Open one-seated horse-drawn carriage / SAT 10-21-17 / Duke legend to fans / Mideast's city of jasmine / Toon who often congratulated himself with you've done it again / Dweller between zambezi limpopo rivers / Locale of Dostoyevsky's exile

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SEGNO (25A: Score mark indicating a passage to be repeated) —
In music notation, Dal segno (/ˌdæl ˈsnj/ or /ˈsɛɡn/; Italian pronunciation: [dal ˈseɲɲo]), often abbreviated D.S., is used as a navigation marker. From Italian for "from the sign," D.S. appears in sheet music and instructs a musician to repeat a passage starting from the sign shown at right, sometimes called the "segno" in English. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one had a raft of borderline obscurities (SEGNO, MASSIF, ANSELM, bleepin' STANHOPE!), but I'd seen them all before (actually ANSELM I just straight-up knew, yay medievalism). The answer that ended up giving me the most trouble was, weirdly, HOT PEPPER EMOJIS (55A: Sext symbols). Do people really do that? Send sexts w/ HOT PEPPER EMOJIS in them? I know that emoji as an indication of someone's relative attractiveness, but if you're sexting someone, presumably that symbol is unnecessary. Unless it's being used for its roughly phallic shape, in which case ...?! I am saying that I have trouble believing that said emojis are related to sexting. Related to indicating that you find someone hot, yes. But you'd use it more in a public declaration—like if you find a celebrity hot, maybe (?). I just have trouble believing that in an actual sexting situation, you'd crack out the hot pepper emoji. Too easily confused with a burning sensation. As I'm typing all this, I am realizing that though the NYT has grown fond of the term "sext," I'm not sure it knows what one actually looks like. Hell, I'm not sure I do. Oh, hey, it looks like Bustle specifically identifies the hot pepper as a sexting emoji. But it also thinks taco is a sexting emoji, so ... I dunno.

While stuff like SYSTOLES and IN A TIE and SET MENU doesn't really float my boat, I appreciated some of the unusual shorter stuff like COACH K and "I'M LIKE..." I'm unfamiliar with the JOB JAR. I have seen the chore wheel before, but not the JOB JAR. Do you just, like, draw "jobs" out of the "jar"? According to Martha Stewart, apparently so. Back-to-back "Star Wars" answers in the crossword, both with the word ONE in the title. I have had "ROGUE ONE" on my Netflix watch list forever, and yet I somehow can never quite bring myself to ... watch it. Always something else that wants my attention more. Sorta surprised to see "lame" used the way it is in 26D: Lame (but eco-friendly) birthday gift (E-CARD). It's perfectly common colloquial usage, but definitely seen as ableist language in some corners. I don't think using "lame" in this way is blatantly offensive ... and yet I find that I've completely stopped using it, the way I completely stopped using "retarded" to mean generically "stupid" many, many years ago. Also, if you think an E-CARD is "lame" in real life, you should see it in a crossword grid ... :(

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


From New World Encyclopedia: "One of the main meanings of the term "Lapp" is "a patch of cloth for mending" and suggests that the Sami wear patched clothes out of poverty, making "Lapp" a derogatory and offensive term. This is particularly problematic since the Sami have historically had to deal with stereotyped ideas of being vagabonds and drunks. Sami institutions, notably the parliaments, the radio and television stations, and theaters, all use the term Sami, as do academic references."
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chris 1:05 AM  

Medium for me. Stymied in the southeast corner until I finally figured out Omsk, and the rest followed. I too have never heard of hot pepper emojis. I would assume they were an indicator of spiciness, not sexiness, but hey, you learn something new everyday! Also haven't seen Rogue One. Started to watch it on a plane but the flight was so turbulent we all thought we were going to die. Somehow can't bring myself to start it again!

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

As a millennial, I can confirm, pepper emoji are used in sexting. Not as much as eggplant or fist-raindrops-smile-bed-zzz, but you know, it comes up under certain conditions (heh). My real objection is that the plural of "emoji" is also "emoji" - "emojis" is fundamentally incorrect in real world usage. And while we're on the subject, nobody says "I'm like" any more. That's cliche valley-girl speak from a decade ago.

I do recommend Rogue One though. It's not really much like the other Star Wars movies - it's more a classic spy/war movie set in the Star Wars universe.

Trombone Tom 1:19 AM  

Yesterday I displayed my ignorance of TV shows and today I can parade the same lack of knowledge about recent films. ROGUE ONE was a WOE, as was STANHOPE. Nevertheless I was able to pick these up from the crosses and make my way to the end.

Some great entries like HOSTESS TWINKIES (remember Dan White's "Twinkie defense?) and HOT PEPPER EMOJIS (not sure about the sexting aspects).

Booker T and THE MGS had some rockin' songs.

Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Wilber offer us a fine end to the week.

puzzlehoarder 1:53 AM  

MASSIF and REID were the first things to go in and still the NW was the last section to fall. This was like Friday all over again. The NW was like pulling teeth for me. STANHOPE was the biggest single stumbling block but ultimately the lightbulb went off.

Note to all constructors, enough with the Star Wars crap please.

