Calculator math sects / SAT 9-23-17 / Wayne Manor manservant / 29% cream / Redhead of Hogwarts / Neuwirth designer jewelry / Summer Olympics discontinued 1936 / Opposite of schadenfreude / Davy Crockett's rifle / Tony winner Neuwirth

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Medium (16:17)


Word of the Day: IRENE (2D: ___ Neuwirth (designer jewelry brand) —
A native of Southern California, Irene's fundamental inspiration is the ocean. Its purity, power and colors are all key elements at the origin of her designs. Her fascination with intense colors and raw, un-manufactured gem cuts, have become signature trademarks of the line. (
• • •
Rex continues to have computer problems, so you had my PEN PAL (34A: Friend of note?) Lena yesterday as PART ONE (36A: Start of a series), and you get me, Laura, today and Sunday. I'd better GET BUSY (41A: Work order?). This puzzle certainly felt like it hit the SWEET SPOT (12D: Perfect place) of difficulty; I breezed on through most of every quadrant, then rounded on home up to the NW, and ... stared. For like 10 minutes. My time isn't anywhere near my HIGH SCORES (1A: List on a video game screen) for Saturdays, but I appreciated the challenge, and there's no need for the 36D: Opposite of schadenfreude (PITY) or a 14D: Sound of condescension (TSK). Funny thing, I love riddles like 5D: It has arms, legs and feet, but no hands (SOFA), and I had just typed SOFA in 25D: Part of many a studio apartment for DINETTE because I wanted SOFABED instead. Because the studio apartments I had -- no room even for a DINETTE. If I HAD UP (1D: Hosted at one's loft, say) a friend or two, well, we dined sitting on the SOFABED or the LOFTBED. Or practically in the BATHTUB.

 Goodnight IRENE

Someone asked in the comments yesterday how Rex and/or the guest hosts decide which clues go in the title field of the blog post. Can't speak for others, but I tend to put clues that I figure people are most likely to google: proper names, interesting or unusual formulations, clues that are actually google-able, as opposed to something like 44D: Advantage, which would be to no AVAIL. Way back, many years ago, when I was first solving regularly, that was how I stumbled upon this site (wow, I thought, people actually blog about this stuff? cool!). There is no shame in researching answers as a way of finding out something new or learning about how puzzles are constructed.

Woman Constructor Watch: Robyn's puzzle today is just the third Saturday by a woman in 2017, for a total of 36 women out of 230 constructors this year, or 15.6%. Jeff Chen calls it at 14%, because he's averaging the percentages of women constructors over the week. In either case, as stated before, I'd like to see more women get published in the New York Times, and I'll reiterate my call for other women constructors who might be interested in sharing ideas and helping each other to get in touch with me. Hey Laura, ARE YOU DONE? (15A: Question after a rant). Nope. IT FIGURES (32D: "Why am I not surprised!").

  • 46D: Old ___, pet name of Davy Crockett's rifle (BETSY) — Honestly, can't remember much Davy Crockett lore, except for the catchy TV show theme song, and that he died at the Alamo. But somehow it occurred to me that BETSY would be a good name for a rifle.
  • 57A: Redhead of Hogwarts (RON WEASLEY) — The entire Weasley family attended Hogwarts, and all were notoriously redheaded. Perhaps Ron is simply the most prominent.
  • 43A: Window component (JAMB) and 28D: Window component (PANE) — Had SASH for both of these at certain points in the solving process.
Ok, now I'm done. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chance 12:09 AM  

I thought this was a clean, fun puzzle.

I second the call for more women constructors.

Honestly, thinking of some of the tone-deaf clues in the last month or so, it wouldn't hurt to get a little diversity up in there, too.

Randall Clark 12:13 AM  

Really, we're counting how many women author Saturday puzzles in the NYT? Why? Does anyone seriously think this is an issue worthy of consideration? Does anyone think Will Shortz is sexist? Does everything have to circle back to identity politics? I was just happy to finish the puzzle in under 30 minutes. I'm sure many women did better than I, if that matters to anyone.

jae 12:14 AM  

Way too easy for a Sat. I put in HIGH SCORES with no crosses and just kept going. Definitely easier than yesterday's and that one was pretty easy. Looking forward to The Stumper tomorrow.

No WOEs and no erasures.

This was a solid themeless with some zippy answers that I liked, it just wasn't a Sat. level puzzle.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

Jeff Chen calls it 14% because it is 14%. Of the 266 puzzles so far this year, 36 have at least one women constructor and 230 are by men only. 36/266 = 14%, or more accurately, 13.53% if you're into accuracy.

kbehroozi 12:22 AM  

Pretty sure Oreos are dairy-free (the kinds of things you learn when you have vegan friends), ergo 29% cream ("creme" maybe?) seems like false advertising. Otherwise enjoyed this one.

Anonymous 12:27 AM  

DItto Jae's comment. Pleasant enough, but far too easy for a Saturday

Trombone Tom 12:34 AM  

Hit the ground running in the NW and worked my way around the puzzle in clockwise direction until I came to a complete stop in the West. 30A was a stumper as I couldn't get away from emotions (weepiest?). Guess I ought to stick to food answers. Had ALFRED and POINT, so SNAP and POLO soon followed and ,finally, IT FIGURES!

Have to agree with @jae that this wasn't as crunchy a Saturday as I would wish. Nevertheless a fun ROMP. Thank you, Robyn Weintraub.

Bryce 12:38 AM  

I had OLEO instead of OREO and wondered what a bald TILE was for a long time--maybe one that had been stepped on a lot? After going over everything a couple times, I finally said, wait, I thought OLEO was all oil? OHHH!
I was pleasantly surprised when I threw in AREYOUDONE, and it held up.

Excellent puzzle throughout.

puzzlehoarder 1:27 AM  

This only took about four more minutes than yesterday's puzzle. Thursday was still the hardest so far this week. Most of the added time today as opposed to Friday's solve was due to HADUP being foreign to this homeowner. We have people "by" or "over" but not UP. This was compounded by a TYPEA/HYPER write over. I was back filling the NW from the east to finish and it caused a little delay.

The rest went smoothly. Some points of note. I didn't recognize BEHAR until only the H was left. The clue for ALFRED drew a blank until I got the A off SNAP. Off the S of 40D I was favoring pasta until the U clinched it as gas station. The ROE clue fooled me.

Overall a little on the easy side.

Whitey 3:20 AM  

Thank you. Love it.

Ellen S 3:51 AM  

@Randall Clark, yes, everything does have to "circle around to identity politics." Except for those of us in groups which are systematically, and yes, systemically, excluded, it's the real world, not some dismissive phrase. If it's not systemic, what is it? Our own fault? Ah. Of course.

