Declaration after Hallelujah / FRI 2-8-13 / Political blogger Klein / Bramble with edible purple fruit / Literature Nobelist Kertesz / Religious leader with pet elephant / Jack regarded as object of devotion / Like orthorhombic crystals / Mascot since 1916 / Spanish Main crosser / Illinois home of John Deere pavilion / Image of 1960 hit by Safaris / Curia body assisting pope

Friday, February 8, 2013

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: "Hallelujah, I'M A BUM"  (44D: Declaration after "Hallelujah!") —
"Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" (Roud 7992) is an American folk song that responds with humorous sarcasm to unhelpful moralizing about the circumstance of being a hobo. (wikipedia)

• • •

Wow, normally I love Barry Silk themelesses, but this was one of the least pleasant themeless experiences I've had in a Long time. Almost nothing lovely, and a whole lot of "?!?!?!" It was only somewhat hard at first, but then there was the SW corner, and ... first of all, the clue on ALMIGHTY DOLLAR made it virtually impossible (for me) to get. I had -TYDOLLAR and still had No idea. "Jack"? Ugh. I mean, I have vaguely heard of that term for "money" (i.e. scratch, i.e. MOOLA, just above it, ugh), but ... no, no real help. To my credit / embarrassment, I sort of kind of remembered the IMRE guy (44A: 2002 Literature Nobelist Kertész), but was Not certain and couldn't get anything but HELIXES (which I spelled HELICES, of course) to confirm it. "Image of A GIRL"????? (51D: "Image of ___" (1960 hit by the Safaris)) Uh, no. And recall, I listened to a Lot of oldies radio as a teenager. Still, nothing. Curia ROMANA?! (46D: Curia ___ (body assisting the pope)) Seriously, these answers are almost (*almost*) funny in terms of how obscure / out of my wheelhouse they are. Laughable. The most laughable, however, came at 44D: Declaration after "Hallelujah!" Here's what I had for sure: -MA-UM. Pretty sure first letter was "I" but was willing to entertain "O" (!?). Were the orthorhombic crystals (seriously, hilariously out of my wheelhouse) DIAXIAL or BIAXIAL? I couldn't have told you. So ... Me: "OMADUM? IMADUM? IMABUM? Wait, I'M A BUM?! Noooo...." In the end, that is what I went with, *only* because it formed words that I recognized. Not in that order, but I recognized them as words in the English language, and that was enough. Thus I was quite honestly stunned when I clicked "Done" and the applet accepted my grid. Really!? "I"M A BUM"!? A partial from a 100-yr-old folk song!? In retrospect, I don't think I would've gotten anywhere in that corner if I hadn't had an inkling about IMRE or hadn't known MOLINE (45D: Illinois home of the John Deere pavilion) was a place in Illinois. That is a very, very thin thread from which to hang one's puzzle success. Yipes.


Problems here go beyond one comically weird / dated corner. There's just not a lot of answers to love. Then there's stuff like COIGN (?) and DEWBERRY (!?!) (8D: Bramble with edible purple fruit). RESORT TO crossing ALIEN TO. It's all a little too to. Too two tu tutu. Mainly, it just wasn't entertaining, anywhere. Weird that in a puzzle where I struggled so much, I had no trouble with AZIMUTH (1A: Heavenly measurement) or STENTOR (neither of which I think of as a common word). In fact, I had this weird moment about 1/3 of the way in to the grid where I went HOLE UP to PEAK to KERR (47A: Michael Jordan teammate Steve) to RADARS to STENTOR in about ten seconds. Just rushed diagonally right across the grid to the SE corner. I thought this boded well. I was mistaken.

Bullets:
  • 19A: 1964 album that was #1 for 11 weeks ("MEET THE BEATLES") — this was as easy as ALMIGHTY DOLLAR was hard. 
  • 21A: Political blogger Klein (EZRA) — I think I've seen him fill in for people on MSNBC from time to time. Wherever I've seen him, he was a gimme. 
  • 42A: Capital on the Sava River (ZAGREB) — not as hard as you might think when you have the -REB already in place before you ever see the clue. 
  • 54A: Religious leader with a pet elephant (LEO X) — if you absolutely must have a random LEO in your puzzle, you should give him a clue this awesome. Every time. 
  • 63A: What might be treated with vitamin A megadoses (MEASLES) — the beauty of vaccines is I *don't* have to know this stuff.
  • 6D: Like the Mets in every season from 1962 to 1965 (TENTH) — a very tough, very original TENTH clue.
  • 37D: Mascot since 1916 (MR. PEANUT) — Of all the pantsless mascots, he is the creepiest.
  • 43D: Spanish Main crosser (GALLEON) — carrying doubloons, no doubt.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

93 comments:

jae 12:05 AM  

Pretty tough Fri.  Much more difficult than Mr. Silk's typical  LAT Sat. puzzles. So, medium-tough for me.  Getting the terrific MEET THE BEATLES off just a few crosses really helped.  Other zippy stuff...ALMIGHTY DOLLAR, ZOOM ZOOM, MOOLA, MR PEANUT...

Erasures: alcohOL for ETHANOL, Lama for LEOX (extremely obscure random Pope clue), jOLiet for MOLINE (must of been thinking Blues Brothers)

WOE: COIGN, BIAXIAL, the "I'M A BUM" song which was apparently partially written by a hobo named Ellis,  DEWBERRY

NW easy-medium, NE medium, SE medium, SW effin tough!

A nice crunchy Fri. from a master!

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

How could you not know COIGN? It's the most popular variant of quoin! And we all know what a quoin is, don't we?

