Lakers commentator Lantz / SAT 12-13-14 / Mackerel variety on Hawaiian menus / 1958 #1 hit whose only lyric is its title word / Title girl in literature's Prairie Trilogy / Fashion designer Knowles mother of Beyoncé / Anderson of sitcomdom / Kebabs sold curbside

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Constructor: James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Langston Hughes's "CORA Unashamed" (6D) —
The Ways of White Folks is a collection of short stories by Langston Hughes, published in 1934. Hughes wrote the book during a year he spent living in Carmel, California. The collection, "marked by pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism," is among his best known works. Like Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman (1899) and Wright's Uncle Tom's Children (1938), it is an example of a short story cycle. […] David Herbert Donald called "Cora Unashamed" — one of the stories in The Ways of White Folks — "a brilliantly realized portrait of an isolated black woman in a small Middle Western town, who stoically survives her own sorrows but in the end lashes out against the hypocrisy of the whites who employ her." That story was adapted into a film of the same name from The American Collection directed by Deborah M. Pratt, starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones, and released in 2000. Cinematographer Ernest Holzman won an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award, for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Mini-Series'/Pilot for Network or Basic Broadcast TV, for his work on this film. (wikipedia)
• • •

Yeah, here we go. Here's Friday's puzzle. Found it. It was hiding. In Saturday's spot. Finished this one several minutes faster than I did yesterday's, borne forward on a fortuitous series of gimme-waves (BUTTOCKS! ANTS ON A LOG! LONI!) and helped along by generally easier clues. Maybe the difficulty difference has something to do with word count. Yesterday's was lower (68, I think, v. today's max 72), and it's just generally easier to find toeholds in higher word-count puzzles. The way this grid is structured, it's basically all toe-holds. No big patches of white. I guess the NW and SE are sizable, in their ways, but they're riven through by so many 3s and 4s that finding purchase shouldn't have been that tough. To its credit, the puzzle kept those 3s and 4s pretty toughly clued. Still, there are just so many ways to come at this one, so many ways to work around whatever impasse you might hit. This is not a bad thing. What's weird, though, is that the fill on this one is actually not as good as yesterday's, overall. I mean, it's not bad, either, but there is a bunch more short junk here (yesterday's grid was pretty damn clean—it was the off cluing that I had a problem with). The only bits that really bothered me was the BAD / EMS cross-reference (EMS is indeed BAD; don't make it worse by forcing me to spend longer with it than I have to) (42A: With 54-Across, spa town on the Lahn River) and STUS ("Lakers commentator"???? *And* others??) (19A: Lakers commentator Lantz and others). And the ridic clue on ONO (5D: Mackerel variety on Hawaiian menus). Most of the other common short stuff is shake-offable, and more than made up for by solid longer fill.

I think of LIQUOR UP (17A: Become ripped) as a transitive verb phrase. You LIQUOR someone UP. Or maybe you also get liquored up. Something about the phrasing here, making LIQUOR UP something akin to REST UP or GAS UP, just felt off. I get that you wanted to use misdirection in your clue, but: clonk. KNURL has to be one of the ugliest words in the English language (7D: Small projecting ridge). Linguistically Moreauvian. Unholy offspring of two words that should never have gotten together. I have to boo at STREET MEAT, as I just don't think that's a thing. STREET FOOD (what I put in the grid at first)—totally a thing. STREET MEAT sounds like some kind of sex slang. I'd like to give high-fives to "TEQUILA" (as clued!), HIT ME UP, and JABBER. The clue on CALI is exquisite (25A: City known for its traffic violations). I liked this puzzle, though the [Somewhat] trilogy (40D, 21D, 36A) really saps the puzzle's energy. It's like I'm being encouraged to think, "Meh."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:10 AM  
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jae 12:11 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Got fooled for a while by SEPTET, wanted Sconce to work.   Also arête and  KNolL before KNURL. 

Liked it a lot.  Obscure clues for SWEE PEA and TINA, quite a bit of zip, and just about crunchy enough.  Time to turn on the TV and LIQUOR UP.

Zeke 12:31 AM  

I'm in total agreement with Rex's take on LIQUIOR UP, and with @jae with KNolL. I didn't like the clue for UNITARD, as while of course there is the BOLSHOI Ballet, there's also the BOLSHOI Opera where the wearing of UNITARDs is, thankfully, not standard.

LINKEDIN is an aid for anything behond Y2K discussions?

George Barany 12:48 AM  

No strong opinions on this puzzle, but appreciate getting @Rex's point of view and analysis. Had LEOTARD before changing to UNITARD, and found the BUTTOCKS clue suitably cheeky.Wonder whether the LINKEDIN clue was vetted by the New York Times legal team to ensure that it was snark-free.

It now turns out that Hayley Gold has chosen this puzzle as the starting point for her webcomic of the week. As Hayley's regular fans have come to expect, her take is ingenious and unusual, and the link I have provided should take you right there.

Warren Oates 12:49 AM  

Liquor up sounds perfectly normal to me as clued. Ono is a word one sees all the time on menus here on the west coast (even at the chain Baja Fresh, a few steps above Taco Bell), and I appreciated the non-Yoko clue.

Knurl is unpleasant, Street Meat unsavory,and Bad Ems awful, but overall this gets my personal thumbs up.

