Birthplace of Natalie Portman / FRI 12-28-12 / Sabre ou pistolet / Failure of imagination per Graham Greene / Like bars that are often near horses / Hard to block jumper in hoops / Quaker makers / Critter with humanlike fingerprints / Brandy alternative / Pale Blue Dot author / Spitfire landing locale

Friday, December 28, 2012

Constructor: Ashton Anderson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: JEJUNE (1D: Dull) —

  1. Not interesting; dull: "and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases" (Anthony Trollope).
  2. Lacking maturity; childish: surprised by their jejune responses to our problems.
  3. Lacking in nutrition: a jejune diet.
[From Latin iēiūnus, meager, dry, fasting.]


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/jejune#ixzz2GJTWQEBw
• • •

I always forget the meaning of JEJUNE. Something about it suggests "morose" to me. Not sure why. Maybe I get there by way of an association with the immature, particularly teens or tweens, who can be mopey and moody and (another "m" word) morose. Or maybe there's another explanation. Or no explanation. Anyway, I did not find this puzzle morose *or* dull, even though it was a pretty FAST ONE (51A: Flimflam). High word count makes for a very fillable grid, and so there's very little to grouse about here, and lots to admire, or at least enjoy. As you know, I'm not a big fan of the expression JUST SAYIN' (1A: Opinion add-on), but I am a big fan of the idea of someone JUST SAYIN' "ENCHILADA"—you know, for no particular reason—so that juxtaposition redeems 1A in my head (and heart) (15A: Taqueria treat). I'm also enjoying the CLUCKing KOALA (16A: Critter with humanlike fingerprints) and the SCHNAPPS-induced PARANOIA (35D: Brandy alternative + 36D: Theme of "The Tell-Tale Heart") that this puzzle is conjuring up. Nothing mind-blowing here, but nothing icky either. All in all, a light tasty snack.


I got into the grid by way of a run of three-letter Downs—namely, THU, SIS, and ALA. Not that the positive effect of this run was immediate. I couldn't see any of the crossing Acrosses at first, and I even yanked SIS at some point, fearing the answer might be BRO. But I was 50% sure of YALIE (7D: Clinton, Bush or Cheney), largely because it gave me IDES, which I knew was right. Then NAME DROP dropped, with very little prompting (just the "E" in IDES, I think), and the whole NW took shape from there. Learned an interesting bit of trivia about [Natalie Portman's birthplace] and moved on. Nothing else in the grid gave me much trouble except 51D: Quaker makers? I had -EARS and still had no idea what was going on. Finally figured out FAST ONE, which gave me FEARS, which still left me shrugging ... for a few seconds. Then I got it. FEARS make you quake, so they make you (or whomever) into a "quaker." Pretty cute. Had a little more trouble in the NE with 31A: Square for a roll (PAT) (think butter). I wrote in DIE very quickly; then, when the Downs wouldn't work, a little, sane voice drifted up from some dungeon in my brain and informed me that a DIE is not a square but a cube. I blew this voice off at first, rationalizing that a DIE is "square" in a very loose, colloquial kind of way ... but in the end, the thing that is handled on the range was just much more likely to be a something-PAN than a somebody-DAN, so: bye bye DIE. The rest is history.


Bullets:
  • 30A: Sabre ou pistolet (ARME) — short and uncommon French word (uncommon for non-French speakers to know, that is). Inferrable, though, to be sure. 
  • 53A: "A failure of imagination," per Graham Greene (HATE) — Cool quote by an excellent writer. 
  • 63A: Spitfire landing locale (AERODROME) — according to wikipedia, "all airports are AERODROMEs, but not all AERODROMEs are airports." Good to know!
  • 64A: "Pale Blue Dot" author (SAGAN) — Oh, right. Earth. Title meant nothing to me, so the answer provided a nice "oh, right" moment.
  • 62A: Old car with ignition trouble? (PINTO) — my favorite clue of the day. Made me laugh. I like a clue that forces me to imagine ugly cars bursting into flames. 
  • 2D: Like bars that are often near horses (UNEVEN) — wow. Nice misdirect. Never saw the gymnastics angle coming. 
  • 28D: Most Atari-playing kids (GEN X'ERS) — I played Intellivision, but ... yeah, this is pretty much accurate. 
  • 38D: Hard-to-block jumper, in hoops (FADE-AWAY) — "in hoops" = not needed. I love this answer. Great bit of sports lingo. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

65 comments:

jae 12:04 AM  

This seemed about right for a Fri.  Just enough crunch for medium.  SAUtEPAN and (like Rex) die for PAT had me staring at the NE briefly but those were my only erasures. The south half was actually on the easy side but the north off set it for me.

