L'Enfant Prodigue composer /SAT 9-25-10/ Masonry that requires little mortar / Two-time Grammy winner Jon / California city with statue of Jack Benny

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none


Word of the Day: ASHLAR (1A: Masonry that requires little mortar) —

Ashlar is prepared (or "dressed") stone work of any type of stone. Stone masonry utilizing dressed stones is known as ashlar masonry, whereas masonry using irregularly shaped stones is known as rubble masonry. Ashlar blocks are large rectangular cuboid blocks of masonry sculpted to have square edges and smooth faces. The blocks are generally about 35 centimeters in height. When shorter than 30 centimeters, they are usually called “small ashlar”. // Ashlar blocks were used in the construction of many old buildings as an alternative to brick. Generally the external face is smooth or polished; occasionally it can be decorated by small grooves achieved by the application of a metal comb. (This process is usually used only on a softer stone ashlar block. The decoration is known as mason's drag.) (wikipedia)

• • •

This was my fastest Saturday of the year and probably my fastest of the century. I think I did a Saturday in the NYT archive from the mid-90s one time and got in under 6. This one was a hair over 7, and (as usual on Saturdays) I really wasn't pushing it. I take a way more deliberate pace on late-week themeless puzzles than I do on the M-Th puzzles. I just find them more interesting and enjoyable that way. Still, I smoked this, despite never having heard of two answers: ASHLAR and RUGER (26A: Maker of rifles and revolvers). Considered ASHCAN and the far more improbable ASH HAT before letting the crosses eventually resolve the 1-Across issue for me (dicey moment: briefly thought 4D: Attractiveness (LOOKS) was HOOKS ... seemed plausible at the time). The only place I got slowed down in any meaningful way was in the RUGER area, where the PUMPS part of HEAT PUMPS (11D: Alternatives to furnaces) wasn't obvious to me, and I had WATER-something for 29D: Oasis sights (DATE PALMS), leaving me wondering how WEMONS could be 29A: Personal problems (DEMONS). But before and after that little section, it was almost perfectly smooth sailing.

A very, very musical puzzle today, so much so that very early on, I thought there was some oldies theme developing. Weird to get Al Green and the Dave Clark Five and the WAILERS (7D: 1960s-'70s group originally known as the Teenagers, with "the") all in such a small area like that. Lucky to have listened almost exclusively to Motown and Classic Rock stations in high school (and '70s soul music in grad school). Got "SHA LA LA" off just a couple crosses (2D: 1974 top 10 Al Green hit subtitled "Make Me Happy"). Got "I LIKE IT LIKE THAT" off the "I LIKE..." (19A: 1965 top 10 hit for the Dave Clark Five). Needed a bit more help to uncover WAILERS, but still, didn't take much. And then, of course, there's DEBUSSY (35D: "L'Enfant Prodigue" composer) crossing Charlie Parker (43A: Specialty of Charlie Parker=>BEBOP). All in all, a nice assortment of tunes.


Odd coincidence of the day: "I LIKE IT LIKE THAT" was a grid-spanning answer in another daily puzzle just yesterday.


Bullets:
  • 16A: ___ Shelly, writer/director/co-star of "Waitress," 2007 (ADRIENNE) — total guess, extrapolated from the "DR" alone.
  • 30A: Birds said to feed their young with elephants (ROCS) — good day to learn fun facts about flying things: see also SEVEN (39A: Common number of spots on a ladybug).
  • 40A: Crime novelist McDermid (VAL) — very familiar name, though I couldn't tell you a thing she has written. Describes her own work as "Tartan noir," which makes me want to read it. Wikipedia says she's known for "graphic depictions of violence and torture," which makes me not want to read her. Despite my love of crime fiction, I'm not a big fan of gory detail.
  • 45A: California city with a statue of Jack Benny (RANCHO CUCAMONGA) — Lived in inland southern California for a while, so this is a very familiar place name. And a very silly one.
  • 5D: James I's queen consort (ANNE) — May as well have read [Royal-sounding woman's name]
  • 39D: Two-time Grammy winner Jon (SECADA) — "Two-time?" I know him from some '90s pop song I can't even recall now. He seems to have won his Grammys in Latin Pop categories.
Today this blog turns four years old. Only one day (Jan. '07) in that whole time has a write-up not been posted. It's a lot of work writing this thing day in and day out, but mostly it's been my pleasure. I hope you are (still) enjoying it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

76 comments:

Dan 12:13 AM  

Ooh, happy bloggiversary! And many more... as long as you can stand it!