Whirred Whacks 1:05 AM  

Fun puzzle.


Whenever I hear this expression, I think of (then) Colts quarterback Peyton Manning discussing "his idiot kicker" Guy Vanderjagt "who got liquored up and ran his mouth off" before the 2002 Pro Bowl.

Here's the short YouTube video of Peyton saying this.

In other news, my daughter gave birth to a healthy 8 lb baby boy last night -- making my wife and me first time grandparents. We're thrilled (they live ten minutes away). The mother, father, and newborn are doing fine.

Enjoy your weekends!

wreck 1:25 AM  

Congrats Whirred!
Yesterday was only harder (to me) because it took longer to get a toehold than today's. I get a chuckle that BUTTOCKS shows up in today's NYT puzzle only because I could imagine the shock my own grandmother would have had back in the 60's when she did a crossword everyday if this was an answer!

I'm going to try Z's new found trick of hitting "preview" instead of the captcha ....... wish me luck!

Anonymous 1:53 AM  

Re: STREET MEAT: definitely a thing (at least it was when I lived in NYC). The food carts were the only way to get lunch for (sometimes quite a bit) under $10, usually clean, often quite tasty.

jae 2:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 2:13 AM  

Congrats @WW and welcome to a wonderful journey.  My current pic is my granddaughter and her partner winning the CIF Eastern Division Doubles Championship.  I pretty much would rather watch paint dry than tennis, but I was there and it was the most exciting sports event I've seen since the Chargers beat the Dolphins in overtime in 1982. 

wreck 2:21 AM  

... as for "STREETMEAT" ... I thought that was pretty awkward. I put in "STREETFARE" on my first pass as I was sure the "STREET" part was correct.

Moly Shu 3:29 AM  

Opposite of OFL, I found this one more difficult than yesterday. With its BAD EMS and STUS and IDA and ANTONIA. Where and who? As for STREETMEAT, definitely a thing. Here in S. Fla. , we call it dog on a stick. Although sometimes it might be cat or raccoon or Muscovy duck. Don't knock it until you try it.

S sgibolon 4:22 AM  

Why is Cali known for its traffic violations? Where is Cali anyway? I feel like I'm missing a joke here.

Danp 5:35 AM  

Cali is in Colombia. It's known for its cocaine cartel(s?).

Susierah 5:59 AM  

Disagree with Rex. For me, Friday and Saturday were in the right place. For me a typical Friday should be gettable, with no googles or errors in about 50 minutes. (Two years ago, this was impossible!) I got yesterday in 24, my best ever. Today, I got everything except the NW in about 45, but then hit a wall and could get nothing. That's what a Saturday usually does for me, a dnf. I had to google to get Bolshoi to finish.

Everyone has their different "wheelhouse" and chemistry (Thursday) sure isn't mine!

Agree that the liquor up seemed somewhat off.

I really really liked both the cluing and the puzzles for both of these! Fun!

Brett Chappell 6:17 AM  

In terms of culinary clues, I initially had STREET MEAL. Then this ANTS ON A LOG business was completely foreign to me. This being said, I live in Scandinavia and have never presented such a treat to our kids- perhaps due to the fact that peanut butter is not a staple in the Danish pantry.

an enjoyable puzzle for me this morning. My favorite clue was that for Cali.

CBCD 7:45 AM  

Anderson of sitcomdom - let's see - that's easy - BIBI ANDERSON. Oh wait, BIBI ANDERSON is the one in the Ingmar Bergman movies ...

johnranta 8:20 AM  

"Septet"? There are 9 candles in a menorah. And either 4 or 8 branches, depending on how you count pairs. Can anyone explain how septet is correct?

Pamela Kelly 8:29 AM  

Street meat is a very common expression here in New York!

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

@johnranta: I found this at wiki.


Menorah (Temple), a seven-branched lampstand used in the ancient Tabernacle in the desert and Temple in Jerusalem, a symbol of Judaism since ancient times and the emblem of the modern state of Israel
Menorah (Hanukkah), a nine-branched candelabrum also known as a ḥanukkiyah, or chanukkiyah (Hebrew: חַנֻכִּיָּה‎), which is used on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

@Johnranta, I hadn't thought about when I had SEP filled in and guessed the TET. So I looked it up. Apparently the original menorahs had 7 candles (hree on each side and one in the middle) and are not supposed to be taken out of the temple. Apparently the chanukiah with 9 branches are not technically menorahs.

NO, YOU'RE EEKA! 9:12 AM  

I crushed this puzzle like I was stepping on an ant on a log on a KNURL. GIJANE tried to stop me, but I had to SHOOTER in the BUTTOCKS. OOHLALA! Gonna go LIQUORUP on some TEQUILA for breakfast to celebrate.

Andrew Morrison 9:25 AM  

Hard for me. Maybe I just wasn't engaged, but I really struggled. Knowing BOLSHOI would have helped. dresden did not help. At all.

