Cousin of Manx / SAT 2-18-17 / Cold wine and nutmeg drink / Prison in which Timothy Leary was housed next to Charles Manson / Rennin results in them

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Constructor: Steve Overton

Relative difficulty: Medium, leaning Medium-Challenging


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SANGAREE (36D: Cold wine-and-nutmeg drink) —
sangaree (countable and uncountable, plural sangarees)
  1. A mixed drink common in the West Indies, similar to sangria and usually featuring wine or fortified wine and spices. (wiktionary)
• • •

There is one interesting answer in this whole grid—EAR-TO-EAR (7D: Beam's path?). I should say "interesting clue"—the answer itself isn't that interesting, but that clue! Clever, but brutal. I had EAR-O-AR and still had no idea what I was dealing with. That clue wasn't just the most interesting thing; it was the most difficult thing. I spent 75% of my time in and around that answer. The rest of the grid was mildly toughish, but whatever struggles there were didn't last long. I usually proceed through the grid via crosses; that is, I never hop around unless I absolutely have to. I had to today, a few times, but I was always able to recover quickly. Flamed out in the middle, then rebooted with CLINK / ALEVE / KATE. Misspelled FOLSOM (first "O" as "U") and so couldn't make my way into the SW ... but then TENOR / REDO bailed me out quickly down there. End of SANGAREE (!?) was a total mystery to me—tried to extend "sangria" to SANGARIA. So, again, stuck. But then RAN got me SWEATSUIT, then MANSE, and that corner was done quickly too.


There's not much to talk about here. It was really adequate, really dull. I don't understand why this grid was remarkable enough to publish. Nothing stands out. None of the fill feels particularly original. Yesterday's puzzle had dull clues, sure, but at least the fill was lively. Today, nothing is lively. It's all slightly oldish, with stuff like DERRING-DO and a decidedly non-current cultural frame of reference. But that's not its problem. Its problem is blandness. All I will remember about this puzzle, if I remember anything, is how bad EAR-TO-EAR kicked my ass. The rest? Yawn. LET US PRAY that things improve in the near future.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Constructors: resist the urge to write yourself into the puzzle (12D). Good fill first, vanity second (or never).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

111 comments:

jae 12:10 AM  
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jae 12:11 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Ran into a little trouble in the SE because I thought DERRING DO needed an S somewhere and because SANGAREE was a major WOE that had me checking every cross.

If yesterday's was "boring .... and dull" then this one needs life support, or what @Rex said. It was interesting that the author managed to put his name in the grid.

Moly Shu 12:29 AM  

Not as good as yesterday, but still liked it. First pass only yielded LETUSPRAY ALEVE ODDS and FOLSOM. dNA first (of course) and adage before MAXIM. I think this also happened to me last week. Liked the clues for TENOR and DRUGS.

George Barany 12:35 AM  

Unlike @Rex, I prefer to give New York Times debut constructor @Steve Overton (no E) the benefit of the doubt on 12-Down; he was probably just pleased to find any word that could work in that closed-off northeast corner.

I approve of the scientifically accurate RNA clue at 51-Across, was intrigued by the underlying science in the 41-Down clue for CURDS and the amusing wordplay in 4-Down ("Therapy group?" for DRUGS), but wish that DTS and ACIDIC had been clued more chemically. Also, not that I'm a Prince or anything, but the clue for 25-Across reminded me of my own mom, KATE. The BAD_NEWS for me was not knowing the last few letters of 36-Down, which led to downstream problems rescued only with the "check" and "reveal" functions of the on-line solving application.

Brian 12:37 AM  
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Brian 12:42 AM  

Much ado. • DERRINGDO NOCANDO DOZER REDO DONOT (SCROD SYNOD ODDS)

Trombone Tom 1:07 AM  

Not as difficult as yesterday's or that great WSJ offering from Jeff Chen titled "Heading South."

"Beam's path" is brilliant cluing for 7D.

Had a tough time getting traction in the NW and it was the last to fall.

The clue for 31A meant nothing to me, but TV GUIDE and DITTO put me on the right path.

I think an SASE is more for the benefit of the MS. submitter in getting his work returned than for assistance to the editor.

LET US PRAY, but be careful what you pray for. Our requests for rain here in CA are being answered in spades. Now we pray for those threatened by floods and landslides.

Larry Gilstrap 1:57 AM  

I do the puzzle everyday, read the blog, and then try to post something clever; easier said than done. I have nothing but respect for OFL's commitment. I get a kick out of the comments disparaging his efforts for whatever reason. It's just Rex being Rex, after all.

Back to the puzzle; I never noticed the spelling of DERRING-DO because I probably never saw it in print. Anybody? At the bar we have a jukebox and I love to play music for people I like. Hall and OATES is my go to opener with a beautiful Sara Smile from EAR TO EAR, soon to be followed by I Can't Go For That and it's enigmatic NO CAN DO. Two songs people love.

Speaking of people and love, I can't wait to read what Mrs. Smith does with IN ARREARS.

Listen to Johnny Cash sing FOLSOM Prison Blues, the live version recorded at the actual prison. You can hear the fear in his voice as he sings to that audience of hardened criminals. The lyric: "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.." is followed by a blood-curdling growl that sends shivers up my spine, every time.

Dolgo 2:55 AM  

"Ear-to-ear" came pretty easily, as did most of the rest of the puzzle. Nothing really that far out or unexpected. I do remember when folks actually went to X-rated movies. As I recall a stick of butter was at issue in the original cut of Bertolucci's film, and that Brando was still attractive. Gretta Schacci also. I last saw her playing an elderly woman. I saw "Last Tango" again recently and there's no butter any more. A great tango scene at the end with Scacchi and another woman whose name I forget.
Oh. And I HAVE seen "derring-do spelled out. It even came up as a suggested word on the auto-correct correct feature where I began typing it!

Theodore Stamos 3:28 AM  

I liked this one more than Rex (probably because I was able to finish it, which is not always a given for me on Saturdays). SANGAREE was the last word to fall for me. Never heard of it.

Ellen S 4:10 AM  

Golly, it looks like @Rex and @Jeff Chen solved two different puzzles. I solved on more like @Jeff's, only much harder, I enjoyed all of it, sorting out the misdirected. Okay, not ENERO, but, so what. I came to grief at the intersection of 48A and D, not believing MICE could click. Headslap there. The incorrect "d" I put in was my last letter. Crushing disappointment to get the red bleat of rejection. Ruined my life. Totally. I shall never beam again.

puzzle hoarder 4:15 AM  

This was faster than yesterday's solve by four minutes even with using a tablet. I think the main reason is the scarcity of debut entries entries and the lack of challenge in debuts like SWEATSUIT. SANGAREE is the one exception. I count it as a debut as it's previous usage was strictly as a movie title. Whatever roadblocks I ran into were easy to work around. Not a bad looking puzzle just a bit routine.

Dolgo 4:32 AM  

Yikes! Just checked IMDB. Brando's co-dtar was Maria Schneider. Is my status as pedant-in-residence at risk because of my error??!!

George Barany 5:40 AM  

@Dolgo, "Last Tango In Paris" was in the news not that long ago, and not in such a good way either -- for more information, click here.

Gregory Nuttle 6:59 AM  

DERRINGDO just beat me up in the SE. I guess I know the word (phrase?), but it was not coming to me, and even if it were, I never could have spelled it. Looking back, all the crosses are fair, but man that messed me up. Everything else fell relatively easy for a Saturday. I actually enjoyed it, though agree that it was a little dull.

Lobster11 7:16 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. It was always just difficult enough that I felt constantly challenged, but never got stuck; it gave me lots of little aha! experiences when I (eventually) saw through tricky clues; there were very few bits of arcane trivia/PPPs; and most important, it made me feel smarter than I am when I found myself confidently writing in answers that, based on just a cross or two, that I didn't know I knew but that somehow just came to me. I suppose that means that it was just "in my wheelhouse," though looking back over it I honestly don't understand exactly why.

As for 12D, I don't understand why the inclusion of a perfectly good answer that just happens to include the constructor's name warrants an accusation of vanity. I call "foul" on Rex.

Loren Muse Smith 7:20 AM  

@Gregory Nuttle - I almost threw in the towel because of the southeast corner. Once I remembered that rennins are enzymes secreted into the stomach of unweaned mammals… Yeah right. So after I looked up rennin, I was able to finish easily, but I had to retrieve DERRING DO from the reptilian corner of my brain. So I “finished” with a cheat. Technical dnf. I can live with that.

I whole-heartedly agree with @jae, @Lobster11, and @George on OVERTONES – interesting and maybe necessary. I completely missed the name connection, but I bet Steve was happy to get anything to fit in that stack. If my last name were Overton, I sure as heck would have tried OVERTONES early on, specifically to get my name in. I really, really get a kick out of the constructor’s name worked in. Every time the criticism rears its head here, I sit there, trying to get my mind around why it’s so objectionable, but I just can’t. It feels like a bit of color enhancing the overall amusement of easily-pleased wordsmiths.

I had quite a few missteps early on:

“bics” before MICE. Wasn’t that a slogan kind of? Click your Bic?
“credo” before MAXIM.
“Frisbee” before FREE DVD
“floored” before SUTURED. Different kind of stitches.
“sweaty gym” because for the life of me, I wasn’t seeing SWEAT SUIT.

I disagree with Rex on the dullness level here. BAD NEWS, LET US PRAY, OFF STAGE, SWEAT SUIT, DEWY EYED, RENT A CAR, DREAM ON A TEAR, RATED X, TV GUIDE, and, of course, EAR TO EAR and its clue. There was plenty here to make this grid snap.

I liked RATED X and MAXIM in the grid. Wonder who was on their first cover.

@Larry. Yeah. I need to back off the teenage boy humor. I do have to say here that I’ve always thought NUDGE would be a good name for a laxative.

Steve Overton – I’m wildly jealous that you made your NYT debut with a Saturday. When I see a name I don’t recognize at the top of a Friday or Saturday, I feel a bit trepidatious – this is hallowed ground, buddy. But you delivered in spades, and I’ll look forward to more from you. Congrats.

evil doug 7:53 AM  

"...he was probably just pleased to find any word that could work in that closed-off northeast corner." That's utter bullshit, George. He didn't get cornered there; he built around that ENTRY (which it crossed) with junk like RENTACAR, KATE, SASE and a past tense D stitched on to SUTURE. Thus: Epic fail and I shall have nothing good to say about it....

Not that I would have anyway, especially compared to yesterday's gem.
Don't know why this was a grind and yesterday was a glide, but there you are....

FREE DVD? Green paint.

Figured the good folks peeling potatoes at Ore-Ida weren't the "so-called People of the Standing Stone". Maybe the so-called People of the Shredding Masher. So the tired old Oneida rode to the rescue.

Okay, okay, one good thing: NO CAN DO (although I expect Z to hammer the fact that DERRINGDO is in there, too)....

BarbieBarbie 7:55 AM  

Found it hard. But do-able. The cluing for EARTOEAR, with EAR filled in, had me searching my brain for something otoscope-related or NOAA laser doohickey-related, so the aha moment was really fun. And the cluing for 42 across made this puzzle completely up-to-date, so I don't agree with Rex there.

Glimmerglass 8:01 AM  

Fine puzzle. My usual Saturday level of difficulty -- which means an hour of sweating without benefit of a suit. Several mistakes lasted for a long time (me ToO before DITTO, veRgED ON before BORDERED, hot sUN before SIX GUN crossing Motto before MAXIM). I didn't find it dull at all. I loved NO CAN DO and DREAM ON. Never heard of SANGAREE (sanitary blue jeans?).

evil doug 8:06 AM  

Also Z: EAR to EAR, in arrEARs, on a tEAR, dREAd (close enough!), RAtEdx (ditto)....

Edsquire 8:30 AM  

Had same experience. Stuck on freeDVD/TVGUIDE junction. Broke rule and skipped to ALEVE and finished quickly

AliasZ 8:52 AM  


I wonder if Margaret Farrar would have approved of the DO NOT, NO CAN DO, REDO, DERRING-DO fourpeat. I for one was so completely turned off by it that I couldn't give a rat sass if OVERTONE was accidental or a self-aggrandizing seed word.

What a shame to waste the Saturday slot on such a poor specimen of the "gold standard".

Old Lady 9:03 AM  

Easy for a Saturday for me. The northeast was done in Monday time, the rest in Thursday time. Some erasure (pencil and paper) but no temptation to Google a foothold. I'm off to the farmers market to get some of those RENNIN results. OFL has access to some of the best in NYS.

Ross T 9:05 AM  

"Last Tango" clue is particularly off-putting. Director and Brando conspired to sexually assault the female lead on camera in order to get an "authentic" take. She didn't come forward until recently, though if she had, I suspect the film release would have had bigger issues than being RATED X.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Flick your bic.

Numinous 9:15 AM  



This comment has been removed by the author!!



mathgent 9:22 AM  

I was going to agree with Rex that it lacked sparkle, but @Loren Muse Smith reminded me of the fun stuff. Also, great term for the place where entries reside quietly before coming to the rescue. Our reptilian brain.

Today's WSJ puzzle was mentioned above, but it's by PB, not Jeff Chen. I'll get to it later today.

I was stuck until The Closer Gave me RAN for "Led." Only eight threes but got tripped up by one of them.

Very enjoyable.

Numinous 9:22 AM  

Since the discussion has mentioned Overton's OVERTONE, I'll mention that my avatar is me at age one doing my impression of Jack Benny and that is about all the comment I have regarding this SADurday puzzle.

Nancy 9:23 AM  

Lively and fun, with absolutely no junk. I found it easier than yesterday's puzzle, and think perhaps the two days should have been reversed. But that's two days in a row that I've really enjoyed. Come back, WS and receive your praise. Why were you only here on that one day earlier in the week when I thought the puzzle was lame? And, Steve Overton, nice job.

The NW usually sets the tone for me on how easy or hard I find a puzzle, and I sailed through the NW of this one -- seeing BORDERED immediately and confirming with RATED X to WAX. My problems came later: nONOs instead of DO NOT at 23A and meToO instead of DITTO at 28D. T-GU--- at 24D crossed with FREED-m (from ME TOO) at 27A drove me crazy until the end. They give away FREEDOM on promotional giveaways??? And I had dICE before MICE at 48A. If you've ever seen gamblers at a dice table, those dice really do click before they're thrown. The more desperate the gamblers are, the louder they click. But eventually I sorted it all out, and I had a wonderful time while doing it. Over too soon.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

Really??? @Ross T. (9:05). But that's awful!!! Good grief -- the things you learn on this blog!

Loren Muse Smith 9:34 AM  

@Numinous – hah. It’d be cool to have this posted when Rex deletes someone’s post:

“This author has been removed by the comment.”

Bob Swidler 9:35 AM  

By the way, Rex, went to Cornell University, so know Binghamton well. Lots of time to do Crosswords there. Bob Swidler.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

I liked it. Last Tango in Paris!

QuasiMojo 9:36 AM  

Today's puzzle by Mr. Overton "bordered on" being "dread"ful for me personally but I got "scrod" at the outset and "ear to ear" right off the beam. And yet, I must confess to being disappointed to find it right there "in arrears." I did not like "Aleve" being used (product placement is a cheap trick), or "free DVD" whatever that is, especially with "freon" having a chilling effect right beside it. I have few fond memories of "GI JANE" although I have a vague recollection of her "suturing" herself. Or perhaps that was a DVD extra on "Last Tango in Paris." Please Mr. Shortz "DO NOT" ever allow "Rated X" or "X-Rated" again. It is a ghastly trend in crosswordese. MPAA ratings are "drained" of any interest now. I am "amaze"d I did this puzzle in less time than I normally do a Friday. Too easy, no googling (which is fine) but no real "derring-do" required. It's the kind of diversion one could do in a "sweatsuit" while doing a "rep" at the gym. My one bobble was at "curds." I had "curls" for a while as I imagined "Rettin" was some new product from "Jherri Redding." My favorite clue was the one with Desi Arnaz, Jr. who was my "nobleman" back in my "dewy-eyed" youth. He was so "Folsom" looking in those jeans. I know. "Dream on..."

Maruchka 9:43 AM  

Pretty well-clued, I think. Thanks Mr. OVERTON.

Very smooth until it wasn't. My challenge was the NE, despite getting RENT A CAR and SCROD right away (old Boston joke that ends with "Hmm. That's the fust time I been asked that in the past pluperfect").

Fav of the day - SANGAREE. Sounds refreshing! It also made me think of 'StinGAREE', a quirky 1930s Western set in Australia(!). Much Richard Dix DERRING-DO and SIX GUN action, plus a DEWY EYED Irene Dunne.

G'day, cowboys.

Sherm Reinhardt 9:45 AM  

I found this wicked evil (nod to the New Englanders out there).

SYRUP for SCROD
ANNE for KATE
TEETERED for BORDERED
MOTTO for MAXIM
DEEREYED for DEWYEYED
EROTIC for RATEDX
ADVIL for ALEVE

Clearly the NE was my undoing. [shakes fist] Curse you, Steve Overtone!

Leapfinger 9:49 AM  

A Saturday that had me ON/AT EARTOEAR beaming, chock-full of DERRINGDOnt until we got to DERRINGDO.

Had the dangdest time seeing anything but FREEDom (which is forever a promotion), grudgingly broadened my horizons to FREEDay (like at a hotel). It wasn't till I moved on and remembered GI JANE (Demi Moore's expansion on Goldie Hawn's highly believable Private Benjamin) that I finally looked beyond vowels for T_G and had TVGUIDE offer me that blame DVD. JUSt grateful I had the stones to stick with JUS d'orange

In the NE, was SCROD into a Cheer before a CLINK, and wasted 'precious nanoseconds' on Afrin-PM and Advil-PM. The SW fell most easily, with only FCC (wrong kind of pirating) and SHOE (different tracks) to correct, but the corner 4x5 fell easily, and showed the right way. All other areas contested most every step forward. Easiest correction was for FOLSOn Prison (thanks fer nothin', Johnny Cash), and hardest was the final square 48. I was torn between the possible D and M: DICE click, as do MICE (though I think the computer kind are termed 'mouses'), and neither DANSE nor MANSE had any obvious connexion to shepherds for me. I'm happy to be instructed

Random bits:
If you're going to rroll your RRs, then rreally rroll your RRs: INARREARRS
If I LET U SPRAY, will U LET me SPRAY?
I thought it very cute that SUTURED follows ONATEAR, but SUTURED self.
It requires NO CANDOr at all to admit I was hoping for a wine drink called duNGAREE
Nice OVERTONEs, Mr. Overton. (NUDGE,NUDGE, wink, wink) All very COYly done.

"LET US PRAY. Go forth and SINEW no more; then will ye live on FREED VD."

Plumber's coming; gotta run.

Isandxan 10:03 AM  

For me, a lesson in trying things to see if they work. And sometimes giving up too soon. But I finished.

Finished the top first, SE corner last. Had MAXIM, MITT, RAN and SWEAT ______, but had CURlS for CURDS, couldn't make the first three work and erased them. Tried adage and Motto for MAXIM. Didn't work. Finally got SENTENCE, which led me to put the first three back in, then SWEATSUIT, DEMOTE and the rest fell lickety-spit.

jCrew in 9a because of wideEYED, which both fit the clues and the space as well as SCROD and DEWYEYED. So that bit of misdirection tied me up for a bit.

I'm too familiar with anti piracy orgs, so was looking for something more specific and it took way too long to go with the obvious FBI, but trying that made the SW finally fall in seconds (after loooong struggles).

Crunchy puzzle. Loved EARTOEAR which made me beam and groan simultaneously.

puzzle hoarder 10:04 AM  

Here's a good memory exercise. I printed out a copy of today's puzzle to fill so I'd have a reference while reading the comments. Instead of using the clues I did it strictly from memory without any reference to the clues. Having just done the puzzle last night (on my tablet) I thought it would be a breeze. It turned out to be almost as difficult as the original solve but I enjoyed this more. It's kind of the inverse, whatever you breezed through becomes the hardest to remember.

Charles Flaster 10:07 AM  

Easy- medium pour moi.
Only bump was NE with DEWY EYED but when SCROD was ascertained , the puzzle was completed.
Liked cluing for BORDERED, ODDS, and DOZER.
This should have been placed on Friday and yesterday's should have been placed today.
Very nice debut. Thanks SO.

Hungry Mother 10:09 AM  

Had a long pause for the third letter od CURDS; otherwise, very easy for a Saturday.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Does anyone anywhere still wear a SWEATSUIT? I plopped down YOGAPANTS without a thought.

Roo Monster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
Well, for me, this was an interesting solve, as at first had only a few answers after going through all the Acrosses and all the Downs. "Huh, typical SatPuz" I said to myself. But then got CLINK and RENTACAR in NE and quickly got that corner. Cool beans. Slid into middle twixt NE and SE. Had NUDGE in, but took it out, as couldn't get going there. Then saw NOCANDO and off that, BADNEWS, so rewrote NUDGE, which got me (the cool answer) DERRINGDO, which had me put in SWEATSUIT which I had but took out. Finished that corner with the fun clue for MICE.

Next to go was SW corner, as only had ENERO there, but went ON A TEAR with GATeD, AMAZE, DOZER, bam bam bam. Finished up there, then tackled that tough NW. Dod have LETUSPRAY and TIN but took them both out as couldn't get Downs to jibe. Finally saw the great clued EARTOEAR, getting me INARREARS, putting back in LIEGE (which was LeiGE for a bit), seeing BILLOW (cool word) and finishing up.

Whew! So went from impossible, to the ole brain struggling to see anything, to actually figuring out the answers. With no cheats!
And near record time for me on Saturday, 43:44. Bully on me!

Verbose today, not sure if anyone read this whole thing or not, or if anyone cares!

--------------------------------
Announcement: Got a call from scammers claiming to be the IRS yesterday. Scared the pants off me, as threatening arrest, prison, wiping out bank accounts, etc. They were very convincing. But it was a SCAM. So if anyone gets this call claiming you messed up on your tax returns, and you owe the IRS money, hang up. The Real IRS sends put stuff in the mail if your taxes aren't correct, and gives you time to make amends. These assholes on the phone scam say you only have two hours.

BAD NEWS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Ed 10:18 AM  

Curious that no one observed that BILLOW was an answer in today's mini puzzle. Doing that first gave me a very brief head start.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

After decades of solving I am finally and regularly making inroads into Friday's and even Saturday's puzzles. Still technically DNF on this one. Nevertheless quite satisfying solve and very gratifying to end with just a handful of blanks squares. Unlike Rex, I found plenty of aha moments in getting all the longer answers from the vague and clever cluing. RENT A CAR, IN ARREARS, OFF STAGE, SWEATSUIT, DEWY EYED, BAD NEWS. All these may be gimme for Rex but they are not for me.
Did not realize that this is a debut puzzle for the constructor. Bravo for that and for managing to insert his name into the puzzle.
Looking for more from Mr. Overton.

Steven Overton 10:21 AM  

Ummmm....I have others. Now I have to change my last name so I can work MUD(E) in to my next puzzle. Honestly never saw the OVERTON/OVERTONE connection. A problematic last name to be sure.
Glad some of you liked. Appreciate your comments and have a great weekend.
Steve.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Re Last Tango.
No, not really. At least according to BertoLucci and Brando. Completely untrue. Schneider says otherwise. Now. Sure took her a long time to speak up.

Teedmn 10:26 AM  

Not challenging (for a Saturday) for me. The start of my solve was the same as @Nancy's experience. One hold up was a slightly different spelling of FOLSuM than @Rex's. This left 27D unsussable as FREu_. I thought perhaps a schadenFREude tie-in was in the offing but getting the first N of NO CAN DO tidied that right up.

My big slow down was in the NE. GI JANE and SUTURED with RENT-A-CAR was in. I was COYly considering 29A but I was blank as to the rest. I was finally relieved when I thought of ALEVE and the rest fell in. So 26 minutes, mostly an average Saturday time so LET US CLINK our glasses of SANGAREE to Steve Overton's debut. Nice!

Glimmerglass 10:28 AM  

@Anonymous 10:10: A SWEATSUIT is a useful item. I gave my 14-year-old grandson one (LL Bean) for Christmas. His 25-year-old cousin commented, "Ah, a sweatxedo." Never heard that. I loved the word!

Chip Hilton 10:35 AM  

@Ellen S - You are not alone. I was so sure of dICE that I accepted the totally unacceptable dANSE and moved on. My only error on a day when I was locked in from the start. Grrrrrr. My only difference from your experience? No head slap, as of yet.

I really did enjoy this one. I thought it had several interesting clues and answers. Thanks, S.O.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

To add to Roo Monster advisory.

The IRS scam is only one of many scams. Never treat unsolicited phone calls, e-mail and snail mail as anything but a scam. For those of you interested in learning more go to www..consumer.ftc.gov or do a Google for "scams". (FTC stands for Federal Trade Commission.)

JC66 10:39 AM  
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Space Is Deep 10:46 AM  
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Space Is Deep 10:51 AM  


A good two day run for me. This one was easier than yesterday's. Enjoyed both of them. I don't get why so many people are so critical of puzzles. It seems like many of them dislike the puzzle if they struggle with it. Clever cluing is what I look for on Friday and Saturday, I found that on both days.

GILL I. 10:55 AM  

DODODO was the only little thing that bothered me - only because it stuck out like a little piece of celery in your teeth. Otherwise, I thought this was fun. Like @Nancy, I found this easier that yesterday's.
SCROD gets me every time. I always think it has something to do with what Marlon Brandon plays with in Last Tango.
FOLSOM...When I moved here that beautiful little town had such a bad rap. It was only known for its prison and its dam. Now, it's the Hollywood Hills of Sacramento. Speaking of dam - I sure as hell hope it holds up. I never thought I'd want the rain to stop..
SIX GUN was my absolute favorite. My dad gave me a shiny silver six-shooter during my Annie Oakley days. It had those little red cap thinks you stuck in the gun so that it could pop like a firecracker. When I'd watch cowboy flicks I'd always count the times the gun would go off. You could hear me yell "HEY YOU FIRED SEVEN TIMES."
Steve Overton(e) Put your name in neon lights as far as I'm concerned. This was an enjoyable Saturday. Yay you.
p.s. GATED communities offer absolutely no safety. Wasted sense of security. Just buy a plastic SIX GUN.

GHarris 10:57 AM  

Started slow, took some chances and it finally began to come together. What a great feeling as the solve gathers momentum and the tough answers pop into cognition. Tripped over the mice though, went with dice which seemed far more clickable and never recovered that m although I should have realized that nobody, even shepherds, live in danses. Still, enjoyed the exercise and relatively happy ending.

Tim Aurthur 11:00 AM  

Didn't find this puzzle at all dull, mainly because it went pretty fast. Although putting SyRup for SCROD and forte for SINEW slowed me down in the NE.

Rhino 11:04 AM  

Wow - yesterday and today really kicked my butt. I mean, it's hard to focus on puzzles when the leader of the free world speaks and acts like the loudest drunk at the bar - but even if that were not the case these were just not on my wavelength. I had to cheat all over the place - in filthy demeaning ways - in order to get the completion.

Well tomorrow (or this afternoon at 6p) is a new day.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Puzzle was solid, if you don't mind solving inside a swatika.

Carola 11:11 AM  

A fun one. My churchy background got me started with LET US PRAY x SYNOD, a happy crossing that took me quickly down to the ENERO and SENTENCE corners. Getting into the NE was harder: I needed an alphabet run for the S to make sense of ?UTU???, thought the officer might be JAkE, guessed that the hacker attained iNTel and that the innocent was DollEYED - oh, and assumed that the ed. was an educator instead of an editor. So, easy until the NE, then a mini of a Saturday work-out.

Stanley Hudson 11:13 AM  

@Gill I, I'm north of you, near Chico. You may have heard that we had a bit of a scare with the Oroville Dam earlier in the week.

Here's hoping for a break in the weather and for sound dams everywhere.

Z 11:15 AM  

Dang, I was all set to agree with @Evil Doug and the constructor has to come here and deny the vanity plate ENTRY was intentional.

@Evil Doug - Letter strings are not the same as words. I did smile at the RAtEd x inclusion, though.

@Anon10:10 - Yes.

DNF in the SANGAREE/TV GUIDE/GI JANE section. I looked up DERRINGER-DO and must say that was a particularly unenlightening etymology. I'm also still not seeing how "led" gets to RAN. I'm also wondering if there are any analgesics or cold medicines that do not have a "PM" variety. What the world really needs are AM varieties of SANGAREE. OK, maybe not. Nutmeg does seem at least a little breakfasty though.

@Dolgo - Every regular member of the commentariat has been accused of pedantry at one time or another, so it takes lots and lots of work to win the title of Pedant-in-Chief. I would suggest, though, that it never hurts to google before posting.

Mohair Sam 11:22 AM  

@Nancy said it - "Lively and fun with absolutely no junk." Played challenging here, but we eventually whupped it. I'll add that @Rex has never seemed more totally full of it. Is OFL more sour than usual lately, or am I more positive?

SANGAREE was tough for me, whew. That along with CURDS, TVGUIDE, and GIJANE (this sexist pig refused to think female) left a portion of the puzzle blank forever. Nice clue for COY, a "Who knew?" on the TVGUIDE clue, and an "interesting" on FOLSOM.

Debut on a Saturday! Very impressive. Keep 'em coming Mr. Overton.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Mice "click" ?

Norm 11:33 AM  

Anonymous @ 11:27: computer mice

Re the IRS, they NEVER call you.

Rhino 11:37 AM  

Anonymous at 11:27 - Think computer mice.

old timer 11:40 AM  

OFL was grumpy today, I think just for the sake of being grumpy. And mean! I found this a delightful puzzle, quite Easy for a Saturday except for the DITTO part. I had "me too" for the longest time. And though I got SANGAREE on crosses I had no idea what it was. My final task was to change "saits" to BAITS and "sad news" to BADNEWS. In my house, "sad news" is how we introduce a sorrowful occurrence.

I thought TVGUIDE was the most brilliant, unexpected answer I've seen in months. I was looking for some teen-oriented magazine of course. Instead the first issue of TVGUIDE had baby Desi on it. You older folks probably watched all the relevant episodes of I Love Lucy. I did because it was my parents' favorite show (mine was Gunsmoke, until some of those later Western shows debuted; of course Perry Mason was my favorite non-Western).

I really love duplicate clues, and NOCANDO and DREAMON were perfect and very much in the language. But don't you think the NOCANDO ought to be the name of a night club?

Lewis 11:46 AM  

@anonymous 11:27 -- Compute mice do.

I finished the puzzle thinking, "Wow, what's not to like about this?" There was that beautiful looking grid design, some appealing answers (DREAMON, NOCANDO,DEWYEYED), crafty cluing ("Barbershop part" for TENOR got me good for a while). There was BORDERED on the border, a RAN down, and some nice crosses (RATEDX/LETUSPRAY, DREAMON/NOCANDO). Then I remembered Rex and that there would be something not to like after all, and there it was, that this was dull. I respectfully disagree, sir. Dull for you, a fine Saturday for me.

GILL I. 12:10 PM  

@Stanley Hudson...I guess you got most of the evacuees from Yuba and Marysville. Now they've come back to find their homes have been burglarized. One poor soul had his Purple Heart stolen. We live about a mile from the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers. Just stand anywhere on Garden Highway and you can see the homeless tents floating on their way to San Francisco.
Stay safe...we're in for another brutal 7 or 8 days!

Lindsay Sturm 12:26 PM  

Have to respectfully disagree - got EARTOEAR very early on and the rest of that corner fell into place. Toughest time was in the south, with SANGAREE and DERRINGDO. Yikes!

phil phil 12:43 PM  

Thank you S Overton for the clue that we should never forget and should be reminded now and then.

Timothy Leary placed in a prision with the likes of criminals like Manson. The patriot act I am sure has generated much worse abuse of power in today's time and more to come.

AZPETE 12:46 PM  

If u lead an organization u run it.

AZPETE 12:48 PM  

Agree. Had to google gi Jane.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Sorry, but SCROD is not a "New England staple." It's not even an actual fish or an actual fish dish. I got completely hung up in that corner.

r.alphbunker 1:06 PM  

Rex is not an infinity in a grain of sand kind of a guy.

I stalled for 1.5 minutes before I gambled on 25A {Prince George's mom} KATE which I distrusted for most of the solve because the NE wasn't jelling for me. That was the longest stall I had. Getting 7D {Beam's path?} EARTOEAR off of _ _ _ _ _EAR open up the NW nicely.

Details are here.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Easier than usual Saturday for me, possibly because I did not overthink the "ear to ear" thing. I got the answer but still don't understand how a beam's path is ear to ear. It still is a successful completion even if you don't "get" all the answers, right?

Andrew Heinegg 1:20 PM  

Without looking at the puzzle author's name, I figured this to be a new constructor. Some of the answers push that idea into my head. It is a decent enough puzzle. It just seems to lack a bit of polish. It is also too easy for a Saturday which is not the constructor's fault.

I do give it credit for a couple of bits of fun trivia, Folsom Prison for Timothy Leary and Charles Manson in cells next to each other! One can only imagine the conversation. Or maybe, it would be better if you didn't. And TV Guide with Desi jr. on the cover. Ya know, the whole I Love Lucy deal with her having the baby being written into the series may have been the start of the reality TV stuff that I just cannot stand. I do like some of those old comedy shows but I Love Lucy always seemed forced and unfunny to me. But, obviously, many millions disagree with me.

The Last Tango In Paris rape scene is dangerous ground. There was no actual rape, of course. It was a simulated rape. The nasty part of it is that the 'victim' of the simulated rape did not know it was part of the movie. And Bertolucci's explanation for not telling Ms. Schneider in advance in order to get a more 'real' rather than rehearsed reaction in the scene is indefensible. Creating in any art form requires innovation and ingenuity. But, humiliating someone in an attempt to improve the quality of the art is just beyond the pale even if it is successful as it was in this instance.

Roo Monster 1:21 PM  

@Z
He led the meeting.
He ran the meeting.

RooMonster

Andrew Heinegg 1:22 PM  

Smiling is sometimes referred to as beaming, as in beaming with pride. So, you can grin or beam from ear to ear.

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

@Ellen S, @Chip Hilton, et al. - yep. NYTSatPuz almost invariably has somethin that trips m&e up, too. Seems to often go somethin like this: "Oh, man … if I'da just known SAN-GAR-what and DERRIN-who, I coulda been a contender …"

First entries in the puz, offa nuthin: LETUSPRAY, REP, SYNOD, INARREARS. Few nanoseconds were harmed. M&A was smokin hot. NW was toast. But, then participated in a media FREEDOG giveaway, and kinda lost the scent. Rest of the solvequest was fun, but much more methodical. Finished in the SE, wonderin what DERRINGERs had to do with anything, and why M&A couldn't remember how to spell SANGRIA.

staff weeject pick: JUS. Better clue: {Just not quite??}.

Debut dude, again. Seems like almost every day's had a debuter, this week. If U count ONESALL.

Thanx, and congratz on yer very nice debut, Stevedore Overtone. Enjoyed yer Comment Gallery msg, too boot.
@RP: U sure are easily bored lately. Better try the unhinged offerin below, before it's too late.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


huge & unhinged:
**gruntz**

Teedmn 1:49 PM  

Holy ON A TEAR, @r.alphbunker, that is a really great Saturday time! It would definitely be a record for me.

And @Maruchka's comment made me think of the Grateful Dead's SuGAREE

Hartley70 1:56 PM  

Thank you WS and Mr. Overton for this second day of stacks! I had a wonderful romp of a time with David Steinberg's grid yesterday, but this was definitely Saturday tough for me. I have to take a check and reveal dnf today.

The NW was a breeze once I saw LETUSPRAY and RATEDX. The wind died after that. SANGAREE was a complete stumper and I was sure "Top Gun" was correct. Continuing on I confidently entered "yoga pants" because SWEATS wasn't long enough and adding SUIT just sounds wrong. Did we ever say that? "Track suit" feels more familiar. Rennin sounds like something I should know. I was pretty sure it was food related, but now I'm just grossed out. Those CURD things are not appetizing and I can't understand why the Canadians love their poutine. There's no accounting for lack of taste in either opinion.

Even though this was a challenge that I failed, it is an impressive debut and I'm looking forward to a rematch.

Malsdemare 2:06 PM  

@anonymous 10:10 "Does anyone anywhere still wear a SWEATSUIT?" Bill Cosby, and for some reason that image nauseates me.

Any time I can finish a Saturday with no help in 35 minutes, I'm gonna love the puzzle. It was just hard enough that I chugged, groaned, wrestled, and finally won. Yay me! NW was easy, SW pretty much fell next and then I stumbled slowly through the rest. Loved DERRINGDO, EARTOEAR, MITT (that took forever to see even though I had MAXIM). I'm in the camp that says OVERTONE was accidental, but I'm really forgiving.

I'm content. Thanks Mr. Overton.

mathgent 2:16 PM  

Did anyone else do the Patrick Berry "Curly Quote" in today's WSJ. I just finished it. A typical PB masterpiece.

But there seems to be a slight error. I'll go over it again, but it seems to be in either #10 or #17.

Liz T. 2:17 PM  

The Last Tango cluing is not only heartless given recent (and semi-recent) news--it's also so unnecessary it seems almost intentionally provocative.

LeafOnTheWind 3:14 PM  

Last square to go in for me was the V in TVGUIDE/FREEDVD. That whole area had me stumped for ten minutes at least. At one point I had convinced myself that FREEDAD was some kind of portmanteau of FREE and DOODAD only found in crosswords, and TAGUIDE could be some Spanish-language magazine I didn't know about. I probably wouldn't even have gotten that far if not for guessing JUS, which gave me GIJANE.

Anyone else think of the Bad Company song when they filled in SIXGUN?

OISK 3:23 PM  

Ah, lovely, delightful, after yesterday's disgrace that most here liked. It is important to my self-respect that I don't DNF two days in a row, and this was one of my all-time fastest Saturdays. So much clever cluing...Oh, THAT kind of mice! Oh a beaming SMILE! Not a single answer that failed to make sense to me in some way. Yesterday we had Hotlick, Bohochic, and a "gaming slang" clued "mash, " all in the NE. Today's enjoyment makes up for yesterday's annoyance.

Puzzling Philosopher 3:51 PM  

Many folks with disabilities frown on the use of "lame" to mean SAD.


Z 5:08 PM  

@AZPete and @Roo - Thanks. @AZPete - inquiring minds want to know, are you an Arizonan or an Arizonian?

@Andrew Heinegg - Michigan has Criminal Sexual Conduct laws instead of "rape" laws. In Michigan what Bertolucci and Brando did could be construed as 4th degree CSC.

@Liz T - Or the constructor and/or editor were unaware. Even the article @GB linked to mentions how Schneider had publicly discussed what happened in 2007 to almost no outrage or notice.

I noticed that my link was auto-corrected to DERRINGER-DO. At least Merriam-Webster recognized the phrase.

Pnf408 5:19 PM  

MANSE looks like an error to me - a manse is a substantial clergyman's house. I had "dice" instead of MICE, messing me up in that area.

I put down "Xrated" before correcting to RATEDX. The final X led me to consider "sex" for the spa treatment for about a second.

Anonymous 6:33 PM  

Is a pastor, living in a manse, the shepherd of the flock?

mathgent 7:42 PM  

Just for the record, no error in this morning's PB gem in WSJ. I was stringing the answer to #10 the wrong way

Joel Blashka 7:49 PM  

Typical Saturday for me. Medium more than challenging save for two clues in SW. Initially had SKID before SLED and FCC before FBI. Finally realized ALIENATE was the only answer that made sense, and NOBLEMEN fell into place.

Anonymous 8:18 PM  


Ahhh, our liberal champions of justice at work. Someone makes an allegation and those charged are guilty?!!!
OK, I'll make an asserion:
There was no rape, there was no assault, there was no CSC, in any degree.

Leapfinger 8:44 PM  

@Anony6:33pm, that's the best I could make of that clue/entry pair also. Have to say I liked the click of the dice better, but maybe that's because I have a touchpad in lieu of a mouse.

@Rhino, I do like your idea of cheating 'in filthy, demeaning ways'. Really elevates the concept.

@GeoBarany, I remembered something that might help with a more science-y clue for DTS, anyway. Back in the days when hospitals still had separate private and public wards, I did an Inpatient Medicine rotation in one of the male public wards of a teaching institution. [Students weren't allowed to bother the private patients in that place, which shall remain nameless except to say that in general, it sure Do OK.] With many of the admissions having a concurrent diagnosis of EtOH abuse, there had to be standing orders to prevent wholesale outbreaks of DTS on the floor. One approach was for the patients at risk to get a beer every day with the evening meal; the other was to add pyridoxal phosphate to their IV bags. I'm not sure exactly how that latter worked, but in 2 months we didn't have one case of DTs. Not to mention that the ward was downright festive with the number of neon yellow IV bags that were hung. D'you think there's a way to winkle a clue out of that?

Chris 8:51 PM  

I have noticed that any time Rex struggles with a puzzle,, he never likes it and it's boring, etc. but any puzzle that he breezes on through, those are just grand. I enjoyed the puzzle but I enjoy every Saturday I finish with no errors.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 11:17 PM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Oddly, I found this easy. Zipped through it in near record time. Never heard of Sangaree before, but the crosses weren't a challenge.

Burma Shave 11:14 AM  

FREON REP

LETUSPRAY my DERRINGDO will be DEWYEYED and wholesome,
I DREAD I NOCANDO a SENTENCE in the CLINK at FOLSOM.

--- MITT DOZER

rondo 11:52 AM  

DONOT REDO DERRINGDO & NOCANDO all in one puz, Please. Otherwise I thought it was pretty good. Other than the little inkfest where the ENTRY of "adage" held up MAXIM for a bit. Entertained me for a half-hour or so.

Agree with @evil doug that FREEDVD is green paint.

Did you know that DREAMON is the title of a song by both AEROSMITH and the Oak Ridge Boys? While still dating, my soon-to-be ex-wife asked me to play DREAMON on a juke box once, so I played the Aerosmith tune. BADNEWS. She wanted DREAMON by the Oak Ridge Boys. Shoulda paid attention to that omen. Oh well, DREAMON.

KATE Middleton must be the epitome of COY. Ever catch that see-through on the runway during her brief modeling career? Yeah baby. Now acting so demure.

Pretty decent puz, save for some of that DO DO.

BS2 12:26 PM  

DONOT ALIENATE MAXIM

It's BADNEWS COY G.I.JANE fears,
for her OFFSTAGE OVERTONEs of sex.
That NOBLEMAN JUS' SAD her INARREARS,
ODDS are it BORDERED on being RATEDX.

--- ENERO SANGAREE, FBI

spacecraft 12:57 PM  

I sometimes wonder exactly what it is that OFL wants in a puzzle. Perhaps at least three up-to-the-minute tech terms plus a minimum of two rapper/hip-hoppers. Sorry if those absences ALIENATE you, old boy, but this grid is just fine.

I was surprised at the rating, too. I found it to be on the easy side, for a Saturday, perhaps easy-medium. Soon as I had the first EAR of 7-down, I knew that one. My longest hangup--and that not very--was 27-across. FREED...what? It seemed 28-down was going to be "METOO," but that would leave FREEDOM; doesn't fit the clue. Finally hit on TVGUIDE (those single letters always catch me) and was through that. Only writeover was Motto for MAXIM, quickly fixed.

If Demi Moore as she appeared in GIJANE isn't a DOD, no one is. I DO agree about all those DO's, but we DO use that word a lot in normal speech. Not a big thing. No idea what SASE has to DO with "Aid for an ed." but my last letter was that A: easy cross. And I DO not mind the clever and unobtrusive insertion of the constructor's name into the grid; bully for him. Birdie.

centralscrewtinizer 1:01 PM  

Rex should change his handle to Puzzle Scrod.

leftcoastTAM 3:46 PM  

Found most of the West relatively easy; most of the East, tough but gettable with some patience.

EARTOEAR showed up mid-way through, mainly because, for a change, the NW fell early. Directly under, CURDS took a while as the "rennin" clue is a new one on me.

Main hold ups in the SE. Went from adage>idiom>MAXIM. SANGAREE/DERRINGDO cross took good guesses on spelling.

Still in the SE, was sure of dICE (they click), but not its crossing dANSE (some kind of grazing area maybe?). That was my dnf error.

Still puzzled by MICE. Do they really "click"? Another new one on me.

Easy and Challenging = Medium.

Have a good weekend.

rain forest 3:50 PM  

I liked it. Surprise! And I found it reasonably challenging, especially the Northeast where I had wideEYED and stuck with it for more than a few nanoseconds. SANGAREE was also an obstacle until I sussed out RNA (as a chemist, shoulda got that instantly).

For much of the puzzle, I plodded along, but I wanted to continue plodding because I was enjoying the plod. I was *not* one of those who got EAR TO EAR, instantly, insisting on something that was being beamed. Also, I was sure that the giveaway was a FREEBIE, but I had SYNOD in place, and really wondered if there was some diocesan gathering ending in B. Mega seconds.

Eventually got 'er done when ENTRY made me change "wide".

Maybe not of the level of yesterday's puzzle, but a nice job, and a nice debut.

Btw, my last name is SECRET (really), and you can bet that if I ever constructed a puzzle, that name would unabashedly appear. Fair warning.

leftcoastTAM 3:52 PM  

On my MICE puzzlement. Never mind. I got it--too late.

leftcoastTAM 7:06 PM  

Once again, I'm reminded by the use of auto correct, check, reveal, and other enabling features used by electronic solvers, that we're playing by quite different rules. And it's not clear who's being enabled unless acknowledged, which is the right thing to do.

--Pen and paper solver

wcutler 9:17 PM  

I finished this! Right answers too. It has to be easy. It may be my first ever Saturday finish, or maybe my second. I usually give up with only three or four answers filled in.

I didn't notice the OVerton/OVERTONE - thanks for pointing that out Rex. I like that.

rondo 9:27 PM  

@wcutler - good job on finishing a Sat-puz! I didn't do them for the longest time because of life getting in the way. Now, a week wouldn't seem complete without solving it. Correctly.

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