Elephant rider's seat / SAT 12-30-17 / Pioneering hip-hop trio / Bayou genre / Subject of Durocher's nice guys finish last sentiment / Matchmaking site available in Hebrew

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Leon CZOLGOSZ (34D: McKinley's assassin)
Leon Frank Czolgosz (Polish: Czołgosz [ˈt͡ʂɔwɡɔʂ]; May 5, 1873 – October 29, 1901) was an American anarchist and former steel worker who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in September 1901. Czolgosz was executed just over seven weeks later.
• • •

If you knew CZOLGOSZ without ever having seen the musical "Assassins," congratulations. To me, that name is just someone slamming their face into the keyboard, so that corner was horrendously tough, in a puzzle that was already pretty tough. Pop culture was all beyond me. AL PACINO was in "Merchant of Venice"? OK. Someone named INI Kamoze exists? If you say so. Didn't know Durocher was talking about OTT. Barely knew that Hemingway's old man was SANTIAGO (needed a bunch of crosses for that to come back to me). No idea what ALNICO is (except basically AL PACINO minus the PA). Would not have spelled FOGY without an "E". Point SUR? Nope. An URN is a "base"? Nope. EMU oil? Really? Wow. Poor EMU. Didn't know ANN meant "grace" (???). And on and on. RUN-DMC and KING JAMES were about the only proper nouns on my wavelength today. Oh, and MC ESCHER wasn't too hard. And J-DATE. But overall this was the bad kind of hard—hard because of proper nouns and tenuous clues.

ALTAR BOYS ring bells??

NOT VALID could've gone so many ways but it goes this dumb math way. NOT VALID is something you say about a license or a coupon. [Cracks] [Range] [Snag] are successive Across clues. This is sadistic. Write a clue. Piling up vague one-word clues is not good cluing. Top-level trivia buffs probably destroyed this, as so much of it is, well, trivial. I want something more from puzzles than just "do you know these names?" On the plus side, because I was so slow overall, I had only one real mistake. Wrote in LEANS / NOLO instead of TENDS / DARE (11D: Inclines / 22A: Option for people who can't handle the truth?).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS [Pioneering rap trio with mathematically inspired works?] = RUN-DMC ESCHER

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:05 AM  

The altar boy rings the alter bell as the host is being consecrated, then again as the congregation approaches for communion.

Outside The Box 12:05 AM  

Tough one. Never heard of RUN-DMC, so I had ema and RANDMC as a guess. Wrong.
On the other hand, a lot fell into place unexpectedly. Agree with “challenging” rating.

Steve Reed 12:09 AM  

Altar boys rang bells at every Catholic mass I ever attended. When the priest says “do this in memory of me”. The SW corner was rough but somehow was on the same wavelength as most of the rest and finished in about half my average time.

TomAz 12:15 AM  

Man, I couldn't disagree with Rex more on this one. I thought this was about as close to perfect as a Saturday can get. Things I didn't know, but never got Naticked. I knew McKinley's assassin was some jumble of letters, so I didn't doubt my crosses even though they looked weird. NOT VALID is perfectly valid to me. Plopped in ZYDECO and MCESCHER without a second thought. The clue for ZLOTYS? genius. took me a while to get that one, but I got it. Never heard of ALNICO, but it was inferable, and at least it's a real thing and not some actor.

In the end the completed grid looked smooth and clever and the hard entries just outside of my comfort zone, but close enough so as not to be a foreign language. Finished in close to average Saturday time, but satisfied not frustrated.


the Smart Bohemian 12:15 AM  

I liked this one.

Could NOT remember Czolgosz until very late in the puzzle, when I had the C and Z. It was really bothering me.

Altar boys do ring bells, as indicated above.

puzzlehoarder 12:17 AM  

Big step up from yesterday. That SW corner was the best part. I floundered around in there for almost half my solving time. For once this week I actually felt like I was doing a puzzle.

I have no idea how long this would have taken on paper. Santa brought me my first laptop and this was my first time solving on it so the inconvenience really padded my time.

After the SW fell all that was left was the NE. After that high value alphabet soup starring CZOLGOSZ the NE was a piece of cake. The last letter to go in was the R of WORSE. You really do get that little jingle when you finish.

jae 12:22 AM  

A fine Sat. challenge. Pretty much what @TomAz said. My biggest hang up was chIPs before QUIPS. Liked it a lot.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

ALNICO is most likely ALuminum NIckel and CObalt

Moly Shu 12:27 AM  

We could have got
“ You don't even know your english, your verb or noun
You're just a sucker MC you sad face clown “
But no, we get INI kamoze. Boo.

Randall Clark 12:48 AM  

Last square for me was #38, where the assassin crossed the Polish money. Something in the recesses of my brain told me the money started with a z, but it seemed unlikely the name would have two z's? Had no better ideas, so tried it and found success. Phew!

Ellen S 1:00 AM  

I got CZOLGOSZ off the “C”, but obviously his name was lurking in my brain somewhere (behind the prions, no doubt). His name came up in a book I read recently. I think it was the sequel to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. You never can tell what will help with a crossword.

mathgent 1:02 AM  

Another fine job by Damon G. His usual sharp cluing. Loved it.

ZLOTIS must have been in many previous puzzles because it's familiar to me. Where else would I have seen it?

Anonymous 1:25 AM  

Sanctus (liturgical) bells. Not tower bells.

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

I always understood 'divided by zero' to be "UNDEFINED", but that wouldn't fit.

All in all, a fair Saturday puzzle. Fell squarely between best and average. DAMASK, ALNICO, and MNEMONIC were the last to fall.

Robin 1:26 AM  

I knew CZOLGOSZ once I got the C... only I mis-spelled it.

I wasn't aware that there a Merchant of Venice of movie, but I recalled that ALPACINO had done Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare in the Park around 15 years ago, so was ready to fill in his name once I had a cross or two.

SE gave me the most trouble. DEBTOR was about the only gimme down there. Wanted to write in THELAB rather than THEWEB. Had the S and O and thought SANTIAGO might SENORxxO. Finally after rethinking some things and filled in ROVE and AVENGE and worked off that. Had HOWDAH in mind but that was another one I couldn't figure out how to spell.

Anonymous 1:30 AM  

I did not “know these names,” but I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Pleased at the consensus here.

Trombone Tom 1:35 AM  

This one went fairly smoothly until I reached the SW. Then I dropped in salsa instead of QUESO and ended up staring at the mess until I finally worked out SOCIAL DARWINISM, which gave me QUIPS and opened up the rest.

This reminds me of our first trip to Europe back in 1963. I tried to buy some cheese in Italy and couldn't remember the right word. Instead I asked for queso and the shopkeeper thought I was trying to buy his entire coldcase full of cheese. That's the danger of knowing bits of several languages.

Couldn't remember, let alone spell, CZOLGOSZ, and never heard of INI Kamoze. The crosses were fair, though.

