Ron nine-time all star from 1960s 70s Cubs / SAT 3-3-18 / Riesling alternative familiarly / So-called Father of Zoology / Wire stickup man

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Ron SANTO (19A: Ron ___, nine-time All-Star from the 1960s-'70s Cubs) —
Ronald Edward Santo (February 25, 1940 – December 3, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973 and the Chicago White Sox in 1974. In 1990, Santo became a member of the Cubs broadcasting team providing commentary for Cubs games on WGN radio and remained at that position until his death in 2010. In 1999, he was selected to the Cubs All-Century Team. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. (wikipedia)
• • •

Aha, so this is what happened to my Friday puzzle. It got lost and ended up on Saturday. Yesterday took me over 10 minutes, today: just over 6. As I said yesterday, yesterday was a Saturday. Today is a Friday. Both are fine puzzles, but slotting them on their proper days would have been ... let's say, nice. But I covered the manifestly commercial reasons for the mis-slotting yesterday, so—moving on. This puzzle was lovely, I thought, though we have to talk about the terrible, godawful cluing decision that the editor made on 1A: Display, as an image, using only a small number of different tones (POSTERIZE). That was not the constructor's clue. And I knew immediately after I got it that the clue wasn't the constructor's. No way. No one, least of all Damon (who makes pretty fresh puzzles, I think) is going to clue POSTERIZE in that clunky, technical way (I'm told it's a common command in Photoshop (?!)—all I know is that the clue is essentially lifted from wikipedia). No, POSTERIZE is basketball term. A common, nay, ubiquitous basketball term. It means "to dunk on someone in a way that is worthy of being depicted on a poster" (see picture, left). Google it and then hit "News" and look at all the articles, all of them about basketball, none of them about Photoshop. Search it in Twitter and see a pretty dense stream of basketball tweets. 100% basketball tweets. As a basketball term, it is dynamic, current, totally in-the-language, original, fantastic. With this (again, truly ugly) clue, it's pretty blah. Also, TONE is both in the grid (37D: Shade) and in the clue for 1A. Seriously, the editorial override on 1A was a terrible call. Should've been STETTED.

There is one pretty ugly part of the grid: it's then NE, where crosswordese ARHAT crosses crosswordese STETS and supercrosswordese TARAS (!?). MOL is up there too. Rough, rough, rough patch. Rest of the grid has a stray clunker or two, but largely stays clean. I flew through this with very few problems. Most trouble was right up front. ARKS for 1D: Bible supporters, often (PEWS). USDA for 2D: Org. with inspectors (OSHA). But R.E.M., IPO, and ZORA Neale Hurston were all gimmes, and I fixed the NW from there. "R.U.R." = gimme. ALI / ZAIRE = gimme. "SAY, SAY, SAY" = gimme. Slow spots included the SCENE in NUDE SCENE (43A: Hot take?), Ron SANTO (I have a real baseball blind spot from Maris's 61 to Fisk's home run, which seems to include almost the entirety of SANTO's career), and the last letters of EDER (9D: Linda of Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde"), SALUD (30D: "Gesundheit!"), and SHIRE (12D: Ending with Oxford or Cambridge), respectively (for that last one, I honestly wrote in SHIRT).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. 15A: Way out in space is a Great clue for ESCAPE POD.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  
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jae 12:10 AM  

Yes, easier than yesterday's and fine puzzle. Liked it. POSTERIZE is a WOE for me in either context, although when the answer emerged the Shepard Fairey poster came to mind.

Randall Clark 12:22 AM  

Enjoyed this immensely until I had one letter to go - T_RAS/ARH_T. Really? Spent much time looking at all the surrounding answers to see what I had messed up. Finally figured they were right and I was just plain Naticked. Guessed o first, got the "almost there" message. Guessed A next to finish. So a romanticized historical novella by Nikolai Gogol describing the life of an old Zaporozhian Cossack, Taras Bulba, and his two sons, Andriy and Ostap is fair to cross with a Buddhist who has attained Nirvana through rigorous discipline and ascetic practices? I'm 53 and I've never heard of either.

puzzlehoarder 12:28 AM  

A mediocre offering today, especially following a puzzle like yesterday's.

This was a dissappointment but not a surprise. Those big open blocks look nice and they can juxtapose some great long entries but they so often force the use of common easy fill. In the NW IPO, ZORA and REM dropped right in. ESCAPEOD followed quickly along with the rest of the NW.

In the SE it's the same thing WITH ASAP, PARA, YIN and SST all lined up next to one and other.

Changing LAOTSU to LAOTZU did cost me an extra eight minutes. At 33D I initially had CHEESEWIZ then CHEESWHIZ and finally the correct CHEEZWHIZ

As far as the NYT is concerned LAOTZU can be TSE or TSU. I checked at xwordinfo after solving.

Robin 12:39 AM  

Disagree about Friday's puzzle, as I thought that was dead easy for a Friday.

Then again, this was pretty easy for a Saturday. Only problem was that I finished and didn't get the happy sound from the Times website. Kept staring at ARHAT thinking this is not right, before finally looking around discovering that I had an S in the LAOTZU/CHEEZWHIZ crossing.

Overall, finished this week's Friday and Saturday puzzles in roughy the same amount of time. A little longer on the Saturday because of ARHAT.

TomAz 12:40 AM  

Agree 100% with Rex on POSTERIZE. Well maybe not 100% cuz I don't know whose clue it was. But that clue is bad. I mean it might be a legit definition but the basketball meaning is something that is familiar to me while the graphics definition is (1) unknown and (2) who gives a $%^&?

This one also played easier for me than yesterday's Maddowpalooza.

I would say RUR is to me about as crosswordese as it gets. ARHAT and STETS seem more real to me. Well STET does, at least, maybe not in the plural. But it was not hard to see.

Had no idea about EDER. SAY SAY SAY is tripe but at least it's tripe from an era I know. I think of SUSS as Britspeak but it's so useful I use it anyway. PANT SUITS screams 70s or 80s to me, and seems inherently sexist (It's a term I've only heard used for women's clothing, and seems to presume that the word "pants" is needed because "dress" or "skirt" is the norm -- ugh).

Loved the clue on ESCAPE POD. AMRY BRAT, not bad either. The LAO TZU quote makes me think of how we're going to undo this bloody mess we're in after the 2020 election. Or maybe after the 2018 election, here's hoping.

puzzlehoarder 12:46 AM  

@Randall Clark. I was tempted to mention ARHAT and TARAS simply because the clues for both initially stumped me. I at least knew ARHAT would probably come to me with the crosses. Sure enough with the AR in place the HAT part came right back to me. A quick look at the xwordinfo clue list explains this. ARHAT is making it's 15th appearance in the Shortz era. My solving predates it so there's that. The rest of TARAS I got from the crosses. This was only it's 9th appearance.

