Nov 22, 2008

Saturday November 22, 2008 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total block: 33

Incredible puzzle! I was stunned when I opened the newspaper. I've never seen a grid with left to right, up and down symmetry before. Our editor has always given us the conventional puzzles with 180 degree rotational symmetry.

This puzzle just looks so pretty to me. But what a hammer! Out of the following 15-letter run -through words, 3D was the only gimme to me:

16A: Shoulder shrugger?: TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE

52A: Sitcom starring Kevin James: THE KING OF QUEENS

3D: George H. W Bush's former jobsite: CIA HEADQUARTERS

10D: Japanese maritime video game: UNCHARTED WATERS

I like the crossing of REHID (18A: Moved to a new secret location) with CIA HEADQUARTERS.

I've never heard of "Sulawesi" (11D) before. After I googled, I think "formerly" should be added for the CELEBES clue.

SAKIS for "Japanese spirits" (45D)? New to me. The only "Japanese spirits" I've used are mirin (to cook) and SAKE.


1A: Dogpatch creator: AL CAPP. Have not seen "Li'l Abner" in our puzzle for a long time.

7A: Coniferous tree: SPRUCE

19A: Phone button trio: GHI. 4.

20A: Sub-Saharan region: SAHEL. I can never remember this arid region. It's "on the S flank of the Sahara desert that stretches across six countries from Senegal to Chad."

21A: Calif.-to-Fla. rte.: I-TEN. Boy, this did not come to me easily.

25A: Kingston Trio hit: M.T.A.. Can you think of a better way to clue M.T.A.?

26A: North Carolinian: TAR HEEL. I like this old postcard.

28A: Out of the bus.: RET. Retired? I don't understand this clue. How can "Out of the business" mean RETIRED? I was thinking of "bankrupt".

29A: Ornaments: ADORNS. Hard to accept "Ornaments" as a verb.

31A: Points of views: SLANTS. Really? I thought SLANTS are all biased "points of views".

33A: Old British bucks: QUID. No idea. Dictionary says it's a slang for "one pound sterling". I misunderstood "Old" as "former".

34A: French 101 verb: ETRE. I suppose "To be, or not to be" is "ETRE, ou pas ETRE" in French?

37A: Groups of eight: OCTADS. I filled in OCTETS first.

40A: Jimmy of "Red, Hot and Blue": DURANTE. I've never heard of the musical "Red, Hot and Blue". Did he ever explain clearly who "Mrs. Calabash" was?

42A: Female GI, once: WAC (Women's Army Corps). I did not know that it's a separate corps of US Army until 1978.

48A: Fragrant oil: ATTAR

50A: Classic Pontiac: GTO. I wonder why the song title is "Little GTO" rather than "Big GTO".

51A: Himalayan sightings: YETIS

56A: Programming language: FORTRAN. No idea. I've never heard of Formula Translation before.

58A: Gr. peek: MT OSSA


1D: Belfast's county: ANTRIM. Here is the map. Belfast in the south. I googled the answer.

4D: Clinton cabinet member: ASPIN (Les). How can I remember this guy's name? ASPIN, A SPIN, ASP IN. He looks like a spy.

5D: __ -a-terre: PIED. Did you misread it as "___ de terre"? I did.

6D: Dispensable candy: PEZ. Wow, look at these incredible PEZ dispensers. No "feet", extremely rare, probably worth hundreds of dollars a piece.

12D: Button slot: EYELET

14D: Harsh conditions: RIGORS

15D: Backs of singles: B SIDES

22D: Reach!: HANDS UP. I would not have got this one without your "Stick 'em up" explanations the other day. Thank you.

26D: True partner?: TRIED

32D: Gun lobby, briefly: NRA. Also FDR's "New Deal org."

35D: Transparent, modern-style: SEE THRU. What does "modern-style" mean?

36D: "Wild Thing" group: TROGGS. I love the song "Wild Thing" and "Wild Thing" (Charlie Sheen) in "Major League". But I've never heard of The TROGGS before.

37D: Unrepeated event: ONE-OFF. New word to me.

38D: Steinbeck's birthplace: SALINAS. Here is the map. So close to San Jose. I googled the answer.

39D: Washington airport: SEA-TAC. It serves Seattle and Tacoma. New to me. I was thinking of Dulles Airport.

43D: Aircraft pioneer: CESSNA

49D: La __ gauche: RIVE. The left bank in Paris.

51D: Mongolian tent: YURT

53D: Jarret of Nascar: NED. I guessed. I've never heard of this guy before.

