Actress London of TV's Game / SAT 9-2-17 / Enemy of CONTROL on Get Smart / Oprah Winfrey network show about family farm / Female singer with second video ever shown on MTV / Jedi knight's rival / Targets of 1932 war in Australia

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: CRICKET (1D: Fair play) —
  1. 1 :  a game played with a ball and bat by two sides of usually 11 players each on a large field centering upon two wickets each defended by a batsman
  2. 2 :  fair and honorable behavior it wasn't cricket for her to break her contract — Gerry Nadel (m-w)
• • •

This felt really tough, but my time came out normal, so ... normal! It's lovely, for a low-word-count grid (64 words). I am not a big fan of low-word-count grids, largely because you end up with more ickiness than a nice 68-to-72-worder will give you. Below 68, and the pressure starts to take its toll. RESAT and LEERAT and SAVETO and LLD are all kind of unpleasant, as are the longer words loaded with common letters, like ADDRESSES and ENROLLEE and ETAGERES. But, again, this is *very good* for a 64-worder. Cleaner than many NYT grids that are far less demanding. I like Erik's puzzles because they are wide-ranging and current, and also because they remind you, vividly, how very white the normal NYT POV is. Black people figure strongly in today's puzzle. You've got LAUREN London and Ava DuVernay's "QUEEN SUGAR" and ... well, I guess virtually all the SOUTH SUDANESE. In fact, you've got a good mix of everyone/thing: PAT BENATAR and THE STONES and REGGAE and PUERTO Rico and the WNBA's SAN ANTONIO Stars and SEMINOLE and RICE BEER etc. It's an impressively inclusive puzzle, in addition to being an impressively slick one.

There was one major cluing problem, though. How is DEICED [Cleared for landing?]? If you are deicing a plane, it is already on the ground. You are "clearing" it (of ice) for *take-off*. Right? I think so. I thought there was another cluing problem at 1D: Fair play (CRICKET), but no, that's apparently just a thing that CRICKET can mean, which I'm just learning now, in the middle of year 48 on this planet and year 47 speaking English. OK then.

There were a lot of tricky / "?" clues, but they didn't irk me the way they often can when they come in bulk. I got stuck in odd places, like putting in POKE AT instead of PECK AT (6D: Eat with no enthusiasm), and then falling right into the AVER / RUG trap at 49A: Profess (AVOW) / 50D: Removable locks (WIG). Not having any clue about that CRICKET definition, the NW was toughest for me, and the last part of the puzzle to fall. Tough clever clues on AIR TAXIS (2D: They might be used in making hops) and EX-COP (25A: Person who came out of the blue?) also added difficulty up in there. Overall, a solid, entertaining workout. Just about exactly what a Saturday oughta be.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Trombone Tom 12:30 AM  

I have to agree with @Rex on this one. At first it seemed impossible to crack, but I was able to work my way southeast slowly but surely after I changed REmeT to RESAT. Then PAT BENATAR opened up the SW. QUEEN SUGAR was totally unknown to me.

The NE was slower yet to come as the clue for GARAGE wasn't much help and I didn't know LAUREN London. SPORK and ON EDGE finally broke it open.

Initially I felt that Erik Agard and I were not on the same boat, let alone in the same wheelhouse. but perseverance paid. This gave me a pretty good workout and has several not-so-obvious clues.

It's bloomin' HOT out here in NorCal and bodes to be that way tomorrow, too. The fog went away and now were getting smoke.

Trombone Tom 12:33 AM  

Oh, and I sent $100 to Houston and hope you can help a little, too. Those folks are in Dire Straits.

Johnny 12:34 AM  

Very good puzzle. I liked it, and I had to work for everything.

But man I had GRIESE at 48A for the longest time, and I was so proud when I put it there on my first pass. I thought it was a diabolical answer but that triple-overtime game is sorta famous and yet . . . completely wrong.

Brian 12:39 AM  

Aquila and PatBenatar and SDSU (plus Deiced clue mess) over QueenSugar and Unitas was brutal

Brian 12:41 AM  

I suppose the runway could be deiced for landing.

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

This was a solid middle of the road Saturday. It took me a little while to find the right starting point. BET was obvious but a first guess of REMET for 5D stymied that. ONEDGE was a no brainer but the car clue for 20A only made me think of DEALER. TIMING, SHOD and SITHLORD got the ball rolling and once SEMINOLE went in I had the puzzles range and it was steady work from there. The 41D clue seems incorrect until you realize that it refers to the runway. This is the kind of solving experience I expect out of a late week puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 12:47 AM  

The 12:43 AM comment was mine I have no idea why the identifier didn't take.

Brian 12:47 AM  

Is GARAGE a room? If it is converted to a room it is no longer a garage.

Anonymous 1:31 AM  

IgnITE for INCITE (52A) cost me a lot of time, as did REmeT for RESAT (5D). It's like my TIMING was hit by an RPG, and I was DUNNED.

Casimir 1:33 AM  

I had a dnf because of the Queen Sugar, incite (I had ignite) area in the SW. I just couldn't figure out the trick in "cleared for landing?". I'll bet others will agree that a plane is deiced before taking off, and runways are plowed or maybe salted, but not deiced for landing, at least in common usage. Or, maybe, I'm just missing something.

jae 1:34 AM  

Medium seems right for this one. I did have a problem in SW where I held on to IgnITE for way too long.

...and add me to the REmet contingent.

@Brian - Vue is a Saturn car model.

Excellent Sat. Nice crunch, liked it!

jae 1:38 AM  
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jae 1:39 AM  

@anon 1:31 & Casimir - apparently we all posted at about the same time. Nice to know I'm not alone with IgnITE.

Greg Charles 2:02 AM  

@Casimir -- what you're missing is Google, which would happily provide you with a number of references saying that, yes, runways are de-iced. :) Here's one:

BBPDX 2:03 AM  

It was really difficult to get started but, totally doable. Also fell into the ignite/incite trap. However, there were enough in common letters that it helped.

