1954 Audie Murphy western / SAT 7-13-13 / Of pions kions / First city bombed in WW II's Baedeker Blitz / Obama descriptor / Midori on ice / Frozen treat with Alexander Grape as one of its flavors / Tito's successor as head of Non-Aligned Movement

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: MESONIC (3D: Of pions and kions) —
adj. of or relating to MESON
n.
Any of a family of subatomic particles that participate in strong interactions, are composed of a quark and an antiquark, and have masses generally intermediate between leptons and baryons.
• • •

Slower than I should've been, largely because I saw Byron's name and braced myself for brutality. I became very suspicious when answers started going into the grid, thinking "surely this is some grand trap." But the puzzle actually ended up being pretty pliable for a Saturday. Average—maybe even slightly on the easy side (correcting for my overly slow and cautious start). Byron's grids are usually pretty spectacular, often chock full of fresh and unusual entries (today, see especially NO DRAMA (13D: Obama descriptor), PRII (45A: Automotive plural selected in a 2011 promotion), DER BINGLE (!!?) (11D: "White Christmas" singer, informally). There is some clunkiness here and there—PUNTED ON (16A: Opted to duck) is a fresh phrase, but for some reason I'm finding it slightly ungainly, especially crossing KNEEL AT (14D: Show reverence to, in a way). Clearly I'm having issues with appended prepositions (see also EXERT ON). But the bulk of this grid is clean and lively, and the cluing was tough but interesting and fair. Enjoyable.

I entered the grid in the most banal of ways—via the crossing of AT TWO and AT. NO. At first I had TWO AM, but [W's is 74] pretty much screamed AT. NO, even though I have no idea what "W" is (it's tungsten). So I went with AT TWO and then considered running GEEK alongside it, but noticed NERD just meshed better with the adjacent letters (5D: Pi Day celebrant, perhaps). That gave me DESTRY (I think I have a copy of "Destry Rides Again" somewhere...) (17A: 1954 Audie Murphy western) and DRY SEASON (6D: Late October to March, in West Africa) and I was on my way. Had ULSTER for EXETER at first (15A: First city bombed in W.W. II's Baedeker Blitz). That's as hairy as things got in the NW. Had to guess at the REMAND / MESONIC crossing (1A: Back order? / 3D: Of pions and kions), but nothing else made sense. Struggled a bit in the NE as I worked out that "Main" meant "the sea" at 7A: Main means of defense? (SQUID INK) and that LIMOSINE was not a correct spelling (18A: Prom amenity => LIMO RIDE). SW must've been pretty easy 'cause I don't remember doing it. Couldn't decide how to spell LUCRE (44A: Dark green?). Was correct, then decided that FIRES were the things that "may be stoked," so changed LUCRE to LUCER, which, as I look at it now, is ridiculous.


SE was also easy, as the two plural Downs (with their terminal "S"s) made NASSER easy to get (55A: Tito's successor as head of the Non-Aligned Movement). Also PRII was a major gimme. Cluing was pretty strong overall, but I especially enjoyed [It often comes with a "Thank You"] (RECEIPT) and [A heavy metal band may have it] (ORE) and [Pounded side] (POI)—I knew "side" would mean "side dish," but it took me a while to figure out that it was the corm of the taro root that was being pounded. I'm slightly surprised we don't see POI more often. . . but apparently we see it reasonably often, because cruciverb tells me it's the second most popular of all -OI options, just barely behind ROI and well ahead of third-place MOI. So what I'm really surprised by is the fact that I have failed to notice how common POI really is. Until now. I believe I have now provided you all with the single most useless piece of trivia of all time: what is the second most common crossword answer following the pattern -OI? Stump your friends!
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    64 comments:

    jae 12:17 AM  

    This was on the easy side for me.  When codpiece wouldn't fit it had to be REDCAPE.   And, watching Endeavor on PBS last Sun. gave me ATNO for W which is @Rex Tungsten from the Swedish wolfram.  No real erasures and no WOEs although I had to stare at PRII a while to get the Toyota connection.  

    That said, COZEN, AILEY,  and ROISTER are crossword only knowledge.