Trombone Tom 1:14 AM  

For me this was a walk in the park compared to Friday, with one exception. Never heard of POSTERIZE in any of its senses.

Having spent significant time studying Zen (without achieving nirvana) I was familiar with ARHAT.

On the easy side for Saturday but still kind of NEATO and worth at least two STARZ.

Tom Rowe 1:17 AM  

Easy for a Saturday. But I did get stuck, right where Rex found a slow spot. I just could not come up with scene for nude scene. Finally saw excop that gave me excuse you, and the scales fell from my eyes.

Harryp 1:45 AM  
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Harryp 1:48 AM  
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perry weiss 2:03 AM  

Rex, I couldn't agree more.
Ex. "John Starks absolutely POSTERIZE'd Horace Grant and Michael Jordan in the '93 playoffs!"
Might be hard for the young 'uns to believe, but the Knicks used to be great.

Cory Calhoun 2:06 AM  

I'm in that minority of crossword enthusiasts who is forgives the sin of a puzzle running afoul of the arbitrarily rigid parameters of day-specific difficulty. Life's too short, amirite?*

*That's rhetorical. Of course I'm rite.

Cory Calhoun 2:08 AM  

Furthermore: I'm also in the subsection of crossword enthusiasts who knew POSTERIZE from the get-go. I'm a graphic design major from back when Photoshop became a thing, so I've had that term in my vocab banks longer than I haven't. FWIW.

Harryp 2:11 AM  

I had the same problem with the S to Z that @robin and @ puzzlehoarder did. Liked clues for ESCAPEPOD, ARMYBRAT, EXCOP and NUDESCENE. I am always slowed down by SCAT or SKAT. SKAT is the card game. Don't google SKAT for the Urban Dictionary definition. TMI

Dolgo 2:15 AM  

I certainly think the pure pedestrian nature of this puzzle pales in comparison with the freshness and wit of yesterday's. If you haven't ever read Gogol, I highly recommend him. After Pushkin, the most influential Russian writer. When you wonder where the irony in all the great Russian novels comes from, it all becomes clear when you read "Dead Souls." That being said, "Taras Bulba" is far from his best work. My only cavil about this puzzle is the clear for ASTI.

Dolgo 2:16 AM  
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Dolgo 2:29 AM  

I've got more to say. I think it's really great when you can do a puzzle like this in six minutes. And I'm sorry yesterday's cost Rex a humiliating ten. I guess we have different ideas of what constitutes a good crossword. Except for a Monday or Tuesday, I can't say I've ever done a puzzle in six minutes. But, then, my enjoyment does not consist in how fast I can do these things. As a matter of fact, since I do them before I go to bed, a challenge that I can savor gives me much more pleasure. I guess that means I'll never be a crossword puzzle jock.

mathgent 4:12 AM  

Nice piece of work but I usually enjoy a Damon G much more. He said over on Jeff Chen that he constructed this one "many years" ago. Not enough crunch, not enough sparkle.

Saw Red Sparrow last night. I found it pretty boring. I mention it because NUDESCENE was in the puzzle. The lovely Jennifer Lawrence has a pretty good one.

Red Sparrow has quite a bit of torture porn. I'm noticing more and more of it in current movies and TV. It's sad to think that this is what entertains many of us.

Anonymous 4:39 AM  

I would imagine that when pant suits were introduced, that a skirt paired with a jacket was the “norm” for women's suits. It’s just a fact. It’s not sexism. Ugh.

Kodak Jenkins 6:23 AM  

mixed feelings about this one, felt challenging but the timer says easy Saturday.

Crossing ARHAT with TARAS and SHIRE threw me for a loop.

SLUGABED was a new one to me but I sensed its meaning

OMAR is the one character I know from the Wire

CEASE for "That's enough!": imagine your mom standing up and yelling "CEASE!" to the horseplay
LILTS for "airs": not what I think of
ATEAT seems to be more mild than "plagued"
The ASAP/PARA/SST fill is borderline unforgivable
ITSAWRAP doesn't fit "we're done here". Usually it would be THATSAWRAP

all the Zs (what's up with all the Zs?)

Looking back at the pros and cons I've decided this isn't a great puzzle.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

Here's Damon's comments regarding POSTERIZE: "I made this one many years ago. It sat in the queue even longer than usual. It looks pretty good to me now, with one major exception. 1-Across was a seed answer, and the original clue was something like "Humiliate on the hardwood." As basketball fans know, to POSTERIZE somebody is to dunk on them in such an impressive fashion that the image is worthy of being put on a poster. It's a fun, lively term evoking basketball awesomeness. Why, why, why then would you change the clue to reference a mundane, technical printing process? Maybe it helps the non-sports fan, but at the expense of watering-down the puzzle for everybody – it doesn't seem like a good trade-off to me."

BarbieBarbie 6:47 AM  

Since LAOTSU can also be LAOTSe and RUR is a WOE from the 20s I call Natick. At least I knew enough to keep jiggling my Chinese spelling until I got the Congrats. The S to a Z was obvious from the cross, but for me the final vowel was definitely in Massachusetts.

For a university professor to claim POSTERIZE isn’t in the language unless it’s about sports is pretty pathetic. You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to have heard of Andy Warhol. You don’t even have to have taken art classes. Just read the rest of the paper once in awhile. I agree the clue was lame, though.

Good Saturday, kept me going round and round. The NW was hardest until I saw ESCAPEPOD.

Sitting here by the fire with no power, five trees down, no way out of our neighborhood, listening to the wind and the sound of chain saws, watching the sun come up, and crossing my fingers that @LMS did decide to stay home and not head into the teeth of this storm. It was worse than predicted, which is not usually the case.

Smitty 6:54 AM  

"We're done here"

Lewis 6:54 AM  
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Lewis 7:01 AM  

The top two-thirds flew (for a Saturday), filling in like a Tuesday or Wednesday; it felt surreal, actually. But the bottom third fought me in typical Saturday fashion. I didn't know SAYSAYSAY or that fact about ARISTOTLE. And -- good lesson here -- I had SUITS and kept trying things to precede it, "work", "blue", "gray", etc. That is, I kept viewing this business attire as being worn by a man. Shame on me in this day and time! When LAOTZU finally popped into my head, the southwest fell, and the final two letters of ITSAWRAP gave me ASAP and PARA and finally the puzzle fell. That tussle in the south gave this puzzle a lovely exclamation mark.