I thought this was a fine Saturday

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

SeÑor whO had quite the run on telemundo in its day.

Dolgo 1:58 AM  

If you were a stamp collector as a kid as I was, it would have jumped right out at you. I learned later that it comes from the esord for gold.

Dolgo 2:11 AM  

We have an eyesore statue of McKinley in or town square. His hand reaches out towards the west(Manifest Destiny). Back in 1976 some of us young smart Alec's as we were then considered apllying for one of the NEA's Bicentennial Grants to erect a statue of Csolgotz pointing a gun at him. You may recall the prez was shot in a receiving line. The project never got beyond the whiskey talk stage. Pity!

Tom Rowe 2:14 AM  

I liked it, but it was challenging for me. The worst was McKinley's assassin, but some other clues were just downright cute, like the crossing zlotys (wanted zlotls).

Larry Gilstrap 2:23 AM  

Whew! What a grind! But, that's why we pay the big bucks for the NYT Saturday puzzle. Right off the bat trouble came when 1A clued colorful pullovers prompted me to through in COSBY SWEATERS. Just goofin'. I could write a huge paragraph on DASHIKIS, some of which were tailor-made, and it would interest many of you, others, not so much.

Stuff we've discussed recently: MNEMONIC, AVENGE, SANTIAGO. and ESCHER.

I like Shakespeare and used to teach "The Merchant of Venice" and I'm not sure I ever saw a bad cinematic rendition of one of the plays. Feel free to be an ALTAR BOY and chime in. Shylock is such a rich, complex character which AL PACINO was able to fulfill, as I remember. His daughter Jessica runs off with a Christian and then trades her mother's turquoise ring for a monkey. Heartbreaking.

Speaking of nonsense, SOCIAL DARWINISM is based on the premise of survival of the fittest, a phrase which appears nowhere in "On the Origin of Species." People rise to the top of social strata because of privilege. Nothing biological about it.

Leo Durocher, like many famous people, died in Palm Springs.

Jyqm 3:13 AM  

Boo hoo for Rex, I guess. “Wah, I went to some off-brand Catholic church where the altar boys didn’t ring bells and couldn’t remember the name of the protagonist in one of the most famous American novels ever.” Cry me a sea. Suddenly the man who constantly complains about similiar/identical successive clues because “nobody solves that way” is now complaining that successive clues were too hard for him. Tough/vague one-word clues on a Saturday? The horror!

Admittedly, this puzzle was largely on my wavelength. I well remember Ini Kamoze, had at least a vague idea about what letters appear in the name of McKinley’s assassin, and somehow remembered at least seeing posters for Pacino’s “Merchant.” Nothing here was 100% unknown to me, and I appreciated the tough-but-inferrable clues for old standbys like EMU and OTT. Of course, I’ve never understood the ill will toward “trivia” among some modern crossword solvers. Why is it so terrible to expect solvers to possess a bit of less-than-mainstream knowledge, particularly on a Saturday? To my taste, this puzzle featured a great mix of fun wordplay and wide-ranging cultural artifacts. Exactly what I want and expect on a Saturday.

Zsoglozc 5:05 AM  

More than average difficulty due to the SW.

"To me, that name is just someone slamming their face into the keyboard..." Great stuff!

Enjoyed the write-up much more than the puzzle.

P-CO 5:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al Pacino 5:53 AM  

I played Shylock in Central Park in the summer of 2010. The play went to Broadway for a short run.

What good is this review ?

Shy. TO BAIT FISH WITHAL: if it feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

What? No bragging about how long it took to finish? Howzat? smh.

I agree with the general consensus of the commentariat that it was an excellent Saturday puzzle. I don't expect them to all be this good, but the good ones certainly make up for the duds.

No Star Wars, no Harry Potter, no Apple products. Even the drek was classic.

In a word,


Cardinal Armand du Piessis de Richelieu, First Minister of Louis XIII 6:24 AM  

The Catholic Church does not require bells at mass. It is up to the local pastor whether or not to include them.

I prefer none, the ringing hurts me eardrums.

Lewis 6:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 6:34 AM  

@Zippy: Maybe 5D iCon is the new Apple phone app for battery replacement.

And, the Assassins answer, Czolgosz, must have been repayment for all those teachers who asked Damon Gulczynski how to spell his last name and how to pronounce it.

Happy Holidays.

Lewis 6:36 AM  

Big old gauntlet, big old fight, with just enough cracks to keep motivated. I loved this, grabbing footholds here and there, leaving an area, then coming back only to fill in a few squares. What a grand Saturday experience!

"Leans" before TENDS, "honed" before HOMED, "E-Date" before JDATE (my bad), and "garage" before THEWEB. I thought it was a new clue, finally, for OTT, only to find out we had a similar one in March (Natan Last, constructor). It felt triumphant to get the assassin, whose name is nowhere in my wheelhouse.

My wife and I brought up DASHIKIS just yesterday, when she was saying that if you hang on to something that was once in style long enough, it'll come back, referring to the current in-status of Birkenstocks. I brought up dashikis, which *were* a thing in the 60s, and we agreed that it doesn't feel like they'll be back anytime soon. Pity, as I liked how they felt to wear and looked. Hey, maybe I'll start a resurgence...

Lewis 7:22 AM  

And by the way, CZOLGOSZ seems like a great answer coming from a Gulczynski.

Go Democrats 7:38 AM  

This was a great puzzle. I loved the clever clues for mnemonic and zlotys. I knew czolgosz and howdah and rundmc and jdate right off so I had foot holds for much of the puzzle.

betheballdanny 7:39 AM  

This puzzle came together for me rather easily, although I cant explain why! I have to admit that I was stuck on DASHIKI for a bit but then I remembered a lyric from Frank Zappa's "You Are What You Is" and it came to me. 1st time in memory that Frank helped me out with a puzzle! Happy New Year to everyone!

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Fun, challenging puzzle.

Seems like the theme on this blog is that everything is too easy or too hard.

Glimmerglass 8:02 AM  

I agree with TomAZ and puzzlehoarder. This was a really great workout. Took me forever (for me, that’s a good thing). I remembered a lot of stuff @Rex forgot (ALNICO) and a lot fell to crosses (I didn’t *know* RUN DMC, but I’d heard it somewhere, DMC gave me the RUN). I knew the assassin was a Slavic name with lots of consonants, so starting CZ seemed fine, but it was no help at all. I never got the S in SO IT IS (I guessed D)—so DNF for me, but a fun solve

Rob 8:14 AM  

Very tough but pretty fair. That bottom left corner did destroy me; I never knew McKinley's assassin's name but it became clear it was going to be a jumble of letters once I got the -SZ; didn't remotely understand the ZLOTYS clue, but I knew the word despite not really knowing what it meant. If you'd put a gun to my head and forced me to guess I would have guessed it was a foodstuff.

