Bygone Finnish coin / SAT 5-16-15 / Rubylike gem / Children of American communists / Exactly informally / Swedish university where Anders Celsius taught / Hall of Famer with exactly 3000 hits / Poet who won three grammys / Highest officer in his field ironically / French pioneer of sing language / Secret society brother to George W Bush John Kerry / Group governed by Imperial Divan

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: RED DIAPER BABIES (31A: Children of American Communists) —
In their book Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro define red diaper babies as "children of CPUSA members, children of former CPUSA members, and children whose parents never became members of the CPUSA but were involved in political, cultural, or educational activities led or supported by the Party".
More generally, the phrase is sometimes used to refer to a child of any radical parent, regardless of that parent's past partisan affiliation (or the affiliation of the child). Red Diaper Baby is also the title of an autobiographical one man show and book by monologist Josh Kornbluth, and a 2004 documentary film by Doug Pray. (wikipedia)
• • •

Delightful, except for one crossing: SPANG / SPINEL. I … do not know those words. At all. I'm especially stunned by SPANG (43A Exactly, informally), as anything clued "informally" should be something I'm at least passingly familiar with. I'm quite informal. I traffic in informalisms all the time. Why, just today, I wrote "gonna," which is an informal way to write "going to" (in case you didn't know). SPANG sounds like something that requires an "!". It's not word so much as sound effect. Like, when you drain a 3 right in some guy's face, you shout "SPANG!" I thought I knew a baseball player named Denard SPANG, but it's just Span. I'm gonna call him "SPANG!" from now on, though. My only point is that I blindly guessed at that "P"—though I guess the guess wasn't totally blind. Process of elimination eliminates (fancy that) many potential letters. Not sure why the "P" was the one I went with. I probably *have* seen both SPANG and SPINEL (38D: Rubylike gem) before. but I don't remember them. I guarantee that cross is going to be blind for a Lot of other people as well, so that's kind of not cool, i.e. not something you want in an otherwise stellar construction. I mean, you don't want NARIS or PENNI, either, but those guys are totally tolerable when they're fairly crossed and holding together really beautiful answer arrangements.


I got lucky right out of the gate. Guessed OSLO then LEAN-TO then PRATE then REMORSE. Couldn't believe I got them all right. I mean, I didn't: LEAN-TO was actually GROTTO, but you can't be lucky if you're not bold, and luck won't matter if you're not mostly right, so … I'm sure there's a solving maxim in there somewhere. The upshot is, I felt like I stumbled into success right here:


So I got NW corner pretty easily, but didn't know RED DIAPER BABIES, but I successfully guessed AVERAGES OUT, and then, with TAT and TUBES on one end, and AIL and AGAIN on the other, I somehow managed to squeeze the middle of this grid into shape. One major issue was the CLOSET ROD / NARIS cross. I just couldn't convince myself of the right letter there, my Latin having slipped into a quite sorry state. And CLOSET-O- didn't suggest anything to me for a while, despite the "hang" in the clue. CLOSET MOP was the only phrase I had, and that's nonsense. But once I guessed ROD, I got HINDU GOD instantly and had no problem finishing off that SW corner (SPANG/SPINET notwithstanding). With the front ends of all the long Downs in place, SE corner was Easy as well. Then I moved up to the NE and got LEAKING off the "L" and UPDATED off the "U," so, despite not knowing STINGO, that corner was also Easy. Despite the easiness of much of this puzzle, the whole thing still felt pretty medium to me. NARIS and SPANG/SPINEL, and the hacking it took to get the center into shape, all kept the puzzle reasonably thorny. BULLY FOR HIM and SLEPT AROUND make nice central pillars.


I was a little surprised by the grim clue on GULAG (44D: Place bereft of happy campers?). Black humor. You don't usually see cutesy wordplay when the subject is forced labor with high mortality rates. I don't hate the clue—it's clever—but the NYT usually treads solemnly and/or lightly where the suffering of those in internment camps is concerned (perhaps for good reason).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    112 comments:

    jae 12:09 AM  

    Easy-medium for me and definitely easier than yesterday's.

    Tried DRIPPer before POT. 

    I'm with Rex on the SPANG/SPINEL cross,  both were WOEs. 

    Almost blew it cross: PTERO/MOONERS.  I had MOaNERS and had a vaguely obscene explanation for why that might work when the aha moment hit me.

    Word to the wise: Always pack a towel.

    Lotsa BULLY stuff here, liked it.

    Zeke 12:17 AM  

    As a chronically depressed vodka abuser, I greatly appreciated the Scandinavian vibe this puzzle gave off. I was going to get upset about the two-P UPPSALA, but a shot of Absolut fixed that. I thought I finished with one blank square (I refuse to do alphabet runs) in the S_ANG/S_INEL cross, but I declare the two-p UPPSALA made up for it.

    Anonymous 12:39 AM  

    Yeah, SPANG/SPINEL is where I ended as well. Loved RED DIAPER BABIES, but yeah, GULAG was a little dark. Well, that's communism for ya.

    Z 12:52 AM  

    That damn WESSON clue got me again. When the light finally dawned I had to go "D'Oh!"

    CLEMENTE also took longer than it should have. The tragedy of his early death is the reason he only had 3,000 hits, one of those stories all baseball fans know. Whether Clemente or Al Kaline was the better right fielder is hard to decide. Miguel Cabrera just tied Kaline for career home runs at 399 while I was doing the puzzle, so I thought about Al Kaline there, but was stopped by the knowledge that he has 3,006 career hits.

    Fun Saturday.

    Anonymous 1:11 AM  

    REDDIAPERBABIES was a gimme, and fits quite nicely with the GULAG system their parents supported.

    Never heard of SPANG (nor will I ever say it to informally express exactness), but SPINEL sounded vaguely familiar. That was also my last square.

    A fun, fair puzzle.

    -Brennan

    DebinSac 1:53 AM  

    Hey, Ellen S. Red diaper babies was the first thing I put in, because I happened to check at once to see what the clue for the puzzle's sole grid-spanner was. And I immediately smiled and pictured you writing it right in, too. What a smooth puzzle, almost no junk, and I even guessed right on the obscure P!

    John Child 3:56 AM  

    There are some answers here that are marginally real things, like ECO CAR and CLOSET ROD. There is no Hindu deity named "Deva" -- the word means small-G goddess, so HINDU GOD felt a little off. I would have been happy with [Ganesh, for example].

    But the puzzle was challenging and fun, so today I call no harm, no foul.

    DNF again though with DRUG tZAR x tERCE. Both looked OK to me.

    Charles Flaster 3:59 AM  

    Great puzzle.
    Not even close to finishing after 1.5 hours.
    Too many proper names in my outhouse.
    Thanks BW

    r.alphbunker 4:37 AM  

    I loved Rex's observation "but you can't be lucky if you're not bold, and luck won't matter if you're not mostly right"

    I was mostly right in this puzzle. But luck helped in several places.
    Good luck: Not writing in DOT com instead of ROM com.
    Guessing SPINEL/SPANG and PETRO/PENNI correctly. (Learned that petroleum is rock oil.)

    Bad luck: Writing in criSco instead of WESSON off the S of IRONSIDE.
    Writing in garNEt instead of SPINET off of NE

    Agree with @John Child re {Deva, for one}. Deva is a Sanskrit word that means deity. It is not the name of a specific god. It also can be interpreted as meaning a law of nature.

    Had GARNET for SPINEL for a while. Both garnets and SPINELs can be colors other than red. @George Barany might have something to say here.

