Alternative to Spotify or Pandora / SAT 9-9-17 / Collette of "United States of Tara" / Son-in-law of Chief Powhatan / "Governator" / C.S. Lewis symbol of Jesus / President Clinton hosted one in 2000 / Inspiron maker

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Constructor: John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Medium (11:44)


Word of the Day: ROLFE (41A: Son-in-law of Chief Powhatan) —
John Rolfe (1585–1622) was one of the early English settlers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia and is known as the husband of Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Rex has a night off to GET REST (14D: Recharge, so to speak) and recover from a cold, so you get me (Laura) to woMAN (60D: Staff) the blog. A DEAL'S A DEAL (13D: "We agreed to it, so you'd better deliver"), said Rex, trusting that I would not RUN RIOT (57A: With 10-Down, go wild; 10D: See 57-Across), and create a PR NIGHTMARE (64A: Big headache for a company rep). I found this appropriately challenging, with a few misdirections, and decent stacks in each corner. Took a ZONE DEFENSE (12D: 2-3 or 1-2-2, in basketball) approach, working through the NE and then reverse-diagonally across to the SW, then SE (favorite of the four corner stacks) back up to the NW, where things got MARSHY (47D: Boggy). I had ITUNES RADIO fooling me for a while -- I've used APPS like (53D: Pandora and Spotify) (as well as the revived Napster), and had only vaguely heard of I HEART RADIO (15A: Alternative to Pandora or Spotify). Also had BOA instead of WIG for 1D: Drag accessory.

If you 17A, Robert Palmer apologizes (h/t @BenMSmith).

One would have to have a TIN EAR (20A: Difficulty picking up subtleties) not to notice both GOT TURNED ON (17A: Became excited) and FLACCID (42D: Like a wet noodle) in the same grid; while I'm all for what the movie ratings people call "adult themes" and "raunchy comedy," perhaps a touch of ARTINESS (30A: Pretension) would've kept that juxtaposition from seeming like the work of a couple of ADOLESCENTS (24D: Minority group) wanting to HORSE AROUND (23D: Goof off). OHO! ODE to ANI and TONI. EEE! RUN! ORCA! ADD TAR, TEE TNT.

  • Dude, you're getting a DELL (51A: Inspiron maker)
  • 6D: Fire on from above (STRAFE) and 50D: Counterpart of a blitz (SIEGE): I'll take "War Tactics" for $500, Alex.
  • 40A: Oxford designation (EEE) — Oxford as in the shoe type, which is sometimes manufactured in the extra-wide EEE size.
  • 33A: Loyalty, old-style (TROTH) — Always makes me think of a cartoon by the genius Sandra Boynton.
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:27 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Got off on the wrong foot with @laura boa before WIG so the NW was a tad slow. I also tried use by before CIRCA with bUns in the deli case. But that was it for erasures.

Very smooth with excellent 11 stacks. Liked it a lot!

Johnny 12:43 AM  

Medium? This thing kicked my ass.

Casimir 1:04 AM  

Finished in a bit above average, so a bit tougher than medium. Just when I was starting an ego trip because I was moving smartly though the puzzle I stalled out a bit in the SE and SW. Once flaccid and adolescents fell, I finished quickly. The clue for flaccid reminds me of the motto of "Noodle" brand golf balls-- "long and soft!"

Mike in Mountain View 1:30 AM  

Thanks for the great write-up, Laura, and for the fun cartoon.

Add me to the list of people who fell for the boa/WIG trap.That slowed down the front half of the NW stack.

Overall, though medium for me, too, but that's bit longer than medium for Laura.

puzzlehoarder 1:50 AM  

This was almost down to the early week level of difficulty. It's a good example of the more fluffy type of themeless puzzles some young constructors put out. CHERE is was the only odd looking entry for me. It seems as if difficulty has been sacrificed for entertainment.

Dolgo 3:11 AM  

I got most of it easily, but the NE gave me a bit of trouble. Got stuck on ARTIfice and couldn't get the beginning of DEAL (tried "We made a. . .). But I figured it out soon enough.
There sure is a lot of repetition in these puzzles. Someday I'm going to count the many variations on OREO, SNL, etc. You just can't fool us with those creative definitions. Makes me recall the days of "Eskimo hunting knife," "Anteater," etc.

