William Shatner sci-fi novel / SAT 12-16-17 / Creatures captured in Herclues 10th labor / De manera elsewise

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: "Marcus WELBY, M.D." (35D: TV M.D.) —
Marcus Welby, M.D. is an American medical drama television program that aired Tuesdays at 10:00–11:00 p.m. (EST) on ABC from September 23, 1969, to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as the title character, a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner, who was on a first name basis with many of his patients (and who also made house-calls), James Brolin, as Steve Kiley, M.D, a younger doctor who played Welby's partner, and Elena Verdugo, who played Welby and Kiley's dedicated and loving nurse and office manager, Consuelo Lopez. Marcus Welby, M.D., was produced by David Victor and David J. O'Connell. The pilot, A Matter of Humanities, had aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 26, 1969. (wikipedia)
• • •

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY, 17, 2018: A MESSAGE FOR THOSE SOLVING IN SYNDICATION (i.e. the majority of my readers):

Hello, from the present (that is, today; actual today, and not one-week-ago or five-weeks-ago-on-weekdays today, like usual)! It's January, which means it's time for my once-a-year, week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. To be clear—there are no major expenses involved in writing a blog. There's just my time. A lot of it. Every day (well, usually night), solving, writing, hunting down pictures and videos of various degrees of relevance and usefulness, chatting with folks and answering puzzle questions via email and social media, gathering and disseminating crossword-related information of various kinds, etc. It's a second job. My making this pitch means I'm all in for another calendar year of puzzle revelry with all y'all. I'm excited about the year. I've got my own crossword construction project I want to get off the ground, and I'm hoping to take a more active role (along with some crossword friends) in recruiting and mentoring new and aspiring constructors. But the bulk of my work will be the same as ever: I'll be here with a new post every single day. Solve, write, repeat. Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of The Puzzle, the crossword community continues to give me great joy, and I'm proud to run an independent, ad-free blog where people can find someone to commiserate with, someone to yell at, or, you know, someone who'll just give them the damn answers. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address:

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Women In Science"—Rachel Ignotofsky's beautiful cartoon portraits of women scientists from antiquity to the present. I've heard of a few of these women (mostly crossword names like ADA Lovelace, Marie CURIE, MAE Jemison) but most of these names are entirely new to me, so I'm excited to learn about them as I write my thank-you notes. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •

Now this is my kind of *Friday* puzzle. Even in blurry, just-woke-up mode, I was able to cruise through this thing in just over 6 minutes. In fact, it was so entertaining, so unfull of garbage, and so doable, that it woke me up in a gentle, pleasant way. In that sense, it functioned a bit like my morning coffee (which I haven't made yet). Easy Saturdays (that are also *good* Saturdays) are delightful things. I have often invoked the 1-Across Rule, which states that if 1-Across is a gimme, the likelihood that the puzzle will play Easy shoots way up. Today, I discovered the 1-Down Rule variant. With nothing in the grid, 1A: Extra-special delivery? was no help (nothing about that clue screams OCTO-!), but 1D: De ___ manera (elsewise: Sp.) (OTRA) was a gimme, even for this Spanish non-speaker, and then boom ANKA! And ANKA gave me two more Downs (TEAK! CHEN!) and zoooom, buh bye. Felt like no time before I went RAW FOOTAGE to PING to ZAPPA, 1, 2, 3. After a brief struggle with TEE UP (28D: Do some course prep?) and SEDGE (29D: Papyrus, e.g.), and a predictable RIP-for-RAP mistake, I was halfway done.

In poetry, there is a term for a strong pause in the middle of a line—it's called a "caesura." Well today, for me, this puzzle *definitely* had a caesura. In fact, the strong pause highlighted the grid's architecture—there are two halves (N/NE and S/SW) joined only by two relatively tiny passageways (roughly, the "P" in UVLAMP and the "T" in TAMALE). I moved quite freely through the N/NE half but then could not squeeze through either aperture into the S/SW. Seemed like every Mexican food item I knew started with "T" (46D: Taqueria offering), so no help there, and I thought bazaars would have TENTS (23A: Bazaar parts), so stuck there too. So I went from a sprint to a dead stop. But then I just inferred the "S" at the end of SHOPS and went from "no idea" to "ohh, right!" at 22D: Start of a fitness motto ("USE IT ..."). Then there was something about a mantis's EAR, and I was back in business. Zoom to the end.

PLEASE STAY doesn't sound like anything a "Courteous host" would say (11D: Courteous host's request). It sounds like something a desperate host, or potentially creepy date, would say. I can imagine contexts where a host might say that, I guess, but that clue still feels off. My only real objection, though, is to the YA in "WHERE ARE YA?" (47A: Informal question to someone who's late). That is baloney. If you're allowing that, you're allowing "YA" to sub for "YOU" in any phrase, anywhere, at any time. In fact, this incarnation of the YOU-to-YA thing feels particularly awkward. Formal sentence structure ... but then just "YA" thrown in there. "WHERE YOU AT!?" That's informal. "WHERE ARE YA?" does not have enough stand-alone cred to warrant that ridiculous spelling change. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Rex is right. Will did a marvelous job here.

QuasiMojo 7:40 AM  

The single OCTUPLET weired me out. So did the unfinished FELLIN-I so close to ALITALIA on his way to Rome. RAW FOOTAGE makes me think of the Pedicure place down the block from me. I see people in there at night getting their toes clipped, buffed and flossed. Don't they have screens? I would prefer a polite host or hostess to ask PLEASE COME. FOOD PORN is one of those hashtags that gross me out. I don't like looking at pictures of people's lunches or snacks anyway. PLEASE STOP might be the correct phrase for a host to utter when people take pictures of their meals at parties or out at restaurants.

When I was a wee kid, addicted to ANAGRAMS, and tales by AESOP and OVID, I used to watch Marcus WELBY M.D. on my MAGNAVOX. I had a crush on the nurse.

