Jan 22, 2011

Saturday January 22, 2011 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 28

Themeless puzzles often feature triple stacks, today we have four triple stacks of 10s in each quadrants:

1A. Vacation destination : RESORT AREA

15. Like some avian plumage : IRIDESCENT. What's this bird? Such brilliant colors.

17. Almighty : OMNIPOTENT

63A. Special treatments : RED CARPETS. Like what Hu Jintao got during his State visit. J, X, Z are quite common in Chinese names.

69A. Urban runoff cause : STORM WATER. And RAIN (38. 69-Across source).

67A. Voters : ELECTORATE

12D. It helps maintain posture : MUSCLE TONE

13D. Silk Road component : TRADE ROUTE. Silk Road is the most well-known trading route in Ancient China.

14D. Like some fast planes : SUPERSONIC

28D. Point maker : SCRATCH AWL. Gimme for Splynter/Jerome.

29D. "That's news to me!" : I HAD NO IDEA. Loved the answer. I say it so often.

30D. Existing at the beginning : PRIMORDIAL

Also a couple of symmetrically placed 9s:

34A. Three-time Grammy Award winner for comedy : CHRIS ROCK. Always confuse him with Chris Tucker.

44A. Michigan city where the first Domino's Pizza opened : YPSILANTI. Jazzbumpa mentioned this city once. Wikipedia says it's named after a Greek hero named Ypsilanti.

Quite a few cross-references in the grid, a hallmark of Barry's themeless.


11. Invoice nos. : AMTs

16. Sikh leader : GURU. Guru Nanak was the founder of Sihkism.

18. Rush order : ASAP

19. Café container : TASSE. French for "cup" . And 55. 19-Across prefix : DEMI. Demitasse. "Half cup".

20. Union requirement : DUES. Was thinking of marriage union and I DOs.

22. Letter run : CDE. No help from the clue. So many choices.

23. Aid for making columns : TABS

26. Flu treatment, at times : INHALER

28. Sample, in a way : SIP

31. Flights : LAMS. Lots of groans last time when lam appeared as a verb.

33. Challengers : DARERS

37. "Same here" : ME TOO

39. Popular toast : SKOAL. Scandinavian toast. Gan Bei in Chinese.

41. Morning or evening, e.g. : NOUN. Nice clue.

42. Let in : ADMIT

46. One- to ten-yr. investments : T-NOTES

48. First name in architecture : EERO (Saarinen). Architect of the Gateway Arch.

49. Org. that included the Benelux countries : EEC (European Economic Community). No idea. Is this a forerunner to EU?

50. Waist management items : CORSETS. Ha ha, I actually read it as "waste management".

52. Big mouths : MAWS

54. Covered up : HID

57. Holly portrayer : BUSEY (Gary). "The Buddy Holly Story" is pretty good.

61. Court edge : AD IN (Advantage In). Tennis court.

66. Sport : WEAR

68. Singing syllables : LA LA


1. With 7-Down, something read during a lecture? : RIOT. 7. See 1-Down : ACT.. Riot act.

2. First name in humor : ERMA (Bombeck)

3. Some are deadly : SINS. Deadly sins.

4. Lyric poet : ODIST

5. Nullifies : REPEALS

6. General on a menu : TSO. General Tso's Chicken. The pronunciation of TSO is very similar to the Cantonese F word.

8. Marsh stalk : REED

9. Lecture reaction, perhaps : ENNUI. Could picture a smiling Husker Gary.

10. Be present : ATTEND

11. Turkish bigwig : AGA

21. Bedroom accessory : SHAM

24. They need tending : BARS. Tending bars. And 25. Like some 24-Down : SMOKY. State-wide smoking ban here.

27. Play area : ARENA

32. Reach : SCOPE. Noun "Reach".

35. FDR, HST, etc. : INITS

36. 1985 National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee : KASEM (Casey)

40. Former Maltese currency : LIRA. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says they started using Euro in 2008.

43. Miffed, with "off" : TEED

45. Uncultivated : LOWBROW

47. Roughly 35-cubic-foot measures : STERES. Classic crosswordese.

51. Silvery food fish : SMELT

53. Old Toyota : SUPRA. Interesting for Japanese to use a Latin-rooted name.

56. Logical beginning? : IDEO. Ideological.

58. Pants part : SEAT

59. Usher ending, once : ETTE. Usherette. Un-PC now I suppose.

60. River of Flanders : YSER. Flow to North Sea.

62. Gp. with many pieces : NRA. Why are guns called pieces?

64. "Lookin' Out My Back Door" band, briefly : CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival). Got via crosses.