    Pretty zippy...NO DRAMA, OTTER POP,  IDIOTIC, SQUID INK, DER BINGLE,  LUCRE, PUNTED ON... liked it!

    gifcan 12:23 AM  

    I don't even try to do Friday and Saturday on the computer, I print them off and spend the day with them.

    Belated thanks to @jae for the explanation on acronyms. Very helpful.

    My prediction for today's puzzle: I will begin with ITO and eventually wind up at DNF.

    Anonymous 12:28 AM  

    I feel I know you all from reading every day. I am not of the same cloth as you all are as Monday and Tuesday and SOMETIMES Wednesday are all I can do without a lot of googling. I was just thinking lately that I used to chuckle a lot more even wi the puzzles I didn't get.. Maybe I'm taking it all too seriously??

    Anonymous 12:37 AM  

    Also.. How do I not be anon??

    August West 12:54 AM  

    As kids, my wife called them "Otter Pops"; I called them ice pops. We had this discussion on Wednesday. Got the O from Hampton (he and HAPPEN went in boom-boom) and the SW was done, with a wry grin. Moved to the SE, where I knew REDEEMER from having visited, and MARINES from having been (being?) one. Like Rex, the "SS" made Nasser a gimme, along with Greame and IAMNOT. Bottom, done.

    Then...Stop Right There! Thankfully, grandpa always called him Der Bingle, so he and ITO went in like butter. Guessed IDIOTIC from the C in bigCat but still stared and stared at Main...defense and Opted to duck. The former, brilliant clung. The latter does NOT equate to its "answer." Had also never heard Barry described as NODRAMA, a most inapt moniker in hindsight, doncha think? Finally, fitfully, got through the NE, only to be equally vexed over to the left.

    "Apply to" = EXERT ON? Whatever, dude. I get it. It's just...boo. Couldn't think of another Superman accessory besides his, um, cape. Had geek for NERD, two am for ATTWO, and the only Audie Murphy movie I've ever seen is "To Hell and Back". Which is kind of how completing this slog felt. A twenty-four minute chore.

    On to Sunday!

    Questinia 1:21 AM  

    Found this one challenging. Should have waited till the morning! Entire bottom half was Swiss cheese for a long time.

    Knowing LDOPA flat out did not save me in the South. Entire North was fun (don't know how I guessed DESTRY as I didn't get it from crosses) but there was a definite Mason-Dixon line below ADORN and BEADY. My Bett cells were not firing.

    Kept thinking VINDALOO instead of TANDOORI even though it's never vindaloo chicken on the menu.

    Kept thinking Harry James over HAMPTON. Why?!

    DRESS SUITS seemed redundant so I chose DRESS pants.

    Decided to pluralize Prius to PRIa thinking ROASTER which ultimately made it a DNF. Guess it should have actually been PRIAE according to my thinking.

    Really liked the puzzle.

    Evan 2:25 AM  

    Very challenging for me. Byron Walden's puzzles almost always drive me insane and this one was no different.

    Never heard of Bing Crosby's crazy nickname DER BINGLE, nor DESTRY, nor OTTER POP. Well actually, I have eaten an OTTER POP before, I just didn't know what it was called by name. Never heard of MULE as a term in drug slang. Had MANDARIN before TANDOORI, DRESS PANTS before DRESS SUITS, and AMP before ORE (though I should have guessed the latter mistake would have been too easy). Could not let go of PUMPS instead of PUMAS (yeah, remember those ridiculous Reebok shoes? I used to own a pair) for a very long time. Wanted BAD VISION instead of BAD DESIGN. I tried really hard to make LIRAS fit before LUCRE -- as in, the money's no longer in use, so it's gone dark, right? And if all of that wasn't bad enough, I had FIRES, then FLUES, before FEARS.

    But if I can have all of those problems and still solve a Byron Walden puzzle perfectly, I'm happy. Bruised and battered, but happy.

    Anima Cozen Marines 3:17 AM  

    Always very excited to see a Byron Walden puzzle. Know from the past
    it will be a blank first pass and then s-l-o-w-l-y come together...

    Loved PRII!

    Hardest spots, like others, zchanging TWOAM to ATTWO, popsicle to OTTERPOP (never heard of)
    and ADorATE to ADULATE (I knew he wouldn't cross ADORN and ADorATE, but still!)

