Jun 28, 2014

Saturday, Jun 28th, 2014, Brad Wilber

Theme: BW

Words: 70 (missing Q,X,Z)

Blocks: 40

  Today's grid is a bit of a departure from our normal layout, and I liked that.  High block count with 12 in the corners alone, giving us a "circular" pattern.  Brad last stopped in April 26th this year with a Home Improvement mini-theme crossing in the center; today you could say the theme was "brought to us by the letter 'V'" - I count seven.  The first pass did not bode well, but I ended up cruising though to the end - despite drawing a complete blank in the center with the crossing of four proper names. Top and bottom stacks of 11-, 13- and 15 letter spanners:

14a. Fiction involving letters : EPISTOLARY NOVEL - written in the form of correspondence letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries; examples that I know are "Dracula" ( Bram Stoker ) and "Carrie" from Stephen King

55a. Read lots of travelogues, say : LIVE VICARIOUSLY - I like this phrase

RAD, now~!


1. Cubicle sight : SWIVEL CHAIR

12. 1961 Ben E. King hit : SPANISH HARLEM - link away

16. Hipster persona : MR. COOL

17. Fair : SO-SO

18. Frequent co-producer of U2 albums : ENO - Put it in, took it out, put it back

19. Comportment : MIEN

20. Impact sound : "BAM~!"

21. By and by : ANON - not the ANON we are all too familiar with

22. Pay stub abbr. : YTD - Year-To-Date

23. MIT Sloan degree : MBA - The "Sloan" part had me thinking along the lines of Cancer Doctor ( and part of the proper name block where I drew a blank )

25. Striking action? : ERASURE - Like this

28. Jack-in-the-pulpit family : ARUM - Name #2 in the core of WTF?

30. Entreaty : APPEAL

31. Onetime Bell Atlantic rival : GTE - DAH~! I went with MCI - that's zero % correct

34. 1995 film with the line "Alan, please, last time I played this game, it ruined my life" : JUMANJI - never saw the whole thing - IMDb

36. Not forward : SHY - that's me; I was going nautical first with "AFT"

37. 1994 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee : LENNON - apart from his induction as a Beatle

39. "The Whiffenpoof Song" repetitions : BAAs - link away

40. Veterans : OLD PROS

42. Gag order? : "SHH~!" - Cute

43. Owed : DUE

46. Schmeling rival : BAER - Boxing "Maxes"

47. Wanamaker Trophy org. : PGA - Awarded to the winner of the fourth and final tournament championship; a little history here

49. Reason for an R : GORE - Movie rating

50. Gardner of film : AVA

51. Admitting a draft, perhaps : AJAR - Fresh clue for a crossword staple

53. Like some wallpaper motifs : FLORAL - Actual wallpaper, not that which can be found on one's smart phone - tho you may have a floral motif there, too

58. Altar burners : VOTIVE CANDLES - My first thought, but I was too 36a. to throw it in

59. Political matriarch who lived to 104 : ROSE KENNEDY - I was on the right wavelength, but for some reason, I wanted ETHEL, not Rose


1. Like some rum : SPICED - I just mentioned a "Gilligan's Island", made with spiced rum, last week

2. Got shown : WAS ON

3. Not apathetic about : INTO

4. Baroque instrument : VIOL - I always wanted to know what the difference between a Violin and a Viol was

5. Ex-pat's subj. : ESL - Again, different cluing for a crossword staple; I'm a bit 'meh' about this though

6. Capital where trains provide oxygen masks : LHASA - I knew we were looking for a high altitude city - more here

7. Hog trim : CHROME - "Hog" as in Harley Davidson motorcycles; their stock ticker is "HOG"

8. Robert of "Airplane!" : HAYS - One of my favoritest movies ever; he had a "drinking problem"

9. River through Pisa : ARNO - WAGed it

10. 1969 Peace Prize-winning agcy. : ILO - International Labour Organization

11. Proceeds : REVENUES - the noun, not the verb

12. Nautical pole : SPRIT - MAST, SPAR, YARD, GAFF and BOOM  were all a letter short

13. Image on Israel's state emblem : MENORAH

14. Winged statuette : EMMY - Dah, went with EROS - Bzzzt

15. Uninhabited : LONELY

20. "John Dough and the Cherub" author, 1906 : BAUM - #3 in the crossing of obscure names