RUN-DMC was easy for me; if you don't know hip hop at all it would be tough, but they are one of the biggest names in genre history. To have never even heard the name genuinely shocks me.

I have much more trouble with the golf clues; I would love it if Will would put a year's moratorium on golf-related answers, or at least proper names, which make any puzzle skew a zillion times mustier than it would otherwise. You could ask me who won a tournament last month and I'd still say it skewed old, because people of my generation just do not care about golf. I filled in O'MEARA based on seeing it in previous puzzles, but wasn't at all sure it was right til I got crosses, because while I knew the name I couldn't have told you who he was if my life depended on it. If you wanted to attract a younger readership, 86'ing golf would be a good start.

I always remember SCUD missiles from the Gulf War; I was something like 8 years old at the time and it was the first time I remember anything like that. If you really wanted to confuse the older folks and didn't want to go back to the hip hop well, you could clue it as the Disposable Assassin.... Actually, I think that would confuse most of the people my age as well, but I always got a kick out of that comic.

Anyway, solid Saturday. Definitely had to work for it, but there was shockingly little crappy fill. Had that nice feeling where I got very little on each pass through the puzzle but it all came together eventually.

Kevin 8:14 AM  

Wonder if the long across was an intentional nod to LeBron James, or just a happy accident. His Nike campaign during his first go round in Cleveland was "We are all witnesses"

Ed C 8:20 AM  

I was an altar boy. We had positions: Left Acolyte, Right Acolyte, Cross Bearer. In my church, one of the acolytes range a bell several times during every single mass. So, I probably heard an altar boy ring a bell approximately three thousand times in my churchgoing days, including the times when I did it myself.

JOHN X 8:28 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle, and this was a real Saturday puzzle: tough but fair.

Definitely not for speed solvers, these clues were devious! I liked it!

SteveCFL 8:38 AM  

I can’t imagine what Catholic Mass that guy’s been going to for 13 years without ever seeing an altar boy ring a bell. It happens.....let’s see....oh, EVERY time.

Maruchka 8:50 AM  

I TEND to measure tastiness of puzzles by the 'aha!' moments scale. This one gets a 9.5.

Loved the clueing, solves and grid. Alas, had '...isolationism' (neo, maybe?) before filling in the NW. It just sat there, mocking me. I finally surrendered, with a DNF look up.

ALTAR BOYS ring bells, as would ALTAR girls in enlightened parishs.

Thank you, Mr. DG.

BarbieBarbie 8:57 AM  

I was confused by KINGJAMES, kept wanting a rebus for LeBron, but I got over it.
Me too on LEANS/NOLO.
I Googled/DNF because of McKinley’s assassin and not enough insight on that one from crosses.
Enjoyable, tough puzzle that reminded me how far I have to go before I can say I’m good at these things. Very satisfying.
Pretty sure the altar boys don’t ring the bells at our Mass either. I’ll have to pay more attention.

John Hnedak 8:58 AM  

I remember ALICO (alloy of aluminum, nickel and copper) and not valid from H.S. math and science. Loved dashikis and thought the clue on zlotys was brilliant. Would have done well except I totally screwed up on "quest", spelling it "cheso" (?) which caused additional problems in that neighborhood.

mmorgan 9:03 AM  

I thought this was terrific. Lots of work, lots of reward. I knew CZOLGOSZ (from Assasins) but wasn't sure of the exact spelling -- thanks, crosses! Some much great cluing -- ZLOTYS and MENOMIC and others. Took me a while to take out the salsa and put in the QUESO. Sadly, I had HOnED for 30A (didn't know JAMES and JAnES looked reasonable), and I was sure that 42D was HODDAd so that messed me up. But this was an awesome puzzle!

Bruce Levy 9:09 AM  

Anytime I can finish a Saturday I consider a victory. Took me two sittings, but happily slogged through.i enjoyed.

kitshef 9:12 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyable, though fairly easy for a Saturday. Hardest part was convincing myself that ALNICO had to be correct.

Durocher probably was not talking specifically about OTT.

X short of a pangram.

Actual lyrics from Here Comes the Hotstepper:
Na, na na na na, na na na na, na na na, na na na
Na na na na
Na, na na na na, na na na na, na na na, na na na
Na na na na

ALPACINO sounds like it should be a small llama.

Robso 9:26 AM  

I agree with others—this was tough, but no Naticks. I had to rework the SW after throwing down SALSA instead of QUESO (I have never gotten queso instead of salsa at a restaurant, but I live in CT, so . . .?)
Never heard of CZOLGOSZ : (

James Marrow 9:30 AM  

TL;DR version: this was a good puzzle. Quit whining about your solve time, Rex.

This was tough but fair, and I enjoyed it. I’m surprised by Rex’s negative review. Upon finishing the puzzle, I thought, “Finaliy, a puzzle that Rex won’t complain about.” Good fill. The difficult proper nouns are gettable from crosses, so no Naticks. I appreciated the crossing (noted above) of KING JAMES with CANIGETAWITNESS because of the similar Nike ad campaign.

It seems that Rex has a particular dislike for puzzles that increase his average solve time. I see frequent complaints about Maleska-type fill, puzzles that are assigned the “wrong” day (e.g., a “Wednesday” puzzle on a Monday), or rants like this one where Rex struggled for some reason.

I mean, this is a Saturday puzzle—it’s supposed to be hard.

Rex prefers to be a speed-solver. I wonder, though, if Rex would enjoy puzzles more if he solved on paper or, you know, didn’t obsess over his statistics.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

A puzzle by Gulcznski about a guy named Czolgosz!! How many Scrabble points on that one???

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

This was one of the best puzzles in months, exactly what a Saturday should be: difficult but doable. Clever and misleading clues, natch.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Half my regular Saturday time.
Enjoyed it, too. Some clever clues.
Used to serve mass. Was an altar boy for years... Nativity School, Menlo Park.
Favorite was serving 5:30 a.m. mass for the nuns at the monestary in down the road from the school.

QuasiMojo 9:37 AM  

I wanted to squeeze in ANITA WARD for the "Ring My Bell" clue. And yes, altar boys do ring bells at mass. Some of these twitter people really should think before they post.

Super Saturday puzzle. Tricky and tough. I liked it. I think I wore a DAMASK DASHIKI once when I was twelve. I probably wore a Peace Sign with it around my neck.

It's depressing to think how many US Presidents have been shot at, let alone killed. No wonder we can't find good candidates for the job.

Last time I took a plane it didn't have any armrests. Cheap ticket.

BAD APPLE reminded me of the Osmonds.

Too much good stuff today to go into any more detail. Somehow this fell into my wheelhouse even though I don't know anything about ZYDECO, RUN DMC or metal alloys. Nevertheless they all fell into place, neatly, and in good time. Thanks Damon for a fun one.

Theodore Stamos 9:41 AM  

DNF for me today. INI, ALNICO and that impossible assassin name. No fair....and no fun!

