Light cotton fabric / SAT 8-8-15 / Heraldic border / Garment worn partly under alb / Ingredient in Brompton cocktail

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: AMICE (29D: Garment worn partly under an alb) —
The amice is a liturgical vestment used mainly in the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, in some Anglican churches, and Armenian and Polish National Catholic churches. It consists of a white cloth connected to two long ribbon-like attachments, by which it is fastened around the shoulders of the priest. Before the liturgical reforms of 1972, its use was mandatory for all Roman Catholic Masses, but it is only required today if the alb does not cover the priest's ordinary clothing. Many priests choose to wear the amice for reasons of tradition or to prevent damage to their other vestments due to perspiration. (wikipedia)
• • •

I am in a Madison Avenue Starbucks that my companion Lena called "the saddest Starbucks ever" but I think that's a mild exaggeration. It's almost clean, so there's that. We were out late—or I was out late and she was out later—drinking at a place in the Bowery. Hence the tardiness of this post. I solved part of it this morning and then the rest of it sitting here with Lena and her boyfriend Brayden and my wife. "What was the stupid novel, again?" was a question that was just asked as we were trying to remember this puzzle we just did.  What do we have to say about it? I don't know. They're playing half-crappy music real loud in here. I think this is Usher I'm listening to. Here's what I remember about this puzzle. AMICE / ETAMINE. Brayden sews and he has never heard of ETAMINE. None of the rest of us has either. I had to run the alphabet to get the "M" because "alb" is the extent of my priestly garment vocabulary, and that word was in the clue for AMICE. Also, I figured (prayed) that no one would go for so obscure a clue for ALICE. So when I ran the alphabet and hit "M" it felt right. It rang some bell located in some horrible crosswordese experience in times of yore. And it was right. Hurray.

Lena thought NOHO was BORO. Then hypothesized that BO RO might stand for something. Boston Rosewater. Lena says it sounds like a sex act. Or when you use Guinness as perfume. "Splash a little rosewater on your neck." Me: "Why would you put Guinness on your neck?" Brayden: "Have you *been* to Boston?" Lena: "Shhh. Boston can hear you." Now she's calling John Mellencamp "John Menstrual Cramp." Also Lena is an ex-bartender and is distressed never to have had a Brompton cocktail, even after finding out what's in it (it's not something you'd consume for pleasure ... probably). Last night we had Pimm's Cup and a whiskey smash and a 50/50 w/ "good" vermouth and pink gin and other stuff. And sherry. Lena will go *off* on the history of sherry and the sherry-making process. Brayden thought [Spread on a table] was OLEO and Lena is mocking his failure but I told him it was a reasonable guess. I did a "spread"-themed puzzle recently, so after I guessed OLEO and it was clearly wrong, PATÉ slid right in.

The stacks are OK. The fill isn't very good. NONU is paradigmatically bad. Easy for me, because it's so bad I remembered it. ORLE and ISTH, also pretty yuck. But pure "yuck" was actually not very abundant. Mostly this is adequate and forgettable. My favorite moment was imagining that [Woods in a pit] was TIGER. It's OBOES. I think I got sand trap confused with sand ... pit. I guess. We've got Brayden deep into trying to figure out what the hell is up with ETAMINE. Wearable KETAMINE? Brayden says 'no.' Lena has gone to find a restroom and Brayden is talking about his job with my wife. I don't have much more to say, so I'll wrap. I have a tournament to attend in like 90 minutes about 30 blocks from here. Oooh, the O'Jays is on now. "She Used to Be My Girl." Thanks for taking me out on a high note, Madison Avenue Starbucks!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Music man 9:08 AM  

I found this puzzle pretty difficult actually, though I did finish...unlike those EUNUCHS am I right? Thought the cluing was very fun, but I'm out right now so I'm not remembering all my favorites. Enjoyable for me.

evil doug 9:13 AM  

Since "Paris" is not "some Parisian", I guess it's okay.

Cocaine in a cocktail? Ah. Mix with alcohol and heroin for terminal cancer patients. Let's party!

Weak clue for "across the street".

My pate is oleo.

I bet somewhere there's a new, undriven Olds....

CoronaS, but areolaE.

Jinx the cat: "I hate amices to pieces!"

"Systems analysts": boring way to fill a 15.

I didn't feel ready to "go solo". But my instructor said he was betting his wings against my life, stepped out of the cockpit, and flipped me the bird. I broke out in a sweat, but not a rash....

Z 9:14 AM  

Spot on review. Technically not a natick, but the only thing I will remember about this puzzle is eta-ine/a-ice. I'm guessing that true fact is not ACCORDING TO PLAN.

evil doug 9:19 AM  

Hey, the grid kind of looks like one of those car crushers that turn a used Olds into a little cube. Oddjob in Goldfinger!

