Derby folks / SAT 7-24-15 / Four-bagger / Music on Radio Disney

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Constructor: Kevin Der

Relative difficulty: Tough enough


Word of the Day: NEPAL (43D: Traditional birthplace of Buddhism)
Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras.
--Lonely Planet
• • •
Thanks to Rex for letting me guest-blog this week, and to his commenters for keeping things more or less under control. There were exceptions, but they know who they are and will do better in the future.

I never introduced myself, so what more awkward time than now that I'm done here: I'm Matt Gaffney dammit, a professional crossword puzzle writer for the past 17 years. I write a weekly contest crossword here ($26 per year, close to being worth it), a daily mini-puzzle here (free for another week, then it costs $25 per year; definitely worth it now), a weekly current events crossword for The Week which is here, and a monthly 21x21 for Washingtonian Magazine which is here.  My favorite of my books is here. Second favorite is here. Third favorite is here. Best article I've written about crosswords is here.


The kids know how to make themelesses now, don't they? Had the pleasure of lunch with this puzzle's author (and Shortz protege Joel Fagliano) at the Shake Shack while attending Lollapuzzoola a couple of years ago in Manhattan. Highly recommended tournament which is only a couple of weeks away now -- go if you're in the NYC area.


Letter grade of A. Thanks, Rex! The Ders (and Faglianos) know what they're doing, do they not?

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent of CrossWorld for 24 more hours


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium-tough for me.  East side medium, west side tough.  I put in BART and ALSO RANS in NW and then nothing.  Finally got back in there when GRAIL gave me HOLY.  It was a long trip.  


Erasures: baSra before MOSUL, OBlong before OBLATE

Wanted BArf for catharsis but waited on the downs.

Fun lore?:  The Js in Bartholomew J and Homer J Simpson were originally homages to Jay Ward the co-creator of Rocket J Squirrel and Bullwinkle J Moose.  At some point Nancy Cartwright (voice of BART)asked Matt Groening what the J in BART's name stood for and he said what do you think it stands for?   She said Jojo and that was that.

Terrific Sat. puzzle.  Plenty of everything with pretty much zero dreck.  I'll give it five WET ONES. 

wreck 12:12 AM  

Thanks again for the week, Matt!
As usual, this Saturday started slow and picked up steam. I still need a little help now and then, but this is another constructor I seem to be on at least a semi-wavelength with. This one was fun - a pretty good week except for my Thursday fiasco ( but that was more on me than maybe the puzzle.)

paulsfo 1:34 AM  

i just looked up SERVOS, AROINT, BIBELOT, and HENS to get exact definitions for two and any definition for the other two.

Liked the clue for BASSIST because it led me astray but finally made sense.

Anonymous 1:52 AM  

Hmmm.... I'm trying to find the right word for this puzzle. Oh yeah, CRUNCHY!!!

OM 1:57 AM  

San FRAN isn't a place, as anyone from San Francisco will tell you. SF is OK; "San Fran" and "Frisco" most certainly aren't. And in any event the clue didn't indicate that it was a shortened form. Other than that (and Jae's aforementioned woes), a fun saturday. Loved SERVOS.

I skip M-W 2:32 AM  

First-rate puzzle. About 60 yrs. ago , when I was a lad, I tried to design a completely automated cooking machine, full of conveyor belts, mini- elevators, and who knows what all. My mother took a look at my drawings and said, knowingly, that I needed servomechanism s. Not having a clue as to what these were, I was thrown for a loop, but it did help me figure out what goes in a robotics kit.

chefwen 2:34 AM  

Matt, thank you for the week of guest blogging, I enjoyed every word.
This one started off slowly, picked up incredible speed and came to a screeching halt in the NE. SERVOS, AROINT. MIMOSAs are served on Hawaiian Airlines flights before you leave the ground, but that also eluded me, perhaps I've had too many. NAH!

Good one Keven G. Der. I'm hopeful that your next one I'll be able to finish without my Uncle Goog.

Music man 3:41 AM  

Same with "Philly." Please no one call it Philly.

Music man 3:46 AM  

Well what better to bring me back down to earth than a complete, absolute DNF? I mean a "for real" DNF. Seeing what the answers are now, I really like it, just couldn't figure it out. Must have written in and erased BASSIST ad BOUNCy HOUSE about ten times each. No "time bomb" by Rancid? No Mahler for BRASS? and to think I just made a puzzle cache about Schoenberg and I couldn't get TONE ROWS. Pitiful. Good puzzle, just over my head I suppose. Thanks for the marvelous week of writeups!

jae 4:12 AM  

Erasure update: @Music man - me too for BOUNCy before WIN THE WAR corrected it, plus class before TEACH for I said NW took a while...

And speaking of Music Man, the LIBRARIAN gimme was extremely helpful .

Moly Shu 4:45 AM  

WINTHEdAy first and not knowing BIBELOT, mucked up the mid south, but finally got through with POWERNAP. Just about right for a Saturday. Liked it.

@MusicMan, good call on Rancid. I was also hopeful, but "bells chime, I know I gotta get away" is a darn good substitute IMO.

Jim Walker 8:26 AM  

In the profile for this top-shelf constructor one finds he works at ASANA. Nice imbed at 42 down.
This is a true Saturday puzzle in which I did not WINTHEWAR. Conquered the West but was defeated at the battle of BIBELOT. My troops tripped over the TONEROWS and FRAN should only be seen with Kukla and Ollie, but Mr. Deer is way too young for that.

