Game also called Five in a Row / SAT 4-30-16 / Herbal stress reliever from Polynesia / Bone-boring tool / Alternators in some combustion engines / Royal name in ancient Egypt / Woodworker's device informally / City across border from Eilat

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: GO BANG (48A: Game also called Fine in a Row) —
Gomoku is an abstract strategy board game. Also called Gobang or Five in a Row, it is traditionally played with Go pieces (black and white stones) on a go board with 19x19 (15x15) intersections; however, because once placed, pieces are not moved or removed from the board; gomoku may also be played as a paper and pencil game. This game is known in several countries under different names. // Black plays first if white did not just win, and players alternate in placing a stone of their color on an empty intersection. The winner is the first player to get an unbroken row of five stones horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. (wikipedia)
• • •

What was I saying about wanting the puzzles to have teeth? Yikes. This was the hardest puzzle I've done all year, or close to it. Mostly it was just a tough Saturday, but down south things got slightly hairy in the SW (SLAPJACK / JOCKO!?!) and then very, very hairy in the SE. Hirsute, even. Names and technical terms just did me in, or almost did. Let's back up, though, to the NW, where very quickly I could tell it was going to be one of the Those puzzle—a good old-fashioned crocodile-wrestling puzzle. I'm still not sure what 1D: Key that oxymoronic at school? is even supposed to mean. Is it F SHARP because if you get an "F" in school you're not "SHARP"? But ... what? The whole "at school" part feels really forced, like ... you've taken a music clue and shoved it into a non-musical context just so you can make your oxymoron point. Trying too hard (TTH™), I think. But I generally liked that corner once it came together, especially FACE PLANT (1A: Result of a bad trip), which I wanted to be DRUG something something. I've never heard of AMENHOTEP (19A: Royal name in ancient Egypt). IMHOTEP, yes. AMEN-, no. So again, names make things hard. My opening gambit looked super weird:

[auspicious beginnings!]

You'd think that if I could go traipsing across the grid effortlessly like that, I'd be well on my way to success. But not so much. AMENHOTEP, the awkward CAGE IN, and the (for me) elusive TREPAN made that NW truly Saturdayish. NE corner was more like a Wednesday for me (back on familiar name-ground with LL Cool J and "HEY LOVER"), and once I worked the puzzle down to KAREN and LAURYN (the latter of which was a pure gimme), and *especially* once I dropped KNAVERY off just the "K" (39D: Acts of a scalawag), I was sure I had this. But first there was the SLAPJACK / JOCKO thing ... never heard of that game (I'll be saying this again soon...), and didn't know chimps were "common"ly named anything except maybe ENOS or BONZO. I wasn't at all sure that the "J" in that crossing was right, but it felt rightest of all the options, so ... onward. Or not. Couldn't round the corner. 48A: Game also called Five in a Row sounded a lot like GO (or maybe PENTE, which was a variation I feel existed when I was growing up? YES!). GOBANG can go to hell. No hope in hell, and considering it was crossing the equally hope-in-hell-less MAGNETOS (!?!), I was well and truly screwed. Just. Stuck. Oh, and had GONG for GANG (41A: Ring). And DYSPEPTIC for DYSPEPSIA (61A: Upset). Full-on disaster. Looked like this:


Weirdly, once I came to terms with EROSIONAL's being an actual word (ugh), I saw ANGELA (Merkel) immediately, and (go) bang! that corner snapped into place quickly. AQABA got me the very terrible name partial JOHN Q (29D: Public figure?)—putting that junk in a "?" clue is just sadism—and then I changed Dick LUGAR's name from the gun spelling to the actual spelling and done. At least a third of my total time was spent just staring and poking at the SE. Enjoyed the challenge. Can't say the grid was great, but it wasn't bad. And after a string of overly easy themelesses, I'm just grateful for the workout.


Two items you might find interesting:

1. This short (6:41) podcast put together by Tufts University student Julia Press, called "The Future of Crosswords." It contains interviews with me, 6-time ACPT champion Dan Feyer, and several other constructors and solvers. I was really impressed with how it came out. So was Oliver Roeder, who (segue!) wrote...

2. This article, a follow-up to his piece about Timothy Parker's crossword puzzle plagiarism a couple months back. Looks like one of the syndicators of Parker's puzzles, Universal Uclick, has handed down its punishment, and it is *severe*! Just kidding, it's a tiny wrist-slap and he'll be back at work very soon. Read about this pathetic response to serial fraud here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

94 comments:

jae 12:18 AM  

Medium-tough for me with the bottom half medium and the top half tough!

Time sucks:
lure IN before CAGE IN
need before ENVY
Spelled ABIE wrong
sLOP before GLOP
Gird before GANG
lendERS before MASHERS
and I put in ETON and erased it because of lure.

@Rex WOEs: SLAPJACK, GO BANG

I give my grandkids a weekly pop quiz on what's going on in the world. One of last week's questions was who is the leader of the last country Obama visited on his European tour. So, ANGELA was fresh. BTW they both missed it but they knew that Prince had passed.

Nice stacks in NW and SE plus @Rex finally plenty of crunch, gotta like it!

Karl Bradley 12:19 AM  

Very tough. Ended up with two wrong letters when I finally threw my hands up in despair.

Karl Bradley 12:19 AM  

Very tough. DNF.

RodeoToad 12:41 AM  

I literally concur, by which I mean I agree with your conclusion (HARD) but disagree with how you got there. It was ALL hard, but the part that finally did me in was the MASHERS/JOHNQ/AQABA stack. I thought STERE was a word, which led me to thing (wait for it) HEY ROGER was an LL Cool J song. That misstep, along with a gloriously wrong answer for ASEA--"ADIN," which works just as well forthe clue ("No longer tied up?")--caused me to fail this one.

What is a MASHER?

Anonymous 3:06 AM  

Yes, challenging because of trivia. Look at the SW swath with KAVA, SLAPJACK, JOCKO, ASTI, LAURYN, CAPRI, TANGO, SHOPVAC (which has to be a nominee for worst answer of the year) and more.

The double-edged flaw of crosswords is trivia: Know it and you're ahead of the game; don't and things become difficult. Puzzles that are trivia laden in any part are always poor ones.

Martín Abresch 3:36 AM  

First off, thank you, Rex, for rating this puzzle challenging. Anything less would really have done a number on my battered confidence tonight. Part of me feels better knowing that even a pro solver had troubles with this grid.

So ... I finished the SW corner by myself. LAURYN was the one single fat gimme in the puzzle, and I clung to it for dear life. PTS, CURVE, and KNEAD helped me crack that corner, but only after much scratching of my head at JOCKO. (By the way, wow, that's the first appearance for LAURYN in a NYT Crossword. How does a crossword friendly name like that, a name belonging to a true singing star get passed up for two decades?)

Loved SHOPVAC, and loved the quotation for 27-Down ("Men always hate most what they ENVY most": H. L. Mencken).