Loren Muse Smith 9:20 AM  

My entrée was a quick SBARRO/LIBRARY and then that was about it for a while. Then the incorrect "double or nothing" yielded OTT. Then GO SOLO crossing "one star," feeling bad for Alan because of the "hot star" clue.

I can't count how many Clive Cussler novels I've read, read as I studiously avoided Austen, Brontë, the IRONISTS, and oh! Henry James, of course. But it took me quite a while to see RAISE THE TITANIC. And the crosses weren't helping because my wrong thought – the very first thought – for those techies was "system analysts" – system singular. So I abandoned that idea for "system operators."

Put in TMI first then erased it for "ick" rationalizing that "camp" could be used as an adjective describing the Scream movies. Dumb. So I put TMI back in.

Tom Colicchio has a terrific PATE.

Fave clue – ENS. And in that spirit, I had "tee" before INA for the concert closing.

I imagine some will call green paint on BREAK OUT IN A RASH.

HON – what I call my husband, mainly because my son has the same name. An acceptable pet name, imo. I hate it when I hear people refer to each other with TMI pet names. If I hear some woman call her significant other "pumpkin" or "cookie," I'm mentally planning my escape, embarrassed.

@Slow Motion – I love your "wing" question from yesterday. I guess it's officially a regular verb, so it's "winged" but I think I'm going to adopt your irregulars. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just wang it. Have you ever just wung it up on stage? Hah! I have a running joke with a student about the past tense of weedeat (one of The most common verbs around here during the spring and summer). We go out of our way to say weedate and weedeaten and smile at our private little joke.

Rex – thanks for pointing out that cross. I had a big ole dnf - five blanks: ETAMINE/AMICE/GANNETS (all three are woes) and EUNUCHS/CIE/ORU/NONU. Seems like ages since I've finished a Saturday.

Everyone have a great time in NYC and post pictures!

Austin 9:23 AM  

best write up.

had OLEO and then BRIE before PATE. also tried TIGER in the pit. pencilled in EUNUCHS and was like "that can't really be it," but it was. last letter was the awful M in AMISE.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Yeah, I had never heard of etamine before as well. Didn't help that amice crossed it. Had some trouble in the southeast corner, but other than that, I was somewhat pleased with my pace on this puzzle.

Teedmn 9:31 AM  

"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is my theme for the day because that was my DNF spot. Unlike @Rex, I had no reason to think AlICE wouldn't be clued so obscurely on a Saturday and I was mixing it up with 'surplice' so I really wanted that L.

I considered romAINE for 2D but figured if one were to have greens in a cocktail, it would be kale. I liked seeing EUNUCHS; they don't appear much in real life but they're everywhere in Fantasy books (Game of Thrones for example).

This puzzle was easier than the usual Saturday - I was feeling smart when SYSTEMS ANALYSTS went in RIGHT away, only pausing to confirm the TOM cross. CROCHET in off the T, ONE STEP off the O and P. ORLE went in for the first time without crosses, maybe I've finally added that one to my permanent crosswordese collection. I like the IRONIST's favorite game, DOUBLE SOLITAIRE. Didn't know the Brits were so down on poor, lower-class Mork (NONU, NONU!).

I thought 13D was going to be date night related (dress up), not nap time (LIE DOWN) so that was a good one.

This puzzle didn't make me BREAK OUT IN. A RASH, and I hope the tourney attendees won't either! Thanks, Alan Arbesfeld.

NCA President 9:31 AM  

Here are the reasons I disliked the puzzle in no particular order...[spoiler alert: it was in the cluing, mostly]:

4D: Woods in a pit. OBOES are called woodwinds, or "winds" for short. No one calls an obe a "wood."

53D: Mail of phone follower. At last count, ITIN are two words. "Follower" should have been "followerS." The way it stands, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And what little sense it makes it only shows how gratuitously deceptive the clue is.

19A: Cookie or pumpkin. When I put in HON I was praying to god it was wrong. When I found out it was right I wanted to slap my cat. If any of you call your SO "cookie" or "pumpkin" we can not be friends. Ever.

9D: Secluded stream site. GLEN? This is green paintish to me...again, gratuitous. I was hoping for some kind of internet reference, like some obscure site that streams video. But no. It's a glen. Not a vale. Or a dale. But a glen.

31A: "Never ______" WAS. This is the pièce de résistance of why I didn't like the puzzle. Never WAS. Seriously? That could be had, did, are, or any three-letter verb. Is "Never WAS" any more anything than anything that has never happened? It was at this point that I actually gave the puzzle the finger. That's right. I flipped off the puzzle on my computer screen. Mature, I know. But "never was" was as terrible as it can get. I wouldn't really have flipped it off except that by that time all the other crap clues had piled up (I'd already slapped my cat) and I couldn't take it any more...I had to flip something off.

Don't get me started on AMICE/ETAMINE locked in that remote glen of a block with no way to check. OTT, as clued, is bad too, but because OTT is crossword famous, it was gettable. I didn't know that NOHO was a place except that, yin and yang and all, since there's a Soho there must be, by definition, a NOHO.