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

I would think that if you were to have a pet elephant that you could have the decency to choose a name other than LEO. The poor elephant probably spent his days wondering when you and your ilk were about to come tear him to shreds.

Oh, wait! That's a metaphor for the Church. Now it makes sense.

B. Donohue 12:34 AM  

Friday/Saturday are normally above my pay grade, but, like Rex said, the SW corner here was brutal!

Though obscure, I may use the word COIGN. Steve KERR parlayed his 3-point shooting skills into a few NBA Championships and frequent crossword clueing!

Pete 12:43 AM  

You guys seem to be getting held up by remembering the actual clues. I, on the other hand, have no such problem. With IMRE/MOOLAH in place, I immediately threw down ROMANA, as what other word could fill in the blank for PAX _____?

Davis 1:36 AM  

My entry into the puzzle was ANT->EZRA->ZOOMZOOM->AZIMUTH. Normally I'd expect AZIMUTH to be a toughie, but the clue was straightforward, and there's really not much that starts with AZ. Worked my way NW to SE, then got NE before hitting the brick wall that was the SW.

After getting everything else, I had nothing but white in the SW. I didn't know IMRE or MOLINE and wasn't seeing ALMIGHTY, so I couldn't seem to make any inroads. After Googling precisely the former two entries, the rest of the SW came together. But yikes.

Also, when I saw COIGN I was convinced something was wrong in that area—no English word could possibly be spelled like that, right?

Anoa Bob 2:01 AM  

Count me also as a big fan of Barry Silk's puzzles. I thought this one was fairly typical of his work. Nothing popped out as ALIEN TO me.

It had a 60's vibe with MEET THE BEATLES and "Image of A GIRL"

I liked the geographyish subthemelike ZAGREB, KEW, ELYSEE, & MOLINE (I've been to the John Deere Pavilion; they have a bunch of tractors there).

Kinda sciency too. Great start with AZIMUTH, then ETHANOL (thought that was a corn product added to gasoline), MRI, and the highlight of the puzz for me, HELIXES crossing BIAXIAL.

Azimuth Coign Moolas 2:59 AM  

took me an hour, mostly bec of the SW even tho I had ALMIGHTYDOLLAR
(love MOOLA atop it)

I am NEVER on Barry Silk's wavelength, which makes me perversely like his puzzles bec with the exception of ZOOMZOOM and MEETTHEBEATLES, ECHO, OER, OPAL and ELKE...
I had to claw my way to every single answer I was bLIndTO.

AZIMUTH is cool, A to Z in one step!

and then the reverse with ZAGREB!
(easy for @Rex coming at it from ???REB...but I came at it from ZA???? so put in ZAmbia...

Yes, ZAmbia is not a capital, but ZAiREs (which in Scrabble is the monetary unit of Zaire), was just as wrong.

Anyway, grand achievement, tho difficult, should not be taken for granted. Thanks, Signore Silk.

acme 4:11 AM  

ps when I only had ?????????OL???
I considered Jack something NichOLson for the Jack who was the object of devotion...
anyone else?

KFC 4:52 AM  

@acme - how dare you use the name of our sacred deity Moola in your jokey name. The Church of the Almighty Jack Scratch would issue a fatwa if we were actually organized. In the mean time, don't forget to eat chicken.

MaryBR 6:44 AM  

Ditto the yikes on the SW. Flew through the upper half of the puzzle, didn't get too held up in the SE, threw in ALMIGHTY DOLLAR off TYDOL even though jack as money is utterly nonsensical to me. Put in WRESTLES, HAVE and UNNERVE (what this corner did to me). And then... nothing.

After googling Kertesz (IMRE was not even the first answer on google! Couldn't have clued this with Nagy?) the rest finally fell, but ended with an error for IMAdUM because dIAXIAL seemed right and seriously IMABUM??! WTF?! Really one of the worst crossword answers I think I've ever seen.

Z 6:54 AM  

75% easy, 25% impossible. No idea on the IM part of IMRE, -OLoNE didn't look like any Illinois city I could think of, and expecting something hymnalish wasn't helping with -MAcUM. coAXIAL is the cable in cable TV, I think, and very wrong.

The rest played like a typical Silken puzzle for me - going through a region with nothing then getting a toehold and suddenly everything makes sense. MEET THE BEATLES and ZOOM ZOOM were the keys in the north, the TO-TOs were the keys in the SE. Recognizing that the war in 41D was the card game gave me the Y that led to the ALMIGHTY and I thought the SW would fall. Instead, Fail.

Doris 7:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doris 7:29 AM  

Shakespeare to the rescue again! Only knew DEWBERRY as something Titania wants her fairies to feed Bottom. Do we have these berries in North America? Must google.

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and DEWBERRIES,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
—"A Midsummer Night's Dream," Act III, scene i

Evan 7:33 AM  

Don't forget that all-star crossword answer, ESNE. I think Andrew Ries wrote the definitive judgment on it last July:

"I really thought ESNE was retired by anyone not associated with the USA Today puzzle. It's stuffy, smelly, moldy crosswordese that should have died with Gene Maleska. I'm in the process of writing my fifth crossword book, and I can tell you that I'll never, *ever* use ESNE in a puzzle. Even if I'm doing a book about feudal laborers, ESNE wouldn't cut the muster. I'll admit, if I've got a stack that's got JAZZFUSION on top of QUIZMASTER on top of PEPPERJACK that has ESNE holding it together, I may feel tempted. But in this corner, with these letters? Really no excuse for it."

