Jazz trumpeter Jones / SAT 8-15-15 / Glaziers supplies / Recipient of Argus's 100 eyes in myth / Peter Fonda cult film about acid experience / Relatives of Winnebagos / Singer-actress once called Black Venus / Group started as Jolly Corks / Italian admiral for whom several ships were named / Iconoclast stiflers

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Lola FALANA (35A: Singer/actress once called the "Black Venus") —
Loletha Elayne "Lola" Falana (born September 11, 1942 in Camden, New Jersey) is an American singer, dancer, and actress. [...] While dancing in a nightclub, Falana was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr., who gave her a featured role in his 1964 Broadway musical Golden Boy. Her first single, "My Baby", was recorded for Mercury Records in 1965. Later in her career she recorded under Frank Sinatra's record label. In the late 1960s Falana was mentored by Davis. In 1966 Davis cast her, along with himself, Ossie Davis, and Cicely Tyson, in her first film role in the film, A Man Called Adam. // Falana became a major star of Italian cinema beginning in 1967. In Italy she learned to speak fluent Italian while starring in three movies, the first of which was considered a spaghetti western. She was known as the "Black Venus". During this time she was busy touring with Davis as a singer and dancer, making films in Italy, and reprising her role in Golden Boy during its revival in London. // In 1969 Falana ended her close working relationship with Sammy Davis Jr., though the two remained friends. "If I didn't break away," Lola told TV Guide, "I would always be known as the little dancer with Sammy Davis Jr. ... I wanted to be known as something more." The previous year, Sammy Davis Jr. was divorced by his second wife, May Britt, after Davis admitted to having had an affair with Falana. // In 1970, Falana made her American film debut in The Liberation of L.B. Jones and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress for her performance. That same year she posed for Playboy magazine. She was the first black woman to model for a line of cosmetics that was not targeted solely at blacks, in the successful Faberge Tigress perfume ads. In those early years, she also starred in a few movies considered to be of the blaxploitation genre. She appeared at the Val Air Ballroom sponsored by Black Pride, Inc., in 1978. // American TV audiences became familiar with Falana during the early 1970s. She often appeared on The Joey Bishop Show and The Hollywood Palace, displaying her talent for music, dance, and light comedy. These appearances led to more opportunities. // She was the first supporting player hired by Bill Cosby for his much-anticipated variety hour, The New Bill Cosby Show, which made its debut on September 11, 1972 (her 30th birthday) on CBS. Cosby had met Falana in his college days, when he was a struggling comic and she was a 14-year-old dancing for $10 a show in Philadelphia nightclubs.[citation needed] Throughout the mid-1970s Falana made guest appearances on many popular TV shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Muppet Show, Laugh-In and The Flip Wilson Show. She also starred in her own television specials. // In 1975 her disco record "There's A Man Out There Somewhere" reached #67 on the Billboard R&B chart. That same year, she returned to Broadway as the lead in the musical Doctor Jazz. Although the production closed after just five performances, Lola was nominated for a Tony Award and won the 1975 Theater World Award. // With help from Sammy Davis, Falana brought her act to Las Vegas and became a top draw there. By the late 1970s, she was considered the Queen of Las Vegas. She played to sold-out crowds at The Sands, The Riviera, and the MGM Grand hotels. Finally The Aladdin offered her $100,000 a week to perform. At the time, Falana was the highest paid female performer in Las Vegas. Her show ran twenty weeks a year and became a major tourist attraction. // While still playing to sell-out crowds in Las Vegas, Falana joined the cast of a short-lived CBS soap opera, Capitol, as Charity Blake, a wealthy entertainment mogul. In 1983, Falana was appearing at Bally's hotel and casino in Atlantic City and, while playing baccarat, won a minority stake in the New York Mets, a stake she held until she sold it in 1988 for 14 million dollars to Frank Cashen. [emph. mine wtf!?] //  [...] From 1971 to 1975, Lola Falana was married to Feliciano “Butch” Tavares, one of five brothers of the popular R&B band Tavares. (wikipedia)
• • •

Tough without being much fun. Low word-count puzzles can get dicey, and while this one holds up pretty well for a 62-worder, it shows the strain and lack of sparkliness that most sub-68s show. THOUGHT POLICE is the only real winning entry (37A: Iconoclast stiflers). The rest just ... work. Reasonably well. Without too much grid trauma. But they don't entertain. They do, however, give a workout, and for some, that's what Saturdays are all about. The clues were highly vague and/or misdirectional, so I struggled quite a bit—in every quadrant but one (the SE, which mostly just filled itself in). In fact, at first, things looked bleak. Very bleak.

No, I don't know what I was thinking with TRAE, and I'll thank you not to ask. I think I had RETORT where TOUCHÉ was supposed to go, so I had maybe TREY as the 19A: Jazz trumpeter Jones (?). And I figured John Wayne something-ED UP to the bar. MOSEYED or the like. It was really the "with 'to'" in the 5-Down John Wayne clue that gave me the terminal "UP," which in turn gave me PEACOCK (which I probably would've gotten anyway, as my Greek mythology game is reasonably tight). I then proceeded to make some more mistakes, like CUT-UPS for PUT-ONS at 24A: Pranks and PASS ... OVER? PASS ... something I forget. Definitely *not* PASSER-BY, that's for sure. But I got GOAFTER FALANA CAL KNIFE-something pretty quickly, and then the SE fell with not much sweat.

Sweat came first, a little, in the NE, where I had to get DORIA piece by piece (14A: Italian admiral for whom several ships were named zzzzzz), and where I had to struggle to figure out that it was the MEAL that was HOT. And also the whole PASSER-BY stuff. So minor struggles there. More major struggles in the SW, where, despite getting a nice in with THOUGHT POLICE ...

... I had issues. Got CARTIER and OVOIDS but still got nowhere. So much so that I pulled OVOIDS. The ELKS clue was meaningless to me (52A: Group started as the Jolly Corks). I had that as ELIS for a bit. PUTTIES was baffling (34D: Glaziers' supplies). The "Apollo" in 28D: Apollo collection could've gone a lot of ways. God ways. Theater ways. "Rocky" ways. Or space ways. Having 27D: Sturm und Drang be a singular answer, that was rough. And lots of stuff is considered for college admission, so SAT SCORE, shrug, sure. Yes. True. Connection between sigma as SUM not known to me. Thought APOP could be EACH ('cause technically, it could) (33A: Per). Really loved (tough) clue on SENTRIES (41A: Ones with halting speech?). Somehow (from PUTTIES, I think, ironically), I finally got a head of steam in there.

That left the NW, which brutalized me. THAD? IN CLOSE? TAUCROSS? (15A: Symbol of the Franciscan order). All shrugs. Thought ASTI could be MOET (because, again, it could) (1D: Bubbly option). Thought OTOS might be UTES. Parsing ACTASONE, hoo boy. Rough (1A: Not diverge). Once I solved the oddness that was IN CLOSE, I pretty much had this one by the horns. But that "U" at TAUCROSS / TOUCHÉ was the last thing to fall. Big "D'oh!" on TOUCHÉ. Still, rough stuff. Puzzle was a worthy, if somewhat tedious, adversary.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Easy-medium for me with the north a tad tougher than the south.  Knowing THE TRIP and TEXAS TEA ( Beverly Hillbillies anyone?) helped.   This was actually easier for me than the Fri. LAT which, @CJ from Green Bay, was themed.