Loren Muse Smith 7:04 AM  

I’m really, really surprised that people are reporting that this was easy. Jeez Louise did I struggle. Early on I almost just gave up with a ton left unfilled. But I finally erased “nude photo” to fit in ACES, and respelled CHEEZWHIZ (hi, @Robin, @puzzlehoarder, @Harryp) for IT’S A WRAP and made great progress.

Biggest goof was a ridiculous “voodooist” for needle guy. Even as I wrote it in, I had alarm bells going off in my mind. This feels weird. You don’t add this suffix to a word like that. It’d be like calling some philanderer a hanky-pankyist. But I dug in.

Still TATTOOIST feels kinda weird, too. Tattoo artist is what I’d say. Lost, uh, art.

A few years ago, my son and I were watching a basketball game, and he yelled POSTER! as someone went in for a dunk. He explained that you yell that to the defender trying to prevent the dunk to remind him that his screwed up face, all distorted and flattened out, will be immortalized as the backdrop to a poster of the guy dunking. Today is the first I’ve ever encountered POSTERIZE. I agree with Rex that the clue change was unfortunate.

DNF because of that ARHAT/TARAS cross people are pointing out. I just forgot to go back and guess.

@Smitty – loved your “watch tap” thinking.

Early on I filled in “pants suit” and sat there wondering about that s. I was thinking it didn’t go there. Turns out it doesn’t. Funny, right? PANTS is always plural but you have to lose the s for compounds. Same with:

trouser press
pajama party
scissor kick
(I never use scissors here. And I was a swimmer. So there’s that.)

Loved LAZY BONES, CHEEZ WHIZ (on both levels), ESCAPE POD, NUDE SCENE, and the clue for EYES. I actually used EYES that way a few weeks ago when I, thank you very much, single-handedly caught the Boys’ Bathroom Messer-Upper. After school almost every day, Cindy, the custodian assigned to my hall, would tell me that, yet again, she had a whopper of a mess to clean up in the bathroom. Deliberate, disgusting mess. A quit-your-job mess. I told her I’d start getting someone to check it after every class, so I could narrow down the time to a 50 minute period. Told her we had EYES on the entrance and could check who used it during that window. And we nailed him. I had other custodians come to hug me. Yeah – I’m totally tooting my own horn, but no one was doing anything to help. Sigh. Someone give me a damn mask and cape.

DJG – a pleasure, as usual. I love your puzzles.

QuasiMojo 7:33 AM  

I found this one too easy for a Saturday and chockful of Zzzz's. I know POSTERIZE from PhotoShop and have never used it. It's too gimmicky. Like Rex, I noticed the TWO-TONED effect today. (@LMS, tongues might be another one... he speaks in tongues except when he is tongue-tied...? -- and kudos to you Loren for your time spent this week fighting for what you believe in.)

ZORA Neale Hurston was much more than just a novelist.

GOSOLO sounds like a town in Italy.

Misread ZOOLOGY as ZOOLANDER and wanted BEN STILLER. Quite a far cry from Aristotle!

Someone mentioned RED SPARROW today. I was watching PBS NEWSHOUR last night and was shocked when it turned into a 15-minute commercial for that new movie. Robert MacNeil is spinning in his grave.

Excuse MOI before YOU.

Sari, IT'S A WRAP.

Kraebl 7:38 AM  

As I read Gogol I am one to say this is what I like for that is the very thing which I seek in such things as this but not Taras Bulba for which I find that those things do not appear as so much is said of others as this and many have said this very thing. I believe this is so.

Birchbark 7:45 AM  

I don't care one way or another about the POSTERIZE clue. I used the clue to solve the word.

But ARISTOTLE sandwiched between SAYSAYSAY and PANT SUITS? What sort of garage sale is this?

DNF at ARHoT/ToRAS. Ran the vowels there, but forgot A.

Jamie C 7:54 AM  

Hear, hear!

Hungry Mother 7:57 AM  

Getting ZORA was the difference for me. Way faster than usual, but still caused me to sweat it out.

John Morrison 8:08 AM  

Asti as alternative to Riesling? I know wine. I think not

Z 8:28 AM  

I finished the puzzle and Rex’s first paragraph was my first thought. I won Whack-a-Vowel today because I’ve done enough crosswords to recognize the crossfriendly ARHAT. Lao-Tse/LAO TZU is the eastern philosophy equivalent of Olaf/Olav. Still, you have two chances to know a crossing so Mr. Lao isn’t quite as bad.

There is a difference between observing and complaining. That yesterday’s puzzle was Saturday tough and today’s puzzle is Friday tough is an observation. If the swapping doesn’t bother you, great. That doesn’t change the fact that puzzles of this relative difficulty would typically be swapped.

Jeff K. 8:30 AM  

Easiest Saturday EVER. Like Tuesday easy. I kept waiting to get hung up but it never happened. Not 6-minutes fast (10:34 for me versus 29 minutes normally). Any casual basketball fan knows posterized is what happens to the guy getting dunked on but it’s Saturday so learning a new definition is cool by me. I’ve lurked around here for months so it’s nice to finally post. You guys are certainly smarter and wittier than most places.

Enjoy your Saturday!

clk 8:37 AM  

I would never have gotten POSTERIZE from the basketball clue. But it was a double DNF for me between ARHAT/TARAS and LAOTZU/RUR. I had no chance with the first pair (like someone else, I went with O first, as in ARHoT) and I thought the spelling was LAOTZe so ReR seemed as good as any answer.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

I guess I'm the only person who remembers Taras Bulba from the 1962 film; one of the few times Yul Brynner got to play someone other than the King in The King and I.

Stuart Showalter 8:46 AM  

I’m convinced that we who forgive that “sin” are the silent majority. And wouldn’t it be nice if Rex/Michael/OFL could get over his resentment of Will Shortz!
(If he only knew how small the carping makes him seem!)

Wm. C. 8:50 AM  

I've been doing the NYTXWPuz steadily for about a decade and weekends before that, but I have no recollection of seeing ARHAT before, nor did I know the word even after reluctantly completing it with the crosses.

I never heard of the term POSTERIZE -- in either the art or basketball sense -- but filled in with most of the crosses in place, thinking that it kinda made sense as an art term. OTOH, I had heard of Gogol's TARAS Bulba (though I've never read it), and started the NE fill with that, simplifying ZAIRE as the location of ALI's fight (originally thought of the "Thrilla in MANILLA," but it didn't fit). Got ROMANO (though only vaguely known) off the Os in ERODED and GO SOLO.

Anyway, a good Saturday for me with only a couple of Googles.

Wm. C. 8:55 AM  

Oops, make that "Manila," but still too long to fit.

Teedmn 8:58 AM  

I set no speed records on this puzzle but it was under my 26 minute Saturday average so I'll call it easy. I put in ___A at 2D, waiting to see if it would be USDA or OSHA; REM and ZORA got the rest of the NW going (I waited on IPO because of LBO).

