Port in Lower Saxony / SAT 4-2-16 / Bastille prisoner 1784-89 / Service branch disbanded in 1978 briefly / Mattie Silver's love in fiction

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Constructor: Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Easy (I think, but I did it in the Marriott bar, semi-out-loud, and my friend Erin kept giving away answers so maybe it's harder, I don't know)


Word of the Day: GEWGAW (1D: Showy trinket) —



and gewgaw and googaw (ˈgigɔ and ˈgugɔ)
n. a gadget; a bauble. What do you do with these gewgaws? Hang them on a tree? (some online dictionary I have now lost)
• • •

Hello from the Starbucks in Stamford, CT. I have one hour to get this thing posted, so ... here we go. I'm here with my wife and my friends Lena and Brayden. We all sort of did this last night to various levels of completion. I enjoyed it, but I don't remember it the way I remember a puzzle I solve under normal conditions (i.e. alone), because people were arguing and joking about only certain clues / answers, so those are the ones I'm going to talk about. I tried to put in BAUBLE at 1D: Showy trinket, but my friend Erin bluntly just said "It's not BAUBLE," so I said GOOGAW, and she said "Yes," but we clearly had different ideas of how you spell that word, because mine went into the grid with two Os. I was happy to confirm that this spelling exists, even if it is a kind of tertiary variant (now know as "tertvar"). People were also dwelling a lot on GAP-TOOTHED, which was more obvious to others than it was to me, despite my knowing precisely who Michael Strahan is, in both his football and morning TV contexts.

I am torn between loving and side-eyeing BUSHSR. I think I love it. It is roughly colloquially equivalent to "41." I once referred to Obama as "44" and got blank stares from my D.C.-area-living companion. "I'm mad about OMEGAS," says Lena. Awkwardly phrased. "Foreign writing!?" "I think the whole thing is awkward." I actually had No Idea what a non-capital Omega looked like. I know the upside-down horseshoe. I think DEARTH VADER would be a good theme answer. Not sure for what theme. I guess nothing really excited me about this, but it was easy and kind of fun to solve. Téa LEONI is almost a random pope, LEO the NI ... nth? Many of the ladies at the bar last night know her as the person who married their imaginary boyfriend, David Duchovny. We are now having a spirited HOORAHS v. HOORAYS discussion (I definitely went with the latter first). Somehow the discussion of EMIRITI has led to me wondering if nuns go to school and if so are they ALUMNUNS. My wife is pretty sure nuns do, in fact, go to school. I think TROOPSHIP is the feeling of amity among people in a troop. Also, I just typoed TROOPSHIT, so there's probably a theme in there somewhere. Now we are all trying to say TROOPSHIP three times fast and failing. Mostly laughing. I looked over my friend Elizabeth's shoulder as she was solving last night, and at 35D: Where Arithmancy is an elective she had the last four letters in place but opted not for FINE ARTS. That is a first-rate wrong answer.

I think we're done here. Oh, we're SOREAT SOREAT, which, I mean, look at it. It doesn't want to be an answer. It's sad at how it looks. Like a dog w/ a cone around its neck. So-Ree-At. Frown face. Here's what Lena likes: the clue on TANLINES (21D: Wristwatches may make them) and she just likes PYLONS as a word.  "It's not fair to just like the word PYLONS. It's just a personal issue that I have." I actually understand this.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Vincent Lima 8:50 AM  

I'll confirm that it was easy. I solved it in 1/3 of my average time, according to the app.

JayWalker 8:51 AM  

You choose to comment on "Hoohah" but not "skiresorts" ????? I've never ever heard of this word. Or words?
You baffle me more and more these days. This is the Saturday puzzle - supposedly the most difficult puzzle of the week and you sluff it off as if it were nothing. I'm beginning to truly resent that attitude.
Coupled with your constant nagging and hostile quibbling, I am beginning to feel you need a long vacation. I know I shouldn't but I am beginning to take it quite personally - as if I have no business doing these puzzles because I am not on your plane of existence and knowledge. You've taken all the fun out of this - for me. Others seem to like it. It just makes me equal parts angry and sad.

Lobster11 8:52 AM  

I don't know what OFL put in his coffee this morning, but I'd sure like some. Rex, are you sure you didn't write this at the bar last night?

I thought this was crazy-easy for a Saturday. I solve on paper and don't time myself, but I'm sure this must've broken my Saturday record by a long shot. I usually can't even finish Saturdays without at least a little cheating, but this thing just solved itself. I'm sure some folks will complain that it was too easy, but personally I'm happy to have an occasional ego-booster.

Jamie C 8:55 AM  

Sweet CAROLINE this was a fun easy Saturday! A few errors that I'd like to think were intentional misdirects: OBAMA/OHARA, DESIRE/DEARTH, LENS/GENE, etc. Oh, and how I miss our erstwhile PEDANT Grammar Nazi. I really liked them.

Z 8:56 AM  

Is there such a thing as Stream of Unconsciousness blogging? Asking for a friend.

¾ths easy, but the SE gave me a fight right to after the end, when I finally resorted SKIRE SORTS. D'Oh. With Joan JETT in the puzzle one would think GUITAR SOLO woulda been easier to see. Thinking llamas could be sacred didn't help, either. All in all, a fine Saturday. PPP coming soon (or much later since our moderator is busy competing today).

