Political cartoonist Edward / SAT 5-20-17 / Gullible rodent in Scott Adams comic / Celebratory move popularized by Cam / Real-life ice age beast seen on "Game of Thrones" / Muckracker who pushed for model tenements / Metric for gauging female representation in works of fiction / Ski town near Mount Mansfield

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Constructor: Paolo Pasco and David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium (tilting easy)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Edward SOREL (26D: Political cartoonist Edward) —
Edward Sorel (born Edward Schwartz, 26 March 1929, The Bronx) is an illustrator, caricaturist, cartoonist, graphic designer and author whose work is known for its storytelling, its left-liberal social commentary, its criticism of reactionary right-wing politics and organized religion. Formerly a regular contributor to The Nation, New York Magazine and The Atlantic, his work is today seen more frequently in Vanity Fair. He has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of America's foremost political satirists".[2][3][4] As a lifelong New Yorker, a large portion of his work interprets the life, culture and political events of New York City. There is also a large body of work which is nostalgic for the stars of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood when Sorel was a youth. Sorel is noted for his wavy pen-and-ink style, which he describes as "spontaneous direct drawing" (wikipedia)
• • •

AHI / CAD / CAPRA / NO FAIR — that is how I started this puzzle, or tried to. That's a .500 batting average, not bad, but not enough to get me real traction. For the second day in a row, I had to abandon my NW starting point and start elsewhere. And for the second day in a row things got much easier from there, and for the third (!) day in a row I like the puzzle.  This one is a little on-the-nose for teenage boys, with your requisite "GOT" clue and your requisite chess and computer and science clues and your requisite social media clues and that little bit of juvenile leering in the COOP clue (48A: Place to pick up chicks). Very on-brand, for better and worse. Mostly better. I feel like the NYT has no idea how to find a happy medium with its cultural frame of reference,so mostly it shuffles around with a solidly mid-'60s vibe, but then every once in a while a young former employee / loyalist is called in to "Do Something!" and we get a much more aggressively presentist and youth-oriented puzzle. Now I'm gonna take option B every day of the week, but man there has to be a middle way.

["'Superman II' is taking off all over America..."]

I started with VJS because I am old (12A: Onetime MTV figures). That turned out to be.a prime piece of three-letter real estate, and along with that corner's other gimme (AZIZ), VJS really got me going, both back into the NW (which ended up being a piece of cake when I came at it from east (?)) and into the SE, where I had my proudest moment of the day—remembering (sort of) BAHIA (50A: Brazil's fourth-largest state by population). That is *not* a promising clue—reminiscent of the bad old days when crosswords relied more heavily on obscurish geographical trivia—but while the "fourth-largest state" doesn't suggest crossworthiness, that letter combination (short, vowel-loaded, vowel-ending, with that odd central "H"), ensures that it will show up in puzzles more than most other countries' "fourth-largest states." Didn't know RATBERT (now and forever, from ASOK to RATBERT, always unfunny "Dilbert" can &^$% off) (46D: Gullible rodent in a Scott Adams comic), so that complicated things in the SE, but both BECHDEL TEST and ALICE WALKER were gimmes (!)—that's a lot of gimme. Gimme gimme. I teach Bechdel's "Fun Home" every year, and the BECHDEL TEST was just name-checked on "Riverdale" (of all places), so if you haven't heard of Bechdel or her eponymous test, now you have, and here it is:

Now maybe the long Acrosses in the SE weren't gimmes for you, in which case ... that corner is Awfully proper-noun-reliant (always dangerous). I mean, look:

Seems like that could be a danger zone for some. My danger zone was the SW, where (ugh, another) "Game of Thrones" clue and a chess clue kept me blocked out of the corner:

The new (to-me) SULU clue also made it hard to get traction in there (51A: The Philippines' ___ Archipelago). So I just sank to the bottom and got POD (66A: Edamame discard) and guessed ODE, and then boom, DUST MOP. From there I guessed TRAPS (I actually already had USED), and then it came together, though DIRE took every single cross ((DI-EWOLF had me first thinking: "DIMEWOLF!?") (39A: Real-life ice age beast seen on "Game of Thrones"). All in all, this was zippy and entertaining. Pasco has done consistently great work, which is crazy, as he is still just a junior in high school, I think—he's roughly my daughter's age. My daughter, btw, just got destroyed yesterday (when doing one of Patrick Blindauer's "Piece of Cake" puzzles) by a Nick NOLT- / Janet R-NO crossing. I wanted to shout at her "Why can't you be more like Paulo!? You're not my daughter!" But I bought her "Hamilton" tickets instead (this anecdote has been based on true events and may not have transpired precisely as written).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


evil doug 7:49 AM  

BECHDEL TEST? Uh oh. Now we're going to spend the day gauging female representation in crossword puzzles...

"Punted? Who's Cam Newton, and wtf is DAB? Screw DAB!!! ZONE DEFENSE? Is that some basketball thingie? THE DUKE!!? Why not the Duchess of Windsor, huh??? Oh, I'll bet that lousy driver getting honked at, I'll bet SHE'S a woman to the obviously male constructors!!! Can't we get some women constructors once in a while, Will? A woman's place is with a DUSTMOP, right, you fascist sexists!?? And AIR ACES, they're always men, aren't they! Even the office rat is male!!!..."

I'm going to call it "The ACME Test"....

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

BECHDEL TEST may be a "gimme" for Rex, but what if you'd never heard of it? It's not something one is likely to stumble over.

Also RIIS crossing SAZERAC---not so easy for a teetotaler who hates NOL.

This one was HARD.

Two Ponies 8:04 AM  

My personal demographic is about as far away from teenaged boys as possible but somehow I got through this. I certainly know more about ice age beasts than Game of Thrones.
This one left me wondering how I ever completed it. Well done boys!

Spot on @evil doug!

r.alphbunker 8:07 AM  

54A. {Smart} HURT-->PERT
56D. {Run through} SCAN-->STAB
55A. {Some chess sacrifices} SWAPS-->TRAPS

Details are here.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Scott Adams triggered Michael Sharp's TDS. Adams predicted election and is unapologetic about it. Nearly everyone else got it wrong. See how the snowflakes like Sharp respond? Real mature. It is fun to see them melt down though.

Moly Shu 8:19 AM  

Like OFL I had to start at VJS and VERIZON. That got me the NE. Then DAB got me started down south and I circled back clockwise-Ish. Mr.yuk before MET and snap before POOF I'll take a DIREWOLF before a BECHDELTEST (woe) any day. Call me a chauvinist, misogynist, non-feminist whatever, I'll own it.
I hope the @UBC and @Nancy, @Aketi, @Maldesmare et al go at it again today. Now that's just plain good entertainment. Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist also.....