**************

Agreed with all others about that southwest corner. I'M A BUM made no sense at all, and I had the same DI-/BIAXIAL debate that Rex had. I don't know if others made this mistake, but I had GALENA at first instead of MOLINE -- yeah, that's another six-letter Illinois town which is way too small to be enshrined in crosswords, but it fit, so that held me up for a while. If I hadn't been from Illinois originally, I might never have gotten MOLINE (crossing it with IMRE, which of course crosses I'M A BUM, was just cruel).

Actually, I've been to MOLINE before, when The Eagles played there during the summer of 2002. They didn't play at the John Deere Pavilion, but rather the i wireless Center, which was called The MARK of the Quad Cities when I saw them perform.

loren muse smith 7:33 AM  

My toe hold was the quick one-two plop of BIAXIAL and ROMANA. Yeah, right.

This one kicked my SEAT from MOLINE to ZAGREB. I didn’t finish because the SW did me in, too.

“bellow” for HEE HAW (Guess “bellow” is more bovine than equine?)
“somber” for SOLEMN
“top rate” for TOP LINE
“yup” for YEP
“piggy” for SHOAT, quite possibly my lowest moment. Porcine LAPSE.

I agree with Rex – terrific clue for LEO X.

ETRE, ESNE, IMRE, ELKE. Oh me!

Rex – add TO LET to RESTORT TO and ALIEN TO – “It's all a little too to. Too two tu tutu.” Too, too funny! “Pantsless” mascot made me laugh, too.

I always think it’s LIRE and then second guess myself and write LIRA. Those confounded schwas!

IBEX gimme brought that I-do-too-many-puzzles feeling. SHOAT assured me that actually maybe I’m not.

Thanks, Barry. I certainly didn’t DESPISE it, but like unlike @Anoa Bob, a lot of it was ALIEN TO me!

Glimmerglass 7:34 AM  

I was very entertained -- and for quire a long time! I love Barry Silk puzzles because they're wicked hard and contain lots of stuff I don't know, but interwoven with stuff I do know or can make an intelligent guess at. Loved ALMIGHTY DOLLAR crossing I'm A BUM, both from the same era (no, I'm not *that* old). Used to love WKRP in Cincinnati. Somehow remembered AZIMUTH, COIGN, and STENTOR (cf stentorian) after a cross or two. Didn't know the EZRA (not the prophet) or IMRE (not to be confused with INRI), but got 'em anyway. Hallelujah.

The Bard 7:57 AM  

Macbeth , Act I, scene VI

DUNCAN: This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.

BANQUO: This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate.

Susan McConnell 8:35 AM  

A harder than usual Friday for me. Doable, yes, but filled with twists and turns.

MetaRex 8:38 AM  

For me, I'M A BUM was a great answer...the contrast w/ "Hallelujah" is excellent in the original song, excellent as a punchy short phrase, and also excellent as a summary of what crossword solving feels like. Moments of ecstasy and stretches of feeling like a hopeless loser...that's what it's all about.

Is there any connection between the v. different Rex and MetaRex reax and the pretty tough (by Rex's standards) and pretty smooth (by MetaRex's standards) solving experiences? Well...does the pope have a pet elephant?

More at I'm a Bum

Sir Hillary 8:49 AM  

Toughie, but good stuff, just like a Friday should be. COIGN and SHOAT are new to me, but learning new things is good, no? Got ----THEBEATLES right away, but couldn't remember if 1964 was MEET or WITH. ZOOMZOOM was an "aha" moment -- superb entry. As usual for me, sports knowledge helped -- KERR, ERROR, TENTH, WRESTLES, even MOLINE, which I know as one of the Quad Cities because of the John Deere Classic (formerly Quad Cities Open) PGA tournament. The clue for ETRE is wonderful. And ALIENTO looks like it should be a musical term...perhaps for a tune no one recognizes?

Back to sports...for me as a college football fan, BCS is a hated acronym. As a crossword fan, just the opposite.

evil doug 8:52 AM  

Started a steady pace on the diagonal from Seattle, through Liverpool, to Zagreb---and then stalled for a while. But when the mountain climber reached a 'peak' instead of the customary acme, I felt empowered to climb on.

Always enjoy it when New York regional trivia is supplanted by flyover country. Yay, Moline!

Gave up on ingles in the 'hallelujah' corner. Started looking for some Latin term that sounded reasonable. No luck--ended up with goulash in the whole Kertesz region....

Terrific clues on 'seat' ("what a bottom may be on top of") and 'wrestles' ("puts a hold on, say").
Only 'Republican Guard' I knew was the Iraqi gang we mowed down on the way to Saddam's spider hole....

I prefer Yogi Berra quotes to yogis' 'oms': "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Evil



Anonymous 9:09 AM  

FearlessKim here. An odd confluence of life events -- Catholic school, job as a banker with responsibility for Illinois multinationals like Deere, a long-term gig in jewelry-making -- actually made the SW come together with ease. IMABUM? Well, there it was, weird yes, but a recognizable phrase, so I confidently finished, or so I thought… "Incorrect cells? What the what?!" Had to come here to discover that I had gotten my small mammals mixed up: I had entered stoat rather than SHOAT, and had Never even noticed the improbable ettanol. DNF. No Hallelujah here. IMABUM. But thanks anyway, Mr. Silk, because the rest of it was a fun solve!

jackj 9:32 AM  

Another clever puzzle, (as always), from themeless impresario Barry Silk, who seems to have taken great pleasure in linking the Wobblies anthem of IAMABUM to a capitalist’s reverence for the ALMIGHTYDOLLAR. Tut, tut, troublemaker!