Loren Muse Smith 5:15 AM  

The lone fill-in-the-blank got me nowhere. I can say ice cream in Hebrew, but not I love you. Long story. (I know, right? Weird that I’m not sharing; I’ve never been backed down by a long story.)

Anyway, I had to start back at 1D, and I’m proud to crow that I did not fall for the “boa” trap since it’s Saturday. Of course I always think the cluers know this and will put in a Monday clue on a themeless, which makes in über-Saturday, but…

I really, really like the way SPIDEY SENSE sounds. It’s that perfect level of sillyness/babytalkishness that’s acceptable because it has comic-book immunity.

The clue for ADOLESCENTS is terrific. That’s why I’ve gone quiet here – buncha new ones. I have to say that this year’s are lovelier than last year’s.

Yeah, Laura – that 42D is kind of a crestfallen little neon light. Led up to by IDLE, GET REST, SLEEPS, WANES and, dah dah dah… NO DICE. (Once? In Israel? In the back of this ice-cream parlor?...)

Anonymous 5:48 AM  

Brilliant comments,

BarbieBarbie 5:59 AM  

Good puzzle, only a couple of erasures, but lots of blanks as I went round and round until I finally slew the SW corner. I had trouble with IHEARTRADIO, not because I haven't heard of it (I haven't), but because I wanted the "alternative" to be something non-internet-y like AMFMRADIO (too short, luckily).
Also got caught by ARNIE making me think there might be some rebus action (on a Saturday?? Would that happen?) since I was also hung up trying to cast Vin Diesel instead of VANDAMME, which would have been a symmetric one (well, sort of).
But in the end, average time and no blanks. So, medium.

Theodore Stamos 6:03 AM  

This one took me a while. Struggled the most in the south west corner. Once I finally got ADOLESCENTS, the puzzle fell into place for me. I thought this was a good one. Tough but fair.

Carola 6:39 AM  

I'm with...@jae on easy-medium, the medium coming in the SE, where my first "Blitz" counterpart was a SurGE.
....everyone who first went on grid auto-pilot with boa,
...@puzzlehoarder in overall assessment.

@Laura, thank you for the terrific review.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

Loved spidey sense. This puzzle played easy for me. I also liked minority group. Count me in with those who wrote boa. Very fun puzzle but over too quickly.

Famous Positive Quotes 7:26 AM  

Amazing post

Lewis 7:29 AM  

@laura -- That review made me smile and relive the puzzle -- thank you for that!
@LMS -- Feels like home here when you post.

This one fought me mightily early on, then a word here and there, then a section here and there, then the Big Tada, but it never let me off the hook -- I was facing resistance all the way through. As I look at the puzzle, all I really didn't know was TONI, IHEARTRADIO and PDS (permanent duty station, I've come to learn), so it was the artful cluing that provided the molasses. And after the tussle I emerged with a wide awake brain, a smile, and appreciation for the skill of the constructors.

Lovely answers for me included A DEAL'S A DEAL, SPIDEY SENSE, TIN EAR, and PR NIGHTMARE. Not a lot of wordplay in the cluing (but a nice one for GAS PEDAL), but much delightful deviousness. I never want to breeze through a Saturday, nor do I want to feel overwhelmed by its weight. Today's was in just the right zone. Bravo!

QuasiMojo 8:07 AM  

Laura, not to give you an EGO TRIP, but thanks for the great write-up.

I had BOA before WiG too, but was glad it wasn't right. Drag queens haven't sported boas since they did Phyllis Diller impressions, which was a long time ago.

Can anyone tell me when this I HEART thing started? I am from New York, and when the ad campaign for I (HEART SYMBOL) NY came out, it was pronounced as I LOVE NEW YORK, hence the song. I always say LOVE instead of HEART even today. But when did the switch take place and why? I do not HEART it.

Fun Saturday but a few gripes: A billet-doux might start out MA CHERE, or CHERI, but CHERE alone seems a bit off.

ASIAN crossing ASLAN was weak.

Be safe all of you in Florida and beyond. I'm hunkering down, stocking up on old puzzles to do in case the power goes out.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

I was thinking PD as in NYPD or SFPD...