I had very little in the rest of the grid, so at this point I enlisted the help of my partner. She and I tend to complement each other, knowledge-wise, and it's a rare grid that we can't conquer together.

We were both stumped. We focused on the NW, where I had bSHARP and ATEMPO. I kept wondering if BACKFLASH (instead of FLASHBACK) was a thing (Result of a bad trip). We eventually cheated and looked up the Spike Lee film. A bit of work and we cracked that corner. Loved FACEPLANT. Embarrassed that I didn't get TREPAN earlier: I knew that one.

So we struck out for the SE where disaster awaited us. AVERAGING and ANGELA were two other precious easy answers, but everything else remained stubborn. You see, we had LUGER for LUGAR, which gave us LECHERS for MASHERS. And we had GIRD for GANG (41-Across: Ring), and we were happy with BRAVURA for KNAVERY.

We cheated once for AQABA. That didn't help much. We cheated a second time for GOMOKU—an answer that caused us much woe. Indeed, this grid was defeating us even when we cheated. Woe, indeed! We soon discovered GO BANG (curse you, GO BANG!), and still—STILL—that corner refused to fall. Confused and exhausted, I checked our answers, and we saw the error of LUGER and LECHERS and GIRD and BRAVURA. After so much work and cheating and checking, that corner finally fell.

And then we STILL had the NE corner. Oi vey. We didn't need to cheat, but we did check our work compulsively. We did try RENEG for RENEW. Looking back at it now, I guess we did basically solve that corner ourselves, but I don't remember it well. I was in a daze. Probably from receiving a concussion in the SE. I think that ANKHS along the top really adds to the difficulty. The H in ANKHS was the last letter to go in for us.

Anyway, I did enjoy a great many words and clues in this puzzle, from FACE PLANT to DYSPEPSIA. There were a few that left me scratching my head. (I'm looking at you, F-SHARP and JOCKO.) I apologize to LL Cool J for not remembering "HEY, LOVER" and to Spike Lee for forgetting "HE GOT GAME." Shame on me. And thank you, Mark Diehl, for this puzzle. I wouldn't want to do this every day, but every now and again it's nice to be utterly flattened by a crossword.

chefwen 3:56 AM  

F SHARP was my first fill, it just seemed to make sense. After that, what else could 1A be other than flash back? Feelin pretty chuffed about myself after that brilliant start. A very rude awakening followed soon afterwards.

GO BANG, MAGENTOS, LAURYN, AMEN HOTEP, AQABA???? My OX EYE was an aster first, goop before GLOP, GANG was gird, and God only knows what I did with my vows before I renewed them. Without my trusty Uncle G I never would have filled in all the little squares, so a big DNF on this fine puzzle.

Anonymous 5:08 AM  

Clearly, it's Egypt Day, what with ANKHS, AMENHOTEP, the Rosetta Stone STELE and AQABA lurking just across the border.

Like @Rex, I also didn't get the FSHARP answer, unless maybe if you're only "F" SHARP, you're a moron?

OldCarFudd 6:11 AM  

Lots of small engines (leaf blowers, lawn mowers) get their ignition from magnetos. They generate alternating current by moving a magnet past a wire wound around a core. Unlike batteries, they don't store power, so you need another way to start the gasoline engine (like a pull rope). And they don't do well with accessories like lights because they're weak at idling speed and much too powerful at high speed. A century ago, before full electrical systems for cars were invented, they were used for car ignitions. The engine would be hand-cranked using a little battery like a dry cell to energize the spark plugs, because few people were strong enough to hand-crank an engine fast enough to get a spark from the magneto. Once the engine was running, ignition was switched over to magneto so as not to run down the battery, which had no charging system. Lighting in those days was by acetylene lamps, and of course there were no radios, turn signals, GPS or other modern gadgets. I have a 1912 Buick that has this system.

kitshef 6:55 AM  

Thank you for the explanation of FSHARP. Filled it in by focusing on 'key' and punting on the rest of the clue.

First in were AROSE/OXEYE, then later LAURYN, but could get nothing going off of those. Key for me, funnily enough, was the SE, which was the only 'easy' part of the puzzle. ABIE, sLOP and ANGELA got me AVERAGING, DYSPEPSIA and EROSIONAL, and from there was able to get going.

Biggest quandary was HASTaGO/JaCKO or HASTOGO/JOCKO. Finally decided if the puzzle were fair, HASTaGo would need to include 'in slang' or 'informally' in the clue.

Hand up for GOBANG and SLAPJACK being WoEs.

Great sense of accomplishment just to finish.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

The kind of puzzle that could shatter a longtime solver's confidence, and scare off just about everyone else. One of the hardest NYT Saturdays I can recall in the few years that I have been a regular.

What a strange week, with difficulty yo-yo'ing almost daily.

jberg 8:22 AM  

I somehow put in AMENHOTEP with no crosses, after Tutankhamen wouldn't fit. It didn't help, as it seemed to unlikely that I would have guessed right that I kept questioning it. I thought of TREPAN as a technique, not a tool, so I learned something there, but that took a lot of crosses.

What did help was that when my daughter was in grade school she loved to play SLAPJACK and to wear ANKHS; the latter gave me NEXT, and then OXEYE off that X. But EROSIONAL was so hard to believe I got stuck in the NE until AVERAGING gave me KNAVERY, which gave me KAREN (though, since I've never heard of me, I wondered if the E might be a Y).

Then the NW -- finally, finally saw NEMESES, whcih gave me FACEPriNT and isoTOMIC, but that didn't work with lurE IN (which fits the clue, unlike the actual answer). A few minutes of just staring at it finally awoke the realization that it was FACE PLANT, and then all was well.

But EROSIONAL? I guess that was necessary for the pangram.

jberg 8:25 AM  

I just read that 538 article on the plagiarism thing, according to which Timothy Parker promises to use "the best available technology to ensure that everything he edits is original." I guess that means "not copying things."

Glimmerglass 8:52 AM  

Very hard for me. This one took me almost two hours, about the time I'm usually ready to quit and come here. Just then I finally saw FACE PLANT. I'd had some kind of sPLiNT (arm? leg?) and isoTonIC -- that obviously weren't working. FACE PLANT saved the day! Just the kind of satisfying struggle I like best on Saturday morning.

Lobster11 9:10 AM  

I cannot express how relieved I was to come here and find OFL and others confirm the unusually high difficulty level of this puzzle. Honestly, if OFL had rated this "easy/medium," I might well have cancelled my NYT subscription and gone looking for a new hobby. This was, without a doubt, the single worst ass-whupping I've ever taken from a crossword puzzle. Nearly every PPP was a WOE, and I was totally ASEA with the cluing and wordplay.

I suppose it's only fair that the pros need a "workout" like this once in a while. I just wish these came with some kind of warning to us mere mortals that we should take the day off.