21. Well of Souls guardian, in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" : ASP - Great way to clue another crossword staple

23. Sizable : MAJOR - Not LARGE

24. 20th-century maestro __ Walter : BRUNO - Name #4

26. Indian bigwig : RAJAH

27. Imitative : APISH

29. Fairy queen who carried a "whip of cricket's bone," in Shakespeare : MAB - Only 3-letter Fairy Queen I can think of

31. Far-reaching : GLOBAL

32. City with prevalent Bauhaus architecture : TEL AVIV - Some architectural reading

33. Attempt : ENDEAVOR

35. Magellan sponsor : NASA - Magellan, the mission to Venus, ended in 1994 - not the "original" Explorer

38. "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" network : NPR

41. "In the Bedroom" Oscar nominee : SPACEK

43. Hirer of Sinatra in 1940 : DORSEY

44. Mount Narodnaya's range : URALS

45. Hard to capture : EELY

48. Adorn : GRACE

49. Pianist Glenn known for his Bach interpretations : GOULD

51. Alamo rival : AVIS

52. Balderdash : JIVE - another great set of lines from "Airplane~!"

53. Fictional rafter : FINN - Huh - I re-read this during my write-up, and the first thought that came to me is that one of the UPS trucks I load is labeled "FINN", and I wondered how that ever got into a crossword....oh, never mind

54. Underground band? : LODE - Didn't fool me, I knew we were looking for "STRIA" or something of that nature

56. Maginot Line arena: abbr. : ETO - again, a detailed clue for a crossword staple

57. Published : RAN



OwenKL said...

BAUM wrote novels of Dorothy in Oz
Did she have an M.B.A.*? Because
When the house landed, BAM!,
On Queen MAB's loyal lamb
The witch's last words were just BAAS.

* Mistress of Witchy Assassinations

Putting missives together as commentary
The format enhances
Books, mainly romances,
So spinsters can LIVE VICARIOUSLY.

There once was a fellow, Sinclair,
Who loved his at-work SWIVEL CHAIR.
He rolled and he whirled
Through his cubical world --
Till his office-mates pushed him down the stair!

OwenKL said...

Yeoch! This is the first time in months I've actually had to google anything in the LAT! The top third defeated me. Had to look up Ben King and the Nobel Prize winner, and would have looked up EPISTOLARY NOVEL, EMMY, and SWIVEL CHAIR if I'd had any idea for a handle to look them up under. EPISTOLARY was what I thought, I just didn't know the name for it. But first, I had NOVEL so started with Kingsolver, when that turned red, I googled and found I had the wrong author, it should have been Sue Grafton. Red again. EMMY I thought was Winged Victory, which was the goddess Nike. SWIVEL CHAIR started out as prairie dogs. So many others that I'm sure will be WEES. Wags & nits & V-8 cans, oh my!

A Cryptic clue for one of the answers in today's puzzle.
Age's confident correction

George Barany said...

It's always a treat to see Brad Wilber's byline, and today is no exception. Thanks too for Splynter's writeup and the usual hilarious poem from Owen.

For those who have the time and energy for more, Brent Hartzell and I offer Princip of the Thing with a truly historic theme appropriate to today = Saturday, June 28, 2014. The puzzle is 17x17, and we hope you enjoy it.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This was tough all over for me, but the North finally did me in and I had to turn on the red letter help. EPISTOLARY NOVEL was a complete unknown (had NOVEL but couldn't get the rest). Had LUTE instead of VIOL. Just couldn't think of MR. COOL or EMMY or LHASA (thought it might be QUITO). Guessed MIEN, but took it out since nothing else seemed to fit with it. Wasn't thinking of Harleys for "Hog", so didn't think of CHROME. Overall, major fail up there for me today.

Barry G. said...

Oh -- I also didn't know that SPANISH HARLEM was performed by Ben E. King. I could only think of "Stand By Me".

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I'm in YR's camp today -- same thoughts about Ex-pats, and finished faster than a normal Saturday.

When ROSE appeared, I immediately penned in JOHNSON (D'oh!)...and then scribbled it into KENNEDY seconds later. My first thought for 13d was MENORAH, but I didn't know there was an H, so it seemed to be one letter SHY.

Splynter, why is there a UPS truck named FINN? And do you do the daily Jumble? One of the answers this week was your by-word.

