2017 Tony-winning play about 1990s diplomacy / SAT 10-7-17 / Director costar of bigamist 1953 / Dystopian backdrop / Second-oldest national park in North America / Weapon swung by gaucho / Literally singing place / 1970 hit with spelled out title

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: OSTERIA (39A: Basic Italian bistro) —
noun
noun: osteria; plural noun: osterias
  1. an Italian restaurant, typically a simple or inexpensive one. (google)
• • •

Ouch. That one roughed me up. It's a glorious grid in many ways—scads (GOBS?) of long answers, thick stacks handled with deftness and precision. But despite a plethora of short answers (crossing the longer ones, in every corner), there just weren't many real toeholds, and getting traction was tough all over. Further, I just didn't know ... any of this stuff. Well, OK, I knew a bunch, but I haven't Not known this much in ages. OSTERIA (nope) crossing ON THE UP (nope). That was fun (i.e. harrowing). Only way I got that initial vowel was by inference. Jesus had a grandma? OK, sure. Her name was just ... ANNE? How did I miss this? I assume a SWAYBAR (?) is part of a car, but if I had to name a hundred car parts, that wouldn't be one of them (38D: Stabilizer in suspensions). "BEE SEASON"!? Did anyone see that. The title drifted into my mind ... somehow. No reason it should have. I can't tell you a damn thing about it, just that the title implanted itself in my mind at some point. Me while solving this puzzle: "Queen had a hit in 1989???" After getting nearly all the crosses, I figured out the first bit, and yeah, I can kind of hear the chorus, or the title anyway, but that's it. NAN Britton has probably been in front of my face before, since I was definitely into Harding scandals at one point, but I forgot her. Throw in the fact that even the stuff I did know was clued in tough to brutal fashion, and yeah, this was the hardest I've worked in a while.


ADORATION instead of ADULATION, argh (57A: Offering to an idol). Also, bigger argh, "YMCA" instead of "LOLA" (4D: 1970 hit with a spelled-out title). I know Very Well the year "YMCA" came out, and I know very well it's not 1970 ... hence the "argh." That stupid little mistake was probably the most lethal, in retrospect. And I dropped HAIG in like a boss! (1D: "Caveat: Realism, Reagan and Foreign Policy") But then pulled him because I couldn't make the corner work! HELLSCAPE, AXIOMATIC, and IDA LUPINO are all things / words / people I love, so it's pretty humiliating to have struggled so much. GOBS of trouble with GOBS, as it's one of those stupid bleeping -O-S words meaning "many." I tried both of the other (more common) words before finally getting the correct one. NATE the Great and OGRESS were two of the very few answers I got immediately (37A: Princess Fiona, for one). I had no idea PSYCHODRAMA was a "therapy" (?!) (46A: Form of therapy in which patients act out events from their past). I just thought it was a phenomenon describing, like, a hellish roomate's whole annoying deal. Anyway, I admire this puzzle, even thought it beat me up. One thing I don't admire, however, is PC LANGUAGE (24A: Unslurred speech?). What a bullshit term that is. That's not even a real thing. That's some right-wing crap. What the hell is it? Not saying "******"!? Seriously, just "not using slurs" is PC LANGUAGE? That's messed up. Here's what I tweeted shortly after I wrote that stupid answer in:


I stand by this.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

137 comments:

jae 12:19 AM  

Medium for me.

@Rex - yes for adoration and ymca (which worked with GARAGE SALES and gummed up the NW for a while).

Also atFULLSAIL before IN and ACCEpt before ACCEDE.

Lots of zip and tricky cluing, liked it a bunch!

Robin 12:29 AM  

Had some trouble at the end of this one, figuring out where the bas letter or letters were at. Realized it was BOLA rather than BOLo, but still couldn't get the happy noise from the Times website. Stared at GOBS real hard, but no that was okay. Finally realized I don't know how to spell ADULATION, and there we go.

Stars for several of the clues/answers, including BANFFF and IDA_LUPINO. But a big raspberry for EPEEIST — that's actually a word?

Mike in Mountain View 12:42 AM  

I thought it was going to be challenging, and then it all fell together in the NW, and I was done in average Saturday time.

Good puzzle.

Casimir 12:56 AM  

I was done in below average time, but found the puzzle challenging, if that makes any sense. I guess I mean that it was a challenging puzzle where almost every long-answer guess I dropped in was correct. Sometimes it goes like that, and it feels good. Nice review today by OFL.

Trombone Tom 12:59 AM  

Agree with @rex that this one is a (welcome) workout. Started out with our old friend IDA LUPINO and the easy GARAGE SALES which let me fill in the rest of the NW. Got hung up by thinking just USA on 18A and then reread the clue to expand into Canada which gave me the lovely BANFF. If you ever have a chance to see the Canadian Rockies, by rail or by car, do it! It's unforgettable.

Skipped over 24A and worked my way down the SW. Then PC LANGUAGE became clear. I happen to think the demands by some for PC LANGUAGE, particularly in universities, is reversing the hard-won gains in free speech. Saying this is not a thing ignores the ongoing controversy.

Didn't know the Queen hit or the Gere/Binoche film, so the SE was really challenging for me. Things were ON THE UP once I put in PACT and the bottom two nines. Had to change Sirs to DEAR to finish.

Top clues were Candy ass (two +marks) and Dish transmitters. Har! At least we didn't have to draw the candy ass. @Rex might have had a real hissy.

Thank you Messrs. Walden and Shortz.

Karl 1:04 AM  

This felt old to me. Maleska-esque, even. I, too, struggled with this puzzle but eventually finished with a touch of dissatisfaction. I should have liked this puzzle more but I didn't.

