Bengali who who 1913 Literature Nobel / SAT 10-15-16 / Swallowing worry in old wives tale / Directive in tennis after odd-numbered games / Longtime fitness guru Jack / Bechamel sauce with gruyere added / Small glass disk used as ornament in stained-glass window

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none  

Word of the Day: DRAGONET (3D: Brightly colored marine fish)
Dragonets are small, perciform, marine fish of the diverse family Callionymidae (from the Greek kallis, "beautiful" and onyma, "name") found mainly in the tropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific. They are benthic organisms, spending most of their time near the sandy bottoms, at a depth of roughly two hundred meters. There exist 139 species of the fish, in nineteen genera. / Due to similarities in morphology and behavior, dragonets are sometimes confused with members of the goby family. However, male dragonets can be differentiated from the goby by their very long dorsal fins, and females by their protruding lower jaws. The Draconettidae may be considered a sister family, whose members are very much alike, though rarely seen. (wikipedia)
• • •

Morning solving, sloggy solving. And I never crush Mark Diehl puzzles anyway, so this one played tough. Thought I was going to cruise in the NW when I opened with ANT and MOSE and SMORE and ONES but ... they did nothing. Couldn't make any sense of the central conduit 31A: Swallowing worry in an old wives' tale (WATERMELON SEEDS) in large part because of the crafty cluing, which had me reading "Swallowing" as a gerund and "worry" as the object of "swallowing." What do old wives call the act of "swallowing worry," I wondered. I also wondered, a little, what "swallowing worry" was, but it sounded like a semi-familiar phrase meaning "pushing your anxieties down into a dark hole and not talking about them to anyone." Sigh. So I just jumped to a random place in the grid with short answers I could hack at, chose the SW, got AMO (38A: Latin trio leader) and MORE (43A: "Utopia" writer, 1516), bam bam, and finally got started in earnest.

The SW has a bad cross. I consider MORNAY and LALANNE a bad cross. I am old enough to know of Jack LALANNE (52A: Longtime fitness guru Jack), but not of how to spell it. That first vowel coulda been an "E" for all I knew (to say nothing of the end of his name, which I had to figure out from crosses). I do not know what MORNAY sauce is. I know what a moray eel is, and I know who Rebecca de Mornay is. But 39D: Béchamel sauce with Gruyère added? You lost me at "Béchamel sauce." MORNAY sounded French and because Rebecca de MORNAY confirms that the word MORNAY exists in the world, I went with it. Good choice.

But that was just the first bad cross, and not the worst. DRAGONET / TAGORE cross is really bad form (3D: Brightly colored marine fish / 19A: Bengali who won the 1913 Literature Nobel). Straight-up editing / constructing Fail. 8/10 on the Natick Scale (which I just made up and will probably never use again). I'm not concerned with whether you, personally, had heard of one, or the other, or both. The point is, those are highly, highly uncommon names, a species type and a proper noun of low general familiarity, crossing at a nearly uninferrable letter. The "nearly" is the only thing that saves this. I know that "dragon" is a word, and every other letter sounds wrong, so "G." Also, TAGORE sounded ... like a name I'd heard. I have a Ph.D. in literature and I couldn't pick TAGORE out of a line-up, which I take as a personal failing—I'm just saying, please don't try to convince me that that dude is well known. If his name got by me, it's gonna get by Lots (the majority) of solvers (per wikipedia: "his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal."). When you have a terrible cross like this, you distract the solver's energy and attention away from the other, stronger parts of the grid, and you sap overall good vibes.

Center was unexpectedly hard because STRONG was not followed by SUIT and CHANGE was not followed by SIDES. Even with _BLO__, couldn't see TABLOID (36A: Potential libel defendant). Even with ADS____, couldn't see ADSPEAK (wanted some kind of "sign"). RAS was an obscure no-hoper (26D: ___ al Khaymah (one of U.A.E.'s seven emirates)). Eventually I realized that the -NT at the end of the STRONG- answer was POINT! And that got the center unjammed. NE was toughish but tractable, SE was weirdly very easy. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Tagore was a Bengali polymath known for poetry, songs and many other literary forms. Probably the first Nobelist who was a song writer. His showing up in a puzzle so soon after Bob Dylan's award is one of the many small weirnesses that make puzzles so much fun.

evil doug 8:26 AM  

Tagori/Mosi? Or
I lost.

gcedwards10 8:26 AM  

Interesting, I was sure you were going to rail about the Natick at MOSE/TAGORE. The E is sort of inferrable but I tried T first

r.alphbunker 8:26 AM  

Had to Google MR PINK and THE SOUP. Also had to verify that {Blender settings} SPEED was correct.
1D. {Words of explanation} THATSHOW from T_ATSHOW

49A. {Steve Buscemi's role in "Reservoir Dogs"} MRPINK from _ _PINK

46A. {Completely block} DAMUP from _AMUP

46D. {Easily outscores} DRUBS from _ _U_S

16A. {Long-running Joel McHale show on E!} THESOUP from THE_OUP

18A. {Seedy place} RATHOLE from RAT_O_E

Details are here.

Robso 8:33 AM  

Here here! [angry background muttering] I call foul on the TAGORE/DRAGONET crossing, made even worse with TAGORE/MOSE. Truly wretched! [crowd cheers]
I am old enough to have seen Jack Lalanne (inventor of the "Jumping Jack") leading calisthenics on tv, but couldn't remember how to spell his name. Swore it needed an I or Y in there.
So, even with the Double Natick, I still liked this puzzle.

