Longtime first name in gossip / SAT 12-9-17 / Doctor of 1960s TV / Whence many paintings of Pueblo Indians / Gladly old style / Old-time worker

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Tony ARMAS (48A: Former Red Sox slugger Tony) —
Antonio Rafael Armas Machado (born July 2, 1953) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball. He is the father of pitcher Tony Armas, Jr. and the older brother of outfielder Marcos Armas. // Armas Sr. was one of the top sluggers in the American League in the early 1980s. Twice he led the American League in home runs, and topped all of Major League Baseball in runs batted in during the 1984 season. He was, however, prone to injuries that affected his career. In his major league career, Armas went to the disabled list twelve times, missing 302 games. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was pleasantly surprising, for a few reasons. First, I expected it to be not great, possibly bad, because that's a lot of white space and most people can't fill that much empty space cleanly. And yet it was actually pretty good. Remarkably clean, especially given how many longer (7+) answers have to run through other long answers. The fill buckles a bit on the margins, in the short stuff, but that's where it's supposed to buckle (a little) when you're doing showy themelesses. In fact, 1-Across was probably the worst thing in the grid (not a great place to put your Worst Thing In The Grid, btw). Took one look at it, thought, "uh oh, here we go..." But no. I hardly winced at all after that, and honestly, all the longer answers are solid as heck. Not sure I'd call the grid FREAKING AWESOME (7D: Fantabulous), but it's definitely where a NYT Saturday should be, quality-wise.

The other surprise was the easiness. Big corners, a middle without any short toeholds ... I was pretty sure I'd be clawing my way through this slowly, but I hardly broke stride after I got the NW sorted out. Got FREAKING AWESOME off the FREA- and then proceeded immediately to go after the SE corner—via the "M" trifecta of MEESE / MANSE / MAXINE (there are three *more* "M" words down there, but they didn't work in concert to propel me through the puzzle, so screw them). Ironically, the answer I struggled with most down there was Tony ARMAS (48A). I say "ironic" because he was a big deal during my prime baseball card-collecting days, so I should've known him. He's got one of those names that ... rings a bell, but also sounds like a lot of other baseball names. Actually, I think it's a five-letter baseball Tony thing. Tony OLIVA. Tony PEREZ. I think those (more famous) names were blocking my way. But I worked out all the Downs, eventually.

Then back up the grid via PIED-À-TERRE (26D: Home away from home), then easily down into the SW corner (though ON A PLATE was rough—40A: Without putting in any effort), and then finally up into the NE corner, where I thought I might get very badly stuck. None of the Downs were clear to me from their clues. Is "ping resistance" a real thing? When I google it in quotation marks, I get a crossword site first thing. And dear lord just how "old" is the "old catchphrase" for ANACIN!? (11D: Product with the old catchphrase "Mother, please, I'd rather do it myself!"). Before my time, for sure. Nothing about that phrase says "aspirin." (Also, there are at least three answers flagged as "old" in this puzzle, which is two too many, I'm afraid) But I guessed SEEN AS and the short Acrosses came pretty easily. Last letter in was the "R" in TOREROS / RATE. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I finished a new off-season baseball crossword. Enjoy:

Rex Parker's Off-Season Baseball Crossword #2: 
"Angel ... in the Outfield?" (PDF) (.PUZ

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ando 12:10 AM  

I thought "Spanish Pronoun" was going to be ELLA just to give Jazz Great Fitzgerald a day off.

puzzlehoarder 12:22 AM  

This was a middle of the road Saturday. A very ambitious grid but much of the debut material was simply fabricated to fill a space. ONAPLATE is the prime example. However being such a non phrase it's hard to infer and gets some points for difficulty. I had a DATAPLANS/LIBELLAWS write over just above it so that was one of the sections I had to straighten out.

I pretty much worked from top to bottom. 1A had to be ESOS or ESAS. Guessing 4D was SAINTED I wrote in LADD to support it. Next was CORNBREAD and RBI. At that point even an ALATM /ALERT write over couldn't really slow down getting the whole NW.

A fun solve, just never a real challenge.

okanaganer 12:26 AM  

KATARINA was mentioned in a comment yesterday, or the day before?

"Passing concern" = ESTATE TAX. Nice clue. In Canada we don't have estate taxes; I should know I've been executor on 3 different estates. But we do have capital gains tax, which is pretty similar.

Since I work in 'the internet', for "Ping resistance" I wanted to answer LATENCY. Because that is actually a very valid measurement relating to an internet "ping".

gpm 12:38 AM  

"Mother, please . . ." Annoying TV ad from the 60s. Total gimme for us old folk.

Quickest Saturday in a long time. Maybe one of the quickest ever. Nothing very memorable.


Outside The Box 12:46 AM  

Pretty easy Saturday for me.

The baseball item was fun. Before I looked at the grid, I thought Tony would be Conigliaro. Nope, too long. Hmm, Tony Clark? It was he Tony Clarke? And did he play for the Red Sox? Then I got the “s” from manse and Armas popped right into my mind.

jae 12:48 AM  

Pretty much what @Rex said.

chefwen 1:28 AM  

Fairly easy for me also, until I hit the Deep South with puzzle partner giving me Perez for 48A (Baseball is a void in my sports knowledge) he finally came up with ARMAS when I told him Perez just wasn’t working. Didn’t know MAXINE Waters. Pretty much avoid anything to do with Politics whenever possible, hard to do when you are bombarded with it at every corner. Anyway, finally got that corner and BADA bing, we were done.

