Handsome hombres / SAT 11-21-15 / Luxuries not necessities per Cher / Dramatist Thomas who was contemporary of Shakespeare / Glamis Shakespearean epithet / First US college to divest from apartheid South Africa / People visited by Captain Cook 1769 / Biblical character who lived 912 years

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Constructor: Natan Last

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: general awesomeness 

Word of the Day: THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. (5D: "Mo Money Mo Problems" rapper) —
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G, Biggie, or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper. Wallace is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers ever and one of the most influential rappers of all time. // Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York's visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud. On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Wallace was noted for his "loose, easy flow", dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Two more albums have been released since his death. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States. (wikipedia)

• • •

The only thing wrong with this puzzle is that it's over. I haven't had this much fun solving a Saturday in ... I want to say ages, but K. Cameron Collins' gem was just last week, so ... I haven't had this much fun in a week. Before *that*, who knows how long. I wish (as I wished last week) that the puzzle had been harder; I was 2+ minutes faster than yesterday, and that's including taking the time to stop and get screenshots mid-solve. As I was solving, I couldn't believe how much great stuff he was managing to cram in here. I stopped at THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. to take a screenshot, little knowing that the rest of that stack (pillar?) of 15s was going to fill out so beautifully. I was still oohing at Biggie when bam, HATERS GONNA HATE! That is a sick one-two punch. And then AMERICAN APPAREL, which is also young-skewing, and also timely, in that they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just last month.

[HATERS GONNA HATE]

Often, with stacks (columns!?!) OF 15s, that's where All the action is, or most of it, anyway. Here, pfft, it's just the flashiest part of a great overall show. BOLLYWOOD! THAT'S NICE! CLUB OWNER! SHAKE ON IT! ROSIE'S BAR! And I DON'T BITE, which was the site of one of my few miscues, as I figured it was I WON'T BITE. I feel like the latter is more common. Is it? Nah, looks like DON'T googles twice as well (though both are perfectly in-the-language). Anyway... when you're not digging the ART SCENE, dig the solid answers that flesh out the grid: PACKERS and ETERNALLY and HAMPSHIRE (nice clue, 14A: First US college to divest from apartheid South Africa) and SIDEKICKS. This grid makes HOP ON POP and YO-YO MA look a little on the dull side (hard to do!). Even the stuff that made me initially squint and go "What?" ended up having me going "... yep, that works." Couldn't remember my Spanish 101, possibly because I never took it, but once the GUAPOS finally showed up, I recognized them and they seemed just fine. Welcome, GUAPOS. Then there was 55A: Like some hockey passes, and I had UP--- and thought "What made-up crap is this...?" Then ICE fell into place and then I imagined a hockey play-by-play commentator's voice and ... yep, UPICE is totally a thing. The equivalent of "upfield" in (U.S.) football. I mean, damn, this thing even managed to make EWE look good with the a fancy mythological clue (25A: Animal that Poseidon turned Theophane into, in myth).

[Please watch, for intro as well as performance]

OK, ESNE is never good, but the puzzle totally knows that and is winking at you like "come on, you know you're gonna forgive this" (9D: A slave to crosswords?). And I did. And do.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. MEN! (58A: "Luxuries," not "necessities," per Cher)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

75 comments:

The Rhino 7:59 AM  

Well, it took me about four years of doing crossword puzzles, but here it is: my first clean Saturday solve. Like Rex, I loved just about everything about this puzzle. I loved NEHI (Radar's drink) was in with ROSIES BAR. I always liked How I Met Your Mother. I had Aretha before YoYo, and also went with wONT before DONT, but otherwise no major troubles. It was a lot of fun.

Evan Jordan 8:06 AM  

Agreed! Fun, witty stuff. The "monarch of the forest" clue had me all hung on ELK because of Landseer's massively popular painting Monarch of the Glen. So many rows sat there with a few letter filled, looking like there was no way it would turn into language; then... UPICE?!? I had to look at it three times before it hit me!

George Barany 8:16 AM  

This was a fun puzzle by @Natan Last who (full disclosure) is also a graduate of Stuyvesant High School. I was surprised to be able to solve it without resorting to Google, since rappers and West Coast clothing stores don't tend to be in my wheelhouse.

Fortunately, I remembered reading HOP_ON_POP to my kids years ago, and was able to reason out the G at the intersection of 39-Down and 47-Across. The YO_YO_MA clue was obvious, with hindsight, and thanks @Rex for sharing the clip of the cellist as a 7-year old [contact me off-line for a couple of one-degree-of-separation stories].

Two other blogs obliquely referred to "The Notorious R.B.G."--so it was sad to stumble across this news item.

Hartley70 8:25 AM  

Shocking Saturday! Did I get the day wrong? This was the easiest, smoothest Saturday solve I can remember. Lots of fun and no torture, well there was one little snag for me. I don't see how OILED is stewed, but comprehension is overrated in the world of testing.....just gimme the A! I hope the rest of the day goes this well.

