Fourth god to exist in Greek myth / SAT 4-21-18 / Currency unit equal to 100 kurus / Teacher of lip-reading to deaf / Wite-Out manufacturer

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Constructor: Daniel Nierenberg

Relative difficulty: Easy (mid-6s, but that's with ~30 seconds of "taking screenshots" time—uninterrupted time would've easily been somewhere in the 5s)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Ron KOVIC (46D: Ron who wrote "Born on the Fourth of July") —
Ronald Lawrence "RonKovic (born July 4, 1946) is an American anti-war activist, writer, and former United States Marine Corps sergeant, who was wounded and paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of his 1976 memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film in 1989 directed by Oliver Stone.
Kovic received the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay on January 20, 1990, 22 years to the day that he was wounded in Vietnam, and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow. This was easy. Eerily easy. I did my usual thing of throwing down all the short Downs I could make fit at first guess in the NW, and then checking to see where I was at with the long Acrosses. Shockingly, with the exception of ITSY for ITTY (ick), allll of my first guesses up there were right, and all of the long Acrosses fell pretty much immediately. Here's my very first pass at the NW:
And then it just Kept Going. This was a very open grid, with lots of ways to get at every corner, so there really was no getting stuck. Once I committed to ORALIST (I might've ... gagged on that one, a little) and -LYSIS (definitely gagged there), moving down into the rest of the grid was quite easy. The only slight roadblocks were: I wanted SURE for SOLD (25A: Convinced) and then wanted NOT ART for NON-ART (21D: Dada, to its critics), which is a non-answer as far as I'm concerned, but that's non of my business, moving on. I probably had more trouble with CLARET than with anything else in the grid, which is really strange given that I know the word. I think of it as wine and not color, I guess. Just couldn't come up with it. Honestly, there's no more resistance in this puzzle. I could've written in GAY MARRIAGE for 58A: Subject of the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges with no crosses if I'd had to, but I didn't even have to do that, as I'd already plunked THE EYE and DIORAMA down there. 
No idea about RIGGS (44D: One of the detectives in "Lethal Weapon"), but it hardly mattered—it just filled itself in from crosses. I actually liked most of this grid, just not the ITTY ORALISTLYSIS up top. BRAE is some old school crosswordese (51D: Landform near a loch), but it felt like an old friend more than a nuisance today. If I'm not being bombarded by crosswordese and otherwise bad fill, I'm remarkably cool with the stray quaint old term. An ETUI here, an ASTA there, just fine with me.

Anyway, today I did not NEED HELP. Everything just clicked. I'm definitely much faster solving at night than solving in the morning. And I've also found that if I do a hardish puzzle right before I do the NYT, it helps a lot. Today's pre-NYT warm-up puzzle was Peter Gordon's latest Fireball Newsflash puzzle; these are always replete with very recent and newsy answers—brutal proper nouns, but always crossed fairly. Anyway, it helped me keep up with some current events *and* got me in fighting shape for this puzzle, which I destroyed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Yes, very easy for a Sat. My solve was much liked @Rex’s...Sure, ITsy, NOt ART. NW was Mon./Tues. easy. The only real problem area for me was NE, probably because I’m more used to seeing BUBBLE TEA called Boba TEA where I live.

Nice debut, but it was more of an easy Fri. for me. Liked it.

Brian 12:17 AM  

Bubble tea more of a skim treatment?

Mo Pariser 12:40 AM  

My new best Saturday time since setting my high last week. Hardly a snag in this one. Did not know EPEE was a sport... Just fencing specifically using an epee? Don't love that clue. Otherwise another breezy Saturday. Keep em coming DN.

P.S. How 'bout them Mets? Playing some great BAT of late.

Harryp 12:42 AM  

The last section to fall in this one was the northeast corner, with BIC, UNO, BEE and COED, giving me BUBBLE TEA. Well below Saturday average, but it had some head-scratching fill. I didn't know RIGGS or KOVIC, and had ARES before EROS.

Graham 1:35 AM  

THE GREAT DIVIDE is bugging me. It’s the imaginary line down the Rockies (mostly) that divides the Pacific watershed from the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico. Life and death? Never heard it used that way. (Of course, now I will, a dozen times in the next week.)

chefwen 2:19 AM  

It took two of us but we got ‘er done. A little tricky in parts but not too bad for a Saturday.

I don’t associate KILTS or their pattern as being checkered, plaids and checkered are two different things in my mind. Will have to research.

BUBBLE TEA seems to be quite popular around here, I have yet to try it, just the name is not appealing to me.

Do they still sell CORSETS?

Evan Jordan 3:53 AM  

Feeling Rex on this one. E-Z as non-competitive log falling. But just as fun.

Dave 6:06 AM  

Like lots of others, it seems, this was my best Saturday time ever. As an appellate attorney who has done work in this area (for the good guys) :), Obergefell was a total gimme, and really opened things up right from the beginning.

Back to your write-up from yesterday, Rex: you said constructors are paid "fractions of a penny per dollar profit" -- and that they are paid $300 or $350 per puzzle -- does the NYT really rake in north of $40,000 in profit for every puzzle it prints? That would mean they make $14,600,000 of profit a year from the puzzle alone. I'm a relatively-new solver, but that figure seems really high...