Fun Saturday!

chefwen 1:31 AM  

I pronounce PECAN as PAH KAHN, let’s take a vote.

Deep Mac 1:46 AM  

As a person of a certain age (59), "Mother, please..." made me laugh out loud. Unintentionally campy commercial from the '60s. "Mother, PLEASE! I'd rather do it mySELF!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GshovE9F3F8

JOHN X 1:47 AM  

"Ping resistance" is indeed a thing and a great clue for OCTANE. The octane rating of gasoline doesn't mean more powerful fuel, it means it has a higher ignition temperature to prevent imprecise combustion (knock or "ping") in high compression engines, and prevents preignition as well. Only use the fuel your owner's manual calls for or you're wasting money.

I had Tony GWYNN of the five-letter Tonys.

Fun "Shane" Facts: Alan LADD hated shooting guns, Jack Palance hated being near horses. Ladd showing Joey how to shoot took over one hundred takes; all shots of Palance getting on a horse are actually him getting OFF a horse played in reverse. Jean Arthur was 50 and in fact 10 years older than Emile Meyer who played the grizzled cattleman Ryker, which reminds me that Yvonne DeCarlo, who played Lilly on "The Munsters" was actually a year OLDER than Al Lewis who played her father. Al Lewis was born old though, and throughout his life lied about his age, except he always lied to make himself older than he really was. If you want to hear a great Yvonne DeCarlo story, go to YouTube and search "Tony Curtis Makes Dave Sweat" which is from a 1993 Letterman show and Tony Curtis tells about when he first went to Hollywood. Do it right now you'll thank me.

Graham 2:09 AM  

A MANSE is not a stately home—it’s the parish home of a Presbyterian pastor. Stately or not, often not. (cf. RECTORY or VICARAGE for the Anglicans.)

Brian B 2:17 AM  

11D made me think of an old story, from the days when long-distance calling was expensive, of a family who were at the park where their girl Anna sat on an anthill. They took her to the emergency room, and needed to send word to relatives but only had enough money for a six-word telegram. So they sent:


Robert A. Simon 2:22 AM  

@John X: Thank you, indeed.

Paul Rippey 2:26 AM  

I'm old enough to remember ANY TV commercial because I remember the arrival of television, but I couldn't remember the ANACIN ad, so I figured I'd look it up on YouTube. First choice was this wonderful re-edit.


It's ... remarkable.

Larry Gilstrap 2:29 AM  

I liked it for a Saturday! Sure, the first pass was spotty, but I hunkered down and the thing began to fill. And, filled with interesting stuff. Where do I begin?

Let's start with two admirable women. Who could be more diverse than MAXINE Waters and KATARINA Witt? I'm envisioning a terrific. but daunting dinner table for three. I'd gladly pick up the tab.

I'm relieved that MANITOBA and North Dakota and Minnesota have decided to de-escalate the bellicose verbiage. If that border ever becomes a hot-spot again, who will be to blame? Then again, stranger things have happened.

We need a puzzle with more EMS, like we need a hole in the head. I've given up on nit-picking at RBIS. I've been known to drop an F-bomb or two, only for emphasis. The NYT sets a precedent with FREAKING as an adjective for AWESOME? I haven't seen it before. Have you?

I remember two heart-throb doctors from 60s TV: KILDARE and Ben Casey. Some girls I knew wore a white side snap button shirt as a fashion statement. My phone shows me a Ben Casey blouse and it triggers memories from junior high school. Bob Seger said it better than anybody else: "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."

Speaking of days of yore, remember when being caught IN A LIE was a source of ignominy? Quaint.

Dolgo 2:49 AM  

A Shakespeare proof for 40 years, I don't get EMS. Ust have taught MSND 20 or 30 times at least. Maybe I'm losing it, but I still don't get it. Somebody tell me please so I can get to sleep!

Anonymous 2:54 AM  

@Dolgo. A MidsuMMer Night's DreaM ( 4 ems)

Dolgo 2:56 AM  

Obviously a Shakespeare PROF! (Cursed auto correct--the bane of my existence!

Shakespeare Scholar 3:01 AM  


The letter (character) "m" (pronounced as "em") appears four times in the title.

Dolgo 3:06 AM  


Dolgo 3:07 AM  

PS Thanks! (zzzzzzzzzzz)

Anonymous 5:02 AM  

Remarkably clean themeless with a very low word count and virtually no bad fill, but I breezed through the whole puzzle with hardly any sticking points. Excellent construction, but could have been clued a lot harder.

evil doug 5:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 5:18 AM  

Shane should have shot Joey in the face. Hated that kid. That he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor just makes it worse....

FREAKING AWESOME ICE DANCERS? Torvill and Dean. Add Jayne to my list of skaters I sort of have a thing for. Sure, Katarina, too, especially since she had that wardrobe malfunction--that tripled *my* axel....

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

My German history is not good but knew Adenauer from previous crosswords (der alte). Cornbread reminds me of an old Beverly Hillbillies gag. “PI R squared Jethro. “ “No pie are round. Cornbread are square.” They shouldn’t normalize Maxine Waters.

BarbieBarbie 6:01 AM  

Loved the misdirects on SONOGRAM and DRIES. Friday-level easy but very clever cluing, so a good Saturday.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

I was sure Rex was going to tear into this for skewing too old, but instead he gave it a relative rave. That was a happy surprise.

I loved the clues for DAM, SONE, SONOGRAM, and DRIES, and marveled at the clean grid. There was a mini-theme of double E's (6). I wondered which definition of MATE fit "Dating service success", and had BONO for "Cher, for one" for a bit. No long snag points, several smiles, enough resistance to recharge my batteries -- a high quality Saturday. Bravo!

