line. The Giant Otter/Sea Otter contest is even acknowledged on those respective pages ("Giant" is longer, "Sea" may be heavier).

The otter-less "weasel" page you looked at first was, I suspect, not for the weasel family (Mustelidae) but for the weasel genus/species (Mustela).

So things are in order. Jimmy Wales in his heaven, and all's right with the world. :-)

ArtLvr 2:08 PM  

@ peete -- I'll bet there still aren't any official Swiss flag twirlers though!

Anonymous in Texas 2:11 PM  

The University of Texas at Austin

Texas U - never.

If not UT, it's simply TEXAS. As in, my son graduates from high school this month and is going to TEXAS in the fall.

I've only lived here 4 years and I learned it early on. As for school spirit - it's overwhelming! Sorry Wade.

Doris 2:41 PM  

Sorry that it's "Tradition" instead of "Sunrise, Sunset," but you've never heard "Fiddler on the Roof" until you've seen and heard it in Japanese! On a fairly recent trip to Japan I was told that "Fiddler" is the most popular foreign musical ever to play there and simply packed them in for ages! I guess this is a rehearsal video. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGoRo-nPLOM

Doug 3:01 PM  

Note to self: Never visit Austin and use the term TEXASU without first ensuring a clear exit path from the bristling crowd.

I went to Austin coincidentally when "Texas" played its last home football game of the season prior to winning the BCS. It was packed as you can imagine, and earlier in the game the few Aussies I was with asked at the hotel if we could get tickets. I can paraphrase the guy's response on how to get 'Horns football tickets:

- Study hard in school and get accepted at UT-Austin
- Sign your unborn grandkids up for season tickets and go with them
- Inherit season tickets from father ("Po' daddy...Go Horns!)
- Work on your pecs, take off your shirt and wear a Matthew McConaughey mask
- Pay a LOT of money

Wade 3:27 PM  

anonymous in texas, sure there are folks who bleed orange, but expressed as a percentage of the alumni UT is pretty low in the school spirit department. Certainly compared to the fanaticism of A&M UT is in a different league.

FYI, re: my earlier post informing you of my blog entry about the UT game I almost went to, after further thought I've removed the post. I tend to forget that though I am fictional other people on this planet are in fact real. My short blogging career is officially over.

Barb in Chicago 3:29 PM  

I remember CHELA through a quirky word association. There's a town in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, whose nickname is Xela. It's often written as chela. When I saw CHELA in the puzzle last time, it just attached itself to Quetzaltenango-Xela-Chela and became a gimme for me.

BMT 4:23 PM  

I have to chime in on the Texas U thing too. The answer is so blatantly incorrect that it's amazing it passed its way into the puzzle. Granted, it was probably the easiest clue in the whole thing but I sat there with my pen, incredulous that I was about to write the U after the S.

To analogize, that would be like saying people in Ann Arbor call Michigan "Michigan U" or Buckeyes saying "U Ohio State."

I'm sorry but this is just awful. My girlfriend is from Austin and the most common nickname seems to be UT, or as college football fans would say, Texas. I have no idea how this could have possibly made its way in. Just awful.

JTSTERN 4:35 PM  

minor point to a great puzzle. Narwals have a horn, not a tusk (like a unicorn). I put in horn early, and as the ladder unfolded, it looked good when I put in burn and turn. Took me too long to realize that it didnt work. Wound up being the last section completed

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

Doesn't the Aggie fight song include a line like "Goodbye, Texas Uni - VERS -ity"? So that's a nickname that's sort of an Aggie dig, right? And if it were "University of Texas," it wouldn't scan.

You have to forgive the Yankees at the NYT this kind of thing. They weren't off much more than they normally are on matters south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

Texas A&M
"The Aggie War Hymn"

Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!
Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!
Good-bye to Texas University
So long to the Orange and the White
Good luck to the dear old Texas Aggies
They are the boys that show the real old fight
"The eyes of Texas are upon you..."
That is the song they sing so well
So good-bye to Texas University
We're going to beat you all to--
Chig-gar-roo-gar-rem
Chig-gar-roo-gar-rem
Rough Tough! Real Stuff! Texas A&M!

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Calling UT TEXAS U. is like calling UCONN ... CONNU.
What happened to all the proofers?
Geez.

