Out of Silence novelist Cox / SAT 2-12-11 / Leopard runner / Fabulous slacker / Cousin of avocet / Fifth-century capital of Visigoths / Piece of hood

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: ERLE Cox (10D: "Out of the Silence" novelist Cox) —

Erle Cox (15 August 1873 – 20 November 1950) was an Australian journalist and science fiction writer. [...] Out of the Silence, his best known novel, is set in Australia, and involves the discovery of a gigantic, buried sphere, containing the accumulated knowledge of a past civilization. It was published by The Argus in weekly instalments over a six month period in 1919. The first Australian edition in book form was published by Vidler, in 1925. The same year a British edition appeared (Hamilton), and in 1928 an American edition (Rae D. Henkle). In 1934 the book was adapted to a comic-strip format by an artist identified only as Hix. This pictorial version was published daily in The Argus in 120 episodes. In the same year the novel was dramatised for radio presentation as a 25 part serial. (wikipedia)
• • •

The grid is mostly decent, but the cluing on this one rubbed me the wrong way over and over. It's as if every clue was trying So Hard to be tricky and misdirectional—and not in fun ways, but in forced ways. "Geneva-based org."? Oh, Geneva, NY! Of course! (/sarcasm) The phrase "Foster child" somehow means "Jodie FOSTER when she was a child?" (7D: Foster child in '60s TV commercials). I think? Am I missing something? How are PATS "spread things?" Is it that you "spread" your legs when you get PATted down. Does the connection involve the New England PATS covering the "spread?" [PATS of butter? Really? Ugh] The MATTERHORN was "conquered?" (11D: It was first conquered in 1865). I get that that word is used to describe successful ascents, but there's gotta be a better, more clever way to hide your answer. NINETY is dangerous to do on some roads, but not "the road" (41A: It's dangerous to do on the road). Illegal, probably, but not always "dangerous." Neither the Red nor the White SOX are a "What?" They're a "Who" (43A: What some A.L.'ers play for). No one who follows baseball at all would call those teams a "What." "What team do you play for?" = "Who do you play for?" (not "whom" unless you want beer thrown at you). Not a big fan of "urban" as an adjective, since what you mean is "black" (1A: Urban playground barb). Gotta be a way to steer around race with that clue ("urban" steers into it). Also, ironically, the word "JOKE" in that answer was the least funny part of it, in that I thought the answer would be an actual, funny "barb" (i.e. "YO MAMA is so ..."), but instead JOKE just sits there like "insert JOKE here." Never seen the MISTER in MR. TOAD written out like that (20A: "The best of animals," in a classic children's book). OLDE means "quaint?" Ye Quaint Gifte Shoppe? Next time anyone tells you that it is ONE TO 9, please smack him hard for me. Then say, "It's 9, jackass."



Katy Perry had a #1 hit last year with "California Gurls." Much as I hate the song, I would've loved to see it in the grid. "In 2010, the song sold 4,398,000 digital copies in the US alone" (wikipedia).

But back to the grid—it's pretty nice. STATUTE LAW (25D: Result of bill-passing) and STATE TAXES (58A: Education supporters) are a bit soporific, but most of the other longish stuff is lovely. Really liked the WELL part of WELL, LA DI DA (56A: "Ooh, aren't you special!"), as well as the put-down pairing of YO MAMA JOKE and "WHAT A LOSER" (15A: All-purpose putdown). Also loved the full OREO COOKIE, as well as its clue, which took me a while to crack despite my having -OOKIE in the grid (12D: Its outsides are ornately embossed). Biggest problems for me today were in opposite corners of the grid. Didn't know COLORADO had a PLATEAU (17A: Region with the highest concentration of national parks in the U.S.) and so went with ROCKIES. Later, in the far SW corner, I used the "C" from CALIFORNIA GIRLS to get ICEE (not the correct TCBY, 44D: Tastee-Freez alternative). This mistake made "THE MISFITS" really hard to see (44A: 1961 film scripted by Arthur Miller). Lots of success early on in the NW corner, but getting YO MAMA, WHAT A, and COLORADO didn't help me get any of those answers completed right away. I also thought the "bearded" thing was a GNU (not a TIT).