Great Puzzle. Thank you Kevin.

r.alphbunker 8:26 AM  

A nice challenging Saturday. The reds in the halfway image are shortNAP instead of POWERNAP and juAN instead of FRAN. And I had a 3.5 minute stall in the MidAtlantic region at the end before replacing WETtiE with WETONE and [MP]ERE with BEBE. Puzzle stats are here.

Glimmerglass 8:28 AM  

No, this puzzle wasn't crunchy. Crunchy is when there are some hard bits distributed thoughout more manageable material, usually gettable through a combination of crosses and logical inferences.This was just peanut brittle everywhere. I broke a metaphorical tooth in the NE, where I misremembered my Macbeth. Instead of AROINT thee, witch, I had AvauNT thee, which I was so sure was right that rest of the corner was permanently screwed. When I gave up and looked at the solution, I slapped my head really hard. I taught Macbeth for 38 years.

Jim Walker 8:28 AM  

SPELL CHECK! His name is Kevin Der. Sorry.

George Barany 8:41 AM  

As the father of a point guard, I know all about COURT_VISION, and appreciate seeing this entry in @Kevin Der's puzzle. The clue for BART is not only FRESH, but also interesting and informative. On the other hand, I obviously need to brush up on my Shakespeare; something about "A_ROINT by any other name would still smell the same ..." -- unless maybe A_ROIDS = "Yankee slugger, to his detractors, and others" was originally considered for that slot??. Many a San ____ (JOSE, JUAN for two) occurred to me ahead of FRAN, and the TATER clue fits HOMER much better. Nothing PERSONAL, but I will need to ask my music LIBRARIAN about TONE_ROWS, drink some ORANGINA (whatever that is) or maybe a MIMOSA (though not until brunch tomorrow), and take a POWER_NAP.

Teedmn 8:48 AM  

A HOLY GRAIL of a puzzle. This was similar to yesterday's for me, where everything went in without any long stops but my time (somewhere around 40 minutes) seemed longer than it should be. There were few gimmes but guessing things like BAEZ from the B and EGOMANIA from the G and M made it seem smooth.

My first impulse on 1A was TIMEBOMB but I resisted, seeing no confirming crosses. So OIL RIGS went in first but wasn't much help. I loved the clues for IGLOO, FOOTBATHS, BASES and POWER NAP. Liked seeing FLAGRANT, TIBIAS, SERVOS (my mom wouldn't have known 'servomechanism', @I Skip M-W!) and, of course, HOLY GRAIL.

AROINT is what Scooby Doo says when he suggests they leave stage left, no?

WOES: ORANGINA, ARA and TATER for four-bagged?

Thanks Kevin Der!

Roo Monster 8:53 AM  

Hey All !
Best clue was for IGLOO. Typical SatPuz difficulty. Typical use (for me) of the Check Puzzle feature! BIBELOT a WOE. TONEROWS odd. SE hardest here. Liked the NW words. Well, COURTVISION also a bit of a WOE. Wanted ASsup for the Lotus thing! Isn't that a Yoga pose or something? Spelled BAEZ wrong first, BiEZ, OBLong->OBLATE, speak->TEACH, WINTHEdAy->WINTHEWAR.

Did the ONSALENOW answer stimulate Matt in his Introduction paragraph? :-) And how does one become a professional crossworder? (Serious question, that last one.)


jberg 9:14 AM  

Tough but fun, I thought. The false 'homer' and 'brown out' held me up for way too long, as did WIN THE dAy, but someow I got it all in the end. Oh, also 'smoOch' before WET ONE, which is actually a brand name for something else.

Like others, I sorta remembered "AROINT ye, witch, AROINT ye" but wasn't sure it wasn't araint or avaunt, or something, so I needed SERVOS to get that.

I think I mentioned Thursday that I put in THE MUSIC MAN before Mary Poppins, so this was sort of a delayed malapop.

In the end, I liked everything but the clue for TONE ROWS, which should have been "early 20th century" rather than "modern."

evil doug 9:26 AM  

Same with Cincinnati. Don't call it "Cinci". Hey, wait a minute, let's belay that; everybody here calls it Cinci. Huh. It's actually fine to call it Cinci. I guess that's because we're not self - important ego-puffers here....

Generic Solver 9:33 AM  

Being able to initially dig in the NW was the ideal beginning, but methodically working through the gird, and only having the SE left, I hit trouble and bit on SAN REMO instead of SAN FRAN (really?). That corner contained some of the most obscure answers in the puzzle IMO, and did me in.

Ellen S 9:55 AM  

Hand up for AvauNT before AROINT, and wincing at San FRAN, but what kilt me was TONEROWS crossing TATER. I googled the latter and all references to "Four-bagger" and "Tater" together are from crossword puzzle blogs. All fairly recent. Newly-minted slang, for our delight and consternation.

I didn't know any of the other stuff either, but managed to mash it into place with only a little cheating. Had to Google the Olivier Award winner. Felt stupid when I found EVITA. Of course it was EVITA. It's like horseracing, it's always Arcaro or sometimes Shoemaker. Baseball is always Alou or Ott, and theater is always EVITA.

