Bluebeard's Castle librettist Balázs / SAT 2-28-15 / Linking brainstem part / Bit of headwear in British lingo / Laugh-inducing pic / Stovepipe of WWII / Classic symbol of rebellion / Holder of many diorama / Greasy spoon appliance / Occasion for goat-tying

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: none

Word of the Day: BELA Balázs (53A: "Bluebeard's Castle" librettist Balázs) —
Béla Balázs (Hungarian: [ˈbeːlɒ ˈbɒlaːʒ]; 4 August 1884, Szeged – 17 May 1949, Budapest), born Herbert Bauer, was a Hungarian-Jewish film criticaesthete, writer and poet. […] He is perhaps best remembered as the librettist of Bluebeard's Castle which he originally wrote for his roommate Zoltán Kodály, who in turn introduced him to the eventual composer of the opera, Béla Bartók. This collaboration continued with the scenario for the ballet The Wooden Prince. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle was just OK. I was put off by a series of wonky words that were perhaps supposed to be quaint or trigger some sort of nostalgia, but that struck me as simply WEARISOME. The only thing I enjoy about TITFER (49D: Bit of headwear, in British lingo) is saying "TITFER TOT" (the two words conveniently sit next to one another). Otherwise, that strikes me not as cute but as desperate. PONS … I gotta believe PONS could've been avoided there. It's such a stupid-looking technical term. And anyway, you'd only want to use something like that to hold a great bank of longer answers together, and that's just not what PONS is doing here. It's sitting in a perfectly reworkable area. Then there's FRYOLATOR (67A: Greasy spoon appliance), which I think I'm supposed to find charming and retro. But it feels made-up. Is it a brand name. I eat in greasy spoons from time to time—never heard of it. I feel like it must be what normals call the "fryer" or "deep fryer." Is that right? [...checks…] Ha! Yes! It's listed as an alternate name under the "Deep fryer" entry at wikipedia. Even if I liked that answer, and I don't, too many of the crosses are dreary: SMELTER and SMEARER and ALERO and UTIL and SAN REMO are all zzzzzz. In fact, the only entries I truly enjoyed today were BAZOOKA (14D: "Stovepipe of W.W. II) and PHOTOBOMB (48A: Laugh-inducing pic). Everything else was adequate to dull.

[In the '80s, we didn't have BLU-RAY. We had this.]
[R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy]

My greatest solving coup today came very early, via a (normally unloved) cross-referenced clue. I read 5D: Last name on a 40-Down and decided to check 40-Down. Once I saw that 40-Down was [Holder of many a diorama], I instantly thought SHOEBOX, which instantly suggested MCAN as a possibility.  So I'd only just begun, and this is what my grid looked like:


I wasn't sure the guessing was going to pay off, but crosses (iron and otherwise) eventually confirmed I was right. This meant that I was going to be starting the grid in earnest from the SW corner—a scenario that almost never occurs. That "X" was the obvious starting point, and sure enough EXERT was easy to get, and that corner was done quickly. Soon, I was into the TITFER PONS morass:


From here, the fire of my solving prowess spread very quickly through the SE and up the east coast. I zagged back across the grid into the NW and had no trouble sweeping right through it, counterclockwise, back around to DANK. That left just the NE to attend to, and while for a second or two things looked dicey (-MAN -ERS and -OKA weren't looking promising…), I rode to victory on the most '80s answer up there:


REPO MAN! (12D: One who assumes control by default?). God bless you, Emilio Estevez, wherever you are.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

138 comments:

jae 12:11 AM  
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jae 12:12 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  I declared myself done with the hope that TITFER was actually something and that there wasn't some strange spelling of RODEO that involved goats.  Nice that it worked out.  Easier than yesterday's for me.  Took out SNOB to put in pawn for 36d and then changed it all back.  That area was the toughest part, although my final entry was changing the y to I in WEARISOME. 

Is PANAM still around?

I prefer banjo related BELA clues.

An excellent Sat. with just the right mix of crunch and zip.  Liked it and am one in a row for finishing.

John Child 12:57 AM  

Usually Mr Silk's puzzles leave me up a creek without APODAL, but this one went down faster than yesterday's.

I don't think that PONS is a bad word, but from reading the constructor notes it may have been the editor's doing. 23D was LOLZ originally, changed by WS to TOLD.

I found the clue for IRON CROSS something of a STRETCHERS. As in, kids in the 60s occasionally wore it to irk their parents? The "crackers" clue for NSA crackers me up.

Hard to believe Rex didn't recognixe FRYOLATOR. I guess his youth didn't involve time spent working at KFC or McD's.

Good one IMO. Thanks Mr Silk.

Clark 1:25 AM  

I put down TInFEz for 49D, knowing it couldn't possibly be right, but it turned out to be pretty close. Loved PHOTOBOMB.

Kris in ABCA 1:36 AM  

ABAFT/TITFER was not gettable for me.

Anonymous 2:35 AM  

Wanted damp and pawn, hung me up for the dank and knob (though I liked the clues). Fryolator -- absolutely. Came back like the stink of a greasy old french fry. Gave up on abaft and titfer. Hoped for abatt (like batten down the hatches or sumthin) and titter, though I wasn't gonna bet on that one. Overall enjoyable, clever.

Moly Shu 3:36 AM  
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Moly Shu 3:48 AM  

Like our local hockey play-by-play guy, Randy Moller likes to say " I've been to 7 world fairs and 1 goat RODEO, and I thought I'd seen everything". But nope, never seen PONS, ROULADE, or TITFER. And am expecting some fake @ED post about the latter. Like @Rex, SHOEBOX got me MCAN, but it didn't help much. The whole thing was a struggle, but finally finished after guessing in the KNOB-BELA-PONS area. PANAM and PANAM-AHAT? Hmmm..... Still, I liked it.

Jim Peredo 5:04 AM  

Change DANK to LACK and SNOB to SCAB. TOLD becomes TOLL and PONS becomes PANS.

GILL I. 6:58 AM  

I think I'd rather pick my nose in public than use APODAL in a conversate with an actual human.
I asked my British husband "What the hell is a TITFER???" He said, "just add a tat at the end."
We had a goat named Chi Chi who was the best lawn mower you could ever have. But dang, I would have never tied him up in a RODEO.
Barry Silk always gives me the FRYOLATORS. I want to PANAM wearing my PANAMAHAT and maybe eat some BELA TACOS when I do his puzzles.
Always a head scratcher for me...Felt like a DODO because I couldn't get TOPAZ for one of Utah's symbols...

Loren Muse Smith 7:10 AM  

Like @jae, I just slapped on that F in TITFER and hoped for the best.

I had an initial faux-hold, "damp" for my basement. Then I confidently put in "I repeat" crossing the speed "trap," and I was off and lurching around the grid.

