Gourd also known as vegetable pear / SAT 9-16-17 / O.C. protagonist / Underground activity in '50s / 1950s TV personality who appeared in Grease / Many 1920s Harper's Bazaar covers

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Constructor: Natan Last, Finn Vigeland and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: CHAYOTE (40D: Gourd also known as a vegetable pear) —
noun: chayote; plural noun: chayotes
  1. 1.
    a green pear-shaped tropical fruit that resembles cucumber in flavor.
  2. 2.
    the tropical American vine that yields the chayote, also producing an edible yamlike tuberous root. (google)
• • •

The grid is sprinkled with some lovely answers, though the loveliness is undercut somewhat by a rather strong dose of crosswordese (on a couple occasions, plural crosswordese), and a SE corner that's been bombarded with obscurities: a clue for TARA that was popular with Farrar, Weng, and Maleska, but has hardly been seen at all in the past quarter century (54A: Hill of ___, site of Ireland's Lia Fáil); something called TTY, which has only appeared in the NYTX three times, and is apparently somewhat dated nowadays (it's short for "teletypewriter"); and then CHAYOTE, which has never been in the NYTX before today, and which I'm seeing right now for the first time in my life. Yes, sure, learning new things is great, blah blah blah, but CHAYOTE nearly abutting TTY just reeks of bygone puzzles that sought to test your knowledge rather than to entertain. TTY in particular is weak (the meaning of those letters is totally uninferrable) (58D: Communication device for the deaf: Abbr.). You want people leaving your puzzle going "wow," not "wha?" Lastly, in that same corner, why am I *watching* the gap. I *mind* the gap. That's the famous expression, right? Is it a Brit v. US thing. "Mind the gap" is a snappy, coherent, in-the-language phrase. "Watch the gap" ... appears to be NYC-specific.

The NW is the real winner of a section here today (located, fittingly, on the opposite side of the grid from the SE, aka "SATAN's Corner"). Those Acrosses are a lovely way to open the puzzle, though they were somewhat hard to get at, given that two of them had "?" clues on them. I would throw ERTES and EER and ELAL and even PSYOPS back if I could, but on the whole, that corner is nice. EMERGEN-C and "SHARK TANK" give the puzzle a needed jolt of modernity, but ... what the hell is going on with that RYAN clue? (55A: "The O.C." protagonist). Of allllllllll the RYANs in the word, both last names and first names, you go to the protagonist of a show that's been off the air for a decade, whose name no one but die-hard fans would've known to begin with? I watched at least a season of that damn thing and ... RYAN? If you say so. I will never understand *that* clue for *that* name in *this* year.

I have no idea what a PANIC BAR is. "Door part"? Wikipedia says: "Crash bar (also known as a panic exit device, panic bar, or push bar) is a type of door opening mechanism which allows users to open a door by pushing a bar. While originally conceived as a way to prevent stampedes in an emergency, crash bars are now used as the primary door opening mechanism in many commercial buildings." So ... it's just that bar part that you push (un-panickedly, in my experience) to get in and out of many kinds of commercial buildings? I clearly don't share much of a cultural frame of reference with this puzzle. It's a solid effort with some standout answers. Not to my taste, but certainly acceptable work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Unpleasantly obscure.

MAC 12:16 AM  

what is ONES?

Patrick O'Connor 12:17 AM  

I also went way over time because of the SE (surely "watch the gas" makes as much sense as the right answer), but I heartily recommend that you go to your nearby Whole Paycheck and buy and roast a chayote. They taste like potatoes, only different enough to make it worth paying US prices for a relatively common Mexican foodstuff.

Patrick O'Connor 12:19 AM  

ONES: the ones place, or ones column, for summers, people doing sums. I can't say as I cared for that clue much either.

jae 12:33 AM  

Medium-tough for me. I had major problems in the SE where I had HELen before HELGA, asl before TTY, and, of course, ole before GOL. I got it all fixed, but it took a while.

Also had "Morning zOo before JOE"

CHAYOTE was a total WOE for me too and I've never seen one at Whole Foods (but then I've never really looked for one).

Solid Sat. that was more than a little reminiscent of the puzzles I've been doing from the late '90s. Liked it.

Johnny 2:46 AM  

Good Lord this took me two hours to finish. But by golly I finished it, and when I put in the last two letters in ONES the "Congratulations" screen appeared and I wasn't expecting that.

I liked this puzzle. It took a lot of thinking outside the box, as they say. Also, I was high.

Speaking of that, I'm watching the DVD of "The T.A.M.I. Show" concert film from 1964 right now and it is the greatest. The James Brown scene is legendary but this whole film end-to-end is amazing. Google it.

Geneyus 4:46 AM  

Some tough and clever clues, probably a tad too quizzy overall. Very nice NW with those long acrosses. Solid puzzle.

Renita Jenkins 5:28 AM  

You sound particularly "get off my lawn" today. While you may never have even heard of a chayote, they are popular in cultures outside of the US. They are commonly found in grocery stores in LA. While you are a very clever man with a wide base of knowledge, you shouldn't take out the few gaps you have on the puzzle makers.

Similarly, The OC was extremely popular for FOX when it was on and is no different than the over-used "TV's Sela Ward" clue.

When it has an alarm on it, it becomes a panic bar. They are usually painted red with the words "alarm will sound" emblazoned on them in white. Regular ones not fitted with alarms, crash bars or what have you, just read "push".

And if you ever saw a business or government/city listing in an ad or phone book before cell phones, you'd have seen a TTY/TDD listing for deaf customers. That your didn't know it right away kind of astounds me. In fact, there is a listing for it in every single federal tax instruction book for the past few decades. You had to have seen one of those before.

Loren Muse Smith 5:36 AM  

I came really close to throwing in the towel with most of the southeast blank. Then I finally erased “ole” and “barrel race” and clawed my way to the end. I think I always call it a “sack” race or a “potato sack” race - I dunno. So that was tough.

Anyway, POTATO RACE made me think of those fruitarians who eat only fruit that has fallen on its own. I guess this is because it’s unethical to eat something that is about to become a plant? I used to imagine it was because they believed that plants had souls. Which has me revisiting the concept of a POTATO RACE.

“The potato race may be the only intelligent beings in the galaxy.” -Hawking
“You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the potato race.” - Shaw

@MAC – I really liked the clue for ONES.