TL;DR: I did not like the puzzle today.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Double naticked on ETA_I_E. In retrospect the N could be inferred. But I went with P instead of M thinking it might be from Saint Sulpice. Ah well--the middle paid dearly for the stacks on top and bottom.

Robso 9:41 AM  

Yeah, amice/etamine: WTF?
I would have liked this puzzle if not for that cross.

AliasZ 9:46 AM  

The Siege of Arbesfeld.

The fortified city was protected on all sides by a formidable moat. The water was bubbling with a variety of malodorous, dangerous-looking creatures: ISTH, TIS, ENS, RLS, INA, ITIN, ALG, ORU, BIO, an EKE here and an OTT there, not to mention the dreaded UNARYus RESATus and the mummified ORLE. It took me greater effort to wade through the moat and get ACROSS THE STREET than it took to RAISE THE TITANIC. Then came the challenge of scaling the foreboding ramparts beyond, and facing the perils that waited inside them. But with a stout heart and an IRONIST will, I pressed on.

The single-lane pathways into the city barely provided a toehold to take even ONE STEP towards the enemy within. Thankfully, friendly Messrs. Sajak and Rubik were hiding behind the USED CAR along the Western Wall to guide me into the center of town, only to be fatally wounded by M lying in wait there. That's when I reached for my CROCHETed white flag tucked into my back pocket and frantically started waving it. By then I had lost so much blood, I hadn't the strength to hoist it on top of Happy Pencil standing erect RIGHT in Central Square, disguised as the letter I. I collapsed and with my dying breath uttered the following limerick:

There once was a Saturday puzzle
One only could sip on, not guzzle,
Men became EUNUCHS
Sporting white tunics --
A biter, in need of a muzzle.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Why is IRONIST one full of surprises?

chefbea 9:56 AM  

Gosh...I'm the first and I didn't even finish. Have been waiting to see the finished puzzle. Too tough for me. Have fun everyone at the puzzlepalooza!!

Glimmerglass 9:59 AM  

When I was a teacher, students would sometimes write an essay on writing an essay. They sounded much like Rex's blog today (and usually earned a D). If you can't write your blog, get a substitute or just send us a See You Tomorrow one-liner. Rex's hangover/Starbucks experience is of minimal interest to me.

George Barany 10:01 AM  

@Rex, Your commentary this morning was spot-on, and hilariously so. Good luck at the tournament, and all the associated schmoozing with friends.

As a chemist, I wonder whether ETAMINE has an H2N group, if you know what I mean (say it aloud). My friend @Brent Hartzell sent me an e-mail last night pointing out that Joe PATERNO may be the winningest Division I coach in college football history, but without the "Division I" qualifier, the record is actually held by John Gagliardi of Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Even Paterno's record has an asterisk to it, since any number of those wins were vacated, at least for a while, in response to a sad chapter in Penn State history.

Have a look at the "analyze this puzzle" feature over at Surprisingly, only three words are new in the Shortz era: ACCORDING_TO_PLAN, EUNUCHS, and GANNETS (this last was allowed seven times in all by Maleska, Weng, and Farrar, going back to 1956). Not sure what to conclude, but certainly something to think about.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Surprised that TAL, first name Mikhail, was not featured in this post. I was vaguely aware of his short-lived chess championship. But I looked up the "Magician of Riga" who apparently was considered to be the best attacking player of all time. His style was to be unpredictable with moves that upon careful analysis were not necessarily the soundest, but which presented opponents with problems they couldn't solve in the limited time available. He worked hard and played hard--a heavy drinking chain smoker and sometime morphing addict, which did not help his health. He died at 55.

Casco Kid 10:19 AM  

After first hour here were my anchors around the puzzle: REMeT, stretch out -> lie, romeo, ospreys, UNARY, ABSORBS, sOHO, corneas where to find spines -> oncacti. So how fo I build on that?

Carola 10:24 AM  

Wow, @Rex, what a tough act to follow! I hope other commenters before me have been able to step up and maintain the flow!

Anyway, to be staid and serious: Medium for me, too - I started out in the depths with RAISE THE TITANIC, which I admit to having read, finished the seabed, and then worked my way to the surface, leaving a couple of empty air bubbles to fill at the end: O?U x I?ONIST (I just couldn't accept the "surprise" part, but then I remembered Oral Roberts so yielded to the R) and, yes, A?ICE x ETA?INE. Then I recalled having read about étamine as the French equivalent of cheesecloth on David Lebovitz's blog. After Googling AMICE, I think I can say definitively that an AMICE would not be made of ETAMINE. (Anybody else singing to the tune of "Abilene, Abilene..."?)

Had to correct: peu for DES (a "when will I learn" error), sOHO, ONE-SToP, ANtonio). Was happy to remember GANNETS from reading various sea-faring novels. I liked DESIGNS flanked by ETAMINE and CROCHET.