Besides splatzing in TomEI at 65A with the T__EI crosses even as I was reading Shatner and Nimoy in the clue, (delete, no Marissa today), I didn't have many hold-ups. PANTSUITS led me to change dSl to SST as high speed inits. My grid looks pretty NEATO today.

TARAS Bulba was a total WOE. I got it from crosses but couldn't remember seeing it before. Xwordinfo shows it has been used 8 times since I started doing puzzles in the very late 90's but the last time it showed up was 2008. I Googled it and found a 1962 movie starring Yul Brynner in the title role and Tony Curtis playing his son. I wonder how Yul felt, having someone only five years younger playing his son on screen. The movie cost $7 million. In 1961 dollars, that's $57+ million but it lost money at the box office. IMDB was the source of this info - I think it was @Tita (hi twin!) who pointed out how far downhill IMDB has gone. Ads all over the place for the current Oscar films and spliced into a slideshow of Taras Bulba scenes. Bleh. Not to OBSESS or anything :-).

I also spent some time looking up info on the video of "SAY SAY SAY". Wow, everyone looks so young (and alive! Linda McCartney and Michael, RIP), but 1983 was 35 years ago. The video was filmed in CA and Michael's love interest is played by his sister La Toya. Hmmm.

Thanks, DJG, for a fine Saturday puzzle.

Nancy 9:08 AM  

I've never heard of POSTERIZE either. I kept thinking of that picture sharing website, Pinterest (it is a picture sharing site, right?), so I wanted PinTERIZE. But OSHA prevented me from writing it in.

EXCUSE YOU if you dare to put CHEEZ WHIZ on my cracker! It's not food. It's also misspelled.

WHAT'S MORE, if you ever said EXCUSE YOU to me, I'd SAY SAY SAY that you're the one who's rude.

I say "gesundheit" to someone when they sneeze. I say SALUD to someone when they drink. They're not remotely the same things, and I'm sure when I go back and read the blog, a zillion of you will have already pointed it out. (BTW, there are a lot of Zs today, aren't there?)

I found this puzzle crunchy enough to hold my interest throughout, but not nearly as smart and colorful as yesterday's.

relicofthe60s 9:21 AM  

When I Google POSTERIZE, the first page has two references to basketball and eight to art, so it seems to me arguable at best which usage is better known. As usual, Rex assumes his world is everyone’s world.

JOHN X 9:24 AM  

ESCAPEPOD is not a real thing and the clue is awful. No actual spacecraft has ever had an escape craft of any kind. Some high performance jets had escape capsules, but they weren't in space and it's a different word.

I know both the basketball term and the graphics term POSTERIZE. Sure, the basketball term is fun but it's slang, while the graphics term is long established, still in use, and of course technical. I guess that makes it "truly ugly."

Hey, "2001: A Space Odyssey" famously used slit-scan photography and POSTERIZation during the "Star Gate" sequence, which Bowman goes through in an ESCAPEPOD. There's always that I guess.

This was an easy puzzle.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I think you likely say "salut" (French) to someone drinking/toasting. However, you might want to say "salud" (Spanish) to someone who has sneezed. Some of the spellings held me up for a while. I also have not heard of "posterize". The puzzle was not terribly difficult.

GILL I. 9:31 AM  

Good lord this felt old. Let's see...We have a 1921 clue, a 1974, 1983 and 1988. Not to mention RUR, REM, the SST and the 1950's NEATO. Might as well include a DADDY-O.
I usually like DZ's puzzles. This had no imagination. Maybe it's the editor's fault, maybe I'm still giddy from yesterday's fresh and sassy puzzle, maybe because not a single entry made me smile...not even LAZYBONES.
I'm not even sure business women were PANT SUITS anymore. I wore a ton of them in my long gone business days; women now have so many other choices. Meh.
Muhammad ALI no longer with us but Laila certainly is. I think nowadays (at least I've heard it said) ARMY BRATS is out the door and something new and colorful called "Third Culture Kids" is in [yikes]...
Then we have CHEESE WHIZ which I think the FDA has banned and if it hasn't been, it should be.
SAY SAY SAY it isn't so.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Because nobody asked (stats from 15 previous appearances of ARHAT in the Shortz era.

12D. Sunday, May 29, 2016
53D. Monday, July 21, 2014
6D. Tuesday, May 13, 2014
88D. Sunday, October 20, 2013
51A. Friday, November 30, 2012
31A. Wednesday, October 20, 2010
16A. Saturday, July 11, 2009
2D. Wednesday, July 30, 2008
15D. Sunday, July 29, 2007
48D. Thursday, August 25, 2005
85D. Sunday, June 5, 2005
41D. Friday, November 12, 2004
2D. Thursday, August, 2003
43A. Sunday, May 17, 1998
11D. Friday, October 11, 1996

TubaDon 9:35 AM  

TARAS was the first word in (knew the Janacek symphony), SHIRE, ZAIRE, LAZYBONES followed and the unknowns were fairly easy to get from the crosses. Two quibbles: 1. ASTI is a sparking wine, unlike Riesling, so not a good substitute. 2. With so many vowel-laden Japanese cities, why is OSAKA the only one that ever seems to show up in crosswords?

Mohair Sam 9:48 AM  

Totally agree with Rex and Damon on 1A, totally. But how could PANTSUITS be clued without Hillary? A real oversight. Besides, I haven't seen a pantsuit in a business setting since 1988.

At Pat's Steaks I order my cheesesteaks "WHIZ wit" - hence 33D pretty much a gimme here.

Loved the clue for ARMYBRAT. I'm betting @Nancy will tell us lots about the talented Linda EDER (a gimme here). ACES crossing NEATO? - something out of "Back to the future". Ron SANTO belongs in the Hall of Fame, he has better stats than many third basemen in there and was a great fielder. Speaking of whom . . . . . .

Had Ron SANTO as a speaker at a national sales meeting in Chicago about a dozen years ago. Fascinating guy. He battled diabetes all his life (eventually losing his lower legs) and kept the condition secret from the Cubs for years - he felt (wrongly as it turned out) that if they knew about his condition they would drop him. Three of us collared him after his speech and he gave us about half an hour of just chatting about baseball - as unassuming a person as I've ever met. One of the three of our group was our Western U>S. sales manager, she had scheduled SANTO. Asked her later how she picked Ron. She told me she was a Chicago native and Cubs fan and had had a wicked crush on SANTO since she was 12. As good a reason to select a speaker as any I've heard.

Enjoyed this semi-easy Saturday a ton Mr. Gulczynski - thanks.

