Final Trojan king / SAT 9-30-17 / Island after which lizard is named / Secondary personas in role-playing game lingo / Substance obeying Boyle's Law / Brand of machine that turns change into cash vouchers / Flower whose name is Greek for flame

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: RIJKSMUSEUM (49A: Home of Rembrandt's "The Night Watch") —
The Rijksmuseum (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɛiksmyˌzeːjʏm]; English: National Museum) is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. (wikipedia)
• • •

RIJKSMUSEUM is a perfectly good answer. Looks great in the grid. How. Ever. With a proper noun like that, especially one that is not LOUVRE / PRADO / MOMA-famous, you have to watch the crosses. Now the crosses on the MUSEUM part, maybe you can be less careful about, because if you get just part of MUSEUM, the rest is inferrable. But the crosses on the *&$^% Dutch part better be very fair, very clear. I now call your attention to 46D: Time of surrender in '45. And I now call your attention to the definition of V*E* DAY (per wikipedia):

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces.

I then call your attention to the fact that that definition has both "1945" and "surrender" in it. And then I rest my case, my case being "man you people really don't take design as seriously as the self-styled Best Puzzle in the World should." I mean, yes, the "J" is Dutchier-looking, I guess, but ... that is a stupid thing to have to go on. Again, the museum's name isn't the problem. The terrible vague clue on VJ DAY is. Proper nouns (esp. foreign ones, esp. not-universally-famous ones) require special editorial attention in the crosses. Failure to give such attention here meant that my solving experience went from mostly delighted (it's a very nice grid) to eye-rollingly disappointed yet again.

God bless NPR's LAKSHMI Singh, the only LAKSHMI I know (32A: Hindu goddess of prosperity). I didn't know that was a goddess's name, but I had the LAK-, and I've heard Ms. Singh say her name so many times over the years, that I figured it was worth a shot; and it was. I always think it's KIMONO Dragon (41D: Island after which a lizard is named), so between that and the odd MAYBES, I had a small amount of trouble getting down into the SW corner. I have no idea how I remembered the term IDEAL GAS. Residual chemistry knowledge somewhere in my brain, I guess. Thought I really gunked things up at first in the NE when I had PHS- at the beginning of 6A: 7 is in the middle of it. I'd had the PH- and thought it was going to have something to do with a PHONE (the keypad, maybe(s)???). But the "S" was undeniable and I quickly realized "ah, PH SCALE." Nice, tricky consonant pile-up. Hardest part for me was that SE corner (that museum!). I had to dive into that corner with zero help from crosses (always daunting). But I got ARTE quickly (47A: Musica o danza) and guessed UBER (though LYFT also seemed possible) (52D: 9-Down [i.e. CAB] alternative), and then things really broke open with the obvious 55A: San Luis ___ (OBISPO). Cal Poly San Luis OBISPO was on my daughter's potential college application list for a while. Plus I grew up in CA so I just know the place. So the SE corner worked itself out. Then I was left to deal with the stupid VE/VJ DAY problem. So I'll leave you there as well. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hartley70 7:53 AM  

This Saturday felt difficult while I was in the middle of solving, but I see my time was faster than usual and I wasn't tempted to cheat. That must mean it was easy.

I was able to pop RIJKSMUSEUM in immediately because of a wonderful day exploring it's treasures in 1972. That long answer was a gift from the constructors.

MAMABIRD seemed too simple an answer. IDEALGAS was difficult for me because I have never bothered to figure out what makes a gas noble, and now I learn there are IDEAL ones. Is there a pedestal in the vicinity?GOBLONDE was classic misdirection and that kind of clue is just right in my book. Those spaces were the last I filled in.

LAKSHMI was a letter by letter guess after LAK but it reminded me of the lovely Padma, a cooking judge and former wife of Salmon Rushdie. They seemed like such an unusual pairing that it's hard to forget even years later.

There was lots of zip here and I enjoyed our time together.

three of clubs 7:56 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle; guess I was paying attention in history class. I've seen the Night Museum a few times but did have a moment's pause when REICH would not fit. It would be nice if dem furriners would get their languages straight. Don't get me started about Lakshmi (who actually holds an honoured spot in my heart).

evil doug 8:05 AM  

I got V-J Day right away. Since D-Day was in 1944, it just seemed right. Huh. Learned something. Plus I've seen Rijks before. Fair cross here.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cal students. They've messed up that wonderful group of institutions beyond recognition. With the various, um, "restrictions", could she even get in anymore despite great grades and test scores? Look for a school in flyover country, sweetie, where college is still college most of the time....

erin 8:11 AM  

Was wondering was ED GEIN had to do with parallel parking until I realised it was EDGE IN...

sf27shirley 8:13 AM  

I don't get COSPLAY

puzzlehoarder 8:13 AM  

It's Saturday and we're still on the bunny hill. This wasn't an out and out early week but I only managed to squeeze out an extra three minutes over yesterday's time.

If this had been a complete early week solve I'd have gotten VARIETAL off of VOWED immediately. However with easy pickings like DERN and EDDAS there wasn't much difference.

With LAKSHMI and a couple of other issues I slowed down getting into the middle and briefly thought this might turn into something of a Saturday. However COINSTAR was a gimmie and I was off and running again.

That was what made this puzzle so easy. Any problem was quickly circumvented and the back filling required little effort.

My last step was changing VEDAY to VJDAY. The E makes sense for the pronunciation but once I had it written in it didn't look right.

Z 8:16 AM  

Popped RIJKSMUSEUM right in last night. It wasn’t until @Evan Birnholz’s tweet showed up on my “In Case You Missed It” timeline this morning that I stopped to consider the plausibility of “rieks” - Yep, looks plenty plausible as a Dutch word. Having grown up in a place where 1830’s Dutch culture is on full display every spring that “ieks” combo looks no less dutchy than the “ijks” combo. I guess you could argue that it is Saturday and that the RIJKSMUSEUM is at least on the Uffizi level of fame, but coin flip crossings are never my favorites.

