Founder of Egypt's first dynasty / SAT 1-9-16 / Ultimate object to Aristotle / Chemistry concentrations / Org that tracks baby name popularity / Ruler's title from which word chess is derived / Popular cologne that shares its name with literary character / Boy's name repeated in nursery rhyme

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Constructor: Jason Flinn

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: BEA Benaderet (48A: Actress Benaderet who voiced Betty Rubble) —
Beatrice “Bea” Benaderet (April 4, 1906 – October 13, 1968) was an American actress born in New York City and reared in San Francisco, California. Her major breaks in radio came on The Jack Benny Program and as a member of Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre repertory company. She appeared in a wide variety of television work, which included a starring role in the 1960s television series Petticoat Junction and Green Acres as Shady Rest Hotel owner Kate Bradley, supporting roles as Blanche Morton in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and as the original voice of Betty Rubble during the first four seasons of The Flintstones, and in The Beverly Hillbillies as Pearl Bodine. She did a great deal of voice work in Warner Bros. animated cartoons of the 1940s and early 1950s, most famously as Granny. (wikipedia)
• • •

I don't get and will never get quad stacks. They appear to be a challenge the constructor sets himself (I would say "him/herself," but ... honestly, this is exclusively, tellingly, a guy thing), with little to no regard for the greatness of the 15s themselves, and usually even less regard for the solver's experience. Martin Ashwood-Smith pretty much owns the quadstack as a form, and he's virtually the only person capable of making a tolerable one because he's had So Much Practice. While both stacks today appear to be made up completely of solid, real names and phrases, none of the 15s is what you'd call a winner. Seriously, who is breathless with excitement at the sight of UPPER PALATINATE (17A: Bavarian region that the Danube passes through)? I liked ROSIE THE RIVETER fine (16A: One saying "We can do it!), but it's been done, and recently, *and* I got it with zero crosses—just look:

So if the 15s don't (at least in part) sizzle, what else is left in a quadstack but the death march of tolerable-to-intolerable short crosses. Actually, things could've been worse. I've seen things worse. But it's hard to get worse than SORB (50A: Take up and hold, chemically). Or ENSILES (37D: Stores on a farm). And I won't be the only one who needed water (or possibly something stronger) to wash down MENES and ETATISM (the latter being particularly galling, as it is literally the same thing as STATISM, just spelled ... Frenchly) (later we get STATE ASSISTANCE; my THESIS STATEMENT is that this is all a sad state of affairs). Anyway, it was all doable, but it was never fun. Where is the damn joy in a puzzle like this? There should be joy.

I can't begin to imagine what nursery rhyme TOM is repeated in. I've got "James, James said to his mother / Mother he said, said he / You must never go down to the end of town / If you don't go down with me" running interference in my head—curse you, A.A. Milne. Also, curse you E.A. POE, whom I love as a writer but whom I hate in EAPOE form. Although I shouldn't be too hard on good ole EAPOE, as that answer provided the occasion for my awesomest wrong answer of the day. Faced with ---OE at 37A: Subject of a museum in Richmond, Va., for short, I quickly wrote in ... G.I. JOE! I figure a "real American hero" might live in Va. ... maybe working for the C.I.A now, I don't know.  What I do know is G.I. JOE > EAPOE, at least where crossword fill is concerned. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS it looks like "TOM, TOM the Piper's Son" is a nursery rhyme ... in England? This is the first I'm hearing of it.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Pete 12:19 AM  

Usually I can make up a nice rant when I dislike a puzzle and just want to amuse myself by going overboard, but no such luck today. This was truly awful, and trying to articulate how much so would send me into a dither. This was just awful.

Diana/LIW 12:22 AM  

Another stax pux - like one just about 5 wks ago in syndieland.
In re that - how many of you realize that after 5 weeks there are about 4-6 more comments posted on any day? Maybe that's not a big deal, but it is a continuation of our conversation with the Synderallas!
Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

Trombone Tom 12:36 AM  

Found this challenging but doable and liked it better than @Rex did. No problem with Tom, Tom. The nursery rhyme may have originated in England, but many a Yankee kid like me grew up with it. Had a hard time with UPPER PALATINATE because I tried to spell it Platanate, which hid EVIL from me. Tried ciA for NSA and quE for CHE. The rest of it fell with little problem. Thanks, Jason Flinn, for a good workout.

Carola 12:41 AM  

More challenging than medium for me; I always find quad stacks a little daunting. The Acrosses yielded me only a SNO-Cap and the SEA, but thankfully the Downs came to my rescue with IERI, SHAH, TELOS on top and IBERIA, SELENIC, ALLELE below - enough to allow me to chip away and prevail.
I found more to like than @Rex did: PARTITA, ARAMIS, GRATIA, BATONS, the clue for CREEK. I appreciated the help from a recent puzzles NO MSG and the hint of ESPANOL to tell me the OMELETTE was SPANISH. TOM, TOM the piper's son was well known in my corner of Wisconsin.

jp flanigan 12:43 AM  

Too tough for me. First DNF in a few months.

jae 12:58 AM  

Holy (explicative deleted)!!! This was two completely different puzzles. The bottom half was over in minutes, the top half took over an hour. Geez that was tough! I got it with no cheats but I made a few "lucky" guesses given that UPPER PALATINATE wins the award for top WOE of all time narrowly beating out GOLCONDA. Those guesses included TELOS, IERI, MENES, SIENA, and changing sTATISM to ETATISM.

I agree with Rex on this one, bottom stack stilted and top stack just not fair. I mean I guessed right but I was not happy.

George Barany 2:49 AM  

@Rex, your review had me at GI_JOE [and for the record, I thought RE_LEE was just as likely to be in Richmond, Va as EA_POE, who one might much more reasonably associate with Baltimore, Md]. Plus, isn't Virginia where CIA [not NSA, not SSA, and certainly not KGB] headquarters are?

@Jason Flinn writes elsewhere that this was the first themeless that he ever constructed (he did not indicate when), and he is certainly to be congratulated on its acceptance and publication. But I do find it quite interesting that 7 of the 8 grid-spanners comprising the stacks have appeared previously during the @Will Shortz era as parts of constructions by such pioneers of wide-open puzzles as @Manny Nosowsky, @Joe Krozel, and my good friend and sometimes-collaborator @Martin Ashwood-Smith [LAID_IT_ON_THE_LINE was used in 1977 by @Sophie Fierman, under the editorship of @Eugene Maleska].

