Fu legendary Chinese sage / SAT 4-28-18 / Shot that determines who gets to break in blilliards / Tony winning choreographer for Movin Out / Candy in straw / Tony early Macy's Day Parade balloon designer

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Fu-HSI (26A: Fu-___ (legendary Chinese sage)) —
Fuxi (Mandarin: [fǔ ɕí]Chinese伏羲), also romanized as Fu-hsi, is a culture hero in Chinese legend and mythology, credited (along with his sister Nüwa女娲) with creating humanity and the invention of hunting, fishing and cooking as well as the Cangjie system of writing Chinese characters c. 2,000 BCE. He was also known as Paoxi (t 庖犧, s 庖牺), also romanized as Pao-hsi. Fuxi was counted as the first of the Three Sovereigns at the beginning of the Chinese dynastic period. Fuxi was an ancient Chinese god who was said to show the ancient Chinese people how to domesticate animals. (wikipedia) [why have we not seen FUXI in the grid yet!?!?!]
• • •

Just no wavelength vibe at all today. So many names, so very many names, and I could barely remember any of them, and when I did, I couldn't spell them right. I like NO PUN INTENDED (37A: Comment that might follow "I used to be a banker until I lost interest"), but the rest of it is kind of blah for me. And when it's not "blah," it's a gratuitous spelling nightmare. PIXY STIX, dear lord (20A: Candy in a straw). And RAMI MALEK!? I know exactly who that is, and I know his name ... by sound. But I realized I had absolutely no idea about *any* of the vowels. Well, I guess the "A" in MALEK I knew, but first "A" coulda been an "E," the "E" coulda been an "I," and, well, the "I" sure as hell coulda been a "Y"—which is what I had, i.e. I finished with an error. One I only caught after scouring the grid methodically for a couple minutes. I think I had REMY in there for a bit (a real human name) and then changed the "E" to "A" because of RARE (57D: Like $10 gold eagle coins). But I didn't ever change the "Y." Why? Why did I not change the "Y"? Well, check out the *$&%^&#&$ing cross? DRILY!?!?!? I had DRYLY, which is, as you will see here, a totally correct answer. Exhibit A, the only one you will need:

I honestly don't understand how you can cross a highly unusual name with DRILY at the *#$@#*&$ing "I." It's astonishingly terrible constructing / editing / etc. I guarantee you there are tons of paper solvers out there right now who have No Idea they have an "error" in that square. RAMY MALEK looks totally fine to me, even now.

  • 4D: Till compartment (TENS) — had ONES
  • 8D: The Grand Prix used to have one (TTOP) — had STOP (?); I thought it was a race (?)
  • 6D: More familiar name for Enrico Rizzo in an Oscar-winning film (RATSO) — this one is on me; should've gotten it easily. I have no idea how, but for some reason my brain believed the clue was asking specifically for a race car driver's name. I blame "Grand Prix" in the 8D clue. I think I was thinking of SENNA (also five letters)
  • 32A: Capital of Nigeria (ABUJA) — I mean, eventually ... but not right away, by any means.
  • 26A: Fu-___ (legendary Chinese sage) (HSI) — Fu ... is right. F + U.
  • 35A: ___ law, principle stating that computer processing power doubles every 18 months (MOORE'S) — pfft, nope. Probably heard of it, but today, irretrievable. 
  • 45A: Tony ___, early Macy's Day Parade balloon designer (SARG) — See "Fu," above.
  • 64A: Common fossil in Paleozoic rocks (TRILOBITE) — the name is familiar, but it evokes only computer storage measurements and those fluffy things from that one "Star Trek" ep. "The Trouble With TRILOBITEs," I think it was ...
  • 22A: Shot that determines who gets to break, in billiards (LAG) — uh uh. Nope.
Soooo much trivia, which is not at all my favorite kind of puzzle. Name after name after name. I knew a bunch (SIMONE, JESSE, KELSO, ESPERANTO, EDD), but the prevalence of them just felt excessive. Mainly I just think the RAMI / DRILY cross is an atrocity. I shouldn't knock all the names, though. If Twyla THARP hadn't attended my alma mater, I might not have paid so much attention to her over the years, and thus might still be struggling to put much of anything in the grid. So thanks, Twyla.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Once again I direct your attention to "Women of Letters," the collection of crosswords edited and written by women, to benefit women's charities. More info here.

P.P.S. Currently spell-checking this write-up, and my computer thinks DRILY is wrong and DRYLY is juuuuuuust fine.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


puzzlehoarder 12:13 AM  

I found this challenging. The only wrong square was PAST instead of POSTTRUTH. I didn't think ASTEAL could be right but PAST just seemed correct.

Just getting this started took longer than I spend on some Friday puzzles. The upper half went in first but it was a slog.

Once I hit AMELIA in the SE things picked up to a normal late week pace. The lower half had it's share of unknowns but they were easier to infer or work around.

Too bad I couldn't get PAST POST, NOPUNINTENDED.

Moly Shu 12:18 AM  

Tribbles, any self respecting Trekkie knows this. Thank you Harry Mudd.

jae 12:47 AM  

Medium-tough seems about right. I watched the first season of Mr Robot and saw RAMI interviewed on a couple of talk shows during that time. The second season was just way too weird so that was it for me, which is to say RAMI was not a problem regardless of how you spell DRILY. OTOH, ABUJA TRILOBITE, SIMONE, HSI, and SEGMO were all WOES, fortunately the crosses were fair. Nice Sat. workout, liked it!

Maxwell 12:53 AM  

So many things I just did not know! Went to internet at least a dozen times. Still consider it a "solve," since I worked out the answers with help. It was a "learning" experience.

Kefra 12:57 AM  

Seemed to have an easier go of this one than Rex did despite also experiencing the DRYLY/DRILY debacle and having sTOP before TTOP. Guessed PIXYSTIX and TRILOBYTE with no crosses, which led to an easy-medium time for me (18:15) in spite of RAMI MALEK being a WOE for me. Wrong guesses: Lagos for ABUJA, NODto for NODAT, fATSO for RATSO, kEtTLE for PESTLE. Luckily all sorted itself out.