65. Bill source : ATM

Answer grid.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on the blog that Lemonade was compiling a list of his favorite LAT puzzles/clues for 2010. Unfortunately his computer crashed and his extensive notes can't be recovered. Below is a short list of my favorites:

Rhyme Time: April 27, 2010 by Pete Muller and Sue Keefer. Rhyming two-word common expressions that contain a body part. Excellent set of 8 theme entries.

The First Thirteen: July 4, 2010 by John Lampkin. Resonated with me due to my American citizenship exam & the subsequent swear-in ceremony. Timeless theme. High educational value. Intricate grid design.

OFF TO A FAST START: July 21, 2010 by Dan Naddor. Theme entries start with a synonym of FAST. Not a standard punny Naddor, but I loved the unifier and had fun with the puzzle.

DC COMICS: October 12, 2010 by Meredith Ito (I'm the editor", Rich Norris): DC are the initials of the four comics in the grid. Just an outstanding unifier.

ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT: November 25, 2010 by Don "hard G" Gagliardo. All the edge answers can follow "ELECTRIC". Unusual, original concept, like most of Don's themes. Who can forget his L-BARs?

EYE OPENER: Dec 29, 2010 by Gary Cee. Gorgeously designed grid with intersecting theme entries. A beauty.

I'd love to hear which ones impressed you the most.



fermatprime said...

Hello all!

Boy this blog appeared so fast I only found it by accident. (Was looking for something from Friday for my puzzle-working buddy.)

Not as bad as usual Saturday. I was amazed that I was able to guess left-top 3 long answers with only four letters. Rest of it more difficult. Took a goodly amount of time.

CC--I blogged earlier for Friday. Hope you saw that I did not fail to thank you. I also should thank all of the rest of you for knowledge, humor, sympathy and insight.

WikWak said...

And year 4, day 1 begins. When I saw this was a Barry Silk I almost didn't try it; they frequently frustrate me. So of course I went ahead and tried it and it DID frustrate me at first but somehow I seemed to get in sync with him and half an hour later the whole thing was done (that's good for me, for a Saturday).

Especially liked Point maker = SCRATCHAWL, and PRIMORDIAL is one of my favorite words. Didn't know anything about the beginning of Domino's but after getting the ANTI at the end I sussed that it had to be YPSILANTI. Living here on the west coast* that's a town we hear about from time to time.

Put me down as one of those who groans for LAM as a verb! I also wasn't real thrilled with INHALER as a flu treatment, even sometimes... asthma, yes; flu no, at least in our house.

C.C., I was glad to see that I wasn't the only one who misread "Waist management" as "Waste management!"

And not being a tennis player and never watching it on TV, ADIN made no sense to me at all until I read the blog.

It was interesting to see the Riot Act clued as two entries. I often wonder how many people know, when they use that term, that they are referring to a now-defunct law that lasted for over 200 years in England and gave the police incredible power to break up groups of people. Read the Wikipedia article

* the west coast of Lake Michigan.

fermatprime said...

Hello again!

I tried to find out when I first contributed to this blog. Using the search feature, I only find 2010. Surely this is not correct!

I came to this blog by first googling up a clue from the NYT for a friend. There was RP's solution! I later joined in on the "fun" there, only to be RUDELY treated by RP. I never went there again. Somewhat later I was so lucky in finding CC's blog (again by googling).

(The "nice guy" thing last week just is NOT him.)

CC--I hope that you saw that I did not abandon you on your anniversary (late last night). I really owe a great debt to all of the contributers for providing information, humor, solace and intuition!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Well, this one slapped me around for a bit and then totally had its way with me. SCRATCHAWL? Really? I'm glad everybody else seems to know it, but it was a mystery to me. And I know I've seen YPSILANTI exactly once before in my life (can't remember if it was here or in a NYT puzzle), but that wasn't enough for it to stick. In the end I had a DNF because I thought that "reach" was a verb and put SCORE instead of SCOPE for 32. That gave me YRSILANTI for 44A, which honestly looked as [im]plausible as any other letter combination.

Elsewhere in the puzzle, I had AUDRY instead of BUSEY at 57A for the longest time. See, I was thinking of Holly Golightly from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" played by AUDRY Hepburn. Except, of course, that's AUDREY. No wonder it looked a bit odd... IDIDNTKNOW instead of IHADNOIDEA at 29D also messed me up for awhile.

Ah well, everything eventually worked out in the end. Excerpt for that stupid SCOPE YPSILANTI crossing, of course. *sigh*

Happy Year Four!

Barry G. said...

I later joined in on the "fun" there, only to be RUDELY treated by RP.

You too, huh? I'm glad it wasn't just me...

Anonymous said...

The Two Faces of Rex Parker.

Anonymous said...

The bird with the beautiful iridescent plumes is the quetzal---national bird of Guatemala and found in parts of Central America.

