Seinfeld holiday that begins with airing of grievances / SAT 9-22-12 / Short-billed marsh bird / One caught on grainy film / Show set in outer-outer borough of New York / Dodgers manager before Mattingly / Defendant in much-publicized 1920s trial

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: NGO Dinh Diem (48A: Vietnam's ___ Dinh Diem) —

Ngô Đình Diệm (January 1901 – 2 November 1963) was the first president of South Vietnam (1955–1963). In the wake of the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the1954 Geneva Accords, Diệm led the effort to create the Republic of Vietnam. Accruing considerable U.S. support due to his staunch anti-Communism, he achieved victory in a 1955 plebiscite, which was fraudulent.
Roman Catholic, Diệm pursued biased and religiously oppressive policies against the Republic's Montagnard natives and its Buddhist majority that were met with protests, epitomized in Malcolm Browne's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the self-immolation of Buddhist monkThích Quảng Đức in 1963. Amid religious protests that garnered worldwide attention, Diệm lost the backing of his U.S. patrons and was assassinated, along with his brother, Ngô Đình Nhu byNguyễn Văn Nhung, the aide of ARVN General Dương Văn Minh on 2 November 1963, during acoup d'état that deposed his government. (wikipedia)
• • •

A clean little 72-worder (maximum word count for themelesses). Reasonably entertaining, but not thrilling. The odd thing about this puzzle, for me, was that it was extremely easy in parts, and then quite hard in others. This strange unevenness manifested itself in my slicing clean through the puzzle from NW to SE, with hardly a hesitation. SEMI to INNER to NOT SO HOT to TWIT to TORRE (51D: Dodgers manager before Mattingly). That's a long unbroken string, for a Saturday. So it was easy from NW to SE, but the chunks on the sides were harder, and then the stupid little throwaway sections in the NE and SW ended up being the hardest. Not painfully hard, just hardish. Or maybe they just felt that way because my expectation was that they'd just fall and they didn't Maybe those central chunks were actually more time-consuming. They are bigger, after all. Whatever. The difficulty level was highly uneven, and the pattern of that unevenness was curious to me.

FESTIVUS was a massive gimme, not least because it was in the puzzle some time in the past month (1A: "Seinfeld" holiday that begins with the Airing of Grievances). Having a nice long gimme at 1A gave me a nice push start into the grid. But I had trouble when it came to getting the two long Downs that connect middle to top in the NE and middle to bottom in the SW. SISTER- came easily enough, and I eventually worked out HOOD (after I worked my way around the CRANE-for-CRAKE fiasco) (40A: Short-billed marsh bird), but SASQUATCH took a bit longer (37A: One "caught" on grainy film), and it was only with that "Q" that I was able to move up into the NE via "AVENUE Q" (9D: Show set in an "outer-outer borough" of New York). The FIRE part of FIRE TRUCK took some work to bring into view (10D: What comes out when things go up?). The west part of the grid featured several missteps, including the giant misstep, PARK BENCH. Seemed a reasonable, if slightly strange, answer for 41A: What a construction worker may bolt down (SACK LUNCH). I also had NCO instead of YEO, which is odd, because what I *meant* to write in was CPO (still wrong, but more understandable, I think) (47A: Naval petty officer, briefly). In the SW, I had FATTED for 58A: Like some turkeys and geese, to cooks (BASTED), which made me doubt IT GIRL, even though that's what I wanted from the start (63A: Young celebrity socialite). Thought briefly that ---RAY might be BLU-RAY, but couldn't make the clue fit no matter how hard I tried (65A: Holder in front of a tube => TV TRAY).

Bullets:
  • 17A: 25-Across-interrupting cry ("GET A ROOM!") — best answer in the grid, and I knew even before I looked at the clue or how many letters were involved that PDA would be the answer at 25-Across.
  • 44A: Summer threshold? (SCREEN DOOR) — great clue. Confused me badly. I had the DOOR part and all I could think of was "Autumn's ... door?"
  • 61A: Genre for Iggy Pop (PUNK ROCK) — great fill. Easy clue.
  • 7D: Japanese vegetable (UDO) — not a crossword staple, but definitely on the crossword menu from time to time. A delicacy. Except delicacies are supposed to be good, and this is merely tolerable.
  • 23D: Pull funding from (DISENDOW) — had the DI- and really wanted some form of DIVEST. Slowness ensued.
  • 32D: Defendant in a much-publicized 1920s trial (SACCO) — another gimme. I'm teaching Crime Fiction, and we start in the '20s, and even though the SACCO and Vanzetti trial was not fiction, I am well aware of it. Italian anarchists, convicted of murder and eventually executed. There's still substantial controversy about the fairness of the trial and accuracy of the verdict.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

