1969 Tony winner for Promises Promises / SAT 5-12-12 / 1955 Dior debut / Tiropita ingredient / 1989 EPA target / Quintillionth prefix / Kikkoman options / Producer of venom solenopsin

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Constructor: Caleb Madison

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: CRYSTAL SET (28D: Early radio receiver) —
crystal radio receiver, also called a crystal set or cat's whisker receiver, is a very simple radio receiver, popular in the early days of radio. It needs no battery or power source and runs on the power received from radio waves by a long wire antenna. It gets its name from its most important component, known as a crystal detector, originally made with a piece of crystalline mineral such as galena.[1] This component is now called a diode. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not among my favorite puzzles by Mr. Madison, for a couple of reasons. First, there's just less sparkly fill and more awkward stuff like ALTERANT (17A: Change-producing agent) and STENTORS (59A: Their voices really carry). Loved BOB BARR (11D: 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate) and really want to love THIRTY ROCK (since I watch it and all) (31A: Emmy-winning show of 2007, '08 and '09) (not the greatest clue), but no one anywhere ever has written that THIRTY out. Now, writing out numerals is a crossword tradition, so the answer isn't exactly wrong, but instead of inducing a "wow" reaction, it got more of a disappointed sigh (disappointed at myself for not getting it more quickly, disappointed that a marquee answer has this numeral/word issue). The other thing that brought me down, was the SE corner, which just blinded me with stuff I didn't know. I thought the difficulty level was pretty normal for a Saturday, maybe even slightly on the easy side, until I got down there. Never heard of CRYSTAL SET, NATHAN (42D: Annual George Jean ___ Award for Dramatic Criticism), or ATTO- (51D: Quintillionth: Prefix), and since they all crossed the not-so-common STENTORS, that corner Wrecked me. So much so that I started doubting stuff that was obviously right, e.g. U.S.S.R. (52D: Locale in a Beatles title) Having all my ignorance concentrated in that one tiny corner was annoying—more my problem than the puzzle's, I guess, but when the tough stuff is just "???" and not "wow," then I'm left a little disappointed. To be completely fair, my biggest problem down there was my complete inability to see how a third-person singular verb could end -US (50A: Starts to stagnate). Brain just kept going "has to be wrong has to be wrong has to be wrong." When I finally (and I mean finally) got PLATEAUS, I think I may have said "(You) idiot!" aloud to myself. At myself.



Several choice gimmes made this puzzle feel relatively easy at first. Too bad BOB BARR and SOON-YI cross (16A: André and Mia adopted her), because I knew them both instantly (better to have my gimmes spaced out—for maximum traction). Also knew A-LINE DRESS (38A: 1955 Dior debut), which somehow got me all the way into the NW. LEE TIDE off the -DE (4D: It goes whichever way the wind blows) and (more impressively) LYRIST off the -ST (5D: Apollo, for one). Confused AVAST and ABAFT (6D: Sailor's behind), but that didn't last long. Didn't know POLA, but it didn't matter—all her crosses were gettable/inferrable (2D: ___ Debevoise, Marilyn Monroe's "How to Marry a Millionaire" role). Loved GUN FOR HIRE (7D: Piece offer?), which allowed me to get RACIER (26A: More likely to be bowdlerized), which beforehand had just been sitting there as -ER. Loved seeing Jerry ORBACH in the puzzle (20A: 1969 Tony winner for "Promises, Promises")—his son Tony is a frequent crossword constructor and all-around nice guy. Hey ... [Tony winner ...] ... and his son's name is Tony. I just got that. Not that there's anything to get, it's a coincidence, but still: there it is. I got Michael STEELE without any crosses (58A: 2009-11 Republican National Committee chairman)—I know him best from his frequent muppet-form appearances on "The Daily Show." He is Reince Priebus's predecessor (which would've made an interesting clue).