Dawn 8:50 AM  

I thought this was a smooth and enjoyable puzzle with just the right amount of crunch. Loved all the long answers; the short answers weren't useful in solving the puzzle.

kitshef 9:04 AM  

Hard as hell for me. Flew through the NE and thought I was in for an easy ride, then stymied. One of those days when you put things in, then take them out because none of the crosses work, then put them back in again (happened with PERP, EEE and GAS PEDAL).

TONI, ANI and ROLFE were all woes, but only ROLFE and the cross with CHERE gave me issues – that cross was the last letter in.

We’ve talked on this board about the correct pronunciation for forte (in the sense of a strength): fort not fortay. FLACCID is another surprising word – pronounced flak-sid, not flas-id as is often heard.

Mohair Sam 9:08 AM  

Not sure what gave us the bigger chuckle this morning, Laura's cartoon or @Lauren's reluctance to tell us a long story. Where you been Lauren? You're missed here.

Relatively easy Saturday until we ran into the unknown SPIDEYSENSE crossing ANI. Just googled now to discover it's a power of Spider Man. Jesus, I should watch these blasted cartoon movies. Anyhow, the sound made sense so we finished OK. Fun puzz and fair with its own little dirty joke as pointed out by Laura (great write-up, btw).

Hand up with the "boa" crowd. Wasn't ZONEDEFENSE clue too easy for a Saturday? Bill Clinton had a SUMMIT for everything, didn't he? Surprised so many didn't know IHEARTRADIO - it is advertised ad nauseam on our local radio stations. TONI Collette well-known for so much now, but I still love her for "Muriel's Wedding", the Aussie flick that made her (and Rachel Griffiths) back in 1994.

Very nice Saturday Guzetta and Hawkins, thanks.

More Whit 9:17 AM  

Broke the NE open with zone defense and the eastern wall then became a layup. With adolescents next to horse around , the west wall caved in quickly. Spidey sense, along with worlds apart, helped implode the puzzle for a medium Saturday solve. Hoping the Florida Keys and everyone in the path of Irma stays safe.

Two Ponies 9:24 AM  

Good puzzle and fun write-up. Just right for a Saturday.
Who calls Ah-nold Arnie? Arnie is Palmer to me.
I've never read a single Spider-Man comic but somehow knew spidey sense.
Didn't fall for boa, same train of thought as @LMS.
@Lewis, molasses is a good description.
I wonder if Rex had his little balloon of enthusiasm burst when adolescents came into view and denied him another inane rant like yesterday's wheelchair.
Thanks to Laura for sitting in. Love the cartoon.

G. Weissman 9:26 AM  

Why wasn't 3D identified as an abbreviated answer? Who the hell has ever said "O HO"? Is Peter Parker's radioactive spider-bite induced power really a generally applicable term for "intuition about something soon to happen"? Lots of sloppiness in this puzzle.

Suzy 9:27 AM  

Thanks to John and Michael for a terrific puzzle and Laura for a terrific review! Only complaint was 'chere'--
I get it, but sure don't like it!

Andrew R. 9:41 AM  

Kudos for using (and most appropriately) a cute Boynton!!

Nancy 9:41 AM  

Should have gotten PEACE SUMMIT (58A) off of PE-C-S--M-T. That was my only hope of finishing the bottom, where I had a very large DNF. I could never have seen PR NIGHTMARE from PR-I-H--A-E. And I've never heard of SPIDEY SENSE. Plus I don't speak Hebrew (69D); don't know who's in "Sudden Death", which I've never heard of (39D); and couldn't remotely guess at the govt initials (61D). I did get I HEART RADIO from the crosses, at which point I said to myself: "That's a thing? And I never got either the fiendishly clued MENSAN (didn't help that I had ZONE DEFENcE at 12D) nor the fiendishly clued NASA (49A). For me this was a bear, and it done me in.

Sir Hillary 9:44 AM  

No time for in-depth comments today. Good puzzle, made so by the excellent 11s. SPIDEYSENSE rocks. Only minor quibble is that RET should be clued as an abbr., no? Didn't impact my solve though.

Shout-out to @Mohair Sam for the "Muriel's Wedding" citation. Great film.

Passing Shot 9:49 AM  

@G. Weissman 9:26 -- I was thinking the same thing regarding 3-D. The entire left/"west" was a bear for me. Not a huge fan of phrases as answers, since idioms are so often regionally or culturally specific. Not familiar with RUN RIOT; GET some REST, not GET REST. Also, SW corner with INT, PDS, EEE was "meh."