Bullets:
  • 40A: Fifth-century capital of the Visigoths (TOULOUSE) — interestingly, this answers is one letter off from a Robert Burns title: "TO A LOUSE"
  • 21D: Leopard runner (MAC) — transparent (to me). My MAC runs Snow Leopard.
  • 45D: Fabulous slacker (HARE) — more of the forced-misdirection-type cluing, though this one, in retrospect, I didn't mind so much. So what if no one associates "fabulous" with fables any more. . .
  • 49D: "Another Pyramid" musical ("AIDA") — I love this clue (a gimme) because it sounds like something a very bored tourist would say. Musical (or opera) + Egypt + four letters = "AIDA."
  • 43D: Cousin of an avocet (STILT) — that makes two "alternatives" and a "cousin" in this puzzle's clues. Maybe mix things up a little more. Speaking of the other "alternative" clue, I thought Honeycomb (the cereal) was plural, so TRIX didn't leap to mind as a [Honeycomb alternative]. "Honeycomb's big / yeah yeah yeah / It's not small / no no no!" Ah, the poetry of 70s TV commercials.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

75 comments:

lit.doc 12:12 AM  

@Rex, I'm guessing "spread things" ref's PATS of butter.

Biggest hole in my foot came from COLORADO ROCKIES, which took foreever to conquer.

Pete 12:36 AM  

I think someone should do a puzzle with the theme of Yo Mama jokes. It would, unfortunately, have to be a 51x51 or some such mostrosity.
11A Yo Mama so fat...
47A Yo Mama so dumb ...

ALAMOS? WTF!

SethG 12:36 AM  

Agree with most of your comments, but I didn't find this too difficult. Nothing too tricky, though the difficulty felt uneven. Faster than Thursday, which was faster than Friday.

Also wanted ICEE, got TCBY from the crosses. My first job was at TCBY.

Anonymous 1:34 AM  

If Mt. Everest can be conquered why not The Matterhorn?

Suprised at the rating because I used no cheats but probably took me 10 times longer....

The Misfits (a terrible movie) was almost a gimmie for me (my generation) and actually thought of Plateau before Rockies because you need space for parks.

Like Rex loved the OREO cookie clue.... Now I tink I'll have some with my bourbon nightcap....

Clark 1:39 AM  

Why are Saturdays usually easier than Fridays for me? (Stress on the -er not on the easy.) Thanks to semi-puzzle partner for THE MISFITS and TRIX.

I am unusually arexic today. Every single clue that you complained about in your opening rant paragraph, @Rex, seemed right down the middle to me, for a Saturday that is.

Edmund Hillary 1:48 AM  

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

davko 1:51 AM  

A lot of misfires on baseball lingo of late, and I agree that cluing a team with "What..." is rather awkward. I also didn't like CPU (35D) when there was no abbreviation in the clue. Perhaps by now it's a well-accepted acronym... or do most of us still regard it as shorthand for "central processing unit?"

Otherwise, this was great fun all around, comprising a mix of subject matter that somehow managed to heap a ton of sports, music, literature, movie trivia, and natural history onto a single grid. Enjoyed the ornithological flourishes with STILT (43D) and BEARDED TIT (42A) -- tits being the Old World counterparts to our chickadees.

COLORADO PLATEAU will instantly elicit a smile from any solver who's been to that part of the country, where Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Grand Canyon National Parks comprise a magnificent geological progression known as The Grand Staircase.

chefwen 1:55 AM  

I've been arexic all week, esp. Friday which I thought was really tough. This one fell in "fits and starts" the bottom half was a lot easier for me than the top half. It took a pliers to pull out YO MAMA JOKE and WHAT A LOSER. But I finished, which I didn't think would happen and am now doing the "happy dance".