J-Dub 2:14 AM  
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J-Dub 2:15 AM  

You learned that CRICKET means "fair play," I learned that PATBENATAR and PATtismith have the same number of letters. Learning is fun!

chefwen 3:16 AM  

Not easy at all here. Learned two new words, IRIDESCE and TANGENTIAL, must GOOGLE for definitions or I won't remember them tomorrow. Never heard of QUEEN SUGAR and I'm pretty sure I will not make the time to watch.

Made all the mistakes mentioned above and several, no, a lot more. On to Sunday!

Casimir 3:17 AM  

Thank you for your comment Mr. Charles. I don't use Google to solve the puzzle. I don't see the point in doing so. I of course have Google and know how to use it.

What I was trying to say was that I have never heard -- in common parlance -- a person use "deice" in connection with runways. I did not mean to say that such usage had never, ever occurred, particularly as jargon used by a narrow range of runway-maintenance professionals. I trust you see the difference.

Anonymous 3:20 AM  

I don't like the cluing on 7D: to my mind, GREENHOUSE GASES *are* the carbon footprint, are they not?

OldCarFudd 4:18 AM  

That VW clue is tough! Sciroccos haven't been sold in North America for about 10 years. But to indicate it's a bygone car would be tough, too, since they're still sold in Europe.

Anonymous 4:19 AM  

It's a good thing 4D TED was clued as "Big name in talks" and not "Spread hay to dry." @Rex would have had a cow.

evil doug 5:13 AM  
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evil doug 5:25 AM  

Usually runways are said to be 'plowed', or 'treated', or 'cleared', followed by a braking action report (good, fair, nil). Can't say as I've ever heard of runways being "deiced", but I'll accept that possibility.

Airplanes have to be deiced by sprayed glycol solutions before launching, so "Cleared for takeoff?" would probably be a better clue.

But wings can be deiced in flight via heat ported off the engines when conditions dictate--say, landing on a cold day with visible moisture (this system can't be used on the ground, hence the glycol). So the clue is technically okay.

Mark 5:30 AM  

I agree about Greehouse gases. The clue is wrong. I wrote it in and finished the puzzle, but this bad definition, plus many many proper nouns and few interesting actual words made it a horrible puzzle, one of the worst NY Times themeless ones in a long time.

Anonymous 5:56 AM  

Hi, i've only been reading your blog for a little while, but I don'think i've ever seen you rate a puzzle "hard" (or is there such a rating? What is your label for highest relative difficulty?). I understand the relative difficulty concept so I get why the label "hard" might be tough to earn even for a Saturday. Could you point me to some Saturdays or fridays in the archives that you've labeled as the most difficult? I'don't love to give them a shot! Thanks, love the blog!

Anonymous 5:58 AM  

Auto correct doing something weird with apostrophes. Meant "i'd love to give them a shot!"

Ted 6:53 AM  

As someone else noted: A plane can (and will) DEICE its own wings prior to landing. This is a common system on most modern planes that helps break the ice off that has formed during flight.

At high speed, that ice is less troublesome... but at the lower speeds needed for safe landing, ice gets in the way of efficient wing operation and may even impede the flaps from functioning.

I do agree, it would have been easier if the clue was Prepared for takeoff... but it's Saturday.

De 7:00 AM  

Iridesce does not equate to sparkle.

Z 7:24 AM  

@anon5:56 - At the bottom of each post there are a couple of labels, the constructor and the day. If you click on the day you will see Saturday puzzle reviews in reverse chronological order. Look for challenging ratings. Likewise, if you want to see only reviews of puzzles by today's constructor click on he name.

@Evil Doug - Thanks for the info. It does make me wonder why the engineers haven't designed a system that would work while on the ground.

With _E_D in place I went with mEnD before GELD making OLEO OnE O and TANGENTIAL impossible to see for a long time. I needed fixes.

ADDRESSES and ADDER bracketing the tough SW has an interesting anagramatic look.

Love Agrad's work.

Z 7:25 AM  

"Agrad?" Blurgh.

QuasiMojo 7:33 AM  

I found this a challenging puzzle, which was fun, but I have to admit that I got stuck at the BEDS clue. A bed has a head and a foot. Not feet (those might be on the ground, not at the same height as the head.) I've got a bad case of BED HEAD as I write this. So yes, I know it is plural, but I'm calling it out as not CRICKET.

I also questioned "The Stones" for the Rolling Stones, but I guess these days a ? means anything goes.

I also agree with the fella above that "iridesce" does not equate to "sparkle." I had CANDESCE first which may be a new word.

Otherwise this was a great deal of fun. Chewy, wiry and clever. My favorites included the clues for REGGAE, AiR TAXIS and CHESS SETS.

Lewis 7:38 AM  
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Lewis 7:41 AM  

Clue from Thursday -- "This puzzle is relatively easy, say" -- being a clue for LIE, is, I believe, quite applicable for today. More later...

George 8:06 AM  

I agree, "Cleared for landing?" should have been "Cleared for takeoff?" While some smaller aircraft have DEICE boots that sort of 'clear' the wing leading edges of ice, and you do indeed deploy the boots in icing conditions before landing, the clue doesn't really stand.

Glimmerglass 8:29 AM  

Thanks @Ted for new (to me) information about DEICE. Except for Icarus, I didn't think there was any way to remove ice from one's wings while in flight. I also quibble with PECK AT. A bird pecks at its food, but a bird is hungry. To feel "peckish" is to want something to eat. To eat without enthusiasm is to "pick at" one's food.

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

Got stuck in SW, with AgUILA at 39D and IgnITE at 52A (which somehow led me to believe that 40D might actually be DiNgED -- oops). Luckily I changed REmeT to RESAT pretty early. Loved the tricky clues like Fair play, Removable locks, They might be used in making hops, and Person who came out of the blue? In my mind a plane is DE-ICED for takeoff, not landing, so I might never have gotten there even without my other errors.

I'm also curious about the objections to the clue for GREENHOUSEGASES -- "I'm not a scientist, but" is the clue wrong or not?