The middle-ish section of the puzzle with HALE, WKRP, YEP, PREZ, OPAL, etc. was Monday level fill but with some of the head-bangers elsewhere in the grid, things certainly evened out.

The head-bangers included IMRE who had always been Nagy; the delightful clue of “Loser in war, usually” for TREY; the 3-D clue for medicine’s MRI, not some rival of the movie industry’s IMAX and DEWBERRY, the BERRY being a gimme and the DEW being a total unknown, coming only from the crosses.

INGLES seemed another gimme until one reflected on what was a four-letter word for “Old laborer”, second letter “S” until SOLEMN filled in and then a trip down Maleska’s memory lane correctly screamed ESNE.

As a parting “thanks” to Barry, may he be consigned to the crossword penalty box to serve a 5-minute major penalty for giving us the hideous vision of the Washington Post’s EZRA Klein enjoying a COIGN of Vantage while watching the HELIXES play footsie with the BIAXIAL orthorhombic crystals and ending up with a case of the MEASLES. (Gives one shivers!).

ZOOMZOOM, Barry!

Ted of Albany 9:36 AM  

I knew 'dewberry' from "Life of Brian." And "Moline" because I've been to that particular arena. Other than that, this was a guy sitting in front of a computer prompting the dumbest clues he could conjure, just to be an ass. That's what I say.

Milford 9:37 AM  

DNF. Got about 50% on my own before I had to google something to move forward. HALE, COIGN, AZIMUTH, SHOAT, IMRE, ETRE, ESNE were all a huge headache for me. Vitamin A for MEASLES was a new one. Does it actually work? I'M A BUM was _ _Amen forever.

Oh we'll, Fridays do still kick my butt sometimes.

Snow day for kids here in Michigan!

Milford 9:40 AM  

That should be "Oh well".

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

DNF. Yuck.

Rob Morse 9:54 AM  

Holy Eugene T. Maleska, Batman . . .
Ibex???

Barb 10:13 AM  

As Fearless Kim did, I entered stoat instead of SHOAT, & with great confidence. But, IMABUM was a gimme. Having been a folkie before being a hippie, I've heard this song many times. Pete Seeger recorded it in the early sixties. There are a kajillion different wheelhouses & this was in mine.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

63A: What might be treated with vitamin A megadoses (MEASLES) — the beauty of vaccines is I *don't* have to know this stuff.

Rex,
Your choice to know / not know vaccines (guessing you are out of your childhood years for yourself and children) ... But you might want to look into vaccines for adults reference Shingles (which some insurance companies will provide free at age sixty). Also, the is pneunovax. And you might consider a booster for tetanus (now, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough).

Apologies if comment out of place .... But the pain of shingles / herpes zoster is so severe for some, it can be debilitating.

Additionally, the most common people to get tetanus in USA population is older women (who did not get DT booster shots in the service, work related injuries, etc)

Elizabeth

dk 10:26 AM  

���� (2 Stars) WRONGLY is amoral: just sayin.

Sandy K 10:40 AM  

I don't know how I got some of these answers- AZIMUTH? COIGN? KERR? MOLINE? DEWBERRY? Guess they're just x-words that are embedded in my brain.

Tried combos of Kennedy, half, silver DOLLAR before seeing ALMIGHTY. Spent time in ZAGREB when it was Yugoslavia, and I had an Uncle IMRE.

Was a bit UNNERVEd by SW corner, then ZOOM ZOOM- it all fell in.

YEP, it was a hard one, but that's what I like on a Friday!

Cheerio 11:07 AM  

I loved this. Yesterday was awesome too.

Lindsay 11:09 AM  

HOLE UP is my WTD, 'cuz everyone around here is just waiting waiting waiting to see how many feet of snow we get.

When "last" wouldn't work for the Mets clue I filled in sixTH, but I guess the leagues had't been broken into divisions yet.

Is LE OX a sacred cow? I'm confused.

John V 11:16 AM  

SW was okay for me, but NE not so much. Ran up the DNF flag after an hour. Had ESNE but could not see THEME, DEWBERRY new to me; wanted ALCOHOL for 16a. COIGN was certainly a WTF moment here, as was IMABUM, but that was the only thing that worked. SHOAT is tough; WRONGLY seems a bit imprecise.

Liked ALMIGHTY DOLLAR, liked indirection of MRI/HEART as wanted movie-type answer.

Close but no cigar here. I was not as put off by some of the obscurity. Really annoyed at myself for not seeing MEETTHEBEETLES, as my teen years spanned that period, although I was a Beach Boys fan then.

Back to SNOWMAGEDDON, which is already in progress; came back early from VT see the CT version.

Two Ponies 11:31 AM  

Tough but mostly fun with loads of huh? thrown in.
The pet elephant had me thinking of Hindu not Catholics. And the word body in the clue for Romana gave me Humana at first.
It all came together but I could not believe I'm a Bum was right!

Carola 11:43 AM  

Thought it was TOPLINE. ❤ it!

Didn't ZOOMZOOM through it, for sure, especially north of MEETTHEBEATLES. Much ERROR: misinterpreted "stand" as physical and "primary" as school. Was totally faked out by the non-Iranian Republican Guard and "to be far away," tried mul- and bil- before DEWBERRY, had leopard before PANTHER. "WRONGLY" definitely was apt for that corner.

Actually found the SW easiest. I know only one Hungarian first name, so wrote in IMRE, which gave me what I needed for MOLINE and ROMANA and the crosses I needed for the rest.

