Inuit knife / SAT 1-25-14 / Modern Gallantry pen name / Spread the Happy sloganeer / 2012 Pro Bowl player Chris / Valley of Amazement novelist 2013 / Megadyne fractions

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Park TAE-hwan (63D: Swimming gold medalist Park ___-hwan) —
Park Tae-hwan (born September 27, 1989) is a South Korean swimmer. He is a member of the South Korean national swimming team, based in TaereungSeoul. He won a gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle and a silver in the 200 meter freestyle events at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He is the first Asian swimmer to claim a gold medal in men's 400 m freestyle, and the first Korean to win an Olympic medal in swimming. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is solid. Workmanlike, but solid. It's a *little* too heavy on the icky / tired short stuff (see esp. the NERTS / ELIA / ANS collusion in the SE). But it's certainly not bad, and it gave me a good workout, especially in the SW corner, where I stalled quite badly. At first all I had was NUMBSKULL. Then I guessed ECOLI and UNLOCK and thought "I got this." But no. Put in URNS. Still no. Tried LANK and LEAN where I needed LITE. Tried NATL where I needed NAUT. As for TAE—forget about it. That was never gonna happen (though I will say that my flat-out guess of RAE probably helped me see NUTELLA, finally) (66A: "Spread the Happy" sloganeer). Clue on RAIN OUT is quite poor, as a RAIN OUT is not a "game." By definition. Clue says that it can't be played, but a RAIN OUT is only ever in the past, so it should say "couldn't" be played. Clue is trying to be cutesy, but it needs a "?" if it wants to play this fast and lose with reality/grammar.


So the [Bible] is the WORD OF GOD now? Just … is? Not "to some," or "allegedly"? OK then. I will take a stance of MUTISM on this issue, I guess. (me, mid-solve: "Mutes have an -ism now?"). I think the bigger corners are better than the smaller corners. NW is probably the best, with a nice "Z" intersection to start things off. Clue on ZOMBIE is very good and had me puzzled for a long time (1A: Body that doesn't remain at rest?). I like the [Johns of Britain] [John of Britain] sequence, mostly because I wrote in LOOS and MAJOR. Not so helpful. I have ordered many an Americano in my time, and … SODA? We're not talking about the coffee drink, then? Oh, no, I see it's a Campari-based cocktail. Weird coincidence—I bought my first ever bottle of Campari yesterday so that I could make a Negroni (easy, colorful, enjoyable). I felt compelled to branch out into non-G&T gin drinks because the good people at St. George Spirits (who apparently read my blog) sent me a bunch of gins as part of a thank-you gift, and, well, they're not going to drink themselves. They also sent me bourbon. Anyway, where was I? Eh, who cares. Now I'm thirsty.



Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. if you're wondering how I could refrain from talking about the crosswordese ZOMBIE that is ULU (38A: Inuit knife) … my strategy was "just ignore it and it will go away." We'll see …

P.P.S. I review Ben Tausig's book "The Curious History of the Crossword" in today's Wall Street Journal. Here's a PDF.

83 comments:

jae 12:09 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  The good stuff more than makes up for the clunkers.  From TACITUS to AMY TAN to DR LAURA,  from ZOMBIE to STONER, with BOOB and NUMBSKULL along the way, just lovely!  I mean, if you can put WORD OF GOD,  NUTELLA, and GLUTEN FREE in the same puzzle you've done well.  Play TAPS and rest on your laurels.

Only erasure was @Rex loos for IAN'S, wrong John.

Fun one James!

wreck 12:27 AM  

I usually have trouble with Saturday puzzles because of esoteric minutiae. This really wasn't the case with this one -- my mind just wasn't clicking. I got frustrated and just sort of quit. My fault -- not the puzzle.

Norm C. 12:32 AM  

Completed the NW in a flash, then came to a dead stop. Finally made it over the finish line, but took a lot of work. Didn't know that golfers were "shooters" for one thing.

Finally figured out how BANDS (50D) was "Label stable" 10 minutes after solving the puzzle. And that's with BMI staring me in the face as a clue.

Enjoyed the workout. Thanks, James.

Steve J 12:38 AM  

Didn't really click with this one. A good portion of it was me, but the puzzle contributed a bit. Clues felt slightly off in a few spots, like for RAIN OUT (as Rex mentioned) and ONE TOO MANY (one can indeed have ONE TOO MANY, but you can't point to a singular drink and say that was a ONE TOO MANY). The fill didn't really grab me, either. Certainly no laugh-out-loud moments like yesterday's Livengood puzzle (or last week's, if your reference is print) or great aha moments.