Two Ponies 9:52 AM  

Taras Bulba was my first answer. I think this must be standard crosswordese because it is filed right next to Addis Ababa.

@ Smitty 6:54, Watch tap is a great wrong answer. Where you been?

@ Lewis 7:01, Just because pantsuit wasn't your first guess is no reason to say "shame on me".

@ LMS, Good job catching the vandal but I can't help wondering what disgusting crime was being committed.

As soon as I wrote lazybones I could hear Leon Redbone singing it.

crackblind 9:55 AM  

Count me in as one who understands the Friday/Saturday flip. Oddly enough, though, I beat my average times on both - knocked nearly ten minutes off my Friday average and halved my Saturday average.

As a computer geek who barely follows sports, 1A killed me in the NW. I immediately threw raSTERIZE in there (it kind of works, though for pixels, not tones). Needless to say, that made 1D & 2D nearly impossible. In fact, after figuring out OSHA for 2D, I tried JEWS at 1D and thought it was a really messed up answer for a NYT Crossword as well as totally not understanding what the heck jOSTERIZE could be.

Also, add me to the list of those who got fooled by the Times style book acceptance of both LAOTZU & LAOTse.

Hartley70 9:56 AM  

I was forced to letter juggle both ARHAT and LAOTZU to make the crosses work and I'd never heard of POSTERIZE, but I prefer the basketball definition much more than the photoshop one. It's so good that I won't forget it and I may have to watch a basketball game to yell it at someone.

I'd have to call this easy peasy since my time was still just over half my usual Saturday, which is nothing like @Teedman's 26 minutes. You go, girl! One of these days I expect to see you up on the stage with ear muffs on, writing on the big easel with the big boys.

CHEEZWIZ. It's a pretty color but I've never quite been able to put it in my mouth. If I crave that squirty delivery straight from a pressurized can, I use real whipped cream.

I'm a LAZYBONES today because it's so nice to bask in the luxury of heat, water and lights after yesterday's deprivations. There's nothing like a power outage in winter to make you appreciate the "little" things.

DBlock 10:07 AM  

Another hand up for Taras Bulba being a gimme from the film
And both Friday and Saturday played the same for me this week
Flew through and got stuck in the NW
Maybe Jews mostly support the Bible?
Ron SA??? forever
Only difference was I eventually finished today and I can’t remember ever having a DNF on a Friday
Oh well
Stuck in Florida as Riley batters my home in Boston
Things could be worse

Suzie Q 10:12 AM  

I'm with Mohair Sam on the Hillary/pantsuit things. But with cankles like that what else could she wear?
The name of the Yodo River was a mystery. The spelling didn't even give me a hint to where in the world it could be.
I only noticed Ate At after that corner was done so my inner Beavis and Butthead saw A Teat!
Since Asti and Reisling are both white I guess they could be alternatives.
Okay puzzle since lots of unknowns didn't slow me down too much.

DJG 10:25 AM  

@Mohair Sam

It’s a good thing Ron SANTO belongs in the Hall of Fame, because he was inducted into it about five years ago :)

Bob Mills 10:29 AM  

LAOTZU, not LAOTSE, CHEEZWHIZ, not CHEESWHIZ, RUR, not RER. OK, I wasn't perfect. But I'm giving myself an A-minus.

GILL I. 10:32 AM  

@mathgent....Not to mention all the dysfunctional family tv series. I'm pretty sure it started with "Shameless" and has continued with the very strange "Transparent." You almost have to watch it several times before you appreciate all the irony. I love Tambor...
@Stewart Showater...I'm just curious - only because you never comment on the puzzle - Are you a favorite Uncle of Will's? Did @Rex's puppy crap on your lawn?....Enquiring minds.....
@Nancy.....SALUD in Spanish is both "cheers" and "bless you." mMy favorite Spanish cheers is" Arriba, abajo, al centro y adentro."
@Suzie Q...cankles....! I had to look up that word. Damn, it made me laugh. Now see, that would be a great puzzle word - Hillary clue and all!

Andrew Heinegg 10:32 AM  

Interesting info but, it will still be crappy x-word answer if it is used a 150 times. I don't like it when I complete a puzzle and look at an answer like that and think:'that has to be right, but what the?'.

FrankStein 10:34 AM  

Anyone else a fan of Ronald Dahl’s Twilight-Zoney TV show from long ago called “Way Out”?

'mericans back in Paris 10:35 AM  

We're with @LMS in finding this puzzle not so easy. Quickly filled in the middle section, but then plodded slowly through the north and south, and finally Natticked in the northeast at the ARH_T -- T_RAS cross. Gave up and hit the "Check Puzzle" reveal and found two other errors: nNORA instead of ZORA, and LAO TZe instead of LAO TZU. Never heard of RUR.

So, we didn't SUSS out everything. The gratuitous plural, STETS, and the unusual singular, EPSOM SALT(s), both grated, though they were easy enough to figure out. Agree with others that the usual expression is "thaT'S A WRAP".

Otherwise, we found the puzzle NEATO. WHATS MORE, we finished most of it, and didn't resort to Mr. Google.

I don't get the offense caused by PANT SUITS. Didn't Hillary wear them and refer to them as such? By the way, according to Wikipedia, they are called "trouser suits" outside the USA. I guess that's because in British English, "pants" are what we call underwear.

Funny that the puzzle contains both ERODED and ATE AT as answers. Seems we've been encountering those to a lot lately. Lots of answers beginning with "O", too: OFFICE MAX, OMAR, OP-ED, OSAKA, OSHA, OXIDES. Is Mr. Gulczynski as OBSESSed with the big O as M&A is with youz?

FrankStein 10:38 AM  

That was Roald not Ronald but the R.U.R. changed it. 😘

jberg 10:43 AM  

Come on, folks. Some of you are basketball fans and knew POSTERIZE one way; others are graphic artists, or work with them, and knew it that way. It’s the wheelhouse thing. Me, I didn’t know it either way, and considered POrTERIZE — invented by someone named Porter—until I got the crosses.

This being Saturday, I expected the thing with inspectors to be —PD. Fortunately, I waited on that one.

@Loren, I had the same problem won’t PANTSsuit. I’m surprised the right-wing trolls aren’t raising a fuss about Hillary Clinton‘s typical attire and Barack Obama’s favorite “The Wire” character in the same puzzle.

@Nancy—I think CHEEZWHIZ is spelled BECAUSE it’s not food. Certainly not a favorite topping around here.

I was thinking about the Friday/Saturday thing. If the Maddow puzzle ran on Friday in hopes that some of her fans would take a look at it, some of whom might then join the ranks of solvers, I think that’s a good thing—worth a little day-of-the-week confusion.

