May 17, 2014

Saturday, May 17th, 2014, Mark Bickham

Theme: None

Words: 72 (missing J,Q,V)

Blocks: 28

  Today's puzzle from Mark had lots of clues that were right up my alley, and I thought I was going to cruise to a quick end - but then the SE corner just wouldn't fill in - and I had to switch to red-letter to see what mistakes I made.  When I did, I was disappointed with myself for not giving it more time....oh well.  Triple-9 pinwheel design with a couple of 10's on the inside, and one grid climber;

8. Inducing a nod, perhaps : DULL AS DISHWATER

and some of the other long fill;

29. Heavy metal band with the album "The Final Frontier" : IRON MAIDEN - One of the first (and best) bands I ever got into; even more interesting is that my favorite guitar player in the band, Adrian Smith, did a solo project, "Adrian Smith & Project", which featured:

38. __ Starkey, longtime drummer for The Who : ZAK - Ringo Starr's son, who appeared on the A.S.a.P. album "Silver & Gold"

38. BOLO clarification, perhaps : Z AS IN ZEBRA - Great fill; two non-connected "Z"s; Police term for "Be On the Look-Out"

Ugh, guess I have to move onward :>( ....


1. Outlaw : DESPERADO

10. City on the Shatt al-Arab river : BASRA - Educated WAG with a couple of letters in place

15. Lady of the Lake's gift : EXCALIBUR - NAILED it - love this Monty Python scene (@ 1:05)

16. Web-footed animal : OTTER - Tried GOOSE first

17. Term popularized by physicist John Wheeler : BLACK HOLE

18. Spring sound : BOING - A WAG that stayed

19. Fully prepared : RIPE

20. Alice's chronicler : ARLO - The Alice of the 'restaurant', not 'Through the Looking Glass' - Arlo Guthrie

21. Italian nobleman : CONTE

22. Presidential nickname : ABE - Went with "IKE" first

23. Member of a bygone empire : INCA

24. 23-Down competitor : KAL-KAN - X-ref with; 23d. "Home 4 the Holidays" adoption sponsor : IAMS - Dog foods