Harryp 12:58 AM  

Any one else try POST TRUMP for 1Across? Had dryly for DRILY, paris for TOKYO, and JESSE and AMELIA were the only proper nouns I knew, but I stuck with it and finished in average Saturday time. Good workout.


Why, RAMY MALEK is my cousin, sir. Unhand her.

Sue T. 2:41 AM  

I found this one to be pretty easy and I came in at a few minutes under my normal Saturday time. I mean, "Aviator Earhart" seems like a Monday-level clue. And I got RAMI MALEK right away, despite never having watched "Mr. Robot" -- I remembered reading a news story about his role as Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic.

The one that messed me up was PESTLE at 1 Down because I had written PEELER. Also, I thought LAGOS was the capital of Nigeria... and apparently it was, until the early 90s, according to Wikipedia. So I don't feel quite so bad for that one.

Mike in Mountain View 4:28 AM  

Hands up for DRyLY and a dnf before I fixed it. Also, like Rex, I had sTOP before TTOP. That one, though, was a fair cross and easy to correct. OTOH, I had never heard of or read about RAMI MALEK or Mr. Robot. Not having a TV does sometimes make crossword solving more difficult.

chefwen 4:32 AM  

Google Fest! After my first run through the only thing I was certain of was good ‘ol AMELIA and NOD AT which I had in, out and in again.
Paris was my city choice for fine dining, until it didn’t work.

I’M A GONER was how I felt after the first few minutes.

Google, get a bunch, Google, get a bunch more, repeat as needed. No fun. Looking forward to a big old Sunday.

Dave 6:02 AM  

In music, segno means sign. It's telling you to go to the sign.

Lewis 6:18 AM  

I needed a couple of lookups, as there were nine answers out of my wheelhouse: HSI, ABUJA, MOORES, SIMONE, SARG, REMIMALEK, TRILOBITE, SALINAS, OMEGADOG. Lots of learning came out of this!

Here's what I really liked. First, that "Yes!" feeling after filling in answers in this tough tangle of a puzzle. And second, some lovely answers, namely, PIXY STIX, NO PUN INTENDED, NICE MOVE, and especially POST TRUTH. And third, remembering PIXY STIX, which momentarily brought back what it felt like to be a child.

Paul Rippey 6:32 AM  

I got to visit the phosphate mines in Morocco - huge areas which were once an inland sea. The phosphate is there because sea creatures concentrated it over many many years. As a result, it is insanely rich in fossils, and TRILOBITES are a dirham a dozen. Which led me to some interest in the remarkable creatures, who covered the planet for millions of years before something happened. Most interesting TRILOBITE factoid is that some of them had CHRYSTAL EYES. No other known creature has gone down that evolutionary alley.

DNF’d mostly because proper names. I’m amazed that people know who designs Macy’s parade balloons. Never heard of RAMI MALEK. Assumed a leak preventer was a wAShEr. Got TRILOBITE easily but the rest of the SE didn’t go well.

Mickey Mouse 6:42 AM  

Even I do not know Tony Sarg.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

When did Thanksgiving Day turn into "Macy's Day?"

Dan M 7:31 AM  

A lot of obscure-ish (and flat-out obscure) proper names, but *so many* great entries. I had a hard time with a few sections but still came in under my average. Also, POST-TRUTH, NO PUN INTENDED and SEXY BEAST are enough to make up for EDD and SARG.

FLAC 7:36 AM  

Aren’t Saturdays supposed to be like this — tricky clues and esoteric answers that make you feel good when you suss them out? I really liked this puzzle. I do think DRYLY/DRILY was a problem.

Glimmerglass 7:38 AM  

First of all, this was great Saturday puzzle. Very hard for me and very doable, though I had some spelling errors (PIXiSTIX, DRyLY). One wrong answer I liked so much that I left it even though I knew it was wrong: I fear we may be living 8n a POST TRUMP world where emotion trumps fact.

Rob 7:52 AM  

Pleased to have gotten through this in a reasonably good time, but that southeast corner is brutal. I like Mr Robot but it took me a little while to remember RAMI MALEK's name. EDD/DRILY was hard, but not helping me was that I had ICILY instead of DRILY at first, which made REBELS impossible to guess until I fixed it, not being a college sports guy. I assume that's what that is. SARG is some BS fill, but at least it was guessable through crosses. MEA was clever, but I was less so, so that one took a bit to put together.

Robso 7:56 AM  

LOL: Tony _____, early Macy’s Day Parade balloon designer
This really opens the door. Possible future clues:
Briana _____, one-time UCLA Anthropology Professor
Lionel ______, 1970s Amway Accountant
Liza _______, Motown studio backup singer
I can’t wait!

Irene 8:09 AM  

For once I agree with Rex: It was hard in a no-fun way.

I did, however learn a nice bit of Michelin trivia. Who knew Tokyo had more stars than Paris?

QuasiMojo 8:16 AM  

OM EGAD OG! That's how I felt doing this one. I managed to almost finish but got stuck on DRYLY/DRILY just as Rex pointed out. Plus, I had an even sillier error in that corner. FAUCET instead of GASKET. (Tony SARF made about as much sense to me as SARG.) Yeah, I know, faucets are the causes of leaks, not the preventer but I had REBEL U. for Ole Miss. (Makes sense to me.) And RAMY MALIC could certainly be the star of some show I've never heard of. My solving success in the NYT puzzle is almost entirely due to whether or not there are TV clues. I pulled the plug many years ago and never looked back. I think Electric Company was the last show I liked. Don't tell me how great The Wire or Breaking Bad or The Crown or House of Games is. I don't want to watch it even if I had a TV. I prefer reading the phone book. That's just my MODES operandi ("pun intended.")

Woke up very early today thinking about the word TREED and how cool it is... and lo and behold! here it was -- I think the ICED IN convo made me ponder it. That's how I felt doing this puzzle, UP A TREE, except I was all tangled up in its roots down there in the SE thicket, like a BABE in the woods.

Edward Zellner 8:17 AM  

Looks like drily is an English spelling...

RJ 8:21 AM  

Saturdays seem to be very mixed for me -frustration and delight at the the same time.