Lewis 6:14 AM  

This was an enjoyable march, led by cracks that let the light in, with some lovely answers (THE EYE, SHADOW BOX, and the entire gorgeous SE stack), plus a great clue for AIDE ("Second hand"). It was the second day in a row with a high count of double E's (6), and had the terrific cross of OH STOP IT and TIRE OF.

For me, the puzzle had less resistance than yesterday's offering, as the cluing was more direct, but I was charmed by its fresh feel. What a great start -- to debut on a Saturday! -- and I'm looking for more from you, Daniel!

Loren Muse Smith 6:18 AM  

Wow. A Saturday debut. Very impressive, Daniel. I don’t know how you people do it.

Yep – have to agree that this one was easyeous. First word in was “gin” for UNO. So there was that.

I also wrote in “poser” for that juvenile put-down. Yesterday I was telling a teacher native to Calhoun County (where I teach) that I felt like a poser saying holler instead of hollow. Like I don’t have the right to pronounce it that way since I’m not a “Houner.” People would notice and think I’m a poser and it would be all awkward and stuff.

FWIW – holler: landform near a crick

I love the dialect here. But I’m deciding that I like a Kentucky twang even better. Anyone else pulling for Donathan on Survivor? I could listen to him read the phone book.

I had no idea that an ORALIST was a lip-reading teacher. I did notice it crossed EROTIC NOVEL. I tried to read it, but even I, supreme consumer/devourer of *the* most vapid material out there, noticed the bad writing. (I guess if you squint, you can see all kinds of snicker snicker: LIE IN BED, ON TOP, TEARS the CORSET, ORBs…)

OH STOP IT never means that if it’s a response to flattery. Read their lips and you’ll see they’re actually saying, Please elaborate and speak up a little bit, will ya? When I really truly want some flatterer to stop it, I’m so uncomfortable and embarrassed that I just want to get the hell out of there and dive under a bed. There’s not good way to respond when someone is overdoing flattery. It gets real hideous, real fast.

LIE IN BED - I’m very weird about my feet and making sure they’re absolutely clean before get in bed. Honestly, that clue, the idea of someone lying in bed with shoes on really creeped me out. Sheets absolutely cannot have one grain of anything. Anywhere. I’ll find it and feel it and obsess about it. Decide it’s a good time to use the bathroom so I can brush it off the bed. Princess and the Pee and all that…

#@Mo Pariser – yeah, get used to EPEE being clued sometimes as a sport. Like OREO, it’s hard to come up with any kind of new clue. Maybe “interior of tepees?”

@Graham - I wasn’t familiar with that meaning of GREAT DIVIDE, either. As clued, though, my GREAT DIVIDE is the three minutes between the end of lunch and “Learning Skills” (a euphemism for “Descent into the Bowels of Hell”)– a thirty minute slot for which there is no official grade (pass/fail) and populated with twenty-five 9th graders, mostly boys, who make me wonder if each one had his own pot of black coffee at lunch.

GENE THERAPIST was the last to fall ‘cause I had misspelled LYSIS as “losis.” Sheesh. I had never noticed it was spelled that way. And I’m a word gick.

QuasiMojo 6:28 AM  

Whether "Fifty Shades of Grey" is an "erotic novel" is in THE EYE of the beholder, I think. From what little of it I've gleaned it seems more like an emetic novel.

Antique dealers are more likely to be scrounging around for bargains at "estate sales" than so-called "antiquers" -- a term I think applies to the people who purchase overpriced junk at mile-long yard sales.

Don't cowboys "lie in bed" with their boots on? I think boots count as shoes.

As a child I was more inclined to cry out CLARET than STORY.

TIMELY for topical held me up big time. So I can't BRAEg like OFL about my time today.

Next time I have an argument I might throw a "heated blanket".

I'm sure a fair share of KILTs have a "checkered" past.

REHIRES sounds like a fancy new soda pop made from the dregs of undrunk BUBBLE TEA mixed with NEHI.

Wasn't JAG bad enough? Did we need a spin-off too?

The Great Divide is really between those who come on here to rant and rave about politics and those who are "oralists" and word-lovers.

I couldn't imagine "Mr. T" as a gynecologist although I have to admit I never saw "The A-Team." So I popped in Dr. T (whoever that is) and got the final bell sound that makes my day a happy one.

Sorry, I got up way too early today. I won't bother to "control A, control C, control V" this post.

BarbieBarbie 6:50 AM  

STILES are not revolving barriers. Turnstiles are, and some other stiles. Stiles are places you can get through/over the fence between fields, usually a rock wall if it’s the climbing kind. They don’t have to revolve. Edit Fail.

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. The whole SE stayed blank except for GAYMARRIAGE, and I kept thinking I either had the wrong case or there was some other phrase for it that also fit... you can’t forget a name like Obergefell, so that one was completely fair. Saturday’s always seem hard to me but my stats tell me this one was easy. Huh.

Glimmerglass 7:01 AM  

This was very easy for me, too. However, there were several places I’d describe as “tricky.” There were a handful of answers that seemed unfamiliar at first or which misled me. After a cross or two (or three), the light went on, and my reaction was “Oh, sure, of course.” (BIC and AIDE, for example.) So they were easy answers, but not right away.

Birchbark 7:19 AM  

"That's NOt ART!" -- Theodore Roosevelt's take on Dada. So NOt before NON.