Irene 8:35 AM  

This is why you can't figure who knows proper names: For me, Tagore and Mornay were gimmees. On the other hand I've never heard of The Soup; thought it had to be The Veep.
An easy and amusing puzzle.

George Barany 8:36 AM  

Part 1 (this posted at 8:09 pm, but may have had too many links, so I'm splitting into two)

Thanks for your review, @Rex. @Mark Diehl is a friend, and as we do ever so often, my website offers a companion puzzle by the constructor du jour, in this case He's So Shy.

@Mark is a master of wide-open tough vocabulary tricky clue puzzles, and today's feature is no exception. None of the four corners has a whole lot of "communication" with the rest of the puzzle, so I was unable to complete everything without referring to the "check" and "reveal" buttons. @Rex already identified the relevant Naticks; you need to be a literal ORACLE to get through this without any help.

kitshef 8:37 AM  

My 'bad cross' was the same as evil doug's - I went with MOSs/TAGORs.

Other than that, loved the puzzle. A real challenge, grid looks a mess, but got there in the end other than that one cross.

supErsOaKEr before MODELROCKET, unO before AMO, eeP before YIP.

George Barany 8:39 AM  

Part 2 (this posted at 8:09 am, but may have had too many links, so I'm splitting it into two).

Amusingly, I misparsed 1-Down as THAT_SHOW, undoubtedly referring to THE_SOUP, or maybe I'm confusing it with the @Jack Web classic DRAGONET.

I absolutely loved the PRACTICE clue, an interesting variant on the well-known joke on how to get to Carnegie Hall. Click here for a clip of Horowitz's legendary Carnegie Hall concert in 1978, which I was privileged to attend in person after having waited in line for 14 hours to buy tickets.

Teedmn 8:42 AM  

TAGORs was my DNF spot today - didn't know that Allison was the jazz pianist's last name so MOSs as a last name sounded better than anything else THE alphabet SOUP could serve up.

And I parsed the clue for 31A exactly as @Rex did - even when I had WATER on one end and EEDS on the other, I thought it was going to be a euphemism, WATERing in wEEDS? Anyone?

"supErsOaKer" at 22D for a long time caused some problems but the recently seen TABLOID gave me CAMBODIANS (I had already guessed the DIANS part from DOST, which gave me the SW. Yeah, the spelling of Jack LALANNE was LALAiNE and LALAyNE in my head but not on the paper. TONE UNCLOAKed the answer to that question.)

I just saw "Reservoir Dogs" for the first time a couple of months ago but I forgot Steve Buscemi's annoyance at being designated MR PINK. But MONO and replacing roUts with DRUBS (and fixing STEP sIbs) kept the SE from DAMming UP.

TV DRAMA as clued was great (I was picturing a dog park for the K-Nines), the generic SPEEDS on the blender, the nearly-spelled-out-in-the-clue DIG UNDER, RAMs going head-to-head, the RBD (random four-letter bean of the day) - lots of fun in this Saturday puzzle. Thanks, Mark Diehl!

Robso 8:54 AM  

Apologies for the misinformation.

Oh No Jono! 9:02 AM  

I did like that given Trump's recent threats against the NYT, both today's mini and full puzzles have clues about libel 😆

GILL I. 9:20 AM  

Hard...Had to put this down about five times. I'd come back and add another word. Inch by inch.
I got the TAGORE/MOSE only because I googled it. TV DRAMA took for ever to get so I just left that section alone for a while. AD SPEAK right dab in the middle was another woe so I went down to the basement where I had better luck.
Back upstairs and just stared at Hen tracks. What? My unclear thinking is CLOUDY. ooops WOOLLY that looks all so wrong.
I finally finished with only 2 Googles so, not bad for me.
MORNAY sauce is what you use to make a fancy mac and cheese. You can use just about any cheese in the sauce. I like it on a Hot Brown.

DBlock 9:29 AM  

Slogged my way through it all but for some reason The Swim was the Joel McHale show
It was the first answer I put down
And had ster following team
Slowed me down in the NE for a long time until I erased the whole thing and began again

Mr. pink a gimme as Buschemi rails against his name

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Double natick - Tagore with Dragonet and Mose. I guessed Dragonet but went for Tagori/Mosi.

jberg 9:37 AM  

@Oh No Jono, yes, I really wanted the libel prospect to be NY Times, but I already had the T, so never put it in. It would have required a last-minute adjustment, so was not likely.

I got TAGORE from the A, but it was a wild guess. The only old Indian writer whose name I had heard of, and it fit, so I went with it. Never read anything by him, but he used to get mentioned a lot--famous for being famous sort of thing.

MOSE Allison was a gimme, OTOH. Have a listen to "Parchman Farm".

I really liked seeing CONGER instead of eel; but I'm starting to be bothered by the puzzle's thoughtless reference to mental disability, such as the cluing of 41A.

John Child 9:47 AM  

Three of the five mini puzzles today were quite easy; two were hard. Why do we accept such segmented grids? Shouldn't a great puzzle look beautiful and flow together?