Pretty zippy...JUSTSAYIN, JEJUNE, YES MASTER, EL CHEAPO, GENXERS...and no real clunkers unless you're unhappy with IDED.

Can't spot any obvious Naticks.

Nice solid Fri. Ashton Anderson.

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Bravo, Mr. Anderson!

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Very nice themeless. Lots of nice entries, and I marked quite a few clues as quite nice.

Too easy. 30:47 for me means people are going to be saying how easy it is. And only 12 write-overs? Way low for me. 4 from NOT SO GOOD to NOT TOO HOT. 3 for GOING MAD to GOING APE. 3 for DIE to PAT with "Square for a roll".

Loved JUST SAYIN' and thought the clue was nicely matched.

Loved YES MASTER, but it deserved a better clue.

ARME and IDED suckity suck suck, but were masked by the crosses about as well as they could be.

ENLACE is kind of a clinker, but I get: CANDY BAR, JEJUNE, PARANOIA, ACOLYTE, NAME DROP, EL CHEAPO (lousy clue there; what a shame).

Pretty clean solve. And on Friday, I usually come up with lots of 'alternate entries' that aren't the correct entries.

Elaine2 1:11 AM  

This was the easiest Friday for me in YEARS! A few overwrites, but very quick.

JEJUNE is a great word...

crackblind 1:28 AM  

Got SAUCEPAN right off the bat but got stuck in the NE because I went with WKC instead of AKC ( Westminster instead of American for the kennel club) which gave me WATER instead of ASSET. While I knew water had to be wrong (too straightforward for the clue), ELCHEAPO locked me there for quite a while even though I got KOALA & CLUCK so nothing worked with those crosses. It was only when I let go of water (& really knew there wasn't any TAU--PAN) that I worked it out.

Otherwise the rest of the puzzle was pretty easy for a Friday.

syndy 1:37 AM  

I slowed down a lot in the NE.I got the CLUCK early but KOALA took a while(who knew?)Race cars have SOLAR PANELS??Okay!I just hope that 23 across is inaccurate.

chefwen 1:43 AM  

Great puzzle! It was a struggle and it took two of us to bring her down, but that, we did. Husband embarrassed me by getting SAUCE PAN as our last fill, I was out there on the range with the deer and the antelope. Pretty silly mistake for the Chef. However, I blew him away by knowing JEJUNE. He insisted that there wasn't a word that started with JEJ. Hah, there you go Mr. Sauce Pan.

We had a great time solving this, lots of laughs in doing so. Thanks Ashton Anderson, keep 'em coming.

Eejit 3:41 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday, fun though. I used to drive a Pinto, luckily it never exploded.

Acolyte Candybar Michaels 4:39 AM  

Wow, I feel I could say almost word for word what I said yesterday...
INCLUDING bleedover of FOP!

Once again eerily parallel to @Rex, starting out with THU, SIS, ALA,

and knew Natalie Portman's dad is Israeli...
so got JERUSALEM when it was - - - USA- - -
and reminded of some cryptic clue where USA appears inside another country's capital.

Anyway, tons of fun fill again...JUSTSAYIN, ELCHEAPO!!! NEWWAVE, SCHNAPPS, SCRAWL, ACOLYTE, JEJUNE
(which I also didn't know the meaning of)

Interesting visually to have that internal double WW in neWWave, and NAIVETE is unusual as far as standard spelling goes.

YESMASTER should have been given an "I Dream of Jeannie" clue, given her master's recent demise.
Need a gal on that one! but what can you expect from someone who crosses two sports refs:
FADEAWAY (I for one needed the hoops part of the clue) with WHATASHOT.

