Dwarf warrior in Lord of Rings / SAT 8-6-16 / Morse Toto totally / Certain weanling / Scandalous Manet painting of 1863 / Shaggy Scottish dog / Spontaneous public gathering / Red White 2005 rock album

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Constructor: David Phillips

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: NEO DADA (37D: Genre of some of Yoko Ono's art) —
Neo-Dada was a movement with audio, visual and literary manifestations that had similarities in method or intent with earlier Dada artwork. In the United States the term was popularized by Barbara Rose in the 1960s and refers primarily, although not exclusively, to work created in that and the preceding decade. There was also an international dimension to the movement, particularly in Japan and in Europe, serving as the foundation of Fluxus, Pop Art and Nouveau réalisme.  // Neo-Dada was exemplified by its use of modern materials, popular imagery, and absurdist contrast. It was a reaction to the personal emotionalism of Abstract Expressionism and, taking a lead from the practice of Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, denied traditional concepts of aesthetics (wikipedia).
• • •

Yeah, so, somebody switched the Friday and Saturday puzzles this week? Did any of you actually find this harder than yeterday's? I crushed yesterday's time by three minutes (an Eternity). In fact, I was better than my Friday average today, and right around my Saturday average yesterday, so ... Freaky Friday (Saturday). While I do love slaying a late-week themeless (and I really needed this—my times since coming back from vacation have just been Off), this one might've been a little too easy. I solved two other puzzles right before this one, so maybe I was just warm. I've never tested the "warm-up" theory before, mostly because I just conceived of the "warm-up" theory right now. Perhaps there is some merit to it. But FLASHMOB was just a silver-platter gift (1A: Spontaneous public gathering), and gifted 1-Acrosses are often harbingers of Very Easy puzzles. The only place I got any resistance today was in the NE, where who the hell knows Morse code (my most hated of clue devices) and "Stain-free" is somehow metaphorical (SINLESS) and HELEN gets a great / tough clue (18A: Paris attraction?) and why can't I ever remember DHL (today's stab at it: DSL). I also wanted the [Shoulder-to-hip belt] to be a BANDOLERO (sp?), but luckily my erstwhile medievalism / D&D-playing brought BALDRIC back to mind.

I wanted to dislike NEO-DADA ... or, actually, I *did* dislike it (feels ridiculous and mildly made-up), but it's got a reasonable-sized wikipedia entry and Ono is, in fact, listed as one of the artists associated with the genre, so ... OK. Speaking of Ono. Interesting to see crosswordese used in value-added ways tonight, with Ono ending up in a clue instead of the grid, and ELIHU getting the full-name treatment (the only treatment that makes me not cringe at seeing his name in a puzzle). I didn't use JEDI MIND TRICKS to destroy this puzzle, but I did feel like I had a Vulcan Mind Meld with the constructor. I was taking down answer after answer with just one letter in place. PELOSI off the "I"; BUM A RIDE off the "B"; USA TODAY off the "S" (!); OLYMPIA off the "O"; etc. It was just my day. Finally. No great errors. Just OPEDS for OBITS (25D: 21-Down runs them) and STOAT for SHOAT (4D: Certain weanling) (you'd think I'd've stopped confusing the weasel with the pig by now, but no).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Easy for me too except for the NE corner where I mixed up my DitS and DAHS. The result was nonsense that took some staring to fix.

Put in FLASHMOB with no crosses and was pleased to see everything work.

Erasures: pumps before DIRKS, fiT before CUT, and most of the NE at least once.

I'm up to May in the 1994 Sat. puzzles and they are still running harder than the current ones.

33d brought back some old memories. That was my GPA when I was asked to take some time off from college in the mid '60s. My way of avoiding the draft was to volunteer for the Navy.

Plenty of zip, liked it.

Mike in Mountain View 12:20 AM  

@Rex: I did the StOAT/SHOAT thing, too.

Marty Van B 12:42 AM  

Yup, super easy. Plopped in 1A and never looked back. That NE corner was my only struggle.

Seconded on loathing morse code clues but I'd have to say the alphabet soup that are FDR's Great Depression programs really offend me more.

David Krost 1:35 AM  

{Psst! To everyone but Rex: I have a sure way to make Rex stop using the letter grade idiocy)

Hi Rex. Love the letter grade gimmick you picked up from Gaffney. Super device and so useful on top of the Easy/Medium/Challenging assessment. Don't ever stop using it.

George Barany 2:45 AM  

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- totally in awe of @Rex and anyone else who found today's puzzle easy. Congratulations to @David Phillips, for whom this is his fifteenth New York Times puzzle since making his debut just a shade over two YEARS_AGO.

Definitely some vocabulary that was new to me, and on top of that, numerous tricky clues. I remember putting FLASH_MOB into a grid back in the Fall of 2013, and being surprised then that it was not in any of the databases. Thus, I am further flabbergasted to see that this marks its first New York Times appearance! Ditto re the full ELIHU_YALE, who was quasi-inferable even without specific knowledge of the former name of the vaunted New Haven institution of higher learning.

STREAKING appeared in a Maleska-edited puzzle in 1992, clued as "Fad that revealed the naked truth," but this is its first appearance during the @Will Shortz era. If you can spare 3 minutes, watch this clip from the 1974 Oscars, but if you're short of time, fast forward to the 0:58 or so. For more, read this harrowing article.

Yesterday we marked the beginning of the Olympics with AL_OERTER and with USA,USA ... today, USA_TODAY. What a glorious missed cluing opportunity, though, to gridgate--which was the talk of the crossword community earlier this calendar year.

Mica Hilson 5:10 AM  

I solved this in faster-than-average time (just under 11 mins), but I hesitate to use the term "easy" for any puzzle that has "BALDRIC" crossing "ASAHI."