54D: River of Iran: QOM. Here is the map. I cannot find the river. Wikipedia says QOM city is "currently the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world". Unknown to me.



NYTAnonimo said...

I liked this puzzle too but did not breeze through it, though I did finish without googling. Could clue MTA as NYC passenger conveyor-or any number of other cities. I was not familiar with a lot of the same words that were new to you cc but was able to eventually piece then together. Thanks for all the links.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Have you seen such a grid shape before?

Is yesterday's "Shifty shark" really asking for the car MAKO, not the shark?

I am so glad to hear that everything went well with your doctor's visit.

Chris in LA said...

Good morning CC etal,

I agree, it was a very pretty grid & I had lots of fun with it. Had to hit google a few times (celebes, antrim, durante, & pied), but the rest of the toughies came with the perps.

CC: I think 45D should have been clued (var.) as the proper plural is sakEs. Re: I-10 - was a gimme as I drove it from Los Angeles to New Orleans (talk about a long and very "unpretty" drive!). Re: 28A - out of business = retired, as in no longer involved in the business world - I thought it was a clever clue. 35D - "modern" refers to spelling of thru - when sending text messages words like through tend to be shortened (my guess, anyway). Finally, 37D - "one-off" is, in my experience, a business term used to refer to a special exception to the normal way of doing things.

That's all for me today - lots of football will keep me parked in front of the TV until late tonight. Hope all your teams win (unless you root for Michigan or Ole Miss).

NYTAnonimo said...

I've seen grids that are unusual but I don't think quite like this cc.

Bill said...

M.T.A clue - stuck on it!
Only two. Well, actually four;
48a and 49d. And 54d and 58a.
I really liked this xword. Made me work but not really tough.
NED Jarrett: Two time Winston Cup Champion; father of Dale Jarrett, 1999 Winston Cup Champion.
(for the non NASCAR fans)

Dick said...

Good morning CC, DFs and DFettes...a tough one today. I need a few trips to Mr G to complete this one. Today's puzzle was made more difficult in that I had to do it on line. I like to be able to see all of the clues on one page as somehow it allows my mind to quickly see the crosses. 1D, 10D, 21A and 16A were the difficult ones today.

Cc I cannot remember if I have seen a grid like this before but I find it hard to believe that it has not been used in the past.

Hope you all have a great day as I like Chris will be watching football today. I will root for Pitt and Penn State.

Dick said...

CC I have noticed that all of my posts have a small garbage can at the bottom of the page. This can be used to delete a comment and I was wondering if everyone's posts has this icon and that it is not seen on others posts.

Barry G. said...

Oh, yeah -- definitely hammer time. I did manage to get through it unassisted, but just barely and certainly not at all confidently. The crossing of CELEBES with SAHEL was particularly nasty. What saved me in the end was that I remembered that the word ANOA used to be frequently clued as "Celebes Ox" in older puzzles. I never knew what CELEBES actually was, but when I was faced with CEL_BES I figured it was probably it.

Other unknowns today were ANTRIM (I have got to memorize those Irish counties), PIED-a-terre, UNCHARTED WATERS (easily guessable), La RIVE gauche, NED Jarret (I only know of his son, Dale) and QOM.

All-in-all, a fine puzzle, although I still think that crossing CELEBES with SAHEL was unnecessarily mean. Just because I got it doesn't mean I like it.

Gotta get going. My in-laws are flying in tonight for an extended (permanent?) visit, and I have simply got to get the house put in order. I'm guessing they'd like to actually have some place to sleep....

Chris in LA said...

@ Dick:

You can delete your own posts by hittiing the garbage can - only CC can delete any post she wants.

kazie said...

A real hammer.
I did get pied à teree right off, but ended up with 43 blank or incorrect spots. In a hurry to leave for the day, so that'll be it until we get back tonight.

Great news! It's a good clean feeling afterwards, isn't it?

Yes we all have our own trash can, it took me a while to notice mine too.

Dick said...

Thanks Chris. That was my assumption but needed the clarification.

Dennis said...

Good morning, c.c. and gang - GREAT puzzle this morning -- not a full hammer, but a partial peen at least. Lots of thought involved but doable without the G-spot.

c.c., I see a difference between 'out of business' and out of the business; the former means bankrupt, the latter, moreso retired or just moving on. Also, 'see-thru' is the modern version of 'see-through'.

Any of us that go way back in the computer world will readily know Fortran - one of the many languages we learned back in the day, along with COBOL, etc.