71 comments:

jae 12:18 AM  

Another puzzle on the easy side.  My take is pretty much what Rex said without as many missteps. NW and SE very easy -- middle, SW, and NE medium.  So easy medium for me with the emphasis on easy.   Not quite as zippy as yesterday's but FESTIVUS, GETAROOM, PUNKROCK, SASQUATCH, NOTSOHOT, UNGODLY...made this fun.

Erasures: CRAnE for CRAKE and ocean for REEFS (missed seeing the plural in the clue on the first pass).

WTF: TRAVE

49a looks like a refugee from the Thurs. BEQ.

Pretty smooth, YEO was the only cringe for me.  Liked it.

thursdaysd 12:41 AM  

Well, I had no real trouble EXCEPT for the NW. I must have missed the puzzle with FESTIVUS, and I never watched Seinfeld (does that make me some kind of outcast?) I couldn't get anything in the NW until I gave up and did a search for Airing of Grievances. So I had PDA before GETAROOM, which I agree is a great answer.

Anoa Bob 1:49 AM  

Some nice stuff in this one. Liked FESTIVUS, SASQUATCH & SISTERHOOD. On the NOT SO HOT side, neither I nor spellchecker likes DISENDOW. Now if someone can work DISEmbOWel into a puzzle....

I'm totally unhip to the GET A ROOM-PDA connection.

In the fingernails-on-the-chalkboard category for one who has done a hitch in the Navy is 47A YEO and it's clue "Naval petty officer, briefly".

There are two categories to designate enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy. One is "rating", or one's job classification.

Yeoman is a rating associated with administrative and clerical work, and it is abbreviated as YN. (I was a sonar technician, or STG.) YEO does not exist in the USN lexicon for rating.

The other is "rate" and shows where you stand in the pecking order. Rates go from E-1 through E-9, (E for "enlisted"). As we were told in boot camp, E-1's are lower than whale shit on the bottom of the ocean, and you get all the shittiest jobs.

As you work your way up and reach E-4 (and life becomes a little easier), you become a petty officer or an NCO (non-commissioned officer). At E-7 through E-9, you're a chief petty officer, or CPO.

So Rex, you were right in your first guesses of NCO or CPO for the clue as given. And the entry YEO, purportedly referring to a USN rating, does not pass muster for this old swab.







C. Ross Word 1:52 AM  

After a slow start, seemed on the "easy" side for a Saturday.

False starts included Spat for STIR, cpo for YEO, IRate for IRKED, and early on (before parsing FESTIVUS - just casual Seinfeld rerun watcher - had fluteS for VIOLAS.

Still ended with one miscue - loved my iVTRAY answer instead of the correct TVTRAY; thought BIi could be an acronym for something in construction. Sloppy on my part.

Overall a pleasant Saturday solve.

jae 2:18 AM  

@Anoa Bob -- PDA has has two meanings (a) Personal Digital Assistant and (b) Public Display of Affection. I believe (b) was in play here.

And, as a former Navy E-4 JO (Journalist), very well said!

Aroma Crake Mrs 2:28 AM  

Really enjoyed and yet didn't get SW corner as I had gutTED turkeys, so uTE for ATV, even tho I "felt" BIT.

Nevermind, still loved intuiting SACKLUNCH,and think AVENUEQ crossing SASQUATCH is quite the feat!

"Kristian House" sounds like a neo-coinage of "church". DISENDOW, however, is UNGODLY, EGAD!

CRAkE was tric-k-y, but Love the 5Ks. Learned new word TRAVE...VELCRO trivia neat!

Jim Walker 3:59 AM  

Any puzzle where google is of almost no help is going to be a good one IMO. Easy Medium except the SW for me. Could not get that ugly disendow. Loved the sack lunch clue and several others. Three stars and a bravo.

syndy 5:31 AM  

Did it a full minute less than yesterday.Personally I thought DISENDOW was spot on!I will however bow to the wisdom of the Naval personnel on YEO.(not knowing any better it worked for me.thumbs up.