I belong to a peace group, founded in 1915, which has the word "Women's" in the name. We don't exclude men, there's nothing in the national or international constitution or bylaws preventing men from holding leadership positions. But somehow, calling it "Women's ____ ____" sends a message that men aren't going to be elected to high leadership positions, and if any are, they are not really leaders of this group. But this group is really insignificant compared to universities, corporations and governments, all dominated by men. Somehow, white men find other white men more chooseworthy. Often women, people of color, people outside the gender binary, get the hint, even without putting "Straight White Men's" in the title. Even more often, that isn't necessary. Universities advantage admission of the children of alumni, so the bias is passed down through the generations, and people who were excluded 100 or more years ago, pass on that exclusion to their children. Corporations prioritize recruiting from universities that perform that historic disadvantaging function for them.

Those of us outside the privileged groups can write crossword puzzles or apply for management positions all we want -- to no AVAIL. And if anyone dares to notice, it's dismissed as "identity politics." TSK.

BTW, I liked yesterday's puzzle better. I felt the answers to this one weren't as clever. This one was harder but I finished it without much cheating. (Confession: I accidentally hit "Reveal Word" instead of "Clear Errors (Word)" on one answer, and it did help. I just know when I die I'll be sent to a place where there are all crossword puzzles and no reference books.)

Daisy 4:16 AM  

Great puzzle Robyn!

Thank you for the fun!

Ahem Laura-

I happen to be an aspiring crossword constructor.
I've been studying Patrick Berry and Matt Gaffney.

I loved "The Donald" answer the other day. Im happy to see Ann Coulter but abhor seeing Nancy Pelosi in the puzzles.

I am a strong supporter of President Donald Trump. I happen to also find him quite handsome.

I am a 52 year old woman.

Will you support me?

evil doug 5:40 AM  

(Elaine walks in the door looking terrible.)

Elaine: Well boys, I did it. I had to stay up all night but I finally came up with a great New Yorker cartoon.

Jerry: I've stayed up all night. I fixed myself up a little before I'd go out...

Elaine: That is not the point.

Jerry: Some mouthwash,a hat,something...

Elaine: Just read it!

Jerry: (glances at it) Pretty good.

Elaine: Pretty good? Well--Uhhh! This is a gem . Kramer, lookit....(Kramer stays silent).....What? It's funny!

Jerry: It's a pig at a complaint department.

Elaine: And he's saying "I wish I was taller". Ha ha. See? That's his complaint.

Jerry: I get it.

Elaine: Do you?!...because that's not a normal complaint.

Jerry: How 'bout if it was something like "I can't find my receipt, my place is a sty."

Elaine: Everything with you has to be so ...jokey.

Jerry: I'm a comedian.

Elaine: I wish I was taller--that's--that's nice. That's real.

Jerry: Well, I got a complaint. This cartoon stinks.

BarbieBarbie 5:44 AM  

I liked this puzzle, fun and junk-free. Humiliating DNF on BMOVIE and MPAA. Arghhh.
Only two 3-letter words. Seems like that would be a bear to construct.

Thomaso808 5:57 AM  

Definitely harder for me than Friday. NW was brutal. I can see if you guessed HIGHSCORES right away it could be easy, but I wrote in "els" instead of ODE for 7D "Elevated lines" because it worked with my guess for 15A AREweclear, which is a perfectly good question by the ranter, not the rantee. That, combined with the WOEs IRENE and GEESE, and the great misdirect on ROE, boggged me down quite a while.

But in the end I DNF on the SE because I first entered riAA for 49D, because that is the record industry anti-pirating group, and it worked with the crosses ACROBATICS and RONWEASLEY (which was a gimme). After another bogged down session I finally had HOUSEPLANT correct, but that now resulted in rPAA crossing BrOVIE. I thought maybe I remembered the RIAA name wrong, and since "Bromance" is now a thing, I thought maybe a BrOVIE might be a 48A "Cheesy fare". Hey, maybe I should trademark the term BROVIE!

Really liked it. This was Jeff Chen's selection for POW we were waiting for. It has a clean fill, some very interesting answers, and a lot of good misdirection, so I can't really argue. Buuut, maybe it got the POW for the RONWEASLEY debut? I dunno, that Matt Ginsberg Thursday was pretty damn good.

Lewis 6:10 AM  

@laura -- Hand up for double sash.

This puzzle had spark, and I believe it came from witty cluing (i.e. PENPAL, PAWPRINTS, BMOVIE, OPT, OREO, POINT) and some lovely answers (ARE YOU DONE, CORNER LOT, SWEET SPOT). While I adored this puzzle, I believe the Thursday puzzle should have been Jeff Chen's POW (puzzle of the week). Finally, it's the third day in a row with a mini-theme of double EE's, I'm obligated to report, as your resident alphadoppeltotter, and today's was the mother lode of the bunch, with 10.

Speaking of three-streaks, this makes for a hat trick of terrific puzzles in a row, and a grateful tip of my cap to Matt, David, Robyn and Will.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

@thomas808 -- Hah! I was writing my comment as you posted yours, but I see we were on the same wavelength re POW.

Robso 6:23 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Got stuck in the NW as well. "Potential perch" is a good clue, but am not clear why it doesn't deserve a question mark? Then again, maybe that's why I liked the clue, and clues should never have question marks???

Loren Muse Smith 6:27 AM  

POW in a WEEK that had a Ginsberg and a Steinberg, two veritable mountains among constructors. Congrats, Robyn!


I can’t report that this was easy for me. I fell into two traps (deft misdirection as @Thomaso808 was saying):

***With “give” for VEST, I had “omit” for 50A (miss) and “org” for 50D.
***And “Texaco” for SUNOCO

Oh, and I had “slum” dog before SLED DOG. And “geeks” for GEESE (thinking that geeks weren’t really simpletons).

I was pretty sure that perfect place was “Shangrila” but at least I didn’t write that one in.

After I sorted all that out, I finally finished.

Two clues stand out as superb: “potential perch” for ROE (Hi, @Robso -I was going “lap”) and “a mister may sit next to one” for HOUSE PLANT.

I also liked the two Neuwirths and the two window components clues.

@BarbieBarbie – that M in the BMOVIE/MPAA cross was my last letter. Tough, that.

Enjoy the kudos today, Robyn. You’ve earned it.

Muscato 6:33 AM  

After two disastrous days - Thursday and Friday killed me this week - it was nice not to feel like a complete gibbering idiot this Saturday morning. My only hang-up proved that I'm truly behind the times - it never occurred to me that these days PEERs are appointed (that having been until just a few years ago the very opposite of their role), and having put in HYPED for the down, I was truly at sea until the light dawned...

Trixie 7:17 AM  

Ellen S., thank you for putting Randall in his place!!

Aketi 7:19 AM  
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Aketi 7:22 AM  

Does anyone even have PEN PALS anymore since social media has taken over the world? I can't even remember the last time I wrote a or even received a hand written letter.

