Onetime Fandango competitor / SAT 10-8-16 / Bid on hand unsuited for suit play maybe / Cusk deepest living fish / Italian city where Pliny Elder Younger were born / Austrian philosopher Rudolf / Old brand in shaving aisle / Pricing model for many apps

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Einstein-ROSEN bridge (25A: Einstein-___ bridge (wormhole)) —
A wormhole or Einstein–Rosen Bridge is a hypothetical topological feature that would fundamentally be a shortcut connecting two separate points in spacetime. A wormhole may connect extremely long distances such as a billion light years or more, short distances such as a few feet, different universes, and different points in time. A wormhole is much like a tunnel with two ends, each at separate points in spacetime. // For a simplified notion of a wormhole, space can be visualized as a two-dimensional (2D) surface. In this case, a wormhole would appear as a hole in that surface, lead into a 3D tube (the inside surface of a cylinder), then re-emerge at another location on the 2D surface with a hole similar to the entrance. An actual wormhole would be analogous to this, but with the spatial dimensions raised by one. For example, instead of circular holes on a 2D plane, the entry and exit points could be visualized as spheres in 3D space. [...] The Einstein–Rosen bridge was discovered by Ludwig Flamm in 1916, a few months after Schwarzschild published his solution, and was rediscovered (although it is hard to imagine that Einstein had not seen Flamm's paper when it came out) by Albert Einstein and his colleague Nathan Rosen, who published their result in 1935. However, in 1962, John A. Wheeler and Robert W. Fuller published a paper showing that this type of wormhole is unstable if it connects two parts of the same universe, and that it will pinch off too quickly for light (or any particle moving slower than light) that falls in from one exterior region to make it to the other exterior region. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hard to concentrate what with all the drama in the world of presidential politics, but I managed to pry myself away from my stunned, gleeful, and highly animated Twitter long enough to solve this puzzle, and now write about it. Lots of delightful answers today, and shorter overfamiliar stuff was not overpowering—largely innocuous. I didn't get 1-Across straight away, but I did stick an "S" at the end of it and then got SHACK instantly (6D: Take to living together, with "up"). SHACK to MOOLAH to SMIT to Evers to Chance, hooray. And thus the NW began to open up:

I do not know what SKUNK cabbage is. I figured 21A: Kind of cabbage was gonna give me some kind of money slang, like "kale" or "long green" or MOOLAH. But it's actual cabbage, though not the type you eat. The type that stinks, apparently. After I worked out the NW and sent I'M WAY AHEAD OF YOU (lovely) across the grid, the pace picked up considerably (THANK GOD!). Not sure what happened, but somehow I ended up filling in the whole NE and E and then throwing down ROTISSERIE (27D: Game's turning point?), figuring, at first, that it was a sports clue (see "ROTISSERIE League Baseball").

I've barely heard of FREEMIUM and certainly don't know what it means in relation to an app. Many apps are free ... is this some tech-speak way of saying "free"? Oh, wait, here's a definition: "Freemium is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality, or virtual goods" (wikipedia). So offer the shitty version of something free, is that it? Or incentivize (sorry) in-app purchases or some other corporate blather that makes my head hurt, is that it? Probably. Anyway, as you can see, it didn't take me much longer to get all of LIMOUSINE DRIVER (58A: One with a long stretch to go?). That is not, how you say, a good "?" clue. See "long stretch," think, *immediately*, "limousine." Not very tricksy. I had SOR as SAR because I invented a mythical "Sisters of the American Revolution" (59D: Young women's grp.). My familiarity with the Toni Morrison corpus, however, bailed me out, and shortly I was finished. Under 8 even with my stopping three times to take screen shots. A very modern, lively, clean grid. Hurray. OK, off to watch Sexual Assailant Cheeto try his best to egest a human-sounding apology noise from his face hole. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Pete 12:09 AM  

"OK, off to watch Sexual Assailant Cheeto try his best to egest a human-sounding apology noise from his face hole." Yeah, tell me how that comes out.

jae 12:12 AM  

Easy-medium for me too with the NW the toughest part. Pisa before COMO forced me to come up from the South (which was relatively easy) to finish it.

FREEMIUM was also new for me, thanks @Rex for the explanation, saves me looking it up. Hate to take a break from my FAFSA application research.

Solid with some zip, liked it.

Mike in Mountain View 12:32 AM  

Challenging for me. Just now figured out that SOR is supposed to be an abbreviation for sorority. Have heard of frat but not sor. Does that make me sexist? Not according to the Google.

yeaR before HOUR. (My revolution was an orbit, not a minute hand.)
flip A COIN before TOSS A COIN
each before APOP
FREEware before FREEmium

Don't know EILEEN Fisher or SULA or rudolf STEINER.

Was happy just to finish.

Richard Rutherford 1:06 AM  

Wait ... Neet is an "old" brand? God help me.

Richard Rutherford 1:07 AM  

Wait ... Neet is an "old" brand? God help me.