The time to pedal nears...

Yellowrocks said...

This seemed so daunting at first, but I solved it in less time than a usual Saturday. ROSE KENNEDY, AJAR and JIVE opened up the bottom tier.
Then on to the middle tier. MAJOR, ARUM and BRUNO opened up that one.
BAUM was all perps.
The top tier was easy by the time I got back to it.
There were three ERASURES.
EX PAT bothered me at first. Then with ESL I realized that this was an EXPAT from a foreign country, not the U.S.
BAER was saved until last. Writing TEL AVIV vertically, I misspelled it, giving me BEER, which I rejected. Then AHA.
Interesting blog, Splynter. I enjoyed reading about the VIOL.

Al Cyone said...

A very enjoyable "Goldilocks" puzzle (i.e. not too easy; not too hard; just right).


Splynter said...

Hi again~!

Owen, prairie-dogging is hilarious~! I get the visual, and that makes it even better - and I don't work in a 'cubicle' environment.

D-Otto, the way UPS labels the trucks for loading is to post a sheet of paper with the route number on the back of the van. However, that can lead to confusion and mis-loads as I have 33C, 33E & 33D right next to each other on the same assignment. So the supervisors started 'naming' the trucks after the drivers to reduce the confusion; thus, Mr. Finnety's 33E route beomes "FINN". Here I am about two months ago standing in front of the "BET" truck, which is 33D - and yes, I get to play with crayons at work~!

If you ever see a sheet of paper dangling off the back of a UPS truck, the driver neglected to pull it off before leaving....


Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

On first pass, I had only seven answers filled in and thought, uh-oh, this is going to be a big, fat DNF. However, with patience and perserverance, everything fell into place and I got the TADA w/o help!

Thanks, Brad Wilbur, for a challenging romp and thanks, Splynter, for an entertaining expo.

Have a super Saturday.

HeartRx said...

Good morning everyone!

d-otto, are you prescient?

I filled very little on the first pass, as usual for a Saturday. But AJAR was one of them, and stayed to the end. Hand up for "aft" before SHY, Splynter!

I was tempted to look up some of the names, but stubbornly stuck with it until I was able to get enough perps to jog my memory. So I was rewarded with a sense of satisfaction from completing the entire thing correctly, with no red letter help or look-ups. (Yay me!)

BillG from last night, I have never had a puzzle in the NYT, so I was waiting for C.C. to chime in. I have met Mr. Shortz, who is a very nice guy. I just prefer working solely with Rich, though. I have heard that it takes Will forever to respond to submissions, and if he does accept one, it could be a year or more before it actually gets published.

As far as differences, the NYT is a bit more difficult, as you noted. And yes, Rich does not allow "rebus" type puzzles (where some squares have more than one letter.) The NYT also usually has more references to current pop culture, which adds to the difficulty (for me, anyway.) I think the LAT is geared to a broader audience. That's just my take on it - your experience may vary!

C6D6 Peg said...

WHEW! Didn't think this would be a complete solve, but wagged through it. Somehow, MAB came to me and that helped the center.

Thanks, Brad, for a mind-opener this am.

Splynter, you're write-ups are always informative and fun!

Yellowrocks said...

No D/O was not exactly prescient when commenting on my post. I posted very early, then took the post down much later and corrected it. I spelled TEL AVIV incorrectly again in the post. I was sure some eagle eye would jump on it. I found it embarrassing when I have visited there twice.

desper-otto said...

Marti, looks that way, doesn't it? Actually, YR deleted her first post and then reposted after me.

Anonymous said...

In my paper there were no clues for 2-9 down. Is that how it was supposed to be? I am confused.

HeartRx said...

d-Otto and YR, nah, I think the two of you were just conspiring to mess with my head!!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Hard, hard, hard! The first pass through I had mostly downs in the top half: EMMY, SPRIT with MEIN & YTD on the west, LHASA in the middle and MENORAH & LONELY on the east. The bottom half had only AVA, JUMANJI, & ROSE KENNEDY.

I finally looked up ARNO & ARUM and kept pecking away to fill it all. I had several red-letter alphabet runs to get some kind of start.

LHASA was a gimmee because my sister-in-law went there when her daughter's family was there and talked about the need for extra oxygen.