In terms of non-stack cluing, I especially enjoyed TINA, SILT, and a non-revolutionary CHE, but prefer to not get my chemistry lesson (SORB -- remember yesterday's ADSORPTION?) from the crossword puzzle.

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

Tom, Tom the piper's son
Stole a pig and away did run.....

I only know this one because a character called "Tom Tom" was in the Laurel & Hardy film "Babes in Toyland." I liked that clue just because it reminded me of this movie.

GILL I. 6:30 AM  

SPANISH OMELETTE, or Tortilla de patata - not to be confused with Mexican flatbread - was my first entry. That little gem gave me TRUSTS for 1D. Hmmmm, who in the world said "We can do it!" - why, ROSIE THE RIVETER said those very words and it even starts with "R."
That was it. Punto final. Eventually went downstairs and used the BIDET - you know that thing you wash your feet in - then I SORB of wandered to the middle of this puzzle and got a few more goodies like MAI TAIS and BAA.
Agree that MAS is the FAB TITERS of stacks. Also agree that, as much as I love stacks, this just wasn't any fun.

Loren Muse Smith 6:48 AM  

Big, fat dnf here because I just never saw THESIS STATEMENT.

And I even had a THESIS STATEMENT. Something about adjectives being R-expressions under Chomsky's Government and Binding theory. Riveting stuff.

I kept questioning SHAH, wanting 1A to be some kind of "the last blah blah." Look, I can throw around "grüß dich" with the best of'em but never, ever would have gotten UPPER PALATINATE; I didn't know TELOS and just couldn't see TITERS.

So I never got IERI. Heck. Oggi is the domani you worried about IERI.

And man, oh man, the science! I had "zygote" before ALLELE and don't even know if that's close and haven't investigated it. Probably as different from each other as a zip-lock baggie and a pewit.

TITERS, SORB, and SELENIC were all really tough. I guess SORB is a verb? But it's just in a chemical sense, huh? So we can't say, "Hallelujah! The singular they is sorbing its way into validity!" Finally, a member of the pronoun community won't be so marginalized by gender. Or number.

Liked ESPANOL crossing SPANISH.

I have Accent on my grocery list for today. No NO MSG for me.

Rex – My toe-hold was TOM, TOM, the piper's son. (Hey, TOM Pepper. You gonna be at the ACPT? You and Dr. Barany cold enough right now?)

"Cantata" before PARTITA and "rev" before PHD, though even I knew "rev" was dumb.

Continuing with my gripes from yesterday, aside from a way to cross a quad stack, why use ASONANT for that Wednesday D when "silent" works? I guess Roget would say, "Ok. Fine. Laconic, brusque, succinct, terse, pithy, short, curt. Which ones you gonna lose?"

If EA POE writes a poem with ASONANT assonance, will anyone hear it?

pauer 7:05 AM  

Yeah, he stole a pig and away he run. Bottom was decent; top was rough.

OldCarFudd 7:51 AM  

DNF because of etatism, which I never saw. I had statism. If it had occurred to me that the French word might be acceptable in English, I'd have hung an e on it - which, according to Webster's old Second Unabridged, is the preferred spelling. That mixed-language spelling just looks weird! Rosie the Riveter was my first entry. Upper Palatinate I had heard of, but it doesn't trip lightly off the tongue. An interesting puzzle, that gave me mixed feelings while solving.

chefbea 8:10 AM  

Too tough for me...too many things I never heard of. Of course I knew who voiced Betty Rubble!!!!! And I knew Tom Tom the piper's son. Didn't we just have no MSG.
@Beatrice (from yesterday) e-mail me so we can discuss xwords and food

Aketi 8:40 AM  

@Tita, sorry to hear about your spouse, hoping they get his heart rhythm under control.

With all the new NOs on menus these days, I had forgotten about MSG, seems so dated.

With the NSA and KGB lurking below the museum, I just couldn't think of anything other than the Spy Museum which is in DC, not Virginia.

The puzzle wasn't as bad as HOPPING barefoot on a bed of NETTLES, except UPPER PALATINATE which reminds me of bad dental experiences.

Two LFCs the today
TREE TAGS are actually a thing, I thought that they only painted trees around the base. I didn't TRUST the TAGS without checking it,
I now know the nursery rhyme with TOM TOM in it, had never heard that one before,

Sherpa Mchail 8:54 AM  

Challenging for me. I worked in the Palatinate (Die Pfalz) for a little while, and I speak German. I had no idea that any part of Die Pfalz was considered Bavaria.

I did like the misdirection for NEXT OF KIN. (At least I was misdirected. I initially considered "contacts" to be a verb.)


Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Will Shortz es un ano cuando él rehusa diferenciar entre las palabras ano y año.

Sam Adams 9:14 AM  

Not that tough when you look at my time, but a not especially joyful slog overall. Would sooner see "Tom, Tom the Piper's Son" clued with this.

The Rhino 9:27 AM  

Like Rex and many others, I kind of hated this puzzle. Had to cheat all over the place to even make a dent in it, which can still be fun, but this just wasn't.

Mkazan 9:47 AM  

NOMSG 2 days in a row?! One is bad enough.

Robso 9:54 AM  

This had an Italian chemistry feel to it. My high school crush was chemistry teacher Mrs. Ricci. Overcome with melancholy, I put the puzzle down, lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling for three hours.

Z 10:19 AM  

ETATISM isn't galling as much as it is Gauling.

Otherwise, @jae summed up my solve pretty well. I do take issue with using "treat" to clue a SPANISH OMELETTE. If that's a "treat" for you, you need to get out more.

@D.L-i-W - At least some of the Blue Commentariat checks off the little box that allows us to get all later comments in our email. This option is only available if you are signed in with a google account (which is how you get to be blue, too). This means that @spacecraft/rondo/leftcoasTAM/rainforest/Burma Shave/anon-Ron Diego (we all hope he is well), et alia are well known to us.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

Medium-Challenging but fun for me.

W/o's at 11 D, HELL >> EVIL; 13 D, STATISM >> ETATISM; 39 D, CANTATA >> PARTITA. Otherwise held back my pen until the crosses made sense.