GREAT DIVIDE is a GREAT album by the Twin Cities band Semisonic, before they were briefly famous for "Closing Time." But @Quasimojo, your take on GREAT DIVIDE captures the daily drama perfectly.

Mohair Sam 7:23 AM  

First - Congrats to Daniel Nierenberg for a terrific debut - a Saturday themeless! Impressive.

GarageSALES before ESTATESALES cost as little time, but we'll join the majority here agreeing that it was easy but fun (and pretty clean too). All the stack clues seemed gettable off just a letter or two, and GAYMARRIAGE was probably a gimme for the majority here.

We opened at BIC and swear that we didn't peek at that little bottle we keep on the table for Saturday puzzles.

Usually learn a few new words or phrases on a Saturday, but today it was only BUBBLETEA and (from @Loren) that "Survivor" is still on TV and at least one person is watching it. I watched one episode in the second season and discovered that it was very little about surviving in the wild and very much about surviving a popularity contest. This of course brought back memories of a history of poor finishes in said contests, hence I never watched the show again.

@Loren - "The Princess and the Pee" left us chuckling - you never disappoint.

Congrats again Mr. Nierenberg.

Space Is Deep 7:35 AM  

Very easy. I don't time myself, but it had to be one of the fastest ever. Less than 20 minutes.

Jonesy 7:47 AM  

Definitely an "easy Friday" - I dropped over a minute off of my best Saturday time (now at 5:15 from 6:32). feels nice to destroy a puzzle but likely shouldn't really 'count' as a Saturday. i'll take the ego boost though!

@Dave re: profit of the NYT crossword. I don't know the numbers, so this is all speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if the NYT profited north of $15 million on the crossword. considering digital crossword-only subscriptions, paper sales of nyt crossword books, people who only keep the paper subscription for the puzzle, people who buy the sunday magazine ($5 per issue, right?) for the sunday puzzle, as well as 'normal' news subscribers who see value in having the crossword, I wouldn't be surprised if you had $20 million in value/revenue (anyone have numbers and actually can confirm? though hard to estimate a couple of those values) from the existence of the crossword in the paper.

expenses must be pretty low considering the revenue/brand (probably ~$3 million?) - ie the editor and a few staff, office space (though Will often works remotely), IT equipment, paying constructors, allocation of space in the paper, allocation of website coding / support, and surely some other miscellany (travel for staff, maybe subsidies of crossword-related activities, etc).

John Morrison 8:10 AM  

Kilts are NOT checkered, as any self-respecting Scotsman will tell you.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

FYI, DN also constructed today’s LA Times crossword. Twofer!

RJ 8:27 AM  

I breezed through this puzzle until the SE corner, where I died. I had some initial mistakes such as VIOLET instead of CLARET and I misspelled FERRELL but these were easy fixes.

The long fill in the SE corner defeated me because I was convinced that Obergefell vs. Hodges was the Hobby Lobby birth control case. I tried to fit versions of OBAMACARE, ACA etc but no joy. Things didn’t fall in place until I googled KOVIC, so DNF.

Epee is both the sword and the sport. I still have my epee from 1978 when I took fencing in college for the PE requirement. The things I was exposed to in college still astounds me – as someone who grew up in a blue collar community with parents who didn’t finish high school – fencing? badminton? squash? Never mind the academics. I wish I could go back and do it again.

I hated –LYSIS and never saw DRT but know it from crosswordese. Still, a very enjoyable Saturday.

@Loren said it all about Shades of Grey. As usual. Thank you.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Claiming that kilts are checkered is possibly the worst clue I have ever seen in a NY Times puzzle. Tartan is not checkered. That lower left corner was very difficult for me, although I had no trouble with brae, the other Scottish clue. I had MRI and DRT, but changed the latter rather than the former for a long time. I would not say this puzzle was easy, but I do not routinely solve in under 10.

AndrewOne 8:27 AM  

BTW, today's WSJ is a LuLu!

Joe Welling 8:28 AM  

I finished the rest pretty quickly, but stalled a bit in the southeast. Kilts are plaid or tartan, but not checkered.

Biff Gnarly 8:42 AM  

Is GAY MARRIAGE further politicizing of the puzzle? No outrage? Oh, yeah, some politics in the puzzle is acceptable/cool/current and while some politics is offensive.

Z 8:54 AM  

Regarding Crossword Earnings, the NYT reported income of $2,956,000 from digital subscriptions in 2017. I don’t know where to find or separate out all the other income the crossword generates for the NYT. I don’t know how one even separates out the impact on print subscriptions. $15 million might be high, so Rex’s rant yesterday may have contained a bit of hyperbole. Shocking, I know, that Rex might have resorted to hyperbole. Still, I think his underlying contention still stands.

@Graham - The term I’ve heard is continental DIVIDE, which is not “imaginary” nor limited to the Rockies. My favorite “continental DIVIDE” road sign is near South Bend, IN. The notion that Indiana has enough elevation change to create a continental DIVIDE makes me chuckle every time (I presume this DIVIDE is between the Great Lakes watershed and the Gulf of Mexico watershed). I currently reside very close to the Eastern Continental DIVIDE, where rain drops falling within inches of each other might end up in the Gulf or in the Atlantic.

Two puzzles here, North and West super easy, South and East really tough. Neither Will FERRELL nor Mel Gibson will ever inspire me to go to a theater or pause while surfing, so those answers were nigh impossible here. I was convinced there was some special term for the ferry across the River Styx, and THE EYE needs either an “evil” or “side” modifier to make sense to me. Is “Easy-Challenging” a rating?

