Jazzman Montgomery / SAT 10-29-16 / Jugged old British delicacy / Affirmed's rival for triple crown / Air spirit in folklore / Compiler of 1855 reference work / Ticket waster / Winemaking byproduct

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: GOANNA (37D: Australian monitor lizard) —
A goanna is any of several Australian monitor lizards of the genus Varanus, as well as certain species from Southeast Asia. // Around 30 species of goanna are known, 25 of which are found in Australia. This varied group of carnivorous reptiles ranges greatly in size and fills several ecological niches. // The goanna features prominently in Aboriginal mythology and Australian folklore. // Being predatory lizards, goannas are often quite large, or at least bulky, with sharp teeth and claws. The largest is the perentie (V. giganteus), which can grow over 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length. // Not all goannas are gargantuan. Pygmy goannas may be smaller than a man's arm. The smallest of these, the short-tailed monitor (Varanus brevicuda) reaches only 20 cm in length. They survive on smaller prey, such as insects and mice. // Goannas combine predatory and scavenging behaviours. A goanna will prey on any animal it can catch and is small enough to eat whole. Goannas have been blamed for the death of sheep by farmers, though most likely erroneously, as goannas are also eaters of carrion and are attracted to rotting meat.
• • •

Haters gonna hate, and GOANNA gonna GOANNA. [Cheer on actress Paquin?] => GOANNA! I love this lizard's name. The punssibilities are endless. Who you GOANNA call? [_____] BUSTERS! (shout-out to Thursday's puzz). I fixate on GOANNA—a fine, upstanding word—because it was the only answer in this whole puzzle that felt a bit recherché. The puzzle otherwise feels phenomenally obscurity-free.* It is also smooth as &$^%. This is one of those increasingly rare NYT puzzles where I wanted to stop and smile and take pictures mid-solve. Pure enjoyment. Delightful answers and clues around every turn—and so many turns! Felt like I was looping and swooshing around the grid. No sad corners to get boxed into. All curves and waves and flourishes. This is the kind of puzzle for which I have the most respect—it's expertly crafted, but hides its artfulness. There's nothing terribly glitzy or showy about it on the surface. There are no stunts. It's not loaded with Xs Qs Zs etc. It just hums. It's fun. It's smart. It's a pleasure to solve. It could've been a bit tougher (felt more like a Friday), but no matter. It was a pleasure to watch the answers come into view. There's an effortlessness to the whole affair that makes it delightful to solve, but makes it unlikely, I think, that a solver's going to go "WOW!" But constructors, I assure you, are going "WOW!"

There's one little crutch I want to point out. Nah, I don't wanna say "crutch," because it implies some kind of laziness or cheapness that I don't think this puzzle possesses. But it's a ... thing ... that allows the constructor to pull the puzzle off so smoothly. Note how often "S" appears as the last letter of both an Across and Down. There are three lines of such "S"s, running NW up from the end of WES, the end of RAMRODS, and the end of CULTS, respectively (though that last line is just two long ... throw in the "S" at the end of BANTERS and you get your third set of three "S"s). You can stick an "S" on the end of most answers and make an acceptable answer, so terminal-S'ing it like this is a way of making filling a grid smoothly easier. To PB's enormous credit, those "S"s are of all different types—plurals, 3rd-person verbs, name endings—so you never really feel a sense of sameness. In fact, I doubt most solvers notice "S"-ending pile-ups at all. But "S"s make it easier. Of course, if that was the only trick to smoothing out themeless puzzles, we'd all be Patrick Berry.

I don't know who "foreign-owned company" immediately made me think NISSAN at 1A: Pickup trucks from a foreign-owned company made and sold only in North America, but it did, and that sent me rocketing into the puzzle (as correctly guessing all or part of 1A often does). Got NO-SHOW (1D: Ticket waster) off the "N" and filled in that NW corner easily.

Which brings me to my first mistake, and my first "Nice clue!" Somehow 6D: "This is ___" took me to NEW. Something you'd say when admiring changes to someone's house or hair ... or an understated response to some shocking change of any kind. I don't know—it felt right. Often when I guess wrong, I groan at the right answer, but "NPR" made me laugh. Seems a really hard clue for NPR, but also a perfect one, as anyone who listens has heard that exact phrase a ton. Anyway, ONCE UPON A TIME made me see the error, and off I went. Had TANNIN for TARTAR (16D: Winemaking byproduct), but otherwise had no problem coming around the far end of the puzzle, clockwise.

This puzzle might've been harder if the crossword itself hadn't taught me the correct spelling of Jack LALANNE's name earlier in the week (34D: "The Jack ___ Show," 1959-85). I had some minor struggles in the remaining parts of the grid. Got ROSEANNE easy but blanked on the family's name (CONNER). And in the west, I wavered between NYMPH and SYLPH for a few seconds, before finally deciding on the correct answer (35A: Air spirit, in folklore). Caught two lucky breaks over there, with proper noun gimmes on both ELOISE (33A: "___ in Moscow" (1959 children's book)) and ALYDAR (30D: Affirmed's rival for the Triple Crown). Finished up with a MOANing GOANNA. Favorite clues include 29A: They're put in barrels for RAMRODS (oh, *those* kinds of barrels...) and 28D: Bready bunch? for CARBS. That's all for tonight. See you Sunday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*OK, jugged HARE is slightly obscure, but HARE isn't.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Beijingrrl 4:09 AM  

I had smack into instead of smash into at first so the hare/tartar cross took a bit to sort out. I also had cave instead of cove for smuggler's den which caused a dnf i didn't bother to search out. Connor did ring a bell once I knew which was the offending square. A fun, smooth Saturday puzzle, but solving after midnight after driving my kids home from a dance left me impatient to be done with it.

Anonymous 4:35 AM  

Just got "bready bunch" (doh!). CarterR before CONNOR (har). Vaguely knew nymPH was water, not air. Somehow knew GEE (I is OLDS, middle OLDS, anyway). Lovely, lovely longs. Learned GOANNA and will now forget it. I'm somehow not charmed by the word at all. Subscribe to a few NPR podcasts, so, yeah, my GOANNA brain chimed right in along with that blank (got mostly from crosses).

[Sweet review also. For what it's worth, this is the @Rex I love. Namely the apolitical, puzzle-loving @Rex. I hope he'll forgive me, but to my way of thinking, this is as opposed to the ain't-I-wonderful @Rex. I'm not alone, I reckon--if not in any vociferous majority.]

Anonymous 4:49 AM  

I found this puzzle pretty challenging, but a lot of fun! I particularly appreciated MOLOTOV, but was surprised they didn't clue it as "cocktail eponym". Incidentally, I always expected that Beria would be the first of Stalin's commissars to show up in a crossword puzzle--how could you not love the three vowels in such close succession!

ZenMonkey 5:59 AM  

This was super easy for me (10 minutes for both Fri and Sat this week), but Berrys are reliably sweet no matter what. In fact I suspect my time today was more Patrick's achievement than mine.