Moly Shu 1:12 AM  

PCLANGUAGE is a thing, and just because it describes OFL and his delicate sensibilities and he doesn’t like that, doesn’t make it not a thing. IMHO. Or, maybe I’m just a right wing asshole.
Had tACT and never changed it to PACT so that left me with GOSSItS, which seemed reasonable (maybe I’m also an idiot) and just assumed it was a stretch to link tACT to ALLY. Brutal but in a good way.

Steve 2:08 AM  

Can someone explain "A host" = GOBS ????

I thought the "Candy ass" clue for PINATA was great.

I've been doing xwords for 35 years and I still learn new words regularly, like GELID today.

I skip M-W 2:08 AM  

I never know songs, so this was surpringly easy for me. I never even noticed Lola, and it wouldn’t have helped if I had. North America in clue rather gave Banff away.

Horace S. Patoot 2:25 AM  

My 1970 hit was M*A*S*H, (the movie with Gould and Sutherland) also with a spelled-out title.

Sean Slotterback 2:57 AM  

his point is that refraining from racial slurs is not an issue of political correctness, it’s just decency.

Sean Slotterback 3:00 AM  

wow. usually it’s rex saying it’s easy and i am totally asea. but got traction early in the sw and finished in below average time. i suppose there were some obscure answers but found them to be easy guesses

Sean Slotterback 3:03 AM  

a host as in a host of options. gobs as in gobs of options

Chris Jones 3:03 AM  

Agree with Rex on the challenge. Nice for Saturday. Disagree on “PC language”. I lean left as well. This doesn’t seem particularly rightist.

Anonymous 3:40 AM  

Horace, that song is not MASH but Suicide is Painless.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 4:19 AM  

Excellent start for the weekend! Had LOTS of trouble in the NE because of ...well... that mistake and, to my shame, spending way too much time thinking about (only) U S National Parks that started with T....even after I had a couple more letters. (Been to Banff, loved Banff, still ignored the absolutely correct clue.

Famous Mortimer 4:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Famous Mortimer 4:21 AM  

Is nobody else as outraged by AHORSE as I am?

Richard 4:28 AM  

I completed Thursday and Friday in about 15 minutes each. This required multiple lookups and cribbing from the completed grid here. I might have gotten 10 percent of it unaided.

Assistant DA 5:16 AM  

Two Down answer "EXDA" is technically incorrect. Although both were former prosecutors, they were US Attorneys not District Attorneys. The staff members of US Attorneys are known as AUSAs while the District Attorney's staff are known as Deputy Attorneys or ADAs.

evil doug 5:16 AM  

There are a lot of slurs besides ******. "Assholes", for example....

Thomaso808 5:53 AM  

Great puzzle -- GOBS of misdirection. Earlier in the week you would expect "Dish transmitters" or "Stock holders" to get a "?" added, but not on Saturday. To get a "?" on Sat you need to really push it like "Candy ass" or "Unslurred speech". Very fun.

Fourteen debut answers in this one, all legit terms, no quirky themes or stunts. That's very impressive!

@Lewis, quite a few double letters in that SE that got my attention.

R. Carson 6:43 AM  

This must have been sitting in the pipeline for quite some time. Does anyone even REMEMBER that days when the EPA was gave a rats ass about ecology? How quaint.

jberg 7:14 AM  

@Steve, remember Wordsworth's immortal line, "GOBS of golden daffodils."

Easy to medium for me -- somehow many of the long acrosses just fell into place. Go figure.

@Famous Mortimer, I was going to complain about AHORSE too, but I've changed my mind. As of now, I'm going to revive all these old usages.

Can't write more now, though, we're off abiking on nn organized ride, and it's an 80 minute drive to get to the start.

Hungry Mother 7:15 AM  

Played medium for me, but the SE was a struggle for too long. Laughed at the PIÑATA clue.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Relieved but surprised that 'candy ass' escaped OFL's ire. (Didn't NAMBY-PAMBY set him off recently?) Possibly, as an academic, he was distracted by the more general target that PC LANGUAGE offered and found the opportunity to show off his pomo preferences for more convoluted argument too irresistible.

Robert A. Simon 7:39 AM  

I, for one, am hugely disappointed that Johnny 1:41 from yesterday's comments did not grace us with more moths fluttering out of his cocoon brain. (John Ciardi wrote that line. I just wish I did. But certainly appropriate here. All I know is any time you tell people how smart you are, you always come off as just the opposite.)

Z 7:48 AM  

I suppose the person most into fencing would be the epeeest EPEEIST.

@Evil and @Moly - I know neither of you really are that obtuse. The whole notion of “political correctness” is just white men (and some white women) whining because people point out when they are rude and acting privileged. Deal with it. Where I disagree with Rex is that this is not a right wing thing, it’s a white privilege thing. While trumpkins are the current personification of this they have hardly cornered the market. cfBill Maher and Bernie Bros.

emchen 8:02 AM  

i really wanted 40 down to be banana.

ah well.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

No maybe about it. You are indeed a right wing asshole.

Two Ponies 8:12 AM  

Finally we have a puzzle that is well-made and appropriate for the day of the week. I really enjoyed it.

I never was really into heavy metal but I know enough of them to connect those album titles with Ratt. Who else could it be?

I was pleased to remember corvine. I like those animal kingdom descriptions like equine, porcine, ovine, etc.

Our recent Ida Lupino discussion really helped me today.

Leave it to Rex to turn a clue/answer that I thought he would love into a ridiculous rant. What a piñata! You too @Z. I was in a really good mood until the two of you managed to show us how incurably narrow minded you are.