@Mohair Sam - However awful Buck may have been, it did not have the society wide deleterious effects of decisions like Dred Scott or Citizens United. There are lots of bad SC decisions, only a few have broad negative impacts on the people living in the U.S.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

@Z - Couple of things. First, did that digital subscription number reflect only crossword subscriptions or all digital?

Second - On the Citizens United thing. I've never swayed a liberal off hating that ruling, so I won't bother to try. Hope you'll accept that people who agree with the ruling (like me) put free speech above everything. Yes, I wish there were no corporate or union money in campaigns. But when you start defining who can talk politics and who can't I believe you are heading down a very dangerous road. Did you read the recommended articles by liberals who flip-flopped on Citizens? Maybe they flipped because it appears the Democrats have benefited more than the GOP from the ruling.

Jyqm 9:24 AM  

Yes, CORSETS are still very much in demand in the burlesque scene!

Unknown 9:41 AM  

Hasn't anybody noticed that "Isiah" is spelled wrong?? The basketball great's name is ISAIAH Thomas

Bob Mills 9:42 AM  

I had GARNET instead of CLARET for the reddish-purple hue. Once I fixed that everything fell into place. Not as hard as many Saturday puzzles, but fun to solve.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Friday is supposed to be a themeless, but I'd argue this puzzle is THEMED. Perhaps its title should be "Puzzle for the Lazy". LIE IN BED. RESTS. IDLE. I NEED HELP. TIRE OF. TEARS. POOR. FELL. LOSER.

When I read the 1A clue, I wanted to write in SOFT-CORE PORN, but it didn't fit.

I don't know why 26A has a question mark. A CORSET will definitely "help you achieve a flat stomach", no question about it. But only if it doesn't kill you first. All you guys know that women stopped "swooning" -- which they did a lot back in the day -- the nanosecond they got to stop wearing their CORSET, right?

I can never remember how to spell either of the ISIAH names. Nor am I ever sure which one is harder.

Had Sure before SOLD at 25A. Didn't know my beloved BIC pen company made Wite-Out.

If you can create your own LOGO (50D), it won't be a big start-up expense. Fun Fact: Bobby Lopez, composer/lyricist for "Avenue Q", created the show's memorable, iconic LOGO himself.

A lively, enjoyable puzzle with some colorful long answers and almost no junk. Liked it!

Alden Mellor 9:44 AM  

Hasn't anyone noticed that "Isiah" Thomas is wrong??? His name is "ISAIAH" Thomas!!

operapianist 9:51 AM  

Isn’t that the continental divide? Or do folks call it the great divide too... ?

Nancy 9:52 AM  

From yesterday: Many thanks, @Quasi and @JC66, for combining to show me how to copy my comment before I post it, so it can never be lost again. I tried it out yesterday, and it worked! And it's so very, very easy -- no muss, no fuss, no bother. I remembered to use it today before hitting "Send". Now all I have to do is remember to use it each time I comment in the future. My task: to turn what is now a new procedure into a Habit. I am a Creature of Habit, after all :)

Teedmn 9:52 AM  

When I hit the SE (everything below LOW FIBER), I was at 12:41. I finished at 20:39, whew. That corner had some great long entries but __YM________ (they had a Supreme Court case about rhYMing?) and two entries of __EA________ along with crosses of a sports figure, the last name of someone played by Tom Cruise in a film and "Stuck, in a way" that probably wasn't going to be mirED just made that a tough quadrant. I have no idea why KILT didn't occur to me right off the bat (except for the "checkered", yeah), as well as BRAE but I finished in the end with ahas at all three of the 11 length acrosses. It's the only portion of the puzzle that felt Saturday-ish.

As @BarbieBarbie mentions, STILES are barriers to allow access for humans but to keep the livestock in (or out). My most memorable run-in with a STILE was in Ireland, on the way to see Innisfree. Past the stile, there was a nice bench and you could sit and look at the lake but I don't remember hearing any bees.

@LMS, on crick vs. creek, you hear people say "crick" here in Minnesota. I say it myself. It's only "creek" when I'm reading it. Thanks for continuing the EOUS theme!

@QuasiMojo, you're on a roll today!

A fun debut, congratulations to Daniel Nierenberg!

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Forget the liberal conservative divide. One of the hallmarks of a reasonble person is the willingness to change ones posistion when they they are shown their error. Zealots wont change their mind. Theyve subordinated reason to emotion, so sure of their rectitude. Its a common malady and our liberal friend Z isnt alone in suffering from it. Good old Angry Doug (mr. Conservative) was similarly afflicted.

Many people, on both sides of the politcal spectrum, believe Obergfell to be bad law. LIBERAL LET IT LIE OF COURSE BECAUSE THEY LIKE THE OJTCOME. BUT ITS JUDICIAL BON FIDES ARE WIDELY SEEN AS hooey.

Hungry Mother 9:58 AM  

Top part fell so fast I thought I was doing a Wednesday, but the bottom half was very rough for me. My wife’s brother-in-law, Dr. Bob helped with a couple of the long ones in the SE. I’m visiting in the Tampa/St. Pete area for the weekend, so distracted by the sights and sounds of a house on the water.

Linda Vale 10:10 AM  

Different basketball player. Isiah Thomas played for the Pistons (as clues) and kissed Magic Johnson after a game.