NCA President 9:31 AM  

Marbles, heh. I'm almost 55 and marbles are even ahead of my time. I grew up when enough people who had played marbles were still alive. Those folks also played jacks and tiddly-winks. I think I might have been forced to play one of those games, but there is probably a reason none of those games continued on. I vaguely recall SHOOTER...isn't that the biggest marble? And did the phrase "play for keeps" come from marbles? Didn't you try to take each others' marbles? Wow...those were the days. I can't imagine why anyone would pine for the good old days when "those days" included playing jacks, tiddly-winks, and taking your marbles. Oh yeah, and racism, sexism, homophobia, and the cold war were in full bloom...but I digress.

I found this puzzle challenging. I didn't care for the broken up clues peppered somewhat randomly through out. I don't get how Target's target is WALMART. I thought Target was above the Walmart crowd...?

A ONEONONE pickup game is hardly a pickup's kind of a pathetic "no one else will play so might as well just be us" game. A pickup game is where you have a bunch of people around and you start playing an impromptu game.

SWEEPEA three doors down from PEE was weird.

I keep getting emails about my LINKEDIN account. I didn't even knew I had one...

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Believe it or not, last answer in was BUTTOCKS, and I had had BUTT---- for forever. What a clever bit of misdirection. Guess my mind just doesn't work that way.
Nowhere near "Easy/Medium" for me. Very, very hard and I had to cheat to finish. Went through every BAD in Germany to find BAD EMS (and I found BAD ORB before that on my Atlas.) Looked in the dictionary to find what "larrup" meant; then came up with TAN, not listed as a synonym, on my own. Had -NURL which looked so wrong to me, but guessed at the K, looked up KNURL in the dictionary, and there it was. So many cheats. BAD NANCY (here in NYC and nowhere near the Lahn River.) :)

mathguy 9:41 AM  

Every time I come across the word "buttocks," I think of how Forest Gump pronounced it.

I thought that it was suitably hard. 11 entries I didn't know and some unfair clues (23A, 34A, 45A). I was really foundering until ANTONIA popped into my mind. I've never read Willa Cather but I know of her famous trilogy. That opened up the SE. The last to fall was the SW.

AliasZ 9:44 AM  

This was a passable Friday pair to yesterday's delightful Saturday puzzle.

Favorite entry: STREETMEAT. Anyone who spent as many years in NYC as I have is intimately familiar with the phrase. "Hey Sheldon, whatcha gonna have for lunch today?" "I think I'll try some STREET MEAT. I walked by that food truck parked on Fifth when I went for coffee earlier and it smelled so good." This was a daily conversation in my office for years.

TEQUILA SHOOTERs are a quick way to LIQUOR UP.
More than one PEOPLE person is PEOPLE people, n'est-ce pas?
I will not touch BUTTOCKS squeezed into a UNITARD.

Earlier this week we learned that in literature it is a 'heptad', in music it is a SEPTET. I'm sure everyone entered 'heptad' at 8D. Me too. Who knew that in the Jewish tradition it is also a SEPTET?

Sometimes I like repeating clues, but in my mind too many of them betray a lack of imagination rather then cleverness. I do not like cross-references at all. One per 15x15 grid is my absolute limit. See X to solve Y breaks my concentration and forces me to lose my place in the grid. It can be also a crutch to justify terrible entries like EMS and OR LESS.

The above paragraph by the way was entirely 'OR'-LESS except for the penultimate word, which doesn't count because it was provided strictly as an example.

Let me close with BALLADE No. 2 in B minor by Franz Liszt played by the amazing Claudio Arrau at the age of 80. Do not miss this!

Casco Kid 9:48 AM  

1:45. 8 errors. disappointing. Thought I had this one. pumpiRon -> LIftiRon for LIQUORUP was the core of my wrongness.

I don't know the song TEQUILA, do I? Oh, I probably know the tune, but not the one (!?) lyric. I ruled it out thinking it was spelled with 2 Ls. Also SEPTET makes a lot more sense than SEnTEs, a random made up yidish word.

Also, sAN for TAN. KNolL for KNURL. All new. I learned things worth knowing. :)

You beat me fair!

Mohair Sam 9:51 AM  

Agree totally with @Moly Shu in disagreeing with OFL today. Thought this was a medium/challenging Saturday (any tougher and we would have been dnf) and much more difficult than Friday.

I will bet that most people who have spent even a few days working in Lower Manhattan know the term STREETMEAT. Now ANTSONALOG was total Greek to me. Go figure. We had an aha moment getting EUREKA off the KA. Maybe someday we'll have a EUREKA moment getting aha.

Just to get my two cents in: No problem with LIQUORUP. And hand up for not liking the word KNURL and not knowing why.

Good Saturday test. Enjoyed.

Z 10:00 AM  

The clue that seemed off to me was "Climbing figs." because I was thinking mountain climbers and "elevs" not aeros and ALTS. My other brain cramp was having MOEn pop into mind. My other writeovers were ice-->EAU and wipeout-->TEQUILA. That last because I doubted BUTTOCKS. A fine Saturday.

Steve M 10:00 AM  


Z 10:05 AM  


Roo Monster 10:28 AM  

Hey All !
Typical SatPuz in the fact that those darn clues had to make me twist the old brain into different thinking! The Met clue comes to mind... (twisted mind, mind you...)

1A clue was great! BUTTOCKS always makes me chuckle a bit, not sure why. 23A, HAIL, very good. 45A. WIFE, now that was a dumb clue. Also 39D, HITMEUP is not a modern expression, it's been around for quite some time.

