Meringue-based dessert name for ballerina / SAT 12-23-17 / Bygone can opener / Drug sought by Roy Cohn in Angels in America / Discuss thickness with doctor

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Constructor: Matthew Sewell

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PAVLOVA (13D: Meringue-based dessert named for a ballerina) —
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.[1] It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream. The name is pronounced /pævˈlvə/, or like the name of the dancer, which was /ˈpɑːvləvə/. // The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years. In 2008, Helen Leach published The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand's Culinary History, in which she argued that the earliest known recipe was published in New Zealand. Later research by Andrew Wood and Annabelle Utrecht suggested the dessert originated in the United States and was based on an earlier German dish. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both Australia and New Zealand, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time and popularly eaten during that period including at Christmas time, however it is also eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another one that hangs together fine but is not terribly exciting. This one has some very weak joints and (despite CHANCE THE RAPPER), an oldish frame of reference. Not "oldish" in the sense of "appealing to older solvers" (although that may be true, who know), but "oldish" in the sense of "omg I haven't seen SATRAP(S) or MRE(S) in a puzzle in ages." Basically, the puzzle is totally OK with fill that was mostly totally OK 20 years ago, but now shouts "don't use me!" I have no idea how someone can look at DAR alongside AINU and think "... it's fine. It's fine. My beautiful baby corner is fine." One or the other of those somewhere in the grid (preferably a grid that didn't have much *other* short garbage in it) is fine. But DAR / AINU as a team!? And the only thing they're holding up is ... TENANTS and ON TRUST and (zzz) STUDIO EXECUTIVE. No. Try again. But parts of this grid were delightful. I especially liked the sly wink at Tom Selleck. I'm talking of course about the crossing of SEXIEST MAN ALIVE and MUSTACHE WAX. Those answers form a giant "T" (for Tom!) at the dead center of the grid. What, you thought that was coincidence? Look, you can clue TOM as Tom Riddle all you want, puzzle (24A); I know who you're pining for...

My four trips to New Zealand finally pay off today with PAVLOVA, which I got instantly. PAVLOVA is like a national dish. Practically a requirement of residency. You know they give you a lei when you get off the plane in Hawaii? Well they shove PAVLOVA down your gullet when you deplane in Auckland. It's fun! I was less lucky with the Eric Carmen portion of the grid. That's a pretty smart (and tough) clue on SIMILES (56A: "She's Like the Wind" and others). I had the SI- and wrote in SINGLES (which is accurate enough). I enjoyed the trick more than I might have because I was able to figure it out without.a total solving breakdown. Also escaped SEETHE-for-SEE RED (27D: Come to a boil) and PULL TAB-for-RING TAB (1A: Bygone can opener) without much trouble.

"I HEAR IT" is ridiculous (2D: "Shh, something's coming!"). There's nothing "Shh" about "I HEAR IT". There's nothing "something's coming!" about "I HEAR IT". And there's nothing stand-alone-worthy about "I HEAR IT". Three strikes. Out.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Smitty 6:27 AM  

No shout out to "discuss sickness with a doctor"? That made me lol.

puzzlehoarder 6:55 AM  

Another embarrassing error on an easy puzzle. I couldn't remember who Roy Cohn was or the nature of "Angels in America"and wound up with AET at 19A. NOXEEMA was another case of it looks wrong but it sounds right. The X and the Z sounds blend into one.

Even though this was my only true mistake it wasn't my only stupid moment. I didn't understand the 29D clue until I read the @smitty comment. Just like when I saw AZT in the xwordinfo solution it really was as if scales fell from my eyes. I was reading "Discus thickness..." like it was an anatomical description but at the same time reading it just as the word discuss. Weird.

I stayed up late wrapping presents then solved. Bad idea.

Z 7:23 AM  

SEXIEST MAN ALIVE above AZT is some interesting political commentary. This is as mannish as puzzles come. We get the women of SPELMAN, otherwise this is an estrogen free puzzle. Hell, we even get Giuliani and Fiorello walking down the aisle to the ALTAR (maybe that will finally end Rudy’s serial monogamy) and celebrating with PAVLOVA cake.

Nice enough puzzle, even if it does ignore a huge portion of the NYTX solving audience.

BarbieBarbie 7:32 AM  

@Smitty, I liked the LISP clue too.
SIMMER before SEETHE before finally SEERED. Liked NOXZEMA and learned the Baltimore part here. GEST is new to me.
I agree about IHEARIT. That’s more of a response to “sshhh, something’s coming” than it is a paraphrase. Edit fail.

After SEXIESTMANALIVE I was very confident of ITALIANSTALLION, though wondering about the constructor’s vision a bit. So, that messed up Virginia for awhile. But I got over it. Sorry, Sly.

On balance easy/medium.

