Ratso's given name / SAT 9-6-14 / Predigital beeper / Profiles in Leadership publisher briefly / Completer of career grand slam 2009 / Big chain closed on Sundays / Kid lit character with long face / Stereotypical wear for the paranoid

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Medium (though not for me—I tanked it)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: NEOLOGIC (37D: Linguistically adventurous) —
a.1.Of or pertaining to neology; employing new words; of the nature of, or containing, newwords or new doctrines.
A genteel neological dictionary.
- Chesterfield. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •

I cruised through the NW but then lost my grip and never really got it back. I put some of the blame on my family, who somehow are all still up and having audible conversations right outside my office door (I need quiet to solve well), but mainly I was just tired, I guess, and couldn't make things compute fast enough. Both routes out of the NW went cold for me, quickly. CELERY … what? Salad dressings?? I don't know. ROOT? Is it ROOT? SEED didn't occur to me til very late (though when it did, it seemed obvious). So things died down there. The other road out of the NW ran toward the NE, but ROAD- … ? ROAD what? [Predigital beeper?] That clue makes no sense, in that "predigital" is meaningless, so far as I can tell. Have ROADRUNNERs not evolved fingers and toes yet, is that the idea? Or is it that they (like all other living things on the planet) predate the digital age? Misdirections usually have some meaning, however tenuous. "Predigital" here appears to be completely arbitrary and unrelated to the actual answer. I guess whoever wrote that clue thought "Hmm, the word 'digit' is in the symmetrical clue, so why not this clue too?" And now I've answered that rhetorical question. (My friend suggests that the cartoon ROADRUNNER was not digitally animated, and that that must be the context … that seems to be the only possible explanation for the clue … even though, technically, that ROADRUNNER 'meeps'…)

Once I got TEST in there, I was able, finally, to see PINKY SWEAR (easily my favorite part of the whole puzzle) (48A: Use a two-digit confirmation code?). And then the SW went down easily. This was the weird thing about how long the puzzle took me. I had these extended freefalls, where nothing was working, and then somehow the right letters would slide into place and I'd see an answer and a whole section would go up in smoke. It's just that the freefalls, esp. in the NE and SE, were so long. Tried to get NE first but … nothing. Well, actually, ORSINO and OSE and EEYORE and even a guessed-at GASSY, but still—no budging.

Couldn't get LOOM from LO-. Couldn't get EROS from ---S (wanted HOTS at first). ENRICO, no way. AERIE? Not from that clue. Just … stuck. And downstairs, things were also bad for a bit. Main culprit was ALA instead of QUA at 58D: As. Let me tell you, that is a super-annoying thing to have been hung up on—a stupid little answer like that. Wasn't sure whether I gave ARIP or ARAP. No idea about BSA. Put in ABUTS, but it didn't make sense with ALA. Finally had good sense to tear ALA out, and insist on ABUTS. Then guessed BSA and finally (!!!) saw PERSIST. And even though I still had roughly 1/3 of the grid still to fill in, PERSIST was the beginning of the end. Once that went in, the whole eastern side went up quickly. Thank god I was able to get MAGNUM OPUS from the back end (i.e. OPUS). Otherwise, that NE might still be half-empty.

There's nothing exceptional or praiseworthy about the grid, though there's nothing terrible either. It's ordinary (excepting PINKY SWEAR) and inoffensive. The cluing made it a bear (for me), but nothing else about it stands out. Overall, it's just OK.

A great young crossword constructor tweeted earlier tonight: "constructor of tomorrow's NYT xword has 8 fri/sat publications since the last time any woman had one." That stat is insane.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Whirred Whacks 12:05 AM  

Nice to see CHICKFILA as an answer (appropriate that constructor James Mulhern employed it on a Saturday rather than a Sunday puzzle).

Never thought about CELERY SEEDs in a salad dressing. Something to look for in future dining I guess.

jae 12:12 AM  

Medium- tough for me.  The NE was the last to fall.  Had to dig to remember MAGNUM OPUS (I also got it from the back end), spelled PISCES about four different ways, briefly had GAbbY before GASSY, also misspelled EEYORE,  and it took a while to see YEARN (hopeful our recent discussion of Jones made this one easier).