Larry Gilstrap 2:40 AM  

Still waiting for my first sext and I hope it includes HOT PEPPER EMOJIS, and while we're at it, a butterfly tattoo on the small of the back would be ideal. Add to that those soft, creamy, tender, delicious HOSTESS TWINKIES, and it's off TO BED. Feeling WOBBLY after all this nonsense.

Back to reality, this Saturday effort took some time to consummate. STANHOPE/UPS, if you say so. Really got grumpy with that SEGNO/ECARD cross. Whatever!

On the other hand, that 1A/1D cross exemplified fairness. Every Good Boy Does Fine, and DAMASCUS has Bible immunity. St. ANSELM gets Chaucer immunity. TO BED gets Shakespeare immunity and SCHNOZ gets Durante immunity. Gonna speak to my roommate about setting up a JOB JAR system, in my next life time.

Ever see a SEA SNAKE? They're all deadly poisonous, or so I've heard.

So much more in this rich puzzle, but I'll leave it to you.

chefwen 2:58 AM  

I’m way too old for this one. Husband got STANHOPE and HOSTESS TWINKIES which helped up north. THE MGS??? HOT PEPPER EMOJIS??? Knew JOB JAR thanks to the Hi & Lois comic strip. COACH K??? The rest was kinda WOBBLY, but doable. Thanks Uncle Goog for stepping up when needed.

Looking forward to Sunday.

jae 2:59 AM  

Medium-tough for me mostly because I had tHEo (Dr. Seuss) before SHEL, so NW was the last to fall. Plus MASSIF was a WOE.

I need to research emoji meanings...egg plants???

A fine Sat., liked it!

chefwen 3:00 AM  

Of course, I’m not too old for HOSTESS TWINKIES, just wasn’t coming to me. Pretty sure I’ve never tried one.

Dolgo 3:16 AM  

IMARET. One of those old-fashioned Crossword puzzle words you'd only find in puzzles. Like"Eskimo hunting knife…"
Boo! Hiss! I thought they had been retired years ago

Theodore Stamos 3:18 AM  

This one was tough for me. DNF because of SEGNO / SYSTOLES cross. Rouge One was kind of a slog, I thought (as a movie, that is, not a crossword clue). I'm hoping the upcoming Star Wars movie is better than the last couple, or else I may have to retire my Star Wars passion.

McCool Media 4:48 AM  

I don't want to sound better than anyone but I solved this in 7:36, on an iPad, on my 110' luxury yacht while doing blow off a hookers boob job using my Phi Beta Kappa key as a scoop while sitting on money.

- Buck McCool

evil doug 5:23 AM  

"Time is Tight"
~Booker T and the MGs

I used to earn an occasional HOT PEPPER at that "Rate My Professors" site. Quite possibly done ironically, but I still bragged about it to my wife....

Anonymous 5:45 AM  

Well done McCool. Well done.

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

Glad snowflake Mike Sharp wasn't blatantly offended by the usage of lame.

Robso 6:41 AM  

What’s your beef? TBONE
Huh, let me try this . . .
It’s raining cats and dogs? IRISH SETTER

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Legend has it that, during a break while recording 'Green Onions," one of the bandmates asked Booker T. Jones what the group should be called.

Booker looked out the window, saw a beautiful British sports car and said,"Booker T. and the MGs."

I thought this was a perfect puzzle, challenging and clever with enough fun stuff to keep me encouraged.

jberg 7:21 AM  

@chefsen, if you don’t know Booker T & THE MGS then you’re too young, not too old!

jberg 7:27 AM  

I meant @chefwen, of course!

Really loved this one, 🌶 and all. MR MAGOO! SUNNI ARAB! SCHNOZ! ENIGMA! Made me not mind EGGO and INATIE.

Not sure about this, but I don’t think the Sami like to be called LAPPs

Thomaso808 7:29 AM  

This was a fun Saturday puz. Good review by Rex, he actually checked online to see if some of his perceived "things that are not" are in fact "things", which added to the entertainment factor of his blog. That's a very good trend. Kinda surprised this puz didn't get the POW from Jeff Chen.

I really liked the three-stacks in the NE and SW, especially the side-by-side debuts of MCESCHER and ROGUEONE.

Weird trivia from Wiki: the guy who came up with the STANHOPE carriage, Henry Stanhope, was the brother of Charles Stanhope, who invented the Stanhope lens that was later used by a French guy to create a popular feature of 19th century curios called optical BIJOUs.

Thomaso808 7:36 AM  

I forgot to mention that 1D "Note in B major scale" was a 5/6 gimme as _SHARP. Could be C, D, F, G, or A.

But not M.

Two Ponies 7:40 AM  

Parts were OK but others seemed to be trying too hard to be a Sat.
I really hate clues like "What's your beef?" There is probably a name for that sort of crap but @ Robso 6:41 seems to know what I mean.

I seem to remember a Simpsons episode with a post-disaster setting where Homer finds a warehouse full of 20 year old Twinkies and he thinks they are saved from starvation because everyone knows Twinkies last forever.

Yes, enough Star Wars. Has anyone ever seen Sharknado?

Tacos as an emoji sounds too graphic.

My household chore system is going to bed hoping the dish washing fairies will come during the night.

