Classic see n say toy figures / SAT 12-2-17 / Notes in old Napoli / Ancient carvers of giant stone heads / Sam author of classic Cyclopedia of 5,000 puzzles / Sharpened points of quill pens / Three-time World Series champ with A's

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: GRACE CUP (9D: Final toast of a meal) —

noun
1.
a cup, as of wine, passed around at the end of the meal for the final health or toast.
2.
the drink passed.
  (dictionary.com)
• • •

DOUBLE DOG DARE
Saw the constructor's name and thought, "uh oh, here comes a tough one."  And in fact that is how it played for the first minute or so—tough. I always work the Downs sequentially on a puzzle like this, with long Acrosses up top, and I got jack squat on my first pass (though my first thought was DORRIT for that Dickens clue, so ... mild self-congratulation there). I had CAB at 4D: Plane compartment (BIN) and nothing else. Then I went to short Acrosses up there and that's where I finally got going. SEER --> STIR --> SOLTI --> ELITE. At some point I finally looked at the Across clue I *should've* looked at right off the bat: 14A: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" composer (ENNIO MORRICONE). Total, complete, utter gimme. Now, even with that in place, those Downs up top didn't get That much easier, but I was able to work my way back along the top pretty systematically. Then I got an assist from below due to RIESEN --> NIBS --> EBAY --> BENE --> ESTAB, and the upper half was pretty much taken care of. GRACE CUP gave me a ton of problems because I had no idea what that was. But after I got that answer finally pinned down, I moved into the lower half of the grid—and took off like a shot.


I'd say I spent 3x as much time solving the upper half as I did solving the lower. Maybe 4x. There was almost no resistance down below, mostly because I had terribly good luck in the proper noun department. Dropped SAL BANDO off just the SA- (34D: Three-time World Series champ with the A's). Dropped JOAN MIRO from just the J- (37D: "Triptych Bleu, I, II, III" artist). Biggest score was getting ELLEN DEGENERES off of almost nothing. I had the "D" from SAL BANDO and then a wrong letter from the greatest wrong answer of the day: at 41D: How hair dye may make you look (YOUNGER), I had written in YOUR AGE. But the clue suggested "not into men" and funny, and unsurprisingly, ELLEN's name sprang to mind. Once she went in, I just crushed everything. Finished by dropping COHEN NESTLE IMPELS ALINE and DODO, in quick succession. Very triumphant finish to what I think is a fine Saturday grid.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

100 comments:

jae 12:09 AM  

My solve was very similar to @Rex, although I did try nightcap before GRACECUP. Liked it!

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Wanted alLo instead of HOLA for my greeting abroad at 27D (took French, not Spanish), couldn't figure out TECH thanks in large part to DORRI?, and GRACECUP wasn't exactly helping.

Definitely slowed me down, but a fun jaunt.

Agree with Rex re: bottom half, and I also landed ENNIO MORRICONE on the first pass. PLUMJOB was a huge score off of the B in baseless, even though it payed into the alLo mess.

puzzlehoarder 12:46 AM  

Lately this constructor seems to be favoring feats of construction over the flat out challenging puzzles he's capable of. Even on my phone this came in under my average Saturday time on paper.

A fun solve, just a bit light. I got my start in the north with the composer's name. Sergio was my initial guess for the first name so I momentarily confused him with the director Leone. Not hard to fix.

@Laurence Katz from 10:48 AM yesterday, you wanted an example of HOAR without frost. I knew I'd seen one. It appears toward the end of "The Time of the Ancient Mariner"

"The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard is age with hoar,"

No frost, just HOAR.

Moly Shu 12:47 AM  

Oh yea, bottom easy, too tough. Nice challenge.

puzzlehoarder 12:50 AM  

That's Rime not Time. Auto correct is blind.

mathgent 12:54 AM  

I'm embarrassed that I didn't know ENNIOMARRICONE. I just read his bio on Wikipedia. What a career!

I didn't really get interested in mathematics until I started teaching it. A fellow teacher introduced me to recreational mathematics and mathematical puzzles through dozens of paperbacks published by Dover. I think that Dover published all the puzzles created by Sam Loyd.

Since there were only four three-letter entries, there were a lot of long entries in the puzzle. But except for DOUBLEDOGDARE, they were all pretty dull. So not much fun.

Happy to be reminded of the BBC miniseries Little Dorrit we saw a few years back. Tom Courtenay was outstanding.

I don't think that we get RIESEN chocolates out here. See's Candy dominates the Bay Area market.

Enjoyed the crunch. It wasn't easy for me.