Loren Muse Smith 8:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 8:19 AM  

My experience of parallel parking is not "edge in". It is more like pull forward, back up, try to remember when to cut the wheel, realize you cut it to late, pull back out, try again with the same result, drive around the block and find a place where you don't have to parallel park! I did not know the museum but the letter J seemed to make much more sense as I knew it was some kind of Dutch name. The letter K gave me a bit of trouble and was the last letter I managed to put in. G Major fooled me again as I don't typically think of that as a setting. I was searching for some Austrian/German city. I never heard of beerbrat but it was inferable from the crosses. I found this moderately challenging.

Loren Muse Smith 8:22 AM  

Rex – I got LAKSHMI for the same NPR reason. Hah.

I agree with ED – VJ DAY went straight in, no prob. So the RIJKS part of the museum was crossed fairly for me, too.

With that O on place, I put in “astor” -yeah, yeah, not a flower - for the Greek flame (hi, Minas. Ahem. Ok, he’s Cypriot but still.) Never recovered from that mistake. Ahem. So I had Gaston “LeTour” crossing a perfectly fitting “mamacita” for MAMA BIRD. 12D was a stupid “enait” and that certain ride was “cac.” I just forgot to go back and straighten all that out because

without PHLOX, I had no way of getting PRIAM and HARRY. I had “Ariam” and “sarry.” Since I still learn words here that surprise me, well… sigh.

First thought for 44A was FAT farm, but Mary Lou and Jeff are too kind and decent to do that to us.

Kept trying to fit in iterations of Lady Di for the Vogue cover person.

IDEAL GAS is, arguably, an oxymoron.

So here’s the thing about parallel parking for someone like me who’s never driven a lot in a city. If the circumstance warrants me considering parallel parking, several things are at play:

1. I’m late for whatever it is I’m going to. Otherwise, I’d be parking three miles away and hoofing it. I own Naots and know how to abuse them.

2. This thing I’m going to is wildly popular, so there are tons of people like me looking to park.

3. A spot opens up ahead of me, but I have cars behind me scouring the streets for parking, too. All these drives can parallel park just fine.

4. Said spot is on the main strip right in front of a tony little bistro with outside tables where three &%$# people can now take a little breather from their insufferable discussion of &%$# Rembrandts in the &%$# Rijksmuseum to casually sip their %$##@ varietals as they watch me try to edge in.

5. After they enjoy the spectacle that is my attempt to edge in a few times, they return to their discussion …so anyway, I was saying that I think the genius of this work is his utter mastery of sunlight and shade. I read somewhere that Rembrandt was weary of all the complaints that his military masterpieces lacked women so he scrambled to add that little girl at the last minute…

PS – last time I tried to parallel park, I was in Ford Excursion. So I get points for chutzpah.

Mary Lou, Jeff – “astor” was my death blow. If I had been more patient, I could have finished. Fair crosses. This dnf's on me.

Smitty 8:28 AM  

BACK in SLIP in EASE in....all before EDGE in

Robso 8:35 AM  

So what you're saying is that RIEMS is not a Dutch city and STAMES isn't even a word? This played at least medium for me.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

sf27shirley said...
I don't get COSPLAY

Google it

QuasiMojo 8:37 AM  

If I hadn't immediately put in WINE SNOB instead of RACK I would have been done very quickly, but that one held me up for a while. I also had ICE ALGAS instead of IDEAL GAS. One of my odder Casco moments. Some chewy good stuff in here today. I liked I DARE SAY and CENTUPLE. RIJKSMUSEUM seems pretty obvious to me, as was VJ DAY. There are other things to gripe about so Rex's disdain for that clue made me shake my head. @Erin, very funny and creepy re ED GEIN. Not a subject for COS PLAY. Googling KATE MOSS gave me 33 million results. Now, that is celebrity worthy of a crossword mention rather than a lot of the one-note wonders, TV has-beens, and pop wannabes we've been getting lately.

More Whit 8:41 AM  

A longer than typical Saturday solve with some great "ahas" like PHscale and GMajor. I also agree that VE/VJ Day was a bust, moreso than lesser known museums and goddesses (which can be inferred from crosses). Share the slight puzzlement over cosplay...something to do with Cosby? Hope that made someone laugh if I'm wrong!! At any rate, enjoyable solve and challenging in several places.

Twangster 8:44 AM  

Did anyone else have this experience?

I went with VEDAY, TOLL, and STAGES, all of which seemed plausible (tolls in Monopoly and stages in the Tour de France). This left me with TIEGSMUSEUM, which seemed implausible, but is a real thing!

So I kept going through the grid unable to figure out where my error was.

More Whit 8:45 AM  

Googled it = contraction of costume play.

GHarris 8:52 AM  

I knew Rijksmuseum but not the correct spelling. I had VE Day first and that screwed me up for quite a while. Other crosses were unknown, like cosplay, so no help there. Overall, difficult for me; had to resort to check puzzle function several times. That told me what I had wrong. I then worked out the correct answers for myself. I consider that a lesser degree of cheating. So felt pretty good when my iPad finally congratulated me.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

I, as a Rhode Islander, immediately popped in VJ Day. We are the only state that still celebrates this every August. The state changed the name to Victory Day some years ago, but everyone around here still refers to the original name.

The Ideal Gas Law has been in the public consciousness the past few years as the scientific proof that temperature fluctuation was the only cause of the change in air pressure inside Tom Brady's footballs.

Glimmerglass 9:08 AM  

Hand up for VE Day and WTFMuseum. Otherwise, an excellent puzzle, maybe, at last, a bit easier than the usual Saturday, but interesting.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

My brain said LAKSHMA, which didn't seem right. So I googled it... and learned a few new things about what people are doing to their anatomy.

Mohair Sam 9:13 AM  

Today we learned that the dreaded KOMOta lizard is actually a KOMODO lizard, thank you crosses. We learned again that @Rex really gets pissed when something isn't easy for him (RIJKSMUSEUM). And we learned that we can make something basically simple into something difficult - VARIETAs (naticked there).