You know you're doing too many crosswords when your first thought for "farm litter" is "shoats." Hey. It's Saturday.

As a child, visiting Bigmama and Bigdaddy in Newton, NC, I would walk with my sisters to the Candy Store in Newton, NC, buy a Little Lulu comic book, ten pieces of Bazooka, shove all ten pieces in my mouth, and blow bubbles bigger than my head.

The trip from Chattanooga to Newton was a five-hour drive from hell, mainly because Mom was in her Woodhue perfume phase, and boy oh boy… will, if you could have smelt her, you'd totally understand.

Barry – I guess all the clever quips about your last name and your puzzles are getting, well, 65A. I always enjoy your work and am very pleased that I finished this one.

Jim Walker 7:51 AM  

I liked this a lot more than OFL. There could have been an opera trifecta if PONS had been clued to reference Lily along with BELA and LULU. But even as a brain part it's a good word. Great misdirection with STRETCHER cuz I was looking for something with wheels. Please, no more Oldsmobiles.

pfb 7:58 AM  

I'm glad this was easy for others; I struggled and never got TITFER.

chefbea 7:58 AM  

Not much time to do the puzzle. Company coming for dinner. Gotta get the beef stew started and no I will not be using the fryolator

r.alphbunker 8:00 AM  

Proceeded SE, NE, NW, SW. Like others I was not confident about TITFER even though the crosses looked solid. But for that I was confident that my answers were right and they were. Details are here.

NCA President 8:15 AM  

Who knew basements could be so many things that start with DA? DArK, DAmp, DANK...I kept moving those letters around hoping one of them would stick. It didn't help that I wanted an "Opening piece" to be a chess piece of some kind...pawn, rook, k-something...it was like playing scrabble and trying to maximize an open triple word score by continually shifting your tiles around and all you have is consonants.

Otherwise, easy for me...no cheats (!) so by some standards, I actually finished this one.

What's with the crosses in the grid? I mean, I guess visually it's different and all, but if you are going to have something so recognizable imbedded into the design, you should probably capitalize on it and have more than just IRONCROSS sorta referring to it.

I think the upside down cross is the St. Peter's cross which is often mistaken as some kind of Satanic thing...but it's actually not...unless it's a crucifix. Then it's sacrilegious or sac-mythological or something. Anyway, weird to see those crosses not used for good in the grid.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

PONS is a wonderful word, a part of the human brain that anyone with any education or experience in the world has heard of. Once again, rex calls words bad fill just because he is too ignorant to know them. How could TITFER and FRYOLATOR not be loved by anyone who loves language? Neither "cute" nor "desperate," these words add whimsy and creativity to the puzzle. They are beautiful, spectacular crossword words. There is an incredibly narrow range of words that are a) familiar to rex, b) not crosswordese or too simple, c)not quaint, d) not dirty, e) not "too hip" or modern, f) not evocative of immorality, g) not overused, etc., etc. What a bitter and miserable human being he is.

George Barany 8:26 AM  

I write as one who was born in Hungary, and knows quite a bit about OPERA. I recently had the distinct misfortune of going on a date with my wife to hear/watch an encore of the Met in HD performance of "Bluebeard's Castle," for which not only the librettist but also the composer is a BELA. Oy, what a dark and depressing experience, not one I wished to be reminded of with my Saturday puzzle.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

I guessed APEDAL at first. Several very pretty words in this puzzle. APODAL, TITFER, PHOTOBOMB, FRYOLATOR. All worth knowing. What a nice finish to a truly excellent week of puzzles.

Hobbyist 8:46 AM  

Anonymous 8:22 is really mean. Why doesn't he/ she start his own erudite blog?

Rhino 9:01 AM  

The puzzles over the last three days have really bothered me. Not sure why. Maybe I'm just ornery and should take a break for a couple days... But what would I do while I drank my coffee?

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

The PONS sits just above the medulla oblongata, which would make a great crossord entry, and is, I believe, the name of an album by The Police circa 1980.

Nancy Klein 9:11 AM  

Easy, huh? One of my worst Saturday times ever.

Roo Monster 9:15 AM  

Hey All !
What's a TITFER? To GETAGRIP on a HORNED KNOB? (Cue rim shot music)

Anyway, doable SatPuz with help from the Check button. Didn't know Chipotle had TACOS, just thought they had burritos. Another music term I nexer heard of... (Not up on those, in case you haven't noticed!)

Like Rex, thought of the 80's movie when I got REPOMAN! Wanted ciERa for ALERO, like @NCA Pres, for Basement, cool-damp-dark-DANK. Sheesh! (Hi @LMS!) ONEtime, ONESHOT. Wondering if @Z is in TOP, AZ!

Overall, nice SatPuz, even though took a bit and was semi-frustrating!

LULU
RooMonster
DarrinV

Z 9:18 AM  

Only two writeovers, so definitely easy. i had herDERS before TRADERS and minOS before ARGOS. I also had one seeover, as the first time I looked at the 40D clue I thought it read "Holder of many a diploma." Oops. I also briefly considered BiLl before I decided BELA was a better first name to go with Balázs. I hear BELA Fleck and Abigail Washburn are touring this year.

PONS, Latin for "bridge?" I like it. OTOH, I'm with Rex on FRYOLATOR. I got the -TOR ending first and thought "Sh$%, some stupid random brand name I don't know." I've come to agree more and more with @OISK regarding brand names. Brand names are better than transliterations and weirdly spelled rappers but worse than LEO RRN.

@LMS - Is that Tucker PHOTOBOMBing a family pic?

Teedmn 9:28 AM  

This puzzle broke my streak of finishes - no outside research, but when I didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil, I hit the check button and saw my three errors in the NE, mostly caused by APeDAL, which I had put in pretty confidently early on. (Couldn't Utah have a TePee for a state symbol?)

I had put in SMElter in for SMEARER, thinking mudslinger was some steelworker nickname but rethinking SRA gave me SMEARER. I smiled when I got SMELTER further west.

Loved the clues for NSA, KNOB, and I thought PONS was fine. Thanks Barry C Silk!

I don't get KALE for do-re-mi. Someone want to give me my "doh" moment for the day? :-)

Horace S. Patoot 9:28 AM  

FRYOLATOR is a very familiar word to me - reminds me of sitting at the counter at Woolworth's. Much more common than Bastian's Blessing, if anyone remembers that.

Andrew Morrison 9:30 AM  

Seemed hard, but as my time was 2/3 of my average for Saturday I guess it was easy.