I’ve been saving my big puzzle insert for the Christmas holiday and it’s almost here! The downside is that I may have to share...

Glimmerglass 7:34 AM  

DAR is a good example of today’s puzzle. Most of the week, it would be clued “Patriotic org.” I didn’t remember the Spanish verb, but I did remember that Spanish infinitives end in R, which gave me IN TRUST, which gave me ACCOUNT, etc., etc. I,never heard of the meringue, but enough crosses eventually gave me a famous ballerina. The NE and SW were both hard for me — the puzzle, “medium” overall. I did not find the puzzle dull or dated. If one is as experienced as @Rex, I guess almost every puzzle looks dated. For me, this was a mix of old friends and stuff I never heard of.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 7:39 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Predictably no complaint that the longest answer in the puzzle is a proper noun the vast majority of solvers would never of heard of. If only it was best new country artist would we then witness the predictable rex tantrum ripping the clue

Anonypuss 7:53 AM  

@Z, thanks for reminding us that despite all the joy in the world, one can always find something to complain about.

@Fountains, your current pseudonym doesn't fool me; I recognize your razor-sharp wit.

Applause to the constructor to today's puzzle. Played easy despite making lots of mistakes in my first attempts to fill...

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

It should be "discuss thickneth with a doctor".

Andrea Avery 8:22 AM  

I was so irked by the clue for SIMILES. With the use of title case, the clue appears to be referencing the song. When one uses a simile in writing, one doesn’t use title capitalization. Capping in clues is part of the clue—so I was misdirected by the caps here. Grrr.

Old Lady 8:33 AM  

Easy for this plaster, although CHANCETHERAPPER went in fairly quickly. A rapper whose name I can actually remember. As to the SEXIESTMANALIVE, People Magazine really got it totally wrong with Blake Shelton. Connery, and Craig are competitors still, but the honor should have gone to Idris Elba. Maybe next year.

QuasiMojo 8:35 AM  

I never got the notion of "Sexiest Man Alive." As opposed to the one who is DEAD? Weird. I never found Tom Selleck very attractive either unless you are looking for a throw rug on a cold evening.

Great write-up Rex! I gorged on Pavlovas a lot this summer. I agree about the OLD feeling here today. First of all jokes about people with LISPs (especially next to SALIVA) is out nowadays. I seem to recall you WAXing UNecstatic about it a while back. Same with NATIVE re Everest. That seems a bit old-fashioned if not downright Western-biased to me (and I am very unPC.) And ASIATIC is one of those terms one doesn't see much these days. Although I do recommend the once-lauded novel THE ASIATICS by Frederick Prokosch. And while I love the AINU, I was surprised to see it clued as Japanese native. I am not sure they would identify themselves as Japanese, as they were oppressed by them. And then there's HANG TEN, which reminded me of Bruce Brown, of "Endless Summer" fame, who recently died. And finally gotta love RING TAB. I remember when they were first introduced. You see them now and then in old 60s movies or TV shows and commercials. Just like UFOs and NOXZEMA.

kitshef 8:35 AM  

Ah, RST, our old friend. Were you worth it? You and your pals MRES and ESS and RTS and AZT and RXS and AAS?

Surprisingly for me the answer was yes. The marquee longs are super, and the corners stacked with the top and bottom longs were darn good.

So, thoroughly enjoyable, though could have been a mite tougher for a Saturday.

BUTTERNUTs are another of the trees which have pretty much disappeared around here thanks to introduced insects or diseases, along with chestnuts, hemlocks, ashes, and to a lesser extent dogwoods. Surprisingly, elms are doing OK.

Exubesq 8:42 AM  

My first answer for 45 a was definitely not family friendly

Teedmn 8:42 AM  

Far too easy for a Saturday - a mere 14:33 and I was done. Now all I have to look forward to today is making hashed Brussels sprouts to take to my in-law's Christmas. Woo-hoo!

I never thought a RAPPER's name would help correct an entry but I started out with @Rex's SEEthe and was able to change it when the RAPPER appeared. Shaking my head - will the world end in ice or fire? (Ice, if our expected Christmas temps of below zero are anything to go by).

My only other write-over was ASIAnIC before ASIATIC. Seems like if oceanic is correct, why not ASIAnIC. But TOM was obviously the answer to the Riddle questions so...

Thanks, Matthew, for the Saturday themeless, but maybe a bit more challenge next time?

Two Ponies 9:07 AM  

I found some good entertainment this morning.

I was expecting a marmoset to eat fruit or insects but tree sap? Cool animal trivia always catches my eye.

Ex-lover. Yes, I had to break up with Tom Selleck because he wouldn't stop with the Magnum jokes in the bedroom. "Yes Tom, it's big. It's a Magnum. I get it."