25. Scottish John : IAN - John, Sean, Ian, Jan, Yanni

26. Sketch : SKIT - anyone else throw in "DRAW"?  Too easy for Saturday

28. Club alternative : BLT - The club sandwich, that is

33. Convergence points : FOCI

34. Some iPods : NANOs - I have a 30GB that I use every morning at UPS

35. It fell in 2001 : MIR - Russian space station

36. Heifetz contemporary : ELMAN - Violinists; more here

37. Old school : ETON - ah, an actual school, not a decription of how one "does things"

40. A, in Austria : EIN

41. Mass producer : BACH - Nice misdirection; mass as in church, not a production company

42. 16-symbol system, for short : HEX - Had no idea; 0-9 + a-f; the Wiki

43. Gets a C, say : DOES OK

45. TV musical host in four decades : WELK - Lawrence~!

47. Like a slim chance, oddly : FAT - Yes, how ironic

50. Egyptian signs of life : ANKHs

51. Latvian, for one : BALT - a bit meh for me

52. Unite by treaty : ALLY

53. Family nicknames : NANAs - I WAG-ed MAMAS, and was 60% right

54. Old Bethlehem sight : STEEL MILL - Ah, Bethlehem PA, that is

56. Coeur d'__ : ALENE - Idaho

57. Where the wild things are : MENAGERIE

58. Forbidden looks : PEEKS - Tried LEERS

59. Gestation period : TRIMESTER


1. "Everybody Loves Raymond" wife : DEBRA - Ray's wife

2. Book inscription abbr. : EX LIB - Latin, Ex Libris - "From the books of..."

3. Dream follower : SCAPE - Dreamscape. Not "ALARM"....I am pretty good at recalling my dreams

4. Duel unit : PACE

5. Order member : ELK

6. "Take a Bow" R&B singer : RIHANNA

7. Test options, at times : A, B, OR C - Another great fill

9. Breyers __ Cookies & Cream : OREO

10. Beginning Cub Scout : BOBCAT - Everything you need to know, here;   I was not a Boy Scout, Cub Scout or Bobcat

11. "Tragedy is __ for the living to gain wisdom": RFK : A TOOL

12. Smelly prank : STINK BOMB

13. Airport pickup : RENTAL CAR

14. San Martín was its liberator : ARGENTINA - half perps, half WAG

24. People : KIN

25. Advised of : IN ON

27. Skin lotion brand : KERI - I once dated a Kerry, and I was mocking her with this brand's slogan, which went "Keri, is so very..." and ironically, she threw the next phrase at me, which is "Rich, in emollients" - and Rich is MY name

29. New parent's complaint : I NEED A NAP

30. Thinking : RATIONALE

31. Making a proposal, perhaps : ON ONE KNEE - not any time soon

32. Non-PC purchase : iMAC - I am PC

33. Show off, in a way : FLEX

36. O.T. book before Daniel : EZEKiel

39. Blues or Blue Jackets : NHL TEAM - All me~!  I was hoping the Blue Jackets of Columbus OH would defeat the Penguins, but it didn't matter - my Rangers took care of a second PA team in 7 games.  Montreal next.  LET'S GO RANGERS~!!!

41. Big shots : BOSSES

44. Beef cut : SHANK

46. 1985 Malkovich movie : ELENI - never saw it; IMDb

47. Trifle (with), as an idea : FLIRT - I flirted with an idea for three weeks, and it turned out to be a mistake

48. '80s sitcom title woman : ALLIE - I put in "MAUDE", which ended in '78....oops.  "Kate and Allie", never watched the show

49. Seat of Texas' Smith County : TYLER

51. Realty ad abbr. : BSMT - I require a 'basement' as I carry on my search for my own house - need a place to play the drums

52. City near Des Moines : AMES - Name two cities in Iowa....

55. T size : LGE - T-shirt



OwenKL said...

The pirate was a dandy, who in a cantina,
Fell in love with a wench by the name of Christina.
He was always polite
Till he fled in the night.
The cop said ('round his donut), "sing for me, ARRR-GENT'S TINA!"

This is a story of an OTTER named Otto,
Who spent most of his time in a watery grotto
One winter he exhausted his ALE RATION
So he burgled a brewery in desperation
And that's how the OTTER became an outlaw DESPER-OTTO!

This is a tale that's DULL AS DISH WATER
That's trapped in a sink that won't drain like it oughtter.
The plumber's new assistant
Cleared us out in an instant
When he tried to use a ST INK BOMB to blast open the rotter!"

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Man, this was definitely a Saturday level puzzle for me today. A few complete unknowns (ZAK, ELMAN) and too many tricky clues to mention.

I was despairing at the end trying to make any sense of the letters I had for 8D until I finally realized that EXCALIBUR was spelled that way instead of EXCALIBER. That "U" was enough to let me get DULL AS DISHWATER very quickly.

Elsewhere, I had LOCI instead of FOCI, which totally hid FLEX and ELMAN. Since I had no idea that there were hockey teams called the Blues and the Blue Jackets, I couldn't get the NHL part of NHLTEAM and that kept me from getting HEX. Plus, ZASINZEBRA just didn't occur to me even after guessing that 38D might be ZAK. With N_LTEAM in place, however, I finally decided to try hockey since I knew it wasn't football. That got me HEX and made me think of FLEX, which caused me to replace LOCI. ELMAN was still a complete unknown, but at least it was a pronounceable name.

I was really hoping that 18A would be BOING when I first saw the clue, but I knew it wouldn't be. And then it was!

Yellowrocks said...

Patience paid off today. I was able to fill in solidly by quadrant. SW was relatively easy, beginning with ON ONE KNEE, ANKHS, ALENE.
NW was a little more difficult. BLACK HOLE and PACE were the Rosetta stones, then EX LIB and EXCALIBUR led the way.
I skipped NE until last.
In SE LGE, AMES and then TRIMESTER led the way.
In the NE, Z AS IN ZEBRA, ELMAN and ARGENTINA set this corner up.
Just enough perps to keep me going.
Fun puzzle, fun blog.

