Open-sided shelters / SAT 6-3-17 / Horizontal pieces covering joints in architecture / Weaver of Greek mythology

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Constructor: Roland Huget

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ARECIBO (52A: Puerto Rican home to the Western Hemisphere's largest radio telescope) —
Arecibo (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾeˈsiβo]) is a municipality on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, located north of Utuado and Ciales; east of Hatillo; and west of Barceloneta and Florida. It is about 50 miles (80 km) west of San Juan, the capital city. Arecibo is the largest municipality in Puerto Rico by area, and is part of the San Juan, Caguas and Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is spread over 18 wards and Arecibo Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). Its population in 2010 was 96,440. // Arecibo is also known as La Villa del Capitán Correa (Captain Correa's Villa) after the Puerto Rican hero Captain Antonio de los Reyes Correa of the Spanish Army, who drove off a British Navy invasion by ambushing forces led by rear-admiral William Whetstone. Arecibo is also known as El Diamante Del Norte (The Diamond of the North) and La Ribera del Arecibo (The shore of Arecibo). // The Arecibo Observatory, until July 2016 the world's largest radio telescope, is located here. Arecibo is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arecibo. (wikipedia)
• • •

Big groan when I opened this. Design is cool to look at, but we've got here is a super-segmented quad-grid, which is essentially four mini-puzzles. Success in one area only really helps you in that area, as your ways into and out of every section are so narrow. So we get four puzzles, all roughly 7x7, which means the *best* we're going to get is a dull, clean puzzle (which is, mostly, what we get). It's hard to fill big chunks of white space like that cleanly, and even if you manage clean, you're never gonna manage interesting, at least in part because there are No answers longer than 7 letters in the entire puzzle. Tends to make things somewhat snoozy. In a puzzle like this, you gotta be looking for common-letter-laden answers. For instance, my first guess at 17A: Some farm machinery was REAPERS, despite the fact that I don't really know what those are, or what they look like. I just knew it was gonna be an -ERS answer (or was likely to be) and REAPERS has lots of common letters, so I didn't even wait to see if the crosses checked out. The "S" (which I had from SASS) was enough. You can see how the letter bank here tends to skew hard to RLSTNE, and far away from Scrabbly stuff. As my friend Doug Peterson said (just now—he's sitting right next to me), STREETS is a classic bottom-of-the-grid answer. We were talking earlier about stacks where the bottom answer is something like PEER ASSESSMENTS and STREET ADDRESSES. Do enough puzzles, and you start to know what to look for, what to expect.

So this thing isn't bad. But it was definitely ho-hum, and it feels weird to give it one difficulty rating, because it played like four different puzzles. Easiest by far (for me) was the NE, where several of those answers were gimmes. THISTLE was first in. PIRATES, a no-brainer. ARACHNE, same. I finished that quadrant at a Monday pace. The NW was the opposite. Despite SASS / REAPERS opening, I couldn't do much up there. Eventually I said the clue to 6D: Bleachers blaster out loud and Doug guess "AIR HORN" so I don't know how long I would've been stuck up there. I think I would've gotten CAPISCE and OWES TO and TYPE without too much trouble. The other quadrants ... are there. There they are. They exist. I did them. Doug again helped with a clue—41A: Like hippies, by nature—when he said something like "Pacifists?" and since I had the last "R" I said "yep, ANTIWAR." Only real sticking point down there was ARECIBO, which I've never heard of. So ... that's it. Not much to say. There it is. It is not terrible. Neither is it remarkable. This grid shape yields mediocre results at best, so maybe don't use it ever again, thanks!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 8:31 AM  

Rex - I'd say this is actually five little puzzles if you count that middle runt puz. Cool. Five for the price of one. I entered the grid with PRIE and dispatched the southeast pretty handily. Next the mini in the middle, bam bam. Northeast, northwest – no prob.

And then I hit quicksand in the southwest. Stepped into “line” for the sign of age and was just sucked under with “lean-tos” for my open-sided shelters and I was toast. Threw in the towel, declared a dnf, and peeked at 31A. Oh. RUST. Right. I’m glad I just have lines under my eyes and not rust. After that, I filled in the southwest easily, but RAMADAS and ARCIBO were new to me.

IDEATE is such a weird word. We’ve complained before here about things like orientate, conversate, blah blah. Wonder if construction guys ever say Hey Eugene – as soon as you fasciate those two roof joints and put away the power tools, you can call it a day.

And, well, speaking of weird words… wonder how long it’ll be before we see things like I really was starting to like this guy but then late last night he covfefeated all over a bunch of texts. I’m pretty sure he was drunk.

So back to RAMADAS. I guess if it’s built with sticks and leaves out in the woods it’s a ramada, but if it’s canvas and erected on the beach and weighed down with grocery bags full of sand tied to the posts with sacrificial shoe strings, it’s a cabana. If it’s not tied down, it becomes a missile, a gust-propelled instrument of death targeting the elderly couple combing the beach with their metal detector and you’re the only one out there chasing it because everyone else went up to the house for lunch but you didn’t because you packed your stinky little ham sandwich and fritos ahead of time because you are That Person.