ALAR is often in the puzzle, so I got it off the first "A" (46A: 1989 E.P.A. target) but nearby NINES was not nearly so easy (42A: Nearly flawless bodies?). I had -INES and had to run the alphabet (the only way I got enough crosses to infer NATHAN). FETA and FIRE ANT were just good guesses (40A: Tiropita ingredient + 40D: Producer of the venom solenopsin). Clearly I don't know the key words in either of those clues. And SOYS really feels like its missing its SAUCE (53D: Kikkoman options). Really really feels that way. But getting it wasn't hard, so no harm done. Wish I'd liked this one better, but a flawed Caleb Madison puzzle is still a pretty good thing.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

79 comments:

jae 12:08 AM  

Harder but not as lively as yesterday's.  Easy-medium for me.

Yes, minimizing SPILLAGE is an important drinking issue.

Malapop with LOLA for 2d at first.

Great obscure clue for ENTRE!

I'm a big 30 Rock fan so that was a gimme.

I've seen CRYSTALSET very recently,  BEQ...LATimes??

7d brought Richard Boone to mind.

Anyone else try eyes for 21a.

The name heavy NE looks like it could be tough for some folks plus the same issue with PLATEAUS as Rex.  It was my last entry.

Nice solid Sat. Caleb.

"Winner" Jones 12:18 AM  

Tony Orbach can swear his name is just a coincidence all he wants, but I know a drunken bet when I see one. I got my name when my father took umbrage at someone saying that all of his kids would be losers, just like him. Yeah, old Pops, got the last laugh.

Hey, now that I'm thinking about him, anyone available to give me a lift to Attica from NYC Sunday morning? I'd like to visit him.

BOBBARR 12:20 AM  

@Winner - You think your name is bad, try being an overweight kid and having all your classmates call you Babar the Elephant from kindergarten onwards.

syndy 12:30 AM  

like "Soys" many answers were harder to like than to figure out.HAd the LOLA malapop and went with TENTS for 46d at first but surprizingly easy and remarkably unsatisfying

retired_chemist 12:39 AM  

Enjoyed it. Probably a bit less that Friday's puzzle, but still a ton of fun. More easy-medium here.

1A was UNDERAGE to start, perhaps subconsciously in honor of our constructor's tender years. 2D POLA, and, for that matter, 23D LOLA, were unknowns, the latter being Naticked with LINDT. Guessed right.

I don't get 1D SHAM.

Gimmes: ABAFT, SOON YI, CRYSTAL SET, STENTORS, HANGER, GET ANTSY, and not much else. Had ABEND @ 22A - still think it is a better answer. Ulrich?

Again, quite a range of knowledge expressed in the answers. If Natan and Caleb are intentionally going mano a mano to impress us, may they continue all year. These two puzzles were GOOD.

optionsgeek 3:38 AM  

@BOBBARR:

You old coot. Whatever made you run as libertarian? You should have run on the Crazy Geezer ticket.

Tobias Duncan 3:43 AM  

So cool to see BOBBARR in the grid.Anyone who wanted Ron Paul in the primary should take a good hard look at Taos resident and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson.A more honest human you will not find. So generous with his time that he will stand around talking to adversarial hippie kids until they get bored or are won over.He really is amazing.He has that weird libertarian trait where no matter heated an argument might get, he just calmly explains his position and makes himself understood.

mac 7:15 AM  

Easy in most areas, but Nathan and the plateaus gave me a lot of trouble.

I also started with "under age". Don't know Bob Barr, but with a name like that I had better memorize him. Love stentors and plateaus, and clues for XII, gun for hire and nine. Hope never to see alterant again.

We're leaving for Heathrow in about an hour, and a long flight back to the US. A seasoned traveller friend told me once that she compared intercontinental travel with "staying in bed with a good book". I've got the book!

r.alphbunker 7:39 AM  

The NW gave me a lot of trouble. Putting in "catalyst" instead of ALTERANT was not a catalyst for finishing that corner.

Less confidantly I had SlurrAGE and SlurpAGE instead of SPILLAGE.

Briefly had {Apollo} as a rapIST reasoning that those Greek gods were always impregnating mortals.

Red and rip tides came and went.

A total of 150 incorrect letters had to be corrected to get to the happy ending.

retired_chemist 7:57 AM  

Hand up for CATALYST also. What's a chemist to do?

retired_chemist 8:38 AM  

Mixing up my languages and revealing ignorance - der Mond is the moon, for which NACHT is a fine answer. I was confusing it with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo (The World). Which I presume would more likely be read in the evening (ABEND) than at night (NACHT).