I think any Nobel laureate is fair on Saturday, but Rabindranath Tagore should be part of any well-educated person's cultural inheritance. Poet and intellectual, anti-British crusader before Gandhi (he was awarded a knighthood but renounced it), songwriter, and dedicated anti-fascist. One of the great figures of the 19h and 20th centuries. Only cultural shortsightedness makes him obscure to Americans. Take the opportunity to learn more.

Mac and cheese is basically pasta and mornay sauce. I'm surprised that it was a WOE for many people.

Jake Zavracky 9:47 AM  

so weird, i was listening to goldfrapp while i solved this.

Crane Poole 9:48 AM  

Rabindranath Tagore may anagram to Horrid Banana Target (no offense intended), but he was not my problem. I acknowledge the Natick (I second that emotion?) but I dropped that G into DRA-G-ONET, it sounded right, it proved right. Onward.

My displeasure was the NE. SCRATCH for SCRAWLS, THE SOUP? Unclear thinking is WOOLLY? Really? RATTRAP-RATNEST-RATHOLE. The straightforward clue for blender SPEEDS somehow eluded me as did the team follower, MATE/MEET/STER. Ugh.

Otherwise enjoyed much and was pleased to finish a Saturday in reasonable time if at all. An elegance to those five long verticals. Horowitz's advice is famous and wise. And one of my faves, Mose Allison:

suetonius 9:56 AM  

I had Tagors/Moss. I vaguely remember Tagore from a reference in Philip Glass's opera "Satyagraha" but the two proper names I didn't know did me in.

Michael Collins 10:01 AM  

Things went badly if you wrote 22A FAVA and 22D FIRECRACKER.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Why does "one up front" = MONO (49D). Why, oh, why???? And why, oh, why is a "follower of a team" a SEED? (23A). (These were actually the least of my problems, since I got both answers. I guessed at MR PINK rather than DR PINK -- neither of which meant a thing to me). Still, I suffered and struggled and finished all but the NW, despite not knowing THE SOUP or KODEL ROCKET (I wanted some kind of electrical SOCKET here that would cause a blast, and btw, is my K of KODEL correct? I forgot to look).

But the NW -- fuhgeddaboutit. Didn't know MOSE or TAGORE and refused to cheat. Didn't know DRAGONET. Had REWARD SET instead of RECORD SET at 4D, as in what PBS offers when you make a generous donation. Could not for the life of me see the cleverly, if not quite fairly clued TV DRAMA. And at 1D, I kept seeing ----SHOW instead of -----HOW. As in: I CAN SHOW? LET I SHOW? I couldn't make it work and never wrote anything in. (And once I saw it, it was so obvious). I didn't like all the PPP in this one at all. THAT'S HOW it defeated me -- but I don't have to be happy about it.

seanm 10:16 AM  

medium saturday time for me (55min). had the same trouble as everyone as the MOSE TAGARE cross. took me far too long to figure out DRAMA came even after having the TV, was thinking of some security related feature forever. solved the middle in very short time (for me) but had troubles in all quadrants but the SE.

didn't know either MORNAY or LALANNE (though most of the latter was in my subconscious). actually DNF because of AMO (had EGO)

Nancy 10:20 AM  

Oops. I see two more incorrect answers now. It's SLED, not SeED at 23A (I misspelled WOOLeY -- stupid, stupid me.) And kUNG bean, not MUNG bean, gave me kODEL ROCKET instead of MODEL ROCKET (duh). So I did even worse today than I thought!

DBlock 10:26 AM  

Mono as a prefix that indicates one.

Norm 10:28 AM  

The crosses were difficult, but readily inferable. This was a difficult, but very nice puzzle -- with the exception of MORONS and INBREEDS.

Nancy 10:33 AM  

Thanks, @DBlock.

JIM Murphy 10:49 AM  

Guessed right on dragonet, naticked on mose/tagore.

JIM Murphy 10:49 AM  

Guessed right on dragonet, naticked on mose/tagore.

evil doug 10:53 AM  
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Alysia 10:54 AM  

It's puzzles like this that assure me I'll never be ready for competitive cross-wording.

Having supersoaker gave me soya. Once I did away with both of those, I really wanted strong suit for 8d, which just didn't work. I had thiamine for 2d. Spelled it Lallane (which I will now agree looks silly here).

This one was just an absolute, utter mess for me. Not a bad puzzle; just very, dishearteningly not my bailiwick.

Charles Flaster 11:04 AM  

Enjoyed this one . Medium due to three writeovers but only two were correct.
THATS HOW for hereS HOW, WOOLLY for faultY. But I was naticked at MOSt crossing
Loved TONE crossing LALANNE( ultimate TONE man). Do not like morons and idiots in ANY puzzle.
Liked cluing for TV DRAMA, PRACTICE ( Alan Iverson take note!), and TABLOID(again).
Thanks MD

jae 11:18 AM  

Medium for me with the south on the easy side and the north tougher. My biggest problem was misspelling WOOLLY (hi @Nancy), if WATERMELON SEEDS had not been in the puzzle I might have had a DNF although SEEDS made absolutely no sense. My potential Natick in NW was, like @Evil et. al., TAGORE/MOSE but I guessed right.

Not quite as lively as yesterday's but still a fair amount of zip, liked it.

Ever notice the Steve Buscemi's characters almost always do not end well?

