Spiral-horned antelope / SAT 2-3-18 / Ethnic group whose name means wanderers / Any man boy biblically / Fancify oneself / Things held in cannonball

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky and Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: ALICE FAYE (2D: 1930-'40s film star with the signature song "You'll Never Know") —
Alice Faye (born Alice Jeane Leppert; May 5, 1915 – May 9, 1998) was an American actress and singer, described by The New York Times as "one of the few movie stars to walk away from stardom at the peak of her career".[2] She was the second wife of actor and comedian Phil Harris.
She is often associated with the Academy Award–winning standard "You'll Never Know", which she introduced in the 1943 musical film Hello, Frisco, Hello. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was thinking of Byron Walden (one of today's constructors) just yesterday. If this sounds weird, it is. But I was. I was walking down Court Street in Binghamton, looked up, and saw that one of the buildings was named the "Waldron Building." It looks like this (you can see WALDRON if you look real hard, up top):


I have known Byron Walden for years, and so my brain then started bouncing "Waldron" and "Walden" around. Then started treating Byron's name like some weird theme answer where you move the "R" from his first to his last name, BYON WALDREN, and I mean, why would you do that? But this is what a constantly crosswording brain does when it's idling. It's both stupid and horrifying. Take words, break them apart, move letters around, read them backwards, etc. Your brain just abuses the words it encounters in the hopes of squeezing some kind of puzzle concept out of them. Most of that time is wasted. It's great!


This was a beautiful puzzle that I really enjoyed solving—except. Except for those one or two terrifying seconds at the very end, when I had to make a largely blind stab at the final letter. I soared through almost all of this thing until I finally had it cornered in the SW, but ... then nothing MAP part of AREA CODE MAP not clear (22D: Feature in a telephone directory), COOKED part of COOKED KALE *really* not clear (I eat lots of kale, never heard it /seen its cookedness specified in the title) (49A: Vitamin-rich green side dish). And so this stupid little corner was gonna try to fight me, eh?  Fine, let's go. Wrote in NONET for 42D: The planets, e.g., remembered the Pluto demotion, then couldn't decide between OCTET or OCTAD, but the "O" got me OTB, and I just knew TORII (thank you, OOXTEPLERNON, God of Crosswordese, May His Name Fill Eternity). Bing bam boom I'm down to AIR-AM and KU-U (56A: Front spoiler on a car / 50D: Spiral-horned antelope) . . . and, yeah, there I am. I seriously consider "J" (my brain is doing this by way of RAMJET, which is ... some other crossword thing I've seen). But then I think, "DAM," sure, that's better than AIRJAM, for sure ... I think." And I guess "D" and ... success. But oh, man, AIRDAM / KUDU ... that's pushing it. I mean, EYEHAND was pushing it too, but not in a way that was going to make me tank the puzzle!


I watch TCM like a mad man and was baffled when I couldn't get the '30s-'40s film star, even as her name kept getting filled in. Finished getting it, and still had no idea. Thought, "I have never seen her in anything," but then looked her up and realized I had seen Preminger's film noir "Fallen Angel," and she's in that. Still, though, so weird that her name was a total blank to me, considering I watched 200+ movies in 2017, 90% of them on TCM, 75% of those from the '30s-'40s. There were a few other odd proper nouns here and there (PIBB XTRA? Who drinks that!?), but nothing too obscure. The good longer answers are too many to name; they start with the wonderfully clued HALL PASS (1A: Toilet paper?) and go from there. The "G" in the 9-square was involved in the only two answers (besides EYEHAND) that caused me to make a face: GAPPY, because that's just silly, and GO ASK ANYONE, because of course you would never say the "GO" part. "ASK ANYONE!" Yes. If you add the "GO," you have to GO ASK ALICE.


Started with SERRA because I grew up in California and learned all that mission stuff in elementary school. Then I followed with another California answer: ICE-T. Actually, both those answers just confirmed HOPIS which was what I wanted right away at 1D: Pueblo Revolt participants. The only real obstacle between initial traction and final stumbling over the finish line was TRAVEL BLOG, which I had as TRAVELOGUE and then TRAVEL BOOK before I finally got to where I was going. Thwarted by BLOG. How ... something.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. what the hell is a "cannonball" that holds KNEES? Is it the part of a desk where your KNEES go? Looking up now ... wow. Wow. Man, did I misread that. *You* hold your KNEES when you do a "cannonball" into the swimming pool. Of course you do. I know that. I grew up in California, with a swimming pool in my backyard, and I still didn't understand this! And yesterday I fell on the ice and smashed my knee and wrist. Ugh. The northeast is ruining me.



    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    131 comments:

    Anonymous 7:59 AM  

    Nice write up. No unhinged rants.

    BarbieBarbie 8:01 AM  

    Sorry about your fall, Rex.

    Loved the liquor-fest in the SE.

    This one played mostly easy (for a Saturday) for me, with some confusion in the SW.

    Robso 8:05 AM  

    AIRBAM, AIRCAM, AIRDAM, AIRJAM, AIRRAM, AIRWAM, uh . . .
    [wanders off for coffee, never comes back]

    Loren Muse Smith 8:07 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 8:12 AM  

    Rex – I loved your description of a crossword mind. Spot-on. And it just can’t be turned off.

    And, yeah - dnf 'cause of the AIRDAM/KUDU cross.

    Two beautiful corners today. LIBERATE right next to LGBT RIGHTS right next to PAX Americana. Group hug, everyone – c’mon, bring it in.

    And KETEL ONE HUNGOVER STAGGER. Probably the wrong order. The staggering precedes the hangover, right? My vodka stagger hangover story involves a bandanna tied around my forehead so tightly that my eyebrows were pushed way down over my eyes, a flashlight “microphone,” and cocktail straw “antennas.” (And I had stuck a maraschino cherry on the end of each straw. Seriously.) Cordova, Alaska. 1983. Go ask anyone. Ok, in my defense, the skipper and other deck hand of the boat I was working on were right there with me, bandanna'd, mic’d, and antenna'd. We were Stoli-fueled, though. I don’t think KETEL ONE had been discovered at that point.

    What’s for dinner? T-bones yay! Tater tots yay! YEAST rolls yay! And COOKED KALE. WAH Wah wah…

    Loved the clue for CANNONBALL, though I never understood why anyone would do one. It’s the can-opener that produces the most impressive splash. And let me tell you – the secret to a proper can-opener is to jump off the high dive, make your way toward the water with your arms out, head up, confident, and grab that one knee only right before you hit the water. My son didn’t really grow up in a pool the way I did, so his can-opener was always awkward. He’d grab his knee as soon as he left the board, making his entire descent holding his knee. Privately, I always felt a little bad for him.

    I had to fix that “setback” (52A) from “slow” to BLOW. So for a while I had TRAVELS LOG. Weird. I kept seeing TRAVEL SLOG and remembering… flying to the Bahamas for Christmas with my in-laws, packing all the wrapped presents (even the ones from my in-laws to my kids), sitting in front of a mean lady on the last flight, and in the end not being reimbursed for said presents or even thanked for buying, wrapping and schlepping said presents by said in-laws. And AND… we had to sleep on a couch. And there was a nasty fight between my husband and brother-in-law involving who was next in line to get a stupid piece of coconut that had taken thirty minutes to crack open. You can’t make this stuff up.

    “Primp” before PREEN. For me, PREEN feels one level below “primp.” I preen by arranging myself, and this can be done without a mirror - make sure my slip isn’t showing, fix the &^%$ gap between shirt buttons, smooth out skirt blah blah. I preen with what’s already there. “Primp” for me is more like the clue says – “fancify oneself.” This involves bringing in serious equipment. Tweezers, blow dryers, Q-tips, brushes, make-up. And I definitely need a mirror. I can’t imagine farding without a mirror. I had a roommate once who always farded without a mirror, but I never mastered it.

    puzzlehoarder 8:13 AM  

    This was a late week puzzle. I had no idea where they were going with that 1A clue but I was eager to find out. SOIREE was where I started, easily supported by PREEN. That was pretty much how the rest of the puzzle went. There was enough standard material that I could get the harder stuff and feel smart.