BarbieBarbie 9:51 AM  

An implied-simile metaphor for “focus tightly on” used in the sense of defining something better and better can be “home in on-“ in this case, like a guided missile— defining the target better and better.
Another implied-simile metaphor that can be used is “hone-“ in this case, like a knife’s edge— defining the edge better and better.

The expression “hone in on” is NOTVALID.

Jimmy 9:54 AM  

I really wanted the Durocher quote to be about "SEX" ;-)

Knowing "HOWDAH" helped a lot ... "CZOLGOSZ" solved strictly via crosses.

To me this was somewhat less difficult than typical Saturday; ~15 minutes as opposed to typical 20-25 but as alluded to by others, solve time for me is inversely proportional to the number of recent pop culture references, not much of that here unless you put "KINGJAMES" or "JDATE" in that category.

Craig Trueblood 10:06 AM  

Division by zero is absolutely valid. It is merely undefined. But in math, undefined is a valid outcome. Bad, bad, bad clue.

GILL I. 10:18 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Awful for those like me who can't spell. (Please don't tell me about the "I").
Hoo boy...stare fest once again. My only entry for ages was SCUD HAMID. I always remember things like that but can't remember how or where my CZOLGOSY ZLOTYS ZYDECO go or in which order. Had to Google up the wazoo or is it kwazoo or did I just make up a word. Anyway...I worked hard and was happy with those the I did get.
My brother was an ALTAR BOY at our Episcopalian church. He did indeed ring the bells. A lot of them. He also played the Church organ because he loved noise. I've been to lots of churches and I don't recall ever NOT hearing bells ring at the ALTAR.
CAN I GET A WITNESS is SWEET. SANTIAGO was my only fill for awhile in the downstairs department. I loved his character. All he wanted in his last sorry life was to get an epic catch of a fish. Took him forever to land one. His wife had died, he had no children and he was a desperate SANTIAGO, which oddly enough, means Saint JAMES.
The ARM RESTS battle is pretty awful for the poor slob stuck in the middle. I think we can all agree though that a bigger dispute is the little ass kicker in the back of your seat.
Nice going Damon however you spell your last name. And thanks for included my favorite to watch Mark OMEARA. Has anyone heard from Tiger Woods?

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

1) this was a great puzzle
2) Rex is a prick
3) happy new year

Charles Flaster 10:19 AM  

Liked this challenger.
Started last night, just woke up, and saw the assassin’s name but misspelled it so my EARTH was aBLAzE not OBLATE.
As others have stated, MNEMONIC and ZLOTYS are beautifully clued.
This was what I expect a Saturday to be —tough, fair, doable, thought provoking.
Thanks DG

Nancy 10:20 AM  

Damon GULCZYNSKI warned us what he was going to do to us in his clue/answer for 43D. And then, as threatened, he did it to us in 34D.

Look, when you have a last name that no one can spell or pronounce, why should you suffer alone? And thus the truly fiendish CZOLGOSZ -- though, I would maintain, not quite as fiendish as GULCZYNSKI -- came out of the woodwork. Crossed on its last letter with the Z of the what on earth ZYDECO. And thus I had a DNF? Anyone else? (Haven't read y'all, yet).

I believe that Damon planned his whole puzzle around CZOLGOSZ. And there's no MNEMONIC on earth to help all of us remember it. This puzzle should be henceforth known as GULCZYNSKI'S AVENGE.

I had fun with this in a masochistic sort of way. Only the NW was easy for me; everything else was a struggle.

Rony @ catbird 10:22 AM  

I also really wanted Cosby Sweaters.

Generic Solver 10:26 AM  

This was one of my fastest Saturday solves ever. It's kind of the way Jeff Chen mentioned on xwordinfo, if you've been solving these puzzles for ages, then surely you've seen words like ZLOTYS before. In addition, ZYDECO is a well-known form of Cajun music, and so (as Jeff points out) CZOLGOSZ is totally inferrable from the crosses. The rest of the stuff in this puzzle is mostly not that obscure IMO. That said, there should be an explicit rule that crosswords containing the answer CZOLGOSZ be rejected out of hand.

Teedmn 10:31 AM  

Do two flukes make TrENDS? Not long ago, a rapper name helped my solve and today, while not the first thing I entered, RUN DMC was my first entry guess and everything I entered after that was based on that guess. Weird. Rap.

Back in my early twenties, I worked for a newspaper which covered the Twin Cities Black community. One of the regular columnists had changed his name to Kwame and always wore a DASHIKI. Thanks Kwame, and thanks also to HAMID and DAMASK for that NW corner.

SOCIAL DARWINISM because "live and let live" didn't fit and I finally had enough filled in to see DARWIN.

My last entry was the Z of ZLOTYS. With _LOTYS, what else could it be? But it wasn't until I confirmed it was correct that I went back and parsed the clue correctly. Eyeroll, sheesh.

Thanks David for the CZ, in CZOLGOSZ and also found in Gulczynski! Nice Saturday stretch.

Sir Hillary 10:38 AM  

What a great puzzle. DASHIKIS and RUNDMC and MNEMONIC and BADAPPLE and CZOLGOSZ and ZYDECO and ZLOTYS and IWOULDNT and FIRESTONE tires at RACEWAYS and JDATE and SOCIALDARWINISM and CANIGETAWITNESS all in one grid? Damn right this is a winner.

Even the stuff I didn’t know — ALNICO, INI Kamoze, HOWDAH, the meaning of ANN — was fun to learn and fairly crossed.

@Mohair Sam — If you’re out there, you may be amused to know that my last entry in was KOP...and it happened as I was watching the Liverpool-Leicester City match being played at Anfield. Ha!

Blue Stater 10:50 AM  

Absolutely dreadful.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

Boy, would this be a better world if @Teedmn's 10:31 "Live and let live" replaced SOCIAL DARWINISM (8D). Not just in puzzles, but in real life.

I was sure someone would beat me to the observation about Damon's last name, and three people did -- two Anons and one @Lewis. It's why I always comment before I read y'all: when you live on the East Coast and solve on paper, there are always going to be 35-60 comments ahead of you. And as the sage says: There's nothing new under the sun.

@Quasi (9:37) -- No ARMRESTS on your flight, not even the teensy-tiny totally inadequate ones that you find on most planes???? It's a wonder that anyone flies anywhere anymore. And yes, @GILL (10:18) -- that horrible child kicking the back of your seat for the entire flight is an even WORSE problem. (BTW, I had nO uSE before WORSE at 9D -- making it even harder to get the 18A hip-hop trio.)

Mohair Sam 11:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 11:11 AM  

I think J-DATE missed a real opportunity by not going with Yente.

Mohair Sam 11:11 AM  

Y'all back off of Rex's buddy Milburnigan. He didn't say 13 years of Catholic Mass, he said 13 years of Catholic School. Obviously he skipped church every Sunday for well over a decade. (@Milburnigan - might be a good idea to head to confession, this being a Saturday).