Silasxl 11:04 AM  
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Z 11:12 AM  

@StuartShowalter - I am reminded of an old quip; The Moral Majority is neither.

@Andrew Heinegg - I feel your pain. Still, there are lots crappy xword answers like ARHAT. Complaining about the rain won’t keep you dry, though.

@Two Ponies - By design public schools have two entrance requirements, be of a certain age and breathing. This means educators see just about every aspect of the human condition. I won’t share the various crimes I had to deal with in my career. Let’s just leave it at unpleasant. What comes next often surprises people. It could just be an inappropriate sense of what’s funny. But it could also be a sign of abuse happening or a sign of some developing mental illness or a kid who has never learned appropriate ways to express and process anger or a kid whose parents are divorcing or... well, you get the picture. My belief in the need for more trained social workers in schools and having social work elements included in teacher and administrator training comes from seeing what those kids needed.

jberg 11:12 AM  

Hey, Taras Bulba is featured in three movies, an opera, and a restaurant chain! Plus both a Canadian wrestler and a (possibly pro-Nazi) Ukrainian guerilla fought under his name. Wheelhouses again!

jugcap100 11:14 AM  

56 Down: PARA as in paralegal? Never heard it used. Maybe a regionalism.

Ellen S 11:17 AM  

I did the Friday and Saturday back-to-back and was surprised to finish the Friday at all, but I did, after finishing Saturday’s. Aside from that, I also just saw @Aketi’s comment from (Friday I think) :”It is beyond me to understand why teaching is so undervalued.” I think the answer is, “So people will think it’s appropriate to resent teachers getting decent pay and be willing to support private charter schools where teachers will have no union protections and their pay and benefits will be cut to increase profits.” @LMS - your fight is for all of us.

That said, I would have been dead if 1A had retained its basketball clue, but since I have used Photoshop, I know about that kind of POSTERIZing.

pabloinnh 11:31 AM  

33D made me think of The Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream"--

Only trouble is, Cheezwhiz,
I'm dreamin' my life away...

At least that's the way my doo-wop group sings it.

r.alphbunker 11:31 AM  

POSTERIZE went in first. I did not know its use in basketball. Now I do and am probably a better person for it.

I wanted MENS SUITS. We seem to be forever stuck with the way things were when we were young and impressionable. I need to edit a lot of the stuff I think so it never sees the light of day.

Details of my solution are here.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Harder than yesterday for me. Would never have sussed out POSTERIZE with a basketball clue. Have never seen that usage. Hard enough - though doable - with the clunky clue edit, especially with an unknown baseball clue in the NW as well. Guess Will was balancing out that corner for those of us who seldom read the sports pages??? (Where are all the SEC, Big 12 clues? Sooooo many baseball answers. And Ithaca. Always Ithaca.)

Malsdemare 11:54 AM  

This was hard. That ARHAT/TARUS cross was brutal. I was sure I guessed that one wrong. Turned out my flub was at LAOTZU, who I was sure was LAOTSe. Sigh! Otherwsie, I plodded through this one and mostly enjoyed it. I wanted LAyaBOut before LAZYBONES, but it didn't fit. Tried NUDEphoto before it became a SCENE. And the ARMYBRAT foight me til the end. The A in ARHAT was the last to fall, but it was the SW that really challenged me. I feel pretty good to have completed this with just the one error. Saturdays are usually much worse for me.

@RP There is no way in hell I would have gotten 1A with the basketball clue you suggest. It was hard but SUSSable as written. And stop with the claims that the Maddow puzzle ran yesterday so she could plug it on her show. She taped a lead in to Engel's special of last night and could have included a mention of her puzzle then. Honestly, I thought this was harder than Friday. Complain about the puzzle being on the wrong day if you will, but don't blame it on Maddow. That's beneath you.

Now to read comments.

Carola 11:54 AM  

Easy and fun. Nicely hidden STAR warZ mini-theme with the ESCAPE POD and exhortation GO, SOLO! Just kidding.
I got quite a bit of help from previous crosswords: ARHAT, OMAR, RUR, YIN, ACES.
Knew TARAS Bulba from the Janacek piece and Ron SANTO from living with 3 generations of Cubs fans.

Two Ponies 12:11 PM  

@ Z, You took my comment on LMS's little criminals WAY too seriously. I was thinking of some sort of juvenile scatological prank.

OISK 12:13 PM  

Big DNF for me, making this my first "Lost Weekend" (ERM???yesterday) in months. I actually know "Posterize from photography. But started out looking for ______tone, and so had Nora, but postetone with OPO was no good. I knew it had to be IPO. Hence Postetine, with 2 wrong squares. Never heard of "REM" outside of the puzzle, but it (they?) has been in enough puzzles; I can't blame the constructor. Never heard of "Eder" eder, but I got it.

And then...I had Lao Tse. How would I know how "Cheezwhiz" , a product I have never used, spells its name? That gave me "RER." But RUR has also been in plenty of puzzles. I could have gotten it. I actually had four incorrect squares, some kind of record. But that's just "Laotze" solving on my part.

That said, for my personal taste, Say say say, Eder, REM, Omar, is too much pop culture. Especially when "Mosque of ____" is an available, non-pop culture clue. And "Dream sign" for REM.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Just one EPSOM SALT?

Dolgo 12:18 PM  

I remember. A pretty good game!

Dolgo 12:23 PM  

I generally ignore sports, but even I have heard of Ron Santo.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 12:27 PM  

Third role for Yul Brynner besides Taras Bulba and The King, Dr. Zhivago! I think he may have played Genghis Khan too.

Dolgo 12:29 PM  

Not to mention the source of them all-- the Gogol novella. You also left out the Janacek symphonic poem mentioned by @Tuba Don.

Z 12:35 PM  

@Two Ponies - I hear you. Hopefully that’s all it was.

JC66 12:37 PM  

Hand up for knowing TARAS Bulba from the 1962 film. Tony Curtis' performance as Yul Brenner's son was memorable due to his thick Brooklyn accent, and would have won a Razzie, if they existed back then.


As @Jberg pointed out, CHEEZWHIZ ain't misspelled because it isn't cheese.

David in CA 12:40 PM  

All I can say is thank god Will S. changed the 1A clueing to make it reasonably inferable, instead of a totally know/don't know usage limited to fans of a particular sport. I'm not familiar with either usage, but when I got it with Will's clue I went "sure, that makes sense. Poster - colored artwork - might need to be printed in a special way - makes sense" as opposed to "WTF" or "WOE" had it been clued basketball-wise.