So many names...too many for me to enjoy. So many spelling issues...PIXI/PIXY and DRYLY/DRYLY

@chefwen Paris was one of my first answers which ended up slowing me down in the NE corner.

Do not know RAMI MALEK, SARG, HSI, ABUJA - @SUE had LAGOS thanks to my hubby (he's usually the one with the geography and history answers) but no joy.


A PESTLE is used with a MORTAR to grind powders for things such as making KBr pellets. Yes, I know people use them to grind spices in the kitchen, but those implements are poor cousins of the lab tools.

pabloinnh 8:26 AM  

I had the NOP part of 37A and after some exhausting mental gymnastics came up with NOPARONOMASIA, which made me awfully proud, until the resulting mess of crosses made me feel awfully stupid. NOPUNINTENDED was so clear when it appeared that I was forced into a 23A moment. I solve on paper and get no happy signal other than my own smile of satisfaction when I finish, so I'm sticking with REMY/DRYLY. DRYLY is clearly correct and RAMY is also clearly as good a name as RAMI so in it stays, it's my puzzle, and I say it's right, so there.

Scott Thomas 8:30 AM  

Did you hear about the man who entered his local newspaper's pun contest?

He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that one would win.

Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

mmorgan 8:36 AM  

Really enjoyed this, lots of great answers. Took me ages to give up my firm belief that the capital of Nigeria was Lagos -- thanks for clarifying, @Sue T.! Was briefly confused by NO DAT. And I assumed 10D was Paris, but Tharp was a gimme so the T had to go. Funny, I thought of DRyLY, but DRILY just looked better to me.

RAD2626 8:37 AM  

Hard for all the reasons stated in write up and in comments. Put in "kEy" instead of LEG which slowed an otherwise gettable section down. "Monetary unit in ABUJA" was a clue in this week's MGWCC so I fortunately remembered that. It amazes me how some odd words show up back to back on consecutive days or in other contemporaneous puzzles and then disappear for months.

This was a terrific puzzle with great entries. OMEGA DOG was my favorite. I am going to work it into my vocabulary.

DeeJay 8:40 AM  

A *hard* puzzle that Rex dislikes. Boo hoo.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

We haven’t gotten PAST Trump, so how can we be POST TRUMP!?!?

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Agreed on proper names issue, but finished after an hour of hell. Drily/Dryly wasn’t an issue because I was looking for drily as soon as it was obvious the y didn’t work. Jesuits pounded that double spelling into my brain back in th 60s. Still, I now approach Saturday NYT with apprehension as I age. I still solve, because there are sufficient oldies clues to give me crosses, but the proper names will eventually do me in, as they did my father, who gave up on his/my favorite pastime around age 80. I’ve pretty much given up movies and TV already, because modern “message” is about as subtle as a sledge hammer. That means my longevity as a solver will soon come to a close. Forgive my lament. Oh well, at least I still have my guitar.

kitshef 8:58 AM  

The big diagonal from SW to NE went by in a blur. The NW was tougher. The SE was very tough, in part because wAShEr fit so many of GASKET’s acrosses, and two of the other were WoEs (SARG and RAMI MALEK).

Nice echo from yesterday’s puzzle with TENS/TENSes cross.

puzzlehoarder 9:00 AM  

It's interesting to see what issues others had. I never even considered DRYLY in place of DRILY but it's easy to see how it could be a problem once you do.

What slowed down my start more than anything was taking forever to come up with TOKYO off the T and the final O. I was set on THARP because either it was correct or I was totally screwed . EGO just had to be right.

Figuring out the 8D clue was crucial for back filling the NE. That and settling on HOLIER for 9D. I kept thinking that they couldn't possibly be going there but they did. The puzzle had a great MIX of the so obvious you can't believe it and the totally obscure.

I still wish I'd slept on that ASTEAL answer. There's something about OSTEAL that I have a hard time accepting. As many times as it's been used it still looks wrong to me.

Needless to say I thought this was a great Saturday.

golfballman 9:01 AM  

What happened to Evil Doug?

kitshef 9:15 AM  

Anon@7:00 - Just for you, Macy's Day Parade.

Mohair Sam 9:20 AM  

What a war, but we won thanks to Lady Mohair's rescue on vowels at GANJA - who sees that word in print? I wanted GoNJA. And she insisted on the odd spelling of DRILY because RAMI seemed a more likely name. She was right, go figure. RATSO, AMELIA, and EDD were gimmes - the rest of the PPP had to fill.

KELSO was a famous friggin' racehorse - they used his name in a TV show? All these years we were safe on five letter choreographers (Fosse) and then this THARP lady comes along and screws everything up. Had EGO and with Fosse we got FargO as the city with the most three star restaurants. Ya think? (Deaner's Diner does get 5 stars on Yelp, so there's that). Cool factoid on NEV.

Heard of MOORE'S law years ago. At the time it was said that the possibilities opened by that were unimaginable - turned out to be very true. What's next?

@Scott Thomas (8:30) - Gawd, that was awful.

Fun Saturday challenge - Great battle Kingsley and Lieb, but we whupped y'all.

ColoradoCog 9:23 AM  

“Name after name after name. I knew a bunch (SIMONE, JESSE, KELSO, ESPERANTO, EDD),...”

Can someone explain how ESPERANTO is in this list? Isn’t this like “Larry, Moe, Swahili, Curley”? One of these things is not like the other.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

If a wrong thing looks "totally right" to Rex - that's not Rex's fault - that's the constructor's fault. Trumpian.

Teedmn 9:29 AM  

Ooh, ooh, a classic Saturday, the first in a while. The kind where I'm sure I will have to start Googling just to get a foothold and 35 minutes later, done. I'm still reeling from the effort but oh, it feels good. (@kitshef, wow, just wow).

I did circle the I in the DRILY-RAMI cross. I'm not sure why I left in I (written over the Y that was in at one point). All I could think of was, "So there, Jon CRYER." (Hi @Loren!!)

My two big D'OHs were deciding that "State" in 50A must be referring to a country, so that abbreviation was NEp[al] until 44D EVERTed that. And if I had a progress graph of my paper solve, there would be a huge bar at 59D. __BE. What could the Magi be searching for that has to do with the Christ child? roBE? abBE? Double D'OH. Of course, anything Ole Miss was not going to help moi.

