Virginia willow's genus / SAT 2-11-17 / 1973 Tony nominee for Little Night Music / Deliciously different sloganeer

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Constructor: Frederick J. Healy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium for me, but probably closer to Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ILA (30A: Wharf workers' grp.) —
The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) is a labor union representing longshore workers along the East Coast of the United States and Canada, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, and inland waterways. The ILA has approximately 200 local affiliates in port cities in these areas. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this was dismal. Even the fresh stuff was dated (LASER TAG! HAVE A COW! Watch "Home Improvement" and "NYPD Blue"! It's the '90s!), and there's not much fresh stuff to begin with. But mostly the badness wasn't a matter of freshness, it was a matter of simple badness. I just kept wincing at stuff like SEINED and RATEDA and EAN ALTHO LAO ORME ABEAT and oof, especially ITEA (58D: Virginia willow's genus). That is a "delete your puzzle" answer. Let's not. Ever. Never. No. Just godawful. Genuses are always the last refuge of a scoundrel constructor, and this one? What on god's green is it? Who says "DO SAY"? It's DO TELL. Everybody knows that. Multiple WAHOOS *and* multiple DREWS? It just hurts all over, this thing, especially when compared to yesterday's beaut. Jeez, CARIOU? You gotta be really into musicals and/or really old and/or a lonnnnngtime solver (my category!) to know that guy. The only way I'm even getting through this write-up right now is by amusing myself with recluings/reparsings, like, say, [Autobiography of pekoe?] ("I, TEA") and [Gritty '90s religious thriller?] ("GET SATAN!"). Crossing LEHI with ITEA is a textbook example of no no no. Delete your puzzle. I mean, GEE WHIZ, man ...

I will say that there is nothing really *wrong* with the stacks / slabs of longer answers in the corners. "WHEN, THEN?" has a colloquial charm. Not sure why, but I really liked the clue on SCONCE (50D: Keeper of the flame?). I had SEANCE for a bit—again, not sure why. Had RAW EELS for RAW EGGS (43D: Distinctive features of tamago gohan servings, in Japanese cuisine) because I have had eels on the brain for a month or so now (you'll see why—new "On the Grid" podcast episode out soon). I also had SALADS as 21D: Part of many a submarine (SALAMI). Like, I don't know, tuna SALAD, chicken SALAD, something like that? It briefly made sense. SPIKE LEE and HAWKEYE were both gimmes, and a big part of why this puzzle ended up on the easy side for me. Just glad it's over.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. ["Forgive me father, for I have ___" (beginning of fisherman's confession)?] (SEINED). I apologize. Good day.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:17 AM  

I couldn't decide which was worse, the LEHI/ITEA crossing, or the WOHOOS/YOWZAH crossing. The obscure or the absurd.

George Barany 12:20 AM  

Thanks, @Rex, for your review of @Frederick Healy's Saturday puzzle (and belatedly, thanks too for your review of @Kyle Mahowald's puzzle yesterday). Right, a definite contrast.

I knew CARIOU (from past efforts to clue LEN, where he tends to be an alternative option to cluing for one-time Super Bowl quarterback Dawson), and it was fun to work out the clever clue for SALAMI, but I still had to throw up my hands at the YOWZAH/GEE_WHIZ/WAHOOS conflagration. Subsequently, the sequestered northeast corner required some judicial use of "Check" and "Reveal" options. I_DECLARE, indeed!

DO_SAY, you say? OK, here goes -- One amusing misadventure, easily fixed. For 37-Across, I was quite confident of the W and E in the third and fifth positions, and briefly considered IOWEAN (sic), which seemed consistent with the vibes I was getting from 51-Across, as well as the 57-Across/58-Down cross already referred to in @Rex's review (is a resident of LEHI a UTAHEAN?)

jae 12:21 AM  

Tough one for me.

tHEN wHEN made the SW difficult.

GEEK wear slowed down the SE.

gluts before QUADs disrupted the NE.

The LEHI (as clued) / ITEA cross was a WOE.

Not quite sure how SHEET is a "unit".

Also YOWser briefly.

I thought the stacks were fine. Liked it more than @Rex did, but he has some valid points.

Charles Flaster 12:21 AM  

Medium but liked it more than Rex. There was lots of creative cluing and that outweighed the shorter fill. I liked cluing for
SCONCE, PUPS, CO-HOST, and ERECT( a wonderful visual).
Two writeovers kept my finish time on the high side--RED HAT for RED cAp and MOP HEAD for MOP Hair.
How about ED KOCH intersecting with SPIKE LEE? Guessing they never really met!
Liked SEASONED but why the ? in the clue?
Thanks FJH

George Barany 1:14 AM  

Is anybody interested in discussing the ED_KOCH clue? Ed was my Congressman in the Silk Stocking district, and not yet Mayor, at the time when NYC had its financial crisis in 1975. I found this compelling New Yorker account on-line, which tracks with my own recollections.

In fairness, Koch's New York Times obituary includes this sentence: "Most important, he is credited with leading the city government back from near bankruptcy in the 1970s to prosperity in the 1980s." Keep in mind that Koch wasn't inaugurated until January 1, 1978.

One more link for your consideration: This New York Post column from just about a year ago includes the following choice morsel, about the 1986 renovation of the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park: "... Trump rebuilt it in a few months in part to embarrass his nemesis, Mayor Ed Koch." Hmmmmm ...

Marty Van B 1:31 AM  

My eraser got a serious workout today.

DNF due to that bullshit LEHI ITEA crossing. That's zero fun. The constructor must have been channeling GET SATAN there.

It's doubly unfun to divine the spelling of onomonopeia. YOWZAH crossing WAHOO with a GEE WHIZ in there had me struggling.

On the bright side, I always enjoy a good heist movie. Inside Man is an excellent one. Appreciate being reminded of it.

joebloggs 1:43 AM  

Pretty sure no one ever shouted wahoo at a rodeo. Yahoo? Definitely but not wahoo. Gotta change the cluing to something relating to the fish or University of Virginia. Sorry...

Trombone Tom 1:57 AM  

I agree with @joebloggs, Wahoo=No

Otherwise pretty much what OFL said, although I did like it more than he did. Definitely on the easy side for Saturday.

