FRIDAY, Nov. 7, 2008 - Kevin G. Der (Doctrine developer of 1823 / Bear cub mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics / Self-contained music equipment)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "K" - there are 11 K's in the puzzle ... K is the 11th letter of the alphabet ...

OK, so there's not really a theme. I just like K's and tend to notice them. Although I'm not sure how anyone could have missed them today. Three of the answers contain two K's, and two of those answers intersect. Right off the bat we get KAWASAKI (1A: Big name in bikes) smashing into KABUKI (7D: Drama in which male actors play both male and female parts), and then we pick up nine more K's, some of them terminal (i.e. kinda ordinary), but still, that's an impressive array of K's.

On the whole, this was a very Kevin Der-esque puzzle, with lots of contemporary technological references - INSTANT MESSAGES (8D: E-mail alternatives), E-TAIL (39D: What PayPal facilitates), LCD (61D: Laptop feature, for short). I'd even throw KARAOKE MACHINES into that category (36A: Self-contained music equipment). My two favorite answers in the grid were GIRL TALK (60A: It's heard at a slumber party) and WHELK (35D: Snail variety). I doubt very much that I would enjoy actual GIRL TALK, but the phrase is fresh, colloquial, in-the-language, vibrant, etc. And WHELK just sounds beautifully disgusting. It's like the sound you'd hear if someone smacked you in the face with a WHELK. It's WHELP meets ELK meets slime. It's great.

I'm really glad that WHELK was a semi-familiar word to me (not sure how...) because that "L" cross was tough to recover. I have seen the space dog LAIKA in the puzzle before, but it's an unusual name, and if I hadn't seen a very recent graphic novel about this dog, I might have been in real trouble. The first "A" in particular would have been a near complete guess - I had no idea about ROSINA (26D: Almaviva serenades her in "The Barber of Seville"). Continuing with Russian animals we get the completely unknown-to-me MISHA (21D: Bear cub mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics). I remember 1980, but perhaps because the U.S. did not participate in the summer games (thanks, Carter!), I don't remember the bear cub. Is it the same one that grew up to wrestle Putin? Or did I imagine that in some fevered dream / conflation of images of Russian bears and Putin judo?

There are some problems here and there with this puzzle. I don't like BRAVE MAN (15A: Medal of Honor recipient, say) or ICE SKATE (40A: Half a pair for pairs) as answers. BRAVE MAN doesn't stand alone very well ... or about as well as SAD LADY or SMALL BADGER. And one ICE SKATE. The tricky, clever clue Almost makes up for the sad incompleteness of a single SKATE. The AWAKES / RISER tie-in felt clunky and forced (48D: See 50-Down / 50D: One who 48-Down). "Look at me, I'm a RISER!" Early riser or late riser, OK. Just RISER? Better to clue RISER as a part of a staircase or something else. Besides, just because I AWAKE does not mean that I RISE. Not by a long shot.

Miscellaneous:

  • 16A: Doctrine developer of 1823 (Monroe) - The word "doctrine" makes it a gimme. Are there other famous doctrines? The Bush Doctrine? The Powell Doctrine? Man, DOCTRINE is a weird word. If you stare at it too long, it'll start to freak you out.
  • 19A: Accessories whose colors may indicate rank (obis) - always nice to learn a quirky fact about crosswordese.
  • 10D: Piece of pi? (long I) - Mmm, a "letteral" clue (and a tough one at that). Me: "Three? ... point? ... one ...?"
  • 20D: Flavoring in a Tom and Jerry (nutmeg) - never heard of it. Here's Esquire's recipe; at least the "flavoring" in question is not cat or mouse:

Ingredients
  • 12 egg(s)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle brandy
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bottle dark rum
  • milk
  • nutmeg

Glass Type: mug

Instructions

Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until they form a stiff froth, and the yolks -- to which you have added the sugar -- "until they are as thin as water," as the professor advises, gradually adding 4 ounces brandy (spiceaholics will also add a pinch each of ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves). Fold the whites into the yolks. When ready to serve, give it another stir and then put 1 tablespoon of this batter in a small mug or tumbler. Now add 1 ounce brandy (although some die-hard Dixiecrats prefer bourbon) and 1 ounce Jamaican rum, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Fill to the top with hot milk and stir until you get foam. Sprinkle a little grated nutmeg on top. This one may require practice and a certain amount of fiddling, but it's well worth the effort. Note: Some people find the milk too rich and filling, so they use half hot milk, half boiling water.