The Corgi of Mystery 1:13 AM  

Still very much enjoying the blog Rex :)

This was my fastest Saturday of the year as well -- felt easier than a typical Friday, in fact. I think I'm also spoiled by expecting brilliance from every themeless puzzle Patrick Berry creates -- by that standard this was only OK.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

Only 4 years? Actually it is amazing someone could do this blog everyday with so much detail and obvious effort and accuracy. Rex celebrates his 4th year at this and on the same day I celebrate my 72nd of living. Maybe Rex can keep up the blog for another 68 years? Definitely easy for a Saturday! I looked up nothing and, like Sgt. Schultz, knew nothing, but Cucamonga rang a bell as Rochester ticked off those depots. Most of you never enjoyed the Sunday evening comedy on radio with Benny, Fred Allen and others. Jack Benny, born in the same town as my wife’s, was Johnny Carson’s idol. Mary, his wife, Rochester, his butler, Dennis Day, the Irish tenor, Don Wilson, his announcer, Phil Harris and his wife Alice Faye, Mel Blanc and so it goeS....

Harry 1:40 AM  

Congrats on the anniversary!!

Not only one of the easiest Saturdays but one of the easiest weekends (so far). Any Saturday I can do in under 18 minutes is pretty easy - and I do them slower on the computer . . .

Still thought it was a great puzzle with nice fill. Thanks Patrick!

andrea cucamonga michaels 1:44 AM  

Yes, Happy BlogDay to you! Don't know where I'd be without it. Literally. Knowing you CRINGEd at MOONing, I'll stop there.

Curious if Patrick Berry chose ADRIENNE Shelly bec he needed an ADRIENNE or if it was meant as a tribute to a rather obscure indie actress who was a murder-made-to-look-like-a-suicide infamous case in NYC, which makes me a bit surprised that she would be noteworthy enough for a puzzle.
I mean, as well-received "Waitress" was posthumously (sp?) most of her notoriety was for the way she died, not for her talent, sadly...and usually that is not something I thought they wanted to have in puzzles. So my guess is they needed an ADRIENNE and perhaps Barbeau is dated?

Also thought this was easy-ish, tho 3 confusing mistakes initially:
IThaCA, WeavERS, and puce for IRIS!

Bizarrely wondered if LadyBugS were late risers BEFORE seeing the clue about 39A Ladybug spots...But perhaps my eyes had recorded it subconsciously?
(By the way, without crosses, I would have guessed only three spots! I must have only seen baby lady bugs...)

Weird that there are two birds mOCS/ROCS and guns that are lUGER/RUGER.

RANCHOCUCAMONGA is almost as fun to say as SHALALALALALALA, baby...
(Love the video...thanks! Al Green is my alltime favorite music to make love to...and with that tmi, I'll say goodnight, Gracie) ;)

PurpleGuy 1:47 AM  

WOW. 4 years ???
I have enjoyed every day, even if I don't always comment. All of the people here have been supportive and pleasant. Most know of my circumstance taking care of my 102 yr old mom.
She does the puzzle with me most days, but always insists on being brought to the computer so she can see "that Rex fellah's writeup." OK, I think she has a secret crush on you.
She's seen your pictures !!!

The puzzle ? I t gave us bit of a struggle. That's really all I have to say.

Happy Saturday all !!

Shanti -
Bob / PurpleGuy

Male Chicken 3:17 AM  

Also don't comment much but read often: thanks Rex for so much hard work and for training me on the NYT crossword! I am a Brit in Cambodia and have been doing it for two years now - and finally now can do a Saturday with no help. Wouldn't have had a chance to get to that point without this blog and the posters teaching me so much I didn't know about the US in particular.

On that note, yes, today's = easy but man alive, Rancho Cucamonga could have been ANYTHING for me, right up to the last cross.

jae 3:29 AM  

I found you about half way into your first year and I'm still here and still enjoying it daily even though I've stopped commenting on Mon.-Wed. to reach an "I'm not really obsessed" truce with my bride. Thanks for the continued effort, you are appreciated!!