Nothing much to complain about, so that's definitely not the issue. It just didn't sing for me, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

Charlene 12:39 AM  

Ulu is easy for anyone who's spent time north of sixty. But gluten free for non-pasta eater? The Tinkyada Corporation would like to have a word...

Questinia 12:47 AM  

Sturdy Saturday. Medium with slices of easy.

Not fooled in the NW. Knew it had to be ANOMALY off the bat putting the two British Johns into order.

However had SlAMmed before SWAMPED making it LORD OF GOD and I thought for a while "Is that what they're calling it now?".

Lank=>Limp=>Lite, such SHEER DELETE!

I'm a natural science geekess so in love with NEWTONS... but I leave you with an inelegant factoid: SMOG BOOB is cousin to SEWER TITS.

Carola 12:49 AM  

SUPER cluing made this one especially fun, I thought, with "Producing zip" probably my favorite. Challenging for me, in part because of some sorta NUMBSKULL decisions: I rejected ZOMBIES because it didn't work with "rpmS" next to "looS" and ASIAN because it wouldn't cross with my Fabergé "enamel" eggs, making those top corners impenetrable. I had primary and seconday Educ, and my energy bars contained nuTS. I was SURE ENOUGH that TORA and ENL were too obvious that I didn't write them in. Anyway. Erased, reconsidered. Finally worked it all out.

Nice crosses: SOOT/SMOG and the face-off between E COLI and STERILE.

mforrest73 12:49 AM  

I had ornaTe instead of DAINTY in the NE which messed me up there for a while. Solid puzzle overall - I enjoyed it.

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

I don't think ULU is really crosswordese. They sell them on home shopping channels and they call them that.

Garth 1:12 AM  

Got all but a few words in the SE. Wouldn't have gotten NUTELLA even if it was spoken by god. (I share Rex's discomfort with the cluing on WORD OF GOD. I wonder what DR. LAURA would say about that.

Finishing 90%+ of the puzzle on a Saturday = a good day.

Speaking of a good day:
Q: What do they call light sleet and freezing drizzle in Lafayette, LA.?
A: a snow day

Anomaly eColi Mutism 3:11 AM  

ULU is a lifesaver in Scrabble (see also LUAU, TUTU)
It takes an S either end (ULUS, SULU) end of Scrabble lesson.

Terrific puzzle, more in the cluing than the fill.

Sort of a drunken vibe between ONETOOMANY, SOBERUP, LITE, STONER.
Plus lots of food (fig) NEWTONS, OATS, NUTELLA, LOAF, SODA, Faberge Eggs, GLUTENFREE, ZAGATRATED and ROCCO.

JUST got SUPERSTARS clue, that's inPeople Mag!
(face palm, NERTZ, NUMBSKULL!)

Biggest hangups were lOtS-tOnS-GOBS
And AMos oz shares same letters as AMYTAN

Anyway, I love SOSUEME... It's old school for "it is what it is"

The only thing I wasnt crazy about is not a JXQZV in sight, but that probably made those triple stacks of ten happen. And to start with a Z is very cool

John Child 3:59 AM  

The east went down quickly, but then the west slew me. Tough clues, people I didn't know and stuff I didn't see. Threw in the towel after an hour - too much else to do on a warm sunny day.

Gill I. P. 7:46 AM  

A puzzle with ZOMBIE in it has to be good and certainly add STONER BOOB NUMBSKULL and all the food and booze references. I mean, what's not to like?
Major write-over and biggest hang up was writing in bOok OF GOD which gave me KITCHY for the Faberge eggs. I thought how rude...
@Rex...I've never heard of an Americano but certainly know Negroni. Campari is definitely an acquired taste but the sweetness of the drink makes me want to YODEL.
ZAGAT RATED crossing ROCCO DiSpirito - People Magazine's "sexiest Chef Alive" - and throwing in Dr. Laura in a feeding husband quote brings SHEER delight...
Speaking of ULU - Last evening we were walking our pups near our community pool and about 6 people were enjoying a very nice and warm dip. One woman doing the backstroke was screaming "my sister in Texas is freezing her ass off right now...ha, ha." She reminded me of @Questinia's Vermeer pillow....
Enjoy your weekend and if you need a boost of warmth, California is the place to be...just bring some water with you.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Can't believe I finished a Saturday so easily. Liked the way Mulhern clued..or maybe this was just in my wheelhouse.