Liked the international 6-letter group ELYSEE, INGLES, ROMANA, the elephant-owning LEO X crossing IBEX, the goofy encounter of MR PEANUT with STENTOR, and the fab words AZIMUTH, COIGN, GALLEON, ZAGREB.

ThanKEW, Barry Silk - one of my favorites from you.

Sparky 11:47 AM  

My GALLEON was blown out of the water. Barry C. Silk always hard for me. However, got STENTOR as it's been in puzzles before.

I'M A BUM a gimmee. College in the 50s was very folkie. They taught us dances of other lands in high school, too. Hi @Barb.

syndy 12:02 PM  

Barry stepped up his game today!Wicked hard in some areas.Kindly he foreshadowed the ALMIGHTYDOLLAR with MOOLA to get us thinking in the right direction. Hand up for Alcohol & StOAT & coAXIAL as writeovers-I also wanted Hostia (sic)before ROMANA! HELIXES was my biggest AHHA! In my humble opinion HALLEUIA! I'M A BUM has more curtural significance than TIM BERLAND

Gill I. P. 12:07 PM  

@MaryBR I got me ALMIGHTY DOLLAR off TYD...I was so proud I wanted to light up a cigarette!
I actually went to my hand sanitizer to look at all the ingredients. NO ETHANOL in sight. Lots of alcohol and our friend aloe. Really though, the only 2 sciency words i know are ETHANOL and ethane so....dropped it in and finished up that corner lickety spit.
Had *With* instead of MEET THE BEATLES so gave up, went to bed and then finished this puppy up this AM.
Loved IM A BUM which was a total guess. ZAGREB is beautiful - future niece in-law is Croatian. ZOOM ZOOM EZRA got me by the SEAT.
@Loren - you are soo-ey funny!
@Lindsay - LE-OX...Hah!!
Barry usually gets me good and like @Rex, I'm rarely on his wave
but for some reason, this puzzle was easier for me than yesterday's. ALIENTO ALIENTO!

Kryten 12:28 PM  

Moline - John Deere Headquarter designed by Eero Saarinen, another crossword favorite. As a former architect, that was a gimme. The building is possibly in my top 10 works in the U.S. Quite a forceful presence of steel and glass, yet delicate taking design cues from Japanese architecture. For those who are curious, definitely worth a look.

Hallelujah I MandA Bum 1:17 PM  

Middlin' hard. But sorta fair, in that it had gimmes for most everybody, and a few killers for all but the most biaxial kew.

My gimme highlights:
MOLINE Deere Pavillion. Been there. Done that.
AGIRL Image of. Great bellyrubber doowop song. Starts out with a ticking clock effect backing up the music, if that helps 31 any.
YEP. Cool cloo.
EZRA. Not sure why it rang a bell. Does that dude ever blog here?
BEATLES. I mean, c'mon. Had it from M+...
Also easy: ZOOMZOOM. MRPEANUT. TREY. WKRP. Many more. p.s. Bless you, ESNE.

Flip sides: BIAXIAL. KEW. ROMANA. TOPoftheLINE(!?). COIGN (spelling?). KERR. IMABUM (but intend to star usin' that Hallelujah phrase whenever chillaxing)
M&A

Ellen S 1:54 PM  

Typing comment on laptop because keyboard is easier than iPad and I can reference the puz while typing --but frustrated when tapping on the screen didn't produce an insertion bar. Oh, gotta use the mouse.
Barry Silk: I am just beginning to recognize names, but not sure yet if good or bad. Did not cringe when I saw your, and I was right! Loved this, with all the tricky misdirects.

Hand up for jolIet before MOLINE. I know there are farm equipment makers down there. Guess it's Caterpillar.

I'm not old enough to remember Hallelujah I'M A BUM, but I'm left-wing enough to have heard it often. I do remember WKRP fondly, so another gimme. ZAGREB took a while, esp. since I had misspelled 27D "PREs". Oh, so a cheat: I checked my letters and saw one of the S's should have been a Z. Easy enough to figure out which one, and then ZAGREG was easy even with only ZA-R--. MOOLA, jack, scratch, bread, kale, they're all known nicknames for the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. I knew "jack" from the One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding, a book about a rich kid who doesn't quite know that his new girlfriend is a prostitute. I read it 50 years ago and just read a review on Amazon that says don't re-read it as an adult.

The Z in ZAGREB was a cheat, but I got everything else without googling, and loved the tricky ones. So I'm happy.

Last couple of puzzles took my usual night before and next morning to do, but harder to comment. Every time I start up the laptop, I get interrupted with requirements to update things, which require uninstalling things, which turns into a nightmare. By the time I'm done, another puzzle is ready.

@Kryten, thanks for the info about the John Deere Pavilion. I was going to look before clicking submit, but heading again toward the infinite regress: do I want Google Earth? Yes, then install the plugin... it never ends. This post ends here.

Notsofast 2:03 PM  

For some reason, this puzzle didn't put up much of a fight. That "Declaration after Hallelujah" sucked. DEWBERRIES are like blackberries, but a little smaller. Growing up here in North Carolina, they were a summertime treat. An interesting solve today. B

Ellen S 2:04 PM  

p.s. the Google Earth plug-in for Firefox on Windows 7 broke the browser. Showed me a glimpse of the John Deere Pavilion frontage, before everything went south. v. handsome. Now I really gotta try getting some work done.

Bird 2:05 PM  

Maybe it’s the wheelhouse, but Barry Silk disappoints me this time. I quit after asking myself, “What?” and “Huh?” and saying WTF. Terrible and obscure cluing, even for a Friday, made it impossible to like this puzzle.

