Pomerrigio follower / SAT 1-20-18 / Hop hop icon born Lisa Williamson / Blondie's maiden name / Nocturnal predators of fiction / Tony official character voice of Donald Duck / Setup for Netflix film say

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Constructor: Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: pomeriggio (21A: Pomeriggio follower => SERA)
SERA = evening (Italian)
• • •

Another hard puzzle today, though today was far more in line with expectations—a proper themeless puzzle that was properly tough. Finished in less time than yesterday's abomination took me, predictably. Thought the clues on this one were trying too hard to be hard/clever in many places, and some of the fill (especially proper nouns) got weird and obscure, but the big-ticket stuff looks very good, and overall I think it's a nice example of what a typical Saturday puzzle should be like: hard and occasionally humiliating but ultimately satisfying. Some of the clues were completely unintelligible to me, even after I'd solved them (see 21A: Pomeriggio follower, for example). Also, "Blondie" knowledge that goes *that* deep. That's insane. "Blondie" is super-old. Super. Old. I teach a course on Comics and this answer was a mystery to me. Got it by inference (from Betty Boop), as I'm sure most people did. With Howdy Doody also in the comic, well, you can feel this thing skewing pretty retro. Even the hip-hop reference was retro: I haven't heard of SISTER SOULJAH since the '90s (10D: Hip-hop icon born Lisa Williamson). Also, SIST*ER*!?!?! That bit stunned me. I got the answer quickly because I started with the last -AH in place, but I spelled it SISTAH SOULJAH because ... in hip-hop ... -ER to -A(H) sound / spelling change is pretty standard. See, uh, SOULJAH, for one.


Felt like there were a Ton of "?" clues, but there were just six. Three of them are quite close together in the NW, though, so I felt like I was being bombarded. I think the puzzle gets a *little* careless with proper nouns at PELLA / AMATO. The window name I've seen (25D: Big name in windows), but couldn't recall specifically (kept wanting PEALE or PEELE), and AMATO is gibberish to me (35A: Pasquale ___, baritone at the Metropolitan Opera). I thought maybe this was a new clue for ERATO. Totally feasible that neither name will be known to a solver, and only AMATO is (fairly) inferrable with that one letter missing (-MATO). Also, ANSELMO, LOL what? The only reason I got this was that my aunt lives in San ANSELMO, and Van Morrison sings a beautiful song called "Snow in San ANSELMO." "Official character voice of Donald Duck" is like a parody of an obscure clue. Like, today? Now? Is Donald Duck being voiced anywhere? Or is this in the past? You can see I'm not looking it up. It's so weird that this is a thing the puzzle thinks I might know. (Yes, he's currently Donald's voice, and apparently "Duck Tales" is on the air somewhere, I don't know). Anyway, hope you are familiar with PACHINKO (I botched the spelling there at first) (4D: Its player may have a yen for gambling) and CMA (27D: Nashville awards org.) and POLIS (23D: Sparta, e.g.) and SISTER SOULJAH or the California city San ANSELMO. Mind your names, constructors. Mind your names.


RELEASE WAIVER felt redundant (11D: Paper signed before filming begins). Heard of signing releases and signing waivers but not RELEASE WAIVERs.  SYNODAL is a word I'd be happy never to see again (see also yesterday's "appurtenance") (41A: Like certain ecclesiastical councils). I like BIG TICKET ITEM best, and I like it's clue best (12A: One taking a lot of credit, maybe?), and I like that the constructor knew enough to put the "Best" stuff right across the top of the dang grid. I was super-proud of myself that I remembered SARAI today straight away (38D: Name changed in Genesis 17:15). Less proud that I went with HAIRCUTS at 30D: Changers of locks (HAIR DYES) and thus fell in a hole that added probably a solid minute to my solving time. Pfffflert. Nothing will get you stucker longer than a wrong answer. "There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself"—Philip Marlowe, in The Long Goodbye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

134 comments:

da kine 6:46 AM  

Close to DNF with PELLA/AMATO, but I took a guess and got a happy pencil. That puzzle took me twice my normal Saturday time.

Anonymous 6:46 AM  

Hey, What's up? I'm a real effing dick!

Lewis 6:46 AM  

* Command to my dog: DON'T BEG!
* Elite clues, in my opinion: OTIS ("Maker of thousands of cars annually") and LEE ("Gray head?")
* Naticked at the cross of SISTER SOULJAH and RAJ.
* MAJORITY RULES as a democratic principle -- no comment.
* Did I like this puzzle? EELS as "Meals for seals" sealed the deal for me.

Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

First of all, how funny that yesterday we had a huge H in the middle, and today it’s an X. Hah.

V-SHAPES kinda describes the grid if you squint your eyes.

“gee” before LEE. A most excellent misdirect there on the cluing.
“sides” before TRUES.

@Lewis – Good one! (EEL, meals, seals)

I thought Howdy Doody was a ventriloquist’s dummy, so I considered, very seriously, “mouthpieces” for MARIONETTES.

Rex - little-known fact: Blondie is Howdy Doody’s aunt. So his full name is Howdy Doody Boopadoop.

Rex is right about RELEASE WAIVER. Bet the DOWN FEATHER haters are gonna hate that one. Maybe. That whole argument made my head spin. Serves me right since so many times I've started the same kind of dust-up.

I got the top three quadrants (ok – I guessed wrong on the mean and hateful PELLA/AMATO cross that Rex points out), but my deathblow was not knowing that SMOOTHS is spelled without the E. Damn. So with my Standard and “Coors,” I was doomed.

I know it’s dumb, but I checked about four times to verify that “Sister Sledge” didn’t fit. And I kept trying “colossal” for 48A. Rex – excellent point about “Sistah.”

So did Sara I change her name to Sara II? I’m confused.

@teedmn – thanks for getting my joke yesterday.

@Ann from yesterday – what a cool flash mob! I’ve already sent it to several of my friends. Thanks.

If you're into operasome music you may get a kick out of this. Maybe even it you're not into fancy singing... It's very short.

@Mohair – I think you were pulling my leg because I link the same stuff over and over, but just in case… Bob

@Malsdemare – yes! Mom showed me that one a few years ago. I never get tired of seeing it!

Alex – very cool-looking grid. But you sure cleaned my clock.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Shutdown Schumer.