There is a new film called "Not FADEAWAY" that opened this past weekend. If Will were a bit more of a film buff, that could have been an opportunity for a REALLY au courant clue!

GENXERS was somewhat of a bleedover from a day or two ago, when many of us put in XERS for GENX.
And funny to see SEMI after protracted discussion yesterday.

Liked being on Ashton's wavelength, so put in POISE with no letters, as well as WANED and TAKESTEN (which helped me fix Chirp/CLUCK)

Lots of little abbreviations that threw me off a bit:
ADA, HRH, PGA, AKC, UVA... but all gettable.

NAMEDROP was on the short list of consideration for my naming company...but ACME Naming won out in the end!

Anyway, ELCHEAPO will probably make me smile all day. GRATIS, AA!

Hoopman 6:47 AM  

A variation of the fadeaway is the "Step-Back" which J.R. Smith used to beat Phoenix the other night.

Dave 6:54 AM  

Great Pinto movie scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dT0J0rcJTLo

OTD 7:10 AM  

Good puzzle. Lots of fun fill--WHATASHOT, YESMASTER, FADEAWAY, SCHNAPPS, JEJUNE, GENEXERS, etc. Easy/Medium for me, maybe a touch on the Medium side. Enjoyable.

Danp 7:20 AM  

I knew JEJUNE means childish, and it was the only J_J word I know. But I can't believe such an uncommon word has so many definitions.

It felt like there was theme in this puzzle. Going ape, paranoia, in hiding, naivete, jejune,ache, Genxers. Add in Schnapps and Jerusalem and there is a bit of holiday angst going on here. Just sayin'.

EAP 7:32 AM  

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.

Milford 8:24 AM  

I loved this puzzle, it was right in my wavelength. Only real hang up I had was the NW for awhile because I dropped in boring for 1D and kept it too long. JEJUNE is a cool word to learn.

Loved SCHNAPPS, JUST SAYIN', and FADE AWAY, but mostly what I loved was all the cluing, it just felt very clever to me (Really long = ACHE is a good example).

Miraculously I wrote in SAUCE PAN right away, so PAT wasn't a problem here.

I know there is often begrudging of sports terms, teams and names, but I personally love having them included, they worked great in this puzzle.

Thanks, Ashton!

jberg 8:32 AM  

Gee, I was hoping this was just me on the right wave length, but I see it was easy for everybody. Fun, all the same. I started with ASSET, dropped in AKa - wrong, but good enough to get me KOALA. Who knew, indeed? But what else starts with K. A couple of minor writeovers - TAKES one (it does say "briefly"), and FAll AWAY jump shot. And I had ----SALEM at 17A, and wanted it to be 'east' or 'west' until JEJUNE gave it away. None of that took long though. Like everyone else, I enjoyed the cluing even though it turned out to be easy.

GO IN GAPE!

Z 8:54 AM  

My 1972 yellow Pinto Wagon never ignited, either. Ah, the memories. As I recall that day on the used car lot, there was a '68 Mustang that cost less. But NOOOOoooooo. The Pony car I got was a 1972 yellow Pinto Wagon. I still haven't recovered.

Hand up for FAll AWAY jumper, the only real hold up I had.

I learned that Natalie Portman was born in Israel in an earlier puzzle. Now I've learned that it was JERUSALEM. I fully expect to learn which hospital next.

Chris 9:07 AM  

A lovely puzzle! Wanted LET ON for Intimate and EBBED for dropped off, but finally got it. Great clues and words. Thanks for the challenge!

Carola 9:09 AM  

Very nice Friday. l'll say "medium" as it took me a while, but I never got stuck. Wanted 1A, the opinion add-on, to be a dissent, but that wouldn't fit, so moved along to AKC/KOALA and circled around clockwise from there.

Good spirits raised by CLUCK and EL CHEAPO were dampened in the GOING APE - FOP - XENON area, as I felt the puzzle declining into crosswordese. But no! Along came FAST ONE, YES MASTER, FADE AWAY and the fun never let up. Laughed when my last entry, the opinion add-on, turned out to be JUST SAYIN'. Can you hear a Supreme Court Justice sayin' that?