    I have been in England for the last couple of weeks helping my wife tend to an aging relative. I work in a coffee shop with wifi. Walking there I pass a shop with the sign "Cheap Booze." I will see if they have STINGO.

    An unusual large number of answers went in with zero or one crossing letters. Details are here

    George Barany 5:51 AM  

    Many wonderful things in this puzzle by @Byron Walden, but I needed help in the SE. @Rex accurately diagnosed the Natick in the SPANG/SPINEL crossing -- but just because I haven't heard of either of them (sorry @r,alphbunker) doesn't mean anything.

    Bittersweet memories of Roberto CLEMENTE, a great ballplayer who had a bit of a reputation while alive, but the heroic circumstances of his death pretty much elevated him to sainthood. Most anyone who has a passing fascination with baseball statistics knows the round number 3000 of hits in his career.

    Fun personal fact. I've been to UPPSALA, although I'm never quite sure of whether to double up the P, S, or L in spelling the name of this lovely town. In addition to Anders Celsius, other scientific luminaries associated with the University include Carl Linnaeus and Robert Barany (no relation). Please contact me off-Rex if you want to know more, especially the part about my son Michael (age 17 at the time) being attended to by Swedish nurses while recovering from pneumonia in an isolation ward at the Uppsala hospital.

    GILL I. 6:02 AM  

    Like Byron's name, I found this puzzle interesting and not the least bit STINGO.
    My first pass only yielded the two obvious females here: NOOR and ANGELOU. Fine by me. Thanks to Maya, I immediately got SPINEL. I know about it from visiting the Tower of London and seeing the Crown Jewels. The Black Prince's Ruby is actually a SPINEL and not a ruby at all.
    BEATS ME then opened up the whole upstairs and I was off and running.
    @DebinSac. I too thought of @Ellen S and the RED DIAPER BABIES... For those of you who even care, the three of us meet for lunch on occasions. Ellen is a proud Leftie!
    Really, I think the DRIP POT and DRUG CZAR were the hardest for me. I haven't used a DP in years. Son just gave us a Keurig so I guess that's the nearest thing.
    Well, BULLY FOR me because I finished this with my only Google being UPPSALA (verify spelling) and CLEMENTE because I don't know my Hall-of Famers.
    MOONERS unite!

    Jim Walker 6:47 AM  

    Very pleasant time today. Guessed right on the P in SPANG. But I finished with one error: had UnDATED over EnEE. I look forward to more from Mr. Walden.

    Glimmerglass 7:49 AM  

    I remembered SPANG, dimly, from some old timer saying, "The baseball landed SPANG in the middle of her lap," or something like that. Hard puzzle for me today, but a lot easier than yesterday's, which completely defeated me in the NW.

    Generic Solver 8:39 AM  

    Wow, instantly nailed the entire SW and then boom, absolute dead-end, couldn't get a single answer after that without cheating. Really depressing performance. Those of you know who for some reason know stuff like RED DIAPER BABiES, I guess today was your day to shine. On to the Canadian Cryptic and hoping for a better fate.

    Casco Kid 8:48 AM  

    1:25. 8 googles, not all successful. 8 errors. 2 were findable. the other 6 required capitulation and reaffirmed my belief that Byron Walden is the king of clue abuse.

    After much back and forth, I concluded that REDDIAPERpAtrol had to be the answer, and used that to enter the SE. toNysnow was my best guess for the unnamed BONESMAN, off the t in pAtrol and N in NOOR. As the correct REDDIAPERBABIES could not be sussed from the crosses, I ended up googling and correcting.

    Otherwise TAKEon for TAKEUP, as TAKEon fits adopt better much better than TAKEUP. UnDATED for UPDATED, neither of which capture UNEDITED, which is what was clued. EPEE/EnEE has no discriminating power there. STINGO is just unknown to me.

    My Big Florida export had ro be SolAR (?!) giving me a querulous neLS for PJRourke's subjects. Well. OK. Nonsensical neLs is not inconsistent with Byron Walden's style.

    The clue for SLY pointed unambiguously at SpY. The clue for BONESMAN strongly suggested an actual name, and so I studied lists of famous ones finding nothing. Thanks for that clue, Byron.

    I googled for CLEMENTE successfully, STINGO unsuccessfully, POLS unsuccessfully,

    I wanted AIL to be the entry for the clue Languish as I could work with AIL on the crosses, but AIL doesn't mean languish, except maybe in Byron's world. I kept it half heartedly. I'm still not happy about that.

    The clue for ECONOCAR screamed some-kind-of-bus. after some due consideration, I settled on ECONObus as my best guess.

    I have never solved a Byron Walden puzzle. I don't think I ever will.

    AnnieD 9:07 AM  

    Good puzzle but I had difficulties because of some of the cluing. My last to fall was the NW. I don't get what is ironic about DRUGCZAR, and AVERAGESOUT is not moving to the center. It is an outlier being offset by another outlier in the opposite direction....but nothing actually moves but the average...rather an outlier can make the average move away from the center. Offsets would've been a better clue.

    I never heard of SPANG, and didn't know EPEE was anything but a sword. I've heard of SPINEL but always thought it was a brand name for fake gems.

    Every time I see TEA chest, I remember the embarrassing moment when waitress came over and asked my boss and I if we wanted coffee or tea and my boss said, "I'd like to see your chest."

    r.alphbunker 9:19 AM  

    @Annie
    Drugs bring on a high as in {Highest official in his field, ironically}

    NCA President 9:19 AM  

    If you looked up "Puzzles that are out of my wheelhouse" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure this one would show up as figure 1.1.

    Answers that I did not remotely know: UPPSALA, SUGAR (as a Florida export!), NOOR, STINGO, SPINEL, and SPANG.

    Clues that used words I did not remotely know: Deva and Imperial Divan (my dad was a big time shriner and I never heard this term mentioned ever...he was a mason, so I know most of the masonic names, and he was in The Order of the Eastern Star, and I know those names...but evidently, shriners are mum about the HD).

    I didn't care for the clue/answer to DRIPPOT. I drink coffee and make it daily with my drip coffee maker. It has a pot. I call it a "coffee pot." Does anyone call it a drip pot? Anyone??

    The Wiki entry for REDDIAPERBABIES is very short. Seems like it's an obscure-ish term coined from a book. And also evidently the term can be applied to children of ANY radical group...including, I guess, über-capitalist Randian types.

    As for the implication from a previous poster that somehow gulags follow communists (which of course they do), but capitalists have their own style of gulag...I live not far from several of them. We call them "the projects" and poor people are doomed to live and die there in a very similar way. I wouldn't call myself a communist, but I'll say that capitalism has as many flaws and is equally liable to make the lives of people miserable. /rant

    Finally, can someone confirm that 1D is, indeed an irony?

    Bill from FL 9:20 AM  

    Easily my best Saturday time--all the proper names in my wheelhouse or at least hittable. I got hung up in the SE for while when I wrote down LIT THE MATCH with great confidence, then started looking for a proper name of some Bush/Kerry brother. Then I saw TAT, which opened things up.

    Teedmn 9:44 AM  

    I started out very similarly to @Rex. uPPSALA went right in from thr ALA because I have been there at least ten times, mostly driving through on our way to our friends' country cabin, but have visited the Linnaeus gardens and some Viking burial mounds nearby. Nice way to begin a Saturday solve.

    leanTO before GROTTO but IMPORTED helped that. AGree before AGAIN but it was obvious REDDIrP was going nowhere. Didn't mess up the SPANG SPINEL cross but unlike @Zeke, I will run the alphabet ( though it didn't help me with ADOS yesterday, doh!)