Blew out my flip-flop
Stepped on a pop top.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Easy, easy. Mid-7s; came within 10 seconds of my all-time Saturday best. LESS THAN HALF my average time.

Only hold-ups were pullTAB for RINGTAB, and era for ALL.

Charles Flaster 9:12 AM  

Enjoyed this especially that after my first attempt I had about 5% completed.
On second try , early this morning, I breezed through. Guess I was too tired last night.
For me to identify CHANCE THE RAPPER is a world wide phenomenon!
Liked cluing for ALTAR.

DrBB 9:15 AM  

Another vote for LISP--thought that was one of the wittier clues of the year.

17:45 solve for me, about average for a Saturday. I had a number of "Ok, it's probably..." guesses that would have cut that by a few minutes if I'd gone ahead and entered 'em (HANG TEN, ASIATIC) but that's the way the game's played.

SE was the worst--not in terms of difficulty but in terms of annoying. I'm supposed to know the abbr. for the sp. for "give"? I mean, ok, Daughters of the American Revolution is pretty tired, but when the heck does this kind of clue pass muster? Show me where that's in common usage anywhere. There's no "Aha!" when you get it from the crosses, just "Meh." And I don't come to a Saturday puzzle looking for "Meh." And maybe I'm being obtuse, but ACCOUNT for "import" seems really oblique. An ACCOUNT (in the sense of narrative) can have an import (implication, point), but it can't be its import. I must be missing the import of this one.

Pete 9:24 AM  

@Z - You really can't accuse Giuliani of being a serial monogamist when his most famous act was announcing his divorce from his existing wife to marry his mistress on public television without having first told his existing wife. At least not accurately.

I'm not pointing this out to castigate you, I just feel that this facts needs to be pointed out to the universe as often as possible.

Mohair Sam 9:35 AM  

Fun write-up Rex, and I totally agree - and had the same fun you did with the puzzle. That PAVLOVA sounds interesting, gotta try it.

@Z - "As mannish as puzzles come" What? PAVLOVA was a chick, approximately half of all ITALIAN AMERICANs, EXLOVERs, ASIATICs, AINUs, and people at the ALTAR are female. Half the TUDOR monarchs were ladies (don't get me going about that blasted Elizabeth I). It's "She's Like the Wind", not "He's". You had the feminine suffix ESS, and EVES with no ADAMS. Only the distaff side uses NOXCEMA and eats that damned BUTTERNUT ice cream. Only females give a damn about SEXIESTMANALIVE. THOREAU wrote like a woman, you had a women's college knowing full well men's colleges are against the law, and my sister had a MUSTACHE (you got a problem with that?). This thing was so estrogen laced I'm filing a formal complaint.

The war on men continues. There's just so much hidden political crap in these puzzles - one only has to look.

JHC 9:38 AM  

If He had led us out of Egypt, and not given us crossword puzzles... DAR / AINU!

Birchbark 9:44 AM  

@DrBB -- "ACCOUNT" in the not-oft-used sense of importance, viz "a gentleman of some account in scholarly circles."

BUTTERNUT bark is not smooth. But its TREESAP can be boiled down into syrup.

SATRAPS = "Inverted Spartas?" Also learned that NOXZEMA has a Z in it, which is where I finished.

puzzlehoarder 9:45 AM  

For whatever reason my earlier comment didn't make it on. I was up late wrapping presents last night then I solved. This was a bad idea as I wound up with a dnf on an otherwise very easy puzzle. I couldn't remember who Roy Cohn was and "Angels in America" wasn't ringing any bells either. I put AET in at 19A thinking I was looking for some made up drug like TEK. As soon as I saw AZT in the xwordinfo solution I remembered how famous that acronym is and the nature of the movie.

While I got LISP I was clueless as to the point of the word "thickness". Until I read the @Smitty comment I didn't get the joke at all. Solving the rest of the puzzle was like falling off a log.

John Child 9:52 AM  

LOL @Mohair. And “throw rug” from @quasi slew me.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

Thought for the Day: He who uses MUSTACHE WAX will never be THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE.

I loved THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE -- both the answer and how it was clued. Sean Connery. Drool.

Much of the cluing in this was wonderful: EX-LOVER (38D); SIMILES (56A); UFO (49A). Did think that I HEAR IT (2D) was awful, though.

I have always loved THOREAU and I love the quote (15A). Where are you, Hank, honey, now that the country is so in need of your wisdom?

Two hiccups. SEEthe before SEE RED (27D). And priNCE THE RAPPER before CHANCE THE RAPPER (34A), straightened out by HANG TEN (35D). I sort of thought that PRINCE was too famous to need any word or phrase attached to his name. But then I've never heard of CHANCE.

I found this entire puzzle lively and enjoyable. Probably easier than most Saturdays, but it made me think enough to keep me happy.