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Anyone else guess PLAYBOY for 39D? Would have added to the teenage boys "tehee" (or is it "tee hee"?) factor.

Crispy in AA

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Ya think Sharp's daughter reads this blog and realizes what an a-hole her old man really is? She probably already knows anyway.

Loren Muse Smith 8:39 AM  

Well – my first entry was the gimme BAHIA. One of my party tricks is that I know the fourth-largest state by population of most major countries. It’s a real ice-breaker.

So many goofs. So much to erase, but I finally knew it had to be STOWE so I snapped out of my stupid “Alice Tolken” (sic two ways) deal, thinking she never leaves out that middle initial B. So when I erased the “t” and put in W, I finally saw WALKER. Lurkers out there who are intimidated because you think everyone here is wicked-erudite: uh, nope. I managed to confuse Alice Walker, Alice B. Toklas, and Tolkien. And this was a Good morning. Always happy to take one for the team. (Little known fact – Harriet Beecher STOWE is a huge influence in WALKER’s work. Don’t believe me? Go ask her.)

“Like bad drivers, often.” First thought was “arrogant.” (Shout-out to my husband.) Then I went gruesome and was thinking “triaged” or “eulogized.” Then I went golf and thought, “ .”

My chess sacrifice things were “pawns” then “swaps” (hey, @r.alph ) so my I SURE DO was “yes we do.” Dumb.

The aformentioned southeast almost did me in. I had “beaten” for 42D “kicked” as in a bad habit. I was flummoxed with the lab clue, and I actually wrote in “place.”

Favorite thing I noticed – the clue for THE DUKE right next to the clue “some shooting stars.” I mean, he fired guns, right?

Good write-up, Rex. I learned that I had a dnf – Cam Newton’s thing was a “dap” crossing “Ratpert.” Oops.

Good puzzle.

Glimmerglass 8:41 AM  

Third balanced review in a row! Way to go, @Rex! If you like the puzzle, you say both good things and bad things about it. If you dislike the puzzle, you pan it with the mother of all bombs and find some way to blame the editor. I found this one leaning toward challenging, and fun. Lots I didn't know (some of them gimmes to you), but the crosses saved me every time. For example, I didn't remember the ALICE WALKER titles, but after ALICE. . . it wasn't hard. The chess clue get me for a time, pawn and rook didn't work, and you can't sacrifice a king. TRAP emeged late (yes, a sacrifice, even of a queen, is often a TRAP), which led to SOAPED UP, and the NW, where I had been stymied. Btw, I like Dilbert (Wally is my hero).

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Rex actually like Dilbert too - until about two years ago. His sheer hatred clouds his objectivity.

QuasiMojo 8:45 AM  

John Wayne was nicknamed "Duke" -- I don't recall anyone calling him "The Duke." Look at Wikipedia if you don't believe me.

I wrestled with this puzzle today. So much youthquake stuff for an old fart like me. I've never heard of Cam Newton or a DAB or RATBERT (or DILBERT for that matter.) Yes, I live in a silo, a cocoon, a bubble, an old folks' home, or as I prefer to see it, an ivory tower.)

For the life of me I could not figure out DUST MOP because I thought for sure that the guy with stitches in his head was some GOTH or EMO comic book villain -- perhaps MR CUT -- rather than the seriously scary Met mascot. I should have known that one since I'm a Long Island boy.

I SURE DO?? People say Sure, or Sure Do. Especially vis a vis "Heck Yeah!" But that extra I was unFAIR.

Having never seen "Game of Thrones," I had no idea what a DIRE WOLF might be. I had FIRE WOLF which screwed up my Dust Mop. At one time I was even entertaining FUR CROP, thinking that is the back of the neck where you pick up a BUNNY. (Perhaps I was thinking of that scene from ROGER & ME.)

Anyhoo, total disaster for me today. I did LOL at the "IVORIES" clue/answer. And yes, even the C-SHARP joke.

Glimmerglass 8:55 AM  

PS. I forgot to say that ICE was a gimme for me (though I was still stymied). I never considered a kind of fish, but if I had I might have chosen dab (58A).

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

It seems to me that the adverbial phrase FOR EACH is awkwardized by the use of EACH on its own as an adverb.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Never knew J. Wayne had been nicknamed DUKE early in life. I recall he was referred to as THE DUKE by the J. Carson set.

Z 9:21 AM  

So you think there is enough female presence in films and crosswords? What constitutes "enough?" And, please, rather than call names and whine, defend your position. Or is essentially excluding 50% of humans okay by you? What is most embarrassing about the BECHDEL TEST for the film industry is what an incredibly low bar it sets and yet so very few films pass it.

I did a quick Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Noun analysis and found it to be 20 of 70 answers, or well below the 33% cut off. I do think, though, that Rex identified the issue with the PPP. The north is relatively PPP free while the south is drowning in it. 7 of the last 15 across answers are PPP, including 22 of the 28 squares in the bottom two rows. The south will be NO FAIR to some solvers.

Susierah 9:22 AM  

Another good puzzle! But a dnf because I wrote in fire wolf, and just couldn't get what kind of "f " mop you picked up bunnies with. Clever clue. Never heard of the bechdel test, but had that right. No gimme, but thx for the video.

Mike in Mountain View 9:24 AM  

liked the puzzle fine, but the best part of the puzzle was @LMS with her "Go ask Alice" joke.

Naticked on crossing of SAL and BECHDELTEST. @Rex: Have no idea what Riverdale is, so a name check there wasn't going to help. However, my lack of Game of Thrones knowledge eventually gave way to my Grateful Deadheadedness; Dire Wolf is a classic Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia song. A snippet:

When I awoke, the Dire Wolf
Six hundred pounds of sin
Was grinnin at my window
All I said was "come on in"

Don't murder me
I beg of you don't murder me
Please don't murder me

The wolf came in, I got my cards
We sat down for a game
I cut my deck to the Queen of Spades
but the cards were all the same

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

And it is so predictable too. I knew as soon as I saw the clue last night that he would take a shot at Adams in some way.

Bill Feeney 9:30 AM  

Arg! Need a good slap in the face once in a while. Multiple uses of "check puzzle" and finally Google ended the fight, but I was whipped. Still don't know RIIS, SITES, DIREWOLF, BAHIA, SULU, DAB, MET, BECHDEL TEST, SAZARAC. Nice to find out you're not as smart as Mon.-Wed.makes you think you are.

Bill Feeney 9:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Feeney 9:34 AM  

Maybe that should be Erg! SAZERAC I meant.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Yeah, I got lucky. In the past week, I watched a Bar Rescue in NOLA where the focus was on the Sazerac (I think I would have gotten it anyways from my familiarity with the Rye itself).

