Bygone country name or its currency / SAT 8-24-13 / One of muskrats in 1976 hit Muskrat Love / Director/screenwriter Penn / Pippin Tony winner / It springs from Monte Falterona / Brand of literature / Chain of off-price department stores / Human Development Report publisher in brief / Or else despiser of good manners Shak

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Constructor: Frederick J. Healy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none, except for that SPARE TIRE clue (28D: Likely result of excess 17- and 53-Across), which I don't think constitutes a theme

Word of the Day: STEIN MART (8D: Chain of off-price department stores) —
Stein Mart is a nationwide department store based in Jacksonville, Florida. The company reported a profit of nearly $24 million in 2009 with operation of 264 stores in 29 states. Stein Mart has locations primarily in the Southeast and Texas. Stein Mart's stores carry recent trends in clothing for both men and women. Additionally, home d├ęcor, accessories, and shoes are all available at discounted prices. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was pretty damned easy up top, but then I just couldn't come down south of KICKSTART without rebooting completely (starting w/ MARLEE and then SAM in the SE) (41D: Actress Matlin + 48A: One of the muskrats in the 1976 hit "Muskrat Love"). None of the Downs running through KICKSTART were computing for me off their initial letters, and I could *not* get out of that little eastern portion. RANG took me Forever (30D: Seemed to be) and with --KEY, I strangely couldn't see ON KEY (39A: Not at all sharp, maybe). But then there were enough gimmes down south to get me going again, and I finished in very good time, somewhere in the 8s, with the second "E" in EPEE my last letter.

[This really happened]

Quality-wise, this puzzle seems (rings?) quite nice. Feels like it has a lower word count than it does—likely a result of that choppy midsection, which piles up the 3- and 4-letter words. A RUDE is a terrible partial, but beyond that, nothing here really bugged me at all. Long answers are very clean and crisp, if a tad on the  staid side. I've never heard of STEIN MART, so that was a challenge ... actually less of a challenge than it should've been, as I got the STEIN part entirely from crosses, and then without too much trouble was able to infer the -MART part—a not uncommon store suffix, that. I thought 26D: "Exodus" character was a gimme, and it was, in that alternative universe where the answer is ELI. In this universe, however, I just screwed up, and with a neighboring screw-up in KAL Penn (25D: Director/screenwriter Penn), that little section took some rewriting to get through. But for a Saturday, there wasn't that much resistance. I enjoyed this one. It had no junk, it had some good answers, and I made very good time. I can ask for more, but not that much more.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jackj 12:05 AM  

    Frustration ruled the roost for the first few minutes spent with this Frederick Healy toughie with only bits and snatches like ALIST, MARLEE, FOSSE and GRAF giving me something to put into the grid while the four 15’s didn’t just look difficult, they looked impossible.

    Some recollections from recent puzzles helped me KICKSTART my solve when a repeat of last Wednesday’s sickly saccharine ICARE was an obvious answer, and its “I”, when tied to the beginning of “Go figure!”, gave me IMAGINETHAT, which LEAPT out of nowhere, but seemed a kissing cousin of the wonderful IHAVENOIDEA clue we were treated to earlier in the week.

    As letters filled in portions of the dreaded 15’s they all succumbed without much further ado, all except CHOCOLATESHAKES since, in my neck of the woods of New England, it is never “SHAKES”, it’s always MILKSHAKES, so the entry only went in very uncomfortably after toying with alternatives that didn’t work.

    It was a special treat to find short answers that were wonderfully clued like GUT and GROK, SMUG and UNIT, ONCUE and HOPTO and my favorite, that little “Verbal gem”, MOT.

    So, YAY to Frederick H.; it was a Neiman Marcus like first-class offering with nary a whiff of cut-rate STEINMART or its ilk.

    jae 12:08 AM  

    My experience was the exact opposite of Rex's. It was easy-tough for me mostly because I held onto acro for way too long. Even after I'd eliminated atras for the blade brand.  So, top half very crunchy, bottom half pretty easy.  Also had tArpS for RAKES briefly, and kept wanting ice cream something for 17a. 

    This was a nice follow-up to yesterday's.  Much tougher for me and an AMPLE amount of zippy stuff.  Like it a lot! 

    Questinia 12:37 AM  

    TSK, HIE, and ASIA opened the grid after a bit of hovering uncertainty. Loved SEAWORTHY. Great small fill as noted by @ jackj. Loved all the cluing. Finished with average time.