Cathyat40 7:52 AM  

Super-easy for a Saturday

Smitty 8:56 AM  

medium for me too.
@jae thanks for the explanation of PDA - I DGI (didn't get it)
Had LONGEST DAY for summer threshold.
DDS for driller
EATS IN for fulfills a take out order

Z 9:01 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said. Tried dRAKE before CRAKE. Hand up for ocean before REEFS.

I was pretty young then, but I do believe that Iggy Pop and the Stooges preceded Punk Rock. Wikipedia puts Iggy in the proto-punk
category. That slowed me down a little, because I "knew" PUNK had to be wrong.

/

retired_chemist 9:04 AM  

Medium. Hand up for FESTIVUS as a gimme, for CPO, and for being buffaloed by PDA, the last a generational thing I suppose. When my daughter said TMI about something, it only meant Three Mile Island to me. But now I am clued in to both acronyms and eagerly awaiting the next such neologism.

TRAVE?

Agree the NE and SW were the sticking points. 16A TRY FOR and 18A EATS IN slowed up the former, which was only opened up by the same SASQUATCH => AVENUE Q route Rex found. BIT and STIR were my starters in the SW. The mid-Atlantic found PIKER for KITER and SNIPE for CRAKE briefly. We often have EGRETS around so I know they aren't short-billed, but I didn't know about SNIPES. Dictionary says they are long-billed anyway.

All in all, a good Saturday exercise. Thanks, Mr House.

MaryBR 9:05 AM  

On the easy side for me. Finished up with TVTRAY in the SW. I know SACCO from the Joan Baez song Here's To You from the movie about them (never saw the movie though). Song written by Ennio Morricone and she sang it for the soundtrack. It's stark but surprisingly catchy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcgYwTnBIIQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Asmazz 9:11 AM  

Shouldn't the PDA clue (25A) have required a 'briefly' or an 'abbrev' with it?

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Sorry, US Navy guys, but the clue and answer for 47A are fine. The clue is "Naval petty officer, briefly" - nothing is said about "US Navy" or "US naval ranking."

A yeoman is a naval petty officer, and yeo is an abbreviation for yeoman.

jackj 9:25 AM  

How nice to get a repeat of FESTIVUS so soon; it made for quick work of the upper left section and easily flowed into GETAROOM, (which also seemed downright Seinfeldian).

Some of the cluing was nicely deceptive, seeming tough until it wasn’t, as one example, the “grainy film” clue easily turned in to SASQUATCH as soon as the A of HARI and the T of POTATO were entered.

DISENDOW made eminent sense as clued but that didn’t make me hate it any less and the fact that it tied in to the ultra-awkward “Summer threshold?” for SCREENDOOR simply compounded the insult.

Then there is UNGODLY, which is my favorite entry in the puzzle, but I’m still wrestling with its fairness as the answer for “Way too early”. I’m not proposing to change it, but maybe it at least needs a question mark?

Finally, nice going for SILENTERA, especially by tying in to the ITGIRL entry that owes its existence to the “It Girl” herself, Clara Bow, silent screen queen of the roaring twenties.

Thanks to Kristian House for a clever puzzle with a nice, contemporary feel (as clearly evidenced by the Urban Dictionary being the only place to find the definition used by Kristian for PDA, Public Display of Affection)!

dk 9:42 AM  

Sooooos I looks up Iggy P on Wikipedia and VIOLA I find one of my photos (It seems) from a show at the State Theater in Mpls (circa 1977). Neat. Back in the day the promoter (who paid me) owned the image and as we used negatives it was hard to palm copies. I have seen samples of what I think is my work in the oddest of places (e.g., poster for the band Television on a men's room wall in Berlin). Anyway as I recall I got about $100 to shoot the show and the opportunity to hang with The Stooges. Later that year I moved to LA and photo'd more punk bands: Suburban Lawns was a fave with their hit single "Gidget Goes to Hell."

The puzzles this week seem to propel me into a state of reverie. Most likely as I old and wizened - but I like to think it is all rock and roll. Cue Lust for Life about now.

The puzzle, outside of FESTIVUS -- a gimme for the rest of x-world -- seemed like Thursday. A fine and fun Thursday. The only controversial fill is POTATO which as you know has amoeba-like spelling options.

Err, well... I also had FoodTRUCK for some whiles.