Other erasures: Ast to isl to ATL, root @Rex before SEED, and PERform before PERSIST.

Excellent Sat.  Just what I'm looking for something to chew on plus 63a!

Casco Kid 12:34 AM  
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Casco Kid 12:40 AM  

OK, I quit after 35 minutes. Lost patience with tractionlessness. No confident point of entry. Comparing my answers to Rex's, I see I got a few right, but lots wrong. In the NE, I had ORSINO and OSE right, but sASSY for GASSY. That was all.

In the SE, I had SPF right, but per for QUA, diA (dept of indian affairs) for BSA and Ajot for ARAP.

In the SW, I had ONLINE right, but laO for OTO.

In the center, I had GMT and RETRO right.

In the NW, I had CROAKED, KOFI, INTER, FEDERER, IDAHO and RADIOEDIT (miraculously) right.

That was my entire puzzle.

My solve density was so low, there was no patterning to do. Take the SE: SPF and per are perfectly responsive and their letter combos Sp, Pe, Fr and perfectly normal looking. There was no way to detect per was wrong. There was also no way to see SQUIRTGUN, PUTSASIDE and FASTPACED with one right and one wrong letter in place. PUTSASIDE has a major misdirect, after all, as furniturE is the most obvious way to go, here, rearranging both SPF and per. But I didn't bother.

As I look over the puzzle, I realize that there were some clues I didn't even read. Oh well. When a constructor shuts you down hard, you go down hard. I'll send my solve to @Ralph so he can see all my false starts, but I doubt he'll bother to post a comparison today.

AliasZ 12:43 AM  

CHICKFILA? KONY? CELERY SEED a seed entry? Gimme a break. Seems KINDA like James Mulhern did not waste too much effort on this puzzle, he RADIOED IT in.

This one did not PING nor pong for me. It gave me a HANGOVER and made my GASSY. It worked about as well as this famous OPERASinger's voice that CROAKED in this clip.

Give me a Joe Krozel.

wreck 12:44 AM  


Cheated for 4 answers - quit. Maybe if I gave this several hours and more patience, I would have fared better. Every time, I have success on a Friday or Saturday (see last night), I gain a little confidence - only to be blasted out of the water.

I skip M-W 4:37 AM  

Finished , but NW took the longest. It finally fell after I recalled Chick Fila. I don't think I've ever seen one, had to rely on vague memory of associates scandal, but even that I got only after guess at radio edit. Took too long to realize that 09 was year Federer won French open in Nadal's absence from final.

Anonymous 5:25 AM  

Did anyone else notice the clue for 26 down is wrong? It should be Luke 23:40, not 23:4

Gill I. P. 6:07 AM  

Cluing was brutal for moi. At first I hated this puzzle then I'd very slowly pull out answers from an old hat I had stored somewhere. Then it began to feel as if I had found a $20 bill in my coat pocket.
GABBY? WINDY? no no no...GASSY! I'm beginning to like this one.
PINKY SWEAR sealed the deal. I learned about doing that in my first U.S. school. Then I learned to cross my left two fingers behind my back. Crazy country.
NEOLOGIC next to GERTRUDE crossing SQUIRT GUN. Can't get much better even though this took over two hours to KINDA finish. ( I had to Google ENRICO and DEXTER)
Thanks James Mulhern - a MAGNUM OPUS CIRCA Sept 6th......

AliasZ 7:28 AM  

Luke 23:4 -- Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

Luke 23:40 -- But the other answering rebuked him, saying, DOST not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Oops, someone fell asleep at the wheel. Martin...?

It must have been a data entry error.

Even if it wasn't, everyone got the correct answer, right? And since "it's a clue, not a definition", no harm, no foul.

Glimmerglass 8:03 AM  

In order to "notice" that the Luke verse has the wrong number, I would have to know Luke far better than I do, or look it up. I wouldn't look it up, because to me that would be cheating. I also wouldn't look it up to check Mr. Mulhern, because that's Will Shortz's job.

John Child 8:05 AM  
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John Child 8:07 AM  

Everything from Seattle to Buffalo in the top two rows was impossible here, but the rest was a good, hard Saturday.

Twangster 8:16 AM  

I think you are overanalyzing the Roadrunner clue. It's just that the Roadrunner beeps, and he began doing so in the pre-digital age.