Really nice medium Saturday, clean as can be - excellent test. Great misdirect for GOBLONDE, wish it wasn't question marked. I was looking for something more specific than MAGIC at 45D. I'll bet half of us opened with the gimme OBAMAERA. Hand up for "Igor" before INGA, I can't be alone in that. KATEMOSS is drowned by Edina and Patsy in the "Absolutely Fabulous" flick - a great movie moment.

What a Saturday should be Mary Lou and Jeff, thanks.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

January 2017 = VUSA Day.

Two Ponies 9:16 AM  

This was my kind of puzzle. Pleasant mix of subjects from mama bird to the Rijks. A Saturday that makes me think without pulling out my hair or rearranging the furniture ala @ M&A feels good.

Rex's thought about Komodo has me envisioning a lizard in a silk dress.

My sympathy to you @LMS on the parking. I drive an Expedition that I refer to as my red school bus.

I'll never understand the reasoning behind making Nebraska. Perhaps Hollywood is so far removed from "fly over country" that a chronicle of everyday life seems exotic. It reminded me of so many people I grew up knowing that any notion of being exotic was sadly laughable.

In the area of Pt. Reyes I finally achieved was I thought was impossible. I had my fill of oysters!

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I had RIeKSMUSEUM/VeDAY, too. Damn. Maybe that's because I'm not a museum-loving or museum-attending person. There. I've said it.

The third in a row Much-Too-Easy-For-Its-Day-of-the-Week puzzle, but this one at least had some things I liked:

Loved the answers MAMA BIRD and GET TAKEN. Liked the clues for PH SCALE; PEALS; and AIRSICK.

Learned the word COSPLAY right here -- no more than a few weeks ago. Now it's back.

Is finding your IDEAL GAS anything like meeting Mr. Right?

There seem to be too many BEER BRATS running around fraternity houses these days.

Final question. What shall I do with all my unused brain power, stemming from a whole week of much-too-easy puzzles? Should study Art History? Along with the names of museums in foreign lands?

George Barany 9:32 AM  

@Mary Lou Guizzo and @Jeff Chen give us a little chemistry today, with the pH SCALE and IDEAL GAS law (BTW, @Hartley70, the adjective "noble" refers to the gas's lack of reactivity whereas "ideal" refers to its physical properties), and reprise KMART for the second time this week.

Can anyone educate me as to whether ALTS (see how the clue for 23-down was worded) are related to COSPLAY? @erin (8:11 AM), you had me in stitches with your reparsing of EDGEIN as the infamous murderer deemed not that long ago by @Rex as inappropriate fill. The SCAB and PEALS clues were rather funny, whereas AIRSICK made me feel sorry for anyone solving this puzzle while taking an early morning flight and contemplating breakfast.

Pete 9:35 AM  

I threw down LAKSHMI for the exact same reason that everyone who throw down LAKSHMI did, but had to wonder why a Sikh was named after a Hindu Goddess.

I would love to hear LMS's observers revising their prior discussion of The Night Watch's use of light and shade after its cleaning, and apologizing for their pomposity.

If you own an Expedition you have no excuse for not parking 3 miles away from where you're going.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Liz Phipps Soeiro.

RooMonster 9:37 AM  

Hey All !
Those darn Dutch! Who the heck was RIJK, and why is there a MUSEUM named after him? :-) Had the E there, after a lengthy right brain/left brain fight over the E or J. At least with the E it's pronounceable.

At least it wasn't a one letter DNF today, the NE WINE got me. Had WINEcAsK because that's a thing, right? Leaving me with VARI_ToL and oRs for ARC. Wanted a M to get mAcS for 21A. (Reception figures?) And still haven't figured out how Plot progression = oRs! Finally saw RACK/ARC, and then the Heh at EARS.

So a relatively easy SatPuz for me, which often doesn't happen. Cracked up at @LMSs parallel parking story. It's really not that difficult, unless 1) the spot is really tight twixt the cars, 2) you're trying to do it in a Ford Excursion (Really @Loren? :-P), or 3) lots of people are watching your attempt!

For those who asked, COSPLAY is short for Costumed Role-playing, as in dressing up as your favorite Star Wars or Harry Potter character and acting out scenes from said movies. Speaking of which, Dr. PHLOX was a character on Star Trek: Enterprise.

An enjoyable Saturday romp, sometimes it's nice when the puz doesn't twist the ole brain.

I'll have a BEERBRAT with a BEER, please.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

@Anonymous 9:14
Yeah, and when you get some money from the Billionaires who get their taxes slashed, let me know. Oh, and don't forget about losing your health care.

rtkelly 9:44 AM  

Had a similar geographic mix-up with SCAR-MOAR instead of SCAB-MOAB. Didn't know MOAB, and SCAR seemed plausible, so it took me a while to second-guess that square. My wife has since schooled me on the biblical Moab so perhaps it's more fair when you take the religiousness of Utah into account.

Two Ponies 9:52 AM  

@ Pete 9:35, If you are attempting to criticize my choice of vehicles I am assuming you don't share the road on a regular basis with logging trucks, suicidal cervines, and 5 feet of snow. Wrapping myself in sturdy 4X4 metal with a deer guard is a survival technique. Driving a Prius out here might earn you the headline Bull Moose 1 Toyota 0.

pabloinnh 9:59 AM  

"Rijksmuseum" is the only word I know with an i-j-k combination and is therefore unforgettable, at least to me. Also it's a lovely museum in a lovely city.

Nancy 10:01 AM  

@Loren 8:22 and Anon 8:19 -- When the last of my three Learner's Permits was due to expire, I was inexorably headed towards being the Worst Driver on the Road. Fortunately I never took a road test or got a driver's license. And for this, all of you should thank your lucky stars. But...