    I thought KETEL ONE was a single word. After solving I checked it out on xwordinfo and apparently I've seen it twice before but never annotated it. I was convinced it was a debut. Wether KAZAKHS had a second K or C was a little iffy for me but no big problem

    That was how I solved basically a steady sweep clockwise from the NE corner. Getting HALLPASS was fun so a satisfying Saturday solve overall.

    relicofthe60s 8:14 AM  

    Isn’t COOKED KALE kind of a green paint answer?

    Rob 8:15 AM  

    Southwest corner was rough. Made good time today, but agree about most of Rex's pain points: GO ASK ANYONE, GAPPY, TORII, EYE-HAND, COOKED KALE.

    One post-puzzle thought I had: isn't an effect of any cooking method (varying substantially in degree) removing nutrients? (I just looked this up, and the answer is "sort of." It reduces the content of some nutrients and improves others. See: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/ask-well-does-boiling-or-baking-vegetables-destroy-their-vitamins/)

    Ross T 8:15 AM  

    I had a AIR RAM / KURU, with still looks happier to my eye than AIR DAM / KUDU. Alas!

    Harryp 8:18 AM  

    I liked this puzzle a lot, but am glad I wasn't doing it on paper. Oryx before Kudu, Octet before Octad, Limerick off of the K, instead of West Cork, and a couple of others that needed to be taken out. Loved Hall Pass, and it was the last thing that went in.

    John Morrison 8:24 AM  

    I hated "gappy" What the devil is that?

    Birchbark 8:25 AM  

    Tough, but fair. It felt great to finally get the "Congratulations" music after curing the old sAPPY/sOASKANYONE chestnut.

    OCTet --> OCTAD, plus wanting sautED KALE made the southwest fall like molasses in February. That and multiple almost-Naticks in the northwest made for a double-par Saturday (25 minutes --> 47:20). Oddly, while LIBERATES and LGBT RIGHTS went pretty quickly, I had to pull them out in order to see the OLIGARCH and PIBB XTRA crosses -- too crowded to think straight, maybe.

    I know ALICE FAYE from listening to classic radio programs on satellite radio. She and her husband Phil Harris (who elsewhere was Jack Benny's band leader) had a comedy show. Wealthy Alice had most of the straight lines and would sing something, while Phil and his friend Curly got into all sorts of booze-fueled escapades (yes, just escapades). A wise-cracking delivery boy named Julius completes the tableau.

    Good ol' Joe 8:28 AM  

    See the cannonball picture Rex posted. The bottom of your leg above your ankle is not your knee. You hold your SHINS in a cannonball.

    Doris 8:35 AM  

    ALICE FAYE is referenced (along with the song) in the fine Oscar-nominated film “The Shape of Water.”
    The Richard Jenkins character is an old-film buff. KUDU is mentioned (along with the eland) in Kipling’s “Just So Stories.”

    Space Is Deep 8:37 AM  

    Enjoyable Saturday puzzle. Went much faster than yesterday. Deciding GRAPES had to be right killed me for a long time.

    Two Ponies 8:38 AM  

    Gappy is crappy.

    I wanted to do something more specific to that kale.
    Actually I just wanted to throw it in the trash but was thinking sautéed perhaps or minced, etc. In my world kale is for decorating the platter of other actually edible food.

    Rex's description of the crossword brain was great.
    My brain does a similar thing with colors ever since I learned to paint. You just can't turn it off.

    Anonymous 8:38 AM  

    It's really disappointing to end a puzzle on an obscure cross (kudu/airdam).

    Anonymous 8:41 AM  

    “Beautiful puzzle” , Rex claims.
    Predictable because Byron Walden is his friend. Sad!

    QuasiMojo 8:49 AM  

    This one fell on the easy and fast side for me even with a few hold-ups. I put in PIBB ZERO (I long for the day when there were basically three sodas in the supermarket, at least where I lived. PEPSI, COKE and 7-UP. Now we have a gazillion choices, almost all of them redundant, PEPSI LIGHT, DIET PEPSI, PEPSI ZERO, etc. I even saw one the other day called FEISTY CHERRY DIET COKE.) So getting PAZ AMERICANA made sense to me since it sounded Latin... Finally I gave in to the XTRA and finished the puzzle sans erreur. But I think it is a cheapening of the NYT (self-plug much??) to keep using brandnames as fill.

    I remember ALICE FAYE more for her role in "Alexander's Ragtime Band" opposite Tyrone Power, which is on TCM quite a lot. Or was. Now they are showing such rarefied fare as "The Valley Of Qwangi" in which cowboys and dubbed Mexicans in sombreros lasso dynamation dinosaurs.

    For some reason, growing up, I had a fixation on AREA CODE MAPs in the phone book. I would study them as if they were runes that would LIBERATE me from my humdrum suburban world.

    A powerful Russian made me think of one with an excess of KETEL ONE in it. That would indeed lead to being HUNG OVER.

    SOB SISTERS sounds like a great name for a punk band but only if it were S.O.B. Sisters.

    Thanks for the comments to those yesterday who enjoyed the Tallulah anecdote. I should have put "Darling" instead of "Honey" though. For the record.

    KUDUS to the constructors!

    kitshef 8:50 AM  

    DNF at ChOKED KALE/ThRII. Don’t ask.

    Struggled quite a bit – mostly in that SW section. Never heard of an AIR DAM (inferable) nor TORII (not so much). KUDU, however went right in.

    But even though I normally like a nice fight, this one was kind of dull. It was basically a straightforward, Wednesdayish puzzle with a couple of tougher, isolated corners and some weird things like GAPPY and EYE HAND and HOPIS (I would have thought the plural is just HOPI).

    I did get a kick out of ALICE FAYE, ‘telephone directory’, and SON OF A DAM.

    Michael Strahan 8:52 AM  

    Someone called me GAPPY once. Once.

    George 8:53 AM  

    Just the other day I used the word AIRDAM to describe the, well, AIRDAM on the front of my car. I wanted to use the term 'Front Spoiler', but it really is more of an AIRDAM.

    I loved this puzzle, with memories of holding my KNEES doing cannonballs in the pool as a teenager. But I have never heard of the term SOBSISTERS and was trying to make up the word 'sophisters', which I kind of like. And then I thought, how is it that SHABBAT is really 'shapbat?, and did they really put 'Go AFT anyone?' in the puzzle. And, of course, the answer to all that lunacy is no, and that is the joy of doing the puzzle.

    La Moda 8:53 AM  

    GAPPY, TORII, OCTAD? OctET or OctAVE.

    Anonymous 8:55 AM  

    Just logging on to see if anyone else stared at the finished puzzle for ten minutes wracking their brains trying to figure out what a SON OF A DAM was before the letters finally agreed to group properly in their mind.... no? Damn.

    Mr Sunshine 9:00 AM  

    Anonypuss here.

    I found the puzzle quite enjoyable, even though it went fast (10:01, less than half my average). HALL PASS was brilliantly clued.

    I found the "Russian" part of the clue for OLIGARCH unnecessary, but misdirection only adds to the challenge.

    GAPPY is hilarious.

    kitshef 9:00 AM  

    @Quasimojo - you probably already know this, but our own Gill I was in The Valley of Gwangi.

    Anonymous 9:02 AM  

    The clue for 26D, “Any man or boy, biblically,” does not match the answer SONS OF ADAM. This would be the definition for the phrase as used in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, where SONS OF ADAM is gender-specific, matched by “daughters of Eve” for women and girls. SONS OF ADAM, in fact, occurs only once in the Bible (Deuteronomy 32:8), where it has the generic meaning “humans” and not males specifically.

    I was so excited when I first saw the 26D clue, because the right answer, biblically, is “he that pisseth against a wall” (1 Samuel 25:22 et al.). I was disappointed that the NYTXW got my hopes up only to dash them against the stones.