    My last entry was the E of BONESMAN because to the very end, I was stuck like @Casco on the idea it had to be a person's name. Oh well, success today and in a shorter time than yesterday. Thanks, Byron Walden!

    quilter1 10:00 AM  

    Had garnet for the longest time, just sure it had to be right. Angelou and Noor were gimmes. Never heard of reddiaperbabies, but I guess it makes some sense to someone. Good Saturday workout.

    Z 10:01 AM  

    @NCA Prez - Drip Coffee Maker I've heard of. Coffee pot I've heard of. DRIP POT not so much. I got it but I'm with you.

    @Casco Kid - I'm reminded of my two older sons when they started playing sports in elementary school. They were two years apart so they would end up on teams together. The younger was actually more naturally adept at sports but was constantly comparing himself to his brother rather than kids his own age. This really warped his sense of success.

    Whirred Whacks 10:03 AM  

    Hardest Friday-Saturday combo me in a while, but I slogged through.

    Knew RED DIAPER BABIES immediately. Slowed by having LIT THE MATCH instead of TORCH.

    SPANG was my last entry. With a name-sound like that, I figured it meant something like splooge or jism, but my Urban Dictionary says:
    "E was like, your bird's a right munter, but I've got my shovel 'andy, so I guess SPANG! Right in the chops. Wicked."

    jberg 10:04 AM  

    Those of us involved in, or even following the left in the 1960s and 1970s knew RED DIAPER BABIES right off (@NCA Pres, not coined from a book, but a term people used about themselves, as in "I'm a red diaper baby." I wasn't one, but knew many who were).

    My big problem was that Finnish coin crossing the prefix. Naturally I started with liThO for the lattter, which gave me TITMICE and MOONERS, and that kept me fixated on the L. I did try mETRO and rETRO, but they didn't really make sens -- and somehow I ran the alphabet without having the P remind me of PETROglyphs. I had to set it aside and take a shower so the answer could pop into my head as I was towelling off.

    So far so good; only I went with NAReS for the hole in the head, which gave me BULLY FOR Her, and didn't notice that ROr-COM would make more sense if I changed the second r to M. So a DNF in the end, sigh.

    Nice Scandinavian touch (geographically if not linguistically) with OSLO, UPPSALA, and PENNI.

    I really wanted BONEheAd for 32D, but I guess they don't refer to themselves that way.

    Loren Muse Smith 10:14 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 10:15 AM  

    I had a one-two punch of SLEPT AROUND/ANGELOU and thought I was off and running. Another quick NOOR, and, boom, I was pretty much done. Well, ok, I got the southwest (but guessed "stang"/stinel"), LIT THE TORCH, and most of the southeast, too.

    What a blow to come here and see how so many thought it wasn't too hard. Sheesh. I haven't felt so discouraged in a long time! This was so hard that I ended up being certain that it was some kind of random rebus – I filled in TEAS (AS in one square) and "Sammy Sosa" (last SA in once square). So that gave me some kind of "_ _ saws" for EDGERS. And I revisited the idea of "clothes ROD" since it was now a random, devious, mean-as-heck rebus.

    Didn't help that I had never heard of RED DIAPER BABIES. I've only met Byron a couple of times, but this I can say with certainty – when he heard the expression RED DIAPER BABIES, he knew instantly it was a 15 without having to count on his fingers.

    @Casco, - the clue for SLY was so tough; I saw "expert" as a noun and never considered it as an adjective. I kept asking my husband, "You think a "spy" could be an expert in calculating? Three letters? He kept suggesting CPA. I kept reminding him it began with S." Sigh.

    I resisted writing in "lean to" because I guess they're mostly built, right? I got GROTTO pretty easily, and off the R, I had "retro _ _ _" (hey, @jberg) coming down for REPRIEVE. I was thinking "retro fad."

    I considered "You are it?" "You and me?" "You all in?"

    @Bill from FL, @casco, @teedmn – I bet tons of us were looking for a "Jon," "Ron," "Don" someone in that secret society. Even when I saw BONESMAN, I just thought it was some guy's last name, and I flared my nares that it wasn't a first and last name.

    When I MOON people, I keep everything pretty still. Well. If I did ever MOON anyone, I wouldn’t wag or anything. @Gill – loved your "MOONERS, unite!" Reminds me of the "Dyslexics, untie!" How about this one – "Malapropists, ignite!"

    Bully for you, indeed, Byron. YOU AGAIN? Ah me. I got a spanking spang on my moon unit.

    AliasZ 10:24 AM  


    It was a delight to see Byron Walden's byline after Friday's fiasco. And as always, his puzzle didn't disappoint. I was a little taken aback by the four walled-in (hi @Leapy) corners connected to the main event by only two words each, but enjoyed the pretty pinwheel design of the grid, and the wide open swaths of arable land such design affords.

    Regarding the clue for HINDU GOD: "Deva, or Sura, a minor, benevolent deity in Hinduism." Also: "Savitr, Vishnu, Rudra (later given the exclusive epithet of Shiva), and Prajapati (later Brahma) are gods and hence Devas."- Wikipedia. I perceived the clue "Deva, for one" to mean that a HINDU GOD (lower case g) is a Deva. If you add "a" before "Deva, for one", it makes sense. True, the clue made it sound as if Deva was the name of a HINDU GOD (capital G), but that is a misdirection. At least I hope it is.

    Déva is also the name of a famous historic fortress in Transylvania, towering over the city by the same name.

    The number of gimmes were enough to get footholds on all quint-rants (same as quadrant, but five) of the puzzle: UPPSALA|OSLO, LEAKING|CLEMENTE, AGAIN|ALOFT, A-SHARP|INDEED and TITMICE|PETRO. When I read the clue "Children of American Communists" I entered DEMOCRATIC PARTY on reflex. It fits too - 15 letters. If those babies spent a few months in the GULAG, they would promptly discard their embarrassing red diapers.

    - There is an Econo Lodge, why not ECONOCAR? You know, one of those elastic band wind-up cars.
    - If you get MOONERS and SHRINERS together, you'll end up with MOONSHRINE.
    - No one SLEPT AROUND more than George Washington. BULLY FOR HIM!
    - When I say "A PENNI for your thoughts", people always add in their two cents. I'm a rich man.

    For the musical portion of our program, here is a choice of a POSTCARD from Florence, Italy, or a symphony in B-flat (same as A-SHARP) by Muzio CLEMENTi, also from Italy.

    Enjoy!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

    (Sorry, no time to read anything!)

    Very nice, Easy-Medium Saturday.

    RED DIAPER BABIES was a gimme, no crosses needed.

    Hand up for LEAN-TO/GROTTO, otherwise very smooth.

    GeezerJackYale48 10:38 AM  

    Well, I refuse to resort to Google, so could not complete. Hate that. I end up cussing about what I think are weak clues, like "drippot" and "you ____". Instead I should have kept working, and maybe Drugczar and (less maybe) Reddiaperbabies would emerge. Tough Saturday for me. Worse, I saw that the Red Sox lost a walkoff at Seattle. Grr. Got an art festival to go to this evening, so things will get better.

    Aketi 10:45 AM  

    @ Lewis regarding your question to Nancy, YOU BETCHA SNAIL was the first answer that popped into my head.

    Doing the puzzle and reading the comments on this blog is how I procrastinate before work in the morning, I dont want to be reminded of the potential LEAKING DIAPERS if the BABIES I am about to see. If the content of a baby's INFANCY PANTS is RED, I would immediately call the pediatrician to assess that baby. There are some overly zealous practitioners in my current professuon who believe that cribs are baby GULAGs.