Favorite was WELL LA DI DA, but I think the DA needs an H.

Anonymous 2:27 AM  

No love for the Beach Boys, from whom the line "cutest girls in the world" actually refers? Oh for the days of good culture....

jae 3:03 AM  

This was on the tough side for me also. NE was the last to fall. Great clue for OREOCOOKIE. Much livelier than yesterday's grid. Hand up for ICEE which is part of what made this tough. I liked the JODIE clue. It's what I expect on a Sat. I mean what do you want -- " She played Clarice."

PATS was a problem. I had PATE at first thinking those are spreads but changed it to PATS thinking Point(S) After Touchdown enter into spreads. Now I have no clue. Butter might be right?

andrea californiagirl michaels 3:20 AM  

33A What runs ruin
I confidently put in NOHITTERS, thinking for once I was in on the sports sh*t. Nope. :(

I think 27A calls for the video of Andre2000 singing "Shake it like a Polaroid" so I can have that "Heyyyy now" song running thru my head the rest of the weekend!

@chefwen
agree with you, so I just put the final H in WELLLEADIDA outside the box :)

ONTO, ATTEMPTTO, ONETO...that's "oneto" many ;) However, ONETO was worth it just to read Rex's joke...

2D shades of Horshack. "Ooh, Ooh, Mr. Kottah! Mr. Kottah!"

Hand up for iCee...
and if my tit were bearded, I'd invest in some NEET stat.

jae 4:41 AM  

Thank you Andrea for that image.

imsdave 7:39 AM  

I'm with Andrea thinking that there were two too many to's.

Slowed down a bit by YOMAMASFAT. Easy on the bottom, challenging on the top. All in all, a good Saturday workout.

Smitty 8:14 AM  

What @ Rex said..... I got near the summit but never did conquer this puzzle.
pretty joyless
OH OH
OKLA
GAT (how many people in the 'hood use that OLDE term?)

Cathy P. 8:26 AM  

Jodie Foster was the Coppertone Cutie in 60's commercials.

Greene 8:29 AM  

Total slog for me and had to come here for help. So many errors. I started with DESERT SOUTHWEST for 17A (it fit and worked with OSOS too!) and kind of went downhill from there. I did know THE MISFITS (terrible film) and CALIFORNIA GIRLS, so like IMSDave, the bottom half was easier than the top (notice I didn't say easy, Dave!).

DJG 8:54 AM  

When solving, I first thought of the terrible Katy Perry song Rex referenced before The Beach Boys song, so I wrote in CALIFORNIAGIRLZ, because I knew girls was misspelled in the title.

Turns out I had the wrong misspelling, but it didn't matter because I had the wrong song altogether (which I quickly realized).

Put me in the surprised at the rating camp. Thought it tilted easier.

Thanks for the old Honeycomb commercial, Rex. Andre The Giant, we hardly knew ye.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Liked this one.

Anyone else have OASIS for single palm?

(I was so proud... then, not)

Nancy in PA 9:27 AM  

Confidently put in "stockings" for 33A, then decided it had to be "nohitters." Turned out hosiery was it all along; showing my age w/ stockings instead of panty hose. Resisted putting in ONETO as it was so ugly, but agree that it was worth it for Rex's joke. It irks me that my kids, the digital generation, will say "It's not ten o'clock yet" when their timepieces (mostly their phones) say 9:59.

mitchs 9:35 AM  

Had nothing for 8 minutes plus - then worked back from the SE. It was pretty clear sailing from there...Liked the clue for MOE. Hand up for a proud OASIS.

jackj 9:36 AM  

"Its outsides are ornately embossed" is one great, great clue.

Cluing OREOCOOKIE!!

Made my day, even though the puzzle overall was on the easy side.

For the ICEE's among you 9:42 AM  

Tastee Freez is a chain of stores, not a "drink".