Erasures: Apia before SUVA and @Rexretort before TOUCHÉ. No WOEs. 

Took a while to see PEN CAPS.  

Less dreck than yesterday's but, I agree with Rex, not quite as much fun.  A solid Sat., liked it.

Evan Jordan 12:34 AM  

Just as Rex mentioned, this is what Saturday's are all about to me. The fun is in the tough. Really slow start, but the spacing of my successes was so evenly spread I was able break it open quickly once a certain threshold was... well, crossed.
Bizarre chance discovery: last night I started working the Fri-Sat-Sun of the iOS app's back catalog. It's goes back to November '93 but I started at 1/1/94 for a nice clean date I guess. Anyway, right before today's puzzle became available, I'd just finished Sunday Jan 2nd 1994. I haven't counted yet, but there were at least three or four specific, individualistic clues that were indentical or shared key components. Not fill, not crosswordese, but real stand-alone clues. If anyone is bored tonight, dig the 1/2/94 puzzle out and let me know if I'm just going crossword crazy.

DesperatePickle 1:08 AM  

For what it's worth, SUVA is no longer the largest city in the South Pacific, or even on Fiji.

Music man 1:26 AM  

Yeah, no. Tough. Brain=fried. Awesome. Had TTS, which is a thing too, text to speech, associated with GPSs, but I was wondering how tHE BEARS was a legitamite answer even if both teams are from Chicago, but sure. I'm really off my game as of late. I've never ached for a Sunday as bad as right now lol [:)]

Martin 2:11 AM  


At 791 square miles, Suva is the largest city in the South Pacific by area. Aukland, for comparison, is 419 square miles. Los Angeles is 503 square miles. The Wikipedia article is clear: Suva is the second most populated municipality in Fiji and the largest city in the South Pacific.

George Barany 5:21 AM  

Nice to see @Jeff Chen take a gander at a relatively low word-count themeless. He even gets to wear two hats over at xwordinfo.com, by providing both constructor commentary ... well worth reading ... and the imprimatur of the site's host.

How can one not love (and be surprised by) SMART_ASS in a New York Times puzzle, yet we learn that phrase was debuted several years ago by @Timothy Polin. In all, there are only six Shortz era debut words in this puzzle: HOT_MEAL, EMERGENCY_MEAL, and THOUGHT_POLICE going across, and PEN_CAPS, UPHEAVAL, and KNIFE_BAR going down.

Two clues, 16-across and 49-across, seem to be screaming baseball (Jays, Cubs), yet go somewhere else. The HEXA clue evokes a brilliant puzzle called "Give Me a Ring" that @Jeff did recently (6/26/2015) for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The clue for ORDER_OUT just might be a subliminal hint for dinner, later tonight. The EMERGENCY_ROOM clue was fabulous.

Wrapping up, Google just saved me from appearing like a total idiot. There actually is something called the "Big Game" -- an annual football rivalry game played by the California Golden Bears of UC Berkeley, i.e., CAL, and the Stanford Cardinal team of Stanford University. Now, I don't blame @Jeff Chen for knowing that, given that he is a Stanford alum, but how is that clue fair to the rest of us? I certainly spent quite a bit of time in a fruitless effort to figure out how to work in the annual Army vs. Navy game.

Thomaso808 6:26 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Awesome looking grid! In my wheelhouse because I finished in less than half my average Sat time. Gimmes: DOLE, HANSOLO, EARLYMAN in the NE, SATSCORE, SUM, CARTIER in the SW, TAUCROSS, ASTI in the NW, and TEXASTEA, HEXA in the SE.

Must have been an off night for OFL. I enjoyed the misdirection of many of the clues, especially for EMERGENCYROOM, SENTRIES, SHEBEARS, PASSERBY, and ORDEROUT.

In his write-up on Xwordinfo, Jeff Chen explains how his abuse of PENCAPS got him kicked out of Chinese school. That adds a little retroactive humor to the clue "Call for Chinese, say".

Jeff also talks about how hard it is to complete a low word count themeless and how much time he spent on this one. Well, I for one thoroughly enjoyed this one. Well done and thanks, Jeff!

Loren Muse Smith 6:31 AM  

This was brutally hard for me But… I finished. Completely finished with zero help, and yes, I'm bragging. But man oh man, it was a fight.

Rex - my first thought on 1D was "brut." And I also was thinking "each" for A POP and "utes" for OTOS.

Other goofs:

"Guam" for SUVA
"'brut," "sere," "rose" before I revisited the clue and saw it was a noun. NOSE.
"cheer" for CHANT
"caps," "hats" for FURS
"sidled up" before STRODE UP (didn't really even know what "sidling up" looks like, so I googled it. Ok, it's a kind of a sneaky move. Fond memories of watching my Newfoundland, Beverly Ann, trying to sneak up on our cat, Wilson. 185-pound goofballs just don't have a sidling gear.)

Entries whose clues gave me a satisfying aha moment: PEN CAPS, BIRDERS, and EMERGENCY ROOM. I also love it when the clue tricks me into seeing the wrong part of speech – "witness" was a noun!

@jae – yep. Thanks, Beverly Hillbillies, for TEXAS TEA.

I finally got a KNIFE BAR a couple of years ago and kick myself for not getting one sooner. Brilliant thing, that.

One wrong answer that I actually thought might be right – "Kiss" for ELKS. (I still had a desperate S for the final Apollo collection.) Can you imagine the announcer at Madison Square Garden shouting out, "Ladies and gentlemen….the moment you've all been waiting for…. The Jolly Corks!!" and having Gene Simmons and his buddies explode angrily onto the stage?

One answer I entertained because I had Nothing for so long – those things you remove before signing were "mittens." Makes sense, right? So then I sat and wondered what people who use American Sign Language do if they're wearing mittens or those really thick snow gloves.

This was my favorite kind of Saturday – really, really hard but doable if you just stick with it. Loved it!

bwalker 7:59 AM  

Record streak finishing today's puzzle! I had BoRDER for BIRDER, and so had DoTSY for DITSY, as the final clues to fall. They made sense using tortured logic until I traded DoTS for DITS.

One of my first bosses was a registered public surveyor in Midland. Looking for TEXAS TEA, we plottied well locations on giant GRIDS in the Permian Basin. He was an ELK and said all ELKS lodges had bars in them to honor their original name, The Jolly Corks. I thought it was to get drunk. Ah, good times!

I enjoyed today's puzzle. Lots of tough clues and wicked misdirects. The THOUGHT POLICE would have had a field day listening to me fume.

evil doug 8:01 AM  

Gee, could you tell us a little more about Lola Falana next time? Thought I was lost in a Matt Esquare saga for a minute....