Overall, liked it, some clunkers, but most words were common. Doesn't the SHOOTER also have another name? Had it in at first, but took it out, thinking it was the alt. name. Also had beEr first for ALES, lets go for IMLATE, inc for LTD.

NOHOPE for a TOOHOT BUTTOCKS to HITMEUP unless I DESCEND to TEQUILA to LIQUORUP. (There's something there with the STREETMEAT also, but for decency sake, won't go there! :-) )


quilter1 10:30 AM  

Again, got it all but the SW corner. I had PEOPLE and SHOOTER, but didn't know SweePea's given name and I don't think APTEST was a thing fifty years ago, at least not at my school. So DNF but appreciated the quality. TEQUILA was a fun clue and answer.

Horace S. Patoot 10:37 AM  

LIQUOR UP seems exactly right to me, so I suspect it's a regionalism, speaking of which, my wife and I had a good laugh at the term STREET MEAT, which was new to us. @Whirred - loved the Manning clip.

Charles Flaster 10:39 AM  

Medium but not quite challenging.
Three serious writeovers---arete for KNURL, fast read for EASY READ and tag for TAN.
Liked cluing for HAIL, EUREKA,and CALI.
No crosswordEASE.
BUTTOCKS going through UNITARD and TEQUILA through LIQUOR UP are real good "visuals".
Liked 'somewhat" being used three ways. Made me think.
Enjoyed it and thanks JM and AA.
Congrats to WW and Annabel.


Hartley70 10:45 AM  

No knowledge of TEQUILLA, BRISBANE, KNURL, CORA, STUS, ALIS, ONO made this too tough for me. I should have known BOLSHOI but I was looking for a city. Never heard of STREETMEAT but it was guessable. All in all there was NOHOPE for me today. Good thing the sun is finally shining.

Hartley70 10:50 AM  

Just went back and read the comments, Great news @WhirredWhacks! Such a thrill!

Mr. Grumpypants 10:58 AM  

This was much better than yesterday's bit of trash. Difficult in places, but nothing insurmountable.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Agree with Rex. Yesterday's was harder.

Found this gettable- yesterday's not so much...but I guess it depends on your wheelhouse.

Had to laugh at this Sat. clue for the dreaded ONO.

old timer 11:02 AM  

Can we take up a collection and buy Rex a sense of humor? I loved STREETMEATS!

I do think this was easier than yesterday's, and an easy puzzle for a Saturday. So easy that I refused to ink in the obvious answers like BUTTOCKS and PEOPLE until confirmed by crosses. It would have been easier still if it hadn't taken many minutes to come up with ANTSONALOG, which was a staple at kids' birthday parties at our house.

LINKEDIN's main reason for existence is to provide leads and contacts for its members looking to expand their business or to find new jobs, especially in tech. LIQUORUP is exactly what a person may do to "become ripped". Sounded fine to me.

If I had a complaint, it would be ILKS. "Ilk" is the Scots version of "ilke" meaning "same" back in Chaucer's day. The proper use is, for instance "Donald McDonald of that ilk" meaning "Donald McDonald of that same family or clan" It definitely does not mean "Class" and IMO does not have a plural at all.

I was fine with BAD EMS. I expect to see semi-obscure spa towns on a Saturday. And, the BAD gave us BALLADE, probably not the first musical form that came to mind for most solvers. But "TEQUILA" was the best. Of course, I'm old enough to have heard the tune (essentially an instrumental) hundreds of times. Old enough to play jacks and marbles, too, though I think the golden age for marbles ended a generation before mine.

Jlb 11:04 AM  

Anyone else having trouble with iPad app subscription? I paid for a year in July and today it says my free trial has expired..

GILL I. 11:04 AM  

OOH...I really liked this puzzle. It felt fresh.
I had POOPED instead of TOO HOT so that ANTS ON A LOG took me the longest. I put peanut butter on just about anything except raisins!
TEQUILA SHOOTER..! Back in the day, we would have our annual sales convention somewhere in Mexico. There was always the required "convention" part that lasted all day and those of us that had any brains would sit in the back and fall asleep. The fun would start that night and promptly at 8 am we would convene for breakfast. The top jefes thought it was fun to give everyone TEQUILA for breakfast. Good this day I can't stand the smell of it!
Is there any HOPE for me at 9A? I don't get ACROSS for Opposite?
Thanks JM and AA - Except for the TEQUILA, I had fun...

Z 11:16 AM  

Sit ACROSS = sit opposite.

Z 11:17 AM  

OK. That time I just hit "publish." Will it work twice?

Anoa Bob 11:42 AM  

People people, let's show some love for KNURL. We see examples all around us practically all the time. To KNURL is to take an object with a smooth, slick surface and give it some bite to make it easier to get a grip and turn, pull, push, etc.

There are two general types of KNURLing. One involves a series of straight, parallel raised lines or edges, and can be found on such diverse products as jar lids and camera lenses.

The other type of KNURLing uses cross-hatched raised edges and is found on such products as knobs and knives.

Betcha there's something KNURLy in your life right now, maybe the edge of a quarter in your pocket or purse.

Maybe it helps to be a COOT to know this stuff.