    A very sweet and near perfect puzzle, imo. Not familiar with the constructor but look forward to more from him.

    JFC 12:39 AM  

    Ditto to Rex, except for time. Worked top down. Enjoyed Rex's comments....


    Charlene 1:11 AM  

    Hardest in at least two months. Had never heard of at least half the clues. Pippin? Steinmart? "Shakes" (ugh x 100)? The obscene sounding "toss down"???

    Benko 2:07 AM  

    Also had a much easier time on the bottom half than the top, having to work my way up. Took a couple of minutes to make any real progress in the grid, making my time higher than I would have liked.
    Here in FL Steinmarts are everywhere. makes sense they're based in Jacksonville.

    chefwen 2:35 AM  

    After carefully counting out my letters, my first fill was CHOCOLATE SHAKES. Yes! That's the way to start one of these endlessly white puzzles. Was equally pleased when a few downs proved my answer was, indeed correct.

    Can't say that I zoomed through the rest, but it all fell into place like a nice arrangement of Dominos.

    A perfect Saturday puzzle for me. Thank you Mr. Healy.

    The Bard 7:09 AM  

    As You Like It , Act II, scene VII

    ORLANDO: Forbear, and eat no more.

    JAQUES: Why, I have eat none yet.

    ORLANDO: Nor shalt not, till necessity be served.

    JAQUES: Of what kind should this cock come of?

    DUKE SENIOR: Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy distress,
    Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
    That in civility thou seem'st so empty?

    ORLANDO: You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
    Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
    Of smooth civility: yet am I inland bred
    And know some nurture. But forbear, I say:
    He dies that touches any of this fruit
    Till I and my affairs are answered.

    loren muse smith 7:34 AM  

    Beautiful grid. I was so pleased to "finish" this one. But a dnf - never saw that blade as EXACTO, so I had "xact I/ins" thinking the former was some razor I had never heard of. I also never changed the final letter of STEINMART, so I had "Steinmark" and the ridiculous "kick stark."

    GROK is a word I don't really understand. Plus it looks like a caveman word.

    Liked spot OF TEA so close to SCONE. YAY!

    I'm surprised not to find more gushing here. I thought this was one of the best themeless puzzles in a while. Excellent work, Fredrick.

    r.alphbunker 7:50 AM  

    Guessing the {1A. Start of phobia?} ended in O got me ONCE for {4D. Almost never}. From the C of ONCE I wrote in iceCreAmsundaEs. Sort of like a paleontologist reconstructing a dinosaur from a single bone. However, a trip through the Downs that passed through this dinosaur fortunately yielded no results so I immediately erased it but kept ONCE. I feel very fortunate that I did not see LEAPT and ALERT which would have make it much more difficult to get rid of it.

    The small words in the middle got me started after that. With the middle finished the top fell first then the bottom with ARUDE being my last entry.

    Norm C. 7:58 AM  

    Any Saturday I can finish is a good Saturday. Agree w/ Rex that the top was easy, then nothing for a long time.

    Last words in were RANG and ONKEY and I'm still not convinced the clue for RANG makes sense.

    Good weekend, all.

    optionsgeek 8:07 AM  

    More of a medium challenging for me. Completely stuck on top and ended up prying loose answers one by stubborn one on the bottom and slloooooowwwly working my way up. Ended up with my worst time for a Friday in months. The clueing was tough and just didn't spark the answers for some reason. A fair puzzle, but not one I enjoyed that much due to the lack of sympatico.

    mitchs 8:21 AM  

    Easy Medium? Wow, I clicked Rex's link confident that I'd see at least a medium-challenging. Most of the difficulty for me was in scrambling for footholds and a couple of wrongs: PENANDPAPER and ELITE.

    True, once I got into the swing of things it got a lot easier, but my over all time was long for a Saturday.

    Loved this puzzle.

    Glimmerglass 8:40 AM  

    @r.alphbunker. Nice job in the NW! I got no traction anywhere up top, very little on the bottom. I knew MOT and guessed that the chain might end in MART and guzzle something-DOWN. That gave me SEAWORTHY and the rest of the Middle East. Then a spot OF TEA and MARLEE gave me IMAGINE THAT and the rest of the bottom. The top, for me, was a lot harder. Definitely not "easy," even for a Saturday. Satisfying solve.

