Casio game / SAT 8-23-14 / Refusal from boy lass / Arm from Mideast lad / Margarie might be described thus / Covered with slug mud / Mesa prerequisite / Sci-fii character remembered for her large bus / Part of euro

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


Word of the Day: BACCARAT (3D: Casio game) (so … [Casino game])—
Baccarat (/ˈbækərɑː/French: [bakaʁa]) is a card game played at casinos. There are three popular variants of the game: punto banco (or "North American baccarat"), baccarat chemin de fer (or "chemmy"), and baccarat banque(or "à deux tableaux"). Punto banco is strictly a game of chance, with no skill or strategy involved; each player's moves are forced by the cards the player is dealt. In baccarat chemin de fer and baccarat banque, by contrast, both players can make choices, which allows skill to play a part. Despite this, the winning odds are in favour of the bank, with a house edge no lower than around 1 percent. (wikipedia)
• • •

A slog, but not a hard slog, just … like walking through mud. You know you can do it, it's clear you'll make it to your destination, but the whole process is just somewhat slow and possibly unpleasant. The whole concept here is so arbitrary that I just didn't get it. I mean, I guess there are some cute N-less clues, misdirecting you now and again, but the thing is, once you grok the theme, they aren't cute—I'm no longer seeing their surface; I'm just scanning for a place to drop the "n." So maybe I was supposed to laugh at something like [Refusal from a boy lass], but that didn't happen. I guess the main variable here is "how long did it take you to figure out the theme?" Time to discovery is going to vary Wildly, I'm guessing. But once you do pick it up, you can (surprisingly) pretty much immediately fill in the "theme" answers (directions! who doesn't love those! I mean, me, but who else!?). The instructions are astonishingly literal. There is not twist, turn, or punchline (that I can see). You just go through the motions until you are done. Grid is decent but unremarkable. I feel slightly ripped off—this should've been a Thursday. I want my hard themeless Saturday back.

I could tell very early on something was off—as I'm sure was the case with virtually everyone. None of the clues make sense without the "n"s, after all. But [Hardly ice outside] tipped me off that there'd be letters missing in the clues (though when and where, I didn't know). And then … [Kat's "I"] … I didn't know what to do with "Kat," but figured ICH had to be right, or might be right. Then I "confirmed" it with MANIA for 1A: Rage. But then I also, off the "C" in ICH, managed to get PEACE for 14A: Quiet parter?. Then I began to see the "n"-ness of it all, and started fixing and adding answers accordingly. NE probably gave me the most trouble, but none of it was very hard after I understood the theme. Slower than normal, but only because of the added step of having to supply the damned "n" in every clue.

  • 20A: Arc's target, maybe (XTC) — Even when I knew that I was dealing with a "Narc," this was hard to get, as I had the "X" but didn't know the drug Ecstasy, or "X," was spelled that way. To me, XTC is a band. A great band.
  • 11D: Margarie might be described thus (ERSATZ) — this was the troublemaker in the NE—I had the terminal "Z" but could Not think of a word describing margarine that fit the bill. Also, I don't think that is how the name "Margery" is spelled. I see from googling that the name (as spelled) exists, but yuck.
  • 33D: Doe, e.g. (POET) — I liked this one. Simple, elegant, massive change in apparent meaning. (The clue should be [Donne, e.g.], of course) 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld / Mayor of Simpleto


Zeke 12:12 AM  

I'm almost in total agreement with Rex. Once you figure out the gimmic, it's a total slog. More than a slog really, reading (nearly) nonsensical phrases is downright unpleasant to me. It was volunteering for unpleasantness, having it relieved, repeat. The only break from this was from such entryies as "Doe, e.g.". Great, I got twice the unpleasantness.

I don't understand why Will repeatedly runs these one-trick puzzles. Have they ever been received well? Has the majority opinion not always been "once you get the gimmic it's a slog"?

mathguy 12:17 AM  

I pretty much agree with Rex except that even with the ns added getting the correct entries wasn't that easy.

The highlight for me was "Sci-fi character remembered for her large buns": LEIA.

wreck 12:21 AM  

I really liked it, although it was really a medium-challenging Thursday. This is two weeks in a row where either Friday or Saturday is actually themed. I'm all for it, but I know many, many will not. I think a fair compromise would be for Friday or Saturday "themed" puzzles to be much more challenging.
Today's puzzle really had me scratching my head on the first pass. I knew something was askew, but couldn't put my finger on it. I then figured EVERY clue could have an "N" inserted and it fell pretty quick. There were no 16th century artists or rap stars for that matter! My only brief snags were clues that actually had two "N's" missing.

Zeke 12:30 AM  

I'm sorry, there was one point where I enjoyed the conceit, when I temporarily considered what an answer to "Refusal from a bo[n]y lass" could be. Boy, did I chuckle to myself when I realized this was a double missing n.

Lon in Austin 1:06 AM  

At my age, I'm always wondering when Alzheimer's is going to hit. So as I started this puzzle -- and the clues made no sense at all -- I thought, "Well, I've finally lost it!"

jae 1:09 AM  

We're leaving Vancouver for home tomorrow.  Checked the puzzle out on my iPad before going out to dinner and read over a few clues.  Told my bride that as far as I could tell it was impossible.  I mean "Arc's target, maybe".  Decided to print it out at the hotel's business center because I knew I needed to see more than two clues at time.  That helped.  Once the "A HA" hit I filled in the hi(n)t answers and it turned out to be pretty easy. 

Liked it, and I realize it's good to shake things up every now and then, but I'm with Rex, this should have been a Thurs. because (a) the puzzle minus the trick wasn't that tough and (b) Will says he needs more Thursdays.  

Anoa Bob 1:16 AM  

DISMAL performance for me on this one. Liked PHALANX & BACCARAT but they were not enough to overcome the DUDS at MEAT FREE & TINCTS.

Noticed the missing "N" in the clues early on but didn't think it warranted so much puzzle space---four themers with 38 letters---to reveal. Maybe a NON tucked in the SE would have sufficed.

wreck 1:27 AM  
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Tita 1:33 AM  

I just loved this! Started off totally flummoxed, which is completely normal for me for Saturday. "Umber" must be an opera singer I never heard of...crossing some actor relative of Richard Gere I've never heard of.
I didn't let myself believe there
could be a theme.