FACT IS, I was delighted to see MOJO in this grid. Fun Saturday puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 7:40 AM  

A stark contrast in difficulty compared to yesterday. ZAPPA went right in and from there it was en easy clockwise sweep around the puzzle. This makes my double dnf with FRINTS in place of FRANCS all the worse. I've put a lot of unknown wprds in late week puzzles over the years but this wasn't one of them.

Loren Muse Smith 7:57 AM  

I found this easier than yesterday’s.

A most excellent write-up. I agree on that YA, Rex. I’ve sat here saying WHERE ARE YA? and Where are you? over and over. I think I wouldn’t say that YA there. It’s hard to know, though. For stuff like that, you really have to catch yourself out in the wild using it, but I think if I used the YA, it’d be a very specific, effected, jaunty, happy question. Mileages may vary.

And I agree on the PLEASE STAY plaint. Oh c’mon, stay a little longer. Or Do you really have to go? Feels more natural. I’d get uncomfortable if a hostess said PLEASE DON’T GO.

ETHEL, MAGNAVOX, WELBY. Memories of crossing the room to change the channel or adjust the rabbit ears, pleading to stay home from church just so I can watch Lost in Space and Hazel. Pass the tuna casserole and popcorn balls.

MATHLETE was fun. I was on the math team in high school briefly. Only ‘cause I was obsessed with trig and gobbled it up. Only ‘cause I adored the teacher, Mrs. Ross. I was the weakest one on the team. I’m more of a bathlete now. I do know some wrathletes. Not this morning, though.

Loved the clue for ANAGRAMS. I always fall for those feints. (Speaking of which, anyone else notice EDGES and SEDGE?)


ONE TO WATCH is a beautiful, in-the-language phrase.

Update on the books so many of you helped me buy: Orion P. was the last to leave the room Thursday. Still in his desk reading The Glass Castle. He said something to the effect that he never reads books but would read more books like that one. Thanks again.

Lewis 7:59 AM  

Wednesday's GASBOMB prepared us for today's MUSTARDGAS, and can we call it a day on this thread? I had MADRID and kept hesitating to put in REAL because I already had REAL in the grid at 16A and it felt like too big a dupe.

My favorite parts were the answers RAWFOOTAGE and ONETOWATCH, and the awesome misdirecting clue for ANAGRAMS.

I never felt ATE ALIVE, but I got pretty banged up a couple of times. Just how I like my Saturday puzzle.

evil doug 8:10 AM  

"Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert." Released 1970.

And get that YA out here, too....

tb 8:11 AM  

Tamale is not a word. Tamal is singular. Tamales are plural.

Two Ponies 8:21 AM  

Lots to love today. I'm glad to hear Rex had some fun too. Maybe solving in the morning agrees with him.

Very musical puzzle today: Zappa, Anka, Bon Jovi, George Harrison.
Almost made the Imagine/I Me Mine mistake but that was Lennon.

Mathlete is a great portmanteau.

Modern torrent had to be an e-something and sure enough, it was.

Thanks Mr. Ezersky for the fun.

A mantis only has one ear?
Gotta read more about that.

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

I agree with LMS about this write-up.

Linda Vale 8:29 AM  

Predictable review by Rex.
Rex knows the constructor - therefore, masterpiece!

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Wow. I always admire cross word puzzle construction and rarely weigh in negatively ( or ever) because I never really hate a puzzle. Same here, but amongst the great fill I found some irritating fill. First, I'm pretty sure AB is the rarest blood classification. Second, I do not think RATATAT as the sound of a drum...more like the description of a machine gun sound. Third, I agree with the "WHERE ARE YA" comments and because most people these days send a text with that inquiry I first thought "WHERERU". Picayune potshots by me for sure.

mmorgan 8:48 AM  

On the easy side for a Saturday but still with plenty of crunch, and I spent a lot more than six minutes on it. I had dING for 12D and figured that ZAPDA was some current performer I didn't know. Duh!!!!

mathgent 8:48 AM  

The Closer saved me again. I had BT??? and she gave me BTYPE to open up the NE. I hadn't heard that phrase before.

Not at all easy for me. Actually a bit too hard. It isn't fun to fight this much.

No problem with either WHEREAREYA or PLEASESTAY.

Very high quality piece of work, two winners in a row.

Liked being reminded of Marcus Welby M.D. We're enjoying the newest doctor show on the network, The Good Doctor. The actor who played the speech writer on West Wing is in it.

JOHN X 8:51 AM  

This was fun but I finished it in under 15 minutes. That's not a Saturday puzzle.

No mention of the double REAL in there? That was pretty blatant I thought.

Teedmn 8:56 AM  

Thanks to the many hours I've spent at Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction bookstore in Minneapolis, I barely escaped a DNF today - at the last second, I remembered William Shatner's TEK books series (nine in all, none of which I've read) and changed "If I'm being honest" from REAL TALe to REAL TALK. With that and LIARS in the grid, I'm sensing a mini-theme of truthiness.

And I was getting worried in the SW that somehow a double TEAM had sneaked in with the IT TEAM and tEAm MADRID but that wasn't a REAL problem.

FACT IS, the phrase WHERE ARE YA grates on my EARs. I would more likely be saying WHERE [the hell] ARE YOU???? and in no happy tone either. I don't like to be left waiting for very long.

We get the second gas bomb of the week with RAW FOOTAGE of MUSTARD GAS. My astronaut experienced both "orbit" and ZERO G. And what's with the hosts who continue to say "PLEASE STAY"? One of my friends isn't happy until she gets someone to stay overnight. I haven't succumbed yet.

Thanks, Sam Ezersky, this was a pleasant, if relatively easy Saturday that didn't eat me ALIVE.

Bryce 8:58 AM  

I agree this was a solid puzzle with lots of great cluing. Isn't Rex supposed to complain about the "skews old" part though, with magnavox, welby, anka?

If anyone saw jeopardy this week: I was on the show and I got to answer "what is a crossword," which was satisfying.