HeartRx said...

Good Morning C.C. et al.

Thanks for the great write-up, C.C. I finished in under 30 min. today - yippee! For a Saturday, and a Barry Silk to boot, that is some kind of record for me. Thanks for reminding me about AD IN. We had that same answer not too long ago, but I just couldn't remember it.

And like Barry, SCRATCH AWL is not part of my vocabulary. So the SW was last to fall today.
I did have to gg CHRIS ROCK, but got everything else without help.

I stared at the empty grid when I opened it, just because it really was beautifully designed. I am not sure if I like the triple stacks of 10's. They can make a puzzle way to easy if you know them, or almost impossible to complete if you don't. This seemed a nice mix of the two, and the perps did help to complete them.

Good to see you Fermatprime. Hope you're feeling better!

Have a great day everyone !

Argyle said...

No f, j, q, v, x, or z. Uncommon for a Silkie.

AUDRY reminds me that i've seen SMOKEY so often that SMOKY just doesn't look right. But it is. Sigh. SMOKEY refers to Smokey the Bear or slang for state police.

fermatprime, I think this is the first time you started off the days comments. Way to go!

Abejo said...

Good Morning Crosswordies! A special thank you to Barry Silk for putting together a great puzzle. Looks like Rich Norris assisted. I enjoyed the write-up by C.C. and a thank you to her for all her posting work. Year four. What a milestone. This is only month two for me. I really enjoy this. I have been doing crosswords for about 25 years, off and on. I have been more regular these past few years. This Blog has prompted me to do one daily.

As usual on Saturday, I jumped around a bit. My first word was DUES. My second word was ENNUI, since they crossed. We had that word a few days ago and it was fresh in my head. I spread from there with SHAM, DARERS, METOO, and ATTEND. My last area to fill was the SW corner. I thought 62D was clever: Gp. with many pieces/NRA. Enjoyed that because I am a Life Member of the NRA.

I am amazed at the skill that any constructor has when putting together a crossword with many long words or phrases. Great job, Barry. I notice you even got your name in one, 13D, Silk Road Component/TRADEROUTE. Or, was that just a coincidence. Anyhow, I did notice.

I had no idea what DEMI TASSE is. Got it with the perps. I don't hang out in cafe's.

I had a fun morning with this puzzle and about 7 cups of Earl Grey tea.


Splynter said...

Hi There ~!

I saw "Saturday Silk", and thought oh well,,,,and it did start out a bit empty, but I WAG-ed RESORT AREA from just a few letters, and there was hope for my second pass thru, and I did finish, and under a half hour.

Got fooled by NOUN, was looking for morning and evening NEWS.

Loved PRIMORDIAL, OMNIPOTENT, SUPERSONIC and STORM WATER. (wauta, for those who read me yesterday...)

Learned the history of the RIOT ACT - thank you.

How does one do a search to find their original post?

To me, scratch awl is a bit redundant, but I suppose it's to differentiate from a leather awl, but essentially, they're spikes.

I nailed DUES, only because I am in the "Big Brown" union.

I think 'Pants part' could have had a "?", for added humor, as I was working with CUFF to start.

I hope to get some personal projects done today - will not be using the awl....


HeartRx said...

C.C., I forgot to thank you for the real chinese toast, "Gan Bei". I always thought it was "Kam pai". Or is that the Japanese equivalent?

For "Union requirement" I put in "card" at first. And for Favorite toast I had "Melba" (sigh).

The EEC was the forerunner of the EU. It was formed by the western European countries as a means to facilitate trade between them. It was changed in '97 to EU, to reflect the broader scope of integration, like adopting one currency, abolishing border crossing requirements between them, and adopting common foreign and security policies.

I would say my favorite puzzle last year was Don G's "L-Bar" theme - so much depth to it!

Gotta run - I'm off to a seminar on mila (the "miracle seed"). More later.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Yeah, "Kampai" is Japanese. Don's L-BARs belongs to 2011.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Husker Gary,
I meant After Words, not Booknotes yesterday.

kazie said...

I actually completed this without help, except for LAMS/BARS/SMOKY. I had blanks, but wanted LAPS or LEGS for flights (air travel) and got stuck after that. Amazing that the names came to me or wagged successfully. And I only noticed Barry Silk's name after coming to the blog.

I enjoyed this puzzle, and had very little trouble with the rest. Each long block came a few letters at a time and then fell in easily.

We're not far from Lone Rock "Coldest in the Nation" as their sign proudly proclaims. I actually have two outdoor thermometers, one is the German one that shows Celsius degrees on an indoor register. the other one is a normal cheapo that i read from our window, and maybe could be missread from that distance. Yesterday morning the Celsius reading was minus 26.9.