What a battle! We lost - had DASHIRTS (what?) instead of DASHIKIS (what?). Thought Lebron might have clever nickname I never heard (RINGJAMES - he's got three championship Rings), and TNI was as good as INI to us. Played challenging all the around, but a fair fight - heavy on the PPP, but they crossed well - and it was garbage free. Disagree with Rex, thought the cluing was exceptionally good, fun.

Just googled DASHIKI Shirts - seen them a lot, had no idea what they were called - haven't I seen KING JAMES wearing them? AL PACINO a good guess gimme - remembered being surprised when I heard he was doing Shakespeare.
Got SANTIAGO off a couple of letters, tough memory. I'm fine with NOT VALID for divided by zero, it's a Saturday. And I see CZOLGOSZ was Polish-American, like half of me. Maybe he's why there's not Polish heritage month around here.

@Kitshef - Leo went to his grave denying he singled out OTT from the other Giants. But the reporters around him when he answered someone's question of "Why can't you be a nice guy for a change?" all agree that he asked immediately - "Do you know a nicer guy that Mel Ott?" - and proceeded to explain that Ott's Giants were all nice guys too - and they were in seventh place.

@Rob - Chuckling over your comment on OMEARA right after your 'gimme' claim on RUNDMC - wondering how many solvers are grumbling about RUNDMC and wanting more golf clues. That one was stacked above the other was perfect on a Saturday - few solvers had two gimmes there.

@Sir Hillary - Now that would be a wicked Saturday clue for 23A, wouldn't it? I probably visited 15 to 20 different stadiums while I lived there and never sat once, always on the KOP - but sadly, never the famous KOP at Anfield.

Terrific Saturday Damon G - thanks.

Kitty 11:15 AM  

Before Vatican 2 in the 60´s altar boys rang many hand held bells at mass esp during the consecration

Z 11:20 AM  

Quickie PPP Analysis

18 of 70 for 26%, well below the level where it is the primary source of people struggling.

jackj 11:20 AM  

Serve as an enlisted person in our Armed Forces with a name like CZOLGOSZ and you will experience a name change to ALPHABET, so dictated by drill sergeants in basic training.

Bill Palmer 11:25 AM  

Miracle of miracles, this was easy for me. Knew who assassinated McKinley and the rest was a romp. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.

old timer 11:33 AM  

Very tough but DEBTOR and SANTIAGO opened up the SE and I eventually remembered HOWDAH, The NE was the easiest for me, with WETBAR going right in, and ARMRESTS. I did not remember for sure how to spell the assassin, but CZ was how it started and Z how it ended so ZYDECO came quickly.

In the NW i confidently put in JAMAL but when that did not work, replaced it with JAMES. That said, I cheated to get AL PACINO. I did not have KING at first but it seemed to fit. Poor JAMES is a great player but never has a truly great team compared to the Warriors. Lately Golden State has been winning even when its two best players are on the bench,

Unknown 11:34 AM  

ALNICO is the alloy of Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt used to magnetize

Birchbark 11:36 AM  

CAN I GET A WITNESS for this puzzle? Because it was murder -- in a good way, but murder nonetheless.

The theme for me was misdirects. Starting with "nOnInterference" for SOCIAL DARWINISM, which I threw down with no crosses, then pulled given MC ESCHER. Then rightly did a similar no-cross CAN I GET A WITNESS but wrongly pulled it, because it wouldn't cross "valvoliNE," which turned out to be FIRESTONE.

"cUTS" (for HUTS) often precede hikes (in the ebb and flow of taxes, rates, etc.).
Chips and "salSa" for QUESO.
"spam" (for ICON) is a type of folder.
"DecApriO" (for AL PACINO) has been in Shakespeare films.
And DNF because acceptable variant DAMASc yielded "caP" (for KOP) as a keystone figure, describing (I think) what a real keystone is.

The proper nouns and unusual textiles and alloys in the Northwest = DNF at 56:37, more than twice an average Saturday. But did love CZOLGOSZ/Pole-vaulted ZLOTYS. If that isn't a pure Saturday of sunshine, I don't know what is.

‘mericans in Paris 11:40 AM  

Glad to read that most here enjoyed the puzzle. We struggled, except in the southeast, and in the end got four squares wrong. Knew about ALTER BOYs and their little bells, but otherwise agree with much of what @Rex said. HAD to chuckle when I entered ZLOTYS, however. Also liked M.C. ESCHER, ZYDECO, and MNEMONIC.

Correctly entered LAVA, but have never heard of the tern “LAVA bed” — not in Hawaii, at any rate. (Have you, @chefwen?) Googling it just now I see there is a National Monument by that name in California. SO IT IS.

A lot of moist things in the puzzle these days. recently we had WET NAP, today WET BAR. Hmmmm.

One of my favoite movie lines, from Young Frankenstein: “Could be WORSE; could be raining!” And then of course the skies open.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

If you really are Al Pacino, may I say your soul is intact...it’s non-negotiable...and if I was half the man I used to be I’d take a flamethrower to this puzzle! Actually, I liked the puzzle and every Pacino role I’ve witnessed has me saying hallelujah.

Jyqm 11:51 AM  

Dear white people, dashikis never went away among the people supposed to be wearing them in the first place, please don’t bring them “back.” ;)

Scott Thomas 11:52 AM  

Here in Buffalo, the mad anarchist Leon CZOLGOSZ is part of local lore. When I was working at The Buffalo News, on the fifth (cafeteria) floor was a display of Page One from the paper 100 years ago that day. I watched daily in 2001 as the 1901 papers breathlessly described the run-up to the Pan-American Exposition. And there were stories like, "Mrs. McKinley is not feeling well, so the President may not come after all." Dude, I thought, stay home!

Rube 11:52 AM  

All Saturdays should be like this. If you solve a puzzle by "guessing" at all the downs first without trying to verify with acrosses then you ruin the puzzle. It's a CROSS word puzzle. You should put in one answer and then try to solve by entering answers that link. Why is speed so critical? Why not mull over a clue for awhile to see if you can figure it out? That is fun.And what is this googling crap? It is not a research project. It's a puzzle. If you Google you have failed.

GHarris 11:55 AM  

Once again Rex’s axiom, that if the NW fills in easily the balance of the puzzle is a walk in the park proved wrong. Had no problem with that corner or other parts of the grid but the SW, oh boy! Yeh had a general idea that the spelling of the assassin’s name was like something from an old cartoon balloon but when crossed with zydeco totally unfair and google time. I got social Darwinism but still don’t get the connection to the doctrine of Laissez-faire which I always thought described a policy of no government intervention. Can anyone enlighten me?

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

This was a difficult but fair puzzle. There were too many things I didn't know so couldn't finish. But I learned a bunch from looking up these answers. I now know why they didn't bother making us memorize Garfield's assassin---too difficult! Happy New Year to all!