  • 23A: Part of a philosophical dichotomy (yin) - and yang
  • 24A: Port on Osaka Bay (Sakai) - never ever heard of it. Glad the crosses were all reasonable.
  • 27A: "Contact" author, 1985 (Sagan) - I think he taught at Cornell, just up the road from me. Daughter got chosen for some science program at the local observatory, though I'm not sure how happy she's going to be studying space. Space scares her. "It's dark."
  • 29A: Research venue: Abbr. (inst.) - had UNIV.
  • 41A: Burns into film (Ken) - also, Burns into crosswords (it's true!)
  • 43A: Former news gatherer (Tass) - I always think of TASS in association with ITAR (Information Telegraph Agency of Russia)
  • 49A: Grass unit (spear) - boo. Grass comes in BLADES.
  • 51A: "Wicked Game" singer, 1991 (Isaak) - gimme. First thing in grid.
  • 57A: Anatomical part named after the Latin for "grape" (uvea) - gimme. Second thing in grid.
  • 63A: "Spamalot" lyricist (Eric Idle) - gimme. I want to say "third thing in grid." Don't remember if that's true. But ... sure. Why not?
  • 64A: Depilatory equipment (lasers) - had RAZORS
  • 1D: Retail chain popular with kids (KB Toys) - "popular?" It's a sad little store in the mall here, and I'm sure any self-respecting kid would Much rather be at Toys 'R' Us.
  • 4D: Warren of the car rental business (Avis) - AVIS is a person!? Wow.
  • 13D: Highly sought shares (hot issue) - sounds gross. Never heard this phrase.
  • 24D: Thumbing-the-nose gesture (snook) - almost as good as WHELK. If I ever own a boat (the thought is laughable), I will call her the WHELKSNOOK.
  • 33D: Activity in which people are not playing with a full deck (skat) - a game I know only from xwords. Here's some quintessential SCAT to round off the morning:



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

66 comments:

gotcookies 9:13 AM  

Yay for being the first... I actually didn't think this puzzle was that hard until I hit the NE. Definitely derailed me for a while, but it finally came together. So overall, I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle. Probably the first Friday puzzle where I wasn't stumped right off the bat. Now I'm off to group meeting...

imsdave 9:27 AM  

What a good week so far! I wrote in THREE immediately for the pi clue, then saw the MONROE answer and knew it had to be POINT. Not so much. Had the GI on 60A and put in GIGGLING. Loved the clue for GRIDIRON. I think I knew WHELK from the Harry Potter books. Pretty typical stuff from Kevin - fun and clever.

Nebraska Doug 9:44 AM  

I was sure this would be rated Easy. A very fast Friday for me, WAY faster than yesterday's rebus, which I had to go back to off and on all day long. Finished this one before turning out the light last night, which for me, is always a sign of an easy Friday puzzle. Though it makes for an empty breakfast on Friday morning.

Crosscan 9:47 AM  

Now that you gave a recipe I know where today's comments are going so I'll get mine out of the way.

I had SNOOT for SNOOK (despite noticing all the K's which gave me ICE STATE crossing ALASKA. Looked good.

WHELK is new to me; it will no doubt be new to me next time it appears.

This week seems on. Thursday on Thursday, Friday on Friday. I expect tomorrow will be Saturday.

KrossKan.

jannieb 10:37 AM  

Enjoyed this one. Am definitely a Kevin Der fan. As soon as I noticed all the K's, I knew Rex would put it in the win column. Thanks for the Tom & Jerry recipe - I've seen the mugs in antique shops many times, never really knew what the beverage was - seems to be very much like warm egg nog.

Loved the gridiron clue, agree KBToys is not the hot spot that ToysRUs is, had kid's menu for awhile, that slowed me in the SW.

Last section to fall was Nebraska - that last K in Ken Burns took forever, as did the Misha/Sakai juncture.

foodie 10:40 AM  

OMG, Rex, a recipe!!! This is as dangerous as opening the door to political commentary. But I will show restraint, mostly because KrossKan predicted otherwise.