Excellent puzzle, though!

Rube 8:42 AM  

San Antonio stats? In what league? They have been the Spurs since the beginning.
Outro? My phone is self correcting as it is a ridiculous word.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

@De, Your dog looks like a poodle but I'd have to say it's a cauli.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

How is "NEO" a "Lead-in to folk or soul" ???

Wm. C. 8:49 AM  

@Rube --

Yep, the San Antonio Spurs are an NBA team, but the Stars are a WNBA team.

Cleared2Land 9:10 AM  

Allow me to add my two cents to the "deice" clue. Most of you who commented are spot on, especially Evil. In 30 years of air traffic control we never talked about "deicing" a runway. Runways get plowed and swept. Planes get deiced prior to takeoff and have various methods (boots, heating etc.) to deice in flight. Much better clue would have been "cleared for takeoff". Really enjoyed the puzzle though, just right for a Saturday.

Birchbark 9:15 AM  

Clue DEICED as "Cleared 'fore takeoff" and the problem is solved.

These learned comments make clear that deicing isn't tied to any particular phase of a flight. In the typical passenger's experience, it's a pre-takeoff pitstop from the taxiway, often on gray days when sleet or a similar wintry mix is in the air. The initial, mild when-are-we-going-to-take-off brooding turns to studied interest in futuristic contraptions that spray massive amounts of pink foam over the surface of the plane. A mild ozone smell enters the cabin, as the pilot has reassuringly predicted. Some of us read, others talk or sleep or just sit, but at some level all are reflecting on mortality. Then it's up and away, through the clouds and on to to whatever's on the other side.

I moved relatively quickly through all but the NW and SW on this one. The work in those sections made this to a slightly-better-than-average Saturday solve.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

There are 32 chess pieces not 32 men unless the queen is regarded as a man

Brian 9:32 AM  

Yes thanks. However, a garage is not a room.

Blue Stater 9:32 AM  

The most brutally difficult puzzle I can ever remember, made even more difficult by two mistakes, DEICED (which is not "cleared for landing") and LLD, which is not a "deg. for jurists," but an honorary degree frequently given to public figures of various sorts, and one that has nothing necessarily to do with the law. Again, these are Copyediting 101 blunders, and the puzzles would be much more enjoyable if TPTB ran these through the NYT's excellent copydesk.

Kim Scudera 9:38 AM  

Good morning, all, and thanks, Erik, for an enjoyable and challenging (in my world, not @Rex's) puzzle!

Thanks to all who illuminated the de-icing discussion.

For @Rube, I can attest that in the Jazz world an "OUTRO" is a very real thing (no matter what auto-correct just tried to do to my comment). We bring in the tune with an "intro" and end with an "outro", as in "How the heck do we get out of this?". The outro can be as simple as a hard stop on the last note, effectively no outro, but an outro nonetheless. Clear as mud now?

Mac 10:02 AM  

Can someone explain why tictac is onomatopoeic?

jbr6113 10:06 AM  

EXACTLY the same

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

There are not 32 men in a CHESS SET. A queen isn't a man. Knights are horses, and rooks look like some sort of real estate.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

It's the noise they make when you shake the box.

Nancy 10:14 AM  

I was on the verge of a triple natick in the SW. I didn't know the singer (26D), the Oprah show (45A) or the QB (48). I could either throw the puzzle across the room, or I could cheat on one of them. I was sure one cheat would be enough to finish.

Dear Reader -- I am so ethical in the way I cheat. I chose the Oprah show. But I didn't type out the clue as written into Google. No, not ethical me. I already had -----SUGAR filled in, so I simply typed Oprah Sugar into Google and out came QUEEN SUGAR. Voila! That gave me the Q that enabled me to change nebuLA (39D) to AQUILA. (Evidently I don't know my constellations any better than I know my pop singers.) And thus I solved it.

Is SOTU (22D) State of the Union. Has anyone, ever, called it that? Can we dispense with these awful crossword acronyms, please? Grrrrrr. But I figured it out.

I wanted PEOPLE'S PRINCESS for Diana instead of ROMAN GODDESS. I was thinking of the wrong Diana, and at first I had wOMAn GODDESS. But I knew that 45A couldn't end in GAW.

The reason I cheated was that I was loving the puzzle -- fabulous cluing -- and I didn't want to throw it across the room when I hit the PPP laden SW. So I gave myself another few minutes of solving pleasure. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

evil doug 10:17 AM  

(Elaine's new coworker Lou has a habit of sneaking up on her--"sidling"--so Jerry has recommended a Tic Tac fix....)

LOU: You wanted to see me, Elaine?

ELAINE: Yes, Lou. you've got a lot going for you. You're, ... um ... you're spontaneous. You're symmetrical. You're, uh, ... you're very quick, aren't ya? It's just that your... [Elaine grimaces and indicates her mouth]

LOU: My dead tooth?

ELAINE: No. Your...

LOU: My breath?

ELAINE: Eechh.

LOU: What can I do?

ELAINE: Well, you should never ever go anywhere without these. [She gives him the Tic Tacs]

LOU: Thanks, Elaine. You're such a super lady! [he clicks as he walks away]

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

I thought DE-ICE referred to removing ice from a lake prior to ice fishing, i.e. "landing" fish. Hence the question mark.

Edward Zellner 10:23 AM  

I'm dense this morning. How does "This is an issue" = SON?

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:26 AM  

I did yesterday's puzzle late and today's early (last night...Pacific Time zone)...maybe doing both weekend puzzles back-to-back sharpened my brain cells, because I also finished this one without google... rare for me on a Saturday these days. Great feeling. I didn't know Queen Sugar but figured it out from the crossings and was glad to learn (wish it were on Netflix, about all I watch nowadays.). I knew cricket right away, because I'm old and people actually used to use it that way. Therefore, based on yesterday's, I thought Rex would complain about the puzzle skewing old ...because of that and "etagere" which I also haven't heard anyone use in many decades (...since my mother made me dust all the little @$&* on the ones in our parlor.). I loved both Friday and Saturday...