Four months ago I did not know what a SPANISH OMELETTE was. But then I had lunch in a little restaurant just off the beach in Mallorca, and ordered the SO on a whim. I was surprised though not unhappy at what I got. (When I travel, I like to order what appears to be local. Have I mentioned the "traditional Malay breakfast" I had in Kuala Lumpur?)

Nancy 10:29 AM  

STATISM was one of the first answers to go in, and when it didn't work, I reluctantly changed it to ELITISM, which didn't really fit the definition. When, after cheating, (more about that later), I saw that the answer was ETATISM, I took great umbrage. Rex's umbrage was nothing, as compared to mine. No reason for the French version of STATISM. No hint of it in the clue. Just outrageous.

I was off and running in the South, because I got INTIMATE APPAREL off ---I-------ARE-, and thus was pretty pleased with myself. Although EAPOE wasn't coming, even though I had EA-O-. But the North was impossible. And yet, it was extremely Google-able. Should I???? Well, it wasn't going to come any other way. So I awarded myself a DNF, and then looked up MENES and SIENA. I already had SPANISH OMELETTE. And thus, I was able to fill the rest in. Which is how I discovered the outrageous ETATISM. Grrr.

Liked the bottom half of the puzzle. Hated the top. Don't think it was fair.

Nancy 10:43 AM  

@Rex -- I have never felt as much fondness for you as I'm feeling right now. Not only did you savage the dreadful ETATISM, but you quoted from my favorite AA Milne poem: James, James.... Any friend of AA Milne's verse is a friend of mine. Who even knows it any more? For those of you who think WINNIE THE POOH represents Milne at his zenith, I highly recommend his two delightful books of verse: NOW WE ARE SIX and WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG. It's for the child who still lurks in all of us. And for the child or grandchild some of you may read to now and then.

Ludyjynn 10:44 AM  

Puzzle was worth the trouble just for the band Triumph's classic song, LAy IT ON THE LINE, which you can see them perform on YouTube (1979). A very nice ear worm on a gloomy, drizzly Saturday here.

Like @GeorgeB, I associate EAPOE w/ Balto., but a Wiki entry nicely describes what sounds like an interesting museum also honoring him in Richmond. My favorite Richmond museum is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts which deserves a full day of your attention if you are in the area. I have visited the Faberge collection repeatedly over the years, arguably the best outside of Russia.

Hand up for tearing through the South quad stacks and DNFing the North. Got the ROSIE and OMELETTE stacks; missed the other two.

I could argue that this was not a themeless. STATE, STATEMENT, ETAT; come on now.

Shout out to BG&E, who came out last night after my neighbor smelled gas while standing on the front porch. The crew worked til 3:00 am fixing the leak and aerating the lawn to let the fumes escape. Thanks, guys! Then they sent out an inspector this morning to follow up. Very reassuring.

Thanks, JF and WS.

Sir Hillary 10:51 AM  

Yuck. Big disappointment on what is usually my favorite solving day of the week. Nothing more to say, as @Rex and several others have already covered it. Oh well, lots of playoff football to cheer me up...

Tim 10:58 AM  

Hey, I got "TOM, TOM, the piper's son" right away, and I grew up in Brooklyn. Pbpbpbpbpbpbpphphpht.

Liked the 15 stacks better than Rex did (come on, how can you not admire LAID IT ON THE LINE or SPANISH OMELETTE or INTIMATE APPAREL) but had a lot of the same problems with the most problematic fill. I am proud of myself for guessing correctly at EAPOE / SORB / ENSILES / ASONANT / PARTITA, but every single one was truly a guess and I had to double-check each one before filling it in.

Also stumbled on sTATISM/ETATISM. And I ended up with one wrong ("LILT" for 21A, "It goes with the flow", because MENEL looks as good as MENES to me).

Even so, I enjoyed the puzzle overall and really liked some of the cluing, especially 28A ("Briny"), 52A("'Sick'"), and 25D ("Opposite of fast").

Norm 10:58 AM  

MENES and TELOS crossing UPPER PALATINATE just plain stunk.

I had ETERNAL OPTIMIST for ROSIE THE RIVETER, but that went nowhere, and I eventually solved from the bottom up. Thought the bottom quad stack was much easier than the top.

John V 11:05 AM  

Yes, awful.

Teedmn 11:05 AM  

The UPPER PALATINATE of this puzzle kicked me in the teeth today. I L O V E stack puzzles and usually breeze through them but SIENA, IERI, TELOS, TITERS (I wanted molaRS), MENES and ETATISM kept me from any chance of finishing the top. I had deEr TAG as a marker in the woods 'cause I know a lot of deer hunters. I had AdonIS rather than ARAMIS (and AdonIS was a cologne at one point, or so Google tells me, but yes, I realize he wasn't exa).

In desperation, I went to my world atlas to look at the Danube area and came up with BayERischer Wald, which fit perfectly. Obviously no help. And considering 7D would be SHAH or tsAr or czAr, I looked up "chess" in my on-line dictionary and the origin information had only one tenuous connection to anything Persian, so I was skeptical of that one too. I cheated to finish. Rats.

Terry Boots 11:09 AM  

A fine example of "I can make a double quad stack! I don't care if the solvers enjoy it!"

Leapfinger 11:11 AM  

Nothing like a challenge that unfolds bit by bit, esp with hurdles like sTATISM that wasn't, rankLES for NETTLES, 'losers' for BATONS, thinking Charlie for ARAMIS, and 'tide' for what goes with the flow. Although both quad-stacks had me ENTER IN TO DE TAIL, I was able to work back to de head, and that little area in the mid-West proved hardest of all: didn't associate EAPOE with Richmond, and took aeons to see a Run as a CREEK. Bully for me! that I finally finished with the K of KGB.

What most pleased me, however, was figuring out with no helping letters that Chess was related to SHAH

Parse, punctuate and enunciate:
Do you INTIMATE APPAREL should be worn next to skin?

Went Bach and forth between a CANTATA, a PARTITA and A SONANTa. "Can Tata come out to play?" sounded like fun, but better that everything comes out PAR TITA, não é?

Pretty funny to see SORB, eh? Good enough to EAT, but I scream at the thought it could have been SORP. And still NO_MSG

@Sherpa McHail, in the public sector, no way is STATE ASSISTANCE green paint.

Thought this one was in like Flynn. More, please.