I thought today was spot on, a solid Friday. It was gettable and had enough room for a harder Saturday. The puzzle reminded me of my house-- modern with Japanese touches. It's remarkable how well they work together, in interior design, in flower arrangements and in this puzzle.

Beyond KAWASAKI AND KABUKI, noted by Rex, there was OBIS, that was clued in a very interesting way. I remember the first time I was in Japan in the 80s, I tried to buy a Kimono and soon realized it was going to be so expensive we would be unable to furnish our home-- so scratched that idea. But in the process, I learned a lot about OBIS. Among other things, that the color also needs to be compatible with age. A color like pink is clearly inappropriate if you're of advanced age, e.g. in your late 20's!

Travis 10:42 AM  

I played SKAT all the time growing up. We always used a full deck.

Travis 10:48 AM  

nevermind, that's spelled scat apparently.

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

I loved all of this except the NE. What a scratched up mess (me of the pen and paper crowd). Alight just wouldn't come and seems a bit off to me. All in all a solid Der as we have comes to expect with lots of clever clues.
Whelks are delicious!
The Tom and Jerry sounds wonderful but a lot of bother. I will, however, drink one if someone else will make it!

HudsonHawk 11:10 AM  

Agree with two ponies on the Tom and Jerry-sounds delicious but a lot of work. I rolled through this puzzle pretty easily, finishing in the NE. My last square was the C in INCITE/INC. I felt like INVITE would work for the across cluing, but couldn't get INV to make sense as a Yellow Pages abbreviation.

Haven't seen a HOT ISSUE in a long time in this market. Anyone who has taken the Series 7 will know the term, though.

Nice Friday, Sir Der.

Doug 11:17 AM  

Was easy until I got to 15A, then I hit the wall. (That was intended to be funny.) Just couldn't make the connections last night for some reason, but perhaps the lack of sleep had something to do with it. "4 hours + Friday" does not mix like a smooth Tom & Jerry, which sounds like a reason to drink egg nog when it's not snowing!

Doug 11:26 AM  

Changed my pic as the floating head was starting to get on my nerves. Taken with a nice beer in my hand, and an Amsterdam canal in the background. Wish I was there....

joho 11:53 AM  

Kevin Der rocKs.

The "K's" are for Kevin aren't they?

william e emba 11:54 AM  

I did not like KIDS in the 1D clue and KIDS part of the 36D answer.

Is it just me, or is ETAIL actually beginning to sound like a word? I shudder.

I was so disappointed by 24A "Port on Osaka Bay" with answer SAKAI, not because Sakai is a city I've barely heard of, if even that. No, it's because for a moment I thought the answer would be Obama. I mean, what else? Silly me, Obama is on Wakasa Bay.

I had trouble nailing 14D "Drives". I had TEES----, wanted the obviously wrong TEES OFF, and could not get the verb sense out of my head. Even when staring at TEES-OT-, I kept trying for TEES -OT-, not TEE SHOTS.

In math grad school, some of us played cards way too much after hours. A fellow grad student from Germany taught some of us to play SKAT, the German national card game. So far as we Americans could tell, it was essentially all random luck, not much different from War. Obviously, the perfect intellectual stimulant after a few hours of beer drinking. On the other hand, our German student kept trouncing us Americans every single deal. We never did figure it out.

dk 11:54 AM  

No pretending here as my name does include a k. LONGI was my doh for the day, otherwise this puzzle was a treat.

Today finds me in Stowe Vt my old stomping grounds attending a conference on Intellectual Property. The presentation of the momment is on supression of innovation. It only needs 11 ks and I will pay attention.

The real k

Edith B 12:13 PM  

I had a handful of gimmes - I call them neons - scattered across the puzzle, none of which crossed, until I finally got a fingernail grip in the SW with ERICIDLE and was able to cut diagonally through Flyover country where one of my neons SAGAN allowed me to percieve what I thought was a mini-theme with all the Ks and OBIS crossing TAXICABS allowed me to drop the whole NW like a blimp with many holes in it and I was able to slide over into the NE where another neon MONROE let me make an inspired guess - GRIDIRON crossing IRISH - which got me the long answers INSTANTMESSAGES and KAROAKEMACHINES and it was only a matter of time before this puzzle fell with a dagger through its heart.