AliasZ 2:03 AM  

In some ways this was a relatively easy and enjoyable puzzle by Julian Lim. I loved the long entries, of which EGOSURF was the least likable. By the way, EGOSURF as a debut entry is a false positive. Its third person singular version appeared less than a month ago (Sep. 9), and once before then (May 17, 2012 - Joe Krozel).

In other ways this was the tale of two puzzles divided by the five stair steps in the middle, the North and South connected only by two long entries, neither of which were particularly useful in helping out on the other side. I started in the South, and with PAY AS YOU GO and ROTISSERIE already in place, I still had a hard time making serious inroads into the North for quite a while. I despise such segmentation.

The grid design was visually evocative, almost three-dimensional. As I contemplated answers to some of the clues, my mind's eyes saw those two mallets hit the xylophone bars in sync from C through G, up-and-down, down-and-up, meeting on the E in the middle. I could hear it in my head -- sounded pretty.

But not as pretty as this Debussy suite for THE PIANO, Pour le piano in French, in honor of today's mini-theme: NOUS GENDARME LE MONDE: DÉTENTE, et ROTISSERIE! (Roughly translated: "We police the world: shake hands and barbecue!")

Enjoy your weekend.

Hartley70 2:12 AM  

This is @RooMonster's special day! Congrats Roo for being the marquee answer in today's puzzle, LIMOUSINEDRIVER. Will may not have tapped you as constructor of the day YET, but a round of applause for @Roo, please.

This hit my average Saturday time on the nose, so I give it a medium difficulty level. It was a blessing STEINER and ROSEN didn't cross because the clues might as well have been in gibberish for me.

GONEGIRL and THEPIANO were easy, although only one of them gets five stars from me. The other was a total bomb. Guess which is which. I read that THEGIRLONTHETRAIN is worse. Save yourself. Stay home.

I loved the new to me EGOSURF and FREEMIUM. What fun words they are! I'll have to work them into a conversation soon or I'll forget them.

@Fall River gal for Justice and Peace, Orion is a looker. How did he get to be a Wonder Dog, if I may ask? In the 1980's our dog Rufus got the title for finding a friend's lost toddler in the woods. She was dressed all in brown and blended in with the October fallen leaves when she wandered off. I got a call from the frantic mother that she was missing and I opened the kitchen door and told him to find her. Off he went with the neighborhood trailing behind! He caught her just as she was teetering on the edge of an abandoned house foundation that had filled with water. What a dog!

puzzle hoarder 2:13 AM  

I started my solve late as I was watching the Cubs first play-off victory. Where yesterday's puzzle was a breeze this one provided steady work in all sections. With all the money I've spent sending my kids to a Waldorf school STEINER should have been a gimmie. Like so many other entries I needed a few crosses to recognize it. All the careful work eliminated any slop and made for an enjoyable clean grid.

Charles Flaster 3:06 AM  

Easy for everything but NE.
DNF at STRAWMAN/ PIONS due to never coming up with anything better than I'M WAY AHEAD chief .
Loved clues for LE MONDE and ROTISSERIE.
Thanks JL.

Larry Gilstrap 3:42 AM  

It must work, but I have never understood advertising. I'm driving down the freeway and I see a billboard telling me that Tony Orlando is appearing at a local casino and I do what? I maintain a house in an area where cell service is sketchy, so I have a land line. ROBOCALL is the normal incoming communication. I zoned out on baseball all day today, great games, and that actor is going to persuade me to lease a Lincoln vehicle for $349 a month? Really? Note to self: send Rex $20. I once had lunch with Rudolf STEINER and I couldn't understand a word he said, I made that up.

Oh yeah, the puzzle featured two big old nasty spanners. That's a good thing. That whole rhetorical creation STRAWMAN cluing was too hip even for me. Maybe I smoked too much SKUNK cabbage.

My passive aggressive blank square is now at Day Three: I'm looking at you #54. Sure, it's probably "T" but, or is it "F", or ...?

Finally, growing up as a guy, I must admit, in my youth I engaged in some raucous locker room banter. I have no Presidential aspirations.

Loren Muse Smith 5:33 AM  
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George Barany 6:08 AM  
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George Barany 6:55 AM  

Quick hello from Bloomington, Indiana ... where @Will Shortz received his undergraduate education with a self-created major in Enigmatology. This state's governor could be clued orthogonally as "British coins" (@David Steinberg, August 2016) or "Parts of pounds" (@Elizabeth Gorski, January 2013).

@Julian Lim's puzzle had numerous delightful entries, though I needed to use the "check" and "reveal" functions to complete my solve. Some have already been pointed out by @Rex and the first round of the commentariat [and attention @AliasZ, the etymologically equivalent EGOSURFING was actually debuted by @Rich Norris way back in 2005]. No SLOG this.

It was amusing to see ONE_NO in the puzzle, especially in light of the political tsunami alluded to by @Rex. The full term in the game of bridge, which is what the clue is heading towards, is One No Trump [(@Julian Lim also used ONE_NO in a February 2014 themeless, its last previous appearance in a New York Times puzzle, and also with a bridge clue]. It would have been especially subversive to have seen the adjective "small" ahead of the noun "hand."