No BS 9:25 AM  

I don't mind having to google names of people and places and such once in a while and I knew essentially none of them here, so the puzzle was discouraging though cluing was brilliant in places and I was pleased to get some of them. But the last word, dyspepsia, made it all worth while. I always enjoy a shout-out to the cruciverbistocracy and here's to the king of dyspepsia himself, clearly hinted at in one down!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:34 AM  

GOt the northeast, minus one letter (CA_EIN/HE_OTGAME) and gave up. Only way to get any more traction was to google for a bunch of things I profoundly did not care about. LUGAR GAOLER AQABA ANGELA got me nowhere, I was going to have to look up LLCOOLSomething.

John Child 9:43 AM  

SLAPrACK / rOCKy / GyRED all felt plausible to me, so DNF. JOCKO really? <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jocko>Guess so...</a> New to me. And having not lived in the US for over 20 years made HE'S GOT GAME awfully hard to suss out. Do The Right Thing on the other hand would have been an automatic. Really liked this one.

Nancy Klein 9:49 AM  

Very hard for me as well. But no one has mentioned the clue that was toughest for me: he got game. I knew Amenhotep but not that as I avoid Spike Lee films.

Laurence Katz 10:03 AM  

Wrote in "F sharp" and then "flashback" for "result of a bad trip. And after filling in the rest of the puzzle I was stuck in a bad DNF trip in the NW.

Steve M 10:08 AM  

Humbling totally humbling in every way

Wm. C. 10:14 AM  


@R-Toad --

A "Masher" is a man who hits on women --at a bar, for instance. The word implies that his attentions are unwanted by the lady.

Loren Muse Smith 10:16 AM  

Man, there are some difficult nouns here. Not proper nouns. Just tough nouns. And one tough adjective. I got'em all – DYSPEPSIA, STATIONER, MAGNETOS, KNAVERY, GAOLER. And EROSIONAL. Didn't matter that I got those; I had a dnf owing to MASHERS, KAREN, and JOHN Q.

Rex – when SLAPJACK fell, I smiled and said, "Oh, wow. SLAP JACK!" Many hours I spent with Joanne H on her dining room floor slapping jacks. GO BANG, though… huh? I kept thinking maybe "Go Fish."

Like @jae – "slop" before GLOP. Like the onomatopoeia-ishness of those words. Slop, glop, plop, clop. I hear the ladle of oatmeal hitting the bowl with a dull thwopp.

I need a couple of explanations, too, but I don't want to ask because of the bajillion answer pile up that will ensue.

JOHN Q is such a fortuitous name because it affords a list like this:

Alex Rodriquez
bearded lady
cardboard box
dog chow
Edward V
French chateau
granny knot
hall pass
ice water
John Q
karate chop
long ago
Michael Jordan

If you don't see the trick,here's where I was shown this idea by David Steinberg. It wasn't that well received, but I will never, ever forget it. So cool that he thought of it and then gridified it for the world.

Beastly difficult Saturday that beat me. But I liked it. Now I finally understand why it's stationery and not stationary.

QuasiMojo 10:19 AM  

Thank you Rex for posting the podcast link. Quite an enjoyable interview. But what I don't understand is the point one of the young solvers raised. That using clues such as "Star of Dracula, 1931" is not fair to newer generations, or perhaps he just meant not as easy or not as much fun. That is a disappointing attitude, and I suspect, a trend. But the internet has made all movies available to film lovers and a 1931 film is just as relevant as one released now. Most new films don't even make it to movie theaters. In this day and age everything is relevant. So one can't argue that the new Jungle Boy movie is more relevant or easier to solve as a clue in a puzzle than the original Disney version. The troubling point to me is that young people today have very narrow interests. The internet, perhaps, and cable TV (not to mention video games) has made it easier for them to focus on only one area at the exclusion of others. But anyone with a healthy interest in our culture and those of other countries and continents would be wise to broaden their scope of knowledge. Recently I was chatting with a young actor who had never heard of James Dean! It's vital that people make an effort to absorb the trivia of the past, especially when it concerns ground-breaking works of art, or artists, who got us to where we are today. Not just so they can knock off any old crossword puzzle with pleasure and speed, but so that they can be well rounded, more "interesting" people.

DBlock 10:21 AM  

Just what I want in a Saturday-- particularly after yesterday's romp. No gimmes anywhere. Each answer had to be tried from a few angles. SE and SW much quicker than the Norths but slogged through. He Got Game and remembering Roman Jove saved me. Delish.

Teedmn 10:28 AM  

I threw in the towel today, which I never do. My difficulty was diametrically opposed to @Rex's. The NW killed my solving due to FSHARP crossed by FlashbAck. Substance at 5D was then "heft" and I thought to gain access, you could "buy in". For 22A, "I'm not buying it" was NO dicE for a while. I didn't get the IN senator's name 'cause my advance men were MuSHERS.

Except for having rUler first before CURVE and the V of SHOP VAC making 27D loVe briefly, this puzzle went in as easily as I expect a tough Saturday to go (which means not easily at all but at least making progress incrementally). Even after erasing all of the NW, FlashbAck had worn such a deep groove in my head that I ended up Googling my way to the finish, which makes for a very unsatisfactory conclusion to what had been a fun challenge. But not the constructor's fault.

Carola 10:56 AM  

Yay for the international array of A's - AMENHOTEP, A TEMPO, ANGELA, and AQABA, which helped me to avoid an F on the puzzle. Challenging for sure, and satisfying to finish. Do-overs: lurE IN, SWiffERS before SWEEPERS.

three of clubs 11:02 AM  

Enjoyed this one a lot. Not easy, but honest. Among my Egyptians ... NEFERTITI.

janie 11:02 AM  

>What was I saying about wanting the puzzles to have teeth? Yikes.

so how fitting that this one should have been created by a dds?...

;-)

Maruchka 11:13 AM  

GLOP-city! PPPs-orama! KNAVERY-at-work! DNF. Doh.

Fav of the day - AQABA. The taking of Aqaba is one favorite scene in 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

'Nuff said..

AliasZ 11:15 AM  


This was the toughest NYT puzzle I ever solved. It was about 3.75 times tougher than Stan Newman's Saturday Stumper, which I did in no time while taking a breather from Mark Diehl's nightmarish grinder.

My first entry at initial run-through was AMENHOTEP -- go figure.

Since I never owned a chimp and never knew anyone who did, I had no idea what a common name for one may be. It could have been Mikey, Rosie, Chico, Wacko -- what do I know.

Favorite entry: DYSPEPSIA.
WTF's: MAGNETO, and the clues for CURVE and MASHERS. Perhaps 'Teacher's implementation' refers to a learning CURVE? Why are MASHERS advance men? Who knows. I was thinking more DASHERS.
Today's GPA (green paint award) goes to: HAS TO RUN. Run for office? 'Has to pee' would've made more sense.

As much as I was completely out of sync with this one, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it -- a refreshing break from the tepid NYT offerings of late.

Thank you, Mark and Will. More like this, please.