Undomiel 5:31 AM  

My big problem was that, caught up in yesterday's weird Japanese spelling of nunchucks, I wanted ASAHI to be oSAke, which have just enough letters in common to really throw me, especially when I also had DotS for DAHS. Otherwise this was incredibly painless for a Saturday. Felt like I was right on the constructor's wavelength the whole time.

Loren Muse Smith 5:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sasha Nove 6:30 AM  

Way too easy, just like last week's. Both took around 10 minutes. I look forward to Saturdays because I want a challenge, and this wasn't at all satisfying.

Loren Muse Smith 6:39 AM  

Agreed that this was a little easier than yesterday's, but I still had a dnf because I automatically put in a final ER on 36A when I saw it was one of those someone who does something clues. Never thought to change the E to O and thus bombed on the M in GIMLI. I guessed "Gigli" of Bennifer legend.

Entered the grid at 34A ETAT, wondered why it was so straightforward, wondered if I was just going all Monday on the clue, confirmed it with crosses, and then saw the clue again at 51A. Ah. I see. Cool.

SHOAT/stoat. I squinted to remember what the man who helps us said when he assured me people refer to little pigs that way. I could hear him say SHOAT.

I was playing Bananagrams in Maine, and my 12 year old nephew used CAIRN on his first-ever game. Boy, I sat up and took everything more seriously. Still. I lost almost every game because I was consumed with forming pretty words like exquisite and facetious while everyone else was doing run, train, rain, nun, late…boom. Done. They're finished, and I'm sitting there with only obsequio.

@jae – my first thought on 33D for the figure in the high 60s was "Leary."

52D GEAR. I've thought a lot about the stuff we need for various activities and have mentioned several times the staggering amount of stuff Americans take down to the beach for the day. I love the word GEAR.

Farding gear – mascara, eyeliner, three different brushes, eyebrow pencil, sharpener, foundation, 2 Qtips. All laid out just so.

Solving gear – clipboard that @Tita's mom made for me, one cup coffee in trusty faded Starbucks mug, clicker to mute My Pillow commercials during CNN, telephone, extra pencil, throw.

Picking the &^%$ beans gear – iphone with the book on tape, bucket for the blackberries I've neglected, four Walmart bags for the beans, and I'll fill them, and I'm not making that up, strange piece-of- absorbent-something-attached-to-elastic headband that SHOAT man gave me, water bottle, clip on sunglasses.

Changing a diaper gear – wipes, Desitin, baby powder, Luvs disposables, ski goggles (well, when changing my son, at least). Noticeably missing - DIAPER PIN. That thing's gonna start looking like some relic. Like a monocle. Or one of those keys that peeled open a can of Spam.

Rex – I really enjoyed that FLASH MOB clip. Here's my favorite one. Again.

@Nancy from yesterday – Hah! Glad I'm not alone on not *getting* Austen. @J Austen from yesterday – never got far enough into a book to even follow your comment. I know, I know. Shame on me.

Now to tackle Brad and Doug's Stumper. Love those.

RAD2626 6:53 AM  

Did Friday and Saturday puzzles back to back during the eternal Opening Ceremony and the difference was night and day. Liked both but Friday took 50% longer. The long clues today went in easily so there were footholds everywhere and the cluing was clever but not impossible. FLASHMOB, USA TODAY, even UNIVERSAL DONOR required only one or two letters. Although I must say in hindsight my favorite albeit the most fiendish clue for me in the two days was Makes nose noise. Even after I got it, I did not get it.

Pete Smith 7:49 AM  

Is a flashmob truly spontaneous? Wanted to fill this in right away but then realized that most flashmobs involve pre-planning of some sort (bring the ring, get the orchestra there, etc.) Better clue might have been "seemingly spontaneous" etc.

seanm 8:03 AM  

I'm shocked anyone found this easier than yesterday, usually i at least agree with the relative rankings. it seems that the fast solvers agree and the slow solvers didnt, which is an interesting dynamic. this took me pretty much my average Saturday time (an hour), and I finished yesterday's on the fast side of my usual Friday times (35 min). after 35 min on this puzzle I had the SE and a smattering of other answers but that's it.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

What @Pete Smith said. (Beat me to it.)

r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

My avatar shows where I was after half the letters had been entered correctly. This took only 30% of the total solve time, unusual for a Saturday which normally has to be stared at for a while before I get any traction. The red (incorrect) square was the N of {Shoulder to hip belt} BAND_ _ _ which wanted to be BANDOLIER or something like that. After a 3 minutes of staring near the end I saw HELEN and got rid of the N. ASAHI looked the most Japanese of the possibilities there. Complete solve sequence is here

Kitty 8:46 AM  

Being Star Wars ignorant has become a crossword disadvantage

jberg 8:53 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy for a Saturday. The two long acrosses held me up a bit, and I kept wanting Kevin McCarthy until it dawned on me that Boehner went from minority leader to speaker.

My son lived in Tokyo for a few years, ultimately in Sumida, across the river from the Asakusa metro -- this was the view as you walked across the bridge, the Asahi headquarters building. The building on the right is shaped like a beer glass; I always thought the thing on top was supposed to be the foam on the beer, but apparently it's the 'flamme d'or,' or golden flame. So that one was easy. (But @undomiel, I can totally see replying to "what do you want to drink with your sushi?" with "O, SAKE!")

I liked the crossing of SHOAT (baby pig) with TOAT (baby toad). Since they've been weaned, we can feed them the nearby OAT.

I had a friend who a) was childless, and b) had lived in Africa for a few years. He liked to wear dashikis, and had found these ornamental safety pins to close them at the neck. He was a bit chagrined when I pointed out that they were DIAPER PINs. Kept wearing them, though.