TITFER seems nonsensical, but it fit, so I suppose it is indeed a word! NW quadrant gave me the most trouble. No problem with FRYOLATOR, and I never worked in a fast food restaurant. Maybe it's a generational thing? I'm not that old (48) but I am often surprised by the things RP says he has never heard of. I imagine he would be surprised by how few NYT music critics and gangsta rap artists I have heard of so I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Andrew Morrison 9:32 AM  

Kale and do-re-mi are, according to the NYT crossword puzzle, slang terms for dollars. Cash.

Never heard them used in real life.

Leapfinger 9:32 AM  

Good fer you, @JohnChild. Left me with not a leg to stand on.

@GillyGurrl, thanks fer the TITFER tat. Rhyming slang, ahso!

A most enjoyable solve, in spite of/ because of the recurring reechoes: PANAMA-PANAMAHAT, NONS 'n' PONS, WELT 'n' SMELTER. Me-too went with DAMP ere DANK, which seems more dungeonoid. PurOLATOR got in my mind's way, and I had to stop thinking of (fig?)BAR cookies. umm...17a was not 'calms down', was it? Cannes I help not thinking of SAN REMO first?

Even though my ROULADE is usually in the kitchen,I did appreciate that nice central confluence of Lily PONS and the two BELAs of Bluebeard's Castle. @GeorgeB, I don't know if your reaction is just bar talk; for something truly tenebrous, it might be germane to check out the closing 'Torso' from Berg's LULU. [Shall look to link it later.] No need to thank me, one good SLATtern deserves another.

Gandhi's wardrobe: Not just a dhoti anymore
PANAMAHATma

WELTanschauung, WEARISOME no longer.

DANKe schoen, it's a Nice Saturday with un Peu de Soie, Barry.

Susan McConnell 9:33 AM  

Surprised that PANAMAHAT and PANAM did not merit a mention in the write up.

Anyone who has ever worked as a waitress or dishwasher knows the term FRYOLATOR.

Sir Hillary 9:38 AM  

I found this brutally hard, but I toughed it out and finished. No problem at all with the words in this one -- it's Saturday, for Pete's sake.

STRETCHER as a battlefield transport made me sad.

Today NONS; yesterday ENSE. What kind of baloney is that?

NSA, PARTB, CCLAMP, TBAR, EMBOSS -- those letters are holding their own today.

@Anon906 -- LOL at the Police album title comment.

Stucco 9:38 AM  

Is anyone else a little bothered by the photobomb clue? The photobomb isn't the pic, it's a verb.. Felt to me like when your parents misuse modern slang..

Leapfinger 9:46 AM  

Forgot:
I thought of dioramas as being in Museums, and when reduced to a SHOEBOX, MCAN wasn't the first last name to mind

@Z, French, also: Sur le PONS d'Avignon.
And Spanish: Once a PONS de Leon

Assorted leafy greens are slang fer money: kale, cabbage, = 'long green'?

ttyl

Tita 9:54 AM  

Am in Houston, and the RODEO is in town. I suppose one of the goat variety will form part of the ROULADE.

I love any Saturday puzzle I can finish clean (yes, I DO realize how shallow that makes me), so, I loved this one. Although I hesitated when changing from scar to WELT, like y'all, not believing that hat could be right.

Thanks, Barry!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:03 AM  

Medium for me.

Hand up for WEAR(Y/I)SOME, only write-over.

Started in NE, thinking it would be very easy. Slowed down a lot after that, but finished with a burst of speed that surprised myself!

Steve M 10:18 AM  
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Steve M 10:19 AM  

EZ NOT

Leafy Green 10:21 AM  

TITFER TOT.

Oy.

Nancy 10:26 AM  

Thought I was losing my mind when TITFER came in, but couldn't find any way around it. Guess I don't know enough Brits.

Yes, lots of 4-letter D words describing basement, but SNOB and KNOB got me to DANK pretty quickly. On the other hand, the numerous 4-letter D words for Nincompoop -- DOlt, DOpe, DODO -- had me bollixed up for a while in the NE.

I finished this puzzle, in spite of never having heard of PHOTOBOMB, FRYOLATOR, BELA (I guessed correctly; how many 4 letter B first names are there in Hungarian?) or SEAN (The only Beans I know are Orson, Lima, Navy and Pinto.)

Everyone seems to have gotten SHOEBOX, giving them MCAN. Did anyone else first get MCAN, and only then being able to suss out SHOEBOX?

I found this hard in every section, despite there also being a lot of gimmes for a Saturday. Basically, I enjoyed it.

Casco Kid 10:28 AM  

My God, that was tough. 2:32. No errors. No "almosts." BUT! 12 googles, 8 of which helped, 4 of which hurt. And the wrongness! Barry Silk's clues were so vague, here is what I had to use to suss crosses

[Summer suit accessory] suNtanoil
[Classic symbol of rebellion] ___fiSt
[Finishes freaking out] calmsdown
[It serves many clients] Lpr
[Versailles votes] ouiS (nos didn't fit, and I hear "no" spoken in French all the time)
[Throw out] toss
[Like many basements] DAmp, DArk
[Carrier with the WorldPass frequent flier program] delta (guess)
[Dealers quick query] "cards?"
[Evidence of a big hit] rbis, bang
[Grp whose seal featured Washington on horseback] sar, which gave me the first 'r' in
[Greasy spoon appliance] deepfryeR
[GPS Display] tRipMAP
[Mean] avarICE
[SAT fill-in: Abbr] ovl, because ovals are what you fill in on the SAT, duh!
[Last name in 40-down] M__N, MoeN ?!
[City that rivaled ancient Sparta] tuniS, AthOS
[Like some owls] ___ish
[Equivalent of several dashes] Tab (not quite)
[Woodworkers tool] Chisel
[Holder of many a diorama] curtain, on a stage, with front/back lighting to change backdrop for scenes. Yes, that's called a diorama.
[Musical embellishment] cadenza
[One who's beyond picky] sNOB
[Bit of headwear, in British lingo] Tam___

Successful googles/verifiers for: Utah's TOPAZ, SEAN Bean, PANAM WorldPass, BELA Balazs,ABAFT=aft, RODEO goat tying, musical ROULADE, Do-re-me ~ money ~ KALE

Unsuccessful googles for: IRONCROSS, diorama (google gave me curtain), KAFTAN (not a slangy British headpiece), TINFEZ (also not a slangy British headpiece) [Aside: don't tell fez jokes in Turkey. I is one of the few ways to infuriate ordinarily very polite Turks.]

And what I don't get: [One who's beyond picky] KNOB ??? I need to go google TITFER. Jesus, what the hell is THAT?

"I'm outta kale, dude. Can you spot me an abe?" sounds like a drug transaction to me.

I *am* delighted to learn that dioramas are held by scrims. Also there is an entire subculture of coffee can dioramas. Do I thank Barry Silk for those pearls, or not?