I’m wondering if the trend is to slowly phase out the ? clues. I would have thought “pressing need” for STARCH would have had a question mark?

Got a kick out of the pair ARREST HIM! HE’S A KEEPER. Let those other guys go; they were just holding his beer and phone.

It’s fun to think of that baby (congrats, @Harley, by the way!) lying there in the crib, watching the faces contort and emote to talk to him. He sees the lips move. So his first utterances usually involve sounds with the two lips: MEEMAW, mama, maw maw, baba (my kids’ cherished blankey), boo boo, papa, mommy. I called my dad “Bobby” forever because I happened to be looking at him when I babbled that word, and they thought I had renamed him. To this day my kids call him Bobby because, again, little Gardiner had stopped at his knee for a brief rest while cruising and happened to babble the same two syllables in the same order. Everyone was stunned that he had called Dad the same name I used to called him.

Lots of people think that the word mammal is a cognate of mamma.

Next lesson: working your way back from the bilabials to the alveolars (nana, nanny, daddy, dada…)

I didn’t know it was called a PANIC BAR, but it sure is for me when someone tells my to leave through that door even though there’s a sign there that says Not an Exit. I’m assured it’s ok. And assured again. But I still panic a little bit that an alarm will go off and I’ll get in trouble.

Very satisfying “finish.” But I had a dnf because of “theostat/emetgenc.” Dumb.

I agree with Rex – that northwest is terrific. Nice job, guys.

Lewis 6:07 AM  

I limped and fought through three fourths of the puzzle, loving every second, only to be decapitated in the SE, not knowing CHAYOTE, TTY, TARA, and NAM (as clued). If only I heard what my brain was screaming ("I DON'T GET IT!"), it would have quickly fell. It's a time-crunch day so I had to look up a couple of answers. Now I'm thinking if I could have come back to it, I would have figured out PETER I and A-TESTS, and the rest would have come. But no biggie. I love them tough like this.

Absolutely loved the clues for ONES, SPEEDOS, SHE LOVES ME, and A-TESTS, and saw that mini-theme of double E's (7). Felt like I did the mental equivalent of a couple of sets of at-my-weight-limit bench presses, and that's what I want from my Saturday puzzle. Bravissimo, teachers and class!

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

"CHAYOTE nearly abutting TTY just reeks of bygone puzzles that sought to test your knowledge rather than to entertain."

I want the NYT puzzle to test my knowledge. If I want an entertaing puzzle I'll go find People Magazine.

Hartley70 7:20 AM  

This new MEEMAW says thanks to all my buds who sent congratulations! I spent the afternoon with little Edward and I'm his slave. It's everything you said it would be!

sf27shirley 7:28 AM  

Chayote is well known in California too.
I am familiar with potato sack races but what the heck is a POTATO RACE?

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Rex's review was good and to the point. Unlike "anonymous" above, I don't go to crosswords to test my knowledge or learn new words. It's fine if I do, but that is not the reason I enjoy crosswords. The crosswords I enjoy best are those that have tricky clues for words that an average joe would know. They tend to pop and sizzle more. So although I didn't like the puzzle so much, I give kudos to the class that put so much effort into making it and the teacher who is encouraging it. Keep it up!

evil doug 8:07 AM  

Remember: When enhancing your SPEEDO look, the CHAYOTE goes in front.

Conrad 8:21 AM  

My understanding: In a "sack race" or "potato sack race" contestants try to reach the finish line with their legs in a burlap sack. A "potato race" consists of people trying to reach the finish line while balancing a potato on a spoon.

Passing Shot 8:26 AM  

Kudos to the construction team, but this was just to damned hard for me. Perhaps a few too many ? clues. The NE was the only are I was able to get with any bit of confidence; couldn't find a foothold anywhere else.

Diywriter 8:30 AM  

For the record, chayotes are also common in Chicago.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Tough but fair puzzle. Whenever you have a class making up the clues and answers, you are going to get a wide and sometimes obscure range of reference, and imaginative clues that border on tangential. I personally dont see that how few times something has appeared in the NYT is a valid critcism. Overuse, sure. But uniqueness generally is admired, provided you can work from crossers. Had no problem SE; SW was the toughie for me.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Chayotes are also fairly common on Chopped. Also, anyone else put Seth in place of RYAN at first? Seth is pretty clearly the main protagonist of the show.

Suzy 8:42 AM  

Too many obscure clues for me, today Google was a welcome friend. I have never seen a potato (sack) race at a fair, only
at kids's camps or church parties (ugh!). And anyone called Meemaw probably deserves it! Sort of ruined my Sat morning-- maybe I need some emergenC! Ah, well...

QuasiMojo 8:52 AM  

Wow. I'm surprised by the love for this thing. Too much pop trivia. Yes we have Sid Caesar but we also get Star Trek, Harry Potter and some absurd fizzy health supplement all in one corner! The question-marked clues all have really trite and drab answers. This is supposed to be clever? And it took that many people to come up with it? Seems more like an "everything and the kitchen sink" variety of puzzle. I DON'T GET IT.

I seem to recall POTATO SACK RACES when I was a kid and went to the fair (which was rarely). But a POTATO RACE? Is that the one with spoons? I had DONKEY RACE in there for too long.

I managed to finish the puzzle with only one cheat. I looked up PATRONUS (I thought it might be GOAT) because I'm too busy today to sit around and wait for some millennial to walk by so I can ask "them."


Joseph Smith 8:57 AM  

In other words, Rex, lighten up!

AW 8:57 AM  

Total DNF for me, from top to bottom, corner to corner. Too many references to movies and TV shows I never watched and too many long "?" phrases crossed with tough clues. ONES (53D) was particularly brutal. Watch the GAP (43A)? No, never. And WOE to the MEEMAW (9D). In whose dialect is that?

Unknown 9:00 AM  

Isn't 4 down a conjugation error?

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

@evil Doug. Good advice for the potato race as well.
Class always has clever up to date cluing. Enjoyed overall.

PKelly 9:17 AM  

Wonderful puzzle! Just enough bite and plenty of pizazz! Thank you!

Generic Solver 9:23 AM  

Difficult and obscure in an annoying way, the kind of puzzle that when you solve a challenging clue, instead of patting yourself on the back, you hate the puzzle even more.

kitshef 9:25 AM  

Ferociously tough, but ultimately fair. All those impossible clues that were still baffling even with half the letters filled in eventually fell into place. I enjoyed this immensely for the challenge of it. Adds to my theory that more than one constructor yields greater level of difficulty.