    Captain Greazyshorts 9:17 AM  

    "Sob sisters" for "overly sentimental writers" reads as quite tone deaf in how we view women aunties. Why carry on the tired stereotype that females are the emotional ones in everything? If #MeToo means providing a space for voices that haven't been heard, messages like this counter that very idea.

    GS 9:19 AM  

    Supposed to be authors not aunties (autocorrect) but the message remains.

    puzzlehoarder 9:24 AM  

    A special note about KUDU. This is one of those things that has its own picture in Webster's. Webster's for years was a major source for puzzle material. I'd look up obscure things in it after solving and the clue would be the definition taken verbatim right from Webster's. As a solver anything that has its own picture in Webster's it behooves you to know it. AIRDAM is just one of those things I just know just from reading about cool cars I can't afford.

    Teedmn 9:35 AM  

    Total failure today due to the SW. I had COOKED KALE crossing ADAM and never another answer did I find. OCTet and AREA CODE "key" made sure of that (TopekA center? GO ASK ANYONE!). Of course I considered OCTAD but the A and D didn't help me. I should have put in OTB when I first considered it but for 44D's "Get on", "mount" seemed so cozy right there....DNF times I don't even want to count, sigh.

    Speaking of "Get on", that is a deceptively simple phrase. It can, of course, mean BOARD but it can mean "age" and it can mean "get along with" or you can get on with your life. This struck me as I was wracking my brain for anything, anything, that would help me get on with the puzzle.

    I loved STAGGERS as "Spaces out" at 59A. With the STA, I was sure it was going to involve STAring, somehow. And the "toilet paper?" clue for HALL PASS was deliciously clever. Has there ever been a PAX Americana?

    My memory is GAPPY as to whether that's a real word. And the fact that I am sure it's usually HAND-EYE coordination probably explains why my EYE-HAND coordination is less than spectacular.

    I FEEL LOVE for 3/4 of this puzzle but I don't think I've done EWERS than this in a long time, due to the SW. Thanks, SE and BW.

    QuasiMojo 9:37 AM  

    @kitshef, no, I did not know that. How funny! I looked for his name in the cast on IMDB but didn't see it. Is he one of the extras? Or a stunt man? Thanks for the tip!

    Z 9:37 AM  

    Just how old are these constructors? AREA CODE MAP? Seriously? SMH, that is one dated answer. I now live in a place where hardly anyone I meet is actually from, so everyone’s telephone number starts with some random area code attached to where they once lived. I guess those AREA CODE MAPS might still be useful, about as useful as telephone books.

    @relicofthe60s - As green painty as they come. Steamed, wilted, sautéed, boiled,... I briefly wondered why KALE would be served COOlED. COOKED got another SMH from me.

    SOB SISTERS was a new one here. Are there ever SOB brothers or is impugning one’s masculinity part of the insult? Or is it that only women are overly sentimental?

    @Two Ponies - “GAPPY is crappy.” Perfectly said.

    @anon9:02 - I didn’t read the clue as suggesting that the term is commonly used in the bible, but rather meant in the same way CS Lewis used it. Specifically, according to bible all men are sons (descended from) of Adam.

    Bob Mills 9:45 AM  

    Finished it by guessing right on "AIRDAM." Still don't know what it means, but "KUDU" looked right going down. Good puzzle with a lot of clever clues, like "Any man or boy biblically" and "Like many people on January 1."

    Please, someone explain "AIRDAM" to me. Thanks in advance.

    Z 9:47 AM  

    @Captain Greazyshorts - Great minds and all that. Although I’m confident that between the two of us some UNPC and proud type will be triggered, so I will add that I don’t care if anyone uses the term or not. Indeed, please do so we all know your biases.

    Maruchka 9:50 AM  

    Really, truly good one. I'm with OFL today (ouch! grr, winter. heal!)

    Thanks, Sam & Byron. And you too, Will. More of the like, please.

    Smooth and sweet. Only hang ups were Ainus/ALEUT (daughter visited the harassing little foxes in Japan - adorable and fierce) and Airbag/AIRDAM (huh? Too many years sans automobile, I guess).

    KETEL ONE is the base for what is known at local watering hole as a Marytini..

    GAPPY? Not so happy. But glad to know it's in use, somewhere. Sounds more appropriate to an ill-fitting dress, no?

    SON OF ADAM resonated the magic of 'The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe'. No COVENS, but one scary cold Queen. Brr, redux.

    ArtO 9:54 AM  

    Loved that SE corner...A little too much KETTLEONE and you'll STAGGER home and be HUNGOVER the next day.

    SW totally did me in despite having OTB. An 80% Saturday completion is a major accomplishment in this house!

    Soozey 9:59 AM  

    Crossword mind. Is that what we’re calling it? I never stop taking words apart and rearranging letters. I even do it at traffic lights. Do you realize there are dozens of words of 4 or more letters in “Walgreen’s”? Ppl think I’m strange so it’s comforting to know my affliction is shared.

    Nancy 10:02 AM  

    Another DNF at the AIRcAM/KUcU cross. And I also had to guess at the TOR-I/A-R-AM cross, but guessed right. Oh, well. As DNFs go, this is a real nothingburger.

    What a brilliant clue/answer for HALL PASS (1A).

    KALE again???!!! Only now it's COOKED. You really think that makes it better? Hah! Maybe you'd like me to re-post my I HATE KALE lyric? Was that a No?

    I've always heard the phrase as "hand-eye coordination". Not EYE-HAND. Anyone?

    GAPPY????? When I had -APPY, I said to the puzzle: Please don't be GAPPY. Please. Don't. But, alas, it was. Awful!

    Still, I enjoyed this puzzle. It offered plenty of resistance and kept me engaged.

    Charlotte Vale 10:03 AM  

    A few thoughts: average Saturday for me except DNF ,cause there were two letters in bottom left I didn’t know (convinced myself I would’ve gotten them had I been more patient). Gonna to have to put torii and kudu in the memory bank. Not a fan of Nat. Geo.as an answer even though it was easy to suss out. Happy to see LGBT rights go by uncommented by Rex (I Have a Dream and all that). Also, good for him for going easy on his friend, now if he would only go a little easier on other people’s friends....

    Birchbark 10:07 AM  

    @puzzlehoarder (9:24), nice catch on the Websters KUDU. I checked it out wanted to return the favor by sharing the dictionary illustration for crosswordese "kepi" (flat-topped French military cap), which has helped me remember the word when needed. But no luck in my old Webster's 9th New Collegiate edition (1984).

    Instead, the earnest "kepi" photo is in the American Heritage 2nd College edition (1982), a treasure trove of period-piece stock pictures. But no KUDU there.

    Nary a KUDU nor a kepi in The Ultimate Visual Dictionary 2000. That picture dictionary does sport eleven different "knee joint" illustrations. One is human, and the rest are on different sorts of dinosaurs.



    Normal Norm 10:12 AM  

    Wow, it took until 9:17 for the over-sensitive twit to show up and prove how right the term Sob Sister is.

    kitshef 10:17 AM  

    @Quasimojo: If memory serves - always in doubt with me - she worked as a translator and as an extra in the parade scene at the beginning.

    barryevans 10:19 AM  

    Spluttered my coffee halfway through this

    TubaDon 10:23 AM  

    An easy Saturday, didn't even need strong tea to get started with OLIGARCH and ALICE FAYE. Heard of spoilers called "wings" but not AIRDAMS. Favorite cooked kale dish is Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup. Excellent for winter lunches.

    Anonymous 10:24 AM  

    Eyehand = “crossdouble”. And airdam/kudu reminds me of a travel blog entry involving west cork, ketel one, and a hung over breakfast definitely not featuring cooked kale. Unlike Donna, not feeling the love on this one.

    Alice 10:24 AM  

    I’m as PC as the next gal and hold no brief for someone who would use the term sob sister but “I will add that I don’t care if anyone uses the term or not. Indeed, please do so we all know your biases.” The statesmen’s belies itself obviously he/she does care. Feeble minds think alike too, apparently.