EARNEST. Hah. I’ve been bringing home cardboard boxes from school ‘cause we’re about to move the rest of my daughter’s belongings from Pittsburgh to Raleigh. So I’ve seen two roaches in my house. (Warning for the unalert: Stop right there, revisit the very first word of this paragraph, and consider whether you want to read on.) Anyway, I remember my husband’s college friend, Killer, who had a roach crawl into his ear once at a Holiday Inn in Greensboro and he had to go to the emergency room to have the thing evicted. So I’ve been considering wearing earplugs to bed because God forbid… I mean, it could go south pretty fast, especially if the bug lays eggs, set up house and stuff. Shiver.

Two flying SAUCERS – one flight attendant putting ALFREDO on pasta while the other gets all SASSy about it.

Nice puzzles, Roland. But #5 slayed me. FWIW, when I looked back over this for typos, I saw that the little This-Word-Can't-Be-Right elf underlined UNALERT and IDEATE.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Snowflake SJWs culturally appropriating -triggered and woke.

r.alphbunker 8:32 AM  

First three answer were NOWIN, WIZ and BEZEL in the center of the grid which gave me two letters in each of the mini puzzles. NW puzzle was the last to fall.

Details are here.

Teedmn 8:36 AM  

ARACHNE wove in first. The only struggle this puzzle put up was in the SW. I was pAInED to find that I didn't know RAMADAS. Over in the SE, I was wondering why ALL AcES were open to everyone as I thought RODRIcO was a possible Duterte first name.

Cool looking grid but very easy compared to yesterday's puzzle. Saturday done come on a Friday this week. Nice job, RH.

Small Town Blogger 8:42 AM  

I know that aiming for the far post is a soccer term, but it's just not logical to me. If you aim for something, you are trying to hit it, right? So you would never aim to hit a post, near or far, because it wouldn't go in the net. That clue caused me to take forever to complete the NW corner.

Robso 8:46 AM  
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Wm. C. 8:48 AM  


Not trying to be snarky, but ...

Sure, the soccer ball can go in the net after caroming off the far post.

Btw, OFL got up kinda late today.

Robso 8:50 AM  

Agree with grid complaint, as one wrong answer--LEAN TOS instead of RAMADAS, for example--makes it almost impossible to recover from . . . which no, I didn't.

QuasiMojo 8:50 AM  

Oh, what a tangled WEB he weaved (wove?) But I like mini puzzles and traps in my grid. Gives me time to get some coffee in between tackling each section.

@LMS, whoa, TMI, but good advice.

I enjoyed this old-fashioned Saturday puzzle. My only quibbles are 1) with ARECIBO. If you don't know that name or place, you might easily think it might be ARECIBA, giving you some female bears, OSAS. (Especially since the Baja in the clue seemed to indicated a female ending to me.)

2) ACCENTS in décor are not "Features" they are subtle nuances (a lampshade, a pillow, a tile) to bring out the colors or themes in the overall design.

All in all, a nice way to end the week, although not the BRAINSTORM challenge I usually go for.

evil doug 8:53 AM  

Agree with Michael--the grid layout reduces the interest factor significantly. I don't like runts either.

Agree with Loren--lean tos was the answer I reeeeeally didn't want to change.

Hippies? So many possibilities--dirtier, goofier, higher, grubbier, useless...

More Whit 8:54 AM  

'Twas the center of the puzzle that stretched my suspension of disbelief: biz-bezel-Bizet combo...fell asleep on the zzzs. Arecibo was a giveaway as I teach physics so it's in the literature quite often. The four corners offense (here's to you Dean Smith) was tough, with the NE easiest and the NW the most intractable. Overall a decent Saturday challenge.

puzzlehoarder 8:58 AM  

The center of the puzzle was easy. Other than the NW the corners were just typical Saturday level. In the NW I started with a bad HOMERUN /AIRHORN write over. I also didn't pick up on the 19A clue being plural. I kept recounting the letters just to make Sure. This caused me to spend at least as much time on that one section as the rest of the puzzle. By the time SAUCERS got me to correct my 6D write over I had come up with just about every other answer in the NW. All that was left was to correctly read the 19A clue as plural and it all snapped into place. This was a good Saturday but most of the difficulty was self inflicted.

George Barany 8:59 AM  

What a treat to wake up this morning and read the takes of @Rex, @Loren Muse Smith, @r.alphbunker, and @Teedmn. According to information posted elsewhere, this is the fifth most open puzzle (technical terminology) in New York Times crossword history, so congratulations to @Roland Huget for that.

