Mingo player 1960s TV / FRI 10-29-10 / Longtime enemy Wonder Woman / Quaint humilator / Locale for Olivier Award winner

Friday, October 29, 2010

Constructor: Barry Boone

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: BREMEN (44D: State surrounded by Lower Saxony) —

The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen, pronounced [ˈbʁeːmən]) is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen ('State of Bremen'). // The state of Bremen consists of two separated enclaves: Bremen, officially the 'City' (Stadtgemeinde Bremen) which is the state capital, and the city of Bremerhaven (Stadt Bremerhaven). Both are located on the River Weser; Bremerhaven is further downstream and serves as a North Sea harbour (the name means "Bremen's harbour"). Both cities are completely surrounded by the neighbouring State of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). The two cities are the only administrative subdivisions the state has. (wikipedia)
• • •

Liked this one OK. It has some fantastic mid-range answers (which, in this puzzle, are the longest answers), especially NUDE BOMB, which is a jolt from my childhood (54A: 1980 Maxwell Smart film, with "The"). Also really enjoyed FLEA BAG (40D: No posh hotel), DUNCE CAP (36D: Quaint humiliator), and the two-part BICYCLE / STAND (7D: With 6-Down, common sight outside a school building). The grid shape feels very ordinary, very common, like it was lifted right out of some generic themeless template. Its structure allows for words of only 8 letters or shorter—hence, a lot of tired, shortish stuff. High-end crosswordese like ORLE (46A: Shield border) and DENEB (45A: Star in the Swan constellation) and XIAN (23A: Capital of Shaanx province) and EXOCET (15A: Missile that sank a British destroyer in the Falklands War) rubs elbows with low-end crosswordese like INCAS and ACRO and AMO and DELE. Answers like LALALA, RESODS, SOLIDER, and NASTASE (24D: The court's Bucharest Buffoon) don't do much to endear the puzzle to me either. The puzzle is redeemed somewhat in the clues, many of which are quite clever. But I like my themelesses with somewhat more sizzly fill than this one provided. Did this one in 7-something, which is fast, but not record-fast. Didn't encounter any significant trouble. AVOCET for EXOCET started me off a little wobbly, and BREMEN was a complete unknown to me, but everything else went in fairly easily.



There's an interesting array of pop culture clues in this puzzle—I did not know the 10D: Longtime enemy of Wonder Woman (ARES), but the answer makes sense, given the classical context of her origins (e.g. I know WW worships Athena ... who, coincidentally, my daughter is dressing up as for Halloween this year). "Sk8er BOI" (50A: "Sk8er ___" (2002 top 10 hit)) I know just 'cause, and it was reinforced in my brain when it was mentioned recently on the (fabulous) podcast "The Bugle" (John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman). Avril Lavigne (the singer of "Sk8er BOI") is, for reasons too complicated and ridiculous to get into, part of a running joke on the podcast. I don't know who Mingo is (8D: Mingo player of 1960s TV), but I am vaguely familiar with the actor ED AMES (entirely because of crosswords). Looks like Mingo was the "American Indian friend" of Daniel Boone in the eponymous '60s TV series. Sounds like an evil space emperor, but I think I have him confused with Ming the Merciless and/or Mungo Jerry.



Bullets:
  • 31A: Company at the forefront of the dot-com boom (NETSCAPE) — Yes, I remember their browser well. '90s!
  • 44A: Club cousin (BLT) — sandwich, not card suit.
  • 51A: Locale for an Olivier Award winner (THEATRE) — no idea what to do with this one, but answer was fairly easy to infer—got TROUPE first (42D: 51-Across unit), oddly enough.
  • 9D: Sawyer's successor in Chicago (DALEY) — never heard of Sawyer, but Chicago-to-DALEY is a pretty easy move.
  • 11D: Discipline symbolized by a painted circle (ZEN) — don't think I knew that. Had the "Z" so getting the answer was easy anyway.
  • 12D: Style associated with washboards (ZYDECO) — off the -CO, actually wrote in ROCOCO.
  • 51D: Alternative to a carpet lift (T-BAR) — wow, never heard of a "carpet lift." It's essentially a conveyor belt. They didn't have these where I skied as a kid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. One of my own crossword puzzles is featured today at Brendan Emmett Quigley's (fabulous) crossword site. Kindly check it out.

