It's Red Magic Time sloganeer once / SAT 8-22-15 / Comedian once called Female Bob Hope / Little Bitty Tear singer 1962 / Female helicopter pilot from Hasbro / Sitcom teacher of Vinnie Boom Boom / To whom prospero says Thou liest malignant thing / Paper with Mansion section for short

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: KERN (31D: Typeface projection) —
verb
verb: kern; 3rd person present: kerns; past tense: kerned; past participle: kerned; gerund or present participle: kerning; noun: kerning
  1. 1.
    adjust the spacing between (letters or characters) in a piece of text to be printed.
    • make (letters) overlap.
  2. 2.
    design (metal type) with a projecting part beyond the body or shank.
noun
noun: kern; plural noun: kerns
1.
the part of a metal type projecting beyond its body or shank
• • •

A fairly typical Silk puzzle—solid, tough, nostalgic. Not as smooth as yesterday's offering, but pretty clean nonetheless. I only have about four frowny-faces written on my printed out puzzle here, and there's certainly nothing abysmal. Longest Downs are the real highlights here, with JAZZ QUARTET and CHANNEL SURF providing contrasting entertainment options (somewhat highbrow vs. somewhat lowbrow, somewhat old vs. somewhat modern). Unfortunately, what stands out most for me in this puzzle is how aggressively non-contemporary it was. The puzzle is essentially a giant F.U. to anyone under 60. It's relentless, really, in its insistence that the center of the cultural universe is circa 1962. In just that damned NW corner alone (for me, the first corner I solved and the toughest corner by far), you've got a 1962 Burl IVES song (?), a [1960s pop idol], and [J.F.K.'s U.N. ambassador]. I have no idea when that "It's red magic time!" slogan is from, but my gut says '60s. Hang on ... HA, bingo: exactly 1962 for this ad right here:


When do you think Martha RAYE was called "the Female Bob Hope"? Actually, that was probably a couple decades earlier, even. My point is the core NYT solver demographic would be squealing with outrage if that many 21st-century clues were shoved in one corner. And that's just that corner. There's also Benny Goodman and LUISE Rainer and "DONALD Gets Drafted," and words like "once" and "Old-fashioned" and "bygone" all over the place. JOANNE KERN (I made that part up) Rowling is the one real nod to this century, and she started getting famous last century. Again (and again and again) no one has a problem with bygone clues per se. There's just no balance here. It is a professionally constructed puzzle, but everything about it is old and white and meh. Please, puzzlemakers. Mix. Things. Up. At least a little. I beg of THEE.


Here's the solving sequence. Just ... flailing in the NW. I've titled this screenshot: "O, RLY?" because I was not at all sure I had the right stuff in there (turns out I did).


This one I call "'60s Much?"; as you could guess, it's just a screenshot of the completed NW:


I was stuck here for a few seconds, spinning my wheels, until I rolodexed through the words that might follow JAZZ and hit QUINTET! Real answer is QUARTET, but that didn't matter, because Q to the res-Q! ETIQUETTE flashed across the grid and I was in business. Puzzle became "Easy" thereafter:


Once the QUINTET issue got fixed, I ran right up into the middle of the grid, expecting to get stonewalled but never encountering real resistance. I knew the puzzle was gonna go down without too much fight after I tested FLINTLOCK and then nailed down CREE and KERN immediately thereafter. That gave me a base camp from which to attack both the NE and the SE, both of which fell without much of a fight.


Had to change PEACH to PEARL (42D: Fine example), but otherwise, no mistakes. Oh, no, wait. I did have LOITERS for LOUNGES (23A: Chills, so to speak). And I had to wait to see if the designated driver was gonna have TOO MUCH or TOO MANY (37D: One drink, to a designated driver).


Did you know there's a place where you can UNREEL a film while sniffing JUNIPER OIL? It's called a BOATEL and you can get there by following the signs for "Stuff That Sounds Made Up." And with that [Bit of snark], I'm off.

POOF.
 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Lollapuzzoola 8 puzzles have been made available, for an extremely limited time. Monday. You need to get them by Monday. After that, puzzle rights go back to the constructors themselves. These puzzles are phenomenal. I know, I went to the tournament. I solved them. Please get them and do them and go "wow" and then show your friends. For real.

P.P.S. The legendary crossword constructor (and my friend and mentor) Merl Reagle has died. I'll have more to say about him tomorrow, and in the coming week, and for the rest of my crossword-blogging life, probably. But for now I'll just say he was a wonderful man. And nobody but nobody cared more about crosswords or crafted funnier or more outlandish crosswords than Merl. Knowing him was a privilege and a joy. I'm just gutted right now.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

91 comments:

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

hoodoo you think we are? agree with rex on the demographic comments. let's try to pull the puzzle into the 21st century. at least 1990. smooth as silk, old as dirt. 'nuff said.

jae 12:10 AM  

This was easy-medium for me except for the NW where I had amES before IVES and had trouble seeing IDEA.   So, south easy, NE medium and @Rex NW tough.

Also, relaxES  before LOUNGES (did not check the crosses before putting pencil to paper).

UNREELS looks odd.

Pretty smooth for a scrabbly pangram, liked it.  More fun than yesterday's, but Rex is right about the geezer factor.

chefwen 12:30 AM  

Wowsers, finished a Friday Steinberg AND a Saturday Silky. I'm ABUZZ with excitement. Actually ABUZZ was a write over, I first had itchy for 28A, have had been plagued with hives a few times, raw fish, and DANG they are itchy, unbearably so.

Many clever clues and answers, too many to list. Love a puzzle that's right in my wheelhouse, yeah I know, I'm over 60.

Da Bears 1:08 AM  

Yesterday's was Berry-esque. Today's is bury-esque.

DebinSac 1:11 AM  

So here I was feeling so capable after Steinberg's Friday (though I knew Rex would rate it easy for a Friday--it was), and then got an ego adjustment courtesy of the Silk Saturday. The NW did me in; I had Davy Jones and Joanne and not a lot more. Finally Googled to see what awacs stood for, got sys, and managed to finish. These were both such enjoyable puzzles...you see those two names, you expect good things, and Poof! You get them.

Off-topic: I once wrote J.K. Rowling (a long story, but one of her books got my son and daughter-in-law through a truly awful time in their lives, and i wanted her to know and to say thanks). She sent a very sweet reply, registered mail, of all thinge (maybe her letters were getting swiped as souvenirs). She is really a class act.