Ludyjynn 9:58 AM  

From PERSONAL experience, I felt the clue for MIMOSA should have read, "Sunday hangover creator".

FORGO looks strange to me; FOReGO just looks better.

Fave clue was for FOOTBATHS.

Despite a DNF, learned a lot, including BART's middle name and the definition of BIBELOT.

I'VE had it and could use a POWERNAP!

Thanks, MG, for covering this week; and thanks to KD and WS for a challenging Saturday solve.

Ellen S 9:59 AM  

Oh - don't want to forget to thank our guest blogger. Matt, the comments seem to have been more civil this week than of late; I think you've set the tone for better behavior, and I've enjoyed your comments.

Mohair Sam 10:00 AM  

@Music Man - Get that baseball team to rename itself and I'll consider dropping "Philly" from my vocab. On second thought, how 'bout just dropping the team and shooting for a major league outfit?

Great Saturday puzzle ending a really strong NYT puzzle week.

btw - always thought "AROINT thee witch" meant something a whole lot stronger than "Begone."

Blue Stater 10:05 AM  

The hardest puzzle for me in a very long time, although this one, as far as I can see, contained no errors and no linguistic stretchers. I think I got ten words without a lookup; the crosses were absolutely unyielding, almost no help. So, if the Saturday goal is a hard puzzle that's no fun, this was it.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

I never know, on those rare occasions where I am compelled to give up on a puzzle, whether I was right to give up or whether I should have persevered. Today, Dear Reader, I was absolutely right. The entire Eastern half of the puzzle is almost completely undone. And my WOEs are too many to list here; I would be typing all day. The only answer I didn't get that I should have gotten is MIMOSA (I had the M and the A, for heaven's sake), but my hangover cure was, is, and always will be a bloody Mary, so I was blind, just blind. And I perhaps should have seen ON SALE NOW. (I had the A and the 2nd N). But AROINT??? SERVOS??? TATER??? (Didn't everyone here have homER?) This was so out of my wheelhouse that MIMOSA wouldn't have helped me in the least. On Thursday I felt like a genius. Today -- not so much!

Norm 10:13 AM  

Had exactly the opposite experience as JAE. Found the west quite easy; the east took forever. BIBELOT, BEBES, TONEROWS. A lot of new stuff, but very interesting and an excellent puzzle.

Pete 10:31 AM  

No puzzle that contains either, much less both, AROINT and/or BIBELOT merits an A.

GeezerJackYale48 10:48 AM  

Well, I solved it without looking up anything, but it took me about an hour and a half (I print it out and work on it with my second cup of coffee.) So I only feel a little big smug. Anyway: good Saturday puzzle - challenging and fun!

Leapfinger 11:05 AM  

I wasn't designing automated cooking-machines 60 years ago, and my dear little mother wouldn't have known a SERVO from a centipede, so I figured there well would be ScRewS somewhere in a robotics kit.

The NW would've gone better without putting in MOST_OFTEN,and with remembering to read all the clues before wandering off. NE had me wanting that MIMOSA with my SAMOA cookie; I was thinking of Bhutan with its Gross National Happiness measure. It was when I'd given up mere/pere and saw that BEBE x BIBELOT would work, that I realized how bitter the battle to win this war. I also ran the Sans: Remo, Jose, Juan --- bet there'a more. Only had all the wheels on my house in the FOSSE/ TIBIA then up the West Coast to finish. Oh, except for OBLong Skittles giving me a HOLY BROIL for a while...

Giving a gold star tothe same clues and fill as the perspicacious @Teedmn, with one warning: this business of liking FLAGRANT TIBIAS just leads to liking FLAGRANT FEMURS,and once you get to FLAGRANT ISCHIAL TUBEROSITIES, all is lost.

@Ellen A, thnx for digging up TATERS; now I just have to find our why Norma's neighbor ARA ain't RAE.

This puzzle had alot of capital KD language, and thanks also to @Matt for a strong week.

PS. A special 28D shoutout to LibraRose, and by extension, to the Bard of Quincy, Pastor Munster.

AliasZ 11:17 AM  

Can we make chopped liver from AROINT? Yes we can, more easily than silk purse from a sow's ear. We can smeAR OINTment on our aching cans as we suffer through a lousy FigARO INTerpretation, or we can watch ChARO IN The buff dancing the can-can and going "cuchi-cuchi", after which we can join the CamARO INTernational Owners' Club.

Or we can simply joll AROINT and puff our worries away.

How often have you heard: "HOLY GRAIL, bubala, hand me that BIBELOT already to put on the mantelpiece"? Or "Stop blowing bubbles and unbrace the BEBE'S bib."? Yeah, me too.

Beautiful puzzle by Kevin Der. I would rate its crunchiness on a scale from hazelnut to marshmallow, near the sunflower-pumpkin seed range.

We cannot ignore "Harold in Italy" - Symphony in Four Parts with Viola Obbligato, Op. 16 by Berlioz. In this recording William Primrose plays the VIOLA SOLO, and BASSIST Serge Koussevitzky conducts the Beantown crew.


Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Oh hey, @Pete,you don't need a Diderot to know about BIBELOT!
AROINT? Crosses all fair, since EvIN unlikely.

Turn-about only fair for miles and miles of sports and pop/rap trivia.

r.alphbunker 11:29 AM  

When solving a crossword puzzle is it possible to lose a battle but WIN THE WAR? I guess each answer is a battle. Putting in a wrong answer during the solve is losing a battle but if wrong answers are corrected at the end then the war is won.