Ellen S 10:53 AM  

harder than yesterday and not as much fun. I had to read two (2) websites on clerical vestments (one sold clerical clothing and only the first 22 of the 269 garments on offer would display, and they were all collars) before I found AMICE. The "M" was the last letter in and I've already forgotten the name of that fabric.

I see "EKES" is "Stretches (out)". It's like those email listicles about how wonderful the 50s were (girdles, lynchings, McCarthy), but at least back then EKE out mean "supplement."

mathgent 10:57 AM  

Feel good that I was able to do this bear with only one inadvertent lookup. Liked learning what a Brompton cocktail is and the Shakespeare quote. Two thumbs up!

UNARY is not a commonly-used term in mathematics. There are very few such operations. Almost all, like add, subtract, multiply, divide, are binary.

joho 11:08 AM  

I ended up with a stupid misspelling thus a dnf with EUNiCHS/NONI! Now I remember NONU from a while back, just wish I could have brought it out of the depths of my brain today!

Other than that I did this much faster than usual for a Saturday. For some reason the bottom was easy, especially those stacks, and I worked up from there. When I finally saw ADAPTED and then guessed at the correct COCAINE (and frightening cocktail!) the top fell quickly. The last letter in the E at NES because I can never remember how to pluralize AREOLAE (Hi, ED!).

I liked it, thank you, Alan!

@Rex, pics please!!!!

jae 11:32 AM  

Medium- tough for me.  The whole thing came fairly slowly.   However, the south stack opened up when I changed @Casco REmeT to RESAT and RAISE THE TITANIC appeared.   If you were a business traveler in the late '70s/early '80s it's highly likely you read that book.  It was made for airplane consumption. 

I guessed RIGHT on the ETAMINE/AMICE cross for the same reasons Rex did. 

Gotta like a Sat. with this much crunch and solid 3 stacks. 

...and thanks for the entertaining write up.

MDMA 11:40 AM  

There is no entry for ETAMINE in English Wikipedia. Enuff said.

It does have an entry in the French Wikipedia, and in Spanish and... Asturian. Looks like it's a fine mesh filter cloth used in the food industry. You put cheese curds in a bag and let the whey liquid slowly drip out. Also for some jellies, or for sifting flour.

I finished everything, then did the alphabet run for the final fatal ETA_INE / A_ICE cross. Like Jeff Chen, I chose poorly. DNF. shows that ETAMINE has a long history of use. It was used five times in 1953 and five times in 1954, for instance. I can imagine what crossword puzzles were like back then. Multiple uses even in the Shortz era, but not since 2007. Everybody be sure to remember it so that when we see it again in a decade's time, it'll be a gimme.

No problem with GANNETS. ORU and NONU were a bit of a lulu, but certainly du-able. ORLE was a gimme because I saw it very recently in a non-NYT puzzle

What happens when you work on an ambitious triple stack puzzle and it all comes together in acceptable fashion, except for this one little intractable Natick smack in the middle? As a constructor, do you just walk away after all that effort? As an editor, do you stand your ground and reject it? Nope and nope.

All hail the SPURON, a brand new elementary particle. Charge 0, spin 0, spuriousness +2. And maybe "Do not deny that you love me" speaker = sAtan.

Steve J 11:45 AM  

As delightful as Friday's puzzle was, Saturday's was a train wreck. Everyone's already covered the eminently unfair crossing of ETAMINE/AMICE. Many have mentioned the abundance of unpleasant fill. The relative isolation of each puzzle's sector is also a major problem. I'm just glad this ended relatively quickly (well, I'm glad that I gave up relatively quickly, as once I realized I couldn't figure out what the hell to cross at ETA_INE/A_ICE - nor did I care - or what mess of short-fill junk in the SE made that corner work, I threw in the towel).

That said, some of the 15s were nice and/or nicely clued. But there was little joy with this one.

For those hoping to catch the NYT in an objectively, indisputably incorrect clue, today's the day. As @George Barany mentioned, Joe PATERNO is the winningest coach in Division I college football. He is *not* the winningest coach in college football. One of the NYT's test/quality control solvers, Martin, admitted over at Diary of a Crossword Fiend that they flat out got this one wrong.

Z 11:52 AM  

@LMS - I remembered NON-U from the kerfuffle it caused here once before. Something about kerfuffles make them good memory aids. Still waiting on the Pewit Eyepit reappearance. Perhaps Berry will have wung it the next time those two appear.

@glimmerglass - And yet several here think the write-up is right on point.

@Casco Kid - I got nothing for you. EKE - TOM - INA - TAL were my toeholds, giving me SYSTEMS ANALYSTS. The north was a bear and the middle a DNF. When "L" didn't work I literally went through all 26 letters before the iPad chimed in that I was correct. If I had started lower right instead of top left on the keyboard I'd have saved some time.