I also saw someone tweet mockingly in reference to the Bechdel Test, which I had either never seen before, or if I had, completely ignored it like it deserves.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Don't give him any ideas.

Maruchka 9:46 AM  

Re: THE DUKE (liked the cross, too @LMS). Yup, pilgrims, he was AKA that ..as was Ellington. And could he tickle the IVORIES..

It is so refreshing to have young wordsmiths with wordplay elan. Smooth. Of course, look-ups are musts, at least for elderly moi. Crunch-o-fun. Thanks, PP and DS.

POOF fav - Kevin Spacey's gesture in 'The Usual Suspects'. Chilling.

Wm. C. 9:48 AM  

@Doug --

Yep, there's a ZONEDEFENSE in Basketball. Also in Football, Hockey, Lacrosse. The alternative is Man-on-Man coverage.

jackj 9:50 AM  

The easy peasy pieces like POOF, ODE, POD, ERG, OLE, RIIS, RENT, STOWE, etc, etc, etc, took the fun down a few pegs, but the most enjoyment for me came when 2 down stood at - - - RIES and my scattered brain thought, hmm, must be FAIRIES.

That didn’t give any purchase for the answers for the three long across clues so, after sussing out AVOCADOROLL, undeterred, the old gray matter gave a whoop and came up with OVARIES.

On second thought, that answer seemed even less appropriate and likely to produce a failing grade on the BECHDELTEST, (while also triggering angry responses from readers of the double X chromosome perspective).

So, it was plod on and wait until glorious memories of Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk, tickling the IVORIES, brought the search to an end.

Made for a fun solve.

Wm.C. 9:51 AM  

Oops, non-PC. I meant Person-on-Person coverage, of course.

Roo Monster 10:00 AM  

Hey All !
"The two utes were..."
"Uh, the two what?"
"Two utes."
"Utes? What the heck is a ute?"
"Oh, sorry, two yoooths..."

Typical toughie SatPuz by two yoooths. Use of Check Puz feature prevalent just to get through. Actually got NE first, and rather easily. Also in @LMS's camp with the BAHIA answer. Great ice breaker! :-)

DUSTpan-DUSTrag-DUSTbin to DUST(WTF?). Finally saw ODE and got MOP. Geez. Also did that at beepEDAT-tootEDAT-HONKEDAT. Was thinking middle-fingerEDAT. :-P

So a good themeless. Doesn't pass the BECHDELTEST, though.


Todd Gak 10:01 AM  

"And there's David Steinberg."

"The comedian, or the crossword constructor?"

"The crossword constructor..."

David Cole 10:02 AM  

@Mike in Mountain View,

Did you ever see the Dead at Shoreline? Like you, my Deadheadedness gave me DIREWOLF, as I've never seen Game of Thrones, much to my son's chagrin. Great tune that lived in the Dead's live repertoire for most of their 30 years...

Rob 10:03 AM  

I liked this a lot. I knew BECHDEL TEST, but I'm honestly surprised it was considered well-enough known to make the NYT puzzle. Cluing for IVORIES was great. A few I didn't know, but I got them from crosses.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Dilbert is funny. Rex hates it because Scott Adams is a Trump supporter It's kind of sad.

Puzzlehoarder 10:07 AM  

This was a mixture of early week easy and actual Saturday level difficulty. Most of that difficulty was due to my own mistakes. The NE was truly Monday easy. What stopped me going counterclockwise was writing in UNFAIR in 7D and BACKSEAT for 9D. Even with CRESTED in between those two mistakes I couldn't guess the long NW entries. I had no idea on the first two letters of SOREL. Much time went into the downs in the NW and all I got was a lousy LONGISH supported by ERG and AESOP. Going clockwise I stopped myself cold by putting BURN in at 54A. After much time wasted there I skipped ahead to SAL, OLE and STAB. Just like that TOMATO SAUCE popped up and it was back to early week speed. I wish I could say I got a clean grid but instead I came away with the worst dnf of my life. I put ZONEDEFENCE in at 17A. I was even thinking ILC is an acronym in any language by I left it in anyway. This is beyond my usual bad spelling it was some kind of dyslexic brain fart I have no excuse for.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Woke and triggered by the ratbert clue not cool. Also there should be a greater representation among underrepresented minority crossword constructors, demographically speaking. That seems very important. Bechdel Test LOL

Lewis 10:15 AM  

Top half fell remarkably fast for a Saturday; bottom half much slower. An upstairs/downstairs type puzzle. Never heard of BECHDELTEST, SULU, DIREWOLF, Mister MET, and RATBERT, and that slowed me up downstairs. For the bunny pickup, I was thinking Playboy bunnies and the kind of tops they wore that picked up their embellishments, as it were, and tried to come up with a name for that article of clothing or a type of bra (with no success, of course). There is a mini-theme of words that end with ED (5) -- maybe the constructors are fans of a certain commenter here -- and I like POOCH crossing WOLF.

I loved the solve, and let's have some more from you two please!

Teedmn 10:17 AM  

Today's irony is the pool of black ink concentrated on DARKENED. I had that in early, couldn't think of a gearshift part that started with K so DARKENED was crossed out and then re-DARKENED later. And still I had a DNF in that vicinity. It was as if the word KNOB had never been invented. I ended up with KNOt/tAHIA so I will KNOt be breaking the ice at any parties with knowing tAHIA (hi @LMS).

I got my start with VJS as I was a big MTV fan back before the Music died. I mixed up ALICE WALKER with the chef, ALICE WAters. "Meridian" and "The Temple of My Familiar" as cookbooks? And I needed an aha at 63D to break up that error, though it still didn't solve the TOMATO pAstE/SAUCE dilemma but THE DUKE did.

I went on a JOY RIDE in the NE - 13D was JO_RImE (I was SO convinced that 31A's "Reading block" was going to be tOmE and therefore the Snapchat was some sort of FAt something where your face has a digital "fat suit" applied...) I actually fixed all of that, all but KNOt.

So thanks, Paolo and David, nice collab.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

One person's "easy" is another person's huh? Nonetheless I finished this without cheating -- nothing short of a miracle. When I plopped in a B at the DA-/RAT-ERT (46D)cross, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And the best it was. Whew! I also never heard of the BECHDEL TEST, even though I'm of the gender that should be happy that there is such a thing, right? (Actually, I'm not especially happy about it, to tell the truth, and I am quite taken with @Evil's sardonic comment.) DIREWOLF???? Can I find that at the Museum of Natural History? No? Oh, of course not -- it's that dang "Game of Thrones" again! I also never heard of a FACE SWAP (22D); wasn't there a movie about that? I wanted the bad driver (9D) to be the HONKer, not the HONKee. Grammatically speaking, I don't like the 13D answer to the 13D clue. (Yes, I know you can twist it into a pretzel to make it work, but I still don't like it.) LOW TAR, schmo tar -- there's no such thing as a "light smoke" (43A) All smokes'll kill you. Don't start -- and then have to quit, like I did.

