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May 10, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008 Matthew Higgins

Themless

What a surprise! No ING in the whole grid. Remember this constructor's excessive use of ING's in his Feb & March puzzles? But there are just way too many annoying affixes in today's puzzle:

S: SADDENS, NODS, CLOCKS, TAMES, SODS, OLES, EMS, SENSES, DIALS, EGOS, XENOPHOBES, CHORISTERS, LIMNERS, SCIENTISTS,

ED: MISTRUSTED, REUSED, OMENED, INFURIATED,

ER/OR: ELICITOR, LIMNERS, BREEDER. ENAMELER.

RE: REUSED.

The overabundance of letter S just INFURIATED (29D) me, though it did speed up my solving considerably.

I had problem with my opening tee shot again this morning. I've never read Henry V, so I had no idea who Prince Hal was, not to mention his fat, jolly companion. The clue actually made me think of Little John. I always thought the protein in grains are GLUTEN, I have never heard of ALEURON before. FRESNEL (8D) was a complete stranger to me also. I thought 30A: Store fodder was asking for a noun, so I was trying to think of a grain or other crop. Then I wrongly wrote down IRENA for 27A: Dunne or Ryan, So my 23D: Wriggling became ANTY (My faulty spelling of ANTSY).

Went through a few other troubles too, but none debilitating.

ACROSS:

1A: Prince Hal's fat, jolly companion: FALSTAFF. Sir John FALSTAFF. Somehow I just cannot bring myself to read Shakespeare's works, or any other great literature. I am simply not interested in them.

9A: Times: CLOCKS

15A: One who evokes a response: ELICITOR. I only knew ELICIT. English is strange, why the suffix sometimes is OR and sometimes is ER? This word ELICITOR reminds me of SOLICITOR. Is LICITOR a word? Let me check... No, it's not, but LICTOR is a word. Here is the definition: "(in ancient Rome) one of a body of attendants on chief magistrates, who preceded them carrying the fasces and whose duties included executing the sentences of criminals."

16A: Montana's capital: HELENA. ENNUI. How about this Victoria's Secret model HELENA Chistensen?

17A: Florida Native American: SEMINOLE. I totally forgot this word. OSCEOLA was clued as "SEMINOLE chief" on a March 8 TMS puzzle.

18A: Portended: OMENED. I did not not know that OMEN can be a verb too. The noun form of "portend" is "portent". English is definitely strange.

20A: Had misgivings about: MISTRUSTED

25A: Gibbon, for one: APE. Got it this time.

26A: Spinning measure: VORTEX. Hard for me, I had big problem with 27D.

30A: Store fodder: ENSILE.

37A: Ancient Brit: PICT. I wanted CELT. Need to commit this PICT into my brain.

48A:Tranquil: SERENE. Penned in quickly due to hint of "S" from 9D.

53A: Formula Western: HORSE OPERA. SPACE OPERA for Sci-Fi genre.

56A: "Lucky Jim" author: AMIS (Kingsley). Knew the author, did not know the book. See also 55D: ALAS. 37D: PERHAPS. What's the obsession with S today?

57A: Engross: ABSORB

58A: Tending to expand: DILATIVE

59A: Fraternity hopeful: PLEDGE. Not familiar with this term. Have never attended any school in the US.

61A: Cloisonne creator: ENAMELER. I like this Cloisonne Flower Vase.

63A: Nonmigratory bird: RESIDENT

DOWN:

1D: Joyous: FESTIVE

2D: Protein in cereal grains: ALEURON. No idea. It derived from Greek "Aleuron" meaning meal.

3D: Ornamental sign painters: LIMNERS. Only knew the verb LIMN.

4D: Laboratory denizens: SCIENTISTS

7D: Paper folded in half: FOLIO. 2 Paper related clues today. See 50A: Piece of paper: SHEET.

8D: Lens developed for lighthouses: FRESNEL. The lens is named after French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel.

9D: Sunday singers: CHORISTERS

10D: Madagascar primate: LEMUR. Repeat offender.

12D: Cuban coin: CENTAVO

13D: Leg joint protector: KNEE PAD

14D: Makes despondent: SADDENS. See 62A: Feels (SENSES). Dreadful S's!

23D: Wriggly: EELY

27D: Folk fearing foreigners: XENOPHOBE. I misread the clue as Folk-fearing foreigners. I heard of Xenophobia on TV sometimes, but I could not spell it properly. "Xeno" is a prefix for "foreign, strange", Greek origin. I've never head of XENOPHILIA though.

29D: Extremely angered: INFURIATED

34D: Lounge lizard: CREEP. I've never heard of the slang "Lounge lizard" until this morning.

36D: Mouthpiece part: REED

38D: Disreputable: IGNOBLE. Saw this word before, but I've never used it.

39D: Become more vulgar: COARSEN

41D: Nuclear reactor type: BREEDER. Not familiar with BREEDER reactor at all.

43D: Nautical distance: SEA MILE. It appeared on April 11 puzzle.

44D: Invigorate: ENLIVEN

45D:Dinner finale: DESSERT. I like this clue.