Lots of fun here: Dole's maze, Doria's source, peacock, John Wayne and Han Solo, Peter Fonda minus the customary Ulee, thought police atop sentries with army psa's, Winnebagos that aren't vehicles, Jolly Corks, upheaval, errata and smartass SATs, putties and pencaps....

Worthwhile hour invested in this one. Very nice.

William C 8:14 AM  

Sheesh! Never mind Cal-Stanford and Army-Navy. Everyone knows that the BIG GAME is Harvard-Yale. And 30D shoulda been ELI. ;-)

Susierah 8:22 AM  

Really, really hard! Proud of what I got, but after 55 minutes I knew I was not going to finish. But I expect Saturday to test me. Big, big dnf.

Teedmn 8:26 AM  

I loved this puzzle, because like @LMS, I successfully solved it though I was very uncertain of the outcome when I started. It didn't help that yesterday I had had my SMART ASS handed to me by the at-home version of the Lollapuzzoola #4. Feeling like I had an OVOID where my brain is supposed to be, I began this puzz with trepidation and was SHORTly proven correct - all my crossword prowess was gone. I knew 32A was TEN and there was an S at the cross of 20D and 41A and that's it. Wandering down to the SE, HEXA gave me my first real toehold and the rest is history. Even finished in an average to fast time.

As @George Barany pointed out, I loved that neither 16A nor 49A were actually sports related. I had two total ahas with EARLY MAN off the N and PEACOCK off the P and K which was gratifying. Loved SENTRIES clue, seeing UPHEAVAL, and found the NW the toughest, like @Rex, though another aha moment, CROSS, is the only reason I was able to get anywhere there. I was considering ambled UP for 5D but managed to get EMERGENCY ROOM before putting anything in there so the past tense clue ending in E gave me STRODE and there I sat. So CROSS, thanks. I didn't put in 'ceo' at 8D, or CHeer for CHANT so some possible grief was OVOIDed.

Thanks, Jeff Chen, for a classic Saturday and the restoration of my confidence (sort of, still mourning yesterday's defeat).

Carola 8:33 AM  

I'm with @loren - this was everything I want in a Saturday. Challenging - and how! - but ultimately yielding.

Initial impression: bleakness. My first read-through of all the clues produced only one BOSC pear dangling in empty space. Gave myself a pep talk (not involving a CHANT, however) and came up with PSAS and SIRES, leading to TEXAS TEA. Perked up by that much success, I finished the SE quadrant. And then - yikes - was faced with three more to do. That center section was more like a barrier than a bridge for me: I tried to come up with a Greek mythological character whose name ended in K, didn't know FALANA, guessed at POLICE...but what kind??? Anyway. I agree with @Rex about the puzzle's being a worthy adversary but not at all about its being tedious - I really enjoyed the rasslin'.

@George Barany - re: Jays and Cubs: I got the SHE BEAR first and so was sure the complementary entry would have to be for the team, even after I had B____R. One of the many clues that faked me out.

Glimmerglass 8:43 AM  

A really good, hard puzzle. As Rex noted, a workout, for some, is what Saturday is all about. This, I thought, was very challenging, and I feel great that I finished with only one error (tHE BEARS). It's interesting to me that Rex found it tedious. I'm sure that's because Rex is all about speed. If one likes to drive at 75 MPH, 30 MPH on a narrow country road feels like crawling along, and that might strike some as tedious. For others, the blue highways have their own appeal. SHE BEARS is a much better answer than mine; if I'd gone just a bit slower, I might have seen it.

AliasZ 8:44 AM  

I loved this one from beginning to end. Tough, tough, tough, but with some perseverance and with the distraction of a dramatic baseball game and the hilarious Marx Brothers silliness in "Duck Soup" on TCM, I finished in record slow time.

My first entries were Moet, CHANT, THAD (I still have a Thad Jones/Mel Lewis album somewhere), BOSC (I know no other four-letter pear variety), cUTupS, RTE, SUM, APOP, Fabergé, and that's it. Plus some S's sitting on the bottom stair steps. The A in THAD and the C in cutups gave me something-ARC for the searchlight. That led me astray in the NW, while watching the Yanks beat the Jays got me stuck on baseball in the NE forever. But it eventually all straightened out.

And this in a nutshell describes why I loved this puzzle. Not made-up words, not a SHORT TON of trivia (very few today) but words crossing other words. How neat is that?

The only iffy phrase I thought was LIEABOVE. LIEABOut didn't quite match the clue either as a lazy person or as not telling the truth regarding your age, but LIE ABOVE does not sound to me as a solid stand-alone phrase. Rather, it describes Nepal's position relative to India on a map.

Loved TAU CROSS, UPHEAVAL, MOON ROCK, PEN CAPS, etc. and the KNIFE BAR to which John Wayne STRODE UP and said "Howdy, pilgrims."

Let me close with this little gem by Pierre PASSERBY (active around 1509 – 1547).

Thank you Jeff for an enjoyable Friday evening.

Pete 9:08 AM  

It played easy for a Saturday to me, clearly due to several lucky guesses right off the bat. I expected to see complaints about FALANA, which somehow came to my mind after not too long, but I thought was a piece of ephemera unique to my advanced age, +/- a few years.

I agree that the wow factor was low, but so was the groan factor, and at the age where you actually remember Lola Falana, one doesn't expect wows that often, life is based on minimizing the groans. So, thanks Jeff.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

Too tough for me. Loved the clue for emergency room!! Have always had a knife bar but nary a place to put it in the kitchen of our new house. So puzzle husband uses it for screwdrivers and other tools

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Terrible! Impossible! DNF!

DrLee77 9:31 AM  

I was amazed at how much in my ballpark this Jeff Chen puzzle was. First clue was DOLE from reading Hawaii in Jr high school. 2nd drop was EARLY_MAN. As a biologist and physician paleoanthropology is on my reading list. The clue for EMERGENCY_ROOM was inspired. In my 37 years as internal medicine specialist in small town hospitals, I was fortunate to have participated in many successful revivals. (Unfortunately, far more don't make it.)

@jae and @Loren Muse Smith; Ditto for the Beverly Hillbillies which was the source of Newton Minnow's famous 1960's description of TV as "A Vast Wasteland"

@Loren Muse Smith Thank you for an excellent and fun LA Times puzzle last week

@Rex Your review was pretty on target but I agree with @Evan Jordan that this is what Saturday puzzles are supposed to be.

@George Baranay I had the same reaction for a minute or so about Jays clue. By the time I got to the Cubs clue the misdirefction didn' get to me.

Andrew Morrison 9:36 AM  

Wow. Second time this week I thought a puzzle was easy, only to find it rated hard. I fell just short of my record Saturday time. The baseball misdirects (Jays, Cubs) were clever, although I'm not a big fan of SHEBEAR as an answer. NW and SE corners were a challenge, but I managed to infer enough answers (TAUCROSS? Ok, sure, why not?) to break through. I thought RP would comment positively on the absence of junk fill today. Guess not.