SHAM, however, still mystifies me.

jackj 8:51 AM  

All was well until Caleb went to the moon to find ALTERANT, in the upper left. It sounded familiar enough to suffice as a good guess but had never before seen the light of day in my house.

Which is a backhanded way of saying that the puzzle, absent that petty gripe, was a clever, welcome, challenging piece of work, keeping the Saturday puzzle’s gnarly but fun reputation intact.

Favorites abound but, in choosing just one, it would have to be GUNFORHIRE with TOURNEYS and ISTHATSO pulling down place and show and KIAS, HONEYBUN and NBAGAME (expected it to be team, not game) earning honorable mentions.

Many of the proper nouns like LINDT, STEELE, BOBBARR, (love those double letters), THIRTYROCK and ALINEDRESS came easily, NATHAN and POLA not so much.

Nice puzzle from a Gen Y’er who thankfully didn’t try to overwhelm us with generational flotsam and jetsam.

Thanks, Caleb!

Glimmerglass 8:58 AM  

@chemist: A fast shuffle is a cheating act; so I started with ScAM, but HONEYBUN corrected the H. Although a SHAM is also a cheat, I still think scam is closer. ALTERANT strikes me as a made-up word. NATHAN and the PLATEAUS would be a great name for a band.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:06 AM  

Found this to be a nice, easy puzzle.

Age and interest matter: NATHAN was my first entry.

Hesitated longest at the cross of OCTAVO and ENTRE, but in retrospect the "T" was the only possibility.

joho 9:08 AM  

Unlike @Rex getting PLATEAUS wasn't my "you idiot!" moment but a very satisfying "aha!" I love such unexpected answers like that.

I enjoyed this one as it was just tough enough but definitely doable.

Fun to see that Caleb was able to work in NATHAN and ORBACH!

orangeblossomspecial 9:25 AM  

DNF the entire top third due to underage catalysts, like @retired_chemist, and Oliver in place of ORBACH.

Despite appearing frequently, 23D LOLA is always worth a listen.

Drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee seems to fit 1A SPILLAGE even though I missed it.

Not a whole bunch of songs about 40D, but here is Valaida Snow singing Ants in my pants.

Smitty 9:35 AM  

@jae I didn't have EYES for 21a but I like your answer better :)

Tidy little Saturday with the exception of what @Rex said. Easy to guess your way around the board, even when words didn't make sense, the letters in them did - does that make sense?

Leslie 9:48 AM  

@"Winner" Jones--My brain must be in slow mode this morning. I don't get the irony in the name "Tony Orbach." Oh--because later on he won Tony awards? OK--gotcha.

Liked the relief of finally getting PLATEAUS. Had to eliminate "cons" and "dogs" in favor of PIGS in 50D to see it. HANGER took me a stupidly long time, as did THIRTY ROCK. My favorite corner, and the last to fall, was the NW, with MASTIFFS, HONEYBUN, and LYRIST. I do like that LOLA and POLA are sharing this puzzle.

Nice job, Caleb!

Ulrich 10:04 AM  

The second time in a row that I'm finished with a late-week puzzle early enough to say something that hasn't been said yet--perhaps those young constructors are not so bad for geezers like me after all (I'm 71 as of today)

@retired_chemist: Yes, "the moon" can be "der Mond" in German, but it can also be "des Mondes", "dem Mond(e)", "den Mond" depending on the context in which it appears. In this case it's the direct object of a transitive verb and MUST BE "den Mond". I see no way around it. I mean, "annus" means "year" in Latin, but you would not say "per annus" if you want to say "per year" in Latin, right? You'd say "per annum" because that's what the preposition requires.

Why use the direct German article at all? Why not say simply "...see the Mond"? More generally, do not use noun phrases of highly inflected languages that are not nominatives (i.e., can be inferred from the dictionary) if you do not know the language!

BTW I needed crosses to decide between ABEND (evening) and NACHT (night).

Martin 10:09 AM  

"Soys" is absolutely in the language of Asian cookery. A Chinese recipe might call for "dark soy" and "thick soy." Thai recipes often specify "thin soy." Japanese dishes might use both "dark soy" and "light soy." The word "sauce" would be noise.