Hartley70 10:14 AM  

The SE gave me trouble today. I can't remember the names of characters in two movies from 1989. I know Kovic is clued as an author but I bet a lot of us think of him as a Tom Cruise look-alike. It wasn't until I moved away from dREAm and mRi to GREATD AND DRT that I got unstucked.

Add me to the squawkers who find pOSER much, much more juvenile than LOSER. It's a generational thing. We oldsters can think of a few losers without the shame attached to being a teenage poser. You know, like wearing a baseball hat you're not entitled to claim. My son won a varsity jacket as a high school freshman but wouldn't wear it because it was for swimming, not lacrosse. He didn't want to look like a poser. Can you get more juvenile than that?

I love the sound of BUBBLETEA, but the idea is disgusting.

This wasn't much faster for me than my usual Saturday but I had fun with it.

Thomaso808 10:22 AM  

The great Detroit Piston Hall of Fame player was in fact ISIAH Thomas. Please don’t confuse him with the current Laker Isaiah Thomas.

JaxInLA 10:29 AM  

JaxInLA here. In my former life as a costumer, CORSETs were not designed to “achieve a flat stomach.” They are used to pinch in the waist and push up the bust. Ask Madonna. That clue slowed my move from south up to the north. Thinking exercise, I had Crunch.

Mohair Sam 10:30 AM  

@Alden - The Detroit great is indeed ISIAH. You've got him mixed up with the Boston/Cleveland/Los Angeles Isaiah Thomas.

@Anonymous (9:53) - Agree with all you say. Speaking of Gay Marriage - Long before the Court OK'd it a gay friend convinced me gay marriage was fine. At the time it occurred to me to ask what the heck government was doing in the marriage business anyway. Let's just recognize civil unions and let churches (or whatever) worry about marriage. End of debate (or most of it).

Bob Mills 10:37 AM  

For Alden Mellor: The basketball player Thomas spells his first name "ISIAH." Don't know why, but the constructor was correct.

retired guy 10:38 AM  

Actually, "Isiah" Thomas is correct for the former Pistons player.

It is true that "Isaiah" is the more usual spelling, but that's not how the Pistons player spelled his name.

Stanley Hudson 10:41 AM  

@RJ wrote: “The things I was exposed to in college still astounds me – as someone who grew up in a blue collar community with parents who didn’t finish high school – fencing? badminton? squash? Never mind the academics. I wish I could go back and do it again.”

Similar background here and much the same experience in college. I liked it so much that I made my career in higher ed. I’m a bit embarrassed that, given my family roots in northern Appalachia, I worked so hard to shed the accent that @LMS references. I’ve become very proud of that heritage.

Nancy 10:44 AM  

@Quasi (6:28) -- Let me echo @Teedmn: your entire comment today kills. I'm not sure what your funniest sentence is. Emetic? REHIRES? Cowboy boots? Checkered past? I think it's a tie between imagining MRT as a gynecologist and calling out for CLARET instead of STORY as a child. (I always suspected we had some things in common. My father once said to me: "You seemed to really like the taste of liquor from the time you were tall enough to reach the top of the table.")

@Loren (6:18) -- Really? Too much flattery "gets real hideous, real fast"? I'm pretty sure that's not true for me. Try me.

@Birchbark (7:19) -- Good old Teddy!

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

I wasn't in the mood to have my ass kicked so today was perfect.
Tough enough to be fun.
Fresh clues for epee, tat, and aide were nice.
No idea about the novel but @ Quasi had me chuckling thinking about emetic and Mr. T as the Gyn.
Loved the Dada answer.
Kurus? That must be the other place besides Italy.
Checkered kilts has predictably been an issue. Any Scots out there?
If Mr. Nierenberg has debuts in two papers on the same day he must be walking on air today.

Doug 10:55 AM  

The Hoosier-Piston great’s name is spelled Isiah, rather than the traditional Isaiah.

More importantly, Obergfell is well within accepted constitutional doctrine that has been in place since the 1930s. The “many people” who disagree with the decision frequently are nothing but bigots or those who would elevate gun rights over civil liberties for “discrete and insular minorities” who have a long history of being oppressed.

mmorgan 10:55 AM  

Lots of folks found this easy, and impressive. I found it mostly easy, but got TREED (stuck) in the SE. I didn't think a KILT was checkered. I should have known GAYMARRIAGE but couldn't come up with it. Didn't know RIGGS. Still, a great puzzle.

I'm surprised Rex had no comment on LOSER being clued as a "Juvenile put-down."

Knitwit 10:55 AM  

I finished in about 45 min without a Google, which is great for me on a Saturday!! Had RIDGE instead of LEDGE in SE so that slowed me down. But overall a very nice way to start my day!!

AdamW 11:05 AM  

Not true. That's the name of the current NBA player. The clue is referring to the Hall Of Famer.

AdamW 11:06 AM  

You are incorrect. See above

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Isaiah lakers, isiah pistons

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Can you wear a kilt and still have self respect?

Jocelyn B 11:21 AM  

To yoi and anonymous at 9:41, Isaiah is with The Lakers. Isiah is with the Pistons. (Or at least that’s what Google says; I’m not much of a basketball fan.)

Jocelyn B 11:24 AM  

To you and anonymous at 9:41am— Isaiah plays for the Lakers; Isiah plays for the Pistons. (Or at least that’s what Google says; I’m not much of a basketball fan.)