PEA salad? Huh? and telegraphESE? I also thought that if you had become a brunette you were the DYEe, not the DYER --- but I guess if it's a DIY job, you're both.

Tim Pierce 8:58 AM  

This was indeed on the easy side of a Saturday for me, 25:51 in ink.

On the other hand, I got two wrong (IVS for IDS and BAIRN for CAIRN) and DNF at the ASAHI/ESE crossing, so I'm not bragging.

Speaking of ESE, how on earth is that a "telegraph extension"? Is "telegraphese" really a thing? Fine.

I don't know Morse, but that clue was a gimme for anyone who remembered that SOS is dot-dot-dot dah-dah-dah dot-dot-dot. Perfect Saturday clue, in fact -- elliptical, slightly arcane, but with a nice shortcut if you look at it from just the right angle.

In fact, I liked a lot of the cluing in this one: "Sticker in a nursery," "Paris attraction?" "Coin collectors?" "Someone always good for a few pints?" "Figure in the high 60s" kept me guessing right up until I got the P.

On the other hand, that 31A "Manipulative use of the Force" gets a side-eye from me for its singular-plural confusion. I guessed it from the I in JEDI, but was unwilling to put it in until close to the end because I doubted that TRICKS would be clued as (a) "manipulative use."

NCA President 9:02 AM  

I wouldn't say this was easy...or even easier than yesterday. Took me about the same amount of time, so, yeah. It did take me a while to get started though. And by a "while," I mean Rex was probably able to finish the puzzle and then binge watch an entire season of "Game of Thrones" by the time the puzzle started to coalesce for me. And why am I not surprised Rex did D&D? I have no reason to suspect it except that I'm just not surprised by it. In some ways it sheds some light on understanding his blog better...but I digress.

But there were no Googles today (or yesterday) so I always consider that an "easy" puzzle. Usually late-week puzzles have some kind of soft cheat in them.

I drink ASAHI when I'm eating in an asian restaurant, so absent sake/i, I figured it was Asahi. DAHS was a gimme too. In fact that whole NE corner was easy peasy.

My biggest bugaboo was at UPSILON. I wanted ePSILON. I also didn't know what red cattle were called. I'm not sure when, but UNIVERSALDONOR emerged and once I changed the E to U the rest of the SW fell. Interestingly, ypsilon is the German name for Y. Not that it matters...

I didn't care for the Gatsby shout out. I did like the DPLUS clue though.

Now that I look at it, you've got JEDIMINDTRICKS, GIMLI, THEHULK, BALDRIC, ODIUM (for super villains), OLYMPIA, DIRKS, and a couple of others that reference some kind of literature/D&D-like other-worlds. It's no wonder Rex and DP had a Vulcan mind-meld.

I laughed at the "gimme" that was the first "Coup d' ___" clue. I confidently threw in ETAT there (34A) until I ran across the other 4-letter coup type. When I had BUMAlIft in there, ETAT could have been in either place. I only know OEIL from xwords and it is so deeply buried in there it wouldn't come out until the very end.

Hartley70 9:03 AM  

That NE corner with DAHS, ESE, BALDRIC and ASAHI should rot in hell, but I loved the rest of the puzzle. The cluing was fun and the answers were current. It's a jumpstart to get a great entry like FLASHMOB. I was 5 minutes faster than yesterday, but that's not why I like this better. It's because yesterday's stumpers were NOFAIR and today's are. Give us more, David!

Mary Perry 9:17 AM  

I did not find this easy at all. But it was enjoyable.

Teedmn 9:32 AM  

I got a birthday present today with my wild ASAHI guess in the NE turning out to be correct. Yay! No DNF, even though 9D, 10D and 16A were conspiring against me.

Otherwise, this was a romp-in-the-park Saturday. I started out like @Rex with FLASH MOB going right in. But my weasel-ey StOAT made 14A E_ItU_ALE not even quasi-inferable (hi @George B) until I fixed that t in SHOAT.

HELEN and DHL went right in in the NE and without confirming crosses, came right back out again. I even wrote them down in the margin because I was going to write about the cool wrong answers I had at 18A and 22A. Hah!

And like @r.alph and @NCA President, ePSILON was a gimme, except it wasn't but I backed into it from DONOR and those are all the JEDI MIND TRICKS this puzzle could pull on me. Thanks, DP!

Mohair Sam 9:38 AM  

Happy Wednesday everybody. I've either lost four days of my life or regained three - I'll figure it out by who the Phillies play tonight.

This one just landed right in our wheelhouse. FLASHMOB a gimme, ELIHUYALE a gimme, then (although I've never watched the Grammys) how many entertainers start their names with "LL"? How many reindeer with "BL"? SHOAT? (I know my farm animals @Rex) - we were off and running you BOZOS, and never stopped.

DEBit before DEBTS, but THEHULK cleared that up in a hurry. JEDIMINDTRICKS new to us, but filled easily enough. Loved the clue for BUMARIDE. The "?" made HELEN a gimme or we would never have gotten DAHS, I learned Morse as dashes and dots. Nifty that constructor hit us with both Coup d's. Didn't hurt that Lady M. pulled BALDRIC out of the recesses, how would she know that word? - I suspect she's had an affair with a swashbuckler.

@Pete Smith - Total agreement on your FLASHMOB comment - They certainly are not spontaneous. "Philadelphia" magazine had an article on them a year or two back and they are planned usually hours, if not days, in advance.

Yes, it was too easy for a Saturday, but the constructor doesn't pick the day. The puzzle was clean, pretty much "ese"-less, and cleverly clued. Liked it a lot.