Why didn't I like this more? Heaven knows it was "crunchy." But I found it to be a slog, although I am pleased that I was somehow able to finish it.

mathgent 10:18 AM  

Good learning experience, but not much fun. Of my sixteen red plusses in the margin (about average for a Saturday), ten were for unknowns.

I was a DNF. I thought that 39A might be "Firewolf." When I checked it out, kindly Mr. Google suggested DIREWOLF. it's my own fault, however. I should have seen DUSTMOP which would have given it to me.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Rex and Trump are a lot alike. Neither has the ability to compartmentalize. They should aspire to be more like Slick Willy.

triggerfinger 10:32 AM  

For 1D New Orleans cocktail, I had S__E_A_ and was so sure the answer was SIDECAR...wasted a whole lot of time with my stubbornness to keep that answer before finally getting SAZERAC.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Really, Michael? Teenage girls can't be interested in chess, computers or science?

BarbieBarbie 10:37 AM  

@LMS, I know you already got Alice applause but I want to second anyway. I laughed out loud when I read your comment.

Hand up for golf for the bad driver. I was getting all ready to pooh pooh the clumsy answer HOoKED AT when I saw it was... Oh. Also got my comeuppance on the clever TASK misdirect. Right next to ERG and with the A in place I was indignantly avoiding filling in WATT (stupid constructor, power is NOT work, grubs again, grumble grumble) when... Oh. It was like that for me! I really enjoyed it. Thanks kids.
@Rex, you work in an environment with its own weirdnesses, but for those of us who really get Office Space, Dilbert is consistently hilarious. And Anti-Trumpets can cut SA a political break because he lives in CA, someplace like Orinda, and doesn't really have to think those opinions through.

Hey, I was excited to see that the Anonytroll who thinks "snowflake" is an insult is back. Clue that word Cool, Unique, Beautiful, Great Dancer. The O'Reilligans kind of shoot themselves in the rear every time they try to make it sound negative. Whether or not I share other opinions with them, that habit always give me a chuckle. On a crossword blog! Among word lovers! Hahaha

Pete 10:47 AM  

For the record, not that it matters to the trolls, @Rex was clear about his hatred of Dilbert back in January of 20008.

That being said, with _ _ T _ _ _ _ as an answer to "Gullible rodent in a Scott Adams comic" made me think DJTRUMP would be the answer. Seemed apt.

Mike in Mountain View 10:48 AM  

@David Cole: Never saw the Dead at Shoreline, just at The Greek, the Ventura County Fairgrounds (twice), the Boston Garden, and the Worcester Centrum. Also saw Robert Hunter perform, as well as the Jerry Garcia Band.

I had a law school professor with your name who taught me Con law. Fun class.

jberg 10:50 AM  

DNF, due to my inability to think of Marble RYE, and consequent failure to change COnE to CODE. Sigh.

@Nancy, here is a DIRE WOLF at the American Museum of Natural History; I bet they have one in NY, too. The tip-off was "Real-life" in the clue -- I know nothing of Game of Thrones, and never would have got it if it had been some sort of made-up animal.

On the other hand, what's with that "some" in 55A? Surely ALL sacrifices in chess are TRAPS -- otherwise, why do them?

My crossword geography rule, "just think of something with the right number of letters," failed me twice today: cebU before SULU (the former is only one island), and Belem before BAHIA. But that B gave me KNOB, so I'm happy, and RATBERT fixed it for me.

I don't know anything about Scott Adams's politics, but IMO he was funny when he started out, and made more jokes about engineers. Reportedly, his email (he was one of the first to put his address in the strip) showed that people wanted jokes about bosses, so that's pretty much mostly what he does. I'm pretty anti-boss myself, but Dilbert's is a little too over the top to be consistently amusing.

Sadly, I don't have an entry for the jokes about Alice Walker competition; hard to beat @Loren, anyway. I tried putting 'sky' in there, but can't get it to make sense.

robber 11:02 AM  

easiest Saturday for me in a very long time.
quite enjoyable as well....hmmm any correlation?
I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings after last Sundays dog's breakfast.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Read link. He expressed unawareness, not hatred. Nice try though.

Carola 11:06 AM  

Very enjoyable. A lucky guess at AVOCADO ROLL started me off on a nice slantwise run to the SE corner and then an easy segue into the SW. Hardest area for me was the easy-for-Rex VJS, but finally JOYRIDE leaped out of the crosses. Whee!

Help from:
- previous crosswords: AZIZ, AIR ACES
- daughter's admiration for "Fun Home": BECHDEL
- visit to the La Brea Tar Pits: DIRE WOLF
- reading about books I don't read: ALICE WALKER
- unconscious absorbing from who knows where: SAZERAC, SULU

Mohair Sam 11:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:06 AM  

I hope Sharp and his alt-left ilk didn't do today's WSJ. Ivana and Ailes in same puzzle? They'd be in the fetal position mumbling gibberish.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

In fact if you read the comments section of that link Rex Parker comments numerous times, one of which says "confession: I probably don't 'hate' Dilbert...it's possible it has amused me..."

Norm 11:20 AM  

Fun puzzle. I think BECHDEL is edging into the "you better know it" crossword universe. Her first name was the answer a few weeks ago [can't remember if it was a NYT or not] and I've already forgotten it [quick search: "Alison"] but remembered enough of the letters from that clue to figure it out with the crosses.

Sandy McCroskey 11:20 AM  

The PROW (29 answer) of a ship is the opposite of the "stern" (clue).
I can't find any dictionary that says anything different.

DJG 11:20 AM  


I always thought it was "The Duke". In fact a Google search shows that both versions (with and w/o "The") were widely used.

This happens with nicknames sometimes where an article gets elided. Another example is Roger "The Rocket" Clemens who is sometimes just called "Rocket".

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Yes - always fun to watch melting snowflakes.

Nancy 11:29 AM  

That's very interesting, @jberg (10:50)! Thanks for not only finding a real-life DIRE WOLF, but embedding it for me.

On THE DUKE/DUKE question. Wouldn't you say THE DUKE when you're talking about him and DUKE when you're talking to him? That's what I would probably do, I think. Of course, I might also call him "Mr. Wayne". If he were still around, that is.

tkincher 11:35 AM  

I'm surprised by how few people seem to have heard of the DIRE WOLF. GoT aside, I remember seeing their fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits as a kid (alongside the sabertooth tigers). It's also used in D&D to represent basically "more badass" versions of regular animals (dire bear, dire badger, etc).

Anyway, good puzzle, tough but fair. ZONE DEFENSE had my favorite cluing.

jae 11:37 AM  

Medium for me too.