@Alias Z - 1A of today's Devil Crossword should get you off to a fast start. I recommend it to you and everyone else not at the tourney.

Arlene 11:53 AM  

My typical Saturday experience - look at all the white squares, think it's impossible, get a few words here and there, Google a few terms, finish!
Only mistake was IRONIST crossing NONU.
What's really funny is I used to be a SYSTEMS ANALYST - back in the age of keypunch cards!

To all those at LOLLAPUZZOOLA - wish I could be there, was on my calendar - but had last minute change of plans. ENJOY THE DAY!!

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

"Hey, M&A! Where'd yer cinnamon roll go to?"
"Hey, kitties! What's the highest grade of varmint to catch?"

The above mindset, if used in the SatPuz cluing, woulda saved M&A from a dunf. (Did Utterly Not Finish)
Knew NONU. Knew ORLE (tho flirted with OGEE). Knew GANNETS. Knew but couldn't spell-cast AREOLAE. Got RAISETHETITANIC offa absolutely nothin, but did race to verify it, by getting a little help from my friends INA and TAL.

Grid Highlights:
1. Grid design. Good call from @Evil, on the "Goldfinger" car disposal appliance. Here used to crush a fierce case of the nat-ticks.
2. All six of the grid spanners. 61-A might seem weakest, until U realize it sports the rare double-poc. (yo, @Anoa Bob)
3. EUNUCHS. Accounts for 33.3% of this puz's U-inventory.
4. ALG/BIO. Best desperate weeject nest, by far. And just acrossthestreet from SBARRO/ORLE/RESAT. har. Primo stuff.
5. Great LIBRARY clue.
6. Interesting TIS clue. Makes me wanna read the whole book, to see why the last chapter was one word.
7. Very good 7-stacks in the corners. Especially since they are all collidin with them aforepraised 15-stacks. Holy stackmares, constructioneers! Would make a grid-builder wanna holler "NO NU ORU!" Or somesuch.
8. SBARRO. Like the cut of its sgib. So, is there really a country/region that speaks in SB-words? I want to go to there.
9. NOHO. Becuz U have this uneazy-e feelin that it could end up bein SOHO. But, yet -- U are soooo thankful that there ain't no EAHO or WEHO. (Other than in Samoan ALG class.)
10. Themer LIEDOWN by PARIS. Sounds like a potential winner Hilton ad.


Go for a sub-009 tourney round, @009!


Generic Solver 12:01 PM  

AMICE was an old friend from years of doing these puzzles, along with it's buddies maniple and alb. Gotta know your liturgical vestments.

Hey does anyone know whether eunuch(s) has ever appeared in a NYT puzzle before?

Ludyjynn 12:07 PM  

What @NCAPres said.

What follows is TMI regarding HON. Here in Baltimore, in the neighborhood of Hampden, women of a certain age and social class refer to one and all they meet as HON. The term led a restaurant, aptly named Café Hon, to sponsor a street fair starting in the mid '90s known as HonFest. The damn thing has grown exponentially to the point where local legend and nationally recognized (badboy)filmmaker, John Waters, has disassociated himself from it, feeling it has become a parody of itself.

Can't wait to hear from the Lolla participants.

old timer 12:09 PM  

OFL does ramble on this morning, doesn't he? Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed it, and mucn more than I enjoyed the puzzle. I was stymied at the top, so tried the bottom, and got the SW corner quickly, plus SYSTEMSANALYSTS. Hesitated to write in META because I never saw the movies and don't know why would be "meta". So I cheated, and looked up Dirk Pitt on Wikipedia. So, I discovered, META and UNARY were right.

Didn't know ANNETTE O'Toole, but the name seemed to fit; I had to take ETAMINE on faith, since I have never heard of it, ever. But it's legit. If it is in the Collegiate Dictionary, it's fair game, for a Saturday puzzle. Of course, the only way I got that word on crosses was by looking up ALB on Wiki. Never could have figured that one out otherwise.

Going back to the top, I sussed out ACCORDINGTOPLAN, The rest fell quickly into place, since I already wanted NOHO, GLEN, and knew TIS and OTT.

Question: What book or play is that Paris quote from?

Nitpick: I have often said you need to know a little French to do these puzzles. But I really call foul on DES. "Some things in Paris" (or Caen or Arles or wherever) would be OK -- you learn that odd DES construction in French 1. But "Some Parisian" is totally unfair, I think -- there are many words for "some" that are more apt, and "some Parisian" suggests an individual. Even "Parisians" would be more fair

Hartley70 12:27 PM  

This puzzle made me irritated. There was too much I didn't know..COCAINE, NONU, ETAMINE. AMICE, META, UNARY, ORLE. Stuff that made no real sense, LIEDDOWN. Stuff I spelled incorrectly, EUNiCH. And finally a middle I wanted to kick into outer space.
On the plus side, I began with the SBARRO/LIBRARY cross so that pleased me. I remembered the Dirk Pitt series. The stacks were fair and easy to get. And finally, I have to remember how much I love stacks. They're right up there after a rebus. I have to be pleased for any stacks Will throws our way because I believe he said he was tired of them. Save the stack!