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

Congratulations, @Rex. I think this the first time (that I remember) that you’ve struggled, really struggled, and not blamed the constructor and the editor. Excellent and interesting review. The first thing I wrote in was M*A*S*H. My solve went like that for most of the grid. Just about wore out an eraser. GOBS of stuff I flat didn’t know (I WANT IT ALL, ON THE UP, HELL SCAPE, IDA LUPINO, BEE SEASON — read the book, never saw the film), but everything fell to crosses or just intelligent guesses. Tricky clue for ALLY —not usually a verb — SWAY BAR — I was thinking chemistry, and others. My favorite kind of puzzle. Satisfying, in a self-satisfying, SMUG way.

kitshef 8:13 AM  

Gorblimey that was hard. I've been chirping all week about how easy things have been lately, but this makes up for it. Nothing came easy. Never got into any kind of flow.

Hand up for YMCA, then flirting with TSOP before finding LOLA.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

You are a pedantic moron. M*A*S*H was indeed a hit from 1970. The clue says nothing about a song.

mathgent 8:16 AM  

I wasn't able to finish it before going to bed. The two upper sections were the problem. But I got up early and finished it off. ATISSUE and I FULLSAIL finally came to me.

I took PCLANGUAGE to mean "personal computer" language which annoyed me. But after Rex explained it, I gave that clue a red plus sign. There were 24 in all, a near record level.

I Googled L-O-L-A and didn't come up with anything. Is it a song?

I don't know why I didn't like it more. I got a tough puzzle clean which usually makes me feel good. But for one thing I didn't like the clues for OPINE and ALLY. And AHORSE is contemptible.

We have an excellent restaurant here in San Francisco named Osteria Romana.

Theodore Stamos 8:16 AM  

I was destroyed by the northeast corner....GELID, BANFF, GOBS....and for some reason, DEFRAY still doesn't feel like it fits with that clue to me. Regarding the PCLANGUAGE controversy, if you only define it as "not using racial slurs" then I am in full agreement with you. But I think we'd all agree that it has become something more than that...something uglier, more fascist.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

You would know.

ghthree 8:18 AM  

I'm surprised nobody commented on the (perfectly correct) answer in 12 Down. To me, the '60s were the era of Truman and Eisenhower. I guess I'm showing my age ;--)
Like Rex and many others, I tried LOTS and TONS for 10 Down before GOBS. And I had BOLO before BOLA.
I also had STAYBAR instead of SWAYBAR I had to run through the alphabet on the T after convincing myself from crosses that everything else in 41 across was solid. Of course, I started at the beginning,so it took a long time!
Although I personally skew left, I disagree with Rex on PC LANGUAGE. Unfortunately, it is a real threat on some campuses. The idea that "Everybody who disagrees with me is a bad person" is not confined to one side of the political spectrum.

Gretchen 8:36 AM  

Perfect, challenging Saturday puzzle. I had to Google several titles and people I wasn't familiar with, but most of it was great fun. I especially loved the cluing for 29 down and the misleading 12 down. I had Kennedy Era first assuming it was the 1960s. Nevrr assume. It took me ages to realize what epeeists are. Is that a word? I'm surprised Rex didn't comment on any of these items. Overall, one of the best puzzles in a long time!

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

I use the EDGE browser. I enter "nyt" and choose "nytimes crossword" from the list returned. Usually this website is returned at the top of the list. Today, it wasn't returned in the list at all. Is Rex out of favor? What's up?

Gretchen 8:42 AM  

Truman and Eisenhower were in the 50s. Early 60s was the Kennedy Era. Of course the clever cluing made us assume th 1960s instead of the 1860s.

Gretchen 8:47 AM  

Truman and Eisenhower were in the 50s. Early 60s was the Kennedy Era. Of course the clever cluing made us assume th 1960s instead of the 1860s.

Hartley70 8:51 AM  

This was a crazy tough Saturday puzzle. I had the bottom half last night and tackled the top this morning like @mathgent. It's as if @Rex wrote my post this morning, so thanks @Rex. I'm running late. The only difference is that I had to resort to the check function to get that blasted NW corner. We call them tagSALES in my area, and YMCA is seared in my brain from AHOST of '70s wedding receptions.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

There is no such person as Rex Parker. It is a persona adopted by an asshole of milquetoastian demeanor to mislead thoughtful and reasonable people. Fuck that moniker.

QuasiMojo 8:54 AM  

I'm hoping you were being tongue-in-cheek with that scurrilous flaming tweet, Rex. It's hard to tell sometimes. I still don't think it's appropriate for a college professor to be spewing venom and profanity on social media. I know of one notable example recently where someone at an Ivy League college lost their job because of it. Besides, it sets the wrong tone and undermines your authority. But then I guess you have to teach about words like "fuck" and "shit" since a lot of comic books use these terms now, so maybe I'm the one who's out of touch.

I too had TACT before PACT and was thinking we could use more of it these days. I also wanted CAMELOT ERA before I got the misdirect on Lincoln. Touche!

This puzzle was totally in my wheelhouse and I enjoyed it except for the few mistakes (ex-DA as someone above explained so well) and I thought the use of CAPE and SCAPE in the exact same area showed laziness.

We had GOBS just a couple of weeks ago, and IDA LUPINO too. She was a great actress, British-born from a family of well-known actors, and a pioneering female film director. She also starred in the quintessential PSYCHODRAMA "Deep Valley." Wacky noir without a single F-bomb. I highly recommend it.

Teedmn 8:58 AM  

"A new word today", I marveled at mELID. Even after warning myself that mOBS could be GOBS, I didn't go back to see if perhaps GELID would be better. Um, yeah.