@Laura, I completely concur about not being able to fit a DINETTE into a studio apartment. Sometimes even a TV tray is a challenge in some of the closets that pass for studio apartments in NY City.

Huh, do JAMBs jam? Or do they JAMB? I entered two PANEs, then swapped one PANE for a sash before I discovered it was JAMB. Two of our windows jammed this week and the cause was the JAMB due to wood warping and too many layers of paint from sloppy landlord-hired painters in our pre-WWI apartment. I gave them the boot 18 years ago when we carefully packed up and covered everything with plastic so they wouldn't get paint on our belongings only to come home a bed that no longer had plastic over it that was covered in paint chips. My son was six weeks old at the time. When the painter responded to my rant about lead in paint chips he didn't have the good sense to say "ARE YOU DONE?", followed by an apology and a promise to clean it up. Instead, he asked "Do you know how many paint chips a kid has to eat to get lead poisoning?" I figured if I had followed through with what I wanted to do to him my actions might have been considered justifiable based on my postpartum state and I might have gotten off any charges resulting from those actions. No landlord hired painter has crossed our threshold since, NOT ONCE. Painting around window PANEs is a pain.

I am actually painting right now ceiling and floors included. The cats to help by getting into the paint trays when I'm not looking and adding their PAW PRINTS to the floor decor. Charlie likes to steal stir sticks and touch up sponge brushes too. Both are pleased with my solution of bribing them with extra food in another room.

@Barbie Barbie, Metro Gnome and Nancy, doesn't it all make you want to lock the toddlers in the DEEP FREEZE and only let them out when they're all grown up?

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

NW last to fall, but very fast for me. Fun solve.

Hartley70 7:42 AM  

I was in the Robyn SWEETSPOT this morning and this was my fastest Saturday ever. Yes, I entered HIGHSCORES right away and then it was off to the races. I could say it was easy, except I actually found it exhilarating to take a stab at an answer and find it to be correct every single time, even DINETTE. Since this will probably never, NOTONCE ever happen again, I'm going to enjoy the feeling all day long.

Thank you for your post, @EllenS. Well said.

Unknown 7:47 AM  
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Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Not much to say about the puzzle. My brain never seemed to get in gear. My time was about twice my usual, and it felt like half the extra time was spent staring at the BMOVIE/MPAA cross.

I am commenting only to thank @Ellen S for her thoughtful analysis of why "identity politics" is important. It seems to me that the only way to get past thoughtless/unconscious discrimination or discrimination perpetuating past bias is by making a point to be aware of unexplainable discrepancies like few women puzzle constructors being published or few Black football coaches at colleges.

Jim C. in Maine

QuasiMojo 8:06 AM  

Quite a JAMBoree puzzle today. Clever and tricky and BUSY, and almost entirely fair (I hated the Hogwarts clue of course; had to google it.) Having HOUSE MEDIC instead of PLANT for a while held me up too. Don't ask. I am ashamed to admit I had a four-letter word beginning with S (with an S at the end) for the "effects of double espressos." lol. That's because I had SASH instead of JAMB at first. ACROBATICS would be a good answer for that too. And ADD IN instead of AVAIL. But once I got JOLTS I was off to the races.

HIGH SCORES was not so easy for me since I had PUT UP before HAD UP. ASK IF before SEE IF, etc.

I lived in many studio apartments in my youth. NOT ONCE did I have a DINETTE.

pwoodfin 8:16 AM  

That's a joke, right?

evil doug 8:18 AM  

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
Hitchens' Razor

Do we have evidence of the percentage of puzzles that are submitted by women? If it's significantly greater than 15%, then you should lead with that.

The second test is, of course, more difficult: Are puzzles by women not as good? How would Will defend his subjective judgment?

The most obvious answer: What possible incentive would Will have to publish substandard men's puzzles at the expense of better grids by women? Isn't it an intuitive conclusion that he wants puzzles bearing his stamp to shine-- to reflect well on him and his newspaper?

And the Times is pretty clear on its social positions. Don't you suppose they would find a new editor if Will was guilty of your accusation?

I won't tackle the rest of Ellen's extended arguments. They may or may not be fully accurate, but they just don't belong here.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  


Cassieopia 8:24 AM  

When Ruth Bader Ginsberg is asked how many women on the Supreme Court would be enough, her answer is: "When there are nine. For most of the country's history, there were nine and they were all men. Nobody thought that was strange."

Just like @muscato, I got hammered by Th and F this week so to finish today's puzzle with no Google and no cheat made me feel a little less like a blithering imbecile. So I have to agree with those of you who said it was on the easy side.

My entry into the puzzle was in the SE with BEBE Neuwirth which gave me BMOVIE instead of fonduE, which was my first thought of cheesy fare. Also fedup before SATED, OlEO before OREO, and was trying to get a HOUSEfrau beside a mister - that, and the "potential perch" clues were my favorite.

I can see how this might not be as "crunchy" for the advanced solvers here, but for someone at my level it was fun and rewarding, I really enjoyed it!

GeezerJackYale48 8:25 AM  

Well said.

Mike D 8:25 AM  

There was no "accusation." That's your interpretation, because you are an insecure white male who feels the need to become defensive despite a lifetime of privilege. Poor thing.

Mike D 8:26 AM  

There was no "accusation." That's your interpretation, because you are an insecure white male who feels the need to become defensive despite a lifetime of privilege. Poor thing.

GeezerJackYale48 8:27 AM  

15 across

Passing Shot 8:29 AM  

@Ellen S 3:51 — well said. Thank you.

Fun puzzle, but too easy for a Saturday. Espresso always gives me the “jitters”; took me longer to see JOLTS. Once that came, the puzzle finally fell into place.

GeezerJackYale48 8:31 AM  

Rather insulting to make that presumption.

GeezerJackYale48 8:43 AM  

Rather revealing that you dismiss Evil Doug's thoughtful comments with an insult.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@Randall Clark: thanks for mansplaining.

Phil Schifley 9:02 AM  

Easiest Saturday this year. My paper still has scorch marks on it from where my pen burned through this puzzle.

kitshef 9:03 AM  

Without checking, I suspect the PPP today is very low.

Mostly easy, but sAsh before JAMB crossing sliCE before MINCE made the SE tough to work through. With “s _ _ t s” in place for espresso effects, I considered something very un-Timesy for that spot. Would have gone well with the BM at the start of 48A.

Gorelick 9:17 AM  

same here....OLEO/TILE ... for 10 minutes

Anonypuss 9:18 AM  

Love the virtue signaling! A truly enlightened mind equates appearance with evidence.

Today's puzzle was the second this week where I set a personal best. It's a fine puzzle and I enjoyed it for six minutes and eight seconds. Disappointingly easy for a Saturday.