P.P.S. This made me laugh (contains profanity)


P.P.P.S. Back in September, I designed a puzzle for tomorrow. You can get it here (as .puz file or printable .pdf), or print it out below.

The Washington Brawl

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

63 comments:

Anonymous 12:58 AM  

In your write-up, you note "THEATER" as the answer to 51A, although -- as per the grid -- today's puzzle uses the British spelling.

andrea ablaze michaels 1:19 AM  

LALALA I can't hear you!
Reminded me of the Nacho cheese commercials...

Lots of Zs finally helped me change ENERvatE to ENERGIZE which is probably the opposite of enervate anyway, right?

DUNCECAP and CCUP looked like a mini-theme struggling to come to life but then remembered it was a Friday.

Ironically, SOLIDER seems the least solid entry in the grid.

This puzzle will have lots for the inner-12 yr olds to love, between NUDEBOMB, CCUP, illicit soundalike ELICIT and even ELIDES starts to sound pervy.

GESTAPO nevermind the cringe -factor seemed to need more of an adjectival ending...GESTAPO-esque?
Gestapal? GESTAPOlicicious?

jae 3:46 AM  

Yeah, pretty good puzzle. Easy for me also except for SW which I had to stare at for a while (probably longer than 7 min.). RISKY for DICEY and SITIN for SITAT also slowed me down. It's too late for me to start looking things up but I think EDAMES did a tomahawk throw on the Carson show that is pretty much an iconic American moment.

Anonymous 5:50 AM  

ED AMES is still around. He is the Indian chief in the David Zucker spoof on Barbara Boxer asking the general to call her Senator instead of maam because she worked so hard for the title....

Ed Ames 7:59 AM  

SOLIDER? Give me a break. I got it, but it didn't taste good

joho 8:08 AM  

@jae ... The first thing I thought of when filling in EDAMES was that tomahawk throw on the Carson show. That has to be his most famous "scene."

I have to agree with @andrea ablaze michaels that SOLIDER is the shakiest answer in the grid.

4 Zs, 4 Us, 2 Xs and 2 Ys were nice.

This wasn't the solidest Friday ever but definitely solid. I enjoyed it.

Vega 8:58 AM  

Just one thing: chai means tea. So CHAITEA is tea tea. If you add masala to chai, it becomes masala chai, or masala tea.

That said, strictly speaking, I suppose CHAITEA is, in fact, a latte alternative, insofar as when you go to an American coffee shop, it's up there on the menu.

There, I feel better.

glimmerglass 9:00 AM  

I enjoyed this, but didn't find it easy. Had a lot of trouble with the SW. Didn't recognize the Olivier award, but eventually worked around to the idea that it has to be British theater (hence the spellings of theatre and troupe). Never heard of Sk8erboi or The Nude Bomb. "Be strong" could have been a half dozen other phrases, and "open area" didn't hit me without crosses. I had "fly trap" for the hotel. Eventually worked it through from "orle," which is familiar crosswordese, and "hobnob."
Loved the clever clues elewhere.

Conrad Hilton 9:37 AM  

Technically, they're bed bugs, not fleas. And now they're everywhere, from my hotels to the lowliest hostelry. Damn!

PuzzleNut 9:46 AM  

I liked this one a lot. Perfect level of difficulty for me. Started in the NW pretty strong. Had the avOCET problem, but recalled a lengthy write-up by Rex discussing this and fairly quickly fixed that problem.
After that, I found a few gimmee's here and there, but scratched my head over a lot of empty grid. After a while, though, I'd reach the critical point in each corner where the rest fell quite easily.
In hindsight, the puzzle doesn't look that intimidating, but it made for a very enjoyable morning solve.

foodie 9:48 AM  

@Vega, thank you. Exactly, that CHAITEA business makes me crazy. I grew up drinking CHAI, and that was simply tea... feels so redundantly redundant. I too feel better :)

While we're on meanings: DENEB means tail, in all its connotations...

