Top-selling app of 2010 / SAT 2-14-15 / 2011 Flo Rida hit with lyric she ain't no rock star but she got groupies / Language introduced in 1995 / Torts course taker typically / Old sitcom family name / Ten Days in Mad House muckraker / Olivia who won Razzie / Group with slogan every child one voice / Parlor product made with iron /

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Olivia D'ABO (52D: Olivia who won a Razzie for "Bolero" and "Conan the Destroyer") —
Olivia Jane d'Abo (/ˈdɑːb/; born 22 January 1969) is an English actresssinger-songwriter, and voice artist best known for portraying the rebellious teenage sister Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years and recurring villain Nicole Wallace in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. […] D'Abo's film debut was in the supporting role of Princess Jehnna in Conan the Destroyer, released in June 1984. Two months later, she appeared in the supporting role of the peasant girl Paloma in Bolero (1984). [whoa, rough start]
From 1988, d'Abo was in the main cast of The Wonder Years in the first four seasons. Her character, Karen Arnold, was the hippiesister. In 1992, she guest starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "True Q" as Amanda Rogers. As the recurring villainNicole Wallace, she made five appearances over six years on television crime-drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. On the Sci-Fi Channel series Eureka, she has the recurring role of Abby Carter, the ex-wife of Sheriff Jack Carter. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is great work once again from Mr. Steinberg. Smooth, sparkling, wide-ranging, fascinating grid. There is one gratuitous bit of pop culture ephemera that I'm not that fond of as a longer crossword answer, but I am sort of fond of it as a song, so … I'm gonna allow it:

[Spin it for your valentine!]

When I saw David's byline, I thought "Oh, yeah, I can do this." Meaning: I tend to be on DS's wavelength much of the time. It's one of the few remaining things that keeps me deluded about how old I am. That, and being vaguely familiar with Flo Rida's oeuvre. But today, I had to fight for my right to party, much more than I usually do with a DS puzzle. But, like yesterday, almost all my trouble came in one section. And, like yesterday, that section was the NE. I started (like yesterday, like virtually every day) in the NW, where, like a bull in some kind of shop, I just crashed my way headlong into the direction of correct answers, making a terrible mess along the way. Maybe "bulldozer" is the better metaphor. You want to know how I brought that section down? (yep, bulldozer is better). Check this out. This is how I uncovered JAVASCRIPT (1A: Language introduced in 1995):

There are fully three wrong answers in there, but that -IPT was enough. SCRIPT! JAVASCRIPT! Unh! [spikes football]. Wasn't long before MAIDENFORM made TINKERED impossible and I realized how lucky that my wrong answer there had that "T" up front. *Maybe* I would've seen "SCRIPT" in all that mess without it, but I doubt it. Wrong answer for the win!

[See your MAIDENFORM "stockist"!]

So, I got out of there and into the center, which proved oddly easy. After flirting with ESPNEWS at 29A: It names an annual Sexiest Woman Alive, I realized that 30D: Like Confucius, often was QUOTED, and the "Q" made ESQUIRE obvious. Whole center done fast. From there I went into the NE but got stuck (more on that later). So I rode the ONE-TON pick-up into the SE, where I picked up NED and spun some DECCA records and then hit another wrong-answer bonanza. I mentally made the [Big name in scales] SELECTO and got CHUM TOKE OPES, 1 2 3. Turns out the scale was DETECTO, but whatevs, I was in business!

[Yes … the NE … we're coming to that …]

OK, so CHUM wasn't right, but once again (third time!) a wrong answer was right enough to get me some much-needed traction. Half-right. Wrong CHUM got me right KARATE CHOP. You take your luck where you find it. Anyway, I was not down there long, but I knew I had to go back to the NE, a move I was dreading because Man was I stuck up there. And look at the layout of that corner—it's really, really cut-off from the rest of the grid. There's just these teeny little one-square gateways in and out of that thing, so if you get stuck, no one's coming to your rescue. You're on your own. And the "P" from PRETEXT did nothing to help me get in to the bottom part of that corner, so I was back fighting with the top, where PETERS (20A: Old sitcom family name) and ORCA (18A: Major menace) were killing me, only I didn't know that. I just knew that *something* was wrong. MASS ONEL ORCA PETERS—I had an error in there (two, it turns out). PETERS seemed like the only name that would work, and wasn't that the name of the family on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (oh man, thank god I at least had the show right)? And I was weirdly confident about ORCA. I kept pulling MASS, even though, in retrospect, it seems the most obviously correct of those four Acrosses. Anyway, eventually I remembered the name was PETRIE (!), and when that didn't crack things with the Downs, some combination of pulling answers out and putting them back gave me a glimpse of this pattern at 12D: Top-selling app of 2010: AN-RY… and then I had the biggest "D'OH!" moment I've had in a while. The ubiquitous ANGRY BIRDS! How did I not know!? Self-loathing … rising. ANGRY SOLVER!

From there, there was just the SW, which proved *so* much easier than its symmetrical counterpart. Went in there like pow pow pow because of my deep knowledge of "blunts" ("deep" in that I know that you smoke them … that's about all I know). So: CIGARS. Then ACME. Then ODIC NORM ELLE. All in about 10 seconds.