BarbieBarbie 7:42 AM  

DNF. I had iCARD and SiGNO.
SE corner was the hard one for me until TINKERER opened it up. So, this puzzle was half easy and half difficult. Making it medium?
Loved seeing MRMAGOO. Thought SCHNOZ had two Z’s but will leave it up to @Z to judge. Maybe that’s only in SCHNOZzola.
Saw ROGUEONE as my first experience with a recliner-equipped theater. And, slept through about half of it. Those things are bad ideas. Plus somehow seem to have more germ potential than upright seats. Comfy though!
Bulb-plantin’ day. Wish me luck.

Normal Norm 7:46 AM  

@ jberg, I can't keep up with who likes to be called what anymore.

kitshef 7:47 AM  

Aren't you glad we didn’t have to spell Krzyzewski?

HOT PEPPER EMOJIS, STANHOPE, SEGNO, and IMARETS are all new to me. A sign of a well-made puzzle is it can be solved even with so many knowledge gaps, thanks to fair crosses.

Oahu before OMSK was my favorite error – ‘confirmed’ by WOBBLY and SEA horsE before SEA SNAKE.

Thomaso808 7:50 AM  

@BarbieBarbie, I totally agree bad idea on the recliners. I suspect that concept was from Red Box to have people pay a second time for movies they slept through the first time!

Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

@TSTAMOS. I think you’re confusing ROGUE ONE with Sarah palin’s Book, “Going Rouge.” Nice puzzle (I’d call it medium). Some fresh entries (I’M LIKE, WOBBLY, COACH K). Some old familiar warhorses (IMARET). Some clever Saturday-level clues (MR MAGOO, TO BED, MC ESCHER, PDF). I’d grade it a B+.

Jim Crotteau 8:04 AM  

With respect to #Two Ponies reference to the Simpson’s twenty year old Twinkies, one of Maine’s claims to fame is having a real FORTY year old Twinkie. A high school teacher giving his class a lesson on food preservatives put a Twinkie in a glass box in 1976 where it remains today long after the teacher retired. I don’t know how to include web links here, but google “Twinkie George Stevens Academy” if you’re interested.

- Jim C. in Maine

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Well, I got to the sexting clue and only had the letters "PE" in that part of my grid.

Z 8:42 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - I would have guessed two Z’s. Popping SCHNOZz into the google machine yielded dictionaries with both the single and double Z variants so it looks like either is okay.

Started with HILARY B. Price and wondered if Rhynes with Orange is really known enough to be crossworthy. I see it’s been around for over 20 years and appears in 400 papers so I guess it is fair. At any rate, a gimme here and that helped me get a quick start. ANSELM and REID were also gimmes, so the entire north fell quickly. I do wonder if that NW will be hard for some since it is 100% PPP* (maybe there’s a case that STANHOPE is generic so not a product name which would make the NW only 84%). The PPP was all in my wheelhouse, but I am predicting we will see some complaints, especially in the north and NW.

*Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Usually if a puzzle is more than 33% PPP some subset of solvers will struggle.

Jersey John 8:52 AM  

Rex, you hopeless ablist! You go on at length about the use of "llame" to mean, well, lame, but not a word about poor Mr. Magoo stumbling around bumping into doors and falling into open manholes. Sorry, personholes. As punishment for this omission, please post one of those great old Magoo cartoons, made before the dawn of the age of ableism.

Jeff Cohen 8:54 AM  

I can't begin to tell you how much MASSIF crossed with STANHOPE annoyed me. So I won't try.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

Enjoyable and lively. It began in the NW in the "too easy" column: after all, when 1D gives you 5 out of 6 starting letters for the Acrosses (it had to be something-SHARP, right?), you have a big, big advantage. But then it got more challenging, calling on all sorts of different bits of knowledge. Some thoughts:

If you need to employ a HOT PEPPER EMOJI, I imagine you've created a pretty tepid sext.

ECARD doesn't scream out "Lame" to me. ECARD screams out "Cheap".

I thought the ARAB was bred for its beauty, not its stamina. Didn't know it had all that much stamina.

Loved COSMIC JOKE. But I suspect that not everyone laughs.

What I don't know about shoes would fill...a closet. Thank you, Carrie, for CHOO.

mathgent 9:02 AM  

Why didn't I like it more? I had 27 red plusses in the margins, tied for my all-time high. I was able to solve it without any lookups. I learned a couple of things. So what's the problem?

I think that puzzles done collaboratively lack soul. I loved the one the other day by Peter Wentz because I felt his personality come through strongly. This one feels like a cut-and-paste job.

I hope that I am not turning into Rex, always finding something to bitch about.

mmorgan 9:05 AM  

I found this challenging and lots of fun.

Suzanne Hurel 9:21 AM  

Someone please explain 49D. TBONE?

Teedmn 9:22 AM  

DNF at SEGNa/SYSTaLES cross :-(. Black ink at 10D, which was tiNed before HINDS. 49A was IMHO before TOME (is it a DOOK if it forms a real word? I don't think so). Yes, I know no abbr. was indicated for 49A but it's Saturday.

From ________EREMOJIS, I put in cucumbeEREMOJIS, thinking "huh, I thought it was an eggplant." Luckily I noticed immediately that I had beER in the middle so that was ruled out.