ColoradoCog 1:16 AM  

When I was about four, my See ‘N Say broke, and the animal and sound would randomly pair. My brother and I would crack up again and again as we pulled the string to see what combination would play. “The cow says... woof woof!” “The sheep says... cockadoodledoo!” Endless fun for a preschooler. The joy of that broken toy is one of my earliest memories. How cool that it would one day help me solve a Saturday puzzle.

Trombone Tom 1:28 AM  

Didn't know DAIN or RIESEN (Hi, @mathgent). The rest flowed smoothly.

When I was a five-year-old my mother taught me to refer to the skid row characters we sometimes encountered in downtown Portland as DIPSOMANIACs. Not a word I use very much, but timely remembered today.

Must be close to a record time for a Saturday.

tkincher 2:35 AM  

@puzzlehoarder: You could also quote Doctor Strange. One of his oft-used mystical phrases is "By the HOARy hosts of Hoggoth!"

Carole from Muncie 2:55 AM  

Can someone please explain 61A to me? How can she like coffee if she doesn't drink it? That doesn't make any sense. I feel bad for Ellen; that poor woman will never find a husband at this rate.

Dolgo 4:34 AM  

Like many of you, I got ENNIO MORRICONE first. That was too bad, because it was the only really interesting clue in the whole puzzle. My judgment is, "Fairly well done, but fairly boring."

evil doug 5:05 AM  

I was looking for Hugo Montenegro.

Wanted some kind of DrafT.

RIESEN doesn't compete with See's, mathgent. It's the kind of candy you'd buy at Walgreens.

Sam Loyd sold over ten million copies of his "Get Off The Earth!" puzzle. Turn the wheel and a Chinese warrior disappears.

Is there anything an AREOLA can't be?

Loren Muse Smith 6:13 AM  

Jeez Louise this was hard. I had a massive dnf. My first entry was ST DENIS, and I felt so accomplished and smart. Yeah right.

Like @mathgent, I didn’t know ENNIO MORRICONE. But I sure can copy that ocarina part at the beginning using my joined hands as a whistle. Sounds just like it.

I also didn’t know COHEN, SAL BANDO, GRACE CUP, LOYD, DORRIT, or DAIN.

After TRIAGE fell, I was in the injured mind set, so when I saw the clue for 32D (“I’m down”), I kept wanting “help.” In the same vein, I was so desperate in the northwest that I kept entertaining “cadavers” as the ones involved in forensics.

@ColoradoCog - sweet See ‘N Say story.

Had “novios” briefly for ROMEOS.

Was surprised with the TIME/TIMER cross.

Put in “Seiji” for SOLTI. Felt kinda smart again.

I finally threw in the towel with a good portion of the top blank. Maybe it I had put it down for a while and chiseled at it over the course of the day…

Lewis 6:23 AM  
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Lewis 6:25 AM  

A tale of two sectors for me, flash on the bottom, trudge on top. On the lower half, CANI led to DIPSOMANIAC, to DODO, to ONE THING AT A TIME, and kaboom! -- it was done. On top, crossword intuition led to SOLTI, EBAY, _____ MORRICONE, and DORRIT, but after that it was scratch and claw. Never heard of a DOUBLE DOG DARE, GRACE CUP, RIESEN, or LOYD.

"Not let" -- Best clue of the bunch, IMO, terrific misdirect.

Just what the doctor ordered after yesterday's lovely but easy breezy.

BarbieBarbie 6:39 AM  

Same experience as @Lewis, except... never heard of DOUBLEDOGDARE?!? Get thee to on-demand and watch A Christmas Story right now.
I loved DIRECTDEBIT.
Great-looking grid, but I don’t know how to judge that aspect of a puzzle. What makes a “good grid?”

Two Ponies 7:19 AM  

Daunting first glance as the printer spit this out.
That's a lot of white space.
But one thing at a time it fell in place.

As I stroll through Walgreens it's those yummy Riesen caramels that catch me. Never tried their chocolates.

What cartoon character said Murgatroyd? Snaggletooth?

Nice to learn something today - Grace cup.

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't pass my breakfast test.

JB 7:56 AM  

There was a line in airplane: I like my coffee black, like my men (said by a preteen suburban white girl). It is indeed of the most well known in the movie. Ellen is a lesbian. I believe she's happily married. Clear?

JB 7:57 AM  

One of the most, not indeed of the most.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

Woke up to the welcome news that our economy is about to enjoy the first real tax reform in 30 years. Lower taxes, lower spending - it's not rocket science.

Glimmerglass 8:08 AM  

My solve was just like @Rex and most of the posters. The bottom half went quickly; the top was brutal. ENNIO MORRICONE was no help. I recognize the theme, but not the composer’s name. (Sergio Leoni is a familiar xword friend.) I also had all the same problems as others, plus I got sidetracked by forensic medicine and missed the obvious DEBATERS for a long time, until DOUBLE DOG DARE baled me out with the D. (Thanks, Ralphie!) On average, this comes out somewhat north of medium.