By finishing in 2:30 (read: at all, without a formal DNF) I'm in the top 3rd at NYT Wordplay. *shakes head*

jberg 10:35 AM  

One person's wheelhouse is another person's deep fryer, I guess -- I had that first, but only because I had ONE only at 45D, putting the Y in the wrong place. In my experience, FRYOLATOR is like Eversharp or Xerox, a brand name that has become generic.

@George Barany, I was thinking it was the Met's revival of Bluebeard this year that made those clues topical enough to get into the puzzle. Still, the only way to get 53A for most of us is to follow the rule "4-letter Hungarian = BELA." Good enough for crosswords.

@NCA Pres -- close, put PONS is Latin. Sur le pont. (That was my last entry, as I gave up running the alphabet before I got to KNOB. Had to consult my wife, the scientist.) As for medulla oblongata, it would have to be an extra-wide.

This was an enjoyable challenge for me, but full of disturbing images: wounded soldiers, tied-up goats, Bluebeard's poor wives -- and those fascists with the IRON CROSSes posing as 'rebels.' Classically, it's the symbol of the German Army, hardly of 'rebellion.'

Honeysmom 10:38 AM  

Come on! Easy? Titfer! Fryolator, etc., etc. Think I'll skip Barry Silk's smug puzzles from now on.

Numinous 10:43 AM  

This was dead easy for me until I tanked in the SW. Chagrined, I'm utterly chagrined. I thought I knew a bunch of rhyming slang but totally lost out on TITFER. I worked and reworked that corner but failed on the E and the R. No, I didn't really believe ROULADE; I thought it should have been more like ROULADo or something.

I thought some of the fill was a bit less than stellar but almost all of it was getable, The PANAMA(TITFER) was the first thing to go in for me. My last one died a sorry death, being about 19 years old and I was just looking online for another to replace it yesterday. Tha hatband on it was removed and saved for its next TITFER is 30 years old and made from a rattlesnake I found in my woodpile. I killed and skinned it and made that hatband. This next will be its fifth Panama.

I thought this was a ver good puzzle but, as Deb Amlin pointed out, crosswords can point out that you don't knnow as much as you thought you did. No sour grapes for me, Thanks Barry!

Tita 10:46 AM  

@Nancy...you betch...MCAN led me to SHOEBOX.

GeorgeB and @advisor...
Lol! @George - being someone who struggles to pass muster in a few languages, I admire and am openly jealous of those of you who have mastered others.
Beyond mere mastery, you can solve, and even construct, puzzles in an adopted language.
I doff my TITFER you.
(Oh my, that doesnt sound quite right...

Sheila Bell 10:47 AM  

All I could think of was Lily Pons, singer! Stupid,me!

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

TITFER, TOT
easy, not!
This one really got my KNOB,
If you solved it, you're a SNOB.

SMEARER, SMELTER, PANAMAHAT,
Silk gave me a WELT from a SLAT.

DICKCLARK made a CAMEO,
but sometimes I'm such a DODO
I thought he was BOMBing my PHOTO!

The south will rise again! 10:53 AM  

I had cSA for 34 across before I hit 63 down. A bunch of crackers they were.

Carola 10:56 AM  

A very nice "I'm not sure I can finish" Saturday, with many grid treats. Had to resort to guessing more than usual and went astray at some of the popular spots - TePee, DAmp, APeDAL as well as at delOS, (speed) trap, Etch in, ToppER, and malWARE.

I needed to lean heavily on crossword experience to finish this one - thank you, KALE, ALERO, REPOMAN, SSR, ABAFT, TBAR.

@Nancy - On MCAN - yes, and no. I got MCAN first (the yes) and then SHOEBOX not by sussing out but from crosses. Didn't get it until coming here.

Leapfinger 11:12 AM  

@CascoK, I had no idea there are fez jokes. Suddenly, my life seems so barren.
But there are also miniature egg dioramas. cf Peter Karl Gustavovich Fabergé.

@jberg, not so fast: BELA, Imre, Erno. There are more, even without getting into diminutives. A difficult race...

pfb 11:14 AM  

I also had MCAN before SHOEBOX; after I got both I loved the cluing. Held on to DEEPFRYER way too long (never heard of a FRYOLATOR). I'm still smarting over TITFER!

Cindy Lander 11:22 AM  

Tale of the ALHAMBRA DEFILER

ENOLA GAIUS on the STUDIOSET
with his USUAL STAREAT his bottle of rum
said to ETHEL, “We’ll NESTLE and pet,
and LETSDOIT until both UNICUM.”

---VELURE E’CLAIR

mac 11:24 AM  

Apart from the lack of sports references, this felt like a typical Barry Silk to me. Pieced the whole thing together but it took a while.

I too never heard of titfer, but that welt had to be. Fryolator ended up being a partial guess, and I started with apedal. Very surprised to see an inedible meaning of roulade. Pons (bridge) seemed to make sense to me.

This puzzle made me hungry!

AZPETE 11:30 AM  

Me too! Can someone explain 63D?

old timer 11:31 AM  

It was an Easy puzzle -- for a Saturday. I had no trouble at all, until I found myself staring at an acre of blank squares in the SE. Thing is, I don't know what a PHOTOBOMB is. Knew it was PHOTO-something, guessed BOMB, immediately saw BLURAY, and the rest was history. I was not looking for STRETCHER but for some modern Army transport machine. Nice misdirection there, Mr. Silk!

Now the reason the rest of the puzzle was Easy is that I have a wide variety of interests. Among them, Cockney slang, so I immediately put down Titfer. It's rhyming slang -- hat rhymes with tat and so you have "tit for tat" which becomes TITFER. A girl may have a nice pair of Bristols -- rhymes with "Bristol City". I'll leave you to figure out how "raspberry" came into the common language for a certain sound.

I also play recorder and tinwhistle, and one "how to play the tinwhistle" book refers to a ROULADE. Tinwhistle playing is all about the embellishments.

Mr. Benson 11:32 AM  

What's a TITFER? It's fer feedin' young'uns.

old timer 11:34 AM  

Oh. CSA = Confederate States of America. George Washington was from Virginia, and the Confederate Congress wanted to honor him.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

As a Brit ex-pat 'titfer' was the first thing in for me!! And the phrase referenced by Rex and others is actually 'tit for tat' which means giving as good as you get!! I enjoyed this puzzle!!

AZPETE 11:36 AM  

Thx. Got my centuries mixed up!

Questinia 11:51 AM  

Hard! From the PONS to the mons.

I must need remedial cruciverbalization. Since when is a SHOEBOX a diorama unless it's part of a seventh grade social studies project?
And so yes @ Nancy, had to get MCAN first.

Trilby before TITFER (never heard of it) and never heard of FRYOLATOR either. MalWARE before SPYWARE and you can imagine the rest.