One of my personal crossword pleasures is seeing how unlikely-looking letter combinations turn out to work in familiar words. Today it was _ _ _ _ YT_. For the longest time I thought the "assistant" would be something like "party to." Fun to see the ACOLYTE emerge.

joho 9:15 AM  

Glad to know I'm not alone with die before PAT and SAUtEAPAN before SAUCEPAN. Very unusual to have only those two writeovers on a Friday so I have to agree, this was easy.

Briefly wanted sleET before I got ASSET.

Very enjoyable Friday puzzle, thank you, Ashton Anderson!

evil doug 9:18 AM  

Started with 'EYed', and nearly got pissed at the misspelling of (not to mention overuse fatigue as we've discussed here) with 'just sayEn'. But couldn't come up with Mexican chow ending in a somewhat potential 'playa' (beach food?). 'Sis' saved me and I rejiggered it from there. Still somehow bugged by 'id'ed' crossing 'ides', with ala, 'ADA', UVA, and 'and I' also involved.

My roommate was given a Pinto for a marketing class. All I know is I got free rides to campus and Pizza Hut for a coupla weeks. When not ablaze, better looking than a Vega, anyway....

I like 'paranoia' and 'in hiding' crossing 'naivete' and 'poise'.

'Go in gape' offers some interesting possibilities....

Anybody else not surprised that 'Namedrop' lost out to the chosen company title?

RIP, Norman Schwarzkopf. Some of his memorable quotes:

“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.”

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”

“Going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion.” (speaking of 'armes'....)

Evil

jackj 9:19 AM  

Sometimes, when one runs up against an unfamiliar constructor, the result is sheer joy by virtue of a different focus for the cluing that produces entries that have not seen much recent play, as in today’s puzzle from Ashton Anderson. Like getting a refreshing zap of ozone.

Pulling a FASTONE by showing us that “Dull” can be downright titillating if it’s JEJUNE we are also treated to the prospect of trying to make the “Dog show org.” fit, when the entries for 10, 16 and 18 across look like they should be W, O, C (WATER, ORANG, CHEEP) rather than AKC (A----, K----, CHEEP).

Since the only “K” animals that came to mind were the Kangaroo and the Koala and only one fit the length, KOALA it was and when the A word showed its brilliant cluing as ASSET, the rest of that corner filled in and the CHEEP decided to CLUCK.

If I can NAMEDROP, Poe’s classic short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” had me trying to work in HAUNTING or INSANITY until the crosses showed it only worked as PARANOIA. Nice, Ashton.

Finally, featuring a FADEAWAY jumper that joined at the “W” with the puzzle’s announcer hollering WHATASHOT, (shades of the Boston Celtic’s legendary broadcaster Johnny Most), it was a masterstroke, deserving of a TADA and even a bit of a salaam to the constructor so YESMASTER, you ‘da man!

Lots more to like in this puzzle but if I named them all, I’d probably end up with a long, long laundry list. (JUSTSAYIN).

Thanks, Ashton Anderson!

MetaRex 9:27 AM  

Not a smooth solve for me despite Rex's easy-medium rating...had in my mind that impenetrable script was LINEAR B and managed somehow to make its seven letters fit into the six of the grid...Xed that out when I realized it was wrong because UVA was Bobby and Teddy's law school..kinda knew Natalie was born in Israel, but switched her birthplace with her college years by writing in CAMBRIDGE..

Maybe I would have loved the puzzle if JUST SAYIN', ENCHILADA, and JERUSALEM had all come clear to me like sun in the heavenly city instead of remaining shrouded in northern fog.

Two little points: The sort of weak WHAT A SHOT is much improved by the crossing with FADE-AWAY. On the other hand, TOO HOT I think is weakened not improved by being paired with NOT in the cluing. Yep, NOT TOO HOT is a phrase, but it's a downer. TOO HOT is not, but it's, well, hot.

Oh, Jerusalem

Z 9:33 AM  

1973 yellow Chevy Vega or a 1972 yellow Ford Pinto. @Evil - Six of one, half dozen of the other?