������ (3 Stars) I like the puzzle and control the stars (obscure reference to Rex panning astrology earlier this week)

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Where has Evil Goug been? I miss the guy. GBM

Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

Already mentioned by several others, TRAVE would be my WOTD. It isn't in my handy next-to-the-keyboard dictionary; I had to go to my Big Dictionary to find it. Fortunately, again as previously noted, the entire NW was a gimme, so TRAVE filled in by itself.

Otherwise, just a couple of letters to change before completion: CRANE to CRAKE, PACKLUNCH to SACKLUNCH.

loren muse smith 10:29 AM  

Terrific Saturday work-out with hardly any ick stuff! I was certain that this would be rated “easy, “ so I feel happy that I TORRE through it so easily.

Off the k in KITER, I confidently filled in “checkbook” for FIRETRUCK, thinking “what a great cross.”

First thought on what construction workers may bolt down was “bag lunch.” Saw it didn’t fit and went on about my business. Oh, and it’s not just construction workers who may bolt down lunch; I eat UNGODLily fast. EGAD! CRAKEy! I bet I’ve been in a restaurant at some point, and someone has pointed at me, saying, “That poor woman looks like she hasn’t eaten in a week.”

VELCRO and ADHERES sharing a grid! And it closes out with DEADENDS. I always like final serendipity.

Thanks, Kristian. Well-done.

Sue McC 10:34 AM  

Easier than usual end to an easier than usual week. Hoping for a whooping next week.

Carola 10:41 AM  

Thought the puzzle was super - lots of nifty words and creative clues. Love the SCREEN DOOR, the SACK LUNCH, and the TV TRAY (nostalgia attack). Also "SISTERHOOD (...is powerful, join us now!"). Knew the word "architrave" from art history, so TRAVE seemed reasonable. Nice that a KITE is hiding beneath the CRAKE.

@thursdaysd - You have company - I've never seen Seinfeld, either. Was glad I remembered Festivus from the earlier puzzle.

@retired chemist - Love the "TMI" miscommunication!

@jackj - I knew Clara Bow was the It Girl, but didn't see the connection to the SILENT ERA - nice!

@dk - Hilarious about Gidget going to hell - last I'd heard she was in Hawaii.

Thanks for a very fun Saturday, Kristian House and commenting crew.

joho 10:48 AM  

This was harder for me it seems than others here. However I really enjoyed this one, slowly aha-ing my way through to a successful end.

I had worKBENCH before the light dawned on the wonderful answer, SACKLUNCH.

Loved the clue for FIRETRUCK.

Kristian House, thanks for a great Saturday puzzle!

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

I still dont get PDA for 17 across

quilter1 10:53 AM  

Medium for me, too. Never watched Seinfeld and I must have missed the other appearance of FESTIVUS. I hope I remember next time.

Happy day, picking up daughter at the aiarport for a week long visit.

Sir Hillary 11:00 AM  

Very good puzzle, with my solving experience pretty much mirroring Rex's (which is unusual). Got the NW, NE, E and SE in about 15 minutes, then spent 30 more on the W and SW. Only write-over was changing UGANDA to RWANDA, but it wasn't there for long

Agree with so many of the comments here -- love GETAROOM, SASQUATCH, PUNKROCK NOTSOHOT and DEADENDS. Fabulous clue for SCREENDOOR. Thanks to those who pointed out the SILENTERA/ITGIRL cross. No clue about CRAKE or TRAVE, but crosses alleviated that. I can live with YEO -- for me, ENLAI is the weakest entry. Wanted SCOPES at 32D, but obviously that was too long.

Good Saturday fun. Thanks, Kristian.

Sandy K 11:02 AM  

Thought an easy-peasy puz was UNDERWAY when FESTIVUS was first answer.

But as @Rex said, it became "hardish", altho no DEADENDS.

Liked GETAROOM, SASQUATCH, VELCRO, SCREENDOOR, and ITGIRL!

Agree PDA should have abbrev. in clue.

TRAVE=NOT SO HOT!

All-in-all, my INNER ITGIRL liked Kristian House and his SEMI-IRREG FAKEOUTs.


Anonymous 11:05 AM  

PDA= Public Display of Afffection

jberg 11:06 AM  

@Anonymous 10:51 - read the comments before posting, the answer is there!