Their version of the "icee" is listed on their menu as "Freezes" (Oreo, Butterfinger, Reese's Pieces, M&M's).

Just wondering, if ICEE wern't recently discussed here, would it still have been considered?

P>G>

GlennCY 9:50 AM  

very funny revue today! Much enjoyed.

Shamik 10:29 AM  

Easy medium here at 17:26. Put me in the ICEE, STOCKINGS and OASIS camps. And while the clues were forced, as Rex said, it's Saturday.

Kept thinking of national forests and wanted something to do with Alaska. Can you tell how eager I am to return there for the summer? And then got the PLATEAU part and was really confused. And then a big head smacking doh since I live in Arizona. Doh!

The MAC running leopard was no gimme for this pc.Overall, an enjoyable puzzle.

Gil.I.Pollas 10:31 AM  

My husband surprised me last night with a NYT subscription for my birthday. He said it was about time to stop dwelling in the past and to join the present! He knows I love the Rex blog and all of you faithful followers. So here I am jumping in from syndication. I hope if I can fit, I'd try to scoochie in.
Sat. puzzles usually have me scrambling for Google. Not so today. I put in Mr. Toad immediately at 20A so that probably tells you a lot about my inner child intellect.
The only answer that I wasn't crazy about was 1A. Never heard it said that way although I like YO MAMA.
Neet indeed! better than a razor.

Orange 10:35 AM  

I looked up the YW in Wikipedia. Turns out the YW we know is allied with an international organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Who knew? Not I. Didn't come up in my YWCA youth group back in the day.

@SethG! My husband worked at TCBY during his college years. Would you believe he didn't get fired for engaging in a whipped cream fight on the job?

BigSteve46 10:35 AM  

Excitable one: "atom?" Someone explain, please.

Glitch 10:39 AM  

@Gil.I.Pollas

Welcome. Room here for all.

And as far as 1A, the barb is a "Yo Mama joke", i.e a category rather than a saying itself.

.../Glitch

Mel Ott 11:09 AM  

What @Rex said about the cluing. I would add the apostrophe in the clue for 54D. I'm not an expert on either contemporary street slang or gangster slang, but here goes:

Folks in the 'hood might call a firearm a piece, but I doubt they would use the old gangstery term GAT. A hood without the apostrophe might call it a GAT, and might also use the newer term piece.

Jim 11:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
matt 11:10 AM  

I agree with all of Rex's quibbles, except that I found this to be on the relatively easy side -- the south being MUCH quicker than the north.

To go with all the other wrong answers for 33A, I at first tried UNDERWEAR... even though I was pretty sure it had to be wrong.

Jim 11:17 AM  

I'm the least PC person in the world, but it didn't escape my notice that, not only is Rex's commentary on YOMAMAJOKE apt, but the underlying assumption that a GAT is a regular possession of people who live in the 'hood (read: black) is a little...I don't know. Maybe if they weren't both in the same puzzle, it wouldn't strike me, but.

Anyway, maybe 4th or 5th successful Saturday, so I'm happy.

Didn't have Rex's problem with SOX, though I did change it to TEX (as in Rangers) before coming back. Didn't comment on this yesterday, b/c someone else took care of it, but I'm just not on Rex's wavelength about baseball. Thought the clue for JETER was great, if a little obscure to non-baseball fans. And BANDBOX a couple weeks ago...well, no need to rehash that.

MALE and JODIE gave me YOMAMAJOKE, and then YWCA (from YMCA). Put in COLOReD something-or-other (majesties, maybe?) before settling on COLORADO-. That along with MISTER- left the NE unapproachable for a really long time. Tried PrAirie before finally settling on PLATEAU, and a guess at NCAA gave me MONT, then finally the east came down. All in all, satisfying experience. I might be starting to get the hang of these late-week puzzles...finally.

BTW, no one who calls someone 'Sugar' (some oily-haired cad from the 1950s) would also call someone DEARY (I picture some midwestern housewife MAYBE using this term). But...how else would you clue DEARY?

