Dare colloquially / SAT 7-18-15 / Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel / Hassan Arabian Nights figure / Tokyo-based carrier

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: ONE-THIRTY (24D: Setting depicted by this puzzle's grid) — The minute hand is pointing straight down, the hour hand is that little three-square diagonal run in the NE.

Word of the Day: "RAMONA" (5D: Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel) —
Ramona is an 1884 American novel written by Helen Hunt Jackson. Set in Southern California after the Mexican-American War, it portrays the life of a mixed-race Scots–Native American orphan girl, who suffers racial discrimination and hardship. Originally serialized in the Christian Union on a weekly basis, the novel became immensely popular. It has had more than 300 printings, and been adapted four times as a film. A play adaptation has been performed annually outdoors since 1923. // The novel's influence on the culture and image of Southern California was considerable. Its sentimental portrayal of Mexican colonial life contributed to establishing a unique cultural identity for the region. As its publication coincided with the arrival of railroad lines in the region, countless tourists visited who wanted to see the locations of the novel. (wikipedia)
• • •

You gotta ignore a Lot of black space to make this "theme" work, but whatever. It's a funny-shaped grid. Nothing wrong with that. Actually, the four-square black segments at 12, 3, and 9 O'CLOCK are likely intended to be part of the clock face itself, so ... not a bad facsimile. Before I got ONE-THIRTY (O'CLOCK???) I thought the setting depicted by this puzzle's grid was POKER CHIP or some kind of island or Pac-Man or something. I could've guessed all day long and never come up with ONE-THIRTY (O'CLOCK). The column of 15s is remarkably solid. Things get a little dicey in those wide-open spaces, but that's utterly predictable and probably mostly unavoidable—if you want to do stunt puzzles with lots of white space, you're gonna pay for it somehow. It's not really worthwhile covering the less lovely parts. I actually think the puzzle hits more than it misses. There's just one answer I find laughable and baffling. Laffabling. I wonder if you can guess. I wonder if you too were left staring at it thinking "Oh, man, that's not a word? What do I have wrong?" When I finished, I fully expected not to get the happy "Congrats, you finished" message. And yet there it was. And so I returned to the scene of the crime that is ... DAST (15D: Dare, colloquially). That answer is almost as ILLIN' as ILLIN'. Actually, way more, in that I have actually heard someone "Colloquially" use ILLIN'. Look here:

["Small Fries, BIG MAC!"]

I cannot imagine this DAST being said by anyone ever. I've heard of (archaic) "durst." "Daren't." But DAST? Apparently it's in "Death of a Salesman," but the tense is wrong. There, it means "dares," not "dare." I mean, tense is not really my problem with this answer, but it's an added problem. Hmmm, cruciverb says it has been used once. 21 years ago. Clued as [Dare, in Dogpatch]. So it's AlCappian? Ugh. All I know is that it is AT REAR of my favorite answers today (just behind AT REAR).


There's some unusual, inventive stuff in here. DOMECAR! I don't know what that is, or didn't, but I can imagine it. "I CAN RELATE" is a fantastic (and actual!) colloquialism.  I am getting a lot of laugh mileage out of parsing 26-Down as ASS TATED. I know TATED is meaningless, but that's part of the joy. Otherwise, all I can say is this could've been much worse. As pointless experiments in grid manipulation go, this one isn't bad.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

104 comments:

jae 7:22 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Ambitious, interesting, different and flawed.  Does the stunt justify the problems...?  I gotta say I enjoyed the solve, but putting in RESP with no crosses and being fairly certain it was correct evoked a cringe.  And, don't even ask about @Rex DAST, TESTINGS...  So, it's Krozel with another "shake thing up on a Sat. puzzle"... I'm leaning towards liked it.

Z 7:48 AM  

Let's ask the AURICLE of Delphi what she thinks. You DAST not? You be ILLIN like a bunch of ANATOLIAN'S OLD BATS.

Grid Art - cool
Trivia fest - not cool
A three letter pluralized initialism at the center of the grid - not cooling
POCs - Over the top as a percentage of answers
DAST - WTF?

Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

Medium-challenging for me. I wrestled with several clues, but eventually prevailed through crosses and partial crossings (....CAR). I rode most of three days in a DOME CAR from Toronto to Vancouver--a fantastic way to experience the sweep of North America, and a comfortable way to travel if one has the time and the money for a sleeping compartment. I think I remember DAST in Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer?), but I'll leave it to someone else to search it. I wasn't at all bothered by it, as it just sounds frontier/hillbilly to me.

OldCarFudd 7:55 AM  

Different wheelhouses for different folks. Dome car was a gimme for me. They were also called vista domes. One of the two Canadian transcontinental railroads had (still has?) them, but not the other, because the other's tunnels weren't high enough. A great way to travel through the Rockies, if you're not in a hurry.

Aketi 7:56 AM  

I love riding on trains, especially those that have a DOME CAR.

After staing at the solvecpuzzle, I wanted to add a T, a G and a C outside the grid on the crosses and another G on the down.

Looked at OLDBATS and thought Young Turk will have fun with that and I heard Phyllls Diller's laugh in my head.

r.alphbunker 8:02 AM  

As Rex pointed out, it was impossible to guess what the {Setting depicted by this puzzle's grid} was without help from the crosses. And to make matters even more tricky, "setting" strongly implied to me a physical location rather than an arrangement of the hands of a watch.

And it didn't help that I saw a smokestack in the grid. Now it looks like a lit cigarette in an ashtray with three unlit cigarettes. Perhaps that is what I was thinking when I tentatively wrote in paRTY off of RTY. THEMAGI and AILERON got rid of the "pa" giving THIRTY and then the penny dropped. Nice!

I did a little research and found that grids totally lacking in symmetry have occurred only 28 times during the Shortz era. Joe Krozel has been involved in 6 of them.