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

It felt like the mention of awards in the clue for CMA violated some convention. But then I see the reverse kind of thing often enough—clueing awards as “part of CMA.” The only weak link in the concentric stacks was the redundant RELEASE WAIVER. BOOPADOOP's silliness redeems it. Went first with YES MiSTER.

Trombone Tom 7:19 AM  

Like @Lewis I was impressed with some cleverly misdirecting clues like the ones for ALKALIS and OTIS. This was difficult, but not impossible. A couple of entries like SARAI and AMATO were lucky guesses aided by the crosses.

I've been looking at Blondie since the early '40's but didn't know her family name. Thanks to the crosses and the Betty Boop analogy I came up with the answer.

I would encourage you to Google Alex Vratsanos. You might be interested in his xword history.

George Barany 7:44 AM  

Thanks, @Rex, for your critique. Click here for some fascinating context on SISTER SOULJAH, and here for biographical information about today's constructor, @Alex Vratsanos.

Small Town Blogger 7:47 AM  

A lutz is a jump, not a turn. Yes you do turn in the air as part of it, but it’s a jump.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

"It felt like the mention of awards in the clue for CMA violated some convention."

Except that CMA actually stands for Country Music Association and not Awards.

jberg 7:49 AM  

Pretty sure the CMA a is Association, so that’s ok. But I’m with Loren, Howdy is not a marionette. Ah well.

My biggest problem was MAH JONGG before PACHINKO. I know, wrong country, but the Japanese took bonsai, Zen, and the chapters they write with from China, so why not a game? Took a long time to sort that one out.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

"I teach a course in comics but don't know..." is utterly and completely irrelevant and sadly, so sadly, self-referential.

Please stop.

I teach a course in mathematics and grow bored of your non-sequiturs.

Stephen Colbert 7:55 AM  

Let he who is without a fetish for being spanked by a porn star with a magazine featuring you on the cover & then ask a lawyer set up a shell corp in Delaware to secretly pay hush money to hide your infidelity & the news leaks as you speak at a Pro-Life march cast the first stone.

Martha Patricof 7:59 AM  

What on earth is a morlock?

Good ol' Joe 8:02 AM  

But Howdy Doody *is* a marionette, first one I ever saw. Sarai changed her name to Sarah. Well actually God changed her name at the same time he changed Abram to Abraham. It’s a long story.

QuasiMojo 8:11 AM  

Even though this one skewed way old, I liked it. Perhaps because I remember loving Blondie and Howdy Doody when they weren't old. And yes, it was a marionette. Check wikipedia. "Release waiver" does seem to be slightly inaccurate as the term that shows up when I google it is "release & waiver" perhaps because separate things are being dealt with in that form. Anyway, it's just a crossword as people say all the time. Didn't bother me. I managed to finish this bear without needing a Grab Bar and in record time. (Although I had Sister SoulJAM for far too long.)

I was just lamenting to a friend that you can't find a good Boston Cream Pie anymore. If any of you are good at making them, let me know. I'll come over pronto during the pomeriggio.

BarbieBarbie 8:12 AM  

I think LUTZ is a “turn” in the performance sense.
ALKALIS is objectionable, but didn’t have to be. Bad clue. It’s a word that covers all the bases. They are not things that cover all the bases. Just truncating the clue to “covers all bases” would have been so much better.
I’ve noticed that there’s a category of entries that speed solvers like Rex invariably object to- ones like SISTER/SISTah, where you can think of multiple answers. The best strategy for me is to leave the questionable parts blank, but Rex always rolls the dice and fills them in. I love those, because they make me puzzle them out. Rex hates them and finds them unfair. Two different solver objectives. Hey Will- here’s a vote for occasional ambiguity.
Average time, no cheating, lots of do-overs, round and round filling in by increments... what a fun Saturday puzzle. Thanks AV!

Andrew Tarr 8:20 AM  

Pomeriggio = Italian word for afternoon
SERA = Italian word for evening

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Anon 7:48, jberg - thanks for the correction on awards/assn.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Stephen Colbert at 7:55 AM: Hilarious. This is me, casting stones.

puzzlehoarder 8:44 AM  

As soon as I saw a constructor's name that was unfamiliar I got my hopes up. The grid pattern looked great too. Those hopes PANNEDOUT as this was an engaging solve throughout.

I'm surprised people are not more familiar PELLA. Maybe it's a regional thing. The choke points in the NE and SW along with some of the odd shorter material provided the resistance for me. I've seen the "cars" clue for OTIS before but I still tried to make FORD work with OSHAPED. ONTV was another source of difficulty. After I started with TILER and OTTER the middle three downs,DEEPEN, ALKALIS and PACHINKO were a piece of cake then I got slowed down by ONTV and OTIS. That was typical of my solving experience. I hesitated on the A of CMA like others because of the "Awards"possibility. FWIW ANSELMO as clued is a debut. BOOPADOOP looked strange at first but then I reminded myself that it's the name of a comics character after all.

PACHINKO was easy because we just had PLINKO a couple of weeks ago and someone mentioned that it was a play on the word PACHINKO. That and I'm familiar with the term.

I did the SLEDGE/SOULJAH thing along with the GEE/LEE write over. HAIRDYES slowed me down because I read it as ___D YES. That was weird but I initially didn't think that BMI could end with I. Every section had little problems to overcome along with big easy entries so a very entertaining solve.

Hungry Mother 8:48 AM  

Very long slog leading to success today. My old mind grinds out the answers almost as slowly as my running has become. Satisfying to get everything. Some day I must read the work that includes MORLOCKS and Eloi. I only know them from xwords. Looking forward to rebuses tomorrow in my wishful thinking.

Glimmerglass 8:48 AM  

Sarai and Abram changed to Abraham and Sarah when they became parents together.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

@Barbies - your truncation might not invoke the plural. Perhaps simply “all the bases,” tho that’s a step away from the baseball metaphor.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Too many obscure answers today. I finally finished after googling a lot of answers, especially names that were obscure to me. I liked yesterday's puzzle much better and enjoyed the challenge. I think OFL becomes frustrated when he can't just buzz through a puzzle quickly or else cannot complete one. I much more enjoy the challenge of thinking through the clues rather than just writing in crosswordese as quickly as possible.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Glad I wasn't aborted.