    I use a scale which automatically AVERAGES OUT the fluctuations that occur when babies wiggle on the scale. The scale automatically calculates a triple average weight. You can statistically reduces measurement error increasing the number of repeat measurements. Outliers may SKEW a mean value in one direction or the other, but not the median. Turkey's box plots are a better way to Illustrate both the middle value and the outliers than a simple mean.

    Dolgoruky 10:47 AM  

    Spinel. You learn a few things from having been a Dungeons and Dragons nerd,you all!

    Nancy 10:50 AM  

    @lms -- very hard for me too. I agree with everything @NCA Pres said. Don't see the irony of 1D. Think DRIP POT is the green paint of this puzzle. Also had MOaNERS for MOONERS. Don't think the clue fits either one.

    I Naticked on S-INEL/S-ANG. And then I Naticked again in the NE on EPEE, ADAMS, UNDATED. (I had EnEE/ArAMS/UNrATED.) That's two puzzles in a row I DNF. I didn't hate this one the way I hated yesterday's. But it proved to be a bear and not a warm, cuddly bear, either.

    Mohair Sam 10:51 AM  

    Guessed right on the infamous SPANG "P" but DNF'd because we figured rETRO rock and didn't know our Finnish currency.

    Great puzzle, challenging here, but engaging - loved it.

    @lms - hand up for looking for a name in BONESMAN. Had BO--SMAN for quite a while and wondered just who this Bob Isman might be. Finally got it.

    Conservative icon David Horowitz was a REDDIAPERBABY. I have a niece who is a writer for radical left publications, her father was right of Attila. Makes ya wonder.

    Hartley70 10:53 AM  

    Wow! This was really difficult for me and not remotely comparable to yesterday's solve. It took me an hour and there were a lot of lucky guesses involved. Maybe I should head to The Borgata this afternoon! Limo, please.
    I've never heard of the REDDIAPERBABIES, STINGO, SPANG and SPINEL, PENNI, NARIS, divan or deva, prattle not PRATE, tussle for TANGLE....And another in the endless parade of baseball players. Could we do ballet dancers instead for a month or two?
    But in the end I managed to finish, in shock that my entries were correct. This is just the feeling that a Saturday should provide, I guess. Good one!

    Laurence Katz 10:58 AM  

    I graduated from CCNY (known to some a half-century ago as the Little Red School House) where more than a few red diaper babies were classmates.

    Leapfinger 11:02 AM  

    I jumped SPANG into the middle of the NW exactly as @Rex did, even unto the leanTO. Bethought me of Göteborg first, because the pronunciation is way cool, but UPPSALA followed hard on the heels of. [2 Ps, 1 S, 1 L... check!]
    Elsewhere went astray with AGree/AGAIN, LITTHEmatCH and PENgő/PENNI, but right or wrong, this was all a good time. The initial apprehension over those 4 narrow inlets proved unfounded.

    Did you know?
    MOnsieur EPEE was famous for his rapier wit.
    'BEATSME' was sometimes said by Captain Hook.

    Now, I knew a number of left-wing radicals in college, lived through the McCarthy-HUAC years, read about Sacco&Vanzetti, and followed the Julius and Ethel R trial. I even know that the Rosenberg boys, after being orphaned, were adopted by Abel Meeropol, the NYC public-school teacher who wrote the lyrics to "Strange Fruit". Despite all that, I somehow missed the phrase RED DIAPER BABIES, so was driven to research it. What I found differs a bit fROM @Rex's version.
    A rarely-visited site says the phrase originated in the early 1950s with two mimes, one male and one female (female mimes are rare because...). Being of similar and significantly left-of-center POLitical views, they frequented the same venues, were therefore often in each other's company, shortly became an item, and were wed.
    Love and marriage being as they are, those two became parents in short order and ("Glorioski, Sandy!") produced a handsome set of triplets. Since they were all girls, it was no problem to have them all dressed in pink. Strangely, those tiny tots showed a talent for miming impersonations before they could walk or talk. There must be a genetic basis for miming, because even while they were still in their cribs, those little munchkins were allREDDI APER BABIES.

    Re-parsing the phrase came later, and involved no walled-in pawneds.

    Thankyou, ByronW. Enjoyed greatly.

    r.alphbunker 11:09 AM  

    @AliasZ
    http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/monier/
    Choose Roman Unicode for output and enter deva as the citation. The main meanings clearly are not an individual god. However a Sanskrit word can mean many things (determined by the date of the text it is used in) so perhaps some text somewhere uses it as the name of a specific deity. The Renault model Le Car comes to mind.

    Southern Bell 11:14 AM  

    @AnonyBrennan, when you live in thish yere neck of the woods, you learn to let loose with the occasional SPANG or DANG. It's just part of the cost of doing bidness.

    Hurry back, now, hear?

    joho 11:19 AM  

    First entry in (CPA wrong! And so it went .... slowly but deliciously to the end. Lots and lots of aha and "I wonder how I knew that?!" moments.

    I finished in a strange order: SW first, for some reason the P in SPANG made sense, then the SE, the NW and finally the NE once I changed TAKEin to TAKEUP.

    I learned a lot and had fun, too. What more can you ask of a Saturday solve? Thank you, Byron!

    mac 11:23 AM  

    Perfect Saturday to may, medium-hard.

    My spang was smack for a while, and I wondered about spinel. I've worked with it, but it was black.

    The NE and the SE were completely empty, the rest filled in, and I had to take some guesses to get a foothold. Take in before - up, which made me wonder if P.J. O'Rourke thought "nuns" were whores.

    Loved this one.

    Maruchka 11:46 AM  

    Such a relief after yesterday's mish-mosh. Difficult does not always mean elegant.. this one is, by far.

    NW/SW went like butter. NE a bit tricky (BULLY FOR HIM sarcasm didn't register) and SE the challenge. Forgot BONESMAN, didn't see WESSON, and thought, for a minuto, GOGOERS. Well, we are seeing lots of dubious plurals lately.. and MOONERS don't always wag it, no?

    Fav of the day - RED DIAPER BABIES (Hi @EllenS & @Debinsac). My late mother-in-law was a Young Pioneer. She gave me her songbook which, in addition to lefty standards, had reworked classic children's songs, e.g., "Old MacDonald Had a Bank" (oink, oink).

    @Southern Bell - DANG! SPANG s'plained.

    GILL I. 11:48 AM  

    @mac...HAH! I guess anybody who can title a book "Eat the Rich", might very well have nuns be whores!
    I thought of you with the SPINEL. I was wondering if any gemologists do any work on natural spinel. I know it's rare to find nowadays. I too have some black stones that belonged to my grandmother.
    By the way....Gareth Bain has done the LAT. It's fun...has something for everyone and I think you'd enjoy it!

    Anonymous 11:49 AM  

    big groans to SPANG (WTF) and SPINEL, and even bigger to ECONOCAR. Google that and other than a Jersey rental outfit nothing comes up. So the word is clearly made up. CHEAPOCAR would have made as much sense (with slightly different cluing).

    And kudos to NYTimes for citing libertarian political humorist PJ O'Rourke. Heck I didn't think they'd even heard of anyone right of center no less acknowledge it in print albeit a crossword puzzle. And did it without disparaging him. Wonders!

    OISK 11:51 AM  

    I grew up with some red diaper babies as well, got it instantly. Like many others, finally guessed "SPANG" and SPINEL, not having heard of the former, but with some vague memory of the latter. Finished without help and without errors, so I am feeling much better after yesterday's NW disaster.

    Anyone else clue in "Alba" before "Asti"?

    Didn't know "naris" either, but got it from crosses. Bully for me!

    Lewis 12:17 PM  

    First known use of SPANG, says Merriam Webster, is 1843.