Cassieopia 6:10 AM  

Ran into same issue as @beijingrrl where I had CaNNER instead of CONNOR yielding CaVE instead of COVE. Having only a vague - very vague - idea of the show, I like my version better - Roseanne Canner. Has a nice ring to it.

GOANNA was actually a gimme, as some Servas visitors from Australia brought a children's book as one of their gifts, "Goanna Anna" and it was such a silly story that I remember the title to this day.

I agree the solving experience felt smooth and satisfying. I never once got so stumped that I lost hope, and there were many awesome moments where the long answers suddenly made themselves clear. Very satisfying. Except for Roseanne Canner.

Z 6:33 AM  

I suspect ALYDAR crossing ELOISE and SYLPH might generate some obscurity complaints. Hand up for SMAck INTO before SMASH and CONNoR before CONNER. TARTAR as clued is obscure here, too. But it all worked out in the end

Loren Muse Smith 6:37 AM  

Rex – For my scrapbook, I've cut and pasted today's review to glue over the one you did for my puzzle a while back. I feel much better now, and no one in my family will ever know

I did not notice those S's. But your comment reminded me of this tour de force by PB. Andrea and I were kicking around the idea of a puzzle whose themers have 3 S's in a row when we stumbled upon this one while searching HOMELESS SHELTER. Oops. Think I'll just go lie down.

My only two erasures were "lento" for LARGO and "Lallane" for LALANNE. I remembered this latter had an unexpected doubled letter.

I've been wondering for a while if this rule of not having a word in a clue that appears in the grid is just cruciverbial myth. TRIPLE SEC and in a clue, "Triple Crown" in a PB offering… Well, it's, ahem, Affirmed as far as I'm concerned.


Liked NOSH right next to INHALE. Yup. Guilty.

Rex – I was thinking "This is bad" before "This is NPR."

TOE LOOPS/SLIDE/TRIPS. This is why I cannot watch figure skating. If someone falls, I'm devastated. Same with the balance beam. When these events are on tv, I just excuse myself and go steal things for my scrapbook.

Patrick, you crossword IDOL, you. Very SECTSy offering today.

George Barany 7:38 AM  

I'm back home after a few days in Washington, DC, and what a treat to solve @Patrick Berry's puzzle very late at night when I was too wound up to go to sleep ... and then to wake up this morning to @Rex's gushing review. At this writing, seven comments are already up, all lovely but a special shoutout to @Loren Muse Smith who had me in stitches with her Affirmed remark.

Put me in the "This is WAR" camp. Eventually, I reasoned out NO_SHOW and NISSAN and guessed right on TITANS, but it was definitely work. SlASH... before SMASH..., water(RESISTANT) before SHOCK ... and some breath-holding on the GEE/GOANNA cross, but that was it for false turns.

INHALE made me smile. SECTS and CULTS, both with the same clue. BARBS crossing CARBS. NATE clued for the controversial director of a new movie that is not exactly killing at the box office, as opposed to the ever-in-the-news Silver. Speaking of Silver, I reviewed a proposal on "silver nanocomposites" which were given the acronym "AgNC" ... but a few lines lower, the applicant's Spellcheck program changed the acronym to AGENCY.

To @Anonymous at 4:49 AM, today marks the seventh @Shortz-era appearance of MOLOTOV, as compared to two such appearances for BERIA (both in the late 1990's). Hat-tip to @AliasZ and @Leapfinger, who in recent days have mentioned the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution in their comments.

Today (October 29, 2016) would have been my father's 95th birthday. He shares it with an important figure in the crossword community and the father of the birth control pill, among others. Find out more by solving The Djerassi Gambit, and Others.

Seth 7:41 AM  

My last square was almost a DNF: the Y in SYLPH (?) and ALYDAR (?). I entered the normal vowels, hoping one would give me "Completed." But none did. Glad I thought to try Y. Kind of a Natick, though does it count as a Natick if you can run the letters as the last box and wait for the puzzle to tell you it's done?

No matter, though. Great puzzle.

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

I love PB! My problem today was that I didn't know CONNER or GOANNA. No complaints about that (it happens). I guessed the common N (correctly), but "smuggler's hideaway" could have been CaVE as easily as COVE, and I wound up with CaNNER (CaNtER?) as Roseanne's sitcom name.

Dolgo 7:53 AM  

Yeah, great puzzle. But I didn't remember Roseanne's show including her character's surname, like most everyone else. The s's business is a small fault, I think. But all architectonic appreciation aside, wasn't it a bit easy for a Saturday? Still not Sleepy when done!

Dolgo 7:55 AM  

PS I really liked the "ticket waster" clue, for some reason.

r.alphbunker 8:14 AM  

Finished with 45D {Smuggler's hideaway} CaVE for COVE
37D {Australian monitor lizard} GOAtNA for GOANNA
46A {Sitcom mom whose kids were named Becky, Darlene and D.J.} ROSEANNECaNtER

I just assumed that CAVE was right. I need to remember to check all answers in a Natick area carefully.

Details are here.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

If you didn't know ROSEANNECONNER as I did not, then CAVE vs COVE is a guess for "Smuggler's hideaway".

Then if you couldn't be sure of the spelling of "LALANNE" then one might put in BURRS for BARBS. But I've got no excuse for missing "CARBS"


Mark 8:27 AM  

I liked the puzzle too. I will say that it's a Saturday and I coukd actually do it in a reasonable time; so Rex's standards, it's an easy one. It's also interesting to see I'm not the only person doing the puzzle while in Beijing

Ted 8:42 AM  

You know what fits in 15A (Durable as a wristwatch)?


That sent me waaaaaaaaay down the wrong path.

Hartley70 8:49 AM  

Just a delight for me, although a little too fleeting. I was happy to be hung up on the D in ALYDAR and the A in GOANNA because they made the solve last longer. I pulled them off from the crosses for the finish.

Thanks for the two triple stacks, Mr. Berry. When I look at an empty grid and see stacks, I know I'm in for a good time. This did not disappoint.

@GeorgeBarany, I can add my mother to the list of birthday honorees today. She wasn't a puzzler, but she sure did love her NPR. In fact, she was a "news junkie" before I knew that moniker existed. There was almost nothing going on in the world that she missed and my sister and I lovingly called her "The Peg Report" whenever we needed an obscure question answered. She was a pip!

GILL I. 9:03 AM  

@Ted. I was so sure it was KEEPS ON TICKING I penned it right in. I just stared at that answer and was so smugly happy. I made such a mess that I had to re-print a blank puzzle. So, I poured myself another drink and still stared.
Come morning, clear head, got that upstairs all figured out. Wanted to do the CANCAN and maybe some TOELOOPS. NISSAN was SORTA easy but had a heck of a time with TITANS. Went downstairs and got ROSEANNE CONNER without a hiccup. I used to watch that stupid dumb show all the time. That was before we got Netflix.
SYLPH/NYMPH eenie meenie miney mo.

Bobby G 9:09 AM  

Beautiful, but for me definitely too easy for a Saturday. I assumed 1A had to be a Japanese company, and after Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma didn't fit, I landed right on NISSAN TITAN and was off to the races. I also immediately knew ROSEANNE CONNER, as I distinctly remember an episode where Roseanne loudly spells her name over the phone, and it was memorable that her name was spelled with an E instead of an O, because for some reason the E version felt much more blue-collar.