And while we're being anatomical (and resonating with Andrea's inner 12 year old), I had the NUDE BOOB for quite a long time. I thought: How did I miss that one?

That's all the news that's fit to print...

Agree with Easy/Medium and some fun moments.

KooKooKaChoo 9:51 AM  

I think I'll be Mungo Jerry for Halloween...now where to get those awesome boots?

Loved Lalala and bedazzle. Superquick start, but sw did me in. DNF.

jesser 10:07 AM  

I fairly screamed through the top half and came to a Complete Halt in the south.

For the first time in a long time, I had to consult Dr. Google to get a toe hold down there with the NUDE BOMB. (I think I was not alone, as Rex's blog is the top result.) That gave me everything I needed to clear up that corner, but because I spelled THEATer the right way, instead of the metric way, that Keats quote was spectacularly hidden. Back to Dr. Google, and once again, the clarity came and the sector fell.

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend! I'll be Lurching about from party to party HOBNOBbing with the goblins and ghouls!

Kintn! (Honey, I think your cat ate a Scrabble tile.) -- jesser

Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 AM  

Agree with several above: SOLIDER?

Otherwise, a good Friday.

Jim 10:16 AM  

Andrea: yeah, enervate means annoy, although likely above the head of a Sk8er Boi.

Speaking of over one's head, started out fast (for me) with the whole top half, then was scattered through the rest. I accept that the SW was not going to happen for me with SCANT crossing ????T as my only entre and not well-honed enough crosswordese to do much else there. That (still) happens.

The SE, however, is another story: had -HOPE and convinced myself aHOPe was one of those a-words (astir, athrob...alove?). Where do they get off using a quote w no reference in the clue? I call foul. I woulda got IDLED. I really woulda!!

And SOLIDER...again, the clue seems horseshit here, but I'll be willing to be told otherwise by you fine folks. Shouldn't it be not AS tenuous? Or could the reading of 'SO' here be so loose as to be a comparison? If so, one of the all-time tricks for trickery's sake! (Happy Halloween, right?)

And RASPED...that clue...oy. Gimme a ? Or a , maybe or a , say or...better yet, just gimme an easier clue! Lol

Anyway, compliments to Mr Boone for a tough, solid puzzle overall that has me wearing a DUNCECAP.

Jim 10:35 AM  

Dammit!! Doesnt mean annoy. Means weaken. What am I thinking of? Sorry.

JayWalker 10:40 AM  

Unlike others, I whizzed thru the south and slogged thru the north, east and west. Nonetheless, had a perfectly fun time with the entire experience. It took quite a while for me to "get" the fact that "x's" and "z's" were playing an important part in the exercise. Once I got that, things like "bedazzle" and "exocet" finally fell and I finished the top. I sort of agree about "solider" but - come on - lighten up. This is a really good puzzle with the perfect degree of difficulty and fun for a Friday.

David L 10:43 AM  

Cruised through most of this but like others slowed to a crawl in the SW. Had FLEAPIT for a long time, toggled back and forth on ATEST and NTEST before thinking of H, ORLE was new to me, never heard of NUDEBOMB (a Maxwell Smart porno?), didn't know what a carpet lift was so eventually got TBAR from crosses, etc etc.

Ended up on the hard side of medium for me. But fair enough for a Friday. (Also, RASPED was a stretch. Is the idea that all Mafia bosses growl and mumble in a barely audible way, because that's how Brando did it? I seem to recall reading somewhere that Capone had a squeaky little voice -- probably why he was so mean).

Two Ponies 10:53 AM  

Big bowl of sour grapes for this solver. The SW did me in. Never in a million years would I get Boi.
We are turning into a nation of illiterate fools. Thoro and boi in the same grid.
The redundant chai tea grates me just as PIN number does.

Lindsay 10:54 AM  

No real problems, but like @jae, @glimmerglass et al. lost momentum in the SW. Nude Bomb is new to me too.

Isn't the not-posh hotel a flea TRAP? A flea BAG is an animal. Like the animal lying under my computer table pulling polyester batting out of a squeak toy.