Norma is the name of a constellation as is ARA. Its name is Latin for normal, referring to a right angle, and is variously considered to represent a rule, a carpenter's square, a set square or a level.


Mohair Sam 11:31 AM  

Whoa! Over the past few months I've noticed a whole lot of complaints from a whole lot of folks about end of week puzzles being so tough. This seems like something new, and I trust Will Shortz ain't listening.

Today's test played medium/tough here but was as fair as they get. Yup, SERVOS was new to us, AROINT vaguely remembered after filling, and MIMOSA a toughie - but the crosses SAMOA, ERIN, and ROM were relatively easy fare - and you simply needed to fill the long downs from the bottom (BIBELOT making that tough, but it's supposed be a bit of struggle folks).

This puzzle had nifty misdirection (homER/TATER, cOLdtRAIL/HOLYGRAIL, OBLong/OBLATE); clever cluing; and the pop culture references were anything but obscure imo. ASANA new to us, forgot Edith's song, and ARA? These things fill, it is a Saturday. Quit yer bitchin'.

@evil doug - Love your Cinci comment. But I do understand how folks from Frisco could hate the term San Fran.

mathgent 11:34 AM  

LIBRARIAN and ERIN was all I had after running through all the clues. Getting the SW off LIBRARIAN side by side with FOOTBATHS gave me a toehold. I made some good guesses that panned out -- HOLY GRAIL, ORANGINA, TEENPOP, BIBELOT, VIOLASOLO, ONAVERAGE. And the rest flowed pretty smoothly. Feel good that I was able to finish without any lookups and especially since I was doing it on the late evening of my birthday.

Thanks to all of you who sent happy-birthday wishes. I was really touched.

The clue for FRAN should have indicated that it was slang, but I don't think that most of us San Franciscans find it offensive. It tells us that the person saying it is a tourist and that he or she should be treated with benign contempt. One of our bars has the sign, "We cheat tourists and drunks."

A good puzzle because I learned some good stuff and several entries that I knew were brought up for an airing.

Indypuzzler 11:36 AM  

This was a fabulous puzzle and it again shows how little I know about Shakespeare and robotics!. First I thought hmm...misdirection on robotics...perhaps all kits have LEVERS. I stumbled through with guesses once I got MIMOSA. @Nancy, yes I had HOMER and maybe it's buried in a comment but I have NO idea about 4 bagger= TATER. Ugh. I hate it when I feel dense. @evil doug ( real or not), kind of snarky comment from you but I have to say I don't get why people in Philadelphia would object to Philly. Here in Indianapolis we are great with Indy, but not so good with "Naptown" but that is obviously disparaging.

Carola 11:48 AM  

Ultra-challenging for me. I had to go all the way to FOSSE x FRESH to get something in the grid, having doubted VIOLA SOLO - it's my favorite part of "Harold in Italy" (March of the Pilgrims, so lovely), but I wasn't sure that was a "feature" prominent enough for the whole piece. I also doubted FOOTBATHS because it wouldn't fit with the "ankles" above the two feet. Anyway, moments of despair were tempered by just enough "oh, yeahs!" to keep me going to the the finish. Loved BIBELOT, mad at myself for not remembering AROINT immediately. Had to change San JuAN, BOUNCy, homer. Super puzzle!

Indypuzzler 11:51 AM  

I started thinking about MIMOSA and decided that a better clue might be "Hair of the pedigreed dog"

Aketi 11:54 AM  

Yesterday, I was thinking about how NEHI had been appearing in puzzles and maybe we needed some diversity, perhaps some orange fanta (which was oddly very popular in West Africa) Lo and behold, ORANGINA made an appearance today.

What fun, a BOUNCE HOUSE for the BEBEs with a POWERNAP so they don't start to BAWL. It was FRESH enough that I will forgive the abbreviation of my natal city.

@Matt Gaffney, Thx for a good week..

@Leapfinger from yesterday my dh is a sucrologist. The arenophiles would have enjoyed the one of the beaches where we've been staying before a hurricane washed all the green sand away.

TMI ALERT, one of my colleagues who worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected vomit bags when he travelled. He had bags from over 150 airlines.

I didn't see fishes in the act ALA MAME, but I did see a group/family/school? of squid yesterday.

evil doug 11:55 AM  

It's better than IndiaNoPlace, right?

I'm just amused at the things people choose to be offended by. San Fran? Wish people there were instead a little more attentive to serial illegal entrants enjoying scofflaw "Sanctuary City" benefits; a young woman would still be alive today in Frisco....

We used to be "Porkopolis" because of our hog-butchering history. Walk around town now and you'll see painted caricatures of pigs everywhere--and we call our highly regarded marathon "The Flying Pig". In other words: Relax and have some fun with the friendly inter-city nickname banter.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

HEY, mathgent. Liked your review and the sign in your bar. As for this puz, liked it a lot, but sadly, a DNF. Was going great until the southeast where I plugged in POWWERbAr. I used to be a runner. What can I tell ya?? And I was so sure I was right that I paid no attention to the other nonsense I was creating in that corner. But still, liked it a lot.