@Carola - I can imagine Scalia "just sayin'."

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Got a toehold in the St. Louis area with AGORA/ARME (Nothing like that "useless" liberal arts education!), VET/PET, and the Quakers, seismic and otherwise, and the whole South fell -- swoosh! -- like a FADEAWAY.

That left me with DIE gumming up the NE (I HATE when that happens!). Yes, @Rex, the still small voice (more Quakers!) nearly had to GO___APE before I'd acknowledge the problem with the 3-D nature of die.

Hand up also for stable/gymnastics misdirect: fool me once, shame on you; fool me a thousand times, it's just another day in Rexville! -- FearlessKim

Lewis 9:47 AM  

Two days in a row, a puzzle with lots of sparkle. Loved the clues for UNEVEN, PAT, and ASSET. Hard to grouse about this one!

Rob C 9:47 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. Cluing was fun and not too much of a stretch even when playing on the words.

However, big screw up in SE corner. Put in SpikER for 48D which led me to WHAT A dunk for 58A. Was so sure of these plausible answers, I never questioned them and wasn't able to recover.

Just Sayin' 9:49 AM  

@Evil Doug

Since, apparently, Andrea can't post anything without getting a riposte from you, why don't you just change your sign-in to "Evil Doug, and Andrea annoys me"?

That way you could avoid reading Andrea's posts, which obviously annoy you, we could read your posts without having to suffer your insults to her, and you still make your (inane) point.

Seems like a win-win to me, no?

Smitty 10:07 AM  

More challenging than easy-medium for me but I can't remember enjoying a puzzle so thoroughly.

Not a single nit to pick.

Thank you!

Qvart 10:13 AM  

I'm still getting used to working the puzzle on a computer screen instead of on paper and felt like this one took me a little while to get a foothold on. But like @Rex et al, I had THU, SIS, ALA from the get-go. From there I got IDES and NAMEDROP and then JERUSALEM seemed to be the best fit. JUSTSAYIN took a bit but that lead to JEJUNE. Nice!

I made the fastest progress in the SW where EON, SAGAN, PINTO, and POISE leaned toward gimme status. SCHNAPPS, PARANOIA, and ACOLYTE were nice to see, although "Assistant" threw me off for a bit because I think of an ACOLYTE first as a fan or follower, but I guess it works more literally in terms of the church.

Overall, this one made me think and rethink and some clues lead me in directions that took awhile to give up ("range" made me think it had something to do with cowboys/cattle; "A bit below so-so" had me thinking in terms of grades as "so-so" is often a C-grade).

Fun!

Favorites: "A failure of imagination," per Graham Greene (HATE).

And I figured "Dog show org" had to be something -KC (-KENNEL CLUB) based on my memory of Best In Show (although in the movie it's the Mayflower Kennel Club). Otherwise I wouldn't have had a good guess whatsoever without the across answers.

And to be added to the "you learn something new every day" file: Critter with humanlike fingerprints: KOALA. Who knew?

22:46

Cheers.

-Q.

Tyler 10:37 AM  

Square for a roll... I had PLY :-)

Susan McConnell 10:42 AM  

Loved it, JUST SAYIN'. Especially the long corner 3-stack answers. ENCHILADA --now THAT'S a MEXICANMEAL!

Great job, A.A.

evil doug 10:49 AM  

Oooh, Tyler, good one:
**************************
ELAINE: Uh..excuse me...I'm sorry--this is--this is kind of embarrassing but...there's no toilet paper over here...

JANE: (from the stall on Elaine's right): Are you talking to me?

ELAINE: Yeah...I just forgot to check,so if you could just spare me some?

JANE: No, I'm sorry.

ELAINE: What?

JANE: No I'm sorry, I can't spare it.

ELAINE: You can't spare it??

JANE: No, there's not enough to spare.

ELAINE: Well, I don't need much, just 3 squares will do it.

JANE: I'm sorry, I don't have a square to spare, now if you don't mind....

ELAINE: 3 squares? you can't spare 3 squares??

JANE: No, I don't have a square to spare, I can't spare a square.