Ellen S 10:28 AM  

So, I googled LLD and Wikipedia said sometimes it's an honorary degree and sometimes an advanced academic degree requiring original research. The article gave examples of universities offering the degree. I followed up on the websites of a couple of them (not their Wikipedia pages, their actual websites) and University of Ottawa seems to offer an LLD, and I dug deeper into the University of Malta and found they not only offer LLD but also LLB, as a real academic degree.

Now we can have an argument about whether the University of Malta is a real school.

Liked the puzzle and finished it with only my regular cheating, which is "clear errors".

Alison 10:37 AM  


evil doug 10:39 AM  

Oprah+Stones=browN SUGAR.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Rex sure is obsessed with race.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

"A chess piece, or chess man, is any of 32 objects deployed on a chessboard..."

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Good medium Saturday as it should be.
Some of the pop culture irritated me until
I saw the entire array.
I'll trade you a Pat Benatar for a Sith Lord
and we'll call it even.

Nancy 10:47 AM  

@Glimmerglass (8:29) -- I had the same reaction you did: It should have been PICK AT, not PECK AT. And I did have PICK AT initially.

I forgot to mention the stupid car at 3D, crossing with an obscure reference to an old show that I never watched. But I got the KAOS pun and so wrote in the O and came up with the car: SCIROCCO! Really? It sounds more like a dry, dusty wind than a car. I certainly would never buy a car with such a name.

@Lewis (from yesterday.) You were so right! Once I corrected, I realized that I had been thinking of the cheese.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:51 AM  

@Edward Zellner ... biblical ... your children are your issue.

Black Sun 10:52 AM  

Leave it to Rex to incite racial division
into an otherwise pleasant puzzle and ruin
it for everyone.
Typical lefty to stir up problems for no

Mike in Mountain View 10:54 AM  

@Edward Zellner: Your children are your "issue," in a today unusual usage of the word. Etymological guess: Issues come out--they are issued--and your children come outf of you (if you're the mother, anyway)

Glimmerglass 10:55 AM  

@Edward Z. Issue is a legal term for children. "He dies without issue" means childless.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@ Zellner: definition issue: A person's children or other lineal descendants...(I didn't know it either).

Lewis 11:02 AM  

@edward -- "Issue" is another word for one's children.
@5:56 -- Rex's highest difficulty rating is "challenging". If you scroll down the page you'll see that he rated yesterday's puzzle as "medium-challenging".

This was a quintessential Saturday, an honorable battle. Erik, you have a bullet by your name in my list of favorite constructors. I could have named this puzzle "PECK at", which is how my solving felt, but that pecking was infused with love for the devilish cluing -- WIG, SON, PUERTO, CAST, EXCOP, AIR TAXIS.

I had a reMET to RESAT, a ruG to WIG, and an ogleAT to LEERAT -- Three switches when I rarely have more than one (I guess I'm very careful about what I put down). I realized that there are three soundalikes for an unenthusiastic eater -- peck at, poke at, and pick at. Some strange radar in my brain detected that there are 11 words with the letter A in the penultimate spot (second to last).

Keep coming out with puzzles like this, Erik, and I feel like I'm going to start writing ODES to you!

More Whit 11:02 AM  

One of the most interesting and yet most frustrating Saturday solves in recent memory. I completely agree with the de-iced discussion: that is done for take-offs not for landing. Bad clue. I also had the ignite/remet puzzles to fix along the way, and the only way I got outro was through all the other crosses. I have the same question as Edward- how does "son" fit the clue "this is an issue"? We "issue" sons and daughters?! WTF. Help. Anyway, I was very excited to solve this grid and, as always, with no peeking and no help...but it took a long time to get it done.

Sith Lord Joseph Michael 11:11 AM  

This might be an impressive bit of crossword construction, but I did not enjoy solving it.

When I got to SCIROCCO, I began to hate the grid and was only occasionally lifted from my loathing by clever clues, such as the ones for AIR TAXIS and EXCOP.

I still don't know what a VUE is and I don't care.

Somebody please take all these brand names and other proper nouns and let them RETIRE in peace in the Crossword Cemetery.

GeezerJackYale48 11:24 AM  

As I think about it, I am kind of glad I didn't notice black or white or whatever. Rex does seem overly occupied with that stuff.

boomer54 11:26 AM  

Enough already with ...DEICED ..

Some drink their Scotch ..." neat " I take it ...DEICED ...

jberg 11:30 AM  

Challenging for me, certainly! I think my first answer was "male" (for the derby entries), which I wasn't sure of; first sure one was AVOW; then I had to work back from there. I had no idea about that football game, but the U gave me UNITAS; no idea about the 2 car models either -- well, a whisper of an idea of
SirROCCO, which was slow to fix itself. And then of course I wanted RICE wine, not BEER, which is a pretty distant relative.

I had given up on the musical ending, which coda, finale, and cadence wouldn't fit -- so when I realize the war was about EMUS I didn't even notice the cross. Had to say it out loud three times to make sense of it (the first two times it sounded like 'u-tro').

I'll do a web search in a minute, but is this puzzle telling me that the Creeks spoke SEMINAOLE, rather than Creek? Or is it wordplay, in that some Seminole speakers live along creeks?

A real challenge, but satisfying to finish.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Re: sake, from Wikipedia -

"Unlike wine, in which alcohol (ethanol) is produced by fermenting sugar that is naturally present in fruit, typically grapes, sake is produced by a brewing process more akin to that of beer, where starch is converted into sugars which ferment into alcohol."

So perhaps not so distant!

Masked and Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Had m&e some trouble spots, but not any real tough crosses. Sooo … had fun & finished with average nanosecond carnage. As @RP said, lots of unique stuff to savor, in this SatPuz.