Dolgo 7:05 AM  

I thought it was more difficult than usual, but also more fun for all the reasons Rex said. Much was new to me, but made sense as it was gradually revealed. That's the way crosswords are supposed to work, after all!!

evil doug 8:21 AM  

'break SERvE' for a bit, looking for that sport angle. Rotisserie is much finer.

Ocelo? Was hoping for "Today", but I think Elaine's sponge-worthy tool was possessive....

Yeah, Michael, the debate could be more fun than the Series. Slick Willie got away with worse than Trump bragged about doing, so maybe the morons that make up much of his voting bloc will stand by their man. He lies, but so does she. First time I will leave that choice blank....

r.alphbunker 8:22 AM  

56D. {Old brand in the shaving aisle} NEET from _E_ _

50D. {Breaking a comb, in Japan, e.g.} OMEN from _ _ _ _

37D. {Pricing model for many apps} FREEMIUM from FREE_I_ _

52D. {Toni Morrison novel} SULA from SUL_
SUGE-->SULA (The was a character named Suge in "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker.)

WORD for {I agree} is totally new for me. I must try it out on some of my friends.

Details are here.

Leapfinger 8:26 AM  

Took me the better part of an HOUR to recover from Green=UNRIPE, San MATEO which meshed with the well-insulated ATTIC and wanting to 'turn on' a dime. Not to mention musing on whether it's 'fate'/Kismet or mere randomness at work when you FLIP/TOSS A COIN. On the other hand, ROBOCALL went right in, with only a slight concern it would prove as wrong as CHOPSHOP was for the recent 'Hot wheels garage'.

Loved that every quadrant had entries that drew a blank or had too many possibilities, but also provided some gimmes to build on. The NE was the only section that didn't put up much fight, and THANK GOD it's rare that A POP PIONS THE PIANO.

Finished in the mid-West section, not eggsactly with DECRY of despair but with some EGG ON my face. I'm not much for card games, SORry, so didn't fully understand the clue, but @GeorgeB apparently confirms my suspicions about ONE NO Trump.  How did they do that? Coincident with Matthew, makes for The Perfect Storm.

ER, NO Ernani, today, and the 'signature'  entry has me wondering who's calling LIM a SINE DRIVER.

Most refreshing clue/entry was for LEMONaDE, esp in light of the recent newspaper theme.

Altogether a fine day in the Julian calendar.

Teedmn 9:07 AM  

SHACK SKUNK THANK GOD - that's what my first gridshot would have looked like at minute five, with a bunch of black ink in the NE where "each" and WIFI had been entered and removed. I TILTED with my list but then leaned a different way, so more black ink in the mid-east. I "made dO" in the south until EILEEN saved me with her complimentary dress sense. A HIVE OMEN opened the other end of the south especially after the world gave me LEMONaDE so I made LE MONDE.

I happen to have a PAY AS YOU GO phone plan so I actually came up with that off the S of SKUNK, which is what finished off the puzzle - the rest rolled over and let me rub its belly. I laughed at the way 43A EELed itself into the matrix. And 22A briefly decoyed me into thinking DECaY - caught it immediately but still more black ink for that A to R switcheroo.

While I never thought, "I'M WAY AHEAD OF YOU" in regards to this puzzle, it did fill in PB1 smoothly, so great job, Julian Lim.

@Leapfinger, good catch on the hidden LIM. @Hartley70, what a super-dog! You must have had to buy him a cape after such a feat. And @r.alphbunker, you need to make the W sign on your chest when you say "WORD" or the irony doesn't work. At least that's what the male millenial was doing, the only time I heard WORD spoken in the wild.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

FWIW, "one with a long stretch to go?" made me think of an inmate with a life sentence.

I found this challenging and early on thought I might not get anywhere with it. Kept plugging away and managed to solve it without cheating.


Elephant's Child 9:19 AM  

Interesting perspective on the 'false positive', @A-Z. By all writes, changing the person or the plurality should make it EGOSURves, shouldn't it? Also an unusual departure into uncharted territory to take that xylophone from the visual to the audible. Suite going for a WORDSMITh!

Trying to remember the source for this scene (movie or TV show): A little kid gets blessed out and punished for using some inappropriate language, is told he can never say that word again. Afterwards goes off grumbling under his breath, "Word. Word! Word, WORD, WORD!!". Anyone?

DBlock 9:29 AM  

Neet was a product women slathered on their legs before the ubiquity of disposable shavers. A lovely Saturday-- just challenging enough
Loved all the film clues from the 30s to today.

Leapfinger 9:31 AM  

@GeorgeBarany, UI Bloomington Chemistry? Say hello to @Tango Ted Widlansky and thanks for the PrIONS.

Leapfinger 9:50 AM  

@r.alph, I was also thinking of the shaving products that MEN WEAR. Oops
In The Color Purple, the name was spelled 'Shug', and it took me forever that short-U Shug was abbrev for Sugar.