And from the Z of SCHNOZ, guessing it had to be ZIMBABWEAN at 29D, I started mentally checking crosses to confirm that guess. When I got to 39A, __B__, I imagined Lady Macbeth saying, "oh Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy". No, [scowl] I didn't put it in, or even think it might be right, but considering some things I've done in the past, perhaps you can be forgiven for thinking me capable of it. :-)

Like @Nancy, I thought this was going to be a breeze from the way the NW started off but it turned out to be an average Saturday. If I had seen the constructors' names, I would have known I was in for a struggle. Brad Wilber has become my nemesis (in a good way) on tough puzzles, and I wasn't surprised when I checked post-solve.

Thanks, SAD and BW, it was fun!

Stanley Hudson 9:26 AM  

The Clash did a nice cover of “Time Is Tight.”

One of my colleagues got a hot pepper on Rate My Professor some years ago. He was crushed when he learned that his wife’s friends put it there as a maybe not so COSMIC JOKE.

QuasiMojo 9:27 AM  

Rex's PC comments usually bring out the GYPsy in me, but I agree today with his remarks about "lame" in the context of the clue. Plus I had a DNF because ICARD and ECARD (much prefer Louis Icart!) seem interchangeable to me.

Saying "lame" to mean lousy is like saying "gay" to mean bad. Not kosher, at least not in the NYT. And there's something dispiriting about the supposed best crossword in the world resorting to SEXTING clues in order to make their puzzles more hip and current.

That wasn't the only newish stuff that rankled me. Never heard of ROGUE ONE or Hilary B. WHOEVER or SEGNO or IMARETS etc. That's usually a good thing for me. But that NE corner was nearly impossible to complete if you didn't know who BOOKER T and his backup were. And I don't. Nor do I want to.

And doesn't IN A TIE mean EVEN? I've never heard that expression to mean "knotted." TIED, yes. But In A Tie? Well, that's pretty WOBBLY.

Everyday I do the LA TIMES and The WSJ puzzles and never come away feeling like I've been had. Quite the opposite. I'm amused and challenged by them. But the NYT puzzle just reeks lately.

Hartley70 9:27 AM  

I may have said this before and if so, I apologize, but my son spent half a year in India during college in 2004. He was staying in a leper colony (I know, right?) when his birthday came around. I wanted to send him a cake but didn't see how it would survive the voyage until I thought of the indestructible TWINKIE! I fashioned a cake from a shitload of them and it made it to India in fine form. It was enjoyed and praised by all who had never tasted a TWINKIE! The rest of us know that a HOSTESS cupcake is much better.

Obviously HOSTESSTWINKIES was my first entry. The puzzle got more difficult from that point on. I enjoyed the next 40 minutes of groans and I wish I'd given up on Hindu much earlier.

GeezerJackYale48 9:27 AM  

Too old is correct for me also. I suspect that from @chefsen’s (and my) viewpoints, it is you that is too young.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

@Glimmerglass (7:56) -- Your shout-out to @Theodore Stamos has to be one of this blog's all-time best witticisms.

@mathgent (9:02) -- If you were to work at it as hard as you possibly could, 24/7, for months and months and months, you could never turn into Rex. Never.

@BarbieBarbie (7:42) -- I hate those reclining theater chairs too, but for nothing like your reason. When you're short, those jutting-out pillows at the top don't cushion your neck in the way I assume they're supposed to. Instead, they hit the back of your head, thrusting your head way, way forward in the most awful and uncomfortable position. I kept changing the angle of the chair (while watching BATTLE OF THE SEXES last month at Cinema 1,2,3) but it made no difference. Being stuck in that position for hours, without any possibility of alleviating it, is pure torture. And for someone with an arthritic neck like mine, this position is just plain bad for you. I probably will avoid all theaters with these diabolical seats in the future. I just hope they (recliners) don't take over the whole damn city. Else I'll be watching all movies from now on at home, on DVD.

Birchbark 9:29 AM  

HOT PEPPER EMOJIS was the last to fall for me today. I kept wondering what sort of emojis have six sides --

Churlish Nabob 9:30 AM  

@McCool, was it Peruvian flake? If not then why bother?

Oldflappyfrommississappy 9:33 AM  

@Quasimojo, you sound like a real prick. Maybe you and @Nancy should hook up.

'mericans in Paris 9:45 AM  

An unusual event for us: commenting on a Saturday puzzle. But we completed the Sunday puzzle (both are published in the same weekend International NYT paper edition) so quickly, that we had time to spare and tackled the Saturday one as well.

For some reason, THE MGS was my first entry. Just popped into my head. TO ME, the east seemed easier than the west. Got several of the long ones, particularly HOSTESS TWINKIES and ZIMBABWEAN, right off the bat once I had a letter or two filled in. Several write-overs, however, such as "islam" to SUNNI, aCED before ICED, "moola" before BACON, "sierra" before MASSIF, and so forth.

Liked the cluing for MAGNETIC and ITEMS.

Question of the day: Did the SUNNI ARAB have a complete and dramatic reversal on the road to DAMASCUS's MAIN GATE?


Ry 9:50 AM  

The taco is another anatomic colloquialism. The gallant taco combo being somewhat common.

SouthsideJohnny 9:51 AM  

@mathgent - what are the red plus signs for ?