Indypuzzler 12:05 PM  

@evil doug I about choked on my coffee laughing when I saw the last one! Only someone an hour and a half away would pull that one out but I'm happy to say I haven't heard THAT one for awhile. Haha, we actually have a roller derby team called the Naptown Rollergirls...gads.
I agree. Embrace the nicknames!

Lewis 12:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 12:14 PM  

This was tough for me; at times I had most of the letters of a word filled in and still couldn't parse it. So it was an exercise in persistence, which is a sure path to rewards. This was a rich puzzle, with answers like BOUNCEHOUSE, TIMEBOMB, WETONE, POWERNAP, and COURTVISION, and some lovely clues (SNEEZE, IGLOO, FOOTBATHS. There was a related crossing (FOURBAGGER/BASES), and ironic crossings, like ASANA/BOUNCEHOUSE, TEENPOP/PERSONAL, and FLAGRANT/ONAVERAGE. And even a crossing of answers that sound so well together: MINIVANS/ALSORANS. It never felt unfair and made me exercise my solving muscles to the max. Thank you for this, Kevin!

Gene 12:15 PM  

A puzzle with AROINT and BIBELOT has NEPAL as " word of the day"???

Rex Hates Will 12:21 PM  

Great comments this week Matt Gaffney. Your generosity is refreshing.

mac 12:24 PM  

Medium, beautiful and smooth to me. Loved it.

@OM: guess where Kevin Der lives? Maybe he included Bart for that reason as well.

Hand up for brown-out at 49A. Cute how tater crosses bases. Rom saved the day, I hadn't heard of
servos and aroint was unfamiliar.

Thank you, Matt, for you blogging this week, love the way you write!

Loren Muse Smith 12:25 PM  

I put in LIBRARIAN and SNEEZE straightaway and thought I was off and running. Right. After an epic struggle, I'm with @Norm -I finished the whole left side, but the right was white, white, white. I guess the reverse of @jae's experience. I never would have finished this because of SERVOS, AROINT, BIBELOT, TONEROWS, ASANAand being absolutely certain (like others) that it was either "meres" or "peres." Oh, and also being certain that no teen would listen to Radio Disney. I considered TEEN POP and actually smiled at the thought.

Other wrong thoughts and goofs:

"homer" for TATER (hi, @George Barany, @jberg, @Nancy)
"Baiz, Biaz" before I remembered for the umpteenth time it's BAEZ.
"China, Japan" for NEPAL. Of course
"blatant" for FLAGRANT. Too short
"Perrier" for ORANGINA. Again, too short
"_ _ _ tax" for the energy stopgap thing
"baby" for HENS
"par avion" for PERSONAL
"rant" for BAWL
"tune" for TALE
"Iive bomb" for TIME BOMB
"wettie" for WET ONE – my true low moment. Sheesh. Hi, @r.alph.
"two _ _" for viola solo"
"Basie, Basse" for FOSSE, so then
"brash" for FRESH

Kevin Der's themelesses make me take a deep breath before I start, apprehensive. I'm pretty sure I've finished a couple, but this was a bit kevinder than usual, I think.

Matt – thanks again for filling in. I enjoyed your temporary reign.

Lewis 12:43 PM  

Factoid: The longest known sneezing fit was suffered by BRIT Donna Griffiths, beginning in 1981. One SNEEZE after another for more than two years, 978 days.

Quotoid: "She not only kept her lovely figure, she's added so much to it." -- Bob FOSSE

old timer 12:58 PM  

"Easy-Peasy" I said to myself in my best BRITish accent, as I raced via SAMOA happily from the NE all the way to the SW. There was a TIMEBOMB in the NW, but it did not explode on me. Then came the SE and I started screaming "Bloody Hell!". TATER was hard enough -- I watch the Giants of San FRANcisco every day and never hear that word. Even though we seem to have six or seven players who hit four-baggers on a regular basis this season. I did not believe that Mr. Der would have the chutzpah to cross TATER with BASES, and only got that one because I had changed "-eres" to BEBES.

The end of the puzzle was like the end of the 2010 season: Torture, and with no Brian Wilson to save the day in the 9th. I got BOXSCORE immediately, picking up on the baseball theme. And ORANGINA had gone in first, because I always found the bottle shape amusing. But I was positive it was WINTHE "day". I had no idea what music Radio Disney plays. And was it San Remo? San Juan? That seemed obvious to me after I got ASANA and NEPAL. I was just about to give up when I realized it must be San FRAN, but it was still kind of tough until I remembered the NAP would be a POWER NAP and the rest of the puzzle came into view.

Curse you, Kevin G. Der! Or, actually, thank you for a great puzzle.

Thank you too, Mr. Gaffney Dammit, for a fine week of Rex-subbing.

As y'all have figured out, I live in the San Francisco area and in fact lived in The City for several years. Natives always call it that, "The City". But "San Fran" is commonly used too. Today, San Fran is playing Oakland at AT&T, sometimes called "the ballyard" by our beloved team of radio and TV announcers.

Just don't call it Frisco. That was the mantra of our late, great columnist Herb Caen, and I don't. Frisco is, a believe, a town in Texas and was the nickname of the railroad that connects Memphis to the great Southwest.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

@Leapfinger, when the tuberose monstrosities arise in my garden, I merely say, "AROINT",

@Lewis, great quotoid.

One of the nicknames for Minneapolis (besides City of Lakes and Mill City) is Mini Apple. Wishful thinking?