Non Starter 8:58 AM  

A puzzle that launches with an obscure fact from an 87-year-old comic strip? I grew up reading Blondie in the 60s and never saw it mentioned. Is there an acronym for Didn't Even Start? DES on arrival? DNF is an understatement.

Glad to see Boston Cream Pie though, and this is why I love crosswords. Wikied the thing and there was my aha moment (and no it wasn't just that someone had actually taken the time to sit down and write a Wikipedia entry on Boston Cream Pie).

As it turns out, the terms "cake" and "pie" were used interchangeably a long time ago because they were baked in the same type of pan. Hand up from anyone who wrestles with their big pile of special pans every time they want to bake something. Just me? Ok. Anyway, toss them all but one and see what you can do. Simplify people, simplify.

Unknown 9:00 AM  

Wiki on Blondie film (1938) has her maiden name as Miller

Gretchen 9:02 AM  

Can someone please explain "Gray head" being Lee? Thanks. PS I loved the challenge of today's puzzle.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

The evil big corporations are making it impossible for young adults to pay off their student loans from college where they took comic book courses. It's just not fair.

Struggling 9:05 AM  

Gretchen: I think it is because Robert E. Lee was the head of the confederacy, which dressed in gray.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

@anon 8:58 how do you know?

gruffed 9:13 AM  

I can attest to the fact that Howdy Doody was a marionette since I was in the Peanut Gallery once; I was shocked when Clarabelle said"shut up, kid" to me during a break (Clarabelle never spoke, he honked a horn and sprayed Buffalo Bob with seltzer). Bob Keeshan, the original Clarabelle, got to talk a lot thereafter as Captain Kangaroo. Puzzle was hard, but somehow I finished it without a single Google. Those are the best kind!

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Some grousing here about OFL's methodology. Doesn’t seem to jibe with his appreciation of today’s puzzle.

I’ll pile on: @Gretchen - gray as in rebel gray.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Lol shutdown Schumer. Republicans control everything and the only thing the party of fiscal responsibility can get done is blow up the debt.

Anonypuss 9:16 AM  

Ahh. We had some great puzzles this week, and today's was outstanding.

Someone else here correctly observed that Rex gets irritated when he cannot just breeze through these things. But if I were going to be irritated by a puzzle, I'd feel the opposite. I enjoy puzzling out the right answers, not just plopping them in.

I finished today's puzzle in 13:50, which is 10 minutes faster than my average. So I guess it was easy but it sure didn't feel that way.

Rodney King 9:17 AM  

Why can't we all just get along?

kitshef 9:24 AM  

Yesterday, struggled for close an hour before throwing in the towel with 15 answers (21%) either incorrect or with blanks.

Today, sailed through in less than a quarter of an hour

Thought they were both excellent puzzles.

Solve basically went E, W, S, N, then finishing up with SLALOMS to pick off the only WoEs today, SERA and AMATO.

I was only able to come to an uneasy peace with RELEASE WAIVER by imagining it as release/waiver, knowing that slashes and dashes are traditionally omitted from crosswords.

jackj 9:25 AM  

RELEASEWAIVER seems clearly redundant but, in the arena described in the clue, the term is used frequently and can be considered to be in the language of the film world.

A better clue might have referenced the use of the term by Major League Baseball, which incorporates the term in their official rules as follows:

"Before a club can formally release a player, that player must first be passed through unconditional RELEASE WAIVERS (caps mine). All 29 other clubs in the Majors have the opportunity to claim the player and add him to their 40-man rosters. ... Once the player clears waivers, the releasing club is responsible for the old contract."

Birchbark 9:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jackj 9:36 AM  

Also, lest we forget, Lisa Williamson's best remembered moment in the public eye was not in a hip-hop moment but in a political context when, in 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton had his "Sister Souljah moment" by attacking her for stating that blacks were justified in killing whites; criticism that rankled Jesse Jackson, but proved a political winner for Clinton's campaign.

Z 9:38 AM  

You can see the strings, so I think MARIONETTES is okay.

I think technically a RELEASE is different from a WAIVER, but put RELEASE WAIVER in quotes in your Uncle Google and you will find lots of examples that you are free to sign, so just in the language enough.

It took me a second to see why I didn’t need to change LEE to gEE.

SYNODAL looks like one of those drug ad side effects. “If your SYNODAL inflammation lasts longer than four hours contact your doctor”

Has anyone ever known a dog named “Spot” who sat on their master’s LAP? Cotton or Perdue sure, but Spot is not the name of a LAP dog.

Easy for a Saturday. I did briefly wonder if Bob LUTZ ever skates but he seems more like the “fly my private jets for kicks” sort of guy.

Birchbark 9:42 AM  

"Pomeriggio" reminded me of the little show dog Walter brings to the bowling alley in The Big Lebowski.

stylistS --> HAIRDYES

You RELEASE others from liability and WAIVE rights. It does want an "and" to make sense. I had a decent rant going about this, then read @jackj's explanation of RELEASE WAIVER. Now I can only say that if it were me writing the Major League Baseball rules, I'd change "unconditional RELEASE WAIVERS" to "one of those RELEASE WAIVERS."

@Small Town Blogger -- if a LUTZ-turn is mid jump, I suppose the better clue would be "Turn over the ice."

Tex 9:43 AM  

Shouldn’t the answer to an adjectival clue (gigantic) be an adjective (Texas-sized) ?

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Nancy Pelosi - DNF.

Mohair Sam 9:49 AM  

Challenging as could be, and 'twas a day we needed two solvers. I had the "P" words (PELLA, POORS, PYREX), and SYNOD something or other (AL, ic?) and was dead. Then she walked over and said "BOSTON CREAM, everybody knows that." And then YOS, and YES something, and ESTD, and bit by struggling bit we fought our way around. Fun Saturday for sure, lots of things you knew but didn't know you knew - ideal solving experience.

Helenic before HELLENE cost us tons. Tough to fill top with the unknowable BOOPADOOP taking up 9 first letters. Racked brains for Italian artists before discovering TILER. Cruciverbia's own Anais again - I mean how many three letter novelists are out there? In commercial lending I heard RELEASE WAIVER all the time and always consider it redundant, but it's certainly in the language.
For the second time I have the opportunity to tell y'all that I was once in the on stage audience at the Howdy Doody Show. I realize you've all had moments to brag about in your life, but I doubt any of you can claim a position in the Peanut Gallery. So there.