There is an interesting back story on the first one by Rand H. Burns which appeared on 9/10/1994. It appears that it was unintentional and was the inspiration for Joe Krozel's non-symmetric puzzle of May 28, 2010 which attempted to appear symmetric even though it was not.

The usual analysis is here. It shows that, not surprisingly, ONETHIRTY has never been used in a puzzle before. I am interested in knowing how M&A would clue this.

dmw 8:07 AM  

Finished in Wednesday time (for me), which is totally unheard of. Reinforced my opinion that any particular puzzle can be anywhere on the spectrum easy - difficult for any particular person.

JFC 8:11 AM  

I have become the biggest creep on this board in a very short time.

NCA President 8:12 AM  

DAST. VENAE. SALAMANCA. ANATOLIANS. DACHA. And to some degree, TESTINGS. What a collection of WTF words. That entire section was basically blank by the time I got around to finishing up the puzzle (VETOES and ECONOMIC was all I had). I gave myself one google..."Oldest university in Spain." So SALAMANCA was my entree into that abyss of WTF and somehow things fell into place.

The thing I really like about doing difficult/challenging xwords is the way they reveal themselves. Mondays are fast and furious. But puzzles like today are slow, word by word affairs. A letter here, a word there...and then *boom* another word appears out of thin air. STROPE, STELLAR, ILLIN, OLDBATS, AILERON, even DOMECAR were some of those words. There seemed to have been a predominance of Ss in the grid which, in the beginning, were my only starting points. And then, about 30 minutes later, done.

But I'll say one more thing about DAST. According to Joe, this puzzle was 8 years (!) in the making. So he means to tell me, after 8 years he looks at that puzzle and says, "Yep. After 8 long years this is the best this is going to get." And after 8 years, DAST makes the cut. Imagine the 6th year. What must have been in that spot? DuST? cAST? I'm of course being a bit cheeky here, but seriously, 8 years and you end up with DAST?

Wow.

Loren Muse Smith 8:17 AM  

I stared at my DAST forever, trying to figure out how to fix it, finally gave up, and came here to see where I had gone wrong. Hah! So I actually finished this really-tough-for-me Saturday Krozel! That's a big deal for this solver. I see Joe's name at the top, see the grid, take a deep breath, and wobble around filling in a couple of desperate S's here and there. My first entries were NEIN crossing "aeleron," and going back to change that wrong E to I was my final act.

@r.alph bunker - before that, with that wrong E there, I kept imagining I saw a _ _ _ _ HEART, so I was thinking "man's heart" or "one's heart." Doesn't a heart have four chambers with a valve sticking up to the right where the smoke from your lit cigarette is?

Early goofs:

"Inuit" for MAORIS, even though I had alarm bells going off in my head
"slang" for AVOID
"arrear" for AT REAR
"jal" for ANA
"Mongolians" for ANATOLIANS, more alarm bells, wondering how anyone would associate Mongolia with Turkey. Sheesh. I guess I could.

Rex – for reasons I cannot remember (family Scrabble game?), I have looked up the word tate, and it can mean a small tuft of hair, so I'll join you in snickering at ASS TATED. Ewww.

The plural possessive on "doctors'" threw me for a while. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

I always like zeugmatic clues like the one for TRACED. "Like some clocks and cows" MILKED. "Like some buckets and habits". . . Anyone?

And I like the usage of MOOD expanded (reduced?) to just mean something icky. Oh, wow. Looks like we have some weather coming in. Mom's sure gonna be in a mood.

Yesterday it was ALL IN. Today it's ILLIN and DR ILLIN. Anyone do yesterday's WSJ? Theme was "the doctor is in" with a DR was added to common phrases to get things like TUNDRA MELTS and HOLE IN DRONE. Cool.

O'CLOCK crossing ONE THIRTY was just the icing on the cake here. I really enjoyed this 56-word, 56-word!?, challenge.

AliasZ 8:29 AM  


After yesterday's sparkler by Paolo Pasco, this was a rather plain if not unpleasant follow-up. Tough, but with a little perseverance quite doable. I liked the wide-open spaces and the grid art, which at first looked to me like a gate between two livestock pens, or two rooms with the door between them left ajar, or a valve between the atrium and the ventricle (VENAE cavae seemed to hint at that). But when I finally got to the revealers ONE THIRTY O'CLOCK, the design made perfect sense. The only problem was the segregation of the left and right atria, only two words from either side venturing into the neighbor's yard through the garden gate.

A few entries dropped right in at first run-through: DACHA, MAORIS, VENAE, ABOU, SALINE and ETTAS, the hard work came after. The grid spanners were all solid phrases, if not quite as colorful as I would have liked them to be, and stacking them caused only the RESP (RESPondent? RESPect? RESPiration? RESPlendent?) and CDI ugliness. That is some excellent work.

I've never been to SHETLAND ISLANDS and never traveled in a DOME CAR, but I have been experiencing a steady ECONOMIC DECLINE in my personal life due to the PASSING INTEREST on investment. I especially enjoyed OLD BATS, AILERON, STROPHE, ANATOLIANS, SALAMANCA and AIRBALL.

I ASSTATED entering TESTINGS ("Wha...? This can't be right"), AT REAR and SENDS ON (in, out, off, along perhaps?), but ILLIN and DRILLIN was a colorful pairing. Overall I found the puzzle to be a clean and (mostly) groan-free. Perhaps not as STELLAR as previous Krozel eyepoppers, but I did enjoy it. Thank you Joe.

Ashes to ashes, DAST to DAST,
I hope this too shall die but fast.

GOT REST you merry, gentlemen and ladies.

Have a great weekend.

