May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 30th, 2015, Barry C. Silk

Theme: Saturday Silkie~!

Words: 72 (missing J)

Blocks: 30

   This was a great puzzle - I could have been done in 5 minutes if I had gone with my original thoughts, but there were so many places where I hesitated and did the 'in-and-out' routine that I ended up closer to 25mins.  In fact, I was cruising so well at the end that I got the "Ta-DA~!" and wasn't expecting it.  No intimidating corners, and just two 13-letter spanners with two 14-letter climbers.  The longer fill:

25a. Assigning responsibility by committee, in modern lingo : BLAMESTORMING - I had the BLAME part, then the ST---, and this just seemed "logical"

40a. Where Langley is : FAIRFAX COUNTY - I tried "--- VIRGINIA" to start; Bzzzt. 

9d. Zinc compound : CALAMINE LOTION - I had "---LOTION", but SUNSCREEN didn't fit

15d. Many wallets contain one : DRIVER'S LICENSE

Down Jar~! ( there's the "J" )


1. Org. whose website has a Track & Manage option : USPS - because neither UPS nor FedEx would fit

5. Ending sound : Pfft - usually associated with a 'lame' ending

9. Checked out : CASED - Think Private Eye

14. Copper mine? : SQUAD ROOM - Har-har.  Policemen cop-pers

16. Floral perfume : ATTAR - thought it, put it in, took it out

17. Predictable patterns : SYNDROMES - I always think of this word as medical related

18. Imprecise : LOOSE - like, say, an interpretation

19. Map lines: Abbr. : RDs

20. Clinches : ICES - The Rangers could not ice their run to the Stanley Cup

21. Some Buffalo wings : SABRES - DAH~!  I totally should have known this - NHL hockey clue about the 'other' NY team

Lindy Ruff, player and former coach

22. Subway device : OVEN - Subway, the sa'mich restaurant, that is

23. Like bodegas, to Span. speakers : FEMinine - I believe the term is 'declension'

24. Pitches : ADS

30. Facial cosmetics : LINERS - I like make-up on a girl, but it needs to be subtle

31. Like the Southeast, vis-à-vis other U.S. regions : RAINIEST - Odd; I would have thought the NW was the rainiest

34. Assume the role of : ACT AS

35. Put down : LAY

36. Camp sight : EMBER

37. Thing handed down : HEIRLOOM

39. Moby-Dick, e.g. : ALBINO - ah, not a drum solo reference; John Bonham was melodic and dynamic, which you don't hear in a lot of drum solos that followed - I tried to find a clip that was under 11+ minutes....

John Bonham - Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick

42. Jug part : EAR

44. Critter in a clowder : CAT

45. Small songbirds : TITS - Mr. Silk, did Mr. Norris change your original clue~?

46. Title heroine in a Humperdinck opera : GRETEL

48. Start to cure? : PEDI - had MANI, and that worked with "Avalon" at 41d. - but that's a Toyota model

49. Marker, e.g. : PEN - yup, first thought, but seemed too simple

52. Inexperienced : GREEN - not NAIVE

53. Two-time winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar : MARIO PUZO

55. Runs slowly : OOZES

56. Allied : PARTNERED

57. Angström, e.g. : SWEDE

58. Aptly named Civil War general Henry : GRAY - yes, that is convenient; would have taken a drubbing being on the blue North side