Churlish Codger 11:20 AM  

Amenhotep was probably mummified

Nancy 11:22 AM  

Well, I didn't exactly SET A BLAZE in Puzzle World today. I was a scalawag, full of KNAVERY in solving; and while DYSPEPSIA would be much too strong a term for what I was feeling, I sort of wish the word "chagrin" was in the grid. For that's what I feel for the "checking" that, when it wasn't good enough, eventually became shameless cheating. Let me define my terms:

"Checking." I had AMENH---- on my own, so I took a little peek in the Bio Names section of my dictionary to see how it would turn out. (That enabled me to change ANAbOlIC to ANATOMIC and to get MENU and TREPAN, which I "checked", too, to see if there was such a word.)

Unfortunately that did not spring open this bear of a puzzle for me, so the cheating began: I looked up LAURYN, which enabled me to change TITLE at 31D to TANGO. That was the most frustrating clue in the puzzle for me, btw. I can sing all 3 (I think) verses and choruses of "Whatever Lola Wants" from memory (and I sometimes have), but I had no idea what it was, other than a SONG or a SOLO. Once I had the first T from ANTIS, I wrote down TITLE, thinking there was nothing else it could be. I never thought of TANGO. I didn't even know it was a TANGO. (Remember, I sing it. I don't dance it.)

What a toughie. Since I didn't hate this puzzle, but instead was intrigued by it, I followed @Lewis's dictum: Cheat enough so that you can do the puzzle and enjoy it. So that's what I did. But I am deeply ashamed of myself, anyway. I glanced at Rex, and am gratified that he found it so hard, also. I'll go back and read him -- and all of you -- now.

GILL I. 11:33 AM  

I should take a picture of the finished puzzle. It looks like an inkblot from Psychodiagnostics...
Oh, I started with the F like everybody else and I thought I was clever (but scared) to come up with F MAJOR...major #1 screw up. #2 was making my bad trip a FRIED CELL. Man, I was so happy with that answer. Of course, I didn't get anywhere so I did what any red blooded American would do, I Googled...and I Googled... and I actually poured Google a glass of ASTI because we were such good friends by now.
Went to bed and when I AROSE, I actually started to fill in some answers. I began to enjoy this mind blowing puzzle...bit by bit.
Final Google - just so that I could try and finish - was LUGAR KAREN MAGNETOS GO BANG (Sounds like something LL Cool J would sing).
DYSPEPSIA, (which I got all by myself), was my favorite word.
I really love these kind of puzzle because I learn something new. Well, was JOCKO the name of Michael's chimp? I don't really want to know.

da kine 11:34 AM  

That puzzle was awesome. Club72-level difficulty but none of it crappy. I must have typed and erased GAOLER 5 or 6 times. Unlike Rex, I knew AMENHOTEP right away and that was about the only thing that save me in the NW. I should have known HEGOTGAME immediately since it stars the inimitable Ray Allen, but it just wasn't falling for me. I still don't get what MASHERS is. Maybe something to do with hunting? I dunno. I thought that was great. SHOPVAC, AVERAGING, and DYSPEPSIA were all awesome to include and the cluing was great throughout. It took over twenty minutes for me but it was time well spent.

Z 11:59 AM  

Spike Lee, LL Cool J, and LAURYN Hill. See, it can be done.

Biggest FACEPLANT in quite awhile. Just could not suss out the NW or SE. EROSIONAL and STATIONER didn't help. PPP comes in highish, too. 22/68, 32% are Pop Culture, Product Names, or Proper Nouns. This includes JOCKO, which I can't quite tell whether it is a Proper Noun or not. Seems like it might just be obscure slang for chimpanzees.

Regarding Gridgate

I can't share the outrage at the "slap on the wrist." First, three months (I'm guessing without pay) is significant. Second, I know people think he should be fired. That was never all that likely. Third, it doesn't take much to read between the lines. I've had to represent professionals after major screw-ups. There is always a significant gap between what can be said publicly and what is done privately. The statement reads to me like something that has been wordsmithed by both sides' lawyers. Finally, I've always believed in second chances. Let's see what he does with it.

Lewis 12:02 PM  

Loved the clues for ANTIS, OUTSCORE, CURVE, and AVERAGING. There were 16 answers, as clued, not in my wheelhouse, so I would take one Google as far as I could, then do another -- this happened a few more times -- and so I actually enjoyed the solve. What is outstanding to me about this puzzle, because of my inexplicable habit of tracking double letters, is that there are only two double letters in the entire puzzle, extra-ordinarily low, the lowest, I believe, in a number of years. I scan the puzzle top to bottom, then the columns left to right, so the double letters appeared only at the end, and I thought this would be the second NYT puzzle with no double letters, but no cigar.

Overall, a mighty enjoyable struggle.

old timer 12:17 PM  

Oh yeah. Super hard. The only long answers I got early were KNEEHOLE, SLAPJACK and AVERAGING, and I felt stuck.

So, with almost no sector completed I reached into my pocket for my iPhone and it was missing. Calling it from the landline produced to ringing sound in the house. Fortunately, the Find My Phone service on iCloud gave me a map. I obviously left it on the bar of my favorite restaurant -- or maybe it fell into the parking lot as I got in my car.

I did cheat some though. Never heard of LAURYN Hill, but when I found out I was able to change "gotta" RUN to HASTARUN, and discover the marvelous SHOPVAC. Did not have GANG in it's "ring" sense at first, but I know most of the Downs in the SE including KNAVERY, so got that part done. HEYLOVER was just a guess, but a good one as it turned out

I am ashamed to say I googled for the Spike Lee film. Ashamed because, after all, I have heard of the film and could have remembered it. And still a technical DNF because I wrote in LOGiN, having no idea how that Egyptian dude's name was spelled.

JOHNQ was my favorite entry. In my day, there was frequent reference to Mr. Public. Well, AQABA was another favorite because it takes some cleverness to find a cross for that Q.

I did put in "Abby" for Abby Hoffman, wrong because he spelled it "Abbie" and because the song was indeed ABIE Baby.

Tim 12:52 PM  

Finished, without Googling and without a wrong answer, so I'm very grateful to see that even Rex found this one to be challenging. A hard slog all the way through, and it didn't give up an inch.

LAURYN and HE GOT GAME were my gimmes, though I waited to fill in the latter until I had the GA -- I wasn't 100% sure that the movie was released in 1998. After filling it in I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't get SHOPVAC right away too, as a Jonathan Coulton fan.

Things I did not admire: GOBANG. Never heard of this name. Never ever ever ever. I thought of GOMOKU right away, but thank goodness I checked my impulse to fill it in until I'd figured out crossings for at least that K and U. Combined with a -ORED cross where the missing letter could be G, B, C or even P, I think it's fair to call that one a Natick (even if the cross isn't actually a proper name).

Nebraska Doug 12:53 PM  

DNF. Only the SW was doable for me. Played slapjack as a child. Hardest puzzle in quite some time.