At 1A with _____R__H in place, I considered nightmaRisH, har.

Thanks, AK and JL. Some of those names were nightmaRisH but I wasn't a GONER so all's forgiven.

Roo Monster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie here. Lots of names unknown to me. MEA culpa! Speaking of MEA, can someone explain that one?

And weren't they spelled PIXIE STIX, or has the ole brain been misremembering that all these years. Whatever, they were awesome as a kid. Amazing our parents bought them for us!

TTOP is becoming the next ACNE.

I know some of y'all like these tough SatPuzs, as well as they should be tough. I'm more of a themed puz guy, themlesses don't really do much for me. And then throw in a tough one like this, and Check/Reveal features prominently into the solve. (When I do puz online, which I'm usually off on Saturday, ergo, puz online.) After many nanoseconds (Hi @M&A) tick by, I resort to Check and/or Reveal.

No one has complained/praised/been appalled by GANJA. Surprising. Or are you DRILY AVOIDing? Did get a chuckle out of SEXY BEAST. Boosts the EGO to be called that. NEVer happen here. kNOw DAT! :-)


Anonymous 9:36 AM  

It has to be gettable. Really. That's why it's called SOLVING.

If the puzzle relies on obscure names and words, then it's not solving. It's possessing esoteric knowledge.

RVA flier 9:40 AM  


Chopin 9:45 AM  

A "Piano piece" is a LEG? Oh, really?

Raphael 9:46 AM  

Not sure if this was addressed above, but the Grand Prix clue refers to the Pontiac, not the race -- a slight misdirection.

Also, I had "Rami" spelled correctly and then changed to "Ramy" when I saw the down -- arghhh :-)

GILL I. 9:47 AM  

Good lord I got tired of Googling. Bored me to tears, as well. Spent some time reading about POST TRUTH because that was a new one for me. I think I've heard it used as an Era type thing and I'm more familiar with "Fake News." I know people who have no desire to vaccinate their children because they truly believe the immune system will be compromised. I ask if they'd rather watch a child die from the measles. Then you have the climate change nay-sayers. Holy cow, all you have to do is live in Sacramento during the summer and ask yourself "where the hell is our Delta Breeze?"
My other question is "What the hell happened to LAGOS?" Where did he go to? Spent some time looking that up as well.
PESTLE and STONE TOOL were my "Oh, come on...what kinda clue/answer is that?" And HSE....Yup, @Rex said it just fine.... F...U too.
Then I wandered down to the bottom because I already had a big fat DNF and thought maybe I could finish a few other gems along the way. AMELIA helped me out some. I do't think of a Studmuffin as a SEXY BEAST because I can't understand why he'd e referred to as a muffin. So be it. And the Three Wise Men were looking for a BABE? what is this? All along I thought they were following a star looking for Jesus.
I miss Breaking Bad but at least we've got Better Call Saul which I love. @Quasi you don't have a tv? I think we have 4. Husband loves TV. He doesn't move around much anymore because he can't but he loves his Netflix and Hulu and HBO.
Our little Doxie poo was the runt of the litter but she's the Alpha to her brothers OMEGA. Girl puppies rule!

Two Ponies 9:47 AM  

I was so disappointed that 1A wasn't Californicated.

TomAz 9:53 AM  

I have never heard of RAMI MALEK. This happens frequently to me, I google a name I don't know and see the picture and I say ok, that one. Not this time. Google image search gave me pictures of a complete stranger. Read the wikipedia entry and saw a list of movies -- not a single one have I ever heard of. I mean, it's not just that I haven't seen the movies, it's that I have never even heard of them. I see the list of TV shows, those names are much more familiar, but I don't watch any of them.

And like Rex I also had DRYLY. And like Rex I think this puzzle is an abject failure for that crossing alone. An alternative spelling crossing a C-List actor. Sheesh

dls 10:03 AM  

I lost a bit of time in the SW because I threw in PUN UNINTENDED at 37A and then struggled to parse what was going on when it started to look like NOP UNINTENDED would fit better with the crosses.

Another DRyLY/RAMy victim here, too.

Z 10:08 AM  

I haven’t added them up yet, but look at PROXIES, a seven letter word crossed by 5 PPP answers. This turns the puzzle into a trivia contest. A choreographer, a TV show that’s been off the air for over a decade, candy, a Chinese legend, and computing, so at least it is a wide swath of trivial knowledge. Still, I prefer more word play and sussing out to trivia in my crosswords. When the difficulty comes so much from obscurity the puzzle can’t be “great.”

No issue with RAMI here, I knew it was two Arabic sounding first names and I’ve known a RAMI or two and a MALEK or two. In case you were wondering, RAMI MALEK would mean something like “loving king.”

@pmdm from yesterday - I think our two takes define lots of discussions that happen here. You and many others interpret Rex as avowing facts, I always take him as averring his opinions. I have lots of opinions, I think they are all true. But I never (I hope) forget that my opinions are opinions. The same with Rex, which is why it never bothers me all that much when I think he is wrong. Lots of times his opinions have analogous facts, e.g. “the fill ruined the puzzle,” is an opinion which often aligns with “the fill will make the puzzle less than enjoyable for many solvers.” Yet, that doesn’t make his opinion a fact.

Blue Stater 10:12 AM  

SEGNO is not a "musical mark meaning 'repeat'." It is a musical mark indicating where the player/singer repeats *from*. The notation "D. S." stands for "dal [I think] segno," which directs the musician to return to the most recent "segno" or "sign" (can't reproduce it here). Again, minimally competent editing would have caught this obvious and unnecessary mistake.

I wish the NYT's online solving facility included a mechanism for highlighting mistakes so that they can be more easily reported here.

Z 10:12 AM  

@ColoradoCog - While ESPERANTO is not a person, it is an example of PPP. The list also includeS PIXY STIX, AGRA, ABUJA, and, ACER.