HeartRx said...

Hello Saturday Solvers!

Fun puzzle, and fun write-up, Splynter. I really got a kick out of your KERI story!

I agree with WBS. That X was just not coming to mind. But I had the FLE*, and wondered if the HEb.rew alphabet had 16 letters. But FLEb would make no sense at all. So it was a mental trip through the alphabet until finally coming to X. AHA!! TA-DA!!

Loved the entries BOING and DULL AS DISHWATER. I entered STINK BOMB without thinking twice, and was happy to see that it remained to the bitter end! I have friends who are new parents, and the wife is always telling me "I NEED A NAP!" So that was also a gimme.

Favorite clue was "Mass producer" for BACH. Real V-8 moment when I filled that one in.

Have a great day, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Good morning, Saturday soldiers!

When 1a appeared, I knew I had to finish this one. But it was a struggle. The left side filled in rather quickly, and the bottom right followed soon after.

The problem was the top right. 10a sounded Mid-Eastern, so I WAGged BASRA. 14d sounded South American, so with the A in place, i WAGged ARGENTINA. Things started working in that section.

I knew what a BOLO was from watching NCIS, but why would there be a _BRA in a BOLO? I finally figured out that the Bible book must be EZEKiel, and then that devilish Z AS IN ZEBRA showed up.

I'm embarrassed to say that HEX was the last to fall. Heck, at one time I coded in HEX. It shoulda been a gimme. Sigh...

Splynter, did that idea you FLIRTed with have blue eyes?

Project for today...figure out how to adjust a threshold. I know it's gotta be simple; I've just never had to do it before.

Al Cyone said...

I guess I should stop despairing when I see those long Saturday fills. I was all over the place on this one with lots of WAGs, some good, some not so much. I got lucky early on with ARGENTINA (figured it had to be a Latin American country and Argentina fit). The NW corner was the last to fill. I think ARLO may have opened it up. I was thinking of "Alice" as either "in Wonderland" or Alice B. Toklas and, of course, neither helped. I had IKE before ABE but EXLIB fixed that and it was (relatively) smooth sailing after that.

I'm trying to talk myself into visiting Dia:Beacon. It's free to "community" members today. I don't expect to like much of the "art" but I've always been curious to see the building. It's former Nabisco box factory.


buckeye bob said...

Thank you for the puzzle, Mark. Thank you for the review, Splynter.

This was a real Saturday challenge for me, but I enjoyed it. It took me a full hour again, second day in a row, with lots of perp and WAG help.

The NE was last to fall. I had 18A Spring sound: CHIRP and 13. Airport pickup: LIMOUSINE, which kept me from making any progress for a long time. All I could think of for 10A City on the Shatt al-Arab river was CAIRO, and I knew that was wrong, so I left it blank. I finally Googled that one, put in BASRA, and worked through the rest of the NE. Argh!

I also had PASSES before DOES OK, but the perps fixed it.

I didn’t know ELMAN, BOBCAT, A TOOL, ELENI, but the perps saved me.

IAMS originated near Dayton, but has since been sold to P&G.

DESPERADO is one of my favorite songs.

Desperado Eagles

Desperado Linda Ronstadt

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~ ~

This was tough, but fair. In the end it got me. Most of it went surprisingly quickly for a Saturday, but that SE corner ~ ugh!

I finally gave in to Google for the Malkovich movie and that helped...a little. My biggest problems were filling in 'Alice" instead of ALLIE (I was SO sure!) and then 'Float' an idea instead of FLIRT.

I wanted 'Stern' before finally getting ELMAN - a complete unknown.

Favorite was 38A - BOLO clarification.

I thought of you immediately at 1A - desper-otto!

Thanks, Mark Bickham for an enjoyable challenge and thanks, Splynter for another wonderful write-up!

Splynter said...

Hi again~!

Yes D-Otto, yes it did....

What kind of threshold? Under your entry door?


JJM said...