Georgia 9:09 AM  

I opened 1A with CSection ... !

ColoradoCog 9:12 AM  

The clue for ANAGRAMS was the highlight for me. That was a true gem.

Easy? Um, yeah. I opened the app, got momentarily distracted, went to brush my teeth, came back to realize I had left the app running and 9 minutes had slipped by on the clock. D’oh! Oh well. Then in the middle I stopped to go find my wife to show her the ANAGRAMS clue. I had to explain what an anagram is, since she is a non-native English speaker. (She was impressed.) And then a few minutes later I was done. I looked at the clock, and realized if I subtract the 9 minutes I was brushing my teeth and the 5 minutes I was talking to my wife, it would have been a personal best Saturday time out of about 300 Saturdays that I have logged in the app. NOOOOOOOOOO!

I wish it had been harder, though. I really enjoyed this one and it was over too soon.

kitshef 9:13 AM  

Much, much easier than yesterday’s. No idea why the days were not switched.

Almost ended up with HuMAN/HuN, but while HuMAN seemed fair enough, HuN would have been very odd for Aesop.

Freakily inconsistent puzzle, with awesome stuff like MUSTARD GAS, REAL MADRID, RAW FOOTAGE and FOOD PORN interspersed with utter dreck like REALTALK, NOW I SEE, FACT IS and the completely unacceptable WHERE ARE YA and B-TYPE.

Several decades ago as a MATHLETE I won a book called Tensor Geometry. Some day I’ll get around to reading that …

Mohair Sam 9:23 AM  

Thought sure Rex would blow a gasket on this one based on its skewing ancient (Marcus freaking WELBY?) and things like BTYPE and WHEREAREYA and especially how easy it played for a Saturday. But nope - he seemed to love it on the Rexian scale, go figure.

We liked it of course, it went straight to our wheelhouse. ETAT gave us REALMADRID and ETHEL then RIFE. Then over to EDGES off that and MAGNAVOX (once owned one of their TVs) and then the old fart's musical tour with JOVI, IMEMINE, ANKA, and ZAPPA and the puzzle was pretty well opened up. Never time ourselves but had to be close to our Saturday best.

When our middle son flew home after three years in Germany last summer the first pic he posted on Facebook was not of his Mom or Dad, nor of good old Philly, but of himself attacking a Pat's Cheesesteak - FOODPORN. Go figure.

DrBB 9:23 AM  

Totes yeah on YA--not slang, just a constructor cutting corners. Always nice to see ZAPPA--that was the starting gimme for me (I'm a huge fan, though not of that period). Might have finished faster if I'd started with the NW instead, but that was actually the last corner for me. I generally prefer a tough Saturday, but what I did enjoy was that there were a lot of those "I'm pretty sure it's gonna be..." fills, that in a harder puzzle I would have held off on, but just went with here and they almost all panned out. For example, I suck at sports clues, but I went ahead with REALMADRID, MUSTARDGAS, a few others. ROT for 5D kept me from seeing OCTUPLET for a sec, but that was the only holdup when I finally clockwised my way up to the NE. 11:30, not a Saturday record, but my target is 15min or less, so definitely on the easy side.

-REALTALK Really? Is that a thing?
-BTYPE Sounds like it should be a Jaguar or Mercedes. Doesn't the letter designation usually go after TYPE?

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Loved MUSTARDGAS crossed with FOODPORN.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Wanted Rex et al for Group of PC gurus but it didn’t fit.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Not easy for me. It started with that damn PGA month abbrev. (41A). I thought all the golf major tournaments were held in the winter so that pro golfers, being a lot smarter than I am, could get out of the bleeping cold and snow that I'm living through right now and go to balmier climes. But not liking the J you get from JAN or the F you get from FEB at 11D, I chose MAR, the M giving me PLEASE COME for the courteous host's request. Nope, not right. So I then chose APR, the A giving me PLEASE STAY. But now 28D ends in PP. Finally, I came up with AUG. But guys, you don't need to go to warmer climes in AUG.

I wanted RAdiO-something at 19A. Which gave me TEKdAD for the sci-fi novel (8D). Which made more sense to me than TEKWAD, as in Huh? Which I got, once I corrected RADIOOO-AGE to RAW FOOTAGE.

I was blind, blind, blind on ALITALIA (10D). All I could think of was the Appian Way, so was looking for something like ALIA APIA. Things would have been easier if I could only have remembered WELBY, my era, after all, but the only two TV docs I could think of were Kildare and Oz. (@GILL and I were just discussing Dr. Kildare this past week.) Anyway, challenging for me and engrossing.

GILL I. 9:52 AM  

Yes...Friday should have been switched to today.
I enjoyed this one. I must be getting better because I only had to Google MATHLETE. Never hear of the term. Cute what we do with our language.
Loved seeing FOOD PORN. If I happen to make something delicious, you better believe I take a foto and put it on Facebook. I'll share my recipe, thank you very much.
REAL MADRD. In Spanish REAL means royal. Not the same REAL we use. I'm more of a Atletico Madrid type although I watch both teams.
TAMALE is ok singlar. I'm glad we're seeing our friend pop up often during the season. I've never eaten one in a Taqueria. You eat them at home, with your family, at Christmas. Save the burritos and tacos for the taqueria.
My biggest mistake was thinking ALL ROADS was the way to Rome. I was so sure of that answer. Wrongy dongy. Haven't flown ALITALIA in a long time. There uniforms were pretty snazzy. I remember the silk scarves and the horrible food. I hate semi hot, soggy pasta.
Is OCTO mom still around? I wonder how old her children are now and whether they still have a roof over their heads. Can you imagine sharing your womb with 8 little babies. I wonder how dogs cope.
Fun puzzle Sam. Playing it again, will YA...

Z 9:52 AM  

@Lewis - I totally missed the dupe because 16A has one syllable while 51A has two.