Generic Solver 8:34 AM  

Easiest Saturday for me in a couple of years, only educated guess being the DAST crossing. Don't know why, things just kept falling into place. I will admit to immediately thinking of TURDS for things tossed on a compost pile (as in from your dog or cat), as I had ___DS, but realized nope, not in the NYT. Later I learned from the web that dog or cat poop in compost is a no-no, as they are carnivores with certain bad bacteria.

Billy C 8:41 AM  


@JFC --- biggest creep on the board?

No, No no!!! It'll take a lot more time to unseat me! ;-)

F.O.G. 8:52 AM  

Originally had OLDhens for OLDBATS, ASagreED for ASSTATED, and ECONOMICDEficit for ECONOMICDECLINE. Couldn't make thcse crosses work and eventually finished after much trial and error.

Liked the ONETHIRTY grid and overall give it a B+,despite some DASTardly cluing.

Dshawmaine 8:59 AM  

My xwording skills are not up to finishing a Friday or Saturday puzzle except on rare occasions when the stars align - they did not do that today and I caved after completing only the outer ring all around. I hated the " mood" clue (shouldn't it just be "state of mind"?), until I read @LorenMuseSmith's comment and went Aaaah, good one. Why I enjoy this blog.
Also happy that @Rex noted the ugliness of ATREAR, even if only in passing. Awful. No one says that (do they?). Would "in front" be ATFACE? I don't think so.

tb 9:03 AM  

I grew up in Southern Illinois, and I have heard people say, "Don't you dast..." usually followed by "talk to me that way" or something similar.

Danp 9:08 AM  

My problem with DAST was that it seemed too obvious. DARE becomes DAREST, which shortens to DAST. It sounds familiar, too, though I see that Shakespeare never used it. It doesn't appear to be in the Bible either, so I don't know where I might know it from.

Teedmn 9:12 AM  

A fun puzzle today. AS STATED by @LMS and @AliasZ, I saw a heart-shaped grid based on the VENAE CAVAE so the ONE THIRTYnwas a nice revealer. I solved this puzzle counterOCLOCKwise and had almost all of my writeovers in the SW except for netBALL. An official DNF because I had DRILLIt and tEST. The root "cali" didn't give me any clue about NEST.

And DAST sounds very familiar to me. Perhaps as @Glimmerglass suggests, it was from Twain. Or 'Gone With the Wind'? 'Raintree County'? Anyway, no hesitation there for me.

2D was ECONOMIC cooLINg for a while and only figuring that 46A wasn't going to be _gST made me change it. And then DNF'd there, OH GOD, the irony :-).

It's going to be a steamy one here today, ABOUt 88 with a high heat index. Stay cool, all y'all and I hope you have ACS!

Thanks, JK and WS.

DJG 9:14 AM  

I got the TH in ONETHIRTY and briefly considered whether or not the DEATHSTAR could be considered a "setting." I mean the grid kinda sorta resembles the Death Star, no?

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

I didn't like it.

Whirred Whacks 9:18 AM  

Fun enough. I guessed ONE THIRTY fairly early in the puzzle based on a few crosses and the arrangement of the squares. I only wish the constructor could have connected that time to some specific event (am I missing something?).

@Loren I also had Mongolians before ANATOLIANS. Not a bad guess though: over the centuries, parts of Turkey were settled by hordes rolling in from the steppes of Asia.

My favorite answer was STROPHE, which in the original Greek meant "a turning." It is the basis of our words catastrophe (a "turning down") and dystrophy (a "bad turning").

Sir Hillary 9:22 AM  

Been awhile since we've had a Krozel stunt puzzle. Of course there is no point to this (maybe if it had run on January 30...) but there never is, is there? Set that aside, and the fill is remarkably solid given the vast amounts of white space in three of the four corners. Last letter in was the A in DAST -- couldn't be anything else.

Not my idea of a fun Saturday puzzle, but you can't win 'em all.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Had turd for the compost with drill up. Then got decline and rinds. Yuck.

quilter1 9:45 AM  

Got all the east side then DRILLED away at the west. ANATOLIANS kept teasing at my brain but would not appear until I have some crosses. Fifty seven years ago my grandma and I went to California on the train and it had a DOMECAR. I spent a lot of time up there. I especially remember seeing lit up towns in the distance at night. Great memories of a good trip. I've read DAST but can't remember where.

Mohair Sam 9:54 AM  

Knew an Englishwoman from the Liverpool area (Upton, Wirral to be precise) who used DAST constantly. And always for dare. I had always assumed it was common English usage - apparently not. Absolutely no problem with the word or the clue and am surprised it finds no supporters here.

Fun Saturday, btw - played medium here.

mathguy 9:56 AM  

As Rex says, it is from Death of a Salesman. Charley says: "Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand. Willy was a salesman. ..."

evil doug 9:58 AM  

I like "You Be Illin" because there's no PoPo in there.

Music man 9:59 AM  

I think I liked this one, besides the aforementioned flaws. I actually just left them blank because I recognized I would never be able to fill them in, so I was able to let it go and just remember what I liked about it. Got ONE THIRTY with no crosses. Pretty fun puzzle overall

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I thought that even mild curses weren't allowed in the crossword. I was shocked at 34 Down. I've never said that phrase in my life and it is offensive.

Steve J 10:02 AM  

I thought this one tried a little too hard to be cute, but I've seen worse results from that attempt than what resulted here. Found it remarkably easy, other than the very isolated SW quadrant. I had the entire puzzle filled in, with that quadrant from ANA on down blank, other than the one finger of letters coming down from I CAN RELATE. Finally took a couple guesses that proved to be right, and ended up finishing this in record time for me on a Saturday. It was enough to occupy my PASSING INTEREST, but it was far from scintillating.