Steve J 1:43 AM  

Rex must be in a charitable mood. This was a completely joyless trudge. Nothing abysmal? SKED, EVOTE, PUNNER and SERENADER beg to differ. Only CHANNEL SURF and its clue brought the slightest hint of a smile to my face. Unfortunately, it was one of the last answers that fell for me. By that point, I was hate-solving this one. Ugh.

Music man 2:18 AM  

Hahaha I loved this write-up.

My title for this puzzle is "J-Walkin'" but more on that later.

I actually hadn't even noticed the 60s-ish-ness of the puzzle. Perhaps it met my particular knowledge of 60s-ish-ness-as-a-20-something-year-old data base. For some reason, and I'm guessing I'm the ONLY one, I smiled when I threw down ABUZZ. Notice SERENADER...AGAIN?!? WHAT A JOKE! Not sure I liked JELLY BEAN, a) because I only kind of like them...a little, and because I feel JELLY BEANs in a jar are colorful. A JELLY BEAN often (...) has a color, but so does (...) everything. CHUCK reminded me of an episode of parks and rec, you know the one. I was convinced 26d was going to be swing septet or something. Didn't know Goodman led a quartet. I think of him more in terms of big band swing. Maybe I'm wrong. Not sure if you actually lead quartets. Even if you SAY you do. Chamber and small combos usually workout more organically. If the clue for EYE SHADOW was supposed to be misleading, it wasn't. What in the %#?€ is a "makeup (or make-up) class?" I've heard of make-up tests or assignments, no classes. Call me when you have no class.

One thing that realllly stuck out to me was all the Js. Could roll them up and smoke them there were so many...get it?

irish Jigs, davy Jones, Jinx, gi Jane, what a Joke, Jelly bean.

(hJHeinz, Joanne, Jazz quartet, Juniper oil, Jab, wsJ)

Felt like more too honestly.

While I'm on the subJect, how bout this. I was Just taking to someone about how my 1.3 mm lead pencil has never broken it's tip. Just after I decide Jinx is correct and go to darken it, the tip breaks, coincidence?

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

As a new crossword-er and part of the under 60 crowd, I totally choked on this one. I like the fun of puzzles and the plays on words. I even like the puns. But I'm not sure I'll stick with a hobby that requires me to have a séance with my dead grandmother to solve.

George Barany 6:30 AM  

The comment by @Rex, viz. "The puzzle is essentially a giant F.U. to anyone under 60" struck a chord, since that's my age. Maybe F.U. is a bit strong, but there was quite a BIT that gave me trouble and forced me to use the "check puzzle" and "reveal word" options [on the subject of BIT, it appears as both an answer word, 45-across, and as a key word in a clue, 50-down].

I did enjoy @Barry Silk offering CHANNEL_SURF, RUN_AGROUND, and JAZZ_QUARTET, just to mention a few of the marquee entries. Missteps included SCHLITZ in the H_J_HEINZ slot (even though I initially plunked down the correct GI_JANE with no crossings), TOO_MUCH instead of TOO_MANY (even though I initially plunked down the correct JELLY_BEAN with no crossings), REOS instead of GEOS, and probably others that have been mercifully purged from my memory.

Until this week, the word SERENADER had been used only once in the @Shortz era, but today's appearance follows another this past Sunday (remember Don G?). I was concerned about the GABE clue, since I recognized in the clue names of some of the "Welcome Back Kotter" characters, but only knew the name of the actor, Gabe Kaplan, who played the teacher -- but Google now shows that Gabe was also the first name of Kotter, so all is ok. As a chemist, I would have clued ENES with respect to multiple double bonds rather than Spanish letters, but defer to the editorial choice actually made. KERN could have been clued for the composer of "Ol' Man River" and many other standards, and LUISE Rainer (with the unusual spelling) was well within the bounds of Saturday cluing: she won back-to-back Oscars in the 30's, and passed away in December 2014 at the age of 104!

Soybomb 6:39 AM  

Dang, one is too many for a designated driver? That's a bit on the prudish side, isn't it? (Especially for 1962.)

SERENADER was the hardest for me to get. Second E was the last letter in the puzzle. Because, yeah, boatel WTF.

Palindrome, baby!

Loren Muse Smith 7:08 AM  

Rex - you said, "In just that damned NW corner alone…" Yep. I fairly easily dispatched the whole puzzle, but that corner dealt me the dnf. I considered "swan dives" before I settled on IRISH JIGS, and I felt at once pleased and suspicious that it wasn't right. The only thing that I could think of besides "order" or "threat" (or a fetid kitchen garbage bag) that you would carry out was "wish," so I was wondering if the Welsh had their jigs, too. That final H in "wish" had me racking my brain trying to remember just when Henry Kissinger did what and who he did it for.

At one point, panicked by all the white in the nw, I scanned the clues and figured about half were proper nouns: RAYE, HJ HEINZ, JOANNE, GEOS, AES, IVES, DAVY JONES. "Jeanie" for JOANNE prevented me from seeing the obvious Monkee. Shame on me for not getting him; I was obsessed with DAVY JONES until he was usurped by Bobby Sherman.

So

"Jeanie" for JOANNE
"jail" for JINX
"intel" for INDEX
"soc" for SYS

just mucked up everything.

Also considering all the other Js, I was leaning toward "Joan" for RAYE. So that lead to ridiculous early thoughts for those spring performances like "ejections" (those pilot seats have a spring, right?) or "Bjork" something or other. Nah.

Another mistake – "panner"/"Laise." If I had noticed the latter, I may have corrected that.

I see Rex's point about its datedness, but two entries remind me of current hot stories:

-GI JANE -two women are officially army rangers now and it's right over ABUZZ – both sport hair that has been SHEARED into A BUZZ cut.
-DONALD. He's speaking on CNN right now as I type.

Oh, and some serendipity. Just last night I was rerereading some David Sedaris, and he was writing about rethinking his BOW TIE phase… “It was my friend Frank, a writer in San Francisco, who finally set me straight. When asked about my new look he put down his fork and stared at me for a few moments. 'A BOW TIE announces to the world you can no longer get an erection.'”

The highlight for me was the clue for TUNER. I was going "cobbler" "farrier" (and then "shoer" that would actually fit) but saw TUNER when CHANNEL SURF fell. A very excellent clue, that.

evil doug 7:20 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy for this AARP member.

Don't play scrabble, but starting in the Northwest Territory I had to notice--and enjoy--the multitude of j's, h's, g's and z's. Then the x showed up in jinx, and of we went.