Had to think about LAY LOW for a good long time before giving it the thumbs up. Not sure how LMS would handle this, but it can be the present tense of LAY LOW meaning incapacitate, or the past tense of lie low, meaning hunker down.

puzzlehoarder 9:25 AM  

It's hard for me to accurately judge the difficulty of this puzzle. The time was up until recently what I expect from a Saturday only now seems to represent the challenging end of the spectrum. Part of the problem was once again being forced to solve on the tablet because I was at the firehouse last night. Tablet solving always prolongs solving time. This puzzle had three great debuts. CHAYOTE was my favorite kind. It's your straight out of the dictionary obscure and at least for me unknown word. That's the kind of entry I really enjoy working around. EMERGENC is literally straight off the shelf hiding in plain sight material. MEEMAW is borderline baby talk but I enjoyed working around all of them. The SE half of the puzzle went in first because STAG, HELGA and GOL were all gimmies. Mostly it was because STAG was where I started. CIS was the only out and out gimmie in the NW half. In the south I was hampered by a SWIPE/SNIPE write over. NODS and LDS got the ball rolling and I worked it out from there. Obviously I liked the puzzle or I wouldn't prattle like this. @Hartley70 congratulations on your first grandchild or should I say your MEEMAWhood.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I thought this was hard. The clue for ONES was re-dick. Didn't understand until I read the comments. I'm okay not knowing the veggie pear, but agree that the RYAN clue is stoopid and what in the holy heck is a potato race? Is that supposed to be potato sack race? I eventually had to resort to the "check" function to see that 80% of what I had in the SE was wrong. After that, of course, I finished in about two minutes.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

^^^ OK, just checked. I guess a POTATO RACE is a thing that I simply had never heard of. Learn something new.

kitshef 9:39 AM  

@QuasiMojo - (spoiler alert) It was Aberforth Dumbledore's PATRONUS that was a goat, a fact that was used by Aberforth to bamboozle the death eaters looking for Harry in Hogsmeade just before the Battle of Hogwarts.

Trombone Tom 9:41 AM  

I'm not enough of a futbol fan to be hip to the GOL call. I always assumed it was G-o-o-o-a-a-l that they hollered.

Lots to like in this puzzle, especially the clues for SPEEDO and ONES.

Some of @Rex's criticisms are fair, but CHAYOTES are frequently seen in my local stores, PANIC BAR is common usage, and TTY shows up in most government documents I see.

I enjoyed this crunchy exercise from Natan, Finn, and the gang. The SE gave me no end of trouble. POTATO RACE just didn't sound right.

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
SW corner was my toughie. Last to fill, so I think the ole brain was yelling, "No more!" All the reality shows out there, SHARKTANK just wouldn't show itself. Plus CIS as a Huh?, RYAN as a While?, and ONES as a completely obscure clue did me in. CAST PARTY didn't help. Was thinking a political word of some sort.

Did have to Check Puz in SE, as had Nra/ask/ole and TRaCE, because what the hell is TRICE? And RHEOSTAT? Holy SHEEP, I DONT GET those.

Whole puz quite difficult. HOOHAS was strange. As a male, HOOHAS are women's breasts. :-D LDS tough. CHAYOTE a new one on me. Writeovers too numerous to mention!


kitshef 9:46 AM  

And since it does not appear anyone has posted this yet:

A sack race is the one where you put both feet in a sack, often a potato sack, and bounce your way to the finish.

A spoon race is the one where you balance an egg in a spoon and move as fast as you can to the finish. I guess it could be done with a potato also...

A potato race is a shuttle race where you have a string of potatoes (or something similar) along the route and you run back and forth as fast as you can picking up a potato and running back to put it in a crate until all the potatoes are gone at which point you run to the finish line.

Georgia 9:46 AM  

Soneone, please explain "She Loves Me" as "plucky words."

evil doug 9:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oscar Madison 9:51 AM  

Where "dig" and "snipe" share meanings, "dig" is a noun and "snipe" is a verb, no? Misleading in a bad way.

Z 9:52 AM  

Whac-a-Vowel is one thing, but Whac-a-Consonant is a step too far. Of course, if I wasn't blind to ATTORNEY my feelings might be different but I was all "trial by jury? speedy trial? lawyer?" Bah!

Interesting choice of video today given yesterday's debate.*

I have to agree with Rex on the RYAN clue. The House Speaker, Gosling, Reynolds - there's three better RYAN clues for 2017 and I wasted hardly a precious picosecond coming up with them.

Two days in a row where I more than doubled my typical time. More me than the puzzle each time, although the PPP was definitely outhouse material both days for me.

*Or, rather, two sides locked into their opinions with little room to move. Personally, both sides can be right sometimes.

evil doug 9:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RooMonster 9:52 AM  

@Georgia 9:46
Yeah, that took me a minute to see (more like an hour to see!) what it meant.
It's when you get a flower (a daisy, I think), and start plucking the petals off one by one, saying "she loves me, she loves me not, she loves me..."


QuasiMojo 9:53 AM  

Thank you very much for explaining to us the subtle differences between the various "fair competitions" @kitshef!

btw, anyone else put in PATOU before ESTEE? I don't really think of Estee Lauder and Chanel as being marketed to the same clientele.

More Whit 9:56 AM  


mmorgan 9:59 AM  

To me, this was tough but enjoyable and the sight of Mr Happy Pencil was most welcome indeed.

More Whit 10:06 AM  

Hunkered down = laying low or some facsimile thereof...if I lay low, I'm hunkering down. The clue for "ones" might have been a winner if it read: kind of place for a summer? ...not THE summer. What - is there some hombre out there called "the summer"? Cousin to "the decider"? Potato race is okay but I'm sure many a sack tried to sneak its way into the answer. Several long crosses were fun, especially in the NW. A bit more attention to detail in the cluing would've put this puzzle in the plus column.

jberg 10:08 AM  

I enjoyed this one, once I got rid of the OLÉ/BARREL crossing (Hi, @Loren!). And while I was with @Conrad on POTATO RACE, I've been convinced by @kitshef. I have heard of CHAYOTEs, but never heard them called that.