@Loren (6:57) - Thanks for the link. Not pulling your leg at all, just love Weird Al's palindromial madness. Two decades back Lady M was dragged to a Weird Al concert by our then 12-year-old son - she talked about the fun for a year.

Great battle with Alex Vratsanos today, but we persevered.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

"Donald Trump - DNF."

--Melania Trump

Noah Webster 9:52 AM  

@LMS - No argument here re RELEASEWAIVER as clued. A photo release waiver is a specific thing, a waiver to release or publish a photo. A photographer doesn't need a waiver to take a photo in a public place, they need a waiver to release it. It seems redundant on the surface, but isn't in actuality in the context of the clue.

Associated Press 10:06 AM  

The Latest: Senate Democrats appear to have derailed a Republican bill aimed at preventing a federal shutdown.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

DNF at PACHINKa/ANSELMa and SISTER SOULyAH/RAy. Don't care.

Look, it's amazing I got everything else in this PPP-laden puzzle. My blind guesses were mostly inspired. And I climbed out of several traps after I fell into them:

Had GET for the dog command (1D), leading to GOOPADOOP and HOT TICKET ITEM. What, you're telling me GOOPADOOP is sillier than BOOPADOOP? I can't see why. It was the hip-hop SISTER who got me out of this mess in the North; thanks, SISTER. Even though I didn't know how to spell your name and barely remembered it. Although I know you were at the center of some sort of political kerfuffle years ago.

Had HAIR cuts before HAIR DYES (30D) which really loused me up in the South. Look, I was DYING everywhere. And SARA or SARAH (can't remember), I had no idea your original name was SARAI. Guess I should re-read Genesis.

I'm literally split on this puzzle. I liked the East okay and hated the West.

TomAz 10:10 AM  

I thought this puzzle was fun. Hard, of course, but such a contrast to yesterday's dismal exercise.

MORLOCKS on top of ANSELMO about killed me.

I got PELLA off the P and the L, but I think that's one of those things that was lodged in my brain somewhere for no good reason.

Had SYNODic at first.

Was confused for a bit by 32D, I wanted SMOOTHeS but it wouldn't fit but I couldn't think of another word that worked, esp as the crosses started filling in. Went with SMOOTHS and figured it was right as the rest of the crosses fell but it still doesn't look right to me.

So yeah. good puzzle. yay.

Kimberly 10:12 AM  

I always prefer answers that can be figured out vs. obscure factoids you need to know in order to solve, but it was a solid Saturday with a visually arresting grid and that’s always impressive.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

I’m figuratively split on the comments section of this blog. I like the comments about the puzzle but not the political ones.

Two Ponies 10:18 AM  

Tough love today. More fun than yesterday.

Funny that we have 2 ex-Peanut Gallery bloggers in our own peanut gallery.

Hamburger order - Misdirect to make you think something German?
Big name in windows - Watch for a capital W so as to not think Gates.
Toadyish response - I Dream of Jeannie came to mind.

A guy I knew came back from Vietnam with a small but impressive collection of Pachinko machines. Boring game but cool machines.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Howdy Doody was part of my childhood, too, and @Z is right: they didn't even try to hide the strings. Definitely a MARIONETTE. But until now, I've never known anyone who sat in the Peanut Gallery. And today we have two. @Mohair (9:49): Your experience has been upstaged by @gruffed's (9:13) absolutely hilarious memory of Clarabelle -- surely one of the funniest anecdotes I've ever read on this blog. A real eye-opener. Don't miss it, everyone.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Again we have an early Shtwit award winner, Anon@7am.

Today's Shtwtty is bestowed upon Anon@7am for persistent whining in the face of a crowd that doesn't really give a sht.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

P.S. Texas-size. I guessed that this would resurrect an Ice Tea vs Iced Tea debate. I see @Tex 9:43 got it started.

DBlock 10:44 AM  

Seemed like two different puzzles
South and East— easy as Boston Cream Pie— my only gimme in West and North which were the kind of tough but doable slogs that I enjoy on Saturday.

And for what it’s worth, I do the puzzle to escape from reality i.e. politics. I do only read puzzle related comments and very much enjoy those.

Laurence Katz 10:53 AM  

Count me as the third reader to have sat in Howdy Doody's peanut gallery. I loved the TV show, but had a horrible time. I started to feel anxious when we were separated from our parents and told that while we could not see our parents, our parents would be in a room where they could see us. My 5 year old brain found this suspicious. But I didn't bum out until my older cousin was picked to participate in some kind of contest where he proceeded to win a bunch of prizes, a variety of Howdy Doody swag. I felt sorely mistreated and went into a pout during and after the show. I imagine I was the unhappiest kid in the peanut gallery that day. My hurt feelings were only partially alleviated when my cousin was compelled to give me some of his loot (a Howdy Doody umbrella). I don't think I was that much of a self-entitled brat, more that I felt giving my cousin multiple prizes while I got nada was an injustice. But at least Clarabell didn't tell me to shut up.

puzzlehoarder 10:55 AM  

My earlier comment disappeared. There's a whole 25 minute gap between the 7:19 and the 7:44 comments. That's computers for you.

Good puzzle. Very handsome grid. No big stand off in any one section like yesterday. This one was steady entertaining solving.

Pat 10:58 AM  

Moderately difficult, largely satisfying, but some real sloppiness. RELEASE WAIVERS are only a thing in professional sports as far as I know --when a team wants to release a player. Otherwise you sign a "waiver (of claims)" and/or a "release (of liability)." "in situ" does NOT mean untouched--it means "in place", which is how a bomb can be defused "in situ." The New York Times is a newspaper of record and needs to get language right. It used to be that teachers would assign a year of the NYT crossword to prepare kids for school entrance and exit exams, to teach vocabulary and find gaps in historical and current events knowledge. So please stop with the whining that 'it's possible somebody might not know' a word! or fact! That's the point! Learn stuff! Don't demand that the best crossword in the country be continually dumbed down to match your "decoding" strategy. If it is "elite" to know that Otis makes the majority of the country's commercial elevators (and has for about a hundred years) then presumably any building over two stories tall is also "elite" and unworthy of the common man's notice. (Wahabists would agree with you,.). I've never heard of a MORLOCK --which tells me I really should have read The Time Machine by now; and I was chagrined to learn that EELS as meals for seals is actually completely accurate, as unlikely as it seemed to my limited knowledge of seals. And if you 'teach a course on comics' and yet don't know or care about a detail of a comic that was a cultural staple in middle America (for better or worse) for 50 years, don't boast about your ignorance or your indifference.