    MULE/BURROS

    Most of the Scrabbledy-ness was up above with QXZ and lots of SSS
    below, which Byron teaches to look for when solving.
    He advises, with tough puzzles, start at the bottom row where there maybe lots of Ss and common "Wheel of Fortune" letters RSTLN-E
    and sure
    enough, there they were in ROISTER, NASSER, DRESSSUITS, NEAREAST.

    Anyway, loved every AHA moment and there were at least 20 of them!

    chefwen 3:34 AM  

    I really wanted canaries @41D, alas, it did not fit, but I thought it was an excellent answer, yeah, I know, let's try to be a little humble here.

    A dismal outing for the short one, in other words, an epic fail. Too rich for my blood. Looking forward to Sunday.

    I would love to help Anon @12:37 but I am technically impaired, I know how to do it but not how to 'splain it. Anybody?

    jae 4:00 AM  

    @anon 12:37 -- Click on the box "Name/URL". A window with "Name" in front of it will appear just below the "Name/ URL" box. Type who ever you want to be into that window and you will cease to be anon.

    Hope this helps. If you want a picture and a blue identity it's a tad more complicated.

    Voluntarily Anonymous for this Comment 4:15 AM  

    @Anon 12:37: From our folksy neighbors at Crossword Corner:
    How to Post a Comment
    Not everything is relevant, but everything you need to know in order to identify yourself is there...

    Noam D. Elkies 6:23 AM  

    Mretentious? POI?

    loren muse smith 6:55 AM  

    After I almost PUNTED ON this after seeing the name, I regrouped and settled good-naturedly in for the slaying. I had ITAL as my first entry. Then erased it to put “asinine” and “limosine,” knowing it was misspelled. Then I just called it a day and was pleased with my effort. Not bad for a Walden.

    Seriously – I probably finished three fourths of this, and maybe, in my pre-Rex days, could have revisited it off and on all day and possibly completed it by bedtime. But it’s too fun to come here and ROISTER (huh?) and just get on with my day.

    @Evan – me, too, for misgivings as I filled in “amp.”

    PUMAS & BIG CAT, ADULATE & KNEEL AT, DRY SEASON & FALL, POLENTA &POI. . . nice pairs!

    Wasn’t REDEEMER either an entry in the ACPT finals or he thought it was?

    LIP READER - @Gill I. P. shared this with me a while back. Hilarious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zce-QT7MGSE

    Thanks, Byron. Never a BORE! Never a BAD DESIGN. It’s just that I AM NOT there yet.

    Glimmerglass 8:55 AM  

    Rex is right today: "tough but interesting and fair." "Medium" is also about right for me today, but a medium Saturday passes a lot of my time. My last entry was the R in ORE. Never heard of OTTER POP, and ORE seemed like a stretch (the "band" in the clue is a stratum in a mine???). But I went with the R, just because other letters made even less sense.

    joho 8:57 AM  

    Byron always builds such beautiful puzzles.

    I made my first pass late last night and turned out the light with very little filled in plus a big mistake with user where MULE would appear this morning.

    The recent appearance of LIMOUSINE helped me figure it had to be LIMORIDE.

    I, too, was wearing my DRESSpanTS before I changed to SUITS.

    Loved both the clue and answer for SQUIDINK!

    "Small, round and shiny" is the perfect definition of BEADY.

    Absolutely loved this one, Bryon you're the best!



    jberg 9:02 AM  

    Something new for me: finishing left me totally exhausted. I just sat there in my armchair, staring into space. About 5 minutes later I was able to get up and come to my computer.

    So -- LIMO RIDE? I guess it's an amenity in some sense, but it's a stretch. The LIMO is the amenity, isn't it?

    But my real problem was dwarfs before BURROS (thinking Snow White here), thinking of Bush II instead of tungsten, thinking of the main as something ships sail on--i.e., the surface of the ocean, not its depths -- and thinking polenta is closer to corn bread than to mush. Also I gather that OTTER POPs are a brand name for commercially made popsicles, but I've never heard of them.

    Never saw the muppet movie, either, so I was guessing Oscar for Scrooge, rather than a real actor.

    My wife's a biochemist, so I was waiting for her to get up and tell me what Sinemet is-- but I finally got it once I saw POP.

    Reading the comments, I guess I should feel good about finishing, but mainly I feel like I need a nap.