Edward Bernard 6:24 AM  

Good lord, the Anacin ad is a marketing earworm. Woman (always a woman) snaps at someone (mother, child, husband). Inner voice scolds, “you’re tense ... irritable ... but don’t take it out on her/him/the kids. Take Anacin instead.” There were dozens of them, all with the same copy. As an advertising writer, I can’t imagine how they got away with using the EXACT SAME WORDS for years.

Loren Muse Smith 6:27 AM  

Rex – I have no doubt whatsoever that you solve these things so fast. Like others here, I used to think you were crazy to rush through them. You’re supposed to savor a puzzle, linger over it blah blah… But nah – we should just do things in the manner that gives us the greatest pleasure. (I eat Rice Krispy treats the way you solve puzzles. I can’t imagine eating them any other way: a couple of huge bites, chomp chomp, swallow. They just “eat” better that way; the obscene volume of food in my mouth at once hits every part, and I get this full-on assault of flavor and texture. Shiver. I don’t want to be told to slow down and savor them. I’m already savoring them.)

Anyhoo – what really impresses me is the way you remember your exact path from start to finish. Over the years here I’ve tried various things to remember at least my first entry, but I’ve never stuck to anything. Unless it’s a fill-in-the-blank gimme, I usually can’t even remember that. Maybe it’s ‘cause on a themeless, I “eye solve” here and there until I get a couple of fairly certain crosses and then commit to pencil. I dunno.

I agree that this was a good themeless. Liked LIBEL LAWS/caught IN A LIE, MANSE/ESTATE and PAY EXTRA/MONEY. Oh, and KATARINA crossing ICE DANCER, but she wasn’t one. Wonder if figure skaters look down their noses at ice dancers.

@chefwen – me, too, for puh KAHN. (My weirdest pronunciation is the word poem. I say it so it rhymes with coin almost. I’m listening to the Great Courses series Peoples and Cultures of the World, and the professor Edward Fischer pronounces that way, too. So there’s that.)

Loved the clue for EMS.

FELLA was timely. Yesterday I had some students trying the tongue-twister:

One smart fella, he felt smart
Two smart fellas, they felt smart
Three smart fellas, they all felt smart.

If you have the soul of a 13 yr old boy, you’ll like it.

I thought there’d be a conniption fit about the inclusion of G in FREAKING. Imo, anyone who says this is gonna say FREAKIN’.

Trey 7:09 AM  

According to M-W dictionary if can be either (eye-ther or ee-ther, to go with PECAN)

TonySaratoga 7:22 AM  

Alright I give up. Someone explain “volume measure” = SONE to me...

Hmmmmm 7:28 AM  

What's a torero?

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

These aren't the...ANDROIDS...you're looking for? Doesn't sound quite right...

BarbieBarbie 7:50 AM  

SONE (as in sonic) is a measure of sound volume.

Hungry Mother 7:52 AM  

Volume referred to sound. Super fast for a Saturday for me.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

No link to Life of Brian?

Go Democrats 8:28 AM  

None of these go fast for me because I'm new to puzzling but I really got stuck on baby shower being sonogram. I have to learn to try different pronunciations of the clues.

Glimmerglass 8:29 AM  

ICE DANCing is the only skating event I have the patience to watch. Torvill and Dean were indeed FREAKING AWESOME! Remember the free dance when he was the bull and she was the cape? Other skating events depend too much on landing difficult jumps. NASCAR on ice—we watch to see the wrecks. Great Saturday puzzle, just what a Saturday should be. Good review, @Rex, pleasingly positive.

Sir Hillary 8:30 AM  

This is a DAM fine puzzle. So many places to go...

-- I will now be whistling "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" for the rest of the day.
-- Like others, I loved several of the clues. The ones for DRIES, ESTATETAX, SONOGRAMS, EMS and BILLS (my favorite) are excellent.
-- SONE and LIEF are new to me, so learned something.
-- My sports obsession made Tony ARMAS a gimme, but I'm guessing that's a pretty obscure entry for many people.
-- Briefly messed myself up in the SE by deciding that Mexicali housed the International Peace Garden and that "A rich man is nothing but a poor man with taxEs". Whoops.
-- Speaking of Mexico, when I was a kid my family took a drive every August down to Tijuana, where we spent a day watching the TOREROS ply their trade at The Bullring By The Sea. It was thrilling, sometimes scary and always bloody. I doubt I could stomach it today.
-- @evil doug is spot-on regarding winter sports. ICEDANCERS have never been as good as Torville and Dean -- Google their 1984 gold-medal-winning performance done to "Bolero" if you want to see perfection on ice. Meanwhile, KATARINA Witt was winning gold in the same Olympics (and the next one) which led to, among other things, a hilariously awkward on-camera meeting with Italian skiing star Alberto Tomba, who was basically just a horndog looking to score. Ms. Witt's radar, as well as their complete inability to speak to each other sans translators, shut him down quickly. FREAKINGAWESOME memory.

mmorgan 8:30 AM  

I think I liked the puzzle, but I'm not sure... Because I HATEHATEHATE the new Across Lite iPad app. It was so distracting I could barely focus on the puzzle. Is this really necessary? Can we get the old one back??

I did like "Mother, please..." -- that brought back a flood of memories.

Also stared blankly at PIE DATER for a while.

Have I mentioned that I HATE the new Across Lite iPad app?

Z 8:44 AM  

Just for you, @anon8:11 (and me, of course).