Chance 9:21 AM  

I'm amazed at how many people found this one hard! I found Thursday and Friday to be killers, and this a relative breeze (though my finish time is probably longer than many aces out there).

Personally, if anything is looked up, ever, that's a big fat Did Not Finish for me. That's just my standard.

I like to compare my times on my own crossword blog. Not many timers out there, it seems.

Two Ponies 9:22 AM  

Nice puzzle but I'm embarrassed that Betsy and Ron Weasley were my first entries. I'm usually very critical of pop culture in my grid.

Oreo clue would be more accurate but perhaps too easy if it had said crème. There is not much real food in an Oreo.

Puzzles could be submitted without identifying the author and judged on the quality without bias.

mathgent 9:26 AM  

@Evil Doug (8:18): Excellent point about finding the percentage of puzzles submitted by women when being concerned about the percentage of puzzles by women which are published.

BTW, I love your Seinfeld excerpts. You must have a way of posting them without having to type them out. I seem to remember another episode where Jerry was agitated because he didn't get the joke in one of the New Yorker cartoons. That happens to me a lot.

I have a personal explanation for writing in WALK instead of POLO for 31D. My father-in-law competed in race walk in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He trained at the New York AC. I thought that this event had been discontinued and 1936 seemed to be a likely year. But I just looked it up. It is still an Olympic event, 30 and 50K.

I was disappointed. I expect more from a Saturday. Not necessarily harder, but with more sparkle. I had only ten red plusses in the margins. Saturday's average 17.

Mike D 9:33 AM  

It's not thoughtful to use the word "accusation" when there was one. It's pigheaded and incorrect. Willful ignorance.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Yes it takes a real genius to cut and paste.

evil doug 9:41 AM  

"Those of us outside the privileged groups can write crossword puzzles... all we want -- to no AVAIL."

evil doug 9:45 AM  

Mike D: "Those of us outside the privileged groups can write crossword puzzles or apply for management positions all we want -- to no AVAIL."

Teedmn 9:46 AM  

A hard Robyn Weintraub for me (and a Saturday). Wow. All of her Friday puzzles have been delightful but easy (some super easy) - this took me the usual Saturday half hour so I was surprised when I saw the constructor's name. Congrats, Robyn!

My cirrus clouds were WISPy at first, with yarD dogs. 4D temporarily was tYPEa for "wired". RcvD before RECD. SUNOCO went right in but I had a head slap when I saw bald TIREs. I loved staring at B_OVIE and trying to come up cheesy, which I did with a JOLTS.

I took the "opposite of schadenfreude" a bit too far and was looking for something __T_ that meant "joy in someone's success" (YIPPEE?). A PITY there isn't such a word, at least that I can think of.

From yesterday, @Nancy's comment on why we would want something that wasn't too chocolate-y does bring up "Why milk chocolate?" No POINT to it in my book.

Nancy 9:51 AM  

I was en route here with a huge question: why on earth is ROE the answer to 8D?
I kept resisting accepting it, even when, based on my obviously correct long crosses, those three letters absolutely had to be right. But right before my computer arrived at Rex, I suddenly *saw* it. Aha!

I agree, @Lewis, -- this is the 3rd really good puzzle in a row, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the last two. It has more PPP, for one thing. I'm baffled by the people who found it easy -- I found it the hardest of the last three puzzles. The clues for ROE, HOUSE PLANT and PAW PRINTS were fiendishly difficult. Of course I didn't know the Hogwarts dude. Didn't know the rifle either. Nor the designer jewelry lady. And BOOVIE (???!!!) crossing OPAA was plain unfair. Although the Aha Moments were many, much of this seemed like real work. I'm not quite sure why. Nonetheless, it's got some really great clues and answers in it, and heaven knows it was crunchy.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

We need more Muslim constructors. There are billions of Muslims in the world but very few are featured in the New York Times Crossword. There seem to be a large number of Jewish constructors. I wonder whether this is anti-Muslim discrimination.

JFe 10:06 AM  

@Ellen S


Nancy 10:07 AM  

Oops. Thank you, @BarbieBarbie. I see that it's MPAA crossing B MOVIE. But wouldn't BOOVIE be a peachy keen neologism for a really bad movie? Just remember: You heard it here first, even if it was completely inadvertent. And that -- oPAA instead of MPAA -- is why I hate crossword abbreviations so much. It's always a blind guess.

Re: Women constructors. There's really only one statistic that counts, as far as I can see. What proportion of puzzles submitted by women gets accepted vs. what proportion of puzzles by men. The absolute number that appear doesn't really tell you much.

The nightmare renovation next door starts this Monday. You may not be seeing all that much of me for quite a while.

Steve M 10:08 AM  

Thanks Robyn!

G. Weissman 10:12 AM  

Wow, as a guy not bothered in the least by the near exclusion of women constructors from the NYT crossword puzzle, you are taking a courageous stand.

Wm. C. 10:13 AM  

I agree with ED on the observation that Shortz is very unlikely to have an anti-female bias in his choice of XWs to publish, and the NYT's position on this.

Also, I see no reason why men should have better XW constructing skills than women.

This, then, says that women submit only about 15% of the puzzles. And, I guess, that only a small minority of NYT XW-ers are women.

Which raises the question as to why this would be. Anyone with any thoughts on this?

As to Ellen's rant: I do think that there is some systematic discrimination against women for managerial positions. I think many males would be uncomfortable with a female boss. But her rant is way overdone, IMO. I think the primary reason for women's under-representation in managerial ranks is due to the time and effort they put into motherhood, which eats away at that available for work-related efforts.

On mister/house plants. Aren't house plants mainly INSIDE the house? If so, wouldn't a mister make a mess?

Hungry Mother 10:18 AM  

Twitter is a better place for political ranting. This is a good place to discuss crossword puzzles.

GeezerJackYale48 10:19 AM  

I had to respond when I read "race walk". Yep, still an Olympic event, and although pretty much a niche sport in this country, rather popular in the rest of the world. USA Track and Field sponsors a series of championships over distances from 3k to 50k. Recently they recognized that females could race walk 50k (31+ miles) as well as males and now have male and female categories all distances. There are also "Masters" categories (nice term for seniors). Obviously that's where I have been competing for the last 25 years.

Nancy Klein 10:22 AM  

Lighten up Ellen S.

G. Weissman 10:23 AM  

Laura writes, "I'd like to see more women get published in the New York Times, and I'll reiterate my call for other women constructors who might be interested in sharing ideas and helping each other to get in touch with me." This leads a few insecure guys to defend Shortz against charges of sexism that were not made, and to complain that anyone should note the near-exclusion of female constructors in the NYT and see it as a problem. Guys, get over yourselves.

Daniel 10:29 AM  

Implicit bias isn't an overt or individual act, as I'm sure you have heard any time you gripe about "identity politics". It doesn't matter if anyone at the NYT is sexist; the data shows that women are underrepresented among puzzle constructors, and Will Shortz has a unique opportunity to address this.