No doubt about it, I had to Google a couple clues. This was a toughie and really not too much fun. I can't imagine too many people on this blog have even heard of IRON MAIDEN let alone buy a RIHANNA CD, which would make this hard.

oc4beach said...

Had to consider this a DNF because I had to use Red Letters today. However, I did like the puzzle. There were a number of V-8 headslap moments when the words became obvious. Perps were really important today.

Originally I had CHIRP then TWEET for 18a instead of BOING. Good clue.

I knew BLACKHOLE right away because I worked on the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) at NASA in the 1960's and 1970's which provided the first data that helped confirm their existence. The OAO was the forerunner to the Hubble Space Telescope.

I hope everyone has a great and hopefully dry (i.e. - no flooding) weekend.

C6D6 Peg said...

This was like the end of a gestation period - giving birth!

Madonna was in for a long time as she was the first to sing "Take a Bow", but finally got nixed due to Desperado.

Great puzzle, definitely Saturday worthy!

Thanks, Splynter, for your usual great work!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

DNF today. I was in a hurry, which won't do for a puzzle of this complexity. At least I got Excalibur right away, thanks to Monty Python ("strange women, lyin' in ponds, distributin' swords, is no basis for a system of government!")

Cheers All

Nice Cuppa said...

Good morning to you all. Have been surrounded by wild-fires but we have Rancho Santa Fe between us and the Pacific Ocean, and a mere Act of God is not powerful enough to perturb the 1%.

Enjoyable fill, but did anyone else consider 35 Acr. "It fell in 2001" to be in dubious taste. so soon after 9/11? Or maybe it was a splendid irony. "MIR" is the Russian space station of course, but in Russian MIR can mean either WORLD or PEACE.


Husker Gary said...

Well, every cell has a resident but… What a nice workout this lovely morning! Each sector took one fill to unlock. And, oh yeah, at least one erasure. BACH, MIR, KERI and ZAK were my finis.

-DESPERADO = Eagles and/or Otto
-I never met a heavy metal band I liked
-OMG! Z AS IN ZEBRA! I got it and didn’t even see/realize it
-While we were in central Iraq, the Brits were in Basra. Did it do any good?
-A BB player who always shoots and never passes is called a BLACK HOLE. Once the ball goes to him, it ain’t comin’ out.
-Kids in my hometown school of Arlington now call it ARLO
-I first thought SPCA would be that sponsor, not pooch food
-BAT stuck a long time before it had to be a BLT
-My MIR was first the WTC, DOES OK was GETS BY, my PACE was an EPEE (can those thing kill?), a NUN and an ELK are definitely different, A TOOL was A TIME, SHANK was a FILET, ALICE not ALLIE for me too
-Some ill-advised treaties got everybody into the act in WWI
-MENAGERIE = last period study hall
-We had a STINK BOMB in our school on the last week in 1964. Three boys had to explain to their families why they didn’t get to walk across the stage to get their diploma
-I NEED A NAP is why parenting is for young peeps
-Charlie Brown was ON TWO KNEES gettin’ “Seven come eleven down in the boy’s gym”
-Oh no, madam, this isn’t a BSMT, this is the garden level!

Irish Miss said...

Hi Everyone:

After many write-overs, much angst, and an inordinate amount of time, I finally finished w/o any help, BUT no TADA. My FIW was due to abort instead of A B or C. Of course, this was clearly my fault for not paying attention to the tense in the clue and not questioning Inta as a people.

I really struggled with this puzzle as so many clues were either misdirections (albeit, fair) or could have multiple answers. Bat/BLT, Draw/Skit, Alice/Allie, Chirp/Boing, Loci/Foci, Body/Bach, iPad/iMac, etc., etc. in any case, kudos to Mark for the mental workout and thanks to Splynter for 'splainin' it all so well. (Nice shout out to DO!)

Kazie, I received an email this morning from Australian Immigration telling me I have been chosen to receive a Family Immigration Resettlement Visa to Australia, if I meet all the requirements, whatever they may be. Maybe they found out about the millions of dollars I have been promised by those Nigerian widows and bankers!