Lobster11 8:15 AM  

Thank you @Loren for making me feel better. I also quit with lots of blank space up top because I didn't know ENNIOMORRICONE or four (!) of its crosses (LOYD, DORRIT, GRACECUP, or DINT).

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

You've got to be fucking kidding.

Z 8:40 AM  

With that long diagonal line of black squares this played as basically two puzzles for me. ReESes was 50% correct and that was enough to get me going down the west coast. SAL BANDO was a gimme here, combined with YOUNGER provided enough to see ELLEN DEGENERES and the south fell almost as quickly as the west. (FWIW -There are a myriad of variations on the coffee line)

The NW was a whole other story. ENNIO, DORRIT, SOLTI, and LOYD is a lot of acreage dedicated to PPP, 26 of 66 squares. Add in the WOE that is GRACE CUP and this fell into trivia contest mode.

@Evil Doug - Good Question. Apparently AREOLA is more generic than I realized.

Finally, a little ENNIO MORRICONE by two of my favorite groups playing together, or maybe Harrison is more your preference.

Tim Carey 8:47 AM  

After first pass of the downs, I had TASE. After first pass of the acrosses, I had STDENIS.

And that was that.

QuasiMojo 8:49 AM  

Lots of great stuff in this chewy puzzle but I take issue with some of the clueing, especially ESTAB. I've never ever seen that on any building. It's usually Est'd or Est. Also RIESEN is best known for its caramel candy. Hardly on a par as a chocolatier with, let's say, Godiva, Teuscher or even Hershey. So I would not say it is a BIG NAME in chocolates, as clued. Also clueing "lush" for DIPSOMANIAC is a bit like calling a person with a disability a CRIPPLE, except that LUSH has always been a derogatory term. And since I've been called an "asshole" on here more than once, let me add that I have never understood the appeal of Ellen DeGeneres. She's certainly popular, and cute, but I just find her type of humor too obvious and crude.

Brad Guck 8:52 AM  

Evil Doug--you weren't alone. I threw in HUGOMONTENEGRO right away, knowing his recording of the theme was a huge hit. Massively stuck until I fixed that.

kitshef 8:59 AM  

Felt chuffed filling in mOndrIan off just that ‘O’. Just meant a lot that had to be overwritten later.

And GlACE CUP sounded really good for the toast thing, which easily could have Naticked me as I don’t know ENNIO MORRICONE, but MORlICONE did not sound right.

Beautifully constructed puzzle. Could have used some more challenge in the clues though.

With BURR in the puzzle, surprised we did not get DUel at 31A. HeLA is topical and lURE is as good as SURE.

Two Ponies 9:04 AM  

Thumbs up @ Quasi on several points and we even have Nestle (46 D).

mathgent 9:08 AM  

I think that ELLENDEGENERES is very funny. But whenever I see her, I am struck by her eyes. They seem strange somehow. Like they're not focusing? When I mention it to my wife, she thinks I'm nuts.

jberg 9:18 AM  

DNF on RIESoN/BoNE— ignorance of chocolate and Latin. Gah!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

@QuasiMojo re: Riesen - it's a "big" name in chocolate because Riesen is German for "Giant(s)."

Birchbark 9:36 AM  

I found this very challenging and DNF at GLACECUP/ENNIOMORLICONE -- I was thinking maybe the last toast is a when they serve the icecream (glace).

I have the Good, Bad, Ugly on DVD and watch it a couple of times a year, but that was no help -- the head was too crowded with the likes of former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and one-time Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones.

And that was after using Wikipedia to learn about Little Dorrit. Like @Rex, the difficulty was all about the North/Northwest.

Favorite line of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: when the "Ugly" guy is taking a bath and shoots his would-be assailant, who had been making a revenge speech: "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

Teedmn 9:38 AM  

Uh oh, I said, upon reading the first three across clues. The downs did nothing for me either so I skipped to the bottom. CANI and TET set off my alarm bells (too easy for a Saturday) but 61A = ELLENDEGENERES just from the NE of CANI and TET got me in a groove.

An all too short-lived groove though. As soon as I got back up to LIRa (for too long I had the singular note) and ESTAB, I ground to a halt. (Har, classic Runt clue for DUOS, Two and two?) DORRIT next to ORDERED was all I had for a long time because ACIDS set the alarm bells off again. EMAIL trickled in. UNRENTED, come on, I'm SOOO close....

The one that really ticks me off is not seeing what the Automatic bill pay thingy was. That's the kind of thing I spend my days at work doing but _IRE__DEBIT had me stuck at wIRE something even though I knew 5D wasn't going to be __Yw anything. It wasn't until I got my last two ahas for DINT and BIN that everything fell into place. I even considered DyNe at 10D. As a unit of force, it could be considered exertion? Guess not. I wrote D_N_ in the margin of my paper and played around until DIN_ hit me. Yay!