SAVOY cabbage and TREK>SLOG

A quick three. Must learn to merge instead of hit&run.

chefbea 9:51 AM  

Will finish the puzzle later cuz we are housebound..Mathew has come to visit..torrential rains, high winds and now bringing tornados with him. We are under a flood watch. Have plenty of puzzles to keep me busy

Hungry Mother 10:08 AM  

Worked out a bit easier than the usual Saturday for me today. A few wags helped. The thing I love about Saturday puzzles is how old information is dredged out of my mind. I often wonder how I know some of the stuff I know.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

A wonderful, utterly absorbing struggle that I absolutely loved. The Martians could have landed and I would have paid them no attention, so wrapped up in this puzzle was I. If you had seen me mid-solve, many of you -- especially those who called this "Easy" or "Medium" -- would surely have said I'M WAY AHEAD OF YOU. And you would have been right. It was only when I got that long answer -- towards the end, after entering somewhere at the bottom -- that I said: I'm gonna finish this bear -- and without cheating! THANK GOD!

Cold CALL before ROBOCALL at 34A. EerO before ERNO at 57D. I misread the 16A clue and was looking for the director rather than the film; otherwise I would have had the answer -- and perhaps the entire NE -- much sooner. (Very sloppy, Nancy!) I've never heard of FREEMIUM; OCELE; STEINER; ROSEN; SKUNK cabbage. I was not looking for a type of tomato at 27A. (Don't like that clue.) But some great clues and answers: STRAWMAN; ROTISSERIE (wonderfully deceptive clue); EGOSURF; ANON; EILEEN (even though it's a proper name, the clue was great.) ONE NO should have been clued with an abbreviation, I thought, but I got it immediately, nonetheless. Enjoyed every moment of this puzzle.

GILL I. 10:20 AM  

There is a lot of good stuff here and there's a lot that I've never heard of. Fandango in my world is a dance from Spain. Lots of clapping, castanets and red wine drinking in the audience. All that and you get MOVIEFONE?
WORD means "I agree" in slang? Who came up with that one? OCELO is a sponge? Is he a man?
THE PIANO GONE GIRL was the easy peasy for me. a ONENO in my book. The other two are OK.
Now, if @Ellen S pipes in, she'll be delighted with the way Julian clued an EEL.
Well, I give this one an A because it was very clever. I will never look at LEMONADE the same way and I most certainly will not eat SKUNK.

Nancy 10:25 AM  

WORD means "I agree" in slang????? What in the world? Who thinks these things up?

Nancy 10:27 AM  

GILL and I were obviously typing at the same time. But look at how similar our comments are! To which I say: Great minds think alike.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Talk about POCs...
Anyone else notice there's NO "US" in "team"?

@AnoaBob Wannabe

QuasiMojo 10:39 AM  

Rex, am amazed you have never heard of (or smelled) skunk cabbage before, especially living in upstate NY. We had a ton of it when I lived near you in the Catskills. Think Roscoe Diner. :) I "rocketed" through this puzzle in near-record time. Loved seeing "Moolah" in same puzzle with "cabbage" (albeit "skunk"), and the presence of "Rotisserie" in the same puzzle as "Red" ("you may turn on it.") I was thinking of a "spit" (having watched too many chiller thrillers of late.) Speaking of which, I have avoided piping in on the ludicrous election this year, but I have to say that I can't believe people are so wildly incensed about the Donald's latest (although years-old) remarks about groping women when he's already been "pilloried" about his grotesque "overloud" behavior in numerous articles and magazine features, most notably NEW YORK. That said, Hillary can now gloat and crow "I'm Way Ahead of You" at tomororow's debate. Phew! "Thank God."

r.alphbunker 10:54 AM  

Thanks for the memory adjustment. I do remember that the spelling did not suggest that it was a shortened form of sugar so SUGE was consistent with that. I had to see the movie to learn its correct pronunciation.

Cheerio 10:56 AM  

OMG - folks unfamiliar with FREEMIUM? I hate to say it, but, well never mind.

Alysia 10:59 AM  

When I don't finish my coffee before starting a puzzle:

"San.... San Juan? San Carlos? San Remo? Sandusky? Wait, no. That won't work."

Always check your grid 10:59 AM  

If you had OCELE you had a DNF.

mathgent 11:05 AM  

@Nancy and I are in sync again. Loved it. Some wonderful cluing ("Game's turning point?" for ROTISSERIE, for example), seven entries I learned about, some fresh entries (ROBOCALL for one), only six (!) Terrible Threes, only one piece of junk (SOR). I was surprised that Jeff Chen didn't make it his POTW. Neither was yesterday's excellent work. Does that mean the we have a PB1 coming tomorrow?

I understand that WORD is slang among Millenials. Is it regional?

@Hartley70: We saw The Girl on the Train yesterday. Your friend is right. Eminently missable.

There were some things I didn't like, the clues for ANON and CLONE for example, but my grade is a strong A.

Nancy 11:07 AM  

Oops. You are so right, @Always! I had teARS instead of SOARS at 45A, and when ROTISSERIE forced me to change the T to an S, I never looked at the lingering E. I had SeARS, and would have corrected it if I had "checked my grid." But I didn't. Thanks for letting me know.