The puzzle = easy for me too. Only missteps were ITHICA and RECEDED. SECADA was a gimmie because a very similar clue was in BEQ's themeless Monday this week. I liked this one even though it was overly easy.

imsdave 6:04 AM  

Four years! Congrats.

Thanks for dragging me into this absolutely insane crossword community.

Doris 7:37 AM  

Running gag on most old Jack Benny radio shows:

Train announcer chanting, "Train leaving on Track 5 for Anaheim, Asuza, and Cuc....amonga!"

That's why there's a statue of him there. Otherwise, no one except locals would ever have heard of the place.

Or Asuza, either. And Anaheim only in recent times because of baseball. Ah, ancient pop culture!

Wade 8:20 AM  

Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

Really, after four years, I can't believe you didn't know blank. All scientists with advanced degrees in quantum ionospheric stragulations know blank. It's, like, Wednesday level stuff!

Andrea, I wish Adrienne Barbeau was dated. By ME! When I was thirteen and saw her nekkid in "The Fog." Get it? I think she was the one in that movie. And then there was Maude.

David 8:41 AM  

Rex,

Happy anniversary!

Reading about your blog and then reading it got me back into the NY Times crossword puzzles. While your innate ability is clear, your ability to share the process of solving creates a communal experience - combined with these comments from the regulars.

Thanks!

Ben 8:57 AM  

Rex, congratulations on the anniversary and the huge following you've amassed. Like too few things in life, it's built on good writing.

Easy is right. 8:10 is either my fastest Saturday ever or in the top couple. This might have been a Friday puzzle wearing its big brother's raincoat.

Had HEATLAMPS for HEATPUMPS but that was easily sorted out. Didn't know ASHLAR either.

Knew LUGER made guns, can't remember whether I ever heard RUGER did too. Doesn't ruge a bell.

@Doris, I would respectfully submit that Disneyland put Anaheim on the map in the 1950s.

Note to NYC area residents: This Friday evening (Oct 1) is the Westchester Crossword Tournament, hosted by Will Shortz at St Mark's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville. From what I gather it's a smaller, more laid-back American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I will be in town for the New Yorker Festival so I'll see you there, whoever's going.

ArtLvr 9:07 AM  

Congrats Rex, and many snappy returns!

∑;)

Bob Kerfuffle 9:18 AM  

Happy BlogDay, Rex!

Not as old as Anonymous 1:32 AM, but old enough to have watched Jack Benny on TV, so RANCHOCUCAMONGA was a gimme for me, too.

twangster 9:28 AM  

"I Like It Like That" was originally recorded by a New Orleans r&b singer, Chris Kenner, and still gets played a lot here. Here's a great New Orleans band, The Radiators, doing their version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHKOcMnAY98

hazel 9:28 AM  

@Rex - Congratulations from me too, who have been following you for 2 years, and been a member for one. You're like public radio to me, except that I don't argue with them. Still, I've got to tune in to you both. And I've got to donate.

@puzzle - you were kind of a pushover. I know you were wanting to sound smart with your ASHLAR right out of the box, but you shouldn't run from your nature - you're a good-time-girl, what with your looks, and all your tunes, your ladybug spots, that purse. Don't deny that you're a lieabed, too. Watch some Stuart Smalley. Forget those DATASETS, the DEBUSSY. Celebrate that inner self.

dk 9:36 AM  

Happy Blogday.

Loved the movie Waitress and Shelly's death was tragic... as most are.

Pulling together tunes for a friends wedding and it is an x-word worthy mix of eras. Thus the song clues were gimmes. The results my fastest Sat as well.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA = smog, Route 66 and old passenger rail line routes, once you could ride to Winslow Arizona. Was a court psychologist for this part of SOCAL... the stories I could tell.

Wanted iron on for 53A, otherwise no quibbles.

*** (3 Stars)

joho 9:38 AM  

I just realized that I've been coming here for almost exactly half the life of this blog. @Rex, I can't thank you enough for your dedication to the New York Times crossword puzzle and for your interesting insights both serious and hilarious. What I have learned here is invaluable. And unlike @jae, I am obsessed!

@Wade, I too, was thinking of ADRIENNE Barbeau in "The Fog." The remake was terrible but I remember that movie was scary. I would have preferred to see her in the grid today.

I zipped through this puzzle but ended up with an error at HEATlaMP/RaGER. I was thinking you could really get mad and kill somebody with a RaGER.