    Alice 10:26 AM  

    sorry about the typo on the word statement all you clever wags

    DBlock 10:31 AM  

    As I was violating Shabbat by writing I was so proud of the puzzle for knowing it is yeast not wheat that is the Passover prohibition.
    Had the answer been the even more precise leaven I would have been in Heaven. Alas as a woman and not a son of Adam, I must settle for the occasional disappointment.
    Loved the corny clues.
    Easy except as others have noted the slight slow down in the SW.

    Suzie Q 10:33 AM  

    Good and tough this morning. Thumbs up.

    As for Captain Greazy and all the others regarding sob sister -
    Don't you notice that when you arrive, all of a sudden people start looking at their watches and realize they are late for something?

    Anonymous 10:35 AM  

    Almost finished a Saturday, rare for me. Had "TRAVELSLOG" x "SLOW". Does that also work?

    mathgent 10:36 AM  

    Rex has done immensely more crosswords than I. I'm surprised that KUDU didn't pop into his head.

    I remember Alice Faye as Phil Harris's wife on the Jack Benny radio show. In the forties, I think. Harris was the band leader on the show. He would also do comedy, mostly having to do with his excessive drinking.

    Eighteen red plus signs in the margins, above average for a Saturday. Only six Terrible Threes. Good job and quite enjoyable.

    Hattie McDaniel 10:40 AM  

    TCM is too white for me get some diversity in your movie watching Rex.

    Nancy 10:42 AM  

    What a fun blog today. One of the reasons I started coming here was to see if other people reacted to a puzzle in the same way I did. So it's great to see that just about everyone hates GAPPY; that just about everyone (so far) thinks it's indeed "hand-eye" coordination; and that just about everyone hates KALE just as much as I HATE KALE. Oh, and that zillions of other solvers also DNFed at the AIRDAM/KUDU cross.

    @Twp Ponies had a great post on GAPPY, but my fave is "@Michael Strahan's" at 8:52. (It's an inside joke; if you're not a football fan you won't get it.) But a really nice one.

    @kitshef (9:00) -- I didn't remember that GILL was in that movie. I just remember her sitting on some movie set or other back in the day in a drop dead green dress, looking drop dead gorgeous.

    @Anon 9:02 -- Very few things send me scurrying back to the Bible. But your reference to Samuel 25:22 certainly did! And speaking of the Bible, I had SABBATH before SHABBAT for much too long. There are lots of people who know me who would say: well, of course she got that wrong." :)

    Steven Fusco 10:46 AM  

    Really that Michael Strahan?

    If not: Very funny.
    If so: Outrageously hysterical!

    Tom 10:54 AM  

    Ahh, the "Anonymous" troll strikes again. SAD! More like sad sack.

    Mohair Sam 10:59 AM  

    Excellent easy/medium Saturday. Great cluing, very little "ese" - classic clue for HALLPASS. Lots of fun with aha moments.

    OLIGARCH opened, ALICE FAYE off the "L" (shame on you Rex) and off we went. Yup, we too had some trouble in the SW but, unlike many of you, had no problem with AIRDAM (not a car nor auto race buff, but knew it) - actually opened that area with it. My grandparents (Pop's side) came from County CORK. In high school I did a cannon ball off the high board at the muni pool (yes I held my KNEES) to soak my poolside sun-bathing girlfriend. Before I got out of the pool she was an ex-girlfriend, some people have no sense of humor.

    @LMS - First time I've ever seen "fard" used in a sentence that wasn't a joke - congrats.

    @EYEHAND haters - Yeah, hand/eye is much more common. But I knew a college tennis coach who liked to say - "Give me a kid with good EYEHAND coordination and I'll make them a tennis player. Since then whenever I hear the phrase it registers - lots of folks use it, maybe it's regional.

    @Z - Nice catch - Clue didn't bother me at 22d, but I had the exact same thoughts as you. Especially not being able to spot where a person lives by the area code anymore.

    Great SatPuzz Ezersky and Walden - thanks.

    Maruchka 11:14 AM  

    @Birchbark - LOVE Phil Harris! Thanks, will check the streams. My favorite PH song: 'Smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette!'

    Marty 11:30 AM  

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the irony of breaking SHABBAT to answer 8D.

    puzzlehoarder 11:36 AM  

    @Bob Mills 9:45, an AIRDAM is that wrap around scoop like portion of a stock car's front bumper that hangs down to just above the track. The underside of a car is the least aerodynamic and the turbulence between the car and the track creates a great deal of drag. The AIRDAM pushes the air out to the sides and prevents it from going under the vehicle.

    Nancy 11:36 AM  

    "Before I got out of the pool she was an ex-girlfriend..." @Mohair (10:59), you are just so funny! And ex-girlfriend made a huge mistake: I would trade a great sense of humor for dry hair and dry clothes any day of the week.

    TomAz 11:37 AM  

    I found this to be an enjoyable puzzle, fairly easy, but there are enough mehs scattered throughout that I think bring it down a notch.

    For some reason -- probably that I was a bit of a car nut as a teenage boy in the 70s -- I got AIRDAM without hesitation. Had just the M and read the clue and dropped it right in. Just one of those things I guess.

    As others have posted, COOKED KALE is not good. I mean as an xword answer. (I like it to eat quite a bit, thank you. With salt and pepper and maybe a minced pepper or a splash of sherry vinegar). GAPPY seems like a made up word. ELLIE and ALICE FAYE are strangers to me. OTB should be retired. TURN RIPE felt a bit off to me.

    But otherwise, there's some cool stuff in there. AREA CODE MAP used to be a thing I remember it well. LGBT RIGHTS is great. SPICE RACK. GO ASK ANYONE. NAT GEO. WEST CORK (I had WESTpORt at first, which is an actual place in Ireland that I have been to). HUNGOVER over STAGGERS. yes.

    Hold me closer, Tony DANZA.

    Elton John 11:44 AM  

    Oy TomAz! Cheeky bloke.

    Mike Rees 12:04 PM  

    I only came today to see if Rex had labeled this “challenging-impossible” and throw virtual rocks at him if he didn’t. I do the NYT crossword every day, and almost always finish it. I didn’t get even close to half of this.

    GILL I. 12:08 PM  

    I sleep late for the first time and ages and I'm missing all the fun.
    I loved this puzzle GAPPY and all. I was so proud of myself for entering OLIGARCH first thing. Then I was so proud of myself again for entering A GAY PARADE for the rainbow coalition. Dang did that royally screw me up. Good ole Junipero SERRA got me out of that fix.
    KUDA AIRDAM was my only bugaboo because I thought for sure Sam and Byron would sneak in an ORYX.
    KETELONE HUNGOVER STAGGERS was the icing on the cake.

    @Quasi...I hope you weren't dissing GWANGI....Hah! My avatar is of me on top of a gentle Arab during the filming of the Wild West Show. I think it was called the Brekenrich Wild West or some such. I was hired as a stunt girl and an interpreter. Harryhousen was my idol. James Franciscus was a sot who got me drunk on Anise and by the way...I'm a she. Also, the film was shot in Spain. No Mexicans. All the stunt riders on horseback were Spaniards. Watch it again! Poor Gwanji gets burned at the altar!

    jberg 12:09 PM  

    For some reason, I threw in the much less likely zunIS at 1D, which made the puzzle a bit more difficult. I knew it might be wrong, though, so I considered all the crosses both ways.

    On the other hand, I knew KUDU - or at least I knew it once I saw that oryx was wrong. It's the national animal of Namibia, and there's a full-sized statue of one in the middle of Windhoek. I'll admit that I had no idea what it was before I went there.

    SplIt before SOFIA, and for some reason WESTfORd before WEST CORK. And I still don't know who Tony DANZA is (I know, look him up).