MetroGnome 10:13 AM  

Well, technically THE MGS weren't really Booker T.'s "backup" -- they were his bandmates. As a group, of course, they provided "backup" for innumerable singers and soloist, but they were a working unit.

Lewis 10:17 AM  

Just how I like it -- resistance that yields bit by bit to a happy ending, from WOBBLY to JIG. And so much to like! MCESCHER, THEMGS, SETMENU, MAINGATE, SCHNOZ, BIJOU, COACHK, TINKERER, COSMICJOKE, JOBJAR, GREENLIT, and GEYSER. This was a spirit lifter, a bright and energizing piece of work by the devilish duo Bramuel Donaber. Thank you gents!

Tita A 10:20 AM  

BIJOU is a gem. Why is "exquisite" needed? your cucumber thought process...

@Hartley... quite an inventive solution to the send-a-cake-to-India problem.

This was a really easy puzzle until the SE. Eventually got through it, only to double-DNF with iCARD and NoES.
Big MCESCHER fan, so dropping that in with no crosses really helped break open that section.

Thanks also for 1D. Even though I am mostly musical score illiterate, I do know enough that if it's six letters, it's gonna be _SHARP! And then I get to reduce the alphabet run to a mere seven letters for the open square.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@Ry said: Once, when I was visiting New Orleans, a guy came walking down Bourbon Street from the opposite direction with a T-shirt on which was written, "If God didn't intend for man to eat *****, then why did he make it look like a taco?"

Mohair Sam 11:28 AM  

Exactly what @Lewis (10:17) said. Loved this one. I got out of the supermarket and on the highway at 47D and so wrote Uturn for ITEMS and that led to the gimme Hindu instead of SUNNI - hence spent forever finishing that corner since MCESCHER is new to me and I just don't follow movie grosses nor EMOJIES. ENIGMA finally broke the spell.

I got gimmes at THEMGS, COACHK (surprised Will didn't change it to KCOACH), and IMLIKE - and Lady Mohair was all over HOSTESSTWINKIES, hmmm. Tip of the cap to those of you who spelled ZIMBABWEAN correctly at first go. Every time I ordered our dogs out the back door over any malfeasance I would pronounce "Out damned Spot" - the kids never got it. Reading a novel a few weeks ago that mentioned DAMASCUS as the City of Jasmine, great help here.

@Nancy - Take comfort in that those new recliner flick seats are tough on us tall folks too. Our ankles hang over and start to ache after a while - I just don't bother to tilt my seat. Lady Mohair won't attend a flick in any other type of theater now - those cushy recliners fit her just perfectly. Must be nice to be a perfect medium.

Thanks for the Saturday battle Donaldson and Wilber, lotsa fun.

ColoradoCog 11:44 AM  

“Also, if you think an E-CARD is ‘lame’ in real life, you should see it in a crossword grid ... :( “

Oh, snap!

Jyqm 11:52 AM  

If you’re too old to be familiar with a group whose biggest hit topped the charts a full 55 years ago, then man, congratulations on a very long life indeed.

Fred Romagnolo 12:22 PM  

If "lame" aint PC then how about "near-sighted?" All you guys who are horrified at the thought of offending somebody, somewhere, should read today's op-ed by Bret Stephens in the NYT. You're really getting ridiculous, and haven't yet realized why the Electoral College went the way it did. AND (ominous music) MAY DO SO AGAIN!

Malsdemare 12:25 PM  

This was great! I had to work at everything, putting in and taking out and putting in RAGU, hiNdI, BIJOU. Yeah, that SE was my nemesis, but eventually, I reconsidered religious denomination, realized that was a lot different than religion, popped in SUNNI and flew through the rest of the puzzle. I will take everyone's word for the reclining seats; that headrest angles the head forward is my gripe in cars. Fortunately, the Prius headrest is easily removed, and when turned around, is perfect for short people.

Fun morning.

QuasiMojo 12:52 PM  

@oldflapjack, I may be a prick, but @Nancy is a total peach. So while we may enjoy each other's company (I hope someday) we are not two peas in a pod.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:53 PM  

Oh, How I fondly recall that legendary double play trio of the early part of the 20th Century..TINKERER to Evers to Chance!

Joe Bleaux 1:04 PM  

Hell, I'm so old I know what the "MG" stands for. (Hint: It ain't the sports car.)

Joe Bleaux 1:09 PM  

OK, OK, calm down, get off the edge of your seats, and quit calling me a tease! It's Memphis Group. (And check out @MetroGnome, above.)

Jyqm 1:18 PM  

I know my Stax history pretty well, but not this bit of trivia — I’m guessing the M stands for Memphis, but the G...?

Rob Arbelo 1:43 PM  

I don't understand how "What's your beef?" is a valid clue for TBONE. How are these interchangeable in a sentence? Anyone?

old timer 1:54 PM  

THEMGS went in first, just like @'mericans. Booker T. and his band were very highly regarded in the music world. I shamelessly Googled for that movie. And though I did not need to, for MCESCHER. ZIMBABWEAN I got on my own. And SEGNO because I used to play piano.

STANHOPE was a surprise. However, the STANHOPEs were pretty prolific, in 19th Century England.