The only thing I was any good at, once someone showed me how, was parallel parking. It's just like the serve in tennis. You can *groove* it. The mechanics are always exactly the same: back up straight to exactly there, turn the wheel exactly this far, make sure you're coming back at exactly this angle. There are no other cars to worry about. There is no danger of a head-on collision that can kill you or turn you into a vegetable. Parallel parking is done at about 2 mph, and it's absolutely safe. It's always the same, and it's absolutely predictable. I tend to like things that are absolutely predictable. And, FWIW, my first serve was my best tennis stroke -- for much the same reason.

Teedmn 10:02 AM  

I had a lot in common with @Rex's solve today - the guess of LAKSHMI due to my husband's membership to MPR (MN Public Radio, much of which is NPR material) and putting in VeDAY first. There, RIJKSMUSEUM saved me - I spent an afternoon there in 2013. My two friends got bored and went off for coffee but I continued to goggle at paintings by Vermeer, Whistler, Bruegel and of course, Rembrandt's "The Night Watch". That painting is enormous, taking up most of a wall. You can only go so close before you run into the gold rope and the two guards keeping the crowd back. And that's probably the only reason I was able to "see" the painting at all. The room was packed. The two photos I took of it have the backs of so many viewers' heads that they almost outnumber the people in the painting itself.

PH level was one writeover I had. And the totally made up "maybe this is a thing" STpcup for 39D's "track prize".

But my usual Saturday average time is 30 minutes and today I came in at 14:27, so pretty easy. I'm guessing the VJDAY clue was deliberately left vague in order to toughen the puzzle up a tad so for @Rex to complain about it seems ridiculous. If only a bunch more clues had been tougher because it is a very nice, clean themeless puzzle but I'm with @Nancy on looking for somewhere to use my extra puzzling brain power.

Thanks, MLG and JC. This was a great puzzle.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Roo Monster: "Rijk" is the Dutch equivalent of the German word "Reich" -- in other words, it's a State Museum, not a museum named after someone named Rijk. Many Dutch words are basically German words spelled differently, because they have a different phonetic alphabet. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, I am not able to understand Rex Parker's and others' complaints about VE day versus VJ Day. The point is that both answers are equally valid: one has to keep that in mind before being sure of which one will fit. Aren't Saturday puzzles supposed to make you think a little, instead of rushing to "solve" in record time? To me that's the pleasure of the puzzle: keep an open mind as to verbal possibilities and see where the other answers lead.

In short: a really strong puzzle!

Stanley Hudson 10:05 AM  

@evil doug, I've taught at a California university for nearly 30 years and have no idea WTF you're referring to when you mention "restrictions."

mathgent 10:08 AM  

Not easy for me. Crunchy and enjoyable.

I fooled around online and learned something about the PH scale. It's a logarithmic scale going from 0 to 14, so 7 is indeed the middle. It is based on the amount of hydrogen ions in the substance. Plain water measures 7.0 with acidy stuff less than 7 (lemon juice 2.3) and alkaline stuff more than 7 (baking soda 9.0).

Does anyone remember the classic Bob and Ray routine about the Komodo Dragon?

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

RIJK - Dutch for "the state" / "the regime", cognate of German "Reich" and English "reign." Pronounced like the word "rake." Rijksmuseum = State Museum / National Museum.
RIEK - Dutch for "smell bad" / "reek" - let's not visit the "rieksmuseum."

Teedmn 10:17 AM  

Speaking of Prii and parallel parking (at least @Two Ponies mentioned a Prius), is it just me (and my husband) or are they really hard to parallel park? My husband can park his Ford Ranger in a spot made for a VW Bug with nary a bumper touch, and I always considered myself at least an adequate parallel parker but since we bought the Prius, we both seem to need multiple attempts before calling it a park.

Could it be due to the fact that it is front-wheel drive? It is the first car we've owned with front-wheel drive. Anyone with any expertise on the subject?

Stuart Showalter 10:34 AM  

Wait! Is Rex saying there was no Japanese surrender in 1945?? "The terrible vague clue on VJ Day." I guess the self-styled King of Crosswords doesn't know his history. He's "eye-rollingly disappointed," but I'm not. He's lived down to expectations once again, the whiney little bitch.

Sleeping Giant 10:48 AM  

46. Time of surrender in '45 : VJDAY

D-Day - June 6, 1944

V-E Day - May 8, 1945

V-J Day - September 2, 1945

@Stuart - "...(w)hiney little bitch" is more a reflection on you than its intended target.

BarbieBarbie 10:52 AM  

@Evil, don't mix up the California State University system with the University of California. Dilutes your point.

@Teedmn, interesting question. The only difference I can think of is that a FWD car should be able oet into a tighter spot since the rear wheels don't need to move to reposition the car. Maybe it's something about the Prius design, like a bad steering ratio or turning radius?

Easy puzzle for a Saturday. Had to leave PEAL blank until I could choose between that and RING. Enjoyed PHSCALE and lots of the others. I'm not sure why it was easy. It should have been a Friday.

Buggy Bunny 10:53 AM  

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was IN Vienna. everybody knows that.

evil doug 10:59 AM  


I said Cal, not Cal State. Berkeley, et al. A sidestep from CSSLO....

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

I assumed the commenter who said he/she didn't get COSPLAY just didn't empathize with those who partake in it!

Chris 11:17 AM  

Lived in Chicago where I (a) learned to parallel park like a boss and (b) studied with famous India scholars who had just published a book titled "In pursuit of Lakshmi."
Fun puzzle. Liked the GOBLONDE clue. NW was the last to fall for me. Couldn't see RUNDRY.

The Big Salad 11:18 AM  

Had a clean puzzle, but another one where a handful of clues nearly doubled my time. NE gave me some fits as I had ENDed first and had a one-track mind on "Go up against" (fend? feud?). MOI fell in but a clue I didn't really get. Somehow pulled RIJKS out to wrap things up.

On a down note, another gratuitous Obama reference when he's not even in office and DJT is Rex's and our president. It's like the NYT doesn't even know or respect its solving base.