I found this one challenging. Got about 2/3, googled to get Gertrude and AANDE, and was able to finish.

Oscar 8:46 AM  

Had to look up ENRICO to finish, but otherwise this seemed solid to me. Fun puzzle.

Mohair Sam 8:57 AM  

You learn something from the NYT puzzle every day. This morning I learned that I am the only American over 6 years of age who has never heard the term PINKYSWEAR. Add to that a firm belief in alA for QUA and sEsame for CELERY and this puzzle had me whupped.

Fortunately my wife came down to breakfast and filled in PINKYSWEAR, CELERYSEED, and SQUIRTGUN before she even poured her coffee . . . and this challenging Saturday fell. Two heads are far better than one, at least in crossword solving.

KINDA agree with Rex on ROADRUNNER clue. Yeah, it's a cute misdirection and I get that it is predigital on a couple of levels, but still - everything that ain't new is predigital.

Liked all the longs, especially MAGNUMOPUS. And finally, @AliasZ beat me by about 8 hours to "RADIOED IT" in. Was wanting to use it here the moment it filled.

Davidph 9:11 AM  

I took the ROADRUNNER clue as a reference to digital pagers -- the 'beepers' that people used to carry around.

Davidph 9:13 AM  

Could someone please explain 9D: P.R. setting = ATL?

jberg 9:22 AM  

@Davidph -- Puerto Rico is in the ATLantic.

Hartley70 9:24 AM  

I haven't been able to comment with my phone because it just disappears when I hit "publish". Anyone else have that problem?
Bingo but this was tough for me. The struggle lasted an hour and a half. CHICKFILA doesn't live here and I wanted HobbyLobby in that spot. They HAVE to be closed on Sunday I'd think.

dk 9:25 AM  

😰😰😰😰 (4 Cold Sweaty faces)

@Davidph: Atlantic Ocean. The PR and PR trench are on boundary of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic.

I wonder what I would have said if I could have finished this one.

I kinda lost it at PINKYSWEAR. And having gabby for GASSY sure did not help..

Anyway … off to see the Tempest tonight. It is being performed outside within the Franconia Sculpture Park the coolest places on the planet. ALAMODEs ONEANDALLL will be there.

jberg 9:31 AM  

Really tough for me. In fact, I'd given up, as I had boUTS instead of ABUTS (thinking of sports events), and, like @Mohair Sam, had never heard the phrase 'pinky swear' -- I wanted PINKY SWEep, where you sweep some fingers over a sensor to login to your computer. Not that it's called that, but, you know, it could be.

I was also really wedded to GAbbY and to maltESE. I saw MYOPE and YEARN right away, but they seemed too far out to actually write in until much later in the puzzle. And I never have been able to keep track of the bard's duchies and principalities, so I needed most of the crosses to see ORSINO and finally correct those other errors.

Poke and then Page before PING, and Proceed before PERSIST, per/setS ASIDE before QUA/PUTS... Finally saw PING, that gave me GERTRUDE, SQUIRT GUN, and everything but that pesky AB from ABUTS. Fortunately my computer was slow to boot up this morning, and one last look at the grid somehow triggered a fresh insight.

@Rex's grid is just a big gray square for me today -- so I am just assuming DEXTER is right. Still have no idea who he is!

Horace S. Patoot 9:33 AM  

This was a breeze for me (for a Saturday). I got a kick out of the ROADRUNNER clue. I puzzled, "What made a beep sound before digital electronics?" Aha!

puzzlecrone 9:34 AM  

ATL is Atlantic coast time for Puerto Rico

Carola 9:48 AM  

Tough, fun. I flew in on a wing and a prayer, guessing at the Y in KONY. Take-off was easier, as AERIE was the first thing in, followed by YEARN (same thought, @jae) and MAGNUM OPUS. Which led me around the clock face as far as DE?TE?, where much fruitless alphabet experimenting ensued. Finally erased my stab at "ONE or more" and guessed FEDERER, which was my saving grace in opening up that NW corner.

So much to like: ROAD RUNNER, CELERY SEED, SQUIRT GUN, the encouragement to PERSIST, NEOLOGIC, TIN HAT. Not so sure about HANG next to CROAKED.