My big error was confidently writing in "Thomas" instead of ANSELM. I immediately knew it was wrong because I know my key of D and its many sharps. For some reason, Baroque composers loved that key, and as a recorder player I often winced. If you ever played that instrument you know it is damned hard to get a great tone in those sharp keys, while the flat keys are very recorder-friendly.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Mr Magoo makes fun of a disability with which I suffer, yet I don't want him banished to Lappland.

evil doug 2:02 PM  

"BIJOU is a gem. Why is "exquisite" needed?"

Bijoux used to be quisite, but now they're not.

Blackbird 2:15 PM  

Andy is right, and I'm glad that Rex agrees with him about the use of the word "Lapp". It hadn't been understood by English speakers as a derogatory term, but, certainly,in Finland, it is, and Sami, indeed, is preferred. Other than that, a truly enjoyable puzzle.

We don't need to recognize a cultural reference to solve a crossword puzzle! It's not all about everything we know, it's about using what we know to solve for what we don't know! 5A answer, "the MGs", was easy-peasy for me, but not for everyone. Not only do I remember Booker T and the MGs, I remember an album, "Booker T and Priscilla" as well, featuring Booker T. Jones and Priscilla Coolidge. Booker T is two years younger than me. And I danced to his music.... Didn't have any point of reference for 38A answer, "Coach K". Don't follow sports. I saw the word "Duke" in the clue, and thought of Duke Ellington. Music!

Got "Stanhope" from crosses, and "Hilary" from crosses -- never came across the comic strip "Rhymes With Orange". Knew 19A, Anselm. Knew 14D, "Systoles". Finally realized 34A was "Mr. Magoo" -- I knew of Mr. Magoo, but never saw any cartoons with him. Figured out 55A, "hot pepper emojis" from crosses. Got 25A "segno" from crosses. Figured out 1A, "Damascus", once I got the "Dam" letters. 17A, "Hostess Twinkies", was recognizable from my childhood, although I never ate them. Yuck. Didn't look like food. Knew 37A, "imarets", didn't know 41A, but tried "Elena" anyway, ready to switch to "Irena" if "Elena" didn't work. So, we know stuff, from whatever our cultural references are, and we don't know stuff, and we solve because we solve.

Thank you, Samuel H. Donaldson and Brad Wilber, for a pleasant, enjoyable Saturday puzzle.

Blackbird 2:20 PM  

Chefwen, are you really that much older than me that you don't recognize Booker T and the MGs, or did you just not know them back in the day? I'm 75 years old, born in 1942. Booker T was born in 1944 -- a bit of esoterica, no need to know that, except to know that he probably is of your "way too old" generation.

mathgent 2:22 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny (9:51): After I finish the puzzle, I go over the clues in order and put a red plus sign next to those where there was something unusual. Maybe in the clue, maybe in the entry. Like today, things I didn't know (that DAMASCUS is called City of Jasmine, STANHOPE, HILARY, that ANSELM was Archbishop of Canterbury, REID, SEGNO, HOTPEPPEREMOJIS, that MCESCHER drew those pictures, IONA, that Dostoyevsky was exiled in OMSK). Things I knew but was happy to see again (HOSTESSTWINKIES, BIJOU, COACHK, TOBED, MASSIF, COSMICJOKE, SYSTOLES, ZIMBABWEAN, JOBJAR, SCHNOZ). And others I liked for other reasons (ICED, MRMAGOO, SUNNI, SHEL, THIN, IMLIKE, ITEMS). I also give red plus signs to clever clues, but there weren't any in this puzzle.

Blackbird 2:29 PM  

@GeezerJackYale48 and @chefwen, I suggest you both Google Booker T and the MGs, and that you find a YouTube video of their music, and then figure out if you are too young or too old to recognize them. Or, maybe, if you are of their generation, you never heard them anyway, or, maybe, heard their music, but never knew their name. Unless, of course, GeezerJackYale 48 graduated from Yale in 1978, in which case, unless you were an amazing child prodigy, you actually may be in your 90's, a generation older than Booker T, born 1944.

Masked and Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Well, that NW corner definitely had the most of them nasty puz bits, at our house. Only thing that helped out there was that we got HOSTESSTWINKIES off barely anything … maybe the "H" in our assumed "?SHARP" partial and a coupla scattered assumed S's, as I recall.

Booker T & THEMGS: "Green Onions". One of my fave instros.

yo, @RP! WOBBLY! One of yer all-time fave blog words. ROGUEONE is ok good … lotsa excitin explosions, and such. "John Dies at the End" is a downright primo flick that I once saw on Netflix. Same dude did it that did "Phantasm". "Phantasm" was one of our pair of FriNite Schlockfest picks, just last night. Other one was "Humanoids from the Deep". Both were great. But, I digress.

staff weeject pick: UPS. This hoss rode in on a real mind-bendin clue.

Went with a guess of CROC for that Jimmy the Shoe dude. Ponied up some precious nanoseconds, for that desperate blind stab that unfortunately half-worked.