Z 8:42 AM  

What Rex said. And here's how you clue MEN without sounding tone deaf.

One writeover, home->OPEN. Otherwise, just a steady build from THANE and ARLES to BOLLYWOOD (last in because something had to be last). Had a brief moment of wondering if Poseidon had turned Theophane into an Eel.

Need a HATERS GONNA HATE clip? Screaming Females instead of Taylor Swift, of course. I will say this about Ms. Swift, she covers well. Not my cuppa, but she appears to be the real deal.

On the current events front, this.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Great puzzle, great write up, but what's with the "Natan Last Sucks" tag at the bottom, @Rex?

Glimmerglass 9:11 AM  

Absolutely terrific Saturday puzzle! I agree with what Rex and the first posters raved about it. My only small disagreement with the rest is that I didn't find it too easy. It took me about an hour, which is pretty average for me for a Saturday. You all undrstand that not easy is a good thing!

Carola 9:13 AM  

Well, not easy for me: this one was work. Didn't know the rapper, the bar, the Stone. NAN, or TED. I was feeling a little disgruntled: "How am I supposed to know that?!" but then HATERS GONNA HATE made me laugh.

I did get AMERICAN APPAREL right away, thanks to their NOTORIOUS racy ads in our local indie paper and smiled at the cross with YOGA PANTS, as the models are usually wearing more like hot PANTS, if that much. Also was grateful to know KYD, thanks to my daughter's teaching early modern drama, and that got me the PACK and BOLLYWOOD. Liked the amusing contrast of DOCTRINAL on top of HOP ON POP.

Z 9:16 AM  

@Hartley70 - "but comprehension is overrated in the world of testing.....just gimme the A!" Perfect! BTW - I, too, don't get this. Went with OAK because yAK/yILED makes no sense. Was prepared to be bummed with a OLDNF when I got to Rex.

quilter1 9:18 AM  

@Hartley 70, OILED and stewed are synonyms for drunk. @Rex yes this skewed young so I had more trouble than you, but in the end it was gettable. I'm lucky I follow my twenty-something nieces and nephew on FB so I'm kind of current.

Teedmn 9:19 AM  

I agree with the easy assessment, but the NE offered me much resistance. I was sure a colichemarde was going to be some sort of mollusk. PDS was not coming to me, and HA__ENED was not going down. Eventually, I got HAPPENED. Game over, you say? Nope, still missing was the O and K of OAK. I looked at my watch, 26 minutes to get to that point, so a very average Saturday for me. I went out and got the paper, read the comics, stared at cAt crossing cILED and tEYS? No. rILED and rAt? No. How does the brain know when to go on walkabout? I came here, saw OAK and thought Geez Louise, why was I fixated on fauna rather than flora? Was the word "forest" not a good enough clue?

Other than that minor piece of idiocy, my only writeover was SoothES for SEDATES. I liked the clues for SIDEKICKS, NPR, ONES and of course, YOGA PANTS. That one, I had the Y, P and T. Was wondering if you could consider a PasTa drying rack a stretcher but the Y kept me from doing that.

Nice puzzle, Natan Last.

The Ear Worm 9:27 AM  

Only a few quibbles with cluing. Thought that current path for DIODE was a bit of silly. By that logic the answer could have been me when I played with that live lamp cord. Nothing about a diode is unique to that clue. Something like "one way to the current path?" Would have been just as playful, but more of a clue.

Struggled with elK for OAK, but that's not anyone's fault but mine also thought that maybe people painted lyonS. Otherwise, stared at a nearly complete puzzle with the southwest giving me the finger for a bit before I was able to drop in MEN and move my 'tipping point' ideas from ways and places to pay wait staff.

Otherwise totally easy-medium time and a nice enjoyable solve.

Thanks NL!

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Very fun. I have to admit that I suspect OFL pronounced the clue for HAMPSHIRE good because it reminded him of his own goodness vis a vis the oppressed. Maybe I'm being too sensitive.

Lobster11 9:32 AM  

This was right at my limit, so I guess that makes it "easy" for a Saturday. Like OFL, I'm willing to give a pass to a single ESNE, which I got entirely from crosses, because it was a small price to pay for the rest. My only gripe is that I was completely befuddled by the clue for OILED, which prevented me from seeing OAK. I thought the answer for "Stewed" had to be "riled," which gave me the meaningless "rak," and I was stumped. Great fun otherwise, though.

Rob 9:32 AM  

Great puzzle. Surprisingly easy for a Saturday but great flow with some really good fill.

Still no idea what ESNE meant or why "Stewed" was OILED, but those are small complaints. YOGAPANTS, HOPONPOP and HATERSGONNAHATE were inspired.

Leapfinger 9:43 AM  

Well, I didn't have a CLU about that BOWNER.

Here's another point on which I disagree with @Rex: he says to watch the YOYOMA clip for the intro. I say to watch it for the extro. The end has a lovely but too-brief surprise.