Milford 7:52 AM  

Went out and had a couple drinks last night with husband, but obviously not ONE TOO MANY, because somehow, miraculously, this was my fastest Saturday ever. And I'm only now realizing that it is due in large part to writing in ZOMBiE and ANOMALY right off the bat.

Two missteps were TESTing before TEST BAN, and SlAMmED before SWAMPED, having the exact same puzzlement as @Questina with lOrd OF GOD? Wha?

GLUTEN-FREE felt current, while DR. LAURA felt really old. Whatever happened to her? Hopefully she just shut up, she was so full of crap.

We took our kids down to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the Fabergé eggs exhibit. They were indeed DAINTY. It was a self-tour with headphones, and as it describes the history of the eggs with the Romanov family it occurs to me that a couple of my kids have no idea how this story ends. I watched them as we got near the end of the exhibit and their eyes got huge with the realization they all got shot (on one of my kid's birthdays, to boot). We had to take them to Avalon Bakery for cookies after that.

r.alphbunker 7:59 AM  

@Norm C
Ditto for Label Stable. Nice rappy alliteration but imparsible to see the how BANDS could be the answer. The Birnholz Heuristic dictated that it had to be an N because SNEE is common crosswordese. Furthermore, the B seemed correct because ninny is a BOOB and not a BOOm, a BOOn, a BOOp, a BOOr or a BOOt. The other letters were rock solid.

Normally when I have this level of uncertainty at the end it is because of a crossing of a rock group or rapper with something else that I don't know.

Today's dilemma seemed not to fit this pattern.

But now I realize that it does. What we have here is a whole stable of rappers and rock groups crossing an athlete that I have never heard of!

To make matters worse, {Label Stable} did not seem to be plural and there was the S at the end of BANDS to contend with.

Congratulations to whoever thought of that clue!

Susan McConnell 8:22 AM  

Liked it. Medium for me. Enjoyed the clue curveballs here and there, I like when ULU pops up. My folks took their RV to Alaska several years ago and brought everyone back a souvenir ULU, It's actually a very good tool for certain cutting jobs.

r.alphbunker 8:22 AM  

I agree with RP's take on the Bible clue. Perhaps because I grew up in Providence, RI which was recently voted the least Bible-minded city in the US. NYC finished 89th.

jberg 9:22 AM  

WORD OF GOD didn't bother me - I mean, that's what they call it, right? At least, those who call it that do. I mean, I don't believe in ZOMBIES, either, but they're OK in a puzzle.

ornate before DAINTY, fall for before GET INTO, and of course NAtl before NAUT. Also DEtour before DELETE (nice clue - say there's construction on Quincy Shore Drive, what do I have to do?)

Medium for a Saturday, I thought. It was a stop-and-go experience, I kept feeling I was on a roll then coming up against some obstacle or other.

I did think the clue for 25A was a little odd. Literally correct, but odd -- much more natural to clue it as "many dynes."

Robso 9:33 AM  

There were some great clues here . . . which I can no longer remember due to writing in "ELIA."

loren muse smith 9:45 AM  

Wow. I finished a Saturday with relatively little fight! Quite the ANOMALY for me. James – nice job. Fine work here.

As everyone has said – GOBS to love everywhere.

I SURE ENOUGH considered "loos" and "Major" but didn't write them in. I did write in "wnba" first, though.

Like @Gill I.P., I had "book" OF GOD first, noticing the TORA (sic?) over there.

Liked ROCCO crossing ZAGAT RATED. Surely he has been, right?

GLUTEN FREE has become the SUPER STAR of eating habits. My husband, son, and daughter, (who do not suffer from a GLUTEN allergy) have pretty much given up GLUTEN (wheat, mainly) because, they maintain, they just "feel better." Poor wheat farmers. Is this going to be a crisis? Time to go start some spelt dough.

Speaking of trends, NUTELLA-ISM is infiltrating the shelves; now you can get Jif and Hershey chocolate and hazelnut chocolate spreads.