Joe Bleaux 12:04 PM  

Cementing my reputation as the dense commenter who's generally (and justly) ignored, I'm freely admitting my ignorance here and sincerely asking for help: Someone please explain why MNEMONIC is said to be cleverly cued. I know what a mnemonic device is, but "loss prevention"? Huh? By making the "association," does one "prevent" the "loss" of a definition, spelling, etc.? Or is there some double meaning that I'm simply not getting? I'd truly appreciate some help. Meanwhile, thanks, Damon G, for a sterling Saturday puzzle, and Happy New Year to all.

Joe Bleaux 12:05 PM  

Wups ... clued, of course, not cued (although ... )

DrBB 12:06 PM  

Not too hard for me. Well, the KINGJAMES/JDATE cross got me b/c I've never heard of either the hoopster or the website. So officially a DNF I guess, though I give myself a mulligan on proper noun crosses like that, as long as I can fill 'em in one try after having to hit Check All Letters. SW hardest for me, too, but I just figured I'd have to get 34D from the crosses and they weren't really that hard. Maybe because I was raised Roman Catholic--yup, like everyone sez, they do ring bells.

DrBB 12:08 PM  

...adding ALNICO was a gimme for me and probably most electric guitar players. It's what the magnets in guitar pickups are made of.

xwordnut 12:08 PM  

Way past my normal time but really crunchy and very satisfying in the end, loved it

Matthew G. 12:14 PM  

This was mostly very easy, except that I finished with one wrong square because I’ve never heard of INI whoever and DASHIKAS and ANI seemed more plausible than DASHIKIS and INI. At least ANI is the given name of one famous person. That’s a pretty brutal uninferrable crossing even for a Saturday.

Anyway, if I hadn’t had that one wrong square disqualify my grid, this would have been close to a Saturday record for me. AL PACINO and CZOLGOSZ and SANTIAGO were all gimmes. Those opened up those corners nicely. Ditto SOCIAL DARWINISM for the center.

There have only been four presidential assassins in U.S. history, so I don’t think their names can ever be considered obscure.

Candy Darling 12:20 PM  

Parker is such a crybaby snowflake. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up.

Joseph Michael 12:23 PM  

A MNEMONIC for the future:

Cunning zebras often live grandly outside suffocating zoos.

Birchbark 12:24 PM  

@JoeBleaux, a mnemonic is (often) a word-association technique to help remember something. For example, "face" helps beginning piano players remember the notes F A C E, which occupy the spaces on a treble clef. Here, I took "Loss prevention association" to mean word association preventing memory loss.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

I don't remember whether I learned ALNICO in grade school or junior high. I didn't remember the name of the assassin, and never saw the show. But based on vague recollection, the CZ and SZ seemed right, and it all fell into place from the crossings.

My first thought was to try and squeeze Salvador Dali into 60A.

Not among the very hardest Saturday puzzles for me, and plenty enjoyable.

JC66 12:29 PM  

@Joe Bleaux

re the MNEMONIC clue, it's Saturday level sneaky and refers to using (associating) a word or phrase to remember (not lose) a piece of information..

HOMES = Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).

JC66 12:31 PM  

@ Birchbark

I was still typing when your comment posted.

jberg 12:33 PM  

I liked this one a lot -- partly because I was proud of myself for remembering how to spell CZOLGOSZ, as well as remembering that RUN DMC was a trio, so that I actually put it in with no crosses, despite my strong not-a-rap-fan status.

I don't see the objection to URN -- some Chinese paintings, like some Grecian paintings, are on them. Cf. John Keats.

I needed lots of crosses for ARM RESTS, though, because my mind was fixated on reclining seats.

Two Ponies 12:36 PM  

I loved the struggle and then the triumph.

That version of Merchant was excellent.

There is a musical called Assassins? Yuck.

Agree that "Pole vault units" is the best clue in a puzzle full of great clues.

Master Melvin 12:38 PM  

Haven't they made The Old Man and the Sea into a comic book yet?

Birchbark 12:40 PM  

@JC66, the good news is I can now remember the Great Lakes --

Normal Norm 12:43 PM  

@ Jyqm,
White people can't wear dashikis because they didn't invent them?
OK, I won't..... if you stop using electricity.

Stanley Hudson 12:51 PM  

What a great Saturday puzzle! A fine way to wind down 2017.

Churlish Nabob 12:52 PM  

Master Melvin, LMAO.

Candy Darling 12:53 PM  

Was @evil doug in the USAF?

Suzie Q 1:03 PM  

The armrest "in a plane"? Sounded strange to me. I would have said "on a plane". Sort of like yesterday's sporty car "containing" a spoiler.
Oh well, the puzzle was just the sort of tough love I need on a Saturday morning. Comments today are icing on the cake.

Anoa Bob 1:06 PM  

Great puzzle. Especially liked the classy feel to the SE, with M.C. ESCHER (Here's a self portrait), and the Hemingway clue for SANTIAGO & the Dickens clue for DEBTOR, all down there.

I've studied DARWIN and don't recall him ever advocating a policy of SOCIAL DARWINISM. It's often used by the haves to "justify" not helping the have-nots. I know, I know, that's extremely rare, but it does happen.

Stay warm all. There's a bug going around in these parts that can cause a nasty case of SOITIS.

DavidL 1:09 PM  

Agree with the consensus here, this was an awesome puzzle, challenging but appropriately so for a Saturday.

Got a real smile when I figured out "Pole vault units". Brilliant. Needed that, because I never heard of CZOLGOSZ and had to get it from the crosses.

Last to fall was MNENOMIC, thereby giving me ALNICO and INI, neither of which I knew. While I understand the clue "Loss prevention association?", wow, that was rough.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

ALNICO = Aluminum-Nickel-Cobalt Luckily I'm a science geek so I knew that one straight away; but CZOLGOSZ??? That's just unfair; I got it by the crosses, but when I read the clue I was sure I was doomed.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

@Anon12:05 AM
Not quite. The bells are rung just prior to the consscration of the Host.
The thought was (is) that once the vulgate was used congrgants should understand the actual words.

No way. FIRST Friday Mass has long been a staple of parochial school education. No one could could`ve done 13 years AND not been to many, many Masses.

Superb puzzle Mr. Gulczynski. Thanks.

Hartley70 1:46 PM  

Oh so challenging. The SW and the NE did me in. Kudos to those who can pronounce the dastardly assassin's name.

ghthree 1:52 PM  

@Anoa Bob
You're right. Social Darwinism became popular after Darwin was dead. He never endorsed it. Never even heard of it. Probably would have been disgusted to hear such sentiments attributed to him. Google it!