Z 11:54 AM  

@Leapy - Mayhap you've forgotten whence the "Romance" in Romance Language? PONS.

@Anon11:34 - Mayhap a wry smile would be better? I'm guessing most everybody is playing with the near rhyme (dare I say "pun") rather than not knowing.

TITFERs, but no pewits. It seems as though there should be TITFERs for pewits, doesn't it?

Z 11:56 AM  

@Q - I think you needed a seeover, too. "Diorama holder." Although you are spot on about 7th grade social studies.

Steve J 11:58 AM  

Yesterday, I found the puzzle challenging and didn't finish, but I liked it. Today, I found the puzzle challenging and didn't finish, but I wasn't very fond of it.

It could just come down to an abundance of stuff I wasn't familiar with - PONS, TITFER, FRYOLATOR, ABAFT, ROULADE in a non-culinary context - and a fair dose of awkward words and clues - SMEARER, WEARISOME, APODAL (I fell for APeDAL as well).

Speaking of awkward: The clue/answer combo for SPYWARE is wrong. Cookies are not software. They're text files left on a web browser's device. They're read by websites. While they can be used to enable user tracking of user behavior, they're still not software.

Master Melvin 12:15 PM  

It ended up elsewhere in the grid, but I wanted CSA for "Group of crackers". ;-)

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Why is the Iron Cross a symbol of rebellion?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Melvin @ 1215: hilarious. CSA tried to co-opt GW for themselves. They failed, as they continue to fail to co-opt patriotism and god.

Leapfinger 12:28 PM  

@Z,that's one thing I never forget. De pontibus non disputandum.

@Numi, fergoshsakes! Quite a few years ago, I was down on the coast for a professional CME meeting. One evening, the entertainment was a Carolina Shag dance, and this tall stranger invited me onto the floor. While we two-stepped, he informed me that the snakeskin hatband on his black Stetson was a rattler that he had shot himself. So I'm asking, were you by chance at the Wrighsville Beach Blockade Runner about 30 summers ago???

Numinous 12:36 PM  

I wanted "Without feet" to be something to do with poetry.

Barry Silk holy'd me today without any stammer. I tip my titfer to him.
I just had a look at the kettle and realize it's time to put on my loobies and weasel, grab my trouble, get her down the apples and into the jam jar so we can scarpa to the lollies. I'd better malcom her on the dog so she can get ready. Ok, french egg, already.

Have fun, y'all.



ɥƃnouǝ = (ɟǝno uǝ) ƃƃǝ ɥɔuǝɹɟ
ǝuoɥd = ǝuoq & ƃop
ʇxǝʇ = x ɯloɔlɐɯ
doɥs = dod ʎllol
oƃ = olɟ ɐdɐɔs
ɹɐɔ = ɹɐɾ ɯɐɾ
sɹıɐʇs = sɹɐǝd puɐ sǝlddɐ
ǝɟıʍ = ǝɟıɹʇs & ǝlqnoɹʇ
ʇɐoɔ = ʇɐoʇs & lǝsɐǝʍ
sǝoɥs = snol ǝıqool
(qoɟ ɯoɹɟ) ɥɔʇɐʍ = qoɥ & ǝlʇʇǝʞ
ɹǝʇʇnq = ɹǝʇʇnʇs & ɹǝɯɯɐʇs
ʇsɐoʇ = ʇsoɥƃ ʎloɥ

Numinous 12:41 PM  

Awww, @Leapy. The first time I was in the Carolinas was when I was conceived at Cherry Point. Both my parents were Marines. Sadly, it wasn't until 1996 that I got there again. I would love to have met you 30 years ago though :-)

Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:41 PM  

@Q-- No problemo with SHOEBOX, as misread clue as "Holder of many a diploma".

@muse-- Impressive oral capacity, re: ten pieces of Bazooka bgum. U musta really been tryin to fill some holes in yer bball tradin card collection.

@Z: TITFER registered on yer Pewit-o-lator, also, I see. Well... there's yer T-shirt logo, tho.

Pretty grid design. Has the crosses, to ward off U's. (Thankfully, LULU was having not of it.)

Goat tying?!? What kinda RODEO are U tryin to run here, Shortzmeister?

Fun SatPuz. fave weeject: SWF. fave appliance: FRYOLATOR.

M&A

** Impossible GRUNTZ **

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Not to quibble, but I think "SWF" belongs in a chat room or a newspaper, not on a "dating site"—and certainly not in 2015. You don't need to identify yourself as female and white in addition to posting a photo and filling out a profile. I appreciate the NYT's attempts at updating its clues but sometimes the logic just isn't there.

Maruchka 1:04 PM  

Too confident that 29A=Drew Carey and 18A=trout and 60A=about and.. oh well. It was hell. SLAP ON the head - where my PONS at?

Nice KALE, REPOMAN, NSA clueing. STRETCHER is sad, but all too true. And just walk away, RENE. Puh-leeze.

Fav of the day - ABAFT, me middle-English hearties!

SHOEBOX diorama drama - When my daughter was in grade school, there was much competition for that prize. Many parents then created fabulous displays in the name of their TOTs. Sigh.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Brain fail---why does lan serve many clients (briefly)?

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Tit for tat
Butter for fat
If you kick my dog
I'll kick your cat

That's what I remember as the rhyme. Goodness knows what @Numinous could turn that into with Britishisms. It's a whole different language, ent it?

@Lms, I did the same thing with Bazooka gum, always trying for the big, face-encapsuling bubble, but boy, did my jaw hurt! Loved the antics of Bazooka Joe and friends. And wasn't there always some little message or something? Memory going dim...

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Who wears an iron cross today? Biker gangs.

mathguy 1:32 PM  

The MGI was 26, below the average Saturday. But it still took me forever.

Clever cluing. Some zippy entries. It was fun.

Whirred Whacks 1:38 PM  

Toughie for me: 4 Googles and 45' to finish. TITFER made SW challenging. (All things being equal, I'd rather know Stephen Jay Gould than Titfer.)

@Teedmn @LMS thanks for the Bazooka gum memories!

@Anon 1:14 LAN = Local Area Network. Servers attached to it can serve many "clients."

Liked KNOB and SNOB next to one another. Wished there could've been a BLOB!

@M&A: you get my prize for the best comment of the week with:
SUPER BOWL TITS (wardrobe malfunction) on Thursday.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Anon @ 1314: Ian Fleming's novels served up many clients of the MI-5.

Steve J 1:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 1:46 PM  

@Anon 1:14 pm: LAN stands for local area network. In the old client-server days (before autonomous PCs), each user's machine was considered a client relative to the central server. A LAN connected them all together.