Prediction for next week? I will struggle mightily on at least two puzzles that the rest of the crew find dreadfully easy. So it goes.

dk 9:37 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

One did not need to be a 53a to solve this but it helped. Dummied up on GRIDS. I sent my little gray cells to the urgent care center and all was well. Other small errors but on the whole the solve went well. No real odd fill and I learned the ELKS used to be The Jolly Corks. Now I have the Beverly Hillbillies theme in my head thanks to 51a.

I am not sure what putty collection a glazier would have. That is to say I simply do not know. I am sure different situations call for different PUTTIES. I chortle as I think of a Dior collection - PUTTIES on the runway during fashion week

Did you know that 14% of us will go to the 21a in our life time and that 86% of the time the trip was unnecessary? Challenge is to consider alternatives at our 36a moments. Your PSA.

DeeJay 9:44 AM  

Hands up from those who briefly had "STUTTERS" before "SENTRIES."

Beautiful puzzle. Top ten of the year.

Hartley70 9:47 AM  

Wow, what a change from yesterday! This was a brute, and I tried to make BRUT work for a long time in the NW. The SW was fast, then the NE, but the NW was tough, and finally the SE felt impossible. I didn't know the Fonda movie, although I guessed TRIP, and I've never heard of TEXASTEA. I wanted loc or des instead of STS. ACUTEST feels like a medical product being shilled during an evening news COMMER CIAL. Hello Thursday! I stuck with errors, not ERRATA, making SMARTASS the last to fall and making me feel like the back end of said beast. This took me 4 minutes over my usual Saturday time, but there was so much mental STURM AND DRANG involved it felt like an hour. Gee thanks Jeff. I liked it!

DrLee77 9:47 AM  

Wow good Xword day for 35 across. Lola FALANA's full name is in the LA Times today clueas being in Golden Boy discov ered by Sammy Davis Jr.

Mohair Sam 9:48 AM  

What a terrific challenging Saturday. Only gimme for us was DOLE, then Mrs. M somehow remembered SUVA, then we sussed ORDEROUT and slowly battled this baby from there.

@Rex said he thought this wasn't "much fun", then proceeded to describe what a blast he had completing it. He saw THOUGHTPOLICE as the only winning entry, but we kinda liked TEXASTEA, STRODEUP, and the two baseball fan misdirects too. Had seLeNA for good old Lola FALANA for way too long, and cHAD for THAD cost us some time. Loved the EMERGNCYROOM clue. And troubled for a few minutes over whether ELKS (the Jolly Corks) would be Abba, Styx, ACDC, or Inxs.

@Rex - I'm sure by this time you've been reminded several times that you were not a math major.

Wonderful Saturday puzzle Jeff Chen - thank you.

GeezerJackYale48 9:52 AM  

I thought the puzzle was challenging, as did Rex, but I really enjoyed it, whereas he was less than thrilled. I don't know why options like asti/moet, utes/otos, each/apop, etc. annoyed him, nor why he shrugged at SAT score or Tau cross, or a whole lot of other stuff. Maybe it is just that he has seen it all, and seen it all too many times. I have not! I really enjoyed his writeup on Lola Falana: I fell in love with her back in the 70's'.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

This was an easy Saturday except for the NE section which was brutal and ugly. Esoterica (shortton, taucross, Thad Jones) and vague answers (actasone, in close) in this section made for an annoying finish to an otherwise breezy puzzle.

Karen 10:06 AM  

It was a loooong Saturday morning for me. I had CAVA (ASTI), FIZZ (NOSE), TAKEAWAY (ORDEROUT), and more. And I was punished for cheating, because when I Googled "jazz trumpeter Jones," it gave me SEAN instead of THAD. Grrrrr

NCA President 10:09 AM  

I'm with Rex here in that I felt the major obstacle to enjoyment for me was in the cluing.

[rant alert]

It always seems that each answer has a certain number of concentric circles of potential clues radiating out from easy to most difficult. The first circle is an easy, obvious clue making the answer a gimme. As you go further out, each progressively difficult clue is a riff on the easy one, i.e., this leads to that and then to that and then to that...and after a few of those you end up with some pretty obscure clues. Those clues follow logically, but by the time they get out to the nether regions of cluing, they're crazy and only dubiously related.

Take 8D, for instance. An explanation might go like this: ENS is the usual abbreviation of an entry-level naval officer. The next circle is to see that, as an entry-level officer, s/he might be "enterprising." Oh hey! that reminds me of my favorite TV show!" And so "enterprising" becomes "Enterprise." By simple word placement you can get the capital E! The next circle (and where, for me, it gets dicey) is that you can't use the word "officer" because that's a dead giveaway...so you use "position." Position? Yeah..."position" has corporate connotations and now you have Enterprise wrapped up in car rental land.

I think, to me, this is the kind of clues I hate the most. The ones that clearly have drifted off the beaten path into Obscure Land and are just enough removed that when the answer comes into view all of that drifting becomes apparent and it only makes me shake my head. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with that drift. But sometimes that drift is well...kind of like being adrift on the ocean. And while it seems to have logical connections, it's just too far. I think this is what editors are for...to pull you back into the land of reason.

Other candidates for the "obscure clue groan," are: 41A (Ones with halting speech?), 49A (Cubs' supporters, maybe), 18A (One letting off steam at a dinner table?), 37A (Iconoclast stiflers), 28D (Apollo collection), and others.

Again, I know it's Saturday and the cluing is going to be more challenging. But, as with most of my rants like this, it's a function of the accumulative effect. There were just too many of these. So I didn't enjoy it. Frankly, when things get this jiggy, I stop trusting it. Everything is tricky, everything is preciously clever.

And, like Rex said, then the puzzle just becomes work. I'm fine with that to some extent too...after all, I finished the damned thing (more out of morbid curiosity than anything)...but my god, somewhere there has to be a payoff. This one did not for me.

I'm sure it was wonderful for some of you. But I'm done with and moving on...

The Rhino 10:09 AM  

Just got back from Memphis. Fun city. Best part - there is a nice state park with campground 30 minutes from Beale Street. Worst part - Graceland costs $36 to get in. And that's the cheapest. For $77 you get to see the private planes. We bought ice cream and headed for home.

To the puzzle: Incredibly difficult for me but it all felt fair. HANSOLO was about the only gimme, everything else had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the grid. But I liked it all right, although I really wanted HOT dish instead of HOTMEAL. Again, I'm from small town Minnesota.

TonySaratoga 10:11 AM  

Ummm... What is?

cwf 10:18 AM  

I liked this a lot more than @Rex did, though I agree it was a struggle. Loved THOUGHTPOLICE. Coincidentally, I just last night happened to have watched Star Wars (though I do believe I would have gotten that one anyway). If you're a Star Wars nut and haven't seen it yet, check out the "Despecialized Edition", which attempts to reconstruct the film as it appeared when I saw it in the theater as a 10-year-old in 1977.