It finally dawned on me with "bombs without bangs". AWESOME! A puzzle heart so easily made glad.

Thank you Mr. Polin.

wreck 1:36 AM  

@Anoa Bob
Very astute observation - I agree! The four "revealer" clues made it easier, but your suggestion of "NON" instead would have made it much crunchier - better for a Saturday. Well done!

Jeff510 1:54 AM  

Loved this puzzle!

Anonymous 2:41 AM  

What's wrong with basic English & a Thesorus? I hate all the new versions, who even talks or thinks this way except people who never converse? I think you are all brilliant but when I look at this crossword and have to make up some words that may not even be a part of even my world it does not inspire me to even give you huys a second look, especially on a Friday. Would appreciate a more fun/updated/sophisticated theme to look forward to. Anyway have a good weekend, happy theme hunting.

chefwen 3:03 AM  

If the last two days doesn't give me a migraine nothing will, kept staring at the clues today thinking "what tha hell"? The "N" thing finally clicked, but as @Rex stated it was still a slog.

Three weeks after we had to put PADDY the WONDER CAT down, the teeniest, tiniest kitten showed up at our back stairs. Have no idea where she came from, the closest house is an eighth of a mile away. It took a week to get her out from under the stairs, another week to coax her up to the lanai for food, she is now head bumping and allowing some limited petting. Cutest little creature ever. Trying to come up with an appropriate name for the wee one.

Hope Sunday's puzzle is brain freeze free, I've done enough thinking for two days.

OldCarFudd 3:07 AM  

Liked it. Kwitcherbitchin.

mac 4:58 AM  

This felt like a challenging Thursday. I think I really don't like the NYT futzing with my Sat Puzzle, tough themeless.

I did not think it was a total slog after figuring out the missing ns. I got it at Kant, it had to be ich.

Some nice aha moments at Nin, Donne and bonny, and I liked some of the clues, such as "Ed of some school addresses" and "Strad part that becomes frayed".

Gill I. P. 6:10 AM  

I read each of the clues 3 times then I read them out loud to my husband. He thought a moment, then said it sounded like the clues were missing a letter or something....!
Of course! So I flew over to Fly of film because that one bugged me the most. ERROL you old swashbuckler...
Well, this was quite a gimmick and fun for me.
When I wet my seesaw, I tottered. Glad that was my only write-over.
@chefwen: In honor of the cows that also found a way to your home, I think you aught to call the wee one "cowabunga!" ;-)

Gill I. P. 6:26 AM  

I think I meant ought? So confusing this language of ours....Where have all the N's gone?...long time passing.

RooMonster 7:53 AM  

Hey All!
A themed puz on a Saturday? That was the first suss out! Had to check to make sure I printed out the correct day! After reading almost all the clues, and saying, Huh?, I finally figured it out at 42D. What a meta numbered clue to catch the theme! So I went back through and added the n and it started to make sense. Actually turned out easy-medium to me. The double missing n's were a good misdirect, as at 33D was thinking DONE forever till I figured out it had to be DONNE. (From the crosses, actually) .

Writovers: Thought dog first for 37A, then caT, finally PET, SirI for SETI (maybe I was thinking of that film "Her"?) , asAp for STAT.

Almost a pangram, was thinking it might be after getting IQTEST and APEX.


Glimmerglass 8:13 AM  

Like everyone else, I was flummoxed at first. I was able to fill in three or four "answers" with the misdirected clue, but like Lon in Austin, I thought this puzzle was just beyond my ability. I started to catch on with Umber. At first I though only some of the clues were truncated. The "hit" is no hint at all. You need to know what's revealed to fill in the "revealer." This should be be a Thursday, but some of the clues (once reconstituted) are Saturday level (AMBIT, MEDEA, QUASI, SITAR, TATAMI, SAC, TINCTS, AUDI, etc.).

Z 8:14 AM  

Okay, I'm still not getting the ERSATZ clue. Someone please help.

Going through 80% of a Saturday without anything written in is still not all that unusual for me, so it wasn't until (high i q) that the light started to flicker on. Still, I grokked the theme with a wrong answer so the SE was my foothold, working clockwise out of that corner.

The NE was a struggle. Actress named Geren? Margarine? My springs were watery. TATAMI is a WOE. I got it, but it was a tough little nut.

Z 8:18 AM  

Is it really just ERSATZ butter? I'm not sure why, but that just rubs me the wrong way.

r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

I loved this puzzle! To appreciate the Polin's achievement more I filled in the missing Ns.

The teenager in me wanted LEIA to be the {Sci-fi character remembered for her large bust}

I tried {Inn pieces} and {Nin pieces} before getting {In pieces}

jdv 8:22 AM  

Easy-Medium. It took me about 5 minutes to figure out the n was missing. After the first pass, all I had was SEANCE for 'mystical chat' and I began to panic wondering what the hell is going on. Not sure which clue gave it way, but I figured things out in the SE and the blurry picture came into focus. Had MEATLESS before MEATFREE. I liked this puzzle and I like that Shortz shakes things up once in awhile.

NCA President 8:30 AM  

This puzzle reminded me a little of the old Puns and Anagrams puzzles that used to appear on the NYT as additional puzzles. The clues are meaningless as they are, (they are just a collection of letters that otherwise make sense by themselves but together they say nothing), but once you divine/decode the collection then --voila-- the answer appears.

Speaking of "appears," I'm not sure how long it took for me to catch on to the missing usual means of solving (which is slow, I know, but don't judge) is to go through the acrosses one by one then move on to the downs. It was early in the downs that I figured it out. At first I wondered if only a few were missing letters...then, ::lightbulb:: I finally saw that every clue was missing an N. From there, it was as @Rex said, just figuring out where the N/Ns went.

I did like that many of the clues were missing more than one N.

Did I like the puzzle? Well, I did like the Puns and Anagrams puzzles, but then I knew what I was getting myself into with those. This one was okay...faster than normal for a Saturday (the actual answers, once you figured out the gimmick, were closer to Tuesday/Wednesday in difficulty level, IMHO).

TATAMI crossing with DISMAL took a while because i kept wanting fEnS or lEaS to be the location of spri(n)gs. Once I got BEDS, all fell into place.

Mohair Sam 8:31 AM  

We liked it well enough, but would have loved it with @Anoa Bob's revealer instead. Nice call.