@Dolgo - You got the “Just been there chuckle” from me. Could not figure out how a clue “Tender handle” worked in the AVCX. Did the D’Oh Slap when the light finally went on.

No clue who LORCA is, so my solve was NW then SE then SW to NE before finally seeing AS FIT and FREAKNG to finish.

So........., Anyone actually listen to the lyrics of How Deep Is Your Love and able to explain what’s going on? Sounds to me like “If you really love me you’ll do the triple axel with me.” I can’t believe that line would ever work, right there with “will you be a surrogate for me” in creepiness. I’m open to the notion that there’s a less creepy interpretation, if one exists.

Z 8:47 AM  

@mmorgan - Try PuzzAzz or Crosswords. They have very different interfaces, one. of them is likely to work for you.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

love that the guy who complains about not putting bad stuff in 1-across begins his puzzle with AGT

TonySaratoga 9:05 AM  

Thanks. Had no idea. Thought there was something elaborately clever going on. Turns out I just didn’t know a word!

Teedmn 9:06 AM  

This was FREAKING Amazing, um, I mean AWESOME. Putting in the G of Amazing at 51A made Ed MEESE become Donald ReGan for a TAD. Hey, in my 20s, I was not following politics enough to know any Cabinet members' names to match them with their jobs. Regan was Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and later Chief of Staff. I remember him for the similarity of last names, nothing else. The guy I really remember is James Watt, Sec. of the Interior, the Ghost of Environment Future - shades of Scott Pruitt.

Thanks, @Anonymous 2:47 PM from Thursday's comments for twitting @Evil Doug about KATARINA Witt, making that a gimme!

I put in MATE at 39D and then changed it to dATE, thinking either could be considered a success but if I had noted that "Dating" was in the clue, I might not have had any doubt as to which was correct, sigh.

And poor, mArtyrED Joan of Arc. I could have sworn I had counted the squares and it FIT, sigh #dos.

But this played easier than the normal Saturday by about 5 minutes, so thanks, Stu Ockman, nice job.

kitshef 9:14 AM  

I’m gonna love pretty much any puzzle crossing KATARINA Witt with ICE DANCERS. Quite a lot of names in this one, but here’s the thing: they are all sufficiently famous that even I have heard of them.

Which of course made this one of the easier Saturdays. Only overwrites were FREAKING Amazing and LeiF (if only there was some way to remember IE versus ei -a mnemonic rule of some kind).

'mericans in Paris 9:14 AM  

Mrs. 'mericans and I whizzed through the Sunday puzzle (which we thought just OK), so decided to try the Saturday, which we always find to be more of a challenge. We're glad we did!

We would agree with @Rex: very clean, but not too hard, with some great misdirects for SONOGRAM, TOREROS, OCTANE, EMS, ESTATE TAX (how timely!), DROWNED OUT, DRIES ... Perhaps would not RATE it as FREAKING AWSOME, but pretty close to it.

I think I grew up (in the northeast) saying "PEE CAN", and that when I moved to north Florida they pronounced it "PEH KAHN", but perhaps I have it the wrong way around.

SERF's up! See y'all tomorrow!

Frank Birthdaycake 9:16 AM  

No matter how much I try, it always comes out sounding like PEE-can.

Birchbark 9:20 AM  

Though 1A wasn't a great start per @Rex, I began with 1D BRIGHT SIDE and had the opposite experience -- a fine beginning to the day and nice background music for a cheerful solve. @Sir Hillary, the whistling for me lasted at least through the northwest and into the south, which was the direction of my solve. But it's come back a few times since. Given that the windchill outside is 5 degrees, that's okay.

Wanted old crossword friend NDAK for the Peace Garden, so I'm surprised MANITOBA took so long to figure out.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

@kitshef - there's a pretty dang simple rule:
i-e is "e"
e-i is "i"

*the steins who say steen are just plain wrong, but have every right to say their name any dang way they want...names follow a different logic.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

Extremely enjoyable and over too soon. I was wondering whether it was just fully in my wheelhouse or whether it was as easy as it seemed, and I see that it's SEEN AS easy by the commentariat. Even though I was constantly saying I GOT IT, I was never bored. Both the cluing and the fill were lively and zippy. Love the clues for SONOGRAM; DRIES; BILLS, and the answers ON A PLATE; DROWNED OUT and FREAKING AWESOME.

Somewhere from out of my always hazy memory -- going back to the days that were long before the existence of remote controls and mute buttons -- I remembered, sort of, "Mother, please, I'd rather do it myself!" But exactly who said that, and why? It was driving me crazy. Then, when ANACIN came in, I wondered: How would that have even worked? "Mother, please don't take my ANACIN for me. I'd rather take it myself."? Have any of y'all already explained this ad? Better go back and read you. Wonder if I can find those old commercials online all these years later? Anyway, very entertaining puzzle.

kitshef 9:35 AM  

@chefwen - Pee-KAHN for me.

Bob Mills 9:36 AM  

Easy for a Saturday, even though I'd never heard of Eric Idle. I'd even say it was "freaking" easy, but I never swear.

kitshef 9:42 AM  

@Anon 9:32 protein? weird? seize? caffeine?

mmorowitz 9:54 AM  

Things like "Baby shower" really make me happy. Spent a ton of time trying to think of a small rain.

Thanks for the new puzzle, Rex. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

@Chefwen, Peh-KAHN. But I grew up in PEEcan country and until this puzz, thought that those were the only two ways to pronounce it.

Baby shower did me in but it was a great ah ha after the fact moment. Damn clever.