When you go to a café in France, and pick the cheapest coffee on the menu (un café), what you get is pure coffee with nothing added. It's so strong it almost stands up on its own without a cup, but because of this, they don't give you too much, and it's served in a very small cup: demi tasse means half cup.

kazie said...

I forgot to say, that after much searching last night, I think my first ever comment was on July 16, 2008. That was the earliest that I found anyway. My profile just says July 2008, so that's as close as I could come.

Enjoy your Saturday everyone!

Husker Gary said...

Zao shang hao C.C. and fellow puzzlers! I loved to start off with RESORTAREA after staying at a lovely Disney one.

-Can you read OMNIPOTENT and not think of the Hallelujah Chorus?
-Letter run ending with E, had to be CDE
-SUPERSONIC reminded me of Chuck Yeager and his crazy comrades that lived and flew in the California desert after WWII. Wolfe’s book, The Right Stuff is rife with their X-rated exploits.
-Never heard of a SCRATCHAWL
-Chris Rock is fond of his race but isn’t crazy about n_ _ _ _ _ _ s.
-Have you ever heard someone use GURU as a verb? Would you please guru that meeting? Yuck!
-What famous musical song has the word demitasse in it?
-SALUT for toast
-YAPS for Big Mouths
-Wanted Audrey Hepburn for Holley somehow
-Yes, C.C., I was pleased to see ENNUI again and have posed another musical question today! After Words for me too!
-No smoking here either but you have to sometimes get through the smokers just outside the front doors
-NEA had my pieces
-GIRDLE for waist management (loved the clue!)
-I gave up TABS when I got good at tables
-Who is that in the White House? Hu. Who? Hu. The man in the white house? Hu. Who is in the White House? Yes! And so on. And if he had a brother named How…

Husker Gary said...

Oops, I started humming the opening song from Music Man and realized the word I was thinking of was demijohn not demitasse. If you know a song with demitasse, you got me!

Argyle said...

I beleive it is minus 20° where you don't have to say Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Argyle said...

My sister sent me this: The first Hu's on first skit with George Bush and Condoleezza Rice. Outdated but amusing.

Anonymous said...

For Argyle - respectfully

It is C / 5 = (F - 32) / 9

ergo, the temperature at which the two scales are identical is minus 40. ( Somewhat lower than your guess.)

Argyle said...


Thank you.

Denny said...

DNF -- but so close! It was the SW corner, the very tip of it. Kept trying to make "scratch off" fit. I thought, well, if you're playing the lottery, you do sort of make a "point" that way. Then sport would be "feat," which is sort of related, and singing syllables would be "fa la," which worked very well (and which is what got me stuck on "off" in the first place) but that left me with "odin" for court edge, and while I thought maybe there was some Viking myth that might explain that, it soon became clear the whole thing just wasn't right. "Scratch awl" would never have occurred to me on my own (though I did soon deduce that "sport" was probably meant in the clothing sense which gave me the "w" but I still couldn't make it out.

Yeah, uh, scratch awl. Meh.

The other groaner for me was "noun" for "morning or evening, e.g." There's misdirection, and then there's just being cruel.

New here. Been visiting often to get the solution (my paper prints it the next day, and I hate waiting) but other than an occasional anonymous comment, I haven't piped in much til now.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning CC and Silky Saturday solvers. And a Happy New Year to the blog.

This one went better for me than most of Barry's puzzles. No lookups needed to complete. I had to poke around a bit to get some traction, but once I found a few short crosses the long entry stacks fell easily.

My trouble spot was TA_ _, L_ _S,_ _RS, and _ _OKY. TAPE? No. LEGS? No. OK, let's run the alphabet. Well, DUH! It was so obvious as soon as I got to "B". No V8 cans in this house, but that 64oz jug packs a mean wallop!

SCRATCH AWL is well known to me, but I seldom used one as a point maker. My forte was metal working, not woodworking. The scratch awl (think ice pick)is very useful for scratching a line on a piece of metal to mark for a cut. In metal working, the tool is more properly called a scriber or scribing tool, but 'scratch awl' is commonly used. If you need to mark a point, you would use a center punch.

In woodworking the scratch awl is often used to make a point mark (such as a mark for drilling a hole or starting a scwew) since the material is quite soft compared to the awl and the fine point makes it easy to mark a precise spot. The entry wasn't obvious from the clue, though. It needed a few perps to nudge my thinking in that direction.

All in all, great job, Barry.

Dennis said...

Denny, welcome to the blog; good of you to come out of 'lurk mode' and join us. Gonna go blue next?

creature said...

Good Morning C.C. and all,

Blog is super! And I will review some of my puzzles for favs; Thanks for asking.