Phil Schifley 11:12 AM  

This was tough but I enjoyed it. And I loved seeing the Morlocks getting a shout-out after a gazillion puzzles with their food source the eloi. Nice to see the bad guys for once.

Pat 11:16 AM  

Also learned in post-puzzling look-ups that, yes, Howdy Doody WAS a marionette -- on the Howdy Doody show --even though he frequently was sat on Buffalo Bob's lap as though he were a ventriloquist's dummy. I guess I could tell myself that Wikipedia was wrong, because it doesn't match the image I prefer, or that because I didn't know it's stupid and irrelevant,-- but I'd rather know that that's why this 'dummy' was so much more popular with a child audience than Charlie McCarthy (a dummy) was, and was a big part of the later popularity of Jim Hanson's marionette/puppet haracters, the Muppets.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@Lawrence, That' hilarious! Thank you.

Teedmn 11:20 AM  

I was tootling along nicely on this puzzle, getting my start in the west. At first with _OST starting my 12D, I was convinced that the pie that's a cake was going to be hOSTess something but never put it in. I did put in DEburrS in at 19D for "files away", which made me feel so clever (until it didn't).

The north and south didn't put up much of a fight. But the east, ah yes. Bordered by HAIRDYES and RE and ER at the top and bottom of 11D, that area remained untouched (but not in SITU) for a while. Not helped by guessing LAP at 16A, which meant that being successful in the end meant I Prevailed. And 21A had me thinking of formaggio (formaggio, pomeriggio, obvious, right?) due to my ignorance of Italian. What saved my bacon was PELLA. We have replaced 95% of the myriad windows in our house and my husband is enamored of PELLA windows. Of course, it was the result of one of those serendipitous moments once described perfectly by @Tita (we miss you!) of suddenly seeing a clue which you have previously circled around, which turns out to be the one that unsticks the brainjam. Yay PELLA.

Thanks AV, nice themeless Saturday.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

MAJORITYRULES isn't a democratic principles - it's like "statue of limitations," not really even a phrase. Now, MAJORITYRULE, of course, is - but it doesn't fit. The better answer, which had me thrown, was ONEMANONEVOTE.

Nancy 11:23 AM  

So now there's a third person who sat in Howdy Doody's Peanut Gallery (@Laurence Katz, 10:53). Based on some of the unpleasant recollections recounted here, I'm beginning to think that I may well have known many kids back in the day who were also there. But that they just weren't talking. Sort of a Vegas thing: What happens in the Peanut Gallery stays in the Peanut Gallery!

rockdoc 11:37 AM  

haha, "it's"

Maria 11:42 AM  

Can someone explain to me why it is so important to finish a puzzle in the fastest possible time and then brag about it? Who cares whether it took 3 or 10 minutes? Maybe that's where some of the grouchiness comes from!

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

A bit easier than yesterdays and not as fun. When I looked at 1A the first thing I thought was "O great, a puzzle filled with trivia and lots of ?.
This was solving four little mini puzzles. Everything on the West coast went in pretty quickly except for BOOPADOOP. My brother collected comic books and our son did as well. We have pictures all over the place of him reading "Blondie" in bed. I read them as well but I never knew she even had a last name. I don't even know "Archie's " last name. Anyhoo, it was gettable and kinda cute.d
Liked seeing Howdy Doody although I hated him as a kid. My beloved brother once told me that I was really adopted and my real brother was Howdy Doody. I had a billion freckles as a child and red hair. Everyone else was blonde and could tan. To add insult to injury, my dad bought me a pair of Howdy Doody toy cap pistols. As if that would make me happy.
SISTER SOULJAH was the fun word on the left coast except my DNF was having her as a MAH instead of a JAH. Got to the middle section and couldn't fit BELLA in Bogota's beautiful slot. BONITA means pretty in my neck of the Spanish speaking world - Bogota included. Bella/o, bellisima/o is beautiful.
I've never ever met a person who eats a PLAIN hamburger. For some REASON, that made me mad. You have to put something on it like pickles and cheese and onion and lettuce and tomatoes and mushrooms. Otherwise you're just eating Salisbury without the gravy.
Thanks Alex for the memories. Tell Will to call me if he needs Spanish translated....;-)

DrBB 11:49 AM  

Proudest moment: getting PACHINKO on three crosses, which unlocked the top half. Had SARAH at first, b/c that's what it was changed to, but 48A fixed that pretty quickly.

Speaking of -AH: best ah-ha for me: SLALOMS. Man it felt good to finally see that, what with that Natick cross bogging me down in the SE (and speaking of bogs, anyone see BEQ's Thursday puzzle? "Bog room"--brilliant cluing Mr Quigley!). And yeah, I was sure it was SISTAH too.

Guesses I was glad I didn't go with before I had any crosses: MAH JONGG, obviously, but also VAMPIRES (it fit, but I just knew that was too easy for this puz). Nice to see the MORLOCKS for once instead of those etiolated ELOI all the time.

And yeah, a ventriloquist's dummy is not not not a MARIONETTE. Shoulda gone with a "Lonely Goatherd" reference or something.

Ta ra ra BOOM de-ay, all!

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Grrrr . . . I hate that Trump!

TubaDon 12:02 PM  

Some obscure neurons fired, and PACHINKO was the first answer I wrote down. Zoomed through the East, slogged through the South and came to a screeching halt. 10D was an enigma to a guy who doesn't listen to rap or hiphop, but again a hint from my PET helped me there.
@Maria, I agree with your philosophy, but for me its more like 30+ minutes!

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

"Donald Trump - DNF."

--Stormy Daniels

zelda 12:11 PM  

OTIS and LEE and...WTF?!

Peamut 12:12 PM  

General Robert E Lee

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Anyone do today's puz on Buzzfeed?

Pat 12:32 PM  

@Noah Webster 9:52-- thanks for that insight. A waiver that permits a photo or film to be released does make sense in context, after all. Another NYT opportunity to learn.:). So I think now I'm down to in situ as "untouched" as my only 'sloppiness' gripe...