Happy Saturday to all.

Lucina said...

Hello, Super Solvers! Great job, Splynter. I thought this was perfect for you today but completely out of my wheelhouse. I'm not into pop music of any kind but oldies.

Thank you, Mark Bickham, for a daunting challenge. I almost didn't make it and did have to Google some clues, the Malkovich film, RIHANNA and ELMAN.

The SE corner surfaced first although I misread REALTY as reality so the B in BSMT was slow in coming and never mind that my first Latvian was a LATT. When WELK appeared, so did NHL and BALT.

WEES about CHIRP first then BOING.

Last to fall was SKIT because DRAW didn't work and KERI, not OLAY, not AVON for the skin.

Finally, DULL was also delayed by misspelling EXCALIBeR.

You really made me laugh out loud today and what a nice shout out to desper-otto!

Have a special Saturday, everyone!

Anonymous said...

I've read most of the posts so far, and I still don't understand how BOLO means Z as in Zebra. Be on the lookout means Z as in Zebra?
Liked the limericks.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Interesting but really hard! But rewarding to fill all the spaces, Mark. Red-letter & Splynter help needed to make sense of it all. I was particularly dense when I did it. Thanks!

EXCALIBUR was my first triumphant fill, a WAG. I had a lot of correct WAGs today like BASRA. Yippee! Didn't fare so well on BALT.

Old Bethlehem sight was an immediate fill. I got lost and drove through the mill site once and was shocked by the inactivity.

WELK took awhile, but shouldn't have. We used to watch all the time.

Old school not ElOn but ETON which I guess is older.

KAL KAN I didn't "get" even after I filled it. Instead of "Home 4 the Holidays" being a dog adoption thing, I somehow got stuck on "Home Alone" the movie. KALKAN was close enough to MacCauley Calkin, that I thought I'd spelled the last name wrong the first time. I was wondering what other meaning IAMS could have besides dog food. DUH! I really should have slept before doing this puzzle.

HEX showed up but is still a mystery. My mind went tilt just trying to read Splynter's fine link. My son is a mechanical engineer & computer whiz. He must have got it from me because I sure don't have a smidgen of math brain left.

Bumppo said...

Big-time DNF for me. A typo in my newspaper didn't help: 52A: "Upite by treaty."

Two complaints: The clues for 28A (BLT) and 39D (NHL TEAM) needed indications of abbreviation. I had ICE TEAM for 39D until Lawrence WELK forced me to NHL.

desper-otto said...

Tennarrow@11:42 -- "Be on the lookout for a gray Mercedes, license number Z-yadayada, that's Z AS IN ZEBRA-yadayada."

Bummpo, I think the rules are relaxed on Saturday. Not indicating an abbreviation is allowed.

Door project is complete! After consultation with Splynter, I decided to lengthen the door rather than try to raise the threshold -- those screws wouldn't move in either direction. The operation was a success, and the patient survived.

Anonymous said...

How did you get Z as in Zebra from BOLO? Enlighten me.

Misty said...

I gave up pretty early on this one and cheated to get pretty much anything. Well, I did get ARLO and WELK at least, you can tell my musical era, can't you? I was sure Old Bethlehem was going to be STABLE___ something, even though I'm from Pennsylvania and know Bethlehem Steel. I was just thinking of an even Older Bethlehem. And, like Anon 11:42, I still don't get what BOLO has to do with Z AS IN ZEBRA.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone.

WEES. I seem to have had the Splynter experience. Went along reasonably well until getting bolluxed up in the SE. Had float for FLIRT, Alice for ALLIE, so I couldn't shake STEEL MILL and MENAGERIE free. Sigh.
Got Z AS IN ZEBRA ok, but thanks Splynter for explaining BOLO.
DreamSCAPE was our first on-line provider - dial-up.

Alan said...

Splynter, I'm a bit partial to Dave Murray myself. He always looks like he is having so much fun on stage, and he makes it look so effortless. I wish he had done a solo album of his own.