Teedmn 8:57 AM  

When there are three PPPs (thanks @Z for the apt appellation) in the first five clues on a Saturday, I am filled with trepidation. So I jumped over to the NE and put in MOAT, read 11D and took out MOAT, re-thought the meaning of "home" in 11D and away I went.

I had great fun figuring out that the "want" of 55A was not a DEsire. It helped that I had RED LETTER anchoring the other end of 55A so was never tempted by that rabbit hole. And CAULK went right in. My husband and I have become DIY pros as we refinish our basement so my Dad can move out of my sewing room.

I figured "41" had to be referring to Dubya's dad but had trouble seeing it even with _ _ _ HS_ in place. BAnS at 32D gave me the BUSH SR. Of course BAnS made me scratch my head over Scarlett O'HAnA but I sorted that out pretty quickly. So back to that scary NW but now armed with TROOP SHIP, HOORAHS, DE SADE, ANISE and WACS. A walk in the park, right? 9D = EssEN and 1D = GEeGAW made WHOLE FOODS hard to get, along with my complete ignorance of Edith Wharton's works. And have never heard of Michael Strahan, let alone knew he had skipped his orthodontist appointments. But I OFFS this puzzle so I can't be SORE AT DP and BW.

Thanks for the fun write up, @Rex. Group-solving becomes you!

Z 9:14 AM  

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Products, and Proper Nouns as a % of answers. If it gets to 33% someone is likely to complain about the puzzle being unfair

18/70, 26%
EMDEN crossing ETHAN FROME and RYAN crossing HOGWARTS are a little perilous. CAROLINE is common enough that LEONI crossing seems barely noteworthy. A couple of potential naticks, but overall I think this is a very fair Saturday.

GAP TOOTHED (as clued - would a Chaucer clue be better?)
Being EVEL

HARE (as clued)

Andrew Gordon 9:15 AM  

Alas, went with GEWGAd --> DIFFERENT
I had doodad on my mind I suppose. Other than that it was breezy.

Maruchka 9:17 AM  

@Rex must be out shmoozing, cuz I don't see any other comments. Have a fun weekend, one and all!

Easy, and I may love it, too. Usually not crazy about all those proper nouns, but it came home fairly smooth, avec SAVOIR faire. Merci, Mssrs. P. et B.

Fav of the day - GAP TOOTHED. Late, great film maker Les Blank's "Gap Toothed Women" is a treat. Here's a clip:

NCA President 9:18 AM  

I winced a bit at GAPTOOTHED. It's like pointing out someone's lazy eye, or a mole on their face with hair growing out of it, or a woman's mustache...it's just not done, unless you're in middle school maybe. See: buck toothed.

I didn't know that WHOLEFOODS competed with Trader Joe's. They are similar, I guess, in that their stuff is more expensive than it needs to be, but they aren't really competitors. I go to Whole Foods for some things...mostly soaps, vitamins, and their food bar...and Trader Joe's for other things like kale chips, cookie butter, chocolate chip scones, etc. I definitely don't grocery shop there since it's crazy expensive and not much different than what Kroger or Publix has. But either way, I don't often think, "Should I go to Whole Foods or TJ's today?" Neither place has decent tortillas. I go to Costco for those.

Speaking of weird parsing, I do like SKIRE SORTS.

And GEWGAW...ugh.

Maruchka 9:27 AM  

Afterthought - Drunken solvers night at the bar? Hmm - a niche video.. just sayin'..

Mohair Sam 9:31 AM  

Fine write-up under difficult circumstances. Recommend a Hair of the Dog this morning Rex.

Easiest Saturday in memory - no Wite-out, no write-overs. Finished before Lady Mohair woke up, had to make her breakfast as penance. GAPTOOTHED a gimme for the NY Giant I loved to hate for a decade. ONE and OFFS gimmes from that, WHOLEFOODS and ETHANFROME off those and on and on until the thing was quickly done.

@Rex - BUSHSR is regularly referred to as BUSH 41. but until one of his daughters gets the job Obama will rarely be referred to as 44. Clue for CAROLINE might have been too easy for a even Monday puzzle, that song will soon be in the dictionary under ubiquitous. I've always thought EPITHET had a negative connotation - is it just me? GEWGAW the only new-to-me word this morning, but the crosses were easy - just like the puzzle.

No complaints - clean puzzle, little -ese, and good old Joanie JETT. Just seemed way too easy for the day, maybe they just hit my wheelhouse.

Hartley70 9:46 AM  

It's good to see Rex getting down and silly. It was a fun read this morning. Have at it, you crazy guy!

I'm a GEeGAW person and I like them "real", thank you very much. I tried bauble first too. The G gave me GAPTOOTH even though I don't watch the show. His look is distinctive. I cruised around until I got to the SE where I got stuck until I got GUITARSOLO just off the S. I was pretty pleased with myself for that. HOORAH me!

This was an easier Saturday but still a challenge, and I had almost as much fun as Rex and his friends. Thanks!

Alicia Stetson 10:01 AM  

@JayWalker I certainly hope your post was a joke, but I fear it was not. "Never heard of" SKI RESORTS? Think before you postman.

Nancy 10:11 AM  

GAP TOOTHED came in from the crosses, but I smiled when I saw it. I don't know Michael Strahan from the TV show (doesn't it go on at some really ungodly early hour of the morning?), but as a passionate football Giants fan, I know Strahan well from his brilliant career on dee-fense. That GAP was ginormous whenever he smiled. He smiled a lot.