QuasiMojo 12:33 PM  

@Nancy I have a Clarabelle story too but will have to save it until we meet. :)

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

DrBB Howdy Doody was not a ventriloquist's dummy. Howdy Doody was a marionette. Shoulda gone with the facts instead of the faulty memories of others backed up by your own.

OTOH, you fit in just fine around here that way.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Not reading any comments where name is not blue.

MetroGnome 12:54 PM  

What's a "PELLA" and how is he/she/it a "big name in windows"?

Melrose 12:56 PM  

Made same error as Rex, had SISTAHSOULJAH. Kept me from finishing, but almost made it. Good, hard puzzle.

Carola 1:07 PM  

A worthy Saturday. Also a worrying Saturday...in each quadrant, it was a square-by-square fight to achieve critical mass. Last in: OTIS.
Had to change: VSHAPEd, SYNODic,
@Lewis, I loved your EELS for seals comment.
@Two Ponies: Definitely, on the Hamburger order.
@Hungry Mother, I had a similar thought about becoming better acquainted with the MORLOCKS and Eloi. I discovered the text available online in several formats here.

Birchbark 1:07 PM  

@Gill I., I like a good PLAIN hamburger, especially off the grill. No distractions -- just basic, good. Full disclosure: I also like rum raisin ice cream.

There's a short Clarabelle clip on YouTube from the series finale in 1960. It's from before the all-clowns-are-scary era. Even so, there's an unsettling moment as the camera zooms in on Clarabelle's face. It's more heartbreaking than scary -- the man's sadness is so honest and unflattering. I went to Wikipedia and learned that as the final credits of the episode played, you could hear people crying in the background.

I think I'll go for a walk.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

I want to see a sand dollar grid now.

The Ridger, FCD 1:18 PM  

Gray being CSA as in the Blue and the Gray

Charles Flaster 1:30 PM  

Loved the challenge of entire puzzle.
Too many obscure clues in SW and I kept SISTER SOUL JAm—hence a big DNF.
Alex—waited for some baseball trivia.
Thanks AV

old timer 1:42 PM  

I *think* I was in the Peanut Gallery along with my fellow kindergartners. Have little memory of the experience though. But I watched that show almost every day when I was small. "It's Howdy Doody time" was music to my young ears. Kids in L.A. could go to lots of shows. looking it up, I must have gone in 1954 when i was nine, because the show was done in Florida but at one point took a trip to Hollywood.

I found the puzzle tough at first then easy. My one hangup was thinking that that Italian word was a kind of grape variety, so I thought SERA must be "nera", AMATO, a lucky guess, gave me SLALOMS an the puzzle was done.

i think RELEASE WAIVER must refer to the permission anyone who appears in a film must give to have his picture released to the general public, A person has the right to sue if his likeness is used commercially. Hence the need for a WAIVER of that right, In general if you appear in public your photo can be used in the news but not where your likeness is used to make money from your personal appearance, Extras definitely have to sign those WAIVERs.

Pat 1:43 PM  

@LMS 6:57 am Thanks for today's clip! Not only very cute, but led me on to a jaw-dropping performance by a 12 year old Scandanavian boy that kind of lit up the afternoon.:)

Mohair Sam 1:44 PM  

@Nancy - Three from the Peanut Gallery, and maybe a fourth (Quasi)! We'll have to form some type of club. The others all had incidents while I remember having the time of my life. Obviously the cute kids were treated better.

Hi from Allentown @Alex Vratsanos.

TCProf 2:15 PM  

Tough, but fair and, when the "aha"s started, fun. But is no one else bothered by "sallows"? Technically, "sallow" can be a verb, but does it have to be?

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

I know, right?

Dick Swart 2:29 PM  

FUN AND TOUGH! What more do you beed on Saturday morning. Pachinko was a gimme.. I.ve spent some time in the parlours in the old days.

Pelle is well-known if you read the home books. Polis was fill after state wasn't going to work.

FUN because first sight of print out reaction was OMG! But if you could get the shorter letters a phrase would pop into your head or in the case of jot ... majority ules was right there, particularly after watching last night's Senate session.

Two Ponies 2:35 PM  

@LMS, Those clips are too much!
The first one made me chuckle and I thought I was watching Monty Python but the second one really made me laugh.
Thanks as always.

Blackbird 2:50 PM  

Rex, pomeriggio means afternoon, right? What comes after afternoon? Evening. Sera. Makes total sense. 31A had me stumped for a while, because the poetic name for Scotland I knew was Caledonia -- way too many letters. And then, along came the obvius -- Scotia. Early on, for 26A I put in vampires. Didn't work, of course. Took quite a while to get morlocks. 5D was a clever clue for the answer, alkalis. Initially had "hon" for 9D. Gave it up for "pet".

I liked the 23D and 30A "e.g.s", Sparta and Spartan, polis and Hellene. Nice pairing for those of us who aren't afraid of "old", who like references to ancient Greece. "Blondie" is too "old"? Sister Souljah is too "old", because she hit it big in the 90's? Well, at least 31A, "Nin", Anais Nin, isn't too "old" for Rex.

There is nothing about the name of a Metropolitan Opera baritone that is "gibberish", although Rex found it so. Pasquale Amato is a name. But, of course, his place in history may be much too "old" for Rex, since he performed in the early 20th century. His career ended in 1921, way before television. But then again, Rex didn't seem to recognize something from "old" television. BTW, Rex, Howdy Doody isn't from a comic, although yes, Blondie is. Howdy Doody was a marionette, as the answer indicates, on a television show, the Howdy Doody Show.

Well, the Genesis 17:15 Sarai-Sarah name change sure is "old", but, since Rex was proud he remembered this, a reference that is more than two millennia old was fine for him.

Rex links Amato with Erato. Whatever. Erato is total crosswordese. And, a wonderful icon of poetry, one of the nine Muses, the Muse of erotic poetry, love poetry. So, maybe, "Amato" evokes the words "amorous"and "amatory" for Rex, and thus, Erato and Amato are linked.

Like REx, I had "haircut"for 30D, until "hair dye" came into play.

"Texas size" for 48A "gigantic" doesn't work for me. Texas may be a big state, but it doesn't represent gigantic.