    Mohair Sam 8:54 AM  

    Medium for us. Had same experience as Rex right down to the last E in EPEE. However there is a STEINMART a few miles from here so that answer filled on the gimme MOT.

    lost a lot of time when I mindlessly wrote EltoN for ETHAN (I'm a Sixers fan). That changed ATON to the equally logical AlOt and gave us fits.

    I thought GROK was slang, but through Google I see it has been promoted (doesn't even make my 2007 Webster's). Anyhow, it's a fine word indeed - thank you Mr. Heinlein.

    Z 9:08 AM  

    Lets start a puzzle with an X at 1A. Nice.

    ready to go before SEAWORTHY, but the middle was still the first to fall. Worked up and finished the NW and NE next, but since we have no STEINMARTs in Michigan, ALIST and LENTO stayed hidden. MARLEE, SCONE, and I CARE gave me enough to see COME TO THE RESCUE so the south was too tough.

    Finished in the north when the lemmingesque LEAPT finally leapt out at me. All in all a nice Saturday.

    @LMS - "GROK is a word I don't really understand." Nice. With both Heinlein and Ellison making appearances we are getting a nice little run of 1960's Science Fiction greats. I fully expect to see POUL in the puzzle soon.

    chefbea 9:28 AM  

    Tough for me as most Saturdays are. Had never heard of Steinmart until we moved to Wilmington. There's one here and we I went for a big sale they were having. It was so crowded and the checkout lines were very long so we left...and never went back.

    Love apple pie...the other day bought some apple/pears!!! They are sooooo good - round and yellow and taste like a combination of the two fruits, and are crisp

    joho 9:33 AM  

    To echo @Z, what a beautiful beginning with XENO/XACTO. Plus under that we have ZAIRE/ZAK.

    Yes, @Questina, SEAWORTHY is a wonderful word.

    @Rex, "ATON of CHOCOLATESHAKES and APPLEPIEALAMODE will lead to a SPARETIRE ... IMAGINETHAT!" is as close as you can get to having a theme on a Saturday. A humorous one at that!


    I can't say enough about this puzzle! It is a thing of beauty!!!

    Frederick, you went ALLOUT with this one, I am in awe.

    Bill from FL 9:41 AM  

    The north was completely blank (although I had a few hunches) as I moved nervously into the south. I was saved by MARLEE--the first entry I could write in with confidence. I saw IMAGINE THAT just from the A, and that got me started.

    By coincidence, according to my local paper, today is Miss Matlin's 48th birthday.

    I would agree with those who found this puzzle challenging, but consistently clever.

    R. McGeddon 9:44 AM  

    I agree that there's a theme. If you TOSS DOWN too much APPLE PIE A LA MODE and too many CHOCOLATE SHAKES at the STEINMART lunch counter, you'll get a SPARE TIRE.

    Great puzzle.

    R. McGeddon 9:48 AM  

    Also, the symmetrical opposites TAKE NO PRISONERS and COME TO THE RESCUE.

    mathguy 9:50 AM  

    I've been reading the nice comments here for a while and I wanna play too. My wife and I do the puzzle every day. We live in San Francisco. We just got back from a funeral in Charlottesville VA where we walked through a Steinmark, we don't have any out here. We solved the Friday on the plane yesterday and did the Saturday when we got home last night. I thought the Friday was tougher. We got GROK from the acrosses but it doesn't make sense to me even though I know what it means. I don't like the clue for RANG.

    Gill I. P. 9:53 AM  

    Had the same problem as @jae starting off with ACRO/ATRAS. CHOCOLATE was screaming at me though and I had a sneaky suspicion about TAKE NO PRISONERS. YAY, XACTO got scooched in and I finished the upstairs part.
    Yes, @LMS I thought this was a terrific puzzle. I can't find anything to complain about other than it took me a good hour to get a toehold downstairs.
    Thank you F HEALY, I'll take seconds.

    chefbea 10:06 AM  

    @mathguy welcome to you and your wife

    Notsofast 10:12 AM  

    First of all - a somewhat GREAT puzzle. Two small quibbles: manufacturing (MFG) is not a "product". And since when are there tigers in EURASIA?

    Rookie 10:16 AM  

    @Norm C and @ math guy

    Consider ...

    " That seemed true."


    "That rang true."