Nancy 10:05 AM  

@Casimir (1:04) -- Does any golfer on the planet want a golf ball that's "long and soft"??? What a ridiculous ad.

@Quasi (8:07) -- I don't "HEART" it either. Like you, I still say "I love NY." Also, I agree that CHERE is wrong. I, too, wanted CHERI. Are you in FL, Quasi? Please stay safe!

@Two Ponies (9:24). ARNIE bothered me terribly, too. As you say, ARNIE is Palmer and the governator is Ah-nold. I resisted writing it in for as long as I could.

jbr6113 10:15 AM  

Got misdirected like everyone with BOA for 1D. Also was really hoping that 19A was "PUSSY".

gharris 10:18 AM  

Needed Google a couple of times, had to change boa to wig, still believe pds stand for police departments other wise worked it all out and enjoyedo doing so.

jberg 10:20 AM  

@Nancy, me too for ZONE DEFENcE. At this stage in my mental development, I know that there are both British and American spellings, but I can never remember which is which. I think the Brits spell offense the way we do, so that didn't help. MENSAN (do people really call themselves that?) was the last thing to fall.

I looked at Oxford designation -- I think I already had a cross, so didn't put in 'don'- couldn't figure it out,then got it from the crosses without noticing. And I was saved from the boa thing because I got WORLDS APART first.

"Amok" before RIOT as a way to run, and ZiG before ZAG (that one was pretty arbitrary!)

Welcome back, @Loren, hope those kids stay lovely! And thanks for the write up, Laura.

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
BOA here, too. Didn't anyone else have amok for RIOT? Those two, along with AnD and overNITE made the NE the toughest spot. EMAIL clue not helping, either. (Side note, is it e-ther, or eyether?)

My famous one letter DNF at that Natick-ish R in CHERE/ROLFE. Didn't know CHERE, so had a W because wOLFE is a name I've heard, but ROLFE can bite me.

ARNIE threw me off also. Wanting to squeeze in his proper first or last name somehow. Have heard of IHEARTRADIO, as a matter of fact, the festival is end of this month out here. But it was still last entry, as previously disclosed NW troubles not TURNing me ON. Lots of writeovers, but did online today, so I don't have an ink blobby paper.

Loved @Laura's writeup. Witty, good use of puzzle answers.



pabloinnh 10:23 AM  

I mispronounced "flaccid" once, but it was an assident.

Steve M 10:37 AM  

Under siege from strafing puzzle..

Ellen S 10:43 AM  

The name of the APP is "iHeartRadio" - no heart image to be read as "love"

Hand up here for boa before WIG. An acquaintance wears them everywhere, but he's not a drag queen nor trans, just a gay guy who wears boas and threw a monkey wrench in my solving experience. If he were trans he'd go everywhere in a twinset and pearls and high heels, which I completely do not understand. My normal costume is a left-wing message t-shirt and men's cargo shorts, and ain't I a woman? (Women's "cargo shorts" have tiny pockets for decorative purposes only; you still gotta get your boyfriend to carry your keys and stuff. Girls: your men's pants waist size is approximately your women's size plus 21, so if you're a size 12, start by trying on men's 33. Fit varies by manufacturer, but this formula will get you close.)

I enjoyed the puzzle and the writeup. Thanks @Laura, and @John&Michael.

Teedmn 10:45 AM  

I didn't fall for "boa" today because I didn't see "drag" as in cross-dressing. I thought of a main drag and I thought of gravel but until I got WORLDS APART, I did not say, "OHO, I need a WIG". But none of that took very long. This puzzle didn't put up much of a ZONE DEFENSE except in the SE, where I had to lay SIEGE to it rather than blitz it.

I had a total mental block on what a mental bloc could be and I had _ENSAN in place. I ran the alphabet finally to find the bloc I'm obviously not a member of!

Off ADOL_S_______, I was trying to make SENSE of a minority group meshing with "A DOLl'S house" but ORCA killed that ZAG into wrong territory.

My big ahas today were NASA and MENSAN and my forehead slap was APPS. Geez, how hard can it be?

