Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sunday, October 21 - Brendan Emmett Quigley

Since my earlier comments about loving puzzles by Mike Nothnagel and Elizabeth Gorski, I've been thinking about other constructors who create puzzles that I particularly enjoy. Patrick Berry didn't get mentioned yesterday, but I'd add him to the list. And today's constructor, Brendan Emmett Quigley, is definitely a favorite among many.

Sunday puzzles are my favorites...partly because I'm able to do them leisurely, partly because I enjoy the often quirky themes.

I had two of the theme answers without even understanding what was going on. The title of the puzzle, Set Your Mind at Ease, doesn't give it away. Ease refers to the letter sounds...the short E sound in common phrases has been replaced with a long E sound, and the new phrases are then clued.

The theme answers are:

23A: Organization of easily frightened people? (Chicken League).

40A: Result of not wearing rouge? (blank cheek).

97A: Strict Jesuit? (hard priest).

117A: Smart fowl? (educated geese). This one made me laugh the most and was my favorite until...well, you'll see.

13D: Bundle of pies? (pastry sheaf).

16D: "Mr. Cowell, grab that 'American Idol' contestant!"? (Simon seize). This was the first clue that caught my eye, and I knew the answer immediately. Must be because of the old joke about the original title of Julius Caesar...Julius, grab the girl quickly before she gets away.

65D: Bully turned Samaritan? (a good meanie). My favorite, just because the original phrase is a good one.

72D: House Un-American Activities Committee event? (Red hearing).

The fill was well above-average, even for a Sunday. Before I get into that, though, I should add that it was extremely difficult for me, and I would never have finished without Google. Even with the handful of answers I was able to get that way, I still struggled mightily to get several answers to fall.

Some of the best clues/answers:

31A: Place to buy a hookah (bazaar) both the clue and the answer.

34A: "The Treachery of Images" artist (Magritte). We've had it several times, and it's getting easier to spot.

52A: Cartoon character who amorously chases Penelope (LePew). Aah, good ol' Pepé Le Pew. I had the wrong cartoon character in mind, confusing Penelope with had Porky at first.

70A: Nasty biter (cur). I'm including this one because I had asp for the longest time. I don't know how I finally figured out that it was wrong.

87A: "__ say..." (sad to). Sad to say, that took me forever to get.

7D: Lie detector alternative (pentothal). I'd just be spilling my guts all over the place. Years ago my dentist gave me a shot of something before oral surgery...he may have been pulling my leg when he told me how funny I'd been, but he sure knew some things he wouldn't have known otherwise. I considered switching dentists, but he never held it over my head.

30D: Place for couples? (ark).

35D: "Biography" channel (A and E). Damn! I hate when I fall for those.

36: Banded rock (gneiss). I wish I had remembered that from geology, but I needed crosses to get it.

58D: Cornwall carriage (pram).

78D: Something bid (adieu). Clever.

82D: Not take out of the company, say (reinvest). I was thinking had reenlist at first. It really didn't make sense, even at the time.

89D: A defendant may be tried in it (absentia). Knew the word but couldn't bring it to mind until I had some letters in place.

93D: Like most sitcoms (episodic).

104D: Roofed patio (lanai). Love it because it reminds me of Hawaii...or Maui...or Kauai.

Good multiword answers, including:

1A: Drink with a straw (soda pop).

102A: Psychiatrist's urging (let it out).

6D: Common pizzeria order (one slice).

12D: Start to weep (shed a tear). We had that just the other day.

22D: Relatively recent time (late date).

60D: "Take your time" (no rush).

76D: Eyed angrily (glared at). One of only a few gimmes.

84D: Onetime Movietone productions (news reels). I guess that could be one word.

86D: Veterans (old timers). So could that.

The award for best clue for a common crossword answer goes to 90D: It may not need clarification (oleo).

There were a lot of unfamiliar names...the reason for much of my Googling.

19A: Open-mesh fabric (etamine). I have never heard the word in my life.

21A: Oil used in making polyurethane (aniline). Same for this one.

43A: Psalm, e.g. (paean) it from crosses.

47A: Football Hall-of-Famer (Greasy) Neale (Earle). Another odd spelling, but not as strange as Erle. That's Greasy to the left.

56A: Former Israeli president Weizman (Ezer).

92A: Bobby of the Chicago Eight (Seale).

100A: Peru's El __ volcano (Misti).