Sir Hillary 9:59 AM  


@JHC — I was coming here to do exactly that, but you were too quick. Well done.

@Anon 8:05 points out the risk of cutesy clues. If you’re going to try and be clever, do it properly. The 29D clue is a total fail.

mathgent 10:10 AM  

Enough crunch for me, but below average in sparkle.

Too much clumsy cluing: 41A, 57A, 34D, 26D, 28D. Actually, I think that 26D is incorrect. SINCE for "To this day."

Rex says that PAVLOVAs are popular in New Zealand. Do we have them here in the USA?

Yesterday's WSJ had a great theme.

I'm afraid that puzzles like today's have become the new norm.

SouthsideJohnny 10:15 AM  

I actually made some progress on a Saturday. Most of my stumbles were on the esoterica that has already been discussed. Quesrton: shouldn't there be an abbreviation in the clue for 32 Down ?

Numinous 10:16 AM  

“Now is the winter of our discontent,
made glorious summer by this son of York.”
Is there a pun in there? Boy, I was thinking way later than Richard III at first. As it happens, according to the genealogy my mother made for me, I have some Plantagenet blood as I’m sure many of y’all with Anglo-Saxon ancestors do. (Speaking of classical education, as I did yesterday, for her research, my mother wound up reading Latin and Middle French, which, like English, had no spelling rules four or five hundred years ago. The University of California, Berkeley, has an amazing library and, as a former employee, my mother had total access to it. The Latin wasn’t spelt all that well in some of that material either.)

I had to look up CHANCE THE RAPPER. The last time I paid attention to the Grammys was back in the sixties when The Rolling Stones performed on the show. It seems impossible not to have heard of any rappers in this era but Eminem was too short to fit. With that to help, I was able to GALLIVANT around this puzzle in way under par and in less time than Friday’s. It’s a nuisance to solve randomly in the iPad ap. Sometimes I wish I had a printer so I could solve on paper.

AINU came easily enough to me as the dog I drove to Orlando to pick up for my stepdaughter is a shiba-inu, another native of the islands of Japan. Probably an earlier native than the AINU. We had to keep Sushi for nine years until stepdaughter had a place to keep her and we probably will again when she moves to Pennsylvania. Speaking of which, I prefer solving and even writing with pennsyls. Short of a fountain pen with a really good, smooth nib, I like the drag of the “lead”.

Most of the gluey bits didn’t bother me at all except for DAR. Thanks to multi lingual notices on modern packaging, I can read some Spanish. DAR, however, I’ve never encountered. SEXIEST MAN ALIVE? Why do I feel skipped over? Maybe it’s because I’m not ITALIAN AMERICAN. Oh, wait, neither are Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan. So, this puzzle had some amusing moment and made for an entertaining Saturday morning.

I want to thank everyone who welcomed me back yesterday. I’ve missed y’all and really appreciate being remembered. Thank you.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

Yeth, Thmitty (6:27), LISP was wonderfully clued. I forgot to include it in my comment.

@Mohair (9:35)-- Funny, whimsical, delightful rejoinder to @Z. Very accurate, too. But really, Z! Don't you think it's hard enough to construct a puzzle without having to worry about the male/female ratio, of all crazy things? Who thinks this way? Give us equal pay, don't talk over us, do the laundry once a week, try not to ram your tongues down our throats at a business meeting, and permit men to appear in crossword puzzles till the cows come home. This really is the sort of manufactured complaint that gives political correctness a bad name.

Numinous 10:21 AM  

Oh, yeah, I’m told that the British use MUSTACHE WAX so they can keep a “stiff upper lip.”

Stanley Hudson 10:23 AM  

@Mohair, well done. And I happen to be pretty damned PC.

Time to get ready for tomorrow’s julebukking.

Marcie Watts 10:27 AM  

You said it perfectly!

RickA 10:38 AM  

Matthew Sewell has the Saturday Stumper today as well...

mac 10:41 AM  

Very nice Saturday puzzle, easier to get into than yesterday's.
I've read the comments, but I must have missed the explanation for 45A , colt. ?
If I don't get back here in time, Merry Christmas and fun this long, long weekend. Glad to read
your names when I stop by.

JC66 10:44 AM  


LOL! Great post!

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

@Z: Title IX for crossword puzzles ? Are you just looking for something to complain about ? Get a life, or better yet, construct your own puzzles.That way you can put in any clues/answers you want. Someone recently pointed out that Michael Sharp’s first NYtimes puzzle had a dozen or so clues/answers referencing people-all men. This puzzle pales in comparison. I liked this one. Pretty easy Saturday even learned a new word-satrap, which was easily gettable from the crosses. Thanks Mr Sewell.