Virginia 12:46 PM  

Even after several consultations with Dr. Google (TARAS, EDER) I finally Naticked on LAOTZE/LAOTZU and RER/RUR. Misremembered the name of the play and forgot that the philosopher’s final vowel is negotiable. Oh well! Personally I’m grateful for the clue change on POSTERIZE, because I’ve never heard that word used as a basketball term and wouldn’t have gotten it in a million years. Not my favorite Saturday ever, but the clue for ARMY BRAT — embarrassingly, almost the last thing I filled in — was darn clever.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@all the Epsom Salt folks. You might could look it up and learn that you have said it wrong all your life long. It ain't Epsom Salts. Sorry to break the news.

Masked and Anonymous 1:07 PM  

OK SatPuz.
Started it off with RUR [staff weeject pick], because that was the first clue that I chanced to look at, for some random reason. Maybe cuz it had a long clue with a number-year, stuff in quotes, and it was at the top of a clue column. Anyhoo … Then I got ERODED. Then EDU. Then ALI. Then ASIAGO [where I shoulda ROMANO-ed]. And M&A was off and limpin.

Soon, not bein of the ARHAT persuasion, I handed puz off to PuzEatinSpouse, who took quite a long gnaw on it, eventually handin it on back to me to clean up a mostly-empty SW corner with CHEEZWHIZ in it. CHEEZWHIZ and RUR helped me get LAOTZU tolerable quick, and the rest of the corner then filled in pretty much like I was takin dictation. Done and done it.

fave fillins: EXCUSEYOU. OFFICEMAX. CHEEZWHIZ. ITSAWRAP. LAZYBONES [Don't mind the plural here, since the singular ain't much of a thing]. And havin both LAOTZU and ARISTOTLE drop by was nice and thoughtful.

Kinda hard to compare today's themeless with yesterday's sorta themeless, sooo … will just tip my ARHAT to em both, and move on down the E-rode.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. G.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Austenlover 1:09 PM  

I don’t think Yul Brynner was in Dr. Zhivago. Omar Sharif played the title role. Brynner was in The Magnificent Seven.

Amelia 1:15 PM  

Rex makes a good point with the wrong argument. Posterize is the answer for both concepts. Shorts changed it because he thought his constituents wouldn't know the answer at all. (MY argument is that on a Saturday, anything should be able to go.) Just because he found more references to basketball than Photoshop on Google--well that doesn't answer the brief.

The constructor wanted basketball. The editor blocked his shot at the clue.

Easy puzzle. Fun. Want a little more crunch on a Saturday, but I have plans, so I'm good.

Fred Romagnolo 1:21 PM  

@jberg: yesterday's blog was a Rachel Maddow love-fest, but comments from the right mean "trolls?" Such thinking indicates the kind of elitism that leads some to refer to people who don't agree with them as "deplorables."

Stanley Hudson 1:24 PM  

I’m 60 and a lifelong basketball fan. Somehow POSTERIZE never crossed my radar. Never too old to learn.

Joe Bleaux 1:40 PM  

Damon G comes through again ... a scan of the clues is daunting, then a couple of toe holds and I'm off and running, and kept running til the NE. That's where I had exactly the same experience as @Randall Clark, except I guessed correctly at ARHAT. And now, gotta go Google Gogol.
@Tom Az, re your last remarks, that's the plan; let's hope it works.

David Miottel 1:47 PM  

Had the exact same progression on CHEEZWHIZ! Didn’t take me quite as long to see, but easily added another few minutes going over every entry. One minute over my best time, so that was frustrating, but Rex is right that yesterday and today should have been swapped.

CashPo’ 1:49 PM  

Yul Brenner was in Brothers Karamazov. John Wayne was Genghis Khan.,

Mohair Sam 1:52 PM  
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CashPo’ 1:53 PM  

Damn autocorrect! Brynner.

Mohair Sam 2:01 PM  


The Baseball Writers Association never inducted him - one of their great injustices, and he died not a Hall of Famer. But yes, the "Golden Age" Committee finally inducted him in 2012.

Daniel 2:38 PM  

Agree about Gogol, but I wouldn’t say Taras Bulba is far from his best. In my book of collected works, Dead Souls and TB are back to back.

OldMotherRiley. 2:54 PM  

I don’t understand STETS.

Uncle Alvarez 2:55 PM  

For once, Rex wasn’t niggardly with praise.

semioticus (shelbyl) 3:13 PM  

Fastest Saturday at 18:10! But somehow, not as enjoyable as I thought my fastest Saturday would be. Not zesty enough, I guess.

I am not gonna repeat what has been said about POSTERIZE clue swap and the NE corner. The 9-letter words, almost all of them were amazing. The shorter fill, though. Too many Crosswordistan residents there for a Saturday: SST AFTA RUR ASTI CAMO EPSOM. It's not a bad fill overall, but not crispy enough for Saturday. There is no aftertaste to this puzzle.

The clues were great though. Way out in space was a legit aha moment. Kid with a moving life story? also brilliant. "The Wire" stickup man is very apt because Jonathan Abrams' oral history about the best TV drama in history is out on the bookshelves!

Overall, still the best puzzle this week, but it's been a meh week so far unfortunately.

GRADE: B+, 3.8 stars.

Banana Diaquiri 3:14 PM  

tough to see how Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, and such are students of Gogol. who I liked when I was in my Russian Period.

ChE Dave 3:18 PM  

Wanted “rasterize” for 1A, gave me “revs” for 1D. Stared at 17A for a while until it fell into place. Otherwise, a fast Saturday.

Lindsay 3:32 PM  

Was thrilled to almost finish (ARHAT/TARAS and LAOTZE) in just over two hours. Rex's ten minutes made me laugh out loud, but only for a moment.

Badly wanted 'GEWURZ' as our Riesling alternative, but it didn't fit, and would have added another 'Z'.

Gave up on ARHAT by entering ASSHAT, which didn't fit but made me feel better.

BobL 4:00 PM  

Well said, Lindsay. Maybe a LMS wannabe.

sanfranman59 4:07 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. Your results may vary.

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

Mon 3:40 4:09 0.89 13.8% Easy (almost goes without saying with an ACME puzz)
Tue 4:08 5:47 0.73 2.8% Very Easy
Wed 6:47 6:07 1.11 67.6% Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:37 10:01 0.96 44.4% Medium
Fri 16:42 11:42 1.43 91.0% Challenging
Sat 11:44 18:30 0.63 9.5% Easy

My 12th fastest solve time of 332 Saturdays. I guess I discovered my inner Gulczynski today since my average time on 8 of his previous Saturdays was close to 21 minutes. I struggled to start in the NW but got some footing in the NE and it was pretty smooth sailing after that. I completed the second half in a crazy, almost Wednesday-like 4:14. I think Will got his Friday and Saturday puzzles mixed up this week.