Why does that bother you?

Nancy 10:43 AM  

@Wm. C (10:13) -- I would guess that the ratio of women solvers to men solvers is pretty equal, based on both this blog and the Wordplay blog. But solving is much easier than constructing and does not use the same muscles. Though it's only a guess, I would guess that many fewer women try to create a puzzle. I'm extrapolating from my own feelings, admittedly, so please don't yell at me. But I sort of feel that Loren and ACME and Robyn et al are highly talented outliers and that many more women would feel like me: I would rather be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail than to have to construct the grid of a crossword. The cluing might be quite pleasurable, but the grid would be an exercise in tedium, misery and probably ultimate failure. And when a pursuit offers up far more misery than happiness, leaving out the fact that it barely even pays you -- well, we women are smart. Why do it? Why not let others do the grunt work and just enjoy the solving?

Mohair Sam 10:43 AM  

Jeez folks, I thought Laura was encouraging women constructors - I didn't sense any accusations, she talks about sharing ideas and helping each other. Poor Will. And last I heard one of the best of all constructors, Liz Gorski, was no longer submitting puzzles to the Times - that'll skew the percentages.

Fun puzzle with delightful cluing, maybe a tad on the easy side for a Saturday. I'd like to thank the Atlanta Braves for ROMPing over my Phillies last night (5 runs in the first 5 batters) and forcing me to change the channel and watch one of those horrid comic book movies - "Batman Rises" - previously unknown ALFRED opened the west for us (SNAP, POLO), and off we went. Me too on DINETTE, I was trying to stretch futon to seven letters. Loved the BMOVIE misdirect.

On Times puzzling and gender: Lately Will has given a lot of puzzle space to very young males who use the latest computer aided techniques. Laura and her friends might want to find some techie teenagers to make connections there, that seems to be the future. Me? I miss Liz G. and M.A.S. puzzles.

@Ellen S - Well put. I've found that legacy beneficiaries in both education and (especially) in business are those who most rail at affirmative action of any sort and at any level. But 50% of America is always forgotten in this conversation, and they're the ones who are asked to pay the bill.

@Evil - Great Seinfeld moment.

ArtO 10:48 AM  

I'm here on Saturday only because I managed to do 75% of the puzzle which, for me, is pretty good on late week entries. Found the NW tough even though I had thought of AREYOUDONE. SE did me in with BMOVIE crossing MPAA and no knowledge of Harry Potter fare.

Cannot believe anyone would think Shortz is discriminating against women constructors. Would be so incredibly unlikely for the NYT's basic political bias.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

@EllenS --

Re: universities advantage the children of alumni (and alumnae, btw), so discrimination gets passed down.

This might be true of racial discrimination, but not gender discrimination. AND, women are more represented in university undergrads than men, by a couple of percentage points. Beyond that, and through to faculty ranks, women become under-represented. Through probably more due to motherhood than to gender discrimination.

As to racial discrimination, it's true. Minorities are admitted with substantially lower academic achievement than whites, as Universities try to compensate for minorities' substantial disadvantage in their grade and high-school's quality. So the discrimination is, in fact, one of advantage to minorities.

I usually post with my name, but on this one I think I'll pass, in order to avoid the flame rs.

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

This gender discussion is so boring.
The world might possibly be a happy place if we all fulfilled our natural gender roles. By natural I mean it literally. The creatures around us have survived because of doing what is best for ensuring the success of their species.
I truly believe our mental health is a reflection of the satisfaction we feel when we follow our basic instincts. You might feel that humans have evolved beyond this deep-seated need to be ourselves but I disagree.

Susie Q 10:57 AM  

You say White Straight Male like that is a bad thing.
I love them!

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

@Two Ponies, 10:55 -- Barefoot and pregnant?

mac 11:25 AM  

Nice, clean puzzle, but for me much easier than yesterday's. Loved both Bebe and Irene in it!

Ron Swanson 11:29 AM  

Gotta love defensive white male snowflakes.

hankster65 11:37 AM  

One hour and forty minutes to FINALLY whip this rascal. OLEO for OREO about did me in. I enjoyed it very much.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

By far the most clever and delightful answer of all was POOP ROUTE for 11down Dog-walking trail! I was quite pleased with my intuitive leap. Of course, it turned out to be wrong . . . Well, except for four letters. Otherwise too easy for a Saturday but fun.

Aketi 11:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Bleaux 12:08 PM  

And same here, right up until this red-hot minute. I was gonna whine about bald tiles. Doh!

GILL I. 12:10 PM  

Started this puzzle late last night. Earlier we had guests over and I tried several sips of Talisker single malt scotch whisky. It burned going down but it was a very pleasant burn. After they left, the only entry I could even focus on was 5D SOFA and so I called it a night.
Got up at 6 and walked the pups. Picked up the newspaper, read the depressing headlines, put the paper down, made my favorite Peets coffee and tackled this wonderful Saturday puzzle by Robyn Weintraub.
I agree it was easier than most Saturdays but I just loved her cluing. It was witty and clever. That's what I want. Finished it in about an hour. No dumb names I didn't know and no rap and no made up words (even though I like them). Just fun thinking with no hangover in sight. Couldn't wait to come here and tell everyone.
Then I read @Randall and I thought "what a stupid remark." @Laura was offering help to any budding female constructor. You know, to maybe even up the playing field?
I hate the she/he discussions here because everybody is right, right? The day a North American airlines finally hires a female CEO for the first time in history, I promise to come here and talk about nothing else.
Thank you Robyn for giving me a smile, even if it was for a short while.

Bob Mills 12:10 PM  

Got everything except the SE corner. Had "HASP" instead of "JAMB," never thought of "AVAIL," and was sure "SHRED" meant cut to bits instead of "MINCE." I think using characters from J.K. Rowling is unfair to anyone over the age of 50, like yours truly.

Joe Bleaux 12:14 PM  

I'm so easily fooled, I thought it was sarcasm.

Aketi 12:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Green 12:22 PM  

Daniel, because politicians run on the platform that woman are getting left behind in wages and stem when the data shows its their choices, not man-generated barriers that are the leading cause. In this case, the likely reason women are underrepresented is simply because women aren't interested in being constructors. To call for balance is to suggest something is broken.

The real call should be for better quality puzzles.

Malsdemare 12:25 PM  

Thanks, Ellen, for your defense of identity politics. I'm going to go all reseach-y here so feel free to skip on to the next post.

I would like to posit, given all the stuff we already know about the ways in which men and women differ (I'll be kind and spare you the huge list), that they differ also in the ways in which they construct puzzles. If that's the case -- and I genuinely have no interest in doing the text analysis that would be required to answer that question; teasing out the subtle differences would be challenging -- then it would make sense that a male choosing puzzles to publish just might find men's puzzles more worthy; they'd resonate better.