Amie Devero 10:12 AM  

Why is the clue for 63A singular but answer plural... that one stumped me. And i still dont understand 53D's fill. Anyone care to clue me in? Ones? Wth??

Nancy 10:15 AM  

Yikes. This puzzle was not going to be solved without some sort of cheat in the SW. I chose the reality show, looked up SHARK TANK (you know these things or you don't, period) and then finished what had been completely undoable in about 14 seconds.

Earlier. I immediately saw someone picking daisies in my mind's eye at 1A, but in a Senior Moment, the phrase wouldn't come to me. When it finally did, I nailed the NW. I love the clue for EASY STREET and for SPEEDOS, and the answer HE'S A KEEPER.

I wanted THE RUBICON for 63A, but ENEMY LINES is a great answer.

I hate CIS. I absolutely hate it. Define yourself any way you like, and I will completely respect it. I will use whatever term or nomenclature you most prefer. But please, please don't redefine me at this late stage of my life. I have never been a "cis" before and don't plan to start being one now. Thanks for your kind understanding in this matter.

Liked this puzzle a lot, with the exception, per usual, of some of the PPP. Not too much of it, though.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

I don't think CHAYOTE tastes anything like cucumber. Good tho.

What dialect is MEEMAW?

GPO 10:40 AM  

Ah, I've got this one!

It's what you say when you are plucking the petals of a daisy: "She loves me, she loves me not; She loves me, she loves me not."

Steve M 10:49 AM  

SW killed me ugh

Nancy 10:52 AM  

Thanks to @Robert A. Simon (from a few weeks ago) for his recommendation of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. And to @Mohair for his seconding of the recommendation. I ordered it from the library and finished it last night. It's one of the most beautiful, exquisitely written, and moving novels I've ever read. I cried at the end. How I missed it the first time around I don't know. But had I never read it at all, it would have been a real loss.

Pamk 10:53 AM  

A summer is an adder

Karen Coyle 10:54 AM  

Johnny - as for the "The T.A.M.I. Show" - my 15-year-old self is shown rocking out in the Rolling Stones segment of that film, but I can tell you that James Brown absolutely put all other performers to shame.

My mother grew chayotes on the back fence of her yard in southern California. But I have never heard of a potato race. Sack race, three-legged race, even some races with things in spoons, but not potato.

Teedmn 11:22 AM  

I WALLOWed in the bottom half of this puzzle for a long time before I cheated. I had everything COLT and above on the right and NODS and above on the left. And nothing below that I trusted. I finally resorted to downloading the puzzle to AcrossLite and entering what guesses I had in the SE and hitting the check button. Unsurprisingly, I had a lot wrong: fonDOf at 43D, nTESTS (off the HELen pictures) at 48A, TTl instead of TTY and knowing CHAYOTE but mixing it up in my head with CHApaTi,

And once that can of worms is opened, it's impossible to close back up so I continued my checking through the SW. Never heard of RYAN; SHARK TANK could have been Project Runway or The Voice or any number of reality shows I have never even seen ads for. So while I appreciate the puzzle's difficulty, it left a sad hole in my usual Saturday solve.

No one has mentioned the clue for PRO at 37D. One for the money??? I don't get it. I considered ABE and ATM but PRO doesn't do it for me.

I did love the Plucky words? clue and PSY OPS. And I wanted @LMS's take on 9D. I was considering MawMAW because in Sweden, one's mother's mother is mormor but MEEMAW won out. Fun!

Thanks JASA, Finn and Natan!

old timer 11:25 AM  

I have seldom seen OFL in as fair and generous a mood. Glad to see it, too.

"plucky words" is fairly clued, But boy did I want "Alouette" to somehow fit there. It is the first French song I would sing to my daughters and now my grandchildren.

I vaguely remember potato races (potatoes balanced on a spoon) on Easters when I was very young. Played at the beach club my mother belonged to for years. No doubt the potato was a substitute for an egg. I imagine a lot of eggs would have cracked when used by a dozen small children, many dressed in their best Easter afternoon togs. I don't associate a potato race with a fair. Our County Fair is all about horse racing for the grownups and kiddy rides for the younger set -- and the kind of greasy food you might only eat at the Fair.

Mohair Sam 11:30 AM  

Dammit, we liked it a lot. Struggled like mad, but ain't that the idea on a Saturday? Loved the clues for SHELOVESME, ONES, and POTATORACE in particular. And what great misdirects for GOL (ole) and TTY (asl) - cost us tons of time. Only real complaint - it's "mind" the GAP, not "watch" the GAP.

Dontcha love it when @Rex learns something? He hates it. Also Rex, as @Renita Jenkins pointed out - the abbreviation TTY is ubiquitous on government and many corporate and non-profit forms both in hard copy and online, the fact that you ignore things that you don't care about doesn't mean they don't exist. Hillary did that and look what it cost her.

So a few months ago I was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and saw a few prints of the HELGA series and listened to that tape machine in my ears tell me the story of the relationship between HELGA and Wyeth. I read the little blurbs next to each print too. I'm a huge Wyeth fan, two Wyeth prints are framed in our apartment. So I confidently wrote the gimme HELen at 35D (nTESTS worked you know). Cost all kinds of time.

@Evil Doug - Thanks for the tip.

@Loren - Congrats on Laying off LAY at 4D! (or Lieing off, or lying off)

Tough and fun Saturday Natan, Finn, and Class - thanks.

Two Ponies 11:37 AM  

I appreciate the effort but not the result.
Just no fun today (except the comments).

Stanley Hudson 11:38 AM  


From Your Dictionary:
(plural memaws)
(US, dialect, Southern US) grandmother
Usage notes
Similar to papaw and pepaw (grandfather). Mamaw, meemaw and memaw mean "grandmother", and are often used to refer to both grandmothers, or sometimes to a great grandmother.

Growing up in the northern Appalachian region, I heard it a lot.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  


Turns out you're not only gullible but a bit dim. I didn't say you hated Irish nuns, I said you thought they were bad. How else would I think if all the events you described in Philomena were true?
Go take a flying ,leap, asshole.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

"Watch the gap appears to be NYC specific." Um,, I believe it's the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

A blog regular 11:48 AM  

Hey, Anon 11:41, leave our beloved Mohair Sam alone. He' one of the classiest guys on the blog and he's worth a million of a cowardly anonymous gutless wonder like you.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

No. Today I lie low, yesterday I lay low which means I have lain low in the past.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Check out his smart assume post from lasted last night. No class. Pure snark.