I was assigned ETHAN FROME in one English class or other and I absolutely hated it. But from somewhere deep in my foggy memory, I did remember the name "Mattie Silver."

If you're still hanging around somewhere, @Grammar Nazi, take a look at the answer to 41A.

From the Did I Cheat? Dept. I was stuck in the SE, and I thought that there were probably many different kinds of gondolas (65A) than the ones in Venice. So I looked up "gondola" in my handy-dandy Webster's and saw that they also can be found in SKI RESORTS. That made it possible to break open the SE. I'm calling this a "finish" anyway. Would you? Please be kind.

Nancy 10:21 AM  

@Teedmn -- I also had DEsire before DEARTH, and it was also RED LETTER that sorted it out for me. Re: BARS vs BANS: I did what I always do; I wrote in BA-S. I have learned the hard way that the two words are virtually interchangeable -- especially as clued in crossword puzzles.

@Hartley -- Both GEWGAWS and baubles also popped into my mind as the two possibilities. So I looked to see which would be better for all the crosses, before writing anything down. But I can see that someone like you, who only likes the "real stuff," wouldn't know a GEeGAW from a GEWGAW.

gzodik 10:26 AM  

Fun and easy for a Saturday.

On saying TROOPSHIP three times fast -- Lewis Carroll had the secret for tongue twisters: take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves (a pun on "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves")

Sonia S 10:31 AM  

You need to do that more often. These things are fun and fun is good, as the Dr. said.

I solved it fairly quickly and I'm still a sucky newb, so I can confirm easy.

I stared at the "setting" SKIRES OR TS forever before it would English. And I had GUITARSONG for an embarrassingly long time.

Alex 10:32 AM  

I am gloating because the very FIRST answer I put in was Ethan Frome, and I have only read the book once. I had a hunch and, darned if I wasn't right! Ha!
I could tell it was easy because I solved it WITHOUT ANY CHEATING which is extremely rare for me on a Saturday. So it was lots of fun for me.
I am actually at a ski resort with not one but two gondolas, but that still took me some time. As I was thinking of the ones in Venice and wondering what kind of settings they could possibly have.
Anyway, I enjoyed this.

Sonia S 10:37 AM  

@Jaywalker ... why on earth not take a break from reading it, then? If it brings you no joy ... do something else with your time. Heck, you can even use the published grid to cheat and look up the answers without reading the text.

I'm baffled at the entitlement people assume when talking about free content that someone else puts hours into without compensation. If Rex wants to do the whole blog as limericks composed entirely of profanity and rhyming slang, it's his own business.


Sir Hillary 10:42 AM  

Awesome buzzpost by @Rex!

Typical DP/BW Saturday quality. Favorite entry: REDLETTER. Favorite clue: the one for PORE.

Inside baseball dept.: If this grid were used for yesterday's weekly Gaffney meta, my answer would be PHONIC BATHMATS.

I'm sure we have more than one GAPTOOTHED PEDANT hanging around here.

Charles Flaster 10:44 AM  

Really enjoyed this medium romp.
First pass only yielded ETHAN FROME but that was enough until I forced two mistakes on the lower right. Had err for quite a while until SOP popped in. Then " arrows" took a long time until PYLONS seeped in.
Other write overs were ALTERATION for ALTERATing , DEARTH for DEsire, and GENE for lENs.
So I feel I should have had an easier time and thought it would be DNF until I reasoned OCELOT. Liked cluing for SORE AT, POOH POOH, and PEDANT (yay).
As far as GAP TOOTHED-- I am reminded of the " space in your teeth" scene in a classic movie --Flamingo Kid. Anyone else??
Thanks DP and BW.

the redanman 10:47 AM  

Medium Sat. And to yesterday - WSJ is the consistently best daily puzzle. NYT 'harder' at tunes, but not better.

Aketi 11:00 AM  

@NCAPresident, being GAP TOOTHED is a sign of beauty in some parts of Africa, it's actually caused When the frenum under the upper lip attaches too tightly at the gum line.

Trombone Tom 11:08 AM  

Definitely on the easy side for me (i.e. for a Saturday). SKIRE SORTS, Ha! I started with the downs and got hung up at the top with HurRAHS and GEeGAW, but sorted that out quickly with ETHAN FROME and WHOLEFOODS. Liked the clue for 60A, metal staple. Misleading to me, as I was still in DIY mode from 51D and visualizing a staple gun. HOP was easy as I went to many of those in the 50's.

Alby 11:10 AM  

Had a heckuva time with yesterday's, so this one was welcome even though I had to brute-force a few answers. Note to self: When solving at bedtime, linguistics go out the window and terms like SKIRE SORTS become possible. Good luck at ACPT, everyone! This year sees me at home, saving for a wedding and generally being a responsible adult.

jae 11:12 AM  

Easy for me also except for NW mostly because (1) I had @Teedmn & Hartley 70 GEeGAW and would not give it up, (2) @NCA President WHOLE FOODS is NOT a Trader Joe's competitor...I shop at both and there only thing they have in common is that they each sell food...the price, variety, and quality differences are vast..., and (3) I tried PHaSIC (from aphasia) at first for PHONIC. The rest went much more smoothly.