GILL I. 10:53 AM  

@Mohar....Belly laugh! And thanks for letting me know that your sister has a MUSTACHE.
Remember when Nick Nolte was named SEXIEST MAN ALIVE? Has anybody seen him around lately? George Clooney is my go to man.
Great and fun cluing today. The LISP one was thimply thopper.
I learned that that unctuous NOXZEMA was called the miracle cream of Baltimore. My mom would slather it all over me when I'd get a bad sunburn.
I didn't know BUTTER NUT had gray in it. I was thinking more in terms of yellowish baby caca color but I believe here it refers to the TREE where marmoset's get their SAP.
I like seeing CRIES TO crossing STUDIO EXECUTIVE. Wasn't Harvey Weinstein one of those?
Was thrilled that I knew CHANCE THE RAPPER. I'm in the only knowing Eminem category. I hardly ever watch the Grammy's but I did the night he was nominated. He's cute!
Must go make fudge for the kids.
Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate. See you after everyone's gone home...or maybe sooner!

evil doug 10:53 AM  

Mohair: In the running for Best Post Ever.

evil doug 10:57 AM  

Mohair: In the running for Best Post Ever...

QuasiMojo 10:59 AM  

@Mohair, good one but you left out “racked.” :) and thx @john Child.

Masked and Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Kinda easy for a SatPuz solvequest. But … ok. Sorta busy around these parts, anyhoo.

Some tastyer desperation afoot, in the SE corner. [yo, @AINU!] Otherwise, verrry smoooth.
Staff weeject pick: REL. Honrable mention to DAR. And RTS. And oh yeah of course UMS.
fave fillins: SALIVA. EXLOVER [wanted EXWIVES, at first]. PROFILE [wanted PREVIEW at first]. MUSTACHEWAX. NOXZEMA.

Funky COLT clue, with a dot in front of the .45-Across clue number. har. Stick with it, Shortzmeister … U'll be a runtpuz constructioneer, someday. LISP clue was … noteworthy, some how.

On the 11th Day of Christmas, my true luv gave to m&e…

Eleven SATRAPS RAPP-ing.

Seven LOREes LAI-ing,
Five. Gold. U's.*
Two Tiny Feys,
And a SIRENE in a FERRITE tree.

* or more.

Thanx, Mr. Sewell. Happy Christmas eve eve. [sorta = EVES.]

Masked & Anonym007Us


Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

@ mac, Welcome back to you as well. Good to see/hear you.
The colt in the puzzle is either the pistol or the beverage.
It's also the name and caliber of my two ponies.

QuasiMojo 11:07 AM  

@masked, my fave one so far. Keep em coming!

Frank Birthdaycake 11:07 AM  

That was hilarious! I LOL too. It helped take the edge off the Roy Cohn reference.

Unknown 11:09 AM  

Don’t get 45A “colt” either. Help?

JC66 11:14 AM  

@Nancy 10:17

Well said.

Joseph Michael 11:22 AM  

Fun puzzle with a good sense of humor.

CHANCE THE RAPPER has been in the news LOTS lately for charitable work in Chicago as well as rapping and Grammy winning, so that was a gimme.

Also liked SEXIEST MAN ALIVE as if it could all clearly come down to one person who is sexier than every other male on the planet. Must be an awful burden, eh, Blake?

Had "pull tab" before RING TAB, "tree nut" before TREE SAP, and "carps to" before CRIES TO. Loved the misdirection in the clues for LISP, SIMILES, and EX-LOVER.

Would Rex find any puzzle "exciting"? I think it's the curse of the speed solver who is too worried about the clock to relish in the wit of a puzzle. And this puzzle had a lot if it.

Mr. Cheese 11:24 AM  

Here’s another vote for the 29D clue being on of the best of the year... despite the incompleteneth pointed out by Anonymous at 8:05

Bob Mills 11:42 AM  

Once I got rid of SEETHE and used SEERED, I was home. I got LISP without understanding the clue at first. I'd call it the most devilish clue ever in a crossword puzzle. Really nath-ty,

retired guy 11:43 AM  

26D: to this day = since???

pabloinnh 11:45 AM  

Noxzema is not just for the distaff side (looking at you @Z). I have been working on a can of Noxzema shaving cream for a very, very long time now, think it was given to me. It's not a great product, and I wish it would die. It will not. Would be great for all you halloweeneers out there who do that sort of thing.

Chance the Rapper is just the latest in a long line of entertainers including Fred the Dancer and Bing the Singer.

Masked and Anonymous 11:47 AM  

@retired guy:
As in: "I never worked another runt puzzle, SINCE" = "I never worked another runt puzzle, TO THIS DAY".

[We get both of those, a lot.]

M&A Help Desk

Malsdemare 11:49 AM  

Oh dear lord, I've been stewing ever since SEERED had to replace SEEthe over how in the world SEERED, a word I associate with saute, could be clued that way. Thanks, @Nancy. Of course the cooking thing is SEaRED and the answer was SEE RED. Talk about THICK.

