Anchor-hoisting equipment / WED 10-13-10 / Longtime Greenwich Village music venue / Howard who parodied Adolf / Muslim convert in 1964 news

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "WICHITA LINEMAN" (57A: Glen Campbell hit, the last word of which is this puzzle's theme) — four theme answers end with words for various football linemen: CENTER, TACKLE, END, GUARD


Word of the Day: CAT TACKLE (30A: Anchor-hoisting equipment)

–noun Nautical .
a tackle for hoisting an anchor.

• • •

Man, I had to work just to *find* a definition of "CAT TACKLE." W + T + F????! This puzzle was easy but for that answer and BITTER END, which rang only a faint bell, and only after I had it figured out. A fellow blogger and I have checked multiple dictionaries and have found just one so far that even contains "CAT TACKLE." That answer is just terrible. A *theme* answer that is *that* obscure? Bad form. Elsewhere in the grid, there's average-to-crappy fill. I like CHORTLE (12D: "Through the Looking-Glass" laugh) but don't know why it's "Alice"-specific. The VILE V-CHIP CRUX section is nice. Downers include SION (1A: "The Da Vinci Code" priory), STER, APORT, ENNE, and AMEER. But the only thing anyone's going to remember about this puzzle is CAT TACKLE. Why would you make a puzzle like that?



Theme answers:
  • 20A: Place with a "You Are Here" map (SHOPPING CENTER)
  • 30A: Anchor-hoisting equipment (CAT TACKLE)
  • 37A: Longtime Greenwich Village music venue, with "the" (BITTER END)
  • 48A: Protection for Pelé (SHIN GUARD)
I do like the idea of repurposing the Glen Campbell song in this way. But the execution was pretty disappointing.

Bullets:
  • 35A: Howard who parodied Adolf (MOE) — I ... did not know this. Me: "...RON?"
  • 56A: Muslim convert in 1964 news (ALI) — in '64, Cassius Clay took the Heavyweight Championship from Liston, and then revealed he was a member of the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad ALI.
  • 1D: Five-pointed creature (SEA STAR) — also known (to me, as a kid, in California) as a "star fish."
  • 9D: Actor Richard of "Rambo" films (CRENNA) — he's gotta have more on is resumé than this! "The Real McCoys"? "Hot Shots Part Deux"?!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

76 comments:

PurpleGuy 12:20 AM  

Hand raised for starfish. Thought of CASCA right away, but brain wanted nana for "unpaid sitter." Took the other crosses to confirm my first thought.
Totally agree with the dislike for CATTACKLE. What a hideous answer, and especially being a theme answer.

I guess growing up on the East coast in NY helped with BITTEREND being a gimme.
Mom liked seeing ASTA in the puzzle. Also LENTO, being a musical family.

Another good writeup, Rex. In total agreement.
Thanks for posting early.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Hump Day, all in Rexville.

Shanti -

Bob/Purpleguy and mom

slumsse - when your a sot and in skid row !!

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

Did this while watching the Chilean rescue of the miners and LINEMAN took on a different meaning from football. (The clue for 57A was a little ambiguous since the last word in the song is LINE but the last word in 57A is LINEMAN – works either way, however). A workman-like puzzle with not much pizzazz, tho I liked MOE, FOE and HOE and ASTA and ASTI. One word missing was a JUKE for the DINER....

chefwen 12:42 AM  

I actually loved this puzzle, although it was over way too quickly.

Just saying the word CHORTLE makes me want to do the same. I'm IN A MOOD was a close runner up as a favorite. I am very rarely sulky, but when I am, I will put that to use.

Love, love, love, football, so this was a fun puzzle for me.

Only write over was GO HOME over GO away.

foodie 1:05 AM  

In spite of my woeful knowledge of sports, I tumbled to the theme early and it actually helped get SHIN GUARD and ---TACKLE.

That CATTACKLE is indeed a killjoy, and the B in BITTER END stayed hidden till, well, the bitter end. But still, I think that's my favorite theme answer. SHINGUARD is too much of a sports answer, and not distant enough from the theme, and SHOPPING CENTER just sits there...