Hartley70 11:19 AM  

Yowza! This took me longer than my worst Saturday time, but the struggle was worth it. And I'm even stumped by @Gill I's "Hot Brown", but I'm Googling nothing today!

The cluing for WATERMELONSEEDS and POLICEDRAMA gave me the most trouble. I guess I should be appalled that I have never heard of TAGORE and not give a hoot whether I know DRPINK, because I don't. MODELROCKETS have been replaced by "SuperSoakers" on most kids' wish lists, including mine. RAS gets a big RASpberry from me. A RONDELLE could be anything from a style of pomme de terre, to a dance form from the court of Louis XIV.

I'm with @jberg. I accept it's legitimate, but I always get a little sad when MORON or its ilk appears. That said, I got a lot of enjoyment from this puzzle and learned a few things too.

evil doug 11:19 AM  
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evil doug 11:20 AM  
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evil doug 11:23 AM  

"Only cultural shortsightedness makes him obscure to Americans. Take the opportunity to learn more."

I prefer to think of it as "personal interest"...

I'm always amused when someone thinks he knows best how we all should invest our time in digging deeper into various subjects that he gets to choose.

You're in Nepal. Maybe that has helped steer you to that region's cultural influence. I have always held an interest in the conquest of Mt. Everest, in spite of my 'cultural shortsightedness'. But--sorry!--nothing you say makes me give a whit about Tagore. If he strikes your fancy? Great. But don't presume to foist your areas of interest on me.

I think you ought to expand your own cultural short-sightedness by more thorough study of Chicago Cubs history, the music of Webb Wilder, Gus Grissom's unfortunate demise in Apollo 1, and Jim Hall's remarkable Chaparral roadster. Then we'll talk....

kitshef 11:28 AM  

Forgot to mention the huge green paint of RECORD SET. It's a box set, and I've never heard it called anything else.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Yes! So much yes!
Especially the Chaparral.

floatingboy 11:39 AM  

"Swallowing" in this clue IS a gerund, but you interpreted it as the present progressive form of the verb, hence its having the object "worry." As the gerund that it is, it become a noun formed from a verb, as in the act of swallowing.

Jane Thorne 11:48 AM  

Mose Allison justly won a place in 50's jazz despite his being a white guy from Mississippi. And then there is his succinct insult, "Do nothing til you hear from me--and you never will."

QuasiMojo 11:49 AM  

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder what type of literature you teach, Rex. Tagore is a very famous writer and was immensely popular during his lifetime across the globe. He was celebrated by countless western authors and editors and literary pundits. He is not one of the obscure Nobel winners. Allison Mose, however, was not in my wheelhouse. I found this puzzle too full of pop culture. Having never listened to the god-awful Adele except in check-out lines, I just googled that one and came up with nothing. She is part of the Harry Potter/Star Wars/Star Trek/ dreck that is dumbing down the NYT puzzle.

Leapfinger 11:52 AM  

@GB,  I was reminded of another Horowitz statement: "If I don't practise three days, my public notices; if I don't practise two days, my wife notices. If I don't practise one day, I notice."

I was chuffed to write in DRAGONES for 3D, given a recent exchange about ancient maps that read "Hic sunt DRACONES". Was somewhat sorry to lose that to the recurring TABLOID and TAGORE, but the residual pleasure persisted. Admit I thought of  NAIPAL before TAGORE, but am taking comfort in typing out Rabindranath  with no look-ups. Admit I don't know what V.S. stands for, but it has to be a humdinger.

Had a small lightbulb go off when I realized #1 didn't have to be a vowel just because it preceded the V of VITAMIN A. Like @John C, thought the segmentation overdone, but all sections played well. Liked the eeliness that congered up smore Mornay sauce. Dealt with an embarrassment of beanery with only one correct amung them. Not sure I can get beHIND the NW TV DRAMA THAT'S HOW to HIRE DON AT A COST.


Laurence Katz 12:01 PM  

Record set? Made up nonsense.

old timer 12:03 PM  

I put in DRAGONET because I remember Stan Freberg's wacky spoof of Dragnet, "St George and the Dragonet." And confidently had "sides" where EENDS should be, but MUNG set me straight on that. Best Indian soup I ever tasted was MUNG dahl.

The SW was quite Easy for me since I knew MORNAY, and Jack LALANNE was often in the Chronicle in the old days in San Francisco. So was the NW because it had to be VITAMIN something, and when crosses made TAGORE likely, I had at least heard of him.

In the SE, I thought DIG UNDER was so lame I did not write it in. I had to look up MRPINK and read an article on the Brady Bunch to find out that DIG UNDER was right after all, and so was STEPKIDS. (BTW. MONO is "one up front" because it is prefix that means "one".) I also looked up THESOUP because I had never heard of that show on the E channel. I did have RATHOLE right away, because of ASHES, which went on your forehead the first day of Lent.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

TAGORE was easy. THESOUP was impossible.

QuasiMojo 12:12 PM  

LMHO (Laugh My Hind Off) -- Errata. Mea culpa! After blowing my stack over Adele, I quickly realized the clue was about Lady Gaga. Same difference, as they say in NY. And the answer was Mose Allison, not Allison Mose. My bad. I apologize to anyone who actually read my rant. I also wanted to add that I have never seen "Resevoir Dogs" but "Mr. Pink" as an answer seemed perfectly plausible. :)

Leapfinger 12:17 PM  

Oh. Ah. At first, I thought there was an old wives' tale that if you swallow watermelon seeds, it's said that you've swallowed (ie, disposed of) your worries. Now, it seems to just be an old wives' tale that swallowing watermelon seeds is something to worry about.