Mohair Sam 11:43 AM  

@Whirred. Realizing that I missed something I just reread your post.

Heartiest congrats.

Ludyjynn 11:45 AM  

@Rex, "easy", my BUTTOCKS! SW corner caused a DNF as I refused to let go of 'tweet me' in lieu of HITMEUP, which I have never heard anyone, anywhere of any age say.

Liked ANTSONALOG a lot, and the mini-theme of food and drink terms: LIQUOR, EAU, ALES, MOET,SWEEPEA, STREETMEAT, ONO.

Thanks, JM, AA and WS for an appropriately challenging puzz.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

ANTS ON A LOG. Is that a New York thing. NEVER heard of it. Plus, yuck to raisins with peanut butter.

SWEEPEA for me is a cartoon. I never read the comic strip. The cartoon was bad enough and outgrown by about age 8 (maybe earlier).

jberg 11:47 AM  

@Gill -- Me too with POOPED at 18A. Reinforced as it was by BUTTOCKS and (59D) PEE, it was really hard to give up. No idea about ANTS ON A LOG, but I finally saw OOH LA LA, and the NE finally came together.

The NW, though! Big failure -- I had the two short ONE-O-cat fixed in my brain, never had a Hawaiian mackerel, so ended up with ONE O hOlE, OhO (you know, like AHI), and KlURL. No excuse for that last one, for some reason my brain would only think of KL and KR words, even though I grew up amid a lot of Scandinavians with KN names. Just not my day.

@NCA Pres -- I think those games haven't surprised because they are hard to commercialize. I mean, you have to buy the marbles, the jacks and ball, and the winks, but then you're set. Nothing to put a brand name on. So all the marketing money got behind games with their own special boards.

Mumblety-peg was another name -- the boys all took their pocket knives to school and played it at recess. Imagine trying that today!

@oldtimer, speaking of a sense of humor, take another look at what @Rex said. He was making a joke. (But thanks. Part of the fun here is watching people not getting his jokes. Me too, often, so don't take this as criticism.)

Teedmn 11:58 AM  

Thans @Anoa Bob for the "knurl" love. Ever since someone suggested I try the KNURLed bat, in softball, I've loved knurled items and the word. Looking it up today to find out why all the hate towards it, I find its first known use was in 1608. Seems like the antipathy would have worn off by now :-) .

TEQUILA went in first, followed by ANTS ON A LOG. I don't do celery, raisins or peanut butter (texture issues) so I know to avoid those snacks. If mystery MEAT would've fit, I would have gone for that. The SW was the toughest for me with my fills ending at ILKS. Was thinking 62A maybe should be "gotcha " but that would make ILKS. Finally PEE led to PEOPLE led to SWEEPEA and I was able to complete my clockwise circumnavigation of the grid.

I found this ine harder than yesterday's, a nice Saturday caliber puzzle IMO. Thanks JM and AA.

And @Whirred Whacks, congratulations on your new family addition!

Cheerio 11:58 AM  

I really wanted CALI to be VALE, but oh we'll. this was hard for me to get toeholds in several sections. Once in, it became easy, but I'd say hard in a way. I did not know swee pea was a boy! Never once have heard of ants on a log.

jberg 12:03 PM  

I meant games "haven't survived," not "surprised!"

But I came back to post TEQUILA for @casco_kid. Not quite the same version as the 1958 hit, but you get the one-word lyric.

GILL I. 12:06 PM  

@Z....Gracias (DUH)..
Speaking of Mexico and STREET MEAT some of the best tacos in the world are to be had by the street vendors in Mexico City. They are called antojitos (cravings)and I've had millions of them and never got sick once. On the other hand, McDonald's Big Mac made me sicker than a dog!
@Whirred W...May I add my congrads as well. From now on, your heart will begin to melt. Wait till the baby smiles at you!

Z 12:22 PM  

I am wondering if Hawaiian Mackerel is Number 9 on the menu.

Don't slag her for breaking up the Beatles

Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:37 PM  

Don't know if ANTSONALOG and STREETMEAT were the seed entries, but know I'd never heard of em. Think I'd politely pass on both, if ever offered any, at my next swa-ray. Or would sure need a lotta TEQUILA, to wash em down...

STREETMEAT paints up a vision of an old Far Side cartoon -- coupla big old crows eyeballin some roadkill; one has a spatula. Loved that strip.

12-A clue gave out BAD EMS. But good weejects. Also liked RHO and PEE, workin together in the physics business.

Nothin much else here really jumps out and hitsmeup in the buttocks. Maybe KNURL, which has automatic U-immunity. 'Bout 6 of the LIL darlins, today.

I'd call it a draw on feistiness, between the FriPuz and the SatPuz.
Thanx, James and Ashton, for gangin up on us.


Bob Kerfuffle 12:43 PM  

And the spinning wheelhouse spins!

Mine seems to have differed greatly from most, because while I called yesterday's puzzle "Easy-Medium," today I had created the category of "Challenging-Damned Near Impossible." But I see that I am in a very small minority. Maybe it was too much rum punch last night.

I actually thought of BUTTOCKS at 1 A, but resisted putting it in until almost last. I struggled mightily to get any footholds, and had to approach each corner very slowly. But I stuck with it, and ultimately finished with just one write-over, falling for the "must be plural" trap at 57 A, had to change the S to a C.