Otherwise, this took me about ten minutes fewer than my average Saturday, at 20 minutes total. It wasn't quite PB1 smooth, as the black ink on my paper will attest, but I never became stuck for long and the NW filled itself in off LIAR, SMUG, and GARAGESALES.

My favorite clue/answer pairs were "Unslurred speech?" PCLANGUAGE, "Candy ass?" PIÑATA, "One who tries to avoid being touched" EPEEIST, and "They go to all the best spots" CLIOAWARDS. I didn't fall into the M*A*S*H* trap and solving the NE from the bottom meant that ___COLNERA made 12D pretty obvious. We've been led down that historic path before so it wasn't a surprise.

I appreciate @Rex's insight into SWAYBAR - even after it filled in, I was thinking of suspensions in liquids or solids, not mechanics.

Looking up Queen albums to see if I could spot one with "I WANT IT ALL", I found a live album released in 2015 called "A Night at the ODEON - Hammersmith 1975". Is Byron Walden giving Queen too much ADULATION :-)?

Nicely done, BW, thanks.

Black Sun 8:59 AM  

When your white genocide is complete who is going to feed everyone?

Your isolation from the people you feel compelled to defend has blinded you.

Birchbark 9:04 AM  

My favorite challenging puzzle, and favorite review from @Rex as well, leaving aside the descent into Us vs. Them at the end.

LINCOLN ERA crossing BANFF -- two great, fair misdirects. PINATA was humorous relief after wondering what the heck it could be that wasn't just awful. INSEAM, GOSSIPS, and my own SMUG feeling in getting CAWS without pause.

Plus HELLSCAPE in symmetry with REPORTAGE (and for that matter, MSDOS in symmetry with GELID).

Finally, on a deeper level, how does clicking a box prove I'm not a robot?

CDilly52 9:13 AM  

YES!!! Thank you. Adding “a” to almost anything seems allowable in crossword construction, but I object! I enjoy learning new words, but they should be legit.

CDilly52 9:17 AM  

Being a state prosecutor (Assistant DA), this one rankled. . . And hung me up for a bit.

CDilly52 9:22 AM  

HAHAHA! I threw that in certain that CONDOM would never be the answer. That corner fell last.

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Great crunchy puzzle, desperately needed in this week of easy ones. Fabulous clues for LIAR (literally and figuratively), PINATA, OPINE, INSEAM, LINCOLNERA and CLIOAWARDS. GOBS of stuff I didn't know in the context in which they were presented -- ANNE, ONTHEUP, HELLSCAPE, INFULLSAIL, PSYCHODRAMA, GELID -- yet all crossed fairly.

Only entry I really didn't care for was AHORSE.

PCLANGUAGE is totally a thing despite people wishing it weren't, but today's clue is not very good. It's not language free of slurs; it's language free of any real meaning because it's watered down to avoid any possible offense. It's the smooth jazz of language. :)

The Ridger, FCD 9:30 AM  

It may be oldish but it's a valid word. Been around for a couple of centuries

The Ridger, FCD 9:32 AM  

It may be oldish but it's a valid word. Been around for a couple of centuries

CDilly52 9:36 AM  

Very very difficult. Had to sleep and try again this morning. Clean solve though, just a clean S L O W solve. I enjoyed Fiona getting recognized. As a fan of the entire Shrek series, I have long felt that Fi hasn’t gotten enough recognition as the clever OGRESS she is. Hated AHORSE, EXDA (just flat wrong). Knew OSTERIA, PSYCHODRAMA (helped those spots unfold). New word: GELID. Favorite “?” is of course “Candy ass.” Truly great effort today. Worked my virtual eraser to a stump!

Nancy 9:37 AM  

What a HELLSCAPE of a puzzle, but I finished it. A tribute to my fortitude, stubbornness, and, today, masochism. Because it's AXIOMATIC that when you have a rapper and two LONGWINDED song titles cropping up in the worst possible places, I am not going to be filled with ADULATION. No. I am instead going to scream STOP! What kind of title is ALOHAOE???? What does it mean? And does Princess Fiona, whoever she is, sound like an OGRESS to you? Not to me, either. Ironically, it was the worst clue of the non-PPP clues that helped me solve. "This isn't going to be AHORSE, is it," I asked. But it was. (Spellcheck's not accepting it, btw. Good on Spellcheck.)

There were some terrific things in the puzzle, I thought, but you give me rappers and song titles and I say OWIE. Oh, well. I finished. It took me forever.

The Big Salad 9:42 AM  

Another Saturday done with no erasures. Another Saturday that Rex has the sadz. Another Saturday that HRC is still not POTUS.

It is a good day.

Susie Q 9:47 AM  

Rex, In your tweet are you referring to yourself as a "thoughtful and reasonable" person? That Is Funny. Oh, wait, I guess you were serious.

Matthew G. 9:49 AM  

Yes, this is the rare instance of a NYT crossword clue being objectively wrong. It’s not just technically incorrect; it’s flat-out mistaken. Federal prosecutors are not DAs. There is not a single American lawyer who would use the term DA to mean a United States Attorney. Neither Giuliani nor Christie was ever a DA. The term DA has a defined meaning: state prosecutors operating at a county or municipal level.

I also agree with Rex on 24A. I operate on the philosophy that anyone who uses the term “PC” is a crank not to be trusted.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Too much arbitrary know-it-or-you-don't stuff in the southeast corner: Bee Season, Ratt, Moog. Too bad.

KPF 9:54 AM  

Never knew GELID was an English word. Interestingly, gelid (pronounced jal-eed) means ice in Arabic. It’d be interesting to trace the etymology there. Both stem from the Latin but I wonder when the word made the jump to Classical Arabic.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Once again, those who are politically correct and get offended over everything---even words in crossword puzzles----can't admit they are politically correct. Ironic, isn't it. I enjoyed the puzzle. I am halfway through the book Shattered by Allen and Parnes. As you read, it is more and more obvious that despite campaign mistakes, the main problem was that HRC was a very flawed candidate and not the best person to put forward for the Democrats.