Chen is now solidly ensconced in the small group of constructors that elicit a "Woo Hoo!" whenever I see their byline. I guess he has been for a while, but in this venue and others, he has been knocking it out of the park of late. This had a quality I appreciate: seemingly impossible at first pass then falling one tiny bit at a time. I think I only had three filled in entries after going through all the clues the first time.

TonySaratoga 10:20 AM  

Sorry Rex. Absolutely loved. No garbage (only one trite throwaway in RTE). Great clues and answers for four letter entries. Very tough but doable. What's not to like? This is what a Saturday is meant to be.

cwf 10:22 AM  

By the way, for those asking, glaziers use Glazing Putty to secure window panes in their frames.

David 10:23 AM  

Definitely a work-out, but one I enjoyed a lot. My time was a little faster than my average Saturday, but since I had to legitimately work on most clues to one degree or another, it felt like a long-fought victory. Rex may be right that many of the individual answers weren't dazzling or ground-breaking, but the cluing felt very clever, the right mix of inscrutable/misleading and retroactively obvious. Coming at the answers from unexpected directions made regular answers feel more fresh. There were a couple spots where answers felt slightly disconnected, but nothing too bad, and overall I really enjoyed the solve.

Also, glad I am not the only one for whom PEACOCK was a quick gimme.

Hartley70 10:26 AM  

@dk that emergency room visit statistic sounded wonky to me, and indeed the CDC reports that the percentage of US adults visiting the ER at least once in ONE YEAR, is 20% of the population. And that number has been stable since 2000. It's clearly what many of us do on the odd Friday or Saturday night year in and year out, making the ER a pretty hoppin' joint, right @DrLee?

Whirred Whacks 10:27 AM  

In this day and age, sometimes the only way to deal with the THOUGHT POLICE is to be a SMART ASS.

Got DORIA because I remembered the two ships Andra DORIA and Stockholm colliding with one another off of Nantucket (1956). Great color cover stories on Life and Look magazines impressed my young mind.

@George Barany Most people who follow college football know the Stanford-CAL game is known as the "Big Game." The most famous one was in 1982 which featured "The Play" -- Cal's multi-lateral run through the Stanford band at the end of the game. That was John Elway's last college game. Stanford leads the series 60-46, and has won the last five games (because Cal has had really bad teams). Future president Herbert Hoover was the Stanford manager for the first game played in 1892.

Steve M 10:27 AM  

Brutal....hope the rest of my day is solvable lol

Nancy 10:51 AM  

I thought to myself as I was suffering through this very, very hard puzzle, that, if I solved it, I would be The Smartest Person in the World. Well, I'm not, but I can't believe how many of YOU are! Wow! And double wow! With much effort, I completed 3/4 of it, but the NW completely stymied me.

First toeholds: PSAS to SMART ASS. Then, TEN to somethingorother MAN. And from that M alone, believe it or not, I got EMERGENCY ROOM (I had been looking for a revival tent of some sort; great clue.) I thought the ER would crack the puzzle for me, but it wasn't enough.

I wanted John Wayne to come in on a horse (he's not supposed to walk!), but once I had EMERGENCY ROOM, there was an E instead of a D in front of UP and I couldn't think of any appropriate past tense verb that ended with an E. And I had ENE at 8D; I don't understand ENS at all. Can someone please explain?

A wonderful puzzle! Just too much puzzle for me. Again, sincere congrats to the many of you who finished.

JC66 11:33 AM  


If you're monitoring the comments, you should delete ones like @DrLee77's 9:47AM spoiler.

old timer 11:45 AM  

For some reason, Saturdays are always easier than Fridays for me. The SW and SE were full of gimmes, like CARTIER and MOONROCK, ERRATA SIRES PSAS, and in the middle I wanted PENCAPS from the start.In the otherwise easy NE, I confidently wrote in "Apia" before ORDEROUT set me straight. (Say, to people really "order out"? I know "order in" is a Thing in New York, where according to legend, many apartments have ovens and stovetops that are never used except maybe to boil water or reheat pizza.)

Like OFL, I thought this was a good puzzle but not a great one. What amazed me were the different WOES people had. Some examples:

CAL. I have attended many a Big Game there. But I just assumed, this being the *New York* Times, that the big game is Harvard-Yale, so I wanted "Eli" at first.

ASTI. I almost wrote in "cava". Asti is a town, not a type of wine (but it is, of course, in a way: Asti Spumante).

For some reason, I had looked up the Benevolent and Protective Order of the ELKS not long ago, and had been amazed by their original name. Apt, though. In a lot of towns and smaller cities, the main reason to join the Elks Club is to have an inexpensive place to share a round of drinks with your friends. What stymied me was the Franciscan clue. For a long time, I had "rose" at the end. Which left me with the meaningless "ene" where ENS makes sense. Like many of you, I had many words in mind before CHANT.

evil doug 11:54 AM  

Nancy: ENS is "east north south", or eleventy-five degrees on the Enterprise's navigational system. Either that or Ensign, as in junior naval officer....

Wm. C: Harvard vs. Yale is simply "The Game".

"Arc Light" was the 1965 bombing operation deploying B-52s to Vietnam to support our ground forces.

mac 12:19 PM  

Good, tough Saturday. I finally gave up on the NW, things to do on this beautiful day.

Operating room at 21A slowed things down, as did FASHION police.

Asti will only tickle your nose. Don't think sparkling wines are "nosed" a lot.

Nancy 12:22 PM  

@old timer (11:45) -- The rumor you have heard about certain NYC apartment kitchens is true, I fear. My burners have been used for scrambling eggs as well as boiling water (and occasionally steaming veggies), but that's about it. My oven is just about as virginal as it was the day I first moved in 20 years ago. (My previous oven remained virginal as well.) I often say that the best word in the English language is TAKEOUT. But a true New Yorker would say ORDER IN, not ORDER OUT.

William C 12:34 PM  

@ED --

[Blush!] Right you are, it's formally "The Game'" but in my defense (as an alum of one side), it's informally referred to as "the big game" (no caps here).

Lewis 12:47 PM  

What a gorgeous looking grid! I was staring at a huge landscape of mostly white, and knowing I was a bit pressed for time, I Googled one answer: THAD. That did the trick. The whole puzzle fell after that like what felt like a house of cards. Amazing when that happens, and it has hardly ever happened to me on a Saturday. I loved the clues for EMERGENCYROOM, ENS, TEXASTEA, BIRDER, and TOUCHE. Does anyone say ACUTEST as opposed to "most acute"?

Lovely puzzle, Jeff!

r.alphbunker 1:11 PM  

Puzzle report

Due to time constraints I caved at about the 30 minute mark and asked for wrong letters to be highlighted.
The culprit was UTES instead of OTOS. (which started out as ATV)

Finished with THEBEARS/TTS figuring that football players on the Chicago Bears might be inclined to root for a Chicago baseball team.

And TTS which is an acronym for Text to Speech would be plausible as the ouput of GPS

mathgent 1:13 PM  

Again @Nancy and I are in sync. I was proud of getting all but the NW. I had to look up TAUCROSS to finish. Some solace: it took Bill Butler 68 minutes to finish, more than double his usual Saturday time.

Good for Jeff. Only five of the abdominal three-letter entries and one was cleverly clued: "Base of many operations" for TEN.

Ludyjynn 1:16 PM  

I was off to the RACES w/ SIRES in the SE, CARTIER in the SW, DOLE in the NE and STRODEUP in the NW. After a struggle, it all came together w/ the exception of the NW, where I was SHORT TON staying power; came CLOSE, but lost by a NOSE. Won't bore you w/ the duh mistakes made there.


Is HOTMEAL an example of green paint?

Thanks, JC and WS. On a scale of one to TEN, a solid eight, IMO.

Fred Romagnolo 1:53 PM  

@Barany: If we West Coasters are required to know New York districts and restaurants and Yiddish and/or Jewish words or expressions, then youse guys oughta know about the Big Game. Also new to me: KNIFE BAR, THE TRIP, THAD Jones, ENS, and TEXAS TEA. I loved THOUGHT POLICE and EMERGENCY ROOM. Chen is tough, and my definition of Saturday tough. The ELKS as the Jolly Corks was fascinating. I'm proud to have finished this baby.

Tita 1:54 PM  

KNIFEBARs are the best - ours also hold whisks and a peeler - the things we use all the time.

Any of you BIRDERs been watching the hummingbird family at U Arizona?
Momma hummingbird chose the end of a cat5 cable to build her nest on. A security cam has been live-streaming.
First baby left home yesterday - 2nd one seems to be enjoying the extra leg space and catered HOTMEALs too much to leave.
(Just google 'university arizona hummingbird cam'...)

Poached BOSC pears in red wine - one of my specialties - simple to make, with an elegant presentation.

This puzzle was way hard, but yes, I got it! Agree with the specific praises already mentioned.
Thanks Jeff.

(ERRATA? ERRors, SidledUP, PErseus>>PEACOCK (guess I had those meteors on my brain), HElA>>HEXA, uteS, kIloS>>SIRES, cUTupS - what can I say - this was one of those Saturdays where desperation becomes panic...)

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

only 2nd time I am posting.. I gave up on this one. Even after seeing Rex's completion, I am not bothering to finish it.

Mohair Sam 2:11 PM  

So we just looked at Facebook for the first time today and there was a pic of our daughter-in-law-to-be (vacationing in Paris) standing in front of a display window at CARTIER with a smash-and-grab gleam in her eye. Where was she when we needed her about seven hours ago?

Great clue for DORIA without the Andrea. Surprised no one has mentioned the wonderful Seinfeld episode where George losses the apartment to an Andrea DORIA survivor.

Enjoying the chatter about which game is the "Big Game" and "The Game", etc., and why we should all know which is which - I sure didn't. But I do know who plays for the Old Oaken Bucket.

jberg 2:29 PM  

I can't believe I finished. I always start with 1A and work the acrosses until I get something. This time I got all the way through and only ESS (what sigma signifies) with ENTRY FEE running down from the E (and knowing it was really called an 'application fee'). So I tried some downs and got BRUT, which kept me from opening my bottle of ASTI with A POP.

Of course, any 4-letter crossword plantation is TARA, but I avoided that one because of the pineapple thing -- still took me too lnog to think of DOLE, though.

Also, tiffany before CARTIER, tUVA before SUVA, and STRutted before STRODE UP -- an answer that was wrong, but unlocked the nW for me because of the three correct letters. That eventually gave me the puzzle. I enjoyed it, loved THOUGHT POLICE, BIRDER (not really right, though -- birders want to see lifers, or at least birds they seldom see, so jays aren't that exciting).

I really don't like PUTTIES, though. "Going out to glaze some windows? Be sure to take some PUTTIES." No.

DesperatePickle 2:33 PM  

@ Martin, we might have to agree to disagree here: "Nasinu is the most populous municipality in Fiji, having overtaken that of Suva (the capital), and is one of Fiji's fastest-growing towns. Its land area is the largest of any municipal area in Fiji, and more than twice that of Suva." (from Wikipedia) So, in land area AND population, Nasinu would appear to be the largest.

NYer 2:45 PM  

ACTASONE sounds like a corticosteroid ointment for some skin condition.

Many years ago, I knew someone who was a member of the Stanford Axe Committee, so BIG GAME was a gimme for me.

Like many others here, I found this tough, but doable.

joho 2:50 PM  

Brutally beautiful, Jeff Chen ... you have my ACUTEST admiration!

Keep this under your hat 3:04 PM  

EMERGENCY ROOM. Yeah, that 'revival' fooled me into thinking of tents first. Didn't see all that many revivals in my time there, though admittedly I spent more time on the surgical side than the medical, and a lot of it was broken bones and patching up the unlucky members of the Knife & Gun Club. Many of them showed up snockered, and unlikely to hold still enough to be mended; one pragmatic chief recommended one loose suture from each ear into the pillow, said that would keep the most rambunctious patient very very still.

Lots of things can spoil a good revival. One time a fellow was brought to ER by family, who had found him unresponsive, nobody having any idea of what had happened. The attending on call was a cardiologist, so everyone on the team was thinking hearts, assessing cardiac function and incidentally making note of some pupillary changes, perhaps with the idea of calling in Neurology. As a low-on-the-totem-pole student, I was relegated to the distant background, and amused myself back by the abdomen, occasionally trying to draw attention to the rising air/fluid level I was marking off on this gentleman's belly. It wasn't till he blew both pupils that any attention was paid, and it was quickly determined the fellow had been bleeding into his belly all along and needed to get to OR stat. Unfortunately, there was no revival that day.

Forty years later, and that still bothers me.

bhomey 3:15 PM  

@Rex Upper-case sigma is a math thing for a summation.

Airymom 3:15 PM  

The grid looks like a swastika, which overrides all the positive things I would want to write.

William C 3:23 PM  

There has been an inordinate amount of whining the past few days. "It was too hard" is not a legitimate criticism of a puzzle. Bad clues, bad fill, bad grid, incorrect answers, etc. are all valid. "It was too hard" is not.

Jamie C 3:29 PM  

Quickly wrote in MAEWEST for 18d. Cocky, funny movie quote? Gotta be her. Well, she's my Jedi hero, so it works.

Mike D 3:36 PM  

I had BOO BEARS for "Cubs' supporters." Heaven knows it fits.

Billy C 3:38 PM  

Anon@ 3:15: The grid looks nothing like a swastika. It looks more like a SWAZI :)

Cyn Warren 4:00 PM  

@DesperatePickle, "City" is the key word here. Wikipedia lists only two "Cities" in Fiji: Suva and Lautoka. Nasinu is "officially designated a 'Town." It's a meaningful distinction in the context.

Nancy 4:22 PM  

@Keep this under your hat (3:04 p.m.)-- What a great, grisly, funny, horrifying, edifying, candid, appalling insider's account of the ER this was. Are you a regular on the Blog, Mr. Hat? Obviously you're a doctor. But it's just as obvious that you're also a writer. Think Michael Crichton. Think Oliver Sachs. When you're ready to put down the scalpel (or the stethoscope or whatever), there's a whole new career waiting for you. And I'll be waiting in line to read your first book. If it doesn't scare me out of my bleeping mind, that is.