I found GIRLTALK refreshing, BRAVEMAN less so. I was at Orange's site and she had the same generalized problem with this expression as Rex and I did. I don't know if it is a feminist thing or what but I got a squemish feeling about this word.

In a different way, I have problems with self-referential clues where a no-information clue like "See 48 Down" leads you to another no-information clue like "See 50 Down". I don't know why, but I dislike these clues alot.

I don't know anything about Mr Der but his puzzles are youthful and a little full of themselves. I mean this in a good way.

I guess I am tired of those old style puzzles, full of archaic stuff like we used to get from Mrs Farrar. We are ready for the Next Generation.

Peter 12:21 PM  

For those music snobs out there, the southeast had two references you might enjoy:

Girl Talk - is a popular mashup DJ
Laika - song by the Arcade Fire

BRAVEMAN could have been made better if it was clued "First oyster eater, to Mark Twain."

Lurene 12:27 PM  

Brilliant. Rex, that is.

Mike the Wino 12:35 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle, as I almost always do of Mr. Der......

I just noticed something interesting about all the K's:

If you compare their 11 relative locations to some of the corresponding stars in Ursa Minor and Draco on a constellation map, (and admittedly you'd have to "move" some of those stars a little bit, [known as constructor's prerogative]), you'd have a "Var." of a constellation, or "konstellation".

Pretty tricky if you ask me!

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

An enjoyable puzzle, with NE the last to fall, as others have noted.

Carl Sagan was the host of a fairly popular WNET show back in the 80's called 'Cosmos'. He had a distinctive nasal quality which was easily parodied on SNL and elsewhere. Did not know he wrote the book 'Contact'.

One other trouble spot was in the West, where i had ONESKATE for ICESKATE, delaying KARAOKEMACHINES for the longest, even when i was fairly sure of the MACHINES half.

RT

Opus2 12:46 PM  

Am I the only one calling foul for a "NATICK principle" violation here?

I solved quickly on my Blackberry last evening, but couldn't get the solution accepted. I looked for my error for 15 minutes and could NOT find it.

ROSINA crossing with LAIKA? C'mon now, Will. That's a clear violation. I had ROSINE crossing with LEIKA. While further research has shown that ROSINA/LAIKA are admittedly the more common spellings, both words are translations of foreign proper nouns.

Google searching shows ROSINA/ROSINE references in about a 4/1 ratio and LAIKA dog /LEIKA dog in about a 5/2 ratio, so it's no wonder that one I entered the ROSINE, there wasn't much chance that I was going to be able to find and correct my alleged error. Rrrgh.

Opus2

ArtLvr 12:47 PM  

Happier than yesterday, since I got the whole thing... not quickly though, by a long shot (and thanks for the recipe!) For some reason I saw INSTANT MESSAGES early on, which helped.

I made some detours through "kids' menu" for KIDSMEAL, plus "damp" for DANK and the girls "giggling" idea. IRISH for [Temper, informally] gave me the LONGI for [Piece of pi?]. Very amusing...

MISHA to me should have been Mischa, and the variant of A CAPPELLA without the second P was a stretch too, but not impossible. Quite enjoyable overall.

Mnemonic for WAXING of the moon -- it looks like the second part of a pair of parentheses ), while the waning moon looks like the first half (.

∑;)

evil doug 12:48 PM  

Good and moving show about the "Medal of Honor" on PBS, probably being aired several times between now and the 11th day of the 11th month. Lots of brave men---and even a brave woman.

Doug

Greene 12:51 PM  

Funny. Yesterday was a hard slog, but today...no problems at all. It's gotta be the rebus thing; someday I'll get the hang of that.

Mostly loved this puzzle. Tricky, but doable and very fresh/topical. Like many, I had some difficulty in the NE, but for me it was mostly parsing issues. 10D was the last to fall. LONGI, what the hell is a LONGI? Oh, LONG I...there's that parsing issue again.