Trombone Tom 11:10 AM  

SKUNK cabbage was a no-brainer; there was plenty of it growing in the areas around Eureka (CA) when I was a tad.

Really liked IMWAYAHEADOFYOU. GONEGIRL was easy; I tried reading The Girl on the Train and never got beyond a few pages. Yawnnn,

The puzzle flowed along easily for me, except for a detour at 59D. I tried GSA and eventually settled on "SOR." Who uses that?

And WORD for "I agree?" Not in my universe.

This was a fun puzzle with some challenging clues. Thank you Julian Lim and Will Shortz.

ani 11:11 AM  

"Word" has been in use for at least a decade. Hip hop lingo. I'm old, but I have kids under 30.

Chaos344 11:23 AM  

@Always check your grid:

LOL! Apparently @Nancy was in TEARS at 45 Across? Can't say as I blame her though. Having a roTITserie run through you would definitely stimulate a fit of lachrymosity!

Mohair Sam 11:30 AM  

What to add? Cleverly clued. Lots of fun. Played medium here.

I make a mean marina sauce here and could not figure ROMAS to save my life - go figure. I had the same baseball tilt as Rex on ROTISSERIE. Lady Mohair wanted stiNK cabbage, wonder why? I like FREEMIUM stuff, a corporate come-on which OFL obviously despises. They offer free basic cable included with the rent in our apartment complex. It ain't much (local channels, ESPN, weather, Turner), but folks here on low fixed incomes love it - FREEMIUM.

Lady M and I double dated with a wise-ass grad student and her spouse to go and see "THE PIANO" all those many years ago. A full two minutes after Harvey Keitel's full frontal moment (she had obviously given the matter deep thought) the grad student said in a stage whisper, "Why the hell didn't they cast Tom Cruise?" - The audience erupted in laughter, and was subject to periodic giggling throughout the rest of the flick. I have been unable to take the movie seriously since.

Super Saturday Julian Lim and Will.

Johnny Vagabond 11:56 AM  

Flip a coin is more correct over toss. Grew up on the Olympic Peninsula where we had lots of skunk cabbage and remember how bad it smelled.

Nancy 11:58 AM  

@Chaos -- TEARS as in speeds, not as in the result of weeping. (Sorry for so many posts, but I do have to have to correct the record and my puzzle honor.)

old timer 12:08 PM  

Super-difficult for me. I got some traction in the S thanks to LEMONDE, but needed help getting the long-forgotten MOVIEFONE. Had "one NT" before ONE NO. Needed help with STEINER and THE PIANO too, after which the rest of the puzzle came together.

I wanted "Mateo" too, but the clever IGLOOS set me on the right path. Of course SAN DIEGO is a much better-known city.

Who knew the Plinys were born in COMO? One of them died at the other end of the peninsula when Vesuvius erupted.

The cluing was especially devious today, "Something odd in roulette" was impossible for me, while "This could be odd in roulette" would have made BET easy. Same with SRI -- I have never heard of a temple beginning with that name. And EEL was purely a guess. ANON was not my first choice for a writer of limericks, because "Lear" also fit. Tricky!

Chaos344 12:09 PM  


LOL. I know what context you were using Nancy. I was just poking fun, because I know from past comments that you have a keen sense of humor. Your puzzle honor remains intact. Chaste if not yet caught?

Lewis 12:10 PM  

Man, so much about this puzzle felt just right:

1. Level of difficulty pitch perfect for Saturday.
3. Lovely answers, such as STRAW_MAN, IM_WAY_AHEAD_OF_YOU, DECRY.
4. Perfect crunch/gimme ratio for Saturday.
5. Hidden mini theme of double E's (5).
6. An alternative to ATRA (finally!) as a dated shaving product.

To which I say THANK_GOD for your gift this morning, Julian, and I'll add an OVERLOUD and emphatic (LIMphatic?) hallelujah. Far better than a FREEMIUM.

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

{Pump option, for short} = REG. REGulator? Kinda confused the M&A. Seems desperate, so … fave weeject!

{Let fate decide, say} = TOSSACOIN. Wanted FLIPACOIN, initially. There was a Carl Barks "Duck" story once, about the philosophy of "Flipism", where all your life choices are made by flippin a coin. Some street corner dude named Professor Batty gives Donald a book about it, and Donald buys into the whole idea. Goes for a long drive, flippin a dime at each fork in the road, until he gets lost. Finally gets to a six-way intersection, which isn't covered in the book. Runs into a truck. But, I digress.

Had less trouble with this puz than it deserved. Musta been one of them wavelength things. Was guessin long answers offa very few letters. Example: EGOSURF off the U. ROBOCALL offan O and L. SKUNK offa the first K, etc. Even knew Einstein-ROSEN bridge. Pure dumb, Cheeto-headed luck, tho.
FREEMIUM was new to m&e, too; so not a total coast-solve.

5 U's in this here puz, plus several bonus U's in some of Video Cheeto's bleep-words. har. Rodeo.
Thanx, Mr. Lim.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


RickLevenson 12:17 PM  

Best blog-closing ever! I wonder what future crossword clues will come out of this election...