Interestingly (to me anyway), the words "soya" and "soy" in English come (via Dutch) from "shoyu," the Japanese word for soy sauce. Dutch traders who brought soybeans to Europe from Japan in the seventeenth century misunderstood the meaning. Soybeans in Japanese are "daizu."

Wood 10:12 AM  

Felt easy, until it didn't. Flew through NE, great plains, SW. Then got seriously hung up on SE (finally fell when I saw PIGS and PLATEAUS), and NW killed me. Had RED TIDE too confidently. Didn't know LEE could apply to tides, but something was definitely wrong up there. Also wanted underAGE but that's an adjective and the clue is for a noun. Had to have the app clear my mistakes. Even after I saw it, ALTERANT crossing SHAM (never heard of "fast shuffle), POLA (never saw the movie) and LYRIST (he played a lyre?) seemed a bit unfair. Well, it's a Saturday after all.

jberg 10:13 AM  

Caleb risks becoming one of those constructors from whom we expect so much that we are disappointed half the time; see @Rex's initial comment. There were a lot of fun answers in this one - I loved A-LINE DRESS, GUN FOR HIRE, TUBING, GET ANTSY, IS THAT SO, XII, etc. I too wanted UNDER AGE at 1A - not so much because Caleb is young, but because it's a cleverer answer.

Because of the under age problem, I had to look up POLA (I mean, Nola sounded just as good to me!), so DNF, or FWG to be charitable. Other writeovers were rockeT before LYRIST, RObo before ROTE, nanO before ATTO (need to learn my Greek numberical prefixes).

I also need to learn all the KIA models, we're bound to see more of them.

@mac - "Nathan and the Plateaus" would make a great band name. I guess that's whay you meant!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:17 AM  

@Ulrich - Submitted for grammatical analysis:

Alles Gutes zum Geburtstag!

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Not a bad puzzle overall.

NW fell first, then very little for quite a while.
Tried to force ISTA into 29D, which implied --EDTO for 36A.
Being a techie, I liked CRYSTALSET, and ENIAC (common CW fodder).

One tends to "reach" PLATEAUS so stagnation was counterintuitive to me.

Last to go was the NW, as I had INTEL for ENIAC and CLOSE for TIGHT. Don't remember BOBBARR. Finally recalled from HS German class that der Mond was the moon and got NACHT. Jerry ORBACH was one of my favorite actors (RIP). From somewhere in the dim recesses came the memory of a stint on Broadway.

LOLA was, if one recalls the lyrics, a MAN not a woman ("...I'm a man, and so is Lola..."), but I got it anyway...

Martin 10:18 AM  

I forgot a soytation:
Dark soy is aged much longer than light soy, giving it a brownish-black color and much thicker texture.

chefbea 10:34 AM  

@Ulrich Happy birthday. Did part of the puzzle but no time to finish. Busy weekend.

richard 10:41 AM  

I had the most trouble with the NW. First, although I actually had an accurate visual of BOB BARR, I could not remember his name for the longest time, but finally got it. Second, I had BRACKETS for 10D, which I actually think is a better answer than TOURNEYS, because the latter seems to be used less frequently than TOURNAMENTS.

JaxInL.A. 10:45 AM  

I saw Jerry Orbach, Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon in the original production of Chicago, and the movie could not possibly top those three. His broadway career was amazing.

Too many obscurities in this puzzle to be fun, though. HTG in every quadrant. I did like FIRE ANT crossing GET ANTSY.

@Ulrich, Happy birthday! The der Mond clue may be wrong, but signaled German so helped me get NACHT.

@Sparky, a while ago I got into the habit of always copying my comment before hitting publish. That way if Blogger does its usual irritating thing, I can just paste. It has saved me hours of frustration.

Hope to see a few of you at today's L.A. Crossword Tournament at Loyola Marymount in the Hilton building. Should be very fun. Gotta go!

r.alphbunker 10:50 AM  

@retired_chemist

Recall that Tuesdays puzzle's theme was adding an H (e.g., best seller became BEST SHELLER). H is the symbol for hydrogen. Can you add or remove an H to/from a molecule to get another kind of molecule? Is there a name for this?