ELAINE: Oh, is it two-ply? 'Cause if it's two-ply I'll take one ply, one ply, one, one puny little ply, I'll take one measly ply!

JANE: Look, I don't have a square and I don't have a ply (flushing and leaving).
****************************

Evil

John V 11:07 AM  

Love it. A great Friday that was crunchy for me. NW last to fall; two Js in one corner; pretty cool. Had to struggle, put down and come back a couple of times.

Great crosses, minimal proper names, touch of CAP per @Rex, but that's okay. 72 words only a touch high for a Friday.

Nice to do this one at home. No, I am not missing the New Haven this week; just sayin'

JC66 11:09 AM  

With the help of some downs, got !JUST SAYIN out of the box and immediately wondered what @Rex would say.

First thought for 31A-Square for a roll was mAT (gymnastics).

Anyone else?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:46 AM  

More medium-challenging for me, altho I did finish correctly with no write-overs.

Two among the many things I pondered for awhile before entering:

AUSTRALIA has as many letters as JERUSALEM, and I though current trade regulation s required that all actors come from Down Under; and,

I don't follow auto racing, and I can't see the point of racecars having SOLAR panels. I would think that the weight to power generated ratio would be way too high to make them worthwhile. Anyone?

Sparky 11:59 AM  

Finished. Yowie. Had odds before IDES and hand up for die. The bakery meaning finally popped up. ACHE another good misdirect. For too long wanted CANDYman but knew AGORA had to be right.

Thus winkled out answers. Much enjoyment; thanks Mr. Anderson. I knew Rex would note JUSTSAIN.

Interesting fact on KOALA. I though JEJUNE meant empty. I am mixing it up with something else. Thought guilt was point of Poe's work.

TADA my last entry, though would prefer to sing an aria about Fun Friday.

Sandy K 12:02 PM  

Loved this puzzle! So many juicy words- ENCHILADA, CANDY BAR, SAUCE PAN, SCHNAPPS, PARANOIA, WHAT A SHOT, just to name a few!

Had eyED before ID-ED, but JUST SAYIN fixed that. Had mAT for square for a roll, but SAUCE MAN looked NOT SO HOT on the range.

AND I had heard that Natalie Portman was born in Israel, so JERUSALEM fell in. TADA!

Good clues, good fill- gets a TEN!

Sparky 12:03 PM  

@J66. Yes on mAT.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

this was right on my brain wave and couldnt come a minute too soon as i dnf on thu. i enjoyed this lots.

appropos of nothing but perhaps you wordsmen and wordswomen can help end a battle of words between a friend of longstanding and myself. do you think of the word NERD in a positive or pejorative sense? thanks for weighing in.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:38 PM  

As a certifiable NERD -- always used a pocket protector in school and at work, always and still use a coin purse, always ready to dispute the use of "epicenter" to mean "center" -- I find the word pejorative.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

NERD used to be pretty negative. Nerds took a lot of abuse. But that has been flipped on its head. Now they run most of the world, have the jocks at their beck and call and can buy and sell the prom queen.

Nancy 12:41 PM  

Loved the use of words like 'jejune' and 'acolyte' not usually found in crosswords Takes me back to high school vocabulary tests.

joho 12:43 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I thought SOLAR panels were odd for a race car, too. I was looking for answer that had to do with advertising/sponsors.

@Anonymous 12:29, I think of NERD as endearingly positive.

Dictionaries 1:26 PM  

FEARS don't make one a quaker, they make one aquake.

Please get your made-up words correctlyness.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

@anon 12:29

I think NERD can be used either way- depending on the intent of the user.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

@anon 12:29

I think NERD can be used either way- depending on the intent of the user.

syndy 1:37 PM  

AH! apparently we're not talking regular professional race cars but special alternative cars.mostly raced by university teams or electric car companies.Odd looking contraptions!

FoMoCo 1:42 PM  

Pintos would only go up in a fiery mushroom cloud, if another driver rearended them. Long term, it developed into a heck of a defense mechanism.

All Toyota has is sporadic unannounced rocket accelerations, to clear a wide berth for them. Wimps.