I confidently plunked down CAPEESH, thus completely ruining my chances on the northwest minipuzzle. I also needed some help from "reveal" on the southwest minipuzzle, but take comfort from having completely figured out the central micropuzzle and the two eastern minipuzzles without any crutches. Not sure why it was necessary to specify the year on "L'Arlésienne" suite; there are actually two suites but both are by BIZET. Wonderful music, and easy to locate on the internet if you're in the mood.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

If you hit the inside of the far post it rebounds into the goal. It's definitely something soccer players aim at.

ColoradoCog 9:05 AM  

Puzzle serendipity strikes again! I was at the Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico yesterday and the guide pamphlet pointed out a series of stone circles, saying these were the foundations for the posts of a 400-year-old RAMADA. I had no idea what that was, so I Googled it. And then, bam!, it shows up that night in the puzzle. That moment alone was enough to make me enjoy this one.

Mohair Sam 9:06 AM  

Really enjoyed this Saturday. Didn't mind the four puzzle concept a bit - thought it was fun. Our toughest battle was where @Rex found things easiest, in the NE - couldn't decide between Detroit, Oakland, and PIRATES at 8A - that really slowed us down.

Played for us like a tough puzzle should. Looked impossible, then got a word or two (WIZ, BIZET), then built a little, then a few guesses, and a couple of aha's (loved ALFREDO), and eventually we conquered. Good stuff. Very serious puzzle with a dearth of puns, surprised us with the WEENIE roast - we were looking for something heartier.

@Rex got the experience today of solving with an equally skilled puzzle partner - sure makes things easier, don't it?

@Loren - Google the Rod Serling "Night Gallery" Laurence Harvey earwig episode from 1972. Every time I see a roach or earwig I don't sleep for about a week. Or save yourself the nghtmares and just buy earplugs.

Johnny 9:09 AM  

"CHOOSE your battles" is an expression I've never heard; you "pick" them as far as I know.

I also had "leantos" but knew right away it had to be wrong. I know RAMADA but didn't see it until it had a few crosses.

Kim Scudera 9:16 AM  

___CapS before FASCIAS, CAPeesh before CAPISCE (the correct spelling, for a change!), leantoS before RAMADAS, PINEtar before PINESAP. So many self-inflicted wounds. If it weren't for all of the gimmes in the center and east, and REAPERS, I would have been toast. Off to the Indie 500, so I hope my experience qualifies as a bad dress rehearsal! Hope to see some of you there!

webwinger 9:23 AM  

Was doing pretty well until faced with only the NW open, and couldn't get any traction there, had to go to reveal for 3 or 4 answers before completing the grid. Like others I started with lean to, needed almost every cross to reach ramada. Also couldn't spell capisce, and won't remember next time it shows up.

BarbieBarbie 9:29 AM  

Lean-tos have sides. It's BEZEL.
Notcrazy about this but Saturdays are hard and themeless so that's the way it is. Average time but cheated.
DNF, had to look up the telescope. Salvaged some pride by googling on SETI to do it. Know the telescope, couldn't bring up the name, didn't feel enough love in that mini to be able to get it from crosses.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Does anyone know how to reset your NYT crossword statistics? I've emailed them to no avail.

Two Ponies 9:36 AM  

Thanks for the insightful review.
Weenie roast was cute.
Fascia as an architectural feature was new to me. A medical clue
would have helped me. In cooking it is called "silverskin."
@LMS, sometimes I am That Person as well.
Gotta love a puz with Roddie Duterte in it.
I was proud to find my first thought of Bizet was correct.
I agree that the year was probably neither a help nor a hindrance.
I have always wondered what Daemon meant.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

This felt like a Tuesday for me--it filled itself in. Passage between buildings had to be some sort of "way, which gave me "owes to" and "type," and that was that except for "fascias," but what else could have been? Brief snag in NE, when I put "Ariadne" instead of "Arachne", but the quickly filled in "antes up," "mantra" and "battle" quickly showed me the error of my areaway, and that was that. "Sterner" rather than "stiffer" also briefly sent me on a detour, but "Tim Rice" was a gimme, I knew Arecibo, although how I'm not sure, and as I was a hippie, antiwar was obvious. "Not wasted" as a clue for "sober" was sort of nice, biz and wiz a bit dumb, Bizet and bezel a give away. I also knew "tapioca" off the bat. A sort of vacation from stifferness.

Mike in Mountain View 9:45 AM  

@QuasiMojo: Hands up for OSaS/ARECIBa. If only I'd been a sexist . . .

Enjoyed this puzzle.

Forsythia 9:46 AM  

Tough right side for me, needed my daughter up to help so had to wait for 9 a.m! Another brain with different eyes and younger concepts, yay!

Wanted some kind of "gun" for the bleacher thing since I was thinking of how they shoot t-shirts up into the high stands....what is that called?

Kind instead of TYPE hurt my solve, Slap instead of SASS. I think of SASS as something a kid does before the parent replies sternly, less of a "comeback" than what instigates the exchange. but I can see the other.

Never heard of ARCADIA except as eastern Canadian so took every cross there since it could have been anything. Certainly I don't see it as Greek!

Thought Ariadne before ARACHNE but that's just my brainfog.