Happy Blogiversary, Rex!

Smitty 10:13 AM  

@Rex wrote "...I hope you are (still) enjoying it..."

Crossword puzzles used to be a game of solitaire before you brought us all to the table, Rex. Thanks for all you do.

Today's puzzle seemed like something I stared at for an hour and then solved in five minutes, once I got the NW going.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Yes, we do enjoy it very much! Thanks a lot, Rex, and happy anniversary. (This was my easiest Saturday in a long time -- didn't have to look anything up, but couldn't match your time, of course.)

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Happy Anniversary! Love the blog Sometimes I look forward to your comments more than I do finishing the puzzle.

nanpilla 10:31 AM  

@smitty - you said it exactly!

Doing crosswords is no longer a lonely enterprise. I read this blog every day, even if I don't comment. I never would have started going to the ACPT, and meeting wonderful people, if it weren't for you, Rex. THANKS!

The puzzle was one of my fastest Saturdays, so I guess we didn't get the brain crusher we were looking for after yesterday's easy offering.

Jim 10:46 AM  

I'd say this one was on the easy side, for no other reason than I ACTUALLY FINISHED IT! First...Saturday...ever.

One mistake, two letters: liPS instead of CAPS. Whoops! ATTIlA and SHALiLA seemed wrong, but I ASHLAR seemed just as improbable so...

Knnew right away the wonderfully alliterative 'Pistol' PETE Postlethwaite, though I couldn't tell you a thing he's been in. Just a wonderful name. 'British' in the clue was unnecessary: who else produces names like that?

Whole once-over gave me only PETE, DEBUSSY and PURSE. About par for a Sat, but it is ALWAYS tough going.

Had a LOT of trouble with DEERE. Clue makea sense, but I def wanteed ADM or ConAgra or some such, not the bleedin' tractor factory!

Seven, eight minutes! I really am in awe. I solve on paper, on the road, so I'll never break any time records, but seven? Wow!

Kurt 10:48 AM  

Rex

Thanks for doing what you do! And thanks for doing it so well! I'm with @Wade ... "Four More Years!"

Congratulations and best wishes.

Oh, and by the way, I loved the puzzle and loved the write-up. Thanks Patrick Berry and thanks Rex "Four-for-Four" Parker.

mitchs 10:48 AM  

Seconding what Smitty and others have said better than I would have.

I heard Cuc---amonga on Warber Bros. cartoons...didn't know that Mr Blanc did voices on the Benny show.

I thought this would be more breezy than it turned out to be after cruising through the NW and SE. The SW was the biggest hurdle for me - way overthought EURASIA. Wanted HEADSUP in the NE really badly, but couldn't alter the number of blanks.

Lindsay 10:49 AM  

OK, this took me longer than 7 minutes. Never, ever heard of Rancho Cucamonga, so needed all the downs. If Secada hadn't come up quite recently that cross would have been a Square of Doom. Complicating matters, I had "slap on" instead of "snap on" for 53A attachable by pressing, which made 47D Moon hard to find. Very hard.

On the other hand, my next door neighbors used to have a Rottweiller named Ruger, so 26A was a gimme.

I discovered this blog about a year ago when I googled a non-sensical string of letters, hoping it might be a correct answer. The first hit (of approximately three) was Rex writing about how he had come up with the same gibberish I had. So I have been reading, and enjoying, the site ever since. Thanks Professor Parker.

chaos1 10:51 AM  

Congratulations Rex, and thanks for your efforts and insight. As a newcomer, ( six months or so ) I've become addicted to your blog. While I understand the constraints that WordPlay must adhere to, I enjoy being able to express my opinion in a slightly more vociferous manner, with less fear of offending someone's delicate sensibilities. I'm totally un-PC, and proud of it. Would you accept one share of Berkshire-Hathaway, as a small token of my esteem?

Alternative cluing for ADRIENNE: Rocky's YO !

Yeah, when I saw Patrick Berry, I CRINGED ! Turns out, I can't remember a puzzle of his that was this easy. A few toughies, but no naticks. Thanks Patrick.

@ Andrea (WOTD) Michaels: The pistol designed by Georg Luger was the standard sidearm for Germany during WWI and into WWII. It was eventually replaced by the Walther P-38. The Luger is still considered one of the best designed pistols of all time, and is a highly sought collector's item. It's the only weapon bearing Luger's name.