Fred Romagnolo 1:19 PM  

SANFRAN absolutely requires to be labeled as slang or an abbreviation. If the way Kevin Dercisco uses it is o.k. then so is NewYo, Chica, Baltim, Char, Philad, and Peor. Fair is fair, constructors mustn't make up terms to fit the space, especially, when crossing with an "e"-less forego and a lotus position; the only way I could avoid a DNF was to hold my nose and put it in. I don't often disagree with @Mathgent, but I did find it offensive; and I can live with Frisco, my brother was in the navy and they all say it there. End of rant.

DigitalDan 1:22 PM  

People who work in San Francisco (e.g. ball players) or go there frequently (e.g. flight attendants) but don't live there know not to call it Frisco, so they tend to use San Fran. Otherwise, you don't hear it much out this way. Which is good.

Fred Romagnolo 1:23 PM  

Sorry, @Oldtimer, profoundly disagree.

Leapfinger 1:37 PM  

@Teedmn, won't you come into my garden? I have some wisteria I'd like you to AROINT at. Wisteria, honeysuckle, trumpet vine, Virginia creeper...

Shades of sanFRANman, wonder whether he still walks among us. At least today the HENS aren't OLD.

I pulled up behind a personal trainer at the stop light, and the vanity plate read: WE TONE
If you're working out and that regimen of reps leaves you achy and sore, remember it's ALL OW-ABLE, and you should expect to suffer some TONER OWS.

@jae, nice backstory on Jojo

@LudyJ, we ALSO RAN races, and after "On your mark... Get set...", they used a starter gun FOR GO.

Thanks, @r.alph. I knew ARA as a constellation but doubted Norma as such, since it sounds so homespun. Next thing you know, there'll be a constellation called Madeline.

To paraphrase the title of a classic Homer & Jethro ballad: I've got tears in my ears from lying on my back on my bed while I laugh over the idea of someone jolling AROINT.

Ay-yuh, I know BRASS BAWLs when I see them.

Tita 1:45 PM  

ABout the only soda I like is ORANGINA. That and LIBRARIAN were 2 gimmes that meant I could finish this puzzle - w/o google, but did need an alpharun at _ATER/_ALE - I so wanted something like lAiE for that minstrel offering, and have never ever heard of a TATER meaning homER.

Was thrilled to see Neighbor of Norma - as I have been to the village of Norma in the Apenines. Alas, despite my love for astronomy, had never heard of ARA or Norma as a constellation.

Yup - the NE was toughest. TONALRun anyone? Trying to stretch iNSeason into 13d?

@Mohair - I might note how comparitively hard a Fri/Sat is, but that is not a complaint. Of course - that's why Thu-Sat are my fave weekdays. I don't think anyone's complaining that they are hard.

Thanks Mr. Der - a satisfyingly tough Saturday that leaves me time to enjoy this perfect weather doing a little gardening and bandshelling.

And thanks again, Mr. Gaffney - really enjoyed your stint.

jerry k 1:55 PM  

Until I figured out that tone raps, which I never heard of, was tone rows, which I never heard of, I was able to figure out bibelow, which I never heard of.

Makes me feel big.

Jericho 2:09 PM  

lol, @jerry k, you have company!

Evan Jordan 2:20 PM  

I loved this one. TONE ROWS really struck a timely and personal chord. Been in a weird mood this summer defined by my inability find music in my fairly vast and beloved collection that hits the spot. Same goes for seeking out new music. The one form that I keep turning to is the 12-tone serialism of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg that I accumulated in college (which I made very little headway into at the time). When I've scrolled through my iPod ten times with nothing really singing out to me, those pieces seem to reflect the overly-nuanced anhedonia fogging the moment.

jerry k 2:35 PM  


Anonymous 2:47 PM  

I'm not sure what crossword syndicate my local paper uses -- the LA Times, I think -- but today's contained a perfect Natick: __AVEART (Grotte de Cussac attraction) crossing __ASCA ("Speak, hands, for me!" speaker). Yesterday's was just as good: YTTRIA (Oxide gas in incandescent gas mantles) crossing a bunch of dreck.

Warren Howie Hughes 3:02 PM  

Allo, My LeapyL! Many thanks for the LIBRARIAN shout-out to my LibraRose, as well as a nod to yours truly, Pastor Munster!

"AROINT! The time is out of joint!"

joho 3:11 PM  

I did not WINTHEWAR today but that in way diminishes how much I enjoyed this excellent puzzle by the super-talented Kevin Der. Bravo!

Loved TIMEBOMB over EGOMANIA because I think an EGOMANIAc is about to blow. ASANA next to NEPAL is nice, too.

@mathgent, so happy you adopted Patrick Berry's puzzle gift to you! You seem more like a gent than a "guy" anyw

@evil doug, when I moved to Cincinnati one of the most fun things I learned about was the whimsical flying pigs. Love, love them!

This has been a great puzzle week with a wonderful guest blogger, thank you, Matt!

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

Even after reading the answers, I rate this puzzle as one of the worse I've seen. Even after looking at the answers, I didn't bother with it. Oh well....

Mohair Sam 3:26 PM  

@tita - I hear ya - and today wasn't one of the worst of those complaint days for sure - I shoulda picked last Saturday to blow my gasket. But lately certain posters have been seeing late week puzzles as "impossible" or "ridiculous" more than ever before. And in most cases that just doesn't hold water.