@Mohair Sam - I join you in ignorance of PINKY SWEAR.

Thank you, James Mulhern - great Saturday.

Davidph 9:56 AM  

Thanks @jberg and @dk. I would never have made that connection. @puzzlecrone wouldn't it have to be AST or ADT if the clue meant the time zone?

Nancy 10:30 AM  

Couldn't finish the NW. Not only didn't I know what big chain closes on Sunday (I was thinking there was a big chain liquor store I never heard of), but I had _ST for PR setting instead of ATL. This prevented me from seeing RADIOEDIT (I was thinking RADIOEars) or ONE AND ALL (which I would have seen if I'd had L, not T at the end.

Got everything else. Never heard of PINKYSWEAR before, so I've learned something. Writeovers: qUotaS before PUREES; CELERY Salt before CELERY SEED; Close before CIRCA. Challenging.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

Nice puzzle, average difficulty for me.

One write-over, CELERY SALT before CELERY SEED.

Fred Smith 10:37 AM  

I had never heard of Kony 2012. But curious, I watched the whole 30-minute video just now. A very interesting piece.

I guess that as of now Joseph Kony still has not been apprehended (or killed). Is there a reward for information leading to his arrest? I'd think that $1M or so (not a big number compared to the incredible amount of damage he has done, or the cost of sending in an entourage of American military advisors) would entice someone in the know, even a compatriot.

James Rudy, Jr. 10:40 AM  

Couldn't agree with Rex more; we had the same difficulties for most part. Had to cheat for Orsino and then was able to fill in NE and SE once I realized "text" was actually "ping.
Didn't like this puzzle much at all, NW and SW too easy for Saturday, the other side poorly clued. Gassy? Gimme a break.

Rex Parker 10:53 AM  

A little explanation of "?" clues.

They tend to use familiar phrasing that misdirects you. So … yes, *of course* the misdirect on the ROADRUNNER clue, [Predigital beeper?], had to do w/ pagers, the tech that preceded cell phones, the tech my dad had on him every time he was "on call." That's the clue's surface. But "?" clues also have to have some plausible connection to the *actual* answer (here, ROADRUNNER). So … that was the question. And that's why the mode of animation (painted cels v. digital) is the only explanation that makes sense. At the moment.

Leapfinger 10:59 AM  

Yeesh. I hate to GERTRUDE with downer, but starting with a 'Cross' of CHICK FIL-A and KONY? Took awhile to PUT ASIDE the PERSISTent ASSOC with gay marriage arguments, not to mention all those 'Invisible Children'. Religion sure can be put to strange uses. Interesting black square, where KONY meets KOFI.

Hung stubborn in the NW, wouldn't leave till done, despite starting P.R. in a generic SEA, DOG for LIL, and an inexplicable BLUE FUNK @3D.

Was also MYOPE with 'close', didn't see the CIRCA coming to town; and GABBY, what else? I blame M&A for [throwbacks] being RUNTY.

Favourite wrong'un: SOAVE inSTEAD of RHINE
Favourite deduction: getting ENRICO from E----O, but Ratso Rizzo later did me in, when I couldn't think past 'give A RAT's ass'. Begging y'all's pardon.
Cant PINKYSWEAR to it, but isn't that a little girl thing? We crossed our hearts and hoped to die. SWEARing came later.

A decent Saturday, not FASTPACED in this house. Now have to go look for my TAHNIT.

Mr. Grumpypants 11:07 AM  

I loathed this puzzle for its ridiculously distorted cluing. E.g., a myope lacks far sight, not foresight. Even if you take fore as meaning near, you're wrong. My near sight is fine, thank you very much. And the list goes on and on.

Questinia 11:17 AM  

I solved this on an iPhone so every filled answer was preceded by a minutes long obstacle course of squinting, enlarging, clicking, clacking, spinning and whirring. I think it helped with the solve however because I must have gone into survival mode and the temporal interstices allowed my brain to roam nitro-funny car..
Last answer to go in was CHICKFILA which, I agree, is a brutal way to open.
Loved ROAD RUNNER. Wanted *word salad* instead of NEOLOGIC, but salad was already included in a clue.