Alison 11:27 AM  

G major was my last answer and it made me grin😄 Thanks for a great Saturday puzzle, Jeff and Mary Lou

Carola 11:30 AM  

Lovely puzzle. I found it easy, perhaps because of serendipitous crosses that led so nicely from one entry to another, when one letter is enough to trigger the next right answer. Of course, it helped that I happened to know LAKSHMI (NPR), COINSTAR (previous puzzle), and RIJKSMUSEUM (visits). Speaking of which, @Teedmn, I was lucky to be there earlier this month on a morning when there were few people in the spectacular gallery of masterpieces; I was able to spend wonderful moments alone in the alcove with Rembrandt and "The Jewish Bride."

@Rex, I loved you KiMonO dragon - geisha virago?

JC66 11:51 AM  

Seeing KOMODO dragon immediately brought to mind the great film "The Freshman" starring Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick and Bruno Kirby. Highly recommended.

@Anonymous 9:14

You don't realize how hilarious your post is, do you?

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

You asshole. Half the country thinks as anonymous 9:14. Half feel as you and Rex. What's funny is your lack of perspective.

GILL I. 11:56 AM  

Stop, go..Stop, go. Good grief. The Go's were fun - really fun. The stops, not so much. Not knowing PH SCALE held me upstairs. Went on down to @Loren's ASTOR. OK, so I finally got PHLOX because I knew PRIAM so it had to start with a P. Yup.
Damn the RIJKS MUSEUM. There was no way I was going to change V[E}DAY. Nope, not on my dime. But damn, I know all of Rembrandt's work. I know he's Dutch, damn it. I know that damn MUSEUM but I was blocked because I couldn't see the damn ROLL nor the damn track prize STAKES which makes no damn sense to me.
I EDGE IN with ease as I parallel park. I'm a whiz at it. First learned to zip into any parking space driving my SEAT 600. Came to the States and found out about one-way streets and parking on the left side. Now THAT takes a different set of brain cells. We have a Ford Taurus and I can't park that MAMA.
So a DNF for MOI. That's OK because I loved so many entries. COIN STAR memories and the look on my son's face as he plunked in all the coins he saved up from his odd jobs. He'd immediately spend the money on chocolate.
@old timer from yesterday:
Yes, I was blown away by Garcia Lorca. He was a half semester of my life at the University of Madrid. The first thing I read was his Romancero gitano collection. I never really liked poetry but his words seemed to talk to me in a language I understood. I really fell in love with his plays, though... Bloodwedding and Yerma were my two favorites.
I was never really into PABLO NERUDA because, unlike Lorca, I didn't understand him. Yes, I visited his La Chascona in Santiago, Chile. I also saw Lorca's house in Granada. I'll take Granada.
I've eaten fish in thousands of places. If you have a restaurant within 50 miles of a port, I will order it. But NEVER and I mean NEVER have I had such wonderful fish as in Chile. I would, if I could, eat it for breakfast. I still can taste the Bass and that was over 40 years ago. When I win the lottery, I'm going to buy a house in Pucon... Yes, we have lots in common, except I was never a swim Dad...just a good MAMA.

mmorgan 12:00 PM  

VJDAY was a gimme -- I'm from RI, the only state that still celebrates it -- but the K was a total mystery to me.

Bob Mills 12:01 PM  

Why no comment on VARIETAL? What is that?

JC66 12:06 PM  

@Anonymous 11:54

Hint: January isn't a day.

WillGH 12:06 PM  

I was so sure the king of Troy was Prius... must have been because I was working on it while getting my car serviced.

Liked the mini themes with varietal/wine rack and cab/uber. And bizarrely I got Rijksmuseum with a one letter cross. Missed it last time we were in Amsterdam. Went to the Van Gogh
Museum instead. (Pretty awesome). The lines are so long we could only do one at a time.

David Schinnerer 12:07 PM  

Can you imagine the sharpe household at birthdays/Holidays?? “Honey, such a lovely, thoughtful gift, you must have spent hours thinking of what to get me. It’s perfect...except...”

I thought this was easy for a Saturday...but any Saturday I can finish is a happy Saturday for me. Or maybe i’m just getting better. Had “inert” before “ideal”, but the downs fixed that. Also, VJ Day was my only thought, but had to wait for the rest of the fill. Had a WTH moment (two, actually) at PHS(cale) and GM(ajor), but enjoyed figuring it out.

Again, great thanks to the constructors who took the time to give me this gift of mental diversion. I will accept the gift without pointing out any (perceived, by one) flaws.

Adam 12:07 PM  

Having to suffer through more sports clues than I care to recall, I think all of this RIJKSMUSEUM anxiety might simply exemplify the fact that the vast majority of constructors are straight white men, who in turn don't think twice about riddling a grid with sports arcana that many others haven't a clue about.

The RIJKSMUSEUM is one of the most famous museums in the world -- try to remember it the next time we're asked to conjure the name of a midcentury outfielder or golfer or jockey. I can assure it's far harder to pull together the name of someone you've never heard of than it is to parse the difference between an E or a J.

Buggy Bunny 12:12 PM  

@anon (one of them):
Half the country thinks as anonymous 9:14.

well, not by any survey yet published. Mao Tse Trump's True Believer Cult is about 25%. he only got the throne (and a bunch of entitled cabinet holders) because 77,900 folks in three states were gulled into thinking that a bunch of billionaires would do good for the 47%. here endeth the epistle.

Pete 12:21 PM  

@Two Ponies - You're better off facing a Semi or a Moose or deep snow in a Subaru than in an Expedition- check the crash safety ratings. The "safety factor" of the huge car is an assumption of your reptilian brain that bigger is better / stronger / safer, provably false. Detroit has known and abused that notion forever. I too live amidst suicidal cervines - I probably average 3+ dead dear in the front of my property a year, yet I've never hit a one myself - I simply pay attention, and slow down and/or stop when I see them. The people who hit them are those who think they're immune to them, people in trucks with bambi bars.

old timer 12:23 PM  

Thanks @GILL I! I think the theme of this puzzle was, "How many impossible words can we put in a Saturday puzzle?" I thought it was brilliant from top to bottom. And after all the references to our current President which -- I repeat -- sometimes seem deliberate attempts to piss off OFL, wasn't it nice to see OBAMA again?