Great to see ERIC IDLE in the puzzle. Not a huge fan of "Spamalot," but it had its moments. I remember thinking that chunks of the audience must be completely bewildered by this musical. About 90% of the house I saw it with were clearly rabid Python fans and could recite each skit by heart. Consequently there were howls of recognition laughter and applause as each new sketch would begin -- even before anything funny happened. This can quickly alienate and anger people who don't know the source material and justifiably wonder what everybody's laughing at. I had two such people to my immediate right and boy, they were not amused.

I feel refreshed and ready for a challenging Saturday.

Shamik 1:06 PM  

@crosscan: with you on the SNOOK!

@greene: LOL...then those people should broaden their horizons and become Python fans! Same thing happened at "Young Frankenstein." Guess the people around me were not amused by me at either play!

Challenging puzzle. I never remember to check who constructed it until the end. When I saw KD's name up there, I said "Ahhh!" While the NE kicked me big time, not proofreading left me with the aforementioned ICESTATE and SNOOT.

Gimme's were INSTANTMESSAGE, SEEDLESS & ERICIDLE.

Mis-starts:
INRE and NEAR for ORSO
DEAR for AMIE
SCAT for SKAT

Off to google "snook."

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

@shamik

Any luck on your SNOOK hunt?

All I come up with is fish stories, unrelated to gestures.

Anyone else?

.../Glitch

Cheryl 1:25 PM  

I had 'chance' instead of ALIGHT, obviously got nothing off it, and did the other sections to come back to the otherwise blank NE.

I ended up having to google the 1823 doctrine for MONROE since I'm not well-versed in the finer points of American politics. I thought maybe it was some Age of Enlightenment philosopher but the time period is a bit off. Just as well nothing came to mind. ('The stuff you know that ain't so')

In addition to the wonderful SNOOK and WHELK, I also particularly liked the clues/answers for INCITE, THAWSOUT and the sneaky silent k in KNELLS. (Tolls! It should be tolls, it can't be tolls, why istn't it tolls?! Oh right, knells.)

Cheryl 1:38 PM  

I just searched snook gesture and got all kinds of results.

phrases.org.uk has the phrase 'cock a snook' along with a silhouette of the gesture and the American equivalent 'five-fingereed salute'.

Lunch break is already past over so I didn't have time to look further.

joho 2:03 PM  

@anon 1:22 Good old Webster's Dictionary defines SNOOK as "a gesture of derision made by thumbing the nose." Looks like we all learned a new word today.

chefbea1 2:09 PM  

So glad that we can finally exchange recipes but I doubt that I will ever make the tom and jerry. Actually I read the clue as Ben and Jerry and was trying to think of an ice cream flavor.

Thought KB Toys went out of business, There aren't any around here

Had a tough time with the puzzle today. Had to google a lot and still couldn't finnish it.

I'snt a snook a fish. First (and last) time I ever went fishing I was the first person in the group to catch a fish and It was a snook.

JoefromMtVernon 2:12 PM  

Ok, how about this for an eerie coincidence. Last night, I was adding songs to the ipod, and while looking for Graham Parker's No Holding Back, I found Dave Edmund's Girls Talk, which was (just about)60-A.

I started in the SE as all three across clues were gimmes. Finished with alight/longi (neither of which looked right).

Had Kaybee for KB Toys; wanted Enos for Laika. Thank goodness for Alaska, or Karaoke would have been spelled (spelt?) wrong.

Have a good weekend!

Joe

mac 2:14 PM  

I'm baaaaack! Imagine my surprise to find a recipe in Rex's blog, whatever happened the last two weeks? By the way, aren't all those raw eggs illegal now?

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot more than yesterday's, although I was sort of happy to have to spend so much time, sitting in a plane for so many hours.

I think I have enjoyed every Kevin der Kluge puzzle, as said before there is something fresh about them.
I got some of the long answers immediately, which helped a lot. I had some wrong starts, like 36d Kiddy....., 60a gyr......, because I spelled satire with an y, 2D Brazil. I got the words through crosses, but I stared hard at "alight", "or so" and "Irish", the first two seemed a little off, the last I just never heard before, and still don't get. The S in Sakai and Snook was the last letter to fall, "snook" was faintly familiar. I didn't notice the unusual number of k's, maybe because I'm just back from Holland where we use it a lot.
I think whelk is a pretty word, makes me think of the lovely rounded shell.