Alan Alexander Milne 11:18 AM  

by Me

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he:
“You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don’t go down with me.”

James James
Morrison’s Mother
Put on a golden gown,
James James
Morrison’s Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James
Morrison’s Mother
Said to herself, said she:
“I can get right down to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea.”

King John
Put up a notice,

James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.
James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he:
“You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me.”

My favourite verse is King Jon's notice. There's more to the poem, but I think that's enough cuteness for one day.

Questinia 11:28 AM  


@jae described it, two different puzzles completely.

@lms, Chomsky will answer your questions by email. I know someone who asked him what is his favorite work of fiction and his answer was Machado de Assis, Posthumous Memoir of Bras Cubas ... (naturally).

Questinia 11:31 AM  

PS: Put in life before EVIL which is kind of correct backwards.

Joseph Welling 11:32 AM  

I *might* believe that CHESS and SHAH have a common origin, but I don't buy that CHESS is derived from SHAH.

gharris 11:39 AM  

For me center of defense is the middle linebacker, thesis statement!! Medium difficulty.? C'mon

Joseph Welling 11:39 AM  

I also think BRINY was an improper clue for SEA (an adjective for a noun). "The briny" maybe. Making things harder by making them wrong seems like cheating.

Laurence Katz 11:41 AM  

Worked my way up from the south but could barely penetrate the north stack. Etatism? Palatinate, upper, lower, or wherever, not a go. Menes. Titers. Ieri. Obscure to the extreme.

archaeoprof 11:43 AM  

Monday is supposed to be fun. Saturday is supposed to be hard.
1A brought back unpleasant memories of my dissertation defense, which was more of an initiation than an academic exercise. High-verbal hazing. But somehow I passed.

archaeoprof 11:44 AM  

@Joseph Welling: it helped to know that the German word for chess is Schach.

mac 11:45 AM  

Tough Saturday, a DNF for me. @Rex, do you think you can now say: "They appear to be a challenge the constructor sets themself"?

Upper Palatinate? I've lived in Germany, I've been to the Pfalz and was even on the Danube in that region last year.

The Spanish omelette was a Western one. Poe was from Baltimore, and I also thought RELEE. Why do I always confuse Malta and Yalta?

I need a Mai Tai.

Bond aka Face Peplar 11:47 AM  

@ Muse- And I thought INTIMATEAPPAREL was calling up your famous bra puzzle.
As I recall, and I'm sure M&A, your biggest fan, can verify, few comment-ERS termed your Saltines, mascara and other reminiscences of domestic life, blah blahs. It is so easy to skip, right?
More Muse stories, anyone? Even tho Rex would term your writing as someone who want to be "on the internet" lol, I did often think you might have considered a blog. A blog of one's own.

Ol' Noam- After all the research and provocations,his work became moot when he professed believing there were actually planes, and that fires brought down the buildings, despite the flooring. As he said without exception during his lectures and talks, and the last time he was cogent (at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Brookline, Ma in 2000, appearing with Howard Zinn and the ace curmudgeon R. Nader who made a vile TOM comment after the president was elected) "Look it up!" He could always look it up now.

When I think NSA I hear "...a 29-year old hacker.." from the president. Even funnier was James Not Wittingly Clapper, lying to Congress. Didn't that used to be felonious? (I guess until Congress starting lying.) But when the blah blah is that amusing, I guess it's O.K. to give him a pass, huh?

Lewis 11:55 AM  

@rex -- Nailed it, and I love "death march of tolerable-to-intolerable short crosses".

I didn't know that the word "chess" came from SHAH and learned SELENIC.

I needed help here (I felt like I needed STATEASSISTANCE), and didn't get my quota of wonderfully and wickedly clued answers (did like the clue for BATON), and felt little spark. So while I enjoyed figuring a lot of it out, this will not be a memorable one. I've done some double quad-stacks that had a good bit of fun factor, but they've been relatively rare, and it wasn't there today for me.

Andrew Heinegg 11:56 AM  

When I totally fail at a puzzle (and I have no clue how Mr. P came up with a medium rating for this one), I am almost always reluctant to blast the puzzle but, this one is an exception. This was both impossibly difficult and an awful puzzle.
E.A. Poe museum in Virginia, Upper Palatinate, enter into detail, thesis statement and etatism are all simply indefensible in this puzzle. And, BTW, I don't think much of allele either. This was a stinker although I am sure if Lewis weighs in, he will find some merit to it. I just cannot.

I was not educated in your country 12:05 PM  

lms, 'succinct' is kind of the opposite of ASONANT, isn't it? Every dang letter gets to be pronounced, whether it's needed or not. I used to ASONANTize 'conspicuous' into 'conspi-shuss', didn't learn better until I was in college. I guess I was lucky and maybe never spoke it aloud before that. These things happen when you learn English from reading books.

Anoa Bob 12:06 PM  

Isn't it a bit risqué having a Spanish ANO (30D) sitting right on top of a French BIDET (51D).

I just looked to make sure and the Wikipedia option is Español. I don't know what ESPANOL (3D) is. Oh wait, maybe 19A is TIÑA.

Maruchka 12:07 PM  

Why-o, why-o, why-o, did I try to solve this solo? If ever a quad stack team is needed, for any fun at all, this is it. Please, oh please, WS, do us an EX GRATIA NEXT time and clever up the clueing!

Fav of the day - PARTITA. Cantata do-over. It wasn't her 'Bach PARTITA' but Twyla Tharp's 'Preludes and
Fugues' were PART of her 50th anniversary celebration at the Kennedy Center last November. Now, that was RAD!

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Things did not end well for Tom, the pig or this puzzle.

Joseph Welling 12:07 PM  

archaeProf said:
"@Joseph Welling: it helped to know that the German word for chess is Schach."

And that would be relevant if the clue asked for the derivation of Schach, but it asked about the English word CHESS which is not derived from the word SHAH (or even from the German word Schach). Everything I read traces the English word back to Old French (like 13th century), and the word SHAH did not arise in Persian until the 16th century.

Again, I might be persuaded that the two words have a common ancestor (though if so, it's probably a Sanskrit or Indo-European word and NOT a Persian word). But that's different. It's the difference between saying humans evolved from monkeys and observing that humans and monkeys have a common ancestor if you go back far enough.