So I didn't fall into the smuggler's CaVE. But I've heard of "Smuggler's COVE," and never heard the words "Smuggler's CaVE"... but a google search reveals only marginally more results for the former.

Held my breath as well entering the G in GOANNA/GEE as my last letter, but otherwise... amazing.

And now that I know GOANNA is not just a lizard, but a cheer for actress Paquin, I'll never forget it -- thanks, Rex!

Brian W. Ogilvie 9:23 AM  

This was fun! Took me longer than it might, because my initial incorrect answers for 2A and 13A, "twice-told tales" and "keeps on ticking", both fit. But at least they gave me ENHANCE for 14D. I was hesitant on SYLPH because I was thinking that folklore might be more northern European/Grimm brothers than Greek, but I decided that mythology is just folklore with a fancy pedigree.

Jamie C 9:35 AM  

waterRESISTANT before SHOCKRESISTANT, otherwise fairly smooth sailing. As I said earlier in the week (paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to go back and find the clue), the "Berry that is said to have health benefits" is Patrick, not ACAI.

Mohair Sam 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 9:44 AM  

I was finding this uncharacteristically hard to get into, for a PB1, having only NIT, SLIDE, LUN_ and the incorrect "grappa"at 16D. Then I hit the SE and saw COVE crossing COAST, and I coasted away into the rest of the puzzle.

One lucky near-hitch was an incorrect (and stupid) guess at 34D. I didn't write it in but with _ _ _AN_E there, I was thinking there must have been a Jack pALANcE show (d'oh, didn't look at the date range). So with BUENOS in at 36D, I was looking for a four letter word for "niche religions" that was _UL_S. CULTS, yes. If that L in pALANcE hadn't been the same as for the actual answer, I would probably still be looking at that one. Of course, it was just Oct. 15th that we last saw jumping Jack LALANNE.

TOELeaPS made 22A SORTA hard to see but I finally gave LeaPS up, which made the NW FLOES so much better.

Best aha of the day: when the top longs were completely blank except for NIT crossing TANT in at the end of 15A, I came up with SHOCK RESISTANT all at once and after that, resistance was futile for this puzzle.

Patrick Berry, thanks!

Mohair Sam 9:47 AM  

Excellent review @Rex - you told me why I liked the puzzle so much, and taught me something about puzzle construction as well. Thank you.

Has anyone pointed out how clean the stacks were? No forced or partial crosses, no "ONES", each entry would have stood alone nicely as a long across or down. Great stuff.

Hand up with @Rex in thinking GOANNA a great beast name. Doesn't jugged HARE sound repulsive? Speaking of repulsive, we watched one episode of ROSEANNE. Thought eight track before CASSETTETAPE, we were a decade off. Affirmed and ALYDAR provided us perhaps the most exciting Triple Crown ever, never to be forgotten.

Knew a guy who repaired watches for a living, he'd just chuckle when you'd hand him your non-ticking watch and say it was water- or SHOCK- or anything- "RESISTANT."

We recently did a stack of Patrick Berry puzzles and are probably on his wave length for now, hence this may have been our fastest Saturday ever. But it was so smooth and clean - great fun.

kitshef 9:58 AM  

SHOCK RESISTANT first in, and ROSEANNECONNER a gimme, so two longs on either end opened things up and I was headed for a fastest Saturday ever.


tApRODS before RAMRODS, confirmed by tEnor before RESIN, confirmed by nYmPH before SYLPH cost me, I dunno, ten minutes in that SW.

Never heard of NISSAN TITANS, so needed every cross there.

Like the double SEC in column 4.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

I expected to DNF on one letter, and I did, but not on the letter I thought it would be. I was sure that either the G of the first N of GOANNA, which I guessed, would be wrong. But they were right. My wrong square was ROSEANNE CaNNER crossing CaVE (45D). Once again, pop culture rises up and bites me in an unmentionable place. I thought that CANNER was an odd last name for a sitcom character, but CANTER, which would have created GOATNA, seemed even less likely.

Other than that, a beautiful PB1, with no junk at all. For me, it played much easier than most Saturdays and most Berrys, but was a real pleasure to work on nonetheless. As usual, I never looked at the constructor's name until I was in the midst of solving and realizing how much I was enjoying it. I originally put CULTS at 4D instead of SECTS, but quickly corrected. I then was interested to see CULTS pop up elsewhere. And hi, ELOISE. It's nice to see you back after all these years.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

I thought puzzle was fair except the obscure clue for "hare". I had to google that one and don't think it can be excused by the fact that "hare" is a known word. Good job PB!

NCA President 10:06 AM  

I was :20 off my best time...so this was easy for me.

Very often I experience things in my solve and then come here and find out I'm not alone in that experience. This is not always the case, of course, but today Rex's review reflected my experience with the puzzle. I never felt boxed in like I often feel with a late week puzzle. And the clues (which I consider the heart and soul and personality of a puzzle...followed closely in second by the grid itself) were fair, challenging in places, and nary a single groan.

Not that it matters, but I did notice all of those Ss lined up and I actually thought that it was a bit like cheating. Since we read from left to right, the terminus of words all seem to come together there, from the crosses to the downs, in the center. I've noticed it before. But that was the only time I was taken out of the puzzle...for the rest of the time I was fully engaged.

I also had nYmPH for SYLPH. I had "lair" briefly for COVE. Pirates have lairs, right?

Things like Dovekies and Soviet proteges and Aussie lizards and even wine byproducts I didn't know but got completely via crosses. The long crosses in the north took only a couple of key letters. The CONNERs took a bit more. I loved that show but couldn't remember their last name.

Pretty uneventful Saturday, much like the uneventful "October Surprise™" of yesterday, that looked daunting at first but at second glance turned out to be nothing. Heh...life imitates art.

Maruchka 10:13 AM  

Ah, PB Smooth. Agree with @Rex - please, more of the same, Mr. Shortz..

Only hiccup was VE----- AVENUE. Had Ventura, totally ignored ERA (a gimme). Smack!

Fav of the day - LALANNE. Met him briefly in SF, late 70s, while having a drink and cig on the Savoy Tivoli porch. My aunt-in-law showed up with Jack in tow. He looked in great shape, and when we were introduced he said "Hi, yer beootiful. Yer shuddn't smoke. Nice to meet ya." Yer alright, Jack.

@GeorgeB - Here's to your dad! My beloved 96 year old aunt recently died, four days short of her 97th. She was well loved by many generations, and will be dearly missed.

Tita A 10:21 AM  

@lms... "and no one in my family will ever know..."
That says it all in a nutshell, right? I know exactly what you mean.

@Rex...I always note terminal Ss, especially on Fri/Sat, because they help immeasurably. Though they can fool you too. I also look for clues that may have a terminal UP, IN, or AT. The only way I can hope for inroads late-week is to lean heavily on this solving crutches.

So yeah, did notice these. Thanks for them, Patrick!