Maruchka 9:41 AM  

Easy-to-medium for the many do-overs: Asano/ASAHI, dash/DAHS, oy ve (I know, no H)/OH MY, debit/DEBTS (shoulda read clue closer), which led to tanless/SINLESS. Could a tan be a stain? Yeah, like a bad DYER job. Agree with @jberg on that. And speaking of..

Fav of the day - DIAPER PIN. Great design! I don't wonder that your friend used them as dashiki closures, @jb.

@Mohair Sam (from yesterday) - Thanks! Can't watch basketball anymore, alas. Too much FLAGRANT FOULin' goin' on.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

Amen, @Hartley (9:03) -- The fiendish PPP-laden NE got me too, and I finished the puzzle with one wrong letter: BALaRIC crossing aHL. Never heard of either of them. But I guessed right on all the other things I didn't know up there: CRUE; THE HULK; ASAHI. Had to guess at JEDI MIND TRICKS (Thought that the figure on the high 60s was a cPLUS, not a Dplus.) I couldn't sit through the first Star Wars flick for more than 45 minutes -- I should have walked out much sooner --and I obviously never saw any of the others.

Did anyone else have STREAmING before STREAKING? (59A) I don't know how to, and I probably don't have the necessary gadgets either, but I gather STREAmING is what you do when there's nothing else going on (on TV).

Search my SOFA (19A) until the DEVON cows come home, but you won't find any coins there. Not a single one. I don't sit on my couch wearing pants with loose coins in them. In fact, most women's pants today don't come with pockets at all. It ruins the sleek lines, or something like that, I guess. A great inconvenience, I find.

StOAT before SHOAT kept me from seeing ELIHU YALE for the longest time. I didn't remember (or maybe never knew) that Yale was once called Collegiate. We have a Collegiate private el-hi school in NYC, so I was confused. I also had THen before THUS at 20A.

A puzzle that never bored me, but that frequently annoyed me with PPP. And I object to ESE also. I really don't think there's such a thing as TELEGHRAPHESE. I give it a very mixed review.

Suzy 9:57 AM  


honeybee 10:00 AM  

This started out easy peasy but then came to a halt. I laughed out loud at STREAKING. Thank you, George, for the links to the video and the article. What a crazy and tragic story.

Cassieopia 10:21 AM  

PEA salad? Is that a thing? Nice puzzle, though.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

My grandmother used to bring pea salad to every holiday gathering when I was a kid. So yeah it's a thing. And you're not missing much. :)

Z 10:37 AM  

Wheelhouse so easy. YALE's first name here, Stanford's first name in the LATX. Guess where I learned them.

QuasiMojo 10:43 AM  

Like Kitty, I am at a disadvantage for not having seen the Jedi flicks. I walked out of the original Star Wars at its opening in NYC. Bored me silly. (I know, I've said it before. But I must stand up for those few of us who find this whole nerdy Star Wars phenomenon disturbing, although I must admit not having read any Harry Potter either.) That said, I really enjoyed this puzzle. And found it medium-challenging. Great to see my alma mater's namesake in its entirety. And kudos to the constructor for including "Olympia" and "streaking" in the same grid!

JIM Murphy 10:46 AM  


Robin 10:46 AM  

I do think there's something in the "warm-up theory," at least within a puzzle. I'll often be baffled by the first section I tackle, but once I get a toehold elsewhere and start working, I figure out that baffling section. It may be because puzzles have styles (puns, literal, double entendres, etc.) and, after some time, you get into the constructor's mindset.

AliasZ 10:51 AM  

Neat puzzle by David Phillips, easier than Friday's because there weren't too many uninferable proper nouns and made-up words -- a sign of a good puzzle, in my view. However, when was the last time anyone used a DIAPER PIN, a BALDRIC or a GIMLI? And SINLESS is virtueless. As Jesus said, "He that is SINLESS among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

While some may argue that a FLASH MOB is not entirely spontaneous from the point of view of its organizers, the word correctly describes the gathering passers-by -- the actual MOB to whom the phrase refers.

Not much to add since there weren't too many sparkling entries. I did however like the serendipitous appearance of OLYMPIA (Ὀλυμπία, with a lower-case UPSILON as its third letter) to remind us of the city where the eponymous Olympic games were held in ancient Greece.

Otherwise I see @Rex's B+ more like a B- or C+.

ILOSTIT reminds me of the tenor Róbert ILOSfalvy. [Hi @Leapy!]


Leapfinger 10:57 AM  

I know it's really a 'shoulder to waist' belt rather than 'shoulder to hip', but I thought first of the Sam Browne belt. Got that sorted out, but not sure why that Richard guy was Bald. Had a feeling of tie-in with the Valhalla God (the blind one?); oh right, that's BALDur, and it was his twin was blind. Turns out his mother was Frigg, and was by killed by Hoor. So it goes.

Liked the SHOAT/TOAT/OAT ECHO with the RING/LING/KINGPIN on the diagonal, but also got into a grump with 9D. With 'dots & dashes' so nicely self-explanatory, why make it DITS & DAHS, where eether could be eyether? OEIL.

@jberg, metoo on the PEA salad. Like what you did with the dire DYER/DYEe/DIY bit.

Not sure CAIRN is a dog without the 'terrier' attachment. I reserve CAIRN for the stacked rocks used as wilderness markers. When we'd climb the mountains RING.ING Castleguard Meadow, one person would carry up a rock, if you were smart, a flat one that didn't weigh too much. COOL way to see how many had made the summit.

Also found this a smoother, quicker solve than yester's, what with an immediate FLASHMOB, ELIHU_YALE, and getting UNIVERSAL_DONOR off the V of DEVON. Enjoyed it for the Motley CRUE of clues and assorted MIND_TRICKS, one of which left me in th NE with THE_SULK.