GILL I. 11:40 AM  

I had one I NEED HELP cheat and I'm proud of it. Without having a clue who Ron KOVIC was, I might have remained dead in the water I the SE.
This was a delightful debut, Daniel N. I didn't think it was as easy as some of these smarty pants did but for me, finishing a Saturday with only one Google is a happy dance drink some wine occasion for me.
Had fits and starts beginning with wanting EVA Peron instead of that miscreant CHE. Maybe I just can't stand writing his name in. The I had CHAMP instead of ON TOP for #1. ORALIST was a new word for me - was actually thinking it could be a Kellerism or something. Left that whole top section. Went on to the middle and sailed - a little slowly, though. Felt all confidant and smug so I went back up to the attic and remembered that Fifty Shades was some badly written sexual escapade ergo EROTIC NOVEL and the rest is history. Oh, I also toyed with a child requesting MOMMY or MOMMA. All correct and fun at the same time.
The basement gave me a little angst. I don't know my Supreme Court rulings - well, I do know some that tend to scream at you, and I should have known Obergefell because it was all over the news, but honestly, GAY MARRIAGE, California, Gavin Newsom and San Francisco are all par for the course. I just noticed GREAT DIVIDE straddling GAY MARRIAGE. Isn't Maryland the last hold-out?
@Loren...EEK. You really could listen to Donathan all day. long? He's like listening to Nicki Minaj. I don't even understand how the tongue can do things in your mouth to make such sounds. What happens if your adenoids are removed?
@Mohar and @Joe D from last night. You both made me cackle in delight. Do you think @Andrew S got the hint? "OH NO he barfed in A POLO shirt."

michiganman 11:40 AM  

I'm joining the nitpickers today. If you had a flat stomach you wouldn't be able to eat and you would die. We are talking about a flat abdomen, achieved artificially with a CORSET or by conditioning the abdominal muscles and reducing fat. Sadly, I would need the corset.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

For me maybe 80% was easy for a Sat. But I failed badly in SE. I got a few downs but could not see 54A, did not know 58A, and had a brain freeze on 60A.

Masked and Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Soild themeless puz. Nice debut!

Has there ever been a themed puz that had a themer of JEANSTHERAPY? [Dibs]

Staff weeject pick: UNO. As in: there was UNO U in this SatPuz. [It's real hard to please everybody with one puzgrid, huh, Daniel? Looks like U did have pretty good luck with @RP today; maybe helped, that he'd been 4/20-in' all day long. Good thing yer fill didn't remind him that this was NYTPuz #25001, however. yeeesh.]

fave essence of Ow de Speration: LYSIS. M&A sees yer electro-, and raises U one rhabdomyo-

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Nierenberg. Just remember to keep yer U-vowel count up. [UNU instead of UNO, BUC instead of BIC, etc. Dare to be desperate.]

Masked & AnonymoUs


TomAz 12:06 PM  

Finished today one second faster than yesterday's, and yesterday was an easy Friday.

I have never heard of BUBBLE TEA. The name makes me think of BUBBLE gum, and drinking something with that flavor?.. ick.

Also had SURE for a while before I decided it was the problem blocking me it he NE. Once I erased it the rest fell pretty easily.

Two Hall of Famers with nonstandard name spellings today, CRIS and ISIAH.

We have both EROS and EROTIC in the puzzle today. Doesn't that violate some sort of convention?

Nits to pick on the clues for STILES and KILT as others have noted.

This was good. Nice work by the constructor on his debut!

Oh... @Quasi.. the 'emetic' comment was hilarious. I'm gonna steal that!

Questinia 12:09 PM  

Mri for TAT

I know kuru is a prion disease caused by eating human brains in New Guinea and I know LIRA is Turkish, so I settled on riel: The etui of currency. Rand was also in contention: The adit of money.

Now wondering whether etui and adit are actual currencies somewhere.

clk 12:15 PM  

That’s what I thought. I was trying to figure out if there was a word for that Palestinian scarf that Yasser Arafat always wore that might fit in there.

QuasiMojo 12:24 PM  

Thank you @Nancy for the kind words, as well as @Birchbark, Teedmn, and TwoPonies. Yes Nancy we have that taste in common although mine proved detrimental later on. Btw, another way to flatten one’s stomach is to try and enter the subway in NYC via a turnSTILE when one’s MetroCatd has expired.

jberg 12:27 PM  

This was tough, partly because I think I knew none, yes, none of the proper names. Also I wasn't all that SOLD on KILT, so I thought you maybe started your rappel from a riDGE, until I noticed that I also had RIdgs where RIGGS should be. Secondly, there were lots of places where two plausible answers had the same letter count:

EROTIC NOVEL = pornography


CORSET = girdle

and, of course, NON-ART = NOt ART. This was the one that brought me down; I know all about NEHI orange, but not that they owned RC. ; so a sad DNF.

I've never fenced, but my sone did in his teens, so I know a little. EPEE is a sport in the sense that, say, discus or javelin is a sport. At a meet there are events in EPEE, other events in saber. and probably others in foil. So I thouoght tht was OK (even though Wikipedia says the above are the three weapons used in "the sport of fencing.")

@Loren, love your avatar. Is that the GREAT DIVIDE, or our president's vision of the Mexican border.