I had CPO at first as well, but really it had to be wrong - with "Petty Officer" in the clue, there couldn't be PO in the answer. Other than that, what everyone else said (especially about DISENDOW), plus three things:

1. Clara Bow was a socialite? Then I've learned two things today (the other being the second meaning for PDA).

2. If you bird at all, 40A can't be CRAnE, as they have long bills. It still took me a couple crosses, as I've never actually seen a CRAKE, only their pictures in the field guides.

3. I really wanted another answer for 49A, but figured it couldn't be.

Carola 11:07 AM  

@Anonymous 10:51 - PDA = public display of affection. Instead of smooching in public, the couple should get a room in a hotel/motel and carry on in private.

mac 11:51 AM  

Very nice Saturday! For me the NW was the hardest.

I also started with ocean for reefs. Isn't En Lai his first name? That felt odd. I liked ungodly and docked best, but there were plenty of other really good words, and the "get a room" and Pda combo was fantastic.

mac 11:55 AM  

@retired_chemist: OMG is a useful one.

Al Rodbell 11:58 AM  

"as I was deeply into PDA we were interrupted by the cry, "get a room!" Huh? A previous comment translated Public Display of Affection, but how well known is that abbreviation?

I would guess it's below the 10% of Times Cross Word doers, even when the answer is given, and is a major defect of this puzzle, especially since it was connected with another word to be solved.

Maurine Dowd is guilty of this in last weeks article "NeoCons slither Back" throwing in the word "secund" used incorrectly in a convoluted metaphor, and worse for her since it wasn't for word play, but communication.

alrodbell.com

MNEddy 12:01 PM  

Quick and easy everywhere BUT NW. Never watched Seinfeld, never heard of PDA. What can a puzzler do in that case? I hate the google option. It means you give up.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

PDA. WTF?

Tita 12:13 PM  

Medium-bordering-on-challenging for me. DNF with aImFOR hiding a few other answers in NE, but was still happy with the puzzle.

@Sir Hillaty - I wrote in SCOPE, figuring - um - it was the Scope's Trial?

Hated all the xrefs, though the PDA/GETAROOM pair is almost forgivable.

@Loren - is that how Diplomats Dine?

Tita 12:16 PM  
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Tita 12:17 PM  

Oops - sorry - Sir HillaRy...

Oh - and if y'all haven't seen it, late yesterday BlogSpotRemover wrote a funny and insightful post on wrong answers, inspired by one of his in that puzzle...

And @dk - cool about your pic!

(I had thought that capchas had relented, but alas, though they seem to be legible, they are unaccepting of my interpretations.)

Tobias Duncan 12:26 PM  

Thanks for the anecdote dk, that is the stuff that keeps me coming back.

Too cool!

Wow easy puzzle. I am betting the end of the day numbers from sanfranman59 will agree.

heathcliff 12:38 PM  

Only midway thru, but pausing to point out that the only people who would consign Iggy Pop to punk rock are those who know nothing about punk rock specifically, or rock generally.

joho 1:25 PM  

@dk, just checked out your photo .. it's fantastic! Love the black & white.

@mac, his name is Zhou or Chou ENLAI.

Your Assistant Principal 1:46 PM  

PDA is a mystery? How long has it been since you were a hormonally enriched youth in an American high school?

Milford 2:07 PM  

Nice Saturday, on the easy side, but the clues were mostly clever and made me smile. Loved TV TRAYS, even though it took me forever and a day to see it. Also loved SACK LUNCH and dirty little AVENUE Q crossing SASQUATCH. FESTIVUS is a great answer, but the fun was dampened by having it in a puzzle recently.

Sorry it tripped many up, but PDA is a common abbreviation for me as well.

JFC 2:16 PM  

PDA = Public Display of Affection.

Why, do you suppose, Rex would want to insert CPO for a clue that has "petty officer" in it? CPO = Chief Petty Officer, so that's a no no. Because his brain is faster than his brain....

JFC

Captcha has 911. Weird.

retired_chemist 2:51 PM  

@ mac = OMG, LOL, and many of the other common ones I know. PDA and TMI were new to me, probably long after the kids started usiug them.