Tim Aurthur 9:51 AM  

Much better clue for MEN than that other one.

Vincent Lima 10:05 AM  

I really wanted my initial entry, Seeger, to be correct, since Pete Seeger sang one of the original versions of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is your Land" at Obama's first inauguration, with Bruce Springsteen, including this verse:
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I see my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Was this land made for you and me?
But it was just boring YOYOMA.

I love @Hartley70's comment, "comprehension is overrated in the world of testing" -- which is always said when someone hasn't comprehended!

Thank goodness for NEHIS. It's one thing to skew young, but older people deserve the occasional bone!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:07 AM  

Excellent puzzle; Easy-Medium for me.

Three w/o's: 10 A, ELK >> OAK; 11 D, LILLE >> ARLES; and 43 D, PHONEY >> PSEUDO. (Surprised no one else mentioned having fallen for that last one.)

Didn't know GUAPOS, but filled in from crosses, and by the time I finished I had forgotten even to see what it was.

Mohair Sam 10:16 AM  

So a chastened Will Shortz does a total flip/flop on the clue for MEN. Love it!

We set the curve here by seeing this one as medium/challenging, hope y'all feel real smart. We eventually whupped this puppy however, and enjoyed the battle.

Why tough for us? Well, four gimmes were YOYOMA, "cnn" at 8d (oops), daD at 44a (not), and "elK" at 10a (yikes). Had little knowledge of the three 15s stacked down the middle (amazing for us our first filled there was THENOTORIOUSBIG), thought it was GOttAHATE, and just learned of AMERICANAPPAREL today.

Would have had NOTORIOUS much sooner but misspelled MAuRIS. Thought the plural of MAORI was MAORI, btw.

Wonderful Cluing, very little "ese", terrific (and challenging for us) Saturday. Thank you Natan Last.

pmdm 10:16 AM  

Sadly, a comment from AliasZ hasn't been posted yet. If he disliked yesterday's puzzle (forgive me if you are female - can't tell from the name), I wonder if it's the same reaction for today's puzzle. It certainly was for me.

I get your point from yesterday, Z. The word was used as a noun, not an adjective, which made the plural correct if awkward. Too bad the S wasn't replaced by a cheater square.

jberg 10:19 AM  

ESNE was my first answer. Unfortunately, the inside-jokiness of that made me think that ol' Theophane must have been turned into an Eel--something you'd think would have been more in Poseidon's wheelhouse than a EWE. That, and elK (and I'll blame Landseer too, @Evan Jordan, even though I didn't think of it till reading your comment) made it really hard to get going.

THANE would have been my first entry, but I still think it's a title, not an epithet. To plagiarize dictionary.com, it's something like Richard "the Lion-Hearted," as opposed to Richard, King of England.

But mainly, my brain just wasn't working. It took me both Bs to see that coddle was BABY, I couldn't remember Chuck HAGEL until I had the whole name, and many more like that. So I got to enjoy the puzzle longer than @Rex, and most of you, did!

BondPD 10:31 AM  

A good Saturday, particularly with AMERICAN APPAREL which, as Rex pointed out, filed for bankruptcy on October 5th, obviously leading one to part two of the great comb-over, who declared bankruptcy only four times, so far. "I built great companies, I made billions of dollars, I don't have to listen to this man.." That doesn't exactly ALLAY the slightly more traditional RPG's* in New HAMPSHIRE who say in SOTTO voce that all the anti-immgrant BLAB and DOCTRINAL ignorance might be for the BIRDS.(Where is ORSON Welles when you need him?)
HATERS GONNA HATE, but I DON'T BITE. We're into THE ART SCENE,i.e. Van Gogh in ARLES, but also the art of the MAORIS and other Oceanic peoples who influenced the Ab-Exers. Trumpster is much more BOLLYWOOD,great entertainment, with a little "EWE" emitted every now and again, particularly after the town hall event two days ago: to the question, "What about women and equal pay?" his answer ALLUDED TO his daughter, and how people "loved" her, rather than knowing there is such a thing as the Fair Pay Act, languishing, actually defeated, in "congress." If only the old OAK bar were still open...

*RPGs repugs. shorthand

Nancy 10:33 AM  

I'm beginning to think that Will's motto is "A rapper a day keeps the doctor away." And today's rapper took up practically the whole bleeping puzzle. Plus another sitcom clue, another answer in Spanish and a bunch of other proper names. Still, I liked this one more than yesterday's, since it also had a lot of good stuff. I liked BOLLYWOOD, I DON'T BITE, SHAKE ON IT and SIDEKICKS. It was interesting to learn that HAMPSHIRE college was the first to divest from South Africa; I either didn't know that or didn't remember it. It was much less interesting to learn ORSON and NAN and THE NOTORIOUS BIG, who could have been THE NOTORIOUS BAG or THE NOTORIOUS BOG as far as I was concerned.