BTW, do you know Harold Petersen who taught Chemistry at URI? I used to work for him.

chefbea 10:57 AM  

Just saw this on yahoo news

http://news.yahoo.com/subversive-newspaper-crossword-stirs-venezuela-170344156.html

Jimmy Swaggart 11:23 AM  

Scratch a Libertarian and you get Jerry Falwell.

hazel 11:30 AM  

This was a toughie for me. Could not for the life of me remember that the Libertarians selected BOBBARR to represent them - and I'm from Georgia!! I still can't believe that hypocritical lunatic was their best option. I used to mute him whenever I saw him on the news.

That Caleb's got a great vocabulary.

hazel 11:31 AM  

P.s. happy birthday, @Ulrich!

Geometricus 11:32 AM  

Hard for me, got the W and SW pretty fast thanks to OCTAVO (I'm directing choir at school this year in addition to teaching math), but the rest was a big flop for me, until I pushed the cheat button and the following errors were highlighted:

stern for ABAFT
palS for ITES
tolD all for SAIDYES
SOONLI for SOONYI
LEEsIDE for LEETIDE

After I got rid of those, THIRTY ROCK became apparent, and the rest the puzzle fell rather quickly. But I haven't felt that helpless in weeks, and have resisted pushing the reveal errors button for the longest streak ever!

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Anyone else bugged by 23D clued as "Woman..."? That song makes it pretty clear that she is no "she" at all.

Sue McC 11:57 AM  

Unsatisfyingly difficult. First answer I could fill in was SOONYI. After slogging through it there wasn't anything to feel fired up about. A long way to go for a Meh.

Torbach 12:32 PM  

A fun puzzle by Caleb! Of course, I liked the confluence of names up in that NE, ORBACH/BOBBARR/SOONYI. Loved HONEYBUN, GUNFORHIRE and many of the less glamorous bits for the clues, like PIGS, FETA, LATTE, LOLA etc. Keeping true to my having the opposite experience of a puzzle from Rex, I knew CRYSTALSET + STENTORS right off - YES!! Take that, Parker!!

Amen, JaxinL.A.: original "Chicago" was fantastic - but FYI, Jerry did love the movie version. Speaking of that and Thirty ("30") Rock, someone had a line in the show recently that they'd seen a version of "Chicago" with George Wendt and Stephanie Powers - I suppose that could have given the originals a run for their money.

@"Winner" - Though I'm with you on the wishful thinking/self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of naming, I was named Anthony after my mother's father so, unfortunately, it really was just a coincidence. I do wish my father was still around, though - but I suppose I can take comfort he's not in Attica!

Tony O.

archaeoprof 1:07 PM  

Fun, quirky puzzle. Agree with @Rex about "30Rock" vs. THIRTYROCK.

@Ulrich: zum Geburtstag viel Glueck!

loren muse smith 1:19 PM  

Happy Birthday, Ulrich!

Thank you, @hazel, @Geometricus, and @Sue McC. I also thought this was really difficult, but I think I have only myself to blame. I DNF by a mile, but upon seeing the entire solution, I’ll call it very fair. Never heard of STENTORS, and ALTERANT was elusive, as was most of the NW.

My initial clockwise foray ended in northern California, where I dispatched all the language clues, was briefly thrilled, and then stalled.

My mysterious “plays out” for PLATEAUS held me up and I confidently had “toys” for SOYS thinking that “Kikkoman” was an offshoot of pokemon.

Slinking off to lick my wounded ego and then. . .prom night. Primping, pictures, posies, posturing, and then the (oh-so-important) post prom party. Pray for me!

Ulrich 1:56 PM  

@Bob K: :-) Seriously, I wouldn't even know where to start.

@all well-wishers: Many thanks! And if it's a consolation to those close to my age bracket: I don't feel like 71, damn it!

joho 2:36 PM  

Hey, @Ulrich, I'm late to your party but still wish you the best of birthdays!

Lewis 2:45 PM  

Learned a new defiinition for SHAM, learned SEADEViL and STENTOR. Needed Google here and there. This puzzle had a quality feel to me -- solid.

jackj 2:55 PM  

Leslie@9:48AM-

Your question about Tony Orbach is best answered by Torbach's comment @12:32PM.

Tony Orbach constructs crosswords and is Jerry's son.