Whirred Whacks 10:09 AM  

Also, I thought that the same people who recently condemned the use of BIMBO and SEX KITTEN would be swooping in today to take offense at OLD BATS (clued by "Biddies"). All good crosswords IMHO.

Enjoy your weekend!

Norm 10:12 AM  

I thought this puzzle was just kind of dumb. The long downs were way too easy for a Saturday, and the gimmick was definite meh moment. I think Hick Finn used to say DAST, which would fit with what tb@9:03 said.

Nancy 10:14 AM  

As I stared bleakly at this, my plea was: Please, please, a toehold! Anywhere, I don't care! Just one! Not until NEIN in the SE did I get even one. And the "I" gave me THE MAGI and that "M" gave me DOME CAR and I managed to complete the SE section. Now what?

Like NCA Pres, what I had mostly were a lot of Ss. But the S at the top of 17D enabled me to guess SUNK, even though I know nothing about the game Battleships. And suddenly the puzzle opened up enough that the whole East was done.

There was a gimme in the SW that I didn't see initially and that answer, ALADDIN, gave me AGAS. Once I saw LOUTS (which took me forever to see), the rest of the SW came in. So I had (blank) ISLANDS and (blank) INTEREST for 3D & 4D. But nothing came to me for 1A and, thus, I was stymied in the NW.

So, Dear Reader, I cheated. As always, it was a non-Google, geographic cheat. I looked at Spain on my older-than-old, falling-apart Atlas, seeking a city that ended in CA. And I found SALAMANCA, a city I've never heard of. And this enabled me to "solve" the NW.

For me, this one was about as hard as a themeless gets. And as an honorable person, I must officially call this a DNF.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@r.alph, You found 28 non-symmetric grids. XWord Info found only 24. Which ones is it missing?

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:26 AM  

thought the optimal scenery-viewing spot on a train was the CABOOSE. But I guess they've been obsolete for some time. Otherwise, easy puzzle, arcana in my wheelhouse.

Carola 10:30 AM  

I thought this was a real treat. I loved the variety of the geography: ROMA, SALAMANCA, the SHETLAND ISLANDS and the personnel: MAORIS, ANATOLIANS, THE MAGI, ALADDIN and ABOU Hassan...

This was an "easy" for me on the Saturday scale; I began with RESP X SHETLAND ISLANDS and criss-crossed my way around counterCLOCKwise. Coming around the far turn and having the I from I CAN RELATE, I thought, "It's gotta be ILLIN" - thank you, previous puzzles. One do-over: AS agreED, although I'd also toyed briefly with RoweNA.

Norm 10:38 AM  

Huck Finn says at one point that he was “that scared I dasn't hardly go to bed, or get up ..."

More on "dast" as a potential back-construction from "dasn't" for anyone interested: http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2008/10/nobody-dast-blame-this-man.html

old timer 10:41 AM  

Thumbs up for DAST. I knew the word immediately, having read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and other Twain tales as a child. Not in my dictionary, but my guess is it is a shortening of "darest" as in, "Thou darest not run away"

Played very easy for me -- Wednesday level at worst, and no Googles. I wrote in SHETLANDISLANDS at once, Never been there, but been wearing Shetland sweaters for decades, and one of my favorite fiddlers is Aly Bain, who hails from there and loves to play tunes from his native land.

It would have helped to know how to spell AILERON (I had "aerilon" in mind for some reason0. I had ICANRELATE immediately, but wrote in "As agreed" before ASSTATED.

I'd call this a workmanlike puzzle by one of our greatest constructors. I winced at TESTINGS and thought our more PC friends on this blog might complain about OLDBATS (I had "old gals" for a while.)

Hartley70 10:53 AM  

Not even close.

Hartley70 11:12 AM  

Easy Peasy for me. PBS has been running SHETLAND on Thursday night. It's a mystery drama and the scenery is gorgeous so I was moved to investigate the islands after the first episode. That was my toehold. Then auricle was a gimme because I noticed s little bump on my ear this week and went to Webmd to see what those things on the outside of my ears are called. DYERS was easy because textiles are in the family. RESP because I went to school for that stuff. Coincidence? I think not. Mr. Kroezel was talkin' to me!

One complaint... While I'm a fan of SEXKITTEN, OLD BATS is most unkind and much harsher than biddies who are sort of sweet in an old lady way. I say this as I approach OLDBAThood, and leave SK in the REARview mirror. Sniff.

I forgot that replies don't immediately follow comments here, so the "not even close" was for @JFC and it applies to @BillyC also. Not to encourage you, but you two are creampuffs in the world of trolls. I enjoy your comments.

AZPETE 11:27 AM  

Lighten up, pilgrim.

Elle54 11:31 AM  

Never knew there was a study of NESTS. My one error after 2+ hours was GEST. But I have the time cuz I GOT to REST with this summer cold

r.alphbunker 11:31 AM  

@Anonymous 10:24 AM
Good catch.
I counted these as asymmetric. They are symmetric if you ignore the square sticking out
Bob and Sharon Klahn: 2/2/1995 (P sticking up at top)
Ian Livengood: 9/25/2012 (N sticking up at top)
Patrick Merrell: 11/2/2004 (D sticking out at bottom)

I counted Robert H. Wolfe: 11/15/1998 because it had a "." in one of the answers and "."s are how black squares are represented internally in the puzzle file. xwordinfo was not tricked by the "."

Two other discrepancies that I found were
I counted Bruce Haight and Peter A. Collins: 3/4/2014 (kite) as asymmetric but xwordinfo says it has diagonal symmetry.

and

xwordinfo counts Sidney L. Robbins 7/8/1996 as asymmetric but I count its as symmetric.

A visual inspection of these indicates that xwordinfo is right. I will see why my program disagrees.

Thanks for pointing this out.


