Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Title: Weekend Warrior
Author: Byron Walden
Theme: None. Or, torture the solver.

Sunny Spots:

  • 1a: Locale of a rank with medallions (CAB STAND). Very tricky clue. But nice.

  • 28a: Drunk tank settings (LOCAL JAILS).

  • 59a: Enter tentatively (PENCIL IN). Excellent. I never realized how close this was to PENICILLIN.

  • 13d: Yards of ale, e.g. (TALL ONES). Which goes well with 10d: Knocks back (CHUGS), and less pleasantly with 47d: Foul-tasting (SKUNKY).

  • 14d: Hung cover? (SHE BANGS). Ah yes, the notorious William Hung from "Americal Idol" season three.

  • 37d: Queen, e.g. (GLAM BAND).


  • 9a: Big N' Tasty forerunners (MCDLTS). I've been caught by this one before, I'm pretty sure, as I had vague sense of deja vu while entering my guess of McBLT, which actually made some sense to me. I don't remember this sandwich at all. I was in Montreal in the early 80s, so maybe it didn't reach there.

  • 15a: Inland Sea arm (OSAKA BAY).

  • 16a: Yello song heard in the closing credits of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (OH YEAH). You know the song. Hear it here.

  • 17a: In a sauce of tomatoes, mushrooms, shredded meat, truffles, and grated cheese (MILANESE).

  • 18a: Grab someone else's head? (RUSTLE). Cute. Reference to head of cattle.

  • 23a: ___ button (malfunctioning missile destroyer) (EGADS). This is nothing I've ever heard of, but it sort of makes sense. When is this term used? I've read and seen enough thrillers that I would have thought I'd have come across this before.

  • 26a: Disease for which riluzole received FDA approval in 1995 (ALS). Lou Gehrig's disease. Very nasty (the disease, not the clue).

  • 27a: Long, on Lanai (LOA). I've seen this one before.

  • 32a: World headquarters of DHL (BONN).

  • 33a: Wheel (TRUNDLE).

  • 34a: Certain blood type, briefly (A-NEG).

  • 35a: Coffin nails (CIGS). You gotta love nicknames that remind you of the fact that you're killing yourself by smoking.

  • 41a: "No prob" (THAT'S OK).

  • 44a: Brad Pitt title role (JESSE JAMES). I like Brad Pitt, but have never seen this film. Anyone out there have an opinion on it?

  • 48a: Personal abbr. (SWM). There are a lot of abbreviations that could go here, so it wasn't that helpful.

  • 50a: Carroll creature (SNARK).

  • 51a: ___ Energy (Red Bull rival) (TAB).

  • 52a: Rival of Nancy and Tonya (OKSANA Baiul).

  • 57a: Gold medalist at the Atlanta Olympics (AGASSI).

  • 62a: Northern region of Vietnam (TONKIN).

  • 63a: Pipe to a waterwheel (PENSTOCK). This word is vaguely familiar. I could have sworn I've seen it in a puzzle, but the Cruciverb database says no, unless it's too recent to have been added yet.

  • 65a: TV host whose first name is spelled by the first and last letters of his surname (TREADWAY). Ty has been in a couple of puzzles of late, so this came readily to mind this time around.

  • 2d: Parmesan alternative (ASIAGO). Went with ROMANO at first, then realized it had to be wrong when I read the clue to 56-across.

  • 3d: Rodin sculpture subject (BALZAC). If you got the BAL and didn't immediately enter BALLET, then you did better than I did.

  • 4d: ___ punk (Mighty Mighty Bosstones genre) (SKA).

  • 8d: Used madder or woad, say (DYED). I knew woad was used as a blue dye. Don't know about madder.

  • 9d: Subject for Scottish philosopher David Hume (MORAL SENSE).

  • 11d: Opposite of eu- (DYS-).

  • 12d: Not even considering (LET ALONE).

  • 21d: Glockenspiel players (MALLETS).

  • 24d: Fairlady, for one (DATSUN). Didn't know this at all. Guessed it after several crossings.

  • 29d: "I didn't mean it" (JUST JOKING).

  • 30d: Israel's "Hatikvah" and others (ANTHEMS).

  • 32d: Southeastern European (BALKAN).

  • 35d: System for Chico and Stanislaus (CAL STATE). I don't mind tough clues, but I like to be able to make sense of them after they fall. I don't know who these people are, nor in what sense "system" is being used here. Maybe I'm just slow.

  • 36d: Old cold block mover (ICE WAGON). I knew it was ICE-something. WAGON is as good as anything, though my first guess was TONGS.

  • 45d: Family that includes okra (MALLOW).

  • 46d: Symphony on Norman Bates's phonograph in "Psycho" (EROICA). Let's face it, not that many symphonys have names.

  • 49d: Soldering flux material (ROSIN).

  • 53d: Physical need?: Abbr. (APPT). Great, tricky clue.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 19a: Gordimer's predecessor as Literature Nobelist (PAZ).

  • 20a: Stuff, e.g. (LADMAG). Huh? This is not a term I've ever heard anywhere. And, unfortunately for me, LADING fit the clue perfectly.

  • 38a: "The Feast of St. Nicholas" painter (STEEN).

  • 56a: Romano who voiced Linguini in "Ratatouille" (LOU). Are you kidding me? This guy is a member of the Pixar art department with a couple of voice-overs to his credit. I'm sorry, that doesn't make him crossword-worthy in my book. This clue did, however, make me realize that 2-down wasn't ROMANO.

Wow, this was a Byron Walden through and through. Usually, I'm on the right wavelength and don't struggle too terribly. Not today. This puzzle chewed me up and spit me onto the sidewalk. So many traps and potential missteps, and I fell into most of them. And just downright tough fill, to go along with typically deceptive cluing. Now, this was a Weekend Warrior, which is supposed to be hard, so I'll just say it succeeded with flying colors and tip my hat.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


ruy said...

A bit of help for you, Pete. LAD MAG is actually two words, as in a magazine for the randy boys who read it for the photo shoots (Stuff and Maxim are two of them). Chico and Stanislaus are two locations in California that have campuses in the Cal State University system, with Chico being a town and Stanislaus a county (I didn't know the second one beforehand, but Chico was enough for me to get the clue).

I agree this was a tough puzzle and I was actually unable to complete the NW corner (without looking things up, that is), though I eventually conquered the rest.

Joon said...

i loved this puzzle and found it very challenging, but i'm getting the sense that maybe certain sections of it were "up my alley." for example, BALZAC was the first thing in the grid for me, which allowed me to quickly get octavio PAZ. (i used to know literature nobelists pretty well, though i never bothered to memorize the years--unlike some people i knew from quizbowl.) and i was initially thinking james ENSOR for the painter, but it wasn't a big step from there to jan STEEN.

some of the supersolvers over on orange's blog are calling it one of the toughest puzzles of the year, and i certainly didn't find it quite that tough (though they still solved it faster than i did, of course).

i thought TALLONES was interesting after it "debuted" in byron's NYT puzzle a few weeks ago. this time, i was onto it.

ArtLvr said...

Same for me -- NW was too rough. I'm just glad I managed the rest!

Badir said...

Yeah, I was really happy to survive this one with only four errors, even though it took me about 75 minutes--I can't remember when anything besides a hard 23x23 Sunday took me that long.

Jim in NYC said...