I suppose--but don't care if--it's a pangram, but the variety of words with sharp imagery won with me. Jigs to juniper oil, channel surf to (run a)ground chuck, a Monkee to Benny Goodman, etiquette to fetid--great visuals.

Unknown 7:47 AM  

Just a note from an over-sixty: Martha Raye is a name from my parents' era. At some point references are old enough to be historical, rather than outdated. Likewise Benny Goodman, about as contemporary for me as silent movie stars.

Anne 8:06 AM  

HaHa, Soybomb on the time warp for the designated driver clue/answer.
I hardly ever do Saturday puzzles, because I often find them too difficult to be enjoyable, but today's went down remarkably smoothly (like a 3 martini lunch where red magic was conceived?), despite my being yet well under 60. Of course I had some help from my historian spouse. Talking out loud to him got me from whee to thee on the last word of O Canada (sorry, Canadians). I briefly considered Cree there, which made me smile/smack my head a bit later at one of the official languages of the Northwest Territories.
I wanted condo as the vacation rental before canoe, which I suppose is part of this puzzle's last century-ness. It is fitting then perhaps that I got jellybean by mentally going back to kindergarten, which is I believe the last time I was asked to "guesstimate" how many jellybeans were in a jar.
The Northwest corner killed me, but that was at least the only place where I had to go to google for help. I also really wanted Eleanor ?. Roosevelt to have been JFK's UN ambassador, but alas she was a mere delegate, and no longer with us by 1962. Her middle initial is as much a mystery to me as Adlai Stevenson. Is/was his middle initial (ever) common knowledge?

The Rhino 8:11 AM  

Ugh, baby boomers, is there anything you haven't ruined?

I liked this better than Rex, but didn't like the last minute DNF I received from the NW. FAYE? AES? Who?

Danield 8:33 AM  

Rexster-
"60's Much?"---couldn't agree more. Was cruising until NW. Would have characterized puz as easy for a Sat until the trip down memory lane, which led to DNF.

r.alphbunker 8:33 AM  

Puzzle report

Given that RAYE was the first answer I wrote in, this puzzle was right in my rest home. Lots of false starts that did not stay too long. Loved it!

A thought. The Eskimos supposedly set their old people adrift on ice floes. This may be a way to change the demographic of NYT solvers to force WS to publish poppier puzzles. But don't wait too long, there may not be any ice floes left!

Glimmerglass 8:50 AM  

Because I myself am as old as dirt, I knew a lot of the 60s (and earlier) references, but that didn't make it easy for me. I struggled a long time with scattered entries, many of which I was unsure of. For example, in the NE I had DONALD crossing ECOLE, which turned out to be correct, but nothing was working for me (I wanted toss and turn for 11D). So I erased everything and tried mickey crossing lyceE, which of course didn't work either. It took me a long time to get back to DONALD and ECOLE. Very satisfying puzzle, smooth as silk.

Mohair Sam 8:51 AM  

A special thanks to Barry C. Silk for revealing the age of all the posters here. The more difficult you found this puzzle the younger you are. Wassamatta with you youngsters? How can IVES not be a gimme? The "Welcome Back Kotter" clue was kinda fresh, wasn't it? - I mean, John Travolta's still alive.

We found it pretty much a lark, and did enjoy it here at Shadydale Rest. Next time we get a puzzle rife with rappers we'll think back to this one and consider the ledger squared.

Surprised Will didn't go for broke here and edit clues 16a to CHUCK Connors and 42d to PEARL Baily. And wouldn't the weapon of choice in this one be a FLINTLOCK.

One nit - Why is STEAM clued as "old-fashioned letter opener"? It's clandestine as all heck, but no more old-fashioned than any other method of opening a letter.

Unknown 9:04 AM  

This is one of those times I'm grateful to be an age 61 tween (old enough to get AARP, too young to get senior citizen discounts). The proliferation of J's giveth and taketh in that sometimes they gave up the solution quickly, but in other instances not so much for me (looking at you, IRISHJIGS).

Tried to enter JAZZQUINTET at first, but clearly it didn't work.

And SERENADER - again, so soon?

Also struggled with PLATT for some reason, though it was intuitively obvious once it fell into place. I need to get out more.

The overall non-contemporary cluing/answers wasn't apparent to me until Rex pointed it out, but I see it now. And agree.

thomas greisen 9:13 AM  

Just plain gave up on this one. Way too many people I have never heard of.

joho 9:38 AM  

I agree that this skews old but that in no way diminished the Joy of my solve. Loved all the JJJJJJ (I count 6!), the Q, X,YY and ZZZ. Yes, this is a pangram and a PEARL of one at that!

I dnf with PaNNER not PUNNER. (Hi, Loren!) After changing baNNER TO PaNNER I thought I was done there. Had I run the alphabet I think I would have seen LUISE which is actually a name unlike LaISE!

Is a better clue for UNREELS, "What a fishing line does?" Maybe not.

The JAZZQUARTET/ETIQUETTE cross was worth the price of admission and so BarryesQue.

You know what I mean, JELLYBEAN?



Anonymous 9:46 AM  

I agree with Steve J.. Joyless trudge pretty accurate description. Mostly an easy joyless trudge except for NW corner which was filled with too much trivia detritus, not to mention bad cluing (Bob Hope two words, Raye one, for example). Mostly an easy but boring Saturday until NW corner; then truly annoying puzzle.

chefbea 10:04 AM  

Just saw on Facebook from Amy Reynaldo that Merl Reagle passed away. I remember meeting him when I went to the ACPT several years ago. RIP

Teedmn 10:04 AM  

BOATEL? SURE.....

A smooth puzzle today, no real moments of panic (which is actually my preferred state on a Saturday). IVES crossing AES, gimmes. EVOTE crossing HAVRE. CHANNEL SURFING with no crosses. My only real writeover was sUpER before TUNER, which had a great clue.

We've seen SKEDS in so many recent puzzles and to date I've never seen it in the wild. I feel like I'm seeing classic crosswordese develop before my EYEs.

Off the O in EVOTE, I tried to fit vanilla nOte at 26A, which I would prefer to JUNIPER OIL, which sounds like it belongs in gin.

Really liked seeing FETID, though in such an old-skewing puzzle such as this, it should be FŒTID, methinks.

I was with @George Barany on the 'Welcome Back Kotter' clue. GABE was what came to me but then, no, that's the actor, shoot. Nice that I didn't have to go any further than that.

A fine puzzle, Barry Silk.

jberg 10:05 AM  

I suppose once you have JINX crossing JAZZ QUARTET you pretty much have to go for the pangram, or people will think you're not up to it.