I dunno, @Steve J. I remember one night back in the late '80s when a last, ill-advised snifter of straight Benedictine was that very ONE TOO MANY. Hey, at least it wasn't a ZOMBIE or a STINGER cocktail, though Benedictine packs just as much sugar, I'm sure. So can you PEEN the fruit in an Old Fashioned? I didn't know that could be a verb. "I took a pie pan and PEENed that sucker until it was the perfect Frisbee. Anything else y'all need me to PEEN while I have this hammer? A TUBE PAN, maybe?"

I guess we won't find any LPGA SUPERSTARS in SASHES. Here's an instance when MUTISM would have been the preferable SASH-sporting go-to strategy:

come again?

@M&A -SHEER desperation, that ULU? Before I knew you, 38A would have remained inaccessible to me until the bitter end. As it was, it was one of my first entries. . .

It really was the way he did clue it.
From "Inuit" I could intuit. . .
Those U's quickly fell
Each flanking that L,
Nary a hint from my avian pet BOOBy.

Har.

chefbea 9:50 AM  

Had to google quite a bit but finally finished.
Way back in the '70's when we lived in Italy we were introduced to Nutella. My kids loved it and finally it made it's way to America.

When I got up this morning the thermometer said 0
Brrrr…Heard it was a balmy 25 this morning in Ct.

loren muse smith 9:57 AM  

Oh, and @M&A and @Z - I clued my grid at the end of yesterday's posts.

Z 9:59 AM  

Mr. Mulhern was off to a great start with Z at 1A/D. I was done in by never fixing SlAMmED. I was trying to fix DAINTY, since lORe OF GOD made sense, decided that eAINTY didn't lend itself to anything other than DAINTY and called it a morning. Just call me a SMOG BOOB.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands sounds like an Erma Bombeck title to me. That would be a far better book, I'm sure. I also wondered for a long time if there is an LNRA, possibly with DR LAURA as president.

As for RAINOUT, I have been sitting at the game, waiting for it to start, when the decision that it is a RAINOUT has appeared in the scoreboard. Perfectly okay clue.

A fine Saturday offering. Definitely a Bells Two-Hearted Ale, using an ULU shaped bottle opener.

Mohair Sam 10:07 AM  

Found this one a terrific Saturday challenge. Struggled, but eventually got it, and loved the cluing.

Disagree with @Rex and others on RAINOUT. I was sitting in the upper deck at Citizens Bank Park at 8 PM one night last summer watching it pour and my friend Tom turned to me and said "Looks like a RAINOUT". I agreed, and it was. And when I was a kid in New York channel 11 showed movies on "RAINOUT Theater" when the Yanks were zapped by mother nature.

Not at all religious, but WORDOFGOD didn't bother me a bit. I don't believe in the Devil, but I'll bet if we had a clue "Hell" and the answer was "homeofsatan" nobody would complain.

Speaking of religion, thank God for AMYTAN, the only living 6 letter author I know, or we would have been triple naticked in NW. Loved the ZOMBIE clue, and the "John" clues.

Looking out the window it seems today's game is going to be a "snow out" in Pennsylvania.

PanamaRed 10:40 AM  

"The greated trick the devil ever pulled was conving the world he didn't exist" is a cool line from "The Usual Suspects"

It's a rephrasing of a quote from Charles Baudelaire.

Just havin' fun. I enjoyed the puzz, too.

August West 10:41 AM  

jae wrote my review. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

PanamaRed 10:43 AM  

That's "convincing" - I should have proofed.

mac 10:47 AM  

Very nice puzzle. I tore through the NW in no time, then slowed down considerably.

Nutella has been a popular spread at breakfast in Holland as long as I can remember. Many families have the following rule: first a slice of bread with something hearty (cheese or cold cuts), then another one with a sweet topping (Nutella, chocolate or anise sprinkles). For many years peanut butter sandwiches were popular in Holland and the U.S. only, but that has changed a little.

Evan 11:18 AM  

Nice. This played relatively easy for me, although I had the same trouble that others did with LOOS and BOOK OF GOD (which made me start writing in KITCHY at 22-Across like @Gill I. P. did, even though I was 99% sure it was spelled KITSCHY). Actually the error that took me longest to correct was ERASMUS before TACITUS -- in my defense, "Germania" does sound somewhat like something ERASMUS would have written.

Very few things to complain about, although I also raised my eyebrow at MUTISM and ULU. I'm with @Carola -- whoever wrote that clue for STERILE, James or Will, gets a standing golf clap from me.