Challenging, but interesting.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Female hip hop icons are few, and though I had Sister Souljah as a fit, i hesitated for the longest time because "icon"'. She had no hits, one album, and is mainly known solely for "If black people are going to kill people, they should be shooting whites instead of blacks" or something to that effect. Maybe she had a hit after that when Ice Cube recorded a song with her, but I can't remember. Mary J, Blige, Salt N Peppa, Queen Latifah...icons. Sister Souljah...not.

Pella was a gimme for me because they SENDALETTER, or flyer, to me monthly.

VNECKS for VSHAPES

ABRAM (ABRAHAM) before SARAI/SARAH

Anoa Bob 2:54 PM  

During my stay in Japan in the 80s, we were on a walking excursion in one of the few sections of Tokyo that wasn't fire-bombed during WWII---and therefore had lots of pre-WWII wooden structures---when we heard this faint, rapidly repetitive tinkling sound off in the distance. It took me back two decades to a Buddhist temple in Bangkok where a gentle breeze through hundreds of tiny glass wind chimes made a similar sound. Imagine my surprise when we tracked it down and found out it was coming from a PACHINKO parlor!

These were the open air, non-electric, wood-and-glass types with the sound coming from tiny steel balls falling down through mazes of thin, metal posts. I don't know if sound of the modern, electronic versions could pass as wind chimes in a Buddhist temple.

I live in TEXAS, so I can get away with this TEXAS SIZE quote from Civil War General Philip H. Sheridan: "If I owned TEXAS and Hell, I would rent TEXAS and live in Hell."

I can't be the only one who watched "I Dream of Jeanie" at an age when the sap was running strong who would have given the clue for YES MASTER a slightly different spin.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

My obsession with Trump is all-consuming.

Joe Dipinto 3:37 PM  

Whew. That was a toughie but I managed to finish. Hand up for SISTAH at first, until I realized 26a had to be MORLOCKS. Also had HAIRCUTS before HAIR DYES, until seeing MAJORITY RULES.
Quite a workout for a Saturday. I thought it was odd to have answer DEEPEN crossing NIN, whose clue has the word DEPTHS in it. Shouldn't that be a no-no?

Whatsername 3:44 PM  

Wins the prize for coolest looking grid ever.

GILL I. 3:54 PM  

@Loren. After seeing your post on FB, I sent the "choir" to all my friends. I thought my husband would joke on his afternoon tea.....It sure got a lot of "Likes" and "Laughs."
@Birchbark...Not even a little pat of butter?

sanfranman59 3:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanfranman59 4:13 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 3:44 4:08 0.90 20.9% Easy-Medium
Tue 5:18 5:19 1.00 46.0% Medium
Wed 5:39 5:54 0.96 46.8% Medium
Thu 9:55 10:16 0.97 44.9% Medium
Fri 19:57 11:37 1.72 96.4% Very Challenging
Sat DNF

I submitted VSHAPEd/OTId(?) for VSHAPES/OTIS and used Google confirmation for a few entries. I often struggle with this constructor's puzzles, so I'm not surprised. I sensed that I was in trouble right from the get-go with 1A. That was one of the entries I needed to confirm after getting the crosses. Others out of my ken: SERA (from that clue ... I don't know much Italian ... I was thinking dinner courses), ANSELMO, AMATO, PELLA (sort of).

A DNF, but I thought a much more enjoyable solve than yesterday's slog.

kitshef 5:10 PM  

@Teedmn - DEburrS was clever, and you should still feel clever despite the puzzle having something less so.

C zar 5:43 PM  

"Nothing will get you stucker longer than a wrong answer." was my theme for the day. I had a bunch of wrong stuff, which is alway hilarious when you finally take it out and find you had thought of all the correct crosses ten minutes earlier.

Joe Dipinto 5:46 PM  

I predict that Rex will completely trash tomorrow's puzzle. (Not that that would be much of a surprise...)

MidgeMidge 5:58 PM  

@Gil, “Bella” sounds Italian. What about “hermosa?”

Malsdemare 6:06 PM  

This was hard, what with PILOS, AMATO, SERA, SYNODAL, MORLOCKS, ANSELMO. YIkes! I left it half done, went off to the women's march in Springfield, IL, came back and finished it but not without a google or two. I'm old but failed to get BOOPADOOP, and for reasons that passeth understanding, completely blanked on MARIONETTES, wanting something puppets, even after I had the NETTES. Sheesh!

My peanut gallery moment was on the Uncle Al show in Cincinnati. During a break, the good uncle came over and, with a tug on my skirt, told me to keep myself covered. I was mortified. Also, I was four.

A good workout.


Missy 6:16 PM  

It's great hearing from you, i missed your smart and measured comments. Enjoyed the info on Sister Souljah - fascinating indeed.

Missy 6:18 PM  

It's great hearing from you, i missed your smart and measured comments. Enjoyed the info on Sister Souljah - fascinating indeed.

GILL I. 6:20 PM  

@MidgeMidge. Bella - pronounced bay yah - is Spanish. Hermosa works as well. But BONITA still remains "pretty." ;-)
De Nada.

The5th Harp 6:26 PM  

Agree, especially because the political comments are so childish.

Hmmmmm 6:54 PM  

Why ARE some names blue and others black?

Mr. Grumpypants 7:11 PM  

Blue has a link to a profile elsewhere; black is just entered here.

Rhett 7:27 PM  

Having both blue and black names able to post is one reason this is a great place exchange ideas and thoughts.

Larry Gilstrap 8:02 PM  

Same dialogue, two nights in a row:

Voice from the other room: How's the puzzle?

Me: Hard.

One time around the horn resulted in very little success. The second pass was more fruitful. Like painting a battleship with a 1' brush. PACHINKO/TILER provided a foothold, followed by periods of staring. I also knew Howdy Doody was no dummy. Lots of erasures were used in the completion of the South where LEE was hanging out. I doubt he ever made it to TEXAS, but it's in the vicinity.

I never think of Wordsworth as an odist, Keats or Neruda, of course, and I studied the Romantics and even visited Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Doh! I especially read and studied Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. Always think of odes as short studies on one particular object. Live and learn.

Wasn't BOOPADOOP one of Ali's ring strategies?