Milford 1:48 PM  

@Anon 12:29 - also had many nerdy qualifications in high school (Latin, violin, science) but still think of nerd as a pejorative. I think of it as being socially inept, unfortunately. But as it is noted above, nerds run the world!

Tita 1:58 PM  

A crunchy, DNF Friday. Some great words. Some great ideas here for alternate clues.

@acme - I Chirped before I CLUCKed too. SAUtEPAN, TOObad,
really, really, wanted sopapillA when I saw that last A - to me "treat" means a sweet.

@syndy - maybe cars setting speed records for alternative fuels?

@EAP - thanks for that snippet...sends shivers down my spine!

Thanks Mr. Anderson - clever clever!

@Z - lol re: Natalie.

@Tyler - lol! I'll habe to add that to my Hall of Fame.

Tita 2:14 PM  

@Tyler - make that "have".

The Hall of Fame on Crucimetrics has been updated.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:14 PM  

@syndy, 1:37 - Thank you so much for the explanation of race cars with SOLAR panels! Once you point it out, it seems perfectly obvious!

A few times recently, someone has commented that this or that answer is illogical or flat out wrong. I have wanted to say, but didn't, that in crosswords it is only necessary that an answer may be true, not that it must be true. This is a perfect example of that rule.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

@evil doug

Just marveling at how quickly and accurately you were able to quote verbatim Elaine's infamous bathroom scene on "Seinfeld" from when @Tyler posted his 'PLY' answer!

Seems to be a matter of 12 minutes- takes me longer to get thru the capcha!

Carola 5:45 PM  

@Z - Funny...Scalia is the one I had in mind.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Kingsley Amis called the substitution of “jejeune” for “jejune” his “favourite solecism of all time.” In a passage from his book The King’s English, Amis gives a fictional reconstruction of the life history of this unusual eggcorn, positing three English speakers, A, B, and C:

Stage 1: A writes: “His arguments are unoriginal and jejune” (A knows that ‘jejune’ means ‘thin, unsatisfying’, a rare word, admittedly, but one with a nice ring to it).

Stage 2: B notices the nice ring. He doesn’t know what the word means and, of course, wouldn’t dream of consulting a dictionary even if he possessed one. There is something vaguely French as well as nice about the ring to ‘jejune’; in fact, now he comes to think of it, it reminds him of ‘jeune’, which he knows means ‘young’. Peering at the context, he sees that ‘jejune’ could mean, if not exactly ‘young’, then something like ‘un-grown-up, immature, callow’. Hooray! – he’s always needing words for that, and here’s a new one, one of superior quality, too.

Stage 3: B starts writing stuff like “much of the dialogue is jejune, in fact downright childish.” With the latest edition of OED giving ‘peurile’ as a sense of ‘jejune’, the story might be thought to be over, but there is one further stage.

Stage 4: Having ‘jeune’ in their heads, people who have never seen the word in print start pronouncing ‘jejune’ not as ‘djiJOON’ but ‘zherZHERN’, in the apparent belief that French people always give a tiny stutter when they say ‘jeune’. (I have heard ‘zherZHERN’ several times in the last few years). Finally C takes the inevitable step of writing ‘jejeune’ (I have seen several examples) or even, just that much better: “Although the actual arguments are a little jéjeune, the staging of the mass scenes are {sic} impressive.” Italics in original! – which, with the newly acquired acute accent in place set the seal on the deportation of an English word into French, surely a unique event.

michael 8:35 PM  

After I finished, I thought that this was an exceptionally good puzzle (though I couldn't say exactly why). Glad to see that a lot of others thought the same.

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

I so liked SAUTEPAN, got stuck with 22 across.

sanfranman59 12:43 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 5:46, 6:12, 0.93, 18%, Easy
Tue 7:32, 8:37, 0.88, 14%, Easy
Wed 12:31, 11:52, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 20:13, 17:05, 1.18, 82%, Challenging
Fri 18:22, 21:07, 0.87, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:31, 3:39, 0.96, 26%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:24, 4:57, 0.89, 13%, Easy
Wed 7:05, 6:34, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 10:59, 9:27, 1.16, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 11:37, 11:47, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

thanks to all the nerd and nerdettes [meant in the most endearing way] for the imput!i guess it was a tie so neither my friend nor i wins this argument.