    In that context, the clue makes sense.

    Anonymous 10:19 AM  

    Does anyone really refer to an instinctive reaction as a "gut" rather than a "gut reaction"? Otherwise, a great and (for me) challenging puzzle.

    Merle 10:27 AM  

    Glad to see the Bard again! Thank you, dear Bard, for providing context for the few isolated words of the Bard that creep into a puzzle from time to time. For more than the context, actually -- for the music, for the poetry, for the soaring imagination.

    Very very difficult puzzle for me. Couldn't find a foothold, or a handhold -- kept sliding down the cliff straight to an empty grid. And misled myself with 1 A and 1 D combo, 1 A "agro", and then, 1 D certainly has to be a razor brand starting with "a", but what is it?
    Don't know razor brands! Finally got a paltry few answers, and then -- eventually -- a few aha! moments led to a lot of fill. Took way too long. Truly challenging.

    Strong puzzle, though! The obscurity of a Captain and Tenille 1976 novelty song -- you either got to love the puzzle constructor or hate him! Well, I turned to 51 A, asked Google to "play savior", and Google indeed did "come to the rescue". Wouldn't have known that "Muskrat Love" was sung by C and T, definitely don't care, sorry I've just cluttered up my mind with this nonsense! But maybe the info will drop through the Swiss cheese holes in my memory eventually....

    Merle 10:35 AM  

    Notsofast, tigers roam India. And India sits on the Indian Plate, and is considered part of Eurasia. Go know. We talk about the Indian subcontinent, of course, and think of India as definitely being in Asia, but it is the southern part of Eurasia.

    You are right to assume that tigers' habitats are in Asia -- except for a small part of central India. And since technically India is a part of Eurasia, Healy's clue is correct. Who would know any of this, though? Is Google the new Swami, Google knows all?

    Norm 10:51 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Carola 10:55 AM  

    "Easy-medium"? Wow, that felt like a KICK to the GUT. Found it very tough - talk about TAKE NO PRISONERS! - but loved every minute of brain-racking. For a long time, MOT was a little island in a white SEA, but then some words started to accrete at the bottom and I was able to climb up to XENO.

    I SPURNed something-WORTHY forever as I couldn't believe there was a synonym for "seemed to be" that started with RA.... Had eLIte before A-LIST - it worked with LEAPT and INTRA, so I didn't doubt it for a long time.

    Frederick Healy, I thought this was a terrific Saturday puzzle. Can't wait for your next one!

    Z 11:04 AM  

    @Merle - A much simpler explanation is that the answer to the clue "Place for tiger woods?" Is ASIA and the clue "Prefix with 36-Across" means "Prefix with ASIA," for which the answer is EUR. There's no need to go into the whole "EURASIA is rally just one continent" thing.

    @anon10:19 - Breaking Bad really hits you in the GUT.

    Ray J 11:06 AM  

    Dinosaurs like me remember using XACTO knives for CUT AND PASTE work. I recently purchased a pack of replacement blades for my shop so it was fun to have it show up today.

    I worked this from the bottom up and finished in the west central. For a while I was staring at ____START and thought that was enough to satisfy the clue. GROK begot KICK and etc.

    I needed about 30 minutes, which is a good Sat. time for me.

    This was a lot of fun. Thanks, Mr. Healy.

    quilter1 11:06 AM  

    Could get no traction on this so I gave up. We had a STEINMART for awhile but I never went there and I guess no one else did either as it has disappeared.

    Anonymous 11:08 AM  

    This one seemed really easy for a Saturday. Muskrat Love was originally by America.

    Anonymous 11:36 AM  

    Great to read a thread of comments and not have to deal with August West's snarky homophobia.

    jae 11:39 AM  

    @lms - Stranger in a Strange Land is very much worth the read.

    @Z - Did you mean Frederik POHL or were you referring to POUL Anderson?

    Sandy K 11:48 AM  

    It looked really scary when I had nothing but MARLEE! Could not IMAGINE THAT I would ever finish. But then slowly but surely it STARTed to KICK in...

    Hand up for liking XENO/XACTO, and having eLIte before ALIST. Hi @Carola!

    In SPITE of never hearing of STEINMART and feeling DENSE, this was definitely Saturday-WORTHY and doable! Faves were the 15s and the 11s!!

    So happy I was able to MOP UP! YAY!!