GHarris 12:02 PM  

Okay, if this was medium and doable for most commentators I have to concede that I'm playing way out of my league. Even frequent trips to Google could not bring me home without looking at Rex's solution. About the only answers I was able to get on my own were Sid Caesar (believe it or not), arrest him, attorney and El Al. Should have gotten Helga, just couldn't remember. But chayote, meemaw? C'mon.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Japan was a mess by August 1945:widespread food shortage, infrastructure devastated. It likely wouldn't have held out much longer, even without Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

mathgent 12:05 PM  

I can't say that I liked it. I feel good about finishing without a cheat and I liked several of the entries like SHELOVESME.

But I thought that several of the clues were borderline unfair. And I believe that the clue for VET is actually wrong. It's spelled "vett," isn't it?

I'm agreeing with Rex again. What's the matter with me?

Alisha 12:07 PM  

Pro as in a professional athlete, who gets paid, as opposed to an amateur, who doesn't.

Masked and Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Since this SatPuz was assembled by committee, m&e & the PuzEatinSpouse decided to disassemble it, by committee. It was a fun solvequest, but kinda put up a fight. But, hey -- it's a Saturday NYTPuz, after all … the queen mother of all crossword challenges, other than maybe a runtpuz with unchecked squares.

Combo staff weeject pick and ow de speration moment and abbr. of mystery: TTY.


fave crossin: ISTHATYOU/YUKS. [aka The Class "U".]

intensely fave new @RP critique category: the Nearly Abutting Offense. As in: "CHAYOTE nearly abutting TTY". har. Gettin real hard to remember all the new @RP-rules and all them previously @RP-banned words, tho. M&A tries to keep em all nearly abuttin him, on post-it notes, when tryin to build a potential NYTPuz candidate. Only prob … real hard to ever vacuum up dust in the workarea. Can't imagine what Patrick Berry's workroom must look like. Bet that dude has one with a built-in PANIC BAR. Right on. Make mine a vodka collins, @PB1 -- my puzgrid has the a-buts, again! But, I digress.

Thanx, NL + FV + the class. Who in that class dreamt up that there CASTPARTY clue? Better keep yer eye(s) on that particular student. Also, congratz to the student [lil darlin] who splatzed down the one U, over there in the SW.

Masked & AnonymoUs

This Friday's schlock-moviefest selections, after a real long layoff [on account of lotsa trips and the TV dyin]:
* "Bigfoot vs. Zombies" - aka BvZ. Remarkable actin examples. Cast party musta been a real sight.
* "Poultrygeist" - A Troma Studios film. Pretty graphic, but also admirably ambitious. Has to be seen to be believed. We said "no..." a lot, while viewin it. First Blu-ray flick ever watched, on our new entertainment center hookup. Spouse wanted to see our new Blu-Ray picture, but fled the den after about 5 minutes of viewin that particular movie.
* Three chapters of "The Clutching Hand" cliffhanger serial. Me and the bro-in-law had already seen em all [couldn't remember where we'd left off], sooo … kinda fast-fwded thru a lot of it.

JC66 12:17 PM  

POTATO RACE was new to me, too. Interestingly, when I Googled it, I got the wikipedia definition @ kitshef so thoughtfully provided, but also two youtube clips showing two completely different type of races featuring potatoes.


I think you vet someone. Once you do, they've been vetted.

Erik 12:18 PM  

Wow. Rex is WAY too kind. This puzzle is not deserving of the NYTs already waning standards and quality. It is trivia for trivia sake.

To the student's in Finn and Natan's class -- C-MINUS... and that's being generous

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

This took me forever, but I think it was mostly my own fault.

I loved the OC for the first couple of seasons, but as with most soaps, they spin into ever more ridiculous plot lines.

Bob Mills 12:35 PM  

I got "CHAYOTE" and "TTY" by default. Rex is right, TTY isn't inferable. What is CIS-gender? I got "THEGAP" but I thought it as an ad for the manufacturer.

Kath320 12:49 PM  

I've been to a potato race, but they are so slow it's like watching paint dry. Never a winner.

GILL I. 12:58 PM  

Why is @Anony 11:41 being mean to @Mohair...? Did I miss something juicy?
Hey, this was pretty neat. SHE LOVES ME was my favorite. Wanted HES A LOOKER before KEEPER but that dreadful MEEMAW took care of that corner. I learned that grandmother thingy name from this blog. Hey @Hartley....It's fun isn't it? Don't let that cutie pie call you MEEMAW, though. You look more like a graceful Nana...
Speaking of graceful...ESTEE is in no shape, smell, or way, like Chanel No. 5. ESTEE is cloying sweet; Chanel is more woody and wildly more elegant. I have a bottle of L'Ame Soeur that smells similar. Anyway, that's my opinion.
CHAYOTE no es un problema. Good stuff.
Don't know what CIS gender is but @Nancy hates it.
I'll have to look of PSYOPS. I'm pretty sure there are signs in the British tube that tell you to mind THE GAP. Mind you.
Good puzzle to come home to.

Tita A 1:07 PM  

I was in the periodical section of the Ridgefield Library. A dark labyrinth of back issues. I was researching something in Consumer Reports, I think.
I was done, and I guess I was anxious to get back into the light. I opened the first door I saw by pushing the PANICBAR.

I can assure you - it's called that because of the feeling that instantly overcomes you when you've set off an alarm at the one place where silence is sacrosanct.

This was a good crunchy Saturday. Lots of vagueness. n, h, or A TESTS. fOal or COLT. On and on.

I dnf'd with SiD/TROi.

Though I agree with @lms - they are sack RACES or maybe POTATOsackRACES. POTATORACES involve potatoes with little numbers painted on their sides.
@Conrad - nuh unh...those are egg RACES.
@kitshef - drat - I guess I have to believe you that your explanation means it is, in fact, a thing.

@Roo - thx for the plucky explanation.

Yes, too much PPP, but hell - a one-letter dnf on a Saturday is not an awful day for me in spite of product placements and people I don't care about.