Liked the occasional misdirection with two n's missing (especially Donne). But once you find the N thing I agree with Rex and most here - it becomes an easy Thursday and should probably have been run then.

This wasn't a pangram? Surprised.

Robso 8:40 AM  

I was impressed with the how many answers could make sense with no "n"s. That in itself made this puzzle very enjoyable.

Loren Muse Smith 8:42 AM  

This could have never been a Thursday for me; it took me forever to see the conceit, and even after I did, it was harder than a Thursday. I'm so glad I didn't throw in the towel, though. After a good thirty minutes with hardly anything but a couple of S's, I regrouped. I'm no elite solver, but I regularly come pretty darn close to finishing most Saturdays. I smelled a rat and then figured out the *trick* lickety split. Solving it, though, was still a bit slow.
Early on, my mind supplied the missing Ns on two clues - 31D and 3D; I didn't even realize I had misread them. In a small way, this worked against me, though, as their straightforwardness interfered with sensing the funny business afoot.

My experience with this one from start to finish highlights just how far I've come as a solver, and I owe so much of this growth to participating here. I immediately noticed the two 10's and two 9's – their themed grid placement - checked the clue for 38A. . . nope, no reveal there. And then I looked at the theme clues. The significance of the grid would have been utterly lost on me three years ago. I also never would have noticed that PEACE is in the grid and in the clues, but I guess in the clues, it's not really PEACE, is it? In fact, PEACE is one of the words in the clues that I mentally tried adding the N's to.

The remarkable feat of cluing this beaut really, really impressed me. All the N-less words made sense as words in the clues. This had to be really hard.

@Chefwen – That's oe dam lucky kitte to have foud you and Jo! So my name vote is Kitte.

Timothy, I am so very glad I stuck with this, figured it out, and finished it – enormously satisfying! I really, really enjoyed squinting at the clues to place those N's. Oh, and put me in @jdv's group – I like a curve-ball sometimes on a themeless day.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  


john 9:20 AM  

I thought this was a gas. Probably too easy for a Saturday, once you get the idea, but I thought the cluing was precise and clever and happily void of annoying ephemera.

Arlene 9:29 AM  

I had visions of reporting that I couldn't even start this puzzle - I was totally flummoxed. But then something didn't seem right - when Richard didn't fit the GERE clue. Then the AHA! moment came at 42D, where SPA had to be SPAN - and then it was like Helen Keller saying WA WA (for water.)
Isn't it interesting how our brains work? This process happened, in varying ways, for everyone who solved this puzzle.

The difference among us seems to be in the response (or attitude) about the puzzle. I LOVED it! Something that had my brain going down new paths - and the ultimate triumph - without a single Google. And that it's a Saturday is icing on the cake! PRICELESS!

Questinia 9:34 AM  
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chefbea 9:36 AM  

too tough for was yesterday's!!!

Questinia 9:37 AM  
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Sir Hillary 9:38 AM  
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Questinia 9:39 AM  

✂︎'ing n's out of the clues. A ℞ for wtf. Luckily I ✈︎ through........

AliasZ 9:39 AM  

It has bee a log time sice I ejoyed a puzzle this much. What a grad idea! I discovered the trick at "Guy who may offer a girl a rig" and etered my first word: SUITOR. Which is the exact opposite of what Rex said, from my poit of view: that after discoverig the trick it became a slog. Othig could be further from my truth. I had to go through 88.46% of the clues before it occurred to me that I should look at what is the commo elemet ruig through ALL the clues. The came a major AHA! momet.

Will describes precisely the reactio of OFL at xwordifo thus: "I kow some solvers will hate this — it's ot a crossword, blah, blah, blah — but oce i a while, it's ice to shake thigs up." It sure is ice. This puzzle sag to me.

Without the trick it felt like a Thursday difficulty level for me, but I took my time ad solved it slowly, savorig every quirky, fuy clue to the fullest. My favorites were "Fly of film", "Like a great bod", and "Kat's "I" (wordplay on Cat's eye, I thought at first but the I realized it was Immauel Kat).

This made me feel good eough to offer this beautiful umber from a little less commoly heard Puccii opera.

Now I will take my great AAA bod ad get movig.

Have a great weeked all!

[Sorry, it seems somebody removed the 14th letter of the alphabet from my keyboard.]

Sir Hillary 9:41 AM  

It took me a while to grok this. I was so frustrated I actually waked my dog before it became apparent at last. Joke, people!

The "aloe" clue showed me the way.

A cool twist for a Saturday. FU, Timothy!

pauer 9:44 AM  

Loved it. My groggy brain "fixed" a few clues for me before I even figured out what was going on, so I was doubly confused for a little while. Congrats on pulling this off, Timothy!

@NCA Pres: There are still Puns & Anagrams puzzles in the NYT. There was one just last week:

Maruchka 9:56 AM  

To moi, it is an admixture of a local paper's easy fill-ins and WTF/Aha! NYT moments. TEETERED back ad forth. Thik Poli's clueg is fie.

Liked: No googling. Meh: See above.

@ Chef W - Magical. Your PADDY may have returned to you. Who's s/he now? To be revealed..

John V 10:02 AM  

I could see that there was something going on but never figured it out, so, never even really got started. Got a word here and there, but that's about it.

There is only so much time out of a Saturday morning that I am willing to commit to the puzzle. We just ran out of time on this one.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

OMG. THE MOST WONDERFUL PUZZLE I'VE SEEN IN YEARS!!!! It's perfect. You look at it and think you're losing your bleeping mind. You wonder why you do puzzles at all. Then, pow, for no reason at all, it hits you. You could actually add "n"s to many of the clues. No, that's not quite right -- you can actually add "n"s to ALL of the clues. Hmmmm. Let's see what happens if you try that. My God, it's working!!! It's working really well!!! And now you're zipping through the answers almost as fast as you can write them down. And every changed clue brings a smile to your face. They're all so adorable. So clever. Thank you Timothy Polin for a really fun, fun morning!

RooMonster 10:09 AM  

Agree with @loren on the writing of the clues, clever and difficult!

@Questina, wherever did you find those neat symbol thingies?