@QuasiMojo, I think the first time I heard the ❤️ said as HEART rather than "love" was when the movie "I ❤️ Huckabees" came out. All the references I saw said "I HEART Huckabees" but I kept insisting to myself that they all had to be wrong. I lost that SIEGE.

Thanks @Laura, nice write up.

And JG and MH, fun puzzle!

Joseph Michael 10:47 AM  

Challenging but mostly fair puzzle and a DAMME good review of it by Laura.

Wanted "second sense" for 66A, so that made the SE a NIGHTMARE which spread up to include the FLACCID crossing of ASLAN and ROLFE.

Seeing PAT reminded me of the gender ambiguous character on SNL years ago.

Liked TOE TAP in parallel position with TIN EAR. Actually TIN appears not only here but also buried in ARTINESS, backwards in NITE, and scrambled in INT.

"Gosh, it must be Saturday morning if you're thinking about things like that," GASPED AL.

TimJim 11:12 AM  

Agree that RET clue should have suggested the abbreviation and that SPIDEYSENSE clue was too generic.

Stanley Hudson 11:33 AM  

@Ellen S, I see what you did there Sojourner. 😀

Nice write-up, Laura. @LMS, nice to see you on here again.

Alicia Stetson 11:51 AM  

So nice to hear from a "normal" solver whose solving times (and impressions) are at least on the same scale as my own. Maybe a 2-3 year rest would be enough for Rex to recharge (but I doubt it).

Jamie C. 11:54 AM  

ANI ohev any ANI not clued as "singer difranco."

Lewis 11:55 AM  

@anon 8:11 -- I think you're right, "police departments" has sergeants and is much more common than the "permanent duty stations" (which is a thing, btw) I found online. Good catch!

Trombone Tom 11:57 AM  

@Laura, what a refreshing write-up!

Hand up for boa and amok. Then I compounded things by putting in tank for DRUM. All-in-all that was enough to give me a DNF as I couldn't come up with IHEARTRADIO or TONI Collette without Google.

Even with help I felt this was tough. Just not on John and Michael's wavelength.

What a great clue for ADOLESCENT!

prandolph 11:58 AM  

Nice, crunchy puzzle. Liked it.
@jberg Yes, they refer to themselves as memsans.

Tim Aurthur 12:00 PM  

To me HORSE AROUND doesn't mean goof off - rather fool around, like kids in a playground jabbing and kicking at each other.

Hartley70 12:13 PM  

I thought this was a terrific Saturday because it was a challenging and doable oxymoron. The NW fell easily. The SE made me think a bit since I was trying for an actress named VANDA, but I had to work for the rest with my last question being the N in MENSAN. Me, either, @Teedman!

I never got waylaid by boa. The clue for ADOLESCENTS was great. I have no idea what IHEARTRADIO is, but I've heard it a bajillion times somewhere. There's no question in my mind that PDS is police departments. I knew it was Arnold but it was hard to write ARNIE.

I'm one of the poor fools who pronounce FLACCID with two Ss in my mind. I don't think I've ever spoken it aloud so I haven't embarrassed myself. Thanks @kitchef for the heads up! @pabliinnh LOL!

@EllenS, what a delight you are this morning. That was a funny post!

QuasiMojo 12:33 PM  

Yes, Thanks @Nancy, as well as @EllenS and @Teedmn!

old timer 12:36 PM  

OHO! Which is what I need to change,since I have "ohe" which I knew was wrong. This was in the main easier than yesterday's. Today is of course the Jewish sabbath, and I have read it is actually a mitzvah (obligation) for a married man to get TURNED ON and not be FLACCID on the Sabbath, the better to increase the members of the TRIBE. I have a wonderful Rabbi Small book that explained such things to me.

Hardest cross: CUTS and CIRCA

pwoodfin 12:49 PM  

And you were right

JC66 1:05 PM  


No reason to be embarrassed about pronouncing FLACCID as flassid. I do, as well. And so does Websters; OED gives both flassid and flacsid (with flassid first.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

The proof that liberals are not pro-women is how they treat conservative women.

Mr. Cheese 1:07 PM  

I have no idea how "spidey sense" plays here. Please explain

SteveiO 1:16 PM  

Thanks Laura, for the most entertaining write-up in ages! You nailed it.

I was ok on WIG, but I struggled (ignorantly?) at the intersection of ASLAN and ROLFE. Guessed the "L" and voila!