50D: Twilled worsted fabric: SERGE. Do you like SERGE Gainsbourg? I do! Here is a beautiful S, S & S song for you. Enjoy!

C.C.

25 comments:

Katherine said...

CC, you are up bright and early today. I am going to get the paper now and have my breakfast. Back in a bit.....

Dick said...

Hello cc. Saturdays seem to have the bloggers start later in the morning than during the week. Not too bad today but I did not know 1, 3 and 61A and needed help to complete them. I certainly liked your clue for 16A much better than the constructors. The term for 60A is a very common term for people trying to get into fraternities and sororities. I am not sure of the derivation of the word but it probably means to pledge your trust and efforts to the chapter of your choice.

Over all a good stimulus for a wet and somewhat cold Saturday morning.

Dick said...

cc what time do you get up in the morning to do the puzzles or do you do them at night before you go to bed?

Dick said...

I am happy that recently someone offered a link to phobias and it almost came in handy this AM except 26A vortex solved the problem with 27D. Go Pens!!

Katherine said...

Good morning again! All done now. I did not get the NW corner at all. I never heard of Falstaff or Prince Hal, and also have no desire to read Shakespeare. I never heard of Aleuron or Fresnel. Your picture of Helena Christensen is beautiful. I never heard of her either! haha The vase was beautiful too.
I have to get ready for work now. Have a good weekend everyone.

lois said...

CC: Great job on the links as always. We may have lost dennis on the 16A Helena pic, and 50D Serge sure was an "elicitor" for me. It was a 'dilative' to my 'senses' all right! Thank you. Never knew 'omen' could be a verb. Had to laugh b/c Falstaff was a popular beer Freshman yr in Tx...well named! It brought out the 'lounge lizards'. Love that one. Vortex hit a little close to home as we had 9 tornadoes last wk and about 3 more yesterday in the area. 'Seamile' made me smile w/the memory of a previous blog debate, but was in 'sync' pretty much w/this one. No competition w/you wizards, though.
Dick: in answer to you from yesterday....ALWAYS. Thurs's title just made it official. I never 'lie'. I prefer a different tense.

Superfrey said...

Got stuck in the South.... Dilative, Enameler... and in the Northwest with Aleuron... The rest was okay .... except for Omened... I got it... but it looks weird... Who ever referred to the Sunday singers as Choristers... Chorus, Chorale... maybe.. I guess that and Omened have become crosswordese.

Dick said...

mkatesq looks like you will need to make a commitment to the Flyers or the Pens. Since you are not here this AM maybe you got tickets to the game last night in Pittsburgh. Good game and I hope it is over in four.

Bill said...

Hey All, Took me a little more than an hour but I solved the whole thing with NO calls to Mr Google!!!!!
Montana will never be the same, but then, neither will I. If I ever forget the capital someone kick me because she is unforgettable!!!
Tell me, is CHORISTERS actually a real word? I would have thought them to be called CHORALEERS and I tried that but the thing just didn't work.
Maybe Higgens did too but had to make up something to LET everything else be in SYNC.
CYA later

Boomer said...

Only the left side of my brain was working today, because I was only able to get the right side of the puzzle completed. No problem, I'm used to it. The Twins marched into last nights game like a lion building a 5-2 lead. Then went out with a walk off single by Lamb.

Happy Birthday to my Home state of Minnesota. 150 years old today!! No, I am not as old as the state, just some of the dirt. But I did visit the Centennial train in 1958 when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

This one was a real poser for me. (A real xword word if I ever saw one) I didn't know a bunch and could not recall a few that I knew. (must be old age but 40 minutes plus well spent)I would like to take issue with the word OMENED. I know that its in Websters, but I can't believe it. It smacks of 'pentagonese' and that's not a word but a type of usage that I hate. nuff said, keep up the good work.

This is under anonymous because the blog lost my ID again. Does this happen to all of you?? Its my 5th or 6th time.

jimhllrn said...

Hi C.C.
I just posted under anonymous because my id didn't work - - again.
I used the same data as before. I think they've got a glitch somewhere.

Bill said...

Yup, I guess it is!!!


chorister
Noun
a singer in a church choir

JIMBO said...

Hi C.C. and all

was scared at first, but once I got the upper right, the rest seemed to come along. only needed help with 30a and the lower right. Aleuron and Limners gave me trouble also.

Learning a lot of new words. Now if I could just remember them.

C.C. I still think you would be a good contestent for "Jeopardy"

Nice day here in west Texas. Hope it is where you are.

Mr. Corcoran said...

good morning (still relatively early here I think)...this one went very fast...had a friend who worked for the Chorister's Guild...we always fed ensilage to the horses in Sweden...mmm they love it...thought at first it might be Prince Hal...will have to return to my well-worn copy of the bard's works...i see ami has made a comeback...just waiting for etui to show up again soon!

Anonymous said...

Before I found this blog...I would sometimes work on the puzzle at intervals, all day. It always amazed me that what didn`t make sense at 7AM could become perfectly clear by 2PM.
This site is too accessible...gotta get back to being REALLY stumped before sign on...after all, one reason I do the puzzles is for mental acuity.