@ Assistant Principal - My 55th HS reunion is this year. So it has been a while. PDA's were pretty much a no-no then, though there was some hand-holding.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

I never heard of "PDA" referring to "public display of affection," though I am familiar with "personal digital assistant." I only solved it b/c "docked" was the only word that would fit the down clue. I'm calling that a stinky and unfair clue. How many people are familiar with the second meaning of "PDA"? Unfair and wrong.

retired_chemist 2:57 PM  

@ Anon 2:51 - consider it a learning opportunity.

mac 3:01 PM  

@joho: isn't the last name mentioned first in China?

Edna Krabappel 3:31 PM  

Is PDA really that obscure? I graduated more than 30 years ago, and both high schools I attended had strict rules about PDAs on campus. Kids could get suspended for macking on each other during lunchtime.

Personal Data Assistant didn't come into the lexicon until the early '90s, I think it was one of the Apple Newton gizmos that adopted that moniker.

thursdaysd 3:45 PM  

@Edna - I, too, am a bit surprised by the complaints about PDA. I'm a mid-60s, non-Seinfeld watching half-Brit, and I know it. I do think I learned PDA=gizmo before I learned PDA=yuck.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 4:00 PM  

(Off-topic, again - please forgive me.) (And posting this late on a Saturday afternoon is about equivalent to releasing your tax return on a Friday afternoon - the feeling is that no one will see it.)

Anyhoo . . . Heard a new (to me) Game show on NPR today, Ask Me Another. One contestant was two-time ACPT winner Dan Feyer. Unlike Joon Pahk, who had a good run on Jeopardy!, Dan loses in the first round, though quite graciously. You can hear it here.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:04 PM  

"here" being here

Sparky 6:28 PM  

Liked this one. Almost finished. (That's better than DNF, no?) Had CRAnE, did not know PDA in either of its meanings.

Zilch in the SW; DDS not SGT. In all fairness, you baste almost anything you are roasting in the oven. Do people use the term ITGIRL now? I thought the IT re Clara Bow was code for sex. This clue sounded current to me.

It's all right, it's okay, it really doesn't matter when you're old and gray.

When all else fails, read the whole set of comments.

Dirigonzo 6:55 PM  

My initial run through of all the clues gave me a partially completed grid more like a Wednesday than Saturday, and I was able to complete the rest of the puzzle moving from top to bottom with no real hold ups. This is not my usual Saturday solving experience. I tried achEy for "Sore" at 50d, but the crosses straightened that out in due time. Only other write-over was TRuss for TRAVE at 4d, also easily fixed. All in all, my neatest Saturday grid ever - maybe my fastest too, but I don't really care about that.

Happy first day of Autumn (or Spring, if you are in the southern hemisphere).

I thought VELCRO was one of the technologies that the government gleaned from the UFOs being studied in Area 51 - the reality (if the puzzle is to be believed) is much more mundane.

jazzmanchgo 6:59 PM  

"DISDENDOW" is an entirely new word for me.

No idea about "PDA" or "ATV"; and since I'm woefully television-impaired (as well as abbreviation-impaired), the Seinfeld answer was (and is) a mystery to me. (I didn't get "AVENUEQ" either; it pretty much filled itself in as I did the ones around it.)

I always thought that "The 'IT' GIRL" was SILENT ERA actress Clara Bow; never knew it was a modern-day generic term for a celebrity-starlet.

jazzmanchgo 7:03 PM  

p.s. Also had (and have) no idea what "burs" are. Did they mean "burrs"?

Bob Kerfuffle 8:36 PM  

@jazzmanchgo - I had the same puzzlement regarding BURS.

On one page my dictionary says simply "bur var of burr". But on the facing page it says, "burr [. . .] 1 usu bur a : a rough or prickly envelope of a fruit [. . .] "

jackj 10:30 PM  

Bob Kerfuffle and jazzmanchgo,

In Massachusetts, burs were/are called "huckle buckles" by many natives and when two burs are pushed together they lock up exactly as a piece of Velcro does.

acme 2:51 AM  

@BobKerfuffle
THANKS for the Dan Feyer transcript!!!! Hilarious!
Plus he's too modest to ever post anything about himself EVER, so that is great!