Hartley70 10:19 AM  

Lots to love for me today! @Chefwen's new kitten story, morning music again from @AliasZ, and this puzzle! It was right up my alley since Thursday is my favorite day. I had a few answers by misreading the clues. I started with PEACE. Somehow I knew ERROL had to be right. I really got going in the southwest with SPLITEND and AUDI. I think the clues were brilliant and hats off for the constructor. I kind of like Amazing Grace for the kitten, perhaps Mazie for short :-)

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Loved it. Most entertaining puzzle in ages!

Whirred Whacks 10:31 AM  

Thought it was a clever concept. But it took me a while to figure out I wasn't totally obtuse.

Favorite clue? Doe. Because I had to put in two Ns.

OISK 10:44 AM  

Nancy and I agree, as usual! Challenging, but rewarding. I don't think I ever changed as many answers in a puzzle as I did in this one, but it all worked out, and I felt really good about it. Rex - XTC is a band??? I didn't know that the drug could be spelled that way either, but once I got "Apex" it made sense. Of course, I was not expecting a themed puzzle, and that delayed progress a lot, but once I caught on, it was great fun. Thanks Mr. Polin!

Moly Shu 10:53 AM  

Misread the clue for PEACE (added the n without knowing it) and that's how I started. Like most, slow beginning until something clicked. Then it was a fairly easy slog. Like @LMS and @RooMonster, I appreciate the difficulty in cluing, but the overall experience was less than joyful.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  


Dear all,
You never heard of my humble persona, nor is there any reason you should have. I'm just an occasional anonymous lurker at Rex's (this) blog. I love crosswords, and have a real tough time at them - English not being my native tongue and all - so when I finish the NYT's XWord I eagerly check a couple of blogs.

I FINALLY GAVE UP ON THIS ONE. If there is a SINGLE blog out there who is more sour on its purposed subject I'd like to know. Rex, or whatever the character name's is, sounds to me like those movie critics that never, or rarely, like the movies they see. They watch the movie already with a mind of criticizing, perhaps with a feeling of sour grapes (I wish I had thought of this, in which case the whole thing would be a piece of genius).

Today's XWord was the last straw. What a clever theme! What funny, albeit nonsensical clues, almost all of which made me smile so much, that I had to share several with my 12-year-old daughter and my partner (we're all at Starbucks). Is this the day the His Excellency is happy with the puzzle? Nooooooo! It was a slog for him! It was a walk in mud!

I GIVE UP. I will never come back to this blog, not even to check out (any) answers to this admittedly somewhat hot-tempered venting. No one denies Rex his freedom to say whatever he wants. But I won't be reading any more of it.

Mr. Grumpypants 10:55 AM  

This just gave me a headache. Will owes me for a dose of Tylenol.

quilter1 10:55 AM  

Annoying at best.

One Hand Clapping 11:07 AM  

If an unknown anonymous lurker stops anonymously lurking does anyone care?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:20 AM  

Fun puzzle.

Took me a total of about 50 minutes, but half that time elapsed before I put in the first letter - I suspected the missing N, but wanted more confirmation before starting - then finished with no write-overs.

Horace S. Patoot 11:20 AM  

I liked it, mainly because so many of the clues were downright preposterous as written. I think that this may be because I stopped going for speed and started going for fun some time ago. Not a criticism because I enjoy his write ups, but I expect Rex to be much more critical of puzzles that unnecessarily slow him down.

Dirigonzo 11:21 AM  

I'm slow on the uptake so I was about half way through the clues when I stumbled onto the missing letter gimmick. I wouldn't call it easy going from then on but it was certainly doable, and re-reading the clues was a good mental work-out by itself. Finished in the SW where my Me(n)sa prerequisite had been "highIQ" and it took a while to get to IQTEST.

Due to a "production error" my local paper didn't publish the Thursday (syndicated) puzzle this week, so I'll just consider this as a combination Thursday/Saturday puzzle to complete the week.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

I love reading this blog! Half the people
always LOVE the puzzle, half the people HATE the puzzle, and half the people MEH. 3 halfs can't be wrong!

GPO 11:22 AM  

"You just go through the motions until you are done."

Doesn't that describe every puzzle ever?

I liked this one, after I got over the dread to which Lon refers above, i.e., have I finally lost my mind completely? After going through all of the clues without filling in a single answer, I finally grasped it. I've actually never seen this before, I don't think, so I was amused.

And even thought I already knew it was NAE, I also was wondering briefly just exactly how a bony lass would turn me down.

RnRGhost57 11:27 AM  

This oe's i the ca.

pmdm 11:38 AM  

Zeke: If you read through today's comments, you should realize why Shortz publishes puzzles like this. Many people responded very positively, as did I, to this puzzle.

The Wordplay blog has some interesting comments today from Shortz and the constructor. It seems like the cluing was a joint effort between them. And it refers to a similarly themed puzzle which I vaguely remembers. The lack of mention of the previous puzzle a guess suggests most forgot about it. And by the way, most of the comments at Wordblog were favorable.

FINALLY GAVE UP ON REX: To be certain, the main write-up is usually rates the puzzles more more negatively than I do and, it seems to me, than most people do. Some friends of mine have extremely narrow tastes, and perhaps something similar is happening here. But in general those who leave comments are more forgiving and leave a wide range of comments, many very interesting and enlightening. So why not skip reading the main write up (I rarely read more than one or two sentences, usually just to verify it's yet another enjoyable puzzle under attack) and go to the comment section.'' To be fair, the write-up for the most part is not as much a review of the puzzle but a description of one's reaction to the puzzle - fair enough. Calling the theme arbitrary might be a bit off, but so what? Just skip the main write-up.

By the way, it is my belief that Mensa does not require an IQ test. Taking an IQ test is one way to gain admission to the organization, but if you score high enough in some other tests (such as the college SATs) you will be allowed to join. At least that's what I leaned back in the 1960's. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I'm right, the clue is wrong.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

For me when I saw the clues I had two diametrically opposite reactions:
1) instinctively putting in the "n" or "n's" without realizing they were missing i.e. "Quiet parter?"
2) Continuing to want to read the clues literally despite knowing n's were needed. "Covert, maybe" puzzled me even after I had BAPTIZE.

I suspected Rex would not enjoy it, since even at my mere mortal level I was able to complete it, a hit or miss result for a Saturday!

Kurt 11:46 AM  

I loved this puzzle. And I thought that the clueing was spectacular.

Thanks Mr. Polin!

dan 11:50 AM  

Margarine is ersatz butter.