What might have been the seed entries? Longest stuff was across the middles, with GREENHOUSEGASES and SOUTHSUDANESE. Those were pretty good, but somehow IRIDESCE. SITHLORD, QUEENSUGAR, and PATBENATAR seemed to have a dash more sparkle. And I had no earthly idea, on the QUEENSUGAR answer, ergo learned somethin new.

staff weeject pick: CTR. Easier pick-up at my house, than the honrable mention LLD. RPG was also nice.

Of the debut words, most desperate were: OUTRO. SOTU. SDSU. SAVETO. Them "to-ender" puppies can really produce some har-larious clues; U keep desperately wantin to put a "to" in the clue for em. End up bendin & stretchin the whole English lingo, to get yer clue to make any day-um sense.

Thanx, Mr. Agard. Good job.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Queen Sugar crossing aquila was a natick for me, unfortunately.

mathgent 11:47 AM  

Like my crossword sister @Nancy, I needed a tiny cheat to finish. I knew that there was a VW pronounced sirocco, the hot desert wind, and assumed that it was spelled the same way. When I tried to verify, I learned that it has a "c" in it. Why? Does it have something to do with Rommel's Africa campaign?

Excellent crunch but several annoyances. PECKAT. Is Vue well known? And why would this PlayStation device be in the garage? CAST for "Movie lot?"

San Francisco had its all-time hottest day yesterday, 106. Like almost everyone here, we have no AC. Our bedroom was too hot to sleep in so I took my pillow into the downstairs room and slept on the couch. When it's too cold here, we drive inland across the Bay Bridge to warm up. But when it's too hot, there's no place to go.

Eponymous 11:54 AM  

Well, DOH. So P.R. is Puerto Rico, but how is PUERTO a "piece".

Had to Google "Vue". Thought it was kind of an easy Saturday until the NE.

mccoll 11:57 AM  

Cricket does mean fair play IN Britain. That's why you haven't heard it.

Stanley Hudson 12:03 PM  

Really enjoyed this one.

@Trombone Tom, I live in NorCal also. Today's heat will be miserable.

Barry Higgins 12:06 PM  


Franco Turrinelli 12:06 PM  

If I may chime in on the Cricket clue. Rex; you've been speaking American, not English, for 47 years! The possibility of Cricket as he answer was immediately obvious to me, a Brit, but so ethnocentric that I immediately discarded it as an actual possible answer. At a minimum, the clue should have been "Fair play, to a Brit?" But the bigger problem is that Cricket is NEVER EVER used in that affirmative sense even if technically valid. The only common usage is in the negative sense "that's just not Cricket, old chap" and so the cluing was as awful and inaccurate as in the great Deiced debacle.

Eponymous 12:07 PM  

Oh! Double DOH! Never mind.

Joe Bleaux 12:35 PM  

Thanks, Eric Agard, for a challenging, fun puzzle whose strong points far outweigh its weak ones. Daunted, as usual, in my toe-hold search, I caught a break by correctly guessing TANGENTIAL, then backing into the SE before heading down and outward. My cluing highs and lows are pretty much in line with those already cited. (Favorite laugh-at-myself moment: Getting as far as B E _ S for 36A and filling in BEES, assuming that some scientist had concluded that their heads and feet are equidistant above ground in flight -- and that the 32D school must be South East State University or some such). (@Blue Stater. "Copyediting" and "Copydesk" ... both solid. Looks like somebody knows a slot from a rim😉.)

RAD2626 12:35 PM  

For me really hard, or in rating parlance tres Challenging. Like many, had REmeT for a long time and like @Glimmerglass and @Nancy for at least two, had PiCK AT which I think is better than either Poke or PeCK, but alas wrong. Since I never fixed it, had a dnf which is my bad since RICE BEiR is clearly an error.

Thought it was very well put together with great long answers. No objection at all to its degree of difficulty. Not in the least bit unfair.

QuasiMojo 12:39 PM  

@More Whit -- ISSUE means children of. Did he have any issue? would mean did he have any children? So a son would be one type of issue.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

For the outsiders, outro is an absolutely normal word in the non-classical music world. Intro = play a little to set up the song; Outro = play a little after the end to wrap it all up. 100% ordinary word.

D Snell 1:00 PM  

4 D, Ted? I don't get it...

D Snell 1:05 PM  

OK, I should have asked my wife first. At least she's heard of "Ted Talks."

Blackeyedsusan 1:08 PM  

We tried to take a flight to New Orleans during a snow event in New York this past winter. We got on the plane and it was DEICED. Then I noticed the flight attendant taking photos of the wing on an iPad. Pretty soon the pilot announced he wasn't satisfied with the job and we were going to get back in line to get DEICED again. Better safe than sorry, fine with me. But by the time it was done a runway had closed because of snow buildup, so planes were backed up for takeoff. Soon we heard from our friend the pilot again: sorry folks, but we're approaching three hours on the plane and the rule is we have to let you off the plane. Back we went to the terminal. It was a JetBlue flight so they gave us lots of free snacks. Yay. Then we see the flight crew exit the plane. They too had reached their time limit, so we had to wait for a new crew. Finally we were let back on the plane, got DEICED once again, and took off - six hours late. Missed a fine lunch at our favorite restaurant, but at least we got there. And as I tell myself when I'm enduring yet another increasingly common delay, at least I'm not traveling with children. Those poor babies and their parents.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

The English band Squeeze recorded a very clever song called "It's Not Cricket" in 1979:

Bob Mills 1:13 PM  

"NEO" is the lead-in to "FOLK" or "SOUL"???? Has anyone ever said ":NEOFOLK:" or "NEOSOUL?" What language is that in?

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

The English band Squeeze recorded a very clever song called "It's Not Cricket" in 1979:

Chip Hilton 1:17 PM  

@Glimmerglass - I agree on PiCKAT to such a degree that I thought RICEBEER might be spelled RICEBEiR. Silly.

That first OT game with UNITAS, Gifford, Berry, Conerly, et al might've been the most important game in NFL history, along with Super Bowl III. Both pushed the sport to new levels of fan interest. And now, it struggles with so many issues, on the field and off. Will Americans even be playing football as we know it in fifty years?