That opens up other questions: what's the percentage of women's submissions that are accepted compared to men's acceptances? Is there a difference here on this blog between what women bloggers like and what men like? And if there are differences in the puzzles, what are they: choice of fill, choice of theme, format of clueing? Would a woman editor select different puzzles?

I don't think Will consciously looks at a constructor's name and says, "Woman! No way!" But perhaps he just responds more positively to the male voice. And how do women counter that? We already know that attempts to behave in a more masculine way usually backfires on women. It's a variation on that old line about how Ginger Rogers did everything Astaire did, but backwards and in heels and swirly skirt.

It's just puzzles and with North Korea and the US trading insults, maybe doesn't amount to a hill of beans. But it's incredibly painful discovering over and over again that your sex is holding you back and when you point that out, somebody accuses you of being a snowflake, playing identity politics, or tells you to pull up your big girl panties.

The puzzle today was hard, but I got 'er done although I was momentarily put off by HIGHSCenES, a balding TIlE, and that lesser known redhead, RONbEASLEY. Great hob, Robyn.

jberg 12:26 PM  

I liked this one because so many answers were ordinary things described in ordinary language, and yet not mostly crossword cliches. I got lucky and saw HIGH SCORES right off, so that probably made me feel better. But I finished on a pure guess, E in the BEBE/WEASLEY crossing. I just don't know my Neuwirths the way I should. At least I was lucky this time.

Tried TURkey before TUREEN, chargED before POWERED. but neither was too serious.

On the gender thing, I think the % of puzzles by women is a better statistics than the percent accepted of puzzles submitted by women. As universities and employers know, if you want to achieve balance, you have to recruit applicants--which is what Laura is trying to do here.

By the way, I think yesterday I referred to Lena as Laura. My apologies to both of you.

RooMonster 12:32 PM  

Hey All !
That darn NW corner took longer than the rest of the puz! And I had AREYOUDONE lightly written in. Still couldn't get it. Did want DEEPFREEZEr there, but when it didn't fit, I gave up on it. Tricky Downs there, HADUP, GEESE, SOFA, ROE. And not knowing IRENE or PEER wasn't helping. Wanted askIF for SEEIF, and having ___YME not making any sense, and I was sunk. Finally out of desperation Googed for IRENE and PEER. Then the Doh! moment at seeing that yes, it was DEEPFREEZE(no R), and realizing __ZYME to be ENZYME, and finally finishing. Man.

Rest of puz was smooth. No writeovers anywhere else. AWLS well.


Masked and Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Primo SatPuz. Used up about the average number of battlezone nanoseconds, at our house.

Very few desperate fill spots. BEBE/BMOVIE/MPAA mighta come the closest, and it didn't get m&e all that excited. BMOVIEs is about all M&A will watch, on the DVDs.
Very few weejects to pick from -- just 8 candidates. Kinda like the DAS one best, cuz it has a juicy range of cluin possibilities. Best: {Sad turnaround??}. *

fave fillins: Almost all of it. If I had to pick one, probably would go with ITFIGURES. har ... BEQ woulda had a great clue for that; perhaps somethin like: "Shoot … this crap always happens to me"}.

Remorselessly tough clue, for DIGESTED. [Don't make me come down there, Shortzmeister.]

Great write-up bullets, Lena darlin. Thanx.

And thanx and congratz to Ms. Weintraub darlin, for her excellent work. Interestinly, 51.5% of M&A's fave constructioneers are gals. Plus, one I'm not real sure about.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

* Altho the NYTPuz has yet (sadly) to employ the almost-ultra-powerful double-?? clue, it did recently have a double-** clue, for a double-wraparound theme answer. This gives M&A hope, that they are at least movin in the right direction. QEDoodah.


Stanley Hudson 12:36 PM  

I really enjoyed this fine puzzle @Laura, thanks for the great blog, great from stem to stern.

clk 12:37 PM  

I really think the OREO clue was unfair: a) there is more dairy in OLEO (some) than in OREO (none), b) because of this, the FDA doesn't allow them to call it cream filling so OREO filling is usually spelled creme and c) there are so many different OREOs these days that the very precise 29% seems a particularly unfair misdirection. I spent a long time trying to see what I was missing about bald tiles.

I also hung onto sash over JAMB for far too long but that was entirely on me. I was delighted by BMOVIE and HOUSEPLANT when I finally got them.
I also was trying to come up with the recording industry anti-piracy group and wracking my brain for the lyrics to Weird Al's "Don't Download This Song" ("you don't want to mess with the R I double A...they'll treat you like the evil, hardbitten criminal that you are") so it took a while for MPAA to fall.

clk 12:41 PM  

@Two Ponies
I would be fascinated to learn what natural gender role you think crossword puzzle construction or solving fulfills.

OISK 12:45 PM  

This very pleasant Saturday puzzle completed my first clean week in a while. No complaints from me. I have strong views about the role of gender in puzzle construction, or many other areas where women are underrepresented, like college football, for example, but this is not the place for me to air them. Wish we could just stick to the puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Correction: Laura darlin, not Lena darlin, on the write-up bullets praise. Real sorry.
Lame excuse, PARTONE: mask drooped down into my eyes.

Actually, the whole write-up was real upbeat and excellent. Hope @RP can get his computer to kick in, eventually -- but fun to have Laurasorceress around, while he's doin the necessary re-solderin work.


clk 12:51 PM  

RONWEASLEY was a total gimme for this member of the >50 set. I spent scores of happy hours reading and listening to the Harry Potter books with my kids. To me, they are a way more significant part of our shared culture than virtually any opera and thus are totally fair game.

Anoa Bob 12:55 PM  

At the risk of stirring up a vituperative fire-storm, let me address he timely issue raised by @Wm. C. @10:13.

One of the main requirements for growing a healthy, thriving HOUSE PLANT is maintaining proper humidity. Many of them need a higher humidity than is typically found indoors, especially in winter when heaters can make humidity extremely low. Having a "mister" handy is a good way to deal with this.

Bonus tip: Use distilled water in your mister and when watering your HOUSE PLANT. Your welcome.

Joe Bleaux 1:16 PM  

An excellent Saturday puzzle, as Robyn Weintraub indeed brings in the hat trick. From DEEPFREEZE in the NW to ACROBATICS in the SE, the long crosses made for a relatively easy solve. Writeovers: COMFORT for console, and (keeping me from knowing my DNF til I read comments) TILE for tire. @EllenS. Please remember that many (wish it were all) of us old straight white guys conscientiously do our best to always give women a fair shake, which is all you've really ever asked for. Sexism is as repugnant as racism (and ageism will get your ass woke too, trust me).