Wade 4:52 PM  

Re: Aggie War Hymn, Huzzah! Huzzah! etc.

Yes, but the clue was Austin college "informally," not "illiterately" or "retardedly."

Doug 4:58 PM  

@jtstern

Very tricky clue from Ms. Gorski! In fact, what looks like a horn is indeed a long single tooth that like the elephant's, has evolved into the hornlike tusk.

dk 5:39 PM  

References to Sea Train, Zappa - great. How about that Austin overnight sensation Nancy Griffith or Eddie Cochran (sp?).

My brother went to UT and we used to try to get up one side and down the other, bar-wise.. never worked.

We have avenging Narwhals in the dk household.

Lobsters sold with one claw missing are known as chics (I knew you would all want to know that).

I guessed right on DODI, had Born instead of BURN for a while until I figured out that goises was perhaps... a nono.

Emily Jo 5:44 PM  

Wade is right. that answer is total bull honkey. its UT as in utexas. or even utexas.edu the official website.
i left it blank at first as a meaningless sign of puzzle disobedience.

Gorter Poss 6:04 PM  

I'm a mac user from the University of Texas and I love "Sunrise, Sunset!"

karmasartre 6:06 PM  

I'd sure hate to be a constructor and have my name show up like Ms. Gorski's does atop today's blog entry:
"Elizabeth C. Gorski (HEAVIEST MEMBER OF THE WEASEL FAMILY)".

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

Aha! Peter Maas -- I don't know "Underboss," but he wrote "Serpico," "The Valachi Papers," and "King of the Gypsies."

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

Aha! Peter Maas -- I don't know "Underboss," but he wrote "Serpico," "The Valachi Papers," and "King of the Gypsies."

Paul 6:33 PM  

@jstern

TUSK is correct for narwhal - it's actually an elongated tooth that comes out of its jaw. In olden times, discoveries of isolated narwhal tusks were used to propagate the unicorn legend, which is where you might have gotten confused.

I mostly enjoyed this puzzle, but the SW killed me. That I couldn't get SEA OTTER killed me, because I was just in Monterey Bay 2 months ago, and saw sea otters swimming both at the aquarium and wild in the bay. And I have a sea otter calendar. Me = sad.

Leon 6:54 PM  

There are some "made men" who would vote for Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, the subject of UNDERBOSS as the heaviest member of the weasel family. Especially after he SANG at their trials.

Anonymous 7:19 PM  

Did anyone else realize that it's UTexas and not TexasU?

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

There may be one or two posts on that subject.

mac 7:51 PM  

What a brilliant puzzle! Kept up my no-googling record because of my husband's help (Belli), which is what I told him, but I might have gotten it with crosses....

@peteM: that was such a funny line about the calls to execs!

I have to admit to Kate, macuser without seeing at first what it meant, and MCVI. Never thought of Dodi (we were almost neighbors of Harrods for a couple of years!) as a film producer. The altar that is currently in the basement of the store is quite amazing in its vulgarity. Many people file by every day, though.

Michael 7:52 PM  

I got everything but the macuser/sea ottter cross, but this means that I missed the single most interesting letter in the puzzle. I just couldn't parse mac user until I came here; the same with sea otter (even after going through alphabet).

I have a lot of friends from UT...but this has been covered earlier.

andrea carla michaels 9:12 PM  

@ anonymous Brooklyn
BELLI and GOSS sort of sounds like Bellicose to me, or Bela Lugosi...
Porter Goss (who, shame on me, I didn't know) seemed like one of Peter Gordon's aliases!

Actually there was a ton I learned today, in addition to GOSS (I knew @Belli as he was a huge figure around here in SF)
I learned DOMINI, what a NARWHAL is (needs an "e" , I think, make it sort of a gnarly whale, dude)
and that ENTEBBE was in Africa, not Israel.

@sethg
hope army ants didn't raid your picnic
@Karmasartre
your post really made me laugh...I'm lucky Rex blogged about me before he started doing his favorite clue or whatever that thing is...