MI Nana 10:02 AM  

If one read more than comic books (more, in sense of in addition to) one might have remembered
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ahorse

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

PC Rex, like every fosming-at-the-mouth liberal I've known in California, lives on the whitest area he can afford.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

@Z,

Wrong again. To use your pal Michael's term, you're an an asshole.
When the pc language debate was at its hot at heaviest, the concept of privilege hadn't even been invented. Even someone as arrogant and obtuse as you knows that's a new grievance you and your ilk have invented. Deal with it. Or not. You're still wrong. And a dick.

Steve M 10:20 AM  

Tough but not gelid......

Mohair Sam 10:37 AM  

I'd give my Kingdom for a better clue for 27 down.

Terrific Saturday, I agree with y'all. Played easy/medium here until we hit the SE and dropped in ADorATION, on top of which we didn't know BEESEASON, OSLO, RATT, or ANNE - and we'd have to guess at PSYCHODRAMA. Quite a battle, but we fought our way through.

Have a friend (self-made gazillionaire) recently retired, who is determined to play golf in every state and Mexico and Canada. He recently returned from playing in Alaska and BANFF. I need to thank him.

PCLANGUAGE a clever clue and answer, wish @Rex hadn't spoiled it. Welcome back IDALUPINO, she was the gimme that opened the top (and I remembered LOLA - how SMUG am I?). Got to salute Alexander HAIG when he was working directly for McNamara. Can't believe I'm saying this: DRDRE was a gimme!

Richard Gere had a summer home for a few years in Water Mill, NY just a few blocks from my sister-in-law June's house. He'd hop in his convertible and drive to where he could see Route 27 and, if it was packed with traffic as it often is, he'd do a three point turn in June's driveway and take the longer route which had easier access to the main road. By the end of each summer June's front porch would be packed with old ladies who had dropped by for tea just praying Richard would be doing a turn-around. When June told us the story I shook my head sadly, Lady Mohair asked when Gere was due back.

About as good as a Saturday puzz gets Byron Walden. Thanks.

Nancy 10:48 AM  

I don't know Sir Hillary's politics, but I'm completely with him on his take on PC LANGUAGE (9:29). Come help me out, fellow liberals. I never want to use terminology bandied about like a weapon by the Bill O'Reillys, Sean Hannitys, Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters of the world, and that's what the phrase "PC LANGUAGE" has become. But PC LANGUAGE is a thing, and to my [quite liberal] way of thinking it's a mostly bad thing. For exactly the reasons that @Sir Hillary states. I'd love to come up with a different term -- one that doesn't smack of the reflexive Fox news put-down. But one that encourages well-meaning people to be comfortable with the expression of political ideas that don't necessarily mirror their own. Can anyone think of such a term?

David Schinnerer 10:58 AM  

The clue for LOLA was totally wrong. Although the Kinks DO spell out her (his, actually) name in the chorus, the title is a name...Lola.
Boy meets “girl” in bar and, as in life, everything is not as it seems...

Was reading Mike’s review and so complimentary...until the end. He just can’t right do it. Has to take at least one shot to feel like Mike.

P.S. AHORSE??? C’mon

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@Nancy
You're describing speech. It's a perfectly acceptable word.
The problem is the academy is so left wing and has such sway, it's almost impossible to utter anything except liberal orthodoxy without being branded a bigot, or homophobe or misogynist etc.
You know in your heart that not only is politically correct speech a thing but a deleterious thing. All of the fallout that was predicted 30 yeras by those bad folks on the right are coming to fruition, e.g., safe zones, trigger warnings, The Berkley model of debate to name just a few.

Carolyn Grose 11:02 AM  

Well said!!

QuasiMojo 11:03 AM  

What did the puzzle constructor say when battling a tricky grid? My CONDOM for AHORSE.

puzzlehoarder 11:12 AM  

My tablet died a few days ago and my phone wouldn't let me do the puzzle last night at the firehouse so I had to wait and do this on paper here at home today. You throw in reading the 65 comments already posted when I finished and you get an uncharacteristic late comment from me.

I'm glad I did this on paper because it was a great puzzle. The challenge here is about what every late week puzzle should be at minimum.

One of my correct guesses in the NW was ECOLOGY so when I paired that up with EPA the NE was where I started. You know you've been doing puzzles a long time when a word like GELID comes to you before GOBS. I like it when a section has you working both ends of the spectrum.

It took many decades for me to learn that BANFF was not BANIF. My eye just blends that last vertical in the N with the first F to make an I because that word is just crying out for an extra vowel.

My reading "Baby's cut" as "Baby's out", several times was just poor eyesight.

From the NE it was steady work clockwise to finish in the NW. From the get go I figured 2D was going to be EX something and I would just need the crosses to figure it out. This was probably the trickiest section for myself as AXIOMATIC is a new one to me.

To those arguing the fine points of EXDA you're probably right but I learned long ago that these clues are written by the ignorant for the ignorant and they should always be read that way.

Kingdaddy 11:27 AM  

I got HELLSCAPE right away. Must be a sign of the times.

EPEEIST, AHORSE...Ugh.

Trombone Tom 11:27 AM  

There have been lots of arbitrary putdowns of AHORSE, which is admittedly archaic, but archaic is certainly fair game on a Saturday.

You would get somewhere faster ahorse than afoot.