Black Sun 1:23 PM  

@ Aketi, We bow to your worldly wisdom, your filibustering skill, and your balls bigger than your husbands. If that chip on your shoulder gets any bigger you will need a back brace.

joannamauselina 1:26 PM  


Aketi 2:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Exactly. Fairness is measured by the opportunity to do something, and since there's no evidence the NYT discriminates against female puzzle constructors, what's the fuss?

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Sorry, but your problems are laughably minute compared to the problems most people in most societies have had to confront. Quit whining and do something someone else will want to pay you for. You have more opportunity in this country than most. and no one owes you a damned thing.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

We need more 60-year-old women constructors. Preferably, women who have never constructed a puzzle because they just didn't have the urge. Also, who shop at places like Talbots, in the petite section, which is about the only place in Northern California where you can get decent, age-appropriate work clothes, because everyone caters to the young and tall. So, more older, short, female constructors. Just like me.

Happy Pencil 2:50 PM  

Honestly, all Laura is talking about is doing something to get more women interested in puzzle construction. Guess what? More people constructing and a greater diversity of voices WILL result in better puzzles and increase the pleasure we all get from them. Why on earth would anyone who actually likes crossword puzzles object to that?

Two Ponies 3:01 PM  

It seems that many of us agree with the notion that I (9:22) and others expressed. If puzzles, college applications, and other such things were judged on their own merits without knowledge or bias we might find people situated where they belong with good reason.
Quotas would have no reason to exist.
Of course, then we would have to find some other non-puzzle topic to fight about. Oops, I mean discuss.
Three and out.

Frayed Knot 3:05 PM  

DNF in the SE
- had no idea who RON WEASLEY is/was
- didn't make the connection from 'Cheesy Fare' to BMOVIE, or Pirates to MPAA
- and I still don't get the connection between Advantage and AVAIL

Good puzzle otherwise

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

There will always be bias and discrimination. Always. It's hard wired into the brain. Unfortunately. Sad but true. We all think we are right about everything. Soon it won't matter regardless, as Jong Il and STrump will fire nukes at each other. Adolescent assholes.

Aketi 3:25 PM  

Shortening my too length post.

@Malsdemere, you said it better, except that I'd add that there is an amazing degree of overlap in skills across genders. So much so that their roles are cirmcumscribed to a greater degree by the roles imposed by culture than by the real biological differences. You can see this more dramatically when two cultures assign different roles to different genders. So women can effectively dominate the economic market one area of Africa, yet be restricted from even setting foot in the market in another area where they are not allowed to leave the family compound. Men in one can wear makeup to beatify themselves to be selected by women in one part of the world and wear uniform suits in another. I still remember when women weren't allowed to run marathons and look at what we have learned female athletes can do once that misguided notion was proven wrong.

One way to eliminate some types of bias is to have name-blind reviews. It would help newbies who might not be as favored as those who are established names and those who have names that are strongly gendered or associated with particular ethnicities. That would eliminate the implicit or explicit that has been proven to occur when the same manuscripts os resumes are submitted with names associated with different genders or ethnicities. It won't address the fact that there may different preferences in puzzle content.

@Black Sun, ROFL you did nail me on the fillibustering, but not the balls. My shoulder is just fine, it's that a judge once rewarded my fillibustering tactics when I argued my way out of a parking ticket I didn't deserve. I have no balls, never wanted them, and am useless at all ball sports. My husband is macho enough to not have to prove it. Nevertheless, he can throw footballs with amazing accuracy and distance despite never having played the sport. His balls are just fine.

Sandra Mann 4:13 PM  

Could someone tell me why the reviewer shades in one word of the puzzle? And in this case has two colors?? I’ve been looking at these reviews for quite a while and can’t figure it out unless it’s the first or last word the reviewer put in.

kitshef 4:33 PM  

A Public Service Announcement:

If you have ever wondered about the word '**gruntz**' at the end of many of Masked & Anonymous's posts (or even if you haven't), it links to tricky 7x7 grid mini-puzzles that are delightful. It takes a bit to get used to the style - I don't think I finished a single one of the first twenty I tried - but over time you'll adapt and go from staring at a blank grid to having a blast.

Joel Fass 4:39 PM  

(Disclosure: I DID cheat, but only after getting most of it---scout's honor)

I found this one manageable, as Saturday puzzles go. Lower RH corner was pretty easy, but as a clue 'cheesy fare' did not knock me out. Never would have thought 'B movie' in this life. And I know nothing of anything by Rowling, so I worked around 'Redhead of Hogwarts'.

The 'gimmes' were a big help ('breeze', Tony winner Neuwirth, 'common URL ending' et. al. top LH corner kicked my ass, though, hence the eventual peeking...

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

@ Aketi

Could you repeat that?

Joseph Michael 5:03 PM  

Thank you, Robyn, for another great puzzle and Laura, for another entertaining review.

The misdirection in the cluing was outstanding and the entries were rich, solid, and fresh. Even OREO had an interesting clue.

But damn you, RON WEASLEY. for bringing the dreaded world of Harry Potter into the grid. Especially crossing MPAA. It's mostly because of you I had a DNF.

Time to head for the DINETTE and eat another BOOVIE.

burtonkd 5:39 PM  

@ sandra, I think there is something in the way the software highlights the clue the solver is working on that transfers onto the blog post. I remember it being explained, maybe in the FAQs.

Arden 6:08 PM  

A natick at bmovie and mpaa. Otherwise easy.

Norm 7:38 PM  

@Sandra Mann: The shading is random. The reviewer is solving with AcrossLite or possibly some other app, and the app highlights the current word and space. The colors are per the user's options.

I think we need a rule that the reviewer needs to return to the exact middle of the grid before taking the screen show in order to satisfy my OCD.

Does anyone else think that there were an inordinate bunch of whiners today? Y'all are gonna make me start voting with @evil doug. [Shudders]

Abu Afakski 9:06 PM  

Perhaps we can get James Damore to explain why there are so few female constructors

Abu Afakski 9:07 PM  

Maybe it just hit your sweetspot

Sandra Mann 9:56 PM  


Sandra Mann 9:56 PM  


Jofried 10:38 PM  

I really enjoyed the puzzle and finished much faster than usual. As for the lack of women constructors...I'd love to do it but I have no idea how and no clue where to start!

jae 11:27 PM  

If anyone is craving a tough weekend puzzle, try this week's Matt Gaffney meta "Long May You Rule!" And by tough I mean the puzzle and the meta.

Dawn 12:54 AM  

It's the last word entered.

Dawn 1:02 AM  

Laura, thanks for encouraging more women to construct puzzles. I expect it'd introduce some fresh fill.

This was an easy but enjoyable Saturday, although it took me forever to see BMOVIE. Kept trying to think of exotic dishes with cheese. :-/

Anonymous 2:41 AM  

Wow, let's just get more women puzzle constructors! Needed, and more people of color constructing puzzles.