Blackbird 1:13 PM  

Tough,enjoyable puzzle. I always wonder about the comments, including Rex's comments, that lament clues/answers that are not in one's wheelhouse. Even if the demographic of solvers were limited to New York Times readers -- and it's not! -- that demographic itself is pretty diverse. I got the "gap" part of "mind the gap" because I ride a commuter train to NYC, and I ride NYC subways, where the conductor warns about the gap between the door and the platform. Not a cultural mystery for me, but certainly may be for others who don't. I had no idea what O.C. was, but I sure do remember Sid Caesar. Never heard of a potato race. Never watched "Star Trek: T.N.G.", but figured out Troi because I watched the original "Star Trek". Never heard of "SharkTank", for which I feel grateful! I find much of pop culture is empty and dull. I would rather solve for 19th century CE literature than reality TV. Yet there is room in a New York Times crossword puzzle for whatever cultural knowledge any solvers may have. I thought the 1A clue, "Plucky words", and the answer, "She loves me", was really clever. Do people still pluck the petals off a flower such as a daisy, seeking to know if she, or he, loves me, or loves me not? 15A and 17A also offer delightful clues and answers, and each colloquial answer originated in very different eras. "He's a keeper" is contemporary, "Easy Street" was first used in 1889. Whatever is in your wheelhouse is in your wheelhouse. I recognized late 19th century CE "Easy Street", and I'm not yet close to 130 years old. And I recognized "He's a keeper". I watched "Your Show of Shows", with Sid Caesar and Imogen Coca, and Carl Reiner and Howard Morris, which ran from 1950 to 1954, when I was a kid, and have fond memories of the wit of the writers and performers, and have no intention of watching any reality shows on TV. Enjoy the puzzles, folks. This was a fine, fun puzzle.

Daniel 1:21 PM  

What's a phone book?

Make!Do! 1:26 PM  

I look forward to Saturday puzzles the most but this was just not fun at all. And I know what a chayote is, but it wasn't an enjoyable one to crack.

Teedmn 1:34 PM  

@Tita, great story. What did you do? In your shoes, I might have run!

Speaking of running, I wanted 31D's "Celebration after a run" to be "victory lap" but the space was too short.

And am I the only one who, as a kid, made sure the daisy I plucked had an odd number of petals so he always "loves me"? I guess I started my cheating career at an early age (see "using check option while solving" in earlier post.)

Mohair Sam 1:44 PM  

@Gill I - It's from yesterday. Did you ever wonder "How in hell am I involved in this argument?" - It's one of those. Blown away by the name calling - most people here already know I'm dim, but being exposed as an "asshole" is troubling. I'm going to take the flying leap he recommended as punishment for breaking my rule about replying to anonymice.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

I wonder if the usual NYT puzzler really watches all those crap tv shows that show up too often in clues. And "Abbr." seems like a cheap way to clue. How about a little sophistication - travel, foreign words, art, literature.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  


Stop typing, start leaping. Or acknowledge that you were way off base on your claims regarding the truth of that hatchet job Philomena.

Mohair parroted some anti Catholic claims mades in the book and film called Philomena. Insstead of Looking seriously onto my assertionns, Mohair lazily cited an ABC news report which has been discredited. There's no argument. Everyone's favorite, mohair, is wrong, and though he may not know it, he'said abetting the growing anti Catholic sentiment in the country.

Chris 2:31 PM  

Pretty much agree with Blackbird. Lame write-up by OFL. As the comments suggest, CHAYOTEs are pretty common (although down here among the Cajuns they're mirlitons.) Complaining about PANICBAR? C'mon. Don't you still see instructions for TTY on most hotel phones, etc?
Nice puzzle--hard but not too hard. Actually finished faster than yesterday.

Bryce 2:55 PM  

I thought this was a great puzzle, challenging but gettable (still never heard of potato race). Nice job to the class. "Flaps" for "hoohas" though? How'd you sneak that by? I guess everyone else is just too polite to comment.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

best Saturday in a long while - a template for what I enjoy in a puzzle. Very little trivia and tons of thinky clues and misdirects. Gained foothold in SE and finished out in NW which was toughest section for me. Wonderful.

philip 3:20 PM  

Poor Mick Jagger having to follow James Brown!

OISK 3:25 PM  

Just terrible. DNF, and still angry about it, a victim of what is to me the worst kind of cluing. Take a fairly common answer, like "Asia," or "The Gap," and clue it in a deliberately obscure way, so that one gets no joy from the solve, (or in my case, misses it). I've never heard of psyops, nor emergenc, didn't know the Estee is the name of a perfume, never heard of a chayote ( but was happy to learn about it), never watched the O.C., but those would all have been OK. Had the clue for "The Gap" been "Something to Mind," instead of "Something to Watch," ( Mind the Gap is not just British, it appears on T-shirts, it is repeated constantly in the Underground. Watch the gap???), I would have fixed "Helen" and gotten "Helga," (which I should have known anyway.) There is just no excuse for "Something to watch." It stinks. So I ended up with "THEEAP." Should have known that was wrong, eh? Well, "N-Tests" instead of "A tests" was fine, but THEEAP did bother me. Then I thought - there are so many TV streaming services now, and isn't there a stations called "E"? So maybe it's "The E ap." One awful clue, one DNF. But that ain't all.

Why would someone clue "Asia" with a reference to a board game? I was so sure that NO constructor would ever do that, that, not knowing Chayote, I wrote "Asie," and Cheyote. Pretty stupid, eh? But I figured that there MIGHT be an "ASIE" in "Risk," otherwise, why would the game be used in the clue? Just an awful clue, no excuse for it. Compare with other clues like the one for "She Loves Me" You get it and then say "Oh! THAT kind of plucky!" And He's a keeper, or the clue for SOS ( Request for an island getaway) those are fine. But an obscure clue that will mean nothing at all to many solvers, where better clues are easily available, adds nothing, and subtracts much. And that goes for "Harry Potter " clues for owls and stags as well.

Another Bronx cheer from Brooklyn.

Mohair Sam 3:46 PM  

@Gill I - Yawn.

Mr. Grumpypants 3:58 PM  

Anonymous @ 2:05 pm : A few of the details in the ABC report were disproved. The basic story was not. You should do more research yourself -- like, into the Magdalene Laundries. There's nothing anti-Catholic or anti-nuns [Irish or otherwise] in pointing out the wrongs committed by very powerful organizations in years past.