    August West 11:58 AM  

    Started this beautiful morning with a 20 mile bike ride, hit "brew" on the ol' Keurig, and sat down with the puzzle. So far, perfect day. Really enjoyed this one for keeping me ALERT. XENO/XACTO went in first, so I didn't encounter any resistance in the NW. First trouble spot was next door, where I banged in elite, as "confirmed" by LEAPT and INTRA. Looked forward to the reveal of an 8-letter word or phrase meaning "Guzzle," and moved on to the NE.

    My tennis ignorance is evident from my failure to know yesterday's DINK but, thankfully, I did know GHANA to be home to the world's largest man-made lake. Because I do crossword puzzles. That spawned GRAF, and FOSSE was a gimme, having been treated to a first-run viewing of "Pippin" as a 14-year-old middle schooler in 1976. Poor Mr. Giusti, music/theater teacher and organizer of the trip. Found himself in a bit of a spot once class returned from Broadway and began regaling parents with details of the show, which include a bacchanalian orgy and incestuous mother/son relationship. Mr. Giusti ruled.

    By now, I had enough downs to bring CHOCOLATESHAKES, TAKENOPRISONERS and CUTANDPASTE (great clue) into view, which begat TOSSDOWN and the need to swap out elite for ALIST.

    Loved ZAK Penn as Kumar, and I only know ARI as the go-to crossword "Exodus" character. Eli QBs the Giants. Like Rex, RANG was bedeviling, and I needed all four crosses to go, "Oh, I gotcha." Hate the "word" GROK. Love it's inclusion in the puzzle!

    No other sticking points; the bottom filled fluidly and quickly, despite momentarily dropping in Sue for the subject muskrat. Took me 6 seconds longer to do this than Jonathan Gersch's very nice Maleskan throwback Wednesday. Which means this was an awesome puzzle!

    DavidS 11:58 AM  

    Lots of autofill in this one, especially in the 15s -- APPLEPIEALAMODE, and CHOCOLATESHAKES and TAKENOPRISONERS off just a few crosses. ZAIRE was also autofill, thanks to useless SCRABBLE® BRAND Crossword Game knowledge. Weird to see ICARE pop up, after it just made an appearance on Wednesday.

    Two erases in the NW -- had TREK/TSK for GROK/GUT. Figured that out quickly enough. What took longer was correcting DMC/ATTIC to ONS/NOOKS. Oh Mr. Healy, I was so hoping for that answer across answer to be cool, instead of...meh.

    "Ground crew gear?" doesn't really need to be clued as a question, imho. Reminds me of Groundskeeper Willie!

    Fun, quick Saturday -- quick puzzles all around this week!

    August West 12:14 PM  

    Really, "Anonymous" 11:36? What spine you've got.

    I made a mistake. I apologized, unequivocally and unabashedly. My son, btw, is gay. I just don't fall all to pieces or into a frothing rage over words. You must be great fun at a stand-up comedy show.

    I can't think of a place that's more perfect
    For a person as perfect as you.

    Anonymous 12:15 PM  

    I hated hated HATED this puzzle!

    Masked and Anonym007Us 12:15 PM  

    M&A here. Fun SatPuz, and yep, slightly alee of regular-hard. Good work.

    So, here's a constructor dude whose first NYT-ie was a nice, friendly Mooo-nPuz. Then, for reasons only he could explain, he totally went over to the dark side, and proceded to crank out eight of them eerily stone cold Fri-SatPuzs in a row. Yowch. Did someone here, in the 4-Oh range, say, unmercifully shred his one, humble MonPuz theme offering, thereby scarring him for life? I'd better go check.

    Be right back...

    [clomp, clomp clomp, clomp]
    [ahar sounds]
    [creeeeak kerthunk]
    [whistling & more clomping]

    Sorry for the wait. Don't clomp around as fast as I used to.
    Nope. That there MonPuz came out in 2004. 4-Oh fired up this blogsnark sucker in 2006. Fallllsely accused. QED.

    007U will return in "ARNO Majesty's Secret Service"...

    MandA also 12:33 PM  

    p.s. Speakin of the dark side...

    Over at the Stan Newman SatPullBackaStumpPuz, author is Jeff Chen. My fave constructor! Full of JUBA juice, no doubt.