I had a ton of write-overs; misspelled TUDeR, hadn't a clue how to spell NOXZEMA, and I made a mess of the SW by putting in PROESTS and failing to notice the missing T forever. Once I fixed that, I got CRIESTO, and that helped me see ONTRUST (which I think is darn awkward) and then HANGTEN and the rest fell. I've never heard of CHANCE and yes, DAR and AINU were dreadful. I did expect Rex to protest the "thickness" clue; Is it my imagination or does Don Jr. have a slight LISP? I had Bush before COLT; I can't seem to keep the presidential numbers clear. Ah, yes, it's the current White House resident who's 45. Whatevs.

I'm not sure if googling to spell NOXZEMA makes this a dnf. Probably. Sad! But fun puzzle. Yes, Sean Connery, drool.

Waiting for the delivery of one more present, and hope is fading. I realized last night that I don't have a stocking stuffer for my spouse. Not sure how I did that. I refuse to go out today. 12 dinner guests tonight; I've got things to do and shopping isn't one of them.

Masked and Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Seed entry? … Sewell? … Sewell? ...


M&A Seed & Feed Desk

old timer 11:59 AM  

Thanks for the COLT explanation. I had COLT but did not know what it meant. I had SEERED too but did not figure out why it was there.

I know Spanish but it took a while to get DAR. Doy das da damos damais dan.

Matthew G. 12:02 PM  

I had PAVLOVA for the first time literally ten days ago. Strange coincidence. It’s like smashing open an egg and finding dessert inside. Highly recommended.

BarbieBarbie 12:07 PM  

@retired, I agree. “Ever since” is more correct.
@JHC 9:38, har! Now I have that darn sing in my head (best YouTube clip ever) and I don’t know the right words so I’m stuck with yours. Curses!

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

I used to date a guy that looked exactly like Tom Selleck. Sigh.

Anoa Bob 12:23 PM  

Never thought of it before but today saw that Emerson & THOREAU both have the same number of letters. Love THOREAU, even though I'm not 100% sure how to pronounce his name. (Does it rhyme with "tha ROW" or with "thorough"?) Emerson is no slouch either. Favorite quote: "First, be a good animal." Or maybe "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind."

Scientists who study such things tell us that homo sapiens originated in Africa, probably in what today is southern Ethiopia. So I always give the side eye to people being called "native" or "indigenous to" any other place. On the rest of the planet, are we not, AINU included, immigrants, differing only in terms of when and under what circumstances we arrived?

Trombone Tom 12:24 PM  

Got sidetracked on remS before EVES. Thought the 29D LISP clue was clever, but predicted some backlash from the sensitive contingent. And @mohair's response on the sexism issue still has me chortling.

Theymour from Thithero 12:25 PM  

29D ith very offenthive to mythelf and otherth in a thimilar thituation. Thame on you!

I also th-th-th-thtutter.

apuzzler 12:30 PM  

Even though Mohair is funny,
there are eleven clues/answers that reference males specifically,
three of which are the long acrosses,
but there are five which reference females specifically,
if you include eves, six if you count "ess".

Wm. C. 12:36 PM  

For those who still do not get it, there is a dot in front of clue .45 Across, so it's a 45-caliber pistol, a "Colt 45." I didn't notice the dot until I came here. Clever clue.

I too got "LISP" on the crosses, bur didn't get the joke "Discussed Sickness with a Doctor" until I came here. @Anon8:05: You're right, it should be "Discussed ThickneTH with a Doctor, good catch.

Never heard of SEERED or GEST or AINU or DAR, so he SW was tough even though I had several of the other fill.

gharris 12:36 PM  

Ah, a Colt .45 caliber revolver. Backwards arrow meaning the word before the caliber, not a reference to the clue number. Very tricky.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

See red

Wm. C. 12:41 PM  

Oops, and oh yes, anything to do with Thoreau is easy for me, living as I do (in the spring and summer) in Concord. And to pass on a little not-too-well-known info, he pronounced it THOR-oh, not Thor-OH. ;-)

JC66 12:47 PM  

@Wm. C.

In AcrossLite the clue for 45A is "Name often said before this clue's number." Nowhere near as cute as the clue in the paper, which you described.

clk 12:51 PM  

Took me less than a third of my normal Saturday time, despite my restless sleep on the EVE of travel. I had to come here to parse SEE RED though. Very enjoyable puzzle with a few missteps (DAR, the clue for SINCE.)
And right on, Nancy.

JOHN X 12:53 PM  

26D: I agree with others that "To this day" and SINCE do not mean the same thing.

SINCE refers to the beginning of a time frame that ends in the present, while "To this day" refers to the end of a time period that ends in the present. They are not interchangeable and can both be used in a sentence:

"I've done crosswords since I was a teen and continue to this day."