@Tita
Did you ever straighten that guy out that you are a gal?

now to check out @dk's photo.

sanfranman59 12:11 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 6:30, 6:48, 0.96, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:26, 8:56, 0.94, 40%, Easy-Medium
Wed 14:52, 11:49, 1.26, 95%, Challenging (10th highest median solve time of 166 Wednesdays)
Thu 15:33, 18:48, 0.83, 20%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:43, 24:29, 0.60, 2%, Easy (4th lowest median solve time of 168 Fridays)
Sat 22:19, 29:17, 0.76, 9%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:41, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:47, 4:39, 1.03, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 7:34, 5:56, 1.27, 94%, Challenging
Thu 8:25, 9:20, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 7:36, 12:10, 0.62, 4%, Easy (6th lowest median solve time of 167 Fridays)
Sat 11:31, 16:35, 0.69, 4%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 157 Saturdays)

Dan 1:10 PM  

For the record - that "Ask Me Another" episode originally aired back in March, and I was plugging it all over Facebook! Interestingly, on a different episode, current Jeopardy! champion Roger Craig (who beat even Joon in the Tournament of Champions) also lost in the first round...
-Dan F

Unknown 2:49 PM  

oops! i gotta learn to read those tiny clues better! matt and will were right, i was wrong! eli is the correct answer!!

Carole Shmurak 3:49 PM  

Rex, I'd love to see the reading list for your Crime Fiction course. Is it online somewhere?

Citizen Zeus 2:26 AM  

Only difficult section is where you could put "deke" out instead of "fake" out, reeds instead of reefs and en lei as an alternate spelling of en lai and make the puzzle work. Had to change this once it said I was wrong, but plausible argument could be made that it is alternately correct.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 2:10 PM  

If you are like me, that is, not Japanese, but a fan of the food on a somewhat more than passing familiarity, then I submit a 3 letter word for Japanese food that starts w/ a U would bring about the same answer I had: U M I. That's the not-sweet pickled plum that I know from having inside a sushi roll. It caused my across to come out O V E R T I M E, which didn't raise the "your cross is wrong, you nit!" flag (makes sense for the clue, if a fuction is thought of as a meeting, party, etc" I agree with RP/RP designated proxy: Easy in some parts (SE), impossible in others (consider the plum-sodden NW) Oh, yeah: P U N K R O C K is sooooNOT the right Iggy genre (if you're into genres, which i am not. To wit, every song on my iPod has been ripped of its meta-data and labelled "music", just the way i likes it". Anyway, pardon the prosylatizing, it's sooo NOT punk rock. it should be: P R O T O P U N K, as the erased ghost letters on my grid will attest to.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 2:42 PM  

I apologise, but I just watched the video of P R O T O P U N K pioneer Iggy Pop in Manchester, '77, and the lyrics themselves made me post them (my favorite passage). It wasn't me, I swear:

Get into the car
We'll be the passenger
We'll ride through the city tonight
We'll see the city's ripped backsides
We'll see the bright and hollow sky
We'll see the stars that shine so bright
Stars made for us tonight

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Good puzzle, thank you Mr. House. One little complaint: The word "Trave" is quite a stretch. I suppose in the building industry it is short for "Traverse" which is the preferred description. You, sir, were naughty.
Ron Diego Sat,10/27 11:26 AM PDT

DMGrandma 4:39 PM  

Another "almost" for me. Don't watch Seinfeld, so T in TRAVE was an unknown. Also didn't come up with SGT, had "den", so my turkey ever got BASTED. To me, ITGIRL has more to do with sex than celebrity. Glad someone explained PDA. I got it,but had no idea what it meant. My high school days are about 65 years in the past. We called it "making out", and I suspect it was a tamer activity than today. Got to go carve the pumpkin!

rain forest 5:52 PM  

I see from the ratings that this puzzle is "easy", which wasn't my experience, though I found it extremely entertaining. The SW was very tricky; I put Iggy in the Glam rock genre; in Canada, paper bags are "bags", not sacks. A sack is a canvas or hemp thing. Amazingly I did the NW without ever seeing TRAVE, which is good, because I wouldn't know a trave if it goosed me. I so wanted 49A to be "teat", but also, no joy there. Tough, but fair, and enjoyable.

Bananfish 1:04 PM  

Add me to the Iggy Pop complaints. It could have been clued as Iggy inspiring punk rock or being the father of punk rock (or even the godfather, though that honor is usually reserved for Lou Reed), but as clued, it just isn't right. You wouldn't clue RAPMUSIC with "Genre for Bob Dylan", would you, even though he wrote and performed Subterranean Homesick Blues?

I actually wanted COCKROCK as the answer to that clue, even though that isn't really correct either, but something told me it wouldn't be in the grid :-)

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