Don't know why they keep changing all those original dinosaur names. Guess I'll get used to DPLUSdocus.

Happy weekend, y'all.

The Clerk 11:01 AM  

Ditto that FLASHMOBS are not spontaneous, so poor first impression. Shouldn't JEDIMINDTRICKS have been clued with a plural clue? Liked UNIVERSALDONOR. Felt about the same difficulty as yesterday.

Nancy 11:03 AM  

What a fabulous week this has been! Yesterday I discover that there's someone else (Loren) who is as unimpressed with Jane Austen as I am. Today, I discover that there is another person who walked out of the "Star Wars" opening in NYC (QuasiMojo 10:43) just like I did. I'm guessing that Kitty (8:46) wasn't dumb enough to go in the first place. I only went (and stayed for that excruciating 45 minutes) because a friend in my office, Jim C. (and I've never forgiven you for this, Jim, even though it was more than 40 years ago) told me that I had to see it, that he'd already seen it five times. The difference between my Star Wars antipathy and my Jane Austen antipathy, however, is that I talk about the former to anyone who'll listen, while mostly hiding the latter under a turnip.

johnnymcguirk 11:12 AM  

Funny, yesterday was an easy Friday for me and today was much longer than my averahpge Saturday time. It took me twice as long as yesterday and still DNF (didn't know Gumli or dirks had Gumli and durks). Wish he'd clued it Nowitzki and Diggler. Oh well.

Leapfinger 11:16 AM  

What with so many USA tourists coming in as daytrippers, Tijuana wanted to make it easy or them to keep spending and initiated a new line of ATMs for short-term use:
Un Día per PIN.

Hi, @Alias! Köszönöm! (Though sometimes a cigány is only a smoke.)

Off to work I go...

Teedmn 11:20 AM  

The Animal Store
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears
That sits by himself alone;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own.

I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before,
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more.

One of my favorite childhood poems!

old timer 11:35 AM  

A very enjoyable 45 minutes or so, and I give the puzzle a solid A. It was easier than yesterday but I usually find Saturdays easier than Fridays. Maybe because WS always likes to put his most elegant puzzle in on Saturdays.

Wonderful, misleading clue for DPLUS. Naturally I was thinking of a figure related to drugs in the '60s. And Leary would have fit. I imagine most solvers put in ETAT right away. But how many immediately knew OEIL I wonder? How many have perhaps never read (or long forgotten) "The Great Gatsby"? Easy for me -- I love that book as much as I love Jane Austen books. A lot depends on a solver's knowledge base, and a puzzle without any Crosswordese can be hard if you don't mind-meld with the constructor. For instance I had HELEN and wrote it in even before being confident about FLASHMOB. And USATODAY went in with no crosses. All because David Phillips and I think alike.

Well there is *some* crosswordese. The ugly TOAT returns, probably because he's the uncle of a SHOAT. But so much good stuff like BALDRIC and ESE (telegaphese means making up a long word to take the place of two or three and dates back to when you paid a hefty price per word for any telegram with more than 15 words).

Mohair Sam 11:38 AM  

@Teedmn. By God that poem rings a bell, I love it - and proof enough to me that CAIRN can indeed stand alone.

Lewis 11:47 AM  

@rex -- Not only back on your game in solving, but in your writeup as well.

I learned BALDRIC and liked seeing four double o's, and my favorite clues were for UNIVERSAL_DONOR, DIAPER_PIN, OBITS, and D_PLUS. It felt easier than yesterday; my tough quadrant yesterday, the SW, was balanced by today's, the NE. My head grows a little when I solve a Saturday smoothly, and I have a special set of hats for just such an occasion.

AskGina 11:49 AM  

I can see why some are saying this was easy. So much of it was, but as an experienced plodder I'll almost always crash on the rocks of Star Wars beyond the first movie and on Tolkien. He's my Jane Austin, even though I visited his grave on one vacation at the request of a friend. "Frodo lives" notes and various trinkets adorned it. The vicarious pilgrimage eased my Tolkien aversion guilt a little. I got Jedi, but beg a ride and oped brought that to a grinding halt. Googled fixed a lot and I carried on but still couldn't finish in the northeast and southwest. I think it was a great puzzle tho.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Hard to believe that @Rex describes the "flash mob" answer as a silver platter gift when it is so absolutely incorrect. Flash mobs are just the opposite of spontaneous, requiring much planning and coordination.

QuasiMojo 11:57 AM  

@Nancy -- so glad you noticed my comment! Cheers to you this drab Saturday. You said once before we might be kindred spirits and it would seem indeed that we are. Haha. While I can't say I dislike Jane Austen's books, I will say that I can think of a dozen or so writers I'd much rather read first. What I do mind is the tendency these days for publishers to unleash god-awful vampire and zombie books that pretend to be somehow tied to Jane Austen and her ilk.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Jane Austen has ilk?

Numinous 12:10 PM  

FLASH MOB went right in for me and then nothing in the NE. I couldn't remember YALE's name so I entered ELIas. Then ACROBATIC, SOFAS, TOAT and SLR. I misread "weanling" as weaning so SHOAT was not immediately available to help me with the first name.

Down in the SE I first thought of Legolas but that was a bit long. I haven't read LOTR in 50 years but after a lip-tugging pause I remembered GIMLI. When I went back up there and looked at "Paris attraction" a picture of the Eifel Tower came to mind but then I thought wrong Paris. I tried to remember the three chicks Paris had to judge but then thought of HELEN.

I got the JEDI and the MIND T but just like @Tim Pierce, I faltered at TRICKS.