M and Also 1:46 PM  

@Teedmn, yep. I had my bgum brands mixed up.
Bazooka included a Bazooka Joe comic strip & a fortune. No baseball cards.
Also, U could get a free "Peepin Joe" telescope for around 500 gum wrappers. Bet that's what @muse was goin for.
10 bgums would make a whopper wad on the sidewalk. Could catch a small K-mart shopper, in one of them chewed up discard heaps.

Once met a coupla photographin sister gals, who would take pictures of interestin gum wad formations, in yer K-mart parkin lots. One of em once sized up M&A as "a weird guy with too much time on his hands". But I digress...

Also, "having none of it" instead of "having not of it", in prev. msg.

M&A

Z 1:49 PM  

@Leapy - I can't argue with your Latin.

@M&A - Maybe the t-shirt logo can be TITFER wearing Pewit with deep eyepits. I bet @LMS can find us a pic.

Loren Muse Smith 1:50 PM  

@M&A, r.alph, Roo, et at – you have to look at today's Stumper and Stanley's clue/answer for 27D.

Casco Kid 1:55 PM  

@numi, your post abve was the equivalent of two college classes: one in typesetting (how'd you do that?) and the other in English Grammar Snivel (snivel-and-drivel means rot means NOT.) I will take your post into the computer lab and try to reverse it. I will then take it to the local English pub and see who understands it. What fun!

Without feet! Iambless't. We all are.

Last Silver Titfur 2:01 PM  

@muse,
har.
Stumper is crossin over, to the runt side. Not a pretty sight. But honored, nonetheless.
That there cue is awful light on question marks, tho.

M&A

Fred Romagnolo 2:05 PM  

E'en tho I finished, never heard of FRYOLATOR, am with Oisk on brand-names, ALERO held me up. How is anyone not Brit supposed to know their idiomatic slang? After finishing I looked up TITFER, not believing it could be right. Isn't medulla oblongata a song from the Lion King? @Nancy: soya bean? @Leapfinger rightly reminds us of the variety of 4-letter Hungarian names. @Anon 12:21: the CSA tried and lost - they're gone; get over it; and modern liberals shouldn't try to "co-opt" all political wisdom, especially by flogging dead horses. As to @anon8:22, is there some way we could got him shipped to ISIS to meet that ex-Brit defector?

Anoa Bob 2:05 PM  

If you ain't got the do-re-mi Woody Guthrie

Ludyjynn 2:06 PM  

Quite a WEARISOME slog for me, w/ bits and pieces going in all over the place, followed by several walking away rest periods to GETAGRIP. Glad I don't time myself; this took forever. But when I finally correctly completed the SW corner, I was quite proud. You can call me shallow, too, @Tita, for suddenly liking this puzz. a whole lot more when it was done, error-free.

@Stucco, I agree w/ your comment about PHOTOBOMB being a verb, not a noun. Good catch.

@Nancy, MCAN went in from crosses and I still could not see SHOEBOX because I could not get the Museum of Natural History's dioramas out of my head til the aha moment finally arrived.

IRONCROSS should have been clued as 'classic symbol of Nazi officers', IMO.

As the late Leonard Nimoy/Spock would say, "Live long and prosper" everyone.

Thanks, BCS and WS for the workout.

MetroGnome 2:21 PM  

Not "easy" for me at all. Too many brand names/proper nouns, and an indecipherable abbreviation like "Port. title" simply made things worse.

Then there are the ones I simply can't fathom:

*"LULU" is an adjective?

*Since when does a shoe store (ANOTHER brand name I didn't recognize, but figured out from the related clued at 5-DDown) display a diorama?

I initially thought the "group of crackers" was CSA, which would have been a pretty cruel and insulting use of an epithet -- but "NSA"? That's the National Security Agency, isn't it? What's it got to do with "crackers"?

I don't know of any organized social movement that's ever used the IRON CROSS except the Nazis, who appropriated it from the German military tradition . . . and do we really need to dignify them by upgrading them to a legitimate "rebellion"?

Green Ranger 2:23 PM  

Don't know why across and down comic ( acrossanddown.net ) liked fryolator, think it's lousy fill, never heard of that term

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

God do I hate bad PONS!

AliasZ 2:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 2:29 PM  


This was a very enjoyable puzzle by one of my favorite themeless constructors.

It was almost as much fun seeing the Hitchcock movie TOPAZ atop his many CAMEOs as was to see the two BÉLA's referenced in the OPERA "Blubeard's Castle" (or "A kékszakállú herceg vára"). There has been more written about the psychological meaning of the seven doors of Bluebeard's castle than just about any other opera. One of my most memorable musical experiences was its concert performance at Avery Fisher Hall conducted by Pierre Boulez a few years ago. In this excerpt the fifth door opens to Bluebeard's sun-drenched, rich, vast kingdom to a C major chord, a spine-tingling, visceral, cathartic effect that has been rarely, if ever, equaled in the history of music.

We should also not forget Alban Berg's OPERA, LULU.

The brief Wikipedia entry for ROULADE (music) has a footnote: See also MIASMA. Here Lily PONS does a wonderful job sounding like a bell and demonstrating what a ROULADE and MIASMA is.

AS I SAID, lovely, lovely puzz, Mr. Silk.

OISK 2:37 PM  

Like Fred, I had trouble with Alero crossing Fryolator. Never heard of "Fryolator," and is the car Alero or Alera? Guessed right. But I had two other errors, one involving titfer, where I had titser, (sure, abaft sounds better than abast, but I missed it) and "slam on" instead of "slap on." Second week in a row with DNF on Thurs. and Sat. I like Mr. Silk's puzzles, but don't like the cross of two product names, Fryolator and Alero. Seeyalater.

Z 2:46 PM  

@Fred R - "the CSA tried and lost - they're gone." Actually, there is significant concern among moderate Republicans that Cruz, Paul, Perry, et al. are "neo-confederates," more "Southern Democrats" than "Party of Lincoln." A quick google search found me this book and this website. You'll find lots more support for this contention on the political left too, of course.

@Anon2:23 - Well played.

Norm 2:49 PM  

Hey, Numi, fun Marine brat game. Did you manage to get born in the same state in which you were conceived? My older brother is China/Pendleton; I'm pure Lejeune.

Casco Kid 2:53 PM  

@norm, Here's the same game for tenure-seeking scholars: I'm OLEMISS -> [James Meredith ugliness, then hasty retreat] -> GEORGETOWN

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

People like @ fred 1405 try to pretend that southern secessionists, rasists, and bigots are a thing of the past. Their only source of news is probably Fox News. Note how he reacts to a commenter on the board by saying he should be hanbded over to terorists. These people are violent, unstable, and dangerous.

Mona Butler 2:55 PM  

You insult much of the crossword world with "anyone with any education or experience" comment. With a Masters degree, I do not remember PONS as being taught.

R. McGeddon 3:01 PM  

CApEr in 26A and SoYbARs (?!) in 39D slowed this solver down.