TubaDon 10:14 AM  

Really struggled though this. So many unknown names. Guessed right on DRILY/RAMI and somehow OMEGADOG popped up to save the SW. Stuck in the middle for a while since I couldn't see how LAGOS, BUN and HAJI could fit together, but finally ended with one wrong letter at ABUJI/GINJA intersection.

Randall Clark 10:15 AM  

I confidently entered idiocRacy for 1A, which worked with oneS in place of TENS, but soon realized that wasn't correct. I also had several other pixel-overs, including coprOlITE for TRILOBITE, kEy for LEG, eArN for GAIN, KEnny for KELSO. But man I felt like I had accomplished something when I finally worked my way through it and got the congratulations message. Had to get the RAMI name through crosses, so it was just dumb luck that I put in DRILY without even considering DRYLY.

JJ 10:22 AM  

SMH at anon 8:51--"knew it was drily because the y didn't work" indicating that the spelling of Rami was a gimme. I doubt that, but it is possible. I thought that was a t edible cross.

Punny 10:24 AM  

@Scott, Funny!

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Gee, why not spice things up with a few proper names???

Laurence Katz 10:36 AM  

Let sleeping Dougs lie (pun intended).

phil phil 10:38 AM  

1:38...1 hr over my best 38m below my average. But at those times I can enjoy a sat solve though it was about 10 min to find the DRILY error. I can understand a speed solver would not enjoy it with its pitfalls

Always a fun Saturday puzzle when I finish.

phil phil 10:41 AM  

Had COLON for the music repeat sign. I kindof remember those bracketed off a repeat....hmmm.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Doesn't NEVADA mean "snowfall"?

Birchbark 10:47 AM  

The POST TRUTH clue also describes the classical "ad hominem" rhetorical technique, which happens to be nine letters. Useful for rallying existing troops but rarely sways/usually angers the unconverted.

I ran the wrong alphabet for a while at SApINA__/__EGNO. Then turned to my Gazeteer of the United States and Canada and saw no such possibility. Then realized pEG --> LEG. Yar.

I wanted a follow-up pun in place of NO PUN INTENDED, so spent some time trying to finish tO PUt It _____ly.

Junief 10:54 AM  

It’s trilobite.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

i had LAGOS for ABUJA like others. Got RAMI MALK from fill. Had no problem with DRILY, Rex, and you must admit that the prospect of RAMY as a name is VERY unlikely. I had the hardest time in the NW with POSTTRUTH and TTOP. Guess I need to play more UNO.

JC66 10:58 AM  


I'm not sure if you were serious, but just in case, MEA CULPA loosely translates to my fault; so MEA is part of a FAULT line.

Tim Aurthur 10:59 AM  

early Macy's Day Parade balloon designer

Talk about comically obscure. And crossing it with one of the most famous people in US history. That is some weird cluing.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

POST TRUTH went in immediately -- with no crosses and no hesitation. What a great world we live in.

I had DRYLY too, crossed with RAMY MALEK. Never corrected. I'm supposed to know who this person is? You may call this a DNF; I call it a F. Wanna make something of it?

Like everyone else, I have my dietary sins. But candy isn't one of them. Especially something called PIXY STIX. Does that sound awful or what? (Would serve me right if it turned out to be something made of luscious 100% Belgian chocolate and I'd missed it.)

Speaking of Belgium, I was sure the city with the most three-star Michelin restaurants would be located there or, even more likely, in France. You could have bowled me over with a feather when it turned out to be TOKYO.

We're really supposed to know who designed the Macy Day Parade balloon???

I've heard of busting a GASKET and wondered if that implied leakage. Since I didn't know SARG or RAMI MALEK, I went to my Webster's to see what a GASKET is, exactly, before writing it in. Leakage seemed to be involved, so I wrote it in. And thus "finished". Diverting, but too many names for my liking.

pmdm 11:01 AM  

Z: I think we basically agree. As a NYS Senator once said, you are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts. The problem arises when you express your opinions as if they were facts, and I think many who comment here believes that some statements meant to express opinions are really meant to express facts. So while I fully agree with Mr. Sharp and the majority of comments posted here today about today's puzzle (which for me seemed over-bloated with esoteric proper nouns), I certainly expect there are those who love this type of puzzle, and would call today;s puzzle great.

So it's not how you react or what you say, but it's how you say it. And I think most of the complaints voiced here about Mr. Sharp (and some others) are really complaints not about what they say but how they say it. Removing that factor, I think we are in total agreement in general.

I emphasize my total agreement with today's write-up: "Soooo much triva ... [that] felt excessive [to me]. I hope in the future these two constructors learn how to construct puzzles that rely less on a plethora of such entries. And I hope Mr. Shortz pushes them in that direction.

AW 11:02 AM  

What does PPP stand for?

Hungry Mother 11:17 AM  

Loved OMEGADOG, but kept DRyLY and GiNJA. MY Favorite currency is the dong of Vietnam. Hopefully, I’ll start another streak while filling in rebuses tomorrow.

DBlock 11:18 AM  

This is a Saturday kids— Long slog
Trial and error
Reaching into long term vague memory
And by my own ( and do not impose on anyone else) standards did not google
But finished

Carola 11:20 AM  

This was an easy-medium one for me thanks to my happening to know just enough names that provided crucial crosses, "know" as in know right off and as in "oh, yeah" after a cross or two. On Tuesdays the Times has a column in the Science section called Trilobites (little nature-related tidbits), and that taught me the word.. One do-over: PIXiSTIX and one wait-until-the-end square: the A in LAG x OSTEAL.

@Paul Rippey, if you enjoy fiction, you might want to read Lawrence Osborne's novel The Forgiven, in which those mines and their fossils figure. Review here.

[Not-at-all-fascinating alert]. Speaking of novels, I'm rereading Jenny Erpenbeck's Go Went Gone, which centers on the encounter of a German ex-professor with a group of African migrants in Berlin, including his learning about their backgrounds in Nigeria, Ghana, and Libya. So, my reaction to 32A was "Why don't I have any idea?" After I finished the puzzle, I picked up the book again and after a page or two read, "Zair is from Abuja, the capital." I need to time my reading better. More importantly, I recommend the novel.

retired guy 11:24 AM  

"Moore's Law" is mega-famous in the IT world... roughly speaking, it states that computing power of a state-of-the-art integrated circuit doubles about every 18 months.... for techno-geeks, it is the basis of everything, more or less. No matter how devoted folks are to the humanities, they should probably be at least aware of Moore's Law.