Today is National Go for a Ride Day, and that's exactly what I'm gonna do - brilliantly sunny and very cold - perfect day for a long cruise in the country. Hope you all have an equally good one.

Dennis said...

c.c., to answer your 6:23 question, I think "shifty shark" must be about the car, because there's nothing unusually 'shifty' about the mako shark, or at least any more so than other shark types.

lois said...

Good morning CC & DF's: This puzzle had me asking 'wa-SAHEL'? even after I 'cussed'. Not into NASCAR or sitcoms so lost there and on geography. Did like seeing 46A which reminded me of my May Pole stand-in last spring (the guy across the street) and laughed at the memory of our version of 'pole dancing'. Maybe it was just too much of a 'wild thing' and too many 'backs of singles'last night to 'see thru' the fog this morning. Not on the same wavelength as Mr. Silk, but it is a very pretty puzzle. Thank you for the links, CC. I'm going 'sale'-ing now before the crowd 'arrives'.
Enjoy this gorgeous day.

crazyhorse said...

This puzzle was tough for me. Too many things I didn't know. Had to google quite a bit.

I think 37D should have been abbreviated clue, because I think it means one offering.

That's it for me

Oh,cc, I meant to mention , no I don't really like Jackson Pollock, it was just a fun link.

Barry S said...

Good morning C.C. & Solvers,

It appears that the editor changed the NE corner of my original grid to eliminate a couple of partial phrase answers: 8-Down (A RUN) and 9-Down (TO SEE). Here are the original answers that were changed:

7-Across: SATURN
15-Across: BARONET
20-Across: NEHIS
24-Across: EAST
28-Across: RTS

8-Down: A RUN
9-Down: TO SEE
11-Down: RELISTS
12-Down: NTESTS

I wouldn't have used CELEBES or SAHEL if they could be avoided and I also agree that's not a fair crossing.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Barry Silk

g8rmomx2 said...

c.c. and all:

I had to google 1D and 38D but that's it. Only got Pied, Rive and Yurt, (never can remember that one) from the perps. I had octets at first, but changed it. Great puzzle though definitely not a "slam dunk" for me.

Kittyb: Glad everything went well.

c.c.: In looking up Saki it seems that it is just a variation spelling of Sake. It didn't show it as plural which is what I thought.

Chris and Dick: Will be watching football today also. I had to go PPV on my GATORS who are playing Citadel.

Have a great day and GO GATORS!

Argyle said...


A big engine in a small car, at least it was smaller than the full size cars of the time.

Argyle said...

So why does Mr. Editor dislike partial phrases so much. I see them in other puzzles and have no problem with them, that is, other than remembering the answer may be more than one word. (I'm still stinging from thinking it was perse instead of per se.)

Dennis said...

argyle, one of my first cars was a precursor of the GTO, a '63 silver Tempest that came with a 326 V8; car was amazingly quick. My friends nicknamed it 'the silver slut'; no idea why...

Also owned a '64 and a '67 GTO at various points in my life - just great cars.

Dr.G said...


Amazing. I don't beleive I would have seen all the inner patterns even if I could have solved them.

Dick said...

Here is what I found on pied-a-terre This is my test of a html.

Argyle said...

Looks like a slow day so I'll give clue and answers to a recent 21*21 puzzle in a local paper. They have mostly been lame of late with quips or lists but this one was good. I will give the theme at the end.

The Chronicle Nov. 13, '08
By Robert Zimmerman

All clues: RING

RING - 23A) symbol of marriage
RING - 104A) Wagner Opera Cycle
RING - 53A) circus arena
RING - 73A) smoker's puff
RING - 16D) boxing platform
RING - 48D) conspiracy band


Barb B said...

Thank you, Barry Silk, That was delicious. And the grid is beautiful. There were several words I didn’t know (ASPIN, SAHEL, ANTRIM, CELEBES, TROGGS, QOM) but they were gettable, and I had a lot of fun for about 20 minutes.

I have a long acquaintance with my trapezius muscles, and I wish Melissa B could work on them for me.

Jimmie Durante was a delightful surprise. I do think Mrs. Calabash was a real woman – based on this website –
and if not, it makes a very good story.

Kittyb – aren’t you glad that’s behind you? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, I really liked everything about this puzzle, even though I had to go over it, both down and across, several times to get all the fills. It wasn't a gimme, but neither was it impossible. Barry Silk's puzzles always please me.

UNCHARTED WATERS was the last complete fill for me because of the crosses with unknowns SAHEL, OCTADS and FORTRAN.