And perhaps the most embasrrassing phenomenon after I moved to Massachusetts from Wisconsin was that people laughed at me when I said "crick." Particularly my ex-wife. I'm still a little disappointed that I adapted to the other pronunciation.

old timer 12:38 PM  

I on the other hand was an umtuple DNF. Absolutely stuck in the SE, despite putting in KOVIC and GAYMARRIAGE right away. I started off thinking this was Easy, because the NW FELL right away, but really, everywhere in the East was impossible. Didn't know BIC made Wite-Out. Never heard of BUBBLE TEA. Should have figured that NEHI once made RC Cola, but didn't. And never saw Zoolander, therefore did not know who starred or co-starred in it. If it weren't for my Wikipedia app I would have a lot of blank spaces in the grid.

I do know about STILES though. If you have walked through the countryside in Yorkshire and Northumberland, you have gone through many a STILE. They don't rotate like the exit doors at an airport, but they do swing in a circular way, just far enough to allow the walker to get on the other side of the fence, while keeping the sheep or cows in their pasture. (Hint to those who like to walk in the North Country: Just put up with all the sheep droppings. They don't stink, and unlike cow pies don't ruin your shoes and stain your pants).

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Been there!

John Child 12:45 PM  

@M&A Jean therapy. Shirt changed? MayB a theme here: wanna play? My email through the blue link.

Jyqm 12:48 PM  

^What AdamW said. Isiah Thomas has been a crossword staple for years precisely because of the unique spelling of his name.

FrankStein 12:55 PM  

Wasn't there an urban legend ages ago that Mike Nesmith's mother invented Wite-Out? Or was it true?

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Confucius say:

Man who go thru (turn)stiles sideways going to Bangkok...

Suzie Q 2:43 PM  

Someone asked if you could wear a kilt and still have self-respect?
Hell Yes!
Any boy can wear pants but it takes a real man to wear a kilt.
This is where I think of Braveheart and have a little swoon.

Good Saturday for me.

Z 4:18 PM  

@JaxinLA - It’s been awhile. Welcome back.

@Mohair Sam - The right to free speech doesn’t change the fact that yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is a crime. The net impact of the ruling has been to make corruption easier. It is not “free speech” when access is being sold to the highest bidder. As usual, the ACLU provides a better discussion than I ever could.

JackR 4:31 PM  

Checkered attire - not in KILT
Kilts are made with tartans, which can be plaids.
All plaids are tartans, not all tartans are plaids.
Checkered patterns are, like plaids and tartans, lines at 90 degree angles,
but I have never heard of a kilt made from one.

TomAz 4:37 PM  

@FrankStein 12:55pm

Wikipedia says you're right.

Bette Nesmith Graham (March 23, 1924 – May 12, 1980) was an American typist, commercial artist, and the inventor of Liquid Paper. She was the mother of musician and producer Michael Nesmith of The Monkees.

Graham 4:56 PM  

They do. Wikipedia seems to think the geographic meaning is most common, but some googling leads me to lots of metaphoric use too.

Randall Clark 5:12 PM  

@Loren - jberg noticed and commented on your avatar! Yay!

A restaurant across the street from my house installed a "pride wall" mural, which features a quote from Jim Obergefell. He came to the April 5th unveiling [] and I got to meet him and shake his hand. Pretty cool stuff, and it helped me with the puzzle today, since I otherwise might not have recognized the name.

The stated purpose of the wall was so that people could come and take their own pride portraits using it as a backdrop, and then either publicize them via social media or keep them to themselves if they were not "out" to their family, employer, etc. It seems to be popular, because I see folks posing there all the time.

Graham 5:14 PM  

I know of that GREAT DIVIDE too, though mostly with fifth graders. I started filling that moment with meditation and classical music. Hasn't worked yet but I hold out hope.

FrankStein 5:42 PM  

Thank you @TomAZ! Liquid Paper, not Wite-Out. Glad to know it is true.

Disciple of Nanl 6:19 PM  

Liked MARRIAGE stuck squarely between DIVIDE and ATTACHED. They say it's a 50/50 proposition!

GILL I. 7:19 PM  

@JaxInLA....Where have you been, girl? Come back. You're missed!

sanfranman59 7:48 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 5:15 4:24 1.19 86.2% Challenging
Tue 4:38 5:37 0.82 12.5% Easy
Wed 7:43 6:00 1.29 87.5% Challenging
Thu 8:59 10:09 0.89 31.8% Easy-Medium
Fri 13:01 13:01 1.00 51.0% Medium
Sat 15:54 16:06 0.99 50.3% Medium

A typo at 51D (BRAw instead of BRAE) made it impossible for me to see SEE ATTACHED in what I found to be the toughest section of the puzzle. Otherwise, my solve time probably would have been in my Easy-Medium range. In fact, I was halfway done at 5:34 and if I'd managed to keep up that pace, I'd have had my 9th fastest time of 338 completed Saturdays.

Other erasures: iROnic NOVEL (lmao!!!) before EROTIC NOVEL (1A), NOt ART before NON-ART (21D), caRRELL before FARRELL (37A), euRo before LIRA (52D).

I had just about the same gag reflexes as Rex (LYSIS, ITTY, ORALIST) and the KOVIC WTF, but this was a nice NYT debut by a regular LAT constructor.

OISK 8:19 PM  

Nice puzzle, but it put a tune into my mind that I can't shake right now...