On the other hand, Sturm, Ruger & Co. is one of the largest manufacturer's of sporting firearms in America, including rifles, pistols and shotguns. There are many Ruger's, but there is only one Luger.

@ Doris: CUCAMONGA ? Only locals? Au Contraire ! Everyone remembers the Beach Boys and Jan&Dean no? Well, maybe no one but boomers. Are you a "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5IzD4HrHhM

Clark 10:55 AM  

@Rex, Congratulations on four years. I am grateful that you put up this amazing blog and let us hang out with you. (And thanks to Sandy for putting up with all of it and all of us.) I, for one, am still enjoying it after, what, 1 1/2 or 2 years.

Before I became a regular, a saturday NYT puzzle might as well have been written in some EURASIAn language unknown to me. Now I can toss off a puzzle like today's without breaking a sweat -- well, almost. I had rECEDE and gRIS, giving me rPgRALS for a while (heh, I'm color blind), but a fresh look got me SPIRALS. And I finished with lUGER, which gave me lERAN. I had no idea what leran meant, but it wouldn't have been the first time I learned some completely new word in a weekend puzzle.

[w.v.: allyopi -- the Italian version of allez hop!, signifying, the best is yet to come.]

Clark 11:00 AM  

@Rex -- You want to very quickly accept @chaos1's offer of a share of Berkshire-Hathaway (and hope that he means the A shares).

I thank the Greatful Dead for getting me the Jack Benny clue.

PuzzleNut 11:07 AM  

What @smitty said.
I've only been here for half a year, but check in now every day to see what Rex and my extended crossword family have to say.
What I find really impressive is that Rex brings not one, but three skills to this site. First, like many other bloggers, he's damn good at crossword puzzles. Second, he teaches me a lot and I've certainly improved because of his comments. And third, he puts together great comments EVERY day, which takes a tenacity that I don't have. Keep it going!!
Today's puzzle - easy for me too. Had write-overs with lUGER, DRESSsuiT and DATEtreeS. Lot of interesting clues and not one answer that I disliked.

JenCT 11:11 AM  

Congratulations on the anniversary, Rex - I enjoy the blog very much.

Had TEENBOYS for 50a forever, since I have one. Never heard of LIEABEDS.

JC66 11:12 AM  

@Rex

Your dedication and hard work are evident by the terrific results they achieve. I've been addicted to your blog since finding it shortly after you started, although I don't comment every day. Thanks for the four years.

I concur with @Wade (four more years, at least) and @Hazel (donate).

For those interested here's what wiki has to say about Mel Blank/Jack Benny/ Cucamonga:

Another famous Blanc shtick on Jack’s show was the train depot announcer who inevitably intoned, sidelong, “Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga”. Part of the joke was the Angeleno studio audience’s awareness that no such train existed connecting those then-small towns (years before Disneyland opened). To the wider audience, the primary joke was the pregnant pause that evolved over time between "Cuc.." and "...amonga"; eventually, minutes would pass while the skit went on as the audience awaited the inevitable conclusion of the word. (At least once, a completely different skit followed before the inevitable “...amonga” finally appeared.)

archaeoprof 11:30 AM  

Just four more years? Are there term limits on blogging?

Rex, you da man!

Isn't there a minor league baseball team in RANCHO CUCAMONGA?

Mel Ott 11:30 AM  

I can think of better ways to clue the verb to MOON, but they might not pass the breakfast test.

Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Happy birthday, blog. Congrats to Rex for his eloquence, wit and stayin' power. And patience with the likes of me. Been droppin' by for about 2 years now, and have throughly enjoyed every single visit to CrossWorld. Thanx for the free lessons, 44 and commenters. I sure needed 'em.

Knew the game was really afoot when I saw Patrick Berry's name at the top of the puz. Got started by plunkin' [the oh-so-incorrect] OKIE down for 46-D. Then ROCS/GEODE, and was in. Also got CITE and TRIKE pretty fast, once we got over bein' too proud of CATCHUSOFYOUCAN at 19-A. Always thought of ILIKEITLIKETHAT as bein' by somebody else. . . ?

Ended up in the SW last, probably because LIEABEDS and RANCHO-whatsis weren't household items for us. Oh, and OKIE was killin' us.