So like @Rex, I would say the top easily took 3-4 times what the bottom took but I'm so happy I stuck with it. Thanks, Mark Diehl!

QuasiMojo 9:40 AM  

Thank you Anonymous 9:30. I didn't know that. Makes more sense that way. Or should I say "danke schön"?

Anne Meilof 9:40 AM  

My hand is also up for HUGO MONTENEGRO. I clung stubbornly to that for the longest time.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

I'm very proud of myself for finishing this. For, as others have said, when you don't know ENNIO MORRICONE, the top is going to be a real challenge. And I had to get BARNYARD ANIMALS partly from crosses and partly from one big guess -- I had no idea what "See N Say toys" were. ST DENIS, ON A VISIT and AVE gave me a foothold in the NW. By comparison, the bottom of the puzzle wasn't nearly as hard.

DOUBLE what? DARE? All I've ever heard is DOUBLE DARE. DOUBLE DIP DARE? DOUBLE DOO DARE? DOUBLE DIG DARE? Finally, finally, when I changed LIRa to LIRE (22A) and no longer had --ACA CUP at 9D, I saw GRACE CUP. I don't know what a GRACE CUP is, but it sounded right. So in went DOUBLE DOG DARE. Weird expression.

I enjoyed this. Now back to the comments, which looked great as I skimmed by them just now.

Charles Flaster 10:05 AM  

Loved it albeit I never changed LIRa to LIRE and not knowing GRACE CUP gave me a new verb—GRAc A CUP.
As others have written the south was a snap but the north took a while.
Initially had to change to ROMEOS from lOvErS.
This past Tuesday had the BURR question in a trivia contest.
Thanks MD.

GILL I. 10:07 AM  

@Tim Carey...you were not alone!
I tried this last night after a bunch of friends and I were mixing up batches of whiskey sours. Boy were they good. Hadn't had one in years. Started this at about 10 in the pm and got as far as ST DENIS and TASE. Lots of white space makes me jittery. Called it a night.
Woke up with a headache; took my Tylenol, drank some coffee and little by little chisel I got her done with no Google. Well, I did Google to check some answers. I wasn't sure of ENNIO MORRICONE's spelling and I've never heard of that RIESEN chocolate. I thought I knew my chocolates. I have a nice piece of Lindor every night after dinner.
My biggest hangup was being so sure of CORONERS for 1D. I had the ERS but dang, did that DEBATERS take forever. Anyway, the whole top section was a bear. The bottom just kept calling my name. I love when I get an answer off of just one or two letters. That's how I got ELLEN DEGENERES. I can't stand her (sorry) but she isn't funny and she tries too hard in everything she does. "Look ma, I'm a really good person." I do like SOLTI, though.
Like many of you, GRACE CUP and DOUBLE DOG DARE were new. I like new. I also learned how to spell Murgatroyd. Was he a Dickens character?
@Rex. You didn't say whether you actually liked the puzzle. I certainly did.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

@Teedmn (9:38) -- Our solving experiences were very similar today. You also had LIRa before LIRE and struggled with DIRECT DEBIT. Unlike you, I had the DEBIT, but didn't know DIRECT. Also, while ORDERED (8D) was one of your first in, I had lightly written in IN ORDER, and that also slowed me way down in the North.

@Birchbark (9:36) -- I'm sure I must have seen The Good, The Bad and the Ugly at some point in my life, but that intriguing scene and quote you cite makes me think I should watch it again.

@mathgent (9:08) -- I'll have to focus on her [unfocused???] eyes the next time I see her. But fair warning: I may end up agreeing with your wife :)

@puzzlehoarder (12:45) -- Wonderful quote from a wonderful poet. What an ear that guy had! Thanks for including it.

GHarris 10:09 AM  

Like most others got the bottom half with relative ease. Since I thought of forensics as the science of crime solving, didn’t know Morricone or barnyard animals and never heard of Riesen chocolates, even though I had all the letters except for the r and could not suss dog dare I was totally screwed.

Carola 10:14 AM  

Yup, me, too:
- "Uh-oh" at seeing Mark Diehl's name at the top
- First in - ENNIO MORRICONE
- Bottom half way easier
- New to me - GRACE CUP
- Vexed that SOS was too short for the "I'm down" clue (hi, @Loren. But maybe then there'd have been an exclamation point.)

Maybe just me:
- Loved BARNYARD ANIMALS.