MDMA 3:39 PM  

Toughest Saturday in a while, I spent an hour and a half to finish it. All's well that ends well.

ARA and MOSUL were gimmes. Tried India rather than NEPAL, wanted homER for TATER. Since when is TONE ROWS a thing? I'd like to tell AROINT to aroint.

VIOLA SOLO is a bit green-paintish. I'd like to see "kazoo solo" some day, clued with reference to Paul McCartney on "You're Sixteen".

Still don't understand FOOTBATHS. "Dog" means "foot" in some benighted slang-slinging backwater?

Got BIBELOT from partial crosses. A reading knowledge of French has bailed me out yet again. Not for the first time, a not-entirely-uncommon French word turns out to have a double identity as an utterly obscure English word.

In the same vein, @Anonymous @2:47, "grotte" means cave in French, so the would-be Natick in your puzzle is just "cave art".

The rule for NYT puzzles seems to be: German, Italian, Spanish and maybe Portuguese are only at a very basic "101" level, while French is the only language for which deeper knowledge turns out to be useful. Although that's to my advantage, I think for the sake of modernity and bringing in more young solvers they should consider letting Spanish take over that role. Maybe in the post-Shortz era.

Karl 3:45 PM  

If you won't allow San Fran or Frisco, you are not allowed to use the ever-so-annoying and pretentious "The City"...
BIBELOT was new to me, but I got it with the crosses.

Anonymous 4:24 PM  

NE was a killer forever. finally saw servos and it fell into place, sorta. bibelot didn't look right but had no other option. good, tough saturday.

Roo Monster 4:50 PM  

"Dogs" is slang for feet, as in, "Boy, are my dogs tired!", "My dogs are hurting (or barking)." So, really, you can be dog tired with tired dogs.


CFXK 5:11 PM  

Y'all can complain about the occasional abuse of your hometown's name in the puzzle, but that nothin' next to the constant abuse those of us who were born and reared in Natick, Ma, have to subject ourselves to almost daily in this column. ;)

wreck 5:13 PM  

I've always loved the "dog tired" line, but have always suspected that dogs aren't really tired in so much that they sleep a lot "because they CAN!"

mathgent 6:45 PM  

@anonymous 2:47: It is the LATimes puzzle. I just finished the puzzle you were talking about by Gail Grabowski. I'm watching the Giants-A's game and I stared at the NW for a half hour without entering a single letter. I was semi-randomly mentally putting letters into squares and hoping that something would ring a bell. Finally I saw 2D and I was able to finish. Toughest puzzle I've done for a long time.

old timer 7:15 PM  

think of yourself as a Casilla who comes in in the top of the 9th and somehow, improbably, gets it done.

Pretty how I felt, though my trouble was not at all in the NW.

DebinSac 7:15 PM  

Off-topic but I have to ask... When I was a kid in Westchester, going into "the city" meant going into New York. Later, I heard people from the outer boroughs use the term to mean, going into Manhattan. Now, in Sacramento, going into the city means going to San Francisco. But a friend here who grew up in a small town maybe an hour and fifteen minutes away has told me that going into the city meant going to Saxramento. So.

For those of you who live near a major city or even smaller cities, is the usage the same? Is this an Americanism? Or is it even more widely used, so that we have some version of it for going to Paris or Rome or London? This inquiring mind wants to know.

weingolb 7:54 PM  

I feel like this puzzle imploded. The longer the fill, the shorter and more monosyllabic the words became. It kind of wore on me. Many TONE ROWS, much BOUNCE HOUSE, and cold, as Saturday themelesses often are, but also a bit bland and green paint-ish? Or I am just cranky because I couldn't muster BIBELOT but did manage AROINT despite making no guess at it.

Constant Reader 7:59 PM  

@DebinSac, fwiw, I remember that in both Peter Pan and the Mary Poppins books, there are references to Mr. Darling and Mr. Banks working "in the City". That would not have referred to the city of London overall, but more specifically to the business or financial centre. In any case, it seems the phrase has been used overseas for some time, though what it signifies might vary.

Tita 8:03 PM  

@Mohair...I guess I subliminally skip over those kinds of posts..I really hadn't noticed!

Remind me to call my mom and thank her...BIBELOT was a's one of many Portuguese words borrowed from French, and she's got plenty of them. Gotta admit it's a fun word to say...

I skip M-W 8:10 PM  

It used to be that Boston was known — jokingly, I presume — as "the Hub of the Universe," and known in headlines, in I believe the Boston American, as simply Hub as an adjective, as in "Hub father murders kids."

Which reminds me that while in that neck of the woods, I took a class on French symbolist poetry and wrote a long paper on a sonnet by Mallarme that includes the line "Aboli bibelot d'inanité sonore" . I went to great lengths to try to explicate the whole poem, but now I realize the point was just sonorous inanity. The line referred to the object said to be missing in the previous line: "Sur les credences au salon vide, nul ptyx." I looked up ptyx in every dictionary , Greek, French, etc., without finding anything. Good for a crossword puzzle?

Ludyjynn 8:10 PM  

@DebinSac, Funny you should ask...growing up in the NJ suburbs, going into "The City" meant the one and only NYC. We referred to Philadelphia as going to "Philly". Until today, I did not know that folks also call SF "the city".