RickLevenson 12:17 PM  

Best blog-closing ever! I wonder what future crossword clues will come out of this election...

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

your commenting persona is kinda all over the place here dude. edit a bit

Big Steve 46 12:38 PM  

ROSEN crossing EGOSURF crossing FREEMIUM was a major natick for me. Not knowing ROSEN I attribute to not taking enough science/math in college (too many medieval history and East Asia politics type courses) and also not being that smart, in general - not that I always ace those clues, either. Not getting EGOSURF and FRREMIUM are the unfortunate and inevitable consequences of age-based cluelessness which is probably only going to worsen. Well, I'm still here and plugging away. At least, I can still (almost always) handle the Friday and Saturday NYT x-words minus a few blips) and for that I am thankful.

By the way, I think I caught the NY TIMES in a major error in the sports section today. In their article about the Cleveland Indians, they said that the Indians had not won a pennant since 1948 - 68 years. Somehow they forgot the 1954 Indians, who not only won the pennant but won 110 games which, as far as I can recall, was the American League record for the 154 game season. It was great team: 3 super starting pitchers, Lemon, Wynn and Garcia with aging but still useful Bob Feller and Hal Newhouser, and in the pen, two of the first true relief specialists in Ray Narleski and Don Mossi. The lineup had power and average with Al Rosen, Al Smith, Larry Doby and Bobby Avila - among others. It was also the American League's first genuinely integrated team. They inexplicably lost the World Series in 4 games to the NY Giants (although Willie Mays had something to do with that!) and even, more inexplicably never won another pennant. But in their memory, this disgruntled former Brooklyn Dodger and current NY Met fan is all GO INDIANS!!! for the balance of this season.

P.S.: As a former resident of Buffalo, I know we (Buffalo and Cleveland) sometimes share the moniker THE MISTAKE ON THE LAKE (same lake, by the way.) I happen to love Buffalo, and for my few visits, Cleveland looks pretty cool, too. I'll take either one over any of the sorry sun-belt excuses for a city any day. And, by the way: "Former great A.L. third baseman," would have been a much better clue for ROSEN.

howardk 12:43 PM  

steps instead of sleds screwed me up

mac 12:45 PM  

Excellent Saturday puzzle, but I ended up with one wrong: no idea about bridge terms, so Roset/one to.. seemed fine.

Skunk cabbage is the first bright green plant in the early spring, showing up in the damp areas in the woods. I've never gotten close enough to smell it, though.

Z 12:47 PM  

flipACOIN and RoD and muONS and pisa made the north a challenge. I got it all sorted out only to come here and find out I never fixed teARS. A fine Saturday puzzle.

The common FREEMIUM I see is ad removal. Several of my iPad apps have ad-infested free versions. Considering that most of the ad-free versions cost less than $5 I pony up a little MOOLAH.

@Evil - Bill isn't running and fact-checking services regularly identify HRC as the most factual and honest candidate. As for the current foldoral, there is a reporter who mentions on Twitter, repeatedly, his theory that everything Trump criticizes others for is true about himself. I guess the Mexican rapist comment has finally been shown to align with the theory.* Just don't forget that this man won the Republican nomination and has had the support of the party before you vote for anyone (although Ohio leaders have done better than many Republicans in this regard).

Enough of that. How about a little Sam Cooke to cleanse the palate.

*It's one of those observations you make over a beer late at night in jest and then can't help noticing every time it works.

Joe Bleaux 12:54 PM  

Hey, a lot of us said things at 59 that shouldn't be held against us as adults.

evil doug 12:58 PM  


"Bill isn't running... "

Really? My point: Bill was forgiven. Perhaps Trump will be, too. Just not by me, for a variety of reasons.

"... fact-checking services regularly identify HRC as the most factual and honest candidate."

Talk about damning with faint praise. She's despicable in her own ways, so she, too, will do without my vote.

Mike Rees 12:58 PM  

Except for flip a coin, my experience mirrored yours.

Numinous 1:44 PM  

Jeeze! Another one outside of my ball-park. I can never remember ERNO Rubik, and, sadly, I was reading about wormhole stuff a few days ago and still couldn't recall ROSEN. Had no idea the guy who directed Fight Club directed GONE GIRL. I tried to read that book but lost interest about a quarter of the way through.

In my world, MAYO is a clinic or a nickname. Rémoulade has no nicknames that I know of. I would think the answer should have been MAYOnnaise. Aioli might have been a better answer. Eagles SOAR, gliders SOAR, Rockets blast. I suppose someone will point out that a scud missile will reach a point when it burns out and goes ballistic that it will SOAR into its target. That's just not the image I have of rockets what with shuttle launches and all the private industry efforts to get into space etc. BTW, I hear there is a Japanese company working on a space elevator. Will that render rockets obsolete?