I learned an expression I want to remember and use, from Cheryl: "the stuff you know that ain't so". I'm afraid I'll have many opportunities.

@doug: a beer on a canal in Amsterdam? I'm homesick already...

chefbea1 2:31 PM  

why is 5D Mo = sec can someone explain? I'm from Mo, so show me.

andrea carla michaels 2:32 PM  

@Rex
Wow. great write up...felt same word for word.

@Kevin
You Rex-Kisser!!!!!!!! ;)

Before i got to the site, I had counted 10Ks and thought that was the theme...like the Blindauer/Orbach Sunday a few months back (still laughing at "Show me the Monkey") but it's Kool that K is the 11th letter to boot!

Almost all the words in Scrabble that start with K are Japanese...needed one to complete a puzzle I was making last night that had to be five letters, start with K ends with I
Found KANJI!

Since I had to solve from the bottom up
(ISAAK first fill for me too and I've already mentioned HIS Japanese thing...) knowing about the K's helped all throughout... esp bec I thought 1A might be some variation of SCHWINN!

Or that the all-male play was something Shakespearean...


Yes, seemed very WWII Japanese/Russian:
TASS, MISHA, LAIKA, KAWASAKI, OBI, KABUKI, SAKAI, KARAOKE plus every Japanese American guy I know is named KEN.

Also liked learning the OBI info and the AVIS deal (who knew?! Love these naming stories!)

Here is KARAOKE info: just like KARA TE is empty hand, KARA OKE is empty orchestra.
(My guess is that the Japanese word for Orchestra sounds like OKESTRA bec it's a Western concept, and they usually just Japan-ify the word... linguists?)


@peter
Love your Twain clue. Just thinking the same thing when I had my first sip of Tequila last night.
(Normally the only time I would like to have TEQUILA is if it were on my rack during a Scrabble game...)
Who would have thought you could drink something that burned your throat without thinking you would die?
(And yes, I checked for worms)

fergus 2:33 PM  

A little leery about tossing in INSTANT MESSAGES, because it's Friday, but then there was enough stuff such as ALASKA, MONROE, KABUKI, SAGAN, AMANA, and even GRIDIRON to make it feel like I'm right on K. Der's heels.

Not yet full could have been EATING, but mostly otherwise I didn't come across a very broad range of possibilities for the Clues. Since that's really my main criterion for Fri/Sat themeless, I wouldn't say that this is one of Der's craftier efforts. Nothing to complain about of course, because the standard is awfully high. Except that I would have to agree that a SPEAR of Grass was a violation. I did have me looking at DANK right above and wondering whether there was another sideways reference to cannabis there.

rafaelthatmf 2:48 PM  

Don’t let all those Ks overshadow an impressive smattering of W, X, and Vs. One Q and I would have lost it. Where else can one extol the presence of letters!?!? Weird.
Got stuck in the NE with IGNITE thinking pi piece had some logarithm thingee going on. Pi is (maybe was now come to think of it) a pretty cool jazz place in town.
Chris Isaak music makes me long for a beach and a palm frond hut. He cracks me up: Super talented singer, actor and songwriter with stellar looks, charm and probably money to burn. His songs? All about the bad luck with the ladies. Whatever Chris – aint buyin’ it.

Blue Stater 2:49 PM  

Can someone please explain to me the clue for 40A, ICESKATE? I'd have understood it if the clue were just "half a pair," but I don't understand "Half a pair for pairs" at all.

Today was extremely difficult; yesterday was gruesome.

fikink 2:54 PM  

Another dimension has been added to my puzzling. Today, I looked at the name of the constructor and recognized Kevin der Kluge and knew I was in for a challenge., the first time I had “the feel” of the puzzle before I began.
And, Kevin, you did not fail me. A wonderful puzzle which had much white space for a long time, and many correct answers I filled in and took out and put back in: (BRAVEone, KIDSmenu, ERICIDLE).
Many ponderous clues, to my mind. I didn’t know ACAPELLA could be spelled with only one “P” and filled in Edd for KEN, but I guess he was on TV rather on film, right? And I assume your use of “into” in that clue refers to a Burn who “digs” film?
Much fun, amidst a morning of paying bills and waiting for Obama’s first press conference.
Rex, thank you for the Ella. But more, my FIL is about to send you a fan letter because you used a clip which included Ed Thigpen, a drummer and one of his favorite persons. (I knew I had won him over in 1970 when I introduced him to Ginger Baker!)