I was on record for a rare Friday night Saturday solve, but nYmPH and rOmanOV forced me to turn in. Too bad...I had such momentum going til I got there.
And that feeling of momentum carried over into this morning. I thought. Had finished, so came here, only to read about RAMRODS. Aack...

So a technical DNF, though I'm pretty sure I woulda wound up naticked by that horse sLYDAR. I may have to add racing horses to my list of "random letter strings that should be banned from xwords along with TV channels, college team inits, and sports stadiums.
(Talk about crutches... Oops...did I mention that caused my dnf?)

Getting NOSHOW with no crosses made me feel so smug.

Nice Saturday that leaves me enough time to go peep at some leaves.

OxfordBleu 10:21 AM  

Had VENTNOR instead of VERMONT. Other than that, ALYDAR was prett damn obscure especially with the crosses. BT it's Patrick Berry so I wouldn't expect anything less than "get a room" praise from Rex. Hero worship is maybe justified but pounding on the newer constructors as you do seems harsh.

Steve M 10:23 AM  

Best puzzle in ages and finished quickly with total enjoyment thx to mr berry!

Lobster11 10:27 AM  

Loved both the puzzle and the review. However, I've gotta disagree with OFL's suggestion that constructors will be more wowed than solvers. Speaking as one of the latter, there are many puzzles for which this is most certainly true; I know because I usually hate them. Sure, I'm willing to tip my cap when a constructor pulls off some kind of death-defying feat, but if it doesn't enhance my solving experience -- and especially if it detracts from it -- I am not a happy camper. Trust me, the smoothness of a puzzle like this makes me go "Wow!" more than anything a else a constructor might do to try to elicit such a reaction.

As easily as I breezed through this, though, it ended up as a DNF: RESIN (as clued), ALYDAR, and MOLOTOV cutting across ELOISE, SYLPH, and NATE was a big fat WOEfest for me. Normally I would gripe about such a cluster*&$%, but the rest of this was just so enjoyable I didn't mind.

Daryl 10:29 AM  

Beautiful grid. I saw "DJ" and thought maybe that was the name from Full House so I had ROSEANNE TANNER instead of CONNER. And the crosses still made sense, kind of - COOL TAT and CAVE. Only thing that tripped me up, spent 2 minutes scouting the grid to find this mistake.

AliasZ 10:32 AM  

The only thing that stopped me from entering WAR was that "This is ___" did not end with an exclamation mark. It had to be some bland, non-exclamatory, neutral commercialese phrase like "This is Spinal Tap." NPR came from the P and R from the crosses. In this case the short cross did not help the long entry, quite the opposite.

There is a typo in the clue for MONET. The on-line version has "His house in Giverny is a now a museum." "...is a now a museum" "...is a now a museum" "...is a now a museum" -- I read it three times to make sure I am not seeing double, perhaps an early indication of the onset of some degenerative disorder. The editor must have dozed off.

Things I learned today:
-- "Funereal" rhymes with venereal.
-- GOANNA is an Aussie lizard that sounds much like "iguana."
-- I must be psychic for linking the aria "LARGO al factotum" yesterday.

The most obvious things I noticed that somewhat diminishes PB's usually sparkling work:
-- The big ugly blotches in the NE/SW corners.
-- All the S's that landed on the stair steps seeking the path of least resistance.

Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle. PB rules!

Have a spooky weekend.

Tita A 10:35 AM  

@Ted...That Timex tag line popped right into my mind...though I waited for crosses, so no writeovers.

dARtS before BARBS.

And curses on Shoprite for putting their lyrics over the Can Can tune to pitch their canned goods sales. . But at least I was spurred to post-Google and learn that the tune is by Offenbach.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

@ralph.bunker (8:14 a.m.) -- Not only your "Natick area" but the order in which you entered all your answers seemed so similar to mine on the face of it, that I went to your link for the first time ever to look at precisely how you solved. The similarity was spooky. I, too, began with NO SHOW to WES to HALTS and OLDS. It's a very interesting link to provide, Ralph. Thanks for taking the trouble.

@Hartley(8:49 a.m.) -- I love "The Peg Report".

@NCA Pres (10:06 a.m.) -- Re: last paragraph. From your lips to God's ear, as they say. I wish I felt as sanguine as you. I'm a wreck right now.

jae 10:37 AM  

Almost as easy as yesterday's. My only pause was guessing the G in GOANNA (a major WOE), but I was counting on Conway Twitty not to get too cute with his song titles.

Classic margarita recipe: 3 - 2 - 1 - Tequila, lime juice, triple sec.

Very smooth and @Rex a pleasure to solve. Liked it of course!

G.Harris 10:42 AM  

Got lost in the same cave as many others. Still solving Berry is always a fun experience.

Lobster11 10:44 AM  

Heads-up to anyone who wants to do the PB "tour de force" linked by @Loren above: The link takes you directly to the SOLUTION. Fortunately I was able to avert my gaze nanoseconds after it came up on my screen, while still noting the date. If you have a subscription to the NYT site, look up June 26, 2003 in the Archive.

Thanks for the link, @Loren. I'm headed to the back porch with it right now....

mathgent 10:55 AM  

I'd say that this was a typical silky-smooth PB. They have minimal crunch because he doesn't use many obscure words Today, the only unusual ones were "Dovekies," GOANNA, and the clue for TARTAR. But his clues for the words I know are not the obvious ones and they often have a delightful twist.

Only because the fun didn't last long enough, B plus.

Stanley Hudson 10:57 AM  

Clean and fun puzzle that's maybe a bit too easy for a Saturday.

@Nancy, many of us are a wreck today. It's quite possible that James Coomey will be remembered as the idiot who inadvertently brought down the republic.

mac 11:00 AM  

Beautiful, easy Saturday puzzle.

Started out with no-show without crosses, and that whole upper area fell quickly. Several answers I did not know came easily through crosses. My biggest problem was 46A: From Rosanne O'Conner to Roseann O'Conner to Roseanne Conner. Phew. @Loren: I also went from lento to largo.

Easy Friday and Saturday this week, but I did enjoy them.

old timer 11:17 AM  

When I aw PB was the constructor I expected a rave review from OFL. I thought it was a very tough puzzle myself, not knowing CONNER and thinking ALYDAR was spelled Aladar. DNF for me thanks to that one.

I played Monopoly regularly at the same time I was learning to read, so the names and locations of the streets and avenues are burned into my brain. VERMONTAVENUE went in at once off the V in MOLOTOV. I changed "cave" to COVE on theory that "Canner" was wrong and CONNER at least could be right.

Never heard of the TITAN truck and for a long time I thought ONCE UPON A TIME was too good to be true. But it was true and the Downs gave me the truck's name. Last thing I did was to change "sleet" to FLOES though I don't think a FLOE is very sheetlike. But I really wanted FROSH, a clever answer indeed, and a plural with no s in it.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Yes, in reality it was nothing but, it has already been labeled as a bigger scandal than Watergate. As always, especially if you are a political candidate, reality is what you think it is, especially when the meat of the issue is something of the same ilk you have been guilty of many, many times over the years!!

da kine 11:48 AM  

For some reason, I thought ROSEANNE was a TANNER, and Cool TAT and CAVE as a smuggler's hideout both worked, so I DNFed for the first time in a long time. What an excellent puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

@Anoa dude: yo! Yer mic was evidently fully-plugged in … now even the @RP-meister is coverin the POC beat.