Mohair Sam 10:36 AM  

Hand up with the bottom easy, top brutal crowd. Didn't know ENNIO and when someone says "Challenge with gusto" I'm picturing Errol Flynn or Anthony Quinn, not some kid in "A Christmas Story". Sheeze - DOUBLEDOGDARE was murder to fill. We had DORRIT and nothing else forever up there. Built painfully from STDENIS and AVE on one side and ACIDS and SOLTI on the other.

Fun challenge for us.

Like Rex we got SALBANDO off the SA, and for us ALINE, TET, and COHEN were gimmes - Lady M saw ELLENDE off that and the bottom filled quickly. But what a war up top.

You learn something every day in the Times puzzle. learned today that "cadavers" and DEBATERS both consist of eight letters and have an A-E-R and S in the same location - you don't want to know how much time that cost.

Cornea before AREOLA, anyone else? I've finally got STDENIS down to gimme status, took long enough. Tried to squeeze "Trans" before TECH. And yes @Evil - Hand up for wondering why Hugo Montenegro didn't fit crossing DORRIT.

Thanks Mark Diehl for a great Saturday puzz. Clean as they come.

Robert A. Simon 10:39 AM  

ENNIOMORRICONE was the first thing I filled in. Why is more interesting:
It was pretty big news when Tarantino--once again displaying his love and respect for classic films and their components-- used him to do the music for "Hateful Eight." Morricone was in his late eighties at the time.
And for whomever asked "Who said "Murgatroyd?" the character was Snagglepuss from the "The Yogi Bear Show." A lot of people don't know that after their amazing string of hit animated TV shows and movies, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were able to buy Sweden.

Laurence Katz 10:43 AM  

Replying to Puzzle Hoarder: re "hoar" withot frost (from yesterday).
Very cool! (pun intended).
Love the quote, well-employed "hoar," for sure.

Exubesq 10:45 AM  

I was surprised to see 18A clued the way it was and can’t believe anyone not from my neck of the woods would have gotten it. No biggie since the crosses were fair but still.
This one fell in half my normal Saturday time, which leaves me with too much time on my hands.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

@ Robert Simon, Thanks for confirming Snagglepuss as I guessed earlier. We had Hanna yesterday. I never cared for the Hanna Barbera cartoons. All of the characters looked alike. Yogi, Top Cat, Snagglepuss, Deputy Dawg, Fred Flintstone. Even as a kid I knew crappy drawing when I saw it.

Mohair Sam 10:59 AM  
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Mohair Sam 11:09 AM  

@Exubesq - Good point. I had a couple of bank customers many years ago on Allegheny just East of where Allegheny and Aramingo cross in Philly (yes, I'm half Polish), so AVE was a super gimme here. But this is a national puzzle in a New York based newspaper. And neither street is known for any particular reason outside of the City of Philadelphia - wonder what's behind the clue?

Buggy Bunny 11:23 AM  

@Two Ponies:
"I never cared for the Hanna Barbera cartoons."

They were (among?) the first to dumping detailed cel work, aka Disney style, for crudity. in both senses.

Juan Valdez 11:39 AM  

They call me “coffee” cause I grind so fine.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

I liked it a lot, but there were many proper names, some obscure. I feel I was more lucky than good to be able to solve.

Stanley Hudson 11:48 AM  

A tough but fair puzzle.

Go Buckeyes!

Adam Frank 11:57 AM  

How can you not love a puzzle that starts with DOUBLEDOGDARE? :-) And I loved ELLEN's quote.

ENNIO MORRICONE was a gimme, although I never heard of SAL BANDO. I worked from the NE down to the SE, around the SW, and ended in the NW, which gave me the toughest time. I finally dropped STDENIS and ON A VISIT, and the rest fell into place. A very enjoyable - if easyish - Saturday puzzle.

Mike Rees 12:40 PM  

All the things that made it easy for OFL made it hard for me. Did not know Sal Brando, Morricone, Burr, Joan Miro, Dorrit, etc. All brand new for me. Only knew St. Denis from my trip to Europe this year. Still finished at about five minutes under average - a solid half hour. I don’t understand what debaters have to do with forensics, or how dint relates to exertion. But dammit, I finished. Without helps. Yay me!

Aketi 1:07 PM  

@Nancy, yesterday I forgot to show you the pictures of the placemats and napkins I bought to cheer up my "blue" kitchen. I never buy celebrity products, but I couldn't resist the happiness and love theme of the ELLEN DE GENERES collection.
@GillI I never actually watched her on TV so I can't comment on whether she tries too hard, but I have to say her kitchen linens collection really passes my what I want to eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner on test.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

First time poster with need to get something of my chest - Am I the only one who feels the clue for 8-down is incorrect? I feel it should be "alphabetized, e.g." or even "alphabetically, e.g." as opposed to "alphabetical" since the answer is "ordered". Please tell me I'm not crazy....