Orange said...

Hey, C.C.! I actually solved this puzzle before looking at your blog. First time I've done that!

My comments: Holy cow, ALEURON and FRESNEL are obscure. At least all the letters are gettable thanks to the non-obscure crossings. In a Saturday puzzle, a few obscure words can pass muster if the crossings help the solver to unravel them.

XENOPHOBES is a terrific answer and HORSE OPERA is also colorful. VORTEX is sparkly with its X, too. And FALSTAFF, packed with Fs, looks great at 1-Across. Gotta like how gettable CENTAVO is after last Saturday's far more obscure currencies.

I like to call words formed with prefixes, suffixes, or other word endings "roll-your-own words" (like roll-you-own cigarettes). I forget who it was who coined that, but that's one of the few recent crossword neologisms I do like. Anyway: ELICITOR. It's valid, yes, but clunky. When is it ever used? Rarely. Same with LIMNERS, OMENED, DILATIVE, and ENAMELER (which I have seen in a number of crosswords, I think). I can handle one or two of these answers in a themeless puzzle, but five seems a bit much. Given that the word count is 68, the constructor could have upped the word count to 70 or 72 (the limit for a Saturday themeless) and made it a smidgen easier to fill the grid without having to resort to roll-your-owns. The lower the word count, the more likely it is that you'll see words heavy with the sorts of letters found in SENSES and DESSERT, especially along the bottom and right edges of the grid.

sharon said...

One great feature of crosswords is that, over time, the content will connect with strengths and interests of a broad population. Being a chorus member and lighthouse aficianado, I found the words "chorister" and "Fresnel" to be rapid fills. Count me among the older puzzlers whose memory for early TV personalities and names in the news will sometimes be an advantage. On the other hand, clues that reference pop culture or sports may leave me stymied. Though I've been enjoying this blog for a couple months, today is the first time my 2 cents worth will be added to the dialog. Thanks, CC, for initiating and maintaining this forum for information and feedback! And your knowledge of this crazy complex language is impressive. A last note: I actually have fun with clues/answers based on Roman numerals, especially ones that require some math. (ex: 330 X 5 = MDCL.) Guess that after relearning the system in order to teach it, I now enjoy "playing" with it!

Anonymous said...

CC,
Fresnel, Falstaff, and limners threw me this morning. I actually finished all but those in 11 minutes - a record for me.

Love this site. Keep up the good work - and thanks.

Great day, everyone. Enjoy.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Katherine,
Yes, HELENA Christensen is stunning looking. You want to know her secret: Cheese and S (the second S in SERGE Gainsbourg's song).

Dick,
Many papers only carry Monday-Friday TMS crossword. I don't think mkatesq gets Saturday puzzle. TMS is different than NY T, they don't publish their puzzles the eve before the actual date. So I solve mine the same morning you solve yours.

Lois,
SEA MILE also brought smile to my face this morning. I am glad you like the ELICITOR Serge. He was not handsome, but he was a HARD man. As you said, a hard man is good to find, and vice versa.

Bill,
"CHORISTERS": Yep!

Jim @ 9:30am,
It seems that you are the only one with the blog ID problem lately. I ditto your point on OMENED.

Jimbo,
ALEURON & LIMNERS gave lots of solvers problem today, if my Site Meter is correct.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Orange,
Does ING also belong to the "Roll-your-own-words" category? Don't you feel the letter S is being abused today? Regarding the word count, wow, I had the wrong impression all along. I always thought that the higher the word count, the more likely we would see heavy affixes.

Superfrey, Thomas, Sharon and others,
Thanks for leaving comments.

lois said...

CC: you are hilarious! I do have one concern though. If Helena's secret to beauty is cheese and Serge, and I like Serge, then I must be eating the wrong cheese! But maybe it's all in how you cut it.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Lois,
There are 3 S's in Serge's song, are you sure you've been having the correct one all these years?

As for cheese, maybe you've been having the wrong kind as well. HELENA Christensen said eating Danish cheese gave her the best nightmare...

Dr. Dad said...

I've had the puzzle done for some time but just now got to the site. Lois - grew up not too far from the Falstaff Brewery in Omaha. Yes Choristers is a word.
Thomas - I don't know about feeding horses in Sweden but ensilage is a noun that means the process of storing silage which is what we fed cattle back on the farm in Nebraska. We never fed them "ensilage." Tried to once, but they just laughed and stampeded.
I didn't think omened was a word but it is.
The "seamile" was in an earlier puzzle and has made it back.
Pretty easy puzzle today. Took longer to read the comments than it did to do the puzzle.

Hope everyone had a nice "Clean up your room" day.

For all the moms out there Happy Mother's Day tomorrow.

lois said...

CC: The 3 S's? I'm on 'em! I live by the Sea, grew up in OK Sun,...and the 3rd S? Well, 'S'erge will have to do for 'today'.

drdad: Did you ever call Falstaff, "Fall Flat?". That was its nickname in San Antonio. We held true to the name too. Now I live next to the Busch Brewery in Wmsbg. And today? This 'bud's' for you!!! Cheers!