    Z 12:33 PM  

    @jae - I just reread the Nicholas van Rijn omnibus, if that's any clue. Stranger in a Strange Land is an amazing work, especially considering its by the same guy who wrote Starship Trooper.

    @August West - Anonymice are best ignored, especially when calling names.

    @anon11:08 - I thought so, too, but it turns out America's version was also a cover tune. That two bands had hits covering that song says all you need to know as to why some of us are trying to forget huge chunks of the '70's.

    jberg 12:36 PM  

    My paper came late today, so I started the puzzle, which seemed really tough, but then had to go off to a music lesson before I could finish. Came back a couple hours later, and everything seemed to fall into place. I say seemed (but not RANG) because: a) even though I got CHOCOLATE SHAKES, I didn't write that first O over the C that was there already, and so had NOcKS for 3D, and B) I had no ideal about MARLEE Matlin, so I had VEG as the plant product, and could not decide if it was iN or ON KEY. Still a lot of fun, though.

    Leo Ebro 1:07 PM  

    Never heard of Zak Penn, so I immediately wrote in "Leo"
    (Sean Penn's father, an actor/director/writer who was
    blacklisted in the McCarthy era) at 25D. That gave me "Ebro"
    for 34A (which messed up 26D, which I was pretty sure had to
    be ARI, but I thought, what the heck, it's Saturday, maybe
    there's alesser-known three-letter character from Exodus).

    Also never heard of Steinmart, and couldn't name a
    single muskrat. As a result, I finally finished the thing, but my
    time was comparable to Rex's only if you add a 0 after the 8.

    I'm surprised there has been no criticism of the horrible fill for

    jae 1:11 PM  

    @Z - Yes it is. I've seen POHL in crosswords but not POUL.

    @August West - That would be KAL Penn unless you were kidding.

    OISK 1:20 PM  

    Breezed through this one, which made me feel better after my embarrassing admission yesterday that I didn't know who or what "Siri" was. Of course, I am familiar with the voice from commercials, Big Bang Theory, and a friend who plays with an iPhone, but I just never connected the name to it. I also made an embarrassing error yesterday (that no one corrected, thanks,) about Troyanos, about whom I wrote "she was a favorite Violetta." AFAIK, she never recorded that role. I mixed her up with Ileana Contrubas. I make that error all the time - something about the names I guess. Back on topic, though, a very fine puzzle! Now on to the double crostic...

    Mette 2:25 PM  

    Between humming Muskrat Love and "Gilette, the best a man can get", the only brand of blades that came to mind, I did not notice that nit for TSK made the continent Aisa (what a refresing clue).

    @Z - a trenchant comment on the '70s. Garry Trudeau once referred to it as a kidney stone of a decade.

    Mr. Healy, thank you, thank you, for a truly enjoyable 50 minutes.

    COsmartcookie 2:28 PM  

    @August West - I thought your apology the other day was appropriate and sincere. I was happy to see your comment about the puzzle today, which I appreciated (as I do all thoughtful comments that enhance my enjoyment of the day's puzzle & help me develop as a solver). Please keep coming back and don't let a few bad apples turn you away from this blog.

    August West 2:30 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    August West 2:31 PM  

    Jae - you're right. Just a typo/off-track thought on my part!

    Anoa Bob 2:54 PM  

    Another high quality, late-week puzzle on the heels of yesterday's gem. Nice workout and just tough enough to make me feel good about getting it done.

    There aren't many words or phrases a sailor likes to hear more than SEAWORTHY, unless it be Liberty Call!

    I'm fine tuning the circuitry in my prototype POC-o-meter and this puzzle barely moved the needle off the zero mark. Well, it did spike a little when CHOCOLATE SHAKE went plural and got upped from 14 to 15 letters and in the NW & SE corners where NOOK/ON & MEET/GET share a helper square S.

    Greg 3:13 PM  

    @Alan West - just because "some of your best relatives are gay" doesn't give you license for hate speech. A word maven like you knows that words have meaning and, while you "don't get into a frothing rage over words", maybe you have never felt the abuse that can accompany the word. Your apology is appreciated. You're defensiveness is not.

    Norm 3:14 PM  

    Took me the longest time to GROK the answer for "Play savior" since my brain simply refused to turn the noun into a verb. The bottom baffled me as a result, but the aha moment was rewarding.