GHarris 11:32 AM  

This one was way out of my league. Took 9 trips to google and, even then, was trying to fit Sequoia into Banff. I agree DA is dead wrong even though I got it. Also, shouldn't the clue for 29d have ended in a question mark?

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Bris > Owie, lol

Carola 11:55 AM  

Byron Walden! My heart leapt up. Then I read the clues, and my heart sank - so many "no idea"s! I was afraid I'd have to report a half-empty grid DNF. But, amazingly, it was doable. My way in was OGRESS + CAWS x AHORSE and chip chip chip from there. Enjoyed every bit of hard-won ground.
Corrections: BOLo and ADorATION.

Joe Bleaux 11:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buggy Bunny 12:03 PM  

made me feel like that horse that encountered Mongo.

GILL I. 12:09 PM  

OK, so Saturday is the hardest puzzle of the week. You'd think the smart set tackle these and then come here and say something erudite. Instead we get dickheads insulting every other poster. What a crowd.
I see Byron Walden and I want to go screaming to the next room and grab my dictionary. My only entry for a loooong time was GARAGE SALES and I wasn't leaving until I got all the corresponding downs. YMCA was cemented, glued and etched in that corner. Dystopian had to be HOLY HELLS right? I wasn't leaving that area until I got at least one right down so I did my first Google and got LOLA. What a friggin way to clue LOLA. With just that one down, I was able to clean up my mess. changed my HELLS around and finally finished that little NW section. The NE was easier for me. I got GELID/GOBS and cleaned my plate.
If I wanted to finish, I had to Google PAP and ALOHAOE. Closed that section with the CONDOM. Got stuck with therapy. Do you know how many therapies there are? All invented by the PC LANGUAGE barons. I wanted to fit Gestalt in there something fierce.
So ANNE is the grandmother of Jesus Alou?
Loved the puzzle and the struggle. A HORSE is a horse of course.

old timer 12:15 PM  

I immediately got NAN and MSDOS and CAWS and the rest of the SW and thought, "This one will be Easy." I was surprised to see CONDOM but they are classically exhibited in HS Health classes. In my day many a boy carried a CONDOM in his wallet but never got to use it.

The rest of the puzzle was not Easy at all. I had to look tons of stuff up. I did get PSYCHODRAMA early, and GELID and was delighted by the LINCOLNERA misdirect. But I have no idea what songs Queen performed or what movies the lovely Mlle. Binoche was in. So it was a long hard slog even with some help. But satisfying.

Joe Bleaux 12:21 PM  

But who nonetheless shows up every day with the completed puzzle, his (optional) critique of it, and a clip or two, all for the entertainment of a HOST of solvers who aren't required to pay for it. What an asshole!

Joe Bleaux 12:24 PM  

Nancy, you have outdone yourself, and brightened a cloudy day. Thank you.

Joe Bleaux 12:26 PM  

Har! Good 'un.

Masked and Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Some mighty tough stuff, indeed.

4-D drove me nuts, as I thought the clue was sayin that the title of the song was spelled out, on the record label. It ain't. But the Kinks do spell out "Lola, L-O-L-A Lola", in the lyrics. Lost GOBS of precious nanoseconds, on that one.

Didn't know the Basic Italian bistro/French homesickness cross. Or the Queen hit. Or the Britspeak. Or the 2005 film with Gere and Binoche. Knew SWAYBAR, ok. Anyhoo, all that "didn't know" stuff slowed the solvequest down to an owie crawl through the jungle on the isle of lost nanoseconds.

"Corvine"? Owie in the Osteria, dude.

Congrats to @ROO, on makin it into the puz. ROO comes up more often than MAA, as a puz weeject. ROO gets staff weeject pick of the day. Honrable mention to MAL, tho. BTW: "MAL du pays" does not appear in the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary. Only MAL du splatzed in there was "MAL du siecle". @French students: Is there a "MAL du du"? That'd be kinda cool.

Classy ow de speration moment: AHORSE. Also has O. M&A H.D. Dictionary problemos.
But, hey -- most of the fillins in this here SatPuz were quite smooth, interestin, and extra-sneakily clued. Made it all a fun and feisty grid trip. Also, U got yer "+" sign in the middle, and some really looong shady square lines in the NW and SE. Great bunch of stuff. The mal-du-du-a-horse material was expertly minimized.

But, MAL du pays? … may-urd, mon ami.

Thanx, Mr. Walden. It's been osterical.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Alysia 12:57 PM  

It is indeed a song by The Kinks. It's hard to believe it was from 1970...making it almost 50 years old now. Wow.

http://songmeanings.com/m/songs/view/41558/

Malsdemare 12:58 PM  

Hey! I'm - sorta - in the puzzle (MAL). That's just icing. This one was just what Saturday calls for, good clues, fun misdirect, a little controversy, and some edumacation. As usual, my hangups were pop culture. Hand up for YMCA, no clue about the Gere-whoever movie, and I wanted wehadITALL for the Queen song (absolutely no reason for that.) I saw IDALUPINO but coukdn't fit her in there with YMCA, so that was a slow fill. I had to Google BEESEASON and HAIG (eating crow here), guessed at OSTERIA, threw down CONDOM and was thrilled to see it stick (ick!)

We sure did a job when we transformed something as benign and desirable as decency into political correctness, but I'm not sure that having safe spaces and trigger warnings is a sign of weakness or namby-pambyness. Lotta folks in Vegas might have liked those.

Alysia 1:00 PM  

You know ALOHA'OE. Trust me. You just didn't know that's what it was.

https://youtu.be/Y1bIxMYPlas

Alex L 1:14 PM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Took me an hour and was still enjoyable. Loved the "Candy ass" clue. I thought EPA should've been clued as "Org. formerly concerned with 9D [ECOLOGY]." And the '60s referring to the 1860s just confounded me for a long time. Once I figured out LINCOLN ERA, things fell into place to finish. I didn't mind PC LANGUAGE, as I assumed it was being used ironically with the clue.