Martin 11:15 AM  

Two Ponies,

The spelling of "boi" carries meaning. It implies an androgynous beauty and maybe more.

Two Ponies 11:29 AM  

@ Martin, Thank you, that was interesting. I have some transgender friends but that one is new to me. Besides, as soon as I saw the 8 in the clue my eyes glazed over and rolled back into my head.
It is the reduction of our lovely crazy language to the lowest common denominator that allows texting and personalized license plates to become the norm that both saddens and annoys me.

mmorgan 11:34 AM  

Enjoyed the workout and made slow but steady progress throughout. Loved LALALA and the clues for SOLO ACTS and CALENDAR. I have no idea how I found EXOCET in my brain. (I guess I've spent enough time in Argentina to pick up a few things about La Guerra de Las Malvinas.)

But I BOMBed (though not in the nude) in the SW, where things came to a screeching halt, despite having everything else. Oh well.

@andrea ablaze: for the inner 12-year olds, my captcha is UNDES.

The Big E 11:39 AM  

I had a little bit of a problem with "stuff," as to load up (like a car) does not imply you are stuffing it. I can load up the car with my four suitcases, still have a lot of room, and hence not have it be "stuffed."
Kept wanting "cram up" or something like that.

dk 11:42 AM  

Favorite fairy tale: 4 Musicians of 44D

Epic fail on crossword 101 word ORLE and for 61A I keep thinking of a device for a guitar.

Aside from my errors in thought and fill, a fine Friday puzzle.

*** (3 Stars) Several 3 stars in a row, tomorrows constructor will get it but good.

Moonchild 11:45 AM  

There was so much today that was off my radar screen that I can't say I enjoyed this one.
I did not fall for the misdirections but that was not enough to save me.
I wanted 7A to be some form of seduction.
Is there no end to the Elba trivia?
Man, that Jerry Mungo is one ugly dude. I have always hated that song. The lyrics that make me cringe are "If her daddy's rich take her out for a meal, if her daddy's poor just do what you feel." Scumbag (or fleabag)

Mel Ott 11:46 AM  

I slowed down for awhile in the E because I clearly remember taking my morning walks through the campus of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., while in town for a conference. I guess there is a similarly named school in IDA.

Didn't we have Exocet in a puzzle just a few weeks ago?

Masked and Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Engine light was startin' to flicker early, when I started out the puz with RESODS crossin' OCA. But, hey, they got me in the front door. Then really sailed thru this puppy smoothly, except for some poor guessin' in the SE. Flamed out with 48-D=DREAd, 61-A=dAmPED. [Don't capos damp the sound on guitars, or somethin'?]

'Course, if I knew any *#@ French, 57-D=ILM woulda sent out warnin' sirens. But don't know much, so . . .

Joho has already kindly tallied the U's, thx, so my work here is done. Happy Halloween eve eve, folks. And thxx for the extra puzzes, 44!

Hi-Yo, Exocet Nudebomb, away . . .

ArtLvr 12:30 PM  

Somewhat tough Friday here, having to take XIAN, ZYDECO and BOI on faith in the crosses, but I got it okay in the end.

BREMEN is pivotal in an excellent mystery story "A Shark out of Water" by Emma Latham, involving sabotage in the fog of the Kiel Canal (major link between ports of the North Sea and Baltic Sea)...

∑;)

reniekk 12:31 PM  

Solider is not a word...more solid would at least stand a chance of being thought of..causes of breakdowns is just cruel..Star in the constellations Swan is just silly...there must be hundreds...even after coming here for the odd hint (which I am not above) I still don't get a good 3/4 of the puzzle. Sucked all the fun out of my experience..it does occur occasionally that some puzzles are just a bit too clever by half...Brit husband did'nt even participate after he saw how cranky it was making me. DNF..phooey! Thoro? Gestapo? Where's Will when we need him?...yes, and the Elba saga...