Hartley70 8:43 PM  

Tough but fun. I missed the lady rapper altogether during her moment of fame. Never heard of PACHINKO. Blonde had a maiden name? Who knew?

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

@Hungry Mother, The Time Machine is a relatively short, easy read. Its about elites devolved into Eloi, and workers who actually made things function evolved into Morlocks that fed on Eloi. Written in the late 1800s in reaction to moving things like railroads underground (out of sight) along with other infrastructure so the NIMBYs of the time could have unfettered views. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Calman Snoffelevich 11:03 PM  

I don't understand the three ? clues at 14A, 19D, and 46D. Help?

Nice Pete 11:33 PM  

I was also in the Peanut Gallery when I was a boy. I was picked to play a game where we sat on balloons to pop them, and I won. After the show, Buffalo Bob himself invited me back to his dressing room to "meet Howdy." He shut the door, pulled down my pants, and shoved that puppet up my ass head first. Lemme tell ya that is still the best day of my life ever.

semioticus (shelbyl) 4:54 AM  

Just had time to finish it: weird deadlines lead to weird blog comment times. This one was ... OK. Seriously, after yesterday's vomit soup, anything would have been fine though let's be honest.

When I first saw the grid my immediate thought was "Oh frak me here comes another half-assed theme with the letter X doing something" but no! It is just a beautiful grid. No strings attached. Huge sigh.

Some parts of this worked better than others, but there were subtle to medium problems all around. North had good answers but weird clues. But, it is a Saturday themeless, so pass. West had some unpleasant glue but the long answers were perfect. East didn't do it for me. South could have been great, but SYNODAL-SARAI-LUTZ combo was not the best.

Overall, a decent attempt. Which is fine. God I'm still pissed at Mr. Kahn for Friday's diarrhetic feces fest.

GRADE: B, 3.45 stars.

semioticus (shelbyl) 4:57 AM  

@Calman Snoffelevich

Sly = Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. I think.

"Files away?" = Think computers, but yeah, it's not necessarily the best wordplay.

"Gray head" = Uniform color of the South in Civil War.

Tom 11:37 AM  

All of the "Anonymous" posts are actually the same annoying person who doesn't ever do a puzzle. Just a gnat who likes to pull on people's chains. SAD!

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

All of them?

Diana, LIW 10:25 AM  

After a bit of help with the *** names, I got it. With a lot of work. But after the last few days - I'll take it.

What a week. What a couple of weeks. Maybe it's me. Think I'll go for a brain-cell check.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for brains

rondo 11:17 AM  

Took a long time to finish, don't know the REASON, but got there. Not helping was turNEDOUT and like OFL I had SISTahSOULJAH at first. Otherwise clean. It felt almost Olympic with LUTZ and SLALOMS.

Hop into the way-back machine for yeah baby BONITA Granville as Nancy Drew.

A 45 minute struggle, but it PANNEDOUT.

Burma Shave 12:09 PM  

ESTD. ONTV

PLAIN MARIONETTES SOME BOSTONCREAM pies,
POOR'S the REASON she'll get TILER TEXASSIZE,
but her BIGTICKETITEMS are HELLENE Curtis HAIRDYES,
to DEEPEN color in MORLOCKS with those ALKALIS.
TRUE'S dat.

--- BONITA "ODIST OTIS" BOOPADOOP

(HAIRDYES are indeed ALKALIS, you OTTER Google it)

spacecraft 1:27 PM  

"Hi, my name's Blondie BOOPADOOP."
"Really?" Then you should get married right away! How does Blondie Bumstead sound?"

That bit of revelation came later. I leveraged in with POORS/PYREX and was looking for MAX-something for gigantic. But then the LUTZ "turned" me onto a -SIZE ending, and the first aha! was TEXASSIZE.

I agree about the extreme green-paint-ness of RELEASEWAIVER: a release release? Or a waiver waiver?? That is Bee-a-dee BAD. But the string-operated (that's the difference) MARIONETTES PANNEDOUT the east. Then, getting BIGTICKETITEM was indeed just that in the north. That's the marquee entry, to be sure. Then all those O's started showing up in 1-across...

But the west was a flippin' BEAR. I tried five different ways to spell QUEEN LATIFAH with an extra letter; I know no other icon of that genre. For way too long my old favorite BOSTONCREAM pie eluded me; that produced a "doh!" when it finally hit. So, it's SIST[ER??] SOULJAH?" I'm in the -AH camp. More BAD. But despite numerous writeovers there, I finished the west and the whole enchilada. Medium-challenging is about right. Triumph factor high, though nowhere near yesterday's. DOD? I don't know this BONITA; I picked Blondie BOOPADOOP, as drawn. I'd come home to that, for sure! Despite a couple of really rotten answers, I give this one a birdie. YESMASTER, the MAJORITYRULES. But someone tell me why LEE should be "Gray head?" and not the letter GEE. That one cost several minutes.

rainforest 3:52 PM  

@Spacey - Robt.E Lee was the leader of the rebs (grays), I think.

DNF because I don't know the people in The Big Bang Theory, and of course not the hip-hopper, so I reasoned that SISTER SOULeAH at least had a "name" at the end, and RAE is a name. Argh.

Of course I didn't know PELLA or AMATO either, but the "A" seemed most probable.

Started with ONTV, OTTER, POORS, PYREX, SITU, VET, MARIONETTES, and just built on those gradually moving up the grid. BOOPADOOP just appeared as I got the crosses. PLAIN was a tricky one for me. Quite proud of YOS (sly clue there) and BOSTON CREAM off the BO-.

A little easier than yesterday but I died on two names I just didn't know.

leftcoastTAM 4:37 PM  

Rex says a Saturday puzzle should be hard, occasionally humiliating, and ultimately satisfying. Two out of three of these descripters apply in my owncase. Guess which ones. (Hint: eliminate #3.)

leftcoastTAM 4:54 PM  

At least should spell stuff right -- "descriptor" not descripter.

Uke Xensen 7:02 PM  

I don't teach a course on comics but I read a book on them once, so I knew Boopadoop. She was originally a gold digger & Dagwood was heir to a fortune.

spacecraft 10:22 PM  

Thanks, @rainy. Of course, the ol' General LEE! Dukes of Hazzard, where are you? *Headslap #2*

While we're Duke-ing, Daisy (Catherine Bach) I still love you! DOD!!

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