Who'da thunk it … GOANNA now has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. M&A suspects that the big black-square blobs in the NE and SW are meant to represent giant lizard scales.

M&A had an eazy-E solvequest, but had the one "complimentary error", at the AL?DAR/S?LPH intersection of Y-not; guessed "I", and lost my bonus.

Jack LALANNE makes his second October 2016 appearance! Scary. Halloween-inspired?

fave weeject: WES. Luv his Montgomusic. Better clue, tho: {Sew against the grain??}. Only six/64 weejects to choose from, btw,

Thanx, PB1.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


A Frank 11:54 AM  

I had __ __ MRODS for 29A and kept wanting NIMRODS. That held me up a little. And TAROS before CARBS. And I wanted TOYOTA something but quickly moved to NISSAN when I saw NO SHOW (WES Montgomery got it for me, because he does it for me). A very enjoyable solve.

Lewis 11:57 AM  

Solid and smooth (the PB norm), as yesterday's was; in fact, three very good days in a row. My three favorite clues: RAMRODS, NIT, ENTREE. I had "CNN" before NPR. I like that the neighbors MOLOTOV and TRIPLE SEC are both cocktail related. I thought FROSH was only plural; learned that it can be singular, as well as what a GOANNA is, and jugged HARE (which is quite an ENTREE -- Google it). Didn't know whether to put COVE or CaVE because I didn't know CONNOR.

There are some cooks who, whatever they put on the table, will produce food that is luscious, memorable, and makes you feel good all over. Every time. In crossworld, there are an elite few who produce puzzles with the same qualities. Every time. Today's ENTREE, for one.

mathgent 11:59 AM  

Need some more PB? He has a Halloween variety puzzle in today's WSJ, available free on their puzzle website.

Carola 12:05 PM  

Thanks, @Rex, for pointing out the graceful swoops in the grid design that added to the pleasures of this puzzle. My start was NO SHOW x ONCE UPON A TiME, and I swooshed around from there, briefly tripped up by OtiS (thinking of the elevator guy) before OLDS and a guess at AnYDAy.

I liked TIME over the SHOCK-RESISTANT watch and smiled when TRIPLE SEC seemed to complement those two.

I knew TARTAR from a recent delving into what the heck this cream of TARTAR is that recipes keep calling for.

"Keeps a mock rivalry going, say" - that would be my husband and his brother. BANTER for them, exhausting for the rest of us.

@Mohair Sam, re: jugged HARE. Your comment reminded me of a roadside sign we saw when driving through North Carolina, advertising possum in a can. I can't turn up my nose - I'm from a culture that fancies lye-soaked cod in a barrel (lutefisk).

@Lobster11, thank you for the archive reference.

@Nancy, I join you in wreckage.

puzzle hoarder 12:10 PM  

You have to go out of your way to make a mistake on a PB puzzle. However I rose to the occasion last night and misspelled with LALAINE. We just had him a couple of weeks ago and I recall commenting on how I needed the crosses to see if the L or the N was doubled. Somehow I convinced myself that it was spelled with an I. Even the unsightly ROSEANIE couldn't shake this conviction. Convincing myself that my entries are correct is a technique I use when I'm dealing with unknowns. It can backfire when I get one of these wild hunches and I won't give it up irregardless of how crazy the cross entry may appear.
Everything else went in very smoothly and at the easy end of the Saturday spectrum. It was no surprise that GOANNA is an all time debut. Wine making in the clue for TARTAR makes that a debut clue. Jugged HARE is not in my Webster's but the first definition for jug as a verb is "to stew hare in an earthenware vessel." I look these things up after I solve.

Anoa Bob 12:20 PM  

Too many years grading statistics exams has irreparably warped the old noodle. First thing I noticed when I looked at the grid was those B-21 Stealth Bomber silhouettes in the NE & SW. They fit the technical definition of cheater squares---black squares that don't change the word count, but make it easier to fill the grid.

Then as I solved, those Ss began to pop out. I count at least seven pairs of Downs/Acrosses that share a final, grid-filling convenient, S, to wit AUK/HALT, TAINT/FLOE, INSURE/TRIP, TOELOOP/RAMROD, MEAN/BANTER, PANG/BARB, & CARB/CULT. The jury is still deliberating over SECT/OLD & SCOLD/WE.

Wish I could just blithely ignore that sort of thing, but can't, anymore than ignore a misplaced decimal point in an Analysis of Variance test. Yeah, I know, it's an affliction. I need a long, deep drink from the river Lethe.

Nancy 12:24 PM  

Re: Jugged HARE -- So at your suggestion, @Lewis, I went and looked it up. My reaction? HARE -- yesssss! Red wine reduction -- yessss! Fresh garlic -- yessss! HARE'S blood -- nooooo! But all those photos look so mouth-watering delicious. Every last one of them. So can we just lose the blood?

I adore game, and almost no restaurant serves it anymore. But way back in the day -- I'm talking 1960s -- there was a restaurant on 86th Street between 1st and 2nd Aves called Tour Eiffel (I think). It had two absolutely incredible HARE ENTREES: Larded Saddle of Hare with Preiselberries {sp?} and Hassenpfeffer {sp?} (hare stew). Both were absolutely out of this world! The ENTREES came with red cabbage and spaetzle. If you ordered them on the dinner, they came with an appetizer and a dessert. The price of the entire dinner? $4.95! And that was dirt cheap even in the 1960s. Oh where are you now, Tour Eiffel? Where are you?

Numinous 12:26 PM  

ONCE UPON A TIME I was driving along a not frequently traavelled road in NSW.
"What's that in the road, ahead?" It looked like a big stick or a tree branch, I started to move to the right in order to go around it when, suddenly, it bounced up and ran off, lickitysplit, to the left. It startled me so badly I nearly ran off the road. By now y'all must have guessed, it was a GOANNA. It ran so fast and in such a straight line it reminded me what my father-in-law told me about them. If one is startled and runs and you are in it's path, it will run right over you. Apparently they don't go around stuff.

ROSEANNE Barr was the epi pen, sorry, tome of deadpan. I finally remembered CONNOR after converting CaVE to COVE. I had to IMDb to get NATE. Oddly enough, i had just looked at that movie wondering if it was somehow a re-release of the D. W. Griffith movie of the same name. It was listed on IMDb as either now showing or coming soon. The name, NATE Parker, never registered with me. I had entered SYLPH straight off but erased it while trying to figure oout the rest of that section. It came back all by itself as the rest of the words became clear. All but ALYDAR. That one got filled in by default.

@Tita, i frequently listen to Mozart and Beethovan but not Offenbach.

I'm into pickup trucks so once NO SHOW turned up, NISSAN TITAN was a gimmie. I tried OtiS before I realized it had to be OLDS. Anyway, I think Otis came a while before Ford. I could look it up but it's Saturday and I'm lazy today.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I finished this very quickly and easily and I expected most of the comments to have praise for the puzzle but complaints about the speed solve for a Saturday.