One cute thing I noticed, the use of DAHS for "toto" = Total is indeed exactly telegraphESE. Here's an Ironic thing, I entered avE as an extension for Telegraph. I had to wonder. I grew up on the corner of Telegraph Ave. which is the (famous?) south University of California section of Berkeley where the hippies, beatniks and other counter-culturalists congregated. I wonder if it is as well known as Haight/Ashbury, which to my mind was basically a drug addict slum.

Jeff Chen gave this the POW which I suppose equates to an A+ in his grade book. And, I don't know how many of you check out xwordinfo.com but David Phillips just passed his second Actuarial Exam and is now looking for an entry level position in cas any of y'all know of one. Boy could use a leg up and I'll bet someone here can help.

I liked this one. I absolutely loathed yesterday's go-go-Googley-fest debacle. I have a superstitious belief that there is an inverse relationship between the mini and the main puzzle. Today's mini took me a minute longer than my average 40 seconds. I found this to be 20-some minutes faster than my Saturday average.

Andrew Heinegg 12:18 PM  

Another schizophrenic solving experience with a dnf as a result of the ne; I immediately filled in Kirin for the sushi bar brew and then realized it would not sync up with debts and whatever part of the Morse code began with d. Knowing nothing of Morse code beyond dots and dits, I was sunk. Never heard of a baldric; And, I ignored the ? next to Paris attraction so, sayonara.

This was a well composed effort and I enjoyed all of it except, if course, the part I couldn't solve!

Mike Rees 12:22 PM  

this one took me precisely two seconds longer than yesterday, which I thought was Saturday-hard, so feels like today landed right where it should. About a minute under my 26-minute average for Saturdays.

Really enjoyed this. I got to learn a bunch of stuff, made some lucky wild guesses, and got support from my lady with GIMLI and ASAHI (although she initially said AkAHI lol).

I enjoy a tough puzzle that leaves me feeling satisfied.

Numinous 12:27 PM  

I put in "gras" before ETAT but if I'd thought about it, the d' would have given it away. And I still don't know what Coup d' OEIL is but that one filled itself in eventually.
I have to wonder if instead of "Jay Gatsby's girl" Sweet's girl from Bones wouldn't be a more up to date clue for DAISY; something like "Bones' Sweet girlfriend."
Took me a while to think of DIRK. I actually have a six inch switchblade stiletto I bought from the factory in Italy; since it's illegal to carry anyway, I decided why limit myself to the four inch legal to carry pocket knife blade?
Now I'm gonna go look up Coup d' OEIL.

Carola 12:34 PM  

Thank you and LOL to...
@jberg for the OAT riff,
@Anonymous 12:02 for "ilk"

The puzzle was almost as much fun (and harder for me than yesterday's). After scanning the clues, I decided to start with OLYMPIA but couldn't progress farther north than DAISY. So I had to go back to HELEN and restart there. Had trouble getting into the NW, where I wanted Saturnalian orgies to cross gymnastic performers, but AIRFARE straightened me out.

Loved the proximity of FLASH and BLITZEN (lightning).

mathgent 12:37 PM  

My grandson is staying with over the weekend while my son is putting up some guests here for the Outside Lands Festival. (70,000 at the first day yesterday in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park). I've seen a few Star Wars movies but my grandson has seen them all. I just asked him what a JEDIMINDTRICK is. He says that a Jedi waves his hand at a creature and gives it a command which is obeyed immediately. He thinks that it was in Episode IV.

The Frontier Woman on Food Channel has a recipe for a pea salad. I've never seen one on the menu of one of our restaurants. But when I was in a program at Central Michigan University in the sixties we ate at a restaurant which featured a pea and peanut salad. Sweet and crunchy. I remember that I liked it a lot.

For all of you who found today's puzzle easy, I have this question. How do you stomach the early week offerings? They bore me and I'm not in your class. I had to fight hard to get today's.

Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Fun solvequest. Eazy-E? Well, yes and no. Contained some stuff that were on-the-job learning experiences, for the M&A…

* FLASHMOB. Never heard of it. My dictionary never heard of it. Forced me to go, real uncomfortable-like, with LYNCHMOB.
* LLCOOLJ. Unfortunately, M&A stopped watchin the Grammys, about the time they stopped puttin out singles on 45 rpm records. Not that that was the right thing to do, but there it is.
* ASAHI. Wanted OJ-AHI. I blame the DOTS before DAHS choice. Not much of a sushi fan. Have tried sushi, but couldn't tell U the titles of what I had. Also have had octopus, snails, ostrich, and even somethin off the floor once, but can't remember how any of em was billed on the menu. But, I digress.
* DHL. fave weeject. Vaguely know from crosswords. Never have gotten a DHL delivery. "We move the world" sounds like a laxative logo, to m&e. So … DHL ain't movin my world.
* USATODAY. Had never viewed them as a media giant. More as a hotel media alternative. And crossword borrower, of course.
* NEODADA. {What MOMMY just brought home from the sports bar??} Anyhoo … I really luv the sound of NEODADA. Someday (2050 or so) we may have a NEOGAGA movement, I'd wager…
* OEIL. French Popeye reference, maybe. Coup d' ETAT was about all M&A could muster, which was disturbin, since already had that "word" at 34-A. One of them mail-a-poop problems that not even DHL laxatives could solve.
* CRUE. See earlier fusty LLCOOLJ bullet.
* DEVON. This sounds real vaguely familiar. Sorta like PEWIT.
* ESE. TelegraphESE? Is that the accepted plural? Wanted -ITE. After further reflection, telegraphESE is probably stuff like this: SEND MONEY. STOP. MONEY MONEY MONEY. DONT STOP. STOP. WIRE MANDA SAN FRANCISCO.
* GIMLI. M&A missed so much, constantly noddin off during the LOTR and Hairy Potter flicks. Woulda thought GIMLI would be clued via {Cocktailz enjoyed while reading the day's telegraphese??}.