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

I loved this puzzle. I fell in love with Ennio Morricone after watching "The Mission"... Played the beautiful sound track so often that I had to replace it 4 times! YoYo Ma has an album where he plays EM music...also exquisite. My son goes to Haverford, so, even though I'm a NYer, knew the Avenues. I just bought him a bag of Werther's Originals for a finals care package, so got Riesen (actually got it from "Giant" as I used to quiz him for German tests). Even though he was on the forensics team, debaters was the last to fall.... What a beautiful puzzle. Thank you, Mark & Will!

Sir Hillary 2:28 PM  

One of the best Saturday grids of the year. SENIOREDITORS is a bit of a dud, but I loved everything else.

I found it pretty hard (which I love) but that may be because I solved it while watching/listening to a wonderful game between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Hungry Mother 2:33 PM  

3 vowels I couldn’t get, so DNF.

Bryce 2:41 PM  

@Anonymous 1:27: both "alphabetical" and "ordered" are adjectives, seems fair to me. Being alphabetical is one way a thing could be ordered. I suppose your argument is whether the order is what is alphabetical vs. the list itself, but I think both are valid usages of the word.

Solid puzzle, thought I was going to hit a Saturday record throwing in ENNIOMORRICONE and ELLENDEGENERES off nothing like lots of you, but DEBATERS, UNRENTED, and DOUBLEDOGDARE took me a while. Fun throughout though.

Fred Romagnolo 2:43 PM  

@Anonymous 1:27: You're crazy. The clue for LIRE was in the plural, singular feminine words in Italian that end in "a," end in "e" in the plural, unlike English, Spanish and French, which add "s." It's the declension languages that give you a headache (e.g. Russian, German). @mathgent is right when he mentions "Sees" as the big chocolatier here on the Left Coast, but there was a time when Ghiradelli challenged them. I first thought of "Maori" for 50A, because of Easter Island, but I suspect that was Diehl's intential misdirect. The DEGENERIS quote was indeed a tired rehash of the great line from the Airplane movie. AREOLA's wide use in crosswords is similar to the use of "inane."

Joe Dipinto 2:47 PM  

A few musical auto-fills got me going - ENNIO MORRICONE, SOLTI, COHEN - the last of which suggested ELLEN DE GENERES (perhaps subliminally, since Cass's name was Ellen Naomi Cohen?), who was easily confirmable by the likely A-LINE and TRIAGE crosses, and then...piece of cake basically. Though it wasn't a difficult solve I think it's a very expert grid.

Fred Romagnolo 2:47 PM  

Oops! intentional, not intential

JC66 2:49 PM  

@Anonymous 1:27

You asked for it. ;-)

Mohair Sam 2:53 PM  

@Sir Hillary - And what was so "wonderful" about Pogba's red card-earning foul? Blasted United supporters. You'll miss the bum next week against City.

Farmer in the Dells 3:22 PM  

@Stanley, Go Badgers!

Evan Jordan 3:28 PM  

Snagglepuss:)

Larry Gilstrap 4:35 PM  

Yeah! That was a Saturday-worthy puzzle, complete with challenging bits. The Northern Hemisphere sat blank for more than a few minutes. Fortunately, I had been reminded of MORRICONE from a recent retrospective featuring his music. I wanted Silvio or something else, but eventually settled for the correct ENNIO.

I have seen ELLEN DEGENERES on the TV at the gym in the afternoon, and hear about her in the social media, and have never had other than positive feelings about her. The quote seems off, and neither very clever nor funny. I see her interacting with men all the time. She is obviously very popular and heads a smart business venture or two. I would expect a more nuanced personal declaration from someone that talented. I hope she didn't say it, or it is out of context, or I'm missing something.

Dolgo 4:40 PM  

As a high school debater back in the 50's, I was surprised to see it used in connection with crime labs. The Latin root "forensis" has to do with an open court argument--related to "forum."

John 4:51 PM  

I believe she was.

Nancy 4:57 PM  

Thanks to the blog today, I'll need to do a lot of ELLEN DEGENERES research. @Aketi's comment makes me think I should check out the "love and happiness" of her placemats and napkins. (I really do need new placemats, @Aketi.) @Mathgent's comment (9:08) means I'll need to check if her eyes are focused or unfocused. Larry Gilstrap makes me think I should watch her to see if she's funny or not. I don't watch her daytime show but I think I think she's funny: didn't she host the Oscars one year and wasn't she a riot? I think so. However, I agree that her quote in the puzzle today is pretty witless. Much better is Gloria Steinem's "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Except that GS didn't say it; some woman no one's ever heard of said it. Can't remember her name.

GILL I. 5:03 PM  

@Nancy...Mae West? Or was that a wrench in his pants?