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

@cheryl et al

My bad, it's all in how you google.

If you leave out gesture, you will find out more than you would ever want to know about the snook[fish].

Also found the name for the gesture comes from said fish, it's what your hand & wagging fingers look like.

(Since we've exceeded our recipe quota for the day, I won't ask how to cook a snook.)

.../Glitch

rafaelthatmf 3:03 PM  

@ andrea carla michaels: No worm in tequila – or at least the distiller didn’t put one in the bottle. You will find a worm in some of tequila’s primo - mescal.

andrea carla michaels 3:21 PM  

@chef bea
mo...moment, sec second...as in gotta sec? in one mo'

@bluestater
or should I say "Blue Skater"?
Pairs as in pairs figure skating...

@Rafaelthatmf
aha! thanks!

jannieb 3:24 PM  

@chefbea - mo = sec, I took took mo as short for moment, sec as short for second. Makes sense to me, even if it wasn't the intended interpretation.

@bluestater - think of Pairs as a figure skating event from the Olympics - like ice dancing but with more precise unison skating and bigger and better lifts.

@ACME - and here I thought karaoke meant "empty talent"

andrea carla michaels 3:28 PM  

@jannieb
wow, could we be MORE in sync?
We should do a puzzle together!
;)

Speaking of which, I'm going to do a podcast tonight with Ryan and Brian about collaboration, I'd tell you how to tune in, but I don't know how!

jae 4:52 PM  

I stared at NW for a while before tentatively putting in YIN and AVIS. Then I noticed SAGAN which gave me KBTOYS and the rest of it fell. NE was the toughest for me also (@rafael -- I also had IGNITE for a while) with LONGI as my last entry. Part of my NE problem was that by the time I got there I was looking for Ks. Very nice Fri. Mr. Der!

Va. Beach puzzler 5:00 PM  

This puzzle was OK (emphasis on the K) by me, especially after yesterday's, which was indeed like a wicked Saturday puzzler. I got Thursay's theme pretty quickly but hit a roadblock anyway. So today, while challenging, was R&R.

mac 5:09 PM  

I probably should double-check with chef bea, but I think a snook is a fish comparable to pike, a bottom feeder, that is used for Gefuellte Fisch. I don't think I'm going to bother making this from scratch, never have, but I do have a slew of recipes if anyone is interested.

mexgirl 5:53 PM  

It's funny how living in Connecticut changes your perception so much; I kept trying to fit ABERCROMBIE on 1.down!

I'm with Rex in his love for Ks. And also agree with @foodie and her "modern with Japanese touches" description of this puzzle. Very sleek and practical the whole grid, I think.

My first dog's name was Laika. A wonderful yellow mutt that once gave us eight puppies, putting a drastic end to her, otherwise, cordial-but-not-too-loving relationship with my dad.

foodie 6:17 PM  

@Edith b, I love your avatar and I read on your blog that you created it! Very cool!

I don't know if you overlapped with Bill from New Jersey when he used to comment daily? He had the same way of describing his progress across the puzzle-- like a conquest. It was fun to see it again... (Hi Bill, if you're reading this!)

@ Andrea Carla, I love the derivation of Karaoke. I had no idea!

This is driving me crazy: I grew up hearing something referring to music that sounded like Ker-yokee (in Arabic). That was way before Karaoke was supposedly invented (in the 1970's). So now I need to figure out what that other term is all about and where it came from... If there is anyone else out there who is of a certain age, happens to speak Arabic and knows what I'm talking about, can you please reveal yourself and set my mind at rest?

@bluestater-- I like your scale. Is there anything above gruesome?

@Mac, welcome back! We missed you! It's been quite a memorable week!

Cheryl 6:23 PM  

@mac
yesterday "ftlt" posted this quote:

Satchel Paige, who said “It ain’t what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that ain’t so”.