    Another excellent writeup, Rex. Spring has brought out your wit and tempered your disposition.

    What a beautiful looking grid! It does alienate the NE and SW, but that didn't bother me today, maybe because those sections have some heft. I did guess on the P and guessed right. Learned NARIS, STINGO and SPINEL, and am skeptical about ECONOCAR as an in-the-language word.

    Some beautiful longs: LITTHETORCH, SLEPTAROUND, REDDIAPERBABIES, and BULLYFORHIM. This was hard and fun, my favorite type puzzle, and has launched me happily into the day.

    pmdm 12:18 PM  

    NCA President and Nancy: The government's Drug Czar is the top person in change of eliminating illegal drug use from our country. This in opposition to a Drug Lord or Drug Barron whose activities promote drug use. The sense of irony is that normally, a title of power (czar, baron, lord) implies one who is involved in the distribution of a commodity. The Drug Czar does just the opposite. Calling the title Drug Czar ironic is really a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

    MetroGnome 12:33 PM  

    I still wish that the group ruled by an "Imperial Divan" had turned out to be the Ottomans . . .

    Lewis 12:38 PM  

    Factoid: Lemons have more SUGAR than strawberries; also, there is one teaspoon of sugar in every tablespoon of Heinz ketchup.

    Quotoid: "Baseball is ninety percent MENTAL. The other half is physical." -- Yogi Berra

    Lewis 12:39 PM  

    @metrognome -- Good one!

    Leapfinger 12:47 PM  

    Hi @Maruchka, hope your mal de tete has re-solved. You're welcome for SPANG (which, contrary to some ms-conceptions, is no kin to SPANGled banners).

    @GILL, Keurigs are handy-dandy, but the landfills have approx a quintillion little plastic cups. Still... so handy... otoh, the most ECONO is NOCAR at all.

    @Alias, Yikes! The fortress really sports that DEVA sign?!? A touch of Hollywood...

    Mary's two nares,
    They varies like berries.
    One side is Elder
    The other just Blue.
    Thus does a NARIS
    Embarrass.
    (Ah-, ah-, ah-choo!)

    Bless you.

    mathguy 12:49 PM  

    Wonderful! But very difficult for me. Needed to call in The Closer early. She became more of a middle reliever. She got DRIPPOT, POSTCARD, and REDDIAPERBABIES. It's more fun when we sweat over a puzzle together -- we can share the aha moments.

    After getting REDDIAPERBABIES, all we in SE was 33D starting with an I. Nothing else. What detective series began with an I? After coming up with IRONSIDE, that corner still took some work. Didn't know that a titmouse was a bird.

    One of the few puzzles where going through every clue didn't give me a single gimme.

    We feel good about getting it without Dr. Google even though we had an error. Undated for UPDATED.

    martini817 12:53 PM  

    I think 1D is meant to be ironic In that highest could mean high on drugs

    Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:56 PM  

    Surprise, surprise. After a long fight, our Last Stand letter was S?ANG/ ?HINEL. Guessed P; even a self-drivin ECONOCAR hits some SHRINERS now and then.

    Loved that TAT clue. Desperately deceptive. Well done, to the cluer, whoever U was.

    Building this wonderous grid musta been like gettin fifty whales to do a precision dance program. Impressed. BULLY, dude.

    M&A

    Amelia 12:57 PM  

    Two gimmes out of the box. If you're a baseball fan, and a New York left-leaning Jew, both Clemente and Red diaper babies are gimmes. Half my high school class were RDBs. I'm surprised Professor Rex hasn't heard the term. Actually, I'm no longer surprised. Otherwise, fun puzzle that took a lot of trial and error.

    Anonymous 1:01 PM  

    I knew RED DIAPER BABIES right away from listening to Michael Savage (ultra right wingnut) on the AM radio years ago in the car just for amusement. He called them RED DIAPER doper BABIES. And in case you're wondering, Marin County is full of them, which is where Savage lives.

    RAD2626 1:05 PM  

    Very hard. Hand up for UnDATED/EnEE although UPDATED is a better fit. Thought I was off to a great start when I guessed "General" for 1D only to fall a letter short. Damn. Thought Rex' write up was on the nose and agree with comment re GULAG. Was a little startled by it.

    Wood 1:10 PM  

    Last squares filled were the quartet at PE(NNI) and (W)ES(SON). Oil clue got me too. Even then, app told me I had something wrong, and there were three crosses I was unsure of... The O of STINGO, the P of SPANG, and the N of UNDATED. the last one seemed the least wrong... But there you go. Nice grid overall, with justly tough clues and entries. Liked it!

    Wood 1:14 PM  

    A good clue for TITMICE would be "Birds that sound like rodents."

    GILL I. 1:23 PM  

    @petite Jete Leapster...Just so that you can sleep well tonight, I use the reusable filter for Keurig, filled with my beloved Italian Peete's coffee.
    Save Our California Water...Don't Bathe!

    weingolb 1:41 PM  

    @Nancy I too was thinking that DRIPPOT was green paint for coffee brewer. But, upon a quick google, wrong. If Hario makes drip pots, then they are as coffee as coffee can be.

    Cluing was tough — consistently tough. Much more enjoyable than yesterday's.

    Tough except for the fact there was a wine clue here, which I've learned means ASTI in all cases. Three times this week alone. Longing for one Dolcetto d'Alba, just one!

    Bomaka 1:42 PM  

    Fabulous puzzle, with fun misdirects.
    My ferret holes, which I think follow, and are worse than, rabbit holes:
    LEdthemaRCH - seemed OK. You AGree?
    eAR --, again from the wrong AGree, though clearly a head hole, couldn't figure how to finish it.
    Both made RED DIAPER BABIES hard to suss out, having never heard of it (them).
    Much otherwise was somehow right SPANG there in my wheelhouse.
    Thanks BW.

    MDMA 1:46 PM  

    I was surprised to see so many complain of a SPANG/SPINEL Natick. I encountered SPANG once before as crosswordese (never in real life) and promptly committed it to memory. It's always good to do a five to ten minute post mortem after each puzzle, to review any troublesome entries by googling them, skimming the Wikipedia entries, etc. Often the new knowledge fades, but sometimes it sticks.

    ECONOCAR should have been Econobox, a pejorative term from the 1970s oil crisis years. But X as the second-to-last letter of the cross would have been very problematic.

    @Zeke, why would you refuse to do alphabet runs? If overused they can be a time-wasting tedious distraction, but also very effective when used sparingly and appropriately. For Naticks in particular, they're all you've got. You do the alphabet run and try to intuit what sounds right.

    Casco Kid 1:48 PM  

    @Z, your regular encouragement is quite nice. As a December baby, I was always 6 mo to a year younger than my highest-achieving classmates. I'd only measure myself against them, of course. So I know of what you speak.

    What would be helpful (but not remotely practical) would be a critique of my wrong entries based on whether or not I read the clue correctly. For every wrong entry, I'd like to know 1) whether I've failed to find all of the plasticity in all of the words in the clue, e.g., [Flower] to [One that flows], 2) whether I used the wrong plastic state of one or more words, 3) whether I've just hit upon a bad-luck entry and that my view of the clue is right, and 4) whether the constructor has broken the clues or obfuscated them such that they don't point at their entries, as happens over-and-over in Byron Walden puzzles (nothing "ironic" about DRUGCZARS, e.g.).

    When the constructor is untrustworthy, we have choices. We can try to repair or deobfuscate each possible broken states of the clues in hopes that one lines up with the intended entry. But in general, this is not possible, so we have an alternate strategy: abandon direct solution of such clues, treat the entry as unclued. These are well and truly "uncrossed" entries. I use this technique regularly -- have to on the quadstacks and quote puzzles! -- but without much success as I seem to abandon the wrong clues.