Couldn't recall the exact title on the Flo Rida song, then went with CINEMA IDOL (!?!) at 27D: Cary Grant or Betty Grable. So that left only one hope … and it's all I needed. I love waffles, and ice cream, and even though I never order the WAFFLE CONE, it came readily to mind. After that, puzzle was as good as done. Lots of fighting, no wincing—that's a good Saturday. Whoa, wait, what (the hell) is ACI!?!? (58D: Handel's "___, Galatea e Polifemo"). Wow. Good thing I didn't see that, because I would've winced for sure.

Aside from not picking up ANGRY BIRDS earlier, the most annoying failure of the day was not remembering Nellie BLY, a figure I've discussed at length with my wife (who has a Ph.D. in US History and who specialized in the damn Gilded Age, i.e. BLY's time period). Here's the deal. At three letters, and with that clue (31A: "Ten Days in a Mad-House" muckraker), all my brain wanted was IDA Tarbell. Damn you, common three-letter muckraking crossword names! IDA Tarbell and Nellie BLY are roughly the same age and known for very similar things. But the clue was obviously calling for a last name, so, with IDA sitting in my brain and not going anywhere, I was just stuck. Never mind that I was confusing IDA Tarbell with IDA B. Wells (jeez louise, they practically rhyme). Gah. A lot of superficial knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 6:55 AM  

My experience was quite different from Rex's.  Either this was completely in my wheelhouse or it was way too easy for a Sat.   My only erasures were making up a lap top name, amok before RIFE, lady before GIRL, and SNEAK in before SNEAKED.   This had plenty of zip but seriously lacked crunch.   The only potential tough cross was D'ABO/ DETECTO , but I remembered her from The Wonder Years.  DETECTO OTOH was a WOE as we're CONTES and ACI.

I did like the puzzle.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

Gilded age (the guilded age was much earlier)

David Krost 7:41 AM  

I thought the clue for "karate chop" was misleading. Why "school board" instead of just "What's a big hit with the board?" School doesn't fit at all, the place where you learn karate is a dojo. It just makes the cluing weak, when the better clue would have been so simple.

Teedmn 7:42 AM  

Tough for me today. My misdirection synapses weren't firing as well as usual. I put in PER and crossed it with BRA and left it to wait for further inspiration.

The center was very easy and WAFFLE CONE gave me the SW. Then nothing. Looking back, 2D should have been an obvious AHAS. The K in MOLESKIN should have helped get KARATE CHOP. Instead I played around with Kiddie something. I started using the check button and finally clawed my way up and through the NE. The check button had shown me that bRA was wrong. TAMP led to FORM and I was able to finish with no Googles but a big DNF in any case.

At least I got TROY for 38A, my only AHA today.

Thanks, David Steinberg.

Notsofast 7:48 AM  

Loads of fun. But a little too easy. I wanted more of a fight. My fastest Saturday ever. Got MAIDENFORM first, then it was on.

three of clubs 7:56 AM  

Not really complaining, but CONTES? Just googled it and the third entry came up from the French Wikipedia.

r.alphbunker 8:13 AM  

JAVASCRIPT went in first with no crosses. IMO, the clue for SERIALPORT would have been better if it had read {Where a techie hooked up in days of yore}. It's been years since I have used one.

Rex's screen shots are great and whet my appetite for more. Technology exists to record every letter entered during the solve. See the nerds-eye view of my solution for an example.

chefbea 8:31 AM  

Easier than the usual Saturday but still DNF Do not understand ONEL?? Good to see Rex and Acme in the puzzle...maybe she will return.

My mother use to make icebox cake!!! yummm

Tita 8:40 AM to see how you battled your way out of the SW corner...

Of course, regardless of the "accuracy" of Red's rating, it always brings back my feelings of superiority when I can ace a med-chall...

It was I real struggle, but after 3 separate sittings, fine! No cheating...
Favorite of many AHAS was NIXONTAPES...I kept looking for a mountain range...

Thanks David for a tough Saturday that I could finish.

Danp 8:44 AM  

ONE L is the first year of law school. Apparently, torts is an entry level course.

DShawMaine 8:52 AM  

Unlike Rex, when I see David Steinberg's name, I know I'm in trouble. Today was no exception. Finished the SW in relatively short order but then stalled and after a half hour just sputtered out. ONE L was one of the few gimmes (since I was one once, and had read Scott Turow's book by that title -- about the first year of law school).
We're bracing here in Maine for another winter whopper, so will not give up so easily on the Sunday puzzle. I hope y'all are either in warmer climes, or all tucked in!
@r.alphbunker that is a cool app - hope Rex uses it for one of his reviews sometime.

Z 8:57 AM  

I did more than just "mentally" write in sElECTO, and while I fixed that L I never reconsidered the S, so a one letter DNF. Al sABO is a great nature area just outside Kalamazoo. Used to hike and run there a few years ago.

The NE was my last area to fill. I had nothing but sInk trap there for the longest time. PETRIE and OGRE and eventually ONE-L opened it up enough to see ANGRY BIRDS and finish it off.

This is a top notch Saturday.