11D "Sulawesi" was unknown and it took a little time for CELEBES to reveal itself.

31A clue "Points of view" was fine for me for SLANTS. I googled this post puzzle and found both definitions, "point of view" and "a distortion or bias". I would use it as, "That's an interesting slant", meaning an opinion I probably disagreed with, but might not think is biased.

39D I was thinking Washington DC and had REAGAN at first. I had all the crosses filled in and I still didn't have any idea what SEATAC was. I guess you have to have been there.

Argyle, ah yes, I'm getting better at the easily misread, but perse, had me scratching my head too...."What the heck is perse?

Clear Ayes said...

KittyB and Crockett1947, I agree with Dennis that there is a resemblance in Crockett's latest photo to Walt Whitman.

There is also a resemblance to Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway did write poems, but they are usually on the "dark" side; a lot of them are about death in war. If anyone is interested, you can see read some of them at Hemingway poems.

I prefer Whitman poems. This one has a definite SLANT toward Nature as opposed to Science. Is it biased? I suppose it could be read that way, or simply as Whitman's artistic point of view.

When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer

When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

- Walt Whitman

Anonymous said...

This was one hard puzzle and I had to go to Google a lot and was just happy to have found this site whee the answers wre published or I could not have finished it.

DoesItinInk said...

When I quickly filled in 1A, I was sure this was going to be yet another easy puzzle. Well, it was relatively easy except for the upper, left corner. After AL CAPP, I had to work on the remainder of the puzzle, going back to the upper, left at the end. Finally I managed that too, no Google. My only error was the U where TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE and UHOH crossed. I had an O instead.

For a while I tried to work in Charles Atlas in 16A “shoulder shrugged”. I remember seeing his ads in comic books when I was a kid, and I recall my father telling me that when he was a teen, he mailed off for the exercise book system.

I loved listening to Jimmy Durante. When my parent were just starting out, listening to the radio and 78 rpm records were among the few things we could afford. Inky Dinky Do was a signature song. He was also known for his large nose. LOL

When I first began my career, I was a scientific programmer and wrote in FORTRAN. Later I made a shift to business-oriented programming and learned COBOL, RPG and BAL. Now I work in ABAP for the SAP ERP suite of products. Such a lovely bunch of acronyms that could be worked into a puzzle! ;-)

cc: I see Dennis has already answered your questions about “out of the business” and “transparent, modern style”.

kittyb: My daughter is fine now. She experiences random abdominal twinges, but nothing else. She is really irritated though that she is being barred from swimming until she gets a doctor’s release! My real concern though is for the future if this was an episode of appendicitis. My sister had three such episodes over a period of seven months before being diagnosed with appendicitis when she was five months pregnant with twins! If this was appendicitis and not just a ruptured ovarian cyst, she could have more of these episodes while at school.

KittyB said...

Hi, all.

This puzzle was a hammer for me, or at least a little more than the peen, Dennis. I had trouble with the same words that Barry listed, with the exception of PIED and RIVE. I got a lot of them, but finally needed assistance to finish UNCHARTED and SAHEL. The others that I was unsure about came through the fills. I agree that the grid is beautiful.

What a relief to know that Mr. Silk wouldn't have stuck us with CELEBES and SAHEL. I thought the point of editing was to make the puzzle more evenly difficult!?

C.C., Kazie, and g8rmomx2, it's always good when a doc confirms that you are well! BARB!! (giggling)

Clear Ayes, I think there is a photo of Whitman with a similar pose, and a similar hat, with just a little wilder beard than Crockett wears. Thanks to you and Dennis for the helping hand. And...he DOES look like Hemingway, doesn't he?

NYTAnonimo, thanks for the link to the grids page. I am a rookie at watching these things, and it was fascinating to see how some puzzle makers design the grid around the theme.

KittyB said...

Ohhhh, doesit....I hope that you get a definitive answer on what's going on. I hope if she has another episode that it waits until she is home with you, where you can oversee her care.

My oldest niece was living in Perth, Australia when she discovered she was developing breast cancer. In her 40s, she returned to her mother so that she could get care here in the Chicago area. Mother, daughter and the daughter's family were happier, knowing she was getting the best care possible. I hope it works that way for you, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure 35 down; transparent modern style is because through is the proper way to spell thru.

embien said...

17:23 today. I haven't finished the Saturday NYT puzzle yet, but it wasn't much harder than this one for me.