120A: "The Great __" (Pat Conroy novel) (Santini). Not on my list of books I've read. Should it be on the list of books to read?

69D: Market value of a company's assets divided by their replacement cost (Q ratio). Never heard of it, but here's information about it for those who want to know more.

If I missed your favorites, I hope you'll share them.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

A&E had me stumped for a long time, and I felt like an idiot when I finally got it. Never did get etamine. Thanks for that. And yes, you definitely should read The Great Santini. Or rent the movie. It's a classic.

cornbread hell said...

i like the pictures.

Anonymous said...

"The Great Santini" is a great read. As are all of Conroy's other books,especially "The Prince of Tides".

Linda G said...

I'll have to add The Great Santini to my list. I didn't read The Prince of Tides but I loved the movie. Have I ever mentioned that I love Nick Nolte?

Cornbread, gladl you like the pictures. I'll bet I know which one you liked best. By the way, I love your flying pig. Want to come to Colorado and do a stone carving?

Anonymous said...

This puzzle was very tough IMO. Fair but tough. Still, this is one I didn't enjoy that much. I got excited when I saw BEQ but then was a bit disappointed about the experience of solving it.

For 103D I had "cramp" for far too long. Spasm helped a bunch.

I really liked 125A "sweet"

And loved "educatedgeese" and "simonseize"

Chicken League was my first theme answer -- still I didn't get the deal for quite awhile. Really till the very end.

Thanks for a nice write up, Linda.

Anonymous said...


The movie "The Great Santini" is great: Robert Duval and Blithe Danner are both fantastic. It's about growing up in a military family. If I remember correctly. It's a serious drama.

kumar said...

Awful clues and dumb answers. Probably the least liked NYT puzzle I have ever done. Could not get the upper right corner because could not get aniline.

As someone who worked for over twenty years for a large chemical company that made aninile, can say categorically that you would have to go back to the 18th entury to find the usage "aniline oil". Aniline is not an oil, and is not used in making polyurethanes; it is one of two reactants to make MDI, which is one of dozens of ingredients that can go into making a polyurethane.

Can you imagine a clue such as "an animal that cars are made from", with "cow" as the answer, because cows become cowhide which become leather seats that go into cars?


Anonymous said...

I agree with the naysayers. The puzzle was eminently unfair and no fun at all. You had to reach pretty far for some of the definitions. Linda, you are great to get all of them so well. I wish I could. Much preferred last week puzzle. Have to read the Great Santini -- loved his other books.

cornbread hell said...


yes, i found many crossing anywhere from obscure to totally unknown to me. like otho/etamine, analine/simon (i've never seen 'idol'), paean/ezez/alec...

yet i was able to finish the puzzle without googling.

maybe it's just a few lucky guesses that often allow me that. or maybe it's lucky logic? i don't have a clue. but i cannot call this puzzle *unfair.* i just think it was more difficult than is typical for a sunday.

i enjoyed it.

and pepe le pew, too. (my favorite picture in this post. i bet you guessed wrong, linda.)

oh, & linda - YES!
colorado + carving project = 125A: (SWEET)

coachjdc said...

Got everything except the NW corner because I insisted on reading the clue for 26A as chuNk instead of chuCk and thought it had to be SLAB which, of course, threw everything else off LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I was able to help my 82 year old aunt finish the puzzle with a few clues she hadn't completed.
She was thrilled!

Anonymous said...

Linda I am delighted to have found you. After completing the puzzles, or not, as the case may be, I enjoy coming here and reading your blog and the comments following. It is a real pleasure to be among such educated, witty and interesting folks. I do get a kick out of some of the things you guys miss...they are almost always because you are so YOUNG!

Linda G said...

anonymous 10:48, I'm delighted that you found the blog.

I'm REALLY delighted that you might think I'm young ; )

Anonymous said...

oh goodie, another site that I can use when I am really stumped. I had earlier discovered Rex Parker and I do use Google for a lot of the quotes. Always nice to read blogs from other NYT puzzle lovers. It is like Christmas Eve, every Saturday night, as I await the Sunday paper which has the tough weekend puzzle. Love it

Linda G said...

Anonymous 9:04, one of the best things about reading crossword blogs is knowing that someone else out there shares your fondness for (or addiction to) puzzles. I know that my husband and most of my friends don't have a clue why I do this...or that I enjoy it so much. Welcome!