The issue isn't helped any by that Baron Munchausen illustration of the stag that swallowed a cherry-pit; it's a good thing they've developed seedless watermelons.

Mowgli 12:30 PM  

Surely there's a way to be both childish and wolfish.

And don't call me Shirley.

Andrew Heinegg 12:46 PM  

I had very little trouble with the n.w., maybe because I live there(ha ha) but I never heard of dragonet and, when I was about 55 years younger than I am now, I used to go to pet shops all around Brooklyn and check out the fish to perhaps purchase them and I would read about them as well. But, that would be okay if the crosses made it sussable. Needless to write, I never heard of Tagore and only a guess at dragonet, which I took to be variation of dragon fish, got me through it.

Record set, as kitshef noted, is a phrase that was never used for a boxed set for albums. The crosses 'saved' it. Many years ago, I guess, eye tests were part of physicals but not any I have had in the past forty years that I can remember. Doesn't everyone go to the opthmalogist or optometrist for those tests?

The s.e. gave me a big fat dnf due to being completely rock headed. I put down stepsons for 35 down and refused to budge on it. I also failed to pay attention to the perfectly clued 46a. It says completely block. I confidently filled in jam up, ignoring the completely part of the clue. Oh, the ignominy of it!;

I had also never heard of the Lady Gaga album which brings me to some rambling thoughts about music over the last 50 years or so.

When I was living in N.Y.C. from my teens through my early twenties, I had very particular taste in music and was pretty snobby about it. I spent many a weekend night at the Fillmore East, still the best arena audio wise for music I ever went to, except for the visit to the Metropolitan Opera House to see The Who perform Tommy. That was the experience of a lifetime as the staff at the Met were clearly appalled at the 'class' of people in their home, as it were.

I gradually evolved to where I am now, i.e., I have to like the music to appreciate it, of course, but I have developed a much greater admiration for musical talent, especially a good voice, whether or not I liked the music itself.

In the days of yore, the Carpenters were just lame and the Rolling Stones were very cool. Now, it strikes me that, while I certainly like any number of their songs, Mick Jagger does not have a good singing voice. Yes, you may like his style and stage presence (although I did not in the times I saw him in person). But, he does not have a good voice IMHOP. Karen Carpenter sung some songs that were so candy sweet you could gag on them. But looking back and listening to her singing, she did have a wonderful voice.

I think of Madonna every time I see Lady Gaga on tv or in the media. Madonna has had a monstrously successful career with her style and sex salesmanship but, I just don't think she has a very good voice. Lady Gaga has a better voice than Madonna but, again, I think that she owes her success more to hard work and style than talent.

Then there are the two rock stars that come to mind when I think of singers who have decent but not great voices but whose style and stage presence make them mesmerizing to moi, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. I make it a point to tune in every time I can find them on the tube.

Finally, the number of African American that are/were great singers is, shall we say, extensive. Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Tammi Terrell, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and many more.

Now, I have to batten down the hatches as we are expecting something between a strong gale and light hurricane winds this afternoon so, the only question is- how many hours/days will we be without power?

Adam Frank 12:46 PM  

I found this easier than @rex did - one of the easier Saturday puzzles in a while. JAMUP instead of DAMUP, but I knew Jack LaLanne and was relatively easily able to infer DRAGONET, and MOSE Allison is one of my favorite jazz artists (I used to see him at Fat Tuesdays when I lived around the corner from that long-gone club). RONDELET before RONDELLE; I knew of both words but had no idea which was which.

Fun puzzle - I enjoyed it, especially for a Saturday.

Thumbelina 12:50 PM  

@Gill, 'hen tracks' immediately translated into 'chicken scratches', so SCRAWLS wasn't far behind. One advantage to reading MDs' notes for decades. [PS: try Fontina sometime]

Sheb Wooley threatened to interfere, but local mascot came to the rescue: WOOLLY Bully in the Durham Bulls ballpark blows smoke after HRS. Bonus point for giving the Heels' RAMses equal time.

Jay Apking 12:56 PM  

Great puzzle for a Saturday because I think there should be clues you don't know that make you think it out or just guess.

Have a problem with AMO being part of a Latin trio. It is actually part of a Latin sextet.

Laird of the Easton 1:01 PM  

@John Child, agree 100% with yout comment on "cultural shortsightedness" and Tagore.

"I have a Ph.D. In literature" that apparently trained you in nothing but modern American pulp fiction.

Masked and Anonymous 1:09 PM  

I'm with @RP, re: DRAGONET. First thought: featurin Joe O'Friday.

Got much farther with this puz, than with the O'FriPuz. Did the NW corner pretty quick, guessin the well-documented TAGORE/DRAGONET nat-tick, correctly. This left me with:
31-A = WATE + probably R + lotsa blanks.
36-A = T + probably RUMP + two blanks.

Not much to build on my previous work. Re-booted in the NW, with YDS and RETD. Coulda bet the trailerhome that 12-D was gonna be WOBBLY, havin faithfully followed the scriptures of OFL. Lucked out, tho, and guessed RAT-somesuch on 18-A and SCRAWLS on 8-A (intermediate thanx to WOBBLY). Then got CHANGEENDS and STRONGSUUIT-then-STRONGPOINT off the leavins. Hey! Look at that!…hello, WATERMELONSEEDS! Primo fun ahar moment.