AliasZ 12:44 PM  

I love M&Ms. When I break open a bag, I empty its contents on a clean flat surface, usually a paper towel, and organize them by color. Then I separate the ones with any flaws -- there are a few in every bag --: the cracked or slightly squashed ones, or ones with a tiny piece of its hard shell broken off exposing the yummy filling, or the misshapen ones, on one side, and the perfect ones on the other. Then I proceed to eat them one at a time. I think pouring a whole bunch into your hand and slapping them into your face or shaking an unknown number of them straight from the bag into your mouth is gross. I prefer picking them up from my white paper towel and savoring each delicious individual crunch, one at a time. I always leave the perfect ones for last, start with the BAD EMS.

The above paragraph was not 'OR'-LESS.

Lewis 12:46 PM  

Cluing was easier today than yesterday -- some parts of this puzzle flew. I'm with Rex -- I liked both puzzles and think they should have been switched.

Busy day -- F&Q in a couple of hours...

evil doug 12:56 PM  

The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin
That's what I said.
The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand
Or so I have read.
My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo.
I love to sink her with my pink torpedo.
Big bottom
Big bottom
Talk about bum cakes,
My gal's got 'em.
Big bottom,
Drive me out of my mind.
How can I leave this behind?
I saw her on monday, twas my lucky bun day
You know what I mean.
I love her each weekday, each velvety cheekday
You know what I mean.
My love gun's loaded and she's in my sights
Big game's waiting there inside her tights
Big bottom
Big bottom
Talk about mud flaps
My gal's got 'em.
Big bottom
Drive me out of my mind.
How can I leave this behind?

"Big Bottom"
Spinal Tap

Carola 1:06 PM  

From BUTTOCKS to BRISBANE by WAY of BAD EMS, this was a stroll down EASY STREET...well, for a Saturday. Nice, after my having a few NO HOPE moments in other puzzles this week.

@Zeke - I got a kick out of envisioning UNITARDs at the BOLSHOI opera.

@NCA President - Gosh, you know how to make a girl feel like a COOT(ess) - I'm currently teaching jacks to my granddaughter. Maybe it'll spark a revival :)

OMG @jberg, I'd forgotten about that jack knife game (which girls also played) - not going to be teaching that one!

Steve J 1:09 PM  

For me, this was much tougher than yesterday's puzzle. I couldn't get a toehold anywhere, and when I did, it was wrong. Adelaide has an area called Kangaroo Island nearby, so I thought obviously Kangaroo Point would be by there. Nope. When I finally got BRISBANE in there, I had babble crossing instead of JABBER. I had a hell of a time with that corner.

Found cluing very tough and extremely obscure overall.


DISGUSTING has the same number of letters as ANTS ON A LOG. And is a better name for that blend of foods.

STREET MEAT is indeed a real thing, but be careful googling it. Unless you're in the mood for some porn.

EINS means "one" in German. Erst means "first". Perhaps a case of knowing too much - what the clue was getting at was obvious - but 56D bugged me.

Casco Kid 1:31 PM  

@steveJ same here for Erst for EINS. It made BRISBANE Invisible for 45 minutes. pulp_____for EASYREAD made Erst invisibe for a while too. SE took a long time, but it finally resolved.

NE took a long time, too. sALetag for WALMART was the major blocker. OOHgood then OOHmymy for OOHLALA was not easy to unroll. I leapt to SPOILER and found the way from there. NE was my fisrt quadrant solved.

knee before WIFE [Radio statiom bachelors avoid] slowed me up in SW. APTEST was the anchor, then SHOOTER, then OFASORT.

Ultimately, I was one TEQUILA short of a clean solve. And yes, I do know the tune. I think my brother the sax player soloed in his HS jazz band with it one year.

But I always look to Amy for perspective, or at least incredulity: At 105 minutes I was ~20x longer than Amy. Jesus. *shakes head, smiling with wonder*

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

STREET MEAT is still a very common phrase here in Manhattan.

Leapfinger 1:51 PM  

Hi, I'M LATE! Tough stuff, sure enough!

Got a bit of a larruping in the NW and mid-East. I knew I didn't bring my Saturday brain when I was wondering whether Prokofiev's Cinderella premiered in BOLogna or BOLivia. And this just a few days after being linked to his Waltz-Coda-Midnight from that composition. For shame, I should have read the notes. Stayed stuck till TOUS LE TEQUILA helped me out. Like @CascoK, 'ripped' means 'body-building to me. Pleased to get KNURL from Goethe's Der KNURL-konig.

But seriously, PEOPLE, in my book, those Menorah branches should have been an ENNEAD.

No interesting stories from the midEast; just entered ROMA for CALI till I caught the wordplay. also
rose > CAME
Acai > ALOE
fALse id > WALMART, recalling Target's security problems a year ago.

Not exactly the Medal of Honor, but nice to see the nod to Sen. Daniel INAWAY, and I also like the STUS-Bearcat.

MORE OR LESS? I thought MORE is LESS!! More or less, here's a little MORE Judaica:
Why did the young Gentile guy decide against converting to Judaism?
Because BRIS BANE.