Like @Chefwen, I like CHORTLE and IN A MOOD

The first time I heard "tight end" I thought it was an insult.

kirble 1:10 AM  

CHORTLE is clued as being from "Alice. . ." because it was a Lewis Carroll neoligism.

He was a big fan of portmanteaux, and a CHORTLE is a cross between a CHuckLE and a snORT.

/finally, my linguistics degree is paying off. . .

Martin 1:10 AM  

"Chortle" is one of the portmanteau words coined in Jabberwocky.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arm, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

That one caught on, didn't it?

JaxInL.A. 1:18 AM  

CCED? EES? Ick! That said, though, if all that this puzzle offered was a reason for Rex to find and post that hilarious video of CAT TACKLE, then it was totally worth it. How does he find these things?

And the puzzle did have a few moments, mostly noted already. The puzzle fell surprisingly quickly and I find that I rarely look up things for puzzles these days. If it's just a fluke of easy puzzles (which i think it is), please let me live in denial for a while.

Thanks, all. Hooray for rescued Chilean miners! How bad can my day be?

Robin 2:00 AM  

We are all going to remember that we solved the bleeping Cat Tackle puzzle while we watched the Chilean miners come to the surface. Back in '10.

I actually liked the puzzle a la Chefwen, but the miner thing gives me claustrophobia if I think about it too much, so nice to have the puzz and Rex as a distraction.

JaxInL.A. 2:49 AM  

My Chinese housemate says that the captions on the kitty video translate roughly to:

Tuxedo Kitten
"You are getting sleeeeepy... Sleeeepy...
And you will bring me all your cat food!
Sleepy..."

Fat Ginger Cat
"You're nuts!
And you're cruisin' for a bruisin'!"

Inquiring minds want to know...

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Here's another nautical term: "The Bitter End"-

The end of an anchor cable is fastened to the 'bitts' at the ship's bow. If all of the anchor cable has been payed out you have come to the bitter end. (All part of the 'Cat Tackle')

Or, put another way... The end of the line. Even in Wichita.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qoymGCDYzU

chipperj

David L 8:28 AM  

Easy except for that little section where USN, CRENNA, CATTACKLE, and AMEER cross -- I had USS and EMEER at first, fortunately remembered CRENNA, then figured it had to be CAT, not CET -- confirmed by Mr Happy Pencil. Who I think I don't like, since he allows us to verify doubtful crosses by randomly picking letters.

And as usual, I couldn't figure out the theme until I came here...

joho 8:33 AM  

Anybody notice that ATE has appeared in the puzzle every day this week?

My last letter in was the "A" in CATTACKLE because it couldn't be an "E" as AMEER had to be a variation. So it was gettable but, ugh!

Other football related stuff along with the SHINGUARD theme answer are FOE, OJS, INSHAPE, ONTOPOF, ATLANTA and CLE.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I knew cat tackle immediately, from stories my father used to tell me about Navy life. He was a navy man from age 15 on.

chipperj 8:49 AM  

Just dawned on me... Cat"Tackle". As in, what to do with all these linemen. Someone please slap me awake.

Non-EE from RPI 8:50 AM  

For those of us in the Class of '67, into the folk music scene:

Right Coast = Bitter End

Left Coast = Hungry i (Not Eye or I)

P>G>

John V 8:52 AM  

Ditto all re: cattackle. My sailing past never brought me in touch with this word.

Otherwise, average to slightly easier for a Wednesday.

dk 8:52 AM  

With a CHORTLE I harken back to an earlier cock themed puzzle to note the Chilean rescue device is nicknamed EL Pene or the pen*s.

We always referred to it as the Glen Campbell Bad Time Hour except for his "side kick" John Hartford.

Before Acme weighs anchor I saw Mingus at the BITTEREND. My guess is Acme went there with Alan (the other) Ginsburg.

Don't feel MYRIAD actually means innumerable but they took away my Mensa card.

*** (3 Stars)

Anon at 8:21 AM Thanks, I'm off to polish my marlin spike and perhaps read a little Chapmans.

secret word: scurep - the sound of an anchor being lifted off a coral reef via CATTACKLE

KooKooKaChoo 8:53 AM  

That video is awesome, only to be made more so by the captions from @jaxinl.a. Can get through my day now; headache suddenly gone.