And a DNF needing "check" because of the OSaS instead of OSOS and couldn't see the error. Oh well. Happy Saturday all!

Forsythia 9:49 AM  

oops, meant tough left side! No wonder I had problems today....doh

mac 10:15 AM  

Nice Saturday distraction, but except for the SW it was pretty easy. Ended up with a mistake there: I guessed Areciba/osas.

Give me a quad stack or two any Saturday.

I'm sure it will be a lot of fun in Washington!!

Norm 10:27 AM  
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Norm 10:28 AM  

I liked this a lot more than OFL did. The mini-puzzle grid can be daunting, but there was at least one gimme in each section and the crossings were fair, so you could work out the more obscure entries. And, thank you 4th grade teacher whose name I forget (I went to three different schools and was in four different classes that year) for assigning me a report on the Mississippi River so that La Salle was in the gimme category.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Snowflakes raise their kids to be intolerant toward those who don't think like they do.

Naryana Gora 10:49 AM  

@evil - useless, har!

Naryana Gora 10:52 AM  

@Johnny - yes, pick your battles, I agree.

Maruchka 10:54 AM  

WIZ! BIZ! BEZEL! BIZET! Bang! How clever'z that.. most enjoyable Sat. puzz in awhile. Thanks, Mr. Huget.

Everything went smooth until the SW, due to lean-tos/RAMADAS (..are for horses, doh); informs/DEFINES. UNALERT doesn't seem right. Wanted 'in a snit', CAPISCE?

Stopped going to games because of constant AIRHORN and worse behaviors.

Spent three nights in Corpus Christi, recovering from a Coke (the soda) overload while speed driving away from SCAREy Mississippi. Phil Ochs was so right, then.

'The Lily, THISTLE, Shamrock, Rose,
The Maple Leaf forever!' Eh, Canada.

GHarris 10:59 AM  

Unlike most days I did this one on my computer and occasionally invoked the feature that tells whether you've inserted the wrong letter. Resort to that device gave me the confidence to offer answers more quickly and with what I might regard as wild abandon. Interesting how often they turned out to be right. I suppose this would be considered cheating but of a lesser degree since I formulated all the answers and did not resort to Google.

Naryana Gora 11:06 AM  

SERT? Talk about counter intuitive.

I don't mind quad puzzles if they're doable and, for me, this was doable. Yeah, it was a dnf because I checked a map of Puerto Rico but what the heck.

LASALLE was an IRONMAN, all those explorers were.

From least to most difficult - SE, NW, NE, SW.

Decent puz.

jae 11:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me except for the RICE/AECIBO cross which was a semi-lucky guess. I agree with @Rex, smooth but meh. I need a bit more zip on Sat.

For some reason I've be getting a ton of those mailer-demon undeliverable msgs and they all go to the gmail junk/spam folder. This has been going on for a year or more. I think they are being forwarded from my old Road Runner address. AMIRITE in assuming it's some sort of phishing expedition?

jae 11:15 AM  

...that should be ARECIBO

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

My daughter once said "I met a Republican today, and he was actually pretty nice!". Adorable.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

If only the rest of the country was as fair-minded, wise and insightful as you, we would have no problems at all. That would be wonderful, don't you think?

Joseph Welling 11:38 AM  

You're more likely to score shooting at the far post side of the goal than shots to the near post or center portions of the goal. I think it's because a missed shot on the far post side is more likely to rebound into an area where someone else can score. In the near post and center part, the goalie is more likely to either catch the ball or knock it out of bounds.

Also, a shot that is wide of the goal on the far post side is a cross that could assist a goal. A shot that is wide of the near post side of the goal is out of bounds for a goal kick.

Nancy 11:43 AM  

Loved it. I found it very crunchy and with no junk. No time to write more or read the blog right now. Will catch up another time.

Carola 11:52 AM  

My first thought was "Very pretty grid." Thanks to knowing the crucial Downs, I didn't have any trouble portaging between the sections.
I, too, began with ARACHNE x crossword pal PACA and went on a non-stop clockwise sweep, a rare Saturday with no skipping around.
I really liked WIZ BIZ, but then I'm a great Harry Potter fan.

Gratuitous Warpig Anti-Hippie 11:57 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle.

Snarky comments by fascists? Not so much.

The Clerk 11:57 AM  

Big fan of this puzzle. Agree on the four mini-puzzle extra challenge, but slow-dominoed just enough.

Lewis 11:59 AM  

This is a 62-worder, with but 32 blocks and an overall clean grid. Props to you, Roland, for that, which must have taken an awful lot of work. It was an enjoyable solve as well, neither ho-hum, snoozy, nor dull to me. Great clues for SOBER, MANTRA, and STREETS. I didn't want to put SAUCER in because the clue seemed too easy for a Saturday -- a great trick to play on Saturday solvers. The puzzle has only one three-letter answer, and a good one at that (BIZ). SW was toughest for me -- had I remembered TIM RICE it would have been much easier. Love the WIZ/BIZ cross, as well as BIZ/BIZET.