Entertaining and sufficiently challenging Saturday.

Enhanced by Laura's review!

Anoa Bob 1:33 PM  

I once was a regular at a pool hall named FELT (25A) Physics, so enjoyed seeing the clue "Pool cover" for that.

Having FLACCID hanging straight down in the middle of the grid was a little unnerving.

The CHERE/ROLFE/ASLAN nexus was tough. I know that Mesquite trees, which are ubiquitous hereabouts in deep south TX, have PODs, but I've never seen anyone eat them, so that didn't help either. A quick visit to Uncle Google shows they were dried and ground into flour by an early American TRIBE or two.

There are a lot of three's in the grid, more even than in a typical themed puzzle. The RET, TNT, INT, OHO, PDS, ANI, IRS, et al., begin to ADD up, and not in a good way. Probably an inevitable result of going with thirteen-letter entries in the corners.

Speaking of which, I wonder if the constructors originally wanted a full-fledged triple thirteen stack pinwheel grid, but had to back off a tad by putting in helper black squares just before SLEEPS and right after BRAVED.

Mike D 1:43 PM  

Great example of the mindlessness of people on the internet and how fake news gets spread. Some idiot tells them a certain word (FLACCID) is pronounced a certain way ("flak-sid" not "flassid") and every other idiot just believes them, until someone (JC66) actually uses their own brain and looks it up themselves. Just because some ass on the internet (or Fox News) says something is true doesn't make it so.

Joe Bleaux 2:04 PM  

Thanks, JG and MH, for a Goldilocks puzzle that I zig-ZAGged through (NW to SW, then NE to SE) at a just-right pace. It deserved Laura's excellent write-up. @LMS, glad to see you back. You were missed. @kitshef. Not only have I always misspelled FLACCID (one c), I didn't know to correctly pronounce it. Thank you! (I'll bet you noticed that Mohair, unlike many, spelled "ad nauseam" correctly.) @Roo Monster. Me, too, on "amok," especially since I already had RUN in the SW and was looking at _ _ o _ for a bit. @all. Just curious: Is any regular commenter here an avowed MENSAN?

hankster65 2:04 PM  

Took me an hour and 43 minutes to beat this rascal into submission. Time wise, I certainly get my money's worth from these puzzles.

Eliot 2:12 PM  

Liked the puzzle. I found it clever without being cloy.

I so wanted DON for Oxford designation that I blocked myself in the SW for way too long ("It _has_ to be GAS _can't_ be GAS PEDAL).

Overall good and challenging. A nice Saturday.

Pete 2:20 PM  

@Two Ponies - How on earth do you rate Rex's statements about wheelchair bound as a rant? It was emphatic sure, but reasoned, documented, and well founded within the community who thinks about such things. Did you read any of what he suggested be looked up and have a significant disagreement about it? Do you not see that people who need wheelchairs view them as life-saver rather than as an impediment and might not appreciate people referring to it otherwise? Finally, when it's pointed out how how one could be a kinder person, how on earth can one take offense at that?

Two Ponies 2:43 PM  

Because I am an asshole.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Nancy Pelosi does not identify herself as a mensan.

Mr. Fitch 3:20 PM  

This was a great puzzle. The best I've seen in a while. It managed to be current and fun colloquial and challenging enough, though I found it on the easy side for a Saturday. The triple stacks in NW and SE are extremely solid. The long downs are also good. Not a lot of dreck in this thing.

Larry Gilstrap 3:29 PM  

No problemo filling up this Saturday effort. Al dente, enough. Nice misdirection on ADOLESCENTS. I spent many years up to my hips in them and I kinda miss the experience. Sure, they have crazy ideas, but they have an excuse: they're kids. What's yours, to no one in particular? I remember as a lad when we used to HORSE AROUND, and sometimes even roughhouse, which sometimes led to tears.

I know very little Hebrew, apparently. And what would a PR NIGHTMARE look like in this day and age? Unwanted sext messages, Kathy Griffin's meme, or a major corporation's efforts to rig emissions tests? Times have changed.

One little nit: agreed, hall-of-fame inductees are usually retired, but I do not see justification for the abbreviation in the cluing. Tell me I'm missing something.