It's strange that ZOMBIE is making its first appearance in the NYT in almost exactly 33 years. I know that Z doesn't make it easy to accommodate, but I'm always surprised whenever a fairly common six-letter word makes a debut this long into the Shortz era (though to be sure, the plural has been in it once).

Masked and AnonymoDontKnowYets 11:32 AM  

@muse: Yep saw it. har. Clue for COCA was primo.
@Z and Lower Mongolians: was able to do a SatKidiPuz, after all. Grid has the sweet smell of desperation that we all so richly deserve. Comin soon.

Back to tryin to solve today's main event...
snort

M&A

John V 11:35 AM  

Seemed easy for a Saturday. Had BOOR for 49A thus had RANDS for the cross, as in, WTF? I will live with a one letter error on a Day-to-day, it's what I'm sayin'

AliasZ 11:43 AM  

I don't know what has gotten into the NYT lately. The puzzles are so full of offensive references, I don't even know where to start. The post of Puzzle Editor should be eliminated and replaced by a committee of wise elders plucked from the general populace of griderati. And puzzle constructors should be sent to ideology retraining camp in Yakutsk, Siberia, where the temperature yesterday was -46° Fahrenheit. Puzzles need to be toned down a few steps, closer to the lowest common denominator, in order to please everyone. The elitist attitude intended to please the few, the proud, must be eliminated. Let's see now:

ZOMBIE - is an insult to those thousands of texters walking around obliviously on the sidewalks of NYC, heads down, thumbs aflutter, bumping into people and lamp posts, and on crowded subways pushing past old ladies to get to the empty seat before they do, so they can sit comfortably and play Tetris. ZOMBIEs are real!

ONE TOO MANY - is an insult to those for whom one is not nearly enough to make them sick. They need at least two too many. Or three.

MOTORCYCLE - the clue is an insult to hogs, one of the smartest animals in the barnyard, at least as smart as dogs.

ASIAN - is an insult if not downright racist, to all Asians who are not at all like the Huns, never invaded the Roman Empire and were not called the scourge of God.

WORD OF GOD - is an insult to the hundreds of millions, if not billions of atheists, concentrated mostly in Rhode Island, and to the even larger number of people who have never heard of the Bible, or it being referred to as the WORD OF GOD. What a slap in the face! Did no one watch the blockbuster movie "Religulous" by my hero, Bill Maher?

GLUTEN FREE - is an insult to all those not allergic to gluten.

LPGA - the clue is sexist, and an insult to shooters of all other genders: those tiny burgers and small mixed drinks served in a shot glass, of which one is one too many, and the ones shooting dice in craps.

DR. LAURA - is so full of crap, she rivals Rush Limbaugh. This entry should be replaced by Al Franken, Michael Moore or Rachel Maddow. In fact, everybody with whom I disagree is full of crap. For the person who disagrees with people who think this way, I am the one full of crap. There is not one person on God's green earth with whom someone does not disagree, thus every human being on Earth by definition is full of crap. No exceptions.

BOOB - the clue "Ninny" is an insult to all fine mammaries out there.

STERILE - is a negative insult (too good a term) for all those people producing zip in Congress

I wonder if chef DiSpirito ever attended the University of Alabama. ROCCO,'Bama?

Good weekend all!

Jim Finder 11:55 AM  

Left 3 blanks today. Never heard of DRLAURA, or that jock. Should have got BANDS, but it never came. :-(

r.alphbunker 12:01 PM  

@M&A
I have come up with a 15 x 15 puzzle with 210 U's in it. I am working on the clues now. Will keep you posted.

AFAIK this is the maximum number of U's you can have in a 15x15 puzzle. Any more U's will result in duplicate answers.

RnRGhost57 12:06 PM  

SUPERSTAR debate: Rob ZOMBIE versus DR. LAURA. At issue: define social ANOMALY

B-thumper 12:10 PM  

Since the clue for 8D was simply Bible (rather than THE Bible), I'll just assume that the answer refers to the word of any lower case god.

retired_chemist 12:16 PM  

Medium, but slow due to temporary mental defect (Cold/URI/flu?). Hand up for bombeck, for bOok OF GOD, for liking NEWTONS (even though you non-science types won't give a fig for it :-) ), for wnbA befre LPGA, costlY before DAINTY, tinS and canS before DYES, looS before IANS. ELTON went in easily. ULU didn't.