RAW FOOTAGE of MUSTARD GAS doesn’t pass my personal breakfast test. Otherwise pretty much what Rex said, except the east coast stymied me for lots longer. My mistake was thinking the late person had arrived so I oh so politely and informally asked WHERE u bEen? I could see it wasn’t right but couldn’t see how to end WHERE ARE —? TARMAC finally rescued me, giving me CASHED IN and I worked my way north to finish. I was a little surprised that out of all the M.D.s to ever appear on TV the answer was canceled 40 years ago.

@tb - Uh, didn’t we already have this discussion? Anyway, in Mexican Spanish you might be correct, but in English the singular is TAMALE. I say “might” because language is fluid and the mixing of El Norte with Mexico is such that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if TAMALE is used enough to be an acceptable variant.

Hartley70 9:57 AM  

I did not find this easy. I think MUSTARDGAS was the only entry I plopped in without a second thought. Is there anything that William Shatner doesn't do? He seems to pop up everywhere. The books were new to me.

I had the most pleasure seeing ANAGRAMS and I quite enjoyed remembering MAGNAVOX from the M. ATEALIVE is awkward and eatenALIVE sounds better.

I didn't get a happy jingle today, but I'm not sorry because I had a good time with the struggle.

Karl 10:07 AM  

I am sorry, but if you were asked what your blood type was, you would never say BTYPE. It's TYPE then A/B/O.
Other than that I liked it but a little easy for a Saturday...

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

@Karl, thought the same thing on blood Puzzle was impossible for me and I was bitter. Turned to an article online in the New Yorker, and there was this "O TYPE BLOOD." Yep. It's a thing.

Carola 10:48 AM  

A fun one. RAW FOOTAGE crossing FOOD PORN is very cute (salad course); not sure about having ATE ALIVE in there as well, though (too graphic for this Midwesterner). But returning to the non-food realm, its cross with EDGES is nice.
Count me in for...
- running out of room on writing in AppiAn way
- getting faked out by ANAGRAMS...again
- having to change tREATED to CREATED
Help from previous puzzles:
- ANKA as Canadian
- the autopilot SNL, ANTE (nice with POT), RIATA

Nancy 11:01 AM  

Agree with @Quasi (7:40) on the strangeness of the singular OCTUPLET. I, too was waiting in vain for the other seven, screaming out at the top of my lungs: WHERE ARE YA?

And I agree with you, @Quasi, on not wanting photos of the meals friends make sent to me online. But my reasons are entirely different from yours. If the person in question is a really good cook, I don't want the pics, I want the actual food. Sent to me, not online, but Special Delivery. It's called a Care Package.

Re: FOOD PORN. I'd never heard the term, but it's a good one. In NYC, we're much more likely to be bombarded with REAL ESTATE PORN -- huge, heavy, glossy magazine inserts depicting 20-million-dollar-and-up homes and apartments that neither you nor anyone you know will ever live in. I'm assuming that FOOD PORN consists of $300-and-up-per-person dinners in tony restaurants -- restaurants that neither you nor anyone you know will ever dine at.

jberg 11:03 AM  

Somehow, ALITALIA popped into my head right away, and that made the whole puzzle fun -- even the MUSTARD GAS (I mean, writing it down isn't the same as inhaling it). Motorola before MAGNAVOX was my biggest delay. Plus confusing Aesop with Machiavelli and wanting 'lion' instead of HEN.

@Nancy, my PGA experience mirrored yours, but without the reasoning behind it. I was stuck until I finally saw that it was TEE UP rather than mowed or resod.

Hungry Mother 11:06 AM  

I got it, but it was a slow solve fir ne tidat. Very happy to rack up a Saturday any week of the year.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

It bein' Saturday 'n' all, I gave the auld arse a proper cleanin'.

Aketi 11:33 AM  

What a blast from the past.
@lms, I knew I could count on you to come up with a picture of dear old ZEROG. That's so great to hear your stories about your students which I share with my niece and my sister.

@ Nancy and @Gill I my preteen self would have labeled Dr Kildare an A TYPE and Dr WELBY a B minus or C plus. At that age I thought Dr Kildare was neither too HE MAN, nor too grandfatherly. Although the last name Kildare does seem to be the type of name that should go with HE MAN type. At my current age, Dr Kildare seems a little smug along the lines of the original Captain Kirk.

ATE ALIVE just brings to my mind mosquitoes, army ants, and pirhana. Of course it can go the other way if a fly falls in your beer and you don't notice. I never willingly ATE anything ALIVE. I'm not sure that even FOOD PORN shots of gourmet live dishes would entice me since I'm not really into RAW FOOdAGE. My colleagues always made fun of me when I refused to eat salads in developing areas where clean water and toilets were scarce. Yet I rarely succumbed to the food-bourne illnesses they suffered.

@Quasi, sorry, but I actually really do love FOOD PORN, especially desserts. Better than crazy cat videos, which I also confess to enjoying in moderation. We all have our vices.

Alison 11:36 AM  

Loved it! Thanks Sam

Charles Flaster 11:40 AM  

I thought you used to play basketball for UNC??????

GHarris 11:43 AM  

Like.Rex I got otra right off and moved fairly easily through the north half of the grid. But that was the end of the romp and the south was a slog. I do the crossword on paper but sometimes coordinate with the online version. That enables me to be informed when I err but I don't use it to suggest answers, so ultimately I come up with the answer. Yeh, I know that's a cheat but seems more honorable than some otra ways to get there.

Charles Flaster 11:53 AM  

Totally agree with Rex review.
Finished in two sittings interrupted by eight hours of sleep.
Fell for IMagINE and thought TEE UP was well disguised as I was thinking food prep.
Never heard of FOOD PORN but easy to suss it out.
Being a MATHLETE in Brooklyn in 1960 was short lived as I refused to eat lunch in the math classroom. Not to worry— I would designate the most improved student as a MATHLETE when I taught. They liked it.
The clue for ANAGRAMS was my COW ( clue of the week).
Great puzzle.
Thanks SE

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Toe poke and Real Madrid in the same week!