Some nice misdirects on the clues. 21D Part of many a submarine. 61D Covers with some rolls.

ITEA was a throwback to a previous era of crosswords.

Aspire Cariou Mophead 4:09 AM  

I can't really argue with the criticisms, but I liked battling this out!

Still two wrong squares! Debated between LEHi and LEHu. Picked wrong. And I had Emily Dickinson UNdO a broken heart, which I actually think is more poetic!
It left the nonsensical RAdEDA...oh well, ladidah.

mENtos had to become WENDYS, COHead (semimalapop)/COHOST, bedHEAD/MOPHEAD, bucKEYE/HAWKEYE.

Very vivid clue about Zebra's mane... Started with shorT and uncuT (sorta related to ERECT, if you want to go there!)

I'm guessing part of the fun creating this was playing around with YAHOO vs WAHOO, YOWZER vs YOWZAH with GEEWHIZ vs JEEZ, IDECLARE, DOSAY there's an energy to that.

Loved BADKARMA, RAWEGGS (Tamago yum!), GEEKCHIC, SPIKELEE and how fun is SQUIBS?

Had fun coming up with CAR??? Nell CARTER? Someone CARSON?
But I'm old, so CARIOU eventually revealed itself with the cool final U. (Maybe that's why I guessed LEHu?)

Favorite moment tho was struggling to envision huge NY Post headlines of the '70s when I was in college and having EDKOCH slowly rise out of my deep consciousness. Live for that feeling.

Low moment in my ACME Naming career:
Was charged with renaming the old People's Express Airline.
It was based in Kansas. So one of the names on my list was MIDAIR.
Client didn't miss ABEAT and asked, "As in MIDAIR crash?"

File as fog 5:34 AM  

WHEN THEN? For real? Never heard anyone literate say that. THEN WHEN. Idiots

Loren Muse Smith 5:38 AM  

Ok. Some valid complaints with the EAN and that LEHI/ITEA cross. And I had a wrong “wohoos” for WAHOOS. Heck. Those longshoremen could be an organization instead of an association, right? Cool to see DOCKS hovering near.

And I’m with ACME on the energy of all the onomatopoeia. (Sorry, @Marty Van B. Hey, but it’s always nice to read that someone solves in pencil the way I do.) I had “yowzer” first for YOWZAH. Maybe the same word – just a Boston/non-Boston deal?

@jae – I had to wait for the crosses to decide if it was “then when” or WHEN THEN.

First thought for the guy who saved New York - “batman” and I’m not making that up. Sheesh.

“Spill” before DO SAY. I didn’t even notice any problem with DO SAY vs “do tell,” but the latter does feel more in the language.

I kept going back and looking at the clue “”be a wannabe.” If you are just about self-actualized and content now, if you want to stop aspiring to be something you’re not, you want to be a used-to-be wannabe.

First thought for the language with no spaces – Japanese. Too long by a mile. But then we had the tamago gohan clue. Might be tough for a lot of solvers. How else to clue RAW EGGS? “The reason you feel guilty because you actually bought a thing of frozen cookie dough so you can add little chunks of it to your ice cream and you know you’re not supposed to be eating it but you eat a ton anyway and you never get sick so there.”

The first time I had sukiyaki in Japan, I was stunned to see that you’re supposed to crack and egg in your little private bowl and dip the piping hot stuff in it that you’ve taken out of the communal pot to cool it a little. But I tell ya, man. It works and is a game-changer.

But c’mon, folks. Mr. Healy is not a “scoundrel constructor” we should be too hard on. ERECT had a terrific clue – superb one really - bit of kitsch, longstanding staple of good clues. I love this periodic kind of interesting tidbit. (Is that a cucumber in your pocket, or are you just all the sudden talking funny?)

bucktail 7:28 AM  

Great puzzle. So many whines in these posts!!! Enjoy the ride.

Glimmerglass 7:52 AM  

Fun puzzle. DNF because of the ITEA/LEHI cross (but I won't whine). I guessed O for the common letter, probably because of osier (willow used in baskets). Stuff happens. I liked the common Z in YOWZAH and GEE WHIZ. This was hard for me at the top. Not many gimmes for me. My first entry was A BEAT (what else could it be?), then. . .nothing. Later, I erased A BEAT for a time because I had yAHOOS, and T__YS just wasn't working.

CFXK 7:53 AM  

62A Browns in a way = GET SATAN ?!?!?! sound like more like "scorches" to me. ;)

George Barany 8:12 AM  
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George Barany 8:13 AM  

@CFXK, very funny, but I think GET_SATAN re-parsed as GETS_A_TAN fits the clue more closely.

@Aspire Cariou Mophead, nice to hear from you. The classic headline was in the Daily News and can be found by clicking here (scroll down the linked page, and read the article for further context and perspective).

@Loren Muse Smith, you made me laugh, as you so often do. Imagine riffing on that vanilla clue for ERECT. I think Batman saved Gotham, not NYC.

@jae, agreed that not knowing GEEK_CHIC, GEEKwear certainly sounds plausible.

evil doug 8:21 AM  
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Rhino 8:22 AM  

A clean Saturday solve is rare for me, and a special treat... so WS and company can ride that ITEA/LEHI crossing straight back to the hell in which it was forged.

mathgent 8:26 AM  

The best clue in the puzzle wasn't there. It was in Rex's comment. As the fisherman said, "Bless me Father for I have SEINED."

Looking back on the grid, only eleven plusses for me. Below average for a Saturday. Definitely not enough to compensate for all the weakness Rex documented.

evil doug 8:28 AM  
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evil doug 8:34 AM  

Oddly, the StL Cardinals often wear blue caps....

Love the Get Satan mash-up....

My squadron was the Green Weasels.I think it came from Vietnam,before my time--sneak in, sneak out, try not to get shot down....

Yowzah gee whiz wahoo I declare have a cow--but,darn,not rated A....

Speaking of cows, acme--I always thought a good name for a Wisconsin airline would be DairyAir....

Z 8:40 AM  

"You dont' say!"/DO SAY seems like a major oversight.