A fine Sat., like it a bunch, nice one guys!

Andrew Heinegg 11:18 AM  

I too don't think of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods as competitors. However, I have no idea where your comment that TJ's prices are higher than they need to be comes from. I am continually amazed at how low the prices are at TJ's. Any time I can find the exact same item elsewhere, TJ's price is almost always lower. I have some issues with TJ's at times but, never about their prices

Mohair Sam 11:19 AM  

@NCA President - Disagree on GAPTOOTHED as a pejorative. Lancome cosmetics picked Isabella Rossallini's GAPTOOTHED face as its icon for 14 years, the word can't be all bad. Actually the look can be distinctive (@Hartley@70's word) - think Letterman and Lauren Hutton.

Mike D 11:35 AM  

I wonder if @JayWalker is a millennial? Certainly appears that way...

Warren Howie Hughes 11:37 AM  

Leapy, I'd like to thank you FTBOMH for being the only person in WP to give me an honorable mention in yesterdays April 1st offering, unless of course, DA instructed her Emus to delete all comments that my old buds had submitted wishing me a HB? The Barred of Quincy is forever touched by your steadfast loyalty

Wm. C. 11:48 AM  

All Boston Red Sox fans will be familiar with the song "Sweet Caroline," since the Fenway Park organist always plays it in the middle of the eighth inning of every game.

As I recall, one evening about 15 years ago, the PA announcer mentioned to the booth crew that it was his daughter Caroline's birthday, so the Park organist started playing it -- to the crowd's immediate delight, as they heartily joined in with the lyrics. The next night the crowd-- many having heard of the previous night's songfest -- started singing spontaneously mid-eighth, so the organist joined it and a tradition was born.

This has become quite the Boston tradition, with Neil Diamond himself leading the Fenway crowd on two occasions-- the second one right after the Boston bombing. Several other parks -- including that of the arch-rival Yankees -- did the same after the bombings to show solidarity.

AliasZ 11:58 AM  

Lovely puzzle today by Lars G. Doubleday, I enjoyed every minute of it. It had plenty of SAVOIR-faire, many interlocking geegaws, and quite a few clever P&A (parts and accessories), all of which worked well together to make a WHOLE. FOODS for thought:

-- I thought HIBACHI was a Japanese electronics giant.
-- If you see a cockroach, STEP ON IT. There are plenty of them in NYC.
-- I love the pointillist paintings of Georges SOREAT.
-- The archetypal GAP TOOTHED smile (snarl) belongs to Terry-Thomas (1911-1990).
-- The best ant is a zapPED ANT.

I couldn't not post this GUITAR SOLO by Narciso Yepes (1927-1997), playing the heart-warming "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909). Come ENJOIN me for this enjoyable performance. If it doesn't move you to tears or a few silent HOORAHS, check your pulse -- or let someone else check it for you. I only wish the guy behind señor Yepes stopped keeping beat with his foot.

Have ANISE weekend.

John V 11:59 AM  

Happy to finish perfect. My ego says challenging and I'm sticking with that.

Z 12:02 PM  

@maruchka's GAP TOOTHED Women. Uh, interesting. @NCA President - People often comment on my height, I'm rarely insulted by it. Here's Strahan on the subject.

@JayWalker - Why so bitter? Your reaction is a little like being upset with Stephen Curry because he can sink so many threes or Yo-Yo Ma for being better at playing cello than us. Also, remember that the ratings are relative to the day of the week, so an "easy" Saturday puzzle is still much more difficult than a "challenging" Monday. Personally, I'm much better at Fridays and Saturdays than I used to be, but I'm nowhere near as adept as Rex, let alone the creme de la creme.

@Mohair Sam - What does it say about us (because I, too, think of it as primarily pejorative) that EPITHET's primary definition is, "an adjective expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person?"

Old timer 12:04 PM  

ski resort was my first thought for 65A, after I gave up on Venice. I guess it was Easy for a Sat because no write overs. I wondered if some forgot Metz is in France (since 1919). Where I live Whole Foods and Trader joes are patronized by the same sorts of people so that went right in.

I'm at a nice hotel that has no computer for now and it's slow to post on an iPhone so I'll sign off. I thought the puzzle was just right,

Jean 12:06 PM  

Easier than usual for me too, but I have no clue what "skiresorts" are. Or is.And I had "emerita," not noticing the clue was plural, so I had "skaresorts." Just as mystifying. Enlighten me, anyone?

Lewis 12:19 PM  

@jamiec -- I saw what you did in your last sentence!
@rex -- That writeup was lots of fun. Hang out with these people more.
@loren -- I assume you're in training, going over old crosswords in preparation. In my head, this is what I want to see you doing.

If you are surrounded by people who discount you, can you say you're in the midst of a POOH-POOH platter?

Much fun with a double-o mini theme (6), terrific cluing (WAH, UMP, PORE, GUITARSOLO, TANGINESS), and terrific answers (POOH-POOH, SUSS, STEPONIT, ENJOIN, TANGINESS, PEDANT, and PYLONS). I had "full" for TOTO, and HOORAy for HOORAH early on. The East fell first, the west a touch more crunchy. Never heard of this type of GONDOLA, and since I'm going to Venice in July, I'm focused on the other. WHOLE FOODS was a gimme for me, and I was thinking it would be gimme for everyone, but now that I think about that a little more, is it?