I had seen a TV special on a U.S. enclave of Bauhaus architects in some eastern or midwest city that I was trying to remember. I was surprised when TEL AVIV emerged.

I certainly LIVE VICARIOUSLY through books these days. This morning I was roaming the pioneer west with Louis LaMour. Hadn't read him in years.

From the clues, I didn't "get" ERASURE or GORE when they filled. Gratefully, Splynter 'splained them.

Husker Gary said...

One bad cell in spRit, are you kidding me? Oh well, with all of Brad’s amazing fill, I’ll take it.

-Like Owen, I thought our letter fiction might be a Sue Grafton novel
-I most remember Ben E King’s anthem for the wonderful coming of age movie of the same name Stand By Me
-_NO as a producer just couldn’t be LENNON’s wife
-Our 50th HS reunion is this weekend and a lot of SHY classmates chose not to attend. Me? I’m the emcee!
-Joann has lit VOTIVE CANDLES for her brother and dad in many cathedrals and small churches in America and Europe
-ROSE appeared after JUNK turned to JIVE and HUCK was FINN
-That pesky H in LHASA and Baghdad, etc. can be a botheration
-Even in this Hormel city, I knew this Hog didn’t oink. FARING was my first thought but just now looked and see it is spelled FAIRING
-Surely, I will never laugh as hard at a movie again as I did at Airplane Don’t call me Shirley!
-Hilarious send up of NPR programming. Modern “Who’s on first”?
-Don’t we all best remember Sissy for this role?
-My first Underground band was this one

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Posting from So. Cal. today, traveling on some family business. Breezed right through this puzzle, the unknowns having been well perped, Mab was the last to fall, because it looked improbable, and because my knowledge of Shakespeare runs dangerously close to the ingnorant line.

Morning, Splynter, enjoy your style.

Marti - I enjoyed your N puzzle yesterday, done in a rush just before boarding an airliner.

Lucina said...

Greetings, weekenders!

Yowza! I managed a Saturday Brad Wilbur which even with all the obscurities and proper names, I finished in my allotted one hour.

The first pass yielded only ARUM, a crossword staple which I've learned includes most bulb plants, EMMY, and YTD. Then like an ASP (didn't know that one) I slithered downward and was more successful.

Glenn GOULD happened to appear in another puzzle I did this week so that was fresh and started me on the way though I had _SERIOUSLY first, then one ERASURE later, the rest emerged, as LIVE VICARIOUSLY when TEL AVIV also came through.

As Spitz likes to say, this filled like a swimming pool, from the bottom up and slowly it all appeared. I had to laugh when ESL dawned on me since I taught it for 26 years.

With VIOL and LHASA the picket fence posts were nailed in. I did finally have to look up ENO though I should have known it since it appears so frequently.

Though URALS and EELY were obscurely clued, they were easy WAGS because of DUE.

Thank you, Brad Wilbur and Splynter for some great fun today! I really enjoy those light bulb moments.

Have a stupendous Saturday, everyone!

GarlicGal said...

I finished it, but not correctly! No tada today. Lots of errors that sounded right to me. HA!

One of my favorite epistolary novels is "A Woman of Independent Means". Boy, I read it years and years ago and still remember it. It made quite an impression.

I'm off to "Next To Normal" today. No, not a family reunion (my family is anything but normal!), the musical, should be interesting. Has to do mental illness and bi-polar disorder. A romp? We'll see.

Todos tienes un Sabado Gigante!

Misty said...

Well, I may have to add Brad Wilber to my "dreaded" constructor list because I barely got off the ground on this one. At first it looked good since I got ROSE KENNEDY and Glenn GOULD right away, and as soon as NOVEL appeared I put in SUE GRAFTON ("A is for Alibi" etc.). Well, you can imagine how that turned out. Who knew EPISTOLARY would have the same number of letters as SUE GRAFTON? Anyway, it was all downhill from there until I started cheating and never stopped.

Not my best Saturday morning, but hey, what else is new.

However, that won't stop us from having a great weekend. And I wish you all one too!

LaLaLinda said...

This was tough going for me but I enjoyed the struggle. SPANISH HARLEM got me started. The song was a favorite of mine back in my early years.

I stumbled in many places but each time after seeing the light, I just loved the tricky cluing, i.e, Got shown / WAS ON and Striking action / ERASURE. I was quite perp-dependent - too many to mention!