So OK, some PEOPLE are upset with BAD EMS. If you think that's BAD, wait till you're hit with BAD ENS-BAD ENS!

Thought this was somewhat impressive. Thanks.

Off with their head! 1:59 PM  

I'm a pediatrician and I'll sometimes perform a bris. The pay isn't great, but I get a lot of tips!

Thomas808 2:01 PM  

@Anoa Bob, count me in as a KNURL lover! I mostly associate it with a watch dial knob. Can you imagine trying to get a grip on that tiny thing if it were not for the KNURLs? I also just like the sound of the word. In fact, I am going to amuse myself today (and drive my daughters nuts) by looking for and pointing out KNURLed stuff.

@old timer, I agree with your take on the cluing for ILKS. Seems to me to be just wrong. It irks.

ONO is also the Hawaiian word for "yummy" and in Hawaii it is quite common to hear someone say, "mmm, that was oh so ONO!" I don't know how that etymology developed in the Hawaiian language but to me, ahi is far more ONO than ONO!

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Well rex says yesterday was harder, so IT MUST BE SO. The ego on that guy is ridiculous.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Me too!

trudymorgancole 2:49 PM  

I found this MUCH harder than yesterday. BUTTOCKS and ANTS ON A LOG were quick gimmes, but that was all I had for the longest time, and even after things started opening up in the rest of it I was stuck in the NW forever. Had to google four things, which is really bad for me this days -- ANTONIA, RHO (not to get the word but to remember which one it was so I could get 59 down), ALES (never heard either of those brand names before), and TEQUILA. Very rough. Yesterday's was done in half the time.

Leapfinger 2:51 PM  


I notice them most when I'm putting on/ taking off the shade of a ceiling light fixture. I'm 100% in favour of anything that helps me get a grip.

Yoko Yummy, I like that.

Dirigonzo 2:57 PM  

I always knew that someday TEQUILA would help me solve a puzzle and today was the day.

Lewis 3:34 PM  

Factoid: WALMART is the largest grocery retailer in the US, with just over half of its sales in the US from selling groceries.

Quotoid: "PEOPLE who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov

OISK 3:42 PM  

Went 5 weeks without a DNF, but this week I now have 2. Never heard of a unitard, though leotard didn't work, didn't know Hughes's Cora, never heard of Knurl and O NO! That's a fish? With so much unknown I ended up missing three squares. Somehow, "Buttocks" never occurred to me, even though I had Butt---s. Which indicates that I may have had my head up my butt---s…

Fred Romagnolo 3:46 PM  

Hands up for yesterday's being harder than today's. guessed BUTTOCKS immediately, but hesitated, like others; in the NYT? The only way PEE could get by was it's definition. Old enough to have played marbles, and due to a plethora of female cousins, also jacks. I remember "mumbley peg" but can't remember how to play. @WW: my niece has subsequently supplied me with sons, a grandson, and a great-grandson; nieces are nice. Congratulations to the parents, and you!

Joseph B 4:36 PM  

Fastest Saturday solve for me, ever. I wouldn't even rate this as Friday hard: more like Thursday.

Would have been even faster, but I was slowed down in the SW due to a few problems:

* Had OF SORTS instead of OF A SORT on 40D.
* Was convinced that "Modern request for contact" was a phrase ending in in ME.
* Having no ambition when in high school, I never took an AP TEST!

The last letter I entered was the B in BAD, not because BALLADE didn't seem right, but because I couldn't believe BAD would appear in a Saturday puzzle.

Leapfinger 4:56 PM  

@AliasZ, thanks for your tip on abbrev M&Ms to EMS. The time-savings in eliminating two syllables a pop is bound to add up sooner OR later.

Your procedure, however, suggests you should mind that you aren't slapped with a discrimination lawsuit by the lobby for Differently-Abled Candies (DAC-PAC).

LaneB 4:57 PM  

Plenty of verifying googling but managed a finish w/o too much shame. Never did know what CALI had to do with its clue until I read the blog. Too clever by far--as were several others. Of course that's what separates the easy from the challenging editions.

Moly Shu 5:06 PM  

@Oisk, my image of you residing in a cave just went somewhere unpleasant.

Joseph B 5:45 PM  

To those who never heard of ANTS ON A LOG: I'd never heard of it, either, until I met some Iowans. So I'm guessing it's a midwest thing.

Sounds disgusting, but they're actually pretty good. Disclaimer: I buy Raisinettes when I go to the movies.

Dave 5:53 PM  

Had "Wipe Out" for 3D and "Street Food" for 28 D, giving me a problem to solve the left side. Then a short detour with AP Exam before I looked up Wipe Out and discovered it was 1963.

Then it all fell into place and I wondered why I had been stuck in the first place.

Alan 6:01 PM  

Found this one breezy and fun, finishing in a blazing (for me) 19 minutes, after a big fat DNF yesterday.

This is despite my first 3 (!) entries all being wrong: ennead for SEPTET, arete for KNURL, which gave me an 'ae' ending for cheeky couple, leading to maxillae, which totally works! Naturally I went to the down that started with the x, and thankfully TEQUILA set me straight.