Syndicate Bob 1:21 PM  

Link to syndicated puzzle not updated for a few days.

Frayed Knot 1:31 PM  

I thought the clues for PCLANGUAGE -- along with the misdirects for LINCOLNERA and BANFF -- were the highlights of the puzzle

Larry Tate 1:43 PM  

Will someone, for God’s sake, teach Aunt Clara how to Google?

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Despite a dnf in south east I did my best ever sat solve. Wahoo!

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Yep

Anoa Bob 2:06 PM  

With P_L_ in place at 24A, I confidently dropped in POLITE TALK for "Unslurred speech". Is it PC to be polite?

@jberg, "GOBS of daffodils" didn't sound right to this Wordsworth fan who ranks "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud" as one of his best poems.


I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

TimJim 2:10 PM  

Too tough for me, even after googling some of the esoterca. The problem with PCLANGUAGE, I think, is not the term but the clue, which suggests that "politically correct" is the absence of slurs. That's not my understalnding. Saying "happy holidays" or using gender-neutral pronouns might be considered PC by some. Using slurs is just rude and offensive and ishould be condemned
by all without regard to "politics."

More Whit 2:17 PM  

Clio Awards busted the SW open and Lincoln Era the NE (once I was in the right century!) Great puzzle. Challenging and satisfying Saturday solve.

Thomaso808 2:29 PM  

@Nancy 9:37
"What kind of title is ALOHAOE? - Answer: Hawaiian. The title is Aloha Oe.
"What does it mean?" - Answer: Farewell to you.

It is a very old and beautiful song, possibly the most famous Hawaiian song there is, and as @Alysia pointed out, you would recognize it right away. It has been recorded by Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, and many others. Elvis also sang it in "Blue Hawaii". It is a much-loved song in Hawaii, sung at many funerals and going-away parties.

Chip Hilton 2:29 PM  

You know, it used to crack me up, the level of meanness you find on 'sites like this and in , say, Facebook comments on any topic even mildly political. It no longer cracks me up. This country's scary.

@andyseff 2:40 PM  

I thought SWAYBAR had to to with suspension bridges? It gave me fits, but that thinking about bridges was the key to my fill.

BarbieBarbie 2:40 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv1L-8f2erg

Sorry but this ALWAYS comes to mind when I think about Daffodils. A dollar apiece?!?

This was a wonderful puzzle. Lots of multiple-possibility answers. Some of the funniest clues ever. I may have a new favorite constructor. I hope there's a backlog of these somewhere.

Joe Dipinto 2:47 PM  

Puzzlepeeplz: the ? at the end of the Unslurred speech? clue indicated it was a joke of sorts. You do all know that slurred speech is not the opposite of PC LANGUAGE, it's the way people talk when they are inebriated or stoned. Any indignation is unwarranted (I'm looking at you, Michael Sharpc).

I found this puzzle difficult but not impossible. I almost never get the northwest corner first, but this time I did. The northeast corner was rather beastly. I'm not sure that LINCOLN ERA clue was totally fair, it seems overly SMUG (Hah, you thought we meant the 1960's, didn't you? That's what we were hoping. Fakeout!).

But, all things considered, a solidly constructed and interesting puzzle as well as a challenging solve.

Bob Mills 2:56 PM  

Rex, you really need to learn to RElaX. "PC Language" is a real phrase. You're the one playing politics with it by claiming it's just right-wing stuff. "Hate speech" was probably created by a liberal; does that mean it isn;t a real phrase?

For the record, some PC language reflects politeness. Some does not, especially the nonsense on college campuses that don't permit any gender reference in conversation (no "he" or "she" and no "him" or "her." Does it make me a right-winger to point that out, Rex?

Bob Mills 2:59 PM  

"Aloha Oe" is a beautiful song. It was written, believe it or not, by Queen Liliuokalani, who reigned back in the day before Hawaii became a colonial football.

Joe Dipinto 3:48 PM  

Semi-spoiler: more than one answer in this puzz also appears in the Sunday puzz.

Beverly Feldt 3:50 PM  

"Candy Ass?" was the best.

mac 3:57 PM  

A wonderful Saturday puzzle with fantastic clues. Delightful solve.

Hand up for YMCA, accept, and thinking of "bris" for the owie. The South was the more difficult part for me.

mark shuper 4:22 PM  

I say this puzzle is gelid, and I say to Hell with it. PC language is real--try posting a note containing any of the colorful vernacular that came to mind while solving tbis puzzle.

mathgent 4:27 PM  

@Anoa Bob (2:06): Thanks for the Wordsworth. I hadn't seen it since high school. Lovely music.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 4:33 PM  

@Gill and others... St Anne was the mother of Mary.... a gimme for me; sometimes that long eght year stint in a Catholic Grade School comes in handy after all .

Michael Green 4:44 PM  

As neither a right wing asshole nor a millennial, I agree that in today's language, it isn't just about traditional offensive slurs but has become a thing where normal words used normally are offensive because people are trying to be offended. Case in point where the Australian sportscaster spoke of Venus William's aggressive style in a normal term used in tennis across races and genders. The term is guerilla tactics, yet the world decided on that day, unlike every other day, that the caster was a racist calling her a gorilla. Had he, it would have been offensive but he didn't. So, in order today to be politically correct, one must make sure that the the entire world won't be offended even when one isn't a racist but people want to accuse you anyway. Be afraid people. Be very afraid.