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

@mathgent - UNARY is a gimme for C/C++ programmers with several common unary operators: + - & * ! ~ ++ --. There's even a TERNARY ?: operator.

Dean 1:32 PM  

Good thing for American crosswords, or NON-U would be completely dead. In England one can speak posh, middle class (what Americans would call "upper class"), educated, working class, or any of dozens of localised varieties (Estuary, Cockney, Midlands, Geordie, etc.). They may even speak RP, although no one seems to anymore. But the whole U / non-U thing has been dead and buried for at least thirty years.

jberg 1:40 PM  

DNF- you know why. I probably would have guessed the M except that I had "plice" a back-Formation from surplice, so I couldn't see SAHARAN-- I actually considered SAHliAN there.

And who is this PARIS guy? Can't imagine he said that to Helen. I went with PuRdy/diva at first. Go figure.

GANNET was a gimme, though. You have to go out to sea to see them, but once you do it will stick in your memory.

William C 1:47 PM  

GS --

Don't forget cincture and chasuble.

John Child 1:57 PM  

Very challenging here, requiring a couple of cheats to complete after 20 minutes of very little progress. I don't see a compelling reason for such a segmented grid, and the plethora of things that were WOEs to me, mostly already mentioned, plus the difficulty of getting from section to section left me clad in grouchy pants. What a difference from yesterday's lovely and easy offering...

Blue Stater 2:28 PM  

A new low, for the many reasons cited above and in Rex's excellent review. Can't remember how long it's been, but years, possibly decades. Just awful.

Charles Flaster 2:37 PM  

Loved this medium puzzle.
Really enjoy AA material and we might be from same N Y neighborhood.
Liked cluing for BREAK OUT IN A RASH and LIBRARY.
Factoring was one of my favorite topics to teach.
It possessed great reasoning power.
Thanks AA.

Melodious Funk 2:56 PM  

GOSOLO was never an expression in the flying community that I ever heard. It was usually "I will solo today," not "I will go solo today." But I'd take advice from e.doug. However, as a solution to the clue, Become helpless, it was perfect.

Dnf this baby. ETAMINE? AMICE? IRONISTS? ORU? Puhleeze.

Save me...

pmdm 3:07 PM  

I think I've said it before. Later on in the week, the attempt to make clues "clever" often results in clues that are simply incorrect. An oboe is made out of but, true, but it is not called a wood. As NCA President noted in other words, the clue is truly abysmal. Dumb. Absurd. Either abolish the word from late week puzzles or refrain from inventing horrid clues.

At least NCA Presidents observations made me chuckle. In general, the puzzle did not. But there's been a lot worse.

Gareth Bain 3:15 PM  

One of Rex's finest write-ups. The puzzle, um, yeah... Moving on.

Norm 3:28 PM  

Strange lakes in Florida with absurd spelling are okay, but not AMICE? You might as well complain about ORLE and ARETE. I'll continue to complain about rappers. I thought this was a fine puzzle.

cwf 3:44 PM  

@Generic Solver: It has not. You can find that info here. (Scroll to the bottom and click the "Analyze this puzzle" button.)

Stan Wagon 4:17 PM  

Others have said it, but having taught at a college in the same conference as St John's I knew immediately that the winningest coach is Gagliardi, who did not fit. Well, such clear factual errors in the NYT puzzle are really pretty rare.

The "Never ___" clue with answer WAS seems a bit weak to me,

David G 4:59 PM  

@Anon 9:53am: I didn't really get "one who's full of surprises" = IRONIST either. It's either too clever for me or very lame.

NONU is new-new to me. Does it mean "non-University"-attending person, or something like that?

Finished the puzzle, though.

Billy C 6:51 PM  

I confidently place "Par for the course" in 1A. Fit the clue, fit the grid. I was so very pleased with myself.

Jamie 6:53 PM  

@LMS: I think it's odd that you call your son HON.

Haiku Nerd 6:57 PM  


Billy C 7:02 PM  

I was also proud of "call" for "mail or phone follower."

TOM Waits 7:07 PM  

I thought one of my songs would be appropriate for today

I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with YOU

Alicia Stetson 7:15 PM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this Saturday gem.

(It is 7pm, and the last comment posted was at noon. This is how a blog dies.)

evil doug 7:50 PM  

You should find another one.

Zeke 8:07 PM  

@Melodius@2:56: GO SOLO is the term that is used when a member leaves the band to have a career of his/her own. Think Paul McCartney (or any other Beatle), John Fogerty, Natalie Merchant, Morrissey, Paul Simon, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and a zillion others. No need for any input from a pilot. Great clue and answer (I think we had very similar recently...).