WOEs: SOREL, BECHDEL TEST, and SULU and DAB (as clued).

No erasures but quite a bit of staring.

Excellent Sat. Liked it a lot!

And, I've just watched the first two episodes of AZIZ's "Master of None" on Netflix streaming and unlike the LATimes reviewer I thought they were charming. That said, the reviewer did give the subsequent episodes high marks.

AW 11:37 AM  

Why are SITES "things with periods in their names" (25A)? I was thinking about "citations" but "sites"? Help?

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@Anon 11:04 re: Read the link. @ Rex said "(side note: I can't stand "Dilbert," so I'm angrier at this answer than I probably should be - the fact that "Dilbert" passes for funny is one sign of the Horrible demise of the comic strip form)."

Sandy McCroskey 11:39 AM  

I'm wondering why no one else has remarked on the erroneous clue for PROW. I did the online version. Could it be that the clue in print has "stern opposite," and not simply "stern"?

Sandy McCroskey 11:40 AM  
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AZPETE 11:42 AM  

Stem, not stern.

Sandy McCroskey 11:42 AM  

Hi, AW. The sites in question are WEBsites, and by "names" the setter means their URLs, but that would have given it away.

Sandy McCroskey 11:44 AM  

Thanks, AZPETE! I have 20/20 vision, with my glasses.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

PHEW! Tilting (?) easy?
CEBU before SULU didn't help of course.
NONTAR - who says that?
Never heard of BECHDELTEST. Don't eat sushi. Don't watch "Thrones"
RYE, ERG, RIIS, CSHARP, HORUS and BAHIA were gimmes here.
Too many proper names.

AW 11:50 AM  

@Sandy McCroskey: Thank you so much for the explanation. You've put me out of my misery (for the day). :)

Wm. C. 11:51 AM  

SandyMc ---

Oops, AZPETE just beat me to it. The clue is "stem," not "stern." Funny looking at what I just typed, can't tell the two apart. When I post, the type will be a bit larger, so the difference will be distinguishable. But looking a AZPETE's post above, it's close.

Unofficial Blog Cop 11:55 AM  

@SandyMcCroskey, why don't you ask @Nancy, she's a know-it-all and has one post remaining today. I'm ure she'd love to use it to tell you how brilliant she is. Or you could read @Azpete's reply to you initial query. Oh and BTW your done.

old timer 11:57 AM  

Easy for a Saturday, and easier for me than yesterday. Like OFL, my first entry was VJS. MTV was all the rage when my elder daughters were of the age. ERG RIIS AESOP were gimmies, so for once I had the NW complete before the rest of the puzzle. For some reason, I had "Azar" before AZIZ, but the clever SNEEZED got me out of that trap. I got WALKER and that made ALICE a reasonable guess though I have never read those particular books of her. Since I do not know the BECHDEL TEST, as I guess a modern English prof does, had to get it on crosses

Like @Mike in Mountain View, being a Deadhead from way back gave me DIRE, and the puzzle was complete. Being maybe older than @Mike, I saw the Dead often at the Fillmore and Winterland; saw Garcia play with various folks in North Beach too, back in the day. At one of those Garcia gigs, I heard "Sugaree" for the first time. Great little song, and it occurred to me that Robert Hunter must have the same old map from 1850 or so that shows Sugaree as a settlement on what was then sometimes known as the "Slave Coast" of Africa.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@Anony-ass 11:29
We'll all be melting once Trum-ass gets us in a nuclear war with N Korea. Since he keeps burning bridges with ally countries by giving secrets to our enemies.

GILL I. 1:03 PM  

Ooof. Awfully hard today.I can't even remember my first entry; it might have been POOF. Yes, that's it! Then POOCH and SOAPED UP. That was about it so I quit for a while. Hated doing it but finally Googled SILICON CHIP just to get started. Didn't help much so I went on to DIREWOLF. Just kept plugging away until I finished.
I give the finger to bad drivers because if I HONK at them they give it to me anyway. I can't stand AVOCADO ROLLS. So blah...maybe add some salmon and stop this Vegan nonsense. You do know that AVOCADOS have feelings?
When my parents sent me to "Circle F Dude Ranch Camp for Boys and Girls" in Lake Wales Fla. you could count on having sloppy joe's at least twice a week. You could also count on fried okra and creamed corn. I'm not sure about the TOMATO SAUCE though; it tasted more like some BBQ goop. I just Googled and I'll be damn,the camp is still around. I had loads of fun but boy did the food suck.
Learned BECHDEL TEST and I'm sure that word won't ever creep up in my females only girls club.
I stopped reading the comics years ago. It use to be the very first thing I read. Once Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes disappeared, I lost interest. Dilbert got tedious...same stuff every day. When the Bee introduced "F Minus" I really threw in the towel.

Malsdemare 1:04 PM  

Arrrggghhh! This one chewed me up and spit me out. Honest to god, I think the painkillers I'm (dire)WOLFing down are eating my brain. Even when I cheated a little (first to double-check AZIZ because SNEEZEr just didn't cut it and then for VJS because at 71 I'm proud to say I never watched MTV), I didn't get that break that would have set me up for a nice run of the table.

There were lots of great clues and answers and I loved them. @LMS your conflation of Walker/Tolkles/Tolkien cracked me up. I have heard of the BECHDELTEST, but it's really buried in lots of plaque and tangles and all I can say is I had everything but the D and was positive it was BECHtEL, so I had serious doubts but obviously PUNTEt wasn't going to work so I left the D in. Now there's a conflation: Allison BECHDEL and David Bechtel (whom I've never seen). I'm a sailor and agree, stem and PROW are not the same. Like others, my mind was on Playboy bunnies for a while, which left me trying to remember Hugh's last name (which wouldn't,t have worked even if I had dragged it out from some abyss) and for a bit I had -----Oe and was thinking about bunny mommies, aka does. But that took me nowhere. You'd think as a malamute owner, dust bunnies would have popped into my head immediately; you'd be wrong.

I'm reading "Why I Jump," written by a boy on the Autism spectrum, and he talks about how sometimes words are gobbledygook to him. The clue reading block? gave me insight into what he meant. It may as well have been in Sanskrit. It meant nothing to me. The question mark made we wonder if it referred to the railroad or to the town in PA, rather than the process. Because I had "Foto" something as the Snapchat feature, I tried out zone (which I took out because of ZONEDEFENSE and you should all fall down in amazement that I got that), tOme, and something else that's gone off to that small island where there are no phones. I'm still not sure just how to parse CODE as reading block. Of all my Cascos, that one irks the most.