Pete 11:35 AM  

Re: 33D I'm likely wrong, as I haven't bowled but 10 times, but I believe spares are scored as #pins in first try, then the "/" do denote the spare. Three consecutive spares would then appear as, e.g., 9/ 6/ 9/, not ///.

Lydia 11:38 AM  

@Loren "Like some buckets and habits" could be HOLY?

This was actually my fastest Saturday solve on record, partially because I'm relatively new at this and getting better with practice. I guessed bArcelonA before SALAMANCA and had ASagreED before ASSTATED, but this progressed pretty smoothly for me. I would maybe take issue with calling ONETHIRTY a "setting"... but you can, after all, set a watch!

Lewis 12:03 PM  

Two beautiful-to-look-at grids in a row.

To make the grid look like this, Joe put in 47 blocks, which is very high, but it makes the low word count easier, I'm thinking. I like the IN-ending mini theme: ILLIN/DRILLIN/ALADDIN/NEIN. And we get two puzzles for the price of one, with East and West for me about the same difficulty. Some sterling answers: STOIC, AIRBALL, ICANRELATE, and SHETLANDISLANDS. According to the dictionaries I just looked at, DAST is from long ago, and if they are correct, rather than clued as colloquial, it should have indicated that it was archaic. So DAST is past (and NEST is West).

It felt easy-medium to me, some areas flew, others stuttered, but I got my crunch and smile. Thanks, Joe!

mac 12:11 PM  

Easy-medium Saturday puzzle for me. I also started out with a lot of esses, but Salamanca was a gimme, I've been there twice in the last two years, both times for weddings.

Dast was not a problem, but I don't like testings. O'clock was a big surprise.

All in all a nice solve.

creampuff in the world of trolls 12:12 PM  

I'm really oldtimer but I couldn't resist

GPO 12:21 PM  

Medium for me, except for the SE which had me stumped for a while because I could not let go of ASagreED instead of ASSTATED. Thank goodness for TRACED which snapped me out of it.

You know what I suck at? Visual themes, is what. Even after I finished the puzzle I had no idea what the hell it had to do with ONE-THIRTY. Even after I came here, read the post and looked at it again, I was still scratching my head - what are they talking about? Now I get it, but for chrissakes I am bad at that.

As for DAST, I remember Jim always going on in Huck Finn about he dasn't do this and dasn't do that.

Hey, what is with the hating on roughnecks? Aren't they the hard-working guys who bring us our oil out of the ground? Is LOUT really the standard definition?

Lewis 12:22 PM  

Factoid: Despite their size, gorillas sleep in nests, which they either build on the ground or in trees depending on the surrounding vegetation. Unlike nesting birds – who tend to return to the same nests – adult gorillas create a new NEST every evening, even if it’s yards away from their old one. It only takes a gorilla about 10 minutes to do this. (The Telegraph)

Quotoid: "I generally AVOID temptation unless I can't resist it." -- Mae West

Z 12:37 PM  

@Whirred Whacks - Maybe I'm wrong, but I would like to think that everyone reading here recognizes that OLD BATS is insulting and would never use it. On the other hand it seems that some here would defend the use of "bimbo." Use it if one chooses but the utterer will be saying something themselves when they do. "Sex kitten" strikes me as different as it can describe a decision about a star's public persona.

As for the appearance of pejoratives in puzzles, I would prefer creativity rather than insults. Sure, a cutesy clue might have elicited groans, but better that than insulting people.

okanaganer 12:46 PM  

I rode Via Rail from Kamloops to Winnipeg in the 1980s and spent most of the trip in the DOME CAR... it was fabulous.

But back in the 1970s I travelled on the White Pass Railway from Skagway (Alaska) to Whitehorse (Yukon), and spent half the trip standing on the back porch of the last car (@Greater Fall: there was no caboose). It was a narrow gauge railway, and the car swayed back and forth like crazy, so I had to hang on tight to the railing. That was also fabulous. AFAIR the railway was so low-tech, the seats weren't even fastened to the floor, so you could arrange them however you wanted.

JFC 12:48 PM  

The JFC at 8:11 AM (on my computer, time may vary according to time zone) is not me but some anonymous poster who finally figured out how to insert an ID and has SUNK to a new low. I'm far too modest to make such a claim. Also, I've been posting here off and on for at least 6 years, so it's taken longer than the faux JFC thinks....

As for the puzzle, it's really two puzzles and the long downs weren't that hard. I had Barcelona before SALAMANCA. RESP was a gimme, even if ugly, and I don't know why Krozel PUT IN DACHA. I love DAST. Virginia DAST was the first child of English descent born in America.

JFC

mathguy 12:50 PM  

Didn't enjoy it much. Lame visual theme. Some bad fill (CDI, ATREAR, DRILLIN, ASSTATES, MOOD (as clued)). No sparkle in the long entries.

I just finished today's LAT puzzle by Roland Huget. Much more fun. About the same difficulty (it took Bill Butler about 20 minutes for each). Some excellent fill and some clever cluing.

ani 12:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird 1:20 PM  

Apologies for repeats because I have not read all the comments …

Liked the grid and 1:30 crossing o'clock

Too many POCs
DAST!?!?
TESTINGS? Test runs

Don't understand 10A

Masked and Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Top SatPuz comments:

1. @r.alph: "Half past time?"
2. Half past time for more than 2 U's.
3. Excellent grid layout. M&A's first impression: "Before, in a Viagra ad?" (No wonder, with them OLDBATS sittin on it.)
4. Happy b-day, Dan Feyer. Dude is from Mars: chews up runt puzs in under one minute.
5. Only 3 weejects to choose from, but they are all primo, desperation-wise: CDI. ANA. ACS. M&A pick: ACS, the plural weeject of convenience.
6. Joe Krozel must spend a lot of time on constructin each grid. Emittin diabolical little snickers, as he works.
7. 56 words, 47 black blocks. Wonder if black blocks has ever been more than words. If it has been, betcha Joe did it.
8. DAST has Eileen Lexau Usage Immunity. So, mic drop, on that subject.
9. First two words entered: SUNK/ABOU.
10. fave row to sing: SALAMANCA ILLIN. (Use "California Dreamin" melody.)
11. fave column: TIE:
a. DECALS ATREAR. {Illogical front bumper decal??}
b. RATATAT DRILLIN. The Revenge of Dr. Illin!