Edmund Gwenn 11:29 AM  

Green Day notwithstanding, there is no such thing as the Macy’s Day Parade. It is called the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Matthew G. 11:47 AM  

That RAMI / DRILY crossing is the most preposterous crossing I’ve seen in the NYT in ages. DRILY is an alternative form. DRYLY is the standard. If it’s going to be DRILY, it needs to be crossed with something solid. And since RAMY is as plausible a name as RAMI ... no. Fail.

Bob Mills 11:50 AM  

Hardest puzzle ever for me. Really obscure stuff.

Ctdawg 12:00 PM  

“Segno” does *not* mean “repeat” in music. The sign that means “repeat” in music is simply called a “repeat sign.” Grrrr.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

I, also. Glad I wasn't alone.

Nancy 12:22 PM  

@TomAz (9:53) -- Liked your take on the RAMI MALEK person. Am also gratified by the fact he was obscure to so many people. Didn't feel any urge to Google him, though. Don't understand all the Googling that goes on here, actually, on days that the puzzle is packed with obscure names. It seems more like writing a research paper than solving a crossword. FWIW, research papers were the things I hated most in college. Pure tedium. No fun.

@Tim Aurther (10:59) -- "Comically obscure" is exactly right.

I do agree with @retired guy (11:24) that MOORE's law is probably an important piece of knowledge, quite unlike RAMI MALEK and SARG. I know I'm glad that I had the opportunity to learn it today. I also know that I shall forget it very, very soon.

@GILL (9:47) -- Love your runt-of-the-litter Alpha girl puppy Doxie-poo!

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Tough puz. But, waddayah expect, when two people construct one day-um themeless puz. Lotsa desperate assemblage spots, that's what. If M&A ever constructs somethin beyond a runtpuz in partnership collusion with someone else, he will splatz in all the Across fillins cleanly, then hand that sucker off to the other lucky dude or darlin, for them to fix up all the Downs. har [Is it safe to do that syllalable, now?]

Speakin of collusion …

1-Across really really slowed M&A down. It was like a cloud, hangin over m&e. Had gotten the ????TRU?? part, and logically assumed this was some sorta salute to the prez. Lost many precious nanoseconds, huntin for that witch was not there. Don't suppose anyone else noticed that, right?

Speakin of desperate assemblage spots …

How about that Congress? But, I digress ...

And how about that DRILY/RARENAMEMALEK crossin?!? Don't suppose anyone else noticed that, right? Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary lists DRILY as a "variant spelling". FYI: Dictionaries like to say "variant" instead of "desperate", I've noticed.
Second use of DRILY in the Shortzmeister Era. Last use was in year 2000. Them was 18 pretty good years.

staff weeject pick: HSI. Efficient clue, for the @RPmeister: he didn't have to write "FU" in the margin, this time.

Thanx I guess, AK & JL. Rily, rily, rily hard solvequest. Rily.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


JC66 12:32 PM  

I seem to recall that SARG has appeared in numerous puzzles over the years; usually with the clue involving puppets.

RAMI MALEK, not as often, but more recently.

jberg 1:22 PM  

Hand up for solving on paper and leaving in RAMy/DRyLY.

Disappointing to not finish, after knowing MOORE'S Law, TRILOBITEs, and ABUJA. Twyla THARP is most famous for her own company, but once I had a few crosses I figured it must be her.

Abuja is like Brasilia, a new planned city for a national capital. In the case of the former, the motivation was not only to put the capital in the center of the country, but to put it in a region not dominated by one of the major ethnic groups -- a vital need after the Biafra War. Also, by all accounts Lagos is so badly managed that no one wanted to live there (although millions of people do).

I did come close to SARb/bASKET, but just figured the latter wouldn't stop leaks. The last time our car was serviced they said we'd probably need a new head GASKET soon, a $3,000 job -- so I didn't have any trouble thinking of that term.

ghostoflectricity 1:22 PM  

Anyone else write “POSTTRUMP” for 1-A initially?

Whatsername 2:03 PM  

Rex’s comment about paper solvers having a an error with RAMY/DRYLY was spot on. Definitely a case where ignorance is bliss. Not familiar with Moore’s law and had to do a lot of googling but that’s to be expected for me on a Saturday. My thought of the day and not necessarily of the puzzle is re 33D/trendy hairstyles for men. My first reaction was “no, just no.” There’s not a SEXYBEAST alive who can put up a BUN and make it work. Sorry.

Mohair Sam 2:05 PM  

@M&A - Nope, HAR still snarky.

Masked and Anonymous 2:38 PM  

@Mohair Sam: DOH!


Bill from Houston 2:39 PM  

I enjoyed the words in this puzzle, they all interlocked which I thought was a very nice feature. Have a blessed day.

Joe Bleaux 2:44 PM  

With EDD as my toe-hold to get going, I entered (as my first non-PPP) D-R-_-L-Y, leaving the blank because I knew it could be either. Turned out to be a good call, since I didn't know the MALEK person, so I finished by popping in that "I" on a hunch, and it turned out to be right. Hand up for STOP sted of TTOP, other writeover was GAIN (sted of GETS). Glad I read the comments before posting: Swear to God, @Roo, I wuz gonna say TTOP is the new ACNE, and found you'd beaten me to it. Thanks, @Nancy, for the imagery of being "bowled over with a feather." Really tickled my funny bone.

Big Jim 2:50 PM  

I had the exact same “error” as Rex with DRyLY. Someone has probably said this already but it’s “Trouble with Tribbles” - my favorite episode and the first one I ever saw!

cwf 2:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
David in CA 3:11 PM  

SEGNO : "a sign or mark at the beginning or end of a section to be repeated."

That definition is in 2 online dictionaries I checked, and a very similar one was in my dead tree dictionary. That would certainly seem to be a reasonable "fit" for a Saturday puzzle.