Joe Bleaux 12:23 PM  

Big fat DNF for me today. Even before "etatism," I was eager to creek (23D) away from Mr. Flinn's quadstackarama.

AliasZ 12:23 PM  

This was one bland affair, sorry to say.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out how THE SISSTA CEMENT was the center of a defense, despite a brief disturbing image flashing across my tired brain. I thought SISSTA is spelled SISTA anyway, so that couldn't have been correct. As for the chemistry whatchamacallits, CITERS made as much sense to me as TITERS. @Prof. Barany, any enlightenment on TITERS? I am all aTwITERS in anticipation.

I consider UPPER PALATINATE (sounds like the roof of the mouth after one ate) entirely Sat.-xword-worthy, but I had to dig for it long and hard in the deep swamps of my aforementioned tired brain. It came to me from remembering that the beautiful city of Regensburg, its capital, is situated where the Naab and Regen rivers flow into the Danube. From here the Danube continues its majestic journey east until it makes a 90° southward turn (Hun: Dunakanyar = Danube bend; Ger: Donauknie = [I think you can guess its English translation]) at the town of Visegrád, about 20 miles north of Budapest as the crow flies.

@LMS, an ASONANT assonance, we oughtn't forget, comes to naught. It is the sound of silence. The same could be achieved by a post-hypnotic suggestion to a group of loud young people on a long train ride that the English word "like" does not exist. However, all ASONANT consonants are voiced in an alternate universe. Imagine living there and being bombarded by all, and nothing but, ASONANTs that were unvoiced in ours. What a wonderful world that would be.

I also had cantata before PARTITA, but either serves perfectly as the musical offering for today.

Happy weekend!

Karen Munson 12:24 PM  

Help me out - how is 23D clued as "run" solved as "Creek"? I don't get that.

Carola 12:26 PM  

@Nancy, how about "Good King Hillary said to his Chancellor (Proud Lord Willoughby, Lord High Chancellor), 'Run to the wicket gate, quickly, quickly..." Or, "KIng John was not a good man -he had his little ways...." As a child, I used to feel so bad for King John! I'm hoping to be able to catch the right window to read these to my second granddaughter, the first, now 6, wanting only to read Harry Potter.

Sandy 12:30 PM  

Is it a sign of the times that my first guess for "menu promise" was LOCAL? NOMSG feels as dated and crossword-y to me as LO-CAL and LO-FAT...

Da Bears 12:32 PM  

Rex, do you like quad stacks?

I am reminded of my friend Charles who cannot stand the senior senator from Illinois. Charles served a tour of duty in Korea and never appreciated the senator referring to the U.S. military as Nazis (in remarks for which the senator later apologized). One day Charles and his wife were going into a supermarket and outside the entrance was the senior senator with a candidate for the Chicago City Council. When the senator asked for their votes, Charles spewed a few minutes of venom at the senator, expressing a great dislike for him and for whomever he supported. Upon concluding his rant, the senator replied that they would put them down as undecided.

So, as for liking quad stacks, I’ll put you down as undecided, Rex.

Sandy 12:33 PM  

Is it a sign of the times that my first guess for "menu promise" was LOCAL? NOMSG is starting to feel as dated and crossword-y to me as LO-CAL and LO-FAT.

Joseph Welling 12:38 PM  

@archprof, you mean helped with this puzzle? I knew immediately they were after SHAH or TSAR or CZAR (and quickly ruled out the two CAESAR derivatives). My point on this one wasn't that it was difficult--just that it's wrong. The fact that the German word for the same game might have derived from the Persian word SHAH doesn't make it right.

Charley 12:42 PM  

As commonly used, there is a difference between a Spanish omelet and a Spanish tortilla. The latter is an egg and potato concoction. The former is made with tomatoes and green beans or green pepper.

Numinous 12:49 PM  

I don't have a lot to say about this one. Quad stacks are daunting and when they include obscure (to me) Italian crosses, they suck. I had to google a few times and I hate having to do that. Ok, I googled a map of Bavaria, IMDb'd for a name, and used google translator for the Italian. I also googled for MENES by getting a list of Egyptian dynasties. That led me to a long article about human sacrifice and a discussion of Egyptian shipbuilding which suggests to me that the Egyptians may have had the capability of reaching the new world thousands of years ago (leading to the possibility that they could have acquired coca leaves and tobacco, the residues of which have been found in the hair of mummies). They apparently built boats that could be disassembled and portaged to the Red Sea and beyond for trade. So, while disliking this puzzle I have to appreciate that it gave me opportunities to discover other interesting things.

Z 12:49 PM  

@Bond - Seriously? A 9/11 Truther? If Noam is saying it wasn't Dubya you might want to reconsider your "facts."

@Joseph Welling - I read this and some other stuff and I think you are right. Related, but "derived" isn't accurate.

tea73 1:15 PM  

Lived in Bavaria for five years and certainly didn't remember that Oberpfalz and the Upper Palatinate were the same thing. Thank heavens husband was able to provide some of the biology terms.

Google 1:19 PM  

@Karen Munson -

RUN, noun

11. a small stream or brook.

As in "The Battle of Bull Run."

Ellen S 1:19 PM  

I copied the anonymous Spanish post at 9:11
Will Shortz es un ano cuando él rehusa diferenciar entre las palabras ano y año.
and went over to Google Translate,which gave me this:
Will Shortz is a year when he refuses to differentiate between words year and year.

So is there a word "ano" without the tilde, or is it just a misspelling?

Sorry to say, I actually liked this puzzle ... I did flinch at "ENSILES". Maybe the difference is whether one knew Tom Tom the Piper's son. I found the puzzle hard but I was pleased with myself when I finished. SHAH was an easy one. For a Christmas (or "Holiday Season") present I got an etymology book. Just random words that the author explores, among which, "Chess". I'm trying to look up that section now, but unfortunately the author didn't include an index (instead he had a quiz about the meanings of various people's names) and the table of contents has helpful headings such as "Sex and Bread." Shah was Persian, of course, but carried over into Arabic, and from there into Latin as scaccus, thence to French as eschec, with the plural esches, and to Enlish as chess, because chess is the "game of King" (not to be confused with horseracing, apparently). Back to Persian, a dead or crippled shah is "shah mat", and when your king in chess is crippled, it's "checkmate". So anyway, I was pleased that my worthless holiday reading wasn't after all.