Benko 3:14 PM  

"Ordinary f$&@in' people."

okanaganer 3:34 PM  

I laughed out loud at the clue "Occasion for goat tying", having never heard of a goat rodeo. But then I stopped laughing when all I could picture was using him as bait for some predator. Uggh!

retired_chemist 4:52 PM  

PONS (Latin for "bridge") came from the definition but without relevant anatomical knowledge. But not a problem.

HTG a couple of times. Bah.

Overall pretty zingy and well worth the time I spent.

Thanks, Mr.Silk.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Whoa well I have a master's degree too and I don't remember "Bluebeard's Castle" being taught. But being reasonably intelligent and having read books and newspapers most of my life, I was genius enough (channeling rex here) to use my solving prowess to figure it out. That's the beauty of crossword puzzles. You don't hear me whining about a word being "not fair" or "could have been avoided." For someone who says he loves crossword puzzles, rex sure spends a lot of time insulting their constructors and whining about words he doesn't know. Who on this board knew TOPAZ was a Utah state symbol?! Does ARGOS just roll off your tongue?! (Yes, interrobangs.) But nobody is whining about those answers. That's the whole point. You get pleasure from figuring it out, you maybe learn something, and next time you'll recognize a really important part of the human anatomy.

Fred Romagnolo 4:56 PM  

@Z: I'm a moderate Republican and have an acute distaste for the guys you mentioned, but I'm not panicking, none have a remote chance of winning the nomination, or presidency. @Anon2:53: to be honest, I read the NYT, the San Francisco Chronicle and watch The News Hour and BBC America on TV. None have the reputation of Fox News, which I don't watch (I hate that smug guy with the football, Hannity). I believe the North has its share of rasists(sic) and bigots (who are, alas, more influential than southern ones). I was playing the game of exaggeration with the terrorist, which perhaps was too much, so I will apologize.

MDMA 5:08 PM  

@MetroGnome

The "rebellion" for IRON CROSS was probably the 1970s punk movement.

The NSA cracks codes. Cracker is also a synonym for a certain type of hacker.

Port. for Portuguese should have been guessable, we see Sp. and Fr. sometimes too.

LULU is not an adjective, rather "dandy" is a noun, as in the expression "it's a dandy".

SHOEBOX simply refers to the English word "shoebox", I'm not sure what you are talking about regarding a store.

GILL I. 5:20 PM  

Hey @Fred... a Republican, albeit moderate, living in San Francisco??? Yikes!!! I too hate that smug guy...seriously.
We're a dying breed my friend. Gavin needs someone who'll make him a good TITFER... He'll probably be our next governator. :>)

MDMA 5:22 PM  

I knew I was in for a hard time after the first pass through the clues, when all I had was SEAN and CSA.

Today's puzzle and yesterday's (Friday) were more grueling than usual. Finally finished both, but took a long time for each.

I must be the only one who never heard of McAn shoes. I kept checking and rechecking the crosses incredulously.

Rex never said a word about KALE and its "do-re-mi" clue, so they must be familiar to him. I'm not sure on what planet people actually use this slang vocabulary.

TITFER required all the crosses.

PHOTO BOMB is both a noun and a verb. After all, what else would you call the picture that results from carrying out the verb? Google the phrase "a photo bomb" (including the quotation marks) and you will find a ton of examples.

Z 5:27 PM  

@Fred R - "No chance of getting elected?" Who knows who the Republicans will put forth and lots of people on the left cannot bring themselves to vote for Hillary. Makes me think of Churchill's (?) quote, "Democracy is the worst form of government ever invented by man, except for every other form of government invented by man."

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

Good one, fred. I am cracking up. "Moderate Republican." An oxymoron if ever there was one. There is no such thing. W was the last one, and we can see what a wonderful presidency he had! No wonder you didn't know PONS. You'd have to believe in evolution, and phylogeny and ontogeny, and "science," to understand why the PONS exists. The majority of republicans do not believe in evolution or global climate change. But a supermajority believe that America should establish Christianity as the national religion. Moderate Republican translates to "rich guy who will cynically use religion, fear of the 'other,' and violence to manipulate poor people into voting in ways which allow him to keep his money." What a joke.

Numinous 5:42 PM  

@Norm, Sadly, my mother was discharged not long after she became pregnant, Apparently, during the war, they weren't very interested in having in having staff sergeants givingg birth on the base so I was born in Buffalo NY. though I was moved to California when I was a few months old as my father's family is from there, My great grandfather was one of the founders of the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. I grew up in Berkeley. So, I have a fondness for your Oski avatar.

@Casco, that's merely Cockney rhyming slang. Folks in the East End of London devised it so they could speak in front of outsiders openly without being understood back in the bad ole 1800s or so. The weuld speak, as it were, a la mode (in code). I found a website called fliptext.net to invert the answers like you would find on cereal boxes etc.. I 'ope you had fun wiv it.

Numinous 5:45 PM  

Oh, yeah! @Casco, Yer mates down the pub'll be impressed a Septic Tank even knows all that. (Septic tank = Yank). And I'm over my limit.

Steve J 5:58 PM  

@MetroGnome: The IRON CROSS has its origins in the Napoleonic wars, when the Prussians introduced it as a military honor for performance in battles where Prussia and other parts of what became Germany pushed back - or rebelled against - Napoleon's occupation.

Thanks to thousands of World War II movies and TV shows many have come to associate it with the Nazis, but it was always simply a symbol of the German armed forces. You'll still see it on the Bundeswehr's planes and vehicles.

@Oisk and @Fred: Like some rivers and operas and Melville novels, ALERO is something to always keep handy in your crossword memory bank. It gets used a lot.

@Gill: I'm definitely on the left side of the American political spectrum (I'd be center-left, maybe even center-right, anywhere else in the developed world), but I hope you're incredibly wrong about Gavin Newsom. He's such an empty suit. The only reason I was happy he got elected lieutenant governor was that it meant he was no longer San Francisco's mayor.

@MDMA: KALE, do-re-mi seem to live exclusively in 40s noir, gangster films and crosswords.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Boehner is a moderate republican. His days, like those of all "moderate republicans," are numbered.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

Boehner is a moderate republican. His days, like those of all "moderate republicans," are numbered.

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

H

GILL I. 8:05 PM  

Hi @Steve...Empty suit???? You're too kind. I would say a TACO short of a Mexican plate special..:>)

Norm 8:20 PM  

@Numi. If your Mom is still around, give her a hug from this Marine brat who has many fond memories of NCOs.

DigitalDan 8:28 PM  

PANAM hasn't been around for a while. I think the clue should have had more of a past-tense flavor.