Thank you for this, Sir Huget. Your puzzle gave me just what I like: A fair number of BATTLES, but I was never MAIMED.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

In soccer as you aim a shot at the far post you most often hit with spin toward goal so the ball when arriving at the goal is actually inside the post. That also makes it harder for the goalie because the ball curves around him. Also goalies are meant to always protect against near post shots; it's typically considered ebarrassing for top goalies to let in near post shots. Hence, aiming at the far post, or even slightly beyond it, with inward spin is a very common shooting tactic in soccer.

Aketi 12:17 PM  

I liked the WIZ, BIZ, BEZEL combo.

My two compatriots in MMA are going to have to IRON MAN up today because they are taking their three hour black belt test. I've been augmenting their training in the dojo with training in Central Park and the NY Botanical Gardens. Sadly, I can't share with them the MANTRA that another black belt mom shared with me before the test, which was to chant in my head "It's not as bad as labor" anytime I felt my willpower weakening.

ANTIWAR on top of MAIMED seemed a little dissonant,

@lms, I enjoyed your cockroach story, but it is softcore compared to the worst episode I ever experienced which was in Baltimore, not Africa. I'm not sharing because the memory of it makes me want to vomit. In the battle between human and cockroach, it always a NO WIN situation for the humans. They will exist long after we become extinct.

Off to coach the guys through their test.

RAD2626 12:18 PM  

Enjoyed puzzle a lot but like others NW was tough to crack. Did not know FASCIAS or FAR POST. Made the CAPeesh error. AREA WAY would have been easier as the dook partial ARE AWAY. And home ruN seemed like a plausible bleacher blaster. Real workout although other corners were pretty manageable. Good Saturday puzzle.

AW 12:19 PM  

Had to cheat in every quadrant to get this one.

NW: FASCIAS? FARPOST? (Come on! It's a goal post, for crying out loud!) AREAWAY (Has anyone, anywhere, ever heard of this? It's an alleyway, for Pete's sake.)

NE: PIRATES (Don't know sports, don't care to. Hate 'em all. Harrumph!)

SE: TAPIOCA. Wanted cornstarch, roux, flour, arrowroot.

SW: ALFREDO. Sheesh. And does anyway use UNALERT to describe someone who's distracted? Covfefe!

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@Anon 12:10

Very good analysis except no one in the world of football, (soccer), calls them goalies. Goalies play hockey. They are called Goal Keepers, or Keepers for short. I always taught my players to look "far post" first.


GILL I. 12:36 PM  

I stare at all that whiteness and I panic. Hmmm, let me find an entrance. PETULA - it has to be. Downtown this is my song!
Completely doable puzzle despite the initial scare. The only problem I had was misremembering ARACHNE THISTLE and ARECIBO. NW was my easiest of the five puzzles. FAR could I forget that one? That one little entry gave me REAPERS and the rest was just common puzzle sense.
Went down to visit my girlfriend PETULA and I crossed her with disgusting TAPIOCA. (use butter and flour instead) then met up with that vile creature RODRIGO Duterte who might have been hanged if LA SALLE had some say.
Went back upstairs and remembered our favorite SA roden Mr. PACA. The cute critter gave me the PIRATES. I don't know baseball. I love sports but I don't understand the thrill of watching while nothing is happening and all the guys are scratching the front or the back of any orifice they have and the pitcher does a lot of staring at first base rather than at the catcher where he should be focusing. I suppose it's fun if the bases are loaded and someone hits a homerun but how often does that happen? I love soccer. FAR POST is indeed where you want the ball to enter...just don't blow a vuvuzela in my direction - I'll kill you.
Same Leantos mistake as the rest of you Mensas. That last little SW puzzle gave me a hard time. Like @evil, I had a lot of harsher thoughts than ANTIWAR but I had the AR and I remember TIM RICE and so I finished her up with nary a scare.
Wonderful puzzle, Roland. I'd like more of these on Sat.
@Leapster from last night. I was beginning to worry about you. Glad you showed up and gave me the usual dose of very loud laughter. Your JOT WIDEN should be framed!

Hungry Mother 12:36 PM  

Needed my wife tro get PIRATES, then a wag for the "C" in TIMRICE and I was there. Good one.

Malsdemare 12:41 PM  

Pardon me, Father, for I have sinned. I had to Google for TIM RICE and the PIRATES. But with those two in place, the rest fell with an acceptable level of resistance and "Aha" moments. I dropped in gazebo for the open-sided structure so put in grey, then gout, When those didn't work, I suddenly "saw" RAMADA, and with TIM's help, the rest filled itself. I agree with Rex about it being four separate puzzles, but I started in the middle with WIZ and then worked my way outwards which was super fun. The NE was the last to fall. I didn't know THISTLE and IRONMAN escaped me for a long time, which is shameful as my daughter has completed oodles of those crazy races. I have never seen the URL ending of BIZ, and ARACHNE escaped me for the longest time; a real embarrassment since a dear friend raises arachnids and one of my favorite pasttimes is to have the tarantulas' very delicate, furry feet work their way up my arm.