The rest was pretty eazy-E, at our house. Had less confidence than snot in WOOLLY/RONDELLE, tho. Have heard of MORNAY sauce, probably on one of them cookin shows that PuzEatinSpouse devours every Saturday mornin.

Bullets, just so we can have some day-um bullets:

* EYETEST. Not part of physical exams, at my doc's. [Other than occasionally he'll hold up his middle finger, and say "see this?" Funny dude, my doc. But that mighta been after somethin I had said, tho.] Speakin of yer exams ...
* EXAMINEE. Has a nice, faint bouquet of desperation. Like.
* MRPINK. Knew this off nothin, which was real helpful in scalin the walls, to get into the SE corner. Remember this character really bitchin, when the gang of other Mr-Colors dubs him Mr. Pink. har.
* NE and SW corners. These each had two-lane hi-ways leaden into em, so … ok, then.
* MUNG. Have never ever been asked to pass the MUNG, during a meal. Intriguin. Must learn more (yo, @John Child general sentiments).

Thanx, Mr. Diehl. Tough, but worked for M&A. Was WATERMELONSEEDS yer seed entry? Just wonderin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

[Meta runtpuz. Find the hidden name, afterwords:]

GILL I. 1:09 PM  

@Hartley dhaaaarling. It's a gooey sandwich that you should eat after Thanksgiving. Has about 23 elevendy hundred calories....!
What @QuasiMojo? You don't like Adele? I'm crushed. That lady has some pipes. And Lady Gaga? Have you heard her sing with Tony Bennett?
"The Lady is a Tramp."

Joe Bleaux 1:14 PM  

Yes, but especially Webb Wilder😉!

AliasZ 1:24 PM  

-- The only MORNAY I know is Rebecca De.
-- If you CHANGE ENDS, you must also change your means so they can remain justified.
-- Never heard of MUNG beans, but I have met a dung beetle or two in my life.
-- DIGUNDER -- is this a standalone phrase commonly used? No, it is an 8-letter partial.

Let this be a firm rejoinder:
It would be a major blunder
Using phrases like DIG UNDER,
Try'n to be a football punter
When you hear a distant thunder.

If it's dung heaps you DIG UNDER,
You'll be squashed flat like a flounder,
Dug up by a treasure hunter
(With a name like Klaus or Gunther)
Decades later: sad encounter!

Your remains thus having been tossed,
They'll say a prayer AT A COST:
"Ashes to ashes, DOST to DOST,
Goest thou home and don't get lost!"

[Now can I get a no-bell prize?]

And with this: We ADORE Thee by Claudio Monteverdi, have a great weekend.

mathgent 1:26 PM  

@Laurence Katz (12:01): It seems that you and I are alone in being annoyed at "Three albums bound together, e.g." for RECORDSET. Why three? I wasted time trying to fit in something like TRI up there. The puzzle was hard enough without throwing in gratuitous misdirects.

I also didn't like "Go head to head with?" for RAM. Two heads?

I admire that It has no junk and only six Terrible Threes, but I didn't enjoy the solve. It took me way too much time trying to fit entries in where the clue didn't help. The joy/time ratio was very low. Even less than many Mondays where there is very little joy but the time invested is also very small.

My grades are based on my enjoyment, not technical excellence. I was able to solve it, but my dominant feeling as I filled in a corner was relief rather than delight. I'm giving it a C.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

RE: eye test. Most states have an eye test component of their driver license physical exam. Likewise the pilot license medical exam has an eye test. I think an optometrist gives both an exam and a test.

The puzzle played a little harder than usual with some people/items i never heard of. IMHO, a PhD in any field is nothing to sneer at.


Matthew G. 1:39 PM  

TAGORE/MOSE is a much worse crossing than TAGORE/DRAGONET. That G is at least inferable if you guess that the fish name is derived from "dragon." But I had TAGORI/MOSI, and there's no obvious reason why an E is a better guess there than an I.

That was my only error, but this was a pretty joyless solve all the way through. It has neither crisp, scrabbly entries nor fun cluing. 1.5 stars.

jae 1:41 PM  

For those unfamiliar with THE SOUP you may remember its Emmy winning predecessor Talk Soup originally with Greg Kinnear. When McHale took it over from Aisha Tyler in 2004 the name changed to THE SOUP.

@Andrew Heinegg - Amen, Karen Carpenter's voice was exceptional/haunting.

Joe Bleaux 1:49 PM  

Mark Diehl never disappoints! For me, the first two gimmes were MR PINK and MOSE (and I'm surprised that so many commenters hadn't heard of him).
A quick solve of the long cross broke this one open for me. (As a country lad, BTW, I could count on the church hens tsk-taking whenever a local single girl became pregnant. "Looks like she swallowed a watermelon seed," they'd cluck.)
@George Barany (Part One): Wow! Finishing without help was satisfying, but being alluded to as a "literal Oracle" by one of your stature swells my head.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Hey Jay Apking. I'm going to agree and disagree about the Latin Trio. If you consider "the three singular present tense options," then Trio is correct. If you consider "the six present tense options," then you are correct. I think there are more "correct" descriptions. If you drag out the Latin grammar book I think you'll find there are more than twelve tenses (conditional, subjunctive, imperative, future, etc) and, if you count all 6 voices, then Amo has lots of company.