@ralph, is that a Waterman pen? I use an early 1930's Lady Patricia . Very flexible nib.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Medium hard Saturday for me. I never cheat, so I got everything in time, about 45 mins, even ChickFila, but that was my problem, I wrote ChicA Fill (dumb) so failed to get Kony and Atl(antic). Guessed "radioed in" for "radioed it." Those were the unsolved clues, very frustrating.. Had lots of false starts: Masterwork to Magnum Opus, Eloise to Eyeore, urge to Eros, Sassy to Gassy, and llike a lot of you, Ala to Qua. Also had Juices rather than Purees, but that resolverd itself when I got Persist. For some reason, had no problems with southwest. I knew 24 Across had to be Roadrunner, without having the least idea why. A decent challenge, but not the most elegant one.

quilter1 11:21 AM  

Similar to @Rex I would have nothing and then get a whole section. BSA went in first as my middle brother is an Eagle Scout. Didn't help me with AERIE, though. I had dry mustard in my salad dressing which held me back forever. I liked ORSINO crossing ENRICO.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Much whining here today. This was a great puzzle with many aha moments. Clever clues, pretty easy for a Saturday. Roadrunner clue is great because it works in many ways. It beeped before beepers, it beeped before before digital cartoons, it didn't have digits. Anyone who even considered the answer to "shelves and tables" to be "furniture" shouldn't be doing a Saturday crossword.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

I've never commented, but need to say this, even though most may not agree. A and E is not a broadcaster. A&E is and, despite how it's pronounced, that's not how it's spelt, even under its legal name. I know it's become accepted use in (especially) Times crosswords. That doesn't make it right

meep meep 11:31 AM  

@Rex, when you feel better, you might realize:

A digital beeper goes beep
A cartoon roadrunner goes beep*,

and the cartoon version has been around since before the digital version.

OTOH, you may continue to be narrow minded, it's your blog.

*although there have been discussions of beep vrs meep

jdv 11:55 AM  

Challenging. This puzzle was tough all over; NW maybe a little more so. Last square filled in was the k in KONY. Had ONEPERSON before ONEANDALL and WATERGUN before SQUIRTGUN. Very slow going today. I would fill in an answer, and then be stuck. Fill in another one, and still be stuck and so on. Even though this was a major slog, I still liked it. Mulhern's hardest puzzle to date.

Mr. Benson 12:00 PM  

Faster-than-average time for me, but only because of some lucky guesses. (I have no idea what Ratso's given name is, and based just off the E I think "it must be ENRICO, right?" Other things just came to me, like PING -- which led to GERTRUDE instantly -- and ALTA and SQUIRTGUN.)

For a while there I thought 1A might have been some kind of misdirection. The clue looks like it's asking for a chain of stores or restaurants owned by a religious person, and CHICKFILA fits the bill -- but before I had that answer, I was thinking: what if there's some kind of necklace or similar accoutrement worn by a priest during church, with a clasp that closes?

Mr. Benson 12:02 PM  

@Anonymous 11:18 AM, it's actually "radio edit."

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Oh, and the cartoon roadrunner says "beep beep" or "meep meep". Rex is just being a whiny dick.

Leapfinger 12:31 PM  

I was pulling my CILANTRO from both ends, trying to make it fill the spaces.

Some fun stuff coming from the @Anonymasses: the urge to EROS springs eternal, doesn't it? But it had to be AANDE, barring a rebus, because of the ampersandwiches there.

Always the personal ASSOCiations: my last Statistics prof was Norwegian, name of Magnus [Magnussen?], a good egg but very tough, so every assignment was a MAGNUM OPUS.
Likewise, 37D for my long-term mechanics: not only are they excellent *and* honest, but they go by the name of AutOLOGIC. What's not to love? One time, when I needed work on my master/slave cylinder -- ya gotta love automotive nomenclature -- the bill was high enough to earn me a complimentary Tyrannosaurus wrench T-shirt.

No wonder my solves aren't exactly speedy...

Maruchka 12:49 PM  

Headache, indeed. And no HANGOVER to justify it. Oddly, ROADRUNNER, GERTRUDE, MAGNUMOPUS, MYOPE were gimmes. Semi-slogfest from there.

Really, really wanted POSTPONES in 61A, so SE became an inner struggle. QUA in, again?