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Can someone explain SAVETO

Gwinns 1:26 PM  

(1:19pm) To SAVE TO, say, a flash drive, is to put a backup copy of your document on it.

Agreeing with above people about PECKAT. PICK AT is the phrase. And in a clue mentioning sake I assumed that Rice BEIR was the German spelling of Beer (confusing it with BIER). At any rate, it took me 5 minutes to find my one incorrect square.

RAD2626 1:26 PM  

@Anonymous 1:19. When you backup a document to a hard drive or thumb drive you SAVE TO that device.

TooManyJens 1:30 PM  

Gwinns, you did better than me. I had the exact same problem and it took me 15 minutes to find it. I have no idea where I got the impression that the clue was about a German relative of sake, but I just didn't question it.

DigitalDan 1:42 PM  

Are there LOGE seats in arenas? Is a theater an arena? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Doesn't a CHESS SET have 30 men and two women?

Trombone Tom 1:52 PM  

@DigitalDan I was pondering this, too. The only arena I found that had loge seats was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Craig Percy 2:04 PM  


GILL I. 2:06 PM  

@Still Lord...Go up the stairs to the first landing. Turn right and go to room number 11. Knock on the door and when @jae opens up, I'm sure he'll be glad to tell you again that Vue is a car.
Erik Agard is my absolute favorite Saturday. I know I have my work cut out for me and can enjoy a long leisure solve.
I got messed up in lots of places. IGNITE/AVER/RUG wrong answer #1. SPAY/MAYO #2 and just not wanting to change UCSD into SDSU. Had to put this puppy down about 3 times before words started to properly fit. Love that I can finally figure things out it I take my time.
Was really proud to get UNITAS/PAT BENATAR but sad that my trembling fingers typed in Google to figure out the never heard of QUEEN SUGAR.
Just loved the clue for PUERTO where, if you're lucky, you can watch some chickens PECK AT discarded papaya seeds.
@mathgent. I thought I heard wrong when the weather man told us how hot SFO was. When I lived in the city, the hottest it ever got was one day in the 90's. Of course, no one would ever buy an air conditioner when you have a free one coming up off the Pacific. We got up to 109 as well - stayed that way past 11:00. Can't wait to get our SMUD bill.
I'm about to make cold gazpacho with Roma tomatoes and some sour cherries!

Blue Stater 2:20 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - Good guess. Yeah, I did my time on the copydesk of the Providence Journal in the 60s while I was in grad school at Brown. I continue to think the NYT would lessen the damage to its reputation that comes from sloppiness in the puzzles if they ran them through the same process as everything else in the paper. OTOH -- do copydesks still exist? Book publishers are cutting back on this crucial function, and -- who knows? -- maybe newspapers are, too.

Joe Dipinto 2:24 PM  

Like others here, I thought this was going to be nearly impossible at first. But I started in the SE with WIG/AVOW/ETAGERES and worked around to the SW. The cluing was great across the grid. My one embarrassing gaffe was having PAT going down at 26 down and immediately completing it with ...TI SMITH. The second I entered the H, I thought, "no, you moron! PAT BENATAR!" So out came the Wite Out pen. All in all, a satisfyingly challenging Saturday solve.

kitshef 2:36 PM  

Much easier than a typical Saturday, aided by SOUTH SUDANian and PAT BENeTAR and AQUILA going in with pretty much no thought. Funny how just a couple of gimmes open up the grid because not much else was in my wheelhouse (SCIROCCO/vue/OURTRO I think were the only WoEs, though).

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

Identity politics and race baiting. Page one of the liberal handbook. Sure is working out well for them.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

A few quibbles: Sake is a type of rice WINE, not beer; the capitalized "Stars" in 8D had wanting to put in the Dallas STARS, who play hockey (yes, both basketball and hockey players "shoot") and LLD is a far-less common legal degree than "LLB." Love this blog every day, on the other hand.

Joe Dipinto 3:06 PM  

BTW, Rex -- you really should have posted Pat B.'s absolutely classic video for "Love Is A Battlefield". (Apparently the video mentioned in the puzzle was for a cover of the Young Rascals' "You Better Run". Have never heard/seen it.)

Dawn 3:08 PM  

Technically a DNF for me since I had to Google Queen Sugar, Aquila, and Sirocco. Made nearly all the mistakes listed above...remet, ignite, etc. But I still thought it was a well-constructed puzzle. Just had too many things I didn't know or couldn't guess at the meaning of.

Dawn 3:12 PM  

Yup, I too tried to convince myself that BEeS flew perfectly horizontally or some such thing. :) The clue should really have referenced the foot of the bed and not its feet.

Joe Dipinto 3:23 PM  

@Franco Turrinelli 12:06 -- But even if it's used typically in a negative pronouncement, "cricket" still means "fair play" in that phraseology. Nothing wrong with the clue.

Joe Dipinto 3:35 PM  

@Anon 3:00 -- I presume the idea was that rice wine (Sake) and rice beer are relatives because they are both made with rice.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Oh wait, are you a pilot or something? We didn't know. We're all very impressed.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

You "questioned" THESTONES for The Rolling Stones? Are you fucking kidding me?!

OISK 4:16 PM  

Finished it correctly! First clean week in a long time. But it was a near miracle with all the completely strange (to me) references. Two car names, Scirocco, which seemed vaguely familiar, and VUE, which is completely unknown to me. Sith Lord? Wha?? Outro? "Wailers"? Lauren London? Shea Stadium used to have loge seats, but they were "inferior " to field boxes. Worst of all for me was Quee_ Sugar crossing Pat Be_atar. Never heard of either, but "Queen" seemed more likely than "Queer." And i ( and I seem to be alone here) don't like the clue for "odes." (and I agree with the objections to deiced) Uplifting literature?? Some odes, but certainly not all. There are so many better ways to clue "odes." Even on a Saturday. How about "to melancholy and to the west wind." ?