I was thinking an animal for 10A, but the Y in YAK didn't work, so I found OAK. I don't know what SBA stands for. I don't know what RPG stands for. I loved today's clue for MEN and I guessed it, with no crosses. I guessed at GUAPOS and HOP ON POP. I had LESSENED before HAPPENED at 15D. How anyone can call this easy, I don't know. I ended up with 2 missing letters, as I naticked at the cross of ROSIE'S BAR with ORSON and SBA. And I never would have known HATERS GONNA HATE, had I not spent all this time on the Rexblog. When we were going through the troll fiasco earlier in the year, more than a few of you used that quote to describe the situation. I had never heard it before, actually.

DJG 10:39 AM  

A whole lot of good stuff for sure. But I was really but off by the relative abundance of bad entries. ESNE was mentioned, but also there were the awkward plurals GUAPOS, NEHIS, and particularly MAORIS (overwhelming it's just "Maori" or "the Maori people" -- dictionaries include Maoris, but I can't find a single organic usage anywhere online). Also some short dross: SBA, OTO, KYD, PDS, RPG, NAN. One or two of those is OK, but it starts to detract from my joy after that.

I liked this puzzle but the crud really took it down a notch for me. Maybe it's because I've been seeing so many great puzzles lately that have sparkling long fill *AND* manage to avoid the crap. Maybe it's just that HATERSGONNAHATE.

Sir Hillary 10:53 AM  

Simply fantastic. Kudos to @The Rhino for making the link between NEHI and ROSIESBAR. One great M*A*S*H episode centers around Radar and Hawkeye having a serious falling out. They meet at Rosie's to patch things up. Radar buys a grape Nehi, Hawkeye buys a beer. They sit wordlessly, staring at their beverages, until finally switching bottles and drinking as the episode ends.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:58 AM  

I loved the clue and answer for yoga pants . This was fun.

mac 10:58 AM  

Great puzzle, easier than yesterday's for me, as well. Had to look around for a foothold, then it developed beautifully.

Of course I was expecting "ass" at 25A after the last couple of weeks, and Urban Outfitters fits neatly in 7D...

It would have been great, and timely on several fronts, to have The Notorious RBG at 5D.

BondPD 11:06 AM  

Before any of our favorite nit-pickers get on ORSON Welles, rather than a choice of Hitch being so near BIRDS, the thinking was "War of the Worlds."

AliasZ 11:10 AM  


I enjoyed this puzzle tremendously even with THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. in it. AMERICAN APPAREL came easily because I walked by their store on Fifth Ave. and 19th St. on my way to work every day until last year.

The snazzy long entries traversing the triple column holding up the grid was a joy to behold. CLUB OWNER, the often DOCTRINAL ART SCENE, I DON'T BITE under ROSIE'S BAR and we'll SHAKE ON IT... Wow! But what made it especially great for me was the obvious care and lack of laziness filling the rest of the grid as well. Wonderful entries like BOLLYWOOD, SIDEKICKS speaking in SOTTO voce, and YOGA PANTS on YO-MA MA -- THAT'S NICE! Well, except ESNE and OTO and GUAPOS. Lovely to make your acquaintance, GUAPOS.

-- Is GUAPOS a Spanish 101 word now that we should know, lest we be called stale and musty?
-- RPG: I had no idea Dungeons & Dragons was a rocket propelled grenade.
-- UPICE looks like it should be pronounced "You pitchy".
-- Best clue of the decade: They may be put on a stretcher.
-- Wasn't HAGEL the German philosopher who said "Education is the art of making man ethical"?

Let me offer this sample of the mezzo-soprano voice of NAN Merriman (1920-2012), singing siete delightful canciones populares Españolas by Manuel de Falla.

Enjoy your weekend.

OISK 11:13 AM  

As Senor Wences used to say, "Easy for you, difficult for me." It's not a lot of fun when the full length clue is some rapper; a culture I an notorious for ignoring completely. Didn't watch MASH often, never watched How I Met Your Mother at all, don't speak Spanish, (Guapos??) have never used, nor cared for "Haters gonna hate," ( I guess I am one of the haters much of the time...) still don't know what ska is, but it has been in plenty of puzzles, yoga pants?? And I almost Naticked at Kyd, because I thought Bollywood might be spelled Bolliwood. Never read any of Dr. Suess's work either, but Hop on Pop has been in the puzzle before (amazing how much I have learned here...) Do Nehis actually exist outside the puzzle??

But I finished it. Two week winning streak. Conquered both Friday and Saturday, despite both being pop-cultured way outside my wheelhouse. ( self congratulatory).

A 50 year career in chemistry has made me a bit too literal minded. " Bohemians are part of it." The opera didn't fit. But where is Bohemia? I know it is in the Czech republic (from my stamp collecting days!) but perhaps some is in Slovakia? That fit, but there are no months with a "K" as the second letter, so no good. Silesia- too few letters, Slovenia, too far west... Bohemians as part of the art scene?? Yeah, that works...