Thanx, Joe. 27-D was A GAS.

M&A

** gruntz **

Anoa Bob 1:28 PM  

Fortyseven---47!!!---black squares in a themeless puzzle!? That hast to be some kind of record, right?

Grid art?! That hast to be some kind of oxymoron, right?

ONETHIRTY? Why? BECAUSEICAN?

DAST ASSTATED ILLIN DRILLIN ATREAR? RATATAT!

Joe 1:45 PM  

For a Saturday-level puzzle, dast a stretch but is in bounds. Probably more a southernism than anywhere else, but "colloquial" covers that.
"Oh my word no sir, no sir I dasn't! What would the ladies auxiliary think of us?"

Whirred Whacks 1:52 PM  

@Z
If I put on my "insult-o-meter" cap, "biddies" to my ears sounds harsher than OLD BATS. But for purposes of this puzzle, I don't have a problem with either. To be honest, I rarely hear these terms anymore -- they seem to be from another era.

I'm sure that you, as an ardent baseball fan, can easily think up the appropriate sports-related clue for OLD BATS that would be pleasing to most if not all solvers!

WillieJ 1:54 PM  

DYER (_____ Maker), Zep tune from 1973

WillieJ 1:57 PM  

DYER (_____ Maker), Zep tune from 1973

r.alphbunker 2:03 PM  

@Anoa Bob
Next highest block count for a true 15x15 themeless that I found is 46
http://www.xwordinfo.com/crossword?date=10/28/1994

LindaPRmaven 2:27 PM  

Easy-Medium here. Fast for a Saturday for me. And zero Googling.

SALAMANCA and SHETLANDISLANDS got the ball rolling in the NW and SW. NE and SE went less smoothly but had rewards. The stack of STROPHE, THEMAGI and AILERON - wow. You'd think I would have gotten RAMONA sooner since I live in Southern California, where we might not need ACS today. Thunder showers this AM.

Indypuzzler 2:30 PM  

@Whirred Whacks and @Z: I tend to think of terms like "old bats", "old biddies" and "old geezers" as referring to the personalities involved. Age DOES factor in but I think it denotes the type of personality, ie not all people become old bats, biddies, hens or geezers by virtue of their age. Any way you slice it, it is pejorative but pejorative terms crop up from time to time.

Fred Romagnolo 2:40 PM  

The D in DAST was my last letter because I've always thought of it as a dated rather than colloquial form of dare. @Lewis was cute with DAST is past. @JFC (if you really are JFC) was cute with Virginia DAST. Nice to read clever things in the blog; a relief from the trolls. I still prefer OLD henS to OLD BATS, but I wouldn't hesitate to use OLD BAT to describe the mean lady in the Wizard of Oz who wanted Toto destroyed, and to Hell with P.C. Supersensitivity really is the perfect destroying the good. Besides, my terrier looks like Toto. AT REAR and ASS TATED as parallels are interesting, but when you discover TATED is a tuft of hair it becomes surreal (not surimaginary, to be mathematical). @Billy C is right! He holds the title; anons don't count.

Tom 2:41 PM  

Faster than usual Saturday for me. Inappropriately counterclockwise solve. Started with NEIN, anded with NEST. Wanted TEST RUNS for TESTINGS, which doesn't quite sound right. And why isn't "cooler" clued for short? Otherwise, a solve I thought would be harder upon first inspection given the stack of three. Good one, Joe.

Fred Romagnolo 2:44 PM  

As @Indypuzzler said, pejorative terms crop up from time to time.

Fred Romagnolo 2:46 PM  

@Tom echoes my complaint about clues should indicate abbreviations

Neil Stout 2:53 PM  

I actually have heard "dast," but I'm a whole lot older than you, and grew up in Appalachia. I enjoy it on the rare occasions when a puzzle is more suited to the depression-war generation than to millennials. BTW, I did it in ink on the printed Times.

dick swart 3:01 PM  

Printed it out this am (PST), thought OMG ... made bigger pot of coffee and two pain au chocolates. Sat down hoping for some toehold, found it in SE. Suddenly realized that this puzzle was going to be much easier than I thought.

Ended up drinking too much coffee and having too many calories in too short a time! Jumpy but happy.

Nice thought bumper ... Sue the Stewardess/Nurse in the Northern Pacific commercials of the 50's-60's. I was at BBDO at the time and used to enjoy my visits to the NP HQ in St Paul which presciently enough was in the same building as the Great Northern, the two RRs separated by fire doors.

Rail travel at its' best ... the Dome Car and a sleeper, and breakfast with fresh trout on china, silver flatware, and starched napkins.

Thomaso808 3:03 PM  

DNF because I crossed DRILLIt with tEST, having no idea what a caliologist is. I should have known better since tEST and TESTINGS would never be in the same grid.

"Court embarrassment" was spot-on for AIRBALL. "But it was a pass!"

@M&A good choice on ACS for favorite weeject. Just look at that little word sitting there by itself all alone in column number 8! (Hey, this was my first time to type "weeject"! Spell check tried to insert "we eject" instead.)

Easy on the East. Tough on the West. Overall, very fun change of pace for a Saturday.