6 Googles, 2 write-overs, 1 cheat.

Fav of the day - None. Not one chortle, chuckle, guffaw, smile, nor AHA. TINHAT came closest. Wifi, signals, transponders, what-else, who-knows, etc., wrapping one's PATE in foil might not be a bad idea. Prophets without honor.

@ Mohair Sam - Count me in re: PINKYSWEAR.

Nikolai Demidenko 12:53 PM  

If anyone bypassed yesterday's link to the Nocturne, they did themselves a disservice. Not only was it a moving and stellar performance by Ciccolini, but the instrument itself was a Work of Art. As I once wrote :

Dear Paolo, What a wonderful pianos you make! To me they are the beauty itself - they feel alive in every bit, providing more that any pianist could desire.
Even in a quiet passages sound does not lose colour, and dynamic range between PPP and FFF is unbelievable. Since I bought my 183, in 7 months all the pianos
I played were a disappointment, and only three provided me with a responce I wished; all three were Faziolis. Thank you!
(Sacile 2001)

[PS., This is not a paid ADPAGE.]

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

I loved "pinky swear" as an answer, but I would have clued or as a digital "contract" rather than a "confirmation code.". Just sayin'. Great puzzle.

r.alphbunker 1:04 PM  

Solve looked like a ROADRUNNER running around the grid:beep beep

What an interesting looking pen! Did you inherit it? I got my pen in Sante Fe, New Mexico whose state bird is the ROADRUNNER. It is made by an Italian company named Visconti. Here is a picture of it except that mine is white. It has inspired me to attempt to learn calligraphy.

Sir Hillary 1:29 PM  

Crunch crunch. I found this one really tough -- entered EEYORE right away and then stared at the otherwise empty grid for 20 minutes. Somehow I managed to finish. FWIW, my take on the ROADRUNNER clue was pre-digital animation. That one felt quite forced to me.

Interesting point from @Anonymous 11:23AM. Not sure why AANDE is kosher when (I'm guessing) ATANDT would not be.

Horace S. Patoot 1:30 PM  

I was just entertaining myself when I was flabbergasted to come across a Wikipedia page on beep beep (Hope I got the html right). Top that Britannica!

mac 1:41 PM  
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mac 1:42 PM  

675Tough puzzle for me, it took 2 sittings and a lot of plugging away.

It was the SE that gave me the most trouble, with "puts on ice" and Beatrice messing it up.

Liked idee fixe, think I got that one without crosses.

Can a la mode really be used in a fashion sense?
(Ok, I'll look it up).

The only salad I have ever put celery seed in is tuna salad, and I don't find it essential.

RooMonster 1:42 PM  

Well, my ass is in my hands, cause this puz handed it to me! Some far-out clues kept me in the Huh? arena for most of the time. Had a few answers smattered around, but crumbled under the pressure and yelled "I quit! " while throwing the puz to the floor! (Not really, but sounded dramatic, right? )

@Hartley70, I was having same troubles with my phone, try putting your name in first before your comments. Knock on wood, had worked for me so far. ..

pmdm 1:56 PM  

Some of you might be confused about the Luke miscitation. If you solve online, the reference was corrected.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

It usually takes me most of the day to finish on Saturday - - if i finish. This one took only about 90 minutes, so I don't see why so many solvers had trouble.

Why is 48-D capitalized? Is it because of a rule of typesetting style at the NYT? That caused me a lot of grief because I thought it was a Yiddish word and I lost a lot of time trying to come up with an answer that made sense.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

I meant 49-D. My phone keyboard is too small for my chubby digits.

AliasZ 2:12 PM  


The "Play against the Clock" applet is still wrong as of this moment.

I haven't seen the printed version.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

@puzzlecrone - Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is the time zone for Puerto Rico.

Dirigonzo 3:24 PM  

I know the restaurant chain at 1a only from news coverage and I mis-remembered the name as CHICK A FIL. It took a while for the crosswords to come along to set that right. Otherwise it was fairly smooth sailing around the grid at my usual leisurely pace, although I now see I ended with OWS - my "malt finisher" at 30a was eSE (you know, like the cat or the falcon).

joho 4:14 PM  

This puzzle had me at PINKYSWEAR which was my hardest nut to crack but which also gave me the biggest grin.