Alby 12:53 PM  

Good, so it's not just me. Took about an hour longer than my Saturday average. Kept wanting to enter BUBBAHOTEP. Never heard of a KNEEHOLE and it sounds dirty, as does GOBANG. Still don't know what MASHERS are. MAGNETOS is laughable, even if accurate. Never heard JOCKO outside of JOCKO Jones from a Jerky Boys album. Went from ACED to ASEA, which should give you an idea of how much hair I pulled out in the process of solving.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Difficult to say the least. The question is: Was it too difficult? I'm nowhere near Rex's class in terms of crosswords, but I think this puzzle was too obscure by half. Shortz is turning into a tool, and I think it's time for a change at that particular helm.

puzzle hoarder 1:14 PM  

I don't know if Mr. Diehl is actually a dentist or if his xwordinfo pic is just a joke on his hobby for inflicting pain but this one caused me three and a half hours of anguish and frustration to solve it. Doing this last night when I should have been sleeping did not help. We actually caught a fire when I normally would start so I got delayed.
The NE went in first followed by the SE. I couldn't connect the two because I had EFILER at 32A supported by FREE. I don't know how I made up GOBANG. I didn't notice the quotation marks around the 31D clue until this morning so I had no idea why TANGO fit.
JIMBO and KNEAD got me SLAPJACK. It was a lot of work switching to JOCKO and making up KAVA.
Another hurdle was PONCE. Putting that in allowed me to make a real start on the NW and abandon my FLASHBACK fixation.
MASHERS and AT SEA were the last to go in. To me a MASHER is someone who rubs against women on the subway. Apparently it can refer to aggressive come ons as well.
Solving on a Kindle didn't help but this would have been just as hard on paper. Speaking of paper stationery and stationary are two different words. You learn something new everyday.





Chaos344 1:21 PM  

Hellishly brutal puzzle which I loved to death, even though it took me a freakin hour to get MHP? Great clues, great words, and only a few actual Natick possibilities. Tried to open in the NW but couldn't get a foothold. Opened in the NE and worked the quadrants clockwise ending up back in the NW quad. That area alone took me 20 minutes. The only entry I had was LOGIN at 6D, and that was wrong! Little by little I sussed things out. 1A went from WRONGLANE to LATEPLANE and finally FACEPLANT. I remembered TREPAN as soon a I saw the T. Changed LOGIN to LOGON and GIST to PITH, then everything fell. What a workout!

@RodeoToad: STERE is a word, but unless you're a rodeo star with a spelling problem, it denotes a unit of volume. I didn't known the LL Cool J lyric either, but "BY JOVE", he ain't no Country & Western artist. HEYLOVER sounded a lot more likely than HEYROVER or HEYROGER, no?

@OldCarFudd: Excellent description of MAGNETOS and how they work. All pilots will remember back to their flight school days. One of the main pre-flight checks we performed after starting the engine, was to check both magnetos.

@No BS: LMAO! Cruciverbistocracy? Priceless! Look at Rex's initial grid. He doesn't even hesitate when choosing RPI over MIT? That can only come from being the King Of Crosswords! In the Sharp household, RPI stands for Rex's Puzzle Intelligence! ;>)

@LMS: I too, immediately thought of SLAPJACK. What other card game could possibly be clued as raucous? My mother had me at a very young age. Your mother was obviously wiser than mine. My siblings and I used to slap the card table so hard, that the deck invariably flew onto the floor. Your mother simply had you start there.

Here's a little joke so that you will never again confuse stationary with stationery. Guy walks into a department store and approaches a salesperson:

Guy: "Can you tell me where to find writing paper?"
Salesperson: "Yes, it's on the fourth floor in the Notions department."

Guy gets off the elevator and is confronted by an absolutely stunning blond women with Grand Canyon cleaveage. She is wearing a department store smock.

Saleswoman: "Can I help you Sir?"
Guy stammering: "Yes, do you have notions?"
Saleswoman smiling: "All the time, but I try and suppress them at work!"
Guy stammering: "No No, I mean do you keep stationery?"
Saleswoman blushing: "Well, right up til the last 30 seconds, then I go
freakin ballistic!"

@QuasiMojo: Very well said. Most of today's Millennials are so caught up in instant gratification, social media and smartphones, that they think crossword puzzles should be quick and easy diversions. God forbid you should have to know something outside your knowledge base. If people think today's puzzles are hard, go into the archives and try doing a NYT Sunday puzzle from the Maleska era. Back then, many people thought they were good if they finished a Sunday puzzle by Tuesday! They had to look up tons of stuff, but they learned twice as much!

You don't become Cruciverbistocracy overnight. It takes decades. There are no shortcuts and no participation trophies. To all who complain about the PPP count, OWM factor, trivia, lack of cultural diversity,(PUH-LEEZE!),how one should define hair styles, and all the other PC and SJW bullshit, You need to get over it. Just Sayin!

Chuck McGregor 1:28 PM  

My second entry (the first was wrong) and, having nothing else after going through all the clues, was NOSALE.

So there I was, staring at an empty grid with only NOSALE sitting front and center, expressing my exact take on it. This was simply undoable for me.

One example: I cheated my way to get _ASHERS and still couldn’t finish the word.

However, I was able to finish it. Here’s how. You know those little red triangles the NYT puts in squares when you reveal a letter or word? Well, they SETABLAZE my grid like an over decorated Christmas tree.

Let’s just say that I was very, very happy to read @Rex: “Yikes. This was the hardest puzzle I've done all year, or close to it.”

“Yikes” indeed!

All I could do was laugh at my massive DNF but no KAVA was needed as such, thank you. It was like being a competitor in a 100-yard dash who trips and does a FACEPLANT right out of the starting blocks.

I hope tomorrow will RENEW some of my confidence as a budding cruciverbalist. (Hi @Anonymous 8:06 AM et al)

Cheers

PS OldCarFudd 6:11 AM: Great write up about magnetos!!

Joe Bleaux 1:32 PM  

Hey, that's EXACTLY what I wuz gonna say ('specially that part about shattering confidence)!

Chuck McGregor 1:54 PM  

@Rex calls Universal Uclick’s reaction a “pathetic response to serial fraud.” Universal Uclick euphemistically calling plagiarism/fraud a “duplication of prior work” is indeed pathetic. This would seem to trivialize the acts (n.b. plural, as in duplications and works), especially by conspicuously leaving out the modifier “of others.”

Further, Universal Uclick “regret[s] any inconvenience this situation has created for you.” That’s an apology I would expect from an airline cancelling a flight because of bad weather. Can anyone explain exactly how the “situation” of suspending TP for “duplication of prior work” creates an “inconvenience” to anyone other than the suspended employee and the employer? As such “you” can only be directed at that employee and any other employee(s) who had to deal with this “situation.”

My, my. How inconvenient for me that there are different puzzle editors...for a while. I know I find it incredibly inconvenient when, say, @Rex has Annabel write his blog. (Put your sarcasm glasses on.)

Lastly, Universal Uclick says, "We are committed to providing the highest quality features in the industry.” If editing falls under “features,” that commitment was a fail many times over, except for the fact that what was plagiarized was from the NYT, generally acknowledged as publishing the "highest quality" crosswords.