Pam Fletcher 4:26 PM  

Nice upbeat post Laura. Fun puzzle too.

Arden 5:08 PM  

Great post Laura. Loved the puzzle. Crunchy and entertaining!

evil doug 5:24 PM  

You *are* an asshole, but you're not Two Ponies.

Chip Hilton 6:36 PM  

I'm with @Mohair Sam and @Nancy. SPIDEYSENSE (crossing ANI) was a stopper for me. Never heard it. I, too, disagree with ARNIE for the former governor. There's only one Arnie: The King of Golf.

@hankster65 - Yup, that's about my speed, too. I'd feel cheated if it was over in around 12 minutes.

Godspeed, Floridians.

Rob 9:31 PM  

Yesterday's and today's puzzles both made me work hard for them, but they had some really nice, snappy, current fill. Yesterday: CAKEPOP and BUZZFEED QUIZZES stood out for me. Today: IHEARTRADIO, SPIDEY SENSE, PR NIGHTMARE. There's a little bit of drek like ARTINESS, but that's a small price to pay. More of this please!

ARNIE for Schwarzenegger is way more natural than Arnold Palmer for me. I know the crosswording community has a lot of overlap with the golf community, but good lord, the rest of us do not care a whit about it. Crosswords badly over-represent golf in general.

Nancy 10:31 PM  

@old timer (12:36 p.m.) -- My word! The things you learn on this blog.

@jbr6113 (10:15) -- I read your 2nd sentence. I went back to see what the 19A clue was, since I didn't remember. And then I laughed. Out loud, harder and longer than I have ever laughed at anything on this blog.

Casimir 11:56 PM  

Hi Nancy (10:05), I think the "soft" in the slogan refers to a golf shot that travels a great distance, but then lands and nestles gently on the green. Since I don't have that shot in my bag, it remains a dream for me!

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

chere is not wrong.chere is dear, cheri is darling. one could start chere ----.

Chance 3:39 PM  

For "depressed on the road" I put LOW RIDER at first, which I thought was clever, if I do say so myself.

I also started with CHERI and not CHERE.

This was hard, but doable.

Joel Fass 8:37 PM  

Well, if you consider this on 'medium', good for you. I found it killer myself---nor was I in love with the clues (to wit: starting point for a hole, etc.). Got off on the wrong foot right out of the gate with 'boa' for 'drag accessory'. Also never heard of 'spidey sense' in my born days---put 'premonition' in b/c it fit---of course THAT went nowhere as well. Finally cried uncle and cheated...

Whitey 10:36 PM  

I found it tough and rewarding. It took some time.
I would like to have seen a question mark after the "Minority group" clue for ADOLESCENTS.

Alyce 9:41 AM  

Ok, it's Monday morning and I finally finished this excellent puzzle. God bless all of you who thought it was medium or easier! It took me 2 days to get ADOLESCENTS...GAS PEDALS...EGO TRIP. Fabulous clues! Was married to PROTOUR at 40 down for too long, even though I knew it was wrong and erased it 30 times. I love SPIDEY SENSE. My husband has arachnophobia and is eerily aware of every spider within walking distance, so when he tells me his Spidey Sense is on alert, I'm ready to rescue the critter. Loved this puzzle. Thank you JG, MH, and WAS!!!!!

Z 10:28 AM  

Long weekend at a tournament so I just got around to the puzzle. A fine medium Saturday here with NO DICE / CHERE being my last letter in. I totally forgot that "cher" could have a feminine spelling. Hand up for boa, too.

I especially liked that the Sorceress of Crossworld acknowledges the genius of Sandra Boynton. If you ever have reason to teach poetry, of any era, let me suggest that you open with The Going to Bed Book. Nothing else will make the notions of sound and sense more sensical to nervous students.

@kitshef - If we spoke Latin the hard C sound would be correct. But I speak American English, so it is definitely a soft C sound. A hard C almost seems like someone is overcompensating. No one here, of course.

the redanman 5:51 PM  

90-95%. Spideysense kerfuffled me

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5wksltr 9:52 AM  

Both dictionaries I checked accept the FLASSID pronunciation. The more recent one prefers it.