Music Man 11:15 AM  

All I can think of is HATERS GONNA HATE, lovers gonna love, I don't even want, none of the above, I'm gonna ...

You know the rest 🤗

I really loved this one. Fantastic.

Mohair Sam 11:28 AM  

Nit to pick on clue for 54d (Loan-giving org.)- the SBA (Small Business Administration) is primarily in the business of partially guaranteeing loans, not "giving" them. They will give loans in declared disaster areas only, otherwise qualified lenders give the loans, the SBA is in the guarantee business.

GILL I. 11:32 AM  

Super duper crossword. Loved it but it wasn't a walk in the park.
Loved GUAPOS and POLLO. Did you know that in Cuba, a handsome man is referred to as a POLLO? Hola, GUAPa - I use that all the time when I speak to my sister.
What else did I like? All of it. I didn't even have any trouble with Mo Money Mo Problems Mr. BIG......
OAK took some rethinking since I had Tolkien's ENT and wasn't sure about HAMPSHIRE. Loved getting OILED after I head slapped the BRIM of my hat.
Whas incredibly proud of myself for getting EPEES. Now that is a clue!
Flirted with THE ROMAS for our Bohemian friends but it didn't last long since the 15 downs were sort of coming to me in an easy fashion.
Good job Natan Last....and MEN - the way it was clued!!!!

jae 11:33 AM  

Easy-medium only because I had @Mohair GOttA before GONNA and @Rex wONT BITE before DONT BITE. 

This was another wheelhouse puzzle.  I've never consciously  listened to a NORTORIOUS B.I.G rap, but I recently read an article in the LATimes about Sean Combs (speaking of DIDDY) and the history of Bad Boy Records. Also, as @Rex noted AMERICAN APPAREL has been in the news lately.  Getting the 15s quickly and gimmes like ROSIE'S BAR, the related NEHIs, HAGEL, and BOLLYWOOD really opened this one up.

Excellent Sat. I with the liked it a lot contingent!

Leapfinger 11:35 AM  

Not to be DOCTRINAire, but so far, it's been worth it for @BondPD's comment.

Shall see who can outlast whoom.

Tita 11:37 AM  

Worst defeat in ages!!!
Way too much tv and other pop for me to get any kind of a foothold.
I couldn't even get YOYOMA...

I wasn't really interested to keep at it, so I cheated. A lot... From revealing wrong letters, to revealing right letters, to shameless googling, just to put an end to my misery.

I'm with Jeff Chen who said recently that names don't make for an interesting solve...you either know them or you don't. There's no sense of discovery when you finally get one.

What saved this puzzle from a total blahfest was seeing BRI_ for Tipping point? and smirkingly entering BRIs.

Maybe I'll add that to the wrong answer hall of fame.

Ed C 11:40 AM  

I didn't like OILED either, but now I realize they're both synonyms for "drunk".

jp flanigan 11:59 AM  

Aretha instead of YOYOMA was my only hiccup. I don't think i've ever heard anyone to refer to Ronnie Wood as RON, though.

Z 12:06 PM  

@Alias Z - So dark. RPG = Role Playing Game. Also, we should be on alert for MMORPG as those are useful consonants.

@OISK - I continue to be impressed that you finish a puzzle like this. Not liking something does not make one a "hater," and I wonder if I could do as well on a puzzle so far out of my areas of interest.

@Nancy - In case it ever comes up in conversation, he was known as NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

@DJG - It's a 15x15 puzzle, unless you ban 3 letter answers the way 2 letter answers are banned you're going to get your SBA, KYD, RPG, and NANs. No eel or RRN, and what we do get have lived clues. I don't think we can ask for much better fill than we got today.

chipperj 12:19 PM  

Loved this puzzle. I would have nailed the landing, except I could not let go of :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgB491zXQxs

Lewis 12:25 PM  

@rex -- Terrific writeup. Funny, on the mark, and echoed my feelings. It was as much fun as the puzzle.
@tita -- Good one on BRIs!

I loved what most everyone here loved -- lively answers (HOPONPOP, YOYOMA, SHAKEONIT, IDONTBITE, HATERSGONNAHATE) and clues (KEYS, ONES, YOGAPANTS which is one of the best clues ever). I learned the fact about HAMPSHIRE, and loved the cluster of double L's (5) in the North. The wasn't a gimme puzzle by any means, as I didn't know KYD, ORSON, SETH, NAN, and GUAPOS. Mostly though, I was living the crossword high, that feeling of excitement that accompanies the special ones.

Starting with the H of THANE, moving down three letters, then turning east, you get the word HATERNALLY. I wish it were real. There have been letters I've fantasized about writing that I would like to have closed with "Haternally Yours", Lewis.