Cheers

Masked and Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Pantheongram!
Seems like the first five or ten answers I put in ended up bein all false starts. Can't recall all of em … it's kinda all a big old blur … like bein hit by a #4 tornado, full force, while standin outside in yer underwear. I remember LENDERS instead of MASHERS and WOODY instead of KAREN, tho.

Remember that I got the NE & SE pretty fast, M&A-relatively speakin. Last, lingerin corner to go in was the NW.
Wanted SCARABMOTEL for the royal Egypt name, even tho it don't fit, and kept trying to build off that idea. Wrong again, M&A breath. TREPAN?!? PITH on it.

Pleasantly sadistic clues, throughout. Few weeject toeholds, throughout. About as many U's in "throughout", as in the whole grid.

Thanx, Mr. Diehl. Now, go sit in a NW corner like a GLOP, for looong quiet time.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

wino 2:11 PM  

Asti is not a "wine product" it's a place.

phil phil 2:18 PM  

As a retired metal fabricator, TREPAN was in my wheelhouse but others were crosses and guesses. Had RENig before RENEW. Wife wasn't amused but was kind enough to give me HOP.

getting an F in (music or other) school is not sharp so it's an oxymoron. Play on words of a key. I don't see the stretch from other ? clues.

Rajj 2:55 PM  

I've been reading this awesome blog for a month now. I've figured out most of the slang and abbreviations used by guests, but not this one:

CRUNCHY

I googled it and the 2nd definition was "politically left-leaning". Is this the correct interpretation? I see it used frequently but can't make the political connections. I checked the vocabulary list under FAQ, but no luck.

Blackbird 3:05 PM  

The first answer I got was 1 D, F sharp. I thought the clue and answer really clever, and I thought the puzzle would probably be a fun romp. Well, I admire the puzzle, I think it is a great puzzle, and yet, I was really at sea after 1D. Tough puzzle. 10 A also clever, got the answer after a cross or two fell in, particularly 11 D and 12 D. Yet I really got bogged down everywhere. Trepan fell into place also. 61 A, Dyspepsia, also fell into place. And yet, and yet....

Ludyjynn 4:04 PM  

@Rajj, I use the word 'crunchy' to describe a puzzle w/ a nice amount of bite to it, making for a fun solve.

Today was crunchy to the Nth degree. After a promising start in the Central/West area (thanks to LAURYN) and the SOUTHWEST quad, the rest was a DNF challenge. I loved JOCKO, the name of my cherished sock monkey that Mrs. Johnston, the next door neighbor fabricated for me when I was five. He still has a place of honor in my bedroom. The sweet Mrs. J. is long gone, however.

It was 'misery loves company' to read how many others, including OFL, found this one to be a bear. It was also fun to recall the score from 'Hair", which I hadn't thought about in years. @QuasiMojo, you are so right re some folks' limited interests precluding them from learning/broadening their horizons.

Thanks, MD and WS.

old timer 4:14 PM  

The reason I know TREPAN was because a few decades ago I read all those Aubrey-Maturin sea stories by the late Patrick O'Brian. Dr. Maturin was a dab hand with the TREPAN.

Oh, and @rajj, "crunchy" means "puts up a challenge to the solver. Doesn't describe this one, though, which was *way* more than "crunchy"

@wino, ASTI is the short term for Asti Spumante, the sparkling wine from Northern Italy that is indeed made from moscato grapes. Korbel is better, and of course real French champagne is better still.

Over and out.

Wm. C. 4:20 PM  

@A-z --

I commented on mashers this morning. Also, Teachers GRADE on a Curve.

@Z -- regarding GridGate. Brady was indicted, judged and juried by one man. No hard evidence, just a suspicion. Without wondering why a player with a potential future claim to the best QB ever would be motivated to stoop to cheating. Particularly in a game they were winning by 6 TDs anyway? If all the balls were deflated, why wouldn't the refs, two of whom typically handle the ball on each play, never noticed this until asked?

Z 4:20 PM  

@Rajj - Crunchy as in hard to chew on. Not smooth. Hard, not soft and easy.

cwf 4:23 PM  

Thank god I have a Matt Gaffney palate cleanser in my inbox after this brutal dnf. TREPAN was a gimme, having made my visit to the lovely Mutter Museum. But the rest? EROSIONAL? STATIONER? Why are ANKHS "signs of life"? JOCKO? I have three chimpanzees and none are named JOCKO. (One is named Jacko, so that threw me for a while.)

Get Over It 5:13 PM  

NW was BS. Too many esoteric words. I don't mind Challenging but give us a chance.

Mohair Sam 5:16 PM  

Almost whupped this nasty puppy. Naticked on the infamous P in TREPAN. Nice to see y'all had a battle too, and that most of you enjoyed as much as we did.

Opposite experience to OFL for us, where he stuttered we thrived. Opened with the gimme-for-us SAN, then the likely -ING ending at 53a, that gave us ANGELA/BANZAI/ASIANS and probable AQABA, and aha for JOHNQ, guessed GAOLER off that O, then ASEA and KAREN. Thought we had this thing beat, but noooooo. Had to battle thru damn near every clue as we circled around the page from there.

Loved FACEPLANT. Several tough Saturday only words in here (including the two that naticked us). When Her Ladyship turned our "Gird" for 41a (Ring) into GANG and suggested KNAVERY I remembered MAGNETOS and the blank bottom section we had stared at for half an hour filed in about 30 seconds.

GOBANG incredibly obscure to us (but it is Saturday). Was wondering why in hell anyone would name a chimp JOCKO but @ludyjynn reports above the existence of a sock monkey of the same name - so there's that. The only simian I recall is J. Fred Muggs.

Hey - Anybody else notice that the current Jeopardy! champ is the absolute spit and image of Harold Lloyd?

Awesome Saturday puzzle Mark Diehl, thank you.

Leapfinger 6:17 PM  

@Rajj, guess you have a pretty good idea about crunchy by now. As @ludyjinn says, it means there's bite, but you get it. If you can't get it, it goes beyond crunchy and you might end up breaking a couple of teeth.

Had NEMESES everywhere, worst probably being that what some people do to vows is BREAK 'em.
title TANGO
GO fish (yes, I did)
gird GANG
loanERS MASHERS
SLAPbACK
wetVAC? dryVAC? Ah, SHOPVAC seen at last!
Running through Thutmose, Hatshepsut, etc till (tut, tut) AMEN HOTEP
Running the Pantheon of all the 4-letter deities
Grateful for the smattering of ANATOMIC entries, though the common bone-borer is usually just a regular DRILL (yup, Black&Decker). Still, better a TREPAN than a TREPANema...
'Almost up' next to AROSE had me stuck on a bleary-EYEd sleepyhead for way too long, NEXT to impossible to lose first ideas sometimes

Wondered whether GANG/BANG wasn't too much KNAVERY and whether EROSIONAL is ever really necessary.