59. Fake : DEKE - DAH~!  My first thought, and I hesitated.  Another hockey reference, as in feint


1. BOAC flier's destination in a 1968 song : USSR - The Beatles - The Wiki

2. Carpeting unit: Abbr. : SQ. YD. - Square Yard

3. "Alice in Wonderland" features : PUNS

4. Blue : SAD

5. Work through : PROCESS

6. Incite : FOMENT

7. They aren't behind you : FOES

8. Corp. symbols : TMs - like this one

10. Narrow range : A TO B

11. Flier's convenience : STORAGE BIN

12. Let up : EASED

13. Adorn : DRESS

21. Rig : SEMI - the truck.  I was thinking "fix",  as in temporarily

22. 1998 Masters champion : O'MEARA - total WAG

23. Wear : FRAY

25. Lackluster : BLAH - ah, not DULL

26. Tiny parasites : LICE

27. Engine protector : ANTI-FREEZE

28. Slangy event suffix : O-RAMA - like, say, a "Sale-O-Rama"

29. Halo : NIMBUS - not "AREOLA", and crossing 45a.....

32. On the way : SENT

33. Home to Paris : TROY - the epic story character Paris

35. Tall story? : LOFT - not "TALE" - a story, as in a building

38. Like some history : ORAL

39. Bite : ACIDITY

41. Nissan whose last model year is 2015 : XTERRA - as far as SUVs go, this was probably my favorite style

42. "Some things are too delicious to share" food : EGGOs - I noticed they've moved away from "Leggo my Eggo"

43. Hood defense : ARROW - Robin Hood, that is

47. Started a hole : TEED - golf

48. Allen's successor : PAAR - TV's 'The Tonight Show' hosts

49. Sheer : PURE - aw, you know what I was thinking when I saw "sheer"

(God, she is stunning)

50. O.T. book : EZEKiel - well, I have to add my favorite reading of "25:17"

51. Networking connection point : NODE

53. Odometer stat. : MPG - meh.  My odometer tells me I have 267,200 "MIs" on the car; I suppose some newer cars have a odometer that features a Miles Per Gallon calculator

54. Crossing party, briefly : PED(estrian) - I am thinking Mr. Silk was not happy with PEDI and PED and PEN together in one grid


Notes from C.C.:
1) I got this from Renèe Harvey of Mensa: "I am sorry the games and puzzles are not working, we are having syndication issues. We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible."
I don't know when they'll solve this issue. It's been a week. I encourage those Mensa users to download free Across Lite from NY Time's website. Then you can have LA Times puzzle at Cruciverb, which has a one-month archive. Plus the puzzle is always available at 10:00pm the previous night.
2) Happy Birthday to Splynter's mom! Hope Splynter makes it special for you.

Baby Splynter and his parents


OwenKL said...

Got about 2/3rds done before throwing in the towel and turning on the red letters. The last two cells to fill were both lucky guess WAGs: SABRES I'd never heard of, and A-TO-Z fooled me with its parsing. A TOR? ATOP (a narrow mountain peak)? PED was another I had no clue on (I was trying to think of a name for the ceremony of crossing the equator/date line for the first time), and although I've seen DEKE before in a crossword, it's obscure enough to my bailiwick that I had no memory of it.

A narrow range is A-TO-B,
A wider range is A-to-Z
But away from the range
Isn't it strange
It's H-to-O that fills the sea!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Pretty smooth Saturday Silkie for me. Lots of attempts at trickiness, but I've been on the "other" Barry's wavelength for awhile now and usually manage to figure out his clues pretty easily now.

The hardest parts, for me, were actually the longer obscure stuff. No idea that Langley was in FAIRFAX COUNTY and needed a lot of perp help to guess. Also needed a lot of perp help to finally get CALAMINE LOTION, since I had no idea it was a zinc compound. On the other hand, I only needed minimal perp help to correctly guess stuff like SWEDE and GRAY. And I actually guessed PFFT right from the clue with no perp help whatsoever.

Cluing was fair overall, although I did take exception at ARROW being clued the way it was. I understood the reference to Robin Hood, but have trouble thinking of him using ARROWs as a defensive weapon. Ah well, it's a minor nit and I'm probably wrong anyway...

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This was mostly smooth as silk....mostly. I got hung up in New England. Put in ATTAR, took it out (Hi there, Splynter!). Put in VAGUE, took it out. Put ATTAR back in, guessed EASED...and everything came together. Still don't quite understand how a sports team can be wings, though.

Only nit was MPG -- our odometer only displays the M. Of course, our newest vehicle is 10 years old, so maybe now they display more information.

Nicely done, Mr. Silk. Splynter, loved your "Down Jar."