I loved this puzzle, though I agree it was more of a Friday than a Saturday.

Also: where I'm from we definitely ask "where you at" informally and if we are speaking formally we ask "wherefore art thou at?"

Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Slick SatPuz. themelessthUmbsUp.

WHEREAREYA sounds like a line straight outta the movie "Fargo". Sooo … ok. But the prowler needs a jump.

FOODPORN, huh? New to the M&A. Can see the come-on lines: "The potatoes, peeled!" … or, maybe … "Corn ears, stripped naked!"

RETIED. har. Thanx U sooo much, for the desperation fix.


staff weeject pick: POT. Better clue: {Good thing to go for}.

Thanx again, Mr. Sam. Tough but very fair.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

On the 4th Day of Christmas my true luv gave to m&e…

Two Tiny Feys,
And a SIRENE in a FERRITE tree.

Ed C 11:57 AM  

I agree on the YOU v. YA issue. They aren't interchangeable. Otherwise, "Informal wish in a Star Wars movie" is MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YA.

irongirl 12:00 PM  

My brain hears REAL in REAL MADRID as "RAY-ALL" so the "double REAL" didn't bother me the way an actual double would have.

I've never heard of REALTALK or TEKWAR, so I kept trying to "fix" the K until I realized I had RIP instead of RAP and that finished it off. Duh, FRANCS not FRINCS.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

This week, Friday felt like Saturday, and Saturday Friday.
I wish all my weeks were like this,


Malsdemare 12:03 PM  

Hoo boy, how anyone found this easy, or even doable, is beyond me. Haven't read anything yet, but came her to say this one ATE me ALIVE. Great stuff, clever clues, but way out of my wheelhouse. More later, maybe.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 12:11 PM  

In that sense, it functioned a bit like my morning bowel movement.

Hobbyist 12:16 PM  

Mucus Welby.Cloying program.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Jesus I’m hung over

Jack Dammit 12:20 PM  

Golf tournaments in the winter? I have no words.

Bob Mills 12:23 PM  

What's the matter with you, Rex? "WHERE YOU AT?" isn't informal. It's ungrammatical street talk. You're supposed to be a fussy guy about words and language? That's a major goof.

Birchbark 12:23 PM  

I guess I'm surprised that a praying mantis only has one EAR, but one arm would be more surprising. So much so that I kept "arm" there long after I knew it was wrong.

Also for some reason pictured Jack Klugman as the guy who played Marcus WELBY. The sort of show you'd watch on a MAGNAVOX.

Favorite answer was SEDGE -- papyrus as a living plant instead of an old scroll.

Stephen Delligatti 12:32 PM  

Got the "V" in UVLAMP and immediately guessed "SURVIVOR"at 14A (Hit reality show starting in 2011). Of course, that messed me up for a while. Otherwise no real problems. Enjoyed it!

JC66 12:39 PM  


Just curious, what exactly do you find offensive with RAWFOOTAGE?

Luisa Ryan 12:43 PM  

My name is Luisa Ryan from Germany, me and my husband had been married for 10 years and we have 3 lovely kids, my husband was always busy with work but when ever it is weekend he always take me and our kids out for dinner and sometime we went shopping together because the kids like to buy things, our family was happy until my husband went on a business trip when he came back he started acting strange he didn't have time for me and the kids anymore, last month he told me that he is tired of our marriage that he want a divorce at first I thought he was joking until he packed out of the house leaving me and the kids alone I was heartbroken I couldn't eat for some days I cried and cried and the kid was always asking for their dad i lied to them saying he went on a business trip I couldn't take it anymore I decided to search on how to get him back I came across Dr Great email I didn't want to email him at first but knowing am losing my husband I emailed him and explained my problem to him, he replied my mail and told me he will help me but I should give him sometime to consult the gods after sometime he told me that the spell was done. 28 hours later my husband came back begging for forgiveness and I forgive him now my marriage is save, all thanks to Dr Great for saving it. If your husband or wife left you and you want him or her back the right man to bring him or her back is Dr Great he is a good man he is a messager send by God to help us in time of problems he can put a stop to your problem email him at infinitylovespell@gmail.com

Aketi 12:46 PM  

@Nancy, FOOD PORN doesn't have to be from a high end restaurant. One of our crossword friend engages in salad PORN, she posts pictures of beautiful salads on Facebook that I hunger after. I'm not that talented. I have one salad that I thought might match her beautiful salad photos but I'm too messy in my prep to achieve her art.

@Birchbark, I thought of the most ridiculously improbable thing it could possibly be and thought of one JAW.

@M&A, YA has too many letters for text-speak which is what I use with the member of my family that I'm most prone to wonder about his location? I desperately tried for WHERE R U? And resented the extra spaces that made that response wrong.

QuasiMOJO 12:51 PM  

@Aketi, I don't mind the dessert ones because I rarely eat dessert. It's the ones where people go to sumptuous sushi bars and gorge on all the stuff I'd like to try that makes me cringe. From jealousy no doubt. @Nancy, I remember some of those $300 meals at the Quilted Giraffe. Expense accounts in the publishing world were generous in those three-martini lunch days. :)

old timer 12:51 PM  

I too hear REAL as a two syllable word. I did win the Spanish prize at my school which meant I often consulted the big Spanish dictionary or usage guide created by the REAL Academia. They are the folks who lay own the law for Spanish teachers all over the world.

Of course I got OTRA right away, but nothing else up there. So I did the rest, and it was pretty easy onceI remembered MAGNAVOX. Finished in the NW, My last entry was changing "real tale" to REAL TALK on the assumption that TEKWAR must be correct.

Anyone else waste time looking for a Frenxh word to follow Bon?

Had Zevon instead of ZAPPA for a while. I miss Warren Zevon far more than I do ZAPPA,

Nancy 12:57 PM  

@Aketi (12:46)-- You're right. I actually looked up FOOD PORN online and found out that what makes it "porn" is that while it's tempting and it makes you salivate, you don't actually get to eat it. Sort of a riff on regular porn.