A Saturday with crunch and spark; what a great weekend springboard!

Marlo 12:21 PM  

Rex should group solve and group blog more often--funny write up that made me feel like I was there and part of the party.

Hand up for BAUBLE and for David Duchovny being the imaginary boyfriend of my twenties. Michael Strahan is a current crush of mine, not just because he, like me, is GAPTOOTHED.

Overall a fun, easy Saturday for a girl who used to skip the Saturday puzzle altogether because, like Jay Parker, I ended up feeling dispirited because I couldn't make headway without lots of Auntie Google help while when everyone else here seemed to think it was a breeze. But I hung in there and now really enjoy the time spent noodling over the later-in-the-week puzzles. Keep solving Jay Parker!

Masked and Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@009: yep. I'd say "Easy" for a SatPuz. NW area was slightly more feisty. Not sure which constructioneer to blame, for that. But -- I know to thank both of em, for the fun.

GEWGAW. har.

Lookin forward to see in what number @009 converts to, after the tourney. His posted Universe position seems to resist any downward movements, tho. Kinda like mold stains from repeatedly floodin basements. or somesuch.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Hartley70 12:29 PM  

I got a happy feeling thinking about cookie butter, although you probably meant batter. Sigh.

Lauren Hutton was perhaps the first Super Model and made a fortune from her GAPTOOTH smile. She graced the covers of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue for more than a decade. That GAPTOOTH smile can be money in the bank!

Jyqm 12:37 PM  

@JayWalker -- take a deep breath, man! I know it can occasionally be maddening to parse multiple-word answers in crosswords, and they may not be your favorite vacation destination, but I am certain you are indeed familiar with the concept of SKI RESORTS. :)

Evan Jordan 12:41 PM  

Maybe I'm getting trolled here, but just in case: to those confused by SKIRESORTS, it's "SKI RESORTS". It is kind of hard to parse. I couldn't see it with two letters missing.

puzzle hoarder 12:49 PM  

Glad to hear people discussing the puzzles' difficulty or lack thereof. The subjectivity of individual ratings is what piqued my interest in an objective system of rating puzzles. I empathize with the complaint about the offhand dismissal of puzzles that I've had to work for and how that can dampen your enjoyment of the blog.
I did this one last night when I was tired. I repeatedly misread the 39D clue as "corny" until the bitter end. PAL was the last thing to go in. Forever I was thinking PAP? It took a groggy 34 minutes and the puzzle had a difficulty rating of 38.78 Friday's puzzle took only 23 minutes but it had about a 55 rating. The smaller the number the harder the puzzle. It will take a while but eventually I'll developed a reliable average for each day of the week.

DigitalDan 12:52 PM  

Hands up for "Geegaw."

Rex is much happier when among friends.

adicecream 12:57 PM  

Easy for a Saturday even though I never heard of Michael, gap toothed or not. And Whole Foods vs Trader Joe is real here in Maryland, though I don't go to either since I don't recognize most of the food they sell.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Ski resort (gondola is a ski lift) though skire sort works I guess...

gpo 1:23 PM  

This was pretty easy and fun.

Here's how stupid I was, though. I misread the word "patio" in the clue, and actually spent a minute or so thinking "where in the world do they put hibachis on pianos? Sound dangerous."


Carola 1:37 PM  

Not easy for me at all, possibly due to brain-eroding effects of yesterday's all-day air travel. I loved getting this one all figured out. Like @Teedmn, I found my entry at the barrier: MOAT and worked around clockwise to that extra tough NW. So much to SAVO(I)R: STEP ON IT, OCELOT, I HEAR YOU, even the prosaic BATH MATS and PYLONS.

In the "don't erase too soon" department: GETS TO over WAH (GW combo judged impossible); ...SHIP (no patio item could end in I); PANDA (can't even remember any more why I rejected it - what else could it be?)

TJs a competitor with WHOLE FOODS? Not in this town. TJs is for saving money, WF for squandering (almost).

@chefwen - Back home, and we wake up to....snow squalls.

Dick Swart 1:46 PM  

Hmmmmm ... 'geegaw' not the correct spelling. 'Hurrah' not the correct spelling.

Whole Foods a competitor to TJ's? I don't think so.

Loud and clear from the bottom up, but NW threw me even with Ethan Frome.

Not a red letter day.

Ellen 1:48 PM  

Same here. (Paper and ink, though I do time myself, and I think this was my second-best Saturday time ever.)

Rich Proulx 1:49 PM  

I echo Harley70 - loved the collective bar commentary! And its SKI RESORTS.

Ellen 1:51 PM  

SKI RESORTS are resorts where you ski. I haven't been to one since I was a toddler, but those little enclosed lift cars are apparently called gondolas even though no canals are involved. :)

Fred Romagnolo 1:53 PM  

I also winced at GAPTOOTHED; seems impolite. As to ALTERATION, that's what turns bulls into oxen, which is highlighted in today's article on 1776 vs Hamilton, which coincidentally mentions George Hamilton obliquely - he stars in today's 57 across film. RED LETTER prevents a pun at ALTaRATION. Since HOGWARTS and OHARA are reminiscent of great movie-score composers, I HEAR YOU is appropriately intermixed there. Although French erudition is a vagueish clue, I thought SAVOIR fair. (heh heh)

Chaos344 2:16 PM  

@Jay Walker: WTF are you talking about dude? You need to take a chill pill. Don't you check your answers against the solution? If HOOHAH is in your completed
grid, what in God's name do you have for 20A? It's SKI RESORTS Jay! The gondolas carry you up to the top of the ski run. If you don't know how to parse an answer, you'd better stick to the crosswords in TV Guide. Just Sayin!

da kine 2:25 PM  

I finished in Wednesday time but thought it was quite enjoyable. Also, Rex was obviously drunk when he wrote this up, so give him a break.