Triple DNF - neither TItO or TINO made SEIzED, ILo, and Whac-a-Vowel at LEH- so I went with U because I could not possibly care less about Virginia's willow genus.

The Clerk 9:07 AM  

HOLYCOW and Have a cow

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Is 'just deserts' correct? I always thought the phrase was 'just desserts' ?

puzzle hoarder 9:16 AM  

Oddly enough EDKOCH was my first entry. It's not much of a stretch just think political name from 70s NYC. USEDTOBE supported it. RTE could have been supported by BACKTHEN but the B and the H gave me nothing. ILO was my only mistake hi @lms. Paper and pencil here too. I needed the crosses for TAYE and LEHI. With the L from WEASEL I recognized the town's name and avoided the natick at 58D. Ironically I was recently checking out the genus list on Just punch in genus on the clue finder feature and there they all are, all the crossword friendly taxonomic latin words. ILEX, OLEA etc.

Moly Shu 9:18 AM  

4 letter city on Utah Lake? Well, that's gotta be orem. Nope, crosses didn't work so in went LEHI. Spent 2 of the most unproductive (read:college) years of my life in that area so luckily ILEA went in. nErd before GEEK. Last square was changing the ILo to ILA. HI @LMS. A few gimmies, VTEN and BUCKEYE got me the SW and SPIKELEE and TINO the NW. Maybe had recapS before SQUIBS, but made no progress. Liked the clue for SPASMS.
I'll add my unabashed admiration for all things @Acme, welcome back.

Roo Monster 9:21 AM  

Hey All !
YOWZAH, that whole North was tough! Got the South done (except the Natick I) in about 15 minutes (which for me on Saturday is fast) and then died in the North. SEINED in the NW was a WOE. Had EDKOCH but took it out. Jad earNED in for quite a while, and wanted ohgeeZ. Finally sussed out SPIKELEE, which got me GEEWHIZ and the rest of NW. NE, though, had to Reveal SSR. Was getting nowhere up there. Didn't know ORME, SQUIBS tough to see, and IDECLARE last to fall. Finished in 59:08. Eek.

Did guess correctly at the NEHI/ITEA Natick, though. So there's that. hemi-VTEN, iAN-EAN, SlEET-SHEET, yeHawS-yAHOOS-WAHOOS, gradeA-RATEDA, TItO-TINO, and a few in-out-in answers.

Let out quite a few Oh DARNs on this one. Lots of W's, 6 of 'em.


Peter 9:21 AM  

WHEN THEN? -- absolutely not
THEN WHEN? -- a bit better (as its something an 8-year-old might say)
Both are RATED F.

Also, I've never heard Iowa called the "Corn State" (ALTHO -- ugh -- with some digging I found a reference).

Numinous 9:22 AM  

I refused to google today and, like Larry the Cable Guy, got her done but it took a long assed time. I had a lot of stupid thoughts before some stuff came together like GET SAT oN for GETS A TAN. For some dumb reason I thought it was DRue Barrymore so for a while I DREW a blank there. I found it exceedingly hard to believe in YOWZAH and WAHOOS. But I hung in and eventually it was over. I find myself mostly agreeing with @Rex today.

While the gluey bits weren't good the cluing for them was, er, well, um, creative at least. I have issues with all things Mormon and Utahen as my uncle's family are all that way and often proseletyze me. That and those nice young men in their clean white shirts and ties on their bicycles trying to give me my eleventh copy of the Book of Mormon. I used to be nice and polite to them since they represented family in a way. I have this vision of folks sitting around at a cocktail party in heaven having a nice chat and occasionally one will disappear, whisked off to Mormon heaven when the Saints are haveing one of their baptism by proxy parties.

Yesterday was a landmark day for me. Thursday I had a lot of errands to run so I blew off my streak. It works out though since yesterday marks a new era in our lives. And I may have made a decision to never google again. Don't know if I can stick to that but I'm going to try. I believe that every puzzle is solvable with enough patience so I'm opening up a new practice.

No puns were harmed in the creation of this comment.

Joseph Welling 9:23 AM  

@ Anonymous 9:12
DESERTS are the things you deserve. (Not desserve.)

Trick my high school Latin teacher taught us: the SS in dessert is for "strawberry shortcake."

QuasiMojo 9:30 AM  

Well I knew it wasn't the US GOVT that helped NYC out during its bankruptcy era. Remember that famous Daily News headline "Ford to City: Drop Dead."

As for Rex, yeah, this puzzle was pretty much a groanfest but just because you don't know something, doesn't make that particular answer abominable. Len Cariou is a legend on Broadway. He starred in Sweeney Todd, for God's sake, opposite Angela Lansbury. He is still acting up a storm. I met him once at a concert given by Mabel Mercer at the Waldorf. Charming and funny guy. And sexy.

I had "succor" before "soothe." Did not like the alternate spelling of "yowza" and "red hat" for a baseball cap?

Could not for the life of me squeeze my "glutes" into the space occupied by "quads."

I still wear "horn-rimmed glasses" but no one would ever call it "geekchic."

I do declare, it's pretty sad when the WSJ is churning out better puzzles than the NYT on a daily basis. I guess money talks? Or is just a sign of the Times?

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

The puzzle was pretty easy, but I got naticked with Lehi. I find that frustrating - cruising through a puzzle, and then stumped over an obscure crossing.

kitshef 9:34 AM  

A rare day when agree with almost everything @Rex has to say, with two exceptions. Medium-challenging for me, and I loved ITEA.

tOwHEAD before MOPHEAD (which I think fits the clue much better).

Finally went and did the WFJ puzzle everyone has been raving about. Happy I did. Loved the meta and the long acrosses, but not the cluing or fill. In particular crossing an obscure architect with an obliquely clued abbreviation was ridiculous.

Rachel 9:44 AM  

Overall felt sort of whatever about this puzzle, but I truly hate "things weighed in pounds" (PUPS). For one, how are dogs "things?" And PUPS doesn't feel interchangeable enough with "dogs" as an everyday term for its use to feel warranted. Overall just felt like an extremely forced "gotcha!" to me.

I've only seen YOWZAH with no H on the end, so I got stuck trying to figure out what fit there for a while.

I also got hung up on some of the CARIOU and ITEA answers sprinkled throughout, unsurprisingly. Definitely not one of my favorites.