I have an issue with PAY AS YOU GO. My wife and I have GoPhones. We pay for service in advance. True, the 4G data is limited to 3 gigs but after that, the snail-paced 3G is unlimited. We used to have a "regular" plan, one where we paid after the fact. That made it possible for the phone company to add extra charges for overages. Still, that is a PAY after YOU GO type plan. When our previous roommate failed to pay the cable bill two months in a row, we discovered a DSL plan which is also PAY in advance. I reckon that is a much better idea than some plans where they charge one for "overages". The pay in advance plan comes with several options for data speeds and is unlimited. Their prices are not unreasonable if you discount the FREEMIUM prices some companies offer for the first several months before boosting by several hundred percent. If anyone is interested, email me and I'll give the details.

I reckon that, in some ways, all crossword puzzles are STRAW MAN issues. So often we look at who the constructor is to tell something about the puzzle. This was a very well done puzzle even if it stymied me. I believe Jeff had considered this one for POW but he's already given that honor out this week, look back to Monday. Shows to go you that POW is less about complexity and more about elegance.

jberg 1:44 PM  

Whether you know SKUNK cabbage or not depends on whether you take walks in the woods, I think. If you do, and you go by a swamp or pond, you can't avoid it. I know it well -- but I put in Savoy first, since SKUNK cabbage is not actually cabbage.

I loved the long conversational phrases, and really enjoyed the puzzle.

I've always assumed that WORD came from shortening "that's the word" -- no evidence for that, however.

STEINER was tough as clued; if it had mentioned Waldorf schools or biodynamic farming I'd have got it right off. An interesting man!

Numinous 1:52 PM  

I believe that "WORD up", eventually shortened to "WORD" originally meant "That's so true" to a certain segment of the population. Not such a stretch to "I agree."

Wm. C. 2:09 PM  

@Z12:47 --

Re: "... This man ]Trump] won the nomination and has the support of the party..."

Well .. That's (literally) true. But he was very fortunate that there were a boatload of credible opponents in the primary (Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, ....). They split the mainstream vote, leaving "outsider Donald" with a winning plurality (under 45%, not a majority).

In addition to his primary supporters, the "party loyalists," "HRC haters," and some miscellaneous others will support him in the general election. But I dare say that he will have the lowest support of his party's voters (either party) in modern history. HRC will stomp him, with a record-setting winning margin, even though she's broadly disliked herself.

Oops, we're not suppoded to talk politics here, are we. Sorry ...

okanaganer 3:14 PM  

SKUNK CABBAGE is abundant in the mountains near Vancouver, thought I don't remember it smelling all that pungent. But then it's usually not too warm around there.

Where I grew up in interior British Columbia we had bunch grass, Ponderosa Pines, Prickly Pear cactus, and what we called "sage brush" which left a distinct though not unpleasant odor on your clothes if you brushed against it. In high school I discovered to my glee that it is actually called Stinking Rabbit Brush, or Chrysothamnus nauseosus.

Masked and Anonymous 3:49 PM  

Previous comment auto-correct intervention re-cap:
* Shoulda said "EGOSURF offa the U".
* Should said "...which ain't covered in the book".

@Z - Thanx, for all the primo Sam Cooke palate-cleansers. U R a real good fellow, in the magnifi- sense.

WORD. This meanin was unknown, but mighty interestin for M&A to learn about. Could build a whole franchise offa this concept…
* SAFE WORD. Corroboratin call, by a second umpire.
* PASS WORD. Stud poker term for "I fold", uttered by someone tryin to beat a hand with four aces up.
* CROSS WORD. "I'm as mad as hell, too!"
* CURSE WORD. Confirmation used by a bleep-inserter, when reviewin Cheeto videos, say.
* etc.


Masked and Anonymous 4:09 PM  


* WORD PLAY. "Let's party hardy!"
* WORD GAME. "Boy, howdy. Time to clear that stuff out of the fridge."
* WORD SQUARE. "Ten-crossword nerd solver alert!"
* WORD ORDER. "Definitely. Cinnamon rolls for four."
* WORD ONE. "It's confirmed. That's Cheeto's I.Q."

M&Also again

chefbea 4:16 PM  

Boy it's terrible here. Sooo much flooding

Mohair Sam 4:43 PM  

@chefbea - Weather Channel just said Cape Fear River has worst flooding since Hurricane Hazel (1954). You near that? Hang in there.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 5:51 PM  

@hartley70 -- Didn't finish the puz today because I was at an all-day Our-Revolution-building session (the former Bernie Sanders campaign), sandwiched between consort rehearsals and such. Saturday is a working day for musicians, and activists. But Orion is a wonder dog because he gets along with everybody at the Fall River dog park, and they are mostly pit bulls who do not get along with each other. He just wags his tail and fixes them with his big brown eyes and starts tunning around them, and pretty soon they are all playing together. I've loearned a lot from him.

As far as I got in the puz, which is the northwest third, I objected to MAYO as 'main ingredient on Remoulade'. The main ingredient in Remoulade is celeriac. Mayo is a filler. Why in the world would anybody clue MAYO that way?

chefbea 5:51 PM  

@nohair Sam We've been watching all day!! The only good thing about watching Mathew is that we don't have to hear any political stuff

Curt 6:13 PM  

"I had the same idea" instead of "I'm way ahead of you" got me in a tangle for awhile.

Charles Flaster 9:09 PM  

Don't forget about Dusty Rhodes.
Helped NYG defeat Cleveland-- a very scary team.