The puzzle took me a while and I had never heard of SCRATCH AWL either. Had trouble with LOW BROW;
had the -O--row and was sure it was referring to uncultivated ground. The 'L'was the only letter from Michigan city that I didn't have; nor did I have 'B' in Holly portrayer; nor did I have 'W' in MAWS,which I don't know. In other words I would have had the perfect perp if I had only known LOWBROW!

The 'W' in AWL, somehow didn't make sense for wear. V-8 moment!

Thanks, Barry, for another great Saturday morning.

Fermatprime, your profile says you
started 11/09. So glad to be hearing from you again. Glad, also, that you didn't get anything from your 'driver' buddy. I hope you'll be able to use that foot a lot more; do they say when?

Back Later.

Argyle, funny link! well placed, too.

Have a nice day everyone.

kazie said...

So that means my C-26.9 was F-16.42. For some reason I had always thought they crossed at minus 20 too, and that's why I was confused the other day and estimated what I thought my cheap thermometer should have been saying. But the math proved me wrong.

carol said...

Hi all,
Once again I'm with Barry G on SCRATCHAWL...What is it??? I know what scratch means and what an awl is but together??? Sounds painful.

I was leery of this puzzle when I saw it was one of Mr. Silk's but he does such fine ones, I girded up my loins and made the attempt. Glad I did, I can't say I breezed through it by any means, but I got more that I thought I would.

As to that Michigan city: YPSILANTI, I was completely in the dark.

29D SMOKY - we have a state wide no smoking law in Oregon too, so I did not catch on to this one, though I have been in plenty of smoky bars in the distant past.

I see ENNUI is back with us today :)

Argyle, it is just SMOKEY BEAR - no 'The' in it - a mistake I only learned a few years ago.

Argyle said...

Darn. Another oops. Thank you.

Grumpy 1 said...

Carol, I have to disagree about "Smokey the Bear". The words to the public service announcements in the 1950's were

Smokey the bear, smokey the bear.
Prowlin' and a'growlin' and sniffin' the air.

Truckers use the term 'Smokey Bear' to refer to law enforcement personnel, particularly state troopers, but that fire prevention critter was Smokey, THE bear from waaaay back.

Lemonade714 said...

C.C. and saturday solvers;
What I love about Barry Silk is the initial shock of nothing being certain and the puzzle being impossible, to, with perseverence, a finished grid. The stacks, once unlocked make it all doable, and the unknowns are not completely obscure.

To me this was the perfect example of a themeless, difficult but not impossible puzzle.

Denny, join us, if you read the comments we have a cast of many who appear when time permits, so join the show; your two cents is clearly worth more with inflation.

Ranger Rick said...

Smokey Bear.

Nice Cuppa said...

Just a little HS math to derive the temperature at which °C = °F .

We know:

°C / 5 = (°F - 32) / 9

When °C = °F, equation can be restated:

°C / 5 = (°C-32) / 9

Now just solve for °C :

multiply by 9: 9/5 x °C = °C-32
Subtract 1 x °C : (9/5 x °C) –(1 x °C) = -32
Restate 1 = 5/5: (9/5-5/5) x °C = -32
Subtract fractions: 4/5 x °C = -32
Multiply by 5/4 : °C = -32 x 5/4
°C = -160/4
°C = -40 = °F



carol said...

Grumpy, according to "Ranger Rick" it looks like we are both right. I know how old Smokey Bear is, I think I met his father once...a long time ago in a land far away...oh, that's another story. Something about Lumpjaw. Scared the puddin' out of me as a child.
Anyway, they have radio spots here that remind everyone to "be careful in the woods and do what Smokey Bear does, prevent forest fires"

JimmyB said...

Barry Silk's misdirections always get me. I just never get on the same wavelength. Toughest puzzle of the year for me.

I was thinking sportscasters instead of broadcasters, plus that's quite a jump in difficulty between Friday's KASEM clue and today's.

SCRATCH AWL was today's learning moment, especially the AWL part. That was my last piece to fall into place.

C.C. - I don't remember specific puzzles as much as the constructors that routinely bring smiles to my face, which include three on your list: Naddor, Gagliardo and Lampkin.

Does Barry Silk ever do a Monday puzzle? My image of him is as a Saturday guy: always a challenge.

john28man said...

I think the original countries in the EEC were the folling six:

West Germany

Argyle said...

Eddy Arnold sings "Smokey the Bear" for an old public service announcement. The Smokey Bear Act of 1952 (16 U.S.C. 580 (p-2); 18 U.S.C. 711) that shortly followed the release of this song, mandates that he only be referred to as "Smokey Bear".