Joe Dipinto 5:13 PM  

@Nancy -- Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars in 2014 (honoring films of 2013) and was probably most memorable for having had pizzas delivered to the venue and distributing slices to the stars up front. It was pretty funny. She took a selfie with a bunch of them.

pmdm 5:18 PM  

Carloe: I'm not sure your comment is serious, but if it is, maybe my comment will explain the quote for you. Ellen has declared herself to be gay, so she's not looking for a husband. She doesn't drink coffee and she doesn't romance men. Get it?

Nancy 5:21 PM  

OK -- Two-thirds of my ELLEN DEGENERES research is now done. The results:

1) Her "Home Collection" -- placemats, napkins, mugs, curtains, whatever -- is the ugliest damn thing I've ever seen. Ever. (Sorry @Aketi.) But don't take my word for it, dear Rexblog. Here's one of the websites. Judge for yourselves:
https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/brand/ed-ellen-degeneres/4204/4294967217-4294966331-97730-4294175354

2) And, as you'll see, the smiling visage of ELLEN is peering down over the Collection. I'm looking at her eyes. You're right, @Mathgent! They look extremely strange to me, too. Like maybe they're crossed?

I still don't know how funny I'll think she is. But I'm sure she's a much, much better comedian than she is a placemat designer!

MetroGnome 5:35 PM  

Carol from Muncie --

Unless you're being ironic, I suggest you do a little bit of research on Ms. DeGeneres . . . then you'll understand the joke!

Dawn 7:04 PM  

Total DNF here. Raced through the bottom half and just couldn't get enough of a foothold in the top. Never heard of Morricone, Loyd, Grace cup, or See n Say figures. Had OLIVER, then DORian, before finally putting in DORRIT for the Dickens clue.

I agree with some other posters that ELLEN seems a bit grating from the little I've seen, but probably no worse than other day time talk show hosts.

REISEN dropped right into place...because my husband just ate my entire stash and didn't replace it! I hadn't had any in years and was mildly curious about what it tastes like. Sent him to the store tonight for a bag. :)

Maruchka 7:24 PM  

Forensics club was a high school high, for me. Debate, oral and dramatic interp, et.al. We competed locally and beyond. Good teams, great friends, super organization.

Aketi 9:28 PM  

@Nancy, when you come over for the big reveal of the paint job I'll make sure to use my burgandy place mats instead of the Happiness Love EDG combo.

Nancy 9:33 PM  

I love burgundy. Deal.

newspaperguy 12:05 AM  

Anonymous puzzlehoarder said...
That's Rime not Time. Auto correct is blind.

Much like the sender.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Crude humor alert (Do not read if you've ever used the phrase, "doesn't pass my breakfast test"!!!):

I loved the Ellen joke. It reminded me of the coffee joke I heard:

I like my coffee like I like my women... without a penis.

kitshef 11:55 PM  

@Nancy - the quote was from Irina Dunn.

@Joe DiPinto - that selfie is still the most-shared selfie ever.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:50 AM  

Late review alert! I doubt that anyone will read this, but for consistency I'll write it nonetheless.

Fill: I mean, I get that Saturday is a challenge, but ESTAB? ESTAB? That single answer is indicative of how I felt about NW corner overall. I cannot say that I enjoyed SOLTI, EGADS and DAIN too much as well. But, this was a damn impressive grid, so I feel like I should give the constructor some credit for that. 19/25

Theme/long answers: Haven't heard of DOUBLEDOGDARE before. I don't know what See n' Say is. I liked how two proper nouns were symmetrically placed. I like both Ennio and Ellen so that was cool. But yeah, besides that I didn't feel anything for the Northern section. 17/25

Clues: On Saturdays, I like when the clues help me out a little bit when I'm having problems with the answers or when they create some great aha moments. None of that, unfortunately. The Ellen clue was nice. That's about it. 14/25

Pleasurability: Figuring out the Southern section was pretty fun. NE corner as well. And then came the North. Damn you the North. This puzzle became such a struggle there all the joy was drained out. And as I have mentioned above, when I finally figured out the answers they didn't do anything for me. Again, ESTAB? Geez. 14/25

GRADE: B-, 3.5 stars.

Unknown 10:15 PM  

Ditto on the bottom being way easier.
My stumbles on top were 1D where I tried AUDITORS, CADAVERS and CORONERS. Also, had REESES for 29A which put me in a ET mindset for 16A.

TartanCalf 1:24 PM  

Love when a crossword brings back a happy memory. Made me think of my old toy as well. Sweet.

Ando 3:51 PM  

This was a slog, lots of time spent staring at empty space. I found some of the clues to be pretty bad. "Not let" for UNRENTED is one of those awkward literal synonyms that don't seem like clues. Does ENABLE really have the same connotations as "Give a chance"? I'd call "Alphabetical" an example of a SORT ORDER, not ORDERED, as saying a group of items are simply "alphabetical" is probably grammatically incorrect.