Enjoyable and a good Saturday challenge. Thanks, Mr. Mulhern.

quilter1 12:17 PM  

I own an ULU (which is, by the way, a women's knife) obtained in Alaska from an Inuit woman and also an ULU refrigerator magnet, so that was a real gimme, not a crossword ZOMBIE. Good puzzle.

cascokid san 12:17 PM  

A 20 for food meant something-scRATch. With three good crosses I never recovered, so ZAGAT was invisible, and so was ZOMBIE and most of the rest of the NW.

Wanted hakA for the repeated war chant. Took out TORA when it didn't fit scRATch.

I still don't believe Ian and John are etymologically related. Far from mind there. But OK.

omGS for MSGS and dead in SE.

wnbA didn't cross with WORDOFGOD. Went with latter. Didn't help much. Never thought of lady golfers as shooters, but OK.

All together I need a record-setting 28 googles and cheats (peeks at Rex's soln) to finish.the cold strak is getting colder.

Z 12:18 PM  

@AliasZ - One of the finest Reductio ad Absurdum Rants to ever grace these comments. Bravo!

retired_chemist 12:23 PM  

Have we given up complaining about ELHI? No comments on it today, and it usually elicits many. The clunkers complained about are not as bad as ELHI IMO.

JC66 12:36 PM  

@ AliasZ

Agree wholeheartedly with @Z; great post.

Mr. Benson 12:39 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Benson 12:40 PM  

I also had BOOR for the longest time at 49A, and from there I put in RANDB (R and B, that's a label staple, right? made total sense to me) at 50D. Made the SE corner nigh impossible for me. The rest was pretty easy actually.

Shouldn't 50D have had a plural clue?

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Had to Google like crazy and still didn't understand some of the entries until I read the comments here. ZAGATRATED suggested a possible noun "zagatration" and I couldn't find it in any dictionary.

Masked and Anonymo9Us 12:50 PM  

Admire this constructioneer's attention to U-tail.
Fave fillins: ONETOOMANY. STONER. BOOB/NUMBSKULL. MUTISM. SOBERUP.
Weejects Anonymous: ULU. Got ULU late?

New fave constructioneer: @r.alphbunker.

themelessthUmbsUp. Kinda hard, for the likes of m&e.

M&A

p.s. Lower Mongolia Sentinel's SatKidiPuz here:
www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=48507&id2=23533505

dk 1:01 PM  

MUTiSM! Mouthed Tom menacingly.

Heard drinking again one night played by Michael Reardon (I think) about 35 years ago. Had just broken up with my first big love and was staring into an empty glass in some bar on Second Ave.... It was then I knew the meaning of mood indigo.

*** (3 Stars)

wreck 1:19 PM  

@ AliasZ et al

TREMENDOUS!

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Just wanted to say I thought your WSJ article very well written! Well done. I forgive you now for the Larry Kert incident.

mathguy 1:31 PM  

Great post by AliasZ. Bravo!

Was stuck on the southeast until DRLAURA popped into my head. I've never heard her but my son used to listen to her when he was doing a lot of driving and would tell me about some of her outrageous opinions. I love it when I'm able to dredge up some of these seemingly-forgotten words out of my ancient brain.

Erik 1:42 PM  

Rex: Try a Boulevardier (a Negroni but with Bourbon instead of gin).

M Rivers 2:00 PM  

Some world-class commentary here today! Bravo!

I finished, did not check Rex's solution at all (cheating) and googled four times (research). I am extremely grateful for the explanation of BANDS. I had no idea how it fit. I was really sure the label stable was the Budweiser farm, the name of which is buried somewhere under the German I am trying to learn.

Benko 2:08 PM  

@AliasZ: It should not be considered a liberal vs. conservative issue to call someone who spouts racist and homophobic garbage "full of crap." Why stick up for someone like that, even in a satirical post?

dk 2:29 PM  

Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck Group Drinking Again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCzhpcM0saw

strawdawg 3:05 PM  

@ Rex: re Campari drinks, try my patent pending Bloody Driver using (roughly--adjust to your personal taste)

1 part Campari
2 parts vodka
3 parts fresh OJ
2 parts fresh red grapefruit juice

Mix in a 1 quart mason jar or equivalent with a bunch of ice and serve with a wedge of lime, orange or grapefruit. The Campari and grapefruit cut the sweetness of the OJ and render a fruity but tart citrusy cocktail

Lewis 3:31 PM  

Rex -- well written article (I, as an editor, feel qualified to say this) with interesting content and comments. I learned from your article and enjoyed the read. Also: really good writeup today -- excellent observations, with wit.