After seeing the comments, I realize once again that there are constructors whose wavelength you just get on and can expect a smooth ride virtually every time. I never saw the Rosie O'Donnell sitcom and I had not heard of goanna but, they filled themselves in with the crosses. Ditto for the British delicacy although a culinary cynic might opine that a British delicacy is an oxymoron.

All in all, this puzzle is a sterling example of what a puzzle should be. It has a little bit of history (Molotov). It has something that is real that many people have not heard of and therefore you learn something new (goanna) and the something new is not a thing that is so obscure that, once you solve the puzzle, you are not saying to yourself: 'who cares?'. And, it has a several ? clues with literally correct answers but in a sideways and lightly punny way for a bit of amusement in the solve.

Perhaps if Bob Dylan ultimately decides to not accept his Nobel Prize for literature, the Committee will give it to PB. And yes, I am joking. But, he is a cruciverbal artist of the highest order and perhaps some day some organization will give out an award for that.

I would hazard a guess that Mr. Berry and other quality constructors would be content if they were paid an amount of money commensurate with the time it takes to construct and the quality results of their efforts. Doing some math which I am admittedly unsure of the numbers I am working with, Mr. Berry has had 216 puzzles published in the NYT. That would calculate out to $75,000 to $85,000, figuring in the higher pay for Sundays. Peanuts for the quality of puzzles he constructs;

Perhaps if the NYT offered a decent amount of money for quality work, they would get more of it but, that would probably be asking too much. If you are at the top of the pile, you have to be particularly perspicacious and know that, unless you are continually trying to improve at what you do, you are inevitably going backwards.

Dick Swart 12:49 PM  

I approached the Sat xword with usual trepidation. But found this great fun puzzle which has made my day!

Bill L. 1:00 PM  

A single Toyota Tundra would have fit at 1A. Saw NO SHOW right away which gave me the right truck and I was off to a good start.

Notch is the word I think of first for a smuggler's hideaway. Would have been nice to have Smugglers' Notch crossing that VERMONT AVENUE. Fortunately COVE came next so I was lucky to have missed the CaVE trap.

Had diRGe (not a tempo, I know) before LARGO and it was really messing with SMASHIN?? coming down the upper east side for a little bit. LALANNE bailed me out of that mess so thanks to the recent puzzle for allowing me to write him in without trying to stick in i or y.

Terrific puzzle and nice review!

Larry Gilstrap 1:17 PM  

Well, that didn't take very long, and with only Six three-letter answers. There's Jack LA LANNE in his form-fitting black jumpsuit with the plunging neckline, again. I'm adding those two odd sounding British delicacies, Jugged HARE and Spotted Dick, to my culinary bucket list.

What's that say about North Americans, yeah you too Canada, that foreign manufacturers would build gigantic motor vehicles with the express purpose of targeting the gas guzzling elements of our culture?

Before the development of internet sources, like BrainyQuotes, etc., the bookshelves of writers and orators were certain to contain BARTLETT's Familiar Quotations. Although it was arranged by author, its comprehensive key word index was a valuable resource. I used that reference technique many times. Although it was of American origin and published in 1855. it relied heavily on Shakespeare and the King James Bible. Oddly enough, Alexander Pope was also near the top of most quoted sources, and his genius was confined to iambic pentameter. "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" was not written by Elvis.

Homer Nods 1:26 PM  

"True wit is nature to advantage dressed,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed."

OISK 1:29 PM  

Hooray for me...I finished without error, after being blown away last weekend, and missing life hack yesterday. Never watched Roseanne, so I was clueless as to the last name, but conner with Goanna looked good. Never heard of a Nissan Titan, and really dislike product name clues, but it was all solvable. This is NPR? I guess I don't listen often enough...Also began with Ventnor avenue, but fixed it soon enough. I love Berry's cluing. Tartar is produced in wine making - interesting! And Alydar...I was at Belmont when he was barely defeated for the third time in a row. My Dad, a devoted horse player used to point out that Affirmed won the Crown, but Alydar won the posterity - Alydar was a more successful stud. Anyway, mention of those two colts brought back a wonderful memory.

Thanks, Patrick! I don't care that OFL calls it easy.

Leapfinger 2:40 PM  

NOSHOWs for appointments are all too common in some hospital clinics, and I always get SECTS, so those were my primary building blocks. Further along, I had some help from friends in Mullen WVA: he had lost both lower legs under a railway car, she (the VP of a local bank) had Dolly Parton big hair. They were good  friends with Conway Twitty, so she wore a Twitty City patch on her jeans hip pocket. GEE thanks, Patty!

Otoh, that durable wristwatch? I discovered that TAKES A LICKING is too short, but KEEPS ON TICKING fits. So it goes.

Also strange that yesterday I mentioned MOLOTOV in a comment, yet today went straight for KOSYGIN.

Won't even mention how hard I tried to work an AXEL into the TOELOOP and TEQUILA into my margarita. Icy the error of my ways. Finally.

I was afraid this GOANNA thing was going to dragon too long, but I just had to monitor it, if only to be ackomodoting. That's how I  chanced upon the Megalania, a giant extinct GOANNA of southern Australia during the Pleistocene era. Kind of gives a body  the impression you can take the girl out of Georgia, but you mightn't be able to take Georgia out of the girl.... Apologies to um, any  innocent bystanders, and yes, I know it's Yugoslavia, not Georgia, but I didn't want to trumpet it.

Like @GB, was tickled by BARBS CARBS, especially if you notice they're a BARTLETT pair.  otoh, TARTAR CANCAN make meme say WhoaWhoa, as I thought TARTAR sticks either to CreamCream or TeethTeeth. Again, soso it goes...

Seemed to me if we can be clued to Jugged HARE, we could forsake pirates for some more Britspeak: 'E's a Rum COVE, aren't 'e, the likes of which these parts don't see no more? Turns out there's a place in the UK name of Rum COVE. Wunnerful!

ONCE UPON A TIME (before this electioneering cycle), I thought I was SHOCK RESISTANT; now I know TAINT So.

Really enjoyed this contest, and didn't even see it was a Berry till afterward. Patrick, I just loved yer RAMROD.

Leapfinger 2:47 PM  

There must be another way to express it, so... Could we maybe put the kibosh on any more 'off to the races'?

Unless the commentator happens to be ALYDAR?

TonySaratoga 3:20 PM  

I did the same thing. It killed me. And ENHANCE and TAINTS working with it just slammed the door tighter. Took me forever to acknowledge it was wrong.

TonySaratoga 3:21 PM  

ROSEANNEARNOLD wreaked havoc too...

Chronic dnfer 3:34 PM  

Dnf'd at aladar/salph. But by the the closest I've ever come to completing a Saturday puzzle. Really fun and great write up!

Chronic dnfer 3:37 PM  

Isn't it Roseanne Barr or something?

Leapfinger 3:59 PM  

@Teedmn, sorry to hear you gave LeaPS up. Hope it wasn't to the cops.