Great feeling to get all the above (and others) all sorted out, but the highlight was the cluing. Like the JOHN Q Public figure of speech, the GAOLER's and oxymoronic Keys, the [Small vault] turning out to be a HOP (usually found in NOS ALE, si?)

While I somewhat admire those who solve with A TEMPO of "up 'n' AT EM, PONCE de Leon", I AVER AGING has increased my enjoyment of a luxuriously relaxed solve. No longer wanting to SET ABLAZE, I'm happy to SET A LAZ-E-boy to good use.

Oh, and @Chaos, if SJW stands for what I think it does, may I suggest you put a knot in it? For the good of future generations, as it were. If it stands for something else, it's not my vault.

Now I HAS TO RUN; I had a great Diehl to do today.

paulsfo 6:32 PM  

I have a question that is not about today's puzzle but, since the puzzle in question is from 1992, I hope this is not a major violation of blog etiquette. :P

From: BLOWING HOT AND COLD
New York Times, Sunday, July 19, 1992
Author: Kevin Boyle
Editor: Eugene T. Maleska

Clue: Balt. and N.Y.C.
Answer: SPTS

Why? I've tried googling, to no avail. I'm guessing it's something to do with sports (or transportation?) but I'm stumped.

thanks

Get Over It 6:47 PM  

I hope Buzzy buys new glasses with his winnings.

michael 7:18 PM  

I got everything but the NW in more-or-less average Saturday time (which is not very fast). But I just couldn't get the NW. I had to google both Amenhotep and He Got Game. I actually had heard of both of these, but there was no way I was going to get them without the internet.

MetroGnome 7:51 PM  

Hang on a minute -- "Upset" is an adjective; DYSPEPSIA is a noun. Where's the connection?

And can someone explain what the hell a "FACE PLANT" is, and what it has to do with a "bad trip"? I envision someone on LSD hallucinating vines or flowers growing out of their face . . .

Robso 8:18 PM  

Ha ha! DNF, WTF.

Dolgo 8:24 PM  

I guess it's sour grapes, but this one was pretty hard. When you can't even understand puns once you get them . . . well.what can I say? I'm a Shakespeare scholar, so I love 'em. But you've GOT to have the forehead slap, not the "WTF"?

Rabi Abonour 8:39 PM  

I gave up at like 30%. I don't think I've struggled this much on a NYT since I was in school.

Masked and Anonymous 9:04 PM  

@paulsfo:

re: Old SPTS Clue of Mystery…

Not 100% sure, but M&A votes "seaports" [brief case].

M&A Help Desk

Leapfinger 9:23 PM  

@paul_sfo, I'd say that it's based on Baltimore and NYC both being SeaPorTS.

Am guessing I'll be the 4th to answer this question, and will let others explain how 'upset' can also come up as a noun.

Chaos344 9:29 PM  

@Leapy: You will always be my favorite crossword blog poster. You set the standard, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I miss the Bard Of Quincy too. It's springtime now, and too nice to be inside and wasting time on various blogs. The Harley is tuned, the soil is tilled, and the fishing poles are ready to go. Life is good! Still, I can't resist the occasional urge to post. LOL.

If you don't know what a SJW is, you are much luckier than I am. You apparently have had the good sense to shun most of the PC garbage that has permeated what passes as "news" in today's America? Hint: SJW does not stand for Single Jewish Female as it did in dating columns of years past. This is not the proper forum to go further into detail, but if you ever care to go one on one, my e-mail addy is on my profile.

Nancy 9:45 PM  

@MetroGnome (7:5l) Upset can sometimes be a noun. "I hope my comment didn't cause you any upset." Not the most felicitous sentence, but legit, I think. I didn't know FACE PLANT, either, but I'm sure it means taking a bad fall in which your face gets planted in the pavement. (A funny term only to those who have never taken that kind of fall).

@Rajj -- The first time I saw "crunchy" used to describe a crossword puzzle was right here on this blog. It seemed peculiar then, and I'm not wild about it now, though I've sort of gotten accustomed to it. Now, I have in many other ways adapted myself to crossword terminology. Before I came to Rexworld, I would begin in the "top left" of a puzzle, move to the "top right", then to the "bottom left", then to the "bottom right". Now I use the terms preferred by the community: NW, NE, SW, SE. But as for "crunchy" -- it seems like a word better suited to cereal. Some of my best friends on the blog delight in using it, but I have resisted so far in using it myself.

Anonymous 10:08 PM  

AROAR - Give me a break!

Z 10:28 PM  

@Metrognome - If you a trip and fall you might "plant" your "face" in the ground. This "bad trip" is a FACEPLANT. cf "yard sale"

paulsfo 11:34 PM  

@MetroNome: From Urban Dictionary: Involving sports such as skateboarding, or bike riding, or any other sport for that matter, and you fall, and land directly on your face.
So the "trip" refers to falling, not to LSD.

@M&A and @Leapfinger: Thanks! I think you're right. If I'd searched for SPT instead of SPTS, I *might* have found it. Also, maybe looking at a map would have helped. :)

BTW, this puzzle also had other such 'gimme' clues as:
Strip of land between rivers : DOAB
Surinamese pidgin language : SRANAN
Wintry : HIEMAL
Aztec or Toltec : NAHUA
Fermented Furmints : TOKAY

Rajj 8:39 AM  

Thanks for all of your feedback regarding "crunchy"!

I'm glad it's NOT the political definition (@2:55) because I use crosswords to escape the election-year media.

Frebberf 3:45 PM  

Relieved to see Rex thought this one was hard. I had to cheat in SE, looking on the Internet to get Magnetos, Asians, Aqaba, Go Bang. I had Angela Merkel early, though. It's less satisfying when I have to cheat/consult sources.

Mark Barrett 11:59 PM  

I have about three years experience with the NYT puzzles doing mostly the Wed. & Thurs. ones with the occasional M-Tu & weekend ones. This was by far the hardest puzzle I've done as it was a struggle just about everywhere. Other than the gimme for SLAPJACK. :) Off and on since Friday night I spent at least 3 hours working on it.

Tonight I had the grid filled and was ready to see my errors. Politics and cars are not my strength, so I had LUGUR & RAGNETOS. I thought RUSHERS for 37A - Advance men? looked good thinking in a football sense.

So, I messed up two squares. I'll take it considering I only used my head and I do it the pencil and paper way.

It took lots of erasing to work out all the things I guessed on and had wrong. My favorite incorrect try was "Afro Baby" for the "Abie Baby" from "Hair."

I have not looked at the May 1 Sunday one yet. It has more squares to fill, but it will have to be easier overall.



Hartley70 11:11 AM  

Oh what fun!!! I didn't have to Google but I did use the "Check" function several times to make sure I was correct.

konnofromtokyo 11:38 AM  

can't believe you're letting this one slide, rex. got them all but guessed on a few. i've lived in japan for 25 years and GOBANG is not a thing here, or anywhere. neither are JOCKO/SLAPJACK, a total natick. there is no common chimp name. FSHARP as an oxymoron is a desperate stretch. anyone can make a challenging puzzle with bad cluing.