    Oh yeah, @anon -- you can also use an account you have on Google, or probably other choices listed below teh captcha, to give yourself an identity.

    jberg 9:04 AM  

    Also, I do like the idea of taking off the DRESS pantS on casual Friday!

    jackj 9:04 AM  

    When my first two answers were NODRAMA (“Obama descriptor”) and DERBINGLE (“White Christmas” singer, informally”) only some natural reserve held me back from declaring victory and tuning in to the Red Sox game.

    Then CROWDSCENE, POLENTA, TANDOORI, REDEEMER and NEAREAST also were easy fill and since Byron spared us any Saturday exotica, the puzzle proceeded apace.

    Disappointments along the way included LIMORIDE, BIGCAT, DRESSSUITS, REDCAPE, KNEELAT and ATTWO as answers that lacked the usual tinge of sophistication Byron brings to his cluing.

    But true to form there were primo offsets like LIPREADER, SQUIDINK, Alvin AILEY, FEARS not fires, those no chocolate Devil Dogs, aka MARINES and best of show entries COZEN and POI.

    Biggest hang-up was in first thinking that “Scrooge’s portrayer in “The Muppet Christmas Carol” must have been OSCAR, (noted curmudgeonly yet lovable Grouch), but crosses brought out CAINE and a lookup after completion shows old friend OSCAR wasn’t even in the film. For shame! (No wonder it wasn’t a smash hit).

    Seeing OTTERPOP as an entry, it’s tempting to want to replay that convenient chestnut, “I’ve never seen an OTTERPOP, etc, etc, etc.” but I’ll skip that and end on a higher note with a reminder of the wonderful clue seeking Toyota’s audacious plural for their hybrid Prius, PRII.

    Fun puzzle, Byron, though I’m not sure “plays easy” is a description with which you’ll be comfortable!

    retired_chemist 9:06 AM  

    @ anon 12:37 - Get to Google blogger, and open an account. You will need to open a gmail account if you don't already have one. Then the directions are pretty clear, as I remember, even how to upload an avatar.

    Acme described the solve well. Lots of white for a LONG time, then a piece here, a piece there, a few together that give you crosses, and eventually a solve. I'd rate it medium-challenging.

    WTFs: OTTER POP, PRII, GRAEME (OK, it's a common enough name that you can get it from crosses, especially with a surname like McDowell).

    I KNEW REDEEMER but really wanted to stoke FIRES. Finally tried FEudS in desperation, reinforced by gauDY @ 41A. Saved by LUCRE.

    Had pantS SUITS for a while, gEnTRY for DESTRY, lunaTIC for IDIOTIC, OSCAR for CAINE, user for MULE, and MORE. SO, a slowish time fixing all that.

    My W was something to do with Dubya until I saw the point. D'oh. TWO AM didn't help.

    All told, a solid Saturday and well worth the effort. Thanks, Mr. Walden.

    Sir Hillary 9:19 AM  

    Nifty puzzle. As a solver, finishing crunchy Saturdays like this one is the best feeling I ever get.

    Without knowing, until coming here, that it was Byron's advice, I started in the SE. Like almost always, sports gave me a toehold. GRAEME begat PUMAS begat IAMNOT begat EPITOME begat NASSER...blah blah blah.

    From there it was far more difficult. ERECT, DRYSEASON and POLENTA were drop-ins, but the rest was an exercise in patience and a few writeovers. I had (John) wAyNE crossing wiZEN for a while, and was also held up by the silly u-less LIMOsInE.

    Yet, even with all the satisfaction of finishing this one, my biggest "aha" moment -- and laugh -- was @Evan mentioning Reebok Pumps. I had forgotten those...awesome!

    Rob C 10:02 AM  

    Very difficult for me. Got most of it but dnf. Wasn't able to break into the SW corner.

    @ret chem - I wanted IQ for 22A ;)

    @Evan - MULE is someone paid to transport drugs, thus a misdirect on the word 'taker'. I had USER initially.

    Clue for SQUID INK was a bit of a stretch. Other than that I thought the cluing was great.

    Thought Disney Scrooge was the obvious Uncle Scrooge McDuck but couldn't make that work

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:58 AM  

    Good puzzle! Felt challenging as I did it, but finished correctly with no write-overs, so it certainly was fair.