@Jack Dammit. Dammit, Jack. You never heard of the Crosby golf tournament at Pebble Beach? It's held in February. I just checked. There's also the Sony Open in Oahu in January and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui, also in January. Which is exactly the point I was making. The smart pro golfer will want to be in CA or Hawaii in the winter.

C. Ronaldo 12:59 PM  

REAL in REAL MADRID is Spanish and means "royal," indicating the royal patronage granted the club by King Alfonso III.

It is not related in any way, shape or form to the English word REAL found in REAL TALK. Completely different roots; utterly different meanings.

So I don't see why two totally unrelated words, one Spanish and the other English, would be considered dupes.

Indeed, if anything, the strength and the depth of the Club make it anything but real. As anyone who follows European Club football knows, Real Madrid is truly UNREAL.

Buggy Bunny 1:00 PM  

just about to lament that I had Zevon, and thus nada. OTOH, I am not alone.

OISK 1:12 PM  

All I know of Zappa? He's a rocka, not a rappa...liked this one despite Beatles ignorance, and never having experienced realtalk .

K.A. Conway 1:16 PM  

@JC66 12:39 PM: Z doesn't have to explain himself. He's always right.

Masked and Anonymous 1:19 PM  


yo, @Aketi: primo desperate WHEREAREU concept.

Continuation from prev. msg.:
"Strip club sandwich"?




ghostoflectricity 1:37 PM  

One cavil for this puzzle: I really wish the constructors and editors would stop using "tamale" as the singular of "tamales." I am a gringo, but my wife, Mexican-born and -raised, a dual U.S. and Mexican citizen, and a professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, knows that in Latin American Spanish the singular of "tamales" is "tamal," not "tamale." Please stop using the singular with the "e," even if it is acceptable in gringo English; we find it irksome and culturally insensitive.

Adam F 1:39 PM  

Any puzzle that includes a Frank Zappa reference is. Good puzzle in my book. Had misspelled APIANWAY instead of ALITALIA, but MUSTARDGAR cured me of that. Although I'm not at all a football fan, I somehow threw REALMADRID in with no crosses to work back up. Enjoyed the puzzle - as @Rex said, an enjoyable Saturday.

Lewis 1:53 PM  

Thanks to many of you, I've learned the difference in pronunciation and meaning between the two REALs. Gracias.

Joe Dipinto 2:19 PM  

Only mistake was having SKIRT for SHIRK at first. WHERE ARE YA is a crap entry. I could *almost* *maybe* accept HOW ARE YA as an answer but even that's questionable. And FACT IS is pretty bad too, or at least should have been clued as "informally" or "casually". HE-MAN seems ridiculously dated, if not archaic, at this point. Nice to see Jeff CHEN as a puzzle entry.

Kodak Jenkins 2:25 PM  

I guess it's just me since I don't see any other comments about RAP instead of RIP. I've never heard "rap" used like "least bit" in a phrase. Can someone tell me the phrase? I have heard "I don't give a RIP" many many times.

My other personal problem is with CREATED. In my mind even nature was created by something. As a carpenter I often have to decide whether to TREAT wood or to leave it natural. So even though I was fairly positive FRANCS was right I was also fairly positive RAP was wrong and CREATED was iffy so I wound up with FRINTS for 20 down.

But my favorite clue was for ANAGRAMS even though it through me off for a long time. It was good to see ZAPPA and I think MUSTARD GAS, REAL MADRID and MOJO were the three I got in my first pass.

Jack Dammit 2:44 PM  

Dammit Jim, er Nancy, you are correct!

Trombone Tom 2:45 PM  

My experience similar to many of yours. Held up by slowness in twigging on ANAGRAMS.

I wonder if our friend @mathgent was a MATHLETE in HS? Probably.

For some reason the discussion about WHEREAREYA brings to mind the YAT dialect from New Orleans. Ninth Warders tend to greet with "Where y'at?" instead of "Sup?" or "How's it goin'?" Language certainly is fascinating.

Thank you Sam E. and Will for a relaxing Saturday.

Candy Darling 2:47 PM  

@Z has a delicate stomach. If he takes a small sip of milk he has the runs and the winds for a week.

john 3:51 PM  

Tamal is not Spanish but Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Just because tamale is used doesn’t make it correct. It’s one tamal & two or more tamales. It bothers me too that my name in Italian is pronounced gee-oh-VA-nee instead of joe-VA-nee, Elision is a major rule in Romance language pronounciation.



GeezerJackYale48 4:02 PM  

Had Appian Way for too long. Walked a couple miles of it during recent visit to Rome. Worth doing.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

"so entertaining, so unfull of garbage, and so doable, that it woke me up in a gentle, pleasant way." Like your mom.

Roo Monster 4:04 PM  

Hey All !
I'll join the "Todays puz was easier than YesterPuz" group. Went along swimmingly. Crushed (for me) the South part if grid. Did online today, and it was something like 16 minutes for the entire South. That's like fire trails fast for me on a SatPuz. Guess the ole brain was firing in all cylinders today. Little hiccup with MATHwhiz, then reread clue and saw whiz there. Oops. Even SHIRK (cool word, btw) showed quickly.

Originally had a AB___ for the Blood clue. Once I found my MOJO, though, got TAMALE and changed it to _TYPE. (Side not: Better clue for MOJO - Austin Powers' special power?)

Two other writeovers, dion-ANKA, and FRiNtS/tREATED DNF. Ugh. Once I vowel ran the R_P, (which didn't take long, obviously), saw FRANCS, but then said, "What the heck is CREATED (which I pronounced like treated.)" Then the Aha, "Oh, CRE-ATED. NOW I SEE! Har."

So seeing as how most of YAs thought this was easy, cut me down a peg, as I thought I TE ALIVE this puz. FACT IS, KNOT. :-)

IMEMINE is a DOOK. Sounds like another word for mnemonic.