I'm not surprised that you didn't link IRON MAIDEN, given this crowd, but I am a little disappointed you didn't link ZEBRA.

ZEBRA - Who's Behind the Door

Argyle said...

Spelling clarification used to use Z as in zebra but standard use is Z as in Zulu.

Ol' Man Keith said...

YAY~ GOT 'EM ALL - Although like Splynter I had to do a bit of checking. Unlike Splynter I know nothing of heavy metal, so I Googled for IRON MAIDEN, after filling the N, A, and D.
But mostly I was on my own. The NW corner started me off beautifully, EXCALIBUR being the key to unlocking that sector.
Isn't it funny/ amusing when your first thought feels wacky but turns out to be right? As with BOING?
KIN made me pause because for a while I thought the perp KALKAN started with a "C."
Z AS IN ZEBRA was my last fill. I started to reply to "BOLO clarification" with DESCRIPTION, which wouldn't fit, so I went for DESCRIPTOR, a crazy guess, and forced at that-- and so far from the final answer. I was saved only by the perps that brought me slowly around.
It was tough and there were a coupla times I thought of cashing it in. But I reminded myself that every time I stick it out it has come through. So that's what I did. And that's all she wrote.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Argyle -
Just want to say, that's a cool avatar.

CrossEyedDave said...

Alan@12:27, Thanks for linking Zebra - who's behind the door. I have never heard it before.

(It is rare for me to like a song the 1st time I hear it.)

Splynter said...

Hi again~!

Alan, I couldn't find an Iron Maiden song to fit my mood....but I did consider this crowd when I picked the ASaP song, thogugh - I think Maiden is a little too heavy metal. I do like Dave Murray's style, I just click with Adrian Smith's more, and his song writing is great.

Now that I think about it, this is the PERFECT song from Iron Maiden;

"too much time on my hands
I've got you on my mind
can't ease this pain
so easily
when you can't find the words to say
it's hard to make it through another day
and it makes me wanna cry
and throw my hands up to the sky"

written by Adrian Smith, who plays all the lead guitar.


Splynter said...


I also wanted to mention that Zebra is from right here on Long Island~!


Steve said...

Great write-up Splyter and thanks for the Python link. "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

WB and EES today. Didn't help that I didn't know that DITCH/DISH waters are as dull as each other, I'd only heard the former before.

Love the Bethlehem clue/answer - very tricky!

Delighted to see the English FA Cup Final broadcast live on mainstream TV this morning (Fox). Soccer's come a long way in the US in the last few years, and the four-yearly footie-fest that is the World Cup is looming large!


OwenKL said...

- WEES about hang-up in the puzzle. Needed red letters a lot, but got it done without look-ups.
- Lawrence WELK is still on regularly on my local PBS channel.
- A new parent's complaint may be the STINK BOMBs their baby produces!
- In my experience, DULL AS DISHWATER refers to a non-lustrous color (dishwater blond), not dull as boring.

Unknown said...

Hey the date's wrong on today's. Read the header closely. Ty.

Argyle said...

Thank you, Cheree. I took care of it.

Ol' Man Keith said...

I appreciated the coincidence of the heavy metal metal reference and the inclusion of STEEL MILL.
"Old Bethlehem sight" led me right away to STEEL MILL because I readily recalled visiting Bethlehem Steel many decades ago and getting the tour -- during which we saw the molten metal pour from one great receptacle into another. What an amazing sight!

John A. said...

like peg, i also fell for the madonna "take a bow" trap after having the "____NNA" part already filled...that took awhile to manuever out of

john28man said...

I returned a visit with one of our sons and was faced with a Saturday puzzle. I allow myself to use Google then and like Splynter wish I had persevered after I everything out.

CrossEyedDave said...

Sorry, but I am still a little confused about the clue: Inducing a nod, perhaps : DULL AS DISHWATER.

Manac said...

Was going to throw in the towel on this one but the torrential rain outside this AM said I could play a little longer. Got it done but stared at that Zasin Zebra and wanted to cry foul.
Any one else think of Iron Maiden ?

Black Hole