Working on Sunday's puzzle now...a new Simpsons character makes his first appearance that I can recall. Hint...he's the "urban Lenny"

Mel: GAT is quite a common term in rap songs. Maybe because it rhymes so well. From Cypress Hill:

I got the clearance
To run the interference
Into your satellite
Shinin’ a battle light
Swing out the gat
And I know that will gat ya’ right.

TimJim 11:19 AM  

Any puzzle with Yo Mama and Mister Toad gets a thumbs up in my book. NW was the toughest for me. Still not sure how I got it, but I did. Isn't "statute law" redundant?

PuzzleNut 11:26 AM  

Also found this puzzle pretty easy. Expected a "super easy" rating from Rex.
Can't really remember how I got through this one, but there always seemed to be just enough toeholds to get by.
ALAMOS is a great Saturday answer. Earlier in the week it would be ASPENS aor ABELES, but MOE steered me right today. Slowed down by SalesTAXES and iCee, but my cautious Saturday solving mode kept me from too many write-overs. Like most everyone else, NW was my last fill.

Two Ponies 11:27 AM  

I agree that the clues were oddly phrased today. The puzzle seemed too easy for a Saturday.
@ Rex, I am thinking that the Jodie refers to Buffy and Jodie. Foster kids of a single guy with a butler.
Family Affair?
I despised that show.

syndy 11:32 AM  

11 across was a gimmee Mont gavrin was an Alp so I confidently pu MOUNT going down and though well thats too easy for a saturday,Spelled PRYER with a "Y" so I had YE OLDE OREO COOKYE-Had plateau almost immediately but since I know almost no geography..Yews was a gimmee so no ICEE for me..Got YO MAMA???? and WHAT---SER and stopped dead!! dnf revealed and saith WTF not in a million years was still saying WTH this morning wanted an actual BARB

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Great review and comments. DNF because of TRIX. I'm an old hippie and only eat granola, and also raised bees, so honeycomb as a cereal just did not register. I kept running the alphabet for 58A and kept giving up at V or T.
I am not an Apple user so had to come here to understand MAC.
I've used the word alamo since childhood (Davy Crockett, Los Alamos, etc.); wasn't until today that I learned it was Spanish for cottonwood. Ah, the things you learn from crosswords!

David L 11:41 AM  

Medium Saturday for me, and I found the cluing more amusing than irritating -- although, like Rex, I didn't care for ONETO and the SOX clue. But I think OLDE meaning quaint is fine -- many OLDE gift shoppes and the like are not, in fact, very old.

I had BETS for 'spread things' before switching to PATS, but I don't see any prob with the clue.

Took forever to get COSTAS, even tho I watch the show pretty often. But I like to watch the game and tune out the incessant blabbering, especially now that Madden's retired.

@TimJim: I thought so too, but apparently 'statute law' means law enacted by some sort of representative body, as opposed to executive law, common law, Mubarak law, etc.

blecht 11:50 AM  

I diagree with the rating. I am no great solver, and I was able to whip through this one as quickly as I do a Monday puzzle.

I started with "The Misfits" and "California Girls" over the top of each other and did not stumble once.

OldCarFudd 11:51 AM  

Matterhorn/Mont was a gimme, but then I had nothing for at least 10 minutes. Eventually finished, and thought it was quite well done.

@TimJim - Statute law is only one kind of law. Much of what we're forced to obey is administrative law, or regulations, made by regulatory agencies under the authority of an underlying statute. And then there are ordinances, which are made by smaller bodies of government, like municipalities. We have to obey those, too - just try putting an addition on your house that doesn't meet the zoning code!

Gil.I.Pollas 11:57 AM  

@Glitch
I can't believe I didn't see that. Thanks
Yo Momma

archaeoprof 12:03 PM  

Wholeheartedly agree with Rex, especially about the cluing.