Owen, you're thinking of a Shellback ceremony. That's where the Shellbacks, sailor's who have previously crossed the equator, beat the crap out of the Pollywogs and make them crawl through garbage so that they may be elevated to the exalted rank of Shellback. Wonderful tradition!

Can you name the oldie that includes a reference to "an ocean of CALAMINE LOTION?"

Barry G. said...

Still don't quite understand how a sports team can be wings, though.

I'm not a hockey fan in the slightest, but I believe a "wing" is a position in the game ("Right Wing", "Left Wing"). If so, some "wings" in Buffalo play for the Sabres.

unclefred said...

Well sad to say I have to take a DNF here. I did actually "finish" but only by running through the alphabet with "Red Letter" help, so that doesn't count. Never heard of "ATTAR" or "DEKE"; thought "PFFT" was a stretch. "Hood defense" = "ARROW" left me sitting here clueless. It took Splynter's explanation before the forehead slap. Saturday puzzles, unfortunately, seem to be over my head. Every once in a while I will be able to solve one without cheating, but for the most part, I start struggling already on Thursday's puzzle, and Saturday's? Oi. I still try, though. Just no joy today. Nice puzzle, though, and terrific write up. Now let me go sulk.

Ergo said...

Couldn't even scratch the surface of this Silkie.

Been out of touch with the Crossword Corner lately due to work obligations. Had to work 10 hour days T-F to make up for the 8 hours of production time lost due to the Monday holiday (I had never heard of such a practice until now). Anyway, feeling brain-numb. Looking forward to Sunday with the hope of a refreshed intellect.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling thoughts":

d-otto: here is your answer

Regarding the odometer reading for MPG, mine is an optional setting I can scroll to - it's sometimes fun to see it go from 6-7 as you excelerate to infinity when you coast

Owen, cute limerick

Great clue for 21a - some Buffalo Wings; excellent.

This Silk kicked my a$$ as I had to look up a few words to give me a chance at finishing - I at first wanted SQUAD CARS for SQUAD ROOMS as I knew the clue was police related; being a golfer I knew OMEARA for 22d but it really didn't help. BLAMESTORMING is a word I'd never seen or heard before; STORAGE BIN for Flier's convenience was sorta "meh"; some airlines are charging now to put things overhead

Enjoy the weekend all; gonna enjoy some of this SE USA sunshine before the rains fall this afternoon !

Chairman Moe said...

Damn spell corrector on my iPhone! Accelerate is what I meant to type!

Husker Gary said...

What a lovely way to rinse out the memory of last Saturday’s torment! I never give up on Barry’s puzzles and they are always satisfying but not a gimee.

-LINER that equals two burnt holes in a blanket
-There are fewer and fewer to LAY these days
-Hyphenation info on Moby-DIck
-Dang! I had USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) for 1 across. I guess there aren’t any GUNS in Alice in Wonderland. ;-) I’ll take one bad cell
-It took me a long time to PROCESS my golf friend’s death in a tornado a year ago
-The news seems rife with people who FOMENT unrest and violence
-STORAGE BINS fill fast now with check-through luggage fees
-My “go-to” Zinc Compound
-Joann’s 92 year-old mother told us a lot of ORAL history on the way home from Lincoln last night, including her work as a telegrapher in WWII in Wyoming. She was thrilled someone was interested and we enjoyed the stories.
-Splynter has told us of a few for whom he needed an ocean of calamine lotion.
-Ah yes, a Splynter TM picture right on cue!
-HBD Splynter’s mom!

Spell-checker said...


Try "Oy" instead of "Oi".

Big Easy said...

I must have a mental bloc on not being able to do '1A' in crossword puzzles. The cross of USPS & PUNS slayed me. I kept wanting US Geological Survey and GUNS and it wouldn't go away. As for the rest, I flew through the rest of the left side with DRIVERS LICENSE & ANTIFREEZE making the crosses easy to fill.

I had never heard the term BLAMESTORMING but it seemed appropriate for passing the buck. I guess that PURE can be the same as 'sheer' or 'utter' when used as PURE nonsense.