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Conflating storides Grumpy. By the way, the magdalene laundry stories are also largely false. But one lie at a time.
Philomena got drunk, was impregnated then taken by her father to the nuns as a last resort. There was no other place in Ireland for her to go. Why not slam the rest of Ireland for its lack of understanding?
She barely searched for her son in Ireland, and never in America.
The pivotalbum last scene about sin and sure derived get babies as atonement? A neat trick, since the nun giving the speech had been dead nine years by the time see smith took up the cause.
The film is anti Catholic claptrap

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

Youre so boted, you took the time to respond? Why am i not convinced by your yawn? Oh geah, cause yiure a pea brain. And it seems a bigot. Leap away dick, as yku said yku woukd. Or are yiy a liar too?

Mr. Grumpypants 4:39 PM  

Methinks someone has had a bit too much to drink today.

GILL I. 4:44 PM  

Hey @Mohair and @Anony....You made me go back and read yesterday's blog. WOW...
Who's Philomena? She hated nuns? Irish nuns are pretty neat. She had a baby out of wedlock and lied about it? I'll have to check that out. I could never understand why half my high school cheerleader's disappeared for 6 months at a time. They loved the nuns.
@Mohair...I have a great recipe for you that I can send...."Arroz con pollo."
No, you are not an asshole...but we all do have one!

Joe Dipinto 4:52 PM  

Is there a Philomena message board somewhere that all of you could take your puzzle-irrelevant posts to? If not, maybe one of you could do the rest of us a favor and start one.

Larry Gilstrap 4:57 PM  

Hard enough for a Saturday. That SW corner sat empty throughout the night. I guess Dig and SNIPE share a meaning in some context, he said squinting. I have lived and worked in Orange County for many years and never heard any local use the phrase: The O.C., until the advent of that TV program. Even though the local paper was for some reason renamed The O.C. Register, I still don't hear O.C used much.

JESSICA's betrayal of her father is especially bitter. She couples with a man outside of her faith and sells off her dead mother's prized turquoise in exchange for a monkey. Good writers use specific detail.

Arden 4:57 PM  

In whose dream world is Estee an alternative to the world famous Chanel #5?

Mohair Sam 5:07 PM  

@Rex - Got a government mailer today, it gave me an 800 number to reply and a TTY. It's out there.

@Gill I - Send along the recipe!

Nancy 5:30 PM  

@Joe DiPinto (4:52) -- Priceless!

@Mr Grumpypants (4:39) -- Also priceless!

It's nice when even the most appalling anonymous comments bring out the best in Rexblog humor :)

Joe Bleaux 5:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Bleaux 5:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
nate shafroth 6:01 PM  

I call shenanigans on LAY LOW. Yes, "lay" is the past tense of "lie," but the expression in the present tense is "lay low," not "lie low." So "hunkerED down" should be LAID LOW.

Joe Bleaux 6:21 PM  

From what I've seen, neither dim nor an asshole are you, bud. But yeah, they should be steadfastly ignored.

Joe Bleaux 6:24 PM  

Whew! If this junkyard dog of a puzzle hadn't worn me out, I'd bitch for a few paragraphs about all the things already properly bitched about, but it did, so I won't.

Two Ponies 6:37 PM  

Nuns, bombs, and drunken anonymice! What a great couple of days on the blog! My sincere thanks to you all.

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

@Two Ponies,

Can't speak to bombs, but as for drunks and nuns I feel confident.
I'm the man Grumpypants accused of being intoxicated. I assure you, I haven't had a drop. I do have cerebral palsy, and I am Irish. And Catholic. But before anyone asks, no, I don't know anything about bombs, the IRA or Christy Brown.
I do recognize ignorance and anti Catholic ramblings though.

Be assured, the Catholic Church is in eclipse in Ireland. And all of Europe. More's the pity. They saved my life. And countless more like me.

The Films in question, Philomena and The Madeline Laundries are fictional, they have a bent. It is anti Catholic. No serious person disputes this.

Call me a liar, call me an anonymouse, call me what you like. The facts remain.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

@Nate, the correct expression, grammatically speaking, is "lie low." Lay low is a common mistake if in the present tense.

OISK 7:15 PM  

@Anonymous 6:55...One of the charms of the (2015) movie "Brooklyn," is its portrayal of the Catholic Church, and its priests. It was refreshing, and unusual (today) to cast the Church in a positive light.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Brooklyn is a miracle. That actress is well, a dream. As for Broadbent's portrayal of a priest, it rang true to me. The world was world's different then obviously, but my Father McCafferty and Sister Mathias (they of the 1970s/80s) could've been cast perfectly in that film.

Thanks for the solidarity. And I'm sure, with all my heart sure, that there are lots of folks whose experience with The Church were positive. But this blog isn't a place where that will be met with reason. Or smiles.
I've done my duty to the best of my ability to stand up against lies and hate. So, I'll let it lie. Or is it lay?

Hope Brooklyn is good tonigbt....

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

I know it's the New York Times, but here in the south, meemaw is very, very common for grandmother, y'all.

JC66 8:39 PM  

My one time Upper West Side Jewish dowager (it's not an oxymoron) girlfriend, upon the birth of her first grandchild, insisted on being called MEEMAW.

Anonymous 9:19 PM  

@JC86- obviously not an oxymoron more like a redundancy

joebloggs 10:22 PM  

Nah bro Rex is right that Ryan clue is trash. You lose IQ points just by watching that show...

Nancy 10:23 PM  

@JC66 (8:39) -- Not an oxymoron at all -- not if you'd known my (great) Aunt Flossie (Florence) who always struck me as a Jewish Grande Dame. (She was the first cousin of my maternal grandmother). There was an imperious air about her always; when she spoke, her children and grandchildren listened; she lived well (she had an apartment in the Ritz Towers) and that added to the aura. While my mother once confessed that she had been rather intimidated by Aunt Flossie growing up, I wasn't at all intimidated. I actually liked her, finding her smart and sensible and quite approachable. Of course she was pretty old by then and probably had mellowed. She reached her 100th birthday. President Reagan sent her a birthday card. (That's what presidents do when you live to be 100.) Having gotten the recognition to which I imagine she felt completely entitled, she died a few weeks later.

JC66 10:57 PM  


Lovely remembrance. Thanks for sharing.