RAW FOOTAGE if ZAPPA who FELL IN the ORIENT. News at 11.

GeezerJackYale48 4:05 PM  

Not Appian Way dammit! Via Appia. Did Spellcheck do that to me?

Daniel 4:13 PM  

Can someone please help out Kodak re: RAP so I can pretend I knew all along?

mathgent 4:22 PM  

@Trombone Tom (2:45): There weren't mathematics competitions when I was in high school (1949-52). Even if there were, I probably wouldn't have done well. I didn't really get interested in mathematics untilI graduated from college and started teaching the subject. The New Math textbooks I was teaching out of got me hooked.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Tamale is perfectly acceptable in English. It is not culturally insensitive to spell it that way. Puhllllllllease give it a rest! I also speak Spanish but don't get my knickers in a wad just because the spelling of a word has been anglicized. We don't need any more political correctness in this blog. On a different note, I had Kiley and then Wiley (noah wiley) for my doctor. This puzzle had some sizzling answers.

jae 5:34 PM  

Yep, easy. The only thing that held me up was @jberg rEsod before TEEUP. Yesterday I almost made the ALLeN error, but my bride (a flora maven) knew the PALM. (That was a DNF for me for outside help). Thanks @Joe Bleaux for the copy editor tip, hopefully it will stick in memory.

Some very nice stuff here, liked it.

Randall Clark 5:56 PM  

Nancy - AUG stands for Augusta, not August, right? They hold the PGA championship at the Augusta National? Unless you were being sarcastic and I missed it, in which case never mind.

Kodak - Second definition of rap as a noun: the smallest amount (used to add emphasis to a statement).
"he doesn't care a rap whether it's true or not"

Jack Nicklaus 6:11 PM  

@Randall - AUG stands for August. The PGA Chanpionship Tournament is played at a different course each year in the month of August. The Masters Tournament is played at Augusta National in April every year.

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

@Randall the clue for 41A said “When...” , so AUG is for August.

GILL I. 6:23 PM  

@Nancy and @Aketi....Strangely enough, the first time I heard the word FOOD PORN was out of the mouth of...no less... Mario Batali (I'm not making this up). I used to love watching him cook on The Food Network. He went to The American School of Madrid after I had left and I was always keen on seeing if he adopted some of the Spanish cuisine. He did, as did his pal, Gweneth Paltrow (sp?).... Turns out he really was into the porn business!!!
All of you "there is no such thing as TAMALE" people. Your wrong. There is. Just like there is a Havana vs. Habana and so on and so on. Here in my neck of the woods, you can always here someone shouting from the best Mexican food truck this side of Alabama...SE VENDE TAMALE. Heck, they even print it on the side of their truck.
If you want to moan, do so when you hear "No problemo!!!!!"

tb 6:36 PM  

@Gill I.

Point taken. By the way, "your wrong" is wrong.

pmdm 6:51 PM  

On page two of the Main section of today's paper, Shortz has a little piece. Not about crosswords but about spiral puzzles.

Sunday's paper has a special puzzle section that will include a GIGANTIC crossword puzzle.

GILL I. 7:04 PM  

@tb...:-) So is my Here....!

Larry Gilstrap 7:54 PM  

The puzzle has limited three-letter answers and only one "s" used to form a plural. I notice and I appreciate that. Good Saturday puzzle.

JC66 8:08 PM  


Every one seems to be doing it, so I thought I would, too.

BarbieBarbie 8:16 PM  

Really hard for me. I had to google-cheat in each quadrant. Feel like I was solving a different puzzle.

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

Does anyone remember Google?

Anonymous 9:03 PM  


Anonymous 9:03 PM  

Shut up

Bill Dana 9:05 PM  

Wonder how Jose Jimenez spells it?

Mel Blanc 9:07 PM  

And Speedy Gonzalez?

Anonymous 10:31 PM  

& I'm sorry but Tamal at a Taqueria?? huh??? I mean... SOME offer it.... I guess.....

Nancy 10:41 PM  

@pmdm 6:51 -- Thank you, thank you!!!!!!! The special puzzle section came early, along with almost all the other Sunday sections. It's been sitting on my table all day, and I never leafed through the various sections to find it. I guess it's too late to start it now (10:34 p.m. EST), but maybe I can find something small to do? Would I have missed it entirely if you hadn't mentioned it? It's not impossible; the Sunday NYT really is that big. And this came along with the Saturday paper, pretty hefty itself. I can see I have a busy week ahead of me. And I haven't even looked at the regular Sunday puzzle yet. Though I did do TRI-CITIES by Will Shortz in the magazine. Lots of fun.

@JC66 (8:08)--- Seems to be doing what, exactly????

JC66 11:30 PM  


Sending you comments. (Lame attempt at humor).

Randall Clark 12:09 AM  

Ah, "when" it is held. Doh! Sorry for the misdirect. In my defense, I did solve it late Friday night after several bourbons. So I got the right answer from the downs, but I misunderstood why it was right. Does that count as a DNF?

Go Democrats 1:22 AM  


Go Democrats 1:23 AM  

So very simple that only a child can do it

Go Democrats 1:26 AM  

No it counts as Gettier knowledge

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:43 AM  

This one was really fun, except for a couple spots.

Fill: Delightful. Mostly. TEAk/ANkA and TEKWAr/rAP took me forever to figure out. Hadn't heard of any of them, and the clues weren't helpful either. Apparently some people say "I don't give a rap." I need a new group of friends who speak that sorta English. But besides those really frustrating spots, a very fresh fill. FOODPORN, MAGNAVOX, MATHLETE; REALTALK, IMEMINE; RATATAT, FACTIS... And almost zero crossword glue. Very good job.