ANON B 3:08 PM  

I still don't know why "nearly
flawless bodies" are "nines".
Help!

chefbea 3:29 PM  

@anon B cuz ten's are perfect!!

jae 3:29 PM  

@ANON B -- Think of the movie Ten. Bo Dereck was flawless. Slightly less flawless would be a NINE.

And best wishes @Ulrich. I'm pushing 70 a I don't feel like it either.

loren muse smith 3:30 PM  

@ ANON B - Bo Derek was a perfect Ten. A NINE would be nearly perfect.

jae 3:32 PM  

Dang. That should be "and I..."

@chefbea -- nice simultaneous post.

ANON B 3:45 PM  

Thanks. I'm not sure I like the
answer. Except for the movie Ten,
I don't think ten is usually
used to rate bodies(the clue said
bodies, not body).
Ten is used to rate diving, gymnastics and possibly other
things I can't think of.

ANON B 3:47 PM  

Thanks. I'm not sure I like the
answer. Except for the movie Ten,
I don't think ten is usually
used to rate bodies(the clue said
bodies, not body).
Ten is used to rate diving, gymnastics and possibly other
things I can't think of.

Sparky 4:13 PM  

Happy Birthday @Ulrich. Enjoy your day. Thanks, @JaxinLA. I'll give it a try again. @JohnV and JenCT have tried to help in the past but I don't seem to get the knack.

Finished most. Missed SPILLAGE and ALTERANT. Had ORBACH and NATHAN; hoped for two others but that would be a theme. I don't think LINDT is gourmet but I am a big chocolate snob. (Will eat any during a real jones.) What show and song is cited? I thought of Damn Yankees. Stentorian voice gave me STENTORS. I really liked it Caleb.

How about those Jeopardy! gals. Comon everybody.

Caleb Madison 4:21 PM  

Thanks everyone for the feedback/comments. I submitted this around a year ago on a challenge from BEQ to write a Manny Nosowsky-esque puzzle. This, (as Deb Amlen reported over on Wordplay) is a classic Nosowsky grid, and one I like a lot. The anti-triple stacks puzzle. Some notable clue changes on Will's part: 1-Across was "Liquid mess". I like Will's much better. 31-Across was "TV show about the fictional sketch-comedy program "The Girlie Show".

And the only change I was sad about, 42-Across from "Fillion of "Firefly"". His clue doesn't seem any less obscure.

I hope Will only puts me back-to-back to Natan forever. It'll be like Mantle and Maris, or George and Lennie from "Of Mice and Men". Just make sure not to take away Natan's rabbit.

--Caleb

Tita 6:03 PM  

Beautiful weather for a long weekend on the Cape is keeping me from puzzling and blogging.
Total elapsed time for this was nearly 18 hours, actual solve time , 55 minutes.

I thought this was a good, tough Saturday, with some fabulous sparkle.

Had SwILLAGE at 1A.

Will need to wait to read all the comments till tonight. Cheerio!

Rex Parker 6:20 PM  

Correspondent just told me the CBS piece I'm in is airing tonight. Like ... now (in 10 min.). They've told me such things before, so I'm not holding my breath. But I am watching.

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

Can someone please explain 3 down -- INTS for some turnovers, abbr.

Stevlb1 6:29 PM  

You kids are better than me. I got it, but I found it CHALLENGING!

chefbea 6:32 PM  

Just turned on CBS. wont watch the rest of golf. Rex is more important!!

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

Rex is actaully on

Rex Parker 6:37 PM  

I'm on. It's true. Daughter saw the intro.

Nauseous.

Drinking.

sanfranman59 6:42 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:41, 6:50, 0.98, 47%, Medium
Tue 8:15, 8:52, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:30, 11:50, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Thu 29:15, 18:59, 1.54, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 150 Thursdays)
Fri 13:48, 24:47, 0.56, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 150 Fridays)
Sat 28:36, 29:30, 0.97, 42%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:40, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 4:43, 4:35, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:05, 5:53, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 17:23, 9:22, 1.86, 100%, Challenging (Highest median solve time of 150 Thursdays)
Fri 6:56, 12:16, 0.57, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 150 Fridays)
Sat 16:37, 16:46, 0.99, 53%, Medium

foodie 6:55 PM  

Darn! Missed it! I hope someone posts it on YouTube!

foodie 6:57 PM  

Oh, it's on now!!!

chefbea 7:00 PM  

Bravo Rex!!! Just watched it. You were/are great!!! A big bunch of beets to you!!

foodie 7:08 PM  

That was terrific! Congratulations, Rex!