Okay, I guess I need to learn ULU. And I learned MUTISM. Can't imagine using either in real life.

AliasZ -- Post of the day, week, and maybe month.

The stacks of ten have excellent entries. Solid Saturday, enjoyable struggle.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

I am going to complain about the cluing for SNEE. He was in the 2013 pro bowl -- that is the one played in 2013 (for the 2012 season to be sure). So the clue was ambiguous.

Numinous 4:44 PM  

@AliasZ, I just want to echo all of the praise for your comment today, To quote Phil Harding, one of the coolest archeologists ever, it was cracking.

Hanging my head in shame as I had to google 4 times to get this one. Because of the great cluing, I really struggled with some of the answers.

Very nicely done, Mr. Mulhern.

Chip Hilton 4:53 PM  

Enjoyable Saturday which defeated me in the SE corner. I couldn't let go of BANDg for the winemaker Barton & Guestier, which really made sense as a label stable to me.

Let me add to the kudos for AliasZ. A hoot.

jazzmanchgo 5:08 PM  

Okay, guess I'll have to show my ignorance again -- what the hell does ZAGATRATED mean????

chefbea 5:41 PM  

@jazzmanchgo... Zagat rates restaurants

jae 5:46 PM  

@AliasZ. - To quote M&A - Har!

@jazzmanhgo - ZAGAT rates restaurants. The ZAGATSurvey was established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a way to collect and correlate the ratings of restaurants by diners. For their first guide, covering New York City, the Zagats surveyed their friends. As of 2005, the Zagat Survey included 70 cities, with reviews based on the input of 250,000 individuals reporting over the years. In addition to restaurants, Zagat guides rate hotels, nightlife, shopping, zoos, music, movies, theaters, golf courses, and airlines. The guides are sold in book form, and formerly as a paid subscription on its web site.

sanfranman59 6:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon no data
Tue 8:46, 8:15, 1.06, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 10:46, 10:26, 1.03, 60%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 21:31, 19:03, 1.13, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 18:37, 19:52, 0.94, 38%, Easy-Medium
Sat 28:13, 29:54, 0.98, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon no data
Tue 5:37, 5:12, 1.08, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 7:09, 6:12, 1.15, 85%, Challenging
Thu 14:12, 10:36, 1.34, 85%, Challenging
Fri 11:04, 11:32, 0.96, 41%, Medium
Sat 18:36, 18:32, 1.00, 53%, Medium

Dirigonzo 7:15 PM  

Savvy solver that I am, "Johns of Britain" could be either loos or lavs so I entered the l and the s and left the middle blank waiting for the crosswords to sort it out - I was GOBSmacked when IANS showed up! Finished in the NW where ZAGATRATED and TACITUS put up a fight but I finally prevailed. It's always good when I finish a Saturday puzzle before I've had ONE TOO MANY.

Brad Z 9:22 PM  
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desi 11:09 PM  

Already finished Sunday's crossword. Waiting now to see what you've said about it. I think this possibly qualifies me as a crossword addict.

DeeJay 10:38 AM  

Note to Rex re: Negronis.

This drink is heaven on earth and it is quite easy to have ONETOOMANY.

Do be careful with your choice of sweet vermouth. Plonk Gallo, Stock, Tribuno) can ruin a Negroni.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:52 PM  

Did it, but thought it was one of the most difficult puzzles I have tackled.

Was going to forgo further comment, but must mention: @Chip Hilton, I did this in a ski house in Vermont, and on the table in front of me was a bottle of a brand I had never seen before: Barton and Guestier Chenin blanc.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

2/8/14
Yea, that's right.
We just finished; no cheat.

This was a terrific puzzle
And the comments were great, too.
This blog brings so much pleasure to our lives.
Crossword makers are grossly underpaid!!!!

Love,
D and A

Dirigonzo 8:21 PM  

@Anonymous 7:47 PM (D and A) "Like"

spacecraft 11:16 AM  

I finally got this filled in--even the NW, where (at last!) I found a way for everything to work, after rejecting MOBILE and LOOS, and aha!ing YODEL instead of the stubborn mODEL. And there it stood, ZAGATRATED. Of al the WTF???s I've ever bumped into this one takes the prize. Well, you see, I'm not a restaurant-goer who cares about professional food critics. Give me good old-fashioned word-of-mouth every time. That, or, wherever the trucks are parked. There is no hope of any non-insider to get this; even if you know Zagat it's an awkward phrase. Flag on the field! Fifteen yards for ridiculous obscurity.