    Norm 3:24 PM  

    Oh ... really wanted ADAMANDEVEONARAFT for "Dual diner dish" at 53A but I guess that would take a Sunday puzzle.

    Gene 3:33 PM  

    Had the same last letter as Rex! But spent much more time below KICKSTART. Breakthrough came when ...ALAMODE caused me to change PRIM to SMUG. That came to my RESCUE, and the rest fell in place.

    Melodious Funk 4:15 PM  

    3 hours! Bwahahaha. That'll teach me. (Short time out for Hebrew National 1/4 pound hot dog and B&M beans). PRIM for SMUG, GIVRE for GELEE, GULP for TOSS, etc.

    [struggle struggle] oops...
    [back to puzzle]

    Terrific outing from Mr. Healy.

    PS. @August West. Our daughter is gay, has a beautiful baby using a.i. living with a delightful partner of 7 years. Our best friends and many of their compatriots are gay. These people all consider themselves "post gay," I sense the meaning. These friends (male) and I often play with words to describe their social situation, needless to say the social contract in this country is slowly and inevitably changing. I may never see it in it's final form but I'm most pleased to see the movement. I'm sure your son is also. Encourage marriage if appropriate.

    DigitalDan 4:18 PM  

    As a Broadway lover, for "play savior" I was dedicated for the longest time to "something something ANGEL". That cost me a single HTG (for the muskrat), after which it all worked out.

    August West 4:25 PM  

    Greg, mindful of Z''s good advices, these will be my final words on the subject. You're attitude strikes me as typical of the "enlightened" liberal PC police, for whom no apology is sufficient, no self-recognition of inappropriate conduct is enough. If they let you have your way, you want to flay me into shape? My comment was wrong. Still, it was neither homophobic nor "hate speech", so come down from your judgmental high horse and piss off.

    Greg 4:33 PM  

    Who's on the high horse? Don't want to flay you. Me thinkth you protest too much.

    Z 6:34 PM  

    Okay, I'm going over my limit, but Mr. Conley's Bucky Katt is too on point today.

    BTW - Besides Mr. Chen in the Saturday Stumper, Mr. Silk authored the LATX today. The best reason for getting the Detroit Free Press delivered is that I get both.

    Dirigonzo 7:40 PM  

    If you had jumpSTART at 37a and refused to let go of it, as I did, the little section of the grid directly above it becomes impossible. The rest of the puzzle was a fun romp for a Saturday but I'm definitely not feeling SMUG.

    gifcan 9:50 PM  

    Quite difficult and that's why I'm posting so late in the day.

    Started in ASIA and ended in STEINMART, lots of grief in between.

    Gave in to Google for bedfellows ZAK and MARLEE, then continued to plod.

    Finished, though. XENO, LENTO, HALO? Thought we had an O thing going.

    Tough, but I liked it.

    mac 9:59 PM  

    I found this one tough, but probably because I was anxious to leave the apt. and get out into the city on this beautiful day.

    It was a good puzzle, but some of the clues seemed a bit precious. Again, I did not take the time today.

    Jim Finder 10:01 AM  

    Can someone explain why PER (40A) is "A shot"?

    Dirigonzo 10:47 AM  

    @Jim Finder - since no one else has replied I'll give it a go. When quoting the price of something you might say they are so much PER each one that much "a shot". So the lottery might cost $1.00 per ticket or a buck a shot.

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    spacecraft 12:22 PM  

    Time short today; so didn't read blogs. Another one that I finished despite initial despair of doing so. The lovely MARLEE was my way in, but it was tough going all the way. I've heard of Leo Penn, but not ZAK; this nearly cost me a DNF in the west, but finally GROKked ZAIRE; that helped a lot. Also doubted STEINMART even after I had it all filled in. I guess there are many regional store chains I've never seem. IMAGINETHAT!

    BedfordBob 4:18 PM  

    I just could not get started. I guessed at TAKE NO PRISONERS and ICE CREAM SUNDAES then realized ay least one was wrong.

    I gave up an Googled "Largest Artificial Lake Location" and filled in GHANA. so I changed ASHE to GRAF got FOSSE and was of to the races.

    It was hard for me but I filled in everything else correctly the final being the NW corner. I had INS instead of ONS and when I changed the "O" XACTO jumped to mind and ACRO became XENO.

    Wow, now I am sorry I didn't try a little harder before the one Google which spoiled what would have been a perfect Saturday.

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