KONY was also very tough but I knew CHICKFILA was right. Can't you just see a cow saying, "Eat more chicken!"

Thank you, James for this superb Saturday... l PINKYSWEAR!

Anonymous 4:34 PM  


The CHICK FIL-A herd is relatively unschooled:'Eat mor chikin!'

Mike 4:48 PM  

Actually went pretty quick for me (for a Saturday) aside from the SW and NE. Celery seed held me up in the SW, but once I got that it opened up. NE was killer. Had to get help for orsino.

Susan McConnell 5:31 PM  

Did the puzzle this morning but am just getting to comments now. I second (or third) the complaint about AANDE. I think it's cheap. After reading all of the comments I had to go back and check out the clue for AERIE. I didn't recall putting it in. When I did, I realized that I did that northeast corner with Downs alone and never saw the AERIE clue. I thought the clues were tough but gettable, and I bet on a different day with no distractions Rex would have sped right through this one, as usual.

Martin 6:47 PM  


That's the last time I'll skip checking a citation.

@Mr. Grumpypants,

The MYOPE clue is ripped from the dictionary.

Questinia 6:50 PM  

@ ralph, I found it amongst a salmagundi of vintage-y articles in a local "antiques mall".
1) I texted a pic to my husband who was going through an obsession of fountain pens at the time. Boys and their fetishes.
2) I said it was $6. He said "buy it".
3) Husbanola then put in a new bladder and adjusted the nib.
4) Absolumento perfetto.

bswein99 7:16 PM  

Good to know Rex is human.

I considered giving up several times but persisted. Couldn't remember the proper [?] spelling of Chick-fila. Had the same "ala" before "qua" problem as Rex.
For me, the charm of this puzzle was 61 across: Tables or shelves. Sets aside would have been better than PUTS ASIDE, but it was still an awesome clue.

Anonymous 7:44 PM  


Mr. Grumpypants 8:02 PM  

@Martin: I fall on my sword and confess my error. I have never heard of or used "myope" in that sense -- and never will. I otherwise stand by my comment. This was what I call a "f*** you" puzzle, and I still loathe it. I hope for better on the morrow.

OISK 8:21 PM  

Had trouble with Kony (never heard of it) and Chickfila (didn't know it was spelled like that.) But I finished it perfectly, which gives me a perfect week for the first time in a while. No David Steinberg this week.

Hey, Roger, sorry you lost the semis, but look at the bright side. You made it into the NY Times Crossword puzzle on the very same day! Congrats!

All in all, a very suitable Saturday.

Nit pick time--- I don't like "Type of white wine" as a clue for "Rhine." Misdirections are OK on Saturday, but the type of wine is riesling. On the other hand, if it had been "Type of red wine" for "Bordeaux," I probably would have let it pass…Never mind...

sanfranman59 10:12 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 7:40, 6:02, 1.27, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 243 Mondays)
Tue 8:11, 7:54, 1.04, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 12:10, 9:31, 1.28, 93%, Challenging
Thu 15:20, 17:28, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium
Fri 15:32, 19:53, 0.78, 14%, Easy
Sat 29:52, 25:49, 1.16, 86%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 5:20, 3:57, 1.35, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 243 Mondays)
Tue 5:27, 5:24, 1.01, 52%, Medium
Wed 7:25, 6:08, 1.21, 90%, Challenging
Thu 9:42, 10:49, 0.90, 26%, Easy-Medium
Fri 10:12, 13:00, 0.78, 14%, Easy
Sat 18:07, 17:17, 1.05, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Hartley70 10:53 PM  


Hartley70 10:55 PM  

Sorry, trying to make my phone able to post a comment. Thanks @RooMonster!

Qosmonaut 11:00 PM  

Next time the first answer should be more appropriately clued: homophobic chain where only trash would eat.

Anonymous 9:05 PM  

We did ultimately finish it, but found it very tough--not many puzzles make it to Sunday. ONEANDALL was the last big one to fall. A guest got PINKYSWEAR--neither of us had ever heard of it. Proper usage when I was of appropriate age was "Cross ny heart and hope to die."