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Milburnigan may have gone to Catholic school for thirteen years but he obviously never went to mass on Sundays or he didn’t pay attention at mass. I’ve been going to mass every (o.k. most) Sunday for forty years and the altar boys have been ringing those bells (Do this in memory of me....ding ding ding.) My parish now has altar girls as well and both the boys and the girls are now referred to as altar servers.

Joe Dipinto 2:13 PM  

Oh stop it, Rex. This was medium, or only slightly challenging, at best. You don't remember the Ini Kamoze song? It was a ubiquitous hit when you were, I'm guessing, in your late teens, so it's your own fault if you don't remember it. It was my first entry into the grid.

CAN I GET A WITNESS seemed completely obvious once I checked the letter count, so I plunked that in right off the bat. And yes, Rex, I was an altar boy and yes, I rang bells every time I served Mass, so that was a virtual gimme. Of course I put in SALSA first at 47d, but almost immediately figured it would need to be changed to QUESO from seeing the potential URN and ZYDECO crosses.

My favorite answer: I WOULDN'T. As in: I wouldn't say anything bad about this puzzle. It was just right for a Saturday.

Maruchka 2:32 PM  

Salve! Good news. And a Swedish church is approaching God as gender neutral. Ref. PBS

Barry Frain 2:47 PM  

As usual, Nancy does not disappoint.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

BBPDX 3:08 PM  

Agree completely.

Masked and Anonymous 3:11 PM  

themelessthUmbsUp. Lives up to NYT SatPuz's name. To simply call it "challengin" would sorta be like callin a baby rattlesnake "cuddly".

Take that openin NW corner, f'rinstance … Holey nanosecond gobbler, Batman! Had no earthly idea on DASHIKIS. And not much on HAMID. And INI was a meany. And just barely any idea, for ALNICO and DAMASK and KINGJAMES [Thought 6-D was gonna end with GAMES, becuz I vaguely re-called (yo, @AG Sessions) some sorta NBA video game called "Chosen One"].
Neat KOP clue, tho.

fave answer: IWOULDNT.
staff weeject pick: EMU oil. Learned somethin new, there. day-um. I guess U can squeeze oil outta pretty much any varmint, if U push hard enough for long enough. Snake oil, f'rinstance.

Toughest clue that I eventually knew: {Pole vault units?} = ZLOTYS. This puppy should go directly into the Clue Hall of Fame. Standin O, to its author. Talkin near-double-?? clue, there, Shortzmeister; I mean, fair's fair.

Best primo song without a hat tip: CANIGETAWITNESS. Marvin Gaye, mid 1960s. Great tune. Got the vinyl, and glad I do.

Thanx, Damon G. Congratz on puz #30. Neat grid T-bones, btw.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

squeeze some oil outta this, if U dare …

Melrose 3:12 PM  

NE and SW were killers for me. I had a couple of errors but for a Saturday I counted this a success. Pole vault clue was brilliant, worth the price of admission.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

You need help.

Ralph 4:01 PM  

Speaking of the musical Assassins, I've never been at a performance of anything like the one of Assassins I saw in San Jose. I'd estimate that 90% of the audience had walked out before the end of the show

Uncle Alvarez 4:14 PM  

Long constipated
A healthy dump relieved me
Happiness abides

Nancy 4:14 PM  

@Two Ponies (12:36) says: "There is a musical called Assassins? Yuck." Well, a lot of people agreed with you at the time. The show ran for just 72 performances -- one of Sondheim's biggest commercial flops. It's proof positive of what all of us were told upon entering into the BMI Musical Theater Workshop: "A show's failure can often be traced to the moment when two collaborators look at each other, grin broadly, and say (with great enthusiasm): 'Let's write a musical about...' " I'm one of the few people who actually saw Assassins on Broadway, and while it was flawed and too episodic, it had moments of absolute brilliance. Best was the opening number, "The Ballad of Booth." I challenge anyone to listen to it without feeling a great deal of emotion -- sadness mostly -- for that tragic moment in history. I think it's one of Sondheim's most theatrical and thrilling songs.

Churlish Nabob 4:19 PM  

Historically inaccurate shite!

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Niggardly beyond belief.

Bobby Grizzard 4:37 PM  

WITNESS: today is King James's (and my) birthday :)

OISK 4:44 PM  

Finished it correctly, and knew Czolgosz immediately. My grandfather told me about the assassination when I was a kid. But I wasn't sure whether it was gosz or gosc. Guessed correctly, but never heard of zydeco. It's a form of music?? McEscher, RUNDMC, and INI were additional meaningless answers to me, but just four is not bad, much better than yesterday. And like yesterday, despite clues out of my zone, this one did not produce any Naticks for me. Clever cluing. I approve.

Chip Hilton 4:44 PM  

What @TomAZ said way back at 12:15a.m.

Just what I want from a Saturday puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 4:47 PM  

1. "RUN-DMC ESCHER". har. Nice puztheme seed entry. Or at least a runtpuztheme seed entry.
2. "[Cracks] [Range] [Snag] are successive Across clues. This is sadistic." Well, yeah … but it's a NYT SatPuz. Sadism is its specialty. Also, the answers are kinda spread across the grid line, sooo … only semi-sadistic.
3. "To me, that name [CZOLGOSZ] is just someone slamming their face into the keyboard, so that corner was horrendously tough …" Ooooh. M&A is gonna have to try that, and see what I get...
Hey, kinda cool. Face Splatz Avatar. Big nose got stuck on that f, a little too much, tho. Good way to generate all them day-um online passwords, tho.

Happy New Year's eve eve. [Consider yer face splatzed.]


Bradford Findell 4:58 PM  

DNF is unusual for me, but this puzzle was death.

Although I know OTT and I have heard of ZLOTYS and ZYDECO, CZOLGOSZ qualifies as a triple Natick. Even though my spouse knew DAMASK, Ahmed (HAMID) Karzai, made DASHIKIS crossing ALNICO, HAMID , and INI another triple Natick.

Joe Dipinto 5:09 PM  

Hey @Joe B 12:04 -- you are hardly dense, and, if you feel ignored I would have to say it is UNjustly. I think/hope you are being facetious. I always enjoy your comments.

Arden 5:47 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle and didn’t find it challenging. Just a nice crunchy solve.

Nigel Tufnel 7:34 PM  

Hey Joe D, why don’t you and Joe B get a room? Maybe he’ll bleaux you!

Mohair Sam 8:04 PM  

@Anon (1:42) - Point well taken, but our boy couldn't miss those bells jingling if he'd been there. Maybe he ditched the bus to Church on First Friday and shot craps with his buddies. As a kid I was mighty creative in avoiding Mass too.

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

There's no better example of Rex Parker being a modern-type idiot than when he posts a twitt from a twitt and neither one of them has any clue what they're on about.

An altar boy is responsible for ringing the Sanctus bells at each and every Mass. Period. Citing that twitt from a twitt proves what kind of a guy Rex Parker is. Ignorant, emphasis on the final syllable.

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

That is indeed niggardly.