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie doon, how can ye bloom so fresh and fair....

Joe Dipinto 8:33 PM  

The clue for 52a was particularly apt.

Amelia 9:05 PM  

I thought it was hard! I finished it, but it took me quite a while. If this is a debut, then put him on staff. I like 'em difficult.

Nice work!

Joe Dipinto 9:41 PM  

Oh, and any clue for DEMO TAPE really needs to be preceded with "quaint", "one-time", or some other adjective indicating it's passé. No one submits tapes for anything now.

Monty Boy 1:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monty Boy 2:01 PM  

OK. I have to speak up for those who didn’t find this easy. The TETC crowd (too embarrassed to comment). I know you’re out there.

I had about a dozen words the first pass through, mostly short crosses so I had some hope.
Example in the NW:
Out front FIRST (ONTOP)
Minute, in baby talk ITSY (ITTY – so close – I was thinking ITSY, bitsy, spider)
EPEE (only correct one)

Long acrosses had no chance with the first three words wrong. Had TBSP on bottom, but figured it must be wrong since my downs seemed solid and at least one must be right.

I eventually had a cheat or two and got most of the NW. SE was hopeless. Not up on my Supreme Court cases, short emails, or life death passages. I live in Colorado, so the GREAT DIVIDE is not a life or death thing. Except to careless hikers. One or two crosses didn’t help. Had to do the reveal all to see just how off I was. Not sure Bubbletea is a real thing, but several here say it is.

At my stage of solving skill, I expect Saturday to be tough. I suspect I’m not the only one who found this in the NOT easy column. Am I the only one brave (or silly) enough to admit it? So for the rest of us, it ain’t.

End of rant.

Re: LMS comments – disagree on Survivor (right up there with Dancing WTS, Bachelor, etc). Offset with the Princess and the Pee comment. I about snorted my milk. LMFAO.

THHHHats all folks.

And for Syndies, here is where your comments start.

Shelby Glidden 7:41 PM  

I like a “hardish puzzle right before I do the NYT.” Lol ��. That’s why he’s OFL. Sometimes, i “shadowbox”
a little, too.

Michael McCormick 11:06 PM  

Got it

Burma Shave 8:37 AM  


to LIEINBED and not TIREOF being ONTOP, it’s
like an EROTICNOVEL THEMED on getting kissed,
so HEATED no one RESTS or says, “OHSTOPIT!”


thefogman 9:33 AM  

There was so much crunch in this puzzle I almost broke a tooth.
CORSET wasn't easy.
I was TREED, shedded TEARS and screamed:"INEEDHELP!"
But finish I did.
I'm NOTART but now I can LIEINBED and UNO...bask in the afterglow.

thefogman 9:42 AM  

Oopsie. I got stung by NONART/NEHI. I had NOtART just like Rex did at first. So a DNF for me!

rondo 10:01 AM  

Pretty sure this took less than 20 minutes. One write-over, being so sure of Sure before getting SOLD on SOLD. Having been to Scotland, BRAE was nearly as familiar as the KILT. Wasn’t the STORY that Dan’l Boone KILT a bar, after he got a holt of it, or TREED it? POOR bar.

Didn’t realize NCIS was a spin-off of JAG, though similarly THEMED. Didn’t much watch JAG. Seems like NCIS and its spin-offs are on all the time.

Must give THEEYE to yeah baby Julia STILES.

Did not once cry “INEEDHELP” and I’ll stick to that STORY.

spacecraft 11:21 AM  

Well, all you who found this so easy, congrats. You all must be geniuses. Being tech-averse, I had no idea what OSX was, and had to guess at LOGO; thought maybe it was LOGs.

And thank goodness I remembered RIGGS, or the SE would have scuppered me. I'm supposed to know what "kurus" are?? Boy, did INEEDHELP! I did manage to get it done without, but easy? No way.

Had my "electro's" mixed up; LYteS before LYSIS. And my fourth gods; aReS before EROS. I agree that the GREATDIVIDE is more about continents than life/death. That was really an unfair clue. Never, ever heard that term applied there. Also agree that 1a is more emetic than EROTIC.

Triumph factor huge, but I have enjoyed other toughies more. Nothing stands out, though there's little dreck outside of the AP TIREOF. DOD is Conchata FERRELL, whose delightful character April on "Hot L Baltimore" was endearing. A series, BTW, way ahead of its time. Have to go with birdie on this one, just for finishing.

Diana,LIW 1:46 PM  

Not easy - dnf - again with the sports and TV clues, not to mention the techie stuff. NEHI was my easiest first entry!

And of course I cried GIN for the card game. My second hand was USED. And on and on.

Did anyone else know it is officially "Sorry Day" in Australia? According to my calendar...

Lady Di

rainforest 3:56 PM  

How's this for a start? After staring for many nanoseconds I plopped in MRI, and that stayed there until the bitter end. Finally seeing TAT was the great D'oh moment.

From that dubious beginning, going up the East side was relatively easy and I felt great pride getting that BIC/COED/UNO/BEE corner. Moving to the North/NW helped by LIE IN BED, not putting in 'Piece of crap" for the "novel" was another prideful moment. Good old EPEE, CHE, and RESTS pretty well did that top stack.

I thought the entire West side was a beauty, and then I made my final stand in the South. TAT. Who'da thunk?

Blogger 1:28 PM  

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