A few unknowns were GRETEL, EGGOS, MARIO PUZO, GRAY.

As far as rainy, Seattle does have more rain, but it is very localizes because Washington and Oregon are very arid in the eastern halves.

PFFT- I originally wrote POOF, then wrote TOES instead of FOES. Wanted LOGOS for Trademarks but is LG a legitimate abbreviation? ANGSTROMS- I liked the term better than nanometers. Isn't the Metric system supposed to be multiples of 10? Ten to the negative ten vs. negative nine.

Is a group of HOODS hanging around an urban corner a 'clowder of CATS' looking at TITS? You know CATS are always looking at birds.

AS always, a tough Saturday puzzle and good write-up.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Seemed straightforward for a Silkie, but that may be because I made some good guesses on the long fills. Never heard of Blamestorming before, but now it's funny!

Husker from yesterday - too bad you live half a continent away, I'd love to cat-sit for you! As it turns out, the LW and I have a similar requirement; having not had a vacation for years, we're finally taking a trip in the fall. We had a superb young woman lined up to cat-sit, but her plans changed and she moved to Alaska. Dammit.

Morning, Splynter, I admire your taste in legs!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

HG @9:09 - Your opening paragraph sums up my sentiments spot on!

I really liked the puzzle but, unlike Splynter, I didn't zip right throught it. Buffalo wings didn't fool me one bit; also got Mario Puzo and Gretel right off the bat but never heard of blame storming. Finished w/o help but it took me longer than some recent Silkies. Nice CSO with Troy.

Thanks, Barry, for being consistently challenging but fair and thanks, Splynter, for the delightful and "delicate" summary. Happy Birthday to you Mom!

I watched Silver Linings Playbook last night but didn't care for it at all. Maybe I was just in the mood for something less intense and less frenetic.

Have a great day.

JJM said...

As with any Saturday Silkie, it took me a couple passes, but it all came together in the end. Not sure I liked "PFFT" though. And "SQUAD ROOOM" took me a long time to get. Not sure if I really like that clue either. Really liked the "Buffalo Wings" clue. As for the Sabres themselves… they'll be much better next year when they draft Jack Eichel from BU with the #2 pick. This kid is the real deal It might be a couple years before they make the play-offs again, but nothing could have been worse than this year for them. Lastly:


desper-otto said...

Barry G- -- Thanx for the info on wings. My sports knowledge always shows up in the negative column.

Chairman Moe -- Yup, that's the one I was thinking of -- on the ATCO label.

C6D6 Peg said...

Like Splynter, didn't put in my first choices, and that slowed me way down. Took way too much time, but once I got USPS, the eastern half completed the puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Silk for another brain workout.

Splynter, loved your SO to UPS. Employee of the year?

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
-The DRIVERS LICENSE fill evokes landmark activity in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature this week. Two pieces of legislation were passed that were very unpopular with the people and then had to be passed over the governor’s veto.
-Nebraska became the last state to legalize the issuance of driver’s licenses for children of illegal immigrants
-Also, the death penalty was abolished despite 77% of the state being in favor of its retention

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

Good performance. But if we want to talk about melodic drum solos, listen to Max Roach on this track:

And who is faster and more dazzling than Rufus Jones at the end of this Count Basie track?

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody! I never like to criticize a puzzle, partly because I figure the constructor and the editor are much cleverer than I am and therefore the fault must be mine. However, I had trouble getting started in the upper-left and my problems continued all the way through. I thought MPG was clued unfairly. The clue for ARROW seemed off also. Anyway, I didn't have much fun, so..., that's enough whinging from me.

Splynter, yes, she's a great-looking stocking model. A little too thin though. I suppose that's almost a requirement in her line of work.

This morning, Barbara stumbled upon "Love Actually" and had it on when I stumbled in to have some Raisin Bran. Such a lovely movie; in my top 10 for sure. It could easily be in my top three with one little change...

Dudley said...