Art Wholeflaffer 12:26 PM  

Wow, that was a treat.

old timer 12:28 PM  

My second-to-last entry was ROSIES BAR, a total guess, but with all that Spanish in the puzzle I found myself singing, "Nighttime would find me in Rosa's cantina" (where Marty Robbins met the wicked Felina). (My last entry: DIODE, which really was poorly clued, but after all, DIOWE makes no sense at all).

I started the puzzle with THANE, OAK, and ARLES, and casting about for gimmes, put in SOTTO. That did give me PACKERS and (mistakenly) eel instead of EWE. And I knew 42A had to be something from Dr Seuss, but which?

So, without any of the long downs, I was well and truly stuck. So I googled for the rapper. That broke the whole thing open for me, and it was smooth going from there. Especially after I changed NBC to NPR. I could swear I've heard "This ... is NBC" before, but maybe not.

Before my Google, I assumed the peace month was Nov, at first, and Capt. Cook met the Samoans. I was glad to find it was the MAORIS instead. My oldest daughter studied MAORI once upon a time.

Never heard "RPG" as a description of what my kids used to call DND back in the day. Makes sense, though.

I do think GUAPOS was unfair. I got it quickly because I took AP Spanish in 1961-62. But it is not a Spanish 101 word. I am a lot more tolerant of the expectation that solvers will have a basic knowledge of French than of Spanish, because in my day, almost all college-bound kids did take French. My choice of Spanish was very much an outlier. Though I did learn French the summer after my first year at college, and was glad I did.

Joe Bleaux 12:45 PM  

I'll join the chorus of huzzahs for a fun romp, a Saturday rarity. But, nitpickers gonna nitpick, so ... I couldn't read the "This is ..." broadcast clue without hearing James Earl Jones -- and he wasn't saying "NPR." But it was my only erasure.
PS -- @tita, HU HU for BRIs! Thanks for sharing.

Andrew Heinegg 1:14 PM  

I thought this was a nice effort but, I took a dnf/cheating finish because of too many things I just could not suss out. I do have a major issue with 14a, Hampshire. If it were a school like say Haverford, which also fits, it might be reasonable to figure it out from the crosses but, not Hampshire, especially in light of the fact that apartheid has not been a governing principle in S.A. since 1994. And Bollywood is not Indian pictures. Bollywood makes Indian Pictures and yes, I get it would have been too easy to clue it that way but. BTW, can we skip Maoris for a while?

Fred Romagnolo 1:31 PM  

@Tita's BRIs comment was hilarious. The clue "epithet" should not be used for a title, or even a straight-out name, it's a descriptive word. YOGA PANTS is green paint. Can't really blame Mr. Last, nor the rest of you non Itialian-Americans, but GUAPO is in fact (Merriam-Webster) the origin of the derogatory term "wop." Check Wikipedia. I was surprised Rex apparently didn't know that.

nick 1:41 PM  

omg ecstatic. That was SO much fun, including and almost especially, amid all of the great stuff, the winkwink of 'esne'.

Again, please.

Fred Romagnolo 1:54 PM  

Another nit to pick: the clue for KYD, which is a surname had Shakespeare which is a surname, and Thomas which could be either. Should have been William, for consistency.

Masked and Anonymous 2:10 PM  

Hard.

Bullets:

* POLLO. Game played on horseback, hittin pewits with mallets. Didn't understand the clue.

* HAMPSHIRE. Not familiar with this college. Feel bad for it, that it didn't rate a "New" rating. New to m&e, anyhoo.

* ESNE. This entry is only forgivable, if there ain't also rappers in the puz. Uh oh …

* THENOTORIOUSBIG. The notorious rapper spanner. Oldfogie M&A didn't have a prayer. Other than, at this point, praying for lotsa U's. Uh oh …

* Three U's. Below average. D+. At least there weren't much fashion-knowledge stuff. Uh oh …

* YOGAPANTS x AMERICANAPPAREL. M&A's daily outfit: sweatshirt (or tshirt) x jeans + the robe (on cold days). Do they also make POLLOPANTS? I want that. At least there weren't any foreign words. Uh oh …

* POLLO! (see above) SOTTO. UPICE. ARLES. snort. Well, at least none of em were foreign, obscure, *and* plural. Uh oh …

* GUAPOS? Sounds made when hitting pewits with mallets? At least there weren't no obscure abbrs. crossin any of these lovely stumpery entries. Uh oh …

* RPG? I think this was a programming lingo, once upon a time. PDS? I think this was a kind of computer dataset, back in the old mainframe days. SBA? I know what SBD is: time to change jeans. SBA is maybe the term used, when HAGEL does a SBD? Man, that GUAPOS/RPG crossin was real SBD, for poor dumb M&A. Well, at least there weren't no obscure Game of Thrones references …

Masked and DNFanonymo3Us
"ORSON who?"

p.s.
Thanx, Natanmeister. Real amazin grid. I'da been in a better mood, if DOTE/TELL had been right, up where BABY/BLAB was.