    I've never heard SOB SISTERS used as clued, but instead as an insult -- sort of an equivalent to the waythese trolls use "snowflake," whatever that's supposed to mean. "Oh, now the SOB SISTERS are saying Trump insulted Haiti," would be typical of what I would think of. Easy enough to suss it out as clued, though.

    @TomAz -- try it with malt vinegar!

    old timer 12:16 PM  

    DNF due to not knowing TURII and not seeing DIDUP as a possible answer.

    I would love to go to WESTCORK because the great fiddler Martin Hayes is from there. Oh, it says he is from Clare, but WEST CORK is what he talked about at his concerts back in the day. Never thought of it as a tourist spot though, except for Irish music lovers.

    @LMS: This summer I went swimming, this summer I might have drowned. But I held my breath and I kicked my feet and moved my arms around. ... This summer I did swan dives, and jackknifes for you all. And once when you weren't looking, I did a cannonball.

    (From Loudon Wainwright III).

    Two Ponies 12:28 PM  

    When I saw sob sister my thoughts went right to old movies, perhaps gangster films or some noir stuff. Bogart's voice comes to mind and maybe not even talking to a "dame".

    @ GILL I., Very cool story about that movie!

    GHarris 12:31 PM  

    Last entry, air dam crossing Torii ( no problem with kudu). Also had to guess on Pibb but once I did just knew Hopi was right. After staring blankly at the entire grid I got down to work, made my early progress in the SE and the rest started to open up. Fancified myself with laurel upon achieving that rare feat; completing a Saturday puzzle without a single cheat.

    Anonymous 12:32 PM  

    No no and no. Torri, Kazakhs, Alice Faye, sob sisters (?!) cooked kale, kudu, gappy, pibbxtra....got no pleasure from this one.

    JC66 12:34 PM  

    To me, the term SOBSISTERS refers to the newspaper advice columnists Dear Abby & Ann Landers (yes, they were twin sisters). If there's a more recent meaning, I'm not aware of it.

    Like many others, I thought HAND/EYE before EYE/HAND, but when I googled to see which got more hits I was surprised to see that HAND EYE coordination (2.5 million hits) immediately refers to EYE HAND coordination (150 million hits). Weird.

    cwf 12:40 PM  

    Solved it counter-clockwise starting in the southeast and when I got to the north I had _____ASS for 1A. Thought, "I don't think I like where this is going...."

    okanaganer 12:41 PM  

    When you're in a parking lot and you hear an awful SKRACKKK, it's probably someone's AIR DAM hitting the curb.

    GILL I. 12:41 PM  

    @Nancy...Ha ha. The green silk dress on "The Valley of the Dolls." Vincent Price was a gentleman and a scholar. Everybody loved him to death. Martha Hayer was pretty fantastic as well...no SOBSISTER she!

    Leon 12:49 PM  


    Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep sings And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine and uses the term "Sob Sister."

    GHarris 12:51 PM  

    Just noticed yesterday evening Cory Booker lectured me about the electoral college. Senator, what you failed to understand is that I was responding to someone who claimed that the President had been democratically elected. I was merely pointing out that democracy by definition requires a majority of the whole populace not the artificially contrived Electoral College which was devised by the founders because of mistrust of the Hoi Polloi.

    Tim Aurthur 1:02 PM  

    Liked most of this and found it super easy. Until the SW corner, which was horrible.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

    Went with "NO, ASK ANYONE!" and NAPPY. I figured that if you are NAPPY, you have lots of openings for stuff, such as:
    * Dreams, perchance.
    * Coming to, over and over. And screaming, if U happen to be in an advanced calculus class. [based on actual events]
    * Others to swipe yer cinnamon rolls. [based on actual events]
    * Missin out on parts of yer daily intelligence briefings. [based on actual events]
    * Hair combin. [NAPPY also means "frizzy, hair-wise"]
    QED & DNF.

    Lotsa cool fillins in this grid. themelessthUmbsUp.
    To be fair, also lotsa cool desperation. (yo, @GAPPY), includin…
    * PAYAFEE. This sounds sorta GREENPAINT-ish. Or at least PAINTAWALL-ish.
    * EYEHAND. This seems to be one of them "Var." dealies. Sooo … ok, but don't make us come down there, Shortzmeister…
    * COOKEDKALE. This sounds sorta warmed-over GREENVEGGIE-ish.
    * PIBBXTRA & KETELONE. Double helping of Beverages of Mystery. Mighty ornery, but maybe -- just maybe -- fair.
    * EES. staff weeject pick. Only 6 choices. Better clue: {Go look up at ... anyone??}. har

    Thanx for the tough, ganged-up-on love I now feel, Sam & Byron.

    Masked & Anonymo4Us
    [based on actual Bob Dylan event]

    QuasiMojo 1:06 PM  

    @GILL I. no, not dissing but just poking a little fun at TCM for broadening its audience lately with a lot of lesser known cult films. I'm all for it. In fact there was a good deal I loved about GWANGI, especially those gorgeous horses! Some of them were better actors than the cast. One exception was the kid who played Lope. I thought he was very good. But he does not seem to have pursued a career as an actor. I am pretty sure I saw you in the parade. Beautiful indeed! I suspected it might have been shot somewhere other than Mexico (although the opening credit says "Somewhere South of the Border") and it was Breckenridge Wild West I think. Great stunts and color photography, but the story was pure camp. It broke my heart to see the cathedral burned to the ground (by Franciscus for no good reason!) and no one in the huge crowd watching it collapse even went to fetch a pail of water. :) I'll have to you seek you out in DOLLS. I have that one in my film collection. A favorite.

    kgev 1:15 PM  

    I'm beginning to think that only the folks Rex knows and likes get a pass. I enjoyed this puzzle too, but torii and airdam were pretty abstract for me. I wish Rex would be as easy on other puzzle makers as he is with his buds, sometimes.

    Oldfatbasterd 1:16 PM  

    Loren Muse Smith? More like Logorrhea Muse Smith. If only it was Loren Mute Smith.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:17 PM  

    p.s.
    @RP: Interestin, that U started with SERRA, while I ended on SERRA, after a nanosecond-gappy long battle in the NW.

    p.p.s.s. Otto Correct changes "gappy" to "happy". Just sayin.

    M&Also


    **gruntz**

    Mohair Sam 1:57 PM  

    @jberg - On your Haiti/Trump comment: I'm rereading Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" - just read this comment this morning from slave owner Alfred St. Clare: "As if we hadn't had enough of that abominable, contemptible Haiti!" Written in 1852.

    @Gill I - Well I knew you were a big star and best buds with my very dear friend Vincent Price (met him once and shared dinner at a table of about 16). But that stunt girl shot is too much - standing atop a moving horse is no mean feat - that's along way to fall. Neat stuff.

    @Leon - Lauren Bacall used it? Then SOBSISTER has Bacall immunity. Anybody got a problem with that?

    Carola 2:03 PM  

    By this time, I've forgotten all about the puzzle, having become absorbed in The Valley of Gwangi. To those who, like me, somehow missed this dinosaur movie, I highly recommend this fine appreciation.

    @Gill I, how fantastic you were in the cast! Thanks for the reference to Raymond Harryhausen - who I now learn was responsible also for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (awesome roc sequence).

    On the subject of creatures, the comments have prompted me to ask, why doesn't everybody know KUDU? Why do I know KUDU?

    @Nancy, did you notice that COOKED KALE is parked above TRAUMA?



    Donald Barclay 2:11 PM  

    Trivia: Beisdes her own achievements, Alice Faye was married to singer and bandleader Phil Harris. Phil who? Harris had a long and successful career, but if he’s remembered today it’s as the voice of Thomas O’Malley in “The Aristocats” and Baloo the Bear in “The Jungle Book.”

    Chip Hilton 2:14 PM  

    How old am I? I got ALICEFAYE off the middle E.

    I was in WESTCORK this past summer. Lovely, but blah as the answer for 37A. Wild Atlantic Way would work as a great 15 letter solution.

    The TORII KUDU/ AIRDAM DIDUP crossing defeated me. I never left OCTet and came here fairly beaten.