Why should anybody object to that? It's a no-brainer. Broadening the field is a good thing here as in everything.

I don't know why there aren't more puzzles constructed by women, but issue a call for more women to send in puzzles, and go from there. If that happens and there are still a small percentage of women constructors, then a problem has to be solved.

And, by the way, -- NO! You wouldn't rather be tarred and feathered than construct a puzzle? Any idea how hard it is to get tar off your skin? And how excruciating it is?

Nancy 8:59 AM  

A wee joke, @Kathy D.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

So wee it's twee.

bmpercy 12:32 PM  

Confused. Does anyone think his crossword experience would decline if there were more constructed by women? By the thread, I assume those objecting to Laura and @Chance would be utterly indifferent, because you wouldn't be discouraging women from trying, would you? Laura and @Chance don't need (nor maybe even intend) to change your mind but should feel free to express a 'construct'ive opinion. Encouraging more bright people to attempt construction sounds great to me. I'd add young people to the population who should be encouraged, but otherwise might be intimidated.

bmpercy 12:36 PM  

Wow I misread and though I'd gotten OlEO correct and wondered how TIlE balded over time. Thanks for setting me straight. By the way, is this the kbehroozi I might know from the farm?

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spacecraft 10:47 AM  

Re the issue that has everybody squawking: I don't know why male constructors outnumber the GIRLs, nor does that fact keep me up nights. Let's please just not install a QUOTA!

To the puzz. Thanks be to BEBE, BEHAR and most of all RONWEASLEY for being the shoehorn into this toughie. I almost foundered without even getting out of the SW until BMOVIE occurred. Knowing BEBE and MPAA were both incontrovertibly right, I was really hung up on 48-across. Thinking food with that "cheesy" clue, I couldn't for a while imagine what BM____ could be.

Yeah, PANEs and SASHes...what, no SILL? The fact that windows have JAMBs as well as doors may be obvious to a handyman; for the rest of us not so much. This was but one example of a pretty severe level of cluing--though it IS Saturday, after all. Nothing blatantly unfair; the closest was that "perch" clue for ROE (groan!). Needless to say, with the unfortunate HADUP, the NW again proved to be most resistant--and last to go in.

One writeover at idEalSPOT before SWEETSPOT. Very solid puzzle with a lot of conversational fill (AREYOUDONE, ITFIGURES) and a big triumph factor. Some iffy DOD candidates: BETSY? Maybe Ross, NOT DeVos. BEBE? A fun actress--sadly being written (apparently) out of the "Madam Secretary" How about "Fame"'s IRENE Cara? Sold. Birdie. The eagle putt lips out thanks to 1-down.

Burma Shave 11:14 AM  


With my PAWPRINTS on the SWEETSPOT NOTONCE did she speak,
on the SOFA in COMFORT I'll SEEIF she'll AVAIL me my streak,


rondo 11:49 AM  

This puz caused just a little PANE. When the real PANE showed up the first PANE I had became sAsh, until I could JAMB in the correct answer, bit of an inkfest. As mentioned above, I associate JAMBs with doors, but it's legit. Also a small inkfest in the NW where my simpletons were do__s, waiting to see if it was dopes or dolts or dodos, NOTONCE expecting GEESE. TSK.

In cleaning out my mother's house I came across old letters from my H.S. German Club PENPAL Barbara. DAS ist recht! What's the chance if tried to respond all these years later? Might try it.

I live on a CORNERLOT. Never considered it "coveted". Extra traffic *and* assessments.

After a rant is the only time I want to hear AREYOUDONE.

Always had a thing for yeah BEBE Neuwirth. PITY she's left Madam Secretary.

Just under a half-hour of enjoyment at the end of the WEEK. YIPPEE!

BS2 12:03 PM  


I DIGESTED the question, "To the POINT - just PARTONE."


Unknown 1:16 PM  

Laura's commentary was better than the puzzle.

Diana, LIW 1:36 PM  

The Joy of TV and H Potter Natick gave me my dnf today. ITFIGURES

Don't know how I remembered Old BETSY.

3 fun days in a row with puzzles that magically fill in.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 1:53 PM  

This easy Saturday puzzle may have been misplaced. Could have been yesterday's maybe, with yesterday's today.

It's a smooth one, but not exciting. Didn't say "YIPPEE" at the finish, but was glad to finish without agonizing over it, which I often do on a Saturday.

Was glad to see the the two Neuwirths, IRENE and BEBE, the latter known from her TV sitcom ("Fraser"?), the former otherwise unknown except for helpful crosses. A couple of other helpful pairs were BMOVIE/MPAA, and HIGHSCORES adjoining PSAT.

Long acrosses in both the NW and SE made short work of those corners.

A TILE gets "bald over time"? Thought they were pretty bald to begin with.

leftcoastTAM 1:59 PM  

Oops! TIRE/OREO not TILE/OREO. Got a little complacent there. Now a bit red-faced.

rainforest 2:10 PM  

Very nice Saturday puzzle with great entries and devilish cluing. Not knowing the Hogwarts guy or the jewellery woman provided a challenge for me, but the surrounding answers were fair.


I was quite proud of myself to remember BETSY as Davy Crockett's rifle. I mean, that was over 60 years ago. Speaking of that name - other than the president, is there anyone in the White House more incompetent that the Education Secretary? Words fail me.

The NW was the toughest for me, since I wanted something like "skill levels" for 1A, but beaverish gnawing away finally had me succeed.

Lotsa fun today, and this week, in fact.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

From Syndication Land:
I thought this puzzle was much easier than yesterday's. Yesterday it wasn't my first thought or second thought that was right...I had to go to my third thought to get the answer. Today practically filled itself in!
I kept doubting myself, thinking "It's Saturday! There is no way my first thought is right!"

Earlier in the blog, the discussion is about wannabe constructors. I have always wanted to construct crossword puzzles. For the longest time I couldn't find the software made for a Mac. Finally, last year I found an app from the Apple app store for the iPad. It is called Crossword Maker for Cruciverbalists. Anyone thinking of trying their hand at construction should try it...

centralscrewtinizer 7:28 PM  

Some cross words on the blog, heh. Pretty clear women get the shaft much of the time in many areas of life.
To say it is because of their mothering duties is stupid beyond belief. If they do happen to have kids it is because of a lack of parenting and housekeeping help from the other quarter rather than them having 'duties' that holds them back.
I understand why men don't get it, but I hate when women don't get it. Women holding back women is just too weird.

crabby 9:31 PM  

Check any study from the last 50 years. For the most part, men will have more interest in doing (constructing) it, women will have more interest in talking about it. The data is there, and you know it. It's no secret and there has not been a sea change in those 50 years.

thefogman 10:58 PM  

Challenging for me, but I did it.

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