**gruntz**

Z 2:35 PM  

What are people going on about regarding DIODE? Seems definitional to me, with the "?" there because "current" doesn't mean "at present." Many people have made the same claim, so what am I missing?

@Andrew Heinegg - Likewise with your complaints about HAMPSHIRE. It is a real school, the divestment movement was a real thing, and I don't see why apartheid's end is relevant. Last week we had a "60's" clue that referenced the 1860's. Does the Cuvil War being mostly over mean it's not fair game for crosswords? Is it just that you had a write over there or is there something more?

@Tita - Definitely HoF worthy.

I'm either at or over the limit, so I'm out of here for today.

dick swart 2:56 PM  

I looked at the Sat xword as I walked from the printer to a cuppa and a chocolate croissant and thought o god, its not gonna be a good day.

I was wrong! As soon as I started, answers just seemed to jump into place! And it was fun! I got 'notorious' just because what else could it be and B I G , not because I knew the name of the rapper but because I knew Chuck Hagel's name and Rosies Bar. And I corrected my spelling of 'apparel' Is it 'A before L except after R'?

Anyway, I am in agreement with Rex on the Saturday morning fun offered up by Nathan Last. See Matthew 20:16 KJV.

cwf 2:58 PM  

Here's a lovely THENOTORIOUSBIG mural near my apartment. This puzzle was, I agree, a joy from beginning to end. Thanks, Natan Last! Sorry you suck.

Mike D 3:18 PM  

@Tita siad: "I wasn't really interested to keep at it."
If this puzzle didn't interest you, I'd think about another hobby. They don't get much better.

LindaPRmaven 3:35 PM  

Tough for me and had to Google a couple of times, but lots of smiles, most of which Rex has highlighted. Started promisingly with AMERICANAPPAREL and that final R for "Nightlife industry bigwig" looked so inviting I immediately penciled in TOOTSSHOR and said to myself, "Rex is going to hate this one - for solvers who haven't been to a club since the DDE ERA - yikes. Toots of course was soon DECKed by the Green Bay PACKERS. Then YOYOMA got me to CLUBOWNER. Given the combination of letters it's amazing Yo Yo's whole name isn't in puzzles more often. I met him once when I worked for the Rochester Philharmonic, way before he was on any crossword constructor's radar. He was still at Harvard and was the only guest artist I ever met at the Greyhound bus station (he was coming from Ithaca where he'd been visiting his girlfriend at Cornell). The performance, I believe the Haydn concerto in C major, was terrific.

Wednesday's Child 3:47 PM  

My experience is akin to much that I have read here.

I was halfway done after a slow start and still had none of the towering 15s. My son sat down with me and came up with the scintillating trio.

Great puzzle, but out of my wheelhouse. The pleasure came in solving with my son. Thanks Natan!

BTW, the clue for ESNE was exceptional.

AZPETE 4:31 PM  

Both are slang for being at least a little bit drunk.

Tita 4:45 PM  

I couldn't resist my own hilarity, so updated my Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame... (scroll down)

I encourage y'all to add you own entries in the comments section, since I have been so bad at updating it.

Mohair Sam 5:03 PM  

@Masked & Anonymous - Yup, RPG - Report Program Generator. I actually coded using the atrocity in the early 1980's. Clumsiest computer language I've ever dealt with, useless if you needed anything above elementary algebra in mathematics.

Tita 5:25 PM  

@MikeD... I can count on one hand the crossword puzzles that I actively Did. Not. Like.
Those that I absolutely adore probably number in the 50s.
In between is a vast swirling sea of puzzles that I really enjoy.
Your comment really speaks to why a puzzle is appealing. Dubbing a puzzle as good or bad can be quantitative, as Rex often succeeds at illustrating here.

But why a puzzle appeals to a solver - ah - there is a question with many answers.
For me, was the theme about things I love? Like the cars theme this week or music or strawberry shortcake or cat videos? Was there one answer that tangentially evoked a memory, like YOYOMA did for LindaPR just above?
Did it precipitate a slew of fascinating/hilarious/educational comments from all of you?

I factor in ll those things as much as the "quality" of the puzzle. Well, probably more, since I'm a cheap puzzle date, as one of our clever commenters confessed herself a while back.

So by my personal puzzle criteria, they do get better.
(Thanks for causing me to look deep inside my puzzle-self. Where do I send the check for the therapy session?)

While I'm thinking deep thoughts, can anyone tell me why it's commentER, but commentatOR?

Alexander 6:11 PM  

Wow, I read 58A as: "Luxuries," not "necessities," per Che

Seemed like an odd thing for Che Guevera to be commenting on

Just ignore the jerk, @Tita 6:37 PM  

It's Mike D who should take up a new hobby. He's here only to prove his own superiority and put down other people. Go back and look at his past comments and you won't find a single instance of his admitting anything in a puzzle he doesn't know. Nor will you find anything remotely resembling a sense of humor. He is the quintessential combination of snark and smugness. It oozes from every sentence he writes. You're worth 100 of him, Tita, and I'll read your comments rather than his comments any day of the week.