TOPLINE (maybe toplist) and WRONGLY (immoral is better) just don’t fit the clues. 31A should be plural. Can’t remember anyone ever using “Jack” as a nickname for the dollar. Slinkys are SPIRALS. And on and on.

I know that Vitamin A is good for the skin so I had PIMPLES at 63A.

19A is very good and an excellent album. 2D is also good.

Time to hunker down and ride out Nemo. Be safe everyone.

Lewis 2:59 PM  

@rex -- your MRPEANUT comment made me laugh out loud.

@kfc -- very funny yourself

I think I heard the IMABUM song in summer camp when I was a kid, and for many years after it was an occasional earworm. Haven't thought about it in a couple of decades though. When it reappeared today it was not only an aha, but brought some great memories back. And I'll probably be singing it for days.

Two Googles when I was hopelessly stuck, but I loved the puzzle.

Carola 3:21 PM  

@unknown commenter -
Forgot to say above - Thank you to the person who helpfully noted last month that the page number for the puzzle could be found on the paper's contents page. I was away on vacation then and solving online; now back at home, I'm enjoying solving on paper again but this morning quailed at the thought of paging through those two Arts sections, which I've sometimes had to do twice because I get impatient and miss the puzzle. Then I remembered. C29. Awesome.

M&A - The ticking clock! Thank U! Great slow-dance song - I could hear the "image of A GIRL" part but couldn't remember how it started. "As I lie awaaake..."

lawprof 3:22 PM  


This was a real struggle. Had to put it down and come back to it in order to finish. In the end, I got it all right, but still didn't understand some of it. For example, at 14D I had _ _ _SEE. For some reason I wanted Holy See to be protected by the Republican Guards. But it didn't fit, and it was the wrong guards (the right ones being Swiss). Finally slogged through the crosses and ended up with ELYSEE. Is that a Parisian Boulevard? Whaaat??

Had a couple of oddball writeovers. MJ's teammate Steve: I could just picture a feisty white guard, so I dropped in Nash before I realized I had the wrong era and Steve KERR came off the bench. The only six-letter Illinois city that popped into my head was Peoria, so that stunk up the SW for most of the morning before ALMIGHTYDOLLAR forced me to find another venue; still, MOLINE was a long time coming.

A real challenge, but satisfying in the end...sort of.

Acme 3:26 PM  

My guess is ESNE was probably very intentional and a wink. Approach puzzles with a smile instead of as a gladiator death match and more enjoyment might ensue! :)

@lms
"kicked my SEAT from MOLINE to ZAGREB" :)
Might try to get to ACPT just to meet you!

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

No, just no. Three hours before giving up. Glad I did cause I never would have gotten, IMABUM, BIAXIAL,ZAGREB,IMRE,ESNE,. did get MEETTHEBEATLES, MRPEANUT, ZOOMZOOM. Did know Moline. Image of a girl?

Z 3:32 PM  

What did LE OX say after getting served papers? I.B. EX.

Okay, I apologize.

I briefly wondered if the Republican Guard were guarding Azadi Tower.

LaneB 4:05 PM  

NE corner too much for this grinder. Darling clues for ETRE, SLOAT and ELYSEE totally misleading to me. Also, What Apple product is associated with PANTHER? And what is an ESNE? [must be a popular crossword gimme.] Anyway, not a pleasant Friday DNF

morecraft 4:32 PM  

Did u hear about the obese ballerina who had to wear
a three three? Loved the puzzle! I was thirteen when the mop heads landed at Idlewild so the answer was a gimme. Had e's for lira and Moline but otherwise an unusally easy Friday for me.

SeattlePam 4:40 PM  

My solving partner and I were hoping for "Hallelelujah, I'm a nun."

Merle 4:47 PM  

found this puzzle more sandpaper than "Silken". Not fun. Thought it was going to be fun. First answer I got was "I'm a bum". Knew the song since childhood -- "Hallelujah, I'm a bum, hallelujah, bum again, hallelujah, give us a handout, and revive us again." A far cry from Leonard Cohen's amazingly beautiful anthem, "Hallelujah".

The plural of helix is helices, not helixes. O literacy, whereforth art thou, O literacy?

And thank you, "The Bard", for the coign imbedded in the quote from the Bard.

The rest of the puzzle was just esoterica or the usual suspects fill. Esne? Fill. Always a choice: esne, serf, peon, whatevuh, let the crosses set the answer. Sommer of Hollywood? Who else but Elke. Ibex. Onyx. Ibis. Oryx. Fill fill fill.

Almighty dollar. Ben Johnson wrote about "almighty gold", and from gold to dollar is just two centuries and an Atlantic Ocean apart. Jack for money most likely is derived from jackpot. If you hit the jackpot, you got jack to burn, you got the almighty dollar.

But the esoterica is too esoteric. Leo X -- really? And his pet elephant? At least the clue didn't refer to an animated cartoon about a lama and his pet elephant. Or should that be his pet lama? Lord love a duck. A pet duck. An almighty duck and his pet pope?

And now we know that orthorhomboid crystals are biaxial. I thought they were just plain old lattice-shaped. Silly me. So we know that, and now we know about Johnny Fever and WKRP. Did I really need to know that? Yuck. May I forget it now? And a 1960 hit by the Safaris?

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Dictionary definition of "orthorhombic": "of or denoting a crystal system or three-dimensional geometric arrangement having three unequal axes at right angles." Shouldn't the answer have been "triaxial"?

Chris Kearin 4:57 PM  

I finished this and liked it (and I thought ALMIGHTYDOLLAR was clever), but can someone explain TREY to me?