Martin 1:07 PM  

Yes, there are hundreds of stars in Cygnus, but Deneb is the only one you're likely to find in a crossword. Today was its 21st appearance in Times/Shortz puzzles! It's not only the brightest star in the constellation, but one of the brightest in the sky. It's one of the three stars that comprise the Summer Triangle, the meta-constellation that is often the first thing taught to young stargazers. You might as well commit it to memory.

miriam b 1:11 PM  

@Vega, @foodie -

I too called foul on CHAITEA, as I grew up drinking чай too. In Russian, of course, it means simply tea, without additives.

donkos 1:15 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle - for a Friday it was gratifying just to finish but the cluing was quirky in a fun way. Loved "April Shower", "Causes of breakdowns" and "Ones with the motto 'One for the road'.

Didn't care for "Solider" as an answer though - does anyone really use this word?

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Surprised no one has mentioned Ed Ames' other talent--besides acting (Mingo) and tomahawk-throwing. He was a member of the Ames Brothers singing group of the 1950s. "Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" is only title that comes to mind, but they were fairly popular, as I recall.

Lookup Guy 1:45 PM  

Rare but not "uncited" ;)

Definition from Wiktionary:

Solider [adj]

1.Comparative form of solid: more solid.

That's the only "dictionary" where I could find it, most assume it's a typo for soldier.

william e emba 2:08 PM  

I see people objecting to SOLIDER. Well, I looked it up in the OED, and there it is, a mighty fine quotation under the word "languaged":

2006 Federal News Service (Nexis) 26 Apr., That's the kind of skill set we need in today's armed forces--a more mature, a more languaged, culturally-aware SOLIDER, a more technically-competent soldier.

BOI oh BOI, some of you just aren't languaged THOROly enough.

chefbea 2:23 PM  

Tough puzzle. Googled and still DNF

Now to try my hand at Rex's two puzzles

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

A Capo (capo-talized) di tutti capi is a Mafia "Boss of all bosses". You capitalize it if you want your knees to remain intact. A guitar capo changes the key by clamping all strings to a new fret, not a damper of any kind.

Got NUDEBOMB first and FLEABAG shortly after.

Solider is "eh", thoro is "ugh".

I'm never happy with english spelling of chinese words. Shaanxi and Xian are garbage words. Both x's are pronounced as "zh". Why not write them that way? Even a J would be closer than an X.

I'm old enough to remember seeing Ed Ames as Mingo, and I've seen replays of the tomahawk incident on the Tonight Show.

The Swan constellation is Cygnus. It consists of 9 stars.

Spoiler 3:03 PM  

@Chefbea - Why bother with Rex's puzzles, as we were just treated to a significant portion the solution to one?

sanfranman59 3:36 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)

Fri 22:32, 26:17, 0.86, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:52, 12:49, 0.85, 24%, Easy-Medium

Clark 4:14 PM  

The Town Musicians of Bremen. It's an important detail of this story that the animals set out for BREMEN because it was a free city.

So that's who Mungo Jerry is. My oldest sister had a boy friend named Jerry back in the day, and his nickname was Mungo Jerry. Now I know.

I figure that any one or two syllable adjective can be put into the comparative form with -er. You don't need a dictionary entry to confirm it. You would need to cite a source that explicitly disconfirms it.

The Big E 4:17 PM  

@Clark - the "original" Mungo Jerry was actually "Mungojerrie" and was a character in T.S. Eliot's book that inspired the musical "Cats," and is himself a character in the musical!
Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer.

Martin 4:34 PM  

@Anonymous 2:49,

"Constellation" can mean a lot of things. The astronomical definition is a named portion of the sky and all its contents. Think of it as a "country." All constellations contain uncounted billions of stars because if you look deep enough you will find galaxies that add hundreds of billions each to the count.

Another measure might be the asterism, or imagined celestial picture that gives the constellation its name. Even here, I would expect a higher count of constituent stars than 9.

Usually, we talk about the significant stars within the constellation's "real estate." By this measure there are hundreds in Cygnus.

Abbreviation Police 5:00 PM  

Even on Friday, BLT should be clued as an abbreviation!

Martin 5:06 PM  

BLT is not an abbreviation. It's an initialism. I won't repeat my comment from yesterday on this subject but if you say it like you read it, it's not an abbreviation. "Fri." is an abbreviation (you say "Friday"). TGIF is not.