Aketi 8:30 PM  

@old timer, as of yesterday it seems like we need a little Samoan in addition to a little French. I think your comment triggered a delayed reaction to my annoyance over the inclusion of Samoan numbers. The language I learned in Africa has 7 million speakers (5.5 millions who are native speakers) while Samoan has about 410,000 speakers. Yet, I'd never expect to see mókó, míbalé, mísáto, mínei, and mítáno in a puzzle.

Last night I offered to take Nancy out for coffee and/or breakfast before Lollapuzzoola. I figured that she'd decline because she is even less of a morning person than I am, So, I wasn't the least bit surprised when she said the thought of trying to do anything other than make it to Lollapuzzoola would make her BREAK OUT IN HIVES. So of course I had a little trouble figuring out that I needed to swap out HiVES for A RASH.

Hope everyone who went enjoyed it. Did Bob show up in his bird shirt?

Mr. Grumpypants 8:40 PM  

I think everyone complaining about AMICE/ETAMINE needs to go back to school. If you had A_ICE, what Latin root other than amicus/amici/whatever could possibly fit? Wouldn't a priest be wearing a friendly garment? Okay, just call me cranky.

GILL I. 9:01 PM  

@Rex....I'll put up with more of these type Saturday puzzles, if you do the same type write-up...
@Dean, I wasn't even going to comment today, but your comment spurred the ETAMINE in me. I remember some time ago NON U was an answer that cause a bit of a stir. I may have been one of the stirrers.....British husband cried bull shit when I asked him about this answer...suffice is to say, that no Brit worth there bangers and marmite would EVER use that there!
I only had TIS and I still don't know why TOM waits on a CD.....

another poet 9:17 PM  

Rex hated ETAMINE,
Maybe he should try kETAMINE!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:26 PM  

At the time of this posting, I haven't seen anyone mention that at 37 D, "Where many spines are visible," OSSUARY has the same number of letters as LIBRARY, Not that I seriously considered entering it, of course.

Yes, @Aketi, I was there in my bird shirt, but I got out-birded by @Karen From the Cape. More later in the appropriate post.

Jamie C 9:29 PM  

I entered TANTRUM for "prepare for a time out." Too many bratty kids in my life.

James Williams 9:46 PM  

@Aketi @ 8:30: Maybe the constructor used SAMOAN numbers because the answer SAMOAN fit into a beautifully constructed puzzle and "Lingala" didn't? Just a hunch, but it probably shouldn't be taken as a slight to 7 million Africans, just like the inclusion of "Obama," or Idi Amin, in a puzzle has nothing to do with politics.

Anonymous 9:52 PM  

GO SOLO is also the cheer people use for the GOALIE of the US women's soccer team...

Z 10:44 PM  

@Gill I - See @TOM Waits above. More here.

mac 10:47 PM  

Only just finished this puzzle, after all the excruciatingly difficult ones at Lolla. Only the first one was easy, just interrupted by loud noises. The whole day was fantastic, and afterward a lot of us moved on to One Star bar on 24th and 7 for trivia games! Fantastic. I'm sure we will all sleep well tonight.....

Carola 11:24 PM  

@old timer, @jberg - It's Count Paris, in Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene 1.

TSG 11:37 PM  

More hangover writeups!

Davis 12:21 AM  

I knew GANNET solely because of Monty Python's Bookshop Sketch.

"They wet their nests!"

MDMA 1:51 AM  

Per, only one of the 15-letter grid spanners has never been used before in an NYT puzzle: ACCORDING TO PLAN.

All the others have, usually multiple times. Even BREAK OUT IN A RASH has been used once before, a bit more than ten years ago.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

I'm rushing to write a comment early, before doing much of today's puzzle, so I can get my shout-out to @Bob Kerfuffle and @Tita up in time for them to see it. They're both lovely people and I got to spend time with them yesterday at the tournament. The high point of the day for me was the lunch I had with them, along with a charming guy named Randy, who's not on the blog. And I must praise to the skies the thoughtfulness -- nay, chivalry -- of Bob, who saved a table seat at his table for me; made sure I met all the people I should meet, including, very briefly, Rex; offered me cookies; and repeatedly picked up one of my two padded cushions when it repeatedly fell through the hole in the back of my bridge chair. (Don't ask.) I'm sure he must have been thinking: "What on earth have I done to deserve this?" and "I guess no good deed goes unpunished", but he never let on.

I should tell you something else about Bob. He's a star. Now, he may not feel that way about himself when he compares himself with the 3-minute-per-puzzle pros who enter tournaments, but he is. He finished every puzzle, including the godawful WTF Puzzle #2 and he was early -- sometimes VERY early -- on all of them. It's hard to tell from this blog who the really good solvers are, because everyone is so modest. But Bob does not solve puzzles like you and me. Well, maybe like you, but certainly not like me. I imagine there are many others of you out there like that, even if no one knows exactly who you are. (To be continued).