Gretchen 10:05 AM  

PEE can poTAYto poTAHto

mathgent 10:07 AM  

Nice puzzle, but a little lacking in excitement. Only ten red plusses in the margins, compared to 16.5 on an average Saturday.

I was fascinated by @JOHN X's post (1:47) about Jack Palance mounting his horse in Shane. I went to the internet to see if there was a video of it. I couldn't find one but the story was referenced as an Urban Legend. But one which is true. Palance was a New York guy who had never been on a horse before. He had been on the Briadway stage and was Marlon Brando's understudy in Streetcar.

@LMS (6:27:: I don't time myself solving but that has to do with my personality. A lot of people, including Rex, enjoy doing it. That's fine with me. It does annoy me at times to read Rex talking about his being thirty seconds faster or slower on a given solve. It has to do with some wafer-thin gaps in his impressive database, not the puzzle itself. BTW, I think that one of the most charming things about Rex's essays is when he confesses that he doesn't know something. Sometimes it's something that he should know and he knows that he will get slammed for not knowing it.

ColoradoCog 10:10 AM  

@okanaganer Yup. Hands up for working in tech and hands up for wanting “latency” for “ping resistance”, but saw of course that it wouldn’t fit. OCTANE is pretty good, though.

Not a personal best, but not far from it. Fun puzzle.

SteveCFL 10:11 AM  

Tony Gwynn!

Nancy 10:14 AM  

@JOHN X (1:47 a.m.) -- Your third paragraph may be the most interesting thing I've ever read on this blog! Especially the shot being run backwards revealer. (Although I'm not sure that getting off a horse is all that much easier than getting on). Did you work in the film industry, John? Or do you just read a lot about it? Whichever, don't miss this post, everyone.

I also went to your suggested Tony Curtis YouTube clip. But that I didn't enjoy. It's not just that he takes forever to tell the story or that the punchline didn't strike me as funny once he finally, finally got to it. It's that I've never liked Tony Curtis because I can't stand his harsh, growly voice and Bronx-y or Brooklyn-y or whatever it is accent. I'm a voice person; always have been, always will be. Don't care what he looks like. If he'd ever asked me for a date (yeah, sure, Nancy!), I would have run in the other direction.

Roo Monster 10:17 AM  

Hey All !
Although puz wasn't FRAKINGAWESOME (which is a great entry, btw) it was still a pretty neat themeless. My troubles were in the SW, and the annoying whack-a-vowel in the LORCA/SONE (what in tarnation is SONE?) cross. That SW, ONAPLATE couldn't see for a while, plus having zhivAgo in for the Dr. (thinking how smart I am) and FEind, it took a while to suss all that out. Finally had to hit Check Puz to see my FEind wrongness, changed to FELLA, which let me see KILDARE, then KEPTON, ONAPLATE. But 26D was and still is a WOE. Had to Reveal the Naticky R of ARMAS, cause even with an alphabet run, never would've got it.

Puz does move a notch up with 1D, however. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life if Brian movie. And also a Jabberwocky reference.

Still not sure of the TAOS clue. And LIEF clued strangely also. But, it is Saturday after all.

Thought I GOT IT all, but I was IN DIRE NEED of the Check Puzzle button. :-) We also have an IN, ON, OFF, OUT. Nice.

MEESE = Plural of Moose. TEHEE

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Ping is indeed a common term for pre-ignition in car engines (a bad thing). ...higher octane fuel is the solution.
Rich T

Churlish Nabob 10:20 AM  

For the love of Christ, will someone _please_ show her how to Google?

Stanley Hudson 10:29 AM  

A pleasant puzzle to solve on a chilly Saturday morning (well, chilly for the north Central Valley in California).

Speaking of “Shane,” does anyone else miss the days when smoldering sexual tension, in this case between the Jean Arthur and Alan Ladd characters, went unrequited in films?

David Schinnerer 10:30 AM  

EVERY puzzle this week was easier than normal for the days they were on. I finished a Saturday in 22 minutes. The only reason I am referencing my time is that my Saturdays (and Fridays, for that matter) are usually DNF. So I got through this one without a lot of going back over clues, etc. loved it.

BTW...I finished because I knew all the answers. It seems to be a lot harder when you don’t. :)

David Schinnerer 10:34 AM  

Oh, and “anonymous” said the other day that I am much more interesting when I don’t bash Mike “ad nauseum”. Just wanted to thank anonymous for reading my posts. (Maybe it’s really Mike, come to think of it...)

221b BakerSt 10:40 AM  

I know this was an easy one, but it was FREAKING AWESOME to finish a Saturday with no checking and my self esteem intact! I feel like one of the big kids!!

GILL I. 10:45 AM  

A milestone for me. This was the fastest Saturday puzzle I've done without a Google. My only hangup was with CHER. She's an ALTO?
Oh Lordy those funny ANACIN ads. @Edward B not all of the crabby pants were women. Remember the one where the mommy is fixing dinner with her darling daughter and husband comes home through the kitchen door. She chirps at him to not dawdle because they have to go to a PTA meeting so he yells at her ELLEN, PLEASE, I JUST GOT HOME, DON'T RUSH ME. Then he takes his ANACIN and they all live happily ever after.
The puzzle was nice. Like a nice home cooked meal. Nothing to really remember other than handsome Dr. Kildare. Other than Johnny Mathis, I wanted to marry Richard Chamberlain. Why are all the handsome men I want to marry, gay?
@Z....You don't know LORCA? Sure you do. He's been featured here before. @oldtimer and I had some discussions about him. Maybe you skipped our posts.
Didn't know that there are different ways to pronounce PEE CAHN. Like the cluing for ESTATE TAX. Didn't know that BARTER is a simple king of economy. Agree with @evil about Torvill and Dean being the best ICE DANCERS. So, this pork chop and potatoes meal was just fine.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

@evil doug, you're a fucking idiot.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

@Tony, don't you have access to a fucking dictionary?!