Martín Abresch 2:32 PM  

Beautiful grid, but I didn't feel challenged. Finished with a time slightly faster than my average Tuesday time.

Put in WHOLE FOODS without crosses. That gave me GEWGAW >> GAP-TOOTHED >> ATHENA >> PHONIC >> TALES >> ONE >> OFFS. I looked up, saw ETHAN FROME, and, hey, I'd just filled in a whole corner.

The corner is lively and clean. GAP-TOOTHED above ETHAN FROME above WHOLE FOODS with GEWGAW and ATHENA crossing. Great stuff.

My speedy solvin continued elsewhere. Several long answers fell without crosses: CAROLINE, EDUCATED, HOGWARTS. Others fell with the help of a single cross: STEP ON IT, I HEAR YOU. I needed two crosses for POOH POOHS and RED LETTER. I don't think that I've ever filled in so many long answers so quickly.

Again, lots of fun answers, both long and short, and a very clean grid. I enjoyed the shorter answers in the SE corner: PESTO, SAVOIR, OCELOT, and PYLONS.

Mark 3:05 PM  

Ski resorts.

Gregory Schmidt 3:06 PM  

EMDEN crossing FROME, boo.

Chaos344 3:17 PM  

I really liked this puzzle, although it was over far too quickly. I like to get at least 30 minutes out of a Saturday. GAPTOOTHED went right in, no letters required. For all you squeamish PC types, get over it. Lots of very famous people have diastema. To name a few other than Mr. Strahan, we have Joan Severance and the famous English comedian Terry Thomas. Those people all have the financial wherewithal to correct the condition if they chose to, but opted out. If they're not worried about it, you shouldn't be either!

@Jamie C: Sorry to disagree with you, but I loved the clue for PEDANT at 40@. When it comes to Grammar Nazis, I fall in line with LMS and those who can do without them. In the realm of the blogosphere where politics are discussed, GN's always default to grammar and spelling corrections when they have no ability to refute the adversarial poster's position. Said default often exposes the GN's nescience of the subject matter.

@Z: Astute PPP analysis as always. Can't wait until Tuesday night, JV and the boys of summer. GO TIGERS!

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

Hooray a red letter day for me. I Googled a bit but almost had it all. Wahoo!

GILL I. 3:59 PM  

Just finished this. Loved it. I'm going to go sit at a bar someplace and ask the person next to me if (he) would ever guess POOHPOOH was a discount. I would ENJOIN him to tell me otherwise.
SKI RESORT. Dang, I'm more of the SEA kinda person. I got GEWGAW and I really thought it was OBAMA telling Trump he's no (er) gentleman.
Speaking of Trader Joe's. Just today I was at BevMo picking up some vino for our soiree tonight and the Mgr. noticed my TJ's wine bag. He very seriously told me that TJ's was closing all stores nationwide. My jaw dropped and I'm pretty sure I yelled WHERE THE HELL AM I GONNA BUY MY CHEESE! I then had to go to World Market and I told the clerk the same thing. She wailed.....I started up again. Where, oh where will we get our cheese?
SNOPES says it was one of the best April Fools. On APRIL 2?

Adam Sidney 4:59 PM  

Ski resorts. Makes sense.

michael 5:27 PM  

Not too hard for a Saturday. For once I finished without a mistake. Some stumbles along the way (1) thinking Metz was in Germany; (2) refusing to accept that "epithet" could be a synonym for nickname; (3) thinking that the gondola clue had something to with songs (ignoring the word "settings"); (4) wondering what a "skire sort" was before seeing "ski resort;" (5) not being sure exactly what "enjoin" means; (6) wondering what went with "Bush" and whether whatever if was went before or after "Bush."

Tom Rowe 6:56 PM  

OK, this is the second time this has shown up in a NYTimes puzzle. Check the dictionary. The plural of "no" is "noes." "Nos" refers to numbers. I have to believe "Some RSVPs" refers to plural of no, not to a number. Someone should clue Will Shortz in.

LindaPRmaven 7:46 PM  

Medium for me but liked a lot of the cluing especially those for SKIRESORTS, BUSHSR, GUITARSOLO and EVEL. However, GAPTOOTHED I found a cheap shot, not to mention lacking in imagination. And, no way is WHOLEFOODS a competitor of Trader Joe's. I shop in both regularly and they have distinctly different profiles. Did this bother anyone else?

Chuck McGregor 9:33 PM  

Only 13 Comments as I write 12 hours after the last.

Several write-overs first entered as FIREPIT, rahRAHS, DEsire, arrOws. GETSat, and had cheat for the G-A-P until realized it was a feature not a role (like co-host). So yay for me for a Saturday. It seemed a pretty easy week or I'm getting better at this...Nah, just an easer week.

I'm sure others have commented in the interim about many things so I won't comment further on those.