Despite all these tribulations, M&A was able to finish, so … even tho constructioneer Phillips was lobbyin for a 33-D+ grade, I'll go with @RP's call. I'm pretty day-um easy, when I get 007 U's.

Masked and Anonym007Us

old timer 1:18 PM  

I remember the *original* flash mobs. A small group with many friends would text or IM everyone they knew to show up at, say, Broadway and Columbus in SF as quickly as they could. In what seemed to be a FLASH the busy intersection would fill with hundreds of people, perhaps all wearing similar gear or carrying similar signs. It was as "spontaneous" as any gathering can get. To this day in San Francisco cyclists gather FLASH MOB style on Friday afternoons, and where they will go next cannot be predicted.

Nowadays we think of the richly choreographed scene at, say, Grand Central Station where a large chorus or group of musicians comes together and performs, with the resulting video becoming a social media hit. But a FLASH MOB was not always thus.

foxaroni 1:23 PM  

Holy moley! I think this is the first Saturday puzzle I've ever finished, and with no errors even, in in the four or five years of doing the NYTXWord. Yay, me.

It really is hard for me to understand how a person could loathe Star Wars. (The Jedi mind trick, consisting of waving your hand in front of someone and saying "These aren't the the 'droids you want," has become rather iconic--ubiquitous? humorous?-- for many.)

But then I consider how much I detest Simpsons and Great Gatsby clues, so it all makes a bit more sense.

Masked and Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Yay, U, @foxaroni. Loathe is kinda too strong, but I'd at least put JarJar Binx right up there with TV drug ads and telemarketer calls. And woodpeckers.

JEDIMINDTRICKS was a primo (probably seed) entry choice.
Symmetrically-wise, better UNIVERSALDONOR clue: {Trump, vis-a-vis insults??}.



Donna Singmaster 2:00 PM  

Usually by now my question has been answered in the comments but not today. I must be dense.
Why is 1,000 or 1,000,000 a CUBE?
I think BALDRIC or COUP D'OEIL should have been Word of the Day.
Rex, I expect "warming up" is a thing.
I'm glad my grandmother never demonstrated that PEA salad was a thing.
Thanks to Rex and all of you regular commenters.

gpo 2:02 PM  

OK, this was pretty easy except for the NE.

But wait a second -- I never complain about these puzzles, and even somewhat scorn my nit-picking online friends who do. But today, I have THREE COMPLAINTS!

1. A FLASHMOB is the opposite of something spontaneous. It's well-planned and highly orchestrated. Good word, bad clue!

2. "DEBTS" do not go on a balance sheet. "Liabilities," both short-term and long-term, go on a balance sheet. Also, "debits" and "credits" would be acceptable. But "debts" do not go on a balance sheet. OK word, bad clue.

3. What in the f-in hell is a DAH? Is it like a dash? Is this a piece of crosswordese that I somehow have never come across? Bad, bad word!

Hopefully that will do it for me for complaints for the next several years. Or maybe this is a harbinger of my oncoming old-age grumpiness.

Donna Singmaster 2:03 PM  

Never mind. I googled 1000 CUBE. Ok, I get it now.

Dick Swart 2:35 PM  

So long, Sam Browne ...


Dick Swart 2:46 PM  

@Anonymous gpo said...

I agree with your points one and two: Flash Mob hardly spontaneus and 'debts' not a term on an balance sheet.

However, as one who learned Morse courtesy of the US Army ay Ft Hood in 103 degrees, 'Dih' and 'Dah' were spoken as the sounds of Morse. In fact, rhythmic tunes were composed in Morse for the fun of hearing them as dihs and and dahs, Such was amusement in the drafted peacetime Army of 1957.

David Fink 2:52 PM  

Sports bar quip made my day. !

eveostay 2:53 PM  

I was the dummy who didn't fill in ETAT right of the bat because it seemed too easy for a Saturday. Silly me!

Masked and Anonymous 3:33 PM  

@Donna Singmaster darlin:

1000 is the cube of 10, as in: 10 x 10 x 10 = 1 thousand.
1,000,000 is the cube of 100, as in: 100 x 100 x 100 = 1 million.

Usually, U hear it the other way'round, as in: 10 cubed = 1000, etc.

M&A Help Desk

r.alphbunker 4:14 PM  

Happy Birthday!
Wild ASAHI guess. Hah!

kitshef 4:28 PM  

Fairly easy, certainly easier than yesterday, right up to the fershlugginer A_AHI/E_E cross, which cost maybe three minutes all on its own as I tried to find anything to fit the Telegraph extension clue. Since nothing (that I've ever heard of) fit, I went with the 'S' which at least seemed to make well-formed though unknown words in both directions. So, finished but didn't really deserve it.

FLASHMOB was my first thought at 1A, but I miscounted the squares and did not put it in. That was the last thing in other than the ASAHI guess.

What the deuce is a Bananagram?

kitshef 4:31 PM  

Oh yeah, and hand up for PEA salad?!?!?!

Peamut 5:00 PM  

Universal donor refers to someone with Onegative blood. Not necessarily someone who would donate often.

jae 5:11 PM  

@Numinous re:Telegraph Avenue - you may want to check out Michael Chabon's novel of the same name.

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

Oh, hey, check out anything by Michael Chabon. Top o' my list: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

LeaPEA Salad.

michael 7:19 PM  

Not at all easy for me. Harder than most Saturday especially the northeast. Did not finish. baldric/crue was a total Natick for me.