@bill d
LOVE Taylor Negron (who can forget him in Punchline explaining "AREA RUG"?!!! I don't know how to add YouTube or I would!)
but just for the record, there were not just two #3-letter words, there were 5 (RMS, NET, ABC, SEN, SST), not that there is anything wrong with that, she says pre-emptively

andrea carla michaels 9:15 PM  

I didn't even bat an eye about TEXASU
I had a dog named Aggie (I was living in a Korean neighborhood in LA and Aggie means "baby")
someone gave me an "I'm an Aggie's Mom" bumpersticker and I was thrilled, not even knowing what it meant or where it was from...I mean it's, like, somewhere in Texas, right?
;)

SethG 11:30 PM  

TEXASU? I could have sworn it's UT.

Now that that's out of the way, no, no army ants. (Nor SEA OTTERS, OXEN, narwhals or lobsters.) A lovely botanical garden. I'd packed a few sandwiches--I think some cheese and some peanut butter & jelly? No TGI Friday's nearby.

We accidentally stiffed the minibus driver on the way there, thinking he was trying to rip us off. We argued about the extra 35¢ before finally walking away, he started coming after us but gave up when we didn't turn around. Found out later he was probably right--the fare's different going to and from town. Uh, sorry guy.

Wade, you had a nice run there. I enjoyed it while it lasted,
sg

treedweller 8:00 AM  

It's not bad enough to find TEXASU in the puzzle (actually, I never even finished but I suspected that was where it was going); I had to come here and find Aggie propaganda, as well. If I had seen it yesterday instead of being swamped with storm damage until DUSK, I would have retaliated with the lyrics to the UT fight song. Since it's already Friday, suffice it to say most of them are "Texas Fight!" and nobody really knows the rest anyway. But "Aggies suck!" will fit in there just about anywhere.

Hook 'em!

Calady 2:39 PM  

Apparently puzzles get changed between the NYT and six weeks out-perhaps someone reads Rex's blog and takes a clue? In this case 36D was clued "Member of the weasel family"-no mention of averdupois! And, the indicated novelist (25A) was Mario Vargas Llosa, as posited by Will Nediger. Actually I've never heard of him, or the Lorca guy apparently earlier used as a clue-but, hey, a four letter Spanishy location ending in"u"-gotta be Peru.
PS-shut up about Texas already! You guys got an image problem or what?

Rex Parker 3:00 PM  

500+ searches (so far) say that "heaviest" is indeed still in the weasel clue in most papers across the country.

rp

penny 3:16 PM  

Loved this one - probably because I finishes it so fast, which is really unusual for me. Dodi Fayed: I can never forget that his name appeared in the credits of Chariots of Fire, one of the many "careers" his father financed for him (film production). Did you know that neither he nor his father is entitled to the "al" in their name? I gather it is the equivalent of de in French, von in German etc. and has to be awarded. His father has been trying for years to obtain British citizenship, with no luck, despite buying Harrods!
By the way, if anyone saw my post yesterday, I would really appreciate some advice on where to go to learn about the more complex puzzles.
Thanks, Penj.

penny 3:40 PM  

Should have added that two hours is fast for me: I am nowhere near the standards of everyone else, and didn't mean to sound boastful. You have no idea how much I enjoy and learn from this site - it has opened up my housebound life for me and is much appreciated.
Penj.

penny 3:40 PM  

Should have added that two hours is fast for me: I am nowhere near the standards of everyone else, and didn't mean to sound boastful. You have no idea how much I enjoy and learn from this site - it has opened up my housebound life for me and is much appreciated.
Penj.

WWPierre 4:08 PM  

As usual towards the end of the week, it took me a while to get a wedge started. Before NANOOK emerged, I had DUST in the S/E corner, which, of course meant DUST in the N/W. (...thou art DUST, and unto DUST thou shalt return.) How clever you are, Ms Gorski. Sometimes the Red Herrings are as entertaining as the real answers. :)

ENTEBBE was one of the wedges. I didn't know it was within sight of the lake. Knew of Melvin Belli, which dates me, I suppose.

I paid my Municipal Taxes today. When I think how they will be wasted by our disfunctional town government, it puts me IN A RAGE!!!

To all those TEXAS U alumni out there, ....take a pill! :)

Bob 2:38 AM  

I thought for sure that the giant otter would outweigh the sea otter, but no: the San Diego Zoo says the male sea otter can weigh up to 90 pounds, while Wickipedia says the giant otter can weigh only about 76 pounds, despite being longer. The other contender - the wolverine - typically weighs 30 to 40 pounds. Thanks, Ms. Gorski, for adding to my store of knowledge of the animal world.

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