Love the @kirble @martin back-to-back posts. One, then the other--bam, bam! Like that double tackle on Vick a few weeks past (when I think evil kitties, I still think of Vick). Who needs centers and ends, etc.? You guys are my kind of linemen (women?)

As for the puzzle, loved it. Very fun. Easy, except I ended with OGs (Mt. Fugi) instead of OJs. Thought it must be short for something....Oaty Grits?

mmorgan 9:00 AM  

Some fun and cute answers... such as ROBIN and MOE (got MOE right away!).

But wait, what's with HOE, MOE, FOE...? (Hmmm, that sounds strange... is there a BIA in there somewhere?)

SHOPPING CENTER seemed a clunky fit with the clue. Never heard of a CAT TACKLE.

My downfall was 25A: Fleet letters. First had HMS, then stayed with USS... so I couldn't resolve 9D Richard _RENsA was (I'm not a Rambophile!), and somehow thought 9A: First to stab Caesar was tASCA. Boo hoo, I had to click Reveal to fix those two squares and get my visit from Mr. Happy Pencil!

And I was completely confused about the theme -- couldn't see how MAN explained anything, but then realized it's the full LINEMAN, so it seems to have something to do with football(??) -- not my forte. But I always did kinda like that song!

jesser 9:13 AM  

Not much time today. The Hobbs trip was much fun, but I'm digging out from being away.

This puzzle made me grin, and I'll tell you why. I'm the Director of Public Information for Doña Ana County, ergo I am a lineman for the county.

Ducking for cover...

Oveapi! (Gotta be the queen bee's ova, que no?) -- jesser

Parshutr 9:17 AM  

@dk...good catch. The word myriad in Attic Greek means precisely 10,000.

Tinbeni 9:23 AM  

EGGS, TOASTers and OJs.
Perfect for my breakfast.

Liked the football theme. I'll get around to watching when baseball season is over.

Was hoping for a Tampa Bay Ray win last night.
Gal-Pal and I were looking forward to seeing the NY Yankees (aka, Evil Empire) here this weekend.

Van55 9:28 AM  

This is the first time I have solved the puzzle on AcrossLite since the codes were eliminated, and I was glad to see Mr. HP.

I didn't love the puzzle, but I didn't hate it at all. Thought it was pretty solid. Loved MYRIAD and CHORTLE. Never heard of CATTACKLE either, but got it with crosses with no difficulty.

Really enjoyed the N. Dak, S.Dak. area.

The Hag 9:30 AM  

Eeee! I thought this one was hard for a Wednesday. As that was unexpected, I enjoyed it. Even the uber-obscure CATTACKLE didn't spoil it for me. CHORTLE made me guffaw. I love portmanteaux.

WICHITALINEMAN (which is actually about a guy who works for the phone company) was a gimmie and also immediately gave me the theme. I remember seeing a blackout sketch with Glen Campbell on some variety show - I think it was The Smothers Brothers - that used that joke. Old Hag is old.

@JaxInL.A. I agree that Mr. Parker is something of a polymath, but finding a funny cat video on the internet isn't really all that difficult. If you google "cat tackle" it's the first thing that comes up along with lots of hits for fishing gear from Jax Cat Tackle (!!!) And you know it's too obscure when you google and get Rex's blog before an actual definition.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:43 AM  

I plowed ahead at medium speed and finished correctly, but had four write-overs along the way, including a couple of silly ones: Actually started writing in STARFISH before I noticed it wouldn't fit; was thinking, "Oh, yeah, sign language," but put in ESL (English as a Second Language!) before ASL (American Sign Language); USS before USN; and, GOAWAY before GOHOME.

And, yes @joho, I had noticed that ATE seems to have shown up an awful lot recently. I'll take your word for it that it has been every day.

The Hag 9:43 AM  

@JaxInL.A.
P.S. Thanks for posting the translation. It makes the video even funnier.

Also, no one's mentioned "One getting an inspiration?" for LUNG, so I will. I chortled.