    Was surprised that @Rex cited 50 D as a good clue ("A heavy metal band may have it" = ORE). Apologies to @Glimmerglass, but I don't think even the suggestion that the band is a stratum makes the clue correct. In my view, the ORE contains the metal in an unrefined state; in no way does the "heavy metal band" have ORE; it is ORE.

    Susan McConnell 11:09 AM  

    Lots I didn't know, like MESONIC, OTTERPOP, DER BINGLE.... But it made for a good challenge, which is what you want in you Saturday, right? And POLENTA? Yum!!!

    600 11:24 AM  

    Love the clue for BEADY, even though as I wrote it in I was sure it would be wrong.

    Tried to fit canaries, then maybe some weird spelling of birdys (see? weird.) before BURROS came in view.

    I agree with @Acme that there were wonderful AHA moments, and plenty of them . . . but for LUCRE as dark green, no aha has come yet. Can someone help?

    Gill I. P. 11:25 AM  

    I can't believe how many answers I got off of just one letter = SQUIDINK off the I in ITO, TANDOORI off the L in POLENTA. Although I wanted a misspelled jujitsou for the main means of defense but QUINCE took care of that.
    Boy, I was on fire. Then had to go back upstairs and EXERTON EXETER and MESONIC just would not come out from hiding. That NW corner finally had to meet Google so that I could finish. I CRIED....
    Loved all the critters. BIG CAT, MULE, BURROS, PUMAS and OTTER(POP)
    Son loved those disgusting things. We always had a ton of them in the freezer.
    Good puzzle Byron, you almost COZENed me!!!
    @Loren: Dang, hambone!!!You can buy a pregnant cow....
    P.S. @syndy....Whose the cutie pie in you avatar? and, what gorgeous hair....

    Evan 11:44 AM  

    @Sir Hillary:

    Glad I could help. You may recall that the PUMPS made a rather silly appearance on Dave Chappelle's feet in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

    @Rob C:

    Oh yeah, a hand up for USER too. I should mention that I made another initial mistake: Tim CURRY before Michael CAINE. CURRY played the bad guy in Muppet Treasure Island.

    Nancy in PA 11:44 AM  

    I also had to Google in the NW..and also wanted IQ in 22A! And I Just Now got why pens is ENCLOSES as I could not let go of the writing meaning of pen. Good crunchy tricky puzzle.

    Ellen S 11:46 AM  

    @loren, would you please learn how to embed links? The Lip Reading one is fun but wasn't fun trying to copy your written-out link. For some reason my iPad is happy to select individual words except when the string is one of you links. Usually I don't even bother. @MetaRex learned, so I know you can. (That didn't sound like I meant it. I meant, MR is not technologically advanced. It's just rote.)

    Ellen S 11:57 AM  

    I mean "...one of your links."

    LaneB 12:15 PM  

    Fuggedaboudit! Too much for this old guy after starting off with several mistakes. Stared at the thing for ten minutes and finally said WTF and adios. Try again Sunday

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:19 PM  

    The ultrarare slightly south of positive review, at my house.
    Actually, I liked it just fine. But wanted to see how it'd be to write like a 4-Oh-meister. Let the snarkfest begin...

    Strike One: Only 4 weejects. Other than U's, which were only adequate (5) today, this is where M&A gets his puz enjoyment. No impressive short (talkin 3-long or less) stuff, no biscuit.

    Strike Two: Not a pangram. The dude's only a J and a V short, and doesn't make the extra effort to cram them in. The Shortzmeister should clearly have bounced this puppy back to Waldenville for some polishing.

    Strike Three: This grid is a poster child for the declining fill quality, level of decency, truth, justice and the American way in NYTimes Crossword puzs nowadays. REDCAPE (?!) and BIGCAT (??!!) just throw the doors wide open for any yahoo to publish a puz.

    This is a trend started by an otherwise obscure constructor named Michael Sharp -- if that IS his real name -- with the following kind of structure:
    ONE + (insert anything countable).
    Now we also have:
    (color) + (anything colorable)
    and
    (size) + (anything sizeable)

    Soon will follow daring combinations, such as:
    ONEBIGREDZIT.
    No end is in sight.
    bah.