Burma Shave 9:12 AM  

FSHARP

That MASHER’S KNAVERY is ANATOMIC bomb, HEGOTGAME.
He’ll say,”HEYLOVER , you’re NEXT”, with no qualm, “Let’s GOBANG.”

KAREN ANGELA TREPAN

rondo 10:00 AM  

@teedMN – made the same FlashbAck mistake and also thought about “heft” and “buyin”, but decided to check the acrosses first and somehow remembered HEGOTGAME, which really made that NW all a headscratcher. But I had troubles everywhere else and this became a big fat DNF, by JOVE. I too resorted to the google.

There’s a bunch of five letter Allens in Hollywood, Woody, Steve, Byron, Nancy, but the yeah baby today is KAREN. But not discounting LAURYN Hill.

Did not like the SHOPVAC clue. I’m no woodworker yet use a SHOPVAC often enough. And I thought MAGNETOS were more similar in function to the coil and distributor rather than the alternator?

Well now I’ve got DYSPEPSIA after the DNF. This puz tossed me CURVE; ENVY those who finish it.

spacecraft 11:53 AM  

DNF. Fatal error was GOmoku, the only name I know that game by. It is a poor cousin, a la checkers : chess, of Go, which is a marvelous, fascinating game. You folks out there who think you're smart, try it.

This blocked me from the east almost entirely. I had down AVERAGING and SETABLAZE along with those SE down sixes, but could make no sense of the rest. Never heard of GOBANG. And especially starting with the same two letters, I was locked in. Didn't know anything in the NE. Could have guessed for five years and never thought of KNEEHOLE for a desk feature. A hole is something that's NOT there, not a "feature."

I will trust that somewhere among the famous LAURYNs there's a DOD. @rondo will no doubt enlighten. So, I played the wrong ball, a la Thursday's backward CIRUA, and thus forfeit the hole. No score.

Torb 1:26 PM  

Totally murdered. Big DNF

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Had f sharp and flashbackck which gave me heft and set me reeling Then tried F major which seems better answer to question but not sure if thats a key. Hardest puzzle I've ever done.

Sailor 1:53 PM  

Yikes. My bruised ego is somewhat soothed by seeing how many other commenters found this one really tough. I don’t have all day to wrestle with it, so I’m sorry to say I googled a couple of times just to get it over with.

I thought it was creative, sometimes entertaining, and mostly fair; something to challenge everyone. I was tickled by FACEPLANT, SHOPVAC, AVERAGING, MAGNETO. Unlike some others, I thought EROSIONAL was fair (the Grand Canyon, e.g., is an erosional feature). Never heard of GOBANG, LAURYNHILL (sorry) or the 1942 Mickey Rooney film, which I gather was very popular during WWII, but which has not, as far as I am aware, come to be considered a classic, so in my mind that’s just really obscure trivia.

I call foul, however, on JOCKO. Common name for a chimp? I know of J. Fred Muggs, and Cheeta from the Tarzan movies, but have never heard of a Jocko. A check of Wikipedia’s "List of Individual Primates" turns up not a single Jocko, whether chimp, orangutan or gorilla. So that’s a swing and a miss in my scorebook.

rain forest 4:19 PM  

Challenging? More like brutal. I'm very proud to say that I stuck with this for like forever, and actually finished with only one write-over (sLOP before GLOP) which actually help me get DYSPEPSIA. Never heard of the two games and just a flat out guess gave me SLAPJACK and JOCKO (agree this is weird), and hence KAVA, something else I never heard of.

It was slow going pretty well everywhere for me, but that whole LUGAR/GAOLERS/JOVE areas was the toughest. I just don't know Senators, past or present, except for Bernie. Anyway, you just go with what seems to make the most sense. Nice to have a puzzle with PITH.

Sailor 4:34 PM  

@rain forest, thanks for your note yesterday. This sailor is strictly an amateur, but I'll claim the moniker anyhow. No offense meant to those who are pros. :-)

leftcoastTAM 4:53 PM  

Felt on first pass this would likely be a bear.

Moving through the East and the SE first renewed my confidence. Liked getting the long ones down there without much trouble, particularly EROSIONAL and DYSPEPSIA.

Then to the West. Lots of trouble. JOCKO? SLAPJACK? LAURYN?

Finally the NW. AMENHOTEP? TREPAN? HEGOTGAME? Crosses didn't help.

I was on the bear's MENU today, and it finished me.



Diana,LIW 5:14 PM  

Finished this in under ten minutes while making my morning coffee. Just right in my wheelhouse.

Then I wrote a novel before noon.

Right. I couldn't even find a towel to throw in after my first hour of playing with this. However, I was proud of getting:

AROSE
RENEW
NOSALE
SAN
ANGELA
AVERAGING
EROSIONAL
KNEAD
SWEEPERS
ETON (just seemed like something Andy would do)
ANATOMIC
CAPRI
STI
PTS
RPI

Then let the cheating begin.

Still had an error - cASHERS (advance men) and cAGNETOS. I have made it a point of pride to never look under the hood of my car. I drive by faith alone.

At least Rex didn't call it EZ. And he didn't dis the pangram.

BTW, Bill Butler took 78 minutes. Maybe I could have gotten it in 78 days.

Nah...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Of course I had flashback at 1a originally.

kathy of the tower 12:29 AM  

I just gave up, I had ANGELA and SAN, and tried Nefertiti and flashback and that was it. I rarely if ever quit, but I could see this just wasn't going to be any fun with all the cheating I would have to do. I hang my head in defeat.

Nightowl 6:11 AM  

Googled and solved and googled and solved, etc. Played a lot of SlapJack as a kid. Loved Nefertitti, so got Amenhotep, and loved Law. Of Ar.so got Aqaba, finally. End of June, found this in my stack of papers to recycle!! Relief knowing others had trouble. I am not up on Spike Lee or LLCoolJ, tho I know who they are. I thought FSharp was just dumb; I am a retired piano teacher.

Nightowl 6:19 AM  

Just wrote a comment; then lost it in an effort to login.
I did this puzzle now, 6/20/after getting it in early June.
Took several hours of google/solve, erase, think, google/solve, erase, think.But I did it! Amenhotep, Aqaba are familiar, as is Slapjack. Spike Lee, LlCoolJ not so much. Did not like Fsharp--I am a retired piano teacher. Grading on a curve was familiar, although I did not employ that system. Relief to find that others had trouble. I enjoyed the parts I was able to solve w/o help!!

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Anonymous 6:03 PM  

I want to thank Dr.Agbazara for his job in my family, this is man who left me and the kids for another woman without any good reasons, i was pain and confuse,till one day when i was browsing through the internet with my computer then i saw Dr.Agbazara contact, then i contaced him and he help me cast a reunion spell, since I then the situation has changed, everything is moving well, my husband who left me is now back to his family. reach DR.AGBAZARA TEMPLE via email if you have any relationship problem at:

( agbazara@gmail.com )
OR whatsapp or call him on +2348104102662

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