Loved ANTS ON A LOG and ACROSS as an across answer

MoorLu 7:43 PM  

Peewee Herman dancing to TEQUILA was all the inspiration I needed to finish this puzzle. IMO tougher than yesterday's, and the cluing was balanced.

abnorma 8:27 PM  

@Rex Stu Lantz was the long time L.A. Lakers' color commentator who worked alongside announcer Chick Hearn. Together they were called "Chick 'n Stu". Stu took over for Chick after his death.

voodoolock 8:58 PM  

What is all this talk about googling for answers? Once I kind of thought that any external research would disqualify a puzzle as completed. What do others think about this?

Hartley70 8:58 PM  

It's a nursery school snack here!

Charles Flaster 10:36 PM  

I have said it many times. If you Google or any facsimile thereof then you have earned a DNF.
Googling is still great to learn new material but not to think you have finished a puzzle.

DigitalDan 2:07 PM  

I'm with Leapfinger on "ripped." There are enough other terms for inebriation.

Fred Romagnolo 2:57 PM  

@Charles Flaster: I believe that puzzle-makers use reference material in constructing, ergo, solvers can do so in solving; I don't mean googling, I mean, atlases, dictionaries, compilations of facts books, etc. It's part of the fun of solving; googling, of course, isn't.

Fred Romagnolo 2:57 PM  

@Charles Flaster: I believe that puzzle-makers use reference material in constructing, ergo, solvers can do so in solving; I don't mean googling, I mean, atlases, dictionaries, compilations of facts books, etc. It's part of the fun of solving; googling, of course, isn't.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Agreed, once you Google you have given up. You DNF do not say you finished.

TedinDenver.... havent read all the comments yet but did anyone notice


Vincent L 11:05 AM  

BOLSHOI was the first thing to go in. Moscow? Leningrad/Petrograd/Saint Petersburg? Odessa? They don't fit. It could be Yerevan, Tbilisi, or some such, but how about the actual opera house? Voila.

CORA next, a gimme. Which gave me BUTTOCKS. Leading to LIQUORUP and TEQUILA. So much for that corner.

ANTSONALOG was another gimme, opening up that whole side as well as the bottom with the G giving me GIJANE, leading to JABBER, etc.

IMLATE, MOET, all gimmes.

So all in all a smooth but enjoyable ride.

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

Easy-medium? EASY-MEDIUM??? You stop that right now! This was the most difficult puzzle I ever (OK, admittedly with a little distaff help) finished. Gimmes? There were none. Foothold? None. I was at the point of NOHOPE when I took a stab in the dark with EUREKA/ILKS. Cluing throughout was as obfuscating as it could possibly be made.

E.G.: "Hit high in the air." Yes, SKY is a verb used by baseball announcers: "He skies one to shallow center." But that's quite the clue for SKY. When I saw it couldn't be anything else, BRIS- gave me Brisbane, and a little MORE opened up. But then my "progressives," starting with the B of JABBER, were Bets. The usual term is parlays, but already I'd learned to read anything into the clues. Took a while to get rid of that clunker.

I never thought of Target's target as being a rival store; I was thinking about the demographic. But after finally hitting on INAWAY, WALMART fell in. Now I had *something* ONALOG for that celery thing (haven't tried it but it sounds good), and it seemed to be descriptive. I muttered it out loud, and my lovely WIFE, herein tributed, piped up "ANTS." Of course. I knew that. But it took her to say it.

Then the hardest of all, the NW. That 1958 hit--my wheelhouse!--was driving me nuts! I should know this! I did know it, of course--but could not come up with it. It took good ol' WIFEy again: "TEQUILA!" "Thank you," I meekly replied, and was done. Is this a technical DNF? I mean, I really did have those things in my brain, somewhere. Aaugh! If the alternative weren't so inferior, I'd advise:

Don't get old.

3036. DERAILed again.

rondo 12:23 PM  

@Spacey - agree that this was tougher than yesterday. And the NW also last to fall, tho TEQUILA was the only gimme for me.
Just scattered bits and pieces elsewhere that somehow eventually connected. EUREKA!!
For some reason I was thinking 8 menorah branches, so big slowdown from there to the rest of NW.
Usually think of MOET with partner Chandon; I keep mine in a pretty cabinet.Thank you Freddie Mercury.
Love the challenges like yesterday and today.

Captcha says:

rondo 12:38 PM  

BTW TEQUILA became a gimme only because I had an A at the end; most all crossword women end in A, no?

You may have noticed that I often include musical references in my posts.In younger years I played trumpet and bass guitar. Actually played in a band that was one of the opening acts for Johnny Cash at the 1969 MN State Fair!! When given the chance I will tell folks that I opened for the man in black.

Captcha again:
dnenter 1939 , so I'll take 1939

DMG 2:27 PM  

A struggle indeed, but I survived. CALI finally surfaced to replace Rome, and thanks to the poster who explained it! My biggest hold up,in that same quadrant, was opining that Target targets WALLets, which of course they do. However, a SPOILER showed me the way to WALLMART, and I was done.


ecanarensis 7:16 PM  

I had more trouble with this one than most. I also have more familiarity with KNURL than most also: in a lab long ago, we got a piece of diagnostic equipment that took us weeks to figure out from the manual. The KNURLed knob was essential to fine-tuning & I had dreams for months where the phrase "KNURLED KNOB" reverberated endlessly in my skull. Erk.

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