Unknown 1:20 PM  

A run is a small stream as in Bull Run.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Depressing DNF for me, ending a long streak, all the more aggravating because I had only 5 blank squares with everything else correct (UPPERPALATINATE belongs in a dentists's office!).

ETATISM is foul---no hint of French in the clue, so by all rights it should be STATISM.

Also I had ROSSHPEROTVOTER instead of ROSIETHERIVETER for quite a while. I'm not 100 years old, so I had no idea the slogan was Rosie's---wasn't she in WWI?

How is CREEK a "run"?

If I had a bird, this puzzle would be great for lining its cage.

kozmikvoid 1:22 PM  

First DNF in a month. I don't care for quad stacks at this one needed some flare or I knew I wouldn't like it. Finished the bottom half fairly easily, and looked at it and wondered why a constructor would ever go through the trouble of creating a puzzle like this. I guess Rex is onto something about it being a constructor's challenge, but a puzzle is created for the solvers...isn't it? ENTERINTODETAIL? That's just 3 words lumped together that makes 15 letters but how is that used...ever? I've heard ENTERINTO evidence and go INTODETAIL, but not the answer. And the north was mostly nonsense. THESISSTATEMENT was clever, but the downs were dull. If the constructor doesn't care about the quality of the fill, why should solvers care about the puzzle?

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

@Charley I was also stuck on SPANISHTORTILLA for awhile---that is what was clued, _not_ SPANISHOMELETTE.

The whole puzzle was rubbish.

Blue Stater 1:27 PM  

Truly, majestically, awful. The worst in a long line of worsts going back I don't know how many years. Does anyone here recall EVER reading or hearing ENTER INTO DETAIL as a synonym for "explain further" or anything close? Ever? Who edits this? Oh wait.

Farah Diba 1:30 PM  

Cavil, cavil, cavil. Grouse, grouse, grouse.

Etymology 1[edit]
From Old French eschés, plural of eschec, from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic شَاه ‎(šāh, “king in chess”), from Persian شاه ‎(šāh, “shah, king”), from Middle Persian 𐭬𐭫𐭪𐭠 ‎(šāh), from Old Persian 𐏋 ‎(xšāyaθiya). [wiki, Chess/etymol]

Mohair Sam 1:35 PM  

Brutally tough one for this quad stack freak, but hey - it is Saturday. Naticked here on the "T" at 10d and 17a. Had the phonetics with a "d" - just couldn't spell the words. We're with the mob that aced the bottom but struggled atop - and hated ETATISM. Had to guess at the A in ALLELE and BEA, but it was sussable. Like @Questinia we had "life" before EVIL, but with Kafka either answer could be understandable. And like @lms we threw in cAnTaTA before PARTITA (why not?).

Union before SIENA, anybody else?

I nearly quoted @Rex on seeing TOM ("I can't imagine . . .") when Mrs. M chanted the entire rhyme, so there's that. Agree with the boss on ENSILES and SORB, although not bothered much by EAPOE because he's appropriate to Richmond (yes, New York or Baltimore, I know) and a nice fake from RELEe.

@Z - good point on the SPANISH OMELETTE. I asked Mrs. M if she could think of anything featuring egg and potatoes you might call a treat. Gave her SHAH and she laughed and got the answer.

@Robso 9:54 - Hope you're feeling better. Hang in. Gin is the answer.

Alby 1:38 PM  

Had to brute-force UPPERPALATINATE, ashamed to admit: Narrowed it down to two remaining letters, then punched in every alphabetical permutation. One reason why the paper version is harder than the online version.

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

M&A's solve quest started out with grid progress like this (20-thousand ft. view):


After watchin the moon eventually set on the SELENIC BIDET of ALLELE, M&A's grid looked kinda like this:


Only thing that poked up hopefully into the upper quadstackinate was a (correctomundo!) guess of TITERS. Remembered flubbed titration experiments (forgot to seal up the bottom hose) from a high school chemistry class. At this point, the one saying "We can do it!" was definitely not M&A.

Best chances, up top, rested with a few 4-letter Down dudes …

* IERI - M&A should maybe pause at this point, and thank the Shortzmeister and two constructioneers for all the foreign lingo lessons heaped upon us, the last couple of days. Another example: Spanish for "brunch": SPANISHOMELETTE. I only speak German and S. English.
* STPS - Are there different kinds of STP? STP Lite? STP NOMSG? Did not know that.
* SHAH - My dictionary says that CHESS comes from the French plural ESCHES of ESCHEC (a check). So, even my dictionary did not know that.
* TELOS - Counted this originally as a 4-letter word with an extra -S. Thought maybe TIVOS?
* EVIL - Easy word, turned into a hot mess by Kafka. Day-um, Shortzmeister. Fightin chance, anyone?
* MENES - Again, was thinkin 4-letter word with an extra -S ender. But the clue seemed to indicate a name, so lost interest in this guy. Is this pronounced "meanies"? Apt, if so.
* ????-ISM - 4-letter word + yer -ism ending. M&A's trusty dictionary did not know ETATISM, btw.

… ergo, so much for the 4-letter dudes bein any help. And they end up crossin some unexplored Bavarian region? Yikes. The white flag of mucho independent research ensued.

Did like ENTER INTO DE TAIL (also apt) and the one U (lil heat engine), tho.

Thanx, Mr. Flynn. This puz made me think of lotsa 4-letter words.


Anonymous 1:42 PM  

When I question whether a specific entry is worthy of inclusion in the NYTimes Puzzle I search for its use within the NYTimes. In this case, ETATISM has been used exactly 18 times in the (indexed) history of the Times. One of these was today in Wordplay, the next most recent dated to 1968. Other than today's entry, most of the citations had ETATISM in (scare) quotes. STATISM (my initial entry) appeared 768 times.

Hartley70 1:45 PM  

@DaBears, LOL!

Well I'm just a quad lovin' gal. I saw this grid and got to tingling! It made me wonder why they please me so, and I think it's because I enjoy the Henry and Emily acrostics. Short answers leading to a longer phrase that hopefully delights. This puzzle did it for me.