The rest of it was tough ENOUGH to do. I feel as though if I hadn't been doing NYTXWs for a couple years now, I wouldn't have gotten many of these clues, but at last I think I've burrowed my way into the Shortzbrain, labyrinthine though it is.

One nit: Surely the queen's weapons are her drone minions, who ARE equipped with STINGERs. She's a lover, not a fighter.

9's full of 8's. The Queen Mary.

dugglesmack 11:57 AM  

I'm a syndicated solver here so I'm late to the party, but I just thought I'd add my two cents.

Even if I had snapped to the fact that it had something to do with Zagat, how the heck would I know that "20" is on the scale? Normally I would think ratings would be on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10...

just sayin...

dugglesmack 12:00 PM  

Oh yeah... and are we supposed to know that the Pro Bowl is like the Grammies where the year represents when the players were selected as opposed to the year the game was played? Chris Snee was selected in 2012 for the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Always a late-comer here in San Diego but I'll throw another 2 cents in. To all of you "ulu" haters.....this word has been in crosswords from day ONE. So there, sue me. And to @AliasZ, I laughed so hard I wet my Depends! A big thanks to Mr .Mulhern for a good workout.

Ron Diego 10:50 AM PST 3/1/14

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

For the longest time I felt I was marooned on an uninhabited island, and throwing message bottles into the sea, with nary a response. I have been rescued thanks to yesterday's comments from @SolvinginSeattle, @Z, @SteveJ, @DMG and @Dirigonzo. And, I always like what Spacecraft has to say.

Ron Diego

Waxy in Montreal 2:42 PM  

@space - with you on the ZAGAT comments. Made the NW all but impossible as NUTELLA did below. Also count me in the RANDB camp at 50D for far too long. Despite these challenges, found the NE and entire central section of the puzzle easier than most Saturdays.

Many clever clues, perhaps the best being that for YODEL. Would have thought the CDC would be more concerned about EBOLA than ECOLI but guess that's a STERILE debate that I won't GETINTO, MUTISM being my word of the day.

Five 9's! Hoping none of my opponents are armed with an ULU or a STINGER...

Jacob B 4:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:31 PM  

A nice alternative to the Negroni (since you recieved a bottle of bourbon): substitute bourbon for the gin. It becomes a Boulevardier, and quite tasty.

Dirigonzo 5:50 PM  

@dugglesmack - many of us are chronically late to the party but gather here to chime in on the day's offering. @Spacecraft led off for the syndi-crowd, as he often does, so he and all the subsequent commenters solved the puzzle at the same time you did. Welcome to the party - as is the case with many things, "better late than never!".

Solving in Seattle 7:15 PM  

Au contraire, @Dugglesmack, it is I who is late to the Syndygala. SOSUEME.

Really enjoyed this clean satpuz, James. There definitely was stuff I didn't know, but sticking with it, this was doable. And I did it.

I, too, threw down loos. That and EbOLI were my only writeovers. Lotsa good clues.

@Waxy, your five nines beats my boat of nines over deuces.

DMG 11:40 PM  

A jumbled day left me late to the party, but I felt so good at finally working this one out, that I just had to see what everyone had to say. Wanted both "vampires" and "good book" neither of which were the right length, ZOMBIES finally just appeared, and the rest worked itself out somehow, despite so many names I thought I didn't know.

@Ron Diego. Part of my day's wanderings took me along the coast in the area of the seal pool where the ocean was roaring its best! If you have a chance, check it out tomorrow (Sunday) early before it quiets down. I've lived in SD County for something like 40 years, and have never seen the like. But then, the beach where I live isn't south facing, which makes a real difference. Sorry for the long post, but that ocean is so spectacular!

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

I was surprised by the comments about the NW corner being easy. As a non-foodie from the hinterlands, that was the only part that stumped me. ROCCO and ZAGAT RATED?

Like many others I went for LOOS and MAJOR for the two Johns, though I was quick to abandon MAJOR. I immediately assumed that 1-A was not a human body (perhaps a body of water?), to my great detriment.

AMY TAN and TACITUS might have been easier if I were a bit more literate, but I only got them after I had googled DiSpirito to get myself unstuck.

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