My husband was in Brazil many years ago -- he's a steel man and they don't build steel mils in tourist places. So he's in someplace obscure and the mill super takes him to dinner at an open air restaurant. Super recommmended the local specialty, which my husband ordered; he will eat anything. As they are dining, something ran across my hubby's feet. He asked what it was, Casual reply was PACA. The local specialty. You shold have seen the expressions on my children's faces when he told that tale.

Nice puzzle!

hankster65 12:44 PM  

Whew! What a slog. Central mini puzzle fell quickly, the entire south went next after a fair number of times being forced to run the alphabet. The NE finally hit the canvas after much punching and counter punching. Yeah, and then we come to the dang NW corner where my stubborn brain refused to see "cup holders" as anything other than PAUPERS. Finally, I had a SAUCERS very big duh! moment. After crawling out from under a table, and with a red face, I eventually whupped this rascal. I enjoyed the 5 for the price of 1 layout. Kind of a nice twist.

Vincent Lima 12:46 PM  

Like @Johnny I know about picking my battles, not choosing them.

Before RUST/RAMADAS, I tried dUST and mUST, as in "musty smell." mUST gave me an alternative down, which I looked up, thus expanding my X-rated Spanish vocabulary.

Malsdemare 12:47 PM  

@LMS. Your roadhes story is fabulous. Thanks for the giggle (and advice). Lordy, I hope to never find a roach in the house.

Larry Gilstrap 1:10 PM  

Yep, line/leantos sat in the SW for a very long time. Everything else seemed fair enough in this severely compartmentalized Saturday effort.

Any word nerds out there? I just finished reading The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester set in the Victorian world surrounding the construction of the Oxford English Dictionary. The process entailed establishing and documenting a word's etymology, combing through period texts for examples of usage, and writing a phrase that clearly DEFINES the entry. All of this is done with careful reading documented with pen and paper. Correspondence used the British mail system at the time. No wonder it took seventy years. I wondered why a book written twenty years ago was on the library's hot non-fiction shelf. Come to find out it is the source for a new movie championed by Mel Gibson and featuring Sean Penn. To avoid any confusion, the original title was The Surgeon of Crowthorne.

Trombone Tom 1:10 PM  

Wow! Four (or a possible five) puzzles in one! For whatever reason I was pretty much on the constructor's wavelength. It didn't hurt that I knew enough about building to know a soffit from a FASCIA. I wasn't sure how to spell CAPISCE but the crosses were there.

However I met resistance in the SW and was a DNF. I knew the location of the radio-telescope but didn't know if it was ARECeBO or ARECIBO. And I finally gave up and googled TIM RICE.

Nice, tough, Saturday workout.

William T. Sherman 1:13 PM  

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.

pmdm 1:30 PM  

Interesting that this grid has been used multiple times before. You can find the other puzzles at if you click on Chen's link in this write up. Very interesting comparing the puzzles.

Malsdemare 1:33 PM  

@ Larry G. Everything Winchester writes is terrific. I especially loved "The Map that changed the world" or something like that. And if you can get the audio books that he narrates, it's even better.

Three and out.

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Interesting that 52A gave so much trouble. It was my first gimme as I scanned the clues. Then, CCW from there solved each section in turn. Many, many scratchouts in the upper left. I had to google 1A to finish that section. I had "paupers" in 23A for too long.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

An AREAWAY is usually the opening giving access to a below-ground basement window. A passage between buildings is more properly an alley or alleyway.

Really easy puzzle for Saturday.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Soccer players aim for the FARPOST ... except when they don't and instead aim for a different spot (Near post, under the crossbar, along the ground, etc.)

This was one of those puzzles where, after a quick read of the clues, I was fearful of ending with the same blank slate I started with. But I started chipping away here and there and eventually got most of it.

Totally whiffed on the SW corner though. Leantos and Lines at 30-D/A basically killed any chance I had. Probably shouldn't have stayed married to those answers as long as I did

Norm 3:10 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 3:16 PM  

@Leapfinger from yesterday - Loved your Saudi Arabian guy as a MALL SANTA anecdote.

@Larry Gilstrap - I'll second Mals - Haven't read everything of his, but particularly liked "Krakatoa".

Sitting here watching the UEFA Champions League Final. A striker for Juventus tried to sneak a goal inside the near post in the opening minutes. Idiot. If only he'd read this blog before the match. (Cristiano Ronaldo just scored for Real Madrid, 2/3 of European women have fainted).

Larry Gilstrap 3:40 PM  

Doubling down on The Professor and the Madman for this wonky crowd. Did I mention murder, perversion, psychotic delusion, intense scholarship, and Victorian privilege? Read the book before the movie honks it up!

Small Town Blogger 3:45 PM  

Fair enough.