Here, in suburban Baltimore County, we refer to going out for dinner or other activities in Baltimore City as going "Downtown". In NJ we went "down the shore" in Summer, but here in MD, people only go "down the ocean" (pronounced downeyoshun). Go figure!

mac 8:19 PM  

Orangina was a gimme to me. It's popular all over Europe, and even in the US its bottle is used for olive oil and vinegar with a cork and pourer on top, it is that attractive.

evil doug 8:44 PM  

Maybe if someone had been monitoring right-wing nuts and keeping them from getting guns two people would be alive in Louisiana, and nine in SC today.

M. Diderot 8:57 PM  

@I skip M-W

On the sideboards in the empty living-room, no ticks.

I think Mallarme was just playing with how he tocks.

rpnorton 9:03 PM  

Hating San FRAN as an answer. No self-respecting San Franciscan would ever call it that. NE was hard.

It's rude 9:40 PM  

Please do not discuss puzzles from other papers. It spoils it for solvers who have not done them.

kitshef 11:13 PM  

This must be regional, but I've never heard it called a BOUNCE HOUSE. I've always heard bounce castle or moon bounce.

Fantastic puzzle. I knew I was in for a ride when my first fill was OBLATE. And with thin connections between sections, it was always touch-and-go whether I'd be able to keep moving. But OBLATE gave BRITS and LIBRARIAN, which gave SNEEZE, and later GRAIL gave HOLY, and all was well.

Never noticed san FRAN 'til hitting the comments section - got that solely from crosses. I completely agree with all comments so far on both sides of the naming issue.

Hand up for WINTHEdAy before WINTHEWAR. And I tried to somehow cram derricks in for OILRIGS.

But seriously, some fantastic cluing here. Northern hemisphere, Sting, e.g., Dog washers, They're over two feet. This is gold.

Peamut 1:15 PM  

JAE: What is WOE?

Peamut 2:26 PM  

What is WOE?

Loren Muse Smith 2:36 PM  

@Peamut - it's a politer version of WTF: What On Earth

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

Ptyx is a folding in a leaf in a flower bud.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

My LIBRARIAN gives me FOOTBATHS because it’s ALLOWABLE to get one, and due to her PERSONAL EGOMANIA she always gives me a FLAGRANT WETONE. FRESH TALE by FRAN SERVOS

rondo 1:57 PM  

I struggled for a long time with this one. First pass through got me little more than ERIN, homER, and OILRIGS, and TRU and bRaSH. You get the idea. WINTHEdAy was not helpful either. Some of that SE came by way of fortunate crosses/guesses. Inkblots galore today.

Wanted San Jose or San Juan, not FRAN, but realized how unlikely the J would be. Would have liked to see it clued QB Tarkenton (or even Drescher, on-the-bubble yeah baby).

“Monty Python and the HOLY GRAIL” has to be one of the funniest movies of all time. PERSONAL favorite of mine, for sure.

ERIN Andrews, a spy-cam worthy yeah baby.

I broke one of my TIBIAS into HALVES back in January 1993. Winter is no time for crutches in MN.

Loved the challenge in this puz. Now I need a POWERNAP.

Burma Shave 2:29 PM  


VIOLASOLO was Napoleon’s mom and she sought the HOLY GRAIL
from OILRIGS in NEPAL to a BOUNCEHOUSE out in Vail,
to an IGLOO in NEPAL, with a RUNIN in SAMOA, it was to no avail,
but if she were to WINTHEWAR in MOSUL, well, that STAGESETS quite the TALE.


leftcoastTAM 5:11 PM  

I liked this one (mainly because I finished it, I'd have to admit). The last letter to go in was the N in the ASANA/ORANGINA cross. Dimly remembered ASANA, but never heard of ORANGINA.

AROINT required the crosses, which were fair an gettable. Crosses also gave me TATER, after first trying homer. I resisted FRAN, but again the crosses required it.

Today I'm a SAMOAN, one of the "happy people," because my entries were ALLOWABLE (in pen on paper, I might add).

Anonymous 6:44 PM  

What a Saturday Scruncher!! If it wasn't over 100 degrees outside I wouldn't have spent so much time. Everything fell into place EXCEPT the NE corner. I wrote in Soloviola instead of Violasolo so that did me in but good. I looked up "Harold En Italie" on Wiki and the emphasis was on the Solo Viola. Impossible to finish.

Well, better luck next puzzle.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where all the young women are chaste, the older women use an escort service, the young men ARE the escorts, and the older men limp along too tired or have a headache). teehee

spacecraft 7:31 PM  

DNF, thanks in large part to committing to AvauNT. AROINT I never heard of. Avaunt is the word PERFECTLY described by the clue. Nothing could be less fair. Also COURT VISION? Why has this sports nut NEVER heard that term? I suppose it makes sense, but it's like one of those many "phrases" that Wheel of Fortune puts in its final puzzle, that no one has ever actually SPOKEN. You just can't expect anyone to get it.

I didn't know enough of the rest of this to make a difference. Another one that really snaps off the curveball: "Citizen Kane's 'affliction'." Yeah, okay, I'll grant that EGOMANIA is an "affliction" of personality, but you're not going there when you see that word. You're going "disease," like I did. It's just another clue that's DELIBERATELY DESIGNED for the solver NOT to get.

Perhaps I'm guilty of sour grapes here, but I flagged the whole mess. Inc.

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