Must you turn everything into a personal attack on Will Shortz? It is pretty obnoxious habit, even if way too typical on this blog, and especially when you haven't even bothered to check your facts.

Anoa Bob 4:01 PM  

There's a lot of truth in POST TRUTH, but it's not a new idea. I'm sure it's been around as long as politics have been around. One of the best---okay, I think it is the best---expositions on how weak reason and facts are and how strong emotions and sentiments are when it comes to influencing the masses is Gustave Le Bon's The Crowd(1895). It's still in print. Here's a quote:

The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.


In enumerating the factors capable of making an impression on the minds of crowds, all mention of reason might be dispensed with, were it not necessary to point out the negative value of its influence.

TRILOBITEs is a column these days in the Science section of the NYT, self-described as "unearthing fascinating morsels of science", and formatted as mini-lessons for science teachers and their students. Maybe they are trying to counter the INSIDIOUS effects of political propaganda on the masses with appeal to scientific facts. Good luck with that.

Purple Stater 4:01 PM  

I agree with David in CA. and I love Will Shortz. I think he is a great editor but he muffed one today. There is no Macy’s day and there is no Macy’s Day Parade.

Purple Stater 4:33 PM  

To expound upon my 4:01 comment I’ll offer this analogy. There is a football game sponsored by a bank called the Capital One Orange Bowl. It is not the Capital One Bowl. It’s either the Orange Bowl or the Capital One Orange Bowl just as the parade is either the Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I do thank the folks at Macy’s for their great balloons. I used to watch them inflate them the night before by the Museum of Natural History when I lived on the Upper West Side. I was a blue stater then too.

m 4:40 PM  

AW asked "What does PPP stand for?" I wonder, too. Anyone?

Joe Dipinto 4:43 PM  

@David in CA: I don't know what dictionaries you are looking in, but in musical scores the Segno mark indicates the spot you are to go back to and repeat from, when a passage ends in a Repeat Sign (the correct answer, if the editors care), with the notation Dal Segno above it. Repeat Sign tells you to repeat, Segno shows you where to repeat from. Puzzle is wrong.

I had RAMY/DRYLY and I am not changing it. The actor will just have to change his name.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

@M&A - in the span of time that DRILY has been used twice, DRyLY was used four times. @Rex surely realizes it’s an acceptable variant. Spelling aside, I thought the clue for 52D was nicely on the nose.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Oops. The blog arguably implies that RAMI is not a real human name. Happens to the best of us.

MetroGnome 5:06 PM  

"Rushes" are HIGHS, not "HIES", ferchrissake!

JC66 5:24 PM  


Good one!

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

@MegroGnome = When someone rushes from point A to point B she HIES from point A to point B. Olde-Timey verb, not drug usage.

@M, @AW PPP = Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns

Whatsername 6:17 PM  

@Metrognome. HIE is a synonym for RUSH when used as a verb, as in to hasten; speed; go in haste.

Trombone Tom 6:21 PM  

You either know the names or you don't. I knew all of them except RAMI MALEK, but chose DRILY and ended up being correct. I would rate this puzzle a good workout and Saturday appropriate.

As a musician I recognized that the SEGNO clue was slightly off, but I generally allow for some looseness in cluing.

SARG has been clued often, mostly re puppetry.

ABUJA came ONLY via the crosses. Very few of the African countries (and now capitals) on my circa 1939 globe still exist.

Evan Jordan 7:01 PM  

I don’t know why TONY SARG was considered knowable in the past, but he has been clued in the NYTCW before. I remember because the first time I came across the name I Wikipediaed him.

Shawn Vondran 7:29 PM  

Blue Stater: thank you. I was scouring the comments section to make sure someone caught this. Huge mistake by NYT xword editors. I’ve been teaching music for almost 20 years (now at a university). Segno just means sign, as you indicate. Not repeat. Essentially, dal segno (D.S.) means “from the sign.” There is also D.C. or Da Capo which means to go back to the beginning. No segno required for that.

Two Ponies 9:13 PM  

@ Anon 5:54 and Whatsername, Do you really think MetroGnome didn't know what he was saying??? Geez.
Also Good One from me MG.

Blue Stater 10:28 PM  

@David in CA (3:11 p.m.): My post was not a personal attack on Will Shortz. I don’t know the man. It was a critique of his work, which is something quite different. I believe that WS’s standards of factual and linguistic accuracy, as evidenced in the puzzles he publishes, too frequently are not high enough for the NYT. That seemed to me to be not true of the puzzles under his predecessor, Eugene Maleska.

I suggest that you, too, elevate your standards in fact-checking. If you really found a definition in two online dictionaries (you didn’t name the third one, so I can’t comment on that) saying that SEGNO is a musical mark meaning “repeat,” those dictionaries are wrong. SEGNO is an Italian word meaning “sign.” As others have pointed out more elegantly than I did, the “segno” mark, which I can’t do here, is where you repeat FROM when you get to a repeat mark that has “D. S.” (for “Dal Segno”) over it. If the repeat mark has “D. C.” over it, that means “Da Capo,” and you go back to the beginning of the piece or section. Sorry, but them’s the facts, and any competent copyeditor (and I’ve been one) would catch that in a New York minute.

Blue Stater 10:42 PM  

@Shawn Vondran (7:29 p.m.): You're quite welcome, and thank you for the kind words. Also, sorry I didn't see your comment before I replied to David in CA. My mom, who was a church organist and who shanghaied me into her children's choir at the beginning of what has been a 75-year career (and still counting) as a choirboy, would never forgive me for letting that one go by unremarked.

Mo Pariser 2:33 AM  

Yes 🙋‍♂️

Anonymous 4:30 AM  

Kinda raciist for Mike to say "RAMI" is not a real human name.