@Ludyjynn -- Unlike you, I didn't get CARTIER at the get-go. Thought for the day: There are many too many 7-letter jewelers in addition to CARTIER: Tiffany; DuBeers; Winston (as in Harry Winston. Funny that I know all that, since I don't wear jewelry. It would have made the puzzle easier if I'd gotten that right off the bat.

Alicia Stetson 4:30 PM  

Fred @1:53, I seriously think your comment was inappropriate. Not sure what living on the West Coast and knowing Jewish/Yiddish expressions have to do with one another.

old timer 4:31 PM  

30 years ago, I could never do the Saturday puzzle in one pass. It was too hard! But the answers would not be available 'til Monday, and would never be available if I didn't go out and buy the Monday Times (pretty much always bought Fri, Sat,and Sunday from the newsstand downtown). So, I would set the partly-done Saturday puzzle aside. Amazing how often I could complete at 5 p.m. what had driven me to near-despair at 10 a.m. If that did not work, I slept on it, and was almosst always able to finish it Sunday morning before going to buy the paper, or Sunday afternoon at worst.

So don't give up. Never say die, and all that.

Ludyjynn 5:00 PM  

@Nancy, Yes, we also always order IN Chinese take OUT.

@Tita, Thanks so much for the black chinned hummingbird link at UAZ. Fun to watch the rapid development of the two babies. Here, in the mid-Atlantic, we only attract ruby throated hummingbirds. I host several in my backyard garden. They favor trumpet vine, lantana, hibiscus and butterfly bush. I tried feeders in the past, but they only brought wasps, so I simply rely on plants now. I just see the adults, so watching the fledglings was fascinating.

@NYer, ACTISONE, very funny!

Jamie C 5:03 PM  

There was a lot of green paint in the kitchen today--it was all over my HOT MEAL and my KNIFE BAR.

David IN CA 5:51 PM  

Wow. Came here expecting rant after rant about how much this one was too easy for a Saturday! Started it waiting for the BART in N. Corcord, and finished before Walnut Creek. (That's about 15 minutes for those who aren't fortunate to live near where THE capital-Big capital Game is played.) Never dreamed Rex, Nancy, the Muse and so many others would find it tough. Pretty much confirms my theory that difficulty ratings are basically meaningless. (Note - I typically take at least10 for a Monday, and very rarely finish Saturdays without help from my closer).
@Nancy - it really ain't nothing about smartness!
Theory - the speed demons really depend, in a tough puzzle, on at least a scattering of gimmes in the form of names or other proper nouns. This one was just chock full of great wordplay in the clueing.

@NCA I think there is a difference between a weak connection and a connection that is far from obvious, for lack of a better description. ENSign is certainly a position on the Enterprise, either in Star Trek or sailing the Pacific. That isn't a weak connection, it just might be hard to hit on because in the wonderful English language there are so many meanings of "position", and in history so many "Enterprises". But that is what makes it such a good (Saturday) clue to me. What I hate, and feel like I see more and more lately (though not today), are clues where I get the answer correctly and my reaction is "yeah...I guess there is a connection there". Wish I could come up with an example.

@Anon 3:15, afraid I don't see any swastica there either. Maybe you are a little too sensitive?

Stan Bowker 6:26 PM  

I think Harvard/Yale is called The Game not The Big Game.

Leapfinger 7:23 PM  

Ahme! A tough Saturday,and ultimately solved, but my misfortune to finish disgruntled like @Rex by virtue of wrapping it up in the NW.

Had so many of the mis-steps mentioned: brut for ASTI, each for APOP, dotty-dizzy-DITSY, Faberge for CARTIER (hi, @AliasZ!); 'plantation' also said TARA to me, but unlike @jberg, I stuck it in before thinking "Pineapples? No way!" Me too, have learned alot by reading Michener in years gone by. @GeorgeB, I ate to admit Ihad to stop to think whether benzene is a PENT- or a HEXA-. Also, my ACUTEST started out as TAU-TEST, so that ways something of a 2-tale T-TEST. Still and all, cogito ergo SUM, at least SUMtimes, so that added up, and Statistics saved my bacon again.

Argus-eyed PEACOCK was a gimme, as was Lola FALANA, though I knew much less about her then than I do now. As already noted, EMERGENCYROOMs are always interesting, and I appreciated the THOUGHT POLICE (if restricted to the grid), as well as the clues for TEXASTEA, SENTRIES and the SHEBEARS (covered with FURS).

Too many kvibbles to dismiss, however:
Supermodels are superposed, but what do they LIE ABOVE?
ARClight sounded better to me, but not with lights twice in the clue, and a million fewer google-hits than ARCLAMP.
It seemed more likely that PUTONS were PUTTEES than PUTTIES
[Not diverge] = converge more than ACT_AS_ONE
[Greatly magnified] doesn't match IN_CLOSE intoo many ways.

Only one entry rises above kvibble-level, however. Does anyone remember "The Birdcage", the '96 remake of "La Cage aux Folles"? If you have seen Nathan Lane practicing a hairy-chested macho walk a la John Wayne, you might accept a shamble, a straddle, or a mildly inebriated knock-kneed sidle, but you would never again think that John Wayne ever STRODE UP to anything.
For me, gentle readers, that spoiled this Jeff Chen. And the horse he strode in on.

Frere Jacques, DORMER vous? Moi aussi. A bientot.

Pete 7:37 PM  

@William C - Yes, some people said the puzzle was hard. However, all but one of them praised the puzzle, the remaining one simply said that Saturdays are supposed to be hard. @NCA_President used difficult, but frankly, I couldn't read the rest of his post to ascertain whether he called the puzzle bad because it was difficult or not. I quit after "hard" and only one of its synonyms to find any support for your claim that people were whining about the puzzle being hard, hence bad.

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

"Witness by chance" is just a beautiful crossword clue. Immediately I bet most of us went for "CATCH A GLIMPSE" or "STUMBLE UPON" or "I JUST HAPPENED TO BE WALKING BY THE WINDOW WHEN STACY'S MOM WAS GETTING OUT OF THE SHOWER," then OH! "witness" is an noun!!?? Doh (forehead slap)!

Henry Fonda 9:03 PM  

Hey @ John Wayne: Screw you and the horse you STRODE IN on!

Mohair Sam 9:05 PM  

@Leapfinger - Woody STRODE played John Wayne's ranch hand and loyal sidekick in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", so there's that to validate Jeff Chen's choice of words.

Three and out.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:20 PM  

Did this one at the beach today. Definitely not an occasion for speed-solving.