63a I got the music reference right off reading the clue and the first thought was something about a wall of Marshall amplifiers stacked behind the performers:

Father of Loud

This is what they call Jim Marshall who came up with the legendary amplifiers that bear his name.

Most of the amplifiers seen in such pictures are dummy cabinets, stacked for "show." Only a few actually work.


Masked and Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Looks like @009 is sitting at around #58, after 6 ACPTPuzs. Wishin him the very best, makin up lots of ground on that Sunday-sized 7th one. At any rate, he's doin about a jillion times better than M&A could ever muster. He's a feisty fast draw. Looks like PB1's puz #5 was unkind to him, today.


Z 11:27 PM  

It looks to me like the Cruciverbal Aviary has a new member. The natural Scarlet Tanager, Pewit, and the unnatural Dook have been joined by the newest Cruciverbal species, the SKIRE SORTS. Long may they fly.

Aketi 8:01 AM  

@Rex, you must be having fun again; it's almost 8:00am. I hope today's blog is based on another group solve maybe over breakfast and Bloddy Marys.

@machurka, interesting clip on GAP TOOTHED Women. I could literally see the attachment of the thick frenum on some of the women. Since it is also associated with a tight lingual frenulum, I could also hear that several of the women were also TONGUE-TIED. Since both can cause feeding difficulties in infants thes are sometimes snipped by an ENT or lasered by a dentist from r functional, not necessarily cosmetic, reasons.

It took me a while but I did finally SUSS out today's theme.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Paper and Ink also very ez, but couldnt suss out GEWGAW after several aphabet runs. Simply not in my vocab gave up and headed here. Ted in Denver

Leapfinger 8:07 PM  

Like @Martin A, I polished off the NW first, though I started by filling in 1A. Having seen Kelly&whoever a few times, GAPTOOTHED was the first thing I noticed about Mr S...well, the second, after that he seemed to be a nice guy. GEE, is it GEWGAW? HOORAy, HOORoar, HOORAHS, so 'tis! Although the TRansports turned out to be TROOPHIPS.

POOHPOOH, after recent hooroar over the plurality of POOHS;
BUSH SR greeting: "HI, BACH I" (descendant BACHs were to follow) in the vicinity of LEON I (another progenitor somewhere, I'm sure);
The crossing of SORE_AT/DE_SADE, smart as a whip.

Point of curiosity: most EN-words seem to simply be modifying vars of the root word -- ENable, ENact, ENdear, ENcircle, ENcetera -- but ENJOIN seems to be qualitatively different from JOIN. Any thoughts on that? Some etymological link, perhaps?

I thought the vision thing was an odd choice to clue for GENE, because I'd thought that visual acuity was a more complicated trait. So I looked up some stuff and discovered that a study of the complete genomes of some 45,000 people had identified about 2 dozen GENEs linked to myopia, confirmed about a dozen previously known. Things sure have advanced since I was EDUCATED in this field. The incidental eye-opener is that the research was carried out by the international Consortium for Refractive Error And Myopia (CREAM).

Anyway, SKIRES ORT not SORT.

ANISE puzzle, over too soon.

kitshef 10:35 PM  

A very fine puzzle ... for a Wednesday. Despite throwing in cElesTial for my Kind of day initially, just about everything went in fast fast fast. Thought I might get stuck in the SE as 46-47-48D were not coming, but once GUITARSOLO went in then OCELOT was obvious and we were done. I feel like we've had four Wednesdays in a row now difficulty-wise.

Barnswallownest 3:52 AM  

No, it's really cookie butter! And it's delicious. I like to dip pretzel sticks in it.

spacecraft 11:39 AM  

The Fearless One definitely should get out more. It mellows him, and that can't be bad.

If not for a couple of glitches, I'd have agreed with the "easy" rating. In the first ONE, I had to empty my gun of nAiLs and load up with CAULK, reconfirming what I already knew: that when something goes wrong at home...CALL somebody! Bob Vila I ain't.

Glitch #2 was mis-cheering rahRAH in the almost-always-last-to-go NW. You see, I had been conditioned for the repeat by POOHPOOH in the NE. That pesky NW was really stubborn until I SUSSed GEWGAW--which all of a sudden let GAPTOOTHED come roaring in, and so to bed.

I liked it; how could I not, with the shout-out at 52-across? Even though not a Bosox fan, Sweet CAROLINE was a flat gimme and an excellent shoehorn into this puzzle. I make it easy-medium, and today we have two Daily Damsels--and they cross! Very different, to be sure, but both LEONI and JETT get my DOD thumbs up. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:20 PM  


IHEARYOU get that PORE MLLE to say,


eastsacgirl 12:55 PM  

Whole week right in my wheelhouse. Pretty easy for a Saturday. Thought GAPTOOTHED immediately then GEeGAW which I quickly changed. Hand up that TJ's is nothing like WF's. Shop at the former often, the latter, never. SE last to fall and had the D'oh moment at SKIRESORTS even though I figured out pretty quickly had nothing to do with Venice.

In keeping with the bar scene, have fond memories of playing Sweet Caroline on the juke for everyone's BD and pretending we could sing.

Go Warriors & Sharks!

rondo 1:41 PM  

Another easy puz. Easiest week ever methinks. Must be the sweeps period to attract a wider audience. GAPTOOTHED was a gimme, but led to my only problem area by filling in HurRAHS, which kept 15a and 17a at bay for a time.