Aketi 10:24 AM  

@James Williams, I think you misread my tongue in cheek comparison of two obscure languages, I'm afraid I don't understand how you converted that into a political statement. As near as I know neither Africans, not Samoans have felt threatened by each other.

weingolb 1:05 PM  

Twisted cluing made this extremely difficult. DNF. I mean, I don't know about you, but when I hear someone say somthing's going ACCORDINGTOPLAN they mean as desired, not "as expected," which connotes the opposite because if we left things to go as expected then we wouldn't need a plan in the first place.

ACROSSTHESTREET in the clued sense seems like a green paint utterance. ACROSSTHESTREET in a non-green paint sense means "right here" rather than "within a stone's throw" which in common parlance means much farther away than ACROSSTHESTREET.

ENS and DET are only meaningful to me because of the Downs. Haven't a clue of these are given the cryptic context of the cluing.

Anonymous 6:08 PM  

AMICE was the first word I filled in. Being a Sacristan helps. The rest of the puzzle was a complete drag.

kitshef 4:01 PM  

DNF due to ApICE/ETApINE (2nd guess would have been a 'g'. Two other letters were guesses. I couldn't think of anything other than EUNUCHS for that down, even though I was sure it had to be incorrect. CIE and NONU both woes, the latter even though: 1)born in England 2) to English parents 3) lived and worked in England in the 19990s 4) fan of Rick Mayall.

ZenMonkey 4:50 AM  

Were there no other solvers rendered nauseated by having to stare at the name of a guy who knowingly enabled child sex abuse, which is his lasting legacy? I was sure I'd see some mention of this in Rex's review or the comments, other than the accuracy of the clue.

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

DNF, despite getting most of the center thanks to the late beloved Joe PATERNO. With my dying breath I'll swear he knew nothing of what was going on. Couldn't have. The villain of the piece not only ruined dozens of kids' lives; he ended JoePa's career--and might as well say, his life too. I hope there is a hell for that [can't say it].

Almost got out of the center, except I couldn't parse _NESTE_. I see it now, ONESTEP, but it eluded me. Just couldn't get enough of the downs to come up with anything. Couldn't even see TIESUP, with UP in place. Off day for the brain, I guess. On to tomorrow. INC.

Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


After CORONAS and COCAINE we had DESIGNS that we OTT to meet
to play neighborly DOUBLESOLITAIRE then LIEDOWN feet to feet,
but not ACCORDINGTOPLAN she’d BREAKOUTINARASH from the heat,
and now I GOSOLO and don’t dare take ONESTEP ACROSSTHESTREET.


rondo 12:31 PM  

Medium my butt. I got that middle first, but the connections coming out were tough. So this was split up like three puzzles for me. Got SYSTMSANALYSTS from the Y in LIBRARY for a substantial start down there.

It’s been briefly mentioned, but the egregious factual error re: PATERNO is inexcusable.
I had the pleasure and honor of sharing the sideline with John Gagliardi a half-dozen times when he was coaching St. John’s (Collegeville, MN) and I was on the officiating crew. I have a great story (too long to tell here) that ends with Gags pawing at the turf and cursing.
He was a legend 25 years before he retired as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history. Division III counts, too Mr. Shortz and staff. Check your facts!

ANNETTE O’Toole was once a yeah baby in a certain light, haven’t checked lately.

TOM Waits is an all-timer in my book. Back in the late 1970s he was being “interviewed” by Martin Mull on Fernwood Tonight and proclaimed, ”Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.” A sign of those times.

I think I like anything to do with CORONAS and AREOLAE. Tough Sat-puz for me.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

One hellova Challenging grid today, and if it weren't for 3 look-ups I could never have finished. I guessed at Nes. WTF? But all the correct letters are inside the tiny little squares and my tiny little grey cells are exhausted. I had to look up Annette and the spelling of Eunuchs and ORU. Sooooo...a finish but a DNF. Sue me, you brainiacs. One Noogie and one Wedgie to Mr. Arbesfeld. Just kidding as I really enjoyed the mental massage.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA.
(Where Annette O'Toole never showed up at my bday party).

Bruce Ekholm 4:08 PM  

I am still having trouble with 23 down (winningest college football coach). How do I fit Gagliardi (489 wins) into only 7 spaces? And who does this Paterno guy with only 409 wins get the entry? Are the fact checkers at the NY Times getting lazy again?

rondo 7:23 PM  

@Bruce Ekholm (BTW your last name is "oak island" in Swedish if you didn't know) if you see my earlier post and one or two others, some people know.

leftcoastTAM 8:15 PM  

This was three puzzles reduced to a small unsolvable one in the middle. I stuck with parched, instead of seeing SAHARAN, too long to open it up. There, I probably would have been shot down anyway at the ETAMINE/AMICE crossing.

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