No actual write-overs, but I did have a laugh when my too-short mental list at 44 A included only FABERGE, BULGARI, and TIFFANY -- I was genuinely surprised when CARTIER emerged from the crosses.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:42 PM  

BTW, it has been noted that this is an exceptionally low word count puzzle. I am not a complainer by nature, but it does strike me that this is also a smaller-than-usual grid, 15 x 15 on the outside, but with 12 "cheater" squares reducing the area to be filled by about 5%. Is this a valid consideration? (I still liked the puzzle!)

OISK 9:44 PM  

@Lewis - on most acute vs. acutest. Gilbert and Sullivan (in Gondoliers) use the line "If he had been acuter." (to rhyme with pewter)

Liked this one a lot, as many have said, a tough but fair Saturday, and I finished it after a long struggle. No one else was bothered by 1 down "bubbly option" for "Asti." Asti is a town, not a type of wine. The bubbly option is Asti Spumonti. But there is also barbera D'Asti, which is a still, red wine.

Just a minor quibble; I really enjoyed this one despite never having heard of Thad Jones, and having no idea who Falana is, but being familiar enough with the name (from puzzles?) to figure it out.

Steve 9:53 PM  

Too Cali-centric. There is only one BIG GAME: Ohio State vs. Michigan.

Tita 10:03 PM  

@FredR...not the same thing at all. The New York Times is a New York newspaper. If I regularly did the Los Angeles Times puzzle, I would not ding them for clueing things like today's game.

MDMA 11:20 PM  

I didn't know there was an eighth day to the week. This was to Saturday what ultraviolet is to violet. Hardest puzzle in the past two years.

After a first pass, there were no gimmes at all, just tentative TEN and HEXA, plus things like final -S for some plural clues and final -EST for 36D. No real footholds to get started. Brutal.

Took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish successfully, as measured by the iPad app timer, but longer in real time, almost an entire day with long breaks. Normally I'd say all's well that ends well, but I really don't want to see another one like this.

I haven't read any other comments yet. For the sake of my ego I hope you all found it difficult too.

evil doug 4:12 AM  

Yes. Between swastika visions and Yiddish slights, why, no one could blame you if you just huffed and puffed and strode right out of here, John Wayne style! God speed, and happy landings.

evil doug 4:48 AM  

Yiddish speakers in the U.S.:

New York: >100,000
Florida: > 10,000

California > 5,000


Fred Romagnolo 4:56 AM  

@Alicia: no disrespect intended - it's just that New Yorkers often seem to think that everybody should know what they know and out here that's not always the case.

Leapfinger 10:16 AM  

@Mohair$, taking nothing away from John Wayne, but if you see Nathan Lane trying to channel the man, I promise you you'll be forever changeded. Another point to The Duke's credit, he was noted as being able to completely change his acting persona simply by changing his hat.

@Henry Fonda, haha, you were scooped. See the penultimate line at 7:23 pm.

@Evil, numbers are nice, but sometimes you have to question the method of data-collection. What did they do? Line them up and count noses? I'd be less suspicious were the numbers not so rounded off.

@OISK, G&S were years ahead of their time, weren't they? I'm impressed that so long ago they came up with a rhyming cum pewter!!

evil doug 11:44 AM  

Find your own numbers if you dispute mine, and I'll wait for you to get back to me with more than your vague defense.

"Rounded off" numbers or not, do you--intuitively, even!--doubt a significant difference between New York and the west coast on Yiddish speakers? And how Fred's initial comment simply expressed a legitimate regional disparity of Yiddish language awareness (not to mention demonstrating that alicia is once again choosing to be offended when it's clear no offense was intended)?

Z 11:54 PM  

Ohio State-Michigan. Army-Navy. Alabama-Auburn. USC-UCLA. Thus completes the list of "big" college football games. Despite self-delusions of grandeur, a game has to matter to more than a few Californians to be an actual "big game."

@Evil - I had to figure out why you posted those numbers. I have been known to use terms like "yalla," "habibi," and "wallah" all because of the geography of SE Michigan. Funny how that works. If I had worked just a few miles north (around 10 Mile instead of around Ford Road), though, my Yiddish would be much better.

The south shore of Lake Superior is gorgeous. Hence, time to solve. Little time to comment.

spacecraft 11:21 AM  

Ya got me, Jeff:

I'm thankful that OFL called this one challenging; had I seen the word "easy" I might have hunted him down and...well anyway. Even so, the part that "filled itself in" contained a fatal error for me. What is a Cubs' supporter if not a DIEHARD? Oh, he's going for actual cubs, lower case. Who knew? Same with Jays' fans. I tried every which way to crunch "Canadians" in there, all set for a rebus. Nothing. Oh, the real winged things. THOSE jays. Again, who knew?

Not me; I knew nothing here. Should, maybe, have remembered PEACOCK with all those "eyes," but at any rate I was never, NEVER going to give up DIEHARDS for SHEBEARS. And my other fatal error was, like I'm sure many, CHeer for CHANT. Then there's OTOS. A total unknown. I have no idea what OTOS is (are?). Actually, it's easier to list what I DID know in this puzzle: ORDEROUT, THETRIP, HEXA, PSAS. That's it.

Burma Shave 11:51 AM  


THETRIP was to GOAFTER SUM lady acting like a PEACOCK.
SHEBEARS resemblance to a SMARTASS and causes UPHEAVAL,
So she’s off with THEM to the EMERGENCY ROOM to ORDEROUT evil.


rondo 12:09 PM  

Again no write-overs, so I can’t call it challenging. Had just enough entries to keep moving along, off to the RACES; must have finished in near-record Sat-puz time for me; like way EARLYMAN. Last letter in was the X. Beverly Hillbillies indeed.

Lola FALANA, multi-talented yeah baby. Funny her name doesn’t come up more often, perfect for xword puz.

THETRIP was actually kinda poorly done, IMHO. Maybe not for its audience and/or time.

Didn’t have a SATSCORE, MN was heavier on the ACT at the time. Thirty-something on that test. Seems like SENTRIES ago.

Enough from this SMARTASS, time for a HOTMEAL. Maybe call this puz easy-challenging, it did take some thinking.

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

I'll call this one an Easy/Medium. But then, I cheat.....but only once. I looked up the Franciscan symbol. I kept thinking of a bird and it was driving me nuts. The NW was the last to fall. The entire bottom half went by quickly.

So yes I really enjoyed Mr. Chen's creation even though it took one hour and 2 cups of coffee and 2 nasty cigarettes. And, yes, I'm paying the price for over 40 yrs. of puffing. Walt Disney died at age 65 from lung cancer. I'll have him beat by about 15 years.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA

(Where all the citizenry have two lips and raise tulips).

Anonymous 3:00 AM  

Hello, first ever comment here, but I can't let this go by: Thad Jones is far better known as a writer, bandleader, cornettist, and flugel horner than a trumpet player. Your clip sounds very nice: an excellent example of later (post dixieland) *cornet* playing. Other cornet players in modern(ish) jazz: Nat Adderly, Warren Vache, some Dave Douglas...

Bananfish 12:16 PM  

Whenever someone zings me with a comeback, my usual comeback to the comeback is DOUCHE, not TOUCHÉ. Then again, I am a bit of a SMARTASS.

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