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

In 3 days, Alabama will elect a pedophile to the United States Senate.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

@Hmmmmm, don't you have access to a fucking dictionary?!

Ryan Crinnigan 11:14 AM  

"Ping" makes me think of internet speeds. Never heard of it in terms of combustion.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

@anon 9:32 you're a moron.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@Nancy seems to be whining again. That's all she does.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 11:25 AM  

Six out of 7 posts from Anonymous. Hmmmmm . . .

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

@muse: With a runt-roll to the east, U *can* get FREAKIN ECONES, at least. It's rubber-neckin at stuff like this that eats up soo many precious nanoseconds during M&A's solvequests.

Pretty good and kinda friendly SatPuz. Toughest thing was SONE/LORCA area. With dishonrable mention to ARMAS/PIE DATER RE.
Splatzed in ICESKATERS immediately at 8-D, which lasted all of 6.7 nanoseconds, before M&A read the 'figure skater" clue for 23-A. Eraser dust flew like sawdust at the mill.

Man, nasty SONE & TOREROS clues for already semi-bugger answers. Don't make m&e come down there, @Shortzmeister ...

ESTATETAX clue might be sorta double-edged, considerin the percolatin legislation stuff.

staff weeject pick: EMS. Clue features M&A's fave Shakespearean play, and was only obvious becuz the answer had to be so short and so plural.

Thanx for the extra RPpuz, @RP. Will certainly bring it outta the bullpen.
Thanx for the fun, Mr. Ockman.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


jberg 11:43 AM  

Little flame war just broke out among the anonymice, only one with a cross-reference to who was being attacked. Part of the fun, I guess.

Yeah, I loved this puzzle too. Never saw EMS, but I would have liked it -- and the 'ping' misdirect was brilliants. It didn't all go right in, but I chugged along steadily and enjoyably. Toughest part was to keep Conigliaro from blocking out all the other Tonys. (Oh, and @Nancy, I had the same experience -- remembered the slogan, saw that it had to be ANACIN, but no idea how the ads worked. Thanks to all those who explained!)

@Loren, I was expecting pushback on ING, as well, but hey, it's a crossword.

Here's a little Lorca sampler for those of you who didn't know of him. The poems seem to be read by a robot, unfortunately, but still...

Charles Flaster 11:48 AM  

Used the FART SMELLOW tongue twister in my classes— hilarious.
Learned it from my history teacher in 1958.

Charles Flaster 11:58 AM  

80% easy due to knowing the proper names—KILDARE, KATARINA, ANACIN, BEE GEES.
Southwest was harder but as soon as I changed bonO to ALTO it fell nicely.
However I have issues with ON A PLATE. (Can o’ corn in baseball).
I was caught at homE before I WAS caught IN A LIE.
Loved cluing for DAM and DRIES.
Thanks SO.

old timer 11:58 AM  

Wednesday Easy for me. No lookups. No writeovers, I was delighted to see a SONOGRAM showing me that baby. In my day, SONOGRAMs did not always reveal the baby's sex. Now they do, and my eldest daughter (I could call her ESA) insisted that her Ob-Gyn not reveal the sex of the baby. She and her husband wanted to be surprised. But there really could be no surprise with our last grandchild. Her big brother was sure he was going to have a sister, and that's what he got. (Maybe he even said I GOT IT).

It did help that I remembered Ms. Witt's name is KATARINA.

QuasiMojo 12:02 PM  

PEE-kahn here. I don't remember the Anacin commercial but I just googled it and it made me LOL. Maybe what the lady really needed was a cup of coffee. Anacin has caffeine in it.

No complaint Saturday. Fine puzzle. Re MANSE, some dictionaries do describe it as "A large stately residence". Loved the clue for DRIES. Remembering Ed MEESE was interesting in light of today's scandals. He resigned in 1988.

@Sir Hillary, I remember that WITT-y put-down of Tomba at the Olympics as if it were yesterday.

boomer54 12:06 PM  

WILSON ...the gunslinger in "SHANE " ... was billed as WALTER JACK PALANCE ...

Blog Goliard 12:07 PM  

45 Across is a misnomer, though a common one. ALTO is not a voice type, but a choral part. Unless Cher spends a whole lot more time singing SATB music in choirs than I suspect, it is not at all accurate to clue her as one.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Wow, the fact that you think that Tony Curtis video is in any way funny says a lot about you!

GHarris 12:23 PM  

Got it all done in one sitting in relatively quick time so yeah I guess it was easy for a Saturday. I have just two quibbles; the expression I know is “on a platter “ or even more common “on a silver platter “. Also never heard of lief except as the first name for Erickson.

Tammy Hertz 12:41 PM  

“Taos” was a gimme for me, as I did today’s puzzle at breakfast in the little sunroom of our vacation home there. The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been continuously occupied for over 1000 years. In the early 1900’s artists discovered Taos and it remains a thriving haven for artists and art lovers (and hippies and skiers). The Pueblo is a popular subject for painters.
In northern New Mexico piñon nuts are popular (I had piñon coffee with my puzzle this morning). Some people pronounce it “pin-yon” with a long o, Spanish style, while others Americanize it as “pin-yun”. So I had “piñon” instead of “pecan” for a while...
We have to go to Walgreens to get the Times every morning. Taos, being small and not easy to get to, gets what’s left of the Times from Santa Fe. My heart drops when my husband walks in with no Times (a sadly not infrequent occurrence).
Loved today’s puzzle. Finishing a Saturday puzzle in a half hour is unusual for me.

emily 12:52 PM  

Me, too!

Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

@RP: Cool "Angel…" bonuspuz. M&A saw nothin, that would make him demand a refund. The circles! Surprises the M&A. Admired the 22-D clue, thoroughly. Where's the spoiler kitty blog entries for these puppies, tho … ?!!?

In today's NYTPuz, I forgot to mention the 17-A {Desperate} clue, which was pretty sweet at capturin M&A's mood moment, while in the LORCA/SONE area.


Geoff T 1:11 PM  

OMG I laughed at that Tony Curtis clip. I wasn't expecting that!

jb129 1:12 PM  

Loved it! After an unsatisfying puzzle week, this was so welcome & so easy! Thank you Stu!

Anoa Bob 1:46 PM  

I'm always on the ALERT for misdirection when I see "shower", "flower" or "tower" in a clue.

"Ping resistance" was a head-scratcher for this former sonar tech. We were called ping jockeys, ping being the word for the underwater sound that was transmitted, so I was thinking something along the lines of "water turbulence" or "kelp bed" or some such. Ah, ping as in pre-ignition, aka engine knock.

Never saw the Anacin ads, and I'm plenty old enough, but it sounds like they were pushing it as a tranquilizer. I guess that was pre-Valium days. How much better the world would be today if instead people who were uptight and stressed were urged to sit back with friends and smoke a bowl. I think FREAKING AWESOME was first coined to describe some primo Acapulco Gold. Or was it Panama Red?

Ed "I remain unindicted" MEESE in the grid harkens back to the days when politics was the noble pursuit of honorable people with the noblest intentions, right?

Joe Dipinto 1:54 PM  

Random observations: ANDROIDS did not need to be clued in terms of...you know. I remember the "Mother, please..." commercials but didn't immediately remember the product they pitched. Isn't it usual to add with "the" to a clue like the one for BEE GEES? And, rather than DROWN ED OUT, I will say a prayer to SAINT ED: "Muchas gracias, San Eduardo, PARA ESAS ARMAS."

nate shafroth 3:29 PM  

“Android” refers to robots/IA with a human appearance — like the Terminator. You know, with skin and hair. Not shiny metal robots. Bad clue. That. W corner was what really slowed me down, between that, a TV clue from well before I was born, the poorly clued “EMS” (Nobody refers to me as an EN), and RONA (a reference I still don’t get. It came together eventually, but wasn’t too enjoyable (SONOGRAM was the exception), and there were some other parts of the grid that I liked, but overall liked it a lot less than Rex. Too old-timey.

nate shafroth 3:30 PM  

^ AI

Mohair Sam 3:46 PM  

Wow, way too easy for a Saturday. Clean puzzle for sure - thought maybe it just hit my wheelhouse, but I see everybody had a cakewalk today.

Any smart constructor knows that the secret to a good Rex review is sneaking in a reference to a Jean Arthur movie, puts him a good mood - and why not? "Shane" a favorite in this house - love the scene when gunfighter Palance enters the Saloon and the dog in the corner slinks warily across the floor.

@Loren - I'm with you. If folks want to speed solve why the hell does it bother anyone else? I can see where it's another type of fun - the puzzle as a daily speed challenge as opposed to pure relaxation and escape. Whatever floats your boat.

@Sir Hillary - Hoping you were spared seeing the miserable own goal today.

Joe Dipinto 3:51 PM  

@Nate Shafroth - Rona Barrett was a gossip columnist/personality back in the 70's/maybe 80's. If you weren't around then you wouldn't know her (I was, and still had forgotten about her.) There must be another crossword-worthy Rona out there. Did anyone call Ron Artest "Ron A" back in the day?

JC66 4:34 PM  

@Joe D

Dyslexic side dish: Rice-I-Rona

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

What does a bolster have to do with a fella?

Tita A 7:03 PM  

Easy! I need easy these days.

Ready to ship - I spent an entire day readying a 3-piece windshield from a 1960 MGA to ship to Australia.
Had to buy a BOX. And peanuts. And cajole the guy at the USPS store to pack it.
Turns out this guy was in fact FREAKINGAWESOME. And the windshield arrived intact within 6 days!

So 35D was a great big gimme.

And surely I've told you about the oddball movies my parents would make to send back to the Old Country.
Not satisfied with us simply waving at the camera, my dad created elaborate productions to show the family back home how we were growing.

Our favorite was "The Medic", which we promptly dubbed "DRKILDARE".
They were decidedly twisted. But wildly entertaining!
One scene that required my 10 year-old brother (the doctor) to kiss (on the cheek) the nurse (4 year-old me), it took several takes, and he still refused to do it.

I would describe more of the plot here, but out of context, you might all immediately report my parents to the authorities.

Fun puzzle. Thanks Mr. Ockman.

Nancy 7:08 PM  

@Tita -- You are too funny!

Joe Dipinto 8:12 PM  

@Anon 5:50 -- it's "Buster" (assuming an autocorrect mishap there). John Wayne voice: "Hey, buster, wanna take it outside?" = "Hey, fella, wanna take it outside?"

Old-timey, but you get it.