For me, "Latin Trio" is only veni, vidi, vici. Or, some Secret Service Colombian hijinks.

QuasiMojo 1:53 PM  

Thank you Andrew for that enlightening discussion of vocal artistry. I agree! Perhaps if Karen had branched off on a solo career earlier she could have benefited from some better material. She was an amazing singer. A great loss. And Gill, sorry. Perhaps we share enthusiasm for some other singers. But I find Gaga unlistenable even when singing The Sound of Music. Sondheim panned her performance.
Thank you Andrew for that enlightening discussion of vocal artistry. I agree! Perhaps if Karen had branched off on a solo career earlier she could have benefited from some better material. She was an amazing singer. A great loss. And Gill, sorry. Perhaps we share enthusiasm for some other singers. But I find Gaga unlistenable even when singing The Sound of Music. Sondheim who knows about such things panned her performance.

phil phil 2:01 PM  

I agree with @mathew g TAGORE MOSE is a proper name guess.
Had same problem as Rex on tagore but my wife was completely familiar with him and chimed in though i would have got it eventially ;). As well as clue of watermelonseeds. But the rest wasn't any worse than my usual saturday head scratching.
Took a while to see the elected monarchy clue was a specific country.

Speaking of monarchys . The land of smiles is land of sadness. He was a beloved King. Good luck to thailand, we will pray for you.

phil phil 2:13 PM  

Hey all. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Natnick is defined as a cross of two words that could be two different words from changing the crossing square where all four words would fit the clues.

Maybe we need another name for obscure or even not obscure personal names, maybe pnatnick or patnick, hmmm patnix like in patnixon might do.

Numinous 2:23 PM  

"I'm gonna be here for the rest of my life, gonna be here for the rest of my natural life, and all I did was shoot my wife."

Thanks for reminding me of Parchmen Farm. MOSE Allison has been a long time favorite of mine ever since he released Seventh Son in the late '50s or early '60s. I've owned practically all of his RECORDS ETcetera.

I used to watch Jack LALANNE when I was home sick from school. I would even do some of the exercises he showed. It is amazing that he kept his TV show going for 34 years, that he lived to be 96.

I found myself agreeing with @Rex as I read his write-up. This puzzle had some tough things in it. TAGORE was probably the worst. I'm certainly not up on my 1916 Nobel winners. I liked yesterday's puzzle much better.

Analyst 2:26 PM  

@MatthewG, TAGORI sounds Japanese rather than Bengali, while TAGORE rhymes with LAHORE, which is at least Indian, even if The Punjab isn't quite Bengali. Am glad I knew the name, so I didn't have to go through such contortions.

Merle 2:30 PM  

Those crosses that Rex didn't like were gimmes for me -- Tagore and dragonet, LaLanne and moray. It just depends on what you know, and what you don't know. Can't blame the guy who created the puzzle for what you don't know. I found the puzzle challenging, but eventually finished it. I would never know "Mr. Pink", because I would never watch "Reservoir Dogs". Nor would I know "The Soup", the Joel McHale show. There was nothing particularly arcane about clues or answers. What's in your wheelhouse is what any puzzle is about.

crackblind 2:43 PM  

I nearly halved my time on a Saturday puzzle and I have no idea how (for me, that's not as big a deal as for Rex but the low 20s is blazingly fast). During my initial run through the clues, I immediately had, like @Hartley70 above suggested, SuperSoaker for 22 Down which led to Soya for 22 Across. Besides the ? for the alternate spelling of that bean, both of them totally screwed me on crosses, except there were too many that fit along my incorrect 22 Down (see 45, 50, & 52 Across, and especially 31 because WATERMELONSEEDS came to me much earlier than Rex saw it). All that and I'm the exact right age and disposition (read geek) for MODELROCKETS but then again I have kids and love, to my wife's chagrin, having both SuperSoaker & Nerf battles with them.

Add the mini puzzles in the NW & SE (seriously both had one square entries) with the killer cross in the NW, again, I don't know how I pulled it off. At least in the SE, MRPINK & STEPKIDS were such gimmes that it wasn't too much trouble down there. I totally guessed the G in TAGORE/DRAGONET. And a nod to my dad for MOSE Allison, who's he introduced me to after finding me digging through his jazz collection and pulling out his Evans & Monk records. (Tyner's also fine when he's in someone else's group, not so much when he's in charge for some reason).

MartyS 2:48 PM  

Cmon, give it up for INBREED for "Keep close relations?"

Z 3:19 PM  

@phil phil - A natick: "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." For this definition and more everyone should drop by Rex's FAQ page.

So, do > ¼th of Saturday solvers know a Bengali poet who died 75 years ago? Apparently not. I am also always amazed by people's misunderstanding of what it means to have earned a doctorate, sort of the inverse of what it takes to solve a puzzle. For puzzles one's knowledge needs to be a mile wide but only an inch deep. For a Ph.D one's knowledge needs to be only an inch wide but a mile deep. And, while I agree with @John Child that people need to stretch beyond their cultural milieux, I also agree with @Evil Doug that Bengali polymaths are not going to be my first choice.