Michael Green 4:46 PM  

PC is really a thing. It isn't just about traditional offensive slurs but has become a thing where normal words used normally are offensive because people are trying to be offended. Case in point is where the Australian sportscaster spoke of Venus William's aggressive style in a normal term used in tennis across races and genders. The term is guerilla tactics, yet the world decided on that day, unlike every other day, that the caster was a racist calling her a gorilla. Had he, it would have been offensive but he didn't. So, in order today to be politically correct, one must make sure that the the entire world won't be offended even when one isn't a racist but people want to accuse you anyway. Be afraid people. Be very afraid.

foiled again 5:17 PM  

Loved seeing epeeist in the puzzle. That was my license plate number for years.

GILL I. 5:30 PM  

@Sallie (FTL)...Thank you. She had been lurking at the back of my mind but without the Saint/Santa all I could think of was our favorite baseball player Jesus....!

Michael 5:48 PM  

A challenging puzzle that I would have been happy to solve without googling. But I had to look up Jesus's grandmother... After that I finished.

The history of "politically correct" is interesting. The term was not always primarily used by conservatives.

phil phil 6:02 PM  

I dropped in HAIG but had to take it out and that corner was dnf all because I couldn’t replace YMCA with LOLA. I know the song I don’t remember it being spelled out or maybe i am remembering the wrong LOLA. Anyhoo got a citySCAPE and itla for guiliani (italian american) and was in a pickle.

i know SWAYBAR but BAR is used in one other clue so had to try SWAYarm or SWAYrod which was tough.

Two Ponies 6:19 PM  

@ Michael Green, I remember the report of that incident very well. That poor sportscaster might have lost his job over that, I don't recall but would not be surprised.
So yes, I am very afraid.

Shelby Glidden 6:22 PM  

Being from the left coast, it's almost embarrassing
to say my dnf was in the northwest. Lola was spelled L-O-L-A, perhaps, because The Kinks were a bit lyrically deprived as active members of the Sixties.
As a retired psychologist, the psychodrama clue
did make me wonder: can one occasionally be traiggered back to a certain age?

Shelby Glidden 6:24 PM  

*triggered

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

Two ponies and @Michael Green,

That travesty was good, but there's one better. A DC governmentioned functionary used the word niggardly. One of his fellow employees objected, not knowing what it meant. The party of the first part was fired. Took him years to be vindicated. To say nothing of his financial catastrophe. The ignoramus who objected? Sailing along great, as stupid as ever.

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

Cool story, Anonymous. The guy you're talking about was re-hired two weeks later.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

David Howard, right? Yeah, that's true. And of course,he wasn't fired, he "resigned". But he was in fact tarred, and has never been made whole financially. I'm afraid it's not a cool story. I wish it were just an annecdote...
BTW, Google the moron who objected, Marshall Brown. He wouldn't know Scandinavian etymology if it bit him in the ass.
I'm guessing game he plays ultimate with @zero. Or does Brazilian July jitsu with @ aketi.

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Oh and jerkoff anonymous 8:04, you do know he wasnt rehired. He was hired. It was a different job. You have the same kind do of intellect as the Einstein Brown. Thanks for the snark, dummy.

Blackbird 9:47 PM  

Truly interesting puzzle. Much of it was easy, until I hit the sticky challenging places. Yes, I too had YMCA instead of Lola. As Gollum said, "Master is tricksy". So is Byron Walden. And puzzle tricksiness is fun. Once I got the "coln" attached to "era", I skipped back in time a whole century, and happily filled in the "lin". Lincoln Era, 1860's, was truly delightful! It set up the pleasure of skipping around contemporary and older frames of reference. I am 75 years old, and was happy to get Dr.Dre and Ida Lupino and MSDos and Aloha Oe and Ogress for Fiona -- loved "Shrek" Yet, never heard of "Bee Season". Or Ratt. So it goes.... ! Interesting gimmes, too -- gelid and pinata and ecology and caws and psychodrama -- I actually attended a psychodrama conference decades and decades and decades ago. Loved the clue for PC Language -- "slur" of "unslurred speech" was inspired.Had accept instead of accede -- that slowed me down a bit. Osteria and garage sale clues were clever too. Thank you, Byron Walden. Stay tricksy. That's what's make puzzles a puzzlement.

Chance 12:27 AM  

My second fastest time ever. But my experience mirrored Rex's, with dropping HAIG and getting stuck at GOBS and other parts. I thought this was a super fun puzzle because of the vague clues.

Space Is Deep 7:50 AM  

Finally finished this one. A long, but enjoyable slog. Very satisfying to finish a puzzle this difficult without a mistake. The clue for PIÑATA was my favorite.

Jeff Cohen 8:43 AM  

Dear Will Shortz: Chris Christie was never a DA. He was a US Attorney.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Just saw Rex's "thoughtful and reasonable" comment related to PC language yesterday.

For someone triggered into spit-flying tirades at imaginary provocations, he's making a fabulous (as in "having no basis in reality") claim. Har.

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SteveDubs 1:03 PM  

I'm going to assume it's not a coincidence that this weekend is NY Comic Con...?

Bill Armstrong 4:20 PM  

I have not seen this puzzle, as we in The Great White North get our paper version the following Saturday. However, I would like to comment on the vitriol directed at Will lately. He does not construct, ergo the quality of the puzzles is what he receives. Hard to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If you don't like them, don't do them.

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Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Which college campuses do not allow gendered personal pronouns? Like actually?

Unknown 10:15 PM  

I have to echo the criticisms of the EXDA debacle. I did fine elsewhere, but AUSA crossed with AUTOMATIC and LOLA and completely threw off my NW.

Isa Lupino? Hailscape? Gack. A deeply unsatisfying end to an otherwise candy ass full of treats.

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