Nice little pUUUUUUz. Put up less fight than yer average SatPuz, partly because the fill was so doggone solid. The heck with JQXZ; gimme solid fill. Plus only three "?" clues, I think. Thumbs up.

Frances 11:56 AM  

Another voice to the chorus of "Four more years!

Four more years!" I found this blog about 2 years ago when I Googled, verbatim, an NYT clue and up came rexwordpuzzle as the first hit. Rex and all the many talented commenters here have sufficiently improved my solving skills that I've never again had to use the clue's exact wording as a search string. Many thanks to Rex, and to the loyal following he's collected.

foodie 12:05 PM  

"There might be one for depression" as the clue for GENE gave me serious pause. There might be many that make you somewhat more vulnerable to depression, but there is not "one"-- of that, I'm certain. It's both bad and good news.

Rex, last week, I was giving an undergraduate seminar on creativity, and we concluded together that the concept requires the creation of something new that leaves an impact on others- emotional, intellectual, social. We also talked about what the process might entail what it requires from the brain and mind of the creative person. Your blog is an ideal example of creativity. Every day,it offers new and highly original thoughts, expressed beautifully, illustrated whimsically, which have a huge impact on a great many people. But more than that, the original idea and the entire body of posts, including the selection of guest bloggers, is a real oeuvre. Like a great book, it creates a world that we inhabit and that stays with us even when we are not immersed in it. But because the characters are real, we have the opportunity to meet them at many levels. It really is some sort of magic.

A long winded way of saying: Happy Anniversary, and Thank You!

Tinbeni 12:20 PM  

Rex, Happy 4th Blogaversary.
Tonight's "Sunset Toast" will be dedicated to you.

A year ago, I would have rated this Challenging.
Today it gets a Medium.
Coming here has made my solving easier and much more enjoyable.

(Hey, PurpleGuy, the second toast will still be to you and your 102yo Mom).

Oh, yeah! I LIKE IT LIKE THAT, an echo to the Wednesday LAT.

Now about that SNAP ON ...

Shamik 12:47 PM  

Happy Blogaversary, Rex! Guess I've been following you for over two years. And like nanpilla, I wouldn't have had the drive to compete in the ACPT if I hadn't joined this community through your blog. Thank you! While I've always enjoyed crossword puzzles, your analysis, humor and biases have helped me look at them with new eyes. This has only made the experience richer. Thank you.

As for today's puzzle, agreed. It is my 5th easiest Saturday and I wasn't even trying to rush. I do confess to trying to speed solve on occasion. Mea culpa.

HEATPUMPS are ubiquitous in the southwest. And they do NOT refer to stiletto heels.

Conas=the familiar form of the barbarian

Dick Swart 12:49 PM  

Congratulations, Rex! A great four years. Many happy returns.

The City of Anaheim has this reference:
http://www.anaheim.net/article.asp?id=307


“Train leaving on Track five for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc----amonga!”

I listened to the show on the big Gruno radio with the telephone dial for selecting stations.

Best wishes,

Dick Swart

Shamik 12:50 PM  

As for the definition for MOON that doesn't pass the breakfast test:

"What is done by Skagway townspeople to the last ship of the season as it leaves port."

And no, I do not plan to participate even if puzzle husband does.

The Bard 12:50 PM  

King Henry VI, part I > Act II, scene IV

RICHARD
PLANTAGENET: Thanks, gentle sir.

r.alphbunker 1:32 PM  

I initially parsed "tails" as a plural verb and enjoyed that it ended up as a singular noun. I wouldn't call this an easy but it was smooth going. Never felt really lost. But that is typical of a PB puzzle.

Regarding the blog. My routine is to download the puzzle onto my iPod and solve it in bed. Then in the morning, the first thing I do is to check this blog. I read it both for RP's commentary and the comments from other readers. It is a remarkable achievement and I hope it continues indefinitely.

Stan 1:34 PM  

Nice lively puzzle, and relatively forgiving for a Saturday. Can't believe I knew *none* of the pop music answers at first, but they all could be pieced out easily enough.

Happy birthday, blog! We appreciate it, Rex.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

We are hooked on your blog. You can't stop!

evil doug 1:40 PM  

MS,

While I may regularly find some of your commentary to be, shall we say, disagreeable, I do appreciate your objective contributions---reliable, timely and informative.