LOL re Will, saying he has mixed feelings about this blog... Let's see what that does the hit rate on this blog.

Cheers! You deserve some Champagne and some gourmet chocolate (I recommend Vosges truffles).

Dirigonzo 7:16 PM  

Drat! Too late reading the comments to see the news about Rex being on TV, so I missed it - surely the segment will be posted somewhere soon.

Any puzzle that starts off with a drinking problem (@Tita - I started with SwILLAGE, too!) and a nautical reference (ABAFT) is bound to get my interest and I had a fun time working through this one.

@Anony 6:21PM INTerceptionS are one way possession of the football is turned over to the other team.

See you next week.

Dirigonzo 8:29 PM  

Thank you, @RP, for the link to the CBS News piece on your facebook page. Good job - congratulations on your 15 (there's a decimal point in there somewhere) minutes of fame!

jackj 9:34 PM  

30,000 hits a day? That's impressive and so was the segment.

Congrats 31*.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

Rex's appearance on CBS is here

AnnieD 9:45 PM  

Nice segment, Rex.

Happy b'day @ulrich! Your comment reminded me of a friends bumper sticker: "Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened!"

This was my first DNF puzz in so long! Most frustrating with 2 holes in the NW corner. Rats.

mac 10:18 PM  

Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Ulrich!

Yes, that does sound like a band, Nathan and the plateaus. Sure it shouldn't be plateaux?

@Martin: Soya saus is a staple in most Dutch kitchens/fridges, but it's the thick, sweet Indonesian kind we call ketjap. The lighter and saltier kinds are now around too, of course. I actually know Dutch people who eat rice and pasta more than potatoes!

Rex Parker 10:33 PM  

"*As much as* 30,000 visitors a day"—that's the high end, not the average.

Yes, piece was not bad. "Mixed feelings" is my new favorite phrase.

RP

Rick 11:03 PM  

It seems like there should be quotation marks around the word "Woman" in the clue for LOLA.

Tita 11:03 PM  

@Ulrich...Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!

I liked PLATEUS too...
I had tRansistors for CRYSTALSET, which kept that corner hidden for too long.
Wanted fLATtens before PLATEAUS, so at least was on teh right track.
Wanted to drop in PIGS or sowS at 50D, but the above-mentioned errors wouldn't let me.

OK - now really heading out for dinner and sunset.

@Rex - saw your post on my droid, grabbed my Uverse app, finally found justification for owning such a "smart"phone...was able to tell my home DVR to tape your segment, scant moments before airtime...thank heavens for modern technology!
Will watch when I get home mid-week.

Will Shortz (yes, it's me) 11:03 PM  

Nice job, Rex.

In the interview they did with me, I said mostly nice things about you ... with a quibble or two. They boiled all that down to "I have mixed feelings."

Will Shortz

Tobias Duncan 11:13 PM  

@Will Shortz- that is exactly what I assumed when I saw your soundbite.I would love to see the complete interview.

So neat to see our little corner of the internet on mainstream television.
Nice work Rex.

Rex Parker 11:31 PM  

@Will,

Yes, they left 99% of what I said/did on the cutting room floor too. For instance, they omitted the parts of my teaching where I spoke in complete sentences and made any kind of sense.

Thanks for doing the interview at all. I appreciate it.

MDS

Badir 12:39 PM  

@Caleb. Thanks for a nice puzzle! It was one of my fastest Saturdays, even though other folks had trouble with it.

I think the reason Will changed your (cool) clue for 42D was to avoid using "fire", since FIRE ANT is in the grid.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I really thought WOODY and Mia adopted Soon Yi.

Anonymous 9:49 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:17 AM
LOLA was, if one recalls the lyrics, a MAN not a woman ("...I'm a man, and so is Lola...")

Well, yes and no. We all know the song is about a drag queen but the lyrics are brilliantly ambiguous. Particularly that line, which is: "I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola"

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