Ludyjynn 3:04 PM  

After ABOUt ONE and THIRTY hours of intermittent AhAS, I was in a MOOD and STATED, "OHGOD, I'm SUNK".

It was the SE that did me in. I would not let go of AS'agreed', STOICly refusing to see STATED. And the only setting I could visualize in the grid was a four leaf clover.

@Louis, your NEST factoid was intriguing.

The latest DECAL my car is sporting is of the Maryland flag in the shape of a crab. I couldn't resist and the design has materialized on vehicles all over town.

I wouldn't blame an OLDBAT from taking a Louisville Slugger to anyone who DAST calls her that!

Put a fork in me; I'm done.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!

Signed,
Old Bat
Old Coot
Young Whippersnapper

Masked and Anonymous 3:26 PM  

@Thomaso808: yep. This is no doubt the first time ever in the history of mankind that the only thing in an entire NYTPuz row or column was a weeject. Could be ground-breakin work. (yo, @r.alph?)

I get that "we eject" correction a whole lot, too. Also, "pus" for "puz". Also lotsa added "-g's". Could write these idiot comments almost twice as fast, without the computer's "help". Only trouble is M&A can't spell worth a snot, either. So, screwed either way…

"R-E-S-P … (just a little bit) mister (just a little bit) Baby (just a little bit) when U get home (just a little bit) Yeah (just a little bit) … "

M&A

Hays 3:38 PM  

I feel a little stupid having immediately thought upon opening "hah, that looks kind of like a clock" and then just jumping right in. Then, when I got to 24D (the theme clue), thought "the hour hands in the wrong place for a clock, so it's not that". Such a silly thought when the constructor is obviously bound to a grid. It also reminded me enough of a heart or an old dungeon crawl-type computer games (like, the hour hand is a door, etc.). This was a slow one for me as I willfully went off in wrong directions, but satisfying when I finally finished.

fergus 3:42 PM  

The only word I wrote above the finished puzzle was DAST?

Nancy 3:42 PM  

@Ludyjynn (3:04) Re: Paragraph 5: Amen, amen! I'm searching high and low for a Louisville Slugger right now, as we speak...

@Hartley70 (11:12) -- You get my vote for the best way of dealing with cretinous insensitivity: with droll, self-deprecating humor, as shown in your comment above.

@Whirred (1:52)-- But it's you who nails the crux of the matter. That is: Biddies is just as offensive a term as OLD BATS, at least to me. I'd get out Ludy's Louisville slugger for either one. Except that this is a crossword puzzle and therefore, no offense needs to be taken at all. Who was it who, just last week, said that getting offended by a crossword is like getting offended by a dictionary? I loved that comment and want to be consistent in my anti-PC puzzle philosophy, even when the shoe pinches. And DAST I admit that these terms pinch just a wee bit. But let's say no more about it. Thank you so much.

I'd get out @Ludy's Louisville Slugger for either one.

Billy C 3:47 PM  

@FredR -- thanks for your support. It's good to know that I'm getting some r-e-s-p-e-c-t around here!

Nancy 3:58 PM  

WHERE was that last, repeated, redundant sentence hiding out while I was in the process of retyping it? Please ignore that sentence, everyone. Grrrr.

r.alphbunker 4:21 PM  

@M&A
I like the way you think. This page reveals that it has been done only 20 times during the Shortz era by some very big names (e.g., Longo, Krozel, Nosowsky, Berry, Blindauer, Peterson, Collins).

Loren Muse Smith 4:21 PM  

@Lydia - I was going for KICKED. I'll keep my day job!

Masked and Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@r.alph: Wow, thanx. More times than I woulda thought. Weejects done got themselves some extra R.E.S.P., even from PB1!

That 1 Jun 2012 FriPuz had 52 words and 46 black blocks. Darn close (3 sqs.) to turning it over! Joe Krozel, of course. har

R.E.S.P. Find out what it means to me R.E.S.P. Take care, TCB
Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me) …
Whoa, babe (dast a little bit)
A little resp (dast a little bit)
Keep on tryin (dast a little bit)
And I ain't lyin (dast a little bit) …
(re, re, re, re) 'sp …

M&A III

Michael 5:07 PM  

I can't remember a Saturday when the first thing I filled in was a 15-letter word. But I did it this time (Shetland Islands), which made this puzzle much easier for me than most Saturdays.

paulsfo 5:27 PM  

Easiest Saturday ever for me (I *rarely* finish a Saturday) but quite enjoyable. Liked the clues for RINDS, SPARES, and THEMAGI (where I originally went on a 'groupies', 'paparazzi' tangent).

OLDBATS is definitely pejorative though, as someone pointed out, if you called a particluar person an old bat because of their personality, then I guess it's not misogynistic.

Anonymous at 9:59am said: "I thought that even mild curses weren't allowed in the crossword. I was shocked at 34 Down. I've never said that phrase in my life and it is offensive."
I don't think that OHGOD *is* a curse. All you grammarites (even though I was an English major), isn't this an exclamation or an exhortation, or some such? Jesus said "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (as opposed to "You dast not forsake me", btw) and that wasn't a curse.

smalltowndoc 6:29 PM  

Could easily Have done away with DAST (yuck) with RECANTS/RAST (the latter a common lab test for allergies).

Norm 7:23 PM  

@smalltowndoc: Wait for the furor when someone uses it. Sheesh.

Norm 7:29 PM  

RECANTS/RASP/PESTINGS (no more obscure than RAST) :)

Norm 7:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 7:45 PM  

@Whirred Whacks - "Ruthiana."

F.O.G. 8:03 PM  

Lady Antebellum:

"It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
Said I wouldn't call but I've lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without.
I just need you now."

Sorry, but ONE THIRTY is the answer. Maybe tomorrow night/morning.