Notwithstanding these unpleasantries, a well-constructed puzzle.

LonMan 4:30 PM  

32 Men? Doesn't a standard chess set include a queen?

redrube 4:33 PM  

Nice puzzle
I play chess have never heard of "chess men" they're called chess pieces, pawns,officers,king and queen.

redrube 4:35 PM  

Two queens

michael 5:26 PM  

@redrube I also play chess and have often heard the term "chessmen." To be sure, "chess pieces" is much more common.

Hungry Mother 6:03 PM  

One letter off and an easy pair: missed the "D" in San Diego.

Nancy 6:05 PM  

My heart goes out to everyone suffering through this weird and horrible CA heatwave -- to @mathgent and @GILL, Stanley and Trombone and anyone else I'm missing. I don't know if we have any Texans on the blog, but if we do, I'm, of course, thinking of -- and worrying about -- your historically cataclysmic situation. But we do have a lot of Californians on the blog, some of whom have become friends. And it's not only floods that kill; so does intense heat. Which reminds me -- one of you Californians is about to get a very important off-blog missive from me right now...

We're still talking chessmen!?!?!? 6:44 PM  

32 Men? Aren't they little pieces of plastic, or wood or some other (non-human) material?

old timer 7:00 PM  

Finished with no help from the iPhone. I was glad to remember a Latin eagle is an AQUILA.

Surprised but delighted to find UNITAS. And interesting to find SEMINOLE is a Creek language.

Excellent puzzle I thought.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Disappointed in the number of commenters who seem never to have heard of the Lewis Chessmen, or hell, even the Pepperidge Farm chessmen cookies (which do include the queen...).

gifcan 7:37 PM  

Best response? @Casimir 3:17. Civil and kind.

AZink 7:38 PM  


puzzlehoarder 8:07 PM  

Until I read the comments by @glimmerglass I didn't realize that I had a single letter dnf. I was one of the people who assumed that they were using the German spelling of BEER for some reason. This proves that I'm no better at spelling German than English. This was ironic after correcting CAOS, AGUILA and IGNITE. It's especially hard to correct your mistakes if you don't know they're there. PICK was so strong I never thought to question it question it. Another duo to add to the "casco" list.

nate shafroth 1:16 AM  

Neither LLD nor "LLD" is common. LLBs have not been given out in over 50 years in the US (replaced with JDs), and LLDs are not law degrees at all.

andrea carla michaels 2:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea carla michaels 2:55 AM  

Just last week, Will S asked me to take out NOTCRICKET as a theme answer for a puzzle asking if I could substitute something more American!
(It's a Monday)

I love the phrase NOT CRICKET...and was complaining to my pal Tom Pepper about having to rewrite the whole puzzle (actually Mark Diehl rewrote the grid) and he had never heard the expression NOTCRICKET either!

Then it appears as 1D in Erik's puzzle three days later! So there's that!

I loved loved love this puzzle, but RICEwine screwed me up for a long time.
When I wrote to young Erik saying how pleased I was that he knew who the Wailers were, he responded he was Not raised by wolves!
I'm still laughing!!!!

Rube 5:51 PM  

If that is what was intended, it could be the single worst clue/response i have ever seen in the half century that I have been doing these.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

So pleased with myself that I knew Etageres, Pat Benatar, Unitas, and Queen Sugar. Learned some new things. - outro, Seminoles and Creeks are related, and iridesce has one r.

Apropos green house gases, remember when scientists used to discuss the tipping point? Have we already tipped? Here in Western WA, we haven't had rain for so long, We're all getting a little edgy. Supposed to reach 100^ on Tuesday, which is crazy!

Is rating crossword difficulty like assessing pain levels in individuals. "On a range of one to ten, how much crossword pain are you in....?"

Devon 4:38 PM  

Here too!

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Blogger 1:29 AM  

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Burma Shave 10:42 AM  


ONEDGE that he'll TAKE it too far.
'Twas good TIMING to LEERAT her bodice


spacecraft 12:10 PM  

First of all, I must again beg, plead--SUPPLICATE: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wake up the syndilinker...AGAIN!!! On the cusp of the month it is ESPECIALLY difficult to run down the proper blog. I have to either link to the month--then scroll down NUMEROUS times because they give it from the last day backwards, or else pick out a clue that's likely unique to that puzzle and append it to the search. I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!!!!!!!

Now, to the puzzle. I finished with no final errors--a measurable triumph--but there are inkblots throughout.

--> RESAT: no less RE-diculous than REmeT

--> PECKAT: hand up for PiCKAT, which I thought was much more natural for the clue

--> INCITE: fell into the IgnITE trap.

--> ROMAN: had ROyAl. Well? Diana, right?

--> 7-down: Purely mechanical goof by me. Had about half the letters till I got it, then somehow wrote in GREENHOUSGAASES. Don't ask, but it cost me some time.

--> ETAGERES: Misspelled and singularized because I didn't pay enough attention to the clue: ETAGiere. Well, if it's so damned French it oughta have an I in there. So there.

--> and of course he's an ENROLLEE, not -Er.

Are a SPORK's tines really tiny? Or should we say "tine-y?" Finally we have somebody KNEELing for some reason other than a proposal. "Locks" for hair has become hackneyed as a misdirect. The hockey Stars didn't fit (Dallas), nor did SANANTONIO with Stars (Spurs), but the city filled itself in. I don't follow the WNBA.

I've never watched "The Game," but I think I'm gonna start. DOD Lauren London is reason aplenty. With the accent on plenty. "But of course you are," as Bond said to Ms. O'Toole. Pretty CRICKET challenge, for a Saturday. Birdie.

rondo 12:49 PM  

@spacey - Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes; same here from the syndi switch thru the ETAGERES. Exactly the same type solve. And was thinking 2 Rs in IRIDESCE, so had evanESCE.

I will, however, go in a different direction with yeah baby and rock GODDESS PATBENATAR, even though my first wife had people tell her they looked alike. But unlike wife one,I can still TAKE (stomach) PATBENATAR.