    Bullets:
    * POI - Already covered in excruciating detail elsewhere.
    * ITO APO - Followin the lead of yesterday's puz theme, do this each day and you'll keep the doctor away.
    * ORE - Ever wonder why our forefathers used to ore their ramparts all the time? Mystery Word of the Day. bah.

    Signed,
    M&A
    har-let of CrossWorld.

    John Child 12:47 PM  

    Good Lord. This might as well have been in Tagalog for all that I could see. I did half the puzzle easily and still don't understand how the rest of it relates to the clues. Yikes!

    retired_chemist 12:48 PM  

    @ 600 - LUCRE refers to ill-gotten gains, hence dark (as in from the dark side) green (as in money).

    Mohair Sam 1:06 PM  

    What a wonderfully clued and challenging Saturday puzzle. Bloodied, but not bowed, my wife and I finally finished the Swiss cheesy looking SW when I finally remembered POLENTA - and everything fell in quickly. Had never heard of TANDOORI, or OTTERPOP, nor the Levant - so the SW was a mess. And wrongly assumed that the jazz great had to be two words and therefore could not be HAMPTON.

    Thank God for Christ the REDEEMER (pun intended), or the puzzle would have been gimme free for us. We built from there slowly and proudly finished google and dictionary free. Thought I had a gimme on GRAham McDowell - and lost a ton of time until I realized the golfer can't even spell his own first name correctly - Jeez.

    Walden and Shortz owe us a lost Saturday morning, and a bottle of white-out. Lotsa fun.

    John V 1:53 PM  

    Somewhere between Did Not Even Start and DNF. Absolutely brutal, hardest Saturday in a very long time. Not On my wavelength.

    Lewis 1:59 PM  

    @Rex -- great write up, insightful, and ended with a laugh on the trivia.

    I loved the clue for ORE and MULE (one who takes drugs -- from one place to another). Had not heard of NODRAMA, but it fits and I like it.

    @jberg -- was that pun on purpose, calling the limo ride a stretch?

    M@A -- ETO APO, very funny!

    Gene 2:11 PM  

    Didn't know OTTERPOP. Had MANDARIN chicken for a while, had ADORATE until I gave up to Google and found HAMPTON, then EASY FINISH.

    Acme 2:25 PM  

    @lewis
    You beat me to the joke! I was gonna tell @jberg that maybe it was a stretch limo!
    I had the ???ORIDE first and could only come up with the lame (lame-o?) autORIDE!
    Even when I got LIMORIDE. I couldn't parse it and thought I'd misspelled LeMOnaDE as in spiked for the prom!

    @evan
    Hand up too for user before MULE... I assume that was the mislead intention...
    But now I'm wondering if Will and Byron know Muppet movies so well that they WERE going for a Curry/CAINE misdirection! I mean they have hundreds of CAINE films to choose from. Hundreds!

    @LMS
    Love the pairings! I spotted only MULE/BURROS but "felt" there were more, which is reason 138 I love your posts and glad you didn't stay under the bed for long!

    I can take up @Ellen S 's gauntlet and teach you to embed because if I can learn (and just have after 5 years) you can! (tho it usually takes me at least two tries and i have to have it written next to my computer)

    retired_chemist 2:42 PM  

    [a href = "url here"]text you want in post here[/a] does it, IF:

    you change the left square bracket to the less than, and the right to the greater than, sign. Those are above the comma and period on my keyboard respectively.

    Hope this helps.

    Mette 3:00 PM  

    Loved the clue for SQUID INK. Have a Prius but never saw those ads. Have heard of filthy LUCRE, so dark was misleading. Didn't anyone else teeter between March and April for the start of DST?

    syndy 3:00 PM  

    @gilIP that"s cookie (aka the Honey Badger)my niece.when she was a baby someone asked her mother if the hair was natural?..Man oman was I on Byron's wavelength today! Maybe because when we abated the radioactive asbestos out of san onofre the senior tech kept OTTERPOPS in the freezer for us! just koolaid in plastic packets you freeze-not quite a popsicle

    Carola 3:38 PM  

    When I saw Byron Walden's name, I also had my FEARS, but it turned out to be an enjoyable "medium" for me - although for a while I thought that the REMAND/ MESONIC cross might be my FALL.