C1 has an article about the Harvard prof who teaches the class titled "Bob Dylan." Maybe I will read some Tagore ...

WATERMELON SEEDS reminded me of this news story.

A little music to clean up the nasty taste in your mouth from that news story.

Masked and Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Previous M&A comment autocorrect un-correct recap: "…hi-ways leaden into em…" shoulda been "…hi-ways leadin into em…". Not too bad; only missed one of em, I think.

Forgot to mention: Sorta knew MOSE Allison. Think I've got an old 45 or two on the Prestige label by that dude, but couldn't quite recall his name, until I got a coupla letters.

fave weeject: RAS. Whoa, SatPuz Breath --partial emirate names! har. Now that's what I'm desperately talkin about.


Carola 3:46 PM  

Challenging for me, fun to rassle with, and very satisfying to finish. Starting out, I had TAGORE, MORNAY, ORACLE, ECLAT, POSTERS, and the now familiar soya x supersoaker. Then piece, piece, piece it together. No idea about DRAGONET, MOSE, THE SOUP, MR PINK, STEPKIDS, YOU AND I, or the WATERMELON SEEDS. One thing that made the puzzle hard for me was all of the two-word phrases - none of them arcane, but difficult for me to come up with unil I had quite a few crosses: TV DRAMA, RECORD SET, DIG UNDER, DAM UP, KEEP APART, THAT'S HOW, CHANGE ENDS.

Mohair Sam 3:57 PM  

Great Saturday. We struggled, and lucked out with a couple of good guesses (notably the "E" at the end of MOSE). Have to say it played ultra-challenging for us, but that's what you pay for on a Saturday, ain't it?

Did you know there are at least four ways to spell LALANNE that seem fine phonetically? We do.

Have tried to watch "Reservoir Dogs"several times but can make no sense out of the movie. Just loved WATERMELONSEEDS as an answer, fun stuff. On the other hand, INBREED was kinda creepy. You elect me King of CAMBODIA and I'm invoking my divine right and suspending elections indefinitely.

Great puzzle Mark Diehl.

webwinger 4:11 PM  

Thanks to my "google early and google often" policy, this played very easy. Without that there would have been many sticking points. In particular, without RAS (a total WOE) in place I couldn't have believed the source of anago sushi didn't end in EEL.

Mohair Sam 4:22 PM  

@Z - On Thursday you said: "Giving Dylan a Literature Nobel is Peak Baby Boomer." - and today you followed up with: "C1 has an article about the Harvard prof who teaches the class titled "Bob Dylan." Maybe I will read some Tagore . . .".

Tip of the cap. I've used the "Peak Baby Boomer" line in discussions since, btw - boomers fume.

puzzle hoarder 4:36 PM  

Mark Diehl has been my favorite constructor ever since his fiendishly difficult "FACEPLANT" previous Saturday puzzle. Today's was a normally challenging Saturday. It helped pass our early morning flight to Denver. Misspelling MELON with two Ls and making SEEDS singular was the biggest slow down. Another was having a hard time recognizing TABLOID. All was fixed by the crosses for a satisfying clean grid. BTW I've never heard of TAGORE or MORNAY but like I said the crosses can fix all.

Hungry Mother 4:59 PM  

Wanted HIREDIN rather than "hiredon". I felt happy getting down to that point.

michael 5:10 PM  

I thought this was a fairly easy Saturday until I got stuck in the northeast. Knew Mose and Tagore. But had to google the soup, never heard of rondelle, and blanked on the correct spelling of "woolly." I did wonder about eye test being part of a physical.

Anti-NCAP 5:21 PM  

@puzzle hoarder, the Carnegie-Mellon thanks U for that practice.

Apparently no one has said this yet, so... Even though I'd feel short-changed if my shot glass held a mere AMPoULE, I thought we got a great Diehl today.

Tita A 5:40 PM  

Commenting before comment reading. Or should I say commentating? Have I mentioned how much I hate the word commentator? Why can't it be commenter. No one commentates. We comment.

Wait - where was I...?

Oh yeah - just had to stop by to say that if I had a NYT xword blog, and I had been commentating on this puzzle, we would all be calling that familiar phenomenon a Mose instead of a Natick.

Tita A 6:07 PM  

To illustrate how badly I got beaten up by this puzzle - nay - by just that single cross - I thought the clue was referring to an author *named* Bengali. Sheesh!

This was a great Saturday toughie - just the way I like 'em.

I have heard of Jack LALANNE, but needed TONE to tell me if it was LALANNE or LALAiNE.

NW of course was toughest. 26A could be zero or ONES - the unnlikelyhood of 1D having a Z there made me lead with ONES.
hereSHOW made this corner really, really hard. I went through same process to guess the G at DRAGONET, but guessed I when I shoulda guessed E. (Realizing that "Bengali" was a person from Bengal (sheesh again!!) would have helped me to guess correctly...

Oh well. Had fun anyway. Glad to have missed only one letter, and probably the single most popular Natick ever.

Gregory Schmidt 1:37 AM  

Got WATERMELONSEEDS with no crosses, just remembered it from childhood. Knew MORNAY cuz I worked in a restaurant, and remembered LALANNE from other puzzles. Agree it's Naticky.

ShortShrift 4:50 PM  

Jack LaLanne's wife's name was Elaine!

Atram007 5:28 PM  

that dude is well known

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