Bill G - Let me guess: you wanted somebody other than Hugh Grant cast as the eligible bachelor Prime Minister?

Dudley said...

In the same film: it was a beautiful bit of acting by Emma Thompson in the scene where she opens a Christmas present from her husband, expecting to find a lovely piece of jewelry but seeing instead a music collection on CD. In that instant she realizes her husband bought the nicer gift for another woman. She shifts from anticipated joy to barely controlled heartbreak without missing a beat. Superb!

A Guy, actually said...

Bill G.@11:37:

I liked "Love Actually" too. Then, sometime later, I read this scathing review (WARNING: contains "adult" language). Maybe I should watch it again?

Jayce said...

Whoo! Another wonderfully hard one from Mr. Smooth-as-Silk. Hand up for doing the ole put it in take it out put it back in dance.
Having filled the AL--I-E in 9D, I wanted GALVANIZED something. That went in, didn't work, was taken out, and stayed out. Putting SQFT into 2D messed me up, too. At least I got GRETEL right away, as well as EGGOS.
My odometer does not tell me MPG, just miles. Our car does have a way to display the MPG, which I suppose uses the miles-traveled (odometer) data, as well as data regarding how full the fuel tank is, to compute the MPG.
Best wishes to you all.

AnonymousPVX said...

Another Silkie that proves he is tough but solvable. I couldn't believe the amount of white space after the first pass. But again, Mr. Silk rewards persistence.

modgma said...

Deaper-otto, I'm surprised that nobody took you up on your calamine lotion challenge.

Here you go: "You're gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion, Poison iv-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y-y / Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes / a'creepin' / Arou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound" That's from my high school years. Good times.

I'm not experienced with Silkie puzzles yet, so this one was a real challenge. I admit I had to cheat, but I finished it. I could not for the life of me figure out how "atob" was a "narrow range". I even Googled it. I didn't get it until I read Splynter's "A to B" entry. Duh!

Casey said...


Chairman Moe replied to d-o's challenge at 9:06.

Jerome said...

Chairman Moe- I've been googling for about twenty minutes and I can't find any car that has an odometer that also gives an MPG reading. I know that you can calculate MPG by knowing how many miles you've traveled and knowing the amount of fuel it took to get there. But you and today's clue are saying that this can be done automatically just by looking at the odometer... or so it seems that's what's being said. How does your odometer know how much fuel is being consumed?

Avg Joe said...

Jerome, any number of cars have on board "Information centers" or some such. It's not part of the odometer, but it can give you a number of different readings. My last Jeep had one, and it gave me a current mpg rating on the fly and a avg mpg since the last reset. Be that by the tank or over a period of years. It also gave outdoor air temp and was a compass. As my gear head friends explained it to me, it only measures total volume of air flow and the aggregate rate that the injectors have been providing fuel over the duration of the defined period. IOW, it's a calculation of what your consumption should have been. But it didn't have an actual fuel flow meter, so it was prone to inaccuracy. I consistently got about 1 more mpg than it reported when I'd figure it out the old fashioned way.. So close, but no cigar. I never relied on it, but I did like the temp sensor and the compass when I was in unfamiliar surroundings.

I was also told that there are aftermarket gizmos that do have a fuel flow meter, and they are quite accurate. But I'm not sure how many folks actually need that much information.

Jerome said...

Avg Joe- Thanks for the info... but none of these devices that measure MPG are an odometer. That's what has some of us baffled concerning the clue. If the clue read "Stat that an odometer can be used for" I wouldn't be perplexed.

Husker Gary said...


I'd love to have you come up and take care of Lily! She probably would nix an airplane ride but would be good for about anything else.

We have a college administrator across the street and we'll see if he knows a nice girl who could come live here and babysit our "little girl". Lily doesn't eat or use the litter box when she's alone.

Edsel said...