I regard this puzzle as one of the worst Saturdays in a long time.

I'm glad it's over.

Doug 12:10 PM  

Just my luck that POLAROID is the same as a POSITIVE and carries the same starting letters. Guess which one I opted for.

Did the Beach Boys do a cover of David Lee Roth's "Cal. Girls?" I'll have to find that.

JaxInL.A. 12:14 PM  

Can't stay, going to the Met opera live HD broadcast of Nixon in China, but had to say that I got a thrill seeing a sort of shout out to me with INLA! And the Getty is terrific.

After struggling for a toehold forever, and having to Google for a couple of stuck spots (AVOCET, ERLE), i enjoyed this in the end. Very much agree with Rex about the clues trying too hard,though. Will come back and read everyone else after the show. Have fun!

Amy 12:45 PM  

I agree with all your complaints. I have one additional one. No one says "statute law." It's either a statute, a law, or perhaps statutory law. Not statute law.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

statute law
statute law

statute law

statutory law

Amy 1:03 PM  

I have been a lawyer for over 30 years, and I have never once heard someone refer to it that way.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Coppertone used to run print ads with a cute little cartoon girl at a beach followed by a dog pulling off her bathing shorts. The ads were well known. Jodie Foster made her acting debut at age 3 in a Coppertone commercial. From this came an urban myth that Jodie acted as the little girl losing her bathingsuit on a Coppertone commercial. I remember the rumor going around my elementary school. It seemed very gossip-worthy at the time. This was back in the day when Jodie Foster was starring in many kid movies. Here's a bit supposedly from the Coppertone website, but that I found elsewhere on the web:

"Little Miss Coppertone® came to life in animated form at the end of a Coppertone commercial in 1965. Actress Jodie Foster had her television debut in the same commercial, appearing as a toddler on a boat with her family enjoying the day. This commercial created false rumors that Foster was the original Little Miss Coppertone®."

Lurker0 1:36 PM  

Re @Amy: Google '"statute law"' (including the double quotes) produces "About 5,570,000 results." That's a lot of "no one"s saying it.

___

@BigSteve46 said...

Excitable one: "atom?" Someone explain, please.

---

The electrons in atoms can be excited from lower energy states to higher ones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excited_state

I always knew my PhD in Physics would pay off some day. :-)

Larry

quilter1 2:14 PM  

Took me awhile today as I had stuff to do and went away and came back several times, finishing over lunch. Made it seem harder than it was. I also had gnu for TIT and confidently put in school aids for STATE TAXES which held me up a bit. I knew an avocet is a bird but could not remember what kind.

@Gil.l.Pollas, welcome. I got the subscription for my birthday and consider it one of the best gifts ever. *The* best was a spa day, but they are comparable.

Sonata 2:49 PM  

OREOCOOKIE took me way longer than it should have, considering I had just finished reading all about it on Wiki after yesteday's "Onetime meringue-filled treats".

BTW, my favorite bit of new-found trivia from that research:
"Oreo comes from the Greek root for appetizing as in orexigenic (appetite stimulating) or anorexic (loss of appetite)"

Which brings me to another recent lightbulb moment...
I had fruitlessly googled "arexic" several times, but prompted by above digression, perservered, and found this definition:
--the condition of differing from rex--

Aha!! I suffer from it often... ;)

joho 2:56 PM  

I'm back but not sure I should comment as I'm feeling dense being sleep deprived and jet lagged.

Loved the clue for OREOCOOKIE. YOMAMAJOKE, MISTERTOAD and WELLLADIDDA all tickled me.

I'll just say thanks to Joel Fagliano and go take a nap.

TimJim 3:41 PM  

@David L and OldCarFudd:
Sure, there are different kinds of laws, and one of them is a statute, but that doesn't mean "statute" should be used as an adjective. "Statutory" seems more like it, as per @Amy. A daffodil is a flower, but you wouldn't refer to a "daffodil flower."