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Used to use it incorrectly said -
@Merle, "wherefore?" means "for what reason?" or "for what purpose?".

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

@Chris Kearin - In the card game War, players throw down cards and the high card wins. In this case a TREY ( a three) is rarely a winner.

Chris Kearin 5:13 PM  

@Anonymous. Thanks. I had a hunch but it seemed a bit weak.

OISK 5:16 PM  

Once I saw "Silk," I knew that it would be difficult, and that I would enjoy it and finish it. This was no exception, even though I never owned a Beatles album, and have no idea who the Safaris are. Mr. Silk almost always plays fair, avoiding similar references in the same area. I can sing "Hallelujah I'm a Bum," and that was the first thing I thought of on seeing the clue - got a kick out of it. There are at least five answers that I don't know at all - Shoat, A girl, Stentor, Esne, Moline, but I got them all because the crossing clues gave me a shot. A trey is a three in a deck of cards. If you are playing "war," a trey loses to any card except a deuce.
Thanks, Mr. Silk, as always!!

Octavian 5:32 PM  

Not sure what the haters are talking about -- this was a fantastic puzzle with just a couple of thorny issues like the Nobel Prize winner.

Otherwise it seemed kind of easy if anything. I got the "Almighty Dollar" with like 4 crosses. The term "jack" for money is totally common.

Coign was a new word for me but it was fun to learn.

Thanks as always to the always excellent Mr. Silk.

Seas <> Land 6:48 PM  

The "Spanish Main" is the parts of North and South America boardering the Carribean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

As the Spanish Main is land, I doubt Galleons, or even dingys, crossed it.

Tita 7:37 PM  

Mammoth DNF.

This is the kind of puzzle that I might get just by putting it down for a day or two, and coming back to it. For a week or two.
Didn't do that - cheated instead.

Things I learned - the song "I'm a bum". Thanks for that clip. (btw, ain't that a beautiful record label?)

And that Rei Manuel I of Portugal gave not only a rhinoceros, but also a white elephant to Leo X.
The rhino he gifted is the one drawn (by memory) by Albrecht Dürer.

Thanks, I think, Mr. Silk.

chefwen 7:43 PM  

Test driving the new Skipper.

No comment on the puzzle, it beat the living daylight out of me. Hopeful for better results tonight.

Joma 9:56 PM  

Tough puzzle, surprised I was able to even fill the upper half. Obscure clues but I guess that's what makes it Friday challenging.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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 5:58, 6:08, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:03, 8:30, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:23, 11:33, 0.73, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 16:41, 17:05, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Fri 23:18, 21:07, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:48, 4:57, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:11, 6:29, 0.80, 6%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 9:43, 9:43, 1.00, 48%, Medium
Fri 13:44, 12:14, 1.12, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

I can usually finish the Fridays, but that SW was impossible for me. I pulled ALMIGHTYDOLLAR out somehow, and then wrote in MISGIVE instead of UNNERVE, followed by "Hallelujah, SLAP ME". That's about the point when I gave up.

Anonymous 11:42 PM  

This was hard but they are all hard for me. I'm a Bum was actually the easiest clue for me. If you listen to folk radio you can't escape it. There have been a few recent covers actually, I forget who, Jeff Buckley maybe?

Merriam-Webster 12:18 AM  

@Seas <> Land - Damn English language, it keeps coming up with extra meanings for things. Spanish Main

Anonymous 12:50 AM  

Actually, not too tough today (didn't get to Fri.'s puzzle until 11 p.m. C.S.T.- busy day). "Coign" was the only one I had to Google to ascertain. Got "Leo X" and the others from context. Also Googled "Hallelujah I'm A Bum" (heard long ago on someone else's anthology of classic folk tunes from the '20s and '30s) just to be sure. "Almighty Dollar" is an old expression. Misspelled "Prez" as "Pres" until I got "Zagreb." "Biaxial" merely means "descriptive of a molecular structure having two axes rather than one." "Image of a Girl" I hadn't heard of either, but got from context. This puzzle was not that tough for a Fri. Now I'll avert my eyes as I see Rex has already posted the Sat. solution and wait for tomorrow's NYT delivery (yes, I still read the paper and do the X-word in dead-tree fashion). And so to bed.

Ellen S 4:54 AM  

@tita, I did one like that in an anthology recently. Took me about a week. These ones, I also cheat in order to get to the blog. (Finished Saturday's puz, but found these stray Friday posts.)
@chefwen, great dog pic.
@seas&land/@Merriam-Webster: if we all get the intended answer correctly, GALLEON, and the clue was so truly wrong for that answer, does that mean the answer was all wrong for that clue, and thus we all DNF? Likewise apparently for biaxial? So the puzzle isn't testing our general knowledge, but rather our ability to give the constructor the answer he wants. Like being back in school...

Amelia 11:58 AM  

I adored this puzzle, and it took me an overnight leaving it to finish it. Whoever said he's never on the same wavelength as Silk got it exactly. You spend all this time mindlessly filling in ordinary puzzles and then you get one that makes you work like a dog. Those are the good ones.

Oddly, considering the comments, the very first thing I put in was IMRE, because I read him before he was a nobel laureate. After that, I stared and stared. But it came, slowly by slowly (as a French friend of mine once said) Which reminds me, the very last thing I put in was "etre," which embarrasses me no end. All in all, a very satisfying day in the trenches.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 1:02 AM  

This was wayyyy to hard for a simple country lad. Does anyone think that the next day's (Sat 9) homework was far EASIER? I am intimidated by Sat puzzles but this one was approachable. Probably because it was not constructed by an Englishman with 2 last names... Honestly, though, wasn't this one harder than its follower?