Whirred Whacks 8:58 AM  

Interesting to compare Patrick Berry's Friday puzzle with David Steinberg's Saturday one. Both had 4 areas of triple/stacked 10s, making both puzzles "pin-wheeled" in shape.

I much preferred Berry's construction, though, because there was enough overlap in the sections that I felt like I was solving one puzzle. In the Steinberg puzzle, I felt like I was doing 5 separate puzzles. Nonetheless, I have to compliment Steinberg for some great answers: especially NIXON TAPES, MAIDENFORM, and JAVA SCRIPT.

Z 9:01 AM  

@OISK yesterday - I had forgotten the clue so was surprised by your "You Learn" reference. I should know better than to fear that we've infected you with too much top-forty music.

we'll always have Paris 9:06 AM  

I was surprised to learn that TROn was filmed in Paris. Oh, wait.

Nebraska Doug 9:07 AM  

A good weekend for me. It's not often that I finish both the Friday and Saturday puzzles without a single error. (And in faster than normal times, as well.). The D in DABO/DETECTO was the last letter to go in.

grammar nazi 9:08 AM  

Ok, not really a grammar problem, but seriously: Gilded age, professor. Not "guilded."

Roo Monster 9:09 AM  

Hey All !
Well, bowing my head in shame, I thought this to be very challenging! Pissed off DS is smarter than me at 17, or whatever age he is! Plenty in here I just plum never heard of. DETECTO, ODIC (??), SERIALPORT. I could go on, but why bother?

I HAD NO IDEA at many of the answers. Or as clued. Not a rap fan, so although I have heard of Flo-Rida (who hasn't), don't know his song titles. Now give me a Yes song title...

So a humbling thrasing from Mr. DS. Thankfully did online today, hence Check feature to cross out the wrong letters, letting me claw and scratch for the correct letter! Impressed at y'all who said it was easy. Maybe my brain will conform to SatPuzs someday! :-)


NCA President 9:09 AM  

Please explain 47A: REDS (Cab and others)? And 57A: KARATECHOP (What's a big hit with the school board?) Thanks.

I wanted reefer for 50A, but couldn't get the plural to fit. For blunt hit I had drag at first. Then when I got CIGARS I changed it to puff. So yeah, trouble there.

61A I put in pie at the end, thinking of some kind of cream pie. Also had AURORAe at first, and that Cab clue wasn't helping. I had Ride in there for a very long time, ignoring the obvious plural...

But it's all one our play is done...another DS puzzle come and gone. I will say this puzzle was "tighter" in that the unfair obscurities were virtually non-existent this time around. Very fair all around.

wordie 9:15 AM  

I guess my definition of the word moot is skewed due to my legal education. I think of something moot as being beyond dispute, not at issue. Hmmm. I loved the puzzle, lots of tricksy cluing.

nebraska doug 9:18 AM  

@NCA President: REDS = Cabernet, as in wine.

Susierah 9:23 AM  

I laughed when I saw the clue for toke. I am 64 years old and learned the word blunt from crossword puzzles! Great Friday and Saturday from two of my favorite constructors.

wordie 9:24 AM  

@NCA Pres, a karate chop is used in hitting a board to break it in half, sometimes at a school, though as was pointed out, they are usually called dojos, not schools.

evil doug 9:29 AM  

Wanted to put "your mom's teeth" for 63a but I couldn't make it fit (which is what she said).


Anonymous 9:31 AM  

I thought this was easy (and fun) for a Saturday. Only correction was "hampered" for TAMPERED". At first I thought 1A was some sort of sci-fi language.

evil doug 9:35 AM  

Hey, look--the anonymous prick without the balls to be his own man is back!

General Pausanias 9:42 AM  

This is the first Saturday I've ever completed with no cheats or mistakes, so I thought it should be the occasion of my first post. 1:19, my wife and I did it together at the breakfast table; a Valentine's Day treat. I started in the middle and radiated out from there; the SE was the last to go. I put down Karate Chop without really getting it; I agree that "school" doesn't quite convey a dojo; unless it meant karate classes at a school during P.E.? Probably not. Loved "Nixon Tapes," Arlo Guthrie has a funny theory about what was in those 18 minutes...

manly man 9:43 AM  

Because "evil doug" is not anonymous? I must have missed it when you published your name, address, phone number, and shoe size. But I suppose you really are your "own man", the way you post on a crossword blog with a screen name. Nice language too. Very elegantly stated. Do you kiss your (gap-toothed) mother with that mouth?

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

To easy for a Saturday. Juvenile clues.

Hartley70 9:48 AM  

It was the first big best seller by Scott Turow that also had a run as a TV show. It depicted the first year of law school which I found to be akin to one of the outer circles of hell.

Mohair Sam 9:58 AM  

@whirred whacks - Disagree a bit with your Friday/Saturday puzzle comparisons. If Will Shortz had put PB's name on this one I wouldn't have blinked - Steinberg may not be Berry's match yet but he's getting awfully good awfully fast. (this from a solver who hated David's by-line a year ago)

Rex's description of his battle with this one was fun. Maybe should join the Writer's Gild.