    As regards [Adopt] and TAKEUP, witness:

    The committee adopted new rules. The committee took up new rules. Nope. Committees take up topics of action, perhaps about rules, but a not rules themselves.

    The girl adopted the cat. The girl took up the cat. Nope. The girl took in the cat, sure, or picked up the cat, but not took up the cat.

    The team adopted a new task. The team took up a new task. Nope. Neither one. The team took on a new task, yes, but not "adopted" in any case.

    I'm going to take up a new hobby. I'm going to adopt a new hobby. Nope. One doesn't adopt hobbies.

    TAKEUP was unclued. I failed to notice that. Had I ignored [Adopt] I'd have had a much better chance at POLS and maybe even SUGAR.

    THAT is what I have to learn how to do!

    Anonymous 1:51 PM  

    Had the exact (spang?) problem with spang/spinel; guessed it and then confirmed it with Google (I know, I know). "Red diaper babies" I got right away; I'm familiar with the history of the 20th Century American Left and have read E. L. Doctorow's pre-"Ragtime" novel, "Book of Daniel," a highly-fictionalized account of the Rosenberg (Julius and Ethel) espionage/Communist case. Also got "Uppsala" quickly once I had "Oslo" and "prate" and "tea." Not a great puzzle but not terrible.

    Clark 1:58 PM  

    I shared an apartment with a RED DIAPER BABY when I first moved to New York City. She had stories about Summer Commie Camp. All the kids in a cabin had to contribute their clothes to the collective. My friend complied but she absolutely refused to share her underwear with anyone else.

    Somewhere in the recesses of my mind the word "SPANG" is meandering about.

    Hartley70 2:24 PM  

    Thank you for the jete, @IGill. I'd like to think that @Leapy is aiming for Grand. So much more elegant than a single to left field.

    Byron 2:25 PM  

    The unworthy constructor at least knows how to look things up in the dictionary. RHUD has as one of its many definitions for "take up": to adopt seriously. ("take up the idea of running for office")

    Ludyjynn 2:28 PM  

    Half in my wheelhouse: SE and NW quads; half in my outhouse: NE and SW quads. Even w/ a break of several hours to procure a dwarf papyrus for the pond, do lunch at my fave N. Italian café w/ a friend and check the mail, only to get p/oed because someone at the USPS may have swiped my guilty pleasure, this week's "People" mag. which should have been delivered yesterday, a DNF until I checked Rex.

    As others have noted, despite today's crunchiness, the puzz. was a much more pleasant experience than yesterday. BEATSME why that is the case.

    Tufted TITMICE and chickadees can be lured to take seed right out of your hand if you keep at it a bit. Yesterday, while I sat in the garden chatting over the fence w/ my neighbor, a pair of robins settled in nearby at the feeders, serenading us and chattering excitedly about the abundance of earthworms in my yard this Spring. INDEED, I could PRATE about the birds, but I PLEDGE to shut up for now.

    Thanks, BW and WS.

    Leapfinger 2:30 PM  

    @MetroGnome - so fa', so good

    @pmdm, I think the irony is the use of 'high' in the DRUGCZAR clue. I'm probably duplicating others' responses on this.

    @Gilly, bless you for being a responsible steward. Them Keurig cups is my one big failing; O/W I'm a demon for recycling plastics. I've seen those films of the central Pacific.

    NB: SPANG = Exactly mainly as applies to location. As @Robt Kerfuff mentioned, commonly 'spang in the middle of...'

    Back to my grotty Grotto now.

    Leapfinger 2:31 PM  
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    Leapfinger 2:31 PM  
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    Teedmn 2:43 PM  

    @Casco, I'm curious, on your NE trouble, did you have any gimmes in that area?

    For me, Douglas ADAMS went straight in. I had BULLY and LEAKING. I was thinking Roger CLEMmons there (wrong spelling) and briefly ended 14D with 'saw' but looked again and saw the double plural on that cross so that saved me some time.

    16A looked like it should end in ED to me so once I got BEATSME and now had EDG in 14D, that was EDGERS. 11D became TAKE something. MENTAL and thus CLEMENTE became obvious. But what made the final fill doable for me was knowing who PJ O'Rourke is because he's a repeat panelist on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" so I was expecting something political and since DEMS didn't work, POLS did, thus TAKE UP, then SUGAR and STINGO. But without the gimme of ADAMS, I wouldn't have had the foggiest!

    (And just as I was leaving that area for the SE, I, on a whim, thought of how much 9D looked like EPEE, saw that UPDATED made much more sense and got rid of UnDATED. So some serendipity was required also.)

    Aketi 2:53 PM  

    @Clark, enjoyed your RED DIAPER BABY story. When I was in Peace Corps, volunteers often tried the live like the locals sometimes taking it to extremes. Most of the guys in my area prided themselves on using magazines for toilet paper, a line I was not willing to cross. It was such a rare commodity that when I spotted some in the market place I bought a two year supply. Unfortunately, the termites found the toilet paper. By then, I had learned a few tricks from the locals about bug infestations. So I brought the whole palate out into the sun to bake. It didn't take long before my neighbor's chickens spotted the termites and feasted on them. Between the sun, the chickens and some careful folding technique, I was able to salvage enough to last the two years.

    Z 3:02 PM  

    @Casco Kid - Discard the notion of "untrustworthy constructor." A better approach is to figure out how else the clue might be working - waste no mental energy on how a clue is wrong. Take the "ironic" clue - the irony is that the DRUG CZAR is the "highest." How did I get it? I had IMPORTED, RED--- (off the D) and AVERAGES OUT in place. Off the T in IMPORTED my thought was "bETA can't be it - wait, is ZETA possible?" That gave me -ZAR, making -CZAR reasonable and "High" gave me DRUG CZAR and "oh - I see what he did there" and confirming ZETA which was a demiguess initially. Likewise with adopt-TAKE UP. Sure, there are lots of ways they can't be used synonymously (parents don't TAKE UP orphans for instance) but in a xword there only needs to be one way the two can be used synonymously - I decided to TAKE UP yoga, I adopted yoga - a stretch perhaps but not too much for a Friday or Saturday.



    Regarding the HINDU GOD clue, Britannica and Wikipedia both support the clue/answer pair.

    Arlene 3:12 PM  

    I finished this one today - what a difference a day makes!
    I did need to Google, but learned lots of good stuff.

    Charles Flaster 3:13 PM  

    Agree totally.
    Also remember those others that use Uncle G or any other source should record a DNF.
    I feel we are both in the "should not be discouraged " camp

    I skip M-W 3:50 PM  

    Easiest Sat. for me in ages. Have known several "red diaper babies" but hate the term as it always reminds me of bleeding. Spinel was vaguely familiar from old NY T Mag. jewelry ads. Spang in the middle is also a familiar phrase. Very smooth puzzle, if a tad too easy for a good challenge.

    Lewis 3:55 PM  

    @Z -- "I adopted yoga -- a stretch..." Good one!

    Master Melvin 4:07 PM  

    @Lewis: Authenticating Yogiisms is an admittedly risky endeavor, but I think the quote usually attributed to Mr. Berra is something like, "Ninety per cent of baseball is half mental."

    BTW I really enjoy your posts.

    Casco Kid 5:02 PM  

    @Byron, @Z I might "take up the idea of running for office" with my advisors, etc., without deciding to run. If I adopted the idea, I would actually be running, wouldn't I? To adopt is to commit; to take up is to consider, at least in that context. Adopting a hobby and taking up a hobby are as close as you get.