Gene 12:02 PM  

Absolutely loved the puzzle; LoLed at almost all clues after I figured it out. Was sure that Rex would be a party pooper, and was right.

JC66 12:03 PM  

Like @Bob Kerfuffle, it took me more time to figure out the gimmick than it did to complete the puzzle once I had. If this had been published on a Thursday when I would be looking for some kind of gimmick, I would have finished in less than half the time.

That being said, put me in the #enjoyed it camp.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

I think Rex doesn't have much of a sense of humor. I thought it was clever and fun.

Lindsay 12:11 PM  

I almost always start in the SE, so the first clue I looked at was 60D Murray who's highly raked, which led me to think "ranked, not raked, has the NYT downsized its proofreaders?" and fill in ANDY.

Unfortunately, I did not immediately see that all the missing letters were "n". So I filled in caT for 54A Tige, say.

Other writeovers were 47D fiancé crossing 56A Scab.

Put me in the slog camp.

Andrew Heinegg 12:15 PM  

The blog today reminds one that there is no arguing with taste. Some of the strong reactions make it seem like a Hatfields vs. McCoys. It is coincidentally interesting to me that, at 10:55 Easter(?!) time, one blogger was forever abandoning the blog as Rex is clearly part of a satanic cult because of his criticism of today's puzzle while two others were sending in comments far harsher than Rex!

I did not care for the 'gimmick' of the puzzle as that was its only real difficulty. It once again shows the issue that comes to the fore when you create crosswords like this. You are taking the risk that your clues/reveals need to be clever and/or amusing. I agree with Rex that this puzzle did not succeed in doing this and thus became a slog.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

This puzzle stinks. Timothy Polin should find something else to do that makes sense. Surprised this puzzle got through the selection person or committee. It doesn't belong in the NYT newspapers.

Numinous 12:31 PM  

After reading through and trying to make sense of the clues, I finally filled in EDU but then I erased it when I realized I'd misread Ed as End. But that got me thinking. Chickens don't have four legs and I couldn't thinki of anything else that got fried with it's legs intact. Aha, a four legged frei[n]d is a dog. I looked at Fly, counted some letters and added two Ns then entered ERROL. I still hadn't realized that every clue was missing Ns. Continuing to potter around in Oregon I noticed "keel" and thought kennel, Hmmm. DOG again. Will all the three leter solutions be Dog? Looking at Metal worker, I ignored the N and thought Uri Geler. So, maybe that other dog is PET and old Uri claims ESP. I finally twigged that all the clues were missing Ns so I went back and re-entered EDU.

Suddenly dawed o me that four Hits, without Ns might just be theme Hints. Doh. As per everyone else here, I spent the rest of my time figuring out where the missing Ns belonged and managed the occasional smile along with the ocasional 'whew!" I enjoyed it and finished correctly with nary a google nor an error.

I have always loved odd names for cats. I have one named Skunk because when she was born she had a white stripe from her forhead nearly to her nose. One of her daughters is named Ghoti (Fish if you get the Shavian joke), that day, I just liked the idea of a cat named fish. If, as it was suggested by someone earlier, your tentative little kitty has somehow come from PADDY the WONDER CAT, I rather like the name Rice.

mathguy 12:40 PM  

@r.alphbunker: I too read the clue as "Sci-fi character remembered for her large bust." I entered LARA.

Burt Offerings 12:51 PM  

I've been on vacation and drinking a little more than usual, so my times have been off all week. But today I literally stared at the puzzle for 12 solid minutes without filling in a single square, and was convinced that all the booze had finally pickled my brain into a piping hot bowl of mush. Then I figured out the whole missing "N" thing, finished the puzzle in about 40 minutes (slightly above average for me on a Saturday), and cancelled the trip to rehab, after all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll have a drink.

Masked ad Aoymo8Us 1:02 PM  

Best. Sat. Puz. Ever. I. M. O.

Puz put up a fight, in Round One. This is where M&A scans the SatPuz clues, lookin for something that he knows. This nearly led to an early knockout. Misread 3-D "correctly accidental-like", but wrote in ROULETTE.

But then, suddenly, there was something about "Refusal from a boy lass" that made me linger at 53-D. Stubbornly. What would a runtpuz solver do? He'd of course assume "boNNy" lass, and the answer would be "AE". Or at least, that's what one runt did...
{Secret identity of Suprman??} = KNT.

Anyhoo, that sorta got me thinkin in the right direction, and it was a really fun solve, after that.
U guys are relatively lucky. I'da had clues that left the N out of more than one word, at times.

Congrats, Mr. Polin. This puz goes in the M&A Hall of Fame.

@63: Hang in there, fella. Work the NYT mini puz. It's themeless, today. See also, for a Welcome Wagon ode to that new YT addition.


Shamik 1:02 PM  

7 minutes in, I got it. Ended up with a medium for Saturday for me time of 18:48. Had already gone through every across clue and was well into the downs.

Had thrown in ICH when I thought Kat was Katerina. The glimmer appeared at 25 down. Oddly I'd thrown DOG in somewhere else so knew one of them was wrong...then looked around at the other clues.

And I just thought I'd zip through a Saturday puzzle as procrastination for getting on the treadmill.

Leapfinger 1:09 PM  

Yay, a EN-gram!

While doing the puzzle, I figured @Rex and the other ay-sayers would be all reductio ad absurdam and going "Poli, sigh!"

Me, I thought I wet baaas at log last, but did my level best. Had such as CIRCE for the [Sorceress] clue, DESERT for the [Mesa], though couldn't make COMB fill all the spaces for [Silent parter]. My fiest hour, pre-revelatio, came with [Fly of film]: my mid wet right to blaxploitatio, ah yes, Super Fly, so dropped i ISAAC Hayes. Was Isaac Hayes eve i Super Fly? O, he wast. Smacks of desperatio, do't it?

Saw the light with [Easter floor mat] & proto got a metal picture of TATAMI. Looked about, got the picture, erased all to start a-ew. Where some saw a slog, I thought it a delight to work both sides of the aisle, re-work those wacky clues to figure where to drop THE LETTER N. Less hard? Yes, but twice the fu, & this gal's big for fu.