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Thanks for "smack him hard for me." I laughed out loud :)

COIXT RECORDS 4:00 PM  

Liked this puzzle. Always baffle myself when I can finish a Saturday grid in under 30 minutes 2 days after abandoning a Thursday grid about 30% complete. Disappointed to not see any Misfits videos linked in today's post! Danzig is going to kick your ass, Rex!

Clark 4:46 PM  

The phrase 'statute law' is very common in academic legal circles. It often stands in contrast to case law or common law. One might, for example, study the codification of the law of sales, by which sales law in the United States changed from common law to statute law. Here are a couple of examples of academic uses of the phrase in titles of articles: Ponzetto and Fernandez, Case Law versus Statute Law: An Evolutionary Comparison, 37 Journal of Legal Studies 379 (2008); Langbein, Why Did Trust Law Become Statute Law in the United States?, 58 Alabama Law Review 1069 (2007).

Two Ponies 4:47 PM  

No one agrees or disagrees about Jodie being from Family Affair?
It's the old trick of capitalizing the first word of the clue, right?

mac 4:53 PM  

@Two Ponies: you may be right, but don't you think that show was too obscure to use in a puzzle?
That Jodie was too improbably well-dressed and pearled.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

This was a hugely difficult Saturday for me. That means that I got only a couple of 3 or 4 letter words before I had to resort to Google. Even with all the Googling I could only fill the bottom third and part of the center. The top was a non-conquerable territory. Got MATTERHORN, OSOS and ERLE but that was the extent of my success.
I agree with Rex that there was just too much misdirection that it stopped being clever. It is not much fun when you have to go to Google from the get-go whether you finish the puzzle or not.

Rex Parker 4:55 PM  

It can't be JODIE from "Family Affair." Why would clue mention "commercials?" Makes no sense. Plus that JODIE is "JODY."

Matthew G. 5:01 PM  

STATUTE LAW is a thing, but it's true that most lawyers say "statutory law" when they need to distinguish it from case law. I would have preferred a clue that also relied on this distinction, because nobody ever says "Hey, did you hear about the new statute (or statutory) law that Congress just passed?"

Anyway, I pretty much had all the same tripping points as Rex: ROCKIES instead of PLATEAU and ICEE instead of TCBY (I've never heard of Tastee-Freez, so I didn't know it was a store rather than a drink). Also tried STOCKINGS before PANTYHOSE.

I shared Rex's dislike for much of the cluing, especially re: SOX. I agree: nobody ever refers to a sports team as a "what": they're a "who." In fact, I probably would have gotten SOX instantly if the clue had said "who." And while I get that it's a Saturday puzzle, if your only way of making a clue hard is to use the wrong pronoun, you're doing something wrong.

Despite those problems, however, I finished almost exactly in my average Saturday time. That's because I zoomed through the NW and SE in an almost early-week time, and then later got slowed down by tough cluing elsewhere.

I skip M-W 6:35 PM  

I have known the phrases "excited state" for an atom and "statute law" since childhood, but the breakfast cereal referents and the TV shows, not. No one has mentioned the outdoorsy near theme, with two good birder clues and the plateau, Matterhorn, redbud, etc. I suspect "yo mama" jokes no longer confined to any one ethnicity, but probably not so urban either. Could it be that Joe Fagliano spends more time hiking than in town? Agree with @rex that oreo cluing was excellent. the trouble with Spring in Feb (in No. Calif.) is allergies, which slowed me down, but good puzzle overall.

oreo cookie michaels 6:59 PM  

@mac
um, that Jody from "Family Affair" was also a little boy (Johnny Whitaker) so doubtful he was wearing pearls, etc. Unless you know something we don't!

@TwoPonies
No on "Family Affair", yes on Paul Revere and the Raiders being cute.

@Sonata

THAT is fabulous info about Oreo!!!
I never thought about where the name actually came from, tho when someone with a sort of aggressive wtf-is-a namer attitude demands an example of what I've named, I sometimes say "The Oreo". I wait to see if they say "Really???!!!" or not, so I know who I'm dealing with!