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

I still don't get the clue for être. Little help?

Z 1:03 PM  

Anon@12:37 - ÊTRE is "to be" in French, spoken in France which is far away; Also in Quebec, which is closer to NYC than I.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Thanks. Was still scratching my head over that one!

Spacecraft 12:15 PM  

I'm with the crowd that expected something more smooth from Mr. Silk. Alas, I could not finish correctly; the SW just had too many unknowns for me. I would never have gotten IMABUM if you gave me all year; I don't know where the Deere thing is (Joliet?). And as for that writer? No way. The crystals? Huh? To begin with, the plural of helix is helices. I guess the dictionary will say that HELIXES is "acceptable," but the purist in me feels violated.

The other three sections were hard enough. It took lots of long staring to get any of them. Solving those was rewarding, so it's really too bad I ran into a nexus of Naticks down there. I'd have liked to get it right and notch another Friday on my belt, but 'twas not to be.

Torb 12:55 PM  

I still cannot believe that I finished this one...Gooniest clues ever!

Solving in Seattle 1:42 PM  

Arcaniest CW I've worked in a while. The next time me and my stone masons build an arched doorway I'll know to tell them to make sure the COIGN is set properly. I was ALIENTO most of this puzzle and had to RESORTTO plan "G" to finish.

DMGrandma 3:17 PM  

The first word I got on the first run through was the last word, STENTOR, and I figured I was done for. Then I found old friend ELKE, settled in and actually solved this thing, except for the PREs error! IMABUM gave me a good start on the SW where I just had to accept some of the answers that evolved. Didn't know you could treat measles. When I had them in the Dark Ages, I think the only "treatment" was a dark room to protect the eyes. Or was that for mumps? At any rate, this was great, if a bit of slogging fun, and I'll never forget how to spell ZAGREB again!

Dirigonzo 4:51 PM  

Barry Silk's clues fall into on of two categories for me - the ones I get are "wicked clever" and the ones I don't get are just "wicked". Today only a couple fell into the latter category - I don't know why I thought the John Deere Pavilion was in jOLINE and my bearded mountain climber was an ImEX, but those were due to my ignorance, not bad cluing. WKRP always makes me smile.

@DMG - If you had the Measles (and who didn't when we were growing up?) you might consider getting a shot to prevent Shingles. Someone commented earlier on this and I think it's a good precaution as I hear Shingles are no fun at all.

Solving in Seattle 5:23 PM  

@Diri, I think the shingles vaccination is a good idea, no matter if one had the the measles OR the chicken pox as a kid. It's a little expensive, but certainly better than the alternative, from what I've heard.

Dirigonzo 6:11 PM  

@SIS - thank you for correcting my point, it's the chicken pox, not measles, virus, that causes shingles. I was lucky in that my health insurance covered the cost of the vaccine completely so getting the shot was a no-brainer for me.

Any osprey sightings in your area yet?

Waxy in Montreal 8:19 PM  

Wondering what pet might become to be associated with Pope Francis? Thinking maybe crossword-friendly LLAMAS or ALPACAS also from South America. Also, whether WKRP would have ever run HEEHAW, even in a desperate search for the ALMIGHTYDOLLAR?

Well, this was a toughie, not being familiar with MOLINE, COIGN and the BIAXIAL nature of orthorhombic crystals. Gotta hang down my head because, despite spending countless hours at hootenannies during the folk music revival of the early '60's, the Hallelujah-I'M A BUM chorus was also a complete unknown.

We were just looking at Mrs. Waxy's vintage copy of her MEETTHEBEATLES LP so that was a gimme as were the ANT-AZIMUTH & OER-STENTOR corners but most of the rest was ALIENTO me. YEP!



Waxy in Montreal 8:27 PM  

Re MR.PEANUT. Have a vague memory of Planters sending him in a strange vehicle to our local park each summer to hand out samples to us kids in an attempt to get us hooked on salted peanuts, I guess. These days, no doubt parents would complain immediately and he'd be arrested on the spot for his nutty behaviour...

Solving in Seattle 8:36 PM  

Nobody was creepier than Oscar Meyer and his Oscar Meyer wiener song. If he showed up today in his Wienermobile and sang the song he'd be up on morals charges. He made Mr. Peanut look like a Pope in comparison.

@Diri, no osprey sightings yet. A little early I think.

Solving in Seattle 8:40 PM  

Re: shingles - a friend of mine who is married to a physician neglected to get the vaccine and got shingles. She said the pain was unlike anything she had ever experienced. All of us old coots need to make sure to get the shot.

Dirigonzo 8:56 PM  

@SIS - The Weinermobile and the LL Bean Boot-mobile made a joint appearance in Freeport (home of LL Bean) in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary - I'm not sure why.

@Waxy - Did Mr. Peanut at least have pants on, I hope?

@SIS - "He made Mr. Peanut look like a Pope in comparison." Mr. Peanut resents that comparison.

I'm done now.

Waxy in Montreal 9:03 PM  

Mr. Peanut is described thusly by Wikipedia - "He is depicted as an anthropomorphic peanut in its shell dressed in the formal clothing of an old-fashioned gentleman: a top hat, monocle, white gloves, spats, tights, and a cane". Certainly scarier than many a pope.

Anonymous 10:50 PM  

A disappointing puzzle for those who count on the NYTimes for literacy and accuracy. The plural of "helix" is properly "helices." And orthorhombic crystals are TRIaxial. You could look it up.

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