Very nice Sat-puz scattered with those bits of KAOS.

thefogman 1:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 1:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 1:52 PM  

Note(s) to OFL: We need an edit function here. Also, they do DEICE runways for planes that are landing (when for example there is freezing rain) with Pavement De-icing Products or PDPs aka Runway De-icing Fluids or RDFs.
The word CRICKET to describe fair play is odd. Usually CRICKET is used in the phrase "That's NOT CRICKET!" to express unfair play or cheating. It is rarely if ever used on its own to describe someone playing by the rules, as far as I know.
I too had much the same solve as Spacey. ROyAl before ROMAN. IgnITE before INCITE. REmeT before RESAT. I also had BeggED before DUNNED. Seriously. Does anyone use the word DUNNED? The word IRIDESCE, an intransitive verb, was a bit too obscure (and more than a little unfair, IMO) but was key to solving the rest - for me anyways. I got it and proceeded to gain a foothold on the right side of the puz after solving the lengthy 7D and 31A, but not without a considerable amount of whiteout tape being applied to the surrounding areas.
Like OFL, I found this one challenging yet finished in less time than usual for a Saturday..

Viperidae family member that's good at math? An ADDER.

Longbeachlee 1:54 PM  

Am I the only one that hates shod. Junk wagon horse, ballerina, fashion model, me, Donald Trump, Tom Crusise, ad infinitum, all shod, not to mention derby entrant

rainforest 2:31 PM  

(Yea verily, fix the damn syndi-link. It's just not CRICKET to make us search.)

Proud am I to have finished this without a single write-over! Not that it was easy, but I guess I'm so deliberate that I often refrain from putting in a letter without checking the crossing answer. So, even though I thought PiCK AT, was right, I also thought that ----BEER was likely. Same thinking when IGNITE seemed correct before DUNNED became evident.

The NE was easy after guessing SPORK, then plopping in KNEELS, REGGAE, PUERTO (in the news for we syndies).

The SW was the most challenging, obvi, not knowing the Oprah show, or AQUILA, but there was a "U" across, and another down. Ergo, Q.

So, victory. I think I say "MEN" when referring to chess pieces. So there.

Diana,LIW 2:35 PM  

@Spacey - One might be a royal princess, but 'twod be a ROMAN GODDESS.

I had many of those errors as well. And, just for a syndie double, I put in rondO vs. OUTRO. Which I either haven't heard of or have long forgotten. But rondO wasn't making sense there, so he got erased and sanity resumed.

But the NW - nae. Misspellings abounded, along with plain old WOES. The funniest answer I had there was "biCOP" - can you see it in the clue? See how silly a dnf can be?

Oh well, I got the Jumble puzzle.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Pretentious and more than a little repellant. Rejected.

DMG 3:44 PM  

For you who doubt climate change, note Mathgent's comment on the 106° day in SF. I well remember one day in 1943 getting off the streetcar at Geary and Powell where all the newspaper rack headlines screamed an unbelievable 80°temperature had occurred in the City. In those days one more expected fog in the hot months, pulled it, it was said by the heat in the Sacramento Valley.

Haven't commented for awhile, put off by an impossible to decode robot thing-will see if this works?????

Longbeachlee 5:19 PM  

Diana, if you think your version is as good as the official version, you truly did finish.

leftcoastTAM 6:16 PM  

Today I must cry FOUL! A SPORK does not have "tiny" tines. It has little or small tines, but not, not, not tiny.

So it was in the NE corner that I dnf. Damn it.

Lots of other clever clues, though.

rondo 9:01 PM  

". . . rondO wasn't making sense there, so he got erased and sanity resumed."


spacecraft 9:18 PM  

Just noticed Pat Benatar has the same initials as Patrick Berry. OK, she gets honorable mention. As to chessmen, they'd be called game PIECES like any piece to any other board game...except the word PIECE has a special meaning in chess: any non-pawn. And so we call all the army figures "men," disregarding the queen's gender conflict.

Waxy in Montreal 12:55 PM  

Great puzzle marred only by the common IGNITE/INCITE DNF on my part. Bizarre in a way too as my wife's family lived on AQUILA St. for many years but only found out today thanks to the puz that it means "eagle" (in Latin).

Also, during my days as a computer programmer in the 60's, RPG was shorthand for "Report Program Generator", software that allowed reports to be defined much more easily than could be done using COBOL, etc.


Bananafish 1:06 AM  

Wow, I pretty much raced through this grid - pretty rare that a puzzle seems easier to me than the rest of you lot.

For those discussing Rex's rating system, in theory he could rate a puzzle as "Challenging", but I have never once seen him go beyond "Medium-Challenging" -- it is a rare occurrence indeed that his outsized ego will allow him to admit publicly that he found a crossword puzzle challenging.

For those whining about chess men, "Men" can be a unisex word that essentially substitutes for "human" or "mankind" (similar to how the word "actors" can mean both men and women thespians). To take a common current example, on Game of Thrones there is the concept of "The First Men", meaning the original human inhabitants of Westeros. And when Neil Armstrong is referred to as the "first man on the moon", the purpose is not to distinguish him from the first woman on the moon - it is to celebrate him as the first person on the moon. One can certainly argue that those are sexist usages that should not be part of the language, but part of the language they are nonetheless.

Finally, to Andrea Carla Michaels, it is a big step from using the word "Cricket" to using the phrase "Not Cricket" in a puzzle largely aimed at Americans. "Not Cricket" is a distinctly British phrase that is unheard of in the U.S. "Cricket", while certainly rare in the U.S., is not really unheard of.

JDS 2:14 AM  

This was as easy as a SATURDAY puzzle should ever get. A perfect day for me and Bananafish. I wanted more of a struggle. GREENHOUSE GASES went in with very few crosses, as did SOUTH SUDANESE. Would have had an under 15 minute solve but for a bad crossing at PAT BENATAR / UNITAS. Its time for some punishing, ego-crushing, Saturday puzzles. Give people something to strive for Will!

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