    First entry: CRiED, then ERECT -->QUINCE -->SQUID INK and on from there clockwise back to that M? square in 1A/3D. New to me: OTTER POPS, GRAEME.

    Liked the tail-less ANIMA over BIG CAT.

    OISK 4:57 PM  

    I dislike product clues in general, and never heard of an otter pop. The last thing I filled in was the final "i" in Prii, because Roister looked better than Roaster. Otherwise, though, lots of fun, knew Der Bingle, have visited Christ The Redeemer in Rio, have eaten Tandoori chicken...
    Nice puzzle, as was yesterday, unlike last weekend where I went a pop-culture oh for two...Thanks, Byron!

    jae 5:10 PM  

    @lms -- Embedding instructions can be found in Rex's FAQ list. I copied them on a slip of paper several years ago and keep them by my computer. The problem is it's easy to screw up the < and > signs as well as the " ".

    @Ellen S -- If the copy function on the iPad only lights up part of the link you can use the two blue balls at the top and bottom to stretch the copy over the entire link.

    Hope this helps.

    600 5:16 PM  

    @retired chemist--Thank you! The dictionary I used didn't refer to the ill-gotten part--after reading your post, I looked in a different dictionary and saw it. I appreciate your help. Thanks again.

    M and A also 5:48 PM  

    @Lewis: Thanx. NYT coulda had a neat followup theme to yesterday, if today's puz had all of these entries:
    ANNA
    POLE
    EDDY
    KEY
    PESTO (needs some more work here)
    DOCK
    TOWAWAY.

    But, I actually thought Byron had a topnotch puz, as it was. Hope my 4-Oh wannabe imitation didn't mislead anybody, on that.

    p.p.s.s. Come to think of it,
    ONEBIGREDSCHNOZ (15) paired with
    ANDNOENDINSIGHT (15)
    might actually be the start of an interestin puz theme about rhinoplasty...

    But I digress.
    Your friend,
    M&A

    Reba Deyerle 5:53 PM  

    Hi, Everyone!

    This is Loren's intern. I promise I'm trying to teach her how to embed a link like this.

    Wish me luck!

    -Reba
    (Loren's amazing, young, hip intern)

    sanfranman59 6:23 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 5:34, 6:09, 0.90, 10%, Easy
    Tue 7:21, 8:16, 0.89, 17%, Easy
    Wed 7:56, 9:44, 0.82, 9%, Easy
    Thu 16:06, 16:12, 0.99, 49%, Medium
    Fri 19:53, 21:03, 0.94, 41%, Medium
    Sat 27:12, 25:40, 1.06, 73%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:17, 3:46, 0.87, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 186 Mondays)
    Tue 4:22, 4:57, 0.88, 12%, Easy
    Wed 5:00, 5:38, 0.89, 20%, Easy
    Thu 9:04, 9:27, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium
    Fri 12:07, 12:19, 0.98, 46%, Medium
    Sat 17:32, 15:37, 1.12, 78%, Medium-Challenging

    Gill I. P. 7:42 PM  

    @Reba...You da bomb. Now, write out the instructions and pin them to her computer. While your at it send me a copy. :-)

    Delaware 8:07 PM  

    I'm with John Child and John V. Got the whole northeast and some of the middle and after a long time I finally gave up. Not even close. Big fail.

    Dirigonzo 8:15 PM  

    It took a while for erniE to vacate the Scrooge portrayer spot but eventually Michael CAINE showed up to claim the role. Other notable write overs included beNTdowN for PUNTEDON, feline for BIGCAT and user for MULE. And as someone already said, I was grateful for Christ the REDEEMER even though IAMNOT a religious person. Finished with OWS square as my heavy metal band had iRE instead of ORE.

    I'll be back in Syndiland tomorrow so happy Bastille Day to all of the Francophiles here in Rexville - or maybe that should be ROIville, in honor of the holiday.



    bigsteve46 8:25 PM  

    Am I the only one who had "dwarfs" as the unpaid miners? Or does the fact that they had a house with a living room with 7 little chairs imply that they were paid? Anyway it soon became obvious that dwarfs wasn't gonna fit and along came the burros.

    retired_chemist 8:40 PM  

    DWARFS here too.

    chefwen 8:54 PM  

    @Reba - Me too!

    michael 8:56 PM  

    I got all but two squares. I thought kneeler was odd and big car lame and that anime was soul. Well, that's because I was wrong...