Burma Shave 9:43 AM  




rondo 10:35 AM  

Good thing the ETAT came first, no hope on OEIL except by crosses. So the only w/o was fiT for CUT. Would also never get BALDRIC without crosses; BALDRIC could be a Shakespearian character for all I know, and alas, I knew him well.

I suppose some folks still use DIAPERPINs. Thirty-some years ago (before USATODAY) we tried cloth DIAPERs on my daughter for a while. Between the DIAPER bucket and constant laundering it SOON came time for 100% disposables.

For those who don’t recall my STREAKING story from YEARSAGO (when still a teen myself). I was STREAKING a group of teenage girl campers and I stopped to chat with their leader. Some of the campers remarked, “It’s so big!” while others remarked, “It’s so small!” Could only guess which ones had any such experience.

One of my Natashas from Odessa, Ukraine used “realNATTY” in her email address. Easy to remember, sorry we lost track of each other. We were inseparable for 10 days, 15 YEARSAGO last week. OHMY, she was CUT like Ms. OLYMPIA. Yeah baby. Only one photo left to prove it since that was B.D. (before digital).

Agree with OFL’s easy rating (for a Sat-uz). No post tomorrow as I will be in NW WI on a team golf outing. Gotta go now and meet those BOZOS.

spacecraft 12:42 PM  

DNF: way, WAY out of my wheelhouse. Awards shows bore me to death, and to me music died sometime in the '90s, so I have no clue about the Grammies. I suppose I should have gotten the Jabba quote at 31 across, but that was the only time that phrase came up, and I just missed it. So too should I have gotten UNIVERSALDONOR--which I, with my O-negative blood, am. Unfortunately I was thinking of pints with a head on them.

I never even got off the ground on this one. But seeing the solution, I really have to wonder about the clue to 1-across. FLASHMOBs are ANYTHING but spontaneous! You have to get a message first! I really do NOT understand that clue.

In golf terms, I sprained my whatever and had to withdraw from play. In football...I had my punt blocked and run back for a TD.

MYA??? Really??? This is so not my world. See you tomorrow.

leftcoastTAM 2:55 PM  

Maybe, as Rex says, relatively easy for Saturday. But not, not, not the NE. Had to cheat to get DHL (company with the grandiose slogan).

The rest of it fell into line via some good guesses and inferences: ASAHI, BALDRIC, CRUE. Hadn't heard of any of them.

AVAILS seemed a bit of a stretch for "Profits." Thought if you AVAILed yourself of something, you might profit as a result, but that availing is not itself profiting, but M-W dictionary suggests it could be otherwise. In any case, the reward there was a resounding VROOM.

Other than that, the NEODADA/IDS crossing was a good aha moment, as was DIRK/GIMLI.

Overall, fun for the most part.

leftcoastTAM 3:38 PM  

To all doubters--FLASHMOB qualifies as "spontaneous" insofar as the unaware public is concerned. Isn't that enough?

spacecraft 4:11 PM  

No. The clue needs to read "spontaneous-appearing." NOT the same thing.

leftcoastTAM 6:05 PM  

M-W Dictionary-- spontaneous: developing or occurring WITHOUT APPARENT external force, cause or treatment.

That's one of the definitions. Granted, others leave out "apparent."

Diana,LIW 6:14 PM  

Peas porridge hot. Peas porridge cold
Pea salad in the soup pot, nine days old.

NE Natick - 'nuff said.

Got HELEN and DIAPERPIN right away. Had STRippING before STREAKING. And SaFeS before SOFAS.

Hesitated to put in FLASHMOB until nothing else would do.

Many fun clues. Lambo watched, but was no help.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 7:28 PM  

Didn't get to this until after lunch which followed a visit to the tire store to find out my car has a bent rim which occurred when I tried to hit a coyote carrying a dead cat in its mouth. There's more, but that's enough.

For the life of me I couldn't remember the name of that thing where a bunch of people "spontaneously" start singing in some public place, so that whole NW section became the last area of struggle, when the term finally dawned. Because of that, "orgies" had to go, unfortunately, and it was clear my guess of Ed HarvArd was woeful. Ha ha.

High 60's is a D-PLUS? You Yanks are tough. Here, at least in high school, that is a c-PLUS (67-72%). Doesn't matter what you call it, I guess.

I resisted coup d'ETAT at first because I knew it be could be coup d'OEIL, and when I hit 51-A I solved both potential problems.

I found the entire south section much easier than the North and the entire puzzle easier than yesterday's, once I got FLASH MOB. BALDRIC, eh?

Nomad UK 2:06 PM  

Probably way too late to be posted, but always do the crosswords a day later than most plus I'm a Syndi. Anyhoo, felt I had to comment on the 1a clue. The 'flash mob' refers to the people(mob) that congregate in a flash to witness the entertainment, often sponsored and highly choreographed, in a public place. It is spontaneous entertainment for an unsuspecting audience.

That is my understanding of the term, which i first learned of when Kaley Cuoco organized one on BBT

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Though it took me a little while to get started, I thought it was easy-medium. I actually had a DNF, though, due to the CAIRN/CRUE cross. Though I have certainly heard of Motley CRUE and I know what a CAIRN is, the cluing led me astray. I've never heard of a CAIRN terrier, and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there was a song called "Red White and True", so I made the cross TAIRN/TRUE (Tairn sounds enough like a Scottish word). It would have been an easy cross with different cluing (even with tricky, misdirecting clues... both of them could have been clued as "Rock group"). Overall, though, thought it was a good puzzle with a lot of variety.

ชื่อที่แสดง 10:49 AM  

Though it took me a little while to get started, I thought it was easy-medium. I actually had a DNF, though,

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