Burma Shave 11:26 AM  


he'd GETREST LATENITE so placid.
ROLFE won't HORSEAROUND, just break her HEART,


rondo 12:15 PM  

Fell for the boa instead of the WIG and it was a mesquite nut/buD/POD. The ZONEDEFENSE got me going while I was deciding whether to ZiG or ZAG. Kinda tricky on the PGA TV network since CBS carried the latter parts of the tourney and TNT the beginnings.

Some of the FM stations around here really push the IHEARTRADIO thing. Not for me, at least not yet.

ARNIE should be left only to Mr. Palmer.

TAR. NO, A thousand times NO. NODICE on a road.

TONI Collette seems to be the qualifier for yeah baby today.

Pretty nice puz, other THAN that clue for TAR.

thefogman 12:21 PM  

This one was tough. I almost completed but got Naticked when I opted for ASwan instead of ASLAN at 34D. I figured a swan could symbolize JC and went with it knowing nothing about ASLAN. ROLFE who? That was a bit mean and unfair as were PRNIGHTMARE, MENSAN and IHEARTRADIO. I don't like when APPS and tech lingo are used in Xwords. EEE was a wee bit devious. Lots of misdirects depleted my stock of whiteout tape today - e.g. boa before WIG and trot before PERP. I was stuck on ADuLt------ for a long time before I finally realized it was ADOLESCENTS. Being picky here but MAN is a bit sexist as an answer for 60D, so maybe the cluing could have been different.

What? No EGOTRIP from above today? Oh, it's Laura in for Rex!

Burma: ASsLANd > Lake FLACCID

spacecraft 12:23 PM  

Well, OHO--finally a fresh clue for ANI. At last that blackbird and @rondo's perennial yeah baby DiFranco can GETREST.

Daunting at first, this puzzle let me in via LATENITE and GASPEDAL. This is how I know I've been doing this a while: one look at "One getting depressed on the road" and I had it.

ASLAN as a Jesus figure: interesting. Now that you mention it, of course; but it hadn't occurred to me during reading.

I have heard Mr. Schwarzenegger called many nicknames--including the clue--but never "ARNIE." Palmer was an ARNIE;

One writeover at (RUN) amOk before RIOT. TINEAR: of course! D'oh! Never heard of anything contained in the 11-down clue, but TONI Collette will do as DOD. Triumph factor considerable; not to go on an EGOTRIP and declare myself a MENSAN, but I was pleased I could finish. Birdie.

leftcoastTAM 4:47 PM  

Challenging and clever, especially in the South.

SPIDEYSENSE/ANI cross required a guess for the "I", the last letter in. ANI sounded more like Hebrew than ANa.

MENSAN took a while to see, as did NASA for "Houston team", EEE for "Oxford designation". PDS for "They have sgts."? Okay, but both abbrs. eluded me. GASPEDAL clue/answer was another clever one.

Hope "billet-doux" sinks in this time with CHERE. Winced a bit with the FLACCID "wet noodle."

Enjoyed solving a Saturday puzzle sans dxfs for a change. This was a good one.

leftcoastTAM 5:03 PM  

"dnfs", though dxfs looks apt too.

Diana, LIW 5:07 PM  

Started with TAR - ;-)
Then boa, vs. WIG
Couldn't think of ZAG for the life of me.
Thought of EEE, but hoped it wasn't.

Tough, fun puzzle - good Sat workout.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

centralscrewtinizer 6:04 PM  

So glad 'One with a mental bloc' did not turn out to be MaNSoN.
ZONE DEFENSE went in first and I was off and struggling, never finding 'the zone'.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I thought PDS was Police Departments, as in Sgt Friday.

Bananafish 4:26 PM  

I enjoyed seeing SPIDEYSENSE in the grid, but I was not crazy about the clue. The clue would have been great for "Spidersense", but was not sufficient for "Spideysense".

"Intuition about something soon to happen" is, generically speaking, a "Spider-sense" (with an 'R' rather than a 'Y'). "Spidey" is a nickname for Spider-Man, the character -- so "Spidey-sense" is the generic Spider-sense possessed, in particular, by Spider-Man. Consequently, a clue for SPIDEYSENSE needs to reference or invoke Spider-Man in some fashion.

Had rewrites for that, as well as BOA for WIG ("Drag accessory"), ENDED for IN AWE ("Knocked out"), MANSON for MENSAN ("Person with a mental bloc"), plus a few others too embarrassing to mention.

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