The clue is gettable but it is clumsy and incorrect.

Luke 1:19 PM  

Time to finish puzzle with one wrong square: 8:00
Time to remember ERNO is the Rubik, not the river: 5:35

Fred Romagnolo 1:26 PM  

My first exposure to Sean Connery was when he played Hotspur in the Brit TV series "The Age of Kings" from the 60's. He had hair then (as did I). I've considered him a terrific actor ever since. I leave it to others to consider his sexiness. I'm enjoying the inputs of those who have become weary of the over-sensitive (lisp). I thought it a super clue, actually did laugh out loud. If the Catalans are Spanish, then the Ainu are Japanese, and the Navahos are American.

Georgia 1:31 PM  
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Georgia 1:36 PM  

The clue had an arrow to the number 45, and the 45 had a decimal in front of it (easy to miss in the newspaper). So a Colt .45 revolver.

AW 1:43 PM  

Dithcuth thickneth with a doctor, say
As clued it's bogus.

AW 1:49 PM  

Bit of trivia: NOXZEMA = No Eczema.

Nathan Shmalo 2:19 PM  

I needed my 10 year old granddaughter for chance the rapper otherwise OK.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Colt is pretty weak sauce. Almost every gun manufacturer makes a .45.
It's true that Colt's most famous gun was indeed a .45 caliber, but I'm not sure that makes the clue correct.

But.... the real story today is @Mohair's post. It's the best thing I've read in years. And I don't mean must on this blog.
Well done.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Sorry. And not just on this blog. Sheesh

Carola 2:30 PM  

Cound me among the "SEEthers.". Otherwise, I found it a pleasurably easy solve.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

Best comment on COLT was from Exubesque at 8:48 but it took me until now to get it. A mere six hours.

BarbieBarbie 2:38 PM  

Sorry, identity misfire. Anon @2:37 was me.

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Saliva is not what that swab in the mouth is seeking (27A) is seeking. It is gathering epithelial cells from the inside of your cheek for DNA analysis.

jberg 4:50 PM  

You know, I saw that dot before 45, but in the printed paper I just figured it was a misplaced drop of ink -- something that happens all the time.

@Mohair, your comment about the Tudors drove me to 10 minutes of Internet research; I guess you're counting Jane Grey, and I guess you could make a case for it, so I learned something.

I'm getting here very late, as I had to finish writing a conference paper. Thank God that's out of the way! I'll try to get here early tomorrow in celebration.

I kind of liked 'flat figures," too.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

Ok. If 24 across must be read as Tom selleck,then 22 across must be read as mister S. Len

I wear wife beaters 5:49 PM  

If Nancy hooked up with Sean Connery, he might bitch-slap some sense into the whiny harridan.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

"She's Like the Wind" was sung by Patrick Swayze, not Eric Carmen, making it an order of magnitude cooler. You're in the ballpark though in that it appeared with Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" on the soundtrack to "Dirty Dancing."

P.S. Which Patrick Swayze are you?

Jay 5:53 PM  

Not uptodate on hip hop performers I filled for 34A chaNCE THE pAuPER instead of CHANCE THE RAPPER.
Thar messed me up in the SW corner.
If I can solve 90% of the puzzle without any help then it must be relatively easy.
I liked the long answers.

OISK 7:38 PM  

Enjoyed most of it, but gave up on the SW. The name of a rapper can be any combination of letters, I thought. Put it down, and ate dinner. Picked it up, Got "On Trust", and finished it. I love when that happens. That's the idea Saturday puzzle, the one that resists, but ultimately falls. So despite Chance the Rapper (would I have heard of him/her? No Chance!) I think this was a fine Saturday. Also enjoyed someone knowing Pavlova from actually having eaten it. Never heard of the dish, but I DID know the ballerina.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

I have a better clue for “RST” but it’s probably too esoteric. Only ham radio operators would get it.

Julia 10:04 PM  

Ok. Did ANYone else put "Mayors of New York" for the Giuliani//LaGuardia clue??

Gabe Tuerk 12:20 AM  
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semioticus (shelbyl) 1:23 AM  

Fine puzzle, except for the NW corner which was OH MY GOD WHYYYYYYY

Fill: Whoever thought putting together MRES MRI RIM AZT NOXZEMA was a good idea should be prosecuted for crimes against crossword constructing.. Like, yeah, it's very hard to come up with a smooth fill when you have four long answers, and I get it. But c'mon man! I'm pretty sure that corner could have been fixed somehow, or at least improved just a little bit. Wow. Like, yeah, there is some more crossword clue and some questionable answers but I would be OK with it. Yet that horrid cluster in NW... My eyes still hurt.