Nifty Saturday test, played easy/medium here. WHODATGIRL, Flo Rida, CONTES, and DABO all new to us, but the crosses were fair and, hey, it is Saturday. Liked Betty Grable clued next to Flo Rida, talk about something for everyone.

@we'll always have Paris - made the exact same TROn mistake, and had the same Paris thought - the corrected "Y" was our last entry.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Anon @ 947: What was juvenile about this puzzle? Or are you just saying that because, like so many on this board, you are an ageist? I didn't hear anyone calling PB juvenile for his "mooned" clue yesterday (surprisingly not even the stodgy rex made a comment aout it).

mathguy 10:10 AM  

I had the same experience as Rex in the NM. I had incorrectly put in TINKERED which fit with the incorrect sitcom family KETTLE. But it gave me JAVASCRIPT.

Feel good that I was able to subdue this bear with only minimal help (The Closer, a Glee fan, gave me LEA as in Michele).

Wasn't thrilled with what I learned. The last name of a sitcom family, the title of an obscure pop song, the name of a notoriously bad actress.

But I liked what @Lewis describes as coaxing words out of my subconscious. SERIALPORT, ELEANOR (of Aquitane), MOLESKIN, ICEBOXCAKE (my mother didn't use custard).

Very enjoyable.

Cynthia Garcia 10:16 AM  

Neat puzzle! Had an easier time with this than yesterday's. I do agree with those who took issue with KARATE CHOP and the school board clue - Having the 'K' I kept trying to put 'kid' something in there. Even so, JIMI Hendrix, Flo Rida, blunts and a TOKE make for a great Saturday in my book!

Hartley70 10:17 AM  

I'm thinking of this as a Saturday valentine minus a sappy theme because it was a joy to complete in record time for me. Thank you Mr. Steinberg. The added bonus is that it was just hard enough that my first pass gave me almost nothing. It's an additional treat when the puzzle includes both Flo Rida and ICEBOXCAKE. Even I can barely remember the icebox, although I would occasionally hear a Fridgidaire still called that in the fifties. Pair that with some Flo and Akon and it's puzzle nirvana!

The Flamingo Kid 10:25 AM  

Hilarious evil doug @0929: reminds me of perhaps the most famous movie quote of all time (ok, not):

"Yeah. This is catching."

"You know you got a big space in between your teeth?"

"You know you have a big fucking nose?"

"We're done, Jeffrey."

"It's up to you now."

Carola 10:34 AM  

I dreamed I finished a David Steinberg Saturday puzzle in my MAIDENFORM bra! (Those of a certain generation will know what I'm talking about.) And I actually did, although "I HAD NO IDEA" was apt for most of the solve (Hi, @Roo Monster).

Started by lightly penciling in ACHED x EMS and crawled into the SW and center from there. MOLESKIN took me into the SE. But how to get out of there? Several AHAS: PRETEXT - PADRE - PTA. Had to erase nElson, sink, YAk. A guess at PETRIE OPEd my way into the NW. Last in: ISOLATE.

A very enjoyable rassle, happy to finish.

Carola 10:37 AM  

p.s.: "actually did" finish the puzzle, that is. Will pass over the other part in silence.

Darling Husband 10:41 AM  

Liked this one a lot. Took two sittIngs, but made it through. SE corner was toughest for me and had to guess on _ETECTO/_ABO, but got it right.

Also didn't feel good about MOOT. I thought that meant not subject to debate, as in settled. e.g., the point is moot.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Juvenile clues: 15a, 36a, 39a, 42a, 61a, 62a, 2d, 5d, 9d, 12d, 30d, 53d, 59d. Juvenile in the sense that any junior high kid could get these, not that oldsters like me don't. There was no challenges in this Sat. puzzle. PS - PB was also too easy.

chefbea 10:44 AM  

@carola I too remember those maiden form commercials...better than the commercials today!!!

Ludyjynn 10:51 AM  

IHADNOIDEA that I would be singing David Steinberg's praises so often. Only last year, he was my most dreaded constructor. This puzz. was feisty, to be sure, but clever and doable (I'll cop to a writeover in each quad).
I no longer have a PRETEXT for failure. AHAS galore!

@wordie, think MOOT court for 11Down making sense. I love that it crossed ONEL. Speaking of first year law school, one or two thirds of the entering class washing out is the NORM. I will never forget taking my Torts final exam, when a classmate went to the bathroom and never came back! I later ran into him at a local watering hole and asked him what happened. He told me that after looking over the questions, he became nauseated. Once he relieved himself in the rest room, he decided to walk away and pursue un OTRE career. (I know what some of you are thinking; one less lawyer, no great loss).

Before I forget, @AliasZ and @Beatrice, did you see the touching NYT article today describing the BSO Maestro, Marin Alsop's decision to lend her late parents' rare instruments to the orchestra? I just hope she stays here in Balto. and isn't lured to accept the Gilbert vacancy in NYC.

Thought it was funny that TOKE OPEd the puzz. for me. Followed by DETECTO, my personal lie detector at doctors' visits.

I'll shut my YAP and get outside to make sure the birds get fed before the Polar Vortex continues to bear down on the East coast.

Thanks, DS and WS. Who loves this puzzle? IDO.

jberg 10:59 AM  

I just loved this one. My experience was just the opposite of @Rex's -- threw down MASS, went from there to ONE-L, MOOT, ANGRY BIRDS, and pretty soon had the whole NE (saved from TROn by the date, much too late -- I got it from crosses, and didn't notice the answer until later). The NW, on the other hand, was messed up by fables at 6D and full at 7D; then I got AHAS, and put in the obvious intial WHAT... at 15A. I did eventually get JAVA SCRIPT, which made me change those and therefore allowed MAIDENFORM.

NO IDEA about this DABO woman, but I eventually remembered DETECTO; and while I didn't know about ACI, I did know Handel's other work (same story, different music and language) Acis and Galatea, so I guessed it. And for the first time ever I knew the geography enough to put in WSW with no crosses.

Really beautiful fill. All except for ODIC, (I had ODes), but I'll take that to bring back ACME!

Steve M 11:01 AM  


mitchs 11:03 AM  

The meaning of the word moot has been bastardized over the past 30 years or so. It's traditional meaning is along the lines of: "a point of scholarly debate".

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

At my Dojo, only the kids get to break boards with KARATE CHOPs and kicks. Hammer fists are more powerful. Palm strikes to the nose are often better self defence. My son broke a board using a spider kick ( at a demo for the opening of the Karate Kid, but he used his teammate's crossed arms, not a bag, as his launching pad.

Last week I had such a hard time with the puzzles, I felt like a white belt among fifth degree black belts. This week has been a good week with an almost instafills Monday and a definite instafill on Tuesday, followed by the ideal 25 minute two coffees in bed Wednesday, and minimal googling Thursday-today, Maybe I qualify as a yellow belt this week.

Aketi 11:19 AM  

Oops, for the haters of ANON, I amd the one handed tu/ypist Anonymous at 11:15 am.

NCA President 11:25 AM  

Here is what I've always thought "moot" meant:

I was getting ready to move out of my apartment because the landlord hasn't fixed the water heater in a month...but he raised the rent again and so I'm going to move anyway, making the water heater issue moot.

I also might have used moot to describe a point made in religious arguments. Without a proof of the existence of a god, any talk of god-centric ethics is moot until a proof can be shown.

John V 11:26 AM  

NE and SW would not yield, got the rest. Rarely succeed with DS; today no exception.

Flo Rida? Truely?

Airymom 11:36 AM  

I had to Google Olivia D'Abo and Nellie Bly. This was a tough, yet solvable puzzle. Challenging and just right for a Saturday.

After I complete a David Steinberg puzzle, I am always in awe. He's 18?!? He's a high school senior?!? His brilliance stretches from Handel to Flo Rida?!?

David--in case you read this blog, I would like to set you up with my 16 year old daughter. I understand you may be headed east for college. Just let me know.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

As soon as I saw David Steinberg's name I knew there was little hope for this puzzle. Ten minutes of looking through the ocean of proper nouns and pop culture references proved my worst fears were correct. I don't know why I even bothered looking. David hasn't the faintest idea what a crossword puzzle is. I was not surprised in the least when Rex gave this puzzle his highest praise, since Rex hasn't the faintest idea what a crossword puzzle is either. The two of you make a great pair. I hope that when the two of you are having your lattes at Starbucks in DUMBO tonight the thought might cross your minds that the world doesn't consist entirely of 20-something hipsters. In reality, you're just a tiny tiny tiny subculture that is trying to impose your view of the world on everyone else. Try to remember that when you're busy patting yourself on the back for knowing obscure pop culture trivia!!!!

Zeke 11:52 AM  

This stuck me as vintage Steinberg, i.e. the work of a technician rather than his more artisanal work of late.

sageist 11:52 AM  

I bet that angry, bitter, pathetic anon @ 1137 is the same angry, bitter, pathetic anon @ 0947. Drunk? Ignorant? Stupid? All of the above? Clearly ageist. He's sort of like the republicans who love every feature of the affordable care act but hate "Obamacare." Just put a different name on the constructor of the puzzle and he'd love it.

Masked and AnonymoUUs 12:06 PM  

It was a Valentine's Day solve, at the masked house. I did the (pretty easy) top half and my lovely spouse, who made me cinnamon rolls, banana bread AND oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, did the better half.

My sweetie got NIXONTAPES from just the endin -S! Scary.

Schlock Friday Night Movie review:
* The Frankenstein Theory: meh. Filmed Blair Witch style.
* Lost City of the Jungle, (1946) serial episodes 1-3: Lookin good.
* Sharknado 2: har. With Al Roker!

Happy Valentines Day, all U sweet crossword peoples.

"Would say more, but hate to talk with mouth full"

beatrice 12:15 PM  

With JAVASCRIPT leading off the puzzle, I had no choice but to give voice here to J. S. Bach in one of his lighter (and one of my favourite) moments. I mean, of course, The Coffee Cantata. Wherein are memorialized JAVAheads of all times, for all time. (For those of you who might miss a syllable of the German here or there, the 10th commenter down, Nenetty1, has provided a link to a rather quaint but charming translation.)