*captcha is UNTOR - crosswordese for removing a rocky peak*

OldCarFudd 9:47 AM  

Webster's Second Unabridged:

cat tackle. Naut. The tackle used in hoisting an anchor, consisting of the cat block, catfall, and the sheaves in the cathead; - called also cat purchase.

I'd never heard of it, either!

deerfencer 9:50 AM  

All in all a fun puzzle with a pretty cool theme well done.

@ Tinbeni: Sorry about your Rays, who I too was rooting for. Embarrassing way to end what had been a great season. All those bush league errors made me think of a line my old man used to use after debacles like this: "They don't deserve to win." NY/TX should be interesting; love that Benji Molina is in the mix.

chefbea 9:51 AM  

Had to google a bit but was a pretty good puzzle. Knew cat tackle would be WOD..what an awful word.

Loved all the food related stuff and especially toasters!!

And speaking of food here's a great blog. My favorite tubers are written up but not the red ones. Think I'll have to switch to yellow

http://jodiskitchenandhome.blogspot.com/

mac 9:53 AM  

It's not even ten a.m. and I've learned a lot here already, plus played a cat-clip 3 times!

I've only heard starfish used in the U.S., but seastar is just like the Dutch zeester.

I liked this puzzle a lot, although it gave me some resistance, I had to go down the West coast first, then piece together the East.

Pele's shin guard is a soccer clue/answer, not football.

Robin, the batpole user... Only now do I realise it is Batman's Robin.


dinkled!

mitchs 9:53 AM  

@the hag: I really like your new standard for gauging crossword obscurity...

"And you know it's too obscure when you google and get Rex's blog before an actual definition."

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Only with xword wonks will people be more upset about CAT TACKLE than AMEER. It's enugh to make AA and WS CHORTLE....

J. Cousteau 10:08 AM  

Le "starfish"? She is the fish? NON. Pas de tout! She is l'echinoderm. Le SEASTAR is le bon mot. Et voila!

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Any team that lets Benji Molina steal a base deserves to lose.

Jake 10:16 AM  

I got fanboyish with the Glen Campbell clue. It caught my eye early on and I ended up working my way up from it. Turned out to be one of my fastest Wednesdays.

Lindsay 10:21 AM  

Here to contribute positive reinforcement on the theme, though I didn't shift gears too smoothly between humming the Glen Campbell ditty and recognizing the football gimmick.

Like others, I had USS instead of USN, and a big fat Natick in square #9. Rambo? Good grief.

Jim 10:21 AM  

Puzzle skewed old and tedious today. References to: the old Batman series, Glen Campbell, Alice in Wonderland, an old rock 'n' roll club in NY, an old boxer, Pele, The Three Stooges, and a character actor from 25 years ago. Even watching the series 'Rome' was no help, as CASCA was not a (major, if at all) character in that series.

Had problem squares in almost every corner and the NE was a disaster. Thought it was CINqO and the 'dupe' part of the clue was just confusing. Als never could finish the AST_ / NE_P answers. But, mainly, thought it was CUTTY___, since that word is vaguely associated with seafaring types (about the extent of my nautical knowledge). Had USs and uMEER (you said variant, so anything goes!). Put in STREAKY, then took it out after getting CADRE, then just gave up.

Tied to deduce just from the theme but, not being familiar with the song or context, wasn't sure if it was just MAN or LINE-MAN, as in some kind of law enforcement referencw. I'm really bad at seeing themes. It's a real problem for me.

I was felled by the infamous CATTACKLE, as I'm sure were better men (and women) than me.

Cheers!

archaeoprof 10:21 AM  

A country music theme puzzle! I'm taking the rest of the day off.

Ellen 10:31 AM  

Rex, you're mentioned in today's MUG (Manhattan User's Guide) mailing:

http://manhattanusersguide.com/index.php

Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle The '44th Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe' explains it all for you.