Tim Pierce 5:05 PM  

Maybe I'm alone to have been naticked at ARECIBO/BADDEBT -- I had ARECInO/BADDEnT, on the reasoning that a "bad dent" in a car accident is something you'd write off in an insurance claim. Between that and RAMADAS (a word I did not know outside of its name as a no-frills hotel chain), that SW was pretty rough.

The NE killed me: I'm glad that ARACHNE was a gimme for OFL, but if you entered ARiadNE as my spouse and I and at least a few of you did, you were in for a world of pain. Had "LET PASS" for SEE PAST which compounded that trouble, and eventually had to ask her to walk me out of the mess. Ow.

Mr. B 5:13 PM  

ugh...second saturday in a row with DNF.
COLPORTEUR did me in last week. Not knowing PRIE-dieu helped sink me this week.
I finished the top half of the puzzle just fine...but could not getting any traction at all in the bottom half...and finally succumbed to much needed sleep.
Woke up fresh - but it didn't help much.
I had LASALLE, PETULA and LEAS in the SE but my brain could not suss out the rest.
Only had OSOS and ARECIBO (i like astronomy) in the SW.
Gave in and resorted to the "reveal word" function with RAMADA, and TIM RICE (damn, I shoulda known that one...) and then RODRIGO and PRIE (so that's what those things are called).
Thanks Mr. Huget...learned some new stuff today...need to bone up more on my french, i guess.
Great weekend to all...

kitshef 5:23 PM  

Simply wow. What a great puzzle. Or maybe four puzzles:
NE went in almost as fast as I could type.
SE took a little longer.
SW definitely was a struggle.
NW was pretty brutally hard.
But all four were beautiful.

ARECIBO has been in the puzzle recently – last three months, I’m pretty sure.

1979 series about broke my heart. Orioles up 3-1 then lose three straight, and just could not score – 0 or 1 run in each of those last three games.

clue seeker 5:41 PM  

I am not one of your genius puzzlers but for me this puzzle was way too easy for a Saturday. I finished in less than 15 minutes though I agree Lean tos seemed the correct answer until I went back to it at the end. I am still struggling with the theme of Thursdays puzzle. I got all the clues but even after Rex' description I can't figure it out.

Dolgo 6:33 PM  


Dick Swart 6:45 PM  

Larry ... ditto on Winchester! Tries to get in to see "The Map the Changed the World" in London club ... was refused admissionas non-member AND I was wearing a coat and tie.

SW was my DNF .. steadfastly stuck with Leantos/Line until ship sank under me.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

The only shaded areas are the four Christian crosses, converging on what should be "central" for them, either something relating to Jesus or the forgiveness of sin. What do they converge on? Wiz, for the wizard of Oz, the perfect modern example of charlatanry, and biz, or business. So this puzzle is an attack on Christianity, the business of charlatans. Such attacks are fine by me, if not too pompous or snarky, and in that regard, I thought this puzzle was very good. Also, to me, the puzzle was one of the more educational I've seen.
[anon. i.e. Poggius]

Alby 10:26 PM  

ELUSIVE was EellIkE for the longest time b/c I've seen one too many "Slippery fish" clues. AREAWAY seems a nonword, as does UNALERT. Knew CAPISCE b/c Billy Crystal overpronounced it in Analyze This ("KUH-PISH?!") and I decided to look it up once and for all.

Z 8:12 AM  

Five easyish puzzles here. Knowing PIRATES opened up the NE. MAIMED/TIM RICE anchored the SW. SENDER/PETULA made even the WOE cluing of TAPIOCA easily overcome. NE was last. Having AIRHORN and SASS wasn't getting me much until I decided to take Blue Oyster Cult's advice and not fear the REAPERS. Biggest slowdown was refusing to believe that The WIZ was released in 1975.

@Evil Doug - Regarding yesterday and Standard Oil, apparently Michigan didn't manage to get its own Standard Oil off-shoot. My loss. As for hippies, it takes some serious cajones to take on the embedded power structures of your own society to seek justice. Hippies are a lot closer in spirit to the founding fathers than most people in our society.

Mjddon 9:36 AM  

I have not read the comments so don't know if this has been addressed. I have been using a crossword ios app by StandAlone called classic crossword for years. For me it's the best. I've tried them all. Yesterday i could not access puzzle. Contacted app support. Was told the NYT will no longer allow direct access from the app. Why, why, why? I pay $40 a year to get the puzzles. I do at least four each week. Why does the NYT care how i access them?! I feel like cancelling my subscription but I want to continue doing the puzzle. Is this because they want me to use their app? I hate it. Are there any others who use this app?

Z 9:44 AM  

@mjddon - I know PuzzAzz released an update to fix this issue. I don't know if Standalone will do the same.