Coupla yeah babies crossing today with classic rocker Joan JETT and Madam LEONI. RYAN could’ve been Meg.Wouldn’t mind checking their TANLINES.

Speaking of which, record high 93 degrees here yesterday makes me want to get the kayak out on the St. Croix and not get TANLINES. The reality is that next week will be highs in the 50s.

. . . Sweet CAROLINE, baa baa baa, good times never felt so good, so good, so good, so good . . .

We even have @spacy in the puz. Where’s rondo?

Fun easy Sat-puz, IMHO. When ONE fixes up his HOORAHS.

rain forest 2:01 PM  

I have to say that I enjoyed @Rex's junior high school write-up much more than his normal cranky one. Sounds (reads?) like he and his friends were having a pretty good time, which, after all, should be the case.

Easy but engaging puzzle today. I might be the only solver to first enter ANISE, then GEWGAW. It just went like that today. The wavelength thing, I guess.

I have never shopped at WHOLE paycheque, but I do patronize TJ's when I visit the USA, and I think it is a great store. I don't think it is expensive, and I've never been disappointed with their products, and I appreciate the welcoming atmosphere in the store.

Hey, @Spacey, notice the misspelling of your name in there? Also, wondering if you red-flagged P AND A.

Dreck-free and fun puzzle.

Diana,LIW 2:33 PM  

Once again, I'm predicting an easy rating. Because I finished w/o (I think) errors. Certainly w/o help. Now I'll read Rex et. al. See ya later.


leftcoastTAM 3:30 PM  

Surprisingly easy trip with few TALES to tell. GAPTOOTHED anchored the NW and GUITARSOLO was the key to the SE.

Some head-scratchers along the way: spelling of GEWGAW, oddly clued WAH and SOP and amusingly (cutely?) clued PORE. All, needless to say, easily SUSSED out. So why do I say it? Because I like writing it all in caps for a change.

Thanks for the break Doug, Brad, and Will.

Diana,LIW 5:05 PM  

When I lived in Center City Philadelphia there were no large supermarkets nearby. I walked everywhere. And I shopped in a Mom & Pop (there were many, many) store almost every day after work. Got in the habit of choosing my dinner on the day I eat it. So I continue to almost daily shop. I enjoy it. Big super stores, small markets, TJ's - they all put a smile on my face. And when you put away only one day's worth of food after shopping, unloading isn't much of a chore.

But I love me some TJ's. I love the local murals on the walls, the "customer in training" little carts for the kids, the tasting booth, the "Sasquatch" mascot they hide in the store so kids can find it and get a treat. I love how easily you get thru the checkout line (no coupons, no special card or phone number, no special sales). A line of two people will take longer at Rite Aid than a long line at TJ's. And you get smiles instead of offers to sign up for the latest ()*&^ing discount card.

So, despite the FACT that Trader Joe's sells some of my favorite cheeses and wines at the lowest prices in town, and WHOLE FOODS is often referred to as "Whole Paycheck," WF was my first "for sure" entry.

And away I went. Off to Very Bad Answerland. Here's an example: I had people bringing back coLdS instead of TALES from their travels. Even tho I listened to Rick Steves this morning and never heard him describe any colds from his trips. Thus, Michael had something to do with a "cooth?" Hmm, that seems wrong somehow.

Had parrOT, that Peruvianally lovin' bird/animal. I'm not making this up.

Speaking of discounts, I wanted something like "price cut," but in my heart knew it was a misdirect of sorts. POOHPOOH at me if you wish.

I even had yeS before NOS. OK, I'll wait 'till you stop laughing. (Altho I would not mind seeing "BYBY" on a campaign sign or two.)

Loved "crib note" and the "little sweater." Sang "Sweet CAROLINE" with the waiting (I'm good at that) crowd at the Bloomsday start line. And said HOORAY when I didn't get TANLINES around my watch. SPF 70 to the rescue!

Armed with my trusty eraser, I eventually SUSSed out all of my EVEL ways, yielding a satisfying finish. So I'm off again to the gym, and then the store, so Mr. Waiting won't complain about a DEARTH of cookies. Haven't tried that TJ Cookie Dough Butter yet. Perhaps today? With pretzels - sounds good.

Wish y'all could see the squirrel attempting to shop at our backyard birdfeeders. Mr. Waiting's contraptions are too cleverly designed to be foiled by a rodent, but this little guy will not give up.

That's all from Lake Spobegone, where the squirrels are all above average.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Dinner

Waxy in Montreal 8:05 PM  

In Chaucer's 14th-century Canterbury TALES, the sensual wife of Bath describes herself as follows: "Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel" or "GAP-TOOTHED I was, and that became me well".

Thought Metz was in Germany so had some odd abbr. of Fraulein in 45A for far too long. Also, had the strange cross of BARBQUE and ELOQUENT before SUSSing HIBACHI and EDUCATED.

Otherwise, a pleasant May 7 walk in the park.

Longbeachlee 12:46 PM  

I think resort, in the vacation sense, is a word that has evolved. At one time it suggested an all inclusive place, like a single Club Med Resort. At least in the ski world, ski towns like Aspen and Alta, have come to be called Ski Resorts. Sun Valley and Deer Valley are pretty close to real resorts, although I think you can day-ski there without staying there.

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