Had me some fun, but always tend to suffer a smidge, when these two constructioneers gang up on us. They sure went sorta phallic with their long-balls, what with the HOTPEPPEREMOJIS and the TWINKIES. Was fascinated by COSMICJOKE … learned somethin both new and interestin, there. Evidently it's like irony, except more MAGNETIC? [Based on extremely limited research]

Thanx, SD & BW. ELENAS … har.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


phil phil 2:45 PM  

HOSTESS cupcakes gave SEconds for restaurant thanksgiving offering. But had enough doubts to regroup.

Very fair and fun puzzle

Joe Dipinto 2:56 PM  

Raises hand for THE MGS as first fill-in. Went rather smoothly, but I found the SW a little hard (but not impossible) to suss out.

At one point I had in place for the Lady Macbeth clue: __B_D. I really wanted the answer to be MY BAD.

Mohair Sam 3:44 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - You're on to something Joe. I can see "My bad" being used in future interpretations of the play. Hell, it's more descriptive.

Joe Dipinto 4:18 PM  


*Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?*

"So you wanna meet, us three, like, next Thursday?" "Oh, for sure! Even if the weather's crappy." "And don't invite anybody else."

Yeah, I could see it.

Also, I should have said up above that I totally enjoyed this puzzle. Kudos to Messrs. Donaldson and Wilber.

Mohair Sam 4:44 PM  

@Joe - Good stuff - Five'll get ya ten it's been done.

Joe Dipinto 4:49 PM  

@Mo -- I would suspect so as well.

kitshef 4:51 PM  

@Two Ponies - you are thinking of Family Guy, I think, not Simpsons. Post-Y2K apocalypse.

Chance 5:03 PM  

Eggplant is the sext symbol for sure:

Also, I feel that if you can't say "Comic creator Price" and expect to get HILARY with any degree of certainty, it's an unfairly obscure clue. Anyway that's my position.

Two Ponies 5:21 PM  

@ kitshef,
By golly I think you are right. It all comes back to me now.

@ MoSam and Joe D., You two are spot on but a rewrite of WS is blasphemy!!! Next you'll be translating Hamlet to text-speak. Oh, the horror.

Joe Dipinto 5:32 PM  

@Two Ponies -- 2B or not 2B, that is the ? Where is my apartment?

clk 6:31 PM  

I confidently entered curricle in place of STANHOPE and was disappointed to be undone by the SHARP down.
THEMGS and COACHK were total gimmes, but I’ve never even seen SEGNO or IMARETS before.

I learned from another commenter that “knotted” is sportscaster speak for INATIE. It took me until just now to realize that there are 3 letter Cs in Connecticut.

The only one I call foul on is TBONE. Sounds like there are several others who feel the same way.
Otherwise, a very enjoyable and pretty easy Saturday. Thanks!

Two Ponies 6:53 PM  

@ Joe,
Where is my apt? Stop, you're killin' me.

Nancy 6:54 PM  

@Quasi (12:52)-- Chivalry is obviously not dead! Thanks for defending me with such gallantry. Even better: the hint that we may get to meet at sometime in the future. I'd certainly like that!

@Mohair (11:28) -- Misery loves company, so I feel better knowing that tall people are uncomfortable in recliners too. Thanks for cheering me up about it. Maybe if we all -- tall and short alike --wrote letters to the theater owners... (Except, of course, for the very enviable Lady Mohair.)

chefwen 8:28 PM  

@Blackbird - checked out Bookter T, guess I’m neither too old or too young, just never got into R&B or Soul music. Recognized a few of the tunes, but not many.

Sunnyvale Solver 10:00 PM  

Did anyone else write in HUCK at 42D Certain Finn?

burtonkd 10:39 PM  

Sharknado is as ridiculous as it sounds. You get to congratulate yourself for being in on how bad it is, thus making it good. i have to say I enjoyed it but haven’t ventured into any of the (yes) sequels.

Watching playoffs with Burger King commercial featuring hot chili peppers splattering into a bowl of red powder - pretty sexy stuff.

Yes, wrote in Huck for FINN

Recliners keep me from having to strain neck looking up, can’t please everyone, I guess. Not sure how I feel about having to reserve seats at a movie theater.

'mericans in Paris 1:31 AM  

@Sunnyvale Solver: Yup, me too. ("huck" before FINN.)

Hungry Mother 11:00 AM  

Took me two days and a running time of 2:09, but I finally slogged through it. I’m much more stubborn than clever. Somehow, I just couldn’t get on the right wavelength. But I’m patting myself on the back for persistence.

Davin Kuntze 11:17 AM  

I, for one, threw PURPLEEGGPLANTS off the P from PGA across the bottom. Didn't help much.

Ando 2:31 PM  

I'll assume that the comments about LAPP being objectionable are correct, but it sounds like the history of the word is a little more complicated than stated above, with its relationship to "lapp", a piece of cloth. It sounds like "Lapp" and "Lapland" date back several hundred years.

Shelby Glidden 2:04 AM  

i certainly considered it but couldn't cross-reference it... everyone else seems to have taken it, literally 😬

Blogger 10:55 AM  

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rondo 9:13 AM  

DNF due to the NW. Not enough above COACHK to finish. Couldn't figure which SHARP, had aCED not ICED, no hope on ANSLEM and STANHOPE, kinda became a COSMICJOKE with all those blank squares. I did have yeah baby Tara REID. I know SHEL Silverstein did kids' stuff, but I remember him more for his adult stuff and for songs for Johnny Cash and Dr. Hook.