Joel Blashka 7:00 PM  

First clue that I filled in with certainty was 8 down. Had to be CNN. Anybody remember James Earl Jones stentorian voice intoning "This is NPR?" You have got to be kyding!

phil phil 8:48 PM  

My dealings with SBA as a startup is not unlike dealing with the devil.

SBA does not make loans. They guarantee a loan for the benefit of the bank. They are more bank friendly than small business friendly.

The owner still loses collateral set in the loan, like personal assets, homes etc. if necessary to repay the bank. And the bank terms are still more onerous than standard terms.

Anonymous 11:32 PM  

@fred WOP is without papers in reference to all the immigrant Italians . The Hudson valley was full of them in the industrial towns such as Mechanicville, and in some western ones as well such as Rome. Today we call such immigrants undocumented, same thing, just a different nationality. I grew up in upstate NY with many of their children in the sixties.

Anonymous 11:43 PM  

@Tita,

I think it's different because that's what the common tater taught.

Sorry, I can't face publishing this under my usual nom de blog, esp after your BRIS and @Joe Bleaux's HU BRIS.

And tell your Mom she has another fan lurking in the woodwork, will you?

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

@Anon 11:43pm,

I didn't think of that, or I'da said it too.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

It figures that OFL would call this easy. A gridspanning rapper? Well, there's a whole line I have to spot him. And next to it a horribly ugly expression: HATERSGONNAHATE??? If that's modern talk, I'm glad I'm going to die soon. I'm serious. The late Ricky Nelson said it much better:

"Well it's all right now, I learned my lesson well:
"You know you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself."

Needless to say, I DNF this BABY. Did the west, and that's it. INC.

Texas Syndyland Solver 12:17 PM  

OH PLEASE STOP!! Guapo is handsome in Texas - nothing more. Do we have to always look for something to be offended about?

Burma Shave 12:38 PM  

BOLLYWOOD GAUPOS

As I ALLUDEDTO, THATSNICE for the MEN SIDEKICKS
ETERNALLY OILED at the PSEUDO-ARTSCENE at ROSIESBAR,
But I’m WARY, IDONTBITE on the CLUBOWNER’s tricks,
The LOOK of her YOGAPANTS takes AMERICANAPPAREL too far.

--- THANE HAGEL

rondo 2:04 PM  

Yeah. BABY! That’s the way to start a puz. And a pretty good one at that, though a bit on the tough side for me. Hand up for elK in the NE and then wIres for DIODE in the SW. A DIODE is not the only place for current.

Remembered THENOTORIOUSBIG from a parody of him a local radio station used to do. Not particularly funny then, but helpful today.

Took a while to recall ROSIESBAR. Could picture it, but the brain couldn’t catch up.

Cher, Cher, Cher . . . HATERSGONNAHATE.

Used to read HOPONPOP to the daughter thirty-some years ago. And she did HOPONPOP.

Gotta love a puz with RON smack dab in the middle. And all the rest to go with it.

rain forest 4:52 PM  

Got off to a great start by confidently entering CNN. Hah. Caused much consternation. I picked and poked at it, getting traction, as they say in the East and part of the middle, getting enough letters to get HATERS...etc, and ended up with THE NOTORIOUS BIm. Also didn't know RPG, or the loan thing. Oh, I did finally remove CNN (which made me think "witch"--Aha, Witch of Glamis!"--sounds more like an epithet to me.)

Yes, not easy pour moi, and yet, to come within three squares of a solution is some solace. I feel like Miss Congeniality of xworld.

Oh yeah, I did like this, tough as it was for me.

leftcoastTAM 7:00 PM  

Fun and relatively easy until the SW, where I got OILED in ROSIESBAR and ORSON DECKed me.

I didn't remember his name or the name of the bar, so I staggered into an embarrassing DNF.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

I like a puzzle that's challenging because the clues are clever, and there were several examples of that here.

And I enjoyed seeing BOLLYWOOD, PACKERS, ROSIESBAR and IDONTBITE in the fill.

But inaccurate clues bug me, and there was plenty of that, too. I completely agree with the reservations already noted re: THANE, BOLLYWOOD, SBA and DIODE (the latter is a one-way current gate, like a check valve, not a current path). I also take exception to "referenced" as a clue for ALLUDEDTO. To reference is to cite or otherwise explicitly call attention to; to allude is to imply or suggest. I call this the "word association" school of cluing: what does the clue remind you of?

So I'm definitely in the minority here. I thought this was a mixed bag, and disappointingly easy for a Saturday.

BTW, my paper credited this syndicated puzzle to Mary Lou Guizzo. I don't often see this kind of discrepancy.

Puzzle Geek 1:33 AM  

Lots to like in this puzzle. Did need to look up a few. Haters may hate but I got a kick out of BOTH recent clues for MEN!

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