I completely agree with Rex about the clue for POSTERIZE. In retrospect, I'm not surprised that it wasn't Damon's clue since it's so dissimilar to the relatively crisp cluing in the rest of the puzzle. I'm no constructor, but this seems like a good rule of thumb: If your clue is 12 words and requires an explanatory phrase set off by commas, rethink your clue. Particularly so if it's the clue for 1A.

jberg 4:20 PM  

@fred romagnolo -- my apologies, I guess I should have explained what I was saying more clearly. I do not consider all right-wing -- or left-wing -- comments to be from trolls. In the context of this blog, I consider trolls to be commenters who have nothing to say about the puzzle, but who come here solely to attack someone else for political beliefs. There have been plenty of those, on both the right and the left. In this case, only right-wing trolls could be expected to object to Obama-Clinton related content. Of course, my whole point was intended to be facetious.

Joe Dipinto 6:36 PM  

@Pabloinnh 11:31 - you totally cracked me up.

I couldn't remember exactly how Cheez Whiz was spelled. At first I had Cheese Wiz, so I had to rearrange that section later. And I'm not unfamiliar with basketball but I've never ever heard the term "posterize" used in conjunction with it, so as far as I'm concerned the clue in the puzzle was much better.

Z 6:44 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo - Trolls come in all political persuasions, but only right wing trolls and Russian bots seem to care about HC's PANTSUITS. Although it does seem that some left wing trolls were actually Russian bots as well.

@Amelia - There are a fair number of commenters today who pled* double ignorance on POSTERIZE so your point obviously has merit. But I don't think you really answered the brief, either. To my ear the basketball clue has a fresher and broader appeal than the graphic art program clue. It also sounds more like our constructor. Shortz was picking between pools of ignorance not widely known versus unknown. He also chose to ignore freshness and constructor voice. The editor made a poor editorial choice.

*Anyone who thinks "pleaded" is preferred over "pled" has no sense of sound.

Fred Romagnolo 7:15 PM  

@jberg: my apologies; glad you cleared that up.
@z: we pretty much agree. FWIW I voted Libertarian (but for Bernie in the primaries, in CA the Dems allow indies to vote in their primary).

Christophe 7:50 PM  

Did not know that Gogol wrote ".... Bulba", but knew that Leoš Janáček had written the musical work "Taras Bulba", which helped a lot.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Not impressed.

OISK 7:51 PM  

Riesling is a grape. Asti is a town. I don't like "Asti" as an alternative to "Riesling." ( although both terms describe white wines.) And I also can't imagine a wine drinker saying "Oh, you are out of riesling? I'll have an Asti..." "Piedmont wine town" is a better clue.

Tc 8:04 PM  

Just for the record Laotzu is not the philosopher

oldactor 9:02 PM  

Put in Taras with no crosses. Knew RUR because when I was at UT Austin in a scene design class I designed a set for RUR as my final project. Knew SALUD because I speak a bit of Spanish. I say it in English too because I can't say God Bless because I'm a non-believer.

oldactor 9:04 PM  

salud means HEALTH in Spanish

Watermelon sambo 9:38 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 9:58 PM  

@all the Epsom Salt folks. You might could look it up and learn that you have said it wrong all your life long. It ain't Epsom Salts. Sorry to break the news.

true, but it is Epsom Downs

Adam Frank 11:10 PM  

ARHAT and TARAS both WOEs for me. But otherwise enjoyed this a lot more than the puzzle yesterday. Basically I agree with all of Rex’s review, along with the people who had multiple iterations of CHEEZWHIZ before getting the spelling right. I enjoyed it.

phibetakitty 11:12 PM  

Things I learned from the blog today: Epsom salt is singular! The basketball clue for posterize! It’s a lot more fun and interesting than the graphic arts clue.
I knew arhat but maybe that’s because I was a third culture kid (but lnot an army brat).
I remember the ads for TAH RAS BOOL BAH as a kid but never saw it. I lump it in with the Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur type of flick. Watching the trailer on iTunes it looks like a lot of horses didn’t make it.
Great to be reminded of Ipcress File, and Funeral in Berlin, good old Harry Palmer. Came out just three years after Taras Bulba. Movies were getting smarter and quirkier, and then all 60s with The Knack and Blowup.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  
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Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Had “voodooist” also!!! Never doubted it for a minute. That along with having “laps” for Bible supporters provided for a healthy tussle.

Linda Gibson 11:37 AM  
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kitshef 3:34 PM  

Catching up a bit following massive power outage in the area. Power still out at home so working from a friend's. I thought this was simply terrible, and it packed all its terribleness into the north, where it really stands out.

As many have mentioned, there is WoE ARHAT crossing WoE TARAS, but there is also WoE POSTERIZE crossing WoEs ZORA and EDER. If you have five WoEs in your puzzle, they space 'em out. But every one of them crosses another WoE.

Dan M 8:24 AM  

I got POSTERIZE immediately and would have needed every cross if it had been a basketball clue... that said, when I filled it in I thought “wow, that’s pretty obscure even for a Saturday!”

James Pratt 3:21 PM  

Linda EDER is magnificent on the Jekyll & Hyde cast recording, and her version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is my favorite thing to hear on the radio around Christmas.

The cross-reference of ALI and ZAIRE made both gimmes, becoming the first two entries into the puzzle. I agree with OFL about the definition of POSTERIZE. I was fairly certain that there was a Z in the first word of CHEEZWHIZ, but my hangup was whether there was an E in the first word, or an H in the second. I wanted EXCUSEme, until I was writing it in and had too many spaces. I initially wanted "kelly" to be Shatner and Nimoy's costar, since DeForrest Kelley was the only other main credits bill on the Original Series. But I forgot about the E in his name, and the I in WHIZ pointed me straight to TAKEI (especially since he's the only one besides Nimoy with a 5-letter name, misspelling of Kelley notwithstanding).

Last four squares were ST in LASTS and HA in ARHAT. I eventually saw SHIRE for Oxford and Cambridge, and ARHAT was a word I've at least heard before (no chance I could have defined it), and from there LASTS finally fell to finish off the puzzle.

I will admit that, as a COST analyst by day, it gave me great pleasure to see the clue/answer pairing for 26-Down.

For me, the ability to finish a Saturday without any need to google almost invariably means that Rex will count it as Easy. Sure enough, that was the case today. All the same, I revel in finishing a Saturday puzzle, regardless of the relative ease.

Ando 9:07 PM  

Agreed that POSTERIZE was terrible. Maybe (arguably in all cases) RASTERIZE, or MEZZOTINT or HALFTONE or BENDAY DOTS or whatever. Lots of printing terms are related to what that clue describes. POSTERIZE is not one of them.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Edo shows up on occasion...

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