More harping on that Brit-thing: I was surprised GOANNA was Australian, thought it was British bec GOANNA on the north coast of South America.

Remarking on the slightly sneaky clue for LUNE: Montreuil isn't in France, but in Switzerland's French-speaking sector.

@Bill L, thanks for mentioning Smugglers' Notch. We'd drive down there from Montreal occasionally and go shrooming; one of our party was a girl who'd learned mushrooms back in Russia. That's how I learned things of terminally off-putting appearance were not only edible but delicious, if pre-prepped properly.

Y'all are safe now; hafta get ready for Chapel Hill's Cemetery Walk. Boo!

Mohair Sam 4:41 PM  

@Nancy - Your mention of blood in jugged HARE reminded me of a recipe I discovered inside a cookbook my mother had left behind upon her death 25 years ago. Mom was a meat and potatoes gal and we were shocked to find a cookbook deep in her kitchen closet entitled "The Vegetarian Cookbook", circa 1920. The first 15 or 20 pages ripped into meat and meat-eating in a manner that would do the most aggressive 21st century vegan proud. Taped inside the front cover of the book was a recipe Mom had cut out of a newspaper years before entitled:
"Blood Soup"
I can't find the recipe now - but I remember it described how to drain the four geese you had slaughtered, and reminded you to include the hearts in the mix with the potatoes, onions, and whatever.

@Carola - Your canned possum and lye soaked cod sound pretty good now, don't they.

MotsCroisés 5:08 PM  

@Nancy, I looked for a restaurant called "Tour Eiffel" in Manhattan and could find no mention of it in Google, past or present. I do recall a place called "Geiger's" on 86th Street that served amazing German cuisine. Did you ever go there?

Patrick Berry should be proud. This was a lovely and smooth concoction that made me rethink my sometimes testy attitude about the Times puzzle.

Nancy 5:41 PM  

A correction to my 12:24 Jugged HARE post. What an idiot I am! It was the bestGerman restaurant in NYC, better than the much, much more expensive Luchow's, where I had those wonderful HARE ENTREES. It was called Jaeger House. Le Tour Eiffel was the following decade -- a wonderful French restaurant where I had Civet de Lapin (Rabbit Stew). It was on the same block on E 86th St. where Jager House had been. It, too, was a wonderful and inexpensive restaurant, but it wasn't as exceptional as Jaeger House. I was lying on the grass in the park at the tennis courts, wondering why red cabbage and spaetzel were on the menu at a restaurant with a French name. Then it came to me. I really am a disgrace to culinary memories everywhere. Proust would not be happy with me.

Rabi Abonour 6:12 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle quite a lot, but got Nattick'd on sYlph / alYdar. I definitely noticed the overuse of plurals, too.

Nancy 6:42 PM  

@MotsCroises(5:08)-- I was so chagrined by my egregious restaurant mistake (see above: 5:41), that I wrote and posted my correction the nanosecond I got home this evening -- and without reading anyone else's posts. I see your post now, and I realize that we're talking about the very same restaurant!!! Geiger sort of sounds like Jaeger, doesn't it? But I know I'm right; my family lived in the nabe and we frequented it often. I wonder if you and I ever sat cheek by jowl back in the '60s? Who are you, @Mots? Do you still live in the city?

Nancy 7:18 PM  

@Mots -- I looked up Jaeger House. It was on E. 85th, not 86th. Read all about it:

Tita A 7:19 PM  

@Leapy...if I didn't have friends living in Montreux, Switzerland, or remember seeing signs for MONTREUIL when heading into Paris on the A4, I woulda agreed with you re: sneaky misdirect.
But Montreux is on the northwestern shore of Lake Geneva (yes, int the French-speaking region of Switzerland, MONTREUIL is an eastern suburb of Paris.

@Nancy - I too was wondering how on earth a restaurant named La Tour Eiffel would have such clearly German offerings on the menu. Even if it were an Alsation restaurant, why would it be named after a Paris landmark...
Thanks, you and @Mots Croisés.

@Carola...dried salt cod is my Jugged HARE. Though if i had someone to serve me some authentic lutefisk, I would certainly try it. (I'd rather have a barrel of lutefisk than RAMRODS.)

Tim Pierce 8:30 PM  

"The puzzle otherwise feels phenomenally obscurity-free."

Totally! Who doesn't know that old classic byproduct of winemaking, TARTAR? Or jugged HARE? Why, I just made some jugged HARE for my kids the other night, and they said, mmmm, dad, you don't make jugged HARE nearly often enough for us! Not that any one of us knows what jugged HARE is, but we all love it! Or maybe it's just ALYDAR who likes it! Is it horse food? I have no idea!

Really, this is clearly a well built crossword, as no less we would expect from PB, but "phenomenally" free of arcana is... no. Just no. Lovely, but a few too many total guesses for my taste. Two wrong entries with ROSEANNECaNtER (it's really a miracle I got HARE/TARTAR correct). I vaguely remember GOANNA from, I think, watching "The Rescuers Down Under" a few hundred times too often with my toddlers -- yet clearly not often enough to retain the word here. May we never have to use it again. Goodbye.

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

@NCAPres, et al:

When you bury your head in the sand, guess what end is up? It isn't like you were not warned. Either on this blog or elsewhere. You just DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR IT!!!! You even trashed and marginalized those who dissented with your opinion. You just have blinders on that you refuse to take off. Talk about an echo chamber. You are here. X

Thank you Rex. No "long, political, anonymous screed" here today.

Carola 8:53 PM  

@Tita A, when I was a child, one could buy lutefisk from barrels at our local grocery store. Nowadays, those who like it have to wait for a Sons of Norway dinner. Not sure if you'd have any chapters in your area....

@Mohair Sam: Indeed!

Leapfinger 9:32 PM  

Ooo, @Tita! Hanging my head, I am! We spent some time in Montreux when I was about 3yo, but I was neither reading or writing at the time, nor has Montreux come up other than verbally since, so that was me led myself astray, and I thank you for the Montreux/ Montreuil distinction.

In my Furniture Doctor days, I read about someone who devised a plan to painlessly refinish a fine old antique chair (not advisable) by lowering it on a chain into a vat of lye (even less advisable). The lye ate through the glue in the joints, and all the pieces were lost at the bottom of the vat. So the next time anyone's jonesing for some lutefisk, remember you're chewing something tougher than a chair-leg.

Waiter, there's a HARE in my soup!

Hartley70 10:23 PM  

@Carola and @Tita, we have a Scandinavian neighborhood in town. You probably know Georgetown, @Tita. The market closest to it carries lutefisk. I have a friend who makes it and my eight year old was traumatized by a lunch play/date at her house during lutefisk season. He will eat anything, literally, and the noxious lutefisk was too much for his non-Norweigan nose.

I lived on East 86th Street in the early 70's and remember most of the restaurants, pastry shops and marzipan of Yorktown's heyday. I'm so glad I got to experience the sights and smells before it disappeared. There's nothing left but Schaller and Weber, and (I just read) The Heidelberg.

choo choo 62 12:20 AM  

Just wondering how many other constructors besides PB would be skewered for the bottom three acrosses. Old show, old game, old media. Oh, that's right. All of them.