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon C.C. and all

I agree with Lemonade @ 12:22 in describing a Barry Silk Saturday puzzle. The long stacks at first appear daunting and then, gradually, they reveal themselves; many times with everyday words or phrases. Today's had some not quite so common fill like IRIDESCENT, OMNIPOTENT and PRIMORDIAL, but it also had RESORT AREA, STORM WATER, and SUPERSONIC. I agree with others about SCRATCH AWL. I suppose a woodworker would have one in his tool box, perhaps to scribe a cut when one doesn't want to show a pencil line. Easy fill included SKOAL, LIRA, and STERES. I liked the clueing for CORSETS, INITS, and AD IN. I wonder if YPSILANTI might have been the seed word.

STERE - a cubic meter, but I have never seen it used in an engineering or science application. More crosswordese?

Welcome Denny. Go blue.

Colder than a witch's heart here in NYS, so much so that the authorities have had to retain a Norwegian icebreaker to keep the Hudson clear for shipping.

Enjoy the weekend.

kazie said...

You are correct. Here is a slide from my PowerPoint on Berlin, that shows the different dates of entry for nations up through 2007, which was when I put the presentation together. The key to the different nations is:
Blue: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg.
Lime: Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark
Orange: Greece
Aqua: Spain, Portugal
Pink: Austria, Sweden, Finland
Lemon: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Cyprus
Green: Rumania, Bulgaria

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Congratulations on this blog lasting for 3 years, and thanks to everybody who helps keep it alive and healthy.

Been working my ass off lately, so no time to do the puzzles until today. Doing 4 of them all at once is way too much! (By the way, I found my ass where it had rolled under the desk, and successfully re-attached it.)

I truly enjoy this blog and get such pleasure from the comments you all make.

Best wishes to you all.

LaLaLinda said...

Hello Everyone ~~

I'm always amazed when I'm able to complete a puzzle like this one. A challenge to be sure. I credit this blog with the increase in my puzzle solving ability! After my first couple of attempts I wasn't too hopeful. But then ... I agree with what Lemonade said. The impossible became doable and although it took about an hour and a half I managed to finish with no look-ups. I struggled with the NW corner and I didn't know YPSILANTI and SCRATCH AWL. It all finally came together with a feeling of accomplishment. Thank you for your write-up, C.C. I always learn something from you.

We're going into a deep freeze here ~~ A good time to cuddle with the cats, crosswords and Kindle!

Enjoy the day ~~

JD said...

Good morning C.C.and all,

I have to say I always enjoy a challenge from Mr. Silk's puzzles, but can rarely finish. Too many unknowns, both ways, for me. Someday....

So, on mornings like this, when I know I'm doomed, I "G" something from the Xwd that interests me.The SilkRoad was a fascinating part of my curriculum.I don't think they could have made those journeys without the Bactrian Camel.

favorite puzzle:Sept.24,2010 "Happy Bithday Jarhead" by Zhouqin Burnikel!!!

Welcome Denny!

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning (barely) All, It was the SW area wot done me in. Like just about everybody else, SCRATCH AWL was a foreign word. Since I just couldn't get the little bitty SIP at 28A and I know next to nothing about tennis, I had to ADMIT defeat and come over to the blog to finish.

Funny to see ENNUI so soon after our song game.

Getting 7/8ths of a Barry Silk puzzle is nothing to be ashamed of...I keep telling myself.

Maybe it is better to start Year IV with some aspirations.

RealDucky said...

I can't believe I actually solved this puzzle...First clue I got, after reading all the clues, was 64D:CCR From there on, it was just one guess after another until, VOILA! I filled in the final blank square. After failing last week's Friday and Saturday puzzles, I got my mojo back Sunday and continued to finish all the daily puzzles, culminating in today's. Time now for a nap/

HeartRx said...

Spitzboov, I don't think I would want to work on that Norwegian icebreaker. Shrinkage must be something awful....

LaLaLinda, I hope 68A was a no brainer for you?

C.C., oh yeah, I forget we're already into the end of January. Gosh how time flies! I have only been here since July, so I don't have any favorites listed before that. But one of several that I noted down was the September 9th puzzle called "Auto Reverse" by John Schiff. I thought the theme was very clever, and each entry was well thought out.


kazie said...

That ice breaker has been busy--I got an email showing it on the Mississippi too.

Susan said...

Hello everyone and happy anniversary to CC and all. I read you every day and enjoy all your comments although I rarely contribute.

Have never heard of scratch awl. I do, however, have a little screech owl in a birdhouse outside my laundry room. If I knew how, I'd have a picture of it by my name.

I had it firmly in my head that it had to be straight something. Also never heard of that town and still can't pronounce it. Originally had seam instead of seat for pant part so water didn't come. Oh well, it is a Saturday.

Thanks everyone for your comments that amuse and educate.

LaLaLinda said...