George Barany 12:53 AM  

Finally back in my hotel room in Bloomington ... note to @Big Steve 46, you're right about @Al ROSEN, but do you remember the Cleveland teams in the late '90s that made it to the World Series?

@Leapfinger, thanks for the heads-up/reminder re @Tango Ted Widlansky ... we had communicated previously about chemistry and crosswords, but this was the first time we ever met in person.

For fans of a certain team from the Windy City, enjoy Now Playing ....

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Every time I think that I am more intelligent than everyone else, which, I am afraid, is too often, I read something really intelligent.

I'm thinking of AliasZ at 2:03 a.m., and I am not being facetious!

Anonymous 11:47 AM  


does UBER service the wormhole ?


kitshef 7:02 PM  

Overall, I liked this one a lot. I could have done very nicely without ever encountering EGOSURF again. Didn't like it last time, don't like it this time. OCELO is probably unfair. Would more than 5% of the populace know what?

But I'll accept those for ROSEN and PAYASYOUGO and GENDARME and GONEGIRL and STRAWMAN and SKUNK Cabbage.

Growing up, we always said spinACOIN.

Burma Shave 11:29 AM  


how much MOOLAH APOP? ALAS, how could ONENO?
Here’s how a real NEET GONEGIRL would LIVE:
THANKGOD and BET on the SCRAPS that you give,


rondo 12:11 PM  

When the grid was still quite empty and the 9a RED had not yet appeared, I had rEd in 35d instead of BET – RED is odd in roulette, right? And that gave me hardseLL, which many telemarketers try, no? Inkfest resulted in that area while it got corrected, eventually. Same with gaga for SMIT.

Still miss @Ron DIEGO.

Another stretch today to come up with GONEGIRL yeah baby Rosamund Pike. Is/was EILEEN Fisher a real person? See the stores all the time; the missus likes malls, etc.

OCELO a huge gimme as I’m always buying them for the missus. Actually, OCELO was the first solid entry and it turned aforesaid hardseLL into hardCALL temporarily before the eventual ROBOCALL. Told you it was an inkfest.

I’ve had PAYASYOUGO cell phone service since ’02. Works for me.

Not sure that a 45 minute struggle is anywhere near easy, fished correctly THANKGOD. WORD.

Chris Ortega 12:17 PM  

If one had ever gone shopping for cleaning supplies for ones home OCELO should be recognizable. But I guess that would be less than 5% on this blog.

rondo 12:28 PM  

To be clear, it was hardseLL/hardCALL/cOldCALL/ROBOCALL. flipACOIN didn't help either. Nor did atra for NEET. Inkfest, indeed.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

In what world was this puzzle easy? True rating: a giant WTF.

spacecraft 1:03 PM  

I figured OFL would slap an easy or easy-medium on this one--again, and that I would DECRY the rating--again. As King said, "The world has moved on," and the language with it. I know nothing of FREEMIUM or MOVIEFONE. I still call (not ROBOCALL, just call) people on my [landline] phone to see if they want to go see a MOVIE. You know, like, in a theater. And a thing is either FREE or it isn't.

Still, those things did not cause a writeover and a darn-near DNF. Those Les Miserables extras did. I was thinking pEasAnts--but there was only the one extra in the clue, so I thought maybe...PEASANTE? Well, it was a thought. Why would you break a comb, in Japan or anywhere else? That would at least portend that you're a klutz! Who are SOR? One of the many things I never heard of.

I did get some help with the terribly awkward ONENO (short for "One no trump")--from the days when bridge players actually opened their mouths and spoke, until a band of American (!) cheaters in international competition brought on the bidding box. And in that same area, the wormhole clue. I know my Einstein-ROSEN bridges.

Very challenging, for this 20th-century relic, but done with no help. Triumph factor almost as "yuge" as the Donald's. Birdie.

Diana,LIW 5:05 PM  

Fun puzzle. Didn't get it all, but a good almost.

Loved the longer answers and the word playish clues.

How many ways can we clue EEL?

Had forgotten the OVEN feature in the fairy tale - horrors!

The only reason I finished the book, GONE GIRL, was because the author writes so well. But the book itself, and the movie - awful. Disliked almost every character - they all deserved each other.

Diana, LIW

leftcoastTAM 5:34 PM  

Trouble in each corner and elsewhere.

Flip ACOIN before TOSS, each before APOP, MOVIEFO--dnf, and trek before the SLOG this one turned out to be.

OCELO, FREEMIUM, and GENDARME escaped me without some help from my friends, so those are dnfs, too.

Must plead post-trip and Trump shock for mental fog.

kitshef 5:37 PM  

@Chris Ortega - for the record, I do all the shopping for cleaning supplies in our house, and had never heard of OCELO. We are a Scotch Brite home - Dobies in particular. I could also have come up with Brillo and SOS, but not OCELO.

William Coddington 8:50 PM  


Bananafishiex 7:37 PM  

I sure would have solved this a lot faster if I had not confidently dropped in ROBODIAL instead of ROBOCALL.

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