I've always associated dowagers with olde English drawing rooms.

bmpercy 1:03 PM  

Thanks @pamk, I reluctantly put that in, baffled, and now my mind can rest at ease (had OdES for quite some time, poetically). Never watched the OC but support Rex's rant.

Is it kosher to have ONES as an answer and "One for the money" as a separate clue? I hesitated even more due to the subtle duplication.

Jeff Schuh 1:54 PM  

TTY was one of my first fills. It's not that obscure!
Still don't get Ones? A summer place of "ones" (own)?
Gil was a nice twist on "ole"

Joel Fass 2:02 PM  

After getting the upper LH corner relatively easily, I thought this one would be a breeze. BUT NOOO! Done in by 39 across (I had 'dearth'), making it impossible to get the surrounding downs). Sly clue, perhaps too sly? Never heard of 'emergenc', so 20 across was no help. Still working, having (true confession) come here to cheat.

Medium? Harumph...

Grant Edwards 8:56 PM  

I'll never read this blog again. Rex Parker, as he calls himself, is clearly an asshole. "CHAYOTE" has never appeared before in a puzzle. So it's invalid. Fuck you. "I've never heard of it, even though I taught it last week" (Centaur killed by Hercules, yesterday). This puzzle was excellent, and no 'medium'. That rating was yet another asshole move on Michael Sharp's part. I can't believe I've wasted my time reading this blog by someone who clearly hates crosswords, or fun in general, apparently.

Grant Edwards 8:59 PM  

Give it up already! At this point you must ask yourself, "why am I doing this?" You come across as a very unhappy person. Fuck off.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

It's a couple days late, but the FLAGS/SAGS is just not my bag.

Ben 9:16 PM  

SETH, not RYAN, is that star of the OC. Duh. Ryan is Seth's friend. That's what makes that a terrible clue. Otherwise the OC reference would have been funny. It's an old show, and not a very good one, but it's fairly iconic in its own way.

TTY was not obscure at all to me. Flip over your credit card and squint a little.

I did find this one to be pretty hard, though. I had never in my life heard of a CHAYOTE; it seems to be a regional thing. Also had never heard of a POTATO RACE. I still think the clue for ONES is completely ridiculous. And RYAN vs SETH really did mess me up. Despite that, I still think it's a pretty elegant puzzle.

Ando 7:05 PM  

There's no such thing as a freakin' POTATO RACE. Come on. "Fair competition" is a nice vague clue, but not for this answer. What are fair competitions? Shooting cans with a BB gun, hitting kewpies with baseballs, guessing someone's weight, that sort of thing. Yes, potato SACK (and egg-carry) races exist, but not at fairs -- those are for family and office picnics. Hated this answer.

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spacecraft 11:41 AM  

Total and complete DNF. Didn't know any of it, except for maybe a few short entries here and there, like OKS and LDS and the Sven-less (again!) OLE. Thought I had something going in the NE but the gentle farewell was making no sense at all. I see now that I had SApS instead of SAGS; which one would YOU put down for "Flags?" These kids are too damn smart for me.

At least my hottie Marina Sirtis as TROI comes through with the DOD.

Diana, LIW 11:42 AM  

I studied ASL, which I had in the puz before TTY - which is a real thing in use today. Deaf or hard-of-hearing folks can communicate using a TTY operator to write out messages coming in. Maybe others have mentioned this - I've only read OFL' critique.

But PANICBAR was my downfall today. Crash is the only way I've heard it described.

Got the paper on time without a phone call only one day this week. Today was not that lucky day.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the paper

Diana, LIW 11:54 AM  

PS - there is a comic strip, don't remember which one, where granny is MEEMAW. What you learn from comics. If the paper shows up.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 12:02 PM  

@Waxy in Montreal--Sorry, you're quite right. You can read or not read any comments you want before posting your own.

Longbeachlee 1:35 PM  

You people are getting soft. All the apologies for Chayote, but not a word about vegetable pear. C'mon, who's ever heard of vegetable pear?

Longbeachlee 1:44 PM  

SOS, island getaway? SOS means Save Our Ship. If you're already on an island, you probably wouldn't care about the ship, and it would probably be too late to save the ship anyway. How any many ways is this puzzle a disaster? Let me count the ways.

Burma Shave 2:27 PM  


That THROB becomes an EMERGEN-C
but HEALS if I LAYLOW and let it,


Anonymous 2:41 PM  

From Syndication Land:

The comic strip "Rose is Rose" has a grandmother character called Meemaw. If you watch "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon famously refers to his "Meemaw" occasionally. POTATORACE on the other hand is a big WOE. I've heard of a sack race, and we always use an egg in a spoon race. That SE corner was by far the last to fall.

Steven J. Wangsness 3:36 PM  

Ugh. Just ugh.

leftcoastTAM 3:39 PM  

No chance to get this one. Not just PPPs, but too many other never-heard-ofs as well. Surprisingly, the NW was the about the earliest to fall. Most often, the last. Small consolation.

A tough group of puzzle-makers here, for sure.

rondo 4:04 PM  

Top half easy, bottom not. Maybe because we TIEDON a good one last night at a wedding dance. Probable DNF since I asked the missus about the PETERI statue.

Yeah, I had a Svenless OLE down there until I attained my GOL. Also took a long time to get that a PRO plays "for the money".

At least the second, maybe third?, recent appearance of a pun on sum, sumONE'S sure to tire of that joke.

Any old heart THROB JESSICA (Alba, Biel, Simpson, etc.) often claims yeah baby status so today the NOD'S for ASIAn (Korea) pro golfer Se Ri PAK. Much better clue/answer than an abbr.

This puz didn't come from EASYSTREET. GOINPEACE.

Bananafish 2:41 PM  

Tough puzzle. Because the clueing was intentionally indirect. And I am not a fan of that. So I agree with a lot of the clueing criticisms above.

Also thought the clue “Fair competition” should have gotten a ‘?’ - when a word in a clue with a common phrase gets a meaning different than its meaning in that common phrase, it gets a ‘?’ Period.

I agree with the commenter above who raised an eyebrow at HOOHAS. In my lexicon, that word refers to women’s private parts, not “Flaps” (unless that is supposed to be another colloquialism for them!). Sandwiching HOOHAS right between ESTEE and JESSICA added to the fun.

And ENEMYLINES are “Dangerous thingS to cross” - yes, both are plural.

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