Coupla highlights: aren't sure what @Zeke saw as the joke, but I had the Bony girl refusing to EAT, the Bonny girl saying NAE. Thought the clue [Rival of America] esp cool, as it needed no obvious N. And the combo of [Covered in slug mud]:SULLIED just appealed for some mud-puddling 5-YRS old reason. I'n not even an X-Files fan!

@Ao 8:44, Yaw
@NCA Pres, I like that bit about falling into BEDS.
@Quest-girl, yes, but only symbolically.
@A-Z, Verree weeked, M'soor
@FINALLY GAVE UP, just in case you do bring your humble ass back here, don't give up on us. Some of us are tuned to non-native tongues, especially when they give some lip.

N-joyed your product so much, Will and Tim. Full of POLI[sh] and POLI[tesse].

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Love that the Mayor of Simpleton shuns crosswords. Nice reference.

Unknown 1:18 PM  

Cmon, people - this was awesome.

Yes, like everyone else I thought I had really lost it for a few minutes before figuring out the theme.

The magic of this puzzle, once re-clued, is that it had no obscure proper names, no crosswordese and many moments of pure cleverness.

This is two puzzles in one - clueing the clues and doing the actual puzzle.

Favorite clueing the clues was Vegas -> vegans

"Ersatz" is the clue of the day for me. It is actually the perfect description of margarine.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Some great examples here of how minds work differently. No surprise then that tastes differ, too. Let's just say that both are more flexible in some folk than in others. I the words of the very tall Kurt Voegut, "So it goes". Welcome to the Mokey House.

@M-A, I *so* like your ewYorkTimes!

[just adding a 'little toe']

Tita 1:35 PM  

Need to add a few things here - that's how much I loved this puzzle.
It would be fun to list all the answers that we got right BEFORE we grokked the theme.

For me, at "Kat's I", and a 3-lettr answer, I thought - hmmm...Kat is German for cat, so it must be ICH. (Even though I know it's Katze...)

At "Plat pouch", I thought plat - flat in french, so I guessed SAC, as in the fernch word for pouch.

And at "Ed of some school addresses", I thought it was a play on .edu, so wrote URL. (Not right, but in the right direction...)

(And btw, lol to all of you who created clever comments "in theme".)

The other reason why I loved this puzzle, is that the clues, with their Ns added, were often fabulous...
Starts of some chorus lines, Refusal from a bonny lass (tho wait - shouldn't that be bonnie??)...

And lastly (I promise), my personal revealer jogged a memory - "Bombs without bangs" reminded me of some friends growing up... they had a beautiful, huge gray parrot. (Actually, it somewhat terrified me too...)
The teenage boys watched tons of war movies. The parrot could perfectly replicate that high-pitched whistle of a bomb falling, punctuated with the explosion at the end.
I found it amazing that the bird would occasionally throw in a DUD.

Thanks again to both constructor and editor, who dared to mess with our sacrosanct weekly rites.

beatrice 1:42 PM  

Only clue this poster really liked was 'dramatically scored sorceress', as Medea was the subject of operas based on the play, and clue works both ways.

Yay! I think I finally figured out embedding... I hope, anyway, and hope that some others here will be pleased as well.

The first video is of a modern-day concert performance. The second is of an early (1951) recording of 'Early Music' by Nadia Boulanger and her troupe, and still sounds, to my ears, quite wonderful.

beatrice 1:44 PM  

I guess I don't have it quite figured out.

Numinous 2:02 PM  

@ beatrice
try This as a model for imbedding

beatrice 2:09 PM  

Numinous, thank you.

Lewis 2:20 PM  

@lon -- made me laugh!
@ralph -- MY inner middle school mind wanted "Boer" to be in a clue, and my inner college kid wanted "cuiligus".

Of course to a speed solver this would feel like a slog, but to a sipper, this could be a puzzle to savor.

I love that PHALANX travelling right down the middle.

How I miss Acme. She would have pointed out how amazing this was to construct, as @lms got somewhat into. How when you put the Ns in, none of the clues were clunky -- having every clue in the puzzle include at least one N, and not have any be clunky. And among the commenters today, nobody, I believe, said the clues were clunky.

All the while, making clues that, without the N, sound actually possible. As soon as I started this puzzle I ran to get paper and pen to write down the clues I liked, because these seemed like genius clues, that, once I got the answer, would have been incredible ahas. So, I ended up disappointed on that front, as the clues ended up being pedestrian, especially for a Saturday.

In addition, the clues had to be carefully written so that you couldn't insert Ns in places they weren't supposed to go. I guess "Doe, e.g." could have been interpreted as "Done, e.g.", and "Ow!" as "Now!" But that's all I see. Good job!

It did feel like a Thursday in difficulty, but as someone already pointed out, on Thursday you would have been looking for a gimmick. Here you first have to figure out it IS a gimmick, then what it is.

The bottom line is -- How was the solve? Well, Patrick Berry says the purpose of a crossword is to entertain, and this one certainly did that for me.

Evan 2:33 PM  

Ha -- I had the same exact gimmick in my meta puzzle from a few weeks ago, except you didn't need it to solve the meta. It was just an extra wrinkle I threw in to make the cluing more challenging. The fact that I did it so recently probably helps explain why I took out today's puzzle with relatively little resistance.

I'm in the "enjoyed it" camp, though I think I mighta wanted it on Thursday instead.

For you lurkers out there who are "DONE DONE FOREVER" with Rex....not sure why his being less than thrilled by the puzzle is such a turnoff for you. I mean, I enjoyed this one, but the fact that Rex wasn't crazy about it didn't change my opinion of it. No need to take his write-ups so personally.

Gill I. P. 2:36 PM  

I'm always amused by the "I'll never come back here" crowd.
For some reason, I believe you're not a troll. After all, I can picture you at Starbucks with your daughter and partner having a laugh or two at today's clues.
Your comment reminds me of guest chef judges on "Chopped." They criticize these poor wannabe chefs for not properly plating an entree of 4 or so ingredients that make your stomach churn and expect a Wolfgang Puck presentation in 20 minutes. I'm always crying FOWL and swearing I won't ever watch the program again. Then I sneak a peek and by golly I get that same judge raving about a simple, clean plate filled with complicated ingredients that somehow meld together and form a delicious meal.
@Rex is like the chef judge. He calls it like he sees/tastes it. If he likes syrup on his hamburger he will say so. The fun part is reading about the UGH crowd and the YUM crow.... Don't be a stranger...add your favorite condiment to the comments. I personally like pickles on peanut butter.
@chefwen: I think @Maruchka is on to something...That's why I don't squish bugs - they might come back as the perfect PET.