Of course, you're free to disagree with the definitions of abbreviation, initialism and acronym (there is a lot of overlap and disagreement about the boundaries). But Will Shortz has stated this rule so there's not much use arguing with the clues that conform to it.

foodie 5:06 PM  

Re "SOLIDER" which definitely gave me pause: Long, long ago, in a land far far away...the Irish nun who taught me English drilled into us some rules about when you add an ER at the end of an adjective and when it's not allowed. In general, I know that one syllable gets ER, three syllables hardly ever does, but I remain confused about 2 syllables. I mean I know it by ear, and I don't go around saying SOLIDER when I language :), but is there a rule for two syllables? I don't even know how to search it. Mr. Look Up Guy?

The Terracotta Army in XIAN is the most amazing sight ever. At least on a par with the Pyramids and Petra. Stunning to me was the fact that we had no idea they existed until the mid 1970's. I saw them in the mid 1980's and had barely heard of them-- which made it a breathtaking experience. There are many reasons I'd love to go back to China, and seeing them again is way up there.

Look Up Guy 6:09 PM  

@Foodie

The consensus of several sites on
The Rules for using Comparative Adjectives:

"More" or "less" is used for adjectives that have 2 syllables, if the word doesn't end in -y.

Adjectives that end in -y, change the -y to i and add -ed [sic] --- I assume they mean -er.

It seems "solider" ain't good grammar ;)

Click Here for more

your average blank 6:42 PM  

mingo, mungo, and mongo. i guess i am the only one who confused mongo with mingo and put it karras for ed ames

Anonymous 6:44 PM  

The Colbert march to keep fear alive has been cancelled due to permit difficulties so he will share the stage with Stewart in his rally to restore sanity. The prior NYT puzzle about tomorrow is now erroneous history and a collector's item. Is Rex's also? The fickled finger of fate has struck again....

Jesse 6:54 PM  

I loved the cat vs. printer video.

Shamik 7:01 PM  

Good grief! Solved it, but it was one of the most challenging Friday's I've ever done. Don't understand why! Not hung over. Got enough sleep. Yeesh!!!! Won't even post my 36:40 time to show how long it took. Haha.

Thank goodness for Cat v. Printer

donkos 7:03 PM  

Just did Rex's puzzle.

I was fascinated to see if one of the best solvers in the world would also be one of the best constructors.

Sorry to see that Rex landed the 10/3010 clues in the same week as the NY Times - but then again I'm a fan of both artists so not so bad!

Interesting that 9% of the puzzle was abbreviations or elisions - wonder how that compares to the average constructor?

Loved the duality of "Type of Pad" - great cluing.

Didn't care fore the cluing at 57 across, somehow it crosses a word line for me.

All the same, thank you Rex!!! I've been looking forward to this puzzle for weeks - congratulations and keep on constructin'!

Not Exactly 7:53 PM  

@Anon 6:44p

Actually, the two rallies were combined about 2 weeks ago on Stewart's show (admittedly, due to Colbert's permit turndown).

It was renamed "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear".

From a recent promo piece:

Are you sane and/or afraid? Do you wish there was a way to express your reasonableness and/or dread in a large public gathering of likeminded citizens? Well now there is and/or is. Join Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert to call on America to take it down a notch and/or spread terror the likes of which the world has never seen before. It's the sane and/or truthy thing to do.

P>G>

fergus 8:46 PM  

HOBNOB was the toughest for me to extract. Stuck on A- or N-TEST, and failed Crosswordese for the Shield border. That corner ruined what I thought was going to be an ace hunch solve. Colorful grid, with mostly good Clues. Like for Andrea, GESTAPO seemed adjectively misstated (among other things), so maybe our German speakers can tell us whether that dreaded unit can also function in a way besides the brutal noun?