So this puzzle didn't do much for my ego; intellectually I applaud it, personally, it wasn't my friend.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

@jberg, many sacrifices in chess are not TRAPS, but rather overtly for positional or other strategic advantage. A trap implies more immediate trickery to lure the opponent to make a mistake, which is only the reason for some sacrifices.

Malsdemare 1:08 PM  

@Gill, Bloom County is back!! And funnier than ever, taking amazingly hysterical swipes at both sides of politics, making fun of the airlines, and just lighting up the lives of old and new readers. If you're on Facebook, just search Bloom County and enjoy.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

To the Anonymodes:
Rex isn't alt left. He just hates everything he doesn't already know.

He recently raved about a puzzle with 1980's references. Today he put it into words: NYT goes to the 1960's or to the teenage references of the 2000's. Guess what is halfway in between?

L'état, ç'est lui.

Masked and Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Oh, man. M&A has been left a shell of his former elf, after attemptin this here SatPuz. I rate it: "Impossible Dream (tilting windmills)".

M&A literally bolted, out of the gate, with...
4-D: ICE.
11-D: HARK.
20-A: TASK.
All this in a mere handful of nanoseconds. M&A thought he owned this puppy.
Wrong again, doggy breath.

Additional problems were too numerous to mention, so will only give an abbreviated recap…
* Learned a lot. Teachers always get my attention, by slappin m&e around like this. BECHDELTEST. SULU Archy Pelican. ALICEWALKER. AVOCADOROLL. BAHIA. AZIZ dude. DIREWOLF.
* Clues tilted toward cruelly sneaky or obscure, at our house. Almost tauntin-like. Technical foul territory. Examples: {French pronoun}. {Stem}. {Place to pick up chicks}. {Welcomed blessing?}.
* Too many white squares.
* Many nanoseconds were harmed.

Primo weeject stacks, in the NE and SW, tho. Took the sting off M&A endin up bein a {Mr. who has stitches in his face}. staff weeject pick = ILS.

Thanx for gangin up on us in the back alley of the week, PP & DS. wow & har. This sucker sure do meet the BEATWELLTEST.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

for regular nice folks:

for PP & DS only:

BarbieBarbie 2:00 PM  

@Mals: yeah, CODE could have been clued better. The clue did have a question mark, maybe to save it from accusations of "reverse green paint." I think, anyway, that the CODE referenced would be a block of CODE. software comes in blocks of code, kind of logically like paragraphs- a block of code has a job to do and then you move on to the next block for the next job, etcetera. So in any interactvie software there would be a block of code for reading input. A reading block.
This seems so far-fetched that I would really welcome a different explanation, if someone wants to jump in and AHA both Malsdemere and me.

QuasiMojo 2:21 PM  

@Nancy, I'd call him "Marion" which was his birth name. :)

Geometricus 2:22 PM  

I was undone by nOnTAR cigarettes. I knew I should have listened to my 20-yr-old daughter when she told me to start Snapchatting. When I started seeing the results of people doing a FACESWAP it really turned me off. Gruesome, bizarre, disturbing, not that funny. Besides that I should have know a clue with "Snap-" in it would not have the answer FACESnAP. And I could have sworn I'd seen Edward SOREn cartoons. Maybe I was thinking about New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren, with his furry pointy-nosed hippies and wiggly-line style. Other than that I was done under 40 minutes which is a very good Saturday time for me.

Masked and Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Ahar! Another one of them over-the-top sneaky clue examples!
M&A took it as CODE = {Reading block?}, in the sense that if the text is encrypted in a CODE, it will
block people from readin it, unless someone knows how to de-code it.

I got that one, sooo … ok.

M&A Help Desk

MI Nana 2:29 PM  

Hear, hear. And dissing his daughter to boot.

puzzlehoarder 2:35 PM  

@BarbieBarie +@Mals, my take is if something is written in code you can't read it . Remember the de--coder spy rings?

Aketi 2:41 PM  

Nancy, one of these days we should expand beyond the Central Park and I'll take you to the AMNH for lunch. Having had a membership since my son's birth and having spent much of his early to middle childhood in that museum, I never underestimate what you can find in the hidden nooks and crannies of that museum. So as I suspected, they do actually have a skull DIRE WOLF.

@Z, my son's Lacrosse team improved their ZONE DEFENSE this year to the point that they went into the playoffs having only lost one game. I think it is a good thing that my son only permitted me to watch his games starting in the end of his junior year because it's hard to watch your kid get whacked with a Lacrosse stick to the head or double sliced by the other team's ZONE DEFENSE and not feel so outraged that you scream at the ref "it's NO FAIR". Even though they lost in the playoffs by a point, I have to say that it was as exciting to watch as the Berkeley vs Stanford game when the tuba player got run over in the end zone when the band prematurely thought Stanford won. In this case, though, it was a spectator who got whacked by the Lacrosse ball my son flung in and just barely nicked the goal post and boomeranged out in the very last second of the game, allowing the other team to win by a point.

@M&A, I think your BEAT WELL TEST applied to that last ever high school Lacrosse game my son played. To be honest while I empathized with the agony of my son's team, I also kinda enjoyed the sheer joy of the other team who were the underdogs coming into the playoffs.

Aketi 2:47 PM  
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Aketi 3:02 PM  

@jberg, oops you slipped that same exact DIRE WOLF in at the same time I was trying to type the HTMLtags correctly.

Larry Gilstrap 3:04 PM  

So much to talk about on this rich Saturday effort. So, let's start with my logic behind oVaRIES as an answer for "They can't stay quiet when tickled." I seriously looked at that a second. Is my face red!

I knew DilBERT was a comic by Scott Adams, so that patch of real estate sat empty until the end. The strip was a favorite of a friend, but seemed inane to me. To each their own. Hi @LMS.

And the cluing for Mr. MET; that's some clever crossword cluing, right there. I would have preferred "seams" instead of "stitches" but perhaps that would have made it more Wednesday than Saturday. I follow sports logo designer Todd Radom and he would love that description. I doubt he is a solver.

I once spent a vacation on the North Shore of Kauai with ALICE WALKER, well, reading a bagful of her books. Female genital mutilation became an issue after she boldly addressed it in that series of novels. They would blow away the BECHDEL TEST, if I understand it correctly. Moby-Dick would fail. Only two female characters, one in New Bedford and the other in Nantucket.

I lived in Newport Beach in the early 70s and so did John Wayne. I heard many stories of regular folks seeing and engaging with DUKE. Local lore warned us to eschew the definite article when referencing or addressing him. Some friends rented a sail boat and we toured the harbor passing his beautiful home on a point. He was sitting on his patio with his two white German Shepherds. Wayne Heck had the temerity to holler out, "Hey, DUKE!" Judging by his response, he was not displeased.