    In defense of the clue, thesaurus.com points [Adopt]->TAKEUP. Still, I'd have been better off leaving that clue totally alone.

    @Teedmn, I had ADAMS cold. Then LEAKING, then EDGERS. Then BEATSME, then UnDATED, then BULLYFORHIM then TAKEon. Then nothing.

    An hour later I googled for CLEMENTE, as aLkaline was going nowhere (and he had 3007 hits.) @GeorgeBarany is right: CLEMENTE and his 3000 hits are a bit of Americana and are absolutely fair game. Shame on me, there.

    After CLEMENTE, MENTAL fell into place. How'd I miss that?

    So_AR was beginning to look like SonAR, or maybe CIGAR, but ADAMS was secure.

    STIN_ _ didn't point at a British beer in my recollection. So it was time to deconstruct "British" "beer" and "kick". Got nowhere there. PJ O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whore's" was now likely to be n_LS. I verified by google that it was DC, not London. I briefly considered fedS. Pondered MENTAd. Wondered if there was something else I could do to MENTAd to bring it into focus. TAKEUf wasn't working STIN_e was possible. Finally I just had to call it:

    * SolAR was perfectly credible as a "export" of Florida, especially in a Byron Walden SatPuz where words like "Big" "Florida" and "Export" can be taken to poetic lengths. (SUGAR is a bit of a surprise, but respectable.)

    * neLS was just some DC-based trade union (National Energy Labor Syndicate?) I'd never heard of. (POLS so obviously a superior answer.)

    * STINle was a beer I'd never heard of. (STINGO is just a beer I've never heard of).

    * But TAKEon was safe. (I'll grant TAKEin fit the clue much better, but SolAR had to be preserved, and we know Byron could take Adopt to poetic extremes, too.

    Point is: TAKEUP lay farther outside the realm of wildly imaginative possibility than (Davidson grad but BONESMAN wannabe) tONysnow or Florida's SolAR export market or the feared REDDIAPERpatrol, because REDDIAPERbrigade didn't fit, or DRUGCZAR, which was gettable when you imagined that "ironic" had been misplaced. For that matter, the rest of the puz. Gettable with a bit of dialectical freehand, and google.

    I was in full invention mode. I was ready to believe anything. But I could not see TAKEUP. Not for anything. And I still can't quite.

    wreck 5:12 PM  

    That is the "beauty" of crosswords - the answer only has to be "plausible'" not necessarily the most "probable." It only needs to work with the crosses.

    Casco Kid 5:13 PM  

    @Z DRUG CZAR suggests totalitarian ruler of an evil, dictatorial, human-rights abusing, criminal organization, when in fact he is supposed to be the good guy. I think that is what Byron was going for with "irony." He meant "counter intuitive" not ironic. Clue should have been, [1D Highest member of his organization or, perhaps, his nemesis.]

    mac 5:15 PM  

    @GIL: thanks for the tip!

    I didn't know the term, but I love "red diaper babies".

    @OISK: hand up for Alba, my favorite.

    Z 5:25 PM  

    @Casco Kid - given the incredible cost in resources, the measurably racist outcomes, and the complete ineffectiveness of the "War on Drugs," I think your take on the irony of our having a DRUG CZAR works.

    @Lewis - 🙏🏼

    Billy C 5:26 PM  



    @NCA Pres 9:19 --

    Re: "... Capitalism has as many flaws [as Communism] and is equally liable to make the lives of people miserable"

    And "capitalists have their own style of gulag ... " the projects" and people are doomed to live and die there every day."

    Wow! First, I'm kinda surprised at no comment on this after several hours. Perhaps our fellow readers shun political comment here...

    Second, to say Capitalism as an economic system is comparable to Communism in terms of overall human well-being, coming from an obviously well-educated person, just boggles my mind.

    It's certainly true that our Capitalism is imperfect, and unbridled Capitalism (which, fortunately, we don't have) tends toward the vicious and cruel. But with the right safeguards, it harnesses natural human tendencies, generally aligning them toward improvements in most spheres of activity (economics, health, education...)

    Communism, on the other hand, assumes that humans will strive to the common good with no coupling to their personal situation. One can certainly argue that this is a noble concept, but history has no examples of it working in practice. Where it has persisted in name, it has created human misery, while being hijacked by thugs (Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba ...)

    As to why "the projects" persist, entrapping some 3-5% (my estimate) of our population for generations, that's more of a question for sociologists than for economists, IMO. Our government has probably invested hundreds of $billions, if not $trillions, over the decades, in trying to eliminate this abomination in our midst, probably making some progress, but only a little. To lay the blame for this mainly on our Capitalistic economic system is, sorry, a bridge too far.

    One more time 5:27 PM  

    @Casco - The "irony" is in the word "highest" not in your narrow and somewhat misguided definition of CZAR.

    Also, solar is not even close to credible as a Flordia export. Florida's major utilities have fought tooth and nail (read bought politicians) to to kill the roof top solar industry in the state.

    Maruchka 5:28 PM  

    @Leapy - Merci. Helas, mal de tete hier est mal de tout aujourd'hui. Less intense, tho' - hope you are over it.

    wreck 5:29 PM  

    @Z
    The Libertarians have a good point!

    michael 6:07 PM  

    Getting red diaper babies right away really helped.

    But like many (including Rex) I was stuck on spinel/spang. Had to google it.

    Fred Romagnolo 6:23 PM  

    Didn't know the term RED DIAPER BABIES, although I was involved with some of them in the ACLU-City Hall riots in 1960. DNF (SPANG-SPINEL) Shouldn't POLS have had an abbr.? Just what are the rules? The book was given to me by my A.P. Poly Sci students as a retirement present. Was CIRCE a goddess?, sorceress more probably. UPPSALA is a highly regarded Swedish establishment. Webster's 3rd lists PENNIA as plur. so I guessed right on the sing. I really had problems with TITMICE; I kept visualizing Tenniel's illustration of the mad tea-party and knew it was a rodent! TIT aint "dor."

    jon 6:34 PM  

    Gave up after sleptaround and aloft. Nailed the Ken Ken, though. Woo hoo!

    Leapfinger 6:36 PM  

    @CascoK, I see that you've taken up a certain line of reasoning. True?

    @Maruchinka, il y a toujour demain!!

    Zeke 6:50 PM  

    @MDMA - Maybe refuse was overstating it, I just don't do them. Either I know an answer or I don't, and I'm willing to leave a space blank if I have no idea of the answer. Further, what would a alphabet run have gotten me - is ShINEL/ShANG any more or less likely to be correct than SPINEL/SPANG?

    Anonymous 7:08 PM  

    I guess it's okay now to make up words like ECONOCAR and DRIPPOT and throw them in the grid.
    It's puzzling too, how an incorrect clue like "Deva, for one" makes it past all those test solvers and proofreaders.

    fergus 7:15 PM  

    So enjoyed meeting Byron Walden at the Alameda gathering in 2008, with ACM and the Green Mantis, among others. Some nice narratives of our shared verbal crossings.

    Anonymous 7:25 PM  

    @Leapfinger. Exactly. Or you might even adopt a different way of saving xword puzzles.

    jae 8:09 PM  

    @Fred - The rules are that late week puzzles frequently ignore the "rules."

    Teedmn 8:25 PM  

    I think calling any position a " " czar for a position of power or management in our government is a ridiculous misnomer.