BarbieBarbie 9:53 AM  

@mathgent 8:26, "I have SEINED" was also my favorite clue. So even though I agree with Rex about this puzzle (not the difficulty, just the complaints) , I loved it because it led to a great Rex-blog.
Nobody else had trouble in the SE?? The rest of the puzzle was fine for me and then a big block of nothing down there for awhile.
Anonymous @9:12, if you eat all your dinner, then dessert may well be your just deserts. Otherwise, different, and the kind with sand and camels is neither of those.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

So it's all well and good if LASER TAG, SPIKE LEE, TINO and TAYE are known to you from the clues provided. If they're not -- as they were not for me -- then the temptation to cheat in the NW can seem overwhelming. It took all my willpower not to -- the repercussion of which I was sure would be a DNF. But I walked the straight and narrow, and was eventually rewarded with a solve. My biggest glitch was yAHOOS instead of WAHOOS at 25D, which kept me from seeing THAWS at 25A. (What in the world was --AYS for detentes?)

A Senior Moment -- i.e. the temporary inability to come up with the name of the actress who sang "Send in the Clowns" in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC was a blessing in disguise (42A). By then I had the final U and realized the Tony nominee was the actor CARIOU and not the actress -- (who I now remember is Glynis Johns, who wouldn't have fit.)

I resisted writing in ED KOCH (4D). You see, I was in NYC during its near-bankruptcy and, if memory serves, it wasn't ED KOCH who saved the city, though God knows he tried. Unfortunately, he lacked the power. It was a combo of the governor Hugh Carey and the most important player of all, banker Felix Rohaton (sp?), the real hero of the hour. Wanted Felix to fit, but he didn't.

A fair amount of PPP that I didn't know, clustered together in one section. But I muddled through without cheating and am feeling both very proud and very virtuous.

Amie Devero 10:01 AM  

This puzzle made me wonder if I had a debilitating stroke in my sleep and so suddenly lost 50 IQ points. DNF... and don't even know half the words when I look at the solution: Yowzah? Seined? Isn't wahoo a fish? Never heard it as an exclamation....ugh!!

Nancy 10:07 AM  

So, going back and reading the comments, I see why I so resisted writing in ED KOCH and why I was really sure it wasn't he who had saved the city. @George Barany points out that Koch wasn't even mayor at the time of the financial crisis! I didn't remember that! Thanks, George! Terrific edit!

Happy Pencil 10:19 AM  

DNF on WoHOO/ILo. Isn't ILO a union? Never heard of ILA.

Liked the clues on SEASONED and SALAMI. Liked GEEK CHIC and WHEN THEN (even though I originally had it the other way). Always happy to see any references to "just deserts" and watch people get up in arms. But beyond that, I most agree with Rex's review. This was more of a drudge than a joy for me.

If I were someone who made puzzles, I don't think I'd love anything more than being called a "scoundrel constructor" by Rex Parker.

QuasiMojo 10:28 AM  

@Nancy, yes indeed. Thank you for remembering Felix Rohatyn. He was the guy often credited for rescuing the city from the abyss. Not Koch. I couldn't recall his name. Bless you!

GILL I. 10:35 AM  

ED KOCH first in...(he looks exactly like Herb Caen) and ITEA last out.
I danced all over the place with this one. I just felt there were one too many GEE WHIZ YOWZAH WAHOOS HAVE A COW I DECLARE DO SAY to really tickle my Saturday night fancy. It kinda felt like trying too hard to be LUSTER SOOTHE.
@Rex...I TEA and @Doug's Dairy-Air made the tummy bounce up and down. Thanks for the morning pick-me-up.
Had a few mistakes to begin = bets/LAWS cramps/SPASM and the yahoos/WAHOOS....Damn - I mean DARN. All correctable so a finish with one Google for LEHI.
You can use EAW EGGS to make aioli!

Dolgo 10:39 AM  

I had lots more trouble with this one than usual and found it more difficult than most of the rest of you did. I am still trying to figure out why. Of course, it had mostly to do with the clues, but I have been thinking that I have finally psyched out the way most of the constructors use puns and other techniques to throw us off (example:"salted away"). But there were just enough discrepancies (e.g. "seasoned") to throw me off. And I dif so well yesterday! Maybe I just had a bad day or, like Dr. Johnson, I just woke up one morning feeling like I knew less, leading me to suspect some weird loss of my intellectual faculties overnight. We'll see next Friday and Saturday, I guess.

Stanley Hudson 10:49 AM  

A strong Bloody Mary helped with this one. Still had to cheat but felt good about it.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Itea /lehi = natick principle.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Clip does not mean ADHERE. It means just the opposite, REMOVE. You have to add "on", or "onto", or "to" with CLIP to make it ADHERE

Teedmn 11:12 AM  

KOCH - it's interesting how different people pronounce the name. If I'm not mistaken, ED's name was "kotch". The infamous KOCH brothers pronounce it "coke" (or at least that's how people refer to the local refinery). My niece's maiden name of KOCH was pronounced "cook" in southern MN. After she got divorced, she kept her married name of Schrader - maybe she was tired of explaining how to say KOCH?

The drummer in my former band, an Iowa native, would occasionally, apropos of nothing, call out in the middle of a set, "This one goes out to all of you Iowa HAWKEYE fans", usually met with bemused silence by the Minneapolitans in attendance and giggles from me and our frontman.

At 60A, "One of two party leaders" was briefly COHOrT, which caused 52D to be "DO rAY" which is probably heard as often as "DO SAY" is. Double DNF today because my Utah lake city was LElo, crossing SlEET and oTEA (a WOE).

But this puzzle was mostly pretty easy. I was 3/4 done at minute 20 and then I slammed into the NE. MOPHEAD/DOH (or was it DuH?) and the S of THAWS bracketed the area. I was pretty sure 9D would be SSR, giving me a spooned dessert of Sorbet. D'OH. But 9A was possibly "blurbS". So I crossed everything out except the two plural endings meeting in 14D and saw SEASONED. So now I knew 31A was DARN rather than DAng. But it wasn't until I was able to guess O__E could be OR ME that I finished. The NE alone took 15 minutes so an average Saturday time and an above average DNF percentage :-(.