Ulrich 10:08 PM  

@Clark: The Town Musicians of Bremen is one of my favorite Grimm tales--there's a sly humor permeating it (which may not come through in translation), and talking animals are always great in the tales. So, when I put down Bremen (the gimmie that got me started), I thought, couldn't they have used a less prosaic clue for the city/state? I mean, Lower Saxony is famous for having nothing famous going for it (if you don't count that it surrounds Bremen):-)

mac 10:08 PM  

Busy, busy day and evening, but I did do the puzzle this morning, and liked it a lot! Also stumbled over "solider" but it wasn't a great distraction. Certainly liked a lot of the clues, and was helped by "bedazzle", "lalala", "open area" and "theatre" coming to me without crosses. A little help in most quadrants, and a great help to get exocet and zydeco. Best "aha" moment was gestapo, although I agree it doesn't fit smoothly with the clue.

Just realized I put salt into the bean soup before the beans are done. Now it's going to take a long, long time.....

Too good not to mention: diedawn

Ulrich 11:06 PM  

Forgot to comment on GESTAPO used as an adjective: In German, no. In English, yes, since basically every noun can be used as an adjective. BTW GESTAPO is an abbreviation--it means GEheime STAatsPOlizei (Secret State Police)

sanfranman59 11:17 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 7:31, 6:57, 1.08, 81%, Challenging
Tue 9:17, 8:56, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 12:45, 11:44, 1.09, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:42, 18:57, 0.72, 7%, Easy
Fri 23:07, 26:17, 0.88, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:42, 1.00, 51%, Medium
Tue 4:41, 4:36, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:00, 5:46, 1.04, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 6:29, 9:06, 0.71, 6%, Easy
Fri 10:36, 12:49, 0.83, 24%, Easy-Medium

NotalwaysrightBill 12:57 PM  

Syndicated paper solver.

NW fell pretty quickly, despite the fact that the clue for 3D doesn't ELICIT SOLOACTS for me.

Feel like there should be some xwords rule where abbreviations/acronyms/initializations etc. are not acceptable being clued as such if a perfectly good word for an answer (like 55D "Apnea diagnoser, briefly"=ENT) can be clued as a word instead.

Spent what I thought was a THOROly appropriate amount of time trying to imagine lingerie that has no CCUPish component; all it produced was me failing the Stop-Being-Such-a-Twelve-Year-Old course worse and worse, first a C, then a D, then F. Go ahead and give me that DUNCECAP, guess I'm just going to have to wear it. Better yet, howsabout two? HEEHEEHEE.

captcha: creono: reaction when you're Louisiana'd out for awhile but here comes another ZYDECO song

Mark J 1:53 PM  

SOLIDER. (?) Ugh. I considered the possibility and quickly said "No way. No self-respecting puzzle writer would do that!" I was wrong.

I also had ELIXIR for "extract" which, with an empty lead where the "R" from SOLIDER was absent, sent me off-course with DETOURED for "responded to a crash." But that forced a conflict with EGO, and I feared that I had gone astray.

The entire section between DREAR, RASPED, REBOOTED and (ugh) SOLIDER gave me fits. Had alternate possibilities based on the THEATER/THEATRE dilemma, and the "D" in TREAD/DREAR was the only thing I was certain I could pivot off of.

Ed Ames is/was also a singer, having toured with his siblings as The Ames Brothers prior to and during his acting days. His Mingo was somewhat like a Daniel Boone version of Tonto, albeit with more autonomy.

Oh, and did I mention how much I hate SOLIDER?

Dirigonzo 5:32 PM  

I was a little disappointed when the continuing Halloween theme I was anticipating didn't materialize, but I guess any time I can charm the pants off someone and get a look at her CCUPS my inner 12-year old is happy (sorry - that just slipped out.) Had all the difficulties discussed by everybody else plus a few of my own but still finished without help, so all in all I had a good time (in terms of enjoyment, not speed)with this puzzle.

I'm lobbying the editor of my local paper, which does not publish on Saturday, to print the Saturday puzzle in its Friday edition but no success so far, so I'll be back on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

Randy Chong 6:01 PM  

To me, solider is like saying gooder. My favorite clue was April shower, because of course I was reading it with a "short o" sound instead of a "long o" sound. I also had H-bomb, instead of H-TEST which made bROUPE a WTF? I too wanted seduces or seduction (neither of which has the right number of letters) for "charms the pants off".

Anonymous 4:15 PM  

Didn't like this one... just an average lame Friday...

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