Joe Bleaux 8:30 PM  

Having breezed past a certain age a few years back, I too chuckled over "Mother, pleeeez ... " but couldn't remember the product!

Joy2u 10:04 PM  

@Tammy Hertz - as soon as I saw the clue I knew it had to be Taos. This is me waving 'hello' from down the road in Abq.
((HELLO)) . .

Go Democrats 10:39 PM  

There's so much pretension in the above response that I can't even

Vanesa Rose 4:30 AM  

Did you manage to solve it?

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:39 AM  

I am pretty tardy to this party, but I believe this was the best puzzle in a mostly very unpleasant week.

Fill: I hate 3-letter glues, but 4+ letter glues don't bother me as much. So yeah, maybe ESAS on top of RONA, RBIS, TAOS, TWAS, TEHEE was not ideal for a Saturday, but this was a wide open grid and surprisingly it didn't have any obscure words (except for LIEF, I guess) 20/25 <>

Theme/long answers: I usually don't count 9-letter words as long answers but I have to mention that CORNBREAD and PINECONES were adorable, perfect for the holiday season. FREAKINGAWESOME is pleasantly surprising to see in a puzzle. Overall, a better than decent selection (except for DROWNEDOUT) 19/25

Clues:"Nut whose name has multiple pronunciations," "Catch phrase?", "Spends time on-line?", "A rich man is nothing but a poor man with ___", "Baby shower" (this one took me a while, very sneaky)... Sparkles all around. My problem was with the clues for TOREROS and ANACIN, those didn't really help with the answers but this had a great balance of trivia and puns. 21/25

Pleasurability: Great. A Saturday that is not super easy, but fun enough that keeps you interested in it. (I finished the puzzle on Sunday technically so maybe that helped with my mood, I don't know I might be biased there). MEESE/MANSE could have been avoided, NE corner could have used some makeup but a very nice job overall. 20/25

GRADE: A-, 4/5 stars.

A Certain Blog Fan 2:14 PM  

CORNBREAD is not a side for Southern BBQ. I'm a Southern BBQ eater, and one eats BBQ with Texas toast (aka, aptly enough, barbecue bread) or "white bread" (preferably Colonial brand), but not cornbread. The clue would have been more accurate as "Side for collard greens."

Marlon 7:17 AM  

really nice posting

Jim Finder 6:24 PM  

@anon 7:30am. That’s why I dropped in here. “Androids” is wrong. The DROIDS in Star Wars are an entirely different animal from “androids” like Data or Bishop. Lucas messed it up for the rest of us.

rondo 11:27 AM  

Thank you to ERICIDLE, yeah baby KATARINA Witt, Messrs. ADENAUER and MEESE and LADD and ARMAS, the BEEGEES, and Dr. KILDARE for making this puz a walk in the park. I knew you all. With that much help it's hard to go wrong. BADA bing.

I really don't know what more to say. After all those folks showed up it was a matter of fill, fill, fill, until IGOTIT.

thefogman 12:01 PM  

DAM you Stu Ockman!

I almost had this one in the bag. But I went for Dir instead of DAM. I can't say the cluing for 46D is fair. Channel changer? I know it speaks to a waterway but that's quite a stretch in my opinion. That coupled with my very limited knowledge of baseball and former attorney generals killed it for me.

I found this one to be medium-challenging. Lots of outside the box stuff. In spite of the DNF, I'd say it was pretty, pretty, pretty good.

spacecraft 12:24 PM  

I didn't think it was so DAM easy. First of all I hate it when they pull stunts like EMS. Letters as words are bad enough; we don't need WORDS as LETTERS!

Usually I can get a toehold and the grid spreads out from there; this time there were several scattered gimmes--and for a while none of them led anywhere. I was just starting to think we might be dealing with a rebus somewhere when I saw something in--of all places--the NW. I don't even remember what, now, but after that things did start to fill in. Tough, though: I'd never clue KEPTOFF as "Avoided," and ONAPLATE?? I get it, I guess, like "served up," but...no, not this answer--or this puzzle. And I agree: MANSE is VERY rarely used outside of the preacher's house. MANor, I can live with. Not MANSE.

I did finish, but RATE it medium-challenging. A fine, open-grid effort overall, with DOD KATARINA headlining, but that stinker EMS, and that total WOE LORCA, cut down on the enjoyment. Par.

paradox 12:31 PM  

puzzle sucked

Burma Shave 1:20 PM  


To PAYEXTRA wasn't SEENAS funny


rainforest 2:46 PM  

One of the better Saturdays I've done, and I GOT IT. I'd rate it "medium", although a few areas were somewhat challenging while others were dead easy. Proud to say I got LORCA off the "L" due to one of his plays I saw which caused me to look him up.

One write-over, KATeRINA (how dare I?), whom I recall for that Tomba incident. Priceless. Of course I recall her for her beautiful...skating, too.

Some FREAKING AWESOME clues in here, and of course I appreciated the mention of MANITOBA and the reference to our $1 coins.

@Lady Di - Oui, je suis Canadien, mais je parle Francais seulement un peu.

Diana, LIW 5:38 PM  

@Rainy - After 5 years of studying French, moi aussi.

BZ BZ - more later.

Lady Di

Debs 2:08 AM  

Sticks for the poor, carrots for the rich! I liked the preposition cluster in the SE: UP, OUT, UBER "talked over," PARA "around." The ESTATE TAX is hardly a "concern" for anyone but those safely ensconced within the top 1%.There's a multi-million-dollar exemption—recently increased by the lickspittle Republicans. A reward to the scions of wealth for winning the "birth lottery."

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