"It is to be enjoyed!"

beatrice 12:17 PM  

Perhaps more easily enjoyed with this information to hand

Lewis 12:20 PM  

I was fine with the KARATECHOP clue, which, yes, would have been more accurate with "dojo", but was still correct, and "school" allowed for the punny misdirect.

@ralph -- Good to see you! I miss your posts.

I loved the clues for AHAS, OTRO, and TOKE. There were some easy sections, especially the middle, and certainly tough spots. Terrific variety on the 12 10-letter answers, and while I hadn't heard of the Flo Rida hit, I thought the crosses were fair and the other two long words in that section were gettable.

It's fun to watch DS's brain mature -- a little like watching "Boyhood".

Ludyjynn 12:27 PM  

@NCAPres, I repeat, think MOOT court, a student trial exercise where both sides are argued, or better yet, Google MOOT for divergent definitions. Legal terminology can always be relied upon to obfuscate the matter!

@AiryMom, your proposal is adorable.

I just received a beautiful e-valentine from my oldest, dearest friend who is sailing around Malaysia w/ her hubby. Made my day. Happy VD, everyone!

Lewis 12:28 PM  

Factoid: ICEBOX CAKE is known as zebra cake in Britain and chocolate ripple cake in Australia.

Quotoid: "When I eventually met Mr. Right I HAD NO IDEA that his first name was Always." -- Rita Rudner

old timer 12:36 PM  

I know little pop culture, and have no idea what VAIO is (we're an all-Apple family here). But the puzzle was doable because of the great mix of clues, trending both young and old.

We oldsters put down NIXONTAPES immediately. Old or young, I suppose everyone got the SW quickly. You can't help get WAFFLECCONE, with both F's demanded by the crosses. SCREENIDOL: also demanded by ACHED, FROM, FEDS.

My rule, late week, is to accept the most unlikely meaning of a clue. That got me ISOLATE, also TROY.

The only WOE? The sitcom family of yore. Thought of Bunker, and actually wrote down Nelson, knowing the second latter was an E. Then asked if there was a Peters family. When I had ANG at the top of 12D, I, like Rex, had an AHA moment, and also a big grin.

But I still have never heard of the PETRIE family.

Numinous 12:38 PM  

I didn't have an easy time with this one but I finished with no googling. I did have a couple of write-overs though. @Jae, I had SNucKin before SNEAKED. The clue required past tense. I also had ODes instead of ODIC. @Tita, I also considered mountain ranges for famous gaps. @Roo, I had never heard of Flo Rida except maybe in a puzzle a while back. I still have no idea what genre this person represents (feeling a bit like @Oisk here).

I think it's interesting how attitudes to David have changed. People who hated his puzzles and were daunted by them last year are admiring his work this year. What's interesting about this puzzle is that it was first submitted in 2012, the period when his puzzles were overly pop culture oriented, the time when his puzzles were largely iimpenetrable. I guess through exposure we've come to understand his work better. I would direct y'all to where he has some interesting things to say about the construction of this puzzle and the things he would change now due to his continuing quest for improvement.

This worked out to being an average Saturday solve for me which yielded to patient thought and a few gimmes.

jae 12:42 PM  

@old timer -- Rob PETRIE was Dick Van Dyke's sit com character in The Dick Van Dyke Show (also starring Mary Tyler Moore as Laura PETRIE).

Steve J 12:44 PM  

Relatively easy (for a Saturday) and enjoyable overall, but I crashed and burned in the SW with the devilish clue for SCREEN IDOL.

Unlike Rex, I solved that corner at the top first, giving me SCREEN ____ at one point. Knowing that both Cary Grant and Greta Garbo are pseudonyms, I confidently dropped in SCREEN name. And I would not let it go. Even when WAFFLE CONE looked like it wouldn't work since nothing was going to start with CN at 50A. Finally had to cheat and check letters to see that SCREEN name was actually not correct.

That aside, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Long fill was all good, and the couple things that were obscure to me were gettable from the crosses.

@Anon 11:37 a.m.: The thought might cross your mind that an enormous range of people do crossword puzzles, and one person's obscurity is another person's obvious answer. Not every puzzle is supposed to hit your personal realm of knowledge and taste.

jae 12:48 PM  

@Numinous - Doh! I misread the clue.

Numinous 12:49 PM  

I wanted splif or joint where CIGAR eventually went. I had to smile when I got to the second "Blunt" clue.

@ludyjynn, Oh dear. I can't imagine inflicting VD on anyone, happy or not. OH! Did you mean Valentine's Day? Gosh!

Nick 1:18 PM  

David Steinberg was born in 1996. Unless he was using computers while he was still a zygote, I doubt very much if he's ever even *seen* a serial port.

Fred Romagnolo 1:33 PM  

MOOT is like Sanction; both words also mean their opposites, confusing, eh? I didn't know ONE L, although my best friend was constantly in awe of Prosser on torts (Berkeley in the 50's). No complaints about SLEEPY EYED? Green paint. I didn't know Flo Rida, having checked him (it?) out, I'm glad. Judging from the comments, I'm assuming TOKE is a drug dose. I pretty much agree with @John V on how this was put together. Hands up for appreciating the sophistication of @Beatrice and @Alias Z in their choices of music; not pop-culture. I always equate MOOED with what cows did, it never occurred that bulls do too; I was looking for a stock-market reference. How David ever heard of NED Sparks is beyond me. That ELEANOR of Aquitaine was played by Hepburn keeps it from being a Natick.