Spacecraft 10:16 AM  

When 1d turned out to be JEJUNE, I frowned at the clue. Guess I'm stuck on the original definition of immature, as in un- or underdeveloped. Credit medical training: jejunum. There's nothing "dull" about that.

A PAT of butter isn't any more two-dimensional than a DIE, though I confess to a hand-up for thinking that first.

Getting a little tired of GENXERS. It's become a "xword" cliche. The cross XENON saves it somewhat.

Agreed that WHATASHOT seems a bit forced, and I also F[e]llAWAY before FADing. Only writeover. Though a sports fan, I don't much like b-ball any more. What talent does it take to jump and stuff a ball--still in your hand--through a hoop? Be born with long femurs? Bah. Raise the basket to at LEAST 12 feet and we'll talk.

Who says ENLACE? Nobody. When we mean that, we invariably say "entwine." Terrible word.

My favorite lyric from the sixties: PARANOIA will destroy ya! Back when Bob Barker was emceeing The Price is Right, he called the lowest number among possible contestant choices "ELCHEAPO," a mind trick that people never seemed to glom onto. You can have Drew; I want Bob back. The man had class. Anyway, that was a nice memory jog.

Those two, plus my hero Dr. Carl SAGAN, saved the day for a puzzle that was, for me, NOT TOOHOT.










DMGrandma 2:37 PM  

Wow, my iPad just hiccuped and wiped out my longish comment. A message? So here's a short re-cap.
After last Friday's fiasco, I am pleased to say this is a puzzle about which I can say DF!

Hang-ups were in the NW. Slow to arrive at JEJUNE which some previous puzzle taught me meant young. Anyway, that forced the cringe inducing JUSTSAYIN, and I was done except for the F in FOP which crossed a term I'd never heard.

Now to post while this machine let's me.

Dirigonzo 3:39 PM  

I often blame my inability to see a theme or understand a clue on my "failure of imagination" but I sure didn't HATE today's puzzle. I finished more quickly than yesterday albeit with a couple of write-overs,the most notable being orAng before KOALA - who knew those cute little beasts had fingerprints? As for Natalie Portman's birthplace, I had SALEM in place and wondered if it would be "east" or "west", so I was pleasantly surprised when JERU showed up!

rain forest 5:08 PM  

Both yesterday's puzzle and this one were beautiful examples of the constructor's art. I DNF'd yesterday's primarily because I was stupid (just sayin', a phrase which is great in a puzzle, IMO), but today the stupidity did not interfere with my struggles. After the NW, which came pretty quickly, I made steady progress, with just a hiccup with COATI instead of KOALA, even though I thought the dog org had to be AKC. So then I thought COATI could be KOATI until, d'oh!, KOALA left its fingerprints on the page (who knew?). Lotsa good stuff in this one.

Anonyrat 7:26 AM  

Don't recall seeing Ashton Anderson's name before, but if this puzzle is representative, he could quickly become one of my favorite constructors. This puzzle was the easiest Friday I can remember. Heck, it was probably the easiest puzzle this week except for Monday. The clue for PINTO was hilarious.
@ Z 8:54 AM - Don't feel too bad. In high school, two of my good friends had '66 Mustangs, but three (yes, really) had Pinto wagons! Go figure. On the used car lot I saw a '66 Mustang Fastback I really wanted, but my dad wouldn't let me buy it - made me get a '66 Beetle instead. 40 horsepower and zero to 60 in 60 seconds (no exaggeration). So, it could have been worse (for you, I mean).
@ evil doug 9:18 AM - Ah yes, the Vega - the one car that made the Pinto look good by comparison. Apparently, they (or at least their Pontiac twin, the Astra) were flammable too. Went out with some friends one night, and one took his dad's Astra. After we got back, we noticed a red glow emanating from under the engine of the Astra. Somehow it managed to catch fire all by itself, without being hit or anything, after being parked in the driveway. Luckily we were able to put it out with a garden hose. Another friend's boyfriend had a Vega, and he had to replace the engine after only 30K miles. That had to be the worst car made in this country in the last 40 years.

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