We have no garage, If the street spaces near our house are mostly full we have to parallel-park. One result: My middle daughter who got a used car when she was 16, had to learn the art. As a result, she became Designated Parker in college, because her friends mostly did not know how.

I went to the RIJKSMUSEUM in 1991. The Night Watch was as you know, but one of half-a-dozen paintings commissioned to honor the various trades in Amsterdam, each painting by a different painter. The curators came up with the brilliant idea of hanging the Night Watch in the same room with some of the others. It became easy to understand why Rembrandt was perhaps the greatest painter of his age.

Hartley70 12:28 PM  

Thank you, @George Barany 9:32. You are a blog treasure and explained that simply and well.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Don't mistake approval rating why with whether half the country is happy, in general, with Trump as president vs HRC as president. The country is , roughly, split down the middlw. Be reasonable.

Nancy 12:42 PM  

Touche! @JC66 (12:06). Hysterical. Wish I'd thought to say that! But actually, I never even noticed the mistake, glaring as it was.

Joe Bleaux 12:56 PM  


jberg 1:04 PM  

AARGH!!! I cleverly put in GO BLOtto for 53A, and never noticed the nonsensical crosses. I didn't even notice that I had VJ tAY-- I just read it as DAY. So a big DNF for me, ina puzzle that I enjoyed a lot.

@Adam, I'm a straight white male, but I certainly knew RIJKSMUSEUM right off, and struggle with many of the sports clues. It's a matter of personal interest, I think, not gender.

Also, I DARE SAY that more Americans have been in the RIJKSMUSEUM than the Prado, though of course the latter is easier to remember, spelling-wise.

@Bob Mills, there were two comments on VARIETAL at the time you posted, but neither explained it -- it's a type of wine grape. Chardonnay and merlot are two such types; so if you but a wine labeled "merlot," it's made of the merlot grape (mostly), whereas if you buy a wine named "muscadet" it's from a particular place, which may or may not have rules about what kind of grapes it can be made of.

Ever since first seeing a COINSTAR I have continued to be amazed that people will pay money to have their coins counted for them. I regard this as further evidence that our civilization is going to pot, to the dogs, to Hell, or whatever your choice of metaphor is. As is the notion that it's OK to reply "MAYBE" when asked to R.S.V.P. (Am I supposed to make an extra dinner just in case you show up?)

This seems so obvious that I wouldn't mention it if it hadn't take me so long to figure out -- but parallel parking is a snap (or a cinch, or a breeze) if you have a powered, remote-control mirror on the passenger side of your car -- you just aim it so you can see the curb, and your'e all set.

Joe Bleaux 1:10 PM  

Let's see ... crossword or politics today? OK, then, both: I loved this puzzle, one of those whose clues are daunting but I end up solving without help. Great Saturday, thanks to JC and MLG. As for the great lefty-righty divide, this for the obviously misled side:

BarbieBarbie 1:13 PM  

Now that was pretty darn funny. I was all caught up in how VJ Day was the day Japan surrendered, but that was probably the opposite of what @Anon 9:14 meant, but how would you know if what s/he had written was witty or ignorant, going down that whole rabbit-hole and then moving on, when... @JC66 cleared it up. Kind of a metaphor for how the puzzle often works, for me anyway. Thanks Anon and JC66 both, for today's insight and good chuckle.

Johnny 1:31 PM  

I think the V_DAY RI_KSMUSEUM cross is a fair one. A world famous museum determines which world famous day is the cross. You just gotta know these things on a Saturday.

@Two Ponies 9:16AM "Nebraska" (the film) was directed by Alexander Payne, a highly acclaimed American filmmaker who is not only a native of Omaha but still lives there.

Thomaso808 1:51 PM  



Joe Dipinto 2:15 PM  

This was a ridiculously easy Saturday puzz. No prob with VJ, it never occurred to me that it would be anything else. My one goof was first putting in IGOR (pronounced "eye-gore") for the Young Frankenstein clue; then I saw that it wouldn't work next to VJ DAY, and remembered that the lovely INGA ("What knockers!!" "Oh, sank you!") was also an assistant of sorts.

Joe Dipinto 2:27 PM  

And I see MohairSam up above also mistook Teri Garr for Marty Feldman.

Hungry Mother 2:36 PM  

Got through it unscathed and out of breath. Easy Saturday I guess.

Rachel 2:48 PM  

This was easier than most Saturdays for me, until I got stuck on VJDAY/RIJKSMUSEUM . . . but with COSPLAY, ALTS and a clue featuring Superman, it's a good Saturday to be a nerd :)

Two Ponies 3:02 PM  

@ Pete 12:21 And you call that a bon mot?

Joe Dipinto 3:09 PM  

@JC66 12:06 -- Forget it, JC, it's Chinatown.

hankster65 3:20 PM  


jorsh 3:22 PM  

Why not take advantage of ED GEIN when it's in the grid already?

Henry Shapiro 3:41 PM  

I’m continually amazed at what Rex Parker doesn’t know. Rijksmuseum was the first clue I got. And Lakshmi was a gimme for me. The Rijksmuseum has the most extensive collection of Rembrandts (and Dutch Golden Age art in general) in the world and is probably in the top 10 of art museums worldwide. And while he might not know Lakshmi is Vishnu’s consort or the goddess of prosperity, he ought to know she is a Hindu goddess. Then again, I never know any of the rap singers or other pop culture references.....

wino 3:53 PM  

a varietal is not a wine grape. a varietal is a wine made from one grape only.

Mohair Sam 4:05 PM  

@Joe Di - Good old Marty Feldman - he was a comic genius and one of the creators of the original "Four Yorkshiremen" routine.