HeartRx ~~

I did smile at 68A. It seems to pop up every now and then. LaLa is a nickname given to me by some of my nieces and nephews when they were little and couldn't say Linda. A few family members still call me that today.

I love your new avatar. Your kitties look so sweet and fluffy! >^.^<

dodo said...

Hello friends,

Great writeup, C.C. Thank you and thank you, Barry Silk, for constructing a puzzle that I was finally able to finish! Almost. Usually I throw in the towel. I almost did that with this one, too. I got everything up to the deep SW corner. So I actually came here with a few blocks empty. Just never heard of 'scratchawl' and because of that and the options offered by 'singing syllables', the answers for 'sport' and 'court edge' never entered my mind. I spent a lot of time looking up diagrams of tennis and basketball courts to no avail. I had the d and i for 'adin' but 62D was unknown. So I came to the blog. As soon as 'awl' was added to 'scratch' it all came together. Was that cheating?

Vidwan, why are you lurking? Come into the blue, again!


Wow, While looking for my first ever, posting, I came back to a blank comment space. But lo, and behold, here it is after all!

Never did find the first one but it was just about this time last year! It's been a great experience! You're all just great!

Fred said...

A big congrats on your three years of publishing this blog! It is the friendliest crossword blog around. I wish you many more years of continued success!

Fred Jackson

Lemonade714 said...

Hey Fred.

Welcome back, it was your comments and those of Doug Peterson which began the enlightenment process so nicely honed by Jerome and John L. I do not want to forget Barry Silk, our editor, Dan Naddor, Jeff Chen and the many others who have taken us behind thr curtain.

Real Ducky, really?

creature said...

C.C.,here's my fav so far;

Nov. 23, 2010 Dan Naddor-Tuesday

Unique Technique

Antique Clique

Oblique Critique

Argyle so aptly named it the "QE2"

Some great fill:

Red as a beet






and my new word: Gest: heroic deed.

creature said...

HeartRx, love your new avatar. What are their names? They look so cozy; fun to see after hearing about from time to time on the stairway.

Lucina said...

Hello, everyone. C.C., thanks for the wonderful blogging.

I'm late today because we had our first of two semester meetings, three hours with pay.

Since I arose at the ungodly hour of 7 I'm tired and Barry Silk finished me off. Managed to complete 90% fairly quickly; the SW corner gave me fits but slowly, one letter at a time, it fell in.

LALA in a puzzle really makes me giddy because, as I have said before, it is my mother's nickname.

I say METOO to Lemonade's remarks about Barry's puzzles. Once traction is found, the fill just drops in and usually with the long horizontal ones I start doing the downs first and to quote CA, the pickets then come together coherently.

I feel as though I'm rambling and if so, I'm sorry. Tired.

Sorrowfully I ADMIT to looking up YPSILANTI and that gave me a toehold in the center. EERO and ERMA are givens but CHRISROCK made me work and like others, never heard of SCRATCHAWL but it's the only word that made sense. Thanks for all the explanations.

I'll have to check back on my favorites, usually I save them in a folder and it's either one of Don G's or Barry Silk's.

You astound me doing this at 2:18 A.M.!

I hope your Saturday has been delightful. 67 degrees here and gorgeous.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - This fine Saturday Silkie looked daunting to start, but as it unlocked, it went together quite well.

Adding to the Quetzal comment: these lovely birds are a bit rare but I managed to see one or two through a telescope in Costa Rica. Just lovely.

Husker - you were the poster challenging us to find "ennui" in a song, right? I was too busy to post it at the time, but you can find ennui in the vocal (vocalese, to be exact) version of "Meet Benny Bailey" by The Manhattan Transfer. A live recording of this superb piece can be found on The Singing Fool, here.

Having never been a smoker, I am so glad that Mass. has adopted the no smoking rules everywhere. Bars are better places when they are not SMOKY.


Jerome said...

Point maker: SCRATCH AWL. This clue is correct. However, I've never used one or seen one being used. If you want to make a small hole to start a screw, for example, your nail set, or just a nail does the same job. As to using one to etch a line where your going to make a cut, your sheetrock knife with a sharp blade works perfectly. A carpenter always has these items in his 'bags'. No reason to buy an awl. I do have one, though, and the point is just as sharp and unused as it was forty years ago. I might have used one to pierce my ears a long time ago. But that doesn't make much sense since a nail set or a nail would work fine for that as well.

Lucina said...

It's really difficult to select one most impressive crossword but I can tell you which one I recently enjoyed the most. That was John Lampkin's "Seasonal Puns" with the musical links on December 23rd.

I'll have to study the rest but there have been so many clever and enjoyable ones which have given me so much pleasure.

Clear Ayes said...

Thanks to both Jeannie from last night and to creature today for the shoutouts.