Roo Monster 1:36 PM  

Ha! Liked the italicized I, gave me a laugh. Apparently I must watch too much TV, as I know these rappers/ newish singers even though I don't really want to!


Fred Romagnolo 1:41 PM  

@Oldtimer: had no trouble with SCREEN, but thought it was followed by "name". So it's kinda greenpaintish.

OISK 2:32 PM  

I finished it, completing a two week winning streak. But I didn't like it - no criticism of David here - but it is full of what I dislike but others don't seem to mind. Computerese. Javascript, angry birds, serial port, Vaio, ( a brand name, which I REALLY dislike...) rock references - I guess the Jimi is Hendrix? I have done enough puzzles to know his first name...A song by Flo Rida? Really? Whodatgirl?? Once I filled that one in I really knew "Whodatconstructor." Never heard of the "Elle" style awards either, and I don't get the clue for STD. But I finished it with no errors. The fact that Mr. Steinberg could put so much meaningless (to me) stuff in a puzzle and STILL make it solvable shows his ability (and progress) as a constructor. So, nice job, David, just little fun for me, but I represent but a tiny portion of the solving population. (old geezers who never listened to rock, and don't watch commercials)

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

I must be one of the few on this board who found this puzzle impossible. So many pop culture terms.

Fred Romagnolo 3:20 PM  

@Oisk: Revised Standard (Edition of the combined Jewish Christian Bible made more ":understandable" for modern readers a la turn of the 20th century); and standard deviation in statistics.

beatrice 3:21 PM  

@Ludyjynn -- thanks for pointing out the article about Ms. Alsop -- how very lovely! Also touching about her parents dying eleven days apart, in 2014, notwithstanding the fact that they had divorced six years earlier, and 'had not really stayed in touch'. She is also quoted as saying they had been 'a dynamic couple. Fiery, even. Maybe that's why it didn't work out.' They had been married forty-nine years.

Curiously, I was reading just yesterday about the phenomenon of elderly couples dying one soon after the other. (This happened with my grand-father's parents.) Alsop's father was ill, but they had thought he had more time.

I mention all this as apropos of the day. And since it is that day, I'd like to offer a little something to everyone here, a 500 year-old declaration of love by 'il divino Cipriano', Cipriano de Rore, (c. 1515-1565).

'Mon petit cueur,

Aketi 3:33 PM  

Anonymous @11:37 am. How old are you?

I am old enough That I remember my motherr wearing a MAIDENFORM bra, but not old enough that I wore one myself.

I am old enough thy parents grew up with ICEBOXes, but I grew up with a refrigerator. We did use ICECHESTS for picnics and camping trip and actually had a milkman deliver milk until I was a teenager

I was not old enough to vote when NIXON's TAPEs were in the news, but I was old enough that the tapes were discussed in my social studies class

My grandparents were alive when Nellie BLY was alive, nut not my parents.

Definitely old enough to have watched the PETRIES on a black and white TV screen.

Even though I learned to program in Fortran on cards, I still am aware of JAVA SCRIPT.

@beatrice, enjoyed the coffee cantata reference.

Moly Shu 3:44 PM  

My problems were also in the NE. Had ONEL and like @oldtimer, bunker. Then I saw YAP which I had as YAk but that Y got me..... candYcrush. Meaning ONEL and bunker had to go. After 20 or so minutes of futility, put in OGRE and ONEL and saw the BIRDS. The rest was fairly easy except for CONTES, a new one for me.

Z 4:17 PM  

Oxford Dictionary on MOOT
Merriam-Webster on MOOT

Interesting stuff.

@Aketi - It's not the anonymity that people don't like, it's the trollery.

@OISK - Most of it is in my wheelhouse, but you are correct, lots of proper names, brand names, and computer-centric answers here. I counted 92 squares that were a part of at least one of these types of answers.

crackblind 4:18 PM  

I had SCREENname in the SW which killed me because I also had WHODATGIRL & WAFFLE.... Didn't even see CONE to end that (figured it was a hair thing because for some reason I was thinking "salon" instead of "parlor" in its clue). Even worse, I really want CIGAR for the "Blunt" clue but .nG.. made no sense. When I finally got ELLE I was able to clear that all out.

Bravo, btw, on clueing "Blunt" (twice!) and also having TOKE in the puzzle. Figures he's a college bound18 year old.

wreck 4:58 PM  

I usually do pretty well with DS puzzles on Saturday, I finished, but it took me a long time!! I guess I can't complain, I seldom finish Saturday's at all.

hat of ass 5:18 PM  

I suspect that anon @ 1137 is the only person ever to accuse WS of being a "hipster." I bet I am not the only one to accuse anon @ 1137 of being an "asshat" (a word I would very much like to see sometinme soon in NYT crossword. Are you listening, DS?)

chefwen 5:58 PM  

I have since stopped groaning upon seeing David S. uptop. Now I actually look forward to the solve. Without my weekend puzzle partner I had tto consult with my favorite uncle G. a couple of times.