R. McGeddon 3:01 PM  

For anyone who thinks Rex has lost his sense of humor or never had one to begin with, visit his other web site.

I'm squarely in the camp of Liked A Lot. Thought it was a cryptic or P&A at first. Later, after getting it, looked up around the room and wondered, if this is Thursday, why am I not at work?

bswein99 3:04 PM  

I understand the objections, but I really loved this puzzle. I guess I'm simply amazed that anyone could find so many phrases that sort of make sense, but that then yield another phrase with the addition of one or two n's. I got the gimmick early ("Quiet parter" made me suspicious), but I still found it lots of fun to fill out. And yes, the Leia clue was the best.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

DUD. Even logging in one of my best Saturday solve times didn't make it taste any better.

What happened to that great string of Fri/Sat puzzles we had a while back - was it June?

michael 3:35 PM  

I think this is a wonderful puzzle and really admire the cleverness of the clues. Like everyone else, I was stuck for a while (in my case about five minutes), but once the aha came, I found the puzzle very easy for a Saturday. Finished in 20 minutes, which is well below my average on Saturdays (assuming that I finish them at all).

As others have said, perhaps this should have been a Thursday.

Unanymous 3:36 PM  

Hmm. There seems to be a fair amount of "I insist you entertain me in the way I specify, or else I'll piss and moan" going around.

Would think they'd be wanting a vaccine for that. Turrible to suffer so.

Black eyed Susan 3:42 PM  

I LOVED it! For all the reasons the other fans gave, plus it was the first Saturday I finished after doing this darn thing every day for two years. You all said it would happen (not to me particularly but to other strugglers) and I'm glad I believed.
For me this is a perfect puzzle experience. No obscure proper words that I have to google, clever clues that made me smile when I figured them out and made me feel clever for doing so, and a great aha moment when I figured out what was going on. I got it at of all places 60 D. There's so much tennis in this house that I knew the answer had to be ANDY. For a brief moment I thought there was a typo - raked?? But then the aha moment and I delighted in solving the rest of it.
I say this with respect but I feel a little sorry for you long timers that you're past the satisfaction that I had today. There are only a few puzzles that seem to do it for you. That's a puzzle to me!

Blue Stater 3:45 PM  

Hmmm. Not only was the puzzle ghastly, but the captcha is equally resistant to right reason. I object to the Thursdification of Saturday; I object still more when even the "revealer" ("is missing the letter 'n'") has a gimmick (it can be TWO n's as well as one). If we're going to have gimmicky word games like this in place of real crossword puzzles, let's have clues that are hard but clear, and not like "[n]early" for QUASI, which strikes me as achingly marginal. It can be done, as the distinguished career of Eugene Maleska in this space abundantly demonstrated.

A-o-ymous 4:03 PM  

@NCA Pres, re slow solving. I never could understand people who rush through something they ejoy. You know what I'm sayin'?

M and Also 4:12 PM  

I'll be very interested to see how the solve times are running, in San Fran Dude's wonderful daily stats.
Note that @63 rated this one "medium-challenging", for a SatPuz.

Was it SatPuz-worthy in difficulty, but SatPuz-unworthy, in some other sense? Certainly it bulged way over the 72-word max rule, as it had 78. Certainly it violated the "themeless Saturday" rule. (The Pirates of the Caribbean villain dude would point out "It's actually more of a guideline than a rule. Harrr.")

Penance on Earth, good will toward m&en.

"More Pirate Than Not"

Moly Shu 4:13 PM  

@RMcGeddon, I'm with you. I have recurring dreams where I'm not at work but am s'posed to be there. Your comment made my day.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Ingenious puzzle.
Agree that it's like 2 puzzles for the price of 1.

Great cluing. Fun solving.
Best Saturday in a long time.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

I hadn't been around long before I figured something out: if you click on that circling arrow beside the captcha box, it'll roll you a new one. You can keep doing this till you see one you like.

If you click on the audio icon, you can have it give you the captcha aurally, but it won't match what shows in the box, and sometimes there'sa bit of mumbling.

Puzzle peeps, there is no need to suffer!!

Numinous 4:57 PM  

It seems that crossword puzzles are a bit like a drug. Finally solving completely for the very first time is absolutely awesome, exhilarating, thrilling. Alcoholics and druggies will say that they revisited to recapture that sensation but they never quite get it back. That drop-off for puzzles seems to be a bit less abrupt.

What I'm getting from @Black Eyed Susan's comment is that some of the folks who comment here are still in the awe and wonder stage while many others are XWD burnouts who have done so many hits of puzzle acid they've become jaded. The solution to that might be to look for another hobby. Or maybe to try constructing if they just can't leave the little black and white grids alone. I know I'll burn out again, as I have several times before. My solution? I quit for a year or two. When I came back it was fun again.

So, @Black Eyed Susan, @Unanymous, and @ all the folks enjoying these: Here's to NYTXTC, long may it last.

LFaunt 5:21 PM  

Really interesting to read how different people got to the catch-on point. It's curious how minds work, or sometimes don't.

I realized that, early on, I was looking at [Olympia with a watery realm], trying to think of what Olympic swimmers might fit, and whether Saturn had any connection with the ocean. (Neptune and Poseidon sure didn't fit the space.) In spite of that, I didn't see that both lines of thought implied OlympiaN. Later on, of course, that was crystal clear.

Thought Kat's "I" a great clue, so like Margaret Atwood's excellent book, which I'd lent to someone who never returned it before we parted ways. I missed it enough to keep an a eye out for it at used book sales, and when I finally culled my collection a couple of years ago, I discovered I'd replaced it 4 times over.

So what do people do at Mensa meetings? Walk about with their IQs emblazoned? I've read that number is largely meaningless anyway, once you reach adult age. I just want to keep my weight below mine. And don't anyone ask if I'm bony.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

This was a fu puzzle.
Rex truly is an ass. Brilliant construction, fun to solve, some very clever and entertaining clues. I suppose if my whole life were dominated by crosswords, I'd be a jerk too.

Unanymous 5:37 PM  

Numinous, you dear boy, I've been doing these puzzles since you were in short pants. Some people just don't burn out on wonder.