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

Wichita Lineman was the first (only?) Glen Campbell song that popped into my head. That got me off to a great start.
I didn't even blink at cat tackle because I rarely know the special vocabulary of sailing.
The Real McCoys is how I remember Crenna. Glad Rex pointed that out.
I wondered if chortle was a L.C. creation. Now I know it is.Funny that it became such a common word.
At shin guard I wondered if our Hawaiian bloggers thought of volcanos before soccar.
Despite a couple of iffy areas I enjoyed this one a lot.
Ole Chile!

chef 10:43 AM  

Cat Tackle? WOW! Anchor Hoist was my first thought.

JaxIn.L.A. 10:51 AM  

@Jim, I agree that the puzzle skewed old. Hey, I got it all easily and I'm over 50. But I have to tell you that Pele was possibly the most famous soccer of the 20th century (futbol fans here will likely have something to say about this). He is Brazilian and but his fame extended even to the attention of non-sports fans like me.

I tell you all this because he shows up in puzzles from time to time. Stick with it.

13 miners safely at the surface now. Amazing.

D. Entendre 10:59 AM  

Cat Tackle (n.) - That which gets removed when you take your tom to the vet.

JaxInL.A. 11:01 AM  

Oops. Pele was a soccer _player_, not just a soc(k)er, who still could be the mistaken boxer. Sorry.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

i had emeer to the bitter end!

SethG 11:53 AM  

I really like LET 'EM, am growing to really dislike ENROL, and had RUBE Gordon and Ginsburg for a while.

The Jabberwockal mention of CHORTLE was its only use in Through The Looking Glass. Too bad the song wasn't WICHITA LINEMEN...

reniekk 11:53 AM  

Cat tackle...what your cat gets removed...ROFLOL..only in Rexville...oooh I'm wheezing..THX d entendre...hoooo

foodie 11:56 AM  

@Ellen and Rex, that is soooo cool!! I love that site. I find their Neighborhood Faves (for restaurants) very helpful. I just think it should be called Nabe's Faves.

@anonymous 11:42, it took me forever to change eMEER to AMEER, even though I am a native speaker, and in fact AMEER is much closer to the correct pronunciation. It's all conditioning.

Mel Ott 12:06 PM  

I enjoyed solving this puzzle despite some the issues identified by others.

The anchor-hoisting equipment on my boat is called a windlass. I've been boating for many years, but I've never heard of CAT TACKLE. Gettable by the crosses unless you want to spell the Mideast guy eMEER, which gives you CeT TACKLE, which seems even more improbable.

I've always called it a starfish myself, but SEA STAR seems to be coming more into vogue and is probably more accurate, since it isn't really a fish.

Copernicus 12:26 PM  

@Mel OTT - Yeah it's not really a fish, but then again, it's not really a star either.

Tinbeni 12:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tinbeni 12:51 PM  

@deerfencer
I'm a New York Yankee fan.

FYI, today is the 50th anniversary of the Bill Mazeroski walk-off Home Run in the 1960 World Series.
Tears ...
(I swear, I'm almost over it. geeze, you outscore the other team 55 to 27 and lose the series 4-3).

The Rays are the local team. Who I do enjoy ... somewhat less.

As for last night, when Benji Molina stole second base (1st steal in 4+ years) I knew it was the BITTER END.

Cathyat40 12:52 PM  

I'm embarrassed that I live with a former NFL OT and I didn't get the theme until I came here!

BigSteve46 1:05 PM  

I see occasional posts to the effect that the puzzles are getting easier over time. I do not, necessarily, think that is the case. They only seem easier as you do them more and more regularly. You tend to remember the xword buzzwords and just kind of get in sync with the puzzle makers. The proof of this - to me, at least - is that if I take a break from the puzzles - even for a long weekend in which I skip the 4 tough ones, upon my return for a few weeks the puzzles seem much more difficult. I I skip 3 or 4 weeks - say for a trip abroad - it takes me even longer to get back in the flow.

I wonder if others have had a similar experience.

hazel 1:11 PM  

I can distinctly remember when I was little seeing Glen Campbell sing this song with a pained look on his face. Today, I was imagining him pining for a girl, the song always had this wistful lonely vibe. It turns out its really about the phone lines themselves. Wow.

"I am a lineman for the county.
And I drive the mainroad.
Lookin' in the sun for another overload.