It sure is helpful when you are able to fill in some long uns from rage git go, like MAIIDENFORM and NIXON TAPES.

I'm really beginning to enjoy this young man. Thank you David.

Didn't get to comment yesterday but we loved Mr Berry's puzzle also. That one I was able to finish sans Uncle G.

tipsy 6:22 PM  

@chefwen are you drink already? "Long uns from rage git go...?"

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Easy to medium. Not too stupid for a change.

68GTCS 9:30 PM  

Excellent puzzles the past two days, reminders of why I love cruciverbaling. Yum. Thanks to PB and DS

chefwen 11:28 PM  

Not yet @Tipsy, just iPad woes. Someday I,ll get the hang of it. Long uns, hillbilly speak and I have no idea how rage found its way in there. I am enjoying a glass of wine now however.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Like Rex very much like Mr. David Steinberg, and knowing his age, just makes it that much more enjoyable.

My bone to pick is MOOT, and while the dictionary does somehow refer to it, as "a debatable point", who really ever uses it that way? Is there anyone out there who doesn't use it as "meaningless" or "not worth debating"'s a very weird definition of a commonly used word (love when someone says it's a "mute" point), where it's variable definitions are almost as antonym.

My daughter bailed me on ANGRY BIRDS, another great thing I enjoy about CW puzzles, roping family in to help.

Dave 10:45 PM  

Can someone explain EMS for 33d? I thought that was ABBA, and was momentarily slowed down thinking we had some sort of double letter theme.

And as far as trolls go, just don't feed them! Then they go away.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:41 PM  

Are you still there, @Dave at 10:45 PM?

The letter "M" appears four times in MamMMa Mia".

rondo 11:41 AM  

A bit of a challenge from DS today with the potential for disaster that I luckily avoided. Worked from the NE to the SW with enough gimmes and crosses to get most of it filled. Then fretted re: NW and SE. If I hadn't known yeah baby D'ABO and guessed TOKE the SE would have been lost; got DETECTO from their D and T then the SE fell. Completed the top of TAMPERED sso had the last 3 letters of the long ones and the NW filled itself. Very little write-over so it must have been semi-easy "for a Sat-puz".

Remembered Ms. D'ABO since she was never shy about appearing nude. Wow! No MAIDENFORMs for her.

Used to subscribe to ESQUIRE, so a real gimme there. Check their roster of sexiest women over the years - impressive.

So this was the V-day puz. Huh. A little love for us by making it "easy"?? Roughly 40 min. for me. Can't agree with OFL's medium-challenging today.

Burma Shave 12:03 PM  


from eating that ICEBOXCAKE.
Then I heard it FROM REX
“The NORM is to eat it unbaked”.


spacecraft 12:16 PM  

Hand up for TinkERED--and therefore kEaTon for the TV family, Alex P. and all. Also had to write over Orca. The ANGRYBIRDS straightened me out.

Had a couple of w/os in the SE too, with OutS (not "old-style" enough) and CHum for CHAP. And one more in the SW with good ol' Michele LEe (TOO old-style!).

But it all got worked out, and I zeroed in on the last bastion--again the NW. Why is that the last area for me most days? By that time I had repaired Keaton to PETRIE and tinkered to TAMPERED, so IDO and PER yielded -ORM for the brand. Well, MAIDENFORM, natch. Then it all came down to 19 across, "Intern." I'm looking at _SOL__E. I have no clue what chockablock means, and that 6-down thing is a total HUH?. I suspected 1d might be JIMI but didn't know.

This word looks like ISOLATE, but "Intern???" Somebody please explain THAT one; I'm still scratching my head. Eventually, having nothing else to put in there, I went with ISOLATE and came here with fingers crossed. Yay, I did it, but oh brother, that clue!

David's efforts are automatically at least medium, but this one I'd call almost easy-medium--FOR A STEINBERG. Having to fight through rappers and techie stuff is never easy for me.

Oh, almost forgot: another headscratcher: PIPE for "Trap locale." HUH? That one filled in on crosses. Oh wait, in plumbing. I get it. There's an S-shaped trap in the drainPIPE. OK. But intern?????

BS2 12:22 PM  


IDO play it for sport,
On my VAIO that PIGEON is whipped”.


Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Missed a pangram by one Z.

KG 1:39 PM  

My thought exactly

Anonymous 1:55 PM  


Definition of INTERN

transitive verb
: to confine or impound especially during a war

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

I had to look up whodatgirl just to make sure, because I hate rappers and any crude song? they foist on the public. But, hey, getting to like D. Steinberg. I used to skip his puzzles, wunderkind or not, because of all the proper nouns and au courant music. I rated this one easy/med.

Ron Diego, La Mesa CA

leftcoastTAM 7:54 PM  

It was all good until the far SW. I was finally going to complete a Steinberg puzzle, I thought. But, alas, I cluelessly stuck to ODes instead of ODIC. Next time, I hope, Mr. Steinberg.

leftcoastTAM 8:40 PM  

P.S. A Saturday Steinberg, that is.

Anonymous 2:08 AM  

Haha I think SNL's jeopardy
Sean Connery would have said that!

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