    Nice, fair puzzle.

    okanaganer 11:37 PM  

    "Obama descriptor": TWO TERM.
    I was so sure!

    Ellen S 12:00 AM  

    @Reba, good work. I've updated the instructions in my blog, trying to make them as simple as possible. @Retired_chemist -- brilliant idea using square brackets to illustrate the technique.
    @Gill, @Chefwen, you can try my instructions, though maybe Reba can explain it even more simply. (She just can't paste it into a blog post, because Blogger thinks the instructions are partial, and thus incorrect, tags.)

    And once again I will point out that the link @Rex has in his FAQ is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!! The example gives the address in the form, "mywebpage.html". NO! You need the HTTP:// and usually you'll want the www -- that is "HTTP://www.mywebpage.html"

    cruxlogger 11:56 AM  

    Soluble yet takes three bites at the apple = Saturday for me.

    spacecraft 11:34 AM  

    Victory--and I felt so smart! Till I saw OFL's rating of medium, and some of the others' as well. Not so easy for one who never heard of OTTERPOPs. Luckily, I did recall the fabulous Lionel HAMPTON, king of the vibes. That gimme I understand; we're not all jazz fans. But REDEEMER? On a Saturday? Somebody over there was feeling mighty kind, to give us that one. Still, those didn't make everything just FALL; the ol' grey blob still had lots of work to do.

    W's is 74: I couldn't get Dubya out of my head, but AGE is only three letters! Apply to = EXERTON: grumble. The yellow hankie rootched around a bit in the pocket of my DRESSpanTS--and finally came out when I had to correct to SUITS. Dude? Have you ever seen a suit that WASN'T dress? If ever there was a green paint entry, this is it. Five yards.

    Lots of great stuff, with typical endweek cluing. The lazy brain need not apply to (EXERTON??) the Saturday puzzle.

    Our old friend, the illegible captcha, is back. [sigh] Yeah, "leave this page." Please.

    DMGrandma 2:43 PM  

    Thought I had this one, then discovered had the same error as @michael. Knew KNEELer was weird, but so was a lot of this puzzle. Lots of words I don't use in everyday conversation! My first gimme was DERBINGLE, which I'm sure must be almost unknowable to the younger folk. From there I labored through, one "aha" at a time. When I finally stopped trying to make devil dogs be some type of weather phenomena, the SE fell, and I was done. Or as done as I was going to get. Off now to look up ANIMA, I thought ANIME sounded just fine!

    DMGrandma 2:59 PM  

    Well, I looked it up. "Anime", which I learned from puzzles, has to do with Japanese cartoons, and "anima", which I hadn't learned at all, has to do with real people. This is, of course, a simplified definition, but, maybe, a distinction I can recall in the future???

    @Ginger: middle of Isner-De Porto game. It's a good game when the players are so closely matched! But it sure makes the crossword go more slowly!

    rain forest 3:04 PM  

    Delightful puzzle on which I DNF'd despite a few nice entries. Wrote in DERBINGLE with no letters, as I did ANIMA, and BIGCAT (well, one letter each there). REDCAPE went in instantly, too, (what other accesory could it possibly be?), but couldn't get MESONIC, as "nuclear" was correct in my head. I really wanted IQ for "W's is 74", but of course it was short a couple letters. Anyway, the NW did me in, but I liked this puzzle.

    Texas Syndy Solver 7:30 PM  

    Leisure Suit?

    Waxy in Montreal 11:57 PM  

    First difficulty was somehow trying to squeeze Ben & Jerry into 52A thinking Alexander the Grape was a variation of their Cherry Garcia theme. No luck of course and ended with an OTHERPOP/POLENHA Nattick.

    DERBINGLE, GRAEME and NASSER were my only gimmes so the puzzle proved quite the slog. Despite being raised in the large shadow of WWII (not PRII), had no idea of EXETER's unhappy distinction. Have seen DESTRY RIDES AGAIN from the '30's but wasn't aware that Audie Murphy was in plain old DESTRY in 1954.

    Really liked the NE corner with its SQUIDINK, LIMORIDE, QUINCE and, especially, NODRAMA creativity. Overall, another Byron Walden tour de force.

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