Coprophagist 8:33 PM  

Did this on an LAX-JFK flight and my immediate problem was that one clue is simply wrong. Kept thinking 'bet Rexland is up in arms about this,' but, now I'm home, I see there is not one mention.
Great Britain is the island that contains most of England, Scotland and Wales. The Shetland Islands, as separate islands are simply not part of it.
From Wikipedia: 'Great Britain, also known as Britain /ˈbrɪ.tən/, is an island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest island in Europe and the ninth-largest in the world...It is part of the British Isles archipelago along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands,[9] including the island of Ireland to its west.'
That spoiled my whole solving experience as it became clear somewhere over New Mexico that that had to be the answer — but it is wrong.

Ludyjynn 8:55 PM  

@Coprophagist, you are mistaken. A cursory Google disproves your argument.

JFC 9:01 PM  

@ Fred Romagnolo, Thanks and that JFC really is me. I'll be back tomorrow. I've already done Sunday and am looking forward to Rex Parker and the return of Rex Porker. As for the guy who keeps stalking me and impersonating me, I've called the FBI....

JFC

Coprophagist 9:13 PM  

@Ludyjynn, sorry, you're mistaken, I don't care how many articles you can find on Google.
Incidentally looked up Shetland on Wikipedia after I posted. 'Shetland, also called the Shetland Islands, is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies north-east of the island of Great Britain and forms part of the United Kingdom.'
Then I thought I'd look up Britain:
Britain usually refers to either:
United Kingdom, a sovereign state
Great Britain, an island

Put simply: Great Britain is the island (as opposed to Lesser Britain, which is what is nowadays known as Brittany); the British Isles is the group of islands that includes Ireland and the Isle of Man; the United Kingdom is the country.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Dasn't was a staple of my childhood. My grandmother (daughter of German immigrants) always told me that I "dasn't do that." It didn't occur to me until today that there was a form without the "not"--dast. Thanks for the memories!

Aketi 8:21 AM  

@hartley70 loved your comment but you don't ever have to leave SK behind if you don't want to. I have a friend whose Nana actually became one in her 90s. She was also a big hit with her great grandchildren when she taught them to make paper airplanes and launch them at her friends.

There's better on the menu 8:38 AM  

So, simply put, gist what's the difference between a coprophage and a coprophagist? Whosoever can reasonably explain that wins the caecotrophy of the day.

And wipe that grin off your face.

Leapfinger 9:53 AM  

@Aketi, not all of us started out as SKs. I,for one, suspect that from the gitgo tended to be more of a cougar-in-training. Chacun a son gout, eh?

kitshef 11:52 AM  

Shockingly easy, and very fun. Probably helped to get SHETLANDISLANDS FROM _H_____________, even with the bad error on cluing. John o'Groats wouldn't fit, and it turns out wouldn't have been right anyway. As far as I can tell, the correct answer would be Dunnet Head.

@LMS - kicked is better.

Loved OLDBATS, which I have never heard as an insult and which my grandmother routinely used to describe herself, as in "Keeping the house at 80 degrees is one of the privileges of being an old bat".

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

Yes, I could guess OFL's "laffabling" answer. Of course, it had to be TESTINGS. They are tests, people. TESTINGS??? OHGOD, spellcheck won't even underline it!! Could this abomination possibly be a WORD?? Nah. Can't be. I'm dreaming. I'm in the twilight zone. I'll wake up in a minute and find that the actual grid contained TEST RUNS--which is what it contained for the longest time here. There's no such thing as "TESTINGS." If there is, then I declare the English language to be nonsensical.

DAST was fine with me; I've heard it before. "You don't DAST!" That word, curiously, IS redlined. As is "redlined." Go figure.

This was medium-challenging: right side medium, left side, oh brother! I've tossed so many weeDS onto the compost pile that I inked that one in without a hint that it might be wrong. Those two mistakes (see above for the other) cost many minutes. I eventually found my way to the solution--but guys, I have to throw the yellow on 23 across. If it were me constructing this, I'd rub that out and redo. I would never let such a dog's breakfast see the light of day.

The two rather obscure entries at 18- and 21-across--right above you-know-what--didn't help. Not outlyingly obscure, but I didn't know them. Filled them in by inference. Also had a nose-wrinkle with the THE of THEMAGI. C+ (the rest of it was pretty good and clever; the flag drops a letter automatically).

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Spacecraft has a point there. Testings is an awkward word. Something like the wine tastings went very well sounds OK.

This was an Easy/Med. for me and I did have to look up Salamanca after I wrote it in. It's north of Madrid. Living in San Diego, Ramona was a gimme. Also had oldhens before oldbats. Sorry, Nancy, I don't see anything wrong with old hens or old bats. How about old fogey or old f..t? What are we supposed to say......."Aged Nasties?'

Anyway, Like the puzz very much and thanks Joe K.

Ron Diego, La Mesa CA (Where all divorced women receive spousal support for their bras).

Longbeachlee 6:22 PM  

Hey Spacecraft, are you a spacecraft worker?. I am, a spaacecraft tester no less. I directed and conducted mamy tests, but not a one testing. ugh

leftcoastTAM 2:01 AM  

I got to this one pretty late today, So I guess I'll write comments to myself.

I liked the puzzle, especially after figuring out that it was ONETHIRTY and not twoTHIRTY, as well as getting to the SHETLANDISLANDS early on. I was slowed down in the SW, but after getting the spelling of ALADDIN right, then changing SurreAl to STELLAR, that quadrant fell. The last letter to go in was the P in STROPHE, and quickly enough the SPARE marks for bowling became surprisingly obvious.

Like another poster, I had a Midwestern grandmother of German heritage who used the word DAST, as in "You dast not do that...." and I, a small boy at the time, knew she meant it. So I had no trouble filling that word in, though with some long-buried, mixed emotions.

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