Z 11:33 PM  

Did this late Sunday. Entire west was easy, the east took awhile until I remembered ORSINO. The NW started with the -ED at 1D which gave me DEXTER --> INTER and FEDERER and it fell. I've seen plenty of of dressings with CELERY SEED, which led to ENLIST and TIN HAT. The "3 letter Native-American" had to be uTe or OTO so that corner went down quickly, too. The East took more effort, but the only writeovers were text before PING and ARiP before ARAP. Easy west, medium east, easy-medium.

Not much up on chapter and verse, but since the crossword solving part of my brain parsed it as "a word from King James version" no problem here. I would guess that was a typographical error, not an editing error.

As for ROADRUNNER - I have a niggling idea that there may have once been a ROADRUNNER brand of pager. I did a quick internet search and there wasn't much there, though. If so, great clue. If not - weak.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

No one has commented on the fact that 15 across has a major correspondence problem: 'version' is a noun; the answer is a verb (as far as I can see).

Google 1:57 PM  

Look again:

ra·di·o ed·it
noun: radio edit; plural noun: radio edits

a modified or shortened version of a song that is suitable for broadcasting.

Art F 3:03 PM  

What in hell is YEH (as opposed to 'yeah')?? Does it rhyme with "meh"??

Todd Trimble 9:20 PM  

Yeah, YEH is absolutely terrible (and hadn't heard of KONY 2012 -- went with KONM, which was my only mistake, figuring it was just one of those things I'd never heard of).

Otherwise I KINDA liked this puzzle, as I usually do when a puzzle offers some resistance but I get through it anyway. Was nice to see a Looney Tunes reference, as I'd recently been on a kick watching old ones from the 30's and 40's.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

Get bent.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

I believe that Road runner refers to the car
it was before all the digital car components

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

OFL's rating of "medium" is puzzling, since it took him so "long" (by his standards) to do it. Yeah, it took ME long, too, but I'll call it full-bore challenging, if you don't mind. I stared at the thing for at least ten minutes before I even found a place to begin.

That was STAINED, which finally occurred to me as common to teeth and glass, after two or three of those minutes concentrating on that one clue.

I knew the grand slam guy, but do you think I could come up with his name? Another long senior moment before the great Roger FEDERER came to light. Duh!

Really? CHICKFILA closed Sundays? Never woulda guessed that. Nobody closes Sundays anymore. Natick at sq. 20; figured -EH had to be either MEH or YEH (?); went with the Y. WOE is KONY?? This reporter never watches online videos, viral or not.

W/O's: STanD inSTEAD of STEAD, and a square that nearly caused me to DNF, eSE (as in the Falcon) before OSE. Luckily I double-checked the down for ORSINO.

The feeling of victory over a seemingly impossible puzzle usually EVINCEs an A, but of course a full letter grade must be deducted for the horrid A&E (once again, I refuse to type out the &). So, B.

8531, another B.

eastsacgirl 2:44 PM  

After feeling smug from Friday took me forever on this one. It was a DNF officially. NW got me. Missed six letters. CHICKFILA .... should have got that. Has been in the news a lot over gay rights. RCWILLEY also closed Sunday. Oh well, had fun.

eastsacgirl 2:50 PM  

I don't know. Pretty sure it's the roadrunner and Wile E coyote....... "beep, beep"

DMG 3:43 PM  

Glad I managed yesterday's effort because this one left me gasping with the east 90% filled and the west 90% blank. So much I just don't know, the place that closes, a cleaned up song, a Showtime production...... Even with SWEAR and OPERA in place, the SW wouldn't yield. I've never heard PINKYSWEAR. Also I figured a paranoid would wear something like a sheet over his head, but couldn't think of anything starting with a T. And, now that I look at the answer, wouldn't he want steel headgear, not crushable TIN? Only problem in the East was not solving M-O-E. Guess I was trying to think of something involving mental ability, not eyesight. Enough said! On to Monday.

13715, a tie with @Spacecraft

MikeEl 4:01 PM  

No, no no. The two word meaning of predigital beeper is something that beeps that isn't a digital object, like a clock, a phone, or any of the other ubiquitous beeping things in our homes and cars now. In the roadrunner cartoons, the bird beeped twice, although I always heard it as "meep meep." A generous re-hearing could consider those to be beeps.

Anonymous 12:00 AM  

Road Runner is a Time Warner Cable ISP.

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