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


"I CAPISCE that an IRONMAN was the TYPE whose WEENIE was STIFFER."


rondo 11:04 AM  

DNF. When NOWIN is the first concrete answer in, that's an omen. Although that middle BIZ-ness did lead me into all 4 quadrants, the SE being easiest. And the BATTLES led to IRONMAN which led to PIRATES and the east was won. In the NW SASS had been waiting and pretty much a gimme for the AIRHORN down to that NOWIN N, so FASCIAS covered up the __AS. 3/4 done. The common leantoS/line mistake just wouldn't go away and all I could think of was Andrew Lloyd Weber instead of TIMRICE. Doh! Probably because 10 years ago yesterday I took a woman who I'd known for 2 days and who is now my wife of 8 years to see Phantom in London. UNALERT, that DEFINES my DNF.

Really really wanted "redlion" or "griffin" where THISTLE ended up only because of the PIRATES.

So let's all go Downtown with one-time yeah baby PETULA Clark.

NOWIN today. Had my BATTLES elsewhere, but the ANTIWAR crowd got me.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

Let me lead with a disclaimer: I'd have my problems trying to SCAREUP a 4x4 runtpuz, so these 7x7, 4-deep corners must be nightmarish even for seasoned constructors. Ergo, small wonder that so much of it looks so crutchy.

This was not as hard as I expected it to be--and I had a near-disastrous start. I, the timeline x-spurt, was convinced those dastardly Orioles (who beat my Phillies, the SOB's!) were the answer for 8-across. Hey, I was only off by four years (1983). I forgot all about the "Fam-a-lee," since my association with that song has been inexorably attached to "The Birdcage" from the moment of my first viewing of that most excellent film. Sorry, Willie and friends.

Anyway, got that straightened out without too much hassle, though it took some time. Another misstep in the SE with TAProot and treESAP caused some ink spillage, but by and large this wasn't all that Saturday-challenging. As OFL said, we tend to gravitate toward good ol' ETAOIN SHRDLU when face with grids of this TYPE.

And OFL never heard of ARECIBO?? The location of SETI?? Never read Sagan's "Contact," or seen the great film with DOD Jodie Foster? The man lives under a ROCK! Call this easy-medium, and give it a par.

Longbeachlee 1:20 PM  

I think all you purists out there should give ColoradoCog a dnf for "cheating" before the fact.

Longbeachlee 1:30 PM  

Must, as in musty, is a sign of age. Rust is not. As far as I'm concerned a Mamada is as much of an open-ended shelter as a Ramada, which is a closed door shelter also called an inn.

Diana,LIW 1:54 PM  

Well, I had the "gray" and "gazebos" cross in the SW - just one of the errors that lead me to the cheating life.. I'll never forget ARACHNE - we have a little pet spider in the kitchen who's been hanging around on his woven string for a few weeks.

Got the SE and NW by myself, but the rest - ndf. Well that's show BIZ.

Diana, Waiting to discover why you were LATE, RON?

leftcoastTAM 2:24 PM  

Easier than yesterday, but hung up in the SW mini-puzzle.

The hook was RAMADAS. Was stuck on cabanas. Thought: "Open-sided? Well, side flaps can be opened up on some cabanas, can't they? And Ramada Inns named for open-sided shelters? C'mon, can't be." Strained, I know.

A cheat there opened up the rest of that quadrant. Guess you would call that a DNF.

rondo 2:31 PM  

@D,LIW - Oh you saw that too? Well, because I,RON,MAN of the world, was MAIMED on the STREETS of ALFREDO.

Diana,LIW 3:57 PM  

@Ron - Guess you were sauced, huh?

Lady Di

centralscrewtinizer 7:08 PM  

Crap, NW killed me. Had SASS and that is all that corner gave me. Fell for homerun instead of AIRHORN, thanks to NOWIN, ha ha. Had kind instead fo TYPE, which was most unkind because it gave me netback, instead of FARPOST, which was just too far. Actually thought exactly of CAPISCE, but forgot it had an S.
Everything else was just dandy but I get no candy bc dnf. Good thing liquor is quicker, because that is how I will salve my poor battered soul.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

Oddly enough it was the bottom half that stumped me. The top took a little thinking but I know all but one. Same with the middle. For the first time in awhile it was just not worth finishing.

Bananafish 1:44 PM  

SE took a while to unravel since I had TREESAP for PINESAP and TAPROOT in for TAPIOCA. PRIE-dieu seems like crosswordese I should be long familiar with, but it was new to me. Had the most trouble with the SW though. LEANTOS felt like a winner for RAMADAS, tried ORINOCO for ARECIBO and INFUSES for DEFINES and BENEFIT for BADDEBT and COMEDY for WEENIE and HARSHER for STIFFER, and well, you can see why that corner looks like an ink blot Rohrschach test in my newspaper.

I find myself in an unusual position today - for the first time in probably five years of perusing this blog, I agree with one of Mr. Parker's criticisms. After solving the middle area, this one did quickly devolve into four separate puzzles. A puzzle like that screams out for some theme answer in each area or a long quote with one answer in each quadrant, or ... well, something that, when solved in one or two or three quadrants, gives the solver some leverage into being able to solve the remaining quadrants.

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