Aketi 3:05 PM  

I just came from doing the few drills my knee will allow me to do in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and so I could not help but have an alternate take on the AVACADO in the ROLL. It just reminded me of how it feels to ROLL with someone who is rather well endowed with centrally located adipose tissue.

Hungry Mother 3:06 PM  

I did the puzzle at about 4:40am and ran a couple of 5K races before getting over to the blog. I thought it was a fairly easy Saturday, but I stuboornly stuck to "nontar" in spite of knowing that would break the rules by using "snap" in clue and answer. Another DOH moment for me when I turned the red letters on.

Hartley70 3:19 PM  

This one was way out of my comfort zone. There were too many areas of complete ignorance on my part. I didn't do any googling but I had to use the check button several times to make sure my answer was correct. On the upside, I was a fairly good guesser.

The biggest duh was BECHDELTEST. I didn't even understand the clue, let alone the answer. I have never heard of the cartoonist or his RATBERT. SULU belongs on the Enterprise. I don't know Cam Newton or what his DAB looks like. Mr. MET and HORUS may be partners in crime for all I know. AZIZ could be sitting in BAHIA, sipping a SAZERAC, and I'd never know who or what any of them are. Yikes, I feel like a dolt.

However, I'd know a DIREWOLF anywhere, anytime. I know there's at least one, maybe two, lurking around The North and I'm waiting for their return. Those big old doggies are by far my favorite GOT characters.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Hi Larry,
Can you show me a book or play or movie (anything really) created by someone who doesn't breathe through his mouth who doesn't start to each his own.

Mitchell Leisen

OISK 3:25 PM  

Finished it correctly, but as with many Steinberg puzzles, didn't enjoy it very much. AVOCADO ROLL, VJS, Sazerac(??) Sorel, Face swap, Bechdeltest, Dire Wolf, all meaningless to me. Didn't know who wrote "Meridian" et al, but once I got Alice, I was able to discern "That singular anomaly, the lady novelist." (and I don't think she'd be missed...)

What are VJ's? A video equivalent of DJ's? All in all, too many "WTH," and not enough "AHA"s to keep me happy.

(Moral issue - should someone who never throws F-bombs, not at any time, still use "WTF"? Seems about as acceptable as the generally accepted "SNAFU." Still, I prefer WTH, (what the heck?) which is what I might actually say when faced with Bechdeltest.)

Charles Flaster 3:35 PM  

Late posting implies this->



BarbieBarbie 3:50 PM  

@puz and @m&a, DUHHH! Knew there was a more Occam-y explanation. Thank you.
@Larry, Hahahaha ovaries... Great one. You obviously have some kind of personal Bechdel-friendly implant operating.
This blog is way funnier than any puzzle today. Thanks all.

Malsdemare 4:45 PM  

@puz, terrific, sensible explantion. Thanks!

Z 4:55 PM  

@Bill Feeney - Of all of the ones you struggled with, read up a little on Jacob RIIS. He's been dead over a hundred years and I don't find him particularly crossworthy, but an R, an S, and two I's mean that you will see him again soon in a crossword near you.

@Pete - Thanks for the link. 2008 Rex wasn't all that different than 2017 Rex except he was willing to engage the commentariat more than. It was fun reading the comments and seeing people post who haven't dropped by lately.

@anonymous1:07pm - To my way of thinking about sacrifices, sacrifices for positional advantage are TRAPS. I think I get what you're saying, but I think TRAPS can be thought of more generally.

@Aketi - A game of inches. As for me, the idea of putting sticks in the hands of the testosterone enriched and saying, "go play," never struck me as a wise idea.

@OISK - You're amongst friends so use whichever, no moral impugning of any importance will follow. But you are correct, we all think WTF ends with the F-word.

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

Quick! Call the Times'Public Editor,
@Z didn't think Jacob Riis warrants mention in theor crossword puzzle.
Yeah, the man who coined the term how the other half lives and help usher in an entire Era and class of social consciousness so important they have a name for ita term and them is just a bit of arcana.
Thanks Z for once again setting get us straight. What would we do without your keen insight.

Mohair Sam 5:49 PM  

@OISK - Ignore @Z. Lady M has never used the F word (she won't even use "suck"). She freely uses WTF as she uses SNAFU. You have her dispensation - use the term all you want, I figure What The Freak.

We liked the puzzle a lot. Fun cluing, nice mix of old and new.
Offered up tough resistance for us at the same spots most of our generation faltered. But hey, it's a Saturday. Got held up a long time by insisting SILICONCHIP ciruits wouldn't be clued as "modern" - they're older than hell. Having read GoT I really want me a pet DIREWOLF, talk about security - your German Shepard is a wimp.

The Mr. MET mascot is worthy of loathing. What happened to the DAB? Kind of a one and out on that craze. Nasty clue for CODE, liked it. I'll bet ink solvers combined to use a gallon of Wite-Out covering Capra at 6D.

@Evil Doug funny satire at 7:49. Barbara Stanwyck's "Double Indemnity" and Sandra Bullock's "Gravity" both fail the BECHDEL TEST. It needs revising.

michael 6:32 PM  

I didn't have much trouble with this until I got stuck in the NW. I had to google - - - zerac. After I did that, I finished easily. It helped that I knew the Bechdel test, though I had a "t" for the "d" for a while.

The commentary is getting increasingly unpleasant. Not from most people, but from enough to make it unenjoyable. Of course, nobody makes me read all of them.

Larry Gilstrap 6:47 PM  

@Mitchell Leisen - Right you are! It's a little game we play here. I'm of the old school. When using the third person singular possessive pronoun, I use the masculine gender pronoun "his," but there are some people around these parts who are smarter than I am and insist on the more modern non-gender specific "their." Crazy kids!

We practiced Kapalbhati today at yoga, so my breathing is working fine. Namaste!

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

@Larry G,
May I suggest you use the third person masculine because you enjoy standard Englist? The hell with old school, it's just what someone who went to school says. Anyway, fight the good fight. I'll be rooting for you.

Andrew Heinegg 7:05 PM  

You had a law professor who taught you Con law. Fun class?!? I would be hard pressed to describe any law school class as 'fun' but, I guess there is no arguing with taste.

dm3000 7:08 PM  

Had Alice Walton 4 some reason, and could not get dab, because screw sports. Peeked at answer, then got dab. Damn.

Larry Gilstrap 7:16 PM  

Usually when writing using Standard English. I will rephrase the sentence to avoid that awkwardness. I'm a lover not a fighter.

Loren Muse Smith 7:25 PM  

@Larry, @Mitchell Leisen - y’all are fighting a losing battle.

Now I’ma lay down and do some mouth breathing.

Bella 7:45 PM  

1. Teenage boys are not the only demographic for Game of Thrones. Signed, yours truly, a person who has been a woman ever since she was born

2. It's true that I only knew about the Sulu archipelago because I've been to the Philippines, so that one was probably tricky.