Never thought about it, but if I had known it was from Greek, I would have guessed OREIA as in "beautiful", but "Appetite" makes SO much more sense!!!
Now that father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" can add OREOS to things the Greeks have named!

@joho
welcome back! I loved the same words you did, as per usual!

Tempted to post this at "one to four"

Two Ponies 8:33 PM  

Oops. I just reread the clues and I never saw the word commercial the first time. I stopped at 60's TV.

michael 8:51 PM  

I had very little for quite a while and all of sudden something happened and I zoomed through the whole thing easily. Totally arexic today -- I liked the clues and agree with hardly any of Rex's comments.

mmorgan 9:54 PM  

slog slog... AHA! slog slog... AHA! slog slog... AHA!

Totally agree with @Rex, and it took some time, but anytime I finish a Saturday, it's a lovely day.

mmorgan 10:00 PM  

@acme: Hah! Yay! as always!

Almost done with Sunday but I'm finding it unusually nasty. Nice.

Ed S. 12:18 AM  

On the GAT, a "piece" is the old gangster term. I can quote the rappers Brand Nubian: "pass me the gat, I gotta stay strapped, I ain't rollin' over on my m---------in' back".

mac 7:39 AM  

@ACME: I remember! That cute little crumpled face! But didn't he have an older pearled sister, with hair that didn't move?

Jim 9:37 AM  

Sissy was her name. The show was a big hit and ran for several seasons, I believe. I wasn't a fan.
Started with MOE and sorta went ccw from there, ending with JODIE.
I am all PC w/no Mac experience but still got Leopard ref.
Had ONE OF for a while and GNU and ICEE before remembering that T-F was a place not a drink.
Liked fabulous but suppose fabled would have made it too easy for Saturday.
The Misfits was MM's last film, wasn't it?
PATS refering to butter works for me.
Even if they're spanish, are there bears in Granada?

hazel 11:43 PM  

i look back over the grid and cant imagine why i thought it difficult. maybe its the new pain meds or just the fact that i have pain that requires meds. wasnt really a fan of the cluing - some of it seemed screwed a little too tight, and it kind of stripped the whole thing. i did like MISTERTOAD. always like his clues. he seems like such a fine fellow. And the COLORADOPLATEAU - go geology!

another puzzle down. hope i learned something from it.

cody.riggs 2:32 PM  

LOL LOL @ Andrea Californiagirl 3:20am! I actually really liked this puzzle, and thought nothing odd of the misdirected cluing until reading Rex's enjoyably snarky review.

Favorite answer: YO MAMA JOKE.

Palmdalian 11:58 AM  

Message from Syndiland. 48D made me smile because I'm visiting the Getty today! (Mar 19) Me and some family members are doing a scavenger hunt put on by Watson Tours, which is one of the sponsors of the Crosswords LA Tournament. Meanwhile in real time it's the second day of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn! Good luck everybody.

Loved this puzzle because I finished it, and had fun doing so. Like @Jim 11:17 am, I feel like I may be starting to figure out how to do these NYT Friday and Saturday puzzles at last. Knock on wood.

a break 12:41 PM  

THERE IS ACTUALLY AN ABREV IN 35D HI- IS ABREV FOR HIGH THINK IT'S GENERATIONAL THUNK PUZZLES LATELY KINDA CLUNKY

Marc 6:59 PM  

One of the toughest Saturday puzzles in a long time. Took me forever to get started, and after a long hard slog, DNF.

I was defeated, at last by the SW corner. Never heard of TCBY, and even after I saw BRAT it took me a while to figure out what that had to do with handful.

This was some very tough cluing for me and I like a challenge, so I don't object to that, but the answers were not quite as delightful as one might have hoped. Still, a solid effort that kicked my butt six ways from Saturday. Curse you, Joel Fagliano!

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