I accept both Splynter's and Avg. Joe's comments re: MPG. But if you need more clarity, maybe this will help. Imagine you have a car with no fuel in the tank. Say it is brand new or just had a new tank installed or simply ran out of gas. You then pour exactly one gallon of gas into the tank and reset the odometer. Now you drive the car until it runs out of gas. The resulting reading on the odometer would be the accurate MPG that car achieves, no measuring or additional figuring needed. Now maybe its a bit of a stretch but are not Saturday clues supposed to baffle and confuse us? Once again clue/answer from our constructor/editor passes the test.

Avg Joe said...

Since this has turned into a defense of point of view issue, I want to clarify that I didn't like the clue/answer myself. That's why I made a point to say "it's not part of the odometer." All I was trying to do was point out that there is equipment that will provide these readings in response to Jerome's post. I didn't say it was a good defense of the clue. It's not.

And....a pedant walks into a bar....

Splynter said...

Hi there ~!

Just back from dinner with mom and my brother.... We ate at the Cheesecake Factory, then the got plants from Home Depot.

As for the puzzle, my brother heard about the clue for "songbird ", and commented that the "other" type sings to him, too~!


Jerome said...

There's a reason why you're named Edsel.

Spitzboov said...

An odometer measures the distance a vehicle has travelled. It does not not measure fuel consumption,
so it is hard for me to see how an odometer, of itself, can offer up a stat of MPG. MPG is a computed value.
My vehicle gives MPG, too, but it is not in the odometer window.
Jerome is right.

SwampCat said...

I was prepared to comment on the MPG clue....until it! I have a MPG reading on my (cheap) Corolla and I'm pleased with it. No idea if it is really accurate or not, but it gives me an indication of what I am using.

Now about the clue. No, I don't think ithe MPG is on the odometer. But I got the clue/answer for the CW so I'm happy. And I'm just happy to have a tough but solveable Silky instead of last Saturday's painful experience!!

Splynter, you were wonderful! And Owen, I loved the poem...just wish there had been more. But then I'm greedy!

Have a great weekend!

Jerome said...

Just so we're clear about this- I was actually intrigued that there might be an odometer that could calculate MPG. That's why I went to Google, and made inquiries about it here, to find out about this device. It was curiosity that spurred this discussion, not a desire to uncover a clue that might be wrong.

Steve Lewis said...

Lots of empty space the first time through and even the second. Then slowly but surely. Ta-da!

fermatprime said...


Wow! Finally finished this super Silkie w/o cheats! (Forgot to try it earlier. It did take me over an hour. Sob!)

Put in and took out some of the answers mentioned above.

Say "happy birthday" to your mom, Splynter!

Was also bugged by MPG.


Not CED said...



Chairman Moe said...

Jerome - my "information center" is an LED display located where my odometer resides. All I need to do is scroll through about 7 functions, one of which is MPG. The others are miles traveled, time, miles to empty, etc

Beach Bum said...

Wow. Worked on this one off-and-on all day. ('Course, not much got accomplished while we were at Indian Rocks Beach -- my goodness, what a beautiful day to spend at the beach. Sunny, light breeze, no waves and the water was 84℉.)

Anyway, I struggled mightily with this one and thought I was finally gonna solve it with no cheats but I had two blank squares at 59A and just couldn't come up with anything. So I went on line to make sure I had spelled Mario Puma's name correctly (no, that wasn't a typo) and realized what I had done. So, DNF today, but soooooooo close.

Also, it didn't help matters that for the longest time I had DRAB for 25D and ROUGES for 30A.

Beach Bum said...

Huh. Turns out that WAS a typo -- I had Mario PUMO, not Puma.

VirginiaSycamore said...

I am a day late as I had too many things going on Saturday.

Spylinter, belated Happy Birthday to your Mom!
Do you really have a vehicle with 267,200 miles on it? What is it?

I always get Sabres mixed up with Sabras, persons born in Israel/Palestine.
Does anyone know why the Buffalo team is spelled the British way and not Sabers?

I usually use red letters for Saturdays. This took a long time but was not IMPOSSIBLE like the two last week.

The bottle of Calamine lists Zinc Oxide as a protectant. So how does it make the itch go away?

Thanks for everyone's comments and CCs note on the Mensa site.