    And @Casco Kid, I think your problem lies in accepting neLS as a possibility. The key to successful solving, in my sometimes hard-earned and still evolving experience, is when it makes no sense at all (neLS), cross it all out and start over. And you were only wrong with the UG of SUGAR and PO of POLS in the NE. You're very close more often than not now (but still entertaining), so you just have to hone the instinct of discerning the difference between "what's right" and "what's possible". And through the comments today, you can see how that varies even among the veteran solvers. I think you are at the tipping point - give it another year of analysis (and lucky for you, it's free on the blog :-) ).

    Not that I'm any expert: I still DNF often due to impatience and I haven't gone to any tournaments to measure my prowess so... Just 17 or so years of solving the NY Times puzzle and still learning - more since I started following @Rex last fall.

    Casco Kid 8:56 PM  

    @leapy That's a winner! OK, I give. ;)

    Lewis 10:22 PM  

    @casco 5:13 -- I love your definition here for DRUGCZAR. That's a wow for me.

    Wm Martin 7:53 AM  

    Even though I got red diaper baby immediately--being one myself--I had a hard time with this. Perhaps if my father had been a Shriner also it would have been easier.....

    Aketi 11:27 AM  

    @ Billy C, the arguments you put forth regarding poverty and spending fall into the same sort of ecology fallacy that is employed routinely by economists. To use your same analogy the US government has spent far more money waging war in the interests establishing peace. Nevertheless the news media would have us believe that we are on the verge of apocalyptic collapse at any moment.

    Economists have standards of "causality" that are laughable by the standards of epidemiology. The argument frequently employed by economists and by yourself that because two things change in the same direction at the same time means that one cause the other is called "ecologic fallacy".

    I'm not the least bit interested in political discussions on a crossword blog, but the logic is flawed, regardless of the topic.

    Billy C 1:20 PM  


    @Aketi --

    Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding your post.

    First, I don't know what kind of causality I'm implying. I guess you're referring to my statement that hundreds of $billions of government spending, trying to eliminate poverty and the kinds of neighborhoods that contribute to people's entrapment in poverty, has made only little progress in achieving this goal.

    I made no statement that this spending is actually causing continuation of this entrapment in my post, so any inference along these lines are your own. Kinda makes one wonder if this causality is planted in your mind for some reason, though.

    As to "ecological fallacy," I don't think you've got it quite right. This means that if something/someone is a member of a group which, as a whole, exhibits a trait or action, it is a fallacy to assume that some particular group member necessarily does the same.

    Also, I'm not sure how "the standards of Epidemiology" relate to causality in Economics.

    I guess I'm just a little slow ... ;-)



    mellisa lopez 10:20 PM  

    "I am so happy to share this wonderful testimony about Dr Brave, my name is Mellisa Jefferson I am 34 years old, I live in Florida united states, I am happily married to Sowers Jefferson with three kids we got married in 2006 I am a banker but due to some certain family conditions I had to quit my job so I could have time for my family my husband works in a construction company not long ago around may 2015 my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very Confused by the way he treat me and the Kids. Later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i Done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce That he hate me and do not want to see Me again in his life, i was mad and also Frustrated do not know what to do,i was Sick for more than 4 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is Incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believed in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, he told me that my husband have Been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then he told me that he have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to Me and the kids, he casted the spell and After 27hours my husband called me and He told me that i should forgive him, he Started to apologize on phone and said That he still loves me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Brave on him that brought him back to me today, i and my family Are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing Today if not for your great spell. i want You my friends who are passing through All this kind of love problem of getting Back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact him on this email: bravespellcaster@gmail.com , web site:http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ . and you will see that your problem will be solved Without any delay or effect cell number +2348072370762 Thanks for reading. ."

    mellisa lopez 7:14 AM  

    Greetings My dear friends. I am so happy to share this wonderful testimony about Dr Brave, my name is Mellisa Jefferson I am 32 years old, I live in Florida USA, I am happily married to Sowers Jefferson with three kids we got married in 2004 I am a banker but due to some certain family conditions I had to quit my job so I could have time for my family my husband works in a construction company not long ago around may 2015 my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very Confused by the way he treat me and the Kids. Later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i Done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce That he hate me and do not want to see Me again in his life, i was mad and also Frustrated do not know what to do,i was Sick for more than 4 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is Incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believed in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, he told me that my husband have Been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then he told me that he have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to Me and the kids, he casted the spell and After 27hours my husband called me and He told me that i should forgive him, he Started to apologize on phone and said That he still loves me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Brave casted on him that brought him back to me today, i and my family Are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing Today if not for your great spell. i want You my friends who are passing through All this kind of love problem of getting Back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact him on this email: bravespellcaster@gmail.com , web site:http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ . and you will see that your problem will be solved Without any delay or effect cell number +2348072370762 Thanks for reading..

    Burma Shave 8:45 AM  

    ASHARP TANGLE

    It BEATSME why she’d TAKEUP with men she hated,
    with no REMORSE she LITTHETORCH to get mated.
    She SLEPTAROUND
    with every BONESMAN she found.
    INDEED, that’s why PENNI remains UNDATED.

    --- TOM SPINEL

    BS2 9:02 AM  

    Sorry, I have a wrong word in the above verse. In my haste to compose I couldn't (didn't) read through my own write over ink. I'll promise to pay more attention.

    BS3 9:18 AM  

    SHRINERS WINO

    The DRUGCZAR’s brain was LEAKING like a sieve
    and he PLEDGED to RELEARN what to believe,
    ‘cause he mistook a CLOSETROD
    to be a HINDUGOD,
    BULLYFORHIM if he gets a MENTAL REPRIEVE.

    --- SPANG ADAMS

    spacecraft 11:42 AM  

    Never have I been so totally whipped. I found one thing to put in, SOUVENIR for "Tourist purchase" -- and it was WRONG! That's it, that's the news, there sits my grid with that single bad entry. I simply couldn't get in anywhere else. Byron, you are Fast Eddie to my Minnesota Fats (at the end). "I quit, Eddie. I can't beatcha." I will put on my overcoat and walk out of Ames. VERY INC.

    rondo 12:45 PM  

    First entries were OSLO and UPPSALA, being the good Scandahoovian I am. CLEMENTE a gimme since I remember that bit of trivia since the fatal crash. The musical note had to be something A to G SHARP because of its length, so ASTI became my wine. Guessed on IRONSIDE. So with anchors all around, I moved toward the middle. Slowly. There’s a whole lot of write-overs, even like PaleO for PETRO and Agree for AGAIN, and TAKEin for TAKEUP, and INfact for INDEED, and leanTO for GROTTO, etc., etc. Like many others, final guess was the P in SPANG. It took somewhere around an hour.

    Catherine ZETA Jones, yeah baby. SPANG! I wish she SLEPTAROUND here.

    Funny that my Sarasa Zebra pen has any ink left. INDEED. This was tougher than medium.

    DMG 5:06 PM  

    Agree with @spacecraft on this one. Just couldn't get a toehold anywhere, and quit with a couple of questionable entries in place. Then I picked up the usually more "doable" LAT puzzle to discover I could only do,about half of it. 'Maybe I need a new hobby!!! Still being rejected by the Robot master on my old IPad,, so will see if this will post. Can't understand why one device would work while another on the same system doesn't.

    rain forest 5:21 PM  

    I started fast with PRATE, OSLO, and TEA, not really knowing whether any of them were correct, but I just thought that POT had to end 1A. My Dad used to call it a DRIPolater.

    Moved very slowly around the grid, the NE being the easiest, but finished with 2 errors, both of which I perhaps have been able to see. I thought BONuSMAN was a fine answer, and sort of glossed over UnDATED.

    Tough one, for sure, and a disappointing DNF.

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