Fred Romagnolo 10:20 PM  

anon5:34: Rich? I'm a retired teacher living on a pension. Darwin has been one of my personal heroes since I was in Junior High School. I have opposed religion in the schools all my life. I refused to lead my home-room classes in the Pledge because of you know what two words. I objected to Xmas caroling in the halls. I won't use my expensive wood-burning stove because of environmental concerns. It's difficult for me to accept that people won't believe that "moderate" Republicans are human beings. As a San Franciscan, of course almost all of my friends are liberals, but they don't despise me; in fact we get along pretty well and constantly twit each other. Indeed, without me, who could they tease?

Z 10:33 PM  

@Fred R - Congratulations. Trust me - reason and logic won't work.

The south will rise again! 10:36 PM  

@MetroGnome, 'cracker' is not an epithet; it is a proud eponym!

Fred Romagnolo 11:00 PM  

@Z: Thank you, but we gotta keep striving.

Fred Romagnolo 11:03 PM  

I should have added that I've been a worshipper of FDR and HST since childhood, and voted for Adlai twice. Eleanor is a saint in my irreligious religion.

Steven M. O'Neill 8:26 AM  

As often happens for a Saturday, my brain needed a night of sleep before I could finish this one off.

I've never heard of Bluebeard's Castle. But I was afraid to put in OPERA once I learned it had a librettist. Seemed like too big a giveaway.

old timer 12:55 PM  

The last moderate Republican was Nelson Rockefeller. The last one I really liked was Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois.

When I was in college, San Francisco was run by moderate Republicans. One eventually changed his registration to Democrat. The party he loved had moved away from him.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Easy? After taking stabs at this four consecutive days and everything but the NE remaining blank, I gave up. This was my worst showing of the year, much effort, no results. And I can't even say it was due to a plethora of pop culture, although I could scarcely be expected to have heard of "photobombing". How long will that fad be in fashion, another ten minutes?

Jane 11:25 AM  

Abaft? People have heard of abaft? I had avast.

East side was tough for me.

rondo 11:24 AM  

Not easy, but maybe easier than yesterday for me. NW just fell together and I figured the whole puz would be a breeze. Not so! Did the entire west first then angled through the NE. Now I’ll have that Woody Guthrie song in my head all day; Do-re-mi. SE last to go, only write-over of the day was wild-ass guess DAR instead of CSA, so causing slowness in that region.

@Spacey – CCLAMP? I’ve got a few so maybe it gets a pass?? And TBAR?

I also liked the low dose of 3s, even if mostly abbrs.

Nice Saturday challenge. I liked it alot more than OFL. Except for TITFER.

spacecraft 12:58 PM  

I am diametrically opposite OFL on this one. Easy? EASY??? You're full of s**t and your TITFER don't fit. The rest of the blog doesn't describe an "easy" solve, anyway, so what're ya trying to do, make us all feel stupid? Bah!

Big hangups for me were, you guessed it, the single-letter entries mentioned by @rondo. These, though, are all pretty much in the language, so it's hard to cry foul. I think what gets my dander up about them is my relative inability to suss them out, even after excessive (!) experience. Doggone it, a word is supposed to be a word. Oh well, self, GET A GRIP. ASISAID, today's are at least in the language.

Off just the gimme NCIS, I took a flyer on DICKCLARK; that and ALERO were my only ways in at first. I can't believe FRYOLATOR, but that beauty (?) was forced in on crosses. Yikes, I can feel the cholesterol thickening just looking at it!

One w/o, at oMIT for EMIT, hung me up in the NW. I finally grokked PANAMAHAT, picturing our old friend Dr. Lecter in that iconic final scene. That fellow was, um, NOT NICE.

Along with that artery-busting device at 67a, the only other entry that made me wince was SMEARER. Awkward. But the rest of it, for me, was dandy: a LULU. I liked it, but have to rate it challenging; took me just over an hour. I have no idea what LAN is; I suspect it's tech-speak. Luckily, it filled itself in. Give this one a B+.

rondo 1:11 PM  

@Spacey - LAN = Local Area Network

Burma Shave 1:13 PM  

PONS NONS

ASISAID to the man in the PANAMAHAT,
“YOUIN the TITFER, it’s WEARISOME, you should know that.”
Then I TOLD the SNOB,
“You are such a KNOB,
it’s NOTNICE to dress for the RODEO (or OPERA) like that.”

--- BELA WELT

BS2 1:21 PM  

SPYWARE PARTB

SEAN GETSAGRIP on beautiful LULU,
he’s all HORNED up and wants something to DO(DO).
He would SMEARER and STRETCHER,
eventually he SMELTER,
and then a PHOTOBOMB in ONESHOT or two (2).

--- BLURAY

ecanarensis 1:24 PM  

Does familiarity with FRYOLATOR indicate too much time working or hanging around in greasy spoons? That was one of the few gimmes for me.
Is it too late for anyone to explain to me how "KALE" is the answer to a clue of 'Do-re-mi'?...oh....no. Oh dear. Do as in dough as in moola as in the green as in greens...oy vey.
Suddenly i'm not so sorry I totally tanked this one.
I did like BAZOOKA, tho I first had MORTARS.
I was NOT on Barry's wavelength on this one atall.

DMG 2:39 PM  

Sure didn't find this one easy. In fact, I was about to quit when I saw it was a Silk. Somehow, despite the unusual and the unknown, he always manages to make them doable. Thus, I hung in thru unknown opera, slang, Britism and the retro FRYOLATER to end with a successful guess at the S in SEAN. A real head scratcher for me, but I loved it. Admit I appreciated all the above explanations for the things I successfully filled with no idea what they meant, e.g. LAN and TIFFER. For what it's worth, when faced with a basement, just write DA and wait. This type of part solve worked several times today. For example, it helped me decide if Chipotle's hasTacOS or TogOS.

241= 7 Anyone else still,playing?

rain forest 2:44 PM  

I'm with @Spacey on this one. Definitely not easy. Harder than yesterday, with the greasy spoon appliance my last entry. Got MCAN before SHOEBOX, and had two w/o's: APeDAL, and DAmp.

Looking at the completed grid, it now looks not so daunting, but the completing took a long time. Overall, though, a pretty nice effort.

Anonymous 9:16 PM  

The sun is setting but I finally solved the puzzle with a lot of interruptions all day. I have to agree with Spacey & Rainforest this was no easy chore. I have the same complaints as others. I don't understand Iron Cross, titfer, Fryolator pons but the other guesses filled in anyway. I, of course, do like Mr.Silk but he had me in a dither all day.

God forbid that he gets any tougher.

Ron Diego, Ego crushed like a slapped mosquito on my backside.

leftcoastTAM 12:45 AM  

I'm glad to be able to tough it through a Saturday puzzle with sheer persistence and some good- luck guesses. So I liked this one.

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