Hope you stay full of it.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

DOES Rex have a sense of humor? I really can't tell.

It could all be a put-on to keep the pot a-simmer, or someone's putting too much starch in his shortz.

sanfranman59 6:07 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 6:45, 6:02, 1.12, 88%, Challenging
Tue 8:58, 7:54, 1.14, 81%, Challenging
Wed 9:14, 9:18, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Thu 17:49, 17:37, 1.01, 56%, Medium
Fri 25:43, 20:16, 1.27, 91%, Challenging
Sat 26:30, 25:21, 1.05, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:36, 3:57, 1.16, 93%, Challenging
Tue 5:36, 5:21, 1.05, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:04, 6:05, 1.00, 48%, Medium
Thu 12:06, 10:56, 1.11, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 17:41, 13:48, 1.28, 87%, Challenging
Sat 19:31, 17:13, 1.13, 77%, Medium-Challenging

jberg 6:55 PM  

I apologize to all 102 previous commenters -- I solved this during a 6-hour drive from Stonington ME to Boston, and don't have time to read you all right now. So I'll just concur with @Rex, shoulda beena Thursday. It took me quite a while to get the trick -- I think I went through the grid twice without getting a single answer, and then it suddenly clicked (or maybe I got ICH, figuring 'Kat' was a German feline.) Then it was easy. I didn't come to any 2-n omissions for some time, so I had to figure that out. I would have liked it a lot more if there were some 3 or 4-n answers. But if the residue has to be a word, that would be hard. (Good PPP there, but I guess we don't do those now).

I should be back to normal tomorrow.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

Yes, @Anon, @Unknown,@LFin, it was a 2-fer, working both sides of the aisle. Work the grid, rework the clues. It was 2,2,2 mints in one! The DoubleMit Twis, for you guys who wet a-dreamig of the the big buns and busts.

Anonymous 7:23 PM  

I liked this puzzle!

Well Donne!

Numinous 10:15 PM  

@ Unanymous:
I hope you didn't misunderstand. I was including you in the group who still enjoy the solve.
Not sure about the short pants thing though. I wore short pants one summer in scout camp, in the 60s, ,when sailing,, in the 80s when camping in Death Valley in the summer, and letely when Georgia summers become really warm and our A/C is out. But I'll give you that "Dear boy" if you are in your eighties. Elsewise, please let us agree that we are enjoying our ability to actually figure out these things. When the wonder ceases, I'll seek a new wonder and will continue to learn in the process. I never want to not wonder at something, It keeps us young.

Charles Flaster 11:44 PM  

Loved this easy puzzle.Got the theme(Saturday?) when fillig the missig letter i made for easy answers.
Had trouble with MOB but my beach collaborator helped.
Overall took 25 miutes.
Yesterday's is about 80% complete but struggling with middle right.
I guess this was extremely difficult for TP to clue correctly ad ingeiously but he did a bag up job.
Thanks TP.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Thesorus is a made up word, you wont find it in a thesaurus.

Unknown 3:57 PM  

It seems a lot of puzzlers puzzled over "Gere". No, it's not someone named "Geren", it's Genre (and yes, Gulliver's Travels does fit the SATIRE genre).

Yes, it wasn't that hard once the theme is gotten (and that took me forever; I assumed that this was the toughest Saturday I'd ever seen until that Aha! moment). I liked it; I thought the clues were cleverly chosen (and it felt like a Puns and Anagrams to me too, in that I wound up annotating the clues).

spacecraft 11:56 AM  

I got the trick sort of earlyish; don't know exactly when, it just sort of osmosed into me: OK, so, no N's. That still didn't make it the easiest of puzzles to solve, yet it went faster than usual for a Saturday.

Clue-wise, DOG and PET are interchangeable; the crosses dictated.

Even = TRUE? That threw me. I suppose, in carpentry, your joint is TRUE if it's even, but yikes!

I don't doubt that Carrie Fisher has a nice booty, but how would we know from the films? Oh yeah, when Jabba has her all chained up she IS rather scantily clad. Forgot that momentarily. Right then, clue approved.

The point of this was not how difficult it is to solve, but how daunting it must have been to construct. A tip o' the spacecraft helmet to Mr. Polin for pulling it off. Solving-wise, I can't give it more than a B--as OFL says, the revealer just tumbles out there and gives you a huge advantage, but for creating it? I'll count it as extra credit which earns a resounding A+.

My BACCARAT score today is 1056; I need helop.

Torb 12:39 PM  

Finished it but took quite a while. Many aha moments figuring out the fill. Fun puz!

eastsacgirl 2:18 PM  

Lighte up people!

Was fun but super easy for a Saturday. Got the gist about 2 minutes in with the clue "are we aloe". Probably close to my quickest Saturday ever but after yesterday at least a little sense of triumph. Can't ever remember seeing the word AMBIT before.

eastsacgirl 2:24 PM  

I think the reference to Carrie Fisher's "buns" was her hairstyle. Kind of like cinnamon rolls if you will.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

I say nay to the naysayers. Almost each and every puzzle is a work of art, which undoubtedly took a great deal of time and creative thinking to construct. There is no such thing as the 100% perfect puzzle, including the genius Dave Barry.

Today's poser was clever, new to me, and solvable. So thank you Mr. Polin for the fun and enjoyment.

Ron Diego

P.S. Tis better to take Mr. Parker's comments with a grain of NaCl.

Solving in Seattle 6:10 PM  

@Eastsagirl, I think @Spacey knew to which buns Mr. Polin was referring.

@Diri, same here with throwing down highiq first.

Absolutely blown away with how complex this puzzle must have been to construct. Tim must surely be a Mensa.

290: Rats.

Waxy in Montreal 8:52 PM  

Got the misdirection out of the way early by serendipitously misreading the clue at 14A to be PARTNER, and entering PEACE. Refused to remove it after rereading the clue and suddenly caught on to the N-less delight.

Still had a bit of bother with the TATAMI, PSST, ERSATZ area but overall as many have commented found this excellent Thursday fare, albeit a couple of days late.

kalfromcal 3:13 PM  

This grid was a grid and the payoff when "getting the gimmick" was'nt FU

WHS 3:29 PM  

Like Waxy, got PEACE by misreading the clue, most be a Montreal thing. haha

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