I ended up missing one letter -- if you don't know about a DAIN Curse and don't know dresses then it could be a Y-LINE (for a Dyin' Curse), J-LINE (a Djin Curse maybe?) or an O-LINE in which case I've got a Doin' Curse.

Ando 3:52 PM  

And what is a GRACE CUP? If it were a letter shorter I was gunning for DRINK UP! which is a fine evening-ending toast.

spacecraft 9:31 AM  

Add me to the long list of those who didn't know what a GRACECUP was, but crosses ENABLEd the entry. Same with DAIN. Not up on my Dashiell, sorry to say.

But the rest? As the cosmonaut in "2010" misspoke: "Easy as cake." And later, "Piece of pie." Give up, dude. A 64- (64? did I count right?) worder absolutely destroyed. My first thought for the coffee clue was DOD ELLENDEGENERES. DOD? SURE. She came out way ahead of the curve, and that took some pioneering courage. Hats off to her.

Mayhap the most severe criticism this OLDTIMER can give is that it's too easy for a Saturday. Praise with faint damnation? Anyway, birdie.

rondo 11:41 AM  

Like many others, bottom easy, troubles up top. Inkfest on my scroll reading with torah/Ebook/EcArd/EMAIL. Then the others fell into place. About half an hour of a good puz.

When I got my current position I figured it was a PLUMJOB. 18 years later and as kind of an OLDTIMER, I still think so. Many folks can't say that.

For good REISEN ELLEN gets a yeah baby.

This puz falls into the category of molto BENE, if not ELITE.



Burma Shave 12:00 PM  

ENABLE DUOS?

"SURE, CANI do ONETHINGATATIME", said the ELITE cat who DINT care
about the REISEN why the BARNYARDANIMALS ORDERED a DOUBLEDOGDARE.

--- LOYD "NIBS" BURR-DAIN

BS2 12:03 PM  

must proofread:
RIESEN

Diana, LIW 12:31 PM  

@Teedmn - I'm still working on Sat but wanted to tell you that I just read over Friday's Syndie comments, and saw your comment, "But in the SE, I had rime before reason told me that HOAR might make a better answer for 48D." Just wanted you to know I got a chuckle out of the time and reason pairing

Lady Di

thefogman 12:31 PM  

Most of this was outside my wheelhouse but I did finish. I had coronERS before DEBATERS and lOvErS before ROMEOS and pondered about it being JeAN before settling for JOANMIRO (thanks to AREOLAS) but aside from that, surprisingly few write-overs. Although I did not a-DORRIT, it was a fine and challenging puzzle, just a little flat. I just wish there was a clever gimmick to reward the solver upon completion.

rainforest 3:18 PM  

Grid was daunting at first sight. The entire North looked impossible, but I got my start with BENE, NIBS, EBAY, ST DENIS, and SAL BANDO, a favourite of mine from his time with the Vancouver Mounties (farm team of the A's).

The South was a completely different story, as many have mentioned. I can't say I tore though it, but it was a pretty quick jaunt down there. Having seen DIPSOMANIAC many times as a clue gave me that word as well

The clue/answer for those in forensics bothered me, and DEBATERS was my last fill. I knew MORRICONE but had to work to get his first name, thanks DORRIT.

@Spacey - "praise with faint damnation" - brilliant
@Burma Shave - you're like the Energizer bunny, man. Over three years now?

BS3 3:27 PM  

@rainforest - should I make it to February 9 it will mark 3 years.

thefogman 6:39 PM  

Burma, your poems are gold.

I didn't count, but with all the long words, this puzzle must have close to the minimum amount of clues. Not too many black squares made it quite a challenge for both the constructor and the solvers.

Diana, LIW 8:39 PM  

I chipped and chipped, and came THIS close, but WOEs (as usual) and a couple of wrong guesses gave me a Sat dnf. Fun, tho, to do those looooong answers.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the ansers to end

Scott McLean 11:51 AM  

Late in syndie-land yet again, but I like to comment, so...
Like everyone else has said, bottom easy, top hard. My one and only Google was ENNIO MORRICONE, so had I known him, I would have finished without help. Still, lots of false starts up there: rEmIT before DEBIT, DOUBLE DOwn___ before DOUBLE DOG DARE, gLaM JOB before PLUM JOB. As an ink-on-paper solver, quite a mess.

One fun bit: I plopped in NESTLE at 28-A, only to find it again later. I love it when that happens. (RIESENs, by the way - bleh.)

Great brain workout and nice puzzle. Sorry I didn’t know you, Mr. MORRICONE. I shoulda.

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