I liked it and referred to it because it is so fitting, but I should have properly attributed it in the first place. In my haste it might seem as though I was taking credit for something I shouldn't.

mac 7:29 PM  

@cheryl: hate to bother you again and at the risk of looking very dense, but what is "ftlt"?

I will still use your short version!

Sharon 7:32 PM  

Rex and all,
Can't comment on today's crossword since I'm 5 weeks and 4 hours behind here in Anchorage.
Wanted to say Thanx for the "Wink Wink" puzzle. Fun. I've run off copies to share with friends.
And,
thought some of you might be interested in a piece on the Anchorage Daily News opinion page today: "Palin enthusiastically practices socialism, Alaska-style"
to see it go to adn.com/opinion It's the third item down.

chefbea1 7:57 PM  

@mac of course I have a recipe for gefilte fish. we will have it when you all come to my house for seder - next spring.

@mexgirl - you are here in ct??? Where?

SethG 8:07 PM  

I betcha 1A was originally clued with a contemporary technological reference to Guy Kawasaki.

Can we put 'irrupt' on the decoct list?

green mantis 10:07 PM  

Like Fergus, I had eating for a sec, then waning, stupidly, so stared at TANI_ABS for about thirteen hours.

When crosswordese collides: KB Toys is the Thom McAn of toy stores: fast, cheap and underwhelming.

I'm sorry I wasn't with you guys after the election. Unity hangover.

Michael 10:23 PM  

Kevin Der seems to be a constructor I get (another one is Nothnagel). I thought this was easier than yesterday's and if not quite as clever, perhaps fairer and equally enjoyable.

Looking forward to the Saturday puzzle --

Cheryl 10:23 PM  

@mac, no bother at all.
"ftlt" is the name(?) of the poster who offered that quotation, Thursday's comments section at 3:32. That is all I know. (Though I did look up the quote to verify it, and discovered Satchel Paige was a baseball player. Handy knowledge for future puzzles!)(Yes, I am extremely baseball illiterate, hurts me on the puzzle often.)

Onward to Saturday.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but how does MO (5-down) become SEC?

Thanks.

jannieb 10:46 PM  

mo as moment, sec as second

jeff white 1:29 PM  

So, it's now Monday, and I still hadn't finished the bloody Friday puzzle, which sat on my desk and taunted me, and so as a last resort I go to Google to discover the name of the Moscow bear. I type in, essentially, the clue as it is written, and the first thing that pops up is your blog!

I didn't know you existed, but now I do, so that *almost* excuses using Google to get a break-out answer on a crossword.

That was the only answer I needed, as it turned out, but after finishing the puzzle I read your whole entry anyway, and found it to be interesting and quirky and fun. So you have a new fan! Thanks!

saphir 6:58 PM  

Carl Sagan was still teaching at Cornell when I started grad school there. I passed him on the stairs once without realizing who he was.

Old Al 12:01 PM  

Re: 49A: Grass unit (spear) - boo. Grass comes in BLADES.

Unless you're talking about ass-para-grass. (Groan)

docruth 9:29 PM  

5 weeks later: Perhaps Rex would like ICESKATE better if clued as a verb?

mct 1:17 AM  

Doing this in syndication -- Opus2 complains about Rosina/Rosine, but completely misses the point: This is not just a girl's name, it's the name of a character in possibly the greatest of all operas.

CindyLou 1:32 AM  

For those of us in syndication land, it was ironic to have KBTOYS as a "popular" chain in the puzzle when the business section of the newspaper had news of KB Toys bankruptcy! Not so popular afterall, I guess. This puzzle was difficult for me, but I am still learning. Was grateful to get INSTANT MESSAGES and ERIC IDLE right away as it gave me good long ones to start with to start filling in the rest.

jpChris 2:23 PM  

So, snookER isn't a pool game but a person thumbing their nose?

Dan Lee 2:27 PM  

I got stumped by this one in two ways. First, I assumed Monroe was too easy. Second, I was certain garrison was correct instead of gridiron. In fact, garrison was one of my first words and when 4 letters fit, I didn't even consider that it could be wrong. I finally had to google 1823 Doctrine - and found that Monroe is, indeed, the only one. Then finished the puzzle

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