I hear you singing in the wire. Chorus 1
I can hear you thru the whine.
And the Wichita Lineman,
is still on the line.

I know I need a small vacation.
But it don't look like rain.
And if it snows that stretch down south,
won't ever stand the strain.

And I need you more than want you. Chorus 2
And I want you for all time.
And the Wichita Lineman,
is still on the line."

Jimmy Webb, 1968

This just seems otherworldly in its oddness. On Wiki, it was referred to as "the first existential country song."

So, to the extent that I remember this puzzle at all (no way can CATTACKLE establish a foothold), it will be for something far weirder, but kind of beautiful.

Jim 1:23 PM  

JaxinLA:

I know. I actually had no trouble with the Pele clue, but I was just throwing it in to expand my list a little. Ditto with Ali.

I'm not that young, or ill-informed. It's just frustrating there continues to be a huge gap in my knowledge, and it fells me sometimes. Somewhere in the country music-civil war-military-fine art and literature-Food Network-1960s vortex. But that's not enough to cause me to remedy it.

Cheers!

John V 1:36 PM  

@BigSteve: I find that a) I am in synch with the Times puzzle and editor and b) if I tackle a puzzle from a different editor, I "Will" (pun intended) have problems. Apart from that, I find that, as a rule, Monday thru Wednesday usually go down pretty easily. Thursday and Friday I find idiosyncratic, sometimes dead easy, sometimes DNF. Don't do Saturday or Sunday -- weekends are too busy, unfortunately.

Layoffs don't bother me -- because they just don't happen :)

My perspective -- daily puzzler since 1971 (eeek!)

Sparky 2:38 PM  

Worked this in MD waiting room. Just in for a check up. Missed eMEER CeTTACKLE cross. BITTEREND a gimme for old Villager. Cat video funny then stayed watching several others. Richard Crenna was such a good actor. Gave an authenticity whenever on screen. So many interesting and enjoyable comments today, including Rex, that I can't catch up with the @s. My memory fails me. Have a good day.

PuzzleNut 3:06 PM  

First thought for Ginsburg and Gordon was ALAN (not even sure there is a noted Alan Gordon).
@old hag - also like your definition of obscure. Like your definition of UNTOR even more. Heaven help us when it actually finds its way into a puzzle.

edith b 3:18 PM  

I got AMEER because it was marked var. and was ever so proud of myself when it turned out to be correct. My knowlege of things nautical is limited in the extreme.

I really enjoyed the theme today even with the obscurity of CATTACKLE which may be a function of my having guessed correctly. Being a woman of a certain age - I'm 64 - I did like how this puzzle skewed a little old without being MALESKA-esque. Sort of an older puzzle with a modern vibe.

sanfranman59 4:01 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Wed 12:22, 11:38, 1.06, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:24, 5:44, 1.12, 81%, Challenging

Rube 4:31 PM  

Found this quite easy with only writeovers at RUTHS/alanS, AMEER/eMEER, and CLE/Chi. Always CHORTLE when I see "CC" as most of the young'uns today have never even seen a piece of carbon paper.

Yep, agree this is an oldies puzzle. Only thing I would call pop culture is CRENNA. Not a name with which I'm familiar.

@Parshutr. Thx for the etymology of MYRIAD. Making this my WOTD. (Actually, my etymology OTD, CAT TACKLE indeed!).

Saw CASCA for the first time a while back in a xword. Remembered it. Fie, get thee behind me Alzheimers.

It's a little late @Hazel, but the Braves get a shout out at 46D. "Existential Country Song"... great! Never thought of it that way.

Howl 6:28 PM  

The poet GINSBERG is Allen.

Hank 7:58 PM  

"Wichita Lineman" may be existential, and it is certainly haunting and evocative and beautiful. It is by no stretch of the definition "country."

michael 8:04 PM  

I was wondering what a cet tackle was. Didn't pay attention to that "var."

Squeek the Anonymouse 8:23 PM  

I gotta ask, in the friendliest way, what is the second existential country song? There's more than one?