Joe Dipinto 4:23 PM  

@MoSam 4:05 - not familiar with that routine, will have to check it out -- thanx!

burtonkd 4:31 PM  

wondering why the clue for "Remit" needed a question mark since that is the main definition of the word. "Mail it in?" Seems very straightforward. Saturday misdirect?

Embarrassed not to get G Major. As a musician, answer too obvious, I suppose. Was looking for a setting as in place and time. Don't really hear a piece being set in a key too often.

Maybe the "Battle of the Sexes" movie is in the air - seems like a lot more of that here on the blog lately.

Lakshmi: thought I'd never heard of it until reading the blog and realizing that was the name I've been hearing forever. I thought Manoush Zomorodi was "Anoush" for the longest time because she always announces herself as "I'm_Manoush" and I would hear "I'm Anoush"

Thanks for helping me realize the name Moab is biblical. Knew that, but never put it together with the Mormon connection. Had Orem bc Utah 4 letter city...

tlariv 4:40 PM  


tlariv 4:41 PM  

I had REPUBLIC for 2D.

davidL 5:29 PM  

I have never, ever seen the word AKIMBO before. Just googled it and, yep, it's pretty much the quintessential Superman stance. Not a single mention of that answer in the blog or comments, so I assume that this is a strange hole in my knowledge.

Henry Shapiro 5:29 PM  

A noble gas is one that is non-reactive because its electron shells are all filled. They are in the rightmost column of the periodic table (helium, neon...). An ideal gas, which does not exist, is infinitely compressible without liquefying, and obeys the gas laws at any temperature or pressure. Helium is the closest, not liquefying until near absolute zero.

Joe Dipinto 5:44 PM  

@davidL 5:29 -- Glad you brought this up: I knew the word "akimbo" but have always encountered it as "with arms akimbo" or "with legs akimbo". I understood it to describe the position of a person's limbs, not of a person's entire torso. But apparently "to stand akimbo" is an acceptable, if more infrequent, usage.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

@davidL - from early English a-keen-bow = at a sharp angle.

Keith Dodson 5:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
U. S. News & World Report 6:27 PM  

Five of the top ten public schools in the country are University of California schools. Of the remaining five only one, the University of Michigan, is in fly over country.

evil doug 6:52 PM  

Outstanding institutions--if denying free speech and shady admission loopholes allowing avoidance of quota restrictions don't faze you....

UC Student 7:05 PM  

Those would faze me if they were actually true, but of course they're not. You should branch out from listening only to Fox.

Doc John 7:43 PM  

I'll also give a shout-out to Ms. Singh for saving me in the NW.
For "lizard island" I guessed Cayman, figuring that an alligator is a big lizard. Oops.

jae 8:13 PM  

Easy-medium for me.

It went with VJ DAY because of the word "surrender". It brought to mind the iconic photo taken on the USS Missouri deck. I believe the VE surrender docs were signed in two different cities, not exactly a Kodak moment.

Liked it.

Chance 8:39 PM  

I got my record time on this puzzle, despite having the same problem as Rex with RIJKSMUSEUM and V-J DAY. However, I know about Hindu myths, so LAKSHMI didn't stop me.

See my blog for more, if so inclined.

Annette 9:38 PM  

Late to the party, but I immediately caught the VE vs VJ trap. Great puzzle.

Pete 9:46 PM  

@Two Ponies - I wasn't saying you were a reptile with a brain, I was referring to the most primitive part of all of our brains, commonly called the reptilian brain. When anyone (and almost everyone does) assumes a bigger is safer that's the response of the reptilian brain, not of the higher functioning portions of the brain. When the designer at GM was talking about the Hummers he explained their success in exactly those terms - The reptilian brain of humans love big, loud, stinky cars, no matter how ugly, unsafe, and inconvenient they are.

Eric Weber 10:46 PM  

Got it, but what on earth is "COSPLAY"

Anonymous 11:05 PM  

Varietal designations are the names of the dominant grapes used in
the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Merlot
are examples of grape varieties. A varietal designation on the label
requires an appellation of origin and means that at least 75 percent of
the grapes used to make the wine are of that variety, and that the
entire 75 percent were grown in the labeled appellation (except "Vitis
labrusca" grapes, such as Concord, which require at least
51 percent).

Variety vs. Varietal: The easiest way to remember the distinction is to remember that one (variety) is a noun and the other (varietal) is an adjective.

The word variety refers to the grape variety, grown and used to make the wine such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and so forth.

The word varietal is an adjective, and refers to the wine. It describes a wine that is made from a single or dominant grape variety. Such wines are called varietal wines. For a wine to be varietally labeled it must be a minimum of 75% made from the stated grape variety (and 85% if exported to the European Union). So technically and legally a varietal Chardonnay wine can contain up to 15% of other white varieties! Traditionally varietal labeling was more prevalent among New World wine producers, but that too is changing.

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.

Dawn 11:47 PM  

Great puzzle, if a tad too easy for Saturday. Random tidbit: Lakshmi Singh (LAKshmee) pronounces her name quite differently from the Hindu goddess (LUCKshmee). I read an interview where she said that's how Caribbean Indians pronounce it (she's from Trinidad).

RooMonster 11:49 PM  

@Eric Weber 10:46 PM
See my 9:37 AM post...


semioticus (shelbyl) 11:55 PM  


I mean, yes, I guess some of these are common knowledge but please for God's sake do not cross these things together? I mean, why? Does it make the crossword more fun? Who on Earth gets a PRIAM-PHLOX-LEROUX snake and goes "wow what a fun wordplay I'm glad I'm solving this puzzle"

One of those is fine in a crossword so that I can play around with the letters. Three of them? WHY?

Geophany 1:55 AM  

If you're from Rhode Island, you hang your head and plug in VJDAY, cursing and muttering that nobody's ever going to switch to calling it Governor's Day at the Beach or whatever nonsense

Dave 2:11 AM  

What's wrong with VJDAY?

kitshef 10:00 PM  

Well, my wish for a hard puzzle on what has been an absurdly easy week was not granted.