Buck Dharma 10:34 PM  

I’ve never seen more niggardliness.

Donald Drumpf 10:35 PM  

Make America niggardly again.

Howard Johnson 10:37 PM  

Don’t you know that the new sheriff is niggardly?

Old Black Joe 10:56 PM  

Many African Americans have a niggardly salary.

Old Dirty Basterd 10:58 PM  

“There's no better example of Rex Parker being a modern-type idiot than when he posts a twitt from a twitt and neither one of them has any clue what they're on about.“

Fucking snowflake moron.

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

@jackj My dad had a friend in the Navy called Chief (as in Chief Petty Officer) AtoZ. No one could pronounce his name correctly. Chief AtoZ was a lot of fun. His job was bandmaster on the Admiral's staff.

@GHarris I agree that Laissez faire is often meant to be minimal or no government control, but to many that means the inmates run the asylum and only the fittest survive. ergo: association with social darwinism.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:33 PM  

This puzzle was filled with proper nouns, but unlike yesterday's, they weren't stuck in a dangerously close proximity that would outright frustrate you. If your puzzle is trivia heavy, scatter them around so that they don't kill the solver. For that, thank you Mr. Gulcyznski.

The DTS/IDS crossing is very unfortunate. But the puzzle offers tons of great entries to make up for that. Now, if the trivia answers were out of my range, I could have been more frustrated with it, I guess, but I knew a critical amount of them which made it easier. So I can understand why this wouldn't be universally appreciated, but ARMRESTS, BADAPPLE, IWOULDNT, MCESCHER, ZLOTYS, RUNDMC etc. are all very fun answers. And the long answers are just brilliant. CANIGETAWITNESS, SOCIALDARWINISM, KINGJAMES clued for LeBron! Very nice, memorable. Also, clues for DARE, ZLOTYS, URN, SOITIS, HUTS, DEBTORS were nicely done. Maybe some were extra tricky, but I will let them slide.

This was definitely pleasurable. I almost aced the North, and then had to spend some time in the South, but again, knowing that I could figure out the proper nouns never made me think about quitting (unlike yesterday's) Figuring out CZOLGOSZ gives you a legit sense of achievement. I wasn't so lucky with HOWDAH but that didn't take away from the overall experience.

This is the best puzzle of this week, hands down. This was turning out to be the worst week I've ever reviewed, and this one saved it.

GRADE: A-, 4 stars.

Bagelboy 2:58 PM  

got everything but the Southwes, which for me is better then the average saturday. Seems im not alone in finding that tough. Enjoyed the rest.

Aviva Sopher 3:07 PM  

Ann comes from the Hebrew “Chana”. The route is “Chen”, which means grace

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Vieri Tucci 8:45 PM  

Me too

rondo 11:09 AM  

HOWDAH hell I ever finished is beyond me, but it took a loooong time. And only one w/o having started with HAMeD. If it HADn't been for ZYDECO I'd never have gotten started in the SW. In the NW the A in ALNICO was the very last entry; figured it must be aluminum.

SANTIAGO I knew from reading my first edition of the old man which is over in the bookcase. Used to love Hemingway and the fake Hemingway contest. He HAD an American face . . .

I think FIRESTONE has HAD more retail tire recalls than anyone else. IWOULDNT put FIRESTONEs on any of my cars. Their tires at the RACEWAYS must be OK.

Why not give a yeah baby to Queen Ida for her Bon Temps ZYDECO band? Better dance music than gimme RUNDMC.

Almost gave up on this puz. Good thing my electrician stopped by to provide an estimate for re-wiring; needed that break or IWOULDNT have finished.

Burma Shave 12:01 PM  


IWOULDN'T say that priest HAD joy,
his QUIPS are NOTVALID as a litmus.
IDS him and cries,"CANIGETAWITNESS?"


spacecraft 12:04 PM  

I thought the answer to CANIGETAWITNESS was "She's Some Kind of Wonderful," per Grand Funk. What a great tune! CZOLGOSZ is one of those things that snag, or GRAB, onto the brain. I saw that name once and tried to pronounce it. Why it stayed with me I can't say, but it did--and that gave me a huge leg up in the SW.

Hardest for me was--yet AGAIN--the NW. I had SCUD and KINGJAMES (since Lebron wouldn't fit), and that was it. Finally grokked the Keystone KOP clue which gave me DAMASK. I know that somehow too--just don't DAM ASK me to pick out a bolt of it. ALNICO and INI were total WOEs that needed every cross. The Natick at 7 was brutal. I decided to go with I instead of A because...well, because there are too many less obscure ways to clue ANI. What a reason--but it worked!

SOITIS with considerable pride that I say I finished this. Scrabbling my way through was good cerebral exercise; it coulda been WORSE. Despite the hiphop group (which I strangely somehow knew), I enjoyed it. Plenty of ANNs ready to don the DOD sash; how about breast cancer awareness pioneer ANN Jillian? Birdie.

5wksltr 12:36 PM  

Had HAIRCLUB for the loss prevention association. Slowed me down for a while.

Diana, LIW 12:37 PM  

@Rondo - I am so impressed - no wonder you're Number4! (and I'm, like, so clueless today). But RUNDMC is a gimmee? Not in my backyard.


LEANS instead of TENDS put the final kybosh on the NE, tho a dnf was already a sure thing.

Kuddos to all who finished, no matter what your time.

Dian a, Lady-in-Waiting for a crossword with words

thefogman 3:01 PM  

I was done in by DASHIKIS and KINGJAMES. But I managed to get CZOLGOSZ so go figure. The NBA stuff is just not in my wheelhouse and neither are exotic pullovers. But I like learning things when I do a crossword and this one taught me a couple of things. Now I know the name of that funky top Jimi Hendrix was wearing when he set his guitar on fire. It's a DASHIKI brother! SOITIS. Peace out!

paradocs 3:07 PM  

we finished last. guess we are nice guys.

rainforest 4:39 PM  

Finished this beast in two sittings with a lengthy break in between. During that recess, LAVA came to me (I had already more or less settled on ABATE), and so the assassin's name came square by square. What a mouthful.

I wouldn't know a DASHIKI if it bit me in the ass, and of course that last "i" was a complete guess, but having ALNICO, DAMASK, KING JAMES, and getting AL PACINO from those made the NW sort of medium. NE not bad either.

For the SW, I tentatively put in ZYDECO, which made me drop SALSA, and then I took my break. Aha! LAVA! SWEET! I'd like to add that MC ESCHER was a gimme, and that was the key to the SE.

I thought the Pole vault clue was sheer brilliance, btw.

Puzzle of the week, for sure.

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

I agree with Rex. Too many incongruous clues/answers. Laissez-faire had to be the worst. Fit in Libertarianism, or Free Markets somehow but Social Darwinism is a stretch.

Mike N. 10:59 AM  

Glad someone pointed that out; it was a gimme for me!

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