Of course it took me an hour to finish this. Like most others, I found the top difficult and I'd never heard of the PALATINE, either UPPER or lower. I didn't get in a knot over ETATISM, and accepted it as a concept in any language. I just had a good time and learned a few things.....the derivation of chess, POE in Richmond, Bavarian geography, and MENES the Magnificent. I can't ask for more from a Saturday puzzle.
Thanks Mr. Flinn and I'm grateful WS throws us stack lovers a bone now and then.

Judit Polgar 2:09 PM  

Some people go to chess sites to learn etymology, others might go to etymology sites to learn etymology. Possibly, some go to etymology sites to learn chess. Sounds to me as if it's in large part conjecture, anyway.


Polly Psi 2:18 PM  

@Nancy and others outraged by ETATISM. With only a couple-three PoliSci courses under my belt (waaay under my belt), I'm no expert, but all I had to do was look up 'etatism' to discover (a) it's used in English, and not just as a French term; and (b) it's related to statism, but isn't the same thing, and seems to involve total state control of the individual. If that outrages you, by all means, I think that's justified. I mention the preceding as a side issue, since the clue provided doesn't refer to any of these distinctions, just wanted to clarify A TOI that this ain't French.

The point is that a number of solvers have said they initially entered STATISM, even such non-PoliSci persons such as I. When in the course of chipping away at the upper stack, it began to look asif something aKIN to a STATEMENT might be emerging, it had to be admitted (unPALATable though it may be) that -MSNT was not a reasonable sequence to hang on to. In other words, by my lights, it falls into the category of stuff that might not be known, but can reasonably be figured out

I hope this helps you keep a stiff UPPER PALATe and doesn't stick in your craw. You know, in puzzles, as in Life, ve live and ve larn. Chin, chin!

David G 2:23 PM  

This was hard. I was pleased when I completed it. I don't get knocking all the oddball answers when that's part of the difficulty we look for on a Saturday, and I didn't think any of them were eye-rollers.

OISK 2:34 PM  

FINISHED it! Makes me feel good, after a DNF yesterday, and last Sunday. I had little trouble with the top, having a decent knowledge of German geography. Enter into detail was my last entry.. None of the pop culture and brand names that nettle me. Sorb, from adsorb or absorb made sense to this chemist. I had trouble with EA Poe as well, not associating him with Richmond. Was looking for RELEE.

A very pleasant, tough but doable workout for me. Thanks, Jason! ( I also know Siena from my college basketball, NCAA experiences. We attend the first round every year. This year in Brooklyn!)

Hartley70 3:06 PM  

Sorry, PALATINATE. Not only didn't know it when I started the puzzle, can't remember it after the solve. It won't be on my travel itinerary because I doubt I'll be able to find it.

Larry Tuxbury 3:10 PM  

I learned about Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son where everyone should learn about him: from Bullwinkle.

archaeoprof 3:28 PM  

All I said was it helped to know that the German word for chess is Schach. When that word came to mind it led me straight to SHAH. I dont care about the linguistics.

Z 3:45 PM  

@Judit Polgàr - Of course, some people look at various sources and then link to the one that has a full discussion. Such people may even bother to check for agreement across various sites when the site with the fullest discussion doesn't share sources. BTW - What's up with the rumors about you and Magnus?

@Polly Psi - Please share. Most of the hits in my search engine were dictionaries, really dated articles or books (between 1944 and 1985), or had "statism" as the key word. Wikipedia redirects to the article on Statism then never uses the word. I found nothing current using it as an English word, although the dictionaries all indicated a sort of Statism on steroids meaning.

@Anon1:42 - 768 as opposed to 17, with the last of the 17 in 1968. Pretty compelling data on the "not in the language" status (etatus?) of the word.

mac 4:12 PM  

In today's puzzle is an obit for the Shah's twin sister. What a coincidence.

Fred Romagnolo 4:43 PM  

According to Webster's 3rd unabridged, ETATISM is statism, but necessarily including socialism. It also allows SHAH if you cross-reference from chess. Considering the mistake in cluing SPANISH OMELETTE, all this makes the top nearly unsolveable. I curmudged last Saturday about making Saturday puzzles too hard. ANO saved me from tEXT OF KIN. I, too, got TITERS by remembering my chemistry class titrations (1947). I pretty much agree with Professor Barany, all in all. BTW MENES is interchangeable with Narmer (luckily with a different letter count).

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

Holy moley, this was tough. Stuck with it and finished. I've spent tons of time in lovely Bavaria and had no idea I was in the UPPER PALATINATE.

I think @Rex was too kind about the themers all being in the language. Nobody says ENTER INTO DETAIL. You GO INTO DETAIL or you ENTER INTO A LENGTHY EXPLANATION, but you do not ENTER INTO DETAIL. Boo.

However, I am awed that anybody could construct something like this, so thanks to Jason and Will for the challenge.

Nancy 6:06 PM  

@Charley and @Anon 1:27 -- Thank you, thank you, for letting me know that I wasn't crazy for thinking a SPANISH OMELETTE is much, much spicier than an egg and potato concoction. I put in OMELETTE long before I wrote in SPANISH, even though I had 5 of the 7 letters (!) I was looking for all those peppers and onions that weren't mentioned. Glad to learn that it's the clue that's wrong and not me.

@Polly Psi (2:18) -- FWIW, I was a Political Science major and ETATISM was not a term that came up even once in any of my classes. Nor in any of my reading, either textbook or source. Perhaps, as you say, it can be used in ordinary English. The problem is that it just about never is.

Karen Munson 6:59 PM  

I didn't know that! Thanks so much!!

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Has anyone mentioned that the Russian word for chess is SHAKHMATY? That gave me shah right off the bat!

phil phil 8:30 PM  

STP is an additive and brandwise may be a line of additives but what the hell is STPS. Is that a possessive or plural 's'. Anyway took it out as can't be correct and i had little else on the top. So DNF. I was topless, unlike a teddy.

phil phil 8:41 PM  

How the hell is ESPANOL a reasonable answer to wikipedia option. 'Language' yea, but a specific language good grief.

Tita 9:59 PM  

Major DNF, with no joy. This was not one of those puzzles that I could jump over the net and shake hands with, having been served up a fair defeat. Is this what happens when a robot does the fill?
TREETAG? Green paintish ESPANOL? SSA, MENES and all the other junk Rex mentioned.
Did I mention TREETAG? What in blazes is that? Oh...a game. Well, at least it's a thing.