So, for as easy as I found yesterday, this puz seemed difficult TOME.

rondo 9:16 AM  

Almost glad I didn't get the SETMENU if it's like what D,LIW experienced.

Diana, LIW 11:08 AM  

Yeah, I recognized SETMENU immediately. Got a foothold, but then the woes did me in. At least I "learned" a bunch of new stuff. STANHOPE? Nope.

And I even figured out the EMOJIS. :-(

Speaking of t-day dinner - I didn't mention the music. A few tables away from us was a beautiful grand piano with a pianist playing lovely music - old and contemporary classics. Yummy. Too bad nobody turned off the overhead speakers that were playing a completely different type of music - Mr. W called it whining children. Just the right atmosphere for ill-prepared food.

Diana, Lad-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 11:21 AM  

Actually this one went pretty fast for a Saturday. It had the feel that it ought to have been tougher than it was. Is that nuts? For a change, I nailed the NW out of the MAINGATE, and it just flowed from there. No, I didn't know which SHARP the RMN was, but a few crosses brought DAMASCUS to light. I've seen MASSIF before in crosswords; still don't know how my brain produced STANHOPE, but it did.

Harder for me was committing to HOTPEPPEREMOJIS. I know nothing about sexting, but the concept seems logical...sorta. Strangely, for 47-down my head was on the highway when it should've been in the supermarket. It kept wanting to come up, was that a DOH! moment!

I concur: Tara REID is DOD. Though not a fan of letter-added stuff like the RMN at 1-down, 9-across (though that one was a gimme for this old-timer), 34 (both ways, though again gimmes) or the TBONE--well, wait a minute now. The TBONE has taste immunity!--I enjoyed doing this easy-medium puzzle. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:41 AM  


"Just call me TOBED, you'll have your HOSTESS'TWINKIES."


BS2 12:02 PM  


[SIGH], is ROGUEONE playing, or MR.MAGOO?


thefogman 1:43 PM  

TOME, this was a mind bender. But I TINKERed away until I finally got it. The game changer was when I finally realized it was EMOJIS that followed HOTPEPPER. The SE corner was the last one I filled in but they were all pretty tough. Nice job Peter Wentz.

thefogman 2:11 PM  

EDIT - I see it was not Peter Wentz who was the constructor but rather Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilber. My newspaper got it wrong somehow, or maybe OFL did? But that's impossible! In any event good work gentlemen.

rainforest 2:54 PM  

I see that @thefogman's newspaper had Peter Wentz as the constructor, as did mine. Maybe he gets the Vancouver Sun too.

Aside from TBONE which I just don't get and nobody explained, I thought this was an excellent puzzle in all respects. Took me a long time, though, and three visits to finally finish. I think COACHK was the key.

The toughest cross for me was the ROGUE ONE/HOT PEPPER one. Had EMOJIS already, but not having seen the movie, that cross was inscrutable.

So, for 49D, would filet mignon, or rump roast be acceptable answers, disregarding the length? I want to know!

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

A real pisser-fest. Rejected.

Diana, LIW 3:59 PM  

@Rainy - you got the picture. Just a "snarky" question with the ho-hum answer of a cut of beef - TBONE. You were probably expecting more, based on the clue.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 4:13 PM  

Needed help (i.e., cheats) to "finish" this one. Trouble at the top: DAMASCUS and THEMGS (a dook). More trouble at the bottom: MCESCHER and SUNNI (brain fog). And trouble in between: SEGNO (unknown).


Waxy in Montreal 5:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waxy in Montreal 5:48 PM  

My local paper, the Montreal Gazette, also incorrectly attributes authorship of this puzzle to Peter Wentz who of course was actually yesterday's creator. Perhaps the entire syndicate was fed the wrong info by the NYT.

Today's gimmes included THEMGS, MCESCHER and SCHNOZ but learned COACHK, SEGNO, IMARETS, STANHOPE and much more than hopefully I'll ever need to know about HOTPEPPEREMOJIS.

And as the Catholic church in our neck of the woods is "St. Edmund of Canterbury", wrongly assumed he was 19A - second choice was Thomas à Becket, also a sainted Archbishop of Canterbury - correct answer ANSELM, ahem, was finally only an apparition from the cross(es).

rondo 8:26 PM  

@Waxy - nice to see you check in.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press credits Messrs. Donaldson and Wilber.
Forgot to mention THEMGS as a gimme. Booker T. has done more recent work with The Drive By Truckers. Google "Potato Hole" if interested. Good stuff.

Diana, LIW 9:36 PM  

Spokane's Spokesman Review has the correct constructors, too.

Lady Di

Waxy in Montreal 10:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waxy in Montreal 10:08 PM  

Thanks @Rondo.

Maybe just a Canadian newspaper thing then with the Wentz attribution. Both the Vancouver Sun and Montreal Gazette are part of the Postmedia chain up here.

Bananafish 2:02 PM  

The Shakespeareans among us have not done this yet, so I guess I will:

Lady MacBeth: To bed, to bed! there's knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's
done cannot be undone.--To bed, to bed, to bed!

This was a nice grid, with lots of crunchiness.

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