    OISK 2:16 PM  

    Who do kudu in their hoodoo? Who do kudu - you do. Three trips to Africa (Mumbo Jumbo will hoodoo you) made Kudu no problem. Saw them, photographed them! For me this was a fine Saturday puzzle. Difficult, but ultimately solvable. Had a problem with "Toilet paper" = Hall pass, because where I taught, the bathroom pass was a large piece of wood!

    Anyone else for "The planets" eg, think of "suite"? But in that case, "Planets" would have been capitalized...

    Kale and farewell...

    Two Ponies 2:24 PM  

    @ Leon, Thanks for the Bacall reference. I googled "sob sister gangster movie" and got a 1931 movie called..."Sob Sister".

    phil phil 2:24 PM  

    Glad to see Rex didn't go off on the eyehand and payafee.

    Beautiful rendition by Renee Fleming in the movie 'shape of Water'. She improved her crossover.

    Roo Monster 2:24 PM  

    Hey All !
    GO ASK ANYONE, so I will. Anyone know how many debut words are in this? Quite a few, I'd imagine. Lots of ARTSy words here. Had my famous one-letter DNF at the K in WESTCORK/KAZAKHS. Had an R, since both places were NEW to me. Speaking of NEW, what in tarhooties does that refer to?

    Knew the AIRDAM BLOWby thingamabob. I like cars and such. Also knew the HUNGOVER New Years thing. Ugh. Don't ask. :-) Needed some PIBB XTRA on that day.

    The SW corner was a toughie here also. Had zebU for KUDU, leading me to frOzEnKALE. Har. Other writeover was Bump-BLOW.

    EES is an ugly answer. PAX is what the Limo business calls and writes Passengers, a little shorthand. EWERS seems like "those who say eew at things". Just once, I'd like to see ATE AT clued as A TEAT. One cow udder? Maybe?

    GAPPY is OK here. Watching Tractor Pulls live is a GAPPY experience. You have to wait for the tractor to leave the grounds, then have the dirt smoothed a bit, wait for the next tractor to get ready... GAPPY. Watch it on TV instead. It's quicker. EYEHAND didn't seem quite FAIR, but I guess it's acceptable. HOP IS not lost. :-)

    SOIREE-KETELONE-STAGGERS-TRAUMA-TURNRIPE-HUNGOVER. Your order may vary. :-)

    I FEEL EGG LOVE
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Anonymous 2:26 PM  

    Without the electoral college, New York and California would decide the presidency every time. Not sure how you define that as democracy!! Felt good not to hear a rex rant today. Gappy is not a word I have ever seen or used. Cooked kale is very green paint. The rest of the puzzle was interesting. Wikipedia does not even list the Hopis in the major groups of that war. They do mention further in the article that the Hopis from Texas joined the others to fight. I would agree that "sons of Adam" usually refers to the whole human race, not just men and boys. I would give the puzzle a B or B- for entertainment value today.

    Mr. Cheese 2:47 PM  

    Michael Strahan’s made me laugh out loud!!!

    GILL I. 3:09 PM  

    Nothing to do with the crossword (alert).......! Feel free to skip. Warning! No politics involved.
    @Quasi. Now you made me go back and Google The Valley of Gwanji." You mentioned Lope and I now remember him quite well. He was a darling boy and I was in charge of making sure he didn't get into trouble. Gustavo Rojo and I spent a lot of time with him because he was lonely and didn't speak English very well. I think he was from London. Gustavo Rojo - on the other hand.....
    I spent most of my time with the Special Effects team, interpreting. They were part of the Harryhausen group from England and they didn't speak Spanish very well. Someone asked me if I could ride a horse because they needed someone in the Brekenrich Parade looking like she knew what it was like to lasso a steer while galloping through town. I trained for weeks to be able to do that. Juan Majan, the premier stunt man of Spain, taught me how to balance myself and how to fall gracefully should the need arise (Hi @Mohair) When they finally shot that scene, they had me walking with the horse and twirling a fake rope.... To add salt to injury, I don't think I even appear in the movie. They paid me well, though and I got to meet Harryhausen. A genius. I still remember all those scenes where every one had to pretend there was a TRex accosting them. The bullfight scene took over a week to film. The extras were people from Merida and all they got for their efforts was a free lunch. Such a deal! I hated Tuck!
    If you really want some kitsch, A House of a !000 Dolls is the one to see. That's where I met Vincent Price. I even got name credit. Know what I was called? Doll! Yup, that's me. Had a ton of fun with that one because it was all about sex trafficking though none of us had any! Now I really wish it had been Valley of the Dolls! mea culpa!

    Anonymous 3:16 PM  

    Lest any doubt remain in the mind of any frequent reader of this blog, this post finally settles the matter: Michael Sharp likes puzzles by his friends, however guilty they may be of the sins he ruthlessly and repetitively attacks in the puzzles of his non-friends. Byron Walden is an old friend of Mr. Sharp's; Randolph Ross, the object of yesterday's routine sneers, is clearly not an old friend of Mr. Sharp's. Imagine the ill-natured hilarity Mr. Sharp would have drawn from this puzzle if it had been the work of, say, Randolph Ross. Phrases that aren't idiomatic (GO ASK ANYONE, EYE-HAND), or common as phrases (COOKED KALE, PAY A FEE), words that look made-up (GAPPY), out-of-date concepts (AREA CODE MAP), references to bad people (SERRA), crosswordese (ETNA, HOPIS, ICET, NYT, TORII, EWERS, SERRA, ALEUT)—Mr. Sharp mentions a few of these in passing here; but if they were the work of a non-friend, they would have been stacked and mocked, in support of Mr. Sharp's one great fixed idea: that Will Shortz is incompetent, that the so-called best puzzle in the world fails to meet Mr. Sharp's exacting standards.

    Mr. Sharp has a snappy style and a lot of energy; for me these don't make up for his unthinking self-righteous censoriousness, relieved only occasionally by bald favoritism.

    Anonymous 3:21 PM  

    Good puzzle!

    Head-scratching in Rome, part 1

    Re: 21A, Junipero Serra. As I’m sure most know, there is and was controversy over Serra, beatified by J2P2 and sanctified by our current Pope. Opinion ranged: (1) he was a saint who did much good in California and protected native populations; (2) he destroyed indigenous cultures, quasi-imprisoned and beat native Americans, and “rewarded” them according to how well they were submissive politically and to Catholic teaching. Naturally there was not much room for a consensus! Some 40 years ago (perhaps late 1970s) an American group was militantly pushing for canonization, and they were allowed to present their case to the pope (J2P2). From the indigenous tribe Serra dealt with most, they found a group devoted to the Church and to the memory of Serra, and they decided to have these people go to Rome, in order of course to show that the native groups opposed to Serra did not represent everyone. Whether they were going to simply show up before the Pope or dance or something, I do not know. The Serra supporters inquired of the Holy See as to what dress would be appropriate. The Vatican responded: why not let them dress in their traditional way, as they did in the 18th century during the Serra period? After a few inquiries about that dress, the supporters had to wire to the Vatican: traditionally they wore nothing at all!

    Head-scratching in Rome, part 2

    Sorry, unrelated to puzzle. In 1980, for an economic summit to be held in Venice, President Carter was to attend. Normally in such cases the Secret Service made security arrangements and then coordinated everything with the Italians. It was said that the US Government sent no fewer than five telexes to the American Embassy in Rome, requesting the route of the “presidential motorcade” in Venice.

    Anon. i.e. Poggius


    sanfranman59 4:08 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 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging
    Tue 5:40 5:44 0.99 44.0% Medium
    Wed 6:43 5:54 1.14 74.5% Medium-Challenging
    Thu 7:36 10:11 0.75 15.7% Easy
    Fri 9:48 11:36 0.84 31.4% Easy-Medium
    Sat 12:15 18:30 0.66 11.3% Easy

    I usually struggle with Byron Waldon puzzles (thought not so much Sam Ezersky's), so I was a little surprised to get through this one so quickly. Very few erasures for me on a Saturday. At first, I went with SabBath for SHABBAT because I thought Shabat was spelled thusly. And I had I nEEd LOVE for the Donna Summer song for a long time (I was a member of the Disco Sucks Club back in the day). GO ASK ANYONE made me groan a little. Other ???s for me: GAPPY (hmm) AIR DAM (wha?) ALICE FAYE (who?) PERRY (if you say so).