My experience was directionally the opposite of @Rex's -- i.e., I got a foothold with the ECOLE DONALD cross (it may be old, but what could it be besides DONALD or Mickey?), zoomed won the East side, got into the SW somehow, then painfully climbed up into the NW corner. I'm 71, and it was hard for me. (By the way, I have to point out that FLINTLOCKS were before my time, though you young'uns may not realize that.)

My two big difficulties were that my hive was buzZy for a long time before it became ABUZZ, and that I couldn't remember Mr. Heinz's initials. No idea about DAVY JONES, except for his famous locker. He was a Monkee? I'm too old to know that.

Burl IVES, though. He was my mother's favorite singer, and I actually have that song on my iPhone -- none of which helped me, I still couldn't get it from the ES. Finally saw IRISH JIGS, realized that you were more likely to carry out an IDEA than a plEA, decided Ms. Rowling must be JOANNE rather than JeANNE, and there it was, with the J as my last letter. Still medium for a Saturday, and unlike the last two days I don't think I finished with any stupid errors, so I'm happy enough.

Also, I like the PUNNER/PUNDIT symmetry.

Ludyjynn 10:05 AM  

Like Rex, I opened w/ JOANNE, only because I happened to be CHANNELSURFing earlier this week and caught an episode of "Hoodoo You Think You Are" focusing on Ms. Rowling's geneology. Til then, I had managed to bypass the entire Harry Potter print and film empire and knew nothing about the author, herself!

Agree that the NW corner was a bear even though I had an IDEA that the comedian had to be RAYE, who, like Hope, did a lot of morale work for US troops abroad, or Lucy, as in Ball, who made some films w/ Bob.
DAVYJONES solved the dilemma, although I would quibble that he was not a singular pop idol a la Elvis. Rather, the manufactured group, The Monkees, as an entity was the phenomenon. Favorite piece of Monkees trivia: Mike Nesmith's mother invented 'White Out' typing correction fluid and made a fortune.

As a former boater, I laughed aloud at RUNAGROUND. Biggest issue besides avoiding crab pots and drunken boaters has to be bypassing shoals or sand "bars" because our piece of the Chesapeake and its tributaries can be quite shallow in spots. As a result, our policy was that one drink while on the bay constituted ONETOOMANY. We waited til I got us back safely into the marina slip before the wine corks popped and we LOUNGEd about, enjoying the sunset from the pier.

Patting myself on the back for completing a Friday and Saturday. Thanks, BCS and WS. I SURE had fun.

Dshawmaine 10:15 AM  

I'm another member of the target audience here, and agree with the comments above, and @Rex's review, except in a rare departure, I rate this as an easy Saturday. Hardly ever finish a Saturday; today's was done in under half an hour, without google help. Have a 5-day streak going: whoo-hoo! Felt like I was really clicking with the constructor when I put in JUNIPEROIL, ETIQUETTE,& FLINTLOCK right away and they turned out to be right. Clever cluing (IRISHSPRING, CHANNELSURF, TUNER...). Very enjoyable.

mathgent 10:15 AM  

I enjoyed it immensely. Only six three-letter entries. Some excellent cluing. Several sparkly longs.

The puzzle does skew old but I think IVES is fair. He's part of the culture for all of us. How many times does Holly, Jolly, Christmas play during the Christmas Season?

I wonder who called Martha Raye the Female Bob Hope? She was a loud mugger with minimal talent. Can you imagine her hosting the Academy Awards?



Norm 10:33 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Of course, I was born in 1952, so why wouldn't I. Any day that the puzzle is not full of what Rex considers up-to-date (e.g., rappers, TV shows, and actors I've never heard of) is a good day in my books.

But ... Merl Reagle gone; that's so very, very sad.

Maruchka 10:40 AM  

Yup, me, too: old. I love BS, but this is not his best work. KERN I know from desktop publishing. Bor-ing. Where the Jerome at? (Hi @GeorgeB). Hate the Post, but - admit to PUNNER chuckles over the years.

Fav of the day - seeing FLINTLOCK from the start. DAVY, DAVY Crockett.. and Burl IVES, always.

In SF last month, I had the best patty MELT ever, in an old, sweet, funky diner car on Polk Street. I've been before, but can't remember the name. Bay Area shout out, anyone?

wreck 10:41 AM  

I had all but the NW finished in a pretty decent clip, but that corner took me almost an equal amount of time. That said, a 45 minute Saturday that I can finish is a victory in my book. I agree about "PUNNER," but I got it none the less, so I guess I'll let it slide.

pmdm 10:43 AM  

Often clues that require knowledge of ancient history (the 1960s to younger solvers?) can be assigned different clues that don't require such esoteric knowledge of the past. And we know that many of the clue don't originate with the constructor but the editors. So the ultimate blame (or praise) rests with the editors in my opinion. Perhaps they dropped the ball today.

I've mentioned before that the write-up never mentions that the grid is a pangram unless the grid contains a lot of junk, in which case a rant follows concerning why pangram puzzles are horrible. The most recently published pangram grids have been quite good. Like Evil Doug, I don't find it a big deal. But it is nice to acknowledge a nice job. So to Mr. Silk I say nice job constructing a pangram so smooth.

Old Fat Bastard 10:52 AM  

Another Silk gem that I liked a lot.

Carola 11:02 AM  

The NW got me, too - which I attribute to impatience and general dopiness: I'd written in SSe for the direction, never considering that some words end in W, and totally missed the fact that the clue for AES demanded initials. Also, re: the demographic, I think I'm too old for the puzzle, as I'd never heard of DAVY JONES; my days of teen-idoldom had ceased a few years earlier. I enjoyed the amble through the other quadrants.

@qullter1 - SHEARED gives me the opportunity to tell you that last week I had my first ever trip to neighboring Iowa, to visit the State Fair, which was awesome. In the sheep barn, we saw how the animals are freshly SHEARED before judging and then put into little coats to keep them clean until their moment in the spotlight.

Old Ed 11:02 AM  

I'm a geezer, so it was easy medium for me. Maybe a bit too much trivia. Funny that my only Google was the J of JK. Flintlock was a guess. You young 'uns usually leave me googling the trivia, all those rappers and the like. So thank you, Barry for a little taste of revenge. I mean really, we oldies don't get enough credit for wisdom. But every day is a learning experience. So the older the more knowledgeable, right?

Nancy 11:03 AM  

Have been wrestling with this, now, for over an hour. Finished all but the top and middle sections of the Far West. Am going crazy and it's a beautiful day and I'm going out, sans puzzle. Because sometimes things come to you when you walk away for a while, I'm not reading Rex or any of you yet. I'll let you know how I fared much later today or tomorrow. All I know is that I've been suffering mightily.

One thing: While I did get PUNDIT, I really wanted "Bloviater" for 38A. (Spellcheck is telling me that my spelling of Bloviater is wrong, but it won't accept Bloviator either. And the word is not in my dictionary. My dictionary is very, very old. But if I go to Google the spelling, I'll lose this comment and have to re-type it. Hope Spellcheck is wrong.)

mac 11:11 AM  

I enjoyed this one, although I also stumbled in the NW.

I actually considered Barbie for GIJane, and The Fonz instead of HJHeinz! Had Tusk for Benz for a little while.

Very sad news about Merle. At my first ACPT in Brooklyn he joined a bunch of us in the bar of the Brooklyn Marriott and he proceeded to anagram all our names! Lots of anecdotes and fun. A generous guy. Incredible to see "punner" in the puzzle this morning.

AliasZ 11:21 AM  


As expected, today's was a lot tougher than yesterday's, wasn't it?

The funny thing is, David Steinberg's puzzle (outside MOBILE PHONE) wasn't that much more 21st century than Barry Silk's, but in a Steinberg, the young and rising star, vs. Silk, the old pro, showdown on back-to-back days, it has to become a central issue? I would call both of them classic NYT puzzles that will stand the test of time.

What I noticed first was that the puzzle was CHUCK full of J's, and that there weren't TOO MANY threes. Excellent construction with a smoothly flowing grid and without isolated culs-de-sac -- typically Silk-y.

I liked SERENADER after last Sunday's go-around. @George Barany, Kotter's first name is also GABE, a perfectly fine and cleverly confusing clue. CHANNEL SURF, ABUZZ, FLINTLOCK, RUN AGROUND, WHAT A JOKE, JAZZ QUARTET, JELLY BEAN and JUNIPER OIL and a few others struck a chord with me.

As did the IRISH JIG. The gigue is a sprightly Baroque dance that originated from the jig. Here is a beautiful example of it.

Have a great weekend.

Robso 11:37 AM  

I think they limited their clues by making this a pangram.
IS A BOATEL REALLY A THING? (I know, I know--Google it.)

Da Bears 11:41 AM  

Rex is on a current crusade against "old-fashioned" fill which might explain why there is no comment on the pangram today.

Curiously, David Steinberg is usually uber contemporary, so the sequence of his puzzle yesterday and this puzzle today does give some balance to the weekend. Rex has lightened up considerably since Lollapuzzoola, or, maybe, as someone suggested, he's drinking more Manhattans (an old fashioned drink for such a lover of contemporary puzzles)…

Charles Flaster 11:46 AM  

A big DNF but a few interesting clues--ETIQUETTE, STEAM and JELLY BEANS.
Sitting in Center city Philadelphia with George B and learning a lot.
On a sad note-- Merl Reagle has passed -- loved his stuff.
Back to puzzle-- had trouble with TOO MANY, E VOTE and TARRED.
Thanks BCS.

Melodious Funk 11:57 AM  

Merl Reagle is gone? Oh my. He seemed a lovely person when I saw him do his magic in the movie Wordplay. He sat at his dining room table and created part of a very clever puzzle on a grid and talked about how he was doing it. What a fascination. And his puzzles in WaPo were terrific.

A loss. I'm very sorry to read this.

GILL I. 11:58 AM  

Didn't like that DONALD/DONNE/LUISE/PLATT corner at all. I guessed at the DONALD (I saw him last night on t.v. and his hair looked like it had been dyed lemon yellow) but the others took too long for me to get. PUNNER and UNREELS make my teeth itch.
Other than that, I liked this puzzle starting with IRISH JIG and ending with JELLY BEANS.
Agree with @ed about the enjoyable j's, z's and the JINX x...but @Rex is right in that this felt a bit oldish. I put a question mark next to DAVY JONES...He died at the age of 66 from a heart attack. Then we have RAYE, IVES and (good gravy) AES...
By the way, STEAMing a letter open will only wet the envelope and any one with an IQ of 60 will know you tried to pry it open...
Pray for rain in California...

old timer 12:06 PM  

That's sad news about Merl Reagle. I thought he would live forever.

I thought it was a classic puzzle. Yes, a little Scrabbly, but in Silk's hands that's fine with me. Definitely skewed Old, as OFL points out, but for almost all solvers, a WWII clue is before our time. We solve it because we are familiar with life during The War even though we did not live it, which is why I put in DONALD immediately. And I like DONALD Duck a lot more than some other DONALDs I could name.

Yesterday, I solved the Easy Friday top to bottom. Today, I got no traction until the SE which fell quickly thanks to JELLYBEAN SERENADER WSJ. For all the good that did me. A frequent characteristic of a Saturday puzzle is that there are corners that do not connect well to the rest of the puzzle. In the SW, HAVRE and EVOTE went in right away; JUNIPEROIL was just a lucky guess that pretty much opened up the bottom 2/3. I only got PLATT, because PUNNER (which I have always seen as "punster"). I needed Dr. Google to be comfortable with LUISE, otherwise available only through crosses.

I finished the puzzle by changing "Jeanne" to JOANNE, which gave me DAVY JONES, who was never a pop idol in my book. Burl IVES was, for me, both as an actor and a folk guru.

I wonder how many people were puzzled by ENES? I had 4 years of Spanish in high school, and part of our drill was to recite the alphabet. ENE is followed by ENE with a tilde. ISTR that ELE was followed by ELLE, and ERE by ERRE when I learned the Spanish version of the alphabet song. That may no longer be the case.

Z 12:07 PM  

Played easy here and I'm still under 60. There are post 1962 clue/answers, E-VOTE, Oliver PLATT, IKEA, designated driver, GEOS, GABE Kotter, aromatherapy. But when you go Duck instead of Trump, WWII Duck no less, it does seem like there is an aversion to the 21st century at play. That's illin.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Don't know whether I enjoyed the puzzle or the whining of the "youngsters" the most. There were no rapper clues or current rock band members - YAY!

Steve J 12:33 PM  

Terrible news about Merl Reagle. Truly a giant in our little corner of the world. My sympathies to those who knew him personally, including Rex.

Lewis 12:36 PM  

@stevej -- "Hate-solving" -- never heard this term and I love it!
@loren -- The Sedaris quote is priceless!

So... yesterday's puzzle wasn't contemporary either. Truly. Look at all the words. The most contemporary is MOBILEPHONE. And it also has ALDREN and DIANAROSS. It is also not as scrabbly as today's. Yet yesterday's still didn't feel as dated as today's, and the only difference I can come up with is that it didn't have as many pop culture old old references (which Rex has pointed out), and the cluing was more fun.

In any case, with Barry Silk, for me anyway, patience pays off, and it did today. There was good tricky cluing, like for CHANNELSURF, RUNAROUND, TOOMANY, and IDEA, and I liked the answers BOATEL, CHANNELSURF, ETIQUETTE, and PUNDIT. The grid is mostly clean, just a few exceptions (AES, ENES, SSW). There's a bit of ABUZZ with a KERN and a TERN and a THEE and a CREE. And it slowly unrolled into a satisfying solve, with my patience paying off. Because of its aged feel, it revealed itself like a glass of fine old wine.

Melodious Funk 1:02 PM  

Just a bit more on Merl Reagle.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merl_Reagle

You can click on the reference for his "Grid Lock" puzzle to see a most clever and amusing piece of construction. It's apparently iconic, and begs to be completed.

Steve J 1:03 PM  

@Maruchka: Sounds like you were at Grubstake.

@GILL I from last night: Wasn't at Rickhouse (although it's about two blocks from my office), but I did indeed enjoy some good whiskey last night.

@Lewis and others: I think you're right that the cluing is what made this feel so much older than Steinberg's Friday puzzle. The cluing was almost aggressive in emphasizing older-skewing trivia. I don't mind trivia in my puzzles - after all, it's part of crosswords' rewarding broad-but-shallow knowledge bases - but the volume and the single-minded focus was tedious.

@Anon 9:46 - I noticed the Bob Hope / RAYE mismatch as well. I'm pretty sure it happened earlier this week, too. Given that the choice of first, last or full name is a longstanding crossword convention flagging what should be filled in for the answer, I consider this kind of cluing eminently unfair. I hope that this doesn't mark the start of a trend.

Brendan JS 1:05 PM  

Thought GABE was a bit misleading, given the clue--corresponding to the sitcom names Vinnie and Boom Boom, it should have been MRC or KOTTER. NW corner crushed me, too. Never heard of a FLINTLOCK, but with SHEARED close by (thinking sheep), I imagined what a piggy-Latin LINTFLOCK might be: all that's left of the sheep (lint) after they've been shorn :)

evil doug 1:16 PM  

You younger people should deposit a little more history into your banks of knowledge. Adlai E. Stevenson--AES, now don't forget it--was a witty genius who twice ran for president as the Democratic nominee. He lost to Ike both times, and was briefly in the running again in 1960. He served America honorably in a variety of roles, notably as our U.N. rep in those challenging cold war years.

Cut and paste in The Google, since I can't be bothered to learn how to create links:

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0205.html

mathgent 1:26 PM  

I just finished today's LATimes puzzle, also by Barry Silk. Like the NYT work, very few threes -- 8. What a great trend! The only ancient reference I noticed was to Irene Castle. Another fine puzzle, but not Saturday-tough. More like a NYT Wednesday or Thursday.

@Maruchka: It's not in a box car, but Swan Oyster Depot is on Polk. It's funky enough --no tables. All 18 seats are at a counter. It makes our top hundred list every year. But I think that the menu is all seafood. There was a boxcar-like restaurant here but it was on Lombard.

JC66 2:12 PM  

@ Anne

He was always known as Adlai E. Stevenson.

Just like Thomas E. Dewey and Alfred E. Newman

Lewis 2:16 PM  

@stevej -- Well, at least the KERN clue didn't involve Jerome!

Arlene 2:16 PM  

I also surrendered to the NW corner. I was down to the V and J of DAVY JONES but was on Indian territory in my mind, wondering about some NAVAJO pop culture idol. Fortunately, I know not to waste too much time on lost causes.
I do agree about the generation focus of the puzzle - (why was I humming Big Rock Candy Mountain after entering IVES) - anything that includes ETIQUETTE is definitely from a by-gone era, for better or worse.

Maruchka 2:18 PM  

@SteveJ - Thanks, it IS the Grubstake. @mathgent - Thanks, LOVE crab. Will check it out.

michael 2:24 PM  

Perhaps in part because I fit the puzzle's demographic, I found this easy (even without the usual qualification of "for a Saturday.") But as some as previous commenter said, some of these answer/clues (Martha Raye. Benny Goodman, Donald Gets Drafter, Luise Rainer) are for a generation or two older than me and have to be regarded as "historical."

Side note: For me some contemporary or semi-contemporary clues (rappers' names, Simpson characters, recent songs) are crosswordsese-- that is; things I know from crossword puzzles only. Not all that different in this sense from the Maleska days, just different.

old timer 2:30 PM  

I had wanted to add, my family once stayed at the BOATEL in Oakland, the night before a train trip down the coast to LA. Funky, fairly priced, with the constant noise of trains all night.It's been greatly remodeled and is now completely different -- more expensive for sure and probably with better soundproofing.

@mathgent well describes the legendary Swan Oyster Depot -- fish only, I think, and a lot of customers follow raw oysters with oyster stew or clam chowder, all washed down by a beer or two. You sit at the counter and revel in the tradition of it all. The patty melt definitely came from Grubstake, a half-block off Polk. An absolutely *legendary* late night hangout, much favored by the gay community in its day, but everyone is welcome and just about everybody goes when in the mood for burgers and other diner food, washed down by excellent coffee. The new owners (who also own a *different* restaurant featuring oysters), promise nothing at Grubstake will ever change.

Fred Romagnolo 2:43 PM  

@Mathgent: I believe the Hope-Raye comparison was making reference to her tireless efforts to entertain the troops. Also they made a movie together, which also contained a newcomer named Betty Grable! Benny Goodman made one of the finest recordings of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, proving he wasn't just a jazz man (super-hero, actually). Merle Reagle brought me back to doing crosswords. After years of looking down on them because I was an anacrostic nut, my then teen-age son asked for help with a Reagle puzzle, which appear in our Sunday Chronicle, and I got hooked. No one had a better sense of humor than he. God, he'll be missed. I just hope they'll do re-runs of his work indefinitely. As to today's golden oldie, what a joy to this old old timer! I'm older than the boomers, I was 13 at the end of the war. Oliver PLATT was my last entry.

Dave in Ancaster 3:12 PM  

Hey, I'm 63 and had a DNF thanks to the NW corner. Guess Davy Jones was no idol for me.

Unknown 3:17 PM  

This boomer found the 60's material to be of no advantage whatsoever. IVES? DAVYJONES? Not merely HEINZ but ya gotta know his initials, too?? Finished the NW last.

Mohair Sam 3:19 PM  

@Steve J and @Anon 9:46 - Yeah, I'll throw my hand up in annoyance at the two word Bob Hope clue versus one word RAYE answer. And Steve is right, that breaking of crossword convention was done earlier in the week as well. Saturdays are tough enough without this kind of head fake, let's trust it was just an anomaly.

Anoa Bob 3:20 PM  

If you didn't check out the Benny Goodman clip, do so now. Best clarinet player ever. And there's Gene Krupa on the drums and Lionel Hampton on the vibes. Wow.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson was considered an intellectual, a rarity among politicians, and was referred to by his detractors as an "Egghead". That went on to become a disparaging term for someone who these days would be a called a geek or nerd.

One of Peter Sellers' three roles in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove", President Merkin Muffley, was based on AES. Here's Muffley & here's Stevenson.

I can't find this on YouTube, but the Soviet Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski told President Muffley that he knew about some super secret nuclear weapons information that was unknown even to top Pentagon brass. When Muffley asked incredulously how on earth the Ambassador had found out, he leaned over and whispered in the President's ear "I read about it in the New York Times"!

Dave in Ancaster 3:38 PM  

Further Canuck comment: there's a www.boatel.ca for a watery Toronto experience.

r.alphbunker 3:39 PM  

My condolences to Merl's family.

@Melodius Funk
I totally agree about the greatness of the Gridlock puzzle. I found a link to the PDF version here. If each of the cars in the grid could be rented and driven to his funeral or memorial service they could be lined up as they were in the puzzle.

weingolb 3:42 PM  

Liked it. Old-fashioned, yes, but in a solvable, interesting way that allowed me to learn a lot with any googling. Only real problem is the "Old-fashioned" clue for opening letters, which @Mohair Sam raises. So why is STEAM old-fashioned? What is today's way? Anyone?

I'll take SERENADER over the green paint often applied Saturdays. The fill is tight. Not a hint of a IMNOTSOSURE or a BOUNCEHOUSE.

Chip Hilton 3:48 PM  

As a member of the 60+ contingent, I can say, yeah, I enjoyed this. I can also agree with Rex on the creakiness of it all although that didn't dawn on me during the solve. I don't get the Bob Hope/ Martha RAYE comparison. He was restrained and acerbic, she a frantic mugger.

I liked all the J's and Z's.

Evan Jordan 4:24 PM  

Agree about the Kotter/Kaplan-Character-conundrum.

johnnymcguirk 5:14 PM  

There was no fu to anyone. It was a crossword puzzle, lighten up . Your sanctimony is pathetic. "I'm right, they're wrong and if you disagree you're an idiot." Rex Parker, the Donald Trump of crosswords.

Spoiler admonishment 5:39 PM  

@mathgent - please refrain from discussing answers to other puzzles. just because you've done them doesn't mean we all have.

Masked and Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Merl Reagle was my crossword hero. He taught me how to construct, via the "Word Play" flick, as I'm sure he did for a lotta folks. I still use the empty grid on a piece of paper technique. Loved his punny-style weekly puzs, also. Thanx for everything, Mr. Reagle.
Sincere condolences to his family.

Superb NYT. Easy-ish for me, as I am an old fart. Snowman's-worth of U-count! (8)
themelessthUmbsUp.
Thanx, Mr. Silk.

Epic non-? (let alone non-double-??) clue and answer at today's Saturday Stumper puz: see 23-Down! har

M&A

Nancy 7:34 PM  

Today's solve, continued: Bingo! Came home, had some guacamole, (still don't know what I'm doing about dinner), but walking away from the puzzle all day enabled me to solve it just now. When I left this a.m., I was naticking on the DAVY JONES, IVES, JOANNE crosses. I also had REOS instead of GEOS for 8D, BANE instead of JINX at 22A, BAND QUARTET instead of JAZZ QUARTET at 22D and I was looking for a synonym for "itchy" at 28A. All I had in the NW quadrant was IDEA, RAYE, AES, and EYESHADOW. And I was looking for OLDS or FORD rather than BENZ at 32A.

I had problems earlier that I solved before going out: RIDES instead of ACRES at 10A, giving me RECOUNT instead of ACCOUNT at 10D.

For me, this was a bear of a puzzle. I thought there were too many names in the NW, but I didn't hate the puzzle. I grudgingly enjoyed it, actually, in a masochistic kind of way. Now I'm going to read you all, which I couldn't do earlier. (Though maybe I should eat first.)

Leapfinger 7:35 PM  

Very sad news about Merl Reagle's passing. @Melodious F, thanks for pointing to his Grid-Lock puzzle.

Most everything's been said, so I'll just add myself to those who enjoyed the stroll down Memory Lane, and had a silky solve gradually unfold to gentle pressure.

Noticed we had ALDRIN yesterday and get ABUZZ today. The DONALD is back again, as is SERENA DER Williams... and GABE Kotter, very cute.

Nice pairing to have an IDEA about IKEA, and a TERN with a KERN. I'm another who went back to Jerome, and it didn't hurt A BIT. (You must have been a beautiful baby!)

New (I think): BOATEL. Remember, at one time Motel was a clever new contraction of 'motor hotel'.

Old: M_ARIEL's Old Man wrote a sea story about some TUNER fishing in a BOAT (no EL, but not much bigger than a CANOE). In the end, the TUNER MELTS, hemming away.

Older: Did Lizzie's parents bemoan her BORDEN-house reach? I axe you.

Even Older: FLINT_LOCK. Didn't that happen down in Michigan?

UNREEL admission: Gee, I BET EYESHADOW GI JANE a BIT TOO MANY times for ETIQUETTE.

So I guess the PUNNER DONNE PUNDIT for the day. Hope nobody got the BENZ.
(Say WHAT, A JOKE??)