Evil

Rex Parker 1:45 PM  

@ED,

Thank you, sir.

rp

chefbea 1:50 PM  

Happy blog anniversary to all - especially our leader.
A big bouquet of you know what for everyone!!!

Busy again today so no time to finnish. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time for crosswording

John Deere 2:03 PM  

I was just thinking today, before coming here, how amazing it is that you can maintain this blog--at all, let alone with such depth, breadth, and wit-- day in and day out, week after week and month after month; and it appears year after year too! Congrats!

I thought it was easy for a Sat., along with most others. My only quibble is (might be) RESIDENCE for 6D. I would argue that "residency' is more likely the correct term.

mac 2:13 PM  

Thank you, Rex, for your work. The puzzle and your blog are one of my "handles on happiness" (lovely term I recently read somewhere).

Much easier puzzle than yesterday's for me. My only real problem was putting in "dromedari" instead of date palms without any crosses. The final i fit "iron on".

Maybe a little easy for a Saturday, but a beautifully executed puzzle.

Sparky 2:30 PM  

Happy 4th Blogsday Rex. Everyone up above said it better than I can. It's such fun and so refreshing to read your essays and the comments every day. I never would have gone to Lolapuzzoola without them. Today, happy I finished, particularly after terrible yesterday. HOBO my first entry. Remember listening to Jack Benny on our RCA Golden Throat Console. Also wanted food company for DEERE. Looked up ADRIENNE in my Maltin. Chipped away like the edges of ASHLAR block. Wish you, Rex, more years of the best for you. And more fun for us bloggers. PS: Is today the LOTR theme party? I' love to see some pictures.

shrub5 2:35 PM  

A super happy week for you:

Daughter hits the big one-oh.
Other baby reaches IV.

Oh, and last month, first NYT puzzle was born!

Followed you as a syndicatee for a year or so. Finally couldn't stand being six weeks behind and not being able to comment in real time, so got the NYT puzzle subsc.

I was going to blame you for that extra inch on my *$$ but that would be just wrong! Instead, I'll thank you for sending us a gift every day without fail.

Today's puzzle:
Thought of SPOUSE for Mr. or Mrs. Right. This didn't last long. Had LUGER for the gun maker but when the L caused a problem, I googled to verify RUGER (was not in Mac desktop dictionary.) Thought to self: "what are the odds there are gunmakers Luger and Ruger?" Well....if that don't beat all. New fact OTD: ladybugs have SEVEN spots.
Nice one, Patrick!

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

Congratulations, Rex, on yor four year anniversary! Yours is one of the only blogs I read virtually every day, and rest assured I am still enjoying it.

R. McGeddon 2:56 PM  

I discovered this blog about a year ago and within a week it was at the top of my bookmarks. Even if Rex gets tired once in a while, there's a great community that can keep the place going, and the substitutes have always been terrific. May it keep on keeping on for years and years.

CoffeeLvr 3:15 PM  

Thank you and Congratulations, Rex. That is an impressive record. Glad you plan to continue.

@Smitty and @Foodie covered my experience so well, I won't try. Also came over from Syndication, and it has been a real pleasure joining the community of posters.

I knew this was an easy puzzle, because I did it with no assistance. Did not break my Saturday record of DNF, due to mis-spelling kUkAMONGA. Did not know SECADA, so no regrets; I am still kicking my self for HAVOc.

@JenCT, I had teEnBoyS first, too.

Personal favorite was seeing a shout out to the WAILERS. They are often dismissed as a back up band to Bob Marley, but they were and are more. I saw them last year during their tour. Great show. They support the WFP.

PIX 4:04 PM  

REX,
Happy 4th!...I came to the blog about two years ago and my only real complaint is that I didn't know about it sooner...Thanks for all you've taught me and I hope it remains fun for you for a long time.

Leon 4:04 PM  

Thanks RP.

regular reader 4:40 PM  

Thanks to Rex for hosting the party and to his well-informed commenters and able guest writers (Wade, Ben, Seth, Puzzle Girl, the college kids, et al.). Each has something of value to contribute.

hazel 6:20 PM  

@evil D - good to hear from you!! Come back! I for one miss your contrarian perspective!!

i was evil hazel a while back for a few days. Don't know if you were lurking or not, but I was attempting to channel you.