Anonymous 7:49 PM  


No doubt about my being on the losing side. However it's just as certain that Larry and I are on the right side.
Your puzzle of a couple weeks ago was aces, so i assure you this is nothing personal, but singular subjects take singular verbs. Always.

Loren Muse Smith 7:52 PM  

I was joking about the mouth breathing! However...

Everyone was here, but he left.


The Rooster Cogburn 8:29 PM  

The totality of canines have their day? You win!

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Um, yeah. Everyone is singular. Look it up.

SteveDubs 6:55 AM  

As a New Jersey native, I took great offense to the Sloppy Joe clue. We from north Jersey know what a real Joe is, and it sure ain't that gloppy mess on a hamburger roll.


Chris Ortega 1:39 PM  

@Aketa -- I'm a Syndylander reading the comments a week later. My 20 year old son took me to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for my Mother's Day present also. Aren't sons wonderful?

Kate 6:53 PM  

I want to know how you got affordable Hamilton tickets

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

"Hamilton" the musical is overrated. Read the book instead. Book of Mormon, on the other hand , is great theatre.

kitshef 8:39 AM  

Brutally hard, but a complete joy. One of those days when you never think you will get it done, and you do.

Started of with VJS/VERIZON/AZIZ and thought we were in for the mother of all scrabbling puzzles, but that turned out to be an anomoly.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Busted! You think nothing of lying. But like a scorpion expected to sting, you are a liberal. You are expected to lie. And lap up Hillary urine.

Burma Shave 1:26 PM  


ISUREDO like a JOYRIDE that's
USED as a TASK to CSHARP, PERT men for us,
we've MET a DIREWOLF with a PLEA to HORUS.


this stream of unconsciousness NOFAIR to BECHDELTEST

rain forest 1:56 PM  

Cutting to the chase: DNF in both the NE and SW.

In the NE, I had VJS, VERIZON, DARKENED, and AFIRE, but obtuseness took over. For 14d, I don't understand "welcomed blessing" as a clue for SNEEZED. "Elicited a blessing", sure. Not knowing AZIZ didn't help.

Having never watched GOT, the type of wolf was opaque to me, as was SULU. I had TRAPS at first, but decided that COUPS made more sense (actually whenever I've sacrificed in chess, it usually ends in my quick resignation).

I liked this puzzle for its toughness and mostly good and misdirective cluing, but I wasn't up to the task today.

Katie Luther 1:59 PM  

Knock it off about his daughter. You shouldn't be allowed to comment on this blog. Go hang out with other low-life's.

Diana,LIW 2:14 PM  

Apparently, the rock I threw off yesterday landed back on top of me. So much I didn't know - too much to list.

But what I got was swell. CSHARP alone was worth the price of admission.

Do not know the technicalities of basketball. In 7th grade I was captain of our intramural team. We played with girl rules, which didn't allow half the team (guards? forwards? see, I don't even know) to cross the center line. Why? Does the WNBA use these rules? College women's b-ball? See - I know naught. I was captain because I accidently made a couple of baskets the first day we were handed a ball. Bad choice. I don't care about competition, and kept trying to be "fair" to the poorer players by letting them play. OTOH, we all had names, talked to each other, and of course we discussed mathematical concepts and historical events pertaining to other women.

I did hear about Mr. MET getting in trouble, but didn't think of him today.

I was certain the "modern circuit) at 1A would be some kind of social media thingy that I don't know.

So POOF - I lost.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting, under a rock ;-(

leftcoastTAM 2:44 PM  

Wrestled mightily with this one, and it pinned me.

Combination of PPPs, clever and elusive clues, and even some short answers--the kinds that would be most likely to fall in a generally tough but fair puzzle--took me out of this one.

Was in trouble from SAZERAC on. Consolation prize was getting the BECHDEL TEST at the end.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

An absolute pisser fest. Both delinquents should be send to detention. Rejected.

Thomas Miller 3:24 PM  

Never heard of Dire Wolf except in this song by Grateful Dead

5wksltr 3:32 PM  

What a fun day! The regulars and a few anonymous wits are back to attacking each other. I was reminded of the best cocktail I ever had - a sazerac the bartender at the Pontchartrain Hotel in NOLA talked me into trying. And a Steinberg puzzle that taught me things and didn't feel as though it were created by a machine with a few gears missing.

rondo 4:38 PM  

Somehow the only write-over was in the SW. Couldn't think of stitches on anyone's face except maybe Mr. yuk. So that was the last area to fill in. Perhaps a technical DNF as I sit next to my globe while solving and could see the SULU Sea by the Phillipines.

No yeah baby today due to the presence of the BECHDELTEST. NOFAIR.

A long JOYRIDE to the end, but a very Sat-appropriate puz.

leftcoastTAM 5:45 PM  


I admire your Xword acumen, but your "technical" DNF today, SULU, was what I would tend to call a "cheat".

On the other hand, it depends on how many other answers SULU might have affected. One square, okay, maybe "technical". More than that, "cheat.

Respectfully, @lefty

spacecraft 9:02 PM  

DNF. Got TOMATO...something, ALICEWALKER, and _ECHDE_____. Well, "obviously," I was wrong somewhere, as there's "no" entry with that nonsensical combination of letters. Tried to think of TECH...something, but no go. Anything to the right of that central black square stairway was a total unknown. I just gave up. Either one of these geniuses is tough enough to handle; both together? Forget it.

rondo 11:15 PM  

Call it what you will. I called a rare DNF on myself for a happy accident. I don't like a DNF under any circumstance.

Scott McLean 11:39 AM  

An easy-ish Saturday for me. Only write-over was booTED for PUNTED, and that was fixed quickly enough. Most of it just kind of fell into place for me.

BUT... I ended up with a DNF because I used the French SeL for "salt" instead of the Spanish SAL, and ALICE WeLKER seemed right enough, seeing as I've never heard of her. Aargh! I've long felt that foreign words simply do not belong in the NYT crossword. The flagship puzzle of a major American, English-language newspaper should be in English, dammit! If you can't fill your grid with English words, try again.

Sulu 4:04 AM  

The Star Trek character Hikaru SULU is named after the SULU Sea. According to SULU actor George Takei, "[Gene] Roddenberry's vision for SULU was to represent all of Asia, being named for the SULU Sea instead of using a specific country-specific name"[Wiki.]
I liked this puzzle. Saturday should always be AT LEAST this difficult.

Blogger 5:32 AM  

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harada57 3:56 AM  
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John 6:28 AM  

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Unknown 10:38 PM  

you're not going to post the Sunday answer, are you? I completed it but I don't think you should put the answer out there.

Shivani 3:47 AM  

Great one....

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