    QuasiMojo 4:19 PM  

    Thanks @Gill I. for the info. I will definitely check out the 1000 Dolls flick. I enjoyed reading of your memories today. Great stories.

    DoesItinInk 4:22 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    DoesItinInk 4:31 PM  

    I struggled with the NW corner, trying to get “catalogs” to work for 1A Toilet Paper? You know...the outhouses that were supplied with Sears-Roebuck catalogs for reading and wiping purposes. But then outhouses are not toilets. Finally 5D Pax Americana set me on the right path.

    Joe Dipinto 4:31 PM  

    For once I actually was able to start in the NW, off ALICE FAYE and the SERRA cross. Then I confidently entered NYTIMES at 34a, only to realize that's not where that answer was supposed to go. Oops. (I'm in with the HAND/EYE crowd, BTW.)

    I actually think this puzzle is kind of supremely, gloriously awful. COOKED KALE alone is so laughable it sends the puzzle right over the edge of the desperation-to-make-it-work cliff. Then there are the atrocities GAPPY, GO ASK ANYONE, PIBB XTRA, AIR DAM, and any number of other insults (SOMBRERO as a drink -- how clever!! No, it isn't.) And I, too, have never heard this supposed definition of SOB SISTERS.

    This puzzle has left me so TRAUMATized that I need you to hold me closer, Tony DANZA, while I regard my thyme-inclusive SPICE RACK, for which I FEEL LOVE, unlike what I feel for this PAX, I mean pox of a puzzle.

    Nancy 4:37 PM  

    @GILL -- I'm so famously unobservant that you had to post three times for me to notice your avatar and the fact that you're standing on a horse! And then it was only because @Mohair drew my attention to it. Is that really you standing on a horse????!!!! Good heavens! Because the pic is so small, I went to your profile to see it blown up, but it's not blown up nearly enough. Wondering if you can send me a really large photo in an email. Because, while I know a number of women who are extremely good athletes, I have never, ever known anyone -- male or female -- who could stand up on top of a moving horse. Wow! I am so thrilled to know you, @GILL!

    And now, I'm more eager for us to meet than ever!

    John 4:37 PM  

    Rex must have been hopped on painkillers after his fall. The only reason I can see that he didn't slam COOKEDKALE ... not a thing ... and
    WESTCORK. Do we say West New York? Nope, we say Western New York. Won't touch GAPPY.

    Hypocrite Police 4:56 PM  

    @GHarris 12:51 Friday 02/02/18 In reference to your post of yesterday:

    Whoa! Don't get too far out over your skis there big fella. One can still be "democratically elected" without the benefit of residing within the confines of a pure democracy. America is a democratic republic which is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Rather than being a cross between two entirely separate systems, democratic republics may function on principles shared by both republics and democracies. A democratic republic IS a simple representative democracy, but by consent of the majority or their representatives. The key word in that last sentence is OR!

    If you think that the founding fathers "artificially contrived" the concept of the Electoral College owing to mistrust of the Hoi polloi, You are only partially correct. The founding fathers did not necessarily fear the will of the majority. The far greater fear was that a small majority could hold infinite sway over a large minority. At the time, three of the thirteen colonies probably held 50% to 60% of the population. The founders had the prescience to realize that true majority voting would cause serious
    representational disparities with the remaining ten colonies, and that the problem would only be exacerbated as the union grew. Hence, the electoral college.

    Think about this. At full strength, there are 435 members in the house of representatives. As of today, Republicans hold 238 seats and Democrats hold 193. There are 4 vacancies. California, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois control 76 Democrat house seats. Excluding those four states means that there are only 117 Democrat held house seats,(or 27%) representing the other 46 states in America.

    Still think the founding fathers didn't have it figured out?

    sanfranman59 5:03 PM  

    @LMS ... I just want to say that I truly enjoy reading your posts out here. You are quite the story teller and seem to have and endless supply. Thanks for making this message board part of your crossword addiction.

    @Kitshef (9:00am) ... cool message board trivia re @GILL I

    @GILL I ... fabulous stuff today

    @Charlotte Vale ("now if he would only go a little easier on other people’s friend") and @kgev ("I wish Rex would be as easy on other puzzle makers as he is with his buds, sometimes.") Amen!

    I'm surprised that so many in such a distinguished group of solvers don't have KUDU in their crosswordese arsenal (see also oryx and zebu, but not to be confused with kudzu).

    Patrick Butler 5:17 PM  

    I knew KUDU, which is the symbol of the outstanding St. louis Zoo, where I grew up. (Er, the city, not the zoo.) My almost DNF was the crossing of AIRDAM with TORII. Had to guess at the I, but I think TORII was in the back of my brain somewhere and AIRDAM sonded better than the alternatives. Liked this one; clever cluing.

    crackblind 5:39 PM  

    I misspelled TORII with two R's so that really messed me up in the SW for a while. Also had Shabbas for SHABBAT and couldn't figure out what the heck Surn Ripe meant (hey, I'm Ashkenazi and grew up with a lot of Yiddish) but was so over sure of my Sabbath spelling that I stood by my 30 Across answer for way too long. Still nearly halved my average.

    Oh, and I love Mr. Pibb (so much so I refuse to use the Xtra name). Whenever we head south, that's one of our silly treats. The family was so excited when our local movie theaters and Five Guys started carrying it in those makeany flavor you can think of soda dispensers.

    Stanley Hudson 5:41 PM  

    @Gill I, thanks for sharing. So many interesting regulars on this blog!

    @LMS, keep doing what you've been doing because many of us appreciate your posts. As a fellow teacher, I especially appreciate your stories about students. OFB (Oldfatbastard) can simply skip over your entries if he doesn't like.

    Oldfatbasterd 6:11 PM  

    Hoping to get laid by being nice to the ladies Stanley?

    Disciple of Nanl 6:15 PM  

    Bit of a stretch here but I like how the singer of "You'll Never Know" from the musical film "Hello, Frisco, Hello" crosses the name of the founder of San Francisco!

    Aketi 6:25 PM  

    @GILL I, great story and picture today.
    @Mohair Sam, great cannonball story.

    TZ 6:28 PM  

    Ignore him @LMS. Ignore him @Stanley H. He's just a complete schmuck and douchebag and the biggest loser on this entire blog. Someone to be pitied. Plus he says he drinks heavily, and takes drugs. He's probably hammered and completely out of it every time he posts.

    GILL I. 6:47 PM  

    @Nancy...Yup...That's me. I'll send you a pic...
    @Kitshef...Thanks for getting me to revisit some wonderful memories. Those flicks are pretty laughable nowadays...!

    Larry Gilstrap 7:10 PM  

    My dad used the term SOB SISTERS to refer to male whiners.

    Yes, my students would carry a small wooden shoe used as a HALL PASS to go to the restroom. Late in my career, I realized the ostensible request for toilet use was more probably a need to use the phone.

    glennkenny 8:50 PM  

    I got Faye right away. Maybe because I was her bodyguard at a fan convention in 1993. What a doll.

    GHarris 9:27 PM  

    @Hypocrite Police
    I am well aware that our country is a democratic republic not a pure democracy as in early Athens. And I do not dispute that the President was lawfully elected, though he was not democratically elected in the strict sense of that word, i.e.lacked a majority. As to the founders' wisdom and trust in the people, they counted slaves as 3/5s of a person for represental purposes, did nothing to insure the right to vote for women and the non-propertied and provided that senators be elected by state legislatures and not by direct vote. They adequately protected the rights of small states by assigning two senate seats to each state regardless of population. As you surely know, a tiny majority in a few key states can deliver a presidential election notwithstanding that the winner lost the popular vote overwhelmingly. And in virtually every state the entire minority vote is discounted and all the electoral college votes are given to the winner however thin the margin of victory. Time for a change perhaps?