Glitch 8:01 PM  

Congrats, Rex.

Appreciate your efforts as creator, mayor, and part time ;-) peace officer of Rexville.

.../Glitch

Tina 10:33 PM  

Whoever said they thought I Like it Like That was by someone else - I'm sure it was. Their version is for sure a cover. I remember the sound of the original - they used to play it on WBAS, the black music station in Philadelphia, but I can't place who it's by. Anybody?

Anonymous 11:35 PM  

Sad note about Adrienne Shelly, the auteur of "Waitress": She was murdered right before the film came out to glowing reviews. Survived by husband and infant daughter. RIP

Robin 1:39 AM  

Wow! Congratulations! @shrub5 said what I was thinking. If I were more computer-savvy, I would post a link to "Hail to the Chief."

At the very least, the mayor of Natick should proclaim a Rex Parker Day.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Congrats. Please keep it up!

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

From syndicated land...happy 4 yrs and 5 weeks. You have helped change me from a Wednesday to an almost Friday solver. Thanks for all the knowlegdable and witty write-ups. Jas

Rex Parker 8:59 AM  

Thank you for the kind words.

Duane 11:56 AM  

Happy anniversary, Rex. Your blog has been a mainstay for me for a lot of the harder puzzles though I hate to admit it. Keep up the good work!

Dave in Seattle 3:36 PM  

Greetings from syndication land. Since I am out here on the left coast five weeks and 3 hours behind I have never bothered to post in the 2+ years I have been following your blog Rex, but this is a special occasion. I too must add my thanks and appreciation for your hard work and dedication, your insights and humor and best of all the daily conversations with the community. I also agree with the other posters that this blog has definitely helped me with the late week puzzles, I can now, fairly consistently, finish a Friday or Saturday without googling, even if it still usually takes me over an hour to finish. Congratulations and keep up the good work,

Rex Parker 4:23 PM  

It's my pleasure. Thanks so much.

Waxy in Montreal 5:37 PM  

On the other side of the continent from Dave but the sentiments are the same. I may be the last to do so but thank you so very much Rex for making this blog such an important part of my life over the past few years. Since you began, I've retired and Mrs. Waxy and I have welcomed 4 new grandkiddies to the clan but one constant endures - finding time to solve the NYT crossword and then read all the comments from five weeks back. It's been a blast. Congratulations and hopefully many more years to come.

Greycells 6:12 PM  

Just found your blog yesterday and although I've been doing CW puzzles for years I never knew that it was OK to look things up. Also I didn't know there was somewhere to find the answers to the Sat. puzzles since I only take the Fri, Sat, Sun issues of the paper. I had no trouble with Ranch Cucamonga as a friend lives there. And I own a John Deere. The ones that trip me up are the pop music ones since I mostly listen to classical. So Debussy was easy. Thanks so much for sharing your solutions with us puzzle addicts. I'll be back!

Rex Parker 6:54 PM  

Wow, this is the most active syndication-land has been ... well, ever. Cool.

Anonymous 3:34 AM  

@REX another fan from syndication-land. Long time follower 1st time poster. We lurkers (5 weeks removed in my case hence no posts) also appreciate & enjoy what you do. Like Anon1:32am(on9-25) this posting originally came out on my birthday, so I'm glad to learn that your blog & I share that date of origin!

Congrats & Thanks! ¶I loved this puzzle. Fastest sat. ever for me. No errors 1 write over RESIDENCy/E easily corrected by cross. Started checking downs to confirm 7A WATCHOUT, which could have been "incoming" got HEATPUMPS with no crosses (being from Texas helped) so dropped in WATCHOUT & it was off to the races. I like puzzles that rely more on logic than esoterica, so this was right up my alley. RANCHOCUCAMONGA nice answer. ASHLAR new to me. 7 spots on a ladybug? Never occured to me to count! ¶-Kevin in Texas

Anonymous 3:58 AM  

-@Anon1:32am You've had (a few) more years to ponder such things than I, but did you ever consider that our Sept 25 birthdays fall exactly 9 months to the day after Christmas? So, CONCEIVE-ably... :) -Kevin in Texas

Joshua 12:41 PM  

Happy anniversary, Rex.

By the way, is it possible to have the blog comments display dates so we can tell more easily whether we're responding to a comment from six weeks before?

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