And STPS Has got to be the absolute most egregious PoC that ever was!!

I did like the clue for TINA...I figured it out right away...maybe because my mom is CrisTINA. Now, you can call her Cristina, or Tininha (diminutive ending, and at 4'11, it fits), but please don't call her TINA.

I confess I considered, out of desperation, gijOE. If you google gi joe museum, you do get plenty of hits...

Sorry, Mr. Flinn. It's rare that I fully agree with @Rex.

Tita 10:25 PM  

Puzz spouse worked in Grafenwöhr, and he gave me PALITANATE, though he couldn't remember if it was UPPER or lowER. One thing we learned from our time poring over German maps...
If there is an UPPER anything, there will most definitely be a matching lower too.

And thanks, @All from yesterday and today...he's back to normal - let's hope it sticks this time.

Rex - meant to agree with you about all those STATEs, including the oddness of ETATISM. Especially when you consider that the accent in état is there to signify that the French tossed out the ASONANT S back when they decided to rid their words of a letter no one pronounces, but, well, just so we don't completely forget that it was once there, let's make sure we all now remember to spell those words with an accented e. Et voilà!

Mohair Sam 10:51 PM  

@Tita - Great news. I see the puzzle helped you blow off some steam today, btw - quite a rant at 9:59.

Claude Worrell 11:02 PM  

I thought I hated it until I read all your comments and then I realized it was reasonably brilliant huge flaws but it was fun to read all your comments thank you

David Storrs 9:21 AM  

No one thought the NILE goes with the flow? TREETAG eventually put SILT back.

Steve 12:05 PM  

Org. that tracks baby name popularity - DOH of course (NYC Dept. of Health). See for this year.

Ellen 1:52 PM  

Ellen S (another one!): "ano" is a part of the body -- like our polite medical equivalent "anus," only less polite. The commenter is disparaging Will Shortz's frequent equating of "year" and "[anatomical insult]" because he has no idea that N and Ñ are separate letters in Spanish.

spacecraft 10:45 AM  

DNF. got the bottom; just could NOT get the top. I never thought of ROSIE, even though I was alive while she was saying it. A whole bunch of didn't-knows going down stymied me. The lone gimme was SHAH; "checkmate" is derived from "SHAH MAT." or, "the king is dead." If I were to cry foul, it would be for 1-across; I would never in a million years describe a THESISSTATEMENT as a center of a defense. Now that I see it, it makes a certain kind of sense, I guess, but really, not much hope of getting there from the clue. As to the UPPER whatever, that was another WOE. Half the geography majors in the crowd wouldn't know that, I'll wager. What is the SSA? Social Security Administration? What are THEY doing tracking baby names?? INC.

Burma Shave 11:48 AM  


while drinking MAITAIS and IBERIAN wine.
She’d cast an EVIL GLAREAT me and then YELL


Torb 1:10 PM  

Totally murdered by this puz. Filled in perhaps half. Made about 200 maitais. Never strained one. Allele? Partita? Upper Palatinate? Mines? Ugh....

rondo 1:37 PM  

Longest write-over in xword history with huevoSranchEros as my brunch treat. Another long one with Bach’s cAnTaTA. Was thinking SHAH was correct but had left just that solo A there which was making czAr or tsAr possible because of my incorrect brunch item. But then I remembered SIENA (see below) and things changed for the better. Still had to guess a lot. Probably drained my poor pen with this inky mess I finished with.

Probably about 25 years ago when the U of MN played basketball well enough to be NCAA tournament regulars, they were playing SIENA with zero spectators due to some highly contagious bug (measles?) on the campus. Otherwise SIENA would be an outlier for me.

Amanda PEET is a hands down yeah baby. I would settle for Jennifer NETTLES.

This was way more than OFL’s medium rating, at least for me. Those quad stacks made for some difficult crosses. IERI, TLOS, TITERS, MENES, ETATISM, ATOI, ALLELE, geez! But ENSILES?? C’mon now.

dragon@hart 2:50 PM  

IMHO, since the start of 2016, the NYT crosswords have had the worst cluing I've seen since I started doing them. Sexist, racist & obscure minutuiae, all of which make me question whether it's time for a new editor.

Deb Ehnes 3:23 PM  

I know I'm responding a little late but I only get the syndicated version. For me this puzzle was very challenging. I was more than disturbed that the word AINT is a contraction. I've never used an apostrophe in this word before.

Diana,LIW 3:24 PM  

Didn't you hear me? I said NOMSG!!!

If there was a possible wrong answer, I went with it today. Eddy for SILT, hub for SNO, sneer then stare for GLARE, wondered which 3-letter answer was gonna be CIA and FBI. With the D from BIDET I confidently wrote tolDthewholetruth. STPS? I guessed it but couldn't force myself to put it in cause it's just wrong. Hey, did you remember to put the STPS into the tank?

ENTER into detail? Really? You could go into detail, maybe you went into detail, but ENTER? And STATEASSISTANCE is just another way of saying "used tax monies."

My favorite was Spanish Omelette - because I would like one. Right now. With NO, and I do mean NOMSG!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:44 PM  

Sheesh! Just lost an extended lament about my DNF. In the north, of course, where PALATINATE and redundancy of THESISSTATEMENT foiled me.

Better I keep it brief anyway.

Not knowing IERI didn't help, nor did my lILT instead of SILT.

Otherwise, yes, a medium Saturday.


rain forest 5:12 PM  

Challenging here. First entry: TINA. Put in TRUSTS, SHAH, so had S____SH and just slapped down SPANISH OMELETTE, where I had been thinking some sort of Fritata. Had to leave the North, and found the bottom rather more easy, and bit by bit got it all. Back up to the North and had to work almost square by square. The fact that "yesterday" in French is 'hIER', enabled me to get the top grid spanner when I had been thinking THE-something or other.

In truth I finished not knowing many of the entries at all, but that happens sometimes in these efforts. But hey, I did finish.

Diana,LIW 8:27 PM  

Heads up!

Just for you Synders - tomorrow (2/14/16) we have a fine list of films on TCM for your puz-solving pleasure:

The Awful Truth
The Philadelphia Stoy
Adam's Rib
Born Yesterday (love that card scene)
Sabrina (not the witch)
Casablanca (need I say more)
Now Voyager

Settle in for a Valentine's Day festival of movies and puzzles.


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