Hank 9:07 PM  

The greatest existential work in country music is the album "Red Headed Stranger," with "Hands on the Wheel" by Bill Callery, the final song on the album (other than an instrumental coda) being the greatest existential country song.

Squeek the Anonymouse 9:31 PM  

@ Hank, You're not gonna believe this but that CD is on my shelf. Time to dust it off for a new listening attitude. Is that the one where he shoots a woman for reaching for his lost lover's bay horse?

Sfingi 10:01 PM  

This was hard for me for a Wed.

Never heard of SION, CATTACKLE, batpole. Thought V-CHIP was VC-HIP.

Got the sports (!) and the schoolmarm stuff (CHORTLE, CASCA, MYRIAD, LENTO)

Didn't know if the Badlands were in N or S DAK, or where in The South Emory was.

Wanted The Hungry I for The Bitter End; Wanted Alan Ginsburg - but that's Allen Ginsburg, both pronounced differently and with different meaning in Deutsch.
I do know an Alan Gordon - a lawyer for entertainment unions in The City.

Mini-themes besides Anon1237 -
Sources of booze.

Please tell me if it's not too late - What is A.L.Central City and CLE? (I doubt it;s Continuing Legal Education).

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:01, 6:56, 0.87, 7%, Easy
Tue 11:25, 8:57, 1.28, 97%, Challenging
Wed 12:25, 11:38, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:42, 0.92, 19%, Easy
Tue 5:34, 4:37, 1.21, 96%, Challenging
Wed 6:10, 5:44, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Jim 10:07 PM  

Sfingi:

I guess you didn't get ALL the sports stuff. American League Central city: CLE(veland Indians)!

fergus 12:35 AM  

Crap puzzle for me due to two Naticks. Squares 9 and 31.

Okay -- Crap way overstated; a weakness recognized, shall we say?

Waxy in Montreal 2:34 PM  

For those of us of a certain age, the late Richard Crenna will never be remembered as a "Rambo" character but rather as the eternal high school student Walter Denton on "Our Miss Brooks", first on radio and then early TV from 1948-56. Crenna was 30 when the TV series came to an end; don't remember if he ever graduated.

NotalwaysrightBill 5:20 PM  

Syndicated paper puzzler.

I love all the new words I learn from the puzzles and the site and the ones I get to define myself when I post.

Today's captcha: "unbedia": unbowed and disobedient in regard to the general thrust of PC and "conventional wisdom" media opinion about matters.

Yes indeedy, I feel very unbedia about CATTACKLE, 'cause I've got, like, a Lou Reed imaginary nostalgia thing about nautical terms and the bounding main and all that, an itch that'll have to get scratched in a different lifetime, and, anyway, I like the phrase (or word or whatever) and CAPSTAN just didn't fit.

Despite the Chinese roommate's translation, ginger cat should get penalized for roughing the passer.

There are actually a fair number of areas in the US alone that're commonly known as "Badlands," besides the ones in SDAK (which has the Nat'l Park of that name, though) and Wyoming; N Dakota has some and so does Montana, not to mention all the ones in the desert Southwest. And then there're other ones in other countries as well, like the Badlands of Alberta, Canada.

OK, now I've got to find out the name of the daughter/granddaughter on "The Real McCoys": thanks for that . . . .

NotalwaysrightBill 5:52 PM  

Name was "Hassee," so-christened because the family, whilst still in "West Virginny," once got a post card from someone in Tallahassee, FL and they, well, just liked the name.

Other tidbits about the show and its cast:

To date, Walter Brennan is the only actor ever to have won three Best Supporting Actor Oscars.

In the pilot episode, Crenna's character, Luke, was the eldest brother (instead of the father) of Hassee and Little Luke, explained by the narrative that when Little Luke was born, the family forgot that they already had a son named Luke and, well, they just liked the name.

In 1975 Kathleen Nolan (Sugar Babe) became the first female president of SAG and also served a second successive two-year term.

MikeinSTL 8:39 AM  

I agree with Waxy -- Dick CRENNA will always be Walter Denton, although I was a bigger fan of "A Date With Judy" where he played Oogie Pringle (Of Oogie Pringle and His High School Hot-Licks)

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