Elephant's Child 9:01 AM  

@choo choo 62

Hard to skewer old show, old game and old media when they're stagger-stacked with 2 fives, 4 sixes, a 7 and only 2 threes, all of them decent.

Seems to me those 'old' entries are right justified.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:16 PM  

Everything SORTA FLOES nice and easy when Patrick Berry composes a weekend puzzle. He certainly CANCAN as far as we're concerned and for our MONET, he's the REAL deal!

choo choo 62 12:24 PM  

@Elephant's Child

I am not criticizing at all. Just pointing out that OFL would be all over any other constructer with this many "old school" answers. PB obviously is at the top of constructors, I just feel others are criticized more harshly and often the standards are inconsistent. I'm amazed at anyone who can construct any crossword.

Warren Howie Hughes 2:16 PM  

My initial notion for 49 across was Marvin Gardens, due to same amount of boxes.

Elephant's Child 3:44 PM  

@choo choo 62

I understand. However, given the sometimes blatantly critical tone of comments, I think my original misunderstanding was left justified. [Occasionally, one has to pound a pun home with a hammer.]

Excuse my asking, but are you related to Thomas the Tank Engine?

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

I solve in ink, exact same Tanner mistake with Tat and cave, never knew I was technically DNF ha ha.

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

"He can make a gourmet meal out of just about anything. Even medium-rare goanna".
Line from Crocodile Dundee
Made GOANNA a gimme since movie was on cable just recently. Ted in Denver

Betsy Warrior 12:29 PM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle. Gave me a satisfying challenge. Hard but not too, too hard. Would never have guessed the Triple Crown rival. So that corner of the puzzle finally defeated me. Thought of Molotov, but Not right spelling, kept thinking of Beria. Oh, well.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Boy, do I remember those duels between Affirmed and ALYDAR. That poor beast must have been frustrated no end; certainly his owners were. So close...but at least I didn't have a bet down, so there's that.

This is Patrick weekend. Our friend Patrick with whom we play bingo won six times yesterday (us? Not a sniffle), and now here comes You Know Who with another tour de force. Who else, I ask you, would think of using "Fringe religions" as TWO clues?

Typically, I started by staring at all that white with despair. Then that best losing horse ever caught my eye, so I wound up solving south to north, finishing in...you guessed it: the NW. Couple of writeovers: I misremembered ROSEANNE's name as CartER--well, I never liked her and never watched the show (haven't looked at a sitcom since The Dick van Dyke Show*) and CaVE worked as well as COVE--but then who was MOrET? CaNtER? Needless to say, that lizard wasn't going to be any help at ALL. This was very nearly a DNF--but then from somewhere in the brain the name CONNER called out.

Then I had dARtS for the metallic stickers. Well, aren't they? Wasn't sure about the Spanish, but I had a REAL problem reconciling "Bready bunch?" with CARtS. Now the headslap: I just started on a diet free of CARBS! And the stickers were BARBS! And BUENOS!! A second near-DNF rescued!

But for those two "stickers," the rest flowed pretty easily once I was into it. It ended up seeming easier that most Saturdays, so I'll say easy-medium. Only six 3-letter words: the man has a gift.

I refuse to consider 46-across for DOD; instead I'll nominate the leggy star of "CANCAN" Juliet Prowse. I'd give PB another eagle, I suppose, but he's already on pace to shoot in the 50's. Call it a tap-in birdie.

Burma Shave 11:56 AM  


and SORTA took TRIPS when they INHALEd
to ENHANCE their PANGS to have IDOL SECTS.


rondo 12:27 PM  

When ToyotaTundras didn't fit, there was REALly only one other answer. After that it was pretty much a SORTA counter-clockwise fill, finishing up in the (whoawhoa)CANCAN/TARTAR area. Don't get me going on TAR again.

C'mon now, don't tell me you didn't INHALE.

Never ever watched ROSEANNE, so the sit-com last name had to come by crosses.

ONCEUPONATIME on Jack's show we had the First Lady of Fitness, a REAL IDOL, Elaine LALANNE. That alone confers yeah baby status. And Jack LALANNE was as strong as an AUKS.

I did notice all those esses, but that doesn't take much away from a REAL fine puz.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Two different puzzles. Top half intuitive and easy fun. Bottom half NOT.

leftcoastTAM 2:46 PM  

Saw that this was Patrick Berry's work, and immediately thought, this will be smooth, relatively easy, and fun.
Yes, all of that--in the Northern half, which virtually filled itself in.

Then the South. Oh, oh. Just a few scattered entries. Tough. Help from my quick-minded spouse gave us TRIPLESEC. (Was that cheating? Never on my wife.)

That opened up the South. Thought it was a clean solve. Nope. Checked out the answers. Found SiLPH/ALiDAR instead of you know what.

Disappointing DNF, but puzzle was fair as well as smooth, fun, and relatively easy.

rain forest 3:25 PM  

Let's all gush!

I found this very easy, probably because stuff just came to me. I have a friend who drives a NISSAN TITAN. It's huge, as are all pickups. They all seem to have crew cabs, and are mostly driven by a single person with nothing in the truck bed. They make it awkward for others to park in lots outside strip malls, and use a ton of a non-renewable resource. Other than that, I suppose they are great. But, ugh.

Good puzzle, easy as it was. I didn't fall into the CaNNER trap because just up the coast from me we have a Smugger's COVE, where once I almost (and should have) bought a waterfront lot way back when.

In France the ENTREE *is* the "starter. That's why it is called the ENTREE. Over there, the main course is the "plat".

Somehow I think that the GOANNA is the Aussie version of the Iguana, given how they speak.

A nice, smooth (adjective du jour) Saturday.

Diana,LIW 4:18 PM  

First glance at the puzzle was an "uh oh" moment, but then the NW stared filling itself in just based on WES Montgomery.

Darn - had to look up TRIPLESEC - should have asked Mr. W, who loves that drink.

Didn't even notice it was a PB until I came here. Certainly had that PB1 feel to it, in retrospect.

I have a book of Will's fav constructors - PB is one. Think I should play one or two in honor of this near-solve.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 1:33 AM  

* Forgot to explain the *: I do NOT consider M*A*S*H to be a "sitcom."

Barry Williams 3:58 AM  

This is a gorgeously constructed feast from top to bottom. Like Rex, I got stuck on Roseanne's last name but absolutely LOVED the Monopoly $100 clue as well as the "cassette tape" '80's party clue. Major league applause for weaving "sects" and "cults" together in the same puzzle. And having "ramrods" and "banter" across from each other was richly juxtoposing. You just can't have enough banter these days, one of those great words of halcyon yesteryear that definitely needs to stay alive and in play. My least fave clue was "Metallic stickers" for "barbs" though after I mulled it over for awhile, I even came around to that one. Way to go, Patrick Berry, one of the best puzzles of the year!

Barry Williams 4:00 AM  

One last thing: I was STUCK on "metallic stickers" being DECALS that I had a hard time making BARBS work.

Blogger 11:11 AM  

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