Theme/long answers: RAWFOOTAGE and REALMADRID were great. I didn't mind WHEREAREYA at all for some reason, I could hear it in my head so I just filled it in. ONETOWATCH is decent. I agree with Rex in that PLEASESTAY doesn't really sound courteous at all. If someone tells me to please stay after a certain hour, I'm running the frak away from that place. Overall, pleasant enough.

Clues: Now, this is how you find the balance between trickiness and fun (compared to yesterday). Make it generally OK and then throw in some superstar material. "Goes from Tokyo to Kyoto, say" is simply brilliant. "Do some course prep?", "One way to Rome" (I first put ALLPATHS here) are other good ones. Even trivia type clues found a way to be fun. That being said, there were some problematic clues as mentioned above so I won't repeat them, but generally a good job.

Pleasurability: The left half of this puzzle was so pleasant to solve I can't even put it in words (except for TEAK/ANKA). Some slowdown in NE section, but wasn't that bad. As I've said before, I hate it when there are just a couple of spots that are impossible to figure out that makes you work on it for a few minutes instead of simply being done and looking at the complete grid in amazement. That takes away from the pleasurability of a puzzle. But this one definitely did an above average job.

GRADE: B+, 3.95 stars.

John Child 11:27 AM  

Doesn’t give a rip seems much better to me than RAP, and tREATED is a perfectly plausible {Not natural}, so FRINtS. Aaargh. Excellent puzzle though - multiple thumbs up here.

Space Is Deep 12:18 PM  

Harder than Friday for me.

Alitalia Created Mojos 3:06 PM  

So much fresh edgy stuff!

I was doing a puzzle once and it said John Lennon song and I had IM--INE and I filled in
I ME MINE!!!!!
Isn't that crazy that they share five of seven letters????
And one is one word and the other is three?

I loved the craziness of MUSTARDGAS under RAWFOOTAGE ZAPPA is so cool all get table even tho I didn't know the reference
the clash's Rock the Casbah was blocking me

Anonymous 1:48 AM  

The polite host clue refers to a friendly invite, for example if someone were to drop in right before dinner, a kind host might say, "Please stay."

Teedmn 9:20 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloaka 8:53 AM  

Usually Saturdays are too tough for me. This one was challenging, yet solvable. Probably the best Saturday one since I started solving. Loved the ANAGRAMS one! Its not that I will give this one a high grade simply because I solved it (thus meaning I give bad grades to ones I can't get). Its because these are good clues for a nice set of commonly used words and phrases as answers. I guess the exception being ECLAT and OTRA which made life difficult for me in the NW. Which is the only thing lowering this "A" to a:

Grade: A-

thefogman 11:03 AM  

By no means did I find it easy as Rex did, but I did finish. I found it tough but fair for the most part. MATHLETE was unknown to me and having it cross with the triple-decker word sandwich of IMEMINE made it hard to solve, for me at least. WHEREAREYA did not bother me like it did Rex. What did bug me was REALTALK. I never heard of that. Also, the absence of a theme or gimmick of some kind to reward the solver bugged me a bit - but not enough to throw me into a Rex rant.

thefogman 11:07 AM  

Speaking of ANAGRAMS and such:

What was the first palindrome spoken by man?

"Madam I'm Adam."

Diana, LIW 11:25 AM  

Only checked one answer, so relatively EX for a Saturday.

OTOH, still checking for the true identity of our highway poet.

Diana, Reading the BS Signs on the Highway of Life

rondo 11:48 AM  

ZAPPA a gimme and most of the rest just FELLIN. +/- 20 minutes of a REAL good puz. But I don't give a RiP for the clue for RAP; it had me wondering about the R there.

Bon JOVI is headed to the R&RHOF to join ZAPPA and Harrison. No ANKA though.

Wasn't it Robert Young of WELBY fame who gave us the phrase, "I'm KNOT a doctor, I play one on TV"? Which has been turned around so many ways.

LETS go with yeah baby Julie CHEN.

Sam, that's a nice puz you CREATED.

Burma Shave 12:06 PM  


FACTIS I USEIT to survive,
I CASHEDIN RAWFOOTAGE and patiently waited
in hopes I'd GIT ATEALIVE.


spacecraft 12:09 PM  

I had the same problem as @Kodak Jenkins about RAP as the "least bit." Never in all my 77 years have I ever heard this. The P was a true Natick for me; had to run the alphabet about three times for FOOD_ORN before finally hitting on it. To me porn carries a negative connotation, so I don't appreciate other areas borrowing the term.

I wouldn't call this puzzle easy, but neither was it the usual Saturday bear. Guess that leaves medium, doesn't it? I resisted WHEREAREYA too long, not realizing that the person STILL hasn't shown up and the speaker is (apparently) on the phone. I went with WHERE was YA, and there's a story behind that:

Many years ago my parents were involved in the local community theater. My mom served as assistant director for a production of "Born Yesterday" in which the script had Harry asking Billie "Where were you?" The scene didn't seem to play right, so Mom suggested, "This guy's a low-class. Why not have him say 'Where WAS ya?" The director agreed, they put the change in--and the scene sang.

So, cool memory there. The two REALs didn't bother me either; they're so different. Never expected the TAMALE flap among the posters. Is it the hill you wanna die on? For DOD let's have the exotic-named Moon Unit ZAPPA. Par.

rondo 1:42 PM  

Will @centralscrewtinizer have anything to say about ZAPPA in the puz today?

Longbeachlee 5:11 PM  

How do you say nit pickers in Spanish?

rainforest 6:36 PM  

Maybe a regional/national thing, but "I don't give a RAP" is common up here.
TAMALE, TAMALEs, let's call the whole thing off.

I found this puzzle hard in a number of areas, and I had a limited time to do it, but I got it. Way late for a number of reasons, but I thought I'd put in my two cents, even though in Canada we don't have those coins anymore. Smart.

Liked it a lot.

fakt chekker 6:42 PM  

liendre recogedores en español

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

I don't get the clue for 58A -- RCA and Magnavox are both still around...

paradox 11:39 PM  

get real this was too easy

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