I was a BIT disappointed that hoodoo wasn't one of those rock pillars you find in the desert, but finding JELLYBEANS at the end made me unreasonably happy. Evenso, I thought the most interesting words were a couple of partials in the center: PLATTyhelminthes and asaFETIDa. I wasn't looking to learn more about flatworms, but did browse around for asaFETIDa, a foul-smelling herb that oddly turns fragrant with cooking. The ancient Romans apparently knew this, and it's still used extensively in some countries today. Some interesting background and a couple of recipes are available:

https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200904/devil.s.dung-the.world.s.smelliest.spice.htm

For a back-up factoid: Brother JUNIPER (Fra Ginepro in Italian), died 1258, was known as 'the renowned jester of the Lord'. He was a follower of St. Francis of Assisi, who apparently said " Would that I had a whole forest of such Junipers".

Apparently, St. Francis was a PUNNER.

Happy weekend,all.

Nancy 7:44 PM  

Because I had avoided reading any of you, as well as Rex, I didn't see in my last post just now that the prevailing opinion is that this puzzle skews old and that the harder one finds it, the younger you are! Yay!!!! I found it very, very, very, VERY hard, which must mean that I'm very, very, very, VERY young! :)

Z 8:48 PM  

GABE Kaplan played GABE Kotter, so that clue is fine. Bob Hope --> RAYE would be a no-no except it was sorta a quote - Nah, it's just a no-no. Worse - this. Or maybe track is beginning to emulate the Triple Crown?

chefbea 9:03 PM  

Very nice article from the Tampa Bay Times

http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/crossword-creator-merl-reagle-dies-in-tampa-at-age-65/2242415

Teedmn 9:08 PM  

@Leapfinger, thanks for the information on asafœtida. I bought an Indian cookbook awhile back and went out and bought ACRES of spices listed as essential at a local store specializing in that cuisine. AsaFŒTIDa was on the list, but it came in a container different from the usual spice jar, closer to an aspirin bottle. At home, I opened it up to check it out - I never did use it in a recipe because it wasn't at all appealing but now I know better! On the other hand, I don't cook Indian often - too labor-intensive.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:12 PM  

Adding my shock and sorrow at the loss of Merl Reagle.

My paper hadn't arrived by the time I left for the beach this morning, so I only did the puzzle tonight.

One write-over, 22 A, JIVE before JINX, and as you might infer from that, yes, the NW was the last section I completed.

As happens occasionally, one of my real, non-blog, names is in today's puzzle. But that's not so special with, by my quick count, 22 potential proper names included! Fot the sake of the under-80s, don't forget Jinx Falkenberg or Bode Miller!

OISK 11:00 PM  

I LOVED this puzzle, although it took me nearly an hour. After failing Tues. Wed. and Thurs., I really wanted to get through the weekend, and when I saw "Barry Silk" I was sure I would. I love his cluing. "Doesn't pass the bar..." Just the perfect kind of Saturday clue that one eventually gets "Oh, THAT kind of bar!!". That's the real fun for me. The "Aha" moment. I get more of those from Mr. Silk and Mr. Berry than from any other constructors.

OK - I am nearly 70, but that didn't help at all with Davy Jones. But the hostility from the young'uns is strange. Thanks, Barry!!

bwalker 12:50 AM  

Drat! I realized after a busy day that I hadn't done the puzzle. I raced through in record Saturday time, and finished about five minutes after the Sunday puzzle published, so the streak ends at unlucky thirteen. Start over.

The grid filled quickly starting SE, then NE, SW, and ended in the NW. Great clues. I liked FLINTLOCK, ETIQUETTE, CHANNEL SURF, RUN AGROUND, JUNIPER OIL, and JAZZ QUARTET. Lots of fun, and I thought even a little easy.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Easier for me than Friday, but I'm old and white and meh!

Torb 11:38 AM  

NW got me. Filled in the rest without problems. Darn it!

Torb 11:43 AM  

Wah Wah Wah

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

This was an Easy/Medium for me but I DNF. I left #27 blank as I didn't know Platt and would never have thought of Punner. Hey, that's OK by me. It was a good work-out with a lot of misdirects. Only had one lookup and that was Joanne Rowling. Actually, that lookup helped quite a bit in the last corner I finished.

Thank you again Mr. Barry Silk.

Ron Diego, CA

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

HJHEINZ? Really? WHATAJOKE! Got it only by crosses.
BOATEL PUNDIT
Do TOOMANY IRISHJIGS in a CANOE and for SURE you will rock her,
If you don’t CEASE ETIQUETTE like that – POOF! It’s DAVYJONES’ locker.
--- JOANNE LUISE PUNNER
Would “Lizzie” as a clue be too easy on Saturday for BORDEN?

rondo 1:04 PM  

Definitely tough for me and almost gave up in the NW. If not for the NZ I might not have gotten __HEINZ; The HJ came by way of the refrigerator, not your typical reference source. Does that make a DNF?

GIJANE will always be yeah baby Demi for me, soaked tshirt and all.

Not recalling whether 4 or 5, JAZZQU__TET waited a while for crosses. Coulda been IN or AR, right?

No CHANNELSURFing this weekend as it is a glorious weekend in east-central MN. There will be TOOMANY CANOEs on the St. Croix, and there is a BOATEL not far from here. Hope I don’t RUNAGROUND in my kayak. Need some relaxation after this workout of a puz.

spacecraft 6:43 PM  

Started at Scrabble Central; like @rondo I waited for the ensemble count. But Q-something it SURE was, and that got me into the middle with Miss Manners--and the mis-remembered Oliver PrATT. At that moment I'd have testified in a court of law his name was PrATT. This caused considerable hardship in the NE, and my other misadventure didn't help matters. "One fixing flats?" Why, the sUpER, naturally! Oh, my mistake. The super SAYS he's GOING to fix your flat (apartment)--but he never actually gets around to it! Shoulda known. Took a while to get those two corrected.

One other, minor blip: My "besmirched" was mARRED before it was TARRED. The feathering comes next, and completes, apparently, the besmirchment. Parts of this were, by turns, easy, medium, and challenging. Guess it works out to a medium.

"Scrabblewocky" abounds, which is cool if not too forced (which it isn't here; c'mon, this is the Silkster we're dealing with). @M&A, I knew, is happy with the U's; even the RD (random direction) contains a W. Total Scrabble count is an astounding 377. Pangram? But of course. I have never seen, let alone stayed at, a BOATEL, but the clue implied the word. As Spock would say, "Fascinating." A-.

Waxy in Montreal 6:49 PM  

Poof! Silky smooth Saturday sailing (right into the BOATEL?) for this septuagenarian. Off to raid the JELLYBEAN jar...

Waxy in Montreal 6:59 PM  

In keeping with une leçon learnt long ago à l'école, the other final word of "O Canada" is droits as in "Protégera nos foyers et nos droits", the final line of the official French version.

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