    Anonymous 10:09 PM  

    @G Harris,
    Nah.

    @Poggius,
    How about a citation on your libelous story regarding that trip to Rome.
    Also Father Serra was canonized, not sanctified, by Francis.

    Anonymous 10:11 PM  

    @roo monster My wife, a flight attendant, refers to passengers as PAX in conversations. It is also used on airline paperwork.

    John Hoffman 10:50 PM  

    Yes, southwest was hard: KUDU, TORII, AIRDAM. Ouch! Also, for “be charged,” I could not see PAYAFEE — seemed so obvious after I saw it.

    kitshef 11:20 PM  

    One last post to a) show a KUDU pic in my avatar b) Say there is a scene in Gwangi (doesn't everyone own that movie?) that looks a lot like the pic posted by @Gill I, so maybe you were not cut after all.

    semioticus (shelbyl) 12:24 AM  

    I'm tardy to the party anyway, but yeah, anything that I could say has already been said. Very good puzzle, except for a few problems that stops it from being great.

    GRADE: B+, 3.95 stars.

    Monty Boy 12:39 AM  

    Did anyone else notice that AREACODEMAP has the same number of letters as YELLOWPAGES? And no crosses work with the latter? Took a while to clean that up.

    Also thought SW was tough. Like the drunken SE.

    @LMS - At our swimming pool, the can opener was called a figure 4. The trick for a big splash is to lean back just as you enter the water. Someone asked why do one: Our reason was to get the lifeguards wet.

    JEMma 9:26 AM  

    NE corner was troublesome: Didn’t like GO ASK ANYONE/GAPPY; didn’t know PERRY; actively annoyed by PANERA as it is (a) not a cafe and (b) not called Panera but rather Panera Bread.

    But yes, real trouble was in the SW: still no idea what OTB is; never heard of AIRDAM; possibly have seen TORII and KUDU somewhere; COOKEDKALE is ridiculous (no one has ever said or written that phrase) and AREACODEMAP? Sure it’s something a phone directory could have, I suppose. Is that common? Find someone who’s actually looked at one in the last 20 years and ask them!

    Other than HALLPASS, there weren’t any fun answers here to salvage this thing. C- from me.

    JEMma 9:28 AM  

    Oh wait, CANNONBALL was good too!

    Scott McLean 3:18 PM  

    Mixed bag for me.
    Most of it made for a fairly fun solve. Junipero SERRA Boulevard feeds into I-280 in the southwest corner of San Francisco. Just before doing this puzzle I was looking at a map to figure out how to get to our new tax guy’s office, and yep, that was part of the route.
    Also in the southwest corner of San Francisco is the SF Zoo, where they display their KUDU right out front by the entrance. Two gimmes right there.

    Plenty of nice stuff here. That stack in the SE - funny! Other stuff - not so great. I agree with those who didn’t like GAPPY and GO ASK ANYONE. COOKED KALE was just awful. Worse than green paint even. Can we just throw “cooked” in front of any food? Breakfast bowlful: Cooked Oatmeal. Diner side: Cooked French Fries. Steak house entree: Cooked Sirloin. No. No. No.

    An OLIGARCHy is, according to my online dictionary, “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.” Not specific to any particular country. So why “Powerful Russians”? TURN RIPE sounds like something that happens suddenly. That’s not how it works and is not something I’ve ever heard anybody say. To “Be charged” and to PAY are two different things. Charged is getting the bill. You PAY A FEE *after* you are charged the fee.

    I’m not usually this pedantic, but there was enough of this kind of junk in this puzzle to set me off.

    Diana, LIW 11:40 AM  

    On Sunday mornings, I lie in bed, listening to NPR (as always) and play the puzzle with Will Shortz and company. Have done for years. That's where I first heard about a crossword tournament - I believe it was Lalapazoola (sp???). I immediately put it on my bucket list, and have now gone to 2 Minnesota State Tournaments and to ACPT last year, with plans to go to this year's. (As long as another 'Noreaster doesn't knock power out to the Eastern US that week!) (So I'm waiting to pack the tiara.) Tournaments rock. Ask @Rondo - who won a trophy at last year's Minney Tourn. He and @Teedmnmade a noise like a freight train as they whisked their way thru 15-minute puzzles in 3:32. Or thussabouts.

    This morning I heard about South by Southwest, a music festival in Austin, holding its 32nd annual fest starting today. But what I didn't know is that Public Radio is the force behind SXSW (yes, all crossworders will recognize SXSW, often crossing some other acronym).

    Who knew NPR was behind it all? So I guess that's why some crossworders didn't know what SXSW was - you are officially forgiven (kinda, I mean, why doncha try NPR?) for your lapse in cultural knowledge. Although I have often read about SXSW in other print media, even my local paper.

    Anyway - sign up for ACPT before it's too late!

    And, yes, I did the puzzle, and successfully completed yesterday's, too. Perhaps more later.

    And...speaking of Sunday mornings...when you wake up tomorrow (Sunday) it will be later than you thinkif you don't set your clocks one hour forward tonight. I'm already doing so. I like to get ready.

    Lady Di

    Burma Shave 12:54 PM  

    SOBSISTER'S SOIREE

    If I DRINK KETELONE, IFEELLOVE is a NEW drama,
    just GOASKANYONE who's HUNGOVER from the TRAUMA.

    --- SOFIA DANZA

    rondo 1:18 PM  

    As @D,LIW mentioned, I am the Greatest Rookie Crossword Solver in the Universe (2017 Minnesota Crossword Tournament, Amateur Division).

    As to this puz, most of it went fairly quickly and without error, but the NE remained slightly GAPPY because . . . GAPPY? And AINT and PANERA took a while to click. Mostly because there AINT any PANERAs near here and the only one I ever visited was in North Carolina c. 2004.

    Had the same thoughts as @LMS re: KETELONE HUNGOVER and STAGGER being out of order. Have a few DRINKs and see.

    I was going to go with the complete ALICEFAYE until yeah baby SOFIA as in Vergara showed up.

    Liked this puz a lot, except for the GAPPY area.

    spacecraft 1:31 PM  

    Easy-medium? Not for this PENSIONER. I'm sure OFL wrote in PIBBXTRA as a gimme not even worth mentioning; I never heard of the (?)dude. For me it was a virtual line-by-line struggle, but a successful one. Ergo, huge triumph factor.

    How did @rondo miss Katy PERRY for DOD? Gotta hurry, so: eagle.

    rainforest 3:24 PM  

    Good puzzle which I found medium-challenging. First entry was KNEES, followed by SPICE RACK. A search for gimmes found KUDU, OCTAD, BOARD, and thus KUDU. Also SERRA. Those were enough to give me hope as I struggled with much of this. Guesses for HOPIS, PAX, and SCROD cleaned up the North, and then the rest came slowly except for the SW which seemed almost easy.

    I've heard people say EYE HAND coordination, while it isn't standard, but GAPPY? Possibly substandard.

    Overall, I enjoyed this and fight to get'er done.

    leftcoastTAM 4:42 PM  

    Quit this one leaving a GAPPY grid, I'm afraid.

    wcutler 12:19 AM  

    @old timer 12:16 PM, I enjoyed your comment about Martin Hayes. In 2013, I was on a botanical gardens tour in Ireland. On a night he was performing in Cobh, County Cork, we were staying about a half hour train ride away. I had seen him in Vancouver, BC, but I was very stoked to be able to see him and Dennis Cahill in Ireland.

    I liked your song quote as well; it's the McGarrigle Sisters version I remember.

    The puzzle? I'm new at even trying Saturday puzzles, so was pleased to get as far as I did with this. SW was totally empty, and I didn't really recover from having GAPeY in the NE.

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