GAH and I just got back from dinner at our local cafe. It's a combo cafe, snack seller, beer/wine bar and Friday/Saturday live music and dance dive. It's great that the food is good because it is the only place to go in what passes for our town.

I've been catching up on the comments today. I am always amazed at the number of people who save past puzzles and rate the fill, times, themes, grid and so on. I tried early on to keep a definition list, but I kept forgetting to make entries.

It's enough to say that the puzzles I don't like are few and far between. We can put that down to my being easily amused, or that the caliber of talent the constructors display is awesome. I tend to lean toward a mix of both.

Unknown said...

Whew! This one kicked my fanny. Oddly enough, I knew the Domino's clue because we have a summer house in northern Michigan and everyone there knows about Domino's, but had to look-up the spelling.
The crazy thing about these Silk puzzles to me is that you think that you can't get the difficult clues and huffing puffing you finally do, but then with an easy clue you second guess yourself. I wind-up saying"it can't be that easy?" I found myself erasing the right answer and then going back to e-fill the space. Do I suffer from paracrosswordese?

windhover said...

Moi aussi!
I do crossword puzzles for fun, for the self-competitive little rush I get when I complete a difficult one (no one ever sees my completed effort), and to protect my brain from atrophy. I wouldn't consider critiquing the effort of the constructors, since my ability to make a puzzle ranks just below my ability to "leap tall buildings in a single bound".

On the other hand, I know what I like. Just as I would quit drinking if BudMillCoors was the only beer in the world, I refuse to even look at the Daily Crapmuter puzzle the Herald-Liar now prints. I am much too plebeian for the NYT, and the LAT and Rich's wonderful array of constructors just fit (and stretch) my abilities.
The truth is though, I come here daily for the chicks.
Right, Buckeye?

Denny said...

To Mom Speaks Out: Yes! I have that same thing happen to me a lot! Especially with tough puzzle creators like Silk. You struggle and struggle with tough clues, begin to think you're on the puzzler's 'wavelength,' then comes a clue with a real obvious answer that fits, and you reject it out of hand because, 'Nah, it can't be that simple!'

Paracrosswordese. I like that. Not sure if all the roots fit the meaning, but it's as good a 'sniglet' as any (anyone else remember those from a long-ago and probably long-forgotten HBO show?)

Thanks all for your welcomes. I may go 'blue' soon. We'll see. Right now I'm like the guy at the party still standing near the door eying the room trying to figure out if I should walk up and introduce myself to someone or quietly try to slip out unnoticed...

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone,
This was a puzzle that kept me working on it for most of the day. I started out in the morning and filled in the top half with no problem, but came to a screeching halt when I got to the SW area. I had a great white swatch of squares that just refused to fill in. I put in Eat for Sample, in a way, so that didn't help,and when I finally put in sip, Scratch Awl wasn't in my vocabulary. After I Googled Chris Rock things began to slowly fill in.

I'm with Carol, I know what scratch is and I know what Awl is, but together they were a foreign country. I use an awl in sewing quite frequently. I also used one when working with leather. Sooo, once again I have learned something new.

I didn't realize this was a Barry Silk until I came to the blog, but then felt rather proud of myself for completing most of it on my own.

The misleading clues such as Sport/Wear, Flights/Lam and a Noun for morning and evening always make me feel good when I get that aha moment. There were several of those today.

Spitzboov, thank you for sending me the address for your link. It still wouldn't let me access that page. Something about massive abuse of their service by my network! I've never seen a message like that before. I was interested because we spent several weeks in the Schleswig, Holstein area of Germany a few years back.

Have a great rest of the evening, everyone and those of you in the snow belt, take care and stay warm.

Lucina said...

Welcome, Denny. I hope you decide to go blue.

PJB-Chicago said...

Good (very late) evening to all, including fellow night owls, insomniacs, and those who read late posts!

Very intimidating grid at first blush, but the clues turned themselves into answers, eventually.

Those 3-stacks of 10 letter fill finally synched, nicely. A few flying-by-the-SEAT-of-my-pants WAGS got it done.

Even though the latter half of both MUSCLE (mass or TONE?) and SCRATCH (nib or AWL?) were slow to reveal themselves, the crosses/"perps" made them seem convincing.

Wanted RTE instead of CDE for "letter run"
because I was thinking of "mail" instead of "alphabet." Oops.

So far, this year has provided us with some very fine puzzles. How lucky are we? My answer= "Very fortunate!

C. C.: thank you for a crystal-clear write up.

Smokey Bear said...

Was I a clue in the crossword puzzle today?

Argyle said...

Sorry but no. An answer to 25-Down was SMOKY and I said SMOKEY looked more like the right spelling...but it wasn't.