Favorite: Gag order? / SHH.

Thanks for a wonderfully informative write-up, Splynter ~ I always enjoy your thoughts and comments!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Argyle said...

Spanish Harlem

Argyle said...

And another link for all of ewes out there:

The Whiffenpoof Song

john28man said...

Early on I got ROSEKENNEDY and then the whole bottom half went smoothly from the perps. The top half was a long use of red letters to finish after the top two lines.

Unknown said...

Well, this was a DNF for me. I had EROS instead of EMMY and SPARS instead of SPRIT, which meant that I didn't get MRcool, MIEN, or YTD. Otherwise, everything was correct.

Ol' Man Keith said...

This was a real toughie, I admit. But it only took me two lookups to get it all--so I get a 96% score, not too shabby for Saturday.
My lookups were for *other* songs written by Ben E King, other of course than Stand By Me, and then to confirm that LHASA was the right spelling.

In my recent reading, my favorite epistolary novel was Ella Minnow Pea, and not just because Mark Dunn pulls off such a clever stunt (dropping "outlawed" letters of the alphabet as he goes on), but that it is such a charming read in its own right/write.

Bill G. said...

I'm never a fan of themeless puzzle but as themeless puzzles go, this one was more enjoyable for me than usual. I got it done with my usual support from red letters. Thanks Brad and Splynter.

Thanks to Marti and Irish Miss for your feedback about LAT vs NYT puzzles. I agree with all of your insights.

Barry Silk is obviously a very competent constructor. Does he ever construct puzzles with a theme? Why do you suppose he is a specialist in themeless puzzles? Why would his ability or preference go one way but not the other.

tiptoethru said...

OUCH! My brain's protesting. I started, but had to come to this wonderful Corner to finish. I started this puzzle after spending almost an hour on the phone with someone in India trying to figure out what was wrong with my TV remote. "Excuse me, I didn't understand you," over and over. GRRR So, moral of the story, do one of Brad's puzzles before trying to deal with foreign accents.

HeartRx said...

Bill G. I think that Barry has fine-tuned his word database to include fresh, scrabbl-y words that are well suited to Saturday theme less puzzles. (Yes, we constructors have databases of words and terms that we guard jealously.)

Personally, I enjoy puzzles with pun-ny themes (like yesterday's) that are more suitable for late week puzzles. I am usually bored by Mon-Tues puzzles that are no challenge, and shy away from constructing them.

So I guess it's just a matter of personal preference, and the tools used, that make a constructor a specialist in different types of puzzle.

Avg Joe said...

I'm not sure I've worked enough of Brad's puzzles to have the same level of familiarity that I have with Silkies. But this certainly ranks right up there in complexity, challenge, and ultimately...accessibility. Very well done!

Started slow, and never picked up speed, but I kept finding little chinks in the armor of what seemed an impossible chore, and after an hour or so it was done. And it was correct, so there was that. Five stars!

Bill G. said...

Aah! Oooh! Yaah! Oomph! Uuugh! (Barbara has on women's tennis at Wimbledon.)

HeartRx said...

Testing new blogger password…I actually have to enter one of those robot thingies! Let's hope I get it right.

Argyle, thanks for the Ben E. King link for SPANISH HARLEM. Brings back lots of fond memories.

HeartRx said...

Bill G., funny!! That's all I can think of whenever I watch them play. They sound like they are in a boxing match or something!

HeartRx said...

BTW, we also watched some of the BRA - CHI FIFA match today. Neither one of us is a big fan, so we were both amused when we shared our thought that the people in the red shirts didn't look Chinese at all…

(DUH! They were the Chilean team!!!)

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, Epistolary Novel was about the only thing I had in the first three lines of this puzzle which was correct. I only got that because I've just re-read a friends Epistolary work which was published and a local city read about 10 years ago. Letters from four friends were saved and put into book form. I love this type of writing. Hers wasn't fiction, but still called by the same name.

However, I only had about 1/4 of the puzzle completed before resorting to lookups and my Crossword dictionary.

This one was hard and I usually don't try Saturday puzzles unless I have some time to give to them.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and a joyous fourth of July. Our neighborhood is gearing up for our 46th annual 4th parade. I have the bunting up and the flag flying.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Both Brad Wilber and Barry Silk are accomplished theme constructors as well. They just like the challenges of making themeless.