RIJKSMUSEUM was a flat-out gimme. As opposed to, say, OBISPO.

Okinawa Paul 2:41 AM  

VJDAY refers to Victory over Japan Day. Easy.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

I finally did Saturday’s puzzle on Tuesday. Rembrandt and the Rijksmuseum reminded me of this fabulous flash mob celebrating the reopening of the Museum after renovation. Enjoy.

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

I finally did Saturday’s puzzle on Tuesday. Rembrandt and the Rijksmuseum reminded me of this fabulous flash mob celebrating the reopening of the Museum after renovation. Enjoy.

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spacecraft 11:50 AM  

There he goes again, slinging around the word "easy" where it has NO business being. I got this, but only after much deliberating in the 25-26-30 area. My first problem, silly me, was trying to spell the sausage the German (or actually Austrian) way: BiERBRAT. Couldn't make head or tail of "Mail it in?" I know that expression has recently gained popularity as making a token effort, but then I finally realized it was the conventional REMIT. Leave it to these devilish constructors to throw in a NON-modern expression amid all the current stuff, like COSPLAY. So that left me with the doggonedest letter jumble ever: LAKSHMI. Could that possibly be right? It's a foreign name, so all bets are off; with a shrug I left it in. Sorry, I don't listen to public radio.

I too was dismayed by the VJ/VE ambiguity. No problem for me, as it happens: I have been to Amsterdam. Remby's last name was van Rijn, so the museum was named after him. But many would not know, and the cross is patently unfair.

I didn't GETTAKEN anywhere else today, but IDARESAY you can't call this easy. Having a RMK is bad enough, but when you clue it as a "setting" you compound the difficulty. IMEANREALLY.

At least there's no DOD question today: it's KATEMOSS, in her full-named glory. Yes, I said "-named." Behave.

A little too much letter-addition for my taste: PHSCALE, KMART and of course that &@%$#* key. Took the EDGE off the solving experience. Triumph factor typically weekend-high, but still just a par.

thefogman 12:02 PM  

Easy for OFL. For me? Not so much. DNF because I had VeDAY and not VJDAY. Much TOMY chagrin, RIJKSMUSEUM was way out of my wheelhouse. IMEANREALLY !!! When I GETTAKEN like this I absolutely ABHOR it. Aside from that one error I am pleased to report I was able to ENDIT, but not before my correction tape almost RANDRY.

thefogman 12:23 PM  

Hmmm... My post looks a bit like Spacey's in spots. Purely coincidental, but I apologize nonetheless.

thefogman 12:34 PM  

For Rex:

Burma Shave 12:55 PM  


IDARESAY ASIDE of me is fond -
when LAKSHMI decides to GOBLONDE,
cause she's got ABUT like KATEMOSS.


rondo 2:25 PM  

I had already written in VeDAY before the whole MUSEUM thing started to show, figuring not much of a chance for a J in the midst of a word. And before gathering that we're going Dutch. So that J was the last square filled/written-over. Otherwise IMEANREALLY clean.

I've been to MOAB, UT, in July 2012, a little whitewater in an inflatable kayak down the Colorado River in 105 degree heat. And a hike (seemed more like climbing a mountain) to Delicate Arch the next morning with the temp in the 90s by 9:30

There's no doubt about yeah baby KATEMOSS. But you need to check what's cooking with one-time wife of Salmon Rushdie, namely Padma LAKSHMI. Yeah baby! KATEMOSS would be jealous.

Really nice puz, but it shouldn't have to come down to that E/J thing. IMEANREALLY. . .

Diana, LIW 2:28 PM  

Well my "correction tape" RANout and stayed out. Phhllgg!

I learned to drive in my mother's 1963 Chevy Impala - about a block long. I practiced parallel parking in between parked cars. Mom taught me the formula for when to turn the wheel left and then right. You know where this is going. The day of my license test, an unsmiling officer had me drive around the license office neighborhood. Then he had me turn on a side street in order to parallel park - between orange traffic cones. There went my formula. There went the cones. There I went, back to school where the band was rehearsing outside. Had to tell my friends that I failed - and warned them about the cones. So cone practice ensued, and I did pass the next test. And never parked in between cones again. When I got my own car it was a VW bug. I could park that puppy in the tiniest of Upper West Side spaces in NYC.

And no - I did not know how, for sure, to spell the museum's name.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, and the newspaper that didn't show up again

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

VJ Day is Victory over Japan Day, different day than VE Day but sane year. Perfectly valid answer.

Pete Saunders 5:48 PM  

So, because Rex's daughter 'thought' about going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a while and b'cuz he grew up in Cal, he just 'knew' it (Obispo) and therefore it was 'okay' ... but because he fell asleep in high school history, or has never spent much time reading about the European and Pacific ends of WWII, he's never heard of V-J Day so that makes it a poor clue? Really??? Stuff you know (aka 'in your wheelhouse') is okay but stuff you don't know is crap?You need to open your mind a bit....

rondo 10:55 PM  

@Pete Saunders - Rex knew VJDAY could be the answer:
"Then I was left to deal with the stupid VE/VJ DAY problem."
We all knew it.
It was the choice between VeDAY and VJDAY crossing a Dutch MUSEUM with a very Dutch-y spelling that many folks won't know. I'm not usually one to defend OFL, but his complaint was the crossing of an obscurish foreign spelling of a word with two possible legitimate answers.
You, sir, need to work on your reading comprehension.

rondo 10:58 PM  

Ditto to @Anon 4:44

plussed or non-nonplussed 2:03 AM  

.....a SATURDAY puzzle should be tougher than this.

Tarheeled 12:31 PM  

I didn't find it very easy although I missed some that should have been obvious - like PHSCALE. Sheesh, 33 years teaching earth science should have clued me in. Ya think? I just thought the clue to 36 down was pretty good. Strike fear? SCAB. I gotta remember to take those question marks more seriously.

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