My major problem was in the TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE area, mainly because I initially filled in ALSO for 8d: In addition (PLUS) and BERTS for 9d: Bonheur and Parks (ROSAS). Never heard of Bonheur and was thinking of Bert Parks, the former emcee of Miss America pageants. I knew something wasn't right, but it wasn't until I erased the whole section that I was finally able to see SPRUCE, CELEBES and, finally, MUSCLE. Whew!

I'd never heard of the video game UNCHARTED WATERS, and that contributed to the TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE problem.

I love looking at the grid shapes (thanks NYTAnonimo for the link). The "LIES" NYT puzzle was I think my favorite puzzle of the year, so far, and I also really enjoyed the "dollar bill" puzzle in the NY Times from a while back. (The former blogged at, the latter blogged at

Clear Ayes said...

C.C. I didn't like the clue for 33A "Old British bucks", although I filled in QUID as the answer. I have always known "buck" to be slang for an American dollar. Has anyone else heard of "bucks" meaning a currency of another country? For me a better clue would have been "British currency slang".

I Googled QUID and didn't find anything specific, except that it does seem to be an old-fashioned word that has fallen out of favor. In that sense it is "old".

Here's an interesting site I stumbled upon. It has a lot of information on slang, clichés and expressions.

Crockett1947 said...

Good afternoon, all.

TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE, SAHEL, DURANTE, MT OSSA, ASPIN, UNCHARTED WATERS, CELEBES, TROGGS, NED, QOM -- a list too long for my tastes. I really had problems in the NE because I had ALSO for 8D and LISAS for 9D. Had to G spot SAHEL, ASPIN, CELEBES, TROGGS. What the heck is a trogg?

A pretty grid shape, yes indeed.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I think "to be or not to be" in french is "etre ou ne pas etre".

Clear Ayes said...

Doesit..Glad you checked in with an update on your daughter. Hopefully, it is not the initial symptoms of appendicitis, but if it is, both of you will have important information to pass along to her doctors. I did have to smile when you described her impatience. That is so typical of a young woman, or man, who just wants to get on with their normal activities without any fuss or bother.

KittyB, Also glad that your colonoscopy is a done deal and everything is fine. My Fred has one scheduled for December 5th. I'm planning to be out with friends for most of December 4th. I anticipate that he won't be in the best of moods on "prep-day".

I have a few afternoon chores around the house and then we are attending a birthday dinner party for an 80 year old friend. We only hope that we are as healthy and active as he is in another 14 years or so.

Argyle said...

for Barb B: a repost of your 11:33am post.

Jimmie Durante was a delightful surprise. I do think Mrs. Calabash was a real woman – based on this website – and if not, it makes a very good story.

kazie said...

Hi, everyone,
I'm back after our day with our son and d-i-l. Had a beautiful meal and much lively conversation.

Pied-à-terre is indeed a temporary lodging, as explained on the websitee linked earlier. Its literal meaning is "foot on the ground".

Clear ayes,
If Fred can't stand the golitely prep, or if you anticipate he won't like it, get him to ask his doctor if he can use the alternate prep, which is far less unpleasant. It's what I used and it worked fine. You have a whole day of low residue diet followed by a day on liquids and a few pills and medication that night before the procedure. Much easier I think.

I would definitely be concerned about your daughter possibly having appendicitis. As long as she's vigilent though, and aware, she should be able to get help in plenty of time if it strikes again.

JD said...

Hi C.C. and all of you who are out partying or have gone to sleep,

We are watching the SHARKS..3-0, so far, and only one fight.

CC, I remember when I 1st read your blog last summer and you remarked on a pretty grid.I knew nothing about puzzles, and so hadn't thought about it until today's c/w . It is lovely!! I even shared that with Bob...he had no clue.Anyway, I do enjoy Barry Silk's puzzles. Even though it was hard, I don't mind a challenge when the answers(or research to find the answers) is interesting.

My grandson came over(with mom & dad) too early for me to finish, so I just filled in the last 6 answers with your help.:-) I had most of uncharted waters, but I do not have any knowledge about video games, so it would have been a challenge. I had _et for out of business. Retired (ret) did not enter my mind.I also had octets.

Does anyone besides Barry memorize things like the Irish counties?? Now I know why these puzzles are hard for me. I memorize phone numbers and passwords, and where I left my car keys.

Kittyb, so glad you have a clean colon. What a relief it is after all is done and gone.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Barry Silk,
Thanks for checking in. Williams clued A HOLD as "Get __ of yourself!" last Tuesday.

Anonymous @ 5:05pm & Arlene 2256,
Thank you for answering my questions. Hope to hear from you again soon.