GEE WHIZ, FJH, I thought this puzzle was a fine Saturday, thanks.

old timer 11:17 AM  

Needed some electronic help for CARIOU and RAWEGGS then the SE fell into place.

No problem with WAHOO as a rodeo cry. In movies or maybe in person I've heard it.

I fell into the trap of writing in "Orem" for LEHI, which I ended up getting on crosses.

Z 11:19 AM  

An explanation of deserts.


The ILO has a web page. So does the ILA.

Are towns of fewer than 50,000 souls crossworthy?

Why is the top hit for ITEA virginica the Missouri Botanical Gardens?

Liverpool v Hotspurs on at 12:30 EST. I know who @Mohair Sam will be rooting for.

Alex 11:22 AM  

Wow. This was a LOT more difficult for me than for all of you. That's sort of discouraging - although that makes no sense. Crosswords are fun, dang it, Alex! Stop with the comparisons!

Z 11:22 AM  

@Anonymous11:06 - "Clip" is a contronym. Crossword cluers love contronyms.

Johnny Vagabond 11:24 AM  

...and where does Her Or Me come in to Miss Saigon? I have the song list in front of me and I don't see it.

r.alphbunker 11:38 AM  

Once I got rid of GEEKwear for 65A {High-rise pants and horn-rimmed glasses, say} GEEKCHIC the SE fell. Crossed my fingers on LEHI/ITEA.

Details are here.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Took a bit longer than my average, but I wrestled her down. Knew QUADS had to be right since GLUTES was too long, but had a helleva time building that corner. ILA is crosswordese so that gave me WAHOO, which told me what spelling of YOWZAH was being asked for. CARIOU used to appear in puzzles from time to time, but haven't seen it in ages. Initially wanted ILEA at 58D, but I think that's a Holly genus?

Loved DREW intersecting with RAW. That girl takes an awesome shower, if ya know what I mean!

@evil doug:

Re: Green Weasels. Perhaps C-130's were configured to drop agent orange before you were in country? DOSAY! I vaguely remember the Air Force Defoliators Motto:
"Remember. Only You Can Prevent Forests!"

LMAO at your Wisconsin Airlines! Or, how about Northern Ireland's melodious alternative to Aer Lingus?

@Rex: Thanks so much for Carla Thomas. The song brings back so many memories. USEDTOBE high school girls loved to dance real close to that tune, but they often HADACOW when it produced a ZEBRA MANE.

Z 11:52 AM  

Not puzzle related, but requiescat in pace Mike Ilitch. If you are a billionaire try to model your behavior on this guy. I didn't agree with everything he did for Detroit, but what he did in 2008 showed a real love for the community.

Maryann Gorman 11:57 AM  

I ran to read this because I suspected you'd hate the same things I hated. I was right. But now I am obsessed with trying tamago kake gohan and am trying to convince myself the eggs in my fridge are fresh enough to make it. And that I'll like it.

GHarris 12:00 PM  

Thought I had gotten to the point of running with the big boys and girls but alas not so. This puzzle was impossible for me but I did know that Felix Rohatyn was the true savior of NYC.

Chic 12:04 PM  

yowzah, yowzah, yowzah at :55 and 1:42

See also Ben Bernie.

Carola 12:06 PM  

@Rex, I loved your review. GET SATAN! made me laugh.

I thought this one was fun to figure out - it's amazing how far writing in the plural S's and the short stuff like LAO will get you (in that case, SEASONED), when your mind is blank on 99% of the answers. Last in for me was the I in LEHI x ITEA, but I see I ended up with a DNF at TAwE x wOWZAH.

I liked how the HAWKEYE has nailed the WEASEL.

@Charles Flaster, I don't see that anyone responded about SEASONED - I think the question mark in the clue indicates that the usual definition of "salt away" (set aside for the future) doesn't apply.

Malsdemare 12:10 PM  

My first entry was RTE, my second was USEDTOBE, and then the NW was done in a nanosecond. I panicked that the whole thing would be over too soon, and then I ran into 9A and screeched to a halt. I bounced around a lot, putting stuff in and then taking it out, but finally filled in that last square at ITES, the I, and waited for the happy pencil. Nope. That's because I have no idea what the city in Utah might be and had SlEET for my unit of rain or ice (yeah, made no sense to me either, but my first entry was Storm, so clearly I was heading in the wrong direction from the get-go.)

The WAHOOS and YOWZAS didn't bother me; I've been to rodeos and yeah, you still hear WAHOO. YOWZA reminds me of Jack Lemmon's fiancé, Joe E. Brown, in "Some Like It Hot"; YOWZA was his go-to exclamation. Liked GEEKCHIC, but didn't quite get why a MOPHEAD is a barber's challenge. I'd think managing those combovers would be harder, but what do I know. Being of peasant stock, I have enough hair for three people. I had britS before DREWS which made me reject WEASEL for a while.

Oh @Evil, DairyAir is wonderful! Reminds me of the period when Marquette University in Milwaukee was soliciting suggestions for their sports teams' name; they were following Stanford's example and eliminating the racist mascot, Willie Wampum, and with it the team name, Warriors. My roommate offered "the Milwaukee-to-Luddington Ferries." Oddly, Marquette went with Golden Eagles.

@Anonymous 11:06. You can clip (attach) a note to your bill (though today we'd probably use a sticky note).

Lovely comments today.

Joe Bleaux 12:30 PM  

For me, this was an unusual Saturday puzzle in that I finished in ever how long (not important to me), but my considerable sense of satisfaction was chilled by the near-absence (thanks to a couple of neat clues) of plain old FUN. Good puzzle and all that, but I feel like ... I dunno, like I did well on a test or something.

Lewis 12:33 PM  

Saturday tough for me, and then some! My favorite part was in the cluing, and there was some devilish clues (TOLL, SALAMI, TPS, SHEET, SPASMS, SOOTHE). For those making auto payments, there is CAR IOU. I like the paucity of 3s, and found it interesting that the largest word only had 8 letters. This was a struggle for me, but being the STOIC that I am, I stuck with it... and still had to cheat!

Charles Flaster 12:36 PM  

Of course I knew that but for a Saturday I would omit ?.
Thanks for the response.

Just Curious 12:37 PM  


Would you also refer to George Soros as "infamous?"

I propose the following agreement. I promise never to utilize or enjoy any institution that has been the beneficiary of George Soros's charity. In return, I ask that my Democrat friends stay away from any institution that has received Koch Brothers' charity.

If you're a Democrat and you get sick, pick a hospital other than New York-Presbyterian. David Koch gave them 100 million to help build the David H. Koch center.

Also stay out of Johns-Hopkins. They got 20 million.

Ditto for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-they got another 100 million.

Are you a Democrat with a bad hip? Hobble to any hospital but the Hospital For Special Surgery. They got 26.2 million of David Koch's money.

Got a kid with peanut butter allergy? Stay away from the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. Koch gave them 10 million.

It's not just medicine. Stay out of the Smithsonian's National Museum Of Natural History. Koch gave them 35 million.

Don't let me catch you near the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new and completely redesigned David H. Koch Plaza, which Mr. Koch's 65 million dollar gift helped create.

Gifts from the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation have benefited the American Ballet Theater. In 2008 his foundation gave 100 million for the preservation and renovation of the State Theater of New York at the Lincoln Center. Now known as the David H. Koch Theater, it is home to the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.

That David Koch, he's a really bad guy, right, Teedmn? Perhaps you could furnish me with a list of George Soros's charities that you will utilize and I will avoid?

Like I said, just curious?

AZPETE 12:37 PM  

Interesting comment about the color of the caps (that's what they're called in baseball), but I think the puzzle is referring to cardinals as in people that elect the pope.

emily 12:43 PM  

I was a cowgirl and wrote rideem. Fit but wrong

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

har. When I grow up, I wanna be a "scoundrel constructor".

If Mr. Healy has read @RP's writeup, and hasn't finished slittin both wrists yet, I'd like to compliment him and the SatPuz he road in on, for:

* Gorgeous quad 6-stacks crossin gorgeous tri 8-stacks in the NW and SE.
* Almost same thing in reverse, in the NE and SW. [except only tri 6-stacks, this time] day-um ... That's gotta be totally in-seine to try and construct.
* EAN. [fave weeject, btw] M&A learned somethin here. Never before woke up from dreamin that I could use EAN in a puz. That puppy will bail out five or six runtpuzs I've got sittin in a sorta "permanent vetting" containment area.
* Solitary black square, splatzed dead center in the middle of the puzgrid. Don't hardly ever see that, in a SatPuz. Again, brave and break-thru constructioneerin -- becuz now U suddenly also have to accommodate a whole flywheel of 7-letter words that shoot out into everything!
* REDHAT. Biggest surprise, by far. Woulda bet @muse's farm that the first thing outta @RP's blogmouth today woulda been a full-tilt snark-assault on good ol' REDHAT. But … it weren't. M&A just *knew* there would hafta be a GREENPAINT essay paragraph or two. Wrong again, red hat breath.
* Fun solve. Had a few nanosecond gobblers, like CARIOU and GEEKCHIC, but it all sorted itself out just fine. Like @acme, enjoyed the challenge.
* Gentle bouquets of subtle desperation which M&A always weasel-lusts for. (yo, @Roo) What the hey -- EAN, ITEA, SEINED are just the spice in a zesty SatPuz xwordfight mix, at my house.

@RP: Primo double-?? ITEA clue, btw. ALTHO … Would prefer: {Pekoe's autobiography??}.

Thanx, F.J. Keep em comin, ean if U get a "dismal" review now and then. The last time @RP reviewed one of my puzs [or almost anybody else's, come to think], it weren't pretty, neither. U just gotta pick yerself up and band-aid them wrists and rip out a whole EAN-based theme puz or somesuch next time; show em they can't get U down. [snort]

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Dick Swart 12:58 PM  

Lotta dumb mouth-noise answers.

But always glad to see Len Cariou. He had a great run early on at the Guthrie in MPLS.

Re: 'Geekchic'. I'm an old guy who wears (from the bottom up) ... Jack Purcell's, khakis, a striped BD shirt, and a shetland sweater. Does this qualify for 'Past-it Prep'?

Hartley70 1:05 PM  


Not withstanding SEINED in the west, the east was a nightmare for me.

"Her ORME" isn't listed in the "Miss Saigon" song list on two web sites, so I'm not losing my mind. I must have slept through my class in Lao. I'm positive I've never consciously seen it written. LEHI, seriously, are the residents there familiar with Pittsfield? The populations are similar in number.

A SQUIB is a Harry Potter character without magical powers. A muggle born into a wizard family. I thought a "blurb" fit in the spaces nicely. UNTO and SSR could have been anything to me. I'm not up to snuff on my willows, sadly. I haven't even seen one in ages.

CARIOU I knew!
And Glynnis Johns too.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 1:10 PM  

I've been known to say that younger solvers should be happy to learn old pop culture just as I am glad to know a little bit about what's current. But todays old stuff was nuts. In 76+ years I've never heard a real human being utter 'You don't say,' 'I do say' or 'I declare.' And I bet I haven't heard 'gee whiz' in five decades.

Maryann @1157, I hope you let us how the recipe turns out ... i also looked it up after solving.

Hartley70 1:16 PM  

@Amie Devero, a la Friday, I can only say WORD.

Wednesday's Child 1:56 PM  

@Barbie - Easy puzzle until I hit the SE.

@Rachel - avoided dogs and pups because I was looking for a 'thing'

@evillage - Dairy Air, lol!

bed, Mat, MOP HEAD.

All I can see is GET SATAN.

Middle was an erasure fest.

Thanks, Healy, not the best but not horrible.

Finally did Thursday's WSJ puzzle - yeah, wow.

Wednesday's Child 1:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 2:15 PM  

Since when is it acceptable to use a word four times in the clues that appears in an answer--say?

leah712 2:26 PM  

I skimmed every comment but still don't understand SEINED. Explanation?

QuasiMojo 2:34 PM  

@leaf712, a seine is a net.

Clip is attach as in paper clip. Or clip board.

Cardinals wear caps even in the Vatican.

Wednesday's Child 2:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 3:08 PM  

@Just Curious (12:37) -- Lest you think that all liberals see the world solely in terms of black and white, let me say that I -- a dyed-in-the-wool liberal -- find your point about the Koch brothers quite well taken. Yes, they have been enormously charitable over the years. And, as a New Yorker, I have benefited from much of their charitable giving. What's more, I saw an interview with Charles Koch on 60 Minutes last year and, while I looked hard, I couldn't find the horns. He was gentlemanly and soft-spoken, appeared highly intelligent, and he exuded sweet reasonableness up the wazoo. Surely he was no monster. He couldn't be! And yet...

...The Koch brothers are the main financial and organizing force behind climate change denial. They are the most potent defenders of the right of energy companies to continue to pollute our environment to their heart's content. And so, as Hamlet might say, here's the rub: If Planet Earth goes bye-bye, all those hospital wings and medical facilities and museums and theaters and dance recital halls and concert venues that they've funded over the years are doomed to also go bye-bye right along with the rest of our planet. This is simply the sad truth. And so, @Just Curious, as I've admitted the validity of your argument, are you willing to acknowledge the validity of mine?

Masked and Anonymous 3:22 PM  

@leah712, 2:26pm:

Official M&A Dictionary definition of SEINE:

"noun (also seine net )
a fishing net that hangs vertically in the water with floats at the top and weights at the bottom edge, the ends being drawn together to encircle the fish.

verb [ with obj. ]
fish (an area) with a seine: the fishermen then seine the weir.
• catch (fish) with a seine: they seine whitefish and salmon."

Since SEINE can be a verb, it gets to have a past tense of: SEINED.

M&A Help Desk

Just Curious 3:41 PM  

@Nancy 3:08PM

I am absolutely willing to cede your point. I believe that the earth has been experiencing climate change since it's first day of existence. AGW? Not so convinced. I think the jury is still a long way from agreeing on verdict.

Having said that, we should all try and be good stewards of the planet, within reason. I do my part by recycling and solving on line.

Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

My 6-year old liked the zebra mane clue. She suggested spiky, which put me on the right track for ERECT. Unfortunately, she didn't know her willow genus names either. :-/ I had STEA.

chefwen 4:29 PM  

@Evil Doug - You can buy w Wisconsin T shirt that says "Come smell our Dairy Air"
Two rejects for their new license plates were "State of Udder Beauty" and "Eat Cheese or Die". Such kidder those Cheese Heads are.

Hungry Mother 4:30 PM  

Nailed by the same Natick as many others. Otherwise, medium for me.

Z 4:48 PM  

For all our sakes, here's hoping Esmé Patterson makes it big.

Chip Hilton 4:54 PM  

Somehow got it all. The last letter in was the LEHI/ITEA crossing. Nothing but a guess. GEEKwear first, as mentioned by several others.

I rather enjoyed the struggle. And that's exactly what it was.

Larry Gilstrap 5:50 PM  

Kinda what OFL said, but I would have said it more nicely. I certainly would rate this Saturday effort on the hard side of medium. Lots of missteps as a result of those devious misdirections as already mentioned. Solving progressed trudgingly, then lumbered into the area around the Gulf of Mexico and seized up. Sit and stare. Clock spins on the wall like in a film on TCM. Patience is a virtue and virtue is its own reward.

I, too, wondered about that city that I'd never heard of, but my phone tells me that some refer to it as LEHI City, so there's that.

I don't understand the whole anti-science movement and am glad that billionaires support philanthropy, but some folks make too much money. Then again, I was but a lowly school teacher on the public dole.

I wouldn't touch that whole zebra discussion with a ten foot pole. Off to take a shower with not one, but multiples DREWS.

dm3000 6:55 PM  

Exactly. Wanted Rohaytn or Carey. Loved Koch but the pieces were all lined up by 1978. Great cheerleader though.

addisondewitt 7:01 PM  

Len Cariou is not just a Tony nominee but a Tony winner for Sweeney Todd. Moreover, he's currently a regular on Blue Bloods, a long running network hit series. Rex, try to realize that answers that may seem impossible to you are easier for others and, more importantly, vice versa.

Robin 7:15 PM  

This one was schizophrenia for me. Blew through the left side in a hurry, then got hung up on the right for what seemed like forever.

In the SW it didn't help that SOLID, STAID and STOIC all seemed possibles for Not easily moved, and all had two letters in the same place. Also kept trying to fit in GEEKWARE and STAY_COOL but neither of those was working.

jberg 7:47 PM  

Coming here very late, so I won't say much. Fortunately, salix wouldn't fit at 58D; I guess maybe the Virginia willow isn't a true willow.

Anyway, I had the E already when I got to 57A, so OREM didn't stand a chance; instead, I thought maybe Utah Lake was on the Nevada border, and tried RENO. That really held me up.

Seems like tamago kaka rohan is just the Korean dish Bibimbap with a lot of the ingredients left out. Delicious, I bet.

Sherm Reinhardt 8:36 PM  

I am proud that I got this in 61 minutes when I was pretty sure about 40 minutes in it was going to be a DNF. I had absolutely no chance with CARIOU. For a while it was CARUSO, then CARINA, then CARERE (SALAME could work, I thought), then CARERA. It was only when I realized that PUPS are possibly weighed in (dog) pounds that I figured the last three letters of that were vowels.

Wife said that WENDYS couldn't work because their slogan was "Quality is our recipe." How long ago did that change?

@LindaPRmaven 9:07 PM  

Played tough for me, but enjoyably tough, sussing out the misdirection on COHOST, LAWS, PUPS, SPASMS. CARIOU was the first thing I filled in since I saw the musical when it was new and later met the actor when he directed a show at a theater where I served as communications director and TINO Martinez saved me from DNF because who ever heard of SEINED? You can put that in trash bin with ITEA and LEHI as far as I'm concerned. And, where would you (well probably not all of you) be on a Saturday without what Rex calls "junk fill" to help you get a fingernail hold in some sectors. Let's hear it for Saturday junk fill!

suetonius 12:16 AM  

It was only in the London production. When it moved to Broadway it was rewritten and retitled "Now That I've Seen Her" and "Her Ir Me" has never been used again. Not a great clue.

Acme 4:32 AM  

@Dick Swart
Thank you! Of course, THAT's how I knew Len CARIOU! My highschool was next door to the Guthrie and I saw him in half a dozen productions while growing up in Mpls in the 70s!!!

Cariou + b = Caribou for you cryptic constructors out there!

Maryann Gorman 9:33 AM  

@Sallie... the rice with raw egg was quite good. Especially those first couple of yolky forkfuls after breaking the yolk. I was over it, though, by the end. Maybe more soy sauce would have jazzed it up.

Richard Rutherford 9:59 AM

FEMA notoriously delivered immense quantities of ice in response to hurricane Katrina at immense expense. It was of no use to the victims of that disaster - "JUST ICE FOR ALL"

Ray Yuen 2:08 PM  

I often think that Rex is too much of a grump but this was awful. I had "wowzer" forever, not knowing hoot about any actor in "Rent."

No animosity that I couldn't finish the middle--this was just a terrible puzzle. Gee Whiz, Yahoo, Yowzah, Doh and Darn it all to hell.

Jonathan Saalberg 9:41 AM  

As a collector, I believe there is a cluing error in this puzzle. 29 down is clued as "Hot Wheels Product." Hot Wheels is a brand owned by Mattel. Toy car is a Hot Wheels product line. More properly, this would have been, "Mattel product."

serablue 10:11 AM  

I noticed this too, thought it was a typo in the clue, which disappointed me

serablue 10:28 AM  

I stand corrected.
"The particular sense of desert that appears in just deserts ultimately derives from the Old French verb deservir meaning “to deserve,” and has been around in English since the late 1200s. defines desert as “reward or punishment that is deserved.” The idiom get/receive one’s just deserts means “to be punished or rewarded in a manner appropriate to one’s actions or behavior.”

Harveydoc 12:24 PM  

Best research suggests that Cesarean doesn't derive from the nature of Caesar's birth. Caesar's mother lived for many years, while the first recorded maternal survival of C-section was in the 1580's. Likelier etymology is Latin cognate for "cutting", as also with scissors or scythe, and corrupted into cesarean. Thus "section" - here meaning "cutting", as dissection, resection,vivisection - is redundant. It would be better to refer to "birth by cesarean" or "birth by uterine section".

The spelling of "Caesar" in the clue is an eponymous reference and thus very likely an error attributable to folk etymology.

rondo 9:04 AM  

About a half hour today with the same food issues in the middle as OFL - SALAds and RAWEelS with a Ilu and a YOWZer tossed in as well. So all inkfesty there. Might not have made it through if I hadn’t driven through LEHI a few years back. That four letter spot was an Orem trap waiting to happen.

I really only know Len CARIOU from Blue Bloods where he plays Tom Selleck’s dad. Turns out in real life Mr. CARIOU is only 6 years older than Mr. Selleck. GEEWHIZ!

SEINED didn’t bother me at all. If you’ve ever been up to the shores of Lake Superior in the spring, you’ve probably SEINED smelt during their annual run, like I have.

Never really thought DREW Barrymore could be RATEDA yeah baby, ALTHO since that’s all there is, she gets it today.

Whole lotta exclaimin’ goin’ on in this puz and it felt kinda clunky for me TODO.

Burma Shave 10:01 AM  


the DREWS and WENDYS to ASPIRE to or condone
giving your DARN SALAMI ABEAT while ERECT
and SOOTHE that ACHE if you could ACTALONE.


spacecraft 11:12 AM  

Well, IDECLARE this PUP should have been rejected on the strength--er, weakness of that 100% Natick alone. City (CITY!?!) on Utah Lake, and it's NOT Orem????? And Provo's out: 5 letters. There is no way, unless you're a...Lehite?, you are going to get this, crossing--my God, a plant genus! Okay, throw in a couple of botanists. And our intrepid own @rondo, who happened to do a drive-thru. Me? I took three Scrabble tiles, A, I, O, threw 'em into a hat and picked one out. It was the I, lucky me. Sure, anything where I can't win money. Story of my life.

So, I finished, but am not proud. Way too many exclamations, for one thing. My only comment there is to recall the late Gig Young's oft-repeated line in his Oscar performance in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "YOWZAH YOWZAH YOWZAH!",,,etc.

No, with all respect to Ms. Barrymore, she's just not DOD material; neither is the Wendy of WENDYS. But how about Wendy Williams? Works for me. There are some good moments here, but overall this is unacceptable IMO. Mr. Shortz must have been desperate this time. Double bogey.

Diana,LIW 2:24 PM  

Nowhere near finishing. Too many PPP not in my wheelhouse.

Liked the sub clue.

This Saturday SUNDAE was a treat eaten with a primitive instrument. I'm just not GEEKCHIC.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:29 PM  

Wouldn't this qualify as a rare (if ever) Saturday theme puzzle?

Theme: "unSTOIC SPASMS of exclamatory". Don't like it? Well, don't HAVE A COW!

The LEHI/ITEA/SHEET cluster got me. Reluctantly stayed with LElo/oTEA/SlEET. SHEET of ice is okay as a "unit"; SHEET of rain is okay, too, but doesn't strike me as a "unit". LEHI/ITEA were simply out of reach.


rain forest 5:26 PM  

Okay, here's the deal. My first thought for "netted" was SEINED. When RTE appeared, LASER TAG went right in. Sometimes it just happens. So the North west was toast right there, dayum (@M&A). Next came the Southeast. I actually zipped through that, too. Then the Southwest, which took a little more time, especially since Corn State had to be Nebraska, because "cornhuskers", and so "Omahan" or "Omahawn" just *had* to work, but no. However, since I had considered cornhuskers, HAWKEYE came to me,

That middle section was the most challenging, and like others, the I for LEHI was a semi-intelligent guess, assuming it is pronounced like Lehigh.

Rarely can I slap down SEINED, SKY, ONE LAP, SHEET, ALTHO, EAN, and maybe something else, and it works. So, on the basis that I finished this one relatively quickly, I liked it, but admit there some iffy answers.

Tim Woltmann 5:27 PM  

I always like puzzles where Tino shows up. I I went to college with him.

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