Theme/long answers: Very good. It felt like there was a theme, and it was patriarchy. ITALIANAMERICAN, MUSTACHEWAX, STUDIOEXECUTIVE, SEXIESTMANALIVE, CHANCETHERAPPER my God this puzzle was oozing testosterone of all sorts. I actually, non-sarcastically like this approach to a themeless Saturday.

Clues: "Dish out of this world?" was my favorite. "Dear departed?" also fun. "Discuss thickness with a doctor?" I don't know what to feel about. But I'd say there were generally fine.

Pleasurability: I think I enjoyed this more than yesterday's. Something felt off, possibly that it was heavy on 3-letter answers (26.5%) And I've talked enough about that NW corner. Decent effort though.

GRADE: B, 3.55 stars.

+wordphan 3:06 AM  
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+wordphan 3:07 AM  


Burma Shave 10:37 AM  


by ALL ACCOUNTS, so ONTRUST, he's twice five,


rondo 11:11 AM  

I was at a conference the last few days trying to post from the hotel's business center. You know, important stuff like how on weekends I always have @rainy's mini HEATH bar with morning tea, and how I couldn't believe @spacey didn't choose SEVEN of NINE for DOD. But the hotel computers apparently had some SORT of firewall and nothing got through to this blog. Last time I'll go to a Hilton, if I can help it.

To the puz. +/- 20 minutes of goodness except for two AREAS up northish that held me up some, having fEaT for GEST and era for ALL, until repairs were made. CHANCETHERAPPER a gimme, for all the times I've switched the station or turned the radio off. Which are LOTS.

Jimmy Buffet stepped on a poptop, not a RINGTAB.

I'll need to go back in time for yeah baby Anna PAVLOVA. I see one of her solos was called Rondino. Close enough.

THOREAUly liked it, but not that much of ATEST.

rondo 11:36 AM  

Just went back to read comments. @Mohair had quite the rejoinder.

thefogman 12:10 PM  

Tricky and clever. I finished in about average time. Maybe a little over. I had pullTAB before RINGTAB. CHANCETHERAPPER was confirmed by Mrs. Foggy once I had enough crosses (i.e.--ANCETHERAPPER). One of the better puzzles of the week, but I wish there was a theme to top it off.

thefogman 12:20 PM  

Did you know the implied meaning of the brand name NOXZEMA is "No eczema"?

paradox 12:33 PM  

the long aswers were all gimmies and too easy so bad easy puzzle

Diana, LIW 1:27 PM  

Whadda week for Lady Di! I just don't know rappers, even when I've heard their music. (Same could be said of most pop/current musicians - gone are the days when am radio told me such stuff.)

I'm not really SEETHING, but, well, you get the idea.

Lady Di, looking forward to Sunay for once

spacecraft 1:51 PM  

That .45 clue confused me, because ALL I could make out was an X inside a box. But with _OLT and the dot, it was pretty obvious. CUTIT for get the job done is a bit of a stretch, but it passes.

When I first looked at the clue list I despaired of even getting started, especially with a hiphop clue for a gridspanner. But the double "misters" (testosterone alert!) of MRES and MRI got me in. Soon I was filling in squares wholesale, and it turned out easier than I would have suspected.

Hand up for EXwiVes. I agree that the SW needs some work, not only for DAR/AINU but for the AP CRIESTO. This entry CRIESTO be excised.

Still there is some cool stuff here, including DOD Anna PAVLOVA. New factoid learned: MTEVEREST's real name. Who knew? Par.

rainforest 3:13 PM  

I struggled with this. Hardly easy-medium pour moi, despite slapping down THOREAU, getting MUSTACHE WAX (after a brief tussle with MoUSTACH_ not fitting) from ALTAR and AWED, and knowing the MT EVEREST name, by Tibetans. Nepalis call it Sagarmatha, btw, I learned these names from Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, a riveting documentary of one year of climbing Everest.

I also got SIMILES immediately. However most of the rest of the puzzle came very slowly. I almost gave up, but pride, you know.

Nice slap-down of @Z by @MOHAIR SAM. 'Bout time.

Re the SEXIEST MAN ALIVE. If you are the S.M.A one year, why not the next? Does he suddenly lose his sexiness? Do I care?

CHANCE THE RAPPER could only be filled in via crosses. Is that a real name - I mean, the whole thing? Wasn't he once a gardener?

JudyD 5:22 PM  

@spacecraft- I had a x in a box for .45 across and couldn't figure it out until I came here.

Bravo to @Mohair!!
That@Z really bugs me.

G.G. 1:57 AM  

If AINU were new to you then you knew AINU like I knew AINU.
If an AINU gnu knew a new AINU gnu I know does a new AINU gnu know I knew?

Not much in this puzzle. I liked SPELMAN. I don't think I've seen that too often. Too easy! I want my Friday and Saturday workout.

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