- Brennan

Anonymous 6:48 AM  


burtonkd 8:41 PM  

Professional musician here. One who also spends much of his time explaining repeats and dal segno, etc to amateur choir members. That managed to be one of the last clues I got because I was looking for something more literal, wondering if there were perhaps a technical term for the repeat sign of which I was unaware, which is not an impossibility this being Saturday and all. That being said, as previously noted it merely means sign. As a weak defense of the constructor, I will grant that you will not use the sign unless you were repeating something. Still the clue must count as technically incorrect.

burtonkd 8:48 PM  

Why bring up the piano if leg is your answer? Had key in there for the longest time.
I had SAKS for SARG, Figured he must’ve been an employee that became disgruntled and opened his own department store

Michael McCormick 9:54 PM  

The second time in two days I've been suckered with a grammar interpretation. It's DRYLY, not DRILY. Again if you Google it, it comes up DRYLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


but AMELIA RESISTED the fool.
She DRILY said, “BABE, ALLTHERE is to prove
is that your PESTLE is still a STONETOOL.”


thefogman 11:08 AM  

That was a tough one but I did it. I love Mr. Robot so that helped a bit. There were no easy areas in this puzzle for me. Every square was a battle.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Yes, I hear that a lot, and it bugs the heck out of me. That is a definite error and should have been caught.

rondo 11:15 AM  

Well I RESISTED, but did change DRyLY to DRILY only because I think I’ve seen that guy’s name. And I did a NODto before a NODAT and my Grass turned into GANJA, mon. Thank the xword gods for gimmes RATSO and TRILOBITE (that one dredged up from jr. high Earth Science), or IMAGONER.

I’ve got an ACER, but blanked on it for too long. MEA culpa.

The SALINAS Valley is really gorgeous. Don’t miss it.

A couple of summers back I ran into local TV news co-anchor and yeah BABE AMELIA Santianello at the dairy case in the Wal-Mart near her lake home. She was wearing a SEXY low-cut off-the-shoulder TOP that proved she was ALLTHERE while reaching down for the crescent rolls. A RARE treat. So thank you, AMELIA!

Rather challenging, I thought. Probably due to the PPP count and its MIX of subjects.

thefogman 11:19 AM  


EDIT - DNF for me. Upon further review I see I got stung by devious 61A/52D cross. I had DRyLY instead of DRILY. And even though I knew about RAMIMALEK I still spelled his name wrong. Oh well. At least I'm not the only one who fell into that trap...

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

I know! How did that get past the editors?

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

DNF. Came within two squares, though, and that was WAY closer than I thought at first.* RATSO and UNO gave _____RU__ for 1a--and by the clue I really wanted it to end in TRUMP (A LA TRUMP? But that didn't fit). The clue was just perfect for him. And after I added TREED I thought I was onto something for sure.

But no. The NW wasn't the home for wither of my errors. These occurred at the totally unfair DRyLY/whoever the hell that guy is, and at ABUJi/GiNJA.

After abandoning the NW and going SE with AMELIA, I was totally stuck, staring at a sea of unknowns. *Then's when I thought: IMAGONER. Just for laughs, I wrote that in at 55a. Gee, this works...and then...OMG it was right! From there I managed everything but those two naticks. MEA culpa on the Nigerian capital/pot thing, but the other? very bad. 100% unfair. For DOD I pick one of the EVERTS: Chris the tennis great. A weird triumph-but-not-triumph factor in this one. He said DRyLY.

kathy of the tower 2:33 PM  

As a graduate of Star Fleet Academy, I must correct the record. Tribbles were brought aboard the Enterprise by Cyrano Jones, not Harry Mudd. That will be all.

Diana,LIW 2:50 PM  

I began early, and after working on the puzzle for about 12 hours, I came to check some of the answers. This is called cheating. Ahem. Found some of my first guesses were incorrect. I noticed it was a bit before 9 am.

Then, I really honed in on all the squares, and after a couple of minutes it was 10:15.

Ever have those "DaliEsque," time-bending moments while working a solve - esp a Saturday? Sure you do - remember last week?

A few dumb errors scattered in with some names as commonly used as ESPERANTO - which I did get. But I don't "get." Ever hear anyone use it? Anyone? Anyone? If you do puzzles, more likely to see Urdu or Hindi.

Diana, Je pense, ergo, puz

leftcoastTAM 4:44 PM  

I did not like this puzzle for more reasons than worth listing, but these stood out:

1. Swiss cheese is HOLIER? Is that a PUN?
2. Deviated fits clue much better than RESISTED, very much better.
3. Abundance of obscure proper nouns, like PIXYSTIX, KELSO, HSI, RAMIMALEK.
4. Agree with Rex's complaint about DRILY vs. DRYLY.
5. Lost interest, and that's NO PUN.

Expected much better after seeing POSTTRUTH leading off so impressively.

rainforest 5:07 PM  

Almost Hell on wheels today. Almost gave up; almost DNF. So, I put the puzzle down and came back after a coffee, and got in a few gimmes. Unfortunately two of those were Lagos and kEy. Oy vey.

Settling down, I got ELEV and intuited VAPOR which didn't jibe with Lagos. Loss of nanoseconds. Having kEy for 49A gave me SAkINAw which sounded possible, but then I remembered SEGNO from my two years of accordion lessons, and OMEGA DOG was brilliant, I thought. BUN a 'trendy' hair style?->weird.

No point in reviewing everything in my solve, save to say that the NW turned out to be the easiest for me, and that I blithely just wrote DRILY without a thought. TROLOBITE, AMELIA, and RELETS were gimmes.

Toughest was the NE. Thyla Twarp? Thwyla Tarpp? Just coudn't get it, until the real name came to me. Finally got ABUJA, and that was it. TELE, har.

Really hard, but I really liked it.

leftcoastTAM 5:47 PM  

After all the fuss, looked up DRILY in my ever-trusty unabridged M-W: it's a variant of DRYLY. We all know what variants are, and this is a Saturday. Still, I don't like it given its obscure crossing proper name.

centralscrewtinizer 6:50 PM  

No one mentioned the political connection of RESISTED hiding out so near to POSTTRUTH. I'd say the guy who thinks he is a SEXYBEAST despite his orange hue has a lot of voids to fill, NO PUN INTENDED because I lost interest.

thefogman 7:05 AM  

I wonder if the POSTTRUTH SEXYBEAST approves this message?

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

ELEV (elevation?) for ALT. (altitude?). The first is ground height above sea level, the second is air height above ground underneath. [My paper gets puzzles a month late.]

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP